The Antiquities of the Jews, 17.46–17.60

Flavius Josephus  translated by William Whiston

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461. When Herod had punished those Pharisees who had been convicted of the foregoing crimes, he gathered an assembly together of his friends, and accused Pheroras’s wife; and ascribing the abuses of the virgins to the impudence of that woman, brought an accusation against her for the dishonor she had brought upon them: 47that she had studiously introduced a quarrel between him and his brother, and, by her ill temper, had brought them into a state of war, both by her words and actions; that the fines which he had laid had not been paid, and the offenders had escaped punishment by her means; and that nothing which had of late been done had been done without her; 48“for which reason Pheroras would do well, if he would of his own accord, and by his own command, and not at my entreaty, or as following my opinion, put this his wife away, as one that will still be the occasion of war between thee and me. And now, Pheroras, if thou valuest thy relation to me, put this wife of thine away; for by this means thou wilt continue to be a brother to me, and wilt abide in thy love to me.” 49Then said Pheroras, (although he was pressed hard by the former words,) that as he would not do so unjust a thing as to renounce his brotherly relation to him, so would he not leave off his affection for his wife; that he would rather choose to die than to live, and be deprived of a wife that was so dear unto him. 50Hereupon Herod put off his anger against Pheroras on these accounts, although he himself thereby underwent a very uneasy punishment. However, he forbade Antipater and his mother to have any conversation with Pheroras, and bid them to take care to avoid the assemblies of the women; 51which they promised to do, but still got together when occasion served, and both Ptieroras and Antipater had their own merry meetings. The report went also, that Antipater had criminal conversation with Pheroras’s wife, and that they were brought together by Antipater’s mother.

522. But Antipater had now a suspicion of his father, and was afraid that the effects of his hatred to him might increase; so he wrote to his friends at Rome, and bid them to send to Herod, that he would immediately send Antipater to Caesar; 53which when it was done, Herod sent Antipater thither, and sent most noble presents along with him; as also his testament, wherein Antipater was appointed to be his successor; and that if Antipater should die first, his son [Herod Philip] by the high priest’s daughter should succeed. 54And, together with Antipater, there went to Rome Sylleus the Arabian, although he had done nothing of all that Caesar had enjoined him. Antipater also accused him of the same crimes of which he had been formerly accused by Herod. Sylleus was also accused by Aretas, that without his consent he had slain many of the chief of the Arabians at Petra; and particularly Soemus, a man that deserved to be honored by all men; and that he had slain Fabatus, a servant of Caesar. 55These were the things of which Sylleus was accused, and that on the occasion following: There was one Corinthus, belonging to Herod, of the guards of the king’s body, and one who was greatly trusted by him. Sylleus had persuaded this man with the offer of a great sum of money to kill Herod; and he had promised to do it. When Fabatus had been made acquainted with this, for Sylleus had himself told him of it, he informed the king of it; 56who caught Corinthus, and put him to the torture, and thereby got out of him the whole conspiracy. He also caught two other Arabians, who were discovered by Corinthus; the one the head of a tribe, and the other a friend to Sylleus, 57who both were by the king brought to the torture, and confessed that they were come to encourage Corinthus not to fail of doing what he had undertaken to do; and to assist him with their own hands in the murder, if need should require their assistance. So Saturninns, upon Herod’s discovering the whole to him, sent them to Rome.

583. At this time Herod commanded Pheroras, that since he was so obstinate in his affection for his wife, he should retire into his own tetrarchy; which he did very willingly, and sware many oaths that he would not come again till he heard that Herod was dead. And indeed when, upon a sickness of the king, he was desired to come to him before he died, that he might intrust him with some of his injunctions, he had such a regard to his oath, that he would not come to him; 59yet did not Herod so retain his hatred to Pheroras, but remitted of his purpose [not to see him], which he before had, and that for such great causes as have been already mentioned: but as soon as he began to be ill, he came to him, and this without being sent for; and when he was dead, he took care of his funeral, and had his body brought to Jerusalem, and buried there, and appointed a solemn mourning for him. 60This [death of Pheroras] became the origin of Antipater’s misfortunes, although he were already sailed for Rome, God now being about to punish him for the murder of his brethren, I will explain the history of this matter very distinctly, that it may be for a warning to mankind, that they take care of conducting their whole lives by the rules of virtue.

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