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The Antiquities of the Jews by Flavius Josephus

Part 4 out of 26

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beasts; nor to approve of the lying with a male, which was to
hunt after unlawful pleasures on account of beauty. To those who
were guilty of such insolent behavior, he ordained death for
their punishment.

2. As for the priests, he prescribed to them a double degree of
purity (25) for he restrained them in the instances above, and
moreover forbade them to marry harlots. He also forbade them to
marry a slave, or a captive, and such as got their living by
cheating trades, and by keeping inns; as also a woman parted from
her husband, on any account whatsoever. Nay, he did not think it
proper for the high priest to marry even the widow of one that
was dead, though he allowed that to the priests; but he permitted
him only to marry a virgin, and to retain her. Whence it is that
the high priest is not to come near to one that is dead, although
the rest are not prohibited from coming near to their brethren,
or parents, or children, when they are dead; but they are to be
unblemished in all respects. He ordered that the priest who had
any blemish, should have his portion indeed among the priests,
but he forbade him to ascend the altar, or to enter into the holy
house. He also enjoined them, not only to observe purity in their
sacred ministrations, but in their daily conversation, that it
might be unblamable also. And on this account it is that those
who wear the sacerdotal garments are without spot, and eminent
for their purity and sobriety: nor are they permitted to drink
wine so long as they wear those garments. (26) Moreover, they
offer sacrifices that are entire, and have no defect whatsoever.

3. And truly Moses gave them all these precepts, being such as
were observed during his own lifetime; but though he lived now in
the wilderness, yet did he make provision how they might observe
the same laws when they should have taken the land of Canaan. He
gave them rest to the land from ploughing and planting every
seventh year, as he had prescribed to them to rest from working
every seventh day; and ordered, that then what grew of its own
accord out of the earth should in common belong to all that
pleased to use it, making no distinction in that respect between
their own countrymen and foreigners: and he ordained, that they
should do the same after seven times seven years, which in all
are fifty years; and that fiftieth year is called by the Hebrews
The Jubilee, wherein debtors are freed from their debts, and
slaves are set at liberty; which slaves became such, though they
were of the same stock, by transgressing some of those laws the
punishment of which was not capital, but they were punished by
this method of slavery. This year also restores the land to its
former possessors in the manner following: - When the Jubilee is
come, which name denotes liberty, he that sold the land, and he
that bought it, meet together, and make an estimate, on one hand,
of the fruits gathered; and, on the other hand, of the expenses
laid out upon it. If the fruits gathered come to more than the
expenses laid out, he that sold it takes the land again; but if
the expenses prove more than the fruits, the present possessor
receives of the former owner the difference that was wanting, and
leaves the land to him; and if the fruits received, and the
expenses laid out, prove equal to one another, the present
possessor relinquishes it to the former owners. Moses would have
the same law obtain as to those houses also which were sold in
villages; but he made a different law for such as were sold in a
city; for if he that sold it tendered the purchaser his money
again within a year, he was forced to restore it; but in case a
whole year had intervened, the purchaser was to enjoy what he had
bought. This was the constitution of the laws which Moses learned
of God when the camp lay under Mount Sinai, and this he delivered
in writing to the Hebrews.

4. Now when this settlement of laws seemed to be well over, Moses
thought fit at length to take a review of the host, as thinking
it proper to settle the affairs of war. So he charged the heads
of the tribes, excepting the tribe of Levi, to take an exact
account of the number of those that were able to go to war; for
as to the Levites, they were holy, and free from all such
burdens. Now when the people had been numbered, there were found
six hundred thousand that were able to go to war, from twenty to
fifty years of age, besides three thousand six hundred and fifty.
Instead of Levi, Moses took Manasseh, the son of Joseph, among
the heads of tribes; and Ephraim instead of Joseph. It was indeed
the desire of Jacob himself to Joseph, that he would give him his
sons to be his own by adoption, as I have before related.

5. When they set up the tabernacle, they received it into the
midst of their camp, three of the tribes pitching their tents on
each side of it; and roads were cut through the midst of these
tents. It was like a well-appointed market; and every thing was
there ready for sale in due order; and all sorts of artificers
were in the shops; and it resembled nothing so much as a city
that sometimes was movable, and sometimes fixed. The priests had
the first places about the tabernacle; then the Levites, who,
because their whole multitude was reckoned from thirty days old,
were twenty-three thousand eight hundred and eighty males; and
during the time that the cloud stood over the tabernacle, they
thought proper to stay in the same place, as supposing that God
there inhabited among them; but when that removed, they journeyed

6. Moreover, Moses was the inventor of the form of their trumpet,
which was made of silver. Its description is this: - In length it
was little less than a cubit. It was composed of a narrow tube,
somewhat thicker than a flute, but with so much breadth as was
sufficient for admission of the breath of a man's mouth: it ended
in the form of a bell, like common trumpets. Its sound was called
in the Hebrew tongue Asosra. Two of these being made, one of them
was sounded when they required the multitude to come together to
congregations. When the first of them gave a signal, the heads of
the tribes were to assemble, and consult about the affairs to
them properly belonging; but when they gave the signal by both of
them, they called the multitude together. Whenever the tabernacle
was removed, it was done in this solemn order: - At the first
alarm of the trumpet, those whose tents were on the east quarter
prepared to remove; when the second signal was given, those that
were on the south quarter did the like; in the next place, the
tabernacle was taken to pieces, and was carried in the midst of
six tribes that went before, and of six that followed, all the
Levites assisting about the tabernacle; when the third signal was
given, that part which had their tents towards the west put
themselves in motion; and at the fourth signal those on the north
did so likewise. They also made use of these trumpets in their
sacred ministrations, when they were bringing their sacrifices to
the altar as well on the Sabbaths as on the rest of the
[festival] days; and now it was that Moses offered that sacrifice
which was called the Passover in the Wilderness, as the first he
had offered after the departure out of Egypt.


Moses Removed From Mount Sinai, And Conducted The People To The
Borders Of The Canaanites.

A Little while afterwards he rose up, and went from Mount Sinai;
and, having passed through several mansions, of which we will
speak he came to a place called Hazeroth, where the multitude
began again to be mutinous, and to Moses for the misfortunes they
had suffered their travels; and that when he had persuaded to
leave a good land, they at once had lost land, and instead of
that happy state he had them, they were still wandering in their
miserable condition, being already in want water; and if the
manna should happen to fail, must then utterly perish. Yet while
they spake many and sore things against the there was one of them
who exhorted them to be unmindful of Moses, and of what great
pains he had been at about their common safety; not to despair of
assistance from God. The multitude thereupon became still more
unruly, and mutinous against Moses than before. Hereupon Moses,
although he was so basely abused by them encouraged them in their
despairing conditioned and promised that he would procure them a
quantity of flesh-meat, and that not for a few days only, but for
many days. This they were not to believe; and when one of them
asked, whence he could obtain such vast plenty of what he
promised, he replied, "Neither God nor I, we hear such
opprobrious language from will leave off our labors for you; and
this soon appear also." As soon as ever he had this, the whole
camp was filled with quails, they stood round about them, and
gathered great numbers. However, it was not long ere God punished
the Hebrews for their insolence, those reproaches they had used
towards him, no small number of them died; and still to this day
the place retains the memory of this destruction and is named
Kibrothhattaavah, which is, Graves of Lust.


How Moses Sent Some Persons To Search Out The Land Of The
Canaanites, And The Largeness Of Their Cities; And Further That
When Those Who Were Sent Were Returned, After Forty Days And
Reported That They Should Not Be A Match For Them, And Extolled
The Strengh Of The Canaanites The Multitude Were Disturbed And
Fell Into Despair; And Were Resolved To Stone Moses, And To
Return Back Again Into Egypt, And Serve The Egyptians.

1. When Moses had led the Hebrews away from thence to a place
called Paran, which was near to the borders of the Canaanites,
and a place difficult to be continued in, he gathered the
multitude together to a congregation; and standing in the midst
of them, he said, "Of the two things that God determined to
bestow upon us, liberty, and the possession of a Happy Country,
the one of them ye already are partakers of, by the gift of God,
and the other you will quickly obtain; for we now have our abode
near the borders of the Canaanites, and nothing can hinder the
acquisition of it, when we now at last are fallen upon it: I say,
not only no king nor city, but neither the whole race of mankind,
if they were all gathered together, could do it. Let us therefore
prepare ourselves for the work, for the Canaanites will not
resign up their land to us without fighting, but it must be
wrested from them by great struggles in war. Let us then send
spies, who may take a view of the goodness of the land, and what
strength it is of; but, above all things, let us be of one mind,
and let us honor God, who above all is our helper and assister."

2. When Moses had said thus, the multitude requited him with
marks of respect; and chose twelve spies, of the most eminent
men, one out of each tribe, who, passing over all the land of
Canaan, from the borders of Egypt, came to the city Hamath, and
to Mount Lebanon; and having learned the nature of the land, and
of its inhabitants, they came home, having spent forty days in
the whole work. They also brought with them of the fruits which
the land bare; they also showed them the excellency of those
fruits, and gave an account of the great quantity of the good
things that land afforded, which were motives to the multitude to
go to war. But then they terrified them again with the great
difficulty there was in obtaining it; that the rivers were so
large and deep that they could not be passed over; and that the
hills were so high that they could not travel along for them;
that the cities were strong with walls, and their firm
fortifications round about them. They told them also, that they
found at Hebron the posterity of the giants. Accordingly these
spies, who had seen the land of Canaan, when they perceived that
all these difficulties were greater there than they had met with
since they came out of Egypt, they were aftrighted at them
themselves, and endeavored to affright the multitude also.

3. So they supposed, from what they had heard, that it was
impossible to get the possession of the country. And when the
congregation was dissolved, they, their wives and children,
continued their lamentation, as if God would not indeed assist
them, but only promised them fair. They also again blamed Moses,
and made a clamor against him and his brother Aaron, the high
priest. Accordingly they passed that night very ill, and with
contumelious language against them; but in the morning they ran
to a congregation, intending to stone Moses and Aaron, and so to
return back into Egypt.

4. But of the spies, there were Joshua the son of Nun, of the
tribe of Ephraim, and Caleb of the tribe of Judah, that were
afraid of the consequence, and came into the midst of them, and
stilled the multitude, and desired them to be of good courage;
and neither to condemn God, as having told them lies, nor to
hearken to those who had aftrighted them, by telling them what
was not true concerning the Canaanites, but to those that
encouraged them to hope for good success; and that they should
gain possession of the happiness promised them, because neither
the. height of mountains, nor the depth of rivers, could hinder
men of true courage from attempting them, especially while God
would take care of them beforehand, and be assistant to them.
"Let us then go," said they, "against our enemies, and have no
suspicion of ill success, trusting in God to conduct us, and
following those that are to be our leaders." Thus did these two
exhort them, and endeavor to pacify the rage they were in. But
Moses and Aaron fell on the ground, and besought God, not for
their own deliverance, but that he would put a stop to what the
people were unwarily doing, and would bring their minds to a
quiet temper, which were now disordered by their present passion.
The cloud also did now appear, and stood over the tabernacle, and
declared to them the presence of God to be there.


How Moses Was Displeased At This, And Foretold That God Was Angry
And That They Should Continue In The Wilderness For Forty Years
And Not, During That Time, Either Return Into Egypt Or Take
Possession Of Canaan.

