Page images

rational methods aimed to mitigate things, as not willing to give any handle for tumults.

3. Now when Herod bad already reigned seventeen years, Cæsar came into Syria; at which time the greatest part of the inhabitants of Gadara clamoured against Herod, as one that was heavy in his injunctions, and tyrannical. These reproaches they mainly ventured upon by the encouragement of Zenodorus, who took his oath that he would never leave Herod till he had procured that they should be severed from Herod's kingdom, and joined to Cæsar's province. The Gadarens were induced hereby, and made no small cry against him, and that the more boldly, because those that had been delivered up by Agrippa were not punished by Herod, who let them go, and did them no harm, for indeed he was the principal man in the world who appeared almost inexorable in punishing crimes in his own family, but very generous in remitting the offences that were committed elsewhere.' And while they accused Herod of injuries and plunderings, and subversions of temples, he stood unconcerned, and was ready to make his defence. However, Cæsar gave him his right hand, and remitted nothing of his kindness to bim, upon this disturbance by the multitude; and indeed these things were alledged the first day, but the bearing proceeded no farther; for as the Gadarens saw the inclination of Cæsar and of his assessors, and expected as they had reason to do, that they should be delivered up to the king, some of them, out of a dread of the torments they might undergo, cut their own throats in the night-time, and some of them threw themselves down precipices, and others of them cast themselves into the river, and destroyed themselves of their own accord; which accidents seemed a sufficient condemnation of the rashness and crimes they had been guilty of: whereupon Cæsar made no longer delay, but cleared Herod from the crimes he was accused of. Another happy accident there was, which was a farther great advantage to Herod at this time; for Zenodorus's belly burst, and a great quantity of blood issued from him in bis sickness, and he thereby departed this life at Antioch in Syria; so Cæsar bestowed his country, which was no small one, upon Herod; it lay between Trachon and Galilee, and contained Ulutha, and Paneas, and the country round about, He also made him one of the procurators of Syria, and commanded that they should do every thing with bis approbation: and, in short, he arrived at that pitch of felicity, that where: as there were but two men that governed the vast Roman empire, first Cæsar and then Agrippa, who was his principal favourite, Cæsar preferred no one to Herod besides Agrippa, and Agrippa made no one his greater friend than Herod beside Cæsar. And when he had acquired such freedom, he begged of Cæsar a tetrarchy * for his brother Pheroras, while he did himself bestow upon him a revenue of an hundred talents out of his own kingdom, that in case he came to any harm himself, his brother might be in safety, and that bis sons might not have dominion over him. So when he had conducted Cæsar to the sea, and was returned home, he built him a most beautiful temple, of the whitest stone, in Zenodorus's country, near the place called Panium. This is a very fine cave in a mountain, under which there is a great cavity in the earth, and the cavern is abrupt, and prodigiously deep, and full of a still water; over it hangs a vast mountain; and under the caveros arise the springs of the river Jordan. Herod adorned this place, which was already a very remarkable one, still farther, by the erection of this temple, which he dedicated to Cæsar.

4. At which time Herod released to his subjects the third part of their taxes, under pretence indeed of relieving them, after the dearth they had had; but the main reason was, to recover their good-will, which he now wanted, for they were uneasy at him, because of the innovations he had introduced in their practices, of the dissolution of their religion, and of the disuse of their own customs; and the people every where talked against him, like those that were still more provoked and disturbed at his procedure; against which discontents he greatly guarded himself, and took away the opportunities, they might have to disturb him, and enjoined them to be always at work; nor did he permit the citizens either to meet together, or to walk, or eat together, but watched every thing they did, and when any were caught, they were severely panished; and many there were who were brought to the citadel Hyrcania, both openly and secretly, and were there put to death; and there were spies set every where, both in the city, and in the roads, who watched those that met together; nay, it is reported, that he did not himself neglect this part of caution, but that he would oftentimes bimself take the habit of a private man, and mix among the multitude, in the night-time, and make trial what opinion they had of his government; and as for those that could no way be reduced to acquiesce under his scheme of government, he prosecuted them all manner of ways, bat for the rest of the multitude, he required that they should be obliged to take an oath of fidelity to him, and at the same time compelled them to swear

* A tetrarchy properly and originally denoted the fourth part of an entire kingdom or country, and a letrarch one that was ruler of such a fourth part, which always implies somewhat less extent of dominion and power than belong to a kingdom and to a king.

that they would bear him good-will, and continue certainly so to do in his management of the government; and indeed a great part of them, either to please bim, or out of fear of him, yielded to what he required of them, but for such as were of a more open and generous disposition, and had indignation at the force he used to them, he by one nieans or other made


with them. He endeavoured also to persuade Pollio the Pharisee, and Sameas, and the greatest part of their scholars, to take the oath; but these would neither submit so to do, nor were they punished together with the rest, out of the reverence he bore to Pollio. The Essenes also, as we call a sect of ours, were excused from this imposition. These men live the same kind of life as do those whom the Greeks call Pythagoreans, concerning whom I shall discourse more fully elsewhere. However, it is but fit to set down here the reasons wherefore Herod had these Essenes in such honour, and thought higher of them than their mortal nature required; nor will this account be unsuitable to the nature of this history, as it will shew the opinion inen bad of these Essenes.

