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Tiresias: The Ancient Mediterranean Religions Source Database



9239
Philo Of Alexandria, On The Special Laws, 4.170


nanAnd it becomes a man who has been thought worthy of the supreme and greatest authority to appoint successors who may govern with him and judge with him, and, in concert with him, may ordain everything which is for the common advantage; for one person would not be sufficient, even if he were ever so willing, and if he were the most powerful man in the world, both in body and soul, to support the weight and number of affairs which would come upon him, as he would faint under the pressure and rapidity of all kinds of business coming in upon him continually every day from all quarters, unless he had a number of persons selected with reference to their excellence who might co-operate with him by their prudence, and power, and justice, and godly piety, men who not only avoid arrogance, but even detest it as an enemy and as the very greatest of evils.


Intertexts (texts cited often on the same page as the searched text):

14 results
1. Hebrew Bible, Deuteronomy, 17.14-17.20 (9th cent. BCE - 3rd cent. BCE)

17.14. כִּי־תָבֹא אֶל־הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ נֹתֵן לָךְ וִירִשְׁתָּהּ וְיָשַׁבְתָּה בָּהּ וְאָמַרְתָּ אָשִׂימָה עָלַי מֶלֶךְ כְּכָל־הַגּוֹיִם אֲשֶׁר סְבִיבֹתָי׃ 17.15. שׂוֹם תָּשִׂים עָלֶיךָ מֶלֶךְ אֲשֶׁר יִבְחַר יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ בּוֹ מִקֶּרֶב אַחֶיךָ תָּשִׂים עָלֶיךָ מֶלֶךְ לֹא תוּכַל לָתֵת עָלֶיךָ אִישׁ נָכְרִי אֲשֶׁר לֹא־אָחִיךָ הוּא׃ 17.16. רַק לֹא־יַרְבֶּה־לּוֹ סוּסִים וְלֹא־יָשִׁיב אֶת־הָעָם מִצְרַיְמָה לְמַעַן הַרְבּוֹת סוּס וַיהוָה אָמַר לָכֶם לֹא תֹסִפוּן לָשׁוּב בַּדֶּרֶךְ הַזֶּה עוֹד׃ 17.17. וְלֹא יַרְבֶּה־לּוֹ נָשִׁים וְלֹא יָסוּר לְבָבוֹ וְכֶסֶף וְזָהָב לֹא יַרְבֶּה־לּוֹ מְאֹד׃ 17.18. וְהָיָה כְשִׁבְתּוֹ עַל כִּסֵּא מַמְלַכְתּוֹ וְכָתַב לוֹ אֶת־מִשְׁנֵה הַתּוֹרָה הַזֹּאת עַל־סֵפֶר מִלִּפְנֵי הַכֹּהֲנִים הַלְוִיִּם׃ 17.19. וְהָיְתָה עִמּוֹ וְקָרָא בוֹ כָּל־יְמֵי חַיָּיו לְמַעַן יִלְמַד לְיִרְאָה אֶת־יְהוָה אֱלֹהָיו לִשְׁמֹר אֶת־כָּל־דִּבְרֵי הַתּוֹרָה הַזֹּאת וְאֶת־הַחֻקִּים הָאֵלֶּה לַעֲשֹׂתָם׃ 17.14. When thou art come unto the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, and shalt possess it, and shalt dwell therein; and shalt say: ‘I will set a king over me, like all the nations that are round about me’;" 17.15. thou shalt in any wise set him king over thee, whom the LORD thy God shall choose; one from among thy brethren shalt thou set king over thee; thou mayest not put a foreigner over thee, who is not thy brother." 17.16. Only he shall not multiply horses to himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt, to the end that he should multiply horses; forasmuch as the LORD hath said unto you: ‘Ye shall henceforth return no more that way.’" 17.17. Neither shall he multiply wives to himself, that his heart turn not away; neither shall he greatly multiply to himself silver and gold." 17.18. And it shall be, when he sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this law in a book, out of that which is before the priests the Levites." 17.19. And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life; that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them;" 17.20. that his heart be not lifted up above his brethren, and that he turn not aside from the commandment, to the right hand, or to the left; to the end that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he and his children, in the midst of Israel."
2. Hebrew Bible, Exodus, 18.13-18.27 (9th cent. BCE - 3rd cent. BCE)

