Containing the interval of 69 Years.
From the death of Herod till Vespasian was sent to subdue the Jews by Nero.
Archelaus makes a funeral feast for the people, on the account of Herod. After which a great tumult is raised by the multitude, and he sends the soldiers out upon them, who destroy about three thousand of them.
1. Now the necessity which Archelaus was under of taking a journey to Rome was the occasion of new disturbances; for when he had mourned for his father seven days, (1) and had given a very expensive funeral feast to the multitude, (which custom is the occasion of poverty to many of the Jews, because they are forced to feast the multitude; for if any one omits it, he is not esteemed an holy person), he put on a white garment, and went up to the temple, where the people accosted him with various acclamations. He also spake kindly to the multitude, from an elevated seat, and a throne of gold, and returned them thanks for the zeal they had shewn about his father’s funeral, and the submission they had made to him, as if he were already settled in the kingdom: but he told them withal, That “he would not at present, take upon him either the authority of a king, or the names thereto belonging, until Cæsar, who is made lord of this whole affair by the testament, confirm the succession; for that when the soldiers would have set the diadem on his head at Jericho, he would not accept of it; but that he would make abundant requitals, not to the soldiers only, but to the people, for their alacrity and good-will to him, when the superior lords [the Romans] should have given him a complete title to the kingdom; for that it should be his study to appear in all things better than his father.”
2. Upon this the multitude were pleased, and presently made a trial of what he intended, by asking great things of him; for some made a clamour that he would ease them in their taxes, others, that he would take off the duties upon commodities, and some, that he would loose those that were in prison; in all which cases he answered readily to their satisfaction in order to get the good-will of the multitude; after which he offered [the proper] sacrifices, and feasted with his friends. And here it was that a great many of those that desired innovations came in crowds towards the evening, and began then to mourn on their own account, when the public mourning for the king was over. These lamented those that were put to death by Herod, because they had cut down the golden eagle that had been over the gate of the temple. Nor was this mourning of a private nature, but the lamentations were very great, the mourning solemn, and the weeping such as was loudly heard all over the city, as being for those men who had perished for the laws of their country, and for the temple. They cried out, that a punishment ought to be inflicted for these men upon those that were honoured by Herod, and that, in the first place, the man whom he had made high-priest should be deprived, and that it was fit to choose a person of greater piety and purity than he was.
3. At these clamours Archelaus was provoked, but restrained himself from taking vengeance on the authors, on account of the haste he was in of going to Rome, as fearing lest, upon his making war on the multitude, such an action might detain him at home. Accordingly he made trial to quiet the innovators by persuasion, rather than by force, and sent his general in a private way to them, and by him exhorted them to be quiet. But the seditious threw stones at him, and drove him away as he came into the temple, and before he could say any thing to them. The like treatment they shewed to others, who came to them after him, many of which were sent by Archelaus in order to reduce them to sobriety, and these answered still on all occasions after a passionate manner; and it openly appeared that they would not be quiet, if their numbers were but considerable. And indeed, at the feast of unleavened bread, which was now at hand, and is by the Jews called the Passover, and used to be celebrated with a great number of sacrifices, an innumerable multitude of the people came out of the country to worship: some of these stood in the temple bewailing the rabbins [that had been put to death], and procured their sustenance by begging, in order to support their sedition. At this Archelaus was affrighted, and privately sent a tribune, with his cohort of soldiers, upon them, before the disease should spread over the whole multitude, and gave orders that they should constrain those that began the tumult by force to be quiet. At these the whole multitude were irritated, and threw stones at many of the soldiers, and killed them: but the tribune fled away wounded, and had much ado to escape so. After which they betook themselves to their sacrifices, as if they had done no mischief; nor did it appear to Archelaus that the multitude could be restrained without bloodshed; so he sent his whole army upon them, the footmen in great multitudes by the way of the city, and the horsemen by the way of the plain, who, falling upon them on the sudden, as they were offering their sacrifices, destroyed about three thousand of them; but the rest of the multitude were dispersed upon the adjoining mountains; these were followed by Archelaus’s heralds, who commanded every one to retire to their own homes, whither they all went, and left the festival.
Archelaus goes to Rome with a great number of his kindred. He is there accused before Cæsar by Antipater; but is superior to his accusers in judgment, by the means of that defence which Nicolaus made for him.
1. Archelaus went down now to the sea side, with his mother and his friends, Poplas, and Ptolemy, and Nicolaus, and left behind him Philip, to be his steward in the palace, and to take care of his domestic affairs. Salome went also along with him with her sons, as did also the king’s brethren and sons-in-law. These, in appearance, went to give him all the assistance they were able, in order to secure his succession, but in reality to accuse him for his breach of the laws, by what he had done at the temple.
2. But as they were come to Cesarea, Sabinus, the procurator of Syria, met them: he was going up to Judea, to secure Herod’s effects: but Varus, [president of Syria], who was come thither, restrained him from going any farther. This Varus Archelaus had sent for, by the earnest entreaty of Ptolemy. At this time indeed Sabinus, to gratify Varus, neither went to the citadels, nor did he shut up the treasuries where his father’s money was laid up, but promised that he would lie still, until Cæsar should have taken cognizance of the affair. So he abode at Cesarea; but as soon as those that were his hindrance were gone, when Varus was gone to Antioch, and Archelaus was sailed to Rome, he immediately went on to Jerusalem, and seized upon the palace. And when he had called for the governors of the citadels, and the stewards [of the king’s private affairs], he tried to sift out the accounts of the money, and to take possession of the citadels. But the governors of those citadels were not unmindful of the commands laid upon them by Archelaus, and continued to guard them, and said, the custody of them rather belonged to Cæsar than to Archelaus.
3. In the mean time, Antipas went also to Rome, to strive for the kingdom, and to insist that the former testament, wherein he was named to be king, was valid before the latter testament. Salome had also promised to assist him, as had many of Archelaus’s kindred, who sailed along with Archelaus himself also. He also carried along with him his mother, and Ptolemy, the brother of Nicolaus, who seemed one of great weight, on account of the great trust Herod put in him, he having been one of his most honoured friends. However, Antipas depended chiefly upon Ireneus, the orator; upon whose authority he had rejected such as advised him to yield to Archelaus, because he was his elder brother, and because the second testament gave the kingdom to him. The inclinations also of all Archelaus’s kindred, who hated him, were removed to Antipas, when they came to Rome, although in the first place every one rather desired to live under their own laws, [without a king], and to be under a Roman governor; but if they should fail in that point, these desired that Antipas might be their king.
4. Sabinus did also afford these his assistance to the same purpose, by the letters he sent, wherein he accused Archelaus before Cæsar, and highly commended Antipas. Salome also, and those with her, put the crimes which they accused Archelaus of in order, and put them into Cæsar’s hands: and after they had done that, Archelaus wrote down the reasons of his claim, and, by Ptolemy, sent in his father’s ring, and his father’s accounts. And when Cæsar had maturely weighed by himself what both had to allege for themselves, as also had considered of the great burden of the kingdom, and largeness of the revenues, and withal the number of the children Herod had left behind him, and had moreover read the letters he had received from Varus and Sabinus on this occasion, he assembled the principal persons among the Romans together, (in which assembly Caius, the son of Agrippa, and his daughter Julias, but by himself adopted for his own son, sat in the first seat), and gave the pleaders leave to speak.
5. Then stood up Salome’s son, Antipater, (who of all Archelaus’s antagonists was the shrewdest pleader), and accused him in the following speech: “That Archelaus did in words contend for the kingdom, but that in deeds he had long exercised royal authority, and so did but insult Cæsar in desiring to be now heard on that account; since he had not staid for his determination about the succession, and since he had suborned certain persons, after Herod’s death, to move for putting the diadem upon his head; since he had set himself down in the throne, and given answers as a king, and altered the disposition of the army, and granted to some higher dignities; that he had also complied in all things with the people in the requests they had made to him as to their king, and had also dismissed those that had been put into bonds by his father, for most important reasons. Now, after all this he desires the shadow of that royal authority, whose substance he had already seized to himself, and so hath made Cæsar lord, not of things but of words. He also reproached him farther, that his mourning for his father was only pretended, while he put on a sad countenance in the day time, but drank to great excess in the night, from which behaviour, he said, the late disturbance among the multitude came, while they had an indignation thereat. And indeed the purport of his whole discourse was to aggravate Archelaus’s crime in slaying such a multitude about the temple, which multitude came to the festival, but were barbarously slain in the midst of their own sacrifices; and he said, there was such a vast number of dead bodies heaped together in the temple, as even a foreign war, that should come upon them [suddenly], before it was denounced, could not have heaped together. And he added, that it was the foresight his father had of that his barbarity, which made him never give him any hopes of the kingdom, but when his mind was more infirm than his body, and he was not able to reason soundly, and did not well know what was the character of that son, whom in his second testament he made his successor; and this was done by him at a time when he had no complaints to make of him whom he had named before when he was sound in body, and when his mind was free from all passion. That, however, if any one should suppose Herod’s judgment, when he was sick, was superior to that at another time, yet had Archelaus forfeited his kingdom by his own behaviour, and those his actions, which were contrary to the law, and to its disadvantage. Or what sort of a king will this man be, when he hath obtained the government from Cæsar, who hath slain so many before he hath obtained it?”
6. When Antipater had spoken largely to this purpose, and had produced a great number of Archelaus’s kindred as witnesses, to prove every part of the accusation, he ended his discourse. Then stood up Nicolaus to plead for Archelaus. He alleged, That “the slaughter in the temple could not be avoided; that those that were slain were become enemies not to Archelaus’s kingdom only, but to Cæsar, who was to determine about him. He also demonstrated that Archelaus’s accusers had advised him to perpetrate other things, of which he might have been accused. But he insisted, that the latter testament should, for this reason above all others, be esteemed valid, because Herod had therein appointed Cæsar to be the person who should confirm the succession; for he who shewed such prudence, as to recede from his own power, and yield it up to the lord of the world, cannot be supposed mistaken in his judgment about him that was to be his heir; and he that so well knew whom to choose for arbitrator of the succession, could not be unacquainted with him whom he chose for his successor.”
7. When Nicolaus had gone through all he had to say, Archelaus came, and fell down before Cæsar’s knees, without any noise. Upon which he raised him up, after a very obliging manner, and declared, that truly he was worthy to succeed his father. However, he still made no firm determination in his case; but when he had dismissed those assessors that had been with him that day, he deliberated by himself about the allegations which he had heard, whether it were fit to constitute any of those named in the testaments for Herod’s successor, or whether the government should be parted among all his posterity, and this because of the number of those that seemed to stand in need of support therefrom.
The Jews fight a great battle with Sabinus’s soldiers, and a great destruction is made at Jerusalem.
1. Now before Cæsar had determined any thing about these affairs, Malthace, Archelaus’s mother, fell sick and died. Letters also were brought out of Syria from Varus, about a revolt of the Jews. This was foreseen by Varus, who accordingly, after Archelaus was sailed, went up to Jerusalem to restrain the promoters of the sedition, since it was manifest that the nation would not he at rest; so he left one of those legions which he brought with him out of Syria, in the city, and went himself to Antioch. But Sabinus came, after he was gone, and gave them an occasion of making innovations; for he compelled the keepers of the citadels to deliver them up to him, and made a bitter search after the king’s money, as depending not only on the soldiers which were left by Varus, but on the multitude of his own servants, all which he armed, and used as the instruments of his covetousness. Now when that feast, which was observed after seven weeks, and which the Jews called Pentecost [i. e. the 50th day] was at hand, its name being taken from the number of the days [after the passover], the people got together, but not on account of the accustomed divine worship, but of the indignation they had [at the present state of affairs]. Wherefore an immense multitude ran together, out of Galilee, and Idumea, and Jericho, and Perea, that was beyond Jordan; but the people that naturally belonged to Judea itself were above the rest, both in number, and in the alacrity of the men. So they distributed themselves into three parts, and pitched their camps in three places; one at the north side of the temple, another at the south side, by the Hippodrome, and the third part were at the palace on the west. So they lay round about the Romans on every side, and besieged them.
2. Now Sabinus was affrighted both at the multitude, and at their courage, and sent messengers to Varus continually, and besought him to come to his succour quickly, for that, if he delayed, his legion would be cut to pieces. As for Sabinus himself, he got up to the highest tower of the fortress, which was called Phasaelus; it is of the same name with Herod’s brother, who was destroyed by the Parthians; and then he made signs to the soldiers of that legion to attack the enemy; for his astonishment was so great, that he durst not go down to his own men. Hereupon the soldiers were prevailed upon, and leaped out into the temple, and fought a terrible battle with the Jews; in which, while there were none over their heads to distress them, they were too hard for them, by their skill, and the others want of skill in war; but when once many of the Jews had gotten up to the top of the cloisters, and threw their darts downwards, upon the heads of the Romans, there were a great many of them destroyed. Nor was it easy to avenge themselves upon those that threw their weapons from on high, nor was it more easy for them to sustain those who came to fight them hand to hand.
3. Since therefore the Romans were sorely afflicted by both these circumstances, they set fire to the cloisters, which were works to be admired, both on account of their magnitude, and costliness. Whereupon those that were above them were presently encompassed with the flame, and many of them perished therein; as many of them also were destroyed by the enemy, who came suddenly upon them; some of them also threw themselves down from the walls backward, and some there were who, from the desperate condition they were in, prevented the fire by killing themselves with their own swords; but so many of them as crept out from the walls, and came upon the Romans, were easily mastered by them, by reason of the astonishment they were under; until at last some of the Jews being destroyed, and others dispersed by the terror they were in, the soldiers fell upon the treasure of God which was now deserted, and plundered about four hundred talents, of which sum Sabinus got together all that was not carried away by the soldiers.
4. However, this destruction of the works [about the temple], and of the men, occasioned a much greater number, and those of a more warlike sort, to get together, to oppose the Romans. These encompassed the palace round, and threatened to destroy all that were in it, unless they went their ways quickly; for they promised that Sabinus should come to no harm, if he would go out with his legion. There were also a great many of the king’s party who deserted the Romans, and assisted the Jews; yet did the most warlike body of them all, who were three thousand of the men of Sebaste, go over to the Romans. Rufus also, and Gratus, their captains, did the same, (Gratus having the foot of the king’s party under him, and Rufus the horse), each of whom, even without the forces under them, were of great weight on account of their strength and wisdom, which turn the scales in war. Now the Jews persevered in the siege, and tried to break down the walls of the fortress, and cried out to Sabinus and his party, That they should go their ways, and not prove an hindrance to them, now they hoped, after a long time, to recover that ancient liberty which their forefathers had enjoyed. Sabinus indeed was well contented to get out of the danger he was in, but he distrusted the assurances the Jews gave him, and suspected such gentle treatment was but a bait laid as a snare for them: this consideration, together with the hopes he had of succour from Varus, made him bear the siege still longer.
Herod’s veteran soldiers become tumultuous. The robberies of Judas. Simon and Athrongeus take the name of king upon them.
1. At this time there were great disturbances in the country, and that in many places; and the opportunity that now offered itself induced a great many to set up for kings. And indeed in Idumea two thousand of Herod’s veteran soldiers got together, and armed themselves, and fought against those of the king’s party; against whom Achiabus, the king’s first cousin, fought, and that out of some of the places that were the most strongly fortified; but so as to avoid a direct conflict with them in the plains. In Sepphoris also, a city of Galilee, there was one Judas (the son of that arch-robber Hezekias, who formerly over-ran the country, and had been subdued by King Herod); this man got no small multitude together, and brake open the place where the royal armour was laid up, and armed those about him, and attacked those that were so earnest to gain the dominion.
2. In Perea also, Simon, one of the servants to the king, relying upon the handsome appearance, and tallness of his body, put a diadem upon his own head also: he also went about with a company of robbers that he had gotten together, and burnt down the royal palace that was at Jericho, and many other costly edifices, besides, and procured himself very easily spoils by rapine, as snatching them out of the fire. And he had soon burnt down all the fine edifices, if Gratus, the captain of the foot of the king’s party, had not taken the Trachonite archers, and the most warlike of Sebaste, and met the man. His footmen were slain in the battle in abundance; Gratus also cut to pieces Simon himself, as he was flying along a strait valley, when he gave him an oblique stroke upon his neck, as he ran away, and brake it. The royal palaces that were near Jordan at Betharamptha were also burnt down by some other of the seditious that came out of Perea.
3. At this time it was that a certain shepherd ventured to set himself up for a king; he was called Athrongeus. It was his strength of body that made him expect such a dignity, as well as his soul which despised death; and, besides these qualifications, he had four brethren like himself. He put a troop of armed men under each of these his brethren, and made use of them as his generals and commanders, when he made his incursions, while he did himself act like a king, and meddled only with the more important affairs: and at this time he put a diadem about his head, and continued after that to over-run the country for no little time with his brethren, and became their leader in killing both the Romans and those of the king’s party; nor did any Jew escape him, if any gain could accrue to him thereby. He once ventured to encompass a whole troop of Romans at Emmaus, who were carrying corn and weapons to their legion; his men therefore shot their arrows and darts, and thereby slew their centurion Arius, and forty of the stoutest of his men, while the rest of them, who were in danger of the same fate, upon the coming of Gratus, with those of Sebaste, to their assistance, escaped. And when these men had thus served both their own countrymen and foreigners, and that through this whole war, three of them were after some time subdued, the eldest by Archelaus, the two next by falling into the hands of Gratus and Ptolemeus; but the fourth delivered himself up to Archelaus, upon his giving him his right hand for his security. However, this their end was not till afterward, while at present they filled all Judea with a piratic war.
Varus composes the tumults in Judea, and crucifies about two thousand of the seditious.
1. Upon Varus’s reception of the letters that were written by Sabinus, and the captains, he could not avoid being afraid for the whole legion [he had left there]. So he made haste to their relief, and took with him the other two legions, with the four troops of horsemen to them belonging, and marched to Ptolemais, having given orders for the auxiliaries that were sent by the kings and governors of cities to meet him there. Moreover, he received from the people of Berytus, as he passed through their city, fifteen hundred armed men. Now as soon as the other body of auxiliaries were come to Ptolemais, as well as Aretas the Arabian, (who, out of the hatred he bore to Herod, brought a great army of horse and foot), Varus sent a part of his army presently to Galilee, which lay near to Ptolemais, and Caius one of his friends, for their captain. This Caius put those that met him to flight, and took the city Sepphoris, and burnt it, and made slaves of its inhabitants; but as for Varus himself, he marched to Samaria with his whole army, where he did not meddle with the city itself, because he found that it had made no commotion during these troubles, but pitched his camp about a certain village which was called Arus. It belonged to Ptolemy, and on that account was plundered by the Arabians, who were very angry even at Herod’s friends also. He thence marched on to the village Sampho, another fortified place, which they plundered, as they had done the other. As they carried off all the money they lighted upon belonging to the public revenues, all was now full of fire and blood-shed, and nothing could resist the plunders of the Arabians. Emnaus was also burnt, upon the flight of its inhabitants, and this at the command of Varus, out of his rage at the slaughter of those that were about Arius.
2. Thence he marched on to Jerusalem, and as soon as he was but seen by the Jews, he made their camps disperse themselves: they also went away, and fled up and down the country; but the citizens received him, and cleared themselves of having any hand in this revolt, and said, that they had raised no commotions, but had only been forced to admit the multitude because of the festival, and that they were rather besieged together with the Romans, than assisted those that had revolted. There had before this met him Joseph, the first cousin of Archelaus, and Gratus, together with Rufus, who led those of Sebaste, as well as the king’s army: there also met him those of the Roman legion, armed after their accustomed manner; for as to Sabinus, he durst not come into Varus’s sight, but was gone out of the city before this, to the sea-side; but Varus sent a part of his army into the country, against those that had been the authors of this commotion, and as they caught great numbers of them, those that appeared to have been the least concerned in these tumults he put into custody, but such as were the most guilty he crucified; these were in number about two thousand.
3. He was also informed that there continued in Idumea ten thousand men still in arms; but when he found that the Arabians did not act like auxiliaries, but managed the war according to their own passions, and did mischief to the country otherwise than he intended, and this out of their hatred to Herod, he sent them away, but made haste, with his own legions, to march against those that had revolted; but these, by the advice of Achiabus, delivered themselves up to him before it came to a battle. Then did Varus forgive the multitude their offences, but sent their captains to Cæsar to be examined by him. Now Cæsar forgave the rest, but gave orders that certain of the king’s relations (for some of those that were among them were Herod’s kinsmen) should be put to death, because they had engaged in a war against a king of their own family. When therefore Varus had settled matters at Jerusalem after this manner, and had left the former legion there, as a garrison, he returned to Antioch.
The Jews greatly complain of Archelaus, and desire that they may be made subject to ROMAN GOVERNORS. But when Cæsar had heard what they had to say, he distributed Herod’s dominions among his sons, according to his own pleasure.
1. But now came another accusation from the Jews against Archelaus at Rome, which he was to answer to. It was made by those ambassadors, who before the revolt, had come, by Varus’s permission, to plead for the liberty of their country; those that came were fifty in number, but there were more than eight thousand of the Jews at Rome who supported them. And when Cæsar had assembled a council of the principal Romans in Apollo’s (2) temple, that was in the palace (this was what he had himself built and adorned, at a vast expence); the multitude of the Jews stood with the ambassadors, and on the other side stood Archelaus, with his friends; but as for the kindred of Archelaus, they stood on neither side; for to stand on Archelaus’s side, their hatred to him, and envy at him, would not give them leave, while yet they were afraid to be seen by Cæsar with his accusers. Besides these, there were present, Archelaus’s brother, Philip, being sent thither before-hand out of kindness by Varus, for two reasons: the one was this, that he might be assisting to Archelaus; and the other was this, that in case Cæsar should make a distribution of what Herod possessed among his posterity, he might obtain some share of it.
