Page images

that they made excursions by troops, and fought it out hand to hand, while the seditious were superior in boldness, but the king's soldiers in skill. These last strove chiefly to gain the temple, and to drive those out of it who profaned it; as did the seditious, with Eleazar, besides what they had already, labour to gaia the upper city. Thus were there perpetual slaughters on both sides for seven days' time : but neither side would yield up the parts they had seized on.

6. Now the next day was the festival of Xylophory, upon which the custom was for every one to bring wood for the altar (that there might never be a wam of fuel for that fire which was unquenchable, and always burning ;) upon thu day they excluded the opposite party from the observation of this part of religion. And when they had joined to themselves many of the Sicarii, who crowded in among the weaker people (that was the name for such robbers as had under their bosoms swords called Sica,) they grew bolder, and carried their undertakings farther; insomuch that the king's soldiers were overpowered by their multitude and boldness, and so they gave way, and were driven out of the upper city by force. The others then set fire to the house of Ananias the high priest, and to the palaces of Agrippa and Bernice : after which they carried the fire to the place where the archives were deposited, and made haste to burn the contracts be. longing to their creditors, and thereby to dissolve their obligations for paying their debts ; and this was done in order to gain the multitude of those who had been debtors, and that they nuight persuade the poorer sort to join in their insur. rection with safety against the more wealthy ; so the keepers of the records filed away, and the rest set fire to them. And when they had thus burnt down the aerves of the city, they fell upon their enemies; at which time some of the met of power and of the high priests went into the vaults under ground, and concealed themselves, while others fled with the king's soldiers to the upper palace, and shut the gates immediately; among whom were Ananias the high priest and the ambassadors that had been sent to Agrippa. And now the seditious were con. tented with the victory they had gotten, and the buildings they had burnt down, and proceeded no farther.

7. But on the next day, which was the fifteenth of the month Lous (Ab) they made an assault upon Antonia, and besieged the garrison which was in it two days, and then took the garrison and slew them, and set the citadel on fire; after which they marched to the palace, whither the king's soldiers were filed, and parted themselves into four bodies, and made an attack upon the walls. As for those that were within it, no one had the courage to sally out, because those that assaulted them were so numerous; but they distributed themselves into the breast. works and turrets, and shot at the besiegers, whereby many of the robbers fell under the walls ; nor did they cease to fight one with another, either by night or by day, while the seditious supposed that those within would grow weary for want of food, and those without supposed the others would do the like by the tedious ness of the siege.

8. In the meantime, one Manahem, the son of Judas that was called the Gali lean (who was a very cunning sophister, and had formerly reproached the Jews under Cyrenius, that after God they were subject to the Romans,) took some of the men of note with him, and retired to Masada, where he broke open king Herod's armoury, and gave arms not only to his own people, but to other robbers also. These he made use of for a guard, and returned in the state of a king to Jerusalem; he became the leader of a sedition, and gave orders for continuing the siege, but they wanted proper instruments, and it was not practicable to un. dermine the wall, because the darts came down upon them from above. But still they dug a mine from a great distance under one of the towers, and made it tot. ter; and having done that, they set on fire what was combustible, and left it, and when the foundations were burnt below, the tower fell down suddenly. Yet did they then meet with another wall that had been built within, for the besieged were sensible beforehand rf what thev were doing; and probably the tower shook

[ocr errors]

as it was undermining ; so they provided themselves of another fortification which when the besiegers unexpectedly saw, while they thought they had al ready gained the place, they were under some consternation. However, those that were within sent to Manahem, and to the other leaders of the sedition, and desired they might go out upon a capitulation : this was granted to the king's sol. diers and their own countrymen only, who went out accordingly; but the Romans that were left alone were greatly dejected, for they were not able to force their way through such a multitude ; and to desire them to give them their right hand for their security, they thought it would be a reproach to them; and besides, if th sy should give it them, they durst not depend upon it; so they deserted their camp, as easily taken, and ran away to the royal towers, that called Hippicus, th it called Phasaelus, and that called Mariamne. But Manahem and his party fell upon the place whence the soldiers were fled, and slew as many of them as they could catch, before they got up to the towers, and plundered what they left behind them, and set fire to their camp. This was executed on the sixth day of the month Gorpieus (Elul.)

