I grant you pardon for treaty violations committed up to the present date, and I release you from payment of the special tax still due and any other taxes that have been collected up to this time in Jerusalem.
All Jews who are qualified may enroll in the royal service. Let us have peace."
So in the year 170 the yoke of the Gentile oppressors was removed from the Jews.
People began to date their documents and contracts with these words: "In the first year of Simon, the great High Priest, commander and leader of the Jews."
At that time Simon laid siege to Gezer and surrounded it with his army. He built a movable siege platform, brought it up to the town wall, attacked one of the towers, and captured it. 1
The men who had been on the siege platform then moved rapidly into the town, and this created great confusion.
The men of the town, their wives, and their children tore their clothes in distress and climbed up on the top of the town wall. They pleaded loudly with Simon for a truce.
"Have mercy on us," they begged. "Don't punish us as we deserve!"
So Simon came to terms with them and ended the fighting. He made the people leave the town; then he purified the houses in which there had been idols. When that was done, he and his men entered the town singing hymns and songs of praise.
He eliminated everything that would make the town ritually unclean and settled it with people who would obey every command contained in the Law of Moses. He strengthened the defenses of the town and built himself a palace there.
Those in the fort in Jerusalem were now prevented from leaving to buy or sell anything. They were suffering from severe hunger and many of them had died of starvation.