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Ἡ Καινὴ Διαθήκη

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Daily Word 2019


Sundays, 1-34, A
Sundays, 1-34, B
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Origen of Alexandria

Antiquities of the Jews -- 10

From the Assyrian Captivity to end of the Babylonian Exile

(Greek and English >>> )

1. Sennacherim's failed invasion. Isaias encourages king Ezekias to resist

2. Through Isaias, Ezekias' miraculous recovery and extra years of life

3. King Manasses is converted in captivity. Succeeded by his son, Amon

4. Amon succeeed by Josias, who is guided by the prophetess Huldah

5. Josiah's war with Egypt; the exile of his son. Jeremias and Ezekiel

6. Nabuchodonosor of Babylon invades Judea and imposes a new king

7. Nabuchodonosor hardens against Jerusalem; Jeremias predicts disaster

8. Jerusalem captured; Temple destroyed; Jews to Babylon, as predicted

9. Ruler Gadalias is killed; reprisals against the Jews who had fled to Egypt

10. Daniel and Nabuchodonosor's Dream: God's fidelity during the exile

11. Persian rule ends Babylonian exile; Daniel's prophecying in Media

Chapter 1. [001-023]
Sennacherim's failed invasion, in the days of Ezekias. Isaias encourages resistance, with the help of God


001 It was the fourteenth year of the reign of Ezekias, king of the two tribes, when Sennacherim, king of the Babylonians, attacked him with a large army and took by force all the cities of the tribes of Judas and Benjamin. 002 He was about to bring his forces to bear on Jerusalem when Ezekias sent him envoys and promised to submit and pay whatever tax he should assign. When he heard the envoys' message Sennacherim decided not to go on with the war. He accepted the offer, promising to leave if he received three hundred talents of silver and thirty talents of gold, and he guaranteed to the envoys on oath to do him no harm, but to leave as he had come. 003 Ezekias agreeed and emptied his treasures and sent the money, thinking it would free him from his enemy and all distress about his kingdom. 004 The Assyrian took it but did not keep his promise, and when he went off to war against the Egyptians and Ethiopians, he left his general Rabshakeh and two more of his chief officers, with a large force to destroy Jerusalem. The names of these other two were Tartan and Rabsaris.


005 When they arrived in front of the walls, they encamped and sent messengers to Ezekias asking to speak with him, but he was afraid to come out to them in person and sent three of his closest friends, one of whom was Eliakim, the overseer of the kingdom, along with Shebna and Joachos, the recorder. 006 These came out and stood facing the officers of the Assyrian army, and when Rabshakeh saw them, he told them to go and tell Ezekias that the great king Sennacherim wants to know on whom did he rely and depend, when he fled from his master and snubbed him by not admitting his army into the city? Was it on account of the Egyptians and in the hope that his army would be defeated by them? 007 If that was his hope they should tell him that he was a foolish man, like one who leans on a broken reed; not only will he fall down, but his hand will be pierced and hurt by it. He should know that this expedition against him was made by God's will, who showed his favour by letting him destroy the kingdom of Israel, and in the same manner he will destroy Hezekiah's subjects too. 008 When Rabshakeh had said this in Hebrew, as he was skilled in that language, Eliakim was afraid that the people who heard him would be terrified, so he asked him to speak in Syriac. But the general, understanding what he meant and seeing his fear, answered in Hebrew in a louder voice, that since all had heard the king's commands, "You can save your lives by surrendering to us. 009 We know that you and your king are telling the people not to surrender, bolstering them to resist, with empty hopes. Of you are so brave and think you can hold off our forces, I'll give you two thousand of my horses, if you can set as many horsemen on their backs, to show your strength. But what you don't have you cannot produce. 010 Why not then give yourselves up without delay to a superior force, which can take you willy nilly? It will be better for you to surrender freely, for to be defeated and taken in battle will be worse and bring more trouble on you."


011 When both the people and the envoys heard what the Assyrian commander said, they reported it to Ezekias, who put off his royal robes and dressed in sackcloth and in the garb of a mourner, as ancestral custom required, and fell on his face and begged God to help them, now when they had no other hope of being saved. 012 He sent some of his friends and some priests to the prophet Isaias, asking him to pray to God and offer sacrifices to save their community, and beg him to dash the hopes of their enemies and have mercy upon his people. 013 When the prophet did so, a word came to him from God to encourage the king and his friends. He foretold that their enemies would be defeated without fighting and would depart in shame, unlike the insolence they now displayed, 014 for God would see to their destruction. He also foretold that Sennacherim, king of the Assyrians, would fail in his campaign against Egypt and that when he came home he would die by the sword.


015 About the same time, the Assyrian wrote a letter to Ezekias, calling him a foolish man for thinking he could escape from serving him, since he had already subdued many great nations, and threatening that when he took him he would utterly destroy him, unless he now opened the gates and welcomed his army into Jerusalem. 016 When he read this letter, he scorned it, putting his trust in God, but he rolled up the letter and laid it up within the temple. As he continued to pray God for the city and the safety of all the people, the prophet Isaias said God had heard his prayer and that he would not be besieged at this time by the king of Assyria. In future too, he would not need to fear him, and that the people could go on with their farming and other affairs in peace and without fear. 017 A little later the king of Assyria, having failed in his campaign against the Egyptians, returned home without success in this way. He spent a long time in the siege of Pelusium, and when the walls that he had raised opposite the walls were very high and he was about to attack them, he heard that Tharsikes, king of the Ethiopians, was coming with a great force to aid the Egyptians and was about to march through the desert and suddenly fall on the Assyrians. 018 Upset by this, king Sennacherim, as I said before, left Pelusium and returned without success. About this Sennacherim, Herodotus also says, in the second book of his histories, how "this king marched against the Egyptian king, who was the priest of Hephaestus, and as he was besieging Pelusium, broke up the siege as follows: The Egyptian king prayed to God, who heard his prayer and sent a judgment upon the Arabian king." 019 In this he was mistaken, by calling him king not of the Assyrians but of the Arabians, for he says that "a crowd of mice in one night gnawed to pieces the bows and other weapons of the Assyrians and so the king, lacking the bows, withdrew his army from Pelusium." 020 Herodotus tells it that way, and Berosus, who wrote of matters in Chaldea, also mentions this king Sennacherim and how he ruled the Assyrians and marched on all of Asia and Egypt. He says,


021 "When Sennacherim was returning to Jerusalem from his Egyptian war, he found the army under his general Rabshakeh in danger from a plague which God had sent upon his army, and on the first night of the siege, a hundred and eighty five thousand men, with their officers and generals, were destroyed. 022 In dread and terrible agony at this disaster, and fearing for his whole army, the king fled with the rest of his forces to his own kingdom and his city Nineveh. 023 Having stayed a little while there, he was attacked treacherously and died at the hands of his elder sons, Adrammelech and Seraser, killed in his own temple, named Araske. For murdering their father these sons were hunted out by the citizens and went to Armenia, and Assarachoddas took over the realm of Sennacherim." This proved to be the conclusion of this Assyrian expedition against the people of Jerusalem.

Chapter 2. [024-035]
Through Isaias, King Ezekias miraculously recovers and has extra years of life


024 When king Ezekias was released from his fears so unexpectedly he offered a sacrifice of thanksgiving to God with all his people, because what killed some of the enemy and made the rest withdraw from Jerusalem for fear of the same fate, was none other than God on his side. 025 Yet, though he was very zealous and diligent towards God, he fell severely ill soon afterwards, so that the physicians despaired of him and expected no recovery and neither did his friends. Apart from the illness itself, the king grieved to think that he was childless and would die and leave his family and realm without a successor of his own seed. 026 Troubled by this thought, he implored God in tears to prolong his life for a little while until he had children and not let him depart this life before becoming a father. 027 God showed mercy to him and heard his prayer, because his distress at his impending death and his prayer for a longer life were not because he was soon to leave the good life he enjoyed as king, but in order to have children to take up the leadership after him. And God sent Isaias the prophet to tell Ezekias that within three days he would be rid of his illness and live another fifteen years and also that children would be born to him. 028 When the prophet told him this at God's command, he could hardly believe it, as his illness was very severe and because what had been told him was so surprising he wanted Isaias to give him some sign or miracle so that he could believe in his words and know they came from God, for strange things beyond our hopes are made credible by actions of a similar sort. 029 When asked what sign he wished to be shown, he wanted him to make the shadow of the sun, which he had already made to descend ten degrees in his house, to return to the same place it was before. When the prophet prayed to God to show the king this sign, he saw what he wanted to see and was freed from his illness and went up to the temple, where he worshipped God and made vows to him.


