« AnteriorContinuar »
disposed, that the tides entered by it, and washed the passages, by wbich the whole was kept in an uncommon state of cleanliness. Exclusive of all the structures abovementioned, Herod built a theatre of stone ; and, on the south side of the harbour, cona structed a very large amphitheatre, which afforded an elegant prospect towards the sea. In fact, nothing that inoney could procure, or diligence effect, was wanting ; and the whole of this magnificent work was completed in about twelve years.
At this period concerning which we are writing, there arose a contention between the Cæsarean Jews and the Syrians on the extent of certain privileges. The Jews of Cæsarea established their claim of preference in the right of Herod their king, as the original founder of the city. The Syrians insisted triat, previous to the establishment of the city of Herod, and of its being inhabited by Jews, the place had existed under the denomination of the tower of Straton. The governors of the adjacent provinces being informed of the prevailing commotion, caused the incendiaries of both parties to be apprehended and whipped ; this punishment produced a suspension of the tumult for some time ; but the dispute was at length revived by the Jews of Cæsarea, who, priding themselves in their riches, calumniated and reproached the Syrians, who replied with no inferior degree of acrimony ; for they were encouraged to a boldness of op position by a consciousness that many of the soldiers in the service of Rome were attached to their cause. From words they proceeded to annoy each otber by casting of stones, and the quarrel was continued till many on each side were slain and wounded ; but the Jews had considerably the advantage. The contention having increased to a kind of war, Felix commanded the Jews to decline all farther animositics ; but finding that they treated bis authority with contempt, he ordered his troops to march against them, and the consequence was that many of the Jews lost their lives, and a much greater number were taken prisoners. Felix gave the soldiers permission to plunder, and they riflcd several of the most considerable houses of property to a great amount. Those Jews who were most remarkable for moderation and honour, dreading still more fatal consequences, solicited Felix to recal his troops, that the offenders might have the opportunity of repenting of their rash and inconsiderate conduct; and he complicd with their request,
At this time, king Agrippa advanced Ismael, the son of Phabeus, to the pontifical dignity: and the high-priests now detached themselves from the interest of the other priests, and the governors, and the principal officers, and inhabitants of Jerusalem. Each of the high-priests procured the attendance of a guard composed of the most intrepid and seditious people they could select ; and they vilified their adversaries in the most provoking terms, and molested them by casting stones. So shameful was the conduct of the magistrates in neglecting to restrain the insolence of the high-priests, that by means of their agents they destroyed the barna, and seized the tithes belonging to the other priests, many of the poorer sort of whom actually perished for want of food. Had no order of government been cstablished, they could not have proceeded to grcater extremittcs.
Felix, in order more completely to terminate this sedition, desired the leading men: of both parties to visit Nero in the capacity of commissioners, and plead the cause of their friends, Soon after this, the emperor transferred the government to Portius Festus, when some of the most considerable of the Cæsarean Jews repaired to Rome, in order to exhibit accusations against Felix for the exercise of tyranny and injustice ; and their representations must inevitably have produced his destruction, but for the interference of bis brother Pallas, who; being in high estimation with Nero, solicited and obtained his pardon. Two distinguished Syrians of Cæsarea applied to Beryllus, who had been preceptor, ced to the on arht be
and now held the office of Greek secretary to Nero; and, by an immense sum of money. .prevailed upon him to procure the emperor's mandate for disfranchising the Jews, and for revokióg the privileges and immunities of the city of Cæsarea, which they claimed in common with the Syrians. This mandate is to be considered as the cause of all the miseries which the Jews afterwards experienced ; for the Cæsarean Jews were thereby inflamed to greater violence, nor did their restless dispositions subside till they were involved in all the calamities of an open war.
Upon the arrival of Festus in Judea, he found the country ravaged and laid waste, the people compelled to desert their habitations, the land over-run by great numbers of robbers, who set fire to and plundered houses, and committed every other kind of enormity without controul.
