The Antiquities of the Jews
Flavius Josephus

Part 12 out of 26

envying this very pardon to Daniel, they did not become more
honorable to him, but desired he might be cast into the den of
lions according to the law. So Darius, hoping that God would
deliver him, and that he would undergo nothing that was terrible
by the wild beasts, bid him bear this accident cheerfully. And
when he was cast into the den, he put his seal to the stone that
lay upon the mouth of the den, and went his way, but he passed
all the night without food and without sleep, being in great
distress for Daniel; but when it was day, he got up, and came to
the den, and found the seal entire, which he had left the stone
sealed withal; he also opened the seal, and. cried out, and
called to Daniel, and asked him if he were alive. And as soon as
he heard the king's voice, and said that he had suffered no harm,
the king gave order that he should be drawn up out of the den.
Now when his enemies saw that Daniel had suffered nothing which
was terrible, they would not own that he was preserved by God,
and by his providence; but they said that the lions had been
filled full with food, and on that account it was, as they
supposed, that the lions would not touch Daniel, nor come to him;
and this they alleged to the king. But the king, out of an
abhorrence of their wickedness, gave order that they should throw
in a great deal of flesh to the lions; and when they had filled
themselves, he gave further order that Daniel's enemies should be
cast into the den, that he might learn whether the lions, now
they were full, would touch them or not. And it appeared plain to
Darius, after the princes had been cast to the wild beasts, that
it was God who preserved Daniel (25) for the lions spared none of
them, but tore them all to pieces, as if they had been very
hungry, and wanted food. I suppose therefore it was not their
hunger, which had been a little before satisfied with abundance
of flesh, but the wickedness of these men, that provoked them [to
destroy the princes]; for if it so please God, that wickedness
might, by even those irrational creatures, be esteemed a plain
foundation for their punishment.

7. When therefore those that had intended thus to destroy Daniel
by treachery were themselves destroyed, king Darius sent
[letters] over all the country, and praised that God whom Daniel
worshipped, and said that he was the only true God, and had all
power. He had also Daniel in very great esteem, and made him the
principal of his friends. Now when Daniel was become so
illustrious and famous, on account of the opinion men had that he
was beloved of God, he built a tower at Ecbatana, in Media: it
was a most elegant building, and wonderfully made, and it is
still remaining, and preserved to this day; and to such as see
it, it appears to have been lately built, and to have been no
older than that very day when any one looks upon it, it is so
fresh (26) flourishing, and beautiful, and no way grown old in so
long time; for buildings suffer the same as men do, they grow old
as well as they, and by numbers of years their strength is
dissolved, and their beauty withered. Now they bury the kings of
Media, of Persia, and Parthia in this tower to this day, and he
who was entrusted with the care of it was a Jewish priest; which
thing is also observed to this day. But it is fit to give an
account of what this man did, which is most admirable to hear,
for he was so happy as to have strange revelations made to him,
and those as to one of the greatest of the prophets, insomuch,
that while he was alive he had the esteem and applause both of
the kings and of the multitude; and now he is dead, he retains a
remembrance that will never fail, for the several books that he
wrote and left behind him are still read by us till this time;
and from them we believe that Daniel conversed with God; for he
did not only prophesy of future events, as did the other
prophets, but he also determined the time of their
accomplishment. And while prophets used to foretell misfortunes,
and on that account were disagreeable both to the kings and to
the multitude, Daniel was to them a prophet of good things, and
this to such a degree, that by the agreeable nature of his
predictions, he procured the goodwill of all men; and by the
accomplishment of them, he procured the belief of their truth,
and the opinion of [a sort of] divinity for himself, among the
multitude. He also wrote and left behind him what made manifest
the accuracy and undeniable veracity of his predictions; for he
saith, that when he was in Susa, the metropolis of Persia, and
went out into the field with his companions, there was, on the
sudden, a motion and concussion of the earth, and that he was
left alone by himself, his friends fleeing away from him, and
that he was disturbed, and fell on his face, and on his two
hands, and that a certain person touched him, and, at the same
time, bid him rise, and see what would befall his countrymen
after many generations. He also related, that when he stood up,
he was shown a great rain, with many horns growing out of his
head, and that the last was higher than the rest: that after this
he looked to the west, and saw a he-goat carried through the air
from that quarter; that he rushed upon the ram with violence, and
smote him twice with his horns, and overthrew him to the ground,
and trampled upon him: that afterward he saw a very great horn
growing out of the head of the he-goat, and that when it was
broken off, four horns grew up that were exposed to each of the
four winds, and he wrote that out of them arose another lesser
horn, which, as he said, waxed great; and that God showed to him
that it should fight against his nation, and take their city by
force, and bring the temple worship to confusion, and forbid the
sacrifices to be offered for one thousand two hundred and
ninety-six days. Daniel wrote that he saw these visions in the
Plain of Susa; and he hath informed us that God interpreted the
appearance of this vision after the following manner: He said
that the ram signified the kingdoms of the Medes and Persians,
and the horns those kings that were to reign in them; and that
the last horn signified the last king, and that he should exceed
all the kings in riches and glory: that the he-goat signified
that one should come and reign from the Greeks, who should twice
fight with the Persian, and overcome him in battle, and should
receive his entire dominion: that by the great horn which sprang
out of the forehead of the he-goat was meant the first king; and
that the springing up of four horns upon its falling off, and the
conversion of every one of them to the four quarters of the
earth, signified the successors that should arise after the death
of the first king, and the partition of the kingdom among them,
and that they should be neither his children, nor of his kindred,
that should reign over the habitable earth for many years; and
that from among them there should arise a certain king that
should overcome our nation and their laws, and should take away
their political government, and should spoil the temple, and
forbid the sacrifices to be offered for three years' time. And
indeed it so came to pass, that our nation suffered these things
under Antiochus Epiphanes, according to Daniel's vision, and what
he wrote many years before they came to pass. In the very same
manner Daniel also wrote concerning the Roman government, and
that our country should be made desolate by them. All these
things did this man leave in writing, as God had showed them to
him, insomuch that such as read his prophecies, and see how they
have been fulfilled, would wonder at the honor wherewith God
honored Daniel; and may thence discover how the Epicureans are in
an error, who cast Providence out of human life, and do not
believe that God takes care of the affairs of the world, nor that
the universe is governed and continued in being by that blessed
and immortal nature, but say that the world is carried along of
its own accord, without a ruler and a curator; which, were it
destitute of a guide to conduct it, as they imagine, it would be
like ships without pilots, which we see drowned by the winds, or
like chariots without drivers, which are overturned; so would the
world be dashed to pieces by its being carried without a
Providence, and so perish, and come to nought. So that, by the
forementioned predictions of Daniel, those men seem to me very
much to err from the truth, who determine that God exercises no
providence over human affairs; for if that were the case, that
the world went on by mechanical necessity, we should not see that
all things would come to pass according to his prophecy. Now as
to myself, I have so described these matters as I have found them
and read them; but if any one is inclined to another opinion
about them, let him enjoy his different sentiments without any
blame from me.


Containing The Interval Of Two Hundred And Fifty-Three Years And
Five Months.

From The First Of Cyrus To The Death Of Alexander The Great.


How Cyrus, King Of The Persians, Delivered The Jews Out Of
Babylon And Suffered Them To Return To Their Own Country And To
Build Their Temple, For Which Work He Gave Them Money.

1. In the first year of the reign of Cyrus (1) which was the
seventieth from the day that our people were removed out of their
own land into Babylon, God commiserated the captivity and
calamity of these poor people, according as he had foretold to
them by Jeremiah the prophet, before the destruction of the city,
that after they had served Nebuchadnezzar and his posterity, and
after they had undergone that servitude seventy years, he would
restore them again to the land of their fathers, and they should
build their temple, and enjoy their ancient prosperity. And these
things God did afford them; for he stirred up the mind of Cyrus,
and made him write this throughout all Asia: "Thus saith Cyrus
the king: Since God Almighty hath appointed me to be king of the
habitable earth, I believe that he is that God which the nation
of the Israelites worship; for indeed he foretold my name by the
prophets, and that I should build him a house at Jerusalem, in
the country of Judea."

2. This was known to Cyrus by his reading the book which Isaiah
left behind him of his prophecies; for this prophet said that God
had spoken thus to him in a secret vision: "My will is, that
Cyrus, whom I have appointed to be king over many and great
nations, send back my people to their own land, and build my
temple." This was foretold by Isaiah one hundred and forty years
before the temple was demolished. Accordingly, when Cyrus read
this, and admired the Divine power, an earnest desire and
ambition seized upon him to fulfill what was so written; so he
called for the most eminent Jews that were in Babylon, and said
to them, that he gave them leave to go back to their own country,
and to rebuild their city Jerusalem, (2) and the temple of God,
for that he would be their assistant, and that he would write to
the rulers and governors that were in the neighborhood of their
country of Judea, that they should contribute to them gold and
silver for the building of the temple, and besides that, beasts
for their sacrifices.

3. When Cyrus had said this to the Israelites, the rulers of the
two tribes of Judah and Benjamin, with the Levites and priests,
went in haste to Jerusalem; yet did many of them stay at Babylon,
as not willing to leave their possessions; and when they were
come thither, all the king's friends assisted them, and brought
in, for the building of the temple, some gold, and some silver,
and some a great many cattle and horses. So they performed their
vows to God, and offered the sacrifices that had been accustomed
of old time; I mean this upon the rebuilding of their city, and
the revival of the ancient practices relating to their worship.
Cyrus also sent back to them the vessels of God which king
Nebuchadnezzar had pillaged out of the temple, and had carried to
Babylon. So he committed these things to Mithridates, the
treasurer, to be sent away, with an order to give them to
Sanabassar, that he might keep them till the temple was built;
and when it was finished, he might deliver them to the priests
and rulers of the multitude, in order to their being restored to
the temple. Cyrus also sent an epistle to the governors that were
in Syria, the contents whereof here follow:

"King Cyrus To Sisinnes And Sathrabuzanes Sendeth Greeting.

"I have given leave to as many of the Jews that dwell in my
country as please to return to their own country, and to rebuild
their city, and to build the temple of God at Jerusalem on the
same place where it was before. I have also sent my treasurer
Mithridates, and Zorobabel, the governor of the Jews, that they
may lay the foundations of the temple, and may build it sixty
cubits high, and of the same latitude, making three edifices of
polished stones, and one of the wood of the country, and the same
order extends to the altar whereon they offer sacrifices to God.
I require also that the expenses for these things may be given
out of my revenues. Moreover, I have also sent the vessels which
king Nebuchadnezzar pillaged out of the temple, and have given
them to Mithridates the treasurer, and to Zorobabel the governor
of the Jews, that they may have them carried to Jerusalem, and
may restore them to the temple of God. Now their number is as
follows: Fifty chargers of gold, and five hundred of silver;
forty Thericlean cups of gold, and five hundred of silver; fifty
basons of gold, and five hundred of silver; thirty vessels for
pouring [the drink-offerings], and three hundred of silver;
thirty vials of gold, and two thousand four hundred of silver;
with a thousand other large vessels. (3) I permit them to have
the same honor which they were used to have from their
forefathers, as also for their small cattle, and for wine and
oil, two hundred and five thousand and five hundred drachme; and
for wheat flour, twenty thousand and five hundred artabae; and I
give order that these expenses shall be given them out of the
tributes due from Samaria. The priests shall also offer these
sacrifices according to the laws of Moses in Jerusalem; and when
they offer them, they shall pray to God for the preservation of
the king and of his family, that the kingdom of Persia may
continue. But my will is, that those who disobey these
injunctions, and make them void, shall be hung upon a cross, and
their substance brought into the king's treasury." And such was
the import of this epistle. Now the number of those that came out
of captivity to Jerusalem, were forty-two thousand four hundred
and sixty-two.


How Upon The Death Of Cyrus The Jews Were Hindered In Building Of
The Temple By The Cutheans, And The Neighboring Governors; And
How Cambyses Entirely Forbade The Jews To Do Any Such Thing.

