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"(exclusive of the salt and crown taxes, with the thirds "of your corn and fruits) and these duties we give up for "all future times, as well as the poll-tax on the inhabit"ants throughout Judea, and the three governments of "Galilee, Samaria, and Peræa. It is our pleasure like"wise that Jerusalem and its dependencies be exempted "from all tenths and tributes, be deemed holy, and have "the privileges of a sanctuary. Let the citadel be de- ' "livered to Jonathan the high-priest, with permission to "place in it a garrison of such of his friends as he may "think proper. We farther command that, immediately on receipt hereof, liberty be given to all Jewish prisoners "in every part of our dominions, without any fees im"posed, even on their cattle: that their sabbaths and "solemn festivals, and three days preceding each, shall "be deemed days of freedom to the Jews throughout our "dominions, that they may live at peace, and unmolested. "That thirty thousand Jews, if so many shall be willing,
may bear arms in our service, and receive the same pay 66 as our own troops: that they be entrusted in garrisons, ❝ and near our person; and that our royal family receive "the better sort of them as domestics. In Jerusalem, and "the three dependent provinces, the Jews shall freely "exercise their own laws; but the high priest must take "care that the temple of Jerusalem be the only one in "which the Jews worship. Fifteen thousand shekels of "silver we also grant annually towards the expence of "their sacrifices; and we remit the ten thousand drachms " formerly paid to our predecessors by the priests and "officers attending the service of the temple. We farther "order that all debtors repairing to the temple of Jerusa❝lem, or the liberties thereof, on account of debt, shall "remain unmolested both in person and property. We ❝ also permit and require that the temple be repaired; "that fortifications be made round it, and that such 66 strong places as the Jews think proper to fortify shall "have garrisons stationed in them: and all this shall be ❝ done at our own expense."
The advantageous indulgencies offered to Jonathan and his people by the two rival princes were so great, that for some time he knew not on which side to convey
his interest. At length, after consulting the heads of the Jews, who could not forget what a bitter enemy Demetrius had been to all who adhered to the true interest of their country, and suspecting at the same time that his offers proceeded only from the necessity of his affairs, which would certainly be rovoked as soon as the storm was blown over, it was resolved to enter into a league with Alexander; in consequence of which, Jonathan, accepting of his grant of the high-priest's office, did, on the Feast of Tabernacles, which soon after ensued, put on the pontifical robes, and officiated as high-priest, after that office had been vacant four years, namely, ever since the death of the wicked Alcimus.
In the mean time the two contending parties, having drawn together all their forces, resolved to adjust the dispute between them by one decisive battle. The army of Alexander was composed partly of such as had gone over to him from Demetrius, and partly of his own troops, who had assisted him in taking possession of Ptolemais. Soon after the battle commenced, the right wing of Alexander's forces was pressed hard by the left of Demetrius, who pushed their advantage even to the plundering of the camp; but Alexander's forced the opposite column, where Demetrius fought in person, till it was totally routed. Demetrius did wonders, killing and pursuing his enemies, and defending himself, for a considerable time, till at length his horse plunging into a bog, and he being oppressed with multitudes, was obliged to yield, though not till his body was covered with darts and arrows. Thus died Demetrius king of Syria, after having enjoyed the sovereignty of that empire about eleven
On the death of Demetrius, Alexander became master of the whole Syrian empire, and was placed on the throne by the unanimous voice of the people. Soon after this he wrote a letter to Ptolemy Philometer, king of Egypt, proposing a match between himself and his daughter, and intimating that there would be no disgrace in such an alliance, after the conquest of Demetrius, and the recovery of a kingdom, which was his own in right of his father.
This proposal was highly satisfactory to Ptolemy, who sent a letter to Alexander, congratulating him on his late success, promising to bestow his daughter on him in marriage, and that he would meet him at Ptolemais, where, if he thought proper, the nuptials should be celebrated.
Ptolemy, agreeable to his engagement, went soon after with his daughter to the place appointed, where Alexander attending, the parties were married, and he received as a wedding portion, a sum becoming the dignity of the father. To this wedding Jonathan the high-priest was invited, and was received by both the kings with great favor and respect, especially by Alexander, who, to do him a particular honor, caused him to be clothed in purple, and to take place near himself among the first princes of his kingdom; besides which he made him general of all his forces in Judea, and gave him an office of great honor and profit in his palace.
