« ZurückWeiter »
ascension, they aspersed the character of Mary, our Lord's mother, and reproached him with a spurious nativity. When these aspersions were first given out, we cannot say exactly; but they are in Celsus, who wrote against the Christians about the middle of the second century; and doubtless he had them from the Jews: they are also in the Talmudical writings, as we shall see hereafter.
In order to disparage our Lord's miracles, they gave out that they were performed by magical arts, such as he had learned in Egypt. This calumny also is in Celsus ; and doubtless he had it from the Jews. It is also in the Talmudical writers, as we shall see hereafter.
In the time of the emperor Adrian, about the year of Christ 132, the Jews rebelled under the conduct of the impostor Barchochebas, who set up himself for the Messiah, who inflicted • heavy penalties upon the Christians, to induce them to deny and blaspheme Jesus Christ; and • if they did not, he ordered them to be put to death.' So writes Justin Martyr, who lived at that time. Some have censured Justin for saying that Barchochebas tortured Christians only; but without reason, as seems to me. For certain, the Christians were, above all men, objects of his and his followers enmity : nor could any be called upon to deny Jesus Christ, but such as had received him for the Messiah. Of the sufferings of the Christians at that time, Eusebius speaks ind his Chronicle, and in his Ecclesiastical history: not now to refer to any others,
CHA P. III.
JOSEPHUS, WITH HIS TESTIMONY AT LARGE TO THE FULFILMENT OF OUR SAVIOUR'S PREDIC. TIONS CONCERNING THE DESTRUCTION OF THE TEMPLE AND THE CITY OF JERUSALEM,
AND THE MISERIES COMING UPON THE JEWISH PEOPLE.
1. His time, works, and characier. II. The state of things in Judea in the time of our Saviour,
and some while before. III. Our Lord's predictions concerning the destruction of the temple and the city of Jerusalem, and the miseries to be endured by the Jewish people
with the several signs preceding those calamities, as recorded in the gospels. IV. The dates of several events : viz. the commencement and the duration of the war, and the siege of Jerusalem—when the temple was burnt, and the city taken. V. Of the abomination of desolation standing in the holy place. VI. The actual accomplishment of our Saviour's predictions concerning divers events that should precede the great calamities coming upon the Jewish people—the gospel preached all over the world, the disciples of Christ persecuted in many places declensions among his followers—famines, pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places—wars and commotions. VII. The occasion of the Jewish war with the Romans, as represented by Josephus. VIII. The history of the Jewish war from Josephus, with his account of the siege of Jerusalem, and the mtseries endured therein, and the demolition of the temple and city of Jerusalem, and the desolation of the land of Judea, being his testimony to the fulfilment of our Lord's predictions of those events. IX. Reflections upon the precedling history, and the value of the testimony of Josephus. X. Other ancient writers, who have borne witness to the accomplishment of our Lord's predictions in the conquest of Judea by Vespasian and Titus-Justus of Tiberias—Pausanias Antonius Julianus Suetonius-Tacitus -Dion Cassius-Philostratus—The arch of Titus.
1. Josephus, son of Matthias, of the race of the Jewish priests, and of the first course of the four and twenty, by his mother descended from the Asmonean family, which for a considerable time had the supreme government of the Jewish nation, was born in the first year of the reign of Caligula, of our Lord 37.
Vid. Orig. Contr. Cels. 1. i. num. 28, et 32. p. 22, et 26. d Cochebas dux Judaïcæ factionis nolentes Christianos adb Vid. Orig. Contr. Cels. 1. i. sect. 28. p. 22.
versum Romanum militem ferre subsidium omnimodis cru. “Και γαρ εν τω νυν γεγενημενω Ιεδαϊκω πολεμω, Βαρχοχε- ciatibus pecat. Chron. p. 167. βας, και της Ιεδαιων αποφάσεως αρχηγετης, Χριστιανός μον8ς εις
e A. E. l. 4. c. 6. τιμωριας δεινας, ει μη αρνοιντο Ιησεν τον Χρισον, και βλασφη- Vid. Moshem. de reb. Christianor. ante Const. p. 238, μοιΣν, εκελευσατο απαγεσθαι. Αp. i p. 72. Ε. Ρar. P.
62. 239. Bened.
