Book XIII - Chapters 6-12
HOW JONATHAN WAS SLAIN BY TREACHERY; AND HOW THEREUPON THE JEWS MADE SIMON THEIR GENERAL AND HIGH PRIEST: WHAT COURAGEOUS ACTIONS HE ALSO PERFORMED ESPECIALLY AGAINST TRYPHO.
1. NOW when Trypho knew what had befallen Demetrius, he was no longer firm to Antiochus, but contrived by subtlety to kill him, and then take possession of his kingdom; but the fear that he was in of Jonathan was an obstacle to this his design, for Jonathan was a friend to Antiochus, for which cause he resolved first to take Jonathan out of the way, and then to set about his design relating to Antiochus; but he judging it best to take him off by deceit and treachery, came from Antioch to Bethshan, which by the Greeks is called Scythopolis, at which place Jonathan met him with forty thousand chosen men, for he thought that he came to fight him; but when he perceived that Jonathan was ready to fight, he attempted to gain him by presents and kind treatment, and gave order to his captains to obey him, and by these means was desirous to give assurance of his good-will, and to take away all suspicions out of his mind, that so he might make him careless and inconsiderate, and might take him when he was unguarded. He also advised him to dismiss his army, because there was no occasion for bringing it with him when there was no war, but all was in peace. However, he desired him to retain a few about him, and go with him to Ptolemais, for that he would deliver the city up to him, and would bring all the fortresses that were in the country under his dominion; and he told him that he came with those very designs.
2. Yet did not Jonathan suspect any thing at all by this his management, but believed that Trypho gave him this advice out of kindness, and with a sincere design. Accordingly, he dismissed his army, and retained no more than three thousand of them with him, and left two thousand in Galilee; and he himself, with one thousand, came with Trypho to Ptolemais. But when the people of Ptolemais had shut their gates, as it had been commanded by Trypho to do, he took Jonathan alive, and slew all that were with him. He also sent soldiers against those two thousand that were left in Galilee, in order to destroy them; but those men having heard the report of what had happened to Jonathan, they prevented the execution; and before those that were sent by Trypho came, they covered themselves with their armor, and went away out of the country. Now when those that were sent against them saw that they were ready to fight for their lives, they gave them no disturbance, but returned back to Trypho.
3. But when the people of Jerusalem heard that Jonathan was taken, and that the soldiers who were with him were destroyed, they deplored his sad fate; and there was earnest inquiry made about him by every body, and a great and just fear fell upon them, and made them sad, lest, now they were deprived of the courage and conduct of Jonathan, the nations about them should bear them ill-will; and as they were before quiet on account of Jonathan they should now rise up against them, and by making war with them, should force them into the utmost dangers. And indeed what they suspected really befell them; for when those nations heard of the death of Jonathan, they began to make war with the Jews as now destitute of a governor and Trypho himself got an army together, and had intention to go up to Judea, and make war against its inhabitants. But when Simon saw that the people of Jerusalem were terrified at the circumstances they were in, he desired to make a speech to them, and thereby to render them more resolute in opposing Trypho when he should come against them. He then called the people together into the temple, and thence began thus to encourage them: "O my countrymen, you are not ignorant that our father, myself, and my brethren, have ventured to hazard our lives, and that willingly, for the recovery of your liberty; since I have therefore such plenty of examples before me, and we of our family have determined with ourselves to die for our laws, and our Divine worship, there shall no terror be so great as to banish this resolution from our souls, nor to introduce in its place a love of life, and a contempt of glory. Do you therefore follow me with alacrity whithersoever I shall lead you, as not destitute of such a captain as is willing to suffer, and to do the greatest things for you; for neither am I better than my brethren that I should be sparing of my own life, nor so far worse than they as to avoid and refuse what they thought the most honorable of all things, - I mean, to undergo death for your laws, and for that worship of God which is peculiar to you; I will therefore give such proper demonstrations as will show that I am their own brother; and I am so bold as to expect that I shall avenge their blood upon our enemies, and deliver you all with your wives and children from the injuries they intend against you, and, with God's assistance, to preserve your temple from destruction by them; for I see that these nations have you in contempt, as being without a governor, and that they thence are encouraged to make war against you."
4. By this speech of Simon he inspired the multitude with courage; and as they had been before dispirited through fear, they were now raised to a good hope of better things, insomuch that the whole multitude of the people cried out all at once that Simon should be their leader; and that instead of Judas and Jonathan his brethren, he should have the government over them; and they promised that they would readily obey him in whatsoever he should command them. So he got together immediately all his own soldiers that were fit for war, and made haste in rebuilding the walls of the city, and strengthening them by very high and strong towers, and sent a friend of his, one Jonathan, the son of Absalom, to Joppa, and gave him order to eject the inhabitants out of the city, for he was afraid lest they should deliver up the city to Trypho; but he himself staid to secure Jerusalem.
5. But Trypho removed from Ptoeinais with a great army, and came into Judea, and brought Jonathan with him in bonds. Simon also met him with his army at the city Adida, which is upon a hill, and beneath it lie the plains of Judea. And when Trypho knew that Simon was by the Jews made their governor, he sent to him, and would have imposed upon him by deceit and trencher, and desired, if he would have his brother Jonathan released, that he would send him a hundred talents of silver, and two of Jonathan's sons as hostages, that when he shall be released, he may not make Judea revolt from the king; for that at present he was kept in bonds on account of the money he had borrowed of the king, and now owed it to him. But Simon was aware of the craft of Trypho; and although he knew that if he gave him the money he should lose it, and that Trypho would not set his brother free and withal should deliver the sons of Jonathan to the enemy, yet because he was afraid that he should have a calumny raised against him among the multitude as the cause of his brother's death, if he neither gave the money, nor sent Jonathan's sons, he gathered his army together, and told them what offers Trypho had made; and added this, that the offers were ensnaring and treacherous, and yet that it was more eligible to send the money and Jonathan's sons, than to be liable to the imputation of not complying with Trypho's offers, and thereby refusing to save his brother. Accordingly, Simon sent the sons of Jonathan and the money; but when Trypho had received them, he did not keep his promise, nor set Jonathan free, but took his army, and went about all the country, and resolved to go afterward to Jerusalem by the way of Idumea, while Simon went over against him with his army, and all along pitched his own camp over against his.
