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request, granted them the freedom of their country, laws, and
religion, and that they should be exempted from paying
tribute
every

sabbatical year. *
When Alexander returned from his conquests in India to
Babylon, he proposed to restore the temple of Belus, which
had been destroyed by Xerxes; and the various nations com-
posing his army were employed, in their turns, to clear away
the immense ruins of the ancient structure, erected by Ne-
buchadnezzar. Amongst the other nations there were some
regiments of Jews, but they one and all refused to work,
alleging that their religion would not allow them to assist in
the restoration of an idolatrous temple. At first, Alexander
was exceedingly angry, and inflicted severe punishments upon
them for their disobedience, but finding them invincible in
their purpose, and admiring their constancy, he gave them as
a reward their free discharge, and sent them all home into
their own country.

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* Prid. i.571, 572. We have inserted this relation from Prideaux, who has adopted it from Josephus, b. xi. and also from Jahn, i. 230. 232. ; but as no mention is made either in Quintus Curtius, Diodorus Siculus, or Arrian, of Alexander's visiting Jerusalem at all, we confess we are not without doubts of its authenticity. Still, however, as it is clear that Alexander marched from Tyre to Gaza, which he besieged, and thence into Egypt, it perhaps is hardly probable he would have passed by Jerusalem. That he did visit Jerusalem, see Un. Hist. ii. 162.; and both Arrian and Curtius assert that Alexander took all the cities of Syria. Jahn (Heb. Commonwealth, i. 233.) alleges that Q. Curtius alludes to a similar transaction ; but there is nothing of the sort to be found in that author, although there is in the supplement of Freinshemius, book ii. chap. 11. propè finem ; but which appears to be evidently transcribed from Josephus. Dr. Clarke treats this relation as authentic, but refers only to Josephus. Notes on Nehem. xii. 11.

+ Prid. i. 603. This relation, too, rests on the sole authority of Josephus. As he was no friend to the Samaritans, and we are in.

By the conquests of Alexander, the thrones of Asia having been subverted, and its royal dynasties eradicated, on his decease, the supreme sovereign authority was vested in Aridæus, a bastard brother of Alexander, till Roxana's issue of a son should be able to assume the reigns of government; but Aridæus being an idiot, Perdiccas, another of Alexander's generals, was appointed a sort of regent, or protector over the whole empire ;* and all the immense territories of this mighty monarch, after a multitude of assassination and contention, were divided amongst his remaining general officers; in which division, Egypt was assigned to Ptolemy, and Syria, Phænicia, and Judea, to Laomedon.

On the death of Jaddua, the high priest, who held that office twenty-one years, it devolved upon his son, Onias. I

Ptolemy conceiving the great advantage it would be to his Egyptian territories, to secure the frontier provinces of Syria and Phænicia, invaded the dominions of Laomedon, and soon made himself master of the whole, except Judea. The Jews, however, shewing upon this occasion a just regard for their oath of allegiance, refused to submit to him; whereupon, Ptolemy laid siege to Jerusalem, and took it by assault on the sabbath day, the inhabitants to their honour, even if upon a mistaken principle, refusing to break the commandment of Jehovah, even in their own defence; unlike modern Christian commanders, who but too often seem to select the sabbath by choice, for their offensive warfare. Having taken the city, Ptolemy carried more than one hundred thousand of the Jews captives into Egypt; but reflecting upon more consi

formed some of that nation had joined the Macedonian army, but not that any of the Jews had, is it not probable they were Samaritans, and not Jews, who made this noble stand? * Prid, i. 606. † Prid. i. 606-613.

# Prid. i. 612.

deration that men who had been so conscientious to their God, and their former allegiance, gave the best promise for their fidelity to himself, he selected thirty thousand of them to garrison his most important fortresses, and allowed the remainder of the captives to reside in the same vicinities, giving orders they should be supplied with all necessaries; and others of them he planted in Cyrene and Libya.*

When the army of Ptolemy was defeated by Demetrius, the son of Antigonus, many of the Jews followed the former potentate on his retreat into Egypt, rather than fall into the hands of Antigonus, and several thousands of families became settled at Alexandria.

Amongst others, was a distinguished character of the name of Hezekias, who was one of their chief priests. With him a Grecian historian, of the name of Hecatæus, was intimate, and from his information composed a history of the Jews, their religion, and polity, which is not now extant.t

On the death of Onias, he was succeeded in the priest

* “From these captives were descended the Cyrenian Jews, of whom was Jason, who wrote the history of the Maccabees in five books, (of which the second book of the Maccabees which we now have is an abridgment); and of whom also was Simon, that bore the cross of our Saviour at his crucifixion, and others who are mentioned in the New Testament." 2 Macc. i. Matt. xxvii. 32. Mark, xv. 21. Luke, xxiii. 26. Acts, ii. 10. and vi. 9. Prid. i. 613, 614.

