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rence, for there were few who knew that the substance was among them while they were deprived of the shadow.
It is not surprising that, during the absence of the sons of Herod, and the unsettled state of the country arising from uncertainty as to the emperor's decision in their favour, many adventurers tried to obtain the kingdom. The common expectation that some mighty one was about to appear, led astray such as did not know, or would not believe, that Christ the Lord was already come. Simon, a very strong fine-looking man, one of Herod's slaves, pretended to the throne, and put on a diadem. Athronges, a common shepherd, aided by his four brothers, all men of extraordinary strength and courage, did the same; and these two leaders gathered round them powerful bands of robbers. Whilst the whole country was disturbed by these and other pretenders, all Jerusalem was also in an uproar. Sabinius, the procurator of Syria, had taken this opportunity of bringing his troops into the city, and, under pretence of keeping order, gratified his own pride and avarice. The Jews, being strengthened by the numbers of their countrymen who were come up to the Feast of Pentecost, resolved to punish the insolent Roman who acted as their master. The Temple treasury was the object Sabinius set before his soldiers, and that was strongly defended by the Jews.
In order to understand this, and the many subsequent contests that took place in and around the Temple, it may be well to describe this extraordinary building in its complete state, according to the report of Josephus. The Temple stood upon Mount Zion, on the north side of the city, the front entrance facing the east. Some of the stones used in the foundation were seventy feet square; and, being on a rock, it had all the strength of a fortress. The open courts around the Temple were paved with a variety of inlaid marbles. The first, called the Court of the Gentiles, because it was the only part to which they were admitted, was separated by elegant stone railings, five feet high, from the second court, called the Court of Israel; and pillars were placed at regular distances, bearing inscriptions in Latin, Greek, and Hebrew, warning all strangers or unclean Jews not to proceed beyond the outer court. Between the Court of Israel and the Temple itself was a beautiful range of porticoes, called the cloisters. The roof of carved cedar, covered with costly gilding, was supported by a hundred and sixty-two 10
END OF THE TUMULTS IN JUDEA.
columns of solid white marble, each more than forty feet high. There were ten gates to the Temple, but that called the Beautiful Gate was of the finest workmanship ; it was of the purest brass, sheeted with gold, and eighty-seven and a half feet in height. It is added, that a golden vine hung over the golden gate, which, like a natural vine, was continually increasing, as some offered a leaf, others a grape, and so on. The roof of the temple was set all over with golden spikes, to prevent the birds from settling on it, and defiling it. The whole building was of the whitest marble, and, when the sun shone upon it, must have been a gorgeous sight to the natural eye; and at the time the disciples called their Master's attention to “ these great buildings,” they covered a space of ground measuring a furlong square. The Temple itself was built according to the original plan, only on a larger and more expensive scale; hence it always retained the name of Solomon's Temple.
The first struggle between Sabinius and the Jews took place in the outer courts. The latter warmly defended the cloisters, till they were set on fire by a Roman soldier. The roof, which was cemented with pitch and wax, was in a blaze, the gilding melted, and several of the columns fell, so that many of the Jews were crushed to death. The treasury was forced open ; but the maddened Jews were at length victorious, and obliged Sabinius to retire into the strong palace of the Antonia. Varus, the prefect of Syria, soon came to his relief, and after restoring quietness at Jerusalem, spread his troops through the country, in order to re-establish order there also. Simon and Athronges were slain, with many of their followers. Two thousand other rebels were crucified in different places, and their leaders sent to Rome for trial.
In the meantime the contentions of the sons of Herod ended ; for when they found a deputation from Jerusalem, aided by the eight thousand Jews resident at Rome, besought the emperor to restore their priestly government, they thought it better to strengthen each other's interest, and were willing to share the dominions they were in danger of losing altogether. In vain did the Jews relate to Augustus their terrible experience of royalty in the person of Herod ; they were to learn that the power of Government and of the laws was no longer in their hands : the sceptre was bestowed by a stranger, and their lawgiver came with Roman authority. By the decree of
ARCHELAUS AND HIS RIVALS.
Augustus, Archelaus received the sovereignty of Judea, Samaria, and Idumea, with the title of Ethnarch (head of the nation), promising him that of king, if his conduct should deserve it. Jerusalem, Sebaste (formerly Samaria), Cæsarea and Joppa were his chief cities, and his yearly revenue amounted to six hundred talents. Galilee and Perea were given to Herod Antipas with the title of Tetrarch; and Philip received Trachonitis and the remaining portion of his father's late dominions with the same title. Archelaus was scarcely settled when his rest was disturbed by a fresh pretender to the throne, whose claims were more generally acknowledged than any who had preceded him. An artful and ambitious youth so cleverly personated Alexander, the murdered son of Mariamne, that many believed he was truly that young prince and had escaped from the executioner as he related. The whole nation was ready to welcome a ruler of the Asmonæan race, and anxiously awaited the result of the emperor's examination into the case. Augustus desired to see the pretender in private ; and suspecting that he was not Alexander, he promised the young man pardon on condition that he would speak the truth. The presence-chamber of such a clear-sighted and powerful monarch under such circumstances was no place for deception, and the false Alexander confessed his crime. The emperor, without doubt pleased at his own discernment, forgave the pretended Asmonæan as he had promised; and seeing he was a strong man, appointed him as rower in one of his galleys. None of the other pretenders were executed except those of the Herodian family; for Augustus said that they at least should have submitted to the late king's will, instead of setting themselves up against the heads of their own house.
