The Antiquities of the Jews
Flavius Josephus

Part 13 out of 26

would come to them. And when they petitioned that he would remit
the tribute of the seventh year to them, because they did but sow
thereon, he asked who they were that made such a petition; and
when they said that they were Hebrews, but had the name of
Sidonians, living at Shechem, he asked them again whether they
were Jews; and when they said they were not Jews, "It was to the
Jews," said he, "that I granted that privilege; however, when I
return, and am thoroughly informed by you of this matter, I will
do what I shall think proper." And in this manner he took leave
of the Shechenlites; but ordered that the troops of Sanballat
should follow him into Egypt, because there he designed to give
them lands, which he did a little after in Thebais, when he
ordered them to guard that country.

7. Now when Alexander was dead, the government was parted among
his successors, but the temple upon Mount Gerizzim remained. And
if any one were accused by those of Jerusalem of having eaten
things common (24) or of having broken the sabbath, or of any
other crime of the like nature, he fled away to the Shechemites,
and said that he was accused unjustly. About this time it was
that Jaddua the high priest died, and Onias his son took the high
priesthood. This was the state of the affairs of the people of
Jerusalem at this time.


Containing The Interval Of A Hundred And Seventy Years.

From The Death Of Alexander The Great To The Death Of Judas


How Ptolemy The Son Of Lagus Took Jerusalem And Judea By Deceit
And Treachery, And Carried Many Thence, And Planted Them In

1. Now when Alexander, king of Macedon, had put an end to the
dominion of the Persians, and had settled the affairs in Judea
after the forementioned manner, he ended his life. And as his
government fell among many, Antigonus obtained Asia, Seleucus
Babylon; and of the other nations which were there, Lysimachus
governed the Hellespont, and Cassander possessed Macedonia; as
did Ptolemy the son of Lagus seize upon Egypt. And while these
princes ambitiously strove one against another, every one for his
own principality, it came to pass that there were continual wars,
and those lasting wars too; and the cities were sufferers, and
lost a great many of their inhabitants in these times of
distress, insomuch that all Syria, by the means of Ptolemy the
son of Lagus, underwent the reverse of that denomination of
Savior, which he then had. He also seized upon Jerusalem, and for
that end made use of deceit and treachery; for as he came into
the city on a sabbath day, as if he would offer sacrifices (1)
he, without any trouble, gained the city, while the Jews did not
oppose him, for they did not suspect him to be their enemy; and
he gained it thus, because they were free from suspicion of him,
and because on that day they were at rest and quietness; and when
he had gained it, he ruled over it in a cruel manner. Nay,
Agatharchides of Cnidus, who wrote the acts of Alexander's
successors, reproaches us with superstition, as if we, by it, had
lost our liberty; where he says thus: "There is a nation called
the nation of the Jews, who inhabit a city strong and great,
named Jerusalem. These men took no care, but let it come into the
hands of Ptolemy, as not willing to take arms, and thereby they
submitted to be under a hard master, by reason of their
unseasonable superstition." This is what Agatharchides relates of
our nation. But when Ptolemy had taken a great many captives,
both from the mountainous parts of Judea, and from the places
about Jerusalem and Samaria, and the places near Mount Gerizzim,
he led them all into Egypt, (2) and settled them there. And as he
knew that the people of Jerusalem were most faithful in the
observation of oaths and covenants; and this from the answer they
made to Alexander, when he sent an embassage to them, after he
had beaten Darius in battle; so he distributed many of them into
garrisons, and at Alexandria gave them equal privileges of
citizens with the Macedonians themselves; and required of them to
take their oaths, that they would keep their fidelity to the
posterity of those who committed these places to their care. Nay,
there were not a few other Jews who, of their own accord, went
into Egypt, as invited by the goodness of the soil, and by the
liberality of Ptolemy. However, there were disoders among their
posterity, with relation to the Samaritans, on account of their
resolution to preserve that conduct of life which was delivered
to them by their forefathers, and they thereupon contended one
with another, while those of Jerusalem said that their temple was
holy, and resolved to send their sacrifices thither; but the
Samaritans were resolved that they should be sent to Mount


How Ptolemy Philadelphus Procured The Laws Of The Jews To Be
Translated Into The Greek Tongue And Set Many Captives Free, And
Dedicated Many Gifts To God.

1. When Alexander had reigned twelve years, and after him Ptolemy
Soter forty years, Philadelphus then took the kingdom of Egypt,
and held it forty years within one. He procured the law to be
interpreted, and set free those that were come from Jerusalem
into Egypt, and were in slavery there, who were a hundred and
twenty thousand. The occasion was this: Demetrius Phalerius, who
was library keeper to the king, was now endeavoring, if it were
possible, to gather together all the books that were in the
habitable earth, and buying whatsoever was any where valuable, or
agreeable to the king's inclination, (who was very earnestly set
upon collecting of books,) to which inclination of his Demetrius
was zealously subservient. And when once Ptolemy asked him how
many ten thousands of books he had collected, he replied, that he
had already about twenty times ten thousand; but that, in a
little time, he should have fifty times ten thousand. But be said
he had been informed that there were many books of laws among the
Jews worthy of inquiring after, and worthy of the king's library,
but which, being written in characters and in a dialect of their
own, will cause no small pains in getting them translated into
the Greek tongue; (3) that the character in which they are
written seems to be like to that which is the proper character of
the Syrians, and that its sound, when pronounced, is like theirs
also; and that this sound appears to be peculiar to themselves.
Wherefore he said that nothing hindered why they might not get
those books to be translated also; for while nothing is wanting
that is necessary for that purpose, we may have their books also
in this library. So the king thought that Demetrius was very
zealous to procure him abundance of books, and that he suggested
what was exceeding proper for him to do; and therefore he wrote
to the Jewish high priest, that he should act accordingly.

2. Now there was one Aristeus, who was among the king's most
intimate friends, and on account of his modesty very acceptable
to him. This Aristeus resolved frequently, and that before now,
to petition the king that he would set all the captive Jews in
his kingdom free; and he thought this to be a convenient
opportunity for the making that petition. So he discoursed, in
the first place, with the captains of the king's guards, Sosibius
of Tarentum, and Andreas, and persuaded them to assist him in
what he was going to intercede with the king for. Accordingly
Aristeus embraced the same opinion with those that have been
before mentioned, and went to the king, and made the following
speech to him: "It is not fit for us, O king, to overlook things
hastily, or to deceive ourselves, but to lay the truth open. For
since we have determined not only to get the laws of the Jews
transcribed, but interpreted also, for thy satisfaction, by what
means can we do this, while so many of the Jews are now slaves in
thy kingdom? Do thou then what will be agreeable to thy
magnanimity, and to thy good nature: free them from the miserable
condition they are in, because that God, who supporteth thy
kingdom, was the author of their laws as I have learned by
particular inquiry; for both these people, and we also, worship
the same God the framer of all things. We call him, and that
truly, by the name of GREEK, [or life, or Jupiter,] because he
breathes life into all men. Wherefore do thou restore these men
to their own country, and this do to the honor of God, because
these men pay a peculiarly excellent worship to him. And know
this further, that though I be not of kin to them by birth, nor
one of the same country with them, yet do I desire these favors
to be done them, since all men are the workmanship of God; and I
am sensible that he is well-pleased with those that do good. I do
therefore put up this petition to thee, to do good to them."

3. When Aristeus was saying thus, the king looked upon him with a
cheerful and joyful countenance, and said, "How many ten
thousands dost thou suppose there are of such as want to be made
free?" To which Andreas replied, as he stood by, and said," A few
more than ten times ten thousand." The king made answer, "And is
this a small gift that thou askest, Aristeus?" But Sosibius, and
the rest that stood by, said that he ought to offer such a
thank-offering as was worthy of his greatness of soul, to that
God who had given him his kingdom. With this answer he was much
pleased; and gave order, that when they paid the soldiers their
wages, they should lay down [a hundred and] twenty drachmas (4)
for every one of the slaves? And he promised to publish a
magnificent decree, about what they requested, which should
confirm what Aristeus had proposed, and especially what God
willed should be done; whereby he said he would not only set
those free who had been led away captive by his father and his
army, but those who were in this kingdom before, and those also,
if any such there were, who had been brought away since. And when
they said that their redemption money would amount to above four
hundred talents, he granted it. A copy of which decree I have
determined to preserve, that the magnanimity of this king may be
made known. Its contents were as follows: "Let ail those who were
soldiers under our father, and who, when they overran Syria and
Phoenicia, and laid waste Judea, took the Jews captives, and made
them slaves, and brought them into our cities, and into this
country, and then sold them; as also all those that were in my
kingdom before them, and if there be any that have been lately
brought thither, - be made free by those that possess them; and
let them accept of [a hundred and] twenty drachmas for every
slave. And let the soldiers receive this redemption money with
their pay, but the rest out of the king's treasury: for I suppose
that they were made captives without our father's consent, and
against equity; and that their country was harassed by the
insolence of the soldiers, and that, by removing them into Egypt,
the soldiers have made a great profit by them. Out of regard
therefore to justice, and out of pity to those that have been
tyrannized over, contrary to equity, I enjoin those that have
such Jews in their service to set them at liberty, upon the
receipt of the before-mentioned sum; and that no one use any
deceit about them, but obey what is here commanded. And I will
that they give in their names within three days after the
publication of this edict, to such as are appointed to execute
the same, and to produce the slaves before them also, for I think
it will be for the advantage of my affairs. And let every one
that will inform against those that do not obey this decree, and
I will that their estates be confiscated into the king's
treasury." When this decree was read to the king, it at first
contained the rest that is here inserted, and omitted only those
Jews that had formerly been brought, and those brought
afterwards, which had not been distinctly mentioned; so he added
these clauses out of his humanity, and with great generosity. He
also gave order that the payment, which was likely to be done in
a hurry, should be divided among the king's ministers, and among
the officers of his treasury. When this was over, what the king
had decreed was quickly brought to a conclusion; and this in no
more than seven days' time, the number of the talents paid for
the captives being above four hundred and sixty, and this,
because their masters required the [hundred and] twenty drachmas
for the children also, the king having, in effect, commanded that
these should be paid for, when he said in his decree, that they
should receive the forementioned sum for every slave.

4. Now when this had been done after so magnificent a manner,
according to the king's inclinations, he gave order to Demetrius
to give him in writing his sentiments concerning the transcribing
of the Jewish books; for no part of the administration is done
rashly by these kings, but all things are managed with great
circumspection. On which account I have subjoined a copy of these
epistles, and set down the multitude of the vessels sent as gifts
[to Jerusalem], and the construction of every one, that the
exactness of the artificers' workmanship, as it appeared to those
that saw them, and which workman made every vessel, may be made
manifest, and. this on account of the excellency of the vessels
themselves. Now the copy of the epistle was to this purpose:
"Demetrius to the great king. When thou, O king, gavest me a
charge concerning the collection of books that were wanting to
fill your library, and concerning the care that ought to be taken
about such as are imperfect, I have used the utmost diligence
about those matters. And I let you know, that we want the books
of the Jewish legislation, with some others; for they are written
in the Hebrew characters, and being in the language of that
nation, are to us unknown. It hath also happened to them, that
they have been transcribed more carelessly than they ought to
have been, because they have not had hitherto royal care taken
about them. Now it is necessary that thou shouldst have accurate
copies of them. And indeed this legislation is full of hidden
wisdom, and entirely blameless, as being the legislation of God;
for which cause it is, as Hecateus of Abdera says, that the poets
and historians make no mention of it, nor of those men who lead
their lives according to it, since it is a holy law, and ought
not to be published by profane mouths. If then it please thee, O
king, thou mayst write to the high priest of the Jews, to send
six of the elders out of every tribe, and those such as are most
skillful of the laws, that by their means we may learn the clear
and agreeing sense of these books, and may obtain an accurate
interpretation of their contents, and so may have such a
collection of these as may be suitable to thy desire."