6 Joseph. in Vita sua. cap. i.
He was educated together with Matthias, who was his own brother by father and mother, and made such proficience in knowledge, that when,' he was about fourteen years of age the high priests, and some of the principal men of the city, came frequently to him to consult him about the right interpretation of things in the law. In the sixteenth
In the sixteenth year of his age he retired into the wilderness, where he lived three years an abstemious course of life, in the company of Banus. . Having fully acquainted himself with the principles of the three sects, the Pharisees, the Sad. ducees, and the Essenes, he determined to follow the rule of the Pharisees. And being now nineteen years of age, he began to act in public life.
Felix, when procurator of Judea, sent some priests of his acquaintance for a trifling offence to Rome, to be tried before Cæsar. Josephus, hearing that they behaved well, resolved to go to Rome to plead their cause : but he had a bad voyage; the ship was wrecked ; and out of six hundred persons, not more than eighty were saved. Soon after his arrival at Rome he became acquainted with Aliturius, a Jew by birth, but a stage-player, in favour with Nero. By him he was introduced to Poppæa, the emperor's wife; by whose interest he procured that the priests should be set at liberty. Josephus, who never omits what may be to his own honour, adds, that beside that favour, he also received from Poppæa many valuable presents; and then he returned home. This voyage was made, as he says, in the 26th year of his age, which must have been in the 62d or 63d year of Christ.
Upon his return to Judea he found things in great confusion, manyf being elevated with hopes of advantage by a revolt from the Romans. He
he did what lay in his power to prevent it, though in vain.
Soon after the beginning of the war, in the year of Christ 66, (when he must have been himself about thirty years of age) he was sent from Jerusalem to command in 3 Galilee ; where, having ordered matters as well as he could, and made the best preparations for war, by fortifying the cities in case of an attack from the Romans, he was at length shut up in the city of Jotapata : which, after a vigorous defence, and a siege of seven and forty days, was taken by Vespasian," on the first day of July, in the 13th year of Nero and the 67th of our Lord.
When that city was taken, by Vespasian's order strict search was made for Josephus; for if that general was once taken, he reckoned that the greatest part of the war would be over. However, he had hid himself in a deep cavern, the opening of which was not easily discerned above ground. Here he met with forty persons of eminence, who had concealed themselves, and had with them provisions enough for several days. On the third day the Roman soldiers seized a woman that had been with them. She made a discovery of the place where they were; whereupon Vespasian sent two tribunes, inviting him to come up, with assurances that his life should be preserved. Josephus, however, refused. Vespasian therefore sent a third tribune, named Nicanor, well known to Josephus, with the like assurances. Josephus, after some hesitation, was then willing to surrender himself. But the men who were with him exclaimed against it, and were for killing him and themselves rather than come alive into the hands of the Romans. Hereupon he made a long speech to them, shewing that it was not lawful for men to kill themselves, and that it was rather a proof of pusillanimity than courage: but all without effect. He then proposed an expedient; which was that they should cast lots, two by two, who should die first. He who had the second lot should kill the first, and the next him, and so on, and the last should kill himself. It happened that Josephus and another were preserved to the last lot. When all the rest were killed, he without much difficulty persuaded that other person to yield up himself to the Romans. So they two escaped with their lives.
This' has been judged to be a remarkable providence, by which Josephus was preserved to write the history, of which we are now able to make so good use.
a Cap. 2.
• Ετι δε παις ων σερι τεσσαρεσκαιδεκατον ετος... συνιοντων αει των αρχιερεων και των της πολεως πρωτων υπερ τε παρ' εμο περι των νομιμων ακριβεςερον τι γνωναι. Cap. 2.
- μεγαλων δε δωρεων προς τη ευεργεσια ταυτη τυχων παρα Ποππηίας: C. 3.
« Μετ' εικοσον και εκτον ενιαυτον εις “Ρωμη μοι συνέπεσεν αναβηναι. Ιb.
had heard of the good behaviour of those priests at Rome before he left Judea ; consequently they had been some while at Rome before he set out on his journey.
και πολλες επι τη Ρωμαιων αποφασει μεγα φρονεντι Vit, c. 4.
5 Vit. cap. 7, 8. De B. 17. 2. c. 20.
μεγιση γαρ ην μοιρα το πολεμε ληφθεις. De B. J. 1. 3. c. 8. in.
e Felix must have been removed from bis government some while before that; which may be thought to create a difficulty in this account : but it may be observed, that Josephus
* De B. J. ). 3. c. 8. sect. 1....7.
