Page images

nitions are grievous to those who are disposed to act unjustly. Wherefore Felix persuaded one of Jonathan's most faithful friends, a citizen of Jerusalem, whose name was Doras, to bring the robbers upon Jonathan, in order to kill him; and this he did by promising to give him a great deal of money for so doing. Doras complied with the proposal, and contrived matters so, that the robbers might murder him after the following manner: certain of those robbers went up to the city, as if they were going to worship God, while they had daggers under their garments, and, by thus mingling themselves among the multitude they slew Jonathan ;* and, as this murder was never avenged, the robbers

* This treacherous and barbarous murder of the good high-priest Jo. nathan, by the contrivance of this wicked procurator Felix, was the immediate occasion of the ensuing murders by the Sicarii or ruffians, and one great cause of the following horrid cruelties and miseries of the Jewish nation, as Josephus here supposes; whose excellent refleclion on the gross wickedness of that nation, as the direct cause of their terrible destruction, is well worthy the attention of every Jewish and of every Christian reader. And, since we are soon coming to the catalogue of the Jewish high-priests, it may not be amiss, with Reland, to insert this Jonathan among them, and to transcribe his particular catalogue of the last twenty-eight high-priests, taken out of Josephus, and begin with Ananelus, who was made by Herod the Great. See Antiq. B. xy. ch. i. $ 4. and the note there. 1. Ananelns.

16. Simon, the son of Boethus. 2. Aristobulus.

17. Matthias, the brother of Jo3. Jesus, tbe son of Fabus. nathan, and son of Ananus. 4. Simon, the son of Boethus. 18. Aljoneus.

5. Matthias, the son of Theo. 19. Josepbus, the son of Camy, philus.

dus. 6. Joazar, the son of Boethus. 20. Ananias, the son of Nebe7. Eleazar, the son of Boethus. deus 8. Jesus, the son of Sie.

21. Jonathas. 9. (Annas, or] Ananus, the son 22. Ismael, the son of Fabi. of Seth.

23. Joseph Cabi, the son of Si10. Ismael, the son of Fabus. mon. 11. Eleazar, the son of Ananus. 24. Ananus, the son of Ana12. Simon, the son of Camithus. nus.

13. Josephus Caiaphas, the son- 25. Jesus, the son of Damneus. in-law to Ánanus.

26. Jesus, the son of Gamaliel. 14. Jonathan, the son of Ana- 27. Matthias, the son of Theonus.

philus. 15. Theophilus, his brother, and 28. Phannias, the son of Sa. son of Ananus.

muel. As for Ananus, and Joseph Caiaphas, here mentioned about the middle of this catalogue, they are no other than those Annas and Caiaphas, No often mentioned in the four gospels; and that Ananias, the son of Nebedeus, was that high-priest before whom St. Paul pleaded his own cause, Acts, xxiv.

went up with the greatest security at the festivals after this time; and, having weapons concealed in like manner as before, and mingling themselves among the multitude, they slew certain of their own enemies, and were subservient to other nen for money, and slew others, not only in remote parts of the city, but in the temple itself also ; for they had the boldness to murder men there, without thinking of the impiety of which they were guilty. And this seems to me to have been the reason why God, out of his hatred of these men's wickedness, rejected our city; and as for the temple, he no longer esteemed it sufficiently pure for him to inhabit therein, but brought the Romans upon us, and threw a fire upon the city to purge it, and brought upon us, our wives, and children, slavery, as desirous to make us wiser by our calamities.

6. These works, that were done by the robbers, filled the city with all sorts of impiety. And now these * impostors and deceivers persuaded the multitude to follow them into the wilderness, and pretended that they would exbibit manifest wonders and signs, that should be performed by the providence of God. And many that were prevailed on by them suffered the punishments of their folly ; for Felix brought them back, and then punished them. Moreover, there came out of Egypt,t about this time, to Jerusalem, one that said he was a prophet, and advised the multitude of the common people to go along with him to the Mount of Olives, as it was called, which lay over against the city, and at the distance of five furlongs. He said farther, that he would show them from hence, how, at his command, the walls of Jerusalem would fall down; and be promised them, that he would procure them an entrance into the city through those walls, when they were fallen down. Now, when Felix was informed of these things, he ordered his soldiers to take their weapons, and came against them, with a great number of horsemen and footmen, from Jerusalem, and attacked the Egyptian and the people that were with him. He also slew four hundred of them, and took two hundred alive. But the Egyptian himself escaped out of the fight, but did not ap

* Of the Jewish impostors and false prophets, with many other circumstances and miseries of the Jews, till their utter destruction, foretold by our Saviour. See Lit. Accompl, of Proph. p. 58–75.

t of this Egyptian impostor, and the pumber of his followers in Josephus, see Acts, xxi. 38.

pear any more. And again the robbers stirred up the people to make war with the Romans, and said, they ought not to obey them at all; and, when any persons would not comply with them, they set fire to their villages, and plundered them.

