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Antiquities of the Jews, Vol 3, The

BOOK XIV. Containing The Interval Of Thirty-Two Years.—From The Death Of Queen Alexandra To The Death Of Antigonus.

CHAPTER 1. The War Between Aristobulus And Hyrcanus About The Kingdom; And How They Made Anagreement That Aristobulus Should Be King, And Hyrcanus Live A Private Life; As Also How Hyrcanus A Little Afterward Was Persuaded By Antipater To Fly To Aretas.

1. We have related the affairs of queen Alexandra, and her death, in the foregoing book and will now speak of what followed, and was connected with those histories; declaring, before we proceed, that we have nothing so much at heart as this, that we may omit no facts, either through ignorance or laziness; 1 for we are upon the history and explication of such things as the greatest part are unacquainted withal, because of their distance from our times; and we aim to do it with a proper beauty of style, so far as that is derived from proper words harmonically disposed, and from such ornaments of speech also as may contribute to the pleasure of our readers, that they may entertain the knowledge of what we write with some agreeable satisfaction and pleasure. But the principal scope that authors ought to aim at above all the rest, is to speak accurately, and to speak truly, for the satisfaction of those that are otherwise unacquainted with such transactions, and obliged to believe what these writers inform them of.

2. Hyrcanus then began his high priesthood on the third year of the hundred and seventy-seventh olympiad, when Quintus Hortensius and Quintus Metellus, who was called Metellus of Crete, were consuls at Rome; when presently Aristobulus began to make war against him; and as it came to a battle with Hyrcanus at Jericho, many of his soldiers deserted him, and went over to his brother; upon which Hyrcanus fled into the citadel, where Aristobulus's wife and children were imprisoned by their mother, as we have said already, and attacked and overcame those his adversaries that had fled thither, and lay within the walls of the temple. So when he had sent a message to his brother about agreeing the matters between them, he laid aside his enmity to him on these conditions, that Aristobulus should be king, that he should live without intermeddling with public affairs, and quietly enjoy the estate he had acquired. When they had agreed upon these terms in the temple, and had confirmed the agreement with oaths, and the giving one another their right hands, and embracing one another in the sight of the whole multitude, they departed; the one, Aristobulus, to the palace; and Hyrcanus, as a private man, to the former house of Aristobulus.

3. But there was a certain friend of Hyrcanus, an Idumean, called Antipater, who was very rich, and in his nature an active and a seditious man; who was at enmity with Aristobulus, and had differences with him on account of his good-will to Hyrcanus. It is true that Nicolatls of Damascus says, that Antipater was of the stock of the principal Jews who came out of Babylon into Judea; but that assertion of his was to gratify Herod, who was his son, and who, by certain revolutions of fortune, came afterward to be king of the Jews, whose history we shall give you in its proper place hereafter. However, this Antipater was at first called Antipas, 2 and that was his father's name also; of whom they relate this: That king Alexander and his wife made him general of all Idumea, and that he made a league of friendship with those Arabians, and Gazites, and Ascalonites, that were of his own party, and had, by many and large presents, made them his fast friends. But now this younger Antipater was suspicious of the power of Aristobulus, and was afraid of some mischief he might do him, because of his hatred to him; so he stirred up the most powerful of the Jews, and talked against him to them privately; and said that it was unjust to overlook the conduct of Aristobulus, who had gotten the government unrighteously, and ejected his brother out of it, who was the elder, and ought to retain what belonged to him by prerogative of his birth. And the same speeches he perpetually made to Hyrcanus; and told him that his own life would be in danger, unless he guarded himself, and got shut of Aristobulus; for he said that the friends of Aristobulus omitted no opportunity of advising him to kill him, as being then, and not before, sure to retain his principality. Hyrcanus gave no credit to these words of his, as being of a gentle disposition, and one that did not easily admit of calumnies against other men. This temper of his not disposing him to meddle with public affairs, and want of spirit, occasioned him to appear to spectators to be degenerous and unmanly; while. Aristo-bulus was of a contrary temper, an active man, and one of a great and generous soul.

4. Since therefore Antipater saw that Hyrcanus did not attend to what he said, he never ceased, day by day, to charge reigned crimes upon Aristobulus, and to calumniate him before him, as if he had a mind to kill him; and so, by urging him perpetually, he advised him, and persuaded him to fly to Aretas, the king of Arabia; and promised, that if he would comply with his advice, he would also himself assist him and go with him. When Hyrcanus heard this, he said that it was for his advantage to fly away to Aretas. Now Arabia is a country that borders upon Judea. However, Hyrcanus sent Antipater first to the king of Arabia, in order to receive assurances from him, that when he should come in the manner of a supplicant to him, he would not deliver him up to his enemies. So Antipater having received such assurances, returned to Hyrcanus to Jerusalem. A while afterward he took Hyrcanus, and stole out of the city by night, and went a great journey, and came and brought him to the city called Petra, where the palace of Aretas was; and as he was a very familiar friend of that king, he persuaded him to bring back Hyrcanus into Judea, and this persuasion he continued every day without any intermission. He also proposed to make him presents on that account. At length he prevailed with Aretas in his suit. Moreover, Hyrcanus promised him, that when he had been brought thither, and had received his kingdom, he would restore that country, and those twelve cities which his father Alexander had taken from the Arabians, which were these, Medaba, Naballo, Libias, Tharabasa, Agala, Athone, Zoar, Orone, Marissa, Rudda, Lussa, and Oruba.

