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opportunity of being revenged upon him, he immediately made an attack upon the cities of Syria, as thinking, what proved to be the case with them, that he should find them empty of good troops. So he took Medeba and Samea, with the towns in their neighbourhood, as also Sechem and Gerizzim; and besides these she subdued) the nation of the Cutheans, who dwelt round about that temple which was built in imitation of the temple at Jerusalem ; he also took a great many other cities of Idumea, with Adoreon and Marissa.
7. He also proceeded as far as Samaria, where is now the city Sebafte, which was built by Herod the king, and encompassed it all round with a wall, and fet his sons, Ariftobu. lus and Ansigonus, over the siege ; who pushed it on so hard, that a famine so far prevailed within the city, that they were forced to eat what never was esteemed food. They also invited Antiochus, who was called Cyzicenus, to come to their aslıftance; whereupon he got ready, and complied with their invitation, but was beaten by Ariftobulus and Antigonus; and indeed he was pursued as far as Scythopolis by thele brethren, and fled away from them. So they returned back to Sa. maria, and shut the multitude again within the wall; and when they had taken the city, they demolished it, and made flaves of its inhabitants. And as they had still great success in their undertakings, they did not suffer their zeal to cool, but marched with an army as far as Scythopolis, and made an incursion upon it, and laid waste all the country that lay within Mount Carmel.
8. But then, these successes of John and of his sons made them be envied, and occasioned a ledition in the country, and many there were who got together and would not be at reft till they brake out into open war, in which war they were beaten. So John lived the rest of his life very happily, and adminis. tered the government after a most extraordinary manner, and this for thirty three entire years together. He died leaving five sons behind him. He was certainly a very happy man, and afforded no occasion to have any complaint made of fortune on his account. He it was who alone had three of the mof desirable things in the world, the government of his nation, and the high-priesthood, and the gift of prophecy. For the Deity conversed with him, and he was not ignorant of any thing that was to come afterward, infomuch, that he foresaw and foretold that his two eldest fons would not continue malters of the government ; and it will highly deserve our narration, to describe their catastrophe, and how far inferior these men were to their father in felicity.
CHA P. III.
How Ariftobulus was the first that put a diadem about his head, and after he had put his mother and brother to death, died him. self, when he had reigned no more than a year.
$1. TOR after the death of their father, the elder of ther,
T Ariftobulus, changed the government into a kingdom, and was the first that put a diadem upon his head, tour hundred seventy and one years, and three months, after our people came down into this country, when they were set free from the Baby lonian flavery. Now of his brethren he ap. peared to have an affection for Antigonus, who was next to him, and made him his equal; but for the rest, he bound them, and put them in prison. He also put his mother in bonds, for her contesting the government with him ; for John had lefe her to be the governess of public affairs. He also proceeded to that degree of barbarity as to cause her to be pined to death in prison.
2. But vengeance circumvented him in the affair of his bro. ther Antigonus, whom he loved, and whom he made bis partner in the kingdom ; for he slew him by the means of the calumnies which ill men about the palace contrived again? him. At first, indeed Ariftobulus would not bclieve their re. ports, partly out of the affe&tion he had for his brother, and partly because he thought that a great part of these tales were owing to the envy of their relators : However, as Antigonus came once in a splendid manner from the army to that fefti. val, wherein our ancient custom is to make tabernacles for God, it happened in those days, that Ariftobulus was sick, and that at the conclusion of the feast, Antigonus came up to it, with his armed men about him; and this when he was a. dorned in the finest manner possible, and that, in great measure to pray to God on the behalf of his brother. Now at this very time it was that these ill men came to the king, and cold him in what a pompous manner the armed men came, and with what insolence Antigonus marched, and that such his infolence was too great for a private person, and that accordingly he was come with a great band of men to kill him ; for that he could not endure this bare enjoyment of royal honour, when it was in his power to take the kingdom himself.
3. Now Ariftobulus, by degrees, and unwillingly, gave credit to these accusations; and accordingly he took care not to dilcover his fufpicion openly, though he provided to be secure against any accidenis : So he placed the guards of his body in a certain dark fubterranean passage ; for he lay fick in a place called formerly the Citadel, though alterwards its name was changed to Antonia ; and he gave orders, that it Antigonus came unarmed, they should let him alone ; but it he came to him in his armour they should kill him. He also fent some to let him know before hand, that he should come unarmed. But, upon this occasion, the queen very cunningly contrived the matter with those that plotted his ruin, for the persuaded those that were sent to conceal the king's mellis ; but to tell Antigonus, how his brother had heard he had a very fine fuit of armour., made with fine martial ornam , ? Galilee ; and because his present sickness hindered .! . O coming and seeing all that finerv, he very much desircule him now in his armour; because, said he, in a little in cu art going away from me.
4. As soon as Antigonus heard this, the good temperjis brother not allowing him to suspect any harm from him ! came along with his armour on, to shew it to his brother ; De! when he was going along that dark passage, which was calles Strato's Tower, he was slain by the body guards, and became an eminent instance how calumny destroys all good will and natural affection, and how none of our good affections are strong enough to resist envy perpetually.
