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Antiquities of the Jews, Book 8.

From Solomon to king Achab

1. Solomon deals severely with his rivals and enemies

2. Solomon's Egyptian wife; wisdom and riches; Hiram's help, for Temple

3. The building of the temple

4. The Ark is moved into the Temple; Solomon's prayer and sacrifice

5. Solomon's magnificent palace; his resolving of riddles

6. Solomon fortifies Jerusalem & other cities. Receives the Ethiopian queen

7. Solomon's love of foreign women brings misfortune and rebellion

8. After Solomon's death, most of the people reject his son Roboam as king

9. Lying prophets alienate king Jeroboam's mind from God

10. Roboam is besieged in Jerusalem, by Shishak of Egypt

11. Violent succession in Israel: Jeroboam's family destroyed

12. King Asanos's battles; succeeded by Zambrias, then Achab

13. Achab and Jezabel oppose Elijah; they take Naboth's vineyard

14. Hadad of Damascus is defeated by king Achab

15. Achab and Josaphat war against the Syrians. Achab's death in battle


Chapter 1. [001-020]
Solomon's Purge: getting rid of his rivals and enemies

1.

001 In the previous book we spoke of David and his virtue and the benefits he brought to his countrymen, of the wars and battles he successfully waged and how he died an old man. 002 When his son Solomon became king at a young age, whom David, while he was alive, had according to God's will named as ruler of the people, he sat upon the throne, and all the people acclaimed him, as is usual at the beginning of a reign, praying that all his affairs would prosper, and that he would happily govern them well into old age.

2.

003 But Adonijah, who had attempted to take over the realm while his father was alive, came to Bethsabé, the king's mother, and greeted her kindly. She asked him if he came looking for her help in anything and bade him say so, for she would willingly give it to him. 004 He began to say she knew that the kingship rightly belonged to him, both as the elder and because of the people's wishes and yet it was handed over to Solomon her son, according to God's will; and that he was content to serve under him and was pleased with the present settlement. 005 However, he wanted her to obtain him a favour from his brother by getting him to assign as his wife Abishag, who had indeed slept beside his father, but because the father was too old, he did not have intercourse with her, so she was still a virgin. 006 Bethsabé promised to help him achieve this marriage, as the king would be willing to gratify him in such a thing and she would strongly petition him for it. So he went away hoping to achieve this marriage and Solomon's mother went quickly to speak to her son, as she had promised, about Adonijah's petition. 007 When her son came forward to meet her, he embraced her and brought her into the house and sat on his royal throne and told them to set another throne for his mother on the right side. When Bethsabé was sitting down, she said, "My son, grant me one request that I ask of you and do not grieve or displease me by refusing it." 008 When Solomon bade her to command him, for he was bound to grant her anything she asked, and wondered why she hesitated and showed some fear of refusal instead of firmly expecting to get what she wanted, she implored him to allow his brother Adonijah to marry Abishag.

3.

009 The king was angry at these words and sent his mother away saying that Adonijah was aspiring to great things. By wanting him to marry Abishag, she might as well ask him to hand over the kingship to his elder brother, for he had powerful friends in general Joab and Abiathar the priest. So he sent Banaios, the head of his bodyguard, to kill his brother Adonijah. 010 He also called for Abiathar the priest and said to him, "Because of the hardships you endured with my father and because you carried the ark along with him, I will not put you to death, but for following Adonijah and being on his side I set this penalty on you:- Do not stay here, or come any more into my sight, but go to your own town and live amid your own fields and remain there to the end of your life, for you can no longer hold the honour, after your your offence." 011 So the house of Ithamar was stripped of the priestly dignity, as God had foretold to Eli, the grandfather of Abiathar and was transferred to Sadok, of the family of Phineas. 012 Those of the family of Phineas, who had lived privately during the time that the high priesthood was held by the house of Ithamar, of whom Eli was the first to receive it, were these: Bokkias, son of the high priest Joshua; his son was Jothamas; Jothamas's son was Meraioth; Meraioth's son was Arophseus; Aropheus's son was Ahitub, and Ahitub's son was Sadok, who first became high priest in the reign of David.

4.

013 When general Joab heard of the slaughter of Adonijah, he was very afraid, for he was a closer friend to him than to Solomon, and rightly suspecting that he was in danger for favouring Adonijah, he fled to the altar, thinking to save himself in this way, because of the king's piety towards God. 014 When they reported Joab's notion to the king, he sent Banaios with orders to take him to the tribunal to make his defense. Joab said he would not leave the altar, but would die there rather than in another place. 015 When Banaios reported his answer to the king, Solomon told him to cut off his head there, as punishment for those two officers of the army he had wwrongfully killed, and to bury his body, so that his sins might never leave his family, but that Joab's death would leave himself, and his father, guiltless. 016 When Banaios had done as ordered, he was in turn appointed as officer of the whole army. The king also appointed Sadok alone as high priest, in place of Abiathar, whom he had removed.

5.

017 But he ordered Soumouis to build a house and stay in Jerusalem and attend upon him, and that was not allowed to go beyond the brook Cedron, and that if he disobeyed this command, his punishment would be death. He threatened him fiercely, and bound him on oath to obey. 018 Soumouis said he was thankful to Solomon for these orders, and gave his oath to do as he was bidden, and left his own region and lived in Jerusalem. But three years later, hearing that two of his slaves had run away and were in Gitta, he went in pursuit of his servants. 019 When he arrived back with them, the king noted it and was displeased that he had scorned his commands, and disregarded the oaths he had sworn to God. So he called him and said to him, "Did you not swear never to leave me, nor to go from this city to another? 020 You shall not escape the penalty for your perjury, for I will punish you, vile wretch, for this crime and for the evils you did to my father during his flight. The wicked gain nothing in the end, even if not immediately punished for their unjust practices, but all the time when they think themselves secure and have suffered nothing, their penalty increases and then comes upon them more than if they had been punished immediately after the crime." So, at the king's command, Banaios killed Soumouis.

Chapter 2. [021-060]
Solomon's Egyptian wife; his wisdom and riches. Materials from king Hiram, for the planned Temple

1.

021 When Solomon was firmly settled in his kingdom and had punished his enemies, he married the daughter of Pharaothes king of Egypt and built the walls of Jerusalem much larger and stronger than they had been before, and managed public affairs very peaceably from then on. Nor did his youth prevent him from seeing justice done and preserving the laws, or in the remembering his father's dying instructions, but he fulfilled every duty with the care one might expect from people of more advanced years and prudence. 022 He now resolved to go to Hebron and sacrifice to God upon the bronze altar built by Moses. So he offered a thousand burned offerings there, and when he had done so he was credited as having paid great honour to God, for as he was asleep that night God appeared to him and bade him to choose which of several gifts he wanted, as a reward for his piety.

023 Solomon asked God for what was most excellent and greatest in itself, which God was happy to bestow, and which was most profitable for man to receive. He did not ask to have given to him either gold or silver, or any other riches, as a young man might naturally have chosen, for these are what are honoured by most men as the only things worth striving for and the best gifts of God, but he said, "Give me, O Lord, a sound mind and a good understanding, with which to speak and judge the people according to truth and righteousness." 024 With these petitions God was well pleased, and promised to give him as well all the things he had not requested, riches, glory, victory over his enemies, but above all, understanding and wisdom to a level never possessed by any other mortal man, whether kings or ordinary citizens. He also promised to keep the kingdom with his descendants for a very long time, if he continued righteous and obedient to him and imitated his father in those things where he excelled. 025 When Solomon heard this from God, He instantly got out of bed and worshipped him. Then he returned to Jerusalem and offered great sacrifices before the Tent, after which he gave a feast for all the Jews.

2.

026 In these days a hard case came before him for judgment, which it was very difficult to resolve, and I think it necessary to explain the facts of the case, so that whoever reads this may know what a difficult cause Solomon had to decide and those who are concerned in such matters may take the king's prudence as a model of how to give sentence about such questions.

027 Two women who were prostitutes came to him, and the one who claimed to be wronged began to speak first and said, "O king, I and this other woman live together in one room and both of us bore male children at the same hour of the same day. 028 But on the third day this woman rolled over upon her son and killed it and then took my son from my bosom and took him for herself and as I was asleep she laid her dead son in my arms. 029 When in the morning I wished to give the breast to the child, I did not find my own, but saw the woman's dead child lying by me, for when I looked carefully I saw it to be so. When I demanded my own son and could not get him, I have recourse, my lord, to your help. For since we were alone and there was nobody there to accuse her, she cares for nothing, but keeps stoutly denying it." 030 When this woman had told her story, the king asked the other woman what she had to say in response to the allegation. She denied that she had done it and said that it was her child who was alive and her opponent's child who had died. When nobody could figure out what judgment should be given and all were baffled by this enigma the king alone devised the following way to unravel it. 031 He bade them bring in both the dead child and the living one and sent one of his bodyguards to draw his sword and cut each child into two pieces, so that each woman might have half of the living and half of the dead child. 032 At this, all the people secretly laughed at the king, as being merely a youth. But meanwhile, the one who was really the mother of the living child shouted out not to do it but to hand over that child to the other woman as her own, for it was enough for her to see the child alive, even if it were reckoned to belong to the other; but the other woman was prepared to see the child divided and even wanted the first woman to be tortured.

033 As the king realised that the words of each proceeded from what had truly happened, he assigned the child to the one who had shouted to save it, for she was its real mother, and he condemned the other as a wicked woman, who had not only killed her own child, but now sought to see her friend's child destroyed too. 034 The people looked on this decision as a great sign and proof of the king's prudence and wisdom, and from that day on listened to him as to one possessing a divine mind.

3.

035 The officers of his armies and the officers appointed over the whole region, were these: over the territory of Ephraim was Ures; over the district of Bithiemes was Dioclerus; the region of Dor and the sea-coast was under Abinadab, who had married Solomon's daughter; 036 The Great Plain was under Banaios, son of Achilus, who also ruled all the region as far as the Jordan. Gabaris ruled over Galaditis and Gaulanitis up to the border of Lebanon and had sixty large, well-fortified cities under him. Achinadab managed the affairs of all Galilee as far as Sidon and he also had married a daughter of Solomon's, named Basima. 037 Banacates had the seacoast about Arce, and Saphat had Mount Itaburion and Carmel and the Lower Galilee as far as the river Jordan; all this region was subject to him. Soumouis was entrusted with the portion of Benjamin, and Gabares held the region beyond the Jordan, which was again placed under the rule of one man. 038 The Hebrew people and particularly the tribe of Judas, increased wonderfully when they set about farming and cultivating their land, for as they enjoyed peace and were not distracted with wars and troubles and having all the freedom they could desire, each was busy in increasing the produce of their own lands and raising the value of their property above what it had been in the past.

4.

039 The king had also other officers, who ruled the land of Syria and of the foreigners, extending from the river Euphrates to Egypt and collected his tributes from the nations. 040 Every day these contributed to the king's table and to his supper thirty cori of refined flour and sixty of meal, ten fattened oxen and twenty oxen from the pastures and a hundred fattened lambs; and on top of these were what the fruits of their hunting, deer and buffalo and birds and fishes, which were brought by foreigners every day to the king. 041 Solomon also had so many chariots that there were forty thousand stalls for his chariot-horses, and besides he had twelve thousand cavalry, half of which attended on the king in Jerusalem while the rest were deployed elsewhere and lived in the royal villages, and the same officer who provided for the king's expenses also supplied the fodder for the horses and would bring it to whatever place the king happened to be living.

5.

042 The prudence and wisdom which God had given to Solomon was so great that he exceeded the ancients and was no way inferior to the Egyptians, who are reputed beyond all others in understanding; indeed, it is clear that their understanding was much inferior to that of the king. 043 His wisdom also surpassed those most reputed for shrewdness among the Hebrews at that time; I mean Athanos and Aiman and Chalkeos and Dardan, the sons of Emaon. 044 He composed a thousand and five books of odes and songs, and three thousand parables and similitudes, for he spoke a parable about every sort of tree, from the hyssop to the cedar, and likewise about beasts and all sorts of living creatures, whether on the earth or in the seas or in the air, for he was not unfamiliar with the nature of any of their or neglected to examine them, but described them all like a philosopher and demonstrated the fullest knowledge of their various properties.

045 God also let him learn the art of expelling demons, for the benefit and healing of human beings. He also composed incantations for the relief of illnesses and he left behind him forms of exorcism to drive out demons, so that they never return. 046 This method of cure is still effective to this day, for I have seen a certain countryman of my own, named Eleazar, releasing people from demons in the presence of Vespasian and his sons and officers and the whole throng of his troops. The manner of the cure was as follows. 047 He put under the nostrils of the demoniac a ring that had in its seal a root from among those prescribed by Solomon, and then he drew out the demon through his nostrils, and when the man instantly fell down, he adjured him never to return into him, while invoking the name of Solomon and reciting the incantations composed by him. 048 Wishing to demonstrate to the onlookers that he had this power, Eleazar set a cup or basin full of water a little way off and told the demon, as it left the man, to overturn it and so to show the onlookers that he had left the man. 049 When this was done, the skill and wisdom of Solomon was clearly shown, so that all may know the scale of his ability and how he was beloved of God, and the extraordinary and varied powers with which this king was endowed may not be unknown to anybody under the sun; and that is why we have dealt at length with these matters.

