About seven years after Jonathan had been chosen general of the Jews, a great rebellion broke out in Syria against Demetrius. For a man named Alexander Bala said that he was a descendant of Antiochus Epiphanes, and the rightful heir to the throne. Many of the principal men supported his claim, so that he was able to gather round him a great army and make war against Demetrius. Now this rebellion gave Jonathan new strength and importance, for both Demetrius and Alexander Bala were anxious to secure his help, and they made him great offers. Alexander sent him a purple robe and a gold crown and appointed him high-priest of Jerusalem, and promised that when he had secured the throne of Syria he would always live in friendship with the Jews and assist them in their wars. Demetrius also sent presents to Jonathan, and he withdrew his soldiers from the towns of Judea and allowed Jonathan to return to Jerusalem. But the citadel in Jerusalem was still held by wicked Jews and deserters, who refused to give it up.
Jonathan determined to befriend Alexander Bala. He probably did not put much faith in the promises of Demetrius, who had been his enemy for so long a time. Moreover, the Romans sided with Alexander, and Jonathan was anxious to be on friendly terms with that great people. The result showed the wisdom of his decision, for Alexander defeated and killed Demetrius in a great battle.