2. And now, upon the permission that was given to the accusers to speak, they, in the first place, went over Herod’s breaches of their law, and said, That “he was not a king, but the most barbarous of all tyrants, and that they had found him to be such by the sufferings they underwent from him: that when a very great number had been slain by him, those that were left had endured such miseries, that they called those that were dead happy men: that he had not only tortured the bodies of his subjects, but entire cities, and had done much harm to the cities of his own country, while he adorned those that belonged to foreigners, and he shed the blood of Jews, in order to do kindnesses to those people that were out of their bounds: that he had filled the nation full of poverty, and of the greatest iniquity, instead of that happiness, and those laws which they had anciently enjoyed: that, in short, the Jews had borne more calamities from Herod, in a few years, than had their forefathers during all that interval of time that had passed since they had come out of Babylon, and returned home, in the reign of Xerxes: (3) that, however, the nation was come to so low a condition, by being inured to hardships, that they submitted to his successor of their own accord, though he brought them into bitter slavery: that accordingly they readily called Archelaus, though he was the son of so great a tyrant, King, after the decease of his father, and joined with him in mourning for the death of Herod, and in wishing him good success in that his succession; while yet this Archelaus, lest he should be in danger of not being thought the genuine son of Herod, began his reign with the murder of three thousand citizens; as if he had a mind to offer so many bloody sacrifices to God for his government, and to fill the temple with the like number of dead bodies at that festival: that, however, those that were left after so many miseries had just reason to consider now at last the calamities they had undergone, and to oppose themselves, like soldiers in war, to receive those stripes upon their faces, [but not upon their backs, as hitherto]. Whereupon they prayed, that the Romans would have compassion upon the [poor] remains of Judea, and not expose what was left of them to such as barbarously tore them to pieces, and that they would join their country to Syria, and administer the government by their own commanders; whereby it would [soon] be demonstrated that those who are now under the calumny of seditious persons, and lovers of war, know how to bear governors that are set over them, if they be but tolerable ones.” So the Jews concluded their accusation with this request. Then rose up Nicolaus, and confuted the accusations which were brought against the kings, and himself accused the Jewish nation, as hard to be ruled, and as naturally disobedient to kings. He also reproached all those kinsmen of Archelaus who had left him, and were gone over to his accusers.
3. So Cæsar, after he had heard both sides, dissolved the assembly for that time; but a few days afterward he gave the one half of Herod’s kingdom to Archelaus, by the name of Ethnarch, and promised to make him king also afterward, if he rendered himself worthy of that dignity. But as to the other half, he divided it into two tetrarchies, and gave them to two other sons of Herod, the one of them to Philip, and the other to that Antipas, who contested the kingdom with Archelaus. Under this last was Perea, and Galilee, with a revenue of two hundred talents: but Batanea, and Trachonitis, and Auranitis, and certain parts of Zeno’s house about Jamnia, with a revenue of an hundred talents, were made subject to Philip; while Idumea, and all Judea, and Samaria, were parts of the ethnarchy of Archelaus, although Samaria was eased of one quarter of its taxes, out of regard to their not having revolted with the rest of the nation. He also made subject to him the following cities, viz. Strato’s Tower, and Sebaste, and Joppa, and Jerusalem; but as to the Grecian cities, Gaza, and Gadara, and Hippos, he cut them off from the kingdom, and added them to Syria. Now the revenue of the country that was given to Archelaus was four hundred talents. Salome also, besides what the king had left her in his testaments, was now made mistress of Jamnia, and Ashdod, and Phasaelis. Cæsar did moreover bestow upon her the royal palace of Ascalon; by all which she got together a revenue of sixty talents; but he put her house under the ethnarchy of Archelaus. And for the rest of Herod’s offspring, they received what was bequeathed to them in his testaments; but, besides that, Cæsar granted to Herod’s two virgin daughters five hundred thousand [drachmæ] of silver, and gave them in marriage to the sons of Pheroras: but after this family distribution, he gave between them what had been bequeathed to him by Herod, which was a thousand talents, reserving to himself only some inconsiderable presents, in honour of the deceased.
The history of the spurious Alexander. Archelaus is banished, and Glaphyra dies, after what was to happen to both of them had been shewed them in dreams.
1. In the mean time there was a man, who was by birth a Jew, but brought up at Sidon with one of the Roman freed-men, who falsely pretended, on account of the resemblance of their countenances, that he was that Alexander who was slain by Herod. This man came to Rome, in hopes of not being detected. He had one who was his assistant, of his own nation, and who knew all the affairs of the kingdom, and instructed him to say, how those that were sent to kill him and Aristobulus had pity upon them, and stole them away, by putting bodies that were like theirs in their places. This man deceived the Jews that were at Crete, and got a great deal of money of them for travelling in splendour; and thence sailed to Melos, where he was thought so certainly genuine, that he got a great deal more money, and prevailed with those that had treated him to sail along with him to Rome. So he landed at Dicearchia, [Puteoli], and got very large presents from the Jews who dwelt there, and was conducted by his father’s friends as if he were a king; nay, the resemblance in his countenance procured him so much credit, that those who had seen Alexander, and had known him very well, would take their oaths that he was the very same person. Accordingly the whole body of the Jews that were at Rome, ran out in crowds to see him, and an innumerable multitude there was which stood in the narrow places, through which he was carried; for those of Melos were so far distracted, that they carried him in a sedan, and maintained a royal attendance for him at their own proper charges.
2. But Cæsar, who knew perfectly well the lineaments of Alexander’s face, because he had been accused by Herod before him, discerned the fallacy in his countenance, even before he saw the man. However, he suffered the agreeable fame that went of him to have some weight with him, and sent Celadus, one who well knew Alexander, and ordered him to bring the young man to him. But when Cæsar saw him, he immediately discerned a difference in his countenance, and when he had discovered that his whole body was of a more robust texture, and like that of a slave, he understood the whole was a contrivance. But the impudence of what he said greatly provoked him to be angry at him; for when he was asked about Aristobulus, he said, That “he was also preserved alive, and was left on purpose in Cyprus, for fear of treachery, because it would be harder for plotters to get them both into their power while they were separate.” Then did Cæsar take him by himself privately, and said to him, “I will give thee thy life, if thou wilt discover who it was that persuaded thee to forge such stories.” So he said that he would discover him, and followed Cæsar, and pointed to that Jew who abused the resemblance of his face to get money; for that he had received more presents in every city than ever Alexander did when he was alive. Cæsar laughed at the contrivance, and put this spurious Alexander among his rowers, on account of the strength of his body, but ordered him that persuaded him to be put to death. But for the people of Melos, they had been sufficiently punished for their folly, by the expences they had been at on his account.
3. And now Archelaus took possession of his ethnarchy, and used not the Jews only, but the Samaritans also barbarously; and this out of his resentment of their old quarrels with him. Whereupon they both of them sent ambassadors against him to Cæsar, and in the ninth year of his government he was banished to Vienna, a city of Gall, and his effects were put into Cæsar’s treasury. But the report goes, that before he was sent for by Cæsar, he seemed to see nine ears of corn, full and large, but devoured by oxen. When, therefore, he had sent for the diviners, and some of the Chaldeans, and inquired of them what they thought it portended, and when one of them had one interpretation, and another had another, Simon, one of the sect of Essens, said, That “he thought the ears of corn denoted years, and the oxen denoted a mutation of things, because by their ploughing they made an alteration of the country. That therefore he should reign as many years as there were ears of corn, and after he had passed through various alterations of fortune, should die.” Now five days after Archelaus had heard this interpretation, he was called to his trial.
4. I cannot also but think it worthy to be recorded, what dream Glaphyra, the daughter of Archelaus, King of Cappadocia, had, who had at first been wife to Alexander, who was the brother of Archelaus, concerning whom we have been discoursing. This Alexander was the son of Herod the king, by whom he was put to death, as we have already related. This Glaphyra was married, after his death, to Juba, King of Libya, and, after his death, was returned home, and lived a widow with her father. Then it was that Archelaus, the ethnarch, saw her, and fell so deeply in love with her, that he divorced Mariamne, who was then his wife, and married her. When, therefore, she was come into Judea, and had been there for a little while, she thought she saw Alexander stand by her, and that he said to her, “Thy marriage with the king of Libya might have been sufficient for thee; but thou wast not contented with him, but art returned again to my family, to a third husband, and him, thou impudent woman, hast thou chosen for thine husband, who is my brother. However, I shall not overlook the injury thou hast offered me; I shall [soon] have thee again, whether thou wilt or no.” Now Glaphyra hardly survived the narration of this dream of hers two days.
Archelaus’s ethnarchy is reduced into a [Roman] province. The sedition of Judas of Galilee. The three sects of the Jews.
1. And now Archelaus’s part of Judea was reduced into a province, and Coponius, one of the equestrian order among the Romans, was sent as a procurator, having the power of [life and] death put into his hands by Cæsar. Under his administration it was, that a certain Galilean, whose name was Judas, prevailed with his countrymen to revolt, and said they were cowards, if they would endure to pay a tax to the Romans, and would, after God, submit to mortal men as their lords. This man was a teacher of a peculiar sect of his own, and was not at all like the rest of those their leaders.
2. For there are three philosophical sects among the Jews. The followers of the first of which are the Pharisees, of the second, the Sadducees, and the third sect, which pretends to a severer discipline, are called Essens. These last are Jews by birth, and seem to have a greater affection for one another than the other sects have. These Essens reject pleasures as an evil, but esteem continence, and the conquest over our passions to be virtue. They neglect wedlock, but choose out other persons children while they are pliable, and fit for learning, and esteem them to be of their kindred, and form them according to their own manners. They do not absolutely deny the fitness of marriage, and the succession of mankind thereby continued; but they guard against the lascivious behaviour of women, and are persuaded that none of them preserve their fidelity to one man.
3. These men are despisers of riches, and so very communicative, as raises our admiration. Nor is there any one to be found among them who hath more than another; for it is a law among them, that those who come to them must let what they have be common to the whole order, insomuch that among them all there is no appearance of poverty, or excess of riches, but every one’s possessions are intermingled with every other’s possessions, and so there is, as it were, one patrimony among all the brethren. They think that oil is a defilement; and if any one of them be anointed, without his own approbation, it is wiped off his body; for they think to be sweaty is a good thing, as they do also to be clothed in white garments. They also have stewards appointed, to take care of their common affairs, who every one of them have no separate business for any, but what is for the uses of them all.
4. They have no one certain city, but many of them dwell in every city; and if any of their sect come from other places, what they have lies open for them, just as if it were their own, and they go into such as they never knew before, as if they had been ever so long acquainted with them. For which reason they carry nothing at all with them when they travel into remote parts, though still they take their weapons with them, for fear of thieves. Accordingly there is, in every city where they live, one appointed particularly to take care of strangers, and to provide garments and other necessaries for them. But the habit and management of their bodies is such as children use who are in fear of their masters. Nor do they allow of the change of garments, or of shoes, till be first torn to pieces, or worn out by time. Nor do they either buy or sell any thing to one another, but every one of them gives what he hath to him that wanteth it, and receives from him again in lieu of it what may be convenient for himself; and although there be no requital made, they are fully allowed to take what they want of whomsoever they please.
5. And as for their piety towards God, it is very extraordinary; for before sun-rising they speak not a word about profane matters, but put up certain prayers, which they have received from their forefathers, as if they made a supplication for its rising. After this every one of them are sent away by their curators to exercise some of those arts wherein they are skilled, in which they labour with great diligence till the fifth hour. After which they assemble themselves together again into one place, and when they have clothed themselves in white veils, they then bathe their bodies in cold water. And after this purification is over, they every one meet together in an apartment of their own, into which it is not permitted to any of another sect to enter; while they go, after a pure manner, into the dining-room, as into a certain holy temple, and quietly set themselves down; upon which the baker lays them loaves in order; the cook also brings a single plate of one sort of food, and sets it before every one of them; but a priest says grace before meat; and it is unlawful for any one to taste of the food before grace be said. The same priest, when he hath dined, says grace again after meat; and when they begin, and when they end, they praise God, as he that bestows their food upon them; after which they lay aside their [white] garments, and betake themselves to their labours again till the evening; then they return home to supper, after the same manner, and if there be any strangers there, they sit down with them. Nor is there ever any clamour or disturbance to pollute their house, but they give every one leave to speak in their turn; which silence thus kept in their house appears to foreigners like some tremendous mystery; the cause of which is that perpetual sobriety they exercise, and the same settled measure of meat and drink that is allotted them, and that such as is abundantly sufficient for them.
6. And truly, as for other things, they do nothing but according to the injunctions of their curators; only these two things are done among them at everyone’s own free will, which are to assist those that want it, and to shew mercy; for they are permitted of their own accord to afford succour to such as deserve it, when they stand in need of it, and to bestow food on those that are in distress; but they cannot give any thing to their kindred without the curators. They dispense their anger after a just manner, and restrain their passion. They are eminent for fidelity, and are the ministers of peace; whatsoever they say also is firmer than an oath; but swearing is avoided by them, and they esteem it worse than perjury; for they say, that he who cannot be believed without [swearing by] God, is already condemned. (4) They also take great pains in studying the writings of the ancients, and choose out of them what is most for the advantage of their soul and body, and they inquire after such roots and medicinal stones as may cure their distempers.
7. But now, if any one hath a mind to come over to their sect, he is not immediately admitted, but he is prescribed the same method of living which they use for a year, while he continues excluded, and they give him also a small hatchet, and the forementioned girdle, and the white garment. And when he hath given evidence, during that time, that he can observe their continence, he approaches nearer to their way of living, and is made a partaker of the waters of purification; yet is he not even now admitted to live with them; for after this demonstration of his fortitude, his temper is tried two more years, and if he appear to be worthy, they then admit him into their society. And before he is allowed to touch their common food, he is obliged to take tremendous oaths, that, in the first place, he will exercise piety towards God, and then that he will observe justice towards men, and that he will do no harm to any one, either of his own accord, or by the command of others; that he will always hate the wicked, and be assistant to the righteous; that he will ever shew fidelity to all men, and especially to those in authority; because no one obtains the government without God’s assistance; and that if he be in authority, he will at no time whatever abuse his authority, nor endeavour to outshine his subjects either in his garments, or any other finery; that he will be perpetually a lover of truth, and propose to himself to reprove those that tell lies; that he will keep his hands clear from theft, and his soul from unlawful gains; and that he will neither conceal any thing from those of his own sect, nor discover any of their doctrines to others, no, not though any one should compel him so to do at the hazard of his life. Moreover he swears to communicate their doctrines to no one any otherwise than as he received them himself; that he will abstain from robbery, and will equally preserve the books belonging to their sect, and the names of the angels (5) [or messengers]. These are the oaths by which they secure their proselytes to themselves.
8. But for those that are caught in any heinous sins, they cast them out of their society, and he who is thus separated from them, does often die after a miserable manner; for as he is bound by the oath he hath taken, and by the customs he hath been engaged in, he is not at liberty to partake of that food that he meets with elsewhere, but is forced to eat grass, and to famish his body with hunger, till he perish; for which reason they receive many of them again, when they are at their last gasp, out of compassion to them, as thinking the miseries they have endured till they came to the very brink of death, to be a sufficient punishment for the sins they had been guilty of.
9. But in the judgments they exercise they are most accurate and just, nor do they pass sentence by the votes of a court that is fewer than an hundred. And as to what is once determined by that number, it is unalterable. What they most of all honour, after God himself, is the name of their legislator [Moses], whom if any one blaspheme he is punished capitally. They also think it a good thing to obey their elders, and the major part. Accordingly, if ten of them be sitting together, no one of them will speak while the other nine are against it. They also avoid spitting in the midst of them, or on the right side. Moreover, they are stricter than any other of the Jews in resting from their labours on the seventh day; for they not only get their food ready the day before, that they may not be obliged to kindle a fire on that day, but they will not remove any vessel out of its place, nor go to stool thereon. Nay, on other days they dig a small pit, a foot deep, with a paddle (which kind of hatchet is given them, when they are first admitted among them), and covering themselves round with their garment that they may not affront the divine rays of light, they ease themselves into that pit, after which they put the earth that was dug out again into the pit; and even this they do only in the more lonely places, which they choose out for this purpose; and although this easement of the body be natural, yet it is a rule with them to wash themselves after it, as if it were a defilement to them.
10. Now after the time of their preparatory trial is over, they are parted into four classes; and so far are the juniors inferior to the seniors, that if the seniors should be touched by the juniors, they must wash themselves, as if they had intermixed themselves with the company of a foreigner. They are long-lived also, insomuch that many of them live above an hundred years, by means of the simplicity of their diet, nay, as I think, by means of the regular course of life they observe also. They contemn the miseries of life, and are above pain, by the generosity of their mind. And as for death, if it will be for their glory, they esteem it better than living always; and indeed our war with the Romans gave abundant evidence what great souls they had in their trials, wherein, although they were tortured and distorted, burnt and torn to pieces, and went through all kinds of instruments of torment, that they might be forced either to blaspheme their legislator, or to eat what was forbidden them, yet could they not be made to do either of them, no nor once to flatter their tormentors, or to shed a tear; but they smiled in their very pains, and laughed those to scorn who inflicted the torments upon them, and resigned up their souls, with great alacrity, as expecting to receive them again.
11. For their doctrine is this. That bodies are corruptible, and that the matter they are made of is not permanent; but that the souls are immortal, and continue for ever, and that they come out of the most subtil air, and are united to their bodies as to prisons, into which they are drawn by a certain natural inticement; but that when they are set free from the bonds of the flesh, they then, as released from a long bondage, rejoice and mount upward. And this is like the opinions of the Greeks, that good souls have their habitations beyond the ocean, in a region that is neither oppressed with storms of rain or snow, or with intense heat, but that this place is such as is refreshed by the gentle breathing of a west wind, that is perpetually blowing from the ocean; while they allot to bad souls a dark and tempestuous den, full of never-ceasing punishments. And indeed the Greeks seem to me to have followed the same notion, when they allot the islands of the blessed to their brave men, whom they call heroes, and demi-gods; and to the souls of the wicked, the region of the ungodly in Hades, where their fables relate that certain persons, such as Sisyphus, and Tantalus, and Ixion, and Tityus, are punished; which is built on this first supposition, that souls are immortal; and thence are those exhortations to virtue, and dehortations from wickedness collected; whereby good men are bettered in the conduct of their life by the hope they have of reward after their death, and whereby the vehement inclinations of bad men to vice are restrained, by the fear and expectation they are in, that although they should lie concealed in this life, they should suffer immortal punishment after their death. These are the divine doctrines of the Essens (6) about the soul, which lay an unavoidable bait for such as have once had a taste of their philosophy.
12. There are also those among them who undertake to foretel things to come, by reading the holy books, and using several sorts of purifications, and being perpetually conversant in the discourses of the prophets; and it is but seldom that they miss in their predictions. (7)
13. Moreover, there is another order of Essens, who agree with the rest as to their way of living, and customs, and laws, but differ from them in the point of marriage, as thinking that by not marrying they cut off the principal part of human life, which is the prospect of succession; nay rather, that if all men should be of the same opinion, the whole race of mankind would fail. However, they try their spouses for three years, and if they find that they have their natural purgations thrice, as trials that they are likely to be fruitful, they then actually marry them. But they do not use to accompany with their wives when they are with child, as a demonstration that they do not many out of regard to pleasure, but for the sake of posterity. Now the women go into the baths with some of their garments on, as the men do with somewhat girded about them. And these are the customs of this order of Essens.
14. But then as to the two other orders at first mentioned, the Pharisees are those who are esteemed most skilful in the exact explication of their laws, and introduce the first sect. These ascribe all to fate [or providence], and to God, and yet allow, that to act what is right, or the contrary, is principally in the power of men; although fate does co-operate in every action. They say that all souls are incorruptible, but that the souls of good men only are removed into other bodies, but that the souls of bad men are subject to eternal punishment. But the Sadducees are those that compose the second order, and take away fate entirely, and suppose that God is not concerned in our doing or not doing what is evil; and they say, that to act what is good, or what is evil, is at men’s own choice, and that the one or the other belongs so to every one, that they may act as they please. They also take away the belief of the immortal duration of the soul, and the punishments and rewards in Hades. Moreover, the Pharisees are friendly to one another, and are for the exercise of concord, and regard for the public; but the behaviour of the Sadducees one towards another is in some degree wild, and their conversation with those that are of their own party is as barbarous as if they were strangers to them. And this is what I had to say concerning the philosophic sects among the Jews. (8)
The death of Salome. The cities which Herod and Philip built. Pilate occasions disturbances. Tiberius puts Agrippa into bonds, but Caius frees him from them, and makes him king. Herod Antipas is banished.
1. And now as the ethnarchy of Archelaus was fallen into a Roman province, the other sons of Herod, Philip, and that Herod who was called Antipas, each of them took upon them the administration of their own tetrarchies; for when Salome died, she bequeathed to Julia, the wife of Augustus, both her toparchy, and Jamnia, as also her plantation of palm-trees that were in Phasaelis. But when the Roman empire was translated to Tiberius, the son of Julia, (9) upon the death of Augustus, who had reigned fifty-seven years, six months, and two days, both Herod and Philip continued in their tetrarchies, and the latter of them built the city Cesarea, at the fountains of Jordan, and in the region of Paneas; as also the city Julias, in the lower Gaulanitis. Herod also built the city Tiberias in Galilee, and in Perea [beyond Jordan] another that was also called Julias.
2. Now Pilate, who was sent as procurator into Judea by Tiberius, sent by night those images of Cæsar that are called ensigns, into Jerusalem. This excited a very among great tumult among the Jews when it was day; for those that were near them were astonished at the sight of them, as indications that their laws were trodden under foot; for those laws do not permit any sort of image to be brought into the city. Nay, besides the indignation which the citizens had themselves at this procedure, a vast number of people came running out of the country. These came zealously to Pilate to Cesarea, and besought him to carry those ensigns out of Jerusalem, and to preserve them their ancient laws inviolable; but upon Pilate’s denial of their request, they fell down prostrate upon the ground, and continued immoveable in that posture for five days, and as many nights.
3. On the next day Pilate sat upon his tribunal, in the open market place, and called to him the multitude, as desirous to give them an answer; and then gave a signal to the soldiers, that they should all by agreement at once encompass the Jews with their weapons; so the band of soldiers stood round about the Jews in three ranks. The Jews were under the utmost consternation at that unexpected sight: Pilate also said to them, that they should be cut in pieces, unless they would admit of Cæsar’s images, and gave intimation to the soldiers to draw their naked swords. Hereupon the Jews, as it were at one signal, fell down in vast numbers together, and exposed their necks bare, and cried out that they were sooner ready to be slain, than that their law should be transgressed. Hereupon Pilate was greatly surprised at their prodigious superstition, and gave order that the ensigns should be presently carried out of Jerusalem.
4. After this he raised another disturbance, by expending that sacred treasure which is called Corban (10) upon aqueducts, whereby he brought water from the distance of four hundred furlongs. At this the multitude had indignation; and when Pilate was come to Jerusalem, they came about his tribunal, and made a clamour at it. Now when he was apprized aforehand of this disturbance, he mixed his own soldiers in their armour with the multitude, and ordered them to conceal themselves under the habits of private men, and not indeed to use their swords, but with their staves to beat those that made the clamour. He then gave the signal from his tribunal [to do as he had bidden them]. Now the Jews were so sadly beaten, that many of them perished by the stripes they received, and many of them perished as trodden to death by themselves; by which means the multitude was astonished at the calamity of those that were slain, and held their peace.
