Antiquities of the Jews, Vol 3, The

CHAPTER 15. How Herod Sailed Out Of Italy To Judea, And Fought With Antigonus And What Other Things Happened In Judea About That Time.

1. By this time Herod had sailed out of Italy to Ptolemais, and had gotten together no small army, both of strangers and of his own countrymen, and marched through Galilee against Antignus. Silo also, and Ventidius, came and assisted him, being persuaded by Dellius, who was sent by Antony to assist in bringing back Herod. Now for Ventidius, he was employed in composing the disturbances that had been made in the cities by the means of the Parthians; and for Silo, he was in Judea indeed, but corrupted by Antigonus. However, as Herod went along his army increased every day, and all Galilee, with some small exception, joined him; but as he was to those that were in Masada, [for he was obliged to endeavor to save those that were in that fortress now they were besieged, because they were his relations,] Joppa was a hinderance to him, for it was necessary for him to take that place first, it being a city at variance with him, that no strong hold might be left in his enemies' hands behind him when he should go to Jerusalem. And when Silo made this a pretense for rising up from Jerusalem, and was thereupon pursued by the Jews, Herod fell upon them with a small body of men, and both put the Jews to flight and saved Silo, when he was very poorly able to defend himself; but when Herod had taken Joppa, he made haste to set free those of his family that were in Masada. Now of the people of the country, some joined him because of the friendship they had had with his father, and some because of the splendid appearance he made, and others by way of requital for the benefits they had received from both of them; but the greatest number came to him in hopes of getting somewhat from him afterward, if he were once firmly settled in the kingdom.

2. Herod had now a strong army; and as he marched on, Antigonus laid snares and ambushes in the passes and places most proper for them; but in truth he thereby did little or no damage to the enemy. So Herod received those of his family out of Masada, and the fortress Ressa, and then went on for Jerusalem. The soldiery also that was with Silo accompanied him all along, as did many of the citizens, being afraid of his power; and as soon as he had pitched his camp on the west side of the city, the soldiers that were set to guard that part shot their arrows and threw their darts at him; and when some sallied out in a crowd, and came to fight hand to hand with the first ranks of Herod's army, he gave orders that they should, in the first place, make proclamation about the wall, that he came for the good of the people, and for the preservation of the city, and not to bear any old grudge at even his most open enemies, but ready to forget the offenses which his greatest adversaries had done him. But Antigonus, by way of reply to what Herod had caused to be proclaimed, and this before the Romans, and before Silo also, said that they would not do justly, if they gave the kingdom to Herod, who was no more than a private man, and an Idumean, i.e. a half Jew, 28 whereas they ought to bestow it on one of the royal family, as their custom was; for that in case they at present bear an ill-will to him, and had resolved to deprive him of the kingdom, as having received it from the Parthians, yet were there many others of his family that might by their law take it, and these such as had no way offended the Romans; and being of the sacerdotal family, it would be an unworthy thing to put them by. Now while they said thus one to another, and fell to reproaching one another on both sides, Antigonus permitted his own men that were upon the wall to defend themselves, who using their bows, and showing great alacrity against their enemies, easily drove them away from the towers.

3. And now it was that Silo discovered that he had taken bribes; for he set a good number of his soldiers to complain aloud of the want of provisions they were in, and to require money to buy them food; and that it was fit to let them go into places proper for winter quarters, since the places near the city were a desert, by reason that Antigonus's soldiers had carried all away; so he set the army upon removing, and endeavored to march away; but Herod pressed Silo not to depart, and exhorted Silo's captains and soldiers not to desert him, when Caesar, and Antony, and the senate had sent him thither, for that he would provide them plenty of all the things they wanted, and easily procure them a great abundance of what they required; after which entreaty, he immediately went out into the country, and left not the least pretense to Silo for his departure; for he brought an unexpected quantity of provisions, and sent to those friends of his who inhabited about Samaria to bring down corn, and wine, and oil, and cattle, and all other provisions, to Jericho, that those might be no want of a supply for the soldiers for the time to come. Antigonus was sensible of this, and sent presently over the country such as might restrain and lie in ambush for those that went out for provisions. So these men obeyed the orders of Antigonus, and got together a great number of armed men about Jericho, and sat upon the mountains, and watched those that brought the provisions. However, Herod was not idle in the mean time, for he took ten bands of soldiers, of whom five were of the Romans, and five of the Jews, with some mercenaries among them, and with some few horsemen, and came to Jericho; and as they found the city deserted, but that five hundred of them had settled themselves on the tops of the hills, with their wives and children, those he took and sent away; but the Romans fell upon the city, and plundered it, and found the houses full of all sorts of good things. So the king left a garrison at Jericho, and came back again, and sent the Roman army to take their winter quarters in the countries that were come over to him, Judea, and Galilee, and Samaria. And so much did Antigonus gain of Silo for the bribes he gave him, that part of the army should be quartered at Lydda, in order to please Antony. So the Romans laid their weapons aside, and lived in plenty of all things.