6. But when those that were in the citadel had sent to Trypho, and besought him to make haste and come to them, and to send them provisions, he prepared his cavalry as though he would be at Jerusalem that very night; but so great a quantity of snow fell in the night, that it covered the roads, and made them so deep, that there was no passing, especially for the cavalry. This hindered him from coming to Jerusalem; whereupon Trypho removed thence, and came into Celesyria, and falling vehemently upon the land of Gilead, he slew Jonathan there; and when he had given order for his burial, he returned himself to Antioch. However, Simon sent some to the city Basca to bring away his brother's bones, and buried them in their own city Modin; and all the people made great lamentation over him. Simon also erected a very large monument for his father and his brethren, of white and polished stone, and raised it a great height, and so as to be seen a long way off, and made cloisters about it, and set up pillars, which were of one stone apiece; a work it was wonderful to see. Moreover, he built seven pyramids also for his parents and his brethren, one for each of them, which were made very surprising, both for their largeness and beauty, and which have been preserved to this day; and we know that it was Simon who bestowed so much zeal about the burial of Jonathan, and the building of these monuments for his relations. Now Jonathan died when he had been high priest four years (13) and had been also the governor of his nation. And these were the circumstances that concerned his death.
7. But Simon, who was made high priest by the multitude, on the very first year of his high priesthood set his people free from their slavery under the Macedonians, and permitted them to pay tribute to them no longer; which liberty and freedom from tribute they obtained after a hundred and seventy years (14) of the kingdom of the Assyrians, which was after Seleucus, who was called Nicator, got the dominion over Syria. Now the affection of the multitude towards Simon was so great, that in their contracts one with another, and in their public records, they wrote, "in the first year of Simon the benefactor and ethnarch of the Jews;" for under him they were very happy, and overcame the enemies that were round about them; for Simon overthrew the city Gazara, and Joppa, and Jamhis. He also took the citadel of Jerusalem by siege, and cast it down to the ground, that it might not be any more a place of refuge to their enemies when they took it, to do them a mischief, as it had been till now. And when he had done this, he thought it their best way, and most for their advantage, to level the very mountain itself upon which the citadel happened to stand, that so the temple might be higher than it. And indeed, when he had called the multitude to an assembly, he persuaded them to have it so demolished, and this by putting them in mind what miseries they had suffered by its garrison and the Jewish deserters, and what miseries they might hereafter suffer in case any foreigner should obtain the kingdom, and put a garrison into that citadel. This speech induced the multitude to a compliance, because he exhorted them to do nothing but what was for their own good: so they all set themselves to the work, and leveled the mountain, and in that work spent both day and night without any intermission, which cost them three whole years before it was removed, and brought to an entire level with the plain of the rest of the city. After which the temple was the highest of all the buildings, now the citadel, as well as the mountain whereon it stood, were demolished. And these actions were thus performed under Simon.
HOW SIMON CONFEDERATED HIMSELF WITH ANTIOCHUS PIUS, AND MADE WAR AGAINST TRYPHO, AND A LITTLE AFTERWARD, AGAINST CENDEBEUS, THE GENERAL OF ANTIOCHUS'S ARMY; AS ALSO HOW SIMON WAS MURDERED BY HIS SON-IN-LAW PTOLEMY, AND THAT BY TREACHERY.
1. (15) Now a little while after Demetrius had been carried into captivity, Trypho his governor destroyed Antiochus, (16) the son of Alexander, who was also called The God, (17) and this when he had reigned four years, though he gave it out that he died under the hands of the surgeons. He then sent his friends, and those that were most intimate with him, to the soldiers, and promised that he would give them a great deal of money if they would make him king. He intimated to them that Demetrius was made a captive by the Parthians; and that Demetrius's brother Atitiochus, if he came to be king, would do them a great deal of mischief, in way of revenge for their revolting from his brother. So the soldiers, in expectation of the wealth they should get by bestowing the kingdom on Trypho, made him their ruler. However, when Trypho had gained the management of affairs, he demonstrated his disposition to be wicked; for while he was a private person, he cultivated familiarity with the multitude, and pretended to great moderation, and so drew them on artfully to whatsoever he pleased; but when he had once taken the kingdom, he laid aside any further dissimulation, and was the true Trypho; which behavior made his enemies superior to him; for the soldiery hated him, and revolted from him to Cleopatra, the wife of Demetrius, who was then shut up in Seleucia with her children. But as Antiochus, the brother of Demetrius who was called Soter, was not admitted by any of the cities on account of Trypho, Cleopatra sent to him, and invited him to marry her, and to take the kingdom. The reasons why she made this invitation were these: That her friends persuaded her to it, and that she was afraid for herself, in case some of the people of Seleucia should deliver up the city to Trypho.