A famous impostor lived at this time; he seduced great numbers of the people into the absurd notion, that if they followed him into a certain wilderness, they should be no longer subject to the misfortunes and accidents of life. However, Festus ordered the procession to be intercepted by a strong detachment of horse and foot, who pursued and put to death the scducer and his credulous disciples. . An event occurred about this time, which, though it produced no very important consequences, deserves to be recorded as remarkably characteristic of the spirit which then actuated the Jewish nation. Near the porch of the royal palace at Jerusalem, which formerly belonged to the Maccabean family, king Agrippa had erected a superb edifice. As this was situated on an eminence, it commanded a vicw of the city; and from the king's bedchamber might be perceived all that passed in the temple. This circumstance highly offended the principal Jews, who thereforc erected a wall which inclosed the interior part of the temple toward the west ; and it likewise concealed the galleries without the teinple on the other side, where the Roman guards are stationed on the public days for preserving tranquillity. Agrippa was highly offended with the Jews for building the wall, and Festus was still more so, and the latter ordered them immediately to destroy it ; but they replied that they would sooner relinguish their lives than commit any violence against their temple; and they requested that, before any measures were pursued against them, they might be permitted to appeal to Cæsar through the agency of deputies, and Festus complied with their desire. They nominated ten eminent citizens, with Ismacl the high-priest, and Chelcias the treasurer of the temple, as commissioners to represent their case to Nero. Pappæa, the emperor's wife, a friend to the Jews, interceded with Nero, and prevailed upon him to authorize the continuance of the wall. The cmpress detained Ismael and Chelcias as hostages, but the ten deputies were permitted to return. Agrippa, being informed that the Jews had gained their suit, bestowed the pontificate upon Joseph, otherwise named Cabis, the son of Simon, who had formerly enjoyed the dignity of the highpriesthood.
Upon the death of Festus, Nero conferred the government upon Albinus. At the same period, Agrippa (displaced Joseph and promoted Ananus to succeed him in the pontificate. The elder Ananus was considered as one of the most happy men on earth ; for he had five sons, who successively enjoyed the pontificate after him; and this was what no other man could boast. Ananus, the son, was of a vindictive, fierce, and haughty temper; he professed the principles of the Sadducees, wbo were a sect remarkable for their censorious and uncharitable dispositions. After the death of Festus, and previous to the arrival of his successor, Albinus Ananus assembled a council, and cited James the brother of Christ and others to appear and answer to an accusation of having committed blaspheiny and violated the law; and, in consequence of this charge, they were sentenced to be stoned. The conduct of Ananus
with respect to these supposed offenders, proved highly disgusting to those citizens whose sentiments were regulated by motives of piety and a due regard to the laws : and they privately transmitted a representation of the case to the king, requesting that Ananus might be reprimanded, in order to deter him from a repetition of his unjustifiable conduct. The matter was also related to Albinus, then on his journey to Alexandria, to whom the letters set forth that the parties could not be legally condemued without his concurrence, and that therefore Ananus had been guilty of usurping his authority and violating the law. Highly incensed against the highpriest, Albinus wrote to him a menacing letter, strongly expressive of his displeasure ; and, on the expiration of three months, king Agrippa deposed Ananus from the pontificate, and appointed Jesus, the son of Damneus, to assume that dignity.
Albinus is described by Josephus as a man abandoned to every vice. Avarice, corruption, extortion, oppression, public and private, were equally familiar to him. He accepted bribes in civil and personal causes, and oppressed the nation by the weight of arbitrary taxes. If any offender, however atrocious, convicted of robbery or assault, by himself, or any other magistrate, was under sentence of the law, a friend and a bribe would ensure his liberty: and this governor never found a man guilty who had money to prove his innocence.