6.

050 Hiram, king of Tyre, when he heard that Solonion succeeded to his father's kingdom, was very glad of it, for he was a friend of David's; and sending envoys he greeted and congratulated him on his present good fortune. Solomon sent him this letter in reply: 051 KING SOLOMON TO KING HIRAM

"You know that my father would have built a temple to God, but was hindered by wars and continual campaigns, for he did not cease harassing his enemies until he had subjected them all to taxation. 052 But I thank God for the peace I now enjoy, and since I have the leisure I plan to build a house for God, since God foretold to my father that such a house would he built by me. Thus I want you to send some of your subjects along with mine to Mount Lebanon to cut down some trees, for the Sidonians are more skilled than our people in the cutting of timber; and I will pay the wood-cutters whatever wages you decide."

7.

053 When he had read this letter Hiram was pleased and wrote back to Solomon: KING HIRAM TO KING SOLOMON. "We should bless God for commiting your father's government to you, a wise man endowed with every virtue. I am happy to be at your service in all that you have sent about, 054 and when, by means of my subjects, I have cut down many large cedar and cypress trees I will send them by sea and have my subjects make rafts of them and sail them to whatever place of your region you decide and leave them there, and then your subjects may bring them to Jerusalem. In return for this, let you furnish the corn we need, because we live in an island."

8.

055 The copies of these letters remain at this day and are preserved not only in our books, but also among the Tyrians, so that if anyone wishes to study them in detail, he may ask them from the keepers of the public records of Tyre and will find that what we have said is in accord with what is in them. 056 I have said this much so that my readers may know that we speak nothing but the truth and are not composing a history from mere conjectures, to deceive and please people. Nor do we seek to avoid probing, or expect people to believe us immediately, since it is a shame to depart from speaking truth, which is the proper virtue of a historian, and so we do not insist on people accepting what we say, unless we can illustrate its truth by proof and the strongest supports.

9.

057 King Solomon, as soon as this letter of the king of Tyre was brought him, commended the readiness and goodwill he declared in it and paid him what he asked and sent him yearly twenty thousand cori of wheat and as many baths of oil, the bath containing seventy-two sextaries; and he sent him the same measure of wine. 058 So the friendship between Hiram and Solomon grew stronger and they swore to continue it for ever. The king imposed on all the people a levy of thirty thousand labourers, whose work he rendered easier by prudently dividing it out. He set ten thousand to cut timber in Mount Lebanon for one month, and then to come home and rest for two months, until the time when the other twenty thousand had finished their task at the appointed time. 059 Later the first ten thousand returned to their work every fourth month; and Adoram was in charge of this levy. There were also seventy thousand foreigners left behind by David, who were to carry the stones and other materials, and eighty thousand of them to cut the stones; and three thousand, three hundred of these were in charge of the others. 060 He then ordered them to cut large stones for the foundations of the temple and to first fit and join them together on the mountain and so bring them to the city. This work was done not only by workmen of our own region, but also by those whom Hiram sent.

Chapter 3. [061-098]
The building of the temple

1.

061 Solomon began to build the temple in the fourth year of his reign, on the second month, which the Macedonians call Artemisios and the Hebrews call Iar, five hundred and ninety-two years after the Exodus from Egypt, and one thousand and twenty years since Abraham's coming from Mesopotamia into Canaan and one thousand four hundred and forty years after the deluge. 062 From Adam, the first man born, until Solomon built the temple, a total of three thousand one hundred and two years had passed. The year on which the temple began to be built was the eleventh year of the reign of Hiram of Tyre, and the period of time from the inhabiting of Tyre to the building of the temple was two hundred and forty years.

2.

063 The king set the foundations of the temple very deep in the ground and made them of solid stones able to resist the force of time. They were to be rooted in the earth and provide a basis and a firm support for the superstructure to be raised above them, strong enough to easily carry the size of the structures and variety of adornament, whose weight was to be not less than that of the high and ornate buildings he dreamed of in his great project. 064 He raised it, right up to the roof, in white stone, sixty feet high, and the same in length and twenty feet wide. Another structure of equal measurements was built over it, so that the entire height of the temple was a hundred and twenty feet. 065 Its direction was towards the east. In front of the temple they erected a porch twenty feet long, and as wide as the building itself; it was twelve feet deep and reached a height of a hundred and twenty feet. Around the temple he built thirty small chambers, which by their number and closeness to each other supported the whole temple from the outside, and he made passages through them so that they were interconnected. 066 Each of these chambers was five feet both in width and length, and their height was twenty feet. Above these were built other rooms and still others above them, of equal measurements and number, so that their combined height equalled that of the lower section of the building, although the upper section had no structures round it. 067 Above them was made a roof of cedar, and each of these rooms had a roof of its own, unconnected to the other rooms. A single roof covered the other areas, built with very long beams that went through the whole building, so that the middle walls were further supported by the same beams of timber. 068 The part of the roof under the beams was of the same material and was all panelled and adorned with plates of gold. As he covered the walls with boards of cedar, he fastened to them embossed plates of gold, so that the whole temple shone and dazzled the eyes of those entering, by the gleaming of gold on every side.

069 The whole temple structure was skillfully made of polished stones harmoniously and neatly put together so that viewers saw no sign of hammering or of any other tool. It was as if, without them, all the material had naturally bonded together, each part joined with the other by nature, rather than by the force of workman's tools. 070 The king planned for a fine ascent to the upper section of the edifice, by steps within the wall; for there was no large door on the east end, as in the lower house, but the entrances were from the side, through very small doors. He also panelled the temple, inside and out, with boards of cedar, joined together by thick chains, so that they served to support and strengthen the building.

3.

071 Dividing the temple into two parts, he made the inner room of twenty feet the sanctuary, but assigned that of forty feet as the "holy place." Then cutting a door-frame in the wall, he installed doors of cedar, overlaid with gold and artfully carved. 072 He curtained them with lovely flowered cloth of blue and purple and scarlet and the brightest and finest of linen. He also dedicated for the innermost chamber, which was twenty feet long and wide, two cherubims of solid gold, each five feet high and with two outstretched wings, five feet in length. 073 He set them not far from each other, in order that one wing touched the southern and the other the northern wall of the secret place, and their other wings joined each other as a covering above the ark, which was between them. But nobody can say or even imagine what was the actual shape of these Cherubim. 074 He also paved the floor of the temple with plates of gold, and to the gate of the temple he added doors proportionate to the height of the wall, and twenty feet broad, and plated them with gold. 075 In a word, he left no part of the temple, external or internal, that was not covered in gold. These doors too, like those of the inner sanctum, were curtained, though the porch of the temple had nothing of that kind.

4.

076 Solomon sent for an artisan named Cheirom, from Hiram's court in Tyre. On his mother's side he came from Naphtali, for that was her tribe, and his father was Ourios, of Israelite stock. He was skilled in all sorts of work, but his speciality was working in gold and silver and brass, and the king planned that everything relating to the temple should be made by him. 077 Cheirom made two pillars, overlaid in brass to a thickness of four fingers. They were eighteen feet high and twelve feet in circumference and within each of their capitals was cast a lily five feet high, round which a woven network of small brass palms covered the lilies. 078 Two hundred pomegranates hung down from them, in two rows. One of these pillars he set at the right side of the entrance of the porch, and named it Jachein and the other at the left side and named it Abaiz.

5.

079 He also cast a bronze sea, hemispherical in shape. This bronze vessel was called a sea on account of its size, for the laver was ten feet in diameter and cast to the thickness of a palm. Its middle rested on a short pillar ten feet in diameter, with ten spirals round it. 080 Round about it stood twelve oxen, facing the four winds, three in each direction, with their hindquarters lowered to carry the hemispherical vessel, which itself was narrow, lower down. This sea contained three thousand baths.

6.

081 He also made ten square bronze bases for lavers, each five feet long, four wide and six high. This work was partly embossed and was of this form: there were four small square pillars, one at each corner, into which were fitted the sides of the base. 082 The sides were divided into three sections, each of them with a border, and carved in relief with a lion or a bull or an eagle; and the same animals as on the sides were engraved on the small pillars. 083 The whole work stood upon four wheels, also cast in metal, which had hubs and rims and were a foot and a half in diameter. It was amazing how exactly the spokes of the wheels were formed and joined to the sides how neatly they matched with the rims; but that is how they were. 084 From the upper corners projected outstretched hands, holding a short spiral pillar, just under the hollow part of the laver and resting upon the "hands" of the eagle and the lion which held them, so that the viewer would think they were one single piece, and in between were carvings of palm trees. Such, then, was the form of the ten bases. 085 He also made ten large round vessels of brass, which were the lavers themselves, each of which held forty baths and was four feet high, the same as the diameter of its rim. He placed these lavers on the ten bases that were called Mechonoth, 086 and set five of the lavers on the left side of the temple, facing the north wind and the same number on the right side, facing south-east, the same direction in which he put the sea. 087 Filling the sea with water, he assigned it for washing the hands and the feet of the priests as they entered the temple and were to ascend the altar, while the lavers were for cleaning the entrails of the beasts for holocaust, including their feet.

7.

088 He also fashioned a bronze altar for the holocausts, whose length was twenty feet long and twenty wide, and ten feet high. He made all its vessels of brass, the pots and tripods and ladles. Cheirom also fashioned snuffers and tongs and all its other vessels, from brass that was shining and beautiful, like gold. 089 The king also set up a great many tables, one of which was large and made of gold, where they set the loaves of God, with thousands more rather like them though done in different style, on which lay the vessels and the cups: twenty thousand of them of gold and forty thousand of silver. 090 He also made thousands of candlesticks, following the command of Moses, one of which he set up the temple, to burn all day, according to the law, and one table bearing the loaves, on the north side of the temple, facing the candlestick, which he set on the south side, with the golden altar between them. All these were in that part of the sanctuary which was forty feet long and were before the veil of that most sacred place, where the ark was to be set.

8.

091 The king also made eighty thousand pitchers and a hundred thousand golden vessels and twice as many of silver. For offering kneaded fine flour at the altar, there were eighty thousand golden dishes, and twice as many of silver. Of large mixing-bowls also, where they mixed fine flour with oil, sixty thousand of gold and twice as many of silver. 092 Of the measures like those which Moses called the Hin and the Assaron, there were twenty thousand of gold and twice as many of silver. There were twenty thousand golden censers, in which they carried the incense to the altar, and fifty thousand of the other censers, in which they carried fire from the great altar to the little altar, within the temple. 093 There were a thousand priestly vestments for the high priest, with the long robes and the oracle and the precious stones. But the crown on which Moses wrote the name of God, was unique and has remained to this day. He made ten thousand priestly vestments of fine linen, with purple girdles for every priest, 094 and two hundred thousand trumpets, according to the command of Moses, and two hundred thousand garments of fine linen for the singers, who were levites. And he made forty thousand musical instruments and those that were invented for singing of hymns, called Nablai and Cinyrai, which were made of electrum.

9.

095 Solomon made all these for the honour of God, with artistry and magnificence, sparing no cost, but using all generosity in adorning the temple, and these things he dedicated to the treasury of God. He also placed a dividing wall round about the temple, which in our tongue we call a gison, but is called thrinkos by the Greeks, raising three feet high, to exclude people from coming into the temple and showing that it was a place accessible only to the priests. 096 Outside this court he also built another holy space, shaped as a quadrangular portico, wide and spacious and entered by very high gates, each of which faced one of the four directions, and closed with golden doors. Into this area all the people entered who were marked by purity and the observance of the laws. 097 But he made the further temple wonderful, beyond description and barely believable to the eyes. Having filled up with earth valleys so deep you could hardly see the bottom of them, and had raised the ground four hundred feet, he levelled it with the top of the mountain on which the temple was built, so that the outer area in the open air, was on a level with the temple itself. 098 He surrounded this too with a double row of porticoes, which stood high upon pillars of native stone, with roofs of cedar, smoothly panelled, and all the doors of this temple he made of silver.

Chapter 4. [099-129]
The Ark is moved into the Temple. Solomon's prayer for wisdom, and his sacrifice

1.

099 King Solomon completed these large and beautiful buildings and laid up his donations in the temple, all within the space of seven years, thereby proving both his wealth and commitment, so that anyone seeing it would think it must have taken a great length of time to complete it, and would be surprised that so much could be finished in so short a time, given the scale of the work. He also wrote to the officers and elders of the Hebrews calling all the people to assemble in Jerusalem, both to see the temple which he had built and to move the ark of God into it. 100 When this invitation of the whole body of the people to come to Jerusalem was spread abroad, they assembled on the seventh month, which is called Thisri by our countrymen, but by the Macedonians Hyperberetus. The feast of tents happened to fall at the same time, which was celebrated by the Hebrews as a most high and holy holiday. 101 So they carried the ark and the Tent which Moses had pitched and all the vessels for ministration in the divine sacrifices, and moved them to the temple. The king himself went in front, with all the people and the levites, rendering the ground moist with sacrifices and drink-offerings and the blood of many sacrifices and burning a large amount of incense and spices. 102 The very air all around was so full of these odors that one smelled it pleasantly even at a great distance, and it was a hint, humanly speaking, of God's presence and of his dwelling with them in this newly built and consecrated place. So they did not grow tired, either of singing hymns or of dancing, until they came to the temple. 103 This is how they carried the ark: when it was transferred into the Holy of Holies, the rest of the people left and only the priests carrying it set it between the two cherubims. The artist had so made these that they covered it in the embrace of their wings, as though under a tent or cupola. 104 The ark contained nothing but the two tablets of stone engraved with the ten commandments which God had spoken to Moses in Mount Sinai. They set the candlestick and the table and the golden altar in the temple, in front of the most sacred place, just as until that time they had stood within the Tent; and there they offered up the daily sacrifices. 105 Solomon set the bronze altar in front of the temple, opposite the door, to be seen whenever the door was opened, with all the sacred solemnities and the richness of the sacrifices. The rest of the vessels they got together and also set within the temple.

