The Antiquities of the Jews
Part 26 out of 26
11. sect; 1, Sentius Saturninus and Pomponius Secundus, as
Spanheim notes here. The speech of the former of them is set down
in the next chapter, sect. 2.
(8) In this oration of Sentius Saturninus, we may see the great
value virtuous men put upon public liberty, and the sad misery
they underwent, while they were tyrannized over by such emperors
as Caius. See Josephus's own short but pithy reflection at the
end of the chapter: "So difficult," says he, "it is for those to
obtain the virtue that is necessary to a wise man, who have the
absolute power to do what they please without control."
(9) Hence we learn that, in the opinion of Saturninus, the
sovereign authority of the consuls and senate had been taken away
just a hundred years before the death of Caius, A.D. 41, or in
the sixtieth year before the Christian saga, when the first
triumvirate began under Caesar, Pompey, and Crassus.
(10) Spanheim here notes from Suetonius, that the name of Caius's
sister with whom he was guilty of incest, was Drusilla and that
Suetonius adds, he was guilty of the same crime with all his
sisters also. He notes further, that Suetonius omits the mention
of the haven for ships, which our author esteems the only public
work for the good of the present and future ages which Caius left
behind him, though in an imperfect condition.
(11) This Caius was the son of that excellent person Germanicus,
who was the son of Drusus, the brother of Tiberius the emperor.
(11) The first place Claudius came to was inhabited, and called
Herincure, as Spanheim here informs us from Suetonius, in Claud.
(12) How Claudius, another son of Drusus, which Drusus was the
father of Germanicus, could be here himself called Germanicus,
Suetonius informs us, when he assures us that, by a decree of the
senate, the surname of Germanicus was bestowed upon Drusus, and
his posterity also.--In Claud. ch. 1.
(13) This number of drachmae to be distributed to each private
soldier, five thousand drachmae, equal to twenty thousand
sesterces, or one hundred and sixty-one pounds sterling, seems
much too large, and directly contradicts Suetonius, ch. 10., who
makes them in all but fifteen sesterces, or two shillings and
four pence. Yet might Josephus have this number from Agrippa,
junior, though I doubt the thousands, or at least the hundreds,
have been added by the transcribers, of which we have had several
examples already in Josephus.
(14) This piercing cold here complained of by Lupus agrees well
to the time of the year when Claudius began his reign; it being
for certain about the months of November, December, or January,
and most probably a few days after January the twenty-fourth, and
a few days before the Roman Parentalia.
(15) It is both here and elsewhere very remarkable, that the
murders of the vilest tyrants, who yet highly deserved to die,
when those murderers were under oaths, or other the like
obligations of fidelity to them, were usually revenged, and the
murderers were cut off themselves, and that after a remarkable
manner; and this sometimes, as in the present case, by those very
persons who were not sorry for such murders, but got kingdoms by
them. The examples are very numerous, both in sacred and profane
histories, and seem generally indications of Divine vengeance on
such murderers. Nor is it unworthy of remark, that such murderers
of tyrants do it usually on such ill principles, in such a cruel
manner, and as ready to involve the innocent with the guilty,
which was the case here, ch. 1. sect. 14, and ch. 2. sect. 4, as
justly deserved the Divine vengeance upon them. Which seems to
have been the case of Jehu also, when, besides the house of Ahab,
for whose slaughter he had a commission from God, without any
such commission, any justice or commiseration, he killed Ahab's
great men, and acquaintance, and priests, and forty-two of the
kindred of Ahaziah, 2 Kings 10:11-14. See Hosea 1:4. I do not
mean here to condemn Ehud or Judith, or the like executioners of
God's vengeance on those wicked tyrants who had unjustly
oppressed God's own people under their theocracy; who, as they
appear still to have had no selfish designs nor intentions to
slay the innocent, so had they still a Divine commission, or a
Divine impulse, which was their commission for what they did,
Judges 3:15, 19, 20; Judith 9:2; Test. Levi. sect. 5, in Authent.
Rec. p. 312. See also page 432.
(16) Here St. Luke is in some measure confirmed, when he reforms
us, ch. 3:1, that Lysanias was some time before tetrarch of
Abilene, whose capital was Abila; as he is further confirmed by
Ptolemy, the great geographer, which Spanheim here observes, when
he calls that city Abila of Lysanias. See the note on B. XVII.
ch. 11. sect. 4; and Prid. at the years 36 and 22. I esteem this
principality to have belonged to the land of Canaan originally,
to have been the burying-place of Abel, and referred to as such,
Matthew 23:35; Luke 11:51. See Authent. Rec. Part. II. p.
