Containing the interval of 14 Years.
From the Death of Alexander and Aristobulus, to the Banishment of Archelaus.
How Antipater was hated by all the nation [of the Jews] for the slaughter of his brethren; and how, for that reason, he got into peculiar favour with his friends at Rome, by giving them many presents; as he did also with Saturninus, the president of Syria, and the governors who were under him: and concerning Herod’s wives and children.
1. When Antipater had thus taken off his brethren, and had brought his father into the highest degree of impiety, till he was haunted with furies for what he had done, his hopes did not succeed to his mind, as to the rest of his life; for although he was delivered from the fear of his brethren being his rivals as to the government, yet did he find it a very hard thing, and almost impracticable, to come at the kingdom, because the hatred of the nation against him on that account was become very great: and, besides this very disagreeable circumstance, the affair of the soldiery grieved him still more, who were alienated from him, from which yet these kings derived all the safety which they had, whenever they found the nation desirous of innovation: and all this danger was drawn upon him by his destruction of his brethren. However, he governed the nation jointly with his father, being indeed no other than a king already; and he was for that very reason trusted, and the more firmly depended on, for the which he ought himself to have been put to death, as appearing to have betrayed his brethren out of his concern for the preservation of Herod, and not rather out of his ill will to them, and, before them, to his father himself: and this was the accursed state he was in. Now, all Antipater’s contrivances tended to make his way to take off Herod, that he might have nobody to accuse him in the vile practices he was devising: and that Herod might have no refuge, nor any to afford him their assistance, since they must thereby have Antipater for their open enemy; insomuch that the very plots he had laid against his brethren, were occasioned by the hatred he bore his father. But at this time he was more than ever set upon the execution of his attempts against Herod; because, if he were once dead, the government would now be firmly secured to him; but, if he were suffered to live any longer, he should be in danger upon a discovery of that wickedness of which he had been the contriver, and his father would of necessity then become his enemy. And on this account it was that he became very bountiful to his father’s friends, and bestowed great sums on several of them, in order to surprise men with his good deeds, and take off their hatred against him. And he sent great presents to his friends at Rome particularly, to gain their good will; and above all to Saturninus, the president of Syria. He also hoped to gain the favour of Saturninus’s brother with the large presents he bestowed on him; as also he used the same art to [Salome] the king’s sister, who had married one of Herod’s chief friends. And, when he counterfeited friendship to those with whom he conversed, he was very subtle in gaining their belief, and very cunning to hide his hatred against any that he really did hate. But he could not impose upon his aunt, who understood him of a long time, and was a woman not easily to be deluded; especially while she had already used all possible caution in preventing his pernicious designs. Although Antipeter’s uncle, by the mother’s side, were married to her daughter, and this by his own connivance and management, while she had before been married to Aristobulus, and while Salome’s other daughter by that husband were married to the son of Calleas. But that marriage was no obstacle to her, who knew how wicked he was, in her discovering his designs, as her former kindred to him could not prevent her hatred of him. Now Herod had compelled Salome, while she was in love with Sylleus the Arabian, and had taken a fondness for him, to marry Alexas; which match was by her submitted to at the instance of Julia, who persuaded Salome not to refuse it, lest she should herself be their open enemy, since Herod had sworn, that he would never be friends with Salome, if she would not accept of Alexas for her husband: so she submitted to Julia, as being Cæsar’s wife, and besides that, as she advised her to nothing but what was very much for her own advantage. At this time also it was that Herod sent back King Archelaus’s daughter, who had been Alexander’s wife, to her father, returning the portion he had with her out of his own estate, that there might be no dispute between them about it.
2. Now Herod brought up his sons’ children with great care: for Alexander had two sons by Glaphyra; and Aristobulus had three sons by Berenice, Salome’s daughter, and two daughters: and as his friends were once with him, he presented the children before them; and deploring the hard fortune of his own sons, he prayed that no such ill fortune would befall these who were their children, but that they might improve in virtue, and obtain what they justly deserved, and might make him amends for his care of their education. He also caused them to be betrothed against they should come to the proper age of marriage; the elder of Alexander’s sons to Pheroras’s daughter, and Antipater’s daughter to Aristobulus’s eldest son. He also allotted one of Aristobulus’s daughters to Antipater’s son, and Aristobulus’s other daughter to Herod, a son of his own, who was born to him by the high priest’s daughter; for it is the ancient practice among us to have many wives at the same time. Now the King made these espousals for the children, out of commiseration of them now they were fatherless, as endeavouring to render Antipater kind to them by these intermarriages. But Antipater did not fail to bear the same temper of mind to his brothers’ children, which he had borne to his brothers themselves; and his father’s concern about them provoked his indignation against them, upon this supposal, that they would become greater than ever his brothers had been; while Archelaus, a king, would support his daughter’s sons, and Pheroras, a tetrarch, would accept of one of the daughters as a wife to his son. What provoked him also was this, that all the multitude would so commiserate these fatherless children, and so hate him [for making them fatherless], that all would come out, since they were no strangers to his vile disposition towards his brethren. He contrived therefore to overturn his father’s settlements, as thinking it a terrible thing that they should be so related to him, and be so powerful withal. So Herod yielded to him, and changed his resolution at his entreaty: and the determination now was, that Antipater himself should marry Aristobulus’s daughter, and Antipater’s son should marry Pheroras’s daughter. So the espousals for the marriages were changed after this manner, even without the king’s real approbation.
3. Now Herod (1) the King had at this time nine wives; one of them Antipater’s mother, and another the high priest’s daughter, by whom he had a son of his own name. He had also one who was his brother’s daughter, and another his sister’s daughter; which two had no children. One of his wives also was of the Samaritan nation: whose sons were Antipas and Archelaus, and whose daughter was Olympias; which daughter was afterward married to Joseph, the king’s brother’s son; but Archelaus and Antipas were brought up with a certain private man at Rome. Herod had also to wife Cleopatra of Jerusalem, and by her he had his sons Herod and Philip; which last was also brought up at Rome: Pallas also was one of his wives, which bare him his son Phasaelus. And besides these, he had for his wives Phedra and Elpis, by whom he had his daughters Roxana and Salome. As for his elder daughters by the same mother with Alexander and Aristobulus, and whom Pheroras neglected to marry, he gave the one in marriage to Antipater, the king’s sister’s son, and the other to Phasaelus, his brother’s son. And this was the posterity of Herod.
ConcerningZamaris, the Babylonian Jew. Concerning the plots laid by Antipater against his father; and somewhat about the Pharisees.
1. And now it was that Herod, being desirous of securing himself on the side of the Trachonites, resolved to build a village, as large as a city, for the Jews, in the middle of that country, which might make his own country difficult to be assaulted, and whence he might be at hand to make sallies upon them, and do them a mischief. Accordingly when he understood that there was a man that was a Jew come out of Babylon, with five hundred horsemen, all of whom could shoot their arrows as they rode on horseback, and, with an hundred of his relations, had passed over Euphrates, and now abode at Antioch by Daphne of Syria, where Saturninus, who was then president, had given them a place for habitation, called Valatha, he sent for this man, with the multitude that followed him, and promised to give him land in the toparchy called Batanea, which country is bounded with Trachonitis, as desirous to make that his habitation a guard to himself. He also engaged to let him hold the country free from tribute, and that they should dwell entirely without paying such customs as used to be paid, and gave it him tax-free.
2. The Babylonian was reduced by these offers to come hither; so he took possession of the land, and built in it fortresses and a village, and named it Bathyra. Whereby this man became a safe-guard to the inhabitants against the Trachonites, and preserved those Jews who came out of Babylon, to offer their sacrifices at Jerusalem, from being hurt by the Trachonite robberies; so that a great number came to him from all those parts where the ancient Jewish laws were observed, and the country became full of people, by reason of their universal freedom from taxes. This continued during the life of Herod; but when Philip, who was [tetrarch] after him, took the government, he made them pay some small taxes, and that for a little while only; and Agrippa the Great, and his son of the same name, although they harassed them greatly, yet would they not take their liberty away. From whom, when the Romans have now taken the government into their own hands, they still gave them the privilege of their freedom, but oppress them entirely with the imposition of taxes. Of which matter I shall treat more accurately in the progress of this history. (2)
3. At length Zamaris, the Babylonian, to whom Herod had given that country for a possession, died; having lived virtuously, and left children of a good character behind him: one of whom was Jacim, who was famous for his valour, and taught his Babylonians how to ride their horses; and a troop of them were guards to the fore-mentioned kings. And when Jacim was dead in his old age, he left a son whose name was Philip, one of great strength in his hands, and in other respects also more eminent for his valour than any of his contemporaries; on which account there was a confidence and firm friendship between him and King Agrippa. He had also an army, which he maintained, as great as that of a king; which he exercised, and led wheresoever he had occasion to march.
4. When the affairs of Herod were in the condition I have described, all the public affairs depended upon Antipater; and his power was such, that he could do good turns to as many as he pleased, and this by his father’s concession, in hopes of his good will and fidelity to him; and this till he ventured to use his power still farther, because his wicked designs were concealed from his father, and he made him believe every thing he said. He was also formidable to all, not so much on account of the power and authority he had, as for the shrewdness of his vile attempts before-hand: but he who principally cultivated a friendship with him was Pheroras, who received the like marks of his friendship; while Antipater had cunningly encompassed him about by a company of women, whom he placed as guards about him: for Pheroras was greatly enslaved to his wife, and to her mother, and to her sister; and this notwithstanding the hatred he bare them for the indignities they had offered to his virgin daughters. Yet did he bear them, and nothing was to he done without the women, who had got this man into their circle, and continued still to assist each other in all things, insomuch that Antipater was entirely addicted to them, both by himself, and by his mother; for these four women (3) said all one and the same thing; but the opinions of Pheroras and Antipater were different in some points of no consequence. But the King’s sister [Salome] was their antagonist, who for a good while had looked about all their affairs, and was apprized that this their friendship was made in order to do Herod some mischief, and was disposed to inform the King of it. And since these people knew that their friendship was very disagreeable to Herod, as tending to do him a mischief, they contrived that their meetings should not be discovered; so they pretended to hate one another, and to abuse one another when time served, and especially when Herod was present, or when any one was there that would tell him; but still their intimacy was firmer than ever, when they were private. And this was the course they took: but they could not conceal from Salome neither their first contrivance, when they set about these their intentions, nor when they had made some progress in them: but she searched out every thing; and, aggravating the relations to her brother, declared to him, “As well their secret assemblies and compotations, as their counsels taken in a clandestine manner, which if they were not in order to destroy him, they might well enough have been open and public. But now, to appearance, they are at variance, and speak about one another as if they intended one another a mischief, but agree so well together when they are out of the sight of the multitude; for when they are alone by themselves they act in concert, and profess that they will never leave off their friendship, but will fight against those from whom they conceal their designs.” And thus did she search out these things, and get a perfect knowledge of them, and then told her brother of them, who understood also of himself a great deal of what she said, but still durst not depend upon it, because of the suspicions he had of his sister’s calumnies. For there was a certain sect of men that were Jews, who valued themselves highly upon the exact skill they had in the law of their fathers, and made men believe they were highly favoured by God, by whom this set of women were inveigled. These are those that are called the sect of the Pharisees, who were in a capacity of greatly opposing kings. A cunning sect they were, and soon elevated to a pitch of open fighting, and doing mischief. Accordingly, when all the people of the Jews gave assurance of their good-will to Cæsar, and to the king’s government, these very men did not swear, being above six thousand; and when the king imposed a fine upon them, Pheroras’s wife paid their fine for them. In order to requite which kindness of hers, since they were believed to have the fore-knowledge of things to come by divine inspiration, they foretold how God had decreed, that Herod’s government should cease, and his posterity should be deprived of it; but that the kingdom should come to her and Pheroras, and to their children. These predictions were not concealed from Salome, but were told the king; as also how they had perverted some persons about the palace itself: so the king slew such of the Pharisees as were principally accused; and Bagoas the eunuch, and one Carus, who exceeded all men of that time in comeliness, and one that was his catamite. He slew also all those of his own family who had consented to what the Pharisees foretold: and for Bagoas, he had been puffed up by them, as though he should be named the father and the benefactor of him who, by the prediction, was foretold to be their appointed king; for that this king would have all things in his power, and would enable Bagoas to marry, and to have children of his own body begotten.
Concerning the enmity between Herod and Pheroras: how Herod sent Antipater to Cæsar; and of the death of Pheroras.
1. When Herod had punished those Pharisees who had been convicted of the foregoing crimes, he gathered an assembly together of his friends, and accused Pheroras’s wife; and, ascribing the abuses of the virgins to the impudence of that woman, brought an accusation against her for the dishonour she had brought upon them: that “She had studiously introduced a quarrel between him and his brother, and, by her ill temper, had brought them into a state of war, both by her words and actions; that the fines which he had laid had not been paid, and the offenders had escaped punishment by her means; and that nothing which had of late been done had been done without her; for which reason Pheroras would do well, if he would, of his own accord, and by his own command, and not at my entreaty, or as following my opinion, put this his wife away, as one that will still be the occasion of war between thee and me. And now, Pheroras, if thou valuest thy relation to me, put this wife of thine away; for by this means thou wilt continue to be a brother to me, and wilt abide in thy love to me.” Then said Pheroras, (although he were pressed hard by the former words), that “As he would not do so unjust a thing as to renounce his brotherly relation to him, so would he not leave off his affection for his wife; that he would rather choose to die than to live, and be deprived of a wife that was so dear unto him.” Hereupon Herod put off his anger against Pheroras on these accounts, although he himself thereby underwent a very uneasy punishment. However, he forbade Antipater and his mother to have any conversation with Pheroras, and bid them to take care to avoid the assemblies of the women: which they promised to do, but still got together when occasion served, and both Pheroras and Antipater had their own merry-meetings. The report went also, that Antipater had criminal conversation with Pheroras’s wife; and that they were brought together by Antipater’s mother.
