VII. The Dissensions in the Syrian Court. The Jews ultimately attained political independence not primarily through their own efforts, but because the protracted contests between the rival claimants for the Syrian throne gave them opportunities which they quickly improved. In 152 B.C. a youth known as Alexander Balas, who claimed to be a son of Antiochus Epiphanes, raised the standard of revolt against the reigning Syrian king, Demetrius I. The kings of southwestern Asia and Egypt at first lent their support to this impostor. By 150 B.C. he had succeeded in defeating and putting to death Demetrius I. Two years later, however, Demetrius II, the son of the deposed king, appeared with a large body of Cretan mercenaries to contest the throne of his father. Many of the Syrian cities at once espoused his cause. Ptolemy Philometor, of Egypt, finally turned against Alexander Balas; and in 145 B.C. this strange adventurer was slain near Antioch by his own followers. Soon after his death, however, one of his generals, Tryphon, appeared with an infant son of Alexander whom he sought to place on the Syrian throne, thus perpetuating the feud that was constantly undermining the power of the Seleucid kingdom.
VIII. Concessions to Jonathan. The Jews profited by each turn in these tortuous politics. In 158 B.C., after a period of outlawry in the wilderness east of Judea, Jonathan and his followers were allowed by Demetrius I to settle again within the bounds of Judea. Jonathan Established his head-quarters at Michmash, the fortress famous for the achievement of Saul's valiant son Jonathan. Here he ruled over the Jews as a vassal of Demetrius, who retained immediate control over the citadel at Jerusalem and the fortified cities that had been built along the borders of Judea. On the appearance of Alexander Balas in 152 B.C. Demetrius I, in order to retain the loyalty of the Jews, permitted Jonathan to maintain a small standing army and to rebuild the fortifications of Jerusalem. To outbid his rival the impostor Alexander Balas conferred upon Jonathan the coveted honor of the high priesthood, thus making him both the civil and religious head of the Jewish state. Disregarding his promises to Demetrius and the contemptible character of Alexander, Jonathan at once proceeded to establish his new authority. He was doubtless more acceptable to the majority of the Jews than the apostate high priests whom he succeeded, but the stricter Hasideans naturally regarded it as a sacrilege that a man whose hands were stained with war and bloodshed should perform the holiest duties in the temple service.
Under Alexander Balas Jonathan's power rapidly increased. He was made governor of Judea, and, under pretence of supporting the waning fortunes of Alexander, he captured in succession the Philistine cities of Joppa, Azotus (Ashdod), Ascalon, and Akron. When Demetrius II became master of Syria, Jonathan succeeded by rich gifts and diplomacy in so far gaining the support of the new king that part of the territory of Samaria was joined to Judea. In return for three hundred talents they were also promised exemption from taxation. Furthermore, membership in one of the royal orders was conferred upon the Maccabean leader. Thus by good fortune and by often questionable diplomacy the Jews finally secured in the days of Jonathan that freedom for which they had fought and which they had partially won under the valiant Judas.
Section CXII. PEACE AND PROSPERITY UNDER SIMON
[Sidenote: I Macc. 11:38-40] And when King Demetrius saw that the land was quiet before him and that no resistance was made to him, he sent all his forces, each one to his own home, except the foreign mercenaries, whom he had enlisted from the isles of the heathen. All the troops, however, who had served his father hated him. Now Tryphon was one of those who had formerly belonged to Alexander's party, and when he saw that all the troops were murmuring against Demetrius, he went to Yamliku, the Arabian who was bringing up Antiochus, the young child of Alexander, and importuned him that he should deliver him to him, that he might reign in his father's place. And he told him all that Demetrius had done, and the hatred which his troops bore him. And he stayed there a long time.
[Sidenote: I Macc. 11:54-56] Now after this Tryphon returned, and with him the young child Antiochus, and he assumed the sovereignty and put on the diadem. And there were gathered to him all the forces which Demetrius had sent away in disgrace, and they fought against him, and he fled and was defeated. And Tryphon took the elephants and became master of Antioch.
[Sidenote: I Macc. 12:39-47] Then Tryphon tried to get the sovereignty over Asia and to put on the diadem and to engage in hostilities against Antiochus the king. But he was afraid lest perhaps Jonathan might not allow him, and that he might fight against him. So he sought a way to take him, that he might destroy him. And he set out and came to Bethshan. Then Jonathan went out to meet him with forty thousand picked soldiers and came to Bethshan. And when Tryphon saw that he came with a great army, he was afraid to attack him, and he received him honorably and commended him to all his Friends and gave him gifts, and commanded his forces to be obedient to him as to himself. And he said to Jonathan, Why have you put all this people to trouble, since that there is no war between us? Now therefore send them away to their homes, retaining for yourself only a few men who shall be with you, and come with me to Ptolemais, and I will give it to you with the rest of the strongholds and the rest of the forces and all the king's officers, and I will set out on my way back, for this is the cause of my coming. Then he trusted him and did even as he said, and sent away his forces so that they departed into the land of Judah. But he reserved for himself three thousand men, of whom he left two thousand in Galilee, while one thousand went with him.
[Sidenote: I Macc. 12:48-53] Now as soon as Jonathan entered Ptolemais, the people of Ptolemais shut the gates and laid hands on him, and they slew with the sword all who came in with him. And Tryphon sent forces and horsemen into Galilee, and into the great plain, to destroy all of Jonathan's men. But they perceived that he had been taken and had perished, and those who were with him, and they encouraged one another and marched in closed ranks, prepared to fight. And when those who were pursuing them saw that they were ready to fight for their lives, they turned back again. Thus they all came safely into the land of Judah, and they mourned for Jonathan and those who were with him, and they were greatly afraid. And all Israel mourned bitterly. Then all the heathen who were round about them sought to destroy them utterly, for they said, They have no ruler nor any to help them, now therefore let us fight against them and wipe out the memory of them from among men.
[Sidenote: I Macc. 13:1-11] Now when Simon heard that Tryphon had collected a vast army to come into the land of Judah to destroy it utterly, and saw that the people trembled and were greatly afraid, he went up to Jerusalem and gathered the people together, and encouraged them and said to them, You yourselves know all the things that I and my brothers, and my father's house, have done for the laws and the sanctuary, and the battles and times of distress through which we have passed. In this cause all my brothers have perished for Israel's sake, and I alone am left. And now be it far from me that I should spare my own life, in any time of affliction; for I am not better than my brothers. Rather I will take revenge for my nation, and for the sanctuary, and for our wives and children, because all the heathen are gathered to destroy us out of pure hatred. And the courage of the people rose as they heard these words. And they answered with a loud voice, saying, You are our leader instead of Judas and Jonathan your brothers. Fight our battles, and we will do all that you command. So he gathered together all the warriors and made haste to finish the walls of Jerusalem, and fortified the entire length of it. And he sent Jonathan the son of Absalom at the head of a large army to Joppa, and he drove out those who were in it, and stayed there in it.
[Sidenote: I Macc. 13:20-22] And after this Tryphon came to invade the land and destroy it, and he went round about by the way that goes to Adora; and Simon and his army marched opposite and abreast of him to every place wherever he went. And the people of the citadel sent to Tryphon ambassadors urging him to come by forced marches through the wilderness to them and to send them supplies. So Tryphon made ready all his cavalry to go. But that night a very deep snow fell, so that he did not come because of the snow.
[Sidenote: I Macc. 13:23-30] Then he set out and came to the country of Gilead, and when he came near to Bascama, he slew Jonathan, and he was buried there. But when Tryphon went back into his own land, Simon sent and took the bones of Jonathan his brother, and buried them at Modein, his ancestral city. And all Israel made great lamentation over him and mourned for him for many days. And Simon built a monument upon the sepulchre of his father and his brothers, and raised it aloft to the sight, with polished stone on the back and front sides. He also set up seven pyramids, one opposite another, for his father and his mother and his four brothers. And for these he made artistic designs, setting about them great pillars, and upon the pillars he fashioned different kinds of arms as an everlasting memorial, and beside the arms ships carved, that they should be seen by all who sail on the sea. This is the sepulchre which he made at Modein, which stands there at the present time.
[Sidenote: I Macc. 13:33, 43-48] Then Simon built the strongholds of Judea and fenced them about with high towers and great walls and gates and bars, and laid up stores in the strongholds. In those days he laid siege to Gazara, and surrounded it with armies, and made an engine of siege and brought it up to the city, and smote a tower and captured it. And those who were in the engine leaped forth into the city, and there was a great tumult in the city. And the people of the city tore their garments, and went up on the walls with their wives and children, and cried with a loud voice, requesting Simon to make peace with them. And they said, Do not deal with us according to our wickednesses but according to your mercy. So Simon was reconciled to them and did not fight against them. But he expelled them from the city and cleansed the houses in which the idols were, and so entered into it with singing and praise. And when he had put all uncleanness out of it, he placed in it such men as would keep the law and made it stronger than it was before, and built a dwelling place for himself in it.
[Sidenote: I Macc. 13:49-53] But those who were in the citadel at Jerusalem were prevented from going out and from going into the country, and from buying and selling, so that they suffered exceedingly from hunger, and a great number of them perished through famine. Then they cried out to Simon to make peace with them. He did so, but put them out from there, and cleansed the citadel from its pollutions. And he entered it on the twenty-third day of the second month in the one hundred and seventy-first year, with praise and palm branches, with harps, with cymbals, with viols, with hymns, and with songs, because a great enemy was destroyed out of Israel. And he ordained that they should observe that day each year with gladness. And the temple mount, which was beside the citadel, he made stronger than before, and there he dwelt with his men. And Simon saw that John his son had grown to manhood, and so he made him commander of all his forces. And he lived in Gazara.