5. When this epistle was sent to the king, he commanded that an
epistle should be drawn up for Eleazar, the Jewish high priest,
concerning these matters; and that they should inform him of the
release of the Jews that had been in slavery among them. He also
sent fifty talents of gold for the making of large basons, and
vials, and cups, and an immense quantity of precious stones. He
also gave order to those who had the custody of the chest that
contained those stones, to give the artificers leave to choose
out what sorts of them they pleased. He withal appointed, that a
hundred talents in money should be sent to the temple for
sacrifices, and for other uses. Now I will give a description of
these vessels, and the manner of their construction, but not till
after I have set down a copy of the epistle which was written to
Eleazar the high priest, who had obtained that dignity on the
occasion following: When Onias the high priest was dead, his son
Simon became his successor. He was called Simon the Just (5)
because of both his piety towards God, and his kind disposition
to those of his own nation. When he was dead, and had left a
young son, who was called Onias, Simon's brother Eleazar, of whom
we are speaking, took the high priesthood; and he it was to whom
Ptolemy wrote, and that in the manner following: "King Ptolemy to
Eleazar the high priest, sendeth greeting. There are many Jews
who now dwell in my kingdom, whom the Persians, when they were in
power, carried captives. These were honored by my father; some of
them he placed in the army, and gave them greater pay than
ordinary; to others of them, when they came with him into Egypt,
he committed his garrisons, and the guarding of them, that they
might be a terror to the Egyptians. And when I had taken the
government, I treated all men with humanity, and especially those
that are thy fellow citizens, of whom I have set free above a
hundred thousand that were slaves, and paid the price of their
redemption to their masters out of my own revenues; and those
that are of a fit age, I have admitted into them number of my
soldiers. And for such as are capable of being faithful to me,
and proper for my court, I have put them in such a post, as
thinking this [kindness done to them] to be a very great and an
acceptable gift, which I devote to God for his providence over
me. And as I am desirous to do what will be grateful to these,
and to all the other Jews in the habitable earth, I have
determined to procure an interpretation of your law, and to have
it translated out of Hebrew into Greek, and to be deposited in my
library. Thou wilt therefore do well to choose out and send to me
men of a good character, who are now elders in age, and six in
number out of every tribe. These, by their age, must be skillful
in the laws, and of abilities to make an accurate interpretation
of them; and when this shall be finished, I shall think that I
have done a work glorious to myself. And I have sent to thee
Andreas, the captain of my guard, and Aristeus, men whom I have
in very great esteem; by whom I have sent those first-fruits
which I have dedicated to the temple, and to the sacrifices, and
to other uses, to the value of a hundred talents. And if thou
wilt send to us, to let us know what thou wouldst have further,
thou wilt do a thing acceptable to me."

6. When this epistle of the king was brought to Eleazar, he wrote
an answer to it with all the respect possible: "Eleazar the high
priest to king Ptolemy, sendeth greeting. If thou and thy queen
Arsinoe, (6) and thy children, be well, we are entirely
satisfied. When we received thy epistle, we greatly rejoiced at
thy intentions; and when the multitude were gathered together, we
read it to them, and thereby made them sensible of the piety thou
hast towards God. We also showed them the twenty vials of gold,
and thirty of silver, and the five large basons, and the table
for the shew-bread; as also the hundred talents for the
sacrifices, and for the making what shall be needful at the
temple; which things Andreas and Aristeus, those most honored
friends of thine, have brought us; and truly they are persons of
an excellent character, and of great learning, and worthy of thy
virtue. Know then that we will gratify thee in what is for thy
advantage, though we do what we used not to do before; for we
ought to make a return for the numerous acts of kindness which
thou hast done to our countrymen. We immediately, therefore,
offered sacrifices for thee and thy sister, with thy children and
friends; and the multitude made prayers, that thy affairs may be
to thy mind, and that thy kingdom may be preserved in peace, and
that the translation of our law may come to the conclusion thou
desirest, and be for thy advantage. We have also chosen six
elders out of every tribe, whom we have sent, and the law with
them. It will be thy part, out of thy piety and justice, to send
back the law, when it hath been translated, and to return those
to us that bring it in safety. Farewell."

7. This was the reply which the high priest made. But it does not
seem to me to be necessary to set down the names of the seventy
[two] elders who were sent by Eleazar, and carried the law, which
yet were subjoined at the end of the epistle. However, I thought
it not improper to give an account of those very valuable and
artificially contrived vessels which the king sent to God, that
all may see how great a regard the king had for God; for the king
allowed a vast deal of expenses for these vessels, and came often
to the workmen, and viewed their works, and suffered nothing of
carelessness or negligence to be any damage to their operations.
And I will relate how rich they were as well as I am able,
although perhaps the nature of this history may not require such
a description; but I imagine I shall thereby recommend the
elegant taste and magnanimity of this king to those that read
this history.

8. And first I will describe what belongs to the table. It was
indeed in the king's mind to make this table vastly large in its
dimensions; but then he gave orders that they should learn what
was the magnitude of the table which was already at Jerusalem,
and how large it was, and whether there was a possibility of
making one larger than it. And when he was informed how large
that was which was already there, and that nothing hindered but a
larger might be made, he said that he was willing to have one
made that should be five times as large as the present table; but
his fear was, that it might be then useless in their sacred
ministrations by its too great largeness; for he desired that the
gifts he presented them should not only be there for show, but
should be useful also in their sacred ministrations. According to
which reasoning, that the former table was made of so moderate a
size for use, and not for want of gold, he resolved that he would
not exceed the former table in largeness; but would make it
exceed it in the variety and elegancy of its materials. And as he
was sagacious in observing the nature of all things, and in
having a just notion of what was new and surprising, and where
there was no sculptures, he would invent such as were proper by
his own skill, and would show them to the workmen, he commanded
that such sculptures should now be made, and that those which
were delineated should be most accurately formed by a constant
regard to their delineation.

9. When therefore the workmen had undertaken to make the table,
they framed it in length two cubits [and a half], in breadth one
cubit, and in height one cubit and a half; and the entire
structure of the work was of gold. They withal made a crown of a
hand-breadth round it, with wave-work wreathed about it, and with
an engraving which imitated a cord, and was admirably turned on
its three parts; for as they were of a triangular figure, every
angle had the same disposition of its sculptures, that when you
turned them about, the very same form of them was turned about
without any variation. Now that part of the crown-work that was
enclosed under the table had its sculptures very beautiful; but
that part which went round on the outside was more elaborately
adorned with most beautiful ornaments, because it was exposed to
sight, and to the view of the spectators; for which reason it was
that both those sides which were extant above the rest were
acute, and none of the angles, which we before told you were
three, appeared less than another, when the table was turned
about. Now into the cordwork thus turned were precious stones
inserted, in rows parallel one to the other, enclosed in golden
buttons, which had ouches in them; but the parts which were on
the side of the crown, and were exposed to the sight, were
adorned with a row of oval figures obliquely placed, of the most
excellent sort of precious stones, which imitated rods laid
close, and encompassed the table round about. But under these
oval figures, thus engraven, the workmen had put a crown all
round it, where the nature of all sorts of fruit was represented,
insomuch that the bunches of grapes hung up. And when they had
made the stones to represent all the kinds of fruit before
mentioned, and that each in its proper color, they made them fast
with gold round the whole table. The like disposition of the oval
figures, and of the engraved rods, was framed under the crown,
that the table might on each side show the same appearance of
variety and elegancy of its ornaments; so that neither the
position of the wave-work nor of the crown might be different,
although the table were turned on the other side, but that the
prospect of the same artificial contrivances might be extended as
far as the feet; for there was made a plate of gold four fingers
broad, through the entire breadth of the table, into which they
inserted the feet, and then fastened them to the table by buttons
and button-holes, at the place where the crown was situate, that
so on what side soever of the table one should stand, it might
exhibit the very same view of the exquisite workmanship, and of
the vast expeses bestowed upon it: but upon the table itself they
engraved a meander, inserting into it very valuable stones in the
middle like stars, of various colors; the carbuncle and the
emerald, each of which sent out agreeable rays of light to the
spectators; with such stones of other sorts also as were most
curious and best esteemed, as being most precious in their kind.
Hard by this meander a texture of net-work ran round it, the
middle of which appeared like a rhombus, into which were inserted
rock-crystal and amber, which, by the great resemblance of the
appearance they made, gave wonderful delight to those that saw
them. The chapiters of the feet imitated the first buddings of
lilies, while their leaves were bent and laid under the table,
but so that the chives were seen standing upright within them.
Their bases were made of a carbuncle; and the place at the
bottom, which rested on that carbuncle, was one palm deep, and
eight fingers in breadth. Now they had engraven upon it with a
very fine tool, and with a great deal of pains, a branch of ivy
and tendrils of the vine, sending forth clusters of grapes, that
you would guess they were nowise different from real tendrils;
for they were so very thin, and so very far extended at their
extremities, that they were moved with the wind, and made one
believe that they were the product of nature, and not the
representation of art. They also made the entire workmanship of
the table appear to be threefold, while the joints of the several
parts were so united together as to be invisible, and the places
where they joined could not be distinguished. Now the thickness
of the table was not less than half a cubit. So that this gift,
by the king's great generosity, by the great value of the
materials, and the variety of its exquisite structure, and the
artificer's skill in imitating nature with graying tools, was at
length brought to perfection, while the king was very desirous,
that though in largeness it were not to be different from that
which was already dedicated to God, yet that in exquisite
workmanship, and the novelty of the contrivances, and in the
splendor of its construction, it should far exceed it, and be
more illustrious than that was.

10. Now of the cisterns of gold there were two, whose sculpture
was of scale-work, from its basis to its belt-like circle, with
various sorts of stones enchased in the spiral circles. Next to
which there was upon it a meander of a cubit in height; it was
composed of stones of all sorts of colors. And next to this was
the rod-work engraven; and next to that was a rhombus in a
texture of net-work, drawn out to the brim of the basin, while
small shields, made of stones, beautiful in their kind, and of
four fingers' depth, filled up the middle parts. About the top of
the basin were wreathed the leaves of lilies, and of the
convolvulus, and the tendrils of vines in a circular manner. And
this was the construction of the two cisterns of gold, each
containing two firkins. But those which were of silver were much
more bright and splendid than looking-glasses, and you might in
them see the images that fell upon them more plainly than in the
other. The king also ordered thirty vials; those of which the
parts that were of gold, and filled up with precious stones, were
shadowed over with the leaves of ivy and of vines, artificially
engraven. And these were the vessels that were after an
extraordinary manner brought to this perfection, partly by the
skill of the workmen, who were admirable in such fine work, but
much more by the diligence and generosity of the king, who not
only supplied the artificers abundantly, and with great
generosity, with what they wanted, but he forbade public
audiences for the time, and came and stood by the workmen, and
saw the whole operation. And this was the cause why the workmen
were so accurate in their performance, because they had regard to
the king, and to his great concern about the vessels, and so the
more indefatigably kept close to the work.