2. As Antlochuswas now come to Seleucia, and his forces increased every day, he marched to fight Trypho; and having beaten him in the battle, he ejected him out of the Upper Syria into Phoenicia, and pursued him thither, and besieged him in Dora which was a fortress hard to be taken, whither he had fled. He also sent ambassadors to Simon the Jewish high priest, about a league of friendship and mutual assistance; who readily accepted of the invitation, and sent to Antiochus great sums of money and provisions for those that besieged Dora, and thereby supplied them very plentifully, so that for a little while he was looked upon as one of his most intimate friends; but still Trypho fled from Dora to Apamia, where he was taken during the siege, and put to death, when he had reigned three years.
3. However, Antiochus forgot the kind assistance that Simon had afforded him in his necessity, by reason of his covetous and wicked disposition, and committed an army of soldiers to his friend Cendebeus, and sent him at once to ravage Judea, and to seize Simon. When Simon heard of Antiochus's breaking his league with him, although he were now in years, yet, provoked with the unjust treatment he had met with from Antiochus, and taking a resolution brisker than his age could well bear, he went like a young man to act as general of his army. He also sent his sons before among the most hardy of his soldiers, and he himself marched on with his army another way, and laid many of his men in ambushes in the narrow valleys between the mountains; nor did he fail of success in any one of his attempts, but was too hard for his enemies in every one of them. So he led the rest of his life in peace, and did also himself make a league with the Romans.
4. Now he was the ruler of the Jews in all eight years; but at a feast came to his end. It was caused by the treachery of his son-in-law Ptolemy, who caught also his wife, and two of his sons, and kept them in bonds. He also sent some to kill John the third son, whose name was Hyrcanus; but the young man perceiving them coming, he avoided the danger he was in from them, (18) and made haste into the city [Jerusalem], as relying on the good-will of the multitude, because of the benefits they had received from his father, and because of the hatred the same multitude bare to Ptolemy; so that when Ptolemy was endeavoring to enter the city by another gate, they drove him away, as having already admitted Hyrcanus.
HYRCANUS RECEIVES THE HIGH PRIESTHOOD, AND EJECTS PTOLEMY OUT OF THE COUNTRY. ANTIOCHUS MAKES WAR AGAINST HYRCANUS AND AFTERWARDS MAKES A LEAGUE WITH HIM.
1. SO Ptolemy retired to one of the fortresses that was above Jericho, which was called Dagon. But Hyrcanus having taken the high priesthood that had been his father's before, and in the first place propitiated God by sacrifices, he then made an expedition against Ptolemy; and when he made his attacks upon the place, in other points he was too hard for him, but was rendered weaker than he, by the commiseration he had for his mother and brethren, and by that only; for Ptolemy brought them upon the wall, and tormented them in the sight of all, and threatened that he would throw them down headlong, unless Hyrcanus would leave off the siege. And as he thought that so far as he relaxed as to the siege and taking of the place, so much favor did he show to those that were dearest to him by preventing their misery, his zeal about it was cooled. However, his mother spread out her hands, and begged of him that he would not grow remiss on her account, but indulge his indignation so much the more, and that he would do his utmost to take the place quickly, in order to get their enemy under his power, and then to avenge upon him what he had done to those that were dearest to himself; for that death would be to her sweet, though with torment, if that enemy of theirs might but be brought to punishment for his wicked dealings to them. Now when his mother said so, he resolved to take the fortress immediately; but when he saw her beaten, and torn to pieces, his courage failed him, and he could not but sympathize with what his mother suffered, and was thereby overcome. And as the siege was drawn out into length by this means, that year on which the Jews used to rest came on; for the Jews observe this rest every seventh year, as they do every seventh day; so that Ptolemy being for this cause released from the war, (19) he slew the brethren of Hyrcanus, and his mother; and when he had so done, he fled to Zeno, who was called Cotylas, who was then the tyrant of the city Philadelphia.
2. But Antiochus, being very uneasy at the miseries that Simon had brought upon him, he invaded Judea in the fourth years' of his reign, and the first year of the principality of Hyrcanus, in the hundred and sixty-second olympiad. (20) And when he had burnt the country, he shut up Hyrcanus in the city, which he encompassed round with seven encampments; but did just nothing at the first, because of the strength of the walls, and because of the valor of the besieged, although they were once in want of water, which yet they were delivered from by a large shower of rain, which fell at the setting of the Pleiades (21) However, about the north part of the wall, where it happened the city was upon a level with the outward ground, the king raised a hundred towers of three stories high, and placed bodies of soldiers upon them; and as he made his attacks every day, he cut a double ditch, deep and broad, and confined the inhabitants within it as within a wall; but the besieged contrived to make frequent sallies out; and if the enemy were not any where upon their guard, they fell upon them, and did them a great deal of mischief; and if they perceived them, they then retired into the city with ease. But because Hyrcanus discerned the inconvenience of so great a number of men in the city, while the provisions were the sooner spent by them, and yet, as is natural to suppose, those great numbers did nothing, he separated the useless part, and excluded them out of the city, and retained that part only which were in the flower of their age, and fit for war. However, Antiochus would not let those that were excluded go away, who therefore wandering about between the wails, and consuming away by famine, died miserably; but when the feast of tabernacles was at hand, those that were within commiserated their condition, and received them in again. And when Hyrcanus sent to Antiochus, and desired there might be a truce for seven days, because of the festival, be gave way to this piety towards God, and made that truce accordingly. And besides that, he sent in a magnificent sacrifice, bulls with their horns gilded, (22) with all sorts of sweet spices, and with cups of gold and silver. So those that were at the gates received the sacrifices from those that brought them, and led them to the temple, Antiochus the mean while feasting his army, which was a quite different conduct from Antiochus Epiphanes, who, when he had taken the city, offered swine upon the altar, and sprinkled the temple with the broth of their flesh, in order to violate the laws of the Jews, and the religion they derived from their forefathers; for which reason our nation made war with him, and would never be reconciled to him; but for this Antiochus, all men called him Antiochus the Pious, for the great zeal he had about religion.
