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be under of paying their tributes ; and that, perhaps, Caius might be thereby moved to pity, and not order any barbarous action to be done to them, nor think of destroying the nation: that if he continues inflexible in his former opinion to bring a war upon them, he may then set about it himself.” And thus did Aristobulus, and the rest with him, supplicate Petronius. So Petronius, * partly on account of the pressing instances, which Aristobulus and the rest with him made, and because of the great consequence of what they desired, and the earnestness wherewith they made their supplica. tion ; partly on account of the firmness of the opposition inade by the Jews, which he saw, while he thought it an horrible thing for him to be such a slave to the madness of Caius, as to slay so many ten thousands of men, only because of their religious disposition towards God, and after that to pass his life in expectation of punishment; Petronius, I say, thought it much better to send to Caius, and to let him know how intolerable it was to him to bear the anger he might have against him for not serving him sooner, in obedience to his epistle, for that perhaps he might persuade him; and that if his mad resolution continued, he might then begin the war against them: nay, that in case he should turn his hatred against himself, it was fit for virtuous persons even to die for the sake of such vast multitudes of men. Accordingly, he determined to hearken to the petitioners in this matter.
5. He then called the Jews together to Tiberias, who came, many ten thousands in number ; he also placed that army he now had with him opposite to them ; but did not discover his own meaning, but the commands of the empe. ror, and told them, that “ his wrath would without delay be executed on such as had the courage to disobey what he had commanded, and this immediately ; and that it was fit for him, who had obtained so great a dignity by his grant, not to contradict him in any thing: yet," said he, “I do not
* This Publius Petroniis was after this still president of Syria, under Claudius, and, at the desire of Agrippa, published a severe decree against the inhabitants of Dora, who, in a sort of imitation of Caius, had set up a statue of Claudius in a Jewish Synagogue there. This decree is extant. B. xix. ch. vi. I 3. and greatly confirns the present accounts of Josephus, as do the other decrees of Claudius, relating to the like ewish atfairs, B. xix. ch. v..?, 3. to which I refer the inquisitive reader.
think it just to have such a regard to my own safety and honour, as to refuse to sacrifice them for your preservation, who are so many in number, and endeavour to preserve the regard, that is due to your law, which, as it hath come down to you from your forefathers, so do you esteem it worthy of your utmost contention to preserve it ; nor, with the supreme assistance and power of God, will I be so hardy as to suffer your temple to fall into contempt by the means of the imperial authority. I will, therefore, send to Caius, and let him know what your resolutions are, and will assist your suit as far as I am able, that you may not be exposed to suffer on account of the honest designs you have proposed to yourselves; and may God be our assistant, for his authority is beyond all the contrivance and power of men; and may he procure you the preservation of your ancient laws, and may not he be deprived, though without your consent, of his accustomed honours. But if Caius be irritated, and turn the violence of his rage upon me, I will rather undergo all that danger and that afiliction that may come either on my body or my soul, than see so many of you to perish, while yol are acting in so excellent a manner. Do you, therefore, every one of you, go your way about your own occupations, and fall to the cultivation of your ground; I will myself send to Rome, and will not refuse to serve you in all things, both by myself and by my friends.”
6. When Petronius had said this, and had dismissed the assembly of the Jews, he desired the principal of them to take care of their husbandry, and to speak kindly to the people, and encourage them to have good hope of their affairs. Thus did he readily bring the multitude to be cheerful again. And now did God show his presence,* to Petropius, and signify to him, that he would afford him his assistanee in his whole design; for he had no sooner finished the speech that he inade to the Jews, but God sent down
* Josephus here uses the solemn New Tetament words, Tug Boldk, end & TIPAVELA, the presence and appearance of God, for the extraordinary manifestations of his power and providence to Petroni's, by sending rain in a time of distress, immediately upon the resolution he had taken to preserve the temple inpoll:ted at the hazard of hi: own life, without any other miraculous appearance at all in that case; which well deserves to be taken notice of here, and greatly illus trates several texts both in the Old and New Testament.
great showers of rain, contrary to human expectation ; for that day was a clear day, and gave no sign, by the appearance of the sky, of any rain ; nay, the whole year had been subject to a great drought, and made men despair of any water from above, even when at any time they saw the heavens overcast with clouds ; ipsomuch, that when such a great quantity of rain came, and that in an unusual manner, and without any other expectation of it, the Jews hoped that Petronius would by no means fail in his petition for them. But as to Petronius, he was mightily surprised when he perceived that God evidently took care of the Jews, and gave very plain signs of his appearance,* and this to such a degree, that those that were in earnest much inclined to the contrary, had no power left to contradict it. This was also among those particulars which he wrote to Caius, which all tended to dissuade him and by all means to entreat him not to make so many ten thousands of these men to go distracted ; whom, if he would slay, (for without war they would by no means suffer the laws of their worship to be set aside,) he would lose the revenue they paid him, and would be publicly cursed by them for all future ages. Moreover, that God, who was their governor, had showed his power most evidently on their account, and that such a power of his as left no room for doubt about it. And this was the business that Petropius was now engaged in.
