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[54] NOW when Pompey had pitched his camp at Jericho, (where the palm tree grows, and that balsam which is an ointment of all the most precious, which upon any incision made in the wood with a sharp stone, distills out thence like a juice,) 1 he marched in the morning to Jerusalem. Hereupon Aristobulus repented of what he was doing, and came to Pompey, had [promised to] give him money, and received him into Jerusalem, and desired that he would leave off the war, and do what he pleased peaceably. So Pompey, upon his entreaty, forgave him, and sent Gabinius, and soldiers with him, to receive the money and the city: yet was no part of this performed; but Gabinius came back, being both excluded out of the city, and receiving none of the money promised, because Aristobulus's soldiers would not permit the agreements to be executed. At this Pompey was very angry, and put Aristobulus into prison, and came himself to the city, which was strong on every side, excepting the north, which was not so well fortified, for there was a broad and deep ditch that encompassed the city 2 and included within it the temple, which was itself encompassed about with a very strong stone wall.

1 These express testimonies of Josephus here, and Antiq. B. VIII. ch. 6. sect. 6, and B. XV. ch. 4. sect. 2, that the only balsam gardens, and the best palm trees, were, at least in his days, near Jericho and Kugaddi, about the north part of the Dead Sea, (whereabout also Alexander the Great saw the balsam drop,) show the mistake of those that understand Eusebius and Jerom as if one of those gardens were at the south part of that sea, at Zoar or Segor, whereas they must either mean another Zoar or Segor, which was between Jericho and Kugaddi, agreeably to Josephus: which yet they do not appear to do, or else they directly contradict Josephus, and were therein greatly mistaken: I mean this, unless that balsam, and the best palm trees, grew much more southward in Judea in the days of Eusebius and Jerom than they did in the days of Josephus.

2 The particular depth and breadth of this ditch, whence the stones for the wall about the temple were probably taken, are omitted in our copies of Josephus, but set down by Strabo, B. XVI. p. 763; from whom we learn that this ditch was sixty feet deep, and two hundred and fifty feet broad. However, its depth is, in the next section, said by Josephus to be immense, which exactly agrees to Strabo's description, and which numbers in Strabo are a strong confirmation of the truth of Josephus's description also.

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