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OF THE DISCOVERY OF JOSEPHUS BY A WOMAN; HIS SURREN
DER OF HIMSELF TO THE ROMANS, AND HIS SUBSEQUENT TREATMENT BY VESPASIAN.
NOW the Romans searched for Josephus, both out of the hatred they bore him, and because their general was very desirous to have him taken : for he reckoned that if he were once taken, the greatest part of the war would be over. They then searched among the dead, and looked into the most concealed recesses of the city. But as the city was first taken, he was assisted by a certain supernatural Providence ; for he withdrew himself from the enemy, when he was in the inidst of them : and leaped into a certain deep pit, whereto adjoined a large den, which could not be seen by those that were above ground. And here be met with forty persons of eminence, that had concealed themselves; and with provisions sufficient to satisfy them for several days. So in the day time he hid himself from the enemy, who had seized upon all places : and in the night he got up out of the den, and looked about for some way of escaping; and took exact notice of the watch. But as all places were so strictly guarded on his account, that there was no way of getting off unseen, he went down again into the den. Thus he concealed himself two days. But on the third day, when they had taken a woman who had been with them, he was discovered. Whereupon Vespasian sent two tribunes, Paulinus, and Gallicanus; and ordered them to give Josephus their right hands, as a security for his life, and to exhort him to come up.
So they came and invited the man to come up, and gave him assurances that his life should be preserved. But they did not prevail with him. For he gathered suspicions from the probability there was that one who had done so many things against the Romans must suffer for it ; though not from the mild temper of those that invited him. However, he was afraid that he was invited to come up in order to be punished; until Vespasian sent, besides these, a third tribune, named Nicanor, to him : he was one that was well VOL, IV.
known to Josephus, and had been his familiar acquaintance in old time. When he was come, he enlarged upon the natural mildness of the Romans towards those they had once conquered ; and told bim, that he had behaved himself so valiantly, that the commanders rather admired than hated him : that the general was very desirous to have him brought to him, not in order to punish him, for that he could do, though he should not come voluntarily : but that he was determined to preserve a man of his courage. He moreover added, that Vespasian, had he been resolved to impose upon him, would not have sent to him a friend of his own, nor put the fairest colour upon the vilest action, by pretending friendship, and meaning perfidiousness. Nor would he bimself have acquiesced, or come to him, had it been to deceive him.
Now as Josephus began to hesitate with himself about Nicanor's proposal, the soldiery were so angry, that they ran hastily to set fire to the den. But the tribune would not permit them so to do: as being very desirous to take the man alive. And now, as Nicanor urged Josephus to comply, and he understood how the multitude of the enemies threatened him, he called to mind the *dreams which he had dreamed in the night time : whereby God signified to him beforehand, both the future calamities of the Jews, and the events that concerned the Roman emperors. Now Josephus was able to give shrewd conjectures about the interpretation of such dreams as have been ambiguously delivered by God. Moreover, he was not unacquainted with the prophecies contained in the sacred books; as being a priest himself, and of the posterity of priests. And just then was he in an ecstasy; and setting before bim the tremendous images of the dreams he had lately had, he put up a secret prayer to God, and said, “Since it pleaseth thee, who hast created the Jewish nation, to depress the same ; and since all their good fortune is gone over to the Romans; and since thou hast made choice of this soul of mine to foretell what is
* Of these divine afflatus's, or prophetic dreams, by which Josephus foretold, among other things, the coming of Vespasian and Titus to the Roman empire in the days of Nero, and before either Galba, Otho, or Vitellius, were thought of as successors to Nero; and all this attested to by Suetonius and Dio, the Roman historians. See Tacitus, Histor. 1. 10. II. 1. IV. 81. and Sueton. in Vesp. $ 4, 5, 7. and Dio LIX. page 745. See the like prophetic dream in Josephus's account of his own Life, and here presently.
to come to pass hereafter ; I willingly give them my hand, and am content to live. And I protest openly, that I do not go over to the Romans, as a deserter from the Jews, bat as a minister from thee.”
When he had said this, he complied with Nicanor's invitation. But when those Jews who had fled with him understood that he yielded to those that invited him to come up, they came about him in a body, and cried out, “ Nay, indeed, now may the laws of our forefathers, which God ordained himself, well groan to purpose: that God, we mean, who hath created the souls of the Jews of such a temper, that they despise death. O Josephus ! art thou still fond of life? and canst thou bear to see the light in a state of slavery? How soon hast thou forgotten thyself! How many hast thou persuaded to lose their lives for liberty! Thou hast therefore had a false reputation for manhood; and a like false reputation for wisdom, if thou canst hope for preservation from those against whom thou hast fought so zealously; and art however willing to be preserved by them, if they be in earnest. But although the good fortune of the Romans hath made thee forget thyself, we ought to take care that the glory of our forefathers may not be tarnished. We will lend thee our right hand, and a sword. And if thou wilt die willingly, thou wilt die as general of the Jews; but if unwillingly, thou wilt die as a traitor to them." As soon as they said this, they began to thrust their swords at him, and threatened they would kill hin, if he thought of yielding himself to the Romans.