2.

106 When the priests had put everything in order concerning the ark and had left, a thick cloud came down and stood there and gently spread itself within the temple. This cloud was was hazy and mild, not threatening and full of rain such as we see in the winter. It overshadowed the place so that the priests could not recognise each another, and conveyed to the minds of all the image and glory of God's having descended into this temple and joyfully pitched his tent there. 107 As they were absorbed with this thought Solomon, who had been sitting, stood up and spoke to God in words he thought appropriate to the divine nature. He said, "O Lord, you have created an eternal dwelling for yourself in all you have made and dwell in heaven and the sky, the earth and the sea, and we know you are not limited by all their extent. 108 I have built this temple to you and for your name, so that we may send our prayers up to heaven from here when we sacrifice and perform sacred liturgies, and sense that you are ever-present and not absent from what is your own. For since you see all things and hear all things, now, as it pleases you to dwell here, you do not abandon your care for all people, but rather are very near to them all, and especially present to those who turn to you, by night or by day." 109 When he had solemnly invoked God in this way, he turned to the people and spoke strongly about the power and providence of God, who had foreshown to David his father everything that had happened, many of which had already occurred and the rest would certainly come true later, and how he had named David before he was born. 110 God had also foretold that after his father's death he (Solomon) would rule, and build him a temple, for which they should bless God, now that they saw it accomplished according to his prediction, and with a trust based on all that they had seen accomplished, never despair of anything God promised for their prosperity in the future, nor doubt that it would happen.

3.

111 After saying this to the people, the king looked again towards the temple and lifting up his right hand to them he said it was not humanly possible to thank God enough for the benefits he gave them, for He stands in need of nothing and is above any such reward. "Yet insofar as you O Lord, have made us superior to other animals, it is for us to bless your Majesty and to thank you for all you have bestowed upon our house and on the Hebrew people. 112 For when you are angry at us, how can we better appease you or preserve your favour than with our voice, which we have it from the air, and by that air we know that it ascends to you? With my voice I thank you in the first place for my father, whom you raised from obscurity to such glory, 113 and next for myself, since to this day you have fulfilled all that you promised. I beg you O God, to grant us in the future whatever you can bestow on those you love, and to increase our house for all ages, as you promised to David my father, both during his life and at his death, that our kingdom may continue and his descendants may receive it in succession, to ten thousand generations. Do not fail to bless us and to bestow on my children the virtue in which you delight. 114 I humbly beg that you will also let some portion of your Spirit come down and dwell in this temple so that you may be seen to be with us upon earth. And since the entire heavens and their immensity are too small a dwelling for you, how much more so is this humble temple. But I ask you to preserve it always as your own house, from destruction by our enemies, and to care for it as your own possession. 115 But if this people turn aside to sin and you punish it for their sin by any plague, or famine or pestilence, or any of the other troubles you send on those who transgress your holy laws, and then if they take refuge in this temple, imploring you to save them, then hear their prayers from within your house, and have mercy on them and deliver them from their sufferings. 116 This help I implore of you, not only for the Hebrews in their distress, but for people who come here from whatever part of the world. If they repent of their sins and implore your pardon, then forgive them and hear their prayer. 117 For by this all shall know that you are pleased with this house built for you, and that we are not isolationist, or regard foreigners as enemies, but are willing to help all people equally to enjoy your benefits."

4.

118 When he had said this and prostrated on the ground and worshipped for a long time, he got up and brought sacrifices to the altar, and after he had heaped unblemished victims upon it, he found most clearly that God had accepted with pleasure all that he had sacrificed to him, for a flame came from the air and rushed forcefully upon the altar in the sight of all, and siezed and consumed the sacrifices. 119 When this divine apparition was seen, the people took it as a proof of God's dwelling in the temple and were overjoyed and fell down to the ground and worshipped. At this the king began to praise God and urged the people to do the same, now having clear proof of God's favour towards them, 120 They should pray to have such signs from him always and that he keep their mind pure from all wickedness, in justice and worship, and that they continue to observe the precepts God had given them by Moses, since that is how the Hebrew nation would prosper and be the most blessed nation of all mankind. 121 He also urged them to note the means by which they had attained their present prosperity, so as to preserve if for themselves and develope it even further. They must not imagine they had received it for piety and righteousness, but that they had no other means of preserving it for the future, for even greater than acquiring what they want is the keeping of what they have acquired, and to avoid any sin by which it may be harmed.

5.

122 After saying this to the people, the king dissolved the assembly, but not until he had completed his sacrifices, both for himself and for the Hebrews. So he sacrificed twenty two thousand oxen and a hundred and twenty thousand sheep, 123 for then the temple first tasted of the victims, and all the Hebrews with their wives and children feasted there. Besides, for twice seven days the king celebrated the feast which is called "Tents," in front of the temple, with splendour and magnificence, and he joined in the festival with all the people.

6.

124 When all of this was finished and no detail of the divine worship was left undone, the king dismissed them, and they each went home, thanking the king for the care he had taken of them and the works he had assigned to them, and praying to God to preserve Solomon as their king for a long time. They travelled home with rejoicing and merry-making and singing hymns to God, with such pleasure that they hardly felt any difficulties that they encountered on their journey home. 125 Having brought the ark into the temple and seen its greatness and splendour, and having shared in the many sacrifices offered and in the festivals that had been held, each returned to his own town. But a dream that appeared to the king in his sleep told him that God had heard his prayers, 126 and that not only would he preserve the temple, but he would always dwell in it, as long as his descendants and the whole people remained righteous. God told him that if he continued according to his father's advice he would grow to a high level of dignity and prosperity and that his descendants in the tribe of Judas would be kings of that region for ever. 127 If, on the contrary, he betrayed the ordinances of the law and forget them and turn aside to the worship of foreign gods, he would cut him off by the roots and let no remnant of his family continue. He would not condone the people of Israel, or any longer preserve them from sufferings, but would destroy them utterly with innumerable wars and troubles. 128 He would expel them from the land he had given to their fathers and make them sojourners in strange lands, and cause that temple which had just now been built to be burned and looted by their enemies and let that city be utterly ruined by enemy hands. He would make their affliction become proverbial and so great as hardly to be credited, 129 so that their neighbours, hearing of them, would be shocked at their woes and wonder why the Hebrews, who had been brought to such glory and wealth by God, should then be so hated by him. Then the rest of the people should respond by confessing their sins and breach of their laws. Our writings say that God said this to him in his sleep.

Chapter 5. [130-149]
Solomon's magnificent palace; his resolving of riddles

1.

130 After the building of the temple, which, as we have said, took seven years, the king laid the foundation of his palace, which took not less than thirteen years, for he was not as eager in the building of this palace as he had been for the temple, in which, though it was a great work of wonderful design, God for whom it was made, worked with him, so that it was finished in the aforesaid number of years. 131 The palace, much less splendid than the temple, took longer to finish since its materials had not been prepared so well in advance and it was only a dwelling for kings and not for God. 132 But it too was raised in a way worthy of the prosperous state of the Hebrews and their king, and I must describe the entire structure and disposition of its parts, so that whoever happens upon this book may imagine and visualise its size.

2.

133 There was a large and beautiful hall, supported by many pillars, which Solomon built big enough to hold a great body of people, who would gather to have their cases decided. It was a hundred feet long and fifty broad and thirty high, supported by quadrangular pillars, all of cedar. Its roof was in the Corinthian style, and it had folding doors and was adorned with pillars of equal size, fluted with triple grooves. 134 In the middle was another quadrangular structure, thirty feet wide, opposite which was a sanctuary, raised on massive pillars. Inside this was a large, ornate room where the king sat in judgment, and adjoining it another hall for the queen. There were other smaller buildings for eating and resting, after the completion of their public tasks, and all were floored in cedar. 135 Some of these Solomon built with ten-foot stones and he adorned the walls with valuable hewn stones, mined as ornaments for temples and to enhance royal palaces, which bring fame to the quarries from which they are dug. 136 These were beautifully set by him in a pattern of three rows, while the fourth row made one admire the artistry of its sculptors, portraying trees and plants of all kinds, with shadows beneath their branches and leaves hanging down from them; these covered the stone beneath and you would think they were dancing, so finely and subtly were they made. 137 The rest of the wall, up to the roof, was plastered and painted with various colours and hues. He built other buildings for pleasure and a very long portico in an agreeable place of the palace, and among them a glorious dining room for feasting and drinking, full of gold and the furnishing needed in so fine a room for the convenience of the guests, and all of its vessels were made of gold. 138 It is difficult to detail the size and the variety of the royal apartments, its many very large chambers there were, and many that were smaller, and many others underground and out of sight; the beauty of those open to the air, and the groves for the finest views, providing bodies with shelter from the heat. 139 Briefly, Solomon made the whole building entirely of white stone and cedar wood and gold and silver. He also adorned the roofs and walls with stones set in gold and beautified them with stones similar to those he had used in the temple of God. 140 He also made himself an ivory throne of mighty size, in the form of a platform with six steps leading up to it; on each of which two lions stood on either side, with two more at the top. From the seat of the throne hands came out to receive the king, and beneath was the head of a calf, looking backward, and the whole throne was fastened with gold.

3.

141 Solomon completed all this in twenty years, and since Hiram king of Tyre had contributed to their building a large amount of gold and even more of silver as well as cedar wood and pine, he rewarded Hiram with rich gifts and sent him each year corn and wine and oil, the main things that he needed as we have already said, since he lived on an island. 142 On top of these he granted him twenty Galilean towns situated not far from Tyre. But when Hiram went to view them he did not care for the gift, and sent word to Solomon that he did not want towns like these, and later these towns were called the land of Chabalon, which in the language of the Phoenicians means what does not please. 143 The king of Tyre also sent tricky, enigmatic sayings to Solomon, challenging him to solve them and explain their significance. The latter was so wise and understanding that none of these problems defeated him but he resolved them all by his reason and revealed and brought to light their hidden meaning.

144 Menander, who translated the Tyrian archives from the Phoenician into Greek, mentions these two kings where he says, "When Abibalus died, his son Hiram inherited the kingdom from him, and lived for fifty-three years, of which he ruled for thirty-four. 145 This man raised the Eurychoros in the broad place and dedicated the golden pillar in the temple of Zeus. He also cut down timber from the mountain called Libanus, for the roofing of temples. 146 After pulling down the ancient temples, he built the new ones of Hercules and Astarte, and he first set up the temple of Hercules in the month of Peritius. He also made war on the Itukeans who did not pay their tribute and when he had subdued them he returned. Under this king his younger son Abdemonos always resolved the difficult problems sent to him by Solomon, king of Jerusalem." 147 Dius also mentions him, where he says, "When Abibalus died, his son Hiram became king. He raised the eastern parts of the city higher and made the city itself larger. He also joined to the city the temple of Zeus, which formerly stood by itself, by raising a platform between them, and he adorned it with donations of gold. Moreover, he went up to Mount Libanus and cut down timber for the building of the temples." 148 He too says that Solomon, who was then king of Jerusalem, sent riddles to Hiram and asked to receive some back from him, with the one who could not solve them owing money to the one who did solve them. 149 Hiram accepted the conditions, and paid a large sum of money as his fine when he could not solve the riddles proposed by Solomon, but later solved the proposed riddles through Abdemon, a man of Tyre. Then Hiram proposed other riddles, and when Solomon could not solve them, he paid back a large sum to Hiram. This it is which Dius wrote.

Chapter 6. [150-175]
Solomon fortifies Jerusalem and builds other cities. He receives the Queen of Ethiopia

1.

150 When the king saw how the walls of Jerusalem needed to be better secured and strengthened so that the surrounding walls should match the city's dignity, he repaired them and raised great towers upon them. 151 He also built cities that are amongst the strongest, Hazor and Megiddo and thirdly Gezer, which had belonged to the Philistines, but Pharaon, the king of Egypt, had attacked it and besieged it and taken it by storm and after killing all its inhabitants and utterly destroyed it, he gave it as a gift to his daughter, who was married to Solomon. 152 So the king rebuilt it, as a strongly situated city which might be useful in wars and in the changing circumstances that can occur, and he built two other cities not far from it, one of them called Beth-horon and the other, Beleth. 153 He also built other cities pleasantly located for climate and well watered with springs, where the fruits ripened in their proper seasons. Solomon even pushed into the desert above Syria and took it and built a great city there, two days' journey from Upper Syria and one day's journey from the Euphrates and six long days' journey from Babylon the Great. 154 The reason this city is so far from the other inhabited parts of Syria is that south of it there is no water, and only in that place are found springs and cisterns. When he had built this city and surrounded it with very strong walls, he named it Tadmor and it is still called by that name to this day among the Syrians, but the Greeks call it Palmyra.