9. But on the next day the high priest was caught, where he had concealed himself in an aqueduct ; he was slain, together with Hezekiah his brother, by the robbers : hereupon the seditious besieged the towers, and kept them guarded, lest any one of the soldiers should escape. Now the overthrow of the places of strength, and the death of the high priest Ananias, so puffed up Manahem, that he be. came barbarously cruel; and as he thought he had no antagonist to dispute the man. agement of affairs with him, he was no better than ar insupportable tyrant : but Eleazar and his party, when words had passed between them, how“ it was not pro per when they revolted from the Romans, out of the desire of liberty, to betray that liberty to any of their own people, and to bear a lord, who, though he should be guilty of au violence, was yet meaner than themselves : as also, that, in case they were obliged to set some one over their public affairs, it was fitter they should give that privilege to any one rather than to him,” they made an assault upon him in the temple : for he went up thither to worship in a pompous manner, and adorned with royal garments, and had his followers with him in their armour. But Eleazar and his party fell violently upon him, as did also the rest of the people, and taking up stones to attack him withal, they threw them at the sophister, and thought that if he were once ruined, the entire sedition would fall to the ground. Now Manahem and his party made resistance for a while, but when they perceived that the whole multitude were falling upon them, they fled which way every one was able: those that were caught were slain, and those that hid themselves were searched for. A few there were of them who privately escaped to Masada, imong whom was Eleazar, the son of Jairus, who was of kin to Manahem, and icted the part of a tyrant at Masada afterward : as for Manahem hiinself, he ran away to the place called Ophla, and there lay skulking in private: but they took aim alive, and drew him out before them all: they then tortured him with many sorts of torments, and after all slew him, as they did by those that were captains under him also, and particularly by the principal instrument of his tyranny, whose name was Apsalom.

10. And, as I said, so far truly the people assisted them, while they hoped this might afford some amendment to the seditious practices; but the others were not in haste to put an end to the war, but hoped to prosecute it with less danger, now they had slain Manahem. It is true, that when the people earnestly desired that they would leave off besieging the soldiers, they were the more earnest in press. ing it forward, and this till Metellius, who was the Roman general, sent to Elea. zar, and desired that they would give them security to spare their lives only, but agreed to deliver up their arms, and what else they had with them. The others readily complied with their petition, sent to them Gorion, the son of Nicodemus, and Ananias the son of Sadduk, and Judas, the son of Jonathan, that they might give them the security of their right hands and of their oaths ; after which Metel. lius brought down his soldiers, which soldiers while they were in arms, were not meddled with by any of the seditious, nor was there any appearance of treachery i but as soon as, according to the articles of capitulation, they had all laid down their und their swords, and were under no farther suspicion of any harm but were going awa El azar's men attacked them after a violent manner, and encompassed.em round, and slew them while they neither defended themselves, nor entreatea for mercy but only cried out upon the breach of their articles of ca. pitulation and their oaths. And thus were all these men barbarously murdered excepting Metellius; for when he entreated for mercy, and promised that he would turn Jew and be circumcised, they saved him alive, but none else. This loss to the Romans was but light, there being no more than a few slain out of an immense army : but still it seemed to be a prelude to the Jews' own destruction, while men made public lamentation when they saw that such occasions were af. forded for a war as were incurable ; that the city was all over polluted with such abominations from which it was but reasonable to expect some vengeance, even though they should escape revenge from the Romans; so that the city was filled with sadness, and every one of the moderate men in it were under great disturbance, as likely themselves to undergo punishment for the wickedness of the seditious; for, indeed, it so happened, that this murder was perpetrated on the Sabbath day, on which day the Jews have a respite from their works on account of divine worship.


