138 BC

- ח ע ם -

Antiochus VII Sidetes Invites Simon to a Banquet in Jericho, Executes him

138 BC

1 Maccabees 16:13

Following Tryphon’s defeat, Antiochus VII Sidetes changes the empire’s attitude toward Judea. He demands that Simon cede several of the areas that recently came under his control, including the Acra fortress in Jerusalem. Sidetes’ men leave Yavne and clash with Simon’s armies in Gezer, where the mighty Jewish forces take them by surprise. However, the outcome of the battle is inconclusive and both sides vow that they will not further escalate the conflict. Antiochus VII Sidetes invites Simon and his two sons to a banquet in Jericho, where he summarily kills them all. This tragic event marks the end of the rule of Mattathias’ most politically-skilled son – who, like his brothers, dies by sword. Fortunately, Simon has another son, named John Hyrcanus, who was not summoned by Sidetes. He therefore becomes the next Jewish ethnarch. There is a law in the spiritual world that states: “In giving there is receiving and in receiving there is giving.” Simon and his brothers bring their people out of darkness and give them light. Their giving raises them to the highest level of spirituality – whereas the power-hungry Greeks deteriorate into a darkness that will eventually bring them to their end. Simon decides to confront his enemy, rather than engaging in negotiations to maintain his own power. However, his decision to become involved in yet another violent struggle ultimately costs him his life.

“His heart was lifted up; he determined to get control of the country and made treacherous plans against Simon and his sons, to do away with them. 14 Now Simon was visiting the towns of the country and attending to their needs, and he went down to Jericho with his sons Mattathias and Judas, in the one hundred seventy-seventh year, in the eleventh month, which is the month of Shebat. 15 The son of Abubus received them treacherously in the little stronghold called Dok, which he had built; he gave them a great banquet and hid men there. 16 When Simon and his sons were drunk, Ptolemy and his men rose up, took their weapons, rushed in against Simon in the banquet hall, and killed him and his two sons, as well as some of his servants. 17 So he committed an act of great treachery and returned evil for good” (1 Maccabees 16:13-17)

Certainty in the love and blessings of the Creator leads to peacefulness and the end of violence.