The Antiquities of the Jews
Flavius Josephus

Part 23 out of 26

vast expenses, he bestowed on them shows, to be exhibited every
year, and spent therein many ten thousand [drachmae]; he also
gave the people a largess of corn, and distributed oil among
them, and adorned the entire city with statues of his own
donation, and with original images made by ancient hands; nay, he
almost transferred all that was most ornamental in his own
kingdom thither. This made him more than ordinarily hated by his
subjects, because he took those things away that belonged to them
to adorn a foreign city. And now Jesus, the son of Gamaliel,
became the successor of Jesus, the son of Damneus, in the high
priesthood, which the king had taken from the other; on which
account a sedition arose between the high priests, with regard to
one another; for they got together bodies of the boldest sort of
the people, and frequently came, from reproaches, to throwing of
stones at each other. But Ananias was too hard for the rest, by
his riches, which enabled him to gain those that were most ready
to receive. Costobarus also, and Saulus, did themselves get
together a multitude of wicked wretches, and this because they
were of the royal family; and so they obtained favor among them,
because of their kindred to Agrippa; but still they used violence
with the people, and were very ready to plunder those that were
weaker than themselves. And from that time it principally came to
pass that our city was greatly disordered, and that all things
grew worse and worse among us.

5. But when Albinus heard that Gessius Florus was coming to
succeed him, he was desirous to appear to do somewhat that might
be grateful to the people of Jerusalem; so he brought out all
those prisoners who seemed to him to be most plainly worthy of
death, and ordered them to be put to death accordingly. But as to
those who had been put into prison on some trifling occasions, he
took money of them, and dismissed them; by which means the
prisons were indeed emptied, but the country was filled with

6. Now as many of the Levites, (26) which is a tribe of ours, as
were singers of hymns, persuaded the king to assemble a
sanhedrim, and to give them leave to wear linen garments, as well
as the priests for they said that this would be a work worthy the
times of his government, that he might have a memorial of such a
novelty, as being his doing. Nor did they fail of obtaining their
desire; for the king, with the suffrages of those that came into
the sanhedrim, granted the singers of hymns this privilege, that
they might lay aside their former garments, and wear such a linen
one as they desired; and as a part of this tribe ministered in
the temple, he also permitted them to learn those hymns as they
had besought him for. Now all this was contrary to the laws of
our country, which, whenever they have been transgressed, we have
never been able to avoid the punishment of such transgressions.

7. And now it was that the temple was finished. So when the
people saw that the workmen were unemployed, who were above
eighteen thousand and that they, receiving no wages, were in want
because they had earned their bread by their labors about the
temple; and while they were unwilling to keep by them the
treasures that were there deposited, out of fear of [their being
carried away by] the Romans; and while they had a regard to the
making provision for the workmen; they had a mind to expend these
treasures upon them; for if any one of them did but labor for a
single hour, he received his pay immediately; so they persuaded
him to rebuild the eastern cloisters. These cloisters belonged to
the outer court, and were situated in a deep valley, and had
walls that reached four hundred cubits [in length], and were
built of square and very white stones, the length of each of
which stones was twenty cubits, and their height six cubits. This
was the work of king Solomon, (27) who first of all built the
entire temple. But king Agrippa, who had the care of the temple
committed to him by Claudius Caesar, considering that it is easy
to demolish any building, but hard to build it up again, and that
it was particularly hard to do it to these cloisters, which would
require a considerable time, and great sums of money, he denied
the petitioners their request about that matter; but he did not
obstruct them when they desired the city might be paved with
white stone. He also deprived Jesus, the son of Gamaliel, of the
high priesthood, and gave it to Matthias, the son of Theophilus,
under whom the Jews' war with the Romans took its beginning.


An Enumeration Of The High Priests.

1. And now I think it proper and agreeable to this history to
give an account of our high priests; how they began, who those
are which are capable of that dignity, and how many of them there
had been at the end of the war. In the first place, therefore,
history informs us that Aaron, the brother of Moses, officiated
to God as a high priest, and that, after his death, his sons
succeeded him immediately; and that this dignity hath been
continued down from them all to their posterity. Whence it is a
custom of our country, that no one should take the high
priesthood of God but he who is of the blood of Aaron, while
every one that is of another stock, though he were a king, can
never obtain that high priesthood. Accordingly, the number of all
the high priests from Aaron, of whom we have spoken already, as
of the first of them, until Phanas, who was made high priest
during the war by the seditious, was eighty-three; of whom
thirteen officiated as high priests in the wilderness, from the
days of Moses, while the tabernacle was standing, until the
people came into Judea, when king Solomon erected the temple to
God; for at the first they held the high priesthood till the end
of their life, although afterward they had successors while they
were alive. Now these thirteen, who were the descendants of two
of the sons of Aaron, received this dignity by succession, one
after another; for their form of government was an aristocracy,
and after that a monarchy, and in the third place the government
was regal Now the number of years during the rule of these
thirteen, from the day when our fathers departed out of Egypt,
under Moses their leader, until the building of that temple which
king Solomon erected at Jerusalem, were six hundred and twelve.
After those thirteen high priests, eighteen took the high
priesthood at Jerusalem, one m succession to another, from the
days of king Solomon, until Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, made
an expedition against that city, and burnt the temple, and
removed our nation into Babylon, and then took Josadek, the high
priest, captive; the times of these high priests were four
hundred and sixty-six years, six months, and ten days, while the
Jews were still under the regal government. But after the term of
seventy years' captivity under the Babylonians, Cyrus, king of
Persia, sent the Jews from Babylon to their own land again, and
gave them leave to rebuild their temple; at which time Jesus, the
son of Josadek, took the high priesthood over the captives when
they were returned home. Now he and his posterity, who were in
all fifteen, until king Antiochus Eupator, were under a
democratical government for four hundred and fourteen years; and
then the forementioned Antiochus, and Lysias the general of his
army, deprived Onias, who was also called Menelaus, of the high
priesthood, and slew him at Berea; and driving away the son [of
Onias the third], put Jaeimus into the place of the high priest,
one that was indeed of the stock of Aaron, but not of that family
of Onias. On which account Onias, who was the nephew of Onias
that was dead, and bore the same name with his father, came into
Egypt, and got into the friendship of Ptolemy Philometor, and
Cleopatra his wife, and persuaded them to make him the high
priest of that temple which he built to God in the prefecture of
Heliopolis, and this in imitation of that at Jerusalem; but as
for that temple which was built in Egypt, we have spoken of it
frequently already. Now when Jacimus had retained the priesthood
three years, he died, and there was no one that succeeded him,
but the city continued seven years without a high priest. But
then the posterity of the sons of Asamoneus, who had the
government of the nation conferred upon them, when they had
beaten the Macedonians in war, appointed Jonathan to be their
high priest, who ruled over them seven years. And when he had
been slain by the treacherous contrivance of Trypho, as we have
related some where, Simon his brother took the high priesthood;
and when he was destroyed at a feast by the treachery of his
son-in-law, his own son, whose name was Hyrcanus, succeeded him,
after he had held the high priesthood one year longer than his
brother. This Hyrcanus enjoyed that dignity thirty years, and
died an old man, leaving the succession to Judas, who was also
called Aristobulus, whose brother Alexander was his heir; which
Judas died of a sore distemper, after he had kept the priesthood,
together with the royal authority; for this Judas was the first
that put on his head a diadem for one year. And when Alexander
had been both king and high priest twenty-seven years, he
departed this life, and permitted his wife Alexandra to appoint
him that should he high priest; so she gave the high priesthood
to Hyrcanus, but retained the kingdom herself nine years, and
then departed this life. The like duration [and no longer] did
her son Hyrcanus enjoy the high priesthood; for after her death
his brother Aristobulus fought against him, and beat him, and
deprived him of his principality; and he did himself both reign,
and perform the office of high priest to God. But when he had
reigned three years, and as many months, Pompey came upon him,
and not only took the city of Jerusalem by force, but put him and
his children in bonds, and sent them to Rome. He also restored
the high priesthood to Hyrcanus, and made him governor of the
nation, but forbade him to wear a diadem. This Hyrcanus ruled,
besides his first nine years, twenty-four years more, when
Barzapharnes and Pacorus, the generals of the Parthians, passed
over Euphrates, and fought with Hyrcanus, and took him alive, and
made Antigonus, the son of Aristobulus, king; and when he had
reigned three years and three months, Sosius and Herod besieged
him, and took him, when Antony had him brought to Antioch, and
slain there. Herod was then made king by the Romans, but did no
longer appoint high priests out of the family of Asamoneus; but
made certain men to be so that were of no eminent families, but
barely of those that were priests, excepting that he gave that
dignity to Aristobulus; for when he had made this Aristobulus,
the grandson of that Hyrcanus who was then taken by the
Parthians, and had taken his sister Mariarmne to wife, he thereby
aimed to win the good-will of the people, who had a kind
remembrance of Hyrcanus [his grandfather]. Yet did he afterward,
out of his fear lest they should all bend their inclinations to
Aristobulus, put him to death, and that by contriving how to have
him suffocated as he was swimming at Jericho, as we have already
related that matter; but after this man he never intrusted the
priesthood to the posterity of the sons of Asamoneus. Archelaus
also, Herod's son, did like his father in the appointment of the
high priests, as did the Romans also, who took the government
over the Jews into their hands afterward. Accordingly, the number
of the high priests, from the days of Herod until the day when
Titus took the temple and the City, and burnt them, were in all
twenty-eight; the time also that belonged to them was a hundred
and seven years. Some of these were the political governors of
the people under the reign of Herod, and under the reign of
Archelaus his son, although, after their death, the government
became an aristocracy, and the high priests were intrusted with a
dominion over the nation. And thus much may suffice to be said
concerning our high priests.


Concerning Florus The Procurator, Who Necessitated The Jews To
Take Up Arms Against The Romans. The Conclusion.

1. Now Gessius Florus, who was sent as successor to Albinus by
Nero, filled Judea with abundance of miseries. He was by birth of
the city of Clazomene, and brought along with him his wife
Cleopatra, (by whose friendship with Poppea, Nero's wife, he
obtained this government,) who was no way different from him in
wickedness. This Florus was so wicked, and so violent in the use
of his authority, that the Jews took Albinus to have been
[comparatively] their benefactor; so excessive were the mischiefs
that he brought upon them. For Albinus concealed his wickedness,
and was careful that it might not be discovered to all men; but
Gessius Florus, as though he bad been sent on purpose to show his
crimes to every body, made a pompous ostentation of them to our
nation, as never omitting any sort of violence, nor any unjust
sort of punishment; for he was not to be moved by pity, and never
was satisfied with any degree of gain that came in his way; nor
had he any more regard to great than to small acquisitions, but
became a partner with the robbers themselves. For a great many
fell then into that practice without fear, as having him for
their security, and depending on him, that he would save them
harmless in their particular robberies; so that there were no
bounds set to the nation's miseries; but the unhappy Jews, when
they were not able to bear the devastations which the robbers
made among them, were all under a necessity of leaving their own
habitations, and of flying away, as hoping to dwell more easily
any where else in the world among foreigners [than in their own
country]. And what need I say any more upon this head? since it
was this Florus who necessitated us to take up arms against the
Romans, while we thought it better to be destroyed at once, than
by little and little. Now this war began in the second year of
the government of Florus, and the twelfth year of the reign of
Nero. But then what actions we were forced to do, or what
miseries we were enabled to suffer, may be accurately known by
such as will peruse those books which I have written about the
Jewish war.