030 Meanwhile the power of the Assyrians was brought down the by Medes, of which I shall treat elsewhere. But the king of Babylon, named Baladan, sent envoys to Ezekias with gifts and asked him to become his ally and friend. 031 He gladly welcomed the envoys and made them a feast and showed them his treasures and armoury and his other wealth in precious stones and gold, and giving them gifts for Baladan he sent them back to him. 032 When the prophet Isaias came and asked him where those envoys had come from he said they were from Babylon, from the king, and that he had showed them all his possessions so that the sight of his riches and his forces would amaze him, and let him report it to the king. 033 The prophet retorted, "Listen! In a short while this wealth of yours shall be carried away to Babylon and your descendants shall be made eunuchs there and lose their manhood and be slaves to the king of Babylon," for God foretold that this would happen. 034 At this words Ezekias was troubled and said that he would never wish his nation to fall into a disaster but since it is not possible to change what God had decided, he prayed that there might be peace as long as he lived. Berosus also mentions this Baladan, king of Babylon. 035 And this prophet was acknowledged by all to be a divine and wonderful man in speaking the truth, and knowing that he had never written what was false, he wrote down all his prophecies and left them recorded in books, so that their descendants might judge their fulfilment from the facts. And this prophet was not the only one to do so but the others, twelve in number, did likewise. And whatever happens among us, good or bad, comes to pass according to their prophecies, but of each of these we shall speak later.

Chapter 3. [036-046]
Wicked king Manasses is converted in captivity. Succeeded by his son, Amon


036 When king Ezekias had lived on in perfect peace for the period we have said, he died at the end of his fifty fourth year, after reigning for twenty nine years. 037 His son Manasses, whose mother was Hephzibah from Jerusalem, did succeed him but abandoned his father's conduct and adopted a very lifestyle, engaging in all sorts of wrongdoing and leaving no impiety untried, in imitation of the faults of the Israelites, those sins against God for which they were destroyed. Brazenly, he defiled the temple of God, the city and the whole land. 038 Scornful of God he cruelly killed all the righteous people among the Hebrews, not even sparing the prophets, for every day he killed some of them, until Jerusalem was flowing with blood. 039 Angry at this, God sent prophets to the king and the people, threatening them with the same troubles as befell their Israelite brethren for similar affronts to God. These would not believe their words, however, a belief which might have won them a reprieve from all those woes, but they did learn in earnest that what the prophets told them was true.


040 As they persisted in this lifestyle, God raised up war against them via the king of Babylon and Chaldea, who sent an army into Judea and ravaged the land, and had king Manasses treacherousy caught and brought to him so that he could inflict on him any punishment he pleased. 041 Aware of his wretchedness and knowing himself to be the cause of it, Manasses begged God to make his enemy humane and merciful to him. God heard his petition so that Manasses got home again, released by the king of Babylon and set free from danger. 042 When he arrived in Jerusalem, he did what he could to expel from mind his former sins against God, of which he now repented, and to apply himself to a devout life. He sanctified the temple and purged the city and for the rest of his days was intent only on thanking God for being spared and on staying favourable to him all his life. 043 He also taught the populace to do likewise, seeing what a disaster had nearly befallen him by the opposite conduct; and he rebuilt the altar and offered lawful sacrifices, as Moses commanded. 044 When he had re-established the divine worship in its proper form, he devoted his attention to the security of Jerusalem and not only did he carefully repair the old walls but added an extra wall to them. Further, he built very high towers and strengthened the forts just outside the city, besides furnishing them with all the foodstuffs they needed. 045 Indeed, such was his change of heart that his future life, from the time of his return to worshipping God, was reckoned a blessed and a model to be imitated. 046 At the age of sixty seven years he departed this life, having ruled for fifty five years and was buried in his own garden, and the kingship passed to his son Amon, whose mother, named Meshulemeth, came from the city of Jazabata.

Chapter 4. [047-073]
Amon is followed by the righteous king Josias. Josiah's Reform, guided by the prophetess Huldah


047 This young man brashly imitated the deeds of his father, but was killed in his own house by a conspiracy of his own servants, at the age of twenty-four and after a reign of two years. 048 But the people punished his murderers, and buried him with his father and gave the kingship to his son Josias, who was eight years old; his mother was from the city of Bosceth and her name was Jedis. 049 He was of a fine character inclined to virtue, who followed the example of king David as his pattern and guide in the whole conduct of his life. 050 When he was twelve he showed his piety and righteousness, for he brought the people to a sober way of living and urged them to give up honouring idols that were not gods, and worship their ancestral God. By reviewing the actions of their ancestors, he prudently corrected their faults, like a very old man, well able to understand what should be done, and whatever good practices he found, he kept in place and imitated. 051 He did this, following his own wisdom and prudence and with the advice and tradition of the elders. Observing the laws, he succeeded very well in administering the city and in dutifully promoting the worship of God, and the faults of the former kings were seen no more, but quite vanished away. 052 The king went around the city and the whole region cutting down the groves devoted to foreign gods and destroying their altars, pulling down any gifts dedicated to them by his ancestors. 053 In this way he brought back the people from honouring them to worshipping God, and offered the accustomed sacrifices and holocausts upon the altar. He ordained some judges and overseers to care for particular areas and to set justice above all things and administer it with the same concern they had for their own soul. 054 He sent around all the region commanding those who could to bring gold and silver for the repair of the temple, according to each one's inclinations and abilities. 055 When the money was brought in, he gave charge of the temple and of the taxes contributed to it to Maaseias the ruler of the city and Shaphan the scribe and Joab the recorder and Eliakim the high priest. 056 These made no delay in getting started, but appointed architects and whatever was needed for the repairs and set about the work. So the temple was repaired and became a visible proof of the king's piety.


057 In the eighteenth year of his reign, he sent to Eliakim the high priest with orders that from the surplus, he should cast cups and dishes and vessels for temple ministry. Also, they were to bring all the gold or silver in the treasury and use that too for making cups and similar vessels. 058 In bringing out the gold, the high priest also found the holy books of Moses that were stored in the temple, and brought them out and he gave them to Shaphan the scribe, who, when he had read them, came to the king to tell him that all that he had ordered was completed, and read the books to him. 059 When he heard them, he rent his robe and called for Eliakim the high priest and for the scribe himself, and some of his most closest friends and sent them to Huldah the prophetess, the wife of the honoured aristocrat Salloum. They were to go to her and say that she should appease God and gain his favour for them, for there was great danger that, for their ancestors' sins against the laws of Moses, they could be taken into captivity and expelled from their own region and deprived of all things, so as to end their days in misery. 060 When the prophetess heard this from the messengers sent to her by the king, she sent them back to the king to say that "God has already sentenced them, to destroy the people and drive them from their region and take away all the prosperity they enjoyed. This sentence could not be offset by any prayers one might make, for it was passed against their transgressions of the laws and for not having repented over so long a time, though the prophets had urged them to amend and had foretold the penalty of their crimes. 061 God would certainly carry it out, so that they might learn that he is God and had not at all lied in what he had announced by his prophets. However, because Josias was a righteous man, he would postpone them for the present but that after his death he would send on the people the woes he had decided for them.


062 They went and told the king what the woman prophecied. Then he sent round to all the people, ordering the priests and the levites to assemble in Jerusalem, and that people of all ages should also be present. 063 When they had assembled he first read to them the holy books, and then stood on a pulpit, in the middle of the crowd, and got them to pledge under oath, to worship God and keep the laws of Moses. 064 They willingly assented and undertook to do as the king had recommended, and immediately offered acceptable sacrifices and begged God to be gracious and merciful to them. 065 He ordered the high priest to rid the temple of any remaining vessel dedicated to idols or foreign gods. When many such were gathered, he burned them and scattered their ashes and killed the priests of the idols who were not of the family of Aaron.


