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  • JOSEPHUS' WRITINGS - LIFE OF FLAVIUS - 13
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    73. When Sylla and his party were informed what happened to me, they took courage again; and understanding that the watch was negligently kept in our camp, they by night placed a body of horsemen in ambush beyond Jordan, and when it was day they provoked us to fight; and as we did not refuse it, but came into the plain, their horsemen appeared out of that ambush in which they had lain, and put our men into disorder, and made them run away; so they slew six men of our side. Yet did they not go off with the victory at last; for when they heard that some armed men were sailed from Taricheae to Juli, they were afraid, and retired.

    74. It was not now long before Vespasian came to Tyre, and king Agrippa with him; but the Tyrians began to speak reproachfully of the king, and called him an enemy to the Romans. For they said that Philip, the general of his army, had betrayed the royal palace and the Roman forces that were in Jerusalem, and that it was done by his command. When Vespasian heard of this report, he rebuked the Tyrians for abusing a man who was both a king and a friend to the Romans; but he exhorted the king to send Philip to Rome, to answer for what he had done before Nero. But when Philip was sent thither, he did not come into the sight of Nero, for he found him very near death, on account of the troubles that then happened, and a civil war; and so he returned to the king. But when Vespasian was come to Ptolemais, the chief men of Decapolis of Syria made a clamor against Justus of Tiberias, because he had set their villages on fire: so Vespasian delivered him to the king, to he put to death by those under the king's jurisdiction; yet did the king only put him into bonds, and concealed what he had done from Vespasian, as I have before related. But the people of Sepphoris met Vespasian, and saluted him, and had forces sent him, with Placidus their commander: he also went up with them, as I also followed them, till Vespasian came into Galilee. As to which coming of his, and after what manner it was ordered, and how he fought his first battle with me near the village Taricheae, and how from thence they went to Jotapata, and how I was taken alive, and bound, and how I was afterward loosed, with all that was done by me in the Jewish war, and during the siege of Jerusalem, I have accurately related them in the books concerning the War of the Jews. However, it will, I think, he fit for me to add now an account of those actions of my life which I have not related in that book of the Jewish war.

    75. For when the siege of Jotapata was over, and I was among the Romans, I was kept with much Care, by means of the great respect that Vespasian showed me. Moreover, at his command, I married a virgin, who was from among the captives of that country (25) yet did she not live with me long, but was divorced, upon my being freed from my bonds, and my going to Alexandria. However, I married another wife at Alexandria, and was thence sent, together with Titus, to the siege of Jerusalem, and was frequently in danger of being put to death; while both the Jews were very desirous to get me under their power, in order to haw me punished. And the Romans also, whenever they were beaten, supposed that it was occasioned by my treachery, and made continual clamors to the emperors, and desired that they would bring me to punishment, as a traitor to them: but Titus Caesar was well acquainted with the uncertain fortune of war, and returned no answer to the soldiers' vehement solicitations against me. Moreover, when the city Jerusalem was taken by force, Titus Caesar persuaded me frequently to take whatever I would of the ruins of my country; and did that he gave me leave so to do. But when my country was destroyed, I thought nothing else to be of any value, which I could take and keep as a comfort under my calamities; so I made this request to Titus, that my family might have their liberty: I had also the holy books (26) by Titus's concession. Nor was it long after that I asked of him the life of my brother, and of fifty friends with him, and was not denied. When I also went once to the temple, by the permission of Titus, where there were a great multitude of captive women and children, I got all those that I remembered as among my own friends and acquaintances to be set free, being in number about one hundred and ninety; and so I delivered them without their paying any price of redemption, and restored them to their former fortune. And when I was sent by Titus Caesar with Cerealins, and a thousand horsemen, to a certain village called Thecoa, in order to know whether it were a place fit for a camp, as I came back, I saw many captives crucified, and remembered three of them as my former acquaintance. I was very sorry at this in my mind, and went with tears in my eyes to Titus, and told him of them; so he immediately commanded them to be taken down, and to have the greatest care taken of them, in order to their recovery; yet two of them died under the physician's hands, while the third recovered.

