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HISTORY OF THE JEWS.

FROM NEHEMIAH TO THE DESTRUCTION OF JERUSALEM. CHAPTER XII.

WHEN Aristobulus was dead, Salome, his wife, released his brothers from prison, and gave the crown to Alexander Jannæus, the eldest of them. During his reign, the Jews were in a very miserable condition, being involved in foreign wars, and torn to pieces with civil commotions, which were chiefly occasioned by the powerful party of the Pharisees. Alexander, being determined to enforce the decrees of his father, who had abolished their constitutions, they were so incensed against him that they stirred up the people to treat him with contempt, in consequence of which a civil war broke out, which lasted six years, and occasioned the death of about fifty thousand persons. Alexander, having gained the superiority in a decisive battle, gave vent to his resentment by exercising the most horrid cruelties.

He died of an ague, in the forty-ninth year of his age, after reigning twenty-seven years (year of the world 3925). Though he left two sons behind him, he bequeathed the government to his wife, Alexandra, during her life. Upon his death-bed, he ordered her to repair Jerusalem, and by all means to gain the Pharisees over to her interest; for such was their power and influence, that on them principally depended the security of her person and the stability of her government. She followed the advice of her husband, and effectually insinuated herself into the favour of the Pharisees, to whom she entirely committed the management of her affairs. She reigned nine years, during which time she kept the kingdom in peace.

She appears to have been a princess of great wisdom and prudence. History records no error in her administration, except placing so much power in the hands of the Pharisees, which they xercised in the most arbitrary and oppressive manner. This, however, may be rather esteemed her misfortune than her fault, as she was obliged to it by the necessity of the times.

After her death the kingdom was distracted by grievous trouble and calamities, in which her family was involved. By her last will she had appointed Hyrcanus her successor; but Aristobulus, his younger brother, having the strongest party, gained the advantage over him in a set battle; upon which the former was obliged to submit, and content himself with a private life; this was no trouble to him, as he loved ease and quiet.

But the ambition of Antipater, governor of Idumea, and father of Herod, gave birth to fresh troubles. He used his influence to replace Hyrcanus on the throne, persuading him that his life was in danger unless he regained his authority, for his brother would certainly shorten his days, that he might reign himself more securely. Hyr. canus at first gave but little heed to his counsel; but Antipater, unceasingly continuing these vile insinuations, at length prevailed with him to fly to Aretas, king of the Arabians, in order that by his assistance he might recover the crown.

Hyrcanus, to engage Aretas in his interest, promised that, if he confirmed him in his royal dignity, he would restore the twelve cities which Alexander, his father, had taken from the Arabians. Induced by these offers, Aretas marched an army into Judea, and gained a complete victory over Aristobulus, which turned the scale in favour

of Hyrcanus. Aristobulus, finding himself defeated, fled to Jerusalem, whither Aretas followed him, and besieged the temple, the people having admitted him into the city; but at length he was obliged to relinquish his design, by the interference of the Romans, who, being largely bribed by Aristobulus, declared that if he did not depart he should be esteemed an enemy of Rome.

The case of the two brothers was then referred to Pompey, the Roman general; they both ap. peared before him, and each pleaded his own cause. Pompey quickly perceived that the conduct of Aristobulus was violent and unjust; but from political reasons he would not then come to any decision upon the business. Aristobulus, suspecting he did not mean to declare in his favour, returned into Judea, armed his subjects, and prepared for defence. This conduct so incensed Pompey that he became his mortal enemy. On his return from an expedition against the Arabians, he invaded Judea, and found Aristobulus at the castle of Alexandrion. Pompey sent to bid him come down, which, by the advice of his friends, he did, as he dreaded a war with the Romans. Aristobulus had various interviews with Pompey, in which he used all his address to bring him over to his party, whilst he was secretly giving orders for garrisons to be put in all the strong places. Pompey, having intelligence of these proceedings, made him sign orders to the commanders to put them all into his hands.

Aristobulus was so enraged at the violence which had been thus put upon him, that, immediately after his release, he hastened to Jerusalem with a determination to prepare for war. Pompey followed him closely. When he came near Jerusalem, Aristobulus began to repent, and came out

to meet Pompey, endeavoured to bring him to an accommodation, with promises of an entire submission, and a great sum of money, to prevent the war. Pompey accepted his offers; but when they came to the city, the people declared they would not stand to the engagement. Pompey immediately put Aristobulus in irons, and marched his whole army against Jerusalem, which, from its situation, was capable of a long defence, had it not been for the different parties which divided the inhabitants; that of Aristobulus was for defending the place; but the adherents of Hyrcanus were determined to open the gates to Pompey; and as the latter formed the majority, the other party retired to the temple to defend it. Pompey, having entered the city, resolved to besiege the temple, which held out three months. It might have resisted much longer, and probably would not have been taken at all, but for the rigour with which the Jews observed the Sabbath. They were brought to believe that they might defend themselves when absolutely attacked, but still thought it unlawful to prevent the works of the enemy on that day, or to make any for them. selves. The Romans took advantage of this; they did not attack the Jews on the Sabbathdays, but filled up the ditches and fixed their engines without opposition. The place was carried sword in hand, and a terrible slaughter ensued, in which twelve thousand persons were killed.

This circumstance took place on the very day which the Jews kept as a solemn fast for the taking of the city and temple by Nebuchadnezzar, the priests continuing to serve at the altar till they fell by the sword of the enemy. Happy would it have been for them had they been as faithful to the spirit as they were to the letter of

the service in which they were engaged. Pompey, with some of his chief officers, entered the temple, and, not content with surveying the sanctuary, penetrated even into the Holy of Holies, which was a grievous affliction to the Jews, and tended very much to increase their enmity to the Romans. It is worthy of remark, that Pompey had previously been successful in all his enterprises; but after this he met with nothing but disappointment and defeat, till his ambitious pursuits were terminated by an ignominious exit. Pompey left the treasures of the temple untouched, as they belonged principally to private families, who had placed them there for security. He demolished the walls of Jerusalem, established Hyrcanus in the high-priesthood and civil power, and sent Aristobulus, with his two sons, prisoners to Rome.

The administration of affairs was entrusted to Antipater, who shortly after caused the government of Jerusalem to be given to Phasel, his eldest son, and that of Galilee to Herod, his second son.

Rome began, about this time, to feel the effects of those fatal contentions, which issued in the subversion of the republic. Julius Cæsar, Pompey, and Crassus, three Roman generals, having, by the splendid victories and the wealth they had obtained from the conquered nations, acquired a considerable degree of influence in the state, eagerly sought to gratify their passions for supreme dominion; but their power and authority being nearly equal, they agreed to share the government among them, and thus formed what is usually denominated the First Triumvirate. But this union was of no long duration. Crassus, on his march against the Parthians, with whom his country was then at war, stopped at Jerusalem,

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