[Sidenote: I Macc. 14:16-18] Now when they heard at Rome and at Sparta that Jonathan was dead, they were very sorry. But as soon as they learned that his brother Simon had been made high priest in his place and ruled the country and its cities, they wrote to him on brass tablets, to renew with him the friendship and the treaty which they had made with Judas and Jonathan his brothers.
[Sidenote: I Macc. 14:38-47] Moreover King Demetrius confirmed to him the high priesthood according to these things, and made him one of his Friends, and bestowed great honor upon him, for he had heard that the Jews had been called friends and allies and brothers by the Romans, and that they had met the ambassadors of Simon with honor, and that the Jews and the priests were well pleased that Simon should be their governor and high priest forever, until there should arise a faithful prophet; and that he should be commander over them, and should take charge of the sanctuary, to appoint men on his own authority over their works and over the country and over the arms and over the forts, and that he should be obeyed by all, and that all documents drawn up in the country should be written in his name, and that he should be clothed in purple, and wear gold; and that it should not be lawful for any of the people or of the priests to nullify any of these things, or to resist the commands that he should issue, or to gather an assembly in the country without his permission, or to be clothed in purple or to wear a golden buckle. But whoever should do otherwise, or act in defiance of any of these things, should be liable to punishment. All the people agreed to ordain that Simon should act according to these regulations. And Simon accepted and consented to be high priest and to be general and governor of the Jews and of the priests and to be protector of all.
[Sidenote: I Macc. 14:48, 49] And they gave orders to put this writing on brass tablets and to set them up within the precinct of the sanctuary in a conspicuous place, and also to put the copies of it in the treasury in order that Simon and his sons might have them.
[Sidenote: I Macc. 15:4-8] So the land had rest all the days of Simon, And he sought the good of his nation. His authority and his glory were well-pleasing to them all his days. And amid all his glory he took Joppa for a haven, And made it a way to the isles of the sea, And he enlarged the boundaries of his nation, And became master of the land. He also brought many captives together, And made himself master of Gazara and Bethsura, and the citadel. Moreover he took away from it its uncleannesses; And there was none who resisted him. And they tilled their land in peace, And the earth gave her increase, And the trees of the plains their fruit.
[Sidenote: 15:9-15] The old men sat in the streets, They talked together of the common good, And the young men put on glorious, fine apparel. He provided food for the cities, And furnished them with means of fortification, Until his famous name was known to the end of the earth. He made peace in the land, And Israel rejoiced with great joy, Everyone sat under his own vine and fig tree, And there was no one to make them afraid, And none who warred against them was left upon the earth, For the kings were utterly crushed in those days. And he strengthened all the distressed of his people, He was full of zeal for the law, And every lawless and wicked person he banished. He made the sanctuary glorious, And multiplied the vessels of the temple.
I. Capture and Death of Jonathan. It was not strange in that corrupt age that Jonathan, who had risen to power largely by intrigue, should himself in the end fall a prey to treachery. Tryphon, the general who secretly aspired to the Syrian throne, by lies succeeded in misleading even the wily Jewish leader. His object was to gain possession of southern Palestine, and he evidently believed that by capturing Jonathan he would easily realize his ambition. He overlooked the fact, however, that Simon, next to Judas the ablest of the sons of Mattathias, still remained to rally and lead the Jewish patriots. The natural barriers of Judea again proved insurmountable, for when Tryphon tried repeatedly on the west, south, and east to invade the central uplands, he found the passes guarded by Simon and his experienced warriors. Thus baffled, the treacherous Tryphon vented his disappointment upon Jonathan, whom he slew in Gilead. As the would-be usurper advanced northward, where he ultimately met the fate which he richly deserved, Simon and his followers bore the body of Jonathan back to Modein, and there they reared over it the fourth of those tombs which testified to the warlike spirit and devotion of the sons of Mattathias.
II. Character and Policy of Simon. Simon, who was at this crisis called to the leadership of the Jewish race, had been famed from the first for his moderation and wise counsel. In many campaigns he had also shown the military skill and courage that had characterized his younger brothers. In him the noble spirit of Judas lived again. He was devoted to the law, intent upon building up the state, and at the same time was deeply and genuinely interested in all members of his race, whether in Judea or in distant nations. Like David and Josiah, he was a true father of his people and set an example which unfortunately his descendants failed to follow. He still recognized the authority of Demetrius II, but the Syrian kingdom was so weak that Simon succeeded in securing a definite promise of the remission of all taxes, and ruled practically as an independent sovereign. To strengthen his position he sent an embassy laden with rich gifts to Rome. During a later crisis in his rule its prestige proved of great value, but Simon in following the example of his brothers gave to Rome that claim upon Judea that was destined within less than a century to put an end to Jewish independence. In still further consolidating and developing the resources of his people and in preparing for future expansion, Simon laid the foundations for the later Jewish kingdom. His policy also brought to Palestine that peace and prosperity which made his rule one of the few bright spots in Israel's troubled history.
III. His Conquests. The chief conquest of Simon was the capture of Gazara, the ancient Gezer. This lay on the western side of the plain of Ajalon. It guarded the approaches to Judea from the west, and above all the highway that ran from Joppa and along which passed the commerce of the Mediterranean. After a stubborn resistance he captured the town, deported part of its heathen population, and settled Jewish colonists in their place. Joppa also was under Simon's control. Thus he also prepared the way for that commercial expansion which was necessary if the Jewish state was to survive in the midst of its many powerful foes. Early in his reign Simon laid siege to the Syrian garrison in Jerusalem, and finally, amidst the rejoicing of the people, captured this stronghold and delivered Judea from the presence of the hated foreigners. The temple area was also fortified. Simon's victories, and especially his conquest of the Greek cities on the plain, aroused the Syrian king, Antiochus Sidetes, the son of Demetrius I, to demand heavy indemnity. When Simon refused to pay the tribute a Syrian army was sent to enforce the claim, but were defeated by a Jewish force under John Hyrcanus. This victory left Simon during the remainder of his reign practically independent of outside authority.
IV. Simon's Authority. Simon, with commendable moderation, refrained from attempting to secure for himself the title of king. He did, however, issue coins in his own name, although that right was ordinarily the prerogative only of kings. Upon him was conferred by the grateful people the authority that had first been given Jonathan by the shameless Alexander Balas. In return for Simon's many services and as a tribute to the achievements of his family he was proclaimed by the Jews not only civil governor and military leader, but also high priest. He thus became their rightful leader both in peace and war, and the representative of the nation in the sacred services of the temple. In all but name he was king, and Jewish history would have doubtless flowed in calmer channels had his descendants been contented with these substantial honors.
V. Completion of the Psalter. The reign of Simon probably witnessed the completion of the Psalter. Many of the psalms, especially those in the latter half of the book, bear the unmistakable marks of the Maccabean struggle. In Psalms 74 and 89, for example, there are clear references to the desecration of the temple and the bitter persecutions of Antiochus. They voice the wails of despair which then rose from the lips of many Jews. Many other psalms, as, for example, the one hundred and eighteenth, express that intense love and devotion to the law which was from this time on in many ways the most prominent characteristic of Judaism. The prevailingly prominent liturgical element that characterizes the concluding psalms of the Psalter suggest their original adaptation to the song services of the temple. Under the reign of Simon the temple choir was probably extended and greater prominence given to this form of the temple service. The peace and prosperity in the days of Simon gave the opportunity and the incentive to put in final form the earlier collections of psalms and probably to add the introduction found in Psalms 1-2 and the concluding doxology in Psalm 150. The Psalter appears to have been the last to be completed of all the Old Testament books, so that probably before the close of Simon's reign all of the present Old Testament books were written. Discussions regarding the value of such books as Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, and Esther continued until nearly the close of the first Christian century, when at last the canon of the Old Testament was completed.
VI. The Religious Life Reflected in the Later Psalms. The prevailing note in the psalms found in the latter part of the Psalter is joyous. A deep sense of gratitude to Jehovah for deliverance pervades them. The Jews felt that Jehovah had indeed delivered them "as a bird from the snare of the fowler" (Psalm 124). In the near background were the dark days of persecution. Hostile foes still encircled Israel, but trust in Jehovah's power and willingness to deliver triumphed over all fear.
Oh, give thanks to Jehovah for he is good, For his mercy endureth forever. He hath delivered us from our enemies; Oh, give thanks to the God of heaven, For his mercy endureth forever,
was the oft-repeated refrain that was sung in the temple service by the warriors when they returned victorious from battle and by the people as they went about their tasks. The sense of constant danger and of great achievement bound together the Jews of this period as perhaps never before since the days of the exile. The same experiences developed a powerful religious consciousness. Jehovah had repeatedly and signally demonstrated that he was in their midst. Without his strong hand they were helpless against their foes. The apostates had been expelled, and the classes that remained were bound closely together by their desire to preserve their hard-won liberties, by their devotion to the temple and its services and by a profound respect for the authority of their scriptures. The voice of the living prophet was silent. The priests had ceased to teach and were simply ministers at the altar, and in the turmoil of the Maccabean struggle the teaching of the wise had practically come to an end. Instead the Jews became in every sense the people of the book. It was at this time and as a result of the forces at work in this age that the scribes attained their place as the chief teachers of the people. It was natural that they who copied, edited, and above all interpreted the revered Law and the Prophets should have the ear of the masses and should be regarded more and more as the authorized teachers of the Jewish race. Judaism had at last attained its maturity.
