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Mustard Seed July/August 2012

Ananias - The Tutor

 

 

Ananias - The Tutor

A Devout Man According To The Law

 

 Ananias is mentioned by Luke once in the New Testament in Acts 9 as a certain disciple at Damascus who was a follower of Jesus the Christ and retold in Acts 22:12 as "a devout man according to the law, having a good report of all the Jews which dwelt there."  This Ananias was sent by God in a vision to go to Saul (Paul) that he might receive his sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.  God also told Ananias that Saul was chosen by Him to bear God's name before the Gentiles, and kings and the children of Israel. 

There is more to the story of Ananias (God has graciously given, Greek) than we read in Acts. Josephus tells us that during the time Izates was king a Jewish merchant named Ananias, got among the women that belonged to the king, and taught them to worship God.  (Ant. 20:2:3).  Izates (ca. 1-55 CE) eventually became king of Adiabene a region in Parthia which is present day Southern Turkey and NE Iran.

Izates, the son of King Monobazus and Queen Helena of Adiabene was sent as a young boy, with many presents to King Abennerig for his protection from his brothers who wanted to kill him out of jealousy.  Abennerig  lived 450 miles south of Adiabene and just north of the Persian Gulf along the silk trade route.  Abennerig gladly received the young man, and had a great affection for him, and married him to his own daughter, whose name was Samacha.  He also bestowed a country upon him, from which he received large revenues.  While in Charax, Izates became acquainted with a Ananias, through the women who belonged to the king.  Ananias familiarized the king with the tenets of the kingdom of God, in which he became deeply interested. 

When Izates father grew old he sent for Izates, and embraced him after the most affectionate manner, and bestowed on him the country called Carra.  "Ananias at the earnest entreaty of Izates, accompanied him when he was sent for by his father to come to Adiabene.” (Ant. 20:2:2)  Upon the death of his father, Izates was chosen to be the successor to his kingdom over his brothers. 

At about the same time that Izates was instructed by Ananias, Queen Helena was instructed by a certain other Jew and went over to the religion of the Jews.   He perceived that his mother was highly pleased with the Jewish customs, so Izates made  haste to change.  Izates believed he could not thoroughly obey God unless he were circumcised and was ready to have it done when his mother hindered him from doing it, and said that this thing would bring him into danger among his subjects and that they would never bear to be ruled over by a Jew.

Ananias confirmed to Izates what his mother had said and threatened to leave him if he was circumcised.   He said that he was afraid if such an action became public he should himself be in danger of punishment for having been the king's instructor.  Ananias also told king Izates that he could worship God without being circumcised, and that the worship of God was of a superior nature to circumcision." (Ant. 20:2:4)

So the king at that time complied with these persuasions of Ananias and his mother. ”But afterwards a certain other Jew that came out of Galilee, whose name was Eleazar, and who was esteemed very skillful in the learning of his country, persuaded him to do the thing; for as he entered into his palace to salute him, and found him reading the law of Moses, he said to him, "Thou dost not consider, O king! that thou unjustly breakest the principal of those laws, and art injurious to God himself, [by omitting to be circumcised; for thou oughtest not only to read them, but chiefly to practice what they enjoin thee. How long wilt thou continue uncircumcised?  When the king had heard what he said, he delayed the thing no longer, but retired to another room, and sent for a surgeon, and did what he was commanded to do. He then sent for his mother, and Ananias his tutor, and informed them that he had done the thing; upon which they were presently struck with astonishment and fear, and that to a great degree, lest the thing should be openly discovered and censured, and the king should hazard the loss of his kingdom, while his subjects would not bear to be governed by a man who was so zealous in another religion; and lest they should themselves run some hazard, because they would be supposed the occasion of his so doing. But it was God himself who hindered what they feared from taking effect; for he preserved both Izates himself and his sons when they fell into many dangers, and procured their deliverance when it seemed to be impossible, and demonstrated thereby that the fruit of piety does not perish as to those that have regard to him, and fix their faith upon him only." (Ant. 20:2:4)

"And the apostles and brethren that were in Judaea heard that the Gentiles had also received the word of God. And when Peter was come up to Jerusalem, they that were of the circumcision contended with him, Saying, Thou wentest in to men uncircumcised, and didst eat with them." Acts 11:1-3   "And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved."  Acts 15:1  We see in Acts 15: 19-29 the final answer regarding the Gentiles such as King Izates who are turned to God that they need not be circumcised. 

