Book 1, Part 2
21. These accounts agree with the true histories in our books; for in them it is written that Nebuchadnezzar, in the eighteenth year of his reign, laid our temple desolate, and so it lay in that state of obscurity for fifty years; but that in the second year of the reign of Cyrus its foundations were laid, and it was finished again in the second year of Darius. I will now add the records of the Phoenicians; for it will not be superfluous to give the reader demonstrations more than enough on this occasion. In them we have this enumeration of the times of their several kings: ”Nabuchodonosor besieged Tyre for thirteen years in the days of Ithobal, their king; after him reigned Baal, ten years; after him were judges appointed, who judged the people: Ecnibalus, the son of Baslacus, two months; Chelbes, the son of Abdeus, ten months; Abbar, the high priest, three months; Mitgonus and Gerastratus, the sons of Abdelemus, were judges six years; after whom Balatorus reigned one year; after his death they sent and fetched Merbalus from Babylon, who reigned four years; after his death they sent for his brother Hirom, who reigned twenty years. Under his reign Cyrus became king of Persia.” So that the whole interval is fifty-four years besides three months; for in the seventh year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar he began to besiege Tyre, and Cyrus the Persian took the kingdom in the fourteenth year of Hirom. So that the records of the Chaldeans and Tyrians agree with our writings about this temple; and the testimonies here produced are an indisputable and undeniable attestation to the antiquity of our nation. And I suppose that what I have already said may be sufficient to such as are not very contentious.
22. But now it is proper to satisfy the inquiry of those that disbelieve the records of barbarians, and think none but Greeks to be worthy of credit, and to produce many of these very Greeks who were acquainted with our nation, and to set before them such as upon occasion have made mention of us in their own writings. Pythagoras, therefore, of Samos, lived in very ancient times, and was esteemed a person superior to all philosophers in wisdom and piety towards God. Now it is plain that he did not only know our doctrines, but was in very great measure a follower and admirer of them. There is not indeed extant any writing that is owned for his (15) but many there are who have written his history, of whom Hermippus is the most celebrated, who was a person very inquisitive into all sorts of history. Now this Hermippus, in his first book concerning Pythagoras, speaks thus: ”That Pythagoras, upon the death of one of his associates, whose name was Calliphon, a Crotonlate by birth, affirmed that this man’s soul conversed with him both night and day, and enjoined him not to pass over a place where an ass had fallen down; as also not to drink of such waters as caused thirst again; and to abstain from all sorts of reproaches.” After which he adds thus: ”This he did and said in imitation of the doctrines of the Jews and Thracians, which he transferred into his own philosophy.” For it is very truly affirmed of this Pythagoras, that he took a great many of the laws of the Jews into his own philosophy. Nor was our nation unknown of old to several of the Grecian cities, and indeed was thought worthy of imitation by some of them. This is declared by Theophrastus, in his writings concerning laws; for he says that ”the laws of the Tyrians forbid men to swear foreign oaths.” Among which he enumerates some others, and particularly that called Corban: which oath can only be found among the Jews, and declares what a man may call .A thing devoted to God.” Nor indeed was Herodotus of Halicarnassus unacquainted with our nation, but mentions it after a way of his own, when he saith thus, in the second book concerning the Colchians. His words are these: ”The only people who were circumcised in their privy members originally, were the Colchians, the Egyptians, and the Ethiopians; but the Phoenicians and those Syrians that are in Palestine confess that they learned it from the Egyptians. And for those Syrians who live about the rivers Thermodon and Parthenius, and their neighbors the Macrones, they say they have lately learned it from the Colchians; for these are the only people that are circumcised among mankind, and appear to have done the very same thing with the Egyptians. But as for the Egyptians and Ethiopians themselves, I am not able to say which of them received it from the other.” This therefore is what Herodotus says, that ”the Syrians that are in Palestine are circumcised.” But there are no inhabitants of Palestine that are circumcised excepting the Jews; and therefore it must be his knowledge of them that enabled him to speak so much concerning them. Cherilus also, a still ancienter writer, and a poet, (16) makes mention of our nation, and informs us that it came to the assistance of king Xerxes, in his expedition against Greece. For in his enumeration of all those nations, he last of all inserts ours among the rest, when he says,” At the last there passed over a people, wonderful to be beheld; for they spake the Phoenician tongue with their mouths; they dwelt in the Solymean mountains, near a broad lake: their heads were sooty; they had round rasures on them; their heads and faces were like nasty horse-heads also, that had been hardened in the smoke.” I think, therefore, that it is evident to every body that Cherilus means us, because the Solymean mountains are in our country, wherein we inhabit, as is also the lake called Asphaltitis; for this is a broader and larger lake than any other that is in Syria: and thus does Cherilus make mention of us. But now that not only the lowest sort of the Grecians, but those that are had in the greatest admiration for their philosophic improvements among them, did not only know the Jews, but when they lighted upon any of them, admired them also, it is easy for any one to know. For Clearchus, who was the scholar of Aristotle, and inferior to no one of the Peripatetics whomsoever, in his first book concerning sleep, says that ”Aristotle his master related what follows of a Jew,” and sets down Aristotle’s own discourse with him. The account is this, as written down by him: ”Now, for a great part of what this Jew said, it would be too long to recite it; but what includes in it both wonder and philosophy it may not be amiss to discourse of. Now, that I may be plain with thee, Hyperochides, I shall herein seem to thee