1. When the foundations of the temple were laying, and when the
Jews were very zealous about building it, the neighboring
nations, and especially the Cutheans, whom Shalmanezer, king of
Assyria, had brought out of Persia and Media, and had planted in
Samaria, when he carried the people of Israel captives, besought
the governors, and those that had the care of such affairs, that
they would interrupt the Jews, both in the rebuilding of their
city, and in the building of their temple. Now as these men were
corrupted by them with money, they sold the Cutheans their
interest for rendering this building a slow and a careless work,
for Cyrus, who was busy about other wars, knew nothing of all
this; and it so happened, that when he had led his army against
the Massagetae, he ended his life. (4) But when Cambyses, the son
of Cyrus, had taken the kingdom, the governors in Syria, and
Phoenicia, and in the countries of Amlnon, and Moab, and Samaria,
wrote an epistle to Calnbyses; whose contents were as follow: "To
our lord Cambyses. We thy servants, Rathumus the historiographer,
and Semellius the scribe, and the rest that are thy judges in
Syria and Phoenicia, send greeting. It is fit, O king, that thou
shouldst know that those Jews which were carried to Babylon are
come into our country, and are building that rebellious and
wicked city, and its market-places, and setting up its walls, and
raising up the temple; know therefore, that when these things are
finished, they will not be willing to pay tribute, nor will they
submit to thy commands, but will resist kings, and will choose
rather to rule over others than be ruled over themselves. We
therefore thought it proper to write to thee, O king, while the
works about the temple are going on so fast, and not to overlook
this matter, that thou mayst search into the books of thy
fathers, for thou wilt find in them that the Jews have been
rebels, and enemies to kings, as hath their city been also,
which, for that reason, hath been till now laid waste. We thought
proper also to inform thee of this matter, because thou mayst
otherwise perhaps be ignorant of it, that if this city be once
inhabited and be entirely encompassed with walls, thou wilt be
excluded from thy passage to Celesyria and Phoenicia."

2. When Cambyses had read the epistle, being naturally wicked, he
was irritated at what they told him, and wrote back to them as
follows: "Cambyses the king, to Rathumus the historiographer, to
Beeltethmus, to Semellius the scribe, and the rest that are in
commission, and dwelling in Samaria and Phoenicia, after this
manner: I have read the epistle that was sent from you; and I
gave order that the books of my forefathers should be searched
into, and it is there found that this city hath always been an
enemy to kings, and its inhabitants have raised seditions and
wars. We also are sensible that their kings have been powerful
and tyrannical, and have exacted tribute of Celesyria and
Phoenicia. Wherefore I gave order, that the Jews shall not be
permitted to build that city, lest such mischief as they used to
bring upon kings be greatly augmented." When this epistle was
read, Rathumus, and Semellius the scribe, and their associates,
got suddenly on horseback, and made haste to Jerusalem; they also
brought a great company with them, and forbade the Jews to build
the city and the temple. Accordingly, these works were hindered
from going on till the second year of the reign of Darius, for
nine years more; for Cambyses reigned six years, and within that
time overthrew Egypt, and when he was come back, he died at


How After The Death Of Cambyses And The Slaughter Of The Magi But
Under The Reign Of Darius, Zorobabel Was Superior To The Rest 1n
The Solution Of Problems And Thereby Obtained This Favor Of The
King, That The Temple Should Be Built.

1. After the slaughter of file Magi, who, upon the death of
Cambyses, attained the government of the Persians for a year,
those families which were called the seven families of the
Persians appointed Darius, the son of Hystaspes, to be their
king. Now he, while he was a private man, had made a vow to God,
that if he came to be king, he would send all the vessels of God
that were in Babylon to the temple at Jerusalem. Now it so fell
out, that about this time Zorobabel, who had been made governor
of the Jews that had been in captivity, came to Darius, from
Jerusalem; for there had been an old friendship between him and
the king. He was also, with two others, thought worthy to be
guard of the king's body; and obtained that honor which he hoped

2. Now, in the first year of the king's reign, Darius feasted
those that were about him, and those born in his house, with the
rulers of the Medes, and princes of the Persians, and the
toparchs of India and Ethiopia, and the generals of the armies of
his hundred and twenty-seven provinces. But when they had eaten
and drunk to satiety, and abundantly, they every one departed to
go to bed at their own houses, and Darius the king went to bed;
but after he had rested a little part of the night, he awaked,
and not being able to sleep any more, he fell into conversation
with the three guards of his body, and promised, that to him who
should make an oration about points that he should inquire of,
such as should be most agreeable to truth, and to the dictates of
wisdom, he would grant it as a reward of his victory, to put on a
purple garment, and to drink in cups of gold, and to sleep upon
gold, and to have a chariot with bridles of gold, and a head tire
of fine linen, and a chain of gold about his neck, and to sit
next to himself, on account of his wisdom; "and," says he, "he
shall be called my cousin." Now when he had promised to give them
these gifts, he asked the first of them, "Whether wine was not
the strongest?"--the second, "Whether kings were not such?" - and
the third, "Whether women were not such? or whether truth was not
the strongest of all?" When he had proposed that they should make
their inquiries about these problems, he went to rest; but in the
morning he sent for his great men, his princes, and toparchs of
Persia and Media, and set himself down in the place where he used
to give audience, and bid each of the guards of his body to
declare what they thought proper concerning the proposed
questions, in the hearing of them all.

3. Accordingly, the first of them began to speak of the strength
of wine, and demonstrated it thus: "When," said he," I am to give
my opinion of wine, O you men, I find that it exceeds every
thing, by the following indications: It deceives the mind of
those that drink it, and reduces that of the king to the same
state with that of the orphan, and he who stands in need of a
tutor; and erects that of the slave to the boldness of him that
is free; and that of the needy becomes like that of the rich man,
for it changes and renews the souls of men when it gets into
them; and it quenches the sorrow of those that are under
calamities, and makes men forget the debts they owe to others,
and makes them think themselves to be of all men the richest; it
makes them talk of no small things, but of talents, and such
other names as become wealthy men only; nay more, it makes them
insensible of their commanders, and of their kings, and takes
away the remembrance of their friends and companions, for it arms
men even against those that are dearest to them, and makes them
appear the greatest strangers to them; and when they are become
sober, and they have slept out their wine in the night, they
arise without knowing any thing they have done in their cups. I
take these for signs of power, and by them discover that wine is
the strongest and most insuperable of all things."

4. As soon as the first had given the forementioned
demonstrations of the strength of wine, he left off; and the next
to him began to speak about the strength of a king, and
demonstrated that it was the strongest of all, and more powerful
than any thing else that appears to have any force or wisdom. He
began his demonstration after the following manner; and said,"
They are men who govern all things; they force the earth and the
sea to become profitable to them in what they desire, and over
these men do kings rule, and over them they have authority. Now
those who rule over that animal which is of all the strongest and
most powerful, must needs deserve to be esteemed insuperable in
power and force. For example, when these kings command their
subjects to make wars, and undergo dangers, they are hearkened
to; and when they send them against their enemies, their power is
so great that they are obeyed. They command men to level
mountains, and to pull down walls and towers; nay, when they are
commanded to be killed and to kill, they submit to it, that they
may not appear to transgress the king's commands; and when they
have conquered, they bring what they have gained in the war to
the king. Those also who are not soldiers, but cultivate the
ground, and plough it, and when, after they have endured the
labor and all the inconveniences of such works of husbandry, they
have reaped and gathered in their fruits, they bring tributes to
the king; and whatsoever it is which the king says or commands,
it is done of necessity, and that without any delay, while he in
the mean time is satiated with all sorts of food and pleasures,
and sleeps in quiet. He is guarded by such as watch, and such as
are, as it were, fixed down to the place through fear; for no one
dares leave him, even when he is asleep, nor does any one go away
and take care of his own affairs; but he esteems this one thing
the only work of necessity, to guard the king, and accordingly to
this he wholly addicts himself. How then can it be otherwise, but
that it must appear that the king exceeds all in strength, while
so great a multitude obeys his injunctions?"

5. Now when this man had held his peace, the third of them, who
was Zorobabel, began to instruct them about women, and about
truth, who said thus: "Wine is strong, as is the king also, whom
all men obey, but women are superior to them in power; for it was
a woman that brought the king into the world; and for those that
plant the vines and make the wine, they are women who bear them,
and bring them up: nor indeed is there any thing which we do not
receive from them; for these women weave garments for us, and our
household affairs are by their means taken care of, and preserved
in safety; nor can we live separate from women. And when we have
gotten a great deal of gold and silver, and any other thing that
is of great value, and deserving regard, and see a beautiful
woman, we leave all these things, and with open mouth fix our
eyes upon her countenance, and are willing to forsake what we
have, that we may enjoy her beauty, and procure it to ourselves.
We also leave father, and mother, and the earth that nourishes
us, and frequently forget our dearest friends, for the sake of
women; nay, we are so hardy as to lay down our lives for them.
But what will chiefly make you take notice of the strength of
women is this that follows: Do not we take pains, and endure a
great deal of trouble, and that both by land and sea, and when we
have procured somewhat as the fruit of our labors, do not we
bring them to the women, as to our mistresses, and bestow them
upon them? Nay, I once saw the king, who is lord of so many
people, smitten on the face by Apame, the daughter of Rabsases
Themasius, his concubine, and his diadem taken away from him, and
put upon her own head, while he bore it patiently; and when she
smiled he smiled, and when she was angry he was sad; and
according to the change of her passions, he flattered his wife,
and drew her to reconciliation by the great humiliation of
himself to her, if at my time he saw her displeased at him."

6. And when the princes and rulers looked one upon another, he
began to speak about truth; and he said, "I have already
demonstrated how powerful women are; but both these women
themselves, and the king himself, are weaker than truth; for
although the earth be large, and the heaven high, and the course
of the sun swift, yet are all these moved according to the will
of God, who is true and righteous, for which cause we also ought
to esteem truth to be the strongest of all things, and that what
is unrighteous is of no force against it. Moreover, all things
else that have any strength are mortal and short-lived, but truth
is a thing that is immortal and eternal. It affords us not indeed
such a beauty as will wither away by time, nor such riches as may
be taken away by fortune, but righteous rules and laws. It
distinguishes them from injustice, and puts what is unrighteous
to rebuke." (5)

7. So when Zorobabel had left off his discourse about truth, and
the multitude had cried out aloud that he had spoken the most
wisely, and that it was truth alone that had immutable strength,
and such as never would wax old, the king commanded that he
should ask for somewhat over and above what he had promised, for
that he would give it him because of his wisdom, and that
prudence wherein he exceeded the rest; "and thou shalt sit with
me," said the king, "and shalt be called my cousin." When he had
said this, Zorobabel put him in mind of the vow he had made in
case he should ever have the kingdom. Now this vow was, "to
rebuild Jerusalem, and to build therein the temple of God; as
also to restore the vessels which Nebuchadnezzar had pillaged,
and carried to Babylon. And this," said he, "is that request
which thou now permittest me to make, on account that I have been
judged to be wise and understanding."

8. So the king was pleased with what he had said, and arose and
kissed him; and wrote to the toparchs and governors, and enjoined
them to conduct Zorobabel and those that were going with him to
build the temple. He also sent letters to those rulers that were
in Syria and Phoenicia to cut down and carry cedar trees from
Lebanon to Jerusalem, and to assist him in building the city. He
also wrote to them, that all the captives who should go to Judea
should be free; and he prohibited his deputies and governors to
lay any king's taxes upon the Jews; he also permitted that they
should have all that land which they could possess themselves of
without tributes. He also enjoined the Idumeans and Samaritans,
and the inhabitants of Celesyria, to restore those villages which
they had taken from the Jews; and that, besides all this, fifty
talents should be given them for the building of the temple. He
also permitted them to offer their appointed sacrifices, and that
whatsoever the high priest and the priests wanted, and those
sacred garments wherein they used to worship God, should be made
at his own charges; .and that the musical instruments which the
Levites used in singing hymns to God should be given them.
Moreover, he charged them, that portions of land should be given
to those that guarded the city and the temple, as also a
determinate sum of money every year for their maintenance; and
withal he sent the vessels. And all that Cyrus intended to do
before him relating to the restoration of Jerusalem, Darius also
ordained should be done accordingly.