066 After doing this in Jerusalem, he went through the region, destroying any buildings raised in it by king Jeroboam in honour of foreign gods, and burning the bones of the false prophets upon the first altar Jeroboam had built. 067 This was what the prophet foretold, when came to Jeroboam as he was offering sacrifice, and all the people heard him say that a man named Josias, of the house of David, would do the above-named things; and these took place three hundred and sixty-one years later.


068 Afterwards, Josias also went to those of the Israelites who had escaped captivity and slavery under the Assyrians, to persuade them to desist from impiety and cease paying honour to foreign gods, but to worship their own Almighty God and adhere to him. 069 He searched the houses and the villages and the cities, in case any might have hidden some idol or other, and removed the chariots that were set up "to future kings" made by his predecessors, and any other thing they worshipped as a god. 070 After cleansing the whole region in this way, he called the people to Jerusalem and there celebrated the feast of unleavened bread that is called the passover. As paschal sacrifices, he gave the people thirty thousand young kid goats and lambs, and three thousand oxen for holocausts. 071 For the passover the chief priests also gave to the priests two thousand, six hundred lambs, and their officers also gave to the levites five thousand lambs and five hundred oxen. 072 Amid this great plenty, they offered the sacrifices according to the laws of Moses, while every priest explained the matter and ministered to the people. No other festival had been so celebrated by the Hebrews from the times of Samuel the prophet, and all things were performed according to the laws and the ancient custom of their ancestors. 073 When after this Josias had lived in peace and prosperity and well reputed by all, he ended his life as I shall now describe.

Chapter 5. [074-083]
Josiah's war with Egypt, and Exile of his Son. Ministry of Jeremias and Ezekiel


074 Neco, king of Egypt, raised an army and marched to the river Euphrates to fight with the Medes and Babylonians, who had destroyed the dominion of the Assyrians, for he had a desire to reign over Asia. 075 When they arrived at the city of Mendes, which belonged to Josiah's realm, he brought an army to stop them passing through his region, on their way against the Medes. Neco sent a herald to Josias to say that this expedition was not against him, but was making for the Euphrates. He should not provoke him to a fight by blocking his march to the place where he intended to go. 076 But Josias did not take Neco's advice, but, impelled by fate which meant him to fall, tried to hinder him from his intended march. 077 As he was arranging his army and riding round in his chariot from one wing to another, one of the Egyptians shot an arrow at him and put an end to his eagerness for battle. Badly wounded, he ordered his army to retreat and returned to Jerusalem, where he died of the wound. He was magnificently buried in the ancestral burial vault, after a life of thirty-nine years, of which he had ruled thirty-one. 078 All the people mourned him greatly, lamenting and grieving for him over many days, and Jeremias the prophet composed his funeral elegy, which lasts to the present day. 079 This prophet foretold the terrible fate coming upon the city. He also described in writing the destruction of our nation as it recently happened in our days and in the Babylonian captivity. Nor was he the only one to predict this to the people, for so also did Ezekiel before him, who left us two books about these things. 080 While both were priests by birth, Jeremias lived in Jerusalem from the thirteenth year of the reign of Josias, until the city and temple were utterly destroyed. But we will relate the fate of this prophet in its proper place.


081 At the death of Josias, then, his son Joazos took over the kingdom, at the age of about twenty-three. He ruled in Jerusalem, and his mother was Hamutal, of the city of Tomane. He was an evil man of impure lifestyle. 082 As the king of Egypt returned from the battle, he sent for Joazos to come to him, to the city of Hamath in Syria, and when he arrived, he put him in chains and gave the kingdom to his brother on the father's side, named Eliakim, whose name he changed to Jehoiakim, and laid a tax upon the land of a hundred talents of silver and a talent of gold. 083 This money Jehoiakim paid by way of tax, but Neco brought Joazos into Egypt, where he died, after reigning for three months and ten days. Jehoiakim's mother was called Zebudah, of the city of Rumah. He was of a wicked temper and a mischief-maker, being neither devout towards God nor fair towards men.

Chapter 6. [084-098]
Nabuchodonosor invades Judea. He exiles the nobles to Babylon


084 In the fourth year of his reign a man named Nabuchodonosor became leader of the Babylonians, and at this time went up with a large army to Carchemish, a city on the Euphrates, intending to fight with Neco king of Egypt, who then ruled all Syria. 085 When Neco learned the king of Babylon's plan and this expedition against him, he did not despise the danger, but hurried to the Euphrates with a large army to resist Nabuchodonosor. 086 In the battle, he was defeated and lost many thousands of men, and the king of Babylon crossed the Euphrates and took all Syria, as far as Pelusium, except Judea. 087 When Nabuchodonosor had been king for four years, which was the eighth of Jehoiakim's reign over the Hebrews, the king of Babylon set out with a mighty force against the Jews and demanded tax of Jehoiakim and threatened war on him if he refused. He feared this threat and bought his peace with money and for three years paide the tax as he was ordered.


088 But on the third year, hearing how the king of the Babylonians was going to war against the Egyptians, he did not pay his tax, but his hopes were in vain. 089 For the Egyptians did not dare to fight at this time; and indeed, the prophet Jeremias was constantly foretelling how useless it was to rely on Egypt and how the city would be brought down by the king of Babylon and that king Jehoiakim would be humbled by him. 090 But his words did not help, for none were to escape, because although they heard him, neither the people nor the officers heeded what they heard, but were angered by his words, as though the prophet were prophecying against the king, they accused Jeremias and brought him to court, wanting to have him executed. 091 While all others voted to condemn him, the elders refused, wisely dismissing the prophet from the court and persuading the others to do Jeremias no harm. 092 They said he was not the only one to foretell the coming fate of the city, since before him Micah and many others had pointed to the same, none of whom were punished by the kings of the day, but were honoured as prophets of God. 093 With these words they got the people to relent and saved Jeremias from condemnation. When he had written all his prophecies and the people were assembled, fasting, in the temple, on the ninth month of the fifth year of Jehoiakim, he read the book he had written, his predictions of what would happen to the city and the temple and the people. 094 After hearing it, the officers took the book from him and told him and Baruch the scribe to go away and let no one see them; but they brought the book and gave it to the king in the presence of his friends, at his orders, for his scribe to take and read it. 095 When the king heard its contents, he was angry and tore it and threw it into the fire, where it disappeared. He also ordered them to find Jeremias and Baruch the scribe and bring them to him to be punished; but they fled from his anger.


096 A little later, when the king of Babylon went to war on him, he made him welcome, fearing the above-named predictions of this prophet, and expecting nothing terrible to happen, as he had neither shut the gates nor fought him. 097 But when he arrived in the city, he did not keep his word but killed all in the flower of their youth and those of highest dignity, including their king Jehoiakim, whom he ordered to be thrown outside the walls without burial, and made his son Joachim king of the region and of the city. 098 He took three thousand of the most distinguished people as prisoners, and led them off to Babylon, among them the prophet Ezekiel, who was still a boy. This was the end of king Jehoiakim, after he had lived thirty-six years and ruled for eleven. Joachim, whose mother's name was Nehushta, a citizen of Jerusalem, succeeded him as king, and ruled for three months and ten days.

Chapter 7. [099-130]
Nabuchodonosor hardens his attitude against Jerusalem. Jeremias predicts disaster


099 But the king of Babylon, who had given the kingdom to Joachim, was gripped by a sudden fear. He was afraid that he might hold the murder of his father against him, and would make the land revolt from him, so he sent a force and besieged Joachim in Jerusalem. 100 But he, being gentle and just by nature, did not want the city endangered for his sake, so he surrendered his mother and relatives to the officers sent by the king of Babylon and accepted their oaths that neither they nor the city would be harmed. 101 But their pledge did not even last a year for the king of Babylon did not keep it but ordered his generals to take all the youth and the craftsmen in the city as prisoners, and bring them to him in bondwiths. There were ten thousand eight hundred and thirty-two of them, along, and Joachim, his mother and his friends. 102 Once these were brought to him, he kept them in custody and set up Joachim's uncle, Sacchias, as king, and made him take an oath to guard the kingdom for him and make no revolt or any pact of friendship with the Egyptians.


