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1 Maccabees Chapters

1 The king of Egypt then assembled an army as numerous as the sands of the seashore, with many ships, and set out to take possession of Alexander's kingdom by a ruse and add it to his own kingdom.

2 He set off for Syria with protestations of peace, and the people of the towns opened their gates to him and came out to meet him, since King Alexander's orders were to welcome him, Ptolemy being his father-in-law.

3 On entering the towns, however, Ptolemy quartered troops as a garrison in each one.

4 When he reached Azotus he was shown the burnt-out temple of Dagon, with Azotus and its suburbs in ruins, corpses scattered here and there, and the charred remains of those whom Jonathan had burnt to death in the battle, piled into heaps along his route.

5 They explained to the king what Jonathan had done, hoping for his disapproval; but the king said nothing.

6 Jonathan went in state to meet the king at Joppa, where they greeted each other and spent the night.

7 Jonathan accompanied the king as far as the river called Eleutherus, and then returned to Jerusalem.

8 King Ptolemy for his part occupied the coastal towns as far as Seleucia on the coast, all the while maturing his wicked designs against Alexander.

9 He sent envoys to King Demetrius to say, 'Come and let us make a treaty; I shall give you my daughter, whom Alexander now has, and you shall rule your father's kingdom.

10 I regret having given my daughter to that man, since he has tried to kill me.'

11 He made this accusation because he coveted his kingdom.

12 Having carried off his daughter and bestowed her on Demetrius, he broke with Alexander, and their enmity became open.

13 Ptolemy next entered Antioch and assumed the crown of Asia; he now wore on his head the two crowns of Egypt and Asia.

14 King Alexander was in Cilicia at the time, since the people of those parts had risen in revolt,

15 but when he heard the news, he advanced on his rival to give battle, while Ptolemy for his part also took the field, met him with a strong force and routed him.

16 Alexander fled to Arabia for refuge, and King Ptolemy reigned supreme.

17 Zabdiel the Arab cut off Alexander's head and sent it to Ptolemy.

18 Three days later King Ptolemy died, and the Egyptian garrisons in the strongholds were killed by the local inhabitants.

19 So Demetrius became king in the year 167.

20 At the same time, Jonathan mustered the men of Judaea for an assault on the Citadel of Jerusalem, and they set up numerous siege-engines against it.

21 But some renegades who hated their nation made their way to the king and told him that Jonathan was besieging the Citadel.

22 The king was angered by the news. No sooner had he been informed than he set out and came to Ptolemais. He wrote to Jonathan, telling him to raise the siege and to meet him for a conference in Ptolemais as soon as possible.

23 When Jonathan heard this, he gave orders for the siege to continue; he then selected a deputation from the elders of Israel and the priests, and took the deliberate risk

24 of himself taking silver and gold, clothing and numerous other presents, and going to Ptolemais to face the king, whose favour he succeeded in winning;

25 and although one or two renegades of his nation brought charges against him,

26 the king treated him as his predecessors had treated him, and promoted him in the presence of all his friends.

27 He confirmed him in the high-priesthood and whatever other distinctions he already held, and had him ranked among the First Friends.

28 Jonathan asked the king to exempt Judaea and the three Samaritan districts from taxation, promising him three hundred talents in return.

29 The king consented, and wrote Jonathan a rescript covering the whole matter, in these terms:

30 'King Demetrius to Jonathan his brother, and to the Jewish nation, greetings.

31 'We have written to Lasthenes our cousin concerning you, and now send you this copy of our rescript for your own information:

32 "King Demetrius to his father Lasthenes, greetings.

33 "The nation of the Jews is our ally; they fulfil their obligations to us, and in view of their goodwill towards us we have decided to show them our bounty.

34 We confirm them in their possession of the territory of Judaea and the three districts of Aphairema, Lydda and Ramathaim; these were annexed to Judaea from Samaritan territory, with all their dependencies, in favour of all who offer sacrifice in Jerusalem, instead of the royal dues which the king formerly received from them every year, from the yield of the soil and the fruit crops.

35 As regards our other rights over the tithes and taxes due to us, over the salt marshes, and the crown taxes due to us, as from today we release them from them all.

36 None of these grants will be revoked henceforth or anywhere.

37 You will make yourself responsible for having a copy of this made, to be given to Jonathan and displayed on the holy mountain in a conspicuous place." '

38 When King Demetrius saw that the country was at peace under his rule and that no resistance was offered him, he dismissed his forces, and sent all the men home, except for the foreign troops that he had recruited in the foreign island, thus incurring the enmity of the veterans who had served his ancestors.

39 Now Trypho, one of Alexander's former supporters, noting that all the troops were muttering against Demetrius, went to see Iamleku, the Arab who was bringing up Antiochus, Alexander's young son,

40 and repeatedly urged him to let him have the boy, so that he might succeed his father as king; he told him of Demetrius' decision and of the resentment it had aroused among his troops. He spent a long time there.

41 Jonathan, meanwhile, sent to ask King Demetrius to withdraw the garrisons from the Citadel in Jerusalem and from the other fortresses, since they were constantly fighting Israel.

