Page images
PDF
EPUB

popular sedition. There were two men of learning in the city [Jerusalem,) who were thought the most skilful in the laws of their country, and were, on that account, had in very great esteem all over the nation; they were, the one Judas, the son of Sepphoris, and the other Matthias, the son of Margalus. There was a great concourse of the young men to these men, when they expounded the laws, and there got together every day a kind of an army of such as were growing up to be men. Now when these men were informed that the king was wearing away with melancholy, and with a distemper, they dropped words to their ac. quaintance how it was now a very proper time to defend the cause of God, and to pull down what had been erected contrary to the laws of their country ; for it was unlawful there should be any such thing in the temple as images, or faces, or the like representation of any animal whatsoever. Now the king had put up a golden eagle over the great gate of the temple, which these learned men ex. horted them to cut down, and told them, that if there should any danger arise, it was a glorious thing to die for the laws of their country: because that the soul* was immortal, and that an eternal enjoyment of happiness did await such as died on that account; while the mean spirited, and those that were not wise enough to show a right love of their souls, preferred death by a disease before that which is the result of a virtuous behaviour.

3. At the same time that these men made this speech to their disciples, a rumour was spread abroad that the king was dying, which made the young men set about the work with greater boldness: they, therefore, let themselves down from the top of the temple with thick cords, and this at midday, and while a great number of people were in the temple, and cut down that golden eagle with axes.

This was presently told to the king's captain of the temple, who came running with a great body of soldiers, and caught about forty of the young men, and brought them to the king. And when he asked them, first of all, whe. ther they had been so hardy as to cut down the golden eagle? they confessed they had done so; and when he had asked them, by whose command they had done it? they replied, At the command of the law of their country; and when he far. ther asked them, how they could be so joyful when they were to be put to death? they replied, Because they should enjoy greater happiness after they were dead.*

4. At this the king was in such an extravagant passion, that he overcame his disease (for the time,) and went out, and spake to the people; wherein he made a terrible accusation against those men, as being guilty of sacrilege, and as making greater attempts under pretence of their law, and he thought they deserved to be punished as impious persons. Whereupon the people were afraid lest a grea. number should be found guilty; and desired that when he had first punished those that put them upon this work, and then those that were caught in it, he would leave off his anger as to the rest. With this the king complied, though not without difficulty, and ordered those that had let themselves down, together with their rabbins, to be burnt alive, but delivered the rest that were caught to the proper officers to be put to death by them.

* Since in these two sections we have an evident account of the Jewish opinions in the days of Jose phus, about a future happy stale, and the resurrection of the dead, as in the New Testament, John, & 24, I shall here refer to the other places in Josephus, before he became a Catholic Christian, which con cern the same matters; Of the War, B. ii. ch. viii. sect

. 10, 11; B. iii. ch. viii. sect. 4; B. vii. ch. th sect. 7; Contr. A pion, B. ii. sect. 30 : where we may observe, that none of these passages are in his books of Antiquities, written peculiarly for the use of the Gentiles, to whom he thought it not proper to insist on topics so much out of their way as these were. Nor is this observation to be omitted here, especially on account of the sensible difterence we have now before us in Josephus's representation of the argu ients used by the ralıbins to persuade their scholars to hazard their lives for the vindication of God's law against images, by Moses, as well as of the answers those scholars made to Herod, when they were caught and ready to die for the saine ; I mean as compared with the parallel arguments and answers represented in the Antiquities, B. xvii. chap. vi. sect. 2, 3. A like difference between Jewish and Gentile notions the reader will find in my notes on Antiquities, B. iii. ch. vij. sect. 7; B. xv. ch. ix. sect. L See the like also in the case of the three Jewish sects in the Antiquities, B. xiii. ch. v. sect. 9, and ch. 2. sect. 4, 5; B. xviii. ch. i. sect. 5, and compared with this in his Wars of the Jews, B. i. ch. viii roct. 2–14. Nor does St Paul himself reason to Gentiles at Athens, Acis, xvii. 16, 34, as he does Jews in his epistles.

