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Praise for the Romans

Now Judas heard about the Romans’ reputation for being strong and loyal to all who made an alliance with them. They pledged friendship to those who came to them. They were very powerful. Judas had been told of their wars and of the brave deeds that they were doing among the Gauls—how they had defeated them and forced them to pay tribute. He was told what they had done in Spain to get control of the silver and gold mines there. They gained control over the entire region through their planning and patience, even though the place was a great distance from them. They also subdued the kings from the ends of the earth who fought against them, until they crushed them and inflicted heavy casualties on them. The rest paid annual fines to them. They crushed in battle and conquered Philip and King Perseus of the Macedonians,[a] as well as others who rose up against them. They also defeated Antiochus the Great, king of Asia, who went to fight against them with one hundred twenty elephants, with cavalry, chariots, and a very large army. They crushed him, but they took him alive. They declared that he, and those who succeeded him, should pay a heavy fine and turn over hostages as well as some of their best territories. These included the countries of India, Media, and Lydia. They took them from Antiochus and gave them to King Eumenes.

The Greeks thought about coming to destroy them. 10 But the Romans became aware of this, so they sent a general against the Greeks and attacked them. Many Greeks were wounded and died. The Romans took their wives and children captive. They plundered them, conquered their land, tore down their fortresses, and enslaved them to this day. 11 They destroyed and enslaved many of the remaining kingdoms and islands that opposed them. 12 But the Romans have kept friendship with their allies and those who rely on them. They have subdued kings far and near, and as many as have heard of their reputation have feared them. 13 Those whom they wish to help come to power, they make kings. Those whom they wish, they bring down. The Romans have been greatly exalted. 14 Yet even with all this, not one of them has put on a crown or worn purple as a mark of pride. 15 Instead, they built for themselves a senate chamber. Daily, three hundred twenty senators plan constantly concerning their people in order to govern them well. 16 They trust one man each year to rule over them and to control all their land. All listen to this one man, and there is no envy or jealousy among the Romans.

An alliance with Rome

17 So Judas chose Eupolemus son of John and grandson of Accos, and also Jason, Eleazar’s son. He sent them to Rome to establish friendship, alliance, 18 and also to free the Jewish people from oppression. They observed that the Greek kingdom was completely enslaving Israel.

19 They took the long journey to Rome. They entered the senate chamber, and they spoke: 20 “Judas, called Maccabeus, along with his brothers and the Jewish people, has sent us to you to establish alliance and peace with you. We seek to be enrolled as your allies and friends.” 21 This proposal pleased the Romans. 22 This is a copy of the letter that they wrote in reply on bronze tablets, which they sent to Jerusalem to remain with them there as a memorial of peace and alliance:

23 May all go well with the Romans and with the nation of the Jews at sea and on land forever. May sword and enemy stay away from them. 24 If war comes first to Rome or to any of their allies throughout their territory, 25 the Jewish nation should act as their allies wholeheartedly, as the occasion may indicate to them. 26 They will not give or supply grain, weapons, money, or ships to an enemy that makes war on them. This is Rome’s decision. And they will keep their obligations without compensation. 27 In the same way, if war comes first to the nation of the Jews, the Romans will willingly act as their allies, as the occasion may indicate to them. 28 They will not give to their enemies any grain, weapons, money, or ships, just as Rome has decided. And they will keep these obligations and do so without deceit. 29 On these terms, the Romans make a treaty with the Jewish people. 30 If after these terms are in effect and either party determines to add or delete anything, they will do so at their discretion. Any addition or deletion that they may make will be valid.

31 Regarding the bad things that King Demetrius is doing to them, we have written to him, “Why have you made your yoke so heavy on our friends and allies the Jews? 32 If they appeal now again for help against you, we will defend their rights and fight you on both sea and land.”


  1. 1 Maccabees 8:5 Or Kittim