The Antiquities of the Jews
Part 25 out of 26
Book of Job, as not particularly relating to that nation]. He
justly therefore returns to the Jewish affairs after the death of
Longimanus, without any intention of Darius II. before Artaxerxes
Mnemon, or of Ochus or Arogus, as the Canon of Ptolemy names
them, after him. Nor had he probably mentioned this other
Artaxerxes, unless Bagoses, one of the governors and commanders
under him, had occasioned the pollution of the Jewish temple, and
had greatly distressed the Jews upon that pollution.
(23) The place showed Alexander might be Daniel 7:6; 8:3-8,
20--22; 11:3; some or all of them very plain predictions of
Alexander's conquests and successors.
BOOK 12 FOOTNOTES
(1) Here Josephus uses the very word koinopltagia, "eating things
common," for "eating things unclean;" as does our New Testament,
Acts 10:14, 15, 28; 11:8, 9; Romans 14:14,
(2) The great number of these Jews and Samaritans that were
formerly carried into Egypt by Alexander, and now by Ptolemy the
son of Lagus, appear afterwards in the vast multitude who as we
shall see presently, were soon ransomed by Philadelphus, and by
him made free, before he sent for the seventy-two interpreters;
in the many garrisons and other soldiers of that nation in Egypt;
in the famous settlement of Jews, and the number of their
synagogues at Alexandria, long afterward; and in the vehement
contention between the Jews and Samatitans under Philometer,
about the place appointed for public worship in the law of Moses,
whether at the Jewish temple of Jerusalem, or at the Samaritan
temple of Gerizzim; of all which our author treats hereafter. And
as to the Samaritans carried into Egypt under the same princes,
Scaliger supposes that those who have a great synagogue at Cairo,
as also those whom the Arabic geographer speaks of as having
seized on an island in the Red Sea, are remains of them at this
very day, as the notes here inform us.
(3) Of the translation of the other parts of the Old Testament by
seventy Egyptian Jews, in the reigns of Ptolemy the son of Lagus,
and Philadelphus; as also of the translation of the Pentateuch by
seventy-two Jerusalem Jews, in the seventh year of Philadelphus
at Alexandria, as given us an account of by Aristeus, and thence
by Philo and Josephus, with a vindication of Aristeus's history;
see the Appendix to Lit. Accorap. of Proph. at large, p.
(4) Although this number one hundred and twenty drachmee [of
Alexandria, or sixty Jewish shekels] be here three times
repeated, and that in all Josephus's copies, Greek and Latin; yet
since all the copies of Aristeus, whence Josephus took his
relation, have this sum several times, and still as no more than
twenty drachmae, or ten Jewish shekels; and since the sum of the
talents, to be set down presently, which is little above four
hundred and sixty, for somewhat more than one hundred thousand
slaves, and is nearly the same in Josephus and Aristeus, does
better agree to twenty than to one hundred and twenty drachmae;
and since the value of a slave of old was at the utmost but
thirty shekels, or sixty drachmae; see Exodus 21:32; while in the
present circumstances of these Jewish slaves, and those so very
numerous, Philadelphus would rather redeem them at a cheaper than
at a dearer rate; - there is great reason to prefer here
Aristeus's copies before Josephus's.
(5) We have a very great encomium of this Simon the Just, the son
of Onias, in the fiftieth chapter of the Ecclesiasticus, through
the whole chapter. Nor is it improper to consult that chapter
itself upon this occasion.
(6) When we have here and presently mention made of
Philadelphus's queen and sister Arsinoe, we are to remember, with
Spanheim, that Arsinoe was both his sister and his wife,
according to the old custom of Persia, and of Egypt at this very
time; nay, of the Assyrians long afterwards. See Antiq. B. XX.
ch. 2. sect. 1. Whence we have, upon the coins of Philadelphus,
this known inscription, "The divine brother and sister."
(7) The Talmudists say, that it is not lawful to write the law in
letters of gold, contrary to this certain and very ancient
example. See Hudson's and Reland's notes here.
(8) This is the most ancient example I have met with of a grace,
or short prayer, or thanksgiving before meat; which, as it is
used to be said by a heathen priest, was now said by Eleazar, a
Jewish priest, who was one of these seventy-two interpreters. The
next example I have met with, is that of the Essenes, (Of the
War, B. II. ch. 8. sect. 5,) both before and after it; those of
our Savior before it, Mark 8:6; John 6:11, 23; and St. Paul, Acts
27:35; and a form of such a grace or prayer for Christians, at
the end of the fifth book of the Apostolical Constitutions, which
seems to have been intended for both times, both before and after
(9) They were rather political questions and answers, tending to
the good and religious government of mankind.
(10) This purification of the interpreters, by washing in the
sea, before they prayed to God every morning, and before they set
about translating, may be compared with the like practice of
Peter the apostle, in the Recognitions of Clement, B. IV. ch. 3.,
and B. V. ch. 36., and with the places of the Proseuchre, or of
prayer, which were sometimes built near the sea or rivers also;
of which matter see Antiq. B. XIV. ch. 10. sect. 9,3; Acts 16:13.
(11) The use of oil was much greater, and the donatives of it
much more valuable, in Judea, and the neighboring countries, than
it is amongst us. It was also, in the days of Josephus, thought
unlawful for Jews to make use of any oil that was prepared by
heathens, perhaps on account of some superstitions intermixed
with its preparation by those heathens. When therefore the
heathens were to make them a donative of oil,: they paid them
money instead of it. See Of the War, B. II. ch. 21. sect. 2; the
Life of Josephus, sect. 13; and Hudson's note on the place before
(12) This, and the like great and just characters, of the
justice, and equity. and generosity of the old Romans, both to
the Jews and other conquered nations, affords us a very good
reason why Almighty God, upon the rejection of the Jews for their
wickedness, chose them for his people, and first established
Christianity in that empire; of which matter see Josephus here,
sect. 2; as also Antiq. B. XIV. ch. 10. sect. 22, 23; B. XVI. ch.
2. sect. 4.
(13) The name of this place, Phicol, is the very same with that
of the chief captain of Abimelech's host, in the days of Abraham,
Genesis 21:22, and might possibly be the place of that Phicol's
nativity or abode, for it seems to have been in the south part of
Palestine, as that was.
(14) Whence it comes that these Lacedemonians declare themselves
here to be of kin to the Jews, as derived from the same ancestor,
Abraham, I cannot tell, unless, as Grotius supposes, they were
derived from Dores, that came of the Pelasgi. These are by
Herodotus called Barbarians, and perhaps were derived from the
Syrians and Arabians, the posterity of Abraham by Keturah. See
Antiq. B. XIV. ch. 10. sect. 22; and Of the War, B. I. ch. 26.
sect. l; and Grot. on 1 Macc. 12:7. We may further observe from
the Recognitions of Clement, that Eliezer, of Damascus, the
servant of Abraham, Genesis 15:2; 24., was of old by some taken
for his son. So that if the Lacedemonians were sprung from him,
they might think themselves to be of the posterity of Abraham, as
well as the Jews, who were sprung from Isaac. And perhaps this
Eliezer of Damascus is that very Damascus whom Trogus Pompeius,
as abridged by Justin, makes the founder of the Jewish nation
itself, though he afterwards blunders, and makes Azelus, Adores,
Abraham, and Israel kings of Judea, and successors to this
Damascus. It may not be improper to observe further, that Moses
Chorenensis, in his history of the Armenians, informs us, that
the nation of the Parthians was also derived from Abraham by
Keturah and her children.
(15) This word" Gymnasium" properly denotes a place where the
exercises were performed naked, which because it would naturally
distinguish circumcised Jews from uncircumcised Gentiles, these
Jewish apostates endeavored to appear uncircumcised, by means of
a surgical operation, hinted at by St. Paul, 1 Corinthians 7:18,
and described by Celsus, B. VII. ch. 25., as Dr. Hudson here
(16) Hereabout Josephus begins to follow the First Book of the
Maccabees, a most excellent and most authentic history; and
accordingly it is here, with great fidelity and exactness,
abridged by him; between whose present copies there seem to he
fewer variations than in any other sacred Hebrew book of the Old
Testament whatsoever, (for this book also was originally written
in Hebrew,) which is very natural, because it was written so much
nearer to the times of Josephus than the rest were.
(17) This citadel, of which we have such frequent mention in the
following history, both in the Maccabees and Josephus, seems to
have been a castle built on a hill, lower than Mount Zion, though
upon its skirts, and higher than Mount Moriah, but between them
both; which hill the enemies of the Jews now got possession of,
and built on it this citadel, and fortified it, till a good while
afterwards the Jews regained it, demolished it, and leveled the
hill itself with the common ground, that their enemies might no
more recover it, and might thence overlook the temple itself, and
do them such mischief as they had long undergone from it, Antiq.
B. XIII. ch. 6. sect. 6.
(18) This allegation of the Samaritans is remarkable, that though
they were not Jews, yet did they, from ancient times, observe the
Sabbath day, and, as they elsewhere pretend, the Sabbatic year
also, Antiq. B. XI. ch. 8. sect. 6.
(19) That this appellation of Maccabee was not first of all given
to Judas Maccabeus, nor was derived from any initial letters of
the Hebrew words on his banner, "Mi Kamoka Be Elire, Jehovah?"
("Who is like unto thee among the gods, O Jehovah?") Exodus 15:11
as the modern Rabbins vainly pretend, see Authent. Rec. Part I.
p. 205, 206. Only we may note, by the way, that the original name
of these Maccabees, and their posterity, was Asamoneans; which
was derived from Asamoneus, the great-grandfather of Mattathias,
as Josephus here informs us.
(20) The reason why Bethshah was called Scythopolis is well known
from Herodotus, B. I. p. 105, and Syncellus, p. 214, that the
Scythians, when they overran Asia, in the days of Josiah, seized
on this city, and kept it as long as they continued in Asia, from
which time it retained the name of Scythopolis, or the City of
(21) This most providential preservation of all the religious
Jews in this expedition, which was according to the will of God,
is observable often among God's people, the Jews; and somewhat
very like it in the changes of the four monarchies, which were
also providential. See Prideaux at the years 331, 333, and 334.
(22) Here is another great instance of Providence, that when,
even at the very time that Simon, and Judas, and Jonathan were so
miraculously preserved and blessed, in the just defense of their
laws and religion, these other generals of the Jews, who went to
fight for honor in a vain-glorious way, and without any
commission from God, or the family he had raised up to deliver
them, were miserably disappointed and defeated. See 1 Macc. 5:61,
(23) Since St. Paul, a Pharisee, confesses that he had not known
concupiscence, or desires, to be sinful, had not the tenth
commandment said, "Thou shalt not covet," Romans 7:7, the case
seems to have been much the same with our Josephus, who was of
the same sect, that he had not a deep sense of the greatness of
any sins that proceeded no further than the intention. However,
since Josephus speaks here properly of the punishment of death,
which is not intended by any law, either of God or man, for the
bare intention, his words need not to be strained to mean, that
sins intended, but not executed, were no sins at all.
(24) No wonder that Josephus here describes Antiochus Eupator as
young, and wanting tuition, when he came to the crown, since
Appian informs us (Syriac. p. 177) that he was then but nine
(25) It is no way probable that Josephus would call Bacchidoa,
that bitter and bloody enemy of the Jews, as our present copies
have it, a man good, or kind, and gentle, What the author of the
First Book of Maccabees, whom Josephus here follows, instead of
that character, says of him, is, that he was a great man in the
kingdom, and faithful to his king; which was very probably
Josephus's meaning also.
(26) Josephus's copies must have been corrupted when they here
give victory to Nicanor, contrary to the words following, which
imply that he who was beaten fled into the citadel, which for
certain belonged to the city of David, or to Mount Zion, and was
in the possession of Nicanor's garrison, and not of Judas's. As
also it is contrary to the express words of Josephus's original
author, 1 Macc. 7:32, who says that Nicanor lost about five
thousand men, and fled to the city of David.