2. I shall now, therefore, make an end here of my Antiquities;
after the conclusion of which events, I began to write that
account of the war; and these Antiquities contain what hath been
delivered down to us from the original creation of man, until the
twelfth year of the reign of Nero, as to what hath befallen the
Jews, as well in Egypt as in Syria and in Palestine, and what we
have suffered from the Assyrians and Babylonians, and what
afflictions the Persians and Macedonians, and after them the
Romans, have brought upon us; for I think I may say that I have
composed this history with sufficient accuracy in all things. I
have attempted to enumerate those high priests that we have had
during the interval of two thousand years; I have also carried
down the succession of our kings, and related their actions, and
political administration, without [considerable] errors, as also
the power of our monarchs; and all according to what is written
in our sacred books; for this it was that I promised to do in the
beginning of this history. And I am so bold as to say, now I have
so completely perfected the work I proposed to myself to do, that
no other person, whether he were a Jew or foreigner, had he ever
so great an inclination to it, could so accurately deliver these
accounts to the Greeks as is done in these books. For those of my
own nation freely acknowledge that I far exceed them in the
learning belonging to Jews; I have also taken a great deal of
pains to obtain the learning of the Greeks, and understand the
elements of the Greek language, although I have so long
accustomed myself to speak our own tongue, that I cannot
pronounce Greek with sufficient exactness; for our nation does
not encourage those that learn the languages of many nations, and
so adorn their discourses with the smoothness of their periods;
because they look upon this sort of accomplishment as common, not
only to all sorts of free-men, but to as many of the servants as
please to learn them. But they give him the testimony of being a
wise man who is fully acquainted with our laws, and is able to
interpret their meaning; on which account, as there have been
many who have done their endeavors with great patience to obtain
this learning, there have yet hardly been so many as two or three
that have succeeded therein, who were immediately well rewarded
for their pains.

3. And now it will not be perhaps an invidious thing, if I treat
briefly of my own family, and of the actions of my own life (28)
while there are still living such as can either prove what I say
to be false, or can attest that it is true; with which accounts I
shall put an end to these Antiquities, which are contained in
twenty books, and sixty thousand verses. And if God permit me, I
will briefly run over this war (29), and to add what befell them
further to that very day, the 13th of Domitian, or A.D. 03, is
not, that I have observed, taken distinct notice of by any one;
nor do we ever again, with what befell us therein to this very
day, which is the thirteenth year of the reign of Caesar
Domitian, and the fifty-sixth year of my own life. I have also an
intention to write three books concerning our Jewish opinions
about God and his essence, and about our laws; why, according to
them, some things are permitted us to do, and others are


(1) This preface of Josephus is excellent in its kind, and highly
worthy the repeated perusal of the reader, before he set about
the perusal of the work itself.

(2)That is, all the Gentiles, both Greeks and Romans.

(3) We may seasonably note here, that Josephus wrote his Seven
Books of the Jewish War long before he wrote these his
Antiquities. Those books of the War were published about A.D. 75,
and these Antiquities, A. D. 93, about eighteen years later.

(4) This Epaphroditus was certainly alive in the third year of
Trajan, A.D. 100. See the note on the First Book Against Apion,
sect. 1. Who he was we do not know; for as to Epaphroditus, the
freedman of Nero, and afterwards Domitian's secretary, who was
put to death by Domitian in the 14th or 15th year of his reign,
he could not be alive in the third of Trajan.

(5) Josephus here plainly alludes to the famous Greek proverb, If
God be with us, every thing that is impossible becomes possible.

(6) As to this intended work of Josephus concerning the reasons
of many of the Jewish laws, and what philosophical or allegorical
sense they would bear, the loss of which work is by some of the
learned not much regretted, I am inclinable, in part, to
Fabricius's opinion, ap. Havercamp, p. 63, 61, That "we need not
doubt but that, among some vain and frigid conjectures derived
from Jewish imaginations, Josephus would have taught us a greater
number of excellent and useful things, which perhaps nobody,
neither among the Jews, nor among the Christians, can now inform
us of; so that I would give a great deal to find it still

Ant. Book 1

(1) Since Josephus, in his Preface, sect. 4, says that Moses
wrote some things enigmatically, some allegorically, and the rest
in plain words, since in his account of the first chapter of
Genesis, and the first three verses of the second, he gives us no
hints of any mystery at all; but when he here comes to ver. 4,
etc. he says that Moses, after the seventh day was over, began to
talk philosophically; it is not very improbable that he
understood the rest of the second and the third chapters in some
enigmatical, or allegorical, or philosophical sense. The change
of the name of God just at this place, from Elohim to Jehovah
Elohim, from God to Lord God, in the Hebrew, Samaritan, and
Septuagint, does also not a little favor some such change in the
narration or construction.

(2) We may observe here, that Josephus supposed man to be
compounded of spirit, soul, and body, with St. Paul, 1
Thessalonians 5:23, and the rest of the ancients: he elsewhere
says also, that the blood of animals was forbidden to be eaten,
as having in it soul and spirit, Antiq. B. III. ch. 11. sect. 2.

(3) Whence this strange notion came, which yet is not peculiar to
Joseph,, but, as Dr. Hudson says here, is derived from older
authors, as if four of the greatest rivers in the world, running
two of them at vast distances from the other two, by some means
or other watered paradise, is hard to say. Only since Josephus
has already appeared to allegorize this history, and take notice
that these four names had a particular signification; Phison for
Ganges, a multitude; Phrath for Euphrates, either a dispersion or
a flower; Diglath for Tigris, what is swift, with narrowness; and
Geon for Nile, what arises from the east,--we perhaps mistake him
when we suppose he literally means those four rivers; especially
as to Geon or Nile, which arises from the east, while he very
well knew the literal Nile arises from the south; though what
further allegorical sense he had in view, is now, I fear,
impossible to be determined.

(4) By the Red Sea is not here meant the Arabian Gulf, which
alone we now call by that name, but all that South Sea, which
included the Red Sea, and the Persian Gulf, as far as the East
Indies; as Reland and Hudson here truly note, from the old

(5) Hence it appears, that Josephus thought several, at least, of
the brute animals, particularly the serpent, could speak before
the fall. And I think few of the more perfect kinds of those
animals want the organs of speech at this day. Many inducements
there are also to a notion, that the present state they are in,
is not their original state; and that their capacities have been
once much greater than we now see them, and are capable of being
restored to their former condition. But as to this most ancient,
and authentic, and probably allegorical account of that grand
affair of the fall of our first parents, I have somewhat more to
say in way of conjecture, but being only a conjecture, I omit it:
only thus far, that the imputation of the sin of our first
parents to their posterity, any further than as some way the
cause or occasion of man's mortality, seems almost entirely
groundless; and that both man, and the other subordinate
creatures, are hereafter to be delivered from the curse then
brought upon them, and at last to be delivered from that bondage
of corruption, Romans 8:19-22.

(6) St. John's account of the reason why God accepted the
sacrifice of Abel, and rejected that of Cain; as also why Cain
slew Abel, on account of that his acceptance with God, is much
better than this of Josephus: I mean, because "Cain was of the
evil one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him?
Because his own works were evil, and his brother's righteous," 1
John 3:12. Josephus's reason seems to be no better than a
pharisaical notion or tradition.

(7) From this Jubal, not improbably, came Jobel, the trumpet of
jobel or jubilee; that large and loud musical instrument, used in
proclaiming the liberty at the year of jubilee.

(8) The number of Adam's children, as says the old tradition was
thirty-three sons, and twenty-three daughters.

(9) What is here said of Seth and his posterity, that they were
very good and virtuous, and at the same time very happy, without
any considerable misfortunes, for seven generations, [see ch. 2.
sect. 1, before; and ch. 3. sect. 1, hereafter,] is exactly
agreeable to the state of the world and the conduct of Providence
in all the first ages.

(10) Of Josephus's mistake here, when he took Seth the son of
Adam, for Seth or Sesostris, king of Egypt, the erector of this
pillar in the land of Siriad, see Essay on the Old Testament,
Appendix, p. 159, 160. Although the main of this relation might
be true, and Adam might foretell a conflagration and a deluge,
which all antiquity witnesses to be an ancient tradition; nay,
Seth's posterity might engrave their inventions in astronomy on
two such pillars; yet it is no way credible that they could
survive the deluge, which has buried all such pillars and
edifices far under ground in the sediment of its waters,
especially since the like pillars of the Egyptian Seth or
Sesostris were extant after the flood, in the land of Siriad, and
perhaps in the days of Josephus also, as is shown in the place
here referred to.

(11) This notion, that the fallen angels were, in some sense, the
fathers of the old giants, was the constant opinion of antiquity.

(12) Josephus here supposes that the life of these giants, for of
them only do I understand him, was now reduced to 120 years;
which is confirmed by the fragment of Enoch, sect. 10, in
Authent. Rec. Part I. p. 268. For as to the rest of mankind,
Josephus himself confesses their lives were much longer than 120
years, for many generations after the flood, as we shall see
presently; and he says they were gradually shortened till the
days of Moses, and then fixed [for some time] at 120, ch. 6.
sect. 5. Nor indeed need we suppose that either Enoch or Josephus
meant to interpret these 120 years for the life of men before the
flood, to be different from the 120 years of God's patience
[perhaps while the ark was preparing] till the deluge; which I
take to be the meaning of God when he threatened this wicked
world, that if they so long continued impenitent, their days
should be no more than 120 years.

(13) A cubit is about 21 English inches.

(14) Josephus here truly determines, that the year at the Flood
began about the autumnal equinox. As to what day of the month the
Flood began, our Hebrew and Samaritan, and perhaps Josephus's own
copy, more rightly placed it on the 17th day, instead of the
27th, as here; for Josephus agrees with them, as to the distance
of 150 days to the 17th day of the 7th month, as Genesis 7. ult.
with 8:3.

(15) Josephus here takes notice, that these ancient genealogies
were first set down by those that then lived, and from them were
transmitted down to posterity; which I suppose to be the true
account of that matter. For there is no reason to imagine that
men were not taught to read and write soon after they were taught
to speak; and perhaps all by the Messiah himself, who, under the
Father, was the Creator or Governor of mankind, and who
frequently in those early days appeared to them.

(16) This (GREEK), or Place of Descent, is the proper rendering
of the Armenian name of this very city. It is called in Ptolemy
Naxuana, and by Moses Chorenensis, the Armenian historian,
Idsheuan; but at the place itself Nachidsheuan, which signifies
The first place of descent, and is a lasting monument of the
preservation of Noah in the ark, upon the top of that mountain,
at whose foot it was built, as the first city or town after the
flood. See Antiq. B. XX. ch. 2. sect. 3; and Moses Chorenensis,
who also says elsewhere, that another town was related by
tradition to have been called Seron, or, The Place of Dispersion,
on account of the dispersion of Xisuthrus's or Noah's sons, from
thence first made. Whether any remains of this ark be still
preserved, as the people of the country suppose, I cannot
certainly tell. Mons. Tournefort had, not very long since, a mind
to see the place himself, but met with too great dangers and
difficulties to venture through them.

(17) One observation ought not here to be neglected, with regard
to that Ethiopic war which Moses, as general of the Egyptians,
put an end to, Antiq. B. II. ch. 10., and about which our late
writers seem very much unconcerned; viz. that it was a war of
that consequence, as to occasion the removal or destruction of
six or seven nations of the posterity of Mitzraim, with their
cities; which Josephus would not have said, if he had not had
ancient records to justify those his assertions, though those
records be now all lost.

(18) That the Jews were called Hebrews from this their progenitor
Heber, our author Josephus here rightly affirms; and not from
Abram the Hebrew, or passenger over Euphrates, as many of the
moderns suppose. Shem is also called the father of all the
children of Heber, or of all the Hebrews, in a history long
before Abram passed over Euphrates, Genesis 10:21, though it must
be confessed that, Genesis 14:13, where the original says they
told Abram the Hebrew, the Septuagint renders it the passenger,
(GREEK): but this is spoken only of Abram himself, who had then
lately passed over Euphrates, and is another signification of the
Hebrew word, taken as an appellative, and not as a proper name.

(19) It is worth noting here, that God required no other
sacrifices under the law of Moses, than what were taken from
these five kinds of animals which he here required of Abram. Nor
did the Jews feed upon any other domestic animals than the three
here named, as Reland observes on Antiq. B. IV. ch. 4. sect. 4.

