Containing The Interval Of Twenty-Two Years.
From Fadus The Procurator To Florus.
How Izates Was Betrayed By His Own Subjects, And Fought Against By The Arabians And How Izates, By The Providence Of God, Was Delivered Out Of Their Hands.
1. NOW when the king's brother, Monobazus, and his other kindred, saw how Izates, by his piety to God, was become greatly esteemed by all men, they also had a desire to leave the religion of their country, and to embrace the customs of the Jews; but that act of theirs was discovered by Izates's subjects. Whereupon the grandees were much displeased, and could not contain their anger at them; but had an intention, when they should find a proper opportunity, to inflict a punishment upon them. Accordingly, they wrote to Abia, king of the Arabians, and promised him great sums of money, if he would make an expedition against their king; and they further promised him, that, on the first onset, they would desert their king, because they were desirous to punish him, by reason of the hatred he had to their religious worship; then they obliged themselves, by oaths, to be faithful to each other, and desired that he would make haste in this design.
The king of Arabia complied with their desires, and brought a great army into the field, and marched against Izates; and, in the beginning of the first onset, and before they came to a close fight, those Handees, as if they had a panic terror upon them, all deserted Izates, as they had agreed to do, and, turning their backs upon their enemies, ran away. Yet was not Izates dismayed at this; but when he understood that the grandees had betrayed him, he also retired into his camp, and made inquiry into the matter; and as soon as he knew who they were that made this conspiracy with the king of Arabia, he cut off those that were found guilty; and renewing the fight on the next day, he slew the greatest part of his enemies, and forced all the rest to betake themselves to flight. He also pursued their king, and drove him into a fortress called Arsamus, and following on the siege vigorously, he took that fortress. And when he had plundered it of all the prey that was in it, which was not small, he returned to Adiabene; yet did not he take Abia alive, because, when he found himself encompassed on every side, he slew himself.
2. But although the grandees of Adiabene had failed in their first attempt, as being delivered up by God into their king's hands, yet would they not even then be quiet, but wrote again to Vologases, who was then king of Parthia, and desired that he would kill Izates, and set over them some other potentate, who should be of a Parthian family; for they said that they hated their own king for abrogating the laws of their forefathers, and embracing foreign customs. When the king of Parthia heard this, he boldly made war upon Izates; and as he had no just pretense for this war, he sent to him, and demanded back those honorable privileges which had been bestowed on him by his father, and threatened, on his refusal, to make war upon him. Upon hearing of this, Izates was under no small trouble of mind, as thinking it would be a reproach upon him to appear to resign those privileges that had been bestowed upon him out of cowardice; yet because he knew, that though the king of Parthia should receive back those honors, yet would he not be quiet, he resolved to commit himself to God, his Protector, in the present danger he was in of his life; and as he esteemed him to be his principal assistant, he intrusted his children and his wives to a very strong fortress, and laid up his corn in his citadels, and set the hay and the grass on fire.
And when he had thus put things in order, as well as he could, he awaited the coming of the enemy. And when the king of Parthia was come, with a great army of footmen and horsemen, which he did sooner than was expected, (for he marched in great haste,) and had cast up a bank at the river that parted Adiabene from Media, - Izates also pitched his camp not far off, having with him six thousand horsemen. But there came a messenger to Izates, sent by the king of Parthia, who told him how large his dominions were, as reaching from the river Euphrates to Bactria, and enumerated that king's subjects; he also threatened him that he should be punished, as a person ungrateful to his lords; and said that the God whom he worshipped could not deliver him out of the king's hands. When the messenger had delivered this his message, Izates replied that he knew the king of Parthia's power was much greater than his own; but that he knew also that God was much more powerful than all men. And when he had returned him this answer, he betook himself to make supplication to God, and threw himself upon the ground, and put ashes upon his head, in testimony of his confusion, and fasted, together with his wives and children. (7) Then he called upon God, and said,
"O Lord and Governor, if I have not in vain committed myself to thy goodness, but have justly determined that thou only art the Lord and principal of all beings, come now to my assistance, and defend me from my enemies, not only on my own account, but on account of their insolent behavior with regard to thy power, while they have not feared to lift up their proud and arrogant tongue against thee."
Thus did he lament and bemoan himself, with tears in his eyes; whereupon God heard his prayer. And immediately that very night Vologases received letters, the contents of which were these, that a great band of Dahe and Sacse, despising him, now he was gone so long a journey from home, had made an expedition, and laid Parthis waste; so that he [was forced to] retire back, without doing any thing. And thus it was that Izates escaped the threatenings of the Parthians, by the providence of God.
3. It was not long ere Izates died, when he had completed fifty-five years of his life, and had ruled his kingdom twenty-four years. He left behind him twenty-four sons and twenty-four daughters. However, he gave order that his brother Monobazus should succeed in the government, thereby requiting him, because, while he was himself absent after their father's death, he had faithfully preserved the government for him. But when Helena, his mother, heard of her son's death, she was in great heaviness, as was but natural, upon her loss of such a most dutiful son; yet was it a comfort to her that she heard the succession came to her eldest son. Accordingly, she went to him in haste; and when she was come into Adiabene, she did not long outlive her son Izates. But Monobazus sent her bones, as well as those of Izates, his brother, to Jerusalem, and gave order that they should be buried at the pyramids (8) which their mother had erected; they were three in number, and distant no more than three furlongs from the city Jerusalem. But for the actions of Monobazus the king, which he did during the rest of his life we will relate them hereafter.-
(7) This conduct of Izates is a sign that he was become either a Jew, or an Ebionite Christian, who indeed differed not much from proper Jews. See Ch. 6. Sect. 1. However, his supplications were heard, and he was providentially delivered from that imminent danger he was in.
(8) These pyramids or pillars, erected by Helena, queen of Adiabene, near Jerusalem, three in number, are mentioned by Eusebius, in his Eccles. Hist. B. II. Ch. 12, for which Dr. Hudson refers us to Valesius's notes upon that place. They are also mentioned by Pausanias, as hath been already noted, Ch. 2. Sect. 6. Reland guesses that that now called Absalom's Pillar may be one of them.