2.

155 So King Solomon was engaged in these projects throughout that time. But if one wonders why all the rulers of Egypt were called Pharaothes, from Menes who built Memphis many years before Abraham our forefather, up to Solomon, a period of more than a thousand three hundred years, after one king Pharaothes who lived in that early period, I think I should tell of it, to banish their ignorance and clarify the origin of the name that among the Egyptians "Pharaoh" means king. 156 I imagine they used other names in childhood, but when they became kings, they adopted the name which in their own tongue means their authority. So it was that the kings of Alexandria, who were called formerly by other names, when they took over the kingdom, were named Ptolemies, after their first king. 157 The Roman emperors too were originally called by other names, but are styled Caesars, name imposed on them by their empire and dignity, and not letting them to retain the names their fathers gave them. I think that Herodotus of Halicarnassus too, when saying there were three hundred and thirty kings of Egypt after Menes, who built Memphis, did not tell us their names, because they were all called Pharaon. 158 When at the end of these a queen came to reign, he gives her name as Nicaulé, it shows that while the male kings could be called by the same name, a woman did not share in this, so he calls her by the name that was naturally hers. 159 I have found in our own books that after the Pharaon who was Solomon's father-in-law, no other king of Egypt was called by that name, from the time time when the queen of Egypt and Ethiopia came to Solomon, as I shall soon tell. I have mentioned these things just to prove how our books and those of the Egyptians agree on many points.

3.

160 King Solomon subdued the other Canaanites as yet not subject to him, living at Mount Lebanon and as far as the city of Hamath, and made them pay tribute and chose from them every year those who were to serve him in menial tasks and do his domestic works and farm the land. 161 None of the Hebrews was a slave nor was it right that when God had put so many nations under their power, to subject their own people to such work, but they were all involved with weapons and chariots and horses, rather than in servile work. 162 For this domestic work he appointed also five hundred and fifty officers over the Canaanites, who had charge of them in the king's name and teach them the tasks and activities required of them.

4.

163 The king also built many ships in the Egyptian Bay of the Red Sea, in a certain place called Ezion-geber, not far from the city of Elanis and now called Berenice. This region formerly belonged to the Jews and became useful for shipping through a gift from Hiram king of Tyre. 164 This man sent him pilots and a good number of skilled skilled seafarers, who were ordered to go with Solomon's stewards to the land previously called Ophir but now the Golden Land, belonging to India, to fetch him gold. Gathering together four hundred talents, they returned to the king.

5.

165 There was then a queen ruling Egypt and Ethiopia who was devoted to wisdom and was admirable in other ways. Hearing of the virtue and prudence of Solomon, she wanted to see him, from the reports she heard every day about his country. 166 She wanted to see for herself and not rely on hearsay, for such reports are probably false if they depend entirely on the credit of the reporters. So she decided to come to him and especially to test his wisdom by asking hard questions for him to resolve. So she came to Jerusalem with great splendor and a show of wealth. 167 Her camels were laden with gold, and all sorts of sweet spices and precious stones and on her arrival the king received her warmly. He showed a great desire to please her and easily grasped the meaning of her curious questions, resolving them with surprising speed. 168 She was amazed at the wisdom of Solomon and realised that in reality it surpassed what she had heard of it. In particular she was amazed by the splendour and size of his royal palace and no less by the layout of the apartments, where the king's great understanding could be seen. 169 She was astounded beyond measure at the house was called the Forest of Lebanon, and the splendour of his suppers and how they were prepared and served, at the clothing of his waiters and their skilled and elegant service. She was no less impressed by the daily sacrifices offered to God and the devotion shown by the priests and levites. 170 Seeing this done every day, she was amazed and, unable to contain her surprise, publicly declared her admiration. She continued talking to the king, saying how she was overcome with awe at the things mentioned above. 171 She said, "Majesty, we came here uncertain whether to believe all the good things we had heard about you but it was no lie. Your wisdom and prudence and the prosperity of your kingdom, was not only true but the report of your prosperity was less than what I now see before my eyes. 172 The mere word of it attracted our interest but cannot compare with the worth of the things themselves as I now see them, being present here among them. What I did not believe about the people and grandeur of the things I asked about, I now see to be much greater than what was reported. 173 So I reckon as happy the Hebrew people, and your servants and friends, who enjoy your presence and hear your wisdom every day. One must thank God, who has so loved this region and those who live in it, to have made you their king."

6.

174 After expressing in words how deeply the king had impressed her, she showed her feeling by gifts. She gave him twenty talents of gold and a large amount of spices and precious stones. They say also that we possess the root of that balsam which our region still bears through the gift of this woman. 175 Solomon repaid her with many good things and giving her what she chose, denying her nothing. He showed his generous temperament by rather giving what she wanted than gifts he chose himself. When this queen of Egypt and Ethiopia had received the gifts we have listed and given to the king from her own treasures, she returned home.  

Chapter 7. [176-210]
Solomon's love of foreign women. The beginning of troubles for him

1.

176 About the same time there were brought to the king from the region called Aurea Chersonesus, precious stones and pine trees and he used these trees as supports for the temple and the palace, and for material for musical instruments, the harps and the psalteries that the levites could use in their hymns to God. The wood which was brought to him now was larger and finer than any that had ever been brought before. 177 One ought not imagine that these pine trees were like those which are called that nowadays and are so named by the merchants, who so give them the name so as to have them admired by the purchasers. Those we speak of looked like the wood of the fig tree, but were whiter and more shining. 178 We have said this so that nobody may be unaware of the difference between these sorts of wood, nor unaware of the nature of the genuine pine tree, and we thought it timely and helpful, after mentioning it and the uses the king made of it, to explain this difference as we have done.

2.

179 The gold brought to him weighed six hundred and sixty-six talents, not including what was brought by the merchants, or what was given to him as gifts by the toparchs and kings of Arabia. He melted the gold into two hundred shields, each weighing six hundred shekels, 180 and made three hundred shields of gold, each weighing three minae, which he had brought into the house called The Grove of Lebanon. He also made for the entertainment of his guests cups of gold and of jewels and had them most artfully adorned, and managed to have all his other household vessels made of gold. 181 At that time nothing could be sold or bought for silver, for the king had many ships on the sea of Tharsus, sent by him to bring all sorts of merchandise to the remotest nations, from whose sale silver and gold were brought to the king and a large amount of ivory and Ethiopians and apes, and they completed the two halves of their voyage in a period of three years.

3.

182 Word went round the neighbouring countries, proclaiming the merits and wisdom of Solomon, so that monarchs everywhere were eager see him, hardly crediting the almost incredible reports, and showing their regard for him by the gifts they gave him. 183 They sent him vessels of gold and silver and purple clothing and many sorts of spices and horses and chariots and many mules for his carriages selected to please the king for their strength and beauty, all this in addition to the chariots and horses already sent to him, increased the number of his chariots by more than four hundred, for already he had a thousand, and the number of his horses by two thousand, of which he already had twenty thousand. 184 These horses were well exercised and looked finer and ran faster than all others so that they were incomparable both for beauty and for speed.. 185 Their riders were a further adornment to them, being young men in the first flower of their age and impressive in size, being far taller than other men. They wore their long hair hanging down and were clothed in garments of Tyrian purple and had gold dust sprinkled on their hair every day, so that their heads sparkled with the reflection of the sun-beams off the gold.

186 Surrounded by these armed men, carrying their bows, the king, wearing a white robe, drove in a chariot and used to go out in procession from the city each morning. There was a place called Etham, about fifty furlongs from Jerusalem, very pleasant with fine gardens and richly flowing with streams where he used to make these excursions.

4.

187 He had a divine prudence in all things and was most diligent and careful to have things elegantly done and did not neglect to care for the roadways, but laid a causeway of black stone along the roads leading to Jerusalem, the royal city, to render them easy for travellers and display the grandeur of his wealth and rule. 188 He divided his chariots into groups and set them in order so that a certain number of them were in every city, which he called his chariot cities, while still keeping a few around himself. The king made silver as plentiful in Jerusalem as stones in the street, and planted many cedars in the plains of Judea, where they had not grown before, so that they became as numerous as sycamore trees. 189 He also ordered the Egyptian merchants who brought him their goods to sell him a chariot, with a pair of horses, for six hundred drachmae of silver and he sent them to the kings of Syria and to the kings who were beyond the Euphrates.

5.

190 But although Solomon had become the most splendid of kings and the best beloved by God and excelling in wisdom and wealth above all previous rulers of the Hebrews, he did not persevere to the end in that happy state but ceased keeping the laws of his fathers and came to an end unworthy of what we have told about him. 191 Insanely drawn to women he lusted for them without limit and not satisfied with those of his own land he married many wives from foreign nations; Sidonians and Tyrians and Ammanites and Idumeans, brreaking the laws of Moses which forbade Jews to marry any but those of their own people. 192 He also began to worship their gods, to gratify the women he loved, just as our Legislator had suspected when he said long ago that we should not marry women of other countries lest we involve ourselves with foreign customs and abandon our own, and worship their gods instead of our own. 193 Drawn headlong into thoughtless pleasure, Solomon did not heed those warnings, for he married seven hundred wives, daughters of rulers and distinguished people, and three hundred concubines and the king of Egypt's daughter too, and instantly came under their influence so as to imitate their ways, compelled to live by their native customs in order to show this proof of his goodwill and feeling for them. 194 As he grew older and his reason weakened with age he could no longer recall his native customs so he still more ignored his own God and continued to honour the gods introduced by his marriages. 195 Even before this he sinned and neglected to observe our laws when he made the images of bronze oxen that supported the bronze sea, and the images of lions about his own throne, for these he made, although it was an impiety to do so. 196 Despite having had at home in his father an excellent example of virtue and knowing the splendour of his piety towards God, he did not imitate him, although God had twice appeared to him in his sleep and urged him to imitate his father; and therefore he died ingloriously. 197 Soon the prophet was sent by God to tell him that his misdeeds were not hidden and saying that he would not long rejoice in his doings, although the kingdom would not be taken from him during his lifetime since God had promised his father David to make him his successor. 198 However this would happen to his son after he died; though He would not withdraw all the people from him, but would give ten tribes to a servant of his and leave only two tribes to the grandson for the sake of David who had loved God and for the city of Jerusalem, where He wished to have his temple.

6.

199 When Solomon heard this he was hurt and greatly shaken, seeing almost all the prosperity which had made him so admired changed to so bad a future. And not long after the prophet had predicted the future to him, God suddenly raised up against him an enemy named Ader, who took the following occasion to vent his enmity towards him. 200 He was an Idumaean child of royal stock and when Joab, the officer of David's army, had for six months ravaged the land of Idumaea destroying all adult men who were able to bear arms, this man took refuge with Pharaoh the king of Egypt. 201 He received him kindly and gave him a place to live and a region to supply him with food, and when he had grown up he loved him so dearly that he gave him his wife's sister named Taphines as his wife, with whom he had a son, and he was brought up with the king's children. 202 When he heard in Egypt that both David and Joab were dead, he went to ask Pharaoh's permission to return to his native land, but the king asked what was wrong with him or what suffering caused him to want to leave him; and though he often pressed and begged him he did not let him go at the time. 203 But when Solomon's affairs began to worsen due to his aforesaid lawlessness and God's anger at them, Ader came to Idumaea with Pharaoh's permission, and when he failed to make its people forsake Solomon, for it was held by many garrisons and it was unsafe to rebel, he moved from there and went to Syria. 204 There he found and befriended a man called Razo, who had run away from his master, king Adraazaron of Sophene, and become a brigand in that land and had already gathered a thieving gang around him. So he went and captured that part of Syria and was made king of it, and also made incursions into the land of the Israelites, doing it significant harm and ravaging it already in the lifetime of Solomon. This was the disaster the Hebrews suffered by Ader.

7.

205 A man of Solomon's own nation also set upon him, Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who had high expectations due to a prophecy made to him long before. Left behind by his father as a child he was brought up by his mother, and when Solomon saw his active and daring character he put him in charge of the walls he building around Jerusalem. 206 He took such care of those works that he won the king approval and as a reward he made him the leader of the tribe of Joseph. Once about that time, as Jeroboam was on his way out from Jerusalem, a prophet named Achias from the city of Shilo met and greeted him, and took him a aside to an isolated place with nobody else present. 207 Then tearing his garment into twelve pieces he bade Jeroboam take ten of them, and prophecied to him that this was God's will. "He will divide the realm of Solomon and give one tribe along with its neighbour to his son, because of his promise to David, and will give the ten tribes to you, because Solomon sinned against him and handed himself over to the women and their gods. 208 Now since you know the reason why God has changed his mind and is alienated from Solomon, let you strive to be just and preserve the laws, fostering piety and the honour of God and strive your best to be in all things on a par with the behaviour of David himself.

8.

