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places of trust in his dominions. Thus you see that faithfulness will have its reward.
Ptolemy Soter was a great encourager of learned men. He founded the famous.library at Alexandria, in Egypt, which, with the additions that were afterwards made to it, amounted to seven hundred thousand volumes.
Ptolemy Philadelphus, his son and successor, was also a patron of learning, and spared neither pains nor expence to increase this treasury of knowledge. Demetrius Phalereus, his librarian, knowing that the king was desirous to include in his collection all that was scarce and valuable, informed him, that the Jews had many volumes relating to their laws, which were worthy to be known, and deserved a place in so famous a library: he acknowledged that it would be attended with difficulty to translate them into the Greek tongue; but said, that he believed it might be done, since his majesty would not think much of any expence. Ptolemy approved of the proposal.
Aristeus, who was a favourite with the king, took this opportunity, in an excellent speech, to solicit bim to release from slavery all the Jews in his kingdom. Ptolemy, with a cheerful countenance, asked Aristeus how many thousands he thought they were whose liberty he desired. Andrew, a captain of the guard, answered, that there were a hundred and twenty thousand. The king replied, Is this demand, Aristeus, a matter of small consequence? Sosibius and Tarentin, two courtiers, made answer, That the king could do nothing more worthy of himself. Upon which, Ptolemy graciously granted their request, and ordered the ransom of the Jews, amounting to more than four hundred talents, to be paid out of his treasury.
The king then wrote to Eleazar the high-priest, informing him, that he had released from captivity more than a hundred thousand of his countrymen, paying their ransom out of his own coffers: to some of then he had committed his forts and garrisons; others he received into his court, whom he looked upon as worthy of preferment; and being desirous to gratify not only them but all the Jews, he had determined to have their law translated out of Hebrew into Greck, to put into his library. He con. cluded with requesting Eleazar to send six discreet and learned men out of each tribe, able to expound the same. Accordingly Andrew and Aristeus were sent on this embassy, with a present of a hundred talents of silver, as the first fruits of those gifts which the king intended to offer in the temple. Andrew and Aristeus were well received at Jeru
and Eleazar, in compliance with the king's request, selected seventy-two elders, six out of each tribe, who returned with them into Egypt. They were no sooner arrived at Alexandria, than the king sent for his ambassadors, Andrew and Aristeus, who came, with a letter from the high-priest, Eleazar, and answered all his inquiries: but the king, being
desirous to converse with the elders himself, ordered se them to be introduced. They accordingly presented
themselves, with the original parchments, wherein the law was written in golden letters. The king was much pleased at the sight. He expressed his grati
tude to the elders for coming to him ; but more especially he thanked God who had inclined them to come, and who was also the author of those laws. They were entertained by the king, as his guests, for twelve days, and had apartments assigned them in the castle.
You may wonder, George, how these elders could eat with strangers, the customs of the Jews being peculiar to themselves; but Ptolemy had appointed commissaries in every city to provide for strangers according to their own customs. The king took great pleasure in conversing with these men, and acknowledging himself indebted to them for information, which would be useful to him in the government of his kingdom. Prolemy gave each of them a present of three talents, and ordered them a retired
lodging fit for study, where they completed the World the translation of the law. This transla
tion, for the sake of the round number seventy, is called the Septuagint, though seventytwo persons were employed in the work. The king was highly gratified, and gave them many costly tokens of his favour: he likewise sent very rich presents to the temple, and to the high-priests; besides which, he wrote to Eleazar, that if any of the people had an inclination to settle in Egypt, they should find encouragement; for he highly esteemed 'the conversation of learned men, and he possessed riches which he should with pleasure bestow on such persons.
Thus did Ptolemy Philadelphus esteem the Jews.
Ptolemy Euergetes, his son, who ascended the throne after his decease, in return from his expedi
tion against the king of Syria, passed through Jerusalem, where he offered sacri- the Worid fices to the God of Israel for the victories be bad obtained. Probably the prophecies of Daniel were shewn to him, and he might conclude from them, that all his conquests and successes were owing to that God, who caused them to be so exactly foretold by his prophet.
About this time, Manasseh, who succeeded Eleazar the high-priest, died, and that dignity descended to Onias, the son of Simon the Just. He was a man of a very different character from his father, and soon shewed, by his conduct, how unworthy he was of the sacred office he filled. By neglecting to pay the usual tribute of twenty talents, he drew down upon him the resentment of Ptolemy, the World who sent Athenion, one of his courtiers, to demand all the arrears, which then amounted to a great sum, and to threaten the Jews, in case of refusal, with a body of troops, who should expel them from their country, and divide it among themselves.
The alarm produced by these tidings was very great; every one being at a loss to know what measures could be adopted to avert the impending storm. · Joseph, nephew of Onias, though young, . was much honoured at Jerusalem for his wisdom and piety. Being at this time at a country village, his mother sent him information of the arrival of an ainbassador from the king of Egypt; upon which, he immediately went to Jerusalem, and sharply reproved his uncle, for retaining in his hands the
money raised by tribute, to the imminent hazard of the destruction of his countrymen? recominending it to him to repair to the king, and endeavour to accommodate the matter with him. Onias replied, that he had rather give up the executive government, and, if it were possible, the priesthood, than appear before the king. Joseph asked him, if he would permit him, on the people's behalf, to go to Ptolemy; to which he readily acceded.
Joseph' then went to the temple, and summoned the people to a general assembly, where he addressed them in a very pathetic manner, intreating them not to be uneasy at his uncle Onias's negligence; for that he himself would go as their ambassador to the king, and faithfully plead their cause.
The people received his speech with the strongest marks of approbation, and returned him their hearty thanks. Upon this, he went down from the temple, and honourably entertained Athenion the ambassador, and his attendants, for many days, presenting them with gifts of great value. Athenion promised him his friendship, and engaged to render him all the service he could; after which he returned to Egypt. Joseph followed in a short time, and, in his way, met with some persons of consequence from Colosyria and Palestine, who were going to Egypt, to offer terms for farming the revenues of those provinces. As the equipage of Joseph was far from being so magnificent as theirs, they treated him with contempt. Joseph, concealing his dissatisfaction at their behaviour, artfully drew from them what brought them to court, without affording them any ground of suspecting his intentions,