A Law Of Herod's About, Thieves. Salome And Pheroras Calumniate Alexander And Aristobulus, Upon Their Return From Rome For Whom Yet Herod Provides Wives.
1. As king Herod was very zealous in the administration of his entire government, and desirous to put a stop to particular acts of injustice which were done by criminals about the city and country, he made a law, no way like our original laws, and which he enacted of himself, to expose house-breakers to be ejected out of his kingdom; which punishment was not only grievous to be borne by the offenders, but contained in it a dissolution of the customs of our forefathers; for this slavery to foreigners, and such as did not live after the manner of Jews, and this necessity that they were under to do whatsoever such men should command, was an offense against our religious settlement, rather than a punishment to such as were found to have offended, such a punishment being avoided in our original laws; for those laws ordain, that the thief shall restore fourfold; and that if he have not so much, he shall be sold indeed, but not to foreigners, nor so that he be under perpetual slavery, for he must have been released after six years. But this law, thus enacted, in order to introduce a severe and illegal punishment, seemed to be a piece of insolence of Herod, when he did not act as a king, but as a tyrant, and thus contemptuously, and without any regard to his subjects, did he venture to introduce such a punishment. Now this penalty, thus brought into practice, was like Herod's other actions, and became a part of his accusation, and an occasion of the hatred he lay under.
2. Now at this time it was that he sailed to Italy, as very desirous to meet with Caesar, and to see his sons who lived at Rome; and Caesar was not only very obliging to him in other respects, but delivered him his sons again, that he might take them home with him, as having already completed themselves in the sciences; but as soon as the young men were come from Italy, the multitude were very desirous to see them, and they became conspicuous among them all, as adorned with great blessings of fortune, and having the countenances of persons of royal dignity. So they soon appeared to be the objects of envy to Salome, the king's sister, and to such as had raised calumnies against Mariamne; for they were suspicious, that when these came to the government, they should be punished for the wickedness they had been guilty of against their mother; so they made this very fear of theirs a motive to raise calumnies against them also. They gave it out that they were not pleased with their father's company, because he had put their mother to death, as if it were not agreeable to piety to appear to converse with their mother's murderer. Now, by carrying these stories; that had indeed a true foundation [in the fact], but were only built on probabilities as to the present accusation, they were able to do them mischief, and to make Herod take away that kindness from his sons which he had before borne to them; for they did not say these things to him openly, but scattered abroad such words, among the rest of the multitude; from which words, when carried to Herod, he was induced [at last] to hate them, and which natural affection itself, even in length of time, was not able to overcome; yet was the king at that time in a condition to prefer the natural affection of a father before all the suspicions and calumnies his sons lay under. So he respected them as he ought to do, and married them to wives, now they were of an age suitable thereto. To Aristobulus he gave for a wife Bernice, Salome's daughter; and to Alexander, Glaphyra, the daughter of Archelaus, king of Cappadocia.