King Demetrius I will give money to Jerusalem (1 Macc 10:38-10:45)

“As for the three districts that have been added to Judea

From the country of Samaria,

Let them be so annexed to Judea,

So that they may be considered to be under one ruler.

They will obey no other authority than the high priest.

Ptolemais and the land adjoining it,

I have given as a gift to the sanctuary in Jerusalem,

To meet the necessary expenses of the sanctuary.

I also grant fifteen thousand shekels of silver yearly

Out of the king’s revenues from appropriate places.

All the additional funds

That the government officials have not paid

As they did in the first years,

They shall give from now on for the service of the temple.

Moreover, the five thousand shekels of silver

That my officials have received every year

From the income of the services of the temple,

This too is canceled,

Because it belongs to the priests who minister there.

All who take refuge at the temple in Jerusalem,

Or in any of its precincts,

Because they owe money to the king

Or are in debt,

Let him be released

And receive back all their property in my kingdom.

Let the cost of rebuilding and restoring

The structures of the sanctuary be paid

From the revenues of the king.

Let the cost of rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem

And fortifying it all around,

And the cost of rebuilding the walls in Judea,

Also be paid from the revenues of the king.”

King Demetrius I was very willing to be very generous with Jerusalem. The 3 new areas annexed to Judea would be under the rule of the high priest at Jerusalem. In fact, the land that Alexander had taken was Ptolemais, King Demetrius was now giving to the Jerusalem sanctuary. He was going to give 5,000 shekels yearly to the sanctuary. He also was going to give them the additional funds that stopped coming when King Antiochus IV was in charge. On top of giving money, he also was cancelling the money owed from the Temple. Anyone who fled to the Jerusalem Temple would find sanctuary and forgiveness of their debt. He was also going to pay with his royal revenues for the rebuilding and restoring the walls of Jerusalem. This seems like a very generous guy.

The money problems of King Antiochus IV (1 Macc 3:27-3:31)

“When King Antiochus heard these reports, he was greatly angered.  He sent for and gathered all the forces of his kingdom, a very strong army.  He opened his coffers and gave a year’s pay to his forces.  He ordered them to be ready for any need.  Then he saw that the money in the treasury was exhausted.  The revenues from the country were small because of the dissension and disaster that he had caused in the land by abolishing the laws that had existed from the earliest days.  He feared that he might not have such funds as he had before for his expenses and for the gifts which he used to give more lavishly than preceding kings.  He was greatly perplexed in mind.  He determined to go to Persia.  There he could collect the revenues from those regions and thus raise a large fund.”

The Seleucid Syrian King Antiochus IV got angry when he heard these reports about Judas Maccabeus.  He wanted a strong army.  Thus he paid all the people in the army for a full year so that they would be ready at any moment.  However, he soon realized that he did not have as much money as he expected.  The revenues were diminishing after he set in motion the new laws of unification that did away with all the local laws.  There was a lot of dissension that led to this disaster.  He decided that he would go to Persia and get some money from that region there.