8Now Judas heard of the fame of the Romans, that they were very strong and were well disposed towards all who made an alliance with them, that they pledged friendship to those who came to them, 2and that they were very strong. He had been told of their wars and of the brave deeds that they were doing among the Gauls, how they had defeated them and forced them to pay tribute, 3and what they had done in the land of Spain to get control of the silver and gold mines there, 4and how they had gained control of the whole region by their planning and patience, even though the place was far distant from them. They also subdued the kings who came against them from the ends of the earth, until they crushed them and inflicted great disaster on them; the rest paid them tribute every year. 5They had crushed in battle and conquered Philip, and King Perseus of the Macedonians,* and the others who rose up against them. 6They also had defeated Antiochus the Great, king of Asia, who went to fight against them with one hundred and twenty elephants and with cavalry and chariots and a very large army. He was crushed by them; 7they took him alive and decreed that he and those who would reign after him should pay a heavy tribute and give hostages and surrender some of their best provinces, 8the countries of India, Media, and Lydia. These they took from him and gave to King Eumenes. 9The Greeks planned to come and destroy them, 10but this became known to them, and they sent a general against the Greeks* and attacked them. Many of them were wounded and fell, and the Romans* took captive their wives and children; they plundered them, conquered the land, tore down their strongholds, and enslaved them to this day. 11The remaining kingdoms and islands, as many as ever opposed them, they destroyed and enslaved; 12but with their friends and those who rely on them they have kept friendship. They have subdued kings far and near, and as many as have heard of their fame have feared them. 13Those whom they wish to help and to make kings, they make kings, and those whom they wish they depose; and they have been greatly exalted. 14Yet for all this not one of them has put on a crown or worn purple as a mark of pride, 15but they have built for themselves a senate chamber, and every day three hundred and twenty senators constantly deliberate concerning the people, to govern them well. 16They trust one man each year to rule over them and to control all their land; they all heed the one man, and there is no envy or jealousy among them.
17 So Judas chose Eupolemus son of John son of Accos, and Jason son of Eleazar, and sent them to Rome to establish friendship and alliance, 18and to free themselves from the yoke; for they saw that the kingdom of the Greeks was enslaving Israel completely. 19They went to Rome, a very long journey; and they entered the senate chamber and spoke as follows: 20Judas, who is also called Maccabeus, and his brothers and the people of the Jews have sent us to you to establish alliance and peace with you, so that we may be enrolled as your allies and friends. 21The proposal pleased them, 22and this is a copy of the letter that they wrote in reply, on bronze tablets, and sent to Jerusalem to remain with them there as a memorial of peace and alliance:
23 May all go well with the Romans and with the nation of the Jews at sea and on land for ever, and may sword and enemy be far from them. 24If war comes first to Rome or to any of their allies in all their dominion, 25the nation of the Jews shall act as their allies wholeheartedly, as the occasion may indicate to them. 26To the enemy that makes war they shall not give or supply grain, arms, money, or ships, just as Rome has decided; and they shall keep their obligations without receiving any return. 27In the same way, if war comes first to the nation of the Jews, the Romans shall willingly act as their allies, as the occasion may indicate to them. 28And to their enemies there shall not be given grain, arms, money, or ships, just as Rome has decided; and they shall keep these obligations and do so without deceit. 29Thus on these terms the Romans make a treaty with the Jewish people. 30If after these terms are in effect both parties shall determine to add or delete anything, they shall do so at their discretion, and any addition or deletion that they may make shall be valid.
31 Concerning the wrongs that King Demetrius is doing to them, we have written to him as follows, Why have you made your yoke heavy on our friends and allies the Jews? 32If now they appeal again for help against you, we will defend their rights and fight you on sea and on land.
The New Revised Standard Version (Anglicized Edition), copyright 1989, 1995 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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10 February 2011