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orion Archelaus/Palms/Medicine etc.
I believe it was Stephen who raised a question concerning the long and
seemingly peacful occupation of the Qumran site prior to about 68 C.E. I
think this is a reasonable question given the general turmoil of the time. I
then mentioned the apparent high regard that Herod had for the Essenes
because of the prediction of Manahem, the Essene, that Herod would one day
be king of the Jews. I inferred that, if the Essenes were occupying the
Qumran site, then they might have benefited from Herod's favorable opinion.
By contrast, when the Pharises (who also took their turn to look into the
future) predicted that Herod's government would cease, Herod slew those
members of his family who agreed wtih the Pharisees and punished the
Pharises. (Ant., Book XVII, Chapters II & III). I assume that Judas, the
son of Saripheus, and Matthias, the son of Margalothus, who Josephus
describes as "the most eloquent men among the Jews, and the most celebrated
interpreters of the Jewish laws" (Ant., Book XVII, Chapter VI) were also
Pharisees, although I am not sure. Herod later deprived Matthias of the high
priesthood (and burnt his supporters alive), because he encouraged other to
take the large goldern eagle of Rome down off the temple.
It seemes to me that the long period of Heriod's personal favorable
disposition toward Essenes might also be extened to the 10 years that his son
Archelaus ruled after Herod's death. According to Josephus, only five days
before he was deposed by Ceasar and then banished to Vienna, a city of Gaul,
Archelaus had a dream and "sent for the diviners, and some of the Chaldeans,
and inquired of them what they thought it portended . . . [then] Simon, one
of the sect of the Essens, . . . " properly interpreted the dream. Wars, Book
II, Chapter VII; Ant., Book XVII, Chapter XIII). It seems to me that the
appearance of another Essene divner of dreams at this crucial time implies a
favorable relationship existed between Archelaus and the Essenes. If true,
this would extend the period of favorable disposition toward the Essenes from
41 B.C.E. to about 14 C.E. and suggest some other interesting possibilities.
According to Josephus (Ant., Book XVII, Chapter I), Archelaus was the son of
Herod by a Samaritan wife and he was "brought up with a certain private man
at Rome." (Ant., Book XVII, Chapter I). While Herod lived, Herod
apparently spent substantial time in the area of Jericho. As noted
previously, he met Cleopatra there. He also built some kind of fortified
place called Cyprus (after his mother)(Ant., Book XVI, Chapter V) and built a
city called Phasaelus in the valley north of Jericho. When Herod was
approching death, he "sent for physicians [Essenes?] . . . and . . .
follow[ed] what they prescribed for his assistance; and [therefore] went
beyond the Jordan, and bathed himself in warm baths that were at Callirrhoe,
which, besides their other general virtures, were also fit to drink. . . ."
(Ant., Book XVII, Chapter VI). (I do not know where Callirrhoe was located
vis a vis Jericho, except that it seems to have been on the east side of the
Jordon and the waters in which he bathed ran into the Dead Sea). (On the
other hand, Herod's physicians had him bathed in a vessel full of oil (Id.),
but Josephus says that Essenes considered oil a "defilement." Wars, Book II,
At almost exactly this same time, Herod also altered his testament, and
appointed Antipas, to whom he had previously left his kingdom, tetrarch of
Galilee and Berea, and granted the kingdom to Archelaus. According to
Josephus, Herod was told by Antipater's jailer about his plotting to be
released, but Josephus does not say why Herod picked Archelaus as the
principle benefactor of the change in his testament. It seems to me that
there were other choices that Herod might have made. I wonder what role
Herod's physicians (especially if they were Essenes), who were apparently
closely ministering to him at the time, might have played in Herod's decision
to primarily benefit Archelus in changing his will, especially because this
change from Antipas to Archelaus might have continued a period of favorable
disposition to Essenes and perpetuated an anti-Pharisee government.
Moreover, at this point in Herod's life he had basically isolated himself
from all but his doctors.
After Herod's death, Archelus quickly left for Rome to try to secure his
bequest wtih Caesar, but he did not leave before viciously putting down
seditious activity at the temple led by persons lementing what Herod had done
to Judas and Matthias. I assume these supporters were Pharisees and I assume
Archelus was following in Herod's footsteps in his attitude toward these
Pharisees? According to Josephus, after Archelus reached Rome, Caesar
thereupon confirmed Idumea, all of Judea, and Samaria as the area of
kingship for Archelus. Wars, Book II, Chapter VI. This area must have
included the site of Qumran and, for that matter, whatever other site might
be the one identified by Pliny as being "infra" En Gedi (and south of
Jericho) - where the Essenes lived among the palms.
While Archelus was in Rome, various revolts arose and Coponius was given
control over the Jews and laid a tax. There might be some clues here that
move the Zealots (the fourth philosophical sect identified by Josephus: Ant.,
Book XVII, Chapter I, who were led by Judas the Galilean), geographically
away from the locus of Qumran. About this same time, Josephus identifies a
person called Judas, the son of Ezekias, who got together men of a profligate
character about Sepphoris in Galilee, and seized weapons and money there.
[Does anyone know if this Judas, the son of Ezekias, is the same person as
Judas the Galilean and the leader of the fourth philosophy?] In virtually
the same breath, Josephus relates the story of one Simon, who burnt down th
royal palace at Jericho, set fire to the king's houses in several places in
the country, and burnt down the royal palace at Amathus, "by the river
Jordon." Ant., Book XVII, Chapter X). It does not seem likely to me that
Essenes who may have enjoyed the favor of Herod, and thereafter probably
Archelaus, would have been burning down their own neighboorhood. In any
event, soon after his return, Archelaus "magnigicently rebuilt the royal
palace that had been at Jericho, and he diverted half the water with which
the village of Neara used to be watered, and drew off that water into the
plain, to water those palm-trees which had been there planted: he also built
a village . . . and called it Archelais." Ant., Book XVII, Chapter XIII.
So, it looks to be like we have zealots from Galillee burning up Jericho and
its environs (an area built up by Herod and rebuilt by Archelaus), and
Essenes who enjoy the favor of Herod and Archelaus, living in the area of
governed by Herod and Archelaus, and palms being watered throughout this
Sorry this is so long.