to relate wonders, and what will resemble dreams themselves. Hereupon Hyperochides answered modestly, and said, For that very reason it is that all of us are very desirous of hearing what thou art going to say. Then replied Aristotle, For this cause it will be the best way to imitate that rule of the Rhetoricians, which requires us first to give an account of the man, and of what nation he was, that so we may not contradict our master’s directions. Then said Hyperochides, Go on, if it so pleases thee. This man then, [answered Aristotle,] was by birth a Jew, and came from Celesyria; these Jews are derived from the Indian philosophers; they are named by the Indians Calami, and by the Syrians Judaei, and took their name from the country they inhabit, which is called Judea; but for the name of their city, it is a very awkward one, for they call it Jerusalem. Now this man, when he was hospitably treated by a great many, came down from the upper country to the places near the sea, and became a Grecian, not only in his language, but in his soul also; insomuch that when we ourselves happened to be in Asia about the same places whither he came, he conversed with us, and with other philosophical persons, and made a trial of our skill in philosophy; and as he had lived with many learned men, he communicated to us more information than he received from us.” This is Aristotle’s account of the matter, as given us by Clearchus; which Aristotle discoursed also particularly of the great and wonderful fortitude of this Jew in his diet, and continent way of living, as those that please may learn more about him from Clearchus’s book itself; for I avoid setting down any more than is sufficient for my purpose. Now Clearchus said this by way of digression, for his main design was of another nature. But for Hecateus of Abdera, who was both a philosopher, and one very useful ill an active life, he was contemporary with king Alexander in his youth, and afterward was with Ptolemy, the son of Lagus; he did not write about the Jewish affairs by the by only, but composed an entire book concerning the Jews themselves; out of which book I am willing to run over a few things, of which I have been treating by way of epitome. And, in the first place, I will demonstrate the time when this Hecateus lived; for he mentions the fight that was between Ptolemy and Demetrius about Gaza, which was fought in the eleventh year after the death of Alexander, and in the hundred and seventeenth olympiad, as Castor says in his history. For when he had set down this olympiad, he says further, that ”in this olympiad Ptolemy, the son of Lagus, beat in battle Demetrius, the son of Antigonus, who was named Poliorcetes, at Gaza.” Now, it is agreed by all, that Alexander died in the hundred and fourteenth olympiad; it is therefore evident that our nation flourished in his time, and in the time of Alexander. Again, Hecateus says to the same purpose, as follows: ”Ptolemy got possession of the places in Syria after that battle at Gaza; and many, when they heard of Ptolemy’s moderation and humanity, went along with him to Egypt, and were willing to assist him in his affairs; one of whom (Hecateus says) was Hezekiah (17) the high priest of the Jews; a man of about sixty-six years of age, and in great dignity among his own people. He was a very sensible man, and could speak very movingly, and was very skillful in the management of affairs, if any other man ever were so; although, as he says, all the priests of the Jews took tithes of the products of the earth, and managed public affairs, and were in number not above fifteen hundred at the most.” Hecateus mentions this Hezekiah a second time, and says, that ”as he was possessed of so great a dignity, and was become familiar with us, so did he take certain of those that were with him, and explained to them all the circumstances of their people; for he had all their habitations and polity down in writing.” Moreover, Hecateus declares again, ”what regard we have for our laws, and that we resolve to endure any thing rather than transgress them, because we think it right for us to do so.” Whereupon he adds, that ”although they are in a bad reputation among their neighbors, and among all those that come to them, and have been often treated injuriously by the kings and governors of Persia, yet can they not be dissuaded from acting what they think best; but that when they are stripped on this account, and have torments inflicted upon them, and they are brought to the most terrible kinds of death, they meet them after an extraordinary manner, beyond all other people, and will not renounce the religion of their forefathers.” Hecateus also produces demonstrations not a few of this their resolute tenaciousness of their laws, when he speaks thus: ”Alexander was once at Babylon, and had an intention to rebuild the temple of Belus that was fallen to decay, and in order thereto, he commanded all his soldiers in general to bring earth thither. But the Jews, and they only, would not comply with that command; nay, they underwent stripes and great losses of what they had on this account, till the king forgave them, and permitted them to live in quiet.” He adds further, that ”when the Macedonians came to them into that country, and demolished the [old] temples and the altars, they assisted them in demolishing them all (18) but [for not assisting them in rebuilding them] they either underwent losses, or sometimes obtained forgiveness.” He adds further, that ”these men deserve to be admired on that account.” He also speaks of the mighty populousness of our nation, and says that ”the Persians formerly carried away many ten thousands of our people to Babylon, as also that not a few ten thousands were removed after Alexander’s death into Egypt and Phoenicia, by reason of the sedition that was arisen in Syria.” The same person takes notice in his history, how large the country is which we inhabit, as well as of its excellent character, and says, that ”the land in which the Jews inhabit contains three millions of arourae, (19) and is generally of a most excellent and most fruitful soil; nor is Judea of lesser dimensions.” The same man describe our city Jerusalem also itself as of a most excellent structure, and very large, and inhabited from the most ancient times. He also discourses of the multitude of men in it, and of the construction of our temple, after the following manner: ”There are many strong places and villages (says he) in the country of Judea; but one strong city there is, about fifty