3. Accordingly, Hyrcanus took this moderation of his kindly; and when he understood how religious he was towards the Deity, he sent an embassage to him, and desired that he would restore the settlements they received from their forefathers. So he rejected the counsel of those that would have him utterly destroy the nation, (23) by reason of their way of living, which was to others unsociable, and did not regard what they said. But being persuaded that all they did was out of a religious mind, he answered the ambassadors, that if the besieged would deliver up their arms, and pay tribute for Joppa, and the other cities which bordered upon Judea, and admit a garrison of his, on these terms he would make war against them no longer. But the Jews, although they were content with the other conditions, did not agree to admit the garrison, because they could not associate with other people, nor converse with them; yet were they willing, instead of the admission of the garrison, to give him hostages, and five hundred talents of silver; of which they paid down three hundred, and sent the hostages immediately, which king Antiochus accepted. One of those hostages was Hyrcanus's brother. But still he broke down the fortifications that encompassed the city. And upon these conditions Antiochus broke up the siege, and departed.
4. But Hyrcanus opened the sepulcher of David, who excelled all other kings in riches, and took out of it three thousand talents. He was also the first of the Jews that, relying on this wealth, maintained foreign troops. There was also a league of friendship and mutual assistance made between them; upon which Hyrcanus admitted him into the city, and furnished him with whatsoever his army wanted in great plenty, and with great generosity, and marched along with him when he made an expedition against the Parthians; of which Nicolaus of Damascus is a witness for us; who in his history writes thus: "When Antiochus had erected a trophy at the river Lycus, upon his conquest of Indates, the general of the Parthians, he staid there two days. It was at the desire of Lyrcanus the Jew, because it was such a festival derived to them from their forefathers, whereon the law of the Jews did not allow them to travel." And truly he did not speak falsely in saying so; for that festival, which we call Pentecost, did then fall out to be the next day to the Sabbath. Nor is it lawful for us to journey, either on the Sabbath day, or on a festival day (24) But when Antiochus joined battle with Arsaces, the king of Parthin, he lost a great part of his army, and was himself slain; and his brother Demetrius succeeded in the kingdom of Syria, by the permission of Arsaces, who freed him from his captivity at the same time that Antiochus attacked Parthin, as we have formerly related elsewhere.
HOW, AFTER THE DEATH OF ANTIOCHUS, HYRCANUS MADE AN EXPEDITION AGAINST SYRIA, AND MADE A LEAGUE WITH THE ROMANS. CONCERNING THE DEATH OF KING DEMETRIUS AND ALEXANDER.
1. BUT when Hyrcanus heard of the death of Antiochus, he presently made an expedition against the cities of Syria, hoping to find them destitute of fighting men, and of such as were able to defend them. However, it was not till the sixth month that he took Medaba, and that not without the greatest distress of his army. After this he took Samega, and the neighboring places; and besides these, Shechem and Gerizzim, and the nation of the Cutheans, who dwelt at the temple which resembled that temple which was at Jerusalem, and which Alexander permitted Sanballat, the general of his army, to build for the sake of Manasseh, who was son-in-law to Jaddua the high priest, as we have formerly related; which temple was now deserted two hundred years after it was built. Hyrcanus took also Dora and Marissa, cities of Idumea, and subdued all the Idumeans; and permitted them to stay in that country, if they would circumcise their genitals, and make use of the laws of the Jews; and they were so desirous of living in the country of their forefathers, that they submitted to the use of circumcision, (25) and of the rest of the Jewish ways of living; at which time therefore this befell them, that they were hereafter no other than Jews.
2. But Hyrcanus the high priest was desirous to renew that league of friendship they had with the Romans. Accordingly, he sent an embassage to them; and when the senate had received their epistle, they made a league of friendship with them, after the manner following: "Fanius, the son of Marcus, the praetor, gathered the senate together on the eighth day before the Ides of February, in the senate-house, when Lucius Manlius, the son of Lucius, of the Mentine tribe, and Caius Sempronius, the son of Caius, of the Falernian tribe, were present. The occasion was, that the ambassadors sent by the people of the Jews (26) Simon, the son of Dositheus, and Apollonius, the son of Alexander, and Diodorus, the son of Jason, who were good and virtuous men, had somewhat to propose about that league of friendship and mutual assistance which subsisted between them and the Romans, and about other public affairs, who desired that Joppa, and the havens, and Gazara, and the springs [of Jordan], and the several other cities and countries of theirs, which Antiochus had taken from them in the war, contrary to the decree of the senate, might be restored to them; and that it might not be lawful for the king's troops to pass through their country, and the countries of those that are subject to them; and that what attempts Antiochus had made during that war, without the decree of the senate, might be made void; and that they would send ambassadors, who should take care that restitution be made them of what Antiochus had taken from them, and that they should make an estimate of the country that had been laid waste in the war; and that they would grant them letters of protection to the kings and free people, in order to their quiet return home. It was therefore decreed, as to these points, to renew their league of friendship and mutual assistance with these good men, and who were sent by a good and a friendly people." But as to the letters desired, their answer was, that the senate would consult about that matter when their own affairs would give them leave; and that they would endeavor, for the time to come, that no like injury should be done to them; and that their praetor Fanius should give them money out of the public treasury to bear their expenses home. And thus did Fanius dismiss the Jewish ambassadors, and gave them money out of the public treasury; and gave the decree of the senate to those that were to conduct them, and to take care that they should return home in safety.