5. In the mean time Agrippa, the son of that Aristobulus who had been slain by his father Herod, came to Tiberius, to accuse Herod the tetrarch; who not admitting of his accusation, he stayed at Rome, and cultivated a friendship with others of the men of note, but principally with Caius the son of Germanicus, who was then but a private person. Now this Agrippa, at a certain time, feasted Caius; and as he was very complaisant to him on several other accounts, he at length stretched out his hands, and openly wished that Tiberius might die, and that he might quickly see him emperor of the world. This was told to Tiberius, by one of Agrippa’s domestics, who thereupon was very angry, and ordered Agrippa to be bound, and had him very ill-treated in the prison for six months, until Tiberius died, after he had reigned twenty-two years, six months, and three days.
6. But when Caius was made Cæsar, he released Agrippa from his bonds, and made him king of Philip’s tetrarchy, who was now dead; but when Agrippa had arrived at that degree of dignity, he enflamed the ambitious desires of Herod the tetrarch, who was chiefly induced to hope for the royal authority by his wife Herodias, who reproached him for his sloth, and told him that it was only because he would not sail to Cæsar, that he was destitute of that great dignity; for since Cæsar had made Agrippa a king, from a private person, much more would he advance him from a tetrarch to that dignity. These arguments prevailed with Herod, so that he came to Caius, by whom he was punished for his ambition, by being banished into Spain; for Agrippa followed him in order to accuse him; to whom also Caius gave his tetrarchy by way of addition. So Herod died in Spain, whither his wife had followed him.
Caius commands that his statue should be set up in the temple itself; and what Petronius did thereupon.
1. Now Caius Cæsar did so grossly abuse the fortune he had arrived at, as to take himself to be a god, and to desire to be so called also, and to cut off those of the greatest nobility out of his country. He also extended his impiety as far as the Jews. Accordingly he sent Petronius with an army to Jerusalem, to place his statues in the temple, (11) and commanded him, that, in case the Jews would not admit of them, he should slay those that opposed it, and carry all the rest of the nation into captivity; but God concerned himself with these his commands. However, Petronius marched out of Antioch into Judea, with three legions, and many Syrian auxiliaries. Now as to the Jews, some of them could not believe the stories that spake of a war, but those that did believe them were in the utmost distress how to defend themselves, and the terror diffused itself presently through them all; for the army was already come to Ptolemais.
2. This Ptolemais is a maritime city of Galilee, built in the great plain. It is encompassed with mountains: that on the east side, sixty furlongs off, belongs to Galilee; but that on the south belongs to Carmel, which is distant from it an hundred and twenty furlongs; and that on the north is the highest of them all, and is called by the people of the country, the ladder of the Tyrians, which is at the distance of an hundred furlongs. The very small river Belus (12) runs by it, at the distance of two furlongs; near which there is Menmon’s monument, (13) and hath near it a place no larger than an hundred cubits, which deserves admiration; for the place is round, and hollow, and affords such sand as glass is made of, which place, when it hath been emptied by the many ships there loaded, it is filled again by the winds, which bring into it, as it were on purpose, that sand which lay remote, and was no more than bare common sand, while this mine presently turns it into glassy sand. And what is to me still more wonderful, that glassy sand which is superfluous, and is once removed out of the place, becomes bare common sand again. And this is the nature of the place we are speaking of.
3. But now the Jews got together in great numbers with their wives and children, into that plain that was by Ptolemais, and made supplication to Petronius, first for their laws, and, in the next place, for themselves. So he was prevailed upon by the multitude of the supplicants, and by their supplications, and left his army and the statues at Ptolemais, and then went forward into Galilee, and called together the multitude, and all the men of note to Tiberias, and shewed them the power of the Romans, and the threatenings of Cæsar; and, besides this, proved that their petition was unreasonable, because while all the nations in subjection to them had placed the images of Cæsar in their several cities, among the rest of their gods, for them alone to oppose it, was almost like the behaviour of revolters, and was injurious to Cæsar.
4. And when they insisted on their law, and the custom of their country, and how it was not only not permitted them to make either an image of God, or indeed of a man, and to put it in any despicable part of their country, much less in the temple itself, Petronius replied, “And am not I also, said he, bound to keep the law of my own lord? For if I transgress it, and spare you, it is but just that I perish; while he that sent me, and not I, will commence a war against you; for I am under command as well as you.” Hereupon the whole multitude cried out, That “they were ready to suffer for their law.” Petronius then quieted them, and said to them, “Will you then make war against Cæsar?” The Jews said, “We offer sacrifice twice every day for Cæsar, and for the Roman people; but that if he would place the images among them, he must first sacrifice the whole Jewish nation; and that they were ready to expose themselves, together with their children and wives, to be slain.” At this Petronius was astonished, and pitied them on account of the inexpressible sense of religion the men were under, and that courage of theirs which made them ready to die for it; so they were dismissed without success.
5. But on the following days he got together the men of power privately, and the multitude publicly, and sometimes he used persuasions to them, and sometimes he gave them his advice; but he chiefly made use of threatenings to them, and insisted upon the power of the Romans, and the anger of Caius; and besides, upon the necessity he was himself under [to do as he was enjoined]. But as they could be no way prevailed upon, and he saw that the country was in danger of lying without tillage; for it was about seed time that the multitude continued for fifty days together idle; so he at last got them together, and told them, That “it was best for him to run some hazard himself; for either, by the divine assistance, I shall prevail with Cæsar, and shall myself escape the danger as well as you, which will be matter of joy to us both; or, in case Cæsar continue in his rage, I will be ready to expose my own life for such a great number as you are.” Whereupon he dismissed the multitude, who prayed greatly for his prosperity; and he took the army out of Ptolemais, and returned to Antioch; from whence he presently sent an epistle to Cæsar, and informed him of the irruption he had made into Judea, and of the supplications of the nation; and that unless he had a mind to lose both the country, and the men in it, he must permit them to keep their law, and must countermand his former injunction. Caius answered that epistle in a violent way, and threatened to have Petronius put to death for his being so tardy in the execution of what he had commanded. But it happened that those who brought Caius’s epistle were tost by a storm, and were detained on the sea for three months, while others that brought the news of Caius’s death had a good voyage. Accordingly Petronius received the epistle concerning Caius seven and twenty days before he received that which was against himself.
Concerning the government of Claudius, and the reign of Agrippa. Concerning the deaths of Agrippa, and of Herod, and what children they both left behind them.
1. Now when Caius had reigned three years and eight months, and had been slain by treachery, Claudius was hurried away by the armies that were at Rome to take the government upon him; but the senate, upon the reference of the consuls, Sentius Saturninus, and Pomponius Secundus, gave orders to the three regiments of soldiers that stayed with them to keep the city quiet, and went up into the capitol, in great numbers, and resolved to oppose Claudius by force, on account of the barbarous treatment they had met with from Caius; and they determined either to settle the nation under an aristocracy, as they had of old been governed, or at least to choose by vote such an one for emperor as might be worthy of it.
2. Now it happened that at this time Agrippa sojourned at Rome, and that both the senate called him to consult with them, and at the same time Claudius sent for him out of the camp, that he might be serviceable to him as he should have occasion for his service. So he perceiving that Claudius was in effect made Cæsar already, went to him, who sent him as an ambassador to the senate, to let them know what his intentions were: That, “in the first place, it was without his seeking, that he was hurried away by the soldiers; moreover, that he thought it was not just to desert those soldiers in such their zeal for him, and that, if he should do so, his own fortune would be in uncertainty: for that it was a dangerous case to have been once called to the empire. He added farther, that he would administer the government as a good prince, and not like a tyrant; for that he would be satisfied with the honour of being called emperor, but would, in every one of his actions, permit them all to give him their advice; for that although he had not been by nature for moderation, yet would the death of Caius afford him a sufficient demonstration how soberly he ought to act in that station.”
3. This message was delivered by Agrippa; to which the senate replied, That “since they had an army, and the wisest counsels on their side, they would not endure a voluntary slavery.” And when Claudius heard what answer the senate had made, he sent Agrippa to them again, with the following message, That “he could not bear the thoughts of betraying them that had given their oaths to be true to him; and that he saw he must fight, though unwillingly, against such as he had no mind to fight; that however, [if it must come to that], it was proper to choose a place without the city for the war; because it was not agreeable to piety to pollute the temples of their own city with the blood of their own countrymen, and this only on occasion of their imprudent conduct.” And when Agrippa had heard this message, he delivered it to the senators.
4. In the mean time one of the soldiers belonging to the senate drew his sword, and cried out, “O my fellow soldiers, what is the meaning of this choice of ours, to kill our brethren, and to use violence to our kindred that are with Claudius? while we may have him for our emperor whom no one can blame, and who hath so many just reasons [to lay claim to the government]; and this with regard to those against whom we are going to fight.” When he had said this, he marched through the whole senate, and carried all the soldiers along with him. Upon which all the patricians were immediately at a great fright at their being thus deserted. But still, because there appeared no other way whither they could turn themselves for deliverance, they made haste the same way with the soldiers, and went to Claudius. But those that had the greatest luck in flattering the good fortune of Claudius betimes, met them before the walls with their naked swords, and there was reason to fear that those that came first might have been in danger, before Claudius could know what violence the soldiers were going to offer them, had not Agrippa ran before, and told him what a dangerous thing they were going about, and that unless he restrained the violence of these men, who were in a fit of madness against the patricians, he would lose those on whose account it was most desirable to rule, and would be emperor over a desert.
5. When Claudius heard this, he restrained the violence of the soldiery, and received the senate into the camp, and treated them after an obliging manner, and went out with them presently to offer their thank-offerings to God, which were proper upon his first coming to the empire. Moreover he bestowed on Agrippa his whole paternal kingdom immediately, and added to it, besides those countries that had been given by Augustus to Herod, Trachonitis and Auranitis, and still besides these, that kingdom which was called the kingdom of Lysanius. This gift he declared to the people by a decree, but ordered the magistrates to have the donation engraved on tables of brass, and to be set up in the capitol. He bestowed on his brother Herod, who was also his son-in-law, by marrying [his daughter] Bernice, the kingdom of Chalcis.
6. So now riches flowed in to Agrippa by his enjoyment of so large a dominion, nor did he abuse the money he had on small matters, but he began to encompass Jerusalem with such a wall, which, had it been brought to perfection, had made it impracticable for the Romans to take it by siege; but his death, which happened at Cesarea, before he had raised the walls to their due height, prevented him. He had then reigned three years, as he had governed his tetrarchies three other years. He left behind him three daughters, born to him by Cypros, Bernice, Mariamne, and Drusilla, and a son born of the same mother, whose name was Agrippa: he was left a very young child, so that Claudius made the country a Roman province, and sent Cuspius Fadus to be its procurator, and after him Tiberius Alexander, who making no alterations of the ancient laws, kept the nation in tranquillity. Now after this, Herod the King of Chalcis died, and left behind him two sons, born to him of his brother’s daughter Bernice; their names were Bernicianus, and Hyrcanus. [He also left behind him] Aristobulus, whom he had by his former wife, Mariamne. There was besides another brother of his that died a private person, his name was also Aristobulus, who left behind him a daughter, whose name was Jotape: and these, as I have formerly said, were the children of Aristobulus the son of Herod, which Aristobulus and Alexander were born to Herod by Mariamne, and were slain by him. But as for Alexander’s posterity they reigned in Armenia.
Many tumults under Cumanus, which were composed by Quadratus. Felix is procurator of Judea. Agrippa is advanced from Chalcis to a greater kingdom.
1. Now after the death of Herod, king of Chalcis, Claudius set Agrippa, the son of Agrippa, over his uncle’s kingdom, while Cumanus took upon him the office of procurator of the rest, which was a Roman province, and therein he succeeded Alexander, under which Cureanus began the troubles, and the Jews ruin came on; for when the multitude were come together to Jerusalem, to the feast of unleavened bread, and a Roman cohort stood over the cloisters of the temple, (for they always were armed, and kept guard at the festivals, to prevent any innovation, which the multitude thus gathered together might make), one of the soldiers pulled back his garment, and couring down after an indecent manner, turned his breech to the Jews, and spake such words as you might expect upon such a posture. At this the whole multitude had indignation, and made a clamour to Cumanus, that he would punish the soldier; while the rasher part of the youth, and such as were naturally the most tumultuous, fell to fighting, and caught up stones, and threw them at the soldiers. Upon which Cumanus was afraid lest all the people should make an assault upon him, and sent to call for more armed men, who, when they came in great numbers into the cloisters, the Jews were in a very great consternation, and being beaten out of the temple, they ran into the city, and the violence with which they crowded to get out was so great that they trode upon each other, and squeezed one another, till ten thousand of them were killed, insomuch that this feast became the cause of mourning to the whole nation, and every family lamented [their own relations].
2. Now there followed after this another calamity, which arose from a tumult made by robbers; for at the public road at Beth-horon, one Stephen, a servant of Cæsar, carried some furniture, which the robbers fell upon, and seized; upon this Cumanus sent men to go round about to the neighbouring villages, and to bring their inhabitants to him bound, as laying it to their charge that they had not pursued after the thieves, and caught them. Now here it was that a certain soldier, finding the sacred book of the law, tore it to pieces, and threw it into the fire. (14) Hereupon the Jews were in great disorder as if their whole country were in a flame, and assembled themselves so many of them by their zeal for their religion, as by an engine, and ran together with united clamour to Cæsarea, to Cumanus, and made supplication to him that he would not overlook this man, who had offered such an affront to God, and to his law, but punish him for what he had done. Accordingly he perceiving that the multitude would not be quiet unless they had a comfortable answer from him, gave order that the soldier should be brought, and drawn through those that required to have him punished to execution, which being done, the Jews went their ways.
3. After this there happened a fight between the Galileans and the Samaritans; it happened at a village called Geman, which is situate in the great plain of Samaria, where, as a great number of Jews were going up to Jerusalem to the feast [of tabernacles], a certain Galilean was slain; and besides a vast number of people ran together out of Galilee, in order to fight with the Samaritans; but the principal men among them came to Cumanus, and besought him, that before the evil became incurable, he would come into Galilee, and bring the authors of this murder to punishment, for that there was no other way to make the multitude separate without coming to blows. However Cumanus postponed their supplications to the other affairs he was then about, and sent the petitioners away without success.
4. But when the affair of this murder came to be told at Jerusalem, it put the multitude into disorder, and they left the feast; and without any generals to conduct them, they marched with great violence to Samaria; nor would they be ruled by any of the magistrates that were set over them, but they were managed by one Eleazar, the son of Dineus, and by Alexander, in these their thievish and seditious attempts. These men fell upon those that were ill the neighbourhood of the Acrabatene toparchy, and slew them, without sparing any age, and set the villages on fire.
5. But Cumanus took one troop of horsemen, called the troop of Sebaste, out of Cesarea, and came to the assistance of those that were spoiled; he also seized upon a great number of those that followed Eleazar, and slew more of them. And as for the rest of the multitude of those that went so zealously to fight with the Samaritans, the rulers of Jerusalem ran out clothed with sackcloth, and having ashes on their head, and begged of them to go their ways, lest by their attempt to revenge themselves upon the Samaritans they should provoke the Romans to come against Jerusalem; to have compassion upon their country, and temple, their children, and their wives, and not bring the utmost dangers of destruction upon them, in order to avenge themselves upon one Galilean only. The Jews complied with these persuasions of theirs, and dispersed themselves; but still there were a great number who betook themselves to robbing, in hopes of impunity, and rapines and insurrections of the bolder sort happened over the whole country; and the men of power among the Samaritans came to Tyre, to Ummidius Quadratus, (15) the president of Syria, and desired that they that had laid waste the country might be punished: the great men also of the Jews and Jonathan the son of Ananus, the high-priest, came thither and said, that the Samaritans were the beginners of the disturbance, on account of that murder they had committed, and that Cumanus had given occasion to what had happened, by his unwillingness to punish the original authors of that murder.
6. But Quadratus put both parties off for that time, and told them, that when he should come to those places he would make a diligent inquiry after every circumstance. After which he went to Cesarea, and crucified all those whom Cumanus had taken alive; and when from thence he was come to the city Lydda, he heard the affair of the Samaritans, and sent for eighteen of the Jews whom he had learned to have been concerned in that fight, and beheaded them; but he sent two others of those that were of the greatest power among them, and both Jonathan and Ananias, the high-priests, as also Ananus the son of this Ananias, and certain others that were eminent among the Jews, to Cæsar; as he did in like manner by the most illustrious of the Samaritans. He also ordered that Cumanus [the procurator] and Celer the tribune should sail to Rome, in order to give an account of what had been done to Cæsar. When he had finished these matters, he went up from Lydda to Jerusalem, and finding the multitude celebrating their feast of unleavened bread without any tumult, he returned to Antioch.
7. Now when Cæsar at Rome had heard what Cumanus and the Samaritans had to say (where it was done in the hearing of Agrippa, who zealously espoused the cause of the Jews, as, in like manner, many of the great men stood by Cumanus), he condemned the Samaritans, and commanded that three of the most powerful men among them should be put to death; he banished Cumanus, and sent Celer bound to Jerusalem, to be delivered over to the Jews to be tormented, that he should be drawn round the city, and then beheaded.
8. After this Cæsar sent Felix, (16) the brother of Pallas, to be procurator of Galilee, and Samaria, and Perea, and removed Agrippa from Chalcis unto a greater kingdom; for he gave him the tetrarchy which had belonged to Philip, which contained Batanea, Trachonitis, and Gaulanitis: he added to it the kingdom of Lysanias, and that province [Abilene] which Varus had governed. But Claudius himself, when he had administered the government thirteen years, eight months, and twenty days, died, and left Nero to be his successor in the empire, whom he had adopted by his wife Agrippina’s delusions, in order to be his successor, although he had a son of his own, whose name was Britannicus, by Messalina his former wife, and a daughter whose name was Octavia, whom he had married to Nero; he had also another daughter by Petina, whose name was Antonia.
Nero adds four cities to Agrippa’s kingdom; but the other parts of Judea were under Felix. The disturbances which were raised by the Sicarii, the Magicians, and an Egyptian false prophet. The Jews and Syrians have a contest at Cesarea.
1. Now as to the many things in which Nero acted like a madman, out of the extravagant degree of the felicity and riches which he enjoyed, and by that means used his good fortune to the injury of others; and after what manner he slew his brother, and wife, and mother, from whom his barbarity spread itself to others that were most nearly related to him; and how, at last, he was so distracted that he became an actor in the scenes, and upon the theatre, I omit to say any more about them, because there are writers enough upon those subjects every where; but I shall turn myself to those actions of his time in which the Jews were concerned.
2. Nero therefore bestowed the kingdom of the Lesser Armenia upon Aristobulus, Herod’s son, (17) and he added to Agrippa’s kingdom four cities, with the toparchies to them belonging; I mean Abila, and that Julias which is in Perea, Tarichea also, and Tiberias of Galilee; but over the rest of Judea he made Felix procurator. This Felix took Eleazar the arch-robber, and many that were with him alive, when they had ravaged the country for twenty years together, and sent them to Rome: but as to the number of the robbers whom he caused to be crucified, and of those who were caught among them, and whom he brought to punishment, they were a multitude not to be enumerated.
3. When the country was purged of these, there sprang up another sort of robbers in Jerusalem, which were called Sicarii, who slew men in the day time, and in the midst of the city: this they did chiefly at the festivals, when they mingled themselves among the multitude, and concealed daggers under their garments, with which they stabbed those that were their enemies; and when any fell down dead, the murderers became a part of those that had indignation against them, by which means they appeared persons of such reputation, that they could by no means be discovered. The first man who was slain by them was Jonathan the high priest, after whose death many were slain every day, while the fear men were in of being so served was more afflicting than the calamity itself, and while every body expected death every hour, as men do in war, so men were obliged to look before them, and to take notice of their enemies at a great distance; nor, if their friends were coming to them, durst they trust them any longer; but, in the midst of their suspicions and guarding of themselves, they were slain. Such was the celerity of the plotters against them, and so cunning was their contrivance.
4. There was also another body of wicked men gotten together, not so impure in their actions, but more wicked in their intentions, which laid waste the happy state of the city no less than did these murderers. These were such men as deceived and deluded the people under pretence of divine inspiration, but were for procuring innovations and changes of the government; and these prevailed with the multitude to act like madmen, and went before them into the wilderness, as pretending that God would there shew them the signals of liberty. But Felix thought this procedure was to be the beginning of a revolt; so he sent some horsemen and footmen, both armed, who destroyed a great number of them.
5. But there was an Egyptian false prophet that did the Jews more mischief than the former; for he was a cheat, and pretended to be a prophet also, and got together thirty thousand men that were deluded by him: these he led round about from the wilderness to the mount which was called the Mount of Olives, and was ready to break into Jerusalem by force from that place; and if he could but once conquer the Roman garrison, and the people, he intended to domineer over them by the assistance of those guards of his that were to break into the city with him. But Felix prevented his attempt, and met him with his Roman soldiers, while all the people assisted him in his attack upon them, insomuch that when it came to a battle, the Egyptian ran away, with a few others, while the greatest part of those that were with him were either destroyed or taken alive; but the rest of the multitude were dispersed every one to their own homes, and there concealed themselves.
6. Now when these were quieted, it happened, as it does in a diseased body, that another part was subject to an inflammation; for a company of deceivers and robbers got together, and persuaded the Jews to revolt, and exhorted them to assert their liberty, inflicting death on those that continued in obedience to the Roman government, and saying, that such as willingly chose slavery, ought to be forced from such their desired inclinations; for they parted themselves into different bodies, and lay in wait up and down the country, and plundered the houses of the great men, and slew the men themselves, and set the villages on fire; and this till all Judea was filled with the effects of their madness. And thus the flame was every day more and more blown up, till it came to a direct war.
