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AN ACCOUNT OF THE TROUBLES OF THE JEWS, PARTICULARLY THOSE CALAMITIES WHICU
FELL UPON THEM AT THE TIME OF THE DESTRUCTION OF JERUSALEM.
General view of the genealngy and kistory of the Herodian family division of the land
of Palestine in the time of our Saviour--the religious privileges of the Jews the Jewish sects, Pharisees, Sadducces, Essenes, Herodians, and Galileans—the Tergums-Pilate's report of our Lord's death—he is recalled_his death-Vitellius favours the Jews-interesting history of Herod Agrippa-ruin of Herod Antipas--embassy of Philo to Caius Caligula-reign and death of IIerod Agrippa-government of Fadus---Alexander succeeds him-insults offered to the Jews-concourse at the passover-mquarrel with the Samaritans dispute of the Jews and Syrians at Cæsarea--Felir-dreadful government of Florus-Massada seized by the rebels--the Jeu's massacred in various parts of the country--Jerusalem besieged by Cestius Gallus, who is obliged to retreat-the Christians retire to Pella-conduct of Josephus in Galilee--Vespasian takes the command of a large Roman army-war in Galilee-observations on the discipline of the Roman armies--Gadara taken--memorable defence of Jotapata -Josephus taken prisoner —Jophtha taken—revolt of the Samaritans-Joppa reduced
-fight on the sea of Tiberias-Giscala taken-intestine troubles of Jerusalem—an army of Idumeans assist the zealots-dreadful massacre-Zechariah murdered-the zealots divide into factions-Jerusalem besieged--war suspended history of Simon, the factious leader all the castles but three reduced by Vespasian-dissensions between Simon and John_Vespasian declared emperor, and Josephus liberated Vespasian takes Rome--Titus sent against Jerusalem—three factions in that city-Titus reconpostres the city, and is exposed to great danger-the Romans are repulsei.--the factions 1. are reduced to twa_Titus levels the country-siege regularly formed—description of
Jerusalem--the factions unite--first wall taken-subtlety of Castor, a Jew second wall taken-Roman army reviewed—Fort Antonia attacked-famine in the city great numbers crucified_Titus offers mercy-Roman machines burnt-Q wall built round the city the famine becomes more severe new works raised by the Romans Josephus wounded by a stone-John plunders the temple-dreadful mortality-devastation throughout the country-Fort Antonia taken-speeches of Josephus to the Jew's temple gallery burnt a child eaten by its mother---the temple burned-various horrible massacres-exertions of the priests--they surrender—the lower toun taken end burned-distress of the rebelsna Jercs sold for slaves-impregnable forts abandonedo.
final massacre ad calculation of the numbers that were slain the city rused to the
. ground soldiers rewarded-Titus leaves Judea—Simon is taken the triumph of Titus and Vespasian—death of Simon--temple of peace erected—Macheras taken by stratagem-subsequent slaughter of the Jews--poll-tax_-dreadful tragedy transacted att Massada--the sufferings of the Jews in Egypt and Cyrene--conclusion.
S the history on which we are now about to enter is uncommonly interesting, there is a peculiar propriety in our recapitulating such circumstances as may be necessary for our more perfect uoderstanding of it. The reader will easily recollect, that, from the time of Judas Maccabeus, the Jewish nation was governed by the Asinorean family, who united the sanctity of the priesthood with the authority of the chief magistrate, till, in consequence of domestic dissensions, they were reduced to the state of subjection to the Roman republic, an event which took place in the sixty-third year before the Christian era. They still, however, retained some shadow of royalty till the year, A. C. 37, when Jerusalem was taken by Herod, and Antigonus, the last of the Asmonean race, comınitted to a close imprisonment. The reign of Herod, splendid, vigorous, and bloody, continued till a little after the birth of Christ, that is, about three years before the coinmencement of the common account.
Herod had nine wives ; the first of whom, named Doris, was the mother of Antipcter, who is stigmatized as the worst of all Herod's sons, and was put to death for treason during the last sickness of his father. The second of them was Mariamne, the daughter of Simon, the high-priest. By this excellent priocess he had a son, whom Josephius names Herod, and Luke, Philip, the husband of that Herodias on whose account John the Baptist was beheaded. The third, who was bis brother's daughter, and the fourth, who was his first cousin, both of them died childless. The fifth wife was Martac, a Samaritan, by whom he had Archelaus and Antipas ; the former succeeded him in the half of the kingdom, under the name of tetrarch; and the latter, called also Philip; was tetrarch of Iturea and Trachonitis, and married Salome, the daughter of Herodias, who demanded the head of John Baptist as the reward of her dancing. This prince died without issue. Herod's sixth wife, Cleopatra, who was a native of Jerusalem, had two sons, Herod Antipas and Philip: Herod Antipas was he that married Herodias, his brother Philip's wife, ordered the execution of John, and commanded his soldiers to insult our Saviour. Pallas, the seventh wife, had a soa named Phasael.• The eighth was Phædra, by whom he had only one daughter, named Roxana. And, by the last, called Elpis, he had another daughter callo Salome.
