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Antiquities, Book 3.

The Exodus; the desert wanderings; food-laws, priesthood, festivals

Text in Greek and English, click here


01. Journey to Mount Sinai, amid difficulties

02. Israel defeats the Amalekites & others

03. Father-in-law, Raguel, visits Moses

04. Moses accepts Raguel's advice

05. Moses receives God's Law on Sinai

06. Moses builds a Tabernacle for God

07. Priestly vestments and the mitre

08. Aaron: high priest; rivalry about it

09. Details about sacrifices

10. Festivals & their observance

11. Levites; regulations on "uncleanness"

12. Adultery and incest; priestly purity

13. From Mount Sinai to Canaan

14. Spies' report; revolt against Moses

15. The people must wander for forty years


Chapter 01. [001-038]
The Journey to Mount Sinai, amid many difficulties

1.

001 After their miraculous rescue, the Hebrews found the going very difficult as they were led towards Mount Sinai. The terrain was entirely desert and barren of food and held far too little water, not alone for the people but also to water their livestock. All was parched and unable to sustain vegetation, but such was the way they had to travel, having no other route available. 002 At their leader's orders, they had brought water with them from earlier in the journey, but when that was used up they had to draw water from wells, with difficulty because of the hardness of the soil, and what little they found was bitter and unfit to drink. 003 As they journeyed on in this way, they came late at night to a place named Mar, from the foulness of its water, for Mar means bitterness. There they halted, worn out by constant marching and lack of food, which had now entirely run out. 004 There was a well in the place, which is the reason they stayed there, which, although insufficient for such a large army, still gave them some comfort, to find it at all in such a desert place. They heard from the scouts that if they travelled on farther there was nothing. Yet this water was bitter, unfit for people to drink, and intolerable even for the pack animals.

2.

005 When Moses saw them so despondent and the situation so critical, for this was no healthy army able to cope bravely with the pressure of need but one weakened by the throng of children and women too weak to be motivated by words, he felt in dire straits, for he made everyone's plight his own. 006 They all ran to him, the women petitioning for their infants and the men for the women, not to overlook them but to work out some way to save them. So he interceded with God to change the water from its present vileness and make it drinkable. 007 When God granted him this favour, he took up a stick lying at his feet and divided it down the middle and threw it into the well, persuading the Hebrews that God had heard his prayers and promised to render the water as they wanted, if they obeyed all He would require, promptly and without fail. 008 When they asked what they must do to have the water changed for the better, he told their strongest men to draw out water, saying that when most of it had been taken away, the rest would be drinkable. They worked hard at it until the water was so stirred that it was purified and became fit to drink.

3.

009 Moving on from there they came to Elim, which looked attractive from a distance, for it had a grove of palm-trees; but when they came nearer it seemed a foul place, for there were no more than seventy palm-trees, all stunted and withered for lack of water, as the region was all parched. 010 Its twelve wells were not real springs surging up from the ground or really flowing, and gave too little water for the trees. Even digging into the sand they found nothing, and if they got a few drops of liquid into their hands, they found it useless, due to the mud. 011 The trees were too weak to bear fruit, for lack of water to nourish and enliven them. So they put the blame on their leader and complained against him, attributing to him their miserable state and plight. By now they had journeyed for thirty days and had consumed all the provisions they had brought with them, and felt desperate at finding no relief. 012 Focussed only on their present troubles and unable to remember the blessings they had received from God, through the virtue and wisdom of Moses, they were enraged at their leader and were ready to stone him, as the main cause of the plight they faced.

4.

013 But while the crowd were so roused and bitter against him, he trusted in God and his providence for his people, so he went among them, even as they shouted at him, with stones in their hands. He had an agreeable presence and could persuade the people by his speeches, 014 so he began to pacify their anger and urged them not to be so obsessed with present woes as to forget the benefits already given to them. They should not, in their present hardship, put out of mind the wonderful things they had received from God's grace and favour, but expect to be saved even now by the same divine care. 015 Probably God was testing their virtue, to see their bravery and how well they would recall his former miracles or if they would fail to recall them now, amid their present woes. 016 He blamed them for not being good either in patience, or in recalling what had been formerly done for them, and for despising God and his purpose, by which they had left the Egypt, and for how they treated him, God's servant, who never deceived them in what he said or had ordered them to do by God's command. 017 He listed all that had occurred: how the Egyptians were destroyed for trying to detain them against the will of God; how the same river that others found bloody and undrinkable, was sweet and potable for them; 018 how they went by a new road through the sea, which fled from them so that they were saved, while they saw the enemy destroyed; and how when they were in need of weapons, God provided plenty of them; and all the times God had surprisingly saved them when they seemed on the edge of destruction. 019 He still had the power and they must not now despair of His providence but should stay calm and to know that even if help did not come instantly, it would not come too late if it reached them before they suffered a disaster. They should reflect that God delays his help, not out of neglect, but to test their courage and their love of freedom, 020 and learn if they had the spirit to bear for its sake lack of food and scarcity of water; "or if instead you love to be slaves, like livestock to their owners who feed them well, but only in order to keep them fit for their service." 021 His own fear was not for his personal safety, as even if he were unjustly killed it would be no great harm, but for them, in case by stoning him they should be guilty of condemning God himself.

5.

022 In this way he pacified the people, stopping them from stoning him and making them repent of what they planned to do. But their need made their passion seem less absurd to him, he felt he should pray and intercede with God, so going up to a high place, he asked for some relief for the people. 023 Their hope of salvation depended on God alone, so he asked him to forgive what need had forced the people to do, as this was the nature of mankind, being hard to please and quick to blame when under adversity. So God promised to care for them and give them the help they craved. 024 Moses, having heard this from God, came down to the crowd, and when they saw him radiant at the divine promises they changed their mourning into gladness, and standing among them he said he came from God to bring them deliverance from their state of need. 025 Shortly afterwards there came a flock of quails, the more plentiful of all birds in the Arabian Gulf, flying over the sea and hovering over them, until wearied by their flight, and skimming unusually near to the ground, they came down among the Hebrews. These caught them for food and saw them as the means by which God meant to satisfy their hunger, and Moses gave thanks to God for helping them even more quickly than he had expected.

6.

026 Soon after this first supply of food, God sent them a second, for as Moses was lifting up his hands in prayer, a dew fell on them, and finding that it stuck to his hands, he reckoned that this too had come from God as food for them. He tasted it and liked it, 027 but the people in their ignorance thought it was snow such as falls at that time of year. He taught them that this dew from heaven was not as they imagined, but was for their survival and nurishment, and they should taste it and convince themselves about it. 028 They imitated their leader and were pleased with the food, for it was sweet like honey and pleasant to taste, resembling bdellium, one of the sweet spices, and in size equal to coriander seed; and so they gathered it eagerly. 029 He told them to gather it in equal measures, an omer a day for each one, because this food would not fail them, so that the weaker might not be fail to get their share, through the greed of the strong in collecting it. 030 The latter, even if they gathered above their assigned measure, had no more than others, but only gave themselves more work, for they found no more than an omer apiece, and whatever extra they got was no good, since it was corrupted by worms and by its bitterness. Such was this divine and wonderful food. 031 For those who ate it, it supplied for the lack of other foods and even now, in all that region, this manna comes down like rain, just as it was granted to Moses by God, who sent it down as food. 032 The Hebrews call this food manna. For man, in our language, is the question What is this? So they were very glad with what was sent to them from heaven and used this food for forty years, all the while they were in the desert.

7.

033 When they moved on from there, they came to Rephidim, ravaged by extreme thirst, and while in earlier days they had come on a few small springs, they now found the earth entirely lacking in water, they were in a terrible state, and again turned their anger on Moses. 034 For a while he avoided the crowd's fury and devoted himself to prayer to God, imploring him that as he had given them food when they needed it, so he would also give them drink, since their gratitude for the food would fade if they had nothing to drink. 035 God did not long delay the gift but promised Moses to provide a spring and plenty of water where they would not expect it. He told him to strike with his rod the rock standing before their eyes, and from it to take all that they needed, for he would see drink coming to them without labour or toil. 036 Receiving this command from God, Moses came to the people, who waited with their eyes fixed on him, for already they saw him hurrying down from the heights. As he arrived, he said that God would unexpectedly rescue them from their need, and that a river would flow for them from the rock. 037 They were aghast at this, thinking that, weary with thirst and marching, they would have to hack the rock to pieces. But Moses only struck the rock with his rod, opening a channel from which poured clean water in abundance. 038 They were so astounded at this wonder that their thirst was quenched by the very sight of it, and they drank this water which tasted sweet and pleasant, as might be expected in a gift from God. They were amazed at how Moses was honoured by God, and by a sacrifice thanked God for his providence towards them. A writing deposited in the temple tells how God foretold to Moses, "So shall water be given from the rock."

Chapter 02. [039-062]
Israel defeats the Amalekites and other enemy nations

1.

