Page images
PDF
EPUB

As for the dead bodies of the people, their relations carried them out to their own houses ; but when any of the zealots were wounded, he went up into the temple, and defiled that sacred floor with his blood, insomuch that one may say it was their blood alone that polluted our fanctuary. Now in these conflicts the robbers always fallied out of the temple, and were too hard for their enemies ; but the populace grew very angry, and became more and more numerous, and reproach. ed thole that gave back, and those behind would not afford Toom to those that were going off, but forced them on again, till at length they made their whole body to turn again't their adverfaries, and the robbers could no longer oppose them, but were forced gradually to retire into the temple; when * Ananus and his party fell into it at the fame time together with them. This horribly affrighted the robbers, because it deprived them of the first court ; so they fled into the inner court immedi. ately, and shut the gates. Now Ananus did not think fit to make any attack against the holy gates, although the other threw their stones and darts at them from above. He also deemed it unlawful to introduce the multitude into that court, before they were purified; he therefore chose out of them all by lot, fix thousand armed men, and placed them as guards in the cloisters : So there was a succession of such guards one after another, and every one was forced to attend in his course; although many of the chief of the city were dismissed by those that then took on them the government, upon their hiring some of the poorer fort, and sending them to keep the guard in their stead.

13. Now it was John who, as we told you, ran away from Gilchala, and was the occasion of all thele being destroyed. He was a man of great craft, and bore about him in his soul a strong passion after tyranny, and at a distance was the adviser in these actions : And indeed at this time he pretended to be of the people's opinion, and went all about with Ananus, when he consulted the great men every day, and in the night time allo when he went round the watch; but he divulged their secrets to the zealous, and every thing that the people deliberated about was by his means known to their enemies, even before it had been well agreed upon by themselves. And by way of contrivance how he might not be brought into sufpicion, he cultivated the greateft friendship poffible with

• It is worth noting here, that this Ananus, the best of the Jews at this time, and the high-priest, who was so very uneasy at the profanation of the “ Jewish courts" of the temple by the zealots, did not however scruple the profanation of the “court of the Gentiles," as in our Saviour's days it was very much profaned by the Jews, and made a market place, nay, a "den of thieves," without scruple, Mat. xxi. 19, 13. Mark xi. 15, 16, :7. Accordingly Josephus himfelf, when he speaks of the two inner courts, calls them both arra or holy places ; but, so far as I remember, never gives that character of the court of the Gentiles. See B. V. chap ix. & 2.

Ananu,, and with the chief of the people ; yet did this over doing of his turn against him, for he flattered them so extrav. agantly, that he was but the more fufpected; and his constant attendance every where, even when he was not invited to be prelent, made him frongly fuspected of betraying their fecrets to the enemy; for they plainly perceived that they un. derstood all the resolutions taken against them at their consul. tations. Nor was there any one whom they had so much reason to suspe& of that discovery as this John ; yet was it not easy to get quit of him, so potent was he grown by his wicked pra&ices. "He was also supported by many of those eminent men, who were to be consulted upon all conliderable affairs ;

it was therefore thought reasonable to oblige him to give them assurance of his goodwill upon oath : Accordingly John took such an oath readily, that he would be on the people's side, and would not betray any of their counsels or practices to their enemies, and would assist them in overthrowing those that attacked them, and that both by his hand and his advice: So Ananus and his party believed his oath, and did now receive him to their consultations without farther suspicion ; nay, so far did they believe him, that they sent him as their ambassador into the temple, to the zealots, with proposals o accommodation ; for they were very desirous to avoid the pollution of the temple as much as they possibly could, and that no one of their nation should be slain therein.

14. But now this John, as if his oath had been made to the zealots, and for confirmation of his good will to them, and not against them, went into the temple, and stood in the midst of them, and spake as follows : That" he had run many hazards on their accounts, and in order to let them know of every thing that was secretly contrived against them by Ananus and his party ; but that both he and they should be cast into the most imminent danger, unless fome providential assistance were afforded them; for that Ananus made no longer delay, but had prevailed with the people to send ambasladors to Vela palian, to invite him to come presently and take the city ; and that he had appointed a fast for the next day against them, that they might obtain admission into the temple on a religious account, or gain it by force, and fight with them there; that he did not see how long they could either endure a fiege, or how they could fight against so many enemies.” He added darther, " That it was by the providence of God he was himself dent as an ambassador to them for an accommodation ; for that Ananus did therefore offer them such proposals, that he might come upon them when they were unarmed : That they ought to choose one of these two methods, either to intercede with those that guarded them, to save their lives, or to provide fome foreign assistance for themselves : That if they fostered themselves with the hopes of pardon, in cale they were subdned, they had forgotten what desperate things they bad done, or could suppose that as soon as the actors repented, those that had suffered by them must be presently reconciled to them. while those that have done injuries, though they pretend to repent of them, are frequently hated by the others for that fort of repentance.; and that the sufferers, when they get the power into their hands, are usually still more severe upon the actors : That the friends and kindred of those that had been destroyed would always be laying plote against them : And that a large body of people were very angry on account of their grofs breaches of their laws, and (illegal] judicatures insomuch that although some part might commiferate them, those would be quite overborne by the majority.."

CHAP. IV.

The Idumeans, being fent for by the Zealots, carne immediately

to Jerusalem : And when they were excluded out of the City, they lay all night there. Jelus, one of the High Priests, makes

a Speech to them ; and Simon the Idumcan makes a reply to it. $1.

