Philo, Moses 1 and 2

LCL 289: 348-349

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τῆς χώρας ἐξελαύνειν, καὶ τὸ μίαν ἡμέραν μᾶλλον δὲ ὥραν αὐτὸ μόνον κατασχεῖν πρὸς ἀνήκεστον 140τιμωρίαν τιθέμενοι.

XXV. | οἱ δ᾿ ἐλαυνόμενοι [103]καὶ διωκόμενοι τῆς αὑτῶν εὐγενείας εἰς ἔννοιαν ἐλθόντες τόλμημα τολμῶσιν, ὁποῖον εἰκὸς ἦν τοὺς ἐλευθέρους καὶ μὴ ἀμνήμονας ὧν ἐπεβουλεύθησαν 141ἀδίκως. πολλὴν γὰρ λείαν ἐκφορήσαντες τὴν μὲν αὐτοὶ διεκόμιζον ἐπηχθισμένοι, τὴν δὲ τοῖς ὑποζυγίοις ἐπέθεσαν, οὐ διὰ φιλοχρηματίαν ἤ, ὡς ἄν τις κατηγορῶν εἴποι, τὴν τῶν ἀλλοτρίων ἐπιθυμίαν—πόθεν;—ἀλλὰ πρῶτον μὲν ὧν παρὰ πάντα τὸν χρόνον ὑπηρέτησαν ἀναγκαῖον μισθὸν κομιζόμενοι, εἶτα δὲ ὑπὲρ ὧν κατεδουλώθησαν ἐν ἐλάττοσι καὶ οὐχὶ τοῖς ἴσοις ἀντιλυποῦντες· ποῦ γάρ ἐσθ᾿ ὅμοιον ζημία χρημάτων καὶ στέρησις ἐλευθερίας, ὑπὲρ ἧς οὐ μόνον προΐεσθαι τὰς οὐσίας οἱ νοῦν 142ἔχοντες ἀλλὰ καὶ ἀποθνῄσκειν ἐθέλουσιν; ἐν ἑκατέρῳ δὴ κατώρθουν, εἴθ᾿ ὡς ἐν εἰρήνῃ μισθὸν λαμβάνοντες, ὃν παρ᾿ ἀκόντων1 πολὺν χρόνον οὐκ ἀποδιδόντων ἀπεστεροῦντο, εἴθ᾿ ὡς ἐν πολέμῳ τὰ τῶν ἐχθρῶν φέρειν ἀξιοῦντες νόμῳ τῶν κεκρατηκότων· οἱ μὲν γὰρ χειρῶν ἧρξαν ἀδίκων, ξένους καὶ ἱκέτας, ὡς ἔφην πρότερον, καταδουλωσάμενοι τρόπον αἰχμαλώτων, οἱ δὲ καιροῦ παραπεσόντος ἠμύναντο δίχα τῆς ἐν ὅπλοις παρασκευῆς, προασπίζοντος καὶ τὴν χεῖρα ὑπερέχοντος τοῦ δικαίου.

143XXVI. Τοσαύταις μὲν δὴ πληγαῖς καὶ τιμωρίαις Αἴγυπτος ἐνουθετεῖτο, ὧν οὐδεμία τῶν Ἑβραίων


Moses I

whole country, and declared that to detain them even for a single day, or rather only for an hour, would bring upon them a deadly vengeance.

XXV. The Hebrews, thus hunted as outcasts from the land,140 and conscious of their own high lineage, were emboldened to act as was natural to them, as freemen and men who were not oblivious of the injustices which malice had inflicted on them; for they took141 out with them much spoil, which they carried partly on their backs, partly laid on their beasts of burden. And they did this not in avarice, or, as their accusers might say, in covetousness of what belonged to others. No, indeed. In the first place, they were but receiving a bare wage for all their time of service; secondly, they were retaliating, not on an equal but on a lesser scale, for their enslavement. For what resemblance is there between forfeiture of money and deprivation of liberty, for which men of sense are willing to sacrifice not only their substance but their life? In either case, their action was right, whether142 one regard it as an act of peace, the acceptance of payment long kept back through reluctance to pay what was due, or as an act of war, the claim under the law of the victors to take their enemies’ goods. For the Egyptians began the wrongdoing by reducing guests and suppliants to slavery like captives, as I said before. The Hebrews, when the opportunity came, avenged themselves without warlike preparations, shielded by justice whose arm was extended to defend them.

XXVI. With all these plagues and punishments143 was Egypt admonished, none of which touched the

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.philo_judaeus-moses_i_ii.1935