(20) As to this affliction of Abram's posterity for 400 years,
see Antiq. B. II. ch. 9. sect. 1.

(21) These sons-in-law to Lot, as they are called, Genesis
19:12-14, might be so styled, because they were betrothed to
Lot's daughters, though not yet married to them. See the note on
Antiq. B. XIV. ch. 13. sect. 1.

(22) Of the War, B. IV. ch. 8. sect. 4.

(23) This pillar of salt was, we see here, standing in the days
of Josephus, and he had seen it. That it was standing then is
also attested by Clement of Rome, contemporary with Josephus; as
also that it was so in the next century, is attested by Irenaeus,
with the addition of an hypothesis, how it came to last so long,
with all its members entire. - Whether the account that some
modern travelers give be true, that it is still standing, I do
not know. Its remote situation, at the most southern point of the
Sea of Sodom, in the wild and dangerous deserts of Arabia, makes
it exceeding difficult for inquisitive travelers to examine the
place; and for common reports of country people, at a distance,
they are not very satisfactory. In the mean time, I have no
opinion of Le Clerc's dissertation or hypothesis about this
question, which can only be determined by eye-witnesses. When
Christian princes, so called, lay aside their foolish and
unchristian wars and quarrels, and send a body of fit persons to
travel over the east, and bring us faithful accounts of all
ancient monuments, and procure us copies of all ancient records,
at present lost among us, we may hope for full satisfaction in
such inquiries; but hardly before.

(24) I see no proper wicked intention in these daughters of Lot,
when in a case which appeared to them of unavoidable necessity,
they procured themselves to be with child by their father.
Without such an unavoidable necessity, incest is a horrid crime;
but whether in such a case of necessity, as they apprehended this
to be, according to Josephus, it was any such crime, I am not
satisfied. In the mean time, their making their father drunk, and
their solicitous concealment of what they did from him, shows
that they despaired of persuading him to an action which, at the
best, could not but be very suspicious and shocking to so good a

(25) It is well worth observation, that Josephus here calls that
principal Angel, who appeared to Abraham and foretold the birth
of Isaac, directly God; which language of Josephus here, prepares
us to believe those other expressions of his, that Jesus was a
wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man, Antiq. B. XVIII. ch.
3. sect. 3, and of God the Word, in his homily concerning Hades,
may be both genuine. Nor is the other expression of Divine Angel,
used presently, and before, also of any other signification.

(26) Josephus here calls Ismael a young child or infant, though
he was about 13 years of age; as Judas calls himself and his
brethren young men, when he was 47, and had two children, Antiq.
B. II. ch. 6. sect. 8, and they were of much the same age; as is
a damsel of 12 years old called a little child, Mark 5:39-42,
five several times. Herod is also said by Josephus to be a very
young man at 25. See the note on Antiq. B. XIV. ch. 9. sect 2,
and of the War, B. I. ch. 10. And Aristobulus is styled a very
little child at 16 years of age, Antiq. B. XV. ch. 2. sect. 6, 7.
Domitian also is called by him a very young child, when he went
on his German expedition at about 18 years of age, of the War, B.
VII. ch. 4. sect. 2. Samson's wife, and Ruth, when they were
widows, are called children, Antiq. B. V. ch. 8. sect. 6, and ch.
9. sect. 2 3.

(27) Note, that both here and Hebrews 11:17, Isaac is called
Abraham's only begotten son, though he at the same time had
another son, Ismael. The Septuagint expresses the true meaning,
by rendering the text the beloved son.

(28) Here is a plain error in the copies which say that king
David afterwards built the temple on this Mount Moriah, while it
was certainly no other than king Solomon who built that temple,
as indeed Procopius cites it from Josephus. For it was for
certain David, and not Solomon, who built the first altar there,
as we learn, 2 Samuel 24:18, etc.; 1 Chronicles 21:22, etc.; and
Antiq. B. VII. ch. 13. sect. 4.

(29) It seems both here, and in God's parallel blessing to Jacob,
ch. 19. sect. 1, that Josephus had yet no notion of the hidden
meaning of that most important and most eminent promise, "In thy
seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed. He saith
not, and of seeds, as of many, but as of one; and to thy seed,
which is Christ," Galatians 3:16. Nor is it any wonder, he being,
I think, as yet not a Christian. And had he been a Christian, yet
since he was, to be sure, till the latter part of his life, no
more than an Ebionite Christian, who, above all the apostles,
rejected and despised St. Paul, it would be no great wonder if he
did not now follow his interpretation. In the mean time, we have
in effect St. Paul's exposition in the Testament of Reuben, sect.
6, in Authent. Rec. Part I. p. 302, who charges his sons "to
worship the seed of Judah, who should die for them in visible and
invisible wars; and should be among them an eternal king." Nor is
that observation of a learned foreigner of my acquaintance to be
despised, who takes notice, that as seeds in the plural, must
signify posterity, so seed in the singular may signify either
posterity, or a single person; and that in this promise of all
nations being happy in the seed of Abraham, or Isaac, or Jacob,
etc. it is always used in the singular. To which I shall add,
that it is sometimes, as it were, paraphrased by the son of
Abraham, the son of David, etc., which is capable of no such

(30) The birth of Jacob and Esau is here said to be after
Abraham's death: it should have been after Sarah's death. The
order of the narration in Genesis, not always exactly according
to the order of time, seems to have led Josephus into this error,
as Dr. Bernard observes here.

(31) For Seir in Josephus, the coherence requires that we read
Esau or Seir, which signify the same thing.

(32) The supper of savory meat, as we call it, Genesis 27:4, to
be caught by hunting, was intended plainly for a festival or a
sacrifice; and upon the prayers that were frequent at sacrifices,
Isaac expected, as was then usual in such eminent cases, that a
divine impulse would come upon him, in order to the blessing of
his son there present, and his foretelling his future behavior
and fortune. Whence it must be, that when Isaac had unwittingly
blessed Jacob, and was afterwards made sensible of his mistake,
yet did he not attempt to alter it, how earnestly soever his
affection for Esau might incline him to wish it might be altered,
because he knew that this blessing came not from himself, but
from God, and that an alteration was out of his power. A second
afflatus then came upon him, and enabled him to foretell Esau's
future behavior and foretell Esau's future behavior and fortune

(33) Whether Jacob or his mother Rebeka were most blameable in
this imposition upon Isaac in his old age, I cannot determine.
However the blessing being delivered as a prediction of future
events, by a Divine impulse, and foretelling things to befall to
the posterity of Jacob and Esau in future ages, was for certain
providential; and according to what Rebeka knew to be the purpose
of God, when he answered her inquiry, "before the children were
born," Genesis 25:23, "that one people should be stronger than
the other people; and the elder, Esau, should serve the younger,
Jacob." Whether Isaac knew or remembered this old oracle,
delivered in our copies only to Rebeka; or whether, if he knew
and remembered it, he did not endeavor to alter the Divine
determination, out of his fondness for his elder and worser son
Esau, to the damage of his younger and better son Jacob, as
Josephus elsewhere supposes, Antiq. B. II. ch. 7. sect. 3; I
cannot certainly say. if so, this might tempt Rebeka to contrive,
and Jacob to put this imposition upon him. However, Josephus says
here, that it was Isaac, and not Rebeka, who inquired of God at
first, and received the forementioned oracle, sect. 1; which, if
it be the true reading, renders Isaac's procedure more
inexcusable. Nor was it probably any thing else that so much
encouraged Esau formerly to marry two Canaanitish wives, without
his parents' consent, as Isaac's unhappy fondness for him.

(34) By this "deprivation of the kingdom that was to be given
Esau of God," as the first-born, it appears that Josephus thought
that a "kingdom to be derived from God" was due to him whom Isaac
should bless as his first-born, which I take to be that kingdom
which was expected under the Messiah, who therefore was to be
born of his posterity whom Isaac should so bless. Jacob therefore
by obtaining this blessing of the first-born, became the genuine
heir of that kingdom, in opposition to Esau.

(35) Here we have the difference between slaves for life and
servants, such as we now hire for a time agreed upon on both
sides, and dismiss again after he time contracted for is over,
which are no slaves, but free men and free women. Accordingly,
when the Apostolical Constitutions forbid a clergyman to marry
perpetual servants or slaves, B. VI. ch. 17., it is meant only of
the former sort; as we learn elsewhere from the same
Constitutions, ch. 47. Can. LXXXII. But concerning these twelve
sons of Jacob, the reasons of their several names, and the times
of their several births in the intervals here assigned, their
several excellent characters, their several faults and
repentance, the several accidents of their lives, with their
several prophecies at their deaths, see the Testaments of these
twelve patriarchs, still preserved at large in the Authent. Rec.
Part I. p. 294-443.

(36) I formerly explained these mandrakes, as we, with the
Septuagint, and Josephus, render the Hebrew word Dudaim, of the
Syrian Maux, with Ludolphus, Antbent. Rec. Part I. p. 420; but
have since seen such a very probable account in M. S. of my
learned friend Mr. Samuel Barker, of what we still call
mandrakes, and their description by the ancient naturalists and
physicians, as inclines me to think these here mentioned were
really mandrakes, and no other.

(37) Perhaps this may be the proper meaning of the word Israel,
by the present and the old Jerusalem analogy of the Hebrew
tongue. In the mean time, it is certain that the Hellenists of
the first century, in Egypt and elsewhere, interpreted Israel to
be a man seeing God, as is evident from the argument fore-cited.

(38) Of this slaughter of the Shechemites by Simeon and Levi, see
Authent. Rec. Part I. p. 309, 418, 432-439. But why Josephus has
omitted the circumcision of these Shechemites, as the occasion of
their death; and of Jacob's great grief, as in the Testament of
Levi, sect. 5; I cannot tell.

(39) Since Benoni signifies the son of my sorrow, and Benjamin
the son of days, or one born in the father's old age, Genesis
44:20, I suspect Josephus's present copies to be here imperfect,
and suppose that, in correspondence to other copies, he wrote
that Rachel called her son's name Benoni, but his father called
him Benjamin, Genesis 35:18. As for Benjamin, as commonly
explained, the son of the right hand, it makes no sense at all,
and seems to be a gross modern error only. The Samaritan always
writes this name truly Benjamin, which probably is here of the
same signification, only with the Chaldee termination in, instead
of im in the Hebrew; as we pronounce cherubin or cherubim
indifferently. Accordingly, both the Testament of Benjamin, sect.
2, p. 401, and Philo de Nominum Mutatione, p. 1059, write the
name Benjamin, but explain it not the son of the right hand, but
the son of days.


(1) We may here observe, that in correspondence to Joseph's
second dream, which implied that his mother, who was then alive,
as well as his father, should come and bow down to him, Josephus
represents her here as still alive after she was dead, for the
decorum of the dream that foretold it, as the interpretation of
the dream does also in all our copies, Genesis 37:10.

(2) The Septuagint have twenty pieces of gold; the Testament of
Gad thirty; the Hebrew and Samaritan twenty of silver; and the
vulgar Latin thirty. What was the true number and true sum cannot
therefore now be known.

(3) That is, bought it for Pharaoh at a very low price.

(4) This Potiphar, or, as Josephus, Petephres, who was now a
priest of On, or Heliopolis, is the same name in Josephus, and
perhaps in Moses also, with him who is before called head cook or
captain of the guard, and to whom Joseph was sold. See Genesis
37:36; 39:1, with 41:50. They are also affirmed to be one and the
same person in the Testament of Joseph, sect. 18, for he is there
said to have married the daughter of his master and mistress. Nor
is this a notion peculiar to that Testament, but, as Dr. Bernard
confesses, note on Antiq. B. II. ch. 4. sect. 1, common to
Josephus, to the Septuagint interpreters, and to other learned
Jews of old time.

