« PreviousContinue »
heavy calamities which it brought upon us. For the Jews that dwelt at Cæsarea had a synagogue near the place, whose owner was a certain Cæsarean Greek; the Jews had endeavoured frequently to have purchased the possession of the place, and had offered many times its value for its price; but as the owner overlooked their offers, so did he raise other buildings upon the place, iú way of affront to them, and made working shops of them, and left thein but a narrow passage, and such as was very troublesome for them to go along to their synagogue. Whereupon the warmer part of the Jewish youth weut hastily to the workmen, aud forbade them to build there; but as Floruis would not permit them to use force, the great men of the Jews with John the publican, being in the utmost distress what to do, persuaded Florus, with the offer of eight talents, to hinder the work. He then, bejog intent upon nothing but getting money, promised he would do for them all they desired of him, and then went away from Cæsarea to Sebaste, and left the sedition to take its full course, as if he had sold a license to the Jews to fight it out.
5. Now on the next day, which was the seventh day of the week, when the Jews were crowding apace to their synagogue, a certain man of Cæsarea, of a seditious temper, got an earthen. vessel, and set it with the bottom upward, at the entrance of that synagogue, and sacrificed birds.* This thing provoked the Jews to an incurable degree, because their laws were affronted, and the place was polluted. Whereupon the sober and moderate part of the Jews thought it proper to have recourse to their governors again, while the seditious part, and such as were in the fervour of their youth, were veliemently inflamed 10 fight. The seditious also among the [Gentiles of] Cæsarea stood ready for the same purpose; for they had by agreement, sent the men to sacrifice beforeland, Tas ready to support him]; so that it soon came to blows. Hereupon Jucundus, the master of the horse, who was ordered to prevent the fight, came thither, and took away the earthen vessel, and endea
* Take here Dr. Hudson's very pertinent note. “ By this action, .66 says he, the killing of a bird over an earthen vessel, the Jews were “ exposed as a leprous people ; for that was to be done by the law “ in the cleansing of a leper,(Levit. ch. xiv.) It is also known that « the Gentiles reproached the Jews as subject to the leprosy, and .6 believed that they were driven out of Egypt on that account. This • that eminent person Mr. Reland suggested to me."
voured to put a stop to the sedition; but when he was overcome by the violence of the people of Cæsarea, the Jews caught up their books of the law, and retired to Narbata, which was a place to them belonging, distant from Cæsarea sixty furlongs. But Joho, and twelve of his principal men with him went to Florus, to Sebaste, and made a lamentable complaint of their case, and besought him to help them; and with all possible decency, put him in mind of the eight talents he had given him; but he had the men seized upon, and put in prison, and accused them for carrying the books of the law out of Cæsarea.
6. Moreover, as to the citizens of Jerusalenı, although they took this matter very ill, yet did they restrain their passion; but Florus acted herein as if he had been hired, and blew up the war to a fiame, and sent some to take seventeen talents out of the sacred treasure, and pretended that Cæsar wanted them. At this the people were in confusion immediately, and ran together to the teinple, with prodigious clamours, and called upou Cæsar by name, and besought him to free them from the tyranny of Florus. Some also of the seditious cried out upon Fiorus, and cast the greatest reproaches upon him, and carried a basket about, and begged some spills of money for him, as one that was destitute of possessions, and in a miserable condition. Yet was not he made ashamed hereby of his love of money, but was more enraged, and provoked to get still more; and instead of coming to Cæsarea, as he ought to have done, and quenching the flame of war which was begiuding thence, and so taking away the occasion of any disturbauces, on which account it was that he had received a reward (of eight talents], he marched hastily with an army of Horsemen and footmen against Jerusalem, that he might gain his will by the arms of the Romans, and might by his terror, and hy his threatenings, bring the city into subjection.
7. But the people were desirous of making Florus ashamed of his attempt, and met his soldiers with acclamation, and put themselves in order to receive him very submissively. But he sent Capito, a centurion, before-hand, with fifty sol. diers, to bid them go back, and not now make a shew of receiving him in an obliging manner, whom they had so foully reproached before; and said, that it was incumbent on them, in case they had generous souls, and were frec speakers, to jest upon him to his face, and appear to be lovers of liberty, 'Dot only in words, but with their weapons also. With this message was the multitude amazed, and upon the coming of Capito's horse into the midst of them, they wșre dispersed before they could salute Florus, or manifest their submissive behaviour to him. Accordingly they retired to their own houses, and spent that night in fear and confusion of face.
8.Now at this time Florus took up his quarters at the palace; and on the next day he had his tribunal set before it, and sat upon it, when the high-priests, and the men of power, and those of the greatest eminence in the city came all before that tribunal; upon which Florus commanded them to deliver up to him those that had reproached him, and told them, that they should themselves partake of the vengeance to them belonging, if they did not produce the criminals; but these demonstrated that the people were peaceably disposed, and they begged forgiveness for those that had spoken amiss ; for that it was no wonder at all that in so great a mul. titude there should be some more daring than they ought to be, and by reason of their younger age foolish also; and that it was impossible to distinguish those that offended from the rest, while every one was sorry for what he had done, and denied it out of fear of what would follow : that he ought however to provide for the peace of the nation, and to take such counsels as might preserve the city for the Romans, and rather for the sake of a great number of innocent people, to forgive a few that were guilty, than for the sake of a few of the wicked, to put so large and good a body of men into disorder.