Section CXIII. THE RULE OF JOHN HYRCANUS AND ARISTOBULUS
[Sidenote: I Macc. 16:11-17] Now Ptolemy the son of Abubus had been appointed commander over the plain of Jericho. He possessed much silver and gold, for he was the high priest's son-in-law. Then he grew ambitious and determined to make himself master of the country. So he formed treacherous plots against Simon and his sons, to make away with them. Now Simon was visiting the cities that were in the country and providing for their good management. And he went down to Jericho with Mattathias and Judas his sons, in the one hundred and seventy-seventh year, in the eleventh month, that is the month Sebat. Then the son of Abubus received them treacherously in a little stronghold that is called Dok, which he had built, and made them a great banquet, and his men were there. And when Simon and his sons were drunk, Ptolemy and his men rose up and took their weapons, and rushing in upon Simon in the banquet hall, they slew him and his two sons, and some of his servants. Thus he committed a great act of treachery and paid back evil for good.
[Sidenote: I Macc. 16:18-22] Then Ptolemy wrote what had happened, and asked the king to send forces to aid him, and promised to hand over to him their country and the cities. And he sent others to Gazara to make away with John. And to the officers commanding thousands he sent letters to come to him, that he might give them silver and gold and gifts. And others he sent to take possession of Jerusalem and the temple-mount. But some ran before to Gazara and told John that his father and brothers had perished, and they said, He has sent to slay you too. And when he heard, he was dumb with amazement, but he seized the men who came to destroy him, and slew them, for he saw that they were seeking to destroy him.
[Sidenote: Jos. Jew. War, I, 2:3c-4b] Now when Hyrcanus had received the high priesthood which his father had held before him and had offered sacrifice to God, he made haste to attack Ptolemy, that he might relieve his mother and brothers. So he laid siege to the fortress and was superior to Ptolemy in other respects; but he was defeated through his natural affection. For when Ptolemy was distressed, he brought Hyrcanus's mother and his brothers and set them upon the wall and beat them with rods in the sight of all and threatened that unless Hyrcanus went away immediately, he would throw them down headlong. At this sight Hyrcanus's pity and concern overcame his anger.
[Sidenote: Jos. Jew. War, I, 2:4d] And since the siege was delayed in this way, the year of rest came on, during which the Jews rest every seventh year as they do on every seventh day. In this year, therefore, Ptolemy was freed from being besieged. He also slew the brothers of Hyrcanus with their mother, and fled to Zeno, who was the tyrant of Philadelphia.
[Sidenote: Jos. Jew. War, I, 2:5] And now Antiochus [Sidetes] was so angry at what he had suffered from Simon that he made an expedition into Judea and laid siege to Jerusalem and shut up Hyrcanus. But Hyrcanus opened the tomb of David, who was the richest of all kings, took from there more than three thousand talents of money and induced Antiochus upon the promise of three thousand talents to raise the siege. Moreover he was the first of the Jews who had plenty of money, and so began to hire foreign mercenaries.
[Sidenote: Jos. Jew. War, I, 2:6] At another time, when Antiochus had gone upon an expedition against the Medes and thus given Hyrcanus an opportunity to be revenged upon him, Hyrcanus made an attack upon the cities of Syria, thinking, as proved to be the case, that he would find them empty of good troops. So he took Medeba and Samaga with their surrounding towns; likewise Shechem and Mount Gerizim.
[Sidenote: Jos. Ant. XIII, 9:1d, e] Hyrcanus also took Dora and Marissa, cities of Idumea, and subdued all the Idumeans. He permitted them to stay in their country, if they would undergo circumcision and conform to the Jewish laws. They were so desirous of living in the country of their fathers that they submitted to circumcision and the other Jewish ways of living. From this time on, therefore, they were none other than Jews.
[Sidenote: Jos. Jew. War, I, 2:7a-b] Hyrcanus also proceeded as far as Samaria and invested it on all sides with a wall, and placed his sons, Aristobulus and Antigonus in charge of the siege. They pushed it with such vigor that a famine prevailed within the city, so that the inhabitants were forced to eat what was never before regarded as food. They also invited Antiochus to come to their assistance and he readily responded to their invitation, but he was beaten by Aristobulus and Antigonus, and he was pursued as far as Scythopolis by these brothers and fled away from them. So they returned to Samaria and shut up the multitude within the wall again, and when they had taken the city, they tore it down and made slaves of its inhabitants.
[Sidenote: Jos. Ant. XIII, 10:5] However the prosperity of Hyrcanus caused the Jews to envy him; and they who were worst disposed to him were the Pharisees. Now Hyrcanus was one of their disciples and had been greatly beloved by them. But once when he invited them to a feast and entertained them kindly and saw them in a good humor, he began to say to them that they knew that he desired to be a righteous man and do all things by which he might please God and them, for the Pharisees are philosophers. However, he desired, if they observed him offending in any respect or departing from the right way, that they would call him back and correct him. When they testified that he was entirely virtuous he was well pleased with their approval. But one of his guests, Eleazar by name, was a man malignant by nature, who delighted in dissension. This man said: "Since you wish to know the truth, if you really desire to do what is right, lay down the high priesthood and content yourself with the civil government of the people." And when Hyrcanus desired to know for what cause he ought to lay down the high priesthood, the other replied: "We have heard from old men that your mother was a captive in the reign of Antiochus Epiphanes." This story was false, and Hyrcanus was provoked against him. All the Pharisees likewise were very indignant with him.
[Sidenote: Jos. Ant. XIII, 10:6a-c] Now there was a certain Jonathan, a great friend of Hyrcanus, but of the sect of the Sadducees, whose ideas are the opposite of those of the Pharisees. He told Hyrcanus that Eleazar had cast that slur upon him according to the common opinion of all the Pharisees and that this would be made clear if he would ask them the question, What punishment they thought this man deserved? For in this way he might be sure that the slur was not laid on him with their approval, if they advised punishing him as the crime deserved. Therefore when Hyrcanus asked this question, the Pharisees answered that the man deserved stripes and imprisonment, but it did not seem right to punish a slur with death. And indeed the Pharisees ordinarily are not apt to be severe in punishment. At this mild sentence Hyrcanus was very angry and thought that this man reproved him with their approval. It was this Jonathan who influenced him so far that he made him join the Sadducees and leave the party of the Pharisees and abolish the decrees that they had thus imposed on the people and punish those who obeyed them. This was the source of the hatred with which he and his sons were regarded by the multitude.
[Sidenote: Jos. Ant. XIII, 10:7] But when Hyrcanus had put an end to this sedition, he afterward lived happily and administered the government in the best manner for thirty-one years and then died, leaving behind him five sons. He was esteemed by God worthy of the three highest honors, the rulership of his nation, the high priesthood, and prophecy, for God was with him and enabled him to predict the future.
[Sidenote: Jos. Ant. XIII, 11:1a-c, 8a] Now when Hyrcanus was dead, his eldest son Aristobulus, intent upon changing the government into a monarchy, was the first to put a diadem on his head. This Aristobulus loved his next brother Antigonus and treated him as an equal, but the others he kept in bonds. He also cast his mother into prison because she disputed the government with him, for Hyrcanus had left her in control of everything. He also proceeded to that degree of barbarity that he killed her in prison with hunger. Moreover he was estranged from his brother Antigonus by false charges and also slew him, although he seemed to have a great affection for him and had shared the kingdom with him. But Aristobulus immediately repented of the slaughter of his brother; on which account his disease grew upon him.
[Sidenote: Jos. Ant. XIII, 11:3e] Then Aristobulus died, after having reigned a year. He was called a lover of the Greeks and conferred many benefits on his country. He also made a war against Iturea [Galilee], and added a great part of it to Judea and compelled the inhabitants, if they wished to remain in that country, to be circumcised and to live according to the Jewish laws.
I. Murder of Simon. Even his moderation and kindly rule did not deliver Simon from the violent death that overtook all the sons of Mattathias.
His murderer was his son-in-law, a certain Ptolemy, who was governor of the Jordan Valley, the resources of which had been developed under Simon. Ptolemy trusted to the support of the Syrian court, but he failed to reckon with two things: (1) the loyalty of the people to their Maccabean leaders; and (2) the ability of Simon's son, John Hyrcanus. Instead of falling a victim to Ptolemy's plot, John at once went to Jerusalem where he was made the high priest and governor by the people. Ptolemy, who was besieged in the castle of Dok, saved his miserable life only by shameless perfidy.
II. The Syrian Invasion. Antiochus Sidetes proved the ablest Syrian king of this period. Although his first attack had been repelled by Simon, he again attempted, on the accession of Hyrcanus, to reestablish his authority in Palestine. Josephus, in his account, obscures this humiliating chapter in Jewish history. The statement that Hyrcanus took from the tomb of David vast wealth and thus purchased immunity from Syrian attack has all the characteristics of an Oriental tale. Instead, Antiochus Sidetes not only besieged but captured Jerusalem, and doubtless compelled the Jews to pay heavy tribute. Preferring, however, to retain their loyalty rather than to crush them, he left John Hyrcanus in control of Judea, and Jerusalem escaped destruction. In the disastrous campaign against the Parthians in which Antiochus lost his life John Hyrcanus accompanied him with a following of Jewish soldiers. The death of Antiochus Sidetes in 129 B.C. at last left the Jews free to develop their kingdom without further fear of Syrian interference. This event marks for the Jews the attainment of absolute political freedom—a privilege which they continued to enjoy for a little over half a century.