    76. But when Titus had composed the troubles in Judea, and conjectured that the lands which I had in Judea would bring me no profit, because a garrison to guard the country was afterward to pitch there, he gave me another country in the plain. And when he was going away to Rome, he made choice of me to sail along with him, and paid me great respect: and when we were come to Rome, I had great care taken of me by Vespasian; for he gave me an apartment in his own house, which he lived in before he came to the empire. He also honored me with the privilege of a Roman citizen, and gave me an annual pension; and continued to respect me to the end of his life, without any abatement of his kindness to me; which very thing made me envied, and brought me into danger; for a certain Jew, whose name was Jonathan, who had raised a tumult in Cyrene, and had persuaded two thousand men of that country to join with him, was the occasion of their ruin. But when he was bound by the governor of that country, and sent to the emperor, he told him that I had sent him both weapons and money. However, he could not conceal his being a liar from Vespasian, who condemned him to die; according to which sentence he was put to death. Nay, after that, when those that envied my good fortune did frequently bring accusations against me, by God's providence I escaped them all. I also received from Vespasian no small quantity of land, as a free gift, in Judea; about which time I divorced my wife also, as not pleased with her behavior, though not till she had been the mother of three children, two of whom are dead, and one whom I named Hyrcanus, is alive. After this I married a wife who had lived at Crete, but a Jewess by birth: a woman she was of eminent parents, and such as were the most illustrious in all the country, and whose character was beyond that of most other women, as her future life did demonstrate. By her I had two sons; the elder's name was Justus, and the next Simonides, who was also named Agrippa. And these were the circumstances of my domestic affairs. However, the kindness of the emperor to me continued still the same; for when Vespasian was dead, Titus, who succeeded him in the government, kept up the same respect for me which I had from his father; and when I had frequent accusations laid against me, he would not believe them. And Domitian, who succeeded, still augmented his respects to me; for he punished those Jews that were my accusers, and gave command that a servant of mine, who was a eunuch, and my accuser, should be punished. He also made that country I had in Judea tax free, which is a mark of the greatest honor to him who hath it; nay, Domitia, the wife of Caesar, continued to do me kindnesses. And this is the account of the actions of my whole life; and let others judge of my character by them as they please. But to thee, O Epaphroditus, (27) thou most excellent of men! do I dedicate all this treatise of our Antiquities; and so, for the present, I here conclude the whole.

    ENDNOTES

    (1) We may hence correct the error of the Latin copy of the second book Against Apion, sect. 8, (for the Greek is there lost,) which says, there were then only four tribes or courses of the priests, instead of twenty-four. Nor is this testimony to be disregarded, as if Josephus there contradicted what he had affirmed here; because even the account there given better agrees to twenty-four than to four courses, while he says that each of those courses contained above 5000 men, which, multiplied by only four, will make not more than 20,000 priests; whereas the number 120,000, as multiplied by 24, seems much the most probable, they being about one-tenth of the whole people, even after the captivity. See Ezra 2:36-39; Nehemiah 7:39-42; 1 Esdras 5:24, 25, with Ezra 2;64; Nehemiah 7:66; 1 Esdras 5:41. Nor will this common reading or notion of but four courses of priests, agree with Josephus's own further assertion elsewhere, Antiq. B. VII. ch. 14. sect. 7, that David's partition of the priests into twenty-four courses had continued to that day.

    (2) An eminent example of the care of the Jews about their genealogies, especially as to the priests. See Against Ap. B. 1 sect. 7.

