The Antiquities of the Jews
Flavius Josephus

Part 3 out of 26

multitude of the frogs vanished away; and both the land and the
river returned to their former natures. But as soon as Pharaoh
saw the land freed from this plague, he forgot the cause of it,
and retained the Hebrews; and, as though he had a mind to try the
nature of more such judgments, he would not yet suffer Moses and
his people to depart, having granted that liberty rather out of
fear than out of any good consideration. (35)

3. Accordingly, God punished his falseness with another plague,
added to the former; for there arose out of the bodies of the
Egyptians an innumerable quantity of lice, by which, wicked as
they were, they miserably perished, as not able to destroy this
sort of vermin either with washes or with ointments. At which
terrible judgment the king of Egypt was in disorder, upon the
fear into which he reasoned himself, lest his people should be
destroyed, and that the manner of this death was also
reproachful, so that he was forced in part to recover himself
from his wicked temper to a sounder mind, for he gave leave for
the Hebrews themselves to depart. But when the plague thereupon
ceased, he thought it proper to require that they should leave
their children and wives behind them, as pledges of their return;
whereby he provoked God to be more vehemently angry at him, as if
he thought to impose on his providence, and as if it were only
Moses, and not God, who punished the Egyptians for the sake of
the Hebrews: for he filled that country full of various sorts of
pestilential creatures, with their various properties, such
indeed as had never come into the sight of men before, by whose
means the men perished themselves, and the land was destitute of
husbandmen for its cultivation; but if any thing escaped
destruction from them, it was killed by a distemper which the men
underwent also.

4. But when Pharaoh did not even then yield to the will of God,
but, while he gave leave to the husbands to take their wives with
them, yet insisted that the children should be left behind, God
presently resolved to punish his wickedness with several sorts of
calamities, and those worse than the foregoing, which yet had so
generally afflicted them; for their bodies had terrible boils,
breaking forth with blains, while they were already inwardly
consumed; and a great part of the Egyptians perished in this
manner. But when the king was not brought to reason by this
plague, hail was sent down from heaven; and such hail it was, as
the climate of Egypt had never suffered before, nor was it like
to that which falls in other climates in winter time, (26) but
was larger than that which falls in the middle of spring to those
that dwell in the northern and north-western regions. This hail
broke down their boughs laden with fruit. After this a tribe of
locusts consumed the seed which was not hurt by the hail; so that
to the Egyptians all hopes of the future fruits of the ground
were entirely lost.

5. One would think the forementioned calamities might have been
sufficient for one that was only foolish, without wickedness, to
make him wise, and to make him Sensible what was for his
advantage. But Pharaoh, led not so much by his folly as by his
wickedness, even when he saw the cause of his miseries, he still
contested with God, and willfully deserted the cause of virtue;
so he bid Moses take the Hebrews away, with their wives and
children, to leave their cattle behind, since their own cattle
were destroyed. But when Moses said that what he desired was
unjust, since they were obliged to offer sacrifices to God of
those cattle, and the time being prolonged on this account, a
thick darkness, without the least light, spread itself over the
Egyptians, whereby their sight being obstructed, and their
breathing hindered by the thickness of the air, they died
miserably, and under a terror lest they should be swallowed up by
the dark cloud. Besides this, when the darkness, after three days
and as many nights, was dissipated, and when Pharaoh did not
still repent and let the Hebrews go, Moses came to him and said,
"How long wilt thou be disobedient to the command of God? for he
enjoins thee to let the Hebrews go; nor is there any other way of
being freed from the calamities are under, unless you do so." But
the king angry at what he said, and threatened to cut off his
head if he came any more to trouble him these matters. Hereupon
Moses said he not speak to him any more about them, for he
himself, together with the principal men among the Egyptians,
should desire the Hebrews away. So when Moses had said this, he
his way.

6. But when God had signified, that with one plague he would
compel the Egyptians to let Hebrews go, he commanded Moses to
tell the people that they should have a sacrifice ready, and they
should prepare themselves on the tenth day of the month
Xanthicus, against the fourteenth, (which month is called by the
Egyptians Pharmuth, Nisan by the Hebrews; but the Macedonians
call it Xanthicus,) and that he should carry the Hebrews with all
they had. Accordingly, he having got the Hebrews ready for their
departure, and having sorted the people into tribes, he kept them
together in one place: but when the fourteenth day was come, and
all were ready to depart they offered the sacrifice, and purified
their houses with the blood, using bunches of hyssop for that
purpose; and when they had supped, they burnt the remainder of
the flesh, as just ready to depart. Whence it is that we do still
offer this sacrifice in like manner to this day, and call this
festival Pascha which signifies the feast of the passover;
because on that day God passed us over, and sent the plague upon
the Egyptians; for the destruction of the first-born came upon
the Egyptians that night, so that many of the Egyptians who lived
near the king's palace, persuaded Pharaoh to let the Hebrews go.
Accordingly he called for Moses, and bid them be gone; as
supposing, that if once the Hebrews were gone out of the country,
Egypt should be freed from its miseries. They also honored the
Hebrews with gifts; (27) some, in order to get them to depart
quickly, and others on account of their neighborhood, and the
friendship they had with them.


How The Hebrews Under The Conduct Of Moses Left Egypt.

1. So the Hebrews went out of Egypt, while the Egyptians wept,
and repented that they had treated them so hardly. - Now they
took their journey by Letopolis, a place at that time deserted,
but where Babylon was built afterwards, when Cambyses laid Egypt
waste: but as they went away hastily, on the third day they came
to a place called Beelzephon, on the Red Sea; and when they had
no food out of the land, because it was a desert, they eat of
loaves kneaded of flour, only warmed by a gentle heat; and this
food they made use of for thirty days; for what they brought with
them out of Egypt would not suffice them any longer time; and
this only while they dispensed it to each person, to use so much
only as would serve for necessity, but not for satiety. Whence it
is that, in memory of the want we were then in, we keep a feast
for eight days, which is called the feast of unleavened bread.
Now the entire multitude of those that went out, including the
women and children, was not easy to be numbered, but those that
were of an age fit for war, were six hundred thousand.

2. They left Egypt in the month Xanthicus, on the fifteenth day
of the lunar month; four hundred and thirty years after our
forefather Abraham came into Canaan, but two hundred and fifteen
years only after Jacob removed into Egypt. (28) It was the
eightieth year of the age of Moses, and of that of Aaron three
more. They also carried out the bones of Joesph with them, as he
had charged his sons to do.

3. But the Egyptians soon repented that the Hebrews were gone;
and the king also was mightily concerned that this had been
procured by the magic arts of Moses; so they resolved to go after
them. Accordingly they took their weapons, and other warlike
furniture, and pursued after them, in order to bring them back,
if once they overtook them, because they would now have no
pretense to pray to God against them, since they had already been
permitted to go out; and they thought they should easily overcome
them, as they had no armor, and would be weary with their
journey; so they made haste in their pursuit, and asked of every
one they met which way they were gone. And indeed that land was
difficult to be traveled over, not only by armies, but by single
persons. Now Moses led the Hebrews this way, that in case the
Egyptians should repent and be desirous to pursue after them,
they might undergo the punishment of their wickedness, and of the
breach of those promises they had made to them. As also he led
them this way on account of the Philistines, who had quarreled
with them, and hated them of old, that by all means they might
not know of their departure, for their country is near to that of
Egypt; and thence it was that Moses led them not along the road
that tended to the land of the Philistines, but he was desirous
that they should go through the desert, that so after a long
journey, and after many afflictions, they might enter upon the
land of Canaan. Another reason of this was, that God commanded
him to bring the people to Mount Sinai, that there they might
offer him sacrifices. Now when the Egyptians had overtaken the
Hebrews, they prepared to fight them, and by their multitude they
drove them into a narrow place; for the number that pursued after
them was six hundred chariots, with fifty thousand horsemen, and
two hundred thousand foot-men, all armed. They also seized on the
passages by which they imagined the Hebrews might fly, shutting
them up (29) between inaccessible precipices and the sea; for
there was [on each side] a [ridge of] mountains that terminated
at the sea, which were impassable by reason of their roughness,
and obstructed their flight; wherefore they there pressed upon
the Hebrews with their army, where [the ridges of] the mountains
were closed with the sea; which army they placed at the chops of
the mountains, that so they might deprive them of any passage
into the plain.

4. When the Hebrews, therefore, were neither able to bear up,
being thus, as it were, besieged, because they wanted provisions,
nor saw any possible way of escaping; and if they should have
thought of fighting, they had no weapons; they expected a
universal destruction, unless they delivered themselves up to the
Egyptians. So they laid the blame on Moses, and forgot all the
signs that had been wrought by God for the recovery of their
freedom; and this so far, that their incredulity prompted them to
throw stones at the prophet, while he encouraged them and
promised them deliverance; and they resolved that they would
deliver themselves up to the Egyptians. So there was sorrow and
lamentation among the women and children, who had nothing but
destruction before their eyes, while they were encompassed with
mountains, the sea, and their enemies, and discerned no way of
flying from them.

5. But Moses, though the multitude looked fiercely at him, did
not, however, give over the care of them, but despised all
dangers, out of his trust in God, who, as he had afforded them
the several steps already taken for the recovery of their
liberty, which he had foretold them, would not now suffer them to
be subdued by their enemies, to be either made slaves or be slain
by them; and, standing in midst of them, he said, "It is not just
of us to distrust even men, when they have hitherto well managed
our affairs, as if they would not be the same hereafter; but it
is no better than madness, at this time to despair of the
providence of God, by whose power all those things have been
performed he promised, when you expected no such things: I mean
all that I have been concerned in for deliverance and escape from
slavery. Nay, when we are in the utmost distress, as you see we
ought rather to hope that God will succor us, by whose operation
it is that we are now this narrow place, that he may out of such
difficulties as are otherwise insurmountable and out of which
neither you nor your enemies expect you can be delivered, and may
at once demonstrate his own power and his providence over us. Nor
does God use to give his help in small difficulties to those whom
he favors, but in such cases where no one can see how any hope in
man can better their condition. Depend, therefore, upon such a
Protector as is able to make small things great, and to show that
this mighty force against you is nothing but weakness, and be not
affrighted at the Egyptian army, nor do you despair of being
preserved, because the sea before, and the mountains behind,
afford you no opportunity for flying, for even these mountains,
if God so please, may be made plain ground for you, and the sea
become dry land."


How The Sea Was Divided Asunder For The Hebrews, When They Were
Pursued By The Egyptians, And So Gave Them An Opportunity Of
Escaping From Them.

1. When Moses had said this, he led them to the sea, while the
Egyptians looked on; for they were within sight. Now these were
so distressed by the toil of their pursuit, that they thought
proper to put off fighting till the next day. But when Moses was
come to the sea-shore, he took his rod, and made supplication to
God, and called upon him to be their helper and assistant; and
said "Thou art not ignorant, O Lord, that it is beyond human
strength and human contrivance to avoid the difficulties we are
now under; but it must be thy work altogether to procure
deliverance to this army, which has left Egypt at thy
appointment. We despair of any other assistance or contrivance,
and have recourse only to that hope we have in thee; and if there
be any method that can promise us an escape by thy providence, we
look up to thee for it. And let it come quickly, and manifest thy
power to us; and do thou raise up this people unto good courage
and hope of deliverance, who are deeply sunk into a disconsolate
state of mind. We are in a helpless place, but still it is a
place that thou possessest; still the sea is thine, the mountains
also that enclose us are thine; so that these mountains will open
themselves if thou commandest them, and the sea also, if thou
commandest it, will become dry land. Nay, we might escape by a
flight through the air, if thou shouldst determine we should have
that way of salvation."

