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kindly, he both made them amends as well as the country, by a Jasting favour; for he went out of the city to this fountain, and threw into the currentan earthen vesselfull of salt; after which he ftretched out his righteous hand, unto heaven, and, pouring out á mild drink offering, he made this * fupplication, That" the current might be mollified, and that the veins of fresh water might be opened. That God allo would bring into the place a more temperate and fertile air, for the current, and would bestow upon the people of that country plenty of the fruits of the earth, and a succession of children, and that this prolific water might never fail them, while they continued to be righteous.” To these prayers Elisha joined proper operations of his hands, after a skilful manner, and changed the fountain ; and that water, which had been the occasion of barrenness and famine before, from that time did fupply a numerous pofteri. ty, and afford great abundance to the country. Accordingly the power of it is so great in watering the ground, that if it do but once touch a country, it affords a sweeter nourilhment than other waters do, when they lie so long upon them, till they are satiated with them. For which reason the advan. tage gained from other waters, when they flow in great plen. ty, is but small, while that of this water is great when it flows even in little quantities. Accordingly it wafers a larger space of ground than any other waters do, and passes along a plain of seventy furlongs long, and twenty broad; wherein it affords nourishment to those most excellent gardens that are thick set with trees. There are in it many sorts of palm trees, that are watered by it, different from each other in taste and name; the better fort of them, when they are pressed, yield and excellent kind of honey, not much inferior in sweetness to other honey. This country withal produces honey !rom bees, it also bears that balsam which is ihe most precious of all the fruits in that place, cypress trees allo, and those that bear myrobalanum ; so that he who should pronounce this place to be divine, would not be mistaken, wherein is such plenty of trees produced, as are very rare, and of the most excellent fort. And indeed, it we speak of those other fruits, it will not be easy to light on any climate in the habitable earth, that can well be compared to it, what is here sowed comes up in such clusters : The cause of which seems to me to be the warmth of the air, and the fertility of the waters; the warmth calling forth the Sprouts, and making them fpread, and the moisture making every one of them take root firmly, and supplying that vir. tue which it stands in need of in summer time. Now this country is then so fadly burnt up, that nobody cares to come at it, and if the water be drawn up before iun rising, and af. ter that exposed to the air, it becomes exceeding cold, and be. comes of a nature quite contrary to the ambient air : As in winter again it becomes warm ; and if you go into it, it appears very gentle. The ambient air is here also ot so good a temperature, that the people of the country are cloathed in linen only, even when snow covers the rest of Judea. This place is one hundred and fifty furlongs from Jerusalem, and fixty from Jordan. The country, as far as Jerulalem, is desert, and ftony; but that as far as Jordan and the lake Asphaltitis lies lower indeed, though it be equally desert and barren. But so much shall luffice to have laid about Jericho, and of the great happiness of its situation.
mas This excellent prayer of Elisha is wanting in our copies, 2 Kings ii. 21, 28 though it be referred to also in the Apoftolical Constitutions, B. VII. ch. xxxvii. and the succeís of is is megtioned in them all.