103 Sacchias was twenty one years old when he took up the leadership and was born of the same mother as his brother Jehoiakim, but he scorned justice and duty, for he mixed with wicked contemporaries and their whole company could commit any outrages they pleased. 104 The prophet Jeremias came to him often, to protest, insisting that he must set aside his impieties and transgressions and attend to what was right and not heed the officers, as there were bad men among them, nor trust in the claims of the false prophets that the king of Babylon would make no more war on the city and that the Egyptians would attack and defeat him, for their words were not true and things would turn out differently. 105 As Sacchias listened to the prophet speaking, he believed him and took it all as true and for his advantage, but then his friends again led him astray and dissuaded him from the prophet's advice and obliged him to do what they wanted. 106 As well, Ezekiel foretold in Babylon the woes that were coming upon the people, and wrote to Jerusalem about them. But Sacchias did not believe their prophecies, for this reason: The two prophets agreed with each other in what they said as in all other things, that the city should be taken and Sacchias himself should be taken prisoner, but Ezekiel disagreed with him and said that Sacchias would not see Babylon, while Jeremias told him that the king of Babylon would bring him away there in chains. 107 As they did not agree on this, he mistrusted them even where they seemed to agree and did not think it true, but everything foretold did happen according to their prophecies, as we shall show at a better time.


108 After keeping for eight years the alliance he had made with the Babylonians, he then broke it and took the side of the Egyptians, hoping by their help to overthrow the Babylonians. 109 When the Babylonian king learned this, he made war on him laid waste his land and took his fortified towns and came to the city of Jerusalem itself to besiege it. 110 When the king of Egypt heard of the plight of his ally Sacchias, he brought a large army into Judea, to break up the siege. But the Babylonian left Jerusalem and met, fought and defeated the Egyptians, and putting them to flight, pursued and drove them from the whole of Syria. 111 As the Babylonian king went away from Jerusalem, the false prophets misled Sacchias and said that the Babylonian would no more make war against him or his people, nor move them from their own land into Babylon, and that the people in captivity would return, with all the vessels the king had taken from the temple. 112 But Jeremias came prophecying to the contrary, and it turned out to be true, that they were doing wrong and misleading the king, and that the Egyptians would be no good for them. Instead, the Babylonian king would renew the war on Jerusalem and besiege it again and destroy the people by famine and carry off into captivity those who remained and would ransack their possessions and take away the riches in the temple. Then he would burn it and destroy the city and for seventy years they would be slaves to him and his descendants. 113 Then, he said, the Persians and the Medes would end their slavery and destroy the Babylonians "and we shall be set free to return to this land and rebuild the temple and restore Jerusalem." 114 When Jeremias said this, most believed him, but the officers and the wicked scorned him as mad in the head. He had resolved to go to his own region of Anathoth, twenty furlongs from Jerusalem, and as he was going one of the officers met him and took hold of him, falsely accusing him of being a deserter to the Babylonians. 115 He said that was a lie as he was only going to his native place, but the other would not believe him and led him off to accuse him to the officers, from whom he endured much pain and torment and was held for execution; and he suffered unjustly like this for some time.


116 In the ninth year of the reign of Sacchias, on the tenth day of the tenth month, the Babylonian king invaded again and intensively besieged Jerusalem for eighteen months. Two major woes afflicted them during the siege of Jerusalem, famine and a plague that wrought havoc among them. 117 While in prison, the prophet Jeremias did not stay silent but shouted out, urging the people to open their gates and let in the Babylonian. If they did so, they and their families would be saved, but if not they would be destroyed. 118 He also foretold that whoever remained in the city would certainly die by one of two ways, either wasted with hunger or killed by the enemy's sword, but that if he fled to the enemy, he would escape death. 119 Even in their dire straits the officers who heard did not believe him, but went to the king and angrily told him what Jeremias had said and accusing the prophet with the complaint that he was a madman who by proclaiming such woes lowered the spirits and weakened the people's enthusiasm. Apart from him they were willing to face dangers to defend their land, while he, with his threats, warned them to flee to the enemy, saying that the city would be taken and all would be destroyed.


120 Knowing Jeremias' gentle and righteous disposition, the king himself was not personally angry with him but in order to avoid conflict with the officers at such a time, by opposing their intentions, he let them do with the prophet as they wished. 121 Once the king gave permission, they immediately went to the prison and took him and let him down with a rope into a cistern full of mire, to suffocate and die there; and so he remained standing up to his neck in the mire. 122 But one of the king's most respected servants, an Ethiopian by race, told the king of the prophet's state and how his friends and officers had done wrong in setting the prophet in the mire and so contriving a more bitter death for him than that by his chains alone. 123 When the king heard this, he regretted having given the prophet over to the officers and had the Ethiopian take thirty men of the king's guards along with ropes and whatever else he thought necessary to save the prophet and to draw him up without delay. So the Ethiopian took the men as ordered and drew up the prophet from the mire and set him free.


124 The king sent to call him secretly and asked if he had anything to say to him from God regarding the situation. He said, Yes, he had something to say, but it would not be believed, nor would he be heeded if he warned them. "For," he said, "your friends have decided to destroy me, as though I had committed some crime and now where are the men who misled you and said that the Babylonian king would come against us no more? I am now afraid to speak the truth in case you condemn me to die." 125 When the king swore to him that he would neither put him to death nor hand him over to the officers, with that assurance he spoke out and advised him to surrender the city to the Babylonians. 126 It was God, he said, who prophesied this through him, if he wanted to be saved and escape from the present danger. Then neither would the city fall to the ground, nor would the temple be burned, and he would not be the cause of these woes coming on the citizens and bring disaster to his whole house. 127 Hearing this, the other said that he would follow his advice, but feared that his fellow countrymen who had deserted to the Babylonians would accuse him to the king and have him punished. 128 But the prophet encouraged him and said he need not fear such punishment and that he, his children and his wives would suffer no evil if he surrendered all to the Babylonians, and the temple would be unharmed. 129 When Jeremias had said this, the king let him go, telling him not to speak what they had discussed to any of the citizens, not even to the officers, should they learn that he had been sent for and want to know why and what was said to him, but to pretend to them that he had begged not to be kept chained in prison. 130 That is what the prophet said, when they came asking him what he had said to the king. But that was what happened.

Chapter 8. [131-154]
Jerusalem is captured and the Temple destroyed. Jews brought to Babylon, as foretold by Jeremias and Ezekiel


131 The king of Babylon was very engrossed in the siege of Jerusalem and built towers upon high earthworks, from which to repel the men stationed on the walls and the many such earthworks he raised around the city were as high as the walls themselves. 132 Still, those inside bore the siege with courage and commitment, undaunted either by the hunger or by the infectious illness, and despite their hardships their fighting morale was good and they did not let themselves be worried by the plans of the enemy or by their war-machines, but devised other machines in response to all of them. 133 The whole outcome between the Babylonians and the people of Jerusalem depended on which had more ingenuity and skill. The former expected to overcome and destroy the city; the latter relied on devising ways to make their enemy's machines ineffective. 134 And so it went on for eighteen months, until they were destroyed by hunger and by the spears hurled at them from the towers by their opponents.


135 The city was taken on the ninth day of the fourth month, in the eleventh year of the reign of Sacchias. It was captured by the Babylonian generals to whom Nabuchodonosor entrusted the care of the siege, while he remained in the city of Arabatha. If one wishes to know them, the names of the generals who took and subdued Jerusalem, were Regalsaros, Aremantos, Semegaros, Nabosaris and Acharamsaris. 136 When the city was taken about midnight and the enemy generals had entered the temple and Sacchias learned of it, he took his wives and children and his officers and friends and fled with them from the city, out through the fortified gully and through the desert. 137 When some deserters told this to the Babylonians, at daybreak they hurried in pursuit of Sacchias and caught up with him and surrounded him not far from Jericho. The friends and officers who had fled with Sacchias from the city, seeing the enemies so near, left him and scattered in all directions, each trying to save himself. 138 Thus, left with only a few, Sacchias and his children and wives were taken alive by the enemy and brought to the king. When he arrived, Nabuchodonosor began to call him a wicked wretch and a breaker of oaths who had forgotten his former promise to hold the land for him. 139 He rebuked him for his ingratitude, that after receiving the kingdom from him, who had passed it to him after taking it from Joachim, he had used his power against the one who gave it to him. "But great is God" he said, "who hated your ways and has brought you under us." 140 When he had said this to Sacchias, he ordered his sons and his friends to be killed, while Sacchias and the rest of the captives looked on. After this he put out the eyes of Sacchias and took him to Babylon in chains. 141 Just as Jeremias and Ezekiel had foretold, he was caught and brought before the Babylonian king and spoke to him face to face and looked him in the eye, as Jeremias said. But he was also blinded and brought to Babylon without seeing it, as Ezekiel had predicted.