5. And truly any one would be surprised at Judas upon this occasion. He was of the sect of the Esens, and had never failed or deceived men in his predictions before. Now this man saw Antigonus as he was passing along by the temple, and cried out to his acquaintance, (they were not a few who attended upon him as his fchollars), ' O strange ! said he, it is good for me to die now, since truth is dead before me, and somewhat that I have foretold hath proved false; for this Antigonus is this day alive, who ought to have died this day ; and the place where he ought to be llain, according to that fatal decree, was Strato's Tower, which is at the distance of six hundred furlongs from this place; and yet four hours of this day are over already, which point of time renders the predi&tion impossible to be fulfilled.” And when the old man had said this, he was dejected in his mind, and so continued. But in a little time news came, that Antigonus was slain in a fubterraneous place, which was itself also called Strato's Tow. er, by the same name with that Cesarea which lay by the lea Gide, and this ambiguity it was which caused the prophet's disorder,
6. Hereupon Ariftobulus repented of the great crime he had been guilty of, and this gave occasion to the increale ot his distemper.' He also grew worle and worse, and his soul was constantly disturbed at the thoughts of what he had done, till his very bowels being torn to pieces by the intolerable grief he was under, he threw up a great quantity of blood. And as one of those servants that attended him carried out that blood, he, by some supernatural providence, Nipped and fell down in the very place where Antigonus had been sain ; and so he spilt some of the murderer’s blood, upon the spots of the blood of him that had been murdered, which still appeared. Hereupon a lamentable cry arose among the spectators as if the servant had spilled the blood on purpose in that place ; and as the king heard that cry, he enquired what was the cause of it? And while no body durft tell him, he pressed them so much the more to let him know what was the matter; so at length, when he had threatened them, and forced them to speak out, they told ; whereupon he burst into tears, and groaned, and said, " So I perceive I am not like to escape the all-leeing eye of God, as to the great crimes I have committed ; but the vengeance of the blood of my kinsman pursues me hastily. Othou most impudent body, how long wilt thou re. tain a loal that ought to die on account of that punishment it ought to suffer for a mother and a brother slain ! how long shall I myself spend my blood drop by drop ? let them take it all at once; and let their ghosts no longer be disappointed by a few parcels of my bowels offered to them.” As soon as he had laid these words, he presently died, when he had reigned no longer than a year.
CH AP. IV. What Actions were done by Alexander Janneus, who Reigned
twenty-Jeven years. $1. AND now the king's wife loosed the king's brethren,
n and made Alexander king, who appeared both elder in age, and more moderate in his temper than the reft; who. when he caine to the government, flew one of his brethren, as affecting to govern himself ; but had the other of them in great esteem, as loving a quiet life without meddling with public affairs.
2. Now it happened, that there was a battle between him and Ptolemy, who was called Lathyrus, who had taken the city Asochis. He indeed flew a great many of his enemies, but the victory rather inclined to Ptolemy. But when this Piole. my was pursued by his mother Cleopatra, and retired into Egypt, Alexander besieged Gadara and took it ; as also he did Amathus, which was the strongest of all the fortresses that were about Jordan, and therein were the most precious of all the possessions of Theodorus the son of Zeno. Whereupon Theodorus marched against him, and took what belonged to himself, as well as the king's baggage, and flew ten thousand of the Jews. However, Alexander recovered this blow, and turned his force towards the maritime parts, and took Rapbia, and Gaza, with Anthedon also, which was afterwards called Agrippias by king Hercd
3. But when he had made slaves of the citizens of all these cities, the nation of the Jews made an insurrection against
him at a festival ; for at those feasts leditions are generally be gun, and it looked as if he should not be able to escape the plot they had laid for him, had not his foreign auxiliaries, the Pisidians and Cicilians asfifted him ; for as to the Syrians, he never admitted them among his mercenary troops, on account of their innate enmity against the Jewish nation. And when he had slain more than fix thousand of the rehels, he made an incursion into Arabia, and when he had taken that country, together with the Gileadites and Moabites, he enjoined them to pay him tribute. and returned to Amathus; and as Theodorus was surprised at his great success, he took the fortress, and demolished it.
4. However, when he fought with Obodus, king of the Arabians, who had laid an ambush for him near Golan, and a plot against him, he lost his entire army, which was crowded together in a deep valley, and broken to pieces by the multitude of camels. And when he had made his escape to Jetusalem, he provoked the multitude which hated him before, to make an insurrection against him, and this on account of the greatness of the calamity that he was under. However he was then too hard for them, and in the several battles that were fought on both sides, he flew not lewer than fifty thousand of the Jews, in the interval of six years. Yet had he no reason to rejoice in these victories since he did but consume his own kingdom ; till at length he fell off fighting, and endeav. oured to come to a composition with them, by talking with his subjects. But this mutability and irregularity of his conduct made them hate bin ftill more. And when he asked them why they so hated him ? and what he should do in order to appeale them ? they faid, by killing himselt; for that it would be then all they could do to be reconciled to him, who had done such tragical things to them even when he was dead. At the same time they invited Demetrius, who was called Eucerus, to assist them; and as he readily complied with their requeft, in hopes of great advantages, and came with his army, the Jews joined with those their auxiliaries about Sher hem.
5. Yet did Alexander meet with these forces with one thou. sand horsemen, and eight thousand mercenaries, that were on foot. He had also with him that part of the Jews which fa. voured him, to the number of ten thousand; while the ad. verse party had three thousand horsemen, and fourteen thou. sand footmen. Now, before they joined battle, the kings made proclamation and endeavoured to draw off each other's foldiers, and make them revolt; while Demetrius hoped to induce Alexander's mercenaries to leave him, and Alexander hoped to induce the Jews that were with Demetrius to leave him. But since neither the Jews would leave off their rage, nor the Greeks prove unfaithful, they came to an engagement, and to a close fight with their weapons. In which battle Demetrius was the conqueror, although Alexander's mercena