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.
ANTIPATER BECOMES INTOLERABLE. HE IS SENT TO ROME, AND CARRIES HEROD'S TESTAMENT WITH HIM; PHERORAS LEAVES HIS BROTHER, THAT HE MAY KEEP HIS WIFE. HE DIES AT HOME.
1. NOW when Antipater had cut off the hopes of the orphans, and had contracted such affinities as would be most for his own advantage, he proceeded briskly, as having a certain expectation of the kingdom; and as he had now assurance added to his wickedness, he became intolerable; for not being able to avoid the hatred of all people, he built his security upon the terror he struck into them. Pheroras also assisted him in his designs, looking upon him as already fixed in the kingdom. There was also a company of women in the court, which excited new disturbances; for Pheroras's wife, together with her mother and sister, as also Antipater's mother, grew very impudent in the palace. She also was so insolent as to affront the king's two daughters, (44) on which account the king hated her to a great degree; yet although these women were hated by him, they domineered over others: there was only Salome who opposed their good agreement, and informed the king of their meetings, as not being for the advantage of his affairs. And when those women knew what calumnies she had raised against them, and how much Herod was displeased, they left off their public meetings, and friendly entertainments of one another; nay, on the contrary, they pretended to quarrel one with another when the king was within hearing.
The like dissimulation did Antipater make use of; and when matters were public, he opposed Pheroras; but still they had private cabals and merry meetings in the night time; nor did the observation of others do any more than confirm their mutual agreement. However, Salome knew every thing they did, and told every thing to Herod.
2. But he was inflamed with anger at them, and chiefly at Pheroras's wife; for Salome had principally accused her. So he got an assembly of his friends and kindred together, and there accused this woman of many things, and particularly of the affronts she had offered his daughters; and that she had supplied the Pharisees with money, by way of rewards for what they had done against him, and had procured his brother to become his enemy, by giving him love potions. At length he turned his speech to Pheroras, and told him that he would give him his choice of these two things: Whether he would keep in with his brother, or with his wife? And when Pheroras said that he would die rather than forsake his wife - (45) Herod, not knowing what to do further in that matter, turned his speech to Antipater, and charged him to have no intercourse either with Pheroras's wife, or with Pheroras himself, or with any one belonging to her.
Now though Antipater did not transgress that his injunction publicly, yet did he in secret come to their night meetings; and because he was afraid that Salome observed what he did, he procured, by the means of his Italian friends, that he might go and live at Rome; for when they wrote that it was proper for Antipater to be sent to Caesar for some time, Herod made no delay, but sent him, and that with a splendid attendance, and a great deal of money, and gave him his testament to carry with him, - wherein Antipater had the kingdom bequeathed to him, and wherein Herod was named for Antipater's successor; that Herod, I mean, who was the son of Mariarmne, the high priest's daughter.
3. Sylleus also, the Arabian, sailed to Rome, without any regard to Caesar's injunctions, and this in order to oppose Antipater with all his might, as to that law-suit which Nicolaus had with him before. This Sylleus had also a great contest with Aretas his own king; for he had slain many others of Aretas's friends, and particularly Sohemus, the most potent man in the city Petra. Moreover, he had prevailed with Phabatus, who was Herod's steward, by giving him a great sum of money, to assist him against Herod; but when Herod gave him more, he induced him to leave Syllcus, and by this means he demanded of him all that Caesar had required of him to pay. But when Sylleus paid nothing of what he was to pay, and did also accuse Phabatus to Caesar, and said that he was not a steward for Caesar's advantage, but for Herod's, Phabatus was angry at him on that account, but was still in very great esteem with Herod, and discovered Sylleus's grand secrets, and told the king that Sylleus had corrupted Corinthus, one of the guards of his body, by bribing him, and of whom he must therefore have a care. Accordingly, the king complied; for this Corinthus, though he was brought up in Herod's kingdom, yet was he by birth an Arabian; so the king ordered him to be taken up immediately, and not only him, but two other Arabians, who were caught with him; the one of them was Sylleus's friend, the other the head of a tribe. These last, being put to the torture, confessed that they had prevailed with Corinthus, for a large sum of money, to kill Herod; and when they had been further examined before Saturninus, the president of Syria, they were sent to Rome.
4. However, Herod did not leave off importuning Pheroras, but proceeded to force him to put away his wife; yet could he not devise any way by which he could bring the woman herself to punishment, although he had many causes of hatred to her; till at length he was in such great uneasiness at her, that he cast both her and his brother out of his kingdom. Pheroras took this injury very patiently, and went away into his own tetrarchy, [Perea beyond Jordan,] and sware that there should be but one end put to his flight, and that should be Herod's death; and that he would never return while he was alive. Nor indeed would he return when his brother was sick, although he earnestly sent for him to come to him, because he had a mind to leave some injunctions with him before he died; but Herod unexpectedly recovered. A little afterward Pheroras himself fell sick, when Herod showed great moderation; for he came to him, and pitied his case, and took care of him; but his affection for him did him no good, for Pheroras died a little afterward. Now though Herod had so great an affection for him to the last day of his life, yet was a report spread abroad that he had killed him by poison. However, he took care to have his dead body carried to Jerusalem, and appointed a very great mourning to the whole nation for him, and bestowed a most pompous funeral upon him. And this was the end that one of Alexander's and Aristobulus's murderers came to.
(44) These daughters of Herod, whom Pheroras's wife affronted, were Salome and Roxana, two virgins, who were born to him of his two wives, Elpide and Phedra. See Herod's genealogy, Antiq. B. XVII. ch. 1. sect. 3.
(45) This strange obstinacy of Pheroras in retaining his wife, who was one of a low family, and refusing to marry one nearly related to Herod, though he so earnestly desired it, as also that wife's admission to the counsels of the other great court ladies, together with Herods own importunity as to Pheroras's divorce and other marriage, all so remarkable here, or in the Antiquities XVII. ch. 2. sect. 4; and ch. 3. be well accounted for, but on the supposal that Pheroras believed, and Herod suspected, that the Pharisees' prediction, as if the crown of Judea should be translated from Herod to Pheroras's posterity and that most probably to Pheroras's posterity by this his wife, also would prove true. See Antiq. B. XVII. ch. 2. sect. 4; and ch. 3. sect. 1