Page images
PDF
EPUB

notice to those that were under them, not to return the Jews salutations, and that if they made any reply to his disadvantage, they should make use of their weapons. Now the high priests assembled the multitude in the temple, and desired them to go and meet the Romans, and to salute the cohorts very civilly, before their miserable cafe should become incurable. Now the seditious part would not comply with these perlua. fions, but the confideration of those that had been destroyed made them incline to those that were the boldest for action.

4. At this time it was that every priest, and every servant of God, brought out the holy vessels, and the ornamental gar. ments, wherein they used to minister in facred things. The harpers allo, and the Gingers of hymns came out with their instruments of music, and fell down before the multitude, and begged of them that they would preserve those holy or. naments to them, and not provoke the Romans to carry off those sacred treasures. You might also see then the high priests themselves with dust sprinkled in great plenty upon their heads, with bosoms deprived of any covering, but what was rent; these besought every one of the eminent men by name, and the multitude in common, that they would not for a small offence betray their country to those that were desirous to have it laid waste; laying, “What benefit will it bring to the fol. diers to have a salutation from the Jews ?.or what amendment of your affairs will it bring you, if you do not now go out to meet them ? and that if they faluted thern civilly, all handle would be cut off from Florus to begin a war ; that they thould thereby gain their country and freedom from all father fuf. ferings; and that besides, it would be a sign of great want of command of themselves, if they should yield to a few sedi. tious persons, while it was filter for them who were so great a people, to force the others to act soberly."

5. By these persuasions, which they used to the multitude, and to the seditious, they restraned some by threatenings, and others by the reverence that was paid them. After this they led them out, and they mei the soldiers quietly, and after a composed manner, and when they were come up with them they faluted them, but when they made no answer, the sedi. tious exclaimed against Florus, which was the signal given for falling upon them. These soldiers therefore encompassed chem presently, and struck them with their clubs, and as they fled away, the horsemen trampled them drown, so that a great many fell down dead by the strokes of the Romans, and more by their own violence in crushing one another. Now there was a terrible crowding about the gates, and while every body was making haste to get before another, the flight of them all was retarded, and a terrible destruction there was among those that fell down, for they were suffocated, and broken to pieces by the multitude of thole that were uppermost; nor could any of them be diftinguished by his relations in order to the care

of his funeral; the foldiers also who beat them, fell upon those whom they overtook, without shewing them any mercy, and thrust the multitude through the place called * Bezetha, as they forced their way in order to get in and seize upon the temple, and the tower Antonia. Florus also being desirous to get those places into his poflellion, brought such as were with him out of the king's palace, and would have compelled them to get as far as the citadel (Antonia); but his attempt failed for the people immediately turned back upon him, and stopped the violence of his attempt and as they stood upon the tops of their houses, they threw their darts at the Romans, who, as they were sorely galled thereby, because those weapons came from above, and they were not able to make a passage through the multitude, which stopped up the narrow passages, they retired to the camp which was at the palace.

6. But for the seditious, they were afraid left Florus should come again, and get possession of the temple, through Antonia; so they got immediately upon those cloisters of the temple that joined to Antonia, and cut them down. This cooled the ava. rice of Florus, for whereas he was eager to obtain the treasures of God (in the temple, and on that account was desirous of getting into Antonia, as soon as the cloisters were broken down, he left off his attempt; he then sent for the high priests and the Sanhedrim, and told them, that he was indeed himself going out of the city, but that he would leave them as large a gar. rison as they should defire. Hereupon they promised that they would make no innovations, in case they would leave them one band; but not that which had fought with the Jews, because the multitude bare ill will against that band on aca count of what they had suffered from it ; so he changed the band as they desired, and, with the rest of his forces, returned to Cesarea.

CH A P. XVI. Cesius Jends Neopolitanus the Tribune to see in what Condition the Affairs of the Jews were. Ag ippa makes a Speech to the People of the Jews, that he may divert them from their Inten. tions of making War with the Romans.