furlongs in circumference, which is inhabited by a hundred and twenty thousand men, or thereabouts; they call it Jerusalem. There is about the middle of the city a wall of stone, whose length is five hundred feet, and the breadth a hundred cubits, with double cloisters; wherein there is a square altar, not made of hewn stone, but composed of white stones gathered together, having each side twenty cubits long, and its altitude ten cubits. Hard by it is a large edifice, wherein there is an altar and a candlestick, both of gold, and in weight two talents: upon these there is a light that is never extinguished, either by night or by day. There is no image, nor any thing, nor any donations therein; nothing at all is there planted, neither grove, nor any thing of that sort. The priests abide therein both nights and days, performing certain purifications, and drinking not the least drop of wine while they are in the temple.” Moreover, he attests that we Jews went as auxiliaries along with king Alexander, and after him with his successors. I will add further what he says he learned when he was himself with the same army, concerning the actions of a man that was a Jew. His words are these: ”As I was myself going to the Red Sea, there followed us a man, whose name was Mosollam; he was one of the Jewish horsemen who conducted us; he was a person of great courage, of a strong body, and by all allowed to be the most skillful archer that was either among the Greeks or barbarians. Now this man, as people were in great numbers passing along the road, and a certain augur was observing an augury by a bird, and requiring them all to stand still, inquired what they staid for. Hereupon the augur showed him the bird from whence he took his augury, and told him that if the bird staid where he was, they ought all to stand still; but that if he got up, and flew onward, they must go forward; but that if he flew backward, they must retire again. Mosollam made no reply, but drew his bow, and shot at the bird, and hit him, and killed him; and as the augur and some others were very angry, and wished imprecations upon him, he answered them thus: Why are you so mad as to take this most unhappy bird into your hands? for how can this bird give us any true information concerning our march, who could not foresee how to save himself? for had he been able to foreknow what was future, he would not have come to this place, but would have been afraid lest Mosollam the Jew should shoot at him, and kill him.” But of Hecateus’s testimonies we have said enough; for as to such as desire to know more of them, they may easily obtain them from his book itself. However, I shall not think it too much for me to name Agatharchides, as having made mention of us Jews, though in way of derision at our simplicity, as he supposes it to be; for when he was discoursing of the affairs of Stratonice, ”how she came out of Macedonia into Syria, and left her husband Demetrius, while yet Seleueus would not marry her as she expected, but during the time of his raising an army at Babylon, stirred up a sedition about Antioch; and how, after that, the king came back, and upon his taking of Antioch, she fled to Seleucia, and had it in her power to sail away immediately yet did she comply with a dream which forbade her so to do, and so was caught and put to death.” When Agatharehides had premised this story, and had jested upon Stratonice for her superstition, he gives a like example of what was reported concerning us, and writes thus: ”There are a people called Jews, and dwell in a city the strongest of all other cities, which the inhabitants call Jerusalem, and are accustomed to rest on every seventh day (20) on which times they make no use of their arms, nor meddle with husbandry, nor take care of any affairs of life, but spread out their hands in their holy places, and pray till the evening. Now it came to pass, that when Ptolemy, the son of Lagus, came into this city with his army, that these men, in observing this mad custom of theirs, instead of guarding the city, suffered their country to submit itself to a bitter lord; and their law was openly proved to have commanded a foolish practice. (21) This accident taught all other men but the Jews to disregard such dreams as these were, and not to follow the like idle suggestions delivered as a law, when, in such uncertainty of human reasonings, they are at a loss what they should do.” Now this our procedure seems a ridiculous thing to Agatharehides, but will appear to such as consider it without prejudice a great thing, and what deserved a great many encomiums; I mean, when certain men constantly prefer the observation of their laws, and their religion towards God, before the preservation of themselves and their country.
23. Now that some writers have omitted to mention our nation, not because they knew nothing of us, but because they envied us, or for some other unjustifiable reasons, I think I can demonstrate by particular instances; for Hieronymus, who wrote the History of [Alexander’s Successors, lived at the same time with Hecateus, and was a friend of king Antigonus, and president of Syria. Now it is plain that Hecateus wrote an entire book concerning us, while Hieronymus never mentions us in his history, although he was bred up very near to the places where we live. Thus different from one another are the inclinations of men; while the one thought we deserved to be carefully remembered, as some ill-disposed passion blinded the other’s mind so entirely, that he could not discern the truth. And now certainly the foregoing records of the Egyptians, and Chaldeans, and Phoenicians, together with so many of the Greek writers, will be sufficient for the demonstration of our antiquity. Moreover, besides those forementioned, Theophilus, and Theodotus, and Mnaseas, and Aristophanes, and Hermogenes, Euhemerus also, and Conon, and Zopyrion, and perhaps many others, (for I have not lighted upon all the Greek books,) have made distinct mention of us. It is true, many of the men before mentioned have made great mistakes about the true accounts of our nation in the earliest times, because they had not perused our sacred books; yet have they all of them afforded their testimony to our antiquity, concerning which I am now treating. However, Demetrius Phalereus, and the elder Philo, with Eupolemus, have not greatly missed the truth about our affairs; whose lesser mistakes ought therefore to be forgiven them; for it was not in their power to understand our writings with the utmost accuracy.
