A copy of the letter sent to Onias, the high priest (1 Macc 12:19-12:23)

“This is a copy of the letter that they had sent to Onias.

‘King Arius of the Spartans,

To high priest Onias,

Greetings!

It has been found in writing

Concerning the Spartans and the Jews

That they are brothers.

They are of the family of Abraham.

Now that we have learned this,

Please write us concerning your welfare.

We on our part write to you

That your livestock and your property belong to us.

Ours belong to you.

We therefore command that our envoys report to you accordingly.”

The basis of this alliance was a letter written by King Arius of Sparta in the early 3rd century BCE, about 150 years earlier. Onias was the high priest from 323-290 BCE. This seems to indicate that the Spartans are descendent from Abraham. Perhaps this goes back to the time of Moses in Numbers, chapter 25. Moses said that God wanted them to kill anyone who had sex with the women of Peor who were Baal worshippers. Phinehas saw an Israelite man from the tribe of Simeon with a Median woman, so he killed both of them. Well, then supposedly the ½ tribe of Simeon left for Greece. Part of this is based on Flavius Josephus (37-100 CE), in his Antiquities of the Jews, an early Jewish history written around 93 CE. I bet not many Greeks know that they were brothers of the Jews, especially the Spartans. They had to look out for each other’s welfare. They would share their property and livestock.

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