When · Josephus had surrendered, Vespasian gave strict orders that he should be kept carefully, as if he had intended to send him to Nero. Josephus then presented a request that he might speak to Vespasian in private, which was granted. When all were dismissed, except Titus and two friends, he spoke to Vespasian after this manner. • You think, Vespasian, that
you have in Josephus a mere prisoner. But I am come to you a messenger of great tidings. Had I not been sent to you by God, I know what the law of the Jews is, and how it becomes ' a general to die. Do you intend to send me to Nero? Are they, who are to succeed Nero • before you, to continue? You, Vespasian, will be Cæsar : you will be emperor. So will like• wise this your son. Bind me therefore still faster, and reserve me for yourself. For you are • lord, not of me only, but of the earth, and the sea, and all mankind. And I for punishment • deserve a closer confinement if I speak falsehood to you in the name of God.' Vespasian, as he says, at first paid little regard to all this; but afterwards his expectations of empire were raised. • Besides,' as he goes on to say, he found Josephus to have spoken truth upon other 'occasions: for when one of his friends, who was admitted to be present at that interview, said, • It appeared strange to him that Josephus should not have foretold to the people of Jotapata
the event of the siege, nor have foreseen his own captivity, if all he now said was not invention * to save his own life; Josephus answered, that he had foretold to the people of Jotapata, that • the place would be taken upon the forty-seventh day of the siege, and that himself should be • taken alive by the Romans. Vespasian having privately inquired of the prisoners concerning • these predictions, found the truth of them.'
All these things I have inserted here for shewing the character of this writer ; though the prolixity of my narration be thereby increased.
It is very likely, that he' often thought of Joseph in Egypt, and of Daniel at Babylon; and was in hopes of making a like figure at the court of Rome. But I suppose it to be no disparagement to Josephus to say, that he was not equal to them in wisdom, or in virtue and integrity. And the circumstances of things were much altered: the promised Messiah was come; and the Jewish people were no longer entitled to such special regard, as had been shewn them in times past. Nor was it then a day of favour and mercy for them, but the day of the Lord's vengeance against them, as Josephus himself saw: and they were entering into a long captivity, of which they have not yet seen the end, after a period of almost seventeen hundred years, though they are still wonderfully preserved.
Josephus was still a prisoner : but when Vespasian had been proclaimed emperor, he ordered his iron chain to be cut & asunder. When Vespasian went to Rome, Josephus continued to be with Titus, and was present at the siege of Jerusalem, and saw the ruin of his city and country.
After the war was over, when Titus went to Rome, he went with him ; and Vespasian allotted him an apartment in the same house in which himself had lived before he came to the empire: he also made him a citizen of Rome, and gave him an annual pension; and continued to shew him great respect so long as he lived. His son Titus, who succeeded him, shewed him the like regard. And afterwards Domitian, and his wife Domitia, did him many kind offices.
Josephus, however, does not deny that he had many enemies: but the emperors, in whose times he lived, protected him. Indeed, it is very likely that the Jews should have little regard for a man who was with the Romans in their camp during the siege of their city. He particularly says, that k upon the first tidings of the taking of Jotapata, the people of Jerusalem made great and public lamentations for him, supposing that he had been killed in the siege : but when they heard that he had escaped, and was with the Romans, and was well used by them, they loaded him with all manner of reproaches, not excepting treachery itself. Nor do we find that “ the Jewish people ever had any great respect for his writings; though they have been much esteemed, and often quoted, by Christian and other writers, in early and latter times.
a De B. l. 3. c. 8. sect. 8.
6 Ibid. sect. 9.
has mentioned this of Josephus. Et unus ex nobilibus cap© That is, that a Jewish general should make away with tivis, Josephus, cum conjiceretur in vincula, constantissime himself, rather than be taken prisoner alive by heathen asseveravit, fore, ut ab eodem brevi solveretur, verum jam people. We know not of any such law in the books of the imperatore. Sueton. Vesp. c. 5. • Old Testainent. And it seems to be a manifest contradiction Josephus has several times spoken of his having had proto what he says in the speech before referred to.
pbetic dreams, and of his ability to interpret dreams that • Josephus's address to Vespasian is very precise and formal, were ambiguous. Vid. De B. J. 1. 3. viii. 3 et 9, et de Vit. predicting things then future. Possibly, this speech was im- sect. 42. proved afterwards, and at the time of writing this history 8 De B. J. I. 4. cap. x. sect. 7. made more clear and express, and more agreeable to the k Vit. cap. 76.
i Ibid. event, than when first spoken.
* De B. J. I. 3. cap. ix. sect. 7. Among other presages of Vespasian's empire, Suetonius
Of them we are now to take some notice.