2. When Moses had thus addressed himself to God, he smote the sea
with his rod, which parted asunder at the stroke, and receiving
those waters into itself, left the ground dry, as a road and a
place of flight for the Hebrews. Now when Moses saw this
appearance of God, and that the sea went out of its own place,
and left dry land, he went first of all into it, and bid the
Hebrews to follow him along that divine road, and to rejoice at
the danger their enemies that followed them were in; and gave
thanks to God for this so surprising a deliverance which appeared
from him.

3. Now, while these Hebrews made no stay, but went on earnestly,
as led by God's presence with them, the Egyptians supposed first
that they were distracted, and were going rashly upon manifest
destruction. But when they saw that they were going a great way
without any harm, and that no obstacle or difficulty fell in
their journey, they made haste to pursue them, hoping that the
sea would be calm for them also. They put their horse foremost,
and went down themselves into the sea. Now the Hebrews, while
these were putting on their armor, and therein spending their
time, were beforehand with them, and escaped them, and got first
over to the land on the other side without any hurt. Whence the
others were encouraged, and more courageously pursued them, as
hoping no harm would come to them neither: but the Egyptians were
not aware that they went into a road made for the Hebrews, and
not for others; that this road was made for the deliverance of
those in danger, but not for those that were earnest to make use
of it for the others' destruction. As soon, therefore, as ever
the whole Egyptian army was within it, the sea flowed to its own
place, and came down with a torrent raised by storms of wind,
(30) and encompassed the Egyptians. Showers of rain also came
down from the sky, and dreadful thunders and lightning, with
flashes of fire. Thunderbolts also were darted upon them. Nor was
there any thing which used to be sent by God upon men, as
indications of his wrath, which did not happen at this time, for
a dark and dismal night oppressed them. And thus did all these
men perish, so that there was not one man left to be a messenger
of this calamity to the rest of the Egyptians.

4. But the Hebrews were not able to contain themselves for joy at
their wonderful deliverance, and destruction of their enemies;
now indeed supposing themselves firmly delivered, when those that
would have forced them into slavery were destroyed, and when they
found they had God so evidently for their protector. And now
these Hebrews having escaped the danger they were in, after this
manner, and besides that, seeing their enemies punished in such a
way as is never recorded of any other men whomsoever, were all
the night employed in singing of hymns, and in mirth. (31) Moses
also composed a song unto God, containing his praises, and a
thanksgiving for his kindness, in hexameter verse. (32)

5. As for myself, I have delivered every part of this history as
I found it in the sacred books; nor let any one wonder at the
strangeness of the narration if a way were discovered to those
men of old time, who were free from the wickedness of the modern
ages, whether it happened by the will of God or whether it
happened of its own accord; - while, for the sake of those that
accompanied Alexander, king of Macedonia, who yet lived,
comparatively but a little while ago, the Pamphylian Sea retired
and afforded them a passage (33) through itself, had no other way
to go; I mean, when it was the will of God to destroy the
monarchy of the Persians: and this is confessed to be true by all
that have written about the actions of Alexander. But as to these
events, let every one determine as he pleases.

6. On the next day Moses gathered together the weapons of the
Egyptians, which were brought to the camp of the Hebrews by the
current of the sea, and the force of the winds resisting it; and
he conjectured that this also happened by Divine Providence, that
so they might not be destitute of weapons. So when he had ordered
the Hebrews to arm themselves with them, he led them to Mount
Sinai, in order to offer sacrifice to God, and to render
oblations for the salvation of the multitude, as he was charged
to do beforehand.


Containing The Interval Of Two Years.

From The Exodus Out Of Egypt, To The Rejection Of That


How Moses When He Had Brought The People Out Of Egypt Led Them To
Mount Sinai; But Not Till They Had Suffered Much In Their

1. When the Hebrews had obtained such a wonderful deliverance,
the country was a great trouble to them, for it was entirely a
desert, and without
sustenance for them; and also had exceeding little water, so that
it not only was not at all sufficient for the men, but not enough
to feed any of the cattle, for it was parched up, and had no
moisture that might afford nutriment to the vegetables; so they
were forced to travel over this country, as having no other
country but this to travel in. They had indeed carried water
along with them from the land over which they had traveled
before, as their conductor had bidden them; but when that was
spent, they were obliged to draw water out of wells, with pain,
by reason of the hardness of the soil. Moreover, what water they
found was bitter, and not fit for drinking, and this in small
quantities also; and as they thus traveled, they came late in the
evening to a place called Marah, (1) which had that name from the
badness of its water, for Mar denotes bitterness. Thither they
came afflicted both by the tediousness of their journey, and by
their want of food, for it entirely failed them at that time. Now
here was a well, which made them choose to stay in the place,
which, although it were not sufficient to satisfy so great an
army, did yet afford them some comfort, as found in such desert
places; for they heard from those who had been to search, that
there was nothing to be found, if they traveled on farther. Yet
was this water bitter, and not fit for men to drink; and not only
so, but it was intolerable even to the cattle themselves.

2. When Moses saw how much the people were cast down, and that
the occasion of it could not be contradicted, for the people were
not in the nature of a complete army of men, who might oppose a
manly fortitude to the necessity that distressed them; the
multitude of the children, and of the women also, being of too
weak capacities to be persuaded by reason, blunted the courage of
the men themselves, - he was therefore in great difficulties, and
made everybody's calamity his own; for they ran all of them to
him, and begged of him; the women begged for their infants, and
the men for the women, that he would not overlook them, but
procure some way or other for their deliverance. He therefore
betook himself to prayer to God, that he would change the water
from its present badness, and make it fit for drinking. And when
God had granted him that favor, he took the top of a stick that
lay down at his feet, and divided it in the middle, and made the
section lengthways. He then let it down into the well, and
persuaded the Hebrews that God had hearkened to his prayers, and
had promised to render the water such as they desired it to be,
in case they would be subservient to him in what he should enjoin
them to do, and this not after a remiss or negligent manner. And
when they asked what they were to do in order to have the water
changed for the better, he bid the strongest men among them that
stood there, to draw up water (2) and told them, that when the
greatest part was drawn up, the remainder would be fit to drink.
So they labored at it till the water was so agitated and purged
as to be fit to drink.

3. And now removing from thence they came to Elim; which place
looked well at a distance, for there was a grove of palm-trees;
but when they came near to it, it appeared to be a bad place, for
the palm-trees were no more than seventy; and they were ill-grown
and creeping trees, by the want of water, for the country about
was all parched, and no moisture sufficient to water them, and
make them hopeful and useful, was derived to them from the
fountains, which were in number twelve: they were rather a few
moist places than springs, which not breaking out of the ground,
nor running over, could not sufficiently water the trees. And
when they dug into the sand, they met with no water; and if they
took a few drops of it into their hands, they found it to be
useless, on account of its mud. The trees were too weak to bear
fruit, for want of being sufficiently cherished and enlivened by
the water. So they laid the blame on their conductor, and made
heavy complaints against him; and said that this their miserable
state, and the experience they had of adversity, were owing to
him; for that they had then journeyed an entire thirty days, and
had spent all the provisions they had brought with them; and
meeting with no relief, they were in a very desponding condition.
And by fixing their attention upon nothing but their present
misfortunes, they were hindered from remembering what
deliverances they had received from God, and those by the virtue
and wisdom of Moses also; so they were very angry at their
conductor, and were zealous in their attempt to stone him, as the
direct occasion of their present miseries.

4. But as for Moses himself, while the multitude were irritated
and bitterly set against him, he cheerfully relied upon God, and
upon his consciousness of the care he had taken of these his own
people; and he came into the midst of them, even while they
clamored against him, and had stones in their hands in order to
despatch him. Now he was of an agreeable presence, and very able
to persuade the people by his speeches; accordingly he began to
mitigate their anger, and exhorted them not to be over-mindful of
their present adversities, lest they should thereby suffer the
benefits that had formerly been bestowed on them to slip out of
their memories; and he desired them by no means, on account of
their present uneasiness, to cast those great and wonderful
favors and gifts, which they had obtained of God, out of their
minds, but to expect deliverance out of those their present
troubles which they could not free themselves from, and this by
the means of that Divine Providence which watched over them.
Seeing it is probable that God tries their virtue, and exercises
their patience by these adversities, that it may appear what
fortitude they have, and what memory they retain of his former
wonderful works in their favor, and whether they will not think
of them upon occasion of the miseries they now feel. He told
them, it appeared they were not really good men, either in
patience, or in remembering what had been successfully done for
them, sometimes by contemning God and his commands, when by those
commands they left the land of Egypt; and sometimes by behaving
themselves ill towards him who was the servant of God, and this
when he had never deceived them, either in what he said, or had
ordered them to do by God's command. He also put them in mind of
all that had passed; how the Egyptians were destroyed when they
attempted to detain them, contrary to the command of God; and
after what manner the very same river was to the others bloody,
and not fit for drinking, but was to them sweet, and fit for
drinking; and how they went a new road through the sea, which
fled a long way from them, by which very means they were
themselves preserved, but saw their enemies destroyed; and that
when they were in want of weapons, God gave them plenty of them;
- and so he recounted all the particular instances, how when they
were, in appearance, just going to be destroyed, God had saved
them in a surprising manner; and that he had still the same
power; and that they ought not even now to despair of his
providence over them; and accordingly he exhorted them to
continue quiet, and to consider that help would not come too
late, though it come not immediately, if it be present with them
before they suffer any great misfortune; that they ought to
reason thus: that God delays to assist them, not because he has
no regard to them, but because he will first try their fortitude,
and the pleasure they take in their freedom, that he may learn
whether you have souls great enough to bear want of food, and
scarcity of water, on its account; or whether you rather love to
be slaves, as cattle are slaves to such as own them, and feed
them liberally, but only in order to make them more useful in
their service. That as for himself, he shall not be so much
concerned for his own preservation; for if he die unjustly, he
shall not reckon it any affliction, but that he is concerned for
them, lest, by casting stones at him, they should be thought to
condemn God himself.

5. By this means Moses pacified the people, and restrained them
from stoning him, and brought them to repent of what they were
going to do. And because he thought the necessity they were under
made their passion less unjustifiable, he thought he ought to
apply himself to God by prayer and supplication; and going up to
an eminence, he requested of God for some succor for the people,
and some way of deliverance from the want they were in, because
in him, and in him alone, was their hope of salvation; and he
desired that he would forgive what necessity had forced the
people to do, since such was the nature of mankind, hard to
please, and very complaining under adversities. Accordingly God
promised he would take care of them, and afford them the succor
they were desirous of. Now when Moses had heard this from God, he
came down to the multitude. But as soon as they saw him joyful at
the promises he had received from God, they changed their sad
countenances into gladness. So he placed himself in the midst of
them, and told them he came to bring them from God a deliverance
from their present distresses. Accordingly a little after came a
vast number of quails, which is a bird more plentiful in this
Arabian Gulf than any where else, flying over the sea, and
hovered over them, till wearied with their laborious flight, and,
indeed, as usual, flying very near to the earth, they fell down
upon the Hebrews, who caught them, and satisfied their hunger
with them, and supposed that this was the method whereby God
meant to supply them with food. Upon which Moses returned thanks
to God for affording them his assistance so suddenly, and sooner
than he had promised them.

