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These and many similar motives did Josephus use to these men, to prevent them murdering themselves. But desperation had shut their ears, as having long ago devoted themselves to die; and they were irritated at Josephus. They accordingly ran upon him with their swords in their hands; one from one quarter, and another liom another, and called him a coward : and every one of them appeared opevly, as if he were ready to smite him. But he calling to one of them by name; and looking lile a general to another; and taking a third by the hand; and making a fourth ashamed of bimself by praying him to forbear; and being in this condition distracted with various passions, (as he well might, in the great distress he was then in,) he kept off every one of their swords : and was forced to do like such wild beasts as are encompassed about on every side, who always turn themselves against those that last touched them. Nay, some of their right hands were debilitated hy the reverence they bare to their general, in these his fatal calamities, and their swords dropped out of their hands; and not a few of them there were who, when they aimed to smite him with their swords, they were not thoroughly either willing, or able, to do it.
However, in this extreme distress, he was not destitute of his usual sagacity : but trusting himself to the providence of God, he put his life into hazard, in the following manner : “ Since," said he, “it is resolved among you that you will die, come on, let us commit our mutual deaths to determination by lot. He whom the lot falls on first, let him be killed by him that hath the second lot : and thus fortune shall make its progress through us all.Nor shall any of us perish by his own right hand. For it would be unfair is, when the rest are goue, somebody should repent, and save himself." This proposal appeared to them to be very just : and when he had prevailed with them to determine this matter by Jots, he drew one of the lots for himself also. He who had the first lot laid his neck bare to him that had the next; iis supposing that the general would die among them immediately. For they thought death, if Josephus might but die with them, was sweeter than life. Yet was he with another left to the last : whether we must say it happened so by chance, or whether by the providence of God. And as he was very desirous neither to be condemned
by the lot, nor, if he had been left to the last, to imbrue his right hand in the blood of his countryman, he persuaded him to trust his fidelity to him, and to live as well as himself.
Thus Josephus escaped in the war with the Romans, and in this his own war with his friends, and was led by Nicanor to Vespasian. But now all the Romans ran together to see him; and as the multitude pressed one upon another about their general, there was a tumult of a various kind. While some rejoiced that Josephus was taken: some threatened him; and some crowded to see him very near : but those that were more remote cried out to have this their enemy put to death : while those that were near called to mind the actions he had done, and a deep concern appeared at the change of his fortune. Nor were there any of the Roman commanders, how inuch soever they had been enraged at him before, but relevted when they came to the sight of him.Above all the rest Titus's valour, and Josephus's patience under bis afflictions, made him pity him : as did also the commiseration of his age, when he recalled to mind, that but a little while ago he was fighting, but lay now in the hands of his enemies : which made him consider the power of fortune ; and how quick is the turn of affairs in war; and how no state of nen is sure. For which reason he then made a great many more to be of the same pitiful temper with himself, and induced them to commiserate Josepbus. He was also of great weight in persuading his father to preserve him. However, Vespasian gave strict orders that he should be kept with great caution, as though he would, in a little time, send him to Nero.
When Josephus heard him give those orders, he said, that he had somewhat in his mind that he would willingly say to him alone. When, therefore, they were all ordered to withdraw, excepting Titus, and two of their friends, he said, “ Thou, O Vespasian, thinkest no more than that thou hast taken Josephus himself captive. But I come to thee as a messenger of great tidings. For had not I been sent by God to thee, I knew what was the *law of the Jews in this case ; and how it becomes generals to die. Dost thou send me to Nero ? For what purpose ? Are Nero's successors till they come to thee still alive ? Thou, O Vespasian, art Cæsar and emperor ; thou, and this thy son. Bind me now still faster, and keep me for thyself. For thou, O Cæsar, art not only lord over me, but over the land, and the sea, and all mankind.And certainly I deserve to be kept in closer custody than I now am in, in order to be punished, if I rashly affirm any thing of God.” When he had said this, Vespasian did not immediately believe him; but supposed that Josephus said this, as a cunning trick, in order to his own preservation. But in a little time he was convinced, and believed what he said himself to be true.God himself erecting his expectations, so as to think of obtaining the empire ; and by other signs foreshowing his advancement. He also found Josephus to have spoken truth on other occasions. For one of those friends that were present at that secret conference, said to Josephus, “I cannot but wonder how thou couldest not foretell to the people of Jotapata, that they should be taken : nor couldest foretell this captivity which bath happened to thyself; unless what thou now sayest be a vain thing, in order to avoid the rage that is arisen against thyself.” Josephus replied, “I did foretell to the people of Jotapata that they would be taken on the forty-seventh day ; and that I should be caught alive by the Romans.” Now when Vespasian had inquired of the captives privately about these predictions, he found them to be true; and then he began to believe those that concerned himself. Yet did he not set Josephus at liberty from his bands, but bestowed on him suits of clothes, and other precious gifts. He treated him also in a very obliging manuer, and continued so to do; Titus still joining his interest in the honours that were done him.
*I do not know where to find the law of Moses here mentioned by Josephus, and afterward by Eleazar, VII. 8. and almost implied in l. 13. by Josephus's commendation of Phasaelus for doing so. I mean whereby Jewish generals and people were obliged to kill themselves, rather than go into slavery under heathens. I doubt that would have been no better than self-murder. And I believe it was rather some vain doctrine, or interpretation of the rigid Pharisees, or Essenes, or Herodians, than a just consequence from any law of God delivered by Moses.