4. But Herod was not pleased with lying still, but sent out his brother Joseph against Idumea with two thousand armed footmen, and four hundred horsemen, while he himself came to Samaria, and left his mother and his other relations there, for they were already gone out of Masada, and went into Galilee, to take certain places which were held by the garrisons of Antigonus; and he passed on to Sepphoris, as God sent a snow, while Antigonus's garrisons withdrew themselves, and had great plenty of provisions. He also went thence, and resolved to destroy those robbers that dwelt in the caves, and did much mischief in the country; so he sent a troop of horsemen, and three companies of armed footmen, against them. They were very near to a village called Arbela; and on the fortieth day after, he came himself with his whole army: and as the enemy sallied out boldly upon him, the left wing of his army gave way; but he appearing with a body of men, put those to flight who were already conquerors, and recalled his men that ran away. He also pressed upon his enemies, and pursued them as far as the river Jordan, though they ran away by different roads. So he brought over to him all Galilee, excepting those that dwelt in the caves, and distributed money to every one of his soldiers, giving them a hundred and fifty drachmae apiece, and much more to their captains, and sent them into winter quarters; at which time Silo came to him, and his commanders with him, because Antigonus would not give them provisions any longer, for he supplied them for no more than one month; nay, he had sent to all the country about, and ordered them to carry off the provisions that were there, and retire to the mountains, that the Romans might have no provisions to live upon, and so might perish by famine. But Herod committed the care of that matter to Pheroras, his youngest brother, and ordered him to repair Alexandrium also. Accordingly, he quickly made the soldiers abound with great plenty of provisions, and rebuilt Alexandrium, which had been before desolate.

5. About this time it was that Antony continued some time at Athens, and that Ventidius, who was now in Syria, sent for Silo, and commanded him to assist Herod, in the first place, to finish the present war, and then to send for their confederates for the war they were themselves engaged in; but as for Herod, he went in haste against the robbers that were in the caves, and sent Silo away to Ventidius, while he marched against them. These caves were in mountains that were exceeding abrupt, and in their middle were no other than precipices, with certain entrances into the caves, and those caves were encompassed with sharp rocks, and in these did the robbers lie concealed, with all their families about them; but the king caused certain chests to be made, in order to destroy them, and to be hung down, bound about with iron chains, by an engine, from the top of the mountain, it being not possible to get up to them, by reason of the sharp ascent of the mountains, nor to creep down to them from above. Now these chests were filled with armed men, who had long hooks in their hands, by which they might pull out such as resisted them, and then tumble them down, and kill them by so doing; but the letting the chests down proved to be a matter of great danger, because of the vast depth they were to be let down, although they had their provisions in the chests themselves. But when the chests were let down, and not one of those in the mouths of the caves durst come near them, but lay still out of fear, some of the armed men girt on their armor, and by both their hands took hold of the chain by which the chests were let down, and went into the mouths of the caves, because they fretted that such delay was made by the robbers not daring to come out of the caves; and when they were at any of those mouths, they first killed many of those that were in the mouths with their darts, and afterwards pulled those to them that resisted them with their hooks, and tumbled them down the precipices, and afterwards went into the caves, and killed many more, and then went into their chests again, and lay still there; but, upon this, terror seized the rest, when they heard the lamentations that were made, and they despaired of escaping. However, when the night came on, that put an end to the whole work; and as the king proclaimed pardon by a herald to such as delivered themselves up to him, many accepted of the offer. The same method of assault was made use of the next day; and they went further, and got out in baskets to fight them, and fought them at their doors, and sent fire among them, and set their caves on fire, for there was a great deal of combustible matter within them. Now there was one old man who was caught within one of these caves, with seven children and a wife; these prayed him to give them leave to go out, and yield themselves up to the enemy; but he stood at the cave's mouth, and always slew that child of his who went out, till he had destroyed them every one, and after that he slew his wife, and cast their dead bodies down the precipice, and himself after them, and so underwent death rather than slavery: but before he did this, he greatly reproached Herod with the meanness of his family, although he was then king. Herod also saw what he was doing, and stretched out his hand, and offered him all manner of security for his life; by which means all these caves were at length subdued entirely.

6. And when the king had set Ptolemy over these parts of the country as his general, he went to Samaria, with six hundred horsemen, and three thousand armed footmen, as intending to fight Antigonus. But still this command of the army did not succeed well with Ptolemy, but those that had been troublesome to Galilee before attacked him, and slew him; and when they had done this, they fled among the lakes and places almost inaccessible laying waste and plundering whatsoever they could come at in those places. But Herod soon returned, and punished them for what they had done; for some of these rebels he slew, and others of them, who had fled to the strong holds he besieged, and both slew them, and demolished their strong holds. And when he had thus put an end to their rebellion, he laid a fine upon the cities of a hundred talents.

