Fortifications in Jerusalem (1 Macc 12:35-12:38)

“When Jonathan returned, he convened the elders of the people and planned with them to build strongholds in Judea. He wanted to build the walls of Jerusalem still higher. He wanted to erect a high barrier between the citadel and the city to separate it from the city. He wanted to isolate it so that the people in the garrison could neither buy nor sell items. So they gathered together to rebuild the city. Part of the wall on the valley to the east had fallen. He repaired the section called Chaphenatha. Simon also built Adida in the Shephelah. He fortified it and installed gates with bolts.”

When Jonathan returned to Jerusalem, he convened the elders to build strongholds in Judea. He wanted the walls around Jerusalem to be still higher. He also wanted a barrier between the citadel and the city so that the troops in the citadel could not come into the city to buy or sell things. Thus they rebuilt the city since part of the east wall had fallen. Simon also did some work in the Shephelah.

The siege of the citadel in Jerusalem (1 Macc 6:18-6:27)

“Meanwhile, the garrison in the citadel kept hemming Israel in around the sanctuary. They were trying in every way to harm the Israelites and strengthen the gentiles. Judas, therefore, resolved to destroy them. He assembled all the people to besiege them. They gathered together and besieged the citadel in the one hundred fiftieth year. Judas built siege towers and other engines of war. But some of the garrison escaped from the siege. Even some of the ungodly Israelites joined them. They went to the king and said.

‘How long will you fail to do justice?

How long will you fail to avenge our kindred?

We were happy to serve your father.

We were happy to live by what he said.

We were happy to follow his commands.

For this reason the sons of our people besieged the citadel.

They became hostile to us.

Moreover, they have put to death

As many of us as they have caught.

They have seized our inheritances.

It is not against us alone that they have stretched out their hands.

They have also attacked all the lands on their borders.

See, today they have encamped

Against the citadel in Jerusalem to take it.

They have fortified both the sanctuary and Beth-zur.

Unless you quickly prevent them,

They will do still greater things.

You will not be able to stop them.’”

The citadel was the high point in Jerusalem. The small garrison of Syrian soldiers there kept the Jews hemmed in around the Temple. This took place 1 year after the death of King Antiochus IV, in 162 so that the new young King Antiochus V was only 10 years old. Judas Maccabeus gathered the people together and set up siege towers against the citadel. However, the gentiles and even some of the ungodly Israelites went to the young king to complain. They were willing to follow his father’s commands, which is why they took the citadel. Now these Jews have seized their inheritance. They have attacked the people on their borders. Now they are attacking the citadel in the city itself. Unless something was done quickly, they would not be able to stop these people.