King James Bible Adam Clarke Bible Commentary Martin Luther's Writings Wesley's Sermons and Commentary Neurosemantics Audio / Video Bible Evolution Cruncher Creation Science Vincent New Testament Word Studies KJV Audio Bible Family videogames Christian author Godrules.NET Main Page Add to Favorites Godrules.NET Main Page




Bad Advertisement?

Are you a Christian?

Online Store:
  • Visit Our Store

  • JOSEPHUS' WRITINGS - FLAVIUS VS. APION BK. 1 - C
    PREVIOUS CHAPTER - NEXT CHAPTER - HELP - FACEBOOK - GR FORUMS - GODRULES ON YOUTUBE    

    25. Now the Egyptians were the first that cast reproaches upon us; in order to please which nation, some others undertook to pervert the truth, while they would neither own that our forefathers came into Egypt from another country, as the fact was, nor give a true account of our departure thence. And indeed the Egyptians took many occasions to hate us and envy us: in the first place, because our ancestors had had the dominion over their country? and when they were delivered from them, and gone to their own country again, they lived there in prosperity. In the next place, the difference of our religion from theirs hath occasioned great enmity between us, while our way of Divine worship did as much exceed that which their laws appointed, as does the nature of God exceed that of brute beasts; for so far they all agree through the whole country, to esteem such animals as gods, although they differ one from another in the peculiar worship they severally pay to them. And certainly men they are entirely of vain and foolish minds, who have thus accustomed themselves from the beginning to have such bad notions concerning their gods, and could not think of imitating that decent form of Divine worship which we made use of, though, when they saw our institutions approved of by many others, they could not but envy us on that account; for some of them have proceeded to that degree of folly and meanness in their conduct, as not to scruple to contradict their own ancient records, nay, to contradict themselves also in their writings, and yet were so blinded by their passions as not to discern it.

    26. And now I will turn my discourse to one of their principal writers, whom I have a little before made use of as a witness to our antiquity; I mean Manetho. (22) He promised to interpret the Egyptian history out of their sacred writings, and premised this: that "our people had come into Egypt, many ten thousands in number, and subdued its inhabitants;" and when he had further confessed that "we went out of that country afterward, and settled in that country which is now called Judea, and there built Jerusalem and its temple." Now thus far he followed his ancient records; but after this he permits himself, in order to appear to have written what rumors and reports passed abroad about the Jews, and introduces incredible narrations, as if he would have the Egyptian multitude, that had the leprosy and other distempers, to have been mixed with us, as he says they were, and that they were condemned to fly out of Egypt together; for he mentions Amenophis, a fictitious king's name, though on that account he dare not set down the number of years of his reign, which yet he had accurately done as to the other kings he mentions; he then ascribes certain fabulous stories to this king, as having in a manner forgotten how he had already related that the departure of the shepherds for Jerusalem had been five hundred and eighteen years before; for Tethmosis was king when they went away. Now, from his days, the reigns of the intermediate kings, according to Manethe, amounted to three hundred and ninety-three years, as he says himself, till the two brothers Sethos and Hermeus; the one of whom, Sethos, was called by that other name of Egyptus, and the other, Hermeus, by that of Danaus. He also says that Sethos east the other out of Egypt, and reigned fifty-nine years, as did his eldest son Rhampses reign after him sixty-six years. When Manethe therefore had acknowledged that our forefathers were gone out of Egypt so many years ago, he introduces his fictitious king Amenophis, and says thus: "This king was desirous to become a spectator of the gods, as had Orus, one of his predecessors in that kingdom, desired the same before him; he also communicated that his desire to his namesake Amenophis, who was the son of Papis, and one that seemed to partake of a divine nature, both as to wisdom and the knowledge of futurities." Manethe adds, "how this namesake of his told him that he might see the gods, if he would clear the whole country of the lepers and of the other impure people; that the king was pleased with this injunction, and got together all that had any defect in their bodies out of Egypt; and that their number was eighty thousand; whom he sent to those quarries which are on the east side of the Nile, that they might work in them, and might be separated from the rest of the Egyptians." He says further, that "there were some of the learned priests that were polluted with the leprosy; but that still this Amenophis, the wise man and the prophet, was afraid that the gods would be angry at him and at the king, if there should appear to have been violence offered them; who also added this further, [out of his sagacity about futurities,] that certain people would come to the assistance of these polluted wretches, and would conquer Egypt, and keep it in their possession thirteen years; that, however, he dare not tell the king of these things, but that he left a writing behind him about all those matters, and then slew himself, which made the king disconsolate." After which he writes thus verbatim: "After those that were sent to work in the quarries had continued in that miserable state for a long while, the king was desired that he would set apart the city Avaris, which was then left desolate of the shepherds, for their habitation and protection; which desire he granted them. Now this city, according to the ancient theology, was Typho's city. But when these men were gotten into it, and found the place fit for a revolt, they appointed themselves a ruler out of the priests of Hellopolis, whose name was Osarsiph, and they took their oaths that they would be obedient to him in all things. He then, in the first place, made this law for them, That they should neither worship the Egyptian gods, nor should abstain from any one of those sacred animals which they have in the highest esteem, but kill and destroy them all; that they should join themselves to nobody but to those that were of this confederacy. When he had made such laws as these, and many more such as were mainly opposite to the customs of the Egyptians, (23) he gave order that they should use the multitude of the hands they had in building walls about their City, and make themselves ready for a war with king Amenophis, while he did himself take into his friendship the other priests, and those that were polluted with them, and sent ambassadors to those shepherds who had been driven out of the land by Tefilmosis to the city called Jerusalem; whereby he informed them of his own affairs, and of the state of those others that had been treated after such an ignominious manner, and desired that they would come with one consent to his assistance in this war against Egypt. He also promised that he would, in the first place, bring them back to their ancient city and country Avaris, and provide a plentiful maintenance for their multitude; that he would protect them and fight for them as occasion should require, and would easily reduce the country under their dominion. These shepherds were all very glad of this message, and came away with alacrity all together, being in number two hundred thousand men; and in a little time they came to Avaris. And now Amenophis the king of Egypt, upon his being informed of their invasion, was in great confusion, as calling to mind what Amenophis, the son of Papis, had foretold him; and, in the first place, he assembled the multitude of the Egyptians, and took counsel with their leaders, and sent for their sacred animals to him, especially for those that were principally worshipped in their temples, and gave a particular charge to the priests distinctly, that they should hide the images of their gods with the utmost care he also sent his son Sethos, who was also named Ramesses, from his father Rhampses, being but five years old, to a friend of his. He then passed on with the rest of the Egyptians, being three hundred thousand of the most warlike of them, against the enemy, who met them. Yet did he not join battle with them; but thinking that would be to fight against the gods, he returned back and came to Memphis, where he took Apis and the other sacred animals which he had sent for to him, and presently marched into Ethiopia, together with his whole army and multitude of Egyptians; for the king of Ethiopia was under an obligation to him, on which account he received him, and took care of all the multitude that was with him, while the country supplied all that was necessary for the food of the men. He also allotted cities and villages for this exile, that was to be from its beginning during those fatally determined thirteen years. Moreover, he pitched a camp for his Ethiopian army, as a guard to king Amenophis, upon the borders of Egypt. And this was the state of things in Ethiopia. But for the people of Jerusalem, when they came down together with the polluted Egyptians, they treated the men in such a barbarous manner, that those who saw how they subdued the forementioned country, and the horrid wickedness they were guilty of, thought it a most dreadful thing; for they did not only set the cities and villages on fire but were not satisfied till they had been guilty of sacrilege, and destroyed the images of the gods, and used them in roasting those sacred animals that used to be worshipped, and forced the priests and prophets to be the executioners and murderers of those animals, and then ejected them naked out of the country. It was also reported that the priest, who ordained their polity and their laws, was by birth of Hellopolls, and his name Osarsiph, from Osyris, who was the god of Hellopolls; but that when he was gone over to these people, his name was changed, and he was called Moses."

