11. I suppose that, by my books of the Antiquities of the Jews, most excellent Epaphroditus, I have made it evident to those who peruse them, that our Jewish nation is of very great antiquity, and had a distinct subsistence of its own originally; as also I have therein declared how we came to inhabit this country wherein we now live. Those Antiquities contain the history of five thousand years, and are taken out of our sacred books; but are translated by me into the Greek tongue. 2However, since I observe a considerable number of people giving ear to the reproaches that are laid against us by those who bear ill will to us, and will not believe what I have written concerning the antiquity of our nation, while they take it for a plain sign that our nation is of a late date, because they are not so much as vouchsafed a bare mention by the most famous historiographers among the Grecians, 3I therefore have thought myself under an obligation to write somewhat briefly about these subjects, in order to convict those that reproach us of spite and voluntary falsehood, and to correct the ignorance of others, and withal to instruct all those who are desirous of knowing the truth of what great antiquity we really are. 4As for the witnesses whom I shall produce for the proof of what I say, they shall be such as are esteemed to be of the greatest reputation for truth, and the most skilful in the knowledge of all antiquity, by the Greeks themselves. I will also show, that those who have written so reproachfully and falsely about us, are to be convicted by what they have written themselves to the contrary. 5I shall also endeavor to give an account of the reasons why it hath so happened, that there hath not been a great number of Greeks who have made mention of our nation in their histories. I will, however, bring those Grecians to light who have not omitted such our history, for the sake of those that either do not know them, or pretend not to know them already.
62. And now, in the first place, I cannot but greatly wonder at those men who suppose that we must attend to none but Grecians, when we are inquiring about the most ancient facts, and must inform ourselves of their truth from them only, while we must not believe ourselves nor other men; for I am convinced that the very reverse is the truth of the case. I mean this,—if we will not be led by vain opinions, but will make inquiry after truth from facts themselves; 7for they will find, that almost all which concerns the Greeks happened not long ago; nay, one may say, is of yesterday only. I speak of the building of their cities, the invention of their arts, and the description of their laws; and as for their care about the writing down of their histories, it is very near the last thing they set about. 8However, they acknowledge themselves so far, that they were the Egyptians, the Chaldeans, and the Phoenicians (for I will not now reckon ourselves among them) that have preserved the memorials of the most ancient and most lasting traditions of mankind; 9for almost all these nations inhabit such countries as are least subject to destruction from the world about them; and these also have taken especial care to have nothing omitted of what was [remarkably] done among them; but their history was esteemed sacred, and put into public tables, as written by men of the greatest wisdom they had among them; 10but as for the place where the Grecians inhabit, ten thousand destructions have overtaken it, and blotted out the memory of former actions; so that they were ever beginning a new way of living, and supposed that every one of them was the origin of their new state. It was also late, and with difficulty, that they came to know the letters they now use; for those who would advance their use of these letters to the greatest antiquity pretend that they learned them from the Phoenicians and from Cadmus; 11yet is nobody able to demonstrate that they have any writing preserved from that time, neither in their temples, nor in any other public monuments. This appears, because the time when those lived who went to the Trojan war, so many years afterward, is in great doubt, and great inquiry is made whether the Greeks used their letters at that time; and the most prevailing opinion, and that nearest the truth, is, that their present way of using those letters was unknown at that time. 12However, there is not any writing which the Greeks agree to be genuine among them ancienter than Homer’s Poems, who must plainly be confessed later than the siege of Troy; nay, the report goes, that even he did not leave his poems in writing, but that their memory was preserved in songs, and they were put together afterward; and this is the reason of such a number of variations as are found in them. 13As for those who set themselves about writing their histories, I mean such as Cadmus of Miletus, and Acusilaus of Argos, and any others that may be mentioned as succeeding Acusilaus, they lived but a little while before the Persian expedition into Greece. 14But then for those that first introduced philosophy, and the consideration of things celestial and divine among them, such as Pherecydes the Syrian, and Pythagoras, and Thales, all with one consent agree, that they learned what they knew of the Egyptians and Chaldeans, and wrote but little. And these are the things which are supposed to be the oldest of all among the Greeks; and they have much ado to believe that the writings ascribed to those men are genuine.
153. How can it then be other than an absurd thing for the Greeks to be so proud, and to vaunt themselves to be the only people that are acquainted with antiquity, and that have delivered the true accounts of those early times after an accurate manner! Nay, who is there that cannot easily gather from the Greek writers themselves, that they knew but little on any good foundation when they set to write, but rather wrote their histories from their own conjectures! Accordingly, they confute one another in their own books to purpose, and are not ashamed to give us the most contradictory accounts of the same things; 16and I should spend my time to little purpose, if I should pretend to teach the Greeks that which they know better than I already, what a great disagreement there is between Hellanicus and Acusilaus about their genealogies; in how many cases Acusilaus corrects Hesiod: or after what manner Ephorus demonstrates Hellanicus to have told lies in the greatest part of his history: as does Timeus in like manner as to Ephorus, and the succeeding writers do to Timeus, and all the later writers do to Herodotus; 17nor could Timeus agree with Antiochus and Philistius, or with Callias, about the Sicilian History no more than do the several writers of the Atthidae follow one another about the Athenian affairs; nor do the historians the like, that wrote the Argolics, about the affairs of the Argives. 18And now what need I say any more about particular cities and smaller places, while in the most approved writers of the expedition of the Persians, and of the actions which were therein performed, there are so great differences! Nay, Thucydides himself is accused by some as writing what is false, although he seems to have given us the exactest history of the affairs of his own time.
194. As for the occasions of this so great disagreement of theirs, there may be assigned many that are very probable, if any have a mind to make an inquiry about them; but I ascribe these contradictions chiefly to two causes, which I will now mention, and still think what I shall mention in the first place, to be the principal of all; 20for if we remember, that in the beginning the Greeks had taken no care to have public records of their several transactions preserved, this must for certain have afforded those that would afterward write about those ancient transactions, the opportunity of making mistakes, and the power of making lies also; 21for this original recording of such ancient transactions hath not only been neglected by the other states of Greece, but even among the Athenians themselves also, who pretend to be Aborigines, and to have applied themselves to learning, there are no such records extant; nay, they say themselves, that the laws of Draco concerning murders, which are now extant in writing, are the most ancient of their public records; which Draco yet lived but a little time before the tyrant Pisistratus. 22For as to the Arcadians, who make such boasts of their antiquity, what need I speak of them in particular, since it was still later before they got their letters, and learned them, and that with difficulty also.
235. There must therefore naturally arise great differences among writers, when they had no original records to lay for their foundation, which might at once inform those who had an inclination to learn, and contradict those that would tell lies. 24However, we are to suppose a second occasion besides the former of these contradictions; it is this: that those who were the most zealous to write history, were not solicitous for the discovery of truth, although it was very easy for them always to make such a profession; but their business was to demonstrate that they could write well, and make an impression upon mankind thereby; 25and in what manner of writing they thought they were able to exceed others, to that did they apply themselves. Some of them betook themselves to the writing of fabulous narrations; some of them endeavored to please the cities or the kings, by writing in their commendation; others of them fell to finding faults with transactions, or with the writers of such transactions, and thought to make a great figure by so doing; 26and indeed these do what is of all things the most contrary to true history; for it is the great character of true history that all concerned therein both speak and write the same things; while these men, by writing differently about the same things, think they shall be believed to write with the greatest regard to truth. 27We therefore [who are Jews] must yield to the Grecian writers as to language and eloquence of composition; but then we shall give them no such preference as to the verity of ancient history; and least of all as to that part which concerns the affairs of our own several countries.
286. As to the care of writing down the records from the earliest antiquity among the Egyptians and Babylonians; that the priests were intrusted therewith, and employed a philosophical concern about it; that they were the Chaldean priests that did so among the Babylonians; and that the Phoenicians, who were mingled among the Greeks, did especially make use of their letters, both for the common affairs of life, and for the delivering down the history of common transactions, I think I may omit any proof, because all men allow it so to be: 29but now, as to our forefathers, that they took no less care about writing such records (for I will not say they took greater care than the others I spoke of), and that they committed that matter to their high priests and to their prophets, and that these records have been written all along down to our own times with the utmost accuracy; nay, if it be not too bold for me to say it, our history will be so written hereafter;—I shall endeavor briefly to inform you.
