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  • JOSEPHUS' WRITINGS - LIFE OF FLAVIUS - 9
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    51. When the multitude heard these things, they were greatly provoked at Jonathan, and his colleagues that were with him, and were going to attack them, and kill them; and this they had certainly done, unless I had restrained the anger of the Galileans, and said, that" I forgave Jonathan and his colleagues what was past, if they would repent, and go to their own country, and tell those who sent them the truth, as to my conduct." When I had said this, I let them go, although I knew they would do nothing of what they had promised. But the multitude were very much enraged against them, and entreated me to give them leave to punish them for their insolence; yet did I try all methods to persuade them to spare the men; for I knew that every instance of sedition was destructive to the public welfare. But the multitude was too angry with them to be dissuaded, and all of them went immediately to the house in which Jonathan and his colleagues abode. However, when I perceived that their rage could not be restrained, I got on horseback, and ordered the multitude to follow me to the village Sogane, which was twenty furlongs off Gabara; and by using this stratagem, I so managed myself, as not to appear to begin a civil war ,amongst them.

    52. But when I was come near Sogane, I caused the multitude to make a halt, and exhorted them not to be so easily provoked to anger, and to the inflicting such punishments as could not be afterwards recalled: I also gave order, that a hundred men, who were already in years, and were principal men among them, should get themselves ready to go to the city of Jerusalem, and should .make a complaint before the people of such as raised seditions in the country. And I said to them, that" in case they be moved with what you say, you shall desire the community to write to me, and to enjoin me to continue in Galilee, and to order Jonathan and his colleagues to depart out of it." When I had suggested these instructions to them, and while they were getting themselves ready as fast as they could, I sent them on this errand the third day after they had been assembled: I also sent five hundred armed men with them [as a guard]. I then wrote to my friends in Samaria, to take care that they might safely pass through the country: for Samaria was already under the Romans, and it was absolutely necessary for those that go quickly [to Jerusalem] to pass through that country; for in that road you may, in three days' time, go from Galilee to Jerusalem. I also went myself, and conducted the old men as far as the bounds of Galilee, and set guards in the roads, that it might not be easily known by any one that these men were gone. And when I had thus done, I went and abode at Japha.

    53. Now Jonathan and his colleagues, having failed of accomplishing what they would have done against me, sent John back to Gischala, but went themselves to the city of Tiberias, expecting it would submit itself to them; and this was founded on a letter which Jesus, their then governor, had written them, promising that, if they came, the multitude would receive them, and choose to be under their government; so they went their ways with this expectation. But Silas, who, as I said, had been left curator of Tiberias by me, informed me of this, and desired me to make haste thither. Accordingly, I complied with his advice immediately, and came thither; but found myself in danger of my life, from the following occasion: Jonathan and his colleagues had been at Tiberias, and had persuaded a great many of such as had a quarrel with me to desert me; but when they heard of my coming, they were in fear for themselves, and came to me; and when they had saluted me, they said, that I was a happy man in having behaved myself so well in the government of Galilee; and they congratulated me upon the honors that were paid me: for they said that my glory was a credit to them, since they had been my teachers and fellow citizens; and they said further, that it was but just that they should prefer my friendship to them rather than John's, and that they would have immediately gone home, but that they staid that they might deliver up John into my power; and when they said this they took their oaths of it, and those such as are most tremendous amongst us, and such as I did not think fit to disbelieve. However, they desired me to lodge some where else, because the next day was the sabbath, and that it was not fit the city of Tiberias should be disturbed [on that day].