(27) This account of the miserable death of Alcimus, or Jac-mus,
the wicked high priest, (the first that was not of the family of
the high priests, and made by a vile heathen, Lysias,) before the
death of Judas, and of Judas's succession to him as high priest,
both here, and at the conclusion of this book, directly
contradicts 1 Macc. 9:54-57, which places his death after the
death of Judas, and says not a syllable of the high priesthood of
Judas. How well the Roman histories agree to this account of the
conquests and powerful condition of the Romans at this time, see
the notes in Havercamp's edition; only that the number of the
senators of Rome was then just three hundred and twenty, is, I
think, only known from 1 Macc. 8:15.
(28) This subscription is wanting 1 Macc. 8:17, 29, and must be
the words of Josephus, who by mistake thought, as we have just
now seen, that Judas was at this time high priest, and
accordingly then reckoned his brother Jonathan to be the general
of the army, which yet he seems not to have been till after the
death of Judas.
(29) That this copy of Josephus, as he wrote it, had here not one
thousand, but three thousand, with 1 Macc 9:5, is very plain,
because though the main part ran away at first, even in Josephus,
as well as in 1 Macc. 9:6, yet, as there, so here, eight hundred
are said to have remained with Judas, which would be absurd, if
the whole number had been no more than one thousand.
BOOK 13 FOOTNOTES
(1) This Alexander Bala, who certainly pretended to be the son of
Antiochus Epiphanes, and was owned for such by the Jews and
Romans, and many others, and yet is by several historians deemed
to be a counterfeit, and of no family at all, is, however, by
Josephus believed to have been the real son of that Antiochus,
and by him always spoken of accordingly. And truly, since the
original contemporary and authentic author of the First Book of
Maccabees (10:1) calls him by his father's name, Epiphanes, and
says he was the son of Antiochus, I suppose the other writers,
who are all much later, are not to be followed against such
evidence, though perhaps Epiphanes might have him by a woman of
no family. The king of Egypt also, Philometor, soon gave him his
daughter in marriage, which he would hardly have done, had he
believed him to be a counterfeit, and of so very mean a birth as
the later historians pretend.
(2) Since Jonathan plainly did not put on the pontifical robes
till seven or eight years after the death of his brother Judas,
or not till the feast of tabernacles, in the 160th of the
Seleucidm, 1 Macc. 10;21, Petitus's emendation seems here to
deserve consideration, who, instead of "after four years since
the death of his brother Judas," would have us read, "and
therefore after eight years since the death of his brother
Judas." This would tolerably well agree with the date of the
Maccabees, and with Josephus's own exact chronology at the end of
the twentieth book of these Antiquities, which the present text
cannot be made to do.
(3) Take Grotius's note here: "The Jews," says he, "were wont to
present crowns to the kings [of Syria]; afterwards that gold
which was paid instead of those crowns, or which was expended in
making them, was called the crown gold and crown tax." On 1 Macc.
(4) Since the rest of the historians now extant give this
Demetrius thirteen years, and Josephus only eleven years, Dean
Prideaux does not amiss in ascribing to him the mean number
(5) It seems to me contrary to the opinion of Josephus, and of
the moderns, both Jews and Christians, that this prophecy of
Isaiah, 19:19, etc., "In that day there shall be an altar to the
Lord in the midst of the land of Egypt," etc., directly foretold
the building of this temple of Onias in Egypt, and was a
sufficient warrant to the Jews for building it, and for
worshipping the true God. the God of Israel, therein. See
Authent. Rec. 11. p. 755. That God seems to have soon better
accepted of the sacrifices and prayers here offered him than
those at Jerusalem, see the note on ch. 10. sect. 7. And truly
the marks of Jewish corruption or interpolation in this text, in
order to discourage their people from approving of the Worship of
God here, are very strong, and highly deserve our consideration
and correction. The foregoing verse in Isaiah runs thus in our
common copies, "In that day shall five cities in the land of
Egypt speak the language of Canaan," [the Hebrew language; shall
be full of Jews, whose sacred books were in Hebrew,] "and swear
to the Lord of hosts; one" [or the first] "shall be called, The
City of Destruction," Isaiah 19:18. A strange-name, "City of
Destruction," upon so joyful occasion, and a name never heard of
in the land of Egypt, or perhaps in any other nation. The old
reading was evidently the City of the Sun, or Heliopolis; and
Unkelos, in effect, and Symmachus, with the Arabic version,
entirely confess that to be the true reading. The Septuagint
also, though they have the text disguised in the common copies,
and call it Asedek, the City of Righteousness; yet in two or
three other copies the Hebrew word itself for the Sun, Achares,
or Thares, is preserved. And since Onias insists with the king
and queen, that Isaiah's prophecy contained many other
predictions relating to this place besides the words by him
recited, it is highly probable that these were especially meant
by him; and that one main reason why he applied this prediction
to himself, and to his prefecture of Heliopolis, which Dean
Prideaux well proves was in that part of Egypt, and why he chose
to build in that prefecture of Heliopolis, though otherwise an
improper place, was this, that the same authority that he had for
building this temple in Egypt, the very same he had for building
it in his own prefecture of Heliopolis also, which he desired to
do, and which he did accordingly. Dean Prideaux has much ado to
avoid seeing this corruption of the Hebrew; but it being in
support of his own opinion about this temple, he durst not see
it; and indeed he reasons here in the most injudicious manner
possible. See him at the year 149.
(6) A very unfair disputation this! while the Jewish disputant,
knowing that he could not properly prove out of the Pentateuch,
that "the place which the Lord their God shall choose to place
his name there," so often referred to in the Book of Deuteronomy,
was Jerusalem any more than Gerizzim, that being not determined
till the days of David, Antiq. B. VII. ch. 13. sect. 4, proves
only, what the Samaritans did not deny, that the temple at
Jerusalem was much more ancient, and much more celebrated and
honored, than that at Gerizzim, which was nothing to the present
purpose. The whole evidence, by the very oaths of both parties,
being, we see, obliged to be confined to the law of Moses, or to
the Pentateuch alone. However, worldly policy and interest and
the multitude prevailing, the court gave sentence, as usual, on
the stronger side. and poor Sabbeus and Theodosius, the Samaritan
disputants, were martyred, and this, so far as appears, without
any direct hearing at all, which is like the usual practice of
such political courts about matters of religion. Our copies say
that the body of the Jews were in a great concern about those men
(in the plural) who were to dispute for their temple at
Jerusalem, whereas it seems here they had but one disputant,
Andronicus by name. Perhaps more were prepared to speak on the
Jews' side; but the firstraying answered to his name, and
overcome the Samaritans, there was necessity for any other
defender of the Jerusalem temple.
(7) Of the several Apollonius about these ages, see Dean Prideaux
at the year 148. This Apollonius Daus was, by his account, the
son of that Apollonius who had been made governor of Celesyria
and Phoenicia by Seleueus Philopater, and was himself a confidant
of his son Demetrius the father, and restored to his father's
government by him, but afterwards revolted from him to Alexander;
but not to Demetrius the son, as he supposes.
(8) Dr. Hudson here observes, that the Phoenicians and Romans
used to reward such as had deserved well of them, by presenting
to them a golden button. See ch. 5. sect. 4.
(9) This name, Demetrius Nicator, or Demetrius the conqueror, is
so written on his coins still extant, as Hudson and Spanheim
inform us; the latter of whom gives us here the entire
inscription, "King Demetrius the God, Philadelphus, Nicator."
(10) This clause is otherwise rendered in the First Book of
Maccabees, 12:9, "For that we have the holy books of Scripture in
our bands to comfort us." The Hebrew original being lost, we
cannot certainly judge which was the truest version only the
coherence favors Josephus. But if this were the Jews' meaning,
that they were satisfied out of their Bible that the Jews and
Lacedemonians were of kin, that part of their Bible is now lost,
for we find no such assertion in our present copies.
(11) Those that suppose Josephus to contradict himself in his
three several accounts of the notions of the Pharisees, this
here, and that earlier one, which is the largest, Of the War B.
II. ch. 8. sect. 14, and that later, Antiq. B. XVIII. ch. 1.
sect. 3, as if he sometimes said they introduced an absolute
fatality, and denied all freedom of human actions, is almost
wholly groundless if he ever, as the very learned Casaubon here
truly observes, asserting, that the Pharisees were between the
Essens and Sadducees, and did so far ascribe all to fate or
Divine Providence as was consistent with the freedom of human
actions. However, their perplexed way of talking about fate, or
Providence, as overruling all things, made it commonly thought
they were willing to excuse their sins by ascribing them to fate,
as in the Apostolical Constitutions, B. VI. ch. 6. Perhaps under
the same general name some difference of opinions in this point
might be propagated, as is very common in all parties, especially
in points of metaphysical subtilty. However, our Josephus, who in
his heart was a great admirer of the piety of the Essens, was yet
in practice a Pharisee, as he himself informs us, in his own
Life, sect. 2. And his account of this doctrine of the Pharisees
is for certain agreeable to his own opinion, who ever both fully
allowed the freedom of human actions, and yet strongly believed
the powerful interposition of Divine Providence. See concerning
this matter a remarkable clause, Antiq. B. XVI. ch. 11. sect. 7.
(12) This king, who was of the famous race of Arsaces, is
bethused to call them; but by the elder author of the First
Maccahere, and 1 Macc. 14:2, called by the family name Arsaces;
was, the king of the Persians and Medes, according to the land
but Appion says his proper name was Phraates. He is language of
the Eastern nations. See Authent. Rec. Part II. also called by
Josephus the king of the Parthians, as the Greeks p. 1108.
(13) There is some error in the copies here, when no more than
four years are ascribed to the high priesthood of Jonathan. We
know by Josephus's last Jewish chronology, Antiq. B. XX. ch. 10.,
that there was an interval of seven years between the death of
Alcimus, or Jacimus, the last high priest, and the real high
priesthood of Jonathan, to whom yet those seven years seem here
to be ascribed, as a part of them were to Judas before, Antiq. B.
XII. ch. 10. sect. 6. Now since, besides these seven years
interregnum in the pontificate, we are told, Antiq. B. XX. ch.
10., that Jonathan's real high priesthood lasted seven years
more, these two seven years will make up fourteen years, which I
suppose was Josephus's own number in this place, instead of the
four in our present copies.
(14) These one hundred and seventy years of the Assyrians mean no
more, as Josephus explains himself here, than from the sara of
Seleucus, which as it is known to have began on the 312th year
before the Christian sara, from its spring in the First Book of
Maccabees, and from its autumn in the Second Book of Maccabees,
so did it not begin at Babylon till the next spring, on the 311th
year. See Prid. at the year 312. And it is truly observed by Dr.
Hudson on this place, that the Syrians and Assyrians are
sometimes confounded in ancient authors, according to the words
of Justin, the epitomiser of Trogus -pompeius, who says that "the
Assyrians were afterward called Syrian." B. I. ch. 11. See Of the
War, B. V. ch. 9. sect. 4, where the Philistines themselves, at
the very south limit of Syria, in its utmost extent, are called
Assyrians by Josephus as Spanheim observes.