18.13. וַיְהִי מִמָּחֳרָת וַיֵּשֶׁב מֹשֶׁה לִשְׁפֹּט אֶת־הָעָם וַיַּעֲמֹד הָעָם עַל־מֹשֶׁה מִן־הַבֹּקֶר עַד־הָעָרֶב׃ 18.14. וַיַּרְא חֹתֵן מֹשֶׁה אֵת כָּל־אֲשֶׁר־הוּא עֹשֶׂה לָעָם וַיֹּאמֶר מָה־הַדָּבָר הַזֶּה אֲשֶׁר אַתָּה עֹשֶׂה לָעָם מַדּוּעַ אַתָּה יוֹשֵׁב לְבַדֶּךָ וְכָל־הָעָם נִצָּב עָלֶיךָ מִן־בֹּקֶר עַד־עָרֶב׃ 18.15. וַיֹּאמֶר מֹשֶׁה לְחֹתְנוֹ כִּי־יָבֹא אֵלַי הָעָם לִדְרֹשׁ אֱלֹהִים׃ 18.16. כִּי־יִהְיֶה לָהֶם דָּבָר בָּא אֵלַי וְשָׁפַטְתִּי בֵּין אִישׁ וּבֵין רֵעֵהוּ וְהוֹדַעְתִּי אֶת־חֻקֵּי הָאֱלֹהִים וְאֶת־תּוֹרֹתָיו׃ 18.17. וַיֹּאמֶר חֹתֵן מֹשֶׁה אֵלָיו לֹא־טוֹב הַדָּבָר אֲשֶׁר אַתָּה עֹשֶׂה׃ 18.18. נָבֹל תִּבֹּל גַּם־אַתָּה גַּם־הָעָם הַזֶּה אֲשֶׁר עִמָּךְ כִּי־כָבֵד מִמְּךָ הַדָּבָר לֹא־תוּכַל עֲשֹׂהוּ לְבַדֶּךָ׃ 18.19. עַתָּה שְׁמַע בְּקֹלִי אִיעָצְךָ וִיהִי אֱלֹהִים עִמָּךְ הֱיֵה אַתָּה לָעָם מוּל הָאֱלֹהִים וְהֵבֵאתָ אַתָּה אֶת־הַדְּבָרִים אֶל־הָאֱלֹהִים׃ 18.21. וְאַתָּה תֶחֱזֶה מִכָּל־הָעָם אַנְשֵׁי־חַיִל יִרְאֵי אֱלֹהִים אַנְשֵׁי אֱמֶת שֹׂנְאֵי בָצַע וְשַׂמְתָּ עֲלֵהֶם שָׂרֵי אֲלָפִים שָׂרֵי מֵאוֹת שָׂרֵי חֲמִשִּׁים וְשָׂרֵי עֲשָׂרֹת׃ 18.22. וְשָׁפְטוּ אֶת־הָעָם בְּכָל־עֵת וְהָיָה כָּל־הַדָּבָר הַגָּדֹל יָבִיאוּ אֵלֶיךָ וְכָל־הַדָּבָר הַקָּטֹן יִשְׁפְּטוּ־הֵם וְהָקֵל מֵעָלֶיךָ וְנָשְׂאוּ אִתָּךְ׃ 18.23. אִם אֶת־הַדָּבָר הַזֶּה תַּעֲשֶׂה וְצִוְּךָ אֱלֹהִים וְיָכָלְתָּ עֲמֹד וְגַם כָּל־הָעָם הַזֶּה עַל־מְקֹמוֹ יָבֹא בְשָׁלוֹם׃ 18.24. וַיִּשְׁמַע מֹשֶׁה לְקוֹל חֹתְנוֹ וַיַּעַשׂ כֹּל אֲשֶׁר אָמָר׃ 18.25. וַיִּבְחַר מֹשֶׁה אַנְשֵׁי־חַיִל מִכָּל־יִשְׂרָאֵל וַיִּתֵּן אֹתָם רָאשִׁים עַל־הָעָם שָׂרֵי אֲלָפִים שָׂרֵי מֵאוֹת שָׂרֵי חֲמִשִּׁים וְשָׂרֵי עֲשָׂרֹת׃ 18.26. וְשָׁפְטוּ אֶת־הָעָם בְּכָל־עֵת אֶת־הַדָּבָר הַקָּשֶׁה יְבִיאוּן אֶל־מֹשֶׁה וְכָל־הַדָּבָר הַקָּטֹן יִשְׁפּוּטוּ הֵם׃ 18.27. וַיְשַׁלַּח מֹשֶׁה אֶת־חֹתְנוֹ וַיֵּלֶךְ לוֹ אֶל־אַרְצוֹ׃ 18.13. And it came to pass on the morrow, that Moses sat to judge the people; and the people stood about Moses from the morning unto the evening." 