3. And thus stood the affairs of Hyrcanus the high priest. But as for king Demetrius, who had a mind to make war against Hyrcanus, there was no opportunity nor room for it, while both the Syrians and the soldiers bare ill-will to him, because he was an ill man. But when they had sent ambassadors to Ptolemy, who was called Physcon, that he would send them one of the family at Seleueus, in order to take the kingdom, and he had sent them Alexander, who was called Zebina, with an army, and there had been a battle between them, Demetrius was beaten in the fight, and fled to Cleopatra his wife, to Ptolemais; but his wife would not receive him. He went thence to Tyre, and was there caught; and when he had suffered much from his enemies before his death, he was slain by them. So Alexander took the kingdom, and made a league with Hyrcanus, who yet, when he afterward fought with Antiochus the son of Demetrius, who was called Grypus, was also beaten in the fight, and slain.
HOW UPON THE QUARREL BETWEEN ANTIOCHUS GRYPUS AND ANTIOCHUS CYZICENUS ABOUT THE KINGDOM HYRCANUS TOOKSAMARIA, AND UTTERLY DEMOLISHED IT; AND HOW HYRCAUS JOINED HIMSELF TO THE SECT OF THE SADDUCEES, AND LEFT THAT OF THE PHARISEES.
1. WHEN Antiochus had taken the kingdom, he was afraid to make war against Judea, because he heard that his brother by the same mother, who was also called Antiochus, was raising an army against him out of Cyzicum; so he staid in his own land, and resolved to prepare himself for the attack he expected from his brother, who was called Cyzicenus, because he had been brought up in that city. He was the son of Antiochus that was called Soter, who died in Parthia. He was the brother of Demetrius, the father of Grypus; for it had so happened, that one and the same Cleopatra was married to two who were brethren, as we have related elsewhere. But Antiochus Cyzicenus coming into Syria, continued many years at war with his brother. Now Hyrcanus lived all this while in peace; for after the death of Antlochus, he revolted from the Macedonians, (27) nor did he any longer pay them the least regard, either as their subject or their friend; but his affairs were in a very improving and flourishing condition in the times of Alexander Zebina, and especially under these brethren, for the war which they had with one another gave Hyrcanus the opportunity of enjoying himself in Judea quietly, insomuch that he got an immense quantity of money. How ever, when Antiochus Cyzicenus distressed his land, he then openly showed what he meant. And when he saw that Antiochus was destitute of Egyptian auxiliaries, and that both he and his brother were in an ill condition in the struggles they had one with another, he despised them both.
2. So he made an expedition against Samaria which was a very strong city; of whose present name Sebaste, and its rebuilding by Herod, we shall speak at a proper time; but he made his attack against it, and besieged it with a great deal of pains; for he was greatly displeased with the Samaritans for the injuries they had done to the people of Merissa, a colony of the Jews, and confederate with them, and this in compliance to the kings of Syria. When he had therefore drawn a ditch, and built a double wall round the city, which was fourscore furlongs long, he set his sons Antigonus and Arisrobulna over the siege; which brought the Samaritans to that great distress by famine, that they were forced to eat what used not to be eaten, and to call for Antiochus Cyzicenus to help them, who came readily to their assistance, but was beaten by Aristobulus; and when he was pursued as far as Scythopolis by the two brethren, he got away. So they returned to Samaria, and shut them again within the wall, till they were forced to send for the same Antiochus a second time to help them, who procured about six thousand men from Ptolemy Lathyrus, which were sent them without his mother's consent, who had then in a manner turned him out of his government. With these Egyptians Antiochus did at first overrun and ravage the country of Hyrcanus after the manner of a robber, for he durst not meet him in the face to fight with him, as not having an army sufficient for that purpose, but only from this supposal, that by thus harassing his land he should force Hyrcanus to raise the siege of Samaria; but because he fell into snares, and lost many of his soldiers therein, he went away to Tripoli, and committed the prosecution of the war against the Jews to Callimander and Epicrates.
3. But as to Callimander, he attacked the enemy too rashly, and was put to flight, and destroyed immediately; and as to Epicrates, he was such a lover of money, that he openly betrayed Scythopolis, and other places near it, to the Jews, but was not able to make them raise the siege of Samaria. And when Hyrcanus had taken that city, which was not done till after a year's siege, he was not contented with doing that only, but he demolished it entirely, and brought rivulets to it to drown it, for he dug such hollows as might let the water run under it; nay, he took away the very marks that there had ever been such a city there. Now a very surprising thing is related of this high priest Hyrcanus, how God came to discourse with him; for they say that on the very same day on which his sons fought with Antiochus Cyzicenus, he was alone in the temple, as high priest, offering incense, and heard a voice, that his sons had just then overcome Antiochus. And this he openly declared before all the multitude upon his coming out of the temple; and it accordingly proved true; and in this posture were the affairs of Hyrcanus.
4. Now it happened at this time, that not only those Jews who were at Jerusalem and in Judea were in prosperity, but also those of them that were at Alexandria, and in Egypt and Cyprus; for Cleopatra the queen was at variance with her son Ptolemy, who was called Lathyrus, and appointed for her generals Chelcias and Ananias, the sons of that Onias who built the temple in the prefecture of Heliopolis, like to that at Jerusalem, as we have elsewhere related. Cleopatra intrusted these men with her army, and did nothing without their advice, as Strabo of Cappadocia attests, when he saith thus, "Now the greater part, both those that came to Cyprus with us, and those that were sent afterward thither, revolted to Ptolemy immediately; only those that were called Onias's party, being Jews, continued faithful, because their countrymen Chelcias and Ananias were in chief favor with the queen." These are the words of Strabo.