    27. This is what the Egyptians relate about the Jews, with much more, which I omit for the sake of brevity. But still Manetho goes on, that "after this, Amenophis returned back from Ethiopia with a great army, as did his son Ahampses with another army also, and that both of them joined battle with the shepherds and the polluted people, and beat them, and slew a great many of them, and pursued them to the bounds of Syria." These and the like accounts are written by Manetho. But I will demonstrate that he trifles, and tells arrant lies, after I have made a distinction which will relate to what I am going to say about him; for this Manetho had granted and confessed that this nation was not originally Egyptian, but that they had come from another country, and subdued Egypt, and then went away again out of it. But that. those Egyptians who were thus diseased in their bodies were not mingled with us afterward, and that Moses who brought the people out was not one of that company, but lived many generations earlier, I shall endeavor to demonstrate from Manetho's own accounts themselves.

    28. Now, for the first occasion of this fiction, Manetho supposes what is no better than a ridiculous thing; for he says that" king Amenophis desired to see the gods." What gods, I pray, did he desire to see? If he meant the gods whom their laws ordained to be worshipped, the ox, the goat, the crocodile, and the baboon, he saw them already; but for the heavenly gods, how could he see them, and what should occasion this his desire? To be sure? it was because another king before him had already seen them. He had then been informed what sort of gods they were, and after what manner they had been seen, insomuch that he did not stand in need of any new artifice for obtaining this sight. However, the prophet by whose means the king thought to compass his design was a wise man. If so, how came he not to know that such his desire was impossible to be accomplished? for the event did not succeed. And what pretense could there be to suppose that the gods would not be seen by reason of the people's maims in their bodies, or leprosy? for the gods are not angry at the imperfection of bodies, but at wicked practices; and as to eighty thousand lepers, and those in an ill state also, how is it possible to have them gathered together in one day? nay, how came the king not to comply with the prophet? for his injunction was, that those that were maimed should be expelled out of Egypt, while the king only sent them to work in the quarries, as if he were rather in want of laborers, than intended to purge his country. He says further, that" this prophet slew himself, as foreseeing the anger of the gods, and those events which were to come upon Egypt afterward; and that he left this prediction for the king in writing." Besides, how came it to pass that this prophet did not foreknow his own death at the first? nay, how came he not to contradict the king in his desire to see the gods immediately? how came that unreasonable dread upon him of judgments that were not to happen in his lifetime? or what worse thing could he suffer, out of the fear of which he made haste to kill himself? But now let us see the silliest thing of all: - The king, although he had been informed of these things, and terrified with the fear of what was to come, yet did not he even then eject these maimed people out of his country, when it had been foretold him that he was to clear Egypt of them; but, as Manetho says, "he then, upon their request, gave them that city to inhabit, which had formerly belonged to the shepherds, and was called Avaris; whither when they were gone in crowds," he says, "they chose one that had formerly been priest of Hellopolls; and that this priest first ordained that they should neither worship the gods, nor abstain from those animals that were worshipped by the Egyptians, but should kill and eat them all, and should associate with nobody but those that had conspired with them; and that he bound the multitude by oaths to be sure to continue in those laws; and that when he had built a wall about Avaris, he made war against the king." Manetho adds also, that "this priest sent to Jerusalem to invite that people to come to his assistance, and promised to give them Avaris; for that it had belonged to the forefathers of those that were coming from Jerusalem, and that when they were come, they made a war immediately against the king, and got possession of all Egypt." He says also that "the Egyptians came with an army of two hundred thousand men, and that Amenophis, the king of Egypt, not thinking that he ought to fight against the gods, ran away presently into Ethiopia, and committed Apis and certain other of their sacred animals to the priests, and commanded them to take care of preserving them." He says further, that" the people of Jerusalem came accordingly upon the Egyptians, and overthrew their cities, and burnt their temples, and slew their horsemen, and, in short, abstained from no sort of wickedness nor barbarity; and for that priest who settled their polity and their laws," he says," he was by birth of Hellopolis, and his name was Osarsiph, from Osyris the god of Hellopolis, but that he changed his name, and called himself Moses." He then says that "on the thirteenth year afterward, Amenophis, according to the fatal time of the duration of his misfortunes, came upon them out of Ethiopia with a great army, and joining battle with the shepherds and with the polluted people, overcame them in battle, and slew a great many of them, and pursued them as far as the bounds of Syria."

    29. Now Manetho does not reflect upon the improbability of his lie; for the leprous people, and the multitude that was with them, although they might formerly have been angry at the king, and at those that had treated them so coarsely, and this according to the prediction of the prophet; yet certainly, when they were come out of the mines, and had received of the king a city, and a country, they would have grown milder towards him. However, had they ever so much hated him in particular, they might have laid a private plot against himself, but would hardly have made war against all the Egyptians; I mean this on the account of the great kindred they who were so numerous must have had among them. Nay still, if they had resolved to fight with the men, they would not have had impudence enough to fight with their gods; nor would they have ordained laws quite contrary to those of their own country, and to those in which they had been bred up themselves. Yet are we beholden to Manethe, that he does not lay the principal charge of this horrid transgression upon those that came from Jerusalem, but says that the Egyptians themselves were the most guilty, and that they were their priests that contrived these things, and made the multitude take their oaths for doing so. But still how absurd is it to suppose that none of these people's own relations or friends should be prevailed with to revolt, nor to undergo the hazards of war with them, while these polluted people were forced to send to Jerusalem, and bring their auxiliaries from thence! What friendship, I pray, or what relation was there formerly between them that required this assistance? On the contrary, these people were enemies, and greatly differed from them in their customs. He says, indeed, that they complied immediately, upon their praising them that they should conquer Egypt; as if they did not themselves very well know that country out of which they had been driven by force. Now had these men been in want, or lived miserably, perhaps they might have undertaken so hazardous an enterprise; but as they dwelt in a happy city, and had a large country, and one better than Egypt itself, how came it about that, for the sake of those that had of old been their enemies, of those that were maimed in their bodies, and of those whom none of their own relations would endure, they should run such hazards in assisting them? For they could not foresee that the king would run away from them: on the contrary, he saith himself that "Amenophis's son had three hundred thousand men with him, and met them at Pelusium." Now, to be sure, those that came could not be ignorant of this; but for the king's repentance and flight, how could they possibly guess at it? He then says, that "those who came from Jerusalem, and made this invasion, got the granaries of Egypt into their possession, and perpetrated many of the most horrid actions there." And thence he reproaches them, as though he had not himself introduced them as enemies, or as though he might accuse such as were invited from another place for so doing, when the natural Egyptians themselves had done the same things before their coming, and had taken oaths so to do. However, "Amenophis, some time afterward, came upon them, and conquered them in battle, and slew his enemies, and drove them before him as far as Syria." As if Egypt were so easily taken by people that came from any place whatever, and as if those that had conquered it by war, when they were informed that Amenophis was alive, did neither fortify the avenues out of Ethiopia into it, although they had great advantages for doing it, nor did get their other forces ready for their defense! but that he followed them over the sandy desert, and slew them as far as Syria; while yet it is rot an easy thing for an army to pass over that country, even without fighting.

