Lasthenes

LASTHENES lăs’ thĕ nez (Λασθένης). A prominent official under Demetrius II Nicator in the 1st cent. b.c.; perhaps governor of Coele-Syria. Josephus (Antiq. XIII: 86) refers to him as a Cretan and says that he had provided many mercenaries for Demetrius at the very important time c. 147 b.c., when the latter sailed from Crete for Cilicia. Demetrius in writing to Jonathan the high priest of the Jews and to the nation of the Jews enclosed a copy of a letter which he had written to his “kinsman” Lasthenes. In that letter to Lasthenes Demetrius addresses him as his “father” (ibid., pp. 125-129). The terms “kinsman” and “father” do not of course necessarily indicate any family relationship, but they do point to the high standing of Lasthenes and the regard which the king had for him. The contents of the letter are of considerable interest, touching as they do, among other things, on the subject of the boundaries of Judea and the privileges granted to the Jews. On this letter see also 1 Maccabees 11:30-37.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

A highly placed official under King Demetrius II, Nicator. He is called the king’s "kinsman" (the King James Version "cousin") and "father" (1 Macc 11:31,32; Josephus, Ant, XIII, iv, 9), but these are to be taken as court titles rather than as denoting blood-relationship. According to Josephus (Ant., XIII, iv, 3) he was a native of Crete, and raised an army for the king when he made his first descent upon the coast, and rendered him ultimately successful in wresting the throne of Syria from Alexander Balas (1 Macc 10:67; Ant, XIII, iv, 3). The letter addressed to Lasthenes indicates that he was probably prime minister or grand vizier of the kingdom.