9. Now when Zorobabel had obtained these grants from the king, he
went out of the palace, and looking up to heaven, he began to
return thanks to God for the wisdom he had given him, and the
victory he had gained thereby, even in the presence of Darius
himself; for, said he, "I had not been thought worthy of these
advantages, O Lord, unless thou hadst been favorable to me." When
therefore he had returned these thanks to God for the present
circumstances he was in, and had prayed to him to afford him the
like favor for the time to come, he came to Babylon, and brought
the good news to his countrymen of what grants he had procured
for them from the king; who, when they heard the same, gave
thanks also to God that he restored the land of their forefathers
to them again. So they betook themselves to drinking and eating,
and for seven days they continued feasting, and kept a festival,
for the rebuilding and restoration of their country: after this
they chose themselves rulers, who should go up to Jerusalem, out
of the tribes of their forefathers, with their wives, and
children, and cattle, who traveled to Jerusalem with joy and
pleasure, under the conduct of those whom Darius sent along with
them, and making a noise with songs, and pipes, and cymbals. The
rest of the Jewish multitude also besides accompanied them with

10. And thus did these men go, a certain and determinate number
out of every family, though I do not think it proper to recite
particularly the names of those families, that I may not take off
the mind of my readers from the connexion of the historical
facts, and make it hard for them to follow the coherence of my
narrations; but the sum of those that went up, above the age of
twelve years, of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, was four
hundred and sixty-two myriads and eight thousand (6) the Levites
were seventy-four; the number of the women and children mixed
together was forty thousand seven hundred and forty-two; and
besides these, there were singers of the Levites one hundred and
twenty-eight, and porters one hundred and ten, and of the sacred
ministers three hundred and ninety-two; there were also others
besides these, who said they were of the Israelites, but were not
able to show their genealogies, six hundred and sixty-two: some
there were also who were expelled out of the number and honor of
the priests, as having married wives whose genealogies they could
not produce, nor were they found in the genealogies of the
Levites and priests; they were about five hundred and
twenty-five: the multitude also of servants that followed those
that went up to Jerusalem were seven thousand three hundred and
thirty-seven; the singing men and singing women were two hundred
and forty-five; the camels were four hundred and thirty-five; the
beasts used to the yoke were five thousand five hundred and
twenty-five; and the governors of all this multitude thus
numbered were Zorobabel, the son of Salathiel, of the posterity
of David, and of the tribe of Judah; and Jeshua, the son of
Josedek the high priest; and besides these there were Mordecai
and Serebeus, who were distinguished from the multitude, and were
rulers, who also contributed a hundred pounds of gold, and five
thousand of silver. By this means therefore the priests and the
Levites, and a certain part of the entire people of the Jews that
were in Babylon, came and dwelt in Jerusalem; but the rest of the
multitude returned every one to their own countries.


How The Temple Was Built While The Cutheans Endeavored In Vain To
Obstruct The Work.

1. Now in the seventh month after they were departed out of
Babylon, both Jeshua the high priest, and Zorobabel the governor,
sent messengers every way round about, and gathered those that
were in the country together to Jerusalem universally, who came
very gladly thither. He then built the altar on the same place it
had formerly been built, that they might offer the appointed
sacrifices upon it to God, according to the laws of Moses. But
while they did this, they did not please the neighboring nations,
who all of them bare an ill-will to them. They also celebrated
the feast of tabernacles at that time, as the legislator had
ordained concerning it; and after they offered sacrifices, and
what were called the daily sacrifices, and the oblations proper
for the Sabbaths, and for all the holy festivals. Those also that
had made vows performed them, and offered their sacrifices from
the first day of the seventh month. They also began to build the
temple, and gave a great deal of money to the masons and to the
carpenters, and what was necessary for the maintenance of the
workmen. The Sidonians also were very willing and ready to bring
the cedar trees from Libanus, to bind them together, and to make
a united float of them, and to bring them to the port of Joppa,
for that was what Cyrus had commanded at first, and what was now
done at the command of Darius.

2. In the second year of their coming to Jerusalem, as the Jews
were there in the second month, the building of the temple went
on apace; and when they had laid its foundations on the first day
of the second month of that second year, they set, as overseers
of the work, such Levites as were full twenty years old; and
Jeshua and his sons and brethren, and Codmiel the brother of
Judas, the son of Aminadab, with his sons; and the temple, by the
great diligence of those that had the care of it, was finished
sooner than any one would have expected. And when the temple was
finished, the priests, adorned with their accustomed garments,
stood with their trumpets, while the Levites, and the sons of
Asaph, stood and sung hymns to God, according as David first of
all appointed them to bless God. Now the priests and Levites, and
the elder part of the families, recollecting with themselves how
much greater and more sumptuous the old temple had been, seeing
that now made how much inferior it was, on account of their
poverty, to that which had been built of old, considered with
themselves how much their happy state was sunk below what it had
been of old, as well as their temple. Hereupon they were
disconsolate, and not able to contain their grief, and proceeded
so far as to lament and shed tears on those accounts; but the
people in general were contented with their present condition;
and because they were allowed to build them a temple, they
desired no more, and neither regarded nor remembered, nor indeed
at all tormented themselves with the comparison of that and the
former temple, as if this were below their expectations; but the
wailing of the old men and of the priests, on account of the
deficiency of this temple, in their opinion, if compared with
that which had been demolished, overcame the sounds of the
trumpets and the rejoicing of the people.

3. But when the Samaritans, who were still enemies to the tribes
of Judah and Benjamin, heard the sound of the trumpets, they came
running together, and desired to know what was the occasion of
this tumult; and when they perceived that it was from the Jews,
who had been carried captive to Babylon, and were rebuilding
their temple, they came to Zorobabel and to Jeshua, and to the
heads of the families, and desired that they would give them
leave to build the temple with them, and to be partners with them
in building it; for they said, "We worship their God, and
especially pray to him, and are desirous of their religious
settlement, and this ever since Shalmanezer, the king of Assyria,
transplanted us out of Cuthah and Media to this place." When they
said thus, Zorobabel and Jeshua the high priest, and the heads of
the families of the Israelites, replied to them, that it was
impossible for them to permit them to be their partners, whilst
they [only] had been appointed to build that temple at first by
Cyrus, and now by Darius, although it was indeed lawful for them
to come and worship there if they pleased, and that they could
allow them nothing but that in common with them, which was common
to them with all other men, to come to their temple and worship
God there.

4. When the Cuthearts heard this, for the Samaritans have that
appellation, they had indignation at it, and persuaded the
nations of Syria to desire of the governors, in the same manner
as they had done formerly in the days of Cyrus, and again in the
days of Cambyses afterwards, to put a stop to the building of the
temple, and to endeavor to delay and protract the Jews in their
zeal about it. Now at this time Sisinnes, the governor of Syria
and Phoenicia, and Sathrabuzanes, with certain others, came up to
Jerusalem, and asked the rulers of the Jews, by. whose grant it
was that they built the temple in this manner, since it was more
like to a citadel than a temple? and for what reason it was that
they built cloisters and walls, and those strong ones too, about
the city? To which Zorobabel and Jeshua the high priest replied,
that they were the servants of God Almighty; that this temple was
built for him by a king of theirs, that lived in great
prosperity, and one that exceeded all men in virtue; and that it
continued a long time, but that because of their fathers' impiety
towards God, Nebuchadnezzar, king of the Babylonians and of the
Chaldeans, took their city by force, and destroyed it, and
pillaged the temple, and burnt it down, and transplanted the
people whom he had made captives, and removed them to Babylon;
that Cyrus, who, after him, was king of Babylonia and Persia,
wrote to them to build the temple, and committed the gifts and
vessels, and whatsoever Nebuchadnezzar had carried out of it, to
Zorobabel, and Mithridates the treasurer; and gave order to have
them carried to Jerusalem, and to have them restored to their own
temple, when it was built; for he had sent to them to have that
done speedily, and commanded Sanabassar to go up to Jerusalem,
and to take care of the building of the temple; who, upon
receiving that epistle from Cyrus, came, and immediately laid its
foundations; "and although it hath been in building from that
time to this, it hath not yet been finished, by reason of the
malignity of our enemies. If therefore you have a mind, and think
it proper, write this account to Darius, that when he hath
consulted the records of the kings, he may find that we have told
you nothing that is false about this matter."

5. When Zorobabel and the high priest had made this answer,
Sisinnes, and those that were with him, did not resolve to hinder
the building, until they had informed king Darius of all this. So
they immediately wrote to him about these affairs; but as the
Jews were now under terror, and afraid lest the king should
change his resolutions as to the building of Jerusalem and of the
temple, there were two prophets at that time among them, Haggai
and Zechariah, who encouraged them, and bid them be of good
cheer, and to suspect no discouragement from the Persians, for
that God foretold this to them. So, in dependence on those
prophets, they applied themselves earnestly to building, and did
not intermit one day.

6. Now Darius, when the Samaritans had written to him, and in
their epistle had accused the Jews, how they fortified the city,
and built the temple more like to a citadel than to a temple; and
said, that their doings were not expedient for the king's
affairs; and besides, they showed the epistle of Cambyses,
wherein he forbade them to build the temple: and when Darius
thereby understood that the restoration of Jerusalem was not
expedient for his affairs, and when he had read the epistle that
was brought him from Sisinnes, and those that were with him, he
gave order that what concerned these matters should be sought for
among the royal records. Whereupon a book was found at Ecbatana,
in the tower that was in Media, wherein was written as follows:
"Cyrus the king, in the first year of his reign, commanded that
the temple should be built in Jerusalem; and the altar in height
threescore cubits, and its breadth of the same, with three
edifices of polished stone, and one edifice of stone of their own
country; and he ordained that the expenses of it should be paid
out of the king's revenue. He also commanded that the vessels
which Nebuchadnezzar had pillaged [out of the temple], and had
carried to Babylon, should be restored to the people of
Jerusalem; and that the care of these things should belong to
Sanabassar, the governor and president of Syria and Phoenicia,
and his associates, that they may not meddle with that place, but
may permit the servants of God, the Jews and their rulers, to
build the temple. He also ordained that they should assist them
in the work; and that they should pay to the Jews, out of the
tribute of the country where they were governors, on account of
the sacrifices, bulls, and rams, and lambs, and kids of the
goats, and fine flour, and oil, and wine, and all other things
that the priests should suggest to them; and that they should
pray for the preservation of the king, and of the Persians; and
that for such as transgressed any of these orders thus sent to
them, he commanded that they should be caught, and hung upon a
cross, and their substance confiscated to the king's use. He also
prayed to God against them, that if any one attempted to hinder
the building of the temple, God would strike him dead, and
thereby restrain his wickedness."

7. When Darius had found this book among the records of Cyrus, he
wrote an answer to Sisinnes and his associates, whose contents
were these: "King Darius to Sisinnes the governor, and to
Sathrabuzanes, sendeth greeting. Having found a copy of this
epistle among the records of Cyrus, I have sent it you; and I
will that all things be done as is therein written. Fare ye
well." So when Sisinnes, and those that were with him, understood
the intention of the king, they resolved to follow his directions
entirely for the time to come. So they forwarded the sacred
works, and assisted the elders of the Jews, and the princes of
the Sanhedrim; and the structure of the temple was with great
diligence brought to a conclusion, by the prophecies of Haggai
and Zechariah, according to God's commands, and by the
injunctions of Cyrus and Darius the kings. Now the temple was
built in seven years' time. And in the ninth year of the reign of
Darius, on the twenty-third day of the twelfth month, which is by
us called Adar, but by the Macedonians Dystrus, the priests, and
Levites, and the other multitude of the Israelites, offered
sacrifices, as the renovation of their former prosperity after
their captivity, and because they had now the temple rebuilt, a
hundred bulls, two hundred rains, four hundred lambs, and twelve
kids of the goats, according to the number of their tribes, (for
so many are the tribes of the Israelites,) and this last for the
sins of every tribe. The priests also and the Levites set the
porters at every gate, according to the laws of Moses. The Jews
also built the cloisters of the inner temple that were round
about the temple itself.