307. For our forefathers did not only appoint the best of these priests, and those that attended upon the divine worship, for that design from the beginning, but made provision that the stock of the priests should continue unmixed and pure; 31for he who is partaker of the priesthood must propagate of a wife of the same nation, without having any regard to money, or any other dignities; but he is to make a scrutiny, and take his wife’s genealogy from the ancient tables, and procure many witnesses to it; 32and this is our practice not only in Judea, but wheresoever any body of men of our nation do live; and even there, an exact catalogue of our priests’ marriages is kept; 33I mean at Egypt and at Babylon, or in any other place of the rest of the habitable earth, whithersoever our priests are scattered; for they send to Jerusalem the ancient names of their parents in writing, as well as those of their remoter ancestors, and signify who are the witnesses also; 34but if any war falls out, such as have fallen out, a great many of them already, when Antiochus Epiphanes made an invasion upon our country, as also when Pompey the Great and Quintilius Varus did so also, and principally in the wars that have happened in our own times, 35those priests that survive them compose new tables of genealogy out of the old records, and examine the circumstances of the women that remain; for still they do not admit of those that have been captives, as suspecting that they had conversation with some foreigners; 36but what is the strongest argument of our exact management in this matter is what I am now going to say, that we have the names of our high priests, from father to son, set down in our records, for the interval of two thousand years; and if any one of these have been transgressors of these rules, they are prohibited to present themselves at the altar, or to be partakers of any other of our purifications; 37and this is justly, or rather necessarily done, because every one is not permitted of his own accord to be a writer, nor is there any disagreement in what is written; they being only prophets that have written the original and earliest accounts of things as they learned them of God himself by inspiration; and others have written what hath happened in their own times, and that in a very distinct manner also. 8. 38For we have not an innumerable multitude of books among us, disagreeing from and contradicting one another [as the Greeks have], but only twenty-two books, which contain the records of all the past times; which are justly believed to be divine; 39and of them five belong to Moses, which contain his laws and the traditions of the origin of mankind till his death. This interval of time was little short of three thousand years; 40but as to the time from the death of Moses till the reign of Artaxerxes, king of Persia, who reigned after Xerxes, the prophets, who were after Moses, wrote down what was done in their times in thirteen books. The remaining four books contain hymns to God, and precepts for the conduct of human life. 41It is true, our history hath been written since Artaxerxes very particularly, but hath not been esteemed of the like authority with the former by our forefathers, because there hath not been an exact succession of prophets since that time; 42and how firmly we have given credit to those books of our own nation, is evident by what we do; for during so many ages as have already passed, no one has been so bold as either to add any thing to them, to take any thing from them, or to make any change in them; but it becomes natural to all Jews, immediately and from their very birth, to esteem those books to contain divine doctrines, and to persist in them, and, if occasion be, willingly to die for them. 43For it is no new thing for our captives, many of them in number, and frequently in time, to be seen to endure racks and deaths of all kinds upon the theatres, that they may not be obliged to say one word against our laws and the records that contain them; 44whereas there are none at all among the Greeks who would undergo the least harm on that account, no, nor in case all the writings that are among them were to be destroyed; 45for they take them to be such discourses as are framed agreeably to the inclinations of those that write them; and they have justly the same opinion of the ancient writers, since they see some of the present generation bold enough to write about such affairs, wherein they were not present, nor had concern enough to inform themselves about them from those that knew them: 46examples of which may be had in this late war of ours, where some persons have written histories, and published them, without having been in the places concerned, or having been near them when the actions were done; but these men put a few things together by hearsay, and insolently abuse the world, and call these writings by the name of Histories.
479. As for myself, I have composed a true history of that whole war, and all the particulars that occurred therein, as having been concerned in all its transactions; 48for I acted as general of those among us that are named Galileans, as long as it was possible for us to make any opposition. I was then seized on by the Romans, and became a captive. Vespasian also and Titus had me kept under a guard, and forced me to attend them continually. At the first I was put into bonds; but was set at liberty afterward, and sent to accompany Titus when he came from Alexandria to the siege of Jerusalem; 49during which time there was nothing done which escaped my knowledge; for what happened in the Roman camp I saw, and wrote down carefully; and what informations the deserters brought [out of the city], I was the only man that understood them. 50Afterward I got leisure at Rome; and when all my materials were prepared for that work, I made use of some persons to assist me in learning the Greek tongue, and by these means I composed the history of those transactions; and I was so well assured of the truth of what I related, that I first of all appealed to those that had the supreme command in that war, Vespasian and Titus, as witnesses for me, 51for to them I presented those books first of all, and after them to many of the Romans who had been in the war. I also sold them to many of our own men who understood the Greek philosophy; among whom were Julius Archelaus, Herod [king of Chalcis], a person of great gravity, and king Agrippa himself, a person that deserved the greatest admiration. 52Now all these men bore their testimony to me, that I had the strictest regard to truth; who yet would not have dissembled the matter, nor been silent, if I, out of ignorance or out of favor to any side, either had given false colors to actions, or omitted any of them.
5310. There have been indeed some bad men who have attempted to calumniate my history, and took it to be a kind of scholastic performance for the exercise of young men. A strange sort of accusation and calumny this! since every one that undertakes to deliver the history of actions truly, ought to know them accurately himself in the first place, as either having been concerned in them himself, or been informed of them by such as knew them. 54Now, both these methods of knowledge I may very properly pretend to in the composition of both my works; for, as I said, I have translated the Antiquities out of our sacred books; which I easily could do, since I was a priest by my birth, and have studied that philosophy which is contained in those writings; 55and as for the History of the War, I wrote it as having been an actor myself in many of its transactions, an eyewitness in the greatest part of the rest, and was not unacquainted with any thing whatsoever that was either said or done in it. 56How impudent then must those deserve to be esteemed, who undertake to contradict me about the true state of those affairs! who, although they pretend to have made use of both the emperors’ own memoirs, yet they could not be acquainted with our affairs who fought against them.
5711. This digression I have been obliged to make, out of necessity, as being desirous to expose the vanity of those that profess to write histories; 58and I suppose I have sufficiently declared that this custom of transmitting down the histories of ancient times hath been better preserved by those nations which are called Barbarians, than by the Greeks themselves. I am now willing, in the next place, to say a few things to those who endeavor to prove that our constitution is but of late time, for this reason, as they pretend, that the Greek writers have said nothing about us; 59after which I shall produce testimonies for our antiquity out of the writings of foreigners: I shall also demonstrate that such as cast reproaches upon our nation do it very unjustly.
6012. As for ourselves, therefore, we neither inhabit a maritime country, nor do we delight in merchandise, nor in such a mixture with other men as arises from it; but the cities we dwell in are remote from the sea, and having a fruitful country for our habitation, we take pains in cultivating that only. Our principal care of all is this, to educate our children well; and we think it to be the most necessary business of our whole life to observe the laws that have been given us, and to keep those rules of piety that have been delivered down to us. 61Since, therefore, besides what we have already taken notice of, we have had a peculiar way of living of our own, there was no occasion offered us in ancient ages for intermixing among the Greeks, as they had for mixing among the Egyptians, by their intercourse of exporting and importing their several goods; as they also mixed with the Phoenicians, who lived by the seaside, by means of their love of lucre in trade and merchandise. 62Nor did our forefathers betake themselves, as did some others, to robbery; nor did they, in order to gain more wealth, fall into foreign wars, although our country contained many ten thousands of men of courage sufficient for that purpose; 63for this reason it was that the Phoenicians themselves came soon by trading and navigation to be known to the Grecians, and by their means the Egyptians became known to the Grecians also, as did all those people whence the Phoenicians in long voyages over the seas carried wares to the Grecians. 64The Medes also and the Persians, when they were lords of Asia, became well known to them; and this was especially true of the Persians, who led their armies as far as the other continent [Europe]. The Thracians were also known to them by the nearness of their countries, and the Scythians by the means of those that sailed to Pontus; 65for it was so in general that all maritime nations, and those that inhabited near the eastern or western seas, became most known to those that were desirous to be writers; but such as had their habitations farther from the sea were for the most part unknown to them: 66which things appear to have happened as to Europe also, where the city of Rome, that hath this long time been possessed of so much power, and hath performed such great actions in war, is never yet mentioned by Herodotus, nor by Thucydides, nor by any one of their contemporaries; and it was very late, and with great difficulty, that the Romans became known to the Greeks. 67Nay, those that were reckoned the most exact historians (and Ephorus for one) were so very ignorant of the Gauls and the Spaniards, that he supposed the Spaniards, who inhabit so great a part of the western regions of the earth, to be no more than one city. Those historians also have ventured to describe such customs as were made use of by them, which they never had either done or said; 68and the reason why these writers did not know the truth of their affairs was this, that they had not any commerce together:—but the reason why they wrote such falsities was this, that they had a mind to appear to know things which others had not known. How can it then be any wonder, if our nation was no more known to many of the Greeks, nor had given them any occasion to mention them in their writings, while they were so remote from the sea, and had a conduct of life so peculiar to themselves?
6913. Let us now put the case, therefore, that we made use of this argument concerning the Grecians, in order to prove that their nation was not ancient because nothing is said of them in our records; would not they laugh at us all, and probably give the same reasons for our silence that I have now alleged, and would produce their neighboring nations as witnesses to their own antiquity? 70Now, the very same thing will I endeavor to do; for I will bring the Egyptians and the Phoenicians as my principal witnesses, because nobody can complain of their testimony as false on account that they are known to have borne the greatest ill will towards us,—I mean this as to the Egyptians, in general all of them, while of the Phoenicians it is known the Tyrians have been most of all in the same ill disposition towards us: 71yet do I confess that I cannot say the same of the Chaldeans, since our first leaders and ancestors were derived from them; and they do make mention of us Jews in their records, on account of the kindred there is between us. 72Now, when I shall have made my assertions good, so far as concerns the others, I will demonstrate that some of the Greek writers have made mention of us Jews also, that those who envy us may not have even this pretense for contradicting what I have said about our nation.
