Similar letters to the other kings (1 Macc 15:22-15:24)

“The Roman Consul wrote the same thing to King Demetrius, King Attalus, King Ariarathes, King Arsaces, and to all the countries. He also wrote the same to Sampsames, the Spartans, Delos, Myndos, Sicyon, Caria, Samos, Pamphylia, Lycia, and Halicarnassus. He also wrote the same to Rhodes, Phaselis, Cos, Side, Aradus, Gortyna, Cnidus, Cyprus and Cyrene. They also sent a copy of these things to the high priest Simon.”

The Roman Consul wrote a similar letter to a whole lot of people and countries. Who are all these people and places? Remember that King Demetrius II is still the king of the Seleucid Empire, but he is a captive in Persia. King Attalus II was the king of Pergammum, an ancient Greek city, from 159-138 BCE. King Ariarathes V was the king of Cappadocia from 162-130 BCE. King Arsaces IV (171-138 BCE) was the ruler of Persia that held King Demetrius II as a prisoner. Outside of the Egyptian kingdom, these were the major kingdoms. Most of the other places were the islands in the Mediterranean Sea (Delos, Samos, Rhodes, and Cyprus) or the Greek city states (Sampsames, Spartans, Myndos, Sicyon, Caria, Pamphylia, Lycia, Halicarnassus, Phaselis, Cos, Side, Aradus, Gortyna, Cnidus, and Cyrene). Obviously, he also sent a copy to Simon.

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The letter from Rome to the Egyptian king (1 Macc 15:15-15:21)

“The following was written.

‘Lucius, consul of the Romans,

To King Ptolemy,

Greetings!

The envoys of the Jews

Have come to us as our friends and allies.

They have come to renew our ancient friendship and alliance.

They had been sent by the high priest Simon and the Jewish people.

They have brought a gold shield weighing one thousand minas.

We therefore have decided to write

To the kings and the countries

So that they should not seek their harm.

They should not make war against them.

They should not make war against their cities and their country.

That they should not make alliances with those who war against them.

It has seemed good to us to accept the shield from them.

Therefore if any scoundrels have fled to you from their country,

Hand them over to Simon the high priest,

So that he may punish them according to their law.’”

This Roman letter is from Lucius Calpurnius Piso the Roman Consul of the Roman Senate from 140-139 BCE. He seems to be sending this letter to King Ptolemy VII who ruled in Egypt from 145-116 BCE, so this is the right time frame. Envoys had been sent by Simon and the Jews to Rome to renew their alliance and friendship. They brought with them a gold shield that was mentioned in the previous chapter. The Romans accepted this shield. Lucius then decided to write to the kings and countries that no one should invade their cities, fight a war with them, or form an alliance against them. If there were any problems with scoundrels fleeing, see Simon the high priest, although he was not called a king or even an ethnarch.