When the king's mother saw that the affairs of Izates's kingdom were in peace, and that her son was a happy man, and admired among all men, and even among foreigners, by the means of God's providence over him, she had a mind to go to the city of Jerusalem, in order to worship at that temple of God which was so very famous among all men, and to offer her thank-offerings there.”  So her son gave her leave and made great preparations for her journey, and gave her a great deal of money, and she went down to the city Jerusalem.  Now her coming was of very great advantage to the people of Jerusalem; for whereas a famine did oppress them at that time, and many poor people died in want of what was necessary to procure food withal, queen Helena sent some of her servants to Alexandria with money to buy a great quantity of corn, and others of them to Cyprus, to bring a cargo of dried figs. And as soon as they were come back, and had brought those provisions, which was done very quickly, she distributed food to those that were in want of it, and left a most excellent memorial behind her of this benefaction, which she bestowed on our whole nation. And when her son Izates was informed of this famine, he sent great sums of money to the principal men in Jerusalem.” (Ant. 20:2:5) This famine is recorded in Acts 11:27-30.  Many of the people of God and the poor people of Jerusalem and Judea were saved from starvation because of the influence Ananias had on the Queen and King.

This is a brief history of a Ananias, the man devoted to proclaiming the kingdom of God as a merchant traveling between Adiabene, Damascus, Jerusalem, and the Persian Gulf.  Ananias influenced kings and queens and people of many nations to repent and turn to God.   He was teacher, a tutor and a devout man of God.  Like Paul, Ananias did bear God's name before the Gentiles, and kings and queens and the children of Israel.   You can to read the rest of the history of Ananias, King Izates and Queen Helena on our website: www.cognm.org.   Josephus has also devoted three chapters to this story in his history “The Antiquity of the Jews”; book 20;2-4.

 

~Ed Costanza

 

 The following is the full version of: Ananias - The Tutor

 

 

Ananias - The Tutor

A Devout Man According To The Law

Mustard Seed -  July/August 2012

 

 Ananias is mentioned by Luke once in the New Testament in Acts 9 as a certain disciple at Damascus who was a follower of Jesus the Christ and retold in Acts 22:12 as "a devout man according to the law, having a good report of all the Jews which dwelt there."  This Ananias was sent by by God in a vision to go to Saul (Paul) that he might receive his sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.  God also told Ananias that Saul was chosen by Him to bear God's name before the Gentiles, and kings and the children of Israel. 

There is more to the story of Ananias (God has graciously given, Greek) than we read in Acts. Josephus tells us that "during the time Izates abode at Charax-Spasini, a certain Jewish merchant, whose name was Ananias, got among the women that belonged to the king, and taught them to worship God according to the Jewish religion." (Ant. 20:2:3).  Izates (ca. 1-55 CE) eventually became king of Adiabene a region in Parthia which is present day Southern Turkey and NE Iran.

Izates was the son of King Monobazus and queen Helena of Adiabene.  King Monobazus had other sons by other wives besides. Yet did he openly place all his affections on this his son Izates", which made his brothers envious to the point they wanted to harm the boy. (Ant. 20:2:1) 

The king sent Izates, with many presents, to Abennerig, the king of Charax-Spasini, and he committed his son's preservation to him. Upon which Abennerig gladly received the young man, and had a great affection for him, and married him to his own daughter, whose name was Samacha: he also bestowed a country upon him, from which he received large revenues."  King Abennerig resided in of Characene in Charax Spasinu which was along the silk trade route north of the Persian Gulf. 

While in Charax, Izates became acquainted with a Ananias, through the women who belonged to the king.  Ananias familiarized the king with the tenets of the kingdom of God, in which he became deeply interested. 

"But when Monobazus was grown old, and saw that he had but a little time to live, he had a mind to come to the sight of his son before he died. So he sent for him, and embraced him after the most affectionate manner, and bestowed on him the country called Carra; it was a soil that bare amomum in great plenty." "Ananias at the earnest entreaty of Izates, accompanied him when he was sent for by his father to come to Adiabene" (Ant. 20:2:2)  Upon the death of his father, Izates was chosen to be the successor to his kingdom over his brothers. 