III. John's Military Policy and Conquests. John possessed the characteristic ambitions and energy of his family. In his policy he also seems to have been strongly influenced by the achievements of Israel's early conquering king, David. His aim was to build up a small empire, and by crushing the ancient foes of Israel to secure immunity from further attack. In employing foreign mercenaries he also followed the example of King David. Doubtless he was influenced in doing so by his experiences in the Parthian campaign. This policy, however, was far removed from the spirit of the early Maccabean leaders who had unsheathed the sword in behalf of their principles. John's first campaign was against the cities to the east of the Jordan, and resulted in the conquest of the towns of Medeba and Samaga and the territory subject to them. The conquest of Shechem and southern Samaria was undoubtedly prompted both by hereditary hatred toward the Samaritans and by the desire to provide an outlet for the growing Jewish population. After standing for two centuries, the Samaritan temple on Mount Gerizim was destroyed by the Jews. This sacrilegious act naturally intensified that hatred between Jew and Samaritan which burned so fiercely during the early part of the first Christian century. Marissa and Dora, the chief cities of the Idumeans, were next conquered. With strange inconsistency, John Hyrcanus, whose ancestors had first taken up the sword in defence of religious liberty, compelled the descendants of their old foes, the Edomites, to give up their national religion or else go into exile. This policy was fraught with far-reaching consequences, for among those appointed to rule over the conquered Edomites was Antipater, the ancestor of Herod, who was destined to rule the Jews and to initiate that long series of disasters that culminated in the destruction of the Jewish state. Last of all, John Hyrcanus advanced to the conquest of the Greek city of Samaria. Because of its natural strength and formidable defences a year was required for the siege, and it was ultimately captured only through famine. The sons of John Hyrcanus succeeded in holding at bay the Syrian armies that were sent to relieve the besieged. The conquered inhabitants were sold as slaves, and the city was left for a time in complete ruins. The conquest of Scythopolis, the ancient Bethshean, extended the bounds of John's kingdom to the southern hills of Galilee. Thus he became master of a small empire extending out toward the desert on the east, to the South Country on the south, touching the sea at Joppa, and including the entire territory of ancient Samaria on the north. While not as large as the kingdom of David, it was a more perfect political unit, and offered superior opportunities for commerce and internal development.
IV. The Break with the Pharisees. The successes of John Hyrcanus blinded the majority of the nation to the real issues at stake. But a powerful group, which during the Maccabean period appeared for the first time under the name of Pharisees, began to withdraw their allegiance and silently, at least, to protest against a high priest whose chief ambition was conquest. The story which Josephus tells to explain the defection of the Pharisees may be simply a popular tradition, but it is indicative of that division within Judaism which ultimately wrecked the Maccabean state. From the days of John Hyrcanus, the Maccabean rulers, with only one exception, were compelled to meet the silent but strong opposition of the Pharisees. As a result they turned to the rising party of the Sadducees which henceforth identified itself with the interests of the reigning family. Thus in the year of its greatest triumph the Jewish state became a house divided against itself. Estranged from the better-minded religious leaders of the nation, John Hyrcanus and his successors followed an increasingly secular, selfish policy until they completely forgot the noble ideals for which their fathers had striven.
V. The Reign of Aristobulus. The accession of Aristobulus marks a triumph of that Hellenism against which Judas and Simon had unsheathed the sword. Like many an Oriental monarch, he established his position on the throne by the murder of all members of his family who might contest his power. His inhuman cruelty to his mother and the suspicions which led him to murder his brother reveal a barbarous spirit that can only be explained as a result of the wrong ambitions that had already taken possession of Israel's rulers. Aristobulus's brief reign of one year is marked by two significant acts. The first is the assumption of the title of king. On his own initiative, and apparently without the consent of the people, he placed the diadem upon his head. The other important act was the conquest of part of the territory of Iturea, which was known in later times as Galilee. He found it occupied by a mixed Syrian and Greek population in which were probably a few descendants of the ancient Israelites. Following the policy of his family, he doubtless at once inaugurated a system of colonization which carried to Galilee a strong Jewish population. Henceforth, by virtue of race, language, and religion, Galilee was closely bound to Judea.
Section CXIV. THE PHARISEES, SADDUCEES, AND ESSENES
[Sidenote: Jos. Ant. XVIII, 1:2, 3a-c] The Jews have three sects of philosophy: the Essenes, the Sadducees, and those called Pharisees. The Pharisees do not yield to luxury but despise that kind of life; and they follow the guidance of reason, and what that prescribes to them as good, they do. They also pay respect to those advanced in years nor are they so bold as to contradict them in anything which they have introduced. While they believe that all things are done by predestination, they do not take away from a man the choice of acting as he deems proper, for they believe that it is God's will that an event be decided for good or evil both by the divine counsel and by the man who is willing to accede to it. They also believe that souls possess immortal power and that under the earth there will be rewards or punishments according as men have lived virtuously or viciously in this life, and that the vicious are to be detained in an everlasting prison and that the virtuous shall have the power to live again.
[Sidenote: Jos. Ant. XVIII, 1:3d] On account of this doctrine they have great influence with the people, and whatsoever they do in connection with the divine worship, prayers and sacrifices, they perform in accordance with the direction of the Pharisees.
[Sidenote: Jos. Ant. XVIII, 1:4a, Jos. Jew. War, II, 8:14c] But the doctrine of the Sadducees is that souls die with the bodies, nor do they give heed to anything beyond these things which the law enjoins. They deny predestination entirely and assert that God exercises no oversight over any evil doing and they say that good or evil lies before man to choose, and, according to each man's inclination, he chooses the one or the other.
[Sidenote: Jos. Ant. XVIII, 1:4b] They also think it virtuous to dispute with those teachers of philosophy which they follow. This doctrine, however, is accepted by only a few, but these are of the highest rank, They are able to accomplish almost nothing by themselves; for when they come to power, unwillingly but perforce, they accede to the Pharisaic doctrine, for otherwise they would not be tolerated by the multitude.
[Sidenote: Jos. Ant. XVIII, 1:5a, b] The doctrine of the Essenes is that all things are best left to God. They teach the immortality of souls and think that the rewards of righteousness are to be earnestly striven for; and when they send what they have dedicated to God to the temple, they offer their sacrifices in accordance with the special law of purity which they observe. On this account they are excluded from the common court of the temple but themselves offer their sacrifices. Yet their course of life is far better than that of other men and they devote themselves wholly to agriculture.
[Sidenote: Jos. Jew. War, II, 8:2, 13a] The Essenes seem to have a greater affection for each other than do the other sects. They reject pleasure as an evil, but regard self-restraint and the conquest of passions as a virtue. They despise marriage and choose out other people's children, while they are impressionable and teachable, and they regard them as their own kindred, and conform them to their own customs. They do not absolutely repudiate marriage. There is also another order of Essenes, who agree with the rest in regard to their way of living, customs and laws, but differ from them in regard to marriage, for they think that by not marrying they will cut off the most important element in human life, which is the succession of mankind.
[Sidenote: Jos. Jew. War, II, 8:3, 4] These men are despisers of riches and are wonderfully communistic among themselves. No one is to be found among them who has more than the others, for it is a law among them that those who join their sect must share with them what they have, so that among them all there is no evidence of poverty or excess of riches, but everyone's possessions are shared in common, so there is, as it were, but one property among all the brothers. They also have directors appointed by vote to manage their common affairs. These have no other interest, but each devotes himself to the needs of all. They possess no one city, but many of them dwell in every city, and if any of their sect come from other places, what they have lies open for them, just as if it were their own. They do not change garments or sandals until they first are entirely torn to pieces or worn out by time. Nor do they either buy or sell anything to each other, but every one of them gives to him who wants it and receives from him again in return for it what he wants; and even though no return is made, they are free to take what they want from whom they wish.
[Sidenote: Jos. Jew. War, II, 8:5] And their piety toward God is very extraordinary; for before sunrise they speak not a word about profane matters, but offer up certain inherited prayers as if they made a supplication to it for its rising. After this everyone is sent away by their directors to engage in some of those arts in which they are skilled, and at which they labor with great diligence until the fifth hour; after which they assemble again in one place. And when they have clad themselves in linen coverings, they bathe their bodies in cold water. After this purification is over they meet together in an apartment of their own in which none of another sect is permitted to enter. Then they go ceremonially pure into the dining room, as if into a temple. And when they have quietly sat down, the baker lays loaves in order for them, and a cook also brings a single plate of one kind of food and sets it before each of them. And a priest offers a prayer before eating. It is unlawful for any one to taste the food before the prayer. When he has dined he offers prayer again. When they begin and when they end they praise God as the giver of the necessities of life. After this they lay aside their garments as though they were sacred, and devote themselves to their labor again until evening. Then they return home to dine in the same manner and if any strangers be there they sit down with them. There is never any clamor or disturbance to pollute their household, but they give everyone permission to speak in turn. The silence of the inmates appears to outsiders like some awful mystery.
[Sidenote: Jos. Jew. War, II, 8:6] They do nothing except in accordance with the injunctions of their directors. Only these two things are done among them as each wishes, namely, they assist the needy and show mercy; but they cannot assist their kindred without the permission of their directors. They dispense their anger justly and restrain their passion. They are eminent for fidelity and are the advocates of peace. Also whatever they say is mightier than an oath, but swearing is avoided by them, and they regard it worse than perjury, for they say that he who cannot be believed without swearing by God is already condemned. They also devote great attention to the study of the works of the ancients and select from them those things that are profitable for soul and body. Also they seek out such roots as may be effective for the cure of their diseases and inquire into the properties of stones.