    30. Our nation, therefore, according to Manetho, was not derived from Egypt, nor were any of the Egyptians mingled with us. For it is to be supposed that many of the leprous and distempered people were dead in the mines, since they had been there a long time, and in so ill a condition; many others must be dead in the battles that happened afterward, and more still in the last battle and flight after it.

    31. It now remains that I debate with Manetho about Moses. Now the Egyptians acknowledge him to have been a wonderful and a divine person; nay, they would willingly lay claim to him themselves, though after a most abusive and incredible manner, and pretend that he was of Heliopolis, and one of the priests of that place, and was ejected out of it among the rest, on account of his leprosy; although it had been demonstrated out of their records that he lived five hundred and eighteen years earlier, and then brought our forefathers out of Egypt into the country that is now inhabited by us. But now that he was not subject in his body to any such calamity, is evident from what he himself tells us; for he forbade those that had the leprosy either to continue in a city, or to inhabit in a village, but commanded that they should go about by themselves with their clothes rent; and declares that such as either touch them, or live under the same roof with them, should be esteemed unclean; nay, more, if any one of their disease be healed, and he recover his natural constitution again, he appointed them certain purifications, and washings with spring water, and the shaving off all their hair, and enjoins that they shall offer many sacrifices, and those of several kinds, and then at length to be admitted into the holy city; although it were to be expected that, on the contrary, if he had been under the same calamity, he should have taken care of such persons beforehand, and have had them treated after a kinder manner, as affected with a concern for those that were to be under the like misfortunes with himself. Nor ;was it only those leprous people for whose sake he made these laws, but also for such as should be maimed in the smallest part of their body, who yet are not permitted by him to officiate as priests; nay, although any priest, already initiated, should have such a calamity fall upon him afterward, he ordered him to be deprived of his honor of officiating. How can it then be supposed that Moses should ordain such laws against himself, to his own reproach and damage who so ordained them? Nor indeed is that other notion of Manetho at all probable, wherein he relates the change of his name, and says that "he was formerly called Osarsiph;" and this a name no way agreeable to the other, while his true name was Mosses, and signifies a person who is preserved out of the water, for the Egyptians call water Moil. I think, therefore, I have made it sufficiently evident that Manetho, while he followed his ancient records, did not much mistake the truth of the history; but that when he had recourse to fabulous stories, without any certain author, he either forged them himself, without any probability, or else gave credit to some men who spake so out of their ill-will to us.

    32. And now I have done with Manetho, I will inquire into what Cheremon says. For he also, when he pretended to write the Egyptian history, sets down the same name for this king that Manetho did, Amenophis, as also of his son Ramesses, and then goes on thus: "The goddess Isis appeared to Amenophis in his sleep, and blamed him that her temple had been demolished in the war. But that Phritiphantes, the sacred scribe, said to him, that in case he would purge Egypt of the men that had pollutions upon them, he should be no longer troubled. with such frightful apparitions. That Amenophis accordingly chose out two hundred and fifty thousand of those that were thus diseased, and cast them out of the country: that Moses and Joseph were scribes, and Joseph was a sacred scribe; that their names were Egyptian originally; that of Moses had been Tisithen, and that of Joseph, Peteseph: that these two came to Pelusium, and lighted upon three hundred and eighty thousand that had been left there by Amenophis, he not being willing to carry them into Egypt; that these scribes made a league of friendship with them, and made with them an expedition against Egypt: that Amenophis could not sustain their attacks, but fled into Ethiopia, and left his wife with child behind him, who lay concealed in certain caverns, and there brought forth a son, whose name was Messene, and who, when he was grown up to man's estate, pursued the Jews into Syria, being about two hundred thousand, and then received his father Amenophis out of Ethiopia."