It also happened that Queen Helena, about the same time that Izates was instructed by Ananias, was instructed by a certain other Jew and went over to the religion of the Jews.

Josephus in his history of the Jews tells us that when Izates perceived that his mother was highly pleased with the Jewish customs, he made haste to change, and to embrace them entirely.  Izates believed he could not be thoroughly a Jew unless he were circumcised, he was ready to have it done. When his mother understood what he was about to do she hindered him from doing it, and said to him that this thing would bring him into danger among his subjects and that they would never bear to be ruled over by a Jew. She persuaded him to forbear.

Ananias confirmed to Izates what his mother had said and threatened to leave him if he was circumcised and said that he was afraid if such an action became public he should himself be in danger of punishment for having been the king's instructor.  Ananias also told king Izates that he could worship God without being circumcised, and that the worship of God was of a superior nature to circumcision." (Ant. 20:2:4)

"So the king at that time complied with these persuasions of Ananias. But afterwards, as he had not quite left off his desire of doing this thing, a certain other Jew that came out of Galilee, whose name was Eleazar, and who was esteemed very skillful in the learning of his country, persuaded him to do the thing; for as he entered into his palace to salute him, and found him reading the law of Moses, he said to him, "Thou dost not consider, O king! that thou unjustly breakest the principal of those laws, and art injurious to God himself, [by omitting to be circumcised; for thou oughtest not only to read them, but chiefly to practice what they enjoin thee. How long wilt thou continue uncircumcised? But if thou hast not yet read the law about circumcision, and dost not know how great impiety thou art guilty of by neglecting it, read it now." When the king had heard what he said, he delayed the thing no longer, but retired to another room, and sent for a surgeon, and did what he was commanded to do. He then sent for his mother, and Ananias his tutor, and informed them that he had done the thing; upon which they were presently struck with astonishment and fear, and that to a great degree, lest the thing should be openly discovered and censured, and the king should hazard the loss of his kingdom, while his subjects would not bear to be governed by a man who was so zealous in another religion; and lest they should themselves run some hazard, because they would be supposed the occasion of his so doing. But it was God himself who hindered what they feared from taking effect; for he preserved both Izates himself and his sons when they fell into many dangers, and procured their deliverance when it seemed to be impossible, and demonstrated thereby that the fruit of piety does not perish as to those that have regard to him, and fix their faith upon him only." (Ant. 20:2:4)

When King Izates wanted to be circumcised to fulfill this portion of the law of God.   Queen Helena and Ananias insisted to her Izates it was not necessary.  The issue of circumcision upon the gentile converts in order to be saved was being decided in Jerusalem.  "And the apostles and brethren that were in Judaea heard that the Gentiles had also received the word of God. And when Peter was come up to Jerusalem, they that were of the circumcision contended with him, Saying, Thou wentest in to men uncircumcised, and didst eat with them." Acts 11:1-3   "And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved."  Acts 15:1

"Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God:  But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood.  For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day.  Then pleased it the apostles and elders, with the whole church, to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas; namely, Judas surnamed Barsabas, and Silas, chief men among the brethren:  And they wrote letters by them after this manner; The apostles and elders and brethren send greeting unto the brethren which are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia:  Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment:  It seemed good unto us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men unto you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul,  Men that have hazarded their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.  We have sent therefore Judas and Silas, who shall also tell you the same things by mouth.  For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things;  That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well." Acts 15:19-29

Ananias, a devout man of God according to the law, having a good report of all the Jews which dwelt there had an influence upon many besides the people of God.  In Acts we see that there was a famine throughout the world at the time that Ananias was tutoring King Izates and Queen Helena.  "And there stood up one of them named Agabus, and signified by the Spirit that there should be great dearth throughout all the world: which came to pass in the days of Claudius Caesar." Acts 11:28  Great help was sent by the hands of the Queen and King to not only the followers of the Christ, but to all the people living in Jerusalem because of the compassion they had because of what God had done to secure peace for the kingdom of Izates.  Josephus records the details in his history: 

