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cred; and again, those practices are allowed among them which are by us esteemed most abominable.*
They place the image of that animal in their most holy place, be whose indication it was that they had cscaped their wandering condition and their thirft. t.
They sacrifice rams by way of reproach to (Jupiter] Hammon. An ox is also sacrificed, which the Egyptians worship under the name of Apis, f
They abstain from swine's flesh. as a memorial of that miserable de. struction which the mange to which that creature is liable, brought on them, and with which they had been defiled.
That they had endured a long famine, they attest still by their frequent faltings. And that they stole the fruits of the earth we have an argument from the bread of the Jews, which is unleavened.
It is generally lupposed they rest on the seventh day," because that day, gave them (the first) rest froin their labors. Besides which, they are idle on every seventh year,tt as being pleased with a lazy life. Others say, that they do honor thereby to Saturn;tt or perhaps the Idæi
gave them this part of their religion (as we said above) were ex. pelled together with Saturn, and who, as we have been informed, were the founders of this nation; or else it was because the star Saturn moves in the highest orb, and of the seven planets exerts the principal part of that energy whereby mankind are governed. And indeed the most of the heavenly bodies exert their power, and perform their courses according to the number seven.||||
CHAP. V.] These rights, by what manner foever they were firft begun, are supported by their antiquity Ng The rest of their institu.
* This is not true in general, but only so far, that the Israelites were by cir. cumcision and other rites to be kept separate from the wicked and idolatrous pations about them.
+ This strange Aory contradiêts what the fame Tacitus will tell us presently, that when Pompey went into the hrly of holies he found no image there.
These are only guesses of Tacitus, or of his heathen authors, but no more.
|| Such memorials of what muft have been very reproachful, are frangers to the rest of mankind, and without any probability.
The Jews had but one solemn fart of old in the whole year, the gicat day of expiation.
Unleavened bread was only used at the passover.
** It is very strange that Tacitus Thould not know or confess that the Jews' feventh day, and seventh year of rest, were in memory of the seventh, or Sabbah day's reft, after the six days of creation. Every Jew, as well as every Christian, could have informed him of those matters.
++ A ftrange hypothesis of the origin of the Sabbatic year, and without all good foundation. 'Tacitus probably had never heard of the Jews' year of jubilee, lo he says nothing of it,
It ás if the Jews in the days of Moses, or long before, knew that the Greeks and Romans would long afterward call the leventh day of the week Saturn's deya which Dio observes was not so called of old time: And it is a question wheth. er before the Jews fell into idolatry, they ever heard of such a star or god as Saturn. Amos v. 25....Acts rii. 43.
ll That the !un, moon, and itars, rule over the affairs of mankind, was as Hcathen, and not a Jewish nation ; neither Jews nor Chriftians were permitted to deal in astrology, though Tacitus seems to have been deep in it,
This acknowledgment of the antiquity of Moses, and of bis Jewish fetele Inent, was what the Hea:bea cared r.o: always to own,
tions are awkward," impure, and got ground by their pravity : For every vile fellow, despising the rights of his forefathers, brought thither their tribute and contributions, by which means the Jewish commonwealth was augmented. And because among themselves there is an unalterable fidelity and kindness always ready at hand, but bitter enmity towards all others, they are a people separated from others in their food, and in their beds, though they be the lewdest nation upon earth, I yet will they not corrupt foreign women though nothingll be esteemed unlawful among themselves.
They have ordained circumcision of the part used in generation, - that they may thereby be distinguished from other people : The profelytes $ to their religion have the same usage.
They are taught nothing sooner than to despise the gods, to renounce their country, and to have their parents, children, and brethren in the utmost contempt; but still they take care to increase and and multiply, for it is esteemed utterly unlawful to kill any of their children.
They also look on the souls of those that die in battle, or are put to death for their crimes, as eternal. Hence comes their love of poster ity, and contempt of death.
They derive their custom** of burying, instead of burning their dead, from the Egyptians : They have also the same care of the dead with them, and the fame persuasion about the invisible world below: But of the gods above, their opinion is contrary to theirs. The Egyptians worship abundance of animals, and images of various forts. The Jews have no notion of any
more than one divine being, tt and that known only by the mind. They esteem such to be profane who frame images of gods, out of perishable matter, and in the shape of men. That this being is fupreme, and eternal, immutable, and unperifhable, is their doctine. Accordingly they have no images in their cities, much less in their temples; they never grant this piece of flattery to kings, or this kind of honor to emperors. If But because their priests, when they play on the pipe and the timbrels, wear ivy
* What these pretended awkward and impure institutions were, Tacitus does not inform us,
+ Josephus shews the contrary, as to the laws of Moses, Contr. Apion Book II. fedt, 22.
1 An high, and I doubt a false commendation of the Jews.
li an entirely false character, and contrary to their many laws against uncleanness. See Jofephus Antiq. B. III. chap. xi. lect. 12.
$ The profelytes of justice only, not the proselytes of the gates.