142 We have said this to clearly manifest the nature of God to people unaware of it, that it is various and acts in many different ways and yet all happens in its proper season and that He foretells what must happen. It also shows the ignorance and incredulity of men, by which they are not let foresee the future and are exposed to disasters unguarded, so that it is impossible for them to avoid experiencing them.


143 That is how the kings of David's line came to an end, who numbered twenty-one up to the last king, and all together they had ruled for five hundred and fourteen years and six months and ten days. Of these, Saul, their first king, ruled for twenty years, though he was not of that same tribe.


144 The Babylonian king sent Nabuzardanes, the general of his army, to Jerusalem, to pillage the temple, with the command to burn it and the royal palace and to flatten the city to the ground and deport the people into Babylon. 145 He came to Jerusalem in the eleventh year of king Sacchias and pillaged the temple and carried off the gold and silver vessels of God, including the large laver set up by Solomon, and the pillars of brass and their capitals, with the golden tables and the candlesticks. 146 After removing these, he set fire to the temple in the fifth month, the first day of the month, in the eleventh year of the reign of Sacchias and the eighteenth year of Nabuchodonosor, and also burned the palace and destroyed the city. 147 The temple was burned four hundred and seventy years, six months and ten days after it was built. It was then one thousand and sixty-two years, six months and ten days since the exodus from Egypt, and the whole period from the flood to the destruction of the temple was one thousand nine hundred and fifty-seven years, six months and ten days. 148 The period from the generation of Adam until the ruin of the temple was three thousand five hundred and thirteen years, six months and ten days. We have reported in some detail what was done during that time. 149 The general of the Babylonian king now destroyed the city to its foundations and deported all the people and took prisoner the high priest Sebaios and with him Sephenias the priest and the officers who guarded the temple, who were three in number, and the eunuch in charge of the warriors and seven friends of Sacchias and his scribe and sixty other officers; all these, with the vessels he had pillaged, he brought to the Babylonian king at Salabatha, a city of Syria. 150 The king had the high priest and the officers beheaded there, but he led all the prisoners and Sacchias to Babylon. He also led away bound the priest Josadak, the son of the high priest Saraias, whom the Babylonian king had killed in the city of Aribatha in Syria, as we reported earlier.


151 Since we have numbered the succession of the kings and who they were and how long they ruled, I think it necessary to set down the names of the high priests and who succeeded each other in the high priesthood under the Kings. 152 The first high priest of the temple which Solomon built was Sadok; after him his son Achimas received that dignity and after Achimas came Azarias; his son was Joram and Joram's son was Jos and after him was Axioramus. 153 The son of Axioramus was Phideas and he had Sudeas, and Sudeas had Juelus whose son was Jotham. Jotham's son was Urias and Urias had Nerias and Nerias had Odeas whose son was Sallumus. Sallumus had Elkias and Elkias had Azaros, whose son was Josadak, who was taken captive to Babylon. All these held the high priesthood in succession, from father to son.


154 When the king came to Babylon, he kept Sacchias in prison until he died and gave him royal burial. He dedicated the vessels he had pillaged from the temple of Jerusalem to his own gods and settled the people in the region of Babylon, but set the high priest free from his chains.

Chapter 9. [155-185]
Ruler Gadalias is killed. Reprisals against the Jews who had fled to Egypt.


155 General Nabuzardanes, brought the Hebrew people into captivity, leaving behind the poor and the deserters, and appointed as their ruler Gadalias, son of Ahikam, of a noble family. Gentle and just by nature, he directed them to cultivate the land and pay an appointed tax to the king. 156 He also let Jeremias the prophet out of prison and tried to persuade him to go with him to Babylon, as he had been ordered by the king to provide him with whatever he wanted; but if he did not wish to do so, he could just say where he wished to live and he would pass the message to the king. 157 But the prophet had no wish to follow him, or to live anywhere else, but preferred to live in the ruins of his land and in its pitiful remains. When the general learned his intention, he ordered Gadalias, whom he had left behind, to take all possible care of him and supply him with whatever he wanted; and after giving him rich gifts, he dismissed him. 158 So Jeremias lived on in the land in a city called Mosphotha, and asked Nabuzardanes to set free his disciple Baruch, son of Neros, a man of eminent family who was very skilled in his native language.


159 Nabuzardanes did this and hurried to Babylon. But those who fled during the siege of Jerusalem and were scattered throughout the land when they heard that the Babylonians had gone off and left a remnant in the area near Jerusalem and people to cultivate it, they came together from all parts to Gadalias to Masaphtha. 160 Their leaders were Joades, son of Karias and Sereas and Joazanias and some others. But there was also a man named Ishmael, a crafty rogue of royal lineage, who during the siege of Jerusalem had fled to Baaleim, the king of the Ammanites and stayed with him during that time. 161 Gadalias persuaded them, as things were, to stay put and have no fear of the Babylonians, for if they cultivated the land they would suffer no harm. He assured them of this by oath, and said that he would be their patron and if any disturbance arose, he was ready to defend them. 162 He urged them to live in whatever city each one pleased, and to send men along with his own servants to rebuild their houses on their old foundations and live there, and said that while the season lasted they should prepare corn and wine and oil, to have food for the winter. With these words he dismissed them, that each might live in the land wherever he wished.


163 When news spread among the nations bordering on Judea that Gadalias kindly entertained the refugees who came to him, as long as they paid tax to the Babylonian king, they too willingly came to Gadalias and populated the land. 164 When Joannes and his companions saw the land and noted the goodwill of Gadalias, they liked him a lot and told him that Baalis, king of the Ammanites, had sent Ishmael to kill him secretly by treachery in order to rule the Israelites, for he was of the kingly line. 165 They said he could avoid this plot if he would let them kill Ishmael and nobody need know. Their fear was that if the latter killed him, it would destroy the remaining strength of the Israelites. 166 But when they told him of the plot against him he would not believe it of a man who had been well treated by him. It seemed improbable that one who once had nothing and then had been given all that he needed, could be so wicked and ungrateful towards his benefactor. And if it would be wrong not to save him if he were treacherously attacked by others, it would be worse to positively seek to kill him. 167 But if their information were true, it would be better for himself to be killed than to kill a man who had fled to him for refuge and entrusted his safety to him and had left himself in his hands.


168 Unable to persuade Gadalias, Joannes and his friends went away. But after thirty days Ishmael and ten men again came to the city of Masphatha, and when Gadalias had given a splendid feast for Ishmael and his companions and given them gifts, he became drunk, while trying to be pleasant with them. 169 Seeing him in that state, utterly drunk and asleep, Ishmael rose up suddenly with his ten friends and killed Gadalias and his companions at the feast. After killing them, he went out by night and killed all the Jews in the city and the soldiers whom the Babylonians had left in it. 170 The following day eighty men came from the country with gifts for Gadalias, not knowing what had happened to him, and when Ishmael saw them, he invited them in and shut up the court and killed them and threw their corpses into a deep pit, out of sight. 171 Of these eighty men he spared those who implored him not to kill them until they had surrendered to him the riches they had hidden in the fields, consisting of their furniture and clothing and corn. Hearing this, Ishmael spared those men. 172 But he took prisoner the people who were in Masphatha, with their wives and children. Among them were the daughters of king Sacchias whom Nebuzardanes, the general of the Babylonians, had left with Gadalias. When he had done this, he came to the king of the Ammanites.


173 Joannes and his officers were angry when they heard of what Ishmael had done at Masphatha and of the death of Gadalias so each of them quickly took his warriors and came to fight Ishmael and overtook him at the fountain in Hebron. 174 Ishmael's captives were glad to see Joannes and the officers, seeing them as their rescuers, so they left the one who had imprisoned them and came over to Joannes, and Ishmael, with eight men, fled to the king of the Ammanites. 175 Joannes took those he had rescued from Ishmael, and the eunuchs and the wives and children, and came to a place called Mandra where they stayed that day, for they had decided to move from there into Egypt, for fear that the Babylonians should kill them if they stayed on in the land, in reprisal for the assassination of Gadalias, whom they had set over it as ruler.


