(killed 142 BCE)
Third leader of the Judean revolt against the Greco-Syrian
empire [166 BCE]. Jonathan was
the youngest son of Mattathias of Modein and
chief lieutenant of his elder brother, Judah
Maccabee. He reorganized Judean resistance to Syrian forces after
his brother's death [160 BCE]. He not only eluded capture by the Syrian
general who garrisoned Judea, but shrewdly bargained with rival claimants to the Syrian
throne. He was awarded the Judean high-priesthood by Alexander Balas
[152 BCE] and later rewarded with full control of Judean territory after
he defeated Demetrius II [147 BCE]. After Balas' death [145 BCE], Jonathan
gained a foothold in Samaria by allying himself with Demetrius.
When Demetrius was overthrown, Jonathan
courted more gentile allies and tried to take control of more territory.
He invaded southern Galilee,
but was captured and killed by treachery at Ptolemaïs [Akko]. Despite spectacular external
political gains, Jonathan's policies created religious discord among
conservative Jews, many of whom viewed his claim to the high-priesthood
illegitimate. He left no male heirs, but the Jewish historian Josephus claimed descent from an unnamed daughter. He was succeeded by his older
brother Simon, whose descendents
became the Hasmonean dynasty of Judean rulers.