1. Moses came now boldly to the multitude, and informed them that
God was moved at their abuse of him, and would inflict punishment
upon them, not indeed such as they deserved for their sins, but
such as parents inflict on their children, in order to their
correction. For, he said, that when he was in the tabernacle, and
was bewailing with ears that destruction which was coming upon
them God put him in mind what things he had done for them, and
what benefits they had received from him, and yet how ungrateful
they had been to him that just now they had been induced, through
the timorousness of the spies, to think that their words were
truer than his own promise to them; and that on this account,
though he would not indeed destroy them all, nor utterly
exterminate their nation, which he had honored more than any
other part of mankind, yet he would not permit them to take
possession of the land of Canaan, nor enjoy its happiness; but
would make them wander in the wilderness, and live without a
fixed habitation, and without a city, for forty years together,
as a punishment for this their transgression; but that he had
promised to give that land to our children, and that he would
make them the possessors of those good things which, by your
ungoverned passions, you have deprived yourselves of.

2. When Moses had discoursed thus to them according to the
direction of God, the multitude, grieved, and were in affliction;
and entreated Most to procure their reconciliation to God, and to
permit them no longer to wander in the wilderness, but bestow
cities upon them. But he replied, that God would not admit of any
such trial, for that God was not moved to this determination from
any human levity or anger, but that he had judicially condemned
them to that punishment. Now we are not to disbelieve that Moses,
who was but a single person, pacified so many ten thousands when
they werre in anger, and converted them to a mildness temper; for
God was with him, and prepared way to his persuasions of the
multitude; and as they had often been disobedient, they were now
sensible that such disobedience was disadvantageous to them and
that they had still thereby fallen into calamities.

3. But this man was admirable for his virtue, and powerful in
making men give credit to what he delivered, not only during the
time of his natural life, but even there is still no one of the
Hebrews who does not act even now as if Moses were present, and
ready to punish him if he should do any thing that is indecent;
nay, there is no one but is obedient to what laws he ordained,
although they might be concealed in their transgressions. There
are also many other demonstrations that his power was more than
human, for still some there have been, who have come from the
parts beyond Euphrates, a journey of four months, through many
dangers, and at great expenses, in honor of our temple; and yet,
when they had offered their oblations, could not partake of their
own sacrifices, because Moses had forbidden it, by somewhat in
the law that did not permit them, or somewhat that had befallen
them, which our ancient customs made inconsistent therewith; some
of these did not sacrifice at all, and others left their
sacrifices in an imperfect condition; many were not able, even at
first, so much as to enter the temple, but went their ways in
this as preferring a submission to the laws of Moses before the
fulfilling of their own inclinations, they had no fear upon them
that anybody could convict them, but only out of a reverence to
their own conscience. Thus this legislation, which appeared to be
divine, made this man to be esteemed as one superior to his own
nature. Nay, further, a little before the beginning of this war,
when Claudius was emperor of the Romans, and Ismael was our high
priest, and when so great a famine (27) was come upon us, that
one tenth deal [of wheat] was sold for four drachmae, and when no
less than seventy cori of flour were brought into the temple, at
the feast of unleavened bread, (these cori are thirty-one
Sicilian, but forty-one Athenian medimni,) not one of the priests
was so hardy as to eat one crumb of it, even while so great a
distress was upon the land; and this out of a dread of the law,
and of that wrath which God retains against acts of wickedness,
even when no one can accuse the actors. Whence we are not to
wonder at what was then done, while to this very day the writings
left by Moses have so great a force, that even those that hate us
do confess, that he who established this settlement was God, and
that it was by the means of Moses, and of his virtue; but as to
these matters, let every one take them as he thinks fit.


Containing The Interval Of Thirty-Eight Years.

From The Rejection Of That Generation To The Death Of Moses.


Fight Of The Hebrews With The Canaanites Without The Consent Of
Moses; And Their Defeat.

1. Now this life of the Hebrews in the wilderness was so
disagreeable and troublesome to them, and they were so uneasy at
it, that although God had forbidden them to meddle with the
Canaanites, yet could they not be persuaded to be obedient to the
words of Moses, and to be quiet; but supposing they should be
able to beat their enemies, without his approbation, they accused
him, and suspected that he made it his business to keep in a
distressed condition, that they might always stand in need of his
assistance. Accordingly they resolved to fight with the
Canaanites, and said that God gave them his assistance, not out
of regard to Moses's intercessions, but because he took care of
their entire nation, on account of their forefathers, whose
affairs he took under his own conduct; as also, that it was on
account of their own virtue that he had formerly procured them
their liberty, and would be assisting to them, now they were
willing to take pains for it. They also said that they were
possessed of abilities sufficient for the conquest of their
enemies, although Moses should have a mind to alienate God from
them; that, however, it was for their advantage to be their own
masters, and not so far to rejoice in their deliverance from the
indignities they endured under the Egyptians, as to bear the
tyranny of Moses over them, and to suffer themselves to be
deluded, and live according to his pleasure, as though God did
only foretell what concerns us out of his kindness to him, as if
they were not all the posterity of Abraham; that God made him
alone the author of all the knowledge we have, and we must still
learn it from him; that it would be a piece of prudence to oppose
his arrogant pretenses, and to put their confidence in God, and
to resolve to take possession of that land which he had promised
them, and not to give ear to him, who on this account, and under
the pretense of Divine authority, forbade them so to do.
Considering, therefore, the distressed state they were in at
present, and that in those desert places they were still to
expect things would be worse with them, they resolved to fight
with the Canaanites, as submitting only to God, their supreme
Commander, and not waiting for any assistance from their

2. When, therefore, they had come to this resolution, as being
best for them, they went against their enemies; but those enemies
were not dismayed either at the attack itself, or at the great
multitude that made it, and received them with great courage.
Many of the Hebrews were slain; and the remainder of the army,
upon the disorder of their troops, were pursued, and fled, after
a shameful manner, to their camp. Whereupon this unexpected
misfortune made them quite despond; and they hoped for nothing
that was good; as gathering from it, that this affliction came
from the wrath of God, because they rashly went out to war
without his approbation.

3. But when Moses saw how deeply they were affected with this
defeat, and being afraid lest the enemies should grow insolent
upon this victory, and should be desirous of gaining still
greater glory, and should attack them, he resolved that it was
proper to withdraw the army into the wilderness to a further
distance from the Canaanites: so the multitude gave themselves up
again to his conduct, for they were sensible that, without his
care for them, their affairs could not be in a good condition;
and he caused the host to remove, and he went further into the
wilderness, as intending there to let them rest, and not to
permit them to fight the Canaanites before God should afford them
a more favorable opportunity.


The Sedition Of Corah And Of The Multitude Against Moses, And
Against His Brother, Concerning The Priesthood.

1. That which is usually the case of great armies, and especially
upon ill success, to be hard to be pleased, and governed with
difficulty, did now befall the Jews; for they being in number six
hundred thousand, and by reason of their great multitude not
readily subject to their governors, even in prosperity, they at
this time were more than usually angry, both against one another
and against their leader, because of the distress they were in,
and the calamities they then endured. Such a sedition overtook
them, as we have not the like example either among the Greeks or
the Barbarians, by which they were in danger of being all
destroyed, but were notwithstanding saved by Moses, who would not
remember that he had been almost stoned to death by them. Nor did
God neglect to prevent their ruin; but, notwithstanding the
indignities they had offered their legislator and the laws, and
disobedience to the commandments which he had sent them by Moses,
he delivered them from those terrible calamities which, without
his providential care, had been brought upon them by this
sedition. So I will first explain the cause whence this sedition
arose, and then will give an account of the sedition itself; as
also of what settlements made for their government after it was

2. Corah, a Hebrew of principal account, both by his family and
by his wealth, one that was also able to speak well, and one that
could easily persuade the people by his speeches, saw that Moses
was in an exceeding great dignity, and was at it, and envied him
on that account, (he of the same tribe with Moses, and of kin to
him,) was particularly grieved, because he thought he better
deserved that honorable post on account of great riches, and not
inferior to him in his birth. So he raised a clamor against him
among the Levites, who were of the same tribe, and among his
kindred, saying, "That it was a very sad thing that they should
overlook Moses, while hunted after and paved the way to glory for
himself, and by ill arts should obtain it, under the pretense of
God's command, while, contrary to laws, he had given the
priesthood to Aaron, the common suffrage of the multitude, but by
his own vote, as bestowing dignities in a way on whom he
pleased." He added, "That this concealed way of imposing on them
was harder to be borne than if it had been done by an open force
upon them, because he did now not only their power without their
consent, but even they were unapprised of his contrivances
against them; for whosoever is conscious to himself that he
deserves any dignity, aims to get it by persuasion, and not by an
arrogant method of violence; those that believe it impossible to
obtain honors justly, make a show of goodness, and do not
introduce force, but by cunning tricks grow wickedly powerful.
That it was proper for the multitude to punish such men, even
while they think themselves concealed in their designs, and not
suffer them to gain strength till they have them for their open
enemies. For what account," added he, "is Moses able to give, why
he has bestowed the priesthood on Aaron and his sons? for if God
had determined to bestow that honor on one of the tribe of Levi,
I am more worthy of it than he is; I myself being equal to Moses
by my family, and superior to him both in riches and in age: but
if God had determined to bestow it on the eldest be, that of
Reuben might have it most justly; and then Dathan, and Abiram,
and [On, the son of] Peleth, would have it; for these are the
oldest men of that tribe, and potent on account of their great
wealth also."

3. Now Corah, when he said this, had a mind to appear to take
care of the public welfare, but in reality he was endeavoring to
procure to have that dignity transferred by the multitude to
himself. Thus did he, out of a malignant design, but with
discourse to those of his own tribe; when these words did
gradually spread to more people, and when the hearers still added
to what tended to the scandals that were cast upon the whole army
was full of them. Now of those that conspired with Corah, there
were two hundred and fifty, and those of the principal men also,
who were eager to have the priesthood taken away from Moses's
brother, and to bring him into disgrace: nay, the multitude
themselves were provoked to be seditious, and attempted to stone
Moses, wad gathered themselves together after an indecent manner,
with confusion and disorder. And now all were, in a tumultuous
manner, raising a before the tabernacle of God, to prosecute the
tyrant, and to relieve the multitude from their slavery under him
who, under color of the Divine laid violent injunctions upon
them; for had it been God who chose one that was to the office of
a priest, he would have raised person to that dignity, and would
not produced such a one as was inferior to many others nor have
given him that office; and that in he had judged it fit to bestow
it on Aaron, he would have permitted it to the multitude to
bestow it, and not have left it to be bestowed by his own