209 Elevated by these words of the prophet, and being a young man of sanguine temperament and ambitious for greatness, Jeroboam could not rest easy but being already an officer and bearing in mind what had been revealed to him by Achias, he sought to persuade the people to revolt and forsake Solomon and hand over the leadership to him. 210 When Solomon learned of his intention and treachery, he sought to capture and kill him, but Jeroboam was told of it in advance and fled to Shishak, the king of Egypt and lived there until the death of Solomon, so that he suffered no harm and was spared to take over the kingdom. 211 Solomon died an old man, after reigning for eighty years and living to ninety-four. He was buried in Jerusalem, having been superior to all other kings in prosperity and wealth and wisdom, except that with his advancing years he was duped by his wives into breaking the law. We think it best to leave this and the miseries it brought upon the Hebrews to be discussed at a more suitable time.

Chapter 8. [212-235]
On Solomon's death, the majority (ten tribes) rebel. Jeroboam sets up the northern kingdom

1.

212 After Solomon's death and when his son Roboam, born of an Ammanite wife called Noomas, had succeeded him as king, the leaders of the people immediately sent to Egypt to call Jeroboam home, and when he came to them in the city of Sikima, Roboam also came there, for he intended to declare himself as king to the Israelites assembled there. 213 The officers of the people came with Jeroboam to implore him to ease their slavery and be more benign than his father, under whom they said they had borne a heavy burden; they would then be better disposed towards him if they could serve under a rule of justice rather than of fear. 214 He told them he would reply to their request in three days, but the fact that he did not immediately answer them favourably aroused their suspicion, as they thought the young man should without hesitation have said yes. Still they felt some hope from the fact that he was consulting about it, since he had not refused them either.

2.

215 He called his father's friends to consult them on what sort of answer to give to the crowd. They advised him in a descreet manner, knowing the mood of crowds, to speak in a kindly and popular tone, rather than with royal pomp, to get them to submit to him willingly, since subjects love to have their kings almost on the same level as themselves. 216 But he rejected this advice, good and useful though it was at the time when he should have been made king; and I suppose it was God who made him scorn what would have served his own interests. He called the young men who had been reared with him and told them the elders' advice and asked them what they thought he should do. 217 Either their youth or God himself prevented them from seeing what was best, for they advised him to answer the people that his little finger would be thicker than his father's loins, and if the latter had treated them harshly, they would get it much harder from him, so that where his father had chastised them with whips, he would do so with scorpions. 218 This pleased the king and he thought that such an answer better suited the dignity of a monarch, so when the people gathered on the third day to hear his reply, most eager to hear what the king would say, expecting him to be mild, he replied as his counsellors, the young men, had suggested. This was done according to God's will, to fulfil what Achias had foretold.

3.

219 The hearers were struck by his words and were as pained as if they had already felt their full effects, and were filled with anger and all shouted out that from that day on they would no longer have anything to do with David or his descendants. They left the king with the temple his father had built, and declared that they were abandoning him. 220 So bitter and lasting was their anger that when he sent his tax-officer Adoram to pacify and appease them for anything youthfully rash or offensive he might have said, they would not listen to it, but stoned him to death. 221 Hearing this, Roboam felt that the stones that killed his servant were really aimed at himself and feared that the crowd might kill him too, so he quickly mounted his chariot and fled to Jerusalem, where the tribes of Judas and Benjamin ordained him king, while the rest of the people forsook the sons of David from that day on and appointed Jeroboam as master of their affairs.

222 Solomon's son Roboam assembled the two tribes that submitted to him and was ready to march against Jeroboam and his people with a hundred and eighty thousand chosen men, to force them to serve him, 223 but the prophet in God's name forbade him to go to war, as it was wrong for kinsmen to make war on each other and said that the people had defected according to the will of God, so he did not march out. 224 So as to keep the history in good order, I will relate first the actions of Jeroboam, king of Israel, and later the corresponding actions of Roboam, king of the two tribes.

4.

225 Jeroboam built himself a palace in the city of Sikima and lived there, and also built another city called Phanuel. When the feast of tents was approaching Jeroboam thought that if he let the ordinary folk to go to worship God in Jerusalem and celebrate the festival there, they might repent of what they had done and, enticed by the temple and the worship of God there, abandon him and return to their former king, thus putting his own life at risk; so he devised this plan. 226 Getting two golden heifers made, he built two little temples for them, one in the city of Bethel and the other in Dan, near the springs of the Lesser Jordan, and placed the heifers in both temples in the aforesaid cities. Then gathering the ten tribes over whom he ruled, he spoke to them as follows:

227 "My kinsmen, I suppose you know that God is present in every place and that there is no fixed place where he dwells, but everywhere he hears and sees those who worship him. For this reason I do not think it right for you to travel so long a journey to Jerusalem, the city of our enemies, to worship him. 228 It was a human being who built the temple and so I too have made two golden heifers, dedicated to the same God. One of them I have consecrated in the city of Bethel and the other in Dan, so that those of you who live nearest to those cities may go there to worship God. From among yourselves I will also ordain for you priests and levites so that you may not lack the services of the tribe of Levi or the sons of Aaron. Let anyone among you who wishes to be a priest bring to God a bullock and a ram, as they say was done by Aaron the first priest." 229 With these words he misled the people, getting them to revolt from their ancestral form of worship and break the laws. This was the beginning of woes for the Hebrews and was why foreigners defeated them in war and took them captive, as we shall later report in its proper time.

5.

230 As the feast of the seventh month was near, Jeroboam wished to celebrate it himself in Bethel, just as the two tribes did in Jerusalem. So he built an altar before the heifer and acted as high priest himself, going up to the altar along with his own priests. 231 But as he was going to offer the sacrifices and holocausts in the sight of all the people, a prophet called Jadon was sent by God to him from Jerusalem. Standing in the midst of the throng in the hearing of the king and facomg the altar, he said these words: 232 "God foretells against you that a man of the family of David, named Josias, shall kill the false priests living at that time and burn the bones of those deceivers of the people, wretches who lead them astray. And so that this people may believe that these things will happen, I will speak this sign for them. 233 This altar shall at once be shattered and all the fat of the sacrifices upon it shall be poured upon the ground." When the prophet had said this, Jeroboam was enraged and stretched out his hand and gave orders to seize him. But the hand he stretched out was instantly paralysed so that he could not draw it back, for it withered and hung limply, as if dead. The altar too was shattered and all that was upon it poured away, just as the prophet foretold. 234 Learning that the man spoke truth with divine foreknowledge, the king implored him to pray God to restore his right hand; and the prophet implored God to grant it to him. When his hand was restored to its natural state, the king was glad and invited the prophet to dine with him. 235 Jadon said, however, that he could not bear to enter his house, or to taste food or drink in this town, since God had forbidden it to him or even to return by the same road by which he had come, but by another way. The king was amazed at his abstinence and anxious for himself, suspecting from what had been said that matters were not going to turn out well for him

Chapter 9. [236-245]
Lying prophets make foolish claims. King Jeroboam is alienated from God

1.

236 There was a criminal in that city, a false prophet whom Jeroboam held in high esteem, but who misled him by his flattering words. This man was bedridden with the infirmities of old age, but was told by his sons about the prophet who had come from Jerusalem and about the signs done by him. 237 When they told how, at the prophet's prayer, Jeroboam's right hand had been restored to life, he feared that this stranger would be more highly esteemed than himself by the king and enjoy greater honour from him, so he ordered his sons to saddle his donkey immediately and make ready for his departure. 238 They hurried to do as they were told and he got upon the donkey and went in search of the prophet and overtook him as he was resting under a large oak tree that was thick and shady. At first he greeted him, but soon he complained that he had not come into his house and partaken of his hospitality. 239 When the other said that God had forbidden him to eat with anyone in that city, he replied that "for certain God had not forbidden me to set food before you, for I am a prophet as you are and worship God just as you do, and now I come sent by him, in order to bring you into my house and make you my guest."

2.

240 Believing his lying words he returned with him and when they were dining and celebrating God appeared to Jadon and said that he would suffer for disobeying his commands, and he told him what his punishment would be. He said that as he was going on his way, he would meet with a lion which would tear him to pieces and he would not be buried in the tombs of his fathers. 241 I suppose that these things happened according to God's will, so that Jeroboam might not heed the words of Jadon, who was convicted of lying. And as Jadon was going back to Jerusalem, a lion attacked him and pulled him off his mount and killed him, without harming the animal at all, for it sat there and protected both the donkey and the prophet's body until some travellers who saw it came to the city and told the false prophet about it. 242 He sent his sons and brought the corpse to the city and gave him a lavish funeral and instructed his sons to bury himself alongside him when he died; for all that he had foretold against the city and the altar and the priests and false prophets would come true, and that if he were buried alongside him, he would not be desecrated after his death, their bones being indistinguishable from each other. 243 After burying the prophet and giving these directions to his sons, this wicked and impious fellow went to Jeroboam and said, "Why are you troubled by the words of that ignorant man?" When the king told what had happened about the altar and his own hand and spoke of him as a divine man and genuine prophet, he craftily tried to weaken his opinion, seeking with plausible words to pervert the truth. 244 He sought to persuade him that his hand was tired from raising the sacrifices and that after resting a while it would have returned to its former state, and that the altar was only new and had been laden with many large sacrifices that it had broken and fallen down by all the weight laid upon it. Though he was no prophet and did not speak like one, he told him that the one who foretold those things had died, and the manner of his death. 245 With these words he persuaded the king and distracted his mind from God and from works that were good and holy, urging him to persist in his impious ways. Thereby he greatly offended God and was so sinful that every day he sought only to commit some new kind of wickedness more rotten than what he had done already. But for the present let that be enough to say about Jeroboam.

Chapter 10. [246-265]
Roboam is besieged in Jerusalem, by Shishak of Egypt

1.

246 Solomon's son Roboam, who as we have said was king of the two tribes, fortified the large towns of Bethlehem and Etame and Tekoe and Bethsur and Socho and Odollam and Eipan and Marisa and Ziph and Adoram and Lachish and Azekah and Saram and Elom and Hebron. 247 These he built up first of all in the tribe and territory of Judas. He also fortified and garrisoned other large towns in the area of Benjamin and built walls around them and put officers in them all and furnished each of them plentifully with provisions and shields and spears for many thousands of men. 248 From all Israel the priests and levites and all who were good and righteous left their towns and went to worship God in Jerusalem, unwilling to be forced to worship the heifers that Jeroboam had made, and for three years they supported the kingship of Roboam. 249 Then he married one of his own clan and with her had three children and then married also another relative, the daughter of Absalom by Tamar, named Machanes and with her had a son whom he named Abias. He also had many other children by other wives, but he loved Machanes above them all. 250 He had eighteen legitimate wives and thirty concubines, and twenty-eight sons and sixty daughters were born to him, and he appointed Abias, whom he had by Machanes, as his successor in the kingdom and already entrusted to him the treasures and the strongest cities.

2.

251 I think that the greatness of a kingdom and its change to prosperity often become for people a cause of harm and sin for when Roboam saw such growth in his kingdom he abandoned the right way to follow unjust and irreligious practices and scorned the worship of God, until the people themselves imitated his misdeeds. 252 For the morals of subjects are corrupted along with those of their leaders, with the subjects abandoning their sober lifestyle to imitate their leaders' intemperate ways and following their wrongdoing as if it were virtue. For how else can people show approval for the behaviour of their kings, except by imitating them? 253 This now happened to Roboam's subjects, for when he had grown impious and lawless, they did not wish to offend him by wanting to be still righteous. But God sent Isokos the king of Egypt, to punish them for their wrongful behaviour towards him, about whom Herodotus was mistaken when he attributed his actions to Sesostris. 254 In the fifth year of Roboam's reign, this Isokos came against him with myriads of men, leading a thousand two hundred chariots and sixty thousand cavalry and four hundred thousand infantry, most of them Libyans and Ethiopians. 255 When he attacked the region of the Hebrews, he took the strongest cities of Roboam's kingdom without fighting, and when he had put garrisons in them, he came last of all to Jerusalem. When Roboam and the people with him, were shut up in Jerusalem by the army of Isokos and when they begged God to give them victory and save them.

3.

256 But they could not persuade God to side with them, for the prophet Shemaias told them that God had forsaken them, just as they themselves had forsaken his worship. Hearing this, they were instantly seized with panic and seeing no way of safety they all earnestly confessed that God would be right to ignore them, since they had committed impiety towards him and had let his laws lie unheeded. 257 When God saw their state of mind and how they acknowledged their sins, he told the prophet he would not destroy them, but that he would make them servants to the Egyptians, so they would learn whether they suffered less by serving men or serving God. 258 When Isokos had taken the city without a fight, since Roboam in his fear received him into it, he did not keep his agreements but despoiled the temple and emptied the treasury of God and of the king and carried off innumerable thousands of gold and silver and left nothing at all. 259 He also took away the golden bucklers and shields made by king Solomon and the golden quivers which David had taken from the king of Sophene and dedicated to God, and having done so, returned home. 260 Herodotus of Halicarnassus mentions this expedition, only mistaking the king's name, and in saying that he also made war on many other nations and conquered Syria of Palestine and captured the people there without a fight. 261 Clearly he intended to say that our nation was subdued by him, for he says that in the land of those who surrendered to him without a fight he left pillars engraved with the female pudenda, and it was our king Roboam who gave up our city without a fight. 262 He says also that the Ethiopians learned to circumcise their private parts from the Egyptians, adding that the Phoenicians and Syrians living in Palestine admit to having learned it from the Egyptians, and clearly no other Syrians living in Palestine except us are circumcised. But on such things let each say what his own group thinks.