    33. This is the account Cheremon gives us. Now I take it for granted that what I have said already hath plainly proved the falsity of both these narrations; for had there been any real truth at the bottom, it was impossible they should so greatly disagree about the particulars. But for those that invent lies, what they write will easily give us very different accounts, while they forge what they please out of their own heads. Now Manetho says that the king's desire of seeing the gods was the origin of the ejection of the polluted people; but Cheremon feigns that it was a dream of his own, sent upon him by Isis, that was the occasion of it. Manetho says that the person who foreshowed this purgation of Egypt to the king was Amenophis; but this man says it was Phritiphantes. As to the numbers of the multitude that were expelled, they agree exceedingly well (24) the former reckoning them eighty thousand, and the latter about two hundred and fifty thousand! Now, for Manetho, he describes those polluted persons as sent first to work in the quarries, and says that the city Avaris was given them for their habitation. As also he relates that it was not till after they had made war with the rest of the Egyptians, that they invited the people of Jerusalem to come to their assistance; while Cheremon says only that they were gone out of Egypt, and lighted upon three hundred and eighty thousand men about Pelusium, who had been left there by Amenophis, and so they invaded Egypt with them again; that thereupon Amenophis fled into Ethiopia. But then this Cheremon commits a most ridiculous blunder in not informing us who this army of so many ten thousands were, or whence they came; whether they were native Egyptians, or whether they came from a foreign country. Nor indeed has this man, who forged a dream from Isis about the leprous people, assigned the reason why the king would not bring them into Egypt. Moreover, Cheremon sets down Joseph as driven away at the same time with Moses, who yet died four generations (25) before Moses, which four generations make almost one hundred and seventy years. Besides all this, Ramesses, the son of Amenophis, by Manetho's account, was a young man, and assisted his father in his war, and left the country at the same time with him, and fled into Ethiopia. But Cheremon makes him to have been born in a certain cave, after his father was dead, and that he then overcame the Jews in battle, and drove them into Syria, being in number about two hundred thousand. O the levity of the man! for he had neither told us who these three hundred and eighty thousand were, nor how the four hundred and thirty thousand perished; whether they fell in war, or went over to Ramesses. And, what is the strangest of all, it is not possible to learn out of him who they were whom he calls Jews, or to which of these two parties he applies that denomination, whether to the two hundred and fifty thousand leprous people, or to the three hundred and eighty thousand that were about Pelusium. But perhaps it will be looked upon as a silly thing in me to make any larger confutation of such writers as sufficiently confute themselves; for had they been only confuted by other men, it had been more tolerable.

    34. I shall now add to these accounts about Manethoand Cheremon somewhat about Lysimachus, who hath taken the same topic of falsehood with those forementioned, but hath gone far beyond them in the incredible nature of his forgeries; which plainly demonstrates that he contrived them out of his virulent hatred of our nation. His words are these: "The people of the Jews being leprous and scabby, and subject to certain other kinds of distempers, in the days of Bocchoris, king of Egypt, they fled to the temples, and got their food there by begging: and as the numbers were very great that were fallen under these diseases, there arose a scarcity in Egypt. Hereupon Bocehoris, the king of Egypt, sent some to consult the oracle of [Jupiter] Hammon about his scarcity. The god's answer was this, that he must purge his temples of impure and impious men, by expelling them out of those temples into desert places; but as to the scabby and leprous people, he must drown them, and purge his temples, the sun having an indignation at these men being suffered to live; and by this means the land will bring forth its fruits. Upon Bocchoris's having received these oracles, he called for their priests, and the attendants upon their altars, and ordered them to make a collection of the impure people, and to deliver them to the soldiers, to carry them away into the desert; but to take the leprous people, and wrap them in sheets of lead, and let them down into the sea. Hereupon the scabby and leprous people were drowned, and the rest were gotten together, and sent into desert places, in order to be exposed to destruction. In this case they assembled themselves together, and took counsel what they should do, and determined that, as the night was coming on, they should kindle fires and lamps, and keep watch; that they also should fast the next night, and propitiate the gods, in order to obtain deliverance from them. That on the next day there was one Moses, who advised them that they should venture upon a journey, and go along one road till they should come to places fit for habitation: that he charged them to have no kind regards for any man, nor give good counsel to any, but always to advise them for the worst; and to overturn all those temples and altars of the gods they should meet with: that the rest commended what he had said with one consent, and did what they had resolved on, and so traveled over the desert. But that the difficulties of the journey being over, they came to a country inhabited, and that there they abused the men, and plundered and burnt their temples; and then came into that land which is called Judea, and there they built a city, and dwelt therein, and that their city was named Hierosyla, from this their robbing of the temples; but that still, upon the success they had afterwards, they in time changed its denomination, that it might not be a reproach to them, and called the city Hierosolyma, and themselves Hierosolymites."

