A R I S T E A S

THE LETTER OF

         At the time of the Jewish captivity in Egypt, Ptolemy Philadelphus reveals himself as the first great bibliophile.  He desires to have all the books of the world in his library; and in order to get the "Laws of Moses," he offers to trade 100.000 captives for that work, exclaiming; "It is a small boon indeed!"   

       Chapter 1           TO INDEX

      The quest to free the captives.

1.   Since I have collected material for a memorable history of my visit to Eleazar the high priest of the Jews.  And because you Philocrates, as you lost no opportunity in reminding me to receive an account on the motives and object of my mission, I have attempted to draw up a clear exposition of the matter for you. 

2.   For I perceived that you possess a natural love of learning, a quality which is the highest possession of man to constantly attempt to add to his stock of knowledge, whether through the study of history, or by actual participation in the events themselves.

3.   It is by this means, by taking to oneself the noblest elements, that the soul is established in purity, and having fixed its aim on piety, the noblest goal of all, it uses this as its infallible guide, and so acquires a definite purpose.

4.   It was my devotion in the pursuit of religious knowledge that led me to undertake the embassy to the man that I have mentioned, who was held in the highest esteem by his own citizens, and by others, both for his virtue and his majesty.  And who in his possession had the documents of the highest value to the Jews, both in his own country, and in foreign lands, for interpretation of the divine law, for their laws are written on leather parchments in Jewish characters.

5.   I then undertook this with enthusiasm having first found an opportunity of pleading with the king on behalf of the Jewish captives who had been transported from Judea to Egypt by the king's father when he first obtained possession of this city, and conquered the land of Egypt.

6.   It is worthwhile that I should tell you this story, also since I am convinced that you, with your disposition towards holiness and your sympathy with men that live in accordance with the holy law will all the more readily listen to the account which I purpose to set forth.  For you yourself have lately come to us from the island, and are anxious to hear everything that tends to build up the soul.

7.   I sent you a record of the facts on a former occasion, which I thought worth relating concerning the Jewish race, a record which obtained from the most learned high priest, of the most learned in the land of Egypt.

8.   And since you are so eager to acquire the knowledge of those things, which can benefit the mind, I feel incumbent to impart to you all the information in my power.

9.   I feel the same duty towards all that possess the same disposition, but I feel it especially towards you, since you have the aspirations, which are so noble.  And since you are my brother in character as no less than in blood as one that is one with me in the pursuit of goodness.

10.  For neither the pleasure derived from gold, not of any other of the possessions that are prized by shallow minds - confers the same benefit as the pursuit of culture, and the study which we spend in securing it.

11.  But that I may not weary you by a too lengthy introduction, I will proceed at once to the substance of my narrative.

12.  Demetrius of Phalerum, the precinct of the king's library, received vast sums of money for the purpose of collecting as far as possible all the books in the world.

13.  And by means of purchase and transcription, he carried this purpose of the king out to the best of his ability.

14.  On one occasion when I was present he was asked; how many thousands of books there were in the library?  And he replied, "More than two hundred thousand O king, and I shall endeavor in the immediate future to gather the remainder also, so that the total of five hundred thousand may be reached.  I am told that the laws of the Jews are worth transcribing, deserving a place in our library."

15.  "What is to prevent you from doing this?  So replied the king, everything that is needed has been placed at your disposal."

16.  Demetrius then answered; "They need to be translated, for in the country of the Jews they use a peculiar alphabet just as the Egyptians have a special form of letters and speak a peculiar dialect.

17.  They are supposed to use the Syriac tongue, but this is not the case, their language is quite different.''  And the king, having understood the facts of the case, ordered a letter to he written to the Jewish high priest that his purpose might be accomplished.

18.  And thinking that the time had come to press the demand, which I had often laid before Sosiblus of Tarentum and Andreas the chief of the bodyguard, for the emancipation of the Jews.  For when the king's father had by a combination of good fortune and courage brought his attack on the whole district of Celosyria and Phenice to success, he in the process of terrorizing the country into subjection, transported some of his foes, and others he reduced to captivity.

19.  The number of those whom he transported from the country of the Jews to Egypt amounted to no less than a hundred thousand.

20.  Of these he armed thirty thousand picked men and settled them in the garrisons in the districts of the country.

21.  And even before this, large numbers of Jews had come into Egypt with the Persians.  And in an earlier period still others had been sent to help Psammetichus in his campaign against the Ethiopians, these however were not so numerous as the captives which Ptolemy the son of Lagus transported.

22.  And as I said earlier, Ptolemy picked out the best of these, men who were in the prime of life, and known for their courage.  These he armed them, but the great mass of the others that were too old, or too young for this purpose and the women also, he reduced to slavery.  Not that he wished to do this of his own free will, but he was compelled to do so by his soldiers who claimed them as reward for the services which they had rendered in war.

23.  Having thus obtained an opportunity to secure their emancipation, I addressed the king with the following arguments; Let us not be so unreasonable as to allow our deeds to give the lie to our words.

24.  Since the law, which we not only whish to transcribe, but also translate, belongs to the whole Jewish race, what justification shall be found for our desire while such vast numbers of them remain in a state of slavery in your kingdom?

25.  In the perfection and wealth of your clemency, release those that are held in such miserable bondage, since I have been at pains to discover, that the God who gave them their law, is the God who maintains your kingdom as well.

26.  They worship the same God, the Lord and Creator of the universe, as all other men and we ourselves O king; though we call Him by different names.

27.  His Name was very appropriately bestowed on Him by our first ancestors in order to signify that He, through whom all things are endowed with life, and come into being, is necessarily the ruler and Lord of the universe.  Set therefore all mankind an example of com-passion by releasing those who are held in bondage.

28.  And after a brief interval, while I was offering up a prayer to God that He would so dispose the mind of the king that all the captives might be set at liberty, (for the human race, being the creation of God, is swayed and influenced by Him)

29.  Therefore with divers prayers I called on Him who rules the heart that the king might be constrained to grant my request.  For I had great hopes in regards to the salvation of the men since I was assured that God would grant fulfillment of my prayer.

30.  For when men from pure motives plan some action in the interest of righteousness, and the performance of noble deeds, Almighty God brings their efforts and purpose to a successful end.

31.  And the king raised his head, and looking up to me with a cheerful countenance asked, how many thousand do you think they will number?

32.  Andreas then, who was standing near replied, A little more then a hundred thousand.  "It is a small boon indeed," so said the king that Aristheas asks of us!

33.  Then Sosibius and some others who were present said.  Indeed, it will be a fit tribute to your dignity to offer the liberation of these as an act of devotion to the supreme God.

34.  You have been greatly honored by Almighty God, and exulted above all your forefathers in glory, it is only fitting then that you should render to Him the greatest thank offering in your power.

35.  And extremely pleased with these arguments, he gave orders that an addition should be made to the wages of the soldiers by the amount of the redemption money.  That twenty drachms should be paid to the owners for every slave, and that a public order be issued with the register of the captives attached to it.

36.  He showed great enthusiasm in the business, for God had brought our purpose to fulfillment in its entirety, and constrained him not only to redeem those who had come into Egypt with the army of his father, but those as well who had come before in his kingdom.

37.  It was pointed out to him that the ransom money would exceed four hundred talents.

38.  And I think it would be useful to insert a copy of the decree, for in this, the dignity of the king who was empowered by God to save such a vast multitude, will be more manifested.

39.  The decree of the king ran as follows.  All who served in the army of our father in the campaign against Syria and Phenice in the attack upon the country of the Jews, and who came in possession of Jewish captives bringing them back to the city of Alexandria, and the land of Egypt, or sold them to others.

40.  And in the same any captives who were in our land before that time, or were brought here afterwards, all who possess such captives are required to at once set them at liberty receiving twenty drachms per head as ransom money.

41.  The soldiers will receive this gift added to their wages, the others from the king's treasury.

42.  We think that it was against our father's will, and against all propriety that they should have been made captives, and that the devastation of their land and the transportation of the Jews to Egypt was an act of military wantonness.

43.  The spoil, which fell to the soldiers on the field of battle, was all the booty, which they should have claimed.

44.  To in addition thereto reduce the people to slavery was an act of absolute injustice.  Wherefore since it is acknowledged that we are accustomed to render justice to all men, and especially to those who are unfairly in a condition of servitude.

45.  And since we strive to deal fairly with all men according to the demands of justice and piety, we have decreed, in reference to the persons of the Jews that are in any condition of bondage in any part of our dominion, that those who posses them shall receive the stipulated sum of money and set them at liberty.  And that no man shall show any tardiness in discharging his obligations.

46.  Within three clays after the publication of this decree, they must make a list of the slaves for the officers that are appointed to carry out our will, and immediately produce the persons of the captivity.

47.  For we consider that it will be advantageous to us, and to our affairs that the matter should be brought to a conclusion.

48.  Anyone who cares to, may give information about any one that disobey the decree on the condition that the man is proven guilty, he will then become his slave, his property however, will be given to the royal treasury.

49.  When thus the decree was brought to be read to the king for his approval, it contained all the other provisions except the phrase, any captives that were in the land before that time, or were brought here afterwards.

50.  And in his dignity and largeness of his heart, the king inserted this clause.  And he gave orders that the grant of money required for the redemption should be deposited in full with the paymasters of the forces, and the royal bankers.  And so the matter was decided and the decree ratified within seven days.

51.  The grant for the redemption amounted to more than six hundred and sixty talents, since also many infants at the breast were emancipated together with their mothers.

52.  And when the question was raised weather the sum of twenty drachms was to be paid for these also, the king offered that it should be done, and thus he carried out his decision in the most comprehensive way.

 

      Chapter 2

1.   When this had been done, he ordered Demetrius to draw up a memorial with regard to the transcription of the Jewish books.