7. There was also another disturbance at Cesarea, those Jews who were mixed with the Syrians, that lived there, rising a tumult against them. The Jews pretended that the city was theirs, and said that he who built it was a Jew, meaning King Herod. The Syrians confessed also, that its builder was a Jew, but they still said, however, that the city was a Grecian city; for that he who set up statues and temples in it could not design it for Jews. On which account both parties had a contest with one another; and this contest increased so much, that it came at last to arms, and the bolder sort of them marched out to fight; for the elders of the Jews were not able to put a stop to their own people that were disposed to be tumultuous, and the Greeks thought it a shame for them to be overcome by the Jews. Now these Jews exceeded the others in riches, and strength of body; but the Grecian part had the advantage of assistance from the soldiery; for the greatest part of the Roman garrison was raised out of Syria, and being thus related to the Syrian part, they were ready to assist it. However, the governors of the city were concerned to keep all quiet, and whenever they caught those that were most for fighting on either side, they punished them with stripes and bands. Yet did not the sufferings of those that were caught affright the remainder, or make them desist; but they were still more and more exasperated, and deep engaged in the sedition. And as Felix came once into the market-place, and commanded the Jews, when they had beaten the Syrians, to go their ways, and threatened them if they would not, and they would not obey him, he sent his soldiers out upon them, and slew a great many of them, upon which it fell out that what they had was plundered. And as the sedition still continued, he chose out the most eminent men on both sides, as ambassadors to Nero, to argue about their several privileges.
Festus succeeds Felix, who is succeeded by Albinus, as he is by Florus; who, by the barbarity of his government, forces the Jews into the war.
1. Now it was that Festus succeeded Felix, as procurator, and made his business to correct those that made disturbances in the country. So he caught the greatest part of the robbers, and destroyed a great many of them. But then Albinus, who succeeded Festus, did not execute his office as the other had done; nor was there any sort of wickedness that could be named but he had a hand in it. Accordingly, he did not only, in his political capacity, steal and plunder every one’s substance, nor did he only burden the whole nation with taxes, but he permitted the relations of such as were in prison for robbery, and had been laid there, either by the senate of every city, or by the former procurators, to redeem them for money; and no body remained in the prisons, as a malefactor, but he who gave him nothing. At this time it was that the enterprises of the seditious at Jerusalem were very formidable; the principal men among them purchasing leave of Albinus to go on with their seditious practices; while that part of the people who delighted in disturbances joined themselves to such as had fellowship with Albinus; and every one of these wicked wretches was encompassed with his own band of robbers, while he himself, like an arch-robber, or a tyrant, made a figure among his company, and abused his authority over those about him in order to plunder those that lived quietly. The effect of which was this, that those who lost their goods were forced to hold their peace, when they had reason to shew great indignation at what they had suffered; but those who had escaped were forced to flatter him that deserved to be punished, out of the fear they were in of suffering equally with the others. Upon the whole, no body durst speak their minds, but tyranny was generally tolerated; and at this time were those seeds sown which brought the city to destruction.
2. And although such was the character of Albinus, yet did Gessius Florus, (18) who succeeded him, demonstrate him to have been a most excellent person, upon the comparison; for the former did the greatest part of his rogueries in private, and with a sort of dissimulation; but Gessius did his unjust actions to the harm of the nation after a pompons manner: and, as though he had been sent as an executioner to punish condemned malefactors, he omitted no sort of rapine, or of vexation; where the case was really pitiable, he was most barbarous, and in things of the greatest turpitude he was most impudent. Nor could any one outdo him in disguising the truth, nor could any one contrive more subtil ways of deceit than he did. He indeed thought it but a petty offence to get money out of single persons; so he spoiled whole cities, and ruined entire bodies of men at once, and did almost publicly proclaim it all the country over, that they had liberty given them to turn robbers, upon this condition, that he might go shares with them in the spoils they got. Accordingly this his greediness of gain was the occasion that entire toparchies were brought to desolation, and a great many of the people left their own country, and fled into foreign provinces.
3. And truly while Cestius Gallus was president of the province of Syria, no body durst do so much as send an ambassage to him against Florus; but when he was come to Jerusalem, upon the approach of the feast of unleavened bread, the people came about him not fewer in number than three millions: (19) these besought him to commiserate the calamities of their nation, and cried out upon Florus as the bane of their country. But as he was present, and stood by Cestius, he laughed at their words. However Cestius, when he had quieted the multitude, and had assured them that he would take care that Florus should hereafter treat them in a more gentle manner, returned to Antioch: Florus also conducted him as far as Cesarea, and deluded him, though he had at that very time the purpose of shewing his anger at the nation, and procuring a war upon them, by which means alone it was that he supposed he might conceal his enormities; for he expected that, if the peace continued, he should have the Jews for his accusers before Cæsar; but that if he could procure them to make a revolt, he should divert their laying lesser crimes to his charge, by a misery that was so much greater: he therefore did every day augment their calamities, in order to induce them to a rebellion.
4. Now at this time it happened that the Grecians at Cesarea had been too hard for the Jews, and had obtained of Nero the government of the city, and had brought the judicial determination: at the same time began the war, in the twelfth year of the reign of Nero, and the seventeenth of the reign of Agrippa, in the month of Artemisius [Jyar.] Now the occasion of this war was by no means proportionable to those heavy calamities which it brought upon us. For the Jews that dwelt at Cesarea had a synagogue, near the place whose owner was a certain Cesarean Greek; the Jews had endeavoured frequently to have purchased the possession of the place, and had offered many times its value for its price; but as the owner overlooked their offers, so did he raise other buildings upon the place, in way of affront to them, and made working shops of them, and left them but a narrow passage, and such as was very troublesome for them to go along to their synagogue. Whereupon the warmer part of the Jewish youth went hastily to the workmen, and forbade them to build there; but as Florus would not permit them to use force, the great men of the Jews with John the publican, being in the utmost distress what to do, persuaded Florus, with the offer of eight talents, to hinder the work. He then, being intent upon nothing but getting money, promised he would do for them all they desired of him, and then went away from Cesarea to Sebaste, and left the sedition to take its full course, as if he had sold a licence to the Jews to fight it out.
5. Now on the next day, which was the seventh day of the week, when the Jews were crowding apace to their synagogue, a certain man of Cesarea, of a seditious temper, got an earthen vessel, and set it with the bottom upward at the entrance of that synagogue, and sacrificed birds. (20) This thing provoked the Jews to an incurable degree, because their laws were affronted, and the place was polluted. Whereupon the sober and moderate part of the Jews thought it proper to have recourse to their governors again, while the seditious part, and such as were in the fervour of their youth, were vehemently inflamed to fight. The seditions also among the [Gentiles of] Cesarea stood ready for the same purpose; for they had, by agreement, sent the man to sacrifice beforehand [as ready to support him]; so that it soon came to blows. Hereupon Jucundus, the master of the horse, who was ordered to prevent the fight, came thither, and took away the earthen vessel, and endeavoured to put a stop to the sedition; but when he was overcome by the violence of the people of Cesarea, the Jews caught up their books of the law, and retired to Narbata, which was a place to them belonging, distant from Cesarea sixty furlongs. But John, and twelve of the principal men with him went to Florus, to Sebaste, and made a lamentable complaint of their case, and besought him to help them; and, with all possible decency, put him in mind of the eight talents they had given him; but he had the men seized upon, and put in prison, and accused them for carrying the books of the law out of Cesarea.
6. Moreover, as to the citizens of Jerusalem, although they took this matter very ill, yet did they restrain their passion; but Florus acted herein as if he had been hired, and blew up the war into a flame, and sent some to take seventeen talents out of the sacred treasure, and pretended that Cæsar wanted them. At this the people were in confusion immediately, and ran together to the temple, with prodigious clamours, and called upon Cæsar by name, and besought him to free them from the tyranny of Florus. Some also of the seditious cried out upon Florus, and cast the greatest reproaches upon him, and carried a basket about, and begged some spills of money for him, as for one that was destitute of possessions, and in a miserable condition. Yet was not he made ashamed hereby of his love of money, but was more enraged, and provoked to get still more; and instead of coming to Cesarea, as he ought to have done, and quenching the flame of war which was beginning thence, and so taking away the occasion of any disturbances, on which account it was that he had received a reward [of eight talents], he marched hastily with an army of horsemen and footmen against Jerusalem, that he might gain his will by the arms of the Romans, and might by his terror, and by his threatenings bring the city into subjection.
7. But the people were desirous of making Florus ashamed of his attempt, and met his soldiers with acclamations, and put themselves in order to receive him very submissively. But he sent Capito, a centurion, before hand, with fifty soldiers, to bid them go back, and not now make a shew of receiving him in an obliging manner, whom they had so foully reproached before; and said that it was incumbent on them, in case they had generous souls, and were free speakers, to jest upon him to his face, and appear to be lovers of liberty, not only in words, but with their weapons also. With this message was the multitude amazed, and upon the coming of Capito’s horsemen into the midst of them, they were dispersed before they could salute Florus, or manifest their submissive behaviour to him. Accordingly they retired to their own houses, and spent that night in fear and confusion of face.
8. Now at this time Florus took up his quarters at the palace; and on the next day he had his tribunal set before it, and sat upon it, when the high-priests, and the men of power, and those of the greatest eminence in the city came all before that tribunal; upon which Florus commanded them to deliver up to him those that had reproached him, and told them, that they should themselves partake of the vengeance to them belonging, if they did not produce the criminals; but these demonstrated that the people were peaceably disposed, and they begged forgiveness for those that had spoken amiss; for that it was no wonder at all that in so great a multitude there should be some more daring than they ought to be, and by reason of their younger age foolish also; and that it was impossible to distinguish those that offended from the rest, while every one was sorry for what he had done, and denied it out of fear of what would follow: that he ought however to provide for the peace of the nation, and to take such counsels as might preserve the city for the Romans, and rather for the sake of a great number of innocent people, to forgive a few that were guilty, than for the sake of a few of the wicked, to put so large and good a body of men into disorder.
9. Florus was more provoked at this, and called out aloud to the soldiers to plunder that which was called the upper market-place, and to slay such as they met with. So the soldiers, taking this exhortation of their commander in a sense agreeable to their desire of gain, did not only plunder the place they were sent to, but, forcing themselves into every house, they slew its inhabitants; so the citizens fled along the narrow lanes and the soldiers slew those that they caught, and no method of plunder was omitted: they also caught many of the quiet people, and brought them before Florus, whom he first chastised with stripes, and then crucified. Accordingly the whole number of those that were destroyed that day, with their wives and children, (for they did not spare even the infants themselves), was about three thousand and six hundred. And what made this calamity the heavier, was this new method of Roman barbarity: for Florus ventured then to do what no one had done before, that is, to have men of the equestrian order (21) whipped, and nailed to the cross before his tribunal; who although they were by birth Jews, yet were they of Roman dignity notwithstanding.
Concerning Bernice’s petition to Florus, to spare the Jews, but in vain; as also how, after the seditious flame was quenched, it was kindled again by Florus.
1. About this very time king Agrippa was going to Alexandria, to congratulate Alexander upon his having obtained the government of Egypt from Nero; but as his sister Bernice was come to Jerusalem, and saw the wicked practices of the soldiers, she was sorely affected at it, and frequently sent the masters of her horse, and her guards to Florus, and begged of him to leave off these slaughters; but he would not comply with her request, nor have any regard either to the multitude of those already slain, or to the nobility of her that interceded, but only to the advantage he should make by this plundering; nay, this violence of the soldiers brake out to such a degree of madness, that it spent itself on the queen herself; for they did not only torment and destroy those whom they had caught under her very eyes, but indeed had killed herself also, unless she had prevented them by flying to the palace, and had stayed there all night with her guards; which she had about her for fear of an insult from the soldiers. Now she dwelt then at Jerusalem, in order to perform a vow (22) which she had made to God; for it is usual with those that had been either afflicted with a distemper, or with any other distresses, to make vows; and for thirty days before they are to offer their sacrifices, to abstain from wine, and to shave the hair of their head. Which things Bernice was now performing, and stood barefoot before Florus’s tribunal, and besought him [to spare the Jews]. Yet could she neither have any reverence paid to her, nor could she escape without some danger of being slain herself.
2. This happened upon the sixteenth day of the month Artemisius [Jyar]. Now on the next day, the multitude, who were in a great agony, ran together to the upper market-place, and made the loudest lamentations for those that had perished; and the greatest part of the cries were such as reflected on Florus; at which the men of power were affrighted, together with the high priests, and rent their garments, and fell down before each of them, and besought them to leave off, and not to provoke Florus to some incurable procedure, besides what they had already suffered. Accordingly the multitude complied immediately, out of reverence to those that had desired it of them, and out of the hope they had that Florus would do them no more injuries.
3. So Florus was troubled that the disturbances were over, and endeavoured to kindle that flame again, and sent for the high-priests, with the other eminent persons, and said, The only demonstration that the people would not make any other innovations should be this, that they must go out and meet the soldiers that were ascending from Cesarea, whence two cohorts were coming; and while these men were exhorting the multitude so to do, he sent beforehand, and gave directions to the centurions of the cohorts, that they should give notice to those that were under them, not to return the Jews salutations, and that if they made any reply to his disadvantage, they should make use of their weapons. Now the high-priests assembled the multitude in the temple, and desired them to go and meet the Romans, and to salute the cohorts very civilly, before their miserable case should become incurable. Now the seditious part would not comply with these persuasions; but the consideration of those that had been destroyed, made them incline to those that were the boldest for action.
4. At this time it was that every priest, and every servant of God, brought out the holy vessels, and the ornamental garments, wherein they used to minister about sacred things. The harpers also, and the singers of hymns, came out with their instruments of music, and fell down before the multitude, and begged of them that they would preserve those holy ornaments to them, and not provoke the Romans to carry off those sacred treasures. You might also see then the high-priests themselves with dust sprinkled in great plenty upon their heads, with bosoms deprived of any covering, but what was rent; these besought every one of the eminent men by name, and the multitude in common, that they would not for a small offence, betray their country to those that were desirous to have it laid waste, saying, “What benefit will it bring to the soldiers to have a salutation from the Jews? Or what amendment of your affairs will it bring you, if you do not now go out to meet them? and that if they saluted them civilly, all handle would be cut off from Florus to begin a war; that they should thereby gain their country and freedom from all farther sufferings: and that, besides, it would be a sign of great want of command of themselves, if they should yield to a few seditious persons, while it was fitter for them, who were so great a people, to force the others to act soberly.”
5. By these persuasions, which they used to the multitude, and to the seditious, they restrained some by threatenings, and others by the reverence that was paid them. After this they led them out, and they met the soldiers quietly, and after a composed manner, and when they were come up with them, they saluted them, but when they made no answer, the seditious exclaimed against Florus which was the signal given for falling upon them. The soldiers therefore encompassed them presently, and struck them with their clubs, and as they fled away, the horsemen trampled them down, so that a great many fell down dead by the strokes of the Romans, and more by their own violence in crushing one another. Now there was a terrible crowding about the gates, and while every body was making haste to get before another, the flight of them all was retarded, and a terrible destruction there was among those that fell down, for they were suffocated, and broken to pieces by the multitude of those that were uppermost; nor could any of them be distinguished by his relations in order to the care of his funeral; the soldiers also who beat them, fell upon those whom they overtook, without shewing them any mercy, and thrust the multitude through the place called Bezetha, (23) as they forced their way, in order to get in and seize upon the temple, and the tower Antonia. Florus also being desirous to get those places into his possession, brought such as were with him out of the king’s palace, and would have compelled them to get as far as the citadel [Antonia]; but his attempt failed, for the people immediately turned back upon him, and stopped the violence of his attempt; and as they stood upon the tops of their houses, they threw their darts at the Romans; who, as they were sorely galled thereby, because those weapons came from above, and they were not able to make a passage through the multitude, which stopped up the narrow passages, they retired to the camp, which was at the palace.
6. But for the seditious, they were afraid lest Florus should come again, and get possession of the temple, through Antonia; so they got immediately upon those cloisters of the temple that joined to Antonia, and cut them down. This cooled the avarice of Florus, for whereas he was eager to obtain the treasures of God [in the temple], and on that account was desirous of getting into Antonia, as soon as the cloisters were broken down, he left off his attempt; he then sent for the high-priests, and the sanhedrim, and told them, that he was indeed himself going out of the city, but that he would leave them as large a garrison as they should desire. Hereupon they promised that they would make no innovations, in case he would leave them one band; but not that which had fought with the Jews, because the multitude bore ill will against that band on account of what they had suffered from it; so he changed the band, as they desired, and, with the rest of his forces, returned to Cesarea.
Cestius sends Neopolitanus the tribune to see in what condition the affairs of the Jews were. Agrippa makes a speech to the people of the Jews, that he may divert them from their intentions of making war with the Romans.
1. However Florus contrived another way to oblige the Jews to begin the war, and sent to Cestius, and accused the Jews falsely of revolting [from the Roman government], and imputed the beginning of the former fight to them, and pretended they had been the authors of that disturbance, wherein they were only the sufferers. Yet were not the governors of Jerusalem silent upon this occasion, but did themselves write to Cestius, as did Bernice also, about the illegal practices of which Florus had been guilty against the city; who, upon reading both accounts, consulted with his captains [what he should do]. Now some of them thought it best for Cestius to go up with his army, either to punish the revolt, if it was real, or to settle the Roman affairs on a surer foundation, if the Jews continued quiet under them; but he thought it best himself to send one of his intimate friends beforehand, to see the state of affairs, and to give him a faithful account of the intentions of the Jews. Accordingly he sent one of his tribunes, whose name was Neopolitanus, who met with King Agrippa, as he was returning from Alexandria, at Jamnia, and told him who it was that sent him, and on what errands he was sent.
2. And here it was that the high-priests, and men of power among the Jews, as well as the sanhedrim, came to congratulate the king [upon his safe return], and after they had paid him their respects, they lamented their own calamities, and related to him what barbarous treatment they had met with from Florus. At which barbarity Agrippa had great indignation, but transferred, after a subtile manner, his anger towards those Jews whom he really pitied, that he might beat down their high thoughts of themselves, and would have them believe that they had not been so unjustly treated, in order to dissuade them from avenging themselves. So these great men, as of better understanding than the rest, and desirous of peace, because of the possessions they had, understood that this rebuke which the king gave them was intended for their good; but as to the people, they came sixty furlongs out of Jerusalem, and congratulated both Agrippa, and Neopolitanus; but the wives of those that had been slain came running first of all and lamenting. The people also, when they heard their mourning, fell into lamentations also, and besought Agrippa to assist them: they also cried out to Neopolitanus, and complained of the many miseries they had endured under Florus, and they shewed them, when they were come into the city, how the market-place was made desolate, and the houses plundered. They then persuaded Neopolitanus, by the means of Agrippa, that he would walk round the city, with one only servant, as far as Siloam, that he might inform himself that the Jews submitted to all the rest of the Romans, and were only displeased at Florus, by reason of his exceeding barbarity to them. So he walked round, and had sufficient experience of the good temper the people were in, and then went up to the temple, where he called the multitude together, and highly commended them for their fidelity to the Romans, and earnestly exhorted them to keep the peace, and having performed such parts of divine worship at the temple as he was allowed to do, he returned to Cestius.
3. But as for the multitude of the Jews, they addressed themselves to the king, and to the high-priests, and desired they might have leave to send ambassadors to Nero against Florus, and not by their silence afford a suspicion that they had been the occasions of such great slaughters as had been made, and were disposed to revolt, alleging that they should seem to have been the first beginners of the war, if they did not prevent the report, by shewing who it was that began it; and it appeared openly, that they would not be quiet, if any body should hinder them from sending such an ambassage. But Agrippa, although he thought it too dangerous a thing for them to appoint men to go as the accusers of Florus, yet did he not think it fit for him to overlook them, as they were in a disposition for war. He therefore called the multitude together into a large gallery, and placed his sister Bernice in the house of the Asamoneans, that she might be seen by them, (which house was over the gallery, at the passage to the upper city, where the bridge joined the temple to the gallery), and spake to them as follows.