7314. I shall begin with the writings of the Egyptians; not indeed of those that have written in the Egyptian language, which it is impossible for me to do. But Manetho was a man who was by birth an Egyptian; yet had he made himself master of the Greek learning, as is very evident, for he wrote the history of his own country in the Greek tongue, by translating it, as he saith himself, out of their sacred records: he also finds great fault with Herodotus for his ignorance and false relations of Egyptian affairs. 74Now, this Manetho, in the second book of his Egyptian History, writes concerning us in the following manner. I will set down his very words, as if I were to bring the very man himself into a court for a witness:— 75“There was a king of ours, whose name was Timaus. Under him it came to pass, I know not how, that God was averse to us; and there came, after a surprising manner, men of ignoble birth out of the eastern parts, and had boldness enough to make an expedition into our country, and with ease subdued it by force, yet without our hazarding a battle with them. 76So when they had gotten those that governed us under their power, they afterwards burnt down our cities, and demolished the temples of the gods, and used all the inhabitants after a most barbarous manner; nay, some they slew, and led their children and their wives into slavery. 77At length they made one of themselves king, whose name was Salatis; he also lived at Memphis, and made both the upper and lower regions pay tribute, and left garrisons in places that were the most proper for them. He chiefly aimed to secure the eastern parts as foreseeing that the Assyrians, who had then the greatest power, would be desirous of that kingdom and invade them; 78and as he found in the Saite Nomos [Seth-roite] a city very proper for his purpose, and which lay upon the Bubastic channel, but with regard to a certain theologic notion was called Avaris, this he rebuilt, and made very strong by the walls he built about it, and by a most numerous garrison of two hundred and forty thousand armed men whom he put into it to keep it. 79Thither Salatis came in summer-time, partly to gather his corn and pay his soldiers their wages, and partly to exercise his armed men, and thereby to terrify foreigners. 80When this man had reigned thirteen years, after him reigned another, whose name was Beon, for forty-four years; after him reigned another, called Apachnas, thirty-six years and seven months; after him Apophis reigned sixty-one years, and then Jonias fifty years and one month; 81after all these reigned Assis forty-nine years and two months; and these six were the first rulers among them, who were all along making war with the Egyptians, and were very desirous gradually to destroy them to the very roots. 82This whole nation was styled Hycsos—that is, shepherd-kings: for the first syllable, Hyc, according to the sacred dialect, denotes a king, as is Sos a shepherd, but this according to the ordinary dialect; and of these is compounded Hycsos. But some say that these people were Arabians.” 83Now, in another copy it is said that this word does not denote Kings but, on the contrary, denotes Captive Shepherds, and this on account of the particle Hyc; for that Hyc, with the aspiration, in the Egyptian tongue again denotes Shepherds, and that expressly also: and this to me seems the more probable opinion, and more agreeable to ancient history. 84[But Manetho goes on:] “These people, whom we have before named kings and called shepherds also, and their descendants,” as he says, “kept possession of Egypt five hundred and eleven years.” 85After these, he says, “That the kings of Thebais and of the other parts of Egypt made an insurrection against the shepherds, and that there a terrible and long war was made between them.” 86He says farther, “That under a king, whose name was Alisphragmuthosis, the shepherds were subdued by him, and were indeed driven out of other parts of Egypt, but were shut up in a place that contained ten thousand acres: this place was named Avaris.” 87Manetho says, “That the shepherds built a wall round all this place, which was a large and strong wall, and this in order to keep all their possessions and their prey within a place of strength; 88but that Thummosis, the son of Alisphragmuthosis, made an attempt to take them by force and by a siege, with four hundred and eighty thousand men to lie round about them; but that, upon his despair of taking the place by that siege, they came to a composition with them that they should leave Egypt, and go, without any harm to be done them, whithersoever they would; 89and that, after this composition was made, they went away with their whole families and effects, not fewer in number than two hundred and forty thousand, and took their journey from Egypt, through the wilderness, for Syria; 90but that, as they were in fear of the Assyrians, who had then the dominion over Asia, they built a city in that country which is now called Judea, and that large enough to contain this great number of men, and called it Jerusalem.” 91Now Manetho, in another book of his, says, “That this nation, thus called Shepherds, were also called Captives, in their sacred books.” And this account of his is the truth: for feeding of sheep was the employment of our forefathers in the most ancient ages; and as they led such a wandering life in feeding sheep, they were called Shepherds. 92Nor was it without reason that they were called Captives by the Egyptians, since one of our ancestors, Joseph, told the king of Egypt that he was a captive, and afterward sent for his brethren into Egypt by the king’s permission; but as for these matters, I shall make a more exact inquiry about them elsewhere.
9315. But now I shall produce the Egyptians as witnesses to the antiquity of our nation. I shall therefore here bring in Manetho again, and what he writes as to the order of the times in this case, and thus he speaks:— 94“When this people or shepherds were gone out of Egypt to Jerusalem, Tethmosis the king of Egypt, who drove them out, reigned afterward twenty-five years and four months, and then died; after him his son Chebron took the kingdom for thirteen years; 95after whom came Amenophis, for twenty years and seven months; then came his sister Amesses, for twenty-one years and nine months; after her came Memphres, for twelve years and nine months; after him was Mephramuthosis, for twenty-five years and ten months; 96after him was Tethmosis, for nine years and eight months; after him came Amenophis, for thirty years and ten months; after him came Orus, for thirty-six years and five months; then came his daughter Acenchres, for twelve years and one month; then was her brother Rathotis, for nine years; 97then was Acencheres, for twelve years and five months; then came another Acencheres, for twelve years and three months; after him Armais, for four years and one month; after him was Ramesses, for one year and four months; after him came Armesses Miammoun, for sixty-six years and two months; after him Amenophis, for nineteen years and six months; 98after him came Sethosis and Ramesses, who had an army of horse and a naval force. This king appointed his brother Armais to be his deputy over Egypt.” [In another copy it stood thus:—After him came Sethosis and Ramesses, two brethren, the former of whom had a naval force, and in a hostile manner destroyed those that met him upon the sea; but as he slew Ramesses in no long time afterward, so he appointed another of his brethren to be his deputy over Egypt.] He also gave him all the other authority of a king, but with these only injunctions, that he should not wear the diadem, nor be injurious to the queen, the mother of his children; and that he should not meddle with the other concubines of the king; 99while he made an expedition against Cyprus, and Phoenicia, and besides, against the Assyrians and the Medes. He then subdued them all, some by his arms, some without fighting, and some by the terror of his great army; and being puffed up by the great successes he had had, he went on still the more boldly, and overthrew the cities and countries that lay in the eastern parts; 100but after some considerable time, Armais, who was left in Egypt, did all those very things, by way of opposition, which his brother had forbidden him to do, without fear; for he used violence to the queen, and continued to make use of the rest of the concubines, without sparing any of them; nay, at the persuasion of his friends he put on the diadem, and set up to oppose his brother; 101but then, he who was set over the priests of Egypt, wrote letters to Sethosis, and informed him of all that had happened, and how his brother had set up to oppose him; he therefore returned back to Pelusium immediately, and recovered his kingdom again. 102The country also was called from his name Egypt; for Manetho says that Sethosis himself was called Egyptus, as was his brother Armais, called Danaus.”
10316. This is Manetho’s account; and evident it is from the number of years by him set down belonging to this interval if they be summed up together, that these shepherds, as they are here called, who were no other than our forefathers, were delivered out of Egypt, and came thence, and inhabited this country three hundred and ninety-three years before Danaus came to Argos; although the Argives look upon him as their most ancient king. 104Manetho, therefore, bears this testimony to two points of the greatest consequence to our purpose, and those from the Egyptian records themselves. In the first place, that we came out of another country into Egypt; and that withal our deliverance out of it was so ancient in time, as to have preceded the siege of Troy almost a thousand years; 105but then, as to those things which Manetho adds, not from the Egyptian records, but, as he confesses himself, from some stories of an uncertain original, I will disprove them hereafter particularly, and shall demonstrate that they are no better than incredible fables.
10617. I will now, therefore, pass from these records, and come to those who belong to the Phoenicians, and concern our nation, and shall produce attestations to what I have said out of them. 107There are then records among the Tyrians that take in the history of many years, and these are public writings, and are kept with great exactness, and include accounts of the facts done among them, and such as concern their transactions with other nations also, those I mean which were worthy of remembering. 108Therein it was recorded that the temple was built by king Solomon at Jerusalem, one hundred forty-three years and eight months before the Tyrians built Carthage; 109and in their annals the building of our temple is related: for Hirom, the king of Tyre, was the friend of Solomon our king, and had such friendship transmitted down to him from his forefathers. 110He thereupon was ambitious to contribute to the splendor of this edifice of Solomon, and made him a present of one hundred and twenty talents of gold. He also cut down the most excellent timber out of that mountain which is so called Libanus, and sent it to him for adorning its roof. Solomon also not only made him many other presents, by way of requital, but gave him a country in Galilee also, that was called Chabulon; 111but there was another passion, a philosophic inclination of theirs, which cemented the friendship that was betwixt them, for they sent mutual problems to one another with a desire to have them unriddled by each other; wherein Solomon was superior to Hirom, as he was wiser than he in other respects; and many of the epistles that passed between them are still preserved among the Tyrians. 112Now, that this may not depend on my bare word, I will produce for a witness, Dius, one that is believed to have written the Phoenician History after an accurate manner. This Dius, therefore, writes thus in his Histories of the Phoenicians:— 113“Upon the death of Abibalus, his son Hirom took the kingdom. This king raised banks at the eastern parts of the city, and enlarged it; he also joined the temple of Jupiter Olympius, which stood before in an island by itself, to the city, by raising a causey between them, and adorned that temple with donations of gold. He moreover went up to Libanus, and had timber cut down for the building of temples. 114They say farther, that Solomon, when he was king of Jerusalem, sent problems to Hirom to be solved, and desired he would send others back for him to solve, and that he who could not solve the problems proposed to him, should pay money to him that solved them; 115and when Hirom had agreed to the proposals, but was not able to solve the problems, he was obliged to pay a great deal of money, as a penalty for the same. As also they relate, that one Abdemon, a man of Tyre, did solve the problems, and proposed others which Solomon could not solve, upon which he was obliged to repay a great deal of money to Hirom.” These things are attested to by Dius, and confirm what we have said upon the same subjects before.
11618. And now I shall add Menander the Ephesian, as an additional witness. This Menander wrote the Acts that were done both by the Greeks and Barbarians, under every one of the Tyrian kings; and had taken much pains to learn their history out of their own records. 117Now, when he was writing about those kings that had reigned at Tyre, he came to Hirom, and says thus:—“Upon the death of Abibalus, his son Hirom took the kingdom; he lived fifty-three years, and reigned thirty-four. 118He raised a bank on that called the Broad place, and dedicated that golden pillar which is in Jupiter’s temple; he also went and cut down timber from the mountain called Libanus, and got timber of cedar for the roofs of the temples. He also pulled down the old temples, and built new ones: besides this, he consecrated the temples of Hercules and Astarte. 119He first built Hercules’s temple, in the month Peritus, and that of Astarte when he made his expedition against the Tityans, who would not pay him their tribute; and when he had subdued them to himself, he returned home. 120Under this king there was a younger son of Abdemon, who mastered the problems which Solomon, king of Jerusalem, had recommended to be solved.” 121Now the time from this king to the building of Carthage, is thus calculated:—“Upon the death of Hirom, Baleazarus his son took the kingdom; he lived forty-three years, and reigned seven years: 122after him succeeded his son Abdastartus, he lived twenty-nine years, and reigned nine years. Now four sons of his nurse plotted against him and slew him, the eldest of whom reigned twelve years: after them came Astartus the son of Deleastartus,: he lived fifty-four years, and reigned twelve years; 123after him came his brother Aserymus; he lived fifty-four years, and reigned nine years: he was slain by his brother Pheles, who took the kingdom and reigned but eight months, though he lived fifty years: he was slain by Ithobalus, the priest of Astarte, who reigned thirty-two years, and lived sixty-eight years: 124he was succeeded by his son Badezorus, who lived forty-five years, and reigned six years; 125he was succeeded by Matgenus his son: he lived thirty-two years, and reigned nine years; Pygmalion succeeded him: he lived fifty-six years, and reigned forty-seven years. Now, in the seventh year of his reign, his sister fled away from him, and built the city of Carthage in Libya.” 126So the whole time from the reign of Hirom till the building of Carthage, amounts to the sum of one hundred and fifty-five years and eight months. Since, then, the temple was built at Jerusalem in the twelfth year of the reign of Hirom, there were from the building of the temple until the building of Carthage, one hundred forty-three years and eight months. 127Wherefore, what occasion is there for alleging any more testimonies out of the Phoenician histories [on the behalf of our nation], since what I have said is so thoroughly confirmed already? and to be sure our ancestors came into this country long before the building of the temple; for it was not till we had gotten possession of the whole land by war that we built our temple. And this is the point that I have clearly proved out of our sacred writings in my Antiquities.
