Book 13 Footnotes
[1] This Alexander Bala, who certainly pretended to be the son of Antiochus Epiphanes, and was owned for such by the Jews and Romans, and many others, and yet is by several historians deemed to be a counterfeit, and of no family at all, is, however, by Josephus believed to have been the real son of that Antiochus, and by him always spoken of accordingly. And truly, since the original contemporary and authentic author of the First Book of Maccabees [10:1] calls him by his father's name, Epiphanes, and says he was the son of Antiochus, I suppose the other writers, who are all much later, are not to be followed against such evidence, though perhaps Epiphanes might have him by a woman of no family. The king of Egypt also, Philometor, soon gave him his daughter in marriage, which he would hardly have done, had he believed him to be a counterfeit, and of so very mean a birth as the later historians pretend.

[2] Since Jonathan plainly did not put on the pontifical robes till seven or eight years after the death of his brother Judas, or not till the feast of tabernacles, in the 160th of the Seleucidm, 1 Macc.10;21, Petitus's emendation seems here to deserve consideration, who, instead of "after four years since the death of his brother Judas," would have us read, "and therefore after eight years since the death of his brother Judas." This would tolerably well agree with the date of the Maccabees, and with Josephus's own exact chronology at the end of the twentieth book of these Antiquities, which the present text cannot be made to do.

[3] Take Grotius's note here: "The Jews," says he, "were wont to present crowns to the kings [of Syria]; afterwards that gold which was paid instead of those crowns, or which was expended in making them, was called the crown gold and crown tax." On 1 Macc.10:29.

[4] Since the rest of the historians now extant give this Demetrius thirteen years, and Josephus only eleven years, Dean Prideaux does not amiss in ascribing to him the mean number twelve.

[5] It seems to me contrary to the opinion of Josephus, and of the moderns, both Jews and Christians, that this prophecy of Isaiah, 19:19, etc., "In that day there shall be an altar to the Lord in the midst of the land of Egypt," etc., directly foretold the building of this temple of Onias in Egypt, and was a sufficient warrant to the Jews for building it, and for worshipping the true God, the God of Israel, therein. See Authent. Rec.11. p.755. That God seems to have soon better accepted of the sacrifices and prayers here offered him than those at Jerusalem, see the note on ch.10. sect.7. And truly the marks of Jewish corruption or interpolation in this text, in order to discourage their people from approving of the Worship of God here, are very strong, and highly deserve our consideration and correction. The foregoing verse in Isaiah runs thus in our common copies, "In that day shall five cities in the land of Egypt speak the language of Canaan," [the Hebrew language; shall be full of Jews, whose sacred books were in Hebrew,] "and swear to the Lord of hosts; one" [or the first] "shall be called, The City of Destruction," Isaiah 19:18. A strange-name, "City of Destruction," upon so joyful occasion, and a name never heard of in the land of Egypt, or perhaps in any other nation. The old reading was evidently the City of the Sun, or Heliopolis; and Unkelos, in effect, and Symmachus, with the Arabic version, entirely confess that to be the true reading. The Septuagint also, though they have the text disguised in the common copies, and call it Asedek, the City of Righteousness; yet in two or three other copies the Hebrew word itself for the Sun, Achares, or Thares, is preserved. And since Onias insists with the king and queen, that Isaiah's prophecy contained many other predictions relating to this place besides the words by him recited, it is highly probable that these were especially meant by him; and that one main reason why he applied this prediction to himself, and to his prefecture of Heliopolis, which Dean Prideaux well proves was in that part of Egypt, and why he chose to build in that prefecture of Heliopolis, though otherwise an improper place, was this, that the same authority that he had for building this temple in Egypt, the very same he had for building it in his own prefecture of Heliopolis also, which he desired to do, and which he did accordingly. Dean Prideaux has much ado to avoid seeing this corruption of the Hebrew; but it being in support of his own opinion about this temple, he durst not see it; and indeed he reasons here in the most injudicious manner possible. See him at the year 149.

[6] A very unfair disputation this! while the Jewish disputant, knowing that he could not properly prove out of the Pentateuch, that "the place which the Lord their God shall choose to place his name there," so often referred to in the Book of Deuteronomy, was Jerusalem any more than Gerizzim, that being not determined till the days of David, Antiq. B. VII. ch.13. sect.4, proves only, what the Samaritans did not deny, that the temple at Jerusalem was much more ancient, and much more celebrated and honored, than that at Gerizzim, which was nothing to the present purpose. The whole evidence, by the very oaths of both parties, being, we see, obliged to be confined to the law of Moses, or to the Pentateuch alone. However, worldly policy and interest and the multitude prevailing, the court gave sentence, as usual, on the stronger side, and poor Sabbeus and Theodosius, the Samaritan disputants, were martyred, and this, so far as appears, without any direct hearing at all, which is like the usual practice of such political courts about matters of religion. Our copies say that the body of the Jews were in a great concern about those men [in the plural] who were to dispute for their temple at Jerusalem, whereas it seems here they had but one disputant, Andronicus by name. Perhaps more were prepared to speak on the Jews' side; but the firstraying answered to his name, and overcome the Samaritans, there was necessity for any other defender of the Jerusalem temple.