    35. Now this man did not discover and mention the same king with the others, but feigned a newer name, and passing by the dream and the Egyptian prophet, he brings him to [Jupiter] Hammon, in order to gain oracles about the scabby and leprous people; for he says that the multitude of Jews were gathered together at the temples. Now it is uncertain whether he ascribes this name to these lepers, or to those that were subject to such diseases among the Jews only; for he describes them as a people of the Jews. What people does he mean? foreigners, or those of that country? Why then' dost thou call them Jews, if they were Egyptians? But if they were foreigners, why dost thou not tell us whence they came? And how could it be that, after the king had drowned many of them in the sea, and ejected the rest into desert places, there should be still so great a multitude remaining? Or after what manner did they pass over the desert, and get the land which we now dwell in, and build our city, and that temple which hath been so famous among all mankind? And besides, he ought to have spoken more about our legislator than by giving us his bare name; and to have informed us of what nation he was, and what parents he was derived from; and to have assigned the reasons why he undertook to make such laws concerning the gods, and concerning matters of injustice with regard to men during that journey. For in case the people were by birth Egyptians, they would not on the sudden have so easily changed the customs of their country; and in case they had been foreigners, they had for certain some laws or other which had been kept by them from long custom. It is true, that with regard to those who had ejected them, they might have sworn never to bear good-will to them, and might have had a plausible reason for so doing. But if these men resolved to wage an implacable war against all men, in case they had acted as wickedly as he relates of them, and this while they wanted the assistance of all men, this demonstrates a kind of mad conduct indeed; but not of the men themselves, but very greatly so of him that tells such lies about them. He hath also impudence enough to say that a name, implying "Robbers of the temples," (26) was given to their city, and that this name was afterward changed. The reason of which is plain, that the former name brought reproach and hatred upon them in the times of their posterity, while, it seems, those that built the city thought they did honor to the city by giving it such a name. So we see that this fine fellow had such an unbounded inclination to reproach us, that he did not understand that robbery of temples is not expressed By the same word and name among the Jews as it is among the Greeks. But why should a man say any more to a person who tells such impudent lies? However, since this book is arisen to a competent length, I will make another beginning, and endeavor to add what still remains to perfect my design in the following book.

