1 Maccabees 12 Revised Standard Version (RSV)
Alliances with Rome and Sparta
12 Now when Jonathan saw that the time was favorable for him, he chose men and sent them to Rome to confirm and renew the friendship with them. 2 He also sent letters to the same effect to the Spartans and to other places. 3 So they went to Rome and entered the senate chamber and said, “Jonathan the high priest and the Jewish nation have sent us to renew the former friendship and alliance with them.” 4 And the Romans[a] gave them letters to the people in every place, asking them to provide for the envoys[b] safe conduct to the land of Judah.
5 This is a copy of the letter which Jonathan wrote to the Spartans: 6 “Jonathan the high priest, the senate of the nation, the priests, and the rest of the Jewish people to their brethren the Spartans, greeting. 7 Already in time past a letter was sent to Oni′as the high priest from Ari′us,[c] who was king among you, stating that you are our brethren, as the appended copy shows. 8 Oni′as welcomed the envoy with honor, and received the letter, which contained a clear declaration of alliance and friendship. 9 Therefore, though we have no need of these things, since we have as encouragement the holy books which are in our hands, 10 we have undertaken to send to renew our brotherhood and friendship with you, so that we may not become estranged from you, for considerable time has passed since you sent your letter to us. 11 We therefore remember you constantly on every occasion, both in our feasts and on other appropriate days, at the sacrifices which we offer and in our prayers, as it is right and proper to remember brethren. 12 And we rejoice in your glory. 13 But as for ourselves, many afflictions and many wars have encircled us; the kings round about us have waged war against us. 14 We were unwilling to annoy you and our other allies and friends with these wars, 15 for we have the help which comes from Heaven for our aid; and we were delivered from our enemies and our enemies were humbled. 16 We therefore have chosen Nume′nius the son of Anti′ochus and Antip′ater the son of Jason, and have sent them to Rome to renew our former friendship and alliance with them. 17 We have commanded them to go also to you and greet you and deliver to you this letter from us concerning the renewal of our brotherhood. 18 And now please send us a reply to this.”
19 This is a copy of the letter which they sent to Oni′as: 20 “Ari′us, king of the Spartans, to Oni′as the high priest, greeting. 21 It has been found in writing concerning the Spartans and the Jews that they are brethren and are of the family of Abraham. 22 And now that we have learned this, please write us concerning your welfare; 23 we on our part write to you that your cattle and your property belong to us, and ours belong to you. We therefore command that our envoys[d] report to you accordingly.”
Further Campaigns of Jonathan and Simon
24 Now Jonathan heard that the commanders of Deme′trius had returned, with a larger force than before, to wage war against him. 25 So he marched away from Jerusalem and met them in the region of Hamath, for he gave them no opportunity to invade his own country. 26 He sent spies to their camp, and they returned and reported to him that the enemy[e] were being drawn up in formation to fall upon the Jews[f] by night. 27 So when the sun set, Jonathan commanded his men to be alert and to keep their arms at hand so as to be ready all night for battle, and he stationed outposts around the camp. 28 When the enemy heard that Jonathan and his men were prepared for battle, they were afraid and were terrified at heart; so they kindled fires in their camp and withdrew.[g] 29 But Jonathan and his men did not know it until morning, for they saw the fires burning. 30 Then Jonathan pursued them, but he did not overtake them, for they had crossed the Eleu′therus river. 31 So Jonathan turned aside against the Arabs who are called Zabadeans, and he crushed them and plundered them. 32 Then he broke camp and went to Damas′cus, and marched through all that region.
33 Simon also went forth and marched through the country as far as As′kalon and the neighboring strongholds. He turned aside to Joppa and took it by surprise, 34 for he had heard that they were ready to hand over the stronghold to the men whom Deme′trius had sent. And he stationed a garrison there to guard it.
35 When Jonathan returned he convened the elders of the people and planned with them to build strongholds in Judea, 36 to build the walls of Jerusalem still higher, and to erect a high barrier between the citadel and the city to separate it from the city, in order to isolate it so that its garrison[h] could neither buy nor sell. 37 So they gathered together to build up the city; part of the wall on the valley to the east had fallen, and he repaired the section called Chaphena′tha. 38 And Simon built Ad′ida in the Shephe′lah; he fortified it and installed gates with bolts.
Trypho Captures Jonathan
39 Then Trypho attempted to become king of Asia and put on the crown, and to raise his hand against Anti′ochus the king. 40 He feared that Jonathan might not permit him to do so, but might make war on him, so he kept seeking to seize and kill him, and he marched forth and came to Beth-shan. 41 Jonathan went out to meet him with forty thousand picked fighting men, and he came to Beth-shan. 42 When Trypho saw that he had come with a large army, he was afraid to raise his hand against him. 43 So he received him with honor and commended him to all his friends, and he gave him gifts and commanded his friends and his troops to obey him as they would himself. 44 Then he said to Jonathan, “Why have you wearied all these people when we are not at war? 45 Dismiss them now to their homes and choose for yourself a few men to stay with you, and come with me to Ptolema′is. I will hand it over to you as well as the other strongholds and the remaining troops and all the officials, and will turn round and go home. For that is why I am here.”
46 Jonathan[i] trusted him and did as he said; he sent away the troops, and they returned to the land of Judah. 47 He kept with himself three thousand men, two thousand of whom he left in Galilee, while a thousand accompanied him. 48 But when Jonathan entered Ptolema′is, the men of Ptolema′is closed the gates and seized him, and all who had entered with him they killed with the sword.
49 Then Trypho sent troops and cavalry into Galilee and the Great Plain to destroy all Jonathan’s soldiers. 50 But they realized that Jonathan[j] had been seized and had perished along with his men, and they encouraged one another and kept marching in close formation, ready for battle. 51 When their pursuers saw that they would fight for their lives, they turned back. 52 So they all reached the land of Judah safely, and they mourned for Jonathan and his companions and were in great fear; and all Israel mourned deeply. 53 And all the nations round about them tried to destroy them, for they said, “They have no leader or helper. Now therefore let us make war on them and blot out the memory of them from among men.”