2. But Antipater had now a suspicion of his father, and was afraid that the effects of his hatred to him might increase: so he wrote to his friends at Rome, and bid them to send to Herod, that he would immediately send Antipater to Cæsar; which, when it was done, Herod sent Antipater thither, and sent most noble presents along with him; as also his testament, wherein Antipater was appointed to be his successor: and that if Antipater should die first, his son [Herod Philip] by the high priest’s daughter, should succeed. And, together with Antipater, there went to Rome, Sylleus the Arabian, although he had done nothing of all that Cæsar had enjoined him. Antipater also accused him of the same crimes of which he had been formerly accused by Herod. Sylleus was also accused by Aretas, that without his consent, he had slain many of the chief of the Arabians at Petra; and particularly Soemus, a man that deserved to be honoured by all men, and that he had slain Fabatus, a servant of Cæsar’s. These were the things of which Sylleus was accused, and that on the occasion following: There was one Corinthus belonging to Herod, of the guards of the King’s body, and one who was greatly trusted by him. Sylleus had persuaded this man with the offer of a great sum of money, to kill Herod; and he had promised to do it. When Fabatus had been acquainted with this, for Sylleus had himself told him of it, he informed the king of it; who caught Corinthus, and put him to the torture, and thereby got out of him the whole conspiracy. He also caught two other Arabians, who were discovered by Corinthus; the one the head of a tribe, and the other a friend to Sylleus, who both were by the king brought to the torture, and confessed, that they were come to encourage Corinthus not to fail of doing what he had undertaken to do; and to assist him with their own hands in the murder, if need should require their assistance. So Saturninus, upon Herod’s discovering the whole to him, sent them to Rome.
3. At this time, Herod commanded Pheroras, that since he was so obstinate in his affection for his wife, he should retire into his own tetrarchy; which he did very willingly, and sware many oaths that he would not come again, till he heard that Herod was dead. And indeed, when, upon a sickness of the King’s, he was desired to come to him before he died, that he might intrust him with some of his injunctions, he had such a regard to his oath, that he would not come to him: yet did not Herod so retain his hatred to Pheroras, but remitted of his purpose [not to see him], which he before had, and that for such great causes as have been already mentioned: but as soon as he began to be ill, he came to him, and this without being sent for; and when he was dead, he took care of his funeral, and had his body brought to Jerusalem and buried there, and appointed a solemn mourning for him. This [death of Pheroras] became the origin of Antipater’s misfortunes, although he were already sailed for Rome, God now being about to punish him for the murder of his brethren, I will explain the history of this matter very distinctly, that it may be for a warning to mankind, that they take care of conducting their whole lives by the rules of virtue.
Pheroras’s wife is accused by his freed men, as guilty of poisoning him; and how Herod, upon examination of the matter by torture, found the poison; but so that it had been prepared for himself by his son Antipater: and upon an inquiry by torture, he discovered the dangerous designs of Antipater.
1. As soon as Pheroras was dead, and his funeral was over, two of Pheroras’s freed men, who were much esteemed by him, came to Herod, and entreated him not to leave the murder of his brother without avenging it, but to examine into such an unreasonable and unhappy death. When he was moved with these words, for they seemed to him to be true, they said, That “Pheroras supped with his wife the day before he fell sick, and that a certain potion was brought him in such a sort of food as he was not used to eat; but that when he had eaten he died of it: that this potion was brought out of Arabia by a woman, under pretence indeed as a love potion, for that was its name, but in reality to kill Pheroras; for that the Arabian women are skilful in making such poisons: and the woman to whom they ascribe this, was confessedly a most intimate friend of one of Sylleus’s mistresses; and that both the mother and the sister of Pheroras’s wife had been at the places where she lived, and had persuaded her to sell them this potion, and had come back and brought it with them the day before that his supper.” Hereupon the king was provoked, and put the women slaves to the torture, and some that were free with them: and as the fact did not yet appear, because none of them would confess it; at length one of them, under her utmost agonies, said no more but this, That “she prayed that God would send the like agonies upon Antipater’s mother, who had been the occasion of these miseries to all of them.” This prayer induced Herod to increase the women’s tortures, till thereby all was discovered: Their merry meetings, their secret assemblies, and the disclosing of what he had said to his son alone, unto Pheroras’s women. (4) (Now what Herod had charged Antipater to conceal, was, the gift of an hundred talents to him not to have any conversation with Pheroras.) And what hatred he bore to his father; and that he complained to his mother how very long his father lived; and that he was himself almost an old man, insomuch, that if the kingdom should come to him, it would not afford him any great pleasure; and that there were a great many of his brothers, or brothers children, bringing up, that might have hopes of the kingdom as well as himself, all which, made his own hopes of it uncertain; for that even now, if he should himself not live, Herod had ordained that the government should be conferred, not on his son, but rather on a brother. He also had accused the king of great barbarity, and of the slaughter of his sons; and that it was out of the fear he was under, lest he should do the like to him, that made him contrive this his journey to Rome, and Pheroras contrive to go to his own tetrarchy. (5)
2. These confessions agreed with what his sister had told him, and tended greatly to corroborate her testimony, and to free her from the suspicion of her unfaithfulness to him. So the king having satisfied himself of the spite which Doris, Antipater’s mother, as well as himself, bore to him, took away from her all her fine ornaments, which were worth many talents; and then sent her away, and entered into friendship with Pheroras’s women. But he who most of all irritated the king against his son, was one Antipater, the procurator of Antipater the king’s son, who, when he was tortured, among other things said, That Antipater had prepared a deadly potion, and given it to Pheroras, with his desire that he would give it to his father during his absence, and when he was too remote to have the least suspicion cast upon him thereto relating; that Antiphilus, one of Antipater’s friends, brought that potion out of Egypt; and that it was sent to Pheroras by Theudion, the brother of the mother of Antipater, the king’s son, and by that means came to Pheroras’s wife, her husband having given it her to keep. And when the king asked her about it, she confessed it; and as she was running to fetch it, she threw herself down from the house top; yet did she not kill herself, because she fell upon her feet: by which means, when the king had comforted her, and had promised her and her domestics pardon, upon condition of their concealing nothing of the truth from him, but had threatened her with the utmost miseries if she proved ungrateful [and concealed any thing]; so she promised, and swore that she would speak out every thing, and tell after what manner every thing was done; and said what many took to be entirely true, That “the potion was brought out of Egypt by Antiphilus; and that his brother, who was a physician, had procured it; and that when Theudion brought it us, she kept it upon Pheroras’s committing it to her; and that it was prepared by Antipater for thee. When, therefore, Pheroras was fallen sick, and thou camest to him and tookedst care of him, and when he saw the kindness thou hadst for him, his mind was overborne thereby. So he called me to him, and said to me, ‘O woman! Antipater hath circumvented me in this affair of his father and my brother, by persuading me to have a murderous intention to him, and procuring a potion to be subservient thereto; do thou, therefore, go and fetch my potion, (since my brother appears to have still the same virtuous disposition towards me which he had formerly, and I do not expect to live long myself, and that I may not defile my forefathers by the murder of a brother), and burn it before my face:’ that accordingly she immediately brought it, and did as her husband bade her; and that she burnt the greatest part of the potion; but that a little of it was left, that if the king, after Pheroras’s death, should treat her ill, she might poison herself, and thereby get clear of her miseries.” Upon her saying thus, she brought out the potion, and the box in which it was before them all. Nay, there was another brother of Antiphilus’s, and his mother also, who, by the extremity of pain and torture, confessed the same things, and owned the box [to be that which had been brought out of Egypt]. The high priest’s daughter also, who was the king’s wife, was accused to have been conscious of all this, and had resolved to conceal it; for which reason Herod divorced her, and blotted her son out of his testament, wherein he had been mentioned as one that was to reign after him; and he took the high priesthood away from his father-in-law, Simeon the son of Boethus, and appointed Matthias the son of Theophilus, who was born at Jerusalem, to be high priest in his room.
3. While this was doing, Bathyllus, also Antipater’s freed man, came from Rome, and, upon the torture, was found to have brought another potion, to give it into the hands of Antipater’s mother, and of Pheroras, that if the former potion did not operate upon the king, this at least might carry him off. There came also letters from Herod’s friends at Rome, by the approbation, and at the suggestion of Antipater, to accuse Archelaus and Philip, as if they calumniated their father on account of the slaughter of Alexander and Aristobulus, and as if they commiserated their deaths; and as if, because they were sent for home, (for their father had already recalled them), they concluded, they were themselves also to be destroyed. These letters had been procured by great rewards, by Antipater’s friends; but Antipater himself wrote to his father about them, and laid the heaviest things to their charge; yet did he entirely excuse them of any guilt, and said they were but young men, and so imputed their words to their youth. But he said, that he had himself been very busy in the affair relating to Sylleus, and in getting interest among the great men; and on that account, had bought splendid ornaments to present them withal, which cost him two hundred talents. Now, one may well wonder how it came about, that while so many accusations were laid against him in Judea during seven months before this time, he was not made acquainted with any of them. The causes of which, were, that the roads were exactly guarded, and that men hated Antipater; for there was no body who would run any hazard himself, to gain him any advantages.
Antipater’s navigation from Rome to his father; and how he was accused by Nicolaus of Damascus, and condemned to die by his father, and by Quintilius Varus, who was then president of Syria; and how he was then bound till Cæsar should be informed of his cause.
1. Now Herod, upon Antipater’s writing to him, that having done all that he was to do and this in the manner he was to do it, he would suddenly come to him, concealed his anger against him, and wrote back to him, and bid him not delay his journey, lest any harm should befal himself in his absence. At the same time also he made some little complaint about his mother; but promised, that he would lay those complaints aside when he should return. He withal expressed his entire affection for him; as fearing lest he should have some suspicion of him, and defer his journey to him; and lest, while he lived at Rome, he should lay plots for the kingdom, and moreover, do somewhat against himself. This letter Antipater met with in Cilicia; but had received an account of Pheroras’s death before at Tarentum. This last news affected him deeply; not out of any affection for Pheroras, but because he was dead without having murdered his father, which he had promised him to do. And when he was at Celenderis in Cilicia, he began to deliberate with himself about his sailing home, as being much grieved with the ejection of his mother. Now some of his friends advised him, that he should tarry a while somewhere, in expectation of farther information. But others advised him to sail home without delay; for that if he were once come thither, he would soon put an end to all accusations, and that nothing afforded any weight to his accusers at present but his absence. He was persuaded by these last, and sailed on, and landed at the haven called Sebastus, which Herod had built at vast expences in honour of Cæsar, and called Sebastus. And now was Antipater evidently in a miserable condition, while no body came to him, nor saluted him, as they did at his going away, with good wishes of joyful acclamations; nor was there now any thing to hinder them from entertaining him, on the contrary, with bitter curses, while they supposed he was come to receive his punishment for the murder of his brethren.
2. Now Quintilius Varus was at this time at Jerusalem, being sent to succeed Saturninus, as president of Syria, and was come as an assessor to Herod, who had desired his advice in his present affairs; and as they were sitting together, Antipater came upon them, without knowing any thing of the matter; so he came into the palace clothed in purple. The porters indeed received him in; but excluded his friends. And now he was in great disorder, and presently understood the condition he was in, while upon his going to salute his father, he was repulsed by him, who called him a murderer of his brethren, and a plotter of destruction against himself, and told him that Varus should be his auditor and his judge the very next day; so he found that what misfortune he now heard of was already upon him, with the greatness of which he went away in confusion: upon which his mother and his wife met him, (which wife was the daughter of Antigonus, who was King of the Jews before Herod), from whom he learned all circumstances which concerned him, and then prepared himself for his trial.
3. On the next day Varus and the King sat together in judgment; and both their friends were also called in, as also the King’s relations, with his sister Salome, and as many as could discover any thing, and such as had been tortured; and besides these, some slaves of Antipater’s mother, who were taken up a little before Antipater’s coming, and brought with them a written letter, the sum of which was this, That “he should not come back, because all was come to his father’s knowledge; and that Cæsar was the only refuge he had left, to prevent both his and her delivery into his father’s hands.” Then did Antipater fall down at his father’s feet, and besought him “not to prejudge his cause, but that he might be first heard by his father, and that his father should keep himself unprejudiced.” So Herod ordered him to be brought into the midst, and then “lamented himself about his children, from whom he had suffered such great misfortunes; and because Antipater fell upon him in his old age. He also reckoned up what maintenance, and what education he had given them; and what seasonable supplies of wealth he had afforded them, according to their own desires, none of which favours had hindered them from contriving plots against him, and from bringing his very life into danger, in order to gain his kingdom, after an impious manner, by taking away his life before the course of nature, their father’s wishes, or justice required that that kingdom should come to them; and that he wondered what hopes could elevate Antipater to such a pass, as to be hardy enough to attempt such things: that he had by his testament in writing declared him his successor in the government; and while he was alive he was in no respect inferior to him, either in his illustrious dignity, or in power and authority, he having no less than fifty talents for his yearly income, and had received for his journey to Rome no fewer than thirty talents. He also objected to him the case of his brethren whom he had accused; and if they were guilty, he had imitated their example; and if not, he had brought him groundless accusations against his near relations; for that he had been acquainted with all those things by him, and by no body else, and had done what was done by his approbation, and whom he now absolved from all that was criminal, by becoming the inheritor of the guilt of such their parricide.”
