« PreviousContinue »
“ what is done privately in the country is, it seems, known « by the zealots, who are but few in number, and under conbi finement also, and are not able to come out of the temple “ into the city. Is this the first time that they are become 6 sepsible how they ought to be punished for their insolent 66 actions ? for while these men were free from the fear they " are cow under, there was no suspicion raised that any of “ us were traitors. But if they lay this charge against the 6 people, this must have been done at a public consultation, " and not one of the people must have dissented from the “ rest of the assembly; in which case the public fame of this " matter would have come to you sooner than any particu6 lar indication. But how could that be? Must there not " then have been ambassadors sent to confirm the agree. “ ments? And let them tell us who this ambassador was, " that was ordained for that purpose. But this is no other “ than a pretence of such men as are loth to die, and are la“ bouring to escape those punishments that hang over them: “ for if fate had determined that this city was to be betrayed “ into its enemies' hands, no other than these men that ac6 cuse us falsely could have the impudence to do it, there “ being no wickedness wanting to complete their impudent " practices but this only, that they become traitors. And “ now you Idumeans are come bither already with your « arms; it is your duty, in the first place, to be assisting to “ your metropolis, and to join with us in cutting off those " tyrants that have infringed the rules of our regular tribu“ nals, that have trampled upon our laws, and made their * swords the arbitrators of right and wrong; for they have 6 seized upon men of great eminence, and under no accusa“ tion, as they stood in the midst of the market place, and * tortured them with putting them into bonds, and without “ bearing to hear what they had to say, or what supplica6 tions they made, they destroyed them. You may, if you “ please, come into the city, though not in the way of war, " and take a view of the marks still remaining of what I now “ say, and may see the houses that have been depopulated " by their rapacious hands, with those wives and families " that are in black mourning for their slaughtered relations ; " as also you may hear their groans and lamentations all the “ city over; for there is nobody but hath tasted of the in“ cursions of these profane wretches, who have proceeded * to that degree of madness, as not only to have transferred
" their impudent robberies out of the country, and the re“ mote cities into this city, the very face and head of the a whole nation, but out of the city into the temple also; for " that is now made their receptacle and refuge, and the foun-“ tain head whence their preparations are made against us. “ And this place, which is adored by the habitable world,
and honoured by such as only know it by report, as far " as the ends of the earth, is trampled upon by these wild “ beasts born among ourselves. They now triumph in the “ desperate condition they are already in, when they hear " that one pcople are going to figlit against another people; 6 and one city against another city, and that your nation: “ hath gotten an army together against its own bowels. In“stead of which procedure it were bighly fit and reasonable, “ as I said before, for you to join with us in cutting off these “ wretches, and in particular to be revenged on them for 6 putting this very cheat upon you; I mean, for having the “impudence to invite you to assist them, of whom they 4 ought to have stood in fear, as ready to punish them.
But you have some regard to these men's invitation to you, " yet may you lay aside your arms, and come into the city e under the notion of our kindred, and take upon you the “ middle name between that of auxiliaries and of enemies, " and so become judges in this case. However, consider “ what these men will gain by being called in to judgment “ before you, for such undeniable and such flagrant crimes, 66 who would not vouchsafe to hear such as had no accu“sations laid against them to speak a word for themselves, “ However; let them gain this advantage by your coming. “ But still, if you will neither take our part in that indig. 6 nation we have at these men, nor judge between us, the es third thing I have to propose is this, that you let us both " alone, and neither insult upon your calamities, nor abide “ with these plotters against their metropolis : for though “ you should have ever so great a suspicion that some of us " have discoursed with the Romans, it is in your power to
watch the passages into the city; and in case any thing *.that we have been accused of is brought to light, then to “ come, and defend your metropolis, and to inflict punish* ment on those that are found guilty; for the enemy can“pot prevent you, who are now so near the city. But if,"
after all, none of their proposals seem acceptable and mor. “ derate, do not you wonder that the gates are shut against “ you, while you bear your arms about you.”