[7] Of the several Apollonius about these ages, see Dean Prideaux at the year 148. This Apollonius Daus was, by his account, the son of that Apollonius who had been made governor of Celesyria and Phoenicia by Seleueus Philopater, and was himself a confidant of his son Demetrius the father, and restored to his father's government by him, but afterwards revolted from him to Alexander; but not to Demetrius the son, as he supposes.

[8] Dr. Hudson here observes, that the Phoenicians and Romans used to reward such as had deserved well of them, by presenting to them a golden button. See ch.5. sect.4.

[9] This name, Demetrius Nicator, or Demetrius the conqueror, is so written on his coins still extant, as Hudson and Spanheim inform us; the latter of whom gives us here the entire inscription, "King Demetrius the God, Philadelphus, Nicator."

[10] This clause is otherwise rendered in the First Book of Maccabees, 12:9, "For that we have the holy books of Scripture in our hands to comfort us." The Hebrew original being lost, we cannot certainly judge which was the truest version only the coherence favors Josephus. But if this were the Jews' meaning, that they were satisfied out of their Bible that the Jews and Lacedemonians were of kin, that part of their Bible is now lost, for we find no such assertion in our present copies.

[11] Those that suppose Josephus to contradict himself in his three several accounts of the notions of the Pharisees, this here, and that earlier one, which is the largest, Of the War B. II. ch.8. sect.14, and that later, Antiq. B. XVIII. ch.1. sect.3, as if he sometimes said they introduced an absolute fatality, and denied all freedom of human actions, is almost wholly groundless if he ever, as the very learned Casaubon here truly observes, asserting, that the Pharisees were between the Essens and Sadducees, and did so far ascribe all to fate or Divine Providence as was consistent with the freedom of human actions. However, their perplexed way of talking about fate, or Providence, as overruling all things, made it commonly thought they were willing to excuse their sins by ascribing them to fate, as in the Apostolical Constitutions, B. VI. ch.6. Perhaps under the same general name some difference of opinions in this point might be propagated, as is very common in all parties, especially in points of metaphysical subtilty. However, our Josephus, who in his heart was a great admirer of the piety of the Essens, was yet in practice a Pharisee, as he himself informs us, in his own Life, sect.2. And his account of this doctrine of the Pharisees is for certain agreeable to his own opinion, who ever both fully allowed the freedom of human actions, and yet strongly believed the powerful interposition of Divine Providence. See concerning this matter a remarkable clause, Antiq. B. XVI. ch.11. sect.7.

[12] This king, who was of the famous race of Arsaces, is bethused to call them; but by the elder author of the First Maccahere, and 1 Macc.14:2, called by the family name Arsaces; was, the king of the Persians and Medes, according to the land but Appion says his proper name was Phraates. He is language of the Eastern nations. See Authent. Rec. Part II. also called by Josephus the king of the Parthians, as the Greeks p.1108.

[13] There is some error in the copies here, when no more than four years are ascribed to the high priesthood of Jonathan. We know by Josephus's last Jewish chronology, Antiq. B. XX. ch.10., that there was an interval of seven years between the death of Alcimus, or Jacimus, the last high priest, and the real high priesthood of Jonathan, to whom yet those seven years seem here to be ascribed, as a part of them were to Judas before, Antiq. B. XII. ch.10. sect.6. Now since, besides these seven years interregnum in the pontificate, we are told, Antiq. B. XX. ch.10., that Jonathan's real high priesthood lasted seven years more, these two seven years will make up fourteen years, which I suppose was Josephus's own number in this place, instead of the four in our present copies.

[14] These one hundred and seventy years of the Assyrians mean no more, as Josephus explains himself here, than from the sara of Seleucus, which as it is known to have began on the 312th year before the Christian sara, from its spring in the First Book of Maccabees, and from its autumn in the Second Book of Maccabees, so did it not begin at Babylon till the next spring, on the 311th year. See Prid. at the year 312. And it is truly observed by Dr. Hudson on this place, that the Syrians and Assyrians are sometimes confounded in ancient authors, according to the words of Justin, the epitomiser of Trogus-pompeius, who says that "the Assyrians were afterward called Syrian." B. I. ch.11. See Of the War, B. V. ch.9. sect.4, where the Philistines themselves, at the very south limit of Syria, in its utmost extent, are called Assyrians by Josephus as Spanheim observes.

