Page images

them to learn those hymns as they had besought him for. Now all this was contrary to the laws of our country, which, whenever they have been transgressed, we have never been able to avoid the punishment of such transgressions.

7. And now it was that the temple * was finished. So when the people saw that the workmen were unemployed, who were above eighteen thousand, and that they, receiving no wages, were in want, because they had earned their bread by their labours about the temple, and while they were unwilling to keep by them the treasures that were there deposited, out of fear of [their being carried away by] the Romans: and while they had a regard to the making provision for the workmen, they had a mind to expend those treasures upon them; for if any one of them did but labour for a single hour, he received his pay immediately; so they persuaded him to rebuild the eastern cloisters. These cloisters belonged to the outer court, and were situated in a deep valley, and bad walls that reached four hundred cubits [in length], and were built of square and very white stones, the length of each of which stones was twenty cubits, and their height six cubits. This was the work of king Solomon,t who first of all built the entire temple. But king Agrippa, who had the care of the teinple committed to him by Claudius Cæsar, considering that it is easy to demolish any building, but hard to build it up again, and that it was particularly hard to do it to these cloisters, which would require a considerable time, and great sums of money, he denied the petitioners their request about that matter; but he did not obstruct them when they desired the city might be paved with white stone. He also deprived Jesus, the son of Gamaliel, of the high-priesthood, and gave it to Matthias, the son of Theophilus, under whom the Jews' war with the Romans took its beginning.


An enumeration of the high-priests. § 1. And now I think it proper, and agreeable to this history, to give an account of our high priests; how they began, and who those are which are capable of that dignity, and how many of them there had been at the end of the war. In the first place therefore, history informs us, that Aaron, the brother of Moses, officiated to God as an bigh-priest, and that, after bis death, his sons succeeded him immediately; and that this dignity hath been continued down from them to all their posterity. Whence it is the custom of our country, that no one should take the high-priesthood of God, but he who is of the blood of Aaron, while every one that is of another stock, though he were a king, can never obtain that high-priesthood. Accordingly, the number of all the highpriests from Aaron, of whom we have spoken already, as of the first of them, until Phanas, who was made high-priest 'during the war by the seditious, was eighty-three: of whom thirteen officiated as high priests in the wilderness, from the days of Moses, while the tabernacle was standing, until the people came into Judea, when king Solomon erected the temple to God : for at the first they held the high-priesthood till the end of their life, although afterward they had successors while they were alive. Now these thirteen, who were the descendants of two of the sons of Aaron, received this dignity by succession one after another; for their form of governnent was an aristocracy, and after that a monarchy, and in the third place the government was regal. Now the number of years during the rule of these thirteen, from the day when our fathers departed out of Egypt, under Moses their leader, until the building of that temple which king Solomon erected at Jerusalem, were six hundred twelve, After those thirteen high-priests, eighteen took the highpriest-hood at Jerusalem, one in succession to another, from the days of king Solomon, until Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon made an expedition against that city, and burnt the temple, and removed our nation into Babylon, and then took Josadek the high-priest' captive; the times of these highpriests was four hundred sixty-six years six months and ten days, while the Jews were still under the regal government. But after the term of the seventy years captivity under the Babylonians, Cyrus king of Persia, sent the Jews from Babylon to their own land again, and gave them leave to rebuild their temple; at which time Jesus, the son of Josadek, took the bighpriesthood over the captives when they were returned home. Now he and his posterity were in all fifteen, until king Antiochus Eupator, were under a democratical government for four hundred and fourteen years; and then the forementioned Antiochus, and Lysias the general of his army, deprived Onias who was also named Menelaus, of the high-priesthood, and slew bim at Berea, and driving away the son [of Onias the third,] put Jacimus into the place of the high-priest, one that was indeed of the stock of Aaron, but not of the family of Onias On which account Onias, who was the nephew of Onias that was dead, and bore the same name with his father, came into Egypt, and got into the friendship of Ptolemy Pbilometor, and of Cleopatra bis wife, and persuaded them to make him the high-priest of that temple which he built to God in the

* Of this finishing, not of the Naos, or holy house, but of the ispor, or courts about it, called in general the temple, see the note on B. XVII. ch. x. 'sect. 2. Vol. III.

+ Of these Cloisters of Solomon, see the description of the temple ch. xiji. They seem, by Josephus's words, to have boen built from the bottom of the valley.

prefecture of Heliopolis, and this in imitation of that at Jerusalem ; but as for that temple which was built in Egypt, we have spoken of it frequently already. Now when Jacimus had retained the priesthood three years, he died, and there was no one that succeeded him, but the city continued seven years without an high-priest ; but then the posterity of the sons of Asamoneus, who had the government of the natióp conferred upon them, when they had beaten the Macedonians in war, appointed Jonathan to be their high-priest, who ruled over them seven years. And when he had been slain by the treacherous contrivance of Trypho, as we have related somewhere, Simon his brother took the high-priesthood; and when he was destroyed at a feast by the treachery of his son-in-law, bis own son whose name was Hyrcanus, succeeded him, after he had held the high-priesthood one year longer than his brother. This Hyrcanus enjoyed that dignity thirty years, and died an old man, leaving the succession to Judas who was also called Aristobulus, whose brother Alexander was his heir; which Judas died of a sore distemper, after he had kept the priesthood, together with the royal authority; for this Judas was the first that put on his head a diadem for one year. And when Alexander had been both king and high-priest twenty-seven years, he departed this life, and permitted his wife Alexandra to appoint him that should be high priest; so she gave the high-priesthood to Hyrcanus, but retained the kingdom herself nine years, and then departed this life. The like duration [and no longer] did her son Hyrcanus enjoy the high-priesthood; for after her death his brother Aristobulus fought against him, and beat him, and deprived him of his principality; and he did himself both reign, and perform the office of high-priest to God.