"But as to Helena, the king's mother, when she saw that the affairs of Izates's kingdom were in peace, and that her son was a happy man, and admired among all men, and even among foreigners, by the means of God's providence over him, she had a mind to go to the city of Jerusalem, in order to worship at that temple of God which was so very famous among all men, and to offer her thank-offerings there. So she desired her son to give her leave to go thither; upon which he gave his consent to what she desired very willingly, and made great preparations for her dismission, and gave her a great deal of money, and she went down to the city Jerusalem, her son conducting her on her journey a great way. Now her coming was of very great advantage to the people of Jerusalem; for whereas a famine did oppress them at that time, and many people died for want of what was necessary to procure food withal, queen Helena sent some of her servants to Alexandria with money to buy a great quantity of corn, and others of them to Cyprus, to bring a cargo of dried figs. And as soon as they were come back, and had brought those provisions, which was done very quickly, she distributed food to those that were in want of it, and left a most excellent memorial behind her of this benefaction, which she bestowed on our whole nation. And when her son Izates was informed of this famine, he sent great sums of money to the principal men in Jerusalem. However, what favors this queen and king conferred upon our city Jerusalem shall be further related hereafter." (Ant. 20:2:5)

By filling in the blanks to the life of Ananias we can assume he lived in or near Damascus and traveled as a merchant along the silk trade route through Arabia and down to the Persian Gulf.  While in Characene in Charax Spasinu which was along a trade route north of the Persian Gulf he met the young Izates who was sent there by his father for his safety and spoke to him about what happened in Jerusalem about Jesus the Christ being crucified and resurrected and this Jesus being the Messiah that has established the kingdom of God.  Izates believed Ananias and converted to the kingdom of God.  In the process of time Izates inherited a country from his father-in-law.  Ananias continued to tutor King Izates on his return from his travels to and from Damascus.  When King Izates inherited his fathers kingdom he urged Ananias to accompany him to Adiabene to continue to tutor and advise him. 

We see the affects of this continued advice from Ananias upon the King and Queen and upon his country.  Josephus records the additional details for us:

1.  How King Izates deals with his brothers who want to kill him Chapter 2 below

2.  How King Izates helps the king of Parthia Chapter 3 below

3.  How God helped King Izates when Chapter 4 below 

 

The following are excerpts from Antiquities of the Jews by Josephus from Book 20 with comments by the editor in blue brackets []

 

CHAPTER 2

HOW HELENA THE QUEEN OF ADIABENE AND HER SON IZATES, EMBRACED THE JEWISH RELIGION; AND HOW HELENA SUPPLIED THE POOR WITH CORN, WHEN THERE WAS A GREAT FAMINE AT JERUSALEM.

1. ABOUT this time it was that Helena, queen of Adiabene, and her son Izates, changed their course of life, and embraced the Jewish customs, and this on the occasion following: Monobazus, the king of Adiabene, who had also the name of Bazeus, fell in love with his sister Helena, and took her to be his wife, and begat her with child. But as he was in bed with her one night, he laid his hand upon his wife's belly, and fell asleep, and seemed to hear a voice, which bid him take his hand off his wife's belly, and not hurt the infant that was therein, which, by God's providence, would be safely born, and have a happy end. This voice put him into disorder; so he awaked immediately, and told the story to his wife; and when his son was born, he called him Izates. He had indeed Monobazus, his elder brother, by Helena also, as he had other sons by other wives besides. Yet did he openly place all his affections on this his only begotten son Izates, which was the origin of that envy which his other brethren, by the same father, bore to him; while on this account they hated him more and more, and were all under great affliction that their father should prefer Izates before them. Now although their father was very sensible of these their passions, yet did he forgive them, as not indulging those passions out of an ill disposition, but out of a desire each of them had to be beloved by their father. However, he sent Izates, with many presents, to Abennerig, the king of Charax-Spasini, and that out of the great dread he was in about him, lest he should come to some misfortune by the hatred his brethren bore him; and he committed his son's preservation to him. Upon which Abennerig gladly received the young man, and had a great affection for him, and married him to his own daughter, whose name was Samacha: he also bestowed a country upon him, from which he received large revenues.