[15] It must here be diligently noted, that Josephus's copy of the First Book of Maccabees, which he had so carefully followed, and faithfully abridged, as far as the fiftieth verse of the thirteenth chapter, seems there to have ended. What few things there are afterward common to both, might probably be learned by him from some other more imperfect records. However, we must exactly observe here, what the remaining part of that book of the Maccabees informs us of, and what Josephus would never have omitted, had his copy contained so much, that this Simon the Great, the Maccabee, made a league with Antiochus Soter, the son of Demetrius Soter, and brother of the other Demetrius, who was now a captive in Parthis: that upon his coming to the crown, about the 140th year before the Christian sets, he granted great privileges to the Jewish nation, and to Simon their high priest and ethnarch; which privileges Simon seems to have taken of his own accord about three years before. In particular, he gave him leave to coin money for his country with his own stamp; and as concerning Jerusalem and the sanctuary, that they should be free, or, as the vulgar Latin hath it, "holy and free," 1 Macc.15:6, 7, which I take to be the truer reading, as being the very words of his father's concession offered to Jonathan several years before, ch.10:31; and Antiq. B, XIII. ch.2. sect.3. Now what makes this date and these grants greatly remarkable, is the state of the remaining genuine shekels of the Jews with Samaritan characters, which seem to have been [most of them at least] coined in the first four years of this Simon the Asamonean, and having upon them these words on one side, "Jerusalem the Holy;" and on the reverse, "In the Year of Freedom," 1, or 2, or 3, or 4; which shekels therefore are original monuments of these times, and undeniable marks of the truth of the history in these chapters, though it be in great measure omitted by Josephus. See Essay on the Old Test. p.157, 158. The reason why I rather suppose that his copy of the Maccabees wanted these chapters, than that his own copies are here imperfect, is this, that all their contents are not here omitted, though much the greatest part be.

[16] How Trypho killed this Antiochus the epitome of Livy informs us, ch.53, viz. that he corrupted his physicians or surgeons, who falsely pretending to the people that he was perishing with the stone, as they cut him for it, killed him, which exactly agrees with Josephus.

[17] That this Antiochus, the son of Alexander Balas, was called "The God," is evident from his coins, which Spanheim assures us bear this inscription, "King Antiochus the God, Epiphanes the Victorious."

[18] Here Josephus begins to follow and to abridge the next sacred Hebrew book, styled in the end of the First Book of Maccabees, "The Chronicle of John [Hyrcanus's] high priesthood;" but in some of the Greek copies," The Fourth Book of Maccabees." A Greek version of this chronicle was extant not very long ago in the days of Sautes Pagninus, and Sixtus Senensis, at Lyons, though it seems to have been there burnt, and to be utterly lost. See Sixtus Senensis's account of it, of its many Hebraisms, and its great agreement with Josephus's abridgement, in the Authent. Rec. Part I. p.206, 207, 208.

[19] Hence we learn, that in the days of this excellent high priest, John Hyrcanus, the observation of the Sabbatic year, as Josephus supposed, required a rest from war, as did that of the weekly sabbath from work; I mean this, unless in the case of necessity, when the Jews were attacked by their enemies, in which case indeed, and in which alone, they then allowed defensive fighting to be lawful, even on the sabbath day, as we see in several places of Josephus, Antlq. B. XII. ch.6. sect.2; B. XIII. ch.1. sect.2; Of the War, B. I. ch.7. sect.3. But then it must be noted, that this rest from war no way appears in the First Book of Maccabees, ch.16., but the direct contrary; though indeed the Jews, in the days of Antiochus Epiphanes, did not venture upon fighting on the Sabbath day, even in the defense of their own lives, till the Asamoneans or Maccabees decreed so to do, 1 Macc.2:32-41; Antiq. B. XII. ch.6. sect.2.

[20] Josephus's copies, both Greek and Latin, have here a gross mistake, when they say that this first year of John Hyrcanus, which we have just now seen to have been a Sabbatic year, was in the 162nd olympiad, whereas it was for certain the second year of the 161st. See the like before, B. XII. ch.7. sect.6.

[21] This heliacal setting of the Pleiades, or seven stars, was, in the days of Hyrcanus and Josephus, early in the spring, about February, the time of the latter rain in Judea; and this, so far as I remember, is the only astronomical character of time, besides one eclipse of the moon in the reign of Herod, that we meet with in all Josephus; the Jews being little accustomed to astronomical observations, any further than for the uses of their calendar, and utterly forbidden those astrological uses which the heathens commonly made of them.

[22] Dr. Hudson tells us here, that this custom of gilding the horns of those oxen that were to be sacrificed is a known thing both in the poets and orators.

[23] This account in Josephus, that the present Antiochus was persuaded, though in vain, not to make peace with the Jews, but to cut them off utterly, is fully confirmed by Diodorus Siculus, in Photiua's extracts out of his 34th Book.

[24] The Jews were not to march or journey on the sabbath, or on such a great festival as was equivalent to the sabbath, any farther than a sabbath day's journey, or two thousand cubits, see the note on Antiq. B. XX. ch.8. sect.6.

