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1 Maccabees 12

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1 Maccabees 12

Alliances with Rome and Sparta

1Now 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. 2He also sent letters to the same effect to the Spartans and to other places. 3So 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." 4And the Romansa gave them letters to the people in every place, asking them to provide for the envoysb safe conduct to the land of Judah.

5This 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. 7Already 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. 8Oni'as welcomed the envoy with honor, and received the letter, which contained a clear declaration of alliance and friendship. 9Therefore, though we have no need of these things, since we have as encouragement the holy books which are in our hands, 10we 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. 11We 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. 12And we rejoice in your glory. 13But as for ourselves, many afflictions and many wars have encircled us; the kings round about us have waged war against us. 14We were unwilling to annoy you and our other allies and friends with these wars, 15for we have the help which comes from Heaven for our aid; and we were delivered from our enemies and our enemies were humbled. 16We 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. 17We 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. 18And now please send us a reply to this."

19This 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. 21It has been found in writing concerning the Spartans and the Jews that they are brethren and are of the family of Abraham. 22And now that we have learned this, please write us concerning your welfare; 23we 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 envoysd report to you accordingly."

Further Campaigns of Jonathan and Simon

24Now Jonathan heard that the commanders of Deme'trius had returned, with a larger force than before, to wage war against him. 25So he marched away from Jerusalem and met them in the region of Hamath, for he gave them no opportunity to invade his own country. 26He sent spies to their camp, and they returned and reported to him that the enemye were being drawn up in formation to fall upon the Jewsf by night. 27So 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. 28When 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 29But Jonathan and his men did not know it until morning, for they saw the fires burning. 30Then Jonathan pursued them, but he did not overtake them, for they had crossed the Eleu'therus river. 31So Jonathan turned aside against the Arabs who are called Zabade'ans, and he crushed them and plundered them. 32Then he broke camp and went to Damas'cus, and marched through all that region.

33Simon 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, 34for 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.

35When Jonathan returned he convened the elders of the people and planned with them to build strongholds in Judea, 36to 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 garrisonh could neither buy nor sell. 37So 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. 38And Simon built Ad'ida in the Shephe'lah; he fortified it and installed gates with bolts.

Trypho Captures Jonathan

39Then Trypho attempted to become king of Asia and put on the crown, and to raise his hand against Anti'ochus the king. 40He 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. 41Jonathan went out to meet him with forty thousand picked fighting men, and he came to Beth-shan. 42When Trypho saw that he had come with a large army, he was afraid to raise his hand against him. 43So 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. 44Then he said to Jonathan, "Why have you wearied all these people when we are not at war? 45Dismiss 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."

46Jonathani trusted him and did as he said; he sent away the troops, and they returned to the land of Judah. 47He kept with himself three thousand men, two thousand of whom he left in Galilee, while a thousand accompanied him. 48But 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.

49Then Trypho sent troops and cavalry into Galilee and the Great Plain to destroy all Jonathan's soldiers. 50But they realized that Jonathanj had been seized and had perished along with his men, and they encouraged one another and kept marching in close formation, ready for battle. 51When their pursuers saw that they would fight for their lives, they turned back. 52So 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. 53And 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."