Page images
PDF
EPUB

was doing this, he invited Simon by his messengers, and promised him to disperse the Idumeans, which he performed also : for as soon as their army was nigh them he first of all got upon his horse, and fled, together with those whoin he had corrupted; hereupon a terror fell upon the whole multitude. aud before it came to a close fight, they broke their ranks, and every one retired to his own home.

7. Thus did Simon unexpectedly march into Idumea, without bloodshed, and made a sudden attack upon the city Hebron and took it ;-wberein he got possession of a great deal of prey, and plundered it of a vast quantity of fruit. Now the people of the country say, that it is an ancienter city, not. only than any in that country, but than Memphis in Egypty and accordingly its age is reckoned at two thousand and three hundred years. They also relate, that it had been the hab itation of Abram, the progenitor of the Jews, after he had removed out of Mesopotamia ; and they say, that his posterity descended from thence into Egypt, whose monuments are at this very time shewed in that small city; the fabric of which monumeuts are of the most excellent marble, and wrought after the most elegant manner. There is also there shewed, at the distance of six furlongs from the city, a very large * turpentine tree; and the report goes, that this tree has continued ever since the creation of the world. Thence did Simon make his progress over all Idumea, and did not only ravage the cities and villages, but laid waste the whole country: for besides those that were completely armed; he had forty thousand men that followed him, insomuch that he had not provisions enough to suffice such a multitude. Now, besides this want of provisions that he was in, he was of a barbarous disposition, and bore great anger at this nation, by which means it came to pass, that Idumea was greatly depopulated ; and as one may see all the woods behind despoiled of their leaves by locust, after they have been there, so wag. there nothing left behind Simon's army but a desert. Some places they burnt down, some they utterly demolished, and whatsoever grew io the country they either trode it down or fed upon it, and by their marches they made the ground that

Some of the ancients call this famous tree, or grove, an onk, others a turpentine tree, or grove. It has been very famous in all the past' age, and is so, I suppose, at this day, and particularly for an eminent mart or meeting of merchants there every year, as the tray. cllerg inform us.

was cultivated harder and more untractable than that which was barren. In short there was no sign remainining of those places that had been laid waste that ever they had had a being.

8. This success of Simon excited the zealots afresh; and though they were afraid to fight him openly, in a fair battle, yet did they lay ambusbes in the passes, and seized upon his wife, with a considerable nuniber of her attendants; whereupon they came back to the city rejoicing, as if they had taken Simon himself captive, ani were in present ex- ' pectation that he would lay down his arms, and make supplication to them for his wife ; but instead of indulging any merciful affection, he grew very angry at them for seizing his beloved wife; so he came to the wall of Jerusalem, and, like wild beasts when they are wounded, and cannot overtake those that wounded them, he vented his spleen upon all persons that he met with. Accordingly he caught all those that were come out of the city gates, either to gather herbs or sticks, who were, unarmed, and in years ; he then tormented them and destroyed them, out of the immense rage he waz in, and was almost ready to taste the very flesh of their dead bodies. He also cut off the liands of a great many, and sent them in the city to astonish his enemies, and in order to make the people fall into a sedition, and desert those that had been the authors of his wife's seizure. He also enjoined them to tell the people, that Simon swore by the God of the universe, who sees all things, that unless they will restore him his wife, he will break down their wall, and inflict the like punishment upon all the citizens, without sparing any age, and without making any distinction between the guilty and the innocent. These threatnings so greatly affrighted, not the people only, but the zealots themselves also, that they sent his wife back to him, when he became a little nuilder, and left off his perpetual blood shedding.

9. But now sedition and civil war prevailed, not only over Judea, but in Italy also; for now Galba was slain in the midst of the Roman market place; then was Olho made emperor, and fought against Vitellius; who set up for emperor also, for the legions in Germany lad chosen him. But when he gave baule to Valens and Cecinna, who were Vitellius' generals at Betriacum in Gaul. Otho gained the advantage on the first day, but on the second day Vitellius' soldiers had the victory; and, after much slaughter, Otho

slew himself, when he had heard of this defeat at Brixia, and alter he had managed the public affairs* three months and two days. Otho's army also came over to Vitellius' generals, and he came himself down to Rome with his army. But in the mean time Vespasian removed from Cæsarea, on the fifth day of the month Desius, [Sivan,) and marched against those places of Judea which were not yet overthrown). So he went up to the mountainous country, and took those two toparchies that were called the Gophnitick and Acrabaltene toparchies. After which he took Bethel and Ephrain, two small cities, and when he had put garrisons into them, he rode as far as Jerusalemi, in which march he took many prisoners, and many captives; but Cerealis, one of his commanders, took a body of his horsemcn and footmen, and laid waste that part of Idumea which was called the Upper Idumea, and attacked Caphethra, which pretended to be a small city, and took it at the first onset, and burnt it down. He also attacked Capharabim, and laid siege to it, for it had a very strong wall; and when he expected to spend a long time jo that siege, those that were within opened their gates on the sudden, and came to beg pardon and surrendered them. selves up to him. When Cerealis had conquered them he went to Hebron, another very ancient city. I have told you already, that this city is situated in a mountainous country, not far off Jerusalem; and when he had broken into the city by force, what multitude and young men were left thereinhe slew, and burnt down the city; so that as cow all the places were taken, excepting Herodium, and Masada, and Macherus, which were in the possession of the robbers, so Jerusalem was what the Romans at present aimed at.