The Calamities and Slaughters that came upon the Jews. § 1. Now the people of Cæsarea had slain the Jews that were among them on ihe very same day and hour [when the soldiers were slain,) which one would think must have come to pass by the direction of Providence; insomuch that in one hour's time above twenty thousand Jews were killed, and all Cæsarea was emptied of its Jewish inhabitants; for Florus caught such as ran away, and sent them in bonds to the galleys. Upon which stroke that the Jews received at Cæsarea, the whole nation was greatly enraged; so they divided them. selves into several parties, and laid waste the villages of the Syrians, and their neighbouring cities, Philadelphia, and Sebonitis, and Gerasa, and Pella, and Scythopolis, and after them Gadara and Hippos ; and falling upon Gaulanitis, some cities they destroyed there, and some they set on fire, and then went to Kedasa, belonging to the Tyrians, and to Ptolemais, and to Gaba, and to Cæsarea; nor was either Sebaste (Samaria) or Askalon able to oppose the violence with which they were attacked ; and when they had burnt these to the ground, they entirely demolished Anthedon and Gaza ; many also of the villages that were about every one of those cities were plundered, and an immense slaughter was made of the men who were caught in them.

2. However, the Syrians were even with the Jews in the multitude of the men whom they slew ; for they killed those whom they caught in their cities, and that not only out of the hatred they bare them, as formerly, but to prevent the danger under which they were from them ; so that the disorders in all Syria were ter. rible, and every city was divided into two armies encamped one against another, and the preservation of the one party was in the destruction of the other ; so the daytime was spent in shedding of blood, and the night in fear, which was of the two the more terrible ; for when the Syrians thought they had ruined the Jews, they had the Judaizers in suspicion also ; and as each side did not care to slay those whom they only suspected on the other, so did they greatly fear them when they were mingled with the other, as if they were certainly foreigners. More. over, greediness of gain was a provocation to kill the opposite party, even to such as had of old appeared very mild and gentle towards them; for they without feas

plundered the effects of the slain, and carried off the spoils of those whom they slew to their own houses, as if they had been gained in a set battle ; and he was esteemed a man of honour who got the greatest share, as having prevailed over the greatest number of his enemies. It was then common to see cities filled with dead bodies, still lying unburied, and those of old men, mixed with infants, all dead, and scattered about together: women also lay amongst them, without and covering for their nakedness : you might then see ihe whole province full of inexpressible calamities, while the dread of still more barbarous practices which were threatened, were everywhere greater than what had been already perpetrated.

3. And thus far the conflict had been between Jews and foreigners, but when they made excursions to Scythopolis, they found Jews that acted as enemies • for as they stood in battle array with those of Scythopolis, and preferred their own sarety before their relation to us, they fought against their own countrymen. nay, their alacrity was so very great, that those of Scythopolis suspected them. These were afraid, therefore, lest they should make an assault upon the city in the night-time, and, to their great misfortune, should thereby make an apology for themselves to their own people for their revolt from them. So they commanded them, that in case they would confirm their agreement, and demonstrate their fidelity to them, who were of a different nation, they should go out of the city with their families to a neighbouring grove; and when they had done as they were commanded, without siispecting any thing, the people of Scythopolis lay still for the interval of two days, to tempt them to be secure; but on the third night they watched their opportunity, and cut all their throats, some as they lay unguarded and some as they lay asleep. The number that was slain was above thirteen thousand, and then they plundered them of all that they had.

4. It will deserve our relation what befell Simon; he was the son of one Saul, a man of reputation among the Jews. This man was distinguished from the rest by the strength of his body and the boldness of his conduct, although he abused them both to the mischieving of his countrymen ; for he came every day and slew a great many of the Jews of Scythopolis, and he frequently put them to flight, and became himself alone the cause of his army's conquering. But a just punishment overtook him for the murders he had committed upon those of the same nation with him; for when the people of Scythopolis threw their darts at them in the grove, he drew his sword, but did not attack any of the enemy; for he saw that he could do nothing against such a multitude ; but he cried out after a very moving manner, and said, "O you people of Scythopolis, I deservedly suffer for what I have done with relation to you, when I gave you such security of my fidel. ity to you, by slaying so many of those that were related to me : wherefore we very justly experience the perfidiousness of foreigners, while we acted after a inost wicked manner against our own nation. I will, therefore, die, polluted retch as I am, by mine own hands; for it is not fit I should die hy the hands of our enemies; and let the same action bu to me both a punishment for my great crimes, and a testimony of my courage to my commendation, that so no one of our enemies may have it to brag of, that he it was that slew me, and no one may insult upon me as I fall.” Now when he had said this, he looked round abuus upon