8. And as the feast of unleavened bread was at hand, in the first
month, which, according to the Macedonians, is called Xanthicus,
but according to us Nisan, all the people ran together out of the
villages to the city, and celebrated the festival, having
purified themselves, with their wives and children, according to
the law of their country; and they offered the sacrifice which
was called the Passover, on the fourteenth day of the same month,
and feasted seven days, and spared for no cost, but offered whole
burnt-offerings to God, and performed sacrifices of thanksgiving,
because God had led them again to the land of their fathers, and
to the laws thereto belonging, and had rendered the mind of the
king of Persia favorable to them. So these men offered the
largest sacrifices on these accounts, and used great magnificence
in the worship of God, and dwelt in Jerusalem, and made use of a
form of government that was aristocratical, but mixed with an
oligarchy, for the high priests were at the head of their
affairs, until the posterity of the Asamoneans set up kingly
government; for before their captivity, and the dissolution of
their polity, they at first had kingly government from Saul and
David for five hundred and thirty-two years, six months, and ten
days; but before those kings, such rulers governed them as were
called judges and monarchs. Under this form of government they
continued for more than five hundred years after the death of
Moses, and of Joshua their commander. And this is the account I
had to give of the Jews who had been carried into captivity, but
were delivered from it in the times of Cyrus and Darius.

9. (7) But the Samaritans, being evil and enviously disposed to
the Jews, wrought them many mischiefs, by reliance on their
riches, and by their pretense that they were allied to the
Persians, on account that thence they came; and whatsoever it was
that they were enjoined to pay the Jews by the king's order out
of their tributes for the sacrifices, they would not pay it. They
had also the governors favorable to them, and assisting them for
that purpose; nor did they spare to hurt them, either by
themselves or by others, as far as they were able. So the Jews
determined to send an embassage to king Darius, in favor of the
people of Jerusalem, and in order to accuse the Samaritans. The
ambassadors were Zorobabel, and four others of the rulers; and as
soon as the king knew from the ambassadors the accusations and
complaints they brought against the Samaritans, he gave them an
epistle to be carried to the governors and council of Samaria;
the contents of which epistle were these: "King Darius to
Tanganas and Sambabas, the governors of the Sainaritans, to
Sadraces and Bobelo, and the rest of their fellow servants that
are in Samaria: Zorobabel, Ananias, and Mordecai, the ambassadors
of the Jews, complain of you, that you obstruct them in the
building of the temple, and do not supply them with the expenses
which I commanded you to do for the offering their sacrifices. My
will therefore is this, That upon the reading of this epistle,
you supply them with whatsoever they want for their sacrifices,
and that out of the royal treasury, of the tributes of Samaria,
as the priest shall desire, that they may not leave off offering
their daily sacrifices, nor praying to God for me and the
Persians." And these were the contents of that epistle.


How Xerxes The Son Of Darius Was Well Disposed To The Jews; As
Also Concerning Esdras And Nehemiah,

1. Upon the death of Darius, Xerxes his son took the kingdom,
who, as he inherited his father's kingdom, so did he inherit his
piety towards God, and honor of him; for he did all things
suitably to his father relating to Divine worship, and he was
exceeding friendly to the Jews. Now about this time a son of
Jeshua, whose name was Joacim, was the high priest. Moreover,
there was now in Babylon a righteous man, and one that enjoyed a
great reputation among the multitude. He was the principal priest
of the people, and his name was Esdras. He was very skillful in
the laws of Moses, and was well acquainted with king Xerxes. He
had determined to go up to Jerusalem, and to take with him some
of those Jews that were in Babylon; and he desired that the king
would give him an epistle to the governors of Syria, by which
they might know who he was. Accordingly, the king wrote the
following epistle to those governors: "Xerxes, king of kings, to
Esdras the priest, and reader of the Divine law, greeting. I
think it agreeable to that love which I bear to mankind, to
permit those of the Jewish nation that are so disposed, as well
as those of the priests and Levites that are in our kingdom, to
go together to Jerusalem. Accordingly, I have given command for
that purpose; and let every one that hath a mind go, according as
it hath seemed good to me, and to my seven counselors, and this
in order to their review of the affairs of Judea, to see whether
they be agreeable to the law of God. Let them also take with them
those presents which I and my friends have vowed, with all that
silver and gold that is found in the country of the Babylonians,
as dedicated to God, and let all this be carried to Jerusalem to
God for sacrifices. Let it also be lawful for thee and thy
brethren to make as many vessels of silver and gold as thou
pleasest. Thou shalt also dedicate those holy vessels which have
been given thee, and as many more as thou hast a mind to make,
and shall take the expenses out of the king's treasury. I have,
moreover, written to the treasurers of Syria and Phoenicia, that
they take care of those affairs that Esdras the priest, and
reader of the laws of God, is sent about. And that God may not be
at all angry with me, or with my children, I grant all that is
necessary for sacrifices to God, according to the law, as far as
a hundred cori of wheat. And I enjoin you not to lay any
treacherous imposition, or any tributes, upon their priests or
Levites, or. sacred singers, or porters, or sacred servants, or
scribes of the temple. And do thou, O Esdras, appoint judges
according to the wisdom [given thee] of God, and those such as
understand the law, that they may judge in all Syria and
Phoenicia; and do thou instruct those also which are ignorant of
it, that if any one of thy countrymen transgress the law of God,
or that of the king, he may be punished, as not transgressing it
out of ignorance, but as one that knows it indeed, but boldly
despises and contemns it; and such may be punished by death, or
by paying fines. Farewell."

2. When Esdras had received this epistle, he was very joyful, and
began to worship God, and confessed that he had been the cause of
the king's great favor to him, and that for the same reason he
gave all the thanks to God. So he read the epistle at Babylon to
those Jews that were there; but he kept the epistle itself, and
sent a copy of it to all those of his own nation that were in
Media. And when these Jews had understood what piety the king had
towards God, and what kindness he had for Esdras, they were all
greatly pleased; nay, many of them took their effects with them,
and came to Babylon, as very desirous of going down to Jerusalem;
but then the entire body of the people of Israel remained in that
country; wherefore there are but two tribes in Asia and Europe
subject to the Iomans, while the ten tribes are beyond Euphrates
till now, and are an immense multitude, and not to be estimated
by numbers. Now there came a great number of priests, and
Levites, and porters, and sacred singers, and sacred servants to
Esdras. So he gathered those that were in the captivity together
beyond Euphrates, and staid there three days, and ordained a fast
for them, that they might make their prayers to God for their
preservation, that they might suffer no misfortunes by the way,
either from their enemies, or from any other ill accident; for
Esdras had said beforehand that he had told the king how God
would preserve them, and so he had not thought fit to request
that he would send horsemen to conduct them. So when they had
finished their prayers, they removed from Euphrates on the
twelfth day of the first month of the seventh year of the reign
of Xerxes, and they came to Jerusalem on the fifth month of the
same year. Now Esdras presented the sacred money to the
treasurers, who were of the family of the priests, of silver six
hundred and fifty talents, vessels of silver one hundred talents,
vessels of gold twenty talents, vessels of brass, that was more
precious than gold, (8) twelve talents by weight; for these
Presents had been made by the king and his counselors, and by all
the Israelites that staid at Babylon. So when Esdras had
delivered these things to the priests, he gave to God, as the
appointed sacrifices of whole burnt-offerings, twelve bulls on
account of the common preservation of the people, ninety rams,
seventy-two lambs, and twelve kids of the goats, for the
remission of sins. He also delivered the king's epistle to the
king's officers, and to the governors of Celesyria and Phoenicia;
and as they were under a necessity of doing what was enjoined by
him, they honored our nation, and were assistant to them in all
their necessities.

3. Now these things were truly done under the conduct of Esdras;
and he succeeded in them, because God esteemed him worthy of the
success of his conduct, on account of his goodness and
righteousness. But some time afterward there came some persons to
him, and brought an accusation against certain of the multitude,
and of the priests and Levites, who had transgressed their
settlement, and dissolved the laws of their country, by marrying
strange wives, and had brought the family of the priests into
confusion. These persons desired him to support the laws, lest
God should take up a general anger against them all, and reduce
them to a calamitous condition again. Hereupon he rent his
garment immediately, out of grief, and pulled off the hair of his
head and beard, and cast himself upon the ground, because this
crime had reached the principal men among the people; and
considering that if he should enjoin them to cast out their
wives, and the children they had by them, he should not be
hearkener to, he continued lying upon the ground. However, all
the better sort came running to him, who also themselves wept,
and partook of the grief he was under for what had been done. So
Esdras rose up from the ground, and stretched out his hands
towards heaven, and said that he was ashamed to look towards it,
because of the sins which the people had committed, while they
had cast out of their memories what their fathers had undergone
on account of their wickedness; and he besought God, who had
saved a seed and a remnant out of the calamity and captivity they
had been in, and had restored them again to Jerusalem, and to
their own land, and had obliged the kings of Persia to have
compassion on them, that he would also forgive them their sins
they had now committed, which, though they deserved death, yet,
was it agreeable to the mercy of God, to remit even to these the
punishment due to them.

4. After Esdras had said this, he left off praying; and when all
those that came to him with their wives and children were under
lamentation, one whose name was Jechonias, a principal man in
Jerusalem, came to him, and said that they had sinned in marrying
strange wives; and he persuaded him to adjure them all to cast
those wives out, and the children born of them, and that those
should be punished who would not obey the law. So Esdras
hearkened to this advice, and made the heads of the priests, and
of the Levites, and of the Israelites, swear that they would put
away those wives and children, according to the advice of
Jechonias. And when he had received their oaths, he went in haste
out of the temple into the chamber of Johanan, the son of
Eliasib, and as he had hitherto tasted nothing at all for grief,
so he abode there that day. And when proclamation was made, that
all those of the captivity should gather themselves together to
Jerusalem, and those that did not meet there in two or three days
should be banished from the multitude, and that their substance
should b appropriated to the uses of the temple, according to the
sentence of the elders, those that were of the tribes of Judah
and Benjamin came together in three days, viz. on the twentieth
day of the ninth month, which, according to the Hebrews, is
called Tebeth, and according to the Macedonians, Apelleius. Now
as they were sitting in the upper room of the temple, where the
elders also were present, but were uneasy because of the cold,
Esdras stood up and accused them, and told them that they had
sinned in marrying wives that were not of their own nation; but
that now they would do a thing both pleasing to God, and
advantageous to themselves, if they would put those wives away.
Accordingly, they all cried out that they would do so. That,
however, the multitude was great, and that the season of the year
was winter, and that this work would require more than one or two
days. "Let their rulers, therefore, [said they,] and those that
have married strange wives, come hither at a proper time, while
the elders of every place, that are in common to estimate the
number of those that have thus married, are to be there also."
Accordingly, this was resolved on by them, and they began the
inquiry after those that had married strange wives on the first
day of the tenth month, and continued the inquiry to the first
day of the next month, and found a great many of the posterity of
Jeshua the high priest, and of the priests and Levites, and
Israelites, who had a greater regard to the observation of the
law than to their natural affection, (9) and immediately cast out
their wives, and the children which were born of them. And in
order to appease God, they offered sacrifices, and slew rams, as
oblations to him; but it does not seem to me to be necessary to
set down the names of these men. So when Esdras had reformed this
sin about the marriages of the forementioned persons, he reduced
that practice to purity, so that it continued in that state for
the time to come.

