||Herod's Last Will
will was changed again (just before he died). His change of
plans had (Herod)
Antipas, to whom he had
previously left the kingship, appointed tetrarch of
[ = Jordan]. The kingship (of Judea and
Samaria) was granted to Archelaus.
Trachan, Bathan and Paneas were to be a tetrarchy for his son Philip,
who was Archelaus' full-brother...*
||The royal treasurer,
Ptolemaļs, who had been entrusted with the king's seal, read
the will, which was not to be confirmed before [Augustus]
Caesar was consulted.
||full-brother: error for
"half-brother." In listing Herod's
wives & their sons,
Josephus presents Archelaus & Antipas as sons of the
Samaritan Malthace (& hence full-brothers) & Philip as
son of Cleopatra of Jerusalem.
Since Herod had 16 children by 8 of his 10 wives, Josephus'
momentary confusion regarding his heirs' exact relationship is
[Spring 4 BCE]
(in 4 BCE) while
all this was going on, the time came for the feast in which
matzos are set out by the Jews in accord with the fathers. And
the feast is called Passover, which
commemorates their exodus from Egypt. And they celebrate it
with zeal, as it is their custom to slaughter more sacrifices
than at any other time.
||And a great number
of people came down from the country and also from overseas to
worship God. Now the revolutionaries who were mourning the
interpreters of the Torah,
Judah and Matthias, stood together in the temple, furnishing
food for the dissidents. For the latter were not ashamed to
beg for it.
was afraid that something terrible would develop from their
desperation. So he sent a cohort of (Roman) legionnaires under
a tribune to suppress the impetuousness of the dissidents,
before they infected the whole gathering with their
fanaticism. And if some stood out more than the others in
their zeal for dissidence, they were to be brought to him.
||The partisans of the
interpreters (of the Torah) and the crowd were enraged at
this. Letting out a shout and a cheer, they rushed at the
soldiers. And having surrounded them, they stoned most of
them. But a few of them, including the tribune, escaped
wounded. Now, when this was over, they turned their hands to
the sacrifice again.
||But Archelaus thought the whole
situation impossible to salvage, except by checking the
crowd's impulse to (do) such a thing. So he sent out his whole
army, including the (Roman) cavalry, to prevent those who were
camped there (around Jerusalem) from aiding those who were in
||Now the cavalry killed about
3000 men. But the rest went up into the hills that lay nearby.
So Archelaus proclaimed that all should return to their homes.
Even those who were venturesome from lack of education left
the feast, giving it up in fear of greater harm.
Kingship [Summer 4 BCE]
sailed off to Rome and Varus
of Syria, 6-4 BCE] went
to take care of Antioch, Sabinus [procurator of Syria]
advanced on Jerusalem and took the king's [Herod's]
||Now at this time Herod's
also sailed to Rome to contest the kingship,
buoyed up by Salome's
promises supporting (his) rule. He claimed (Herod's) things
with more right than Archelaus because he had been proclaimed
in (Herod's) former will...
||[While Archelaus and
Antipas were in Rome], a thousand other disturbances also took
Judea by surprise. And many rushed from many parts to make
war, out of hatred for the Jews and in hopes of advancing
their own people...
||There was Judah, son of
Hezekiah, the powerful bandit chief whom Herod had
captured with difficulty. Now this Judah assembled a host of
desperate men near Sepphoris
and attacked the king's palace. And having gotten his hand on
all the weapons stored there, he armed everyone around him and
took all the treasures seized there.
||So he was a terror to all by
raiding and plundering those he encountered in his desire for
fortune and his zeal to be recognized as king.