4. Now although Moses had a great while ago foreseen this calumny
of Corah, and had seen the people were irritated, yet was he not
affrighted at it; but being of good courage, because given them
right advice about their affairs, and knowing that his brother
had been made partaker of the priesthood at the command of God,
and not by his own favor to him, he came to the assembly; and as
for the multitude, he said not a word to them, but spake as loud
to Corah as he could; and being very skillful in making speeches,
and having this natural talent, among others, that he could
greatly move the multitude with his discourses, he said, "O
Corah, both thou and all these with thee (pointing to the two
hundred and fifty men) seem to be worthy of this honor; nor do I
pretend but that this whole company may be worthy of the like
dignity, although they may not be so rich or so great as you are:
nor have I taken and given this office to my brother because he
excelled others in riches, for thou exceedest us both in the
greatness of thy wealth; (1) nor indeed because he was of an
eminent family, for God, by giving us the same common ancestor,
has made our families equal: nay, nor was it out of brotherly
affection, which another might yet have justly done; for
certainly, unless I had bestowed this honor out of regard to God,
and to his laws, I had not passed by myself, and given it to
another, as being nearer of kin to myself than to my brother, and
having a closer intimacy with myself than I have with him; for
surely it would not be a wise thing for me to expose myself to
the dangers of offending, and to bestow the happy employment on
this account upon another. But I am above such base practices:
nor would God have overlooked this matter, and seen himself thus
despised; nor would he have suffered you to be ignorant of what
you were to do, in order to please him; but he hath himself
chosen one that is to perform that sacred office to him, and
thereby freed us from that care. So that it was not a thing that
I pretend to give, but only according to the determination of
God; I therefore propose it still to be contended for by such as
please to put in for it, only desiring that he who has been
already preferred, and has already obtained it, may be allowed
now also to offer himself for a candidate. He prefers your peace,
and your living without sedition, to this honorable employment,
although in truth it was with your approbation that he obtained
it; for though God were the donor, yet do we not offend when we
think fit to accept it with your good-will; yet would it have
been an instance of impiety not to have taken that honorable
employment when he offered it; nay, it had been exceedingly
unreasonable, when God had thought fit any one should have it for
all time to come, and had made it secure and firm to him, to have
refused it. However, he himself will judge again who it shall be
whom he would have to offer sacrifices to him, and to have the
direction of matters of religion; for it is absurd that Corah,
who is ambitious of this honor, should deprive God of the power
of giving it to whom he pleases. Put an end, therefore, to your
sedition and disturbance on this account; and tomorrow morning do
every one of you that desire the priesthood bring a censer from
home, and come hither with incense and fire: and do thou, O
Corah, leave the judgment to God, and await to see on which side
he will give his determination upon this occasion, but do not
thou make thyself greater than God. Do thou also come, that this
contest about this honorable employment may receive
determination. And I suppose we may admit Aaron without offense,
to offer himself to this scrutiny, since he is of the same
lineage with thyself, and has done nothing in his priesthood that
can be liable to exception. Come ye therefore together, and offer
your incense in public before all the people; and when you offer
it, he whose sacrifice God shall accept shall be ordained to the
priesthood, and shall be clear of the present calumny on Aaron,
as if I had granted him that favor because he was my brother."


How Those That Stirred Up This Sedition Were Destroyed, According
To The Will Of God; And How Aaron, Moses's Brother Both He And
His Posterity, Retained The Priesthood.

1. When Moses had said this, the multitude left off the turbulent
behavior they had indulged, and the suspicion they had of Moses,
and commended what he had said; for those proposals were good,
and were so esteemed of the people. At that time therefore they
dissolved the assembly. But on the next day they came to the
congregation, in order to be present at the sacrifice, and at the
determination that was to be made between the candidates for the
priesthood. Now this congregation proved a turbulent one, and the
multitude were in great suspense in expectation of what was to be
done; for some of them would have been pleased if Moses had been
convicted of evil practices, but the wiser sort desired that they
might be delivered from the present disorder and disturbance; for
they were afraid, that if this sedition went on, the good order
of their settlement would rather be destroyed; but the whole body
of the people do naturally delight in clamors against their
governors, and, by changing their opinions upon the harangues of
every speaker, disturb the public tranquillity. And now Moses
sent messengers for Abiram and Dathan, and ordered them to come
to the assembly, and wait there for the holy offices that were to
be performed. But they answered the messenger, that they would
not obey his summons; nay, would not overlook Moses's behavior,
who was growing too great for them by evil practices. Now when
Moses heard of this their answer, he desired the heads of the
people to follow him, and he went to the faction of Dathan, not
thinking it any frightful thing at all to go to these insolent
people; so they made no opposition, but went along with him. But
Dathan, and his associates, when they understood that Moses and
the principal of the people were coming to them, came out, with
their wives and children, and stood before their tents, and
looked to see what Moses would do. They had also their servants
about them to defend themselves, in case Moses should use force
against them.

2. But he came near, and lifted up his hands to heaven, and cried
out with a loud voice, in order to be heard by the whole
multitude, and said, "O Lord of the creatures that are in the
heaven, in the earth, and in the sea; for thou art the most
authentic witness to what I have done, that it has all been done
by thy appointment, and that it was thou that affordedst us
assistance when we attempted any thing, and showedst mercy on the
Hebrews in all their distresses; do thou come now, and hear all
that I say, for no action or thought escapes thy knowledge; so
that thou wilt not disdain to speak what is true, for my
vindication, without any regard to the ungrateful imputations of
these men. As for what was done before I was born, thou knowest
best, as not learning them by report, but seeing them, and being
present with them when they were done; but for what has been done
of late, and which these men, although they know them well
enough, unjustly pretend to suspect, be thou my witness. When I
lived a private quiet life, I left those good things which, by my
own diligence, and by thy counsel, I enjoyed with Raguel my
father-in-law; and I gave myself up to this people, and underwent
many miseries on their account. I also bore great labors at
first, in order to obtain liberty for them, and now in order to
their preservation; and have always showed myself ready to assist
them in every distress of theirs. Now, therefore, since I am
suspected by those very men whose being is owing to my labors,
come thou, as it is reasonable to hope thou wilt; thou, I say,
who showedst me that fire at mount Sinai, and madest me to hear
its voice, and to see the several wonders which that place
afforded thou who commandedst me to go to Egypt, and declare thy
will to this people; thou who disturbest the happy estate of the
Egyptians, and gavest us the opportunity of flying away from our
under them, and madest the dominion of Pharaoh inferior to my
dominion; thou who didst make the sea dry land for us, when we
knew not whither to go, and didst overwhelm the Egyptians with
those destructive waves which had been divided for us; thou who
didst bestow upon us the security of weapons when we were naked;
thou who didst make the fountains that were corrupted to flow, so
as to be fit for drinking, and didst furnish us with water that
came out of the rocks, when we were in want of it; thou who didst
preserve our lives with [quails, which was] food from the sea,
when the fruits of the ground failed us; thou didst send us such
food from heaven as had never been seen before; thou who didst
suggest to us the knowledge of thy laws, and appoint to us a of
government, - come thou, I say, O Lord of the whole world, and
that as such a Judge and a Witness to me as cannot be bribed, and
show how I never admitted of any gift against justice from any of
the Hebrews; and have never condemned a man that ought to have
been acquitted, on account of one that was rich; and have never
attempted to hurt this commonwealth. I am now and am suspected of
a thing the remotest from my intentions, as if I had given the
preisthood to Aaron, not at thy command, but out own favor to
him; do thou at this time demonstrate that all things are
administered by thy providence and that nothing happens by
chance, but is governed by thy will, and thereby attains its end:
as also demonstrate that thou takest care that have done good to
the Hebrews; demonstrate this, I say, by the punishment of Abiram
and Dathan, who condemn thee as an insensible Being, and one
overcome by my contrivances. This thou do by inflicting such an
open punishment on these men who so madly fly in the face of thy
glory, as will take them out of the world, not in an manner, but
so that it may appear they do die after the manner of other men:
let that ground which they tread upon open about them and consume
them, with their families and goods. This will be a demonstration
of thy power to all and this method of their sufferings will be
an instruction of wisdom for those that entertain profane
sentiments of thee. By this means I shall be a good servant, in
the precepts thou hast given by me. But if the calumnies they
have raised against me be true, mayst thou preserve these men
from every evil accident, and bring all that destruction on me
which I have imprecated upon them. And when thou hast inflicted
punishment on those that have endeavored to deal unjustly with
this people, bestow upon them concord and peace. Save this
multitude that follow thy commandments, and preserve them free
from harm, and let them not partake of the punishment of those
that have sinned; for thou knowest thyself it is not just, that
for the wickedness of those men the whole body of the Israelites
should suffer punishment."

3. When Moses had said this, with tears in his eyes, the ground
was moved on a sudden; and the agitation that set it in motion
was like that which the wind produces in waves of the sea. The
people were all aftrighted; and the ground that was about their
tents sunk down at the great noise, with a terrible sound, and
carried whatsoever was dear to the seditious into itself, who so
entirely perished, that there was not the least appearance that
any man had ever been seen there, the earth that had opened
itself about them, closing again, and becoming entire as it was
before, insomuch that such as saw it afterward did not perceive
that any such accident had happened to it. Thus did these men
perish, and become a demonstration of the power of God. And
truly, any one would lament them, not only on account of this
calamity that befell them, which yet deserves our commiseration,
but also because their kindred were pleased with their
sufferings; for they forgot the relation they bare to them, and
at the sight of this sad accident approved of the judgment given
against them; and because they looked upon the people about
Dathan as pestilent men, they thought they perished as such, and
did not grieve for them.

4. And now Moses called for those that contended about the
priesthood, that trial might be made who should be priest, and
that he whose sacrifice God was best pleased with might be
ordained to that function. There attended two hundred and fifty
men, who indeed were honored by the people, not only on account
of the power of their ancestors, but also on account of their
own, in which they excelled the others: Aaron also and Corah came
forth, and they all offered incense, in those censers of theirs
which they brought with them, before the tabernacle. Hereupon so
great a fire shone out as no one ever saw in any that is made by
the hand of man, neither in those eruptions out of the earth that
are caused by subterraneous burn-rags, nor in such fires as arise
of their own accord in the woods, when the agitation is caused by
the trees rubbing one against another: but this fire was very
bright, and had a terrible flame, such as is kindled at the
command of God; by whose irruption on them, all the company, and
Corah himself, were destroyed, (2) and this so entirely, that
their very bodies left no remains behind them. Aaron alone was
preserved, and not at all hurt by the fire, because it was God
that sent the fire to burn those only who ought to be burned.
Hereupon Moses, after these men were destroyed, was desirous that
the memory of this judgment might be delivered down to posterity,
and that future ages might be acquainted with it; and so he
commanded Eleazar, the son of Aaron, to put their censers near
the brazen altar, that they might be a memorial to posterity of
what these men suffered, for supposing that the power of God
might be eluded. And thus Aaron was now no longer esteemed to
have the priesthood by the favor of Moses, but by the public
judgment of God; and thus he and his children peaceably enjoyed
that honor afterward.


What Happened To The Hebrews During Thirty-Eight Years In The

1. However, this sedition was so far from ceasing upon this
destruction, that it grew much stronger, and became more
intolerable. And the occasion of its growing worse was of that
nature, as made it likely the calamity would never cease, but
last for a long time; for the men, believing already that nothing
is done without the providence of God, would have it that these
things came thus to pass not without God's favor to Moses; they
therefore laid the blame upon him that God was so angry, and that
this happened not so much because of the wickedness of those that
were punished, as because Moses procured the punishment; and that
these men had been destroyed without any sin of theirs, only
because they were zealous about the Divine worship; as also, that
he who had been the cause of this diminution of the people, by
destroying so many men, and those the most excellent of them all,
besides his escaping any punishment himself, had now given the
priesthood to his brother so firmly, that nobody could any longer
dispute it with him; for no one else, to be sure, could now put
in for it, since he must have seen those that first did so to
have miserably perished. Nay, besides this, the kindred of those
that were destroyed made great entreaties to the multitude to
abate the arrogance of Moses, because it would be safest for them
so to do.