4. (24) “Had I perceived that you were all zealously disposed to go to war with the Romans, and that the purer and more sincere part of the people did not propose to live in peace, I had not come out to you, nor been so bold as to give you counsel; for all discourses that tend to persuade men to do what they ought to do are superfluous, when the hearers are agreed to do the contrary. But because some are earnest to go to war, because they are young, and without experience of the miseries it brings, and because some are for it, out of an unreasonable expectation of regaining their liberty, and because others hope to get by it, and are therefore earnestly bent upon it, that in the confusion of your affairs they may gain what belongs to those that are too weak to resist them, I have thought proper to get you all together, and to say to you what I think to be for your advantage; that so the former may grow wiser, and change their minds, and that the best men may come to no harm by the ill conduct of some others. And let not any one be tumultuous against me, in case what they hear me say do not please them; for as to those that admit of no cure, but are resolved upon a revolt, it will still be in their power to retain the same sentiments after my exhortation is over; but still my discourse will fall to the ground, even with a relation to those that have a mind to hear me, unless you will all keep silence. I am well aware that they make a tragical exclamation concerning the injuries that have been offered you by your procurators, and concerning the glorious advantages of liberty; but before I begin the inquiry, who you are that must go to war? and who they are against whom you must fight? I shall first separate those pretences that are by some connected together; for, if you aim at avenging yourselves on those that have done you injury, why do you pretend this to be a war for recovering your liberty? But if you think all servitude intolerable, to what purpose serve your complaints against your particular governors? for, if they treated you with moderation, it would still be equally an unworthy thing to be in servitude. Consider now the several cases that may be supposed, how little occasion there is for your going to war. Your first occasion is the accusations you have to make against your procurators: now here you ought to be submissive to those in authority, and not give them any provocation; but when you reproach men greatly for small offences, you excite those whom you reproach to be your adversaries; for this will only make them leave off hurting you privately, and with some degree of modesty, and to lay what you have waste openly. Now nothing so much damps the force of strokes as bearing them with patience, and the quietness of those who are injured diverts the injurious persons from afflicting. But let us take it for granted, that the Roman ministers are injurious to you, and are incurably severe; yet are they not all the Romans who thus injure you; nor hath Cæsar, against whom you are going to make war, injured you: it is not by their command that any wicked governor is sent to you; for they who are in the west cannot see those that are in the east; nor indeed is it easy for them there, even to hear what is done in these parts. Now it is absurd to make war with a great many, for the sake of one; to do so with such mighty people, for a small cause; and this when these people are not able to know of what you complain: nay, such crimes as we complain of may soon be corrected, for the same procurator will not continue for ever; and probable it is, that the successors will come with more moderate inclinations. But as for war, if it be once begun, it is not easily laid down again, nor borne without calamities coming therewith. However, as to the desire of recovering your liberty, it is unseasonable to indulge it so late; whereas you ought to have laboured earnestly in old time that you might never have lost it; for the first experience of slavery was hard to be endured, and the struggle that you might never have been subject to it would have been just; but that slave who hath been once brought into subjection, and then runs away, is rather a refractory slave, than a lover of liberty, for it was then the proper time for doing all that was possible that you might never have admitted the Romans [into your city], when Pompey came first into the country. But so it was, that our ancestors, and their kings, who were in much better circumstances than we are, both as to money and [strong] bodies, and [valiant] souls, did not bear the onset of a small body of the Roman army. And yet you, who have now accustomed yourselves to obedience from one generation to another, and who are so much inferior to those who first submitted, in your circumstances will venture to oppose the entire empire of the Romans: while those Athenians, who, in order to preserve the liberty of Greece, did once set fire to their own city; who pursued Xerxes, that proud prince, when he sailed upon the land, and walked upon the sea, and could not be contained by the seas, but conducted such an army as was too broad for Europe, and made him run away like a fugitive in a single ship, and brake so great a part of Asia at the lesser Salamis: are yet at this time servants to the Romans; and those injunctions which are sent from Italy, become laws to the principal governing city of Greece. Those Lacedemonians also, who got the great victories at Thermopylæ, and Platea, and had Agesilaus [for their king], and searched every corner of Asia, are contented to admit the same lords. Those Macedonians also, who still fancy what great men their Philip and Alexander were, and see that the latter had promised them the empire over the world, these bear so great a change, and pay their obedience to those whom fortune hath advanced in their stead. Moreover, ten thousand other nations there are who had greater reason than we to claim their entire liberty, and yet do submit. You are the only people who think it a disgrace to be servants to those to whom all the world hath submitted. What sort of an army do you rely on? What are the arms you depend on? Where is your fleet, that may seize upon the Roman seas; and where are those treasures which may be sufficient for your undertakings? Do you suppose, I pray you, that you are to make war with the Egyptians, and with the Arabians! Will you not carefully reflect upon the Roman empire? Will you not estimate your own weakness? Hath not your army been often beaten even by your neighbouring nations? while the power of the Romans is invincible in all parts of the habitable earth; nay rather, they seek for somewhat still beyond that; for all Euphrates is not a sufficient boundary for them on the east side, nor the Danube on the north, and for their southern limit, Libya hath been searched over by them, as far as countries uninhabited, as is Cadiz their limit on the west; nay, indeed, they have sought for another habitable earth beyond the ocean, and have carried their arms as far as such British islands as were never known before. What therefore do you pretend to? Are you richer than the Galls, stronger than the Germans, wiser than the Greeks, more numerous than all men upon the habitable earth? What confidence is it that elevates you to oppose the Romans? Perhaps it will be said, it is hard to endure slavery. Yes, but how much harder is this to the Greeks, who were esteemed the noblest of all people under the sun. These, though they inhabit in a large country, are in subjection to six bundles of Roman rods. It is the same case with the Macedonians, who have juster reason to claim their liberty than you have. What is the case of five hundred cities of Asia? do they not submit to a single governor, and to the consular bundle of rods? What need I speak of the Heniochi, and Colchi, and the nation of Tauri, those that inhabit the Bosphorus, and the nations about Pontus, and Meotis, who formerly knew not so much as a lord of their own, but are now subject to three thousand armed men, and where forty long ships keep the sea in peace, which before was not navigable, and very tempestuous? How strong a plea may Bithynia, and Cappadocia, and the people of Pamphylia, the Lycians, and Cilicians, put in for liberty? But they are made tributary without an army. What are the circumstances of the Thracians? whose country extends in breadth five days journey, and in length seven, and is of a much more harsh constitution, and much more defensible than yours, and by the rigour of its cold sufficient to keep off armies from attacking them; do not they submit to two thousand men of the Roman garrisons? Are not the Illyrians, who inhabit the country adjoining, as far as Dalmatia, and the Danube, governed by barely two legions? by which also they put a stop to the incursions of the Dacians. And for the Dalmatians, who have made such frequent insurrections in order to regain their liberty, and who could never before be so thoroughly subdued, but that they always gathered their forces together again, and revolted, yet are they now very quiet under one Roman legion. Moreover, if great advantages might provoke any people to revolt, the Galls might do it best of all; as being so thoroughly walled round by nature. On the east side by the Alps, on the north by the river Rhine, on the south by the Pyrenean mountains, and on the west by the ocean. Now although these Galls have such obstacles before them to prevent any attack upon them, and have no fewer than three hundred and five nations among them, nay have, as one may say, the fountains of domestic happiness within themselves, and send out plentiful streams of happiness over almost the whole world, these bear to be tributary to the Romans, and derive their prosperous condition from them: and they undergo this, not because they are of effeminate minds, or because they are of an ignoble stock, as having borne a war of eighty years, in order to preserve their liberty; but by reason of the great regard they have to the power of the Romans, and their good fortune, which is of greater efficacy than their arms. These Galls, therefore, are kept in servitude by twelve hundred soldiers, which are hardly so many as are their cities; nor hath the gold dug out of the mines of Spain been sufficient for the support of a war to preserve their liberty, nor could their vast distance from the Romans by land and by sea do it; nor could the martial tribes of the Lusitanians and Spaniards escape; no more could the ocean, with its tide, which yet was terrible to the ancient inhabitants. Nay, the Romans have extended their arms beyond the pillars of Hercules, and have walked among the clouds, upon the Pyrenean mountains, and have subdued these nations. And one legion is a sufficient guard for these people, although they were so hard to be conquered, and at a distance so remote from Rome. Who is there among you who hath not heard of the great number of the Germans? You have to be sure yourselves seen them to be strong and tall, and that frequently, since the Romans have them among their captives every where; yet these Germans, who dwell in an immense country, who have minds greater than their bodies, and a soul that despises death, and who are in rage, more fierce than wild beasts, have the Rhine for the boundary of their enterprises, and are tamed by eight Roman legions. Such of them as were taken captive became their servants; and the rest of the entire nation were obliged to save themselves by flight. Do you also, who depend on the walls of Jerusalem, consider what a wall the Britons had; for the Romans sailed away to them, and subdued them while they were encompassed by the ocean, and inhabited an island that is not less than the [continent of this] habitable earth; and four legions are a sufficient guard to so large an island. And why should I speak much more about this matter, while the Parthians, that most warlike body of men, and lords of so many nations, and encompassed with such mighty forces, send hostages to the Romans; whereby you may see, if you please, even in Italy, the noblest nation of the east, under the notion of peace, submitting to serve them. Now, when almost all people under the sun submit to the Roman arms, will you be the only people that make war against them? and this without regarding the fate of the Carthaginians, who, in the midst of their brags of the great Hannibal, and the nobility of their Phenician original, fell by the hand of Scipio. Nor indeed have the Cyreneans, derived from the Lacedemonians, nor the Marmaridæ, a nation extended as far as the regions uninhabitable for want of water, nor have the Syrtes, a place terrible to such as barely hear it described, the Nasamons and Moors, and the immense multitude of the Numidians, been able to put a stop to the Roman valour. And as for the third part of the habitable earth, [Africa], whose nations are so many that it is not easy to number them, and which is bounded by the Atlantic sea, and the pillars of Hercules, and feeds an innumerable multitude of Ethiopians, as far as the Red Sea, these have the Romans subdued entirely. And besides the annual fruits of the earth, which maintain the multitude of the Romans for eight months in the year, this, over and above, pays all sorts of tribute, and affords revenues suitable to the necessities of the government. Nor do they, like you, esteem such injunctions a disgrace to them, although they have but one Roman legion that abides among them. And indeed, what occasion is there for shewing you the power of the Romans over remote countries, when it is so easy to learn it from Egypt, in your neighbourhood? This country is extended as far as the Ethiopians, and Arabia the Happy, and borders upon India; it hath seven millions five hundred thousand men, besides the inhabitants of Alexandria, as may be learned from the revenue of the poll-tax; yet it is not ashamed to submit to the Roman government, although it hath Alexandria as a grand temptation to a revolt, by reason it is so full of people and of riches, and is besides exceeding large, its length being thirty furlongs, and its breadth not less than ten; and it pays more tribute to the Romans in one month than you do in a year; nay, besides what it pays in money, it sends corn to Rome that supports it for four months [in the year]: it is also walled round on all sides, either by almost impassable deserts, or seas that have no havens, or by rivers, or by lakes; yet have none of these things been found too strong for the Roman good fortune; however, two legions that lie in that city are a bridle both for the remoter parts of Egypt, and for the parts inhabited by the more noble Macedonians. Where then are those people whom you are to have for your auxiliaries? Must they come from the parts of the world that are uninhabited? for all that are in the habitable earth are [under the] Romans. Unless any of you extend his hopes as far as beyond the Euphrates, and suppose that those of your own nation that dwell in Adiabene will come to your assistance; but certainly these will not embarrass themselves with an unjustifiable war, nor, if they should follow such ill advice, will the Parthians permit them so to do; for it is their concern to maintain the truce that is between them and the Romans, and they will be supposed to break the covenants between them, if any under their government march against the Romans. What remains, therefore, is this, that you have recourse to divine assistance; but this is already on the side of the Romans; for it is impossible that so vast an empire should be settled without God’s providence. Reflect upon it how impossible it is for your zealous observations of your religious customs to be here preserved, which are hard to be observed even when you fight with those whom you are able to conquer; and how can you then most of all hope for God’s assistance, when, by being forced to transgress his law, you will make him turn his face from you? and if you do observe the custom of the Sabbath days, and will not be revealed on to do any thing thereon, you will easily be taken, as were your forefathers by Pompey, who was the busiest in his siege on those days on which the besieged rested. But if in time of war you transgress the law of your country, I cannot tell on whose account you will afterward go to war; for your concern is but one, that you do nothing against any of your forefathers; and how will you call upon God to assist you, when you are voluntarily transgressing against his religion? Now all men that go to war do it either as depending on divine or on human assistance; but since your going to war will cut off both those assistances, those that are for going to war choose evident destruction. What hinders you from slaying your children and wives with your own hands, and burning this most excellent native city of yours? for by this mad prank you will however escape the reproach of being beaten. But it were best, O my friends, it were best, while the vessel is still in the haven, to foresee the impending storm, and not to set sail out of the port into the middle of the hurricane; for we justly pity those who fall into great misfortunes without foreseeing them; but for him who rushes into manifest ruin, he gains reproaches [instead of commiseration]. But certainly no one can imagine that you can enter into a war as by agreement, or that when the Romans have got you under their power, they will use you with moderation, or will not rather, for an example to other nations, burn your holy city, and utterly destroy your whole nation; for those of you who shall survive the war will not be able to find a place whither to flee, since all men have the Romans for their lords already, or are afraid they shall have hereafter. Nay indeed, the danger concerns not those Jews that dwell here only, but those of them which dwell in other cities also; for there is no people upon the habitable earth which have not some portion of you among them, whom your enemies will slay, in case you go to war, and on that account also; and so every city which hath Jews in it will be filled with slaughter, for the sake of a few men, and they who slay them will be pardoned: but if that slaughter be not made by them, consider how wicked a thing it is to take arms against those that are so kind to you. Have pity, therefore, if not on your children and wives, yet upon this your metropolis, and its sacred walls; spare the temple, and preserve the holy house, with its holy furniture, for yourselves: for if the Romans get you under their power they will no longer abstain from them, when their former abstinence shall have been so ungratefully requited. I call to witness your sanctuary, and the holy angels of God, and this country common to us all, that I have not kept back any thing that is for your preservation: and if you will follow that advice which you ought to do, you will have that peace which will be common to you and to me; but if you indulge four passions, you will run those hazards which I shall be free from.”
5. When Agrippa had spoken thus, both he and his sister wept, and by their tears repressed a great deal of the violence of the people; but still they cried out, “That they would not fight against the Romans, but against Florus, on account of what they had suffered by his means.” To which Agrippa replied, That “what they had already done was like such as make war against the Romans; for you have not paid the tribute which is due to Cæsar; (25) and you have cut off the cloisters [of the temple] from joining to the tower Antonia. You will therefore prevent any occasion of revolt if you will but join these together again, and if you will but pay your tribute; for the citadel does not now belong to Florus, nor are you to pay the tribute money to Florus.”
How the war of the Jews with the Romans began. And concerning Manahem.
1. This advice the people hearkened to, and went up into the temple, with the king and Bernice, and began to rebuild the cloisters: the rulers also and senators divided themselves into the villages, and collected the tributes, and soon got together forty talents, which was the sum that was deficient. And thus did Agrippa then put a stop to that war which was threatened; moreover he attempted to persuade the multitude to obey Florus, until Cæsar should send one to succeed him; but they were hereby more provoked, and cast reproaches upon the king, and got him excluded out of the city; nay, some of the seditious had the impudence to throw stones at him. So when the king saw that the violence of those that were for innovations was not to be restrained, and being very angry at the contumelies he had received, he sent their rulers, together with their men of power, to Florus, to Cesarea, that he might appoint whom he thought fit to collect the tribute in the country, while he retired into his own kingdom.
2. And at this time it was that some of those that principally excited the people to go to war, made an assault upon a certain fortress called Masada. They took it by treachery, and slew the Romans that were there, and put others of their own party to keep it. At the same time Eleazar, the son of Ananias the high-priest, a very bold youth, who was at that time governor of the temple, persuaded those that officiated in the divine service to receive no gift or sacrifice for any foreigner. And this was the true beginning of our war with the Romans; for they rejected the sacrifice of Cæsar on this account: and when many of the high-priests and principal men besought them not to omit the sacrifice, which it was customary for them to offer for their princes, they would not be prevailed upon. These relied much upon their multitude, for the most flourishing part of the innovators assisted them; but they had the chief regard to Eleazar, the governor of the temple.
3. Hereupon the men of power got together, and conferred with the high-priests, as did also the principal of the Pharisees; and thinking all was at stake, and that their calamities were becoming incurable, took counsel what was to be done. Accordingly they determined to try what they could do with the seditious by words, and assembled the people before the brazen gate, which was that gate of the inner temple [court of the priests] which looked toward the sun-rising. And, in the first place, they shewed the great indignation they had at this attempt for a revolt, and for their bringing so great a war upon their country: after which they confuted their pretence as unjustifiable, and told them, That “their forefathers had adorned their temple in great part with donations bestowed on them by foreigners, and had always received what had been presented to them from foreign nations; and that they had been so far from rejecting any person’s sacrifice (which would be the highest instance of impiety), that they had themselves placed those donations about the temple which were still visible, and had remained there so long a time: that they did now irritate the Romans to take arms against them, and invited them to make war upon them, and brought up novel rules of a strange divine worship, and determined to run the hazard of having their city condemned for impiety, while they would not allow any foreigner, but Jews only, either to sacrifice or to worship therein. And if such a law should be introduced in the case of a single private person only, he would have indignation at it, as an instance of inhumanity determined against him; while they have no regard to the Romans or to Cæsar, and forbid even their oblations to be received also; that however they cannot but fear, lest by thus rejecting their sacrifices they shall not be allowed to offer their own; and that this city will lose its principality, unless they grow wiser quickly, and restore the sacrifices as formerly, and indeed amend the injury [they have offered foreigners] before the report of it comes to the ears of those that have been injured.”
4. And as they said these things, they produced those priests that were skilful in the customs of their country, who made the report, That “all their forefathers had received the sacrifices from foreign nations.” But still not one of the innovators would hearken to what was said; nay, those that ministered about the temple would not attend their divine service, but were preparing matters for beginning the war. So the men of power, perceiving that the sedition was too hard for them to subdue, and that the danger which would arise from the Romans would come upon them first of all, endeavoured to save themselves, and sent ambassadors, some to Florus, the chief of which was Simon the son of Ananias; and others to Agrippa, among whom the most eminent were Saul, and Antipas, and Costobarus, who were of the king’s kindred; and they desired of them both that they would come with an army to the city, and cut off the sedition before it should be too hard to be subdued. Now this terrible message was good news to Florus; and because his design was to have a war kindled, he gave the ambassadors no answer at all. But Agrippa was equally solicitous for those that were revolting, and for those against whom the war was to be made, and was desirous to preserve the Jews for the Romans, and the temple and metropolis for the Jews; he was also sensible that it was not for his own advantage that the disturbances should proceed; so he sent three thousand horsemen to the assistance of the people out of Auranitis, and Batanea, and Trachonitis, and these under Darius the master of his horse, and Philip the son of Jacimus, the general of his army.
5. Upon this the men of power, with the high-priests, as also all the part of the multitude that were desirous of peace, took courage, and seized upon the upper city [Mount Sion]; for the seditious part had the lower city, and the temple in their power; so they made use of stones and slings perpetually against one another, and threw darts continually on both sides; and sometimes it happened that they made incursions by troops, and fought it out hand to hand, while the seditious were superior in boldness, but the king’s soldiers in skill. These last strove chiefly to gain the temple, and to drive those out of it who profaned it; as did the seditious, with Eleazar, besides what they had already, labour to gain the upper city. Thus were there perpetual slaughters on both sides for seven days time; but neither side would yield up the parts they had seized on.
6. Now the next day was the festival of Xylophory, upon which the custom was for every one to bring wood for the altar (that there might never be a want of fuel for that fire which was unquenchable, and always burning); upon that day they excluded the opposite party from the observation of this part of religion. And when they had joined to themselves many of the Sicarii, who crowded in among the weaker people (that was the name for such robbers as had under their bosoms swords called Sicæ), they grew bolder, and carried their undertaking farther; insomuch that the king’s soldiers were overpowered by their multitude and boldness, and so they gave way, and were driven out of the upper city by force. The others then set fire to the house of Ananias the high-priest, and to the palaces of Agrippa and Bernice: after which they carried the fire to the place where the archives were reposited, and made haste to burn the contracts belonging to their creditors, and thereby to dissolve their obligations for paying their debts; and this was done in order to gain the multitude of those who had been debtors, and that they might persuade the poorer sort to join in their insurrection with safety against the more wealthy; so the keepers of the records fled away, and the rest set fire to them. And when they had thus burnt down the nerves of the city, they fell upon their enemies; at which time some of the men of power, and of the high-priests, went into the vaults under ground, and concealed themselves, while others fled with the king’s soldiers to the upper palace, and shut the gates immediately; among whom were Ananias the high-priest, and the ambassadors that had been sent to Agrippa. And now the seditious were contented with the victory they had gotten, and the buildings they had burnt down, and proceeded no farther.
7. But on the next day, which was the fifteenth of the month Lous, [Ab], they made an assault upon Antonia, and besieged the garrison which was in it two days, and then took the garrison and slew them, and set the citadel on fire; after which they marched to the palace, whither the king’s soldiers were fled, and parted themselves into four bodies, and made an attack upon the walls. As for those that were within it, no one had the courage to sally out, because those that assaulted them were so numerous, but they distributed themselves into the breast-works and turrets, and shot at the besiegers, whereby many of the robbers fell under the walls; nor did they cease to fight one with another either by night or by day, while the seditious supposed that those within would grow weary for want of food, and those without supposed the others would do the like by the tediousness of the siege.
8. In the mean time one Manahem, the son of Judas that was called the Galilean (who was a very cunning sophister, and had formerly reproached the Jews under Cyrenius, that after God they were subject to the Romans), took some of the men of note with him, and retired to Masada, where he broke open King Herod’s armoury, and gave arms not only to his own people, but to other robbers also. These he made use of for a guard, and returned in the state of a king to Jerusalem; he became the leader of the sedition, and gave orders for continuing the siege, but they wanted proper instruments, and it was not practicable to undermine the wall, because the darts came down upon them from above. But still they dug a mine from a great distance under one of the towers, and made it totter, and having done that, they set fire on what was combustible, and left it; and when the foundations were burnt below, the tower fell down suddenly. Yet did they then meet with another wall that had been built within, for the besieged were sensible beforehand of what they were doing, and probably the tower shook as it was undermining; so they provided themselves of another fortification; which when the besiegers unexpectedly saw, while they thought they had already gained the place, they were under some consternation. However, those that were within sent to Manahem, and to the other leaders of the sedition, and desired they might go out upon a capitulation: this was granted to the king’s soldiers and their own countrymen only, who went out accordingly; but the Romans that were left alone were greatly dejected, for they were not able to force their way through such a multitude; and to desire them to give them their right hand for their security, they thought it would be a reproach to them, and besides, if they should give it them, they durst not depend upon it; so they deserted their camp, as easily taken, and ran away to the royal towers, that called Hippicus, that called Phasaelus, and that called Mariamne. But Manahem and his party fell upon the place whence the soldiers were fled, and slew as many of them as they could catch, before they got up to the towers, and plundered what they left behind them, and set fire to their camp. This was executed on the sixth day of the month Gorpieus [Elul].
9. But on the next day the high-priest was caught, where he had concealed himself in an aqueduct; he was slain, together with Hezekiah his brother, by the robbers: hereupon the seditious besieged the towers, and kept them guarded, lest any one of the soldiers should escape. Now the overthrow of the places of strength, and the death of the high-priest Ananias, so puffed up Manahem, that he became barbarously cruel; and, as he thought he had no antagonist to dispute the management of affairs with him, he was no better than an insupportable tyrant: but Eleazar and his party, when words had passed between them, how “it was not proper when they revolted from the Romans, out of the desire of liberty, to betray that liberty to any of their own people, and to bear a lord, who though he should be guilty of no violence, was yet meaner than themselves; as also, that, in case they were obliged to set some one over their public affairs, it was fitter they should give that privilege to any one rather than to him,” they made an assault upon him in the temple; for he went up thither to worship in a pompous manner, and adorned with royal garments, and had his followers with him in their armour. But Eleazar and his party fell violently upon him, as did also the rest of the people; and taking up stones to attack him withal, they threw them at the sophister, and thought, that if he were once ruined, the entire sedition would fall to the ground. Now Manahem and his party made resistance for a while, but when they perceived that the whole multitude were falling upon them, they fled which way every one was able, those that were caught were slain, and those that hid themselves were searched for. A few there were of them who privately escaped to Masada, among whom was Eleazar, the son of Jairus, who was of kin to Manahem, and acted the part of a tyrant at Masada afterward: as for Manahem himself, he ran away to the place called Ophla, and there lay skulking in private; but they took him alive, and drew him out before them all; they then tortured him with many sorts of torments, and after all slew him, as they did by those that were captains under him also, and particularly by the principal instrument of his tyranny, whose name was Apsalom.
