After Simon heard the report from John that the Syrian general Cendebeus was threatening Judea, he turned over the leadership to his two eldest sons, Judas and John. John led a force of 20,000 warriors and calvary to attack the army led by Cendebeus.
Early one morning, they were confronted by a large force of infantry and calvary coming toward them on the other side of a stream. When John saw that his soldiers were afraid to cross over the stream, he himself went first. When his troops saw this, they followed him. Despite the size of the enemy army, they were able to put them to flight.
Ptolemy, son-of-law of Simon, decided to take over the country. At a banquet given by another rebel, Simon and two of his sons, Mattathias and Judas, got drunk and were attacked and killed by Ptolemy and his men.
Wanting to take over Jerusalem, Ptolemy sent troops to Gaza to get rid of John. John learned of this treachery and killed the men who were planning to assassinate him.