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[259] But some time afterward, when Salome happened to quarrel with Costobarus, she sent him a bill of divorce 1 and dissolved her marriage with him, though this was not according to the Jewish laws; for with us it is lawful for a husband to do so; but a wife; if she departs from her husband, cannot of herself be married to another, unless her former husband put her away. However, Salome chose to follow not the law of her country, but the law of her authority, and so renounced her wedlock; and told her brother Herod, that she left her husband out of her good-will to him, because she perceived that he, with Antipater, and Lysimachus, and Dositheus, were raising a sedition against him; as an evidence whereof, she alleged the case of the sons of Babas, that they had been by him preserved alive already for the interval of twelve years; which proved to be true. But when Herod thus unexpectedly heard of it, he was greatly surprised at it, and was the more surprised, because the relation appeared incredible to him. As for the fact relating to these sons of Babas, Herod had formerly taken great pains to bring them to punishment, as being enemies to his government; but they were now forgotten by him, on account of the length of time [since he had ordered them to be slain]. Now the cause of his ill-will and hatred to them arose hence, that while Antigonus was king, Herod, with his army, besieged the city of Jerusalem, where the distress and miseries which the besieged endured were so pressing, that the greater number of them invited Herod into the city, and already placed their hopes on him. Now the sons of Babas were of great dignity, and had power among the multitude, and were faithful to Antigonus, and were always raising calumnies against Herod, and encouraged the people to preserve the government to that royal family which held it by inheritance. So these men acted thus politically, and, as they thought, for their own advantage; but when the city was taken, and Herod had gotten the government into his hands, and Costobarus was appointed to hinder men from passing out at the gates, and to guard the city, that those citizens that were guilty, and of the party opposite to the king, might not get out of it, Costobarus, being sensible that the sons of Babas were had in respect and honor by the whole multitude, and supposing that their preservation might be of great advantage to him in the changes of government afterward, he set them by themselves, and concealed them in his own farms; and when the thing was suspected, he assured Herod upon oath that he really knew nothing of that matter, and so overcame the suspicions that lay upon him; nay, after that, when the king had publicly proposed a reward for the discovery, and had put in practice all sorts of methods for searching out this matter, he would not confess it; but being persuaded that when he had at first denied it, if the men were found, he should not escape unpunished, he was forced to keep them secret, not only out of his good-will to them, but out of a necessary regard to his own preservation also. But when the king knew the thing, by his sister's information, he sent men to the places where he had the intimation they were concealed, and ordered both them, and those that were accused as guilty with them, to be slain, insomuch that there were now none at all left of the kindred of Hyrcanus, and the kingdom was entirely in Herod's own power, and there was nobody remaining of such dignity as could put a stop to what he did against the Jewish laws.

1 Here is a plain example of a Jewish lady giving a bill of divorce to her husband, though in the days of Josephus it was not esteemed lawful for a woman so to do. See the like among the Parthians, Antiq. B. XVIII. ch. 9. sect. 6. However, the Christian law, when it allowed divorce for adultery, Matthew 5:32, allowed the innocent wife to divorce her guilty husband, as well as the innocent husband to divorce his guilty wife, as we learn from the shepherd of Hermas, Mand. B. IV., and from: the second apology of Justin Martyr, where a persecution was brought upon the Christians upon such a divorce; and I think the Roman laws permitted it at that time, as well as the laws of Christianity. Now this Babas, who was one of the race of the Asamoneans or Maccabees, as the latter end of this section informs us, is related by the Jews, as Dr. Hudson here remarks, to have been so eminently religious in the Jewish way, that, except the day following the tenth of Tisri, the great day of atonement, when he seems to have supposed all his sins entirely forgiven, he used every day of the whole year to offer a sacrifice for his sins of ignorance, or such as he supposed he had been guilty of, but did not distinctly remember. See somewhat like it of Agrippa the Great, Antiq. B. XIX. ch. 3. sect. 3, and Job 1:4, 5.

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