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son was as well entitled to the kingdom as to the high priesthood," she renewed her application to Cleopatra, to use her influence with Anthony for that purpose; which Herod suspecting, confined ber to the palace and set spies upon her conduct. Full of resentment for this restraint, she availed herself of an invitation she had received from Cleopatra, to fly with her son into Egypt, and had provided a ship at the seaside for that purpose ; when Herod, who had been regularly apprized of all her motions, caused them both to be apprehended; but fearing the influence and resentment
* By her he was grandson to Hyrcanus, and by Alexander, his father, he was grandson to Aristobulus; and, therefore, had the interest and right of both those brothers centering in him. By his descent from the latter, he had the high priesthood, (that going in the male line); but, by his descent from both, he claimed the crown, thus.
of Cleopatra pardoned them, through an affectation of clemency.*
An occurrence, however, soon took place which shewed what secret malice lurked in the heart of the Idumæan tyrant, for Aristobulus having officiated as high priest at the feast of tabernacles, the beauty and gracefulness of his person was so set off by the splendour of the pontifical robes, and the favour he was daily acquiring with the people, became so evident, as to excite the envy and fury of Herod beyond restraint. Having, therefore, prepared an entertainment at Jericho a few days after, he took Aristobulus with him, and as the attendants of Herod were bathing after dinner in a fish pord, this interesting youth was prevailed upon to join the party; but had no sooner entered the water than his companions, who had been previously instructed, by repeatedly plunging him under water, as though in sport, effectually drowned him; the hypocritical tyrant shedding tears, and making bitter lamentations for the unfortunate and melancholy accident.t
Alexandra, however, was not deceived by this pitiful farce, for still urging her cause and wrongs to Cleopatra, that princess accompanying Anthony into Syria, prevailed upon him to summon Herod before him to answer for his atrocious conduct. The Idumaan obeyed, and succeeded so well in mollifying Anthony, that the prosecution was abandoned; Cleopatra's influence being counteracted, by her paramour bestowing upon her the province of Cæle-Syria instead of Judea, to possess which, in case of Herod's being deposed, had been her chief object in adopting the interests of Alexandra.
But how justly and how constantly does the retributive justice of God overtake those who break his laws; and how constantly is exemplified that solemn declaration, “there is no
* Prid. ii. 657.
+ Prid. ii. 658.
| Prid. ii, 660.
peace, saith my God, to the wicked."'* Herod had been secretly informed that, notwithstanding his apparent devotedness to Cleopatra, Anthony had conceived a violent passion for Mariamne upon the mere fame of her beauty and accomplishments; and, therefore, previous to his repairing to him, he had given express orders to his uncle Joseph, in whose hands he had left the management of the government, that if Anthony should put him to death, he was immediately to kill this favourite wife, lest she should fall into the hands of the Roman General. Joseph with more zeal than wit, from an anxious desire to impress the queen with the ardour of his nephew's love for her, as a proof of it informed her of the orders entrusted to him; and, therefore, a rumour having arrived at Judea that Anthony had actually put Herod to death, Mariamne, having no Brahminical blood in her, by the advice of her mother Alexandra, took her flight and placed herself under the protection of one of the Roman legions; which then lay encamped without the walls of Jerusalem. Herod, however, soon returned, and being informed of what had happened by his sister Salome, who also insinuated that there was an improper familiarity between Mariamne and her uncle Joseph, he at first conceived the most violent jealousy; but having, upon reflection, inquired of Mariamne herself, he repented of his suspicions. Upon his making the most earnest declarations of affection to her, she incautiously reproached him with his cruel intention of putting her to death, upon which, flinging himself from her arms in a transport of rage, and immediately conceiving the idea that his uncle would never have betrayed his confidential communication respecting her, unless some improper intercourse had taken place between them, he drew his dagger; but his love returning, he vented his wrath upon his unfortunate uncle, whom he immediately slew without
• Is. xlviii. 22. lvii. 21.
even informing him why, and upon Alexandra, whom he closely confined in chains. *
Cleopatra still soliciting her depraved paramour for grants of fresh provinces, in order to pacify her, and at the same time to gratify her avarice, he took away from Herod the territory of Jericho, and the gardens where the famous balsamt grew, and bestowed them upon his lascivious mistress.
The same infamous woman having accompanied Anthony on his march into Armenia, as far as the river Euphrates, on her return by the way of Apamea and Damascus, came to Jerusalem, and was magnificently entertained by Herod. Her conduct, however, was so gross, and Herod was so incensed against her for her intrigues with Alexandra, that the fear of Anthony's resentment would hardly have restrained him from putting her to death, if he had not been diverted from it by the earnest entreaties of his friends. By their advice, however, he kept up the appearances of civility towards her, and accompanied her in person on her departure as far as the borders of her kingdom.s
Tormented with those secret pangs which never fail to
* Prid. ii. 662. + This balsam was considered the most precious of unguents. Prid. ii. 510.; where see a long account of the plant which produces it ; and some account of it, and of the curious vegetable production called a Jerusalem rose, or the rose of Jericho, may also be seen in Brown's Vulgar Errors.-One of the above, however, has been seen by the editor in the possession of the late venerable and truly estimable preberdary Jacob, of Salisbury, said by him to be more than two hundred years old; and which, although apparently in a state of absolute aridity, upon having its root placed in a glass of water, in about ten minutes expanded its fibres, and threw out several flowers of a brown and arid appearance, but perfectly formed, and in shape much like the florets of the lilac. Prid. ii. 662.
$ Prid. ii. 663.
haunt the consciences of the perpetrators of murder and rapine, and thinking it by no means improbable that the equally wicked Cleopatra might harbour resentment against him;* and aware of the tumultuous temper of the Jews, and their aversion to him, he fortified the strong castle of Massada, and furnished it with arms for ten thousand men, as a place of refuge in case of necessity.
On the breaking out of the war between Mark Anthony and Octavius Cæsar, Herod took part with the former; and having by his directions marched an army against Malchus, king of Arabia Petræa, he was at first successful; but in a second battle, Athenion, a lieutenant of Cleopatra, having, out of hatred to Herod, joined his forces to those of the Arabian monarch, the Idumæan was defeated with great slaughter, himself hardly escaping with a very small remnant of his army.
Soon after this, a dreadful earthquake took place in Judea, which destroyed thirty thousand of the inhabitants, and wbich, in addition to his late defeat, induced Herod to sue to Malchus for peace; but the Arabian anticipating the injury which Herod had sustained to be greater than it actually was, rejected his offer. Herod, therefore, having collected together a fresh army, marched over Jordan, and defeating the Arabians in two successive battles, in which he slew twelve thousand men, he compelled them to sue for peace in their turn, and which ended the war between them.
It is said she made overtures to him whilst at Jerusalem too unequivocal to be mistaken, and if not accepted, we cannot impute it to a virtuous principle in such a man as Herod, but apprehension of Anthony, or perhaps disgust; and Herod was too well aware of the malice and revenge excited in a woman's breast by a refusal of her offers, not to apprehend the utmost extent of her resentment. Prid. ij. 663. + Prid. ii. 663. Prid. ii. 670. Prid. ij. 671. See note r. 429.