12819. I will now relate what hath been written concerning us in the Chaldean histories; which records have a great agreement with our books in other things also. 129Berosus shall be witness to what I say: he was by birth a Chaldean, well known by the learned, on account of his publication of the Chaldean books of astronomy and philosophy among the Greeks. 130This Berosus, therefore, following the most ancient records of that nation, gives us a history of the deluge of waters that then happened, and of the destruction of mankind thereby, and agrees with Moses’s narration thereof. He also gives us an account of that ark wherein Noah, the origin of our race, was preserved, when it was brought to the highest part of the Armenian mountains 131after which he gives us a catalogue of the posterity of Noah, and adds the years of their chronology, and at length comes down to Nabolassar, who was king of Babylon, and of the Chaldeans. 132And when he was relating the acts of this king, he describes to us how he sent his son Nabuchodonosor against Egypt, and against our land, with a great army, upon his being informed that they had revolted from him; and how, by that means, he subdued them all, and set our temple that was at Jerusalem on fire; nay, and removed our people entirely out of their own country, and transferred them to Babylon; when it so happened that our city was desolate during the interval of seventy years, until the days of Cyrus king of Persia. 133He then says, “That this Babylonian king conquered Egypt, and Syria, and Phoenicia, and Arabia; and exceeded in his exploits all that had reigned before him in Babylon and Chaldea.” 134A little after which, Berosus subjoins what follows in his History of Ancient Times. I will set down Berosus’s own accounts, which are these:— 135When Nabolassar, father of Nabuchodonosor, heard that the governor whom he had set over Egypt and over the parts of Celesyria and Phoenicia, had revolted from him, he was not able to bear it any longer; but committing certain parts of his army to his son Nabuchodonosor, who was then but young, he sent him against the rebel: 136Nabuchodonosor joined battle with him, and conquered him, and reduced the country under his dominion again. Now it so fell out, that his father Nabolassar fell into a distemper at this time, and died in the city of Babylon, after he had reigned twentynine years. 137But as he understood, in a little time, that his father Nabolassar was dead, he set the affairs of Egypt and the other countries in order, and committed the captives he had taken from the Jews, and Phoenicians, and Syrians, and of the nations belonging to Egypt, to some of his friends, that they might conduct that part of the forces that had on heavy armor, with the rest of his baggage, to Babylonia; while he went in haste, having but a few with him, over the desert to Babylon; 138whither when he was come, he found the public affairs had been managed by the Chaldeans, and that the principal persons among them had preserved the kingdom for him. Accordingly he now entirely obtained all his father’s dominions. He then came, and ordered the captives to be placed as colonies in the most proper places of Babylonia: 139but for himself, he adorned the temple of Belus, and the other temples, after an elegant manner out of the spoils he had taken in this war. He also rebuilt the old city, and added another to it on the outside, and so far restored Babylon, that none who should besiege it afterwards might have it in their power to divert the river, so as to facilitate an entrance into it; and this he did by building three walls about the inner city, and three about the outer. Some of these walls he built of burnt brick and bitumen, and some of brick only. 140So when he had thus fortified the city with walls, after an excellent manner, and had adorned the gates magnificently, he added a new palace to that which his father had dwelt in, and this close by it also, and that more eminent in its height, and in its great splendor. It would perhaps require too long a narration, if any one were to describe it. However, as prodigiously large and magnificent as it was, it was finished in fifteen days. 141Now in this palace he erected very high walks, supported by stone pillars, and by planting what was called a pensile Paradise, and replenishing it with all sorts of trees, he rendered the prospect of an exact resemblance of a mountainous country. This he did to please his queen, because she had been brought up in Media, and was fond of a mountainous situation.” 20. 142This is what Berosus relates concerning the forementioned king, as he relates many other things about him also in the third book of Chaldean History; wherein he complains of the Grecian writers for supposing, without any foundation, that Babylon was built by Semiramis, queen of Assyria, and for her false pretense to those wonderful edifices thereto relating, as if they were her own workmanship, 143as indeed in these affairs the Chaldean History cannot but be the most credible. Moreover, we meet with a confirmation of what Berosus says, in the archives of the Phoenicians, concerning this king Nabuchodonosor, that he conquered all Syria and Phoenicia; 144in which case Philostratus agrees with the others in that history which he composed, where he mentions the siege of Tyre; as does Megasthenes also, in the fourth book of his Indian History, wherein he pretends to prove that the forementioned king of the Babylonians was superior to Hercules in strength and the greatness of his exploits; for he says that he conquered a great part of Libya, and conquered Iberia also. 145Now, as to what I have said before about the temple at Jerusalem, that it was fought against by the Babylonians, and burnt by them, but was opened again when Cyrus had taken the kingdom of Asia, shall now be demonstrated from what Berosus adds farther upon that head; 146for thus he says in his third book:—“Nabuchodonosor, after he had begun to build the forementioned wall, fell sick, and departed this life, when he had reigned forty-three years; whereupon his son Evil-merodach obtained the kingdom. 147He governed public affairs after an illegal and impure manner, and had a plot laid against him by Neriglissoor, his sister’s husband, and was slain by him when he had reigned but two years. After he was slain, Neriglissoor, the person who plotted against him, succeeded him in the kingdom, and reigned four years; 148his son Laborosoarchod obtained the kingdom, though he was but a child, and kept it nine months; but by reason of the very ill temper and ill practices he exhibited to the world, a plot was laid against him also by his friends, and he was tormented to death. 149After his death, the conspirators got together, and by common consent put the crown upon the head of Nabonnedus, a man of Babylon, and one who belonged to that insurrection. In his reign it was that the walls of the city of Babylon were curiously built with burnt brick and bitumen; 150but when he was come to the seventeenth year of his reign, Cyrus came out of Persia with a great army; and having already conquered all the rest of Asia, he came hastily to Babylonia. 151When Nabonnedus perceived he was coming to attack him, he met him with his forces, and joining battle with him, was beaten; and fled away with a few of his troops with him, and was shut up within the city Borsippus. 152Hereupon Cyrus took Babylon, and gave order that the outer walls of the city should be demolished, because the city had proved very troublesome to him, and cost him a great deal of pains to take it. He then marched away to Borsippus, to besiege Nabonnedus; 153but as Nabonnedus did not sustain the siege, but delivered himself into his hands, he was at first kindly used by Cyrus, who gave him Carmania, as a place for him to inhabit in, but sent him out of Babylonia. Accordingly Nabonnedus spent the rest of his time in that country, and there died.”
15421. These accounts agree with the true history in our books; for in them it is written that Nebuchadnezzar, in the eighteenth year of his reign, laid our temple desolate, and so it lay in that state of obscurity for fifty years; but that in the second year of the reign of Cyrus, its foundations were laid, and it was finished again in the second year of Darius. 155I will now add the records of the Phoenicians; for it will not be altogether superfluous to give the reader demonstrations more than enough on this occasion. In them we have this enumeration of the times of their several kings:— 156“Nabuchodonosor besieged Tyre for thirteen years in the days of Ithobal, their king; after him reigned Baal, ten years; 157after him were judges appointed, who judged the people; Ecnibalus, the son of Balsacus, two months; Chelbes, the son of Abdeus, ten months; Abhar, the high priest, three months; Mitgonus and Gerastratus, the sons of Abdelemus, were judges six years; after whom Balatorus reigned one year; 158after his death they sent and fetched Merbalus from Babylon, who reigned four years; after his death they sent for his brother Hirom, who reigned twenty years. Under his reign Cyrus became king of Persia.” 159So that the whole interval is fifty-four years besides three months; for in the seventh year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar he began to besiege Tyre; and Cyrus the Persian took the kingdom in the fourteenth year of Hirom. 160So that the records of the Chaldeans and Tyrians agree with our writings about this temple; and the testimonies here produced are an indisputable and undeniable attestation to the antiquity of our nation; and I suppose that what I have already said may be sufficient to such as are not very contentious.