At this time a faction prevailed at Jerusalem : and, wishing a change of government, the most opulent of them previously compounded with Albinus in case a disturbance should happen. There was likewise a set of men who could not be easy while the state was at peace; and Albinus engaged these in his interest. The leaders of these mutineers were each of them attended by daring fellows of their own turn of mind ; but the governor was the most abandoned villain of the whole, and had guards always ready to execute his orders. The event proved that the injured dare not to complain : those who were in any danger of losing part of their property were glad to compound to save the rest, and the receivers proved the worst of thieves. In fact, there appeared to be no sense of honour remaining; and a new slavery seemed predicted from the number of tyrants already in power.
When Albinus had received information that Gessius Florus was appointed to succeed him, he determined, as the most effectual means of obtaining the popular esteem, to execute justice upon such offenders as he had apprehended and committed to prison. He ordered the prisoners to be brought into his presence, and pronounced judgment upon them according to their degrees of criminality: such as were accused only of slight offences he dismissed on their paying fines, and he sentenced those to death against whom sufficient evidence was adduced to prove the commission of capital crimes. Thus, by clearing the jails, did he suffer the country to be over-run by robbers, and other abandoned characters. The singing men of the tribe of Levi petitioned Agrippa for permission to use the linen stole, which only the priests had then a right to wear, urging that, from a compliance with their request, he would derive immortal honour. The king summoned a council, and granted their petition with the usual formalities ; and the other Levites who served in the temple he permitted to officiate as singers. The grant of these privileges was contrary to the laws and customs of the Jewish nation, which, Josephus observes, have never been violated with impunity. .
About this time, that is, about A. D. 63, the work of the temple was completed, which had been carried on ever since the time of Herod. Herod, having signalized hijnself by a great number of very distinguished actions, and completed many buildings of uncommon pomp and magnificence, conceived an idea, in the eighteenth year of his reign, of erecting a temple to the honour of God, which he proposed should be a ducha
nent upon thered the prisonere Ostenders as he hucans of obtain;
crimin39.preses ended as the
larger and more epicudid building than the former. This work he intended should redound more to the credit of his owu rame, and tend more effectually to perpetuata his menory than all he had ever done before, which proved to be actually the case; but lest the people should conceivc that he proposed a plan which would be too diffi. cult in its execution, be caused them to be summoned together, to try what the force of reason would do towards the removing of that objection ; and, when they were met, he addressed them in a speech on the subject.
There was something in his address and declaration so totally unexpected by the people, that they were astonished at the hearing of it, and filled with apprehension what would be the consequence. Exclusive of this, they were extremely afraid that the old temple would be pulled down before they were certain of having another to sụpply its place; nay, the having any other at all was rather the object of their hopes than of their expectations ; for they thought it almost impossible that sucb a work should be completed. While they were revolving this business in their minds, the king, finding what it was that gave them uneasiness, desired that they would not indulge their anxiety any longer; for they might rest assured that the old temple should remain altogether in its present situation till the materials for the new one sbould be provided ; and, in this circumstance, bis performance kept pace with his promise.
For the completion of this work, a hundred carriages were provided to remove stones and other materials; of handicraftsmen of all sorts there were ten thousand artists, and of these the best in each kind that could possibly be procured ; and, for tbe superintendance of them, a thousand priests that understood the business of masonry and carpentry ; and these priests were supplied with robes and vestments at the king's expence. When the workmen were engaged, and the stones, timber, and other materials all provided, the first work they began upon was to clear the old fauodation, and lay a new one in its stead ; and on this they elevated a superstructure of a temple, the length of which was a hundred cubits, and the height one hundred and twenty; but as it afterwards happened that the odd twenty cubits sunk, it fell so much short of the original design ; and the Jews in the time of Nero had an intention of supplying the defect. The whole building was a composition of durable white stone, each stone being eight cubits high, twelve broad, and twenty-five in length.