11. And these were what gifts were sent by Ptolemy to Jerusalem,
and dedicated to God there. But when Eleazar the high priest had
devoted them to God, and had paid due respect to those that
brought them, and had given them presents to be carried to the
king, he dismissed them. And when they were come to Alexandria,
and Ptolemy heard that they were come,and that the seventy elders
were come also, he presently sent for Andreas and Aristens, his
ambassadors, who came to him, and delivered him the epistle which
they brought him from the high priest, and made answer to all the
questions he put to them by word of mouth. He then made haste to
meet the elders that came from Jerusalem for the interpretation
of the laws; and he gave command, that every body who came on
other occasions should be sent away, which was a thing
surprising, and what he did not use to do; for those that were
drawn thither upon such occasions used to come to him on the
fifth day, but ambassadors at the month's end. But when he had
sent those away, he waited for these that were sent by Eleazar;
but as the old men came in with the presents, which the high
priest had given them to bring to the king, and with the
membranes, upon which they had their laws written in golden
letters (7) he put questions to them concerning those books; and
when they had taken off the covers wherein they were wrapt up,
they showed him the membranes. So the king stood admiring the
thinness of those membranes, and the exactness of the junctures,
which could not be perceived; (so exactly were they connected one
with another;) and this he did for a considerable time. He then
said that he returned them thanks for coming to him, and still
greater thanks to him that sent them; and, above all, to that God
whose laws they appeared to be. Then did the elders, and those
that were present with them, cry out with one voice, and wished
all happiness to the king. Upon which he fell into tears by the
violence of the pleasure he had, it being natural to men to
afford the same indications in great joy that they do under
sorrows. And when he had bid them deliver the books to those that
were appointed to receive them, he saluted the men, and said that
it was but just to discourse, in the first place, of the errand
they were sent about, and then to address himself to themselves.
He promised, however, that he would make this day on which they
came to him remarkable and eminent every year through the whole
course of his life; for their coming to him, and the victory
which he gained over Antigonus by sea, proved to be on the very
same day. He also gave orders that they should sup with him; and
gave it in charge that they should have excellent lodgings
provided for them in the upper part of the city.

12. Now he that was appointed to take care of the reception of
strangers, Nicanor by name, called for Dorotheus, whose duty it
was to make provision for them, and bid him prepare for every one
of them what should be requisite for their diet and way of
living; which thing was ordered by the king after this manner: he
took care that those that belonged to every city, which did not
use the same way of living, that all things should be prepared
for them according to the custom of those that came to him, that,
being feasted according to the usual method of their own way of
living, they might be the better pleased, and might not be uneasy
at any thing done to them from which they were naturally averse.
And this was now done in the case of these men by Dorotheus, who
was put into this office because of his great skill in such
matters belonging to common life; for he took care of all such
matters as concerned the reception of strangers, and appointed
them double seats for them to sit on, according as the king had
commanded him to do; for he had commanded that half of their
seats should be set at his right hand, and the other half behind
his table, and took care that no respect should be omitted that
could be shown them. And when they were thus set down, he bid
Dorotheus to minister to all those that were come to him from
Judea, after the manner they used to be ministered to; for which
cause he sent away their sacred heralds, and those that slew the
sacrifices, and the rest that used to say grace; but called to
one of those that were come to him, whose name was Eleazar, who w
a priest, and desired him to say grace; (8) who then stood in the
midst of them, and prayed, that all prosperity might attend the
king, and those that were his subjects. Upon which an acclamation
was made by the whole company, with joy and a great noise; and
when that. was over, they fell to eating their supper, and to the
enjoyment of what was set before them. And at a little interval
afterward, when the king thought a sufficient time had been
interposed, he began to talk philosophically to them, and he
asked every one of them a philosophical question (9) and such a
one as might give light in those inquiries; and when they had
explained all the problems that had been proposed by the king
about every point, he was well-pleased with their answers. This
took up the twelve days in which they were treated; and he that
pleases may learn the particular questions in that book of
Aristeus, which he wrote on this very occasion.

13. And while not the king only, but the philosopher Menedemus
also, admired them, and said that all things were governed by
Providence, and that it was probable that thence it was that such
force or beauty was discovered in these men's words, they then
left off asking any more such questions. But the king said that
he had gained very great advantages by their coming, for that he
had received this profit from them, that he had learned how he
ought to rule his subjects. And he gave order that they should
have every one three talents given them, and that those that were
to conduct them to their lodging should do it. Accordingly, when
three days were over, Demetrius took them, and went over the
causeway seven furlongs long: it was a bank in the sea to an
island. And when they had gone over the bridge, he proceeded to
the northern parts, and showed them where they should meet, which
was in a house that was built near the shore, and was a quiet
place, and fit for their discoursing together about their work.
When he had brought them thither, he entreated them (now they had
all things about them which they wanted for the interpretation of
their law) that they would suffer nothing to interrupt them in
their work. Accordingly, they made an accurate interpretation,
with great zeal and great pains, and this they continued to do
till the ninth hour of the day; after which time they relaxed,
and took care of their body, while their food was provided for
them in great plenty: besides, Dorotheus, at the king's command,
brought them a great deal of what was provided for the king
himself. But in the morning they came to the court and saluted
Ptolemy, and then went away to their former place, where, when
they had washed their hands, (10) and purified themselves, they
betook themselves to the interpretation of the laws. Now when the
law was transcribed, and the labor of interpretation was over,
which came to its conclusion in seventy-two days, Demetrius
gathered all the Jews together to the place where the laws were
translated, and where the interpreters were, and read them over.
The multitude did also approve of those elders that were the
interpreters of the law. They withal commended Demetrius for his
proposal, as the inventor of what was greatly for their
happiness; and they desired that he would give leave to their
rulers also to read the law. Moreover, they all, both the priest
and the ancientest of the elders, and the principal men of their
commonwealth, made it their request, that since the
interpretation was happily finished, it might continue in the
state it now was, and might not be altered. And when they all
commended that determination of theirs, they enjoined, that if
any one observed either any thing superfluous, or any thing
omitted, that he would take a view of it again, and have it laid
before them, and corrected; which was a wise action of theirs,
that when the thing was judged to have been well done, it might
continue for ever.

14. So the king rejoiced when he saw that his design of this
nature was brought to perfection, to so great advantage; and he
was chiefly delighted with hearing the Laws read to him; and was
astonished at the deep meaning and wisdom of the legislator. And
he began to discourse with Demetrius, "How it came to pass, that
when this legislation was so wonderful, no one, either of the
poets or of the historians, had made mention of it." Demetrius
made answer, "that no one durst be so bold as to touch upon the
description of these laws, because they were Divine and
venerable, and because some that had attempted it were afflicted
by God." He also told him, that "Theopompus was desirous of
writing somewhat about them, but was thereupon disturbed in his
mind for above thirty days' time; and upon some intermission of
his distemper, he appeased God [by prayer], as suspecting that
his madness proceeded from that cause." Nay, indeed, he further
saw in a dream, that his distemper befell him while he indulged
too great a curiosity about Divine matters, and was desirous of
publishing them among common men; but when he left off that
attempt, he recovered his understanding again. Moreover, he
informed him of Theodectes, the tragic poet, concerning whom it
was reported, that when in a certain dramatic representation he
was desirous to make mention of things that were contained in the
sacred books, he was afflicted with a darkness in his eyes; and
that upon his being conscious of the occasion of his distemper,
and appeasing God [by prayer], he was freed from that affliction.

15. And when the king had received these books from Demetrius, as
we have said already, he adored them, and gave order that great
care should be taken of them, that they might remain uncorrupted.
He also desired that the interpreters would come often to him out
of Judea, and that both on account of the respects that he would
pay them, and on account of the presents he would make them; for
he said it was now but just to send them away, although if, of
their own accord, they would come to him hereafter, they should
obtain all that their own wisdom might justly require, and what
his generosity was able to give them. So he then sent them away,
and gave to every one of them three garments of the best sort,
and two talents of gold, and a cup of the value of one talent,
and the furniture of the room wherein they were feasted. And
these were the things he presented to them. But by them he sent
to Eleazar the high priest ten beds, with feet of silver, and the
furniture to them belonging, and a cup of the value of thirty
talents; and besides these, ten garments, and purple, and a very
beautiful crown, and a hundred pieces of the finest woven linen;
as also vials and dishes, and vessels for pouring, and two golden
cisterns to be dedicated to God. He also desired him, by an
epistle, that he would give these interpreters leave, if any of
them were desirous of coming to him, because he highly valued a
conversation with men of such learning, and should be very
willing to lay out his wealth upon such men. And this was what
came to the Jews, and was much to their glory and honor, from
Ptolemy Philadelphus.


How The Kings Of Asia Honored The Nation Of The Jews And Made
Them Citizens Of Those Cities Which They Built.

1. The Jews also obtained honors from the kings of Asia when they
became their auxiliaries; for Seleucus Nicator made them citizens
in those cities which he built in Asia, and in the lower Syria,
and in the metropolis itself, Antioch; and gave them privileges
equal to those of the Macedonians and Greeks, who were the
inhabitants, insomuch that these privileges continue to this very
day: an argument for which you have in this, that whereas the
Jews do not make use of oil prepared by foreigners, (11) they
receive a certain sum of money from the proper officers belonging
to their exercises as the value of that oil; which money, when
the people of Antioch would have deprived them of, in the last
war, Mucianus, who was then president of Syria, preserved it to
them. And when the people of Alexandria and of Antioch did after
that, at the time that Vespasian and Titus his son governed the
habitable earth, pray that these privileges of citizens might be
taken away, they did not obtain their request. in which behavior
any one may discern the equity and generosity of the Romans, (12)
especially of Vespasian and Titus, who, although they had been at
a great deal of pains in the war against the Jews, and were
exasperated against them, because they did not deliver up their
weapons to them, but continued the war to the very last, yet did
not they take away any of their forementioned privileges
belonging to them as citizens, but restrained their anger, and
overcame the prayers of the Alexandrians and Antiochians, who
were a very powerful people, insomuch that they did not yield to
them, neither out of their favor to these people, nor out of
their old grudge at those whose wicked opposition they had
subdued in the war; nor would they alter any of the ancient
favors granted to the Jews, but said, that those who had borne
arms against them, and fought them, had suffered punishment
already, and that it was not just to deprive those that had not
offended of the privileges they enjoyed.

2. We also know that Marcus Agrippa was of the like disposition
towards the Jews: for when the people of Ionia were very angry at
them, and besought Agrippa that they, and they only, might have
those privileges of citizens which Antiochus, the grandson of
Seleucus, (who by the Greeks was called The God,) had bestowed on
them, and desired that, if the Jews were to be joint-partakers
with them, they might be obliged to worship the gods they
themselves worshipped: but when these matters were brought to the
trial, the Jews prevailed, and obtained leave to make use of
their own customs, and this under the patronage of Nicolaus of
Damascus; for Agrippa gave sentence that he could not innovate.
And if any one hath a mind to know this matter accurately, let
him peruse the hundred and twenty-third and hundred and
twenty-fourth books of the history of this Nicolaus. Now as to
this determination of Agrippa, it is not so much to be admired,
for at that time our nation had not made war against the Romans.
:But one may well be astonished at the generosity of Vespasian
and Titus, that after so great wars and contests which they had
from us, they should use such moderation. But I will now return
to that part of my history whence I made the present digression.

3. Now it happened that in the reign of Antiochus the Great, who
ruled over all Asia, that the Jews, as well as the inhabitants of
Celesyria, suffered greatly, and their land was sorely harassed;
for while he was at war with Ptolemy Philopater, and with his
son, who was called Epiphanes, it fell out that these nations
were equally sufferers, both when he was beaten, and when he beat
the others: so that they were very like to a ship in a storm,
which is tossed by the waves on both sides; and just thus were
they in their situation in the middle between Antiochus's
prosperity and its change to adversity. But at length, when
Antiochus had beaten Ptolemy, he seized upon Judea; and when
Philopater was dead, his son sent out a great army under Scopas,
the general of his forces, against the inhabitants of Celesyria,
who took many of their cities, and in particular our nation;
which when he fell upon them, went over to him. Yet was it not
long afterward when Antiochus overcame Scopas, in a battle fought
at the fountains of Jordan, and destroyed a great part of his
army. But afterward, when Antiochus subdued those cities of
Celesyria which Scopas had gotten into his possession, and
Samaria with them, the Jews, of their own accord, went over to
him, and received him into the city [Jerusalem], and gave
plentiful provision to all his army, and to his elephants, and
readily assisted him when he besieged the garrison which was in
the citadel of Jerusalem. Wherefore Antiochus thought it but just
to requite the Jews' diligence and zeal in his service. So he
wrote to the generals of his armies, and to his friends, and gave
testimony to the good behavior of the Jews towards him, and
informed them what rewards he had resolved to bestow on them for
that their behavior. I will set down presently the epistles
themselves which he wrote to the generals concerning them, but
will first produce the testimony of Polybius of Megalopolis; for
thus does he speak, in the sixteenth book of his history: "Now
Scopas, the general of Ptolemy's army, went in haste to the
superior parts of the country, and in the winter time overthrew
the nation of the Jews?' He also saith, in the same book, that
"when Seopas was conquered by Antiochus, Antiochus received
Batanea, and Samaria, and Abila, and Gadara; and that, a while
afterwards, there came in to him those Jews that inhabited near
that temple which was called Jerusalem; concerning which,
although I have more to say, and particularly concerning the
presence of God about that temple, yet do I put off that history
till another opportunity." This it is which Polybius relates. But
we will return to the series of the history, when we have first
produced the epistles of king Antiochus.