Aristobulus, the son of the beloved Mariamne, left two sons, Agrippa, who is in the Acts called Herod, and noted as the persecutor of the Christians; Herod, king of Chalais, a province of Syria ; and a daughter, named Herodias. Agrippa was the father of that king Agrippa before whom Paul pleaded, his sister Berenice, and Drum silla, the wife of Felix.
It has been already mentioned that the land of Israel was now considered as an appendage of Syria, and divided into four parts, called tetrarchies. Of these, Herod Antipas governed Galilee and Perea, or the country beyond Jordan. Philip, the son of Martac, occupied Iturea and Trachonitis, a rocky country, which afforded great shelter to robbers. Lysanias was tetrarch of Abilene ; and Pontius Pilate was the Procurator, or Roman governor, of Judea.
The government of Pilate appears to have been uncommonly bloody aåd oppressive ;
yet, as Dr. Lardner observes, that they bad, according to the sacred veriters, the free exercise of their religion, is evident from the whole tenour of the history contained in the gospels, and the Acts of the apostles': they had their synagogues; the law and the prophets were read there ; our Saviour taught in the synagogues"; whenever he healed any lepers, he bade them go and shew themselves to the priests, [Mat. viii. 4.1 and offer the gifts that Moses commanded. [Luke v. 14.] There appears to have been a great resort to the temple at Jerusalem from Galilee and other parts at all their usual great feasts ; they were at full liberty to make what contributions they saw fit to their sacred treasury [Mark xii. 41, 4+, Luke xxi. 1 ] ; and so secure were they, that they used indirect practices to enrich it. (Mat. xv. 5, Mark vii. 11; 12.] There is no mention made in the history of our Saviour's ministry of any restraint or obstruction they met with, save that one of the Galileans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. (Luke xiii, 1.]
That they might thus freely perform all the services of their religion, though they be supposed to have been then under the Roman government, is not at all improbable ; for the Romans had ever percritted the people they conquered to practise their own religious rites in their own way; and the Jews' were now at full liberty to worship God according to the institution of Moses, we are assured by Josephus, who has left us the history of these times. The Roman presidents did indeed, for some time, put in and turn out their high-priests at pleasure ; the Roman governors did, indeed, sometimes offer then abuses, or suffer abuses to be committed in the country contrary to the institutions of the law, as they did also injure them in their civil properties ; but these abuses seem not to have been very numerous. When any were committed, it was without the emperor's authority, and usually the Jews, at length, obtained satisfaction.
As a proof of their perfect freedom in matters of religion, Dr. Larduer produces the instance of their being allowed to follow their own customs, though contrary to those of all other nations in the matter of divorce. It has been said, that whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement : but I say unto you, whosoever shall put away his wife, save for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery; and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced, committeth adultery: [Mat. v. 31, 32.] It is evident, from the manner in wbich our Lord condemos all divorces, save those made for the cause of fornication, that they did, at this time, put them in practice on other accounts. This appears also from the questious put to him concerning this matter, and the answers he gave to them, and the surprize and uneasiness wbich the disciples express at the decision, when he forbade such. dicentious divorces as those made for every cause.
The Jews were, at this time, divided into several sects, among which the most dis tinguished were the Pharisees, the Sadducees, and the Essenes.
The Pharisees are generally supposed to have derived their name from a Chaldaic word, which signifies, to separate ; because they separated themselves from the rest of the Jews, leading a more austere life, and professing a greater degree of holiness, and more religious observation of the law. It is difficult to fix their precise origin. While some suppose they existed in the time of Ezra, and others, that they sprung up but a little before the Christian era, a third party have embraced a more probable opinion, which fixes their rise in the reign of the Maccabees. Dr. Lightfnot thinks the Pharisaism rose up gradually from a period which he does not assign to the matority of a sect. It certain, from the account given by Josephus, that, in the time of Johu Hyrcanus, about one hundred and eight years before Christ, the sect was not only formød, but made a considerable figure. According to Basnage, one Aristobuli...
an Alexandrian Jew, and Peripatetic philosopher, who flourished about one hundred and twenty-five years before Christ, and wrote some allegorical commentaries on the scriptures, was the author of those traditions, by an adherence to which the Pharisees were principally distinguished from other sects. They paid great dcference to their elders, wbom they never presumed to contradict, and possessed a high reputation ou account of their supposed equity, temperance, and wisdom. They held that fate governed all things, but not in so absolute a manner as to exclude the operations of the human will : that the soul was immortal, and reserved for a future state of rewards and punishments. Most of the Jews of the present day adhere to the Pharisaic docs trine, though they do not generally practise their extreme austerity of life.
