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How, upon the death of Cyrus, the Jews were hindered in
building of the temple by the Cutheans, and the neighbouring governors ; and how Cambyses entirely forbade the Jews
to do any such thing. § 1. When the foundations of the temple were laying, and when the Jews were very zealous about building it, the neighbouring nations, and especially the Cutheans, whom Shalmanezer, king of Assyria, had brought out of Persia and Media, and had planted in Samaria, when he carried the people of Israel captive, besought the governors, and those that had the care of such affairs, that they would interrupt the Jews, both in the rebuilding of their city, and in the building of their temple. Now as these men were corrupted by them with inoney, they sold the Cutheans their interest for rendering this building a slow and a careless work, for Cyrus, who was busy about other wars knew nothing of all this; and it so happened, that when he had led his army against the * Massagetæ he ended his life. But when Cambyses, the son of Cyrus, had taken the kingdom, the governors in Syria, and Phenicia, and in the countries of Ammon, and Moab and Samaria, wrote an epistle to Cambyses; whose contents were as follows : “ To our lord Cam“ byses; We thy servants, Rathumus the historiographer, and “ Semellius the scribe, and the rest that are thy judges in “ Syria and Phenicia, sendeth greeting: It is fit, o king, " that thou shouldest know, that those Jeirs which were car6* ried to Babylon, are come into our country, and are build" ing that rebellious and wicked city, and its market-places, 6 and setting up its walls, and raising up the templę: know
therefore, that when these things are finished, they will not “ be willing to pay tribute, nor will they submit to thy com
* Josephus here follows Herodotus, and those that related how Cyrus made war with the Scythians and Massagets, near the Caspian sea, and perished in it; while Xenophon's account, which appears never to have been seen by Josephus, that Cyrus died in peace in his own country of Persia, is attested to by the writers of the affairs of Alexander the Great, when they agree that he found Cyrus's sepulchre at Pasargadæ, near Persepolis. This account of Xenophon's is also confirmed by the circumstances of Cambyses, upon his succession to Cyrus, who instead of a war to avenge his father's death upon the Scythians and Mas. sagets, and to prevent those nations from over-running his northern provinces, which would have been the natural consequence of his father's ill success and death there, went immediately to an Egyptian war, long ago begun by Cyrus, according to Xenophon, page 644. and conquered that kingdom: nor is there, that I ever heard of, the least mention in the reign of this Cambyses of any war against the Scythians and Massagets that he was ever engaged in all his life.
*6 mands, but will resist kings, and will choose rather to rule
over others, than be ruled over themselves. We therefore “ thought it proper to write to thee, O king, while the works “ about the temple are going on so fast, and not to overlook " this matter, that thou mayest search into the books of thy « fathers, for thou wilt find in them, that the Jews have been “ rebels, and enemies to kings as hath their city been also, " which, for that reason, hath been till now laid waste. We " thought proper also to inform thee of this matter, because " thou mayest otherwise perhaps be ignorant of it, that if “ this city be once inhabited, and be entirely encompassed “ with walls, thou wilt be excluded from thy passage to “ Celesyria and Phenicia.”
2. When Cambyses, had read the epistle, being naturally wicked, he was irritated at what they told him; and wrote back to them as follows: “ Cambyses, the king, to Rathumus “ the historiographer, to Beeltethmus, to Semellius the scribe, 66 and the rest that are in commission, and dwelling in Sa. “ maria and Phenicia, after this manner: I have read the
epistle that was sent from you; and I gave order that the “ books of my forefathers should be searched into, and it is " there found, that this city hath always been an enemy to
kings, and its inhabitants have raised seditions, and wars. “ We also are sensible that their kings, have been powerful, " and tyrannical, and have exacted tribute of Celesyria and " Phenicia: Wherefore I give order, that the Jews shall not “ be permitted to build that city, lest such mischief as they “ used to bring upon kings be greatly augmented.”. When this epistle was read, Rathumus, and Semellius the scribe, and their associates, got suddenly on horseback, and made haste to Jerusalem ; they also brought a great company with them, and forbade the Jews to build the city, and the temple. Accordingly these works were hindered from going on till the second year of the reign of Darius, for nine years more ; for Cambyses reigned six years, and within that time overthrew Egypt, and when he was come back, he died at Damascus.
How, after the death of Cambyses, and the slaughter of the
Magi, but under the reign of Darius, Zorobabel was superior to the rest in the solution of problems, and thereby obtain
ed this favour of the king, that the temple should be built. § 1. After the slaughter of the Magi, who, upon the death of Cambyses, attained the government of the Persians for a year, those families which were called the seven families of the Persians, appointed Darius, the son of Hystaspes, to be their king. Now he, while he was a private man, had made a vow to God, that if he came to be king, he would send all the vessels of God that were in Babylon to the temple at Jerusalem. Now it so fell out, that about this time Zorobabel, who had been made governor of the Jews that had been in captivity, came to Darius, from Jerusalem; for there had been an old friendship between him and the king. He was also, with two others, thought worthy to be guards of the king's body; and obtained that honour which he hoped for.
