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(retaining Aristobulus) immediately dispatched Gabinius, one of his generals, with some troops to the city to receive the offered money; but when they came there, the persons who commanded in the town, in the name of Aristobulus, refused them admittance, telling them they would not stand to any such agreement.
This was a kind of treatment the Roman general could not digest, and, therefore, after ordering Aristobulus to be put in chains, he marched with his army to Jerusalem, and immediately proceeded to reconnoitre the place, in order to form a judgment which was the most likely part to make a successful assault.
No sooner did Pompey appear before Jerusalem, than an insurrection took place between the two parties respectively attached to Aristobulus and Hyrcanus. The adherents of the former were for attempting to rescue their king by force of arms, while the other party were equally strenuous for admitting Pompey into the city; and the majority of the people, conscious of the superior power of the Romans, were friends to the latter measure. The partizans of Aristobulus took possession of the temple, and cut away the bridge of communication between that and the city, being fully resolved to defend themselves to the last extremity. The other party admitted great numbers of the Romans into the town, upon which Pompey dispatched one of his general officers to take possession of the palace. Finding that the Jews who had retired into the temple were absolutely determined not to submit, he gave over all thoughts of a compromise, and made the necessary preparations for an assault, in which he received every possible assistance from Hyrcanus and his adherents.
Pompey resolved to begin the attack on the wall of the north side of the temple, which was surrounded by a very deep and broad ditch. As a necessary preparation he ordered this ditch to be filled up, in doing of which the Jews had the greatest opportunity of annoying the enemy from above. Pompey seeing this ordered his soldiers to employ themselves in the work on the sabbath-day, when the Jews (notwithstanding it had been long deemed lawful for them to use their utmost endeavors for their own
security at such times and on such occasions) preserved their superstitious notions to such a degree, that they would not permit the least interruption to take place, or even perform any kind of work, except what was indispensably necessary for the immediate support or defence of their lives.
The ditch being at length filled up, and the ground levelled, Pompey caused strong towers to be erected thereon; and every necessary preparation being made, the assault was commenced with a species of engines of war that had been brought from Tyre.
The besieged defended themselves with great resolution, but there was no possibility of long withstanding the power of a Roman army. After a siege of three months the temple was taken by assault, and such of the people who attempted to escape, or offered resistance, were instantly put to death. Several priests, who were employed in the duties of their office at the time, paid no regard to their personal safety even when the swords of the enemy were pointed to their breasts, but yielded up their lives while exercising the duties of their profession. The Jews attached to Pompey felt no compassion for those who espoused the cause of Aristobulus; so that a most dreadful carnage took place, in which not less than twelve thousand Jews were put to the sword.
Amidst the general calamity of the Jews on this occasion, what most sensibly afflicted them was, the unprecedented event of the Holy of Holies being exposed to profane eyes. To this place only the high-priest was to be admitted; but it was entered by Pompey and his attendants, who saw the candlesticks, lamps, tables for incense, and other articles used in the performance of Divine service. He likewise visited the treasuries, where be found two thousand talents of silver, besides vessels of gold and other things of great value. He would not, however, suffer a single article to be touched, but left them entire for the sacred uses to which they were appropriated; and the next day he ordered the temple to be purifi
ed, and that the oblations and other ceremonies of reli- . gion should be performed as usual.*
Pompey, having thus possessed himself of the city and temple of Jerusalem, proceeded to make such regulations as he thought necessary previous to his departure. All those people among the Jews whom he discovered to have been the promoters of the late insurrection, he condemned to the loss of their heads; but such as had signalized themselves in the prosecution of the siege, he liberally rewarded. Among these was Hyrcanus, whom he not only restored to the high-priesthood, but likewise made him prince of the country, though he would not permit him to preserve the regal dignity by wearing a crown. He laid the country of Judea under an annual tribute; deprived the Jews of the cities they had gained in Coelo-Syria, and, by annexing them to the jurisdiction of the Roman government, reduced the possessions of the Jews to their former limits. He appointed Scaurus, one of his generals, to the government of Judea, Colo-Syria, and all the country of Egypt to the borders of the Euphrates, giving him likewise the command of two legions, that he might be the better enabled to discharge the trust reposed in him.