4. When Herod had thus spoken, he fell a weeping, and was not able to say any more; but at his desire Nicolaus of Damascus, being the King’s friend, and always conversant with him, and acquainted with whatsoever he did, and with the circumstances of his affairs, proceeded to what remained, and explained all that concerned the demonstrations, and evidences of the facts. Upon which Antipater, in order to make his legal defence, turned himself to his father, and enlarged upon the many indications he had given of his good-will to him; and instanced in the honours that had been done him, which yet had not been done, had he not deserved them by his virtuous concern about him; for that he had made provision for every thing that was fit to be foreseen beforehand, as to giving him his wisest advice; and whenever there was occasion for the labour of his own hands, he had not grudged any such pains for him. And that it was almost impossible that he, who had delivered his father from so many treacherous contrivances laid against him, should be himself in a plot against him, and so lose all the reputation he had gained for his virtue, by his wickedness which succeeded it; and this while he had nothing to prohibit him, who was already appointed his successor, to enjoy the royal honour with his father also at present; and that there was no likelihood that a person who had the one half of that authority, without any danger, and with a good character, should hunt after the whole with infamy and danger, and this when it was doubtful whether he could obtain it or not; and when he saw the sad example of his brethren before him, and was both the informer and the accuser against them, at a time when they might not otherwise have been discovered; nay was the author of the punishment inflicted upon them, when it appeared evidently that they were guilty of a wicked attempt against their father; and that even the contentions there were in the King’s family were indications that he had ever managed affairs out of the sincerest affection to his father. And as to what he had done at Rome, Cæsar was a witness thereto; who yet was no more to be imposed upon than God himself; of whose opinions his letters sent hither are sufficient evidence: and that it was not reasonable to prefer the calumnies of such as proposed to raise disturbances before those letters; the greatest part of which calumnies had been raised during his absence, which gave scope to his enemies to forge them, which they had not been able to do, if he had been there.” Moreover, he shewed the weakness of the evidence obtained by torture, which was commonly false; because the distress men are in under such tortures naturally obliges them to say many things in order to please those that govern them. He also offered himself to the torture.
5. Hereupon there was a change observed in the assembly, while they greatly pitied Antipater, who, by weeping and putting on a countenance suitable to his sad case, made them commiserate the same; insomuch that his very enemies were moved to compassion; and it appeared plainly that Herod himself was affected in his own mind, although he was not willing it should be taken notice of. Then did Nicolaus begin to prosecute what the king had begun, and that with great bitterness; and summed up all the evidence which arose from the tortures, or from the testimonies. “He principally and largely cried up the king’s virtues, which he had exhibited in the maintenance and education of his sons; while he never could gain any advantage thereby, but still fell from one misfortune to another. Although he owned, that he was not so much surprised with that thoughtless behaviour of his former sons, who were but young, and were besides corrupted by wicked counsellors, who were the occasions of their wiping out of their minds the righteous dictates of nature; and this out of a desire of coming to the government sooner than they ought to do; yet that he could not but justly stand amazed at the horrid wickedness of Antipater, who, although he had not only had great benefits bestowed on him by his father, enough to tame his reason, yet could not be more tamed than the most envenomed serpents; whereas even those creatures admit of some mitigation, and will not bite their benefactors, while Antipater hath not let the misfortunes of his brethren be any hindrance to him, but he hath gone on to imitate their barbarity notwithstanding. Yet wast thou, O Antipater, (as thou hast thyself confessed), the informer as to what wicked actions they had done, and the searcher out of the evidence against them, and the author of the punishment they underwent upon their detection. Nor do we say this as accusing thee for being so zealous in thy anger against them, but are astonished at thy endeavours to imitate their profligate behaviour; and we discover thereby, that thou didst not act thus for the safety of thy father, but for the destruction of thy brethren, that by such outside hatred of their impiety, thou mightest be believed a lover of thy father, and mightest thereby get thee power enough to do mischief with the greatest impunity; which design thy actions indeed demonstrate. It is true, thou tookest thy brethren off, because thou didst convict theft of their wicked designs; but thou didst not yield up to justice those who were their partners; and thereby didst make it evident to all men, that thou madest a covenant with them against thy father, when thou chosest to be the accuser of thy brethren, as desirous to gain to thyself alone this advantage of laying plots to kill thy father, and so to enjoy double pleasure, which is truly worthy of thy evil disposition, which thou has openly shewed against thy brethren; on which account, thou didst rejoice, as having done a most famous exploit, nor was that behaviour unworthy of thee. But if thy intentions were otherwise, thou art worse than they; while thou didst contrive to hide thy treachery against thy father, thou didst hate them, not as plotters against thy father, for in that case thou hadst not thyself fallen upon the like crime; but as successors of his dominions, and more worthy of that succession than thyself. Thou wouldst kill thy father after thy brethren, lest thy lies raised against them might be detected; and lest thou shouldest suffer what punishment thou hadst deserved, thou hadst a mind to exact that punishment of thy unhappy father, and didst devise such a sort of uncommon parricide as the world never yet saw. For thou, who art his son, didst not only lay a treacherous design against thy father, and didst it while he loved thee and had been thy benefactor, had made thee in reality his partner in the kingdom, and had openly declared thee his successor; while thou wast not forbidden to taste the sweetness of authority already, and hadst the firm hope of what was future by thy father’s determination, and the security of a written testament. But for certain, thou didst not measure these things according to thy father’s various dispositions, but according to thine own thoughts and inclinations; and wast desirous to take the part that remained away from thy too indulgent father, and soughtest to destroy him with thy deeds, whom thou in words pretendest to preserve. Nor wast thou content to be wicked thyself but thou filledst thy mother’s head with thy devices, and raised disturbances among thy brethren, and hadst the boldness to call thy father a wild beast; while thou hadst thyself a mind more cruel than any serpent, whence thou sentest out that poison among thy nearest kindred and greatest benefactors, and invitedst them to assist thee and guard thee, and didst hedge thyself in on all sides, by the artifices of both men and women, against an old man; as though that mind of thine was not sufficient of itself to support so great an hatred as thou baredst to him. And here thou appearest after the tortures of free men, of domestics, of men and of women, which have been examined on thy account, and after the informations of thy fellow conspirators, as making haste to contradict the truth; and hast thought of ways, not only how to take thy father out of the world, but to disannul that written law which is against thee, and the virtue of Varus, and the nature of justice; nay, such is that impudence of thine on which thou confidest, that thou desirest to be put to the torture thyself, while thou allegest, that the tortures of those already examined thereby have made them tell lies; that those that have been the deliverers of thy father, may not be allowed to have spoken the truth; but that thy tortures may be esteemed the discoverers of truth. Wilt not thou, O Varus, deliver the King from the injuries of his kindred? Wilt not thou destroy this wicked wild beast, which hath pretended kindness to his father, in order to destroy his brethren; while yet he is himself alone ready to carry off the kingdom immediately, and appears to be the most bloody butcher to him of them all? For thou art sensible, that parricide is a general injury both to nature and to common life; and that the intention of parricide is not inferior to its preparation; and he who does not punish it, is injurious to nature itself.”
6. Nicolaus added farther what belonged to Antipater’s mother, and whatsoever she had prattled like a woman; as also about the predictions, and the sacrifices relating to the king; and whatsoever Antipater had done lasciviously in his cups and his amours among Pheroras’s women; the examination upon torture; and whatsoever concerned the testimonies of the witnesses, which were many, and of various kinds; some prepared beforehand, and others were sudden answers, which farther declared and confirmed the foregoing evidence. For those men who were not acquainted with Antipater’s practices, but had concealed them out of fear, when they saw that he was exposed to the accusations of the former witnesses, and that his great good fortune, which had supported him hitherto, had now evidently betrayed him into the hands of his enemies, who were now insatiable in their hatred to him, told all they knew of him. And his ruin was now hastened, not so much by the enmity of those that were his accusers, as by his gross, and impudent, and wicked contrivances, and by his ill-will to his father and his brethren; while he had filled their house with disturbance, and caused them to murder one another; and was neither fair in his hatred, nor kind in his friendship, but just so far as served his own turn. Now there were a great number who for a long time beforehand had seen all this, and especially such as were naturally disposed to judge of matters by the rules of virtue, because they were used to determine about affairs without passion, but had been restrained from making any open complaints before; these, upon the leave now given them, produced all that they knew before the public. The demonstrations also of these wicked facts could no way be disproved: because the many witnesses there were did neither speak out of favour to Herod, nor were they obliged to keep what they had to say silent, out of suspicion of any danger they were in; but they spake what they knew, because they thought such actions very wicked, and that Antipater deserved the greatest punishment; and indeed not so much for Herod’s safety, as on account of the man’s own wickedness. Many things were also said, and those by a great number of persons, who were no way obliged to say them, insomuch, that Antipater, who used generally to be very shrewd in his lies and impudence, was not able to say one word to the contrary. When Nicolaus had left off speaking, and had produced the evidence, Varus bid Antipater to betake himself to the making his defence, if he had prepared any thing whereby it might appear that he was not guilty of the crimes he was accused of; for that, as he was himself desirous, so did he know that his father was in like manner desirous also, to have him found entirely innocent. But Antipater fell down on his face, and appealed to God, and to all men, for testimonials of his innocency, desiring that God would declare by some evident signals, that he had not laid any plot against his father. This being the usual method of all men destitute of virtue, that when they set about any wicked undertakings, they fall to work according to their own inclinations, as if they believed that God was unconcerned in human affairs; but when once they are found out, and are in danger of undergoing the punishment due to their crimes, they endeavour to overthrow all the evidence against them by appealing to God; which was the very thing which Antipater now did: for whereas he had done every thing as if there were no God in the world, when he was on all sides distressed by justice, and when he had no other advantage to expect from any legal proofs, by which he might disprove the accusations laid against him, he impudently abused the majesty of God, and ascribed it to his power, that he had been preserved hitherto; and produced before them all what difficulties he had ever undergone in his bold acting for his father’s preservation.
7. So when Varus, upon asking Antipater what he had to say for himself, found that he had nothing to say besides his appeal to God, and saw that there was no end of that, he bid them bring the potion before the court, that he might see what virtue still remained in it; and when it was brought, and one that was condemned to die had drank it by Varus’s command, he died presently. Then Varus got up, and departed out of the court, and went away the day following to Antioch, where his usual residence was, because that was the palace of the Syrians; upon which Herod laid his son in bonds. But what were Varus’s discourses to Herod, was not known to the generality, and upon what words it was that he went away; though it was also generally supposed, that whatsoever Herod did afterward about his son, was done with his approbation. But, when Herod had bound his son, he sent letters to Rome to Cæsar about him, and such messengers withal as should, by word of mouth, inform Cæsar of Antipater’s wickedness. Now, at this very time, there was seized a letter of Antiphilus, written to Antipater out of Egypt (for he lived there); and when it was opened by the king, it was found to contain what follows: “I have sent thee Acme’s letter, and hazarded my own life; for thou knowest that I am in danger from two families, if I be discovered. I wish thee good success in thy affair.” These were the contents of this letter; but the king made inquiry about the other letter also, for it did not appear; and Antiphilus’s slave, who brought that letter which had been read, denied that he had received the other. But, while the king was in doubt about it, one of Herod’s friends seeing a seam upon the inner coat of the slave, and a doubling of the cloth, (for he had two coats on), he guessed that the letter might be within that doubling; which accordingly proved to be true. So they took out the letter, and its contents were these: ”Acme to Antipater. I have written such a letter to thy father as thou desirest me. I have also taken a copy, and sent it, as if it came from Salome to my lady [Livia]; which, when thou readest, I know that Herod will punish Salome, as plotting against him.” Now this pretended letter of Salome’s to her lady was composed by Antipater, in the name of Salome, as to its real meaning, but in the words of Acme. The letter was this: “Acme to King Herod. I have done my endeavour that nothing that is done against thee should be concealed from thee. So, upon my finding a letter of Salome written to my lady against thee, I have written out a copy, and sent it to thee; with hazard to myself, but for thy advantage. The reason why she wrote it was this, that she had a mind to be married to Sylleus. Do thou therefore tear this letter in pieces, that I may not come into danger of my life.” Now Acme had written to Antipater himself, and informed him, that, in compliance with his command, she had both herself written to Herod, as if Salome had laid a sudden plot entirely against him, and had herself sent a copy of an epistle, as coming from Salome to her lady. Now Acme was a Jew by birth, and a servant to Julia, Cæsar’s wife; and did this out of her friendship for Antipater, as having been corrupted by him with a large present of money, to assist in his pernicious designs against his father and his aunt.
8. Hereupon Herod was so amazed at the prodigious wickedness of Antipater, that he was ready to have ordered him to be slain immediately, as a turbulent person in the most important concerns, and as one that had laid a plot not only against himself, but against his sister also, and even corrupted Cæsar’s own domestics. Salome also provoked him to it, beating her breast, and bidding him kill her, if he could produce any credible testimony that she had acted in that manner. Herod also sent for his son, and asked him about this matter, and bid him contradict if he could, and not suppress any thing he had to say for himself; and, when he had not one word to say, he asked him, since he was every way caught in his villany, that he would make no farther delay, but discover his associates in these his wicked designs. So he laid all upon Antiphilus; but discovered nobody else. Hereupon Herod was in such great grief, that he was ready to send his son to Rome to Cæsar, there to give an account of these his wicked contrivances. But he soon became afraid, lest he might there, by the assistance of his friends, escape the danger he was in: so he kept him bound as before, and sent more ambassadors and letters [to Rome] to accuse his son, and an account of what assistance Acme had given him in his wicked designs, with copies of the epistles before mentioned.
