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  • JOSEPHUS' WRITINGS - LIFE OF FLAVIUS - 3
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    12. Now, as soon as I was come into Galilee, and had learned this state of things by the information of such as told me of them, I wrote to the sanhedrim at Jerusalem about them, and required their direction what I should do. Their direction was, that I should continue there, and that, if my fellow legates were willing, I should join with them in the care of Galilee. But those my fellow legates, having gotten great riches from those tithes which as priests were their dues, and were given to them, determined to return to their own country. Yet when I desired them to stay so long, that we might first settle the public affairs, they complied with me. So I removed, together with them, from the city of Sepphoris, and came to a certain village called Bethmaus, four furlongs distant from Tiberius; and thence I sent messengers to the senate of Tiberius, and desired that the principal men of the city would come to me: and when they were come, Justus himself being also with them, I told them that I was sent to them by the people of Jerusalem as a legate, together with these other priests, in order to persuade them to demolish that house which Herod the tetrarch had built there, and which had the figures of living creatures in it, although our laws have forbidden us to make any such figures; and I desired that they would give us leave so to do immediately. But for a good while Capellus and the principal men belonging to the city would not give us leave, but were at length entirely overcome by us, and were induced to be of our opinion. So Jesus the son of Sapphias, one of those whom we have already mentioned as the leader of a seditious tumult of mariners and poor people, prevented us, and took with him certain Galileans, and set the entire palace on fire, and thought he should get a great deal of money thereby, because he saw some of the roofs gilt with gold. They also plundered a great deal of the furniture, which was done without our approval; for after we had discoursed with Capellus and the principal men of the city, we departed from Bethmaus, and went into the Upper Galilee. But Jesus and his party slew all the Greeks that were inhabitants of Tiberias, and as many others as were their enemies before the war began.

    13. When I understood this state of things, I was greatly provoked, and went down to Tiberias, and took all the care I could of the royal furniture, to recover all that could be recovered from such as had plundered it. They consisted of candlesticks made of Corinthian brass, and of royal tables, and of a great quantity of uncoined silver; and I resolved to preserve whatever came to my hand for the king. So I sent for ten of the principal men of the senate, and for Capellus the son of Antyllus, and committed the furniture to them, with this charge, That they should part with it to nobody else but to myself. From thence I and my fellow legates went to Gichala, to John, as desirous to know his intentions, and soon saw that he was for innovations, and had a mind to the principality; for he desired me to give him authority to carry off that corn which belonged to Caesar, and lay in the villages of Upper Galilee; and he pretended that he would expend what it came to in building the walls of his own city. But when I perceived what he endeavored at, and what he had in his mind, I said I would not permit him so to do; for that I thought either to keep it for the Romans or for myself, now I was intrusted with the public affairs there by the people of Jerusalem. But, when he was not able to prevail with me, he betook himself to my fellow legates; for they had no sagacity in providing for futurity, and were very ready to take bribes. So he corrupted them with money to decree, That all that corn which was within his province should be delivered to him; while I, who was but one, was outvoted by two, and held my tongue. Then did John introduce another cunning contrivance of his; for he said that those Jews who inhabited Cesarea Philippi, and were shut up by the order of the king's deputy there, had sent to him to desire him, that, since they had no oil that was pure for their use, he would provide a sufficient quantity of such oil for them, lest they should be forced to make use of oil that came from the Greeks, and thereby transgress their own laws. Now this was said by John, not out of his regard to religion, but out of his most flagrant desire of gain; for he knew that two sextaries were sold with them of Caesarea for one drachma, but that at Gischala fourscore sextaxies were sold for four sextaries. So he gave order that all the oil which was there should be carried away, as having my permission for so doing; which yet I did not grant him voluntarily, but only out of fear of the multitude, since, if I had forbidden him, I should have been stoned by them. When I had therefore permitted this to be done by John, he gained vast sums of money by this his knavery.