[Sidenote: Jos. Jew. War, II, 8:7] To one who desires to enter their sect, admission is not immediately granted; but he is prescribed the same method of living as they use for a year during which he is still excluded, and they give him a small hatchet, and girdle and the white garment. And when during that time he has given evidence of self-control, he approaches nearer to their way of living and is allowed to share the waters of purification. However, he is not even now allowed to live with them, for after this demonstration of his fortitude, his character is tried two years more, and if he appears to be worthy, they then admit him into the society. But before he is allowed to touch their common food, he is obliged to swear to them awful oaths that in the first place he will show piety toward God and then that he will observe justice toward men, and that he will do no harm to any one either voluntarily or at the command of others, and that he will always hate the wicked, and help the righteous, and that he will show fidelity to all men and especially to those in authority, that he will be a lover of truth and denounce those who tell lies, and that he will keep his hands clean from theft, and his soul from unlawful gain. Moreover he swears to communicate their doctrines to no one otherwise than he received them himself, and that he will abstain from robbery, and that he will faithfully preserve the books of their sect and the names of the angels.
[Sidenote: Jos. Jew. War, II, 8:8a, 9a-c] Those who are caught in any heinous sins they cast out of their society; and he who is thus expelled often dies miserably. And in the judgments they pronounce they are most exacting and just, nor do they pass sentence by the votes of a court having less than one hundred members, and what is determined by them is unalterable. What they most of all honor, after God himself, is the name of their legislator [Moses], whom, if any one blasphemes, he is punished by death. They also think it a good thing to obey their elders and the majority. They are stricter than any others of the Jews in resting from their labors on the seventh day, for they not only prepare their food the day before, that they may not be obliged to kindle a fire on that day, but they will not venture to move any vessel out of its place.
[Sidenote: Jos. Jew. War, II, 8:10b, c, 11b] They are also long-lived, insomuch that most of them live over a hundred years because of the simplicity of their diet and as a result of their regular course of life. They despise the miseries of life and are above pain because of their noble thoughts. And as for death, if it come with glory, they regard it as better than immortality. They think also, like the Greeks, that the good have their habitation beyond the ocean in a region that is never oppressed by storms of rain or of snow, or with heat, and that this place is refreshed by the gentle breath of the west wind that is continually blowing from the ocean; while they allot to the bad a dark and cold den which is never free from unceasing punishment.
[Sidenote: Jos. Jew. War, II, 8:12] There are also those among them who undertake to foretell things to come by reading the holy books, by using several different forms of purifications and by being constantly familiar with discourses of the prophets; and it is only seldom that they fail in their predictions.
I. Influences that Gave Rise to the Jewish Parties. The Maccabean period witnessed the birth of the great parties that henceforth distinguished Judaism. They represented the crystallizing of the different currents of thought that were traceable in the Greek period and even earlier. These diverse points of view were in part the result of that democratic spirit which has always characterized Israel's life. In the striking antithesis between the idealists and the legalists and the practical men of affairs it is also possible to detect the potent influence which the prophets had exerted upon the thought of their nation. In the Greek period the Chronicler and certain of the psalmists, with their intense devotion to the temple and its services to the practical exclusion of all other interests, were the forerunners of the later Pharisees. Ben Sira, with his hearty appreciation of the good things of life, with his devotion to the scriptures of his race, with his evident failure to accept the new doctrine of individual immortality, and with his great admiration for the high priests, was an earlier type of the better class of Sadducees. The persecutions of Antiochus Epiphanes developed these parties. As has already been noted, the Hasideans who followed Judas in the struggle to restore the law and the temple service were the immediate predecessors of the early Pharisees. The word "Pharisees" means separatists, and is used first in the days of Jonathan (Jos. Ant. III 5:9) In the same connection Josephus refers to the Sadducees. The name of this second party is probably derived, not from the Hebrew word sadik, meaning righteous, but from Zadok (later written Sadok or Sadduk), who was placed by Solomon in charge of the Jerusalem temple. It was thus the designation of the aristocratic, high-priestly party. In the Persian and Greek periods the high priests had ruled the Judean state without opposition. It was the rise of the party of the Pharisees that apparently developed that of the Sadducees. This party included the hereditary nobles who supported and sympathized with the Maccabean leaders. The Essenes evidently represent a reaction against the prevailing moral corruption. In many respects they were simply extreme Pharisees. They were zealots in religion, just as the later party of the Zealots were extremists in their hatred of Rome and in the methods which they were ready to use in order to attain their ends.
II. Character and Beliefs of the Pharisees. Originally the Pharisees were not a political but a religious party. The opposition of the Sadducees in time led them to enter public life. In politics they were conservatives. They had little sympathy with the popular ambition for political independence, and probably regarded with alarm the tendency toward national expansion. Alliances with the heathen nations seemed to them disloyalty to Jehovah. In belief they were progressives. While they stood squarely on the ancient law, they recognized the importance of interpreting it so as to meet the many questions that rose in public and private life. To this great and practically endless task much of their time was devoted. They thus recognized the fact that Israel's law was still in process of development. To their later interpretations of the law they attributed great authority. One of their maxims was: "It is a worse offence to teach things contrary to the ordinances of the scribes than to teach things contrary to the written law." Naturally their attempt to anticipate by definite regulations each individual problem led them to absurd extremes and in time obscured the real intent of the older laws, but the spirit which actuated it was progressive. They also did not hesitate to accept the growing popular belief in angels and spirits. Like the earlier prophets, they recognized the presence of Jehovah directing the life of the nation and of the individual. They accepted the new-born belief in the immortality of the individual, clinging, however, to the hope of a bodily resurrection. They also held to the popular messianic hopes which became more and more prominent during the Maccabean and Roman periods.
The Pharisees were the most democratic party in Judaism. While for their own members they insisted upon a most rigorous ceremonial regime, they allowed the common people to ally themselves with them as associates. In their acceptance of the popular hopes and in their endeavor to adapt Israel's law to the life of the nation and thus establish a basis for the realization of Israel's hopes they appealed to the masses and exerted over them a powerful influence. Josephus asserts that so great was the influence of the Pharisees with the people that the Sadducees, in order to carry through their policies, were obliged, nominally, at least, to adopt the platform of their rivals. The Pharisees were also zealous in teaching the people and thus kept in close touch with the masses. They, therefore, stood as the true representatives of Judaism. Their principles have survived and are still the foundations of orthodox Judaism.
III. Character and Beliefs of the Sadducees. The Sadducees were few in numbers compared with the Pharisees. They represented, on the one side, the old priestly aristocracy, and on the other the new nobility that rallied about the Maccabean leaders. They depended for their authority upon their wealth, their inherited prestige, and the support of the throne. They were in reality a political rather than a religious party. In politics they were progressives and opportunists. Any policy that promised to further their individual or class interests was acceptable to them. As is usually the case with parties that represent wealth and hereditary power, they were conservatives in belief. They stood squarely on the earlier scriptures of their race and had no sympathy with the later Pharisaic interpretations and doctrines. Whether or not, as Josephus asserts, they entirely rejected fate, that is, the providential direction of human affairs, is not clear. Probably in this belief they did not depart from the earlier teachings of priests and prophets. Their selfish and often unscrupulous acts suggest a basis for Josephus's claim, even though allowance must be made for his hostile attitude toward them. While they were conservatives in theory, the Sadducees were of all classes in Judaism most open to Greek and heathen influence, for foreign alliances and Hellenic culture offered opportunities for advancement and power.
IV. Character and Beliefs of the Essenes. Less important but even more interesting are the Essenes. They were a sect, or monastic order, rather than a political or religious party. Josephus, who asserts that for a time he was associated with them, has given a full account of their peculiar customs. They evidently represented a strong reaction against the prevailing corruption and a return to the simple life. Their spirit of humility, fraternity, and practical charity are in marked contrast to the aims of the Sadducees and the later Maccabean rulers. In their beliefs they were idealists. Their invocation of the sun, their extreme emphasis on ceremonial cleanliness, their tendency toward celibacy, and their distinction between soul and body, all suggest the indirect if not the direct influence of the Pythagorean type of philosophy. If the Essenes represented simply an extreme type of Pharisaism, the peculiar form of its development was undoubtedly due to the Greek atmosphere amidst which it flourished. The Essenes do not appear to have had any direct influence in the politics of their day. They were a current apart from the main stream of Judaism, and yet they could not fail to exert an indirect influence. Many of their ideals and doctrines were closely similar to the teachings of John the Baptist and Jesus. Yet there is a fundamental difference between Essenism and primitive Christianity, for one sought to attain perfection apart from life and the other in closest contact with the currents of human thought and activity. While according to Josephus the party of the Essenes at one time numbered four thousand, like all ascetic movements it soon disappeared or else was deflected into that greater stream of monasticism which rose in the early Christian centuries.
Section CXV. THE LIFE AND FAITH OF THE JEWS OF THE DISPERSION
[Sidenote: Jos. Ant. XII, 3:1a] The Jews obtained honor from the kings of Asia when they became their auxiliaries; for Seleucus Nicator made them citizens of those cities which he built in Asia and in lower Syria, and in Antioch, the metropolis, and gave them privileges equal to those of the Macedonians and the Greeks who were its inhabitants.
[Sidenote: Jos. Jew. War, VII, 3:3a] For the Jewish race is widely dispersed among the inhabitants of all the world; and especially was it intermingled with the population of Syria, because of the nearness of that country. Above all, in Antioch, because of the size of the city, it had great numbers. There the kings who followed Antiochus gave the Jews a place where they might live in the most undisturbed security; for although Antiochus, who was called Epiphanes, laid waste Jerusalem and plundered the temple, the kings who succeeded him restored all the gifts of brass that had been made to the Jews of Antioch, and dedicated them to their synagogue.
[Sidenote: Jos. Jew. War, VII, 3:3b] The succeeding kings also treated them in the same way, so that they became very numerous, and adorned their temple with ornaments and at great expense with those things which had been given them. They also continued to attract a great many of the Greeks to their services, making them in a sense part of themselves.
