Containing The Interval Of Thirty-Two Years.
From The Death Of Queen Alexandra To The Death Of Antigonus.
How Scaurus Made A League Of Mutual Assistance With Aretas; And What Gabinius Did In Judea, After He Had Conqured Alexander, The Son Of Aristobulus.
1. SCAURUS made now an expedition against Petrea, in Arabia, and set on fire all the places round about it, because of the great difficulty of access to it. And as his army was pinched by famine, Antipater furnished him with corn out of Judea, and with whatever else he wanted, and this at the command of Hyrcanus. And when he was sent to Aretas, as an ambassador by Scaurus, because he had lived with him formerly, he persuaded Aretas to give Scaurus a sum of money, to prevent the burning of his country, and undertook to be his surety for three hundred talents. So Scaurus, upon these terms, ceased to make war any longer; which was done as much at Scaurus's desire, as at the desire of Aretas.
2. Some time after this, when Alexander, the son of Aristobulus, made an incursion into Judea, Gabinius came from Rome into Syria, as commander of the Roman forces. He did many considerable actions; and particularly made war with Alexander, since Hyrcanus was not yet able to oppose his power, but was already attempting to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, which Pompey had overthrown, although the Romans which were there restrained him from that his design. However, Alexander went over all the country round about, and armed many of the Jews, and suddenly got together ten thousand armed footmen, and fifteen hundred horsemen, and fortified Alexandrium, a fortress near to Corem, and Macherus, near the mountains of Arabia. Gabinius therefore came upon him, having sent Marcus Antonius, with other commanders, before. These armed such Romans as followed them; and, together with them, such Jews as were subject to them, whose leaders were Pitholaus and Malichus; and they took with them also their friends that were with Antipater, and met Alexander, while Gabinius himself followed with his legion. Hereupon Alexander retired to the neighborhood of Jerusalem, where they fell upon one another, and it came to a pitched battle, in which the Romans slew of their enemies about three thousand, and took a like number alive.
3. At which time Gabinius (10) came to Alexandrium, and invited those that were in it to deliver it up on certain conditions, and promised that then their former offenses should be forgiven. But as a great number of the enemy had pitched their camp before the fortress, whom the Romans attacked, Marcus Antonius fought bravely, and slew a great number, and seemed to come off with the greatest honor. So Gabinius left part of his army there, in order to take the place, and he himself went into other parts of Judea, and gave order to rebuild all the cities that he met with that had been demolished; at which time were rebuilt Samaria, Ashdod, Scythopolis, Anthedon, Raphia, and Dora; Marissa also, and Gaza, and not a few others besides. And as the men acted according to Gabinius's command, it came to pass, that at this time these cities were securely inhabited, which had been desolate for a long time.
4. When Gabinius had done thus in the country, he returned to Alexandrium; and when he urged on the siege of the place, Alexander sent an embassage to him, desiring that he would pardon his former offenses; he also delivered up the fortresses, Hyrcania and Macherus, and at last Alexandrium itself which fortresses Gabinius demolished. But when Alexander's mother, who was of the side of the Romans, as having her husband and other children at Rome, came to him, he granted her whatsoever she asked; and when he had settled matters with her, he brought Hyrcanus to Jerusalem, and committed the care of the temple to him. And when he had ordained five councils, he distributed the nation into the same number of parts. So these councils governed the people; the first was at Jerusalem, the second at Gadara, the third at Amathus, the fourth at Jericho, and the fifth at Sepphoris in Galilee. So the Jews were now freed from monarchic authority, and were governed by an aristocracy.
(10) Dean Prideaux well observes, "That notwithstanding the clamor against Gabinius at Rome, Josephus gives him a able character, as if he had acquitted himself with honor in the charge committed to him" [in Judea]. See at the year 55.