4.

263 When Isokos had left, king Roboam made brass bucklers and shields to replace the golden ones and gave the same number of them to the keepers of the king's palace. So, instead of warlike expeditions and that glory which results from those public actions, he very peacefully though not without fear, being always hostile to Jeroboam. 264 He died after living for fifty-seven years of which he ruled for seventeen. He was a man of proud and foolish disposition who lost his kingdom by not listening to his father's friends and was buried in Jerusalem, in the burial vaults of the kings. His son Abias succeeded him as king in the eighteenth year of Jeroboam's reign over the ten tribes; and that is the end of his story. 265 Our next task is to tell of Jeroboam and how his life ended, for he did not cease or desist from scorning God, but every day raised up altars upon the high mountains and contiued setting up priests from among the people.

Chapter 11. [266-289 ]
Violent succession in the northern kingdom. Jeroboam's family is destroyed

1.

266 But the Deity was not slow to return Jeroboam's misdeeds with the punishment they deserved, both on his own head and on the heads of all his household. When a son of his named Obimé lay sick about that time, he ordered his wife to set aside her robes and and go to the prophet Achias dressed like an ordinary person. 267 This man was great at foretelling future events, and had foretold to him that he would be king, so he directed her when she reached him, to enquire like a stranger if the son would survive his illness. She changed her clothing and did as her husband said and came to the city of Shiloh, where Achias lived. 268 Then, as she was going into his house, though his eyes were dim with age God appeared to him and told him both that Jeroboam's wife had come to him and what to reply to her inquiry.

269 When the woman came into the house like an anonymous stranger he called out, "Come in, wife of Jeroboam! Why do you hide yourself? You are not hidden from God, who has appeared to me and told me you were coming and what to say to you." He told her to go back to her husband and tell him, 270 "Since I made you great when you were small and a nobody and tore the kingdom from the house of David and gave it to you, but you have ignored these benefits, abandoned my worship, and made for yourself molten gods and honoured them, I will in turn throw you down again and destroy all your family and make them into food for dogs and birds. 271 For a king will be raised by me over all this people, who shall leave alive none of the family of Jeroboam. The populace shall share in your punishment also and be thrown from this good land and be scattered into places beyond the Euphrates, because they have followed the profanities of their king and bowed before the gods he made and forsaken my sacrifices. 272 You, woman, hurry back to your husband and tell him this message, but then you will find your son dead, for just as you enter the city he will depart this life, but he will be buried with popular lamentation and honoured with mourning by all, for this was the only good person of Jeroboam's family." 273 When he had prophecied these things, the woman hurried off distraught and agonised at the predicted death of the child, going along the road wailing and mourning for the expected death of her son, and uncertain whether to hurry back or not. For the greater haste she made, the sooner she would see her son dead, but she had to hurry on account of her husband. When she got there she found that the child had given up the ghost, as the prophet had said, and she reported all to the king.

2.

274 Jeroboam still took none of these things to heart, but gethered a large army and went to war against Abias, son of Roboam, who had succeeded his father in the kingdom of the two tribes, for he scorned him for his youth. When he heard of Jeroboam's expedition he did not fear it, but showed a courageous spirit beyond his youth and contrary to his enemy's hopes, and selected an army from the two tribes and met Jeroboam at a place called Mount Samaron and camped near him and was well prepared for the fight. 275 He had four hundred thousand men, but the army of Jeroboam was double that; and as the armies stood ready for action and its dangers and the fight was about to begin, Abias stood on an elevated place and signalled with his hand for the people and Jeroboam to listen to him in silence.

276 When silence fell, he began to speak and said, "God willed David and his descendants to lead you for all time to come as you yourselves know, and I cannot help wondering how you can forsake my father and join with his servant Jeroboam and come here with him to fight against those who, by God's choice, are meant to reign, and rob them of the authority they have always held, most of which Jeroboam now unjustly holds. 277 I do not think he will hold it much longer, but when he has suffered from God the punishment due to him for what is past, he will give up the wrongs he has done and still continues to do and has persuaded you to do. The only wrong my my father did to you was in not speaking so as to please you, which he did on the advice of wicked men, and in your anger at this you opted to desert him, but in truth it was God and his laws that you deserted. 278 By right you should have forgiven a man who was young and unused to ruling, not only for some harsh words, but even if his youth and lack of management skill led him to some unfortunate actions. You should have pardoned him for the sake of his father Solomon and the benefits you received from him, for the sins of descendants ought to be excused on account of their parents' good deeds. 279 You gave no thought to this at the time, and still ignore it now, and come against us instead, with such a large army. But on what do you count, for victory? Is it on these golden heifers and your altars on the high places, which are proofs of impiety and not of true religion? Or do you trust in your surpassing numbers, so much larger than our army? 280 But in truth even an army of myriads has no strength when its war is unjust, for against opponents we should pin our hopes only on righteousness and piety towards God. This hope is properly ours, for keeping the laws from the beginning and worshipping our true God, not one made by hands from corruptible matter, or formed by a wicked king to mislead the crowds. Our God is his own workmanship, and the beginning and end of all things. 281 So I advise you even now to repent and be better advised and stop the war. Remember the ancestral laws and to reflect what it was that brought you to the happy state you now enjoy."

3.

282 This was the speech Abias made to the throng. But while he was still speaking Jeroboam secretly sent some of his soldiers to surround Abias at parts of the camp that were not guarded and when he was so within the range of the enemy, his army panicked and their courage failed. Abias encouraged them and urged them to place their hopes on God, who could not be surrounded by the enemy. 283 All together they implored the divine help, while the priests sounded with the trumpet and they made a shout and launched the attack. And God broke the enemy's courage and threw down their force and made Achias's army the upper hand. 284 He granted them such a crushing and celebrated victory as is not recorded in any other war, whether of the Greeks or Barbarians, for they killed five hundred thousand of Jeroboam's forces and took their strongest cities by force and despoiled them, and did the same to Bethel and its area and to Isanah and its area.

285 After this defeat Jeroboam never recovered his position during the lifetime of Abias, who himself did not long survive for he ruled for only three years and was buried in Jerusalem in the burial vaults of his ancestors, leaving behind him twenty-two sons and sixteen daughters, of whom he had by fourteen wives. 286 Asanos his son succeeded him as king, and the young man's mother was Michaias. Under his reign the region of the Israelites enjoyed peace for ten years.

4.

287 That is how the history of Abias, son of Roboam, son of Solomon, has come down to us. Jeroboam, the king of the ten tribes, died after ruling them for twenty two years, and his son Nadab succeeded him, in the second year of the reign of Asanos. Jeroboam's son ruled for two years and resembled his father in impiety and wickedness. 288 In those two years he attacked Gibbethon, a city of the Philistines and continued the siege in order to take it, but while he was there a friend of his named Basanes, the son of Achias, plotted against him and killed him, and after his death Basanes took over the kingdom and destroyed the whole house of Jeroboam. 289 It so happened, as God had foretold, that some of Jeroboam's relatives who died in the city were torn to pieces and devoured by dogs and that others of them who died in the fields were torn and devoured by birds. So the house of Jeroboam suffered the just punishment of his impiety and his misdeeds.

Chapter 12. [290-315]
King Asanos's battles. He is succeeded by Zambrias, then Achab

1.

290 Asanos, the king of Jerusalem, was excellent in character and respectful of God and neither did nor planned anything but what tended to the observance and promotion of the laws. He reformed his kingdom and removed all that was wicked in it and purified it from every impurity. 291 He had an army of chosen men armed with shields and spears; from the tribe of Judas three hundred thousand, and two hundred and fifty thousand men with shields from the tribe of Benjamin, who were archers. 292 In the tenth year of his reign Zaraios, king of Ethiopia, campaigned against him with a large army of nine hundred thousand infantry and one hundred thousand cavalry and three hundred chariots and got as far as Maresa, a city of the tribe of Judas. When his forces had got so far Asanos met him 293 and faced him with his army in a valley called Sabatha, not far from the city, and when he saw the numbers of the Ethiopians, he cried out and begged God to give him the victory and let him kill many thousands of the enemy: "For," he said, "I depend on nothing but the help I expect from you, which can make the fewer greater than the many and the weaker than the stronger, which is why I dare to meet Zaraios in this battle."

2.

294 While Asanos was saying this, God gave him a signal of victory and cheerfully going to battle due to what God had predicted, he killed many of the Ethiopians, and put them to flight and pursued them to the region of Gerar. When they stopped the killing they set about to spoiling the cities, for that of the Gerarites was already taken, and they emptied their camp, taking away much gold and silver and a large amount of booty and camels and livestock and flocks of sheep. 295 When Asanos and his army had gained such a victory and such wealth from God, they returned to Jerusalem. Now as they were coming, a prophet named Azarias met them on the road and bade them pause on their journey and told them that the reason they had obtained this victory from God was because they had shown themselves righteous and holy men who had done everything according to God's will. 296 If they persevered in it, he said, God would grant them always to overcome their enemies and to live happily, but if they ceased to worship "All will turn out otherwise. A time will come when no true prophet shall be left among you all, nor a priest to bring you a true answer from the oracle, but your cities shall be destroyed and your nation scattered over the whole earth and live as strangers and wanderers." 297 So he advised them, while they had time, to be good and not to deprive themselves of God's favour. When the king and the people heard this, they were glad, and all and each took great care to behave righteously. The king also sent some to ensure that those in the rural areas observed the laws too.

3.

298 That is how things went for Asanos, king of the two tribes. I now return to Basanes, the king of the people of Israel, who killed Nadab, son of Jeroboam and won the leadership. 299 He lived in the city of Tharsalé, which he made his residence and ruled for twenty-four years. He became more wicked and impious than even Jeroboam or his son and did much harm to the people and scorned God, who sent the prophet Jehu and told him in advance that his whole family would be killed and that he would bring on his house the same woes which had ruined that of Jeroboam. 300 Though he had been made king by him, he had not repaid his favour by ruling the people justly and reverently, which would have brought them prosperity and been pleasing to God. Instead, he had imitated wicked king Jeroboam, and though that man's soul was dead he had imitated his badness to the very life, so in justice he would therefore experience disaster like his, for committing similar wickedness. 301 But Basanes, though hearing of the woes that would befall him and his whole family for their insolent behaviour, still did not set aside his wicked practices, nor did he care to behave other than worse and worse until he died; and even then did not repent of his past actions, nor try to gain pardon. 302 Rather, he acted like one to whom rewards have been promised if they set to their work in earnest and do not give up their efforts. For when the prophet foretold to Basanes what would happen to him, he only grew worse, and as though he regarded as good things the threatened loss of his family and the destruction of his house, which are among the greatest of evils and, like a champion of wickedness, every day he made more efforts for it. 303 Finally he took his army and attacked a large city called Aramathon, forty furlongs from Jerusalem, and after taking it he fortified it, deciding to leave a garrison in it to sally out and harm the kingdom of Asanos.

4.

304 Asanos feared the attempts the enemy might make upon him, and considering the harm this army left behind in Aramathon might do to the region over which he ruled, he sent envoys to the king of the Damascenes, with gold and silver, seeking his help and reminding him of their mutual friendship from their ancestors' time. 305 He gladly accepted the money and made a pact with him and broke off his friendship with Basanes and sent the officers of his own forces to the cities under Basanes's dominion with orders to do them harm. So they went and burned some of them and despoiled others - the one called Ioanos and Dan and Abelanés and many others. 306 When the king of Israel heard this, he left off building and fortifying Aramathon and returned soon to help his own people in their plight, but Asanos used the materials that were prepared for building that city to build in the same place two strong cities, called Gabaa and Mastapha. 307 After this Basanes had no chance to make war on Asanos, for his death intervened and was buried in the city of Tharsé, and Elah his son took over the kingdom, who, after reigning for two years, was treacherously killed by Zambrias, the officer of half his cavalry. 308 When he was at the house of Osa, his steward, he persuaded some of the cavalry under him to attack Elah and so killed him when he was without his warriors and officers, for they were all busy at the siege of Gibbethon, a city of the Philistines.

5.

309 When general Zambrias had killed Elanos, he took over the kingdom himself, and, according to Jehu's prophecy, destroyed all the family of Basanes, and in this way his house utterly ended due to his impiety, just as we have already described the destruction of the house of Jeroboam. 310 But the army besieging Gabathon, when they heard what had happened to the king and how when Zambrias had killed him and gained the kingdom, they appointed their general Amarinos as king, who drew off his army from Gabethon and came to Tharsé, where the royal palace was and attacked the city and took it by storm. 311 When Zambrias saw the city deserted he fled to the innermost part of the palace and set it on fire and burned himself with it, after a reign of only seven days. At this the people of Israel were soon divided and some of them wanted Tibni as king and some of them Amarinos, but when his party had defeated Tibni, Amarinos ruled over all the people.