[25] This account of the Idumeans admitting circumcision, and the entire Jewish law, from this time, or from the days of Hyrcanus, is confirmed by their entire history afterward. See Antiq. B. XIV. ch.8. sect.1; B. XV. ch.7. sect.9. Of the War, B. II. ch.3. sect.1; B. IV. ch.4. sect.5. This, in the opinion of Josephus, made them proselytes of justice, or entire Jews, as here and elsewhere, Antiq. B. XIV. ch.8. sect.1. However, Antigonus, the enemy of Herod, though Herod were derived from such a proselyte of justice for several generations, will allow him to be no more than a half Jew, B. XV. ch.15. sect.2. But still, take out of Dean Prideaux, at the year 129, the words of Ammouius, a grammarian, which fully confirm this account of the Idumeans in Josephus: "The Jews," says he, are such by nature, and from the beginning, whilst the Idumeans were not Jews from the beginning, but Phoenicians and Syrians; but being afterward subdued by the Jews, and compelled to be circumcised, and to unite into one nation, and be subject to the same laws, they were called Jews." Dio also says, as the Dean there quotes him, from Book XXXVI. p.37, "That country is called Judea, and the people Jews; and this name is given also to as many others as embrace their religion, though of other nations." But then upon what foundation so good a governor as Hyrcanus took upon him to compel those Idumeans either to become Jews, or to leave the country, deserves great consideration. I suppose it was because they had long ago been driven out of the land of Edom, and had seized on and possessed the tribe of Simeon, and all the southern parts of the tribe of Judah, which was the peculiar inheritance of the worshippers of the true God without idolatry, as the reader may learn from Reland, Palestine, Part I. p.154, 305; and from Prideaux, at the years 140 and 165.

[26] In this decree of the Roman senate, it seems that these ambassadors were sent from the "people of the Jews," as well as from their prince or high priest, John Hyrcanus.

[27] Dean Prideaux takes notice at the year 130, that Justin, in agreement with Josephus, says, "The power of the Jews was now grown so great, that after this Antiochus they would not bear any Macedonian king over them; and that they set up a government of their own, and infested Syria with great wars."

[28] The original of the Sadducees, as a considerable party among the Jews, being contained in this and the two following sections, take Dean Prideaux's note upon this their first public appearance, which I suppose to be true: "Hyrcanus," says be, "went over to the party of the Sadducees; that is, by embracing their doctrine against the traditions of the eiders, added to the written law, and made of equal authority with it, but not their doctrine against the resurrection and a future state; for this cannot be supposed of so good and righteous a man as John Hyrcanus is said to be. It is most probable, that at this time the Sadducees had gone no further in the doctrines of that sect than to deny all their unwritten traditions, which the Pharisees were so fond of; for Josephus mentions no other difference at this time between them; neither doth he say that Hyrcanna went over to the Sadducees in any other particular than in the abolishing of all the traditionary constitutions of the Pharisees, which our Savior condemned as well as they." [At the year.]

[29] This slander, that arose from a Pharisee, has been preserved by their successors the Rabbins to these later ages; for Dr. Hudson assures us that David Gantz, in his Chronology, S. Pr. p.77, in Vorstius's version, relates that Hyrcanus's mother was taken captive in Mount Modinth. See ch.13. sect.5.

[30] Here ends the high priesthood, and the life of this excellent person John Hyrcanus, and together with him the holy theocracy, or Divine government of the Jewish nation, and its concomitant oracle by Urim. Now follows the profane and tyrannical Jewish monarchy, first of the Asamoneans or Maccabees, and then of Herod the Great, the Idumean, till the coming of the Messiah. See the note on Antiq. B. III. ch.8. sect.9. Hear Strabo's testimony on this occasion, B. XVI. p.761, 762: "Those," says he, "that succeeded Moses continued for some time in earnest, both in righteous actions and in piety; but after a while there were others that took upon them the high priesthood, at first superstitious and afterward tyrannical persons. Such a prophet was Moses and those that succeeded him, beginning in a way not to be blamed, but changing for the worse. And when it openly appeared that the government was become tyrannical, Alexander was the first that set up himself for a king instead of a priest; and his sons were Hyrcanus and Aristobulus." All in agreement with Josephus, excepting this, that Strabo omits the first king, Aristobulus, who reigning but a single year, seems hardly to have come to his knowledge. Nor indeed does Aristobulus, the son of Alexander, pretend that the name of king was taken before his father Alexander took it himself, Antiq. B. XIV. ch.3. sect.2. See also ch.12. sect. l, which favor Strabo also. And indeed, if we may judge from the very different characters of the Egyptian Jews under high priests, and of the Palestine Jews under kings, in the two next centuries, we may well suppose that the Divine Shechinah was removed into Egypt, and that the worshippers at the temple of Onias were better men than those at the temple of Jerusalem.

