marks of hatred or treacherous design towards the Syrians; but what was done by the inhabitants of Scythopolis was the most impious and highly criminal of all; for when the Jews, their enemies, came upon them from without, they forced the Jews that were among them to bear arms against their own countrymen, which it is unlawful for us to do; and when by their assistance, they had joined battle with those that attacked them, and had beaten them, after that victory they forgot the assurances they had given these their fellow-citizens and confederates, and slew them all; being in number many ten thousands [13,000]. The like miseries were undergone by those Jews that were the inhabitants of Damascus; but we have given a more accurate account of these things in the books of the Jewish war. I only mention them now, because I would demonstrate to my readers that the Jews' war with the Romans was not voluntary, but that, for the main, they were forced by necessity to enter into it.
7. SO WHEN Gessius had been beaten, as we have said already, the principal men of Jerusalem, seeing that the robbers and innovators had arms in great plenty, and fearing lest they, while they were unprovided of arms, should be in subjection to their enemies, which also came to be the case afterwards,—and, being informed that all Galilee had not yet revolted from the Romans,
but that some part of it was still quiet, they sent me and two others of the priests, who were men of excellent characters, Joazar and Judas, in order to persuade the ill men there to lay down their arms, and to teach them this lesson, That it were better to have those arms reserved for the most courageous men that the nation had [than to be kept there]; for that it had been resolved, That those, our best men, should always have their arms ready against futurity; but still so, that they should wait to see what the Romans would do.
8. WHEN I had therefore received these
instructions, I came into Galilee, and found the people of Sepphoris in no small agony about their country, by reason that the Galileans had resolved to plunder it, on account of the friendship they had with the Romans; and because they had given their right hand, and made a league with Cestius Gallus, the president of Syria; but I delivered them all out of the fear they were in, and persuaded the multitude to deal kindly with them, and permitted them to send to those that were their own hostages with Gessius to Dora, which is a city of Phenicia, as often as they pleased; though I still found the inhabitants of Tiberias ready to take arms, and that on the occasion following:—
9. THERE WERE three factions in this city. The first was composed of men of worth and gravity; of these Julius Capellus was the head. Now he, as well as all his companions, Herod the son of Miarus, and Herod the son of Gamalus, and Compsus the son of Compsus (for as to Compsus's brother Crispus, who had once been governor of the city under the great king [Agrippa],
he was beyond Jordan in his own possessions); all these persons before named gave their advice, that the city should then continue in their allegiance to the Romans and to the king; but Pistus, who was guided by his son Justus, did not acquiesce in that resolution, otherwise he was himself naturally of a good and virtuous character; but the second faction was composed of the most ignoble persons, and was determined for war; but as for Justus, the son of Pistus, who was the head of the third faction, although he pretended to be doubtful about going to war, yet was he really desirous of innovation, as supposing that he should gain power to himself by the change of affairs. He, therefore, came into the midst of them, and endeavoured to inform the multitude that "the city Tiberias had ever been a city of Galilee; and that in the days of Herod the tetrarch, who had built it, it had obtained the principal place; and that he had ordered that the city Sepphoris should be subordinate to the city Tiberias: that they had not lost this pre-eminence even under Agrippa the father, but had retained it until Felix was procurator of Judea; but he told them that now they had been so unfortunate as to be made a present by Nero to Agrippa, junior; and that, upon Sepphoris's submission of itself to the Romans, that was become the capital city of Galilee, and that the royal treasury and the archives were now removed from them." When he had spoken these things, and a great many more against Agrippa, in order to provoke the people to a revolt, he added, That "this was the time for them to take arms, and join with the Galileans as their confederates (whom they might command, and who would now willingly assist them, out of the hatred they bare to the people of Sepphoris; because they preserved their fidelity to the Romans), and to gather a great number of forces in order to punish them." And, as he said
this, he exhorted the multitude [to go to war]; for his abilities lay in making harangues to the people, and in being too hard in his speeches for such as opposed him, though they advised what was more to their advantage, and this by his craftiness and his fallacies, for he was not unskilful in the learning of the Greeks; and in dependence on that skill it
- See Of the War, b. II. ch. xviii. sect. 3.
- The Jews might collect this unlawfulness of fighting against their brethren from the law of Moses (Levit. xix. 16), "Thou shalt not stand against the blood of thy neighbour;" and that (ver. 17), "Thou shalt not avenge, nor hear any grudge, against the children of thy people; but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself;" as well as from many other places in the Pentateuch and Prophets.—See Antiq. b. viii. ch. viii. sect. 3.
- That this Herod Agrippa, the father, was of old called a Great King as here, appears by his coins still remaining; to which Havercamp refers us.