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Our Young Folk's Josephus by  William Shepard
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WHEN Cassius left Syria a new sedition arose in Jerusalem. Cassius had protected Herod; but no sooner was he gone than the adverse faction, assisted by Felix, the Roman general, attacked Phasael, that the death of Malichus might be avenged. Herod was at Damascus, and too ill to come to the assistance of his brother. But Phasael himself overcame his enemies.

Antigonus, assisted by Ptolemy, king of Chalcis, now came with an army to claim the throne, and advanced into Galilee. But he was repulsed by Herod. Herod then went to Jerusalem, and was received with much enthusiasm, and there espoused himself to Mariamne, the daughter of Alexander, the son of Aristobulus, and grand-daughter of Hyrcanus on her [306] motherís side. So Herod was received into general favor on account of his connection with the family of the king.

In the mean time the great battle of Philippi was fought, and Cassius was slain by Octavius Caesar and Mark Antony. When the latter had come into Asia, the enemies of Herod sent ambassadors to him to accuse Herod and Phasael of keeping the government by force and depriving Hyrcanus of his kingly power. But the wily Herod gave such large sums of money to Antony that he would not listen to the accusations. After that a hundred more ambassadors came to Antony, who, when he had heard both sides, asked Hyrcanus, which party was the fittest to rule. Hyrcanus replied, ďHerod and his party.Ē Antony then made Phasael and Herod tetrarchs of Judea. The ambassadors becoming indignant at this, Antony put fifteen of them into prison and drove the rest away. When this news reached Jerusalem the people were very angry, and a thousand more ambassadors were sent to Antony, but he became enraged at their clamors, and sent an armed force against them, who killed and wounded a great many. And as those who escaped would not keep quiet, Antony in anger slew the fifteen that he had in prison.

Two years afterwards the Parthians, led by Barzapharnes, a governor among them, and Pacorus, the kingís son, possessed themselves of Syria. Lysanius, who had succeeded to the kingdom of Chalcis by the death of his father, Ptolemy, persuaded Pacorus, by promising him a thousand talents and five hundred slaves, to undertake to turn Hyrcanus out of Judea and place Antigonus upon the throne.

A great many Jews flocked to the banner of Antigonus, and he marched to Jerusalem, followed by a cup-bearer of the royal family of the Parthians, who was sent with a troop to assist Antigonus. Antigonus entered the city, and a battle was fought in the market place, in which Herodís party beat the enemy and shut them up in the temple. Continual fights occurred; and when the multitudes came up to the Feast of [307] Pentecost, they embraced different sides, and daily contests took place. Antigonus at length proposed to admit Pacorus into Jerusalem to act as umpire between the two parties. Phasael consented, and Pacorus, being admitted, laid a plot, and prevailed on Phasael to go with Hyrcanus to Barzapharnes, and lay the case before him. Herod, who suspected Pacorus, besought his brother not to go. But Phasael set out, accompanied by Pacorus, who thought that by this means he would allay Herodís suspicions. Phasael and Hyrcanus were seized by the Parthians, and afterwards delivered in chains to Antigonus.

Pacorus was sent back to Jerusalem in order to entice Herod from the city and seize him. But Herod had heard of his brotherís fate. And so he took with him his family and fled to Massada, a strong fortress, pursued by the Parthians, whom he several times beat back. On his way to Massada, Herod was joined by his brother Joseph. Arriving there, he left eight hundred of his men as a guard for the women of his family, and himself made haste to Arabia.

As for the Parthians, in Jerusalem, they committed all sorts of cruelties and stole everything they could find. They put Antigonus upon the throne, and brought Hyrcanus and Phasael to him bound in chains. Antigonus himself bit off the ears of Hyrcanus, so that whatever might happen he could never be high-priest again. For the Jewish law required the high-priests to be without a blemish. To prevent Antigonus from torturing him Phasael dashed his own brains out against a stone. The Parthians leaving Antigonus to govern Jerusalem, took away Hyrcanus to Parthia. In the mean time, Herod, in the hope of rescuing his brother, sought the aid of Malichus, king of Arabia. But he, forgetting what he owed to Antipater, not only refused to help Herod, but ordered him from the country. Herod then set out for Rome by way of Egypt. When he arrived in Alexandria, Cleopatra, the beautiful queen of Egypt, wished to make him commander of her [308] armies, but Herod refused this honor and hastened on to Rome. Antony was moved with compassion at the change, which had taken place in Herodís fortunes. And when he remembered how hospitably he had been treated by Antipater, and Herodís own bravery, and also that he was fighting against Antigonus, who by calling the Parthians to his aid had declared himself an enemy of Rome, Antony determined to make Herod the king of Judea. Caesar was also anxious to aid Herod against an ally of Parthia. So the senate was called together and the matter discussed, and as a result of their counsels it was agreed that Herod should be proclaimed king of Judea.

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