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THE

*LIFE

op

FLAVIUS JOSEPHUS.

THE family from which I am derived is not an ignoble one ; but hath descended all along from the priests. And as nobility among several people is of a different origin, so with us to be of the sacerdotal dignity is an indication of the splendour of a family. Now I am not only sprung from a sacerdotal family in general, but from the first of the ftwenty-four courses. And as among

*N. B. Josephus wrote, or at least finished, this account of his own life, as an appendix to his Antiquities, after the third year of Trajan, A. D. 100, and at least seven years after he finished those Antiquities.

+ We may hence correct the error of the Latin copy of the lid, Book against Apion (for the Greek is there lost :) which says, there were then only four tribes or courses of the priests, instead of twenty-four. Nor is this testimony to be disregarded, as if Josephus there contradicted what he had affirmed here : because even the account there given, better agrees to twenty-four than four courses : while he says that each of those courses contained above 5000 men ; which multiplied by only four will not make many more than 20,000 priests : whereas the number 120.000, as multiplied by twenty-four, seems much the most probable, they being about one-tenth of the whole people, even after the captivity. See Ezra ii. 36–39, Ne. hem. vii. 42, 1 Esd. v. 24, 25, with Ezra ü. 64, Nehem. vii. 66, 1 Esd. v. 41. Nor will this common reading or notion of but four courses of priests agree with Josephus's own farther assertion elsewhere. Antiq. VII. 14, that David's partition of the priests into twenty-four courses had continued to that day,

us there is not only a considerable difference between one family of each course and another, I am of the chief family of that first course. Nay, by my mother, I am of the royal blood. For the children of Asmoneus, from whom that family was derived, had both the offices of the high-priesthood, and the dignity of a king, for a long time together. I will accordingly set down my progenitors in order. My grandfather's father was named Simon, with the addition of Psellus. He lived at the same time with that son of Simon the high-priest, who first of all the high-priests was named *Hyrcanus. This Simon Psellus had nine sons. One of which was Matthias, called Ephlias. He married the daughter of Jonathan, the high-priest, Which Jonathan was the first of the sons of Asmoneus, who was high-priest, and was the brother of Simon the high-priest also. This Matthias had a son called Matthias Curtis; and that in theffirst year of the government of Hyrcanus. His son's name was Joseph; born in the Ininth year of the reign of Alexandra. Hisson Matthias was born in the tenth llyear of the reign of Archelaus : as I was born to Matthias on the first year of the reign of Caius Cæsar.♡ I have three sons; Hyrcanus, the eldest, was born on the **fourth year of the reign of Vespasian ; as was Justus born on the ttseventh and Agrippa on the ininth. Thus have I set down the genealogy of my family, as I have found it described |||| in the public records; and so bid adieu to those who calumniate me, as of a lower origin.

Now my father Matthias was not only eminent on account of his nobility, but had a higher commendation on account of his righteousness; and was in great reputation in Jerusalem, the greatest city we have. I was myself brought up with my brother, whose name was Matthias ; for he was my own brother, by both father and mother; and I made great proficiency in the improvements of my learning; and appeared to have both a great memory, and understanding, Moreover, when I was a child, and about fourteen

* See Antiq. XVIII, 4.

+ B. C. 134.

| An. 70. A. D. 7.

A. D. 37.

** A. D. 72. It A. D. 75.

II A. D. 77. XIU An eminent example of the cure of the Jews about their genealogies, especially as to the priests.

*

years of age, I was commended by all for the love I had to learning! On which account the high-priests and principal men of the city came frequently to me, in order to know my opinion about the accurate understanding of points of the law. And when I was about sixteen years old, I had a mind to make trial of the several sects that were among us. These sects are three: the first is that of the Pharisees; the second that of the Sadducees; and the third that of the Essenes; as we have frequently told you. For I thought that by this means I might choose the best, if I were once acquainted with them all. So I contented myself with hard fare, and underwent great difficulties and *went through them all. Nor did I content myself with these trials oply: but when I was informed that one whose name was Banus lived in the desert, and used no other clothing than grew upon trees; and had no other food than what grew of its own accord; and bathed himself in cold water frequently, both by night and by day, in order to preserve his ebastity, I imitated him in those things; and continued with him three years. So when I had accomplished my desires, I returned back to the city, being now nineteen years old : and began to conduct myself according to the rules of the sect of the Pharisees : which is of kin to the sect of the Stoics, as the Greeks call them.