2. Now Moses, upon his hearing for a good while that the people
were tumultuous, was afraid that they would attempt some other
innovation, and that some great and sad calamity would be the
consequence. He called the multitude to a congregation, and
patiently heard what apology they had to make for themselves,
without opposing them, and this lest he should imbitter the
multitude: he only desired the heads of the tribes to bring their
rods, (3) with the names of their tribes inscribed upon them, and
that he should receive the priesthood in whose rod God should
give a sign. This was agreed to. So the rest brought their rods,
as did Aaron also, who had written the tribe of Levi on his rod.
These rods Moses laid up in the tabernacle of God. On the next
day he brought out the rods, which were known from one another by
those who brought them, they having distinctly noted them, as had
the multitude also; and as to the rest, in the same form Moses
had received them, in that they saw them still; but they also saw
buds and branches grown out of Aaron's rod, with ripe fruits upon
them; they were almonds, the rod having been cut out of that
tree. The people were so amazed at this strange sight, that
though Moses and Aaron were before under some degree of hatred,
they now laid that hatred aside, and began to admire the judgment
of God concerning them; so that hereafter they applauded what God
had decreed, and permitted Aaron to enjoy the priesthood
peaceably. And thus God ordained him priest three several times,
and he retained that honor without further disturbance. And
hereby this sedition of the Hebrews, which had been a great one,
and had lasted a great while, was at last composed.

3. And now Moses, because the tribe of Levi was made free from
war and warlike expeditions, and was set apart for the Divine
worship, lest they should want and seek after the necessaries of
life, and so neglect the temple, commanded the Hebrews, according
to the will of God, that when they should gain the possession of
the land of Canaan, they should assign forty-eight good and fair
cities to the Levites; and permit them to enjoy their suburbs, as
far as the limit of two thousand cubits would extend from the
walls of the city. And besides this, he appointed that the people
should pay the tithe of their annual fruits of the earth, both to
the Levites and to the priests. And this is what that tribe
receives of the multitude; but I think it necessary to set down
what is paid by all, peculiarly to the priests.

4. Accordingly he commanded the Levites to yield up to the
priests thirteen of their forty-eight cities, and to set apart
for them the tenth part of the tithes which they every year
receive of the people; as also, that it was but just to offer to
God the first-fruits of the entire product of the ground; and
that they should offer the first-born of those four-footed beasts
that are appointed for sacrifices, if it be a male, to the
priests, to be slain, that they and their entire families may eat
them in the holy city; but that the owners of those first-born
which are not appointed for sacrifices in the laws of our
country, should bring a shekel and a half in their stead: but for
the first-born of a man, five shekels: that they should also have
the first-fruits out of the shearing of the sheep; and that when
any baked bread corn, and made loaves of it, they should give
somewhat of what they had baked to them. Moreover, when any have
made a sacred vow, I mean those that are called Nazarites, that
suffer their hair to grow long, and use no wine, when they
consecrate their hair, (4) and offer it for a sacrifice, they are
to allot that hair for the priests [to be thrown into the fire].
Such also as dedicate themselves to God, as a corban, which
denotes what the Greeks call a gift, when they are desirous of
being freed from that ministration, are to lay down money for the
priests; thirty shekels if it be a woman, and fifty if it be a
man; but if any be too poor to pay the appointed sum, it shall be
lawful for the priests to determine that sum as they think fit.
And if any slay beasts at home for a private festival, but not
for a religious one, they are obliged to bring the maw and the
cheek, [or breast,] and the right shoulder of the sacrifice, to
the priests. With these Moses contrived that the priests should
be plentifully maintained, besides what they had out of those
offerings for sins which the people gave them, as I have set it
down in the foregoing book. He also ordered, that out of every
thing allotted for the priests, their servants, [their sons,]
their daughters, and their wives, should partake, as well as
themselves, excepting what came to them out of the sacrifices
that were offered for sins; for of those none but the males of
the family of the priests might eat, and this in the temple also,
and that the same day they were offered.

5. When Moses had made these constitutions, after the sedition
was over, he removed, together with the whole army, and came to
the borders of Idumea. He then sent ambassadors to the king of
the Idumeans, and desired him to give him a passage through his
country; and agreed to send him what hostages he should desire,
to secure him from an injury. He desired him also, that he would
allow his army liberty to buy provisions; and, if he insisted
upon it, he would pay down a price for the very water they should
drink. But the king was not pleased with this embassage from
Moses: nor did he allow a passage for the army, but brought his
people armed to meet Moses, and to hinder them, in case they
should endeavor to force their passage. Upon which Moses
consulted God by the oracle, who would not have him begin the war
first; and so he withdrew his forces, and traveled round about
through the wilderness.

6. Then it was that Miriam, the sister of Moses, came to her end,
having completed her fortieth year (5) since she left Egypt, on
the first (6) day of the lunar month Xanthicus. They then made a
public funeral for her, at a great expense. She was buried upon a
certain mountain, which they call Sin: and when they had mourned
for her thirty days, Moses purified the people after this manner:
He brought a heifer that had never been used to the plough or to
husbandry, that was complete in all its parts, and entirely of a
red color, at a little distance from the camp, into a place
perfectly clean. This heifer was slain by the high priest, and
her blood sprinkled with his finger seven times before the
tabernacle of God; after this, the entire heifer was burnt in
that state, together with its skin and entrails; and they threw
cedar-wood, and hyssop, and scarlet wool, into the midst of the
fire; then a clean man gathered all her ashes together, and laid
them in a place perfectly clean. When therefore any persons were
defiled by a dead body, they put a little of these ashes into
spring water, with hyssop, and, dipping part of these ashes in
it, they sprinkled them with it, both on the third day, and on
the seventh, and after that they were clean. This he enjoined
them to do also when the tribes should come into their own land.

7. Now when this purification, which their leader made upon the
mourning for his sister, as it has been now described, was over,
he caused the army to remove and to march through the wilderness
and through Arabia; and when he came to a place which the
Arabians esteem their metropolis, which was formerly called Arce,
but has now the name of Petra, at this place, which was
encompassed with high mountains, Aaron went up one of them in the
sight of the whole army, Moses having before told him that he was
to die, for this place was over against them. He put off his
pontifical garments, and delivered them to Eleazar his son, to
whom the high priesthood belonged, because he was the elder
brother; and died while the multitude looked upon him. He died in
the same year wherein he lost his sister, having lived in all a
hundred twenty and three years. He died on the first day of that
lunar month which is called by the Athenians Hecatombaeon, by the
Macedonians Lous, but by the Hebrews Abba.


How Moses Conquered Sihon And Og Kings Of The Amorites, And
Destroyed Their Whole Army And Then Divided Their Land By Lot To
Two Tribes And A Half Of The Hebrews.

1. The people mourned for Aaron thirty days, and when this
mourning was over, Moses removed the army from that place, and
came to the river Arnon, which, issuing out of the mountains of
Arabia, and running through all that wilderness, falls into the
lake Asphaltitis, and becomes the limit between the land of the
Moabites and the land of the Amorites. This land is fruitful, and
sufficient to maintain a great number of men, with the good
things it produces. Moses therefore sent messengers to Sihon, the
king of this country, desiring that he would grant his army a
passage, upon what security he should please to require; he
promised that he should be no way injured, neither as to that
country which Sihon governed, nor as to its inhabitants; and that
he would buy his provisions at such a price as should be to their
advantage, even though he should desire to sell them their very
water. But Sihon refused his offer, and put his army into battle
array, and was preparing every thing in order to hinder their
passing over Arnon.

2. When Moses saw that the Amorite king was disposed to enter
upon hostilities with them, he thought he ought not to bear that
insult; and, determining to wean the Hebrews from their indolent
temper, and prevent the disorders which arose thence, which had
been the occasion of their former sedition, (nor indeed were they
now thoroughly easy in their minds,) he inquired of God, whether
he would give him leave to fight? which when he had done, and God
also promised him the victory, he was himself very courageous,
and ready to proceed to fighting. Accordingly he encouraged the
soldiers; and he desired of them that they would take the
pleasure of fighting, now God gave them leave so to do. They
then, upon the receipt of this permission, which they so much
longed for, put on their whole armor, and set about the work
without delay. But the Amorite king was not now like to himself
when the Hebrews were ready to attack him; but both he himself
was affrighted at the Hebrews, and his army, which before had
showed themselves to be of good courage, were then found to be
timorous: so they could not sustain the first onset, nor bear up
against the Hebrews, but fled away, as thinking this would afford
them a more likely way for their escape than fighting, for they
depended upon their cities, which were strong, from which yet
they reaped no advantage when they were forced to fly to them;
for as soon as the Hebrews saw them giving ground, they
immediately pursued them close; and when they had broken their
ranks, they greatly terrified them, and some of them broke off
from the rest, and ran away to the cities. Now the Hebrews
pursued them briskly, and obstinately persevered in the labors
they had already undergone; and being very skillful in slinging,
and very dexterous in throwing of darts, or any thing else of
that kind, and also having nothing but light armor, which made
them quick in the pursuit, they overtook their enemies; and for
those that were most remote, and could not be overtaken, they
reached them by their slings and their bows, so that many were
slain; and those that escaped the slaughter were sorely wounded,
and these were more distressed with thirst than with any of those
that fought against them, for it was the summer season; .and when
the greatest number of them were brought down to the river out of
a desire to drink, as also when others fled away by troops, the
Hebrews came round them, and shot at them; so that, what with
darts and what with arrows, they made a slaughter of them all.
Sihon their king was also slain. So the Hebrews spoiled the dead
bodies, and took their prey. The land also which they took was
full of abundance of fruits, and the army went all over it
without fear, and fed their cattle upon it; and they took the
enemies prisoners, for they could no way put a stop to them,
since all the fighting men were destroyed. Such was the
destruction which overtook the Amorites, who were neither
sagacious in counsel, nor courageous in action. Hereupon the
Hebrews took possession of their land, which is a country situate
between three rivers, and naturally resembled an island: the
river Arnon being its southern ; the river Jabbok determining its
northern side, which running into Jordan loses its own name, and
takes the other; while Jordan itself runs along by it, on its
western coast.

3. When matters were come to this state, Og, the king of Gilead
and Gaulanitis, fell upon the Israelites. He brought an army with
him, and in haste to the assistance of his friend Sihon: but
though he found him already slain, yet did he resolve still to
come and fight the Hebrews, supposing he should be too hard for
them, and being desirous to try their valor; but failing of his
hope, he was both himself slain in the battle, and all his army
was destroyed. So Moses passed over the river Jabbok, and overran
the kingdom of Og. He overthrew their cities, and slew all their
inhabitants, who yet exceeded in riches all the men in that part
of the continent, on account of the goodness of the soil, and the
great quantity of their wealth. Now Og had very few equals,
either in the largeness of his body, or handsomeness of his
appearance. He was also a man of great activity in the use of his
hands, so that his actions were not unequal to the vast largeness
and handsome appearance of his body. And men could easily guess
at his strength and magnitude when they took his bed at Rabbath,
the royal city of the Ammonites; its structure was of iron, its
breadth four cubits, and its length a cubit more than double
thereto. However, his fall did not only improve the circumstances
of the Hebrews for the present, but by his death he was the
occasion of further good success to them; for they presently took
those sixty cities, which were encompassed with excellent walls,
and had been subject to him, and all got both in general and in
particular a great prey.


