« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »
vided. They differed in their opinions on some leading articles of faith, and bore the greatest animosity to each other. The Sadducees admitted only the five books of Moses to be of divine authority, and denied the doctrine of the resurrection. The Pharisees, on the contrary, maintained that doctrine, and received all the scriptures of the Old Testament, which we call canonical, as the word of God; but then they admitted the traditions of the elders as of equal authority, pretending that they were delivered to Moses on mount Sinai, and had been handed down by verbal testimony to all succeeding generations. Thus they corrupted the Jewish religion, much in the same manner as the Roman Catholics (who in many particulars strongly resemble them) have done the Christian. They affected to lead an abstemious life, to be very zealous for the law, and to be constant and exact in the exercises of devotion, by which they acquired the reputation of uncommon sanctity among the people; whilst a boundless ambition and insatiable avarice were concealed under these specious pre
Hyrcanus at the beginning of his reign, attached himself chiefly to the Pharisees, amongst whom he had received his education. But, being insulted in a public assembly by one of them, named Eleazar, who even called in question his title to the highpriesthood, he conceived a disgust against the whole sect, which the opposite party took care to heighten till it grew to an irreconcileable enmity, and laid the foundation of that bitter animosity which proved a source of unspeakable misery to the Jews in the
following reigns. Hyrcanus died not long Year of the World after, having governed the Jews twenty
years as their high-priest and ruler. Aristobulus, his eldest son, succeeded him, both in the civil and sacerdotal office. He was the first since the Babylonish captivity who assumed the title of king. He was a monster in cruelty. He even put his own mother to death, because she aspired to the government in virtue of Hyrcanus' will. - He also imprisoned all his brothers, except his favourite brother Antigonus, whom he treated at first with respect and confidence; but, in a very short time, he caused him to be slain on an accusation which afterwards proved to be false. Finding he had been deceived, and had put his brother to death unjustly, he was filled with the deepest anguish. The remorse of his conscience for this murder, and for that of his mother, had such an effect upon his spirits, that, after languishing some time, he at last expired, in the utmost agony of body and horror of mind, having reigned only one year.
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 situation, being not only involved in foreign wars, but torn to pieces with intestine 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 and insult; in consequence of which, , a civil war broke out, which lasted six years, and occasioned the death of above fifty thousand persons.
Alexander, being at length wearied of the contest, proposed an accommodation, agreeing to grant whatever they requested; but, such was their enmity against him, that they unanimously answered, they would only be contented with his cutting his own throat; and would make peace on no other terms. A reconciliation being thus rendered impossible, the conflict was renewed with increasing animosity. Alexander, at length, gained the superiority in a decisive battle; upon which he 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. Though he left two sons behind him, he the World bequeathed the government to his wife Alexandra during her life, with full power to appoint which of the two she pleased to succeed her.“ Upon his death-bed, he ordered her to repair to 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 caused her eldest son Hyrcanus to be acknowledged highpriest. 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 her placing so much power in the hands of the Pharisees, which they exercised 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 with grievous troubles 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, Hyrcanus was obliged to submit, and content himself with a private life. This he found no great difficulty in doing, as he loved quiet and ease above all things.
But the ambition of Antipater, governor of Idumea, and father of Herod, gave birth to fresh troubles, which were not soon appeased. He used all his address and application to replace Hyrcanus on the throne, that he might govern under him, 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 with the greater security. Hyrcanus, 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 deserted, 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 appeared 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 npon 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 expedi. tion against the Arabians, he invaded Judea, and found Aristobulus at the castle of Alexandrion, a place of no small strength, built by his father, Alexander Jannæus, at the entrance of the country. 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