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[340] Now it is but just to recommend the generosity of this woman, 1 because when the king had forbidden her to use that art whence her circumstances were bettered and improved, and when she had never seen the king before, she still did not remember to his disadvantage that he had condemned her sort of learning, and did not refuse him as a stranger, and one that she had had no acquaintance with; but she had compassion upon him, and comforted him, and exhorted him to do what he was greatly averse to, and offered him the only creature she had, as a poor woman, and that earnestly, and with great humanity, while she had no requital made her for her kindness, nor hunted after any future favor from him, for she knew he was to die; whereas men are naturally either ambitious to please those that bestow benefits upon them, or are very ready to serve those from whom they may receive some advantage. It would be well therefore to imitate the example and to do kindnesses to all such as are in want and to think that nothing is better, nor more becoming mankind, than such a general beneficence, nor what will sooner render God favorable, and ready to bestow good things upon us. And so far may suffice to have spoken concerning this woman. But I shall speak further upon another subject, which will afford me all opportunity of discoursing on what is for the advantage of cities, and people, and nations, and suited to the taste of good men, and will encourage them all in the prosecution of virtue; and is capable of showing them the of acquiring glory, and an everlasting fame; and of imprinting in the kings of nations, and the rulers of cities, great inclination and diligence of doing well; as also of encouraging them to undergo dangers, and to die for their countries, and of instructing them how to despise all the most terrible adversities: and I have a fair occasion offered me to enter on such a discourse by Saul the king of the Hebrews; for although he knew what was coming upon him, and that he was to die immediately, by the prediction of the prophet, he did not resolve to fly from death, nor so far to indulge the love of life as to betray his own people to the enemy, or to bring a disgrace on his royal dignity; but exposing himself, as well as all his family and children, to dangers, he thought it a brave thing to fall together with them, as he was fighting for his subjects, and that it was better his sons should die thus, showing their courage, than to leave them to their uncertain conduct afterward, while, instead of succession and posterity, they gained commendation and a lasting name. Such a one alone seems to me to be a just, a courageous, and a prudent man; and when any one has arrived at these dispositions, or shall hereafter arrive at them, he is the man that ought to be by all honored with the testimony of a virtuous or courageous man: for as to those that go out to war with hopes of success, and that they shall return safe, supposing they should have performed some glorious action, I think those do not do well who call these valiant men, as so many historians and other writers who treat of them are wont to do, although I confess those do justly deserve some commendation also; but those only may be styled courageous and bold in great undertakings, and despisers of adversities, who imitate Saul: for as for those that do not know what the event of war will be as to themselves, and though they do not faint in it, but deliver themselves up to uncertain futurity, and are tossed this way and that way, this is not so very eminent an instance of a generous mind, although they happen to perform many great exploits; but when men's minds expect no good event, but they know beforehand they must die, and that they must undergo that death in the battle also, after this neither to be aftrighted, nor to be astonished at the terrible fate that is coming, but to go directly upon it, when they know it beforehand, this it is that I esteem the character of a man truly courageous. Accordingly this Saul did, and thereby demonstrated that all men who desire fame after they are dead are so to act as they may obtain the same: this especially concerns kings, who ought not to think it enough in their high stations that they are not wicked in the government of their subjects, but to be no more than moderately good to them. I could say more than this about Saul and his courage, the subject affording matter sufficient; but that I may not appear to run out improperly in his commendation, I return again to that history from which I made this digression.

1 These great commendations of this necromantic woman of Endor, and of Saul's martial courage, when yet he knew he should die in the battle, are somewhat unusual digressions in Josephus. They seem to me extracted from some speeches or declamations of his composed formerly, in the way of oratory, that lay by him, and which he thought fit to insert upon this occasion. See before on Antiq. B. I. ch. 6 sect. 8.

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