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“ horns growing out of his head, and that the last was higher “ than the rest: that after this he looked to the west, and saw “ an he-goat carried through the air from that quarter; that “ he rushed upon the ram with violence, and smote him “ twice with his horns, and overthrew him to the ground, “ and trampled upon him: that afterward he saw a very great “ horn growing out of the head of the he-goat, and that * when it was broken off, four horns grew up that were ex“ posed to each of the four winds, and he wrote that out of " them arose another lesser horn, which, as he said, waxed
great; and that God showed to him, that it should fight “ against his nation, and take their city by force, and bring " the temple-worship to confusion, and forbid the sacrifices “ to be offered for one thousand two bundred and ninety-six “ days.” Daniel wrote that he saw these visions in the plain of Susa; and he hath informed us, that God interpreted the appearance of this vision after the following manner: " He " said, that the ram signified the kingdoms of the Medes and “ Persians, and the horns those kings that were to reign in " them; and that the last horn signified the last king, and " that he should exceed all the kings in riches and glory: that " the he-goat signified that one should come and reign from " the Greeks, who should twice fight with the Persian, and
overcome him in battle, and should receive his entire do“ minion: that by the great born which sprang out of the “ forehead of the he-goat was meant the first king; and that " the springing up of four horns upon its falling off, and the
conversion of every one of them to the four quarters of the “ earth, signified the successors that should arise after the “ death of the first king, and the partition of the kingdom
among them, and that they should be neither his children, “ nor of his kindred, that should reign over the habitable ” earth for many years; and that from among them there “ should arise a certain king that should overcome our nation " and their laws, and should take away their political govern“ ment, and should spoil the temple, and forbid the sacrifi
ces to be offered for three years time.” And indeed it so came to pass, that our nation suffered these things under Antiochus Epiphanes, according to Daniel's vision, and what he wrote many years before they came to pass. In the very same manner, Daniel also wrote concerning the Roman government, and that our country should be made desolate by them. All these things did this man leave in writing, as God had shewed them to him, insomuch, that such as read his prophecies, and see how they have been fulfilled, would wonder at the honour wherewith God honoured Daniel; and may
thence discover how the Epicureans are in an error, who cast Providence out of human life, and do not believe that God takes care of the affairs of the world, nor that the universe is governed and continued in being by that blessed and immortal nature, but say that the world is carried along of its own accord, without a ruler and a curator: which, were it destitute of a guide to conduct it, as they imagine, it would be like ships without pilots, which we see drowned by the winds, or like chariots without drivers, which are overturned, so would the world be dashed to pieces by its being carried without a providence, and so perish, and come to nought. So that, by the fore-mentioned predictions of Daniel, those men seem to me very much to err from the truth, who determine, that God exercises no providence over human affairs; for if that were the case, that the world went on by mechanical necessity, we should not see that all things would come to pass according to his prophecy. Now as to myself, I have so described these matters as I have found them and read them; but if any one is inclined to another opinion about them, let him enjoy his different sentiments without any blame from
CONTAINING THE INTERVAL OF TWO HUNDRED AND FIFTY-THREE YEARS
FROM THE FIRST OF CYRUS TO THE DEATH OF ALEXANDER
How Cyrus, king of the Persians, delivered the Jews out of
Babylon, and suffered them to return to their own country, and to build their temple, for which work he gave them
inoney. § 1. In the first year of the reign of* Cyrus, which was the seventieth from the day that our people were removed out of their own land into Babylon, God commiserated the captivity and calamity of these poor people, according as he had foretold to them by Jeremiah the prophet, before the destruction of the city, that after they had served Nebuchadnezzar and his posterity, and after they had undergone that servitude seventy years, he would restore them again to the land of their fathers, and they should build their teinple, and enjoy their ancient prosperity. And these things God did afford them; for he stirred up the mind of Cyrus, and made him write this throughout all Asia: “ Thus saith Cyrus the king, since God
Almighty hath appointed me to be king of the habitable. " earth, I believe that he is that God which the nation of the “ Israelites worship, for indeed he foretold my name by the “ prophets, and that I should build bim an house at Jerusaos lem, in the country of Judea."
2. This was known to Cyrus by his reading the book which Isaiah left behind him of his prophecies; for this prophet said, that God had spoken thus to him in a secret vision: 66 My will is, that Cyrus, whom I have appointed to be king “ over many and great nations, send back my people to their “ own land, and build my temple.” This was foretold by
* This Cyrus is called God's shepherd by Xenophon, as well as by Isaiah, Isa. xliv. 28 as also it is said of him by the same prophet, that “ I will make a man anore precious than fine gold, even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir,” Isa. xiii. 12. which character makes Xenophon's most excellent history of him very credible.