7. But king Agrippa, who now lived at Rome, was more and more in favour of Caius; and when he had once made him a supper, and was careful to exceed all others both in expenses, and in such preparations as might contribute most to his pleasure; nay, it was so far from the ability of others, that Caius himself could never equal, much less exceed it, (such care had he taken beforehand to exceed all men, and particularly to make all agreeable to Caesar :) hereupon Caius admired his understanding and magnificence, that he should force himself to do all to please him, even beyond such expenses as he could bear; and was desirous not to be behind Agrippa in that generosity which he exerted in order to please him. Sy Caius, when he had drank wine plentifully, and was merrier than ordinary ; said thus, during the feast, when Agrippa had drunk to him: “ I knew before
* See the preceding note.
now * how great a respect thou hadst for me, and how great a kindness thou hast showed me, though with those hazards to thyself, which thou underwentest under Tiberius on that account; nor hast thou omitted any thing to show thy goodwill towards us, even beyond thy ability: whence it would be a base thing for me to be conquered by thy affection; I am, therefore, desirous to make thee amends for every thing, in which I have been any way formerly deficient, for all that I have bestowed on thee, that may be called iny gifts, is but little. Every thing that may contribute to thy happiness shall be at thy service, and that cheerfully, and so far as my ability will reach.” And this was what Caius said to Agrippa, thinking that he would ask some large country, or the revenues of certain cities. But although he had prepared beforehand what he would ask, yet had he not discovered his intentions, but made this answer to Caius immediately: that " it was not out of any expectation of gain that he formerly paid his respects to him, contrary to the commands of Tiberius, nor did he pow do any thing relating to him out of regard to his own advantage; and in order to receive any thing from him: that the gifts he had already bestowed upon him were great, and beyond the hopes of even a craving man ; for, although they may be beneath thy power, (who art the donor,] yet are they greater than my inclination and dignity, who am the receiver.” And as Caius was astonished at Agrippa's inclinations, and still the more pressed him to make his request for somewhat which he might gratify him with, Agrippa replied, " Since thou, O my lord, declarest such is thy readiness to grant, that I am worthy of thy gifts, I will ask nothing relating to my own felicity: for what thou hast already bestowed on me has made me excel therein ; but I desire somewhat which may make thee glorious for piety, and render the Divinity assistant to thy designs, and may be for an honour to me among those that inquire about it, as showing that I never once fail of obtaining what I desire of thee; for my petition is this, that thou wilt no longer think of the dedication of that statue which thou hast ordered to be set up in the Jewish temple by Petronius.”
8. And thus did Agrippa venture to cast the die upon this occasion, so great was the affair in his opinion, and in reality,
* This behaviour of Caius to Agrippa, is very like that of Herod Antipas, bis uncle, te Herodius, Agrippa's sister, about John the Baptist, Matt. xiv. 6–11.
though be knew how dangerous a thing it was so to speak; for, had pot Caius approved of it, it had tended to no less than the loss of his life. So Caius, who was mightily taken with Agrippa's obliging behaviour, and on other accounts thinking it a dishonourable thing to be guilty of falsehood before so many witnesses, in points wherein he had with such alacrity forced Agrippa to become a petitioner, and that it would look as if he had already repented of what he had said, and because he greatly admired Agrippa's virtue, in not desiring him at all to augment his own dominions either with larger revenues, or other authority, but took care of the public tranquility, of the laws, and of the divinity itself, he granted him what he had requested. He also wrote thus to Petronius, commending him for assembling his army, and then consulting him about those affairs. "If, therefore," said he, “ thou hast already erected my statue, let it stand: but, if thou hast not yet dedicated it, do not trouble thyself farther about it, but dismiss thy army, and go back, and take care of those affairs which I sent thee about at first; for I have now no occasion for the erection of that statue. Thus I have granted as a favour to Agrippa, a man whom I honour so very greatly, that I am not able to contradict what he would have, or what he desired me to do for him." And this was what Caius wrote to Petronius, which was before he received his letter, informing him that the Jews were very ready to revolt about the statue, and that they seemed resolved to threaten war against the Romans, and nothing else. When, therefore, Caius was much displeased that any attempt should be made against his government, as he was a slave to base and vicious actions on all occasions, and had no regard to what was virtuous and honourable, and against whomsoever he resolved to show his anger, ard that for any cause whatsoever, he suffered not himself to be restrained by any admonition, but thought the indulging his anger to be a real pleasure, he wrote thus to Petronius : " Seeing thou esteemest the presents made thee by the Jews to be of greater value than my commands, and art grown insolent enough to be subservient to their pleasure, I charge thee to become thy own judge, and to consider what thou art to do pow thou art under my displeasure ; for I will make thee ap example to the present, and to all future ages, that they may not dare to contradict the commands of their emperor."
9, This was the epistle which Caius wrote to Petronius;