2. But when Monobazus was grown old, and saw that he had but a little time to live, he had a mind to come to the sight of his son before he died. So he sent for him, and embraced him after the most affectionate manner, and bestowed on him the country called Carra; it was a soil that bare amomum in great plenty: there are also in it the remains of that ark, wherein it is related that Noah escaped the deluge, and where they are still shown to such as are desirous to see them. (3) Accordingly, Izates abode in that country until his father's death. But the very day that Monobazus died, queen Helena sent for all the grandees, and governors of the kingdom, and for those that had the armies committed to their command; and when they were come, she made the following speech to them: "I believe you are not unacquainted that my husband was desirous Izates should succeed him in the government, and thought him worthy so to do. However, I wait your determination; for happy is he who receives a kingdom, not from a single person only, but from the willing suffrages of a great many." This she said, in order to try those that were invited, and to discover their sentiments. Upon the hearing of which, they first of all paid their homage to the queen, as their custom was, and then they said that they confirmed the king's determination, and would submit to it; and they rejoiced that Izates's father had preferred him before the rest of his brethren, as being agreeable to all their wishes: but that they were desirous first of all to slay his brethren and kinsmen, that so the government might come securely to Izates; because if they were once destroyed, all that fear would be over which might arise from their hatred and envy to him. Helena replied to this, that she returned them her thanks for their kindness to herself and to Izates; but desired that they would however defer the execution of this slaughter of Izates's brethren till he should be there himself, and give his approbation to it. So since these men had not prevailed with her, when they advised her to slay them, they exhorted her at least to keep them in bonds till he should come, and that for their own security; they also gave her counsel to set up some one whom she could put the greatest trust in, as a governor of the kingdom in the mean time. So queen Helena complied with this counsel of theirs, and set up Monobazus, the eldest son, to be king, and put the diadem upon his head, and gave him his father's ring, with its signet; as also the ornament which they call Sampser, and exhorted him to administer the affairs of the kingdom till his brother should come; who came suddenly upon hearing that his father was dead, and succeeded his brother Monobazus, who resigned up the government to him. [Queen Helena acted godly in sparing the brethren of Izates from death by buying time until the king arrived.  This is a righteous principle of the kingdom of God]

3. Now, during the time Izates abode at Charax-Spasini, a certain Jewish merchant, whose name was Ananias, got among the women that belonged to the king, and taught them to worship God according to the Jewish religion. He, moreover, by their means, became known to Izates, and persuaded him, in like manner, to embrace that religion; he also, at the earnest entreaty of Izates, accompanied him when he was sent for by his father to come to Adiabene; it also happened that Helena, about the same time, was instructed by a certain other Jew and went over to them. But when Izates had taken the kingdom, and was come to Adiabene, and there saw his brethren and other kinsmen in bonds, he was displeased at it; and as he thought it an instance of impiety either to slay or imprison them, but still thought it a hazardous thing for to let them have their liberty, with the remembrance of the injuries that had been offered them, he sent some of them and their children for hostages to Rome, to Claudius Caesar, and sent the others to Artabanus, the king of Parthia, with the like intentions.

4. And when he perceived that his mother was highly pleased with the Jewish customs, he made haste to change, and to embrace them entirely; and as he supposed that he could not he thoroughly a Jew unless he were circumcised, he was ready to have it done. But when his mother understood what he was about, she endeavored to hinder him from doing it, and said to him that this thing would bring him into danger; and that, as he was a king, he would thereby bring himself into great odium among his subjects, when they should understand that he was so fond of rites that were to them strange and foreign; and that they would never bear to be ruled over by a Jew. This it was that she said to him, and for the present persuaded him to forbear. And when he had related what she had said to Ananias, he confirmed what his mother had said; and when he had also threatened to leave him, unless he complied with him, he went away from him, and said that he was afraid lest such an action being once become public to all, he should himself be in danger of punishment for having been the occasion of it, and having been the king's instructor in actions that were of ill reputation; and he said that he might worship God without being circumcised, even though he did resolve to follow the Jewish law entirely, which worship of God was of a superior nature to circumcision. He added, that God would forgive him, though he did not perform the operation, while it was omitted out of necessity, and for fear of his subjects. So the king at that time complied with these persuasions of Ananias. But afterwards, as he had not quite left off his desire of doing this thing, a certain other Jew that came out of Galilee, whose name was Eleazar, and who was esteemed very skillful in the learning of his country, persuaded him to do the thing; for as he entered into his palace to salute him, and found him reading the law of Moses, he said to him, "Thou dost not consider, O king! that thou unjustly breakest the principal of those laws, and art injurious to God himself, [by omitting to be circumcised]; for thou oughtest not only to read them, but chiefly to practice what they enjoin thee. How long wilt thou continue uncircumcised? But if thou hast not yet read the law about circumcision, and dost not know how great impiety thou art guilty of by neglecting it, read it now." When the king had heard what he said, he delayed the thing no longer, but retired to another room, and sent for a surgeon, and did what he was commanded to do. He then sent for his mother, and Ananias his tutor, and informed them that he had done the thing; upon which they were presently struck with astonishment and fear, and that to a great degree, lest the thing should be openly discovered and censured, and the king should hazard the loss of his kingdom, while his subjects would not bear to be governed by a man who was so zealous in another religion; and lest they should themselves run some hazard, because they would be supposed the occasion of his so doing. But it was God himself who hindered what they feared from taking effect; for he preserved both Izates himself and his sons when they fell into many dangers, and procured their deliverance when it seemed to be impossible, and demonstrated thereby that the fruit of piety does not perish as to those that have regard to him, and fix their faith upon him only.  But these events we shall relate hereafter. [Acts 11:1]

