The death of Jonathan (1 Macc 13:20-13:24)

“After this, Trypho came to invade the country. He wanted to destroy it. He circled around by the way to Adora. But Simon and his army kept marching along opposite him to every place he went. Now the men in the citadel kept sending envoys to Trypho urging him to come to them by way of the wilderness and to send them food. So Trypho got all his cavalry ready to go, but that night a very heavy snow fell. He did not go because of the snow. He marched off and went into the land of Gilead. When he approached Baskama, he killed Jonathan. He was buried there. Then Trypho turned back. He went back to his own land.”

Trypho came to invade and destroy Judah by way of Adora, about 5 miles southwest of Hebron. However, Simon and his army were marching opposite him. This seems strange. Who was following who? The Syrian men in the Jerusalem citadel sent messengers to Trypho to go through the wilderness. They needed food. This plan was cancelled when a strange snow storm hit. This is the first mention of snow, since it obviously was not that common. Trypho decided to head north to Gilead where he killed and buried Jonathan at Baskama, which is northeast of the Sea of Galilee. Then he went home without fighting any battle.

Jonathan sends messengers to Rome (1 Macc 12:1-12:4)

“Now when Jonathan saw that the time was favorable for him, he chose men and sent them to Rome to confirm and renew the friendship with them. He also sent letters to the same effect to the Spartans and to other places. So they went to Rome. They entered the senate chamber and said.

‘The high priest Jonathan

And the Jewish nation

Have sent us to renew the former friendship

And alliance with them.’

The Romans gave them letters to the people in every place. They asked them to provide for the envoys safe conduct to the land of Judah.”

Jonathan seemed to think that things were quiet enough in Judah for him to send messengers to the Roman Senate, as well as the Spartans. The Spartans were people from Sparta or Lacedaemonians, who were somehow related to the Jews. The Jewish message to the Roman Senate was that they wanted to renew their former friendship and alliance. The alliance that his dead brother had made with Rome was in chapter 8 of this book. All they needed was safe passage.