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  • JOSEPHUS' WRITINGS - LIFE OF FLAVIUS - 7
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    39. When Simon heard Ananus say this, he desired that the messengers would conceal the thing, and not let it come among many; for that he would take care to have Josephus removed out of Galilee very quickly. So he called for John's brother, [Simon,] and charged him that they should send presents to Ananus and his friends; for, as he said, they might probably by that means persuade them to change their minds. And indeed Simon did at length thus compass what he aimed at; for Artanus, and those with him, being corrupted by bribes, agreed to expel me out of Galilee, without making the rest of the citizens acquainted with what they were doing. Accordingly, they resolved to send men of distinction as to their families, and of distinction as to their learning also. Two of these were of the populace, Jonathan (17) and Ananias, by sect Pharisees; while the third, Jozar, was of the stock of the priests, and a Pharisee also; and Simon, the last of them, was of the youngest of the high priests. These had it given them in charge, that, when they were come to the multitude of the Galileans, they should ask them, what was the reason of their love to me? and if they said that it was because I was born at Jerusalem, that they should reply, that they four were all born at the same place; and if they should say, it was because I was well versed in their law, they should reply, that neither were they unacquainted with the practices of their country; but if, besides these, they should say, they loved me because I was a priest, they should reply, that two of these were priests also.

    40. Now, when they had given Jonathan and his companions these instructions, they gave them forty thousand [drachmae] out of the public money: but when they heard that there was a certain Galilean that then sojourned at Jerusalem, whose name was Jesus, who had about him a band of six hundred armed men, they sent for him, and gave him three months pay, and gave him orders to follow Jonathan and his companions, and be obedient to them. They also gave money to three hundred men that were citizens of Jerusalem, to maintain them all, and ordered them also to follow the ambassadors; and when they had complied, and were gotten ready for the march, Jonathan and his companions went out with them, having along with them John's brother and a hundred armed men. The charge that was given them by those that sent them was this: That if I would voluntarily lay down my arms, they should send me alive to the city of Jerusalem; but that, in case I opposed them, they should kill me, and fear nothing; for that it was their command for them so to do. They also wrote to John to make all ready for fighting me, and gave orders to the inhabitants of Sepphoris, and Gabara, and Tiberins, to send auxiliaries to John.

    41. Now, as my father wrote me an account of this, (for Jesus the son of Gamala, who was present in that council, a friend and companion of mine, told him of it,) I was very much troubled, as discovering thereby that my fellow citizens proved so ungrateful to me, as, out of envy, to give order that I should be slain: my father earnestly pressed me also in his letter to come to him, for that he longed to see his son before he died. I informed my friends of these things, and that in three days' time I should leave the country, and go home. Upon hearing this, they were all very sorry, and desired me, with tears in their eyes, not to leave them to be destroyed; for so they thought they should be, if I were deprived of the command over them: but as I did not grant their request, but was taking care of my own safety, the Galileans, out of their dread of the consequence of my departure, that they should then be at the mercy of the robbers, sent messengers over all Galilee to inform them of my resolution to leave them. Whereupon, as soon as they heard it, they got together in great numbers, from all parts, with their wives and children; and this they did, as it appeared to me, not more out of their affection to me, than out of their fear on their own account; for while I staid with them, they supposed that they should suffer no harm. So they all came into the great plain, wherein I lived, the name of which was Asochis.

    42. But wonderful it was what a dream I saw that very night; for when I had betaken myself to my bed, as grieved and disturbed at the news that had been written to me, it seemed to me, that a certain person stood by me, (18) and said, "O Josephus! leave off to afflict thy soul, and put away all fear; for what now grieves thee will render thee very considerable, and in all respects most happy; for thou shalt get over not only these difficulties, but many others, with great success. However, be not cast down, but remember that thou art to fight with the Romans." When I had seen this dream, I got up with an intention of going down to the plain. Now, when the whole multitude of the Galileans, among whom were the women and children, saw me, they threw themselves down upon their faces, and, with tears in their eyes, besought me not to leave them exposed to their enemies, nor to go away and permit their country to be injured by them. But when I did not comply, with their entreaties, they compelled me to take an oath, that I would stay with them: they also cast abundance of reproaches upon the people of Jerusalem, that they would not let their country enjoy peace.

