περί τε ὅρων ἐν γῇ τῇ Γαβαλίτιδι,1 καὶ δυνάμεως ἑκατέρῳ συλλεγείσης εἰς πόλεμον καθίσταντο 114στρατηγοὺς ἀπεσταλκότες ἀνθ᾿ ἑαυτῶν. καὶ μάχης γενομένης διεφθάρη πᾶς ὁ Ἡρώδου στρατὸς προδοσίας αὐτῷ γενομένης ὑπ᾿ ἀνδρῶν φυγάδων, οἵ ὄντες ἐκ τῆς Φιλίππου τετραρχίας Ἡρώδῃ συνεστράτευον. 115ταῦτα Ἡρώδης γράφει πρὸς Τιβέριον. ὁ δὲ ὀργῇ φέρων τὴν Ἀρέτα ἐπιχείρησιν γράφει πρὸς Οὐιτέλλιον πόλεμον ἐξενεγκεῖν καὶ ἤτοι ζωὸν ἑλόντα ἀναγαγεῖν δεδεμένον ἢ κτεινομένου πέμπειν τὴν κεφαλὴν ἐπ᾿ αὐτόν. καὶ Τιβέριος μὲν ταῦτα πράσσειν ἐπέστελλεν τῷ κατὰ Συρίαν στρατηγῷ.
116(2) Τισὶ δὲ τῶν Ἰουδαίων ἐδόκει ὀλωλέναι τὸν Ἡρώδου στρατὸν ὑπὸ τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ μάλα δικαίως τιννυμένου2 κατὰ ποινὴν Ἰωάννου τοῦ ἐπικαλουμένου 117βαπτιστοῦ. κτείνει γὰρ δὴ τοῦτον Ἡρώδης ἀγαθὸν3 ἄνδρα καὶ τοῖς Ἰουδαίοις κελεύοντα ἀρετὴν ἐπασκοῦσιν καὶ τὰ πρὸς ἀλλήλους δικαιοσύνῃ καὶ πρὸς τὸν θεὸν εὐσεβείᾳ χρωμένοις4 βαπτισμῷ συνιέναι·
- 1coni. Jones, Cities, p. 449 n. 19: Γαμαλικῇ A: Γαμαλίτιδι MWE: Gamalica (Gamalitica cod. A) Lat: Γαλααδίτιδι coni. Schürer i. 445 et n. 36: Γαβαλικῇ vel simile coni. Niese: post Γαμαλικῇ lacunam indicat Bekker.
- 2codd. E Eus.: τινυμένου Niese.
- 3ἄγριον Eisler (Messiah Jesus, p. 248).
- 4<ἐπὶ> ante βαπτισμῷ coni. Richards et Shutt.
quarrel. There was also a dispute about boundarieson Herod and defeats him. in the district of Gabalis.a Troops were mustered on each side and they were now at war, but they dispatched others as commanders instead of going themselves. In the ensuing battle, the whole army of Herod was destroyed when some refugees, who had come from the tetrarchy of Philip and had joined Herod’s army, played him false. Herod sent an account of these events to Tiberius. The latter was incensed to think that Aretas had begun hostilities and wrote Vitellius to declare war and either bring Aretas to him in chains, if he should be captured alive, or, if he should be slain, to send him his head. Such were the instructions of Tiberius to his governor in Syria.
(2)bBut to some of the Jews the destruction ofHerod’s defeat is attributed to his murder of John the Baptist. Herod’s army seemed to be divine vengeance, and certainly a just vengeance, for his treatment of John, surnamed the Baptist. For Herod had put him to death, though he was a good manc and had exhorted the Jews to lead righteous lives, to practise justice towards their fellows and piety towards God, and so
- aThe manuscript reading, Gamala, seems unlikely, since this region belonged to Philip’s former tetrarchy and hence could not have been the subject of dispute between Aretas and Herod. Schürer’s emendation, Galaaditis (Gilead), is geographically possible but is palaeographically not as close to the manuscript reading as Gabala, a district south of Moabitis in Idumaea. Cf. Ant. ii. 6.
- bIn general, this famous passage, §§ 116–119, on the murder of John the Baptist has been accepted as authentic, though Graetz in his later editions regarded it as spurious on the grounds that Josephus would not have called John a baptist without giving an explanation of what baptism is and that Josephus would not have used different forms for the word “baptism.” But Josephus does not explain every movement; and since there was no established Greek word for baptism he might well have used two different forms of the word.
- cThe Slavonic Josephus, the value of which has been justly questioned by numerous scholars, speaks of John as ἄγριος, a wild man. Eisler, p. 248, recklessly suggests that the Church changed ἄγριος to ἀγαθός.