176 Being uncertain what to do, Joannes, son of Karias, and his officers went to the prophet Jeremias, asking him to pray to God to show them what they ought to do and they swore to do whatever Jeremias told them. 177 The prophet said he would intercede with God for them, and ten days later God appeared to him and told him to tell Joannes and the other leaders and the whole people that if they stayed on in the land he would be with them and look after them and keep them from unharmed by the Babylonians whom they feared, but that he would desert them if they went into Egypt, and, from this anger would inflict the same punishments on them which they knew their brothers had already suffered. 178 The prophet was not believed, when he told Joannes and the people what God predicted, and directed them to continue in the land, for they thought he was saying it to please his own disciple Baruch, and was misinterpreting God and urging them to stay on so as to be killed by the Babylonians. 179 So the people and Joannes ignored what God advised them through the prophet and went off to Egypt bringing Jeremias and Baruch with him.


180 When they were there, God let the prophet know that the Babylonian king was about to invade the Egyptians and told him to foretell to the people that Egypt would be taken and that some of them would be killed and the others be taken prisoner to Babylon. 181 And this did take place, for on the fifth year after the destruction of Jerusalem, in the twenty-third year of his reign, Nabuchodonosor marched into Coele-Syria and when he had taken it, made war on the Ammanites and Moabites. 182 After subjecting all these nations he attacked Egypt with a view to ravaging it, and he killed the ruling king and set up another, and imprisoned the Jews who were there and led them away to Babylon. 183 This was the end of the Hebrew nation, as it has been given down to us, after being twice brought beyond the Euphrates, for the people of the ten tribes were deported from Samaria by the Assyrians, in the days of king Hosea; later Nabuchodonosor, king of the Babylonians and Chaldeans deported the people of the two remaining tribes after the taking of Jerusalem. 184 Then having removed the Israelites Salmanassar replaced them with the Cuthean nation, who had formerly lived in the inner districts of Persia and Media, but now were named Samaritans, after the region to which they were moved. But after taking out the two tribes, the Babylonian king placed no other nation in their region, so that the whole of Judea and Jerusalem and the temple remained deserted for seventy years. 185 The entire time from the captivity of the Israelites to the removal of the two tribes was a hundred and thirty years, six months and ten days.

Chapter 10. [186-218]
Daniel and Nabuchodonosor's Dream: God's fidelity to His people, in the exile


186 Then Nabuchodonosor, king of Babylon, took some of the noblest of the Jews who were children or relatives of their king Sacchias and were remarkable for their physical grace and handsome appearance, and gave them into the hands of tutors, for their improvement; and some of them he had made into eunuchs. 187 This he also did with those of other nations whom he had taken in the bloom of their youth, and provided their food from his own table and had them taught the ancestral laws and the learning of the Chaldeans, so that they were advanced in the wisdom which he ordered them to study. 188 Among them were four of the family of Sacchias, of most excellent dispositions, one of whom was called Daniel, another was called Ananias, another Misael and the fourth Azarias, and the Babylonian king changed their names to others that he gave them: 189 Daniel they called Baltasar; Ananias, Shadrach; Misael, Meshach, and Azarias, Abednego. The king esteemed and loved them, because of their excellent temperament and their devotion to learning and their quest for wisdom.


190 Daniel and his relatives wished to follow an austere diet and abstain from the kinds of food which came from the king's table and to entirely refrain from eating any living creature. He went to Aschanes, the eunuch in charge of their welfare, with the request to take and use whatever was brought from the king for them, but to give them pulses and dates as their food, with anything else he pleased apart from the flesh of living creatures, since that was the sort of food they were drawn to and they scorned the other. 191 He said he was ready to serve them as they wanted, but suspected that the king would find out, from their meagre bodies and changed appearance. Their physique and complexions would have to change with their diet, and especially they would be shown up by the healthy appearance of the other children, and would put him in danger and cause him to be punished. 192 But despite his fears, they persuaded Aschanes to give them for ten days the food they wanted, by way of a test, and if their physical appearance was not changed, to continue in the same way, expecting that it would not do them any harm later; and if he saw them looking thin and worse than the others, he should put them back on their previous diet. 193 In fact, by using this food, so far were they from becoming worse that they grew plumper and more full-bodied than the others, so that those who fed on what came from the king's table seemed to him less plump and full, while Daniel's companions looked as if they lived in plenty and luxury. From then on, Aschanes felt safe in taking for himself whatever the king was accustomed to send every day from his supper, to the children, and gave them the aforesaid diet. 194 In this way their souls were in some way purer, less burdened and so fitter for learning, and their bodies were in better shape for hard labour. Their souls were not stuffed and heavy with the variety of foods, nor were their bodies made delicate by it, so they quickly grasped all the learning of the Hebrews and the Chaldeans, and especially Daniel who, already quite skilled in wisdom, was very involved in the interpreting dreams, and divine things became clear to him.


195 Two years after destroying Egypt, king Nabuchodonosor saw a strange dream, whose ending God showed him in his sleep, but when he rose from his bed, he forgot the ending. So he sent for the Chaldeans and magicians and prophets and told them he had seen a dream and that he had forgotten the ending of what he had seen. When he ordered them to tell him both the content of dream and what it meant, they said that this was an impossible thing for people to find out, but promised him that if only he would report the dream he had seen, they would explain to him its meaning. 196 He threatened to execute them unless they told him his dream, and when they confessed they could not do as they were ordered, he said they must all be put to death. 197 When Daniel heard that the king had ordered the execution of all the scholars, and that among them he and his three relatives were in danger, he went to Arioch, the trusted officer of the king's guards, 198 and asked him why the king had ordered all the scholars and Chaldeans and magicians to be killed. When he heard about the king's forgotten dream and and how when ordered to explain it to him, they had said they could not do it and had thereby provoked his rage, he asked Arioch to go in to the king and beg a reprieve for the magicians and postpone their death for one night, as he hoped, by prayer to God, to understand the dream within that time. 199 Arioch told the king what Daniel wanted, so the king ordered them to postpone the death of the magicians until he knew what Daniel's promise would come to. The young man retired to his own house, with his relatives, and all that night begged God to reveal the dream and thereby save from the king's anger the magicians and Chaldeans, with whom they themselves were to die, and enable him to declare his vision and show what the king had seen in his sleep the night before, but had forgotten. 200 In his mercy for those in danger and admiring the wisdom of Daniel, God made known to him the dream and its meaning, that the king could learn it through him. 201 When God let Daniel know this, he joyfully got up and told his brothers and gave them the glad hope that their lives would now be spared, where before they had despaired and thought of nothing but death. 202 After thanking God with them for taking pity on their youth, he came to Arioch at break of day, asking him to take him to the king, to explain the dream he had seen the night before.


203 Coming into the king's presence, Daniel first excused himself, saying that he did not claim to be wiser than the other Chaldeans and magicians, none of whom could work out his dream. It was not by his own skill, or from knowing more than the others; rather, he said, "God has pitied on us, when, in our danger of death, I prayed for own life and those of my nation, and revealed to me both the dream and its meaning. 204 I was no less concerned for your glory than for my own sadness that you had condemned us to die. For you did wrong in ordering good and excellent men to be put to death, after requiring them to do something quite beyond human wisdom and which is the work of God alone. 205 In your sleep you were anxious about those who would succeed you in governing the world, and God wished to show you in a dream all who would reign after you. 206 You felt you saw a great standing figure, whose head was made of gold, the shoulders and arms of silver, the belly and the thighs of brass, but the legs and the feet, of iron. 207 Then you saw a stone breaking off from a mountain, and falling on the image and throwing it down and breaking it to pieces and leaving part of it remaining whole; but the gold, the silver, the brass and the iron was crushed like flour, which, at the blast of a violent wind, is carried away and scattered, but the stone grew so large that the whole earth beneath it seemed to be filled with it. 208 This is the dream you saw and its interpretation is as follows: The head of gold means you and the kings of Babylon before you, and the hands and shoulders mean that your kingdom shall be dissolved by two kings. 209 But another king who will come from the west, armed with brass, will destroy that kingdom. Then another kingdom like iron will put an end to the power of the former and shall rule over all the earth, just as the nature of iron is stronger than gold or silver or brass." 210 Daniel also declared the meaning of the stone to the king but I do not think proper to relate it, since I have undertaken only to describe things past or present, but not things that are future. However, if anyone is so keen to know the truth that he will not set aside such points of curiosity and cannot curb his desire to know the uncertainties of the future and whether things will happen or not, let him diligently read the book of Daniel, which he will find among the sacred writings.


