Page images
PDF
EPUB

him all that he had with him : among which things there were a great many costly garments, and no small number of silver cups, and six hundred pieces of gold; yet were they not able to conceal what they had stolen ; but brought it all to Josephus to Taricheæ. Hereupon he blamed them for the violence they had offered to the king and queen; and deposited what they brought to him with Eneas, the most potent man of Taricheæ, with an intention of sending the things back to their owners at a proper time. This act of Josephus's brought him into the greatest danger. For those that had stolen the things had an indignation at him; both because they gained no share of it for themselves ; and because they perceived beforehand what was Josephus's intention, and that he would freely deliver up what had cost them so much pains, to the king and queen. These ran away by night to several villages, and declared to all men that Josephus was going to betray them. They also raised great disorders in all the neighbouring cities : insomuch that in the morning a hundred thousand arined men came running together. This multitude was crowded together at Taricheæ, and made a very peevish clamour against him : while some cried out, that they should depose the traitor ; and others that they should burn him. Now John irritated a great many; as did also one Jesus, the son of Sappliias, who was then governor of Tiberias. Then it was that Josephus's friends, and the guards of his body were so affrighted at this violent assault of the multitude, that they all fled away but *four. And as he was asleep they awaked him, as the people were going to set fire to the house. And although those four that remained persuaded him to run away, he was neither surprised at his being deserted, nor at the great multitude that came against him: but leaped out to them with his clothes rent, and ashes sprinkled on his head; with his hands behind him: and his sword hanging at his neck. At this sight his friends, especially those of Taricheæ, commiserated his condition. But those that were come out of the country, and those in their neighbourhood to whom bis government seemed burdensome, reproached him : and bade him produce the money which belonged to them all immediately: and

-- -- -

* All but one. See his Life. VOL. iv.

to confess the agreement he had made to betray them. For they imagined, from the habit in which he appeared, that he would deny nothing of what they had suspected concerning him : and that it was in order to obtain pardon that he had put himself into so pitiable a posture. But this humble appearance was only designed as preparatory to a stratagem of his : who thereby contrived to set those that were so angry at him at variance one with another, about the things they were angry at. However, he promised he would confess all. Hereupon he was permitted to speak: when he said, " I did neither intend to send this money back to Agrippa, nor to gain it myself. For I did never esteem one that was your enemy, to, be my friend : nor did I look upon what would tend to your disadyantage, to be my advantage. But, O people of Taricheæ, I saw that your city stood in more need than others of fortifications for your security : and that it wanted money in order for the building it a wall. I was also afraid lest the people of Tiberias and other cities should lay a plot to seize upon these spoils; and therefore it was that I intended to retain this money privately, that I might encompass you with a wall. But if this does not please you, I will produce what was brought me, and leave it to you to plunder it. But if I have conducted myself so well as to please you, you may, if you think proper, punish your benefactor.”

Hereupon the people of Taricheæ loudly commended him : but those of Tiberias, with the rest of the company, gave him hard names, and threatened what they would do to him. So both sides left off quarrelling with Josephus, and began quarrelling one with another. So he grew bold upon the dependance he had on his friends, who were the people of Taricheæ, and about forty thousand in number; and spake more freely to the whole multitude : and reproached them greatly for their rashness : and told them, that with this money he would build walls about Taricheæ; and would put the other cities in a state of security also. For that they should not want money if they would but agree for whose benefit it was to be procured, and would not suffer themselves to be irritated against him who procured it for them.

Hereupon the rest of the multitude, that had been deluded, retired : but yet so that they went away angry. And two thousand

of them made an assault upon him in their armour. And as he was already gone to his own house, they stood without and threatened him. On which occasion Josephus again used a second stratagem to escape them. For he got upon the top of his house, and with his right hand desired them to be silent, and said he could not tell what they would have: nor could he hear what they said for the confused noise. But he said he would comply with all their demands, in case they would but send some of their number in to him that might talk with him about it. And when the principal of them, with their leaders, heard this, they came into the house. He then drew them to the most retired part of the house, and shut the door of that hall where he put them: and then had them whipped till every one of their inward parts appeared naked. In the mean time the multitude stood round the house; and supposed that he had a long discourse with those that were gone in, about what they claimed of him. He bad then the doors set open immediately, and sent the men out all bloody. Which so terribly affrighted those that had before threatened him, that they threw away their arms, and ran away.

