Page images

" that destruction he brought upon them, so many indeed as " no other history relates, they that survived were far more « miserable than those that suffered under him, not only by “ the anxiety they were in from his looks and disposition to66 wards them, but from the danger, their estates were in of “ being taken away by him. That he did never leave off " adorning those cities that lay in their neighbourhood, but " were inhabited by foreigners; but so that the cities be« longing to his own government were ruined, and utterly “ destroyed : that whereas, when he took the kingdom, it was “ in an extraordinary flourishing condition, he had filled the of nation with the utmost degree of poverty ; and when, upon « unjust pretences, he had slain any of the nobility, he “ took away their estates; and when he permitted any of • them to live, he condemned them to the forfeiture of what “ they possessed. And besides the annual impositions which “ he laid upon every one of them, they were to make “ liberal presents to himself, to his domestics and friends, 66 and to such of his slaves as were vouchsafed the favour 6 of being his tax-gatherers; because there was no way " of obtaining a freedom from unjust violence, without of giving either gold or silver for it. That they would say o nothing of the corruption of the chastity of their virgins, or and the reproach laid on their wives for incontinency, and “ those things acted after an insolent and inhuman manner; " because it was not a smaller pleasure to the sufferers to " have such things concealed, than it would have been not to « have suffered them. That Herod had put such abuses " upon them as a wild beast would not have put on them, if "he bad power given him to rule over us; and that although " their nation had passed through many subversions and al

terations of government, their history gave no account of any calamity they had ever been under, that could be compared with this which Herod bad brought upon their na

tion : that it was for this reason, that they thought they " might justly and gladly' salute Archelaus as king, upon this " supposition, that whosoever should be set over their king

dom, he would appear more mild to them than Herod had 66 been: and that they had joined with him in the mourning " for his father, in order to gratify him, and were ready to " oblige hiin in other points also, if they could meet with “ any degree of moderation from him; but that he seemed

to be afraid lest he should not be deemed Herod's own son; " and so, without any delay, and immediately, he let the nation 66 understand his meaning, and this before his dominion was “ well established, since the power of disposing of it be"s longing to Cæsar, who could either give it to him, or not, 66 as he pleased. That he had given him a specimen of his “ future virtue to his subjects, and with what kind of mode" ration and good administration he would govern them, by " that his first action which concerned them, his own citi“ zens, and God himself also, when be made the slaughter of " three thousand of his own countrymen at the temple. How " then could they avoid the just hatred of him, who, to the “ rest of his barbarity, hath added this as one of our crimes, “ that we have opposed and contradicted him in the exer" cise of his authority ?” Now the main thing they desired was this, " That they might be delivered from kingly * and " the like forms of government, and might be added to “ Syria, and be put under the authority of such presidents of " theirs as should be sent to them ; for that it would thereby

be made evident, whether they be really a seditious peo“ ple, and generally fond of innovations, or whether they " would live in an orderly manner, if they might have go“ vernors of any sort of moderation set over them."

3. Now when the Jews had said this, Nicolaus vindicated the kings from those accusations, and said, That “ as for “ Herod, since he had never been thus accused † all the time 66 of his life, it was not fit for those that might have accused " him for lesser crimes than those now mentioned, and 6 might have procured him to be punished during his life“ time, to bring an accusation against him now he is dead. " He also attributed, the actions of Archelaus to the Jews' in. “ juries to him, who affecting to govern contrary to the laws, “ and going about to kill those that would have hindered " them from acting unjustly, when they were by him punish“ ed for what they had done, made their complaints against “ him; so he accused them of their attempts for innovation, " and of the pleasure they took in sedition, by reason of “ their not having learned to submit to justice, and to the

* If any one compare that divine prediction concerning the tyrannical power which Jewish kings would exercise over them, if they would be so foolish as to prefer it before their ancient theocracy or aristocracy, 1 Sam. viii, 1–22. Antiq. B. VI. ch. iv, sect. 4. Vol. I. he will soon find that it was super-abundantly fuifilled in the days of Herod, and that to such a degree, that the nation now at last seem sorely to repent of such their ancient choice, in opposition to God's better choice for them, and had much rather be subject to even a Pagan Roman governinent, and their deputies, than to be any longer under the oppression of the family of Herod; wbich request of theirs Augustus did not now grant them, but did it for the one-half of that nation in a few years afterward, upon fresh complaints made by the Jews against Archelaus, who, under the more humble name of an ethnaren, which Augustus only would now allow bim, şoon took upon him the insolence and tyranny of his father king Herod, as the remaining part of this book will inform us, and particularly chap. xiii. sect. 2.

