Containing The Interval Of Two Hundred And Fifty-Three Years.
From The First Of Cyrus To The Death Of Alexander The Great.
How John Slew His Brother Jesus In The Temple; And How Bagoses Offered Many Injuries To The Jews; and What Sanballat Did.
1. WHEN Eliashib the high priest was dead, his son Judas succeeded in the high priesthood; and when he was dead, his son John took that dignity; on whose account it was also that Bagoses, the general of another Artaxerxes's army, (23) polluted the temple, and imposed tributes on the Jews, that out of the public stock, before they offered the daily sacrifices, they should pay for every lamb fifty shekels. Now Jesus was the brother of John, and was a friend of Bagoses, who had promised to procure him the high priesthood. In confidence of whose support, Jesus quarreled with John in the temple, and so provoked his brother, that in his anger his brother slew him. Now it was a horrible thing for John, when he was high priest, to perpetrate so great a crime, and so much the more horrible, that there never was so cruel and impious a thing done, neither by the Greeks nor Barbarians. However, God did not neglect its punishment, but the people were on that very account enslaved, and the temple was polluted by the Persians. Now when Bagoses, the general of Artaxerxes's army, knew that John, the high priest of the Jews, had slain his own brother Jesus in the temple, he came upon the Jews immediately, and began in anger to say to them,
"Have you had the impudence to perpetrate a murder in your temple?" And as he was aiming to go into the temple, they forbade him so to do; but he said to them," Am not I purer than he that was slain in the temple?"
And when he had said these words, he went into the temple. Accordingly, Bagoses made use of this pretense, and punished the Jews seven years for the murder of Jesus.
2. Now when John had departed this life, his son Jaddua succeeded in the high priesthood. He had a brother, whose name was Manasseh. :Now there was one Sanballat, who was sent by Darius, the last king [of Persia], into Samaria. He was a Cutheam by birth; of which stock were the Samaritans also. This man knew that the city Jerusalem was a famous city, and that their kings had given a great deal of trouble to the Assyrians, and the people of Celesyria; so that he willingly gave his daughter, whose name was Nicaso, in marriage to Manasseh, as thinking this alliance by marriage would be a pledge and security that the nation of the Jews should continue their good-will to him.
(23) Concerning this other Artaxerxes, called Muemon, and the Persian affliction and captivity of the Jews under him, occasioned by the murder of the high priest's brother in the holy house itself, see Authent. Rec. at large, p. 49. And if any wonder why Josephus wholly omits the rest of the kings of Persia after Artaxerxes Mnemon, till he came to their last king Darius, who was conquered by Alexander the Great, I shall give them Vossius's and Dr. Hudson's answer, though in my own words, viz. that Josephus did not do ill in admitting those kings of Persia with whom the Jews had no concern, because he was giving the history of the Jews, and not of the Persians [which is a sufficient reason also why he entirely omits the history and the Book of Job, as not particularly relating to that nation]. He justly therefore returns to the Jewish affairs after the death of Longimanus, without any intention of Darius II before Artaxerxes Mnemon, or of Ochus or Arogus, as the Canon of Ptolemy names them, after him. Nor had he probably mentioned this other Artaxerxes, unless Bagoses, one of the governors and commanders under him, had occasioned the pollution of the Jewish temple, and had greatly distressed the Jews upon that pollution.