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CHAP, VIII.

OF THE EGYPTIAN IMPOSTOR.

THERE is yet another particular, in which it has been thought by some that Josephus contradicts St. Luke. In ch. xxi. of the Acts of the Apostles, is the account of the uproar at Jerusalem, when the Jews apprehended Paul, and would have “ killed him." When the chief captain had taken him from the Jews, and had got him in his own custody, it is said, he put this question to him ; “ Art not thou that Egyptian, which before these days madest an uproar, and leddest out into the wilderness four thousund men that were murderers ?Acts xxi, 38.

The objection lies against the number here mentioned. For Josephus, speaking of this same Egyptian, says, ' He gathered together thirty thousand men.

We have the story twice told in Josephus, in bis Antiquities, and in his History of the Jewish War. I shall set down Josephus's words, and leave it.to the reader to judge, whether an objection of any weight can be formed against St. Luke from the account we have of this affair in Josephus. I shall in the first place transcribe the account in the Jewish War, because that was first written.

• But the Egyptian false prophet brought a yet heavier • disaster upon the Jews. For this impostor coming into • the country, and gaining the reputation of a prophet, gathered together thirty thousand inen, who were deceived a by bim. Having brought them round out of the wilder• ness up to the mount of Olives, he intended from thence to • make his attack upon Jerusalem, and having beaten the • Roman guard, to bring the people into subjection to hiin, • and govern them by the help of his armed associates. But

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1 Μειζονι δε ταυτης πληγη Ιεδαιες εκακωσεν ο Αιγυπτιος ψευδοπροφητης παραγενομενος γαρ εις την χωραν, ανθρωπος γοης, και προφητε πισιν επιθεις εαυτω, περι τρισμυριος μεν αθροιζει των ηπατημενων περιαγαγων δε αυτες εκ της ερημιας εις το Ελαιων καλομενον ορος, εκειθεν οίος τε ην εις Ιεροσολυμα παρελθειν βιαζεσθαι, και κρατησας της τε Ρωμαϊκης φράρας και το δημα τυραννειν, χρωμενος τους συνεισπεσεσι δορυφοροις φθανει δε αυτό την όρμην Φηλιξ υπαντιασας μετα των Ρωμαϊκων οπλιτων, και πας ο δημος συνεφηψατο της αμυνης ώσε συμβολης γενομενης, τον μεν Αιγυπτιον φυγειν μετ' ολιγων, διαφθαρηναι δε και ζωργηθηναι πλεισης των συν αυτό το δε λοιπον πληθος σκεδασθεν ETTI Tnv' ¿avtwv ikasov dala elv. De Bell. I. ii. c. 13. sect. 5.

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• Felix coming suddenly upon him with the Roman soldiers, • prevented the attack; and all the people joined with bim • in their own defence, so that when they came to engage, • the Egyptian fled, followed by a few only. A great num•ber (or, the greatest part] of those that were with him were

either slain, or taken prisoners. The rest of the multitude, • being scattered, shifted for themselves as they could.'

The account he gives of this affair in the Antiquities is thus : • About the same time [he had been speaking of

some other events in the beginning of Nero's reign] there • came a person out of Egypt to Jerusalem, who pretended • to be a prophet, and having persuaded a good number of ' the meaner sort of people to follow bim to the mount of Olives, he told them, that from thence le would let them

the walls of Jerusalem fall down at his command, and • promised through them to give them entrance into the city. • But Felix, being informed of these things, ordered his sol. • diers to their arms, and marching out of Jerusalem with a • large body of horse and foot, fell upon those who were • with the Egyptian, killed four hundred of them, and took

two hundred prisoners; but the Egyptian getting out of : the fight, escaped.'