Concerning the disease that Herod fell into, and the sedition which the Jews raised thereupon; with the punishment of the seditious.
1. Now Herod’s ambassadors made haste to Rome; but went as instructed beforehand what answers they were to make to the questions put to them. They also carried the epistles with them. But Herod now fell into a distemper, and made his will, and bequeathed his kingdom to [Antipas] his youngest son; and this out of that hatred to Archelaus and Philip, which the calumnies of Antipater had raised against them. He also bequeathed a thousand talents to Cæsar, and five hundred to Julia, Cæsar’s wife, to Cæsar’s children, and friends, and freed men. He also distributed among his sons and their sons his money, his revenues, and his lands. He also made Salome his sister very rich, because she had continued faithful to him in all his circumstances, and was never so rash as to do him any harm: and as he despaired of recovering, for he was about the seventieth year of his age, he grew fierce, and indulged the bitterest anger upon all occasions; the cause whereof was this, that he thought himself despised, and that the nation was pleased with his misfortunes; besides which, he resented a sedition which some of the lower sort of men excited against him, the occasion of which was as follows.
2. There was one Judas, the son of Saripheus, and Matthias, the son of Margalothus, two of the most eloquent men among the Jews, and the most celebrated interpreters of the Jewish laws, and men well beloved by the people, because of their education of their youth; for all those that were studious of virtue frequented their lectures every day. These men, when they found that the king’s distemper was incurable, excited the young men that they would pull down all those works which the king had erected contrary to the law of their fathers, and thereby obtain the rewards which the law will confer on them for such actions of piety; for that it was truly on account of Herod’s rashness in making such things as the law had forbidden, that his other misfortunes, and this distemper also, which was so unusual among mankind, and with which he was now afflicted, came upon him: for Herod had caused such things to be made, which were contrary to the law, of which he was accused by Judas and Matthias; for the king had erected over the great gate of the temple a large golden eagle, of great value, and had dedicated it to the temple. Now the law forbids those, that propose to live according to it, to erect images (6) or representations of any living creature. So these wise men persuaded [their scholars] to pull down the golden eagle; alleging, That “although they should incur any danger, which might bring them to their deaths, the virtue of the action now proposed to them, would appear much more advantageous to them than the pleasures of life; since they would die for the preservation and observation of the law of their fathers; since they would also acquire an everlasting fame and commendation; since they would be both commended by the present generation, and leave an example of life that would never be forgotten to posterity; since that common calamity of dying cannot be avoided by our living so as to escape any such dangers; that therefore it is a right thing for those, who are in love with a virtuous conduct, to wait for that fatal hour by such behaviour as may carry them out of the world with praise and honour; and that this will alleviate death to a great degree, thus to come at it by the performance of brave actions, which bring us into danger of it; and at the same time, to leave that reputation behind them to their children, and to all their relations, whether they be men or women, which will be of great advantage to them afterward.”
3. And with such discourses as this did these men excite the young men to this action; and a report being come to them that the king was dead, this was an addition to the wise men’s persuasions; so, in the very middle of the day, they got upon the place, they pulled down the eagle, and cut it into pieces with axes, while a great number of the people were in the temple. And now the king’s captain, upon hearing what the undertaking was, and supposing it was a thing of a higher nature than it proved to be, came up thither, having a great band of soldiers with him, such as was sufficient to put a stop to the multitude of those who pulled down what was dedicated to God: so he fell upon them unexpectedly, and as they were upon this bold attempt, in a foolish presumption rather than a cautious circumspection, as is usual with the multitude, and while they were in disorder, and incautious of what was for their advantage; so he caught no fewer than forty of the young men, who had the courage to stay behind when the rest ran away, together with the authors of this bold attempt, Judas and Matthias, who thought it an ignominious thing to retire upon his approach, and led them to the king. And when they were come to the king, and he asked them, if they had been so bold, as to pull down what he had dedicated to God? “Yes, said they, what was contrived, we contrived, and what had been performed, we performed it, and that with such a virtuous courage as becomes men; for we have given our assistance to those things which were dedicated to the majesty of God, and we have provided for what we have learned by hearing the law; and it ought not to be wondered at, if we esteem those laws which Moses had suggested to him, and were taught him by God, and which he wrote and left behind him, more worthy of observation than thy commands. Accordingly we will undergo death, and all sorts of punishment which thou canst inflict upon us, with pleasure, since we are conscious to ourselves that we shall die, not for any unrighteous actions, but for our love to religion.” And thus they all said, and their courage was still equal to their profession, and equal to that with which they readily set about this undertaking. And when the king had ordered them to be bound, he sent them to Jericho, and called together the principal men among the Jews; and when they were come, he made them assemble in the theatre, and because he could not himself stand, he lay upon a couch, and “enumerated the many labours that he had long endured on their account, and his building of the temple, and what a vast charge that was to him; while the Asamoneans, during the hundred and twenty-five years of their government, had not been able to perform any so great a work for the honour of God as that was: that he had also adorned it with very valuable donations, on which account he hoped that he had left himself a memorial, and procured himself a reputation after his death. He then cried out, that these men had not abstained from affronting him, even in his life-time, but that in the very day-time, and in the sight of the multitude, they had abused him to that degree, as to fall upon what he had dedicated, and in that way of abuse, had pulled it down to the ground. They pretended, indeed, that they did it to affront him; but if any one, consider the thing truly, they will find, that they were guilty of sacrilege against God therein.”
4. But the people, on account of Herod’s barbarous temper, and for fear he should be so cruel as to inflict punishment on them, said, “What was done was done without their approbation, and that it seemed to them, that the actors might well be punished for what they had done.” But as for Herod, he dealt more mildly with others [of the assembly], but he deprived Matthias of the high priesthood, as in part an occasion of this action, and made Joazar, who was Matthias’s wife’s brother, high priest in his stead. Now it happened, that during the time of the high priesthood of this Matthias, there was another person made high priest for a single day, that very day which the Jews observed as a fast. The occasion was this: This Matthias the high priest, on the night before that day, when the fast was to be celebrated, seemed in a dream, (7) to have conversation with his wife; and because he could not officiate himself on that account, Joseph, the son of Ellemus, his kinsman, assisted him in that sacred office. But Herod deprived this Matthias of the high priesthood, and burnt the other Matthias who had raised the sedition, with his companions, alive. And that very night there was an eclipse of the moon. (8)
5. But now Herod’s distemper greatly increased upon him after a severe manner, and this by God’s judgment upon him for his sins; for a fire glowed in him slowly, which did not so much appear to the touch outwardly, as it augmented his pains inwardly; for it brought upon him a vehement appetite to eating, which he could not avoid to supply with one sort of food or other. His entrails were also exulcerated, and the chief violence of his pain lay on his colon; an aqueous and transparent liquor also had settled itself about his feet, and a like matter afflicted him at the bottom of his belly. Nay farther, his privy-member was putrified, and produced worms; and when he sat upright, he had a difficulty of breathing, which was very loathsome on account of the stench of his breath, and the quickness of its returns; he had also convulsions in all parts of his body, which increased his strength to an insufferable degree. It was said by those who pretended to divine, and who were endued with wisdom to foretel such things, that God inflicted this punishment on the king, on account of his great impiety; yet was he still in hopes of recovering, though his afflictions seemed greater than any one could bear. He also sent for physicians, and did not refuse to follow what they prescribed for his assistance, and went beyond the river Jordan, and bathed himself in the warm baths that were at Callirrhoe, which, besides their other general virtues, were also fit to drink; which water runs into the lake called Asphaltitis. And when the physicians once thought fit to have him bathed in a vessel full of oil, it was supposed that he was just dying; but upon the lamentable cries of his domestics, he revived; and having no longer the least hopes of recovering, he gave order that every soldier should be paid fifty drachmæ; and he also gave a great deal to their commanders, and to his friends, and came again to Jericho, where he grew so choleric, that it brought him to do all things like a mad man; and though he were near his death, he contrived the following wicked designs. He commanded that all the principal men of the entire Jewish nation, wheresoever they lived, should be called to him. Accordingly, they were a great number that came, because the whole nation was called, and all men heard of this call, and death was the penalty of such as should despise the epistles that were sent to call them. And now the king was in a wild rage against them all, the innocent as well as those that had afforded ground for accusations; and when they were come, he ordered them to be all shut up in the hippodrome, (9) and sent for his sister Salome, and her husband Alexas, and spake thus to them: “I shall die in a little time, so great are my pains, which death ought to be cheerfully borne, and to be welcomed by all men; but what principally troubles me is this, that I shall die without being lamented; and without such mourning as men usually expect at a king’s death. For that he was not unacquainted with the temper of the Jews, that his death would be a thing very desirable, and exceedingly acceptable to them; because during his life time they were ready to revolt from him, and to abuse the donations he had dedicated to God: that it therefore was their business to resolve to afford him some alleviation of his great sorrows on this occasion; for that if they do not refuse him their consent in what he desires, he shall have a great mourning at his funeral, and such as never had any king before him; for then the whole nation would mourn from their very soul, which otherwise would be done in sport and mockery only. He desired therefore, that, as soon as they see he hath given up the ghost, they shall place soldiers round the hippodrome, while they do not know that he is dead; and that they shall not declare his death to the multitude till this is done, but that they shall give orders to have those that are in custody shot with their darts; and that this slaughter of them all will cause that he shall not miss to rejoice on a double account. That as he is dying they will make him secure that his will shall be executed in what he charges them to do; and that he shall have the honour of a memorable mourning at his funeral. So he deplored his condition, with tears in his eyes, and obtested them by the kindness due from them as of his kindred, and by the faith they owed to God, and begged of them that they would not hinder him of this honourable mourning at his funeral.” So they promised him not to transgress his commands.
6. Now any one may easily discover the temper of this man’s mind, which not only took pleasure in doing what he had done formerly against his relations, out of the love of life, but by those commands of his which savoured of no humanity: since he took care, when he was departing out of this life, that the whole nation should be put into mourning, and indeed made desolate of their dearest kindred, when he gave order that one out of every family should be slain, although they had done nothing that was unjust, or that was against him nor were they accused of any other crimes; while it is usual for those who have any regard to virtue, to lay aside their hatred at such a time, even with respect to those they justly esteemed their enemies.
Herod has thoughts of killing himself with his own hand; and a little afterwards he orders Antipater to be slain.
1. As he was giving these commands to his relations, there came letters from his ambassadors, who had been sent to Rome unto Cæsar, which, when they were read, their purport was this: “That Acme was slain by Cæsar, out of his indignation at what hand she had in Antipater’s wicked practices; and that as to Antipater himself, Cæsar left it to Herod to act as became a father and a king, and either to banish him, or to take away his life, which he pleased.” When Herod heard this, he was somewhat better, out of the pleasure he had from the contents of the letters, and was elevated at the death of Acme, and at the power that was given him over his son; but as his pains were become very great, he was now ready to faint for want of somewhat to eat; so he called for an apple, and a knife; for it was his custom formerly to pare the apple himself, and soon afterwards to cut it, and eat it. When he had got the knife he looked about, and had a mind to stab himself with it; and he had done it, had not his first cousin Achiabus prevented him, and held his hand, and cried out loudly. Whereupon a woful lamentation echoed through the palace, and a great tumult was made, as if the king were dead. Upon which Antipater, who verily believed his father was deceased, grew bold in his discourse, as hoping to be immediately and entirely released from his bonds, and to take the kingdom into his hands, without any more ado; so he discoursed with the jailor about letting him go, and in that case promised him great things, both now and hereafter, as if that were the only thing now in question. But the jailor did not only refuse to do what Antipater would have him, but informed the king of his intentions, and how many solicitations he had had from him [of that nature]. Hereupon Herod, who had formerly no affection nor good will towards his son to restrain him, when he heard what the jailor said, he cried out, and beat his head, although he was at death’s door, and raised himself upon his elbow, and sent for some of his guards, and commanded them to kill Antipater without any farther delay, and to do it presently, and to bury him in an ignoble manner at Hyrcania.
Concerning Herod’s death, and testament, and burial.
1. And now Herod altered his testament upon the alteration of his mind; for he appointed Antipas, to whom he had before left the kingdom, to be tetrarch of Galilee and Perea, and granted the kingdom to Archelaus. He also gave Gaulonitis, and Trachonitis, and Paneas to Philip, who was his son, but own brother to Archelaus, (10) by the name of a tetrarchy; and bequeathed Jarnnia, and Ashdod, and Phasaelis, to Salome his sister, with five hundred thousand [drachmæ] of silver that was coined. He also made provision for all the rest of his kindred, by giving them sums of money and annual revenues, and so left them all in a wealthy condition. He bequeathed also to Cæsar ten millions [of drachmæ] of coined money, besides both vessels of gold and silver, and garments exceeding costly, to Julia, Cæsar’s wife; and to certain others, five millions. When he had done these things he died, the fifth day after he had caused Antipater to be slain; having reigned, since he had procured Antigonus to be slain, thirty-four years; but since he had been declared king by the Romans, thirty-seven. (11) A man he was of great barbarity towards all men equally, and a slave to his passion; but above the consideration of what was right: yet was he favoured by fortune as much as any man ever was, for from a private man he became a king; and though he were encompassed with ten thousand dangers, he got clear of them all, and continued his life till a very old age. But then, as to the affairs of his family and children, in which indeed, according to his own opinion, he was also very fortunate, because he was able to conquer his enemies, yet, in my opinion, he was herein very unfortunate.