Alexander now thought himself arrived at the summit of happiness, and that he should enjoy a life of uninterrupted tranquility; but he soon found himself mistaken. A short time after, Demetrius, the son of the late Demetrius, resolving to revenge his father's death, and recover his kingdom, went to Crete (where he and his brother Antiochus had been concealed during the late troubles) and, with an army of mercenaries, landed in Cilicia. This alarmed Alexander, who instantly marched from Phoenicia to Antioch to secure his affairs there before the arrival of Demetrius. In the mean time Demetrius had gained over to his interest Apollonius the governor of Coelo-Syria, who, to oblige Jonathan to quit Alexander's party, and join with Demetrius, marched with an army as far as Jamnia, from whence he sent a challenge to Jonathan, defying him to meet him with his sword in the open field, and putting the issue on their single contest; boasting likewise that he was at the head of a number of the bravest men in the empire, whose valor had frequently made his ancestors yield to their superior power.
Irritated at this daring message, Jonathan, accompanied by his brother Simon, left Jerusalem at the head of ten thousand men, and encamped near Joppa, the gates of which were shut by a garrison belonging to Apollonius.
Jonathan demanded entrance, which being refused he immediately made the necessary preparations for attacking the place; when the garrison, knowing themselves too weak to make any opposition against so formidable a body of forces, quietly surrendered.
As soon as Apollonius was informed that Jonathan was in possession of Joppa, he marched with his army and encamped in the fields near that place. Hereupon Jonathan advanced to give him battle; but when the armies came near each other, Apollonius thought proper to make a retreat. Jonathan, however, continued to advance, till his antagonist having got him to a spot of ground which he thought particularly advantageous, faced about, and prepared to engage. He planted a thousand horse to attack Jonathan in the rear; but the latter being aware of this disposition, formed his men into a square figure, so that they might be enabled to engage the enemy on all sides at the same time.
Before the battle began Jonathan encouraged his soldiers to behave themselves like men, and cautioned them to forbear falling in with the enemy at first, but to receive their arrows with their shields till the enemy had spent them, and then to fall on. Apollonius's horse, on whom he chiefly depended, began a distant fight, discharging continued flights of arrows for a considerable time; till at length Simon, seeing them weary with shooting, and their arrows spent, fell on them with his party, and routed them, whilst Jonathan engaged the main body, of which he killed great numbers, and put the rest to flight. The broken forces of Apollonius's army hastened with all expedition to Azotus, where they took shelter in a famous temple dedicated to the idol Dagon; but Jonathan pursuing them, no sooner entered the town than he set fire to the temple and reduced the whole place to ashes, so that the number of those who were slain in the battle, and perished in the flames, amounted to no less than eight thousand.
Having thus destroyed the army of Apollonius, Jonathan, after serving several places belonging to the enemy in like manner as he had done Azotus, marched with his army to Askalon, and encamped near that city with a
design of laying siege to it. But the inhabitants, instead of attempting to make any opposition, brought many valuable presents as a testimony of their submission, which Jonathan readily accepted, and then returned, laden with the spoils of the enemy, in triumph to Jerusalem.
As soon as Alexander heard of the success of Jonathan over his general Apollonius, he sent messengers to Jerusalem to congratulate him on the occasion, and to assure him that the conduct of Apollonius took place without his knowledge. In token of his approbation of what Jonathan had done he sent him a buckle of gold, such as none but the royal family were permitted to wear, and at the same time made him a present of the city of Ecron, together with all the territories thereunto belonging.
About this time Ptolemy Philometer arrived in Syria with a considerable body of forces in order to assist his son-in-law Alexander. Agreeable to the king's order he was received with great respect by the people of all the cities and towns through which he passed, except at Azotus, where the inhabitants complained to him of the burning of the temple of Dagon, and reviled Jonathan for having ravaged their country with fire and sword. Ptolemy gave them a patient hearing, but fearful of disobliging Jonathan, did not think proper to do any thing in their favor without his knowledge.
As soon as Jonathan heard that Ptolemy was arrived in Syria, and advanced as far as Joppa, he went thither to pay his compliments to him, and was received with the greatest marks of honor and friendship; after which he conducted Ptolemy as far as the river Eleutherus, where he took his leave, and returned to Jerusalem.
As Ptolemy was on his way to the city of Ptolemais, he fortunately discovered a plot which had been concerted by Ammonius, a great favorite of Alexander, for taking away his life, though no reason could be assigned for such diabolical intentions. In consequence of this discovery, on his arrival at Ptolemais, he wrote to Alexander, demanding that justice might be done on the traitor; but Alexander refusing to give him up, Ptolemy was fully convinced that the king was concerned in the plot, and