The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The First Book of Machabees
Judas had heard tell of the Romans, and their renown. Here was a powerful nation, that would entertain overtures none the less from such as craved their friendship, plighting their word faithfully. A powerful nation indeed;
what battles they had fought, what exploits achieved yonder among the Galatians, their conquered vassals now!
In Spain, too, they had done great feats of arms; and at last, by policy and patient striving, won over the whole country, made themselves masters of all the silver and gold that was mined there.
Came peoples from far away, kings from the furthest corners of earth, to offer battle, they were overwhelmed and signally defeated; those nearer at hand were content to pay yearly tribute.
Had they not crushed and conquered Philip, and Perseus king of the Greeks, and all others that had levied war upon them?
And what of Antiochus the Great, that ruled all Asia, and came against them with a hundred and twenty elephants, with horsemen and chariots, and a great array besides? The Romans overcame him,
caught him alive, and demanded both from him and from his heirs rich tribute, and hostages, with other conditions of surrender;
took away from him India, Media, and Lydia, that were his most cherished provinces, and gave them to king Eumenes instead.
Later, word came that the men of Hellas were for marching in and making an end of them; what was the issue of it?
One of the Roman generals was sent out to engage them; fell many in battle, wives and children were carried off into exile, goods plundered, the land conquered, its fortresses destroyed, and they are slaves to this day.
So it was with all the kingdoms and islands that defied their will; the Romans crushed them and took their lands away.
But to their friends, that would live at peace with them, they were ever good friends in return. Kingdoms both far and near became their vassals, nor any that heard their name but feared it;
helped they any man to a throne, the throne was his; their good will lost, his throne was lost too; so high was their renown.
Yet, with all this, was never one of them that wore crown, or went clad in purple for his own aggrandizement.
A senate-house they would have, where a council of three hundred and twenty met day by day, providing ever for the good estate of the commonalty;
and every year they would entrust one man with the rule and governance of their whole country, the rest obeying him, without any debate or contention moved.✻
So now Judas made choice of two envoys, Eupolemus, son of John, son of Jacob, and Jason, son of Eleazar; to Rome they should go, and there make a treaty of good will and alliance.
Rome’s task it should be to rid them of the Grecian yoke; from the Greeks it was plain they could expect nothing better than grinding slavery.
So, after long journeying, to Rome they came, and were admitted to the senate house, where they gave their message as follows:
We have been sent to you by Judas Machabaeus and his brethren, and by our countrymen at large, to make a treaty of alliance with you; fain would they be enrolled among your confederates and friends.
This proposition liked the Romans well;
and they wrote back to the Jews on tablets of bronze, that should be kept in Jerusalem to serve them for a memorial of treaty and alliance made, to this effect:
Well speed they at all times, the Roman and the Jewish peoples, by sea and land alike; far removed from either be alarm of war, assault of the enemy!
Yet if war befall, and threaten the Romans first, or any ally of theirs in any part of their dominions,
such aid the Jewish people shall give as the occasion demands, ungrudgingly.
For the needs of the enemy they shall nothing find or furnish, be it corn, or arms, or money, or ships, according to the agreement made at Rome; and they shall observe these undertakings with no thought of their own advantage.
In like manner, if the Jews be first threatened, it shall be for the Romans to give aid as the occasion demands, most willingly;
providing neither corn nor arms, money nor ships, to any that take part against them, according to the agreement made at Rome;✻ and they shall observe these undertakings honourably.
Upon these terms the Romans and the Jewish people are agreed;
if hereafter it should be the will of both parties✻ to enlarge or to restrict them, they may do so at their discretion, and such enlargement or restriction shall have force accordingly.
As for the wrong done by king Demetrius, we have sent him warning, What meanest thou, to burden with so heavy a yoke the Jewish people, our friends and allies?
Let them complain of thee once more, and we will surely give them redress, by land and sea levying war against thee.
The Holy Bible