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The Story of the Greeks by  H. A. Guerber


 

 

ALEXANDER AT JERUSALEM

DARIUS, as we have seen, had fled after the disastrous battle of Issus. His terror was so great that he never stopped in his flight until he had reached the other side of the river Tigris, where he still believed himself safe.

[243] Instead of going after Darius at once, Alexander first went southward along the coast; for he thought it would be wiser to take all the cities near the sea before he went farther inland, so as to make sure that he had no enemies behind his back.

Marching down through Syria and Phœnicia, Alexander took the cities of Damascus and Sidon, and came at last to Tyre, a prosperous commercial city built on an island at a short distance from the shore.

The Tyrians would not open their gates and surrender, so Alexander prepared to besiege the city. As he had no fleet, he began to build a great causeway out to the island.

This was a very difficult piece of work, because the water was deep; and while his men were building it, they were greatly annoyed by showers of arrows, stones, and spears from the walls of the city and from the decks of the Tyrian vessels.

A storm, also, broke the causeway to pieces once, when it was nearly finished, and the army had to begin the work anew. The obstinate resistance of Tyre made Alexander so angry, that he celebrated his final victory by crucifying a large number of the richest citizens.

After offering up a sacrifice to Hercules on the flaming ruins of Tyre, Alexander went on toward Jerusalem. His plan was to punish the Jews, because they had helped his enemies, and had supplied the Tyrians with food.

The news of his coming filled the hearts of the Jews with terror, for they expected to be treated with the same frightful cruelty as the Tyrians. In their fear they knew not whether to surrender or fight.

[244] Finally Jaddua, the high priest, had a vision, in which an angel of the Lord appeared to him, and told him what to do. In obedience to this divine command, he made the Levites put on their festal garments, and then, dressed in his priestly robes, he led them down the hill to meet the advancing conqueror.

When Alexander saw the beautiful procession, headed by such a dignified old man, he quickly got down from his horse, knelt before Jaddua, and worshiped the name written on his holy vestments.

His officers, astonished at this unusual humility, finally asked him why he did such honor to a foreign priest. Then Alexander told them of a vision he had had before leaving Macedon. In it he had beheld Jaddua, who bade him come over to Asia without fear, as it was written that the Persians would be delivered into his hands.

Walking beside the aged Jaddua, Alexander entered the holy city of Jerusalem and the courts of the temple. Here he offered up a sacrifice to the Lord, and saw the Books of Daniel and Zechariah, in which his coming and conquests were all foretold.


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