6. But presently after this first supply of food, he sent them a
second; for as Moses was lifting up his hands in prayer, a dew
fell down; and Moses, when he found it stick to his hands,
supposed this was also come for food from God to them. He tasted
it; and perceiving that the people knew not what it was, and
thought it snowed, and that it was what usually fell at that time
of the year, he informed them that this dew did not fall from
heaven after the manner they imagined, but came for their
preservation and sustenance. So he tasted it, and gave them some
of it, that they might be satisfied about what he told them. They
also imitated their conductor, and were pleased with the food,
for it was like honey in sweetness and pleasant taste, but like
in its body to bdellium, one of the sweet spices, and in bigness
equal to coriander seed. And very earnest they were in gathering
it; but they were enjoined to gather it equally (3) - the measure
of an omer for each one every day, because this food should not
come in too small a quantity, lest the weaker might not be able
to get their share, by reason of the overbearing of the strong in
collecting it. However, these strong men, when they had gathered
more than the measure appointed for them, had no more than
others, but only tired themselves more in gathering it, for they
found no more than an omer apiece; and the advantage they got by
what was superfluous was none at all, it corrupting, both by the
worms breeding in it, and by its bitterness. So divine and
wonderful a food was this! It also supplied the want of other
sorts of food to those that fed on it. And even now, in all that
place, this manna comes down in rain, (4) according to what Moses
then obtained of God, to send it to the people for their
sustenance. Now the Hebrews call this food manna: for the
particle man, in our language, is the asking of a question. What
is this ? So the Hebrews were very joyful at what was sent them
from heaven. Now they made use of this food for forty years, or
as long as they were in the wilderness.

7. As soon as they were removed thence, they came to Rephidim,
being distressed to the last degree by thirst; and while in the
foregoing days they had lit on a few small fountains, but now
found the earth entirely destitute of water, they were in an evil
case. They again turned their anger against Moses; but he at
first avoided the fury of the multitude, and then betook himself
to prayer to God, beseeching him, that as he had given them food
when they were in the greatest want of it, so he would give them
drink, since the favor of giving them food was of no value to
them while they had nothing to drink. And God did not long delay
to give it them, but promised Moses that he would procure them a
fountain, and plenty of water, from a place they did not expect
any. So he commanded him to smite the rock which they saw lying
there, (5) with his rod, and out of it to receive plenty of what
they wanted; for he had taken care that drink should come to them
without any labor or pains-taking. When Moses had received this
command from God, he came to the people, who waited for him, and
looked upon him, for they saw already that he was coming apace
from his eminence. As soon as he was come, he told them that God
would deliver them from their present distress, and had granted
them an unexpected favor; and informed them, that a river should
run for their sakes out of the rock. But they were amazed at that
hearing, supposing they were of necessity to cut the rock in
pieces, now they were distressed by their thirst and by their
journey; while Moses only smiting the rock with his rod, opened a
passage, and out of it burst water, and that in great abundance,
and very clear. But they were astonished at this wonderful
effect; and, as it were, quenched their thirst by the very sight
of it. So they drank this pleasant, this sweet water; and such it
seemed to be, as might well be expected where God was the donor.
They were also in admiration how Moses was honored by God; and
they made grateful returns of sacrifices to God for his
providence towards them. Now that Scripture, which is laid up in
the temple, (6) informs us, how God foretold to Moses, that water
timid in this manner be derived out of the rock.'


How The Amalekites And The Neighbouring Nations, Made War With
The Hebrews And Were Beaten And Lost A Great Part Of Their Army.

1. The name of the Hebrews began already to be every where
renowned, and rumors about them ran abroad. This made the
inhabitants of those countries to be in no small fear.
Accordingly they sent ambassadors to one another, and exhorted
one another to defend themselves, and to endeavor to destroy
these men. Those that induced the rest to do so, were such as
inhabited Gobolitis and Petra. They were called Amalekites, and
were the most warlike of the nations that lived thereabout; and
whose kings exhorted one another, and their neighbors, to go to
this war against the Hebrews; telling them that an army of
strangers, and such a one as had run away from slavery under the
Egyptians, lay in wait to ruin them; which army they were not, in
common prudence and regard to their own safety, to overlook, but
to crush them before they gather strength, and come to be in
prosperity: and perhaps attack them first in a hostile manner, as
presuming upon our indolence in not attacking them before; and
that we ought to avenge ourselves of them for what they have done
in the wilderness, but that this cannot be so well done when they
have once laid their hands on our cities and our goods: that
those who endeavor to crush a power in its first rise, are wiser
than those that endeavor to put a stop to its progress when it is
become formidable; for these last seem to be angry only at the
flourishing of others, but the former do not leave any room for
their enemies to become troublesome to them. After they had sent
such embassages to the neighboring nations, and among one
another, they resolved to attack the Hebrews in battle.

2. These proceedings of the people of those countries occasioned
perplexity and trouble to Moses, who expected no such warlike
preparations. And when these nations were ready to fight, and the
multitude of the Hebrews were obliged to try the fortune of war,
they were in a mighty disorder, and in want of all necessaries,
and yet were to make war with men who were thoroughly well
prepared for it. Then therefore it was that Moses began to
encourage them, and to exhort them to have a good heart, and rely
on God's assistance by which they had been state of freedom and
to hope for victory over those who were ready to fight with them,
in order to deprive them of that blessing: that they were to
suppose their own army to be numerous, wanting nothing, neither
weapons, nor money, nor provisions, nor such other conveniences
as, when men are in possession of, they fight undauntedly; and
that they are to judge themselves to have all these advantages in
the Divine assistance. They are also to suppose the enemy's army
to be small, unarmed, weak, and such as want those conveniences
which they know must be wanted, when it is God's will that they
shall be beaten; and how valuable God's assistance is, they had
experienced in abundance of trials; and those such as were more
terrible than war, for that is only against men; but these were
against famine and thirst, things indeed that are in their own
nature insuperable; as also against mountains, and that sea which
afforded them no way for escaping; yet had all these difficulties
been conquered by God's gracious kindness to them. So he exhorted
them to be courageous at this time, and to look upon their entire
prosperity to depend on the present conquest of their enemies.

3. And with these words did Moses encourage the multitude, who
then called together the princes of their tribes, and their chief
men, both separately and conjointly. The young men he charged to
obey their elders, and the elders to hearken to their leader. So
the people were elevated in their minds, and ready to try their
fortune in battle, and hoped to be thereby at length delivered
from all their miseries: nay, they desired that Moses would
immediately lead them against their enemies without the least
delay, that no backwardness might be a hindrance to their present
resolution. So Moses sorted all that were fit for war into
different troops, and set Joshua, the son of Nun, of the tribe of
Ephraim, over them; one that was of great courage, and patient to
undergo labors; of great abilities to understand, and to speak
what was proper; and very serious in the worship of God; and
indeed made like another Moses, a teacher of piety towards God.
He also appointed a small party of the armed men to be near the
water, and to take care of the children, and the women, and of
the entire camp. So that whole night they prepared themselves for
the battle; they took their weapons, if any of them had such as
were well made, and attended to their commanders as ready to rush
forth to the battle as soon as Moses should give the word of
command. Moses also kept awake, teaching Joshua after what manner
he should order his camp. But when the day began, Moses called
for Joshua again, and exhorted him to approve himself in deeds
such a one as a his reputation made men expect from him; and to
gain glory by the present expedition, in the opinion of those
under him, for his exploits in this battle. He also gave a
particular exhortation to the principal men of the Hebrews, and
encouraged the whole army as it stood armed before him. And when
he had thus animated the army, both by his words and works, and
prepared every thing, he retired to a mountain, and committed the
army to God and to Joshua.

4. So the armies joined battle; and it came to a close fight,
hand to hand, both sides showing great alacrity, and encouraging
one another. And indeed while Moses stretched out his hand
towards heaven (7) the Hebrews were too hard for the Amalekites:
but Moses not being able to sustain his hands thus stretched out,
(for as often as he let down his hands, so often were his own
people worsted,) he bade his brother Aaron, and Hur their sister
Miriam's husband, to stand on each side of him, and take hold of
his hands, and not permit his weariness to prevent it, but to
assist him in the extension of his hands. When this was done, the
Hebrews conquered the Amalekites by main force; and indeed they
had all perished, unless the approach of the night had obliged
the Hebrews to desist from killing any more. So our forefathers
obtained a most signal and most seasonable victory; for they not
only overcame those that fought against them, but terrified also
the neighboring nations, and got great and splendid advantages,
which they obtained of their enemies by their hard pains in this
battle: for when they had taken the enemy's camp, they got ready
booty for the public, and for their own private families, whereas
till then they had not any sort of plenty, of even necessary
food. The forementioned battle, when they had once got it, was
also the occasion of their prosperity, not only for the present,
but for the future ages also; for they not only made slaves of
the bodies of their enemies, but subdued their minds also, and
after this battle, became terrible to all that dwelt round about
them. Moreover, they acquired a vast quantity of riches; for a
great deal of silver and gold was left in the enemy's camp; as
also brazen vessels, which they made common use of in their
families; many utensils also that were embroidered there were of
both sorts, that is, of what were weaved, and what were the
ornaments of their armor, and other things that served for use in
the family, and for the furniture of their rooms; they got also
the prey of their cattle, and of whatsoever uses to follow camps,
when they remove from one place to another. So the Hebrews now
valued themselves upon their courage, and claimed great merit for
their valor; and they perpetually inured themselves to take
pains, by which they deemed every difficulty might be surmounted.
Such were the consequences of this battle.

5. On the next day, Moses stripped the dead bodies of their
enemies, and gathered together the armor of those that were fled,
and gave rewards to such as had signalized themselves in the
action; and highly commended Joshua, their general, who was
attested to by all the army, on account of the great actions he
had done. Nor was any one of the Hebrews slain; but the slain of
the enemy's army were too many to be enumerated. So Moses offered
sacrifices of thanksgiving to God, and built an altar, which he
named The Lord the Conqueror. He also foretold that the
Amalekites should utterly be destroyed; and that hereafter none
of them should remain, because they fought against the Hebrews,
and this when they were in the wilderness, and in their distress
also. Moreover, he refreshed the army with feasting. And thus did
they fight this first battle with those that ventured to oppose
them, after they were gone out of Egypt. But when Moses had
celebrated this festival for the victory, he permitted the
Hebrews to rest for a few days, and then he brought them out
after the fight, in order of battle; for they had now many
soldiers in light armor. And going gradually on, he came to Mount
Sinai, in three months' time after they were removed out of
Egypt; at which mountain, as we have before related, the vision
of the bush, and the other wonderful appearances, had happened.


That Moses Kindly Received-His Father-In-Law, Jethro, When He
Came To Him To Mount Sinai.

Now when Raguel, Moses's father-in-law, understood in what a
prosperous condition his affairs were, he willingly came to meet
him. And Moses and his children, and pleased himself with his
coming. And when he had offered sacrifice, he made a feast for
the multitude, near the Bush he had formerly seen; which
multitude, every one according to their families, partook of the
feast. But Aaron and his family took Raguel, and sung hymns to
God, as to Him who had been the author procurer of their
deliverance and their freedom. They also praised their conductor,
as him by whose virtue it was that all things had succeeded with
them. Raguel also, in his eucharistical oration to Moses, made
great encomiums upon the whole multitude; and he could not but
admire Moses for his fortitude, and that humanity he had shewn in
the delivery of his friends.


How Raguel Suggested To Moses To Set His People In Order, Under
Their Rulers Of Thousands, And Rulers Of Hundreds, Who Lived
Without Order Before; And How Moses Complied In All Things With
His Father-In-Law's Admonition.