(5) This entire ignorance of the Egyptians of these years of
famine before they came, told us before, as well as here, ch. 5.
sect. 7, by Josephus, seems to me almost incredible. It is in no
other copy that I know of.

(6) The reason why Symeon might be selected out of the rest for
Joseph's prisoner, is plain in the Testament of Symeon, viz. that
he was one of the bitterest of all Joseph's brethren against him,
sect. 2; which appears also in part by the Testament of Zabulon,
sect. 3.

(7) The coherence seems to me to show that the negative particle
is here wanting, which I have supplied in brackets, and I wonder
none have hitherto suspected that it ought to be supplied.

(8) Of the precious balsam of Judea, and the turpentine, see the
note on Antiq. B. VIII. ch. 6. sect. 6.

(9) This oration seems to me too large, and too unusual a
digression, to have been composed by Judas on this occasion. It
seems to me a speech or declamation composed formerly, in the
person of Judas, and in the way of oratory, that lay by him. and
which he thought fit to insert on this occasion. See two more
such speeches or declamations, Antiq. B. VI. ch. 14. sect. 4

(10) In all this speech of Judas we may observe, that Josephus
still supposed that death was the punishment of theft in Egypt,
in the days of Joseph, though it never was so among the Jews, by
the law of Moses.

(11) All the Greek copies of Josephus have the negative particle
here, that Jacob himself was not reckoned one of the 70 souls
that came into Egypt; but the old Latin copies want it, and
directly assure us he was one of them. It is therefore hardly
certain which of these was Josephus's true reading, since the
number 70 is made up without him, if we reckon Leah for one; but
if she be not reckoned, Jacob must himself be one, to complete
the number.

(12) Josephus thought that the Egyptians hated or despised the
employment of a shepherd in the days of Joseph; whereas Bishop
Cumberland has shown that they rather hated such Poehnician or
Canaanite shepherds that had long enslaved the Egyptians of old
time. See his Sanchoniatho, p. 361, 362.

(13) Reland here puts the question, how Josephus could complain
of its not raining in Egypt during this famine, while the
ancients affirm that it never does naturally rain there. His
answer is, that when the ancients deny that it rains in Egypt,
they only mean the Upper Egypt above the Delta, which is called
Egypt in the strictest sense; but that in the Delta [and by
consequence in the Lower Egypt adjoining to it] it did of old,
and still does, rain sometimes. See the note on Antiq. B. III.
ch. 1. sect. 6.

(14) Josephus supposes that Joseph now restored the Egyptians
their lands again. upon the payment of a fifth part as tribute.
It seems to me rather that the land was now considered as
Pharaoh's land, and this fifth part as its rent, to be paid to
him, as he was their landlord, and they his tenants; and that the
lands were not properly restored, and this fifth part reserved as
tribute only, till the days of Sesostris. See Essay on the Old
Testament, Append. 148, 149.

(15) As to this encomium upon Joseph, as preparatory to Jacob's
adopting Ephraim and Manasses into his own family, and to be
admitted for two tribes, which Josephus here mentions, all our
copies of Genesis omit it, ch. 48.; nor do we know whence he took
it, or whether it be not his own embellishment only.

(16) As to the affliction of Abraham's posterity for 400 years,
see Antiq. B. I. ch. 10. sect. 3; and as to what cities they
built in Egypt, under Pharaoh Sesostris. and of Pharaoh
Sesostris's drowning in the Red Sea, see Essay on the Old
Testament, Append. p. 132-162.

(17) Of this building of the pyramids of Egypt by the Israelites,
see Perizonius Orig. Aegyptiac, ch. 21. It is not impossible they
might build one or more of the small ones; but the larger ones
seem much later. Only, if they be all built of stone, this does
not so well agree with the Israelites' labors, which are said to
have been in brick, and not in stone, as Mr. Sandys observes in
his Travels. p. 127, 128.

(18) Dr. Bernard informs us here, that instead of this single
priest or prophet of the Egyptians, without a name in Josephus,
the Targum of Jonathan names the two famous antagonists of Moses,
Jannes and Jambres. Nor is it at all unlikely that it might be
one of these who foreboded so much misery to the Egyptians, and
so much happiness to the Israelites, from the rearing of Moses.

(19) Josephus is clear that these midwives were Egyptians, and
not Israelites, as in our other copies: which is very probable,
it being not easily to be supposed that Pharaoh could trust the
Israelite midwives to execute so barbarous a command against
their own nation. (Consult, therefore, and correct hence our
ordinary copies, Exodus 1:15, 22. And, indeed, Josephus seems to
have had much completer copies of the Pentateuch, or other
authentic records now lost, about the birth and actions of Moses,
than either our Hebrew, Samaritan, or Greek Bibles afford us,
which enabled him to be so large and particular about him.

(20) Of this grandfather of Sesostris, Ramestes the Great, who
slew the Israelite infants, and of the inscription on his
obelisk, containing, in my opinion, one of the oldest records of
mankind, see Essay on the Old Test. Append. p. 139, 145, 147,

(21) What Josephus here says of the beauty of Moses, that he was
of a divine form, is very like what St. Stephen says of the same
beauty; that Moses was beautiful in the sight of Acts 7:20.

(22) This history of Moses, as general of the Egyptians against
the Ethiopians, is wholly omitted in our Bibles; but is thus by
Irenaeus, from Josephus, and that soon after his own age: -
"Josephus says, that when Moses was nourished in the palace, he
was appointed general of the army against the Ethiopians, and
conquered them, when he married that king's daughter; because,
out of her affection for him, she delivered the city up to him."
See the Fragments of Irenaeus. ap. edit. Grab. p. 472. Nor
perhaps did St. Stephen refer to any thing else when he said of
Moses, before he was sent by God to the Israelites, that he was
not only learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, but was also
mighty in words and in deeds, Acts 7:22.

(23) Pliny speaks of these birds called ibes; and says, "The
Egyptians invoked them against the serpents," Hist. Nat. B. X.
ch. 28. Strabo speaks of this island Meroe, and these rivers
Astapus and Astaboras, B. XVI. p. 771, 786; and B XVII. p. 82].

(24) This superstitious fear of discovering the name with four
letters, which of late we have been used falsely to pronounce
Jehovah, but seems to have been originally pronounced Jahoh, or
Jao, is never, I think, heard of till this passage of Josephus;
and this superstition, in not pronouncing that name, has
continued among the Rabbinical Jews to this day (though whether
the Samaritans and Caraites observed it so early, does not
appear). Josephus also durst not set down the very words of the
ten commandments, as we shall see hereafter, Antiq. B. III. ch.
5. sect. 4, which superstitious silence I think has yet not been
continued even by the Rabbins. It is, however, no doubt but both
these cautious concealments were taught Josephus by the
Pharisees, a body of men at once very wicked and very

(25) Of this judicial hardening the hearts and blinding the eyes
of wicked men, or infatuating them, as a just punishment for
their other willful sins, to their own destruction, see the note
on Antiq. B. VII. ch. 9. sect. 6.

(26) As to this winter or spring hail near Egypt and Judea, see
the like on thunder and lightning there, in the note on Antiq. B.
VI. ch. 5. sect. 6.

(27) These large presents made to the Israelites, of vessels of
and vessels of gold, and raiment, were, as Josephus truly calls
them, gifts really given them; not lent them, as our English
falsely renders them. They were spoils required, not of them,
Genesis 15:14; Exodus 3:22; 11:2; Psalm 105:37,) as the same
version falsely renders the Hebrew word Exodus 12:35, 36. God had
ordered the Jews to demand these as their pay and reward, during
their long and bitter slavery in Egypt, as atonements for the
lives of the Egyptians, and as the condition of the Jews'
departure, and of the Egyptians' deliverance from these terrible
judgments, which, had they not now ceased, they had soon been all
dead men, as they themselves confess, ch. 12. 33. Nor was there
any sense in borrowing or lending, when the Israelites were
finally departing out of the land for ever.

(28) Why our Masorete copy so groundlessly abridges this account
in Exodus 12:40, as to ascribe 430 years to the sole
peregrination of the Israelites in Egypt, when it is clear even
by that Masorete chronology elsewhere, as well as from the
express text itself, in the Samaritan, Septuagint, and Josephus,
that they sojourned in Egypt but half that time, - and that by
consequence, the other half of their peregrination was in the
land of Canaan, before they came into Egypt, - is hard to say.
See Essay on the Old Testament, p. 62, 63.

(29) Take the main part of Reland's excellent note here, which
greatly illustrates Josephus, and the Scripture, in this history,
as follows: "[A traveller, says Reland, whose name was] Eneman,
when he returned out of Egypt, told me that he went the same way
from Egypt to Mount Sinai, which he supposed the Israelites of
old traveled; and that he found several mountainous tracts, that
ran down towards the Red Sea. He thought the Israelites had
proceeded as far as the desert of Etham, Exodus 13:20, when they
were commanded by God to return back, Exodus 14:2, and to pitch
their camp between Migdol and the sea; and that when they were
not able to fly, unless by sea, they were shut in on each side by
mountains. He also thought we might evidently learn hence, how it
might be said that the Israelites were in Etham before they went
over the sea, and yet might be said to have come into Etham after
they had passed over the sea also. Besides, he gave me an account
how he passed over a river in a boat near the city Suez, which he
says must needs be the Heroopolia of the ancients, since that
city could not be situate any where else in that neighborhood."

As to the famous passage produced here by Dr. Bernard, out of
Herodotus, as the most ancient heathen testimony of the
Israelites coming from the Red Sea into Palestine, Bishop
Cumberland has shown that it belongs to the old Canaanite or
Phoenician shepherds, and their retiring out of Egypt into Canaan
or Phoenicia, long before the days of Moses. Sanchoniatho, p.
374, &c.

(30) Of these storms of wind, thunder, and lightning, at this
drowning of Pharaoh's army, almost wanting in our copies of
Exodus, but fully extant in that of David, Psalm 77:16-18, and in
that of Josephus here, see Essay on the Old Test. Append. p.
15,1, 155.

(31) What some have here objected against this passage of the
Israelites over the Red Sea, in this one night, from the common
maps, viz. that this sea being here about thirty miles broad, so
great an army conld not pass over it in so short a time, is a
great mistake. Mons. Thevenot, an authentic eye-witness, informs
us, that this sea, for about five days' journey, is no where more
than about eight or nine miles over-cross, and in one place but
four or five miles, according to De Lisle's map, which is made
from the best travelers themselves, and not copied from others.
What has been further objected against this passage of the
Israelites, and drowning of the Egyptians, being miraculous also,
viz. that Moses might carry the Israelites over at a low tide
without any miracle, while yet the Egyptians, not knowing the
tide so well as he, might be drowned upon the return of the tide,
is a strange story indeed ! That Moses, who never had lived here,
should know the quantity and time of the flux and reflux of the
Red Sea better than the Egyptians themselves in its neighborhood!
Yet does Artapanus, an ancient heathen historian, inform us, that
this was what the more ignorant Memphites, who lived at a great
distance, pretended, though he confesses, that the more learned
Heliopolitans, who lived much nearer, owned the destruction of
the Egyptians, and the deliverance of the Israelites, to have
been miraculous: and De Castro, a mathematician, who surveyed
this sea with great exactness, informs us, that there is no great
flux or reflux in this part of the Red Sea, to give a color to
this hypothesis; nay, that at the elevation of the tide there is
little above half the height of a man. See Essay on the Old Test.
Append. p. 239, 240. So vain and groundless are these and the
like evasions and subterfuges of our modern sceptics and
unbelievers, and so certainly do thorough inquiries and authentic
evidence disprove and confute such evasions and subterfuges upon
all occasions.

(32) What that hexameter verse, in which Moses's triumphant song
is here said to be written, distinctly means, our present
ignorance of the old Hebrew metre or measure will not let us
determine. Nor does it appear to me certain that even Josephus
himself had a distinct notion of it, though he speaks of several
sort of that metre or measure, both here and elsewhere. Antiq. B.
IV. ch. 8. sect. 44; and B. VII. ch. 12. sect. 3.