039 The Hebrews' reputation began to be known everywhere and rumour about them spread, making them greatly feared by the people of those lands, who sent round messengers urging each other to repel and try to destroy them. 040 Those who roused the others to this were the so-called Amalekites who lived in Gobolitis and Petra and were the most warlike nation living in that area. Their kings urged each other and their neighbours to make war on the Hebrews because this army of strangers who had escaped from slavery under the Egyptians would soon ruin them. 041 With prudent concern for their own safety they dared not ignore them, but must crush them before they could gather strength and prosper - "and maybe soon attack us, despising our indolence in not attacking them first. We should take revenge for what they have done in the wilderness, but it cannot easily be done once they have occupied our cities and our goods. 042 Those who try to crush an enemy power in its infancy are wiser than those who try to check it once it has become formidable. They seem to rouse themselves only when the treat is well established, while others leave no room for their foes to threaten them." After such messages among themselves and to the nations round about, they resolved to engage the Hebrews in battle.

2.

043 This stirring of the locals caused anxiety and worry to Moses, who had not expected such hostility. When these nations were ready to fight and the Hebrews had to risk battle, his people were worried and lacking in everything, yet had to wage war against people who were fully well prepared for it. 044 Then Moses began to urge and exhort them raise their spirits to rely on the help of God who had given them freedom and victory over those who had fought to deprive them of them. 045 They should imagine their own army as numerous, lacking nothing, weapons, money, provisions, or anything that gets men to fight bravely and reckon that with God as their ally all these things are theirs and think of the enemy army as small, unarmed, weak and lacking in essentials, when it is the will of God for them to be defeated. 046 They must recall Him as their helper, as they had found amid many trials, and they had survived worse than war, which is only against a human enemy, for they had endured famine and thirst, things by nature insuperable, and gone through mountains and the sea which offered no way out, and all these had been overcome by God's gracious kindness. So he urged them to have courage this time too, as their entire future depended on victory over the present enemy.

3.

047 Moses encouraged the people with these words, and then assembled their tribal leaders and notables, both individually and together. He bade the young men obey their officers and the officers to heed their leader. 048 So the people were in high spirits and ready for the ordeal, hoping thereby to be finally set free from all their troubles. They even asked Moses to instantly lead them against the enemy, so as not to be delayed from what they had resolved. 049 Moses chose all who were fit for war into different troops and set over them Joshua, the son of Nauekos, of the tribe of Ephraim, a man of great courage and patient amid trials, quick of understanding and ready with words, serious about the worship of God and indeed like another Moses, a teacher of piety to the Hebrews. 050 He appointed a party of armed men to stay near the water-hole and guard the children and women and the whole camp. That whole night they got ready for the battle, bearing what useful weapons any of them had and attentive to their officers, ready to rush out to battle as soon as Moses gave the word. Moses kept awake too, telling Joshua how to order his forces. 051 At daybreak Moses again urged Joshua to prove himself in the way his reputation led people to expect from him and win glory in the minds of his subjects by his exploits in this battle. He also personally exhorted the Hebrew officers and the whole army as it stood armed before him. 052 Having thus animated and prepared the army by word and action he withdrew to the mountain, entrusting the army to God and to Joshua.

4.

053 The armies joined battle in a hand-to-hand fight, both sides encouraged by rallying-calls, and while Moses kept his hands stretched upwards, the Hebrews had the better of the Amalekites. But when Moses could not keep his hands outstretched, as often as he lowered them his people were worsted. 054 So he bade his brother Aaron and Hur, their sister Miriam's husband, to stand on either side of him and hold up his hands and not let their help fail him. When this was done, the Hebrews overwhelmed the Amalekites, who would all have died except that the onset of night made the killing cease. 055 So our ancestors obtained a fine and most timely victory. They not only defeated their opponents but also terrified the nations round about and won great profit from the enemy through their efforts in this battle. Once they had taken the enemy camp they got easy booty for public and private use, while up to then they had no surplus even of the necessary food. 056 The success in this battle won them prosperity not just for the moment, but for ages to come. For not only did they capture the bodies of their enemies, but also subdued their minds, and after this battle, were feared by all who lived round about them, and gained great riches too, 057 for a large amount of silver and gold was left in the enemy's camp, and bronze vessels for use at meals and many utensils embellished in two ways, some woven and some that adorned their armour and other trappings and apparatus, and spoils of livestock and of all that accompanies armies into the field. 058 So the Hebrews now prided themselves on their courage and aspired to heroism, and grew used to effort, by which they reckoned all things were attainable. Such was the outcome of this battle.

5.

059 The next day, Moses stripped the enemy corpses and collected the armour of those who fled and rewarded the valiant and gave high praise to their general, Joshua, who was acclaimed by all the army for what he had done. Of the Hebrews not one was killed, but of the enemy too many to be counted. 060 He offered a thanksgiving sacrifice and built an altar dedicated to God the Victorious and foretold the utter destruction of the Amalekites, and that none of them would survive into the future, since they fought the Hebrews when they were under pressure in the wilderness. Then he revived the army with feasting. 061 This was first battle they fought with those who dared oppose them after their exodus from Egypt. When they had celebrated the victory festival, Moses let the Hebrews rest for a few days after the battle and then he led them out in military order. 062 Many of them were now armed, and going forward in stages, three months after leaving Egypt they came to Mount Sinai, where he had met with the experience at the bush and other visions, as we have already said.

Chapter 03. [063-065]
Raguel, Moses' father-in-law, visits him at Mount Sinai

063 When his father-in-law, Raguel, heard of his success, he came to meet him with joy and greeted Moses and Sapphorah and their children. Moses was glad of of his father-in-law's visit and after offering sacrifice, gave a feast for the people near the Bush which had escaped the flames. 064 All the people shared in the feast, in their family groups, while Aaron and his family welcomed Raguel as their guest and sang hymns to God, as the source of their safety and freedom. 065 They also praised their leader, as the one through whom everything had turned out well for them and Raguel too, in his oration, praised the whole people for their gratitude to Moses, and expressed admiration for the bravery of Moses and his care for the saving of his friends.

Chapter 04. [066-074]
Moses accepts Raguel's advice, on organising the people

1.

066 The next day, Raguel saw Moses burdened with duties, for he settled conflicts for any who appealed to him and everyone came to him with the idea that they would get justice only if he arbitrated for them. 067 Even those who lost their cases did not feel wronged, knowing that they lost them justly and not through greed. Raguel said nothing to him at the time, not wishing to hinder people from availing of their leader's virtue, but he took him aside alone, later, and advised him what he ought to do. 068 He should leave the solving of lesser cases to others, but take care of the major ones and of the people's security himself. Some other good men could be found to judge among the Hebrews, while nobody but a Moses could be responsible for the safety of so many thousands of people. 069 "Therefore think of your own strength" he said, "and what you have done in serving the people's safety under God. Let the judging of common cases be done by others, and let you devote yourself only to God and how to save the populace in their present predicament. 070 Follow what I suggest to you in dealing with people; review the army carefully and appoint chosen officers over tens of thousands and then over thousands. Sub-divide them into five hundreds and again into hundreds and fifties. 071 Set officers over each group, dividing them into thirties for good order, and numbering them by twenties and by tens. Let there be a leader over each group, named according to the number of those he leads, good and righteous men, tested and approved by the whole people. 072 Let those officers decide any differences they have with each another. Let them report graver cases to a higher-ranking officer, but if a major matter arises, too difficult for even them to decide, let them bring it to you. This will bring two advantages: the Hebrews will get justice, and you will be free to attend to God and win his fuller favour for the rank and file."

2.

073 This was Raguel's counsel, and Moses gladly took his advice and followed his suggestion, not hiding the source of this procedure or claiming it as his own, but making clear to the people who had devised it. 074 Indeed, in the books he wrote he named Raguel as the one who devised this ordering of the people, thinking it right to give credit where it is due, although he might have added to his reputation by crediting the inventions of others to himself. This teaches us the virtuous character of Moses, of which we shall have occasion to speak in other parts of this writing.

Chapter 05. [075-101]
Moses ascends Mount Sinai to receive the Divine Torah

1.

075 Moses assembled the people to tell them he was leaving to go to mount Sinai and converse with God, to receive from him and bring back to them a valuable thing. He told them to move their camp nearer the mountain, in order to dwell nearer to God. 076 Saying this, he went up Mount Sinai, the highest of all the nearby mountains and hard to ascend, not only for its great height, but for its precipitous slopes. It cannot be gazed upon without hurting one's eyes, and was fearful and inaccessible due to the report that God lived there. 077 The Hebrews moved camp at Moses' command and took over the lower parts of the mountain, and were exalted in spirit, expecting Moses to return from God with news of the good things he had promised them. 078 So they feasted and waited for their leader and kept pure in other respects, not having intercourse with their wives for three days, as he had told them. They begged God to favour Moses at their meeting and to grant them a gift by which they could live well. They dined more splendidly and dressed their wives and children more ornately than usual.

2.