1. The next day, as Raguel saw Moses in the of a crowd of
business for he determined the differences of those that referred
them to him, every one still going to him, and supposing that
they should then only obtain justice, if he were the arbitrator;
and those that lost their causes thought it no harm, while they
thought they lost them justly, and not by partiality. Raguel
however said nothing to him at that time, as not desirous to be
any hinderance to such as had a mind to make use of the virtue of
their conductor. But afterward he took him to himself, and when
he had him alone, he instructed him in what he ought to do; and
advised him to leave the trouble of lesser causes to others, but
himself to take care of the greater, and of the people's safety,
for that certain others of the Hebrews might be found that were
fit to determine causes, but that nobody but a Moses could take
of the safety of so many ten thousands. "Be therefore," says he,
"insensible of thine own virtue, and what thou hast done by
ministering under God to the people's preservation. Permit,
therefore, the determination of common causes to be done by
others, but do thou reserve thyself to the attendance on God
only, and look out for methods of preserving the multitude from
their present distress. Make use of the method I suggest to you,
as to human affairs; and take a review of the army, and appoint
chosen rulers over tens of thousands, and then over thousands;
then divide them into five hundreds, and again into hundreds, and
into fifties; and set rulers over each of them, who may
distinguish them into thirties, and keep them in order; and at
last number them by twenties and by tens: and let there be one
commander over each number, to be denominated from the number of
those over whom they are rulers, but such as the whole multitude
have tried, and do approve of, as being good and righteous men;
(8) and let those rulers decide the controversies they have one
with another. But if any great cause arise, let them bring the
cognizance of it before the rulers of a higher dignity; but if
any great difficulty arise that is too hard for even their
determination, let them send it to thee. By these means two
advantages will be gained; the Hebrews will have justice done
them, and thou wilt be able to attend constantly on God, and
procure him to be more favorable to the people."

2. This was the admonition of Raguel; and Moses received his
advice very kindly, and acted according to his suggestion. Nor
did he conceal the invention of this method, nor pretend to it
himself, but informed the multitude who it was that invented it:
nay, he has named Raguel in the books he wrote, as the person who
invented this ordering of the people, as thinking it right to
give a true testimony to worthy persons, although he might have
gotten reputation by ascribing to himself the inventions of other
men; whence we may learn the virtuous disposition of Moses: but
of such his disposition, we shall have proper occasion to speak
in other places of these books.


How Moses Ascended Up To Mount Sinai, And Received Laws From God,
And Delivered Them To The Hebrews.

1. Now Moses called the multitude together, and told them that he
was going from them unto mount Sinai to converse with God; to
receive from him, and to bring back with him, a certain oracle;
but he enjoined them to pitch their tents near the mountain, and
prefer the habitation that was nearest to God, before one more
remote. When he had said this, he ascended up to Mount Sinai,
which is the highest of all the mountains that are in that
country (9) and is not only very difficult to be ascended by men,
on account of its vast altitude, but because of the sharpness of
its precipices also; nay, indeed, it cannot be looked at without
pain of the eyes: and besides this, it was terrible and
inaccessible, on account of the rumor that passed about, that God
dwelt there. But the Hebrews removed their tents as Moses had
bidden them, and took possession of the lowest parts of the
mountain; and were elevated in their minds, in expectation that
Moses would return from God with promises of the good things he
had proposed to them. So they feasted and waited for their
conductor, and kept themselves pure as in other respects, and not
accompanying with their wives for three days, as he had before
ordered them to do. And they prayed to God that he would
favorably receive Moses in his conversing with him, and bestow
some such gift upon them by which they might live well. They also
lived more plentifully as to their diet; and put on their wives
and children more ornamental and decent clothing than they
usually wore.

2. So they passed two days in this way of feasting; but on the
third day, before the sun was up, a cloud spread itself over the
whole camp of the Hebrews, such a one as none had before seen,
and encompassed the place where they had pitched their tents; and
while all the rest of the air was clear, there came strong winds,
that raised up large showers of rain, which became a mighty
tempest. There was also such lightning, as was terrible to those
that saw it; and thunder, with its thunderbolts, were sent down,
and declared God to be there present in a gracious way to such as
Moses desired he should be gracious. Now, as to these matters,
every one of my readers may think as he pleases; but I am under a
necessity of relating this history as it is described in the
sacred books. This sight, and the amazing sound that came to
their ears, disturbed the Hebrews to a prodigious degree, for
they were not such as they were accustomed to; and then the rumor
that was spread abroad, how God frequented that mountain, greatly
astonished their minds, so they sorrowfully contained themselves
within their tents, as both supposing Moses to be destroyed by
the Divine wrath, and expecting the like destruction for

3. When they were under these apprehensions, Moses appeared as
joyful and greatly exalted. When they saw him, they were freed
from their fear, and admitted of more comfortable hopes as to
what was to come. The air also was become clear and pure of its
former disorders, upon the appearance of Moses; whereupon he
called together the people to a congregation, in order to their
hearing what God would say to them: and when they were gathered
together, he stood on an eminence whence they might all hear him,
and said, "God has received me graciously, O Hebrews, as he has
formerly done; and has suggested a happy method of living for
you, and an order of political government, and is now present in
the camp: I therefore charge you, for his sake and the sake of
his works, and what we have done by his means, that you do not
put a low value on what I am going to say, because the commands
have been given by me that now deliver them to you, nor because
it is the tongue of a man that delivers them to you; but if you
have a due regard to the great importance of the things
themselves, you will understand the greatness of Him whose
institutions they are, and who has not disdained to communicate
them to me for our common advantage; for it is not to be supposed
that the author of these institutions is barely Moses, the son of
Amram and Jochebed, but He who obliged the Nile to run bloody for
your sakes, and tamed the haughtiness of the Egyptians by various
sorts of judgments; he who provided a way through the sea for us;
he who contrived a method of sending us food from heaven, when we
were distressed for want of it; he who made the water to issue
out of a rock, when we had very little of it before; he by whose
means Adam was made to partake of the fruits both of the land and
of the sea; he by whose means Noah escaped the deluge; he by
whose means our forefather Abraham, of a wandering pilgrim, was
made the heir of the land of Canaan; he by whose means Isaac was
born of parents that were very old; he by whose means Jacob was
adorned with twelve virtuous sons; he by whose means Joseph
became a potent lord over the Egyptians; he it is who conveys
these instructions to you by me as his interpreter. And let them
be to you venerable, and contended for more earnestly by you than
your own children and your own wives; for if you will follow
them, you will lead a happy life you will enjoy the land
fruitful, the sea calm, and the fruit of the womb born complete,
as nature requires; you will be also terrible to your enemies for
I have been admitted into the presence of God and been made a
hearer of his incorruptible voice so great is his concern for
your nation, and its duration."

4. When he had said this, he brought the people, with their wives
and children, so near the mountain, that they might hear God
himself speaking to them about the precepts which they were to
practice; that the energy of what should be spoken might not be
hurt by its utterance by that tongue of a man, which could but
imperfectly deliver it to their understanding. And they all heard
a voice that came to all of them from above, insomuch that no one
of these words escaped them, which Moses wrote on two tables;
which it is not lawful for us to set down directly, but their
import we will declare (10)

5. The first commandment teaches us that there is but one God,
and that we ought to worship him only. The second commands us not
to make the image of any living creature to worship it. The
third, that we must not swear by God in a false matter. The
fourth, that we must keep the seventh day, by resting from all
sorts of work. The fifth, that we must honor our parents. The
sixth that we must abstain from murder. The seventh that we must
not commit adultery. The eighth, that we must not be guilty of
theft. The ninth, that we must not bear false witness. The tenth,
that we must not admit of the desire of any thing that is

6. Now when the multitude had heard God himself giving those
precepts which Moses had discoursed of, they rejoiced at what was
said; and the congregation was dissolved: but on the following
days they came to his tent, and desired him to bring them,
besides, other laws from God. Accordingly he appointed such laws,
and afterwards informed them in what manner they should act in
all cases; which laws I shall make mention of in their proper
time; but I shall reserve most of those laws for another work,
(11) and make there a distinct explication of them.

7. When matters were brought to this state, Moses went up again
to Mount Sinai, of which he had told them beforehand. He made his
ascent in their sight; and while he staid there so long a time,
(for he was absent from them forty days,) fear seized upon the
Hebrews, lest Moses should have come to any harm; nor was there
any thing else so sad, and that so much troubled them, as this
supposal that Moses was perished. Now there was a variety in
their sentiments about it; some saying that he was fallen among
wild beasts; and those that were of this opinion were chiefly
such as were ill-disposed to him; but others said that he was
departed, and gone to God; but the wiser sort were led by their
reason to embrace neither of those opinions with any
satisfaction, thinking, that as it was a thing that sometimes
happens to men to fall among wild beasts and perish that way, so
it was probable enough that he might depart and go to God, on
account of his virtue; they therefore were quiet, and expected
the event: yet were they exceeding sorry upon the supposal that
they were deprived of a governor and a protector, such a one
indeed as they could never recover again; nor would this
suspicion give them leave to expect any comfortable event about
this man, nor could they prevent their trouble and melancholy
upon this occasion. However, the camp durst not remove all this
while, because Moses had bidden them afore to stay there.

8. But when the forty days, and as many nights, were over, Moses
came down, having tasted nothing of food usually appointed for
the nourishment of men. His appearance filled the army with
gladness, and he declared to them what care God had of them, and
by what manner of conduct of their lives they might live happily;
telling them, that during these days of his absence he had
suggested to him also that he would have a tabernacle built for
him, into which he would descend when he came to them, and how we
should carry it about with us when we remove from this place; and
that there would be no longer any occasion for going up to Mount
Sinai, but that he would himself come and pitch his tabernacle
amongst us, and be present at our prayers; as also, that the
tabernacle should be of such measures and construction as he had
shown him, and that you are to fall to the work, and prosecute it
diligently. When he had said this, he showed them the two tables,
with the ten commandments engraven upon them, five upon each
table; and the writing was by the hand of God.


Concerning The Tabernacle Which Moses Built In The Wilderness For
The Honor Of God And Which Seemed To Be A Temple.

1. Hereupon the Israelites rejoiced at what they had seen and
heard of their conductor, and were not wanting in diligence
according to their ability; for they brought silver, and gold,
and brass, and of the best sorts of wood, and such as would not
at all decay by putrefaction; camels' hair also, and sheep-skins,
some of them dyed of a blue color, and some of a scarlet; some
brought the flower for the purple color, and others for white,
with wool dyed by the flowers aforementioned; and fine linen and
precious stones, which those that use costly ornaments set in
ouches of gold; they brought also a great quantity of spices; for
of these materials did Moses build the tabernacle, which did not
at all differ from a movable and ambulatory temple. Now when
these things were brought together with great diligence, (for
every one was ambitious to further the work even beyond their
ability,) he set architects over the works, and this by the
command of God; and indeed the very same which the people
themselves would have chosen, had the election been allowed to
them. Now their names are set down in writing in the sacred
books; and they were these: Besaleel, the son of Uri, of the
tribe of Judah, the grandson of Miriam, the sister of their
conductor and Aholiab, file son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of
Dan. Now the people went on with what they had undertaken with so
great alacrity, that Moses was obliged to restrain them, by
making proclamation, that what had been brought was sufficient,
as the artificers had informed him; so they fell to work upon the
building of the tabernacle. Moses also informed them, according
to the direction of God, both what the measures were to be, and
its largeness; and how many vessels it ought to contain for the
use of the sacrifices. The women also were ambitious to do their
parts, about the garments of the priests, and about other things
that would be wanted in this work, both for ornament and for the
divine service itself.