(15) It must here be diligently noted, that Josephus's copy of
the First Book of Maccabees, which he had so carefully followed,
and faithfully abridged, as far as the fiftieth verse of the
thirteenth chapter, seems there to have ended. What few things
there are afterward common to both, might probably be learned by
him from some other more imperfect records. However, we must
exactly observe here, what the remaining part of that book of the
Maccabees informs us of, and what Josephus would never have
omitted, had his copy contained so much, that this Simon the
Great, the Maccabee, made a league with Antiochus Soter, the son
of Demetrius Soter, and brother of the other Demetrius, who was
now a captive in Parthis: that upon his coming to the crown,
about the 140th year before the Christian sets, he granted great
privileges to the Jewish nation, and to Simon their high priest
and ethnarch; which privileges Simon seems to have taken of his
own accord about three years before. In particular, he gave him
leave to coin money for his country with his own stamp; and as
concerning Jerusalem and the sanctuary, that they should be free,
or, as the vulgar Latin hath it, "holy and free," 1 Macc. 15:6,
7, which I take to be the truer reading, as being the very words
of his father's concession offered to Jonathan several years
before, ch. 10:31; and Antiq. B, XIII. ch. 2. sect. 3. Now what
makes this date and these grants greatly remarkable, is the state
of the remaining genuine shekels of the Jews with Samaritan
characters, which seem to have been (most of them at least)
coined in the first four years of this Simon the Asamonean, and
having upon them these words on one side, "Jerusalem the Holy ;"
and on the reverse, "In the Year of Freedom," 1, or 2, or 3, or
4; which shekels therefore are original monuments of these times,
and undeniable marks of the truth of the history in these
chapters, though it be in great measure omitted by Josephus. See
Essay on the Old Test. p. 157, 158. The reason why I rather
suppose that his copy of the Maccabees wanted these chapters,
than that his own copies are here imperfect, is this, that all
their contents are not here omitted, though much the greatest
(16) How Trypho killed this Antiochus the epitome of Livy informs
us, ch. 53, viz. that he corrupted his physicians or surgeons,
who falsely pretending to the people that he was perishing with
the stone, as they cut him for it, killed him, which exactly
agrees with Josephus.
(17) That this Antiochus, the son of Alexader Balas, was called
"The God," is evident from his coins, which Spanheim assures us
bear this inscription, "King Antiochus the God, Epiphanes the
(18) Here Josephus begins to follow and to abridge the next
sacred Hebrew book, styled in the end of the First Book of
Maccabees, "The Chronicle of John [Hyrcanus's] high priesthood;"
but in some of the Greek copies," The Fourth Book of Maccabees."
A Greek version of this chronicle was extant not very long ago in
the days of Sautes Pagninus, and Sixtus Senensis, at Lyons,
though it seems to have been there burnt, and to be utterly lost.
See Sixtus Senensis's account of it, of its many Hebraisms, and
its great agreement with Josephus's abridgement, in the Authent.
Rec. Part I. p. 206, 207, 208.
(19) Hence we learn, that in the days of this excellent high
priest, John Hyrcanus, the observation of the Sabbatic year, as
Josephus supposed, required a rest from war, as did that of the
weekly sabbath from work; I mean this, unless in the case of
necessity, when the Jews were attacked by their enemies, in which
case indeed, and in which alone, they then allowed defensive
fighting to be lawful, even on the sabbath day, as we see in
several places of Josephus, Antlq. B. XII. ch. 6. sect. 2; B.
XIII. ch. 1. sect. 2; Of. the War, B. I. ch. 7. sect. 3. But then
it must be noted, that this rest from war no way appears in the
First Book of Maccabees, ch. 16., but the direct contrary; though
indeed the Jews, in the days of Antiochus Epiphanes, did not
venture upon fighting on the Sabbath day, even in the defense of
their own lives, till the Asamoneans or Maccabees decreed so to
do, 1 Macc. 2:32-41; Antiq. B. XII. ch. 6. sect. 2.
(20) Josephus's copies, both Greek and Latin, have here a gross
mistake, when they say that this first year of John Hyrcanus,
which we have just now seen to have been a Sabbatic year, was in
the 162nd olympiad, whereas it was for certain the second year of
the 161st. See the like before, B. XII. ch. 7. sect. 6.
(21) This heliacal setting of the Pleiades, or seven stars, was,
in the days of Hyrcanus and Josephus, early in the spring, about
February, the time of the latter rain in Judea; and this, so far
as I remember, is the only astronomical character of time,
besides one eclipse of the moon in the reign of Herod, that we
meet with in all Josephus; the Jews being little accustomed to
astronomical observations, any further than for the uses of their
calendar, and utterly forbidden those astrological uses which the
heathens commonly made of them.
(22) Dr. Hudson tells us here, that this custom of gilding the
horns of those oxen that were to be sacrificed is a known thing
both in the poets and orators.
(23) This account in Josephus, that the present Antiochus was
persuaded, though in vain, not to make peace with the Jews, but
to cut them off utterly, is fully confirmed by Diodorus Siculus,
in Photiua's extracts out of his 34th Book.
(24) The Jews were not to march or journey on the sabbath, or on
such a great festival as was equivalent to the sabbath, any
farther than a sabbath day's journey, or two thousand cubits, see
the note on Antiq. B. XX. ch. 8. sect. 6.
(25) This account of the Idumeans admitting circumcision, and the
entire Jewish law, from this time, or from the days of Hyrcanus,
is confirmed by their entire history afterward. See Antiq. B.
XIV. ch. 8. sect. 1; B. XV. ch. 7. sect. 9. Of the War, B. II.
ch. 3. sect. 1; B. IV. ch. 4. sect. 5. This, in the opinion of
Josephus, made them proselytes of justice, or entire Jews, as
here and elsewhere, Antiq. B. XIV. ch. 8. sect. 1. However,
Antigonus, the enemy of Herod, though Herod were derived from
such a proselyte of justice for several generations, will allow
him to be no more than a half Jew, B. XV. ch. 15. sect. 2. .But
still, take out of Dean Prideaux, at the year 129, the words of
Ammouius, a grammarian, which fully confirm this account of the
Idumeans in Josephus: "The Jews," says he, are such by nature,
and from the beginning, whilst the Idumeans were not Jews from
the beginning, but Phoenicians and Syrians; but being afterward
subdued by the Jews, and compelled to be circumcised, and to
unite into one nation, and be subject to the same laws, they were
called Jews." Dio also says, as the Dean there quotes him, from
Book XXXVI. p. 37, "That country is called Judea, and the people
Jews; and this name is given also to as many others as embrace
their religion, though of other nations." But then upon what
foundation so good a governor as Hyrcanus took upon him to compel
those Idumeans either to become Jews, or to leave the country,
deserves great consideration. I suppose it was because they had
long ago been driven out of the land of Edom, and had seized on
and possessed the tribe of Simeon, and all the southern parts of
the tribe of Judah, which was the peculiar inheritance of the
worshippers of the true God without idolatry, as the reader may
learn from Reland, Palestine, Part I. p. 154, 305; and from
Prideaux, at the years 140 and 165.
(26) In this decree of the Roman senate, it seems that these
ambassadors were sent from the "people of the Jews," as well as
from their prince or high priest, John Hyrcanus.
(27) Dean Prideaux takes notice at the year 130, that Justin, in
agreement with Josephus, says, "The power of the Jews was now
grown so great, that after this Antiochus they would not bear any
Macedonian king over them; and that they set up a government of
their own, and infested Syria with great wars."
(28) The original of the Sadducees, as a considerable party among
the Jews, being contained in this and the two following sections,
take Dean Prideaux's note upon this their first public
appearance, which I suppose to be true: "Hyrcanus," says be,
"went over to the party of the Sadducees; that is, by embracing
their doctrine against the traditions of the eiders, added to the
written law, and made of equal authority with it, but not their
doctrine against the resurrection and a future state; for this
cannot be supposed of so good and righteous a man as John
Hyrcanus is said to be. It is most probable, that at this time
the Sadducees had gone no further in the doctrines of that sect
than to deny all their unwritten traditions, which the Pharisees
were so fond of; for Josephus mentions no other difference at
this time between them; neither doth he say that Hyrcanna went
over to the Sadducees in any other particular than in the
abolishing of all the traditionary constitutions of the
Pharisees, which our Savior condemned as well as they." [At the
(29) This slander, that arose from a Pharisee, has been preserved
by their successors the Rabbins to these later ages; for Dr.
Hudson assures us that David Gantz, in his Chronology, S. Pr. p.
77, in Vorstius's version, relates that Hyrcanus's mother was
taken captive in Mount Modinth. See ch. 13. sect. 5.
(30) Here ends the high priesthood, and the life of this
excellent person John Hyrcanus, and together with him the holy
theocracy, or Divine government of the Jewish nation, and its
concomitant oracle by Urim. Now follows the profane and
tyrannical Jewish monarchy, first of the Asamoneans or Maccabees,
and then of Herod the Great, the Idumean, till the coming of the
Messiah. See the note on Antiq. B. III. ch. 8. sect. 9. Hear
Strabo's testimony on this occasion, B. XVI. p. 761, 762:
"Those," says he, "that succeeded Moses continued for some time
in earnest, both in righteous actions and in piety; but after a
while there were others that took upon them the high priesthood,
at first superstitious and afterward tyrannical persons. Such a
prophet was Moses and those that succeeded him, beginning in a
way not to be blamed, but changing for the worse. And when it
openly appeared that the government was become tyrannical,
Alexander was the first that set up himself for a king instead of
a priest; and his sons were Hyrcanus and Aristobulus." All in
agreement with Josephus, excepting this, that Strabo omits the
first king, Aristobulus, who reigning but a single year, seems
hardly to have come to his knowledge. Nor indeed does
Aristobulus, the son of Alexander, pretend that the name of king
was taken before his father Alexander took it himself, Antiq. B.
XIV. ch. 3. sect. 2. See also ch. 12. sect. l, which favor Strabo
also. And indeed, if we may judge from the very different
characters of the Egyptian Jews under high priests, and of the
Palestine Jews under kings, in the two next centuries, we may
well suppose that the Divine Shechinah was removed into Egypt,
and that the worshippers at the temple of Onias were better men
than those at the temple of Jerusalem.
(31) Hence we learn that the Essens pretended to have ruled
whereby men might foretell things to come, and that this Judas
the Essen taught those rules to his scholars; but whether their
pretense were of an astrological or magical nature, which yet in
such religious Jews, who were utterly forbidden such arts, is no
way probable, or to any Bath Col, spoken of by the later Rabbins,
or otherwise, I cannot tell. See Of the War, B. II. ch. 8. sect.
(32) The reason why Hyrcanus suffered not this son of his whom he
did not love to come into Judea, but ordered him to be brought up
in Galilee, is suggested by Dr. Hudson, that Galilee was not
esteemed so happy and well cultivated a country as Judea, Matthew
26:73; John 7:52; Acts 2:7, although another obvious reason
occurs also, that he was out of his sight in Galilee than he
would have been in Judea.
(33) From these, and other occasional expressions, dropped by
Josephus, we may learn, that where the sacred hooks of the Jews
were deficient, he had several other histories then extant, (but
now most of them lost,) which he faithfully followed in his own
history; nor indeed have we any other records of those times,
relating to Judea, that can be compared to these accounts of
Josephus, though when we do meet with authentic fragments of such
original records, they almost always confirm his history.
(34) This city, or island, Cos, is not that remote island in the
Aegean Sea, famous for the birth of the great Hippocrates, but a
city or island of the same name adjoining to Egypt, mentioned
both by Stephanus and Ptolemy, as Dr. Mizon informs us. Of which
Cos, and the treasures there laid up by Cleopatra and the Jews,
see Antiq. B. XIV. ch. 7, sect. 2.
(35) This account of the death of Antiochus Grypus is confirmed
by Appion, Syriac. p. 132, here cited by Spanheim.
(36) Porphyry says that this Antiochus Grypus reigned but
twenty-six years, as Dr. Hudson observes. The copies of Josephus,
both Greek and Latin, have here so grossly false a reading,
Antiochus and Antoninus, or Antonius Plus, for Antiochus Pius,
that the editors are forced to correct the text from the other
historians, who all agree that this king's name was nothing more
than Antiochus Plus.
(37) These two brothers, Antiochus and Philippus are called twins
by Porphyry; the fourth brother was king of Damascus: both which
are the observations of Spanheim.
(38) This Laodicea was a city of Gilead beyond Jordan. However,
Porphyry says that this Antiochus Pius did not die in this
battle; but, running away, was drowned in the river Orontes.