    54. So I suspected nothing, and went away to Tarichese; yet did I with leave some to make inquiry in the city how matters went, and whether any thing was said about me: I also set many persons all the way that led from Tarichese to Tiberias, that they might communicate from one to another, if they learned any news from those that were left in the city. On the next day, therefore, they all came into the Proseucha; (22) it was a large edifice, and capable of receiving a great number of people; thither Jonathan went in, and though he dare not openly speak of a revolt, yet did he say that their city stood in need of a better governor than it then had. But Jesus, who was the ruler, made no scruple to speak out, and said openly," O fellow citizens! it is better for you to be in subjection to four than to one; and those such as are of high birth, and not without reputation for their wisdom;" and pointed to Jonathan and his colleagues. Upon his saying this, Justus came in and commended him for what he had said, and persuaded some of the people to be of his mind also. But the multitude were not pleased with what was said, and had certainly gone into a tumult, unless the sixth hour, which was now come, had dissolved the assembly, at which hour our laws require us to go to dinner on sabbath days; so Jonathan and his colleagues put off their council till the next day, and went off without success. When I was informed of these affairs, I determined to go to the city of Tiberias in the morning. Accordingly, on the next day, about the first hour of the day, I came from Tarichee, and found the multitude already assembled in the Proseucha; but on what account they were gotten together, those that were assembled did not know. But when Jonathan and his colleagues saw me there unexpectedly, they were in disorder; after which they raised a report of their own contrivance, that Roman horsemen were seen at a place called Union, in the borders of Galilee, thirty furlongs distant from the city. Upon which report, Jonathan and his colleagues cunningly exhorted me not to neglect this matter, nor to suffer the land to be spoiled by the enemy. And this they said with a design to remove me out of the city, under the pretense of the want of extraordinary assistance, while they might dispose the city to be my enemy.

    55. As for myself, although I knew of their design, yet did I comply with what they proposed, lest the people of Tiberias should have occasion to suppose that I was not careful of their security. I therefore went out; but, when I was at the place, I found not the least footsteps of any enemy, so I returned as fast as ever I could, and found the whole council assembled, and the body of the people gotten together, and Jonathan and his colleagues bringing vehement accusations against me, as one who had no concern to ease them of the burdens of war, and as one that lived luxuriously. And as they were discoursing thus, they produced four letters, as written to them from some people that lived at the borders of Galilee, imploring that they would come to their assistance, for that there was an army of Romans, both horsemen and footmen, who would come and lay waste the country on the third day; they desired them also to make haste, and not to overlook them. When the people of Tiberias heard this, they thought they spake truth, and made a clamor against me, and said I ought not to sit still, but to go away to the assistance of their countrymen. Hereupon I said (for I understood the meaning of Jonathan and his colleagues) that I was ready to comply with what they proposed, and without delay to march to the war which they spake of, yet did I advise them, at the same time, that since these letters declared that the Romans would make their assault in four several places, they should part their forces into five bodies, and make Jonathan and his colleagues generals of each body of them, because it was fit for brave men, not only to give counsel, but to take the place of leaders, and assist their countrymen when such a necessity pressed them; for, said I, it is not possible for me to lead more than one party. This advice of mine greatly pleased the multitude; so they compelled them to go forth to the war. But their designs were put into very much disorder, because they had not done what they had designed to do, on account of my stratagem, which was opposite to their undertakings.

    56. Now there was one whose name was Ananias (a wicked man he was, and very mischievous); he proposed that a general religious fast (23) should be appointed the next day for all the people, and gave order that at the same hour they should come to the same place, without any weapons, to make it manifest before God, that while they obtained his assistance, they thought all these weapons useless. This he said, not out of piety, but that they might catch me and my friends unarmed. Now, I was hereupon forced to comply, lest I should appear to despise a proposal that tended to piety. As soon, therefore, as we were gone home, Jonathan and his colleagues wrote to John to come to them in the morning, and desiring him to come with as many soldiers as he possibly could, for that they should then be able easily to get me into their hands, and to do all they desired to do. When John had received this letter, he resolved to comply with it. As for myself, on the next day, I ordered two of the guards of my body, whom I esteemed the most courageous and most faithful, to hide daggers under their garments, and to go along with me, that we might defend ourselves, if any attack should be made upon us by our enemies. I also myself took my breastplate, and girded on my sword, so that it might be, as far as it was possible, concealed, and came into the Proseucha.

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