079 Two days they passed in this kind of feasting, but on the third day, before sun-up, a cloud such as none had seen before spread over the whole Hebrew camp and surrounded the place where they had pitched their tents. 080 Then while all the rest of the air was clear, strong winds sprang up with downpours of rain, and lightning that terrified the onlookers, and thunderbolts, showing that the God in who gave joy to Moses was graciously present. 081 Regarding these events, let each one think as he pleases, but I must narrate them as they are described in the sacred books. Thess sights and the sound that struck their ears greatly troubled the Hebrews, for they were so uncommon, 082 and the widespread rumour that God dwelt on that mountain gripped their minds, so they stayed put within their tents, thinking that Moses had been killed by the wrath of God and expecting a similar fate for themselves.

3.

083 While they were in this state, Moses showed up, joyful and highly exalted. When they saw him, they were set free from fear and became more hopeful about the future. The air also cleared and shed its former strangeness, when Moses appeared. 084 He called the people into assembly, to hear what God wished to say to them, and when they were together he stood on a height from which all could hear him and said, "O Hebrews, God has received me graciously as before, and has proposed for you a happy form of life and government, and is now present in the camp. 085 So for his sake and the works he has done for us, do not despise what I am going to say, because I pass on what was said to me, even if it is a human tongue delivering them to you. If you recognise their importance, you will know the greatness of Him whose work they are, who has not disdained to speak them to me for your good. 086 They come not from Moses, son of Amram and Jochebed, but from Him who for your sakes made the Nile run blood-red and by various strokes tamed the Egyptians' pride. It was He who gave you a way through the sea and provided food from heaven, when you needed it. 087 The One who made water flow from a rock, when you were short of it; by whom Adam shared in the fruits of land and sea; by whom Noah escaped the deluge; by whom Abraham our forefather, a wandering pilgrim, gained the land of Canaan; by whom Isaac was born to aged parents; by whom Jacob was adorned with the virtue of twelve sons; by whom Joseph powerfully ruled the Egyptians - he it is who grants you these words with me as his interpreter. 088 Let them be sacred to you and valued more highly by you than your own children and wives, for if you follow them, you will live happily and enjoy fruitful land, calm seas and the fruit of the womb born as nature requires, and you will be feared by your enemies. For I have been admitted into the presence of God and allowed to hear his pure voice, such is his concern for our nation and its survival."

4.

089 Saying this, he brought the people forward, with their wives and children, to hear God telling them what they were to practice; that the power of what was spoken might not be weakened by being uttered in a human tongue, for their understanding. 090 They all heard a voice coming to them all from above, so that they missed none of these words which Moses left written on the two tablets. It is not lawful for us to set them down clearly in writing, but we will declare their import.

5.

091 The first word teaches us that God is one and we should worship him alone; the second commands us not to make the image of any living thing and worship it; the third, not to swear by God to anything false; the fourth, to keep the sabbath by resting from all work. 092 The fifth, to honour our parents; the sixth to abstain from murder; the seventh not to commit adultery; the eighth, not be steal; the ninth, not to bear false witness; the tenth, not to desire anything that is another's.

6.

093 The populace was glad to hear from God himself the things Moses had spoken of, and the assembly parted, but on the following days they came to his tent to ask him to bring them other laws from God. 094 So he established them and told them how to act act in everything. These laws I shall mention at the proper time, but I shall reserve most about the laws to be explained in another work.

7.

095 When things reached this state, Moses again went up Mount Sinai, telling the Hebrews in advance and going up in their sight. When he was there such a long time, staying away from them forty days, fear gripped the Hebrews, that Moses had come to some harm, and nothing troubled them so much as the idea that Moses had died. 096 People's opinions varied about this, some saying that wild animal had killed him and those of this opinion were mainly ill-disposed to him, but others said that he had left and gone to God. 097 The more prudent were satisfied with neither of those views, realising that while people sometimes fall victim to wild beasts, it was possible that due to his virtue he might also have left and gone to God, so they remained quietly awaiting the outcome. 098 They were very sorry to lose such a leader and guardian as they might never have again, leaving them no consolation about this man, so they could not help being sad and downcast about him. However, the camp dared not move all this while, since Moses had told them to stay there.

8.

099 When the forty days and as many nights were over, he came down, having tasted none of what a person usually needs as nourishment. His appearance filled the group with gladness and he declared God's care for them and how they could live happy lives, and said that during the days of his absence 100 he wanted a tent built for God, where he would descend to be present to them, and we should carry it round with us when we move from this place, and that we would no longer need to go up Mount Sinai, for God himself would dwell in his Tent and be present to our prayers. 101 The Tent must measure and be furnished as God had shown him and "you must diligently apply yourselves to this work." Then he showed them the two tablets, engraved with the ten commandments, five upon each, written by the hand of God.

Chapter 06. [102-150]
Moses builds a tent for God's honour, forerunner of the Temple; its furnishings

1.

102 They were glad of what they had seen and heard from their general and did not fail to show enthusiasm according to their ability. They brought silver and gold and brass and high-quality wood which would not decay or rot; and camel hair and sheep-skins, some of them dyed blue and some scarlet; and some brought flowers for the purple colour and others brought white. 103 They brought fleeces dyed with the aforesaid flowers, and fine linen and precious stones, which people set in gold for lavish ornaments; and a large amount of spices. Of materials like these, Moses fashioned the Tent, which was no less than a movable, itinerant temple. 104 When these things were diligently brought, for everyone was ambitious for the work, even beyond their ability, he set architects over the works, by the command of God, whom the people themselves would have chosen if the choice was theirs. 105 Their names are written in the sacred books, and were these: Basaelos, son of Uri, of the tribe of Judas, the son of the chief's sister, Miriam, and Elibazos, son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan. 106 The people went on eagerly with the undertaking, so that Moses had to restrain them by proclaiming that what had been brought was sufficient, as the artisans had told him, so they began work upon the building of the Tent. 107 At God's direction Moses told them what its size and measures were to be, and how many vessels it should contain to serve the sacrifices. The women also vied with each other in making the priestly vestments and other things this work required, for ornament and for the worship of God.

2.

108 When all was ready, the gold, silver, brass and fabrics, Moses declared there would be a festival, with sacrifices offered according to each one's ability, and set up the Tent. First he measured the open court, fifty feet broad and a hundred long, 109 and set up bronze poles, five feet high, twenty on each of the longer sides and ten for the breadth behind, and each of the poles had a ring. Their tops were of silver and their bases of brass, like the points of spears with the brass ends fixed into the ground. 110 Cords were passed through the rings and tied at their farther ends to brass nails of a foot long, driven into the floor at every pole, to keep the Tent from shaking in the force of the winds. A curtain of fine soft linen went round all the poles and hung down in a sweeping fashion from their tops to the floor, enclosing the whole space and seeming not unlike a wall. 111 Three sides of the enclosure were like this. On the fourth side, which was fifty feet long and formed the front of the whole, there was an entrance of twenty feet wide, with two poles on each side, resembling open gates. 112 These were entirely plated with silver except the bases, which were of brass. On each side of the gates stood three poles, fittted into the concave bases of the gates, and round them was drawn a curtain of fine linen. 113 The gates were twenty feet wide and five feet high and the curtain was made from purple and scarlet and blue and fine linen, embroidered with many sorts of shapes except those of animals. 114 Within the gates was a bronze wash-basin, on a base of similar material, from which the priests could wash their hands and sprinkle their feet. This was the adornment of the enclosure about the court of the Tent, which was open to the air.

3.

115 He placed the Tent in the middle of that court, turned towards the east, so that the sun's first rays would fall on it. When set up, its length was thirty feet and its breadth was ten. One of its walls faced south and the other faced the north and its back was turned to the west. 116 Its height had to equal its width. There were twenty wooden boards on each side, shaped in the form of a quadrangle, each a foot and a half wide and four fingers thick, 117 with thin plates of gold fixed on both the inner and the outer sides, each with two silver tenons; and in each base was a socket to receive the tenons. 118 On the west wall were six boards, with all these tenons and sockets precisely fitted so that the joints were invisible and it seemed to be one single, entire wall, covered inside and outside with gold. 119 The number of pillars was equal on the opposite sides with twenty on each side and each of them was a third of a hands-breadth thick, so that between them they amounted to thirty feet. On the back wall where the six pillars together measured only nine feet, they made two other pillars, cutting each to the size of one foot, which they placed in the corners and made them as fine as the others. 120 Each of the pillars had rings of gold fixed in front, as if they were rooted in the pillars, and they stood row opposite row; through the rings were inserted gold-plated bars, each five feet long, uniting the pillars, each bar running into the next like mortise and tenons, formed in the shape of a shell. 121 The back wall had only a single row of bars running through all the pillars, into which ran the ends of the bars from each side of the longer walls; the "male" and "female" joints being so connected that they held the whole tent together, unshaken by the winds or anything else, steady and stable.

4.