5. However, this prosperous state of affairs moved the Jews to envy Hyrcanus; but they that were the worst disposed to him were the Pharisees, (28) who were one of the sects of the Jews, as we have informed you already. These have so great a power over the multitude, that when they say any thing against the king, or against the high priest, they are presently believed. Now Hyrcanus was a disciple of theirs, and greatly beloved by them. And when he once invited them to a feast, and entertained them very kindly, when he saw them in a good humor, he began to say to them, that they knew he was desirous to be a righteous man, and to do all things whereby he might please God, which was the profession of the Pharisees also. However, he desired, that if they observed him offending in any point, and going out of the right way, they would call him back and correct him. On which occasion they attested to his being entirely virtuous; with which commendation he was well pleased. But still there was one of his guests there, whose name was Eleazar, a man of an ill temper, and delighting in seditious practices. This man said," Since thou desirest to know the truth, if thou wilt be righteous in earnest, lay down the high priesthood, and content thyself with the civil government of the people," And when he desired to know for what cause he ought to lay down the high priesthood, the other replied, "We have heard it from old men, that thy mother had been a captive under the reign of Antiochus Epiphanes. (29) "This story was false, and Hyrcanus was provoked against him; and all the Pharisees had a very great indignation against him.
6. Now there was one Jonathan, a very great friend of Hyrcanus's, but of the sect of the Sadducees, whose notions are quite contrary to those of the Pharisees. He told Hyrcanus that Eleazar had cast such a reproach upon him, according to the common sentiments of all the Pharisees, and that this would be made manifest if he would but ask them the question, What punishment they thought this man deserved? for that he might depend upon it, that the reproach was not laid on him with their approbation, if they were for punishing him as his crime deserved. So the Pharisees made answer, that he deserved stripes and bonds, but that it did not seem right to punish reproaches with death. And indeed the Pharisees, even upon other occasions, are not apt to be severe in punishments. At this gentle sentence, Hyrcanus was very angry, and thought that this man reproached him by their approbation. It was this Jonathan who chiefly irritated him, and influenced him so far, that he made him leave the party of the Pharisees, and abolish the decrees they had imposed on the people, and to punish those that observed them. From this source arose that hatred which he and his sons met with from the multitude: but of these matters we shall speak hereafter. What I would now explain is this, that the Pharisees have delivered to the people a great many observances by succession from their fathers, which are not written in the laws of Moses; and for that reason it is that the Sadducees reject them, and say that we are to esteem those observances to be obligatory which are in the written word, but are not to observe what are derived from the tradition of our forefathers. And concerning these things it is that great disputes and differences have arisen among them, while the Sadducees are able to persuade none but the rich, and have not the populace obsequious to them, but the Pharisees have the multitude on their side. But about these two sects, and that of the Essens, I have treated accurately in the second book of Jewish affairs.
7. But when Hyrcanus had put an end to this sedition, he after that lived happily, and administered the government in the best manner for thirty-one years, and then died, (30) leaving behind him five sons. He was esteemed by God worthy of three of the greatest privileges, - the government of his nation, the dignity of the high priesthood, and prophecy; for God was with him, and enabled him to know futurities; and to foretell this in particular, that, as to his two eldest sons, he foretold that they would not long continue in the government of public affairs; whose unhappy catastrophe will be worth our description, that we may thence learn how very much they were inferior to their father's happiness.
HOW ARISTOBULUS, WHEN HE HAD TAKEN THE GOVERNMENT FIRST OF ALL PUT A DIADEM ON HIS HEAD, AND WAS MOST BARBAROUSLY CRUEL TO HIS MOTHER AND HIS BRETHREN; AND HOW, AFTER HE HAD SLAIN ANTIGONUS, HE HIMSELF DIED.
1. NOW when their father Hyrcanus was dead, the eldest son Aristobulus, intending to change the government into a kingdom, for so he resolved to do, first of all put a diadem on his head, four hundred eighty and one years and three months after the people had been delivered from the Babylonish slavery, and were returned to their own country again. This Aristobulus loved his next brother Antigonus, and treated him as his equal; but the others he held in bonds. He also cast his mother into prison, because she disputed the government with him; for Hyrcanus had left her to be mistress of all. He also proceeded to that degree of barbarity, as to kill her in prison with hunger; nay, he was alienated from his brother Antigonus by calumnies, and added him to the rest whom he slew; yet he seemed to have an affection for him, and made him above the rest a partner with him in the kingdom. Those calumnies he at first did not give credit to, partly because he loved him, and so did not give heed to what was said against him, and partly because he thought the reproaches were derived from the envy of the relaters. But when Antigonus was once returned from the army, and that feast was then at hand when they make tabernacles to [the honor of God,] it happened that Arlstobulus was fallen sick, and that Antigonus went up most splendidly adorned, and with his soldiers about him in their armor, to the temple to celebrate the feast, and to put up many prayers for the recovery of his brother, when some wicked persons, who had a great mind to raise a difference between the brethren, made use of this opportunity of the pompous appearance of Antigonus, and of the great actions which he had done, and went to the king, and spitefully aggravated the pompous show of his at the feast, and pretended that all these circumstances were not like those of a private person; that these actions were indications of an affectation of royal authority; and that his coming with a strong body of men must be with an intention to kill him; and that his way of reasoning was this: That it was a silly thing in him, while it was in his power to reign himself, to look upon it as a great favor that he was honored with a lower dignity by his brother.