2. Now when all things were prepared, the gold, and the silver,
and the brass, and what was woven, Moses, when he had appointed
beforehand that there should be a festival, and that sacrifices
should be offered according to every one's ability, reared up the
tabernacle (12) and when he had measured the open court, fifty
cubits broad and a hundred long, he set up brazen pillars, five
cubits high, twenty on each of the longer sides, and ten pillars
for the breadth behind; every one of the pillars also had a ring.
Their chapiters were of silver, but their bases were of brass:
they resembled the sharp ends of spears, and were of brass, fixed
into the ground. Cords were also put through the rings, and were
tied at their farther ends to brass nails of a cubit long, which,
at every pillar, were driven into the floor, and would keep the
tabernacle from being shaken by the violence of winds; but a
curtain of fine soft linen went round all the pillars, and hung
down in a flowing and loose manner from their chapiters, and
enclosed the whole space, and seemed not at all unlike to a wall
about it. And this was the structure of three of the sides of
this enclosure; but as for the fourth side, which was fifty
cubits in extent, and was the front of the whole, twenty cubits
of it were for the opening of the gates, wherein stood two
pillars on each side, after the resemblance of open gates. These
were made wholly of silver, and polished, and that all over,
excepting the bases, which were of brass. Now on each side of the
gates there stood three pillars, which were inserted into the
concave bases of the gates, and were suited to them; and round
them was drawn a curtain of fine linen; but to the gates
themselves, which were twenty cubits in extent, and five in
height, the curtain was composed of purple, and scarlet, and
blue, and fine linen, and embroidered with many and divers sorts
of figures, excepting the figures of animals. Within these gates
was the brazen laver for purification, having a basin beneath of
the like matter, whence the priests might wash their hands and
sprinkle their feet; and this was the ornamental construction of
the enclosure about the court of the tabernacle, which was
exposed to the open air.

3. As to the tabernacle itself, Moses placed it in the middle of
that court, with its front to the east, that, when the sun arose,
it might send its first rays upon it. Its length, when it was set
up, was thirty cubits, and its breadth was twelve [ten] cubits.
The one of its walls was on the south, and the other was exposed
to the north, and on the back part of it remained the west. It
was necessary that its height should be equal to its breadth [ten
cubits]. There were also pillars made of wood, twenty on each
side; they were wrought into a quadrangular figure, in breadth a
cubit and a half, but the thickness was four fingers: they had
thin plates of gold affixed to them on both sides, inwardly and
outwardly: they had each of them two tenons belonging to them,
inserted into their bases, and these were of silver, in each of
which bases there was a socket to receive the tenon; but the
pillars on the west wall were six. Now all these tenons and
sockets accurately fitted one another, insomuch that the joints
were invisible, and both seemed to be one entire and united wall.
It was also covered with gold, both within and without. The
number of pillars was equal on the opposite sides, and there were
on each part twenty, and every one of them had the third part of
a span in thickness; so that the number of thirty cubits were
fully made up between them; but as to the wall behind, where the
six pillars made up together only nine cubits, they made two
other pillars, and cut them out of one cubit, which they placed
in the corners, and made them equally fine with the other. Now
every one of the pillars had rings of gold affixed to their
fronts outward, as if they had taken root in the pillars, and
stood one row over against another round about, through which
were inserted bars gilt over with gold, each of them five cubits
long, and these bound together the pillars, the head of one bar
running into another, after the nature of one tenon inserted into
another; but for the wall behind, there was but one row of bars
that went through all the pillars, into which row ran the ends of
the bars on each side of the longer walls; the male with its
female being so fastened in their joints, that they held the
whole firmly together; and for this reason was all this joined so
fast together, that the tabernacle might not be shaken, either by
the winds, or by any other means, but that it might preserve
itself quiet and immovable continually.

4. As for the inside, Moses parted its length into three
partitions. At the distance of ten cubits from the most secret
end, Moses placed four pillars, the workmanship of which was the
very same with that of the rest; and they stood upon the like
bases with them, each a small matter distant from his fellow. Now
the room within those pillars was the most holy place; but the
rest of the room was the tabernacle, which was open for the
priests. However, this proportion of the measures of the
tabernacle proved to be an imitation of the system of the world;
for that third part thereof which was within the four pillars, to
which the priests were not admitted, is, as it were, a heaven
peculiar to God. But the space of the twenty cubits, is, as it
were, sea and land, on which men live, and so this part is
peculiar to the priests only. But at the front, where the
entrance was made, they placed pillars of gold, that stood on
bases of brass, in number seven; but then they spread over the
tabernacle veils of fine linen and purple, and blue, and scarlet
colors, embroidered. The first veil was ten cubits every way, and
this they spread over the pillars which parted the temple, and
kept the most holy place concealed within; and this veil was that
which made this part not visible to any. Now the whole temple was
called The Holy Place: but that part which was within the four
pillars, and to which none were admitted, was called The Holy of
Holies. This veil was very ornamental, and embroidered with all
sorts of flowers which the earth produces; and there were
interwoven into it all sorts of variety that might be an
ornament, excepting the forms of animals. Another veil there was
which covered the five pillars that were at the entrance. It was
like the former in its magnitude, and texture, and color; and at
the corner of every pillar a ring retained it from the top
downwards half the depth of the pillars, the other half affording
an entrance for the priests, who crept under it. Over this there
was a veil of linen, of the same largeness with the former: it
was to be drawn this way or that way by cords, the rings of
which, fixed to the texture of the veil, and to the cords also,
were subservient to the drawing and undrawing of the veil, and to
the fastening it at the corner, that then it might be no
hinderance to the view of the sanctuary, especially on solemn
days; but that on other days, and especially when the weather was
inclined to snow, it might be expanded, and afford a covering to
the veil of divers colors. Whence that custom of ours is derived,
of having a fine linen veil, after the temple has been built, to
be drawn over the entrances. But the ten other curtains were four
cubits in breadth, and twenty-eight in length; and had golden
clasps, in order to join the one curtain to the other, which was
done so exactly that they seemed to be one entire curtain. These
were spread over the temple, and covered all the top and parts of
the walls, on the sides and behind, so far as within one cubit of
the ground. There were other curtains of the same breadth with
these, but one more in number, and longer, for they were thirty
cubits long; but these were woven of hair, with the like subtilty
as those of wool were made, and were extended loosely down to the
ground, appearing like a triangular front and elevation at the
gates, the eleventh curtain being used for this very purpose.
There were also other curtains made of skins above these, which
afforded covering and protection to those that were woven both in
hot weather and when it rained. And great was the surprise of
those who viewed these curtains at a distance, for they seemed
not at all to differ from the color of the sky. But those that
were made of hair and of skins, reached down in the same manner
as did the veil at the gates, and kept off the heat of the sun,
and what injury the rains might do. And after this manner was the
tabernacle reared.

5. There was also an ark made, sacred to God, of wood that was
naturally strong, and could not be corrupted. This was called
Eron in our own language. Its construction was thus: its length
was five spans, but its breadth and height was each of them three
spans. It was covered all over with gold, both within and
without, so that the wooden part was not seen. It had also a
cover united to it, by golden hinges, after a wonderful manner;
which cover was every way evenly fitted to it, and had no
eminences to hinder its exact conjunction. There were also two
golden rings belonging to each of the longer boards, and passing
through the entire wood, and through them gilt bars passed along
each board, that it might thereby be moved and carried about, as
occasion should require; for it was not drawn in a cart by beasts
of burden, but borne on the shoulders of the priests. Upon this
its cover were two images, which the Hebrews call Cherubims; they
are flying creatures, but their form is not like to that of any
of the creatures which men have seen, though Moses said he had
seen such beings near the throne of God. In this ark he put the
two tables whereon the ten commandments were written, five upon
each table, and two and a half upon each side of them; and this
ark he placed in the most holy place.

6. But in the holy place he placed a table, like those at Delphi.
Its length was two cubits, and its breadth one cubit, and its
height three spans. It had feet also, the lower half of which
were complete feet, resembling those which the Dorians put to
their bedsteads; but the upper parts towards the table were
wrought into a square form. The table had a hollow towards every
side, having a ledge of four fingers' depth, that went round
about like a spiral, both on the upper and lower part of the body
of the work. Upon every one of the feet was there also inserted a
ring, not far from the cover, through which went bars of wood
beneath, but gilded, to be taken out upon occasion, there being a
cavity where it was joined to the rings; for they were not entire
rings; but before they came quite round they ended in acute
points, the one of which was inserted into the prominent part of
the table, and the other into the foot; and by these it was
carried when they journeyed: Upon this table, which was placed on
the north side of the temple, not far from the most holy place,
were laid twelve unleavened loaves of bread, six upon each heap,
one above another: they were made of two tenth-deals of the
purest flour, which tenth-deal [an omer] is a measure of the
Hebrews, containing seven Athenian cotyloe; and above those
loaves were put two vials full of frankincense. Now after seven
days other loaves were brought in their stead, on the day which
is by us called the Sabbath; for we call the seventh day the
Sabbath. But for the occasion of this intention of placing loaves
here, we will speak to it in another place.

7. Over against this table, near the southern wall, was set a
candlestick of cast gold, hollow within, being of the weight of
one hundred pounds, which the Hebrews call Chinchares ,. if it be
turned into the Greek language, it denotes a talent. It was' made
with its knops, and lilies, and pomegranates, and bowls (which
ornaments amounted to seventy in all); by which means the shaft
elevated itself on high from a single base, and spread itself
into as many branches as there are planets, including the sun
among them. It terminated in seven heads, in one row, all
standing parallel to one another; and these branches carried
seven lamps, one by one, in imitation of the number of the
planets. These lamps looked to the east and to the south, the
candlestick being situate obliquely.

8. Now between this candlestick and the table, which, as we said,
were within the sanctuary, was the altar of incense, made of wood
indeed, but of the same wood of which the foregoing vessels were
made, such as was not liable to corruption; it was entirely
crusted over with a golden plate. Its breadth on each side was a
cubit, but the altitude double. Upon it was a grate of gold, that
was extant above the altar, which had a golden crown encompassing
it round about, whereto belonged rings and bars, by which the
priests carried it when they journeyed. Before this tabernacle
there was reared a brazen altar, but it was within made of wood,
five cubits by measure on each side, but its height was but
three, in like manner adorned with brass plates as bright as
gold. It had also a brazen hearth of network; for the ground
underneath received the fire from the hearth, because it had no
basis to receive it. Hard by this altar lay the basins, and the
vials, and the censers, and the caldrons, made of gold; but the
other vessels, made for the use of the sacrifices, were all of
brass. And such was the construction of the tabernacle; and these
were the vessels thereto belonging.


Concerning The Garments Of The Priests, And Of The High Priest.

1. There were peculiar garments appointed for the priests, and
for all the rest, which they call Cohanoeoe [-priestly] garments,
as also for the high priests, which they call Cahanoeoe Rabbae,
and denote the high priest's garments. Such was therefore the
habit of the rest. But when the priest approaches the sacrifices,
he purifies himself with the purification which the law
prescribes; and, in the first place, he puts on that which is
called Machanase, which means somewhat that is fast tied. It is a
girdle, composed of fine twined linen, and is put about the privy
parts, the feet being to be inserted into them in the nature of
breeches, but above half of it is cut off, and it ends at the
thighs, and is there tied fast.