211 When Nabuchodonosor heard this and recalled his dream, he was astounded at the wisdom of Daniel and fell to his knees, and greeted him as men worship God. 212 He had sacrifice offered to him as though he were a god, and named him after his own god, and made him and his relatives officers of his whole kingdom. But these relatives of his fell into great danger through others' envy and malice, and in this way offended the king. 213 He made an image of gold, sixty feet high and six feet wide, and set it in the great plain of Babylon, and when he was going to dedicate the image, he invited the leaders from all his dominions throughout the world, with orders, firstly, when they heard the sound of the trumpet to fall down and worship the image, and he threatened that those who did not so would be thrown into a fiery furnace. 214 When everyone, on hearing the sound of the trumpet, bowed before the image, they say that Daniel's relatives did not do it, because they would not brreak their ancestral laws. So they were convicted and thrown immediately into the fire, but were saved by divine Providence and amazingly escaped death. 215 If the fire did not touch them, I suppose it was as though aware that they were thrown into it without fault of their own, and therefore it could not burn the young men when they were in it. This was by God's power, who made their bodies so superior to the fire, that it could not consume them. This commended them to the king as righteous men, beloved of God, and gained them his high esteem.


216 A little later the king again saw another vision in his sleep, about how he would fall from his realm and feed among the wild beasts, but after living for seven years in this manner in the desert, he would recover his realm again. Having seen this dream, he again gathered the magicians and questioned them on its meaning. 217 When none of the others could find the dream's meaning or reveal it to the king, Daniel was the only one to explain it, and as he foretold, so it happened, for after he had continued in the wilderness for that period of time, and no one dared attempt to seize his kingdom during those seven years, he prayed to God to recover his kingdom and he returned to it. 218 Let no one blame me for writing things of this nature, as I find them in our ancient books. At the start of this history I have plainly told my critics who complain of my procedure in such matters, that I intended only to translate the Hebrew books into Greek and promised to explain those events, without adding to them anything of my own, or leaving anything out.

Chapter 11. [219-281]
Persian rule ends the Babylonian Exile. Daniel in the lions' den: divine Providence


219 King Nabuchodonosor's was an active man and more fortunate than the kings who were before him, but after a reign of forty-three years, his life came to an end. Berosus mentions his actions in the third book of his Chaldaic History, where he says, 220 "When Nabuchodonosor his father heard that the ruler he had set over Egypt and the area round Coelesyria and Phoenicia had rebelled from him, being himself no longer able for hardship, he sent his young son Nabuchodonosor out against him with a part of his army. 221 Nabuchodonosor made war on the rebel and defeated him and took the region from under his rule and made it a branch of his own kingdom. About that time in the city of Babylon his father Nebuchodonosor fell ill and passed from his life after reigning for twenty-one years. 222 When shortly afterwards the son learned of the death of his father Nebuchodonosor, he settled affairs in Egypt and the other countries, and dealt with the captured Jews and Phoenicians and Syrians and the nations under Egypt, and having entrusted to some of his friends to bring them to Babylon along with the rest of his army and their ammunition and provisions, he himself hurried over the desert with a few others, and came to Babylon. 223 So he took over the management of affairs and the kingdom of the Chaldeans, which had been kept for him by the best of them, and he ruled the entire dominions of his father and arranged to have the prisoners, when they came, distributed in colonies in the most suitable places of Babylonia.

224 With the spoils he had taken in the war he magnificently adorned the temple of Belus and the rest of the temples, and added another city to that which was there of old and rebuilt it, so that any who later might besiege it could no longer change the course of the river and thereby threaten the city itself. He built a triple wall of burned brick around both the inner city and the outer. 225 After suitably fortifying the city and gloriously adorning its gates, in front of his father's palace he built another adjoining it, whose vast height and immense riches would be too much for me to describe, but large and lofty as they were, they were completed in fifteen days. 226 Within the palace he also built retaining walls of stone, shaped like a mountain and planted with all sorts of trees. He also built the so-called hanging gardens, because his wife wished to have things as in her own country, for she was brought up in the palaces of Media." 227 Megasthenes also, in his fourth volume about India, mentions these things and thereby tries to show that this king surpassed Hercules in bravery and in the greatness of his actions, saying that he conquered most of Libya and Iberia. 228 Diocles too, in his second volume on Persia, mentions this king; as does Philostrates in his histories of India and of Phoenicia, say that this king besieged Tyre for thirteen years, while Ethbaal was king of Tyre. These are all the historical accounts I have found about this king.


229 After Nabuchodonosor's death, his son Evil-Merodach succeeded in the kingdom, who immediately set Jeconias free and had him among his closest friends and gave him many gifts, placing him above the rest of the kings in Babylon. 230 For his father had not kept his faith with Jeconias, when he freely surrendered to him, with his wives and children and his whole family, that his country might not be taken by siege and utterly destroyed, as we have earlier said. 231 When, after a reign of eighteen years, Evil-Merodach died, his son Niglissar took over the leadership and held it for forty years and then died. After him his son Labosordacus succeeded to the kingship, but held it for only nine months, and when he died, it came to Baltasar, called Naboandelus by the Babylonians. 232 It was against him that Cyrus, king of the Persians and Darius, king of the Medes, made war, and when he was besieged in Babylon, a wonderful and mighty vision took place, as he was sitting in a large room made for royal festivities, eating and drinking with his concubines and friends. 233 There he ordered them to bring out the vessels for the service of God which Nabuchodonosor had looted from Jerusalem and had not used, but had deposited in his own temple. But as he dared to use them, drinking from them and blaspheming against God, he saw a hand coming out from the wall and writing some syllables upon it.

234 Disturbed at this sight he called the magicians and Chaldeans together and whoever among the Babylonians could interpret signs and dreams, to explain the writing to him. 235 When the magicians said they could find nothing, nor understand it, the king was greatly troubled in mind at this strange event, and had it proclaimed throughout the land, promising that whoever could explain the writing and clarify its meaning, would receive a golden chain for his neck and permission to wear a purple garment like the kings of Chaldea and a third part of his own dominions. 236 When this proclamation was made, the magicians assembled again and were very eager to find out the meaning, but were still as baffled as before. 237 When the king's grandmother saw him dejected on account of this, she began to encourage him and said that there was a certain prisoner named Daniel, from Judea, but taken away from there by Nabuchodonosor when he had destroyed Jerusalem, a wise man and great at finding out hidden things known to God alone, who brought to light for Nabuchodonosor questions that no one else could answer when they were consulted. 238 She advised him to send for him and ask him about the writing and to condemn the inability of those who could not find the meaning, even if what God thereby signified were disastrous.


239 Hearing this, Balthasar called for Daniel, and said what he had learned about him and his wisdom and how a divine Spirit was with him and that he alone could find out what others could never imagine, he asked him to declare to him what this writing meant. 240 If he did so, he would allow him to wear purple and place a chain of gold about his neck and bestow on him the third part of his kingdom, as a reward for his wisdom, honouring him in the sight of all, who would ask the reason why he obtained such honours. 241 But Daniel told him to keep his gifts, since the fruit of wisdom and divine revelation seeks no gifts and freely gives its benefits to petitioners, but that he would still explain the writing to him. It denoted that he would soon die, like his ancestor, for the wrongs he had done to God, since he had not learnt to honour God and renounce things above human nature. 242 He had quite forgotten how for his impiety Nabuchodonosor was removed, to feed among wild beasts and did not recover his former life among men and his kingdom, until God showed mercy to him, after many prayers and supplications, and then praised God for the rest of his life, as one of almighty power who takes care of mankind. And now he had blasphemed against God by using his vessels amongst his concubines. 243 God had seen this and was angry with him and foretold by this writing to what a sad end his life whould come. He explained the writing as follows: "MANEH in the Greek language, may mean a Number, for God has counted the time for your life and rule, and little of it remains. 244 THEKEL means a weight and shows that God has weighed your kingdom in a balance and finds it going down. PHARES, in the Greek tongue, means a fragment. God will therefore break your kingdom to pieces and divide it among the Medes and Persians."