7. In the mean time, Pacorus was fallen in a battle, and the Parthians were defeated, when Ventidius sent Macheras to the assistance of Herod, with two legions, and a thousand horsemen, while Antony encouraged him to make haste. But Macheras, at the instigation of Antigonus, without the approbation of Herod, as being corrupted by money, went about to take a view of his affairs; but Antigonus suspecting this intention of his coming, did not admit him into the city, but kept him at a distance, with throwing stones at him, and plainly showed what he himself meant. But when Macheras was sensible that Herod had given him good advice, and that he had made a mistake himself in not hearkening to that advice, he retired to the city Emmaus; and what Jews he met with he slew them, whether they were enemies or friends, out of the rage he was in at what hardships he had undergone. The king was provoked at this conduct of his, and went to Samaria, and resolved to go to Antony about these affairs, and to inform him that he stood in no need of such helpers, who did him more mischief than they did his enemies; and that he was able of himself to beat Antigonus. But Macheras followed him, and desired that he would not go to Antony; or if he was resolved to go, that he would join his brother Joseph with them, and let them fight against Antigonus. So he was reconciled to Macheras, upon his earnest entreaties. Accordingly, he left Joseph there with his army, but charged him to run no hazards, nor to quarrel with Macheras.

8. But for his own part, he made haste to Antony [who was then at the siege of Samosata, a place upon Euphrates] with his troops, both horsemen and footmen, to be auxiliaries to him. And when he came to Antioch, and met there a great number of men gotten together that were very desirous to go to Antony, but durst not venture to go, out of fear, because the barbarians fell upon men on the road, and slew many, so he encouraged them, and became their conductor upon the road. Now when they were within two days' march of Samosata, the barbarians had laid an ambush there to disturb those that came to Antony, and where the woods made the passes narrow, as they led to the plains, there they laid not a few of their horsemen, who were to lie still until those passengers were gone by into the wide place. Now as soon as the first ranks were gone by, [for Herod brought on the rear,] those that lay in ambush, who were about five hundred, fell upon them on the sudden, and when they had put the foremost to flight, the king came riding hard, with the forces that were about him, and immediately drove back the enemy; by which means he made the minds of his own men courageous, and imboldened them to go on, insomuch that those who ran away before now returned back, and the barbarians were slain on all sides. The king also went on killing them, and recovered all the baggage, among which were a great number of beasts for burden, and of slaves, and proceeded on in his march; and whereas there were a great number of those in the woods that attacked them, and were near the passage that led into the plain, he made a sally upon these also with a strong body of men, and put them to flight, and slew many of them, and thereby rendered the way safe for those that came after; and these called Herod their savior and protector.

9. And when he was near to Samosata, Antony sent out his army in all their proper habiliments to meet him, in order to pay Herod this respect, and because of the assistance he had given him; for he had heard what attacks the barbarians had made upon him [in Judea]. He also was very glad to see him there, as having been made acquainted with the great actions he had performed upon the road. So he entertained him very kindly, and could not but admire his courage. Antony also embraced him as soon as he saw him, and saluted him after a most affectionate manner, and gave him the upper hand, as having himself lately made him a king; and in a little time Antiochus delivered up the fortress, and on that account this war was at an end; then Antony committed the rest to Sosius, and gave him orders to assist Herod, and went himself to Egypt. Accordingly, Sosius sent two legions before into Judea to the assistance of Herod, and he followed himself with the body of the army.

10. Now Joseph was already slain in Judea, in the manner following: He forgot what charge his brother Herod had given him when he went to Antony; and when he had pitched his camp among the mountains, for Macheras had lent him five regiments, with these he went hastily to Jericho, in order to reap the corn thereto belonging; and as the Roman regiments were but newly raised, and were unskillful in war, for they were in great part collected out of Syria, he was attacked by the enemy, and caught in those places of difficulty, and was himself slain, as he was fighting bravely, and the whole army was lost, for there were six regiments slain. So when Antigonus had got possession of the dead bodies, he cut off Joseph's head, although Pheroras his brother would have redeemed it at the price of fifty talents. After which defeat, the Galileans revolted from their commanders, and took those of Herod's party, and drowned them in the lake, and a great part of Judea was become seditious; but Macheras fortified the place Gitta [in Samaria].

