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.
THE MALICE OF ANTIPATER AND DORIS. ALEXANDER IS VERY UNEASY ON GLAPHYRAS ACCOUNT. HEROD PARDONS PHERORAS, WHOM HE SUSPECTED, AND SALOME WHOM HE KNEW TO MAKE MISCHIEF AMONG THEM. HEROD'S EUNUCHS ARE TORTURED AND ALEXANDER IS BOUND.
1. BUT now the quarrel that was between them still accompanied these brethren when they parted, and the suspicions they had one of the other grew worse. Alexander and Aristobulus were much grieved that the privilege of the first-born was confirmed to Antipater; as was Antipater very angry at his brethren that they were to succeed him. But then this last being of a disposition that was mutable and politic, he knew how to hold his tongue, and used a great deal of cunning, and thereby concealed the hatred he bore to them; while the former, depending on the nobility of their births, had every thing upon their tongues which was in their minds. Many also there were who provoked them further, and many of their [seeming] friends insinuated themselves into their acquaintance, to spy out what they did. Now every thing that was said by Alexander was presently brought to Antipater, and from Antipater it was brought to Herod with additions. Nor could the young man say any thing in the simplicity of his heart, without giving offense, but what he said was still turned to calumny against him. And if he had been at any time a little free in his conversation, great imputations were forged from the smallest occasions.
Antipater also was perpetually setting some to provoke him to speak, that the lies he raised of him might seem to have some foundation of truth; and if, among the many stories that were given out, but one of them could be proved true, that was supposed to imply the rest to be true also. And as to Antipater's friends, they were all either naturally so cautious in speaking, or had been so far bribed to conceal their thoughts, that nothing of these grand secrets got abroad by their means. Nor should one be mistaken if he called the life of Antipater a mystery of wickedness; for he either corrupted Alexander's acquaintance with money, or got into their favor by flatteries; by which two means he gained all his designs, and brought them to betray their master, and to steal away, and reveal what he either did or said. Thus did he act a part very cunningly in all points, and wrought himself a passage by his calumnies with the greatest shrewdness; while he put on a face as if he were a kind brother to Alexander and Aristobulus, but suborned other men to inform of what they did to Herod.
And when any thing was told against Alexander, he would come in, and pretend [to be of his side], and would begin to contradict what was said; but would afterward contrive matters so privately, that the king should have an indignation at him. His general aim was this, - to lay a plot, and to make it believed that Alexander lay in wait to kill his father; for nothing afforded so great a confirmation to these calumnies as did Antipater's apologies for him.
2. By these methods Herod was inflamed, and as much as his natural affection to the young men did every day diminish, so much did it increase towards Antipater. The courtiers also inclined to the same conduct, some of their own accord, and others by the king's injunction, as particularly did Ptolemy, the king's dearest friend, as also the king's brethren, and all his children; for Antipater was all in all; and what was the bitterest part of all to Alexander, Antipater's mother was also all in all; she was one that gave counsel against them, and was more harsh than a step-mother, and one that hated the queen's sons more than is usual to hate sons-in-law. All men did therefore already pay their respects to Antipater, in hopes of advantage; and it was the king's command which alienated every body [from the brethren], he having given this charge to his most intimate friends, that they should not come near, nor pay any regard, to Alexander, or to his friends. Herod was also become terrible, not only to his domestics about the court, but to his friends abroad; for Caesar had given such a privilege to no other king as he had given to him, which was this, - that he might fetch back any one that fled from him, even out of a city that was not under his own jurisdiction.
Now the young men were not acquainted with the calumnies raised against them; for which reason they could not guard themselves against them, but fell under them; for their father did not make any public complaints against either of them; though in a little time they perceived how things were by his coldness to them, and by the great uneasiness he showed upon any thing that troubled him. Antipater had also made their uncle Pheroras to be their enemy, as well as their aunt Salome, while he was always talking with her, as with a wife, and irritating her against them. Moreover, Alexander's wife, Glaphyra, augmented this hatred against them, by deriving her nobility and genealogy [from great persons], and pretending that she was a lady superior to all others in that kingdom, as being derived by her father's side from Temenus, and by her mother's side from Darius, the son of Hystaspes. She also frequently reproached Herod's sister and wives with the ignobility of their descent; and that they were every one chosen by him for their beauty, but not for their family. Now those wives of his were not a few; it being of old permitted to the Jews to marry many wives, (39) and this king delighting in many; all which hated Alexander, on account of Glaphyra's boasting and reproaches.
3. Nay, Aristobulus had raised a quarrel between himself and Salome, who was his mother-in-law, besides the anger he had conceived at Glaphyra's reproaches; for he perpetually upbraided his wife with the meanness of her family, and complained, that as he had married a woman of a low family, so had his brother Alexander married one of royal blood. At this Salome's daughter wept, and told it her with this addition, that Alexander threatened the mothers of his other brethren, that when he should come to the crown, he would make them weave with their maidens, and would make those brothers of his country schoolmasters; and brake this jest upon them, that they had been very carefully instructed, to fit them for such an employment. Hereupon Salome could not contain her anger, but told all to Herod; nor could her testimony be suspected, since it was against her own son-in-law There was also another calumny that ran abroad and inflamed the king's mind; for he heard that these sons of his were perpetually speaking of their mother, and, among their lamentations for her, did not abstain from cursing him; and that when he made presents of any of Mariamne's garments to his later wives, these threatened that in a little time, instead of royal garments, they would clothe theft in no better than hair-cloth.