    43. When I heard this, and saw what sorrow the people were in, I was moved with compassion to them, and thought it became me to undergo the most manifest hazards for the sake of so great a multitude; so I let them know I would stay with them. And when I had given order that five thousand off them should come to me armed, and with provisions for their maintenance, I sent the rest away to their own homes; and when those five thousand were come, I took them, together with three thousand of the soldiers that were with me before, and eighty horsemen, and marched to thevillage of Chabolo, situated in the confines of Ptolimias, and there kept my forces together, pretending to get ready to fight with Placidus, who was come with two cohorts of footmen, and one troop of horsemen, and was sent thither by Cestius Gallus to burn those villages of Galilee that were near Ptolemais. Upon whose casting up a bank before the city Ptolemais, I also pitched my camp at about the distance of sixty furlongs from that village. And now we frequently brought out our forces as if we would fight, but proceeded no further than skirmishes at a distance; for when Placidus perceived that I was earnest to come to a battle, he was afraid, and avoided it. Yet did he not remove from the neighborhood of Ptolemais.

    44. About this time it was that Jonathan and his fellow legates came. They were sent, as we have said already, by Simon, and Ananus the high priest. And Jonathan contrived how he might catch me by treachery; for he dare not make any attempt upon me openly. So he wrote me the following epistle: "Jonathan and those that are with him, and are sent by the people of Jerusalem, to Josephus, send greeting. We are sent by the principal men of Jerusalem, who have heard that John of Gischala hath laid many snares for thee, to rebuke him, and to exhort him to be subject to thee hereafter. We are also desirous to consult with thee about our common concerns, and what is fit to be done. We therefore desire thee to come to us quickly, and to bring only a few men with thee; for this village will not contain a great number of soldiers." Thus it was that they wrote, as expecting one of these two things; either that I should come without armed men, and then they should have me wholly in their power; or, if I came with a great number, they should judge me to be a public enemy. Now it was a horseman who brought the letter, a man at other times bold, and one that had served in the army under the king. It was the second hour of the night that he came, when I was feasting with my friends, and the principal of the Galileans. This man, upon my servant's telling me that a certain horseman of the Jewish nation was come, was called in at my command, but did not so much as salute me at all, but held out a letter, and said, "This letter is sent thee by those that are come from Jerusalem; do thou write an answer to it quickly; for I am obliged to return to them very soon. Now my guests could not but wonder at the boldness of the soldier. But I desired him to sit down and sup with us; but when he refused so to do, I held the letter in my hands as I received it, and fell a talking with my guests about other matters. But a few hours afterwards, I got up, and when I had dismissed the rest to go to their beds, I bid only four of my intimate friends to stay, and ordered my servant to get some wine ready. I also opened the letter so, that nobody could perceive it; and understanding thereby presently the purport· of the writing, I sealed it up again, and appeared as if I had not yet read it, but only held it in my hands. I ordered twenty drachmae should be given the soldier for the charges of his journey; and when he took the money, and said that he thanked me for it, I perceived that he loved money, and that he was to be caught chiefly by that means; and I said to him," If thou wilt but drink with us, thou shalt have a drachma for every glass thou drinkest." So he gladly embraced this proposal, and drank a great deal of wine, in order to get the more money, and was so drunk, that at last he could not keep the secrets he was intrusted with, but discovered them without my putting questions to him, viz. That a treacherous design was contrived against me, and that I was doomed to die by those that sent him. When I heard this, I wrote back this answer: "Josephus to Jonathan, and those that are with him, sendeth greeting. Upon the information that you are come in health into Galilee, I rejoice, and this especially because I can now resign the care of public affairs here into your hands, and return into my native country, which is what I have desired to do a great while; and I confess I ought not only to come to you as far as Xaloth, but farther, and this without your commands. But I desire you to excuse me, because I cannot do it now, since I watch the motions of Placidus, who hath a mind to go up into Galilee; and this I do here at Chabolo. Do you therefore, on the receipt of this epistle, come hither to me. Fare you well."

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