1 How does this agree with that unalterable fidelity and kindness which Tacitus told us the Jews had towards one another ? Unlets he only means that they preferred the divine commands before their nearest relations, which is the highest degree of Jewish and Christian piety.
** This custom is at least as old among the Hebrews, as the days of Abia. ham, and the cave of Machpelah, long before the Israelites wert into Egypt, Gen. xxiii. 1-20, and xxv. 8-10.
++ These are very valuable confessions, which Tacitus here makes as to the unspotted piety of the Jewish nation, in the worship of one ipsinite, invisible God, and ablolute rejection of all idolatry, and of all worship of images, pay of the image of the emperor Caius himself, or of affording it a place in their temple,
It all these concessions were to be learned from Josephus, and almost only from him ; out of whom therefore I conclude Tacitus took the finest part of his character of the Jews.
sound tireir heads, and a golden * vine has been found in their tents. ple, forne have thought that they worshipped our father Bacchus, the conqueror of the Ealt; whereas the ceremonies of the Jews do not all agree with those of Bacchus, for he appointed rites that were of a jovj. al nature, and fit for festivals, while the practices of the Jews are ab surd and fordid.
CHAP VI.] The limits of Judea easterly are bounded by Arabia : Egypt lies on the south; on the west are Phenicia and the [great ] fea. They have a prospect of Syria, on their north quarter, as at fame diftance from them.
The bodies of the men are healthy, and such as will bear great labors.
They have not many showers of rain : Their foil is very fruitful; the produce of their land is like ours, in great plenty
They have also besides ours, two trees peculiar to themselves, the balsam tree, and the palm tree. Their groves of palms are tall and beautiful. The balsam tree is not very large. As soon as any branch is fwelled, the veins quake as for fear, if you bring an iron knite to cut them. They are to be opened with the broken pieces of a stone, or with the shell of a fish. The juice is useful in physic
Libanus is their principal mountain, and is very high, and yet, what is very strange to be related, it is always madowed with trees, and nev. er free from Inow. The same mountain fupplies the river Jordan with water, and affords it its fountains also. Nor is this Jordan carried into the sea, it passes through one and a second lake, undiminished, but it is stopped by the third.si
This third lake is vastly great in circumference, as if it were a sea. It is of an ill talte, and is pernicious to the adjoining inhabitants, by its strong smell. The wind raises no waves there, nor will it maintain either fishes, or fuch birds as use the water. The reason is uncertain, but the fact is thus, that bodies cast into it are borne up as by fome what solid. Those who can, and those who cannot swim, are equally borne up by it. At a certain time of the year,** it cafts out bitunien; the manner of gathering it, like other arts, has been taught by experience. The liquor is of its own nature, of a black color; and, if
ou pour vinegar upon it, it clings together, and swims on the top. Those whose business it is, take it in their hands, and pull it into the upper parts of the ship, after which it follows, without farther attraction, and fills the ihip full, till you cut it off: Nor can you cut it off either with a brass or an iron instrument; but it cannot bear the touch
* This particular fact, that there was a golden vine in the front of the Jew. ish temple, was in all probability taken by Tacitus out of Jofephus; but as the Jewish prieks were never adorned with ivy, the signal of Bacchus, how Tacitus came to imagine this, I cannot telt.
+ See the chorography of Judea in Jofephus, of the War, B. III. fe&t. 3. vol. III. whence mor probably Tacitus framed this short abridgment of it. It comes in both authors naturally before Vespasianas first campaign.
* The latter branch of this Tacitus might have from Jolephus, of the way B. III. chap. 3. Sect. 2, 3, 4. vol. III. the other is not in the present copies,
|| These accounts of Jordan, of i:s fountains derived from Mount Libanas, and "of the two lakes it runs through, and its stoppage by the third, are exactly agreeable to Jolephus. Of the war, B. III. chap. x. lect. 7, 8.
No less than 580 furlongs long, and 150 broad, in Josephus, of the Wa, B. IV. chap. viii. lect. 4.
Strabo says, that a man could not fink into the water of this lake so deep as the navel.
** Josephus never says that this bitumen was cast out at a certain time of the year only; and Strabo says the direct contrary, but Pliny agrees with Tacitus.
of blood, or of a cloth wet with the menstrual purgations of women, as the ancient authors say. But those that are acquainted with the place affure us, that these waves of bitumen are driven along, and by the hand drawn to the shore, and that when they are dried by the warm Iteams from the earth, and the force of the sun, they are cut in pieces with axes and wedges, as timber and stones are cut in pieces.