The principal front of this extraordinary building had very much the appearance of a palace, the centre part of which was much higher than the sides. The prospect it afforded towards the fields was extremely agreeable, and this prospect extended into the country several furlongs ; nor was the view of the building itself less pleasing to those who bad their residence opposite to it, or such as were travelling towards it. The porch of the temple was a curiosity no less singular than the rest of the building, the upper part of it being adorned with an abundance of the richest tapestry hanging, variety of beautiful purple flowers and pillars appearing to be interwoven, round the pillars a golden vine crept and entwined itself, on the branches of which were suspended clusters of grapes that descended in elegant negligence from the cornices of the room; the whole exhibiting a piece of workmanship no less valuable for the materials with which it was formed, than for the adipirable skill with which it was executed.
Large galleries extended round about the temple, which were equally superb and magnificent with the rest of the work; but for the elegance and beauty of their struće ture, greatly surpassing any thing that had been seen before of that kind. Two strong walls formed the support for two of these galleries, and were of themselves deemed pieces of work of a very remarkable degree of excellence.
Near this city gature had placed a steep rocky hill, but on the east ward side of it
the descent was gently sloping. Now Solomon, in former ages, had, by the particular command of God, surrounded this hillock with a wall, and the lower extremity of it was encompassed by another wall, under which, towards the south, was a deep valley.
This was composed of stones of immense size, cramped together with irons round the whole work, and extending down to the bottom of the hill. This work was built in a square form, and was deemed a most extraordinary piece of architecture, allowance being made for its depth and magnitude. The best opinion could be formed of the size of the stones wherewith it was built, by viewing it on the outside, since on the inside they were jointed together one within another, to prevent the inclemency of the weather from separating them.
When this wall was built up to its proper height, the space between that and the hill was filled up with earth, so as to bring the ground upon a level with the wall; and then were erected four galleries, each gallery being deemed a furlong in extent. Within the square, likewise, there was another stone wall, which extended round the top of the hill, and was ornamented with a double porch on the east side, which was opposite to the portal of the temple, which stood in the middle. Several princes contributed to adorn this portal by many tokens of their royal bounty; and round about various parts of the temple were hung the spoils and trophies which had been acquired in battles with the barbarians ; these Herod caused to be again dedicated, and added to them many others of later date, which, in his battle with the Arabians, he had brought off as proofs of his own victories.
A strong and well fortified building stood on one of the angles of the north side, which had been erected by some of the line of the Asmoneans, a family that had executed the joint authority of prince and high-fricst for a long succession of years. To this place they gave the name of Baris, or the Tower ; and herein they deposited the pontifical habits, which, agreeably to antient custom, were never to be brought forth but when the high-priest wanted them for his immediate use in the exercise of his office. To this purpose, likewise, Herod destined the building ; but, on his decease, it fell into the hands of the Romans, with whom it remained till the time of Tiberius.
Before the middie inclosure was placed the altar where the priests offered up their sacrifices. This place was so sacred, that even Herod himself durst not enter into it, since the law prohibited him from so doing, as he was not a priest. For this reason, Herod committed the care of this part of the sacred work to the priests ; and they completed it in the space of eighteen months ; whereas, Herod bimself, in superintending the completion of the rest, employed no less a time than eight years.
The fiuishing of the sacred part of the work in so short a time afforded matter of such extreme joy to the people, that they united in returning thanks to the Almighty for the blessing he had bestowed on their endeuvours, and likewise spoke in the highest terms of the king, for the laudable zeal he had shewn in the promotion of the, worship of God.
The temple being thus restored, the circumstance was celebrated by every demonstration of the sincerest joy. On this occasion, three hundred axen were sacrificed for the king's account, and a proportionable number for persons of all ranks and degrees, so that the whole of the sacrifices exceeded in number what could possibly be imagined. There was a very great degree of solemnity in this dedication of the temple, beyond, indeed, what any person could have formed an idea of; and this solemnity was doubled by its happening on the very day of Herod's accession to the throne.
The other parts of the temple being now completed, eighteen thousand workmen, who had been paid for their labour with the utmost punctuality, now became desti