    ENDNOTE

    (1) This first book has a wrong title. It is not written against Apion, as is the first part of the second book, but against those Greeks in general who would not believe Josephus's former accounts of the very ancient state of the Jewish nation, in his 20 books of Antiquities; and particularly against Agatharelddes, Manetho, Cheremon, and Lysimachus. it is one of the most learned, excellent, and useful books of all antiquity; and upon Jerome's perusal of this and the following book, he declares that it seems to him a miraculous thing "how one that was a Hebrew, who had been from his infancy instructed in sacred learning, should be able to pronounce such a number of testimonies out of profane authors, as if he had read over all the Grecian libraries," Epist. 8. ad Magnum; and the learned Jew, Manasseh-Ben-Israel, esteemed these two books so excellent, as to translate them into the Hebrew; this we learn from his own catalogue of his works, which I have seen. As to the time and place when and where these two books were written, the learned have not hitherto been able to determine them any further than that they were written some time after his Antiquities, or some time after A.D. 93; which indeed is too obvious at their entrance to be overlooked by even a careless peruser, they being directly intended against those that would not believe what he had advanced in those books con-the great of the Jewish nation As to the place, they all imagine that these two books were written where the former were, I mean at Rome; and I confess that I myself believed both those determinations, till I came to finish my notes upon these books, when I met with plain indications that they were written not at Rome, but in Judea, and this after the third of Trajan, or A.D. 100. (2) Take Dr. Hudson's note here, which as it justly contradicts the common opinion that Josephus either died under Domitian, or at least wrote nothing later than his days, so does it perfectly agree to my own determination, from Justus of Tiberias, that he wrote or finished his own Life after the third of Trajan, or A.D. 100. To which Noldius also agrees, de Herod, No. 383 [Epaphroditus]. "Since Florius Josephus," says Dr. Hudson, "wrote [or finished] his books of Antiquities on the thirteenth of Domitian, [A.D. 93,] and after that wrote the Memoirs of his own Life, as an appendix to the books of Antiquities, and at last his two books against Apion, and yet dedicated all those writings to Epaphroditus; he can hardly be that Epaphroditus who was formerly secretary to Nero, and was slain on the fourteenth [or fifteenth] of Domitian, after he had been for a good while in banishment; but another Epaphroditas, a freed-man, and procurator of Trajan, as says Grotius on Luke 1:3. (3) The preservation of Homer's Poems by memory, and not by his own writing them down, and that thence they were styled Rhapsodies, as sung by him, like ballads, by parts, and not composed and connected together in complete works, are opinions well known from the ancient commentators; though such supposal seems to myself, as well as to Fabricius Biblioth. Grace. I. p. 269, and to others, highly improbable. Nor does Josephus say there were no ancienter writings among the Greeks than Homer's Poems, but that they did not fully own any ancienter writings pretending to such antiquity, which is trite. (4) It well deserves to be considered, that Josephus here says how all the following Greek historians looked on Herodotus as a fabulous author; and presently, sect. 14, how Manetho, the most authentic writer of the Egyptian history, greatly complains of his mistakes in the Egyptian affairs; as also that Strabo, B. XI. p. 507, the most accurate geographer and historian, esteemed him such; that Xenophon, the much more accurate historian in the affairs of Cyrus, implies that Herodotus's account of that great man is almost entirely romantic. See the notes on Antiq. B. XI. ch. 2. sect. 1, and Hutchinson's Prolegomena to his edition of Xenophon's, that we have already seen in the note on Antiq. B. VIII. ch. 10. sect. 3, how very little Herodotus knew about the Jewish affairs and country, and that he greatly affected what we call the marvelous, as Monsieur Rollin has lately and justly determined; whence we are not always to depend on the authority of Herodotus, where it is unsupported by other evidence, but ought to compare the other evidence with his, and if it preponderate, to prefer it before his. I do not mean by this that Herodotus willfully related what he believed to be false, (as Cteeias seems to have done,) but that he often wanted evidence, and sometimes preferred what was marvelous to what was best attested as really true. (5) About the days of Cyrus and Daniel. (6) It is here well worth our observation, what the reasons are that such ancient authors as Herodotus, Josephus, and others have been read to so little purpose by many learned critics; viz. that their main aim has not been chronology or history, but philology, to know words, and not things, they not much entering oftentimes into the real contents of their authors, and judging which were the most accurate discoverers of truth, and most to be depended on in the several histories, but rather inquiring who wrote the finest style, and had the greatest elegance in their expressions; which are things of