But when I was in the ftwenty-sixth year of my age, it happened that I took a voyage to Rome; and this on the occasion which I shall now deseribe. At the time when Felix was procurator of Judea, there were certain priests of my acquaintance, and very excellent persons they were ; whom on a trilling occasion he had put into bonds, and sent to Rome, to plead their cause before Cæsar. These I was desirous to procure deliverance for: and that especially because I was informed that they were not unmindful of piety towards God, even under their afflictions ; but supported themselves with *figs and nuts. Accordingly I came to Rome; though it were through a great number of hazards by sea. For as our ship was lost in the Adriatic sea, we that were in it being about tsix hundred in number, swam for our lives all the night. When upon the first appearance of the day, and upon our sight of a ship of Cyrene, I and some others, eighty in all, by God's providence survived the rest, and were taken up into the other ship. And when I had thus escaped and was come to Dicearchia, which the Italians call Puteoli, I became acquainted with Aliturius, an actor of plays, and much beloved by Nero, but a Jew by birth : and through his interest became known to Poppea, Cæsar's wife, and took care, as soon as possible, to entreat her to procure that the priests might be set at liberty. And when, besides this favour, I had obtained many presents from Poppea, I returned home again.

* When Josephus here says that from sixteen to nineteen, or for three years, he made trial of the three Jewish sects, the Pharisees, the Sadducees, and the Essenes ; and yet says presently, in all our copies, that he staid besides with one particular ascetic called Banus, tap avtw, with him; and this still before he was nineteen; there is little room left for his trial of the three other sects. I suppose, therefore, that for map avrw, with him, the old reading might be tap avtoiy, with them: which is a very small emendation, and takes away the difficulty before us. Nor is Dr. Hudson's conjecture, hinted at by Mr. Hall in his preface to the Doctor's edition of Josephus, at all improbable; that this Banus might be a follower of John the Baptist : and that from him Josephus might easily imbibe such notions as afterward prepared him to have a favourable opinion of Jesus Christ himself, who was attested to by John the Baptist,

† A. D. 63.

And now I perceived innovations were already begun; and that many were very much elevated in hopes of a revolt from the Romans. I, therefore, endeavoured to restrain these tumultuous persons, and persuaded them to change their minds; and laid before their eyes against whom it was that they were going to fight, and told them that they were inferior to the Romans not only in martial skill, but also in good fortune : and desired them not rashly, and after the most foolish manner, to bring the most terri. ble mischiefs upon their country, upon their families, and upon themselves. And this I said with vehement exhortation : because I foresaw that the end of such a war would be mosi unfortunate to

* We may note here, that religious men among the Jews, or at least those that were priests, were some times ascetics asso, and like Daniel and his companions in Babylon, Dan. i. 8–16, ate no flesh, but figs, nuts, &c. This was like the austere diet of the Christian ascetics in Passion Week. Constitut. V. 18.

+ It has been thought the number of Paul and his companions on shipboard, Acts xxvii. 38, which are 376, in our copies, are too many Whereas we find here, that Josephus and his companions, a very few years after the other, were about 600.

us. But I could not persuade them : for the madness of desperate men was too hard for me.

I was then afraid lest, by inculcating these things so often, I should incur their hatred, and their suspicions; as if I were of our enemies' party; and should run into the danger of being seized by them, and slain; since they were already possessed of Antonia, which was the citadel. So I retired into the inner court of the temple. Yet did I go out of the temple again, after *Manahem and the principal of the band of robbers were put to death; when I abode among the high-priests, and the chief of the Pharisees. But no small fear seized upon us when we saw the people in arms; while we ourselves knew not what we should do ; and were not able to restrain the seditious. However, as the danger was directly upon us, we pretended that we were of the same opinion with them: but only advised them to be quiet for the present : and to let the enemy go away: still hoping that Gessius Florus would not be long ere he came with great forces : and so put an end to these seditious proceedings.

But upon his coming and fighting, the was beaten : and a great many of those that were with him fel). And this disgrace which Gessius with Cestius received became the calamity of our whole nation. For those that were fond of the war were so far elevated with this success, that they had hopes of finally conquering the Romans. The following circumstance also afforded another cause for carrying on the sedition : those that dwelt in the neighbouring cities of Syria seized upon such Jews as dwelt among them, with their wives, and children, and slew them; when they had not the least occasion of complaint against them. For they did neither attempt any innovation, or revolt from the Romans; nor had they shown any marks of hatred or treacherous designs towards the Syrians. But what was done by the inhabitants fof Scythopolis was the most impious and the most criminal of all. For when the Jews their enemies came upon them from without, they forced the Jews that were among them to bear arms against their own countrymen : which it is unlawful for us to do. And when, by their

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* Of the War, II. 17. + Of the War, II. 18. Of the War, II. 18. || The Jews might collect this unlawfulness of fighting against their brethren, from that law of Moses, Levit. xix. 16. “ Thou shalt not stand against the blood

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