2. But then Salome and Alexas, before the king’s death was made known, dismissed those that were shut up in the hippodrome, and told them, that the king ordered them to go away to their own lands, and take care of their own affairs, which was esteemed by the nation a great benefit. And now the king’s death was made public, when Salome and Alexas gathered the soldiery together in the amphitheatre at Jericho; and the first thing they did was, they read Herod’s letter, written to the soldiery, thanking them for their fidelity and good will to him, and exhorting them to afford his son Archelaus, whom he had appointed for their king, like fidelity and good will. After which Ptolemy, who had the king’s seal entrusted to him, read the king’s testament, which was to be of force no otherwise than as it should stand when Cæsar had inspected it: so there was presently an acclamation made to Archelaus, as king, and the soldiers came by bands, and their commanders with them, and promised the same good-will to him, and readiness to serve him, which they had exhibited to Herod; and they prayed God to be assistant to him.
3. After this was over, they prepared for his funeral, it being Archelaus’s care that the procession to his father’s sepulchre should be very sumptuous. Accordingly he brought out all his ornaments to adorn the pomp of the funeral. The body was carried upon a golden bier, embroidered with very precious stones of great variety, and it was covered over with purple, as well as the body itself: he had a diadem upon his head, and above it a crown of gold; he also had a sceptre in his right hand. About the bier were his sons and his numerous relations; next to these was the soldiery, distinguished according to their several countries and denominations; and they were put into the following order: First of all went his guards; then the band of Thracians; and after them the Germans; and next the band of Galatians, every one in their habiliments of war; and behind these marched the whole army in the same manner as they used to go out to war, and as they used to be put in array by their muster-masters and centurions; these were followed by five hundred of his domestics carrying spices. So they went eight furlongs (12) to Herodium; for there, by his own command, he was to be buried. And thus did Herod end his life.
4. Now Archelaus paid him so much respect, as to continue his mourning till the seventh day; for so many days are appointed for it by the law of our fathers. And when he had given a treat to the multitude, and left off his mourning, he went up into the temple; he had also acclamations and praises given him, which way soever he went, every one striving with the rest who should appear to use the loudest acclamations. So he ascended an high elevation made for him, and took his seat in a throne made of gold, and spake kindly to the multitude, and declared, “with what joy he received their acclamations, and the marks of the good will they shewed to him; and returned them thanks that they did not remember the injuries his father had done them, to his disadvantage; and promised them he would endeavour not to be behind-hand with them in rewarding their alacrity in his service, after a suitable manner: but that he should abstain at present from the name of king, and that he should have the honour of that dignity, if Cæsar should confirm and settle that testament which his father had made; and that it was on this account, that when the army would have put the diadem on him at Jericho, he would not accept of that honour, which is usually so much desired, because it was not yet evident that he who was to be principally concerned in bestowing it would give it him; although, by his acceptance of the government, he should not want the ability of rewarding their kindness to him, and that it should be his endeavour, as to all things wherein they were concerned, to prove, in every respect, better than his father.” Whereupon the multitude, as it is usual with them, supposed that the first days of those that enter upon such governments declare the intentions of those that accept them; and so by how much Archelaus spake the more gently and civilly to them, by so much did they more highly commend him, and made application to him for the grant of what they desired. Some made a clamour that he would ease them of some of their annual payments; but others desired him to release those that were put into prison by Herod, who were many, and had been put there at several times; others of them required that he would take away those taxes which had been severely laid upon what was publicly sold and bought. So Archelaus contradicted them in nothing, since he pretended to do all things so as to get the good will of the multitude to him, as looking upon that good will to be a great step towards his preservation of the government. Hereupon he went and offered sacrifice to God, and then betook himself to feast with his friends.
How the peopleraised a sedition against Archelaus, and how he sailed to Rome.
1. At this time also it was, that some of the Jews got together out of a desire of innovation. They lamented Matthias, and those that were slain with him by Herod, who had not any respect paid them by a funeral mourning, out of the fear men were in of that man; they were those who had been condemned for pulling down the golden eagle. The people made a great clamour and lamentation hereupon, and cast out some reproaches against the king also, as if that tended to alleviate the miseries of the deceased. These people assembled together, and desired of Archelaus, that, in way of revenge on their account, he would inflict punishment on those who had been honoured by Herod; and that, in the first and principal place, he would deprive that high priest whom Herod had made, and would choose one more agreeable to the law, and of greater purity, to officiate as high priest. This was granted by Archelaus, although he was mightily offended at their importunity, because he proposed to himself to go to Rome immediately, to look after Cæsar’s determination about him. However, he sent the general of his forces to use persuasions, and to tell them, that the death which was inflicted on their friends was according to the law; and to represent to them, that their petitions about these things were carried to a great height of injury to him; that the time was not now proper for such petitions, but required their unanimity until such time as he should be established in the government by the consent of Cæsar, and should then be come back to them; for that he would then consult with them in common concerning the purport of their petitions, but that they ought at present to be quiet, lest they should seem seditious persons.
2. So when the king had suggested these things, and instructed his general in what he was to say, be sent him away to the people; but they made a clamour, and would not give him leave to speak, and put him in danger of his life, and as many more as were desirous to venture upon saying openly any thing which might reduce them to a sober mind, and prevent their going on in their present courses; because they had more concern to have all their own wills performed, than to yield obedience to their governors; thinking it to be a thing insufferable, that, while Herod was alive, they should lose those that were most dear to them, and that when he was dead, they could not get the actors to be punished. So they went on with their designs after a violent manner, and thought all to be lawful and right which tended to please them, and being unskilful in foreseeing what dangers they incurred; and when they had suspicion of such a thing, yet did the present pleasure they took in the punishment of those they deemed their enemies, overweigh all such considerations; and although Archelaus sent many to speak to them, yet they treated them not as messengers sent by him, but as persons that came of their own accord to mitigate their anger, and would not let one of them speak. The sedition also was made by such as were in a great passion; and it was evident that they were proceeding farther in seditious practices, by the multitude’s running so fast upon them.
3. Now upon the approach of that feast of unleavened bread, which the law of their fathers had appointed for the Jews at this time, which feast is called the Passover, (13) and is a memorial of their deliverance out of Egypt, (when they offer sacrifices with great alacrity, and when they are required to slay more sacrifices in number than at any other festival; and when an innumerable multitude came thither out of the country, nay from beyond its limits also, in order to worship God); the seditious lamented Judas and Matthias, those teachers of the laws, and kept together in the temple, and had plenty of food, because these seditious persons were not ashamed to beg it. And as Archelaus was afraid lest some terrible thing should spring up by means of these men’s madness, he sent a regiment of armed men, and with them a captain of a thousand, to suppress the violent efforts of the seditious, before the whole multitude should be infected with the like madness; and gave them this charge, that if they found any much more openly seditious than others, and more busy in tumultuous practices, they should bring them to him. But those that were seditious on account of those teachers of the law, irritated the people by the noise and clamour they used to encourage the people in their designs; so they made an assault upon the soldiers, and came up to them, and stoned the greatest part of them, although some of them ran away wounded, and their captain among them; and when they had thus done, they returned to the sacrifices which were already in their hands. Now Archelaus thought there was no way to preserve the entire government, but by cutting off those who made this attempt upon it; so he sent out the whole army upon them, and sent the horsemen to prevent those that had their tents without the temple, from assisting those that were within the temple, and to kill such as ran away from the footmen, when they thought themselves out of danger, which horsemen slew three thousand men, while the rest went to the neighbouring mountains. Then did Archelaus order proclamation to be made to them all, that they should retire to their own homes; so they went away and left the festival out of fear of somewhat worse which would follow, although they had been so bold, by reason of their want of instruction. So Archelaus went down to the sea with his mother, and took with him Nicolaus and Ptolemy, and many others of his friends, and left Philip his brother as governor of all things belonging both to his own family and to the public. There went out also with him, Salome, Herod’s sister, who took with her her children, and many of her kindred were with her; which kindred of hers went, as they pretended, to assist Archelaus in gaining the kingdom, but in reality to oppose him, and chiefly to make loud complaints of what he had done in the temple. But Sabinus, Cæsar’s steward for Syrian affairs, as he was making haste into Judea to preserve Herod’s effects, met with Archelaus at Cæsarea; but Varus [president of Syria] came at that time, and restrained him from meddling with them, for he was there as sent for by Archelaus, by the means of Ptolemy. And Sabinus, out of regard to Varus, did neither seize upon any of the castles that were among the Jews, nor did he seal up the treasures in them, but permitted Archelaus to have them, until Cæsar should declare his resolution about them; so that, upon this his promise, he tarried still at Cæsarea. But after Archelaus was sailed for Rome, and Varus was removed to Antioch, Sabinus went to Jerusalem, and seized on the king’s palace: he also sent for the keepers of the garrisons, and for all those that had the charge of Herod’s effects, and declared publicly, that he should require them to give an account of what they had; and he disposed of the castles in the manner he pleased; but those who kept them did not neglect what Archelaus had given them in command, but continued to keep all things in the manner that had been enjoined them; and their pretence was, that they kept them all for Cæsar.
4. At the same time also did Antipas, another of Herod’s sons, sail to Rome, in order to gain the government; being buoyed up by Salome with promises that he should take that government; and that he was a much honester, and fitter man, than Archelaus, for that authority, since Herod had, in his former testament, deemed him the worthiest to be made king, which ought to be esteemed more valid than his latter testament. Antipas also brought with him his mother, and Ptolemy the brother of Nicolaus, one that had been Herod’s most honoured friend, and was now zealous for Antipas: but it was Ireneus the orator, and one who, on account of his reputation for sagacity, was intrusted with the affairs of the kingdom, who most of all encouraged him to attempt to gain the kingdom; by whose means it was, that when some advised him to yield to Archelaus, as to his elder brother, and who had been declared king by their father’s last will, he would not submit so to do. And when he was come to Rome, all his relations revolted to him; not out of their good-will to him, but out of their hatred to Archelaus; though indeed they were most of all desirous of gaining their liberty, and to be put under a Roman governor; but, if there were too great an opposition made to that, they thought Antipas preferable to Archelaus, and so joined with him, in order to procure the kingdom for him. Sabinus also by letters, accused Archelaus to Cæsar.
5. Now when Archelaus had sent in his papers to Cæsar, wherein he pleaded his right to the kingdom, and his father’s testament, with the accounts of Herod’s money, and with Ptolemy, who brought Herod’s seal, he so expected the event; but when Cæsar had read these papers, and Varus’s and Sabinus’s letters, with the accounts of the money, and what were the annual incomes of the kingdom, and understood that Antipas had also sent letters to lay claim to the kingdom, he summoned his friends together to know their opinions, and with them Caius, the son of Agrippa, and of Julia his daughter, whom he had adopted, and took him, and made him sit first of all, and desired such as pleased to speak their minds about the affairs now before them. Now Antipater, Salome’s son, a very subtle orator, and a bitter enemy to Archelaus, spake first to this purpose: That it was ridiculous in Archelaus to plead now, to have the kingdom given him, since he had, in reality taken already the power over it to himself before Cæsar had granted it to him; and appealed to those bold actions of his, in destroying so many at the Jewish festival; and, if the men had acted unjustly, it was “but fit the punishing of them should have been reserved to those that were out of the country, but had the power to punish them, and not been executed by a man that, if he pretended to be a king, he did an injury to Cæsar, by usurping that authority before it was determined for him by Cæsar; but, if he owned himself to be a private person, his case was much worse, since he who was putting in for the kingdom, could by no means expect to have that power granted him, of which he had already deprived Cæsar [by taking it to himself]. He also touched sharply upon him, and appealed to his changing the commanders in the army, and his sitting in the royal throne beforehand, and his determination of law-suits; all done as if he were no other than a king. He appealed also to his concessions to those that petitioned him on a public account, and indeed doing such things, than which he could devise no greater if he had been already settled in the kingdom by Cæsar. He also ascribed to him the releasing of the prisoners that were in the hippodrome, and many other things, that either had been certainly done by him, or were believed to be done, and easily might be believed to have been done, because they were of such a nature as to be usually done by young men, and by such as, out of a desire of ruling, seize upon the government too soon. He also charged him with his neglect of the funeral mourning for his father, and with having merry-meetings the very night in which he died; and that it was thence the multitude took the handle of raising a tumult: and if Archelaus could thus requite his dead father, who had bestowed such benefits upon him, and bequeathed such great things to him, by pretending to shed tears for him in the day-time, like an actor on the stage, but every night making mirth for having gotten the government, he would appear to be the same Archelaus with regard to Cæsar, if he granted him the kingdom, which he hath been to his father; since he had then dancing and singing, as though an enemy of his were fallen, and not as though a man were carried to his funeral, that was so nearly related, and had been so great a benefactor to him. But he said, that the greatest crime of all was this, that he came now before Cæsar to obtain the kingdom by his grant, while he had before acted in all things as he could have acted if Cæsar himself, who ruled all, had fixed him firmly in the government. And what he most aggravated in his pleading, was the slaughter of those about the temple, and the impiety of it, as done at the festival; and how they were slain like sacrifices themselves, some of whom were foreigners, and others of their own country, till the temple was full of dead bodies: and all this was done, not by an alien, but by one who pretended to the lawful title of a king, that he might complete the wicked tyranny which his nature prompted him to, and which is hated by all men. On which account his father never so much as dreamed of making him his successor in the kingdom, when he was of a sound mind, because he knew his disposition; and in his former and more authentic testament, he appointed his antagonist Antipas to succeed; but that Archelaus was called by his father to that dignity, when he was in a dying condition both of body and mind, while Antipas was called when he was ripest in his judgment, and of such strength of body as made him capable of managing his own affairs: and if his father had the like notion of him formerly that he hath now shewed, yet hath he given a sufficient specimen what a king he is likely to be, when he hath [in effect] deprived Cæsar of that power of disposing of the kingdom, which he justly hath, and hath not abstained from making a terrible slaughter of his fellow-citizens in the temple, while he was but a private person.”