small consequence in comparison of the other. Thus you will sometimes find great debates among the learned, whether Herodotus or Thucydides were the finest historian in the Ionic and Attic ways of writing; which signify little as to the real value of each of their histories; while it would be of much more moment to let the reader know, that as the consequence of Herodotus's history, which begins so much earlier, and reaches so much wider, than that of Thucydides, is therefore vastly greater; so is the most part of Thucydides, which belongs to his own times, and fell under his own observation, much the most certain. (7) Of this accuracy of the Jews before and in our Savior's time, in carefully preserving their genealogies all along, particularly those of the priests, see Josephus's Life, sect. 1. This accuracy. seems to have ended at the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus, or, however, at that by Adrian. (8) Which were these twenty-two sacred books of the. Old Testament, see the Supplement to the Essay of the Old Testament, p. 25-29, viz. those we call canonical, all excepting the Song of Songs; but still with this further exception, that the book of apocryphal Esdras be taken into that number instead of our canonical Ezra, which seems to be no more than a later epitome of the other; which two books of Song of Songs and Ezra it no way appears that our Josephus ever saw. (9) Here we have an account of the first building of the city of Jerusalem, according to Manetho, when the Phoenician shepherds were expelled out of Egypt about thirty-seven years before Abraham came out of Harsh. (10) Genesis 46;32, 34; 47:3, 4. (11) In our copies of the book of Genesis and of Joseph, this Joseph never calls himself "a captive," when he was with the king of Egypt, though he does call himself "a servant,"a slave," or "captive," many times in the Testament of the Twelve Patriarchs, under Joseph, sect. 1, 11, 13-16. (12) Of this Egyptian chronology of Manetho, as mistaken by Josephus, and of these Phoenician shepherds, as falsely supposed by him, and others after him, to have been the Israelites in Egypt, see Essay on the Old Testament, Appendix, p. 182-188. And note here, that when Josephus tells us that the Greeks or Argives looked on this Danaus as "a most ancient," or "the most ancient," king of Argos, he need not be supposed to mean, in the strictest sense, that they had no one king so ancient as he; for it is certain that they owned nine kings before him, and Inachus at the head of them. See Authentic Records, Part II. p. 983, as Josephus could not but know very well; but that he was esteemed as very ancient by them, and that they knew they had been first of all denominated "Danai" from this very ancient king Danaus. Nor does this superlative degree always imply the "most ancient" of all without exception, but is sometimes to be rendered "very ancient" only, as is the case in the like superlative degrees of other words also. (13) Authentic Records, Part II. p. 983, as Josephus could not but know very well; but that he was esteemed as very ancient by them, and that they knew they had been first of all denominated "Danai" from this very ancient king Danaus. Nor does this superlative degree always imply the "most ancient" of all without exception, but is sometimes to be rendered "very ancient" only, as is the case in the like superlative degrees of other words also. (14) This number in Josephus, that Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the temple in the eighteenth year of his reign, is a mistake in the nicety of chronology; for it was in the nineteenth. The true number here for the year of Darius, in which the second temple was finished, whether the second with our present copies, or the sixth with that of Syncellus, or the tenth with that of Eusebius, is very uncertain; so we had best follow Josephus's own account elsewhere, Antiq. ;B. XI. ch. 3. sect. 4, which shows us that according to his copy of the Old Testament, after the second of Cyrus, that work was interrupted till the second of Darius, when in seven years it was finished in the ninth of Darius. (15) This is a thing well known by the learned, that we are not secure that we have any genuine writings of Pythagoras; those Golden Verses, which are his best remains, being generally supposed to have been written not by himself, but by some of his scholars only, in agreement with what Josephus here affirms of him. (16) Whether these verses of Cherilus, the heathen poet, in the days of Xerxes, belong to the Solymi in Pisidia, that were near a small lake, or to the Jews that dwelt on the Solymean or Jerusalem mountains, near the great and broad lake Asphaltitis, that were a strange people, and spake the Phoenician tongue, is not agreed on by the learned. If is yet certain that Josephus here, and Eusebius, Prep. IX. 9. p. 412, took them to be Jews; and I confess I cannot but very much incline to the same opinion. The other Solymi were not a strange people, but heathen idolaters, like the other parts of Xerxes's army; and that these spake the Phoenician tongue is next to impossible, as the Jews certainly did; nor is there the least evidence for it elsewhere. Nor was the lake adjoining to the mountains of the Solvmi at all large or broad, in comparison of the Jewish lake Asphaltitis; nor indeed were these so