Having made these regulations, Pompey left Jerusalem, and set forward on his journey home, taking with him Aristobulus, his two sons Alexander and Antigonus, and two of his daughters, as captives, whom he purposed should be led before him when he made his triumphal entry into his capital. From this period we may justly date the destruction of Jerusalem, and the subjection of the Jewish nation to the Roman yoke, having been compelled to restore to the Syrians what they had taken in the course of a long war, as well as to submit to the loss. of the sovereign authority.
*Though Pompey was thus modest, yet Crassus (who succeeded Gabinius in the lieutenancy) coming to Jerusalem some time after, not only extorted the two thousand talents, and a large bar of gold by way of bribe, to restrain him from farther plunder; but, contrary to the promise which he had given upon oath, ransacked the temple all over, and robbed it of every thing he thought worth taking away, insomuch that the whole of his sacrilegious plunder amounted to the value of ten thousand talents.
VOL. iii. L
While Pompey was on his way to Rome after the reduction of Jerusalem, Alexander (one of the sons of Aristobulus) found means to effect his escape. He continued in obscurity for the space of three years, at the expiration of which he went into Judea, and, having gathered together a great number of forces, possessed himself of several principal places in different parts of the country. Gabinius, the Roman governor in Syria, hearing of the proceedings of Alexander, resolved to march with his army against him, upon which the latter, being informed of his intentions, encreased his troops to ten thousand foot and fifteen hundred horse, and strongly fortified Alexandrion, Hyrcanion, and other places near the mountains of Arabia. In the interim Gabinius dispatched one of his principal officers with a body of chosen troops, who were joined by a cousiderable number of Jews under the command of Malicus, a brave and experienced officer; and soon after Gabinius himself followed with the main body of his army.
As soon as Alexander found Gabinius was proceeding towards him with a force which he well knew he was by no means able to withstand, he thought it most prudent to make a retreat, which he did with all possible expedition. Gabinius, however, closely followed, and overtook him in the neighborhood of Jerusalem, where a battle took place, in which three thousand of Alexander's troops were put to the sword, the like number taken prisoners, and the rest (among whom was Alexander) obliged to save themselves by a precipitate flight.
After this defeat Gabinius went to Jerusalem, and confirmed Hyrcanus in the office of high-priest; but the civil administration he took from the Sanhedrim, and put it into the hands of such magistrates as he thought proper. He likewise divided the land of Judea into five provinces, in each of which he appointed a court of justice, that the people of the different districts might have the convenience of being righted in all matters of a contentious nature.
A short time after this Aristobulus (with his other son Antigonus) escaped from Rome, and going into Judea was joined by a great number of Jews, some of whom were influenced to countenance him merely from a desire of
changing their situation, and others from a principle of fidelity and affection. He made an attempt to repair the fortress of Alexandrion; but on receiving information that Gabinius had dispatched an army in pursuit of him, he retreated to Macherus, where he dismissed the useless part of his followers, retaining only eight thousand men, whom he thought capable of properly bearing arms, and who had resolution enough to stand a contest. In a short time the Roman army arrived, and a general battle took place, in which Aristobulus and his adherents fought with astonishing bravery; but they were at length compelled to yield to the superior power of the enemy with the loss of five thousand men. Two thousand of the remainder gained a hill, and made some farther resistance, while Aristobulus, with the other thousand, cut a passage through the Roman army, and retired to Macherus. Aristobulus flattered himself that Gabinius would consent to a suspension of hostilities, whereby he might be enabled to reinforce his army, and put the place in a better posture of defence. But he soon found himself mistaken; for the Romans immediately proceeded to assault the place, which was defended with great bravery for two days, when a complete victory was gained over Aristobulus, who, with his son Antigonus, were put in chains, and sent prisoners to Rome. The Senate sentenced the father to perpetual imprisonment; but the son, through the mediation of Gabinius, was set at liberty, and permitted to return to his own country.
Not long after this a difference took place between Cæsar and Pompey, which occasioned a distraction in the Roman affairs, and a general contention among the people throughout the empire. Pompey had left some forces in Syria, to oppose which Cæsar had set Aristobulus at liberty, and proposed to have sent him with two legions into Judea, in order to secure that province; but, before he could get out of Rome, he was poisoned by some of Pompey's party. His body laid there embalmed for a considerable time, till at length it was removed by Mark Antony, who caused it to be carried into Judea, and there honorably interred in the royal sepulchre.