King Antiochus To Ptolemy, Sendeth Greeting.

"Since the Jews, upon our first entrance on their country,
demonstrated their friendship towards us, and when we came to
their city [Jerusalem], received us in a splendid manner, and
came to meet us with their senate, and gave abundance of
provisions to our soldiers, and to the elephants, and joined with
us in ejecting the garrison of the Egyptians that were in the
citadel, we have thought fit to reward them, and to retrieve the
condition of their city, which hath been greatly depopulated by
such accidents as have befallen its inhabitants, and to bring
those that have been scattered abroad back to the city. And, in
the first place, we have determined, on account of their piety
towards God, to bestow on them, as a pension, for their
sacrifices of animals that are fit for sacrifice, for wine, and
oil, and frankincense, the value of twenty thousand pieces of
silver, and [six] sacred artabrae of fine flour, with one
thousand four hundred and sixty medimni of wheat, and three
hundred and seventy-five medimni of salt. And these payments I
would have fully paid them, as I have sent orders to you. I would
also have the work about the temple finished, and the cloisters,
and if there be any thing else that ought to be rebuilt. And for
the materials of wood, let it be brought them out of Judea itself
and out of the other countries, and out of Libanus tax free; and
the same I would have observed as to those other materials which
will be necessary, in order to render the temple more glorious;
and let all of that nation live according to the laws of their
own country; and let the senate, and the priests, and the scribes
of the temple, and the sacred singers, be discharged from
poll-money and the crown tax and other taxes also. And that the
city may the sooner recover its inhabitants, I grant a discharge
from taxes for three years to its present inhabitants, and to
such as shall come to it, until the month Hyperheretus. We also
discharge them for the future from a third part of their taxes,
that the losses they have sustained may be repaired. And all
those citizens that have been carried away, and are become
slaves, we grant them and their children their freedom, and give
order that their substance be restored to them."

4. And these were the contents of this epistle. He also published
a decree through all his kingdom in honor of the temple, which
contained what follows: "It shall be lawful for no foreigner to
come within the limits of the temple round about; which thing is
forbidden also to the Jews, unless to those who, according to
their own custom, have purified themselves. Nor let any flesh of
horses, or of mules, or of asses, he brought into the city,
whether they be wild or tame; nor that of leopards, or foxes, or
hares; and, in general, that of any animal which is forbidden for
the Jews to eat. Nor let their skins be brought into it; nor let
any such animal be bred up in the city. Let them only be
permitted to use the sacrifices derived from their forefathers,
with which they have been obliged to make acceptable atonements
to God. And he that transgresseth any of these orders, let him
pay to the priests three thousand drachmae of silver." Moreover,
this Antiochus bare testimony to our piety and fidelity, in an
epistle of his, written when he was informed of a sedition in
Phrygia and Lydia, at which time he was in the superior
provinces, wherein he commanded Zenxis, the general of his
forces, and his most intimate friend, to send some of our nation
out of Babylon into Phrygia. The epistle was this:

King Antiochus To Zeuxis His Father, Sendeth Greeting.

"If you are in health, it is well. I also am in health. Having
been informed that a sedition is arisen in Lydia and Phrygia, I
thought that matter required great care; and upon advising with
my friends what was fit to be done, it hath been thought proper
to remove two thousand families of Jews, with their effects, out
of Mesopotamia and Babylon, unto the castles and places that lie
most convenient; for I am persuaded that they will be
well-disposed guardians of our possessions, because of their
piety towards God, and because I know that my predecessors have
borne witness to them, that they are faithful, and with alacrity
do what they are desired to do. I will, therefore, though it be a
laborious work, that thou remove these Jews, under a promise,
that they shall be permitted to use their own laws. And when thou
shalt have brought them to the places forementioned, thou shalt
give everyone of their families a place for building their
houses, and a portion of the land for their husbandry, and for
the plantation of their vines; and thou shalt discharge them from
paying taxes of the fruits of the earth for ten years; and let
them have a proper quantity of wheat for the maintenance of their
servants, until they receive bread corn out of the earth; also
let a sufficient share be given to such as minister to them in
the necessaries of life, that by enjoying the effects of our
humanity, they may show themselves the more willing and ready
about our affairs. Take care likewise of that nation, as far as
thou art able, that they may not have any disturbance given them
by any one." Now these testimonials which I have produced are
sufficient to declare the friendship that Antiochus the Great
bare to the Jews.


How Antiochus Made A League With Ptolemy And How Onias Provoked
Ptolemy Euergetes To Anger; And How Joseph Brought All Things
Right Again, And Entered Into Friendship With Him; And What Other
Things Were Done By Joseph, And His Son Hyrcanus.

1. After this Antiochus made a friendship and league with
Ptolemy, and gave him his daughter Cleopatra to wife, and yielded
up to him Celesyria, and Samaria, and Judea, and Phoenicia, by
way of dowry. And upon the division of the taxes between the two
kings, all the principal men framed the taxes of their several
countries, and collecting the sum that was settled for them, paid
the same to the [two] kings. Now at this time the Samaritans were
in a flourishing condition, and much distressed the Jews, cutting
off parts of their land, and carrying off slaves. This happened
when Onias was high priest; for after Eleazar's death, his uncle
Manasseh took the priesthood, and after he had ended his life,
Onias received that dignity. He was the son of Simon, who was
called The Just: which Simon was the brother of Eleazar, as I
said before. This Onias was one of a little soul, and a great
lover of money; and for that reason, because he did not pay that
tax of twenty talents of silver, which his forefathers paid to
these things out of their own estates, he provoked king Ptolemy
Euergetes to anger, who was the father of Philopater. Euergetes
sent an ambassador to Jerusalem, and complained that Onias did
not pay his taxes, and threatened, that if he did not receive
them, he would seize upon their land, and send soldiers to live
upon it. When the Jews heard this message of the king, they were
confounded; but so sordidly covetous was Onias, that nothing of
things nature made him ashamed.

2. There was now one Joseph, young in age, but of great
reputation among the people of Jerusalem, for gravity, prudence,
and justice. His father's name was Tobias; and his mother was the
sister of Onias the high priest, who informed him of the coming
of the ambassador; for he was then sojourning at a village named
Phicol, (13) where he was born. Hereupon he came to the city
[Jerusalem], and reproved Onias for not taking care of the
preservation of his countrymen, but bringing the nation into
dangers, by not paying this money. For which preservation of
them, he told him he had received the authority over them, and
had been made high priest; but that, in case he was so great a
lover of money, as to endure to see his country in danger on that
account, and his countrymen suffer the greatest damages, he
advised him to go to the king, and petition him to remit either
the whole or a part of the sum demanded. Onias's answer was this:
That he did not care for his authority, and that he was ready, if
the thing were practicable, to lay down his high priesthood; and
that he would not go to the king, because he troubled not himself
at all about such matters. Joseph then asked him if he would not
give him leave to go ambassador on behalf of the nation. He
replied, that he would give him leave. Upon which Joseph went up
into the temple, and called the multitude together to a
congregation, and exhorted them not to be disturbed nor
aftrighted, because of his uncle Onias's carelessness, but
desired them to be at rest, and not terrify themselves with fear
about it; for he promised them that he would be their ambassador
to the king, and persuade him that they had done him no wrong.
And when the multitude heard this, they returned thanks to
Joseph. So he went down from the temple, and treated Ptolemy's
ambassador in a hospitable manner. He also presented him with
rich gifts, and feasted him magnificently for many days, and then
sent him to the king before him, and told him that he would soon
follow him; for he was now more willing to go to the king, by the
encouragement of the ambassador, who earnestly persuaded him to
come into Egypt, and promised him that he would take care that he
should obtain every thing that he desired of Ptolemy; for he was
highly pleased with his frank and liberal temper, and with the
gravity of his deportment.

3. When Ptolemy's ambassador was come into Egypt, he told the
king of the thoughtless temper of Onias; and informed him of the
goodness of the disposition of Joseph; and that he was coming to
him to excuse the multitude, as not having done him any harm, for
that he was their patron. In short, he was so very large in his
encomiums upon the young man, that he disposed both the king and
his wife Cleopatra to have a kindness for him before he came. So
Joseph sent to his friends at Samaria, and borrowed money of
them, and got ready what was necessary for his journey, garments
and cups, and beasts for burden, which amounted to about twenty
thousand drachmae, and went to Alexandria. Now it happened that
at this time all the principal men and rulers went up out of the
cities of Syria and Phoenicia, to bid for their taxes; for every
year the king sold them to the men of the greatest power in every
city. So these men saw Joseph journeying on the way, and laughed
at him for his poverty and meanness. But when he came to
Alexandria, and heard that king Ptolemy was at Memphis, be went
up thither to meet with him; which happened as the king was
sitting in his chariot, with his wife, and with his friend
Athenion, who was the very person who had been ambassador at
Jerusalem, and had been entertained by Joseph. As soon therefore
as Athenion saw him, he presently made him known to the king, how
good and generous a young man he was. So Ptolemy saluted him
first, and desired him to come up into his chariot; and as Joseph
sat there, he began to complain of the management of Onias: to
which he answered, "Forgive him, on account of his age; for thou
canst not certainly be unacquainted with this, that old men and
infants have their minds exactly alike; but thou shalt have from
us, who are young men, every thing thou desirest, and shalt have
no cause to complain." With this good humor and pleasantry of the
young man, the king was so delighted, that he began already, as
though he had had long experience of him, to have a still greater
affection for him, insomuch that he bade him take his diet in the
king's palace, and be a guest at his own table every day. But
when the king was come to Alexandria, the principal men of Syria
saw him sitting with the king, and were much offended at it.

4. And when the day came on which the king was to let the taxes
of the cities to farm, and those that were the principal men of
dignity in their several countries were to bid for them, the sum
of the taxes together, of Celesyria, and Phoenicia, and Judea,
with Samaria, [as they were bidden for,] came to eight thousand
talents. Hereupon Joseph accused the bidders, as having agreed
together to estimate the value of the taxes at too low a rate;
and he promised that he would himself give twice as much for
them: but for those who did not pay, he would send the king home
their whole substance; for this privilege was sold together with
the taxes themselves. The king was pleased to hear that offer;
and because it augmented his revenues, he said he would confirm
the sale of the taxes to him. But when he asked him this
question, Whether he had any sureties that would be bound for the
payment of the money? he answered very pleasantly, "I will give
such security, and those of persons good and responsible, and
which you shall have no reason to distrust." And when he bid him
name them who they were, he replied, "I give thee no other
persons, O king, for my sureties, than thyself, and this thy
wife; and you shall be security for both parties." So Ptolemy
laughed at the proposal, and granted him the farming of the taxes
without any sureties. This procedure was a sore grief to those
that came from the cities into Egypt, who were utterly
disappointed; and they returned every one to their own country
with shame.