The first is The History of the Jewish War, and the taking of Jerusalem, in seven books. In which work he goes back to the times of Antiochus Epiphanes and the Maccabees. In the preface he says, that he 4 first wrote it in the language of his own country, for the sake of such as lived in Parthia, Babylonia, Arabia, and other parts: and afterwards published it in Greek for the benefit of others, which is what we have : it is generally supposed to have been published by him in the seventy-fifth year of Christ, and the thirty-eighth year of his own age. He professeth to have written with great ' fidelity; and for the truth of his history appeals to Vespasian and Titus, and King Agrippa, then 'living. He presented it to Vespasian and Titus; which last not only desired the publication of it, but with his own hand signed the book, that should be reckoned authentic.
2. The Jewish Antiquities, in twenty books, or the history of the Jews from the creation of the world, to the twelfth year of Nero, in which the war began. This work was finished by him i in the fifty-sixth year of his own life, in the third year of the reign of Domitian, and the year of Christ 93.
. 3. To this work is subjoined, as a part of it, or an appendix to it, His Life, written by himself soine time afterwards.
4. After the several above-mentioned works, he published another work in two books, entitled Of the Antiquity of the Jews, against Apion; being a vindication of the Jewish people against the calumnies of that Egyptian author.
6. To Josephus likewise is generally ascribed a book entitled, A Discourse of the Maccabees; but, as Cave says, there is good reason to doubt of its genuineness: and 'Mr. Whiston, who made an English translation of all the above-named works of this writer, declined to translate this, and would not publish it among the rest.
The works of Josephus, notwithstanding many things in them liable to exception, which may be observed by careful and impartial readers, are very valuable. _In his larger work, The Jewish Antiquities, he confirms the truth of the history of the Old Testament: and, as in several of the last books of that work he has brought down the Jewish history from the ceasing of prophecy among them to the twelfth of Nero, he has let us know the state of affairs in Judea during the time of the evangelical history. And he had before done the like in the first two books of The Jewish War. What he has therein said of Herod and his sons, of the Roman governors in Judea, the Jewish sects and their principles, the manner of the Jewish people, and likewise concerning the Samaritans, greatly confirms and illustrates the history of our evangelists ; as was formerly shewn in the first part of this work, The Credibility of the Gospel History; the design of which was to confirm the facts occasionally mentioned in the New Testament by passages of ancient “ authors.
We are now to consider, whether there is any thing in the works of this Jewish author more directly confirming the principal facts of the New Testament: particularly, whether he affords any evidences of the fulfilment of our Lord's predictions concerning the destruction of the temple and city of Jerusalem, and the great calamities coming upon the Jewish people ; and
• Quamvis enim ejus scripta apud Judæos in nullo pretio και Αλλ' αυτοις απεδωκα τοις αυτοκρατορσι τα βιβλια. Vit. fuerint-Gentiles tamen pariter et Christiani Josephum, sect. 65. Conf. Adv. Ap. ut supr. licet Judæum, ejusque opera, magni æstimârunt. Ittig. και ωςε χαραξας τη εαυτο χειρι τα βιβλια δημοσιευσεσθαι Proleg. pag. 88. ap. Havercamp.
TIPOTETUESV. Vit. sect. 65. • Josephus is quoted by Porphyry, not in his books against i Ant. 1. 20. cap. ult. fin. the Christians, but elsewhere. See the testimonies prefixed ki Nihilominus ad genuinum sit Josephi opus, justa est to the works of Josephus.
dubitandi ratio. Cav. H. L. de Josepho. p. 35. Particular accounts of them are to be seen in Cav. See his note at the end of his translation of Josephus. Hist. Lit. Fabric. Gr. l. 4. cap. 6. tom. 3. p. 228, &c. " Quam in multis capitibus Evangelistarum narrationi sufTillemont La Ruine des Juifs. art. 79. &c. Hist. des Emp. fragetur Josephus, erudite nuper demonstravit Nathanaël
Lardnerus in opere Anglice edito, de Fide de Historiae Evand De B.J.l. i. in Pro. sect. 2.
gelicæ. Lond. 1727, 8vo. 2 volum. J. A. Fabric. Lux Evan• In Proleg. sect. 5, &c. et 1.7. cap. ult. fin.
gelii. p. 16. not. (A) In Vit. cap. 65. Ady, ap. 1. i. c. 9.
whether he has said any thing of John the Baptist, our Lord's forerunner, or of our Lord himself, or of any of his apostles.
