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Opposition in Galilee [38 BCE]
||(During the winter of 38-39 BCE)
while snow fell from God, (Herod)
came to Sepphoris
And as the guards of Antigonus
(his opponent) had left, he was unopposed for their
||Then, planning to
end the evil deeds of some bandits who were
dwelling in caves, from (Sepphoris) he sent a cavalry troop
and three infantry companies out against them.
||These (caves) were
very close to a village named Arbela [= khirbet Irbid,
and Tiberias]. And in forty days he
arrived in full force...
||And he rallied all
of Galilee, except those in the caves...
||Now the caves were
in extremely rugged hills. They had entrances in the middle of
cliffs with sharp rocks around them. The bandits
hid out in these places with their whole households.
||But the king (Herod) had crates
built and he let these down on them, hanging by iron chains
from a machine on top of the mount....
||Now the crates were full of
soldiers holding big hooks with which they were going to kill
the bandits who stood against them, by dragging them out and
pulling them down...
||So when these things happened,
the caves were quiet. And leaving (his friend) Ptolemy as
general in those parts, the king went into Samaria...
||But those who had previously
troubled Galilee attacked Ptolemy and killed him...
||But Herod came back and punished
them. For he captured some of the rebels. And he besieged and
killed those who sought refuge in fortified positions. And he
tore down their fortifications, thus ending the rebellion. And
he also penalized the cities of Galilee 100 talents.
slaughter Opponents in Judea
||After this (in 37
BCE) the Galileans
rebelled against those in power in their territory
and drowned those who minded Herod
in the Lake [= Sea
of Galilee]. Much of Judea
||And right away every
place was filled with murders. On the one hand, the Romans
were enraged by frustration in their siege (of Jerusalem).
And, on the other, the Jews around Herod were eager to have no
||And whole masses
were slaughtered: in the alleys, crowded in their houses, and
even taking refuge in the temple. There was no mercy for
either young or old. Nor were the weakest women spared.
Rather, none controlled his hand, even when the king [Herod]
circulated the order to stop. But like madmen they took
vengeance on all ages.
to pacify Jews
||Then (about 20 BCE
also excused those in his kingdom from a third of their taxes---allegedly
to recover from the crop-failure, but also to regain those who
harbored resentment. For they were bitter about the enactment
of those practices which relaxed their religion and threw aside
the traditions. And there were also arguments from all who
were ever provoked or upset.
||But (Herod) also
paid much attention to such a situation, taking away their
opportunities and ordering them to their labors, whatever
happened. And no congregating was allowed to
those around the city, nor was wandering or dwelling in
community. But everything was watched...
||Thus, on the one hand, by every
method he completely suppressed those who were so bold as not
to go along with his projects. On the other, he asked the
people to submit to swearing loyalty and compelled them under
oath to declare their good will to him, or at least to support
||Out of good treatment and fear,
therefore, the crowds yielded to what he wanted. But those who
summoned courage and made trouble for him he submitted to
every method of torture.
||Now he even tried to persuade
the Pharisee, as well as Samaias [Shemaiah]
and the bulk of their associates to take the oath. But they
would not concur. Yet, by gaining respect through Pollion,
(the Pharisees) were not punished like those who expressed
||And those who were called Essenes
by us were also excused from this obligation.
||And so then, in the eighteenth
year of Herod's
reign (20 BCE),...he threw himself to an
uncommon task: to reconstruct the temple of God by his own
means, greatly increasing its precincts and raising it to a
more worthy height. He planned this as the most significant of
all his deeds, as it was, and to act as his eternal
Custody of High
||Now a well-fortified and
exceedingly strong citadel was built at right
angle to the north side (of the temple). The kings and
high-priests of the Hasmonean family had erected this before
the time of Herod and called it "Bira" [=
"fortress"]. Here they deposited the ceremonial
robe which the high priest wore only when he had to
kept it under guard there. After his death it was subject to
the Romans, until the time of Tiberius
Caesar (in 36 CE)...
||But before this it
was under the seal of the high-priest and treasurers. And one
day before the feast the treasurers would go up to the Romans
and, after examining their own seal, would take the robe.
Then, after the feast was over, they would return to this
place and put it back, after showing the chief of the guard
the corresponding seal.
Attempt to Purge
Herod's Temple [4 BCE]
||The most eloquent and unequalled
interpreters of the patriarchal laws [= Torah] were Judah
ben Sariphai and Matthias ben Margaloth,
men especially endeared to the people through educating the
youth. For all who preoccupied themselves with virtue were
with them day after day.
4 BCE) when they
heard the king's illness was beyond cure, these men stirred up
the youth against whatever works the king had built
contrary to the patriarchal
Torah. To tear these
down, (they said), would be taken as acts of piety, stemming
from the laws. For indeed, all these other things had happened
to (king Herod)...---even
this illness---because he dared to go against what the Torah
||Now with such words they stirred
up the young men. And a report reached them corroborating
these sages by indicating that the king had
died. So, in broad daylight, in sight of the crowds gathered
in the temple, they went up and pulled down the (imperial)
eagle and cut it up with axes.
||Now the king's officer
assumed with great insight---for the deed was reported to
him---that if this was done, they would go on to worse things.
So, bringing a large enough force, he encountered the crowd of
those who were trying to take the accursed thing down...
||He captured no less than forty
of the young men who dared to stay while the rest of the crowd
fled as they approached. And the instigators of their daring,
Judah and Matthias, who deemed it disgraceful to yield him
space to enter he also led to the king.
||...And the king had
them bound and sent to Jericho.
Then he summoned those in charge of the Jews...
||...And Herod deposed
Matthias from the high-priesthood. And he had the
other Matthias, who stirred up the faction, burnt alive along
with some of his disciples. And on this night there was a lunar
||By (Herod's) edict, the
noteworthy Jewish men of all the nation were
made to come to him [at Jericho]
from wherever (they were). Now there were many, as the whole
nation was summoned. And all heeded the edict, for death was
waiting those who did not respond to the letters. The king was
mad at all alike, the innocent as well as those evidently
||So, confining them
all in the hippodrome, he sent for his sister
and her husband Alexas...
||For he was not ignorant of the
thinking of the Jews, how they wanted and would rejoice at his
death. For even while he lived there was pressure to revolt
and insult his projects.
ordered Salome and Alexas), when they saw that he had lost his
life, they were to station in the hippodrome soldiers who did
not yet know of his death and command them to kill the
prisoners. And if they did away with them in this
manner, they would not ruin his pleasure in two ways: by
confirming those things which he communicated to them when he
was about to die and by honoring him with a noteworthy
||Having done these things, Herod
died five days after he killed his (oldest) son, Antipater.
He was king for thirty-four years after he imprisoned
but thirty-seven after he was appointed by the Romans.
He was a man cruel to all alike: angry with his inferiors and
haughty to the righteous.
||But before the king's death was
found out, Salome and Alexas sent back to their homes those
who had been summoned to the hippodrome.