Ancient Sparta TheaterAfter the death of Jonathan in 143 B.C.E., the rulers of Sparta felt it necessary to renew their alliance with the new high priest, Simon. Although the “elders” are mentioned as a separate entity, the letter clearly refers to Simon as the chief authority.

20 What follows is a copy of the letter sent by the Spartans:

The people of Sparta and their rulers to Simon the High Priest, to the leaders and the priests of the Jews, and to all our Jewish brothers, greetings. 21 The delegation that you sent to our people has told us how respected and renowned you are. Their visit has been a source of joy for us, 22 and a report of their visit has been written down in our public records, as follows:

Numenius son of Antiochus and Antipater son of Jason, honored representatives of the Jews, appeared before us to renew their treaty of friendship. 23 The assembly of the people was pleased to receive these men with all honors and to place a copy of their report in the public archives, so that the people of Sparta may have it on record. A copy of this document has been made for the High Priest Simon.