[31] Hence we learn that the Essens pretended to have ruled whereby men might foretell things to come, and that this Judas the Essen taught those rules to his scholars; but whether their pretense were of an astrological or magical nature, which yet in such religious Jews, who were utterly forbidden such arts, is no way probable, or to any Bath Col, spoken of by the later Rabbins, or otherwise, I cannot tell. See Of the War, B. II. ch.8. sect.12.

[32] The reason why Hyrcanus suffered not this son of his whom he did not love to come into Judea, but ordered him to be brought up in Galilee, is suggested by Dr. Hudson, that Galilee was not esteemed so happy and well cultivated a country as Judea, Matthew 26:73; John 7:52; Acts 2:7, although another obvious reason occurs also, that he was out of his sight in Galilee than he would have been in Judea.

[33] From these, and other occasional expressions, dropped by Josephus, we may learn, that where the sacred hooks of the Jews were deficient, he had several other histories then extant, [but now most of them lost,] which he faithfully followed in his own history; nor indeed have we any other records of those times, relating to Judea, that can be compared to these accounts of Josephus, though when we do meet with authentic fragments of such original records, they almost always confirm his history.

[34] This city, or island, Cos, is not that remote island in the Aegean Sea, famous for the birth of the great Hippocrates, but a city or island of the same name adjoining to Egypt, mentioned both by Stephanus and Ptolemy, as Dr. Mizon informs us. Of which Cos, and the treasures there laid up by Cleopatra and the Jews, see Antiq. B. XIV. ch.7, sect.2.

[35] This account of the death of Antiochus Grypus is confirmed by Appion, Syriac. p.132, here cited by Spanheim.

[36] Porphyry says that this Antiochus Grypus reigned but twenty-six years, as Dr. Hudson observes. The copies of Josephus, both Greek and Latin, have here so grossly false a reading, Antiochus and Antoninus, or Antonius Plus, for Antiochus Pius, that the editors are forced to correct the text from the other historians, who all agree that this king's name was nothing more than Antiochus Plus.

[37] These two brothers, Antiochus and Philippus are called twins by Porphyry; the fourth brother was king of Damascus: both which are the observations of Spanheim.

[38] This Laodicea was a city of Gilead beyond Jordan. However, Porphyry says that this Antiochus Pius did not die in this battle; but, running away, was drowned in the river Orontes. Appian says that he, was deprived of the kingdom of Syria by Tigranes; but Porphyry makes this Laodice queen of the Calamans;-all which is noted by Spanheim. In such confusion of the later historians, we have no reason to prefer any of them before Josephus, who had more original ones before him. This reproach upon Alexander, that he was sprung from a captive, seems only the repetition of the old Pharisaical calumny upon his father, ch.10. sect.5.

[39] This Theodorus was the son of Zeno, and was in possession of Areathus, as we learn from sect.3 foregoing.

[40] This name Thracida, which the Jews gave Alexander, must, by the coherence, denote as barbarous as a Thracian, or somewhat like it; but what it properly signifies is not known.

[41] Spanheim takes notice that this Antiochus Dionysus [the brother of Philip, and of Demetrius Eucerus, and of two others] was the fifth son of Antiochus Grypus; and that he is styled on the coins, "Antiochus, Epiphanes, Dionysus."

[42] This Aretas was the first king of the Arabians who took Damascus, and reigned there; which name became afterwards common to such Arabian kings, both at Petra and at Damascus, as we learn from Josephus in many places; and from St. Paul, 2 Corinthians 11:32. See the note on Antiq. B. XVI. ch.9. sect.4.

[43] We may here and elsewhere take notice, that whatever countries or cities the Asamoneans conquered from any of the neighboring nations, or whatever countries or cities they gained from them that had not belonged to them before, they, after the days of Hyrcanus, compelled the inhabitants to leave their idolatry, and entirely to receive the law of Moses, as proselytes of justice, or else banished them into other lands. That excellent prince, John Hyrcanus, did it to the Idumeans, as I have noted on ch.9. sect.1, already, who lived then in the Promised Land, and this I suppose justly; but by what right the rest did it, even to the countries or cities that were no part of that land, I do not at all know. This looks too like unjust persecution for religion.