24. One particular there is still remaining behind of what I at first proposed to speak to, and that is, to demonstrate that those calumnies and reproaches which some have thrown upon our nation, are lies, and to make use of those writers’ own testimonies against themselves; and that in general this self-contradiction hath happened to many other authors by reason of their ill-will to some people, I conclude, is not unknown to such as have read histories with sufficient care;for some of them have endeavored to disgrace the nobility of certain nations, and of some of the most glorious cities, and have cast reproaches upon certain forms of government. Thus hath Theopompus abused the city of Athens, Polycrates that of Lacedemon, as hath he hat wrote the Tripoliticus (for he is not Theopompus, as is supposed bys ome) done by the city of Thebes. Timeils also hath greatly abused the foregoing people and others also; and this ill-treatment they use chiefly when they have a contest with men of the greatest reputation; some out of envy and malice, and others as supposing that by this foolish talking of theirs they may be thought worthy of being remembered themselves; and indeed they do by no means fail of their hopes, with regard to the foolish part of mankind, but men of sober judgment still condemn them of great malignity.
25. Now the Egyptians were the first that cast reproaches upon us; in order to please which nation, some others undertook to pervert the truth, while they would neither own that our forefathers came into Egypt from another country, as the fact was, nor give a true account of our departure thence. And indeed the Egyptians took many occasions to hate us and envy us: in the first place, because our ancestors had had the dominion over their country? and when they were delivered from them, and gone to their own country again, they lived there in prosperity. In the next place, the difference of our religion from theirs hath occasioned great enmity between us, while our way of Divine worship did as much exceed that which their laws appointed, as does the nature of God exceed that of brute beasts; for so far they all agree through the whole country, to esteem such animals as gods, although they differ one from another in the peculiar worship they severally pay to them. And certainly men they are entirely of vain and foolish minds, who have thus accustomed themselves from the beginning to have such bad notions concerning their gods, and could not think of imitating that decent form of Divine worship which we made use of, though, when they saw our institutions approved of by many others, they could not but envy us on that account; for some of them have proceeded to that degree of folly and meanness in their conduct, as not to scruple to contradict their own ancient records, nay, to contradict themselves also in their writings, and yet were so blinded by their passions as not to discern it.
26. And now I will turn my discourse to one of their principal writers, whom I have a little before made use of as a witness to our antiquity; I mean Manetho. (22) He promised to interpret the Egyptian history out of their sacred writings, and premised this: that ”our people had come into Egypt, many ten thousands in number, and subdued its inhabitants;” and when he had further confessed that ”we went out of that country afterward, and settled in that country which is now called Judea, and there built Jerusalem and its temple.” Now thus far he followed his ancient records; but after this he permits himself, in order to appear to have written what rumors and reports passed abroad about the Jews, and introduces incredible narrations, as if he would have the Egyptian multitude, that had the leprosy and other distempers, to have been mixed with us, as he says they were, and that they were condemned to fly out of Egypt together; for he mentions Amenophis, a fictitious king’s name, though on that account he durst not set down the number of years of his reign, which yet he had accurately done as to the other kings he mentions; he then ascribes certain fabulous stories to this king, as having in a manner forgotten how he had already related that the departure of the shepherds for Jerusalem had been five hundred and eighteen years before; for Tethmosis was king when they went away. Now, from his days, the reigns of the intermediate kings, according to Manethe, amounted to three hundred and ninety-three years, as he says himself, till the two brothers Sethos and Hermeus; the one of whom, Sethos, was called by that other name of Egyptus, and the other, Hermeus, by that of Danaus. He also says that Sethos east the other out of Egypt, and reigned fifty-nine years, as did his eldest son Rhampses reign after him sixty-six years. When Manethe therefore had acknowledged that our forefathers were gone out of Egypt so many years ago, he introduces his fictitious king Amenophis, and says thus: ”This king was desirous to become a spectator of the gods, as had Orus, one of his predecessors in that kingdom, desired the same before him; he also communicated that his desire to his namesake Amenophis, who was the son of Papis, and one that seemed to partake of a divine nature, both as to wisdom and the knowledge of futurities.” Manethe adds, ”how this namesake of his told him that he might see the gods, if he would clear the whole country of the lepers and of the other impure people; that the king was pleased with this injunction, and got together all that had any defect in their bodies out of Egypt; and that their number was eighty thousand; whom he sent to those quarries which are on the east side of the Nile, that they might work in them, and might be separated from the rest of the Egyptians.” He says further, that ”there were some of the learned priests that were polluted with the leprosy; but that still this Amenophis, the wise man and the prophet, was afraid that the gods would be angry at him and at the king, if there should appear to have been violence offered them; who also added this further, [out of his sagacity about futurities,] that