5. Now when they kept the feast of tabernacles in the seventh
month (10) and almost all the people were come together to it,
they went up to the open part of the temple, to the gate which
looked eastward, and desired of Esdras that the laws of Moses
might be read to them. Accordingly, he stood in the midst of the
multitude and read them; and this he did from morning to noon.
Now, by hearing the laws read to them, they were instructed to be
righteous men for the present and for the future; but as for
their past offenses, they were displeased at themselves, and
proceeded to shed tears on their account, as considering with
themselves that if they had kept the law, they had endured none
of these miseries which they had experienced. But when Esdras saw
them in that disposition, he bade them go home, and not weep, for
that it was a festival, and that they ought not to weep thereon,
for that it was not lawful so to do. (11) He exhorted them rather
to proceed immediately to feasting, and to do what was suitable
to a feast, and what was agreeable to a day of joy; but to let
their repentance and sorrow for their former sins be a security
and a guard to them, that they fell no more into the like
offenses. So upon Esdras's exhortation they began to feast; and
when they had so done for eight days, in their tabernacles, they
departed to their own homes, singing hymns to God, and returning
thanks to Esdras for his reformation of what corruptions had been
introduced into their settlement. So it came to pass, that after
he had obtained this reputation among the people, he died an old
man, and was buried in a magnificent manner at Jerusalem. About
the same time it happened also that Joacim, the high priest,
died; and his son Eliasib succeeded in the high priesthood.
6. Now there was one of those Jews that had been carried captive
who was cup-bearer to king Xerxes; his name was Nehemiah. As this
man was walking before Susa, the metropolis of the Persians, he
heard some strangers that were entering the city, after a long
journey, speaking to one another in the Hebrew tongue; so he went
to them, and asked them whence they came. And when their answer
was, that they came from Judea, he began to inquire of them again
in what state the multitude was, and in what condition Jerusalem
was; and when they replied that they were in a bad state (12) for
that their walls were thrown down to the ground, and that the
neighboring nations did a great deal of mischief to the Jews,
while in the day time they overran the country, and pillaged it,
and in the night did them mischief, insomuch that not a few were
led away captive out of the country, and out of Jerusalem itself,
and that the roads were in the day time found full of dead men.
Hereupon Nehemiah shed tears, out of commiseration of the
calamities of his countrymen; and, looking up to heaven, he said,
"How long, O Lord, wilt thou overlook our nation, while it
suffers so great miseries, and while we are made the prey and
spoil of all men?" And while he staid at the gate, and lamented
thus, one told him that the king was going to sit down to supper;
so he made haste, and went as he was, without wishing himself, to
minister to the king in his office of cup-bearer. But as the king
was very pleasant after supper, and more cheerful than usual, he
cast his eyes on Nehemiah, and seeing him look sad, he asked him
why he was sad. Whereupon he prayed to God to give him favor, and
afford him the power of persuading by his words, and said, "How
can I, O king, appear otherwise than thus, and not be in trouble,
while I hear that the walls of Jerusalem, the city where are the
sepulchers of my fathers, are thrown down to the ground, and that
its gates are consumed by fire? But do thou grant me the favor to
go and build its wall, and to finish the building of the temple."
Accordingly, the king gave him a signal that he freely granted
him what he asked; and told him that he should carry an epistle
to the governors, that they might pay him due honor, and afford
him whatsoever assistance he wanted, and as he pleased. "Leave
off thy sorrow then," said the king, "and be cheerful in the
performance of thy office hereafter." So Nehemiah worshipped God,
and gave the king thanks for his promise, and cleared up his sad
and cloudy countenance, by the pleasure he had from the king's
promises. Accordingly, the king called for him the next day, and
gave him an epistle to be carried to Adeus, the governor of
Syria, and Phoenicia, and Samaria; wherein he sent to him to pay
due honor to Nehemiah, and to supply him with what he wanted for
his building.

7. Now when he was come to Babylon, and had taken with him many
of his countrymen, who voluntarily followed him, he came to
Jerusalem in the twenty and fifth year of the reign of Xerxes.
And when he had shown the epistles to God (13) he gave them to
Adeus, and to the other governors. He also called together all
the people to Jerusalem, and stood in the midst of the temple,
and made the following speech to them: "You know, O Jews, that
God hath kept our fathers, Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in mind
continually, and for the sake of their righteousness hath not
left off the care of you. Indeed he hath assisted me in gaining
this authority of the king to raise up our wall, and finish what
is wanting of the temple. I desire you, therefore who well know
the ill-will our neighboring nations bear to us, and that when
once they are made sensible that we are in earnest about
building, they will come upon us, and contrive many ways of
obstructing our works, that you will, in the first place, put
your trust in God, as in him that will assist us against their
hatred, and to intermit building neither night nor day, but to
use all diligence, and to hasten on the work, now we have this
especial opportunity for it." When he had said this, he gave
order that the rulers should measure the wall, and part the work
of it among the people, according to their villages and cities,
as every one's ability should require. And when he had added this
promise, that he himself, with his servants, would assist them,
he dissolved the assembly. So the Jews prepared for the work:
that is the name they are called by from the day that they came
up from Babylon, which is taken from the tribe of Judah,. which
came first to these places, and thence both they and the country
gained that appellation.

8. But now when the Ammonites, and Moabites, and Samaritans, and
all that inhabited Celesyria, heard that the building went on
apace, they took it heinously, and proceeded to lay snares for
them, and to hinder their intentions. They also slew many of the
Jews, and sought how they might destroy Nehemiah himself, by
hiring some of the foreigners to kill him. They also put the Jews
in fear, and disturbed them, and spread abroad rumors, as if many
nations were ready to make an expedition against them, by which
means they were harassed, and had almost left off the building.
But none of these things could deter Nehemiah from being diligent
about the work; he only set a number of men about him as a guard
to his body, and so unweariedly persevered therein, and was
insensible of any trouble, out of his desire to perfect this
work. And thus did he attentively, and with great forecast, take
care of his own safety; not that he feared death, but of this
persuasion, that if he were dead, the walls for his citizens
would never be raised. He also gave orders that the builders
should keep their ranks, and have their armor on while they were
building. Accordingly, the mason had his sword on, as well as he
that brought the materials for building. He also appointed that
their shields should lie very near them; and he placed trumpeters
at every five hundred feet, and charged them, that if their
enemies appeared, they should give notice of it to the people,
that they might fight in their armor, and their enemies might not
fall upon them naked. He also went about the compass of the city
by night, being never discouraged, neither about the work itself,
nor about his own diet and sleep, for he made no use of those
things for his pleasure, but out of necessity. And this trouble
he underwent for two years and four months; (14) for in so long a
time was the wall built, in the twenty-eighth year of the reign
of Xerxes, in the ninth month. Now when the walls were finished,
Nehemiah and the multitude offered sacrifices to God for the
building of them, and they continued in feasting eight days.
However, when the nations which dwelt in Syria heard that the
building of the wall was finished, they had indignation at it.
But when Nehemiah saw that the city was thin of people, he
exhorted the priests and the Levites that they would leave the
country, and remove themselves to the city, and there continue;
and he built them houses at his own expenses; and he commanded
that part of the people which were employed in cultivating the
land to bring the tithes of their fruits to Jerusalem, that the
priests and Levites having whereof they might live perpetually,
might not leave the Divine worship; who willingly hearkened to
the constitutions of Nehemiah, by which means the city Jerusalem
came to be fuller of people than it was before. So when Nehemiah
had done many other excellent things, and things worthy of
commendation, in a glorious manner, he came to a great age, and
then died. He was a man of a good and righteous disposition, and
very ambitious to make his own nation happy; and he hath left the
walls of Jerusalem as an eternal monument for himself. Now this
was done in the days of Xerxes.


Concerning Esther And Mordecai And Haman; And How In The Reign Of
Artaxerxes The Whole Nation Of The Jews Was In Danger Of

1. After the death of Xerxes, the kingdom came to be transferred
to his son Cyrus, whom the Greeks called Artaxerxes. When this
man had obtained the government over the Persians, the whole
nation of the Jews, (15) with their wives and children, were in
danger of perishing; the occasion whereof we shall declare in a
little time; for it is proper, in the first place, to explain
somewhat relating to this king, and how he came to marry a Jewish
wife, who was herself of the royal family also, and who is
related to have saved our nation; for when Artaxerxes had taken
the kingdom, and had set governors over the hundred twenty and
seven provinces, from India even unto Ethiopia, in the third year
of his reign, he made a costly feast for his friends, and for the
nations of Persia, and for their governors, such a one as was
proper for a king to make, when he had a mind to make a public
demonstration of his riches, and this for a hundred and fourscore
days; after which he made a feast for other nations, and for
their ambassadors, at Shushan, for seven days. Now this feast was
ordered after the manner following: He caused a tent to be
pitched, which was supported by pillars of gold and silver, with
curtains of linen and purple spread over them, that it might
afford room for many ten thousands to sit down. The cups with
which the waiters ministered were of gold, and adorned with
precious stones, for pleasure and for sight. He also gave order
to the servants that they should not force them to drink, by
bringing them wine continually, as is the practice of the
Persians, but to permit every one of the guests to enjoy himself
according to his own inclination. Moreover, he sent messengers
through the country, and gave order that they should have a
remission of their labors, and should keep a festival many days,
on account of his kingdom. In like manner did Vashti the queen
gather her guests together, and made them a feast in the palace.
Now the king was desirous to show her, who exceeded all other
women in beauty, to those that feasted with him, and he sent some
to command her to come to his feast. But she, out of regard to
the laws of the Persians, which forbid the wives to be seen by
strangers, did not go to the king (16) and though he oftentimes
sent the eunuchs to her, she did nevertheless stay away, and
refused to come, till the king was so much irritated, that he
brake up the entertainment, and rose up, and called for those
seven who had the interpretation of the laws committed to them,
and accused his wife, and said that he had been affronted by her,
because that when she was frequently called by him to his feast,
she did not obey him once. He therefore gave order that they
should inform him what could be done by the law against her. So
one of them, whose name was Memucan, said that this affront was
offered not to him alone, but to all the Persians, who were in
danger of leading their lives very ill with their wives, if they
must be thus despised by them; for that none of their wives would
have any reverence for their husbands, if they had" such an
example of arrogance in the queen towards thee, who rulest over
all." Accordingly, he exhorted him to punish her, who had been
guilty of so great an affront to him, after a severe manner; and
when he had so done, to publish to the nations what had been
decreed about the queen. So the resolution was to put Vashti
away, and to give her dignity to another woman.

2. But the king having been fond of her, did not well bear a
separation, and yet by the law he could not admit of a
reconciliation; so he was under trouble, as not having it in his
power to do what he desired to do. But when his friends saw him
so uneasy, they advised him to cast the memory of his wife, and
his love for her, out of his mind, but to send abroad over all
the habitable earth, and to search out for comely virgins, and to
take her whom he should best like for his wife, because his
passion for his former wife would be quenched by the introduction
of another, and the kindness he had for Vashti would be withdrawn
from her, and be placed on her that was with him. Accordingly, he
was persuaded to follow this advice, and gave order to certain
persons to choose out of the virgins that were in his kingdom
those that were esteemed the most comely. So when a great number
of these virgins were gathered together, there was found a damsel
in Babylon, whose parents were both dead, and she was brought up
with her uncle Mordecai, for that was her uncle's name. This
uncle was of the tribe of Benjamin, and was one of the principal
persons among the Jews. Now it proved that this damsel, whose
name was Esther, was the most beautiful of all the rest, and that
the grace of her countenance drew the eyes of the spectators
principally upon her. So she was committed to one of the eunuchs
to take the care of her; and she was very exactly provided with
sweet odors, in great plenty, and with costly ointments, such as
her body required to be anointed withal; and this was used for
six months by the virgins, who were in number four hundred. And
when the eunuch thought the virgins had been sufficiently
purified, in the fore-mentioned time, and were now fit to go to
the king's bed, he sent one to be with the king ever day. So when
he had accompanied with her, he sent her back to the eunuch; and
when Esther had come to him, he was pleased with her, and fell in
love with the damsel, and married her, and made her his lawful
wife, and kept a wedding feast for her on the twelfth month of
the seventh year of his reign, which was called Adar. He also
sent angari, as they are called, or messengers, unto every
nation, and gave orders that they should keep a feast for his
marriage, while he himself treated the Persians and the Medes,
and the principal men of the nations, for a whole month, on
account of this his marriage. Accordingly, Esther came to his
royal palace, and he set a diadem on her head. And thus was
Esther married, without making known to the king what nation she
was derived from. Her uncle also removed from Babylon to Shushan,
and dwelt there, being every day about the palace, and inquiring
how the damsel did, for he loved her as though she had been his
own daughter.