    14. But when I had dismissed my fellow legates, and sent them back to Jerusalem, I took care to have arms provided, and the cities fortified. And when I had sent for the most hardy among the robbers, I saw that it was not in my power to take their arms from them; but I persuaded the multitude to allow them money as pay, and told them it was better for them to give them a little willingly, rather than to [be forced to] overlook them when they plundered their goods from them. And when I had obliged them to take an oath not to come into that country, unless they were invited to come, or else when they had not their pay given them, I dismissed them, and charged them neither to make an expedition against the Romans, nor against those their neighbors that lay round about them; for my first care was to keep Galilee in peace. So I was willing to have the principal of the Galileans, in all seventy, as hostages for their fidelity, but still under the notion of friendship. Accordingly, I made them my friends and companions as I journeyed, and set them to judge causes; and with their approval it was that I gave my sentences, while I endeavored not to mistake what justice required, and to keep my hands clear of all bribery in those determinations.

    15. I was now about the thirtieth year of my age; in which time of life it is a hard thing for any one to escape the calumnies of the envious, although he restrain himself from fulfilling any unlawful desires, especially where a person is in great authority. Yet did I preserve every woman free from injuries; and as to what presents were offered me, I despised them, as not standing in need of them. Nor indeed would I take those tithes, which were due to me as a priest, from those that brought them. Yet do I confess, that I took part of the spoils of those Syrians which inhabited the cities that adjoined to us, when I had conquered them, and that I sent them to my kindred at Jerusalem; although, when I twice took Sepphoris by force, and Tiberias four times, and Gadara once, and when I had subdued and taken John, who often laid treacherous snares for me, I did not punish [with death] either him or any of the people forenamed, as the progress of this discourse will show. And on this account, I suppose, it was that God, (10) who is never unacquainted with those that do as they ought to do, delivered me still out of the hands of these my enemies, and afterwards preserved me when I fell into those many dangers which I shall relate hereafter.

    16. Now the multitude of the Galileans had that great kindness for me, and fidelity to me, that when their cities were taken by force, and their wives and children carried into slavery, they did not so deeply mourn for their own calamities, as they were solicitous for my preservation. But when John saw this, he envied me, and wrote to me, desiring that I would give him leave to come down, and make use of the hot-baths of Tiberias for the recovery of the health of his body. Accordingly, I did not hinder him, as having no suspicion of any wicked designs of his; and I wrote to those to whom I had committed the administration of the affairs of Tiberius by name, that they should provide a lodging for John, and for such as should come with him, and should procure him what necessaries soever he should stand in need of. Now at this time my abode was in a village of Galilee, which is named Cans.

    17. But when John was come to the city of Tiberias, he persuaded the men to revolt from their fidelity to me, and to adhere to him; and many of them gladly received that invitation of his, as ever fond of innovations, and by nature disposed to changes, and delighting in seditions; but they were chiefly Justus and his father Pistus, that were earnest for their revolt from me, and their adherence to John. But I came upon them, and prevented them; for a messenger had come to me from Silas, whom I had made governor of Tiberias, as I have said already, and had told me of the inclinations of the people of Tiberias, and advised me to make haste thither; for that, if I made any delay, the city would come under another's jurisdiction. Upon the receipt of this letter of Silas, I took two hundred men along with me, and traveled all night, having sent before a messenger to let the people of Tiberias know that I was coming to them. When I came near to the city, which was early in the morning, the multitude came out to meet me; and John came with them, and saluted me, but in a most disturbed manner, as being afraid that my coming was to call him to an account for what I was now sensible he was doing. So he, in great haste, went to his lodging. But when I was in the open place of the city, having dismissed the guards I had about me, excepting one, and ten armed men that were with him, I attempted to make a speech to the multitude of the people of Tiberias: and, standing on a certain elevated place, I entreated them not to be so hasty in their revolt; for that such a change in their behavior would be to their reproach, and that they would then justly be suspected by those that should be their governors hereafter, as if they were not likely to be faithful to them neither.

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