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[158] And seeing that Hyrcanus was of a slow and slothful temper, he made Phasaelus, his eldest son, governor of Jerusalem, and of the places that were about it, but committed Galilee to Herod, his next son, who was then a very young man, for he was but fifteen years of age 1 But that youth of his was no impediment to him; but as he was a youth of great mind, he presently met with an opportunity of signalizing his courage; for finding that there was one Hezekiah, a captain of a band of robbers, who overran the neighboring parts of Syria with a great troop of them, he seized him and slew him, as well as a great number of the other robbers that were with him; for which action he was greatly beloved by the Syrians; for when they were very desirous to have their country freed from this nest of robbers, he purged it of them. So they sung songs in his commendation in their villages and cities, as having procured them peace, and the secure enjoyment of their possessions; and on this account it was that he became known to Sextus Caesar, who was a relation of the great Caesar, and was now president of Syria. Now Phasaetus, Herod's brother, was moved with emulation at his actions, and envied the fame be had thereby gotten, and became ambitious not to be behindhand with him in deserving it. So he made the inhabitants of Jerusalem bear him the greatest good-will while he held the city himself, but did neither manage its affairs improperly, nor abuse his authority therein. This conduct procured from the nation to Antipater such respect as is due to kings, and such honors as he might partake of if he were an absolute lord of the country. Yet did not this splendor of his, as frequently happens, in the least diminish in him that kindness and fidelity which he owed to Hyrcanus.

1 Those who will carefully observe the several occasional numbers and chronological characters in the life and death of this Herod, and of his children, hereafter noted, will see that twenty-five years, and not fifteen, must for certain have been here Josephus's own number for the age of Herod, when he was made governor of Galilee. See ch. 23. sect. 5, and ch. 24. sect. 7; and particularly Antiq. B. XVII. ch. 8. sect. 1, where about forty-four years afterwards Herod dies an old man at about seventy.

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