11. At this time messengers came to Herod, and informed him of what had been done; and when he was come to Daphne by Antioch, they told him of the ill fortune that had befallen his brother; which yet he expected, from certain visions that appeared to him in his dreams, which clearly foreshowed his brother's death. So he hastened his march; and when he came to Mount Libanus, he received about eight hundred of the men of that place, having already with him also one Roman legion, and with these he came to Ptolemais. He also marched thence by night with his army, and proceeded along Galilee. Here it was that the enemy met him, and fought him, and were beaten, and shut up in the same place of strength whence they had sallied out the day before. So he attacked the place in the morning; but by reason of a great storm that was then very violent, he was able to do nothing, but drew off his army into the neighboring villages; yet as soon as the other legion that Antony sent him was come to his assistance, those that were in garrison in the place were afraid, and deserted it in the night time. Then did the king march hastily to Jericho, intending to avenge himself on the enemy for the slaughter of his brother; and when he had pitched his tents, he made a feast for the principal commanders; and after this collation was over, and he had dismissed his guests, he retired to his own chamber; and here may one see what kindness God had for the king, for the upper part of the house fell down when nobody was in it, and so killed none, insomuch that all the people believed that Herod was beloved of God, since he had escaped such a great and surprising danger.

12. But the next day six thousand of the enemy came down from the tops of the mountains to fight the Romans, which greatly terrified them; and the soldiers that were in light armor came near, and pelted the king's guards that were come out with darts and stones, and one of them hit him on the side with a dart. Antigonus also sent a commander against Samaria, whose name was Pappus, with some forces, being desirous to show the enemy how potent he was, and that he had men to spare in his war with them. He sat down to oppose Macheras; but Herod, when he had taken five cities, took such as were left in them, being about two thousand, and slew them, and burnt the cities themselves, and then returned to go against Pappus, who was encamped at a village called Isanas; and there ran in to him many out of Jericho and Judea, near to which places he was, and the enemy fell upon his men, so stout were they at this time, and joined battle with them, but he beat them in the fight; and in order to be revenged on them for the slaughter of his brother, he pursued them sharply, and killed them as they ran away; and as the houses were full of armed men, 29 and many of them ran as far as the tops of the houses, he got them under his power, and pulled down the roofs of the houses, and saw the lower rooms full of soldiers that were caught, and lay all on a heap; so they threw stones down upon them as they lay piled one upon another, and thereby killed them; nor was there a more frightful spectacle in all the war than this, where beyond the walls an immense multitude of dead men lay heaped one upon another. This action it was which chiefly brake the spirits of the enemy, who expected now what would come; for there appeared a mighty number of people that came from places far distant, that were now about the village, but then ran away; and had it not been for the depth of winter, which then restrained them, the king's army had presently gone to Jerusalem, as being very courageous at this good success, and the whole work had been done immediately; for Antigonus was already looking about how he might fly away and leave the city.

13. At this time the king gave order that the soldiers should go to supper, for it was late at night, while he went into a chamber to use the bath, for he was very weary; and here it was that he was in the greatest danger, which yet, by God's providence, he escaped; for as he was naked, and had but one servant that followed him, to be with him while he was bathing in an inner room, certain of the enemy, who were in their armor, and had fled thither, out of fear, were then in the place; and as he was bathing, the first of them came out with his naked sword drawn, and went out at the doors, and after him a second, and a third, armed in like manner, and were under such a consternation, that they did no hurt to the king, and thought themselves to have come off very well ill suffering no harm themselves in their getting out of the house. However, on the next day, he cut off the head of Pappus, for he was already slain, and sent it to Pheroras, as a punishment of what their brother had suffered by his means, for he was the man that slew him with his own hand.

14. When the rigor of winter was over, Herod removed his army, and came near to Jerusalem, and pitched his camp hard by the city. Now this was the third year since he had been made king at Rome; and as he removed his camp, and came near that part of the wall where it could be most easily assaulted, he pitched that camp before the temple, intending to make his attacks in the same manner as did Pompey. So he encompassed the place with three bulwarks, and erected towers, and employed a great many hands about the work, and cut down the trees that were round about the city; and when he had appointed proper persons to oversee the works, even while the army lay before the city, he himself went to Samaria, to complete his marriage, and to take to wife the daughter of Alexander, the son of Aristobulus; for he had betrothed her already, as I have before related.

CHAPTER 16. How Herod, When He Had Married Mariamne Took Jerusalem With The Assistance Of Sosius By Force; And How The Government Of The Asamoneans Was Put An End To.

1. After the wedding was over, came Sosius through Phoenicia, having sent out his army before him over the midland parts. He also, who was their commander, came himself, with a great number of horsemen and footmen. The king also came himself from Samaria, and brought with him no small army, besides that which was there before, for they were about thirty thousand; and they all met together at the walls of Jerusalem, and encamped at the north wall of the city, being now an army of eleven legions, armed men on foot, and six thousand horsemen, with other auxiliaries out of Syria. The generals were two: Sosius, sent by Antony to assist Herod, and Herod on his own account, in order to take the government from Antigonus, who was declared all enemy at Rome, and that he might himself be king, according to the decree of the Senate.