Concerning Balaam The Prophet And What Kind Of Man He Was,

1. Now Moses, when he had brought his army to Jordan; pitched his
camp in the great plain over against Jericho. This city is a very
happy situation, and very fit for producing palm-trees and
balsam. And now the Israelites began to be very proud of
themselves, and were very eager for fighting. Moses then, after
he had offered for a few days sacrifices of thanksgiving to God,
and feasted the people, sent a party of armed men to lay waste
the country of the Midianites, and to take their cities. Now the
occasion which he took for making war upon them was this that
follows :--

2. When Balak, the king of the Moabites, who had from his
ancestors a friendship and league with the Midianites, saw how
great the Israelites were grown, he was much affrighted on
account of his own and his kingdom's danger; for he was not
acquainted with this, that the Hebrews would not meddle with any
other country, but were to be contented with the possession of
the land of Canaan, God having forbidden them to go any farther
(7) So he, with more haste than wisdom, resolved to make an
attempt upon them by words; but he did not judge it prudent to
fight against them, after they had such prosperous successes, and
even became out of ill successes more happy than before, but he
thought to hinder them, if he could, from growing greater, and so
he resolved to send ambassadors to the Midianites about them. Now
these Midianites knowing there was one Balaam, who lived by
Euphrates, and was the greatest of the prophets at that time, and
one that was in friendship with them, sent some of their
honorable princes along with the ambassadors of Balak, to entreat
the prophet to come to them, that he might imprecate curses to
the destruction of the Israelites. So Balsam received the
ambassadors, and treated them very kindly; and when he had
supped, he inquired what was God's will, and what this matter was
for which the Midianites entreated him to come to them. But when
God opposed his going, he came to the ambassadors, and told them
that he was himself very willing and desirous to comply with
their request, but informed them that God was opposite to his
intentions, even that God who had raised him to great reputation
on account of the truth of his predictions; for that this army,
which they entreated him to come and curse, was in the favor of
God; on which account he advised them to go home again, and not
to persist in their enmity against the Israelites; and when he
had given them that answer, he dismissed the ambassadors.

3. Now the Midianites, at the earnest request and fervent
entreaties of Balak, sent other ambassadors to Balaam, who,
desiring to gratify the men, inquired again of God; but he was
displeased at [second] trial (8) and bid him by no means to
contradict the ambassadors. Now Balsam did not imagine that God
gave this injunction in order to deceive him, so he went along
with the ambassadors; but when the divine angel met him in the
way, when he was in a narrow passage, and hedged in with a wall
on both sides, the ass on which Balaam rode understood that it
was a divine spirit that met him, and thrust Balaam to one of the
walls, without regard to the stripes which Balaam, when he was
hurt by the wall, gave her; but when the ass, upon the angel's
continuing to distress her, and upon the stripes which were given
her, fell down, by the will of God, she made use of the voice of
a man, and complained of Balaam as acting unjustly to her; that
whereas he had no fault find with her in her former service to
him, he now inflicted stripes upon her, as not understanding that
she was hindered from serving him in what he was now going about,
by the providence of God. And when he was disturbed by reason of
the voice of the ass, which was that of a man, the angel plainly
appeared to him, and blamed him for the stripes he had given his
ass; and informed him that the brute creature was not in fault,
but that he was himself come to obstruct his journey, as being
contrary to the will of God. Upon which Balaam was afraid, and
was preparing to return back again: yet did God excite him to go
on his intended journey, but added this injunction, that he
should declare nothing but what he himself should suggest to his

4. When God had given him this charge, he came to Balak; and when
the king had entertained him in a magnificent manner, he desired
him to go to one of the mountains to take a view of the state of
the camp of the Hebrews. Balak himself also came to the mountain,
and brought the prophet along with him, with a royal attendance.
This mountain lay over their heads, and was distant sixty
furlongs from the camp. Now when he saw them, he desired the king
to build him seven altars, and to bring him as many bulls and
rams; to which desire the king did presently conform. He then
slew the sacrifices, and offered them as burnt-offerings, that he
might observe some signal of the flight of the Hebrews. Then said
he, "Happy is this people, on whom God bestows the possession of
innumerable good things, and grants them his own providence to be
their assistant and their guide; so that there is not any nation
among mankind but you will be esteemed superior to them in
virtue, and in the earnest prosecution of the best rules of life,
and of such as are pure from wickedness, and will leave those
rules to your excellent children; and this out of the regard that
God bears to you, and the provision of such things for you as may
render you happier than any other people under the sun. You shall
retain that land to which he hath sent you, and it shall ever be
under the command of your children; and both all the earth, as
well as the seas, shall be filled with your glory: and you shall
be sufficiently numerous to supply the world in general, and
every region of it in particular, with inhabitants out of your
stock. However, O blessed army! wonder that you are become so
many from one father: and truly, the land of Canaan can now hold
you, as being yet comparatively few; but know ye that the whole
world is proposed to be your place of habitation for ever. The
multitude of your posterity also shall live as well in the
islands as on the continent, and that more in number than are the
stars of heaven. And when you are become so many, God will not
relinquish the care of you, but will afford you an abundance of
all good things in times of peace, with victory and dominion in
times of war. May the children of your enemies have an
inclination to fight against you; and may they be so hardy as to
come to arms, and to assault you in battle, for they will not
return with victory, nor will their return be agreeable to their
children and wives. To so great a degree of valor will you be
raised by the providence of God, who is able to diminish the
affluence of some, and to supply the wants of others."

5. Thus did Balaam speak by inspiration, as not being in his own
power, but moved to say what he did by the Divine Spirit. But
then Balak was displeased, and said he had broken the contract he
had made, whereby he was to come, as he and his confederates had
invited him, by the promise of great presents: for whereas he
came to curse their enemies, he had made an encomium upon them,
and had declared that they were the happiest of men. To which
Balaam replied, "O Balak, if thou rightly considerest this whole
matter, canst thou suppose that it is in our power to be silent,
or to say any thing, when the Spirit of God seizes upon us? - for
he puts such words as he pleases in our mouths, and such
discourses as we are not ourselves conscious of. I well remember
by what entreaties both you and the Midianites so joyfully
brought me hither, and on that account I took this journey. It
was my prayer, that I might not put any affront upon you, as to
what you desired of me; but God is more powerful than the
purposes I had made to serve you; for those that take upon them
to foretell the affairs of mankind, as from their own abilities,
are entirely unable to do it, or to forbear to utter what God
suggests to them, or to offer violence to his will; for when he
prevents us and enters into us, nothing that we say is our own. I
then did not intend to praise this army, nor to go over the
several good things which God intended to do to their race; but
since he was so favorable to them, and so ready to bestow upon
them a happy life and eternal glory, he suggested the declaration
of those things to me: but now, because it is my desire to oblige
thee thyself, as well as the Midianites, whose entreaties it is
not decent for me to reject, go to, let us again rear other
altars, and offer the like sacrifices that we did before, that I
may see whether I can persuade God to permit me to bind these men
with curses." Which, when Balak had agreed to, God would not,
even upon second sacrifices, consent to his cursing the
Israelites. (9) Then fell Balaam upon his face, and foretold what
calamities would befall the several kings of the nations, and the
most eminent cities, some of which of old were not so much as
inhabited; which events have come to pass among the several
people concerned, both in the foregoing ages, and in this, till
my own memory, both by sea and by land. From which completion of
all these predictions that he made, one may easily guess that the
rest will have their completion in time to come.

6. But Balak being very angry that the Israelites were not
cursed, sent away Balaam without thinking him worthy of any
honor. Whereupon, when he was just upon his journey, in order to
pass the Euphrates, he sent for Balak, and for the princes of the
Midianites, and spake thus to them: - "O Balak, and you
Midianites that are here present, (for I am obliged even without
the will of God to gratify you,) it is true no entire destruction
can seize upon the nation of the Hebrews, neither by war, nor by
plague, nor by scarcity of the fruits of the earth, nor can any
other unexpected accident be their entire ruin; for the
providence of God is concerned to preserve them from such a
misfortune; nor will it permit any such calamity to come upon
them whereby they may all perish; but some small misfortunes, and
those for a short time, whereby they may appear to be brought
low, may still befall them; but after that they will flourish
again, to the terror of those that brought those mischiefs upon
them. So that if you have a mind to gain a victory over them for
a short space of time, you will obtain it by following my
directions: - Do you therefore set out the handsomest of such of
your daughters as are most eminent for beauty, (10) and proper to
force and conquer the modesty of those that behold them, and
these decked and trimmed to the highest degree able. Then do you
send them to be near camp, and give them in charge, that the
young men of the Hebrews desire their allow it them; and when
they see they are enamored of them, let them take leaves; and if
they entreat them to stay, let give their consent till they have
persuaded leave off their obedience to their own laws, the
worship of that God who established them to worship the gods of
the Midianites and for by this means God will be angry at them
(11). Accordingly, when Balaam had suggested counsel to them, he
went his way.

7. So when the Midianites had sent their daughters,as Balaam had
exhorted them, the Hebrew men were allured by their beauty, and
came with them, and besought them not to grudge them the
enjoyment of their beauty, nor to deny them their conversation.
These daughters of Midianites received their words gladly, and
consented to it, and staid with them; but when they brought them
to be enamored of them, and their inclinations to them were grown
to ripeness, they began to think of departing from them: then it
was that these men became greatly disconsolate at the women's
departure, and they were urgent with them not to leave them, but
begged they would continue there, and become their wives; and
they promised them they should be owned as mistresses all they
had. This they said with an oath, and called God for the
arbitrator of what they promised; and this with tears in their
eyes, and all such marks of concern, as might shew how miserable
they thought themselves without them, and so might move their
compassion for them. So the women, as soon as they perceived they
had made their slaves, and had caught them with their
conservation began to speak thus to them: -

8. "O you illustrious young men! we have of our own at home, and
great plenty of good things there, together with the natural,
affectionate parents and friends; nor is it out of our want of
any such things that we came to discourse with you; nor did we
admit of your invitation with design to prostitute the beauty of
our bodies for gain; but taking you for brave and worthy men, we
agreed to your request, that we might treat you with such honors
as hospitality required: and now seeing you say that you have a
great affection for us, and are troubled when you think we are
departing, we are not averse to your entreaties; and if we may
receive such assurance of your good-will as we think can be alone
sufficient, we will be glad to lead our lives with you as your
wives; but we are afraid that you will in time be weary of our
company, and will then abuse us, and send us back to our parents,
after an ignominious manner." And they desired that they would
excuse them in their guarding against that danger. But the young
men professed they would give them any assurance they should
desire; nor did they at all contradict what they requested, so
great was the passion they had for them. "If then," said they,
"this be your resolution, since you make use of such customs and
conduct of life as are entirely different from all other men,
(12) insomuch that your kinds of food are peculiar to yourselves,
and your kinds of drink not common to others, it will be
absolutely necessary, if you would have us for your wives, that
you do withal worship our gods. Nor can there be any other
demonstration of the kindness which you say you already have, and
promise to have hereafter to us, than this, that you worship the
same gods that we do. For has any one reason to complain, that
now you are come into this country, you should worship the proper
gods of the same country? especially while our gods are common to
all men, and yours such as belong to nobody else but yourselves."
So they said they must either come into such methods of divine
worship as all others came into, or else they must look out for
another world, wherein they may live by themselves, according to
their own laws.

