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night throughout the country, and falling on the army of Antiochus, put the greater part of them to the sword, the king himself falling among the slain.*
In the mean time Demetrius, being set at liberty by Phraortes, returned to Syria, and, on his brother's death, recovered the kingdom. He did not, however, long enjoy the possession of the sovereignty, for be governed in so tyrannical a manner, and pursued such vicious and wicked practices, that he became universally detested by the people, who, uniting in a confederacy against him, sent proper messengers to Ptolemy Physcon, king of Egypt, requesting that he would send to them a descendant of the house of Seleucus, whom they would imme. diately invest with the sovereignty.
Ptolemy, who was no friend to Demetrius, readily complied with the request of the Syrians, to whom he sent Alexander, surnamed Zabina (who pretended to be the son of the late Alexander) attended by a very consid. erable army. In consequence of this a desperate battle took place between Alexander and Demetrius, the latter of whom being defeated, fled to Ptolemais, where Cleo, patra his wife then resided. He made no doubt of finding protection here, but soon found himself mistaken, for, on his arrival, he was denied entrance into the city. Thus disappointed he betook himself for refuge to Tyre, where, falling into the hands of his enemies, they first made him a prisoner, and then put bim to death.
* It is to be observed that Antiochus's forces (which amounted in number to near 400,000) being dispersed all over the country, were quartered at too great a distance from each other to be able, in any moderate time, to gather together in a body; and as they had grievously oppressed the people in all places where they lay, the inhabit. ants took the advantage of this their disposition, and formed a conspiracy, at one and the same time, to fall upon them in several quar. ters, and cut their throats. This conspiracy was accordingly carried into execution with success, and when Antiochus, with the forces he had about him, hastened to the assistance of the quarters that were near him, he was overpowered and slain; so that out of his numerous army very few escaped. Phraortes, however, (who was then king of Parthia) caused the body of Antiochus to be taken from among the dead, and having put it into a coffin, sent it to Antioch, in order that he might be honorably interred in the sepulchre of his ancestors.
Alexander Zabina, on the defeat and death of De. metrius, ascended the throne of Syria; but he did not long enjoy this high dignity, for Ptolemy Physcon (expecting that he should hold it in homage from him, which the other refused to do) resolved to pull him down as precipitately as be had set him up. To effect this be married his daughter Tryphæna to Antiochus Gryphus, the son of the late Demetrius, whom he furnished with a considerable army to oppose Zabina. Antiochus immediately marched into Syria, and after demolishing several principal places in his way, met Zabina at the head of his forces, whom he attacked with great resolution, killed prodigious numbers of his men, and obliged the rest to save themselves by a precipitate flight. Zabina being among the slain, the conqueror marched with his victorious army to Antioch, where, not meeting with any opposition, he took immediate possession of the Syrian throne.
During these disturbances and revolutions in Syria, Hyrcanus took the opportunity not only of enlarging his own territories, but of shaking off the Syrian yoke like. wise, and making himself wholly independent. He took several cities which were unprovided with garrisons, owing to the great draughts of men made by the kings of Syria for their foreign expeditions. He subdued Sichen, the principal seat of the Samaritans, and destroyed their temple at Mount Gerezim, which Sanballat had built in compliment to his son-in-law Manasseh, the brother of Jaddus the high-priest. He likewise reduced the princi. pal cities in Idumea, and prevailed on the people of the country to become proselytes to the Jewish religion, so that from thenceforward they were incorporated into the same church and nation, and, in time, lost the name of Idumeans, or Edomites,
After Hyrcanus had possessed himself of these places, and had made the necessary regulations for the security of them in future, he returned to Jerusalem, from whence he dispatched ambassadors to Rome to renew the league which his father Simon had made with the Senate. By these ambassadors he complained that the late Antiochus Sidetes had made war upon the Jews, contrary to what the Romans had, in their behalf, decreed in that league ; that the Syrians had taken from them several cities, and made them become tributary for others, and had likewise forced them to a dishonorable peace by besieging Jerusalem.
The Senate received the ambassadors with the most distinguished respect, and after haying heard the complaint of Hyrcanus against the Syrians, decreed as follows: That whatever had been done against the Jews, since the time of the late treaty with Simon, should be all null and void ; that all the places, which had either been taken from them, or made tributary by the Syrians, should be restored, and made free from all homage, tribute, and other services; that, for the future, the Syrian kings should have no right to march their armies through the Jewish territories; that, for all the damages which the Syrians had done the Jews, reparation should be made them; and that ambassadors should be sent from Rome to see this decree put in execution.
