The letter of the Spartans (1 Macc 14:20-14:23)

“This is a copy of the letter that the Spartans sent.

‘The rulers and the city of the Spartans

To the high priest Simon

And the elders

And the priests

And the rest of the Jewish people,

Our brothers,

Greetings!

The envoys you sent to our people

They have told us about your glory and honor.

We rejoiced at their coming.

We have recorded in our public decrees,

As follows.

‘Numenius son of Antiochus

And Antipater son of Jason,

Envoys of the Jews,

They have come to us

To renew their friendship with us.

It has pleased our people to receive these men with honor.

We put a copy of their words in the public archives,

So that the people of the Spartans may have a record of them.

They have sent a copy of this to the high priest Simon.’”

Once again like the letter in chapter 12, it is the leader and all the people who are involved in this letter writing. The envoys of Numenius and Antipater are mentioned by name. They spoke highly of Simon. They wanted to renew their friendship so that that their words were put in the public archives.

The letter to the Spartans about the present (1 Macc 12:9-12:18)

“Therefore, though we have no need of these things,

Since we have as encouragement

The holy books that are in our hands.

We have undertaken to send

To renew our family ties and friendship with you,

So that we may not become estranged from you.

Considerable time has passed

Since you sent your letter to us.

We therefore remember you constantly on every occasion,

Both in our festivals and on other appropriate days,

At the sacrifices which we offer

And in our prayers,

As it is right and proper to remember brothers.

We rejoice in your glory.

But as for ourselves,

Many trials and many wars have encircled us.

The kings around us have waged war against us.

We were unwilling to annoy you

And our other allies and friends with these wars.

We have the help that comes from Heaven for our aid.

We were delivered from our enemies.

Our enemies were humbled.

We therefore have chosen Numenius son of Antiochus

And Antipater son of Jason,

We have sent them to Rome to renew our former friendship

And alliance with them.

We have commanded them to go also to you,

To greet you

To deliver to you this letter from us

Concerning the renewal of our family ties.

Now please send us a reply to this.”

Jonathan’s letter continued to remind them that they relied on their holy books, which would have been the law, Torah, and the prophets. Nevertheless, Jonathan thought that it was time to renew their alliance and friendship. Almost a century and a half had passed without any renewal. During this time, they had remembered the Spartans in their prayers and festivals. Funny, this is the first mention of the Spartans. The Jews have had some problems, but their aid from heaven has helped them to defeat their enemies on every side. He was sending Numenius and Antipater to Rome to renew their friendship. However, he also wanted to renew the family ties with the Spartans. Jonathan also wanted a reply from them.