42 Demetrius sent word back to Jonathan, 'Not only will I do this for you and for your nation, but I shall heap honours on you and your nation if I find a favourable opportunity.

43 For the present, you would do well to send me reinforcements, since all my troops have deserted.'

44 Jonathan sent three thousand experienced soldiers to him in Antioch; when they reached the king, he was delighted at their arrival.

45 The citizens crowded together in the centre of the city, to the number of some hundred and twenty thousand, intending to kill the king.

46 The king took refuge in the palace, while the citizens occupied the thoroughfares of the city and began to attack.

47 The king then called on the Jews for help; and these all rallied round him, then fanned out through the city, and that day killed about a hundred thousand of its inhabitants.

48 They fired the city, seizing a great deal of plunder at the same time, and secured the king's safety.

49 When the citizens saw that the Jews had the city at their mercy, their courage failed them, and they made an abject appeal to the king,

50 'Give us the right hand of peace, and let the Jews stop their fight against us and the city.'

51 They threw down their arms and made peace. The Jews were covered in glory, in the eyes of the king and of everyone else in his kingdom. Having won renown in his kingdom, they returned to Jerusalem laden with booty.

52 Thus, King Demetrius sat all the more securely on his royal throne, and the country was quiet under his government.

53 But he gave the lie to all the promises he had made, and changed his attitude to Jonathan, giving nothing in return for the services Jonathan had rendered him, but thwarting him at every turn.

54 After this, Trypho came back with the little boy Antiochus, who became king and was crowned.

55 All the troops that Demetrius had summarily dismissed rallied to Antiochus, and made war on Demetrius, who turned tail and fled.

56 Trypho captured the elephants and seized Antioch.

57 Young Antiochus then wrote as follows to Jonathan: 'I confirm you in the high-priesthood and set you over the four districts and appoint you one of the Friends of the King.'

58 He sent him a service of gold plate, and granted him the right to drink from gold vessels, and to wear the purple and the golden brooch.

59 He appointed his brother Simon commander-in-chief of the region from the Ladder of Tyre to the frontiers of Egypt.

60 Jonathan then set out and made a progress through Transeuphrates and its towns, and the entire Syrian army rallied to his support. He came to Ascalon and was received in state by the inhabitants.

61 From there he proceeded to Gaza, but the people of Gaza shut him out, so he laid siege to it, burning down its suburbs and plundering them.

62 The people of Gaza then pleaded with Jonathan, and he made peace with them; but he took the sons of their chief men as hostages and sent them away to Jerusalem. He then travelled through the country as far as Damascus.

63 Jonathan now learned that Demetrius' generals had arrived at Kadesh in Galilee with a large army, intending to remove him from office,

64 and went to engage them, leaving his brother Simon inside the country.

65 Simon laid siege to Beth-Zur, attacking it day after day, and blockading the inhabitants

66 till they sued for peace, which he granted them, though he expelled them from the town and occupied it, stationing a garrison there.

67 Jonathan and his army, meanwhile, having pitched camp by the Lake of Gennesar, rose early, and by morning were already in the plain of Hazor.

68 The foreigners' army advanced to fight them on the plain, having first positioned an ambush for him in the mountains. While the main body was advancing directly towards the Jews,

69 the troops in ambush broke cover and attacked first.

70 All the men with Jonathan fled; no one was left, except Mattathias son of Absalom and Judas son of Chalphi, the generals of his army.

71 At this, Jonathan tore his garments, put dust on his head, and prayed.

72 Then he returned to the fight and routed the enemy, who fled.

73 When the fugitives from his own forces saw this, they came back to him and joined in the pursuit as far as Kadesh where the enemy encampment was, and there they themselves pitched camp.

74 About three thousand of the foreign troops fell that day. Jonathan then returned to Jerusalem.

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Reading 1, Proverbs 3:27-34: 27 Refuse no kindness to those who have a right to it, if it ... Responsorial Psalm, Psalms 15:2-3, 3-4, 5: 2 Whoever lives blamelessly, who acts ... Gospel, Luke 8:16-18: 16 'No one lights a lamp to cover it with a bowl or to put it under ... continue reading

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The New Jerusalem Bible (NJB) is a Catholic translation of the Bible published in 1985. The New Jerusalem Bible (NJB) has become the most widely used Roman Catholic Bible outside of the United States. It has the imprimatur of Cardinal George Basil Hume.

Like its predecessor, the Jerusalem Bible, the New Jerusalem Bible (NJB) version is translated "directly from the Hebrew, Greek or Aramaic." The 1973 French translation, the Bible de Jerusalem, is followed only "where the text admits to more than one interpretation." Introductions and notes, with some modifications, are taken from the Bible de Jerusalem.

Source: The Very Reverend Dom (Joseph) Henry Wansbrough, OSB, MA (Oxon), STL (Fribourg), LSS (Rome), a monk of Ampleforth Abbey and a biblical scholar. He was General Editor of the New Jerusalem Bible. "New Jerusalem Bible, Regular Edition", pg. v.

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Reading 1, Proverbs 3:27-34
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