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“ It is certainly reasonable to lament the afflictions we 66 suffer from the late Providential calamity; but I must (ó observe that, from a dread of the power of man, to “ sink into despondency, argues a degree of pusillanimity “ unworthy the character you have hitherto maintained. “ Notwithstanding our late affliction, I am so far from “ considering our enemies as objects of fear, that I am
inclined to suppose the shocking event was intended © by Providence as a temptation to draw the Arabians 6 into our power, that we may take a proper vengeance 4 for the numerous wrongs they have done us: they do 6. not depend on the number or courage of their troops, 6 but rest all their hopes of success in the idea of our “ being reduced to a state of misery. What hopes can 66 be more deceiving than those which wholly rely on the “ distresses of our adversaries, instead of being founded
6 more uncertain than success and adversity, and in “ evidence of this assertion it is only necessary to men6 tion the late engagement: we were elated with the idea s of a complete victory, and the next hour subjected to " the mercy of the enemy. The foundation of your fears « is to me an assurance of success; for great confidence 6 renders people unwary. Our late defeat must be at“ tributed to your inconsiderate and rash behavior in so « uncautiously attacking the enemy, which afforded “ Athenion the opportunity of turning the event of the “ battle in favor of his friends. Our deliberations are 66 now conducted with judgment and temper; and hence “ we may reasonably entertain the hope of victory. Let “ us preserve our spirits till we come into the field, and “ then proceed to convince the iniquitous foe that our rep. “ utation is infinitely dearer to us than our lives: let us “ bravely encounter every danger and difficulty rather “ than yield to the Arabians, whom we have so frequently (ó subjected to our power.
“ But whence this consternation on account of the 66 earthquake? Such contentions of the elements arise in 66 the common course of nature, and are to be considered % in themselves as calamities, and not as the presages of “ misfortunes. Signs may, perhaps, appear to predict < pestilence, famine, or earthquakes; but when these 66 events arrive, the more violent they are, the shorter is 66 their duration. Suppose we do not succeed in this war, 6 can our sufferings be greater than those we experienced “ from the earthquake? What fate but ruin can these 66 people expect, who, in violation of all laws, both “ human and Divine, have barbarously murdered our 6 ambassadors, and impiously offered sacrifices on so “ melancholy an occasion? Can these betrayers of public 66 faith hope to escape the vengeance of Divine justice? 6 Let them rather tremble at the impending destruction “ that (animated by the glorious spirit of our ancestors) “we shall speedily hurl upon them. Re-assume your 6 courage, my brave friends and brother warriors, and let • us proceed, not to defend our wives or children, but to “ avenge the deaths of our ambassadors: the very idea of “ fighting in the cause of those murdered heroes will ani. “ mate us to greater exploits than the utmost efforts of “ the surviving commanders. Cheerfully follow where I 6. lead, and I shall be satisfied. But one caution, how. 6 ever, is necessary: be not rash and precipitate; and “ rely on my assurance that victory will be the reward of “ our bravery.”
This speech had the desired effect, the soldiers shaking off all despondency, and resuming their natural courage and alacrity. Herod, after having offered up sacrifices, crossed the river Jordan, and encamped his army at Phil. adelphia, at no great distance from the enemy. Between the two armies was a castle, of which the contending parties were equally desirous to get possession. A party of the Arabians attempted to gain the castle, but the Jews, without much difficulty, repulsed them, and soon after took possession of the hill. Herod daily arranged his men in order of battle, and took every possible method to provoke the enemy to an engagement. In point of num. bers the Arabians had the superiority, but the Jews were by far the most courageous and intrepid. A general consternation appeared in the Arabian army, and Altenus, their general, was particularly alarmed. Herod, being unable to draw the enemy out, attacked them in their en. trenchments, and the whole army was thrown into the utmost disorder. During the battle the slaughter was not great; but Herod proving victorious, prodigious numbers of the enemy were slain in the pursuit, and others being trampled to death by their own people, the loss of men amounted to about five thousand. The rest were driven into their camp, where they were soon surrounded and closely besieged by Herod's forces. Being in great distress from want of water, they sent ambassadors to offer Herod fifty talents, on condition of his putting a period to the war; but he treated the ambassadors with the utmost contempt, not even condescending to hear the terms they were commissioned to propose. Their thirst at length became so intolerable that, in the space of five days, no less than four thousand surrendered themselves to Herod; and on the sixth day, in the extremity of despair, the rest engaged in battle. On the first attack, seven thousand of the Arabians were slain, by which the rest were taught that Herod was a skilful commander; and being thus effectually humbled, they submitted themselves to the protection of the conqueror.