Isaiah one hundred and forty years before the temple was demolished. Accordingly when Cyrus read this, and admired the divine power, an earnest desire and ambition seized upon him to fulfil what was so written; so he called for the most eminent Jews that were in Babylon, and said to them, That gave
them leave to go back to their own country, and “ to rebuild * their city Jerusalem, and the temple of God, • for that he would be their assistant, and that he would write “ to the rulers and governors that were in the neighbour“ hood of their country of Judea, that they should contri“ bute to them gold and silver for the building of the tem“ ple, and besides that, beasts for their sacrifices."
3. When Cyrus had said this to the Israelites, the rulers of the two tribes of Judah and Benjamin, with the Levites, and priests, went in haste to Jerusalem, yet did many of them stay at Babylon, as not willing to leave their possessions; and when they were come thither, all the king's friends assisted them, and brought in, for the building of the temple, some gold and some silver, and some a great many cattle and horses. So they performed their vows to God, and offered the sacrifices that had been accustomed of old time; I mean this upon the rebuilding of their city, and the revival of the ancient practices relating to their worship. Cyrus also sent back to them the vessels of God which king Nebuchadnezzar had pillaged out of the temple, and had carried to Babylon. So he committed these things to Mithridates, the treasurer, to be sent away, with an order to give them to Sanabassar, that he might keep them till the temple was built; and when it was finished, he might deliver them to the priests and rulers of the multitude, in order to their being restored to the temple. Cyrus also sent an epistle to the governors that were in Syria, the contents whereof here follow :
!! KING CYRUS to Sisinnes and SATHRABUZANES, sendetk
“ greeting :
I have given leave to as many of the Jews that dwell in
* This leave to build Jerusalem, § 2, 3. and this epistle of Cyrus to Sisiones and Sathrabuzanes, to the same purpose, are most unfortunately omitted in all our copies, but this best and completest copy of Josephus; and by such omission the famous prophecy of Isaiah, Isa. xliv. 23. where we are informed, that God said of, or to Cyrus, “ He is my shepherd, and shall perform all my plea. sure; even saying to Jerusalem, thou shalt be built, and to the temple, thy foundation shall be laid," could not hitherto be demonstrated from the sacred history to have been completely fulfilled, I mean as to that part of it which concerned his giving leave or commission for rebuilding the city Jerusalem as distinct from the temple, whose rebuilding is alone permitted or directed in the decree of Cy. rus in all our copios.
my country as please to return to their own country, and
to rebuild their city, and to build the temple of God at Je“ rusalem, on the same place where it was before. I have “ also sent my treasurer Mithridates, and Zorobabel, the go“ vernor of the Jews, that they may lay the foundations of " the temple, and may build it sixty cubits high, and of the
same latitude, making three edifices of polished stones, s and one of the wood of the country, and the same order " extends to the altar whereon they offer sacrifices to God. “ I require also, that the expences for these things may be “ given out of my revenues. Moreover, I have also sent the “ vessels which 'king Nebuchadnezzar pillaged out of the “ temple, and have given them to Mithridates the treasurer, “ and to Zorobabel the governor of the Jews, that they may “ have them carried to Jerusalem, and may restore them to " the temple of God. Now their* number is as follows: “ fifty chargers of gold, and five hundred of silver; forty “ Thericlean cups of gold, and five hundred of silver; fifty " basons of gold, and five hundred of silver; thirty vessels “ for pouring [the drink offerings,] and three hundred of sil" ver; thirty vials of gold, and two thousand four hundred of “ silver; with a thousand other large vessels. I permit them " to have the same honour which they were used to have “ from their forefathers, as also for their small cattle, and for " wine and oil, two hundred and five thousand and five hun. " dred drachmæ; and for wheat flour, twenty thousand and « five hundred artabæ: and I give order, that these expences * shall be given them out of the tributes due from Samaria. " The priests shall also offer these sacrifices according to the es laws of Moses in Jerusalem; and when they offer them, " they shall pray to God for the preservation of the king and w of his family, that the kingdom of Persia may continue. " But my will is, that those who disobey these injunctions, er and make them void, shall be hung upon a cross, and their * substance brought into the king's treasury.” And such was the import of this epistle. Now the number of those that came out of captivity to Jerusalem, were forty-two thousand four hundred and sixty-two.
* Of the true number golden and silver vessels bere and elsewhere belong ing to the temple of Solomon, see the description of the temples, chap, xii,