Thus was the alliance between Hyrcanus and the Romans renewed in the most ample manner, and by which the Jews obtained more advantageous privileges than they had ever enjoyed since they became subject to the Syrian monarchy.
A short time after this Hyrcanus sent his two sons, Aristobulus and Antigonus, to lay siege to Samaria. Though they were both very young, yet they set about the business with the judgment of experienced warriors, and in the prosecution of it displayed the greatest courage and magnanimity. The Samaritans defended the place with such resolution, that the siege continued for a whole year, at the close of which the besieged, being distressed for want of provisions, and having no reason to expect relief from any quarter, surrendered. In consequence of this Hyrcanus gave orders that the place should be totally demolished, which was accordingly done; after which he caused trenches to be dug in various parts across the ground where it stood, that it might not be afterwards rebuilt.
The destruction of Samaria was the last act of an hostile nature committed by Hyrcanus, who enjoyed the remainder of his life in full quiet from all foreign wars: but, towards the conclusion of it, he met with some trouble from the Pharisees, a prevailing sect among the Jews.* The popularity of these people was so great, from their pretences to extraordinary strictness in religion, that they had obtained the most distinguished reputation and interest among the multitude, whose conduct they could direct even in opposition to the sentiments of the highpriest and the heads of the nation.
This gave some uneasiness to Hyrcanus, who having been educated among the Pharisees, and being fearful lest their popularity might, in time, produce some disagreeable consequences, used various means to gain their esteem and affection. Among other measures to effect this, he one day invited several of their leading men to a splendid entertainment; and when his hospitality had caused a circulation of good humor, he arose from his seat, and addressed them in words to this effect: “ Since (says “ó he) that I profess your principles, it is scarcely necessa6 ry to observe, my friends, that my most sanguine wish 66 is, to render myself acceptable to the Almighty, by ob< serving a strict justice to my neighbor. If I have vio6 lated my duty, it is your business to admonish me, and “ it shall be mine to effect a reformation of my conduct."
As soon as Hyrcanus had finished his address, the greater part of the company respectively praised him for his administration, and gave him all the encomiums due to a brave man and worthy governor. But one of the company, named Eleazar, a man of a malignant disposi. tion, and who had hitherto been silent, rising from his ehair, deliberately addressed Hyrcanus as follows: “ Having declared yourself an advocate for truth and so plain dealing, you cannot be offended if I recommend a
* At this period the Jews were divided into three sects, called Pharisees, Sadducees, and Essenes. The opinion of the Pharisees was, that, in some instances, men were left to their own will, and in others, over-ruled by a particular fate. The Sadducees held that a man's condition was in all cases determined by his own conduct, without any interference of the deity; while the Essenes contended that an irrevocable fate over-ruled every action. In the contentions between these sects, the Sadducecs were supported by the people of quality and wealth, and the Pharisees by the multitude.
“ resignation of the high-priesthood, and that you apply “ yourself only to the discharge of your civil authority.”
Surprized at this, Hyrcanus asked Eleazar what reason he had for giving him such advice: “ Because 66 (said he) we are assured, from the testimony of the An. tó cients among us, that your mother was a captive taken “ in the wars, and being, therefore, the son of a strange “ woman, you are incapable of the office and dignity of “ high-priest.”
As this allegation was known to be totally void of truth, the company resented it with a just indignation. Hyrcanus, in particular, was so exasperated, that he vowed revenge against the person who had uttered so base a calumny. While he was in this disposition, one Jonathan, an intimate friend of his (but a zealous Sadducee) took the opportunity of endeavoring to set Hyrcanus against the whole sect of the Pharisees, and to bring him over to that of the Sadducees. To effect this he suggested to him that it was not the single act of Eleazar, but a thing concerted by the whole party; that Eleazar, in speaking it out, delivered the sentiments of the rest; and that the truth of his observation would be confirmed on demanding what punishment was due to the man who had uttered so vile a falschood, and had slandered the prince and high-priest of his nation.
Hyrcanus took the advice of his friend Jonathan, and consulting the leaders of the Pharisees what punishment should be inflicted on the calumniator, they returned for answer, “ that being a people disposed to mercy, they 6 did not adjudge defamation to be an offence deserving « death, and that they were of opinion imprisonment and 6 whipping would be sufficient punishment."
This answer fully convinced Hyrcanus that what Jonathan had suggested was true, and from that very moment he became a mortal enemy to the whole sect of the Pharisees. He immediately abrogated their traditional constitutions, and enjoined a penalty on all who should observe them; at the same time renouncing their party, and going over to that of the Sadducees.
Having quelled this dissention, Hyrcanus enjoyed the