The reduction of the Arabians highly gratified the ambitious Herod; but this sunshine of prosperity was greatly eclipsed by his receiving intelligence of the defeat of Antony at the battle of Actium, by his competitor Cæsar Octavianus. Herod was conscious to himself of the services he had rendered Antony, and was therefore fearful lest the conqueror, on that account, should deprive him of his kingdom, and perhaps again restore Hyrcanus, who had once reigned under the protection of the Romans, These reflections greatly embarrassed Herod, who at length resolved to remove his own fears by taking away the life of him whom he now considered as his rival in the sovereignty.
While Herod was ruminating on this horrid design, the very family of Hyrcanus furnished him with an opportunity of executing bis purposes. Alexandra, the daughter of Hyrcanus, seeing her father careless and unconcerned at the miseries of his family, represented to him the disgrace of suffering the indignities which Herod daily put upon them, and advised him to apply to Malchus, king of Arabia, who would not fail to assist
him, adding, that if Cæsar should call Herod to account for his former friendship to Antony, which might reasona. bly be expected, the crown would certainly devolve to him.
Hyrcanus at first turned a deaf ear to the solicitations of his daughter, but her importunities at length prevailing, he wrote a letter to Malchus, the care of which he com. mitted to one Dositheus, whom he considered as a confi. dential friend, and whom he believed to be a most inveterate foe to Herod. But in these suggestions he was greatly mistaken, for Dositheus no sooner received the letter than he carried it to the king, thinking it would be more to his interest to solicit his protection than faithfully to discharge the business in which he was engaged by Hyrcanus. As soon as Herod read the letter, he made his acknowledgments to Dositheus for his diligence, and requested that he would carry the letter to Malchus, and bring back his answer, as it would give him the highest satisfaction to know how he would act in so interesting a business; but at the same time strictly cautioned him to keep the whole a profound secret.
Thus directed, Dositheus set forward on his journey, and having delivered Hyrcanus's letter to Malchus, he brought back an answer to the following purport: “ That 6 he was willing to give entertainment to Hyrcanus and “ his family: that if he chose to bring with him all those 66 Jews who remained true to his interest, they should “ likewise be received in the most hospitable manner: " that he was ready to send a proper force to conduct “ them in safety; and heartily disposed to give Hyrcanus út all possible assistance in any way he should require."
On the receipt of this letter, Herod sent for Hyrcanus, and demanded of him whether or not he held any correspondence with Malchus, king of Arabia. Hyrcanus answered in the negative, upon which Herod produced the letter, and ordered it to be publicly read before the whole assembly. This was accordingly done, and Hyrcanus being thus self-convicted, Herod ordered him to instant death, at which time he was in the 81st year of his age.
“ Thus (says Josephus) ended the life of Hyrcanus; a life long and troublesome, and chequered with a vast variety of fortune. He was promoted to the high-priest.
swers, and of this was fet, Herohe sist wel of Hyrcata vast
hood during the reign of his mother Alexandra, and continued to discharge the duties of it nine years, at the end of which his mother died, and he assumed the reins of government. He had not, however, been in possession of the sovereignty above three months, when he was expelled by his brother Aristobulus. After this he was restored to his former station by Pompey, who put him in possession of all his dignities, and for the space of forty years he continued in the enjoyment of them; but was at length dethroned by Antigonus, suffered the pain and disgrace of having his ears cut off, and was carried away prisoner among the Parthians. After remaining some time in this situation, he obtained his liberty, and returned home, flattering himself with great advantages from the friendship of Herod; but in this hope he was so disappointed, that the latter caused him to suffer an ignominious death at a most advanced age, after having experienced so many of the malicious turns of fortune. He was distinguished by the candor and moderation of his disposition, as well as by his regard to the laws of equity. He was remarkable for his love of ease, and generally entrusted the administration of public affairs to the care of others, from a conviction that he was himself ill-calculated for the management of them. This easiness of disposition laid the principal foundation of the fortunes of Antipater and Herod; yet, in the end, it so happened, that he fell a sacrifice to that very goodness of temper which ought to have been his protection."
Herod, having obviated all grounds of fear by the death of Hyrcanus, prepared to wait on Cæsar, who, with the assent of the senate and people of Rome, had now as. sumed the title of emperor, and surname of Augustus. Though he had no reason to expect any indulgence from the emperor, yet he determined to apply to him, but, lest his mother-in-law Alexandra might, in his absence, occasion some tumult, he committed the care of the government to his brother Pheroras. His own relations he sent to the castle of Massada, laying strong injunctions on his brother that if any misfortune should arise to them, he should resolutely support his authority, and protect them in his name. His wife Mariamne and her mother he se
had no determina mishte care
casion some formats Alexandra mic Pply to him, but, lest