[Sidenote: Jos. Jew. War, VII, 10:2d-3e] Now Onias, the son of Simon, one of the Jewish high priests, fled from Antiochus [Epiphanes] the king of Syria, when he made war with the Jews, and came to Alexandria. And after Ptolemy [Philometor] received him very kindly on account of his hatred to Antiochus, Onias assured him that if he would comply with his proposal, he would bring all the Jews to his assistance. Now when the king agreed to do whatever he was able, Onias desired him to give him permission to build a temple somewhere in Egypt and to worship God according to the customs of his own nation. So Ptolemy complied with his proposals and gave them a place about twenty miles distant from Memphis. That province was called the province of Heliopolis. There Onias built a fortress and a temple like that at Jerusalem except that it resembled a tower. He built it of large stones to the height of sixty cubits, but he made the structure of the altar an imitation of that in his own country. In like manner also he adorned it with gifts, excepting that he did not make a candlestick but had a single lamp hammered out of a beaten piece of gold, which illuminated the place with its rays, and which he hung by a chain of gold. The entire temple was surrounded by a wall of burnt brick, although it had a gateway of stone. The king also gave him a large territory for a revenue in money, that both the priests might have plentiful provision for themselves, and that God might have abundance of those things which were necessary for his worship.
[Sidenote: Jos. Ant. XIII, 10:4] Now in the days of John Hyrcanus, not only did the Jews in Jerusalem and Judea enjoy prosperity but also those who were at Alexandria in Egypt and Cyprus. For Cleopatra the queen was at variance with her son Ptolemy, who is called Lathyrus, and appointed as her generals Chelcias and Ananias, the son of that Onias who built the temple in the province of Heliopolis similar to that of Jerusalem. Cleopatra intrusted these men with her army and did nothing without their advice. Strabo of Cappadocia also attests that only those who were called Onias's party, being Jews, continued faithful to Cleopatra because their countrymen, Chelcias and Ananias, were in highest favor with the queen.
[Sidenote: Wisd. of Sol. 6:12-16] Wisdom is brilliant and fades not away, And she is easily seen by those who love her, And found by those who seek her. She anticipates those who desire her, making herself first known. He who eagerly seeks her shall have no toil, For he shall find her sitting at his gates. For thinking upon her brings perfect wisdom, And he who lies awake for her sake shall quickly be free from care. For she herself goes about seeking those who are worthy of her, And in their paths she graciously appears to them, And in every purpose she meets them.
[Sidenote: Wisd. of Sol. 7:25-8:1, 7] For she is breath of the power of God, And a clear effluence of the glory of the Almighty; Therefore nothing defiled can find entrance into her. For she is a reflection of everlasting light, And a spotless mirror of the working of God, And an image of his goodness. And though she is but one, she has power to do all things; And remaining the same renews all things, And from generation to generation passing into holy souls, She makes them friends of God and prophets. For God loves nothing except him who dwells with wisdom. For she is fairer than the sun, And surpasses all the order of the stars; Compared with light, she is found to be superior to it. For night succeeds the light of day, But evil does not prevail against wisdom. But she reaches from one end of the world to the other, And she directs all things graciously. The fruits of her labors are virtues; For she teaches moderation and good sense, Justice and fortitude, And nothing in life is more profitable for men than these.
[Sidenote: Wisd. of Sol. 1:1-8] Love righteousness, O rulers of the earth, Think of the Lord with sincerity, And seek him in singleness of heart. For he is found by those who do not tempt him, And manifests himself to those who do not distrust him. For perverse thoughts separate from God, And his power, when it is tried, convicts the foolish; For wisdom will not enter into a soul that devises evil, Nor dwell in a body that is pledged to sin. For a holy spirit which disciplines will flee deceit, And will start away from senseless thoughts, And will be frightened away when unrighteousness comes in. For wisdom is a spirit that loves man, And she will not absolve a blasphemer for his words, Because God is a witness of his innermost feelings, And a true overseer of his heart, And a hearer of his tongue. For the spirit of the Lord hath filled the world, And that which holdeth all things together knoweth every voice. Therefore no one who speaks unrighteous things can be hid, Nor will justice, when it convicts, pass him by.
[Sidenote: Wisd. of Sol. 1:12-15] Do not court death by leading an erring life, And do not by the deeds of your hands draw destruction upon yourselves. For God did not make death, And he hath no pleasure when the living perish; For he created all things that they might exist, And the created things of the world are not baneful. And there is no destructive poison in them, Nor has Hades dominion on earth, For righteousness is immortal.
[Sidenote: Wisd. of Sol. 2:23-3:1] For God created man for incorruption, And made him an image of his own peculiar nature; But through the envy of the devil death entered into the world, And they who belong to him experience it. But the souls of the righteous are in the hand of God, And no torment can touch them.
[Sidenote: Wisd. of Sol. 5:15, 16] But the righteous live forever, And in the Lord is their reward, And the care for them with the Most High. Therefore they shall receive the glorious kingdom, And the diadem of beauty from the Lord's hand; Because he will cover them with his right hand, And with his arm he will shield them.
[Sidenote: Wisd. of Sol. 11:21-12:2] For thou, O Lord, lovest all things that are, And thou dost not abhor any of the things which thou hast made, For thou wouldest never have formed anything that thou didst hate. And how would anything have endured, if thou didst not wish it? Or how could that which was not called into being by thee have been preserved? But thou sparest all things, because they are thine, O Sovereign Lord, thou lover of men's lives! For thine incorruptible spirit is in all things. Therefore thou convictest the fallen little by little, And, reminding them of the things in which they sin, thou dost warn them, That freed from wickedness, they may believe on thee, O Lord.
[Sidenote: Wisd. of Sol. 15:1-3] But thou, our God, art gracious and true, Long suffering, and in mercy directing all things. For even if we sin, we are thine, since we know thy might. But we shall not sin, knowing that we have been counted as thine; For to know thee is perfect righteousness, And to know thy might is the root of immortality.
I. Conditions of the Jews in Antioch and Asia Minor. Seleucus Nicanor, who in 311 B.C. founded the city of Antioch, like Alexander, granted many privileges to the Jewish colonies whom he thus sought to attract hither. They not only possessed the rights of citizenship, but lived in their separate quarter. Their synagogue was one of the architectural glories of the city. There they engaged in trade and undoubtedly grew rich, taking on largely the complexion of that opulent Hellenic city. Later the Jewish colony was enlarged by the apostates who fled from Judea when the Maccabean rulers gained the ascendancy. The corrupt and materialistic atmosphere of Antioch doubtless explains why its Jewish citizens apparently contributed little to the development of the thought and faith of later Judaism. Similar colonies were found throughout the great commercial cities of Asia Minor. In many of these cities—for example, Tarsus—they seem to have enjoyed the same privileges as those at Antioch.
II. The Jews in Egypt. The chief intellectual and religious center of the Jews of the dispersion, however, was in Alexandria. It is probable that fully a million Jews were to be found in Egypt during the latter part of the Maccabean period. Industry and commerce had made many of them extremely wealthy and had given them the leisure to study not only their own scriptures but also the literature of the Greeks. The prevailingly friendly way in which the Ptolemaic rulers treated the Jews naturally led them to take a more favorable attitude toward Greek culture. Alexandria itself was the scene of an intense intellectual activity. Attracted by the munificence of the Ptolemies and by the opportunities offered by its great library, many of the most famous Greek philosophers and rhetoricians of the age found their home in the Egyptian capital. Public lectures, open discussions, and voluminous literature were only a few of the many forms in which this intellectual life was expressed. Hence it was at Alexandria that Hebrew and Greek thought met on the highest plane and mingled most closely.
III. The Jewish Temple at Leontopolis. After the murder of his father Onias III near Antioch, whither he had fled from the persecutions of Antiochus Epiphanes, Onias IV sought refuge in Egypt. Here, as the legitimate head of the Jewish high-priesthood, he was favorably received by Ptolemy and granted territory in the Nile Delta to the north of Memphis in which to rear a temple to Jehovah. In the light of recent discoveries at Elephantine it is evident that this step was not without precedent (Section XCI:vii). Ptolemy's object was to please his Jewish subjects and to attract others to the land of the Nile. Josephus's statement in The Jewish War, VII, 10:4 favors the conclusion that the temple was built two hundred and forty-three years (not 343) before its final destruction in 73 A.D., that is, in 170 B.C. In any case it was probably built between 170 and 160 B.C., at the time when the persecutions of Antiochus Epiphanes made pilgrimages to the Jerusalem temple impossible, and threatened its continued existence. The plan of the Leontopolis temple indicates that it was not intended to be a rival to the Jerusalem sanctuary, but rather a common place of meeting for the Egyptian Jews and of defence in case of attack. It never seriously rivalled the Jerusalem sanctuary, although in later days it was viewed with jealousy by the Jews of Palestine.
IV. Translation of the Hebrew Scriptures into Greek. Far more significant than the building of the Leontopolis temple was the translation of the Hebrew Scriptures into Greek. The tradition preserved by Josephus that the translation was made in seventy-two days by seventy-two scholars, sent from Jerusalem by Eleazar the high priest at the request of Ptolemy, is clearly unhistorical. The impossibility of completing so vast a task in this limited time is obvious. Moreover, the character of the translation indicates that it was the work not of Palestinian but of Alexandrian Jews familiar with the peculiar Greek of Egypt and the lands of the dispersion. It was also the work not of one but of many different groups of translators, as is shown by the variant synonyms employed in different books to translate the same Hebrew words and idioms. In the case of several books the work of two or more distinct translators is readily recognized. The quality of the translation also varies greatly in different books. It is probable that the one historical fact underlying the tradition is that the work of translation was begun in the days of Ptolemy Philadelphus, who may have encouraged his Jewish subjects in their undertaking. From the character of the translations and the nature of the situation it is probable that the first books to be translated were certain historical writings, as Samuel-Kings and the books of the Law. The remaining books were probably translated by the end of the succeeding century (between 250 and 150 B.C.), for the grandson of Ben Sira implies in his prologue that he was acquainted with the Law, the Prophets, and the other writings in their Greek version.