4. The nature of the lake Asphaltilis is also worth describ. ing. It is, as I have íaid already, bitter and unfruitful. It is
o light for thick that it bears up the heaviest things that are thrown into it; nor is it easy for any one to make things link therein to the bottom, if he had a mind so to do. According, ly, when Vespasian went to see it, he commanded that lome who could not swim, should have their hands tied behind them, and be thrown into the deep, when it so happened that they all swam as if a wind had forced them upwards. Moreover, the change of the colour of this lake is wonderful, for it changes its appearance thrice every day; and as the rays of the fun fall differently upon it, the light is variously reflected. However, it cafts up black clods of bitumen in many parts of it ; these swim at the top of the water, and resemble boih in shape and bigness headless bulls ; and when the labourers that belong to the lake come to it, and catch hold of it as it hangs together, they draw it into their thips ; but when the fhip is full, it is not ealy to cut off the reit, for it is fo tenacious as to make the thig bang upon its clods till they let it loose with the menstrual blood of women, and with urine, 10 which alone it yields. This bitumen is not only useful for the caulking of fhips, but for the cure of mens bodies : Accordingly it is mixed in a great many medicines. The length of this lake is five hundred and eighty urlongo, where it is extendad as far as Arabia, and its breadıb is an hundred and fitty. The coun. try of Sodom * borders upon it. It was of old a moft happy land, both for the fruits it bore and the riches of its cities, al. though it be now all burnt up. It is related how, for the im. piety of its inhabitants, it was burnt by lightning ; in confe. quence of which there are still the remainders of that divine file, and the traces (or shadows of the five cities are still to be seen, as weli as the ashes growing in their fruits, which fruiis have a colour as if they were fit to be eaten, but it you pluck them with your hands, they dissolve into smoke and aibes. And thus what is related of this land of Sodom bath these marks of credibility which our very fight affords us,
• See tbe note on B. V. chap. xiii. 6. Vol. III.
CHA P. IX.
That Vefpafian, after he had taken Gadara, made Preparation
for the hege of Jerusalem. But that, upon his hearing of the Death of Nero, he changed his intentions. As also concern. ing Simon of Gerasa.
ND now Vespa Gan had fortified all the places round
about Jerusalem, and erected citadels at Jericho and Adida, and placed garrisons in them both, partly out of his own Romans, and partly out of the body of his auxiliaries. He also sent Lucius Annius to Gerasa, and delivered to him a body of horsemen, and a confiderable number of tootnien. So when he had taken the city, which he did at the first onset, he slew a thousand of thofe young men who had not prevent. ed him by flying away ; but he took their families captive, and permitted his foldiers to plunder them of their effects ; af ter which he set fire to their houses, and went away to the ad. joining villages, while the men of power fled away, and the weaker part were destroyed, and what was remaining was all burnt down. And now the war having gone through all the mountainous country, and all the plain country also, those that were at Jerusalem were deprived of the liberty ot going out of the city : For as to such as had a mind to desert, they were watched by the Zelotes ; and to such as were not yet on the side of the Romans, their army kept them in, by encom. passing the city round on all sides.
2. Now as Vespasian was returned to Cesarea, and was get. ting ready with all his army to march dire&ly to Jerusalem, he was informed that Nero was dead, after he had reigned thirteen years and eight days; but as to any narration after what manner he abused his power in the governinent, and com. mitted the management of affairs to those vile wretches Nym. phidius and Tigellinus, his unworthy freed men; and how he had a plot laid against him by them, and was deserted by all his guards, and ran away with four of his most trusty freed men, and flew himself in the suburbs of Rome; and how those that occafioned his death were in no long time brought them. felves to punishment ; how also the war in Gall ended ; and how * Galba was made emperor, and returned out of Spain to Rome ; and how he was accused by the soldiers as a pufillan. imous person, and flain by treachery in the middle of the market-place at Rome, and Otho was made emperor ; with his
• Of these Roman affairs and tumults under Galba, Otho, and Vitellius here. only touched upon by Josephus, see Tacitus, Suetonius and Dio more largely. However, we may observe with Ottias, that Josephus writes the name of the leće ond of them not Otto, with many others, but Oiho, with the coins. Sogallo che.. note on ch, xi. 4
expedition against the commanders of Vitellius, and his de. struction thereupon ; and besides what troubles there were un. der Vitellius and the fight that was about the capitol ; as also how Antonius Primus and Mucianus flew Vitellius, and his German legions, and thereby put an end to that civil war : I have omitted to give an exaćt account of them because they are well known by all, and they are described by a great num. ber of Greek and Roman authors : Yet for the sake of the connection of matters, and that my history may not be inco. herent, I have just touched upon every thing briefly. Where. fore Vespasian put off at first his expedition againft Jerusalem, and stood waiting whither the empire would be transferred af ter the death ot Nero. Moreover, when he heard that Galba was made emperor, he attempted nothing till he also fhould send him some directions about the war : However, he sent his son Titus to him to falute him, and to receive his commands about the Jews. Upon the very same errand did king Agrippa sail along with Titus to Galba; but as they were sail. ing in their long ships by the coast of Achaia, for it was win. ter time, they heard that Galba was slain, before they could get to him, after he had reigned seven months and as many days. After whom Otho took the government, and undertook the management of public affairs. So Agrippa resolved to go on to Rome without any terror, on account of the change in the government; but Titus, by a divine impulse, sailed back from Greece to Syria, and came in great haste to Cesarea to his father. And now they were both in suspen'e about the public affairs, the Roman empire being then in a flu&uating condition, and did not go on with their expedition against the Jews, but thought that to make any attack upon foreigners was now unseasonable, on account of the solicitude they were in for their own country.