CHAPTER 2. How Aretas And Hyrcanus Made An Expedition Against Aristobulus And Besieged Jerusalem; And How Scaurus The Roman General Raised The Siege. Concerning The Death Of Onias.

1. After these promises had been given to Aretas, he made an expedition against Aristobulus with an army of fifty thousand horse and foot, and beat him in the battle. And when after that victory many went over to Hyrcanus as deserters, Aristobulus was left desolate, and fled to Jerusalem; upon which the king of Arabia took all his army, and made an assault upon the temple, and besieged Aristobulus therein, the people still supporting Hyreanus, and assisting him in the siege, while none but the priests continued with Aristobulus. So Aretas united the forces of the Arabians and of the Jews together, and pressed on the siege vigorously. As this happened at the time when the feast of unleavened bread was celebrated, which we call the passover, the principal men among the Jews left the country, and fled into Egypt. Now there was one, whose name was Onias, a righteous man he was, and beloved of God, who, in a certain drought, had prayed to God to put an end to the intense heat, and whose prayers God had heard, and had sent them rain. This man had hid himself, because he saw that this sedition would last a great while. However, they brought him to the Jewish camp, and desired, that as by his prayers he had once put an end to the drought, so he would in like manner make imprecations on Aristobulus and those of his faction. And when, upon his refusal, and the excuses that he made, he was still by the multitude compelled to speak, he stood up in the midst of them, and said, "O God, the King of the whole world! since those that stand now with me are thy people, and those that are besieged are also thy priests, I beseech thee, that thou wilt neither hearken to the prayers of those against these, nor bring to effect what these pray against those." Whereupon such wicked Jews as stood about him, as soon as he had made this prayer, stoned him to death.

2. But God punished them immediately for this their barbarity, and took vengeance of them for the murder of Onias, in the manner following: While the priests and Aristobulus were besieged, it happened that the feast called the passover was come, at which it is our custom to offer a great number of sacrifices to God; but those that were with Aristobulus wanted sacrifices, and desired that their countrymen without would furnish them with such sacrifices, and assured them they should have as much money for them as they should desire; and when they required them to pay a thousand drachmae for each head of cattle, Aristobulus and the priests willingly undertook to pay for them accordingly, and those within let down the money over the walls, and gave it them. But when the others had received it, they did not deliver the sacrifices, but arrived at that height of wickedness as to break the assurances they had given, and to be guilty of impiety towards God, by not furnishing those that wanted them with sacrifices. And when the priests found they had been cheated, and that the agreements they had made were violated, they prayed to God that he would avenge them on their countrymen. Nor did he delay that their punishment, but sent a strong and vehement storm of wind, that destroyed the fruits of the whole country, till a modius of wheat was then bought for eleven drachmae.

3. In the mean time Pompey sent Scaurus into Syria, while he was himself in Armenia, and making war with Tigranes; but when Scaurus was come to Damascus, and found that Lollins and Metellus had newly taken the city, he came himself hastily into Judea. And when he was come thither, ambassadors came to him, both from Aristobulus and Hyrcanus, and both desired he would assist them. And when both of them promised to give him money, Aristobulus four hundred talents, and Hyrcanus no less, he accepted of Aristobulus's promise, for he was rich, and had a great soul, and desired to obtain nothing but what was moderate; whereas the other was poor, and tenacious, and made incredible promises in hopes of greater advantages; for it was not the same thing to take a city that was exceeding strong and powerful, as it was to eject out of the country some fugitives, with a greater number of Mabateans, who were no very warlike people. He therefore made an agreement with Aristobulus, for the reasons before mentioned, and took his money, and raised the siege, and ordered Aretas to depart, or else he should be declared an enemy to the Romans. So Scaurus returned to Damascus again; and Aristobulus, with a great army, made war with Aretas and Hyrcanus, and fought them at a place called Papyron, and beat them in the battle, and slew about six thousand of the enemy, with whom fell Phalion also, the brother of Antipater.

CHAPTER 3. How Aristobulus And Hyrcanus Came To Pompey In Order To Argue Who Ought To Have The Kingdom; And How Upon The Plight Of Aristobulus To The Fortress Alexandrium Pompey Led His Army Against Him And Ordered Him To Deliver Up The Fortresses Whereof He Was Possessed.