2.   For all affairs of state used to be carried out by means of decrees, and with most painstaking accuracy by these Egyptian kings, and nothing was done in a slipshod or haphazard fashion.

3.   And so I inserted copies of the memorial of the letters, the number of the precincts sent, and the nature of each, since every one of them excelled the magnificence and technical skill.

4.   The following is a copy of the memorial, that of Demetrius to the great king.  Since you have given me instructions O king that the books which were needed to complete the library should he collected together, and that those, which were defective should be repaired.

5.   I have devoted myself with the utmost care to the fulfillment of your wishes, and now have the following proposal to lay before you.  The books of the law of the Jews are absent from the library

6.   They are written in the Hebrew characters and language, and have been carelessly interpreted, and do not represent the original text, so I am informed by those that know; for they never had a kingís care to protect them.

7.   It is necessary that these should be made accurate for your library, since the law, which they contain, inasmuch as it is of divine origin, is full of wisdom and free of all blemishes.

8.   For this reason literary men and poets, and the mass of historical writers, and the men who have lived and are living in accord with them, held aloof from referring to these books because their conception of life is so sacred and religious as Hecataeus of Abdera says;

9.   If it pleases you O king, a letter shall be written to the high priest in Jerusalem asking him to send six elders out of each tribe, men who have lived the noblest life and are most skilled in their law.

10.  This in order that we may find out these points in which the majority of them are in agreement, and so having obtained an accurate translation, that the same may be placed in a conspicuous place in a manner worthy of the work itself, so that this purpose of yours may continually prosper.

11.  When therefore this memorial had been presented, the king ordered a letter to be written to Eleazar giving him also an account of the emancipation of the captives.

12.  And he gave 50 talents of gold, and seventy talents of silver, and a large quantity of precious stones to make bowls and vials, and a table and libation cups.

13.  He also gave orders to those who had the custody of the coffers to allow the artificers to make a selection of the materials that they might require for the purpose, and that 100 talents in money should be sent to provide sacrifices for the temple and for other needs.

14.  I shall give you a full account of the workmanship after I have set before you the copies of the letters, the letter of the king are then as follows;

15.  King Ptolemy sends greetings and salutation to the high priest Eleazar.

16.  Since there are many Jews settled in our realm who were carried off from Jerusalem by the Persians at the time of their power, and many more who came with my father into Egypt as captives.  Of these, large numbers were placed in the army, and were paid higher wages than usual.  And having proved the loyalty of their leaders, he built fortresses and placed them in their charge so that the native Egyptians might be intimidated by them.

17.  And when I ascended the throne, I adopted a kindly attitude to all my subjects, and more particularly to those who were citizens of yours.  I have set more than a hundred thousand captives at liberty, paying their owners the appropriate market price for them, and if ever any evil has been done to your people through the passion of the mob, I have made them reparation.

18.  The motive which prompted my action has been the desire to act piously and render to the supreme God a thank offering for maintaining my kingdom in peace and great glory in all the world.

19.  Moreover, I have drafted those of your people who were in the prime of their life into my army, and those who were fit to be attached to my person, and those worthy of the confidence of the court I established in official positions.

20.  Since then I am anxious to show my gratitude to these men, and to the Jews throughout the world, and to the generations yet to come, I have determined that your law shall be translated from the Hebrew tongue, which is in use among you, into the Greek language, that these books may be added to the other royal books in my library

21.  It therefore will be a kindness on your part, and a reward for my zeal if you will select six elders from each of your tribes, men of noble life, and skilled in your law, and able to interpret it, that in questions of dispute we may be able to discover the verdict in which the majority agrees, for the investigation is of the highest possible importance.

22.  I hope to win great renown by the accomplishment of this work, and I have sent Andreas, the chief of my bodyguard, and Aristheas - men whom I hold in high esteem, to lay the matter before you.

23.  Together with a hundred talents of silver, the first-fruits of my offering for the temple and the sacrifices and other religious rites.

24.  If you will write to me concerning your wishes in these matters - you will confer a great favor on me and afford me a new pledge of friendship, for all your wishes shall be carried out as speedily as possible.  Farewell.

        Eleazarís letter.

25.  To this letter Eleazar replied appropriately as follows; Eleazar the high priest sends greetings to King Ptolemy his true friend.

26.  My highest wishes are for your welfare and the welfare of queen Arsinoe your sister, and your children.

27.  I also am well; I have received your letter and rejoice greatly in your purpose and your noble counsel.

28.  I summoned together the whole people and read it to them that they might know of your devotion to our God.

29.  I showed them also the cups which you sent, 20 of gold and 30 of silver, the five bowls, and the table of dedication, and the hundred talents of silver for the offering of the sacrifices and for the things in which the temple is of need.

30.  These gifts were brought to me by Andreas, one of your most honored servants, and by Aristheas, both good men and true, distinguished by their learning, and worthy in every way to be representatives of your high principles and righteous purposes.

31.  The men imparted your message to me and received an answer from me in agreement with your letter; I will consent to everything, which is advantageous to you, even though your request is very unusual.

32.  For you have bestowed great and never to be forgotten benefits on our citizens in many ways.  Immediately therefore I offered sacrifices on behalf of you, your sister, your children, and your friends.

33.  And all the people prayed that your plans might continually prosper, and that Almighty God might preserve your kingdom in peace with honor, and that the translation of the holy law might prove advantageous to you, and be carried out successfully.

34.  In the presence of all the people I selected six elders from each tribe, good and true men, and I have sent them to you with a copy of our law.

35.  It will be a kindness O righteous king if you will give instructions that as soon as the translation of the law is completed the men shall be restored to us in safety.  Farewell.

36.  The following are the names of the elders.  Of the first tribe, Joseph, Hezekiah, Zachariah, John, Hezekiah, Elisha.

37.  Of the second tribe, Judas, Simon, Samuel, Adaus, Matthatias, Eschlemias.  Of the third tribe, Nehemia, Joseph, Theodosius, Baseas, 0rnias, Dakis.

38.  Of the fourth tribe, Jonathan, Abraeus, Elisha, Ananias, Chabrias.  Of the fifth tribe, Isaac, Jacob, Jesus, Sabbataeus, Simon, Levi.

39.  Of the sixth tribe, Judas, Joseph, Simon, Zacharias, Samuel, Selemas.  Of the seventh tribe, Sabbatocus, Zedekiah, Jacob, Isaac, Jesias, Natthaeus.

40.  Of the eight tribe, Theodosius, Jason, Jesus, Theodotus, John, Jonathan.  Of the ninth tribe, Theodosius, Abraham, Arsamos, Jason, Endemias, Daniel.

41.  Of the tenth tribe, Jeremiah, Eleazar, Zachariah, Baneas, Elisha, Dathaeus.  Of the eleventh tribe, Samuel, Joseph, Judas, Jonathes, Chabu, Dositheus.

42.  Of the twelfth tribe, Isaelus, John, Theodosius, Arsamos, Ablates, Ezekiel.

43.  They were seventy-two in all.  Such was the answer which Eleazar and his friends gave to the king's letter.

 

      Chapter 3

       Description of the artwork.

1.  I will now proceed to redeem my promise and give a description of the works of art.

2.  They were made with exceptional skill, for the king spared no expense and personally supervised the workmen.

3.  They could not therefore scamp any part of the work or finish it off negligently.  I first of all I will give you a description of the table.

4.  The king was anxious that this piece of work should be of exceptional large dimensions, and he made inquiry of the local Jews as to the size of the table currently in the temple at Jerusalem.

5.  And when they described the measurements, he proceeded to ask whether he might make a larger structure.

6.  And some of the priests and other Jews replied that there was nothing to prevent him.

7.  And he said that he was anxious to make it five times its size, but he hesitated lest it should prove useless for the temple services.

8.  He desired that his gift should not merely be stationed in the temple, but that it would give him much greater pleasure if the men that performed the sacrifices were able appropriately to so on the table, which he had made.

9.  He did not suppose that it was owing to lack of gold that the former table had been of a smaller dimension, but there seems to have been, so he said, some reason why it was made of this dimension.

10.  For had the order been given, there would have been no lack of means, wherefore we must not transgress or go beyond the proper measure.

11.  At the same time he ordered them to press into service all the manifold form of art, for he was a man of most lofty conceptions and nature, God having endowed him with a keen imagination which enabled him to picture the appearance which would be presented.

12.  He also ordered, that where there were no instructions laid down in the scriptures, there everything should be made as beautiful as possible.

13.  And when such instructions were laid down, they were to be carried out to the letter.  They made the table 2 cubits long and one cubit wide, and a half cubit high, fashioning it of pure solid gold.

14.  What I am describing was not thin gold placed over another foundation, but the whole structure was of massive, of gold welded together.  And they made a border round about it of a hand's width.

15.  And there was a wreath of wave-work engraved in relief in the form of ropes marvelously wrought on its three sides.

16.  For it was triangular in shape, the style of the work being exactly the same on all sides.

17.  Of the two sides under the border, the one, which sloped down to the table, was a very beautiful piece of work, but it was the outer side, which attracted the gaze of the spectator.

18.  The upper edge of the two sides then, being elevated, was sharp, since as we have said, the rim was three sided from whatever point of view one approached it.

19.  And there were layers of precious stones in the midst of the embossed cord-work, and they were interwoven with one another by an inimitable artistic device.

20.  And for sake of security they were all fixed by golden needles which were inserted in perforations in the stones, and at the sides they were clamped together by fastenings to hold them firm.

21.  On the part of the border around the table which slanted upwards and met the eyes, there was made a pattern of eggs in precious stones elaborately engraved by a continues piece of fluted relief-work, closely connected together around the whole table.

