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When Antony arrived at Bithynia he was waited on by ambassadors from most princes and states in that part of the world to congratulate him on his late success, who sent considerable presents to him in order to secure his future friendship. The factious Jews took this opportunity of endeavoring to raise fresh disturbances. They sent several principal people of the Jewish nation to Antony, exhibiting violent complaints against Phasael and Herod, whom they accused of having usurped, and arbitrarily exercised, the sovereign authority of Judea, leaving Hyr. canus only the name of king. But Herod, by his artful management, defeated all their designs, for knowing on what business they were gone, he dispatched messengers to Antony with a considerable sum of money as a present, which had so powerful an effect, that Antony would not pay any regard to the complaints laid against him.
When Antony arrived at Ephesus, Hyrcanus, and such of the principal Jews who were in his interest, sent ambassadors to him with a crown of gold, and various other presents, at the same time requesting that their countrymen, who were carried away prisoners
by Cassius, contrary to the rules of war, might be set at liberty, and restored to those possessions of which they had been unjustly deprived.
Antony, being pleased with the compliment paid him, and thinking the request made by the Jews strictly just and reasonable, readily complied; and in consequence thereof wrote to Hyrcanus as follows: “ Marcus Antonius, Emperor, to Hyrcanus the High
priest and Prince of the Jews, greeting. 6. Forasmuch as we have been assured of the regard " that you and your people entertain for us (agreeable to 6 what we have formerly experienced) by your ambassa. “ dors at Ephesus, who have honorably discharged their “ commission; and forasmuch as we are convinced of
your sincerity, piety and virtue, by better proofs than “ verbal professions, we accept your friendship, and “ readily agree to your proposals. We will take care 6 that you and your people participate in the same en.
“joyments with us; and for this purpose have already 6 sent orders that the Jews, who have been made slaves
by Cassius, or his order, be immediately set at liberty, “ And we farther command that all the privileges granted
by us be peaceably enjoyed by you and your heirs, “ forbidding the 'Tyrians from molesting you, directing “ that they restore all the goods and estates of which the “ Jews have been deprived; and declaring our accept,
ance of the crown and presents you have been pleased “ to transmit to us by the hands of your ambassadors."
At the same time that Antony sent this letter to Hyrcanus, he dispatched messengers to the heads of the Tyrians, with an edict to the following effect: 6 The Emperor Marcus Antonius to the senate, magis
trates and people of Tyre, greeting. 66 Whereas the ambassadors of Hyrcanus, high-priest 66 and prince of the Jews, have signified to us at Ephesus, “ that when our enemies had usurped possession of this 66 province, you seized the lands of many of those
people to our use: now know ye, that as we embarked 6 in the late war for the public welfare, and promotion “ of religion, against the rebels, we hereby command 6 that you not only live in friendship with our allies the “ Jews, but return to the proprietors whatever was “ siezed by the enemies, to whom the senate not having “ given right of possession, they could not transfer any “ right to others, as what they possessed was in conse“ quence of unlawful seizure. Having now subdued our “adversaries, we judge it expedient to re-establish our “ friends in the possession of their estates and properties : 66 wherefore, if you at present possess any lands or "estates, heretofore the property of Hyrcanus prince of " the Jews, which were seized during the invasion of “ Cassius, we command that they be immediately de“ livered to the persons who originally owned them; and “ if any doubts or difficulties arise, we will enquire into " them when we come into your country, and see that “justice is equally administered.”
Notwithstanding the great protection Hyrcanus, and consequently Phasael and Herod, together with all tbose
Jews who were in their interest, obtained from these decrees of Antony, and notwithstanding the rebuff that their enemies had met with in their application to Antony at Bithynia, yet they were still resolved to make another attempt for obtaining their ends. Accordingly, Antony going to Daphne, near Antioch, no less than one hundred of the most considerable people among the factious Jews repaired to him in a body, in order to repeat the charges which had been before exhibited against Phasael and Herod; and the most eloquent speakers were appointed to urge their complaints. Antony now thought proper to give them a hearing; and the defence was undertaken by Massala and Hyrcanus, the latter being induced to plead on account of his relationship to the parties accused. Antony, having heard both parties, demanded of Hyrcanus whom he considered as the most perfectly qualified for public administration. To which he replied, that he knew no persons so capable of the government as Pbasael and Herod. This declaration was highly satisfactory to Antony, who still held in grateful recollection the friendly reception and liberal entertaininent he had received from their father Antipater at the time Gabinius invaded Judea. He therefore, by way of acknowledgment for past favors received from Antipater, made his two sons, Herod and Phasael, tetrarchs,* and committed all the affairs of Judea to their administration. This he confirmed by letters to the Jews; and, to oblige them to obey what he had done, he detained fifteen out of the hundred as hostages, whom he would have put to death had it not been for the intercession of Herod.