6. So when Antipater had made this speech, and had confirmed what he had said by producing many witnesses from among Archelaus’s own relations, he made an end of his pleading. Upon which Nicolaus arose up to plead for Archelaus, and said, “That what had been done at the temple was rather to be attributed to the mind of those that had been killed, than to the authority of Archelaus; for that those, who are the authors of such things, are not only wicked in the injuries they do of themselves, but in forcing sober persons to avenge themselves upon them. Now it is evident, that what these did in way of opposition was done under pretence indeed against Archelaus, but in reality against Cæsar himself; for they, after an injurious manner, attacked and slew those who were sent by Archelaus, and who came only to put a stop to their doings. They had no regard either to God, or to the festival, whom Antipater yet is not ashamed to patronize, whether it be out of his indulgence of an enmity to Archelaus, or out of his hatred of virtue and justice. For as to those who begin such tumults, and first set about such unrighteous actions, they are the men who force those that punish them to betake themselves to arms even against their will. So that Antipater in effect ascribes the rest of what was done to all those who were of counsel to the accusers; for nothing which is here accused of injustice has been done, but what was derived from them as its authors; nor are those things evil in themselves, but so represented only in order to do harm to Archelaus. Such is these men’s inclination to do an injury to a man that is of their kindred, their father’s benefactor, and familiarly acquainted with them, and that hath ever lived in friendship with them; for that, as to this testament, it was made by the king when he was of a sound mind, and so ought to be of more authority than his former testament; and that for this reason, because Cæsar is therein left to be the judge and disposer of all therein contained; and for Cæsar, he will not, to be sure, at all imitate the unjust proceedings of those men who, during Herod’s whole life, had on all occasions been joint partakers of power with him, and yet do zealously endeavour to injure his determination, while they have not themselves had the same regard to their kinsman [which Archelaus had]. Cæsar will not therefore disannul the testament of a man whom he had entirely supported, of his friend and confederate, and that which is committed to him in trust to ratify: nor will Cæsar’s virtuous and upright disposition, which is known and uncontested through all the habitable world, imitate the wickedness of these men in condemning a king as a madman, and as having lost his reason, while he hath bequeathed the succession to a good son of his, and to one who flies to Cæsar’s upright determination for refuge. Nor can Herod at any time have been mistaken in his judgment about a successor, while he shewed so much prudence as to submit all to Cæsar’s determination.”
7. Now when Nicolaus had laid these things before Cæsar, he ended his plea; whereupon Cæsar was so obliging to Archelaus, that he raised him up, when he had cast himself down at his feet, and said, That “he well deserved the kingdom:” and he soon let them know, that he was so far moved in his favour, that he would not act otherwise than his father’s testament directed, and than was for the advantage of Archelaus. However, while he gave this encouragement to Archelaus to depend on him securely, he made no full determination about him; and, when the assembly was broken up, he considered by himself, whether he should confirm the kingdom to Archelaus, or whether he should part it among all Herod’s posterity; and this because they all stood in need of much assistance to support them.
A sedition against Sabinus; and how Varus brought the authors of it to punishment.
1. But before these things could be brought to a settlement, Malthace, Archelaus’s mother, fell into a distemper, and died of it; and letters came from Varus, the president of Syria, which informed Cæsar of the revolt of the Jews; for, after Archelaus was sailed, the whole nation was in a tumult. So Varus, since he was there himself, brought the authors of the disturbance to punishment; and when he had restrained them for the most part from this sedition, which was a great one, he took his journey to Antioch, leaving one legion of his army at Jerusalem to keep the Jews quiet, who were now very fond of innovation. Yet did not this at all avail to put an end to that their sedition: for after Varus was gone away, Sabinus, Cæsar’s procurator, staid behind, and greatly distressed the Jews, relying on the forces that were left there that they would by their multitude protect him; for he made use of them, and armed them as his guards, thereby so oppressing the Jews, and giving them so great disturbance, that at length they rebelled; for he used force in seizing the citadels, and zealously pressed on the search after the king’s money, in order to seize upon it by force, on account of his love of gain, and his extraordinary covetousness.
2. But on the approach of Pentecost, which is a festival of ours so called from the days of our forefathers, a great many ten thousands of men got together; nor did they come only to celebrate the festival, but out of their indignation at the madness of Sabinus, and at the injuries he offered them. A great number there was of Galileans, and Idumeans, and many men from Jericho, and others who had passed over the river Jordan, and inhabited those parts. This whole multitude joined themselves to all the rest, and were more zealous than the others in making an assault on Sabinus, in order to be avenged on him: so they parted themselves into three bands, and encamped themselves in the places following: some of them seized on the Hippodrome, and, of the other two bands, one pitched themselves from the northern part of the temple to the southern, on the east quarter; but the third band held the western part of the city, where the king’s palace was. Their work tended entirely to besiege the Romans, and to inclose them on all sides. Now Sabinus was afraid of these men’s number, and of their resolution, who had little regard to their lives, but were very desirous not to be overcome, while they thought it a point of puissance to overcome their enemies; so he sent immediately a letter to Varus, and, as he used to do, was very pressing with him, and entreated him to come quickly to his assistance; because the forces he had left were in imminent danger, and would probably, in no long time, be seized upon, and cut to pieces; while he did himself get up to the highest tower of the fortress Phasaelus, which had been built in honour of Phasaelus King Herod’s brother, and called so when the Parthians had brought him to his death. (14) So Sabinus gave thence a signal to the Romans to fall upon the Jews, although he did not himself venture so much as to come down to his friends, and thought he might expect that the others should expose themselves first to die on account of his avarice. However, the Romans ventured to make a sally out of the place, and a terrible battle ensued; wherein, though it is true the Romans beat their adversaries, yet were not the Jews daunted in their resolutions, even when they had the sight of that terrible slaughter that was made of them; but they went round about, and got upon those cloisters which encompassed the outer court of the temple, where a great fight was still continued, and they cast stones at the Romans, partly with their hands, and partly with slings, as being much used to those exercises. All the archers also in array did the Romans a great deal of mischief; because they used their hands dextrously from a place superior to the others, and because the others were at an utter loss what to do; for when they tried to shoot their arrows against the Jews upwards, these arrows could not reach them, insomuch that the Jews were easily too hard for their enemies. And this sort of fight lasted a great while, till at last the Romans, who were greatly distressed by what was done, set fire to the cloisters so privately, that those that were gotten upon them did not perceive it. This fire, (15) being fed by a great deal of combustible matter, caught hold immediately on the roof of the cloisters; so the wood, which was full of pitch and wax, and whose gold was laid on it with wax, yielded to the flame presently, and those vast works, which were of the highest value and esteem, were destroyed utterly, while those that were on the roof unexpectedly perished at the same time; for, as the roof tumbled down, some of these men tumbled down with it, and others of them were killed by their enemies who encompassed them. There was a great number more, who, out of despair of saving their lives, and out of astonishment at the misery that surrounded them, did either cast themselves into the fire, or threw themselves upon their swords, and so got out of their misery. But as to those that retired behind, the same way by which they ascended, and thereby escaped, they were all killed by the Romans, as being unarmed men, and their courage failing them; their wild fury being now not able to help them, because they were destitute of armour, insomuch that, of those that went up to the top of the roof, not one escaped. The Romans also rushed through the fire, where it gave them room so to do, and seized on that treasure where the sacred money was reposited; a great part of which was stolen by the soldiers, and Sabinus got openly four hundred talents.
3. But this calamity of the Jews’ friends, who fell in this battle, grieved them, as did also this plundering of the money dedicated [to God in the temple]. Accordingly that body of them which continued best together, and was the most warlike, encompassed the palace, and threatened to set fire to it, and kill all that were in it. Yet still they commanded them to go out presently and promised, that, if they would do so, they would not hurt them, nor Sabinus neither; at which time the greatest part of the king’s troops deserted to them, while Rufus and Gratus, who had three thousand of the most warlike of Herod’s army with them, who were men of active bodies, went over to the Romans. There was also a band of horsemen under the command of Rufus, which itself went over to the Romans also. However, the Jews went on with the siege, and dug mines under the palace walls, and besought those that were gone over to the other side, not to be their hindrance, now they had such a proper opportunity for the recovery of their country’s ancient liberty: and for Sabinus, truly he was desirous of going away with his soldiers, but was not able to trust himself with the enemy, on account of what mischief he had already done them; and he took this great [pretended] lenity of theirs for an argument why he should not comply with them; and so, because he expected that Varus was coming, he still bore the siege.
4. Now at this time there were ten thousand other disorders in Judea, which were like tumults; because a great number put themselves into a warlike posture, either out of hopes of gain to themselves, or out of enmity to the Jews. In particular, two thousand of Herod’s old soldiers, who had been already disbanded, got together in Judea itself, and fought against the king’s troops; although Achiabus, Herod’s first cousin, opposed them; but as he was driven out of the plains into the mountainous parts, by the military skill of those men, he kept himself in the fastnesses that were there, and saved what he could.
5. There was also Judas, (16) the son of that Ezekias who had been head of the robbers; which Ezekias was a very strong man, and had with great dificulty been caught by Herod. This Judas, having gotten together a multitude of men of a profligate character about Sepphoris in Galilee, made an assault upon the palace [there] and seized upon all the weapons that were laid up in it, and with them armed every one of those that were with him, and carried away what money was left there; and he became terrible to all men, by tearing and rending those that came near him; and all this in order to raise himself, and out of an ambitious desire of the royal dignity; and he hoped to obtain that as the reward, not of his virtuous skill in war, but of his extravagance in doing injuries.
6. There was also Simon, who had been a slave of Herod the king, but in other respects a comely person, of a tall and robust body; he was one that was much superior to others of his order, and had had great things committed to his care. This man was elevated at the disorderly state of things, and was so bold as to put a diadem on his head, while a certain number of the people stood by him, and by them he was declared to be a king, and thought himself more worthy of that dignity than any one else. He burnt down the royal palace at Jericho, and plundered what was left in it. He also set fire to many other of the king’s houses in several places of the country, and utterly destroyed them, and permitted those that were with him to take what was left in them for a prey: and he would have done greater things, unless care had been taken to repress him immediately; for Gratus, when he had joined himself to some Roman soldiers, took the forces he had with him, and met Simon, and after a great and a long fight, no small part of those that came from Perea, who were a disordered body of men, and fought rather in a bold than in a skilful manner, were destroyed: and although Simon had saved himself by flying away through a certain valley, yet Gratus overtook him, and cut off his head. The royal palace also at Amathus, by the river Jordan, was burnt down by a party of men that were got together, as were those belonging to Simon. And thus did a great and wild fury spread itself over the nation, because they had no king to keep the multitude in good order, and because those foreigners, who came to reduce the seditious to sobriety did on the contrary set them more in a flame, because of the injuries they offered them, and the avaricious management of their affairs.
7. But because Athronges, a person neither eminent by the dignity of his progenitors, nor for any great wealth he was possessed of, but one that had in all respects been a shepherd only, and was not known by any body; yet because he was a tall man, and excelled others in the strength of his hands, he was so bold as to set up for king. This man thought it so sweet a thing to do more than ordinary injuries to others, that, although he should be killed, he did not much care if he lost his life in so great a design. He had also four brethren, who were tall men themselves, and were believed to be superior to others in the strength of their hands, and thereby were encouraged to aim at great things, and thought that strength of theirs would support them in retaining the kingdom. Each of these ruled over a band of men of their own; for those that got together to them were very numerous. They were every one of them also commanders; but when they came to fight, they were subordinate to him, and fought for him; while he put a diadem about his head, and assembled a council to debate about what things should be done, and all things were done according to his pleasure. And this man retained his power a great while; he was also called King, and had nothing to hinder him from doing what he pleased. He also, as well as his brethren, slew a great many both of the Romans, and of the king’s forces, and managed matters with the like hatred to each of them. The king’s forces they fell upon, because of the licentious conduct they had been allowed under Herod’s government; and they fell upon the Romans, because of the injuries they had so lately received from them. But, in process of time, they grew more cruel to all sorts of men; nor could any one escape from one or other of these seditions, since they slew some out of the hopes of gain, and others from a mere custom of slaying men. They once attacked a company of Romans at Emmaus, who were bringing corn and weapons to the army, and fell upon Arius, the centurion, who commanded the company, and shot forty of the best of his foot soldiers: but the rest of them were affrighted at their slaughter, and left their dead behind them, but saved themselves by the means of Gratus, who came with the king’s troops that were about him to their assistance. Now these four brethren continued the war a long while by such sort of expeditions, and much grieved the Romans; but did their own nation also a great deal of mischief. Yet were they afterwards subdued; one of them in a fight with Gratus, another with Ptolemy; Archelaus also took the eldest of them prisoner; while the last of them was so dejected at the other’s misfortune, and saw so plainly that he had no way now left to save himself, his army being worn away with sickness, and continual labours, that he also delivered himself up to Archelaus, upon his promise and oath to God [to preserve his life.] But these things came to pass a good while afterward.
8. And now Judea was full of robberies; and as the several companies of the seditious lighted upon any one to head them, he was created a king immediately, in order to do mischief to the public. They were in some small measure indeed, and in small matters, hurtful to the Romans; but the murders they committed upon their own people lasted a long while.