(17) This form was so known and frequent among the Romans, as Dr.
Hudson here tells us from the great Selden, that it used to be
thus represented at the bottom of their edicts by the initial
letters only, U. D. P. R. L. P, Unde De Plano Recte Lege Possit;
"Whence it may be plainly read from the ground."
(18) Josephus shows, both here and ch. 7. sect. 3, that he had a
much greater opinion of king Agrippa I. than Simon the learned
Rabbi, than the people of Cesarea and Sebaste, ch. 7. sect. 4;
and ch. 9. sect. 1; and indeed than his double-dealing between
the senate and Claudius, ch. 4. sect. 2, than his slaughter of
James the brother of John, and his imprisonment of Peter, or his
vain-glorious behavior before he died, both in Acts 12:13; and
here, ch. 4. sect. 1, will justify or allow. Josephus's character
was probably taken from his son Agrippa, junior.
(19) This treasury-chamber seems to have been the very same in
which our Savior taught, and where the people offered their
charity money for the repairs or other uses of the temple, Mark
12:41, etc.; Luke 22:1; John 8:20.
(20) A strange number of condemned criminals to be under the
sentence of death at once; no fewer, it seems, than one thousand
(21) We have a mighty cry made here by some critics, as the great
Eusebius had on purpose falsified this account of Josephus, so as
to make it agree with the parallel account in the Acts of the
Apostles, because the present copies of his citation of it, Hist.
Eceles. B. II. ch. 10., omit the words an owl--on a certain rope,
which Josephus's present copies retain, and only have the
explicatory word or angel; as if he meant that angel of the Lord
which St. Luke mentions as smiting Herod, Acts 12:23, and not
that owl which Josephus called an angel or messenger, formerly of
good, but now of bad news, to Agrippa. This accusation is a
somewhat strange one in the case of the great Eusebius, who is
known to have so accurately and faithfully produced a vast number
of other ancient records, and particularly not a few out of our
Josephus also, without any suspicion of prevarication. Now, not
to allege how uncertain we are whether Josephus's and Eusebius's
copies of the fourth century were just like the present in this
clause, which we have no distinct evidence of, the following
words, preserved still in Eusebius, will not admit of any such
exposition: "This [bird] (says Eusebius) Agrippa presently
perceived to be the cause of ill fortune, as it was once of good
fortune, to him;" which can only belong to that bird, the owl,
which as it had formerly foreboded his happy deliverance from
imprisonment, Antiq. B. XVIII. ch. 6. sect. 7, so was it then
foretold to prove afterward the unhappy forerunner of his death
in five days' time. If the improper words signifying cause, be
changed for Josephus's proper word angel or messenger, and the
foregoing words, be inserted, Esuebius's text will truly
represent that in Josephus. Had this imperfection been in some
heathen author that was in good esteem with our modern critics,
they would have readily corrected these as barely errors in the
copies; but being in an ancient Christian writer, not so well
relished by many of those critics, nothing will serve but the
ill-grounded supposal of willful corruption and prevarication.
(22) This sum of twelve millions of drachmae, which is equal to
three millions of shekels, i.e. at 2s. 10d. a shekel, equal to
four hundred and twenty-five thousand pounds sterling, was
Agrippa the Great's yearly income, or about three quarters of his
grandfather Herod's income; he having abated the tax upon houses
at Jerusalem, ch. 6. sect. 3, and was not so tyrannical as Herod
had been to the Jews. See the note on Antiq. B. XVII. ch. 11.
sect. 4. A large sum this! but not, it seems, sufficient for his
(23) Reland takes notice here, not improperly, that Josephus
omits the reconciliation of this Herod Agrippa to the Tyrians and
Sidoninus, by the means of Blastus the king's chamberlain,
mentioned Acts 12:20. Nor is there any history in the world so
complete, as to omit nothing that other historians take notice
of, unless the one be taken out of the other, and accommodated to
(24) Photius, who made an extract out of this section, says they
were not the statues or images, but the ladies themselves, who
were thus basely abused by the soldiers.
BOOK 20 FOOTNOTES
(1) Here is some error in the copies, or mistake in Josephus; for
the power of appointing high priests, alter Herod king of Chalcis
was dead, and Agrippa, junior, was made king of Chalcis in his
room, belonged to him; and he exercised the same all along till
Jerusalem was destroyed, as Josephus elsewhere informs us, ch. 8.
sect. , 11; ch. 9. sect. 1, 4, 6, 7.
(2) Josephus here uses the word monogene, an only begotten son,
for no other than one best beloved, as does both the Old and New
Testament, I mean where there were one or more sons besides,
Genesis 22:2; Hebrew 11:17. See the note on B. I. ch. 13. sect.
