1 Simon's son John left Gezer and went to report to his father what Cendebeus had done. 2 Simon said to John and Judas, his two oldest sons, “All my father's family, my brothers, and I have fought Israel's battles all our lives, and many times we have been successful in saving Israel. 3 I am old now, but you, thanks to God, are in the prime of life. You must take my place and that of my brother in fighting for our nation. And may God himself be with you.”
4 Then John raised an Israelite army of 20,000 trained soldiers and cavalry and marched out against Cendebeus. They spent the night in Modein, 5 and then early the next morning they moved into the plain. There a large army of infantry and cavalry moved to meet them, but there was a river between the two armies. 6 John and his army took up battle positions facing the enemy, but when John saw that his soldiers were afraid to cross the river, he crossed ahead of them, and his men saw him and followed. 7 John divided his army and placed his cavalry in the middle of the infantry, because there was a large number of enemy cavalry. 8 The trumpets sounded the attack, and Cendebeus and his army were defeated, and many of them were killed. The rest ran back to their fortress at Kedron. 9 Judas was wounded in the battle, but his brother John continued to pursue the enemy as far as Kedron, which Cendebeus had rebuilt. 10 The escaping soldiers fled to the towers in the fields at Azotus, and John set fire to the city. On that day, 2,000 enemy soldiers were killed, and John returned safely to Judea.
The Murder of Simon and Two of His Sons
11 Simon the High Priest had appointed Ptolemy son of Abubus commander for the Plain of Jericho. Ptolemy was very rich, 12 because he was Simon's son-in-law. 13 But he became too ambitious and wanted to take over the country. So he devised a plan to assassinate Simon and his sons. 14 Simon, together with his sons Mattathias and Judas, was visiting the towns in the area, in order to take care of their needs. They arrived in Jericho in the month of Shebat, the eleventh month, in the year 177. 15 Ptolemy, still plotting to murder Simon and his two sons, received them in a small fortress called Dok, which he had built. He gave a great banquet for them, but he had men hidden within the fortress. 16 When Simon and his sons were drunk, Ptolemy and his men came out of hiding and with swords in hand rushed into the banquet hall, where they killed Simon, his two sons, and some of the servants. 17 With this horrible act of treachery, Ptolemy returned evil for good.
18 Then Ptolemy wrote a report of what he had done and sent it to the king. In the letter he requested that troops be sent to help him and that the country and the cities be turned over to him. 19 He wrote a letter to the army officers inviting them to join him and promising them silver, gold, and gifts. Then he sent some of his men to Gezer to kill John, 20 and others to take control of Jerusalem and the Temple hill. 21 But someone ran to Gezer ahead of Ptolemy's men and reported to John that his father and his brothers had been killed and that Ptolemy was sending his soldiers to kill him. 22 John was horrified at this news, but, because he had been warned in advance, he was able to capture and put to death the men who had been sent to kill him.
23 Now the rest of what John did from the time he succeeded his father: his wars, his deeds of courage, his rebuilding of walls, and his other accomplishments, 24 are all written in the chronicles of his reign as High Priest.