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 The western extremities of Judæa towards Casius are occupied by Idumæans, and by the lake [Sirbonis]. The Idumæans are Nabatæans. When driven from their country1 by sedition, they passed over to the Jews, and adopted their customs.2 The greater part of the country along the coast to Jerusalem is occupied by the Lake Sirbonis, and by the tract contiguous to it; for Jerusalem is near the sea, which, as we have said,3 may be seen from the arsenal of Joppa.4 These districts (of Jerusalem and Joppa) lie towards the north; they are inhabited generally, and each place in particular, by mixed tribes of Egyptians, Arabians, and Phœnicians. Of this description are the inhabitants of Galilee, of the plain of Jericho, and of the territories of Philadelphia and Samaria,5 surnamed Sebaste by Herod;6 but although there is such a mixture of inhabitants, the report most credited, [one] among many things believed respecting the temple [and the inhabitants] of Jerusalem, is, that the Egyptians were the ancestors of the present Jews.7
1 Arabia Petræa. Petra, now called Karac, was the capital.
2 Josephus, Ant. Jud. xiii. 9. 1.
3 § 27, above.
5 Rabbath-Ammon, or Amma.
6 Herod rebuilt Samaria, and surrounded it with a vast enclosure. There also he erected a magnificent temple, and gave to the city the surname of Sebaste, in honour of Augustus.
7 In b. xiii, c. ii. § 5, our author again says that the Jews were originally Egyptians. So also Josephus, xiv. 7. 2.
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