But as for John, his envy grew greater upon this escape of Josephus's: and he framed a new plot against him. He pretended to be sick; and by a letter desired that Josephus would give him leave to use the hot baths that were at Tiberias, for the recovery of his health. Hereupon Josephus, who hitherto suspected nothing of John's plots against him, wrote to the governors of the city, that they would provide a lodging and necessaries for John. Which favours when he had made use of, in two days' time he did what he came about. Some he corrupted with delusive frauds; and others with money: and so persuaded them to revolt from Josephus. Silas, however, who was appointed guardian of the city by Josephus, wrote to him immediately; and informed him of the plot against him. Which epistle, when Josephus had received, he marched with great diligence all night, and came early in the morning to Tiberias. At which time the rest of the multitude met him. But John, who suspected that his coming was not for his advantage, sent one of his friends, and pretended that he was sick; and that being confined to his bed he could not come to pay him his respects. But as soon as Josephus had gotten the people of Tiberias together at the Stadium, and tried to discourse with them about the letters that he had received, John privately sent some armed men, and gave them orders to slay him. But when the people saw that the armed men were about to draw their swords, they cried out. At which cry Josephus turned himself about : and when he saw that the swords were just at his throat, he marched away in great haste to the sea-shore; and left off that speech which he was going to make to the people, upon an elevation of six cubits high. He then seized on a ship which lay in the haven; and leaped into it, with two of his guards; and fled away into the midst of the lake.

Now the soldiers he had with him took up their arms, and marched against the plotters. But Josephus was afraid lest a civil war should be raised by the envy of a few men, and bring the city to ruin. So he sent some of his party to tell them, that they should do no more than provide for their own safety ; that they should not kill any body; nor accuse any for the occasion they had afforded of a disorder. Accordingly these men obeyed his orders, and were quiet. But the people of the neighbouring country, when they were informed of this plot, and of the plotier, got together in great multitudes to oppose John. But he prevented their attempt, and fled away to Gischala ; while the Galileans came running out of their several cities to Josephus. And as they were now become many thousands of armed men, they cried out that they were come against John, the common plotter against their interest: and would at the same time burn him, and that city which had received him. Hereupon Josephus told them that he took their good will to bim kindly : but still he restrained their fury, and intended to subdue his enemies by prudent conduct, rather than by slaying them. So he excepted those of every city which had joined in this revolt with John, by name, who had readily been shown him by those that came from every city; and caused public proclamation to be made, that he would seize upon the effects of those that did not forsake John within five days' time, and would burn both their houses, and their families with fire. Whereupon three thousand of John's party left him immediately : who came to Josephus, and threw their arms down at his feet. John then betook himself, together with his two thousand Syrian runa

gates, from open attempts, to more secret ways of treachery. Accordingly he privately sent messengers to Jerusalem to accuse Josephus, as having too great power : and to let them know that he would soon come, as a tyrant, to their metropolis, unless they prevented him. But this accusation the people were aware of beforehand; and had no regard to it. However, some of the grandees, out of envy, and some of the rulers also, sent money to John privately; that he might be able to get together mercenary soldiers, in order to fight Josephus. They also made a decree of themselves, for recalling him from his government. Yet did they not think that decree sufficient. So they sent withal two thousand five hundred armed men; and four persons of the highest rank among them. Joazar, the son of Nomicus; Ananias, the son of Sadduk, and Simon and Judas, the sons of Jonathan; all very able men in speaking ; that these persons might withdraw the good will of the people from Josephus. These had it in charge, that if he would voluntarily come away they should permit him to come and give an account of his conduct; but if he obstinately insisted upon continuing in his government, they should treat him as an enemy, Now Josephus's friends had sent him word that an army was coming against him : but they gave him no notice beforehand what the reason of their coming was: that being only known among some secret councils of his enemies. And by this means it was that four cities revolted from him immediately; Sepphoris, Gamala, Gischala, and Tiberias. Yet did he recover these cities without war: and when he had routed those four commanders by stratagem; and had taken the most potent of their warriors, he sent them to Jerusalem. And the people of Galilee had great indignation at them, and were in a zealous disposition to slay, not only these forces, but those that sent them also, had not those forces prevented it by running away.

Now John was detained afterward within the walls of Gischala, by the fear he was in of Josephus. But within a few days Tiberias revolted again : the people within it inviting king Agrippa to return to the exercise of his authority there. And when he did not come at the time appointed, and when a few Roman horsemen appeared that day, they expelled Josephus out of the city. Now this reyolt of theirs was presently known at Taricheæ, And as

« PreviousContinue »