9. Florus was more provoked at this, and called out aloud to the soldiers to plunder that which was called the Upper Market-place, and to slay such as they met with. So the soldiers taking this exhortation of their commander in a sense agreeable to their desire of gain, did not only plunder the place they were sent to, but, forcing themselves into every house, they slew its inhabitants; so that the citizens fled along the narrow lanes, and the soldiers slew those that they caught, and no method of plunder was omitted: they also caught many of the quiet people, and brought them before Florus, whom he first chastised with stripes, and then crucified. Accordingly the whole number of those that were destroyed that day with their wives and children, (for they did not spare even the infants themselves) was about three thousand and six hundred. And what made this calamity the heavier, was this new method of Roman barbarity: for
Florus ventured then to do what no one had done before, that is, to have men of the *equestrian order whipped, and nailed to the cross before his tribunal; who, although they were by birth Jews, yet were they of Roman dignity notwithstanding
CHAP. XV. Concerning Berenice's petition to Florus, to spare the Jews, but in
vain, as also how, after the seditious flanie was quenched, it was kindled again by Florus.
8 1. About this very time king Agrippa was going to Alexandria, to congratulate Alexander upon his baving obtained the government of Egypt from Nero; but as his sis. ter Berenice was come to Jerusalem, and saw the wicked practices of the soldiers, she was sorely affected at it, and frequently sent the masters of her horse, and her guards to Florus, and begged of him to leave off these slaughters; but he would not comply with her request, por have any regard either to the multitude of those already slain, or to the uo. bility of her that interceded, but only to the advantage he should make by this plundering ; Day, this violence of the soldiers brake out into such a degree of madness, that it spent itself on the queen herself ; for they did not only torment and destroy those whom they had caught under her very eyes, but indeed had killed herself also, unless she had prevented them by flying to the palace, and had stayed there all night with her guards; which she had about her for fear of an insult from the soldiers. Now she dwelt then at Jerusalem, in or. der to perform a † vow which she had made to God; for it
* Here we have examples of native Jews who were of the eques. trian order among the Romans, and so ought never to have been whipped or crucified, according to the Roman laws. See almost the like case in St. Paul himself, Acts xxii. 25–29.
+ This vow which Berenice, (here and elsewhere called queen, not only as daughter and sister to two kings, Agrippa the Great, and Agrippa, junior, but the widow of Herod king of Chalcis,) came now to accomplish at Jerusalem, was not that of a Nazarite, but such an one as religious Jews used to make in hopes of any deliverance from a disease, or other danger, as Josephus here intimates. However, these thirty days abode at Jerusalem for fasting and preparation against the oblation of a proper sacrifice, seems to be too long, unless it were wholly voluntary in this great lady. It is not required in the law of Moses relating to Nazarites, Numb. vi. and is
is usual with those that had been either afflicted with a dis. tenuper, or with any other diseases, to make vows; and for thirty days before they are to offer their sacrifices, to ab. stain from wine, and to shave the hair of their head. Which things Berenice was now performing, and stood barefoot before Florus' tribunal, and besought him sto spare the Jews. Yet could she neither have any reverence paid to her, nor could she escape without some danger of being slain herself.
2. This happened upon the sixteenth day of the month Artemisius, (Jyar.] Now on the next day the multitude, who were in great agony, ran together to the upper njarket-place, and made the loudest lamentations for those that had perished; and the greatest part of the cries were such as reflected OR Florus ; at which the men of power were affrighted, togethcr with the high-priests, and rent their garments, and fell down before each of them, and besought them to leave off, and not to provoke Florus to some incurable procedure, besides what they had already suffered. Accordingly the multitude complied immediately, out of reverence to those that had desired it of them, and out of the hope they had that Florus would do them no more injuries.
3. So Florus was troubled that the disturbances were over, and endeavoured to kindle that name again, and sent for the high-priests, with the other eminent persons, and said, the only demonstration that the people would not make any other in. novations should be this, that they must go out and meet the soldiers that were ascending from Cæsarea, whence two cohorts were coming ; and while these meu were exhorting the
very different from St. Paul's time for such preparations, which was but one day, Acts xxi. 26. So we want already the continuation of the Antiquitics, to afford us light here, as they have bitherto done on so many occasions elsewhere. Perhaps in this age the traditions of the Pharisees had obliged the Jews to this degree of rigour, not only as to these thirty days preparation, but as to ihe going barefoot all that time, which here Berenice submitted to also. For we know that as God's and our Saviour's yoke is usually easy, and his burden com. paratively light, in such positive injunctions, Matt. xi. 30. so did the Scribes and Pharisees sometimes bind upon men heavy burdens, and grievous to be borne even when they themselves would not touch them with one of their fingers, Matt, xxiii. 4. Luke xi. 46. However, Noldius well observes, De Herod. No. 404, 414. tbat Juvenal in his sixth satire alludes to this remarkable penance of submission of this Berenice to Jewish discipline, and jests upon her for it; as do T'acitus, Dio, Suetonius, and Sextus Aurelius, mention her as one well known at Rome, ibid.