22.  And under the stones which had been arranged to represent eggs, the artist made a crown containing all kinds of fruits having its top clusters of grapes and ears of corn, and dates, and also apples, and pomegranates and the like, conspicuously arranged.

23.  These fruits were made of precious stones, of the same color as the fruits themselves, and they fastened them edgewise around the sides of the table with a band of gold.

24.  And after the crown of fruit had been put on, another pattern of eggs in precious stones was inserted, and other fluting and embossed work, so that both sides of the table might be used according to the wishes of the owners.  And for this reason the wave-work and the border were extended down to the feet of the table.

25.  And they made and fastened under the whole width of the table a massive plate four fingers thick where the feet might be inserted into, and clamped with linchpins fitted into sockets under the border, so that one might use whichever side of the table people preferred,

26.  Thus it became manifestly clear that the work was intended to be used either way.

27.  On the table itself was an engraved meander, with precious stones standing out in the middle of it, rubies, emeralds, and also onyx, and many other kinds of stones which excel in beauty.

28.  And next to the meander was a wonderful piece of network which made the center of the table appear like a rhomboid in shape, upon which were crystal and amber, as it is called, that produced an incomparable impression on the beholder.

29.  They made the feet of the table with beads like lilies, so that they seemed to be like lilies bending down beneath the table, and the parts which were visible represented leaves with stood upright.

30.  The base of the foot on the circle consisted of a ruby and measured a hand's width all around, it had the appearance of a show, and was eight fingers broad.  On it the whole expanse of the foot rested. 

31.  And they made the foot appear like ivy growing out of the stone interwoven with akanthus, and surrounded with a vine which encircled it with clusters of grapes that were worked in stones up to the top of the foot.

32.  All four feet were made of the same style, and everything was made and fitted skillfully.  Indeed such remarkable skill and knowledge was expended on making it true to nature - that when the air was stirred by a breath of wind, movement was imparted to the leaves.  And everything else was fashioned to correspond with the actual reality, which it represented.

33.  And they made the top of the table in three parts like a triptyehon, which were fitted and dovetailed together with spigots along the whole breadth of the work so that the joints could not be seen.

34.  The thickness of the table, being a half cubit, made the whole work as to have cost many talents.  For since the king did not wish to add to its size, he expanded the same sum of money on the details which would have been required if the table could have been of a larger dimension.

35.  Everything was completed in accordance with his plan in a most wonderful and remarkable way with inimitable art and incomparable beauty.

36.  Of the mixing bowls, two were wrought in gold, and were engraved with relief work in the pattern of scales from the base to the middle, and between the scales precious stones were inserted with great artistic skill.

37.  Then there was a meander, a cubit in height, with its surface worked out of precious stones of many colors displaying great.  Beauty, and on this, in the appearance, was a mosaic worked out reaching right up to the brim.

38.  Small shields set in the middle were made alternately, and of varying in kind, not less beautiful in appearance.

39.  On the top of the brim, as an ornament, were clusters of grapes engraved all around.  Such then was the construction of the golden bowls, and they held more than two firkins each.

40.  The silver bowls had a smooth surface and were wonderfully made as if they were intended for looking glasses, so that everything which was brought near to them was reflected even more clearly than in mirrors.

41.  But it is impossible to describe the real impression, which these works of art produced on the minds when they were finished.

42.  For when these vessels had been completed and placed side by side, first a silver bowl and then a golden, then another silver, and another golden, the appearance they presented is altogether indescribable.  And those who came to see them were not able to tear themselves from the brilliant sight and entrancing spectacle.

43.  The impressions produced by the spectacle were various in kind.  When men looked at the golden vessels, their minds making a complete survey of the detail of the workmanship their souls were thrilled with wonder.

44.  And again, when one directed his gaze to the silver vessels as they stood before him, everything seemed to flash with light round about to where he was standing, and so afforded a still greater delight to the onlookers.

45.  Thus it is near to impossible to describe the artistic beauty of the works, and the golden vials were engraved in the center with vine wreaths.

46.  And around the rim they wove a wreath of ivy and myrtle and olive in relief work and inserted precious stones in it.

47.  The other part of the relief work was worked out in different patterns since they made it a point of honor to complete everything in a way worthy of the majesty of the king.

48.  It may be said that such works, as these in cost or in artistic skill were not equaled in the king's treasure nor in any other.

49.  For the king spend no little thought on them, for he loved to gain glory for the excellence of his designs.

50.  He would oftentimes neglect his official business and spend his time with the artists being anxious that they should complete everything in a manner worthy of the place to which the gifts were to be sent.

51.  So everything was carried out on a grand scale, in a manner worthy of the king making the present, and of the high priest receiving it.

52.  He did not hold back on precious stones, no less than five thousand were used, and all were of large size.

53.  The most exceptional artistic skill was employed so that the cost of the stones and the workmanship was five times as much as that of the gold.

 

      Chapter 4

1.   I have given you this description because I thought it necessary, the next point is the account of our journey to Eleazar, but I will first give you an account of the whole country.

2.   When we arrived in the land of the Jews we saw the city situated in the middle of Judea on the top of a mountain of considerable altitude.

3.   On the summit thereof the temple was built in all its splendor, and surrounded by three walls more than seventy cubits high, their length, and width corresponding to the structure of the edifice.

4.   All the buildings were magnificent in unprecedented cost; it was obvious that no cost was spared on the door and fastenings, which connected it with the doorposts and the stability of the lintel.

5.   The style of the curtain too was exactly in proportion to that of the entrance, its fabric, in perpetual motion by the breeze upon it, was down to the bottom.  And the curtain bulged at its highest part, thus affording a pleasant spectacle from which a man could scarcely tear himself away.

6.   The construction of the altar was in keeping with the place itself, and with the burnt offerings which were consumed by fire on it, and the approach to it was on a similar scale.

7.   There was a gradual slope up to it conveniently arranged for the purpose of decency, and the ministering priests were robed in linen garments down to the ankles.

8.   The temple faces the east, and the whole of the floor is paced with stones, and slopes down to the appointed places so that the water might run off that washes the blood from the sacrifices.

9.   For many thousands of beasts were sacrificed there on the feast days, and there is an inexhaustible supply of water because an abundant natural spring gushes up from within the temple area.

10.  There were also marvelous underground cisterns at a distance of five furlongs all around the site of the temple, and each of them had many pipes so that the different streams converged together.

11.  And all this was fastened with lead at the bottom and at the walls over which was much plaster, all this work had been carried out most carefully.

12.  At the base of the altar were many openings that were invisible except to those who ministered there so that all the blood of the sacrifices, which comes in great quantity, is washed away in the twinkling of an eye.

13.   Such is my opinion with regard to the character of the reservoirs, and I will now show you how it was confirmed.

14.  They led me more than four furlongs outside the city and bade me to look towards a certain spot, and listen to the noise that was made by the waters as they converged there, which manifested to me the great size of the reservoir.

15.  The ministry of the priests is in every way unsurpassed, both for its physical endurance, and for its orderly and silent service, for they all work spontaneously even though it entails much painful exertion, and each one has a special task allotted to him.

16.  The service is carried on without interruption, some provide the wood, others the oil, others the fine wheat flour, others spices, and again others bring the pieces of flesh for the burnt offering showing a marvelous degree of strength.

17.  For with both hands they pick up the limbs of a calf each of them weighing more than two talents, and throw them with each hand in a marvelous way on the high place of the altar, and never miss placing them on the proper spot.

18.  In the same way the pieces of the sheep and of the goats for their weight and their fatness are marvelous, for they always select such as are without blemish and specially fat, and so the sacrifice is carried out.

19.  And there is a special place set apart for the men to rest, relieving each other in duty, when this takes place the rested one rise up spontaneously, for there is no-one giving orders.

20.  And the silence is such that one might imagine that there was only a single person present though there are in fact some seven hundred men engaged in the work, besides the vast number who are occupied in bringing forth the sacrifices.

21.  And everything is carried out with reverence in a way worthy of the great God.

22.  And we marveled greatly when we saw Eleazar in his ministry in the mode of his dress and the majesty of his appearance, which was revealed in his robe, which he wore, and the precious stones on his person.

23.  There were golden bells on the garment which reached down to his feet giving forth a peculiar kind of melody, and on both sides of them were pomegranates with variegated flowers of a wonderful hue.

24.  He was girded with a girdle of conspicuous beauty woven in the most beautiful colors.  And on his breast he wore the oracle of God, as it is called, on which twelve stones of different kind were inset.

25.  They were fastened together with gold containing the names of the leaders of the tribes according to their order each one flashing forth in an indescribable way each its own particular color.

26.  On his head he wore a tiara, as it is called, and on this in the middle of his forehead an inimitable turban, the royal diadem full of glory with the name of God inscribed in sacred letters on a plate of gold - having been judged worthy to wear these in the ministry.

27.  Their appearance created such awe and confusion of mind as to make one feel that one had come in the presence of a man who belonged to a different world.

28.  I am convinced that any one that takes part in the spectacle which I have described, will be filled with astonishment and wonder, and be profoundly affected in his mind at the thought of the sanctity which is attached to each detail of the service.

29.  But in order that we might gain complete information we ascended to the summit of the neighboring citadel and looked around us.  It is situated in a very lofty spot and is fortified with many towers, which to the very top are built-up with immense stones.  The object of which was, so we were informed, to guard the temple precincts.

30.  So that if there were an attack, or an insurrection, or an onslaught of the enemy, no one would be able to force an entrance within the walls that surround the temple.

31.  On the towers of the citadel engines of war of different kinds were placed - the position of which was higher that the circle of the walls which I have mentioned.

32.  The towers also were guarded by most trusty men who had given the utmost proof of loyalty to their country, and these men were not allowed to leave the citadel except on feast-days and then only in detachments, nor did they permit any stranger to enter it.

