Gods, and also for their understanding gotten by education”; and presently after, “For generally these men, in the greatest affairs of all, are the King’s counsellors, partly executing, and partly informing and advising him; foretelling him also (by their skill in astrology and art in the inspection of sacrifices) the things that are to come, and reading to him out of their holy books such of the actions there recorded, as are profitable for him to know. It is not there as in Greece, one man or one woman that has the priesthood; but they are many that attend the honours and sacrifices of the Gods, and leave the same employment to their posterity, which, next to the King, have the greatest power and authority.”
Concerning the judicature amongst the Egyptians, he saith thus: “From out of the most eminent cities, Hieropolis, Thebes, and Memphis, they choose judges, which are a council not inferior to that of Areopagus in Athens, or that of the senate in Lacedæmon. When they are met, being in number thirty, they choose one from amongst themselves to be chief-justice, and the city whereof he is, sendeth another in his place. This chief-justice wore about his neck, hung in a gold chain, a jewel of precious stones, the name of which jewel was truth; which, when the chief-justice had put on, then began the pleading, &c.; and when the judges had agreed on the sentence, then did the chief-justice put this jewel of truth to one of the pleas.” You see now what power was acquired in civil matters by the conjuncture of philosophy and divinity.
Let us come now to the commonwealth of the Jews. Was not the priesthood in a family (namely, the Levites) as well as the priesthood of Egypt? Did not the high-priest give judgment by the breastplate of Urim and Thummim? Look upon the kingdom of Assyria, and the philosophers called Chaldeans. Had they not lands and cities belonging to their family, even in Abraham’s time, who dwelt (you know) in Ur of the Chaldeans? Of these the same author
- B. Was this kind of government and judicature in Egypt used in the time that [Jews] Moses lived there?
A. [Yes.] I know not. This question and answer have been erased in the MS. by H.’s own hand.