The primary aim of this Greek translation was to put the Hebrew scriptures themselves into the hands of their Greek persecutors as the best possible answer to their false and malicious charges. Evidence of this apologetic purpose is found in the fact that glaring inconsistencies and expressions, where Jehovah is described in the likeness of a human being, were usually left out. Where the Hebrew text was corrupt the translators restored or else freely paraphrased what they thought was the original meaning. In time, however, the translation gained a new importance, for the Jews of Egypt soon began to forget the language of their fathers and so became increasingly dependent for a knowledge of their scriptures upon the Greek translation. In the end it almost completely superseded the original Hebrew version not only in the lands of the dispersion, but even in Palestine itself. A large proportion of the quotations from the Old Testament in the New are from the Greek rather than the Hebrew text. Although it is only a translation, the Greek version, or Septuagint (the Version of the Seventy), as it is popularly known, still possesses a great value for the modern translator, inasmuch as it is based upon Hebrew texts centuries older than any which now exists. At many points, especially in the historical prophetic books it makes possible the restoration of the original reading where the Hebrew has become corrupt in the long process of transmission.
V. Apologetic Jewish Writings. During the centuries immediately preceding the Christian era the Jews of the dispersion, and especially of Egypt, were the object of constant attack. Manetho, an Egyptian priest, wrote a history purporting to give the origin and the early experiences of the Jews. Portions of this have been preserved and reveal the bitter and unjust spirit with which this race was regarded by the Greek and Egyptian scholars of the day. To defend themselves from these attacks the Jews not only translated their scriptures, but employed many different types of writing. A certain Jew by the name of Demetrius about 215 B.C. wrote a commendatory history of the Jewish kings. Aristobulus, the teacher of Ptolemy Philometor, wrote an "Explanation of the Mosaic Laws," in which he anticipated, in many ways, the modern interpretation of the early traditions found in the opening books of the Old Testament. Like all Alexandrian scholars, however, he overshot the mark under the influence of the allegorical or symbolic type of interpretation. Other Jewish writers appealed to the older Greek historians and poets. Adopting the unprincipled methods of their persecutors, they expanded the original writings of such historians as Hecataeus, who had spoken in a commendatory way of the Jews. They even went so far as to insert long passages into the writings of the famous Greek poets, such as Orpheus, Hesiod, Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Menander, so as to transform them into ardent champions of the persecuted race. The culmination of this illegitimate form of defence was to insert in the famous Sibylline Books (III) a long passage describing the glories of the Jewish race and voicing the hopes with which they regarded the future. It was in this atmosphere and under the influence of these methods that the anti-Semitic spirit was born in ancient Alexandria. Thence it was transmitted, as a malign heritage, to the Christian church.
VI. The Wisdom of Solomon. The noblest literary product of the Jews of the dispersion was the apocryphal book known as the Wisdom of Solomon. It was so called because the author assumed the point of view of Solomon. In so doing he did not intend to deceive his contemporaries, but rather followed the common tendency of his day. Although the book has many characteristic Hebrew idioms, which are due to its Jewish authorship, it was without doubt originally written in Greek. Its author was evidently acquainted with the writings of many of the Greek poets and philosophers. He accepted Plato's doctrine of the pre-existence of the soul (8:19, 20), of the limitations of the body (9:15), and of the creation of the world out of formless matter (11:17). He was especially influenced by the beliefs of the Epicureans and Stoics. He was acquainted with Hellenic art, astronomy, and science (7:17-29) and throughout shows the influence of Greek methods of thinking. His rejection of the teachings of the book of Ecclesiastes, his wide learning and his conception of immortality indicate that he lived some time after the beginning of the Maccabean struggle. His reference in 3:1-4 is probably to the persecutions through which the Jews of Egypt passed during the reign of Ptolemy Psycon (140-117 B.C.). On the other hand the book clearly antedates the writings of the Jewish philosopher Philo, who lived during the latter part of the first century B.C. The Wisdom of Solomon, therefore, may be dated somewhere between 100 and 50 B.C.
VII. Its Important Teachings. The author of the Wisdom of Solomon aimed, first, to commend Israel's faith to the heathen by showing that it was in substantial accord with the noblest doctrines of the Greek philosophers, and second, to furnish the Jews of the dispersion, who were conversant with Hellenic thought and yet trained in the religion of their race, a working basis for their thought and practice. From the first it appears to have been highly esteemed by the Jews outside Palestine, although it never found a place in the Palestinian canon. Like most wisdom books, it describes at length the beauty and value of wisdom. The figure of Proverbs 8 and 9 is still further developed under the influence of the Greek tendency to personify abstract qualities. In the mind of the author, however, wisdom is simply an attribute of the Deity which he shares in common with men. The book is unique in two respects: (1) it contains the earliest references in Jewish literature to a personal devil and identifies him with the serpent that tempted the woman in the garden (2:24, cf. Gen. 3) Elsewhere, however, the author traces sin and evil to men's voluntary acts (e.g., 1:16). (2) It teaches the immortality of righteousness and hence, by implication, the immortality of the individual. "God created man for incorruption," and "the souls of the righteous are in his hand." The doctrine here presented is ethical and spiritual rather than the belief in a bodily resurrection already formulated in the twelfth chapter of Daniel. It also teaches that both the good and bad will be rewarded according to their deeds. Its conceptions of God are exalted. He is the incorruptible spirit in all things, just and yet merciful, the lover of men. The book also places side by side with the Jewish teachings regarding men's duties to God and their fellow-men the Greek virtues of moderation, good sense, justice, and courage or fortitude. It also teaches that, like God, each of his children should be a lover of men. Thus the book unites most effectively that which is best in the thought of Judaism and Hellenism and is an earnest of that still nobler union that was later realized in the thought and teachings of Christianity.
Section CXVI. THE DECLINE OF THE MACCABEAN KINGDOM
[Sidenote: Jos. War, I, 4:1] After Aristobulus died, his wife Salome, who by the Greeks was called Alexandra, released his brothers from prison (for Aristobulus had kept them in confinement), and made Alexander Janneus, who was the oldest, king.
[Sidenote: Jos. War, I, 4:2] Now there was a battle between him and Ptolemy, who was called Lathyrus, who had taken the city of Asochis. He indeed slew many of his enemies, but the victory rather inclined to Ptolemy. But when this Ptolemy was pursued by his mother, Cleopatra, and retired into Egypt, Alexander besieged and took Gadara and Amathus, which was the strongest of all the fortresses that were beyond the Jordan, and the most valued of all the possessions of Theodorus, the son of Zeno, were therein. Thereupon Theodorus marched suddenly against him and took what belonged to himself, and slew ten thousand of the Jews. Alexander, however, recovered from this blow and turned his force toward the maritime districts and took Gaza, Raphia, and Anthedon.
[Sidenote: Jos. War, I, 4:3] But when he had enslaved all these cities, the Jews made an insurrection against him at a festival and it looked as though he would not have been able to escape the plot they had laid for him, had not his foreign auxiliaries come to his aid. And when he had slain more than six thousand of the rebels, he invaded Arabia, and when he had conquered the Gileadites and Moabites, he commanded them to pay him tribute and returned to Amathus and took the fortress and demolished it.
[Sidenote: Jos. War, I, 4:4, 5] However, when he fought with Obedas, king of the Arabians, who had laid an ambush for him near Golan, he lost his entire army, which was crowded together in a deep valley and trampled to pieces by the multitude of camels. And fleeing to Jerusalem because of the greatness of the calamity that had overtaken him, he provoked the multitude, which had hated him before, to make an insurrection against him. He was, however, too strong for them in the various battles that were fought between them and he slew no fewer than fifty thousand of the Jews in the interval of six years. Yet he had no reason to rejoice in these victories, since he did but consume his own country, until he at length ceased fighting and desired to come to an agreement with them. But his changeability and the irregularity of his conduct made them hate him still more. And when he asked them why they so hated him and what he should do to appease them they said, "Die."
[Sidenote: Jos. War, I, 4:4c, 5c, 6a, c] At the same time they invited Demetrius to assist them, and as he readily complied with their request and came with his army, the Jews joined with these their auxiliaries about Shechem. In the battle which followed, Demetrius was the conqueror, although Alexander's mercenaries performed the greatest exploits. Nevertheless the outcome of this battle proved different from what was expected by both sides, for those who had invited Demetrius to come to them did not continue loyal to him although he was the conqueror, and six thousand Jews out of pity because of the change in Alexander's condition, when he fled to the mountains, went over to him. Demetrius, supposing that all the nation would run to Alexander, left the country and went his way. The rest of the Jewish multitude, however, did not lay aside their quarrels with Alexander when the auxiliaries were gone, but had perpetual war with them until he had slain the greater part of them. Then such a terror seized the people that eight thousand of his opponents fled away the following night out of all Judea and did not return until Alexander died.
[Sidenote: Jos. War, I, 4:8c, d] Alexander also subdued Golan, Seleucia, and what was called the Valley of Antiochus; besides which he took the strong fortress of Gamala. Then he returned into Judea after he had spent three years on this expedition. Now he was gladly received by the nation because of his success. So when he was at rest from war, he fell ill and died, terminating his troubles after he had reigned twenty-seven years.