2. Aristobulus yielded to these imputations, but took care both that his brother should not suspect him, and that he himself might not run the hazard of his own safety; so he ordered his guards to lie in a certain place that was under ground, and dark; (he himself then lying sick in the tower which was called Antonia;) and he commanded them, that in case Antigonus came in to him unarmed, they should not touch any body, but if armed, they should kill him; yet did he send to Antigonus, and desired that he would come unarmed; but the queen, and those that joined with her in the plot against Antigonus, persuaded the messenger to tell him the direct contrary: how his brother had heard that he had made himself a fine suit of armor for war, and desired him to come to him in that armor, that he might see how fine it was. So Antigonus suspecting no treachery, but depending on the good-will of his brother, came to Aristobulus armed, as he used to be, with his entire armor, in order to show it to him; but when he was come to a place which was called Strato's Tower, where the passage happened to be exceeding dark, the guards slew him; which death of his demonstrates that nothing is stronger than envy and calumny, and that nothing does more certainly divide the good-will and natural affections of men than those passions. But here one may take occasion to wonder at one Judas, who was of the sect of the Essens, (31) and who never missed the truth in his predictions; for this man, when he saw Antigonus passing by the temple, cried out to his companions and friends, who abode with him as his scholars, in order to learn the art of foretelling things to come?" That it was good for him to die now, since he had spoken falsely about Antigonus, who is still alive, and I see him passing by, although he had foretold he should die at the place called Strato's Tower that very day, while yet the place is six hundred furlongs off, where he had foretold he should be slain; and still this day is a great part of it already past, so that he was in danger of proving a false prophet." As he was saying this, and that in a melancholy mood, the news came that Antigonus was slain in a place under ground, which itself was called also Strato's Tower, or of the same name with that Cesarea which is seated at the sea. This event put the prophet into a great disorder.
3. But Aristobulus repented immediately of this slaughter of his brother; on which account his disease increased upon him, and he was disturbed in his mind, upon the guilt of such wickedness, insomuch that his entrails were corrupted by his intolerable pain, and he vomited blood: at which time one of the servants that attended upon him, and was carrying his blood away, did, by Divine Providence, as I cannot but suppose, slip down, and shed part of his blood at the very place where there were spots of Antigonus's blood, there slain, still remaining; and when there was a cry made by the spectators, as if the servant had on purpose shed the blood on that place, Aristobulus heard it, and inquired what the matter was; and as they did not answer him, he was the more earnest to know what it was, it being natural to men to suspect that what is thus concealed is very bad: so upon his threatening, and forcing them by terrors to speak, they at length told him the truth; whereupon he shed many tears, in that disorder of mind which arose from his consciousness of what he had done, and gave a deep groan, and said, "I am not therefore, I perceive, to be concealed from God, in the impious and horrid crimes I have been guilty of; but a sudden punishment is coming upon me for the shedding the blood of my relations. And now, O thou most impudent body of mine, how long wilt thou retain a soul that ought to die, in order to appease the ghosts of my brother and my mother? Why dost thou not give it all up at once? And why do I deliver up my blood drop by drop to those whom I have so wickedly murdered?" In saying which last words he died, having reigned a year. He was called a lover of the Grecians; and had conferred many benefits on his own country, and made war against Iturea, and added a great part of it to Judea, and compelled the inhabitants, if they would continue in that country, to be circumcised, and to live according to the Jewish laws. He was naturally a man of candor, and of great modesty, as Strabo bears witness, in the name of Timagenes; who says thus: "This man was a person of candor, and very serviceable to the Jews; for he added a country to them, and obtained a part of the nation of the Itureans for them, and bound them to them by the bond of the circumcision of their genitals."
HOW ALEXANDER WHEN HE HAD TAKEN THE GOVERNMENT MADE AN EXPEDITION AGAINST PTOLEMAIS, AND THEN RAISED THE SIEGE OUT OF FEAR OF PTOLEMY LATHYRUS; AND HOW PTOLEMY MADE WAR AGAINST HIM, BECAUSE HE HAD SENT TO CLEOPATRA TO PERSUADE HER TO MAKE WAR AGAINST PTOLEMY, AND YET PRETENDED TO BE IN FRIENDSHIP WITH HIM, WHEN HE BEAT THE JEWS IN THE BATTLE.
1. WHEN Aristobulus was dead, his wife Salome, who, by the Greeks, was called Alexandra, let his brethren out of prison, (for Aristobulus had kept them in bonds, as we have said already,) and made Alexander Janneus king, who was the superior in age and in moderation. This child happened to be hated by his father as soon as he was born, and could never be permitted to come into his father's sight till he died. (32) The occasion of which hatred is thus reported: when Hyrcanus chiefly loved the two eldest of his sons, Antigonus and Aristobutus, God appeared to him in his sleep, of whom he inquired which of his sons should be his successor. Upon God's representing to him the countenance of Alexander, he was grieved that he was to be the heir of all his goods, and suffered him to be brought up in Galilee However, God did not deceive Hyrcanus; for after the death of Aristobulus, he certainly took the kingdom; and one of his brethren, who affected the kingdom, he slew; and the other, who chose to live a private and quiet life, he had in esteem.