245 When Daniel told the king that this was what the writing upon the wall meant, Baltasar was naturally sorrowful and grieved, since the interpretation was so hard on him. 246 But he did not fail to give the promised gift, even though he had foretold troubles for him, but gave it all to him, reasoning that his own fate was special to himself and did not belong to the prophet, but up to a good and a just man to give what he had promised, even if the future appeared dark. 247 After a little while, he and the city were captured by Cyrus, king of Persia, who made war on him. For it was under Baltasar that Babylon was taken, after he had ruled for seventeen years. 248 This put an end to the descendants of king Nabuchodonosor, as history tells us, for he was sixty-two years old when Babylon was taken and the rule of the Babylonians was ended, by Darius and his kinsman Cyrus. He was the son of Astyages and was called another name by the Greeks, 249 and he took Daniel the prophet and brought him into Media and greatly honoured him and kept him with him, for he was one of the three officers whom he set over his three hundred and sixty provinces, for such was the number of dividions made by Darius.


250 As Daniel was held in such dignity and favour by Darius and had everything entrusted to him alone, for the divine element within him, he was envied by the rest, for those who see others more honoured by kings than themselves envy them. 251 But when those who resented his reputation with Darius sought some pretext against him, he gave them none, for he was above being tempted by money and scorned bribery and thought it base to take anything by way of reward, even if justly given him. He gave his enviers not the least cause for grievance. 252 When they could find nothing shameful or reproachful for which to reproach him to the king, and thereby diminish his standing with him, they sought some other way to destroy him. So when they noted how Daniel prayed to God three times a day, they thought they had found the way to ruin him. 253 Coming to Darius they told him that the satraps and officers wished the people to be allowed a holiday of thirty days, during which nobody should offer prayer or petition either to himself or to the gods, and that anyone transgressing this decree must be thrown into the lions' den, to die."


254 Unaware of their wicked design, and not suspecting it was a plan of theirs against Daniel, the king approved their decree and promised to confirm what they wanted. He also published an edict to promulgate the satraps' decree to the people. 255 All others took care not to transgress those instructions and stayed quiet, but Daniel disregarded them, and at his usual time stood and prayed to God public view. 256 The satraps had found the occasion they so earnestly sought against Daniel, and soon came to the king complaining that Daniel was the only one breaking the decree, while none of the rest dared pray to their gods; they did this not because of any impiety of his, but because they had enviousy watched and observed him. 257 Being suspicious of the great favour that Darius showed towards him and that he was about to pardon him for disobeying his instructions and envying Daniel this pardon they did not mellow towards him, but wanted him thrown into the lions' den according to the law. 258 Darius, hoping that God would deliver him and that he would undergo nothing dire from the wild beasts, told him bear it cheerfully. When he was thrown into the den, he put his seal to the stone at the mouth of the den and went away, but he passed the night without food or sleep, very distressed on account of Daniel. 259 At daybreak he got up and came to the den and found the seal untouched, as he had left it, and the stone sealed too. So he opened the seal, and called to to Daniel and asking if he were alive. When he heard the king and said that he had suffered no harm, the king ordered him drawn up from the wild beasts' den. 260 When his enemies saw that Daniel had suffered no severe loss, they would not admit that he was saved by divine providence, but said that the lions had been stuffed with food, and that therefore they would not touch Daniel or go near him - this is what they told the king. 261 But he, hating their wickedness, made them throw in a large amount of meat to the lions, and when they were gorged he had Daniel's enemies thrown into the den, to see whether the lions would touch them or not, once they were full. 262 When the satraps had been thrown to the wild beasts, it became plain to Darius that it was God who had saved Daniel, for the lions spared none of them, but tore them all to pieces, as if they had been very hungry and in need of food. I suppose it was not their hunger, which had been satisfied a little earlier with so much meat, but the wickedness of these men, that drove them to it, for God can arrange for wickedness to be punished, by even those irrational animals.


263 When therefore those who had intended to destroy Daniel by treachery in this way were themselves destroyed, king Darius sent over all his region praising the God whom Daniel worshipped and saying that he was the only true and all-powerful God; and held Daniel in high esteem and made him the principal of his friends. 264 When Daniel had grown so illustrious and famous, and all saw him as loved by God, he built a tower at Ecbatana, in Media. It was a most elegant and wonderful building, and it still stands, preserved to the present day, and to onlookers it appears quite new, as though built the very day one sees it, fresh and beautiful and not aged by the passage of so much time, 265 for buildings suffer as people do, and they grow old like them and their strength dissolves and their beauty withers with the years. To this day they bury the kings of Media, of Persia and Parthia in this tower and the one entrusted with the care of it was a Jewish priest, which is also done, to this day. 266 We should describe what this man did, which is wonderful to hear, for he had strange revelations made to him like the greatest of the prophets, and in his lifetime he enjoyed esteem and honour both with the kings and the people, and an eternal remembrance after his death; 267 for the various books he wrote and left behind are still read by us to this day, through which we believe that Daniel conversed with God. Not only did he foretell future events, as did the other prophets, but he also determined the time of their accomplishment. 268 But while the prophets used to foretell woes, and were therefore disagreeable both to the kings and the people, Daniel prophecied good things to them to such an extent, that by the agreeable nature of his predictions, he gained the goodwill of all people, and by their accomplishment gained their confidence and a reputation for divinity for himself, among the people. 269 He also wrote and left behind him things that show the accuracy and truth of his predictions, for he says that when he was in Susa, the metropolis of Persia, and went out into the field with some companions, suddenly there was a movement and cracking of the earth and he was left alone as his friends fled from him. Disturbed, he fell on his face and on his two hands and somebody touched him and told him rise and see what was to happen to his countrymen many generations in the future. 270 Then, when he stood up, he was shown a huge ram with many horns growing from his head, with the last being the highest. After this he looked to the west and saw a he-goat being carried through the air from that side; he rushed violently at the ram and struck him twice with his horns and trampled him to the ground. 271 Later he saw a great horn growing from the head of the he-goat and when it was broken off, four horns grew up, stretching toward each of the four winds; and he wrote that from them arose another lesser horn, which, as he said, grew great, and that God showed to him that it would fight against his nation and take their city by force and put an end to the temple worship and forbid the sacrifices to be offered for one thousand two hundred and ninety-six days.

272 Daniel wrote that he saw these visions in the Plain of Susa, and he told us that God showed the meaning of this vision as follows: He said the ram meant the kingdoms of the Medes and Persians and the horns the kings who would reign in them, and that the last horn meant the last king, who would exceed all the kings in riches and glory. 273 The he-goat meant that one would come from the Greeks and reign, after twice overcoming the Persian in battle and would take over his entire dominion. 274 The great horn growing from the forehead of the he-goat meant the first king, and the springing up of four horns when it fell off and the turning of each of them to the four corners of the earth, meant the successors who would arise after the death of the first king and the division of the kingdom among people who would be neither his children nor his relatives, who would reign over the world for many years. 275 From among them a certain king would arise and defeat the Jewish nation and their laws and take away their state and despoil the temple and for three years forbid the sacrifices to be offered. 276 In fact it turned out that the nation did suffer these things under Antiochus Epiphanes, as Daniel saw and wrote many years before the event. In the same way Daniel also wrote about Roman rule and how our country would be desolated by them.


277 All these things this man left in writing, as God showed them to him, so that whoever reads his prophecies and sees how they were fulfilled, must marvel at the honour God gave to Daniel, and from this can show how the Epicureans are in error. 278 They exclude Providence from life and do not believe that God cares for our affairs or that the universe is ruled and continues in being by that blessed and immortal nature; instead they hold that the world goes along of its own accord, without a ruler or guardian. 279 If it were unguided, as they imagine, it would be like ships without pilots, which we see driven by the winds, or like chariots without drivers, which are overturned. So would the world without Providence be dashed to pieces as it went, and so perish and be destroyed. 280 Therefore, by the above-named predictions of Daniel, it seems to me very far from the truth to decide that God exercises no providence over human affairs, for if it were true that the world proceeds by mechanical necessity, we would not see all things happening according to his prophecy. 281 For myself, I have so described these matters as I found them and read them, but any who are inclined to another opinion about them may hold the alternative view without any blame from me.