Page images

mediately repaired to Aretas, to whom (from his great power and influence) he was readily admitted, and kindly received. To this prince he represented Aristobulus as a most abominable character, and recommended Hyrcanus as a man of the most extraordinary merit: he exhorted him not to deny succor to a prince who was most cruelly oppressed, observing at the same time that he would obtain great honor from generously affording Hyrcanus relief, and that kings were reciprocally bound to support each other in their legal claims and privileges. Aretas promised to comply with his request, on condition that Hyrcanus, in case of victory, should restore those towns which had been taken from his father Alexander; upon which Antipater took his leave and returned to Jerusalem.

Antipater, having prepared Hyrcanus to petition, and Aretas to comply with his request, conducted the latter out of the city by night, and accompanied him to Petra, where the royal palace of Arabia was situated. On his arrival there, he introduced Hyrcanus to the king, and strongly recommended him to bis protection. The king received him very kindly, and Hyrcanus giving him his word to comply with the conditions he had mentioned to Antipater, Aretas promised to use his utmost endeavors for restoring him to the regal dignity. : Aretas was as good as his word, for he soon after entered Judea with an army of fifty thousand men, who, being joined with the Jews that were of Hyrcanus's party,

plete victory, pursued him to Jerusalem. On his arrival there he laid close siege* to the city and temple in the latter of which Aristobulus took shelter) and would certainly have taken it, had it not been for the following ineident.

* While Aretas laid before Jerusalem he suffered many acts to be committed of a very outrageous and barbarous nature, one of which is thus related by Josephus. There lived at Jerusalem one Onias, a man of great reputation for the sanctity of his life, and who, by his prayers, had been thought to have once obtained rain from heaven in an extremity of drought. The besiegers having heard this, and imagining that his curses might be as prevalent as his prayers, brought him into the camp, and there pressed him to curse Aristobulus and all that were with him. He opposed their request as long as he could; but at length, finding no rest from their importunities, and that they were resolved to mał-treat him unless

Great and Tigranes, king of Armenia. The former ordered Scaurus, one of his lieutenants, to lead the army under his command from Armenia into Syria. Scaurus obeyed the orders of his master, but on his arrival at Damascus he found that Metellus and Lellius had reduced the place and drawn off their forces. In consequence of this, and having received intelligence of the situation of affairs in Judea, he thought it most advisable to lead his army into that country, which he accordingly did. On his way he was met by two ambassadors, one from Aristobulus, and the other from Hyrcanus, who were commissioned to supplicate the Romans to espouse the cause of their respective masters. The ambassador from Aristobulus presented Scaurus with four hundred talents, which sum prevailed above all the arguments that could be used by the other ambassador in favor of Hyrcanus. In consequence of this Scaurus dispatched messengers to Hyrcanus and Aretas, commanding them, in the name of Pompey the Great and the Roman Senate, immediately to raise the siege and draw off their troops, threatening them with a declaration of war in case of refusal. Aretas, dreading the indignation of so powerful a people as the Romans, im

"...oponeo pobede no hi mediately raised the siege, and marching his forces

ha through Judea retired to Philadelphia, while Scaurus returned with his troops to Damascus, Aristobulus, however, was of too enterprizing a disposition to repress the desire of conquest, because the departure of the enemy had left him in a state of security. Ile therefore collected together his troops, and pursued Hyrcanus and Aretas to a

he complied, he lifted up his hands to heaven, and, as he was standing in the midst of them, said, “0 Lord God, Ruler of the universe, u since both we that stand before thee are thy people, and they that “ are besieged in the temple are thy priests, I humbly beseech thee “ not to hear the prayers of either of them against the other." On the good man's saying this, those who had brought him to the place were so enraged that they immediately fell upon him and stoned him to death,

place named Papyron, where, falling on their rear, he put about seven thousand to the sword, among whom was Cephalon, the brother of Antipater.

A short time after this, Pompey himself went into Syria, and took up his residence at Damascus, where he received ambassadors from the princes of several nations, soliciting his friendship and protection. Among the rest Hyrcanus and Aristobulus sent their deputies, requesting that he would be pleased to determine the controversy that had so long subsisted between them, with respect to the right of sovereignty over the Jewish nation.

When Pompey had heard what the ambassadors had to say in favor of their respective masters, he ordered that the two brothers should appear in person before him, that he might be the better able to enquire into the merits of the cause, and determine it in such a manner as might be most consistent with reason and justice.