5. But Joseph took with him two thousand foot soldiers from the
king, for he desired he might have some assistance, in order to
force such as were refractory in the cities to pay. And borrowing
of the king's friends at Alexandria five hundred talents, he made
haste back into Syria. And when he was at Askelon, and demanded
the taxes of the people of Askelon, they refused to pay any
thing, and affronted him also; upon which he seized upon about
twenty of the principal men, and slew them, and gathered what
they had together, and sent it all to the king, and informed him
what he had done. Ptolemy admired the prudent conduct of the man,
and commended him for what he had done, and gave him leave to do
as he pleased. When the Syrians heard of this, they were
astonished; and having before them a sad example in the men of
Askelon that were slain, they opened their gates, and willingly
admitted Joseph, and paid their taxes. And when the inhabitants
of Scythopolis attempted to affront him, and would not pay him
those taxes which they formerly used to pay, without disputing
about them, he slew also the principal men of that city, and sent
their effects to the king. By this means he gathered great wealth
together, and made vast gains by this farming of the taxes; and
he made use of what estate he had thus gotten, in order to
support his authority, as thinking it a piece of prudence to keep
what had been the occasion and foundation of his present good
fortune; and this he did by the assistance of what he was already
possessed of, for he privately sent many presents to the king,
and to Cleopatra, and to their friends, and to all that were
powerful about the court, and thereby purchased their good-will
to himself.

6. This good fortune he enjoyed for twenty-two years, and was
become the father of seven sons by one wife; he had also another
son, whose name was Hyrcanus, by his brother Solymius's daughter,
whom he married on the following occasion. He once came to
Alexandria with his brother, who had along with him a daughter
already marriageable, in order to give her in wedlock to some of
the Jews of chief dignity there. He then supped with the king,
and falling in love with an actress that was of great beauty, and
came into the room where they feasted, he told his brother of it,
and entreated him, because a Jew is forbidden by their law to
come near to a foreigner, to conceal his offense; and to be kind
and subservient to him, and to give him an opportunity of
fulfilling his desires. Upon which his brother willingly
entertained the proposal of serving him, and adorned his own
daughter, and brought her to him by night, and put her into his
bed. And Joseph, being disordered with drink, knew not who she
was, and so lay with his brother's daughter; and this did he many
times, and loved her exceedingly; and said to his brother, that
he loved this actress so well, that he should run the hazard of
his life [if he must part with her], and yet probably the king
would not give him leave [to take her with him]. But his brother
bid him be in no concern about that matter, and told him he might
enjoy her whom he loved without any danger, and might have her
for his wife; and opened the truth of the matter to him, and
assured him that he chose rather to have his own daughter abused,
than to overlook him, and se him come to [public] disgrace. So
Joseph commended him for this his brotherly love, and married his
daughter; and by her begat a son, whose name was Hyrcanus, as we
said before. And when this his youngest son showed, at thirteen
years old, a mind that was both courageous and wise, and was
greatly envied by his brethren, as being of a genius much above
them, and such a one as they might well envy, Joseph had once a
mind to know which of his sons had the best disposition to
virtue; and when he sent them severally to those that had then
the best reputation for instructing youth, the rest of his
children, by reason of their sloth and unwillingness to take
pains, returned to him foolish and unlearned. After them he sent
out the youngest, Hyrcanus, and gave him three hundred yoke of
oxen, and bid him go two days' journey into the wilderness, and
sow the land there, and yet kept back privately the yokes of the
oxen that coupled them together. When Hyrcanus came to the place,
and found he had no yokes with him, he contenmed the drivers of
the oxen, who advised him to send some to his father, to bring
them some yokes; but he thinking that he ought not to lose his
time while they should be sent to bring him the yokes, he
invented a kind of stratagem, and what suited an age older than
his own; for he slew ten yoke of the oxen, and distributed their
flesh among the laborers, and cut their hides into several
pieces, and made him yokes, and yoked the oxen together with
them; by which means he sowed as much land as his father had
appointed him to sow, and returned to him. And when he was come
back, his father was mightily pleased with his sagacity, and
commended the sharpness of his understanding, and his boldness in
what he did. And he still loved him the more, as if he were his
only genuine son, while his brethren were much troubled at it.

7. But when one told him that Ptolemy had a son just born, and
that all the principal men of Syria, and the other countries
subject to him, were to keep a festival, on account of the
child's birthday, and went away in haste with great retinues to
Alexandria, he was himself indeed hindered from going by old age;
but he made trial of his sons, whether any of them would be
willing to go to the king. And when the elder sons excused
themselves from going, and said they were not courtiers good
enough for such conversation, and advised him to send their
brother Hyrcanus, he gladly hearkened to that advice, and called
Hyrcanus, and asked him whether he would go to the king, and
whether it was agreeable to him to go or not. And upon his
promise that he would go, and his saying that he should not want
much money for his journey, because he would live moderately, and
that ten thousand drachmas would be sufficient, he was pleased
with his son's prudence. After a little while, the son advised
his father not to send his presents to the king from thence, but
to give him a letter to his steward at Alexandria, that he might
furnish him with money, for purchasing what should be most
excellent and most precious. So he thinking that the expense of
ten talents would be enough for presents to be made the king, and
commending his son, as giving him good advice, wrote to Arion his
steward, that managed all his money matters at Alexandria; which
money was not less than three thousand talents on his account,
for Joseph sent the money he received in Syria to Alexandria. And
when the day appointed for the payment of the taxes to the king
came, he wrote to Arion to pay them. So when the son had asked
his father for a letter to the steward, and had received it, he
made haste to Alexandria. And when he was gone, his brethren
wrote to all the king's friends, that they should destroy him.

8. But when he was come to Alexaudria, he delivered his letter to
Arion, who asked him how many talents he would have (hoping he
would ask for no more than ten, or a little more); he said he
wanted a thousand talents. At which the steward was angry, and
rebuked him, as one that intended to live extravagantly; and he
let him know how his father had gathered together his estate by
painstaking, and resisting his inclinations, and wished him to
imitate the example of his father: he assured him withal, that he
would give him but ten talents, and that for a present to the
king also. The son was irritated at this, and threw Arion into
prison. But when Arion's wife had informed Cleopatra of this,
with her entreaty, that she would rebuke the child for what he
had done, (for Arion was in great esteem with her,) Cleopatra
informed the king of it. And Ptolemy sent for Hyrcanus, and told
him that he wondered, when he was sent to him by his father, that
he had not yet come into his presence, but had laid the steward
in prison. And he gave order, therefore, that he should come to
him, and give an account of the reason of what he had done. And
they report that the answer he made to the king's messenger was
this: That "there was a law of his that forbade a child that was
born to taste of the sacrifice, before he had been at the temple
and sacrificed to God. According to which way of reasoning he did
not himself come to him in expectation of the present he was to
make to him, as to one who had been his father's benefactor; and
that he had punished the slave for disobeying his commands, for
that it mattered not Whether a master was little or great: so
that unless we punish such as these, thou thyself mayst also
expect to be despised by thy subjects." Upon hearing this his
answer he fell a laughing, and wondered at the great soul of the

9. When Arion was apprized that this was the king's disposition,
and that he had no way to help himself, he gave the child a
thousand talents, and was let out of prison. So after three days
were over, Hyrcanus came and saluted the king and queen. They saw
him with pleasure, and feasted him in an obliging manner, out of
the respect they bare to his father. So he came to the merchants
privately, and bought a hundred boys, that had learning, and were
in the flower of their ages, each at a talent apiece; as also he
bought a hundred maidens, each at the same price as the other.
And when he was invited to feast with the king among the
principal men in the country, he sat down the lowest of them all,
because he was little regarded, as a child in age still; and this
by those who placed every one according to their dignity. Now
when all those that sat with him had laid the bones Of the
several parts on a heap before Hyrcanus, (for they had themselves
taken away the flesh belonging to them,) till the table where he
sat was filled full with them, Trypho, who was the king's jester,
and was appointed for jokes and laughter at festivals, was now
asked by the guests that sat at the table [to expose him to
laughter]. So he stood by the king, and said, "Dost thou not see,
my lord, the bones that lie by Hyrcanus? by this similitude thou
mayst conjecture that his father made all Syria as bare as he
hath made these bones." And the king laughing at what Trypho
said, and asking of Hyrcanus, How he came to have so many bones
before him? he replied," Very rightfully, my lord; for they are
dogs that eat the flesh and the bones together, as these thy
guests have done, (looking in the mean time at those guests,) for
there is nothing before them; but they are men that eat the
flesh, and cast away the hones, as I, who am also a man, have now
done." Upon which the king admired at his answer, which was so
wisely made; and bid them all make an acclamation, as a mark of
their approbation of his jest, which was truly a facetious one.
On the next day Hyrcanus went to every one of the king's friends,
and of the men powerful at court, and saluted them; but still
inquired of the servants what present they would make the king on
his son's birthday; and when some said that they would give
twelve talents, and that others of greater dignity would every
one give according to the quantity of their riches, he pretended
to every one of them to be grieved that he was not able to bring
so large a present; for that he had no more than five talents.
And when the servants heard what he said, they told their
masters; and they rejoiced in the prospect that Joseph would be
disapproved, and would make the king angry, by the smallness of
his present. When the day came, the others, even those that
brought the most, offered the king not above twenty talents; but
Hyrcanus gave to every one of the hundred boys and hundred
maidens that he had bought a talent apiece, for them to carry,
and introduced them, the boys to the king, and the maidens to
Cleopatra; every body wondering at the unexpected richness of the
presents, even the king and queen themselves. He also presented
those that attended about the king with gifts to the value of a
great number of talents, that he might escape the danger he was
in from them; for to these it was that Hyrcanus's brethren had
written to destroy him. Now Ptolemy admired at the young man's
magnanimity, and commanded him to ask what gift he pleased. But
he desired nothing else to be done for him by the king than to
write to his father and brethren about him. So when the king had
paid him very great respects, and had given him very large gifts,
and had written to his father and his brethren, and all his
commanders and officers, about him, he sent him away. But when
his brethren heard that Hyrcanus had received such favors from
the king, and was returning home with great honor, they went out
to meet him, and to destroy him, and that with the privity of
their father; for he was angry at him for the [large] sum of
money that he bestowed for presents, and so had no concern for
his preservation. However, Joseph concealed the anger he had at
his son, out of fear of the king. And when Hyrcanus's brethren
came to fight him, he slew many others of those that were with
them, as also two of his brethren themselves; but the rest of
them escaped to Jerusalem to their father. But when Hyrcanus came
to the city, where nobody would receive him, he was afraid for
himself, and retired beyond the river Jordan, and there abode,
but obliging the barbarians to pay their taxes.

10. At this time Seleucus, who was called Soter, reigned over
Asia, being the son of Antiochus the Great. And [now] Hyrcanus's
father, Joseph, died. He was a good man, and of great
magnanimity; and brought the Jews out of a state of poverty and
meanness, to one that was more splendid. He retained the farm of
the taxes of Syria, and Phoenicia, and Samaria twenty-two years.
His uncle also, Onias, died [about this time], and left the high
priesthood to his son Simeon. And when he was dead, Onias his son
succeeded him in that dignity. To him it was that Areus, king of
the Lacedemonians, sent an embassage, with an epistle; the copy
whereof here follows:

"Areus, King Of The Lacedemonians, To Onias, Sendeth Greeting.