122 He divided its inside length into three sections. Ten feet from the farther end, he placed four pillars, fashioned like the rest and set on similar bases with them, each separated a little from the next. The area within those pillars was the sanctuary while the rest of the Tent was open for the priests. 123 These measurements of the Tent turn out to be an imitation of the nature of the universe. The one third of it, within the four pillars, inaccessible to the priests, is like God's private heaven. Then the space of the twenty feet, is, as it were, sea and land, where people live, and this part is special to the priests only. 124 But in front, where they made the entrance, they placed pillars of gold, standing on bases of brass, seven in number, and spread over the Tent veils of fine linen and purple and blue and scarlet colours, embroidered. 125 The first veil was ten feet each way and this they spread over the pillars dividing the temple, to keep the most holy place concealed within, not visible to anyone. While the whole temple was called The Holy Place, the part within the four pillars and to which none were admitted, was called The Holy of Holies. 126 This veil was beautiful and decked with every kind of flower that springs from the earth and interwoven with ornaments of every variety, except the forms of animals. 127 Another veil covered the five pillars at the entrance, like the former in size and texture and colour, hanging from a ring from the top to halfway down the pillars, the other half allowing an entrance, for the priests to creep beneath it. 128 Over this there was a linen veil, of the same size as the former: that could be drawn to either side by cords, with rings fixed to the texture of the veil and to the cords to allow the veil to be drawn or rolled aside in the corner, and not block the view of the sanctuary, especially on solemn days. 129 On other days and especially when it was snowing, it could be spread and give some cover to the veil of many colours. From this comes our custom, once the temple was built, of having a fine linen veil drawn over the entrances. 130 The ten other curtains were four feet wide and twenty-eight feet long, with "male" and "female" golden clasps so exactly fitted together that it seemed to be one entire curtain. These were spread over the temple and covered all the top and parts of the walls, on the sides and behind, to within one foot of the ground. 131 There were other curtains just as wide but longer and one more of them, for they were thirty feet long, woven of hair as skillfully as those of wool and reaching loosely down to the ground, providing a high, triangular front entrance, the eleventh curtain being used for this purpose. 132 Above these there were also other curtains of skins to provide covering and protection for the woven ones in hot weather and when it rained. Whoever viewed those curtains at a distance was amazed, for they seemed not to differ from the colour of the sky. 133 Those made of hair and skins reached down in the same way as did the veil at the gates, warding off the heat of the sun and any harm from the rains. Such was the form of the Tent.

5.

134 An ark, sacred to God, was also made, of naturally strong and corruptible timber. This was called in our own language, Eron and its workmanship was as follows. 135 It was five spans long, and its breadth and height was each three spans. It was covered all over with gold, inside and out, so that its wooden parts were invisible. It had also a cover wonderfully joined to it by golden hinges, most closely fitted to it and had no eminences to hinder its exact conjunction. 136 There were also two golden rings belonging to each of the longer boards and passing through the entire wood and through them gilt bars passed along each board, that it might thereby be moved and carried about, as occasion should require, for it was not drawn in a cart by beasts of burden, but borne on the shoulders of the priests. 137 After this cover were two images, which the Hebrews call Cherubims. They are flying creatures, whose form is not like that of any of the creatures seen by humans, though Moses said he had seen such beings near the throne of God. 138 In this ark he put the two tables on which were written the ten commandments, five on each table and two and a half on each side of them; this ark he placed in the most holy place.

6.

139 In the holy place he placed a table, like those at Delphi. Its length was two feet and its breadth one foot and its height three spans. It had feet the lower half of which were complete, resembling those which the Dorians put to their bedsteads, but the upper parts towards the table were wrought in a square form. 140 The table had a hollow to each side, with a ledge of four fingers deep going round about like a spiral, on the upper and lower part of the main work. On each of the feet was inserted a ring, not far from the cover, through which went non-removable bars of gilded wood. 141 Inside there was a cavity where it was joined to the rings, which were not entire rings, but before they came fully around they ended in sharp points, one of which was inserted into the prominent part of the table and the other into the foot, and by these it was carried when they journeyed. 142 On this, which stood on the north side of the temple, near the sanctuary, were put twelve loaves of unleavened bread, six in each pile, one above another, made of two assarons of purest flour, a Hebrew measure equal to seven Athenian cotylae. 143 Above the loaves were put vessels full of frankincense and every seven days other loaves were brought to replace them, on the day we call Sabbath, for we call the seventh day Sabbath. But about the reason for placing loaves here, we will speak in another place.

7.

144 In front of the table, near the southern wall, was a candlestick of cast gold, hollow inside and weighing one hundred pounds, which the Hebrews call Chinchares, if it be turned into the Greek language, it means a talent. 145 It was made with its knobs and lilies and pomegranates and bowls, about seventy in all, so that the shaft rose up high from a single base and spread out into as many branches as there are planets surrounding the sun. 146 It ends in seven heads, in one row, all parallel to each other, and these branches hold seven lamps, imitating the number of the planets, looking to the east and the south, the candlestick branching out at an angle.

8.

147 Between this and the table, which, as we said, were inside, was the altar of incense, made of the same imperishable wood but entirely plated over with gold. Its breadth on each side was a foot, but the height double. 148 Upon it was a grate of gold, that stood above the altar, with a golden crown surrounding it, attached to rings and bars by which the priests carried it when they journeyed. 149 Before the tent stood a bronze altar, with its inside made of wood, measuring five feet on each side, and three feet high, likewise adorned with brass plates as bright as gold. It had also a bronze hearth of network, for the ground underneath received the fire from the hearth, because it had no basis to receive it. 150 Facing it were the basins and vessels and censers and caldrons, made of gold, but the other vessels, made for the use of the sacrifices, were all of brass. And such was the construction of the Tent, and these were the vessels belonging to it.

Chapter 07. [151-187]The priestly vestments and the high priest's mitre

1.

151 Special vestments called Caanaeae were assigned for the priests and all the others, and the high priestly Anarbache [for it denotes high priest.]
The dress of the others will be described. 152 When the priest approaches the sacrifices, he purifies himself with the purification which the law prescribes, first he puts on what is called Machanase, which means something tied. It is a girdle, composed of stitched fine linen and is worn about the private parts, the feet being inserted into them like breeches. It ends above the waist and reaches to the thighs, where it is tied firm.

2.

153 Over this he wore a linen vestment, made of a double thickness of linen. It is called Chethomene and means linen, for Chethon is our word for linen. This vestment reaches down to the feet and sits close to the body, and has sleeves tightly fastened at the arms. 154 It is girdled at the breast close to the armpits, by a girdle twined around, four fingers wide and so loosely woven that it looks like the skin of a snake. It is embroidered with flowers of scarlet and purple and blue and fine linen, with its warp entirely of fine linen. 155 It is wound around, beginning at the breast, and after another turn it is tied and sweeps down to the ankles whever the priest is not about any manual work, in which form it is seen by onlookers to the best advantage, but when he must assist in offering sacrifices and to in serving, he throws it to the left and wears it over his shoulder so as not be hindered in his actions by its movement. 156 Moses calls this girdle the Abaneth, but we have learned from the Babylonians to call it the Emia, their name for it. This tunic has no folds, but only a narrow aperture at the neck. It is tied with strings hanging down from the edge over the breast and back and fastened above each shoulder and is called Massabazanes.

3.

157 On his head he wears a cap, not of conical shape or concealing it all, but covering a little over half of it. It is called the Masnaefthes, and its structure resembles a crown, being made of a thick band of layers of linen, well compressed and sewed together. 158 A piece of fine linen covers the whole cap from the top down to the forehead, hiding the seams of the swathes, which would otherwise be unsightly, and it fits closely to the head, where it is so firmly held as not to fall off while he is engaged in the liturgy. Such is the vesture of the ordinary priests.

4.

159 The high priest is adorned with all of the aforementioned robes, but over these he wears a blue vestment reaching to the feet. In our language it is called the Meeir, and is girded around with a sash adorned with similar colours and floral patterns, interwoven with gold. 160 Fringes of the colour of pomegranates hang from the bottom of this vestment, nicely interspersed with golden bells, so that between each two little bells is a pomegranate and between two pomegranates a little bell. 161 This tunic is not made of two pieces, nor sewn together at the shoulders and the sides, but is one long woven piece with an opening for the neck, not cut crossways but lengthwise, from the breast to the middle of the back. This is woven with a border so that the cut should not look unsightly; and there are similar slits for the hands.

5.