5. But as to Helena, the king's mother, when she saw that the affairs of Izates's kingdom were in peace, and that her son was a happy man, and admired among all men, and even among foreigners, by the means of God's providence over him, she had a mind to go to the city of Jerusalem, in order to worship at that temple of God which was so very famous among all men, and to offer her thank-offerings there. So she desired her son to give her leave to go thither; upon which he gave his consent to what she desired very willingly, and made great preparations for her dismission, and gave her a great deal of money, and she went down to the city Jerusalem, her son conducting her on her journey a great way. Now her coming was of very great advantage to the people of Jerusalem; for whereas a famine did oppress them at that time, and many people died for want of what was necessary to procure food withal, queen Helena sent some of her servants to Alexandria with money to buy a great quantity of corn, and others of them to Cyprus, to bring a cargo of dried figs. And as soon as they were come back, and had brought those provisions, which was done very quickly, she distributed food to those that were in want of it, and left a most excellent memorial behind her of this benefaction, which she bestowed on our whole nation. And when her son Izates was informed of this famine, he sent great sums of money to the principal men in Jerusalem. However, what favors this queen and king conferred upon our city Jerusalem shall be further related hereafter.

 

 

CHAPTER 3

HOW ARTABANUS, THE KING OF PARTHIA OUT OF FEAR OF THE SECRET CONTRIVANCES OF HIS SUBJECTS AGAINST HIM, WENT TO IZATES, AND WAS BY HIM REINSTATED IN HIS GOVERNMENT; AS ALSO HOW BARDANES HIS SON DENOUNCED WAR AGAINST IZATES.

 

1. BUT now Artabanus, king of the Parthians perceiving that the governors of the provinces had framed a plot against him, did not think it safe for him to continue among them; but resolved to go to Izates, in hopes of finding some way for his preservation by his means, and, if possible, for his return to his own dominions. So he came to Izates, and brought a thousand of his kindred and servants with him, and met him upon the road, while he well knew Izates, but Izates did not know him. When Artabanus stood near him, and, in the first place, worshipped him, according to the custom, he then said to him, "O king! do not thou overlook me thy servant, nor do thou proudly reject the suit I make thee; for as I am reduced to a low estate, by the change of fortune, and of a king am become a private man, I stand in need of thy assistance. Have regard, therefore, unto the uncertainty of fortune, and esteem the care thou shalt take of me to he taken of thyself also; for if I be neglected, and my subjects go off unpunished, many other subjects will become the more insolent towards other kings also." And this speech Artabanus made with tears in his eyes, and with a dejected countenance. Now as soon as Izates heard Artabanus's name, and saw him stand as a supplicant before him, he leaped down from his horse immediately, and said to him, "Take courage, O king! nor be disturbed at thy present calamity, as if it were incurable; for the change of thy sad condition shall be sudden; for thou shalt find me to be more thy friend and thy assistant than thy hopes can promise thee; for I will either re-establish thee in the kingdom of Parthia, or lose my own."