2. Now the Jews that were enclosed within the walls of the city fought against Herod with great alacrity and zeal [for the whole nation was gathered together]; they also gave out many prophecies about the temple, and many things agreeable to the people, as if God would deliver them out of the dangers they were in; they had also carried off what was out of the city, that they might not leave any thing to afford sustenance either for men or for beasts; and by private robberies they made the want of necessaries greater. When Herod understood this, he opposed ambushes in the fittest places against their private robberies, and he sent legions of armed men to bring its provisions, and that from remote places, so that in a little time they had great plenty of provisions. Now the three bulwarks were easily erected, because so many hands were continually at work upon it; for it was summer time, and there was nothing to hinder them in raising their works, neither from the air nor from the workmen; so they brought their engines to bear, and shook the walls of the city, and tried all manner of ways to get it; yet did not those within discover any fear, but they also contrived not a few engines to oppose their engines withal. They also sallied out, and burnt not only those engines that were not yet perfected, but those that were; and when they came hand to hand, their attempts were not less bold than those of the Romans, though they were behind them in skill. They also erected new works when the former were ruined, and making mines underground, they met each other, and fought there; and making use of brutish courage rather than of prudent valor, they persisted in this war to the very last; and this they did while a mighty army lay round about them, and while they were distressed by famine and the want of necessaries, for this happened to be a Sabbatic year. The first that scaled the walls were twenty chosen men, the next were Sosius's centurions; for the first wall was taken in forty days, and the second in fifteen more, when some of the cloisters that were about the temple were burnt, which Herod gave out to have been burnt by Antigonus, in order to expose him to the hatred of the Jews. And when the outer court of the temple and the lower city were taken, the Jews fled into the inner court of the temple, and into the upper city; but now fearing lest the Romans should hinder them from offering their daily sacrifices to God, they sent an embassage, and desired that they would only permit them to bring in beasts for sacrifices, which Herod granted, hoping they were going to yield; but when he saw that they did nothing of what he supposed, but bitterly opposed him, in order to preserve the kingdom to Antigonus, he made an assault upon the city, and took it by storm; and now all parts were full of those that were slain, by the rage of the Romans at the long duration of the siege, and by the zeal of the Jews that were on Herod's side, who were not willing to leave one of their adversaries alive; so they were murdered continually in the narrow streets and in the houses by crowds, and as they were flying to the temple for shelter, and there was no pity taken of either infants or the aged, nor did they spare so much as the weaker sex; nay, although the king sent about, and besought them to spare the people, yet nobody restrained their hand from slaughter, but, as if they were a company of madmen, they fell upon persons of all ages, without distinction; and then Antigonus, without regard to either his past or present circumstances, came down from the citadel, and fell down at the feet of Sosius, who took no pity of him, in the change of his fortune, but insulted him beyond measure, and called him Antigone [i.e. a woman, and not a man;] yet did he not treat him as if he were a woman, by letting him go at liberty, but put him into bonds, and kept him in close custody.

3. And now Herod having overcome his enemies, his care was to govern those foreigners who had been his assistants, for the crowd of strangers rushed to see the temple, and the sacred things in the temple; but the king, thinking a victory to be a more severe affliction than a defeat, if any of those things which it was not lawful to see should be seen by them, used entreaties and threatenings, and even sometimes force itself, to restrain them. He also prohibited the ravage that was made in the city, and many times asked Sosius whether the Romans would empty the city both of money and men, and leave him king of a desert; and told him that he esteemed the dominion over the whole habitable earth as by no means an equivalent satisfaction for such a murder of his citizens'; and when he said that this plunder was justly to be permitted the soldiers for the siege they had undergone, he replied, that he would give every one their reward out of his own money; and by this means be redeemed what remained of the city from destruction; and he performed what he had promised him, for he gave a noble present to every soldier, and a proportionable present to their commanders, but a most royal present to Sosius himself, till they all went away full of money.