(3) It is here very remarkable, that the remains of Noah's ark
were believed to he still in being in the days of Josephus. See
the note on B. I. ch. 3. sect. 5.
(4) Josephus is very full and express in these three chapters,
3., 4., and 5., in observing how carefully Divine Providence
preserved this Izates, king of Adiabene, and his sons, while he
did what he thought was his bounden duty, notwithstanding the
strongest political motives to the contrary.
(5) This further account of the benefactions of Izates and Helena
to the Jerusalem Jews which Josephus here promises is, I think,
no where performed by him in his present works. But of this
terrible famine itself in Judea, take Dr. Hudson's note here: -
"This ( says he ) is that famine foretold by Agabus, Acts 11:28,
which happened when Claudius was consul the fourth time; and not
that other which happened when Claudius was consul the second
time, and Cesina was his colleague, as Scaliger says upon
Eusebius, p. 174." Now when Josephus had said a little afterward,
ch. 5. sect. 2, that "Tiberius Alexander succeeded Cuspius Fadus
as procurator," he immediately subjoins, that" under these
procurators there happened a great famine in Judea." Whence it is
plain that this famine continued for many years, on account of
its duration under these two procurators. Now Fadus was not sent
into Judea till after the death of king Agrippa, i.e. towards the
latter end of the 4th year of Claudius; so that this famine
foretold by Agabus happened upon the 5th, 6th, and 7th years of
Claudius, as says Valesius on Euseb. II. 12. Of this famine also,
and queen Helena's supplies, and her monument, see Moses
Churenensis, p. 144, 145, where it is observed in the notes that
Pausanias mentions that her monument also.
(6) This privilege of wearing the tiara upright, or with the tip
of the cone erect, is known to have been of old peculiar to great
kings, from Xenophon and others, as Dr. Hudson observes here.
(7) This conduct of Izates is a sign that he was become either a
Jew, or an Ebionite Christian, who indeed differed not much from
proper Jews. See ch. 6. sect. 1. However, his supplications were
heard, and he was providentially delivered from that imminent
danger he was in.
(8) These pyramids or pillars, erected by Helena, queen of
Adiabene, near Jerusalem, three in number, are mentioned by
Eusebius, in his Eccles. Hist. B. II. ch. 12, for which Dr.
Hudson refers us to Valesius's notes upon that place.--They are
also mentioned by Pausanias, as hath been already noted, ch. 2.
sect. 6. Reland guesses that that now called Absalom's Pillar may
be one of them.
(9) This Theudas, who arose under Fadus the procurator, about
A.D. 45 or 46, could not be that Thendas who arose in the days of
the taxing, under Cyrenius, or about A.D. 7, Acts v. 36, 37. Who
that earlier Theudas was, see the note on B. XVII. ch. 10. sect.
(10) This and. many more tumults and seditions which arose at the
Jewish festivals, in Josephus, illustrate the cautious procedure
of the Jewish governors, when they said, Matthew 26:5, "Let us
not take Jesus on the feast-day, lest there be an up roar among
the people;" as Reland well observes on tins place. Josephus also
takes notice of the same thing, Of the War, B. I. ch. 4. sect. 3.
(11) This constant passage of the Galileans through the country
of Samaria, as they went to Judea and Jerusalem, illustrates
several passages in the Gospels to the same purpose, as Dr.
Hudson rightly observes. See Luke 17:11; John 4:4. See also
Josephus in his own Life, sect. 52, where that journey is
determined to three days.
(12) Our Savior had foretold that the Jews' rejection of his
gospel would bring upon them, among other miseries, these three,
which they themselves here show they expected would be the
consequences of their present tumults and seditions: the utter
subversion of their country, the conflagration of their temple,
and the slavery of themselves, their wives, and children See Luke
(13) This Simon, a friend of Felix, a Jew, born in Cyprus, though
he pretended to be a magician, and seems to have been wicked
enough, could hardly be that famous Simon the magician, in the
Acts of the Apostles, 8:9, etc., as some are ready to suppose.