16122. But now it is proper to satisfy the inquiry of those that disbelieve the records of Barbarians, and think none but Greeks to be worthy of credit, and to produce many of these very Greeks who were acquainted with our nation, and to set before them such as upon occasion have made mention of us in their own writings. 162Pythagoras, therefore, of Samos, lived in very ancient times, and was esteemed a person superior to all philosophers in wisdom and piety towards God. Now it is plain that he did not only know our doctrines, but was in very great measure a follower and admirer of them. 163There is not, indeed, extant any writing that is owned for his; but many there are who have written his history, of whom Hermippus is the most celebrated, who was a person very inquisitive in all sorts of history. 164Now this Hermippus, in his first book concerning Pythagoras, speaks thus:—“That Pythagoras, upon the death of one of his associates, whose name was Calliphon, a Crotoniate by birth, affirmed that this man’s soul conversed with him both night and day, and enjoined him not to pass over a place where an ass had fallen down; as also not to drink of such waters as caused thirst again; and to abstain from all sorts of reproaches.” 165After which he adds thus:—“This he did and said in imitation of the doctrines of the Jews and Thracians, which he transferred into his own philosophy.” For it is very truly affirmed of this Pythagoras, that he took a great many of the laws of the Jews into his own philosophy. 166Nor was our nation unknown of old to several of the Grecian cities, and indeed was thought worthy of imitation by some of them. 167This is declared by Theophrastus, in his writings concerning laws; for he says that “the laws of the Tyrians forbid men to swear foreign oaths.” Among which he enumerates some others, and particularly that called Corban; which oath can only be found among the Jews, and declares what a man may call “A thing devoted to God.” 168Nor indeed was Herodotus, of Halicarnassus, unacquainted with our nation, but mentions it after a way of his own, when he saith thus, in the second book concerning the Colchians. 169His words are these:—“The only people who were circumcised in their privy members originally were the Colchians, the Egyptians, and the Ethiopians; but the Phoenicians and those Syrians that are in Palestine confess that they learned it from the Egyptians; 170and as for those Syrians who live about the rivers Thermodon and Parthenius, and their neighbors the Macrones, they say they have lately learned it from the Colchians; for these are the only people that are circumcised among mankind, and appear to have done the very same thing with the Egyptians; but as for the Egyptians and Ethiopians themselves, I am not able to say which of them received it from the other.” 171This, therefore, is what Herodotus, says, that “the Syrians that are in Palestine are circumcised.” But there are no inhabitants of Palestine that are circumcised excepting the Jews; and therefore it must be his knowledge of them that enabled him to speak so much concerning them. 172Cherilus also, a still ancienter writer, and a poet, makes mention of our nation, and informs us that it came to the assistance of king Xerxes in his expedition against Greece; for, in his enumeration of all those nations, he last of all inserts ours among the rest, when he says:— 173“At the last there passed over a people, wonderful to be beheld; for they spake the Phoenician tongue with their mouths: they dwelt in the Solymean mountains, near a broad lake: their heads were sooty; they had round rasures on them; their heads and faces were like nasty horseheads also, that had been hardened in the smoke.” 174I think, therefore, that it is evident to every body that Cherilus means us, because the Solymean mountains are in our country, wherein we inhabit; as is also the lake called Asphaltitis, for this is a broader and larger lake than any other that is in Syria: 175and thus does Cherilus make mention of us. But now that not only the lowest sort of the Grecians, but those that are held in the greatest admiration for their philosophic improvements among them, did not only know the Jews, but, when they lighted upon any of them, admired them also, it is easy for any one to know; 176for Clearchus, who was the scholar of Aristotle, and inferior to no one of the Peripatetics whomsoever, in his first book concerning sleep, says that “Aristotle, his master, related what follows of a Jew,” and sets down Aristotle’s own discourse with him. The account is this, as written down by him: 177“Now, for a great part of what this Jew said, it would be too long to recite it; but what includes in it both wonder and philosophy, it may not be amiss to discourse of. Now, that I may be plain with thee, Hyperochides, I shall herein seem to thee to relate wonders, and what will resemble dreams themselves. Hereupon Hyperochides answered modestly, and said, for that very reason it is that all of us are very desirous of hearing what thou art going to say. 178Then replied Aristotle, For this cause it will be the best way to imitate that rule of the Rhetoricians which requires us first to give an account of the man, and of what nation he was, that so we may not contradict our master’s directions. Then said Hyperochides, Go on, if it so pleases thee. 179This man, then [answered Aristotle], was by birth a Jew, and came from Celesyria: these Jews are derived from the Indian philosophers; they are named by the Indians Calami, and by the Syrians Judaei, and took their name from the country they inhabit, which is called Judea; but for the name of their city it is a very awkward one, for they call it Jerusalem. 180Now this man, when he was hospitably treated by a great many, came down from the upper country to the places near the sea, and became a Grecian, not only in his language, but in his soul also; 181insomuch that when we ourselves happened to be in Asia about the same places whither he came, he conversed with us and with other philosophical persons, and made a trial of our skill in philosophy; and as he had lived with many learned men, he communicated to us more information than he received from us.” 182This is Aristotle’s account of the matter, as given us by Clearchus; which Aristotle discoursed also particularly of the great and wonderful fortitude of this Jew in his diet and continent way of living, as those that please may learn more about him from Clearchus’s book itself; for I avoid setting down any more than is sufficient for my purpose. 183Now Clearchus said this by way of digression, for his main design was of another nature; but for Hecateus of Abdera, who was both a philosopher and one very useful in an active life, he was contemporary with king Alexander in his youth, and afterward was with Ptolemy, the son of Lagus: he did not write about the Jewish affairs by the by only, but composed an entire book concerning the Jews themselves; out of which book I am willing to run over a few things, of which I have been treating, by way of epitome. 184And, in the first place, I will demonstrate the time when this Hecateus lived; for he mentions the fight that was between Ptolemy and Demetrius about Gaza, which was fought in the eleventh year after the death of Alexander, and in the hundred and seventeenth olympiad, as Castor says in his history: 185for when he had set down this olympiad, he says farther, that “on this olympiad Ptolemy, the son of Lagus, beat in battle Demetrius, the son of Antigonus, who was named Poliorcetes, at Gaza.” Now it is agreed by all that Alexander died in the hundred and fourteenth olympiad; it is therefore evident that our nation flourished in his time, and in the time of Alexander. 186Again, Hecateus says to the same purpose, as follows:—“Ptolemy got possession of the places in Syria after the battle at Gaza; and many, when they heard of Ptolemy’s moderation and humanity, went along with him to Egypt, and were willing to assist him in his affairs; 187one of whom (Hecateus says) was Hezekiah, the high priest of the Jews; a man of about sixty-six years of age, and in great dignity among his own people. He was a very sensible man, and could speak very movingly, and was very skilful in the management of affairs, if any other man ever were so; 188although, as he says, all the priests of the Jews took tithes of the products of the earth, and managed public affairs, and were in number not above fifteen hundred at the most.” 189Hecateus mentions this Hezekiah a second time, and says, that “as he was possessed of so great a dignity, and was become familiar with us, so did he take certain of those that were with him, and explained to them all the circumstances of their people: for he had all their habitations and polity down in writing.” 190Moreover, Hecateus declares again, “what regard we have for our laws, and that we resolve to endure any thing rather than transgress them, because we think it right for us to do so.” 191Whereupon he adds, that “although they are in a bad reputation among their neighbors, and among all those that come to them, and have been often treated injuriously by the kings and governors of Persia, yet can they not be dissuaded from acting what they think best; but that, when they are stripped on this account, and have torments inflicted upon them, and they are brought to the most terrible kinds of death, they meet them after a most extraordinary manner, beyond all other people, and will not renounce the religion of their forefathers.” 192Hecateus also produces demonstrations not a few of this their resolute tenaciousness of their laws when he speaks thus:—“Alexander was once at Babylon, and had an intention to rebuild the temple of Belus that was fallen to decay: and in order thereto, he commanded all his soldiers in general to bring earth thither. But the Jews, and they only, would not comply with that command; nay, they underwent stripes and great losses of what they had on this account, till the king forgave them, and permitted them to live in quiet.” 193He adds farther, that “when the Macedonians came to them into that country, and demolished the [old] temples and the altars, they assisted them in demolishing them all; but [for not assisting them in rebuilding them] they either underwent losses, or sometimes obtained forgiveness.” He adds, farther, that “these men deserve to be admired on that account.” 194He also speaks of the mighty populousness of our nation, and says that “the Persians formerly carried away many ten thousands of our people to Babylon; as also that not a few ten thousands were removed after Alexander’s death into Egypt and Phoenicia, by reason of the sedition that was arisen in Syria.” 195The same person takes notice in his history, how large the country is which we inhabit, as well as of its excellent character; and says that “the land in which the Jews inhabit contains three millions of arourae, and is generally of a most excellent and most fruitful soil: nor is Judea of lesser dimensions.” 196The same man describes our city Jerusalem also itself as of a most excellent structure, and very large, and inhabited from the most ancient times. He also discourses of the multitude of men in it, and of the construction of our temple, after the following manner:— 197“There are many strong places and villages (says he) in the country of Judea: but one strong city there is, about fifty furlongs in circumference, which is inhabited by a hundred and twenty thousand men, or thereabouts: they call it Jerusalem. 198There is about the middle of the city, a wall of stone, the length of which is five hundred feet, and the breadth a hundred cubits, with double cloisters; wherein there is a square altar, not made of hewn stone, but composed of white stones gathered together, having each side twenty cubits long, and its altitude ten cubits. Hard by it is a large edifice, wherein there is an altar and a candlestick, both of gold, and in weight two talents; 199upon these there is a light that is never extinguished, neither by night nor by day. There is no image, nor any thing, nor any donations therein; nothing at all is there planted, neither grove, nor any thing of that sort. The priests abide therein both nights and days, performing certain purifications, and drinking not the least drop of wine while they are in the temple.” 200Moreover, he attests that we Jews, went as auxiliaries along with king Alexander, and after him with his successors. I will add farther what he says he learned when he was himself with the same army, concerning the actions of a man that was a Jew. His words are these:— 201“As I was myself going to the Red Sea, there followed us a man, whose name was Mosollam; he was one of the Jewish horsemen who conducted us; he was a person of great courage, of a strong body, and by all allowed to be the most skilful archer that was either among the Greeks or barbarians. 202Now this man, as people were in great numbers passing along the road, and a certain augur was observing an augury by a bird, and requiring them all to stand still, inquired what they staid for. 203Hereupon the augur showed him the bird from whence he took his augury, and told him that if the bird staid where he was, they ought all to stand still; but that if he got up, and flew onward, they must go forward; but that if he flew backward, they must retire again. Mosollam made no reply, but drew his bow, and shot at the bird, and hit him, and killed him; 204and as the augur and some others were very angry, and wished imprecations upon him, he answered them thus:—Why are you so mad as to take this most unhappy bird into your hands? for how can this bird give us any true information concerning our march, which could not foresee how to save himself? for had he been able to foreknow what was future, he would not have come to this place, but would have been afraid lest Mosollam the Jew would shoot at him, and kill him.” 205But of Hecateus’s testimonies we have said enough; for as to such as desire to know more of them, they may easily obtain them from his book itself. However, I shall not think it too much for me to name Agatharchides, as having made mention of us Jews, though in way of derision at our simplicity, as he supposes it to be; 206for when he was discoursing of the affairs of Stratonice, “how she came out of Macedonia into Syria, and left her husband Demetrius, while yet Seleucus would not marry her as she expected, but during the time of his raising an army at Babylon, stirred up a sedition about Antioch; 207and how after that the king came back, and upon his taking of Antioch, she fled to Seleucia, and had it in her power to sail away immediately, yet did she comply with a dream which forbade her so to do, and so was caught and put to death.” 208When Agatharchides had premised this story, and had jested upon Stratonice for her superstition, he gives a like example of what was reported concerning us, and writes thus:— 209“There are a people called Jews, who dwell in a city the strongest of all other cities, which the inhabitants call Jerusalem, and are accustomed to rest on every seventh day; on which times they make no use of their arms, nor meddle with husbandry, nor take care of any affairs of life, but spread out their hands in their holy places, and pray till the evening. 210Now it came to pass, that when Ptolemy, the son of Lagus, came into this city with his army, these men, in observing this mad custom of theirs, instead of guarding the city, suffered their country to submit itself to a bitter lord; and their law was openly proved to have commanded a foolish practice. 211This accident taught all other men but the Jews to disregard such dreams as these were, and not to follow the like idle suggestions delivered as a law, when, in such uncertainty of human reasonings, they are at a loss what they should do.” 212Now this our procedure seems a ridiculous thing to Agatharchides, but will appear to such as consider it without prejudice a great thing, and what deserved a great many encomiums; I mean, when certain men constantly prefer the observation of their laws, and their religion towards God, before the preservation of themselves and their country.
