The Life of Flavius Josephus, 309–335

Flavius Josephus  translated by William Whiston

« J. Vit. 290–308 | J. Vit. 309–335 | J. Vit. 336–367 | About This Work »

The Appointment of Josephus Is Confirmed

30960. Now, in a few days those ambassadors whom we had sent, came back again and informed us that the people were greatly provoked at Ananus, and Simon the son of Gamaliel, and their friends; that, without any public determination, they had sent to Galilee, and had done their endeavors that I might be turned out of the government. 310The ambassadors said further, that the people were ready to burn their houses. They also brought letters, whereby the chief men of Jerusalem, at the earnest petition of the people, confirmed me in the government of Galilee, and enjoined Jonathan and his colleagues to return home quickly. 311When I had gotten these letters, I came to the village Arbela, where I procured an assembly of the Galileans to meet and bid the ambassadors declare to them the anger of the people of Jerusalem at what had been done by Jonathan and his colleagues, and how much they hated their wicked doings, 312and how they had confirmed me in the government of their country, as also what related to the order they had in writing for Jonathan and his colleagues to return home. So I immediately sent them the letter, and bid him that carried it to inquire, as well as he could, how they intended to act [on this occasion].

Reaction of the Jerusalem Embassy

31361. Now when they had received that letter, and were thereby greatly disturbed, they sent for John, and for the senators of Tiberias, and for the principal men of the Gabarenes, and proposed to hold a council, and desired them to consider what was to be done by them. 314However, the governors of Tiberias were greatly disposed to keep the government to themselves; for they said it was not fit to desert their city, now it was committed to their trust, and that otherwise I should not delay to fall upon them; for they pretended falsely that so I had threatened to do. 315Now John was not only of their opinion, but advised them, that two of them should go to accuse me before the multitude [at Jerusalem], that I do not manage the affairs of Galilee as I ought to do; and that they would easily persuade the people, because of their dignity, and because the whole multitude are very mutable.— 316When, therefore, it appeared that John had suggested the wisest advice to them, they resolved that two of them, Jonathan and Ananias, should go to the people of Jerusalem and the other two [Simon and Joazar] should be left behind to tarry at Tiberias. They also took along with them a hundred soldiers for their guard.

Exploits of Josephus

31762. However, the governors of Tiberias took care to have their city secured with walls, and commanded their inhabitants to take their arms. They also sent for a great many soldiers from John, to assist them against me, if there should be occasion for them. Now John was at Gischala. 318Jonathan, therefore, and those that were with him, when they were departed from Tiberias, and as soon as they were come to Dabaritta, a village that lay in the utmost parts of Galilee, in the great plain, they, about midnight, fell among the guards I had set, who both commanded them to lay aside their weapons, and kept them in bonds upon the place, as I had charged them to do. 319This news was written to me by Levi, who had the command of that guard committed to him by me. Hereupon I said nothing of it for two days; and, pretending to know nothing about it, I sent a message to the people of Tiberias, and advised them to lay their arms aside, and to dismiss their men, that they might go home; 320but supposing that Jonathan, and those that were with him, were already arrived at Jerusalem, they made reproachful answers to me; yet was I not terrified thereby, but contrived another stratagem against them; 321for I did not think it agreeable with piety to kindle the fire of war against the citizens. As I was desirous to draw those men away from Tiberias, I chose out ten thousand of the best of my armed men, and divided them into three bodies, and ordered them to go privately and lie still as an ambush, in the villages. 322I also led a thousand into another village, which lay indeed in the mountains, as did the others, but only four furlongs distant from Tiberias; and gave orders, that when they saw my signal, they should come down immediately, while I myself lay with my soldiers in the sight of every body. 323Hereupon the people of Tiberias, at the sight of me, came running out of the city perpetually, and abused me greatly. Nay, their madness was come to that height, that they made a decent bier for me, and, standing about it, they mourned over me in the way of jest and sport; and I could not but be myself in a pleasant humor upon the sight of this madness of theirs.

32463. And now being desirous to catch Simon by a wile, and Joazar with him, I sent a message to them, and desired them to come a little way out of the city, and many of their friends to guard them; for I said I would come down to them, and make a league with them, and divide the government of Galilee with them. 325Accordingly Simon was deluded, on account of his imprudence, and out of the hopes of gain, and did not delay to come; but Joazar, suspecting snares were laid for him, staid behind. So when Simon was come out, and his friends with him for his guard, I met him, and saluted him with great civility, and professed that I was obliged to him for his coming up to me; 326but a little while afterward I walked along with him, as though I would say something to him by himself; and when I had drawn him a good way from his friends, I took him about the middle, and gave him to my friends that were with me, to carry him into a village; and commanding my armed men to come down, I with them made an assault upon Tiberias. 327Now, as the fight grew hot on both sides, and the soldiers belonging to Tiberias were in a fair way to conquer me (for my armed men were already fled away), I saw the posture of my affairs; and encouraging those that were with me, I pursued those of Tiberias, even when they were already conquerors, into the city. I also sent another band of soldiers into the city by the lake, and gave them orders to set on fire the first house they could seize upon. 328When this was done the people of Tiberias thought that their city was taken by force, and so threw down their arms for fear; and implored, they, their wives, and children, that I would spare their city. 329So I was over-persuaded by their entreaties, and restrained the soldiers from the vehemency with which they pursued them; while I myself, upon the coming on of the evening, returned back with my soldiers, and went to refresh myself. 330I also invited Simon to sup with me, and comforted him on occasion of what had happened; and I promised that I would send him safe and secure to Jerusalem, and withal would give him provisions for his journey thither.

33164. But on the next day, I brought ten thousand armed men with me, and came to Tiberias. I then sent for the principal men of the multitude, into the public place, and enjoined them to tell me who were the authors of the revolt; 332and when they told me who the men were, I sent them bound to the city Jotapata; but, as to Jonathan and Ananias, I freed them from their bonds, and gave them provisions for their journey, together with Simon and Joazar, and five hundred armed men who should guard them; and so I sent them to Jerusalem. 333The people of Tiberias also came to me again, and desired that I would forgive them for what they had done; and they said they would amend what they had done amiss with regard to me, by their fidelity for the time to come; and they besought me to preserve what spoils remained upon the plunder of the city, for those that had lost them. 334Accordingly, I enjoined those that had got them, to bring them all before us; and when they did not comply for a great while, and I saw one of the soldiers that were about me with a garment on that was more splendid than ordinary, I asked him whence he had it; 335and when he replied that he had it out of the plunder of the city, I had him punished with stripes; and I threatened all the rest to inflict a severer punishment upon them, unless they produced before us whatsoever they had plundered; and when a great many spoils were brought together, I restored to every one of Tiberias what they claimed to be their own.

« J. Vit. 290–308 | J. Vit. 309–335 | J. Vit. 336–367 | About This Work »