"We have met with a certain writing, whereby we have discovered
that both the Jews and the Lacedemonians are of one stock, and
are derived from the kindred of Abraham (14) It is but just
therefore that you, who are our brethren, should send to us about
any of your concerns as you please. We will also do the same
thing, and esteem your concerns as our own, and will look upon
our concerns as in common with yours. Demoteles, who brings you
this letter, will bring your answer back to us. This letter is
four-square; and the seal is an eagle, with a dragon in his

11. And these were the contents of the epistle which was sent
from the king of the Lacedemonians. But, upon the death of
Joseph, the people grew seditious, on account of his sons. For
whereas the elders made war against Hyrcanus, who was the
youngest of Joseph's sons, the multitude was divided, but the
greater part joined with the elders in this war; as did Simon the
high priest, by reason he was of kin to them. However, Hyrcanus
determined not to return to Jerusalem any more, but seated
himself beyond Jordan, and was at perpetual war with the
Arabians, and slew many of them, and took many of them captives.
He also erected a strong castle, and built it entirely of white
stone to the very roof, and had animals of a prodigious magnitude
engraven upon it. He also drew round it a great and deep canal of
water. He also made caves of many furlongs in length, by
hollowing a rock that was over against him; and then he made
large rooms in it, some for feasting, and some for sleeping and
living in. He introduced also a vast quantity of waters which ran
along it, and which were very delightful and ornamental in the
court. But still he made the entrances at the mouth of the caves
so narrow, that no more than one person could enter by them at
once. And the reason why he built them after that manner was a
good one; it was for his own preservation, lest he should be
besieged by his brethren, and run the hazard of being caught by
them. Moreover, he built courts of greater magnitude than
ordinary, which he adorned with vastly large gardens. And when he
had brought the place to this state, he named it Tyre. This place
is between Arabia and Judea, beyond Jordan, not far from the
country of Heshbon. And he ruled over those parts for seven
years, even all the time that Seleucus was king of Syria. But
when he was dead, his brother Antiochus, who was called
Epiphanes, took the kingdom. Ptolemy also, the king of Egypt,
died, who was besides called Epiphanes. He left two sons, and
both young in age; the elder of which was called Philometer, and
the youngest Physcon. As for Hyrcanus, when he saw that Antiochus
had a great army, and feared lest he should be caught by him, and
brought to punishment for what he had done to the Arabians, he
ended his life, and slew himself with his own hand; while
Antiochus seized upon all his substance.


How, Upon The Quarrels One Against Another About The High
Priesthood Antiochus Made An Expedition Against Jerusalem, Took
The City And Pillaged The Temples. And Distressed The Jews' As
Also How Many Of The Jews Forsook The Laws Of Their Country; And
How The Samaritans Followed The Customs Of The Greeks And Named
Their Temple At Mount Gerizzim The Temple Of Jupiter Hellenius.

1. About this time, upon the death of Onias the high priest, they
gave the high priesthood to Jesus his brother; for that son which
Onias left [or Onias IV.] was yet but an infant; and, in its
proper place, we will inform the reader of all the circumstances
that befell this child. But this Jesus, who was the brother of
Onias, was deprived of the high priesthood by the king, who was
angry with him, and gave it to his younger brother, whose name
also was Onias; for Simon had these three sons, to each of which
the priesthood came, as we have already informed the reader. This
Jesus changed his name to Jason, but Onias was called Menelaus.
Now as the former high priest, Jesus, raised a sedition against
Menelaus, who was ordained after him, the multitude were divided
between them both. And the sons of Tobias took the part of
Menelaus, but the greater part of the people assisted Jason; and
by that means Menelaus and the sons of Tobias were distressed,
and retired to Antiochus, and informed him that they were
desirous to leave the laws of their country, and the Jewish way
of living according to them, and to follow the king's laws, and
the Grecian way of living. Wherefore they desired his permission
to build them a Gymnasium at Jerusalem. (15) And when he had
given them leave, they also hid the circumcision of their
genitals, that even when they were naked they might appear to be
Greeks. Accordingly, they left off all the customs that belonged
to their own country, and imitated the practices of the other

2. Now Antiochus, upon the agreeable situation of the affairs of
his kingdom, resolved to make an expedition against Egypt, both
because he had a desire to gain it, and because he contemned the
son of Ptolemy, as now weak, and not yet of abilities to manage
affairs of such consequence; so he came with great forces to
Pelusium, and circumvented Ptolemy Philometor by treachery, and
seized upon Egypt. He then came to the places about Memphis; and
when he had taken them, he made haste to Alexandria, in hopes of
taking it by siege, and of subduing Ptolemy, who reigned there.
But he was driven not only from Alexandria, but out of all Egypt,
by the declaration of the Romans, who charged him to let that
country alone; according as I have elsewhere formerly declared. I
will now give a particular account of what concerns this king,
how he subdued Judea and the temple; for in my former work I
mentioned those things very briefly, and have therefore now
thought it necessary to go over that history again, and that with
great accuracy.

3. King Antiochus returning out of Egypt (16) for fear of the
Romans, made an expedition against the city Jerusalem; and when
he was there, in the hundred and forty-third year of the kingdom
of the Seleucidse, he took the city without fighting, those of
his own party opening the gates to him. And when he had gotten
possession of Jerusalem, he slew many of the opposite party; and
when he had plundered it of a great deal of money, he returned to

4. Now it came to pass, after two years, in the hundred forty and
fifth year, on the twenty-fifth day of that month which is by us
called Chasleu, and by the Macedonians Apelleus, in the hundred
and fifty-third olympiad, that the king came up to Jerusalem,
and, pretending peace, he got possession of the city by
treachery; at which time he spared not so much as those that
admitted him into it, on account of the riches that lay in the
temple; but, led by his covetous inclination, (for he saw there
was in it a great deal of gold, and many ornaments that had been
dedicated to it of very great value,) and in order to plunder its
wealth, he ventured to break the league he had made. So he left
the temple bare, and took away the golden candlesticks, and the
golden altar [of incense], and table [of shew-bread], and the
altar [of burnt-offering]; and did not abstain from even the
veils, which were made of fine linen and scarlet. He also emptied
it of its secret treasures, and left nothing at all remaining;
and by this means cast the Jews into great lamentation, for he
forbade them to offer those daily sacrifices which they used to
offer to God, according to the law. And when he had pillaged the
whole city, some of the inhabitants he slew, and some he carried
captive, together with their wives and children, so that the
multitude of those captives that were taken alive amounted to
about ten thousand. He also burnt down the finest buildings; and
when he had overthrown the city walls, he built a citadel in the
lower part of the city, (17) for the place was high, and
overlooked the temple; on which account he fortified it with high
walls and towers, and put into it a garrison of Macedonians.
However, in that citadel dwelt the impious and wicked part of the
[Jewish] multitude, from whom it proved that the citizens
suffered many and sore calamities. And when the king had built an
idol altar upon God's altar, he slew swine upon it, and so
offered a sacrifice neither according to the law, nor the Jewish
religious worship in that country. He also compelled them to
forsake the worship which they paid their own God, and to adore
those whom he took to be gods; and made them build temples, and
raise idol altars in every city and village, and offer swine upon
them every day. He also commanded them not to circumcise their
sons, and threatened to punish any that should be found to have
transgressed his injunction. He also appointed overseers, who
should compel them to do what he commanded. And indeed many Jews
there were who complied with the king's commands, either
voluntarily, or out of fear of the penalty that was denounced.
But the best men, and those of the noblest souls, did not regard
him, but did pay a greater respect to the customs of their
country than concern as to the punishment which he threatened to
the disobedient; on which account they every day underwent great
miseries and bitter torments; for they were whipped with rods,
and their bodies were torn to pieces, and were crucified, while
they were still alive, and breathed. They also strangled those
women and their sons whom they had circumcised, as the king had
appointed, hanging their sons about their necks as they were upon
the crosses. And if there were any sacred book of the law found,
it was destroyed, and those with whom they were found miserably
perished also.

5. When the Samaritans saw the Jews under these sufferings, they
no longer confessed that they were of their kindred, nor that the
temple on Mount Gerizzim belonged to Almighty God. This was
according to their nature, as we have already shown. And they now
said that they were a colony of Medes and Persians; and indeed
they were a colony of theirs. So they sent ambassadors to
Antiochus, and an epistle, whose contents are these: "To king
Antiochus the god, Epiphanes, a memorial from the Sidonians, who
live at Shechem. Our forefathers, upon certain frequent plagues,
and as following a certain ancient superstition, had a custom of
observing that day which by the Jews is called the Sabbath. (18)
And when they had erected a temple at the mountain called
Gerrizzim, though without a name, they offered upon it the proper
sacrifices. Now, upon the just treatment of these wicked Jews,
those that manage their affairs, supposing that we were of kin to
them, and practiced as they do, make us liable to the same
accusations, although we be originally Sidonians, as is evident
from the public records. We therefore beseech thee, our
benefactor and Savior, to give order to Apollonius, the governor
of this part of the country, and to Nicanor, the procurator of
thy affairs, to give us no disturbance, nor to lay to our charge
what the Jews are accused for, since we are aliens from their
nation, and from their customs; but let our temple, which at
present hath no name at all be named the Temple of Jupiter
Hellenius. If this were once done, we should be no longer
disturbed, but should be more intent on our own occupation with
quietness, and so bring in a greater revenue to thee." When the
Samaritans had petitioned for this, the king sent them back the
following answer, in an epistle: "King Antiochus to Nicanor. The
Sidonians, who live at Shechem, have sent me the memorial
enclosed. When therefore we were advising with our friends about
it, the messengers sent by them represented to us that they are
no way concerned with accusations which belong to the Jews, but
choose to live after the customs of the Greeks. Accordingly, we
declare them free from such accusations, and order that,
agreeable to their petition, their temple be named the Temple of
Jupiter Hellenius." He also sent the like epistle to Apollonius,
the governor of that part of the country, in the forty-sixth
year, and the eighteenth day of the month Hecatorabeom


How, Upon Antiochus's Prohibition To The Jews To Make Use Of The
Laws Of Their Country Mattathias, The Son Of Asamoneus, Alone
Despised The King, And Overcame The Generals Of Antiochus's Army;
As Also Concerning The Death Of Mattathias, And The Succession Of

1. Now at this time there was one whose name was Mattathias, who
dwelt at Modin, the son of John, the son of Simeon, the son of
Asamoneus, a priest of the order of Joarib, and a citizen of
Jerusalem. He had five sons; John, who was called Gaddis, and
Simon, who was called Matthes, and Judas, who was called
Maccabeus, (19) and Eleazar, who was called Auran, and Jonathan,
who was called Apphus. Now this Mattathias lamented to his
children the sad state of their affairs, and the ravage made in
the city, and the plundering of the temple, and the calamities
the multitude were under; and he told them that it was better for
them to die for the laws of their country, than to live so
ingloriously as they then did.

2. But when those that were appointed by the king were come to
Modin, that they might compel the Jews to do what they were
commanded, and to enjoin those that were there to offer
sacrifice, as the king had commanded, they desired that
Mattathias, a person of the greatest character among them, both
on other accounts, and particularly on account of such a numerous
and so deserving a family of children, would begin the sacrifice,
because his fellow citizens would follow his example, and because
such a procedure would make him honored by the king. But
Mattathias said he would not do it; and that if all the other
nations would obey the commands of Antiochus, either out of fear,
or to please him, yet would not he nor his sons leave the
religious worship of their country. But as soon as he had ended
his speech, there came one of the Jews into the midst of them,
and sacrificed, as Antiochus had commanded. At which Mattathias
had great indignation, and ran upon him violently, with his sons,
who had swords with them, and slew both the man himself that
sacrificed, and Apelles the king's general, who compelled them to
sacrifice, with a few of his soldiers. He also overthrew the idol
altar, and cried out, "If," said he," any one be zealous for the
laws of his country, and for the worship of God, let him follow
me." And when he had said this, he made haste into the desert
with his sons, and left all his substance in the village. Many
others did the same also, and fled with their children and wives
into the desert, and dwelt in caves. But when the king's generals
heard this, they took all the forces they then had in the citadel
at Jerusalem, and pursued the Jews into the desert; and when they
had overtaken them, they in the first place endeavored to
persuade them to repent, and to choose what was most for their
advantage, and not put them to the necessity of using them
according to the law of war. But when they would not comply with
their persuasions, but continued to be of a different mind, they
fought against them on the sabbath day, and they burnt them as
they were in the caves, without resistance, and without so much
as stopping up the entrances of the caves. And they avoided to
defend themselves on that day, because they were not willing to
break in upon the honor they owed the sabbath, even in such
distresses; for our law requires that we rest upon that day.
There were about a thousand, with their wives and children, who
were smothered and died in these caves; but many of those that
escaped joined themselves to Mattathias, and appointed him to be
their ruler, who taught them to fight, even on the sabbath day;
and told them that unless they would do so, they would become
their own enemies, by observing the law [so rigorously], while
their adversaries would still assault them on this day, and they
would not then defend themselves, and that nothing could then
hinder but they must all perish without fighting. This speech
persuaded them. And this rule continues among us to this day,
that if there be a necessity, we may fight on sabbath days. So
Mattathias got a great army about him, and overthrew their idol
altars, and slew those that broke the laws, even all that he
could get under his power; for many of them were dispersed among
the nations round about them for fear of him. He also commanded
that those boys which were not yet circumcised should be
circumcised now; and he drove those away that were appointed to
hinder such their circumcision.