312 In the thirtieth year of Asanos' kingship Amarinos became king and he ruled for twelve years; six of them in the city of Tharsos and the rest in the city called Somareon, called by the Greeks Samaria while he himself called it Somaraios from Somaros, who sold him the mountain on which he built it. 313 He differed in nothing from the kings who ruled before him, if he was not even worse, for all of them kept seeking to turn the people away from God by their wickedness, so that God had them killed by each other until none of their families survived. This Amarinos also died in Samaria and Achab his son succeeded him.

6.

314 From all this we can learn the Deity's concern for the affairs of mankind and how he loves good men and hates the wicked and utterly destroys them. For their lawless wickedness, many of these kings of Israel and their families soon died miserably destroyed by one another, but Asanos, the king of Jerusalem and of the two tribes, for his piety and righteousness and by God's blessing, lived to a ripe and happy old age and died content after reigning for forty one years. 315 When he died his place was taken by his son Josaphat, born of his wife Abidah, and all agreed that he followed the works of David his forefather both in courage and piety, but we do not need to say any more about the affairs of this king at this point.

Chapter 13. [316-362]
Elijah opposes Achab and Jezabel. The contest on Mount Carmel. Avenging Naboth's vineyard

1.

316 Achab, king of Israelites, lived in Samaria and ruled for twenty-two years, and changed nothing from the two kings before him, except for the worse and in great evils of his own invention, imitating all their wicked ways and their scorning of God and in particular imitating the sin of Jeroboam. 317 He worshipped the heifers he had made, and devised other absurd things as well. He married Jezabel the daughter of Ethbaal, the king of Tyre and Sidon, and from her learned to worship her native gods. 318 This active and audacious woman was so debauched that she built a temple to the god of the Tyrians, whom they call Belus, and planted a grove of all kinds of trees and appointed priests and so-called prophets for this god. The king then surrounded himself with many people of that kind and exceeded in madness and wickedness all who had gone before him.

2.

319 A prophet of almighty God, from Thesbon in Galadene, now came to Achab to foretell in God's name that in those years he would send neither rain nor dew upon the land, until he would appear. Having sworn his oath to this, he went off to the south and lived near a stream, from which he had water to drink, and ravens brought food to him every day. 320 When the river dried up for lack of rain, at God's command he went to the city of Zarephath, between Sidon and Tyre, where he would find a widow who would feed him. 321 When he was not far from the city gate he saw a working woman gathering sticks, and God told him it was she who would feed him. So he came and greeted her and asked her to bring him some water to drink, but as she was going to do so, he called to her to bring him a loaf of bread as well. 322 She swore that she had no more than a handful of meal and a little oil and that she had come to gather the sticks in order to knead it and make bread for herself and her son, after which, she said, they must die of the hunger, for they had nothing left. But he said, "Take heart and hope for better things, but first make me a little cake and bring it to me, for I foretell to you that this flour and this jug of oil shall not fail until God sends the rain." 323 When the prophet said this, she went home and did as he said, and she had food enough for herself and her son and for the prophet; and none of them was in want until the drought ceased. 324 Menander mentions this drought in his account of the acts of Ethbaal, king of the Tyrians, where he says, "Under him there was a lack of rain from the month Hyperberetmus until the month Hyperberetmus of the year following, but when he called on the gods, a great thunderstorm came. This man built the city of Botrys in Phoenicia and Auza in Libya." He refers here to the rainless time in the days of Achab, for at that time Ethbaal also ruled over the Tyrians, as Menander tells us.

3.

325 This woman we have spoken of, who fed the prophet, when her son became so ill that he gave up the ghost and seemed to be dead, came weeping and beating herself with her hands and wailing out the grief she felt and complained that the prophet had come to her to accuse her of her sins and that this was why her son had died. 326 But he bade her to take heart and give her son to him, for he would give him back alive. When she gave him over, he carried him to the upper room where he lodged, laid him down upon the bed and cried to God that it would be poor reward for the woman who had welcomed and fed him, if her son were to perish; rather, he should restore the soul of the child and bring him back to life. 327 So God took pity on the mother and wished to gratify the prophet, so that his presence with her might not seem harmful, and amazingly the child did come back to life. So she thanked the prophet and said she now knew that God did speak with him.

4.

328 After a little while, by God's will Elijah came to king Achab, to tell him that rain was coming. The famine had gripped the whole region and there was a great lack of essentials, so that not only human beings but the earth itself was in need, unable, because of the drought, to produce enough fodder for horses and the other livestock. 329 The king called Obadias, the manager of his livestock, and told him to go to the watering holds and the streams to see if any herbage could be found, to cut as feed for the beasts. When he had sent round everywhere searching for the prophet Elijah and they could not find him, he told that man to go with him. 330 They decided to set off and divided the roads between them, with Obadias taking one road and the king the other. As it happened, when queen Jezabel was killing the prophets, this man had hidden a hundred of them and had fed them simply on bread and water. 331 When Obadias was alone and the king was away, the prophet Elijah met him, and when, on asking, he learned who he was, Obadias reverenced him. But he told him "Go to the king and say that I am here ready to meet with him." 332 He replied, "What evil have I done to you that you send me to one who seeks to kill you and has searched the whole world for you?" Did he not know that no place had been left out, and the seekers were to bring him back and have him put to death?" 333 He said he was afraid that God might appear to him again and he would go off somewhere else, and that when the king sent him for Elijah and he could not find him anywhere, he himself would be put to death. 334 So he asked him to take care of his safety, seeing how diligently he had cared for his colleagues and how he had saved a hundred prophets, hiding and feeding them when Jezabel killed all the others. The prophet told him to fear nothing, but to go to the king, swearing that he would show himself to Achab that very day.

5.

335 When Obadias told it to the king, Achab met Elijah and angrily asked if he as the man who harmed the Hebrew people and had caused the land to be unfruitful. Without any flattery, he replied that it was himself and his family who had brought all these woes, by introducing foreign gods into their land and worshipping them, abandoning their own, the only true God and caring nothing for him. 336 He told him go away and gather all the people to him at Mount Carmel, along with his prophets and those of his wife, saying how many they were, and also the prophets of the groves, about four hundred in number. 337 When all whom Achab sent for hurried to that mountain, the prophet Elijah stood among them and asked, "How long will you live like this, uncertain in mind and opinion?" He urged them, if they considered their local God to be the true and only God, to follow him and his commandments, but if they despised him and wanted to worship the foreign gods, he advised them to follow them. 338 When the people made no reply, Elijah asked them to test the power of the foreign gods and of their own God, with him acting as God's sole prophet, while the others had four hundred. He would take an ox and sacrifice it and lay it upon unlit pieces of wood and they should do likewise, and call upon their gods to set the wood on fire, and in this way they would so learn the true nature of God. 339 This was accepted, so Elijah bade the prophets first to choose a heifer and kill it and to call upon their gods. When there was no answer to the prophets for their prayer and invocation upon the sacrifice, Elijah mocked them, telling them to call upon their gods with a loud voice, for they might be on a journey, or asleep. 340 When they had done so from morning til noon and cut themselves with knives and lances, according to their local custom, and he was about to offer his sacrifice, he bade them to go away, but brought the others near to see if he had hidden fire among the pieces of wood. 341 As the crowd drew near he took twelve stones, one for each tribe of the Hebrew people, and built an altar with them, digging a deep trench around it. When he had put the pieces of wood upon the altar and upon them had put the pieces of the sacrifices, he told them to fill four barrels with water from the fountain and pour it upon the altar, until it ran over it and the trench overflowed with the spring water poured into it. 342 When this was done he began to pray and call upon God to manifest his power to a people that had been a long time in error. As he spoke, a fire suddenly came from heaven in the sight of the people and fell upon the altar and consumed the sacrifice, until the very water was set on fire and the place became dry.

6.

343 When the Israelites saw this, they fell down upon the ground and worshipped the one God, calling him the great and only true God, saying the others were mere names, arising from evil and foolish opinion. So at Elijah's command they caught their prophets and killed them. He told the king to go to dinner without any further concern, for soon he would see God send them rain. 344 So Achab went his way, but Elijah went up to the highest part of Mount Carmel and sitting on the ground put his head on his knees and bade his servant go up to a high place and look towards the sea and to tell him when he saw a cloud rising anywhere, for up to then the sky had been clear. 345 After going up many times and saying he saw nothing, on the seventh time he said he saw a small black thing in the sky, no bigger than a human foot. When Elijah heard that, he sent to Achab to tell him to leave for the city before the rain came down. 346 So he went to the city of Jezreel, and a short time later the sky was darkened and covered with clouds and a strong wind came over the earth, bringing a large amount of rain. Inspired by God, the prophet ran with the king's chariot to the city of Jezreel.

7.

347 When Achab's wife Jezabel learned of the signs worked by Elijah and how he had killed her prophets, she was angry and sent him messengers, threatening to kill him just as he had destroyed her prophets. 348 Elijah was afraid and fled to the city called Beersheba, located at the extreme limits of the region of the tribe of Judas, towards the land of Idumaea. There he left his servant and went off into the desert and prayed for death, for he was no better than his fathers and since they were dead, he did not want to live. 349 He lay down and slept under a tree, and when somebody woke him and he got up, he found food and water set beside him. After eating and regaining strength by this food, he came to the mountain called Sinai, where Moses is said to have received the laws from God. 350 Finding a hollow cave there, he entered it and stayed there. A voice came to him from the darkness, asking him why he had left the city to come there. He said it was because he had killed the prophets of the foreign gods and persuaded the people that only the one whom they had worshipped from the beginning was God, and that for this the king's wife sought to execute him. 351 Then he heard that on the next day he should come out into the open air and learn what he was to do. He did leave the cave the next day, and heard an earthquake and saw the bright splendor of a fire. 352 After a silence, a divine voice urged him not to be shaken by what had happened to him, for none of his enemies would overcome him. He was further instructed to return home and ordain Jehu, son of Nimshi, as king of their people, and Azael of Damascus, to rule the Syrians, and Eliseus of the city of Abel, as prophet in his place, and that the godless would be killed, some by Azael and the others by Jehu. 353 At this command, Elijah returned to the land of the Hebrews. He found Eliseus, son of Shaphat, ploughing with some others, driving twelve yoke of oxen, and came to him and put his own cloak over him. 354 Eliseus immediately began to prophesy and left his oxen and followed Elijah. When he asked permission to greet his parents, Elijah let him do so, and when he had taken leave of them, he followed him and became Elijah's disciple and servant for life. So much about what concerned this prophet.

8.

355 A man called Naboth, of the city of Jezreel, had a field adjoining the king's land. The king asked him to sell his field to him, so near to his own land, at any price he pleased, so as to join them together as a single farm, and if he would not take money for it, he would let him choose any of his other fields in place of it. But he refused, preferring to keep his own field, inherited from his father. 356 The king was grieved, as if he had been insulted by not getting what belonged to another, and he would neither wash himself nor eat. When Jezabel asked what troubled him and why he would not wash nor eat either dinner or supper, he told her of Naboth's refusal and how, though he had spoken gentle words to him, not using his royal authority, he had been spurned and had not got what he wanted. 357 She urged him not to be downcast by this, but to set aside his grief and return to looking after his body, for she would see to have Naboth punished. 358 Immediately she sent letters in Achab's name to the officers of the Israelites, telling them to fast and to assemble a meeting, with Naboth in the front as he was of a prominent family, and have three bold men testify that he had blasphemed God and the king, for which he should be stoned to death. 359 When, as the queen had written, Naboth was killed by the mob, condemned for blaspheming against God and Achab, Jezabel heard it and went to the king telling him he had inherited Naboth's vineyard free of cost. 360 Achab was glad at what had been done and got up from his bed to look at Naboth's vineyard. But God was angry at it and sent Elijah the prophet to Naboth's field, to meet Achab and tell him that he had unjustly killed the true owner of the field he planned to inherit. 361 When he came to him, the king said he could do what he pleased to him, for he was ashamed to be so caught by him in his sin. The other replied that in the very place where the dead body of Naboth was eaten by dogs, his own blood and that of his wife would be shed and all his family would die, because he had dared such wickedness and killed a citizen contrary to the ancestral laws. 362 Achab began to grieve for what he had done and to regret it, and wore sackcloth and went barefoot and would touch no food, confessing his sins and trying to appease God. God told the prophet that he would put off the punishment of his family during Achab's lifetime, because he repented of his insolent crimes, but that he would fulfill his threat under Achab's son, and the prophet brought this message to the king.

Chapter 14. [363-392]
Ader of Damascus is defeated by king Achab

1.

363 When this was Achab's situation, the son of Adados, the king of the Syrians and of Damascus, took his chance to gather an army from his whole region and gained as allies thirty two kings from beyond the Euphrates and attacked Achab. 364 As the latter's army was unequal to his, he did not draw his men up for battle, but shutting up everything from the region into his strongest cities he lived in Samaria himself, for the walls around it were very strong and it in all respects it seemed not easy to capture. So the king of Syria brought up his army and came to Samaria and stationed it around the city to besiege it. 365 He sent a herald to Achab asking him to admit the envoys he would send by whom he would let him know what he wanted. So with permission from the king of Israel those envoys came and at their king's behest said that Achab's wealth and his children and his wives belonged to Adados and if he agreed to let him take as much of his property as he pleased, he would withdraw his army and end the siege. 366 Achab bade the envoys go back and tell their king that he himself and all that he owned were at his disposal. 367 When these envoys reported back, he sent to him again demanding that as he accepted that all he owned was his, he must receive whichever of his servants whom he would send the following day and hand over to them whatever they found to be valuable, after searching his palace and the houses of his friends and relatives, and whatever did not please them they would leave behind. 368 Achab was shocked at this second embassy of the Syrian king, and gathered the people to a meeting and told them that he personally was prepared, for their safety and peace, to surrender his own wives and children to the enemy and yield to him all his own possessions, as the Syrian king required by his first envoys. 369 "But now he wants to send his servants to search the houses of everyone and leave nothing valuable in them, seeking a pretext for war, knowing that for your sakes I would not spare my own property but in light of the shameful terms he now offers about you to bring a war upon us, I will do whatever you decide."