21323. Now, that some writers have omitted to mention our nation, not because they knew nothing of us, but because they envied us, or for some other unjustifiable reasons, I think I can demonstrate by particular instances; for Hieronymus, who wrote the History of [Alexander’s] Successors, lived at the same time with Hecateus, and was a friend of king Antigonus, and president of Syria. 214Now, it is plain that Hecateus wrote an entire book concerning us, while Hieronymus never mentions us in his history, although he was bred up very near to the places where we live. Thus different from one another are the inclinations of men; while the one thought we deserved to be carefully remembered, as some ill-disposed passion blinded the other’s mind so entirely, that he could not discern the truth. 215And now certainly the foregoing records of the Egyptians, and Chaldeans, and Phoenicians, together with so many of the Greek writers, will be sufficient for the demonstration of our antiquity. 216Moreover, besides those forementioned, Theophilus, and Theodotus, and Mnaseas, and Aristophanes, and Hermogenes, Euhemerus also, and Conon, and Zopyrion, and perhaps many others (for I have not lighted upon all the Greek books) have made distinct mention of us. 217It is true, many of the men before mentioned have made great mistakes about the true accounts of our nation in the earliest times, because they had not perused our sacred books; yet have they all of them afforded their testimony to our antiquity, concerning which I am now treating. 218However, Demetrius Phalereus, and the elder Philo, with Eupolemus, have not greatly missed the truth about our affairs; whose lesser mistakes ought therefore to be forgiven them; for it was not in their power to understand our writings with the utmost accuracy.
21924. One particular there is still remaining behind of what I at first proposed to speak to, and that is to demonstrate that those calumnies and reproaches, which some have thrown upon our nation, are lies, and to make use of those writers’ own testimonies against themselves: 220and that in general this self-contradiction hath happened to many other authors by reason of their ill will to some people, I conclude is not unknown to such as have read histories with sufficient care; for some of them have endeavored to disgrace the nobility of certain nations, and of some of the most glorious cities, and have cast reproaches upon certain forms of government. 221Thus hath Theopompus abused the city of Athens, Polycrates that of Lacedemon, as hath he that wrote the Tripoliticus (for he is not Theopompus, as is supposed by some) done by the city of Thebes. Timeus also hath greatly abused the foregoing people and others also; 222and this ill treatment they use chiefly when they have a contest with men of the greatest reputation; some, out of envy and malice,—and others as supposing that by this foolish talking of theirs they may be thought worthy of being remembered themselves; and indeed they do by no means fail of their hopes, with regard to the foolish part of mankind, but men of sober judgment still condemn them of great malignity.
22325. Now the Egyptians were the first that cast reproaches upon us; in order to please which nation, some others undertook to pervert the truth, while they would neither own that our forefathers came into Egypt from another country, as the fact was, nor give a true account of our departure thence, 224and indeed the Egyptians took many occasions to hate us and envy us: in the first place, because our ancestors had had the dominion over their country, and when they were delivered from them, and gone to their own country again, they lived there in prosperity. In the next place, the difference of our religion from theirs hath occasioned great enmity between us, while our way of divine worship did as much exceed that which their laws appointed, as does the nature of God exceed that of brute beasts; 225for so far they all agree through the whole country, to esteem such animals as gods, although they differ from one another in the peculiar worship they severally pay to them; and certainly men they are entirely of vain and foolish minds, who have thus accustomed themselves from the beginning to have such bad notions concerning their gods, and could not think of imitating that decent form of divine worship which we made use of, though, when they saw our institutions approved of by many others, they could not but envy us on that account; 226for some of them have proceeded to that degree of folly and meanness in their conduct, as not to scruple to contradict their own ancient records, nay, to contradict themselves also in their writings, and yet were so blinded by their passions as not to discern it.
22726. And now I will turn my discourse to one of their principal writers whom I have a little before made use of as a witness to our antiquity; 228I mean Manetho. He promised to interpret the Egyptian history out of their sacred writings, and premised this: that “Our people had come into Egypt, many ten thousands in number, and subdued its inhabitants;” and when he had farther confessed, that “We went out of that country afterward, and settled in that country which is now called Judea, and there built Jerusalem and its temple.” Now thus far he followed his ancient records; 229but after this he permits himself, in order to appear to have written what rumors and reports passed abroad about the Jews, and introduces incredible narrations, as if he would have the Egyptian multitude, that had the leprosy and other distempers, to have been mixed with us, as he says they were, and that they were condemned to fly out of Egypt together; 230for he mentions Amenophis, a fictitious king’s name, though on that account he durst not set down the number of years of his reign, which yet he had accurately done as to the other kings he mentions; he then ascribes certain fabulous stories to this king, as having in a manner forgotten how he had already related that the departure of the shepherds for Jerusalem had been five hundred and eighteen years before; 231for Tethmosis was king when they went away. Now, from his days, the reigns of the intermediate kings, according to Manetho, amounted to three hundred and ninety-three years, as he says himself, till the two brothers Sethos and Hermeus; the one of whom, Sethos, was called by that other name of Egyptus; and the other, Hermeus, by that of Danaus. He also says that Sethos cast the other out of Egypt, and reigned fifty-nine years, as did his eldest son Rhampses reign after him sixty-six years. 232When Manetho therefore had acknowledged that our forefathers were gone out of Egypt so many years ago he introduces his fictitious king Amenophis, and says thus:—“This king was desirous to become a spectator of the gods, as had Orus, one of his predecessors in that kingdom, desired the same before him; he also communicated that his desire to his namesake Amenophis, who was the son of Papis, and one that seemed to partake of a divine nature, both as to wisdom and the knowledge of futurities.” 233Manetho adds, “How this namesake of his told him that he might see the gods, if he would clear the whole country of the lepers and of the other impure people; 234that the king was pleased with this injunction, and got together all that had any defects in their bodies out of Egypt. And that their number was eighty thousand; 235whom he sent to those quarries which are on the east side of the Nile, that they might work in them, and might be separated from the rest of the Egyptians.” He says farther, that “There were some of the learned priests that were polluted with the leprosy; 236but that still this Amenophis, the wise man and the prophet, was afraid that the gods would be angry at him and at the king, if there should appear to have been violence offered them; who also added this farther [out of his sagacity about futurities], that certain people would come to the assistance of these polluted wretches, and would conquer Egypt, and keep it in their possession thirteen years: that, however, he durst not tell the king of these things, but that he left a writing behind him about all those matters, and then slew himself, which made the king disconsolate.” 237After which he writes thus, verbatim:—“After those that were sent to work in the quarries had continued in that miserable state for a long while, the king was desired that he would set apart the city Avaris, which was then left desolate of the shepherds, for their habitation and protection; which desire he granted them. Now this city, according to the ancient theology, was Trypho’s city. 238But when these men were gotten into it, and found the place fit for a revolt, they appointed themselves a ruler out of the priests of Heliopolis, whose name was Osarsiph, and they took their oaths that they would be obedient to him in all things. 239He then, in the first place, made this law for them, that they should neither worship Egyptian gods, nor should abstain from any one of those sacred animals, which they have in the highest esteem, but kill and destroy them all; that they should join themselves to nobody but to those that were of this confederacy.— 240When he had made such laws as these, and many more such as were mainly opposite to the customs of the Egyptians, he gave order that they should use the multitude of the hands they had in building walls about their city, and make themselves ready for a war with king Amenophis, 241while he did himself take into his friendship the other priests and those that were polluted with them, and sent ambassadors to those shepherds who had been driven out of the land by Themosis to the city called Jerusalem; whereby he informed them of his own affairs, and of the state of those others that had been treated after such an ignominious manner, and desired that they would come with one consent to his assistance in this war against Egypt. 242He also promised that he would, in the first place, bring them back to their ancient city and country Avaris, and provide a plentiful maintenance for their multitude; that he would protect them and fight for them as occasion should require, and would easily reduce the country under their dominion. 243These shepherds were all very glad of this message, and came away with alacrity all together, being in number two hundred thousand men; and in a little time they came to Avaris. And now Amenophis the king of Egypt, upon his being informed of their invasion, was in great confusion, as calling to mind what Amenophis, the son of Papis, had foretold him; 244and, in the first place, he assembled the multitude of the Egyptians, and took counsel with their leaders, and sent for their sacred animals to him, especially the priests distinctly, that they should hide for those that were principally worshipped in the temples, and gave a particular charge to the images of their gods with the utmost care. 245He also sent his son Sethos, who was also named Ramesses from his father Rhampses, being but five years old, to a friend of his. He then passed on with the rest of the Egyptians, being three hundred thousand of the most warlike of them, against the enemy, who met them. Yet did he not join battle with them; 246but thinking that would be to fight against the gods, he returned back and came to Memphis, where he took Apis and the other sacred animals which he had sent for to him, and presently marched into Ethiopia, together with his whole army and multitude of Egyptians; for the king of Ethiopia was under an obligation to him, 247on which account he received him, and took care of all the multitude that was with him, while the country supplied all that was necessary for the food of the men. He also allotted cities and villages for this exile, that was to be from its beginning during those fatally determined thirteen years. Moreover, he pitched a camp for his Ethiopian army, as a guard to king Amenophis, upon the borders of Egypt. 248And this was the state of things in Ethiopia. But for the people of Jerusalem, when they came down together with the polluted Egyptians, they treated the men in such a barbarous manner, that those who saw how they subdued the forementioned country, and the horrid wickedness they were guilty of, thought it a most dreadful thing; 249for they did not only set the cities and villages on fire, but were not satisfied till they had been guilty of sacrilege, and destroyed the images of the gods, and used them in roasting those sacred animals that used to be worshipped, and forced the priests and prophets to be the executioners and murderers of those animals, and then ejected them naked out of the country. 250It was also reported that the priest, who ordained their polity and their laws, was by birth of Heliopolis, and his name Osarsiph from Osiris, who was the god of Heliopolis; but that when he was gone over to these people, his name was changed, and he was called Moses.”