The reader, if he thinks it needful, may consult the commentators, and other writers, who have considered this difficulty. Grotius supposes, that they were at first four thousand, but that at length they increased to the number of thirty thousand. Valesius reckons there were four thousand only that were murderers, or sicarii; though the whole company amounted to the number which Josephus mentions. Wbithy thinks, that it is likely the number in Josepbus was originally three thousand. And certainly none of these suJutions are contemptible. But, for my own part, I think there is more need of reconciling Josephus with bimself, or at least one of these accounts with the other, than to reconcile St. Luke witb Josephus.

Jf indeed we had any good reason to think, that the num.

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Aφικνειται δε τις εξ Αιγυπτ8 κατα τατον τον καιρον εις τα Ιεροσόλυμα, προφητης ειναι λεγων, και συμβελευων των δημοτικο πληθει συν αυτω προς ορος το προσαγορευομενον Ελαιων ερχεσθαι-θελειν γαρ, έφασκεν, αυτοις εκειθεν επιδειξαι, ώς, κελευσαντος αυτ8, πιπτοι τα των Ιεροσολύμων τειχη, δι' ών την εισοδον αυτοις παρεξειν επηγγελλετο Φηλιξ δε, ώς επιθετο ταυτα, κελευει τις τρατιωτας αναλαβειν τα όπλα, και μετα πολλων ιππεων τε και πεζων όρμησας απο των Ιεροσολύμων προσβαλλει τους περι τον Αιγυπτιον" και τετρακοσιας μεν αυτων ανειλε, διακοσιας δε ζωντας ελαβεν ο δε Αιγυπτιος αυτος διαδρασας εκ Ins haxns apavns eyevero. Ant. 1. xx. c. 7. sect. 6.

Grot. Whitby in loc. Joseph. p 1075. not. p. Vales. Euseb. Hist. I. ii. c. 21.

ber in Josepbus was originally three thousand, the disagreement would be small. The number of a multitude got together in a short time, and soon dispersed, might not be exactly known : the chief captain at Jerusalem might compute them at four thousand, and Josephus think they were but three thousand.

Aldrich has proposed another very ingenious conjecture; that originally the number of the whole company in Josephus's War of the Jews was four thousand, and that the number of two hundred, said in the Antiquities to be taken prisoners, was originally two thousand : both which errors might bappen only by a very small alteration.d

But I choose not to insist upon any of these solutions, which rely on emendations, made without the authority of any manuscripts. The numbers in Josephus are at present plainly faulty. In the first account, he says, they were thirty thousand in all, and that a great nuinber of these were either slain or taken prisoners. I might have rendered the words, the most of them, or, the greatest part of them. But though I have not given them that sense, yet certainly the four hundred slain, and two hundred taken prisoners, in the other account, cannot be reckoned a great number, or a large part of thirty thousand.

But then, as I do not insist on these conjectural emendations for reconciling Josephus with St. Luke; so, on the other hand, it would be very unfair, first to take it for granted, that the number of thirty thousand in Josephus is right, and then arbitrarily to reform all the other numbers in bim, in order to form an objection against the New Testament.

I think, therefore, there can be no objection brought against the numbers in St. Luke, from what Josephus has said of this affair, because his two accounts are not consistent one with another in this point; and that is sufficient.

These were my thoughts concerning this difficulty formerly. But I have now an observation to offer to the reader, which I think will not only reconcile St. Luke with Josephus, but likewise Josephus with bimself; and that, without making any alterations in bis numbers. This observation has been communicated to me by the truly learned and accurate Mr. John Ward, professor of rhetoric at Gresham college.

The history of this impostor seems to lie thus. He came first to Jerusalem, went from thence into the country, and

Suspicamur interim pro diakoolyc scriptum olim dioxilog, permutatis , & δ, vel etiam Λet Δ.ex τετρακισχιλιες factum esse τρισμυριες ne dubitamus quidem. Aldr. in Joseph. p. 1075. not. p.