4. This destruction befell the city of Jerusalem when Marcus Agrippa and Caninius Gallus were consuls of Rome 30 on the hundred eighty and fifth olympiad, on the third month, on the solemnity of the fast, as if a periodical revolution of calamities had returned since that which befell the Jews under Pompey; for the Jews were taken by him on the same day, and this was after twenty-seven years' time. So when Sosius had dedicated a crown of gold to God, he marched away from Jerusalem, and carried Antigonus with him in bonds to Antony; but Herod was afraid lest Antigonus should be kept in prison [only] by Antony, and that when he was carried to Rome by him, he might get his cause to be heard by the senate, and might demonstrate, as he was himself of the royal blood, and Herod but a private man, that therefore it belonged to his sons however to have the kingdom, on account of the family they were of, in case he had himself offended the Romans by what he had done. Out of Herod's fear of this it was that he, by giving Antony a great deal of money, endeavored to persuade him to have Antigonus slain, which if it were once done, he should be free from that fear. And thus did the government of the Asamoneans cease, a hundred twenty and six years after it was first set up. This family was a splendid and an illustrious one, both on account of the nobility of their stock, and of the dignity of the high priesthood, as also for the glorious actions their ancestors had performed for our nation; but these men lost the government by their dissensions one with another, and it came to Herod, the son of Antipater, who was of no more than a vulgar family, and of no eminent extraction, but one that was subject to other kings. And this is what history tells us was the end of the Asamonean family.


1 (return)
[ Reland takes notice here, very justly, how Josephus's declaration, that it was his great concern not only to write "an agreeable, an accurate," and "a true" history, but also distinctly not to omit any thing [of consequence], either through "ignorance or laziness," implies that he could not, consistently with that resolution, omit the mention of [so famous a person as] "Jesus Christ."]

2 (return)
[ That the famous Antipater's or Antipas's father was also Antipater or Antipas [which two may justly be esteemed one and the same frame, the former with a Greek or Gentile, the latter with a Hebrew or Jewish termination] Josephus here assures us, though Eusebias indeed says it was Herod.]

3 (return)
[ This "golden vine," or "garden," seen by Strabo at Rome, has its inscription here as if it were the gift of Alexander, the father of Aristobulus, and not of Aristobulus himself, to whom yet Josephus ascribes it; and in order to prove the truth of that part of his history, introduces this testimony of Strabo; so that the ordinary copies seem to be here either erroneous or defective, and the original reading seems to have been either Aristobulus, instead of Alexander, with one Greek copy, or else "Aristobulus the son of Alexander," with the Latin copies; which last seems to me the most probable. For as to Archbishop Usher's conjectures, that Alexander made it, and dedicated it to God in the temple, and that thence Aristobulus took it, and sent it to Pompey, they are both very improbable, and no way agreeable to Josephus, who would hardly have avoided the recording both these uncommon points of history, had he known any thing of them; nor would either the Jewish nation, or even Pompey himself, then have relished such a flagrant instance of sacrilege.]

4 (return)
[ These express testimonies of Josephus here, and Antiq. B. VIII. ch. 6. sect. 6, and B. XV. ch. 4. sect. 2, that the only balsam gardens, and the best palm trees, were, at least in his days, near Jericho and Kugaddi, about the north part of the Dead Sea, [whereabout also Alexander the Great saw the balsam drop,] show the mistake of those that understand Eusebius and Jerom as if one of those gardens were at the south part of that sea, at Zoar or Segor, whereas they must either mean another Zoar or Segor, which was between Jericho and Kugaddi, agreeably to Josephus: which yet they do not appear to do, or else they directly contradict Josephus, and were therein greatly mistaken: I mean this, unless that balsam, and the best palm trees, grew much more southward in Judea in the days of Eusebius and Jerom than they did in the days of Josephus.]

5 (return)
[ The particular depth and breadth of this ditch, whence the stones for the wall about the temple were probably taken, are omitted in our copies of Josephus, but set down by Strabo, B. XVI. p. 763; from whom we learn that this ditch was sixty feet deep, and two hundred and fifty feet broad. However, its depth is, in the next section, said by Josephus to be immense, which exactly agrees to Strabo's description, and which numbers in Strabo are a strong confirmation of the truth of Josephus's description also.]

6 (return)
[ That is, on the 23rd of Sivan, the annual fast for the defection and idolatry of Jeroboam, "who made Israel to sin;" or possibly some other fast might fall into that month, before and in the days of Josephus.]

7 (return)
[ It deserves here to be noted, that this Pharisaical, superstitious notion, that offensive fighting was unlawful to Jews, even under the utmost necessity, on the Sabbath day, of which we hear nothing before the times of the Maccabees, was the proper occasion of Jerusalem's being taken by Pompey, by Sosius, and by Titus, as appears from the places already quoted in the note on Antiq. B. XIII. ch. 8. sect. 1; which scrupulous superstition, as to the observation of such a rigorous rest upon the Sabbath day, our Savior always opposed, when the Pharisaical Jews insisted on it, as is evident in many places in the New Testament, though he still intimated how pernicious that superstition might prove to them in their flight from the Romans, Matthew 25:20.]

8 (return)
[ This is fully confirmed by the testimony of Cicero, who: says, in his oration for Flaecus, that "Cneius Pompeius, when he was conqueror, and had taken Jerusalem, did not touch any thing belonging to that temple."]

9 (return)
[ Of this destruction of Gadara here presupposed, and its restoration by Pompey, see the note on the War, B. I. ch. 7. sect. 7.]