33.  They also were very careful when any command from the chief came to admit any visitor to inspect the place as our own experience also taught us.

34.  For they were very reluctant to admit us - though we were only two unarmed men - to view the offering of the sacrifices.

35.  And they asserted that they were bound by an oath, for they all had sworn and were bound to carry out the oath to the letter, and though they were 500 in number they would not permit more than 5 men to enter at any one time.

36.  The citadel was the special protection of the temple and its founder had fortified it so strongly as to effectively protect it.

 

       Chapter 5

1.   The size of the city is moderate in dimensions, is as far as one could conjecture, about forty furlongs in circumference.

2.   It has its towers arranged in the shape of a theater with thoroughfares leading between them with the crossroads of the lower towers visible, but those of the upper towers are more used.

3.   For the ground ascends since the city is built on a mountain, and there are steps leading up to the crossroads, and people are always going up on them while others go down on them.

4.   And they keep as far apart from the other as possible on the road because of the rules of purity, lest they should touch anything, which is unlawful.

5.   It was not without reason that the original founders of the city built it in due proportions for they possessed clear insight with regard to what was required.

6.   The country is extensive and beautiful, some parts of it are level, especially in the districts of Samaria which borders on the land of the Idumeans, other parts are mountainous - those regions which are contiguous to the land of Judea.

7.   The people therefore are bound to devote themselves to agriculture and cultivation of the soil that by this means they may have plentiful supply of crops.

8.   In this way cultivation of every kind is carried on and an abundant harvest reaped in the whole of the land.

9.   The cities, which are large and enjoy a corresponding prosperity, are well populated, but they neglect the country district since all men are inclined to a life of enjoyment, for everyone has a natural tendency towards the pursuit of pleasure.

10.  The same thing happened in Alexandria, which excels all cities in size and prosperity, country people by migration from the rural districts and settling in the city brought agriculture into disrepute.

11.  And so to prevent them from settling in the city the king issued orders that they should not stay in it for more than twenty days.

12.  And in the same way he gave the judges written instructions that if it was necessary to issue a summons against anyone who lived in the country - the case must be settled within five days.

13.  And since he considered the matter of great importance he appointed legal officers for every district with their assistants that the farmers and their advocates might not in the interest of business empty the granaries of the city, I mean of the produce of the husbandry.

14.  I have permitted this discretion because it was Eleazar who pointed out with great clarity the points, which have been mentioned.

15.  For again the energy spend on the tillage of the soil is great, and the land is thickly planted with multitudes of olive trees, and with crops of corn and pulse, and with vines and there is an abundance of honey.

16.  Other kind of fruit trees and dates do not count in comparison with these, and there is cattle of all kinds in great quantity and a rich pasture for them.

17.  Wherefore they rightly recognize that the country district needs a large population, and the relation between the city and the villages are properly regulated.

18.  A great quantity of spices and precious stones and gold is brought into the country by the Arabs.  For the country is well adapted not only for agriculture but also for commerce, and the city is rich in the arts and lacks none of the merchandise which is brought across the sea.

19.  It also has suitable harbors for commodities at Askalon, Joppa, and Gaza, as well as at Ptolemais, which was founded by the king and holds a central position compared with the other places and being not far from them.

20.  The country produces everything in abundance since it is well watered in all directions and well protected from storms.

21.  The river Jordan, as it is called, which never runs dry, flows through the land, and originally the country contained not less than 60 million acres, though afterwards the neighboring peoples made incursions against it, and 600.000 men were settled on it in farms of a hundred acres each.

22.  The river, like the Nile, rises in harvest time and irrigates a large portion of the land, and near the district of Ptolemais issues another river, which flows out into the sea.

23.  The other mountain torrents flow down into the plain and compass the parts around Gaza and the district of Ashdod.

24.  The country is encircled by a natural fence and difficult to attack and cannot be assailed by large forces owing to the narrow passes with their overhanging precipices and deep ravines and the rugged character of the mountain regions, which surround all the land.

25.  We were told that from the neighboring mountains of Arabia copper and iron were formerly obtained, but this was stopped at the time of the Persian rule.

26.  For the authorities of the time spread the false report that the working of the mines was useless and expensive.  And in order to prevent their country from being destroyed by that mining in these districts and possibly taken from them owing to the rule of the Persians, so by this false report they found an excuse to enter the district.

27.  I have now my dear brother Philocrates given you the essential information on this subject in brief; I shall now describe the work of the translation in the sequel.

28.  The high priest selected men of the finest character and the highest culture, such as one would expect from their noble parentage.

29.  These were men who had not only acquired proficiency in Jewish literature but had most carefully studied that of the Greeks as well.

30.  They were specially qualified for serving on embassies, and they undertook this duty whenever it is needed, and they were well able in conferences and the discussions of problems connected with the law.

31.  They espoused the middle course, and this is always the best course to pursue, they abjured the rough and uncouth manner, but were above pride and never assumed an air of superiority over others, and in conversation were ready to listen and give an appropriate answer to every question.

32.  And they all carefully observed this rule and were anxious above everything else to excel each other in observing the same.

33.  And one could observe how they loved Eleazar by their unwillingness to be torn away from him, and how he loved them.  For besides the letter, which he wrote to the king concerning their safe return, he also earnestly besought Andreas to work for the same end and urged me too to assist to the best of my ability.

34.  And although we promised to give our best attention to the matter, he said that he was still greatly distressed.  For he knew that the king out of the goodness of his nature considered it his highest privilege that whenever he heard of a man who was superior to his fellows in culture and wisdom to summon him to his court.

35.  For I have heard of a fine saying of his to the effect that by securing just and prudent men around his person - he would secure the greatest protection for his kingdom since such friends would unreservedly give him the most beneficial advice.

36.  And the men who were now being sent to him by Eleazar undoubtedly possessed these qualities.  And he frequently asserted on an oath that he would never let the men go if it were merely some private interest of his own that constituted the impelling motive.

37.  But it was for the common advantage of all the citizens that he was sending them, for he explained; the good life consist in keeping of the law, and this end is achieved much more by hearing than by reading.

38.  From this and similar statements it was clear what his feelings towards them was.

 

      Chapter 6

      The law.

1.   It is worthwhile to briefly mention the information, which he gave in reply to our questions.

2.   For I suppose that most people feel a curiosity with regard to some of the enactment in the law, especially those about meats and drinks and animals recognized as unclean.

3.   When we asked; why, since there is but one form of creation come animals are recognized as unclean for eating, and others unclean even to the touch, he began his reply as follows;

4.   You observe what effect the modes of our life and our association produce upon us, by associating with the bad men catch their depravities and become miserable throughout their life, but if they live with the wise ad prudent they find the means to escape from ignorance amending their lives.

5.   Our Lawgiver first of all laid down the principle, of piety and righteousness and inculcated them point by point, not merely by prohibitions but by the use of examples as well demonstrating the injuries effect of sin and the punishment afflicted by God upon the guilty.

6.   For He proved first of all that there is only One God, and that His power is manifested throughout the universe since every place is filled with His sovereignty and none of the things which are wrought in secret by me, on the earth escapes His knowledge.

7.   For all that a man does, and all that is to come in the future are manifest to Him, and working out these truths carefully and having made it plain;

8.   He showed that even if a man should think of doing evil to say nothing of even affecting it he would not escape detection, for He made it clear that the power of God pervaded the whole of the law.

9.   Beginning from this starting-point He went on to show that all mankind except ourselves believe in the existence of many gods - though themselves they are more powerful than the things which they vainly worship.

10.  For when they have made statues of stone and wood - they say that they are an image of those who have invented something useful for life - and they worship them, although they have clear proof that they possess no feeling.

11.  For it would be utterly foolish to suppose that any one became a god by virtue of his inventions.  For the inventors simply took certain objects already created, and by combing them together showed that they possessed a fresh utility. 

12.  They did not themselves create the substance of the thing, and so it is a vain and foolish thing for people to make gods of men like themselves.

13.  For in our times there are many who are much more inventive and much more learned than the men of former days who have deified and yet they would never come to worship them.

14.  The makers and authors of these myths think that they are the wisest of the Greeks, and why speak of other infatuated people, snob such as the Egyptians and the like,

15.  Who place their reliance on wild beast and most kinds of creeping things and cattle, and worship them and offer sacrifices to the dead or alive.

16.  Now our lawgiver (Moses) being a wise man and especially endowed by God to understand all things, took a comprehensive view of each particular detail and fenced us round about with impregnable ramparts and walls of iron that we might not mingle at all with any of the other nations but remain pure in body and soul, free from all vain imaginations worshipping the One Almighty God above the whole creation.

17.  Hence the leading Egyptian priests having looked carefully into many matters and being cognizant with our affairs, call us men of God.

18.  This is a title, which does not belong to the rest of mankind, but only to those who worship the true God.  The rest are men not of God, but of meats and drinks and clothing.

19.  For their whole disposition leads them to find solace in these things, and thus are reckoned of no account but to these things.

20.  While among our people their main consideration is the sovereignty of God, therefore, lest we be corrupted by any abomination, or our lives be perverted by evil communication, He hedged us round about on all sides by rules of purity affecting alike what we eat, drink, touch, hear, or see.

21.  For though speaking generally all things are alike in their constitution since they are all governed by one the same power, yet there is a deep reason in each individual case why we abstain from the use of certain things and enjoy the common use of others.

22.  For sake of illustration I will run over one or two points and explain them to you.  For you must not fall into the degrading idea that it was out of regard for mice and weasels and other such things that Moses drew up his laws with such exceeding care.

23.  All these ordinances were made for the sake of righteousness to aid the quest for virtue and the perfecting of character.

24.  For all the birds that we use are tame and distinguished by their cleanliness feeding on various kind of grain and pulse, such as for instance pigeons, turtledoves, locust, partridges, and geese also and other birds of this class.

