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1 We have a mighty cry made here by some critics, as the great Eusebius had on purpose falsified this account of Josephus, so as to make it agree with the parallel account in the Acts of the Apostles, because the present copies of his citation of it, Hist. Eceles. B. II. ch. 10., omit the words an owl--on a certain rope, which Josephus's present copies retain, and only have the explicatory word or angel; as if he meant that angel of the Lord which St. Luke mentions as smiting Herod, Acts 12:23, and not that owl which Josephus called an angel or messenger, formerly of good, but now of bad news, to Agrippa. This accusation is a somewhat strange one in the case of the great Eusebius, who is known to have so accurately and faithfully produced a vast number of other ancient records, and particularly not a few out of our Josephus also, without any suspicion of prevarication. Now, not to allege how uncertain we are whether Josephus's and Eusebius's copies of the fourth century were just like the present in this clause, which we have no distinct evidence of, the following words, preserved still in Eusebius, will not admit of any such exposition: "This [bird] (says Eusebius) Agrippa presently perceived to be the cause of ill fortune, as it was once of good fortune, to him;" which can only belong to that bird, the owl, which as it had formerly foreboded his happy deliverance from imprisonment, Antiq. B. XVIII. ch. 6. sect. 7, so was it then foretold to prove afterward the unhappy forerunner of his death in five days' time. If the improper words signifying cause, be changed for Josephus's proper word angel or messenger, and the foregoing words, be inserted, Esuebius's text will truly represent that in Josephus. Had this imperfection been in some heathen author that was in good esteem with our modern critics, they would have readily corrected these as barely errors in the copies; but being in an ancient Christian writer, not so well relished by many of those critics, nothing will serve but the ill-grounded supposal of willful corruption and prevarication.
2 This sum of twelve millions of drachmae, which is equal to three millions of shekels, i.e. at 2s. 10d. a shekel, equal to four hundred and twenty-five thousand pounds sterling, was Agrippa the Great's yearly income, or about three quarters of his grandfather Herod's income; he having abated the tax upon houses at Jerusalem, ch. 6. sect. 3, and was not so tyrannical as Herod had been to the Jews. See the note on Antiq. B. XVII. ch. 11. sect. 4. A large sum this! but not, it seems, sufficient for his extravagant expenses.
3 Reland takes notice here, not improperly, that Josephus omits the reconciliation of this Herod Agrippa to the Tyrians and Sidoninus, by the means of Blastus the king's chamberlain, mentioned Acts 12:20. Nor is there any history in the world so complete, as to omit nothing that other historians take notice of, unless the one be taken out of the other, and accommodated to it.
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