10 (return)
[ Dean Prideaux well observes, "That notwithstanding the clamor against Gabinius at Rome, Josephus gives him a able character, as if he had acquitted himself with honor in the charge committed to him" [in Judea]. See at the year 55.]

11 (return)
[ This history is best illustrated by Dr. Hudson out of Livy, who says that "A. Gabinius, the proconsul, restored Ptolemy of Pompey and Gabinius against the Jews, while neither of them say any thing new which is not in the other to his kingdom of Egypt, and ejected Archelaus, whom they had set up for king," &c. See Prid. at the years 61 and 65.]

12 (return)
[ Dr. Hudson observes, that the name of this wife of Antipater in Josephus was Cypros, as a Hebrew termination, but not Cypris, the Greek name for Venus, as some critics were ready to correct it.]

13 (return)
[ Take Dr. Hudson's note upon this place, which I suppose to be the truth: "Here is some mistake in Josephus; for when he had promised us a decree for the restoration of Jerusalem he brings in a decree of far greater antiquity, and that a league of friendship and union only. One may easily believe that Josephus gave order for one thing, and his amanuensis performed another, by transposing decrees that concerned the Hyrcani, and as deluded by the sameness of their names; for that belongs to the first high priest of this name, [John Hyrcanus,] which Josephus here ascribes to one that lived later [Hyrcanus, the son of Alexander Janneus]. However, the decree which he proposes to set down follows a little lower, in the collection of Raman decrees that concerned the Jews and is that dated when Caesar was consul the fifth time." See ch. 10. sect. 5.]

14 (return)
[ Those who will carefully observe the several occasional numbers and chronological characters in the life and death of this Herod, and of his children, hereafter noted, will see that twenty-five years, and not fifteen, must for certain have been here Josephus's own number for the age of Herod, when he was made governor of Galilee. See ch. 23. sect. 5, and ch. 24. sect. 7; and particularly Antiq. B. XVII. ch. 8. sect. 1, where about forty-four years afterwards Herod dies an old man at about seventy.]

15 (return)
[ It is here worth our while to remark, that none could be put to death in Judea but by the approbation of the Jewish Sanhedrim, there being an excellent provision in the law of Moses, that even in criminal causes, and particularly where life was concerned, an appeal should lie from the lesser councils of seven in the other cities to the supreme council of seventy-one at Jerusalem; and that is exactly according to our Savior's words, when he says, "It could not be that a prophet should perish out of Jerusalem," Luke 13:33.]

16 (return)
[ This account, as Reland observes, is confirmed by the Talmudists, who call this Sameas, "Simeon, the son of Shetach."]

17 (return)
[ That Hyreanus was himself in Egypt, along with Antipater, at this time, to whom accordingly the bold and prudent actions of his deputy Antipater are here ascribed, as this decree of Julius Caesar supposes, we are further assured by the testimony of Strabo, already produced by Josephus, ch. 8. sect. 3.]

18 (return)
[ Dr. Hudson justly supposes that the Roman imperators, or generals of armies, meant both here and sect. 2, who gave testimony to Hyrcanus's and the Jews' faithfulness and goodwill to the Romans before the senate and people of Rome, were principally Pompey, Scaurus, and Gabinius; of all whom Josephus had already given us the history, so far as the Jews were concerned with them.]

19 (return)
[ We have here a most remarkable and authentic attestation of the citizens of Pergamus, that Abraham was the father of all the Hebrews; that their own ancestors were, in the oldest times, the friends of those Hebrews; and that the public arts of their city, then extant, confirmed the same; which evidence is too strong to be evaded by our present ignorance of the particular occasion of such ancient friendship and alliance between those people. See the like full evidence of the kindred of the Lacedemonians and the Jews; and that became they were both of the posterity of Abraham, by a public epistle of those people to the Jews, preserved in the First Book of the Maccabees, 12:19-23; and thence by Josephus, Antiq. B. XII. ch. 4 sect. 10; both which authentic records are highly valuable. It is also well worthy of observation, what Moses Chorenensis, the principal Armenian historian, informs us of, p. 83, that Arsaces, who raised the Parthian empire, was of the seed of Abraham by Chetura; and that thereby was accomplished that prediction which said, "Kings of nations shall proceed from thee," Genesis 17:6.]

20 (return)
[ If we compare Josephus's promise in sect. 1, to produce all the public decrees of the Romans in favor of the Jews, with his excuse here for omitting many of them, we may observe, that when he came to transcribe all those decrees he had collected, he found them so numerous, that he thought he should too much tire his readers if he had attempted it, which he thought a sufficient apology for his omitting the rest of them; yet do those by him produced afford such a strong confirmation to his history, and give such great light to even the Roman antiquities themselves, that I believe the curious are not a little sorry for such his omissions.]