18.14. And when Moses’father-in-law saw all that he did to the people, he said: ‘What is this thing that thou doest to the people? why sittest thou thyself alone, and all the people stand about thee from morning unto even?’" 18.15. And Moses said unto his father-in-law: ‘Because the people come unto me to inquire of God;" 18.16. when they have a matter, it cometh unto me; and I judge between a man and his neighbour, and I make them know the statutes of God, and His laws.’" 18.17. And Moses’father-in-law said unto him: ‘The thing that thou doest is not good." 18.18. Thou wilt surely wear away, both thou, and this people that is with thee; for the thing is too heavy for thee; thou art not able to perform it thyself alone." 18.19. Hearken now unto my voice, I will give thee counsel, and God be with thee: be thou for the people before God, and bring thou the causes unto God." 18.20. And thou shalt teach them the statutes and the laws, and shalt show them the way wherein they must walk, and the work that they must do." 18.21. Moreover thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating unjust gain; and place such over them, to be rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens." 18.22. And let them judge the people at all seasons; and it shall be, that every great matter they shall bring unto thee, but every small matter they shall judge themselves; so shall they make it easier for thee and bear the burden with thee." 18.23. If thou shalt do this thing, and God command thee so, then thou shalt be able to endure, and all this people also shall go to their place in peace.’" 18.24. So Moses hearkened to the voice of his father-in-law, and did all that he had said." 18.25. And Moses chose able men out of all Israel, and made them heads over the people, rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens." 18.26. And they judged the people at all seasons: the hard causes they brought unto Moses, but every small matter they judged themselves." 18.27. And Moses let his father-in-law depart; and he went his way into his own land."
3. Hebrew Bible, Numbers, 27.15 (9th cent. BCE - 3rd cent. BCE)