 

2. When he had said this, he set Artabanus upon his horse, and followed him on foot, in honor of a king whom he owned as greater than himself; which, when Artabanus saw, he was very uneasy at it, and sware by his present fortune and honor that he would get down from his horse, unless Izates would get upon his horse again, and go before him. So he complied with his desire, and leaped upon his horse; and when he had brought him to his royal palace, he showed him all sorts of respect when they sat together, and he gave him the upper place at festivals also, as regarding not his present fortune, but his former dignity, and that upon this consideration also, that the changes of fortune are common to all men. He also wrote to the Parthians, to persuade them to receive Artabanus again; and gave them his right hand and his faith, that he should forget what was past and done, and that he would undertake for this as a mediator between them. Now the Parthians did not themselves refuse to receive him again, but pleaded that it was not now in their power so to do, because they had committed the government to another person, who had accepted of it, and whose name was Cinnamus; and that they were afraid lest a civil war should arise on this account. When Cinnamus understood their intentions, he wrote to Artabanus himself, for he had been brought up by him, and was of a nature good and gentle also, and desired him to put confidence in him, and to come and take his own dominions again. Accordingly, Artabanus trusted him, and returned home; when Cinnamus met him, worshipped him, and saluted him as a king, and took the diadem off his own head, and put it on the head of Artabanus.

 

3. And thus was Artahanus restored to his kingdom again by the means of Izates, when he had lost it by the means of the grandees of the kingdom. Nor was he unmindful of the benefits he had conferred upon him, but rewarded him with such honors as were of the greatest esteem among them; for he gave him leave to wear his tiara upright, and to sleep upon a golden bed, which are privileges and marks of honor peculiar to the kings of Parthia. He also cut off a large and fruitful country from the king of Armenia, and bestowed it upon him. The name of the country is Nisibis, wherein the Macedonians had formerly built that city which they called Antioch of Mygodonla. And these were the honors that were paid Izates by the king of the Parthians.

 

4. But in no long time Artabanus died, and left his kingdom to his son Bardanes. Now this Bardanes came to Izates, and would have persuaded him to join him with his army, and to assist him in the war he was preparing to make with the Romans; but he could not prevail with him. For Izates so well knew the strength and good fortune of the Romans, that he took Bardanes to attempt what was impossible to be done; and having besides sent his sons, five in number, and they but young also, to learn accurately the language of our nation, together with our learning, as well as he had sent his mother to worship at our temple, as I have said already, was the more backward to a compliance; and restrained Bardanes, telling him perpetually of the great armies and famous actions of the Romans, and thought thereby to terrify him, and desired thereby to hinder him from that expedition. But the Parthian king was provoked at this his behavior, and denounced war immediately against Izates. Yet did he gain no advantage by this war, because God cut off all his hopes therein; for the Parthians perceiving Bardanes's intentions, and how he had determined to make war with the Romans, slew him, and gave his kingdom to his brother Gotarzes. He also, in no long time, perished by a plot made against him, and Vologases, his brother, succeeded him, who committed two of his provinces to two of his brothers by the same father; that of the Medes to the elder, Pacorus; and Armenia to the younger, Tiridates.

 

 

 

CHAPTER 4

HOW IZATES WAS BETRAYED BY HIS OWN SUBJECTS, AND FOUGHT AGAINST BY THE ARABIANS AND HOW IZATES, BY THE PROVIDENCE OF GOD, WAS DELIVERED OUT OF THEIR HANDS.

1. NOW when the king's brother, Monobazus, and his other kindred, saw how Izates, by his piety to God, was become greatly esteemed by all men, they also had a desire to leave the religion of their country, and to embrace the customs of the Jews; but that act of theirs was discovered by Izates's subjects. Whereupon the grandees were much displeased, and could not contain their anger at them; but had an intention, when they should find a proper opportunity, to inflict a punishment upon them. Accordingly, they wrote to Abia, king of the Arabians, and promised him great sums of money, if he would make an expedition against their king; and they further promised him, that, on the first onset, they would desert their king, because they were desirous to punish him, by reason of the hatred he had to their religious worship; then they obliged themselves, by oaths, to be faithful to each other, and desired that he would make haste in this design. The king of Arabia complied with their desires, and brought a great army into the field, and marched against Izates; and, in the beginning of the first onset, and before they came to a close fight, those Handees, as if they had a panic terror upon them, all deserted Izates, as they had agreed to do, and, turning their backs upon their enemies, ran away. Yet was not Izates dismayed at this; but when he understood that the grandees had betrayed him, he also retired into his camp, and made inquiry into the matter; and as soon as he knew who they were that made this conspiracy with the king of Arabia, he cut off those that were found guilty; and renewing the fight on the next day, he slew the greatest part of his enemies, and forced all the rest to betake themselves to flight. He also pursued their king, and drove him into a fortress called Arsamus, and following on the siege vigorously, he took that fortress. And when he had plundered it of all the prey that was in it, which was not small, he returned to Adiabene; yet did not he take Abia alive, because, when he found himself encompassed on every side, he slew himself.

