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- The Life of Flavius Josephus - 3/13 -


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 approbation 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 lament 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.

18. But before I had spoken all I designed, I heard one of my own domestics bidding me come down, for that it was not a proper time to take care of retaining the good-will of the people of Tiberias, but to provide for my own safety, and escape my enemies there; for John had chosen the most trusty of those armed men that were about him out of those thousand that he had with him, and had given them orders when he sent them, to kill me, having learned that I was alone, excepting some of my domestics. So those that were sent came as they were ordered, and they had executed what they came about, had I not leaped down from the elevation I stood on, and with one of my guards, whose name was James, been carried [out of the crowd] upon the back of one Herod of Tiberias, and guided by him down to the lake, where I seized a ship, and got into it, and escaped my enemies unexpectedly, and came to Tarichese.

19. Now, as soon as the inhabitants of that city understood the perfidiousness of the people of Tiberias, they were greatly provoked at them. So they snatched up their arms, and desired me to be their leader against them; for they said they would avenge their commander's cause upon them. They also carried the report of what had been done to me to all the Galileans, and eagerly endeavored to irritate them against the people of Tiberias, and desired that vast numbers of them would get together, and come to them, that they might act in concert with their commander, what should be determined as fit to be done. Accordingly, the Galileans came to me in great numbers, from all parts, with their weapons, and besought me to assault Tiberias, to take it by force, and to demolish it, till it lay even with the ground, and then to make slaves of its inhabitants, with their wives and children. Those that were Josephus's friends also, and had escaped out of Tiberias, gave him the same advice. But I did not comply with them, thinking it a terrible thing to begin a civil war among them; for I thought that this contention ought not to proceed further than words; nay, I told them that it was not for their own advantage to do what they would have me to do, while the Romans expected no other than that we should destroy one another by our mutual seditions. And by saying this, I put a stop to the anger of the Galileans.

20. But now John was afraid for himself, since his treachery had proved unsuccessful. So he took the armed men that were about him, and removed from Tiberias to Gischala, and wrote to me to apologize for himself concerning What had been done, as if it had been done without his approbation, and desired me to have no suspicion of him to his disadvantage. He also added oaths and certain horrible curses upon himself, and supposed he should be thereby believed in the points he wrote about to me.

21. But now another great number of the Galileans came together again with their weapons, as knowing the man, how wicked and how sadly perjured he was, and desired me to lead them against him and promised me that they would utterly both him and Gischala. Hereupon I professed that I was obliged to them for their readiness to serve me, and that I would more than requite their good-will to me. However, I entreated them to restrain themselves, and begged of them to give me leave to do what I intended, which was to put an end to these troubles without bloodshed; and when I had prevailed with the multitude of the Galileans to let me do so, I came to Sepphoris.

22. But the inhabitants of this city having determined to continue in their allegiance to the Romans, were afraid of my coming to them, and tried, by putting me upon another action, to divert me, that they might be freed from the terror they were in. Accordingly, they sent to Jesus, the captain of those robbers who were in the confines of Ptolemais, and promised to give him a great deal of money, if he would come with those forces he had with him, which were in number eight hundred, and fight with us. Accordingly, he complied with what they desired, upon the promises they had made him, and was desirous to fall upon us when we were unprepared for him, and knew nothing of his coming beforehand. So he sent to me, and desired that I would give him leave to come and salute me. When I had given him that leave, which I did without the least knowledge of his treacherous intentions beforehand, he took his band of robbers, and made haste to come to me. Yet did not this his knavery succeed well at last; for as he was already nearly approaching, one of those with him deserted him, and came to me, and told me what he had undertaken to do. When I was informed of this, I went into the market-place, and pretended to know nothing of his treacherous purpose. I took with me many Galileans that were armed, as also some of those of Tiberias; and, when I had given orders that all the roads should be carefully guarded, I charged the keepers of the gates to give admittance to none but Jesus, when he came, with the principal of his men, and to exclude the rest; and in case they aimed to force themselves in, to use stripes [in order to repel them]. Accordingly, those that had received such a


The Life of Flavius Josephus - 3/13

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