This Simon mentioned in the Acts was not properly a Jew, but a
Samaritan, of the town of Gittae, in the country of Samaria, as
the Apostolical Constitutions, VI. 7, the Recognitions of
Clement, II. 6, and Justin Martyr, himself born in the country of
Samaria, Apology, I. 34, inform us. He was also the author, not
of any ancient Jewish, but of the first Gentile heresies, as the
forementioned authors assure us. So I suppose him a different
person from the other. I mean this only upon the hypothesis that
Josephus was not misinformed as to his being a Cypriot Jew; for
otherwise the time, the name, the profession, and the wickedness
of them both would strongly incline one to believe them the very
same. As to that Drusilla, the sister of Agrippa, junior, as
Josephus informs us here, and a Jewess, as St. Luke informs us,
Acts 24:24, whom this Simon mentioned by Josephus persuaded to
leave her former husband, Azizus, king of Emesa, a proselyte of
justice, and to marry Felix, the heathen procurator of Judea,
Tacitus, Hist. V. 9, supposes her to be a heathen; and the
grand-daughter of Antonius and Cleopatra, contrary both to St.
Luke and Josephus. Now Tacitus lived somewhat too remote, both as
to time and place, to be compared with either of those Jewish
writers, in a matter concerning the Jews in Judea in their own
days, and concerning a sister of Agrippa, junior, with which
Agrippa Josephus was himself so well acquainted. It is probable
that Tacitus may say true, when he informs us that this Felix
(who had in all three wives, or queens, as Suetonius in Claudius,
sect. 28, assures us) did once marry such a grandchild of
Antonius and Cleopatra; and finding the name of one of them to
have been Drusilla, he mistook her for that other wife, whose
name he did not know.
(14) This eruption of Vesuvius was one of the greatest we have in
history. See Bianchini's curious and important observations on
this Vesuvius, and its seven several great eruptions, with their
remains vitrified, and still existing, in so many different
strata under ground, till the diggers came to the antediluvian
waters, with their proportionable interstices, implying the
deluge to have been above two thousand five hundred years before
the Christian era, according to our exactest chronology.
(15) This is now wanting.
(16) This also is now wanting.
(17) This duration of the reign of Claudius agrees with Dio, as
Dr. Hudson here remarks; as he also remarks that Nero's name,
which was at first L. Domitius Aenobarbus, after Claudius had
adopted him was Nero Claudius Caesar Drusus Germanicus. This
Soleus as [own Life, sect. 11, as also] by Dio Cassius andTaeims,
as Dr. Hudson informs us.
(18) This agrees with Josephus's frequent accounts elsewhere in
his own Life, that Tibetans, and Taricheae, and Gamala were under
this Agrippa, junior, till Justus, the son of Pistus, seized for
the Jews, upon the breaking out of the war.
(19) This treacherous and barbarous murder of the good high
priest Jonathan, by the contrivance of this wicked procurator,
Felix, was the immediate occasion of the ensuing murders by the
Sicarii or ruffians, and one great cause of the following horrid
cruelties and miseries of the Jewish nation, as Josephus here
supposes; whose excellent reflection on the gross wickedness of
that nation, as the direct cause of their terrible destruction,
is well worthy the attention of every Jewish and of every
Christian reader. And since we are soon coming to the catalogue
of the Jewish high priests, it may not be amiss, with Reland, to
insert this Jonathan among them, and to transcribe his particular
catalogue of the last twenty-eight high priests, taken out of
Josephus, and begin with Ananelus, who was
made by Herod the Great. See Antiq. B. XV. ch. 2. sect. 4,
and the note there.
3. Jesus, the son of Fabus.
4. Simon, the son of Boethus.
5. Marthias, the son of Theophiltu.
6. Joazar, the son of Boethus.
7. Eleazar, the son of Boethus.
8. Jesus, the son of Sic.
9. [Annas, or] Ananus, the son of Seth.
10. Ismael, the son of Fabus.
11. Eleazar, the son of Ananus.
12. Simon, the son of Camithus.
13. Josephus Caiaphas, the son-in-law to Ananus.
14. Jonathan, the son of Ananus.
15. Theophilus, his brother, and son of Ananus.
16. Simon, the son of Boethus.
17. Matthias, the brother of Jonathan, and son of Ananus.
19. Josephus, the son of Camydus.
20. Ananias, the son of Nebedeus.
22. Ismael, the son of Fabi.
23. Joseph Cabi, the son of Simon.
24. Ananus, the son of Artanus.
25. Jesus, the son of Damnetas.
26. Jesus, the son of Gamaliel.
27. Matthias, the son of Theophilus.
28. Phannias, the son of Samuel.
As for Ananus and Joseph Caiaphas, here mentioned about the
middle of this catalogue, they are no other than those Annas and
Caiaphas so often mentioned in the four Gospels; and that
Ananias, the son of Nebedeus, was that high priest before whom
St. Paul pleaded his own cause, Acts 24.
(20) Of these Jewish impostors and false prophets, with many
other circumstances and miseries of the Jews, till their utter
destruction, foretold by our Savior, see Lit. Accompl. of Proph.
p. 58-75. Of this Egyptian impostor, and the number of his
followers, in Josephus, see Acts 21:38.