    (3) When Josephus here says, that from sixteen to nineteen, or for three years, he made trial of the three Jewish sects, the Pharisees, the Sadducees, and the Essens, and yet says presently, in all our copies, that he stayed besides with one particular ascetic, called Banus, with him, and this still before he was nineteen, there is little room left for his trial of the three other sects. I suppose, therefore, that for, with him, the old reading might be, with them; which is a very small emendation, and takes away the difficulty before us. Nor is Dr. Hudson's conjecture, hinted at by Mr. Hall in his preface to the Doctor's edition of Josephus, at all improbable, that this Banus, by this his description, might well be a follower of John the Baptist, and that from him Josephus might easily absorb such notions, as afterwards prepared him to have a favorable opinion of Jesus Christ himself, who was attested to by John the Baptist.

    (4) We may note here, that religious men among the Jews, or at least those that were priests, were sometimes ascetics also, and, like Daniel and his companions in Babylon, Daniel 1:8-16, ate no flesh, but figs and nuts, etc. only. This was like the, or austere diet of the Christian ascetics in Passion-week. Constitut. V. 18.

    (5) It has been thought the number of Paul and his companions on ship-board, Acts 27:38, which are 276 in our copies, are too many; whereas we find here, that Josephus and his companions, a very few years after the other, were about 600.

    (6) See Jewish War, B. II. ch. 18. sect. 3.

    (7) The Jews might collect this unlawfulness of fighting against their brethren from that law of Moses, Leviticus 19:16, "Thou shalt not stand against the blood of thy neighbor;" and that, ver. 17, "Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people; but thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself;" as well as from many other places in the Pentateuch and Prophets. See Antiq. B. VIII. ch. 8. sect. 3.

    (8) That this Herod Agrippa, the father, was of old called a Great King, as here, appears by his coins still remaining; to which Havercamp refers us.

    (9) The famous Jewish numbers of twelve and seventy are here remarkable.

    (10) Our Josephus shows, both here and every where, that he was a most religious person, and one that had a deep sense of God and his providence upon his mind, and ascribed all his numerous and wonderful escapes and preservations, in times of danger, to God's blessing him, and taking care of him, and this on account of his acts of piety, justice, humanity, and charity, to the Jews his brethren.

    (11) Josephus's opinion is here well worth noting: - That every one is to be permitted to worship God according to his own conscience, and is not to be compelled in matters of religion: as one may here observe, on the contrary, that the rest of the Jews were still for obliging all those who married Jewesses to be circumcised, and become Jews, and were ready to destroy all that would not submit to do so. See sect. 31, and Luke 11:54.

    (12) How Josephus could say here that the Jewish laws forbade them to "spoil even their enemies, while yet, a little before his time, our Savior had mentioned it as then a current maxim with them, "Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy," Matthew 5:43, is worth our inquiry. I take it that Josephus, having been now for many years an Ebionite Christian, had learned this interpretation of the law of Moses from Christ, whom he owned for the true Melah, as it follows in the succeeding verses, which, though he might not read in St. Matthew's Gospel, yet might he have read much the same exposition in their own Ebionite or Nazarene Gospel itself; of which improvements made by Josephus, after he was become a Christian, we have already had several examples in this his life, sect. 3, 13, 15, 19, 21, 23, and shall have many more therein before its conclusion, as well as we have them elsewhere in all his later writings.

    (13) Here we may observe the vulgar Jewish notion of witchcraft, but that our Josephus was too wise to give any countenance to it.

    (14) In this section, as well as in the 18 and 33. those small vessels that sailed on the sea of Galilee, are called by Josephus, i.e. plainly ships; so that we need not wander at our evangelists, who still call them ships; nor ought we to render them boats, as some do, Their number was in all 230, as we learn from our author elsewhere. Jewish War. B. II. ch. 21. sect. 8.

    (15) Part of these fortifications on Mount Tabor may be those still remaining, and which were seen lately by Mr. Maundrel. See his Travels, p. 112.

    (16) This Gamaliel may be the very same that is mentioned by the rabbins in the Mishna, in Juchasin, and in Porta Mosis, as is observed in the Latin notes. He might be also that Gamaliel II., whose grandfather was Gamaliel I., who is mentioned in Acts 5:34, and at whose feet St. Paul was brought up, Acts 22:3. See Prid. at the year 449.