Appian says that he, was deprived of the kingdom of Syria by
Tigranes; but Porphyry makes this Laodice queen of the Calamans;
- all which is noted by Spanheim. In such confusion of the later
historians, we have no reason to prefer any of them before
Josephus, who had more original ones before him. This reproach
upon Alexander, that he was sprung from a captive, seems only the
repetition of the old Pharisaical calumny upon his father, ch.
10. sect. 5.
(39) This Theodorus was the son of Zeno, and was in possession of
Areathus, as we learn from sect. 3 foregoing.
(40) This name Thracida, which the Jews gave Alexander, must, by
the coherence, denote as barbarous as a Thracian, or somewhat
like it; but what it properly signifies is not known.
(41) Spanheim takes notice that this Antiochus Dionysus [the
brother of Philip, and of Demetrius Eucerus, and of two otbsrs]
was the fifth son of Antiochus Grypus; and that he is styled on
the coins, "Antiochus, Epiphanes, Dionysus."
(42) This Aretas was the first king of the Arabians who took
Damascus, and reigned there; which name became afterwards common
to such Arabian kings, both at Petra and at Damascus, as we learn
from Josephus in many places; and from St. Paul, 2 Corinthians
11:32. See the note on Antiq. B. XVI. ch. 9. sect. 4.
(43) We may here and elsewhere take notice, that whatever
countries or cities the Asamoneans conquered from any of the
neighboring nations, or whatever countries or cities they gained
from them that had not belonged to them before, they, after the
days of Hyrcanus, compelled the inhabitants to leave their
idolatry, and entirely to receive the law of Moses, as proselytes
of justice, or else banished them into other lands. That
excellent prince, John Hyrcanus, did it to the Idumeans, as I
have noted on ch. 9. sect. 1, already, who lived then in the
Promised Land, and this I suppose justly; but by what right the
rest did it, even to the countries or cities that were no part of
that land, I do not at all know. This looks too like unjust
persecution for religion.
(44) It seems, by this dying advice of Alexander Janneus to his
wife, that he had himself pursued the measures of his father
Hyrcanus. and taken part with the Sadducees, who kept close to
the written law, against the Pharisees, who had introduced their
own traditions, ch. 16. sect. 2; and that he now saw a political
necessity of submitting to the Pharisees and their traditions
hereafter, if his widow and family minded to retain their
monarchical government or tyranny over the Jewish nation; which
sect yet, thus supported, were at last in a great measure the
ruin of the religion, government, and nation of the Jews, and
brought them into so wicked a state, that the vengeance of God
came upon them to their utter excision. Just thus did Caiaphas
politically advise the Jewish sanhedrim, John 11:50, "That it was
expedient for them that one man should die for the people, and
that the whole nation perish not;" and this in consequence of
their own political supposal, ver. 48, that, "If they let Jesus
alone," with his miracles, "all men would believe on him, and the
Romans would come and take away both their place and nation."
Which political crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth brought down the
vengeance of God upon them, and occasioned those very Romans, of
whom they seemed so much afraid, that to prevent it they put him
to death, actually to "come and take away both their place and
nation" within thirty-eight years afterwards. I heartily wish the
politicians of Christendom would consider these and the like
examples, and no longer sacrifice all virtue and religion to
their pernicious schemes of government, to the bringing down the
judgments of God upon themselves, and the several nations
intrusted to their care. But this is a digression. I wish it were
an unseasonable one also. Josephus himself several times makes
such digressions, and I here venture to follow him. See one of
them at the conclusion of the very next chapter.
(45) The number of five hundred thousand or even three hundred
thousand, as one Greek copy, with the Latin copies, have it, for
Tigranes's army, that came out of Armenia into Syria and Judea,
seems much too large. We have had already several such
extravagant numbers in Josephus's present copies, which are not
to he at all ascribed to him. Accordingly, I incline to Dr.
Hudson's emendation here, which supposes them but forty thousand.
(46) This fortress, castle, citadel, or tower, whither the wife
and children of Aristobulus were new sent, and which overlooked
the temple, could be no other than what Hyrcanus I. built,
(Antiq. B. XVIII ch. 4. sect. 3,) and Herod the Great rebuilt,
and called the "Tower of Antonia," Aatiq. B. XV. ch. 11. sect. 5.
BOOK 14 FOOTNOTES
(1) Reland takes notice here, very justly, how Josephus's
declaration, that it was his great concern not only to write "an
agreeable, an accurate," and "a true" history, but also
distinctly not to omit any thing [of consequence], either through
"ignorance or laziness," implies that he could not, consistently
with that resolution, omit the mention of [so famous a person as]
(2) That the famous Antipater's or Antipas's father was also
Antipater or Antipas (which two may justly be esteemed one and
the same frame, the former with a Greek or Gentile, the latter
with a Hebrew or Jewish termination) Josephus here assures us,
though Eusebias indeed says it was Herod.
(3) This "golden vine," or "garden," seen by Strabo at Rome, has
its inscription here as if it were the gift of Alexander, the
father of Aristobulus, and not of Aristobulus himself, to whom
yet Josephus ascribes it; and in order to prove the truth of that
part of his history, introduces this testimony of Strabo; so that
the ordinary copies seem to be here either erroneous or
defective, and the original reading seems to have been either
Aristobulus, instead of Alexander, with one Greek copy, or else
"Aristobulus the son of Alexander," with the Latin copies; which
last seems to me the most probable. For as to Archbishop Usher's
conjectures, that Alexander made it, and dedicated it to God in
the temple, and that thence Aristobulus took it, and sent it to
Pompey, they are both very improbable, and no way agreeable to
Josephus, who would hardly have avoided the recording both these
uncommon points of history, had he known any thing of them; nor
would either the Jewish nation, or even Pompey himself, then have
relished such a flagrant instance of sacrilege.
(4) These express testimonies of Josephus here, and Antiq. B.
VIII. ch. 6. sect. 6, and B. XV. ch. 4. sect. 2, that the only
balsam gardens, and the best palm trees, were, at least in his
days, near Jericho and Kugaddi, about the north part of the Dead
Sea, (whereabout also Alexander the Great saw the balsam drop,)
show the mistake of those that understand Eusebius and Jerom as
if one of those gardens were at the south part of that sea, at
Zoar or Segor, whereas they must either mean another Zoar or
Segor, which was between Jericho and Kugaddi, agreeably to
Josephus: which yet they do not appear to do, or else they
directly contradict Josephus, and were therein greatly mistaken:
I mean this, unless that balsam, and the best palm trees, grew
much more southward in Judea in the days of Eusebius and Jerom
than they did in the days of Josephus.
(5) The particular depth and breadth of this ditch, whence the
stones for the wall about the temple were probably taken, are
omitted in our copies of Josephus, but set down by Strabo, B.
XVI. p. 763; from whom we learn that this ditch was sixty feet
deep, and two hundred and fifty feet broad. However, its depth
is, in the next section, said by Josephus to be immense, which
exactly agrees to Strabo's description, and which numbers in
Strabo are a strong confirmation of the truth of Josephus's
(6) That is, on the 23rd of Sivan, the annual fast for the
defection and idolatry of Jeroboam, "who made Israel to sin;" or
possibly some other fast might fall into that month, before and
in the days of Josephus.
(7) It deserves here to be noted, that this Pharisaical,
superstitious notion, that offensive fighting was unlawful to
Jews, even under the utmost necessity, on the Sabbath day, of
which we hear nothing before the times of the Maccabees, was the
proper occasion of Jerusalem's being taken by Pompey, by Sosius,
and by Titus, as appears from the places already quoted in the
note on Antiq. B. XIII. ch. 8. sect. 1; which scrupulous
superstition, as to the observation of such a rigorous rest upon
the Sabbath day, our Savior always opposed, when the Pharisaical
Jews insisted on it, as is evident in many places in the New
Testament, though he still intimated how pernicious that
superstition might prove to them in their flight from the Romans,
(8) This is fully confirmed by the testimony of Cicero, who:
says, in his oration for Flaecus, that "Cneius Pompeius, when he
was conqueror, and had taken Jerusalem, did not touch any thing
belonging to that temple."
(9) Of this destruction of Gadara here presupposed, and its
restoration by Pompey, see the note on the War, B. I. ch. 7.
(10) Dean Prideaux well observes, "That notwithstanding the
clamor against Gabinius at Rome, Josephus gives him a able
character, as if he had acquitted himself with honor in the
charge committed to him" [in Judea]. See at the year 55.
(11) This history is best illustrated by Dr. Hudson out of Livy,
who says that "A. Gabinius, the proconsul, restored Ptolemy of
Pompey and Gabinius against the Jews, while neither of them say
any thing new which is not in the other to his kingdom of Egypt,
and ejected Archelaus, whom they had set up for king," &c. See
Prid. at the years 61 and 65.
(12) Dr. Hudson observes, that the name of this wife of Antipater
in Josephus was Cypros, as a Hebrew termination, but not Cypris,
the Greek name for Venus, as some critics were ready to correct
(13) Take Dr. Hudson's note upon this place, which I suppose to
be the truth: "Here is some mistake in Josephus; for when he had
promised us a decree for the restoration of Jerusalem he brings
in a decree of far greater antiquity, and that a league of
friendship and union only. One may easily believe that Josephus
gave order for one thing, and his amanuensis performed another,
by transposing decrees that concerned the Hyrcani, and as deluded
by the sameness of their names; for that belongs to the first
high priest of this name, [John Hyrcanus,] which Josephus here
ascribes to one that lived later [Hyrcanus, the son of Alexander
Janneus]. However, the decree which he proposes to set down
follows a little lower, in the collection of Raman decrees that
concerned the Jews and is that dated when Caesar was consul the
fifth time." See ch. 10. sect. 5.
(14) Those who will carefully observe the several occasional
numbers and chronological characters in the life and death of
this Herod, and of his children, hereafter noted, will see that
twenty-five years, and not fifteen, must for certain have been
here Josephus's own number for the age of Herod, when he was made
governor of Galilee. See ch. 23. sect. 5, and ch. 24. sect. 7;
and particularly Antiq. B. XVII. ch. 8. sect. 1, where about
forty-four years afterwards Herod dies an old man at about
(15) It is here worth our while to remark, that none could be put
to death in Judea but by the approbation of the Jewish Sanhedrim,
there being an excellent provision in the law of Moses, that even
in criminal causes, and particularly where life was concerned, an
appeal should lie from the lesser councils of seven in the other
cities to the supreme council of seventy-one at Jerusalem; and
that is exactly according to our Savior's words, when he says,
"It could not be that a prophet should perish out of Jerusalem,"
(16) This account, as Reland observes, is confirmed by the
Talmudists, who call this Sameas, "Simeon, the son of Shetach."
(17) That Hyreanus was himself in Egypt, along with Antipater, at
this time, to whom accordingly the bold and prudent actions of
his deputy Antipater are here ascribed, as this decree of Julius
Caesar supposes, we are further assured by the testimony of
Strabo, already produced by Josephus, ch. 8. sect. 3.
(18) Dr. Hudson justly supposes that the Roman imperators, or
generals of armies, meant both here and sect. 2, who gave
testimony to Hyrcanus's and the Jews' faithfulness and goodwill
to the Romans before the senate and people of Rome, were
principally Pompey, Scaurus, and Gabinius ;of all whom Josephus
had already given us the history, so far as the Jews were
concerned with them.