(33) Take here the original passages of the four old authors that
still remain, as to this transit of Alexander the Great over the
Pamphylian Sea: I mean, of Callisthenes, Strabu, Arrian, and
Appian. As to Callisthenes, who himself accompanied Alexander in
this expedition, Eustathius, in his Notes on the third Iliad of
Homer, (as Dr. Bernard here informs us,) says, That "this
Callisthenes wrote how the Pamphylian Sea did not only open a
passage for Alexander, but, by rising and did pay him homage as
its king." Strabo's is this (Geog. B. XIV. p. 666): "Now about
Phaselis is that narrow passage, by the sea-side, through which
his army. There is a mountain called Climax, adjoins to the Sea
of Pamphylia, leaving a narrow passage on the shore, which, in
calm weather, is bare, so as to be passable by travelers, but
when the sea overflows, it is covered to a great degree by the
waves. Now then, the ascent by the mountains being round about
and steep, in still weather they make use of the road along the
coast. But Alexander fell into the winter season, and committing
himself chiefly to fortune, he marched on before the waves
retired; and so it happened that were a whole day in journeying
over it, and were under water up to the navel." Arrian's account
is this (B. I. p. 72, 73): Alexander removed from Phaselis, he
sent some part his army over the mountains to Perga; which road
the Thracians showed him. A difficult way it was, but short. he
himself conducted those that were with him by the sea-shore. This
road is impassable at any other time than when the north wind
blows; but if the south wind prevail, there is no passing by the
shore. Now at this time, after strong south winds, a north wind
blew, and that not without the Divine Providence, (as both he and
they that were with him supposed,) and afforded him an easy and
quick passage." Appian, when he compares Caesar and Alexander
together, (De Bel. Civil. B. II. p. 522,) says, "That they both
depended on their boldness and fortune, as much as on their skill
in war. As an instance of which, Alexander journeyed over a
country without water, in the heat of summer, to the oracle of
[Jupiter] Hammon, and quickly passed over the Bay of Pamphylia,
when, by Divine Providence, the sea was cut off - thus Providence
restraining the sea on his account, as it had sent him rain when
he traveled [over the desert]."

N. B. - Since, in the days of Josephus, as he assures us, all the
more numerous original historians of Alexander gave the account
he has here set down, as to the providential going back of the
waters of the Pamphylian Sea, when he was going with his army to
destroy the Persian monarchy, which the fore-named authors now
remaining fully confirm, it is without all just foundation that
Josephus is here blamed by some late writers for quoting those
ancient authors upon the present occasion; nor can the
reflections of Plutarch, or any other author later than Josephus,
be in the least here alleged to contradict him. Josephus went by
all the evidence he then had, and that evidence of the most
authentic sort also. So that whatever the moderns may think of
the thing itself, there is hence not the least color for finding
fault with Josephus: he would rather have been much to blame had
he omitted these quotations.


(1) Dr. Bernard takes notice here, that this place Mar, where the
waters were bitter, is called by the Syrians and Arabians Mariri,
and by the Syrians sometimes Morath, all derived from the Hebrew
Mar. He also takes notice, that it is called The Bitter Fountain
by Pliny himself; which waters remain there to this day, and are
still bitter, as Thevenot assures us and that there are also
abundance of palm-trees. See his Travels, Part I. ch. 26. p. 166.

(2)The additions here to Moses's account of the sweetening of the
waters at Marah, seem derived from some ancient profane author,
and he such an author also as looks less authentic than are
usually followed by Josephus. Philo has not a syllable of these
additions, nor any other ancienter writer that we know of. Had
Josephus written these his Antiquities for the use of Jews, he
would hardly have given them these very improbable circumstances;
but writing to Gentiles, that they might not complain of his
omission of any accounts of such miracles derived from Gentiles,
he did not think proper to conceal what he had met with there
about this matter. Which procedure is perfectly agreeable to the
character and usage of Josephus upon many occasions. This note
is, I confess, barely conjectural; and since Josephus never tells
us when his own copy, taken out of the temple, had such
additions, or when any ancient notes supplied them; or indeed
when they are derived from Jewish, and when from Gentile
antiquity, - we can go no further than bare conjectures in such
cases; only the notions of Jews were generally so different from
those of Gentiles, that we may sometimes make no improbable
conjectures to which sort such additions belong. See also
somewhat like these additions in Josephus's account of Elisha's
making sweet the bitter and barren spring near Jericho, War, B.
IV. ch. 8. sect. 3.

(3) It seems to me, from what Moses, Exodus 16:18, St. Paul, 2
Corinthians 8:15, and Josephus here say, compared together, that
the quantity of manna that fell daily, and did not putrefy, was
just so much as came to an omer apiece, through the whole host of
Israel, and no more.

(4) This supposal, that the sweet honey-dew or manna, so
celebrated in ancient and modern authors, as falling usually in
Arabia, was of the very same sort with this manna sent to the
Israelites, savors more of Gentilism than of Judaism or
Christianity. It is not improbable that some ancient Gentile
author, read by Josephus, so thought; nor would he here
contradict him; though just before, and Antiq. B. IV. ch. 3.
sect. 2, he seems directly to allow that it had not been seen
before. However, this food from heaven is here described to be
like snow; and in Artapanus, a heathen writer, it is compared to
meal, color like to snow, rained

down by God," Essay on the Old Test. Append. p. 239. But as to
the derivation of the word manna, whether from man, which
Josephus says then signified What is it or from mannah, to
divide, i.e. a dividend or portion allotted to every one, it is
uncertain: I incline to the latter derivation. This manna is
called angels' food, Psalm 78:26, and by our Sacior, John 6:31,
etc., as well as by Josephus here and elsewhere, Antiq. B. III.
ch. 5. sect. 3, said to be sent the Jews from heaven.

(5) This rock is there at this day, as the travelers agree; and
must be the same that was there in the days of Moses, as being
too large to be brought thither by our modern carriages.

(6) Note here, that the small book of the principal laws of Moses
is ever said to be laid up in the holy house itself; but the
larger Pentateuch, as here, some where within the limits of the
temple and its courts only. See Antiq. B. V. ch. 1. sect. 17.

(7) This eminent circumstance, that while Moses's hands were lift
up towards heaven, the Israelites prevailed, and while they were
let down towards the earth, the Amalekites prevailed, seems to me
the earliest intimation we have of the proper posture, used of
old, in solemn prayer, which was the stretching out of the hands
[and eyes] towards heaven, as other passages of the Old and New
Testament inform us. Nay, by the way, this posture seemed to have
continued in the Christian church, till the clergy, instead of
learning their prayers by heart, read them out of a book, which
is in a great measure inconsistent with such an elevated posture,
and which seems to me to have been only a later practice,
introduced under the corrupt state of the church; though the
constant use of divine forms of prayer, praise, and thanksgiving,
appears to me to have been the practice of God's people,
patriarchs, Jews, and Christians, in all the past ages.

(8) This manner of electing the judges and officers of the
Israelites by the testimonies and suffrages of the people, before
they were ordained by God, or by Moses, deserves to be carefully
noted, because it was the pattern of the like manner of the
choice and ordination of bishops, presbyters, and deacons, in the
Christian church.

(9) Since this mountain, Sinai, is here said to be the highest of
all the mountains that are in that country, it must be that now
called St. Katherine's, which is one-third higher than that
within a mile of it, now called Sinai, as Mons. Thevenot informs
us, Travels, Part I. ch. 23. p. 168. The other name of it, Horeb,
is never used by Josephus, and perhaps was its name among the
Egyptians only, whence the Israelites were lately come, as Sinai
was its name among the Arabians, Canaanites, and other nations.
Accordingly when (1 Kings 9:8) the Scripture says that Elijah
came to Horeb, the mount of God, Josephus justly says, Antiq. B.
VIII. ch. 13. sect. 7, that he came to the mountain called Sinai:
and Jerome, here cited by Dr. Hudson, says, that he took this
mountain to have two names, Sinai and Choreb. De Nomin. Heb. p.

(10) Of this and another like superstitious notion of the
Pharisees, which Josephus complied with, see the note on Antiq.
B. II. ch. 12. sect. 4.

(11) This other work of Josephus, here referred to, seems to be
that which does not appear to have been ever published, which yet
he intended to publish, about the reasons of many of the laws of
Moses; of which see the note on the Preface, sect. 4.

(12) Of this tabernacle of Moses, with its several parts and
furniture, see my description at large, chap. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11.
12. hereto belonging.

(13) The use of these golden bells at the bottom of the high
priest's long garment, seems to me to have been this: That by
shaking his garment at the time of his offering incense in the
temple, on the great day of expiation, or at other proper periods
of his sacred ministrations there, on the great festivals, the
people might have notice of it, and might fall to their own
prayers at the time of incense, or other proper periods; and so
the whole congregation might at once offer those common prayers
jointly with the high priest himself to the Almighty See Luke
1:10; Revelation 8:3, 4. Nor probably is the son of Sirach to be
otherwise understood, when he says of Aaron, the first high
priest, Ecelus. 45:9, "And God encompassed Aaron with
pomegranates, and with many golden bells round about, that as he
went there might be a sound, and a noise made that might be heard
in the temple, for a memorial to the children of his people."

(14) The reader ought to take notice here, that the very Mosaic
Petalon, or golden plate, for the forehead of the Jewish high
priest, was itself preserved, not only till the days of Josephus,
but of Origen; and that its inscription, Holiness to the Lord,
was in the Samaritan characters. See Antiq. B. VIII. ch. 3. sect.
8, Essay on the Old Test. p. 154, and Reland, De pol. Templi, p.

(15) When Josephus, both here and ch. 6. sect. 4, supposes the
tabernacle to have been parted into three parts, he seems to
esteem the bare entrance to be a third division, distinct from
the holy and the most holy places; and this the rather, because
in the temple afterward there was a real distinct third part,
which was called the Porch: otherwise Josephus would contradict
his own description of the tabernacle, which gives as a
particular account of no more than two parts.

(16) This explication of the mystical meaning of the Jewish
tabernacle and its vessels, with the garments of the high priest,
is taken out of Philo, and fitted to Gentile philosophical
notions. This may possibly be forgiven in Jews, greatly versed in
heathen learning and philosophy, as Philo had ever been, and as
Josephus had long been when he wrote these Antiquities. In the
mean time, it is not to be doubted, but in their education they
must have both learned more Jewish interpretations, such as we
meet with in the Epistle of Barnabas, in that to the Hebrews, and
elsewhere among the old Jews. Accordingly when Josephus wrote his
books of the Jewish War, for the use of the Jews, at which time
he was comparatively young, and less used to Gentile books, we
find one specimen of such a Jewish interpretation; for there (B.
VII. ch. 5. sect. 5) he makes the seven branches of the
temple-candlestick, with their seven lamps, an emblem of the
seven days of creation and rest, which are here emblems of the
seven planets. Nor certainly ought ancient Jewish emblems to be
explained any other way than according to ancient Jewish, and not
Gentile, notions. See of the War, B. I. ch. 33. sect. 2.

(17) It is well worth our observation, that the two principal
qualifications required in this section for the constitution of
the first high priest, (viz. that he should have an excellent
character for virtuous and good actions; as also that he should
have the approbation of the people,) are here noted by Josephus,
even where the nomination belonged to God himself; which are the
very same qualifications which the Christian religion requires in
the choice of Christian bishops, priests, and deacons; as the
Apostolical Constitutions inform us, B. II. ch. 3.

(18) This weight and value of the Jewish shekel, in the days of
Josephus, equal to about 2s. 10d. sterling, is, by the learned
Jews, owned to be one-fifth larger than were their old shekels;
which determination agrees perfectly with the remaining shekels
that have Samaritan inscriptions, coined generally by Simon the
Maccabee, about 230 years before Josephus published his
Antiquities, which never weigh more than 2s. 4d., and commonly
but 2s. 4d. See Reland De Nummis Samaritanorum, p. 138.