4. Now upon these accounts, though Herod was somewhat afraid of the young men's high spirit, yet did he not despair of reducing them to a better mind; but before he went to Rome, whither he was now going by sea, he called them to him, and partly threatened them a little, as a king; but for the main, he admonished them as a father, and exhorted them to love their brethren, and told them that he would pardon their former offenses, if they would amend for the time to come. But they refuted the calumnies that had been raised of them, and said they were false, and alleged that their actions were sufficient for their vindication; and said withal, that he himself ought to shut his ears against such tales, and not be too easy in believing them, for that there would never be wanting those that would tell lies to their disadvantage, as long as any would give ear to them.
5. When they had thus soon pacified him, as being their father, they got clear of the present fear they were in. Yet did they see occasion for sorrow in some time afterward; for they knew that Salome, as well as their uncle Pheroras, were their enemies; who were both of them heavy and severe persons, and especially Pheroras, who was a partner with Herod in all the affairs of the kingdom, excepting his diadem. He had also a hundred talents of his own revenue, and enjoyed the advantage of all the land beyond Jordan, which he had received as a gift from his brother, who had asked of Caesar to make him a tetrarch, as he was made accordingly. Herod had also given him a wife out of the royal family, who was no other than his own wife's sister, and after her death had solemnly espoused to him his own eldest daughter, with a dowry of three hundred talents; but Pheroras refused to consummate this royal marriage, out of his affection to a maidservant of his. Upon which account Herod was very angry, and gave that daughter in marriage to a brother's son of his, [Joseph,] who was slain afterward by the Parthians; but in some time he laid aside his anger against Pheroras, and pardoned him, as one not able to overcome his foolish passion for the maid-servant.
6. Nay, Pheroras had been accused long before, while the queen [Mariamne] was alive, as if he were in a plot to poison Herod; and there came then so great a number of informers, that Herod himself, though he was an exceeding lover of his brethren, was brought to believe what was said, and to be afraid of it also. And when he had brought many of those that were under suspicion to the torture, he came at last to Pheroras's own friends; none of which did openly confess the crime, but they owned that he had made preparation to take her whom he loved, and run away to the Parthians. Costobarus also, the husband of Salome, to whom the king had given her in marriage, after her former husband had been put to death for adultery, was instrumental in bringing about this contrivance and flight of his. Nor did Salome escape all calumny upon herself; for her brother Pheroras accused her that she had made an agreement to marry Silleus, the procurator of Obodas, king of Arabia, who was at bitter enmity with Herod; but when she was convicted of this, and of all that Pheroras had accused her of, she obtained her pardon. The king also pardoned Pheroras himself the crimes he had been accused of.
7. But the storm of the whole family was removed to Alexander, and all of it rested upon his head. There were three eunuchs who were in the highest esteem with the king, as was plain by the offices they were in about him; for one of them was appointed to be his butler, another of them got his supper ready for him, and the third put him into bed, and lay down by him. Now Alexander had prevailed with these men, by large gifts, to let him use them after an obscene manner; which, when it was told to the king, they were tortured, and found guilty, and presently confessed the criminal conversation he had with them. They also discovered the promises by which they were induced so to do, and how they were deluded by Alexander, who had told them that they ought not to fix their hopes upon Herod, an old man, and one so shameless as to color his hair, unless they thought that would make him young again; but that they ought to fix their attention to him who was to be his successor in the kingdom, whether he would or not; and who in no long time would avenge himself on his enemies, and make his friends happy and blessed, and themselves in the first place; that the men of power did already pay respects to Alexander privately, and that the captains of the soldiery, and the officers, did secretly come to him.
8. These confessions did so terrify Herod, that he durst not immediately publish them; but he sent spies abroad privately, by night and by day, who should make a close inquiry after all that was done and said; and when any were but suspected [of treason], he put them to death, insomuch that the palace was full of horribly unjust proceedings; for every body forged calumnies, as they were themselves in a state of enmity or hatred against others; and many there were who abused the king's bloody passion to the disadvantage of those with whom they had quarrels, and lies were easily believed, and punishments were inflicted sooner than the calumnies were forged. He who had just then been accusing another was accused himself, and was led away to execution together with him whom he had convicted; for the danger the king was in of his life made examinations be very short. He also proceeded to such a degree of bitterness, that he could not look on any of those that were not accused with a pleasant countenance, but was in the most barbarous disposition towards his own friends.
Accordingly, he forbade a great many of them to come to court, and to those whom he had not power to punish actually he spake harshly. But for Antipater, he insulted Alexander, now he was under his misfortunes, and got a stout company of his kindred together, and raised all sorts of calumny against him; and for the king, he was brought to such a degree of terror by those prodigious slanders and contrivances, that he fancied he saw Alexander coming to him with a drawn sword in his hand. So he caused him to be seized upon immediately, and bound, and fell to examining his friends by torture, many of whom died [under the torture], but would discover nothing, nor say any thing against their consciences; but some of them, being forced to speak falsely by the pains they endured, said that Alexander, and his brother Aristobulus, plotted against him, and waited for an opportunity to kill him as he was hunting, and then fly away to Rome. These accusations though they were of an incredible nature, and only framed upon the great distress they were in, were readily believed by the king, who thought it some comfort to him, after he had bound his son, that it might appear he had not done it unjustly.
(39) That it was an immemorial custom among the Jews, and their forefathers, the patriarchs, to have sometimes more wives or wives and concubines, than one at the same the and that this polygamy was not directly forbidden in the law of Moses is evident; but that polygamy was ever properly and distinctly permitted in that law of Moses, in the places here cited by Dean Aldrich, Deuteronomy 17:16, 17, or 21:15, or indeed any where else, does not appear to me. And what our Savior says about the common Jewish divorces, which may lay much greater claim to such a permission than polygamy, seems to me true in this case also; that Moses, "for the hardness of their hearts," suffered them to have several wives at the same time, but that "from the beginning it was not so," Matthew 19:8; Mark 10:5.