[44] It seems, by this dying advice of Alexander Janneus to his wife, that he had himself pursued the measures of his father Hyrcanus and taken part with the Sadducees, who kept close to the written law, against the Pharisees, who had introduced their own traditions, ch.16. sect.2; and that he now saw a political necessity of submitting to the Pharisees and their traditions hereafter, if his widow and family minded to retain their monarchical government or tyranny over the Jewish nation; which sect yet, thus supported, were at last in a great measure the ruin of the religion, government, and nation of the Jews, and brought them into so wicked a state, that the vengeance of God came upon them to their utter excision. Just thus did Caiaphas politically advise the Jewish sanhedrim, John 11:50, "That it was expedient for them that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not;" and this in consequence of their own political supposal, ver.48, that, "If they let Jesus alone," with his miracles, "all men would believe on him, and the Romans would come and take away both their place and nation." Which political crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth brought down the vengeance of God upon them, and occasioned those very Romans, of whom they seemed so much afraid, that to prevent it they put him to death, actually to "come and take away both their place and nation" within thirty-eight years afterwards. I heartily wish the politicians of Christendom would consider these and the like examples, and no longer sacrifice all virtue and religion to their pernicious schemes of government, to the bringing down the judgments of God upon themselves, and the several nations intrusted to their care. But this is a digression. I wish it were an unseasonable one also. Josephus himself several times makes such digressions, and I here venture to follow him. See one of them at the conclusion of the very next chapter.

[45] The number of five hundred thousand or even three hundred thousand, as one Greek copy, with the Latin copies, have it, for Tigranes's army, that came out of Armenia into Syria and Judea, seems much too large. We have had already several such extravagant numbers in Josephus's present copies, which are not to be at all ascribed to him. Accordingly, I incline to Dr. Hudson's emendation here, which supposes them but forty thousand.

[46] This fortress, castle, citadel, or tower, whither the wife and children of Aristobulus were new sent, and which overlooked the temple, could be no other than what Hyrcanus I. built, [Antiq. B. XVIII ch.4. sect.3,] and Herod the Great rebuilt, and called the "Tower of Antonia," Aatiq. B. XV. ch.11. sect.5.


[1] Reland takes notice here, very justly, how Josephus's declaration, that it was his great concern not only to write "an agreeable, an accurate," and "a true" history, but also distinctly not to omit any thing [of consequence], either through "ignorance or laziness," implies that he could not, consistently with that resolution, omit the mention of [so famous a person as] "Jesus Christ."

[2] That the famous Antipater's or Antipas's father was also Antipater or Antipas [which two may justly be esteemed one and the same frame, the former with a Greek or Gentile, the latter with a Hebrew or Jewish termination] Josephus here assures us, though Eusebias indeed says it was Herod.

[3] This "golden vine," or "garden," seen by Strabo at Rome, has its inscription here as if it were the gift of Alexander, the father of Aristobulus, and not of Aristobulus himself, to whom yet Josephus ascribes it; and in order to prove the truth of that part of his history, introduces this testimony of Strabo; so that the ordinary copies seem to be here either erroneous or defective, and the original reading seems to have been either Aristobulus, instead of Alexander, with one Greek copy, or else "Aristobulus the son of Alexander," with the Latin copies; which last seems to me the most probable. For as to Archbishop Usher's conjectures, that Alexander made it, and dedicated it to God in the temple, and that thence Aristobulus took it, and sent it to Pompey, they are both very improbable, and no way agreeable to Josephus, who would hardly have avoided the recording both these uncommon points of history, had he known any thing of them; nor would either the Jewish nation, or even Pompey himself, then have relished such a flagrant instance of sacrilege.

[4] These express testimonies of Josephus here, and Antiq. B. VIII. ch.6. sect.6, and B. XV. ch.4. sect.2, that the only balsam gardens, and the best palm trees, were, at least in his days, near Jericho and Kugaddi, about the north part of the Dead Sea, [whereabout also Alexander the Great saw the balsam drop,] show the mistake of those that understand Eusebius and Jerom as if one of those gardens were at the south part of that sea, at Zoar or Segor, whereas they must either mean another Zoar or Segor, which was between Jericho and Kugaddi, agreeably to Josephus: which yet they do not appear to do, or else they directly contradict Josephus, and were therein greatly mistaken: I mean this, unless that balsam, and the best palm trees, grew much more southward in Judea in the days of Eusebius and Jerom than they did in the days of Josephus.

[5] The particular depth and breadth of this ditch, whence the stones for the wall about the temple were probably taken, are omitted in our copies of Josephus, but set down by Strabo, B. XVI. p.763; from whom we learn that this ditch was sixty feet deep, and two hundred and fifty feet broad. However, its depth is, in the next section, said by Josephus to be immense, which exactly agrees to Strabo's description, and which numbers in Strabo are a strong confirmation of the truth of Josephus's description also.

[6] That is, on the 23rd of Sivan, the annual fast for the defection and idolatry of Jeroboam, "who made Israel to sin;" or possibly some other fast might fall into that month, before and in the days of Josephus.

[7] It deserves here to be noted, that this Pharisaical, superstitious notion, that offensive fighting was unlawful to Jews, even under the utmost necessity, on the Sabbath day, of which we hear nothing before the times of the Maccabees, was the proper occasion of Jerusalem's being taken by Pompey, by Sosius, and by Titus, as appears from the places already quoted in the note on Antiq. B. XIII. ch.8. sect.1; which scrupulous superstition, as to the observation of such a rigorous rest upon the Sabbath day, our Savior always opposed, when the Pharisaical Jews insisted on it, as is evident in many places in the New Testament, though he still intimated how pernicious that superstition might prove to them in their flight from the Romans, Matthew 25:20.

