145 BC

- מ נ ק -

Tryphon Becomes Wary of Jonathan’s Successes, Executes Him

145 BC

1 Maccabees 12:46

In 145 BC, Demetrius II defeats and kills Alexander Balas in the outskirts of Antioch. Demetrius then arrives in Acre and convinces Jonathan to assist him militarily and maintain peace in his territories in exchange for more territories (around Lod and Ramathaim-Zophim). Jewish autonomy therefore continues to take root and expand. Tryphon, who previously led a revolt and ultimately became regent on behalf of the infant king, Antiochus VI, reaffirms his predecessor’s commitments to Jonathan. Demetrius II, who still holds Antioch, refuses to cede control of the Acra fortress in Jerusalem. As a backlash, Jonathan swears allegiance to Tryphon and, in exchange, is granted autonomy over Judea and its adjacent coast. Simon and Jonathan’s successful maneuvers and alliances with the rivals of the Seleucid crown effectively make the Hasmonean state a reality. Moreover, their armies conquer additional regions that formerly belonged to Demetrius II. However, the Hasmoneans’ successes trouble Tryphon – they not only position the Jews as loyal allies, but also grant them full autonomy. When Tryphon arrives in the Land of Israel, he cunningly invites Jonathan to meet him at Acre. When the Jewish leader enters the city, he is abducted and his entourage killed. Simon must now lead their people on his own.

Jonathan is a high priest and beloved leader. He does not steep to self-glorification, but rather focuses his  efforts on building his kingdom and caring for his people. He takes constant action to strengthen his rule, gain more territories, and further expand his influence. However, he is not carefuland his ambition ultimately costs him his life.

“Jonathan trusted him and did as he said; he sent away the troops, and they returned to the land of Judah. 47 He kept with himself three thousand men, two thousand of whom he left in Galilee, while one thousand accompanied him. 48 But when Jonathan entered Ptolemais, the people of Ptolemais closed the gates and seized him, and they killed with the sword all who had entered with him. 49 Then Trypho sent troops and cavalry into Galilee and the Great Plain to destroy all Jonathan’s soldiers. 50 But they realized that Jonathan had been seized and had perished along with his men, and they encouraged one another and kept marching in close formation, ready for battle. 51 When their pursuers saw that they would fight for their lives, they turned back. 52 So they all reached the land of Judah safely, and they mourned for Jonathan and his companions and were in great fear, and all Israel mourned deeply”  (1 Maccabees 12:46-52)

Caution is “pausing” between our natural reactivity and chosen positive action.