As Coponius, who we told you was sent along with Cyrenius, was exercising
his office of procurator, and governing Judea, the following accidents
happened. As the Jews were celebrating the feast of unleavened bread, which
we call the Passover, it was customary for the priests to open the temple-gates
just after midnight. When, therefore, those gates were first opened, some
of the Samaritans came privately into Jerusalem, and threw about dead men's
bodies, in the cloisters; on which account the Jews afterward excluded
them out of the temple, which they had not used to do at such festivals;
and on other accounts also they watched the temple more carefully than
they had formerly done. A little after which accident Coponius returned
to Rome, and Marcus Ambivius came to be his successor in that government;
under whom Salome, the sister of king Herod, died, and left to Julia, [Caesar's
wife,] Jamnia, all its toparchy, and Phasaelis in the plain, and Arehelais,
where is a great plantation of palm trees, and their fruit is excellent
in its kind. After him came Annius Rufus, under whom died Caesar, the second
emperor of the Romans, the duration of whose reign was fifty-seven years,
besides six months and two days (of which time Antonius ruled together
with him fourteen years; but the duration of his life was seventy-seven
years); upon whose death Tiberius Nero, his wife Julia's son, succeeded.
He was now the third emperor; and he sent Valerius Gratus to be procurator
of Judea, and to succeed Annius Rufus. This man deprived Ananus of the
high priesthood, and appointed Ismael, the son of Phabi, to be high priest.
He also deprived him in a little time, and ordained Eleazar, the son of
Ananus, who had been high priest before, to be high priest; which office,
when he had held for a year, Gratus deprived him of it, and gave the high
priesthood to Simon, the son of Camithus; and when he had possessed that
dignity no longer than a year, Joseph Caiaphas was made his successor.
When Gratus had done those things, he went back to Rome, after he had tarried
in Judea eleven years, when Pontius Pilate came as his successor.