Containing The Interval Of Thirty-Two Years.
From The Death Of Queen Alexandra To The Death Of Antigonus.
The War Between Aristobulus And Hyrcanus About The Kingdom; And How They Made An Agreement That Aristobulus Should Be King, And Hyrcanus Live A Private Life; As Also How Hyrcanus A Little Afterward Was Persuaded By Antipater To Fly To Aretas.
1. WE have related the affairs of queen Alexandra, and her death, in the foregoing book and will now speak of what followed, and was connected with those histories; declaring, before we proceed, that we have nothing so much at heart as this, that we may omit no facts, either through ignorance or laziness; (1) for we are upon the history and explication of such things as the greatest part are unacquainted withal, because of their distance from our times; and we aim to do it with a proper beauty of style, so far as that is derived from proper words harmonically disposed, and from such ornaments of speech also as may contribute to the pleasure of our readers, that they may entertain the knowledge of what we write with some agreeable satisfaction and pleasure. But the principal scope that authors ought to aim at above all the rest, is to speak accurately, and to speak truly, for the satisfaction of those that are otherwise unacquainted with such transactions, and obliged to believe what these writers inform them of.
2. Hyrcanus then began his high priesthood on the third year of the hundred and seventy-seventh olympiad, when Quintus Hortensius and Quintus Metellus, who was called Metellus of Crete, were consuls at Rome; when presently Aristobulus began to make war against him; and as it came to a battle with Hyrcanus at Jericho, many of his soldiers deserted him, and went over to his brother; upon which Hyrcanus fled into the citadel, where Aristobulus's wife and children were imprisoned by their mother, as we have said already, and attacked and overcame those his adversaries that had fled thither, and lay within the walls of the temple. So when he had sent a message to his brother about agreeing the matters between them, he laid aside his enmity to him on these conditions, that Aristobulus should be king, that he should live without intermeddling with public affairs, and quietly enjoy the estate he had acquired. When they had agreed upon these terms in the temple, and had confirmed the agreement with oaths, and the giving one another their right hands, and embracing one another in the sight of the whole multitude, they departed; the one, Aristobulus, to the palace; and Hyrcanus, as a private man, to the former house of Aristobulus.
3. But there was a certain friend of Hyrcanus, an Idumean, called Antipater, who was very rich, and in his nature an active and a seditious man; who was at enmity with Aristobulus, and had differences with him on account of his good-will to Hyrcanus. It is true that Nicolas of Damascus says, that Antipater was of the stock of the principal Jews who came out of Babylon into Judea; but that assertion of his was to gratify Herod, who was his son, and who, by certain revolutions of fortune, came afterward to be king of the Jews, whose history we shall give you in its proper place hereafter. However, this Antipater was at first called Antipas, (2) and that was his father's name also; of whom they relate this: That king Alexander and his wife made him general of all Idumea, and that he made a league of friendship with those Arabians, and Gazites, and Ascalonites, that were of his own party, and had, by many and large presents, made them his fast friends.
But now this younger Antipater was suspicious of the power of Aristobulus, and was afraid of some mischief he might do him, because of his hatred to him; so he stirred up the most powerful of the Jews, and talked against him to them privately; and said that it was unjust to overlook the conduct of Aristobulus, who had gotten the government unrighteously, and ejected his brother out of it, who was the elder, and ought to retain what belonged to him by prerogative of his birth. And the same speeches he perpetually made to Hyrcanus; and told him that his own life would be in danger, unless he guarded himself, and got shut of Aristobulus; for he said that the friends of Aristobulus omitted no opportunity of advising him to kill him, as being then, and not before, sure to retain his principality. Hyrcanus gave no credit to these words of his, as being of a gentle disposition, and one that did not easily admit of calumnies against other men. This temper of his not disposing him to meddle with public affairs, and want of spirit, occasioned him to appear to spectators to be degenerous and unmanly; while. Aristo-bulus was of a contrary temper, an active man, and one of a great and generous soul.
4. Since therefore Antipater saw that Hyrcanus did not attend to what he said, he never ceased, day by day, to charge reigned crimes upon Aristobulus, and to calumniate him before him, as if he had a mind to kill him; and so, by urging him perpetually, he advised him, and persuaded him to fly to Aretas, the king of Arabia; and promised, that if he would comply with his advice, he would also himself assist him and go with him]. When Hyrcanus heard this, he said that it was for his advantage to fly away to Aretas. Now Arabia is a country that borders upon Judea. However, Hyrcanus sent Antipater first to the king of Arabia, in order to receive assurances from him, that when he should come in the manner of a supplicant to him, he would not deliver him up to his enemies.
So Antipater having received such assurances, returned to Hyrcanus to Jerusalem. A while afterward he took Hyrcanus, and stole out of the city by night, and went a great journey, and came and brought him to the city called Petra, where the palace of Aretas was; and as he was a very familiar friend of that king, he persuaded him to bring back Hyrcanus into Judea, and this persuasion he continued every day without any intermission. He also proposed to make him presents on that account. At length he prevailed with Aretas in his suit. Moreover, Hyrcanus promised him, that when he had been brought thither, and had received his kingdom, he would restore that country, and those twelve cities which his father Alexander had taken from the Arabians, which were these, Medaba, Naballo, Libias, Tharabasa, Agala, Athone, Zoar, Orone, Marissa, Rudda, Lussa, and Oruba.
(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.