King Ptolemy VI defeats King Alexander I (1 Macc 11:13-11:19)

“Then King Ptolemy entered Antioch. He put on the crown of Asia. Thus he put two crowns upon his head, the crown of Egypt and that of Asia. Now King Alexander was in Cilicia at that time, because the people of that region were in revolt. When King Alexander heard of it, he came against him in battle. King Ptolemy marched out and met him with a strong force. He put him to flight. King Alexander fled into Arabia to find protection there. King Ptolemy was exalted. Zabdiel the Arab cut off the head of Alexander and sent it to King Ptolemy. However, King Ptolemy died three days later. His troops in the strongholds were killed by the inhabitants of the strongholds.   Thus Demetrius became king in the one hundred sixty-seventh year.”

The Egyptian King Ptolemy VI entered Antioch and put on the crown as the King of Asia. Thus he had 2 crowns as king of both Asia and Egypt. King Alexander was in Cilicia, which is Turkey or Asia Minor, putting down a revolt when this happened. He returned to battle his father-in-law who had taken his wife and crown away from him. However, King Ptolemy put King Alexander I to flight where he fled to Arabia. There the Arab Zabdiel cut off his head and sent it back to King Ptolemy VI. Everything was going good for the Egyptian king but then he died 3 days later. In a strange twist of fate, King Demetrius II became the king of Asia and Egypt in 145 BCE. He was the son of King Demetrius I, who had been in exile in Crete after the death of his father 5 years earlier. Thus he was a rather young man.

King Alexander I sends a message to Egypt (1 Macc 10:51-10:54)

“Then Alexander sent ambassadors to King Ptolemy of Egypt with the following message.

‘I have returned to my kingdom.

I have taken my seat on the throne of my ancestors.

I have established my rule.

I crushed Demetrius.

I gained control of our country.

I met him in battle.

He and his army were crushed by us.

We have taken our seat on the throne of his kingdom.

Now therefore let us establish friendship with one another.

Give me now your daughter as my wife.

I will become your son-in-law.

I will make gifts to you

And to her,

In keeping with your position.’”

King Alexander I of Syria called Balas sent ambassadors to the king of Egypt, King Ptolemy. His message was simple. He was in charge of the Seleucid Empire now since he had defeated King Demetrius I. He wanted to have friendly relationships with the Egyptians. In order to cement their relationship he wanted the king of Egypt to give him his daughter in marriage. He would then send appropriate gifts to him and her. This seems like a simple solution.

Jonathan favors King Alexander (1 Macc 10:46-10:47)

When Jonathan and the people heard these words of Demetrius, they did not believe or accept them. They remembered the great wrongs that Demetrius had done in Israel. He had greatly oppressed them. They favored Alexander because he had been the first to speak peaceable words to them. They remained his allies all his days.”

Jonathan was not impressed with the many promises of King Demetrius I.  The king had done a lot of evil things to Israel. Jonathan, instead, favored King Alexander over King Demetrius I. He formed an alliance with King Alexander and not with King Demetrius, despite all his great promises of friendship and money.