10. And, as I said, so far truly the people assisted them, while they hoped this might afford some amendment to the seditious practices; but the others were not in haste to put an end to the war, but hoped to prosecute it with less danger, now they had slain Manahem. It is true, that when the people earnestly desired that they would leave off besieging the soldiers, they were the more earnest in pressing it forward, and this till Metilius, who was the Roman general, sent to Eleazar, and desired that they would give them security to spare their lives only, but agreed to deliver up their arms, and what else they had with them. The others readily complied with their petition, sent to them Gorion, the son of Nicodemus, and Ananias the son of Sadduk, and Judas, the son of Jonathan, that they might give them the security of their right hands, and of their oaths; after which Metilius brought down his soldiers, which soldiers while they were in arms, were not meddled with by any of the seditious, nor was there any appearance of treachery; but as soon as, according to the articles of capitulation, they had all laid down their shields, and their swords, and were under no farther suspicion of any harm, but were going away, Eleazar’s men attacked them after a violent manner, and encompassed them round, and slew them, while they neither defended themselves, nor entreated for mercy, but only cried out upon the breach of their articles of capitulation, and their oaths. And thus were all these men barbarously murdered, excepting Metilius; for when he entreated for mercy, and promised that he would turn Jew, and be circumcised, they saved him alive, but none else. This loss to the Romans was but light, there being no more than a few slain out of an immense army; but still it appeared to be a prelude to the Jews own destruction, while men made public lamentation when they saw that such occasions were afforded for a war as were incurable; that the city was all over polluted with such abominations, from which it was but reasonable to expect some vengeance, even though they should escape revenge from the Romans; so that the city was filled with sadness, and every one of the moderate men in it were under great disturbance, as likely themselves to undergo punishment for the wickedness of the seditious; for indeed it so happened, that this murder was perpetrated on the Sabbath day, on which day the Jews have a respite from their works on account of divine worship.
The calamities and slaughters that came upon the Jews.
1. Now the people of Cesarea had slain the Jews that were among them on the very same day and hour [when the soldiers were slain], which one would think must have come to pass by the direction of Providence; insomuch, that in one hour’s time above twenty thousand Jews were killed, and all Cesarea was emptied of its Jewish inhabitants; for Florus caught such as ran away, and sent them in bonds to the gallies. Upon which stroke that the Jews received at Cesarea, the whole nation was greatly enraged; so they divided themselves into several parties and laid waste the villages of the Syrians, and their neighbouring cities, Philadelphia, and Sebonitis, and Gerasa, and Pella, and Scythopolis, and after them Gadara, and Hippos; and falling upon Gaulanitis, some cities they destroyed there, and some they set on fire, and then went to Kedasa, belonging to the Tyrians, and to Ptolemais, and to Gaba, and to Cesarea, nor was either Sebaste [Samaria], or Askalon able to oppose the violence with which they were attacked; and when they had burnt these to the ground; they entirely demolished Anthedon and Gaza; many also of the villages that were about every one of those cities were plundered, and an immense slaughter was made of the men who were caught in them.
2. However the Syrians were even with the Jews in the multitude of the men whom they slew; for they killed those whom they caught in their cities, and that not only out of the hatred they bare them, as formerly, but to prevent the danger under which they were from them; so that the disorders in all Syria were terrible, and every city was divided into two armies encamped one against another, and the preservation of the one party was in the destruction of the other; so the day time was spent in shedding of blood, and the night in fear, which was of the two the more terrible; for when the Syrians thought they had ruined the Jews, they had the Judaizers in suspicion also; and as each side did not care to slay those whom they only suspected on the other, so did they greatly fear them when they were mingled with the other, as if they were certainly foreigners. Moreover, greediness of gain was a provocation to kill the opposite party, even to such as had of old appeared very mild and gentle towards them; for they without fear plundered the effects of the slain, and carried off the spoils of those whom they slew to their own houses, as if they had been gained in a set battle; and he was esteemed a man of honour who got the greatest share, as having prevailed over the greatest number of his enemies. It was then common to see cities filled with dead bodies, still lying unburied, and those of old men, mixed with infants, all dead, and scattered about together: women also lay amongst them, without any covering for their nakedness; you might then see the whole province full of inexpressible calamities, while the dread of still more barbarous practices which were threatened, was every where greater than what had been already perpetrated.
3. And thus far the conflict had been between Jews and foreigners; but when they made excursions to Scythopolis, they found Jews that acted as enemies; for as they stood in battle array with those of Scythopolis, and preferred their own safety before their relation to us, they fought against their own countrymen; nay, their alacrity was so very great, that those of Scythopolis suspected them. These were afraid, therefore, lest they should make an assault upon the city in the night time, and, to their great misfortune, should thereby make an apology for themselves to their own people for their revolt from them. So they commanded them, that in case they would confirm their agreement and demonstrate their fidelity to them, who were of a different nation, they should go out of the city, with their families to a neighbouring grove; and when they had done as they were commanded, without suspecting any thing, the people of Scythopolis lay still for the interval of two days, to tempt them to be secure; but on the third night they watched their opportunity, and cut all their throats, some as they lay unguarded, and some as they lay asleep. The number that was slain was above thirteen thousand, and then they plundered them of all that they had.
4. It will deserve our relation what befel Simon; he was the son of one Saul, a man of reputation among the Jews. This man was distinguished from the rest by the strength of his body, and the boldness of his conduct, although he abused them both to the mischieving of his countrymen; for he came every day and slew a great many of the Jews of Scythopolis, and he frequently put them to flight, and became himself alone the cause of his army’s conquering. But a just punishment overtook him for the murders he had committed upon those of the same nation with him; for when the people of Scythopolis threw their darts at them in the grove, he drew his sword, but did not attack any of the enemy; for he saw that he could do nothing against such a multitude; but he cried out after a very moving manner, and said, “O, you people of Scythopolis, I deservedly suffer for what I have done with relation to you, when I gave you such security of my fidelity to you, by slaying so many of those that were related to me. Wherefore we very justly experience the perfidiousness of foreigners, while we acted after a most wicked manner against our own nation. I will therefore die, polluted wretch as I am, by mine own hands; for it is not fit I should die by the hand of our enemies; and let the same action be to me both a punishment for my great crimes, and a testimony of my courage to my commendation, that so no one of our enemies may have it to brag of, that he it was that slew me, and no one may insult upon me as I fall.” Now when he had said this, he looked round about him upon his family with eyes of commiseration, and of rage (that family consisted of a wife, and children, and his aged parents); so, in the first place, he caught his father by his grey hairs, and ran his sword through him, and after him he did the same to his mother, who willingly received it; and after them he did the like to his wife and children, every one almost offering themselves to his sword, as desirous to prevent being slain by their enemies; so when he had gone over all his family, he stood upon their bodies to be seen by all, and stretching out his right hand, that his action might be observed by all, he sheathed his entire sword into his own bowels. This young man was to be pitied on account of the strength of his body and the courage of his soul; but since he had assured foreigners of his fidelity [against his own countrymen], he suffered deservedly.
5. Besides this murder at Scythopolis, the other cities rose up against the Jews that were among them; those of Askalon slew two thousand five hundred, and those of Ptolemais two thousand, and put not a few into bonds; those of Tyre also put a great number to death, but kept a greater number in prison; moreover, those of Hippos, and those of Gadara did the like, while they put to death the boldest of the Jews, but kept those of whom they were afraid in custody; as did the rest of the cities of Syria, according as they every one either hated them, or were afraid of them; only the Antiochians, the Sidonians, and Apamians, spared those that dwelt with them, and would not endure either to kill any of the Jews, or to put them in bonds. And perhaps they spared them, because their own number was so great that they despised their attempts; but I think the greatest part of this favour was owing to their commiseration of those whom they saw to make no innovations. As for the Gerasans, they did no harm to those that abode with them, and for those who had a mind to go away, they conducted them as far as their borders reached.
6. There was also a plot laid against the Jews in Agrippa’s kingdom; for he was himself gone to Cestius Gallus, to Antioch, but had left one of his companions, whose name was Noarus, to take care of the public affairs; which Noarus was of kin to King Sohemus. (26) Now there came certain men, seventy in number, out of Batanea, who were the most considerable for their families and prudence of the rest of the people; these desired to have an army put into their hands, that if any tumult should happen, they might have about them a guard sufficient to restrain such as might rise up against them. This Noarus sent out some of the king’s armed men by night, and slew all those [seventy] men; which bold action he ventured upon without the consent of Agrippa, and was such a lover of money, that he chose to be so wicked to his own countrymen, though he brought ruin on the kingdom thereby; and thus cruelly did he treat that nation, and this contrary to the laws also, until Agrippa was informed of it, who did not indeed dare to put him to death, out of regard to Sohemus, but still he put an end to his procuratorship immediately. But as to the seditious, they took the citadel which was called Cypros, and was above Jericho, and cut the throats of the garrison, and utterly demolished the fortifications; this was about the same time that the multitude of the Jews that were at Macherus persuaded the Romans who were in garrison, to leave the place, and deliver it up to them. These Romans being in great fear, lest the place should be taken by force, made an agreement with them to depart upon certain conditions; and when they had obtained the security they desired, they delivered up the citadel, into which the people of Macherus put a garrison for their own security, and held it in their own power.
7. But for Alexandria, the sedition of the people of the place against the Jews was perpetual, and this from that very time when Alexander [the Great], upon finding the readiness of the Jews in assisting him against the Egyptians, and as a reward for such their assistance, gave them equal privileges in this city with the Grecians themselves; which honorary reward continued among them under his successors, who also set apart for them a particular place, that they might live without being polluted [by the Gentiles], and were thereby not so much intermixed with foreigners as before: they also gave them this farther privilege, that they should be called Macedonians. Nay, when the Romans got possession of Egypt, neither the first Cæsar, nor any one that came after him, thought of diminishing the honours which Alexander had bestowed on the Jews. But still conflicts perpetually arose with the Grecians; and although the governors did every day punish many of them, yet did the sedition grow worse; but at this time especially, when there were tumults in other places also, the disorders among them were put into a greater flame; for when the Alexandrians had once a public assembly, to deliberate about an ambassage they were sending to Nero, a great number of Jews came flocking to the theatre; but when their adversaries saw them they immediately cried out, and called them their enemies, and said they came as spies upon them; upon which they rushed out, and laid violent hands upon them; and as for the rest, they were slain as they ran away; but there were three men whom they caught, and hauled them along, in order to have them burnt alive; but all the Jews came in a body to defend them, who at first threw stones at the Grecians, but after that they took lamps, and rushed with violence into the theatre, and threatened that they would burn the people to a man; and this they had soon done, unless Tiberius Alexander, the governor of the city, had restrained their passions. However this man did not begin to teach them wisdom by arms, but sent among them privately some of the principal men, and thereby entreated them to be quiet, and not provoke the Roman army against them; but the seditious made a jest of the entreaties of Tiberius, and reproached him for so doing.
8. Now when he perceived that those who were for innovations would not be pacified till some great calamity should overtake them, he sent out upon them those two Roman legions that were in the city, and together with them five thousand other soldiers, who, by chance, were come together out of Libya, to the ruin of the Jews. They were also permitted not only to kill them, but to plunder them of what they had, and to set fire to their houses. These soldiers rushed violently into that part of the city that was called Delta, where the Jewish people lived together, and did as they were bidden, though not without bloodshed on their own side also; for the Jews got together, and set those that were the best armed among them in the forefront, and made a resistance for a great while, but when once they gave back they were destroyed unmercifully; and this their destruction was complete, some being caught in the open field, and others forced into their houses, which houses were first plundered of what was in them, and then set on fire by the Romans; wherein no mercy was shewn to the infants, and no regard had to the aged; but they went on in the slaughter of persons of every age, till all the place was overflowed with blood, and fifty thousand of them lay dead upon heaps; nor had the remainder been preserved had they not betaken themselves to supplication. So Alexander commiserated their condition, and gave orders to the Romans to retire; accordingly these being accustomed to obey orders, left off killing at the first intimation; but the populace of Alexandria bare so very great hatred to the Jews, that it was difficult to recall them, and it was an hard thing to make them leave their dead bodies.
9. And this was the miserable calamity which at this time befel the Jews at Alexandria. Hereupon Cestius thought fit no longer to lie still, while the Jews were every where up in arms; so he took out of Antioch the twelfth legion entire, and out of each of the rest he selected two thousand, with six cohorts of footmen, and four troops of horsemen, besides those auxiliaries which were sent by the kings; of which Antiochus (27) sent two thousand horsemen, and three thousand footmen, with as many archers; and Agrippa sent the same number of footmen, and one thousand horsemen; Sohemus also followed with four thousand, a third part whereof were horsemen, but most part were archers, and thus did he march to Ptolemais. There were also great numbers of auxiliaries gathered together from the [free] cities, who had not indeed the same skill in martial affairs, but made up in their alacrity, and in their hatred to the Jews what they wanted in skill. There came also along with Cestius, Agrippa himself, both as a guide in his march over the country, and a director what was fit to be done; so Cestius took part of his forces, and marched hastily to Zabulon, a strong city of Galilee, which was called the city of men, and divides the country of Ptolemais from our nation: this he found deserted by its men, the multitude having fled to the mountains, but full of all sorts of good things; those he gave leave to the soldiers to plunder, and set fire to the city, although it was of admirable beauty, and had its houses built like those in Tyre, and Sidon, and Berytus. After this he over-ran all the country, and seized upon whatsoever came in his way, and set fire to the villages that were round about them, and then returned to Ptolemais. But when the Syrians, and especially those of Berytus, were busy in plundering, the Jews pulled up their courage again, for they knew that Cestius was retired, and fell upon those that were left behind unexpectedly, and destroyed about two thousand of them.
10. And now Cestius himself marched from Ptolemais and came to Cesarea; but he sent part of his army before him to Joppa, and gave order, that if they could take that city [by surprise], they should keep it; but that in case the citizens should perceive they were coming to attack them, that they then should stay for him, and for the rest of the army. So some of them made a brisk march by the sea side, and some by land, and so coming upon them on both sides, they took the city with ease: and as the inhabitants had made no provision aforehand for a flight, nor had gotten any thing ready for fighting, the soldiers fell upon them, and slew them all, with their families, and then plundered and burnt the city. The number of the slain was eight thousand four hundred. In like manner Cestius sent also a considerable body of horsemen to the toparchy of Narbatene, that adjoined to Cesarea, who destroyed the country, and slew a great multitude of its people; they also plundered what they had, and burnt their villages.
11. But Cestius sent Gallus, the commander of the twelfth legion, into Galilee, and delivered to him as many of his forces as he supposed sufficient to subdue that nation. He was received by the strongest city of Galilee, which was Sepphoris, with acclamations of joy; which wise conduct of that city occasioned the rest of the cities to be in quiet; while the seditious part, and the robbers ran away to that mountain which lies in the very middle of Galilee, and is situated over against Sepphoris; it is called Asamon. So Gallus brought his forces against them: but while those men were in the superior parts above the Romans, they easily threw their darts upon the Romans, as they made their approaches, and slew about two hundred of them. But when the Romans had gone round the mountains, and were gotten into the parts above their enemies, the others were soon beaten; nor could they who had only light armour on, sustain the force of them that fought them armed all over; nor when they were beaten could they escape the enemies horsemen; insomuch that only some few concealed themselves in certain places hard to be come at, among the mountains, while the rest, above two thousand in number, were slain.
What Cestius did against the Jews; and how, upon his besieging Jerusalem, he retreated from the city, without any just occasion in the world. As also what severe calamities he underwent from the Jews in his retreat.
1. And now Gallus, seeing nothing more that looked towards an innovation in Galilee, returned with his army to Cesarea: but Cestius removed with his whole army, and marched to Antipatris. And when he was informed that there was a great body of Jewish forces gotten together in a certain tower called Aphek, he sent a party before to fight them; but this party dispersed the Jews by affrighting them, before it came to a battle: so they came, and finding their camp deserted, they burnt it, as well as the villages that lay about it. But when Cestius had marched from Antipatris to Lydda, he found the city empty of its men, for the whole multitude (28) were gone up to Jerusalem to the feast of tabernacles; yet did he destroy fifty of those that shewed themselves, and burnt the city, and so marched forwards; and ascending by Bethoron, he pitched his camp at a certain place called Gabao, fifty furlongs distant from Jerusalem.
2. But as for the Jews, when they saw the war approaching to their metropolis, they left the feast, and betook themselves to their arms; and taking courage greatly from their multitude, went in a sudden and disorderly manner to the fight, with a great noise, and without any consideration had of the rest of the seventh day, although the Sabbath (29) was the day to which they had the greatest regard; but that rage which made them forget the religious observation [of the Sabbath] made them too hard for their enemies in the fight: with such violence therefore did they fall upon the Romans, as to break into their ranks, and to march through the midst of them, making a great slaughter as they went, insomuch that unless the horsemen, and such part of the footmen as were not yet tired in the action, had wheeled round, and succoured that part of the army which was not yet broken, Cestius, with his whole army, had been in danger: however five hundred and fifteen of the Romans were slain, of which number four hundred were footmen, and the rest horsemen, while the Jews lost only twenty-two, of whom the most valiant were the kinsmen of Monobazus king of Adiabene, and their names were Monobazus and Kenedeus; and next to them were Niger of Perea, and Silas of Babylon, who had deserted from King Agrippa to the Jews; for he had formerly served in his army. When the front of the Jewish army had been cut off, the Jews retired into the city; but still Simon, the son of Giora, fell upon the backs of the Romans, as they were ascending up Bethoron, and put the hindmost of the army into disorder, and carried off many of the beasts that carried the weapons of war, and led them into the city. But as Cestius tarried there three days, the Jews seized upon the elevated parts of the city, and set watches at the entrances into the city, and appeared openly resolved not to rest, when once the Romans should begin to march.
3. And now when Agrippa observed that even the affairs of the Romans were likely to be in danger, while such an immense multitude of their enemies had seized upon the mountains round about, he determined to try what the Jews would agree to by words, as thinking that he should either persuade them all to desist from fighting, or, however, that he should cause the sober part of them to separate themselves from the opposite party. So he sent Borceus and Phebus, the persons of his party that were the best known to them, and promised them, that Cestius should give them his right hand, to secure them of the Romans entire forgiveness of what they had done amiss, if they would throw away their arms, and come over to them; but the seditious, fearing lest the whole multitude, in hopes of security to themselves, should go over to Agrippa, resolved immediately to fall upon and kill the ambassadors: accordingly they slew Phebus before he said a word, but Borceus was only wounded, and so prevented his fate by flying away: and when the people were very angry at this, they had the seditious beaten with stones and clubs, and drove them before them into the city.
4. But now Cestius, observing that the disturbances that were begun among the Jews afforded him a proper opportunity to attack them, took his whole army along with him, and put the Jews to flight, and pursued them to Jerusalem. He then pitched his camp upon the elevation called Scopus, [or watch tower], which was distant seven furlongs from the city; yet did not he assault them in three days time, out of expectation that those within might perhaps yield a little; and in the mean time he sent out a great many of his soldiers into neighbouring villages, to seize upon their corn. And on the fourth day, which was the thirtieth of the month Hyperbereteus, [Tisri], when he had put his army in array, he brought it into the city. Now for the people, they were kept under by the seditious; but the seditious themselves were greatly affrighted at the good order of the Romans, and retired from the suburbs, and retreated into the inner part of the city, and into the temple. But when Cestius was come into the city, he set the part called Bezetha, which is called Cenopolis, [or the new city], on fire; as he did also to the timber market: after which he came into the upper city, and pitched his camp over against the royal palace; and had he but at this very time attempted to get within the walls by force, he had won the city presently, and the war had been put an end to at once; but Tyrannius Priseus, the muster-master of the army, and a great number of the officers of the horse, had been corrupted by Florus, and diverted him from that his attempt; and that was the occasion that this war lasted so very long, and thereby the Jews were involved in such incurable calamities.
5. In the mean time many of the principal men of the city were persuaded by Ananus, the son of Jonathan, and invited Cestius into the city, and were about to open the gates for him; but he overlooked this offer, partly out of his anger at the Jews, and partly because he did not thoroughly believe they were in earnest; whence it was that he delayed the matter so long, that the seditious perceived the treachery, and threw Ananus and those of his party down from the wall, and pelting them with stones, drove them into their houses; but they stood themselves at proper distances in the towers, and threw their darts at those that were getting over the wall. Thus did the Romans make their attack against the wall for five days, but to no purpose: but on the next day Cestius took a great many of his choicest men, and with them the archers, and attempted to break into the temple at the northern quarter of it; but the Jews beat them off from the cloisters, and repulsed them several times when they were gotten near to the wall, till at length the multitude of the darts cut them off, and made them retire: but the first rank of the Romans rested their shields upon the wall, and so did those that were behind them, and the like did those that were still more backward, and guarded themselves with what they call Testudo, [the back of] a tortoise, upon which the darts that were thrown fell, and slided off without doing them any harm; so the soldiers undermined the wall, without being themselves hurt, and got all things ready for setting fire to the gate of the temple.
6. And now it was that a horrible fear seized upon the seditious, insomuch, that many of them ran out of the city, as though it were to be taken immediately; but the people upon this took courage, and where the wicked part of the city gave ground, thither did they come, in order to set open the gates, and to admit Cestius as their benefactor, who, had he but continued the siege a little longer, had certainly taken the city; but it was, I suppose, owing to the aversion God had already at the city, and the sanctuary, that he was hindered from putting an end to the war that very day. (30)
7. It then happened that Cestius was not conscious either how the besieged despaired of success, nor how courageous the people were for him; and so he recalled his soldiers from the place, and by despairing of any expectation of taking it, without having received any disgrace, he retired from the city, without any reason in the world. But when the robbers perceived this unexpected retreat of his, they resumed their courage, and ran after the hinder parts of his army, and destroyed a considerable number of both their horsemen and footmen; and now Cestius lay all night at the camp which was at Scopus, and as he went off farther next day, he thereby invited the enemy to follow him, who still fell upon the hindmost, and destroyed them; they also fell upon the flank on each side of the army, and threw darts upon them obliquely, nor durst those that were hindmost turn back upon those who wounded them behind, as imagining that the multitude of those that pursued them was immense; nor did they venture to drive away those that pressed upon them on each side, because they were heavy with their arms, and were afraid of breaking their ranks to pieces, and because they saw the Jews were light, and ready for making incursions upon them. And this was the reason why the Romans suffered greatly, without being able to revenge themselves upon their enemies; so they were galled all the way, and their ranks were put into disorder, and those that were thus put out of their ranks were slain; among whom were Priscus, the commander of the sixth legion, and Longinus the tribune, and Emilius Secundus, the commander of a troop of horsemen. So it was not without difficulty that they got to Gabao, their former camp, and that not without the loss of a great part of their baggage. There it was that Cestius staid two days, and was in great distress to know what he should do in these circumstances; but when, on the third day, he saw a still much greater number of enemies, and all the parts round about him full of Jews, he understood that his delay was to his own detriment, and that if he stayed any longer there, he should have still more enemies upon him.