certain people would come to the assistance of these polluted wretches, and would conquer Egypt, and keep it in their possession thirteen years; that, however, he durst not tell the king of these things, but that he left a writing behind him about all those matters, and then slew himself, which made the king disconsolate.” After which he writes thus verbatim: ”After those that were sent to work in the quarries had continued in that miserable state for a long while, the king was desired that he would set apart the city Avaris, which was then left desolate of the shepherds, for their habitation and protection; which desire he granted them. Now this city, according to the ancient theology, was Typho’s city. But when these men were gotten into it, and found the place fit for a revolt, they appointed themselves a ruler out of the priests of Hellopolis, whose name was Osarsiph, and they took their oaths that they would be obedient to him in all things. He then, in the first place, made this law for them, That they should neither worship the Egyptian gods, nor should abstain from any one of those sacred animals which they have in the highest esteem, but kill and destroy them all; that they should join themselves to nobody but to those that were of this confederacy. When he had made such laws as these, and many more such as were mainly opposite to the customs of the Egyptians, (23) he gave order that they should use the multitude of the hands they had in building walls about their City, and make themselves ready for a war with king Amenophis, while he did himself take into his friendship the other priests, and those that were polluted with them, and sent ambassadors to those shepherds who had been driven out of the land by Tefilmosis to the city called Jerusalem; whereby he informed them of his own affairs, and of the state of those others that had been treated after such an ignominious manner, and desired that they would come with one consent to his assistance in this war against Egypt. He also promised that he would, in the first place, bring them back to their ancient city and country Avaris, and provide a plentiful maintenance for their multitude; that he would protect them and fight for them as occasion should require, and would easily reduce the country under their dominion. These shepherds were all very glad of this message, and came away with alacrity all together, being in number two hundred thousand men; and in a little time they came to Avaris. And now Amenophis the king of Egypt, upon his being informed of their invasion, was in great confusion, as calling to mind what Amenophis, the son of Papis, had foretold him; and, in the first place, he assembled the multitude of the Egyptians, and took counsel with their leaders, and sent for their sacred animals to him, especially for those that were principally worshipped in their temples, and gave a particular charge to the priests distinctly, that they should hide the images of their gods with the utmost care he also sent his son Sethos, who was also named Ramesses, from his father Rhampses, being but five years old, to a friend of his. He then passed on with the rest of the Egyptians, being three hundred thousand of the most warlike of them, against the enemy, who met them. Yet did he not join battle with them; but thinking that would be to fight against the gods, he returned back and came to Memphis, where he took Apis and the other sacred animals which he had sent for to him, and presently marched into Ethiopia, together with his whole army and multitude of Egyptians; for the king of Ethiopia was under an obligation to him, on which account he received him, and took care of all the multitude that was with him, while the country supplied all that was necessary for the food of the men. He also allotted cities and villages for this exile, that was to be from its beginning during those fatally determined thirteen years. Moreover, he pitched a camp for his Ethiopian army, as a guard to king Amenophis, upon the borders of Egypt. And this was the state of things in Ethiopia. But for the people of Jerusalem, when they came down together with the polluted Egyptians, they treated the men in such a barbarous manner, that those who saw how they subdued the forementioned country, and the horrid wickedness they were guilty of, thought it a most dreadful thing; for they did not only set the cities and villages on fire but were not satisfied till they had been guilty of sacrilege, and destroyed the images of the gods, and used them in roasting those sacred animals that used to be worshipped, and forced the priests and prophets to be the executioners and murderers of those animals, and then ejected them naked out of the country. It was also reported that the priest, who ordained their polity and their laws, was by birth of Hellopolls, and his name Osarsiph, from Osyris, who was the god of Hellopolls; but that when he was gone over to these people, his name was changed, and he was called Moses.”
27. This is what the Egyptians relate about the Jews, with much more, which I omit for the sake of brevity. But still Manetho goes on, that ”after this, Amenophis returned back from Ethiopia with a great army, as did his son Ahampses with another army also, and that both of them joined battle with the shepherds and the polluted people, and beat them, and slew a great many of them, and pursued them to the bounds of Syria.” These and the like accounts are written by Manetho. But I will demonstrate that he trifles, and tells arrant lies, after I have made a distinction which will relate to what I am going to say about him; for this Manetho had granted and confessed that this nation was not originally Egyptian, but that they had come from another country, and subdued Egypt, and then went away again out of it. But that. those Egyptians who were thus diseased in their bodies were not mingled with us afterward, and that Moses who brought the people out was not one of that company, but lived many generations earlier, I shall endeavor to demonstrate from Manetho’s own accounts themselves.