[8] This is fully confirmed by the testimony of Cicero, who: says, in his oration for Flaecus, that "Cneius Pompeius, when he was conqueror, and had taken Jerusalem, did not touch any thing belonging to that temple."

[9] Of this destruction of Gadara here presupposed, and its restoration by Pompey, see the note on the War, B. I. ch.7. sect.7.

[10] Dean Prideaux well observes, "That notwithstanding the clamor against Gabinius at Rome, Josephus gives him a able character, as if he had acquitted himself with honor in the charge committed to him" [in Judea]. See at the year 55.

[11] This history is best illustrated by Dr. Hudson out of Livy, who says that "A. Gabinius, the proconsul, restored Ptolemy of Pompey and Gabinius against the Jews, while neither of them say any thing new which is not in the other to his kingdom of Egypt, and ejected Archelaus, whom they had set up for king," &c. See Prid. at the years 61 and 65.

[12] Dr. Hudson observes, that the name of this wife of Antipater in Josephus was Cypros, as a Hebrew termination, but not Cypris, the Greek name for Venus, as some critics were ready to correct it.

[13] Take Dr. Hudson's note upon this place, which I suppose to be the truth: "Here is some mistake in Josephus; for when he had promised us a decree for the restoration of Jerusalem he brings in a decree of far greater antiquity, and that a league of friendship and union only. One may easily believe that Josephus gave order for one thing, and his amanuensis performed another, by transposing decrees that concerned the Hyrcani, and as deluded by the sameness of their names; for that belongs to the first high priest of this name, [John Hyrcanus,] which Josephus here ascribes to one that lived later [Hyrcanus, the son of Alexander Janneus]. However, the decree which he proposes to set down follows a little lower, in the collection of Raman decrees that concerned the Jews and is that dated when Caesar was consul the fifth time." See ch.10. sect.5.

[14] Those who will carefully observe the several occasional numbers and chronological characters in the life and death of this Herod, and of his children, hereafter noted, will see that twenty-five years, and not fifteen, must for certain have been here Josephus's own number for the age of Herod, when he was made governor of Galilee. See ch.23. sect.5, and ch.24. sect.7; and particularly Antiq. B. XVII. ch.8. sect.1, where about forty-four years afterwards Herod dies an old man at about seventy.

[15] It is here worth our while to remark, that none could be put to death in Judea but by the approbation of the Jewish Sanhedrim, there being an excellent provision in the law of Moses, that even in criminal causes, and particularly where life was concerned, an appeal should lie from the lesser councils of seven in the other cities to the supreme council of seventy-one at Jerusalem; and that is exactly according to our Savior's words, when he says, "It could not be that a prophet should perish out of Jerusalem," Luke 13:33.

[16] This account, as Reland observes, is confirmed by the Talmudists, who call this Sameas, "Simeon, the son of Shetach."

[17] That Hyreanus was himself in Egypt, along with Antipater, at this time, to whom accordingly the bold and prudent actions of his deputy Antipater are here ascribed, as this decree of Julius Caesar supposes, we are further assured by the testimony of Strabo, already produced by Josephus, ch.8. sect.3.

[18] Dr. Hudson justly supposes that the Roman imperators, or generals of armies, meant both here and sect.2, who gave testimony to Hyrcanus's and the Jews' faithfulness and goodwill to the Romans before the senate and people of Rome, were principally Pompey, Scaurus, and Gabinius; of all whom Josephus had already given us the history, so far as the Jews were concerned with them.

[19] We have here a most remarkable and authentic attestation of the citizens of Pergamus, that Abraham was the father of all the Hebrews; that their own ancestors were, in the oldest times, the friends of those Hebrews; and that the public arts of their city, then extant, confirmed the same; which evidence is too strong to be evaded by our present ignorance of the particular occasion of such ancient friendship and alliance between those people. See the like full evidence of the kindred of the Lacedemonians and the Jews; and that became they were both of the posterity of Abraham, by a public epistle of those people to the Jews, preserved in the First Book of the Maccabees, 12:19-23; and thence by Josephus, Antiq. B. XII. ch.4 sect.10; both which authentic records are highly valuable. It is also well worthy of observation, what Moses Chorenensis, the principal Armenian historian, informs us of, p.83, that Arsaces, who raised the Parthian empire, was of the seed of Abraham by Chetura; and that thereby was accomplished that prediction which said, "Kings of nations shall proceed from thee," Genesis 17:6.

