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[121] When Alexander had thus spoken, Caesar, who did not before believe so gross a calumny, was still more moved by it, and looked intently upon Herod, and perceived he was a little confounded: the persons there present were under an anxiety about the young men, and the fame that was spread abroad made the king hated, for the very incredibility of the calumny, and the commiseration of the flower of youth, the beauty of body, which were in the young men, pleaded for assistance, and the more so on this account, that Alexander had made their defense with dexterity and prudence; nay, they did not themselves any longer continue in their former countenances, which had been bedewed with tears, and cast downwards to the ground, but now there arose in them hope of the best; and the king himself appeared not to have had foundation enough to build such an accusation upon, he having no real evidence wherewith to correct them. Indeed he wanted some apology for making the accusation; but Caesar, after some delay, said, that although the young men were thoroughly innocent of that for which they were calumniated, yet had they been so far to blame, that they had not demeaned themselves towards their father so as to prevent that suspicion which was spread abroad concerning them. He also exhorted Herod to lay all such suspicions aside, and to be reconciled to his sons; for that it was not just to give any credit to such reports concerning his own children; and that this repentance on both sides might still heal those breaches that had happened between them, and might improve that their good-will to one another, whereby those on both sides, excusing the rashness of their suspicions, might resolve to bear a greater degree of affection towards each other than they had before. After Caesar had given them this admonition, he beckoned to the young men. When therefore they were disposed to fall down to make intercession to their father, he took them up, and embraced them, as they were in tears, and took each of them distinctly in his arms, till not one of those that were present, whether free-man or slave, but was deeply affected with what they saw. 1

1 See John 2:20. See also another speech of Herod's own to the young men that pulled down his golden eagle from the front of the temple, where he takes notice how the building of the temple cost him a vast sum; and that the Asamoneans, in those one hundred and twenty-five years they held the government, were not able to perform so great a work, to the honor of God, as this was, Antiq. B. XVII. ch. 6. sect. 3.

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