(19) We have here a most remarkable and authentic attestation of
the citizens of Pergamus, that Abraham was the father of all the
Hebrews; that their own ancestors were, in the oldest times, the
friends of those Hebrews; and that the public arts of their city,
then extant, confirmed the same; which evidence is too strong to
be evaded by our present ignorance of the particular occasion of
such ancient friendship and alliance between those people. See
the like full evidence of the kindred of the Lacedemonians and
the Jews; and that became they were both of the posterity of
Abraham, by a public epistle of those people to the Jews,
preserved in the First Book of the Maccabees, 12:19-23; and
thence by Josephus, Antiq. B. XII. ch. 4 sect. 10; both which
authentic records are highly valuable. It is also well worthy of
observation, what Moses Chorenensis, the principal Armenian
historian, informs us of, p. 83, that Arsaces, who raised the
Parthian empire, was of the :seed of Abraham by Chetura; and that
thereby was accomplished that prediction which said, "Kings of
nations shall proceed from thee," Genesis 17:6.
(20) If we compare Josephus's promise in sect. 1, to produce all
the public decrees of the Romans in favor of the Jews, with his
excuse here for omitting many of them, we may observe, that when
he came to transcribe all those decrees he had collected, he
found them so numerous, that he thought he should too much tire
his readers if he had attempted it, which he thought a sufficient
apology for his omitting the rest of them; yet do those by him
produced afford such a strong confirmation to his history, and
give such great light to even the Roman antiquities themselves,
that I believe the curious are not a little sorry for such his
(21) For Marcus, this president of Syria, sent as successor to
Sextus Caesar, the Roman historians require us to read "Marcus"
in Josephus, and this perpetually, both in these Antiquities, and
in his History of the Wars, as the learned generally agree.
(22) In this and the following chapters the reader will easily
remark, how truly Gronovius observes, in his notes on the Roman
decrees in favor of the Jews, that their rights and privileges
were commonly purchased of the Romans with money. Many examples
of this sort, both as to the Romans and others in authority, will
occur in our Josephus, both now and hereafter, and need not be
taken particular notice of on the several occasions in these
notes. Accordingly, the chief captain confesses to St. Paul that
"with a great sum he had obtained his freedom," Acts 22:28; as
had St. Paul's ancestors, very probably, purchased the like
freedom for their family by money, as the same author justly
(23) This clause plainly alludes to that well-known but unusual
and very long darkness of the sun which happened upon the :murder
of Julius Cesar by Brutus and Cassius, which is greatly taken
notice of by Virgil, Pliny, and other Roman authors. See Virgil's
Georgics, B. I., just before the end; and Pliny's Nat. Hist. B.
IL ch. 33.
(24) We may here take notice that espousals alone were of old
esteemed a sufficient foundation for affinity, Hyrcanus being
here called father-in-law to Herod because his granddaughter
Mariarune was betrothed to him, although the marriage was not
completed till four years afterwards. See Matthew 1:16.
(25) This law of Moses, that the priests were to be "without
blemish," as to all the parts of their bodies, is in Leviticus
(26) Concerning the chronology of Herod, and the time when he was
first made king at Rome, and concerning the time when he began
his second reign, without a rival, upon the conquest and
slaughter of Antigonus, both principally derived from this and
the two next chapters in Josephus, see the note on sect. 6, and
ch. 15. sect. 10.
(27) This grievous want of water at Masada, till the place had
like to have been taken by the Parthians, (mentioned both here,
and Of the War, B. I. ch. 15. sect. 1,) is an indication that it
was now summer time.
(28) This affirmation of Antigonus, spoken in the days of Herod,
and in a manner to his face, that he was an Idumean, i.e. a half
Jew, seems to me of much greater authority than that pretense of
his favorite and flatterer Nicolaus of Damascus, that he derived
his pedigree from Jews as far backward as the Babylonish
captivity, ch. 1. sect. 3. Accordingly Josephus always esteems
him an Idumean, though he says his father Antipater was of the
same people with the Jews, ch. viii. sect. 1. and by birth a Jew,
Antiq. B. XX. ch. 8. sect. 7; as indeed all such proselytes of
justice, as the Idumeans, were in time esteemed the very same
people with the Jews.
(29) It may be worth our observation here, that these soldiers of
Herod could not have gotten upon the tops of these houses which
were full of enemies, in order to pull up the upper floors, and
destroy them beneath, but by ladders from the out side; which
illustrates some texts in the New Testament, by which it appears
that men used to ascend thither by ladders on the outsides. See
Matthew 24:17; Mark 13:15; Luke 5:19; 17:31.
(30) Note here, that Josephus fully and frequently assures us
that there passed above three years between Herod's first
obtaining the kingdom at Rome, and his second obtaining it upon
the taking of Jerusalem and death of Antigonus. The present
history of this interval twice mentions the army going into
winter quarters, which perhaps belonged to two several winters,
ch. 15. sect. 3, 4; and though Josephus says nothing how long
they lay in those quarters, yet does he give such an account of
the long and studied delays of Ventidius, Silo, and Macheras, who
were to see Herod settled in his new kingdom, but seem not to
have had sufficient forces for that purpose, and were for certain
all corrupted by Antigonus to make the longest delays possible,
and gives us such particular accounts of the many great actions
of Herod during the same interval, as fairly imply that interval,
before Herod went to Samosata, to have been very considerable.
However, what is wanting in Josephus, is fully supplied by Moses
Chorenensis, the Arme nian historian, in his history of that
interval, B. II ch. 18., where he directly assures us that
Tigranes, then king of Armenia, and the principal manager of this
Parthian war, reigned two years after Herod was made king at
Rome, and yet Antony did not hear of his death, in that very
neighborhood, at Samosata, till he was come thither to besiege
it; after which Herod brought him an army, which was three
hundred and forty miles' march, and through a difficult country,
full of enemies also, and joined with him in the siege of
Samosata till that city was taken; then Herod and Sosins marched
back with their large armies the same number of three hundred and
forty miles; and when, in a little time, they sat down to besiege
Jerusalem, they were not able to take it but by a siege of five
months. All which put together, fully supplies what is wanting in
Josephus, and secures the entire chronology of these times beyond
BOOK 15 FOOTNOTES
(1) The city here called "Babylon" by Josephus, seems to be one
which was built by some of the Seleucidae upon the Tigris, which
long after the utter desolation of old Babylon was commonly so
called, and I suppose not far from Seleueia; just as the latter
adjoining city Bagdat has been and is often called by the same
old name of Babylon till this very day.
(2) Here we have an eminent example of Herod's worldly and
profane politics, when by the abuse of his unlawful and usurped
power, to make whom he pleased high priest, in the person of
Ananelus, he occasioned such disturbances in his kingdom, and in
his own family, as suffered him to enjoy no lasting peace or
tranquillity ever afterward; and such is frequently the effect of
profane court politics about matters of religion in other ages
and nations. The Old Testament is full of the miseries of the
people of the Jews derived from such court politics, especially
in and after the days of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, "who made
Israel to sin;" who gave the most pernicious example of it; who
brought on the grossest corruption of religion by it; and the
punishment of whose family for it was most remarkable. The case
is too well known to stand in need of particular citations.
(3) Of this wicked Dellius, see the note on the War, B. I. ch.
15. sect. 3.
(4) When Josephus says here that this Ananelus, the new high
priest, was "of the stock of the high priests," and since he had
been just telling us that he was a priest of an obscure family or
character, ch. 2. sect. 4, it is not at all probable that he
could so soon say that he was "of the stock of the high priests."
However, Josephus here makes a remarkable observation, that this
Ananelus was the third that was ever unjustly and wickedly turned
out of the high priesthood by the civil power, no king or
governor having ventured to do so, that Josephus knew of, but
that heathen tyrant and persecutor Antiochus Epiphanes; that
barbarous parricide Aristobulus, the first that took royal
authority among the Maccabees; and this tyrant king Herod the
Great, although afterward that infamous practice became frequent,
till the very destruction of Jerusalem, when the office of high
priesthood was at an end.
(5) This entirely confutes the Talmudists, who pretend that no
one under twenty years of age could officiate as high priest
among the Jews.
(6) A Hebrew chronicle, cited by Reland, says this drowning was
at Jordan, not at Jericho, and this even when he quote Josephus.
I suspect the transcriber of the Hebrew chronicle mistook the
name, and wrote Jordan for Jericho.
(7) The reading of one of Josephus's Greek MSS. seems here to be
right, that Aristobulus was "not eighteen years old" when he was
drowned, for he was not seventeen when he was made high priest,
ch. 2. sect. 6, ch. 3. sect. 3, and he continued in that office
but one year, as in the place before us.
(8) The reader is here to take notice, that this seventh year of
the reign of Herod, and all the other years of his reign, in
Josephus, are dated from the death of Antigonus, or at the
soonest from the conclusion of Antigonus, and the taking of
Jerusalem a few months before, and never from his first obtaining
the kingdom at Rome, above three years before, as some have very
weakly and injudiciously done.
(9) Herod says here, that as ambassadors were sacred when they
carried messages to others, so did the laws of the Jews derive a
sacred authority by being delivered from God by angels, [or
Divine ambassadors,] which is St. Paul's expression about the
same laws, Galatians 3:19; Hebrews 2;2.
(10) This piece of religion, the supplicating God with
sacrifices, by Herod, before he went to this fight with the
Arabians, taken notice of also in the first book of the War, ch.
19. sect. 5, is worth remarking, because it is the only example
of this nature, so far as I remember, that Josephus ever mentions
in all his large and particular accounts of this Herod; and it
was when he had been in mighty distress, and discouraged by a
great defeat of his former army, and by a very great earthquake
in Judea, such times of affliction making men most religious; nor
was he disappointed of his hopes here, but immediately gained a
most signal victory over the Arabians, while they who just before
had been so great victors, and so much elevated upon the
earthquake in Judea as to venture to slay the Jewish ambassadors,
were now under a strange consternation, and hardly able to fight
(11) Whereas Mariamne is here represented as reproaching: Herod
with the murder of her father [Alexander], as well as her brother
[Aristobulus], while it was her grandfather Hyrcanus, and not her
father Alexander, whom he caused to be slain, (as Josephus
himself informs us, ch. 6. sect. 2,) we must either take
Zonaras's reading, which is here grandfather, rightly, or else we
must, as before, ch. 1. sect. 1, allow a slip of Josephus's pen
or memory in the place before us.
(12) Here is a plain example of a Jewish lady giving a bill of
divorce to her husband, though in the days of Josephus it was not
esteemed lawful for a woman so to do. See the like among the
Parthians, Antiq. B. XVIII. ch. 9. sect. 6. However, the
Christian law, when it allowed divorce for adultery, Matthew
5:32, allowed the innocent wife to divorce her guilty husband, as
well as the innocent husband to divorce his guilty wife, as we
learn from the shepherd of Hermas, Mand. B. IV., and from: the
second apology of Justin Martyr, where a persecution was brought
upon the Christians upon such a divorce; and I think the Roman
laws permitted it at that time, as well as the laws of
Christianity. Now this Babas, who was one of the race of the
Asamoneans or Maccabees, as the latter end of this section
informs us, is related by the Jews, as Dr. Hudson here remarks,
to have been so eminently religious in the Jewish way, that,
except the day following the tenth of Tisri, the great day of
atonement, when he seems to have supposed all his sins entirely
forgiven, he used every day of the whole year to offer a
sacrifice for his sins of ignorance, or such as he supposed he
had been guilty of, but did not distinctly remember. See somewhat
like it of Agrippa the Great, Antiq. B. XIX. ch. 3. sect. 3, and
Job 1:4, 5.
(13) These grand plays, and shows, and Thymelici, or music
meetings, and chariot races, when the chariots were drawn by two,
three, or four pair of horses, etc., instituted by Herod in his
theatres, were still, as we see here, looked on by the sober Jews
as heathenish sports, and tending to corrupt the manners of the
Jewish nation, and to bring them in love with paganish idolatry,
and paganish conduct of life, but to the dissolution of the law
of Moses, and accordingly were greatly and justly condemned by
them, as appears here and every where else in Josephus. Nor is
the case of our modern masquerades, plays, operas, and the like
"pomps and vanities of this wicked world," of any better tendency
(14) Here we have an eminent example of the language of Josephus
in his writing to Gentiles, different from that when he wrote to
Jews; in his writing to whom he still derives all such judgments
from the anger of God; but because he knew many of the Gentiles
thought they might naturally come in certain periods, he complies
with them in the following sentence. See the note on the War. B.
