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tude seventy years, he would restore them again to the land of their fathers, and they should build their temple, and enjoy their ancient prosperity. And these things God did afford them; for he stirred up the mind of Cyrus, and made him write this throughout all Asia: “ Thus saith Cyrus the king : Since God Almighty hath appointed me to be king of the habitable earth, I believe that he is that God which the nation of the Israelites worship; for indeed he foretold my name by the prophets, and that I should build him a house at Jerusalem, in the country of Judea.”
This was known to Cyrus by his reading the book which Isaiah left behind him, of his prophecies; for this prophet said, that God had spoken thus to him in a secret vision: “My will is, that Cyrus, whom I have appointed to be king over many and great nations, send back my people to their own land, and build my temple.” This was foretold by Isaiah, one hundred and forty years before the temple was demolished. Accordingly, when Cyrus read this, and admired the Divine power, an earnest desire and ambition seized upon him to fulfil what was so written; so he called for the most eminent Jews that were in Babylon, and said to them, that he gave them leave to go back to their own country, and to rebuild their city, Jerusalem, and the temple of God; for that he would be their assistant, and that he would write to the rulers and governors that were in the neighbourhood of their country of Judea, that they should contribute to them gold and silver for the building of the temple, and besides that, beasts for their sacrifices. .
When Cyrus had said this to the Israelites, the rulers of the two tribes of Judah and Benjamin, with the Levites and priests, went in baste to Jerusalem; yet did many of them stay at Babylon, as not willing to leave their possessions. And when they were come thither, all the king's friends assisted them, and brought in, for the building of the temple, some gold, some silver, and some a great many cattle and horses. So they performed their vows to God, and offered the sacrifices that had been accustomed of old time; I mean
this upon the rebuilding of their city, and the revival of the ancient practices relating to their worship. Cyrus also sent back to them the vessels of gold which king Nebuchadnezzar had pillaged out of the temple, and had carried to Babylon. So he committed these things to Mithridates, the treasurer, to be sent away, with an order to give them to Sanabassar, that he might keep them till the temple was built; and when it was finished, he might deliver them to the priests and rulers of the multitude, in order to their being restored to the temple. Cyrus also sent an epistle to the governors that were in Syria, the contents whereof here follow: “King Cyrus to Sisinnes and Sathrabuzanes, sendeth greet
“I have given leave to as many of the Jews that dwell in my country as please, to return to their own country, and to rebuild their city, and to build the temple of God at Jerusalem, on the same place where it was before. I have also sent my treasurer, Mithridates, and Zorobabel, the governor of the Jews, that they may lay the foundations of the temple, and may build it sixty cubits high, and of the same latitude, making three edifices of polished stones, and one of the wood of the country; and the same order extends to the altar whereon they offer sacrifices to God. I require also that the expenses for these things may be given out of my revenues. Moreover, I have also sent the vessels which king Nebuchadnezzar pillaged out of the temple, and have given them to Mithridates, the treasurer, and to Zorobabel, the governor of the Jews, that they may have them carried to Jerusalem, and may restore them to the temple of God. Now their number is as follows: Fifty chargers of gold, and five hundred of silver; forty Thericlean cups of gold, and five hundred of silver; fifty basins of gold, and five hundred of silver; thirty vessels for pouring, (the drink-offerings, and three hundred of silver; thirty vials of gold, and two thousand, four bundred of silver; with a thousand other large vessels. I permit them to have the same honour which they were used to
have from their forefathers, as also for their small cattle, and for wine and oil, two hundred and five thousand and five hundred drachmæ; and for wheat flour, twenty thousand and five hundred artabæ: and I give order that these expenses shall be given them out of the tributes due from Samaria. The priests shall also offer these sacrifices according to the laws of Moses, in Jerusalem; and when they offer them, they shall pray to God for the preservation of the king and of bis family, that the kingdom of Persia may continue. But my will is, that those who disobey these injunctions, and make them void, shall be hung upon a cross, and their substance brought into the king's treasury.” And such was the import of this epistle. Now the number of those that came out of captivity to Jerusalem were forty-two thousand, four hundred and sixty-two.