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taking a circuit by the wilderness, returned again to mount Olivet. In the Antiquities, (which contain the shorter account of this affair,) Josephus mentions only the beginning and end of the story, that is, the impostor's coming at first to Jerusalem, and at last to the mount of Olives; and drops the middle part, of which he had given a sufficient account in the books of the War. The chief captain's • four thousand, therefore, were the men carried out of Jerusalemn, who were afterwards joined by others in the country to the number of thirty thousand, as related by Josephus. It is likely also, that before he left the city, be had so concerted inatters with some friends whom he left behind him, as to entertain hopes, that upon his return bis design would be favoured by great numbers of Jews in Jerusalem, and that he should have no opposition from any but the Romans. But upon his arrival at mount Olivet, finding the Romans drawn out to attack him, and the citizens in general prepared to oppose bim, he did not dare to venture an engagement, but presently fled with a body of his most trusty friends, as is usual in such cases. With these in particular the Roman soldiers were ordered to engage, neglecting the rest who were only a confused multitude, and immediately made off as they could by different ways. When therefore, Josephus says, the Egyptian fled, accompanied by a few only, he is to be understood of that body which at first fled away with the impostor, and were but a few, with respect to the whole thirty thousand. When he says, the greatest 5 part, or most of those that were with him were slain, or taken prisoners, which in the Antiquities are said to be four hundred killed, and two hundred taken, he means the greatest part of those few that fled with him. Nor need it be thought strange, that the number of the slain and the prisoners is no greater; since, as it seems, Josephus speaks only of that body of men who fled with the impostor. It is possible, some of the rest of the multitude might be killed likewise, though Josephus takes no notice of them; but it is most likely not many. For it seems by Josephus, as if only the Roman soldiers marched out against them, while the Jewish people in Jerusalem stood upon their own defence, if any onset had been made

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them. Thus then, though there were but four thousand of these men at first, they might be joined by others afterwards to the number of thirty thousand. So St. Luke is reconciled

e The words & ayaywv in St. Luke, and aOpolski in Josephus, seem very well adapted to this distinction.

μεν Αιγυπτιον φυγειν μετ' ολιγων. 8 Διαφθαρηναι δε και ζωγρηθηναι πλεισες των συν αυτω.

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with Josephus. And the number, said by Josephus to be slain, or taken prisoners, might be a great number, or the greatest part, of that body which fled with the Egyptian upon the attack made by Felix and his soldiers. Thus Josephus is reconciled with bimself.

But yet I cannot leave the history Josephus bas given us of this Egyptian, without making two or three observations.

1. The chief captain here asks St. Paul, “ Art not thou that Egyptian, which leddest out into the wilderness !"which seems to imply, since the question was asked in Jerusalem, that these men, or a good number of them at least, were drawn out of Jerusalem: and Josephus says expressly in the latter account, that this impostor came • out of • Egypt to Jerusalem; and persuaded a good number of the • meaner sort of people, (i. e. who were there,) to follow • him.'

2. The chief captain speaks of their being “ led out into the wilderness." This circumstance Josephus has mentioned in the first account, where he more particularly relates their march, and the compass they took, than in the other.

3. This Egyptiau escaped. Josephus has put down this in both places, and undoubtedly this is supposed in the question put to St. Paul by the chief captain. The agreement in this particular deserves to be taken notice of, because it was the common fate of these impostors to perish themselves, with a good number of their followers.

4. This Egyptian caused this disturbance, according to Josephus, when Felix was governor of Judea. This inpostor therefore did not arise any long time before the seizure of St. Paul at Jerusalem. He might be still living therefore; in this respect there was no absurdity in this question of the chief captain.

5. Another particular, which we are obliged to Josephus for, is, that all the people (at Jerusalem) favoured, or joined with Felix, upon this occasion, in their own defence; that is, all but some very mean people. If Josephus had not

mentioned this, perhaps it would have been said, since . considerable numbers usually joined these impostors, and

it is likely more favoured them, how was it possible, that the chief captain should ask Paul, when he saw the whole city was in an uproar, and the people were ready to tear him to pieces, “ Art not thou that Egyptian ?" that pretended prophet, that “ before these days inadest an up

Ο εξαγαγων.

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