2. Over this he wore a linen vestment, made of fine flax doubled:
it is called Chethone, and denotes linen, for we call linen by
the name of Chethone. This vestment reaches down to the feet, and
sits close to the body; and has sleeves that are tied fast to the
arms: it is girded to the breast a little above the elbows, by a
girdle often going round, four fingers broad, but so loosely
woven, that you would think it were the skin of a serpent. It is
embroidered with flowers of scarlet, and purple, and blue, and
fine twined linen, but the warp was nothing but fine linen. The
beginning of its circumvolution is at the breast; and when it has
gone often round, it is there tied, and hangs loosely there down
to the ankles: I mean this, all the time the priest is not about
any laborious service, for in this position it appears in the
most agreeable manner to the spectators; but when he is obliged
to assist at the offering sacrifices, and to do the appointed
service, that he may not be hindered in his operations by its
motion, he throws it to the left, and bears it on his shoulder.
Moses indeed calls this belt Albaneth; but we have learned from
the Babylonians to call it Emia, for so it is by them called.
This vestment has no loose or hollow parts any where in it, but
only a narrow aperture about the neck; and it is tied with
certain strings hanging down from the edge over the breast and
back, and is fastened above each shoulder: it is called

3. Upon his head he wears a cap, not brought to a conic form nor
encircling the whole head, but still covering more than the half
of it, which is called Masnaemphthes; and its make is such that
it seems to be a crown, being made of thick swathes, but the
contexture is of linen; and it is doubled round many times, and
sewed together; besides which, a piece of fine linen covers the
whole cap from the upper part, and reaches down to the forehead,
and hides the seams of the swathes, which would otherwise appear
indecently: this adheres closely upon the solid part of the head,
and is thereto so firmly fixed, that it may not fall off during
the sacred service about the sacrifices. So we have now shown you
what is the habit of the generality of the priests.

4. The high priest is indeed adorned with the same garments that
we have described, without abating one; only over these he puts
on a vestment of a blue color. This also is a long robe, reaching
to his feet, [in our language it is called .Meeir,] and is tied
round with a girdle, embroidered with the same colors and flowers
as the former, with a mixture of gold interwoven. To the bottom
of which garment are hung fringes, in color like pomegranates,
with golden bells (13) by a curious and beautiful contrivance; so
that between two bells hangs a pomegranate, and between two
pomegranates a bell. Now this vesture was not composed of two
pieces, nor was it sewed together upon the shoulders and the
sides, but it was one long vestment so woven as to have an
aperture for the neck; not an oblique one, but parted all along
the breast and the back. A border also was sewed to it, lest the
aperture should look too indecently: it was also parted where the
hands were to come out.

5. Besides these, the high priest put on a third garment, which
was called the Ephod, which resembles the Epomis of the Greeks.
Its make was after this manner: it was woven to the depth of a
cubit, of several colors, with gold intermixed, and embroidered,
but it left the middle of the breast uncovered: it was made with
sleeves also; nor did it appear to be at all differently made
from a short coat. But in the void place of this garment there
was inserted a piece of the bigness of a span, embroidered with
gold, and the other colors of the ephod, and was called Essen,
[the breastplate,] .which in the Greek language signifies the
Oracle. This piece exactly filled up the void space in the ephod.
It was united to it by golden rings at every corner, the like
rings being annexed to the ephod, and a blue riband was made use
of to tie them together by those rings; and that the space
between the rings might not appear empty, they contrived to fill
it up with stitches of blue ribands. There were also two
sardonyxes upon the ephod, at the shoulders, to fasten it in the
nature of buttons, having each end running to the sardonyxes of
gold, that they might be buttoned by them. On these were engraven
the names of the sons of Jacob, in our own country letters, and
in our own tongue, six on each of the stones, on either side; and
the elder sons' names were on the right shoulder. Twelve stones
also there were upon the breast-plate, extraordinary in largeness
and beauty; and they were an ornament not to be purchased by men,
because of their immense value. These stones, however, stood in
three rows, by four in a row, and were inserted into the
breastplate itself, and they were set in ouches of gold, that
were themselves inserted in the breastplate, and were so made
that they might not fall out low the first three stones were a
sardonyx, a topaz, and an emerald. The second row contained a
carbuncle, a jasper, and a sapphire. The first of the third row
was a ligure, then an amethyst, and the third an agate, being the
ninth of the whole number. The first of the fourth row was a
chrysolite, the next was an onyx, and then a beryl, which was the
last of all. Now the names of all those sons of Jacob were
engraven in these stones, whom we esteem the heads of our tribes,
each stone having the honor of a name, in the order according to
which they were born. And whereas the rings were too weak of
themselves to bear the weight of the stones, they made two other
rings of a larger size, at the edge of that part of the
breastplate which reached to the neck, and inserted into the very
texture of the breastplate, to receive chains finely wrought,
which connected them with golden bands to the tops of the
shoulders, whose extremity turned backwards, and went into the
ring, on the prominent back part of the ephod; and this was for
the security of the breastplate, that it might not fall out of
its place. There was also a girdle sewed to the breastplate,
which was of the forementioned colors, with gold intermixed,
which, when it had gone once round, was tied again upon the seam,
and hung down. There were also golden loops that admitted its
fringes at each extremity of the girdle, and included them

6. The high priest's mitre was the same that we described before,
and was wrought like that of all the other priests; above which
there was another, with swathes of blue embroidered, and round it
was a golden crown polished, of three rows, one above another;
out of which arose a cup of gold, which resembled the herb which
we call Saccharus; but those Greeks that are skillful in botany
call it Hyoscyamus. Now, lest any one that has seen this herb,
but has not been taught its name, and is unacquainted with its
nature, or, having known its name, knows not the herb when he
sees it, I shall give such ,as these are a description of it.
This herb is oftentimes in tallness above three spans, but its
root is like that of a turnip (for he that should compare it
thereto would not be mistaken); but its leaves are like the
leaves of mint. Out of its branches it sends out a calyx,
cleaving. to the branch; and a coat encompasses it, which it
naturally puts off when it is changing, in order to produce its
fruit. This calyx is of the bigness of the bone of the little
finger, but in the compass of its aperture is like a cup. This I
will further describe, for the use of those that are unacquainted
with it. Suppose a sphere be divided into two parts, round at the
bottom, but having another segment that grows up to a
circumference from that bottom; suppose it become narrower by
degrees, and that the cavity of that part grow decently smaller,
and then gradually grow wider again at the brim, such as we see
in the navel of a pomegranate, with its notches. And indeed such
a coat grows over this plant as renders it a hemisphere, and
that, as one may say, turned accurately in a lathe, and having
its notches extant above it, which, as I said, grow like a
pomegranate, only that they are sharp, and end in nothing but
prickles. Now the fruit is preserved by this coat of the calyx,
which fruit is like the seed of the herb Sideritis: it sends out
a flower that may seem to resemble that of poppy. Of this was a
crown made, as far from the hinder part of the head to each of
the temples; but this Ephielis, for so this calyx may be called,
did not cover the forehead, but it was covered with a golden
plate, (14) which had inscribed upon it the name of God in sacred
characters. And such were the ornaments of the high priest.

7. Now here one may wonder at the ill-will which men bear to us,
and which they profess to bear on account of our despising that
Deity which they pretend to honor; for if any one do but consider
the fabric of the tabernacle, and take a view of the garments of
the high priest, and of those vessels which we make use of in our
sacred ministration, he will find that our legislator was a
divine man, and that we are unjustly reproached by others; for if
any one do without prejudice, and with judgment, look upon these
things, he will find they were every one made in way of imitation
and representation of the universe. When Moses distinguished the
tabernacle into three parts, (15) and allowed two of them to the
priests, as a place accessible and common, he denoted the land
and the sea, these being of general access to all; but he set
apart the third division for God, because heaven is inaccessible
to men. And when he ordered twelve loaves to be set on the table,
he denoted the year, as distinguished into so many months. By
branching out the candlestick into seventy parts, he secretly
intimated the Decani, or seventy divisions of the planets; and as
to the seven lamps upon the candlesticks, they referred to the
course of the planets, of which that is the number. The veils,
too, which were composed of four things, they declared the four
elements; for the fine linen was proper to signify the earth,
because the flax grows out of the earth; the purple signified the
sea, because that color is dyed by the blood of a sea shell-fish;
the blue is fit to signify the air; and the scarlet will
naturally be an indication of fire. Now the vestment of the high
priest being made of linen, signified the earth; the blue denoted
the sky, being like lightning in its pomegranates, and in the
noise of the bells resembling thunder. And for the ephod, it
showed that God had made the universe of four elements; and as
for the gold interwoven, I suppose it related to the splendor by
which all things are enlightened. He also appointed the
breastplate to be placed in the middle of the ephod, to resemble
the earth, for that has the very middle place of the world. And
the girdle which encompassed the high priest round, signified the
ocean, for that goes round about and includes the universe. Each
of the sardonyxes declares to us the sun and the moon; those, I
mean, that were in the nature of buttons on the high priest's
shoulders. And for the twelve stones, whether we understand by
them the months, or whether we understand the like number of the
signs of that circle which the Greeks call the Zodiac, we shall
not be mistaken in their meaning. And for the mitre, which was of
a blue color, it seems to me to mean heaven; for how otherwise
could the name of God be inscribed upon it? That it was also
illustrated with a crown, and that of gold also, is because of
that splendor with which God is pleased. Let this explication
(16) suffice at present, since the course of my narration will
often, and on many occasions, afford me the opportunity of
enlarging upon the virtue of our legislator.


Of The Priesthood Of Aaron.

1. When what has been described was brought to a conclusion,
gifts not being yet presented, God appeared to Moses, and
enjoined him to bestow the high priesthood upon Aaron his
brother, as upon him that best of them all deserved to obtain
that honor, on account of his virtue. And when he had gathered
the multitude together, he gave them an account of Aaron's
virtue, and of his good-will to them, and of the dangers he had
undergone for their sakes. Upon which, when they had given
testimony to him in all respects, and showed their readiness to
receive him, Moses said to them, "O you Israelites, this work is
already brought to a conclusion, in a manner most acceptable to
God, and according to our abilities. And now since you see that
he is received into this tabernacle, we shall first of all stand
in need of one that may officiate for us, and may minister to the
sacrifices, and to the prayers that are to be put up for us. And
indeed had the inquiry after such a person been left to me, I
should have thought myself worthy of this honor, both because all
men are naturally fond of themselves, and because I am conscious
to myself that I have taken a great deal of pains for your
deliverance; but now God himself has determined that Aaron is
worthy of this honor, and has chosen him for his priest, as
knowing him to be the most righteous person among you. So that he
is to put on the vestments which are consecrated to God; he is to
have the care of the altars, and to make provision for the
sacrifices; and he it is that must put up prayers for you to God,
who will readily hear them, not only because he is himself
solicitous for your nation, but also because he will receive them
as offered by one that he hath himself chosen to this office."
The Hebrews were pleased with what was said, and they gave their
approbation to him whom God had ordained; for Aaron was of them
all the most deserving of this honor, on account of his own stock
and gift of prophecy, and his brother's virtue. He had at that
time four sons, Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar.