[Sidenote: Jos. War, I, 5:1] Now Alexander left the kingdom to Alexandra, his wife, and trusted the Jews would readily submit to her, for in opposing his habitual violation of their laws she gained the good-will of the people. Nor was he mistaken in his hopes, for this woman retained the rulership because of her reputation for piety. For she chiefly studied the ancient customs of her country and cast those men out of the government who offended against their holy laws. And as she had two sons by Alexander, she made the older, Hyrcanus, high priest, on account of his age and also on account of his inactive temperament.
[Sidenote: Jos. War, I, 5:2, 3a, b] And the Pharisees joined themselves to her in the government and Alexandra henceforth hearkened to them to a great degree. But these Pharisees artfully insinuated themselves into her favor little by little and presently became the real administrators of public affairs. They banished and recalled whom they pleased. While she governed the people, the Pharisees governed her. Accordingly, they slew Diogenes, a person of prominence, because he had been a friend of Alexander; they also urged Alexandra to put the rest of those to death who had stirred up Alexander against them. But the chief of those who were in danger fled to Aristobulus. He persuaded his mother to spare the men on account of their rank, but to expel them from the city. So when they were given their freedom, they were dispersed over all the country.
[Sidenote: Jos. War, I, 5:4-6:1b] In the meantime Alexandra fell sick and Aristobulus, her younger son, seized this opportunity to get possession of all the fortresses. He also used the sums of money he found in them to gather together a number of mercenaries and to set himself up as king. But Alexandra, after she had lived nine years, died before she could punish Aristobulus. Hyrcanus was heir to the kingdom and to him his mother intrusted it while she was living. But Aristobulus was superior to him in ability and spirits, and when there was a battle between them near Jericho to decide the dispute about the kingdom, the majority deserted Hyrcanus and went over to Aristobulus. But they came to an agreement that Aristobulus should be the king, and that Hyrcanus should resign, but retain all the rest of his dignities.
[Sidenote: Jos. War, I, 6:2, 3] Now the others who opposed Aristobulus were afraid, when he thus unexpectedly came to power. This was especially true of Antipater, whom Aristobulus hated of old. He was by birth an Idumean and one of the chief men of that nation on account of his ancestry and riches and other authority that belonged to him. He urged Hyrcanus to flee to Aretas, king of Arabia, and to retrieve the kingdom. When he had prepared them both beforehand he took Hyrcanus by night away from the city and escaped to Petra, which is the royal capital of Arabia. Here he put Hyrcanus into Aretas's care. He prevailed with him to give him an army to restore him to his kingdom. This army consisted of fifty thousand footmen and horsemen which Aristobulus was not able to withstand, but was defeated in the first encounter and was driven out of Jerusalem. He would have been taken by force, if Scaurus, the Roman general, had not come and opportunely raised the siege. This was the Scaurus who was sent into Syria from Armenia by Pompey the Great when he was fighting against Tigranes. As soon, therefore, as Scaurus arrived in the country, ambassadors came from both the brothers, each of them desiring his assistance. But Aristobulus's three hundred talents blocked the way of justice. When Scaurus had received this sum, he sent a herald to Hyrcanus and the Arabians, and threatened them with the resentment of the Romans and Pompey unless they raised the siege. So Aretas was terrified and retired from Judea to Philadelphia.
[Sidenote: Jos. War, I, 6:4-5] When Hyrcanus and Antipater were thus deprived of their hopes from the Arabians, they fled to Pompey for assistance and besought him to show his disapproval of the violent action of Aristobulus and to restore to him the kingdom, as it justly belonged to him. Aristobulus was also there himself, dressed in regal attire, but Pompey was indignant at his behavior. When Hyrcanus's friends also interceded strongly with Pompey, he took not only his Roman forces but also many of his Syrian auxiliaries and marched against Aristobulus. But when he had passed by Pella and Scythopolis and had come to Korea, he heard that Aristobulus had fled to Alexandrium, which was a stronghold fortified with the greatest magnificence, and situated upon a high mountain, and he sent to him and commanded him to come down. So Aristobulus came down to Pompey and when he had made a long defence of the justness of his rule, he returned to the fortress. Pompey however commanded him to give up his fortified places and forced him to write to each of his governors to surrender. Accordingly he did what he was ordered to do, but being displeased, he retired to Jerusalem and prepared to fight with Pompey.
[Sidenote: Jos. War, I, 6:6-7:2b] But Pompey gave him no time to make any preparations and followed at his heels. And Aristobulus was so frightened at his approach that he came and met him as a suppliant. He also promised him money and to deliver up both himself and the city. Yet he did not keep any one of his promises. At this treatment Pompey was very angry and took Aristobulus into custody. And when he had entered the city he looked about to see where he might make his attack, for he saw that the walls were so firm that it would be hard to overcome them and the valley before the walls was terrible and the temple which was in that valley was itself surrounded by such a strong wall that if the city was taken the temple would be a second place of refuge for the enemy. Inasmuch as Pompey deliberated a long time, a sedition arose among the people within the city. Aristobulus's party was willing to fight to save their king, while the party of Hyrcanus was ready to open the gates to Pompey. Then Aristobulus's party was defeated and retired into the temple and cut off the communications between the temple and the city by breaking down the bridge which joined them together, and they prepared to resist to the utmost.
[Sidenote: Jos. War, I, 7:3] Pompey himself filled up the ditch which was on the north side of the temple and the entire valley also, the army being obliged to carry the material for this purpose. Indeed, it was difficult to fill up that valley because of its great depth and especially as the Jews from their superior position used all possible means to repel them. As soon as Pompey had filled up the valley, he erected high towers upon the bank.
[Sidenote: Jos. War, I, 7:4, 5] Now Pompey admired not only the other examples of the Jews' fortitude, but especially that they did not at all intermit their religious services, even when they were surrounded with darts on all sides; for, as if the city were in full peace, their daily sacrifices and purifications and all their religious rites were still carried out before God with the utmost exactness. Nor when the temple was taken and they were slain about the altar daily, did they cease from those things that are appointed by their law to be observed. For it was in the third month of the siege before the Romans could even with a great struggle overthrow one of the towers and get into the temple. The greater part of the Jews were slain by their own countrymen of the opposite faction and an innumerable multitude threw themselves down from the walls. Of the Jews twelve thousand were slain, but of the Romans very few, although a greater number were wounded.
[Sidenote: Jos. War, I, 7:6a, b] But there was nothing that affected the nation so much in the calamities which they then suffered as that their holy place, hitherto unseen, should be laid open to strangers. For Pompey and those who were about him went into the temple itself, where it was lawful for the high priest alone to enter, and saw what was deposited therein; but he commanded the ministers about the temple to purify it and to perform their accustomed sacrifices.
[Sidenote: Jos. War, I, 7:7] Moreover he reappointed Hyrcanus high priest, by which he acted the part of a good general and reconciled the people to him rather by kindness than by terrorizing them. He took away from the nation all those cities that they had formerly taken and reduced Judea to its own bounds. Then he made all the haste he could to go through Cilicia on his way to Rome, taking Aristobulus and his two children along with him as captives. One of Aristobulus's sons, Alexander, ran away on the journey, but the younger, Antigonus, with his sisters, was carried to Rome.
I. The Character and Policy of Alexander Janneus. For the picture of the character of Alexander Janneus we are chiefly dependent upon Josephus, and it is not clear how far this late Jewish historian was influenced by the prevailing prejudices against that ruler who figured as the arch enemy of the Pharisees. The incidents recorded reveal, however, a most sinister character. He was ambitious, but his ambitions were selfish and low. He was energetic and tireless, but his energy was wasted in futile undertakings. Furthermore, he was unscrupulous, vindictive, and merciless. There is not the slightest indication that he was actuated by any worthy ideal of service. To the Jewish state and race it was a great calamity that a man of this type should gain control of the nation at the moment when it had attained its greatest material strength. Under the kindly and wise guidance of Simon the subsequent history of the Jewish state would doubtless have been far different. Janneus's first aim was to establish his power as an absolute despot. He ardently accepted the ideal of an Oriental ruler that had been imposed upon the Jews during the short reign of his brother Aristobulus. In realizing this ambition he met, as did every other king in Israel's history, the strong opposition of the people and a bold assertion of their inherited liberties. His second aim was to break completely the power of the Pharisees. They were the party of the people and had no sympathy with his policies. In them, therefore, he recognized his chief opponents. His third ambition was to extend the territory of the Jewish state to its farthest natural bounds. Soon after the beginning of his reign he succeeded in arousing the bitter hostility of the Greek cities on his eastern and western borders, of the reigning kings of Egypt, and of the rising Arabian power to the south of the Dead Sea. The objects for which he strove were comparatively petty: possession of the cities of Ptolemais and Gaza and of certain east-Jordan cities, such as Gadara and Amathus. He was more often defeated than victorious, but his love of struggle and adventure and lust for conquest ever goaded him on. In desperation his subjects even ventured to call in Demetrius, the governor of Damascus, but when Alexander was driven away in defeat the nation's gratitude and loyalty to the Maccabean house reasserted itself and he was recalled. Instead of granting a general armistice and thus conciliating his distracted people, he treacherously used his new-won power to crucify publicly eight hundred of the Pharisees. Horror and fear seized the survivors, so that, according to Josephus, eight thousand of them fled into exile. After six years of civil war and the loss of fifty thousand lives, Alexander Janneus finally realized his first ambition and became absolute master of his kingdom. In achieving his ambitions, however, he well earned the title by which his contemporaries described him, "the Son of a Thracian," that is, Barbarian.