3. Now the king had made a law, (17) that none of his own people
should approach him unless he were called, when he sat upon his
throne and men, with axes in their hands, stood round about his
throne, in order to punish such as approached to him without
being called. However, the king sat with a golden scepter in his
hand, which he held out when he had a mind to save any one of
those that approached to him without being called, and he who
touched it was free from danger. But of this matter we have
discoursed sufficiently.

4. Some time after this [two eunuchs], Bigthan and Teresh,
plotted against the king; and Barnabazus, the servant of one of
the eunuchs, being by birth a Jew, was acquainted with their
conspiracy, and discovered it to the queen's uncle; and Mordecai,
by the means of Esther, made the conspirators known to the king.
This troubled the king; but he discovered the truth, and hanged
the eunuchs upon a cross, while at that time he gave no reward ]:
to Mordecai, who had been the occasion of his preservation. He
only bid the scribes to set down his name in the records, and bid
him stay in the palace, as an intimate friend of the king.

5. Now there was one Haman, the son of Amedatha, by birth an
Amalekite, that used to go in to the king; and the foreigners and
Persians worshipped him, as Artaxerxes had commanded that such
honor should be paid to him; but Mordecai was so wise, and so
observant of his own country's laws, that he would not worship
the man (18) When Haman observed this, he inquired whence he
came; and when he understood that he was a Jew, he had
indignation at him, and said within himself, that whereas the
Persians, who were free men, worshipped him, this man, who was no
better than a slave, does not vouchsafe to do so. And when he
desired to punish Mordecai, he thought it too small a thing to
request of the king that he alone might be punished; he rather
determined to abolish the whole nation, for he was naturally an
enemy to the Jews, because the nation of the Amalekites, of which
he was; had been destroyed by them. Accordingly he came to the
king, and accused them, saying, "There is a certain wicked
nation, and it is dispersed over all the habitable earth the was
under his dominion; a nation separate from others, unsociable,
neither admitting the same sort of Divine worship that others do,
nor using laws like to the laws of others, at enmity with thy
people, and with all men, both in their manners and practices.
Now, if thou wilt be a benefactor to thy subjects, thou wilt give
order to destroy them utterly, and not leave the least remains of
them, nor preserve any of them, either for slaves or for
captives." :But that the king might not be damnified by the loss
of the tributes which the Jews paid him, Haman promised to give
him out of his own estate forty thousand talents whensoever he
pleased; and he said he would pay this money very willingly, that
the kingdom might. be freed from such a misfortune.

6. When Haman had made this petition, the king both forgave him
the money, and granted him the men, to do what he would with
them. So Haman, having gained what he desired, sent out
immediately a decree, as from the king, to all nations, the
contents whereof were these: "Artaxerxes, the great king, to the
rulers of the hundred twenty and seven provinces, from India to
Ethiopia, sends this writing. Whereas I have governed many
nations, and obtained the dominions of all the habitable earth,
according to my desire, and have not been obliged to do any thing
that is insolent or cruel to my subjects by such my power, but
have showed myself mild and gentle, by taking care of their peace
and good order, and have sought how they might enjoy those
blessings for all time to come. And whereas I have been kindly
informed by Haman, who, on account of his prudence and justice,
is the first in my esteem, and in dignity, and only second to
myself, for his fidelity and constant good-will to me, that there
is an ill-natured nation intermixed with all mankind, that is
averse to our laws, and not subject to kings, and of a different
conduct of life from others, that hateth monarchy, and of a
disposition that is pernicious to our affairs, I give order that
all these men, of whom Haman our second father hath informed us,
be destroyed, with their wives and children, and that none of
them be spared, and that none prefer pity to them before
obedience to this decree. And this I will to be executed on the
fourteenth day of the twelfth month of this present year, that so
when all that have enmity to us are destroyed, and this in one
day, we may be allowed to lead the rest of our lives in peace
hereafter." Now when this decree was brought to the cities, and
to the country, all were ready for the destruction and entire
abolishment of the Jews, against the day before mentioned; and
they were very hasty about it at Shushan, in particular.
Accordingly, the king and Haman spent their time in feasting
together with good cheer and wine, but the city was in disorder.

7. Now when Mordecai was informed of what was done, he rent his
clothes, and put on sackcloth, and sprinkled ashes upon his head,
and went about the city, crying out, that "a nation that had been
injurious to no man was to be destroyed." And he went on saying
thus as far as to the king's palace, and there he stood, for it
was not lawful for him to go into it in that habit. The same
thing was done by all the Jews that were in the several cities
wherein this decree was published, with lamentation and mourning,
on account of the calamities denounced against them. But as soon
as certain persons had told the queen that Mordecai stood before
the court in a mourning habit, she was disturbed at this report,
and sent out such as should change his garments; but when he
could not be induced to put off his sackcloth, because the sad
occasion that forced him to put it on was not yet ceased, she
called the eunuch Acratheus, for he was then present, and sent
him to Mordecai, in order to know of him what sad accident had
befallen him, for which he was in mourning, and would not put off
the habit he had put on at her desire. Then did Mordecai inform
the eunuch of the occasion of his mourning, and of the decree
which was sent by the king into all the country, and of the
promise of money whereby Haman brought the destruction of their
nation. He also gave him a copy of what was proclaimed at
Shushan, to be carried to Esther; and he charged her to petition
the king about this matter, and not to think it a dishonorable
thing in her to put on a humble habit, for the safety of her
nation, wherein she might deprecate the ruin of the Jews, who
were in danger of it; for that Haman, whose dignity was only
inferior to that of the king, had accused the Jews, and had
irritated the king against them. When she was informed of this,
she sent to Mordecai again, and told him that she was not called
by the king, and that he who goes in to him without being called,
is to be slain, unless when he is willing to save any one, he
holds out his golden scepter to him; but that to whomsoever he
does so, although he go in without being called, that person is
so far from being slain, that he obtains pardon, and is entirely
preserved. Now when the eunuch carried this message from Esther
to Mordecai, he bade him also tell her that she must not only
provide for her own preservation, but for the common preservation
of her nation, for that if she now neglected this opportunity,
there would certainly arise help to them from God some other way,
but she and her father's house would be destroyed by those whom
she now despised. But Esther sent the very same eunuch back to
Mordecai [to desire him] to go to Shushan, and to gather the Jews
that were there together to a congregation, and to fast and
abstain from all sorts of food, on her account, and [to let him
know that] she with her maidens would do the same: and then she
promised that she would go to the king, though it were against
the law, and that if she must die for it, she would not refuse

8. Accordingly, Mordecai did as Esther had enjoined him, and made
the people fast; and he besought God, together with them, not to
overlook his nation, particularly at this time, when it was going
to be destroyed; but that, as he had often before provided for
them, and forgiven, when they had sinned, so he would now deliver
them from that destruction which was denounced against them; for
although it was not all the nation that had offended, yet must
they so ingloriously be slain, and that he was himself the
occasion of the wrath of Haman, "Because," said he, "I did not
worship him, nor could I endure to pay that honor to him which I
used to pay to thee, O Lord; for upon that his anger hath he
contrived this present mischief against those that have not
transgressed thy laws." The same supplications did the multitude
put up, and entreated that God would provide for their
deliverance, and free the Israelites that were in all the earth
from this calamity which was now coming upon them, for they had
it before their eyes, and expected its coming. Accordingly,
Esther made supplication to God after the manner of her country,
by casting herself down upon the earth, and putting on her
mourning garments, and bidding farewell to meat and drink, and
all delicacies, for three days' time; and she entreated God to
have mercy upon her, and make her words appear persuasive to the
king, and render her countenance more beautiful than it was
before, that both by her words and beauty she might succeed, for
the averting of the king's anger, in case he were at all
irritated against her, and for the consolation of those of her
own country, now they were in the utmost danger of perishing; as
also that he would excite a hatred in the king against the
enemies of the Jews, and those that had contrived their future
destruction, if they proved to be contemned by him.

9. When Esther had used this supplication for three days, she put
off those garments, and changed her habit, and adorned herself as
became a queen, and took two of her handmaids with her, the one
of which supported her, as she gently leaned upon her, and the
other followed after, and lifted up her large train (which swept
along the ground) with the extremities of her fingers. And thus
she came to the king, having a blushing redness in her
countenance, with a pleasant agreeableness in her behavior; yet
did she go in to him with fear; and as soon as she was come over
against him, as he was sitting on his throne, in his royal
apparel, which was a garment interwoven with gold and precious
stones, which made him seem to her more terrible, especially when
he looked at her somewhat severely, and with a countenance on
fire with anger, her joints failed her immediately, out of the
dread she was in, and she fell down sideways in a swoon: but the
king changed his mind, which happened, as I suppose, by the will
of God, and was concerned for his wife, lest her fear should
bring some very ill thing upon her, and he leaped from his
throne, and took her in his arms, and recovered her, by embracing
her, and speaking comfortably to her, and exhorting her to be of
good cheer, and not to suspect any thing that was sad on account
of her coming to him without being called, because that law was
made for subjects, but that she, who was a queen, as well as he a
king, might be entirely secure; and as he said this, he put the
scepter into her hand, and laid his rod upon her neck, on account
of the law; and so freed her from her fear. And after she had
recovered herself by these encouragements, she said, "My lord, it
is not easy for me, on the sudden, to say what hath happened, for
as soon as I saw thee to be great, and comely, and terrible, my
spirit departed from me, and I had no soul left in me." And while
it was with difficulty, and in a low voice, that she could say
thus much, the king was in a great agony and disorder, and
encouraged Esther to be of good cheer, and to expect better
fortune, since he was ready, if occasion should require it, to
grant her the half of his kingdom. Accordingly, Esther desired
that he and his friend Haman would come to her to a banquet, for
she said she had prepared a supper for him. He consented to it;
and when they were there, as they were drinking, he bid Esther to
let him know what she desired; for that she should not be
disappointed though she should desire the half of his kingdom.
But she put off the discovery of her petition till the next day,
if he would come again, together with Haman, to her banquet.