5. After this the distemper seized upon his whole body, and greatly disordered all his parts with various symptoms; for there was a gentle fever upon him, and an intolerable itching over all the surface of his body, and continued pains in his colon, and dropsical tumours about his feet, and an inflammation of the abdomen, and a putrefaction of his privy member, that produced worms. Besides which, he had a great difficulty of breathing upon him, and could not breathe but when he sat upright, and had a convulsion of all his members, insomuch that the diviners said those diseases were a punishment upon him for what he had done to the rabbins. Yet did he struggle with his numerous disorders, and still had a desire to live, and hoped for recovery, and considered of several methods of cure. Accordingly he went over Jordan, and made use of those hot baths at Callirhoe which run into the lake Asphaltitis, but are themselves sweet enough to be drunk. And here the physicians thought proper to bathe his whole body in warm oil, by letting it down into a large vessel full of oil; whereupon his eyes failed him, and he came and went as if he were dying; and as a tumult was then made by his servants, at their voice he revived again. Yet did he after this despair of reco. very, and gave

orders that each soldier should have fifty drachmãe apiece, and that his commanders and friends should have great sums of money given them.

6. He then returned back and came to Jericho, in such a melancholy state of body as almost threatened him with present death, when he proceeded to at. tempt a horrid wickedness ; for he got together the most illustrious men of the whole Jewish nation, out of every village, into a place called the Hippodrome, and there shut them in. He then called for his sister Salome and her husband Alexas, and made this speech to them :-" I know well enough that the Jews will keep a festival upon my death : however, it is in my power to be mourned for on other accounts, and to have a splendid funeral, if you will but be subser. vient to my commands. Do but you take care to send soldiers to encompass these men that are now in custody, and slay them immediately upon my deatn, and then all Judea, and every family of them, will weep at it whether they will or no.

7. These were the commands he gave them ; when there came letters from his ambassadors at Rome, whereby information was given, that Acme was put to death at Cæsar's command, and that Antipater was condemned to die : however they wrote withal, that if Herod had a mind rather to banish him, Cæsar per. mitted him so to do. So he for a little while revived, and had a desire to live; but presently after he was overborne by his pains, and was disordered by want of food, and by a convulsive cough, and endeavoured to prevent a natural death ; so he took an apple, and asked for a knife ; for he used to pare apples, and eat them : be then looked round about to see that there was nobody to hinder him and lift up his right hand, as if he would stab himself; but Achiabus, his first cousin, came running to him and held his hand, and hindered him from so doing , on which occasion a very great lamentation was made in the palace, as if the king were expiring. As soon as ever Antipater heard that, he took courage, and, with joy in his looks, besought his keepers, for a sum of money, to loose him, and let him go ; but the principal keeper of the prison did not only obstruct him. in that his intention, but ran and told the king what his design was : hereupola the king cried out louder than his distemper would well bear, and immediately sent some of his guards, and slew Antipater; he also gave order to have him buried at Hyrcanium, and altered his testament again, and therein made Archelaus, his eldest son, the brother of Antipas, his successor, and made Antipas tetrarch.

8. So Herod, having survived the slaughter of his son five days, died, having reigned thirty-four years since he caused Antigonus to be slain, and obtained his kingdom; but thirty-seven years since he had been made king by the Romans, Now, as for his fortune, it was prosperous in all other respects, if ever anv other

