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[288] However, this prosperous state of affairs moved the Jews to envy Hyrcanus; but they that were the worst disposed to him were the Pharisees, 1 who were one of the sects of the Jews, as we have informed you already. These have so great a power over the multitude, that when they say any thing against the king, or against the high priest, they are presently believed. Now Hyrcanus was a disciple of theirs, and greatly beloved by them. And when he once invited them to a feast, and entertained them very kindly, when he saw them in a good humor, he began to say to them, that they knew he was desirous to be a righteous man, and to do all things whereby he might please God, which was the profession of the Pharisees also. However, he desired, that if they observed him offending in any point, and going out of the right way, they would call him back and correct him. On which occasion they attested to his being entirely virtuous; with which commendation he was well pleased. But still there was one of his guests there, whose name was Eleazar, a man of an ill temper, and delighting in seditious practices. This man said," Since thou desirest to know the truth, if thou wilt be righteous in earnest, lay down the high priesthood, and content thyself with the civil government of the people," And when he desired to know for what cause he ought to lay down the high priesthood, the other replied, "We have heard it from old men, that thy mother had been a captive under the reign of Antiochus Epiphanes. "This story was false, and Hyrcanus was provoked against him; and all the Pharisees had a very great indignation against him.

1 The original of the Sadducees, as a considerable party among the Jews, being contained in this and the two following sections, take Dean Prideaux's note upon this their first public appearance, which I suppose to be true: "Hyrcanus," says be, "went over to the party of the Sadducees; that is, by embracing their doctrine against the traditions of the eiders, added to the written law, and made of equal authority with it, but not their doctrine against the resurrection and a future state; for this cannot be supposed of so good and righteous a man as John Hyrcanus is said to be. It is most probable, that at this time the Sadducees had gone no further in the doctrines of that sect than to deny all their unwritten traditions, which the Pharisees were so fond of; for Josephus mentions no other difference at this time between them; neither doth he say that Hyrcanna went over to the Sadducees in any other particular than in the abolishing of all the traditionary constitutions of the Pharisees, which our Savior condemned as well as they." [At the year.]

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