The Life of Flavius Josephus, 104–121

Flavius Josephus  translated by William Whiston

« J. Vit. 87–103 | J. Vit. 104–121 | J. Vit. 122–131 | About This Work »

Josephus at Sepphoris

10422. But the inhabitants of this city having determined to continue in their allegiance to the Romans, were afraid of my coming to them; and tried, by putting me upon another action, to divert me, that they might be freed from the terror they were in. 105Accordingly they sent to Jesus, the captain of those robbers who were in the confines of Ptolemais, and promised to give him a great deal of money, if he would come with those forces he had with him, which were in number eight hundred, and fight with us. 106Accordingly he complied with what they desired, upon the promises they had made him, and was desirous to fall upon us when we were unprepared for him, and knew nothing of his coming beforehand: so he sent to me, and desired that I would give him leave to come and salute me. When I had given him that leave, which I did without the least knowledge of his treacherous intentions beforehand, he took his band of robbers, and made haste to come to me. 107Yet did not this his knavery succeed well at last; for, as he was already nearly approaching, one of those with him deserted him, and came to me, and told me what he had undertaken to do. When I was informed of this, I went into the marketplace, and pretended to know nothing of his treacherous purpose. I took with me many Galileans that were armed, as also some of those of Tiberias; 108and, when I had given orders that all the roads should be carefully guarded, I charged the keepers of the gates to give admittance to none but Jesus, when he came, with the principal of his men, and to exclude the rest; and in case they aimed to force themselves in, to use stripes [in order to repel them]. 109Accordingly, those that had received such a charge did as they were bidden, and Jesus came in with a few others; and when I had ordered him to throw down his arms immediately, and told him, that, if he refused so to do, he was a dead man, he seeing armed men standing all round about him, was terrified and complied; and as for those of his followers that were excluded, when they were informed that he was seized, they ran away. 110I then called Jesus to me by himself, and told him, that “I was not a stranger to that treacherous design he had against me, nor was I ignorant by whom he was sent for; that, however, I would forgive him what he had done already, if he would repent of it, and be faithful to me hereafter.” 111And thus, upon his promise to do all that I desired, I let him go, and gave him leave to get those whom he had formerly had with him together again. But I threatened the inhabitants of Sepphoris, that, if they would not leave off their ungrateful treatment of me, I would punish them sufficiently.

Treatment of Refugees from Trachonitis

11223. At this time it was that two great men, who were under the jurisdiction of the king [Agrippa], came to me out of the region of Trachonitis, bringing their horses and their arms, and carrying with them their money also; 113and when the Jews would force them to be circumcised, if they would stay among them, I would not permit them to have any force put upon them, but said to them, “Every one ought to worship God according to his own inclinations, and not to be constrained by force; and that these men, who had fled to us for protection, ought not to be so treated as to repent of their coming hither. And when I had pacified the multitude, I provided for the men that were come to us whatsoever it was they wanted, according to their usual way of living, and that in great plenty also.

Josephus Excels Against Ebutius

11424. Now king Agrippa sent an army to make themselves masters of the citadel of Gamala, and over it Equiculus Modius; but the forces that were sent were not enow to encompass the citadel quite round, but lay before it in the open places, and besieged it. 115But when Ebutius, the decurion, who was intrusted with the government of the great plain, heard that I was at Simonias, a village situated in the confines of Galilee, and was distant from him sixty furlongs, he took a hundred horsemen that were with him by night, and a certain number of footmen, about two hundred, and brought the inhabitants of the city Gibea along with him as auxiliaries, and marched in the night, and came to the village where I abode. 116Upon this I pitched my camp over against him, which had a great number of forces in it; but Ebutius tried to draw us down into the plain, as greatly depending upon his horsemen; but we would not come down; for when I was satisfied of the advantage that his horse would have if we came down into the plain, while we were all footmen, I resolved to join battle with the enemy where I was. 117Now Ebutius and his party made a courageous opposition for some time; but when he saw that his horse were useless to him in that place, he retired back to the city Gibea, having lost three of his men in the fight. 118So I followed him directly with two thousand armed men; and when I was at the city Besara, that lay in the confines of Ptolemais, but twenty furlongs from Gibea, where Ebutius abode, I placed my armed men on the outside of the village, and gave orders that they should guard the passes with great care, that the enemy might not disturb us until we should have carried off the corn, a great quantity of which lay there: 119it belonged to Bernice the queen and had been gathered together out of the neighboring villages into Besara: so I loaded my camels and asses, a great number of which I had brought along with me, and sent the corn into Galilee. 120When I had done this, I offered Ebutius battle; but when he would not accept of the offer, for he was terrified at our readiness and courage, I altered my route, and marched towards Neopolitanus, because I had heard that the country about Tiberias was laid waste by him. 121This Neopolitanus was captain of a troop of horse, and had the custody of Scythopolis intrusted to his care by the enemy; and when I had hindered him from doing any further mischief to Tiberias, I set myself to make provision for the affairs of Galilee.

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