    (17) This Jonathan is also taken notice of in the Latin notes, as the same that is mentioned by the rabbins in Porta Mosis.

    (18) This I take to be the first of Josephus's remarkable or divine dreams, which were predictive of the great things that afterwards came to pass; of which see more in the note on Antiq. B. III. ch. 8. sect. 9. The other is in the War, B. III. ch. 8. sect. 3, 9.

    (19) Josephus's directions to his soldiers here are much the same that John the Baptist gave, Luke 3:14, "Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely, and be content with your wages." Whence Dr. Hudson confirms this conjecture, that Josephus, in some things, was, even now, a follower of John the Baptist, which is no way improbable. See the note on sect. 2.

    (20) We here learn the practice of the Jews, in the days of Josephus, to inquire into the characters of witnesses before they were admitted; and that their number ought to be three, or two at the least, also exactly as in the law of Moses, and in the Apostolical Constitutions, B. II. ch. 37. See Horeb Covenant Revived, page 97, 98.

    (21) This appeal to the whole body of the Galileans by Josephus, and the testimony they gave him of integrity in his conduct as their governor, is very like that appeal and testimony in the case of the prophet Samuel, 1 Samuel 12:1-5, and perhaps was done by Josephus in imitation of him.

    (22) It is worth noting here, that there was now a great Proseucha, or place of prayer, in the city of Tiberias itself, though such Proseucha used to be out of cities, as the synagogues were within them. Of them, see Le Moyne on Polycarp's Epistle, page 76. It is also worth our remark, that the Jews, in the days of Josephus, used to dine at the sixth hour, or noon; and that in obedience to their notions of the law of Moses also.

    (23) One may observe here, that this lay Pharisee, Ananias, is we have seen he was, sect. 39, took upon him to appoint a fast at Tiberias, and was obeyed; though indeed it was not out of religion, but knavish policy.

    (24) The character of this history of Justus of Tiberias, the rival of our Josephus, which is now lost, with its only remaining fragment, are given us by a very able critic, Photius, who read that history. It is in the 33rd code of his Bibliotheea, and runs thus: "I have read (says Photius) the chronology of Justus of Tiberias, whose title is this, [The Chronology of] the Kings of Judah which succeeded one another. This [Justus] came out of the city of Tiberias in Galilee. He begins his history from Moses, and ends it not till the death of Agrippa, the seventh [ruler] of the family of Herod, and the last king of the Jews; who took the government under Claudius, had it augmented under Nero, and still more augmented by Vespasian. He died in the third year of Trajan, where also his history ends. He is very concise in his language, and slightly passes over those affairs that were most necessary to be insisted on; and being under the Jewish prejudices, as indeed he was himself also a Jew by birth, he makes not the least mention of the appearance of Christ, or what things happened to him, or of the wonderful works that he did. He was the son of a certain Jew, whose name was Pistus. He was a man, as he is described by Josephus, of a most profligate character; a slave both to money and to pleasures. In public affairs he was opposite to Josephus; and it is related, that he laid many plots against him; but that Josephus, though he had his enemy frequently under his power, did only reproach him in words, and so let him go without further punishment. He says also, that the history which this man wrote is, for the main, fabulous, and chiefly as to those parts where he describes the Roman war with the Jews, and the taking of Jerusalem."

    (25) Here Josephus, a priest, honestly confesses that he did that at the command of Vespasian, which he had before told us was not lawful for a priest to do by the law of Moses, Antiq. B. III. ch. 12. sect. 2. I mean, the taking a captive woman to wife. See also Against Apion, B. I. sect. 7. But he seems to have been quickly sensible that his compliance with the commands of an emperor would not excuse him, for he soon put her away, as Reland justly observes here.

    (26) Of this most remarkable clause, and its most important consequences, see Essay on the Old Testament, page 193--195.

    (27) Of this Epaphroditus, see the note on the Preface to the Antiquities.

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