162 Over these, the high priest wore a third vestment called the Ephod, resembling the Epomis of the Greeks, fashioned like this: it was about a foot wide and woven of several colours intermixed with gold, and was in general shaped like a tunic with sleeves, which left the middle of the breast uncovered. 163 Within the gap of this vestment was inserted a piece of about a hand's width, embroidered with gold and the other colours of the ephod and called the Essen, which in the Greek means the Oracle. 164 This piece exactly filled the gap in the Ephod to which it was joined by golden rings at each corner. Similar rings were attached to the ephod and a blue ribbon was used to fasten them together at the rings. 165 To avoid sagging in the space between the rings, they contrived to fill it up with a texture of blue stitching. Upon the Ephod, to fasten it, were two sardonyxes at the shoulders, each of which had an extremity to which the golden pins could be fastened. 166 On these were engraved the names of the sons of Jacob, in the local alphabet and in our own tongue, six on each stone, with the names of the elder sons on the right shoulder. There were also twelve stones on the Essen, of unusual size and beauty, a priceless ornament of immense value. 167 These stones stood in four rows of three, worked into the Essen and set in golden clasps which were themselves so set within the fabric as not to fall out. 168 The first triad were a sardonyx, a topaz and an emerald; the second held a carbuncle, a jasper and a sapphire; the third row had first a ligure, then an amethyst and then an agate, being the ninth in all;.the fourth row began with a chrysolite, then came an onyx and last of all a beryl. 169 The names of all the sons of Jacob were engraved in these stones, whom we regard as the founders of our tribes, each stone being honoured with a name according to the order of their birth. 170 As the rings were too weak to bear the weight of the stones by themselves, they inserted two other larger rings into the texture of the Essen near the throat, to receive slim chains connected by golden bands to the tops of the shoulders, the ends of which connected the ring to a projection at the back of the ephod. 171 This was to secure the Essen, that it might not fall from its place. There was also a sash sewn to the Essen, of the aforesaid colours interwoven with gold, which was again tied over the seam after one turn and allowed to hang down. This sash was also fringed by tassels surrounded by golden sheaths.

6.

172 His head-dress was the same as that described earlier and made like that of all the other priests, but above it was another, embroidered in blue and round it a golden crown, in three rows, from which arose a cup of gold like the herb we call Saccharus, but which is called Hyoscyamus by Greeks who are skilled in the cutting of roots. 173 In case anyone has seen this herb but has not learned its name or is unaware of its nature, or, though knowing the name does not know the herb when he sees it, I shall now describe it. 174 This herb is often more than three hands-width tall, but its root is like that of a turnip, to which it may fairly be compared, but its leaves are like those of mint. From its branches it sends out a calyx joined to the branch, surrounded with a jacket which it naturally sheds when it begins to turn into fruit. The calyx is as large as the bone of the little finger, but its opening is like a cup. I will describe it further, for those who are unfamiliar with it. 175 Imagine a sphere cut in half, round at the bottom, but with another segment growing up from that base and gradually narrowing and then gracefully widening again at the top, such as in the indented navel of a pomegranate. 176 The plant is surmounted by a top that makes it hemispherical as though carefully turned on a lathe, with notches above it, as I said, like a pomegranate, prickly and ending in a sharp point. 177 The fruit is protected within the coat of the calyx, and is like the seed of the herb Sideritis and sends out a flower which can resemble a poppy. 178 Of this the crown was made, from the back of the head to the temples on either side, but this Ephielis, as the calyx may be called, did not cover the forehead, which was covered with a golden plate, inscribed with the name of God in sacred characters. Such is the adornment of the high priest.

7.

179 Here one may wonder at people's ill-will toward us which they claim is due to our despising the Deity whom they profess to honour. 180 If one simply considers the fabric of the Tent and looks at the vestments of the high priest and the vessels we use in our liturgy, one finds that our Legislator was a divine man and that what others reproach us with is false, for if one regards them wisely and without envy, he will find they were all made as an imitation and representation of the universe. 181 By dividing the Tent, which was thirty feet long, into three parts, allotting two of them to the priests as a place accessible to all, he denoted these two as land and sea, these being accessible to all, but set apart the third division for God, for heaven is inaccessible to humanity. 182 By the twelve loaves to be set on the table he means the year, divided into as many months. By the seventy sections of the candelabrum he hints at the tenfold division of the planets, for the seven lamps on each candlestick refer to the course of the seven planets. 183 The fourfold texture of the veils points to the four elements. The fine linen signifies the earth, as the flax grows from the earth; the purple means the sea, for that colour is dyed by the blood of fish from the sea; the blue means the air, and the scarlet will be the sign of fire. 184 The high priest's vestment of linen signifies the earth and the blue is the sky, its pomegranates among the sounding bells being signs of lightning and thunder. The ephod shows how God made the universe of four elements, and the interwoven gold, I suppose, relates to the splendor lighting up all things. 185 He assigned the Essen in the middle of the Ephod to signify the earth, which is the centre of the universe. The sash around the high priest signifies the ocean, encircling and enfolding the world. The two sardonyxes pinning the high priest's vestment point to the sun and the moon. 186 The twelve stones can well refer either to the months, or to the signs of the circle which the Greeks call the Zodiac; and, with its blue colour, the mitre seems to me to mean heaven, 187 How otherwise could the name of God be inscribed upon it? That it was also adorned with a crown of gold is because of the splendor in which God rejoices. Let this explanation suffice for now, since my narrative will often give me occasion to expand upon the virtue of our Legislator.

Chapter 08. [188-223]
Aaron and sons are consecrated as priests. Moses receives God's laws, in the Tent of Meeting

1.

188 When that was done but the offerings not yet consecrated, God appeared to Moses and told him to give the high priesthood to his brother Aaron, as the one who for his virtue was most deserving of that honour. After gathering the people, he spoke to them of Aaron's virtue and goodwill towards them and the risks he had taken on their behalf. 189 When they assented to all this and were favourable to him, he said, "Israelites, the task is done according to our abilities, in a way most pleasing to God. But to welcome Him into this tent, we must first have someone to officiate and serve the sacrifices and the prayers on our behalf. 190 If it were left to me, I would find myself worthy of this honour, since all people naturally love themselves and I am aware of having done much for your salvation. But God himself has judged Aaron worthy of this honour and has chosen him as his priest, knowing him the most righteous person among you. 191 So he will wear the sacred vestments before God, and care for the altars and the sacrifices, and offer prayers for us to God, who will hear them gladly, not just because of his care for our nation, but because they come from the man he has chosen." 192 The Hebrews were pleased with what he said and accepted the one God had chosen, for of them all Aaron was the most deserving of this honour, due to his background and his prophetic gift and his brother's virtue. At that time he had four sons, Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar.

2.

193 Moses directed them to use all the materials surplus to what was needed for its building, to make coverings for the Tent, the candlestick and altar of incense and the other vessels, to prevent their being damaged by the rain or the dust on the journey. 194 Gathering the people again, he ordained that they should offer half a shekel for every man, as an offering to God. 195 The shekel is a coin among the Hebrews, equivalent to four Athenian drachmae. 196 They readily obeyed what Moses said and the number of contributors was six hundred and five thousand five hundred and fifty. This, money was freely given by those above twenty years old, but under fifty, and what was collected was spent in the uses of the Tent.

3.

197 Moses now purified the Tent and the priests and the purification was done as follows. He told them take five hundred shekels of choice myrrh, an equal amount of iris and half as much of cinnamon and the sweet spice calamus, beat them small and wet them with a hin of oil of olives (a hin is our own measure equal to two Athenian choas) and mix and boil them to prepare sweet ointment, with the apothecary's art. 198 With this they should anoint and purify the priests and the whole tent, and the sacrifices. There were various kinds of expensive spices belonging to the Tent for the golden altar of incense, whose nature I omit to describe so as not to burden my readers. 199 Incense was to be offered twice a day, both before sunrise and at sunset. They were also to keep purified oil for the lamps; three of which were to shine all day long before God, on the sacred candlestick, and the rest to be lit in the evening.

4.

200 All was finished, with Besabeel and Eliab seen to be the most skilled of the workmen. These surpassed the works of others before them and had great skill in inventing what they formerly did not know. 201 Of these, Besaleel was judged to be the best. The whole time spent on this work was seven months, and then the first year since their departure from Egypt came to an end. At the beginning of the second year, on the new moon of the month the Macedonians call Xanthicus, and the Hebrews call Nisan, they consecrated the Tent and all its vessels that I have already described.

5.

202 God showed himself pleased with the work of the Hebrews and did not let their work be in vain or disdain to use what they had made, but he came as their guest and pitched his tent in the sanctuary. He showed his presence as follows. 203 The sky was clear, but there was a mist surrounding the Tent alone, a cloud not so deep and thick as one sees in winter, nor yet so thin that one could see through it, and from it there dropped a sweet dew that showed the presence of God to those who asked and believed it.

6.

204 When Moses had given suitable gifts to the workmen and recompensed them their work, he sacrificed in the open court of the Tent at God's command, a bull, a ram and a kid goat, for a sin-offering. 205 When I treat of sacrifices I shall say what is done in our liturgy and tell of when the Law requires holocaust and when it lets us use them for food. He sprinkled the vestments of Aaron, and Aaron himself and his sons, with the blood of the sacrifices and purified them with spring water and ointment, so that they belonged to God. 206 Over seven days he consecrated them and their vestments in this way, anointing the Tent and its vessels with oil first incensed, as I said, and with the blood of bulls and rams, killed day by day, one of each kind; and on the eighth day he decreed a feast for the people, telling them to sacrifice according to their ability. 207 At his word they rivalled each other and sought to exceed each other in the sacrifices they brought; and as the sacrifices lay upon the altar, a sudden fire spontaneously kindled among them, looking like the flame of a lightning flash and consumed every gift upon the altar.