But when he had reigned three years and as many months, Pompey came upon him, and not only took the city of Jerusalem by force, but put him and his children in bonds, and sent them to Rome. He also restored the high-priesthood to Hyrcanus, and made him governor of the nation, but forbade him to wear a diadem. This Hyrcanus ruled, besides his first nine years, twenty-four years more, when Bárzapharnes and Pacorus, the generals of the Parthians, passed over Euphrates, and fought with Hyrcanus and took him alive, and made Antigonus the son of Aristobulus, king; and when he had reigned three years and three months, So

sius and Herod besieged him, and took him, when Antony had bim brought to Antioch, and slain there. Herod was then made king by the Romans, but did no longer appoint high-priests out of the fainily of Asamoneus; but made certain men to be so that were of no eminent families, but barely of those that were priests, excepting that he once gave that dignity to Aristobulus; for when he had made this Aristobulus, the grandson of that Hyrcanus who was taken by the Partbians, and had taken bis sister Mariamne to wife, he thereby aimed to win the good-will of the people, who had a kind remembrance of Hyrcanus [his grandfather. Yet did he afterward, out of his fear lest they should all bend their inclinations to Aristobulus, put him to death, and that by contriving how to have him suffocated, as he was swimming at Jericho, as we have already related that matter; but after this man he never entrusted the high-priestbood to the posterity of the sons of Asamoneus. Archelaus also, Herod's son, did like his father in the appointment of the high-priests, as did the Romans also, who took the government over the Jews into their hands afterward. Accordingly the number of the high-priests, from the days of Herod until the day when Titus took the temple, and the city, and burnt them, were in all twenty-eight; the time also that belonged to them was an hundred and seven years. Some of these were the political governors of the people under the reign of Herod, and under the reign of Archelaus his son, although after their death the government became an aristocracy, and the high-priests were entrusted with a dominion over the nation. And thus much may suffice to be said concerning our high-priests.

C H A P. XI. Concerning Florus the procurator, who necessitated the Jews

to take up arms against the Romans. The conclusion. § 1. Now Gessius Florus, who was sent as successor to Albinus by Nero, filled Judea with abundance of miseries. He was by birth of the city Clazomenæ, and brought along with biin his wife Cleopatra, (by whose friendship with Poppea, Nero's wife, be obtained this government,) who was no way different from him in wickedness. This Florus was so wicked, and so violent in the use of his authority, that the Jews took Albinus to have been comparatively their benefactor; so excessive were the mischiefs that he brought upon them. For Albinus concealed his wickedness, and was careful that it might not be discovered to all men; but Gessius Florus, as though he had been sent on purpose to shew his

[ocr errors]

crimes to every body, made a pompous ostentation of them to our nation, as never omitting any sort of violence, nor any unjust sort of punishment; for he was not to be moved by pity, and never was satisfied with any degree of gain that came in bis way; vor had be any more regard to great than to small acquisitions, but became a partner with the robbers themselves. For a great many fell then into that practice without fear, as baving him for their security, and depending on him, that he would save them harmless in their particular robberies; so that there were no bounds set to the nation's miseries; but the unhappy Jews when they were not able to bear the devastations which the robbers made among them, were all under a necessity of leaving their own habitations, and of flying away, as hoping to dwell more easily any where else in the world among foreigners, (than in their own country.) And what need 1 say any more upon this head? since it was this Florus who necessitated us to take up arms against the Romans, while we thought it better to be destroyed at once, than by little and little. Now this war began in the second year of the government of Florus, and the twelfth year

of the reign of Nero. But then what actions we were forced to do, or what miseries we were enabled to suffer, may be accurately known by such as will peruse those books which I have written about the Jewish war.

2. I shall now, therefore, make an end here of my Antiquities; after the conclusion of which events, I began to write that account of the war; and these Antiquities contain what hath been delivered down to us from the original creation of man, until the twelfth year of the reign of Nero, as to what hath befallen us Jews, as well in Egypt as in Syria, and in Palestine, and what we have suffered from the Assyrians and Ba. bylonians, and what afflictions the Persians and Macedonians, and after them the Romans, have brought upon us; for I think I may say that I have composed this history with sufficient accuracy in all things. I have attempted to enumerate those high priests that we have had during the interval of two thousand years: I have also carried down the succession of our kings, and related their actions, and political administration, without [considerable) errors, as also the power of our monarchs; and all according to what is written in our sacred books; for this it was that I promised to do in the beginning of this history. And I am so bold as to say, now I have so completely perfected the work I proposed to myself to do, that no other person, whether he were a Jew or a foreigner, had he ever so great an inclination to it, could so accurately deliver these accounts to the Greeks as is done in these books. For those of my own nation freely ac

« PreviousContinue »