9. Now the young men were induced by the fondness they had for
these women to think they spake very well; so they gave
themselves up to what they persuaded them, and transgressed their
own laws, and supposing there were many gods, and resolving that
they would sacrifice to them according to the laws of that
country which ordained them, they both were delighted with their
strange food, and went on to do every thing that the women would
have them do, though in contradiction to their own laws; so far
indeed that this transgression was already gone through the whole
army of the young men, and they fell into a sedition that was
much worse than the former, and into danger of the entire
abolition of their own institutions; for when once the youth had
tasted of these strange customs, they went with insatiable
inclinations into them; and even where some of the principal men
were illustrious on account of the virtues of their fathers, they
also were corrupted together with the rest.

10. Even Zimri, the head of the tribe of Simeon accompanied with
Cozbi, a Midianitish women, who was the daughter of Sur, a man of
authority in that country; and being desired by his wife to
disregard the laws of Moses, and to follow those she was used to,
he complied with her, and this both by sacrificing after a manner
different from his own, and by taking a stranger to wife. When
things were thus, Moses was afraid that matters should grow
worse, and called the people to a congregation, but then accused
nobody by name, as unwilling to drive those into despair who, by
lying concealed, might come to repentance; but he said that they
did not do what was either worthy of themselves, or of their
fathers, by preferring pleasure to God, and to the living
according to his will; that it was fit they should change their
courses while their affairs were still in a good state, and think
that to be true fortitude which offers not violence to their
laws, but that which resists their lusts. And besides that, he
said it was not a reasonable thing, when they had lived soberly
in the wilderness, to act madly now when they were in prosperity;
and that they ought not to lose, now they have abundance, what
they had gained when they had little: - and so did he endeavor,
by saying this, to correct the young inert, and to bring them to
repentance for what they had done.

11. But Zimri arose up after him, and said, "Yes, indeed, Moses,
thou art at liberty to make use of such laws as thou art so fond
of, and hast, by accustoming thyself to them, made them firm;
otherwise, if things had not been thus, thou hadst often been
punished before now, and hadst known that the Hebrews are not
easily put upon; but thou shalt not have me one of thy followers
in thy tyrannical commands, for thou dost nothing else hitherto,
but, under pretense of laws, and of God, wickedly impose on us
slavery, and gain dominion to thyself, while thou deprivest us of
the sweetness of life, which consists in acting according to our
own wills, and is the right of free-men, and of those that have
no lord over them. Nay, indeed, this man is harder upon the
Hebrews then were the Egyptians themselves, as pretending to
punish, according to his laws, every one's acting what is most
agreeable to himself; but thou thyself better deservest to suffer
punishment, who presumest to abolish what every one acknowledges
to be what is good for him, and aimest to make thy single opinion
to have more force than that of all the rest; and what I now do,
and think to be right, I shall not hereafter deny to be according
to my own sentiments. I have married, as thou sayest rightly, a
strange woman, and thou hearest what I do from myself as from one
that is free, for truly I did not intend to conceal myself. I
also own that I sacrificed to those gods to whom you do not think
it fit to sacrifice; and I think it right to come at truth by
inquiring of many people, and not like one that lives under
tyranny, to suffer the whole hope of my life to depend upon one
man; nor shall any one find cause to rejoice who declares himself
to have more authority over my actions than myself."

12. Now when Zimri had said these things, about what he and some
others had wickedly done, the people held their peace, both out
of fear of what might come upon them, and because they saw that
their legislator was not willing to bring his insolence before
the public any further, or openly to contend with him; for he
avoided that, lest many should imitate the impudence of his
language, and thereby disturb the multitude. Upon this the
assembly was dissolved. However, the mischievous attempt had
proceeded further, if Zimri had not been first slain, which came
to pass on the following occasion: - Phineas, a man in other
respects better than the rest of the young men, and also one that
surpassed his contemporaries in the dignity of his father, (for
he was the son of Eleazar the high priest, and the grandson of
[Aaron] Moses's brother,) who was greatly troubled at what was
done by Zimri, he resolved in earnest to inflict punishment on
him, before his unworthy behavior should grow stronger by
impunity, and in order to prevent this transgression from
proceeding further, which would happen if the ringleaders were
not punished. He was of so great magnanimity, both in strength of
mind and body, that when he undertook any very dangerous attempt,
he did not leave it off till he overcame it, and got an entire
victory. So he came into Zimri's tent, and slew him with his
javelin, and with it he slew Cozbi also, Upon which all those
young men that had a regard to virtue, and aimed to do a glorious
action, imitated Phineas's boldness, and slew those that were
found to be guilty of the same crime with Zimri. Accordingly many
of those that had transgressed perished by the magnanimous valor
of these young men; and the rest all perished by a plague, which
distemper God himself inflicted upon them; so that all those
their kindred, who, instead of hindering them from such wicked
actions, as they ought to have done, had persuaded them to go on,
were esteemed by God as partners in their wickedness, and died.
Accordingly there perished out of the army no fewer than fourteen
(13) [twenty-four] thousand at this time.

13. This was the cause why Moses was provoked to send an army to
destroy the Midianites, concerning which expedition we shall
speak presently, when we have first related what we have omitted;
for it is but just not to pass over our legislator's due
encomium, on account of his conduct here, because, although this
Balaam, who was sent for by the Midianites to curse the Hebrews,
and when he was hindered from doing it by Divine Providence, did
still suggest that advice to them, by making use of which our
enemies had well nigh corrupted the whole multitude of the
Hebrews with their wiles, till some of them were deeply infected
with their opinions; yet did he do him great honor, by setting
down his prophecies in writing. And while it was in his power to
claim this glory to himself, and make men believe they were his
own predictions, there being no one that could be a witness
against him, and accuse him for so doing, he still gave his
attestation to him, and did him the honor to make mention of him
on this account. But let every one think of these matters as he


How The Hebrews Fought With The Midianites, And Overcame Them.

1. Now Moses sent an army against the land of Midian, for the
causes forementioned, in all twelve thousand, taking an equal
number out of every

tribe, and appointed Phineas for their commander; of which
Phineas we made mention a little before, as he that had guarded
the laws of the Hebrews, and had inflicted punishment on Zimri
when he had transgressed them. Now the Midianites perceived
beforehand how the Hebrews were coming, and would suddenly be
upon them: so they assembled their army together, and fortified
the entrances into their country, and there awaited the enemy's
coming. When they were come, and they had joined battle with
them, an immense multitude of the Midianites fell; nor could they
be numbered, they were so very many: and among them fell all
their kings, five in number, viz. Evi, Zur, Reba, Hur, and Rekem,
who was of the same name with a city, the chief and capital of
all Arabia, which is still now so called by the whole Arabian
nation, Arecem, from the name of the king that built it; but is
by the Greeks called - Petra. Now when the enemies were
discomfited, the Hebrews spoiled their country, and took a great
prey, and destroyed the men that were its inhabitants, together
with the women; only they let the virgins alone, as Moses had
commanded Phineas to do, who indeed came back, bringing with him
an army that had received no harm, and a great deal of prey;
fifty-two thousand beeves, seventy-five thousand six hundred
sheep, sixty thousand asses, with an immense quantity of gold and
silver furniture, which the Midianites made use of in their
houses; for they were so wealthy, that they were very luxurious.
There were also led captive about thirty-two thousand virgins.
(14) So Moses parted the prey into parts, and gave one fiftieth
part to Eleazar and the two priests, and another fiftieth part to
the Levites; and distributed the rest of the prey among the
people. After which they lived happily, as having obtained an
abundance of good things by their valor, and there being no
misfortune that attended them, or hindered their enjoyment of
that happiness.

2. But Moses was now grown old, and appointed Joshua for his
successor, both to receive directions from God as a prophet, and
for a commander of the army, if they should at any time stand in
need of such a one; and this was done by the command of God, that
to him the care of the public should be committed. Now Joshua had
been instructed in all those kinds of learning which concerned
the laws and God himself, and Moses had been his instructor.

3. At this time it was that the two tribes of Gad and Reuben, and
the half tribe of Manasseh, abounded in a multitude of cattle, as
well as in all other kinds of prosperity; whence they had a
meeting, and in a body came and besought Moses to give them, as
their peculiar portion, that land of the Amorites which they had
taken by right of war, because it was fruitful, and good for
feeding of cattle; but Moses, supposing that they were afraid of
fighting with the Canaanites, and invented this provision for
their cattle as a handsome excuse for avoiding that war, he
called them arrant cowards, and said they had only contrived a
decent excuse for that cowardice; and that they had a mind to
live in luxury and ease, while all the rest were laboring with
great pains to obtain the land they were desirous to have; and
that they were not willing to march along, and undergo the
remaining hard service, whereby they were, under the Divine
promise, to pass over Jordan, and overcome those our enemies
which God had shown them, and so obtain their land. But these
tribes, when they saw that Moses was angry with them, and when
they could not deny but he had a just cause to be displeased at
their petition, made an apology for themselves; and said, that it
was not on account of their fear of dangers, nor on account of
their laziness, that they made this request to him, but that they
might leave the prey they had gotten in places of safety, and
thereby might be more expedite, and ready to undergo
difficulties, and to fight battles. They added this also, that
when they had built cities, wherein they might preserve their
children, and wives, and possessions, if he would bestow them
upon them, they would go along with the rest of the army.
Hereupon Moses was pleased with what they said; so he called for
Eleazar the high priest, and Joshua, and the chief of the tribes,
and permitted these tribes to possess the land of the Amorites;
but upon this condition, that they should join with their kinsmen
in the war until all things were settled. Upon which condition
they took possession of the country, and built them strong
cities, and put into them their children and their wives, and
whatsoever else they had that might be an impediment to the
labors of their future marches.

4. Moses also now built those ten cities which were to be of the
number of the forty-eight [for the Levites;]; three of which he
allotted to those that slew any person involuntarily, and fled to
them; and he assigned the same time for their banishment with
that of the life of that high priest under whom the slaughter and
flight happened; after which death of the high priest he
permitted the slayer to return home. During the time of his
exile, the relations of him that was slain may, by this law, kill
the manslayer, if they caught him without the bounds of the city
to which he fled, though this permission was not granted to any
other person. Now the cities which were set apart for this flight
were these: Bezer, at the borders of Arabia; Ramoth, of the land
of Gilead; and Golan, in the land of Bashan. There were to be
also, by Moses's command, three other cities allotted for the
habitation of these fugitives out of the cities of the Levites,
but not till after they should be in possession of the land of

5. At this time the chief men of the tribe of Manasseh came to
Moses, and informed him that there was an eminent man of their
tribe dead, whose name was Zelophehad, who left no male children,
but left daughters; and asked him whether these daughters might
inherit his land or not. He made this answer, That if they shall
marry into their own tribe, they shall carry their estate along
with them; but if they dispose of themselves in marriage to men
of another tribe, they shall leave their inheritance in their
father's tribe. And then it was that Moses ordained, that every
one's inheritance should continue in his own tribe.


