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9 Chapter 9

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After eighty years of freedom, Judea became a vassal of
a foreign power. In a dispute between two claimants to
the high priesthood, the Roman general Pompey was
called in as arbitrator. In 65 B.C.E., Pompey decided in
favor of the weaker of the two brothers, so that he could
govern Palestine himself. Then Pompey marched on
Jerusalem and captured the city, killing thousands of
Jews. He awarded the priesthood to Hyrcanus II and
imprisoned Aristobolus II.
When Pompey had heard the claims of these two, he
condemned Aristobulus for his violent procedure. He then
spoke civilly to them and sent them away, and told them that
when he came again into their country, he would settle all
their affairs. In the meantime he ordered them to keep the
peace, and treated Aristobulus civilly lest he should make the
nation revolt and hinder his return. This Aristobulus did, for
without waiting for any further determination which Pompey
had promised them, he went to the city Delius and then
marched into Judea.
But when Pompey commanded Aristobulus to deliver
up the fortresses he held and to send an order to their commanders under his own hand for that purpose, for they had
been forbidden to deliver them up upon any other commands,
he indeed agreed to do so, but still he retired in displeasure
to Jerusalem and made preparation for war. Thereupon
Aristobulus repented of what he was doing and came to
Pompey, (promised to) give him money and admit him into
Jerusalem. So Pompey, upon his entreaty, forgave him and
sent Gabinius and soldiers with him to receive the money and
the city. Yet no part of this was performed, but Gabinius came
back, both being excluded from the city and receiving none of
the money promised because Aristobulus' soldiers would not
permit the agreements to be executed.
At this, Pompey was very angry, so he put Aristobulus into
prison and came himself to the city.
Now there was dissension among the men who were
within the city, for they did not agree as to what was to be
done. Some thought it best to deliver up the city to Pompey,
but Aristobulus' party begged them to shut the gates because
he was kept in prison. Now these prevented the others and
seized the Temple, cutting off the bridge which extended from
it to the city, and prepared themselves for a siege. But the others admitted Pompey's army and delivered up both the city
and the king's palace to him.
Because the Romans understood this, on those days
which we call Sabbaths, they shot nothing at the Jews but
raised up their earthen banks, and brought up their siege
engines so that they might be put to work on the next day.
Anyone may hence learn what very great piety we exercise
toward God and the observance of His laws, since the priests
were not at all hindered from their sacred ministrations by
their fear during this siege. For although the city was taken in
the third month, on the day of the fast, upon the hundred and
seventy-ninth olympiad, when Gaius Antonius and Marcus
Tullius Cicero were consuls, and the enemy then fell upon
them and cut the throats of those that were in the Temple, yet
those that offered the sacrifices could not be compelled to
run away, neither by the fear they were in for their own lives.
But when the battering-engine was brought near, the greatest of the towers was shaken by it and fell down, and broke
down a part of the fortifications, so that the enemy poured in
Some of the Jews were killed by the Romans and
some by one another. Indeed, there were some who threw
themselves down the precipices for they were not able to
bear the miseries they were under.
Of the Jews there fell twelve thousand, but of the
Romans very few. Pompey and some of those who were with
him also went into it (the Holy of Holies) and saw all that
which it was unlawful for any other men to see except for the
high priests. There were in that Temple the golden table, the
holy candlestick, and the libation vessels, and besides these
there were among the treasures two thousand talents of
sacred money. Yet Pompey touched nothing of all this on
account of his regard for religion. The next day he gave an
order to those who had charge of the Temple to cleanse it
and to bring what offerings the law required to God, and
restored the high priesthood to Hyrcanus, both because he
had been useful to him in other respects and because he had
hindered the Jews in the country from giving Aristobulus any
assistance in his war against him. He also beheaded those
who had been the authors of that war. He made Jerusalem
tributary to the Romans, and put them under the rule of the
Roman governor.

The causes of this misery which came upon
Jerusalem were Hyrcanus and Aristobulus, by raising dissension one against the other. For now we lost our liberty and
became subject to the Romans. Moreover, the Romans
exacted of us, in a short time, more than ten thousand talents; and the royal authority, which was an office formerly
bestowed on those who were high priests by the right of their
family, because the property of private men. He also carried
bound along with him Aristobulus and his children; for he had
two daughters all and as many sons, one of whom ran away.

Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews 46-79
1. What happened when Pompey ordered
Aristobolus to surrender his fortresses?
2. Why did Pompey stop the war against
3. Did Aristobolus keep his promise?
4. How did Pompey conquer Jerusalem?
5. Why didn't the Romans attack Jerusalem on the
6. Why did Pompey restore the priesthood to Hyrcanus?
7. According to Josephus who was to blame for starting the war?
8. How did Pompey punish Aristobolus?

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