3. And now there arose another war at Jerusalem. There was a son of Giora, one Simon, by birth of Gerala, a young man, not so cunning indeed as John of Gischala who had already seized upon the city, but superior in strength of body and courage ; on which account, when he had driven away from that Acrabattene toparchy which he once had, by Ananus the high priest, he came to those robbers who had seized upon Masada. At the first they suspected him, and only per. mitted him to come with the woman he brought with him, in. to the lower part of the fortress, while they dwelt in the up. per part of it themselves. However, his manner so well agreed with theirs, and he seemed to trusty a man, that he went out with them, and ravaged and destroyed the country with them about Masada ; yet when he persuaded them to undertake greater things, he could not prevail with them so to do; for as they were accustomed to dwell in that citadel, they were a. fraid of going far from that which was their hiding place ; but ho affeaing to tyrannize, and being fond of greatnels, when he
had heard of the death of Ananus he left them, and went into the mountainous part of the country. So he proclaimed liber. ty to those in slavery, and a reward to those already free, and got together a let of wicked men from all quarters.
4. And as he had now a strong body of men about him, he over-ran the villages that lay in the mountainous country, and when there were still more and more that came to him, he ventured to go down into the lower parts of the country, and since he was now become formidable to the cities many of the men of power were corrupted by him ; so that his army was no longer composed of slaves and robbers, but a great many of the populace were obedient to him as to their king. He then over-ran the Acrabattene toparchy, and the places that reached as far as the Great Idumea ; for he built a wall at a certain village called Nairi, and made use of that as a fortress for his own party's security ; and at the valley called Pharan he enlarged many of the caves, and many others he found seady for his purpose; these he made use of as repositories for his treasures, and receptacles for his prey, and therein he Jaid up the fruits that he had got by rapine ; and many of his partizans had their dwelling in them, and he made no secret of it that he was exercising his men before hand, and making preparations for the assault of Jerusalem.
5. Whereupon the Zelotes, out of the dread they were in of his attacking them, and being willing to prevent one that was growing up to oppose them, went out against him with their weapons. Simon met them, and joining battle with them flew a considerable number of them, and drove the rest before him into the city, but durft not trust so much upon his forces, as to make an assault upon the walls ; but he resolved first to subduc Idumea, and as he had now twenty thousand armed men, he marched to the borders of their country. Hereupon the rulers of the Idumeans got together on the sudden the most warlike part of their people, about twenty-five thousand in number, and permitted the rest to be a guard to their own country, by reason of the incursions that were made by the Sicarii that were at Masada. Thus they received Simon at their borders, where they fought him, and continued the battle all that day, and the dispute lay whether they had conquer. ed him or been conquered by him. So he went back to Nain, as did the Idumeans return home. Nor was it long ere Simon came violently again upon their country ; when he pitched his camp at a certain village called Thecoe, and sent Eleazar, one of his companions to those that kept garrison at Herodi. um, and in order to persuade them to surrender that fortress to him. The garrison received this man readily, while they knew of what he came about, but as soon as he talked of the surrender of the place, they fell upon him with their drawn swords, till he found that he had no place for flight, when he threw himself down from the wall into the valley beneath ; fo VOL. IIK