Page images
PDF
EPUB

" what you have granted, can have no assurance, but every

one of their own grants made them by you may be taken “ from them also; which grants of yours can yet never be “ sufficiently valued; for if they consider the old govern

ments under kings, together with your present government, besides the great number of benefits which this go

vernment hath bestowed on them, in order to their happi“ ness, this is instead of all the rest, that they appear to be no " longer in a state of slavery, but of freedom. Now the pri" vileges we desire, even when we are in the best circum

stances, are not such as deserve to be envied, for we are “ indeed in a prosperous state by your means, but this is “ only in common with others; and it is no more than this “ which we desire, to preserve our religion without any pro"hibition, which as it appears not in itself a privilege to be “ envied us, so it is for the advantage of those that grant it

to us: for if the divinity delights in being honoured, it

must delight in those that permit them to be honoured: and " there are none of our customs which are inhuman, but all “ tending to piety, and devoted to the preservation of jus“ tice; nor do we conceal those injunctions of ours, by which “ we govern our lives, they being memorials of piety, and of " a friendly conversation among men : And *the seventh “ day we set apart for labour; it is dedicated to the learning “ of our customs and laws, we thinking it proper to reflect

on them, as well as on any [good] thing else, in order to

our avoiding of sin. If any one therefore examine into “ our observances, he will find they are good in themselves, “ and that they are ancient also, though some think other“ wise, insomuch, that those who have received them cannot

easily be brought to depart from them, out of that honour “ they pay to the length of time they have religiously en

joyed them, and observed them. Now our adversaries “ take these our privileges away in the way of injustice:

they violently seize upon that money of ours which is of. “ fered to God, and called sacred money, and this openly, “ after a sacrilegious manner; and they impose tributes

upon us, and bring us before tribunals on holy-days, and " then require other like debts of us, not because the con“tracts require it, and for their own advantage, but because " they would put an affront on our religion, of which they

are conscious as well as we, and have indulged themselves “ in an unjust, and, to them, involuntary hatred, for your

government over all is one, tending to the establishing of " benevolence, and abolishing of ill-will among such as are “ disposed to it. This is therefore what we implore from “ thee, most excellent Agrippa, that we may not be ill treat" ed ; that we may not be abused; that we inay not be bin“ dered from making use of our own customs; por be de“ spoiled of our goods; nor be forced by these men

* We may here observe the ancient practice of the Jews, of dedicating the Sabbath-day not to idleness, but to the learning their sacred rites and religious customs, and to the ineditarion on the law of Moses. The like to which we meet with elsewhere in Josephus also against Apion, B. I. sect. 22.

to do “ what we ourselves force nobody to do, for these privileges of ours are not only according to justice, but have former“ ly been granted us by you: And we are able to read to

you many decrees of the senate, and the tables that con66 tain them, which are still extant in the capitol, concerning " these things, wbich it is evident were granted after you “ had experience of our fidelity towards you, which ought to “ be valued, though no such fidelity had been; for you have " hitherto preserved what people were in possession of, not

to us only, but almost to all men, and have added greater “ advantages then they could have hoped for, and thereby

your government is become a great advantage to them. “ And if any one were able to enumerate the prosperity you “ have conferred on every nation, which they possess by your means, he could never put an end to his discourse

; " but that we may demonstrate that we are not unworthy of “ all those advantages we have obtained, it will be sufficient " for us to say nothing of other things, but to speak freely of " this king who now goveros us, and is now one of thy asa

and indeed in what instance of good-will, as to " your house, hath be been deficient? What mark of fide

lity to it hath he omitted? What token of honour bath he

not devised? What occasion for his assistance of you hath " he not regarded at the very first? What hindereth, there“ fore, but that your kindnesses may be as numerous as his

so great benefits to you have been. It may also perhaps 6 be fit not here to pass over in silence the valour of his " father Antipater, who, when Cæsar made an expedition

into Egypt, assisted him with two thousand armed men, “ and proved, inferior to none, neither in the battles on “ land, nor in the management of the navy; and what need I

say any thing of how great weight those soldiers were at " that juncture? or how many, and how great presents they

were vouchsafed by Cæsar? And truly I ought before

now to have mentioned the epistles wbich Cæsar wrote to " the senate ; and bow Antipater had honours, and the free“ dom of the city of Rome bestowed upon him, for these are " demonstrations both that we have received these favours

by our own deserts, and do on that account petition thee . “ for thy confirmation of them, from whom we had reason to " hope for them, though they had not been given us before,

sessors :

o both out of regard to our king's disposition towards you, “ and your disposition towards him. And farther, we have “ been informed by those Jews that were there, with what “ kindness thou came into our country, and how thou offer" ed the most perfect sacrifices to God, and honoured him " with remarkable vows, and how thou gave the people a “ feast, and accepted of their own hospitable presents to 66 thee.

We ought to esteem all these kind entertainments " made both by our nation and our city, to a man who is " the ruler and manager of so much of the public affairs, as " indications of that friendship which thou hast returned to " the Jewish nation, and which bath been procured them 56 by the family of Herod. So we put thee in mind of these

things in the presence of the king, now sitting by thee, and “ make our request for no more but this, that what you have “ given us yourselves, you will not see taken away by others 66 from us.