28. Now, for the first occasion of this fiction, Manetho supposes what is no better than a ridiculous thing; for he says that” king Amenophis desired to see the gods.” What gods, I pray, did he desire to see? If he meant the gods whom their laws ordained to be worshipped, the ox, the goat, the crocodile, and the baboon, he saw them already; but for the heavenly gods, how could he see them, and what should occasion this his desire? To be sure? it was because another king before him had already seen them. He had then been informed what sort of gods they were, and after what manner they had been seen, insomuch that he did not stand in need of any new artifice for obtaining this sight. However, the prophet by whose means the king thought to compass his design was a wise man. If so, how came he not to know that such his desire was impossible to be accomplished? for the event did not succeed. And what pretense could there be to suppose that the gods would not be seen by reason of the people’s maims in their bodies, or leprosy? for the gods are not angry at the imperfection of bodies, but at wicked practices; and as to eighty thousand lepers, and those in an ill state also, how is it possible to have them gathered together in one day? nay, how came the king not to comply with the prophet? for his injunction was, that those that were maimed should be expelled out of Egypt, while the king only sent them to work in the quarries, as if he were rather in want of laborers, than intended to purge his country. He says further, that” this prophet slew himself, as foreseeing the anger of the gods, and those events which were to come upon Egypt afterward; and that he left this prediction for the king in writing.” Besides, how came it to pass that this prophet did not foreknow his own death at the first? nay, how came he not to contradict the king in his desire to see the gods immediately? how came that unreasonable dread upon him of judgments that were not to happen in his lifetime? or what worse thing could he suffer, out of the fear of which he made haste to kill himself? But now let us see the silliest thing of all: . The king, although he had been informed of these things, and terrified with the fear of what was to come, yet did not he even then eject these maimed people out of his country, when it had been foretold him that he was to clear Egypt of them; but, as Manetho says, ”he then, upon their request, gave them that city to inhabit, which had formerly belonged to the shepherds, and was called Avaris; whither when they were gone in crowds,” he says, ”they chose one that had formerly been priest of Hellopolls; and that this priest first ordained that they should neither worship the gods, nor abstain from those animals that were worshipped by the Egyptians, but should kill and eat them all, and should associate with nobody but those that had conspired with them; and that he bound the multitude by oaths to be sure to continue in those laws; and that when he had built a wall about Avaris, he made war against the king.” Manetho adds also, that ”this priest sent to Jerusalem to invite that people to come to his assistance, and promised to give them Avaris; for that it had belonged to the forefathers of those that were coming from Jerusalem, and that when they were come, they made a war immediately against the king, and got possession of all Egypt.” He says also that ”the Egyptians came with an army of two hundred thousand men, and that Amenophis, the king of Egypt, not thinking that he ought to fight against the gods, ran away presently into Ethiopia, and committed Apis and certain other of their sacred animals to the priests, and commanded them to take care of preserving them.” He says further, that” the people of Jerusalem came accordingly upon the Egyptians, and overthrew their cities, and burnt their temples, and slew their horsemen, and, in short, abstained from no sort of wickedness nor barbarity; and for that priest who settled their polity and their laws,” he says,” he was by birth of Hellopolis, and his name was Osarsiph, from Osyris the god of Hellopolis, but that he changed his name, and called himself Moses.” He then says that ”on the thirteenth year afterward, Amenophis, according to the fatal time of the duration of his misfortunes, came upon them out of Ethiopia with a great army, and joining battle with the shepherds and with the polluted people, overcame them in battle, and slew a great many of them, and pursued them as far as the bounds of Syria.”
29. Now Manetho does not reflect upon the improbability of his lie; for the leprous people, and the multitude that was with them, although they might formerly have been angry at the king, and at those that had treated them so coarsely, and this according to the prediction of the prophet; yet certainly, when they were come out of the mines, and had received of the king a city, and a country, they would have grown milder towards him. However, had they ever so much hated him in particular, they might have laid a private plot against himself, but would hardly have made war against all the Egyptians; I mean this on the account of the great kindred they who were so numerous must have had among them. Nay still, if they had resolved to fight with the men, they would not have had impudence enough to fight with their gods; nor would they have ordained laws quite contrary to those of their own country, and to those in which they had been bred up themselves. Yet are we beholden to Manethe, that he does not lay the principal charge of this horrid transgression upon those that came from Jerusalem, but says that the Egyptians themselves were the most guilty, and that they were their priests that contrived these things, and made the multitude take their oaths for doing so. But still how absurd is it to suppose that none of these people’s own relations or friends should be prevailed with to revolt, nor to undergo the hazards of war with them, while these polluted people were forced to send to Jerusalem, and bring their auxiliaries from thence! What friendship, I pray, or what relation was there formerly between them that required this assistance? On the contrary, these people were enemies, and greatly differed from them in their customs. He says, indeed, that they complied immediately, upon their praising them that they should conquer Egypt; as if they did not themselves very well know that country out of which they had been driven by force. Now had these men been in want, or lived miserably, perhaps they might have undertaken so hazardous an enterprise; but as they dwelt in a happy city, and had a large country, and one better than Egypt itself, how came it about that, for the sake of those that had of old been their enemies, of those that were maimed in their bodies, and of those whom none of their own relations would endure, they should run such hazards in assisting them? For they could not foresee that the king would run away from them: on the contrary, he saith himself that ”Amenophis’s son had three hundred thousand men with him, and met them at Pelusium.” Now, to be sure, those that came could not be ignorant of this; but for the king’s repentance and flight, how could they possibly guess at it? He then says, that ”those who came from Jerusalem, and made this invasion, got the granaries of Egypt into their possession, and perpetrated many of the most horrid actions there.” And thence he reproaches them, as though he had not himself introduced them as enemies, or as though he might accuse such as were invited from another place for so doing, when the natural Egyptians themselves had done the same things before their coming, and had taken oaths so to do. However, ”Amenophis, some time afterward, came upon them, and conquered them in battle, and slew his enemies, and drove them before him as far as Syria.” As if Egypt were so easily taken by people that came from any place whatsoever, and as if those that had conquered it by war, when they were informed that Amenophis was alive, did neither fortify the avenues out of Ethiopia into it, although they had great advantages for doing it, nor did get their other forces ready for their defense! but that he followed them over the sandy desert, and slew them as far as Syria; while yet it is rot an easy thing for an army to pass over that country, even without fighting.