10. And now, as soon as Simop had set his wife free, and recoyered her from the zealots, he returned back to the remainders of Idumea, and driving the nation all before him, from all quarters, he compelled a great pumber of them to retire to Jerusalem; he followed them himself also to the city, and encompassed the wall all round again; and when he lighted upon any labourers, that were coming thither out of the country, he slew then). Now this Simon who was without the wall, was a greater terror to the people than the

* Suetonius differs hardly three days from Josephus, and says Otro perished on the 95th day of his reign. In Othon. See the note on ch, xi. 9 4.

Romang themselves, as were the zealots who were within it more heavy upon them than both of the other; and during this time did the mischievous contrivances and courage (of Johu] corrupt the body of the Galileans; for these Galileans had advanced this John, and made him very potent who made them suitable requital from the authority he had obtained by their means; for he permitted them to do all things that any of them desired to do, while their inclination to plunder was insatiable, as was their zeal in searching the houses of the rich; and for the murdering of the men, and abusing of the women, it was sport to them. They also devoured what spoils they had taken, together with their blood, and indulged themselves in feminine wantonness, without any disturbance, till they were satiated therewith; while they decked their hair, and put on women's garments, and were besmeared over with oiotments; and, that they might appear very comely, they had paiots under their eyes and imitated pot only the ornaments, but also the lusts of women, and were guilty of such intolerable uncleapness, that they invented unlawful pleasures of that sort: and thus did they roll themselves up and down the city, as in a brothelhouse, and defiled it entirely with their impure actions ; nay, while their faces looked like the faces of women, they killed with their right hands, and when their gait was effeminate, they presently attacked men, and became warriors, and drew their swords from under their finely dyed cloaks, and rad every body through whom they alighted upon. However, Simon waited on such as ran away from John, and was the more bloody of the two; and he who had escaped the tyrant within the walls was destroyed by the other that lay before the gates, so that all attempts of flying and deserting to the Romans were cut off, as to those that had a mind so to do.

11. Yet did the army that was under John raise a se dition against him, and all the Idumeans separated them selves from the tyrant, and attempted to destroy him, and this out of their envy at his power and hatred of his cruelty; 50 they got together, and slew many of the zealots, and Grove the rest before them into that royal palace that was built by Grapte, who was a relation of Izates the king of Adiabene; the Idumeans fell in with them, and drove the zealots out thence into the temple, and betook themselves to plunder John's effects; for both he himself was in that place, and therein had be laid up the spoils he had acquired by his tyrants. In the mean time the multitude of those zealots that were dispersed over the city ran together to the temple, unto those that liad fled thither, and Joho prepared to bring them down against the people, and the Idumeans, who were not so much afraid of beiog attacked by them, because they were themselves better soldiers than they, as at their madness, lest they should privately sally out of the temple and get among them, and pot only destroy them but set the city on fire also. So they assembled themselves together, and the high-priests with them, and took counsel alter what manner they should avoid their assault., Now it was God who uired their opinions to the worst advice, and thence they devised such a remedy to get themselves free as was worse than the disease itself. Accordingly, in order to overthrow John, they determined to admit Simon, and earnestly to desire the introduction of a second tyrant into the city; which resolutioc they brought to perfection, and sept Matthias the high-priest, to beseech this Simon to come iu to them, of whom they had so often been afraid. Those also that had fled from the zealots in Jerusalem, joined in this request to him, out of the desire they had of preserving their houses and their effects. Accordingly he, in an arrogant manner, granted them his lordly protection, and came into the city, in order to deliver it from the zealots. The people also made joyful acclamations to him, as their saviour, and their preserver: but when he was come in, witb his army, he took care to secure his own authority, and looked upon those that had invited him in to be no less his enemies, than those against whom the invitation was intended.

12. And thus did Simon get possession of Jerusalem, ia the third year of the war, in the month Xanthicus, (Nisan); whereupon John, with his multitude of zealots, as being both prohibited from coming out of the temple, and having lost their power in the city, (for Simon and his party had plun. dered them of what they had), were in despair of deliverance. Simon also made an assault upon the temple, with the assistance of the people, while the others stood upon the cloisters and the battlements, and defended themselves fron their assaults. However, a considerable number of Simon's party fell, and many were carrier off wounded for the zealots threw their darts easily from a superior place, and seldom failed hitting their enemies; but having the advantage of situation, and having withal erected four very large tow.

« PreviousContinue »