Flavius Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [lemma count] [Joseph. AJ].
<<Joseph. AJ 14.86 Joseph. AJ 14.105 (Greek) >>Joseph. AJ 14.127


Now when Gabinius was making an expedition against the Parthians, and had already passed over Euphrates, he changed his mind, and resolved to return into Egypt, in order to restore Ptolemy to his kingdom. note This hath also been related elsewhere. However, Antipater supplied his army, which he sent against Archelaus, with corn, and weapons, and money. He also made those Jews who were above Pelusium his friends and confederates, and had been the guardians of the passes that led into Egypt. But when he came back out of Egypt, he found Syria in disorder, with seditions and troubles; for Alexander, the son of Aristobulus, having seized on the government a second time by force, made many of the Jews revolt to him; and so he marched over the country with a great army, and slew all the Romans he could light upon, and proceeded to besiege the mountain called Gerizzim, whither they had retreated.


But when Gabinius found Syria in such a state, he sent Antipater, who was a prudent man, to those that were seditious, to try whether he could cure them of their madness, and persuade them to return to a better mind; and when he came to them, he brought many of them to a sound mind, and induced them to do what they ought to do; but he could not restrain Alexander, for he had an army of thirty thousand Jews, and met Gabinius, and joining battle with him, was beaten, and lost ten thousand of his men about Mount Tabor.


So Gabinius settled the affairs which belonged to the city Jerusalem, as was agreeable to Antipater's inclination, and went against the Nabateans, and overcame them in battle. He also sent away in a friendly manner Mithridates and Orsanes, who were Parthian deserters, and came to him, though the report went abroad that they had run away from him. And when Gabinius had performed great and glorious actions, in his management of the affairs of war, he returned to Rome, and delivered the government to Crassus. Now Nicolaus of Damascus, and Strabo of Cappadocia, both describe the expeditions of Pompey and Gabinius against the Jews, while neither of them say anything new which is not in the other.


Now Crassus, as he was going upon his expedition against the Parthians, came into Judea, and carried off the money that was in the temple, which Pompey had left, being two thousand talents, and was disposed to spoil it of all the gold belonging to it, which was eight thousand talents. He also took a beam, which was made of solid beaten gold, of the weight of three hundred minae, each of which weighed two pounds and a half. It was the priest who was guardian of the sacred treasures, and whose name was Eleazar, that gave him this beam, not out of a wicked design, for he was a good and a righteous man; but being intrusted with the custody of the veils belonging to the temple, which were of admirable beauty, and of very costly workmanship, and hung down from this beam, when lie saw that Crassus was busy in gathering money, and was in fear for the entire ornaments of the temple, he gave him this beam of gold as a ransom for the whole, but this not till he had given his oath that he would remove nothing else out of the temple, but be satisfied with this only, which he should give him, being worth many ten thousand [shekels]. Now this beam was contained in a wooden beam that was hollow, but was known to no others; but Eleazar alone knew it; yet did Crassus take away this beam, upon the condition of touching nothing else that belonged to the temple, and then brake his oath, and carried away all the gold that was in the temple.


And let no one wonder that there was so much wealth in our temple, since all the Jews throughout the habitable earth, and those that worshipped God, nay, even those of Asia and Europe, sent their contributions to it, and this from very ancient times. Nor is the largeness of these sums without its attestation; nor is that greatness owing to our vanity, as raising it without ground to so great a height; but there are many witnesses to it, and particularly Strabo of Cappadocia, who says thus: "Mithridates sent to Cos, and took the money which queen Cleopatra had deposited there, as also eight hundred talents belonging to the Jews." Now we have no public money but only what appertains to God; and it is evident that the Asian Jews removed this money out of fear of Mithridates; for it is not probable that those of Judea, who had a strong city and temple, should send their money to Cos; nor is it likely that the Jews who are inhabitants of Alexandria should do so neither, since they were ill no fear of Mithridates. And Strabo himself bears witness to the same thing in another place, that at the same time that Sylla passed over into Greece, in order to fight against Mithridates, he sent Lucullus to put an end to a sedition that our nation, of whom the habitable earth is full, had raised in Cyrene; where he speaks thus: "There were four classes of men among those of Cyrene; that of citizens, that of husbandmen, the third of strangers, and the fourth of Jews. Now these Jews are already gotten into all cities; and it is hard to find a place in the habitable earth that hath not admitted this tribe of men, and is not possessed by them; and it hath come to pass that Egypt and Cyrene, as having the same governors, and a great number of other nations, imitate their way of living, and maintain great bodies of these Jews in a peculiar manner, and grow up to greater prosperity with them, and make use of the same laws with that nation also. Accordingly, the Jews have places assigned them in Egypt, wherein they inhabit, besides what is peculiarly allotted to this nation at Alexandria, which is a large part of that city. There is also an ethnarch allowed them, who governs the nation, and distributes justice to them, and takes care of their contracts, and of the laws to them belonging, as if he were the ruler of a free republic. In Egypt, therefore, this nation is powerful, because the Jews were originally Egyptians, and because the land wherein they inhabit, since they went thence, is near to Egypt. They also removed into Cyrene, because that this land adjoined to the government of Egypt, as well as does Judea, or rather was formerly under the same government." And this is what Strabo says.

Flavius Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [lemma count] [Joseph. AJ].
<<Joseph. AJ 14.86 Joseph. AJ 14.105 (Greek) >>Joseph. AJ 14.127

Powered by PhiloLogic