Upon this Josephus was afraid of their attacking him ; and yet thought he should be a betrayer of the commands of God, if he died before they were delivered. So he began to talk like a philosopher to them, in their distress; and said to them: “O my friends, why are we so earnest to kill ourselves ? And why do we set our soul and body, which are such dear companions, at such variance ? Can any one pretend that I am not the man I was formerly? Nay the Ronians are sensible how that matter stands well enough. It is a brave thing to die in war: but so that it be according to the law of war, by the hand of conquerors. If, therefore, I avoid death from the sword of the Romans, I am truly worthy to be killed by my own sword, and my own hand. But if they admit of mercy, and would spare their enemy, how much more ought we to have mercy upon ourselves, and to spare ourselves ? For it is certainly a foolish thing to do that to ourselves, which we quarrel with them for doing to us. I confess freely, that it is a brave thing to die for liberty. But still so that it be in war, and done by those who take that liberty from us. But in the present case, our enemies neither meet us in battle, nor do they kill us. Now he is equally a coward who will not die, when he is obliged to die : and he who will die, when he is not obliged so to do. What are we afraid of when we will not go up to the Romans? Is it death? If so, what we are afraid of when we but suspect our enemies will inflict it on us, shall we inflict it on ourselves for certain ? But it may be said, we must be slaves. And are we then in a clear state of liberty at present? It may al. so be said, that it is a manly act for one to kill himself. No, certainly; but a most unmanly one. As I should esteem that pilot to be an arrant coward, who, out of fear of a storm, should sink his ship of his own accord. Now self-murder is a crime most remote from the common nature of all animals; and an instance of impiety against God our creator. Nor indeed is there any animal that dies by its own contrivance, or by its own means. For the desire of life is a law engaven in them all. On which account we deem those that openly take it away from us to be our enemies: and those that do it by treachery are punished for so doing. And do not you think that God is very angry, when a man does injury to what he hath bestowed on him ? For from him it is that we have received our being: and we ought to leave it to his disposal to take that being away from us. The bodies of all men are indeed mortal, and are created out of corruptible matter. But the soul is ever immortal, and is a portion of the divinity that inhabits in our bodies. Besides, if any one destroy or abuse a depositum he hath received from a mere man, he is esteemed a wicked and perfidious person. But then if any one cast out of his body this divine depositum, can we imagine that he who is thereby affronted does not know of it? Moreover, our law justly ordains that slaves that run away from their masters shall be punished, though the masters they run away from may have been wicked masters to them. And shall we en
deavour to run away from God, who is the best of all masters, and not think ourselves guilty of impiety? Do not you know that those who depart out of this life according to the law of nature, and pay that debt which was received from God, when he that lent it us is pleased to require it back again, enjoy eternal fame; that their houses and their property are sure ? that these souls are pure, and obedient, and obtain a most holy place in heaven? From whence, in the revolutions of ages, they are again sent into pure bodies. While the souls of those whose hands have acted madly against themselves, are received by the darkest place in Hades; and while God, who is our father, punishes those that offend against either of them in their posterity. For which reason God hates such doings : and the crime is punished by our most wise legislator. Accordingly our *laws determine, that the bodies of such as kill themselves should be exposed till the sun be set, without burial : although at the same time it be allowed lawful 10 bury our enemies sooner. The laws of other nations also enjoin such men's hands to be cut off, when they are dead, which had been made use of in destroying themselves when alive : while they reckoned, that as the body is alien from the soul, so is the hand alien from the body. It is therefore, my friends, a right thing to reason justly, and not add to the calamities which men bring upon us, impiety towards our Creator. If we have a mind to preserve ourselves, let us do it. For to be preserved by those our enemies, to whom we have given so many demonstrations of our courage, is no way inglorious. But if we have a inind to die, it is good to die by the hand of those that have conquered us. For my part I will not run over to our enemies' quarters, in order to be a traitor to myself. For certainly I should then be much more foolish than those that deserted to the enemy; since they did it in order to save themselves : and I should do it for my own destruction. However, I heartily wish the Romans may prove treacherous in this matter. For if, after their offer of their right hand for security, I be slain by them, I shall die cheerfully, and carry away with me the sense of their perfidiousness, as a consolation greater than victory itself.”
* Where this law of Moses is to be found I do not know.