1. A Little afterward Pompey came to Damascus, and marched over Celesyria; at which time there came ambassadors to him from all Syria, and Egypt, and out of Judea also, for Aristobulus had sent him a great present, which was a golden vine 3 of the value of five hundred talents. Now Strabo of Cappadocia mentions this present in these words: "There came also an embassage out of Egypt, and a crown of the value of four thousand pieces of gold; and out of Judea there came another, whether you call it a vine or a garden; they call the thing Terpole, the Delight. However, we ourselves saw that present reposited at Rome, in the temple of Jupiter Capitolinus, with this inscription, 'The gift of Alexander, the king of the Jews.' It was valued at five hundred talents; and the report is, that Aristobulus, the governor of the Jews, sent it."

2. In a little time afterward came ambassadors again to him, Antipater from Hyrcanus, and Nicodemus from Aristobulus; which last also accused such as had taken bribes; first Gabinius, and then Scaurus,—the one three hundred talents, and the other four hundred; by which procedure he made these two his enemies, besides those he had before. And when Pompey had ordered those that had controversies one with another to come to him in the beginning of the spring, he brought his army out of their winter quarters, and marched into the country of Damascus; and as he went along he demolished the citadel that was at Apamia, which Antiochus Cyzicenus had built, and took cognizance of the country of Ptolemy Menneus, a wicked man, and not less so than Dionysius of Tripoli, who had been beheaded, who was also his relation by marriage; yet did he buy off the punishment of his crimes for a thousand talents, with which money Pompey paid the soldiers their wages. He also conquered the place called Lysias, of which Silas a Jew was tyrant. And when he had passed over the cities of Heliopolis and Chalcis, and got over the mountain which is on the limit of Colesyria, he came from Pella to Damascus; and there it was that he heard the causes of the Jews, and of their governors Hyrcanus and Aristobulus, who were at difference one with another, as also of the nation against them both, which did not desire to be under kingly' government, because the form of government they received from their forefathers was that of subjection to the priests of that God whom they worshipped; and [they complained], that though these two were the posterity of priests, yet did they seek to change the government of their nation to another form, in order to enslave them. Hyrcanus complained, that although he were the elder brother, he was deprived of the prerogative of his birth by Aristobulus, and that he had but a small part of the country under him, Aristobulus having taken away the rest from him by force. He also accused him, that the incursions which had been made into their neighbors' countries, and the piracies that had been at sea, were owing to him; and that the nation would not have revolted, unless Aristobulus had been a man given to violence and disorder; and there were no fewer than a thousand Jews, of the best esteem among them, who confirmed this accusation; which confirmation was procured by Antipater. But Aristobulus alleged against him, that it was Hyrcanus's own temper, which was inactive, and on that account contemptible, which caused him to be deprived of the government; and that for himself, he was necessitated to take it upon him, for fear lest it should be transferred to others. And that as to his title [of king], it was no other than what his father had taken [before him]. He also called for witnesses of what he said some persons who were both young and insolent; whose purple garments, fine heads of hair, and other ornaments, were detested [by the court], and which they appeared in, not as though they were to plead their cause in a court of justice, but as if they were marching in a pompous procession.

3. When Pompey had heard the causes of these two, and had condemned Aristobulus for his violent procedure, he then spake civilly to them, and sent them away; and told them, that when he came again into their country, he would settle all their affairs, after he had first taken a view of the affairs of the Nabateans. In the mean time, he ordered them to be quiet; and treated Aristobulus civilly, lest he should make the nation revolt, and hinder his return; which yet Aristobulus did; for without expecting any further determination, which Pompey had promised them, he went to the city Delius, and thence marched into Judea.

4. At this behavior Pompey was angry; and taking with him that army which he was leading against the Nabateans, and the auxiliaries that came from Damascus, and the other parts of Syria, with the other Roman legions which he had with him, he made an expedition against Aristobulus; but as he passed by Pella and Scythopolis, he came to Corem, which is the first entrance into Judea when one passes over the midland countries, where he came to a most beautiful fortress that was built on the top of a mountain called Alexandrium, whither Aristobulus had fled; and thence Pompey sent his commands to him, that he should come to him. Accordingly, at the persuasions of many that he would not make war with the Romans, he came down; and when he had disputed with his brother about the right to the government, he went up again to the citadel, as Pompey gave him leave to do; and this he did two or three times, as flattering himself with the hopes of having the kingdom granted him; so that he still pretended he would obey Pompey in whatsoever he commanded, although at the same time he retired to his fortress, that he might not depress himself too low, and that he might be prepared for a war, in case it should prove as he feared, that Pompey would transfer the government to Hyrcanus. But when Pompey enjoined Aristobulus to deliver up the fortresses he held, and to send an injunction to their governors under his own hand for that purpose, for they had been forbidden to deliver them up upon any other commands, he submitted indeed to do so; but still he retired in displeasure to Jerusalem, and made preparation for war. A little after this, certain persons came out of Pontus, and informed Pompey, as he was on the way, and conducting his army against Aristobulus, that Mithridates was dead, and was slain by his son Pharmaces.


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