The benevolence of Herod, however, had little weight with his enemies, who were no sooner dismissed than
The word tetrarch, which sometimes occurs in Scripture (as in Matt. xiv. 1. Luke iii. 1, 19. ix. 7. Acts xiii. 1.) and is frequently used among the descendants of Herod the Great, signifies a lord that has the fourth part of a state, province or kingdom, without wearing a diadem, or bearing the title of a king. But it must not be always understood in a rigorous sense, because the name of tetrarch was given to him who possessed sometimes an half, and sometimes a third part, of any principality; nay, frequently the name of king was given to him who was but a tetrarch, and that of a kingdom, to a tetrarchy.
they concerted new schemes to destroy him. When Antony arrived at Tyre they dispatched no less than a thousand of their principal men to him with accusations of the like nature as before against Herod and Phasael. These people were so outrageous that Antony commanded the magistrates of the city to disperse them, and in every respect to maintain the authority of the tetrarchs he had established. Herod and Hyrcanus, who had likewise gone to Tyre on this occasion, went to the deputies, and in a friendly manner expostulated with them on the dangerous tendency of their conduct, and exhorted them to moderation, lest the ruin of themselves and their whole nation should be the consequences. But these remonstrances only tended to increase their insolence and resentment; and Antony, finding himself under the necessi. ty of reducing them by force of arms, some were killed, and many wounded. Hyrcanus caused the slain to bé decently interred, and ordered all necessary care to be taken of such as were wounded. But this beneficence had no effect upon those who escaped: they continued their outrageous proceedings, and committed various acts of violence, at which Antony was so irritated that he ordered the fifteen hostages, who had been left with him at Daphne, to be put to death, and threatened a severe revenge against the rest unless they instantly dispersed. This had the desired effect, the remaining deputies immediately leaving Tyre, and returning to Jerusalem.
Not long after this, Herod and his brother found they had enemies to contend with who were much more powerful than those with whom they had hitherto been engaged. Antigonus, the son of Aristobulus, after being defeated by Herod on the borders of Judea, retired to Parthia, where he was kindly received and protected by the prince of that country. After he had been some time here, and established an interest among the most considerable persons of that nation, he engaged to pay them a thousand talents, and present them with five hundred of the finest women in the country, if they would assist him in the recovery of his father's kingdom.
The Parthians readily accepted the proposal of Antigonus, and the king sent his general with him, at the head of a very powerful army, to invade Judea. As soon as they entered the country, great numbers of the Jews joined them in their march, and when they came to Jerusalem the faction that hated the two brothers immediately declared for Antigonus. Herod and Phasael, together with Hyrcanus, having planted themselves, with their respective forces, in different parts of the city, held out for some time with great resolution, till at length, Hyrcanus and Phasael being taken prisoners by the Parthipas, and Herod, on that account, not being able to de. fend the city alone, made his escape by night. He took with him his mother Cypros and his sister Salome, Mariamne his wife, and Alexandra his mother-in-law, together with a great number of his principal friends; and with them he made the best of his way to Massada, a prodigious strong fortress, built on the top of a very high mountain near the west side of the lake Asphaltites.
As soon as the Parthians understood that Herod had fled from the city, they immediately marched into it, and plundered the houses of the principal people who had left them for the safety of their persons. They made booty of all the property they could find, and even seized the treasure of the royal palace; but the spoil was not so considerable as they expected, for Herod, being sensible of their rapacious disposition, had the precaution to remove his most valuable treasure, and his example was followed by all those who attended him to Massada.
Having plundered Jerusalem and the adjacent country, the Parthians declared Antigonus king of Judea, and then delivered to him Hyrcanus and Phasael in chains. Phasael, knowing that his death was determined, put a voluntary end to his life and sufferings; and not having the liberty of his hands to dispatch himself, such was his resolution, that he beat out his brains against the walls of the prison.* As for Hyrcanus, Antigonus ordered that
Josephus tells us a report was circulated that Phasael had repented of having offered violence to himself, and that Antigonus sent a physician to him, who administered poison to his wound, and by these means put an end to his existence. He farther says, that Phasael, previous to his decease, being informed by a woman that his brother had escaped, declared he should die happy, since he should leave a friend who would revenge his injuries.