2. As Bacchides and Alcimus were in possession of almost the whole of the country, Jonathan was obliged to act on the defensive.
He took up a strong position in the wilderness of Tekoah, and in conjunction with his brother Simon carried on a harassing and desultory warfare against the Syrians. About the same time another of the brothers, John, fell in battle. Jonathan, however, gradually grew in strength; and Bacchides, who had met with several disasters, at length concluded a peace with Jonathan, although Jerusalem and several other important towns still continued in the possession of the Syrian party.
A revolution in the Syrian monarchy in B. C. 152 gave Jonathan still greater power.
In that year an adventurer, Alexander Balas, laid claim to the throne of the Seleucidae. [ALEXANDER BALAS, Vol. I. p. 114.] Alexander and the reigning monarch, Demetrius Soter, eagerly courted the assistance of Jonathan.
He espoused the side of Alexander, who offered him the high-priesthood, and various immunities and advantages. As Alexander eventually drove Demetrius out of his kingdom, Jonathan shared in his good fortune, and became recognised as the high-priest of the Jewish people.
After the death of Alexander, which followed soon after, Jonathan played a distinguished part in the struggle for the Syrian throne between Demetrius Nicator, the son of Soter, and Antiochus VI., the youthful son of Alexander Balas.
He first supported the former; but subsequently espoused the side of Antiochus; and it was mainly owing to his energy and ability that Demetrius was obliged to take to flight, and yield the throne to his young rival. Tryphon, the minister of Antiochus, wished, however, to supplant his master, and obtain the Syrian throne for himself; and finding Jonathan the chief obstacle to his ambitious views, he treacherously got him into his power, B. C. 144, and put him to death in the following year. Jonathan was succeeded in the high-priesthood by his brother,