2. Now in the first year of the king's reign, Darius feasted those that were about hiin, and those born in his house, with the rulers of the Medes, and princes of the Persians, and the toparchs of India and Ethiopia, and the generals of the armies of his bundred and twenty-seven provinces : But when they had eaten and drank to satiety, and abundantly, they every one departed to go to bed ; at their own houses, and Darius the king went to bed; but after he had rested a little part of the night, he awaked, and not being able to sleep any more, he fell into conversation with the three guards of his body, and promised, that to him who should make an oration, about points that he should inquire of, such as should be most agreeable to truth, and to the dictates of wisdom, he would grant it as a reward of his victory, to put on a purplegarment, and to drink in cups of gold, and to sleep upon gold, and to have a chariot with bridles of gold, and an head-tire of fine linen, and a chain of gold about his neck, and to sit next to himself, on account of his wisdom; and, says he, he shall be called my cousin. Now when he had promised to give them these gifts, he asked the first of them, Whether wine was not the strongest? The second, Whether kings were not such? And the third, whether women were not such? Or whether truth was not the strongest of all ? When he had proposed that they should make their inquiries about these problems, he went to rest; but in the morning he sent for his great men, bis princes, and toparchs of Persia and Media, and set himself down in the place where he used to give audience, and bid each of the guards of his body to declare what they thought proper concerning the proposed questions, in the hearing of them all.
3. Accordingly the first of them began to speak of the strength of wine; and demonstrated it thus: “ When, said 6 he, I am to give my opinion of wine, O you men, I find “ that it exceeds every thing, by the following indications : 6. It deceives the mind of those that drink it, and reduces that
" of the king to the same state with that of the orphan, and he 66 who stands in need of a tutor, and erects that of the slave " to the boldness of him that is free, and that of the needy “ becomes like that of the rich man, for it changes and re
news the souls of men when it gets into them, and it
quenches the sorrow of those that are under calamities, " and makes men forget the debts they owe to others, and « makes them think themselves to be of all men the richest; “ it makes them talk of no small things, but of talents, and “ such other names as become wealthy men only; nay more, “ it makes them insensible of their commanders, and of their
kings, and takes away the remembrance of their friends " and companions, for it arms men even against those that
are dearest to them, and makes them appear the greatest “ strangers to them; and when they are become sober, and
they have slept out their wine in the night, they arise “ without knowing any thing they have done in their cups. “ I take these for signs of power, and by them discover " that wine is the strongest, and most insuperable of all " things."
4. As soon as the first had given the forementioned demonstrations of the strength of wine, he left off; and the next to him began to speak about the strength of a king, and demonstrated that it was the strongest of all, and more powerful than any thing else that appears to have any force or wisdom. He began his demonstration after the following manner; and said, 66 They are men who govern all things; “ they force the earth and the sea to become profitable to « then in what they desire, and over these men do kings “ rule, and over them they have authority. Now those who “ rule over that animal which is of all the strongest, and most “ powerful, must needs deserve to be esteemed insuperable " in power and force; for example, when these kings com“ mand their subjects to make wars, and undergo dangers, " they are hearkened to, and when they send them against “ their enemies, their power is so great that they are obey“ ed. They command men to level mountains, and to pull “ down walls and towers; nay, when they are commanded to
be killed and to kill, they submit to it, that they may not
appear to transgress the king's commands; and when they " have conquered, they bring what they have gained in the
war to the king. Those also who are not soldiers, but " cultivate the ground, and plough it, and when, after they “ have endured the labour, and all the inconveniences of “ such works of husbandry, they have reaped and gathered “ in their fruits, they bring tributes to the king. And what
soever it is which the king says or commands, it is done of
necessity, and that without any delay, while he in the mean 6 time is satiated with all sorts of food and pleasures, and "sleeps in quiet. He is guarded by such as watch, and such
as are, as it were, fixed down to the place through fear, for no one dares leave him, even when he is asleep, nor does any one go away and take care of his own affairs, but he
esteems this one thing the only work of necessity, to guard " the king, and accordingly to this he wholly addicts himself. " How then can it be otherwise, but that it must appear.
that " the king exceeds all in strength, while so great a multitude “ obey bis injunctions?"
5. Now when this man had held his peace, the third of them, who was Zorobabel, began to instruct them about women, and about truth, who said thus : “ Wine is strong, as " is the king also, whom all men obey, but women are supe“ rior to them in power, for it was a woman that brought the
king into the world; and for those that plant the vines and “ make the wine, they are women who bear them, and bring " them up: nor indeed is there any thing whicb we do not o receive from them; for these women weave garments for
us, and our household affairs are by their means taken
care of, and preserved in safety; nor can we live separate " from women. And when we have gotten a great deal of
gold, and silver, and any other thing that is of great value, " and deserving regard, and see a beautiful woman, we leave " all these things, and with open mouth fix our eyes upon “ her countenance, and are willing to forsake what we have, " that we may enjoy her beauty, and procure it to ourselves.
We also leave father, and mother, and the earth that a nourishes us, and frequently forget our dearest friends, for " the sake of women; nay, we are so hardy as to lay down
our lives with them. But what will chiefly make you “ take notice of the strength of women is this that follows: "Do not we take pains, and endure a great deal of trouble, " and that both by land and sea, and when we have procur" ed somewhat as the fruit of our labours, do not we bring 66 them to the women, as to our mistresses, and bestow thein
upon them? nay, I once saw the king, who is lord of so
many people, smitten on the face by Apame, the daughter “ of Rabsases Themasius, his concubine, and his diadem taken
away from him, and put upon her own head, while he bore " it patiently; and when she smiled he smiled, and when she "was angry he was sad; and according to the change of her
passions, he fattered his wife, and drew her to reconcilia« tion by the great humiliation of himself to her, if at any “ time he saw her displeased at him."