30. Our nation, therefore, according to Manetho, was not derived from Egypt, nor were any of the Egyptians mingled with us. For it is to be supposed that many of the leprous and distempered people were dead in the mines, since they had been there a long time, and in so ill a condition; many others must be dead in the battles that happened afterward, and more still in the last battle and flight after it.
31. It now remains that I debate with Manetho about Moses. Now the Egyptians acknowledge him to have been a wonderful and a divine person; nay, they would willingly lay claim to him themselves, though after a most abusive and incredible manner, and pretend that he was of Heliopolis, and one of the priests of that place, and was ejected out of it among the rest, on account of his leprosy; although it had been demonstrated out of their records that he lived five hundred and eighteen years earlier, and then brought our forefathers out of Egypt into the country that is now inhabited by us. But now that he was not subject in his body to any such calamity, is evident from what he himself tells us; for he forbade those that had the leprosy either to continue in a city, or to inhabit in a village, but commanded that they should go about by themselves with their clothes rent; and declares that such as either touch them, or live under the same roof with them, should be esteemed unclean; nay, more, if any one of their disease be healed, and he recover his natural constitution again, he appointed them certain purifications, and washings with spring water, and the shaving off all their hair, and enjoins that they shall offer many sacrifices, and those of several kinds, and then at length to be admitted into the holy city; although it were to be expected that, on the contrary, if he had been under the same calamity, he should have taken care of such persons beforehand, and have had them treated after a kinder manner, as affected with a concern for those that were to be under the like misfortunes with himself. Nor ;was it only those leprous people for whose sake he made these laws, but also for such as should be maimed in the smallest part of their body, who yet are not permitted by him to officiate as priests; nay, although any priest, already initiated, should have such a calamity fall upon him afterward, he ordered him to be deprived of his honor of officiating. How can it then be supposed that Moses should ordain such laws against himself, to his own reproach and damage who so ordained them? Nor indeed is that other notion of Manetho at all probable, wherein he relates the change of his name, and says that ”he was formerly called Osarsiph;” and this a name no way agreeable to the other, while his true name was Mosses, and signifies a person who is preserved out of the water, for the Egyptians call water Moil. I think, therefore, I have made it sufficiently evident that Manetho, while he followed his ancient records, did not much mistake the truth of the history; but that when he had recourse to fabulous stories, without any certain author, he either forged them himself, without any probability, or else gave credit to some men who spake so out of their ill-will to us.
32. And now I have done with Manetho, I will inquire into what Cheremon says. For he also, when he pretended to write the Egyptian history, sets down the same name for this king that Manetho did, Amenophis, as also of his son Ramesses, and then goes on thus: ”The goddess Isis appeared to Amenophis in his sleep, and blamed him that her temple had been demolished in the war. But that Phritiphantes, the sacred scribe, said to him, that in case he would purge Egypt of the men that had pollutions upon them, he should be no longer troubled. with such frightful apparitions. That Amenophis accordingly chose out two hundred and fifty thousand of those that were thus diseased, and cast them out of the country: that Moses and Joseph were scribes, and Joseph was a sacred scribe; that their names were Egyptian originally; that of Moses had been Tisithen, and that of Joseph, Peteseph: that these two came to Pelusium, and lighted upon three hundred and eighty thousand that had been left there by Amenophis, he not being willing to carry them into Egypt; that these scribes made a league of friendship with them, and made with them an expedition against Egypt: that Amenophis could not sustain their attacks, but fled into Ethiopia, and left his wife with child behind him, who lay concealed in certain caverns, and there brought forth a son, whose name was Messene, and who, when he was grown up to man’s estate, pursued the Jews into Syria, being about two hundred thousand, and then received his father Amenophis out of Ethiopia.”
33. This is the account Cheremon gives us. Now I take it for granted that what I have said already hath plainly proved the falsity of both these narrations; for had there been any real truth at the bottom, it was impossible they should so greatly disagree about the particulars. But for those that invent lies, what they write will easily give us very different accounts, while they forge what they please out of their own heads. Now Manetho says that the king’s desire of seeing the gods was the origin of the ejection of the polluted people; but Cheremon feigns that it was a dream of his own, sent upon him by Isis, that was the occasion of it. Manetho says that the person who foreshowed this purgation of Egypt to the king was Amenophis; but this man says it was Phritiphantes. As to the numbers of the multitude that were expelled, they agree exceedingly well (24) the former reckoning them eighty thousand, and the latter about two hundred and fifty thousand! Now, for Manetho, he describes those polluted persons as sent first to work in the quarries, and says that the city Avaris was given them for their habitation. As also he relates that it was not till after they had made war with the rest of the Egyptians, that they invited the people of Jerusalem to come to their assistance; while Cheremon says only that they were gone out of Egypt, and lighted upon three hundred and eighty thousand men about Pelusium, who had been left there by Amenophis, and so they invaded Egypt with them again; that thereupon Amenophis fled into Ethiopia. But then this Cheremon commits a most ridiculous blunder in not informing us who this army of so many ten thousands were, or whence they came; whether they were native Egyptians, or whether they came from a foreign country. Nor indeed has this man, who forged a dream from Isis about the leprous people, assigned the reason why the king would not bring them into Egypt. Moreover, Cheremon sets down Joseph as driven away at the same time with Moses, who yet died four generations (25) before Moses, which four generations make almost one hundred and seventy years. Besides all this, Ramesses, the son of Amenophis, by Manetho’s account, was a young man, and assisted his father in his war, and left the country at the same time with him, and fled into Ethiopia. But Cheremon makes him to have been born in a certain cave, after his father was dead, and that he then overcame the Jews in battle, and drove them into Syria, being in number about two hundred thousand. O the levity of the man! for he had neither told us who these three hundred and eighty thousand were, nor how the four hundred and thirty thousand perished; whether they fell in war, or went over to Ramesses. And, what is the strangest of all, it is not possible to learn out of him who they were whom he calls Jews, or to which of these two parties he applies that denomination, whether to the two hundred and fifty thousand leprous people, or to the three hundred and eighty thousand that were about Pelusium. But perhaps it will be looked upon as a silly thing in me to make any larger confutation of such writers as sufficiently confute themselves; for had they been only confuted by other men, it had been more tolerable.