(19) The incense was here offered, according to Josephus's
opinion, before sun-rising, and at sun-setting; but in the days
of Pompey, according to the same Josephus, the sacrifices were
offered in the morning, and at the ninth hour. Antiq. B. XIV. ch.
4. sect. 3.

(20) Hence we may correct the opinions of the modern Rabbins, who
say that only one of the seven lamps burned in the day-time;
whereas our Josephus, an eyewitness, says there were three.

(21) Of this strange expression, that Moses "left it to God to be
present at his sacrifices when he pleased, and when he pleased to
be absent," see the note on B. II. against Apion, sect. 16.

(22)These answers by the oracle of Urim and Thummim, which words
signify, light and perfection, or, as the Septuagint render them,
revelation and truth, and denote nothing further, that I see, but
the shining stones themselves, which were used, in this method of
illumination, in revealing the will of God, after a perfect and
true manner, to his people Israel: I say, these answers were not
made by the shining of the precious stones, after an awkward
manner, in the high priest's breastplate, as the modern Rabbins
vainly suppose; for certainly the shining of the stones might
precede or accompany the oracle, without itself delivering that
oracle, see Antiq. B. VI. ch. 6. sect. 4; but rather by an
audible voice from the mercy-seat between the cherubims. See
Prideaux's Connect. at the year 534. This oracle had been silent,
as Josephus here informs us, two hundred years before he wrote
his Antiquities, or ever since the days of the last good high
priest of the family of the Maccabees, John Hyrcanus. Now it is
here very well worth our observation, that the oracle before us
was that by which God appeared to he present with, and gave
directions to, his people Israel as their King, all the while
they submitted to him in that capacity; and did not set over them
such independent kings as governed according to their own wills
and political maxims, instead of Divine directions. Accordingly
we meet with this oracle (besides angelic and prophetic
admonitions) all along from the days of Moses and Joshua to the
anointing of Saul, the first of the succession of the kings,
Numbers 27:21; Joshua 6:6, etc.; 19:50; Judges 1:1; 18:4-6, 30,
31; 20:18, 23, 26-28; 21:1, etc.; 1 Samuel 1:17, 18; 3. per tot.;
4. per tot.; nay, till Saul's rejection of the Divine commands in
the war with Amalek, when he took upon him to act as he thought
fit, 1 Samuel 14:3, 18, 19, 36, 37, then this oracle left Saul
entirely, (which indeed he had seldom consulted before, 1 Samuel
14:35; 1 Chronicles 10:14; 13:3; Antiq. B. 7 ch. 4 sect 2.) and
accompanied David, who was anointed to succeed him, and who
consulted God by it frequently, and complied with its directions
constantly (1 Samuel 14:37, 41; 15:26; 22:13, 15; 23:9, 10; 30:7,
8, 18; 2 Samuel 2:1; 5:19, 23; 21:1; 23 :14; 1 Chronicles 14:10,
14; Antiq. B IV ch. 12 sect. 5). Saul, indeed, long after his
rejection by God, and when God had given him up to destruction
for his disobedience, did once afterwards endeavor to consult God
when it was too late; but God would not then answer him, neither
by dreams, nor by Urim, nor by prophets, 1 Samuel 28:6. Nor did
any of David's successors, the kings of Judah, that we know of,
consult God by this oracle, till the very Babylonish captivity
itself, when those kings were at an end; they taking upon them, I
suppose, too much of despotic power and royalty, and too little
owning the God of Israel for the supreme King of Israel, though a
few of them consulted the prophets sometimes, and were answered
by them. At the return of the two tribes, without the return of
the kingly government, the restoration of this oracle was
expected, Nehemiah 7;63; 1 Esd. 5:40; 1 Macc. 4:46; 14:41. And
indeed it may seem to have been restored for some time after the
Babylonish captivity, at least in the days of that excellent high
priest, John Hyrcanus, whom Josephus esteemed as a king, a
priest, and a prophet; and who, he says, foretold several things
that came to pass accordingly; but about the time of his death,
he here implies, that this oracle quite ceased, and not before.
The following high priests now putting diadems on their heads,
and ruling according to their own will, and by their own
authority, like the other kings of the pagan countries about
them; so that while the God of Israel was allowed to be the
supreme King of Israel, and his directions to be their authentic
guides, God gave them such directions as their supreme King and
Governor, and they were properly under a theocracy, by this
oracle of Urim, but no longer (see Dr. Bernard's notes here);
though I confess I cannot but esteem the high priest Jaddus's
divine dream, Antiq. B. XI. ch. 8. sect. 4, and the high priest
Caiaphas's most remarkable prophecy, John 11:47-52, as two small
remains or specimens of this ancient oracle, which properly
belonged to the Jewish high priests: nor perhaps ought we
entirely to forget that eminent prophetic dream of our Josephus
himself, (one next to a high priest, as of the family of the
Asamoneans or Maccabees,) as to the succession of Vespasian and
Titus to the Roman empire, and that in the days of Nero, and
before either Galba, Otho, or Vitellius were thought of to
succeed him. Of the War, B. III. ch. 8. sect. 9. This, I think,
may well be looked on as the very last instance of any thing like
the prophetic Urim among the Jewish nation, and just preceded
their fatal desolation: but how it could possibly come to pass
that such great men as Sir John Marsham and Dr. Spenser, should
imagine that this oracle of Urim and Thummim with other practices
as old or older than the law of Moses, should have been ordained
in imitation of somewhat like them among the Egyptians, which we
never hear of till the days of Diodorus Siculus, Aelian, and
Maimonides, or little earlier than the Christian era at the
highest, is almost unaccountable; while the main business of the
law of Moses was evidently to preserve the Israelites from the
idolatrous and superstitious practices of the neighboring pagan
nations; and while it is so undeniable, that the evidence for the
great antiquity of Moses's law is incomparably beyond that for
the like or greater antiquity of such customs in Egypt or other
nations, which indeed is generally none at all, it is most absurd
to derive any of Moses's laws from the imitation of those heathen
practices, Such hypotheses demonstrate to us how far inclination
can prevail over evidence, in even some of the most learned part
of mankind.

(23) What Reland well observes here, out of Josephus, as compared
with the law of Moses, Leviticus 7:15, (that the eating of the
sacrifice the same day it was offered, seems to mean only before
the morning of the next, although the latter part, i.e. the
night, be in strictness part of the next day, according to the
Jewish reckoning,) is greatly to be observed upon other occasions
also. The Jewish maxim in such cases, it seems, is this: That the
day goes before the night; and this appears to me to be the
language both of the Old and New Testament. See also the note on
Antiq. B. IV. ch. 4. sect. 4, and Reland's note on B. IV. ch. 8.
sect. 28.

(24) We may here note, that Josephus frequently calls the camp
the city, and the court of the Mosaic tabernacle a temple, and
the tabernacle itself a holy house, with allusion to the latter
city, temple, and holy house, which he knew so well long

(25) These words of Josephus are remarkable, that the lawgiver of
the Jews required of the priests a double degree of parity, in
comparison of that required of the people, of which he gives
several instances immediately. It was for certain the case also
among the first Christians, of the clergy, in comparison of the
laity, as the Apostolical Constitutions and Canons every where
inform us,

(26) We must here note with Reland, that the precept given to the
priests of not drinking wine while they wore the sacred garments,
is equivalent; to their abstinence from it all the while they
ministered in the temple; because they then always, and then
only, wore those sacred garments, which were laid up there from
one time of ministration to another.

(27) See Antiq, B. XX. ch. 2. sect, 6. and Acts 11:28.


(1) Reland here takes notice, that although our Bibles say little
or nothing of these riches of Corah, yet that both the Jews and
Mahommedans, as well as Josephus, are full of it.

(2) It appears here, and from the Samaritan Pentateuch, and, in
effect, from the psalmist, as also from the Apostolical
Constitutions, from Clement's First Epistle to the Corinthians,
from Ignatius's Epistle to the Magnesians, and from Eusebius,
that Corah was not swallowed up with the Reubenites, but burned
with the Levites of his own tribe. See Essay on the Old
Testament, p. 64, 65.

(3) Concerning these twelve rods of the twelve tribes of Israel,
see St. Clement's account, much larger than that in our Bibles, 1
Epist. sect. 45; as is Josephus's present account in measure
larger also.

(4) Grotius, on Numbers 6:18, takes notice that the Greeks also,
aswell as the Jews, sometimes consecrated the hair of their heads
to the gods.

(5) Josephus here uses this phrase, "when the fortieth year was
completed," for when it was begun; as does St. Luke when the day
of Pentecost was completed," Acts 2:1.

(6) Whether Miriam died, as Josephus's. Greek copies imply, on
the first day of the month, may be doubted, because the Latin
copies say it was on the tenth, and so say the Jewish calendars
also, as Dr. Bernard assures us. It is said her sepulcher is
still extant near Petra, the old capital city of Arabia Petraea,
at this day; as also that of Aaron, not far off.

(7) What Josephus here remarks is well worth our remark in this
place also; viz. that the Israelites were never to meddle with
the Moabites, or Ammonites, or any other people, but those
belonging to the land of Canaan, and the countries of Sihon and
Og beyond Jordan, as far as the desert and Euphrates, and that
therefore no other people had reason to fear the conquests of the
Israelites; but that those countries given them by God were their
proper and peculiar portion among the nations, and that all who
endeavored to dispossess them might ever be justly destroyed by

(8) Note that Josephus never supposes Balaam to be an idolater,
nor to seek idolatrous enchantments, or to prophesy falsely, but
to be no other than an ill-disposed prophet of the true God; and
intimates that God's answer the second time, permitting him to
go, was ironical, and on design that he deceived (which sort of
deception, by way of punishment for former crimes, Josephus never
scruples to admit, as ever esteeming such wicked men justly and
providentially deceived). But perhaps we had better keep here
close to the text which says Numbers 23:20, 21, that God only
permitted Balaam to go along with the ambassadors, in case they
came and called him, or positively insisted on his going along
with them, on any terms; whereas Balaam seems out of impatience
to have risen up in the morning, and saddled his ass, and rather
to have called them, than staid for their calling him, so zealous
does he seem to have been for his reward of divination, his wages
of unrighteousness, Numbers 23:7, 17, 18, 37; 2 Peter 2:15; Jude
5, 11; which reward or wages the truly religious prophets of God
never required nor accepted, as our Josephus justly takes notice
in the cases of Samuel, Antiq. B. V. ch. 4. sect. 1, and Daniel,
Antiq. B. X. ch. 11. sect. 3. See also Genesis 14:22, 23; 2 Kings
5:15, 16, 26, 27; and Acts 8;17-24.

(9) Whether Josephus had in his copy but two attempts of Balaam
in all to curse Israel; or whether by this his twice offering
sacrifice, he meant twice besides that first time already
mentioned, which yet is not very probable; cannot now be
certainly determined. In the mean time, all other copies have
three such attempts of Balaam to curse them in the present

(10) Such a large and distinct account of this perversion of the
Israelites by the Midianite women, of which our other copies give
us but short intimations, Numbers 31:16 2 Peter 2:15; Jude 11;
Revelation 2:14, is preserved, as Reland informs us, in the
Samaritan Chronicle, in Philo, and in other writings of the Jews,
as well as here by Josephus.

(11) This grand maxim, That God's people of Israel could never be
hurt nor destroyed, but by drawing them to sin against God,
appears to be true, by the entire history of that people, both in
the Bible and in Josephus; and is often taken notice of in them
both. See in particular a most remarkable Ammonite testimony to
this purpose, Judith 5:5-21.

