On the 23rd day of the second month we remember the trials and victories of Simon.
After the capture of Simon’s brother Jonathan; Tryphon had gathered together a great host to invade the land of Judea. The people of Israel were in great fear (Apocrypha 1 Maccabees 13:1-2). Simon exhorted the people by reminding them of the great acts they had done for the laws and the sanctuary (Apocrypha 1 Maccabees 13:3-6). Apocrypha 1 Maccabees 13:7: ”Now as soon as the people heard these words, their spirit revived.” Soon after,Simon was elected by the people to be their leader. Apocrypha 1 Maccabees 13:8-9: ”And they answered with a loud voice, saying, Thou shalt be our leader instead of Judas and Jonathan thy brother. Fight thou our battles, and whatsoever, thou commandest us, that will we do.”
Simon gathered all the men of war and fortified the city of Jerusalem (Apocrypha 1 Maccabees 13:10-13). Tryphon and his host were approaching the land of Judea to invade it and with him wasJonathan in ward (Apocrypha 1 Maccabees 13:12-13).Apocrypha 1 Maccabees 13:14-16: ”Now when Tryphon knew that Simon was risen up instead of his brother Jonathan, and meant to join battle with him, he sent messengers unto him, saying, Whereas we have Jonathan thy brother in hold, it is for money that he is owing unto the king’s treasure, concerning the business that was committed unto him. Wherefore now send an hundred talents of silver, and two of his sons for hostages, that when he is at liberty he may not revolt from us, and we will let him go.” Simon perceived that he spoke deceitfully, yet sent the money and the children, lest the people hate him and say he caused the death of Jonathan(Apocrypha 1 Maccabees 13:17-19). Apocrypha 1 Maccabees 13:20: ”And after this came Tryphon to invade the land, and destroy it, going round about by the way that leadeth unto Adora: but Simon and his host marched against him in every place, wheresoever he went.”
Now there was a tower built in Jerusalem in the days of Antiochus Epiphanies, who put within wicked men and fortified themselves. These always sought the hurt of the people and the strengthening of the heathen (Apocrypha 1 Maccabees 1:33-36). Apocrypha 1 Maccabees 13:21-22: ”Now they that were in the tower sent messengers unto Tryphon, to the end that he should hasten his coming unto them by the wilderness, and send them victuals. Wherefore Tryphon made ready all his horsemen to come that night: but there fell a very great snow, by reason whereof he came not. So he departed, and came into the country of Galaad.” After thisJonathan was killed in Bascama, and Tryphon returned into his own land (Apocrypha 1 Maccabees 13:23-24). Simon took the bones of Jonathan and buried him in the city of Modin. At the same time he built a monument upon the sepulchers of his family (Apocrypha 1 Maccabees 13:25-33).
Apocrypha 1 Maccabees 13:34: ”Moreover Simon chose men, and sent to king Demetrius, to the end he should give the land an immunity, because all that Tryphon did was to spoil.” Demetriusanswered in a letter; granting the Jews immunities, such as paying any tax or tribute (Apocrypha 1 Maccabees 13:35-40).Apocrypha 1 Maccabees 13:41: ”Thus the yoke of the heathen was taken away from Israel in the hundred and seventieth year.”
Apocrypha 1 Maccabees 13:43-48: ”In those days Simon camped against Gaza and besieged it round about; he made also an engine of war, and set it by the city, and battered a certain tower, and took it. And they that were in the engine leaped into the city; whereupon there was a great uproar in the city: Insomuch as the people of the city rent their clothes, and climbed upon the walls with their wives and children, and cried with a loud voice, beseeching Simon to grant them peace. And they said, Deal not with us according to our wickedness, but according to thy mercy. So Simon was appeased toward them, and fought no more against them, but put them out of the city, and cleansed the houses wherein the idols were, and so entered into it with songs and thanksgiving. Yea, he put all uncleanness out of it, and placed such men there as would keep the law, and made it stronger than it was before, and built therein a dwelling place for himself.” This was one of the great victories forSimon.
Apocrypha 1 Maccabees 13:49: ”They also of the tower in Jerusalem were kept so strait, that they could neither come forth, nor go into the country, nor buy, nor sell: wherefore they were in great distress for want of victuals, and a great number of them perished through famine.” Remember afore when they were seeking help from Tryphon and did not receive it. Simon took advantage of this and besieged the tower. Apocrypha 1 Maccabees 13:50-51:“Then cried they to Simon, beseeching him to be at one with them: which thing he granted them; and when he had put them out from thence, he cleansed the tower from pollutions: And entered into it the three and twentieth day of the second month in the hundred seventy and first year, with thanksgiving, and branches of palm trees, and with harps, and cymbals, and with viols, and hymns, and songs: because there was destroyed a great enemy out of Israel.” Therefore Simon ordained that this day be kept with gladness because a great enemy of Israel who slain many for years was destroyed. Apocrypha 1 Maccabees 13:52: ”He ordained also that that day should be kept every year with gladness…” After this there was great peace in Israel all the days of Simon.
Therefore we should keep this day as Simon commanded it: a day of gladness with Feasting. We must be careful to not add to the word of the Lord, lest we be found to be liars (Proverbs 30:5-6). The day of Simon is to be remembered and kept, but not as a Sabbath day for such thing was never commanded. For this day is different than the holy convocations of Leviticus chapter 23 and the Feast of Dedication which was ordained to be kept as the Feast of Tabernacles. The Lord gave statutes pertaining to each holy convocation mentioned afore in its particular way. The day of Simon does not contain statutes as the holy convocations. In this day of gladness, remember the great acts of our forefathers and send portions to the poor.
All praises to the Most High and Christ for blessing our people the children of Israel.