+ This is not true. See Antiq. B. XIV. ch. ix. sect. 3. 4. and. ch. xii. sect. 2, and ch. xiii. sect. 1. 2. Antiq. B. XV. ch. iii. sect. 5. and chap. X. sect. 2. S. Aptiq. B, XVI. ch. ix, sect, 3. Vol, 11.

“ laws, but still desiring to be superior in all things." This was the substance of what Nicolaus said.

4. When Cæsar had heard these pleadings, he dissolved the assembly ; but a few days afterwards he appointed Archelaus, not indeed to be king of the whole country, but ethnarch of the one half of that which had been subject to Herod, and promised to give him the royal dignity hereafter, if he governed his part virtuously. But as for the other half, he divided it into two parts, and gave it to two other of Herod's sons, to Philip and to Antipas, that Avtipas who disputed with Archelaus for the whole kingdom. Now to him it was that Perea and Galilee paid their tribute, which amounted * annually two hundred talents, while Batanea, with Trachonitis, as well as Auranitis, with a certain t part of what was called the house of Zenodorus, paid the tribute of one hundred talents to Philip; but Idumea, and Judea, and the country of Samaria paid tribute to Archelaus, but had now a fourth part of that tribute taken off by the order of Cæsar, who decreed them that mitigation, because they did not join in this revolt

* Since Josephus here informs us that Archelaus had one-half of the kingdom of Herod, and presently informs us farther, that Archelaus's annual income, after an abatement of one quarter for the present, was 600 talents, we may therefore gather pretty nearly what was Herod the Great's yearly income, I mean about 1600 talents, which, at the known value of 3000 shekels to a talent, and about 2s. 10d. to a shekel, in the days of Josephus, see the note on Antig. B. III. ch. viji. sect. 2. Vol. I, amounts to £680,000 Sterling per annum ; which income, though great in itself, bearing no proportion to his vast expences every where visible in Josephus, and to the vast sums he left behind him in his will, chap. viii. sect. 1. and chap. xii, sect I. the rest must have arisen either from his confiscation of those great men's estates whom he put to death, or made to pay fine for the saving of their lives, or from some other heavy methods of oppression which such savage tyrants usually Exercise upon their miserable subjects; or rather from these several methods put together, all which yet seein very much too small for his expences, being drawn from no larger a nation than that of the Jews, which was very populous, but without the advantage of trade, to bring them riches; so that I cannot but strongly suspect that no small part of this his wealth arose from another source, I mean from some vast sums he took out of David's sepulchre, but concealed from the people. See the note on Antiq. B. VII. ch. xv. sect. 3. Vol. I.

* Take here a very useful note of Grotius, on Luke, B. III. ch. i. here quota ed by Dr. Hudson: “When Josephus says, that some part of the house for pose 6 session of Zenodorus (i. e. Abilene), was allotted to Philip, he thereby de66 clares that the larger part of it belonged to another; this other was Lysanias, 66 whom Luke mentions, of the posterity of that Lysanias who was possessed of " the same country called Abilene, from the city Abila, and by others Chalcidene, rs from the city Chalcis when the government of the east was under Antonius, “ and this after Ptolemy, the son of Mennius, from which Lysanias, this coun. « try, came to be commonly called the Country of Lysanias; and as, after the “ death of the former Lysanias, it was called the tetrarchy of Zenodorus, so, after “ the death of Zenodorus, or when the time for which he hired it was ended, “ when another Lysapias of the same name with the former, was possessed of “ the same country, it began to be called again the tetrarchy of Lysanias.However, since Josephus elsewhere, Antiq. B. XX. ch. vii. sect. 1. Vol. III. clearly distinguishes Abilene from Chalcidine, Grotius must be here so far mistaken.

with the rest of the multitude. There were also certain of the cities which paid tribute to Archelaus, Strato's tower, and Sebaste, with Joppa and Jerusalem ; for as to Gaza and Gadara, and Hippos, they were Grecian cities, which Cæsar separated from his government, and added them to the province of Syria. Now the tribute-money that came to Archelaus every year from his own dominions, amounted to six hundred talents.