his family with eyes of commiseration and of rage (that family con. sisted of a wife and children, and his aged parents ;) so, in the first place, he caught his father by his gray hairs, and ran his sword through him, and after him he did the same to his mother, who willingly received it ; and after them he did the like to his wife and children, every

one almost offering themselves to his sword, as desirous to prevent being slain by their enemies : so when he had gone over all his family, he stood upon their bodies to be seen by all, and stretching out his right hand, that his action might be observed by all, he sheathed his en tire sword into his own bowels. This young man was to be pitied on account of



the strength of his body and the courage of his soul; but since he had assured foreigners of his fidelity (against his own countrymen, he suffered deservedly,

5. Besides this murder at Scythopolis, the other cities rose up against the Jews that were among them : those of Askalon slew two thousand five hundred and those of Ptolemais two thousand, and put not a few into bonds ; those of Tyre also put a great number to death, but kept a great number in prison : moreover

, those of Hippos and those of Gadara did the like, while they put to death the boldest of the Jews. but kept those of whom they were most afraid in custody; as did the rest of the cities of Syria, according as they every one either hated them or were afraid of them; only the Antiochians, the Sidonians, and Apamians sparea those that dwelt with them, and would not endure either to kill any of the Jews, or to put them in bonds. And, perhaps, they spared them, because their own number was so great that they despised their attempts; but I think the greatest part of this favour was owing to their commiseration of those whom they saw to make no innovations. As for the Gerasans, they did no harm to those that abode with them, and for those who had a mind to go away, they conducted them as far as their borders reached.

6. There was also a plot laid against the Jews in Agrippa's kingdom ; for b. was himself gone to Cestius Gallus to Antioch, but had left one of his com panions, whose name was Noarus, to take care of the public affairs; which Noa rus was of kin to king Sohemus.* Now there came certain men, seventy is

. number, out of Batanea, who were the most considerable for their families and prudence of the rest of the people; these desired to have an army put into their hands, that if any tumult should happen, they might have about them a guard sufficient to restrain such as might rise up against them. This Noarus sent out some of the king's armed men by night, and slew all those (seventy) men; which bold action he ventured upon without the consent of Agrippa, and was such a lover of money, that he chose to be so wicked to his own countrymen, though he brought ruin on the kingdom thereby; and thus cruelly did he treat that nation, and this contrary to the laws also, until Agrippa was informed of it, who did not, indeed, dare to put him to death, out of regard to Bohemus, but still he put an end to his procuratorship immediately. But as to the seditious, they took the citadel which was called Cypros, and was above Jericho, and cut the throats of the garrison, and utterly demolished the fortifications: this was about the same siine that the multitude of the Jews that were at Macherus persuaded the Romans who were in garrison to leave the place, and deliver it up to them. These Romans, being in great fear lest the place should be taken by force, made ao egreement with them to depart upon certain conditions; and when they had ob. tained the security they desired, they delivered up the citadel, into which the people of Macherus put a garrison for their own security, and held it in their own power:

7. But for Alexandria, the sedition of the people of the place against the Jews was perpetual, and this from that very time when Alexander (the Great,) upon finding the readiness of the Jews in assisting him against the Egyptians, and as a reward for such their assistance, gave them equal privileges in this city with the Grecians themselves; which honorary reward continued among them under his successors, who also set apart for them a particular place, that they might live without being polluted by the Gentiles,] and were thereby not so much intermixed with foreigners as before; they also gave them this farther privilege, that they should be called Macedonians. 'Nay, when the Romans got possession of Egypt, nether the first Cæsar, nor any one that came after him, thought of di arinishing the honours which Alexander had bestowed on the Jews. But still

of this Sohemis we have mention made by 'Tacitus. We also learn from Dio, that his father vi sing of the Arabians of Iturea, which Iturea is mentioned by (St. Luke, iii. 1) both, whose testimonios arc quoteri here by Dr. Hudsou. See Noldius, No. 371.

« PreviousContinue »