25.  But the birds, which are forbidden you, will find to be wild and carnivorous tyrannizing over others by the strength, which they possess obtaining food by cruelty preying on the tame birds.

26.  And not only so, but they seize lambs and kids and injure human beings too whether dead or alive, and so by naming them unclean he gave a sign by means of them that those for whom the legislation was ordained must practice righteousness in their hearts.

27.  And not tyrannize over anyone in reliance on their own strength nor rob them of anything, but steer their course of life in accord with justice just as the tame birds consume the different kind of pulse that grows on the earth and not tyrannize to the destruction of their own kindred.

28.  Our Legislator taught us therefore that it is by such methods as these that indications are given to the wise that they might be just and effect nothing by violence, and refrain from tyranny over others relying on their own strength.

29.  For since it is unseemly to even touch such unclean animals as have been mentioned on account of their particular habit, ought we not take every precaution lest our own characters be destroyed to the same extend?

30.  Wherefore all the rules which He laid down with regard to what is permitted in the case of these animals, He acted with the object to teach us a moral lesson.

31.  For the division of the hoof and the separation of the claws are intended to teach us that we must discriminate between our individual actions with a view to practice virtue.

32.  For the strength of our whole body and its activity depend on our shoulders and limbs, therefore He compels us to recognize that we must perform all our actions with discrimination according to the standard of righteousness - and that especially since we are distinctly separated from the rest of mankind.

33.  For most other men defile themselves by adulterous intercourse thereby working great iniquity, and whole countries and cities pride themselves on such vices.

34.  For they not only have intercourse with men, but they defile their own mothers and even their daughters, but we have been kept separate from such sins.

35.  And the people who have been separated are also characterized by the Lawgiver as possessing the gift of memory, for all animals which are cloven footed and chew the cud - represent the initiated symbol of memory.

36.  For the act of chewing the cud is nothing else than the reminiscence of life and existence, for life is wont to be sustained by means of food, wherefore He also exhorts us in the scriptures saying;

37.  You shall surely remember the Lord who wrought in you these great and marvelous things.  For when they are properly conceived they are manifestly great and glorious.

38.  First the construction of the body and the disposition of the food and the separation of each individual limb.  And again the organization of the senses, the operation of the invisible movement of the mind, the speed of its actions and its discovery of the arts displaying also an infinite resourcefulness.

39.  Wherefore He exhorts us to remember that these said parts are kept together by the divine power with consummate skill.

40.  For He has marked out both time and place that we may continually remember the God who rules and preserves us.

41.  For in the matter of meats and drinks He bid us first of all to offer parts as a sacrifice, and then forthwith enjoy our meat.

42.  Moreover, upon our garments he has given us a symbol of remembrance, and in like manner He has ordered us to put the divine oracles on our gates and doors as a remembrance of God.

43.  And upon our hands also He expressly orders the symbol to be fastened, clearly showing that we ought to perform every act in righteousness remembering our own creation, and above all the fear of God.

44.  He bids men also when lying down to sleep and rising up again - to meditate upon the works of God, and not only in word, but by distinctly observing the change and impression produced on them when they are going to sleep.  And also their waking how divine and incomprehensive the change from one of these states is to the other.

45.  The Excellency of the analogy in regard to discrimination and memory has now been pointed out to you, according to the interpretation of the cloven foot and the chewing of the cud.

46.  For our laws have not been drawn up at random or in accord with the first casual thought that occurred to the mind, but with a view to truth and the indication of right reason.

47.  For by means of the direction, which He gives with regard to meats and drinks and particular cases of touching - He bids us neither to do nor listen to anything thoughtlessly, nor to resort to injustice by the abuse of the power of reason.

48.  In the case of the wild animals too the same principle may be discovered, for the character of the weasel and of mice and such animals as these, which were mentioned, is destructive.

49.  Mice defile and damage everything, not only for their own food, but even to the extend of rendering absolutely useless to man whatever falls in their way to damage.

50.  The class of weasels too is peculiar, for besides what has been said, it has a characteristic which is defiling it conceives through the ears and brings forth through the mouth.

51.  And it is for this reason that a like practice is declared unclean in men, for by embodying in speech all that they receive through the ears they involve others in evils and work no ordinary impurity, being altogether defiled themselves by the pollution of impiety.

52.   And your king, as we are informed, does quite right in destroying such men.

53.  Then I said; I suppose you mean the informers, for he constantly exposes them to tortures and to painful forms of death.

54.  Yes, he replied, these are the men I mean, for to watch for men's destruction is an unholy thing, and our law forbids us to injure anyone either by word or deed.

55.  My brief account of these matters ought to have convinced you that all our regulations have been drawn up with a view to righteous-ness, and that nothing has been enacted thoughtlessly in the scriptures or without due reason.

56.  But its purpose is to enable us throughout our whole life and in all our actions to practice righteousness before all men, being mindful of Almighty God.

57.  And so concerning meats and things unclean, creeping things, and wild beasts, the whole system aims at righteousness and righteous relationships between man and man.

58.  He seemed to me to have made a good defense on all of the points, for in reference also to the calves and rams and goats which are offered.

59.  He said that it was necessary to take them from the herds and flocks and sacrifice tame animals and offer nothing wild that the persons offering the sacrifices might understand the symbolic meaning of the Lawgiver, and not be under the influence of an arrogant self-consciousness.

60.  For he who offers a sacrifice also makes an offering of his own soul in all of its moods.

 

      Chapter 7

1.   Eleazar, after offering the sacrifice and selecting the envoys and preparing many gifts for the king, dispatched us on our journey in great security.

2.   And when we reached Alexandria the king was at once informed of our arrival.  And on our admission to the palace Andreas and I warmly greeted the king and handed to him the letter written by Eleazar.

3.   The king was very anxious to meet the envoys and gave orders that all the other officials should be dismissed, and the envoys summoned to his presence at once.  This now exited general surprise, for it is customary for those who come to seek an audience with the king on matters of importance, to be admitted to him

4.   On the fifth day while envoys from kings, or very important cities with difficulty - secure admission to the court in thirty days.  But these men were counted worthy of greater honor since he held their Master in such great esteem, and so he immediately dismissed those whose presence he regarded superfluous and continued walking about until they came in and he was able to welcome them.

5.   And when they entered with the gifts, which had, been sent with them and the valuable parchments on which the law was inscribed in gold in Jewish characters.  For the parchment was wonderfully prepared, and the connection between the pages had been so effected as to be invisible, the king as soon as he saw them began to ask them about the books.

6.   And when they had taken the rolls out of their coverings and unfolded the pages, the king stood still for a long time, and making obeisance about seven times, he said;

7.   I thank you my friends, and I thank him that sent you still more, and most of all God whose oracles these are

8.   And when all the envoys and the others who were present shouted out, God save the king, he burst into tears of joy.

9.   For his exaltation of soul, and the sense of the overwhelming honor which had been paid him compelled him to weep over his good fortune.

10.  He commanded them to put the rolls back in their places, and after saluting the men he said.  It was right men of God that I should first of all pay my reverence to the books for the sake of which I summoned you here, and then extend you the right-hand of friendship.

11.  It was for that reason that I did this first, I have enacted that this day on which you arrived shall be kept as a great day, and it will be celebrated annually throughout my lifetime.

12.  It also so happens that it is the anniversary of my naval victory over Antigonus, therefore I shall be glad to feast with you today.

13.  Everything that you may have occasion to use shall be prepared for you in a fitting manner, and for me with you.

14.  Then, after they had expressed their delight, he gave orders that the best quarters near the citadel should be assigned to them, and that preparations be made for the banquet.

15.  And Nicanor summoned the high steward Dorotheus, who was the special officer appointed to look after the Jews, and commanded him to make the necessary preparation for each one.

16.  For this arrangement had been made by the king and it is the arrangement, which you see maintained to this day.

17.  For as many cities as have special customs in the matter of drinking eating and reclining, so special officers are appointed

18.  And whenever they come to visit the kings the preparations are made in accordance with their own customs in order that there may be no discomfort to disturb the enjoyment of their visit.

19.  The same precaution was taken in the case of the Jewish envoys.  And Dorotheus, who was the patron appointed to look after Jewish guests, was a very conscientious man.

20.  All the stores, which were under his control and set apart for the reception of such guests - he brought out for the feast.

21.  He arranged the seats in two rows according with the king's instructions, for he had ordered him to make half the men sit at his right hand, and the rest behind him in order that he might not withhold from them the highest possible honor.

22.  And when they had taken their seats he instructed Dorotheus to carry out everything in accord with the customs, which were in use among his Jewish guests.

23.  He therefore dispensed with the services of the sacred heralds and the sacrificing priests and the others who were accustomed to offer the prayers, and instead called on one of us namely Eleazar the oldest, to offer prayer.

24.  And he rose and made a remarkable prayer saying; May Almighty God enrich you O king with all the good things which He has made, and may He grant you and your wife and your children and comrades the continual possession of them as long as you live.

25.  At these words a loud and joyous applause broke out which lasted for a while, then they turned to the enjoyment of the banquet.

26.  Among the attendants now were the royal pages and others who held places of honor at the king's court, and taking an opportunity afforded by a pause the king asked the envoy how he could keep the kingdom unimpaired to the end.

27.  And pondering for a moment he replied; You can best establish its security by imitating the unceasing benignity of God, for if you exhibit clemency and inflict mild punishment on those who deserve them according to their deeds - you will turn them from their evil and lead them to repentance.

28.  The king then praised the answer and asked the next man, how he could do everything for the best in all his actions.

29.  And the man replied; If a man maintains a just bearing towards all he will always act rightly on every occasion remembering that every thought is known to God, if you take the fear of God as your starting point you will never miss the goal.