25127. This is what the Egyptians relate about the Jews with much more, which I omit for the sake of brevity. But still Manetho goes on, that “After this, Amenophis returned from Ethiopia with a great army, as did his son Rhampses with another army also, and that both of them joined battle with the shepherds and the polluted people, and beat them and slew a great many of them, and pursued them to the bounds of Syria.” 252These and the like accounts are written by Manetho. But I will demonstrate that he trifles, and tells arrant lies, after I have made a distinction which will relate to what I am going to say about him; for this Manetho had granted and confessed that this nation was not originally Egyptian, but that they had come from another country, and subdued Egypt, and then went away again out of it. 253But that those Egyptians who were thus diseased in their bodies were not mingled with us afterward, and that Moses who brought the people out was not one of that company, but lived many generations earlier, I shall endeavor to demonstrate from Manetho’s own accounts themselves.
25428. Now, for the first occasion of this fiction, Manetho supposes what is no better than a ridiculous thing; for he says that “King Amenophis desired to see the gods.” What gods, I pray, did he desire to see? If he meant the gods whom their laws ordained to be worshipped, the ox, the goat, the crocodile, and the baboon, he saw them already; 255but for the heavenly gods, how could he see them, and what should occasion this his desire? To be sure, it was because another king before him had already seen them. He had then been informed what sort of gods they were, and after what manner they had been seen, insomuch that he did not stand in need of any new artifice for obtaining this sight. 256However, the prophet by whose means the king thought to compass his design was a wise man. If so, how came he not to know that such his desire was impossible to be accomplished? for the event did not succeed. And what pretense could there be to suppose that the gods would not be seen by reason of the people’s maims in their bodies, or leprosy? for the gods are not angry at the imperfection of bodies but at wicked practices; 257and as to eighty thousand lepers, and those in an ill state also, how is it possible to have them gathered together in one day? nay, how came the king not to comply with the prophet? for his injunction was that those that were maimed should be expelled out of Egypt, while the king only sent them to work in the quarries, as if he were rather in want of laborers, than intended to purge his country. 258He says farther, that “This prophet slew himself, as foreseeing the anger of the gods, and those events which were to come upon Egypt afterward; and that he left this prediction for the king in writing.” 259Besides, how came it to pass that this prophet did not foreknow his own death at the first? nay how came he not to contradict the king in his desire to see the gods immediately? how came that unreasonable dread upon him of judgments that were not to happen in his lifetime; or what worse thing could he suffer, out of the fear of which he made haste to kill himself? 260But now let us see the silliest thing of all:—the king, although he had been informed of these things and terrified, with the fear of what was to come, yet did not he even then eject these maimed people out of his country, when it had been foretold him that he was to clear Egypt of them; but as Manetho says, “He then upon their request, gave them that city to inhabit, which had formerly belonged to the shepherds, and was called Avaris; 261whither when they were gone in crowds (he says) they chose one that had formerly been priest of Heliopolis; and that this priest first ordained that they should neither worship the gods, nor abstain from those animals that were worshipped by the Egyptians, but should kill and eat them all, and should associate with nobody but those that had conspired with them; and that he bound the multitude by oaths to be sure to continue in those laws; and that when he had built a wall about Avaris, he made war against the king.” 262Manetho adds also, that “this priest sent to Jerusalem to invite that people to come to his assistance, and promised to give them Avaris; for that it had belonged to the forefathers of those that were coming from Jerusalem, and that when they were come, they made a war immediately against the king, and got possession of all Egypt.” 263He says also, that “the Egyptians came with an army of two hundred thousand men, and that Amenophis, the king of Egypt, not thinking that he ought to fight against the gods, ran away presently into Ethiopia, and committed Apis and certain other of their sacred animals to the priests, and commanded them to take care of preserving them.” 264He says further, that “the people of Jerusalem came accordingly upon the Egyptians, and overthrew their cities, and burnt their temples, and slew their horsemen, and in short abstained from no sort of wickedness nor barbarity: 265and for that priest who settled their polity and their laws,” he says “he was by birth of Heliopolis; and his name was Osarsiph, from Osiris, the god of Heliopolis, but that he changed his name, and called himself Moses.” 266He then says that “on the thirteenth year afterward Amenophis, according to the fatal time of the duration of his misfortunes, came upon them out of Ethiopia with a great army and joining battle with the shepherds and with the polluted people, overcame them in battle, and slew a great many of them, and pursued them as far as the bounds of Syria.”
26729. Now Manetho does not reflect upon the improbability of his lie; for the leprous people, and the multitude that was with them, although they might formerly have been angry at the king, and at those that had treated them so coarsely, and this according to the prediction of the prophet; yet certainly, when they were come out of the mines, and had received of the king a city, and a country, they would have grown milder towards him. 268However, had they ever so much hated him in particular, they might have laid a private plot against himself, but would hardly have made war against all the Egyptians; I mean this on the account of the great kindred they who were so numerous must have had among them. 269Nay still, if they had resolved to fight with the men, they would not have had impudence enough to fight with their gods; nor would they have ordained laws quite contrary to those of their own country, and to those in which they had been bred up themselves. 270Yet are we beholden to Manetho, that he does not lay the principal charge of this horrid transgression upon those that came from Jerusalem, but says that the Egyptians themselves were the most guilty, and that they were their priests that contrived these things, and made the multitude take their oaths for doing so; 271but still how absurd is it to suppose that none of these people’s own relations or friends should be prevailed with to revolt, nor to undergo the hazards of war with them; while these polluted people were forced to send to Jerusalem, and bring their auxiliaries from thence! 272What friendship, I pray, or what relation was there formerly between them that required this assistance? On the contrary, these people were enemies, and greatly differed from them in their customs. He says, indeed, that they complied immediately, upon their promising them that they should conquer Egypt; as if they did not themselves very well know that country out of which they had been driven by force. 273Now, had these men been in want, or lived miserably, perhaps they might have undertaken so hazardous an enterprise; but as they dwelt in a happy city, and had a large country and one better than Egypt itself, how came it about, that for the sake of those that had of old been their enemies, of those that were maimed in their bodies, and of those whom none of their own relations would endure, they should run such hazards in assisting them? For they could not foresee that the king would run away from them: 274on the contrary, he saith himself that “Amenophis’s son had three hundred thousand men with him, and met them at Pelusium.” Now, to be sure, those that came could not be ignorant of this; but for the king’s repentance and flight, how could they possibly guess at it? 275He then says, that “those who came from Jerusalem, and made this invasion, got the granaries of Egypt into their possession, and perpetrated many of the most horrid actions there.” And thence he reproaches them, as though he had not himself introduced them as enemies, or as though he might accuse such as were invited from another place for so doing, when the natural Egyptians themselves had done the same things before their coming, and had taken oaths so to do. 276However, “Amenophis, some time afterward, came upon them, and conquered them in a battle and slew his enemies, and drove them before him as far as Syria.” As if Egypt were so easily taken by people that came from any place whatsoever; 277and as if those that had conquered it by war, when they were informed that Amenophis was alive, did neither fortify the avenues out of Ethiopia into it, although they had great advantages for doing it, nor did get their other forces ready for their defense! but that he followed them over the sandy desert, and slew them as far as Syria; while yet it is not an easy thing for an army to pass over that country, even without fighting.
27830. Our nation, therefore, according to Manetho, was not derived from Egypt, nor were any of the Egyptians mingled with us; for it is to be supposed, that many of the leprous and distempered people were dead in the mines, since they had been there a long time, and in so ill a condition; many others must be dead in the battles that happened afterward, and more still in the last battle and flight after it.
