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Our Young Folk's Josephus by  William Shepard
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HEROD KILLS MALACHUS

[304] A MIGHTY war now raged among the Romans just after the sudden murder of Julius Caesar by Cassius and Brutus. The leading men joined whatever party they thought would advance their own interests best. Cassius came into Syria in order to take charge of the forces there, and laid a tax of seven hundred talents upon the Jews. Antipater divided the work of raising this sum among his sons and acquaintances, among the latter of whom was a powerful Jew called Malichus, who hated Antipater.

Herod won the favor of Cassius by bringing in his share first of all. The Roman became so angry because some of the others delayed to pay the tribute that he sold the inhabitants of several cities as slaves, and would have killed Malichus for being tardy had not Antipater prevented his ruin by bringing in a hundred talents immediately. But when Cassius had gone, Malichus forgot the kindness of Antipater and plotted against him. For Malichus wished to get the kingdom into his own hands. And although Antipater again saved his life by dissuading Marcus, the governor of Syria, from killing him on account of his plots, still Malichus finally killed Antipater by bribing a cup-bearer to give him poison at a feast.

Malichus, afraid of the vengeance of the people, made them believe that he was innocent of this crime, and proceeded to raise a troop of soldiers to protect himself from Herod, who came with an army to avenge the death of his [305] father. But at the advice of his brother not to punish Malichus in an open manner, lest the people should fall into a sedition, Herod pretended for the time being to believe Malichus innocent, and, after burying his father, betook himself to Samaria.

Herod wrote to Cassius, and received from him permission to avenge the death of his father. He returned with his army to Jerusalem, and upon a day of celebration invited both Hyrcanus and Malichus to supper. They came, and Malichus was slain by some of Herodís soldiers. Hyrcanus swooned away; but when he was told that the deed was done at the command of Cassius, he appeared to be much pleased, and said that Cassius had saved both himself and his country by cutting off one that was laying plots against them both.


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