Concerning The Interval Of One Hundred And Sixty-Seven Years.
From The Taking Of Jerusalem By Antiochus Epiphanes,
To The Death Of Herod The Great.
HEROD IS MADE PROCURATOR OF ALL SYRIA; MALICHUS IS AFRAID OF HIM, AND TAKES ANTIPATER OFF BY POISON; WHEREUPON THE TRIBUNES OF THE SOLDIERS ARE PREVAILED WITH TO KILL HIM.
1. THERE, was at this time a mighty war raised among the Romans upon the sudden and treacherous slaughter of Caesar by Cassius and Brutus, after he had held the government for three years and seven months. (14) Upon this murder there were very great agitations, and the great men were mightily at difference one with another, and every one betook himself to that party where they had the greatest hopes of their own, of advancing themselves. Accordingly, Cassius came into Syria, in order to receive the forces that were at Apamia, where he procured a reconciliation between Bassus and Marcus, and the legions which were at difference with him; so he raised the siege of Apamia, and took upon him the command of the army, and went about exacting tribute of the cities, and demanding their money to such a degree as they were not able to bear.
2. So he gave command that the Jews should bring in seven hundred talents; whereupon Antipater, out of his dread of Cassius's threats, parted the raising of this sum among his sons, and among others of his acquaintance, and to be done immediately; and among them he required one Malichus, who was at enmity with him, to do his part also, which necessity forced him to do. Now Herod, in the first place, mitigated the passion of Cassius, by bringing his share out of Galilee, which was a hundred talents, on which account he was in the highest favor with him; and when he reproached the rest for being tardy, he was angry at the cities themselves; so he made slaves of Gophna and Emmaus, and two others of less note; nay, he proceeded as if he would kill Malichus, because he had not made greater haste in exacting his tribute; but Antipater prevented the ruin of this man, and of the other cities, and got into Cassius's favor by bringing in a hundred talents immediately. (15)
3. However, when Cassius was gone Malichus forgot the kindness that Antipater had done him, and laid frequent plots against him that had saved him, as making haste to get him out of the way, who was an obstacle to his wicked practices; but Antipater was so much afraid of the power and cunning of the man, that he went beyond Jordan, in order to get an army to guard himself against his treacherous designs; but when Malichus was caught in his plot, he put upon Antipater's sons by his impudence, for he thoroughly deluded Phasaelus, who was the guardian of Jerusalem, and Herod who was intrusted with the weapons of war, and this by a great many excuses and oaths, and persuaded them to procure his reconciliation to his father. Thus was he preserved again by Antipater, who dissuaded Marcus, the then president of Syria, from his resolution of killing Malichus, on account of his attempts for innovation.
4. Upon the war between Cassius and Brutus on one side, against the younger Caesar [Augustus] and Antony on the other, Cassius and Marcus got together an army out of Syria; and because Herod was likely to have a great share in providing necessaries, they then made him procurator of all Syria, and gave him an army of foot and horse. Cassius premised him also, that after the war was over, he would make him king of Judea. But it so happened that the power and hopes of his son became the cause of his perdition; for as Malichus was afraid of this, he corrupted one of the king's cup-bearers with money to give a poisoned potion to Antipater; so he became a sacrifice to Malichus's wickedness, and died at a feast. He was a man in other respects active in the management of affairs, and one that recovered the government to Hyrcanus, and preserved it in his hands.
5. However, Malichus, when lie was suspected of poisoning Antipater, and when the multitude was angry with him for it, denied it, and made the people believe he was not guilty. He also prepared to make a greater figure, and raised soldiers; for he did not suppose that Herod would be quiet, who indeed came upon him with an army presently, in order to revenge his father's death; but, upon hearing the advice of his brother Phasaelus, not to punish him in an open manner, lest the multitude should fall into a sedition, he admitted of Malichus's apology, and professed that he cleared him of that suspicion; he also made a pompous funeral for his father.
6. So Herod went to Samaria, which was then in a tumult, and settled the city in peace; after which at the [Pentecost] festival, he returned to Jerusalem, having his armed men with him: hereupon Hyrcanus, at the request of Malichus, who feared his reproach, forbade them to introduce foreigners to mix themselves with the people of the country while they were purifying themselves; but Herod despised the pretense, and him that gave that command, and came in by night. Upon which Malithus came to him, and bewailed Antipater; Herod also made him believe [he admitted of his lamentations as real], although he had much ado to restrain his passion at him; however, he did himself bewail the murder of his father in his letters to Cassius, who, on other accounts, also hated Malichus. Cassius sent him word back that he should avenge his father's death upon him, and privately gave order to the tribunes that were under him, that they should assist Herod in a righteous action he was about.
7. And because, upon the taking of Laodicea by Cassius, the men of power were gotten together from all quarters, with presents and crowns in their hands, Herod allotted this time for the punishment of Malichus. When Malichus suspected that, and was at Tyre, he resolved to withdraw his son privately from among the Tyrians, who was a hostage there, while he got ready to fly away into Judea; the despair he was in of escaping excited him to think of greater things; for he hoped that he should raise the nation to a revolt from the Romans, while Cassius was busy about the war against Antony, and that he should easily depose Hyrcanus, and get the crown for himself.
8. But fate laughed at the hopes he had; for Herod foresaw what he was so zealous about, and invited both Hyrcanus and him to supper; but calling one of the principal servants that stood by him to him, he sent him out, as though it were to get things ready for supper, but in reality to give notice beforehand about the plot that was laid against him; accordingly they called to mind what orders Cassius had given them, and went out of the city with their swords in their hands upon the sea-shore, where they encompassed Malichus round about, and killed him with many wounds. Upon which Hyrcanus was immediately affrighted, till he swooned away and fell down at the surprise he was in; and it was with difficulty that he was recovered, when he asked who it was that had killed Malichus. And when one of the tribunes replied that it was done by the command of Cassius,
" Then," said he, "Cassius hath saved both me and my country, by cutting off one that was laying plots against them both."
Whether he spake according to his own sentiments, or whether his fear was such that he was obliged to commend the action by saying so, is uncertain; however, by this method Herod inflicted punishment upon Malichus.
(14) In the Antiquities, B. XIV. ch. 11. sect. 1, the duration of the reign of Julius Caesar is three years six months; but here three years seven months, beginning nightly, says Dean Aldrich, from his second dictatorship. It is probable the real duration might be three years and between six and seven months.
(15) It appears evidently by Josephus's accounts, both here and in his Antiquities, B. XIV. ch. 11. sect. 2, that this Cassius, one of Caesar's murderers, was a bitter oppressor, and exactor of tribute in Judea. These seven hundred talents amount to about three hundred thousand pounds sterling, and are about half the yearly revenues of king Herod afterwards. See the note on Antiq. B. XVII. ch. 11. sect. 4. It also appears that Galilee then paid no more than one hundred talents, or the seventh part of the entire sum to be levied in all the country.