I. ch. 33. sect. 2.
(15) This famine for two years that affected Judea and Syria, the
thirteenth mid fourteenth years of Herod, which are the
twenty-third and twenty-fourth years before the Christian era,
seems to have been more terrible during this time than was that
in the days of Jacob, Genesis 41., 42. And what makes the
comparison the more remarkable is this, that now, as well as
then, the relief they had was from Egypt also; then from Joseph
the governor of Egypt, under Pharaoh king of Egypt; and now from
Petronius the prefect of Egypt, under Augustus the Roman emperor.
See almost the like case, Antiq. B. XX. ch. 2. sect. 6. It is
also well worth our observation here, that these two years were a
Sabbatic year, and a year of jubilee, for which Providence,
during the theocracy, used to provide a triple crop beforehand;
but became now, when the Jews had forfeited that blessing, the
greatest years of famine to them ever since the days of Ahab, 1
Kings 17., 18.
(16) This Aelius Gallus seems to be no other than that Aelius
Lagus whom Dio speaks of as conducting an expedition that was
about this time made into Arabia Felix, according to Betarius,
who is here cited by Spanheim. See a full account of this
expedition in Prideaux, at the years 23 and 24.
(17) One may here take notice, that how tyrannical and
extravagant soever Herod were in himself, and in his Grecian
cities, as to those plays, and shows, and temples for idolatry,
mentioned above, ch. 8. sect. 1, and here also; yet durst even he
introduce very few of them into the cities of the Jews, who, as
Josephus here notes, would not even then have borne them, so
zealous were they still for many of the laws of Moses, even under
so tyrannical a government as this was of Herod the Great; which
tyrannical government puts me naturally in mind of Dean
Prideaux's honest reflection upon the like ambition after such
tyrannical power in Pompey and Caesar: "One of these (says he, at
the year 60) could not bear an equal, nor the other a superior;
and through this ambitions humor and thirst after more power in
these two men, the whole Roman empire being divided into two
opposite factions, there was produced hereby the most destructive
war that ever afflicted it; and the like folly too much reigns in
all other places. Could about thirty men be persuaded to live at
home in peace, without enterprising upon the rights of each
other, for the vain glory of conquest, and the enlargement of
power, the whole world might be at quiet; but their ambition,
their follies, and their humor, leading them constantly to
encroach upon and quarrel with each other, they involve all that
are under them in the mischiefs thereof; and many thousands are
they which yearly perish by it; so that it may almost raise a
doubt, whether the benefit which the world receives from
government be sufficient to make amends for the calamities which
it suffers from the follies, mistakes, and real-administrations
of those that manage it."
(18) Cesarea being here said to be rebuilt and adorned in twelve
years, and soon afterwards in ten years, Antiq. B. XVI. ch. 5.
sect. 1, there must be a mistake in one of the places as to the
true number, but in which of them it is hard positively to
(19) This Pollio, with whom Herod's sons lived at Rome, was not
Pollio the Pharisee, already mentioned by Josephus, ch. 1. sect.
1, and again presently after this, ch. 10. sect. 4; but Asinine
Pollo, the Roman, as Spanheim here observes.
(20) The character of this Zenodorus is so like that of a famous
robber of the same name in Strabo, and that about this very
country, and about this very time also, that I think Dr. Hudson
hardly needed to have put a overlaps to his determination that
they were the same.
(21) A tetrarchy properly and originally denoted the fourth part
of an entire kingdom or country, and a tetrarch one that was
ruler of such a fourth part, which always implies somewhat less
extent of dominion and power than belong to a kingdom and to a
(22) We may here observe, that the fancy of the modern Jews, in
calling this temple, which was really the third of their temples,
the second temple, followed so long by later Christians, seems to
be without any solid foundation. The reason why the Christians
here followed the Jews is, because of the prophecy of Haggai,
2:6-9, which they expound of the Messiah's coning to the second
or Zorobabel's temple, of which they suppose this of Herod to be
only a continuation; which is meant, I think, of his coming to
the fourth and last temple, of that future, largest, and most
glorious one, described by Ezekiel; whence I take the former
notion, how general soever, to be a great mistake. See Lit.
Accorap. of Proph. p. 2.
(23) Some of our modem students in architecture have made a
strange blunder here, when they imagine that Josephus affirms the
entire foundations of the temple or holy house sunk down into the
rocky mountain on which it stood no less than twenty cubits,
whereas he is clear that they were the foundations of the
additional twenty cubits only above the hundred (made perhaps
weak on purpose, and only for show and grandeur) that sunk or
fell down, as Dr. Hudson rightly understands him; nor is the
thing itself possible in the other sense. Agrippa's preparation
for building the inner parts of the temple twenty cubits higher
(History of the War, B. V. ch. 1. sect. 5) must in all
probability refer to this matter, since Josephus says here, that
this which had fallen down was designed to be raised up again
under Nero, under whom Agrippa made that preparation. But what
Josephus says presently, that Solomon was the first king of the
Jews, appears by the parallel place, Antiq. B. XX. ch. 9. sect.
7, and other places, to be meant only the first of David's
posterity, and the first builder of the temple.
(24) "Into none Of these three did king Herod enter," i.e. 1. Not
into the court of the priests; 2. Nor into the holy house itself;
3. Nor into the separate place belonging to the altar, as the
words following imply; for none but priests, or their attendants
the Levites, might come into any of them. See Antiq. B. XVI. ch.
4. sect. 6, when Herod goes into the temple, and makes a speech
in it to the people, but that could only be into the court of
Israel, whither the people could come to hear him.
(25) This tradition which Josephus here mentions, as delivered
down from fathers to their children, of this particular
remarkable circumstance relating to the building of Herod's
temple, is a demonstration that such its building was a known
thing in Judea at this time. He was born about forty-six years
after it is related to have been finished, and might himself have
seen and spoken with some of the builders themselves, and with a
great number of those that had seen it building. The doubt
therefore about the truth of this history of the pulling down and
rebuilding this temple by Herod, which some weak people have
indulged, was not then much greater than it soon may be, whether
or not our St. Paul's church in London was burnt down in the fire
of London, A.D. 1666, and rebuilt by Sir Christopher Wren a
BOOK 16 FOOTNOTES
(1) We may here observe the ancient practice of the Jews, of
dedicating the sabbath day, not to idleness, but to the learning
their sacred rites and religious customs, and to the meditation
on the law of Moses; the like to which we meet with elsewhere in
Josephus also against Apion, B. I. sect. 22.
(2) This interval of ten years for the duration of Marcus
Agrippa's government in Asia seems to be true, and agreeable to
the Roman history. See Usher's Annals at A.M. 3392.
(3) Although Herod met Augustus at Aquilei, yet was this
accusation of his sons deferred till they came to Rome, as sect.
3 assures us, and as we are particularly informed in the History
of the War, B. I. ch. 23. sect. 3; though what he here says
belonged distinctly to Alexander, the elder brother, I mean his
being brought to Rome, is here justly extended to both the
brothers, and that not only in our copies, but in that of Zonaras
also; nor is there reason to doubt but they were both at this
solemn hearing by Augustus, although the defense was made by
Alexander alone, who was the eldest brother, and one that could
speak very well.
(4) Since some prejudiced men have indulged a wild suspicion, as
we have supposed already, Antiq. B. XV. ch. 11. sect. 7, that
Josephus's history of Herod's rebuilding the temple is no better
than a fable, it may not be amiss to take notice of this
occasional clause in the speech of Alexander before his father
Herod, in his and his brother's vindication, which mentions the
temple as known by every body to have been built by Herod.
(5) See John 2:20. See also another speech of Herod's own to the
young men that pulled down his golden eagle from the front of the
temple, where he takes notice how the building of the temple cost
him a vast sum; and that the Asamoneans, in those one hundred and
twenty-five years they held the government, were not able to
perform so great a work, to the honor of God, as this was, Antiq.
B. XVII. ch. 6. sect. 3.
(6) Dr. Hudson here gives us the words of Suetonius concerning
this Nicopolis, when Augustus rebuilt it: "And that the memory of
the victory at Actium might be celebrated the more afterward, he
built Nicopolis at Actium, and appointed public shows to be there
exhibited every fifth year." In August, sect. 18.
(7) Augustus here calls Julius Caesar his father, though by birth
he was only his uncle, on account of his adoption by him. See the
same Antiq. B. XIV. ch. 14. sect. 4.
(8) This is authentic evidence that the Jews, in the days of
Augustus, began to prepare for the celebration of the sabbath at
the ninth hour on Friday, as the tradition of the elders did, it
seems, then require of them.
(9) The remaining part of this chapter is remarkable, as justly
distinguishing natural justice, religion, and morality, from
positive institutions in all countries, and evidently preferring
the former before the latter, as did the true prophets of God
always under the Old Testament, and Christ and his New; whence
Josephus seems to have been at this time nearer Christianity than
were the Scribes and Pharisees of his age; who, as we know from
the New Testament, were entirely of a different opinion and
(10) It is here worth our observation, how careful Josephus was
as to the discovery of truth in Herod's history, since he would
not follow Nicolaus of Damascus himself, so great an historian,
where there was great reason to suspect that he flattered Herod;
which impartiality in history Josephus here solemnly pro fesses,
and of which impartiality he has given more demonstrations than
almost any historian whomsoever; but as to Herod's taking great
wealth out of David's sepulcher, though I cannot prove it, yet do
I strongly suspect it from this very history.
(11) These joint presidents of Syria, Saturninus and Volumnius,
were not perhaps of equal authority, but the latter like a
procurator under the former, as the very learned Noris and Pagi,
and with them Dr. Hudson, determine.
(12) This Aretas was now become so established a name for the
kings of Arabia, [at Petra and Damascus,] that when the crown
came to this Aeneas, he changed his name to Aretas, as Havercamp
here justly observes. See Antiq. B. XIII. ch. 15. sect, 2.
(13) This oath, by the fortune of Caesar, was put to Polycarp, a
bishop of Smyrna, by the Roman governor, to try whether he were a
Christian, as they were then esteemed who refused to swear that
oath. Martyr. Polycarp, sect. 9.
(14) What Josephus relates Augustus to have here said, that
Berytus was a city belonging to the Romans, is confirmed by
Spanheim's notes here: "It was," says he, "a colony placed there
by Augustus. Whence Ulpian, De Gens. bel. L. T. XV. The colony of
Berytus was rendered famous by the benefits of Caesar; and thence
it is that, among the coins of Augustus, we meet with some having
this inscription: The happy colony of Augustus at Berytua"
(15) The reader is here to note, that this eighth section is
entirely wanting in the old Latin version, as Spanheim truly
observes; nor is there any other reason for it, I suppose, than
the great difficulty of an exact translation.
BOOK 17 FOOTNOTES
(1) Those who have a mind to know all the family and descendants
of Antipater the Idumean, and of Herod the Great, his son, and
have a memory to preserve them all distinctly, may consult
Josephus, Antiq. B. XVIII. ch. 5. sect. 4; and Of the War, B. I.
ch. 28. sect. 4; in Havercamp's edition, p. 336; and Spanheim,
lb. p. 402--405; and Reland, Paleslin. Part I. p. 178, 176.
(2) This is now wanting.
(3) Pheroras's wife, and her mother and sister, and Doris,
(4)His wife, her mother, and sister.
(5) It seems to me, by this whole story put together, that
Pheroras was not himself poisoned, as is commonly supposed; for
Antipater had persuaded him to poison Herod, ch. v. sect. 1,
which would fall to the ground if he wore himself poisoned; nor
could the poisoning of Pheroras serve any design that appears now
going forward; it was only the supposal of two of his freed-men,
that this love-potion, or poison, which they knew was brought to
Pheroras's wife, was made use of for poisoning him; whereas it
appears to have been brought for her husband to poison Herod
withal, as the future examinations demonstrate.