1. HOWEVER Flotus contrived another way to oblige

11 the Jews to begin the wai, and sent to Cestius, and accused the Jews falsely of revolting (from the Roinan gov. ernment,) and imputed the beginning of the former fight to them, and pretended they had been the authors of that disturb. ance, wherein they were only the sufferers. Yet were not the governors of Jerusalem silent upon this occasion, but did themselves write to Cestius, as did Bernice also, about the illegal practices of which Florus had been guilty against the ci. ty ; who, upon reading both accounts, consulted with his captains what he should do). Now some of them thought it best for Celtius to go up with his army, either to punish the revoli'if it was real, or to feuile the Roman affairs on a furer foundation, if the Jews continued quiet under them ; but he thought it beft himself to send one of his intimate friends beforehand, to see the state of affairs; and to give him a faithful account of the intention of the Jews. Accordingly he sent one of his tribunes, whose name was Neopolitanus, who met with king. Agrippa, as he was returning from Alexandria at Jamnia and told him who it was that sent him, and on what errands he was sent.

* I take this Bezetha to be that small hill adjoining to the north side of the temple, whereon was the hospital with five porticoes or cloilets, and beneath which was the sheep pool of Betheida, into which an angel or messenger, at a certain seas fon, descended, and where he or they, who were the first put into the pool, were cured, John v. 1 &c. This situation of Bezetha, in Josephus, on the north kde of the temple, and not far off the lower Antonia, exactly agrees to the place of

VOL. III.

2. And here it was that the high priests, and men of power among the Jews, as well as the lanhedrim, came to congratu. late the king (upon his safe return), and after they had paid him their respects, they lamented their own calamities, and related to him what barbarous treatment they had met with from Florus. At which barbarity Agrippa had great indignation, but transferred after a subtle manner, his anger towards those Jews whom he really pitied; that he might beat down their high thoughts of themselves, and would have them believe that they had not been so unjustly treated, in order to dissuade them from avenging themselves. So these great men, as of better understanding than the rest and desirous of peace, because of the possessions they had, understood that this rebuke which the king gave them was intended for their good ; but as to the people, they came sixty furlongs out of Jerusalem, and congratulated both Agrippa and Neopolitanus; but the wives of those that had been flain, came running first of all and lamenting. The people also, when they heard their mourning, fell into lamentations also, and besought Agrippa to afliit them : They allo cried out to Neopolitanus, and complained of the many miseries they had endured under Florus, and they shewed them, when they were come into the city, how the market place was made desolate, and the houses plunder. ed. They then persuaded Neopolitanus, by the means of Agrippa, that he would walk round the city, with one only fervant, as far as Siloam, that he might inlorin himselt that the Jews subinitted to all the rest of the Romans, and were

the same pool at this day. Only the remaining cloisters are but three. See Maundrel, page 106. The entire buildings seem to have been called the New City, and this part, where was the hospital, peculiarly Bezetha or Bethesda. See Chap. xix. 54

only displealed at Florus, by reason of his exceeding barbario ty to them. So he walked round, and had sufficient experience of the good temper the people were in, and then went up to the temple, where he called the multitude together, and highly commended them for their fidelity to the Romans, and earnestly exhorted them to keep the peace, and having performed such parts of divine worship at the temple as he was allowed to do, he returned to Celtius.

3. Bui as for the multitude of the Jews, they addressed themselves to the king, and to the high priests, and desired they might have leave to send ambassadors to Nero against Florus, and not by their Glence afford a suspicion that they had been the occasions of such great slaughters as had been made, and were disposed to revolt, alleging, that they should seem to have been the first beginners of the war, if they did not prevent the report by shewing who it was that began it; and it appeared openly that they would not be quiet, it any body should hinder them from sending such an ambassage. But Agrippa, although he thought it 100 dangerous a thing for them to appoint men to go as the accusers of Florus, yet did he not think it fit for him to overlook them, as they were in a disposition for war. He therefore called the multitude together into a large gallery, and placed his sister Bernice in the house of the Alamoneans, that she might be leen by them, (which house was over the gallery, at the passage to the upper city, where the bridge joined the temple to the gallery), and fpake to them as follows :