[merged small][ocr errors]

man could be so, since from a private man he obtained a kingdom, and kept it su long, and left it to his own sons; but still, in his domestic affairs he was a mnost unfortunate man. Now, before the soldiers knew of his death, Salome and her husband came out and dismissed those that were in bonds, whom the king had commanded to be slain, and todd them, that he had altered his mind, and would have every one of them sent to their own homes. When these men were gone, Salome told the soldiers (the king was dead,] and got them, and the rest of the multitude together, to an assembly, in the amphitheatre at Jericbo, where Ptolemy, who was intrusted by the king with his signet-ring, came before then, and spake of the happiness the king had attained, and comforted the multitude, and read the epistle which had been left for the soldiers, wherein he earnestly exhorted them to bear good will to his successor ; and after he had read the epis ue, he opened and read his testament, wherein Philip was to inherit Trachonitis and the neighbouring countries, and Antipas was to be tetrarch, as we said be. fore, and Archelaus was made king. He had also been commanded to carry Herod's ring to Cæsar, and the settlements he had made sealed up, because Cæsar was to be lord of all the settlements he had made, and was to confirm his testament; and he ordered that the dispositions he had made were to be kept as they were in his former testament.

9. So there was an acclamation made to Archelaus, to congratulate him upon his advancement, and the soldiers, with the multitude, went round about in troops, and promised him their good will, and, besides, prayed God to bless his government. After this they betook themselves to prepare for the king's funeral; and Archelaus omitted nothing of magnificence therein, but brought out all the royal ornaments to augment the pomp of the deceased. There was a bier all of gold, embroidered with precious stones, and a purple bed of various contex. ure, with the dead body upon it covered with purple; and a diadem was put upon his head, and a crown of gold above it, and a sceptre in his right hand; and near to the bier were Herod's sons, and a multitude of his kindred; next to which came his guards, and the regiment of Thracians, the Germans also, and Galls, all accoutred as if they were going to war: bu the rest of the army went fore. most, armed, and following their captains and officers in a regular manner; after whom five hundred of his domestic servants and freedmen followed with sweet spices in their hands : and the body was carried two hundred furlongs to Hero dium, where he had given order to be buried. And this shall suffice for the con clusion of the life of Herod.

[ocr errors]

BOOK IL

CONTAINING THE INTERVAL OF SIXTY-NINE YEARS.

FROM THE DEATH OF HEROD TILL VESPASIAN WAS SENT TU

SUBDUE THE JEWS BY NERO.

CHAP. I.

Archelaus makes a Funeral Feast for the People on Account of Herod; after which a great Tumult is raised by the Multitude, and he sends the Soldiers

out upon them, who destroy about three thousand of them. A I. Now the necessity which Archelaus was under of taking a journey to Rome was the occasion of new disturbances; for when he had mourned for his father seven days,* and had given a very expensive funeral feast to the multitude (which custom is the occasion of poverty to many of the Jews, because they are forced to feast the multitude; for if any one omits it, he is not esteemed a holy person) he put on a white garment and went up to the holy temple, where the people ae costed him with various acclamations. He also spake kindly to the multitude, from an elevated seat and a throne of gold, and returned them thanks for the zeal they had shown about his father's funeral, and the submission they had made to nim. as if he were already settled in the kingdom: bat he told them withal, that 'he would not at present take upon him either the authority of a king, or the names thereto belonging, until Cæsar, who is made lord of this whole affair by his testament, confirms the succession ; for that when the soldiers would have sei the diadem on his head at Jericho, he would not accept of it; but that he would make abundant requitals, not to the soldiers only, but to the people, for their alacrity and good will to him, when the superior lords (the Romans) should have given bim a complete title to the kingdom: for that it should be his study to appear in all things better than his father.”

2. Upon this the multitude were pleased and presently made a trial of what he intended, by asking great things of him: for some made a clamour that he would ease them in their taxes; others, that he would take off the duties upon commodities, and some, that he would loose those that were in prison ; in all which cases he answered readily to their satisfaction, in order to get the good will or the multitude; after which he offered [the proper) sacrifices, and feasted with his friends. And here it was that a great many of those who desired innovations came in crowds towards the evening, and began then to mourn on their own ac. count, when the public mourning for the king was over. These lamented those that were put to death by Herod, because they had cut down the golden eagle that had been over the gate of the temple. Nor was this mourning of a private nature, but the lamentations were very great, the mourning solemn, and the weep. ing such as was loudly heard all over the city, as being for those men who had