7.

208 A misfortune came upon Aaron, as a man and a father, which he nobly bore with fortitude, for his soul was inured to such incidents and he thought this suffering happened according to the will of God. 209 As I have said, he had four sons, and the two elder of them, Nadab and Abihu, did not bring those sacrifices which Moses had said, but what they formerly used to offer, and were burned to death. The fire suddenly engulfed them and began to burn their chests and faces, and nobody could quench it. 210 They died in this manner; and Moses bid their father and their brothers to take up their bodies, to bring them outside the camp and give them a splendid burial. The populace was deeply grieved by the death which came on them so unexpectedly. 211 But Moses begged their brothers and their father not to dwell upon their sorrow for them and to put the honour of God above their bereavement, for Aaron had already been invested with the priestly robe.

8.

212 Moses refused all the honour which he saw the people ready to bestow upon him and attended to nothing but the service of God. He went no more up to Mount Sinai, but went into the Tent and brought back God's answers on what he prayed about. In all other things he dressed and behaved as a private citizen and did not wish to seem different from the people, except that he took care of them. 213 He also wrote down their governance and those laws by which they could live pleasing to God and without mutual accusations. What he ordained was what God directed; so I shall now discuss their governance and laws.

9.

214 I wish now to speak of what I omitted earlier, the vestment of the high priest. He left no room for falsification by prophets, but if some of that kind tried to usurp the divine dignity, he left it in God's hands to be present at, or absent from his sacrifices, as he pleased; and he wanted this to be known not only to the Hebrews but also to foreigners who might be there. 215 For of those sardonyx stones mentioned earlier, which the high priest bore on his shoulders, (and I think it needless to describe their nature, as they are known to all,) one shone out when God was present at their sacrifices. The one on his right shoulder gleamed and even to those furthest away, the stone appeared brighter than before. 216 This amazed all except those whose quest of wisdom led them to despise divine signs, but I will tell something more amazing still, how by the twelve stones worn on the high priest's breastplate God foretold when they would be victorious in battle. 217 Such light shone from them before the army began to march, that all the people were aware of God's present to help them; which is why the Greeks who venerated our laws, finding it impossible to deny these things, called the breastplate the Oracle. 218 The breastplate and sardonyx ceased shining two hundred years before I composed this book, when God was displeased at the breaking of his laws. We shall treat more about this at a fitter time, but now I will follow the thread of my narrative.

10.

219 With the Tent now consecrated and a graceful settlement made for the priests, the people trusted in God's dwelling among them and took time to sacrifice and to rest, feeling safe from every threat and hoping for better times ahead. Each tribe offered gifts to God, some for the whole nation and some for themselves. 220 Two by two, the heads of the tribes gathered, each two bringing a waggon with a pair of oxen, making six in all, and these carried the Tent when they journeyed. Besides, each brought a bowl and a salver and a censer to hold ten darics of incense. 221 The bowl and salver were of silver and together weighed two hundred shekels, of which the salver cost no more than seventy, and these were full of fine flour mixed with oil, such as they used on the altar around the sacrifices. They brought also a young bullock and a ram, with a lamb of a year old as a holocaust, and a goat as a sin offering. 222 Each of the tribal officers brought other so-called peace-offerings, for every day two bulls and five rams, with year-old lambs and kid goats. These spent twelve days in sacrificing, one for each day. No longer did Moses go up Mount Sinai, but entering the Tent he learned from God what must be done and what laws to make. 223 These were better than what human understanding could devise and indeed were firmly preserved for all time to come, as God's own gift, so that the Hebrews did not break any of the laws, whether tempted by luxury in peacetime, or by distress in time of war. But I say no more about them here, as I plan to write another work about our laws.

Chapter 09. [224-236]
Instructions about various kinds of sacrifice: Holocausts, Sin-offerings, Thank-offerings

1.

224 While we are on the topic of sacrifices I will mention a few of our laws on purifications and rituals. These rituals are of two kinds, one for individuals and the other for the whole people, and they follow two forms. 225 What is sacrificed is entirely burned and so is called "holocaust." The other form is a thank-offering and is meant as a feast for those who make the sacrifice. I shall speak about the former. 226 If a private citizen offers a holocaust, he must kill either a bull, a yearling lamb or a kid goat, though a bull for sacrifice may be somewhat older, and all holocausts must be males. When they are slaughtered, the priests sprinkle the blood around the altar. 227 They then cleanse the carcass and divide it and salt the pieces and lay them on the altar, with the fire set and burning. They carefully cleanse the feet of the sacrifices and the innards and lay them to be purified with the rest, while the priests receive the hides. Such is the form used for holocausts.

2.

228 For thank-offerings, they sacrifice the same animal, using those that are unblemished and over a year old, whether male or female. They also sprinkle the altar with their blood, but lay upon the altar the kidneys and the caul and all the fat and the lobe of the liver, along with the rump of the lamb. 229 After giving the breast and the right shoulder to the priests, the offerers feast for two days upon the rest of the flesh, and burn up whatever remains.

3.

230 There are also sacrifices for sins, which are offered in the same way as was described. But those unable to purchase complete sacrifices offer two pigeons, or turtle doves, one of which is burned in worship to God and the other they give as food to the priests. When discussing sacrifices we shall speak more fully of the offering of these animals. 231 If a person sins by ignorance, he offers an ewe lamb, or a female kid goat of the same age, and the priests sprinkle the blood on the altar, not as before, but at its corners. They also bring the kidneys and the rest of the fat, along with the lobe of the liver, to the altar, and the priests take away the hides and the flesh and use it that same day in the holy place, for the law does not allow them to leave it until morning. 232 If one sins consciously but has nobody accusing him of it, he offers a ram, as the law commands, and as before the priests eat the flesh of it in the holy place, that same day. If the leaders sacrifice for their sins, they bring the same offerings as private citizens except that theirs must be a bull or a kid goat, both males.

4.

233 Both for private and public sacrifices, the law requires that the finest flour be brought, for a lamb one tenth of an assar, for a ram two, and for a bull three. This they purify with a mixture of oil, on the altar. 234 Oil is also brought by those who sacrifice, half a hin for a bull, a third of the same measure for a ram and a quarter for a lamb. This hin is an ancient Hebrew measure equivalent to two Athenian choas. They bring the same amount of oil and wine, but they pour the wine around the altar. 235 One who instead of an animal sacrifice brings only fine flour to fulfil a vow, throws a handful upon the altar as its first-fruits, while the priests take the rest for food, either boiled or mixed with oil, or baked into loaves. The sacrifice of a priest himself must be a holocaust. 236 The law forbids the sacrifice of an animal within eight days after its birth, or on the same day and place as its parent. Other sacrifices are appointed for avoiding sickness or for other reasons, when pieces of meat are consumed along with the victims, no part of which may be left until the next day, and the priests get their share.

Chapter 10. [237-257]
The festivals, their dates, and how they must be observed

1.

237 By law, at public expense, a yearling lamb must be killed every day, at the day's beginning and end; but on the seventh day, called the Sabbath, they kill two and sacrifice them in the same way. 238 At the new moon, they perform the daily sacrifices and kill two bulls, with seven year-old lambs and a kid goat, to expiate sins committed through ignorance.

2.

239 On the seventh month, which the Macedonians call Hyperberetaeus, in addition to the above they sacrifice a bull, a ram, seven lambs and a kid goat, for sins.

3.

240 On the tenth day of the same lunar month, after fasting until evening they sacrifice a bull and two rams and seven lambs and a kid goat, for sins. 241 Besides, they bring two goat kids, one of which is sent alive into the wilderness outside the camp as a scapegoat, to expiate the sins of the whole people, while they bring the other to a most pure place within the camp, and burn it there, with its skin, with no sort of cleansing. 242 With it is burned a bull, not provided by the people, but by the high priest at his own expense. When it is killed, he brings its blood with that of the kid goat into the holy place and with his finger sprinkles seven times towards the ceiling. 243 He does the same to the pavement and as often again to the sanctuary and around the golden altar, and finally brings it out of doors. Besides, they set upon the altar the extremities and the kidneys and the fat, with the lobe of the liver. Then the high priest presents a ram as a holocaust to God.

4.

244 On the fifteenth day of the same month, when the season is changing to winter, he commands us to pitch tents in each of our houses, as a protection from the cold of that time of the year, 245 and that when we reach our fatherland and the city to be our metropolis on account of the temple, we should keep a festival for eight days and offer holocausts and thank-offerings, and carry in our hands a bouquet of myrtle and willow and a palm branch, and some persea fruit. 246 The holocaust on the first of those days must be a sacrifice of thirteen bulls and fourteen lambs and fifteen rams, and a kid goat, to expiate for sins. On the following days the same number of lambs and of rams, with the kid goats, with one bull less every day, until they came down to seven. 247 On the eighth day all work was put aside and then, as we said before, they sacrificed to God a bullock, a ram and seven lambs, with a kid goat, as an expiation of sins. This is the practice of the Hebrews, when they set up their tents.