+ Prid. 631, 632. Josephus relates a curious story of Mosollam, a Jew, who, by shooting a bird with an arrow at a great distance, which the soothsayers in Alexander's army considered as a bad omen, shewed the folly and absurdity of the whole system of superstition observed by the heathen. Contra Apion, iv. 305. Prid. i. 633.

This high priest received a letter from Areus, a king of Lacedemon, in which the Lacedemonians claimed kindred with the Jews, and desired friendship with them on that account. Prid. ii. 182.

hood, by his son Simon, who, from the holiness of his life, and the great righteousness which shone forth in all his actions, was called Simon the Just.*

Seleucus, one of the successors of Alexander, having built several new cities in Asia,t planted Jews in them all, granting them equal privileges and immunities with the Greeks and Macedonians, especially at Antioch, in Syria, where they settled in great numbers. I

On the death of Simon the Just, ş he was succeeded by his brother, Eleazar, in the sacred office of the priesthood,|| and by Antigonus of Socho, as president of the Sanhedrim, or national council of the Jews. I

It was probably during this pontificate, and the reign of Ptolemy Philadelphus,** that the famous Greek version of the

* Prid. i. 65). He was an eminent scribe in the law of God, and a great teacher of righteousness among the people; and being the first of the Tanaim or Mishnaical Doctors, from his school all those had their original who were afterwards called by that name; viz. from the death of Simon the Just to R. Judah Hakkadosh, who composed the Mishna about the middle of the second century. Prid. ii. 1. 92.

† Seleucia, on the Tigris, about forty miles from Babylon; sixteen cities of the name of Antioch, nine others of the name of Seleucia, six of Laodicea, three of Apamia, and Stratonicea. Prid. i. 659. 665. where see many curious matters as to Old Babylon.

# They became almost as considerable a part of this city as they were at Alexandria; and from thence it was that the Jews were dispersed all over Syria and the Lesser Asia. Prid. i. 665. § See many miraculous effects ascribed to Simon the Just, taken

from the Jerusalem Talmud, in Prid. ij. 2. &c. || Simon had left a son of the name of Onias, but he could not take the office of the priesthood on account of bis infancy. Prid. i. 665.

| Prid. ii. 1. He founded at Alexandria, a museum or college of learned men, for the improvement of philosophy and all other knowledge, like that of the Royal Society at London, and the Royal Academy of Sciences at Paris: in which he collected, it is said not by very reputable means, and left behind hin, at the time of his death, more than one hundred thousand volumes Prid, ii. 33.

Old Testament, called the Septuagint, was commenced, but when finished, or by whom, and under what circumstances began, appears to be involved in uncertainty.*

On the death of Eleazar, his nephew Onias being yet under the Levitical age, he was succeeded in the priesthood by Manasseh, the son of Jaddua, and uncle of Simon the Just.t

Antigonus of Socho was succeeded in the office of Nasi, or president of the Sanhedrim, by Joseph, the son of Joazer, under whom another Joseph, the son of John, was appointed Ab-Beth-Din, or vice president, both of whom taught jointly in the chief divinity school at Jerusalem.

During the presidency of Antigonus, the sect of the Sadducees sprung up, occasioned, as is supposed, from a perversion by two of his disciples, of his mode of inculcating the exalted principle of obedience to God, from a principle of filial love and fear.

On the death of Manasseh, he was succeeded in the priesthood by Onias, the son of Simon the Just, who had now attained the Levitical age, but proved himself unworthy of that sacred and important office.

Ptolemy Euergetes, (or the Benefactor) on his return into Egypt from a successful invasion of the provinces belonging to Antiochus Theus, (or the Divine) took Jerusalem in his way, and offered up sacrifices to the God of Israel for the

* Prid. ii. 47–71. It was called the Septuagint from the suppo. sition that seventy Jews were employed in the translation. The best edition is by Grabbe, 2 vols. folio.

+ Prid. ii. 100. | Prid. ii. 92. S Prid. ii. 92. This sect originated with Sadoc and Baithus, two of his disciples, who, separating from the school of their master, taught that there was no resurrection, nor a future state, but that all the rewards which God gave to those who served him, were in this life only. Prid. ij. 93.

|| Prid. ii. 100.

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