27.15. וַיְדַבֵּר מֹשֶׁה אֶל־יְהוָה לֵאמֹר׃ 27.15. And Moses spoke unto the LORD, saying:"
4. Theocritus, Idylls, 17.13 (4th cent. BCE - 3rd cent. BCE)

5. Diodorus Siculus, Historical Library, 1.51, 5.19.5 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

1.51. 1.  The founder of Memphis, after constructing the mound and the lake, erected a palace, which, while not inferior to those of other nations, yet was no match for the grandeur of design and love of the beautiful shown by the kings who preceded him.,2.  For the inhabitants of Egypt consider the period of this life to be of no account whatever, but place the greatest value on the time after death when they will be remembered for their virtue, and while they give the name of "lodgings" to the dwellings of the living, thus intimating that we dwell in them but a brief time, they call the tombs of the dead "eternal homes," since the dead spend endless eternity in Hades; consequently they give less thought to the furnishings of their houses, but on the manner of their burials they do not forgo any excess of zeal.,3.  The aforementioned city was named, according to some, after the daughter of the king who founded it. They tell the story that she was loved by the river Nile, who had assumed the form of a bull, and gave birth to Egyptus, a man famous among the natives for his virtue, from whom the entire land received its name.,4.  For upon succeeding to the throne he showed himself to be a kindly king, just, and, in a word, upright in all matters and so, since he was held by all to merit great approbation because of his goodwill, he received the honour mentioned.,5.  Twelve generations after the king just named, Moeris succeeded to the throne of Egypt and built in Memphis itself the north propylaea, which far surpasses the others in magnificence, while ten schoeni above the city he excavated a lake which was remarkable for its utility and an undertaking of incredible magnitude.,6.  For its circumference, they say, is three thousand six hundred stades and its depth in most parts fifty fathoms; what man, accordingly, in trying to estimate the magnitude of the work, would not reasonably inquire how many myriads of men labouring for how many years were required for its completion?,7.  And as for the utility of this lake and its contribution to the welfare of all the inhabitants of Egypt, as well as for the ingenuity of the king, no man may praise them highly enough to do justice to the truth. 5.19.5.  And, speaking generally, the climate of the island is so altogether mild that it produces in abundance the fruits of the trees and the other seasonal fruits for the larger part of the year, so that it would appear that the island, because of its exceptional felicity, were a dwelling-place of a race of gods and not of men.
6. Horace, Odes, 4.5, 4.14 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

4.5. for it was situated upon a rough ridge of a high mountain, with a kind of neck in the middle: where it begins to ascend, it lengthens itself, and declines as much downward before as behind, insomuch that it is like a camel in figure, from whence it is so named, although the people of the country do not pronounce it accurately. 4.5. But when they considered with themselves that they had now no hopes of any terms of accommodation, and reflecting upon it that they could not get away, and that their provisions began already to be short, they were exceedingly cast down, and their courage failed them; 4.5. So Agrippa resolved to go on to Rome without any terror; on account of the change in the government; 4.14. Now at this time it was that as king Agrippa was come nigh the walls, and was endeavoring to speak to those that were on the walls about a surrender, he was hit with a stone on his right elbow by one of the slingers; 4.14. for the first man they meddled with was Antipas, one of the royal lineage, and the most potent man in the whole city, insomuch that the public treasures were committed to his care;
7. Philo of Alexandria, On The Life of Abraham, 83 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

83. But the last name intimating the really wise man; for the latter name, by the word sound, intimates the uttered speech; and by the word father, the domit mind. For the speech which is conceived within is naturally the father of that which is uttered, inasmuch as it is older than the latter, and as it also suggests what is to be said. And by the addition of the word elect his goodness is intimated. For the evil disposition is a random and confused one, but that which is elect is good, having been selected from all others by reason of its excellence.
8. Philo of Alexandria, On The Migration of Abraham, 201 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

201. But when he appeared to have gained ability to behold God, his name was changed to Israel, and then he uses only the computation of seventy, having extirpated the number five, the number of the outward senses; for it is said, that "thy fathers went down to Egypt, being seventy Souls." This is the number which is familiar to Moses the wise man: for it happened that those who were selected as carefully picked men out of the whole multitude, were seventy in number; and those all elders, not only in point of age, but also in wisdom and counsel, and in prudence, and in ancient integrity of manners.
9. Philo of Alexandria, On The Special Laws, 1.79, 1.303, 4.154, 4.156-4.169, 4.173, 4.176-4.182, 4.185, 4.187-4.188 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