Archelaus took possession of his dominions just before the return of Joseph from Egypt with the Holy Child and his mother ; and it was on “ hearing that Archelaus did reign in Judea in the room of his father Herod, he was afraid to go thither : and being warned of God in a dream he turned aside into the parts of Galilee,” which were under the milder rule of Herod Antipas.
Archelaus was a vicious character; and during a reign of nine years nothing is related to his credit: he oppressed the Jews and acted with so much injustice and cruelty, that an appeal was at length made to Augustus. His brothers confirmed the
ROMAN GOVERNMENT OF JUDEA.
report of his subjects, and the guilty Ethnarch received a summons to Rome as he was sitting at a banquet. His artful defence was of no avail ; and the emperor, being convinced of the truth of the charges brought against him, banished him to Vienne, and gladly took this occasion to include Judea among the provinces of the Roman Empire, A. D. 10. · The first procurator, or governor of Judea, was Coponius, chosen from among the Roman knights, a class standing between the senators and the commons; they were originally allowed a horse and a gold ring at the public expence, and hence they were called in the Latin tongue, Equites, or horsenien. At the same time that Coponius was sent into Judea, Quirinius (Cyrenius), lately consul of Rome, was appointed prefect of Syria, and charged to collect the taxes from the Jewish people who had been registered for this purpose some years before (Luke ii. 2).
It was not surprising that Augustus, who had made the haughty Romans submit to his new system of taxation, should expect the same obedience from his Jewish subjects : but it is to be remembered, the former yielded to that which seemed necessary for the support of their own greatness, whilst the latter naturally shrunk from such a displeasing token that they were under Gentile power, and thus reaping the fruits of disobedience; for they were in fact " come down very low, and the stranger within their gates had got up above them very high ” (see Deut. xxviii. 43). The publicans, or tax-gatherers, appointed by the Roman governor, became the objects of universal hatred, which was probably increased by their injustice in requiring more than they could lawfully ask, in order to enrich themselves.
The high-priest, Joazar, tried to check the expression of the public discontent, and many were silenced; but some of the fiercer spirits found a leader according to their mind in Judas the Galilean. He was a native of the worst part of Galilee, an eloquent speaker, and ready enough to use the doctrine of the alone sovereignty of Jehovah over his chosen people as an argument for refusing the obedience and tribute required by Cæsar, whilst they practically denied it by their positive transgressions against the law of God. In the most ungodly spirit, they adopted, as the distinguishing watchword of their party, “ We have no Lord or Master but God:” but it was very plain that the Lord was not on their side. Judas seized upon the arms
JESUS OF NAZARETH.
and treasure stored up in the strong city of Sepphoris ; and with his band of Zealots became the terror of Galilee: but, as it is written (Acts.v. 37), “ he also perished ; and all, even as many as obeyed him, were dispersed.” Some of the Zealots who were taken prisoners, endured the most dreadful tortures with such firmness that their principles were deeply impressed on the hearts of others, and though for a while little was heard of them, we shall find them revived with greater force and leading to the worst consequences afterwards.
The exact contrast to all this violence and self-will might have been seen, by any who had eyes to see, at this very time in the town of Nazareth, where the holy child Jesus was growing up, waxing strong in spirit, filled with wisdom, and having the grace of God upon him. The names of Galilean and Nazarene were applied to him in contempt; and even the Israelite in whom the Lord himself saw no guile, exclaimed in honest surprise, “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth ?”
“ Separate from sinners,” was ever descriptive of the Lord; yet He chose to dwell among them : yes, amongst the vilest, because He came into the world to save sinners.
According to the law, “thrice in the year shall all your men-children appear before the Lord God, the God of Israel ;” we may believe that Jesus went to Jerusalem every year at the passover, as well as at the other feasts, but we have no account of any visit to the Temple, till he was twelve years old.
At one of the passovers, during the government of Coponius, some Samaritans, whose ill-will towards the Jews was proverbial, stole into the Temple by night, and scattered dead men's bones over the pavement, in order to make the place unclean. This caused great disturbance ; for the Jews never had more zeal for the letter of the law than at this period, when they had so wandered from the spirit of it. It was doubtless at the fittest moment that the blessed Jesus sat down amongst the teachers of the law, “both hearing them, and asking them questions.” As we have already considered the doctrines of the different sects, and the corrupt state of the people at large, we can have some idea how grievous such an examination must have been to the Holy One, whose delight was to do His Father's will, and who could say, “I have more understanding than all my teachers, for thy testimonies are my meditation : I understand more than the ancients, because I keep