NUMENIUS (Νουμήνιος). The son of Antiochus (1 Macc 12:16) who was sent on special missions to Rome by Jonathan and Simon the Hasmonean.
Following his victory over the commanders of Demetrius in Upper Galilee, Jonathan sent an embassy consisting of Numenius and Antipater (son of Jason) to Rome “to confirm and renew the friendship with them” (12:1). The Romans responded favorably and urged others to do the same. Likewise, the Spartans reacted positively to a letter from Jonathan (12:5-23). Simon succeeded his brother Jonathan after his capture and defeat through a subterfuge by Trypho. Simon’s victories and successes were applauded by the Romans and Spartans. Shortly before the Jews, in 140 b.c., declared “that Simon should be their leader and high priest for ever” (14:41), Simon sent Numenius on a second mission to Rome with a large gold shield “to confirm the alliance with the Romans” (14:24). Numenius returned from Rome with letters to all the neighboring kings and countries declaring the sovereignty of the Jewish people and the integrity of their territory. A copy of this letter is recorded (1 Macc 15:16-21). Josephus (Jos. Antiq. XIII. v. 8) alludes to the event, and in his report of a slightly variant VS of the letter he mentions Numenius, but incorrectly dates the episode in the time of Hyrcanus II (76-67 b.c.). Numenius’ success on these missions would indicate that he was a capable diplomat and successfully represented the Jewish cause in Rome.
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)
The son of Antiochus, and Antipater were the two ambassadors whom Jonathan sent to the Romans, "to the Spartans, and to other places," after his victory in the plain of Hazor (Galilee) over the princes of Demetrius (1 Macc 12:1 ff) about 144 BC. Their mission was to confirm and renew the friendship and treaty which had existed from the days of Judas (1 Macc 8:17 ff). They were well received and successful, both at Rome (1 Macc 12:3 f) and at Sparta (1 Macc 12:19 ff; 14:22 f). After the death of Jonathan, the victories of Simon and the establishment of peace, Simon sent Numenius on a second embassy to Rome (1 Macc 14:24), again to confirm the treaty and present a golden shield weighing 1,000 minae--apparently just before the popular decree by which Simon was created high priest, leader and captain "for ever" (1 Macc 14:27 ff), September, 141 BC. The embassy returned in 139 BC, bearing letters from the senate to the kings of Egypt, Syria and "all the countries," confirming the integrity of Jewish territory, and forbidding these kings to disturb the Jews, and requiring them also to surrender any deserters (1 Macc 14:15 ff). See also LUCIUS; Schurer, Gesch. des judischen Volkes (3rd and 4th editions), I, 236, 250 f.