(12) What Josephus here puts into the mouths of these Midianite
women, who came to entice the Israelites to lewdness and
idolatry, viz. that their worship of the God of Israel, in
opposition to their idol gods, implied their living according to
the holy laws which the true God had given them by Moses, in
opposition to those impure laws which were observed under their
false gods, well deserves our consideration; and gives us a
substantial reason for the great concern that was ever shown
under the law of Moses to preserve the Israelites from idolatry,
and in the worship of the true God; it being of no less
consequence than, Whether God's people should be governed by the
holy laws of the true God, or by the impure laws derived from
demons, under the pagan idolatry.

(13) The mistake in all Josephus's copies, Greek and Latin which
have here fourteen thousand instead of twenty-four thousand, is
so flagrant, that our very learned editors, Bernard and Hudson,
have put the latter number directly into the text. I choose
rather to put it in brackets.

(14) The slaughter of all the Midianite women that had
prostituted themselves to the lewd Israelites, and the
preservation of those that had not been guilty therein; the last
of which were no fewer than thirty-two thousand, both here and
Numbers 31:15-17, 35, 40, 46, and both by the particular command
of God; are highly remarkable, and show that, even in nations
otherwise for their wickedness doomed to destruction, the
innocent were sometimes particularly and providentially taken
care of, and delivered from that destruction; which directly
implies, that it was the wickedness of the nations of Canaan, and
nothing else, that occasioned their excision. See Genesis 15;16;
1 Samuel 15:18, 33; Apost. Constit. B. VIII. ch. 12. p. 402. In
the first of which places, the reason of the delay of the
punishment of the Amorites is given, because "their iniquity was
not yet full." In the secured, Saul is ordered to go and "destroy
the sinners, the Amalekites;" plainly implying that they were
therefore to be destroyed, because they were sinners, and not
otherwise. In the third, the reason is given why king Agag was
not to be spared, viz. because of his former cruelty: "As thy
sword hath made the (Hebrew) women childless, so shall thy mother
be made childless among women by the Hebrews." In the last place,
the apostles, or their amanuensis Clement, gave this reason for
the necessity of the coming of Christ, that "men had formerly
perverted both the positive law, and that of nature; and had cast
out of their mind the memory of the Flood, the burning of Sodom,
the plagues of the Egyptians, and the slaughter of the
inhabitants of Palestine," as signs of the most amazing
impenitence and insensibility, under the punishments of horrid

(15) Josephus here, in this one sentence, sums up his notion of
Moses's very long and very serious exhortations in the book of
Deuteronomy; and his words are so true, and of such importance,
that they deserve to be had in constant remembrance.

(16) This law, both here and Exodus 20:25, 26, of not going up to
God's altar by ladder-steps, but on an acclivity, seems not to
have belonged to the altar of the tabernacle, which was in all
but three cubits high, Exodus 27:4; nor to that of Ezekiel, which
was expressly to be gone up to by steps, ch. 43:17; but rather to
occasional altars of any considerable altitude and largeness; as
also probably to Solomon's altar, to which it is here applied by
Josephus, as well as to that in Zorobabel's and Herod's temple,
which were, I think, all ten cubits high. See 2 Chronicles 4:1,
and Antiq. B. VIII. ch. 3. sect. 7. The reason why these temples,
and these only, were to have this ascent on an acclivity, and not
by steps, is obvious, that before the invention of stairs, such
as we now use, decency could not be otherwise provided for in the
loose garments which the priests wore, as the law required. See
Lamy of the Tabernacle and Temple, p. 444.

(17) The hire of public or secret harlots was given to Venus in
Syria, as Lucian informs us, p. 878; and against some such vile
practice of the old idolaters this law seems to have been made.

(18) The Apostolical Constitutions, B. II. ch. 26. sect. 31,
expound this law of Moses, Exodus 22. 28, "Thou shalt not revile
or blaspheme the gods," or magistrates, which is a much more
probable exposition than this of Josephus, of heathen gillis, as
here, and against Apion, B. II. ch. 3. sect. 31. What book of the
law was thus publicly read, see the note on Antiq. B. X. ch. 5.
sect. 5, and 1 Esd. 9:8-55.

(19)Whether these phylacteries, and other Jewish memorials of the
law here mentioned by Josephus, and by Muses, (besides the
fringes on the borders of their garments, Numbers 15:37,) were
literally meant by God, I much question. That they have been long
observed by the Pharisees and Rabbinical Jews is certain;
however, the Karaites, who receive not the unwritten traditions
of the elders, but keep close to the written law, with Jerome and
Grotius, think they were not literally to be understood; as
Bernard and Reland here take notice. Nor indeed do I remember
that, either in the ancienter books of the Old Testament, or in
the books we call Apocrypha, there are any signs of such literal
observations appearing among the Jews, though their real or
mystical signification, i.e. the constant remembrance and
observation of the laws of God by Moses, be frequently inculcated
in all the sacred writings.

(20) Here, as well as elsewhere, sect. 38, of his Life, sect. 14,
and of the War, B. II. ch. 20. sect. 5, are but seven judges
appointed for small cities, instead of twenty-three in the modern
Rabbins; which modern Rabbis are always but of very little
authority in comparison of our Josephus.

(21) I have never observed elsewhere, that in the Jewish
government women were not admitted as legal witnesses in courts
of justice. None of our copies of the Pentateuch say a word of
it. It is very probable, however, that this was the exposition of
the scribes and Pharisees, and the practice of the Jews in the
days of Josephus.

(22) This penalty of "forty stripes save one," here mentioned,
and sect. 23, was five times inflicted on St. Paul himself by the
Jews, 2 Corinthians 11:24

(23) Josephus's plain and express interpretation of this law of
Moses, Deuteronomy 14:28, 29; 26:12, etc., that the Jews were
bound every third year to pay three tithes, that to the Levites,
that for sacrifices at Jerusalem, and this for the indigent, the
widow, and the orphans, is fully confirmed by the practice of
good old Tobit, even when he was a captive in Assyria, against
the opinions of the Rabbins, Tobit 1:6-8.

(24) These tokens of virginity, as the Hebrew and Septuagint
style them, Deuteronomy 22:15, 17, 20, seem to me very different
from what our later interpreters suppose. They appear rather to
have been such close linen garments as were never put off
virgins, after, a certain age, till they were married, but before
witnesses, and which, while they were entire, were certain
evidences of such virginity. See these, Antiq. B. VII. ch. 8.
sect. 1; 2 Samuel 13:18; Isaiah 6:1 Josephus here determines
nothing what were these particular tokens of virginity or of
corruption: perhaps he thought he could not easily describe them
to the heathens, without saying what they might have thought a
breach of modesty; which seeming breach of modesty laws cannot
always wholly avoid.

(25) These words of Josephus are very like those of the Pharisees
to our Savior upon this very subject, Matthew 19:3, "Is it lawful
for a man to put away his wife for every cause?"

(26) Here it is supposed that this captive's husband, if she were
before a married woman, was dead before, or rather was slain in
this very battle, otherwise it would have been adultery in him
that married her.

(27) See Herod the Great insisting on the execution of this law,
with relation to two of his own sons, before the judges at
Berytus, Antiq. B. XVI. ch. 11. sect. 2.

(28) Philo and others appear to have understood this law, Exodus
21:22, 23, better than Josephus, who seems to allow, that though
the infant in the mother's womb, even after the mother were
quick, and so the infant had a rational soul, were killed by the
stroke upon the mother, yet if the mother escaped, the offender
should only be fined, and not put to death; while the law seems
rather to mean, that if the infant in that case be killed, though
the mother escape, the offender must be put to death, and not
only when the mother is killed, as Josehus understood it. It
seems this was the exposition of the Pharisees in the days of

(29) What we render a witch, according to our modern notions of
witchcraft, Exodus 22:15, Philo and Josephus understood of a
poisoner, or one who attempted by secret and unlawful drugs or
philtra, to take away the senses or the lives of men.

(30) This permission of redeeming this penalty with money is not
in our copies, Exodus 21:24, 25; Leviticus 24:20; Deuteronomy

(31) We may here note, that thirty shekels, the price our Savior
was sold for by Judas to the Jews, Matthew 26:15, and 27;3, was
the old value of a bought servant or slave among that people.

(32) This law against castration, even of brutes, is said to be
so rigorous elsewhere, as to inflict death on him that does it.
which seems only a Pharisaical interpretation in the days of
Josephus of that law, Leviticus 21:20, and 22:24: only we may
hence observe, that the Jews could then have no oxen which are
gelded, but only bulls and cows, in Judea.

(33) These laws seem to be those above-mentioned, sect, 4, of
this chapter.

(34) What laws were now delivered to the priests, see the note on
Antiq. B. III. ch. 1. sect. 7,

(35) Of the exact place where this altar was to be built, whether
nearer Mount Gerizzim or Mount Ebal, according to Josephus, see
Essay on the Old Testament, p. 168--171.

Dr. Bernard well observes here, how unfortunate this neglect of
consulting the Urim was to Joshua himself, in the case of the
Gibeonites, who put a trick upon him, and ensnared him, together
with the rest of the Jewish rulers, with a solemn oath to
preserve them, contrary to his commission to extirpate all the
Canaanites, root and branch; which oath he and the other rulers
never durst break. See Scripture Politics, p. 55, 56; and this
snare they were brought into because they "did not ask counsel at
the mouth of the Lord," Joshua 9:14.

(36) Since Josephus assures us here, as is most naturally to be
supposed, and as the Septuagint gives the text, Deuteronomy 33:6,
that Moses blessed every one of the tribes of Israel, it is
evident that Simeon was not omitted in his copy, as it unhappily
now is, both in our Hebrew and Samaritan copies.


(1) The Amorites were one of the seven nations of Canaan. Hence
Reland is willing to suppose that Josephus did not here mean that
their land beyond Jordan was a seventh part of the whole land of
Canaan, but meant the Arnorites as a seventh nation. His reason
is, that Josephus, as well as our Bible, generally distinguish
the land beyond Jordan from the land of Canaan; nor can it be
denied, that in strictness they were all fercot: yet after two
tribes and a half of the twelve tribes came to inherit it, it
might in a general way altogether be well included under the land
of Canaan, or Palestine, or Judea, of which we have a clear
example here before us in Josephus, whose words evidently imply,
that taking the whole land of Canaan, or that inhabited by all
the twelve tribes together, and parting it into seven parts, the
part beyond Jordan was in quantity of ground one seventh part of
the whole. And this well enough agrees to Reland's own map of
that country, although this land beyond Jordan was so peculiarly
fruitful, and good for pasturage, as the two tribes and a half
took notice, Numbers 32:1, 4, 16, that it maintained about a
fifth part of the whole people.

(2) It plainly appears by the history of these spies, and the
innkeeper Rahab's deception of the king of Jericho's messengers,
by telling them what was false in order to save the lives of the
spies, and yet the great commendation of her faith and good works
in the New Testament, Hebrews 11:31; James 2:25, as well as by
many other parallel examples, both in the Old Testament and in
Josephus, that the best men did not then scruple to deceive those
public enemies who might justly be destroyed; as also might
deceive ill men in order to save life, and deliver themselves
from the tyranny of their unjust oppressors, and this by telling
direct falsehoods; I mean, all this where no oath was demanded of
them, otherwise they never durst venture on such a procedure. Nor
was Josephus himself of any other opinion or practice, as I shall
remark in the note on Antiq. B. IX. ch. 4. sect. 3. And observe,
that I still call this woman Rahab, an innkeeper, not a harlot,
the whole history, both in our copies, and especially in
Josephus, implying no more. It was indeed so frequent a thing,
that women who were innkeepers were also harlots, or maintainers
of harlots, that the word commonly used for real harlots was
usually given them. See Dr. Bernard's note here, and Judges 11:1,
and Antiq. B. V. ch. 7. sect. 8.