I shall begin with the first article; for it is very likely, that in his History of the Jewish War we should find many things giving credit to the fulfilment of our Lord's predictions concerning the Jewish people.
II. Judea was first brought into subjection to the Romans by Pompey; who after a siege of three months, took Jerusalem in the year 63, before the Christian era, about the time of our • Midsummer. Josephus always dates the loss of their liberty at that time. The same is said by · Tacitus.
But though the Jewish people then became subject to the Romans; and it may be said, that from that time forward the rod of heaven hung over them, they enjoyed many privileges, and the freedom of their worship, under the mild government of those masters; as appears both from Josephus, and from the historical books of the New Testament.
When Pompey became master of Jerusalem, hed and some of his officers entered into the temple, and the most holy places of it; but he took nothing away. There were then in it the table, the candlestick, with its lamps, the pouring vessels, and the censers, all of gold, and great quantities of spices, and two thousand talents in money; all which he left untouched: and the day after he gave orders that they who had the charge of the temple should cleanse it; and perform the accustomed sacrifices. And he restored the priesthood to Hyrcanus.
Ånd that after this the Jewish people were, sometimes at least, in a flourishing condition, appears from many considerations.
considerations. It was during this period that · Herod repaired the temple. Excepting the cloud of glory with which the first temple had been favoured, that erected by Herod may be reckoned to have been equal to it in the splendour and magnificence of the building, and in rich and costly presents, and other ornaments.
When the Jewish people, after their return from the Babylonish captivity, laid the foundation of the new house, “ many of the priests and Levites, and chief of the fathers, who were ancient men, wept with a loud voice.” Ezr. iii. 12. But God encouraged them by the prophet Haggai, in this manner, ch. ii. 3. “Who is left among you that saw this house in its first glory? and how do ye see it now? is it not in your eyes, in comparison of it, as nothing? Yet now be strong, O Zerubbabel, saith the Lord and be strong, all ye people of the land, and work ; for I am with you, saith the Lord of hosts_For thus saith the Lord of hosts. I will shake all nations: and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the Lord of hosts. The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the Lord of hosts. The glory of this latter house shall be greater than that of the former, saith the Lord of hosts. And in this place will I give peace, saith the Lord of hosts.”
Here is, undoubtedly, a renewal of the great promise concerning the coming of the Messiah, the true Shechinah, whose presence would make this second temple more glorious than the first. But here is also a gracious assurance of external grandeur and splendour. • Silver and gold, • and all the riches of the world, says God, are mine, to bestow on whom I please. And not
withstanding the present mean and despicable appearance of the building before your eyes, I • will fill it with glory, and will cause it to equal, or even surpass, the former in splendour and * magnificence- -“ For in this place will I give peace.” My purpose is to bless you abun• dantly, and to give you great prosperity.' Which gracious declaration was fulfilled.
That thev ere in flourishing circumstances at the time of our Lord's preaching among them, is a rent; though they were uneasy under subjection to the Romans. Josephus continually speaks of the temple, as very grand and magnificent; and it appears to be so from his large and particular description of it, in the fifth chapter of the fifth book of his Jewish War, just before its final ruin. And when Titus, upon the fire having seized the temple, entered it, with some of his officers, he says, • that' Titus saw it to be far superior to the report
a See Prideaux, in the year before Christ 63, p. 439. And d De B J. 1. 1. c. vii. 6. Conf. Antiq. I. 14. cap. iv. Joseph. Antiq. I. 17. c. iv. 4. De B. J. 1. i. c. vii. sect. 6. e Vid. Antiq. I. 15. cap. xi De B. J.l. i. cap. xxi. et l. 5.
• Τατα το παθος τοις Ιεροσολύμοις αιτισι κατεςησαν Υρκανος και Αρισοβολος προς αλληλες σασιαζοντες. Την τε γαρ –παρελθων μετα των ηγεμονων ενδον εθεασατο το να ελευθεριαν απεβαλομεν, και υπηκοοι Ρωμαιων κατεστημεν. το αγιον, και τα εν αυτω, πολυ μεν της παρα τοις αλλόφυλοις Antiq. 1. 14. iv. 5. And compare what Agrippa says to the φημης αμεινω, το δε κομπο και της παρα τοις οικειοις δοξης εκ Jews at Jerusalem. De B. J. I. 2. c. xvi. 4. p. 187.
Erattiv. De B. J. I, 0, cap. iv..7 • Romanorum primus Cn. Pompeius Judæos domuit, templumque jure victoria ingressus est. Tacit. H. 1. 5. c. 9.