21 (return)
[ For Marcus, this president of Syria, sent as successor to Sextus Caesar, the Roman historians require us to read "Marcus" in Josephus, and this perpetually, both in these Antiquities, and in his History of the Wars, as the learned generally agree.]

22 (return)
[ In this and the following chapters the reader will easily remark, how truly Gronovius observes, in his notes on the Roman decrees in favor of the Jews, that their rights and privileges were commonly purchased of the Romans with money. Many examples of this sort, both as to the Romans and others in authority, will occur in our Josephus, both now and hereafter, and need not be taken particular notice of on the several occasions in these notes. Accordingly, the chief captain confesses to St. Paul that "with a great sum he had obtained his freedom," Acts 22:28; as had St. Paul's ancestors, very probably, purchased the like freedom for their family by money, as the same author justly concludes also.]

23 (return)
[ This clause plainly alludes to that well-known but unusual and very long darkness of the sun which happened upon the murder of Julius Cesar by Brutus and Cassius, which is greatly taken notice of by Virgil, Pliny, and other Roman authors. See Virgil's Georgics, B. I., just before the end; and Pliny's Nat. Hist. B. IL ch. 33.]

24 (return)
[ We may here take notice that espousals alone were of old esteemed a sufficient foundation for affinity, Hyrcanus being here called father-in-law to Herod because his granddaughter Mariarune was betrothed to him, although the marriage was not completed till four years afterwards. See Matthew 1:16.]

25 (return)
[ This law of Moses, that the priests were to be "without blemish," as to all the parts of their bodies, is in Leviticus 21:17-24]

26 (return)
[ Concerning the chronology of Herod, and the time when he was first made king at Rome, and concerning the time when he began his second reign, without a rival, upon the conquest and slaughter of Antigonus, both principally derived from this and the two next chapters in Josephus, see the note on sect. 6, and ch. 15. sect. 10.]

27 (return)
[ This grievous want of water at Masada, till the place had like to have been taken by the Parthians, [mentioned both here, and Of the War, B. I. ch. 15. sect. 1,] is an indication that it was now summer time.]

28 (return)
[ This affirmation of Antigonus, spoken in the days of Herod, and in a manner to his face, that he was an Idumean, i.e. a half Jew, seems to me of much greater authority than that pretense of his favorite and flatterer Nicolaus of Damascus, that he derived his pedigree from Jews as far backward as the Babylonish captivity, ch. 1. sect. 3. Accordingly Josephus always esteems him an Idumean, though he says his father Antipater was of the same people with the Jews, ch. viii. sect. 1. and by birth a Jew, Antiq. B. XX. ch. 8. sect. 7; as indeed all such proselytes of justice, as the Idumeans, were in time esteemed the very same people with the Jews.]

29 (return)
[ It may be worth our observation here, that these soldiers of Herod could not have gotten upon the tops of these houses which were full of enemies, in order to pull up the upper floors, and destroy them beneath, but by ladders from the out side; which illustrates some texts in the New Testament, by which it appears that men used to ascend thither by ladders on the outsides. See Matthew 24:17; Mark 13:15; Luke 5:19; 17:31.]

30 (return)
[ Note here, that Josephus fully and frequently assures us that there passed above three years between Herod's first obtaining the kingdom at Rome, and his second obtaining it upon the taking of Jerusalem and death of Antigonus. The present history of this interval twice mentions the army going into winter quarters, which perhaps belonged to two several winters, ch. 15. sect. 3, 4; and though Josephus says nothing how long they lay in those quarters, yet does he give such an account of the long and studied delays of Ventidius, Silo, and Macheras, who were to see Herod settled in his new kingdom, but seem not to have had sufficient forces for that purpose, and were for certain all corrupted by Antigonus to make the longest delays possible, and gives us such particular accounts of the many great actions of Herod during the same interval, as fairly imply that interval, before Herod went to Samosata, to have been very considerable. However, what is wanting in Josephus, is fully supplied by Moses Chorenensis, the Armenian historian, in his history of that interval, B. II ch. 18., where he directly assures us that Tigranes, then king of Armenia, and the principal manager of this Parthian war, reigned two years after Herod was made king at Rome, and yet Antony did not hear of his death, in that very neighborhood, at Samosata, till he was come thither to besiege it; after which Herod brought him an army, which was three hundred and forty miles' march, and through a difficult country, full of enemies also, and joined with him in the siege of Samosata till that city was taken; then Herod and Sosins marched back with their large armies the same number of three hundred and forty miles; and when, in a little time, they sat down to besiege Jerusalem, they were not able to take it but by a siege of five months. All which put together, fully supplies what is wanting in Josephus, and secures the entire chronology of these times beyond contradiction.]

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