3. But when he had ruled one year, and was fallen into a
distemper, he called for his sons, and set them round about him,
and said, "O my sons, I am going the way of all the earth; and I
recommend to you my resolution, and beseech you not to be
negligent in keeping it, but to be mindful of the desires of him
who begat you, and brought you up, and to preserve the customs of
your country, and to recover your ancient form of government,
which is in danger of being overturned, and not to be carried
away with those that, either by their own inclination, or out of
necessity, betray it, but to become such sons as are worthy of
me; to be above all force and necessity, and so to dispose your
souls, as to be ready, when it shall be necessary, to die for
your laws; as sensible of this, by just reasoning, that if God
see that you are so disposed he will not overlook you, but will
have a great value for your virtue, and will restore to you again
what you have lost, and will return to you that freedom in which
you shall live quietly, and enjoy your own customs. Your bodies
are mortal, and subject to fate; but they receive a sort of
immortality, by the remembrance of what actions they have done.
And I would have you so in love with this immortality, that you
may pursue after glory, and that, when you have undergone the
greatest difficulties, you may not scruple, for such things, to
lose your lives. I exhort you, especially, to agree one with
another; and in what excellency any one of you exceeds another,
to yield to him so far, and by that means to reap the advantage
of every one's own virtues. Do you then esteem Simon as your
father, because he is a man of extraordinary prudence, and be
governed by him in what counsels be gives you. Take Maccabeus for
the general of your army, because of his courage and strength,
for he will avenge your nation, and will bring vengeance on your
enemies. Admit among you the righteous and religious, and augment
their power."

4. When Mattathias had thus discoursed to his sons, and had
prayed to God to be their assistant, and to recover to the people
their former constitution, he died a little afterward, and was
buried at Modin; all the people making great lamentation for him.
Whereupon his son Judas took upon him the administration of
public affairs, in the hundred fbrty and sixth year; and thus, by
the ready assistance of his brethren, and of others, Judas cast
their enemies out of the country, and put those of their own
country to death who had transgressed its laws, and purified the
land of all the pollutions that were in it.


How Judas Overthrew The Forces Of Apollonius And Seron And Killed
The Generals Of Their Armies Themselves; And How When, A Little
While Afterwards Lysias And Gorgias Were Beaten He Went Up To
Jerusalem And Purified The Temple.

1. When Apollonius, the general of the Samaritan forces, heard
this, he took his army, and made haste to go against Judas, who
met him, and joined battle with him, and beat him, and slew many
of his men, and among them Apollonius himself, their general,
whose sword being that which he happened then to wear, he seized
upon, and kept for himself; but he wounded more than he slew, and
took a great deal of prey from the enemy's camp, and went his
way. But when Seron, who was general of the army of Celesyria,
heard that many had joined themselves to Judas, and that he had
about him an army sufficient for fighting, and for making war, he
determined to make an expedition against him, as thinking it
became him to endeavor to punish those that transgressed the
king's injunctions. He then got together an army, as large as he
was able, and joined to it the runagate and wicked Jews, and came
against Judas. He came as far as Bethhoron, a village of Judea,
and there pitched his camp; upon which Judas met him; and when he
intended to give him battle, he saw that his soldiers were
backward to fight, because their number was small, and because
they wanted food, for they were fasting, he encouraged them, and
said to them, that victory and conquest of enemies are not
derived from the multitude in armies, but in the exercise of
piety towards God; and that they had the plainest instances in
their forefathers, who, by their righteousness, exerting
themselves on behalf of their own laws, and their own children,
had frequently conquered many ten thousands, - for innocence is
the strongest army. By this speech he induced his men to contenm
the multitude of the enemy, and to fall upon Seron. And upon
joining battle with him, he beat the Syrians; and when their
general fell among the rest, they all ran away with speed, as
thinking that to be their best way of escaping. So he pursued
them unto the plain, and slew about eight hundred of the enemy;
but the rest escaped to the region which lay near to the sea.

2. When king Antiochus heard of these things, he was very angry
at what had happened; so he got together all his own army, with
many mercenaries, whom he had hired from the islands, and took
them with him, and prepared to break into Judea about the
beginning of the spring. But when, upon his mustering his
soldiers, he perceived that his treasures were deficient, and
there was a want of money in them, for all the taxes were not
paid, by reason of the seditions there had been among the nations
he having been so magnanimous and so liberal, that what he had
was not sufficient for him, he therefore resolved first to go
into Persia, and collect the taxes of that country. Hereupon he
left one whose name was Lysias, who was in great repute with him
governor of the kingdom, as far as the bounds of Egypt, and of
the Lower Asia, and reaching from the river Euphrates, and
committed to him a certain part of his forces, and of his
elephants, and charged him to bring up his son Antiochus with all
possible care, until he came back; and that he should conquer
Judea, and take its inhabitants for slaves, and utterly destroy
Jerusalem, and abolish the whole nation. And when king Antiochus
had given these things in charge to Lysias, he went into Persia;
and in the hundred and forty-seventh year he passed over
Euphrates, and went to the superior provinces.

3. Upon this Lysias chose Ptolemy, the son of Dorymenes, and
Nicanor, and Gorgias, very potent men among the king's friends,
and delivered to them forty thousand foot soldiers, and seven
thousand horsemen, and sent them against Judea, who came as far
as the city Emmaus, and pitched their camp in the plain country.
There came also to them auxiliaries out of Syria, and the country
round about; as also many of the runagate Jews. And besides these
came some merchants to buy those that should be carried captives,
(having bonds with them to bind those that should be made
prisoners,) with that silver and gold which they were to pay for
their price. And when Judas saw their camp, and how numerous
their enemies were, he persuaded his own soldiers to be of good
courage, and exhorted them to place their hopes of victory in
God, and to make supplication to him, according to the custom of
their country, clothed in sackcloth; and to show what was their
usual habit of supplication in the greatest dangers, and thereby
to prevail with God to grant you the victory over your enemies.
So he set them in their ancient order of battle used by their
forefathers, under their captains of thousands, and other
officers, and dismissed such as were newly married, as well as
those that had newly gained possessions, that they might not
fight in a cowardly manner, out of an inordinate love of life, in
order to enjoy those blessings. When he had thus disposed his
soldiers, he encouraged them to fight by the following speech,
which he made to them: "O my fellow soldiers, no other time
remains more opportune than the present for courage and contempt
of dangers; for if you now fight manfully, you may recover your
liberty, which, as it is a thing of itself agreeable to all men,
so it proves to be to us much more desirable, by its affording us
the liberty of worshipping God. Since therefore you are in such
circumstances at present, you must either recover that liberty,
and so regain a happy and blessed way of living, which is that
according to our laws, and the customs of our country, or to
submit to the most opprobrious sufferings; nor will any seed of
your nation remain if you be beat in this battle. Fight therefore
manfully; and suppose that you must die, though you do not fight;
but believe, that besides such glorious rewards as those of the
liberty of your country, of your laws, of your religion, you
shall then obtain everlasting glory. Prepare yourselves,
therefore, and put yourselves into such an agreeable posture,
that you may be ready to fight with the enemy as soon as it is
day tomorrow morning."

4. And this was the speech which Judas made to encourage them.
But when the enemy sent Gorgias, with five thousand foot and one
thousand horse, that he might fall upon Judas by night, and had
for that purpose certain of the runagate Jews as guides, the son
of Mattathias perceived it, and resolved to fall upon those
enemies that were in their camp, now their forces were divided.
When they had therefore supped in good time, and had left many
fires in their camp, he marched all night to those enemies that
were at Emmaus. So that when Gorgias found no enemy in their
camp, but suspected that they were retired, and had hidden
themselves among the mountains, he resolved to go and seek them
wheresoever they were. But about break of day Judas appeared to
those enemies that were at Emmaus, with only three thousand men,
and those ill armed, by reason of their poverty; and when he saw
the enemy very well and skillfully fortified in their camp, he
encouraged the Jews, and told them that they ought to fight,
though it were with their naked bodies, for that God had
sometimes of old given such men strength, and that against such
as were more in number, and were armed also, out of regard to
their great courage. So he commanded the trumpeters to sound for
the battle; and by thus falling upon the enemies when they did
not expect it, and thereby astonishing and disturbing their
minds, he slew many of those that resisted him, and went on
pursuing the rest as far as Gadara, and the plains of Idumea, and
Ashdod, and Jamnia; and of these there fell about three thousand.
Yet did Judas exhort his soldiers not to be too desirous of the
spoils, for that still they must have a contest and battle with
Gorgias, and the forces that were with him; but that when they
had once overcome them, then they might securely plunder the
camp, because they were the only enemies remaining, and they
expected no others. And just as he was speaking to his soldiers,
Gorgias's men looked down into that army which they left in their
camp, and saw that it was overthrown, and the camp burnt; for the
smoke that arose from it showed them, even when they were a great
way off, what had happened. When therefore those that were with
Gorgias understood that things were in this posture, and
perceived that those that were with Judas were ready to fight
them, they also were affrighted, and put to flight; but then
Judas, as though he had already beaten Gorgias's soldiers without
fighting, returned and seized on the spoils. He took a great
quantity of gold, and silver, and purple, and blue, and then
returned home with joy, and singing hymns to God for their good
success; for this victory greatly contributed to the recovery of
their liberty.

5. Hereupon Lysias was confounded at the defeat of the army which
he had sent, and the next year he got together sixty thousand
chosen men. He also took five thousand horsemen, and fell upon
Judea; and he went up to the hill country of Bethsur, a village
of Judea, and pitched his camp there, where Judas met him with
ten thousand men; and when he saw the great number of his
enemies, he prayed to God that he would assist him, and joined
battle with the first of the enemy that appeared, and beat them,
and slew about five thousand of them, and thereby became terrible
to the rest of them. Nay, indeed, Lysias observing the great
spirit of the Jews, how they were prepared to die rather than
lose their liberty, and being afraid of their desperate way of
fighting, as if it were real strength, he took the rest of the
army back with him, and returned to Antioch, where he listed
foreigners into the service, and prepared to fall upon Judea with
a greater army.