5.

248 In the month of Xanthicus, which is called Nisan by us and begins our year, on the fourteenth day of the lunar month, when the sun is in Aries, this month when we were saved from slavery under the Egyptians, every year by law we offer that sacrifice, called the Passover, as we did when we came from Egypt, and so we celebrate it in companies, preserving no part of what is sacrificed until the following day. 249 After the passover, on the fifteenth comes the feast of the Azymes, lasting for seven days, when they eat unleavened bread. On each of these days two bulls are killed and one ram and seven lambs. These are entirely burned, with the kid goat added in as a sin-offering, as a treat for the priest on each of those days. 250 On the second day of unleavened bread, which is the sixteenth day of the month, they first partake of the fruits of the earth, and up to then they do not touch them. They think it right to honour God, from whom they receive this bounty, by first of all offering the first-fruits of their barley in this way. 251 They take a handful of the ears and dry them and thresh them, to separate the barley from the bran. They then bring one assar to the altar, to God, and throw a handful of it upon the fire, leaving the rest for the use of the priests. Then they may reap their harvest, whether publicly or privately. At this time of first-fruits they also sacrifice a lamb in holocaust to God.

6.

252 When after this sacrifice a week of weeks has passed, that is forty nine days, on the fiftieth day, called by the Hebrews Asartha, which means Pentecost, they bring to God a loaf of wheat flour, of two assars, with leaven, and a sacrifice of two lambs. 253 After these are duly presented to God, they are made ready as supper for the priests, and nothing of them may be left until the morrow. They also offer in holocaust three bullocks and two rams, and fourteen lambs, with two kid goats, for sins. 254 None of the festivals is without holocausts, and on each of them they also allow themselves to rest from work. The law prescribes for all what kinds of sacrifice to offer and how to be at ease and to rejoice in their sacrifices.

7.

255 Twenty-four assars of unleavened bread was set on view at public expense; two batches of which were baked the day before the sabbath, but were brought into the holy place on the sabbath morning and set on the holy table, six loaves per heap. 256 Two golden cups of frankincense were set upon them and there they remained until the next sabbath, when other loaves were put in their place, while those were given to the priests as food and the frankincense was burned in that sacred fire where all their offerings were burned, and other frankincense was set upon the loaves in place of what was there before. 257 Twice every day, at his own expense, the priest offered a sacrifice of one assar of flour, mixed with oil and lightly baked. He brought half of it to the fire in the morning and the other half at night. I shall describe these sacrifices more fully later, but I think that for the present I have said enough about them.

Chapter 11. [257-273]
Purification laws for Levites, "unclean" animals, isolation of lepers, purification of women after childbirth

1.

258 Moses set the tribe of Levi apart from the rest of the people as a holy tribe, and purified them with water from perennial springs and with such sacrifices to God as the law prescribes, and entrusted to them the Tent and the sacred vessels and the curtains for covering the Tent, to minister under the guidance of the priests who were already consecrated to God.

2.

259 He also decided about which animals may be used for food and which they must not use. When occasion arises later in this work, this will be further explained, as well as the reasons which moved him to allot some as our food while bidding us abstain from others. 260 He entirely forbade us to use blood as food, reckoning it to hold the soul and spirit. He also forbade us to eat the flesh of any animal that dies of itself, and the membrane and the fat of goats and sheep and bulls.

3.

261 He banned from the city any with bodies afflicted by leprosy or who had gonorrhea, and had women set apart, during their periods, until the seventh day, after which they were allowed back as pure again. 262 The law also allows those who have buried a corpse to rejoin society after that number of days. But a person who stayed defiled for more days than this must by law offer two lambs, one for purification and the other for the priests. 263 The same sacrifice applies for those with gonorrhea, but whoever has a flow of seed during sleep may, by bathing in cold water, purge himself, just like those who have had legitimate intercourse with their wives. 264 He banished lepers from the city, not letting them live in society, almost as if they were dead. But if, by prayer to God, one recovers from that sickness and regains a healthy skin, such a one is to thank God by means of various sacrifices, about which we will speak later.

4.

265 So one can only laugh at the claim that Moses himself suffered from leprosy when he fled from Egypt and he became leader of those who were banished for it, to bring them into Canaan. 266 If this were true, Moses would not have made such laws which could dishonour himself, and would more likely have objected if others tried to introduce them. In many nations there are lepers who are held in honour and far from being reproached or avoided, have led eminent campaigns and been entrusted with high offices of state, with the right to enter holy places and temples. 267 Hence, if either Moses himself, or those with him, had been afflicted with any such skin ailment, there was nothing to prevent him making favourable laws about it and imposing no such penalty upon them. 268 Clearly it is only from prejudice that they report these things about us. Moses was clear of such sickness and lived within a clean people, and legislated for others who really were sick, acting in this for the honour of God. But on these matters let each one judge as he pleases.

5.

269 He forbade women after childbirth to come into the temple, or touch the sacrifices, until forty days had passed, in the case of a boy, and twice that in the case of a girl, after which they can enter to offer sacrifices which the priests then dedicate to God.

6.

270 If a man suspects his wife of adultery, he brings an assaron of barley flour, of which one handful is set before God and the rest given as food to the priests. One of the priests sets the woman at the gates facing the temple and taking the veil from her head, writes the name of God on parchment, 271 and bids her to swear that she has done her husband no wrong, but if she has violated her chastity, that her right leg should go out of joint and her belly swell up and she die like that; but that if, by excess of love and ensuing jealousy, her husband had been too quickly suspicious, that she might bear a male child nine months later. 272 When the oaths are sworn, he wipes the name of God from the parchment and wrings the water into a bowl. Then taking some temple clay lying to hand, he puts it into the bowl and gives it her to drink. If she was unjustly accused, she becomes pregnant and bears a child in her womb. 273 But if she has deceived her husband and sworn falsely to God, she dies shamefully, her leg falling off and her belly swollen with dropsy. Such rites of sacrifice and accompanying purifications Moses provided for his countrymen, and added the following laws:

Chapter 12. [274-294]
Laws against adultery and incest; requirement of priestly purity; the musical innovations of Moses

1.

274 He ruled out adultery entirely, reckoning it right for men to be faithful in wedlock, and good for both cities and families alike that children should be legitimate. The Law outlaws intercourse with one's mother as the worst of evils, and likewise intercourse with a step-mother or aunts or sisters or the wives of one's sons, as a major wrong. 275 He also forbade intercourse with a menstruous woman, mating with a beast, or sodomy for lawless pleasure. For offences against these he decreed the death penalty.

2.

276 For the priests he set a double level of purity, not only barring them from the above practices but forbidding them to marry a prostitute, a slave, or a prisoner-of-war, or women who earned their living by hawkers or inn-keepers, or a woman separated from her husband, on whatever grounds. 277 He deemed it unsuitable for the high priest to marry even one whose husband had died, though it was allowed to the other priests, but allowed him only to marry a virgin of his own tribe. While others may not approach a deceased brother or parent or child, the high priest must never approach a corpse. 278 They must also be unblemished in all respects; so he ordered that a priest with a blemish could indeed have his portion among the priests but could not ascend the altar, or to enter into the sacred building. And they must observe purity not only in their sacred ministries, but must take care that their private life be blameless too. 279 That is why those who wear the priestly robes are spotless, eminently pure and faultless, nor may they drink wine while they are wearing that vesture. Moreover, the very sacrifices they offer are entire and free from mutilation.

3.

280 These precepts that Moses gave them were already observed during his lifetime, for while living in the wilderness, he still made provision in advance for when they had captured the land of Canaan. 281 So every seventh year he rested the land from ploughing and planting just as he had prescribed for them to rest from working every seventh day, and said that what grows of itself from the earth belongs equally to all who wish to use it, making no distinction there between their own countrymen and foreigners. The same was to be observed after seven times seven years, 282 which amount to fifty years, and that fiftieth year the Hebrews call a Jubilee, when debtors are freed from their debts and slaves are set free, that is to say, slaves of our race, who for transgressing some law were punished with slavery rather than the death penalty. 283 He also restores fields to their original owners as follows: At the time of the Jubilee, which means liberty, the seller of the land meets the buyer, and together they make an estimate of the fruits gathered, and of the amount spent for it. If the fruits gathered come to more than the amount expended, the seller must get the land back, 284 but if the expenditure is more than the fruits, the present owner receives from the seller the difference of value and leaves the land to him and if the fruits received and the expenditure prove equal, the present owner relinquishes it to the seller. 285 He applied the same law also to houses sold in villages, but he made a different law for those sold in the city, for if he that sold it tendered the purchaser his money again within a year, he was bound to restore it, but if a year had passed, the purchaser would own the property outright. 286 This was the code of laws which Moses learned from God when they camped beneath Mount Sinai and this he delivered in writing to the Hebrews.