(21) The wickedness here was very peculiar and extraordinary,
that the high priests should so oppress their brethren the
priests, as to starve the poorest of them to death. See the like
presently, ch. 9. sect. 2. Such fatal crimes are covetousness and
tyranny in the clergy, as well as in the laity, in all ages.
(22) We have here one eminent example of Nero's mildness and
goodness in his government towards the Jews, during the first
five years of his reign, so famous in antiquity; we have perhaps
another in Josephus's own Life, sect. 3; and a third, though of a
very different nature here, in sect. 9, just before. However,
both the generous acts of kindness were obtained of Nero by his
queen Poppea, who was a religious lady, and perhaps privately a
Jewish proselyte, and so were not owing entirely to Nero's own
(23) It hence evidently appears that Sadducees might be high
priests in the days of Josephus, and that these Sadducees were
usually very severe and inexorable judges, while the Pharisees
were much milder, and more merciful, as appears by Reland's
instances in his note on this place, and on Josephus's Life,
sect. 31, and those taken from the New Testament, from Josephus
himself, and from the Rabbins; nor do we meet with any Sadducees
later than this high priest in all Josephus.
(24) Of this condemnation of James the Just, and its causes, as
also that he did not die till long afterwards, see Prim. Christ.
Revived, vol. III. ch. 43-46. The sanhedrim condemned our Savior,
but could not put him to death without the approbation of the
Roman procurator; nor could therefore Ananias and his sanhedrim
do more here, since they never had Albinus's approbation for the
putting this James to death.
(25) This Ananias was not the son of Nebedeus, as I take it, but
he who was called Annas or Ananus the elder, the ninth in the
catalogue, and who had been esteemed high priest for a long time;
and, besides Caiaphas, his son-in-law, had five of his own sons
high priests after him, which were those of numbers 11, 14, 15,
17, 24, in the foregoing catalogue. Nor ought we to pass slightly
over what Josephus here says of Annas, or Ananias, that he was
high priest a long time before his children were so; he was the
son of Seth, and is set down first for high priest in the
foregoing catalogue, under number 9. He was made by Quirinus, and
continued till Ismael, the 10th in number, for about twenty-three
years, which long duration of his high priesthood, joined to the
successions of his son-in-law, and five children of his own, made
him a sort of perpetual high priest, and was perhaps the occasion
that former high priests kept their titles ever afterwards; for I
believe it is hardly met with be fore him.
(26) This insolent petition of some of the Levites, to wear the
sacerdotal garments when they sung hymns to God in the temple,
was very probably owing to the great depression and contempt the
haughty high priests had now brought their brethren the priests
into; of which see ch. 8. sect. 8, and ch. 9, sect. 2.
(27) Of these cloisters of Solomon, see the description of the
temple, ch. 13. They seem, by Josephus's words, to have been
built from the bottom of the valley.
(28) See the Life at the beginning of the volume.
(29) What Josephus here declares his intention to do, if God
permitted, to give the public again an abridgement of the Jewish
War hear of it elsewhere, whether he performed what he now
intended or not. Some of the reasons of this design of his might
possibly be, his observation of the many errors he had been
guilty of in the two first of those seven books of the War, which
were written when he was comparatively young, and less acquainted
with the Jewish antiquities than he now was, and in which
abridgement we might have hoped to find those many passages which
himself, as well as those several passages which others refer to,
as written by him, but which are not extant in his present works.
However, since many of his own references to what he had written
elsewhere, as well as most of his own errors, belong to such
early times as could not well come into this abridgement of the
Jewish War; and since none of those that quote things not now
extant in his works, including himself as well as others, ever
cite any such abridgement; I am forced rather to suppose that he
never did publish any such work at all; I mean, as distinct from
his own Life, written by himself, for an appendix to these
Antiquities, and this at least seven years after these
Antiquities were finished. Nor indeed does it appear to me that
Josephus ever published that other work here mentioned, as
intended by him for the public also: I mean the three or four
books concerning God and his essence, and concerning the Jewish
laws; why, according to them, some things were permitted the
Jews, and others prohibited; which last seems to be the same work
which Josephus had also promised, if God permitted, at the
conclusion of his preface to these Antiquities; nor do I suppose
that he ever published any of them. The death of all his friends
at court, Vespasian, Titus, and Domitian, and the coming of those
he had no acquaintance with to the crown, I mean Nerva and
Trajan, together with his removal from Rome to Judea, with what
followed it, might easily interrupt such his intentions, and
prevent his publication of those works.
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