Now there was one of these Essenes, whose name was Manahem, who had this testimony, that he not only conducted his life after an excellent manner, but had the foreknowledge of future events given him by God also. This man once saw Herod when he was a child, and going to school, and saluted him as king of the Jews; but he thinking that either he did not know him, or that he was in jest, put him in mind that he was but a private man, but Manahem smiled to himself, and clapped him on his backside with his hand, and said, 66 However that be, thou wilt be king, and wilt begin thy “, reign happily, for God finds thee worthy of it. And do " thou remember the blows that Manahem bath given thee,

as being a signal of the change of thy fortune. And truly “ this will be the best reasoning for thee, that thou love jus“ tice, [towards men] and piety towards God, and clemency “ towards thy citizens ; yet do I know how thy whole con“ duct will be, that thou wilt not be such an one, for thou " wilt excel all men in happiness, and obtain an everlasting “ reputation, but wilt forget piety and righteousness; and " these crimes will not be concealed from God, at the con"clusion of thy life, when thou wilt find that he will be " mindful of them, and punish thee for them.” Now at that time Herod did not at all attend to what Manahem said, as having no hopes of such advancement; but a little afterward, when he was so fortunate as to be advanced to the dignity of - king, and was in the height of his dominion, be sent for Manahem, and asked him, how long he should reigo? Manahem did not tell him the full length of his reign, wherefore, upon that silence of his, he asked him farther, Whether he should reign ten years, or not? he replied, " Yes, twenty, nay, thirty years,"

.” but did not assign the just determinate limit of his reign. Herod was satisfied with these replies, and gave Manahem his hand and dismissed him, and from that time he continued to honour all the Essenes. We have thought it proper to relate these facts to our readers, how strange soever they be, and to declare what hath bappened among us, because many of these Essenes have by their excellent virtue, been thought worthy of this knowledge of divine revelations.

C H A P. XI.

How Herod rebuilt the temple, and raised it higher, and made

it more magnificent than it was before; as also concerning

that lower which he called Antonia. § 1. AND

ND now Herod, in the eighteenth year of his reign, and after the acts already mentioned, undertook a very great work, that is, to build of himself the * temple of God, and make it larger in compass, and to raise it to a most magnificent altitude, as esteeming it to be the most glorious of all his actions, as it really was, to bring it to perfection, and that this would be sufficient for an everlasting memorial of him; but as he knew the multitude were not ready nor willing to assist him in so vast a design, he thought to prepare them first by making a speech to them, and then to set about the work itself; so he called them together, and spake thus to them: “ I think I need not speak to you, my countrymen, « about such other works as I have done since I came to the “ kingdom, although I may say they have been performed “ in such a manner as to bring more security to you than

glory to myself; for I have neither been negligent in the i's

most difficult times about what tended to ease your neces< sities, nor have the buildings I have made been so proper " to preserve me as yourselves from injuries; and I imagine “ that, with God's assistance, I have advanced the nation of " the Jews to a degree of happiness which they never had

* We may here obserre, that the fancy of the modern Jews, in calling this templo, which was really the third of their temples, the second temple, followed so long by later Christians, seems to be without any solid foundation. The reason why the Christians here follow the Jews, is, because the prophecy of Haggai, ii. 6.-9. which they expound of the Messiah's coming to the second or Zorobabel's temple, of which they suppose this pf Herod's to be only a continuo ation, which is meant, I think, of his coming to the fourth and last temple, or to that future largest and most glorious one described by Ezekiel : whence I lake the former notion, how general soever, to be a great mistake. See Lit. Accomp. of Proph. p. 34.

[ocr errors]

66 before ; and for the particular edifices belonging to your

own country, and your own cities, as also to those cities that

we have lately acquired, which we have erected, and greatly " adorned, and thereby augmented the dignity of your nation, " it seems to me a needless task to enumerate them to you, " since you well know them yourselves; but as to that under" taking which I have a mind to set about at present, and which “ will be a work of the greatest piety and excellence that “ can possibly be undertaken by us, I will now declare “ it to you. Our fathers, indeed, when they were returned from Babylon, built this temple to God Almighty, yet does “ it want sixty cubits of its largeness in altitude; for so much 66 did that first temple which Solomon built exceed this tem“ ple ; nor let any one condemn our fathers for their negli

gence or want of piety herein, for it was not their fault that " the temple was no higher; for they were Cyrus, and Darius " the son of Hystaspes, who determined the measures for its “ rebuilding; and it hath been by reason of the subjection of " those fathers of ours to them and to their posterity, and " after them to the Macedonians, that they had not the op“ portunity to follow the original model of this pious edifice,

nor could raise it to its ancient altitude; but since I am now " by God's will, your governor, and I have had peace a long “ time, and have gained great riches, and large revenues, and " what is the principal thing of all, I am in amity with, and " well regarded by the Romans, who, if I may so say, are “ the rulers of the whole world, I will do my endeavour to

correct that imperfection, which hath arisen from the ne

cessity of our affairs, and the slavery we have been under “ formerly, and to make a thankful return after the most 6 pious manner, to God, for what blessings I have received " from him, by giving me this kingdom, and that by render“ ing his temple as complete as I am able.”

2. And this was the speech which Herod made to them j but still this speech affrighted many of the people, as being unexpected by them, and because it seemed incredible, it did not encourage them, but put a damp upon them, for they were afraid that he would pull down the whole edifice, and not be able to bring his intentions to perfection for its rebuilding; and this danger appeared to them to be very great, and the vastness of the undertaking to be such as could hard ly be accomplished. But while they were in this disposition, the king encouraged them, and told them, “ He would not “ pull down their temple till all things were gotten ready for

building it up entirely again.” And as he promised them this before hand, so he did not break his word with them, but got ready a thousand waggens, that were to bring stones

« PreviousContinue »