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had beccasted the Jews und in
d yet a forbears songs of in itself,
been our fate. Rather we should have found parallel in their history and not in that of the Greek, who accepted the domination imposed on him, and who in shame passed out of history. Those old Jews under Simon and his followers had tasted the thrilling delights of liberty. It had become their very nature itself. Read again and yet again their songs in which many of our liberty-loving forbears have also found promise and inspiration; tremendous songs of victory. And this had become part of their very religion itself. There was only one end for such people—victory or annihilation. And for us? Helpless, hopeless, disarmed, yet rising on rising had marked our history until the final act, and we wiped out of existence, this land had known our race no more. And those telling our story—how would they read the riddle of our times? Would they see a number of inconsequent unreasoning outbreaks against ordered authority, or, probing a little deeper, see into the heart of things, realize what they all really meant? Would they write in condemnation of such folly? or with more insight transcribe: Here were a people like the Jews of sacred writ, who, having known liberty, would die as free men rather than live as slaves.
A ROMAN PROVINCE.
1 53A. HERE we note the following dates :
14. Death of Augustus. Tiberias succeeds him. 25–36. Pontius Pilate Procurator. Death of Christ.
37. Caligula. Herod Agrippa king of Judaea.
48. Cumanus and Felix succeed him.
54. And now a Roman province, and they have a very concrete fact to inflame their discontent. Hitherto the tribute paid to Rome had been paid indirectly, and as for centuries it had been to their various overlords. Now this is to be changed. Cyrenius, a Roman of high dignity and greatest experience, was made president of Syria, in which province the Jews were to be included. Their own particular governor was to be one Coponius, also of the equestrian order, but in the beginning Cyrenius himself superintended the actual taking over of the new department. And then followed the necessary and consequent general valuation for the purposes of taxation. Now taxes are to be paid to Rome direct, in a coin the very token of their humiliation, and their subjection is brought home to every house. And hence the tremendous question, “ Is it lawful to pay tribute to Caesar or not?” And now we see the priest class throwing in its lot with Rome. According to Josephus the incident would have passed over without any trouble, for though at the beginning they took the report of a taxation heinously, yet by the persuasion of the High Priest they left off opposition to it and gave the account of their estates as required; but now this Judas, “taking with him Sadduc, a Pharisee, became zealous to draw them to a revolt, who said that this taxation was no better than an introduction to slavery, and exhorted the nation to assert its liberty as if they could procure them happiness, and security for what they possessed, and an assured enjoyment of a still greater good, which was that of the honour and glory they would thereby acquire for magnanimity. ... So men received what they said with pleasure, and this bold attempt proceeded to a great height. All sorts of misfortunes also sprang from these men, and
of dition are taking us to thes. Aty mi
the nation was infected with this doctrine to an incredible degree; one violent war came upon us after another; and we lost our friends who used to alleviate our pain; there were also very great robberies and murders of our principal men. This was done, indeed, in pretence for the public welfare, but in reality for the hopes of gain to themselves; whence arose seditions, and from them murders of men, which sometimes fell on those of their own people (by the madness of these men towards one another, while their desire was that none of the adverse party might be left) and sometimes on their enemies. A famine also coming upon us, reduced us to the last degree of despair, as did also the taking and demolishing of cities; nay, the sedition at last increased so high that the very temple of God was burnt down by their enemies' fire. Such were the consequences of this that the customs of our fathers were altered, and such a change was made as added a mighty weight toward bringing all to destruction, which these men occasioned by conspiring together. For Judas and Sadduc, who excited a fourth philosophic sect among us, and had a great many followers therein, filled our civil government with tumults at present, and laid the foundations of our future miseries by this system of philosophy which we were before unacquainted withal; concerning which I shall discourse a little, and this the rather because the infection which spread thence among the younger sort who were zealous for it brought the public to destruction.” After a full account of the Pharisees, who lived meanly, despised delicacies, respected age, and believed in the resurrection; and of the Sadducees, in doubts as to any future existence, and utterly denying the Greek doctrine of Hades, with its punishments and rewards; and of the Essenes, the great communists of those times, and who strove for righteousness; he adds, “ But of the fourth sect of Jewish philosophy Judas the Galilean was the author. These men agree in all other things with the Pharisaic notions, but they have an inviolable attachment to liberty, and they say that God is to be their only Ruler and Lord. They also do not value dying any kinds of death, nor, indeed, do they heed the deaths of their relations and friends, nor can any such fear make then call any man lord; and since this immoveable resolution of theirs is known to a great many, I shall speak no further about that matter, nor am I afraid that anything I have said of them should be disbelieved, but rather that what I have said is beneath the resolution they show when they undergo pain; and it was in Gessius Florus' time that the nation began to grow mad with the distemper, who was our procurator, and who occasioned the Jews to go wild with it by the abuse of his authority, and to make them revolt from the Romans. And these are the sects of Jewish philosophy.” The last thing that Josephus would write would be anything to add to the credit of this family, but it certainly confirms the fact that they were of the royal line of David. Nor could they have belonged to any other to have attained this dignity and importance. The Maccabees had failed in their mission of delivering Israel; the priest class, as ever, had proved themselves unfitted for rule when times were troublous and dangers many; and it was for this house to unite the race of Israel in one triumphant uprising against the common oppressor. In David all were one. He was the glory of all alike. As regards the Israelitish defection, their kings had been more or less a succession of adventurers, some of whom, like Ahab, had acquired consequence by inter-marriage with the kings of Judah, but who otherwise had no claim on the loyalty of their subjects. And through the centuries, whether days were evil or days were bright, these same kings of Judah never abandoned their titular claim to sovereignty over the rest of Israel, though real power had long passed from them. In 2 Chronicles xxi. 2, we read, “all these were the sons of Jehosophat, king of ISRAEL." This word Israel is no penman's slip, as some Bible commentators suggest, but is the reinsistence of such pretensions. And in these terrible times memories of intervening centuries of quarrelling are to be blotted out, and there are many who would once more unite under a name the pride and glory of them all alike. That the priests and their mouthpiece Josephus should loathe them the more is only as we should expect, but for all that it is in them we find voiced the aspirations of the race.
55. During the next few decades we do not find this fourth party in any violent outbreak. In Augustus Caesar the world had a powerful, just, and determined ruler. Whilst careful to avoid occasion for offence, he was not one to see sedition grow unchecked. The same policy was continued by Tiberias, who was well disposed to the Jews, and whose great friends were Herod the Tetrarch of Galilee and his kinsman Herod Agrippa. It was by him Pontius Pilate was appointed procurator of Judea, but he had so little studied the nation which he was called upon to govern that he brought statues of the Emperor from Caesarea to set up in Jerusalem. He quickly realized the faux pas he had made, but removing them was a delicate matter. The story might reach the palace at Rome, and ... the people would die rather than allow them to remain. He could not immolate a whole city, and they had to be removed. But it was with no good grace that he gave in. Then he improved the water supply of the city, but as he used devoted money—the “corban” of the gospels—it occasioned another wild tumult. Following the condemnation of Christ about the year A.D. 34, he became embroiled with the Samaritans and Vitellius, the governor of Syria, his superior, took their part and sent him home to Rome to answer concerning it. So, if tradition be correct, there was also the more serious charge of the execution of Christ to be explained. It certainly was a political blunder of the first magnitude, and was to have disastrous consequences. For the time relations with Rome were improving. We see it in the reception which Vitellius had when he visited Jerusalem. He was magnificently