1.79. Now there are twelve tribes of the nation, and one of them having been selected from the others for its excellence has received the priesthood, receiving this honour as a reward for its virtue, and fidelity, and its devout soul, which it displayed when the multitude appeared to be running into sin, following the foolish choices of some persons who persuaded their countrymen to imitate the vanity of the Egyptians, and the pride of the nations of the land, who had invented fables about irrational animals, and especially about bulls, making gods of them. For this tribe did of its own accord go forth and slay all the leaders of this apostacy from the youth upwards, in which they appeared to have done a holy action, encountering thus a contest and a labour for the sake of piety.XVI. 1.303. But, nevertheless, he selected out of the whole race of mankind those who were really men for their superior excellence; and he elected them and thought them worthy of the highest possible honour, calling them to the service of himself, to that everlasting fountain of all that is good; from which he has showered forth other virtues, drawing forth, at the same time, for our enjoyment, combined with the greatest possible advantage, a drink contributing more than ever nectar, or at all events not less, to make those who drink of it immortal. 4.154. again, with reference to the successful voyage and safety of men at sea, it is not any man who may obtain the office of pilot by lot, who is sent at once to the stern to steer the vessel, and who then by his ignorance may cause a needless wreck in calm and tranquil weather, but that person has that charge given to him who, from his earliest youth, appears to have learnt and carefully studied the business of a pilot; this is a man who has made many voyages, and who has traversed every sea, or at all events most seas, and who has carefully ascertained the character of all the marts, and harbours, and anchorages, and places of refuge in the different islands and continents, and who is still better, or at all events not worse acquainted with the tracks over the sea, than he is with the roads on land, through his accurate observation of the heavenly bodies; 4.156. And if any one should be about to undertake the government or regulation of large and populous cities, full of inhabitants, and should attempt to settle the constitution of such, and should undertake the superintendence of private, and public, and sacred affairs, a task which any one may rightly call the art of arts, and the science of sciences, he would not trust to the uncertain chances of time, passing over the accurate and trustworthy test of truth; and the test of truth is proof combined with reason.XXX. 4.157. The all-wise Moses seeing this by the power of his own soul, makes no mention of any authority being assigned by lot, but he has chosen to direct that all offices shall be elected to; therefore he says, "Thou shalt not appoint a stranger to be a ruler over thee, but one of thine own Brethren,"{37}{#de 17:15.} implying that the appointment is to be a voluntary choice, and an irreproachable selection of a ruler, whom the whole multitude with one accord shall choose; and God himself will add his vote on favour of, and set his seal to ratify such an election, that being who is the confirmer of all advantageous things, looking upon the man so chosen as the flower of his race, just as the sight is the best thing in the body.XXXI. 4.158. And Moses gives also two reasons, on account of which it is not proper for strangers to be elected to situations of authority; in the first place, that they may not amass a quantity of silver, and gold, and flocks, and raise great and iniquitously earned riches for themselves, out of the poverty of those who are subjected to them; and secondly, that they may not make the nation quit their ancient abodes to gratify their own covetous desires, and so compel them to emigrate, and to wander about to and fro in interminable wanderings, suggesting to them hopes of the acquisition of greater blessings, which shall never be fulfilled, by which they come to lose those advantages of which they were in the secure enjoyment. 4.159. For our lawgiver was aware beforehand, as was natural that one who was a countryman and a relation, and who had also an especial share in the sublimest relationship of all, (and that sublimest of relationships is one constitution and the same law, and one God whose chosen nation is a peculiar people 4.160. And from the first day on which any one enters upon his office, he orders that he shall write out a copy of the book of the Law{38}{#de 17:18.} with his own hand, which shall supply him with a summary and concise image of all the laws, because he wishes that all the ordices which are laid down in it shall be firmly fixed in his soul; for while a man is reading the notions of what he is reading fleet away, being carried off by the rapidity of his utterance; but if he is writing they are stamped upon his heart at leisure, and they take up their abode in the heart of each individual as his mind dwells upon each particular, and settles itself to the contemplation of it, and does not depart to any other object, till it has taken a firm hold of that which was previously submitted to it. 4.161. When therefore he is writing, let him take care, every day, to read and study what he has written, both in order that he may thus attain to a continual and unchangeable recollection of these commands which are virtuous and expedient for all