2. Now Moses commanded them to make use of all the utensils which
were more than were necessary to the structure of the tabernacle,
for covering the tabernacle itself, the candlestick, and altar of
incense, and the other vessels, that they might not be at all
hurt when they journeyed, either by the rain, or by the rising of
the dust. And when he had gathered the multitude together again,
he ordained that they should offer half a shekel for every man,
as an oblation to God; which shekel is a piece among the Hebrews,
and is equal to four Athenian drachmae. (18) Whereupon they
readily obeyed what Moses had commanded; and the number of the
offerers was six hundred and five thousand five hundred and
fifty. Now this money that was brought by the men that were free,
was given by such as were about twenty years old, but under
fifty; and what was collected was spent in the uses of the

3. Moses now purified the tabernacle and the priests; which
purification was performed after the following manner: - He
commanded them to take five hundred shekels of choice myrrh, an
equal quantity of cassia, and half the foregoing weight of
cinnamon and calamus (this last is a sort of sweet spice); to
beat them small, and wet them with an bin of oil of olives (an
hin is our own country measure, and contains two Athenian choas,
or congiuses); then mix them together, and boil them, and prepare
them after the art of the apothecary, and make them into a very
sweet ointment; and afterward to take it to anoint and to purify
the priests themselves, and all the tabernacle, as also the
sacrifices. There were also many, and those of various kinds, of
sweet spices, that belonged to the tabernacle, and such as were
of very great price, and were brought to the golden altar of
incense; the nature of which I do not now describe, lest it
should be troublesome to my readers; but incense (19) was to be
offered twice a-day, both before sun-rising and at sun-setting.
They were also to keep oil already purified for the lamps; three
of which were to give light all day long, (20) upon the sacred
candlestick, before God, and the rest were to be lighted at the

4. Now all was finished. Besaleel and Aholiab appeared to be the
most skillful of the workmen; for they invented finer works than
what others had done before them, and were of great abilities to
gain notions of what they were formerly ignorant of; and of
these, Besaleel was judged to be the best. Now the whole time
they were about this work was the interval of seven months; and
after this it was that was ended the first year since their
departure out of Egypt. But at the beginning of the second year,
on the month Xanthicus, as the Macedonians call it, but on the
month Nisan, as the Hebrews call it, on the new moon, they
consecrated the tabernacle, and all its vessels, which I have
already described.

5. Now God showed himself pleased with the work of the Hebrews,
and did not permit their labors to be in vain; nor did he disdain
to make use of what they had made, but he came and sojourned with
them, and pitched his tabernacle in the holy house. And in the
following manner did he come to it: - The sky was clear, but
there was a mist over the tabernacle only, encompassing it, but
not with such a very deep and thick cloud as is seen in the
winter season, nor yet in so thin a one as men might be able to
discern any thing through it, but from it there dropped a sweet
dew, and such a one as showed the presence of God to those that
desired and believed it.

6. Now when Moses had bestowed such honorary presents on the
workmen, as it was fit they should receive, who had wrought so
well, he offered sacrifices in the open court of the tabernacle,
as God commanded him; a bull, a ram, and a kid of the goats, for
a sin-offering. Now I shall speak of what we do in our sacred
offices in my discourse about sacrifices; and therein shall
inform men in what cases Moses bid us offer a whole
burnt-offering, and in what cases the law permits us to partake
of them as of food. And when Moses had sprinkled Aaron's
vestments, himself, and his sons, with the blood of the beasts
that were slain, and had purified them with spring waters and
ointment, they became God's priests. After this manner did he
consecrate them and their garments for seven days together. The
same he did to the tabernacle, and the vessels thereto belonging,
both with oil first incensed, as I said, and with the blood of
bulls and of rams, slain day by day one, according to its kind.
But on the eighth day he appointed a feast for the people, and
commanded them to offer sacrifice according to their ability.
Accordingly they contended one with another, and were ambitious
to exceed each other in the sacrifices which they brought, and so
fulfilled Moses's injunctions. But as the sacrifices lay upon the
altar, a sudden fire was kindled from among them of its own
accord, and appeared to the sight like fire from a flash of
lightning, and consumed whatsoever was upon the altar.

7. Hereupon an affliction befell Aaron, considered as a man and a
father, but was undergone by him with true fortitude; for he had
indeed a firmness of soul in such accidents, and he thought this
calamity came upon him according to God's will: for whereas he
had four sons, as I said before, the two elder of them, Nadab and
Abihu, did not bring those sacrifices which Moses bade them
bring, but which they used to offer formerly, and were burnt to
death. Now when the fire rushed upon them, and began to burn
them, nobody could quench it. Accordingly they died in this
manner. And Moses bid their father and their brethren to take up
their bodies, to carry them out of the camp, and to bury them
magnificently. Now the multitude lamented them, and were deeply
affected at this their death, which so unexpectedly befell them.
But Moses entreated their brethren and their father not to be
troubled for them, and to prefer the honor of God before their
grief about them; for Aaron had already put on his sacred

8. But Moses refused all that honor which he saw the multitude
ready to bestow upon him, and attended to nothing else but the
service of God. He went no more up to Mount Sinai; but he went
into the tabernacle, and brought back answers from God for what
he prayed for. His habit was also that of a private man, and in
all other circumstances he behaved himself like one of the common
people, and was desirous to appear without distinguishing himself
from the multitude, but would have it known that he did nothing
else but take care of them. He also set down in writing the form
of their government, and those laws by obedience whereto they
would lead their lives so as to please God, and so as to have no
quarrels one among another. However, the laws he ordained were
such as God suggested to him; so I shall now discourse concerning
that form of government, and those laws.

9. I will now treat of what I before omitted, the garment of the
high priest: for he [Moses] left no room for the evil practices
of [false] prophets; but if some of that sort should attempt to
abuse the Divine authority, he left it to God to be present at
his sacrifices when he pleased, and when he pleased to be absent.
(21) And he was willing this should be known, not to the Hebrews
only, but to those foreigners also who were there. For as to
those stones, (22) which we told you before, the high priest bare
on his shoulders, which were sardonyxes, (and I think it needless
to describe their nature, they being known to every body,) the
one of them shined out when God was present at their sacrifices;
I mean that which was in the nature of a button on his right
shoulder, bright rays darting out thence, and being seen even by
those that were most remote; which splendor yet was not before
natural to the stone. This has appeared a wonderful thing to such
as have not so far indulged themselves in philosophy, as to
despise Divine revelation. Yet will I mention what is still more
wonderful than this: for God declared beforehand, by those twelve
stones which the high priest bare on his breast, and which were
inserted into his breastplate, when they should be victorious in
battle; for so great a splendor shone forth from them before the
army began to march, that all the people were sensible of God's
being present for their assistance. Whence it came to pass that
those Greeks, who had a veneration for our laws, because they
could not possibly contradict this, called that breastplate the
Oracle. Now this breastplate, and this sardonyx, left off shining
two hundred years before I composed this book, God having been
displeased at the transgressions of his laws. Of which things we
shall further discourse on a fitter opportunity; but I will now
go on with my proposed narration.

10. The tabernacle being now consecrated, and a regular order
being settled for the priests, the multitude judged that God now
dwelt among them, and betook themselves to sacrifices and praises
to God as being now delivered from all expectation of evils and
as entertaining a hopeful prospect of better times hereafter.
They offered also gifts to God some as common to the whole
nation, and others as peculiar to themselves, and these tribe by
tribe; for the heads of the tribes combined together, two by two,
and brought a waggon and a yoke of oxen. These amounted to six,
and they carried the tabernacle when they journeyed. Besides
which, each head of a tribe brought a bowl, and a charger, and a
spoon, of ten darics, full of incense. Now the charger and the
bowl were of silver, and together they weighed two hundred
shekels, but the bowl cost no more than seventy shekels; and
these were full of fine flour mingled with oil, such as they used
on the altar about the sacrifices. They brought also a young
bullock, and a ram, with a lamb of a year old, for a whole
burnt-offering, as also a goat for the forgiveness of sins. Every
one of the heads of the tribes brought also other sacrifices,
called peace-offerings, for every day two bulls, and five rams,
with lambs of a year old, and kids of the goats. These heads of
tribes were twelve days in sacrificing, one sacrificing every
day. Now Moses went no longer up to Mount Sinai, but went into
the tabernacle, and learned of God what they were to do, and what
laws should be made; which laws were preferable to what have been
devised by human understanding, and proved to be firmly observed
for all time to come, as being believed to be the gift of God,
insomuch that the Hebrews did not transgress any of those laws,
either as tempted in times of peace by luxury, or in times of war
by distress of affairs. But I say no more here concerning them,
because I have resolved to compose another work concerning our


The Manner Of Our Offering Sacrifices.

1. I Will now, however, make mention of a few of our laws which
belong to purifications, and the like sacred offices, since I am
accidentally come to this matter of sacrifices. These sacrifices
were of two sorts; of those sorts one was offered for private
persons, and the other for the people in general; and they are
done in two different ways. In the one case, what is slain is
burnt, as a whole burnt-offering, whence that name is given to
it; but the other is a thank-offering, and is designed for
feasting those that sacrifice. I will speak of the former.
Suppose a private man offer a burnt-offering, he must slay either
a bull, a lamb, or a kid of the goats, and the two latter of the
first year, though of bulls he is permitted to sacrifice those of
a greater age; but all burnt-offerings are to be of males. When
they are slain, the priests sprinkle the blood round about the
altar; they then cleanse the bodies, and divide them into parts,
and salt them with salt, and lay them upon the altar, while the
pieces of wood are piled one upon another, and the fire is
burning; they next cleanse the feet of the sacrifices, and the
inwards, in an accurate manner and so lay them to the rest to be
purged by the fire, while the priests receive the hides. This is
the way of offering a burnt-offering.

2. But those that offer thank-offerings do indeed sacrifice the
same creatures, but such as are unblemished, and above a year
old; however, they may take either males or females. They also
sprinkle the altar with their blood; but they lay upon the altar
the kidneys and the caul, and all the fat, and the lobe of the
liver, together with the rump of the lamb; then, giving the
breast and the right shoulder to the priests, the offerers feast
upon the remainder of the flesh for two days; and what remains
they burn.

3. The sacrifices for sins are offered in the same manner as is
the thank-offering. But those who are unable to purchase complete
sacrifices, offer two pigeons, or turtle doves; the one of which
is made a burnt-offering to God, the other they give as food to
the priests. But we shall treat more accurately about the
oblation of these creatures in our discourse concerning
sacrifices. But if a person fall into sin by ignorance, he offers
an ewe lamb, or a female kid of the goats, of the same age; and
the priests sprinkle the blood at the altar, not after the former
manner, but at the corners of it. They also bring the kidneys and
the rest of the fat, together with the lobe of the liver, to the
altar, while the priests bear away the hides and the flesh, and
spend it in the holy place, on the same day; (23) for the law
does not permit them to leave of it until the morning. But if any
one sin, and is conscious of it himself, but hath nobody that can
prove it upon him, he offers a ram, the law enjoining him so to
do; the flesh of which the priests eat, as before, in the holy
place, on the same day. And if the rulers offer sacrifices for
their sins, they bring the same oblations that private men do;
only they so far differ, that they are to bring for sacrifices a
bull or a kid of the goats, both males.

