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[345] When he had done this, he gathered the Jews together, with their children and wives, and the substance that belonged to them, and was going to bring them back into Judea; but as soon as he was come to a certain city, whose name was Ephron, that lay upon the road, (and it was not possible for him to go any other way, so he was not willing to go back again,) he then sent to the inhabitants, and desired that they would open their gates, and permit them to go on their way through the city; for they had stopped up the gates with stones, and cut off their passage through it. And when the inhabitants of Ephron would not agree to this proposal, he encouraged those that were with him, and encompassed the city round, and besieged it, and, lying round it by day and night, took the city, and slew every male in it, and burnt it all down, and so obtained a way through it; and the multitude of those that were slain was so great, that they went over the dead bodies. So they came over Jordan, and arrived at the great plain, over against which is situate the city Bethshah, which is called by the Greeks Scythopolis. 1 And going away hastily from thence, they came into Judea, singing psalms and hymns as they went, and indulging such tokens of mirth as are usual in triumphs upon victory. They also offered thank-offerings, both for their good success, and for the preservation of their army, for not one of the Jews was slain in these battles.2

1 The reason why Bethshah was called Scythopolis is well known from Herodotus, B. I. p. 105, and Syncellus, p. 214, that the Scythians, when they overran Asia, in the days of Josiah, seized on this city, and kept it as long as they continued in Asia, from which time it retained the name of Scythopolis, or the City of the Scythians.

2 This most providential preservation of all the religious Jews in this expedition, which was according to the will of God, is observable often among God's people, the Jews; and somewhat very like it in the changes of the four monarchies, which were also providential. See Prideaux at the years 331, 333, and 334.

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