4. *"Had I perceived that you were all zealoufly disposed to go to war with the Romans, and that the purer and more fincere part of the people did not propose to live in peace, I

* In this speech of King Agrippa we have an authentic account of the extent , and strength of the Roman empire when the Jewish war began. And this speech, with other circumstances in jolephus, demonstrate how wile, and how great a per. son Agrippa was, and why Josephus elsewhere calls him OauumowT&TOS, a “ most wonderful” or “ admirable man" Contr Ap. I. 9. He is the same Agrippa who said to Paul, “ Almost thou perfuadeft me to be a Christian," Acts xxvi. 28. and of whom St Paul laid, “ He was expert in all the customs and questions of the Jews," ver. 3. See anoth r intimation of the limits of the same Roman em. pire, Of the War B. III ch. v 7. vol. III. But what seems to me very 10 markable here is this, that when Jolephus, in imitation of the Greeks and Romans, for whole ule he wrote his Antiquities, did himself frequently compole the speeches which be put into their mouths; they appear, by the politeness of their composition, and their flights of oratory, to be not the real speeches of the persons concerned, who usually were no orators, but of his owneiegant composure : The ipeech before us is of another nature, full of undeniable facts, and composed in a plain and unartful but moving way ; to it appears to be King Agrippa's own speech, and to have been given Jolephus by Agrippa himielf, with whom Josephus had the greatest friendship. Nor may we adinit Agrippa's constant doctrine here, that this valt Roman empire was railed and supported by divine Providence, and that therefore it was in vain for the Jews, or any others to think of destroying it. Nor may we neglect to take notice of Agrippa's folemno appeal to the angels here used ; the like appeals to which we have in St Paul, 1 Tim. v 22. and by the apostles, ia general, in the form of the ordination of Bishops, Contit, Apoft, VIII. 4.

had not come out to you, nor been so bold as to give you counsel ; for all discourses that tend to persuade men to do what they ought to do is superfluous when the hearers are agreed to do the contrary. But because some are earnest to go to war, because they are young and without experience of the niseries it brings, and because some are for it, out of an unreasonable expectation of regaining their liberty, and be. cause others hope to get by it, and are therefore earnestly bent upon it, that in the confusion of your affairs they may gain what belongs to those that are too weak to resist them, I have thought proper to get you all together, and to say to you what I think to be for your advantage ; that so the former may grow wiser, and change their minds, and that the best men may come to no harm by the ill conduct of some others. And let not any one be tumultuous against me, in case what they hear me say do not please them; for as to those that ad. mit of no cure, but are resolved upon a revolt, it will still be in their power to retain the same sentinents after my exhortation is over ; but still my discourse will fall to the ground, even with a relation to those that have a mind to hear me, unless you all keep filence. I am well aware that they make a tragical exclamation concerning the injuries that have been offered you by your procurators, and concerning the glori. ous advantages of liberty ; but before I begin the enquiry, who you are that must go to war ? and who they are against whom you must fight? I shall first separate those pretences that are by some connected together; for it you aim at aveng. ing yourselves on those that have done you injury, why do you pretend this to be a war for recovering your liberty ? but if you think all lervitude intolerable, to what purpose serve your complaint against your particular governors ? lor if bey treated you with moderation, it would still be equally an un. worthy thing to be in sei vitude, Consider now the several cases that may be supposed, how little occasion there is for your going to war. Your first occalion is the accusations you have to make against your procurators ; Now here you ought to be submissive to those in authority, and not give them any provocation : But when you reproach men greatly for small offences you excite those whom you reproach to be your ad. versaries ; for this will only make them leave off hurting you privately, and with some degree of modesty, and to lay what you have waste openly. Now nothing so much damps the force of Atrokes as bearing them with patience and the quiet. ness of those that are injured diveris the injurious persons from affli&ting. But let us take it for granted, that the Roman ministers are injurious to you, and are incurably severe; yet are they not all the Romans who thus injure you ; nor hath Cæsar, against whom you are going to make war, injured you; it is not by their command that any wicked governor is fent to you; for they who are in the weft çapnot leç those that are

« PreviousContinue »