The Life of Flavius Josephus, 276–289

Flavius Josephus  translated by William Whiston

« J. Vit. 266–275 | J. Vit. 276–289 | J. Vit. 290–308 | About This Work »

The Meeting at the Proseucha

27654. So I suspected nothing, and went away to Taricheae; yet did I withal leave some to make inquiry in the city how matters went, and whether any thing was said about me: I also set many persons all the way that led from Taricheae to Tiberias, that they might communicate, from one to another, if they learned any news from those that were left in the city. 277On the next day, therefore, they all came into the Proseucha; it was a large edifice, and capable of receiving a great number of people; thither Jonathan went in, and though he durst not openly speak of a revolt, yet did he say that their city stood in need of a better governor than it then had. 278But Jesus, who was the ruler, made no scruple to speak out, and said openly, “O fellow citizens! it is better for you to be in subjection to four than to one; and those such as are of high birth, and not without reputation for their wisdom;” and pointed to Jonathan and his colleagues. 279Upon his saying this, Justus came in and commended him for what he had said, and persuaded some of the people to be of his mind also. But the multitude were not pleased with what was said, and had certainly gone into a tumult, unless the sixth hour, which was now come, had dissolved the assembly, at which hour our laws require us to go to dinner on Sabbath days; so Jonathan and his colleagues put off their council till the next day, and went off without success. 280When I was informed of these affairs, I determined to go to the city of Tiberias in the morning. Accordingly, on the next day, about the first hour of the day, I came from Taricheae, and found the multitude already assembled in the Proseucha; but on what account they were gotten together, those that were assembled did not know. 281But when Jonathan and his colleagues saw me there unexpectedly, they were in disorder; after which they raised a report of their own contrivance, that Roman horsemen were seen at a place called Union, in the borders of Galilee, thirty furlongs distant from the city. 282Upon which report Jonathan and his colleagues cunningly exhorted me not to neglect this matter, nor to suffer the land to be spoiled by the enemy. And this they said with a design to remove me out of the city, under the pretense of the want of extraordinary assistance, while they might dispose the city to be my enemy.

Josephus Forces His Enemies to Take the Field with Him

28355. As for myself, although I knew of their design, yet did I comply with what they proposed, lest the people of Tiberias should have occasion to suppose that I was not careful of their security. I therefore went out; but when I was at the place, I found not the least footsteps of any enemy; 284so I returned as fast as ever I could, and found the whole council assembled, and the body of the people gotten together, and Jonathan and his colleagues bringing vehement accusations against me, as one who had no concern to ease them of the burdens of war, and as one that lived luxuriously. 285And as they were discoursing thus, they produced four letters as written to them, from some people that lived at the borders of Galilee, imploring that they would come to their assistance, for that there was an army of Romans, both horsemen and footmen, who would come and lay waste the country on the third day; they desired them also to make haste, and not to overlook them.— 286When the people of Tiberias heard this, they thought they spake truth, and made a clamor against me and said I ought not to sit still, but to go away to the assistance of their countrymen. 287Hereupon I said (for I understood the meaning of Jonathan and his colleagues) that I was ready to comply with what they proposed, and without delay to march to the war which they spake of, yet did I advise them, at the same time, that since these letters declared that the Romans would make their assault in four several places, they should part their forces into five bodies, and make Jonathan and his colleagues generals of each body of them, 288because it was fit for brave men not only to give counsel, but to take the place of leaders, and assist their countrymen when such a necessity pressed them; for, said I, it is not possible for me to lead more than one party. 289This advice of mine greatly pleased the multitude; so they compelled them to go forth to the war. But their designs were put into very much disorder, because they had not done what they had designed to do, on account of my stratagem, which was opposite to their undertakings.

« J. Vit. 266–275 | J. Vit. 276–289 | J. Vit. 290–308 | About This Work »