9. As soon as Varus was once informed of the state of Judea by Sabinus’s writing to him, he was afraid for the legion he had left there; so he took the two other legions, (for there were three legions in all belonging to Syria), and four troops of horsemen, with the several auxiliary forces which either the kings or certain of the tetrarchs afforded him, and made what haste he could to assist those that were then besieged in Judea. He also gave order, that all that were sent out for this expedition should make haste to Ptolemais. The citizens of Berytus also gave him 1500 auxiliaries, as he passed through their city. Aretas also, the king of Arabia Petrea, out of his hatred to Herod, and in order to purchase the favour of the Romans, sent him no small assistance, besides their footmen and horsemen: and when he had now collected all his forces together, he committed part of them to his son, and to a friend of his, and sent them upon an expedition into Galilee, which lies in the neighbourhood of Ptolemais; who made an attack upon the enemy, and put them to flight, and took Sepphoris, and made its inhabitants slaves, and burnt the city. But Varus himself pursued his march for Samaria with his whole army: yet did not he meddle with the city of that name, because it had not at all joined with the seditious; but pitched his camp at a certain village that belonged to Ptolemy, whose name was Arus, which the Arabians burnt, out of their hatred to Herod, and out of the enmity they bore to his friends; whence they marched to another village, whose name was Sampho, which the Arabians plundered and burnt, although it was a fortified and a strong place; and all along this march nothing escaped them, but all places were full of fire and of slaughter. Emmaus was also burnt by Varus’s order, after its inhabitants had deserted it, that he might avenge those that had there been destroyed. From thence he now marched to Jerusalem; whereupon those Jews whose camp lay there, and who had besieged the Roman legion, not bearing the coming of this army, left the siege imperfect; but as to the Jerusalem Jews, when Varus reproached them bitterly for what had been done, they cleared themselves of the accusation, and alleged, that the conflux of the people was occasioned by the feast; that the war was not made with their approbation, but by the rashness of the strangers, while they were on the side of the Romans, and besieged together with them, rather than having any inclination to besiege them. There also came beforehand to meet Varus, Joseph, the cousin-german of King Herod, as also Gratus and Rufus, who brought their soldiers along with them, together with those Romans who had been besieged; but Sabinus did not come into Varus’s presence, but stole out of the city privately, and went to the sea-side.
10. Upon this, Varus sent a part of his army into the country, to seek out those that had been the authors of the revolt; and when they were discovered, he punished some of them that were most guilty, and some he dismissed: now the number of those that were crucified on this account were two thousand. After which he disbanded his army, which he found no ways useful to him in the affairs he came about; for they behaved themselves very disorderly, and disobeyed his orders, and what Varus desired them to do, and this out of regard to that gain which they made by the mischief they did. As for himself, when he was informed that ten thousand Jews had gotten together, he made haste to catch them; but they did not proceed so far as to fight him, but, by the advice of Achiabus, they came together and delivered themselves up to him: hereupon Varus forgave the crime of revolting to the multitude, but sent their several commanders to Cæsar, many of whom Cæsar dismissed; but for the several relations of Herod who had been among these men in this war, they were the only persons whom he punished, who, without the least regard to justice, fought against their own kindred.
An ambassage to Cæsar; and how Cæsar confirmed Herod’s testament.
1. So when Varus had settled these affairs, and had placed the former legion at Jerusalem, he returned back to Antioch; but as for Archelaus, he had new sources of trouble come upon him at Rome, on the occasions following; for an embassage of the Jews was come to Rome, Varus having permitted the nation to send it, that they might petition for the liberty of living by their own laws. (17) Now the number of the ambassadors that were sent by the authority of the nation was fifty, to which they joined above eight thousand of the Jews that were at Rome already. Hereupon Cæsar assembled his friends, and the chief men among the Romans in the temple of Apollo, (18) which he had built at a vast charge; whither the ambassadors came, and a multitude of the Jews that were there already, came with them, as did also Archelaus and his friends; but as for the several kinsmen which Archelaus had, they would not join themselves with him, out of their hatred to him; and yet they thought it too gross a thing for them to assist the ambassadors [against him], as supposing it would be a disgrace to them in Cæsar’s opinion to think of thus acting in opposition to a man of their own kindred. Philip (19) also was come hither out of Syria, by the persuasion of Varus, with this principal intention to assist his brother [Archelaus]; for Varus was his great friend; but still so, that if there should any change happen in the form of government, (which Varus suspected there would), and if any distribution should be made on account of the number that desired the liberty of living by their own laws, that he might not be disappointed, but might have his share in it.
2. Now, upon the liberty that was given to the Jewish ambassadors to speak, they who hoped to obtain a dissolution of kingly government betook themselves to accuse Herod of his iniquities; and they declared, That “he was indeed in name a king, but that he had taken to himself that uncontroulable authority which tyrants exercise over their subjects, and had made use of that authority for the destruction of the Jews, and did not abstain from making many innovations among them besides, according to his own inclinations; and that whereas there were a great many who perished by that destruction he brought upon them, so many indeed as no other history relates, they that survived were far more miserable than those that suffered under him; not only by the anxiety they were in from his looks and disposition towards them, but from the danger their estates were in of being taken away by him. That he did never leave off adorning these cities that lay in their neighbourhood, but were inhabited by foreigners; but so that the cities belonging to his own government were ruined, and utterly destroyed: that whereas, when he took the kingdom, it was in an extraordinary flourishing condition, he had filled the nation with the utmost degree of poverty; and when, upon unjust pretences, he had slain any of the nobility, he took away their estates; and when he permitted any of them to live, he condemned them to the forfeiture of what they possessed. And besides the annual impositions which he laid upon every one of them, they were to make liberal presents to himself, to his domestics and friends, and to such of his slaves as were vouchsafed the favour of being his tax-gatherers, because there was no way of obtaining a freedom from unjust violence, without giving either gold or silver for it. That they would say nothing of the corruption of the chastity of their virgins, and the reproach laid on their wives for incontinency, and those things acted after an insolent and inhuman manner; because it was not a smaller pleasure to the sufferers to have such things concealed, than it would have been not to have suffered them. That Herod had put such abuses upon them as a wild beast would not have put on them, if he had power given him to rule over us; and that although their nation had passed through many subversions and alterations of government, their history gave no account of any calamity they had ever been under, that could be compared with this which Herod had brought upon their nation: that it was for this reason that they thought they might justly and gladly salute Archelaus as king, upon this supposition, that whosoever should be set over their kingdom, he would appear more mild to them than Herod had been: and that they had joined with him in the mourning for his father, in order to gratify him, and were ready to oblige him in other points also, if they could meet with any degree of moderation from him; but that he seemed to be afraid lest he should not be deemed Herod’s own son; and so, without any delay, he immediately let the nation understand his meaning, and this before his dominion was well established, since the power of disposing of it belonged to Cæsar, who could either give it to him, or not, as he pleased. That he had given a specimen of his future virtue to his subjects, and with what kind of moderation and good administration he would govern them, by that his first action which concerned them, his own citizens, and God himself also, when he made the slaughter of three thousand of his own countrymen at the temple. How then could they avoid the just hatred of him, who, to the rest of his barbarity, hath added this as one of our crimes, that we have opposed and contradicted him in the exercise of his authority?” Now the main thing they desired was this, That “they might be delivered from kingly and the like forms of government, (20) and might be added to Syria, and be put under the authority of such presidents of theirs as should be sent to them; for that it would thereby be made evident, whether they be really a seditious people, and generally fond of innovations, or whether they would live in an orderly manner, if they might have governors of any sort of moderation set over them.”
3. Now when the Jews had said this, Nicolaus vindicated the kings from those accusations, and said, That “as for Herod, since he had never been thus accused all the time of his life, (21) it was not fit for those that might have accused him of lesser crimes than those now mentioned, and might have procured him to be punished during his life time, to bring an accusation against him now he is dead. He also attributed the actions of Archelaus to the Jews injuries to him, who affecting to govern contrary to the laws, and going about to kill those that would have hindered them from acting unjustly, when they were by him punished for what they had done, made their complaints against him; so he accused them of their attempts for innovation, and of the pleasure they took in sedition, by reason of their not having learned to submit to justice, and to the laws, but still desiring to be superior in all things.” This was the substance of what Nicolaus said.
4. When Cæsar had heard these pleadings, he dissolved the assembly; but a few days afterwards he appointed Archelaus, not indeed to be king of the whole country, but ethnarch of the one half of that which had been subject to Herod, and promised to give him the royal dignity hereafter, if he governed his part virtuously. But as for the other half, he divided it into two parts, and gave it to two other of Herod’s sons, to Philip and to Antipas, that Antipas who disputed with Archelaus for the whole kingdom. Now to him it was that Perea and Galilee paid their tribute, which amounted annually to two hundred talents, (22) while Batanea, with Trachonitis, as well as Auranitis, with a certain part of what was called the House of Zenodorus, (23) paid the tribute of one hundred talents to Philip; but Idumea, and Judea, and the country of Samaria paid tribute to Archelaus, but had now a fourth part of that tribute taken off by the order of Cæsar, who decreed them that mitigation, because they did not join in this revolt with the rest of the multitude. There were also certain of the cities which paid tribute to Archelaus, Strato’s Tower, and Sebaste, with Joppa and Jerusalem; for as to Gaza and Gadara, and Hippos, they were Grecian cities, which Cæsar separated from his government, and added them to the province of Syria. Now the tribute-money that came to Archelaus every year from his own dominions, amounted to six hundred talents.
5. And so much came to Herod’s sons from their father’s inheritance. But Salome, besides what her brother left her by his testament, which were Jamnia, and Ashdod, and Phasaelis, and five hundred thousand [drachmæ] of coined silver, Cæsar made her a present of a royal habitation at Askelon; in all, her revenues amounted to sixty talents by the year, and her dwelling-house was within Archelaus’s government. The rest also of the king’s relations received what his testament allotted them. Moreover, Cæsar made a present to each of Herod’s two virgin-daughters, besides what their father left them, of two hundred and fifty thousand [drachmæ] of silver, and married them to Pheroras’s sons: he also granted all that was bequeathed to himself to the king’s sons, which was one thousand five hundred talents, excepting a few of the vessels, which he reserved for himself; and they were acceptable to him, not so much for the great value they were of, as because they were memorials of the king to him.
Concerning a spurious Alexander.
1. When these affairs had been thus settled by Cæsar, a certain young man, by birth a Jew, but brought up by a Roman freed-man in the city Sidon, ingrafted himself into the kindred of Herod, by the resemblance of his countenance, which those that saw him attested to be that of Alexander, the son of Herod, whom he had slain; and this was an incitement to him to endeavour to obtain the government: so he took to him, as an assistant, a man of his own country, (one that was well acquainted with the affairs of the palace, but on other accounts, an ill man, and one whose nature made him capable of causing great disturbances to the public, and one that became a teacher of such a mischievous contrivance to the other), and declared himself to be Alexander, and the son of Herod, but stolen away by one of those that were sent to slay him, who, in reality, slew other men in order to deceive the spectators, but saved both him and his brother Aristobulus. Thus was this man elated, and able to impose on those that came to him; and when he was come to Crete, he made all the Jews that came to discourse with him believe him [to be Alexander]. And when he had gotten much money which had been presented to him there, he passed over to Melos, where he got much more money than he had before, out of the belief they had that he was of the royal family, and their hopes that he would recover his father’s principality, and reward his benefactors; so he made haste to Rome, and was conducted thither by those strangers who entertained him. He was also so fortunate, as, upon his landing at Dicearchia, to bring the Jews that were there into the same delusion; and not only other people, but also all those that had been great with Herod, or had a kindness for him, joined themselves to this man as to their king. The cause of it was this, that men were glad of his pretences, which were seconded by the likeness of his countenance, which made those that had been acquainted with Alexander strongly to believe that he was no other but the very same person, which they also confirmed to others by oath; insomuch that when the report went about him that he was coming to Rome, the whole multitude of the Jews that were there went out to meet him, ascribing it to divine providence that he had so unexpectedly escaped, and being very joyful on account of his mother’s family. And when he was come, he was carried in a royal litter through the streets, and all the ornaments about him were such as kings are adorned withal; and this was at the expences of those that entertained him. The multitude also flocked about him greatly, and made mighty acclamations to him, and nothing was omitted which could be thought suitable to such as had been so unexpectedly preserved.
2. When this thing was told Cæsar, he did not believe it, because Herod was not easily to be imposed upon in such affairs as were of great concern to him; yet having some suspicion it might be so, he sent one Celadus, a freed-man of his, and one that had conversed with the young men themselves, and bade him bring Alexander into his presence: so he brought him, being no more accurate in judging about him than the rest of the multitude. Yet did not he deceive Cæsar; for although there was a resemblance between him and Alexander, yet was it not so exact as to impose on such as were prudent in discerning; for this spurious Alexander had his hands rough, by the labours he had been put to, and instead of that softness of body which the other had, and this as derived from his delicate and generous education, this man, for the contrary reason, had a rugged body. When, therefore, Cæsar saw how the master and the scholar agreed in this lying story, and in a bold way of talking, he inquired about Aristobulus, and asked what became of him who [it seems] was stolen away together with him, and for what reason it was that he did not come along with him, and endeavour to recover that dominion which was due to his high birth also? And when he said, That “he had been left in the isle of Crete, for fear of the dangers of the sea, that, in case any accident should come to himself, the posterity of Mariamne might not utterly perish, but that Aristobulus might survive, and punish those that laid such treacherous designs against them.” And when he persevered in his affirmations, and the author of the imposture agreed in supporting it, Cæsar took the young man by himself, and said to him, “If thou wilt not impose upon me, thou shalt have this for thy reward, that thou shalt escape with thy life; tell me then, who thou art! and who it was that had boldness enough to contrive such a cheat as this! For this contrivance is too considerable a piece of villany to be undertaken by one of thy age.” Accordingly, because he had no other way to take, he told Cæsar the contrivance, and after what manner, and by whom it was laid together. So Cæsar, upon observing the spurious Alexander to be a strong active man, and fit to work with his hands, that he might not break his promise to him, put him among those that were to row among the mariners; but slew him that induced him to do what he had done; for as for the people of Melos, he thought them sufficiently punished, in having thrown away so much of their money upon this spurious Alexander. And such was the ignominious conclusion of this bold contrivance about the spurious Alexander.