6. When therefore the generals of Antiochus's armies had been
beaten so often, Judas assembled the people together, and told
them, that after these many victories which God had given them,
they ought to go up to Jerusalem, and purify the temple, and
offer the appointed sacrifices. But as soon as he, with the whole
multitude, was come to Jerusalem, and found the temple deserted,
and its gates burnt down, and plants growing in the temple of
their own accord, on account of its desertion, he and those that
were with him began to lament, and were quite confounded at the
sight of the temple; so he chose out some of his soldiers, and
gave them order to fight against those guards that were in the
citadel, until he should have purified the temple. When therefore
he had carefully purged it, and had brought in new vessels, the
candlestick, the table [of shew-bread], and the altar [of
incense], which were made of gold, he hung up the veils at the
gates, and added doors to them. He also took down the altar [of
burnt-offering], and built a new one of stones that he gathered
together, and not of such as were hewn with iron tools. So on the
five and twentieth day of the month Casleu, which the Macedonians
call Apeliens, they lighted the lamps that were on the
candlestick, and offered incense upon the altar [of incense], and
laid the loaves upon the table [of shew-bread], and offered
burnt-offerings upon the new altar [of burnt-offering]. Now it so
fell out, that these things were done on the very same day on
which their Divine worship had fallen off, and was reduced to a
profane and common use, after three years' time; for so it was,
that the temple was made desolate by Antiochus, and so continued
for three years. This desolation happened to the temple in the
hundred forty and fifth year, on the twenty-fifth day of the
month Apeliens, and on the hundred fifty and third olympiad: but
it was dedicated anew, on the same day, the twenty-fifth of the
month Apeliens, on the hundred and forty-eighth year, and on the
hundred and fifty-fourth olympiad. And this desolation came to
pass according to the prophecy of Daniel, which was given four
hundred and eight years before; for he declared that the
Macedonians would dissolve that worship [for some time].

7. Now Judas celebrated the festival of the restoration of the
sacrifices of the temple for eight days, and omitted no sort of
pleasures thereon; but he feasted them upon very rich and
splendid sacrifices; and he honored God, and delighted them by
hymns and psalms. Nay, they were so very glad at the revival of
their customs, when, after a long time of intermission, they
unexpectedly had regained the freedom of their worship, that they
made it a law for their posterity, that they should keep a
festival, on account of the restoration of their temple worship,
for eight days. And from that time to this we celebrate this
festival, and call it Lights. I suppose the reason was, because
this liberty beyond our hopes appeared to us; and that thence was
the name given to that festival. Judas also rebuilt the walls
round about the city, and reared towers of great height against
the incursions of enemies, and set guards therein. He also
fortified the city Bethsura, that it might serve as a citadel
against any distresses that might come from our enemies.


How Judas Subdued The Nations Round About; And How Simon Beat The
People Of Tyre And Ptolemais; And How Judas Overcame Timotheus,
And Forced Him To Fly Away, And Did Many Other Things After
Joseph And Azarias Had Been Beaten

1. When these things were over, the nations round about the Jews
were very uneasy at the revival of their power, and rose up
together, and destroyed many of them, as gaining advantage over
them by laying snares for them, and making secret conspiracies
against them. Judas made perpetual expeditions against these men,
and endeavored to restrain them from those incursions, and to
prevent the mischiefs they did to the Jews. So he fell upon the
Idumeans, the posterity of Esau, at Acrabattene, and slew a great
many of them, and took their spoils. He also shut up the sons of
Bean, that laid wait for the Jews; and he sat down about them,
and besieged them, and burnt their towers, and destroyed the men
[that were in them]. After this he went thence in haste against
the Ammonites, who had a great and a numerous army, of which
Timotheus was the commander. And when he had subdued them, he
seized on the city Jazer, and took their wives and their children
captives, and burnt the city, and then returned into Judea. But
when the neighboring nations understood that he was returned,
they got together in great numbers in the land of Gilead, and
came against those Jews that were at their borders, who then fled
to the garrison of Dathema; and sent to Judas, to inform him that
Timotheus was endeavoring to take the place whither they were
fled. And as these epistles were reading, there came other
messengers out of Galilee, who informed him that the inhabitants
of Ptolemais, and of Tyre and Sidon, and strangers of Galilee,
were gotten together.

2. Accordingly Judas, upon considering what was fit to be done,
with relation to the necessity both these cases required, gave
order that Simon his brother should take three thousand chosen
men, and go to the assistance of the Jews in Galilee, while he
and another of his brothers, Jonathan, made haste into the land
of Gilead, with eight thousand soldiers. And he left Joseph, the
son of Zacharias, and Azarias, to be over the rest of the forces;
and charged them to keep Judea very carefully, and to fight no
battles with any persons whomsoever until his return.
Accordingly, Simon-went into Galilee, and fought the enemy, and
put them to flight, and pursued them to the very gates of
Ptolemais, and slew about three thousand of them, and took the
spoils of those that were slain, and those Jews whom they had
made captives, with their baggage, and then returned home.

3. Now as for Judas Maccabeus, and his brother Jonathan, they
passed over the river Jordan; and when they had gone three days
journey, they lighted upon the Nabateans, who came to meet them
peaceably, and who told them how the affairs of those in the land
of Gilead stood; and how many of them were in distress, and
driven into garrisons, and into the cities of Galilee; and
exhorted him to make haste to go against the foreigners, and to
endeavor to save his own countrymen out of their hands. To this
exhortation Judas hearkened, and returned to the wilderness; and
in the first place fell upon the inhabitants of Bosor, and took
the city, and beat the inhabitants, and destroyed all the males,
and all that were able to fight, and burnt the city. Nor did he
stop even when night came on, but he journeyed in it to the
garrison where the Jews happened to be then shut up, and where
Timotheus lay round the place with his army. And Judas came upon
the city in the morning; and when he found that the enemy were
making an assault upon the walls, and that some of them brought
ladders, on which they might get upon those walls, and that
others brought engines [to batter them], he bid the trumpeter to
sound his trumpet, and he encouraged his soldiers cheerfully to
undergo dangers for the sake of their brethren and kindred; he
also parted his army into three bodies, and fell upon the backs
of their enemies. But when Timotheus's men perceived that it was
Maccabeus that was upon them, of both whose courage and good
success in war they had formerly had sufficient experience, they
were put to flight; but Judas followed them with his army, and
slew about eight thousand of them. He then turned aside to a city
of the foreigners called Malle, and took it, and slew all the
males, and burnt the city itself. He then removed from thence,
and overthrew Casphom and Bosor, and many other cities of the
land of Gilead.

4. But not long after this, Timotheus prepared a great army, and
took many others as auxiliaries; and induced some of the
Arabians, by the promise of rewards, to go with him in this
expedition, and came with his army beyond the brook, over against
the city Raphon; and he encouraged his soldiers, if it came to a
battle with the Jews, to fight courageously, and to hinder their
passing over the brook; for he said to them beforehand, that "if
they come over it, we shall be beaten." And when Judas heard that
Timotheus prepared himself to fight, he took all his own army,
and went in haste against Timotheus his enemy; and when he had
passed over the brook, he fell upon his enemies, and some of them
met him, whom he slew, and others of them he so terrified, that
he compelled them to throw down their arms and fly; and some of
them escaped, but some of them fled to what was called the Temple
of Camaim, and hoped thereby to preserve themselves; but Judas
took the city, and slew them, and burnt the temple, and so used
several ways of destroying his enemies.

5. When he had done this, he gathered the Jews together, with
their children and wives, and the substance that belonged to
them, and was going to bring them back into Judea; but as soon as
he was come to a certain city, whose name was Ephron, that lay
upon the road, (and it was not possible for him to go any other
way, so he was not willing to go back again,) he then sent to the
inhabitants, and desired that they would open their gates, and
permit them to go on their way through the city; for they had
stopped up the gates with stones, and cut off their passage
through it. And when the inhabitants of Ephron would not agree to
this proposal, he encouraged those that were with him, and
encompassed the city round, and besieged it, and, lying round it
by day and night, took the city, and slew every male in it, and
burnt it all down, and so obtained a way through it; and the
multitude of those that were slain was so great, that they went
over the dead bodies. So they came over Jordan, and arrived at
the great plain, over against which is situate the city Bethshah,
which is called by the Greeks Scythopolis. (20) And going away
hastily from thence, they came into Judea, singing psalms and
hymns as they went, and indulging such tokens of mirth as are
usual in triumphs upon victory. They also offered
thank-offerings, both for their good success, and for the
preservation of their army, for not one of the Jews was slain in
these battles.(21)

6. But as to Joseph, the son of Zacharias, and Azarias, whom
Judas left generals [of the rest of his forces] at the same time
when Simon was in Galilee, fighting against the people of
Ptolemais, and Judas himself, and his brother Jonathan, were in
the land of Gilead, did these men also affect the glory of being
courageous generals in war, in order whereto they took the army
that was under their command, and came to Jamnia. There Gorgias,
the general of the forces of Jamnia, met them; and upon joining
battle with him, they lost two thousand of their army, (22) and
fled away, and were pursued to the very borders of Judea. And
this misfortune befell them by their disobedience to what
injunctions Judas had given them, not to fight with any one
before his return. For besides the rest of Judas's sagacious
counsels, one may well wonder at this concerning the misfortune
that befell the forces commanded by Joseph and Azarias, which he
understood would happen, if they broke any of the injunctions he
had given them. But Judas and his brethren did not leave off
fighting with the Idumeans, but pressed upon them on all sides,
and took from them the city of Hebron, and demolished all its
fortifications, and set all its towers on fire, and burnt the
country of the foreigners, and the city Marissa. They came also
to Ashdod, and took it, and laid it waste, and took away a great
deal of the spoils and prey that were in it, and returned to


Concerning The Death Of Antiochus Epiphane. How Antiochus Eupator
Fought Against Juda And Besieged Him In The Temple And Afterwards
Made Peace With Him And Departed; Of Alcimus And Onias.

1. About this time it was that king Antiochus, as he was going
over the upper countries, heard that there was a very rich city
in Persia, called Elymais; and therein a very rich temple of
Diana, and that it was full of all sorts of donations dedicated
to it; as also weapons and breastplates, which, upon inquiry, he
found had been left there by Alexander, the son of Philip, king
of Macedonia. And being incited by these motives, he went in
haste to Elymais, and assaulted it, and besieged it. But as those
that were in it were not terrified at his assault, nor at his
siege, but opposed him very courageously, he was beaten off his
hopes; for they drove him away from the city, and went out and
pursued after him, insomuch that he fled away as far as Babylon,
and lost a great many of his army. And when he was grieving for
this disappointment, some persons told him of the defeat of his
commanders whom he had left behind him to fight against Judea,
and what strength the Jews had already gotten. When this concern
about these affairs was added to the former, he was confounded,
and by the anxiety he was in fell into a distemper, which, as it
lasted a great while, and as his pains increased upon him, so he
at length perceived he should die in a little time; so he called
his friends to him, and told them that his distemper was severe
upon him; and confessed withal, that this calamity was sent upon
him for the miseries he had brought upon the Jewish nation, while
he plundered their temple, and contemned their God; and when he
had said this, he gave up the ghost. Whence one may wonder at
Polybius of Megalopolis, who, though otherwise a good man, yet
saith that "Antiochus died because he had a purpose to plunder
the temple of Diana in Persia;" for the purposing to do a thing,
(23) but not actually doing it, is not worthy of punishment. But
if Polybius could think that Antiochus thus lost his life on that
account, it is much more probable that this king died on account
of his sacrilegious plundering of the temple at Jerusalem. But we
will not contend about this matter with those who may think that
the cause assigned by this Polybius of Megalopolis is nearer the
truth than that assigned by us.

2. However, Antiochus, before he died, called for Philip, who was
one of his companions, and made him the guardian of his kingdom;
and gave him his diadem, and his garment, and his ring, and
charged him to carry them, and deliver them to his son Antiochus;
and desired him to take care of his education, and to preserve
the kingdom for him. (24) This Antiochus died in the hundred
forty and ninth year; but it was Lysias that declared his death
to the multitude, and appointed his son Antiochus to be king, (of
whom at present he had the care,) and called him Eupator.

3. At this time it was that the garrison in the citadel of
Jerusalem, with the Jewish runagates, did a great deal of harm to
the Jews; for the soldiers that were in that garrison rushed out
upon the sudden, and destroyed such as were going up to the
temple in order to offer their sacrifices, for this citadel
adjoined to and overlooked the temple. When these misfortunes had
often happened to them, Judas resolved to destroy that garrison;


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