The Polity Settled By Moses; And How He Disappeared From Among

1. When forty years were completed, within thirty days, Moses
gathered the congregation together near Jordan, where the city
Abila now stands, a place full of palm-trees; and all the people
being come together, he spake thus to them: -

2. "O you Israelites and fellow soldiers, who have been partners
with me in this long and uneasy journey; since it is now the will
of God, and the course of old age, at a hundred and twenty,
requires it that I should depart out of this life; and since God
has forbidden me to be a patron or an assistant to you in what
remains to be done beyond Jordan; I thought it reasonable not to
leave off my endeavors even now for your happiness, but to do my
utmost to procure for you the eternal enjoyment of good things,
and a memorial for myself, when you shall be in the fruition of
great plenty and prosperity. Come, therefore, let me suggest to
you by what means you may he happy, and may leave an eternal
prosperous possession thereof to your children after you, and
then let me thus go out of the world; and I cannot but deserve to
be believed by you, both on account of the great things I have
already done for you, and because, when souls are about to leave
the body, they speak with the sincerest freedom. O children of
Israel! there is but one source of happiness for all mankind, the
favor of God (15) for he alone is able to give good things to
those that deserve them, and to deprive those of them that sin
against him; towards whom, if you behave yourselves according to
his will, and according to what I, who well understand his mind,
do exhort you to, you will both be esteemed blessed, and will be
admired by all men; and will never come into misfortunes, nor
cease to be happy: you will then preserve the possession of the
good things you already have, and will quickly obtain those that
you are at present in want of, - only do you be obedient to those
whom God would have you to follow. Nor do you prefer any other
constitution of government before the laws now given you; neither
do you disregard that way of Divine worship which you now have,
nor change it for any other form: and if you do this, you will be
the most courageous of all men, in undergoing the fatigues of
war, and will not be easily conquered by any of your enemies; for
while God is present with you to assist you, it is to be expected
that you will be able to despise the opposition of all mankind;
and great rewards of virtue are proposed for you, if you preserve
that virtue through your whole lives. Virtue itself is indeed the
principal and the first reward, and after that it bestows
abundance of others; so that your exercise of virtue towards
other men will make your own lives happy, and render you more
glorious than foreigners can be, and procure you an undisputed
reputation with posterity. These blessings you will be able to
obtain, in case you hearken to and observe those laws which, by
Divine revelation, I have ordained for you; that is, in case you
withal meditate upon the wisdom that is in them. I am going from
you myself, rejoicing in the good things you enjoy; and I
recommend you to the wise conduct of your law, to the becoming
order of your polity, and to the virtues of your commanders, who
will take care of what is for your advantage. And that God, who
has been till now your Leader, and by whose goodwill I have
myself been useful to you, will not put a period now to his
providence over you, but as long as you desire to have him your
Protector in your pursuits after virtue, so long will you enjoy
his care over you. Your high priest also Eleazar, as well as
Joshua, with the senate, and chief of your tribes, will go before
you, and suggest the best advices to you; by following which
advices you will continue to be happy: to whom do you give ear
without reluctance, as sensible that all such as know well how to
be governed, will also know how to govern, if they be promoted to
that authority themselves. And do not you esteem liberty to
consist in opposing such directions as your governors think fit
to give you for your practice, - as at present indeed you place
your liberty in nothing else but abusing your benefactors; which
error if you can avoid for the time to come, your affairs will be
in a better condition than they have hitherto been. Nor do you
ever indulge such a degree of passion in these matters, as you
have oftentimes done when you have been very angry at me; for you
know that I have been oftener in danger of death from you than
from our enemies. What I now put you in mind of, is not done in
order to reproach you; for I do not think it proper, now I am
going out of the world, to bring this to your remembrance, in
order to leave you offended at me, since, at the time when I
underwent those hardships from you, I was not angry at you; but I
do it in order to make you wiser hereafter, and to teach you that
this will be for your security; I mean, that you never be
injurious to those that preside over you, even when you are
become rich, as you will he to a great degree when you have
passed over Jordan, and are in possession of the land of Canaan.
Since, when you shall have once proceeded so far by your wealth,
as to a contempt and disregard of virtue, you will also forfeit
the favor of God; and when you have made him your enemy, you will
be beaten in war, and will have the land which you possess taken
away again from you by your enemies, and this with great
reproaches upon your conduct. You will be scattered over the
whole world, and will, as slaves, entirely fill both sea and
land; and when once you have had the experience of what I now
say, you will repent, and remember the laws you have broken, when
it is too late. Whence I would advise you, if you intend to
preserve these laws, to leave none of your enemies alive when you
have conquered them, but to look upon it as for your advantage to
destroy them all, lest, if you permit them to live, you taste of
their manners, and thereby corrupt your own proper institutions.
I also do further exhort you, to overthrow their altars, and
their groves, and whatsoever temples they have among them, and to
burn all such, their nation, and their very memory with fire; for
by this means alone the safety of your own happy constitution can
be firmly secured to you. And in order to prevent your ignorance
of virtue, and the degeneracy of your nature into vice, I have
also ordained you laws, by Divine suggestion, and a form of
government, which are so good, that if you regularly observe
them, you will be esteemed of all men the most happy."

3. When he had spoken thus, he gave them the laws and the
constitution of government written in a book. Upon which the
people fell into tears, and appeared already touched with the
sense that they should have a great want of their conductor,
because they remembered what a number of dangers he had passed
through, and what care he had taken of their preservation: they
desponded about what would come upon them after he was dead, and
thought they should never have another governor like him; and
feared that God would then take less care of them when Moses was
gone, who used to intercede for them. They also repented of what
they had said to him in the wilderness when they were angry, and
were in grief on those accounts, insomuch that the whole body of
the people fell into tears with such bitterness, that it was past
the power of words to comfort them in their affliction. However,
Moses gave them some consolation; and by calling them off the
thought how worthy he was of their weeping for him, he exhorted
them to keep to that form of government he had given them; and
then the congregation was dissolved at that time.

4. Accordingly, I shall now first describe this form of
government which was agreeable to the dignity and virtue of
Moses; and shall thereby inform those that read these
Antiquities, what our original settlements were, and shall then
proceed to the remaining histories. Now those settlements are all
still in writing, as he left them; and we shall add nothing by
way of ornament, nor any thing besides what Moses left us; only
we shall so far innovate, as to digest the several kinds of laws
into a regular system; for they were by him left in writing as
they were accidentally scattered in their delivery, and as he
upon inquiry had learned them of God. On which account I have
thought it necessary to premise this observation beforehand, lest
any of my own countrymen should blame me, as having been guilty
of an offense herein. Now part of our constitution will include
the laws that belong to our political state. As for those laws
which Moses left concerning our common conversation and
intercourse one with another, I have reserved that for a
discourse concerning our manner of life, and the occasions of
those laws; which I propose to myself, with God's assistance, to
write, after I have finished the work I am now upon.

5. When you have possessed yourselves of the land of Canaan, and
have leisure to enjoy the good things of it, and when you have
afterward determined to build cities, if you will do what is
pleasing to God, you will have a secure state of happiness. Let
there be then one city of the land of Canaan, and this situate in
the most agreeable place for its goodness, and very eminent in
itself, and let it be that which God shall choose for himself by
prophetic revelation. Let there also be one temple therein, and
one altar, not reared of hewn stones, but of such as you gather
together at random; which stones, when they are whited over with
mortar, will have a handsome appearance, and be beautiful to the
sight. Let the ascent to it be not by steps (16) but by an
acclivity of raised earth. And let there be neither an altar nor
a temple in any other city; for God is but one, and the nation of
the Hebrews is but one.

6. He that blasphemeth God, let him be stoned; and let him hang
upon a tree all that day, and then let him be buried in an
ignominious and obscure manner.

7. Let those that live as remote as the bounds of the land which
the Hebrews shall possess, come to that city where the temple
shall be, and this three times in a year, that they may give
thanks to God for his former benefits, and may entreat him for
those they shall want hereafter; and let them, by this means,
maintain a friendly correspondence with one another by such
meetings and feastings together, for it is a good thing for those
that are of the same stock, and under the same institution of
laws, not to be unacquainted with each other; which acquaintance
will be maintained by thus conversing together, and by seeing and
talking with one another, and so renewing the memorials of this
union; for if they do not thus converse together continually,
they will appear like mere strangers to one another.

8. Let there be taken out of your fruits a tenth, besides that
which you have allotted to give to the priests and Levites. This
you may indeed sell in the country, but it is to be used in those
feasts and sacrifices that are to be celebrated in the holy city;
for it is fit that you should enjoy those fruits of the earth
which God gives you to possess, so as may be to the honor of the

9. You are not to offer sacrifices out of the hire of a woman who
is a harlot (17) for the Deity is not pleased with any thing that
arises from such abuses of nature; of which sort none can be
worse than this prostitution of the body. In like manner no one
may take the price of the covering of a bitch, either of one that
is used in hunting, or in keeping of sheep, and thence sacrifice
to God.

10. Let no one blaspheme those gods which other cities esteem
such; (18) nor may any one steal what belongs to strange temples,
nor take away the gifts that are dedicated to any god.

11. Let not any one of you wear a garment made of woolen and
linen, for that is appointed to be for the priests alone.

12. When the multitude are assembled together unto the holy city
for sacrificing every seventh year, at the feast of tabernacles,
let the high priest stand upon a high desk, whence he may be
heard, and let him read the laws to all the people; and let
neither the women nor the children be hindered from hearing, no,
nor the servants neither; for it is a good thing that those laws
should be engraven in their souls, and preserved in their
memories, that so it may not be possible to blot them out; for by
this means they will not be guilty of sin, when they cannot plead
ignorance of what the laws have enjoined them. The laws also will
have a greater authority among them, as foretelling what they
will suffer if they break them; and imprinting in their souls by
this hearing what they command them to do, that so there may
always be within their minds that intention of the laws which
they have despised and broken, and have thereby been the causes
of their own mischief. Let the children also learn the laws, as
the first thing they are taught, which will be the best thing
they can be taught, and will be the cause of their future

13. Let every one commemorate before God the benefits which he
bestowed upon them at their deliverance out of the land of Egypt,
and this twice every day, both when the day begins and when the
hour of sleep comes on, gratitude being in its own nature a just
thing, and serving not only by way of return for past, but also
by way of invitation of future favors. They are also to inscribe
the principal blessings they have received from God upon their
doors, and show the same remembrance of them upon their arms; as
also they are to bear on their forehead and their arm those
wonders which declare the power of God, and his good-will towards
them, that God's readiness to bless them may appear every where
conspicuous about them. (19)

14. Let there be seven men to judge in every city, (20) and these
such as have been before most zealous in the exercise of virtue
and righteousness. Let every judge have two officers allotted him
out of the tribe of Levi. Let those that are chosen to judge in
the several cities be had in great honor; and let none be
permitted to revile any others when these are present, nor to
carry themselves in an insolent manner to them; it being natural
that reverence towards those in high offices among men should
procure men's fear and reverence towards God. Let those that
judge be permitted to determine according as they think to be
right, unless any one can show that they have taken bribes, to
the perversion of justice, or can allege any other accusation
against them, whereby it may appear that they have passed an
unjust sentence; for it is not fit that causes should be openly
determined out of regard to gain, or to the dignity of the
suitors, but that the judges should esteem what is right before
all other things, otherwise God will by that means be despised,
and esteemed inferior to those, the dread of whose power has
occasioned the unjust sentence; for justice is the power of God.
He therefore that gratifies those in great dignity, supposes them
more potent than God himself. But if these judges be unable to
give a just sentence about the causes that come before them,
(which case is not unfrequent in human affairs,) let them send
the cause undetermined to the holy city, and there let the high
priest, the prophet, and the sanhedrim, determine as it shall
seem good to them.

15. But let not a single witness be credited, but three, or two
at the least, and those such whose testimony is confirmed by
their good lives. But let not the testimony of women be admitted,
on account of the levity and boldness of their sex (21) Nor let
servants be admitted to give testimony, on account of the
ignobility of their soul; since it is probable that they may not
speak truth, either out of hope of gain, or fear of punishment.
But if any one be believed to have borne false witness, let him,
when he is convicted, suffer all the very same punishments which
he against whom he bore witness was to have suffered.