4.

287 When he was satisfied with the ligislation, he finally decided to review the troops with an eye to warfare. So he instructed the heads of the tribes, except the tribe of Levi, to gauge exactly the number of those who were fit to go to war. The Levites were set apart and free from all such things. 288 When the people were examined, six hundred and three thousand, six hundred and fifty were found who were fit for war, from twenty to fifty years old. In place of Levi, Moses listed Manasses, son of Joseph, among the heads of tribes, and Ephraim in place of Joseph, for Jacob had asked Joseph to let him adopt his sons as his own, as I have already said.

5.

289 When they set up the Tent, they kept it in the middle of their camp, three tribes on each side of it, and paths were made though the centre. It was ordered like a market with things for sale laid in lines, and artisans in all the shops, and looked like a city that is sometimes shifted and sometimes fixed. 290 The priests had the first places around the Tent, and next the Levites, who, as they were all counted starting from thirty days old, were twenty-three thousand eight hundred and eighty males. So long as the cloud stood above the Tent, they thought they ought to stay in that place, thinking that God dwelt there among them, but when it moved, they journeyed too.

6.

291 Moses invented the form of their trumpet, which was made of silver in this way: In length little less than a foot, composed of a narrow tube, rather thicker than a flute and wide enough to admit the breath of one's mouth and ending in the shape of a bell, like an ordinary trumpet. It was called in the Hebrew tongue an Asosra. 292 There were two of these and one of them was sounded to call the people to assembly. When the first trumpet sounded, the heads of the tribes assembled to consult about matters relating to them, but when both of them signalled they called the people together. 293 Whenever the Tent was moved, it was done in this order. At the first trumpet sound, those camped on the east side prepared to move; at the second those who were on the south did so; next, the Tent was taken apart and carried with six tribes going before and six following, and all the Levites around the Tent. 294 At the third signal those camped on the west side set off, and at the fourth those on the north did likewise. They also used these trumpets in their liturgies, when they were bringing their sacrifices to the altar on Sabbaths and on other days. And now he offered the sacrifice which was called the Passover, the first since leaving Egypt, there in the wilderness.

Chapter 13. [295-299]
Journey from Mount Sinai to the borders of Canaan

295 Shortly afterwards he rose and left Mount Sinai, and, touching on several places of which we will speak, he came to a place called Esermoth, where the people again began to mutiny and blame Moses for all they endured in their travels. 296 For they had lost the good land they left at his persuasion and instead of the happiness he had promised them, they were still miserably wandering, already in want of water, and if the manna should happen to fail, they would perish utterly. 297 Even while they were hurling such abuse at him there was one who warned them that they should not forget Moses and the trouble he had taken to save them all, and not to despair of help from God; but the people were becoming fiercer and louder and more riled than ever against Moses. 298 Despite their shameful jeering of him, to rouse them from their despair Moses promised to provide them with plenty of meat, not just for a few days but for many. As they disbelieved this and one of them asked how he could obtain such an amount as he foretold he replied, "Neither God nor I, who hear such insulting language from you, will cease working on your behalf, and this will happen before long." 299 When he had said this, the whole camp was full of quails, which they surrounded and collected. But a little later God punished the Hebrews for their insolence and insults and a large number of them died. Still to this day the place retains the memory of this and is named Kabrothavah, the Tomb of Lust.

Chapter 14. [300-310]
Hebrew spies report on the Canaanite's strength

The people turn against Moses and want to return to Egypt

1.

300 When Moses had led the Hebrews away from there to a place called the Ravine, near the borders of Canaan, a place difficult to stay in, he gathered the people to a meeting and stood up and said, "God has determined to give us two things: freedom and to own a happy land. One of these you have already by the gift of God and the other you will have soon. 301 For we are now poised at the borders of Canaan and nothing can stop us taking possession of it, now that we have finally reached it. No king or city, not even the whole human race of mankind all together, can stop us; so let us prepare ourselves for the task, for the Canaanites will not give up their land to us without a fight and it must be wrested from them by mighty struggles. 302 We should send spies to survey the goodness of the land and its strength, but above all things, let us be of one mind and honour the One who is our helper and ally over all."

2.

303 When Moses had said this, the people listened with respect and chose twelve spies, one of the most eminent from each tribe, who traversed all the land of Canaan, from the borders of Egypt to the city of Hamath and Mount Lebanon, and having learned the nature of the land and its inhabitants, returned after a total of forty days. 304 They brought with them some of the fruits the land bears and described the many excellent things it contains, to rouse the people to go to war. But then they made them afraid of the great difficulty of taking it: that the rivers were too large and deep to cross; that there were mountains one could not get past, and that the cities were strong, with walls and fortifications all round them. 305 They even claimed they had found the descendants of the giants in Hebron! So having made their survey and seen that the obstacles in Canaan were greater than they had met since coming out of Egypt, they were fearful themselves and tried to frighten the people too.

3.

306 From what they had heard the latter thought that it impossible to take the region and after the assembly ended continued with their wives and children to complain as though God gave them no help, but had only made false promises to them. 307 Again they blamed Moses and complained of him and his brother, Aaron the high priest and spent the night hurling abuse at them. In the morning they held a meeting with the intention of stoning Moses and Aaron and then returning to Egypt.

4.

308 But among the spies, Joshua the son of Nun, of the tribe of Ephraim, and Caleb of the tribe of Judas, fearing that outcome, came among them and calmed the people and implored them to take heart, and not to condemn God as a liar or heed those who had scared them by telling them untruths about the Canaanites. They should rather listen to those who encouraged them to hope for success, and that they would take win the prosperity promised to them. 309 Neither the height of mountains, nor the depth of the rivers could stop brave men from attempting them, since God would take care of them and fight on their behalf. "Let us go then," they said, "against our enemies with no thought of failure, trusting in God to conduct us and following those who will show us the way." 310 That is how they tried to pacify the rage of the crowd. Moses and Aaron fell on the ground and begged God, not for their own safety, but to end the foolishness of the people and bring them to a peaceful spirit, instead of the disorder of their present passion. The cloud then appeared and stopped above the Tent, showing that the presence of God was there.

Chapter 15. [311-322]
For their sin, the people must wander for forty years in the desert, before entering Canaan

1.

311 Moses took heart and went among the people and told them God was angry at their despising Him and would punish them, though not as much as their sins deserved, but rather as parents punish their children, to correct them. 312 When he was in the Tent weeping for the destruction that imminent because of them, God reminded him of all he had done for them and the blessings they had received from him and how ungrateful they were, so that even recently, through the fear of the spies, they had been led to think their report was truer than His own promise to them. 313 On this account, though he would not destroy them all or annihilate their nation which he honoured above the rest of mankind, he would not let them take possession of the land of Canaan or enjoy its prosperity. 314 To punish their fault He would make them wander in the wilderness, without a fixed abode or city, for forty years. "But He still promised to give that land to your children and make them masters of the good things of which you by your lack of discipline have robbed yourselves."

2.

315 When Moses had told them this by the will of God, the people grieved and dejected and begged Moses to reconcile them with God and no longer have them wander in the wilderness, but to give them cities to live in. He replied that God could not be tested like this, as He had not decided this through any human levity or anger, but had sentenced them in right judgment. 316 It is no surprise that Moses, though just one man among many thousands of angry people, calmed them and brought them to a milder temper, for God was with him, making the people yield to his words. Though they had often disobeyed, they now realised that disobedience was harmful and was the cause of their troubles.

3.

317 This man was admirable in virtue and in the power to gain people's trust in what he said, and not only during his own lifetime. Even now there is no Hebrew who does not obey the laws he laid down, as though Moses were present, ready to punish him if he should do anything wrong, even if he could keep it a secret. 318 There are many other proofs that his power was more than human. Some people travel the four-month journey from beyond the Euphrates, through many dangers and at great expense, to worship in our temple, even if, after making their offerings, they could not partake of their own sacrifices, because something had happened that is forbidden by the law of Moses or by our ancestral customs. 319 Some did not sacrifice at all while others left their sacrifices incomplete, and many were unable, in principle, even to enter the temple, but went their way, preferring to submit to the laws of Moses than to follow their own inclinations, not out of fear of anybody accusing them, but guided solely by conscience. 320 This legislation was so clearly from God that this man is revered as supernatural. A little before the beginning of this war, when Claudius was emperor of the Romans and Ismael was our high priest, such famine afflicted our land that an assar was sold for four drachmae. 321 At that time at the feast of unleavened bread no less than seventy cors of flour were brought into the temple, each weighing thirty-one Sicilian or forty-one Athenian medimni, and none of the priests dared to eat a crumb of it, despite the distress in the land, out of respect for the law and for the wrath of God against unlawful acts, even when there is no one to accuse the doers. 322 So we need not wonder at what was done in those days, when even today the writings of Moses have such force that even those who hate us have to admit that this system was established by God, through Moses and his virtue. But let each one assess these matters as he thinks fit.