(6) That the making of images, without an intention to worship
them, was not unlawful to the Jews, see the note on Antiq. B
VIII. ch. 7. sect. 5.
(7) This fact, that one Joseph was made high priest for a single
day, on occasion of the action here specified, that befell
Matthias, the real high priest, in his sleep, the night before
the great day of expiation, is attested to both in the Mishna and
Talmud, as Dr. Hudson here informs us. And indeed, from this
fact, thus fully attested, we may confute that pretended rule in
the Talmud here mentioned, and endeavored to be excused lay
Reland, that the high priest was not suffered to sleep the night
before that great day of expiation; which watching would surely
rather unfit him for the many important duties he was to perform
on that solemn day, than dispose him duly to perform them. Nor do
such Talmudical rules, when unsupported by better evidence, much
less when contradicted there by, seem to me of weight enough to
deserve that so great a man as Reland should spend his time in
endeavors at their vindication.
(8) This eclipse of the moon (which is the only eclipse of either
of the luminaries mentioned by our Josephus in any of his
writings) is of the greatest consequence for the determination of
the time for the death of Herod and Antipater, and for the birth
and entire chronology of Jesus Christ. It happened March 13th, in
the year of the Julian period 4710, and the 4th year before the
Christian era. See its calculation by the rules of astronomy, at
the end of the Astronomical Lectures, edit. Lat. p. 451, 452.
(9) A place for the horse-races.
(10) When it is here said that Philip the tetrarch, and Archelaus
the king, or ethnarch, were own brother, or genuine brothers, if
those words mean own brothers, or born of the same father and
mother, there must be here some mistake; because they had indeed
the same father, Herod, but different mothers; the former
Cleopatra, and Archclaus Malthace. They were indeed brought up
together privately at Rome like when he went to have his kingdom
confirmed to him at Rome, ch. 9. sect. 5; and Of the War, B. II.
ch. 2. sect. 1; which intimacy is perhaps all that Josephus
intended by the words before us.
(11) These numbers of years for Herod's reign, 34 and 37, are the
very same with those, Of the War, B. I. ch. 33. sect. 8, and are
among the principal chronological characters belonging to the
reign or death of Herod. See Harm. p. 150--155.
(12) At eight stadia or furlongs a-day, as here, Herod's funeral,
conducted to Herodium, which lay at the distance from Jericho,
where he died, of 200 stadia or furlongs, Of the War, B. 1. ch.
33. sect. 9, must have taken up no less than twenty-five days.
(13) This passover, when the sedition here mentioned was moved
against Archelaus, was not one, but thirteen months after the
eclipse of the moon already mentioned.
(14) See Antiq. B. XIV. ch. 13. sect. 10; and Of the War; B. II.
ch. 12. sect. 9.
(15) These great devastations made about the temple here, and Of
the War, B. II. ch. 3. sect. 3, seem not to have been full
re-edified in the days of Nero; till whose time there were
eighteen thousand workmen continually employed in rebuilding and
repairing that temple, as Josephus informs us, Antiq. B. XX. ch.
9. sect. 7. See the note on that place.
(16) Unless this Judas, the son of Ezekias, be the same with that
Theudas, mentioned Acts 5:36, Josephus must have omitted him; for
that other Thoualas, whom he afterward mentions, under Fadus the
Roman governor, B. XX. ch. 5. sect. 1, is much too late to
correspond to him that is mentioned in the Acts. The names
Theudas, Thaddeus, and Judas differ but little. See Archbishop
Usher's Annals at A.M. 4001. However, since Josephus does not
pretend to reckon up the heads of all those ten thousand
disorders in Judea, which he tells us were then abroad, see sect.
4 and 8, the Theudas of the Acts might be at the head of one of
those seditions, though not particularly named by him. Thus he
informs us here, sect. 6, and Of the War, B. II. ch. 4. Sect. 2,
that certain of the seditious came and burnt the royal palace at
Amsthus, or Betharamphta, upon the river Jordan. Perhaps their
leader, who is not named by Josephus, might be this Theudas.
(17) See Of the War, B. II. ch. 2. sect. 3.
(18) See the note, Of the War, B. II. ch. 6. sect. 1.
(19) He was tetrarch afterward.
(20) If any one compare that Divine prediction concerning the
tyrannical power which Jewish kings would exercise over them, if
they would be so foolish as to prefer it before their ancient
theocracy or aristocracy, 1 Samuel 8:1-22; Antiq. B. VI. ch. 4.
sect. 4, he will soon find that it was superabundantly fulfilled
in the days of Herod, and that to such a degree, that the nation
now at last seem sorely to repent of such their ancient choice,
in opposition to God's better choice for them, and had much
rather be subject to even a pagan Roman government, and their
deputies, than to be any longer under the oppression of the
family of Herod; which request of theirs Augustus did not now
grant them, but did it for the one half of that nation in a few
years afterward, upon fresh complaints made by the Jews against
Archelaus, who, under the more humble name of an ethnarch, which
Augustus only would now allow him, soon took upon him the
insolence and tyranny of his father king Herod, as the remaining
part of this book will inform us, and particularly ch. 13. sect.
(21) This is not true. See Antiq. B. XIV. ch. 9. sect. 3, 4; and
ch. 12. sect. 2; and ch. 13. sect. 1, 2. Antiq. B. XV. ch. 3.
sect. 5; and ch. 10. sect. 2, 3. Antiq. B. XVI. ch. 9. sect. 3.
Since Josephus here informs us that Archelaus had one half of the
kingdom of Herod, and presently informs us further that
Archelaus's annual income, after an abatement of one quarter for
the present, was 600 talents, we may therefore ga ther pretty
nearly what was Herod the Great's yearly income, I mean about
1600 talents, which, at the known value of 3000 shekels to a
talent, and about 2s. 10d. to a shekel, in the days of Josephus,
see the note on Antiq. B. III. ch. 8. sect. 2, amounts to 680,000
sterling per annum; which income, though great in itself, bearing
no proportion to his vast expenses every where visible in
Josephus, and to the vast sums he left behind him in his will,
ch. 8. sect. 1, and ch. 12. sect. 1, the rest must have arisen
either from his confiscation of those great men's estates whom he
put to death, or made to pay fine for the saving of their lives,
or from some other heavy methods of oppression which such savage
tyrants usually exercise upon their miserable subjects; or rather
from these several methods not together, all which yet seem very
much too small for his expenses, being drawn from no larger a
nation than that of the Jews, which was very populous, but
without the advantage of trade to bring them riches; so that I
cannot but strongly suspect that no small part of this his wealth
arose from another source; I mean from some vast sums he took out
of David's sepulcher, but concealed from the people. See the note
on Antiq. B. VII. ch. 15. sect. 3.
(22) Take here a very useful note of Grotias, on Luke 3:1, here
quoted by Dr. Hudson: "When Josephus says that some part of the
house (or possession) of Zenodorus (i.e. Abilene) was allotted to
Philip, he thereby declares that the larger part of it belonged
to another. This other was Lysanias, whom Luke mentions, of the
posterity of that Lysanias who was possessed of the same country
called Abilene, from the city Abila, and by others Chalcidene,
from the city Chaleis, when the government of the East was under
Antonius, and this after Ptolemy, the son of Menneus; from which
Lysanias this country came to be commonly called the Country of
Lysanias; and as, after the death of the former Lyanias, it was
called the tetrarchy of Zenodorus, so, after the death of
Zenodorus, or when the time for which he hired it was ended. when
another Lysanias, of the same name with the former, was possessed
of the same country, it began to be called the Tetrarchy of
Lysanias." However, since Josephus elsewhere (Antiq. B. XX. ch.
7. sect. 1) clearly distinguishes Abilene from Cilalcidcue,
Groius must be here so far mistaken.
(23) Spanheim seasonably observes here, that it was forbidden the
Jews to marry their brother's wife when she had children by her
first husband, and that Zonaras (cites, or) interprets the clause
before us accordingly.
BOOK 18 FOOTNOTES
(1) Since St. Luke once, Acts 5:37, and Josephus four several
times, once here, sect. 6; and B. XX. ch. 5. sect. 2; Of the War,
B. II. ch. 8. sect. 1; and ch. 17. sect. 8, calls this Judas, who
was the pestilent author of that seditious doctrine and temper
which brought the Jewish nation to utter destruction, a Galilean;
but here (sect. 1) Josephus calls him a Gaulonite, of the city of
Gamala; it is a great question where this Judas was born, whether
in Galilee on the west side, or in Gaulonitis on the east side,
of the river Jordan; while, in the place just now cited out of
the Antiquities, B. XX. ch. 5. sect. 2, he is not only called a
Galilean, but it is added to his story, "as I have signified in
the books that go before these," as if he had still called him a
Galilean in those Antiquities before, as well as in that
particular place, as Dean Aldrich observes, Of the War, B. II.
ch. 8. sect. 1. Nor can one well imagine why he should here call
him a Gaulonite, when in the 6th sect. following here, as well as
twice Of the War, he still calls him a Galilean. As for the city
of Gamala, whence this Judas was derived, it determines nothing,
since there were two of that name, the one in Gaulonitis, the
other in Galilee. See Reland on the city or town of that name.
(2) It seems not very improbable to me that this Sadduc, the
Pharisee, was the very same man of whom the Rabbins speak, as the
unhappy, but undesigning, occasion of the impiety or infidelity
of the Sadducees; nor perhaps had the men this name of Sadducees
till this very time, though they were a distinct sect long
before. See the note on B. XIII. ch. 10. sect 5; and Dean
Prideaux, as there quoted. Nor do we, that I know of, find the
least footsteps of such impiety or infidelity of these Sadducees
before this time, the Recognitions assuring us that they began
about the days of John the Baptist; B. 1. ch. 54. See note above.
(3) It seems by what Josephus says here, and Philo himself
elsewhere, Op. p. 679, that these Essens did not use to go to the
Jewish festivals at Jerusalem, or to offer sacrifices there,
which may be one great occasion why they are never mentioned in
the ordinary books of the New Testament; though, in the
Apostolical Constitutions, they are mentioned as those that
observed the customs of their forefathers, and that without any
such ill character laid upon them as is there laid upon the other
sects among that people.
(4) Who these Polistae in Josephus, or in Strabo. among the
Pythagoric Dacae, were, it is not easy to determine. Scaliger
offers no improbable conjecture, that some of these Dacae lived
alone, like monks, in tents or caves; but that others of them
lived together in built cities, and thence were called by such
names as implied the same.
(5) We may here take notice, as well as in the parallel parts of
the books Of the War, B. II. ch. 9. sect. 1, that after the death
of Herod the Great, and the succession of Archclaus, Josephus is
very brief in his accounts of Judea, till near his own time. I
suppose the reason is, that after the large history of Nicolaus
of Damascus, including the life of Herod, and probably the
succession and first actions of his sons, he had but few good
histories of those times before him.
(6) Numbers 19:11-14.
(7) This citation is now wanting.
(8) These Jews, as they are here called, whose blood Pilate shed
on this occasion, may very well be those very Galilean Jews,
"whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices," Luke
13:1, 2; these tumults being usually excited at some of the Jews'
great festivals, when they slew abundance of sacrifices, and the
Galileans being commonly much more busy in such tumults than
those of Judea and Jerusalem, as we learn from the history of
Archelaus, Antiq. B. XVII. ch. 9. sect. 3 and ch. 10. sect. 2, 9;
though, indeed, Josephus's present copies say not one word of
"those eighteen upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew
them," which the 4th verse of the same 13th chapter of St. Luke
informs us of. But since our gospel teaches us, Luke 23:6, 7,
that "when Pilate heard of Galilee, he asked whether Jesus were a
Galilean. And as soon as he knew that he belonged to Herod's
jurisdiction, he sent him to Herod ;" and ver. 12, "The same day
Pilate and Herod were made friends together for before they had
been at enmity between themselves;" take the very probable key of
this matter in the words of the learned Noldius, de Herod. No.