4. Now the law requires, both in private and public sacrifices,
that the finest flour be also brought; for a lamb the measure of
one tenth deal, - for a ram two, - and for a bull three. This
they consecrate upon the altar, when it is mingled with oil; for
oil is also brought by those that sacrifice; for a bull the half
of an hin, and for a ram the third part of the same measure, and
one quarter of it for a lamb. This hin is an ancient Hebrew
measure, and is equivalent to two Athenian choas (or congiuses).
They bring the same quantity of oil which they do of wine, and
they pour the wine about the altar; but if any one does not offer
a complete sacrifice of animals, but brings fine flour only for a
vow, he throws a handful upon the altar as its first-fruits,
while the priests take the rest for their food, either boiled or
mingled with oil, but made into cakes of bread. But whatsoever it
be that a priest himself offers, it must of necessity be all
burnt. Now the law forbids us to sacrifice any animal at the same
time with its dam; and, in other cases, not till the eighth day
after its birth. Other sacrifices there are also appointed for
escaping distempers, or for other occasions, in which
meat-offerings are consumed, together with the animals that are
sacrificed; of which it is not lawful to leave any part till the
next day, only the priests are to take their own share.


Concerning The Festivals; And How Each Day Of Such Festival Is To
Be Observed.

1. The law requires, that out of the public expenses a lamb of
the first year be killed every day, at the beginning and at the
ending of the day; but on the seventh day, which is called the
Sabbath, they kill two, and sacrifice them in the same manner. At
the new moon, they both perform the daily sacrifices, and slay
two bulls, with seven lambs of the first year, and a kid of the
goats also, for the expiation of sins; that is, if they have
sinned through ignorance.

2. But on the seventh month, which the Macedonians call
Hyperberetaeus, they make an addition to those already mentioned,
and sacrifice a bull, a ram, and seven lambs, and a kid of the
goats, for sins.

3. On the tenth day of the same lunar month, they fast till the
evening; and this day they sacrifice a bull, and two rams, and
seven lambs, and a kid of the goats, for sins. And, besides
these, they bring two kids of the goats; the one of which is sent
alive out of the limits of the camp into the wilderness for the
scapegoat, and to be an expiation for the sins of the whole
multitude; but the other is brought into a place of great
cleanness, within the limits of the camp, and is there burnt,
with its skin, without any sort of cleansing. With this goat was
burnt a bull, not brought by the people, but by the high priest,
at his own charges; which, when it was slain, he brought of the
blood into the holy place, together with the blood of the kid of
the goats, and sprinkled the ceiling with his finger seven times,
as also its pavement, and again as often toward the most holy
place, and about the golden altar: he also at last brings it into
the open court, and sprinkles it about the great altar. Besides
this, they set the extremities, and the kidneys, and the fat,
with the lobe of the liver, upon the altar. The high priest
likewise presents a ram to God as a burnt-offering.

4. Upon the fifteenth day of the same month, when the season of
the year is changing for winter, the law enjoins us to pitch
tabernacles in every one of our houses, so that we preserve
ourselves from the cold of that time of the year; as also that
when we should arrive at our own country, and come to that city
which we should have then for our metropolis, because of the
temple therein to be built, and keep a festival for eight days,
and offer burnt-offerings, and sacrifice thank-offerings, that we
should then carry in our hands a branch of myrtle, and willow,
and a bough of the palm-tree, with the addition of the pome
citron: That the burnt-offering on the first of those days was to
be a sacrifice of thirteen bulls, and fourteen lambs, and fifteen
rams, with the addition of a kid of the goats, as an expiation
for sins; and on the following days the same number of lambs, and
of rams, with the kids of the goats; but abating one of the bulls
every day till they amounted to seven only. On the eighth day all
work was laid aside, and then, as we said before, they sacrificed
to God a bullock, a ram, and seven lambs, with a kid of the
goats, for an expiation of sins. And this is the accustomed
solemnity of the Hebrews, when they pitch their tabernacles.

5. In the month of Xanthicus, which is by us called Nisan, and is
the beginning of our year, on the fourteenth day of the lunar
month, when the sun is in Aries, (for in this month it was that
we were delivered from bondage under the Egyptians,) the law
ordained that we should every year slay that sacrifice which I
before told you we slew when we came out of Egypt, and which was
called the Passover; and so we do celebrate this passover in
companies, leaving nothing of what we sacrifice till the day
following. The feast of unleavened bread succeeds that of the
passover, and falls on the fifteenth day of the month, and
continues seven days, wherein they feed on unleavened bread; on
every one of which days two bulls are killed, and one ram, and
seven lambs. Now these lambs are entirely burnt, besides the kid
of the goats which is added to all the rest, for sins; for it is
intended as a feast for the priest on every one of those days.
But on the second day of unleavened bread, which is the sixteenth
day of the month, they first partake of the fruits of the earth,
for before that day they do not touch them. And while they
suppose it proper to honor God, from whom they obtain this
plentiful provision, in the first place, they offer the
first-fruits of their barley, and that in the manner following:
They take a handful of the ears, and dry them, then beat them
small, and purge the barley from the bran; they then bring one
tenth deal to the altar, to God; and, casting one handful of it
upon the fire, they leave the rest for the use of the priest. And
after this it is that they may publicly or privately reap their
harvest. They also at this participation of the first-fruits of
the earth, sacrifice a lamb, as a burnt-offering to God.

6. When a week of weeks has passed over after this sacrifice,
(which weeks contain forty and nine days,) on the fiftieth day,
which is Pentecost, but is called by the Hebrews Asartha, which
signifies Pentecost, they bring to God a loaf, made of wheat
flour, of two tenth deals, with leaven; and for sacrifices they
bring two lambs; and when they have only presented them to God,
they are made ready for supper for the priests; nor is it
permitted to leave any thing of them till the day following. They
also slay three bullocks for a burnt-offering, and two rams; and
fourteen lambs, with two kids of the goats, for sins; nor is
there anyone of the festivals but in it they offer
burnt-offerings; they also allow themselves to rest on every one
of them. Accordingly, the law prescribes in them all what kinds
they are to sacrifice, and how they are to rest entirely, and
must slay sacrifices, in order to feast upon them.

7. However, out of the common charges, baked bread [was set on
the table of shew-bread], without leaven, of twenty-four tenth
deals of flour, for so much is spent upon this bread; two heaps
of these were baked, they were baked the day before the sabbath,
but were brought into the holy place on the morning of the
sabbath, and set upon the holy table, six on a heap, one loaf
still standing over against another; where two golden cups full
of frankincense were also set upon them, and there they remained
till another sabbath, and then other loaves were brought in their
stead, while the loaves were given to the priests for their food,
and the frankincense was burnt in that sacred fire wherein all
their offerings were burnt also; and so other frankincense was
set upon the loaves instead of what was there before. The [high
priest also, of his own charges, offered a sacrifice, and that
twice every day. It was made of flour mingled with oil, and
gently baked by the fire; the quantity was one tenth deal of
flour; he brought the half of it to the fire in the morning, and
the other half at night. The account of these sacrifices I shall
give more accurately hereafter; but I think I have premised what
for the present may be sufficient concerning them.


Of The Purifications.

1. Moses took out the tribe of Levi from communicating with the
rest of the people, and set them apart to be a holy tribe; and
purified them by water taken from perpetual springs, and with
such sacrifices as were usually offered to God on the like
occasions. He delivered to them also the tabernacle, and the
sacred vessels, and the other curtains, which were made for
covering the tabernacle, that they might minister under the
conduct of the priests, who had been already consecrated to God.

2. He also determined concerning animals; which of them might be
used for food, and which they were obliged to abstain from; which
matters, when this work shall give me occasion, shall be further
explained; and the causes shall be added by which he was moved to
allot some of them to be our food, and enjoined us to abstain
from others. However, he entirely forbade us the use of blood for
food, and esteemed it to contain the soul and spirit. He also
forbade us to eat the flesh of an animal that died of itself, as
also the caul, and the fat of goats, and sheep, and bulls.

3. He also ordered that those whose bodies were afflicted with
leprosy, and that had a gonorrhea, should not come into the city;
nay, he removed the women, when they had their natural
purgations, till the seventh day; after which he looked on them
as pure, and permitted them to come in again. The law permits
those also who have taken care of funerals to come in after the
same manner, when this number of days is over; but if any
continued longer than that number of days in a state of
pollution, the law appointed the offering two lambs for a
sacrifice; the one of which they are to purge by fire, and for
the other, the priests take it for themselves. In the same manner
do those sacrifice who have had the gonorrhea. But he that sheds
his seed in his sleep, if he go down into cold water, has the
same privilege with those that have lawfully accompanied with
their wives. And for the lepers, he suffered them not to come
into the city at all, nor to live with any others, as if they
were in effect dead persons; but if any one had obtained by
prayer to God, the recovery from that distemper, and had gained a
healthful complexion again, such a one returned thanks to God,
with several sorts of sacrifices; concerning which we will speak

4. Whence one cannot but smile at those who say that Moses was
himself afflicted with the leprosy when he fled out of Egypt, and
that he became the conductor of those who on that account left
that country, and led them into the land of Canaan; for had this
been true, Moses would not have made these laws to his own
dishonor, which indeed it was more likely he would have opposed,
if others had endeavored to introduce them; and this the rather,
because there are lepers in many nations, who yet are in honor,
and not only free from reproach and avoidance, but who have been
great captains of armies, and been intrusted with high offices in
the commonwealth, and have had the privilege of entering into
holy places and temples; so that nothing hindered, but if either
Moses himself, or the multitude that was with him, had been
liable to such a misfortune in the color of his skin, he might
have made laws about them for their credit and advantage, and
have laid no manner of difficulty upon them. Accordingly, it is a
plain case, that it is out of violent prejudice only that they
report these things about us. But Moses was pure from any such
distemper, and lived with countrymen who were pure of it also,
and thence made the laws which concerned others that had the
distemper. He did this for the honor of God. But as to these
matters, let every one consider them after what manner he

5. As to the women, when they have born a child, Moses forbade
them to come into the temple, or touch the sacrifices, before
forty days were over, supposing it to be a boy; but if she hath
born a girl, the law is that she cannot be admitted before twice
that number of days be over. And when after the before-mentioned
time appointed for them, they perform their sacrifices, the
priests distribute them before God.

6. But if any one suspect that his wife has been guilty of
adultery, he was to bring a tenth deal of barley flour; they then
cast one handful to God and gave the rest of it to the priests
for food. One of the priests set the woman at the gates that are
turned towards the temple, and took the veil from her head, and
wrote the name of God on parchment, and enjoined her to swear
that she had not at all injured her husband; and to wish that, if
she had violated her chastity, her right thigh might be put out
of joint; that her belly might swell; and that she might die
thus: but that if her husband, by the violence of his affection,
and of the jealousy which arose from it, had been rashly moved to
this suspicion, that she might bear a male child in the tenth
month. Now when these oaths were over, the priest wiped the name
of God out of the parchment, and wrung the water into a vial. He
also took some dust out of the temple, if any happened to be
there, and put a little of it into the vial, and gave it her to
drink; whereupon the woman, if she were unjustly accused,
conceived with child, and brought it to perfection in her womb:
but if she had broken her faith of wedlock to her husband, and
had sworn falsely before God, she died in a reproachful manner;
her thigh fell off from her, and her belly swelled with a dropsy.
And these are the ceremonies about sacrifices, and about the
purifications thereto belonging, which Moses provided for his
countrymen. He also prescribed the following laws to them: -


Several Laws.

1. As for adultery, Moses forbade it entirely, as esteeming it a
happy thing that men should be wise in the affairs of wedlock;
and that it was profitable both to cities and families that
children should be known to be genuine. He also abhorred men's
lying with their mothers, as one of the greatest crimes; and the
like for lying with the father's wife, and with aunts, and
sisters, and sons' wives, as all instances of abominable
wickedness. He also forbade a man to lie with his wife when she
was defiled by her natural purgation: and not to come near brute


Back to Full Books