2. When Alexander Janneus had settled the government in the manner that he judged best, he made an expedition against Ptolemais; and having overcome the men in battle, he shut them up in the city, and sat round about it, and besieged it; for of the maritime cities there remained only Ptolemais and Gaza to be conquered, besides Strato's Tower and Dora, which were held by the tyrant Zoilus. Now while Antiochus Philometor, and Antiochus who was called Cyzicenus, were making war one against another, and destroying one another's armies, the people of Ptolemais could have no assistance from them; but when they were distressed with this siege, Zoilus, who possessed Strato's Tower and Dora, and maintained a legion of soldiers, and, on occasion of the contest between the kings, affected tyranny himself, came and brought some small assistance to the people of Ptolemais; nor indeed had the kings such a friendship for them, as that they should hope for any advantage from them. Both those kings were in the case of wrestlers, who finding themselves deficient in. strength, and yet being ashamed to yield, put off the fight by laziness, and by lying still as long as they can. The only hope they had remaining was from the kings of Egypt, and from Ptolemy Lathyrus, who now held Cyprus, and who came to Cyprus when he was driven from the government of Egypt by Cleopatra his mother. So the people of Ptolemais sent to this Ptolemy Lathyrus, and desired him to come as a confederate, to deliver them, now they were in such danger, out of the hands of Alexander. And as the ambassadors gave him hopes, that if he would pass over into Syria, he would have the people of Gaza on the side of those of Ptolemais; as also they said, that Zoilus, and besides these the Sidonians, and many others, would assist them; so he was elevated at this, and got his fleet ready as soon as possible.
3. But in this interval Demenetus, one that was of abilities to persuade men to do as he would have them, and a leader of the populace, made those of Ptolemais change their opinions; and said to them, that it was better to run the hazard of being subject to the Jews, than to admit of evident slavery by delivering themselves up to a master; and besides that, to have not only a war at present, but to expect a much greater war from Egypt; for that Cleopatra would not overlook an army raised by Ptolemy for himself out of the neighborhood, but would come against them with a great army of her own, and this because she was laboring to eject her son out of Cyprus also; that as for Ptolemy, if he fail of his hopes, he can still retire to Cyprus, but that they will be left in the greatest danger possible. Now Ptolemy, although he had heard of the change that was made in the people of Ptolemais, yet did he still go on with his voyage, and came to the country called Sycamine, and there set his army on shore. This army of his, in the whole horse and foot together, were about thirty thousand, with which he marched near to Ptolemais, and there pitched his camp. But when the people of Ptolemais neither received his ambassadors, nor would hear what they had to say, he was under a very great concern.
4. But when Zoilus and the people of Gaza came to him, and desired his assistance, because their country was laid waste by the Jews, and by Alexander, Alexander raised the siege, for fear of Ptolemy: and when he had drawn off his army into his own country, he used a stratagem afterwards, by privately inviting Cleopatra to come against Ptolemy, but publicly pretending to desire a league of friendship and mutual assistance with him; and promising to give him four hundred talents of silver, he desired that, by way of requital, he would take off Zoilus the tyrant, and give his country to the Jews. And then indeed Ptolemy, with pleasure, made such a league of friendship with Alexander, and subdued Zoilus; but when he afterwards heard that he had privily sent to Cleopatra his mother, he broke the league with him, which yet he had confirmed with an oath, and fell upon him, and besieged Ptolemais, because it would not receive him. However, leaving his generals, with some part of his forces, to go on with the siege, he went himself immediately with the rest to lay Judea waste; and when Alexander understood this to be Ptolemy's intention, he also got together about fifty thousand soldiers out of his own country; nay, as some writers have said, eighty thousand (33) He then took his army, and went to meet Ptolemy; but Ptolemy fell upon Asochis, a city of Galilee, and took it by force on the sabbath day, and there he took about ten thousand slaves, and a great deal of other prey.
5. He then tried to take Sepphoris, which was a city not far from that which was destroyed, but lost many of his men; yet did he then go to fight with Alexander; which Alexander met him at the river Jordan, near a certain place called Saphoth, [not far from the river Jordan,] and pitched his camp near to the enemy. He had however eight thousand in the first rank, which he styled Hecatontomachi, having shields of brass. Those in the first rank of Ptolemy's soldiers also had shields covered with brass. But Ptolemy's soldiers in other respects were inferior to those of Alexander, and therefore were more fearful of running hazards; but Philostephanus, the camp-master, put great courage into them, and ordered them to pass the river, which was between their camps. Nor did Alexander think fit to hinder their passage over it; for he thought, that if the enemy had once gotten the river on their back, that he should the easier take them prisoners, when they could not flee out of the battle: in the beginning of which, the acts on both sides, with their hands, and with their alacrity, were alike, and a great slaughter was made by both the armies; but Alexander was superior, till Philostephanus opportunely brought up the auxiliaries, to help those that were giving way; but as there were no auxiliaries to afford help to that part of the Jews that gave way, it fell out that they fled, and those near them did no assist them, but fled along with them. However, Ptolemy's soldiers acted quite otherwise; for they followed the Jews, and killed them, till at length those that slew them pursued after them when they had made them all run away, and slew them so long, that their weapons of iron were blunted, and their hands quite tired with the slaughter; for the report was, that thirty thousand men were then slain. Timagenes says they were fifty thousand. As for the rest, they were part of them taken captives, and the other part ran away to their own country.
6. After this victory, Ptolemy overran all the country; and when night came on, he abode in certain villages of Judea, which when he found full of women and children, he commanded his soldiers to strangle them, and to cut them in pieces, and then to cast them into boiling caldrons, and then to devour their limbs as sacrifices. This commandment was given, that such as fled from the battle, and came to them, might suppose their enemies were cannibals, and eat men's flesh, and might on that account be still more terrified at them upon such a sight. And both Strabo and Nicholaus [of Damascus] affirm, that they used these people after this manner, as I have already related. Ptolemy also took Ptolemais by force, as we have declared elsewhere.