4. Thus spake Jesus; yet did not the multitude of the Idumeans give any attention to what he said, but were in a rage, because they did not meet with a ready entrance into the city. The generals also had indignation at the offer of laying down their arms, and looked upon it as equal to captivity, to throw them away at any man's injunction whomsoever. But Simon the son of Cathlas, one of their com. nanders, with much ado quieted the tumult of his owo men, and stood so that the high-priests might hear him, and said as follows: “I can no longer wonder that the patrons of li. “ berty are under custody in the temple, since there are " those that shut the gates of our common city * to their s own nation, and at the same time are prepared to ad. “ mit the Romans into it; nay, perhaps, are disposed to “ crown the gates with garlands at their coming, while they 6 speak to the Idumeans from their towers, and enjoin them " to throw down their arms which they have taken up for “the preservation of its liberty. Aud while they will not
intrust the guard of our metropolis to their kindred, pro“ fess to make them judges of the differences that are among " them; nay, while they accuse some men of having slaju “ others wiibout a legal trial, they do themselves condemn “ a whole nation after an ignominious manner; and have now “ walled up that city from their own pation, which used to be “ open even to all foreigners that came to worship there. “ We have indeed come in great haste to you, and to a war 16 against our own countrymen: and the reason why we have “ made such baste is this, that we may preserve that free- dom which you are so unhappy as to betray. You have “ probably been guilty of the like crimes against those whom “ you keep in custody, and have I suppose, collected toge“ther the like plausible pretences against them also, that you 6 make use of against us; after which you have gotten the - mastery of those within the temple, and keep them in cus
• This appellation of Jerusalem given it here by Simon, the gee neral of the Idumeans, The common city of the Idumeans, who were proselytes of justice, as well as of the original native Jews, great. ly confirms that maxim of the rabbins, here set down by Reland, that Jerusalem was not assigned, or appropriated to the tribe of Benjamin or Judah, but every tribe had equal right to it. [at their coming to worship there at the sereral festivals.] See a little be fore, ch, ji. $ 3.
“ tody, while they are only taking care of the public affairs. “ You have also shut the gates of the city in general against “6 nations that are the most nearly related to you: and while 6 you give such injurious commands to others, you complain " that you have been tyrannized over by them; and fix the " name of unjust governors upon such as are tyrapnized over " by yourselves. Who can bear this your abuse of words, " while they bave a regard to the contrariety of your ac“ tions ?. Unless you mean this, that those Idumeans do now "exclude you out of your metropolis, whom you exclude « from the sacred offices of your own country. One way 5 indeed justly complain of those that are bessieged in the
temple, that when they had courage enough to punish those 6 tyrants, wbich you call eminent men, and free from any "accusations, because of their being your companions in 4 wickedness, they did not begin with you, apd thereby cut “ off beforehand the most dangerous parts of this treason. " But if these men have been more merciful than the public 6 pecessity required, ie that are Idumeans will preserve 5 this house of God, and will fight for our common country, 66 and will oppose by war as well those that attack them from 6 abroad, as those that betray them from within. Here will 56 we abide before the walls in our armour, until either the . 5 Romans grow weary in waiting for you, or you become “ friecds to liberty, and repent of what you have done a.. bi gainst it."
5. And now did the Idumeans make an acclamation to what Simon had said; but Jesus, went away sorrowful, as seeing that the Idumeans were against all moderate counsels, and that the city was besieged on both sides. Nor indeed were the minds of the Idumeans at rest; for they were in a rage at the injury that had been offered them, by their exclusion out of the city; and when they thought the zealots had been strong and saw nothing of theirs to support them, they were in doubt about the matter, and many of them re. pented that they had come thither. But the shame that . would attend them in case they returned without doing any thing at all, so far overcame tbat their repentance, that they Jay all night before the wall, though in a very bad encamp. ment; for there broke out a prodigious storm in the night, with the utmost violence, and very strong winds, with the largest showers of rain, with continued lightoings, terrible thunderings, and amazing concussions and bellowings of the
earth that was in an earthquake. These things were a manifest indication that some destruction was coming upon men, when the system of the world was put into this disorder, and any one would guess that these wonders foreshewed some grand calamities that were coming.
6. Now the, opinion of the Idumeans and of the citizens was one and the same. The Idumeans thought that God was apgry at their taking arms, and that they would not escape punishment for their making war upon their metropolis. Avanus and his party thought that they had conquered without fighting, and that God acted as a general for them but truly they proved both ill conjecturers at what was to come, and made those events to be ominous to their enemies, wbile they were themselves to undergo the ill effects of them; for the Idumeaps fenced one another by uniting their bodies into one band, and thereby kept themselves warm, and connecting their shields over their heads, were not so much hurt by the rain. But the zealots were more deeply conserned for the danger these men were io, than they were for themselves, and got together, and looked about them to see whether they could devise any means of assistiog them. The hotter sort of them thought it best to force their guards with their arms, and aster that to fall into the midst of the city, and publicly open the gates to those that came to their assistance; as supposing the guards would be in disorder, and give way at such an unexpected attempt of theirs, especially as the greater part of them were uvarmed, and uoskilled in affairs of war; and that besides the multitude of the citizens would not be easily gathered together, but confined to their houses by the storm; and that if there were any hazard in their undertaking, it became thein to suffer any thing whatsoever themselves, rather than to overlook so great a multitude as were miserably-perishing on their account. But the more prudent part of them disapproved of this forcible method, because they saw not only the guards about them very numerous, but the walls of the city itself carefully watched by reason of the Idumeans. They also supposed that Anapus would be every where, and visit the guards every hour: which indeed was done upon other nights, but was omitted that night, not by reason of any slothfulness of Abanus, but by the overbearing appointment of fate, that so both he might hiliself perish, and the multitade of the guards might perish with him ; for truly as the