NOW
TOW by this crafty speech John made the zealots a-

fraid ; yet durft he not directly name what foreign rallifance he meani, but in a covert way only intimated at the Idumeans. But now that he might particularly irritate the leaders of the zealots, he calumniated Ananus, that he was about a piece of barbarity, and did in a lpecial manner threaten them. These leaders were Eleazar the ion of Simon, who feemed the most plausible man of them ail, both in confidering what was fit to be done, and in the execution of what he had determined upon, and Zacharias the son of Phalek, both of whom derived their families from the priets. Now when shese two men had heard not only the common threatenings which belonged to them all, but those peculiarly levelled against themlelves, and besides how Ananus and his party, in order to secure their own dominion, had invited the Romans to come to them, for that also was part of John's lie, they hesitated a great while what they should do, considering the hortnels of the time by which they were straitened ; because the people were prepared to attack them very soon, and because the suddennels of the plot laid again it them had almoft cut off all their hopes of getting any toreign affiftance ; for they might be under the height of their afflictions before any of their contederates could be informed of it. However, it was resolved to call in the Idumeans; so they wrote a short detter to this effect, That " Ananus had impiled on the pep. ple, and was betraying their metropolis to the Romans. That they themselves had revolted from the rest, and were in cul. tody in the temple, on account of the preservation of their Liberty: That there was bur a fmall time left, wherein they might hope for their deliverance ; and that unless they would come immediately to their affiftiance, they should themselves be soon in the power of Ananus, and the city would be in the power of the Romans." They also charged the messengers to tell many more circumstances to the rulers of the L dumeans. Now there were two a&ive men proposed for the carrying this message, and such as were well able to speak, and io persuade them that things were in this posture, and what was a qualification skill more necessary than the former, they were very swift of foot ; for they knew well enough that these would immediately comply with their desires, as being ever a tumultuous and disorderly nation, always on the watch upon every motion, delighting in mutations; and upon your flattering them ever fo little, and petitioning them, they foon take their arms, and put themselves into motion, and make hafte to a battle, as it it were to a feast. There was indeed occafion for quick dispatch in the carrying of this mes. sage, in whicb point the messengers were no way defective. Both their names were Ananias ; and they soon came to the rulers of the Idumeans..

2. Now these rulers were greatly surprised at the contents of the letter, and at what thole that came with it further told them ; whereupon they ran about the nation like mad men, and made proclamation that the people should come to war fo a multitude was suddenly gotten together, sooner indeed than the time appointed in the proclamation, and every body caught up their arms, in order to maintain the liberty of their metropolis; and twenty thousand of them were put in battle are ray, and came to Jerusalem under four commanders, John, and Jacob the son of Sofas ; and besides there was Simon the son of Cathlas, and Phineas the son of Clusothus..

3. Now this exit of the messengers was not known either to Ananus, or to the guards, but the approach of the Idumeans was known to him ; for as he knew of it before they came, he ordered the gates to be shut against them, and that the walls should be guarded. Yet did not he by any means think of fighting against them, but before they came to blows, to try what persuasions would do.. Accordingly Jesus, the eldest of the high-priefis next to Ananus, stood upon the lower that was over against them, and said thus, " Many troubles indeed, and those of various kinds have fallen upon this city, yet in none of them have I so much wondered at her fortune as now, when you are come to assist wicked, men, and this after a manner very extraordinary ; for I see that you are come to support the vileft of men against us, and this with fo great alacrity, as you could hardly put on the like, in case our inetropolis had calla ed you to her aslistance against barbarians. And if I had perceived that your army was composed of men like unto those who invited them, I had not deemed your attempt lo absurd. For nothing does so much cement the minds of men together

as the alliance there is between their manners. But now for these men who have invited you, if you were to examine them one by one, every one of them would be found to have deserv. ed ten thousand deaths; for the very rascality and off-scouring of the whole country, who have spent in debauchery their own substance, and by way of trial beforehand, have madly plundered the neighbouring villages and cities, in the upshot of all, have privately run together into this holy city. They are robbers, who by their prodigious wickedness have profaned this most sacred floor, and who are to be now seen drinking themielves drunk in the san&tuary, and expending the spoils of those whom they have slaughtered upon their unsatiable bel. lies. And for the multitude that is with you, one may see them fo decently adorned in their armour, as it would become to be, had their metropolis called them to her assistance against foreigners. What can a man call this procedure of yours, but the sport of fortune, when he sees a whole nation coming to protect a sink of wicked wretches? I have for a good while been in doubt what it could possibly be that should move you to do this so suddenly ; because certainly you would not take on your armour on the behalt of robbers, and against a people of kin to you, without some very great cause for your so doing. But we have an item that the Romans are pretended, and that we are supposed to be going to betray this city to them ; for some of your men have lately made a clamour about those matters and have said they are come to set their metropolis free. Now we cannot but admire at these wretches in their devising such a lie as this against us men that were naturally desirous of liberty, and on that account the beft disposed to fight against foreign enemies, but by framing a tale as if we were going to betray that most desirable thing, liberty. But you ought to consider what sort of people they are that raile this calurny, and againft what fort of people that calumny is raised, and to gather the truth of things, not by fictitious fpeeches, but out of the actions of both parties ; for what occasion is there for us to lell ourselves to the Romans ? while it was in our power not to have revolted from them at the first, or when we had once revolted, to have returned under their dominion again; and this while the neighbouring countries were not yet laid waste: Whereas it is not an easy thing to be reconciled to the Romans, it we were desirous of it, now they have sub. dued Galilee, and are thereby become proud and insolent ; and to endeavour to please them at the time when they are so near us, would bring such a reproach upon us as were worse than death. As for mylelf indeed, I should have preferred peace with them before death ; but now we have once made war upon them, and fought with them, I prefer death, with reputation, before living in captivity under them. But far. ther, whether do they pretend that we, who are the rulers of the people, have seni thus privately to the Romans, or back

« PreviousContinue »