THE VISIT OF ALEXANDER THE GREAT TO JERUSALEM.
UESTIONS in relation to the authen
ticity of particular passages have
been raised respecting most historians. The following narrative of Josephus, of the remarkable circumstances attending
the visit of Alexander the Great to Jerusalem, is corroborated by other Jewish writers, and discredited by Milman on what he considers good authority. The incident is certainly wonderful.
About this time it was that Philip, king of Macedon, was treacherously assaulted and slain at Egæ, by Pausanias, the son of Cerastes, who was derived from the family of Orestæ, and his son Alexander succeeded him in the kingdom; who, passing over the Hellespont, overcame the generals of Darius' army, in a battle fought at Granicum. So he marched over Lydia, and subdued Ionia, and overran Caria, and fell upon the places of Pamphylia, as has been related elsewhere.
But the elders of Jerusalem being very uneasy that the brother of Jaddua, the high priest, though married to a foreigner, should be a partner with him in the high priesthood, quarrelled with him; for they esteemed this man's marriage a step to such as should be desirous of transgressing about the marriage of [strange] wives; and that this would be the beginning of a mutual society with foreigners, although the offence of some about marriages, and their having married wives that were not of their own country, hay been an occasion of their former captivity, and of the miseries they then underwent: so they commanded Manasseh to divorce his wife, or not to approach the altar, the high priest himself joining with the people in their indignation against his brother, and driving him away from the altar. Whereupon Manasseh came to his father-in-law, Sanballat, and told him, that although he loved his daughter Nicaso, yet was he not willing to be deprived of his sacerdotal dignity on her account, which was the principal dignity in their nation, and always continued in the same family. And then Sanballat promised him not only to preserve to him the honour of his priesthood, but to procure for him the power and dignity of a high priest, and would make him governor of all the places he himself now ruled, if he would keep his daughter for his wife. He also told him further, that he would build him a temple, like to that at Jerusalem, upon Mount Gerizzim, which is the highest of all the mountains that are in Samaria: and be promised that he would do this with the approbation of Darius the king. Manasseh was elevated with these promises, and stayed with Sanballat, upon a supposal that he should gain a high priesthood, as bestowed upon him by Darius; for it happened that Sanballat was then in years. But there was now a great disturbance among the people of Jerusalem, because many of those priests and Levites were entangled in such matches; for they all revolted to Manasseh, and Sanballat afforded them money, and divided among them land for tillage, and habitations also; and all this in order every way to gratify his son-in-law.
About this time it was, that Darius heard how Alexander had passed over the Hellespont, and had beaten his lieu tenants in the battle at Granicum, and was proceeding fur ther; whereupon he gathered together an army of horse ann foot, and determined that he would meet the Macedonians before they should assault and conquer all Asia. So he passed over the river Euphrates, and came over Taurus, the Cilician mountain, and at Issus of Cilicia he waited for the enemy, as ready there to give him battle. Upon which Sanballat was glad that Darius was come down, and told Manasseh that he would suddenly perform his promises to him, and this as soon as ever Darius should come back, after he had beaten his enemies; for not he only, but all those that were in Asia also, were persuaded that the Macedonians would not so much as come to a battle with the Persians, on account of their multitude. But the event proved otherwise than they expected; for the king joined battle with the Macedonians, and was beaten, and lost a great part of his army. His mother also, and his wife and children, were taken captives, and he fled into Persia. So Alexander came into Syria, and took Damascus; and when he had obtained Sidon, he besieged Tyre, when he sent an epistle to the Jewish high priest, to send him some auxiliaries, and to supply his army with provisions; and that what presents he formerly sent to Darius, he would now send to him, and choose the friendship of the Macedonians, and that he should never repent of so doing. But the high priest answered the messengers, that he had given his oath to Darius not to bear arms against him; and he said that he would not transgress this while Darius was in the land of the living. Upon hearing this answer, Alexander was very angry; and though he determined not to leave Tyre, which was just ready to be taken, yet as soon as he had taken it, he threatened that he would make an expedition against the Jewish high priest, and through him teach all men to whom they must keep their oaths. So when he had, with a good deal of pains during the siege, taken Tyre, and had settled its affairs, he came to