16. If a murder be committed in any place, and he that did it be
not found, nor is there any suspicion upon one as if he had hated
the man, and so had killed him, let there be a very diligent
inquiry made after the man, and rewards proposed to any one who
will discover him; but if still no information can be procured,
let the magistrates and senate of those cities that lie near the
place in which the murder was committed, assemble together, and
measure the distance from the place where the dead body lies;
then let the magistrates of the nearest city thereto purchase a
heifer, and bring it to a valley, and to a place therein where
there is no land ploughed or trees planted, and let them cut the
sinews of the heifer; then the priests and Levites, and the
senate of that city, shall take water and wash their hands over
the head of the heifer; and they shall openly declare that their
hands are innocent of this murder, and that they have neither
done it themselves, nor been assisting to any that did it. They
shall also beseech God to be merciful to them, that no such
horrid act may any more be done in that land.

17. Aristocracy, and the way of living under it, is the best
constitution: and may you never have any inclination to any other
form of government; and may you always love that form, and have
the laws for your governors, and govern all your actions
according to them; for you need no supreme governor but God. But
if you shall desire a king, let him be one of your own nation;
let him be always careful of justice and other virtues
perpetually; let him submit to the laws, and esteem God's
commands to be his highest wisdom; but let him do nothing without
the high priest and the votes of the senators: let him not have a
great number of wives, nor pursue after abundance of riches, nor
a multitude of horses, whereby he may grow too proud to submit to
the laws. And if he affect any such things, let him be
restrained, lest he become so potent that his state be
inconsistent with your welfare.

18. Let it not be esteemed lawful to remove boundaries, neither
our own, nor of those with whom we are at peace. Have a care you
do not take those landmarks away which are, as it were, a divine
and unshaken limitation of rights made by God himself, to last
for ever; since this going beyond limits, and gaining ground upon
others, is the occasion of wars and seditions; for those that
remove boundaries are not far off an attempt to subvert the laws.

19. He that plants a piece of land, the trees of which produce
fruits before the fourth year, is not to bring thence any
first-fruits to God, nor is he to make use of that fruit himself,
for it is not produced in its proper season; for when nature has
a force put upon her at an unseasonable time, the fruit is not
proper for God, nor for the master's use; but let the owner
gather all that is grown on the fourth car, for then it is in its
proper season. And let him that has gathered it carry it to the
holy city, and spend that, together with the tithe of his other
fruits, in feasting with his friends, with the orphans, and the
widows. But on the fifth year the fruit is his own, and he may
use it as he pleases.

20. You are not to sow with seed a piece of land which is planted
with vines, for it is enough that it supply nourishment to that
plant, and be not harassed by ploughing also. You are to plough
your land with oxen, and not to oblige other animals to come
under the same yoke with them; but to till your land with those
beasts that are of the same kind with each other. The seeds are
also to be pure, and without mixture, and not to be compounded of
two or three sorts, since nature does not rejoice in the union of
things that are not in their own nature alike; nor are you to
permit beasts of different kinds to gender together, for there is
reason to fear that this unnatural abuse may extend from beasts
of different kinds to men, though it takes its first rise from
evil practices about such smaller things. Nor is any thing to be
allowed, by imitation whereof any degree of subversion may creep
into the constitution. Nor do the laws neglect small matters, but
provide that even those may be managed after an unblamable

21. Let not those that reap, and gather in the corn that is
reaped, gather in the gleanings also; but let them rather leave
some handfuls for those that are in want of the necessaries of
life, that it may be a support and a supply to them, in order to
their subsistence. In like manner when they gather their grapes,
let them leave some smaller bunches for the poor, and let them
pass over some of the fruits of the olive-trees, when they gather
them, and leave them to be partaken of by those that have none of
their own; for the advantage arising from the exact collection of
all, will not be so considerable to the owners as will arise from
the gratitude of the poor. And God will provide that the land
shall more willingly produce what shall be for the nourishment of
its fruits, in case you do not merely take care of your own
advantage, but have regard to the support of others also. Nor are
you to muzzle the mouths of the oxen when they tread the ears of
corn in the thrashing-floor; for it is not just to restrain our
fellow-laboring animals, and those that work in order to its
production, of this fruit of their labors. Nor are you to
prohibit those that pass by at the time when your fruits are ripe
to touch them, but to give them leave to fill themselves full of
what you have; and this whether they be of your own country or
strangers, - as being glad of the opportunity of giving them some
part of your fruits when they are ripe; but let it not be
esteemed lawful for them to carry any away. Nor let those that
gather the grapes, and carry them to the wine-presses, restrain
those whom they meet from eating of them; for it is unjust, out
of envy, to hinder those that desire it, to partake of the good
things that come into the world according to God's will, and this
while the season is at the height, and is hastening away as it
pleases God. Nay, if some, out of bashfulness, are unwilling to
touch these fruits, let them be encouraged to take of them (I
mean, those that are Israelites) as if they were themselves the
owners and lords, on account of the kindred there is between
them. Nay, let them desire men that come from other countries, to
partake of these tokens of friendship which God has given in
their proper season; for that is not to be deemed as idly spent,
which any one out of kindness communicates to another, since God
bestows plenty of good things on men, not only for themselves to
reap the advantage, but also to give to others in a way of
generosity; and he is desirous, by this means, to make known to
others his peculiar kindness to the people of Israel, and how
freely he communicates happiness to them, while they abundantly
communicate out of their great superfluities to even these
foreigners also. But for him that acts contrary to this law, let
him be beaten with forty stripes save one (22) by the public
executioner; let him undergo this punishment, which is a most
ignominious one for a free-man, and this because he was such a
slave to gain as to lay a blot upon his dignity; for it is proper
for you who have had the experience of the afflictions in Egypt,
and of those in the wilderness, to make provision for those that
are in the like circumstances; and while you have now obtained
plenty yourselves, through the mercy and providence of God, to
distribute of the same plenty, by the like sympathy, to such as
stand in need of it.

22. Besides those two tithes, which I have already said you are
to pay every year, the one for the Levites, the other for the
festivals, you are to bring every third year a third tithe to be
distributed to those that want; (23) to women also that are
widows, and to children that are orphans. But as to the ripe
fruits, let them carry that which is ripe first of all into the
temple; and when they have blessed God for that land which bare
them, and which he had given them for a possession, when they
have also offered those sacrifices which the law has commanded
them to bring, let them give the first-fruits to the priests. But
when any one hath done this, and hath brought the tithe of all
that he hath, together with those first-fruits that are for the
Levites, and for the festivals, and when he is about to go home,
let him stand before the holy house, and return thanks to God,
that he hath delivered them from the injurious treatment they had
in Egypt, and hath given them a good land, and a large, and lets
them enjoy the fruits thereof; and when he hath openly testified
that he hath fully paid the tithes [and other dues] according to
the laws of Moses, let him entreat God that he will be ever
merciful and gracious to him, and continue so to be to all the
Hebrews, both by preserving the good things which he hath already
given them, and by adding what it is still in his power to bestow
upon them.

23. Let the Hebrews marry, at the age fit for it, virgins that
are free, and born of good parents. And he that does not marry a
virgin, let him not corrupt another man's wife, and marry her,
nor grieve her former husband. Nor let free men marry slaves,
although their affections should strongly bias any of them so to
do; for it is decent, and for the dignity of the persons
themselves, to govern those their affections. And further, no one
ought to marry a harlot, whose matrimonial oblations, arising
from the prostitution of her body, God will not receive; for by
these means the dispositions of the children will be liberal and
virtuous; I mean, when they are not born of base parents, and of
the lustful conjunction of such as marry women that are not free.
If any one has been espoused to a woman as to a virgin, and does
not afterward find her so to be, let him bring his action, and
accuse her, and let him make use of such indications (24) to
prove his accusation as he is furnished withal; and let the
father or the brother of the damsel, or some one that is after
them nearest of kin to her, defend her If the damsel obtain a
sentence in her favor, that she had not been guilty, let her live
with her husband that accused her; and let him not have any
further power at all to put her away, unless she give him very
great occasions of suspicion, and such as can be no way
contradicted. But for him that brings an accusation and calumny
against his wife in an impudent and rash manner, let him be
punished by receiving forty stripes save one, and let him pay
fifty shekels to her father: but if the damsel be convicted, as
having been corrupted, and is one of the common people, let her
be stoned, because she did not preserve her virginity till she
were lawfully married; but if she were the daughter of a priest,
let her be burnt alive. If any one has two wives, and if he
greatly respect and be kind to one of them, either out of his
affection to her, or for her beauty, or for some other reason,
while the other is of less esteem with him; and if the son of her
that is beloved be the younger by birth than another born of the
other wife, but endeavors to obtain the right of primogeniture
from his father's kindness to his mother, and would thereby
obtain a double portion of his father's substance, for that
double portion is what I have allotted him in the laws, - let not
this be permitted; for it is unjust that he who is the elder by
birth should be deprived of what is due to him, on the father's
disposition of his estate, because his mother was not equally
regarded by him. He that hath corrupted a damsel espoused to
another man, in case he had her consent, let both him and her be
put to death, for they are both equally guilty; the man, because
he persuaded the woman willingly to submit to a most impure
action, and to prefer it to lawful wedlock; the woman, because
she was persuaded to yield herself to be corrupted, either for
pleasure or for gain. However, if a man light on a woman when she
is alone, and forces her, where nobody was present to come to her
assistance, let him only be put to death. Let him that hath
corrupted a virgin not yet espoused marry her; but if the father
of the damsel be not willing that she should be his wife, let him
pay fifty shekels as the price of her prostitution. He that
desires to be divorced from his wife for any cause (25)
whatsoever, (and many such causes happen among men,) let him in
writing give assurance that he will never use her as his wife any
more; for by this means she may be at liberty to marry another
husband, although before this bill of divorce be given, she is
not to be permitted so to do: but if she be misused by him also,
or if, when he is dead, her first husband would marry her again,
it shall not be lawful for her to return to him. If a woman's
husband die, and leave her without children, let his brother
marry her, and let him call the son that is born to him by his
brother's name, and educate him as the heir of his inheritance,
for this procedure will be for the benefit of the public, because
thereby families will not fail, and the estate will continue
among the kindred; and this will be for the solace of wives under
their affliction, that they are to be married to the next
relation of their former husbands. But if the brother will not
marry her, let the woman come before the senate, and protest
openly that this brother will not admit her for his wife, but
will injure the memory of his deceased brother, while she is
willing to continue in the family, and to hear him children. And
when the senate have inquired of him for what reason it is that
he is averse to this marriage, whether he gives a bad or a good
reason, the matter must come to this issue, That the woman shall
loose the sandals of the brother, and shall spit in his face, and
say, He deserves this reproachful treatment from her, as having
injured the memory of the deceased. And then let him go away out
of the senate, and bear this reproach upon him all his life long;
and let her marry to whom she pleases, of such as seek her in
marriage. But now, if any man take captive, either a virgin, or
one that hath been married, (26) and has a mind to marry her, let
him not be allowed to bring her to bed to him, or to live with
her as his wife, before she hath her head shaven, and hath put on
her mourning habit, and lamented her relations and friends that
were slain in the battle, that by this means she may give vent to
her sorrow for them, and after that may betake herself to
feasting and matrimony; for it is good for him that takes a
woman, in order to have children by her, to be complaisant to her

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