34. I shall now add to these accounts about Manethoand Cheremon somewhat about Lysimachus, who hath taken the same topic of falsehood with those forementioned, but hath gone far beyond them in the incredible nature of his forgeries; which plainly demonstrates that he contrived them out of his virulent hatred of our nation. His words are these: ”The people of the Jews being leprous and scabby, and subject to certain other kinds of distempers, in the days of Bocchoris, king of Egypt, they fled to the temples, and got their food there by begging: and as the numbers were very great that were fallen under these diseases, there arose a scarcity in Egypt. Hereupon Bocehoris, the king of Egypt, sent some to consult the oracle of [Jupiter] Hammon about his scarcity. The god’s answer was this, that he must purge his temples of impure and impious men, by expelling them out of those temples into desert places; but as to the scabby and leprous people, he must drown them, and purge his temples, the sun having an indignation at these men being suffered to live; and by this means the land will bring forth its fruits. Upon Bocchoris’s having received these oracles, he called for their priests, and the attendants upon their altars, and ordered them to make a collection of the impure people, and to deliver them to the soldiers, to carry them away into the desert; but to take the leprous people, and wrap them in sheets of lead, and let them down into the sea. Hereupon the scabby and leprous people were drowned, and the rest were gotten together, and sent into desert places, in order to be exposed to destruction. In this case they assembled themselves together, and took counsel what they should do, and determined that, as the night was coming on, they should kindle fires and lamps, and keep watch; that they also should fast the next night, and propitiate the gods, in order to obtain deliverance from them. That on the next day there was one Moses, who advised them that they should venture upon a journey, and go along one road till they should come to places fit for habitation: that he charged them to have no kind regards for any man, nor give good counsel to any, but always to advise them for the worst; and to overturn all those temples and altars of the gods they should meet with: that the rest commended what he had said with one consent, and did what they had resolved on, and so traveled over the desert. But that the difficulties of the journey being over, they came to a country inhabited, and that there they abused the men, and plundered and burnt their temples; and then came into that land which is called Judea, and there they built a city, and dwelt therein, and that their city was named Hierosyla, from this their robbing of the temples; but that still, upon the success they had afterwards, they in time changed its denomination, that it might not be a reproach to them, and called the city Hierosolyma, and themselves Hierosolymites.”
35. Now this man did not discover and mention the same king with the others, but feigned a newer name, and passing by the dream and the Egyptian prophet, he brings him to [Jupiter] Hammon, in order to gain oracles about the scabby and leprous people; for he says that the multitude of Jews were gathered together at the temples. Now it is uncertain whether he ascribes this name to these lepers, or to those that were subject to such diseases among the Jews only; for he describes them as a people of the Jews. What people does he mean? foreigners, or those of that country? Why then’ dost thou call them Jews, if they were Egyptians? But if they were foreigners, why dost thou not tell us whence they came? And how could it be that, after the king had drowned many of them in the sea, and ejected the rest into desert places, there should be still so great a multitude remaining? Or after what manner did they pass over the desert, and get the land which we now dwell in, and build our city, and that temple which hath been so famous among all mankind? And besides, he ought to have spoken more about our legislator than by giving us his bare name; and to have informed us of what nation he was, and what parents he was derived from; and to have assigned the reasons why he undertook to make such laws concerning the gods, and concerning matters of injustice with regard to men during that journey. For in case the people were by birth Egyptians, they would not on the sudden have so easily changed the customs of their country; and in case they had been foreigners, they had for certain some laws or other which had been kept by them from long custom. It is true, that with regard to those who had ejected them, they might have sworn never to bear good-will to them, and might have had a plausible reason for so doing. But if these men resolved to wage an implacable war against all men, in case they had acted as wickedly as he relates of them, and this while they wanted the assistance of all men, this demonstrates a kind of mad conduct indeed; but not of the men themselves, but very greatly so of him that tells such lies about them. He hath also impudence enough to say that a name, implying ”Robbers of the temples,” (26) was given to their city, and that this name was afterward changed. The reason of which is plain, that the former name brought reproach and hatred upon them in the times of their posterity, while, it seems, those that built the city thought they did honor to the city by giving it such a name. So we see that this fine fellow had such an unbounded inclination to reproach us, that he did not understand that robbery of temples is not expressed By the same word and name among the Jews as it is among the Greeks. But why should a man say any more to a person who tells such impudent lies? However, since this book is arisen to a competent length, I will make another beginning, and endeavor to add what still remains to perfect my design in the following book.
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