2. But although the grandees of Adiabene had failed in their first attempt, as being delivered up by God into their king's hands, yet would they not even then be quiet, but wrote again to Vologases, who was then king of Parthia, and desired that he would kill Izates, and set over them some other potentate, who should be of a Parthian family; for they said that they hated their own king for abrogating the laws of their forefathers, and embracing foreign customs. When the king of Parthia heard this, he boldly made war upon Izates; and as he had no just pretense for this war, he sent to him, and demanded back those honorable privileges which had been bestowed on him by his father, and threatened, on his refusal, to make war upon him. Upon hearing of this, Izates was under no small trouble of mind, as thinking it would be a reproach upon him to appear to resign those privileges that had been bestowed upon him out of cowardice; yet because he knew, that though the king of Parthia should receive back those honors, yet would he not be quiet, he resolved to commit himself to God, his Protector, in the present danger he was in of his life; and as he esteemed him to be his principal assistant, he intrusted his children and his wives to a very strong fortress, and laid up his corn in his citadels, and set the hay and the grass on fire. And when he had thus put things in order, as well as he could, he awaited the coming of the enemy. And when the king of Parthia was come, with a great army of footmen and horsemen, which he did sooner than was expected, (for he marched in great haste,) and had cast up a bank at the river that parted Adiabene from Media, - Izates also pitched his camp not far off, having with him six thousand horsemen. But there came a messenger to Izates, sent by the king of Parthia, who told him how large his dominions were, as reaching from the river Euphrates to Bactria, and enumerated that king's subjects; he also threatened him that he should be punished, as a person ungrateful to his lords; and said that the God whom he worshipped could not deliver him out of the king's hands. When the messenger had delivered this his message, Izates replied that he knew the king of Parthia's power was much greater than his own; but that he knew also that God was much more powerful than all men. And when he had returned him this answer, he betook himself to make supplication to God, and threw himself upon the ground, and put ashes upon his head, in testimony of his confusion, and fasted, together with his wives and children. Then he called upon God, and said, "O Lord and Governor, if I have not in vain committed myself to thy goodness, but have justly determined that thou only art the Lord and principal of all beings, come now to my assistance, and defend me from my enemies, not only on my own account, but on account of their insolent behavior with regard to thy power, while they have not feared to lift up their proud and arrogant tongue against thee." Thus did he lament and bemoan himself, with tears in his eyes; whereupon God heard his prayer. And immediately that very night Vologases received letters, the contents of which were these, that a great band of Dahe and Sacse, despising him, now he was gone so long a journey from home, had made an expedition, and laid Parthis waste; so that he [was forced to] retire back, without doing any thing. And thus it was that Izates escaped the threatenings of the Parthians, by the providence of God.

3. It was not long ere Izates died, when he had completed fifty-five years of his life, and had ruled his kingdom twenty-four years. He left behind him twenty-four sons and twenty-four daughters. However, he gave order that his brother Monobazus should succeed in the government, thereby requiting him, because, while he was himself absent after their father's death, he had faithfully preserved the government for him. But when Helena, his mother, heard of her son's death, she was in great heaviness, as was but natural, upon her loss of such a most dutiful son; yet was it a comfort to her that she heard the succession came to her eldest son. Accordingly, she went to him in haste; and when she was come into Adiabene, she did not long outlive her son Izates. But Monobazus sent her bones, as well as those of Izates, his brother, to Jerusalem, and gave order that they should be buried at the pyramids which their mother had erected; they were three in number, and distant no more than three furlongs from the city Jerusalem. But for the actions of Monobazus the king, which he did during the rest of his life. we will relate them hereafter.-

  

~Ed Costanza

 

                                                                                

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