King Demetrius II’s letter to Jonathan (1 Macc 11:29-11:37)

“The king wrote a letter to Jonathan about all these things. It contents were as follows.

‘King Demetrius to his brother Jonathan

And to the nation of the Jews,

Greetings!

This copy of the letter that we wrote concerning you

To our kinsman Lasthenes,

We have written to you also,

So that you may know what it says.

‘King Demetrius to his father Lasthenes,

Greetings!

We have determined to do good to the nation of the Jews.

They are our friends.

They fulfill their obligations to us.

They have shown us good will.

We have confirmed as their possession

Both the territory of Judea,

And the three districts of Aphairema, Lydda, and Rathamin.

The latter with the region bordering them.

They were added to Judea from Samaria.

To all those who offer sacrifice in Jerusalem,

We have granted release from the royal taxes

That the king formerly received from them each year,

From the crops of the land

And the fruit of the trees.

The other payments henceforth due to us of the tithes,

And the other taxes due to us,

And the salt pits

And the crown taxes due to us.

From all these we shall grant them release.

Not one of these grants shall be canceled

From this time on forever.

Now therefore take care to make a copy of this.

Let it be given to Jonathan.

Let it be put up in a conspicuous place on the holy mountain.’”

King Demetrius II sent a copy of a letter that he had sent to Lasthenes, who was probably the governor of Coele-syria. He granted to Jonathan and the Jewish nation most of things that his father, King Demetrius I had promised them in the fight against King Alexander I in preceding chapter. He was very particular about taxes and the annexation of the 3 territories of Samaria that were within 20 miles of Judea. Everything seemed in good shape.