• Here Dean Aldrich's note on this place.—" The law, or custom of the Jews,” says he. “ requires even days mourning for the dead, Antiq. B. xvii. ch. viii. sect. 4. Whence the author of the book of Lcclesiasticus, ch. xxii. 12, assigne seven days as the proper time of mourning for the dead, and ch. xxxviii

. 17, enjoins men to mourn for the dead, that they may not be evil spoken of; for as Josephus says presently, if any one omits this mourning (funeral feast) he is not esteemed a holy person. Now it is certain that such a seven days mourning has been customary from times of the greatest antiquity, Gen. 1 10. Funeral feasts are also mentioned as of considerable antiquity, Ezek. xxiv. 17; Jer. xvi. 7; Prav uri. 6; Deut. xxvi. 14; Josephus, of the War, B. iii. ch. ix. sect. 5"

perished for the laws of their country and for the temple. They cried out that å punishment ought to be inflicted for these men upon those that were honoured by Herod; and that, in the first place, the man whom he had made high priest should be deprived, and that it was fit to choose a person of greater piety and purity than he was.

3. At these clamours Archelaus was provoked, but restrained himself from taking vengeance on the authors, on account of the haste he was in of going to Rome, as fearing lest, upon his making war on the multitude, such an action might detain him at home. Accordingly he made trial to quiet the innovators by persuasion rather than by force, and sent his general in a private way to them, and by him exhorted them to be quiet. But the seditious threw stones at bin, and drove him away as he came into the temple, and before he could say any thing to them. The like treatment they showed to others who came to them after bim, many of which were sent by Archelaus in order to reduce them to sobriety, and these answered still on all occasions after a passionate manner; and it openly appeared that they would not be quiet, if their numbers were but considerable

. And, indeed, at the feast of unleavened bread, which was now at hand, and is by the Jews called the Passover, and used to be celebrated with a great number of sacrifices, an innumerable multitude of the people came out of the country to worship: some of these stood in the temple bewailing the rabbins (that had been put to death,) and procured their sustenance by begging, in order to support their sedition. At this Archelaus was affrighted, and privately sent a tribune, with his cohort of soldiers, upon them, before the disease should spread over the whole multitude, and gave orders that they should constrain those that began the tumuk by force to be quiet. At these the whole multitude were irritated, and threw stones at many of the soldiers, and killed them: but the tribune fled away wounded

, and had much ado to escape so : after which they betook themselves to their sa. crifices, as if they had done no mischief; nor did it appear to Archelaus that the multitude could be restrained without bloodshed; so he sent his whole army upan them, the footmen in great multitudes by the way of the city, and the horsemen by the way of the plain, who falling upon them on a sudden, as they were offering their sacrifices, destroyed about three thousand of them ; but the rest of the multitude were dispersed upon the adjoining mountains: these were followed by Archelaus's heralds, who commanded every one to retire to their own homes, whither they all went, and left the festival.

CHAP. II.

Archelaus goes to Rome with a great Number of his Kindred. He is there ac. cused before Cæsar by Antipater ; but is superior to his Accusers in Judg.

ment, by the Means of that Defence which Nicolaus made for him. § 1. ARCHELAUS went down now to the seaside, with his mother and his friends

, Poplas, and Ptolemy, and Nicolaus, and left behind him Philip, to be his steward in the palace, and to take care of his domestic affairs. Salome went out also along with him with her sons, as did also the king's brethren and sons-in-law. These, in appearance, went to give him all the assistance they were able, in or. der to secure his succession, but in reality to accuse him for his breach of the laws, by what he had done at the temple.

2. But as they were come to Cæsarea, Sabinus the procurator of Syria, met them : he was going up to Judea to secure Herod's effects : but Varus (president of Syria,] who was come hither, restrained him from going any farther. This Varus Archelaus had sent for, by the earnest entreaty of Ptolemy. At this time

, indeed Sabinus, to gratify Varus, neither went to the citadels, nor did he shu ap the treasuries where his father's money was laid up, but promised that he

« PreviousContinue »