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[271] WHEN Herod had been at Rome, and was come back again, a war arose between him and the Arabians, on the occasion following: The inhabitants of Trachonitis, after Caesar had taken the country away from Zenodorus, and added it to Herod, had not now power to rob, but were forced to plough the land, and to live quietly, which was a thing they did not like; and when they did take that pains, the ground did not produce much fruit for them. However, at the first the king would not permit them to rob, and so they abstained from that unjust way of living upon their neighbors, which procured Herod a great reputation for his care. But when he was sailing to Rome, it was at that time when he went to accuse his son Alexander, and to commit Antipater to Caesar's protection, the Trachonites spread a report as if he were dead, and revolted from his dominion, and betook themselves again to their accustomed way of robbing their neighbors; at which time the king's commanders subdued them during his absence; but about forty of the principal robbers, being terrified by those that had been taken, left the country, and retired into Arabia, Sylleus entertaining them, after he had missed of marrying Salome, and gave them a place of strength, in which they dwelt. So they overran not only Judea, but all Celesyria also, and carried off the prey, while Sylleus afforded them places of protection and quietness during their wicked practices. But when Herod came back from Rome, he perceived that his dominions had greatly suffered by them; and since he could not reach the robbers themselves, because of the secure retreat they had in that country, and which the Arabian government afforded them, and yet being very uneasy at the injuries they had done him, he went all over Trachonitis, and slew their relations; whereupon these robbers were more angry than before, it being a law among them to be avenged on the murderers of their relations by all possible means; so they continued to tear and rend every thing under Herod's dominion with impunity. Then did he discourse about these robberies to Saturninus and Volumnius, and required that they should be punished; upon which occasion they still the more confirmed themselves in their robberies, and became more numerous, and made very great disturbances, laying waste the countries and villages that belonged to Herod's kingdom, and killing those men whom they caught, till these unjust proceedings came to be like a real war, for the robbers were now become about a thousand; - at which Herod was sore displeased, and required the robbers, as well as the money which he had lent Obodas, by Sylleus, which was sixty talents, and since the time of payment was now past, he desired to have it paid him; but Sylleus, who had laid Obodas aside, and managed all by himself, denied that the robbers were in Arabia, and put off the payment of the money; about which there was a hearing before Saturninus and Volumnius, who were then the presidents of Syria. 1 At last he, by their means, agreed, that within thirty days' time Herod should be paid his money, and that each of them should deliver up the other's subjects reciprocally. Now, as to Herod, there was not one of the other's subjects found in his kingdom, either as doing any injustice, or on any other account, but it was proved that the Arabians had the robbers amongst them.

1 These joint presidents of Syria, Saturninus and Volumnius, were not perhaps of equal authority, but the latter like a procurator under the former, as the very learned Noris and Pagi, and with them Dr. Hudson, determine.

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