8. That therefore he might fly the faster, he gave orders to cast away what might hinder his army’s march; so they killed the mules, and other creatures, excepting those that carried their darts, and machines, which they retained for their own use, and this principally because they were afraid lest the Jews should seize upon them. He then made his army march on as far as Bethoron. Now the Jews did not so much press upon them when they were in large open places, but when they were penn’d up in their descent through narrow passages, then did some of them get before, and hindered them from getting out of them, and others of them thrust the hind-most down into the lower places, and the whole multitude extended themselves over against the neck of the passage, and covered the Roman army with their darts. In which circumstances, as the footmen knew not how to defend themselves, so the danger pressed the horsemen still more, for they were so pelted, that they could not march along the road in their ranks, and the ascents were so high, that the cavalry were not able to march against the enemy; the precipices also, and valleys into which they frequently fell, and tumbled down, were such on each side of them, that there was neither place for their flight, nor any contrivance could be thought of for their defence; till the distress they were at last in was so great, that they betook themselves to lamentations, and to such mournful cries as men use in the utmost despair; the joyful acclamations of the Jews also, as they encouraged one another, echoed the sounds back again, these last composing a noise of those that at once rejoiced, and were in a rage. Indeed things were come to such a pass, that the Jews had almost taken Cestius’s entire army prisoners, had not the night come on, when the Romans fled to Bethoron, and the Jews seized upon all the places round about them, and watched for their coming out [in the morning].
9. And then it was that Cestius, despairing of obtaining room for a public march, contrived how he might best run away; and when he had selected four hundred of the most courageous of his soldiers, he placed them at the strongest of their fortifications, and gave order, that when they went up to the morning guard, they should erect their ensigns, that the Jews might be made to believe that the entire army was there still, while he himself took the rest of his forces with him, and marched without any noise, thirty furlongs. But when the Jews perceived, in the morning, that the camp was empty, they ran upon those four hundred who had deluded them, and immediately threw their darts at them, and slew them, and they pursued after Cestius. But he had already made use of a great part of the night in his flight, and still marched quicker when it was day. Insomuch that the soldiers, through the astonishment and fear they were in, left behind them their engines for sieges, and for throwing of stones, and a great part of the instruments of war. So the Jews went on pursuing the Romans as far as Antipatris, after which, seeing they could not overtake them, they came back, and took the engines, and spoiled the dead bodies, and gathered their prey together which the Romans had left behind them, and came back running and singing to their metropolis. While they had themselves lost a few only, but had slain of the Romans five thousand and three hundred footmen, and three hundred and eighty horsemen. This defeat happened on the eighth day of the month Dius, [Marhesvan], in the twelfth year of the reign of Nero.
Cestius sends ambassadors to Nero. The people of Damascus slay those Jews that lived with them. The people of Jerusalem, after they had [left off] pursuing Cestius, return to the city, and get things ready for its defence, and make a great many generals for their armies, and particularly Josephus, the writer of these books. Some account of his administration.
1. After this calamity had befallen Cestius, many of the most eminent of the Jews swam away from the city, as from a ship when it was going to sink, Costobarus, therefore, and Saul, who were brethren, together with Philip, the son of Jacimus, who was the commander of King Agrippa’s forces, ran away from the city, and went to Cestius. But then how Antipas, who had been besieged with them in the king’s palace, but would not fly away with them, was afterward slain by the seditious, we shall relate hereafter. However, Cestius sent Saul, and his friends, at their own desire, to Achaia, to Nero, to inform him of the great distress they were in, and to lay the blame of their kindling the war upon Florus, as hoping to alleviate his own danger, by provoking his indignation against Florus.
2. In the mean time, the people of Damascus, when they were informed of the destruction of the Romans, set about the slaughter of those Jews that were among them; and as they had them already cooped up together in the place of public exercises, which they had done out of the suspicion they had of them, they thought they should meet with no difficulty in the attempt; yet did they distrust their own wives, which were almost all of them addicted to the Jewish religion; on which account it was that their greatest concern was, how they might conceal these things from them; so they came upon the Jews, and cut their throats, as being in a narrow place, in number ten thousand, and all of them unarmed, and this in one hour’s time, without any body to disturb them.
3. But as to those who had pursued after Cestius, when they were returned back to Jerusalem, they overbore some of those that favoured the Romans by violence, and some them persuaded [by entreaties] to join with them, and got together in great numbers in the temple, and appointed a great many generals for the war. Joseph also, the son of Gorion, (31) and Ananus the high-priest, were chosen as governors of all affairs within the city, and with a particular charge to repair the walls of the city; for they did not ordain Eleazar the son of Simon to that office, although he had gotten into his possession the prey they had taken from the Romans, and the money they had taken from Cestius, together with a great part of the public treasures, because they saw he was of a tyrannical temper, and that his followers were, in their behaviour, like guards about him. However, the want they were in of Eleazar’s money, and the subtil tricks used by him, brought all so about, that the people were circumvented, and submitted themselves to his authority in all public affairs.
4. They also chose other generals for Idumea, Jesus the son of Sapphias, one of the high-priests, and Eleazar the son of Ananias, the high-priest; they also enjoined Niger, the then governor of Idumea, (32) who was of a family that belonged to Perea, beyond Jordan, and was thence called the Peraite, that he should be obedient to those forenamed commanders. Nor did they neglect the care of other parts of the country, but Joseph the son of Simon, was sent as general to Jericho, as was Manasseh to Perea, and John, the Essene, to the toparchy of Thamna; Lydda was also added to his portion, and Joppa, and Emmaus. But John, the son of Matthias, was made governor of the toparchies of Gophnitica, and Acrabattene, as was Josephus, the son of Matthias, of both the Galilees. Gamala also, which was the strongest city in those parts, was put under his command.
5. So every one of the other commanders administered the affairs of his portion with that alacrity and prudence they were masters of; but as to Josephus, when he came into Galilee, his first care was to gain the good-will of the people of that country, as sensible that he should thereby have in general good success, although he should fail in other points. And being conscious to himself, that if he communicated part of his power to the great men, he should make them his fast friends; and that he should gain the same favour from the multitude, if he executed his commands by persons of their own country, and with whom they were well acquainted; he chose out seventy of the most prudent men, and those elders in age, and appointed them to be rulers of all Galilee, as he chose seven judges in every city to hear the lesser quarrels; for as to the greater causes, and those wherein life and death were concerned, he enjoined they should be brought to him and the seventy elders. (33)
6. Josephus also, when he had settled these rules for determining causes by the law, with regard to the people’s dealings one with another, betook himself to make provisions for their safety against external violence; and as he knew the Romans would fall upon Galilee, he built walls in proper places about Jotapata, and Bersabee, and Selamis; and besides these about Caphareccho, and Japha, and Sigo, and what they call Mount Tabor, and Taricheæ, and Tiberias. Moreover, he built walls about the caves near the lake of Gennesar, which places lay in the lower Galilee: the same he did to the places of upper Galilee, as well as to the rock called the rock of the Achabari, and to Seph, and Jamnith, and Meroth; and in Gaulanitis he fortified Seleucia, and Sogane, and Gamala; but as to those of Sepphoris, they were the only people to whom he gave leave to build their own walls, and this because he perceived they were rich and wealthy, and ready to go to war, without standing in need of any injunctions for that purpose. The case was the same with Gischala, which had a wall, built about it by John the son of Levi himself, but with the consent of Josephus: but for the building of the rest of the fortresses, he laboured together with all the other builders, and was present to give all the necessary orders for that purpose. He also got together an army out of Galilee of more than an hundred thousand young men, all of which he armed with the old weapons, which he had collected together and prepared for them.
7. And when he had considered that the Roman power became invincible, chiefly by their readiness in obeying orders, and the constant exercise of their arms, he despaired of teaching these his men the use of their arms, which was to be obtained by experience; but observing that their readiness in obeying orders was owing to the multitude of their officers, he made his partitions in his army more after the Roman manner, and appointed a great many subalterns. He also distributed the soldiers into various classes, whom he put under captains of tens, and captains of hundreds, and then under captains of thousands; and besides these he had commanders of larger bodies of men. He also taught them to give the signals one to another, and to call and recal the soldiers by the trumpets, how to expand the wings of an army, and make them wheel about, and when one wing hath had success, to turn again and assist those that were hard set, and to join in the defence of what had most suffered. He also continually instructed them in what concerned the courage of the soul, and the hardiness of the body; and above all he exercised them for war, by declaring to them distinctly the good order of the Romans, and that they were to fight with men who, both by the strength of their bodies, and courage of their souls, had conquered in a manner the whole habitable earth. He told them, that he should make trial of the good order they would observe in war, even before it came to any battle, in case they would abstain from the crimes they used to indulge themselves in, such as theft, and robbery, and rapine, and from defrauding their own countrymen, and never to esteem the harm done to those that were so near of kin to them to be any advantage to themselves; for that wars are then managed the best when the warriors preserve a good conscience; but that such as are ill men in private life, will not only have those for enemies which attack them, but God himself also for their antagonist.
8. And thus did he continue to admonish them. Now he chose for the war such an army as was sufficient, that is, sixty thousand footmen, and two hundred and fifty horsemen: (34) and besides these, on which he put the greatest trust, there were about four thousand five hundred mercenaries; he had also six hundred men as guards of his body. Now the cities easily maintained the rest of his army, excepting the mercenaries, for every one of the cities enumerated above sent out half their men to the army, and retained the other half at home, in order to get provisions for them; insomuch that the one part went to the war, and the other part to their work, and so those that sent out their corn were paid for it by those that were in arms, by that security which they enjoyed from them.
Concerning John of Gischala. Josephus uses stratagems against the plots John laid against him; and recovers certain cities which had revolted from him.
1. Now as Josephus was thus engaged in the administration of the affairs of Galilee, there arose a treacherous person, a man of Gischala, the son of Levi, whose name was John. His character was that of a very cunning, and very knavish person, beyond the ordinary rate of the other men of eminence there, and for wicked practices he had not his fellow any where. Poor he was at first, and for a long time his wants were an hindrance to him in his wicked designs. He was a ready liar, and yet very sharp in gaining credit to his fictions: he thought it a point of virtue to delude people, and would delude even such as were the dearest to him. He was a hypocritical pretender to humanity, but where he had hopes of gain, he spared not the shedding of blood: his desires were ever carried to great things, and he encouraged his hopes from those mean wicked tricks which he was the author of. He had a peculiar knack at thieving; but in some time he got certain companions in his impudent practices; at first they were but few, but as he proceeded on in his evil course they became still more and more numerous. He took care that none of his partners should be easily caught in their rogueries, but chose such out of the rest as had the strongest constitutions of body, and the greatest courage of soul, together with great skill in martial affairs; so he got together a band of four hundred men, who came principally out of the country of Tyre, and were vagabonds that had run away from its villages; and by the means of these he laid waste all Galilee, and irritated a considerable number, who were in great expectation of a war then suddenly to arise among them.
2. However, John’s want of money had hitherto restrained him in his ambition after command, and in his attempts to advance himself. But when he saw that Josephus was highly pleased with the activity of his temper, he persuaded him, in the first place, to intrust him with the repairing of the walls of his native city [Gischala], in which work he got a great deal of money from the rich citizens. He after that contrived a very shrewd trick, and pretending that the Jews who dwelt in Syria were obliged to make use of oil that was made by others than those of their own nation, he desired leave of Josephus to send oil to their borders: so he bought four amphoræ with such Tyrian money, as was of the value of four Attic drachmæ, and sold every half amphora at the same price. And as Galilee was very fruitful in oil, and was peculiarly so at that time, by sending away great quantities, and having the sole privilege so to do, he gathered an immense sum of money together, which money he immediately used to the disadvantage of him who gave him that privilege; and, as he supposed, that if he could once overthrow Josephus, he should himself obtain the government of Galilee, so he gave orders to the robbers that were under his command to be more zealous in their thievish expeditions, that by the rise of many that desired innovations in the country he might either catch their general in his snares, as he came to the country’s assistance, and then kill him; or if he should overlook the robbers, he might accuse him for his negligence to the people of the country. He also spread abroad a report far and near, that Josephus was delivering up the administration of affairs to the Romans; and many such plots did he lay in order to ruin him.
3. Now at the same time that certain young men of the village Dabaritta, who kept guard in the great plain, laid snares, for Ptolemy, who was Agrippa’s and Bernice’s steward, and took from him all that he had with him, among which things there were a great many costly garments, and no small number of silver cups, and six hundred pieces of gold, yet were they not able to conceal what they had stolen, but brought it all to Josephus, to Taricheæ. Hereupon he blamed them for the violence they had offered to the king and queen, and deposited what they brought to him with Eneas, the most potent man of Taricheæ, with an intention of sending the things back to the owners at a proper time; which act of Josephus brought him into the greatest danger; for those that had stolen the things had an indignation at him, both because they gained no share of it for themselves, and because they perceived beforehand what was Josephus’s intention, and that he would freely deliver up what had cost them so much pains, to the king and queen. These ran away by night to their several villages, and declared to all men that Josephus was going to betray them: they also raised great disorders in all the neighbouring cities, insomuch that in the morning an hundred thousand armed men came running together; which multitude was crowded together in the hippodrome at Taricheæ, and made a very peevish clamour against him; while some cried out, That “they should depose the traitor;” and others, That “they should burn him.” Now John irritated a great many, as did also one Jesus, the son of Sapphias, who was then governor of Tiberias. Then it was that Josephus’s friends, and the guards of his body, were so affrighted at this violent assault of the multitude, that they all fled away but four; and as he was asleep they awaked him, as the people were going to set fire to the house. And although those four that remained with him persuaded him to run away, he was neither surprised at his being himself deserted, nor at the great multitude that came against him, but leaped out to them with his clothes rent, and ashes sprinkled on his head, with his hands behind him, and his sword hanging at his neck. At this sight his friends, especially those of Taricheæ, commiserated his condition; but those that came out of the country, and those in their neighbourhood, to whom his government seemed burdensome, reproached him, and bid him produce the money which belonged to them all immediately, and to confess the agreement he had made to betray them; for they imagined, from the habit in which he appeared, that he would deny nothing of what they suspected concerning him, and that it was in order to obtain pardon that he had put himself entirely into so pitiable a posture. But this humble appearance was only designed as preparatory to a stratagem of his, who thereby contrived to set those that were so angry at him at variance one with another about the things they were angry at. However, he promised he would confess all: hereupon he was permitted to speak, when he said, “I did neither intend to send this money back to Agrippa, nor to gain it myself; for I did never esteem one that was your enemy to be my friend, nor did I look upon what would tend to your disadvantage, to be my advantage. But, O you people of Taricheæ, I saw that your city stood in more need than others of fortifications for your security, and that it wanted money in order for the building it a wall. I was also afraid lest the people of Tiberias and other cities should lay a plot to seize upon these spoils, and therefore it was that I intended to retain this money privately, that I might encompass you with a wall. But if this does not please you, I will produce what was brought me, and leave it to you to plunder it; but if I have conducted myself so well as to please you, you may if you please punish your benefactor.”
4. Hereupon the people of Taricheæ loudly commended him; but those of Tiberias, with the rest of the company, gave him hard names, and threatened what they would do to him; so both sides left off quarrelling with Josephus, and fell on quarrelling with one another. So he grew bold upon the dependence he had on his friends, which were the people of Taricheæ, and about forty thousand in number, and spake more freely to the whole multitude, and reproached them greatly for their rashness, and told them, That “with this money he would build walls about Taricheæ, and would put the other cities in a state of security also; for that they should not want money if they would but agree for whose benefit it was to be procured, and would not suffer themselves to be irritated against him who procured it for them.”
5. Hereupon the rest of the multitude that had been deluded, retired; but yet so that they went away angry, and two thousand of them made an assault upon him in their armour; and as he was already gone to his own house, they stood without, and threatened him. On which occasion Josephus again used a second stratagem to escape them; for he got upon the top of his house, and with his right hand desired them to be silent, and said to them, “I cannot tell what you would have, nor can hear what you say, for the confused noise you make: but he said that he would comply with all their demands, in case they would but send some of their number in to him that might talk with him about it.” And when the principal of them, with their leaders, heard this, they came into the house. He then drew them to the most retired part of the house, and shut the door of that hall where he put them, and then had them whipped till every one of their inward parts appeared naked. In the mean time the multitude stood round the house, and supposed that he had a long discourse with those that were gone in, about what they claimed of him. He had then the doors set open immediately, and sent the men out all bloody, which so terribly affrighted those that had before threatened him, that they threw away their arms, and ran away.
6. But as for John, his envy grew greater [upon this escape of Josephus], and he framed a new plot against him; he pretended to be sick, and by a letter desired that Josephus would give him leave to use the hot baths that were at Tiberias, for the recovery of his health. Hereupon Josephus, who hitherto suspected nothing of John’s plots against him, wrote to the governors of the city, that they would provide a lodging and necessaries for John; which favours, when he had made use of, in two days time he did what he came about; some he corrupted with delusive frauds, and others with money, and so persuaded them to revolt from Josephus. This Silas, who was appointed guardian of the city by Josephus, wrote to him immediately, and informed him of the plot against him; which epistle when Josephus had received, he marched with great diligence all night, and came early in the morning to Tiberias; at which time the rest of the multitude met him. But John, who suspected that his coming was not for his advantage, sent however one of his friends, and pretended that he was sick, and that being confined to his bed he could not come to pay him his respects. But as soon as Josephus had got the people of Tiberias together in the Stadium, and tried to discourse with them about the letters that he had received, John privately sent some armed men, and gave them orders to slay him. But when the people saw that the armed men were about to draw their swords, they cried out; at which cry Josephus turned himself about, and when he saw that the swords were just at his throat, he marched away in great haste to the sea shore, and left off that speech which he was going to make to the people, upon an elevation of six cubits high. He then seized on a ship which lay in the haven, and leaped into it, with two of his guards, and fled away into the midst of the lake.
7. But now the soldiers he had with him took up their arms immediately, and marched against the plotters; but Josephus was afraid lest a civil war should be raised by the envy of a few men, and bring the city to ruin; so he sent some of his party to tell them, that they should do no more than provide for their own safety, that they should not kill any body, nor accuse any for the occasion they had afforded [of disorder]. Accordingly these men obeyed his orders, and were quiet; but the people of the neighbouring country, when they were informed of this plot, and of the plotter, they got together in great multitudes to oppose John. But he prevented their attempt, and fled away to Gischala, his native city, while the Galileans came running out of their several cities to Josephus; and as they were now become many ten thousands of armed men, they cried out, that they were come against John the common plotter against their interest, and would at the same time burn him, and that city which had received him. Hereupon Josephus told them that he took their good-will to him kindly, but still he restrained their fury, and intended to subdue his enemies by prudent conduct, rather than by slaying them; so he excepted those of every city which had joined in this revolt with John, by name, who had readily been shewn him by those that came from every city, and caused public proclamation to be made, that he would seize upon the effects of those that did not forsake John within five days time, and would burn both their houses and their families with fire. Whereupon three thousand of John’s party left him immediately, who came to Josephus, and threw their arms down at his feet. John then betook himself, together with his two thousand Syrian runagates, from open attempts, to more secret ways of treachery. Accordingly he privately sent messengers to Jerusalem to accuse Josephus, as having too great power, and to let them know that he would soon come, as a tyrant, to their metropolis, unless they prevented him. This accusation the people were aware of beforehand, but had no regard to it. However, some of the grandees, out of envy, and some of the rulers also, sent money to John privately, that he might be able to get together mercenary soldiers, in order to fight Josephus; they also made a decree of themselves, and this for recalling him from his government, yet did they not think that decree sufficient; so they sent withal two thousand five hundred armed men, and four persons of the highest rank amongst them; Joazar, the son of Nomicus, and Ananias, the son of Sadduk, as also Simon and Judas, the sons of Jonathan, all very able men in speaking, that these persons might withdraw the good-will of the people from Josephus. These had it in charge, that if he would voluntarily come away, they should permit him to [come and] give an account of his conduct, but if he obstinately insisted upon continuing in his government, they should treat him as an enemy. Now Josephus’s friends had sent him word that an army was coming against him, but they gave him no notice beforehand what the reason of their coming was, that being only known among some secret councils of his enemies; and by this means it was that four cities revolted from him immediately, Sepphoris, and Gamala, and Gischala, and Tiberias. Yet did he recover these cities without war, and when he had routed those four commanders by stratagems, and had taken the most potent of their warriors, he sent them to Jerusalem; and the people [of Galilee] had great indignation at them, and were in a zealous disposition to slay, not only these forces, but those that sent them also, had not these forces prevented it by running away.
8. Now John was detained afterward within the walls of Gischala, by the fear he was in of Josephus; but within a few days Tiberias revolted again, the people within it inviting King Agrippa [to return to the exercise of his authority there]. And when he did not come at the time appointed, and when a few Roman horsemen appeared that day, they expelled Josephus out of the city. Now this revolt of theirs was presently known at Taricheæ; and as Josephus had sent out all the soldiers that were with him to gather corn, he knew not how either to march out alone against the revolters, or to stay where he was, because he was afraid the king’s soldiers might prevent him if he tarried, and might get into the city; for he did not intend to do any thing on the next day, because it was the Sabbath day, and would hinder his proceeding. So he contrived to circumvent the revolters by a stratagem; and in the first place he ordered the gates of Taricheæ to be shut, that nobody might go out and inform [those of Tiberias], for whom it was intended, what stratagem he was about; he then got together all the ships that were upon the lake, which were found to be two hundred and thirty, and in each of them he put no more than four mariners. So he sailed to Tiberias with haste, and kept at such a distance from the city, that it was not easy for the people to see the vessels, and ordered that the empty vessels should float up and down there, while himself, who had but seven of his guards with him, and those unarmed also, went so near as to be seen; but when his adversaries, who were still reproaching him, saw him from the walls, they were so astonished that they supposed all the ships were full of armed men, and threw down their arms, and by signals of intercession they besought him to spare the city.
9. Upon this Josephus threatened them terribly, and reproached them, that when they were the first that took up arms against the Romans, they should spend their force before hand in civil dissensions, and do what their enemies desired above all things; and that besides they should endeavour so hastily to seize upon him, who took care of their safety, and had not been ashamed to shut the gates of their city against him that built their walls; that, however, he would admit of any intercessors from them that might make some excuse for them, and with whom he would make such agreements as might be for the city’s security. Hereupon ten of the most potent men of Tiberias came down to him presently, and when he had taken them into one of his vessels, he ordered them to be carried a great way off from the city. He then commanded that fifty others of their senate, such as were men of the greatest eminence, should come to him, that they also might give him some security on their behalf. After which, under one new pretence or another, he called forth others, one after another, to make the leagues between them. He then gave order to the masters of those vessels which he had thus filled, to sail away immediately for Taricheæ, and to confine those men in the prison there; till at length he took all their senate, consisting of six hundred persons, and about two thousand of the populace, and carried them away to Taricheæ.