(3) Upon occasion of this devoting of Jericho to destruction, and
the exemplary punishment of Achar, who broke that duerein or
anathema, and of the punishment of the future breaker of it,
Hiel, 1 Kings 16:34, as also of the punishment of Saul, for
breaking the like chefera or anathema, against the Amalekites, 1
Samuel 15., we may observe what was the true meaning of that law,
Leviticus 27:28: "None devoted which shall be devoted of shall be
redeemed; but shall be put to death;" i.e. whenever any of the
Jews' public enemies had been, for their wickedness, solemnly
devoted to destruction, according to the Divine command, as were
generally the seven wicked nations of Canaan, and those sinners
the Amalekites, 1 Samuel 15:18, it was utterly unlawful to permit
those enemies to be redeemed; but they were to be all utterly
destroyed. See also Numbers 23:2, 3.

(4) That the name of this chief was not Achan, as in the common
copies, but Achar, as here in Josephus, and in the Apostolical
Constit. B. VII. ch. 2., and elsewhere, is evident by the
allusion to that name in the curse of Joshua, "Why hast thou
troubled us? - the Lord shall trouble thee;" where the Hebrew
word alludes only to the name Achar, but not to Achan.
Accordingly, this Valley of Achar, or Achor, was and is a known
place, a little north of Gilgal, so called from the days of
Joshua till this day. See Joshua 7:26; Isaiah 65:10; Hosea 2:15;
and Dr. Bernard's notes here.

(5) Here Dr. Bernard very justly observes, that a few words are
dropped out of Josephus's copies, on account of the repetition of
the word shekels, and that it ought to be read thus: - "A piece
of gold that weighed fifty shekels, and one of silver that
weighed two hundred shekels," as in our other copies, Joshua

(6) I agree here with Dr. Bernard, and approve of Josephus's
interpretation of Gilgal for liberty. See Joshua 5:9.

(7) Whether this lengthening of the day, by the standing still of
the sun and moon, were physical and real, by the miraculous
stoppage of the diurnal motion of the earth for about half a
revolution, or whether only apparent, by aerial phosphori
imitating the sun and moon as stationary so long, while clouds
and the night hid the real ones, and this parhelion or mock sun
affording sufficient light for Joshua's pursuit and complete
victory, (which aerial phosphori in other shapes have been more
than ordinarily common of late years,) cannot now be determined:
philosophers and astronomers will naturally incline to this
latter hypothesis. In the mean thee, the fact itself was
mentioned in the book of Jasher, now lost, Joshua 10:13, and is
confirmed by Isaiah, 28:21, Habakkuk, 3:11, and by the son of
Sirach, Ecclus. 46:4. In the 18th Psalm of Solomon, yet. it is
also said of the luminaries, with relation, no doubt, to this and
the other miraculous standing still and going back, in the days
of Joshua and Hezekiah, "They have not wandered, from the day
that he created them; they have not forsaken their way, from
ancient generations, unless it were when God enjoined them [so to
do] by the command of his servants." See Authent. Rec. part i. p.

(8) Of the books laid up in the temple, see the note on Antiq. B.
III. ch. 1. sect. 7.

(9) Since not only Procopius and Suidas, but an earlier author,
Moses Chorenensis, p. 52, 53, and perhaps from his original
author Mariba Carina, one as old as Alexander the Great, sets
down the famous inscription at Tangier concerning the old
Canaanites driven out of Palestine by Joshua, take it here in
that author's own words: "We are those exiles that were governors
of the Canaanites, but have been driven away by Joshua the
robber, and are come to inhabit here." See the note there. Nor is
it unworthy of our notice what Moses Chorenensis adds, p. 53, and
this upon a diligent examination, viz. that "one of those eminent
men among the Canaanites came at the same thee into Armenia, and
founded the Genthuniaa family, or tribe; and that this was
confirmed by the manners of the same family or tribe, as being
like those of the Canaanites."

(10) By prophesying, when spoken of a high priest, Josephus, both
here and frequently elsewhere, means no more than consulting God
by Urim, which the reader is still to bear in mind upon all
occasions. And if St. John, who was contemporary with Josephus,
and of the same country, made use of this style, when he says
that "Caiaphas being high priest that year, prophesied that Jesus
should die for that nation, and not for that nation only, but
that also he should gather together in one the children of God
that were scattered abroad," chap. 11;51, 52, he may possibly
mean, that this was revealed to the high priest by an
extraordinary voice from between the cherubims, when he had his
breastplate, or Urim and Thummim, on before; or the most holy
place of the temple, which was no other than the oracle of Urim
and Thummim. Of which above, in the note on Antiq. B. III. ch. 8.
sect. 9.

(11) This great number of seventy-two reguli, or small kings,
over whom Adonibezek had tyrannized, and for which he was
punished according to the lex talionis, as well as the thirty-one
kings of Canaan subdued by Joshua, and named in one chapter,
Joshua 12., and thirty-two kings, or royal auxiliaries to
Benhadad king of Syria, 1 Kings 20:1; Antiq. B. VIII. ch. 14.
sect. 1, intimate to us what was the ancient form of government
among several nations before the monarchies began, viz. that
every city or large town, with its neighboring villages, was a
distinct government by itself; which is the more remarkable,
because this was certainly the form of ecclesiastical government
that was settled by the apostles, and preserved throughout the
Christian church in the first ages of Christianity. Mr. Addison
is of opinion, that "it would certainly be for the good of
mankind to have all the mighty empires and monarchies of the
world cantoned out into petty states and principalities, which,
like so many large families, might lie under the observation of
their proper governors, so that the care of the prince might
extend itself to every individual person under his protection;
though he despairs of such a scheme being brought about, and
thinks that if it were, it would quickly be destroyed." Remarks
on Italy, 4to, p. 151. Nor is it unfit to be observed here, that
the Armenian records, though they give us the history of
thirty-nine of their ancientest heroes or governors after the
Flood, before the days of Sardanapalus, had no proper king till
the fortieth, Parerus. See Moses Chorehensis, p. 55. And that
Almighty God does not approve of such absolute and tyrannical
monarchies, any one may learn that reads Deuteronomy 17:14-20,
and 1 Samuel 8:1-22; although, if such kings are set up as own
him for their supreme King, and aim to govern according to his
laws, he hath admitted of them, and protected them and their
subjects in all generations.

(12) Josephus's early date of this history before the beginning
of the Judges, or when there was no king in Israel, Judges 19;1,
is strongly confirmed by the large number of Benjamites, both in
the days of Asa and Jehoshaphat, 2 Chronicles 14:8, and 16:17,
who yet were here reduced to six hundred men; nor can those
numbers be at all supposed genuine, if they were reduced so late
as the end of the Judges, where our other copies place this

(13) Josephus seems here to have made a small mistake, when he
took the Hebrew word Bethel, which denotes the house of God, or
the tabernacle, Judges 20:18, for the proper name of a place,
Bethel, it no way appearing that the tabernacle was ever at
Bethel; only so far it is true, that Shiloh, the place of the
tabernacle in the days of the Judges, was not far from Bethel.

(14) It appears by the sacred history, Judges 1:16; 3:13, that
Eglon's pavilion or palace was at the City of Palm-Trees, as the
place where Jericho had stood is called after its destruction by
Joshua, that is, at or near the demolished city. Accordingly,
Josephus says it was at Jericho, or rather in that fine country
of palm-trees, upon, or near to, the same spot of ground on which
Jericho had formerly stood, and on which it was rebuilt by Hiel,
1 Kings 16:31. Our other copies that avoid its proper name
Jericho, and call it the City of Palm-Trees only, speak here more
accurately than Josephus.

(15) These eighty years for the government of Ehud are necessary
to Josephus's usual large numbers between the exodus and the
building of the temple, of five hundred and ninety-two or six
hundred and twelve years, but not to the smallest number of four
hundred and eighty years, 1 Kings 6:1; which lesser number
Josephus seems sometimes to have followed. And since in the
beginning of the next chapter it is said by Josephus, that there
was hardly a breathing time for the Israelites before Jabin came
and enslaved them, it is highly probable that some of the copies
in his time had here only eight years instead of eighty; as had
that of Theophilus of Antioch, Ad Autolye. 1. iii., and this most
probably from his copy of Josephus.

(16) Our present copies of Josephus all omit Tola among the
judges, though the other copies have him next after Abimelech,
and allot twenty-three years to his administration, Judges 10:1,
2; yet do all Josephus's commentators conclude, that in
Josephus's sum of the years of the judges, his twenty-three years
are included; hence we are to confess, that somewhat has been
here lost out of his copies.

(17) Josephus justly condemns Jephtha, as do the Apostolical
Constitutions, B. VII. ch. 37., for his rash vow, whether it were
for sacrificing his daughter, as Josephus thought, or for
dedicating her, who was his only child, to perpetual virginity,
at the tabernacle or elsewhere, which I rather suppose. If he had
vowed her for a sacrifice, she ought to have been redeemed,
Leviticus 27:1-8; but of the sense of ver. 28, 29, as relating
not to things vowed to. God, but devoted to destruction, see the
note on Antiq. B. V. ch. 1. sect. 8.

(18) I can discover no reason why Manoah and his wife came so
constantly into these suburbs to pray for children, but because
there was a synagogue or place of devotion in those suburbs.

(19) Here, by a prophet, Josephus seems only to mean one that was
born by a particular providence, lived after the manner of a
Nazarite devoted to God, and was to have an extraordinary
commission and strength from God for the judging and avenging his
people Israel, without any proper prophetic revelations at all.

(20) This fountain, called Lehi, or the Jaw-bone, is still in
being, as travelers assure us, and was known by this very name in
the days of Josephus, and has been known by the same name in all
those past ages. See Antiq. B. VII. ch. 12. sect. 4.

(21) See this justly observed in the Apostolical Constitutions,
B. VII. ch. 37., that Samson's prayer was heard, but that it was
before this his transgression.

(22) Although there had been a few occasional prophets before,
yet was this Samuel the first of a constant succession of
prophets in the Jewish nation, as is implied in St. Peter's
words, Acts 3:24 "Yea, and all the prophets, from Samuel, and
those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have likewise
foretold of those days." See also Acts 13:20. The others were
rather sometime called righteous men, Matthew 10:41; 13:17.

Book 6 Footnotes

(1) Dagon, a famous maritime god or idol, is generally supposed
to have been like a man above the navel, and like a fish beneath

(2) Spanheim informs us here, that upon the coins of Tenedos, and
those of other cities, a field-mouse is engraven, together with
Apollo Smintheus, or Apollo, the driver away of field-mice, on
account of his being supposed to have freed certain tracts of
ground from those mice; which coins show how great a judgment
such mice have sometimes been, and how the deliverance from them
was then esteemed the effect of a divine power; which
observations are highly suitable to this history.

(3) This device of the Philistines, of having a yoke of kine to
draw this cart, into which they put the ark of the Hebrews, is
greatly illustrated by Sanchoniatho's account, under his ninth
generation, that Agrouerus, or Agrotes, the husbandman, had a
much-worshipped statue and temple, carried about by one or more
yoke of oxen, or kine, in Phoenicia, in the neighborhood of these
Philistines. See Cumberland's Sanchoniatho, p. 27 and 247; and
Essay on the Old Testament, Append. p. 172.

(4) These seventy men, being not so much as Levites, touched the
ark in a rash or profane manner, and were slain by the hand of
God for such their rashness and profaneness, according to the
Divine threatenings, Numbers 4:15, 20; but how other copies come
to add such an incredible number as fifty thousand in this one
town, or small city, I know not. See Dr. Wall's Critical Notes on
1 Samuel 6:19.

(5) This is the first place, so far as I remember, in these
Antiquities, where Josephus begins to call his nation Jews, he
having hitherto usually, if not constantly, called them either
Hebrews or Israelites. The second place soon follows; see also
ch. 3. sect. 5.

(6) Of this great mistake of Saul and his servant, as if true
prophet of God would accept of a gift or present, for foretelling
what was desired of him, see the note on B. IV. ch. 6. sect. 3.


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