219: "The cause of the enmity between Herod and Pilate (says he)
seems to have been this, that Pilate had intermeddled with the
tetrarch's jurisdiction, and had slain some of his Galilean
subjects, Luke 13:1; and, as he was willing to correct that
error, he sent Christ to Herod at this time."
(9) A.D. 33, April 3.
(10) April 5.
(11) Of the banishment of these four thousand Jews into Sardinia
by Tiberius, see Suetonlus in Tiber. sect. 36. But as for Mr.
Reland's note here, which supposes that Jews could not,
consistently with their laws, be soldiers, it is contradicted by
one branch of the history before us, and contrary to innumerable
instances of their fighting, and proving excellent soldiers in
war; and indeed many of the best of them, and even under heathen
kings themselves, did so; those, I mean, who allowed them their
rest on the sabbath day, and other solemn festivals, and let them
live according to their own laws, as Alexander the Great and the
Ptolemies of Egypt did. It is true, they could not always obtain
those privileges, and then they got executed as well as they
could, or sometimes absolutely refused to fight, which seems to
have been the case here, as to the major part of the Jews now
banished, but nothing more. See several of the Roman decrees in
their favor as to such matters, B. XIV. ch. 10.
(12) Since Moses never came himself beyond Jordan, nor
particularly to Mount Gerizzim, and since these Samaritans have a
tradition among them, related here by Dr. Hudson, from Reland,
who was very skillful in Jewish and Samaritan learning, that in
the days of Uzzi or Ozis the high priest, 1 Chronicles 6:6; the
ark and other sacred vessels were, by God's command, laid up or
hidden in Mount Gerizzim, it is highly probable that this was the
foolish foundation the present Samaritans went upon, in the
sedition here described.
(13) This mention of the high priest's sacred garments received
seven days before a festival, and purified in those days against
a festival, as having been polluted by being in the custody of
heathens, in Josephus, agrees well with the traditions of the
Talmudists, as Reland here observes. Nor is there any question
but the three feasts here mentioned were the passover, pentecost,
and feast of tabernacles; and the fast so called by way of
distinction, as Acts 27:9, was the great day of expiation.
(14) This calculation, from all Josephus's Greek copies, is
exactly right; for since Herod died about September, in the
fourth year before the Christian era, and Tiberius began, as is
well known, Aug. 19, A.D. 14, it is evident that the
thirty-seventh year of Philip, reckoned from his father's death,
was the twentieth of Tiberius, or near the end of A.D. 33, [the
very year of our Savior's death also,] or, however, in the
beginning of the next year, A.D. 34. This Philip the tetrarch
seems to have been the best of all the posterity of Herod, for
his love of peace, and his love of justice.
An excellent example this.
(15) This Herod seems to have had the additional name of Philip,
as Antipus was named Herod-Antipas: and as Antipus and Antipater
seem to be in a manner the very same name, yet were the names of
two sons of Herod the Great; so might Philip the tetrarch and
this Herod-Philip be two different sons of the same father, all
which Grotias observes on Matthew 14:3. Nor was it, as I with
Grotias and others of the Philip the tetrarch, but this
Herod-Philip, whose wife Herod the tetrarch had married, and that
in her first husband's lifetime, and when her first husband had
issue by her-; for which adulterous and incestuous marriage John
the Baptist justly reproved Herod the tetrarch, and for which
reproof Salome, the daughter of Herodias by her first husband
Herod-Philip, who was still alive, occasioned him to be unjustly
(16) Whether this sudden extinction of almost the entire lineage
of Herod the Great, which was very numerous, as we are both here
and in the next section informed, was not in part as a punishment
for the gross incests they were frequently guilty of, in marrying
their own nephews and nieces, well deserves to be considered. See
Leviticus 18:6, 7; 21:10; and Noldius, De Herod, No. 269, 270.
(17) There are coins still extant of this Eraess, as Spanheim
informs us. Spanheim also informs us of a coin still extant of
this Jotape, daughter of the king of Commageus.
(18) Spanheim observes, that we have here an instance of the
Attic quantity of use-money, which was the eighth part of the
original sum, or 12 per cent., for such is the proportion of 2500
(19) The governor of the Jews there.
(20) Tiberius, junior of Germanicus.
(21) This high commendation of Antonia for marrying but once,
given here, and supported elsewhere; Antiq. B. XVII. ch. 13.
sect. 4, and this, notwithstanding the strongest temptations,
shows how honorable single marriages were both among the Jews and
Romans, in the days of Josephus and of the apostles, and takes
away much of that surprise which the modern Protestants have at
those laws of the apostles, where no widows, but those who had
been the wives of one husband only, are taken into the church
list; and no bishops, priests, or deacons are allowed to marry
more than once, without leaving off to officiate as clergymen any
longer. See Luke 2:36; 1 Timothy 5:11, 12; 3:2, 12; Titus 1:10;
Constit. Apost. B. II. sect. 1, 2; B. VI. sect. 17; Can. B.
XVII,; Grot. in Luc. ii. 36; and Resports. ad Consult. Cassand.
p. 44; and Cotelet. in Constit. B. VI. sect. 17. And note, that
Tertullian owns this law against second marriages of the clergy
had been once at least executed in his time; and heavily
complains elsewhere, that the breach thereof had not been always
punished by the catholics, as it ought to have been. Jerome,
speaking of the ill reputation of marrying twice, says, that no
such person could be chosen into the clergy in his days; which
Augustine testifies also; and for Epiphanius, rather earlier, he
is clear and full to the same purpose, and says that law obtained
over the whole catholic church in his days,--as the places in the
forecited authors inform us.
(22) Dr. Hudson here takes notice, out of Seneca, Epistle V. that
this was the custom of Tiberius, to couple the prisoner and the
soldier that guarded him together in the same chain.
(23) Tiberius his own grandson, and Caius his brother Drusus's
(24) So I correct Josephus's copy, which calls Germanicus his
brother, who was his brother's son.
(25) This is a known thing among the Roman historians and poets,
that Tiberius was greatly given to astrology and divination.
(26) This name of a lion is often given to tyrants, especially by
the such Agrippa, and probably his freed-man Marsyas, in effect
were, Ezekiel 19:1, 9; Esther 4:9 2 Timothy 4:17. They are also
sometimes compared to or represented by wild beasts, of which the
lion is the principal, Daniel 7:3, 8; Apoc. 13:1, 2.
(27) Although Caius now promised to give Agrippa the tetrarchy of
Lysanias, yet was it not actually conferred upon him till the
reign of Claudius, as we learn, Antiq. B. XIX, ch. 5. sect. 1.
(28) Regarding instances of the interpositions of Providence, as
have been always very rare among the other idolatrous nations,
but of old very many among the posterity of Abraham, the
worshippers of the true God; nor do these seem much inferior to
those in the Old Testament, which are the more remarkable,
because, among all their other follies and vices, the Jews were
not at this time idolaters; and the deliverances here mentioned
were done in order to prevent their relapse into that idolatry.
(29) Josephus here assures us that the ambassadors from
Alexandria to Caius were on each part no more than three in
number, for the Jews, and for the Gentiles, which are but six in
all; whereas Philo, who was the principal ambassador from the
Jews, as Josephus here confesses, (as was Apion for the
Gentiles,) says, the Jews' ambassadors were themselves no fewer
than live, towards the end of his legation to Caius; which, if
there be no mistake in the copies, must be supposed the truth;
nor, in that case, would Josephus have contradicted so authentic
a witness, had he seen that account of Philo's; which that he
ever did does not appear.
(30) This Alexander, the alabarch, or governor of the Jews, at
Alexandria, and brother to Philo, is supposed by Bishop Pearson,
in Act. Apost. p. 41,42, to be the same with that Alexander who
is mentioned by St. Luke, as of the kindred of the high priests,
(31) What Josephus here, and sect. 6, relates as done by the Jews
seed time, is in Philo, "not far off the time when the corn was
ripe," who, as Le Clerc notes, differ here one from the other.
This is another indication that Josephus, when he wrote this
account, had not seen Philo's Legat. ad Caiurn, otherwise he
would hardly trove herein differed from him.
(32) This. Publius Petronius was after this still president of
Syria, under Cladius, and, at the desire of Agrippa, published a
severe decree against the inhabitants of Dora, who, in a sort of
intitation of Caius, had set op a statue of Claudius in a Jewish
synagogue there. This decree is extant, B. XIX. ch. 6. sect. 3,
and greatly confirms the present accounts of Josephus, as do the
other decrees of Claudius, relating to the like Jewish affairs,
B. XIX. ch. 5. sect. 2, 3, to which I refer the inquisitive
(33) Josephus here uses the solemn New Testament words, the
presence and appearance of God, for the extraordinary
manifestation of his power and providence to Petronius, by
sending rain in a time of distress, immediately upon the
resolution he had taken to preserve the temple unpolluted, at the
hazard of his own life, without any other miraculous appearance
at all in that case; which well deserves to be taken notice of
here, and greatly illustrates several texts, both in the Old and
(34) This behavior of Caius to Agrippa is very like that of Herod
Antipas, his uncle, to Herodias, Agrippa's sister, about it John
the Baptist, Matthew 14:6--11.
(35) The joining of the right hands was esteemed among the
Peoians [and Parthians] in particular a most inviolable
obligation to fidelity, as Dr. Hudson here observes, and refers
to the commentary on Justin, B. XI. ch. 15., for its
confirmation. We often meet with the like use of it in Josephus.
(36) This custom of the Mesopotamians to carry their household
gods along with them wherever they traveled is as old as the days
of Jacob, when Rachel his wife did the same, Genesis 31:19,
30-35; nor is it to pass here unobserved, what great miseries
came on these Jews, because they suffered one of their leaders to
marry an idolatrous wife, contrary to the law of Moses. Of which
matter see the note on B. XIX. ch. 5. sect. 3.
(37) This custom, in Syria and Mesopotamia, of setting men upon
an ass, by way of disgrace, is still kept up at Damascus in
Syria; where, in order to show their despite against the
Christians, the Turks will not suffer them to hire horses, but
asses only, when they go abroad to see the country, as Mr.
Maundrell assures us, p. 128.
BOOK 19 FOOTNOTES
(1) In this and the three next chapters we have, I think, a
larger and more distinct account of the slaughter of Caius, and
the succession of Claudius, than we have of any such ancient
facts whatsoever elsewhere. Some of the occasions of which
probably were, Josephus's bitter hatred against tyranny, and the
pleasure he took in giving the history of the slaughter of such a
barbarous tyrant as was this Caius Caligula, as also the
deliverance his own nation had by that slaughter, of which he
speaks sect. 2, together with the great intimacy he had with
Agrippa, junior, whose father was deeply concerned in the
advancement of Claudius, upon the death of Caius; from which
Agrippa, junior, Josephus might be fully informed Of his history.
(2) Called Caligula by the Romans.
(3) Just such a voice as this is related to be came, and from an
unknown original also, to the famous Polycarp, as he was going to
martyrdom, bidding him "play the man;" as the church of Smyrna
assures us in their account of that his martyrdom, sect. 9.
(4) Here Josephus supposes that it was Augustus, and not Julius
Caesar, who first changed the Roman commonwealth into a monarchy;
for these shows were in honor of Augustus, as we shall learn in
the next section.
(5) Suetonius says Caius was slain about the seventh hour of the
day, the ninth. The series of the narration favors Josephus.
(6) The rewards proposed by the Roman laws to informers was
sometimes an eigth partm as Spanheim assures us, from the
criminal's goods, as here, and sometimes a fourth part.
(7) These consuls are named in the War of the Jews, B. II. ch.
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