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[39] SO king Herod immediately took the high priesthood away from Ananelus, who, as we said before, was not of this country, but one of those Jews that had been carried captive beyond Euphrates; for there were not a few ten thousands of this people that had been carried captives, and dwelt about Babylonia, whence Ananelus came. He was one of the stock of the high priests 1 and had been of old a particular friend of Herod; and when he was first made king, he conferred that dignity upon him, and now put him out of it again, in order to quiet the troubles in his family, though what he did was plainly unlawful, for at no other time [of old] was any one that had once been in that dignity deprived of it. It was Antiochus Epiphanes who first brake that law, and deprived Jesus, and made his brother Onias high priest in his stead. Aristobulus was the second that did so, and took that dignity from his brother [Hyrcanus]; and this Herod was the third, who took that high office away [from Arianflus], and gave it to this young man, Aristobulus, in his stead.

1 When Josephus says here that this Ananelus, the new high priest, was "of the stock of the high priests," and since he had been just telling us that he was a priest of an obscure family or character, ch. 2. sect. 4, it is not at all probable that he could so soon say that he was "of the stock of the high priests." However, Josephus here makes a remarkable observation, that this Ananelus was the third that was ever unjustly and wickedly turned out of the high priesthood by the civil power, no king or governor having ventured to do so, that Josephus knew of, but that heathen tyrant and persecutor Antiochus Epiphanes; that barbarous parricide Aristobulus, the first that took royal authority among the Maccabees; and this tyrant king Herod the Great, although afterward that infamous practice became frequent, till the very destruction of Jerusalem, when the office of high priesthood was at an end.

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