5. And so much came to Herod's sons from their father's inheritance. But Salome, besides what her brother left her by his testament, which were Jamnia, and Ashdod, and Phasaelis, and five hundred thousand [drachmæ] of coined silver, Cæsar made her a present of a royal habitation at Askelon; in all, her revenues amounted to sixty talents by the year, and her dwelling-house was within Archelaus's government. The rest also of the king's relations received what his testament allotted them. Moreover, Cæsar made a present to each of Herod's two virgin daughters, besides what iheir father left them, of two hundred and fifty thousand [drachmx] of silver, and married them to Pheroras's sons : he also granted all that was bequeathed to himself to the king's sons, which was one thousand five hundred talents, excepting a few of the vessels, which he reserved for himself; and they were acceptable to bim, not so much for the great value they were of, as because they were memorials of the king to him.


Concerning a spurious Alexander. 8 1. W hen these affairs had been thus settled by Cæsar, : a certain young man, by birth a Jew, but brought up by a Roman freed-man in the city Sidon, ingrafted himself into the kindred of Herod, by the resemblance of his countenance, which those that saw bim attested to be that of Alexander, the son of Herod, whom he had slain; and this was an incitement to bjm to endeavour to obtain the government: so he took to him, as an assistant, a man of his own country, (one that was well acquainted with the affairs of the palace, but on other accounts, an ill man, and one whose nature made him capable of causing great disturbances to the public, and one that became a teacher of such a mischievous contrivance to the other,) and declared himself to be Alexander, and the son of Herod, but stolen away by one of those that were sent ·to slay him, who, in reality, slew other men in order to deceive the spectators, but saved both bim and his brother Aristobulus. Thus was this man elated, and able to im



pose on those that came to bim ; and when he was come to Crete, he made all the Jews that came to discourse with him believe him [to be Alexander.) And when he had gotten much money which bad been presented to him there, he passed over to Melos, where he got much more money than he had before, out of the belief they had that he was of the royal family, and their hopes that he would recover his father's principality, and reward his benefactors ; so he made haste to Rome, and was conducted thither by those strangers who entertained him. He was also so fortunate, as, upon his landing at Dicearchia, to bring the Jews that were there into the same delusion; and not only other people, but also all those that had been great with Herod, or bad a kindness for him, joined themselves to this man as to their king. The cause of it was this, that men were glad of his pretences, which were seconded by the likeness of his countenance, which made those that had been acquainted with Alexander strongly to believe that he was no other but the very same person, which they also confirmed to others by oath; insomuch that when the report went about him that he was coming to Rome, the whole multitude of the Jews that were there went out to meet him, ascribing it to divine providence that he had so unexpectedly escaped, and being very joyful on account of his mother's family. And when he was coine, he was carried in a royal litter through the streets, and all the ornaments about him were such as kings are adorned withal; and this was at the expences of those that entertained him. The multitude also flocked about him greatly, and made mighty acclamations to him, and nothing was omitted which could be thought suitable to such as had been so unexpectedly preserved.

2. When this thing was told Cæsar, he did not believe it, because Herod was not easily to be imposed upon in such af. fairs as were of great concern to him; yet having some suspicion it might be so, he sent one Celadus, a freed man of his, and one that had conversed with the young men themselves, and bade him bring Alexander into his presence: so he brought him, being no more accurate in judging about him than the rest of the multitude. Yet did not he deceive Cæsar; for although there were a resemblance between him and Alexander, yet was it not so exact as to impose on such as were prudent in discerning; for this spurious Alexander had his hands rough, by the labours he had been put to, and instead of that softness of body which the other bad, and this as derived from his delicate and generous education, this man, for the contrary reason, had a rugged body. When therefore, Cæsar saw how the master and the scholar agreed

« PreviousContinue »