10. And when the rest of the people cried out, that it was one Clitus that was the chief author of this revolt, they desired him to spend his anger upon him [only]; but Josephus, whose intention it was to slay nobody, commanded one Levius, belonging to his guards, to go out of the vessel in order to cut off both Clitus’s hands; yet was Levius afraid to go out by himself alone, to such a large body of enemies, and refused to go. Now Clitus saw that Josephus was in a great passion in the ship, and ready to leap out of it, in order to execute the punishment himself; he begged therefore from the shore, that he would leave him one of his hands; which Josephus agreed to, upon condition that he would himself cut off the other hand; accordingly he drew his sword, and with his right hand cut off his left, so great was the fear he was in of Josephus himself. And thus he took the people of Tiberias prisoners, and recovered the city again with empty ships and seven of his guard. (35) Moreover, a few days afterward he retook Gischala, which had revolted with the people of Sepphoris, and gave his soldiers leave to plunder it; yet did he get all the plunder together, and restored it to the inhabitants; and the like he did to the inhabitants of Sepphoris, and Tiberias. For when he had subdued those cities, he had a mind, by letting them be plundered, to give them some good instruction, while at the same time he regained their good-will by restoring them their money again.
The Jews make all ready for the war. And Simon the son of Gioras falls to plundering.
1. And thus were the disturbances of Galilee quieted, when, upon their ceasing to prosecute their civil dissensions, they betook themselves to make preparations for the war with the Romans. Now in Jerusalem the high-priest Ananus, and as many of the men of power as were not in the interest of the Romans, both repaired the walls, and made a great many warlike instruments, insomuch that in all parts of the city darts and all sorts of armour were upon the anvil. Although the multitude of the young men were engaged in exercises, without any regularity, and all places were full of tumultuous doings; yet the moderate sort were exceedingly sad, and a great many there were who, out of the prospect they had of the calamities that were coming upon them, made great lamentations. There were also such omens observed as were understood to be forerunners of evils, by such as loved peace, but were by those that kindled the war interpreted so as to suit their own inclinations; and the very state of the city, even before the Romans came against it, was that of a place doomed to destruction. However, Ananus’s concern was this, to lay aside, for a while, the preparations for the war, and to persuade the seditious to consult their own interest, and to restrain the madness of those that had the name of zealots; but their violence was too hard for him, and what end he came to we shall relate hereafter.
2. But as for the Acrabbene toparchy, Simon, the son of Gioras got a great number of those that were fond of innovations together, and betook himself to ravage the country; nor did he only harass the rich men’s houses, but tormented their bodies, and appeared openly and beforehand to affect tyranny in his government. And when an army was sent against him by Ananus, and the other rulers, he and his band retired to the robbers that were at Masada, and staid there, and plundered the country of Idumea with them, till both Ananus and his other adversaries were slain, and until the rulers of that country were so afflicted with the multitude of those that were slain, and with the continual ravage of what they had, that they raised an army, and put garrisons into the villages, to secure them from those insults; and in this state were the affairs of Judea at that time.
(1) Hear Dean Aldrich’s note on this place, “The law, or custom of the Jews,” says he, “requires seven days mourning for the dead, Antiq. B. XVII. ch. 8. § 4; whence the author of the book of Ecclesiasticus, ch. 22:12, assigns seven days as the proper time of mourning for the dead, and ch. 38:17 enjoins men to mourn for the dead, that they may not be evil spoken of; for as Josephus says presently, if any one omits this mourning [funeral feast] he is not esteemed an holy person. Now it is certain, that such a seven days mourning has been customary from times of the greatest antiquity, Gen. 1:10. Funeral feasts are also mentioned as of considerable antiquity, Ezek. 24:17, Jer. 16:7, Prov. 31:6, Deut. 26:14. Josephus, of the War, B. III. ch. 9. § 5.
(2) This holding a council in the temple of Apollo, in the emperor’s palace at Rome, by Augustus, and even the building of this temple magnificently by himself in that palace, are exactly agreeable to Augustus, in his elder years, as Aldrich and Spanheim observe, from Suetonius [Augustus 29.3] and Propertius [II.31?].
(3) Here we have a strong confirmation, that it was Xerxes, and not Artaxerxes, under whom the main part of the Jews returned out of the Babylonian captivity, i.e. in the days of Ezra and Nehemiah. The same thing is in the Antiquities, B. XI. ch. 5 § 1.
(4) This practice of the Essens, in refusing to swear, and esteeming swearing on ordinary occasions, worse than perjury, is delivered here in general words, as are the parallel injunctions of our Saviour, Matt. 6:34, 23:16, and of St. James, 5:12, but all admit of particular exceptions, for solemn causes, and on great and necessary occasions. Thus these very Essens, who here do so zealously avoid swearing, are related, in the very next section, to admit none till they take tremendous oaths to perform their several duties to God, and to their neighbour, without supposing they thereby break this rule not to swear at all. The case is the same in Christianity, as we learn from the Apostolical Constitutions, which although they agree with Christ and St. James, in forbidding to swear in general, ch. 5:12, 6:23, yet do they explain it elsewhere, by avoiding to swear falsely, and to swear often and in vain, ch. 2:36, and again, by not swearing at all, but withal adding, that if that cannot be avoided, to swear truly, ch. 7:3; which abundantly explain to us the nature of the measures of this general injunction.
(5) This mention of the names of angels, so particularly preserved by the Essens, (if it means more than those messengers which were employed to bring them the peculiar books of their sect), looks like a prelude to that worshipping of angels, blamed by St. Paul, as superstitious, and unlawful, in some such sort of people as these Essens were, Coloss. 2:8, as is the prayer to, or towards the sun for his rising every morning, mentioned before, § 5, very like those not much later observances made mention of in the preaching of Peter, Authent. Rec. Part II. p. 669, and regarding a kind of worship of angels, of the month, and of the moon, and not celebrating the new moons, or other festivals, unless the moon appeared. Which indeed seems to me the earliest mention of any regard to the moon’s phases in fixing the Jewish calendar; of which the Talmud and later rabbins talk so much, and upon so very little ancient foundation. [What a curious little remark. How does Whiston think that the clearly lunar Jewish calendar was determined?]
(6) Of these Jewish or Essene, and indeed Christian doctrines concerning souls, both good and bad, in Hades, see that excellent discourse or homily, of our Josephus’s concerning Hades.
(7) Dean Aldrich reckons up three examples of this gift of prophecy in several of these Essens out of Josephus himself, viz. in the history of the War, B. I. ch. 3. § 5, Judas foretold the death of Antigonus at Strato’s Tower; B. II. ch. 7. § 3, Simon foretold that Archelaus should reign but nine or ten years; and Antiq. B. XV. ch. 10. § 5, Menehem foretold that Herod should be king, and should reign tyrannically, and that for more than twenty or even thirty years. All which came to pass accordingly.
(8) There is so much more here about the Essens, than is cited from Josephus in Porphyry and Eusebius, and yet so much less about the Pharisees and Sadducees, the two other Jewish sects, than would naturally be expected in proportion to the Essens or third sect, nay than seems to be referred to by himself elsewhere, that one is tempted to suppose Josephus had at first written less of the one, and more of the two others than his present copies afford us; as also, that, by some unknown accident, our present copies are here made up of the larger edition in the first case, and of the smaller in the second. See the note in Havercamp’s edition. However, what Josephus says in the name of the Pharisees, that only the souls of good men go out of one body into another, although all souls be immortal, and still the souls of the bad are liable to eternal punishment; as also what he says afterwards, Antiq. B. XVIII. ch. 1. § 3, that the soul’s vigor is immortal, and that under the earth they receive rewards or punishments according as their lives have been virtuous or vicious in the present world; that to the bad is allotted an eternal prison, but that the good are permitted to live again in this world; are nearly agreeable to the doctrines of Christianity. Only Josephus’s rejection of the return of the wicked into other bodies, or into this world, which he grants to the good, looks somewhat like a contradiction to St. Paul’s account of the doctrine of the Jews, that they themselves allowed that there should be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust, Acts 24:15. Yet because Josephus’s account is that of the Pharisees, and St. Paul’s that of the Jews in general, and of himself, the contradiction is not very certain.
(9) We have here, in that Greek ms which was once Alexander Petavius’s, but is now in the library at Leyden, two most remarkable additions to the common copies, though deemed worth little remark by the editor; which, upon the mention of Tiberius’s coming to the empire, inserts first the famous testimony of Josephus concerning Jesus Christ, as it stands verbatim in the Antiquities, B. XVIII. ch. 3. § 3, with some parts of that excellent discourse or homily of Josephus concerning Hades, annexed to the work. But, what is here principally to be noted, is this, that in this homily, Josephus, having just mentioned Christ, as God the Word, and the Judge of the world, appointed by the Father, &c. adds, That he had himself elsewhere spoken about him more nicely or particularly.
(10) This use of corban, or oblation, as here applied to the sacred money dedicated to God in the treasury of the temple, illustrates our Saviour’s words, Mark 7:11, 12.
(11) Tacitus [Histories V.9] owns that Caius commanded the Jews to place his effigies in their temple, though he be mistaken when he adds, that the Jews thereupon took arms.
(12) This account of a place near the mouth of the river Belus in Phenicia, whence came that sand out of which the ancients made their glass, is a known thing in history, particularly in Tacitus [Hist. V.7 and Strabo [XVI p. 758], and more largely in Pliny [HN V.75 and XXXVI.190].
(13) This Memnon had several monuments, and one of them appears, both by Strabo [XV.3.2] and Diodorus, to have been in Syria, and not improbably in this very place.
(14) Reland notes here, that the Talmud, in recounting ten sad accidents for which the Jews ought to rend their garments, reckons this for one, “When they hear that the law of God is burnt.”
(15) This Ummidius, or Numidius, or, as Tacitus calls him, Vinidius Quadratus, is mentioned in an ancient inscription, still preserved, as Spanhelm here informs us, which calls him Ummidius Quadratus.
(16) Take the character of this Felix (who is well known from the Acts of the Apostles, particularly from his trembling when St. Paul discoursed of righteousness, chastity, and judgment to come, Acts 24:5; and no wonder, when we have elsewhere seen, that he lived in adultery with Drusilla, another man’s wife, Antiq. B. XX. ch. 7. § 1; in the words of Tacitus, produced here by Dean Aldrich: “Felix exercised, says Tacitus, the authority of a king, with the disposition of a slave, and relying upon the great power of his brother Pallas at court, thought he might safely be guilty of all kinds of wicked practices.” Observe also the time when he was made procurator, A.D. 52, that when St. Paul pleaded his cause before him, A.D. 58, he might have been many years a judge unto that nation, as St. Paul says he had then been, Acts 24:10. But as to what Tacitus here says, that before the death of Cumanus, Felix was procurator over Samaria only, does not well agree with St. Paul’s words who would hardly have called Samaria a Jewish nation. In short, since what Tacitus here says, is about countries very remote from Rome, where he lived; since what he says of two Roman procurators, the one over Galilee, the other over Samaria at the same time, is without all example elsewhere, and since Josephus, who lived at that very time in Judea, appears to have known nothing of this procuratorship of Felix, before the death of Cumanus, I much suspect the story itself, as nothing better than a mistake of Tacitus, especially when it seems not only omitted, but contradicted by Josephus; as any one may find that compares their histories together. Possibly Felix might have been a subordinate judge among the Jews some time before under Cureanus, but that he was in earnest a procurator of Samaria before, I do not believe. Bishop Pearson, as well as Bishop Lloyd, quote this account, but with a doubtful clause: si fides Tacito, If we may believe Tacitus. Pears. Annal. Paulin. p. 8. Marshall’s Tables, at A.D. 49.
(17) i.e. Herod king of Chalcis.
(18) Not long after this beginning of Florus, the wickedest of all the Roman procurators of Judea, and the immediate occasion of the Jewish war, at the 12th year of Nero, and the 17th of Agrippa, or A.D. 66, the history in the XX books of Josephus’s Antiquities ends; although Josephus did not finish these books till the 13th of Domitian, or A.D. 93, twenty-seven years afterward; as he did not finish their Appendix, containing an account of his own life, till Agrippa was dead, which happened in the 3d year of Trajan, or A. D. 100, as I have several times observed before.
(19) Here we may note, that 3,000,000 of the Jews were present at the passover, A.D. 65, which confirms what Josephus elsewhere informs us of, that at a passover a little later, they counted 256,500 paschal lambs, which at twelve to each lamb, which is no immoderate calculation, come to 3,078,000. See B. VI. ch. 9. § 3.
(20) Take here Dr. Hudson’s very pertinent note. “By this action, says he, the killing of a bird over an earthen vessel, the Jews were exposed as a leprous people; for that was to be done by the law in the cleansing of a leper, Leviticus 14. It is also known that the Gentiles reproached the Jews as subject to the leprosy, and believed that they were driven out of Egypt on that account. This that eminent person Mr. Reland suggested to me.”
(21) Here we have examples of native Jews who were of the equestrian order among the Romans, and so ought never to have been whipped or crucified, according to the Roman laws. See almost the like case in St. Paul himself, Acts 22:25-29.
(22) This vow which Bernice (here and elsewhere called Queen, not only as daughter and sister to two kings, Agrippa the Great, and Agrippa junior, but the widow of Herod King of Chalcis) came now to accomplish at Jerusalem, was not that of a Nazarite, but such an one as religious Jews used to make in hopes of any deliverance from a disease, or other danger, as Josephus here intimates. However these thirty days abode at Jerusalem, for fasting and preparation against the oblation of a proper sacrifice, seems to be too long, unless it were wholly voluntary in this great lady. It is not required in the law of Moses relating to Nazarites, Numb. 6, and is very different from St. Paul’s time for such preparation, which was but one day, Acts 21:26. So we want already the continuation of the Antiquities, to afford us light here, as they have hitherto done on so many occasions elsewhere. Perhaps in this age the traditions of the Pharisees had obliged the Jews to this degree of rigour, not only as to these thirty days preparation, but as to the going barefoot all that time, which here Bernice submitted to also. For we know that as God’s and our Saviour’s yoke is usually easy, and his burden comparatively light, in such positive injunctions, Matthew 11:30, so did the Scribes and Pharisees sometimes bind upon men heavy burdens, and grievous to be borne, even when they themselves would not touch them with one of their fingers, Matt. 23:4, Luke 11:46. However, Noldius well observes, De Herod. No. 404, 414, that Juvenal in his sixth satire [VI, 156-160] alludes to this remarkable penance or submission of this Bernice to Jewish discipline, and jests upon her for it; as do Tacitus [Hist. II.2], Dio [LXV.15.3, Suetonius [Titus 7-8], and Sextus Aurelius [Ep. Caes. 9] mention her as one well known at Rome, ibid.
(23) I take this Bezetha to be that small hill adjoining to the north side of the temple, whereon was the hospital with five porticoes or cloisters, and beneath which was the sheep pool of Bethesda, into which an angel or messenger, at a certain season, descended, and where he or they, who were the first put into the pool, were cured, John 5:1 &c. This situation of Bezetha, in Josephus, on the north side of the temple, and not far off the tower Antonia, exactly agrees to the place of the same pool at this day. Only the remaining cloisters are but three. See Maundrel, p. 106. The entire buildings seem to have been called the New City, and this part, where was the hospital, peculiarly Bezetha or Bethesda. See ch. 19. § 4.
(24) In this speech of King Agrippa we have an authentic account of the extent and strength of the Roman empire when the Jewish war began. And this speech, with other circumstances in Josephus, demonstrate how wise, and how great a person Agrippa was, and why Josephus elsewhere calls him θαυμασιώτατος, a most wonderful or admirable man, Contr. Ap. I. 9. He is the same Agrippa who said to Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian, Acts 26:28 and of whom St. Paul said, He was expert in all the customs and questions of the Jews, ver. 3. See another intimation of the limits of the same Roman empire, Of the War, B. III. ch. 5. § 7. But what seems to me very remarkable here is this, that when Josephus, in imitation of the Greeks and Romans, for whose use he wrote his Antiquities, did himself frequently compose the speeches he put into their mouths; they appear, by the politeness of their composition, and their flights of oratory, to be not the real speeches of the persons concerned, who usually were no orators, but of his own elegant composure: the speech before us is of another nature, full of undeniable facts, and composed in a plain and unartful, but moving way; so it appears to be King Agrippa’s own speech, and to have been given Josephus by Agrippa himself; with whom Josephus had the greatest friendship. Nor may we omit Agrippa’s constant doctrine here, that this vast Roman empire was raised and supported by divine Providence, and that therefore it was in vain for the Jews, or any others to think of destroying it. Nor may we neglect to take notice of Agrippa’s solemn appeal to the angels here used; the like appeals to which we have in St. Paul, 1 Tim. 5:22, and by the apostles, in general, in the form of the ordination of Bishops, Constitut. Apost. VIII. 4.
(25) Julius Cæsar had decreed, that the Jews of Jerusalem should pay an annual tribute to the Romans, excepting the city Joppa, and for the Sabbatical year; as Spanheim observes from the Antiq. B. XIV. ch. 10. § 6.
(26) Of this Sohemus we have mention made by Tacitus [e.g., Ann. II.81, II.4, XIII.7]. We also learn from Dio [LIX.12.2] that his father was king of the Arabians of Iturea, [which Iturea is mentioned by St. Luke, ch. 3:1], both whose testimonies are quoted here by Dr. Hudson. See Noldius, No. 371.
(27) Spanheim notes on the place, that this later Antiochus, who was called Epiphanes, is mentioned by Dio, LIX. p. 645 [LIX.8.2], and that he is mentioned by Josephus elsewhere twice also, B. V. ch. 11. § 3 and Antiq. B. XIX. ch. 8. § 1.
(28) Here we have an eminent example of that Jewish language, which Dr. Wall truly observes we several times find used in the sacred writings; I mean where the words all or whole multitude, &c. are used for much the greatest part only; but not so as to include every person, without exception; for when Josephus had said, that the whole multitude [all the males] of Lydda were gone to the feast of tabernacles, he immediately adds, that however no fewer than fifty of them appeared, and were slain by the Romans. Other examples somewhat like this I have observed elsewhere in Josephus, but, as I think, none so remarkable as this. See Wall’s Critical Observations on the Old Testament, p. 49, 50.
(29) We have also, in this and the next section, two eminent facts to be observed, viz. the first example, that I remember, in Josephus, of the onset of the Jews enemies upon their country when their males were gone up to Jerusalem, to one of their three sacred festivals; which, during the theocracy, God had promised to preserve them from, Exodus 34:24. The second fact is this, the breach of the Sabbath by the seditions Jews in an offensive fight, contrary to the universal doctrine and practice of their nation in these ages, and even contrary to what they themselves afterward practised in the rest of this war. See the note on Antiq. B. XVI. ch. 2. § 3.
(30) There may another very important, and very providential reason be here assigned, for this strange and foolish retreat of Cestius; which, if Josephus had been now a Christian, he might probably have taken notice of also; and that is, the affording the Jewish Christians in the city an opportunity of calling to mind the prediction and caution given them by Christ about 33½ years before, that when they should see the abomination of desolation, [the idolatrous Roman armies, with the images of their idols in their ensigns, ready to lay Jerusalem desolate], stand where it ought not; or, in the holy place; or, when they should see Jerusalem compassed with armies, they should then flee to the mountains. By complying with which those Jewish Christians fled to the mountains of Perea, and escaped this destruction. See Lit. Accompl. of Proph. page 69, 70. Nor was there, perhaps, any one instance of a more unpolitic, but more providential conduct than this retreat of Cestius visible during this whole siege of Jerusalem; which yet was providentially such a great tribulation, as had not been from the beginning of the world to that time; no, nor ever should be. Ibid., page 70, 71. [Leaving aside the bad writing and the lack of humor, this sounds like one of those parodies Voltaire produced for our amusement.]
(31) From this name of Joseph the son of Gorion, or Gorion the son of Joseph, as B. IV. ch. 3. § 9, one of the governors of Jerusalem, who was slain at the beginning of the tumults by the zealots, B. IV. ch. 6. § 1, the much later Jewish author of an history of that nation takes his title, and yet personates our true Josephus, the son of Matthias: but the cheat is too gross to be put upon the learned world.
(32) We may observe here, that the Idumeans, as having been proselytes of justice since the days of John Hyrcanus, during about 195 years, were now esteemed as part of a Jewish nation, and here provided of a Jewish commander accordingly. See the note upon Antiq. B. XIII. ch. 9. § 1.
(33) We see here, and in Josephus’s account of his own life, § 14, how exactly he imitated his legislator Moses, or perhaps only obeyed what he took to be his perpetual law, in appointing seven lesser judges, for smaller causes, in particular cities, and perhaps for the first hearing of greater causes, with the liberty of an appeal to seventy-one supreme judges, especially in those causes where life and death were concerned; as Antiq. B. IV. ch. 8. § 14 and of his Life, § 14. See also Of the War, B. IV. ch. 5. § 4. Moreover we find, § 7, that he imitated Moses, as well as the Romans, in the number and distribution of the subaltern officers of his army, as Exod. 18:25, Deut. 1:15, and in his charge against the offences common among soldiers, as Deut. 13:9; in all which he shewed his great wisdom, and piety, and skilful conduct in martial affairs. Yet may we discern in his very high character of Ananus the high-priest, B. IV. ch. 5. § 2, who seems to have been the same who condemned St. James, bishop of Jerusalem, to be stoned, under Albinus the procurator, that when he wrote these books of the war, he was not so much as an Ebionite Christian; otherwise he would not have failed, according to his usual custom, to have reckoned this his barbarous murder, as a just punishment upon him for that his cruelty to the chief, or rather only Christian bishop of the circumcision. Nor, had he been then a Christian, could he immediately have spoken so movingly of the causes of the destruction of Jerusalem, without one word of either the condemnation of James, or crucifixion of Christ, as he did when he was become a Christian afterward.
(34) I should think that an army of 60,000 footmen should require many more than 250 horsemen; and we find Josephus had more horsemen under his command than 250 in his future history. I suppose the number of the thousands is dropped in our present copies.
(35) I cannot but think this stratagem of Josephus, which is related both here and in his life, § 32, 33, to be one of the finest that ever was invented and executed by any warrior whatsoever.