27931. It now remains that I debate with Manetho about Moses. Now the Egyptians acknowledge him to have been a wonderful, and a divine person; nay they would willingly lay claim to him themselves, though after a most abusive and incredible manner; and pretend that he was of Heliopolis, and one of the priests of that place, and was ejected out of it among the rest, on account of his leprosy; 280although it had been demonstrated out of their records, that he lived five hundred and eighteen years earlier, and then brought our forefathers out of Egypt into the country that is now inhabited by us. 281But now that he was not subject in his body to any such calamity, is evident from what he himself tells us; for he forbade those that had the leprosy either to continue in a city, or to inhabit a village, but commanded that they should go about by themselves with their clothes rent; and declares that such as either touch them, or live under the same roof with them, should be esteemed unclean; 282nay, more, if any one of their diseases be healed, and he recover his natural constitution again, he appointed them certain purifications, and washings with spring water, and the shaving off all their hair, and enjoins that they shall offer many sacrifices, and those of several kinds, and then at length, to be admitted into the holy city, 283although it were to be expected that, on the contrary, if he had been under the same calamity, he should have taken care of such persons beforehand, and have had them treated after a kinder manner, as affected with a concern for those that were to be under the like misfortunes with himself. 284Nor was it only those leprous people for whose sake he made these laws, but also for such as should be maimed in the smallest part of their body, who yet are not permitted by him to officiate as priests; nay although any priest, already initiated, should have such a calamity fall upon him afterward, he ordered him to be deprived of his honor of officiating. 285How can it then be supposed that Moses should ordain such laws against himself, to his own reproach and damage who so ordained them? 286Nor indeed is that other notion of Manetho at all probable, wherein he relates the change of his name, and says, that “he was formerly called Osarsiph;” and this a name no way agreeable to the other, while his true name was Moüses, and signifies a person who is preserved out of the water, for the Egyptians call water Moü. 287I think therefore, I have made it sufficiently evident that Manetho, while he followed his ancient records did not much mistake the truth of the history; but that when he had recourse to fabulous stories, without any certain author, he either forged them himself, without any probability, or else gave credit to some men who spake so, out of their ill will to us.
28832. And now I have done with Manetho, I will inquire into what Cheremon says; for he also, when he pretended to write the Egyptian history, sets down the same name for this king that Manetho did, Amenophis, as also of his son Ramesses, 289and then goes on thus:—“The goddess Isis appeared to Amenophis in his sleep, and blamed him that her temple had been demolished in the war: but that Phritiphantes, the sacred scribe, said to him, that in case he would purge Egypt of the men that had pollutions upon them, he should be no longer troubled with such frightful apparitions. 290That Amenophis accordingly chose out two hundred and fifty thousand of those that were thus diseased, and cast them out of the country: that Moses and Joseph were scribes, and Joseph was a sacred scribe; that their names were Egyptian originally; that of Moses had been Tisithen, and that of Joseph, Peteseph: 291that these two came to Pelusium, and lighted upon three hundred and eighty thousand that had been left there by Amenophis, he not being willing to carry them into Egypt; that these scribes made a league of friendship with them, and made with them an expedition against Egypt: 292that Amenophis could not sustain their attacks, but immediately fled into Ethiopia, and left his wife with child behind him, who lay concealed in certain caverns, and there brought forth a son, whose name was Messene, and who, when he was grown up to man’s estate, pursued the Jews into Syria, being about two hundred thousand men, and then received his father Amenophis out of Ethiopia.”
29333. This is the account Cheremon gives us. Now, I take it for granted, that what I have said already hath plainly proved the falsity of both these narrations; for had there been any real truth at the bottom, it was impossible that they should so greatly disagree about the particulars; but for those that invent lies, what they write will easily give us very different accounts, while they forge what they please, out of their own heads. 294Now Manetho says that the king’s desire of seeing the gods was the origin of the ejection of the polluted people; but Cheremon feigns that it was a dream of his own, sent upon him by Isis, that was the occasion of it. 295Manetho says that the person who foreshowed this purgation of Egypt to the king, was Amenophis, but this man says it was Phritiphantes. As to the numbers of the multitude that were expelled, they agree exceedingly well, the former reckoning them eighty thousand, and the latter about two hundred and fifty thousand! 296Now, for Manetho, he describes these polluted persons as sent first to work in the quarries and says, that after that the city Avaris was given them for their habitation. As also he relates that it was not till after they had made war with the rest of the Egyptians that they invited the people of Jerusalem to come to their assistance; 297while Cheremon says only, that they were gone out of Egypt, and lighted upon three hundred and eighty thousand men about Pelusium, who had been left there by Amenophis, and so they invaded Egypt with them again: that thereupon Amenophis fled into Ethiopia; 298but then, this Cheremon commits a most ridiculous blunder in not informing us who this army of so many ten thousands were, or whence they came; whether they were native Egyptians, or whether they came from a foreign country. Nor indeed has this man, who forged a dream from Isis about the leprous people, assigned the reason why the king would not bring them into Egypt. 299Moreover, Cheremon sets down Joseph as driven away at the same time with Moses, who yet died four generations before Moses; which four generations make almost one hundred and seventy years. 300Besides all this, Ramesses, the son of Amenophis, by Manetho’s account, was a young man, and assisted his father in his war, and left the country at the same time with him, and fled into Ethiopia: but Cheremon makes him to have been born in a certain cave, after his father was dead, and that he then overcame the Jews in battle, and drove them into Syria, being in number about two hundred thousand. 301O the levity of the man! for he neither told us who these three hundred and eighty thousand were, nor how the four hundred and thirty thousand perished; whether they fell in war or went over to Ramesses; 302and, what is the strangest of all, it is not possible to learn out of him, who they were whom he calls Jews, or to which of these two parties he applies that denomination, whether to the two hundred and fifty thousand leprous people, or to the three hundred and eighty thousand that were about Pelusium. 303But perhaps it will be looked upon as a silly thing in me to make any larger confutation of such writers as sufficiently confute themselves? for had they been only confuted by other men, it had been more tolerable.
30434. I shall now add to these accounts about Manetho and Cheremon, somewhat about Lysimachus, who hath taken the same topic of falsehood with those forementioned, but hath gone far beyond them in the incredible nature of his forgeries; which plainly demonstrates that he contrived them out of his virulent hatred of our nation. 305His words are these:—“The people of the Jews being leprous and scabby, and subject to certain other kinds of distempers, in the days of Bocchoris, king of Egypt, they fled to the temples, and got their food there by begging; and as the numbers were very great that were fallen under these diseases, there arose a scarcity in Egypt. 306Hereupon Bocchoris, the king of Egypt, sent some to consult the oracle of [Jupiter] Hammon about this scarcity. The god’s answer was this, that he must purge his temples of impure and impious men, by expelling them out of those temples into desert places; but as to the scabby and leprous people, he must drown them, and purge his temples, the sun having an indignation at these men being suffered to live; and by this means the land will bring forth its fruits. 307Upon Bocchoris’s having received these oracles, he called for their priests, and the attendants upon their altars, and ordered them to make a collection of the impure people, and to deliver them to the soldiers, to carry them away into the desert; but to take the leprous people, and wrap them in sheets of lead, and let them down into the sea. 308Hereupon the scabby and leprous people were drowned, and the rest were gotten together, and sent into desert places, in order to be exposed to destruction. In this case they assembled themselves together, and took counsel what they should do; and determined, that, as the night was coming on, they should kindle fires and lamps, and keep watch; that they also should fast the next night, and propitiate the gods, in order to obtain deliverance from them. 309That on the next day, there was one Moses, who advised them that they should venture upon a journey, and go along one road till they should come to places fit for habitation: that he charged them to have no kind regards for any man, nor give good counsel to any, but always to advise them for the worst; and to overturn all those temples and altars of the gods they should meet with: 310that the rest commended what he had said with one consent, and did what they had resolved on, and so travelled over the desert. But that the difficulties of the journey being over, they came to a country inhabited, and that there they abused the men, and plundered and burnt their temples, and then came into that land which is called Judea, and there they built a city, and dwelt therein, 311and that their city was named Hierosyla, from this their robbing of the temples; but that still, upon the success they had afterwards, they through course of time changed its denomination, that it might not be a reproach to them, and called the city Hierosolyma, and themselves Hierosolymites.”
31235. Now this man did not discover and mention the same king with the others, but feigned a newer name, and passing by the dream and the Egyptian prophet, he brings him to [Jupiter] Hammon, in order to gain oracles about the scabby and leprous people; 313for he says that the multitude of Jews were gathered together at the temples. Now, it is uncertain whether he ascribes this name to these lepers, or to those that were subject to such diseases among the Jews only; for he describes them as a people of the Jews. 314What people does he mean? foreigners, or those of that country? Why then dost thou call them Jews, if they were Egyptians? But if they were foreigners, why dost thou not tell us whence they came? And how could it be that, after the king had thrown many of them into the sea, and ejected the rest into desert places, there should be still so great a multitude remaining? 315Or after what manner did they pass over the desert, and get the land which we now dwell in, and build our city, and that temple which hath been so famous among all mankind? 316And besides, he ought to have spoken more about our legislator than by giving us his bare name; and to have informed us of what nation he was, and what parents he was derived from; and to have assigned the reasons why he undertook to make such laws concerning the gods, and concerning matters of injustice with regard to men during that journey. 317For, in case the people were by birth Egyptians, they would not on the sudden have so easily changed the customs of their country; and in case they had been foreigners, they had for certain some laws or other which had been kept by them from long custom. 318It is true, that with regard to those who had ejected them, they might have sworn never to bear good will to them, and might have had a plausible reason for so doing. But if these men resolved to wage an implacable war against all men, in case they had acted as wickedly as he relates, of them, and this while they wanted the assistance of all men, this demonstrates a kind of mad conduct indeed; but not of the men themselves, but very greatly so of him that tells such lies about them. He hath also impudence enough to say that a name, implying “Robbers of the temples,” was given to their city, and that this name was afterward changed. 319The reason of which is plain, that the former name brought reproach and hatred upon them in the times of their posterity, while it seems, those that built the city thought they did honor to the city by giving it such a name. So we see that this fine fellow had such an unbounded inclination to reproach us, that he did not understand that robbery of temples is not expressed by the same word and name among the Jews as it is among the Greeks. 320But why should a man say any more to a person who tells such impudent lies! However, since this book is arisen to a competent length, I will make another beginning, and endeavor to add what still remains to perfect my design in the following book.