10. Now when the king had promised so to do, Haman went away very
glad, because he alone had the honor of supping with the king at
Esther's banquet, and because no one else partook of the same
honor with kings but himself; yet when he saw Mordecai in the
court, he was very much displeased, for he paid him no manner of
respect when he saw him. So he went home and called for his wife
Zeresh, and his friends, and when they were come, he showed them
what honor he enjoyed not only from the king, but from the queen
also, for as he alone had that day supped with her, together with
the king, so was he also invited again for the next day; yet,"
said he, "am I not pleased to see Mordecai the Jew in the court."
Hereupon his wife Zeresh advised him to give order that a gallows
should be made fifty cubits high, and that in the morning he
should ask it of the king that Mordecai might be hanged thereon.
So he commended her advice, and gave order to his servants to
prepare the gallows, and to place it in the court, for the
punishment of Mordecai thereon, which was accordingly prepared.
But God laughed to scorn the wicked expectations of Haman; and as
he knew what the event would be, he was delighted at it, for that
night he took away the king's sleep; and as the king was not
willing to lose the time of his lying awake, but to spend it in
something that might be of advantage to his kingdom, he commanded
the scribe to bring him the chronicles of the former kings, and
the records of his own actions; and when he had brought them, and
was reading them, one was found to have received a country on
account of his excellent management on a certain occasion, and
the name of the country was set down; another was found to have
had a present made him on account of his fidelity: then the
scribe came to Bigthan and Teresh, the eunuchs that had made a
conspiracy against the king, which Mordecai had discovered; and
when the scribe said no more but that, and was going on to
another history, the king stopped him, and inquired "whether it
was not added that Mordecai had a reward given him?" and when he
said there was no such addition, he bade him leave off; and he
inquired of those that were appointed for that purpose, what hour
of the night it was; and when he was informed that it was already
day, he gave order, that if they found any one of his friends
already come, and standing before the court, they should tell
him. Now it happened that Haman was found there, for he was come
sooner than ordinary to petition the king to have Mordecai put to
death; and when the servants said that Haman was before the
court, he bid them call him in; and when he was come in, he said,
"Because I know that thou art my only fast friend, I desire thee
to give me advice how I may honor one that I greatly love, and
that after a manner suitable to my magnificence." Now Haman
reasoned with himself, that what opinion he should give it would
be for himself, since it was he alone who was beloved by the
king: so he gave that advice which he thought of all other the
best; for he said, "If thou wouldst truly honor a man whom thou
sayest thou dost love, give order that he may ride on horseback,
with the same garment on which thou wearest, and with a gold
chain about his neck, and let one of thy intimate friends go
before him, and proclaim through the whole city, that whosoever
the king honoreth obtaineth this mark of his honor." This was the
advice which Haman gave, out of a supposal that such a reward
would come to himself. Hereupon the king was pleased with the
advice, and said, "Go thou therefore, for thou hast the horse,
the garment, and the chain, ask for Mordecai the Jew, and give
him those things, and go before his horse and proclaim
accordingly; for thou art," said he, "my intimate friend, and
hast given me good advice; be thou then the minister of what thou
hast advised me to. This shall be his reward from us, for
preserving my life." When he heard this order, which was entirely
unexpected, he was confounded in his mind, and knew not what to
do. However, he went out and led the horse, and took the purple
garment, and the golden chain for the neck, and finding Mordecai
before the court, clothed in sackcloth, he bid him put that
garment off, and put the purple garment on. But Mordecai, not
knowing the truth of the matter, but thinking that it was done in
mockery, said, "O thou wretch, the vilest of all mankind, dost
thou thus laugh at our calamities?" But when he was satisfied
that the king bestowed this honor upon him, for the deliverance
he had procured him when he convicted the eunuchs who had
conspired against him, he put on that purple garment which the
king always wore, and put the chain about his neck, and got on
horseback, and went round the city, while Haman went before and
proclaimed, "This shall be the reward which the king will bestow
on every one whom he loves, and esteems worthy of honor." And
when they had gone round the city, Mordecai went in to the king;
but Haman went home, out of shame, and informed his wife and
friends of what had happened, and this with tears; who said, that
he would never be able to be revenged of Mordecai, for that God
was with him.

11. Now while these men were thus talking one to another,
Esther's eunuchs hastened Haman away to come to supper; but one
of the eunuchs, named Sabuchadas, saw the gallows that was fixed
in Haman's house, and inquired of one of his servants for what
purpose they had prepared it. So he knew that it was for the
queen's uncle, because Haman was about to petition the king that
he might be punished; but at present he held his peace. Now when
the king, with Haman, were at the banquet, he desired the queen
to tell him what gifts she desired to obtain, and assured her
that she should have whatsoever she had a mind to. She then
lamented the danger her people were in; and said that "she and
her nation were given up to be destroyed, and that she, on that
account, made this her petition; that she would not have troubled
him if he had only given order that they should be sold into
bitter servitude, for such a misfortune would not have been
intolerable; but she desired that they might be delivered from
such destruction." And when the king inquired of her whom was the
author of this misery to them, she then openly accused Haman, and
convicted him, that he had been the wicked instrument of this,
and had formed this plot against them. When the king was hereupon
in disorder, and was gone hastily out of the banquet into the
gardens, Haman began to intercede with Esther, and to beseech her
to forgive him, as to what he had offended, for he perceived that
he was in a very bad case. And as he had fallen upon the queen's
bed, and was making supplication to her, the king came in, and
being still more provoked at what he saw, "O thou wretch," said
he, "thou vilest of mankind, dost thou aim to force in wife?" And
when Haman was astonished at this, and not able to speak one word
more, Sabuchadas the eunuch came in and accused Haman, and said,"
He found a gallows at his house, prepared for Mordecai; for that
the servant told him so much upon his inquiry, when he was sent
to him to call him to supper." He said further, that the gallows
was fifty cubits high: which, when the king heard, he determined
that Haman should be punished after no other manner than that
which had been devised by him against Mordecai; so he gave order
immediately that he should be hung upon those gallows, and be put
to death after that manner. And from hence I cannot forbear to
admire God, and to learn hence his wisdom and his justice, not
only in punishing the wickedness of Haman, but in so disposing
it, that he should undergo the very same punishment which he had
contrived for another; as also because thereby he teaches others
this lesson, that what mischiefs any one prepares against
another, he, without knowing of it, first contrives it against

12. Wherefore Haman, who had immoderately abused the honor he had
from the king, was destroyed after this manner, and the king
granted his estate to the queen. He also called for Mordecai,
(for Esther had informed him that she was akin to him,) and gave
that ring to Mordecai which he had before given to Haman. The
queen also gave Haman's estate to Mordecai; and prayed the king
to deliver the nation of the Jews from the fear of death, and
showed him what had been written over all the country by Haman
the son of Ammedatha; for that if her country were destroyed, and
her countrymen were to perish, she could not bear to live herself
any longer. So the king promised her that he would not do any
thing that should be disagreeable to her, nor contradict what she
desired; but he bid her write what she pleased about the Jews, in
the king's name, and seal it with his seal, and send it to all
his kingdom, for that those who read epistles whose authority is
secured by having the king's seal to them, would no way
contradict what was written therein. So he commanded the king's
scribes to be sent for, and to write to the nations, on the Jews'
behalf, and to his lieutenants and governors, that were over his
hundred twenty and seven provinces, from India to Ethiopia. Now
the contents of this epistle were these: "The great king
Artaxerxes to our rulers, and those that are our faithful
subjects, sendeth greeting. (19) Many men there are who, on
account of the greatness of the benefits bestowed on them, and
because of the honor which they have obtained from the wonderful
kind treatment of those that bestowed it, are not only injurious
to their inferiors, but do not scruple to do evil to those that
have been their benefactors, as if they would take away gratitude
from among men, and by their insolent abuse of such benefits as
they never expected, they turn the abundance they have against
those that are the authors of it, and suppose they shall lie
concealed from God in that case, and avoid that vengeance which
comes from him. Some of these men, when they have had the
management of affairs committed to them by their friends, and
bearing private malice of their own against some others, by
deceiving those that have the power, persuade them to be angry at
such as have done them no harm, till they are in danger of
perishing, and this by laying accusations and calumnies: nor is
this state of things to be discovered by ancient examples, or
such as we have learned by report only, but by some examples of
such impudent attempts under our own eyes; so that it is not fit
to attend any longer to calumnies and accusations, nor to the
persuasions of others, but to determine what any one knows of
himself to have been really done, and to punish what justly
deserves it, and to grant favors to such as are innocent. This
hath been the case of Haman, the son of Ammedatha, by birth an
Amalekite, and alien from the blood of the Persians, who, when he
was hospitably entertained by us, and partook of that kindness
which we bear to all men to so great a degree, as to be called my
father, and to be all along worshipped, and to have honor paid
him by all in the second rank after the royal honor due to
ourselves, he could not bear his good fortune, nor govern the
magnitude of his prosperity with sound reason; nay, he made a
conspiracy against me and my life, who gave him his authority, by
endeavoring to take away Mordecai, my benefactor, and my savior,
and by basely and treacherously requiring to have Esther, the
partner of my life, and of my dominion, brought to destruction;
for he contrived by this means to deprive me of my faithful
friends, and transfer the government to others: (20) but since I
perceived that these Jews, that were by this pernicious fellow
devoted to destruction, were not wicked men, but conducted their
lives after the best manner, and were men dedicated to the
worship of that God who hath preserved the kingdom to me and to
my ancestors, I do not only free them from the punishment which
the former epistle, which was sent by Haman, ordered to be
inflicted on them, to which if you refuse obedience, you shall do
well; but I will that they have all honor paid to them.
Accordingly, I have hanged up the man that contrived such things
against them, with his family, before the gates of Shushan; that
punishment being sent upon him by God, who seeth all things. And
I give you in charge, that you publicly propose a copy of this
epistle through all my kingdom, that the Jews may be permitted
peaceably to use their own laws, and that you assist them, that
at the same season whereto their miserable estate did belong,
they may defend themselves the very same day from unjust
violence, the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is Adar;
for God hath made that day a day of salvation instead of a day of
destruction to them; and may it be a good day to those that wish
us well, and a memorial of the punishment of the conspirators
against us: and I will that you take notice, that every city, and
every nation, that shall disobey any thing that is contained in
this epistle, shall be destroyed by fire and sword. However, let
this epistle be published through all the country that is under
our obedience, and let all the Jews, by all means, be ready
against the day before mentioned, that they may avenge themselves
upon their enemies."

13. Accordingly, the horsemen who carried the epistles proceeded
on the ways which they were to go with speed: but as for
Mordecai, as soon as he had assumed the royal garment, and the
crown of gold, and had put the chain about his neck, he went
forth in a public procession; and when the Jews who were at
Shushan saw him in so great honor with the king, they thought his
good fortune was common to themselves also, and joy and a beam of
salvation encompassed the Jews, both those that were in the
cities, and those that were in the countries, upon the
publication of the king's letters, insomuch that many even of
other nations circumcised their foreskin for fear of the Jews,
that they might procure safety to themselves thereby; for on the
thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which according to the
Hebrews is called Adar, but according to the Macedonians,
Dystrus, those that carried the king's epistle gave them notice,
that the same day wherein their danger was to have been, on that
very day should they destroy their enemies. But now the rulers of
the provinces, and the tyrants, and the kings, and the scribes,
had the Jews in esteem; for the fear they were in of Mordecai
forced them to act with discretion. Now when the royal decree was
come to all the country that was subject to the king, it fell out
that the Jews at Shushan slew five hundred of their enemies; and
when the king had told Esther the number of those that were slain
in that city, but did not well know what had been done in the
provinces, he asked her whether she would have any thing further
done against them, for that it should be done accordingly: upon
which she desired that the Jews might be permitted to treat their
remaining enemies in the same manner the next day; as also that
they might hang the ten sons of Haman upon the gallows. So the
king permitted the Jews so to do, as desirous not to contradict
Esther. So they gathered themselves together again on the
fourteenth day of the month Dystrus, and slew about three hundred
of their enemies, but touched nothing of what riches they had.
Now there were slain by the Jews that were in the country, and in
the other cities, seventy-five thousand of their enemies, and
these were slain on the thirteenth day of the month, and the next
day they kept as a festival. In like manner the Jews that were in
Shushan gathered themselves together, and feasted on the
fourteenth day, and that which followed it; whence it is that
even now all the Jews that are in the habitable earth keep these
days festival, and send portions to one another. Mordecai also
wrote to the Jews that lived in the kingdom of Artaxerxes to
observe these days, and celebrate them as festivals, and to
deliver them down to posterity, that this festival might continue
for all time to come, and that it might never be buried in
oblivion; for since they were about to be destroyed on these days
by Haman, they would do a right thing, upon escaping the danger
in them, and on them inflicting punishment on their enemies, to
observe those days, and give thanks to God on them; for which
cause the Jews still keep the forementioned days, and call them
days of Phurim [or Purim.] (21) And Mordecai became a great and
illustrious person with the king, and assisted him in the
government of the people. He also lived with the queen; so that
the affairs of the Jews were, by their means, better than they
could ever have hoped for. And this was the state of the Jews
under the reign of Artaxerxes.


