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Jerusalem, by his allies, the Romans, in 37, B. C. The immediate consequence of this, was another cruel pillage and massacre; then followed the death of Antigonus, the son of Aristobulus, who had, for three years, maintained his ground against Herod, put to death his brother Phasael, and cut off Hyrcanus's ears, in order, the more effectually, to incapacitate him for the high-priesthood.
The Jews gained but little by this change of masters. The new king proved one of the greatest tyrants mentioned in history. He began his reign with a cruel persecution of those, who had sided with his rival Antigonus, great numbers of whom he put to death, seizing and confiscating their effects for his own use. Nay, such was his jealousy in this last respect, that he caused guards to be placed at the city gates, in order to watch the bodies of those of the Antigonian faction, who were carried out to be buried, lest some of their riches should be carried along with them. His jealousy next tempted him to decoy Hyrcanus, the banished pontiff, from Parthia, where he had taken refuge, that he might put him to death, though contrary to his solemn promises. His cruelty then fell upon his own family. He had married Mariamne, the daughter of Hyrcanus, whose brother Aristobulus, a young prince of great hopes, was made highpriest, at the intercession of his mother Alexandra. But the tyrant, conscious that Aristobulus had a better right to the kingdom than himself, caused him, soon after, to be drowned in a bath. The next victim was his beloved queen Mariamne herself. Herod had been summoned to appear, first, before Marc Anthony, and then before Augustus, in order to clear himself from some crimes laid to his charge. As he was, however, doubtful of the event, he left orders, that in case he was condemned, Mariamne should be put to death. This, together with the death of her father and brother, gave her such an aversion for him, that she showed it on all occasions. By this conduct the tyrant's resentment was, at last, so much inflamed, that, having got her falsely accused of infidelity, she was condemned to die, and executed accordingly. She suffered with great resolution, but with her ended all the happiness of her husband. His love for Mariamne increased so much after her death, that, for some time, he appeared like one quite distracted. His remorse did not get the better of his cruelty. The death of Mariamne was soon followed by that of her mother Alexandra, and this, by the execution of several other persons, who had joined, with her, in an attempt to secure the kingdom to the sons of the deceased queen.
Herod having now freed himself from the greatest part of his supposed enemies, began to show a greater contempt for the Jewish ceremonies than formerly, and introduced a number of heathenish games, which made him odious to his subjects. Ten bold fellows, at last, took it into their heads to enter the theatre, where the tyrant wascelebrating some games, with daggers concealed under their clothes, in order to stab him or some of his retinue. In case they should miscarry, they had the desperate satisfaction to think, that if they perished, the tyrant would be rendered still more odious by the punishment inflicted on them. They were not mistaken; for Herod being informed of the design by one of his spies, and causing the assassins to be put to a most excruciating death, the people were so exasperated against the informer, that they cut and tore him to pieces, and threw his flesh to the dogs. Herod tried, in vain, to discover the authors of this affront; but, at last, having caused some women to be put to the rack, he extorted from them the names of the principal persons concerned, who he immediately caused to be put to death, with their families. This produced such disturbances, that, apprehending nothing less than a general revolt, he set about fortifying Jerusalem with several additional works, rebuilding Samaria, and putting garrisons into several fortresses in Judea. Notwithstanding this, however, Herod had, shortly after, an opportunity of segaining the affections of his subjects, in some measure, by his
generosity to them during a famine; but as he soon relapsed into his former cruelty, their love was again turned into hatred, which continued till his death.
Having thus brought down the Jewish affairs till the time of our Saviour, we shall proceed, in the next chapter, to record the circumstances of his nativity.
THE NATIVITY AND CHILDHOOD OF CHRIST.
Table of our Lord's genealogy---critical and explanatory remarks upon it-Zechariah and Elizabeth--the vision of the angel in the temple---the conception of Christ--visit of Mary to Elizabeth---birth of John---prophetic song of Zacharias---private life of John---the taxing, when, and how it took place--correspondent accounts from Josephus-the birth of Christ announced to the shepherds---the presentation---Simeon and Annavisit of the wise men from the east---who they were---the nature of the star---flight into Egypt---Herod's cruelty and death-return of Christ to Nazareth---fulfilment of prophecies---Christ's conversation with the Rabbies---his private life.
As John, in the beginning of his gospel, has amply attested the divine origin of our Saviour, so each of the other three evangelists asserts his descent from David, and consequently from Abraham. Matthew and Luke have each of them given detailed accounts of his genealogy; but these are attended with several difficulties, whether considered in themselves or in relation to one another. That this subject may be the better understood, we have constructed the following table. It is divided into six columns, the first of which enumerates our Lord's ancestors, as recited by Luke; the second exhibits a correspondent genealogy from the Old Testament; the third gives the passages from which the second column is taken; the fourth recites the genealogy according to Matthew, which the fifth compares with the Old Testament, and the sixth establishes by proofs
LUKE. OLD TEST.