370 The people advised that he heed none of his proposals, but to scorn him and be ready to fight him. So he answered the envoys that he was still ready to comply with the first condition, for the safety of the citizens, but would not submit to the second condition and dismissed them.

2.

371 When Adados heard this, he was angry and sent envoys to Achab a third time and threatened that merely by having each man of his army bring one handful of earth he could raise a ramp higher than the walls for whose strength he so boldly scorned him, so displaying the size of his army in hope of frightening him. 372 Achab replied that he should not boast when he had just put on his armour, but only after defeating his enemies in battle. The envoys returned and found the king at supper with his thirty-two princes and gave him Achab's reply. So he told them to surround the city and raise earthworks and carry on the siege by every means.

373 Meanwhile Achab was in great anguish and all his people with him, but he took courage and his fears eased when a prophet came to him and said that God had promised to subject to him all these thousands of his enemies. 374 When he asked through whom the victory would be gained, he said, "By the sons of the leaders, but under you as their leader, because of their lack of skill." He called for the sons of the leaders and found them to be two hundred and thirty-two, and when he was told that the king of Syria was feasting and resting, he opened the gates and sent out the leaders' sons. 375 When the sentries told Adados of it, he sent some against them with orders that if these had come to fight, they should bind them and bring them to him, and if they came out in peace they should do likewise. 376 Achab had another army ready within the walls, but the sons of the leaders attacked the sentinels and killed many of them and pursued the rest to their camp, and when the king of Israel saw them gaining the upper hand, he sent out all the rest of his army. 377 These suddenly attacked and defeated the Syrians for they did not expect them to come out and attack them when they were unarmed and drunk. They had to leave all their armour behind them as they fled from their camp and the king himself barely escaped, fleeing away on horseback. 378 Achab pursued the Syrians a long way and when he had ransacked their camp, which held a large amount of valuables and much gold and silver, he took Adados's chariots and horses and returned to the city. When the prophet told him he should get his army ready because the Syrian king would make another expedition against him the following year, Achab got ready for it.

3.

379 When Adados had saved himself and as much of his army as he could from the battle, he consulted with his friends how to make another campaign against the Israelites. These advised him not to fight with them on the hills, as their God was powerful in such places and so they had lately been defeated, but if they fought them in the plain, they would defeat them. 380 They also advised him to send home the kings had brought as his allies, but to retain their army and to set officers over it inplace of the kings and to raise an army from their region to replace those who had died in the battle, along with horses and chariots. He took this as good advice and acted according to it in arranging the army.

4.

381 Early in the Spring, Ader took his army and led it against the Hebrews, and when he arrived at a city called Aphek, he camped in the great plain. Achab went to meet him with his army and camped opposite him, though his army was very small compared to the enemy. 382 But the prophet came again to him and told him that God would give him victory to demonstrate that his power existed not only in the mountains but also on the plains; contrary to the opinion of the Syrians. So they stayed quiet in their camp for seven days, but on the last of thm when the enemies came out from their camp and put themselves into battle array Achab also brought out his own army. 383 During the battle they fought valiantly, and he put the enemy to flight and pursued them and pressed them hard and killed them, so that they were killed by their own chariots and by each other; and only a few of them escaped to their city of Aphek. 384 Twenty-seven thousand of these too were killed by the walls falling upon them and in this battle a hundred thousand more were killed, but Adados, the king of the Syrians, fled, with certain others of his most faithful servants and hid himself in a cellar under ground. 385 When these told him that the kings of Israel were humane and merciful and that if he let them go to Achab they could make the usual petitions and win his life from him, so he let them. They came to Achab, clothed in sackcloth, with ropes about their heads, as was the ancient style of petition among the Syrians, and said that Adados asked him to spare him and that in return he would forever be his servant. 386 He answered that he was glad he was alive and not harmed in the battle, and he promised him the same honour and favour as a man would show to his brother. Receiving his assurances upon oath that when he came to him he would not be harmed, they went and brought him from the cellar where he was hiding and brought him to Achab as he sat in his chariot and he bowed down to him. 387 Achab gave him his hand and made him come up to him into his chariot and kissed him and told him to take heart and not to expect that any harm should be done to him. Adados thanked him and professed that he would remember his favour to him all the days of his life, and promised to restore the cities of the Israelites which the former kings had taken from them and allow him to come to Damascus, as his ancestors had to come to Samaria. 388 They confirmed their covenant on oath and Achab made him many gifts and sent him back to his own kingdom. This was the conclusion of the war that Adados made against Achab and the Israelites.

5.

389 A prophet named Micaias, came to one of the Israelites and told him strike him on the head, since this was what God wanted and when he would not do it he predicted that for disobeying God's command he would meet and be killed by a lion. When that happened to the man, the prophet went to another with the same instruction. 390 After this man struck him and cut his scalp. he bandaged up his head and came to the king saying that he was one of his soldiers and was entrusted by an officer to guard one of the prisoners, but that the prisoner had escaped, and now his own life was in danger, since the officer threatened to kill him if the prisoner escaped. 391 When Achab said he deserved to die he took off the binding about his head and was recognised by the king as Micaias the prophet, who used this charade as prelude to what he had to say. 392 He said that God would punish the man who had let off the blasphemer Adados, and would see that he died by means of that man, and his people by that man's army. Achab was very angry with the prophet and ordered to have him put in prison and kept there, but was dismayed at the words of Micaias and returned to his own house.

Chapter 15. [393-420]
Achab and Josaphat war against the Syrians. Achab's death in battle

1.

393 That was Achab's situation. I now return to Josaphat the king of Jerusalem, who, when he had increased his kingdom, had set forces in the cities of the land subject to him and garrisons into the cities which were taken from the tribe of Ephraim by his grandfather Abias, when Jeroboam ruled over the ten tribes. 394 The deity favoured him, being both righteous and religious and every day seeking to do something pleasing and acceptable to God. The kings round about him also honoured him with gifts until his wealth was great and his glory was immense.

2.

395 Now, in the third year of this reign, he called together the officers of the region and the priests and directed them to go round the land, city by city, and teach the laws of Moses to all the people under him, for them to keep them and be diligent in the worship of God. With this the whole throng was so pleased that nothing drew or attracted them more than the laws. 396 The neighbouring nations continued to love Josaphat and to be at peace with him; and the Philistines paid their appointed tax and the Arabs supplied him every year with three hundred and sixty lambs and as many kid goats. He also strengthened the great cities, which were many in number and of well fortified and prepared a mighty army of soldiers and weapons against their enemies. 397 There were three hundred thousand infantry of the tribe of Judas, of whom Ednah was the chief, while John was chief of two hundred thousand, for the man was chief of the tribe of Benjamin and had charge of two hundred thousand archers. There was another chief named Chabathos, who had a hundred and eighty thousand warriors at the king's disposal besides those he had sent to the strongest cities.

3.

398 He took the daughter of Achab, the king of the ten tribes, named Othlias, as wife for his son Joram. When some time later he went to Samaria, Achab received him courteously and treated his army generously with abundant corn and wine and meat, and asked him to join him in his war against the king of Syria, to recover from him the city of Aramatha in Galadene, 399 for though it had belonged to his father, the king of Syria's father had taken it from him, and when Josaphat promised to help him, as his army was not inferior to the other, and sent from Jerusalem to Samaria for his army, the two kings left the city and each sat on his throne and each ordered his own army. 400 Now Josaphat told them to call some of the prophets, if there were any there and enquire of them about this expedition against the king of Syria, whether they would give them counsel to make that expedition now, for there was peace at that time between Achab and the king of Syria, which had lasted three years, from the time he had taken him prisoner until that day.

4.

401 So Achab called his own prophets, being in number about four hundred and told them to enquire of God whether he would grant him the victory, if he attacked Ader, and would let him destroy that city, for whose sake he was going to war. 402 When the advised him to make this expedition and said that he would beat the king of Syria, and bring him under his power as before, Josaphat, understanding by their words that they were false prophets, asked Achab if there were not some other prophet of the true God, "so that we may have surer knowledge of future events." 403 Achab said there was indeed such a one, but that he hated him for having prophecying evil to him and foretelling that he would be overcome and killed by the king of Syria, so that he now had him in prison, and his name was Micaias, son of Imlah. When Josaphat wanted him to be produced, Achab sent a eunuch who brought Micaias to him. 404 On the way the eunuch told him that all the other prophets had foretold that the king would win the victory, but he said that it was not right for him to lie against God, but that he must speak what he should say to him about the king, no matter what. When he came to Achab and he had adjured him on oath to tell him the truth he said that God had shown him the Israelites running away and pursued by the Syrians and scattered over the mountains as flocks of sheep are scattered when their shepherd is killed. 405 He had been told that they would return in peace to their own home and that he alone would fall in the battle. When Micaias had spoken, Achab said to Josaphat, "I told you a little while ago the disposition of the man with regard to me and how he prophesies evil to me." 406 Micaias replied that he should hear all that God foretells, whatever it be, and in particular that the prophets who encouraged him to make this war in hope of victory were false, since he must fight and be killed. So the king was in suspense with himself. But Sedekias, one of those false prophets, came near and urged him not to heed Micaias, for he did not at all speak truth. 407 As proof he instanced what Elijah had said, who was a better prophet than Micaias at foretelling future events for he foretold that the dogs would lick his blood in the city of Jezreel, in the field of Naboth, as they had licked the blood of Naboth, who on account of him had been stoned to death there by the people. 408 "Clearly this man here is a liar," he said "contradicting a greater prophet than himself and saying that he should be killed within three days; and you shall soon know whether he is a true prophet and has the power of the divine Spirit, for I will strike him and let him then hurt my hand, as Jadon caused the hand of Jeroboam the king to wither when he wanted to seize him, for you have surely heard of that episode." 409 So when he struck Micaias and suffered no harm from it, Achab took courage and readily led his army against the king of Syria; for, I suppose, fate had the upper hand over him and made him believe that the false prophets spoke truer than the true one, in order to bring him to his end. However, Sedekias made horns of iron and said to Achab that God made those horns signs of the fact that he would destroy all Syria. 410 But Micaias replied that within a few days Sedekias should go from one secret chamber to another to hide himself, to escape the punishment of his lying. Then the king ordered that they should take Micaias away and guard him to Amon, the ruler of the city and to give him nothing but bread and water.

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411 Then Achab and Josaphat the king of Jerusalem marched their forces to Aramatha a city of Galaditis, and the king of Syria heard of this expedition, he brought out his army to oppose them and encamped not far from Aramatha. 412 Now Achab and Josaphat had agreed for Achab to set aside his royal robes and the king of Jerusalem to wear those robes and stand before the army, in order by this ruse to disprove the prediction of Micaias; but even without his robes his fate found him. 413 For through their officers Adados, the king of Assyria, had instructed his army to kill nobody but only the king of Israel. When the Syrians, as they began to fight the Israelites, saw Josaphat standing at the head of the army and thought he was Achab, they hurtled forward 414 and surrounded him, but when they drew near and saw that it was not he, they all turned away. While the fight lasted from the morning until late in the evening and the Syrians were victorious, they killed nobody, as their king had directed them, for they sought to kill Achab alone, but could not find him. Then one of Adados' young noblemen named Naaman drew his bow against the enemy and wounded the king in the lungs, through his breastplate. 415 Achab resolved not to let his army know what had happened him in case they should run away, but told the driver of his chariot to turn it around and take him away from the battle, as he was badly, mortally, wounded; so he sat in pain in his chariot until sunset and then collapsed and died.

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416 At nightfall the Syrian army retreated to their camp, and when the army herald announced that Achab was dead they returned home, and they took the dead body of Achab to Samaria and buried it there. 417 When they had washed his chariot in the fountain of Jezreel, all running with the king's blood, they recognised the truth of Elijah's prophecy, for the dogs licked his blood and in future the prostitutes washed themselves in that fountain, though he had died at Aramatha, as Micaias had foretold.
418 Since what was foretold about Achab by both prophets came true, we should form a high idea of God and everywhere honour and worship him and never imagine that what is pleasant and agreeable should be believed rather than what is true; and consider nothing more useful than the gift of prophecy and the foreknowledge of future events which comes from it, since thereby God shows people what to avoid. 419 From what happened to this king we may also consider the power of fate, for even when we know it, there is no way to avoid it. It creeps upon human souls and flatters them with pleasing hopes, until it leads them to the place of their defeat. 420 Achab seems to have been misled by such a mind so that he disbelieved those who foretold his defeat and was killed for trusting those who foretold what he wished to hear, and his son Ochosias succeeded him.