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Jonathan of Maccabees

In Ancient Greece, Jonathan of Maccabees was regarded as the head of the Hasmonean Dynasty in the land of Judea. He ruled from the years 161 to 143 BC where he can be found on the Bible Timeline Chart with History. His name means “diplomat” this primarily alluded to his main trait as described in Maccabees. He was the youngest son of Mattathias, and his father served as the primary figure during the rebellion against the head of the Seleucid Empire Antiochus IV Epiphanes. Unfortunately, Mattathias died at the onset of the rebellion of the Maccabees, in 167 BC. Jonathan, along with his brothers Judas Maccabeus, Simon Thassi, Eleazar Avaran, and Johanan, remained true to their intention to continue the fight that their father was not able to finish. Eventually, Judas was appointed as the de facto leader, and he became the rebellion’s military chief. Meanwhile, Jonathan performed tasks under the leadership of his brother. He became quite active in the battles that were fought against the Seleucid army.

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‘at the same time that famine spread throughout the land.’

The brave Jonathan was exposed to some challenges during the different battles he engaged in. On the other hand, Judas suffered a serious casualty at the Elasa Battle from 161 to 160 BC. Bacchides was the triumphant one after the battle, and he was a Seleucid general who followed the orders of Demetrius I Soter. He successfully crushed the Maccabeans at the same time that famine spread throughout the land. Soon, Jonathan became the new leader of the rebels. As he performed his duty, he discovered that Bacchides had a goal of entrapping him. He decided to head off to a desert region, along with Simeon and his other followers. They went to a place near the eastern part of the Jordan River, and set up their camp at Asphar.  However, Bacchides went on to follow them, and his army overtook Jonathan and the Jewish rebels during Sabbath.

‘Facade of Al Khazneh in Petra, Jordan, built by the Nabateans.’

Jonathan chose to hand all the baggage to John, his brother, who decided to head off to the Nabateans with his small army. Their intention was to place the baggage in a secure manner, but a hostile tribe in the land ambushed them. The baggage was taken, and John with his army was killed.

As for Jonathan with his companions, they decided to proceed to a battle against Bacchides and his army. At one point, Jonathan had an opportunity to kill Bacchides. However, Bacchides managed to escape, and the Jews were defeated. Then, they decided to flee and proceed to the Jordan. In this battle, a thousand of Bacchides’ men were killed. Jonathan improved his skill in warfare, and he was able to hold his guard to flee from any direct confrontations with various enemy forces.

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