The Ancient Library

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and among the rest Nicanor, a friend of Josephus, to induce him to surrender on a promise of safety. His fanatical companions strove to persuade him that suicide was the only honourable course ; and continuing deaf to his arguments, were preparing to slay him, when he proposed that they should rather put one another to death than fall each by his own hand. The lots were cast successively until Josephus arid one other were left the sole survivors ; fortunately, or providentially, as he himself suggests, although a third explanation may possibly oecur to his readers. Having then per­suaded his remaining companion to abstain from the sin of throwing away his life, he quitted his place of refuge, and was brought before Vespasian. Many of the Romans called aloud for his death, but he;was spared through the intercession of Titus, and Vespasian desired him to be strictly guarded, as he intended to send him to Nero. Josephus then, having requested to speak with the Roman general in the presence of a few only of his friends, solemnly announced to his captor that he was not to regard him in the light of a mere prisoner, but as God's messenger to him, to predict that the empire should one day be his and his son's ; and he professed to derive his prophecy from the sacred books of the Jews. According to Josephus's own account, the suspicion of artifice, which Vespasian not unnaturally felt at first, was removed on his finding, from the prisoners, that Josephus had pre­dicted the exact duration of the siege of lotapata and his own capture ; whereupon he loaded the prophet of his greatness with valuable presents, though he did not release him immediately from his bonds. Clearly the prophecy, like that of the weird sisters to Macbeth, was one which had a tendency to fulfil itself. ( Vit. 74, 75, Bell. Jud. iii. 7, 8, vi. 5. § 4 ; comp. Suet. Vesp.. 4, 5; Tac. Hist. v. 13; Zonar. Ann. vi. 18, xi. 16 ; Euseb. Hist. Eccl. iii. 8; Suid. s. v. 'Ic&npros; comp. Haggai, ii. 7; Suet. Tit. 1.)

When Vespasian was declared emperor, at Cae-sareia, according to Josephus (Bell. Jud. iv. 10), but according to Tacitus and Suetonius, at Alexan­dria (Tac. Hist. ii. 79, 80 ; Suet. Vesp. 7), he released Josephus from his confinement of nearly three years (a. d. 70), his chain being cut from him, at the suggestion of Titus, as a sign that he had been unjustly bound (Bell. Jud. iv. 10. $ 7) ; and his reputation as a prophet was, of course, greatly raised. He was present with Titus at the siege of Jerusalem, and was suspected as a traitor both by Jews and Romans. From the anger of the latter he was saved by Titus, through whose favour also he was able to preserve the lives of his brother and of many others after the capture of the city. Having been presented with a grant of land in Judaea, he accompanied Titus to Rome, and re­ceived the freedom;;of the city from Vespasian, ,who assigned him, as a residence, a house formerly occupied by himself, and treated him honourably to the end of his reign. The same favour was ex-.tended to him by Titus and Domitian as well, the latter of whom .made his lands in Judaea free from tribute. He mentions also that he received much kindness from Domitia, the wife of Domitian. (F#. 75, 76 ; Phot. Bill. p. 170.) The name of Flavins he assumed as a dependent of the Flavian family. His time at Rome appears to have been employed mainly in literary pursuits, and in the composition of his works. The date of his death



cannot'be fixed with accuracy ; but we know that he survived Agrippa II. (Vit. 65), who died in a. d. 97. Josephus was thrice married. His first wife, whom he took at Vespasian's desire, was a captive; his marriage with her, therefore, since he was a priest, was contrary to the Jewish law, ac­cording to his own statement (Ant. iii. 12* § 2); and his language ( Vit. 75) may imply that, when he was released from his bonds, and had accom­panied Vespasian to Alexandria, he divorced her. At Alexandria he took a second wife, whom he also divorced, from dislike to her character, after she had borne him three sons, one of whom, Hyr-canus, was still alive when he wrote his life. His third wife was a Jewess of Cyprus, of noble family, by whom he had two sons, viz. Justus and Simo-nides, surnamed Agrippa. ( Vit. 76.)

With respect to the character of Josephus, we have already noticed his tendency to glorify his own deeds and qualities, so that he is himself by no means free from the vanity which he charges upon Apion. ( Vit. passim, Bell. Jud. iii. 7. §§ 3, 16, 8. § 8, c. Apion. ii. 12.) Nay, the weakness in question colours even some of those convictions of his, which might otherwise wear a purely reli­gious aspect—such as his recognition of a particular Providence, and his belief in the conveyance of divine intimations by dreams. (Bell. Jud. iii. 8. §§ 3, 7, Vit. 15, 42.) Again, to say nothing of the court he paid to the notorious Agrippa II., his profane flattery of the Flavian family, " so gross (to use the words of Fuller) that it seems not limned with a pencil, but daubed with a trowel" (see Dr. C. Wordsworth's Discourses on Public Education^ Disc, xx.), is another obvious and re­pulsive feature in Josephus. His early visit to Rome, and introduction to the sweets of court favour, must have brought more home to him the lesson he might have learnt at all events from the example of Herod the Great and others—^that adr herence to the Roman cause was the path to worldly distinction. And the-awe, with, which, the greatness and power of Rome inspired him, lay always like a spell upon his mind, and stifled his patriotism. He felt pride indeed in the an­tiquity of his nation and in its ancient glories, as is clear from what are commonly called his books against Apion: his operations at lotapata were vigorous, and he braved danger fearlessly, though even this must be qualified by his own confession, that when he saw no chance of finally repulsing the enemy, he formed a design of escaping, with some of the chief men, from the city (Bell. Jud. iii. 7. §§15, &c.): nor, lastly, do we find in him any want of sympathy with his country's misfortunes: m describing the miserable fate of Jerusalem, he is free from that tone of revolting coldness (to give it the mildest name) which shocks us so much in Xenophori^s account of the downfal of Athens. (Hell. ii. 2. §§ 3, &c.) But the fault of Josephus was, that (as. patriots never do) he despaired of his country. From the very beginning he appears to have looked on the national cause as hopeless, and to have cherished the intention of making peace with Rome whenever he could. Thus he told some of the chief men of Tiberias that he was well aware of the invincibility of the Romans, though he thought it safer to dissemble his conviction; and he advised them to do the same, and to wait for ?i convenient season—irepifjLevovcn Kaip6v ( Vit. 35;; eomp. Bell. Jud. iii. 5) ; and we find him again, in


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