CHAP VII.] Not far from this lake are those plains, which are related to have been of old fertile, and to have had many* cities full of people, but to have been burnt by a stroke of lightning; it is also said that the footsteps of that destruction till remain, and that the earth itself appears as burnt earth, and has loft its natural fertility : and that as an argument thereof, all the plants that grow of their own, accord, or are planted by the hand, whether they arrive at the degree of an herb, or of a flower, or at complete maturity, become black, and empty, and, as it were, vanish into ashes. As for my felf, as I am willing to allow that these once famous cities were burnt by fire from heaven, fo would I suppose that the earth is infected with the vapor of the lake, and the spirit (or air] that is over it thereby corrupted, and that by this means the fruits of the earth, both corn, and grapes, rot away, both the soil and the air being equally
unwholesome. The river Belus does also rur into the sea of Judea, and the sands that are collected about its mouth, when you mix nitre with them, are melted into glass : This fort of shore is but small, but its fand, for the use of those that carry it off, is inexhaustible.
CHAP. VIII.) A great part of Judea is composed of scattered villages : It also has larger towns: Jerusalem is the capital city of the whole nation. In that city there was a temple of immense wealth ; in the first parts that are fortified is the city itself, next it the royal palace. The temple is enclosed in its most inward recesses. A Jew can come no farther than the gates; all but the priests are excluded by their threshold. While the East was under the dominion of the Aflyrians, the Medes, and the Persians, the Jews were of all flaves the moit despicable. +
I After the dominion of the Macedonians prevailed, King Antiochus tried to conquer their superstition, and to introduce the customs of the Greeks; but he was disappointed of his design, which was to give this most profligate nation a change for the better, and that was by his war with the Parthians, for at this time Arfaces had fallen off
from the Macedonians. ] Then it was that the Jews fet kings over them, because the Macedonians were become weak, the Parthians were not yet very powerful, and the Romans were very remote : Which kings, when they had been expelled by the mobility of the vulgar, and had recovered their dominion by war, attempted the same things that kings used to do, I mean they introduce the destruction of cities, the flaughter of brethren, of wives, and parents, but still went on in their superstition ; for they took upon them withal the honorable dignity of the high priesthood, as a firm security to their power and authority.
* This is exa&tly according to Josephus, and must have been taken from him in the place forecited, and that particularly, because it is peculiar to him, lo far as I know, in antiquity. The rest thought the cities were in the same place where now the lake is, bnt Josephus and Tacitus say they were in iis neighborhood only, which is Mr. Reland's opinion also.
+ A great Nander against the Jews, without any just foundation. Josephus would have informed him better,
| Here begin Josephus's and Tacitus's true accounts of the Jews, preliminary to the land war: See of the War, Proxm, fect. 7.
CHAP. IX.] The first of the Romans that conquered the Jews was Cneius Pompeius, who entered the temple by right of victory. Thence the report was every where divulged, that therein was no image of a god, but an empty place, and mysteries, most secret places that have nothing in them. The walls of Jerusalem were then destroyed, but the temple continued still. Soon afterward arose a civil war among us; and when therein these provinces were reduced under Marcus Antonius, Pacorus, King of the Parthians, got possesion of Judea, but was himself Main by Paulus Ventidius, and the Parthians were driven beyond the Euphrates : And for the Jews, Caius Sofius fubdued them. Antonius gave the kingdom to Herod; and when Auguitus conquered Antonius he still augmented it.
After Herod's death, one Simon, without waiting for the disposition of Cefar, took upon him the title of King, who was brought to pun. ishment by (or under] Quintilius Varus, when he was president of Syria. Afterward the nation was reduced, and the children of Herod governed it in three partitions.
Under Tiberius the Jews had rest. After fome time they were enjoined to place Caius Cefar's statue in the temple; but rather than permit that, they took up arms ;* which sedition was put an end to by the death of Cefar.
Claudius, after the kings were either dead, or reduced to smaller dominions, gave the province of Judea to Roman knights, or to freed men, to be governed by them. Among whom was Antonius Felix, one that exercised all kinds of barbarity and extravagance, as if he had royal authority, but with the disposition of a flave. He had mar. ried Brusilla, the grand daughter of Antonius, so that Felix was the grand daughter's husband, and Claudius the grandson of the fame Antonius.
UT he that was the brother of Pallas, whofe surname was Felis,
(. had been a good while ago set over Judea, and thought he inight be guilty of all sorts of wickedness with impunity, while he relied on lo fure an authority.
The Jews had almost given a specimen of fedition; and even after the death of Caius was known, and they had not obeyed his command, there remained a degree of fear, left foine future prince should renew that command ( for the setting up the prince's statue in their temple.] And in the inean time Felix, by the use of unseasonable remedies, blew up the coals of sedition into a Hame, and was imitated by his partner in the government, Ventidius Cumanus, the country being thus divid. ed between them; that the nation of the Galileans were under Cu. manus, and the Samaritans under Felix : Which two nations were of old at variance, but now, out of contempt of their governors, did lefs restrain their hatred : They then began to plunder one another, ta
* They came to Petronius, the president of Syria, in valt numbers, but with out arms, and as humble supplicants only. See Tacitus presently, where he afterwards sets this matter alınost right, according to Jolephus, and by way of correction for that accoun: is in his andals, which were written after this which is in his histories.