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Text #3965

Josephus. The Complete Works
[Joseph. AJ. 13.6.6. Translated by William Whiston. Christian Classics Ethereal Library p. 698]



But when those that were in the citadel had sent to Trypho, and besought him to make haste and come to them, and to send them provisions, he prepared his cavalry as though he would be at Jerusalem that very night; but so great a quantity of snow fell in the night, that it covered the roads, and made them so deep, that there was no passing, especially for the cavalry. This hindered him from coming to Jerusalem; whereupon Trypho removed thence, and came into Celesyria, and falling vehemently upon the land of Gilead, he slew Jonathan there; and when he had given order for his burial, he returned himself to Antioch. However, Simon sent some to the city Basca to bring away his brother’s bones, and buried them in their own city Modin; and all the people made great lamentation over him. Simon also erected a very large monument for his father and his brethren, of white and polished stone, and raised it a great height, and so as to be seen a long way off, and made cloisters about it, and set up pillars, which were of one stone apiece; a work it was wonderful to see. Moreover, he built seven pyramids also for his parents and his brethren, one for each of them, which were made very surprising, both for their largeness and beauty, and which have been preserved to this day; and we know that it was Simon who bestowed so much zeal about the burial of Jonathan, and the building of these monuments for his relations. Now Jonathan died when he had been high priest four years1 and had been also the governor of his nation. And these were the circumstances that concerned his death.

  1. There is some error in the copies here, when no more than four years are ascribed to the high priesthood of Jonathan. We know by Josephus’s last Jewish chronology, Antiq. B. XX. ch. 10., that there was an interval of seven years between the death of Alcimus, or Jacimus, the last high priest, and the real high priesthood of Jonathan, to whom yet those seven years seem here to be ascribed, as a part of them were to Judas before, Antiq. B. XII. ch. 10. sect. 6. Now since, besides these seven years interregnum in the pontificate, we are told, Antiq. B. XX. ch. 10., that Jonathan’s real high priesthood lasted seven years more, these two seven years will make up fourteen years, which I suppose was Josephus’s own number in this place, instead of the four in our present copies. [OF]

Text #3966

"Jonathan Apphus", in Wikipedia.

In 143 BCE, Diodotus Tryphon went with an army to Judea and invited Jonathan to Scythopolis for a friendly conference, and persuaded him to dismiss his army of 40,000 men, promising to give him Ptolemais and other fortresses. Jonathan fell into the trap; he took with him to Ptolemais 1,000 men, all of whom were slain; he himself was taken prisoner.1

When Diodotus Tryphon was about to enter Judea at Hadid, he was confronted by the new Jewish leader, Simon Maccabaeus, ready for battle. Tryphon, avoiding an engagement, demanded one hundred talents and Jonathan’s two sons as hostages, in return for which he promised to liberate Jonathan. Although Simon did not trust Tryphon, he complied with the request in order that he might not be accused of the death of his brother. But Tryphon did not liberate his prisoner; angry that Simon blocked his way everywhere and that he could accomplish nothing, he executed Jonathan at Baskama, in the country east of the Jordan.2 Jonathan was buried by Simon at Modi’in. Nothing is known of his two captive sons. One of his daughters was the ancestress of Josephus.3

  1. I Macc. 12.33-38, 41-53; Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews 13.5.10; 13.6.1-3

  2. I Macc. 13.12-30; Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews 13.6.5

  3. Josephus, “Vita,” 1

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