The Treaty with the Romans
1 Judas had heard about the Romans and their reputation as a military power. He knew that they welcomed all those who joined them as allies and that those who came to them could be sure of the friendship of Rome. 2 People had told him about the wars the Romans had fought and their heroic acts among the Gauls, whom they had conquered and forced to pay taxes. 3 He had been told what they had done in Spain when they captured the silver mines and the gold mines there. 4 By careful planning and persistence, they had conquered the whole country, even though it was far from Rome. They had overcome the kings from distant lands who had fought against them; they had defeated them so badly that the survivors had to pay annual taxes. 5 They had fought and conquered Philip and Perseus, kings of Macedonia, and all who had joined them against Rome. 6 They had even defeated Antiochus the Great, king of Syria, who had attacked them with 120 elephants, cavalry, chariots, and a powerful army. 7 They took him alive and forced him and his successors to pay heavy taxes, to give hostages, and to surrender 8 India, Media, Lydia, and some of their best lands. They took these and gave them to King Eumenes.
9 When the Greeks made plans to attack and destroy them, 10 the Romans learned of the plans and sent a general to fight against them. The Romans killed many of the Greeks, took their wives and children captive, plundered their possessions, occupied their land, tore down their fortresses, and made them slaves, as they are today. 11 They also destroyed or made slaves of other kingdoms, the islands, and everyone who had ever fought against them. 12 But they maintained their friendship with their allies and those who relied on them for protection. They conquered kings near and far, and everyone who heard of their reputation was afraid of them. 13 They helped some men to become kings, while they deposed others; they had become a world power. 14 In spite of all this, no Roman ever tried to advance his own position by wearing a crown or putting on royal robes. 15 They created a senate, and each day 320 senators came together to deliberate about the affairs of the people and their well-being. 16 Each year they entrusted to one man the responsibility of governing them and controlling their whole territory. Everyone obeyed this one man, and there was no envy or jealousy among them.
17 Judas chose Eupolemus, the son of John and grandson of Accos, and Jason son of Eleazar and sent them to Rome to make a treaty of friendship and alliance with the Romans. 18 He did this to eliminate Syrian oppression, since the Jews clearly saw that they were being reduced to slavery. 19 After a long and difficult journey, Eupolemus and Jason reached Rome and entered the Senate. They addressed the assembly in these terms: 20 “Judas Maccabeus, his brothers, and the Jewish people have sent us here to make a mutual defense treaty with you, so that we may be officially recorded as your friends and allies.”
21 The Romans accepted the proposal, 22 and what follows is a copy of the letter which was engraved on bronze tablets and sent to Jerusalem to remain there as a record of the treaty:
23 “May things go well forever for the Romans and for the Jewish nation on land and sea! May they never have enemies, and may they never go to war! 24 But if war is declared first against Rome or any of her allies anywhere, 25 the Jewish nation will come to her aid with wholehearted support, as the situation may require. 26 And to those at war with her, the Jews shall not give or supply food, arms, money, or ships, as was agreed in Rome. The Jews must carry out their obligations without receiving anything in return.
27 “In the same way, if war is declared first against the Jewish nation, the Romans will come to their aid with hearty support, as the situation may require. 28 And to their enemies there shall not be given or supplied food, arms, money, or ships, as was agreed in Rome. The Romans must carry out their obligations without deception.
29 “These are the terms of the treaty that the Romans have made with the Jewish people. 30 But if, in the future, both parties shall agree to add or remove anything, they shall act on their decision, and whatever they add or remove shall be valid.
31 “Furthermore, concerning the wrongs which King Demetrius is doing against the Jews, we have written him as follows, ‘Why have you treated our friends and allies, the Jews, so harshly? 32 If they complain to us about you one more time, we will support their cause and go to war against you on land and sea.’”