1 Maccabees, 12
1. Jonathan saw that circumstances were to his advantage. So he chose men and sent them to Rome to confirm and renew the alliance of friendship with the Romans.
2. He also sent letters to the Spartans and to other places for this same purpose.
3. Those who went to Rome entered the Senate and delivered this message: "The High Priest Jonathan and the Jewish nation have sent us to renew with you the friendship and alliance that formerly united us."
4. The Senate gave them letters of recommendation to the authorities of each region, enabling them to journey safely back to the land of Judah.
5. This is a copy of the letter Jonathan wrote to the Spartans:
6. "Jonathan, High Priest, the senate of the nation, the priests and the whole country of the Jews, to the people of Sparta, their brothers: peace.
7. In the past, our high priest Onias received from Areios, your king, a letter stating that you are indeed our brothers, as the enclosed copy attests.
8. Onias received the envoy with great honor and accepted the letter which clearly spoke of friendship and alliance.
9. Though we are not in need, for we have our consolation in our Sacred Books,
10. we have decided to send ambassadors to you to renew our fraternal bonds and friendship in order not to become strangers to you, for it has been a long time since you wrote us.
11. For our part, we constantly remember you in all circumstances, on special days, in the sacrifices we offer, as well as in our prayers; for it is but right and proper to remember our brothers
12. and greatly rejoice at your prosperity and fame.
13. For our part, we have been involved in many trials, in misery and wars, for neighboring kings have attacked us.
14. However, we did not want to be a burden to you or to the rest of our allies and friends during these wars,
15. for our help comes from Heaven. Finally we have been freed from our enemies who have been humbled.
16. So we have chosen Numenius, son of Antiochus, and Antipater, son of Jason, and sent them to the Romans to renew our former friendship and alliance with them.
17. We have also ordered them to go to you, greet you and deliver this letter to you on our behalf, with which we wish to renew our alliance.
18. We shall be glad to receive a favorable response."
19. This is a copy of the letter which Onias had received:
20. "Areios, king of the Spartans, to Onias the High Priest.
21. We have found in one of our documents that the Spartans and the Jews are brothers, for both are of the race of Abraham.
22. Now that we have come to know this, we shall be grateful if you send us news of your welfare.
23. And we say this to you: our livestock and our possessions are yours, and similarly all that are yours are ours. This is what we have instructed our envoys to say to you."
24. Jonathan learned that the generals of Demetrius had come to attack him with a larger army than before.
25. So he left Jerusalem at once and went to face them in the country of Hamath, so as not to give them time to invade his own land.
26. He sent spies to their camp, and on their return, they told him that the enemy planned to attack them during the night.
27. So, at sunset, Jonathan ordered his men to keep watch throughout the night with their weapons at hand, ready to fight. And he posted guards around the camp.
28. When the enemies learned that Jonathan was keeping watch with his troops and ready for battle, they were afraid and discouraged; for this reason, they kindled fires in their camp and fled.
29. But neither Jonathan nor his army knew of their withdrawal until morning, for they saw the fires burning the whole night.
30. Jonathan pursued them but was not able to catch up with them, for they had crossed the Eleutherus river.
31. So Jonathan went back against the Arabs called Zabadeans, defeated them and plundered them.
32. After breaking camp, he went to Damascus and traveled throughout the region. Meanwhile,
33. Simon had also set out and gone as far as Askalon and the neighboring fortresses. He then proceeded to Joppa and occupied it,
34. for he had heard that the inhabitants of that city planned to hand the Citadel over to the supporters of Demetrius. And he stationed a garrison there to hold it.
35. On returning, Jonathan summoned the elders of the people. The assembly decided to build fortresses in Judea,
36. to make the walls of Jerusalem still higher, and to erect a barrier between the Citadel and the city, to separate it from the city and to isolate it and prevent its defenders from going out to buy or sell.
37. They also held an assembly to rebuild the city. Part of the wall over a rushing stream had fallen and they built up a new wall they called Chapthenatha.
38. Simon rebuilt Adida in the Shephelah, fortified it and erected barred gates in it.
39. Trypho wanted to reign in Asia, and to do away with King Antiochus in order to be king himself.
40. But he feared that Jonathan might not allow him to do so, and might even come to attack him. He set out and came to Bethshan.
41. At once Jonathan went out to meet him with forty thousand men, and he, too, came to Bethshan.
42. When Trypho saw that Jonathan had come with a large army, he was afraid to begin the assault.
43. So he received Jonathan with honor, presented him to all his Friends, gave him gifts, and instructed his Friends and his troops to obey Jonathan as they obeyed him.
44. Then he asked Jonathan, "Why have you bothered to come with so many men? Are we perhaps enemies?
45. Send them back to their homes and remain here with some of them. Then you will come with me to the city of Ptolemais because I wish to hand it over to you, as well as the other fortresses and to place the rest of the troops and their officers at your disposal. Then, I will return home, for I have come only for this."
46. Jonathan believed him and did as Trypho had asked him. He dismissed his men who then returned to the land of Judea,
47. and three thousand men remained with him. Of these, he left two thousand in Galilee and only a thousand accompanied him.
48. But as soon as they had entered Ptolemais, the inhabitants closed the gates. They seized him and killed all who had come with him.
49. Trypho sent troops and cavalry to Galilee and to the Great Plain to wipe out all of Jonathan's men.
50. On receiving the news that Jonathan and his companions had been seized and killed, his soldiers encouraged one another and prepared to face their pursuers.
51. When their enemy saw them ready to fight for their lives, they turned back.
52. So the men of Jonathan reached the land of Judea safe and sound. They wept for Jonathan and his companions and they were discouraged. And all Israel was in mourning.
53. Then all the neighboring nations planned to destroy them on seeing that they were now without leader or ally. And the pagans said: "This is now the opportunity to wipe out the remembrance of them from among men."