The Sadducees generally consisted of persons of the greatest opulence and distiuctiou ; and though they attended on the temple worship, were generally considered as a kind of deists, or free-thinkers. They are supposed, by some, to have taken their rise from Dositheus, a Samaritan sectary, and to have allowed no books of scripture, unless the pentateuch; but Josephus does not charge them with this, but only with rejecting the traditions of the elders. Some think they derived their name from an Hebrew word signifying just; and others, from one Sadoc, a disciple of Antigonus Sochæus, president of the sanhedrim, about two liandred and sixty years before Christ, who frequently inculcated upon bis scholars that God is to be served for his own sake, not out of view to any reward from him in the next world, as slaves serve their masters merely for recompenice. Sadoc, they add, putting a false interpretation on these words of his master, published that there was no seward allotted to good actions done in this world. They held, according to Josephus, that the soul and body die together, and that the only obligation, people are under is to keep the law. They accustomed themselves to investigate every thing, and dispute freely with their teachers. He says. that when they were advanced to public offices, they were obliged to conduct themselves as Pharisees, in order to secure the favour of the people.
The Essenes were less ambitious of public distinction than either of the other sects and, in consequence, are not mentioned in the New Testament. As to their origin, Pliny asserts, without mentioning his authority, that they had subsisted for several thousand years. The most probable opinion is, that this sect was formed by Jewish exiles, who, a little before the time of the Maccabees, were forced to retire into caves and deserts, in order to avoid the persecution of their enemies. Philo and Josephus, agree that their mumber in Judea was about four thousand; but the latter writer asserts that they were much more numerous in Egypt. They have been much.commended by Jews, Christians, and Pagans. They held, according to Josephus, that. the world is absolutely governed by the providence of God without any other interference. They acknowledged the immortality of the soul, and proved, by their practice, that they considered justice as the chief of all virtues. They did not personally attend at the temple, but sent their gifts, and sacrificed among themselves with much ceremony. They followed no business but husbandry, never married, nor kept servants : but had all their possessions in common, and knew no distinction between sich and poor.
They are said to have been divided into the laborious and contemplative; the first of whom divided their time between prayer and labour, and the second between prayer ard study. They were not, however, all equally strict in observing their rules of abstinence, Mr. Lampe, in his ecclesiastical bistory, compares the Pharisees witke the Platonists, the Sadducees with Epicureans, and the Essones with the Stoics and Pythagoreans.
The critics and commentators upon the New Testament are much divided with regard to the Herodians, some making them to be a political party, and others a
religious sect. The former opinion is favoured by the author of the Syriac version, who calls then the domestics of Herod ; and also by Josephus, who passes then over in silence, though he professes to give an account of the several religious sects of the Jews. The latter opinion is countenanced by our Lord's 'caution against the leaven of Herod, which apparently implies that the Herodians were distinguished from the other Jews by some doctrinal tenets. Dr. Prideaux is of opinion that they derived their name from Hcrod the Great, and that they were distinguished from the other Jews by their concurrence with llerod's scheme of subjecting himself and his dominions to the Romans, and likewise by complying with many of the heathen usages and customs. It is probable that they were chieily of the sect of the Sadducees; because the leaven of Herod is also denominated the leaven of the Sadducees.
Directly opposed to the flerodians were the Galileans, who are considered by Josephus as the fourth Jewish sect. They derived their origin from a bloody insurgent, Judas of Galilee, who rebelled about the time of the taxing, and excited the people to resist the payment of any tribute to the Romans. They were nearly akin to the Pharisees, being principally distinguished by their holding the maxim of uncontrolable liberty. They acknowledged no superior but God; and, rather than call any man master, were ready to submit to the most excruciating death.
While we are thus treating on the religion and learning of the Jews, it may not be improper to observe, that they had at this time certain Chaldee paraphrases, which are believed to have been read in their synagogues as early as the time of Christ. It is remarkable that they interpret many of the prophecies concerning the Messiah in the same way in which they are now understood by Christians, and therefore are very helpful in the Jewish controversy. These Chaldee paraphrases are known by the name of Targums.
Such was the religious state of the Jews under the government of Pilate. In our Life of Christ we continued his history till the crucifixion and resurrection of the Son of God. An opinion prevailed amoug the antient Christians, that, as Pilate consented unwillingly upon that occasion, so he transmitted to the emperor Tiberius a very favourable account of our Saviour's character. This opinion has been much controverted ; but we shall content ourselves with transcribing what Eusebius has observed upon the subject.
“ When the wonderful resurrection of our Saviour, and his ascension to heaven, were in the mouths of all men, it being the antient custom for the governors of provinces to write to the emperor, and give him an account of new and remarkable occurrences, that he might not be ignorant of any thing, our Saviour's resurrection being much talked of throughout all Palestine, Pilate informed the emperor of it, as likewise of his miracles, which he had heard of; and that, being raised up after he had been put to death, he was already believed by many to be a god. And it is said that Tiberius referred the matter to the senate ; but that they refused their consent, under a pretence that it had not been first approved of by them, there being an antient law that no one should be deified among the Romano without an order of the senate, but, indeed, because the saving and divine doctrine of the gospel needed not to be confirmed by human judgment and authority. However, Tiberius persisted in his former gentiment, and allowed not any thing to be done that was prejudicial to the doctrine of Christ. · These things are related by Tertullian, a man famous on other accounts, and particularly for his skill in the Roman laws. I say, he speaks thus in his A.pology for the Christians, written by him in the Roman tongue, but since translated into Greek, His words are these: “ There was an aptient decree, that no one should be consecrated al a deity by the emperor, unless he was first approved of by the senate. Marcum