This prize he expected to win, not by virtue but by trampling
||There was also King
Herod's slave, Simon, a handsome man, great
especially in physical size and strength, as well as his
self-esteem. Inebriated by the unsettled situation, he dared
to don the [royal] diadem.
||Now he assembled some crowds
and, in their fanaticism, he was heralded as the king
himself. And he hoped to be more worthy than
||And then there was Athronges,
a man distinguished neither by worthiness of his forebears nor
by outstanding virtue or the greatness of any traits. Rather,
he was a shepherd, unknown to anyone
anywhere, except for his physical size and striking feats of
||He dared to claim the
kingship, planning, if he got it, to delight in more
prancing about. If he died, he did not think his life too
great a price to pay for this.
||There were also his four
brothers, who were both tall and confident, projecting great
physical power. They believed themselves to be prominent in
retaining his kingship. Each of them led a band, for a great
crowd had gathered to them. Now, while they were commanders,
they were also subordinate to him whenever they set out to
fight on their own.
||Athronges wore a diadem and
convoked a council for judging what they were to do. And he
had everything dependent on him. Power remained with him for
quite a while, for he was called king, and no
one prevented him from doing what he wanted...
was filled with bandits. And they
gathered around any champion who presented himself as king,
urging the destruction of the commonwealth. This caused the
Romans---just a few---only a little trouble; but it brought on
the greatest slaughter of their own (Jewish) kin.
Galilee [Summer 4 BCE]
||(In 4 BCE) with all
his forces at Ptolemaļs
transferred part to his son and one of his friends, sending
them out to fight the Galileans in the area near Ptolemaļs
Attacking them, (Varus' son) routed them in battle. He
[4 mi. from Nazareth],
enslaved the inhabitants and burned the city...
||But Varus sent
(another) part of his army around the countryside, seeking
those to blame for the revolt. And when they were pointed out,
he punished those who were guilty. There were also those he
pardoned. But 2000 happened to be crucified
because of this accusation.
& Jewish Tax Revolt [6 CE]
(in 6 CE) Quirinius
arrived in Syria with a small contingent, since he had been
sent out by [Augustus]
Caesar, to govern the
people and assess their wealth.
a cavalry officer, was sent along with him with full authority
to govern the Jews. Since Judea had been
annexed to Syria, Quirinius also came to assess them as well
and to sell off Archelaus'
||At first (the Jews)
complained on hearing of the census. But they
settled down when the high priest, Joazar ben Boethus,
persuaded them not to resist further. So, on the one hand,
those who yielded to Joazar's arguments did not hesitate in
estimating their possessions.
||But Judah, a
man of Golan from a city called Gamala,
whose partner was a Pharisee Zaddok, plunged
into rebellion. They claimed that taxation
was nothing but outright slavery. And they called on the
people to claim their freedom, (saying):
||If they should produce this
correction, the foundation for prosperity would be laid. But
if they fell short of gaining this good, they would have
earned honor and fame for their great spirit. And (they
claimed) God would help bring their plans to success. And he
would reward their zeal all the more, if they
were committed to stick to their intent and not stop their
||Now as the men received all that
was said with pleasure, this plot made great progress. There
is no evil that did not spring from these men; and the people
were divided beyond description.
||Endless fighting broke out, the
sort where no one has control. And they eliminated friends and
those who might have lessened the ordeal. Turmoil was raised
by great numbers of bandits; and there were assassinations
of prominent men. Some had a belief that they were righting
the community. But in fact they were hoping to advance their
||From these sprang dissensions
among themselves and political murders. Some (died) in battle,
some in the slaughter of kin, in a mania of
men disposing of one another and themselves in (their) desire
not to be left to their opponents. A famine was the final
insult. And there was conquest and destruction of cities,
until even the temple of God was consumed by fire
from the hostilities (in 70 CE). This faction was (responsible
for all that).
||The innovation and
transformation of traditions has the impact of ending the
consensus. In this case, at least, Judah and
Zaddok gave rise to a fourth philosophy
that was foreign to us. And gaining those who admire this, for
the time being they filled the commonwealth with chaos and in
turn planted the roots of the subsequent evils.
||Now in the fourth of the
philosophies, Judah the Galilean established
himself as chief. All the rest profess the thought of the Pharisees.
But they have an unconquerable love of freedom.
For them God is the only leader and master. They think it
little to submit to tortuous forms of death and punishment of
family and friends over (the issue of) calling no man