7. And now it was that a great sedition arose between the Jews that inhabited Caesarea, and the Syrians who dwelt there also, concerning their equal right to the priviJeges belonging to the citizens; for the Jews claimed the pre-eminence, because Herod their king was the builder of Caesarea, and because he was by birth a Jew. Now the Sy. rians did not deny what was alleged about Herod; but they said that Caesarea was formerly called Strato's Tower, and that then there was not one Jewish inhabitant. When the presidents of that country heard of these disorders, they caught the authors of them on both sides, and tormented them with stripes, and by that means put a stop to the disturbance for a time. But the Jewish citizens, depending on their wealth, and on that account despising the Syrians, reproached them again, and hoped to provoke them by such reproaches. However, the Syrians, though they were inferior in wealth, yet valuing themselves highly on this account, that the greatest part of Roman soldiers that were there, were either of Caesarea or Sebaste, they also for some time used reproachful language to the Jews also ; and thus it was, till at length they came to throwing stones at one another, and several were wounded, and fell on both sides, though still the Jews were the conquerors. But when Felix saw that this quarrel was become a kind of war, he came upon them on the sudden, and desired the Jews to desist; and, when they refused so to do, he armed his soldiers, and sent them out upon them, and slew many of them, and took more of them alive, and perınitted bis soldiers to plunder some of the houses of the citizens, which were full of riches. Now those Jews that were more inoderate, and of principal dignity among them, were afraid of themselves, and desired of Felix that he would sound a retreat to his soldiers, and spare them for the future, and afford them room for repentance for what they had done; and Felix was pre-, vailed upon so to do. .

8. About this time king Agrippa gave the high-priesthood to Ismael, who was the son of Fabi. And now arose a sedition between the high-priests and the principal men of the

Vol. v.

multitude of Jerusalem ; each of which got them a company of the boldest sort of men, and of those that loved innovations, about them, and became leaders to them; apd, when they struggled together, they did it by casting reproachful words against one another, and by throwing stones also. And there was nobody to reprove them; but these disorders were done after a licentious manner in the city, as if it had no government over it. And such was the impudence* and boldness that had seized on the high-priests, that they bad the hardiness to send their servants into the threshing. floors, to take away those tithes that were due to the priests; insomuch, that it so fell out, that the poorer sort of the priests died for want. To this degree did the violence of the seditious prevail over all right and justice !

9. Now, when Porcius Festus was sent as successor to Felix by Nero, the principal of the Jewish inhabitants of Caesarea went up to Rome to accuse Felix; and he had certainly been brought to punishment, unless Nero had yielded to the importunate solicitations of his brother Paljas, who was at that time had in the greatest honour by him. Two of the principal Syrians in Caesarea persuaded Burrhus, who was Nero's lutor, and secretary for bis Greek epistles, by giving him a great sum of money, to disannul that equality of the Jewish privileges of citizens which they hitherto enjoyed. Su Burrhus, by his solicitations, obtained leave of the emperor, that an epistle should be written to that purpose. This epistle became the occasion of the following miseries that befell our nation ; for, when the Jews of Caesarea were informed of the contents of this epistle to the Syrians, they were more disorderly than before, till a war was kindled.

10. Upon Festus's coming into Judea, it happened that Judea was afflicted by the robbers, while all the villages were set on fire and plundered by them. And then it was that the Sicarii, as they were called, who were robbers, grew numerous. They made use of small swords, not much different in length from the Persian acinacae, but somewhat crooked, and like the Roman sicae for sickles) as they were

* The wickedness here was very peculiar and extraordinary, that the high-priests should so oppress their brethren the priests, as to starve the poorest of them to death. See the like presently, ch. ix. 02. Such fatal crimes are covetousness and tyranny in the clergy, as well as in the laity, in all ages!

called ; and from those weapons these robbers got their denominations; and with those weapons they slew a great many ; for they mingled themselves among the multitude at their festivals, when they were come up in crowds from all parts to the city to worship God, as we said before, and easi. ly slew those that they had a mind to slay. They also came frequently upon the villages belonging to their enemies, with their weapons, and plundered them, and set them on fire. So Festus sent forces, both horsemen and footmen, to fall upon those that had been seduced by a certain impostor, who promised them deliverance and freedom, from the miseries they were under, if they would but follow him as far as the wilderness. Accordingly, those forces that were sent destroyed both him that had deluded them, and those that were his followers also.

11. About the same time king Agrippa built himself a very large dining-room in the royal palace at Jerusalem, near to the portico. Now, this palace had been erected of old by the children of Asamoneus, and was situate upon an elevation, and afforded a most delightful prospect to those that had a mind to take a view of the city, which prospect was desired by the king; and there he could lie down and eat, and thence observe what was done in the temple : which thing, when the chief men of Jerusalem saw, they were very much displeased at it; for it was not agreeable to the institutions of our country or law, that what was done in the temple should be viewed by others, especially what belonged to the sacrifices. They, therefore, erected a wall upon the uppermost building which belonged to the inner court of the temple towards the west, which wall, when it was built, did not only intercept the prospect of the dining-room in the palace, but also the western cloisters that belonged to the outer court of the temple also, where it was that the Romans kept guards for the temple at the festivals. At these doings both king Agrippa, and principally Festus the procu, rator were much displeased ; and Festus ordered them to pull the wall down again : but the Jews petitioned them to give them leave to send an embassage about this matter to Nero ; for they said they could not endure to live if any part of the temple should be demolished : and when Festus had given them leave so to do, they sent ten of their principal men to Nero, as also Ismael, the high-priest, and Helcias, the keeper of the sacred treasure. And when Nero had

« PreviousContinue »