[20] If we compare Josephus's promise in sect.1, to produce all the public decrees of the Romans in favor of the Jews, with his excuse here for omitting many of them, we may observe, that when he came to transcribe all those decrees he had collected, he found them so numerous, that he thought he should too much tire his readers if he had attempted it, which he thought a sufficient apology for his omitting the rest of them; yet do those by him produced afford such a strong confirmation to his history, and give such great light to even the Roman antiquities themselves, that I believe the curious are not a little sorry for such his omissions.

[21] For Marcus, this president of Syria, sent as successor to Sextus Caesar, the Roman historians require us to read "Marcus" in Josephus, and this perpetually, both in these Antiquities, and in his History of the Wars, as the learned generally agree.

[22] In this and the following chapters the reader will easily remark, how truly Gronovius observes, in his notes on the Roman decrees in favor of the Jews, that their rights and privileges were commonly purchased of the Romans with money. Many examples of this sort, both as to the Romans and others in authority, will occur in our Josephus, both now and hereafter, and need not be taken particular notice of on the several occasions in these notes. Accordingly, the chief captain confesses to St. Paul that "with a great sum he had obtained his freedom," Acts 22:28; as had St. Paul's ancestors, very probably, purchased the like freedom for their family by money, as the same author justly concludes also.

[23] This clause plainly alludes to that well-known but unusual and very long darkness of the sun which happened upon the murder of Julius Cesar by Brutus and Cassius, which is greatly taken notice of by Virgil, Pliny, and other Roman authors. See Virgil's Georgics, B. I., just before the end; and Pliny's Nat. Hist. B. IL ch.33.

[24] We may here take notice that espousals alone were of old esteemed a sufficient foundation for affinity, Hyrcanus being here called father-in-law to Herod because his granddaughter Mariarune was betrothed to him, although the marriage was not completed till four years afterwards. See Matthew 1:16.

[25] This law of Moses, that the priests were to be "without blemish," as to all the parts of their bodies, is in Leviticus 21:17-24

[26] Concerning the chronology of Herod, and the time when he was first made king at Rome, and concerning the time when he began his second reign, without a rival, upon the conquest and slaughter of Antigonus, both principally derived from this and the two next chapters in Josephus, see the note on sect.6, and ch.15. sect.10.

[27] This grievous want of water at Masada, till the place had like to have been taken by the Parthians, [mentioned both here, and Of the War, B. I. ch.15. sect.1,] is an indication that it was now summer time.

[28] This affirmation of Antigonus, spoken in the days of Herod, and in a manner to his face, that he was an Idumean, i.e. a half Jew, seems to me of much greater authority than that pretense of his favorite and flatterer Nicolaus of Damascus, that he derived his pedigree from Jews as far backward as the Babylonish captivity, ch.1. sect.3. Accordingly Josephus always esteems him an Idumean, though he says his father Antipater was of the same people with the Jews, ch. viii. sect.1. and by birth a Jew, Antiq. B. XX. ch.8. sect.7; as indeed all such proselytes of justice, as the Idumeans, were in time esteemed the very same people with the Jews.

[29] It may be worth our observation here, that these soldiers of Herod could not have gotten upon the tops of these houses which were full of enemies, in order to pull up the upper floors, and destroy them beneath, but by ladders from the out side; which illustrates some texts in the New Testament, by which it appears that men used to ascend thither by ladders on the outsides. See Matthew 24:17; Mark 13:15; Luke 5:19; 17:31.

[30] Note here, that Josephus fully and frequently assures us that there passed above three years between Herod's first obtaining the kingdom at Rome, and his second obtaining it upon the taking of Jerusalem and death of Antigonus. The present history of this interval twice mentions the army going into winter quarters, which perhaps belonged to two several winters, ch.15. sect.3, 4; and though Josephus says nothing how long they lay in those quarters, yet does he give such an account of the long and studied delays of Ventidius, Silo, and Macheras, who were to see Herod settled in his new kingdom, but seem not to have had sufficient forces for that purpose, and were for certain all corrupted by Antigonus to make the longest delays possible, and gives us such particular accounts of the many great actions of Herod during the same interval, as fairly imply that interval, before Herod went to Samosata, to have been very considerable. However, what is wanting in Josephus, is fully supplied by Moses Chorenensis, the Armenian historian, in his history of that interval, B. II ch.18., where he directly assures us that Tigranes, then king of Armenia, and the principal manager of this Parthian war, reigned two years after Herod was made king at Rome, and yet Antony did not hear of his death, in that very neighborhood, at Samosata, till he was come thither to besiege it; after which Herod brought him an army, which was three hundred and forty miles' march, and through a difficult country, full of enemies also, and joined with him in the siege of Samosata till that city was taken; then Herod and Sosins marched back with their large armies the same number of three hundred and forty miles; and when, in a little time, they sat down to besiege Jerusalem, they were not able to take it but by a siege of five months. All which put together, fully supplies what is wanting in Josephus, and secures the entire chronology of these times beyond contradiction.

book 12 footnotes
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