In consequence of this, the two brothers waited on Pompey to receive his decision; and at the same time great numbers of the chief men of the Jews went to remonstrate against them both. On their arrival at Damascus, Pompey thought proper first to hear the sense of the people, who being accordingly admitted to him for that purpose, they pleaded as follows: 66 That it had been formerly the 6 usage of their nation to be governed by the high-priest s of the God whom they worshipped, who, without as66 suming any other title, administered justice to them, « according to the laws and constitutions transmitted 66 down to them from their forefathers. They owned, in66 deed, that the two contending brothers were of the sa

6 changed the old, and introduced a new forin of gov“ ernment, and, therefore, they prayed that they might 66 not be governed by a king."

Pompey, having heard the sense of the people, next gave audience separately to the two contending brothers.

66. That though he was the elder brother, Aristobulus had “ usurped his rank and estate, contrary to justice, had 66 robbed him of his birth-right, and reduced him to a de“ pendance on his own bounty. That, as a man born for

fi mischief, he practised piracy at sea, and rapine and “ depredation on land, upon his neighbors; and that it “ was the violence of his disposition, which had occa. “ sioned the people to be so enraged against him." Hav: ing said this, he called upon a great number of the principal Jews (who being admitted) confirmed the truth of what he had asserted.

Hyrcanus and his party having withdrawn, Aristobu. lus was next admitted into the presence of Pompey. The plea he made was, “ That Hyrcanus was not super“ ceded in the government through any ambition of his, “ but by reason of his incapacity to rule; and that his “ natural sloth and inactivity had brought upon him the 5 contempt of the people. For my part (said be) I bad “ no other choice than either to assume the government, bó or suffer it to be transferred into another family; and, 66 with regard to the title of king, I held it only as I re. 6 ceived it from my father Alexander." As a testimony of the truth of what he said, he produced several young gentlemen of the Jewish nation, who, by the gaudiness of their dress, and the levity of their carriage, did no great credit to the cause which they endeavored to

After Pompey had heard both parties, he seemed to be of opinion that Aristobulus had been too hasty in his proceedings; but, for the present, he dismissed them with fair words, and referred the full determination of the matter until he should come to Jerusalem, which he said he would not fail to do, as soon as he had finished the war with the Arabians.

Aristobulus, from the manner of Pompey's behavior, easily perceiving that bis inclinations were directed in favor of his brother Hyrcanus, quitted Damascus, with. out taking leave of Pompey, and immediately returned to Judea, where he took every measure he could project to prepare himself against those consequences, which, from his proceedings, he might reasonably expect would afterwards take place.

The abrupt and disrespectful departure of Aristobulus so highly offended Pompey, that he resolved to take the part of Hyrcanus, without paying any farther attention to nmediata dea, to what stood tress by

their respective complaints. He accordingly marched in pursuit of him with the Roman troops and a considerable boily of Syrian auxiliaries. Having passed Pella and Scythopolis, he came at length to Corele, where he learnt that Aristobulus had shut himself up in the castle of Alexandrion, which was a strong fortress built by his father on a high mountain that stood at the entrance of the country of Judea, towards the Samaritan side. Pompey immediately marched his army to the place, and having encamped before it, he sent a messenger to Aristobulus to come down to him. Aristobulus, considering this message as an insult, at first refused to comply; but the people expressing great dissatisfaction at his conduct, and his friends representing the impossibility of withstanding so formidable an enemy as the Romans, he was at length prevailed upon to leave the place, and accordingly went to Pompey, accompanied by several of his principal adherents.

Pompey had been privately informed that Aristobulus had commanded his governors to observe such orders only as were given under his own hand; and, therefore, as soon as Aristobulus appeared, he insisted upon his writing to the respective officers in the fortress, authorizing them immediately to surrender the place. Aristobulus judged it necessary to comply with this injunction; but he was so exasperated at the imperious conduct of Pompey, that he immediately departed to Jerusalem, with a full resolution of there opposing him with all his strength.

In order to deprive Aristobulus of the opportunity of making preparations for war, as soon as Pompey knew of his departure, he immediately marched after him, and encamped at Jericho, from whence, the next morning, he proceeded towards Jerusalem. Aristobulus was astonished at the expedition, and alarmed at the appearance of Pompey: he now repented of his conduct, and, to prevent fatal consequences, went to meet him, which he had no sooner done, than he offered him a considerable sum of money, with the command of the city, and whatever else he should request, provided he would but withdraw his forces. These terms were accepted by Pompey, who

« PreviousContinue »