How John Slew His Brother Jesus In The Temple; And How Bagoses
Offered Many Injuries To The Jews; And What Sanballat Did.

1. When Eliashib the high priest was dead, his son Judas
succeeded in the high priesthood; and when he was dead, his son
John took that dignity; on whose account it was also that
Bagoses, the general of another Artaxerxes's army, (22) polluted
the temple, and imposed tributes on the Jews, that out of the
public stock, before they offered the daily sacrifices, they
should pay for every lamb fifty shekels. Now Jesus was the
brother of John, and was a friend of Bagoses, who had promised to
procure him the high priesthood. In confidence of whose support,
Jesus quarreled with John in the temple, and so provoked his
brother, that in his anger his brother slew him. Now it was a
horrible thing for John, when he was high priest, to perpetrate
so great a crime, and so much the more horrible, that there never
was so cruel and impious a thing done, neither by the Greeks nor
Barbarians. However, God did not neglect its punishment, but the
people were on that very account enslaved, and the temple was
polluted by the Persians. Now when Bagoses, the general of
Artaxerxes's army, knew that John, the high priest of the Jews,
had slain his own brother Jesus in the temple, he came upon the
Jews immediately, and began in anger to say to them," Have you
had the impudence to perpetrate a murder in your temple?" And as
he was aiming to go into the temple, they forbade him so to do;
but he said to them," Am not I purer than he that was slain in
the temple?" And when he had said these words, he went into the
temple. Accordingly, Bagoses made use of this pretense, and
punished the Jews seven years for the murder of Jesus.

2. Now when John had departed this life, his son Jaddua succeeded
in the high priesthood. He had a brother, whose name was
Manasseh. :Now there was one Sanballat, who was sent by Darius,
the last king [of Persia], into Samaria. He was a Cutheam by
birth; of which stock were the Samaritans also. This man knew
that the city Jerusalem was a famous city, and that their kings
had given a great deal of trouble to the Assyrians, and the
people of Celesyria; so that he willingly gave his daughter,
whose name was Nicaso, in marriage to Manasseh, as thinking this
alliance by marriage would be a pledge and security that the
nation of the Jews should continue their good-will to him.


Concerning Sanballat And Manasseh, And The Temple Which They
Built On Mount Gerizzim; As Also How Alexander Made His Entry
Into The City Jerusalem, And What Benefits He Bestowed On The

1. About this time it was that Philip, king of Macedon, was
treacherously assaulted and slain at Egae by Pausanias, the son
of Cerastes, who was derived from the family of Oreste, and his
son Alexander succeeded him in the kingdom; who, passing over the
Hellespont, overcame the generals of Darius's army in a battle
fought at Granicum. So he marched over Lydia, and subdued Ionia,
and overran Caria, and fell upon the places of Pamphylia, as has
been related elsewhere.

2. But the elders of Jerusalem being very uneasy that the brother
of Jaddua the high priest, though married to a foreigner, should
be a partner with him in the high priesthood, quarreled with him;
for they esteemed this man's marriage a step to such as should be
desirous of transgressing about the marriage of [strange] wives,
and that this would be the beginning of a mutual society with
foreigners, although the offense of some about marriages, and
their having married wives that were not of their own country,
had been an occasion of their former captivity, and of the
miseries they then underwent; so they commanded Manasseh to
divorce his wife, or not to approach the altar, the high priest
himself joining with the people in their indignation against his
brother, and driving him away from the altar. Whereupon Manasseh
came to his father-in-law, Sanballat, and told him, that although
he loved his daughter Nicaso, yet was he not willing to be
deprived of his sacerdotal dignity on her account, which was the
principal dignity in their nation, and always continued in the
same family. And then Sanballat promised him not only to preserve
to him the honor of his priesthood, but to procure for him the
power and dignity of a high priest, and would make him governor
of all the places he himself now ruled, if he would keep his
daughter for his wife. He also told him further, that he would
build him a temple like that at Jerusalem, upon Mount Gerizzini,
which is the highest of all the mountains that are in Samaria;
and he promised that he would do this with the approbation of
Darius the king. Manasseh was elevated with these promises, and
staid with Sanballat, upon a supposal that he should gain a high
priesthood, as bestowed on him by Darius, for it happened that
Sanballat was then in years. But there was now a great
disturbance among the people of Jerusalem, because many of those
priests and Levites were entangled in such matches; for they all
revolted to Manasseh, and Sanballat afforded them money, and
divided among them land for tillage, and habitations also, and
all this in order every way to gratify his son-in-law.

3. About this time it was that Darius heard how Alexander had
passed over the Hellespont, and had beaten his lieutenants in the
battle at Granicum, and was proceeding further; whereupon he
gathered together an army of horse and foot, and determined that
he would meet the Macedonians before they should assault and
conquer all Asia. So he passed over the river Euphrates, and came
over Taurus, the Cilician mountain, and at Issus of Cilicia he
waited for the enemy, as ready there to give him battle. Upon
which Sanballat was glad that Darius was come down; and told
Manasseh that he would suddenly perform his promises to him, and
this as soon as ever Darius should come back, after he had beaten
his enemies; for not he only, but all those that were in Asia
also, were persuaded that the Macedonians would not so much as
come to a battle with the Persians, on account of their
multitude. But the event proved otherwise than they expected; for
the king joined battle with the Macedonians, and was beaten, and
lost a great part of his army. His mother also, and his wife and
children, were taken captives, and he fled into Persia. So
Alexander came into Syria, and took Damascus; and when he had
obtained Sidon, he besieged Tyre, when he sent all epistle to the
Jewish high priest, to send him some auxiliaries, and to supply
his army with provisions; and that what presents he formerly sent
to Darius, he would now send to him, and choose the friendship of
the Macedonians, and that he should never repent of so doing. But
the high priest answered the messengers, that he had given his
oath to Darius not to bear arms against him; and he said that he
would not transgress this while Darius was in the land of the
living. Upon hearing this answer, Alexander was very angry; and
though he determined not to leave Tyre, which was just ready to
be taken, yet as soon as he had taken it, he threatened that he
would make an expedition against the Jewish high priest, and
through him teach all men to whom they must keep their oaths. So
when he had, with a good deal of pains during the siege, taken
Tyre, and had settled its affairs, he came to the city of Gaza,
and besieged both the city and him that was governor of the
garrison, whose name was Babemeses.

4. But Sanballat thought he had now gotten a proper opportunity
to make his attempt, so he renounced Darius, and taking with him
seven thousand of his own subjects, he came to Alexander; and
finding him beginning the siege of Tyre, he said to him, that he
delivered up to him these men, who came out of places under his
dominion, and did gladly accept of him for his lord instead of
Darius. So when Alexander had received him kindly, Sanballat
thereupon took courage, and spake to him about his present
affair. He told him that he had a son-in-law, Manasseh, who was
brother to the high priest Jaddua; and that there were many
others of his own nation, now with him, that were desirous to
have a temple in the places subject to him; that it would be for
the king's advantage to have the strength of the Jews divided
into two parts, lest when the nation is of one mind, and united,
upon any attempt for innovation, it prove troublesome to kings,
as it had formerly proved to the kings of Assyria. Whereupon
Alexander gave Sanballat leave so to do, who used the utmost
diligence, and built the temple, and made Manasseh the priest,
and deemed it a great reward that his daughter's children should
have that dignity; but when the seven months of the siege of Tyre
were over, and the two months of the siege of Gaza, Sanballat
died. Now Alexander, when he had taken Gaza, made haste to go up
to Jerusalem; and Jaddua the high priest, when he heard that, was
in an agony, and under terror, as not knowing how he should meet
the Macedonians, since the king was displeased at his foregoing
disobedience. He therefore ordained that the people should make
supplications, and should join with him in offering sacrifice to
God, whom he besought to protect that nation, and to deliver them
from the perils that were coming upon them; whereupon God warned
him in a dream, which came upon him after he had offered
sacrifice, that he should take courage, and adorn the city, and
open the gates; that the rest should appear in white garments,
but that he and the priests should meet the king in the habits
proper to their order, without the dread of any ill consequences,
which the providence of God would prevent. Upon which, when he
rose from his sleep, he greatly rejoiced, and declared to all the
warning he had received from God. According to which dream he
acted entirely, and so waited for the coming of the king.

5. And when he understood that he was not far from the city, he
went out in procession, with the priests and the multitude of the
citizens. The procession was venerable, and the manner of it
different from that of other nations. It reached to a place
called Sapha, which name, translated into Greek, signifies a
prospect, for you have thence a prospect both of Jerusalem and of
the temple. And when the Phoenicians and the Chaldeans that
followed him thought they should have liberty to plunder the
city, and torment the high priest to death, which the king's
displeasure fairly promised them, the very reverse of it
happened; for Alexander, when he saw the multitude at a distance,
in white garments, while the priests stood clothed with fine
linen, and the high priest in purple and scarlet clothing, with
his mitre on his head, having the golden plate whereon the name
of God was engraved, he approached by himself, and adored that
name, and first saluted the high priest. The Jews also did all
together, with one voice, salute Alexander, and encompass him
about; whereupon the kings of Syria and the rest were surprised
at what Alexander had done, and supposed him disordered in his
mind. However, Parmenio alone went up to him, and asked him how
it came to pass that, when all others adored him, he should adore
the high priest of the Jews? To whom he replied, "I did not adore
him, but that God who hath honored him with his high priesthood;
for I saw this very person in a dream, in this very habit, when I
was at Dios in Macedonia, who, when I was considering with myself
how I might obtain the dominion of Asia, exhorted me to make no
delay, but boldly to pass over the sea thither, for that he would
conduct my army, and would give me the dominion over the
Persians; whence it is that, having seen no other in that habit,
and now seeing this person in it, and remembering that vision,
and the exhortation which I had in my dream, I believe that I
bring this army under the Divine conduct, and shall therewith
conquer Darius, and destroy the power of the Persians, and that
all things will succeed according to what is in my own mind." And
when he had said this to Parmenio, and had given the high priest
his right hand, the priests ran along by him, and he came into
the city. And when he went up into the temple, he offered
sacrifice to God, according to the high priest's direction, and
magnificently treated both the high priest and the priests. And
when the Book of Daniel was showed him (23) wherein Daniel
declared that one of the Greeks should destroy the empire of the
Persians, he supposed that himself was the person intended. And
as he was then glad, he dismissed the multitude for the present;
but the next day he called them to him, and bid them ask what
favors they pleased of him; whereupon the high priest desired
that they might enjoy the laws of their forefathers, and might
pay no tribute on the seventh year. He granted all they desired.
And when they entreared him that he would permit the Jews in
Babylon and Media to enjoy their own laws also, he willingly
promised to do hereafter what they desired. And when he said to
the multitude, that if any of them would enlist themselves in his
army, on this condition, that they should continue under the laws
of their forefathers, and live according to them, he was willing
to take them with him, many were ready to accompany him in his

6. So when Alexander had thus settled matters at Jerusalem, he
led his army into the neighboring cities; and when all the
inhabitants to whom he came received him with great kindness, the
Samaritans, who had then Shechem for their metropolis, (a city
situate at Mount Gerizzim, and inhabited by apostates of the
Jewish nation,) seeing that Alexander had so greatly honored the
Jews, determined to profess themselves Jews; for such is the
disposition of the Samaritans, as we have already elsewhere
declared, that when the Jews are in adversity, they deny that
they are of kin to them, and then they confess the truth; but
when they perceive that some good fortune hath befallen them,
they immediately pretend to have communion with them, saying that
they belong to them, and derive their genealogy from the
posterity of Joseph, Ephraim, and Manasseh. Accordingly, they
made their address to the king with splendor, and showed great
alacrity in meeting him at a little distance from Jerusalem. And
when Alexander had commended them, the Shechemites approached to
him, taking with them the troops that Sanballat had sent him, and
they desired that he would come to their city, and do honor to
their temple also; to whom he promised, that when he returned he


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