considerable a people as the Jews, nor so likely to be desired by Xerxes for his army as the Jews, to whom he was always very favorable. As for the rest of Cherilus's description, that "their heads were sooty; that they had round rasures on their heads; that their heads and faces were like nasty horse-heads, which had been hardened in the smoke;" these awkward characters probably fitted the Solymi of Pisidi no better than they did the Jews in Judea. And indeed this reproachful language, here given these people, is to me a strong indication that they were the poor despicable Jews, and not the Pisidian Solymi celebrated in Homer, whom Cherilus here describes; nor are we to expect that either Cherilus or Hecateus, or any other pagan writers cited by Josephus and Eusebius, made no mistakes in the Jewish history. If by comparing their testimonies with the more authentic records of that nation we find them for the main to confirm the same, as we almost always do, we ought to be satisfied, and not expect that they ever had an exact knowledge of all the circumstances of the Jewish affairs, which indeed it was almost always impossible for them to have. See sect. 23. (17) This Hezekiah, who is here called a high priest, is not named in Josephus's catalogue; the real high priest at that time being rather Onias, as Archbishop Usher supposes. However, Josephus often uses the word high priests in the plural number, as living many at the same time. See the note on Antiq. B. XX. ch. 8. sect. 8. (18) So I read the text with Havercamp, though the place be difficult. (19) This number of arourae or Egyptian acres, 3,000,000, each aroura containing a square of 100 Egyptian cubits, (being about three quarters of an English acre, and just twice the area of the court of the Jewish tabernacle,) as contained in the country of Judea, will be about one third of the entire number of arourae in the whole land of Judea, supposing it 160 measured miles long and 70 such miles broad; which estimation, for the fruitful parts of it, as perhaps here in Hecateus, is not therefore very wide from the truth. The fifty furlongs in compass for the city Jerusalem presently are not very wide from the truth also, as Josephus himself describes it, who, Of the War, B. V. ch. 4. sect. 3. makes its wall thirty-three furlongs, besides the suburbs and gardens; nay, he says, B. V. ch. 12. sect. 2, that Titus's wall about it at some small distance, after the gardens and suburbs were destroyed, was not less than thirty-nine furlongs. Nor perhaps were its constant inhabitants, in the days of Hecateus, many more than these 120,000, because room was always to be left for vastly greater numbers which came up at the three great festivals; to say nothing of the probable increase in their number between the days of Hecateus and Josephus, which was at least three hundred years. But see a more authentic account of some of these measures in my Description of the Jewish Temples. However, we are not to expect that such heathens as Cherilus or Hecateus, or the rest that are cited by Josephus and Eusebius, could avoid making many mistakes in the Jewish history, while yet they strongly confirm the same history in the general, and are most valuable attestations to those more authentic accounts we have in the Scriptures and Josephus concerning them. (20) A glorious testimony this of the observation of the sabbath by the Jews. See Antiq. B. XVI. ch. 2. sect. 4, and ch. 6. sect. 2; the Life, sect. 54; and War, B. IV. ch. 9. sect. 12. (21) Not their law, but the superstitious interpretation of their leaders which neither the Maccabees nor our blessed Savior did ever approve of. (22) In reading this and the remaining sections of this book, and some parts of the next, one may easily perceive that our usually cool and candid author, Josephus, was too highly offended with the impudent calumnies of Manethe, and the other bitter enemies of the Jews, with whom he had now to deal, and was thereby betrayed into a greater heat and passion than ordinary, and that by consequence he does not hear reason with his usual fairness and impartiality; he seems to depart sometimes from the brevity and sincerity of a faithful historian, which is his grand character, and indulges the prolixity and colors of a pleader and a disputant: accordingly, I confess, I always read these sections with less pleasure than I do the rest of his writings, though I fully believe the reproaches cast on the Jews, which he here endeavors to confute and expose, were wholly groundless and unreasonable. (23) This is a very valuable testimony of Manetho, that the laws of Osarsiph, or Moses, were not made in compliance with, but in opposition to, the customs of the Egyptians. See the note on Antiq. B. III. ch. 8. sect. 9. (24) By way of irony, I suppose. (25) Here we see that Josephus esteemed a generation between Joseph and Moses to be about forty-two or forty-three years; which, if taken between the earlier children, well agrees with the duration of human life in those ages. See Antheat. Rec. Part II. pages 966, 1019, 1020. (26) That is the meaning of Hierosyla in Greek, not in Hebrew.

    GOTO NEXT BOOK - FLAVIUS INDEX & SEARCH

    God Rules.NET
    Search 30+ volumes of books at one time. Nave's Topical Bible Search Engine. Easton's Bible Dictionary Search Engine. Systematic Theology Search Engine.