How Archelaus, upon a second accusation, was banished to Vienna.
1. When Archelaus was entered on his ethnarchy, and was come into Judea, he accused Joazar, the son of Boethus, of assisting the seditious, and took away the high priesthood from him, and put Eleazar his brother in his place. He also magnificently rebuilt the royal palace that had been at Jericho, and he diverted half the water with which the village of Neara used to be watered, and drew off that water into the plain, to water those palm-trees which he had there planted: he also built a village, and put his own name upon it, and called it Archelais. Moreover, he transgressed the law of our fathers and married Glaphyra, the daughter of Archelaus, who had been the wife of his brother Alexander, which Alexander had three children by her, while it was a thing detestable among the Jews to marry the brother’s wife; (24) nor did this Eleazar abide long in the high priesthood, Jesus, the son of Sie, being put in his room while he was still living.
2. But in the tenth year of Archelaus’s government, both his brethren, and the principal men of Judea and Samaria, not being able to bear his barbarous and tyrannical usage of them, accused him before Cæsar, and that especially because they knew he had broken the commands of Cæsar, which obliged him to behave himself with moderation among them. Whereupon Cæsar, when he heard it, was very angry, and called for Archelaus’s steward, who took care of his affairs at Rome, and whose name was Archelaus also, and thinking it beneath him to write to Archelaus, he bid him sail away as soon as possible, and bring him to us: so the man made haste in his voyage, and when he came into Judea, he found Archelaus feasting with his friends; so he told him what Cæsar had sent him about, and hastened him away. And when he was come [to Rome], Cæsar, upon hearing what certain accusers of his had to say, and what reply he could make, both banished him, and appointed Vienna, a city of Gaul, to be the place of his habitation, and took his money away from him.
3. Now before Archelaus was gone up to Rome upon this message, he related this dream to his friends: That “he saw ears of corn, in number ten, full of wheat, perfectly ripe, which ears, as it seemed to him, were devoured by oxen.” And when he was awake and gotten up, because the vision appeared to be of great importance to him, he sent for the diviners, whose study was employed about dreams. And while some were of one opinion, and some of another, (for all their interpretations did not agree), Simon, a man of the sect of the Essens, desired leave to speak his mind freely, and said, That “the vision denoted a change in the affairs of Archelaus, and that not for the better; that oxen, because that animal takes uneasy pains in his labours, denoted afflictions, and indeed denoted, farther, a change of affairs; because that land which is ploughed by oxen cannot remain in its former state: and that the ears of corn being ten, determined the like number of years, because an ear of corn grows in one year; and that the time of Archelaus’s government was over.” And thus did this man expound the dream. Now on the fifth day after this dream came first to Archelaus, the other Archelaus, that was sent to Judea by Cæsar to call him away, came hither also.
4. The like accident befel Glaphyra his wife, who was the daughter of king Archelaus, who, as I said before, was married while she was a virgin, to Alexander, the son of Herod, and brother of Archelaus; but since it fell out so that Alexander was slain by his father, she was married to Juba, the king of Lydia; and when he was dead, and she lived in widowhood in Cappadocia with her father, Archelaus divorced his former wife Mariamne, and married her, so great was his affection for this Glaphyra; who, during her marriage to him, saw the following dream: “She thought she saw Alexander standing by her, at which she rejoiced, and embraced him with great affection; but that he complained of her, and said, O Glaphyra! thou provest that saying to be true, which assures us, that women are not to be trusted. Didst not thou pledge thy faith to me? and wast not thou married to me when thou wast a virgin? and had we not children between us? Yet hast thou forgotten the affection I bare to thee, out of a desire of a second husband. Nor hast thou been satisfied with that injury thou didst me, but thou hast been so bold as to procure thee a third husband to lie by thee, and in an indecent and imprudent manner hast entered into my house, and hast been married to Archelaus, thy husband, and my brother. However, I will not forget thy former kind affection for me, but will set thee free from every such reproachful action, and cause thee to be mine again, as thou once wast.” When she had related this to her female companions, in a few days time she departed this life.
5. Now I did not think these histories improper for the present discourse, both because my discourse now is concerning kings, and otherwise also on account of the advantage hence to be drawn, as well for the confirmation of the immortality of the soul, as of the providence of God over human affairs, I thought them fit to be set down; but if any one does not believe such relations, let him indeed enjoy his own opinion, but let him not hinder another, that would thereby encourage himself in virtue. So Archelaus’s country was laid to the province of Syria; and Cyrenius, one that had been consul, was sent by Cæsar to take account of people’s effects in Syria, and to sell the house of Archelaus.
(1) Those who have a mind to know all the family and descendants of Antipater the Idumean, and of Herod the Great, his son, and have a memory to preserve them all distinctly, may consult Josephus, Antiq. B. XVIII. ch. 5. § 4; and Of the War, B. I. ch. 28. § 4, in Havercamp’s edition, p. 336; and Spanheim, ib. p. 402–405, and Reland, Palestin. Part I. p. 175, 276.
(2) This is now wanting.
(3) Pheroras’s wife, and her mother, and sister, and Doris, Antipater’s mother.
(4) His wife, her mother, and sister.
(5) It seems to me, by this whole story put together, that Pheroras was not himself poisoned, as is commonly supposed; for Antipater had persuaded him to poison Herod, chap. 5. § 1, which would fall to the ground if he were himself poisoned; nor could the poisoning of Pheroras serve any design that appears now going forward: it was only the supposal of two of his freed men, that this love potion, or poison, which they knew was brought to Pheroras’s wife, was made use of for poisoning him; whereas it appears to have been brought for her husband to poison Herod withal, as the future examinations demonstrate.
(6) That the making of images, without an intention to worship them, was not unlawful to the Jews, see the note on Antiq. B. VIII. ch. 7. § 5.
(7) This fact, that one Joseph was made high priest for a single day, on occasion of the action here specified, that befel Matthias, the real high priest, in his sleep, the night before the great day of expiation, is attested to both in the Mishna and Talmud, as Dr. Hudson here informs us. And indeed, from this fact, thus fully attested, we may confute that pretended rule in the Talmud here mentioned, and endeavoured to be excused lay Reland, that the high priest was not suffered to sleep the night before that great day of expiation; which watching would surely rather unfit him for the many important duties he was to perform on that solemn day, than dispose him duly to perform them. Nor do such Talmudical rules, when unsupported by better evidence, much less, when contradicted there by, seem to me of weight enough to deserve that so great a man as Reland, should spend his time in endeavours at their vindication.
(8) This eclipse of the moon (which is the only eclipse of either of the luminaries mentioned by our Josephus in any of his writings), is of the greatest consequence for the determination of the time for the death of Herod and Antipater, and for the birth and entire chronology of Jesus Christ. It happened March 13th, in the year of the Julian period 4710, and the 4th year before the Christian æra. See its calculation by the rules of astronomy, at the end of the Astronomical Lectures, edit. Lat. page 451, 452.
(9) A place for the horse-races.
(10) When it is here said, that Philip the tetrarch and Archelaus the king or ethnarch were ἀδελφοὶ γνησίοι, or genuine brothers, if those words mean own brothers, or born of the same father and mother, there must be here some mistake; because they had indeed the same father, Herod, but different mothers; the former Cleopatra, and Archelaus Malthace. They were indeed brought up together privately at Rome like own brohers; and Philip was Archelaus’s deputy when he went to have his kingdom confirmed to him at Rome, ch. 9. § 5 and Of the War, B. II. ch. 2. § 1, which intimacy is perhaps all that Josephus intended by the words before us.
(11) These numbers of years for Herod’s reign, 34, and 37, are the very same with those Of the War, B. I. ch. 33. § 8 and are among the principal chronological characters belonging to the reign or death of Herod. See Harm. of the Evang pag. 150 – 155.
(12) At eight stadia or furlongs a-day, as here, Herod’s funeral, conducted to Herodium, (which lay at the distance from Jericho, where he died, of 200 stadia or furlongs; Of the War, B. 1. ch. 33. § 9) must have taken up no less than twenty-five days.
(13) This passover, when the sedition here mentioned was moved against Archelaus, was not one, but thirteen months after the eclipse of the moon already mentioned.
(14) See Antiq. B. XIV. ch. 13. § 10; and Of the War, B. II. ch. 12. § 9.
(15) These great devastations made about the temple here, and Of the War, B. II. ch. 3. § 3 seem not to have been full re-edified in the days of Nero; till whose time there were 18000 workmen continually employed in rebuilding and repairing that temple, as Josephus informs us, Antiq. B. XX. ch. 9. § 7. See the note on that place.
(16) Unless this Judas, the son of Ezekias, be the same with that Theudas mentioned, Acts 5:36, Josephus must have omitted him; for that other Theudas, whom he afterward mentions under Fadus, the Roman governor, B. XX. ch. 5. § 1, is much too late to correspond to him that is mentioned in the Acts. The names Theudas, Thaudeus, and Judas differ but little. See Archbishop Usher’s Annals at A.M. 4001. However, since Josephus does not pretend to reckon up the heads of all those ten thousand disorders in Judea, which he tells us were then abroad, see § 4 and 8, the Theudas of the Acts might be at the head of one of those seditions, though not particularly named by him. Thus he informs us here, § 6, and Of the War, B. II. ch. 4. § 2, that certain of the seditious came and burnt the royal palace at Amathus, or Betharamphta, upon the river Jordan. Perhaps their leader, who is not named by Josephus, might be this Theudas.
(17) See Of the War, B. II. ch. 2. § 3.
(18) See the note, Of the War, B. II. ch. 6. § 1.
(19) He was tetrarch afterward.
(20) If any one compare that divine prediction concerning the tyrannical power which Jewish kings would exercise over them if they would be so foolish as to prefer it before their ancient theocracy or aristocracy, 1 Sam. 8:1-22, Antiq. B. VI. chap. 4. § 4, he will soon find, that it was super-abundantly fulfilled in the days of Herod, and that to such a degree, that the nation now at last seem sorely to repent of such their ancient choice, in opposition to God’s better choice for them, and had much rather be subject to even a pagan Roman government, and their deputies, than to be any longer under the oppression of the family of Herod; which request of theirs Augustus did not now grant them, but did it for the one-half of that nation in a few years afterward, upon fresh complaints made by the Jews against Archelaus, who, under the more humble name of an ethnarch, which Augustus only would now allow him, soon took upon him the insolence and tyranny of his father king Herod, as the remaining part of this book will inform us, and particularly chap. 13. § 2.
(21) This is not true. See Antiq. B. XIV. chap. 9. § 3, 4, and chap. 12. § 2, and chap. 13. § 1, 2, Antiq. B. XV. chap. 3. § 5 and chap. 10. § 2, 3, Antiq. B. XVI. chap. 9. § 3.
(22) Since Josephus here informs us that Archelaus had one-half of the kingdom of Herod, and presently informs us farther, that Archelaus’s annual income, after an abatement of one quarter for the present, was 600 talents, we may therefore gather pretty nearly what was Herod the Great’s yearly income, I mean about 1600 talents, which, at the known value of 3000 shekels to a talent, and about 2s. 10d. to a shekel, in the days of Josephus, see the note on Antiq. B. III. chap. 8. § 2, amounts to 680,000l. sterling per annum; which income, though great in itself, bearing no proportion to his vast expences every where visible in Josephus, and to the vast sums he left behind him in his will, chap. 8. § 1, and chap. 12. § 1, the rest must have arisen either from his confiscation of those great men’s estates whom he put to death, or made to pay a fine for the saving of their lives, or from some other heavy methods of oppression, which such savage tyrants usually exercise upon their miserable subjects; or rather from these several methods put together, all which yet seem very much too small for his expences, being drawn from no larger a nation than that of the Jews, which was very populous, but without the advantage of trade to bring them riches; so that I cannot but strongly suspect, that no small part of this his wealth arose from another source, I mean from some vast sums he took out of David’s sepulchre, but concealed from the people. See the note on Antiq. B. VII. chap. 15. § 3.
(23) Take here a very useful note of Grotius, on Luke 3:1, here quoted by Dr. Hudson: “When Josephus says, that some part of the house [or possession] of Zenodorus (i.e. Abilene) was allotted to Philip, he thereby declares that the larger part of it belonged to another; this other was Lysanias, whom Luke mentions, of the posterity of that Lysanias who was possessed of the same country called Abilene, from the city Abila, and by others Chalcidene, from the city Chalcis, when the government of the East was under Antonius, and this after Ptolemy, the son of Mennius, from which Lysanias, this country came to be commonly called the Country of Lysanias; and as, after the death of the former Lysanias, it was called the tetrarchy of Zenodorus, so after the death of Zenodorus, or when the time for which he hired it was ended, when another Lysanias, of the same name with the former, was possessed of the same country, it began to be called again, the tetrarchy of Lysanias.” However, since Josephus elsewhere (Antiq. B. XX. chap. 7. § 1) clearly distinguishes Abilene from Chalcidene, Grotius must be here so far mistaken.
(24) Spanheim seasonably observes here, that it was forbidden the Jews to marry their brother’s wife, when she had children by her first husband, and that Zonoras [cites, or] interprets the clause before us accordingly.