1 Maccabees - 12

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1When Jonathan saw that circumstances were working in his favour, he sent a select mission to Rometo confirm and renew his treaty of friendship with the Romans. 2He also sent letters to the same effect to the Spartans and to other places. 3The envoys made their way to Rome, entered the Senate and said, 'Jonathan the high priest and theJewish nation have sent us to renew your treaty of friendship and al iance with them as before.' 4The Senate gave them letters to the authorities of each place, to procure their safe conduct toJudaea. 5The fol owing is the copy of the letter 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 theSpartans their brothers, greetings. 7'In the past, a letter was sent to Onias, the high priest, from Areios, one of your kings, stating that youare indeed our brothers, as the copy subjoined attests. 8Onias received the envoy with honour, and accepted the letter, in which a clear declaration was made of friendship and al iance. 9For our part, though we have no need of these, having the consolation of the holy books in ourpossession, 10we venture to send to renew our fraternal friendship with you, so that we may not become strangersto you, a long time having elapsed since you last wrote to us. 11We, for our part, on every occasion, at our festivals and on other appointed days, unfailinglyremember you in the sacrifices we offer and in our prayers, as it is right and fitting to remember brothers. 12We rejoice in your renown. 13'We ourselves, however, have had many trials and many wars, the neighbouring kings making waron us. 14We were unwil ing to trouble you or our other al ies and friends during these wars, 15since we have the support of Heaven to help us, thanks to which we have been delivered from ourenemies, and they are the ones who have been brought low. 16We have therefore chosen Numenius son of Antiochus, and Antipater son of Jason, and sent themto the Romans to renew our former treaty of friendship and alliance, 17and we have ordered them also to visit you, to greet you and deliver you this letter of oursconcerning the renewal of our brotherhood; 18we shal be grateful for an answer to it.' 19The following is the copy of the letter sent to Onias: 20'Areios king of the Spartans, to Onias the high priest, greetings. 21'It has been discovered in records regarding the Spartans and Jews that they are brothers, and ofthe race of Abraham. 22Now that this has come to our knowledge, we shall be obliged if you wil send us news of yourwelfare. 23Our own message to you is this: your flocks and your possessions are ours, and ours are yours, andwe are instructing our envoys to give you a message to this effect.' 24Jonathan learned that Demetrius' generals had returned with a larger army than before to make waron him. 25He therefore left Jerusalem and went to engage them in the area of Hamath, not giving them thetime to invade his own territory. 26He sent spies into their camp, who told him on their return that the enemy were taking up positionsfor a night attack on the Jews. 27At sunset, Jonathan ordered his men to keep watch with their weapons at hand, in readiness to fightat any time during the night, and posted advance guards al round the camp. 28On learning that Jonathan and his men were ready to fight, the enemy took fright and, with quakinghearts, lit fires in their bivouac and decamped. 29Jonathan and his men, watching the glow of the fires, were unaware of their withdrawal untilmorning, 30and although Jonathan pursued them, he failed to overtake them, for they had already crossed theriver Eleutherus. 31So Jonathan wheeled round on the Arabs cal ed Zabadaeans, beat them and plundered them; 32then, breaking camp, he went to Damascus, thus crossing the whole province. 33Simon, meanwhile, had also set out and had penetrated as far as Ascalon and the neighbouringtowns. He then turned on Joppa and moved quickly to occupy it, 34for he had heard of their intention to hand over this strong point to the supporters of Demetrius; hestationed a garrison there to hold it. 35Jonathan, on his return, cal ed a meeting of the elders of the people and decided with them to buildfortresses in Judaea 36and to heighten the walls of Jerusalem and erect a high barrier between the Citadel and the city, tocut the former off from the city and isolate it, to prevent the occupants from buying or sel ing. 37Rebuilding the city was a co-operative effort: part of the wall over the eastern ravine had fal en down;he restored the quarter called Chaphenatha. 38Simon, meanwhile, rebuilt Adida in the lowlands, fortifying it, and erecting gates with bolts. 39Trypho's ambition was to become king of Asia, assume the crown, and overpower King Antiochus. 40He was apprehensive that Jonathan might not al ow him to do this, and might even make war onhim, so he set out and came to Beth-Shean, in the hopes of finding some pretext for having him arrested and putto death. 41Jonathan went out to intercept him, with forty thousand picked men in battle order, and arrived atBeth-Shean. 42When Trypho saw him there with a large force, he hesitated to make any move against him. 43He even received him with honour, commended him to al his friends, gave him presents andordered his friends and his troops to obey him as they would himself. 44He said to Jonathan, 'Why have you given all these people so much trouble, when there is no threatof war between us? 45Send them back home; pick yourself a few men as your bodyguard, and come with me to Ptolemais,which I am going to hand over to you, with the other fortresses and the remaining troops and al the officials;after which, I shal take the road for home. This was my purpose in coming here.' 46Jonathan trusted him and did as he said; he dismissed his forces, who went back to Judaea. 47With him he retained three thousand men, of whom he left two thousand in Galilee, while a thousandaccompanied him. 48But as soon as Jonathan had entered Ptolemais, the people of Ptolemais closed the gates, seizedhim, and put al those who had entered with him to the sword. 49Trypho sent troops and cavalry into Galilee and the Great Plain to destroy all Jonathan's supporters. 50These, concluding that he had been taken and had perished with his companions, encouraged oneanother, marching with closed ranks and ready to give battle, 51and when their pursuers saw that they would fight for their lives, they turned back. 52Al reached Judaea safe and sound, and there they lamented Jonathan and his companions, beingvery frightened indeed; al Israel was plunged into mourning. 53The surrounding nations were al now looking for ways of destroying them: 'They have no leader,'they said, 'no ally; we have only to attack them now, and we shall blot out their very memory from all peoples.'
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