30.  The king then complimented this man also on his answer and asked another how he could have friends like minded with himself?

31.  And he replied if they see you study the interest of the multitude over which you rule - you will do well to observe how God bestows His benefit on the human race proving for them health, food, and other things in due season.

32.  After expressing his agreement with the reply, the king asked the next guest; how in giving audience and passing judgment he could gain the praise even of those who failed to win their suit?

33.  And he said; If you are fair in speech to all alike, and never act insolently nor tyrannically in your treatment of offenders, and if you watch the method by which God acts to wit;

34.  The petitions of the worthy are always fulfilled, while those who fail to obtain an answer to their prayer are informed by means of dreams or events of what was harmful in their request.  And that God does not smite them according to their sins or the greatness of His strength, but acts with forbearance towards them.

35.  The king praised him warmly for his answer and asked the next in order, how he could be invincible in military affairs.

36.  And he replied; If he did not trust entirely on his multitudes or his warlike forces, but called continually on God to bring his enterprise to a success, while he himself discharged all his duties in the spirit of justice.

37   Welcoming his answer he asked another how he might become an object of dread to his enemies.

38   And he replied; If while maintaining a vast supply of arms and forces he remembered that these things were powerless to achieve a permanent and conclusive result, for God instills fear into the minds of men by granting reprieves, and by making a display of His power.

39   The king then praised this man, and said to the next; what is the highest good in life?

40   And he answered, to know that God is Lord of the universe, and that in our finest achievements it is not we who attain success but God who by His power brings all things to fulfillment and leads us.

41   The king exclaimed that the man had answered well, then asked the next how he could keep all his possessions intact and finally hand them down to his successors in the same condition.

42   And he answered; by continually praying to God that you may be inspired with high motives in all your undertakings, and by warning your descendants not to be dazzled by fame or wealth, for it is God who bestows all these gifts, and men never by themselves win the supremacy.

43   The king expressed his agreement with the answer and inquired of the next quest; how he could bear with equanimity whatever befell him?

44   And he said; If you have a firm grasp of the thought that all men are appointed by God to share the greatest evil as well as the greatest good, since it is impossible for he who is man to be exempt from these, but God to whom we ought always pray inspires us with courage to endure.

45   Delighted with the man's reply, the king said that all their answers had been good, and I will put a question to one other, so he added, and then stop for the present that we may turn our attention to the enjoyment of the feast and spend a pleasant time.

46.  So he asked the man; what is the true dim of courage?  And he answered;

47.  If a right plan is carried out in the hour of danger in accord with the original intention, for all things are accomplished by God to your advantage 0 king since your purpose is good.

48.  And when all had signified their agreement to the answer by applause, the king said to the philosophers.  It is my opinion that these men excel in virtue and possess extra ordinary knowledge, since on the spur of the moment they gave fitting answers to these questions, and all have made God their starting point.

49.   And Menedemus, the philosopher of Eretria, said; True 0 king, for since the universe is managed by providence, and since we rightly perceive that man is the creation of God, it follows that all our power and beauty of speech proceeds from God.

50.  When the king had nodded his assent to this sentiment, the speaking ceased and they proceeded to enjoy themselves, the banquet coming to an end that evening.

 

      Chapter 8

1.  On the following day they sat down to the table again and continued the banquet according to the same arrangements.

2.  And when the king thought that a fitting opportunity had arrived to put inquiries to his guests he proceeded to ask further questions of the men who sat next.

3.  And he began to open the conversation with the eleventh man, and silence having been established, he asked; how he could continue to be rich?

4.  After a brief reflection the man who been asked the question replied.  If he did nothing unworthy of his position, never acted deceitfully never lavishly expended on empty and vain pursuits, but by benevolence made all his subjects well disposed towards himself, for it is God who is the Author of all good things, and man must needs obey Him.

5.  The king then bestowed praise on him and asked another how he could maintain the truth?

6.  In reply to the question he said; By recognizing that a lie brings great disgrace on all men, and more especially on kings, for they have the power to do whatever they wish, why thus should they resort to lies?

7.  And in addition to this you must always remember O king that God is a lover of the truth.

8.  The king received this answer with great delight, and looking at another said; what is the teaching of wisdom?

9.  And the man replied; As you wish that no evil should fall on you but to partake of good things - so you should act on the same principle towards your subjects and offenders, and mildly admonish the noble and good, for God draws all men to Himself by His benignity.

10.  The king praised him and asked the next in order, how he could be the friend of men?

11.  And he replied, by observing how the human race increases and is born with much trouble and suffering.  Wherefore you must not lightly punish or inflict torment on them, since you know that the life of men is made up of pain and penalties.  For if you understood everything you would be filled with pity, for God also is pitiful.

12.  The king received the answer with approbation and inquired of the next; what is the most essential qualification for ruling?

13.  To keep one-self free from bribery and to practice sobriety during the greater part of one's life, so he answered, and to honor righteousness above all things, and to make friends with men of that kind, for God also is a lover of justice.

14.  Having signified his approval the king said to another; what is the true mark of Piety?

15.  He replied; To perceive that God constantly works in the universe and knows all things, and no man who acts unjustly and that works wickedness can escape His notice, as God is the benefactor of the whole world, so you too must imitate Him and be void of offenses

16.  The king signified his agreement and said to another; what is the essence of kingship?

17.  He replied, to rule one-self well and not to be led astray by wealth or fame or immoderate or unseemly desires, for all one really needs is his own.  For again, God is free of need and at the same time benign, let your thoughts thus be such as become a man, and desire not many things but only such as are necessary for ruling.

18.  The king praised him and asked another, how his deliberations might be for the best?

19.  He replied; if he constantly set justice before him in everything, and realizes that injustice is equal to the depravation of life, for God always promises the highest blessings to the just.

20.  Having praised him the king asked the next, how he could be free from disturbing thoughts in his sleep?

21.  And he replied; You have asked me a question which is very difficult to answer, for we cannot bring our true selves into play during the hours of sleep, but are held in these imaginations which cannot be controlled by reason.

22.  For our souls possess the feeling that they actually see the things that enter into our consciousness during sleep.  But we make a mistake if we suppose that we are actually sailing on the sea in boats, or flying through the air, or traveling to other regions or anything else of the kind, and yet we actually do imagine such things to be taking place.

23.  So far as it is possible for me to decide I have reached the following conclusion.  You must in every possible way O king govern your word and actions by the rule of piety that you may have the consciousness that you are maintaining virtue and that you never choose to gratify yourself at the expense of reason, and never by abusing your power to despite righteousness.

24.  For the mind is busy in sleep mostly with the same things with which it is occupied while it is awake.  And he who has all his thoughts and actions set towards the noblest ends establishes himself in righteousness both when he is awake and when he is asleep, wherefore you must be steadfast in self-discipline.

25.  The king then bestowed praise on the man and said to another; Since you are the tenth to speak, when you have spoken we will devote ourselves to the banquet, then he put the question; How can I avoid doing anything unworthy of myself?

26.  And he replied; Look always to your own fame and your own supreme position that you may speak and think only such things as are consistent therewith, knowing that all your subjects think and talk about you.

27.  For you must not appear to be worse than the actors who study carefully the role which is necessary for them to play and shape all their actions in accordance with it.  You on the contrary are not acting a part, but truly are a king since God bestowed on you a royal authority in keeping with your character.

28.  When the king had loudly applauded in a most gracious way the guests were urged to seek repose, so when the conversation ceased, they devoted themselves to the next course of the feast.

29.  On the following day the same arrangement was observed, and the king finding an opportunity of putting questions to the men he questioned the first; what is the highest form of government?

30.  And he replied, to govern one-self, and not to be carried away by impulses.  For all men possess a certain natural bent of mind, it is probable that most men have an inclination towards food and drink and pleasure.  And kings bent towards the acquisition of territory and great renown, but it is good that there should be moderation in all things.

31.  What God gives that you must take and keep, but never yearn for things that are beyond your reach.

32.  And pleased with these words the king asked the next man; how he could he free of envy?

33.  And after a brief pause he replied.  If you consider first of all that it is God who bestows on all kings their glory and great wealth, and that no-one is king by his own power, for all men wish to share this glory but cannot since it is the gift of God.

34.  The king praised the man in a long speech and then asked another, How he could despise his enemies?

35.  He replied; if you show kindness to all men and win their friendship you need fear no one, to be popular with all men is the best of good gifts to receive from God.

36.  Having praised his answer the king ordered the next man to reply to the question how he could maintain his great renown.

37.  And he replied; that if you are generous and large hearted in bestowing kindness and acts of grace on others - you will never lose your renown, but if you wish these graces to continue you must call upon God continually.

38.  The king expressed his approval and asked the next; to whom ought a man to show liberality?

39.  And he replied; All men acknowledge that we ought to show liberality to those who are well disposed towards us.  But I think that we ought to show the same keen spirit of generosity to those who are opposed to us that by this means we might win them over to the right, and to what is of advantage to ourselves.

40.  But we must pray to God that this may be accomplished, for He rules the minds of all men.  And having expressed his approval the king asked the next; to whom ought we to exhibit gratitude?

41.  Reply; To our parents, for God has given us a most important commandment regarding honor due to parents, and He reckons the attitude of friend towards friend, for He speaks of a friend as "Thy own soul."  Thus you do well to try to bring all men into friendship with yourself.

42.  The king asked the next; what is it that resembles beauty in value?

43.  Reply: Piety, for it is the pre-eminent form of beauty, and its power lies in love which is the gift of God, this you have already acquired and with it all the blessings of life.

44.  The king applauded the answer and asked another, How if he were to fail, he could regain his reputation again in the same degree?

