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thousand talents deposited there. He even gave prders to those who had the charge of the temple, to cleanse it, and bring what offerings the law required to God, and he restored the high priesthood to Hyrcanus, and satisfied himself with reducing the nation to become tributary to the Romans, by securing their strong towns, and confining them within their ancient limits. It was certainly a great proof of the forbearance of the Romans towards the Jews, that the temple of Jerusalem should have remained so long unpillaged, since it was known to contain considerable treasures, and when afterwards it was spoiled by Crassus, there were found therein two thousand talents, collected from various parts *.
Pompey, notwithstanding his moderation, gave great offence, by prophaning with his presence the holy of holies, which none but the high priest was allowed to enter. Prideaux has remarked, that he never afterwards prospered to
The account given by Josephus, is in great part confirmed by Cicero, in his oration
• Joseph. Antiq. lib. xiv. c. 4. + Prid. Con. p.
for Flaccus *. The passage here referred to; is indeed remarkable ; for, from the manner in which Cicero speaks of the forbearance of Pompey, it may be suspected, that the latter entertained more than respect for the religion of the Jews: “ Although a conqueror when “ Jerusalem was taken, he touched nothing “ belonging to the temple, exercising in this “ the same wisdom which he shewed upon ao
many other occasions, and principally with
a view not to leave in a city, so much ad“ dicted to suspicion and calumny, a subject “ for remark; for I do not believe,” says the Orator, “that the religion of those, who
were Jews and enemies, was an obstacle to
an excellent general, but his own modera“tion t;" a remark rather tending to confirm, than to suppress the idea of some peculiar awe and reverence in the mind of Pompey. It
appears that this great general had a freedman, who was a native of Gadara, named Demetrius, and that Pompey to grarify him rebuilt that city which had been demolished ; and it is not improbable, that a favoured adherent of this description, might have inspired Pompey with sentiments of veneration for the worship of his country.
* Orat. pro Flacco, 28 ; see Chapter on Cicero. + See Middleton's Life of Cicero, vol. i. p.
304. † Antiq. lib. xiv. c. 4. 5. 4. de Bel, Jud. 1. i. c. 7.
Julius Cæsar made a league with Antipater, and conferred the priesthood on its lawful claimant Hyrcanus ; he discharged the Jews from the burden of winter quarters, and appointed their city to be repaired, .exempting them from tribute during the sabbatical year, in which, as it is stated in the decree, they neither“ gather fruit from their - trees, nor sow the land *;" and Josephus mentions a brazen pillar, at Alexandria, which recorded the privileges conceded by Julius Cæsar to the Jews t.
Anthony and Dollabella made a league with Hyrcanus, and the latter granted a dispensation to the Jews from military service, on account of their observance of the sabbath +
When the Romans had established a dominion over Judea, reducing it into a dependant sovereignty, and afterwards to a province, they allowed the Jews great privileges, endeavouring to conciliate, by a liberal policy, a people strongly attached to their customs, and permitting them to enjoy the exercise of their religion and laws, especially with respect to marriage and divorce. The power of condemning to death appears to have been taken from them : the Roman governors, however, were required to respect the laws and public councils of the nation. -- M. Agrippa visited Jerusalem, where he offered a hecatomb to Jehovah, and splendidly feasted the people, by whom he had been treated with great respect. When he passed through Ionia also with Herod the Great, he redressed the complaints of the Jews *.
* Antiq. lib. xiv. c. 8-10. Cont. Apion, lib. ii. Levit. xxv. 20, 21.
+ Ibid. et Antiq. lib. xiv. c. 10. 11.
Upon a representation made to Augustus by the Jews of Asia, and of the parts of Lybia about Cyrene, complaining that they were deprived by the Greeks of their privileges, and spoiled of the money devoted to the service of the temple, the Emperor issued decrees, directing, that this people should be allowed to enjoy their own laws, and to send up their sacred offerings to Jerusalem; that they should not be compelled 10 appear be
Antiq, lib. xvi, c. 2; sec also lib. xii. c. 3,
fore the Judges on the Sabbath day, or on the preceding day of preparation, after the ninth hour; and that whosoever should be convicted of stealing their sacred books or sacred money, should be judged guilty of sacrilege *. This, when considered in conjunction with other decrees of the Roman government in favour of the Jews, sufficiently proves, that the Romans did not, as Mr. Gibbon asserts, despise, what he is pleased to term the superstition of the Jews; though some writers have misrepresented the spirit of their religion, and Tacitus, in the disdainful asperity of his prejudice, describes them to have been the most despised part of the dependants of the Medes and Persians ; and other writers speak contemptuously of them for their zeal to make proselytes, and those aversions which they manifested against other people, in a manner contrary to the instructions of Moses f.
Augustus enforced these decrees by instructions to Norbanus Flaccus, Governor of Syria. Agrippa also wrote to the ma
* Antiq. lib. xvi. c. 6.
+ Horat. lib. i. sat. iv. I. 142, 148. sat. ix. 1. 70. Tacitus, Juvenal, &c.