King Demetrius I seeks peace with Jonathan (1 Macc 10:1-10:6)

“In the one hundred and sixtieth year Alexander Epiphanes, son of Antiochus, landed and occupied Ptolemais. They welcomed him. He then began to reign there. When King Demetrius heard of it, he assembled a very large army. He marched out to meet him in battle. King Demetrius sent Jonathan a letter in peaceable words to honor him. He said to himself.

‘Let us act first to make peace with him

Before he makes peace with Alexander against us.

He will remember all the wrongs which we did to him

And to his brothers and his nation.’

So Demetrius gave Jonathan authority to recruit troops, to equip them with arms, and to become his ally. He commanded that the hostages in the citadel should be released to him.”

About 7 years later, in 152 BCE, we see the struggle of the son of King Antiochus IV, Alexander versus Demetrius I, the son of King Seleucus IV.   Alexander was also the brother of King Antiochus V, who died in battle at a young age. Alexander occupied Ptolemais, which is the modern day 5,000 year old city of Acre, near Haifa, in northern Israel on the Mediterranean Sea. When King Demetrius I heard about this, he wanted to get Jonathan on his side against Alexander. He knew that he had done wrong to his family and nation. He gave Jonathan the authority to recruit troops and arm them as his ally. Somehow there was still some captives in the Jerusalem citadel that he released.

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