45.  Reply; It is not possible for you to fail, for you have sown in all men the seeds of gratitude which produces a harvest of goodwill, and this is mightier than the strongest weapon and guarantees the greatest security.

46.  But if any man does fail, he must never again do these things which caused his failure, but form friendship and act justly, for it is the gift of God to be able to do good actions and not the contrary.

47.  Delighted with these words, the king asked another, How he could be free from grief?

48.  Reply, If he never injure anyone, but did well to everyone and followed the path of righteousness since its fruit brings freedom from grief.

49.  But we must pray to God that unexpected evils such as death or disease or pain or any such kind may not come on us to injure us.  But since you are devoted to piety no such misfortune will come on you.

50. The king bestowed great praise on him and asked the next; what is the highest form of glory?

51. Reply, To honor God, and this is done not with gifts and sacrifices but with purity of soul and holy conviction, since all things are fashioned and governed by God in accord with His will.  Of this purpose we are in constant possession as all men can see from your achievements in the past and present.

52.  The king then greeted them kindly and those with him; also the philosophers expressed approval, and proceeded to drink to the health of the guests.

 

       Chapter 9

1.  On the following day the same arrangements were made for the banquet, and the king again sought an opportunity to question the men, and he said to the first; is wisdom capable of being taught?

2.  Reply; The soul is so constituted that it is able by divine power to receive all the good and reject the contrary.

3.  The king expressed approval and asked the next man; What it is that is most beneficial to health?

4.  Reply; Temperance, and it is not possible to acquire this unless God creates disposition towards it.

5.  The king then asked another; how can a man worthily pay his debt of gratitude to his parents?

6.  Reply; by never causing them pain, and this is not possible unless God disposes the mind to the pursuit of the noblest ends.

7.  The king expressed agreement and asked the next, How he could become an eager listener?

8.  Reply, By remembering that all knowledge is useful because it enables you by the help of God in a time of emergency to select things, which you have learned and apply them to the crisis, which confronts you.  And so the efforts of men are fulfilled by the assistance of God.

9.  The king praised him and asked the next, How he could avoid doing anything contrary to the law?

10.  Reply, If you recognize that it is God who has put the thoughts into the hearts of lawgivers that the lives of men might be preserved, you will follow them.

11.  The King acknowledged the answer and asked the next; what is the advantage of kinship?

12.  Reply; if we consider that we ourselves are afflicted by misfortunes which fall on our relatives, and if their suffering becomes our own - then the strength of kinship is at once apparent.  For it is only when such feeling is shown that we shall win honor and esteem in their eyes.

13.  For help, when it is linked with kindliness is of itself a bond which is indissoluble, and in a day of their prosperity we must not crave their possessions, but pray to God to bestow all manner of good on them.

14.  The king then asked another.  How he could obtain freedom from fear?

15.  Reply, When the mind is conscious that it has wrought no evil and when God directs it to all noble counsels.

16.  The king expressing his approval asked another, How he could always maintain a right judgment?

17.  Reply, If he constantly set before his eyes the misfortunes, which befall men, and recognized that it is God who takes away prosperity from some and brings others to great honor and glory.

18.  Then the king asked another, How he could avoid a life of ease and pleasure?

19.  Reply; If he remembered that he was the ruler of a great empire, and the lord of a vast multitude, and that his mind ought not be occupied with other things but be considered always how he could best promote their welfare, and pray to God that no duty might be neglected.

20.  Having bestowed praise, the king asked another, How he could recognize those who were dealing treacherously with him?

21.  Reply, If he observed whether the bearing of those around him was natural, and if they maintained proper precedence at receptions and councils.  And if in their course they did not go beyond the bounds of propriety in congratulations or in other matters of deportment, but God will incline your mind O king to all that is noble.

22.  The king having expressed his approval they again turned to the enjoyment of the feast, and on the next day the king asked the next man; what is the greatest neglect?

23.  Reply, If a man cares not for his children and devotes no effort to their education.  For we always pray to God not so much for ourselves as for our children that every blessing may be theirs, and our desire that our children may possess self-control is only realized by the power of God.

24.  The king expressed that he had spoken well, and asked another, How he could be patriotic?

25.  Reply; By keeping the thought that it is good to live and die in one's own country, residence abroad brings contempt on the poor, and shame on the rich as though they had been banished for a crime.  If you bestow benefits on all, as you do, God will give you favor with all and you will be accounted patriotic.

26.  The king asked the next in order, How he could live amicably with his wife.  Reply; by recognizing that womankind are by nature headstrong and energetic in their pursuit of their own desires.  And subject to sudden changes of opinion through fallacious reasoning, and their nature is essentially weak.

27.  It is necessary to deal wisely with them and not to provoke strife, because for the successful conduct of life the steersman must know the goal toward which he ought to direct his course.  It is only by calling on the help of God that men steer a true course of life at all times.

28.  The king expressed his approval and asked the next, How he could be free from error?

29.  Reply; If you always act with deliberation and not give credence to slanders, but prove for yourself the things that are said to you, and decide by your own judgment the requests which are made to you, and carry out everything in the light of judgment.  But O king, the knowledge, and practice of these things is the work of the Divine power.

30.  Delighted with these words the king asked another, How he could be free from wrath?

31.  Reply; If he recognized that he had power over all even to inflict death, and that if he gave way to wrath that it would be useless and pitifully if he deprived many of life just because he was lord over them.

32.  What need would there be for wrath when all men were in subjection to him and none hostile to him, for again it is necessary to recognize that God rules the whole world in the spirit of kindness and without wrath, and you O king must need copy His example.

33.  The king said that he had answered well and inquired of the next; what is good counsel?

34.  Reply; To act well at all times and with due reflection, comparing what is advantageous to what may be injurious in the opposite effect, in order that by weighing every point we may be well advised and our purpose accomplished.  And most important - by the power of God your plans will find fulfillment because you practice piety.

35.  The king said that this man had answered well and asked another; what is philosophy?

36.  And he explained, to deliberate well in reference to any question that emerges, and never to be carried away by impulses, but to ponder over the injuries and results from the passions, to act rightly as the circumstance demand practicing moderation.  We must however pray to God to instill in our mind a regard for these things.

37.  The king signified his consent and asked another, How he could meet with recognition when traveling abroad?

38.  Reply, By being fair to all men and by appearing to be inferior rather than superior to those amongst whom he was traveling.  For it is a recognized principle that God by His very nature accepts the humble, and the human race loves those who are willing to be in subjection to them.

39.  Expressing his approval the king asked another; how he could build in such a way that his structures would endure after him?  40 Reply; If his creations were on a great and noble scale so that the beholders would spare them for their beauty, and if he never dismissed any of those who wrought such works, and never compelled others to minister to his needs without wages.

40.  For observing how God provides for the human race granting them health and mental capacity and all other gifts, he himself should follow His example by rendering to men a recompense for their arduous toil, for it is the deeds that wrought in righteousness that abide continually.

41.  The king said that this man too had answered well and asked the next; what is the fruit of wisdom?

42.  Reply, That a man should be conscious in himself that he has done no evil, and that he should live his live in the truth.  Since it is from these O mighty king that the greatest joy and steadfastness of soul and strong faith in God accrue to you, if you rule your realm in piety.

43.  And having applauded the men they began to drink to their health, and on the next day the king proceeded to question; how can a man keep himself from pride?

44.  Reply; If he maintains equality and on all occasions remembers that he is a man ruling over men, and God brings the proud to nothing and exalts the meek and humble.

45.  The king then asked the next; who ought a man to select as his counselors?

46.  Reply; Those who have been tested in many affairs and maintain good-will towards him and partake of his own disposition, and God manifests Himself to those who are worthy that these ends might be attained.

47.  The king then asked another; what is the most necessary possession for a king?

48.  Reply; The friendship and love of his subjects, for it is through this that the bond of goodwill is rendered firm, and it is God who ensures that this may come to pass in accord with your wish.

49.  The king then inquired of another; what is the goal of speech?  Reply, To convince your opponent by showing him his mistakes in an well-ordered array of arguments.

50.  For in this way you will win your hearer, not by opposing him but by bestowing praise on him with a view to persuading him, and it is by the power of God that persuasion is accomplished.

51.  Then another was asked; how he could live amicably with the many different races that forms the population of his kingdom.

52.  Reply, By acting the proper part towards each, and taking righteousness as your guide, as you are now doing with the help of the insight, which God bestows on you.

53.  The king then asked another; under what circumstances ought a man to suffer grief?

54.  Reply, in the misfortunes that befall our friends, when we see that they are irremediable.  For reason does not allow us to grieve for those that are dead and set free from evil, but all men grieve over them because they think only of themselves and their own advantage, it is by the power of God alone that we can escape all evil.

55.  The king then asked another, how reputation is lost.  Reply, When pride and self-confidence holds sway, for God is the Lord of all reputation and bestows it where He will.

56.  The king asked the next man; to whom ought men to entrust themselves?

57.  Reply, To those who serve you from good-will and not from fear or self inter thinking only of their own gain, for the one is the sign of love, the other the mark of ill will and time-serving.

58.  For the man who is always watching for his own gain is a traitor at heart, but you possess the affection of all your subjects by the help of the good counsel which God bestows on you.

59.  The king asked next, What is it that keeps a kingdom safe.  Reply, Care and forethought that no evil may be wrought by those who are placed in a position of authority over the people, and this you always do by the help of God who inspires you with grave judgment.

60.  Then asking another, What is it that maintains gratitude and honor?

61.  Reply; Virtue, for it is the creator of good deeds, and by it evil is destroyed, even as you exhibit nobility of character towards all by the gift which God bestows on you.

62.  The king asked next; how he could in time of war maintain tranquility of soul?

63.  Reply, By remembering that he had done no evil to any of his subjects, and that all would fight for him in return for the benefits which they had received knowing that if they lose their lives you will care for those dependent on them.  For you never fail to make reparation to any, such is the kindheartedness with which God has inspired you.