5. When Nicolaus had made this speech, there was no opposition made to it by the Greeks, for this was not an inquiry made, as in a court of justice, but an intercession to prevent violence to be offered to the Jews any longer; nor did the Greeks make any defence of themselves, or deny what it was supposed they had done. Their pretence was no more than this, that while the Jews inhabited in their country, they were entirely unjust to them [in not joining in their worship), but they demonstrated their generosity in this, that though they worshipped according to their own institutions, they did nothing that ought to grieve them. So when Agrippa perceived that they had been oppressed by violence, he made this

" That on account of Herod's good-will and friend• ship, he was ready to grant the Jews whatsoever they 6 should ask him, and that their requests seemed to him in " themselves just; and that if tbey requested any thing far“ ther, he should not scruple to grant it them, provided they

were no way to the detriment of the Roman government; “ but that, while their request was no more than this, that "s what privileges they had already given them, might not “ be abrogated, he confirined this to them, that they might

continue in the observation of their own customs, without “ any one's offering them the least injury.” And when he had said thus, he dissolved the assembly : Upon which Herod stood up, and saluted him, and gave bim thanks for the kind disposition he shewed to them. Agrippa also took this in a very obliging manner, and saluted him again, and embraced him in his arms; after which he went away from Lesbos, but the king determined to sail from Samos to his own country; and when he had taken his leave of Agrippa, he pursued his

answer:

voyage, and landed at Cesarea in a few days time, as having favourable winds; from whence he went to Jerusalem, and there gathered all the people together to an assembly, not a few being there out of the country also. So he came to them, and gave them a particular account of all his journey, and of the affairs of all the Jews in Asia, how by his means they would live without injurious treatment for the time to come. He also told them of the entire good fortune he had met with, and how he had administered the government, and had not neglected any thing which was for their advantage ; and as he was very joyful, he now remitted to them the fourth

part of their taxes for the last year. Accordingly, they were so pleased with his favour and speech to them, that they went their ways with great gladness, and wished the king all manner of happiness.

CHAP. III.

Ilow great disturbances arose in Herod's family on his prefer

ring Antipater, his eldest son, before the rest, till Aleran

der took that injury very heinously. § 1.

But now the affairs in Herod's family were in more and more disorder, and became more severe upon him, by the hatred of Salome to the young men [Alexander and Aristobulus), which descended as it were by inheritance (from their mother Mariamne] : And as she fully had succeeded against their mother, so she proceeded to that degree of madness and insolence, as to endeavour that none of her posterity might be left alive, who might have it in their power to revenge her death. The young men had also somewhat of a bold and uneasy disposition towards their father, occasioned by the remembrance of what their mother had unjustly suffered, and by their own affectation of dominion. The old grudge was also renewed ; and they cast reproaches on Salome and Pheroras, who requited the young men with malicious designs, and actually laid treacherous snares for them. Now, as for this hatred, it was equal on both sides, but the manner of exerting that hatred was different: for, as for the young men they were rash, reproaching and affronting the others openly, and were unexperienced enough to think it the most generous to declare their minds in that undaunted manner; but the others did not take that method, but made use of calumnies after a subtile and a spiteful manner, still provoking the young men, and imagining that their boldness might in time turn to the offering violence to their father, for inasmuch as they were not ashamed of the pretended crimes of

tbeir mother, nor thonght she suffered justly, these supposed that might at length exceed all bounds, and induce them to think they ought to be avenged on their father, though it were but dispatching him with their own hands. At length it came to this, that the whole city was full of these discourses, and, as is usual in such contests, the unskilfulness of the young men was pitied, but the contrivance of Salome was too hard for them, and what imputations she laid upon them came to be believed, by means of their own conduct, for they who were so deeply affected with the death of their mother, that while they said both she and themselves were in a miserable case, they vehemently complained of her pitiable end, which indeed was truly such, and said that they were themselves in a pitiable case also, because they were forced to live with those that had been her murderers, and to be partakers with them.

2. These disorders increased greatly, and the king's absence abroad had afforded a fit opportunity for that increase ; but as soon as Herod was returned, and had made the forementioned speech to the multitude, Pheroras and Salome let fall words immediately as if he were in great danger, and as if the young men openly threatened that they would not spare him any longer, but revenge their mother's death upon bim. They also added another circumstance, that their hopes were fixed on Archelaus, the king of Cappadocia, that they should be able by his means to come to Cæsar, and accuse their father. Upon hearing such things, Herod was immediately disturbed ; and indeed was the more astonished, because the same things were related to him by some others also. He then called to mind his former calamity, and considered that the disorders in his family had hindered him from enjoying any comfort from those that were dearest to him, or from his wife whom he loved so well; and suspecting that his future troubles would soon be heavier and greater than those that were past, he was in great confusion of mind, for divine providence had in reality conferred upon him a great inany outward advantages for bis happiness, even beyond his bopes, but the troubles he had at home were such as he never expected to have met with, and rendered him unfortunate ; nay, both sorts came upon him to such a degree as no one could imagine, and made it a doubtful question, whether, upon the comparison of both, he ought to have exchanged so great a success of outward good things for so great misfortunes at home, or whether he ought not to have chosen to avoid the calamities relating to his family though he had for a compensation, never been possessed of the admired grandeur of a kingdom.

« PreviousContinue »