64.  The king then applauded all of them and spoke kindly and drank a long drink to the health of each, and lavished the most joyous friendship on his guests.

 

      Chapter 10

1.  In the seventh day much more extensive preparations were made, and many others were present from the different cities, many ambassadors.

2.  And an opportunity having risen the king asked the first of those who had not yet been questioned, how he could avoid being deceived by fallacious reasoning?

3.  Reply, By carefully noticing the speaker, the thing spoken, and the subject under discussion.  And by putting the same questions again after an interval of different forms, and to possess an alert mind and to be able to form a sound judgment in every case- is one of the good gifts of God, and you possess it O king.

4.  The King applauded the answer and asked another; why is it that the majority of men never become vitreous?

5.  Reply, Because all men are by nature intemperate and inclined to pleasures, hence injustice springs up and a flood of avarice.  For the habit of virtue is a hindrance to those who are devoted to a life of pleasure because it enjoins on them the preference of temperance and righteousness for it is God who is the Master of these things.

6.  Next the king asked; what ought kings to obey?  Reply; The laws, in order that by righteous acts they may restore the lives of men, even as you by such conduct in obedience to the divine command have laid in store for yourself a perpetual memorial.

7.  The king asked the next; who ought we to appoint as governors?

8.  Reply; All who hate wickedness and that imitate your conduct and act righteously that they may maintain a good reputation, for this is what you do O king, and it is God who has bestowed on you the crown of righteousness.

9.  The king then looking at the next man asked; who ought we to appoint as officers over our forces?

10.  Reply; Those who excel in courage and righteousness, and who are more anxious about the safety of the men than to gain a victory by risking their lives through rashness, for as God acts well towards all men.  So you also in imitating Him are the benefactor of your subjects.

11.  The king asked the next man; what man is worthy of admiration?

12.  Reply; The man who is furnished with reputation, wealth, and power who has a soul equal to it, you show this in your actions that are worthy of admiration through the help of God who makes you care for these things.

13.  The king then asked another; to what affairs ought kings to devote most of their time?

14.  Reply, The reading and study of the records of official journals written in reference to the various kingdoms with a view to the reformation and preservation of the subjects.  And it is by such activity that you have attained to a glory, which has not been approached by others with the help of God who fulfills your desires.

15.  The next man was then asked how a man ought to occupy himself during his hours of relaxation and recreation?

16.  Reply, To watch those plays which can be acted with propriety and to set before one's eyes scenes taken from life and enacted with dignity and decency.

17.  For there is edification to be found even in these amusements, for some desirable lessons is sometimes learned by the most insignificant affairs of life.

18.  The king asked the next; how ought a man to conduct himself at banquets?

19.  Reply; You should summon to your side men of learning and those able to give useful hints (and not flattery) with regard to the affairs of your kingdom and the lives of your subjects.

20.  The king inquired of the next; what is best for the people, if a private citizen should be made king over them or a member of the royal family?

21.  Reply; He who by nature is best, for kings of royal lineage are often harsh towards their subjects, an this be more so by some who rise from the ranks of private citizens.

22.  But a good nature which has been properly trained is capable of ruling, and you are a great king, not so much because you excel in the glory of your rule and wealth, but you surpass all men in clemency thanks to God who endowed you with these qualities.

23.  Then the king asked the next; what is the greatest achievement in ruling an empire?

24.  Reply, That the subjects should continually dwell well in a state of peace, and that justice should speedily be administered in cases of dispute.

25.  These results are achieved by the influence of rulers when they are men who hate evil and love the good, devoting their energy to saving the lives of men just as you consider injustice the worst form of evil.  And, by your just administration fashioned for yourself an undying reputation since God bestows on you a mind, which is pure and untainted by evil.

26.  A loud applause then broke out, and the king took a cup and gave a toast in honor of all his guests and the words they had spoken.

27.  Then in conclusion he said; I have derived the greatest benefit from your presence, I have profited much by the wise teaching which you have given me in reference to the art of ruling.

28.  Then he ordered that three talents of silver be presented to each.

29.  And all shouted their approval and the banquet became a scene of joy while the king gave himself up to a continual round of festivity.

 

      Chapter 11

1.  Having written at length I crave your pardon Philocrates, I was astonished at the men, and the way in which they on the spur of the moment gave answers which really needed a long time to devise.

2.  For though the questioner had given great thought to each question, those who replied had their answers ready at once.

3.  And so it seemed to me and to all who were present and especially to the philosophers to be worthy of admiration.

4.  And I suppose that the thing will seem incredible to those who will read my narrative in the future.

5.  But it is unseemly to misrepresent facts, which are recorded in the public archives.

6.  And it would not be right for me to transgress in such a matter as this, I tell the story just as it happened conscientiously avoiding any error.

7.  I was so impressed by the force of their utterances that I made an effort to consult those whose business it was to make a record of all that happened at the royal audiences and banquets.

8.  For it is the custom as you know, from the moment the king begins to transact business until the time that he retires for a record to be taken, a most excellent and useful arrangement.

9.  For on the following day the minutes of the previous day were read, and if there was any irregularity the matter was at once corrected.

10.  I thus obtained accurate information from the public records, and I have set forth the facts in proper order since I know how eager you are to obtain useful information.

11.  Three days later Demetrius took the men and passing along the sea-wall, seven stadia long, to the island, crossed the bridge and made for the northern district of Pharos.

12.  There he assembled them in a house which had been built on the sea-shore, of great beauty and in a secluded situation, and invited them to carry out the work of translation since everything they needed was placed at their disposal.

13.  So they set to work comparing their several results and making them agree, and whatever they agreed upon was suitably copied under the direction of Demetrius.

14.  And the session lasted until the ninth hour, after this they were free to minister to their physical needs.

15.  Everything they wanted was furnished for them on a lavish scale, in addition to this Dorotheus made the same preparations for them daily as were made for the king himself, for thus had he been commanded by the king.

16.  In the early morning they appeared daily at the court and giving a salutation to the king they went back to their places.

17.  And as is the custom of the Jews, they washed their hands in the sea and prayed to God, and then devoted themselves passage on which they were engaged, and I put the question to them, why it was that they washed their hands before they prayed.

18.  And they explained that it was a token that they had done no evil, since in their noble and holy way they regard everything as a symbol of righteousness and truth.

19.  And as I have already said, they met together daily in the place, which was delightful for its quiet and brightness, and applied themselves to their task.

20.  Sop it happened that the work of translation was completed in seventy-two days just as if it had been arranged by set purpose.

21.  When the work was completed Demetrius collected the Jewish population together in the place where the translation had been made.  And read it over to all in the presence of the translators who met with a great reception - also from the people because of the great benefits, which they had conferred on them.

22.  They bestowed warm praise on Demetrius and urged him to have the whole law transcribed and present a copy to their leaders.

23.  After the books had been read the priests and elders of the translators and the Jewish community and the leaders of the people stood up and said.  That since so excellent and sacred and accurate a translation had been made, it was only right that it should remain as it was and no alteration should be made in it.

24.  And when the whole community expressed their approval they bade them to pronounce a curse in accord with their custom on anyone who should make any alteration either by adding or changing in any way what had been written, or by omission.

25.  This was a very wise precaution to ensure that the book might be preserved unchanged for all future time.

26.  When the matter was reported to the king he rejoiced greatly for he felt that the design, which he had formed, had safely been carried out.

27.  The whole book was read over to him and he was greatly astonished at the Spirit of the Lawgiver.

28.  And he said to Demetrius; how is it that none of the historians or the poets have ever thought it worth their while to allude to such a wonderful achievement?

29.  And he replied; because the law is sacred and of divine origin, and some of those who formed the intention of dealing with it have been smitten by God and therefore desisted from their purpose.

30.  He said that he had heard from Theopompus that he had been driven out of his mind for more than thirty days because he intended to insert in his history some of the incidents from the earlier and somewhat unreliable translations of the law.

31.  When he had recovered a little he besought God to make it clear to him why the misfortune had befallen him.

32.  And it was revealed to him in a dream, that from idle curiosity he was wishing to communicate sacred truths to common men, and that if he desisted he would recover his health.

33.  I have also heard from the lips of Theodektes, one of the tragic poets that when he was about to adopt some of the incidents recorded in the book for one of his plays he was affected with cataracts in both his eyes.

34.  And when he perceived the reason he prayed to God for many days and was afterwards restored.

35.  After the king then had heard Demetrius he did homage and ordered that great care should be taken of the books, and be sacredly guarded.  36 And he urged the translators to visit him frequently after their return to Judea, for it was only right, he said, that he should now sent them home.

36.  But when they came back, her would treat them as friends as was right, and they would receive rich presents from him.

37.  He ordered preparations to be made for them to return home and treated them most munificently.

38.  He presented each one of them with three robes of the finest sort, two talents of gold, a sideboard weighing one talent, and furniture for three couches.

39.   And with the escort he sent Eleazar ten couches with silver legs and all the necessary equipment, and a sideboard worth thirty talents, ten robes and a magnificent crown, a hundred pieces of the finest woven linen and also bowls and dishes and two golden beakers to be dedicated to God.

40.  He also urged him in a letter that if any of the men preferred to come back to him not to hinder them.

41.  For he counted it a great privilege to enjoy the society of such learned men, and he would rather lavish his wealth on them than on vanities.

42.  And now Philocrates you have the complete story in accord with my promise.

43.  I think that you find greater pleasure in these matters than in the writing of the mythologists.

44.  For you are devoted to the study of those things which benefit the soul and spend much time on it, I shall attempt to narrate whatever other events are worth recording that by pursuing them you may secure the highest reward for your zeal. End.