men to observe, and also that a firm love of and desire for them may be implanted in him, by reason of his soul being continually taught and accustomed to apply itself to the study and observance of the sacred laws. For familiarity, which has been engendered by long acquaintance, engenders a sincere and pure friendship, not only towards men, but even also towards such branches of learning as are worthy to be loved; 4.162. and this will take place if the ruler studies not the writings and memorials of some one else but those which he himself has written out; for his own works are, in a certain degree, more easily to be understood by each individual, and they are also more easily to be comprehended; 4.163. and besides that a man, while he is reading them, will have such considerations in his mind as these: "I wrote all this; I who am a ruler of such great power, without employing any one else as my scribe, though I had innumerable servants. Did I do all this, in order to fill up a volume, like those who copy out books for hire, or like men who practise their eyes and their hands, training the one to acuteness of sight, and the others to rapidity of writing? Why should I have done this? That was not the case; I did it in order that after I had recorded these things in a book, I might at once proceed to impress them on my heart, and that I might stamp upon my intellect their divine and indelible characters: 4.164. other kings bear sceptres in their hands, and sit upon thrones in royal state, but my sceptre shall be the book of the copy of the law; that shall be my boast and my incontestible glory, the signal of my irreproachable sovereignty, created after the image and model of the archetypal royal power of God. 4.165. And by always relying upon and supporting myself in the scared laws, I shall acquire the most excellent things. In the first place equality, than which it is not possible to discern any greater blessing, for insolence and excessive haughtiness are the signs of a narrow-minded soul, which does not foresee the future. 4.166. Equality, therefore, will win me good will from all who are subject to my power, and safety inasmuch as they will bestow on me a just requital for by kindness; but inequality will bring upon me terrible dangers, and these I shall escape by hating inequality, the purveyor of darkness and wars; and my life will be in no danger of being plotted against, because I honour equality, which has no connection with seditions, but which is the parent of light and stability. 4.167. Moreover, I shall gain another advantage, namely, that I shall not sway this way and that way, like the dishes in a scale, in consequence of perverting and distorting the commandments laid down for my guidance. But I shall endeavour to keep them, going through the middle of the plain road, keeping my own steps straight and upright, in order that I may attain to a life free from error or misfortune. 4.168. And Moses was accustomed to call the middle road the royal one, inasmuch as it lay between excess and deficiency; and besides, more especially, because in the number three the centre occupies the most important place, uniting the extremities on either side by an indissoluble chain, it being attended by these extremities as its bodyguards as though it were a king. 4.169. Moreover, Moses says that a longenduring sovereignty is the reward of a lawful magistrate or ruler who honours equality, and who without any corruption gives just decisions in a just manner, always studying to observe the laws; not for the sake of granting him a life extending over many years, combined with the administration of the commonwealth, but in order to teach those who do not understand that a governor who rules in accordance with the laws, even though he die, does nevertheless live a long life by means of his actions which he leaves behind him as immortal, the indestructible monuments of his piety and virtue.XXXIII. 4.173. And we can find clear instances of both kinds in the sacred laws, which it is well for us to imitate; for there was once a time in which Moses, alone by himself, decided all causes and all matters of legal controversy, labouring from morning till night. But after a time his father-inlaw came to him, and seeing with what a weight of business he was overwhelmed, as all those who had any disputes were everlastingly coming upon him, he gave him most excellent advice, counselling him to choose subordinate magistrates, that they might decide the less important affairs, and that he might have only the more serious causes to occupy him, and by this means provide himself with time for Rest.{39}{#ex 18:14.} 4.176. We have here mentioned one example of what we before alluded to. We must now add an instance of the second kind. I said that the causes of men of humble condition were important; for the widow, and the orphan, and the stranger are powerless and humble. And it is right that the supreme King should be the judge in their case, the Ruler who has the supreme authority over the whole nation; since, according to Moses, even God, the Ruler of the universe, did not exclude them from the provisions of his laws; 4.177. for when Moses, that holy interpreter of the will of God, is raising a hymn in praise of the virtues of the living God in these terms, "God is great and mighty, one who is no respecter of persons, and who does not take gifts to guide him in his Judgment."{40}{#de 10:17.} he adds, in whose case it is that he gives judgment, not in the case of satraps, and tyrants, and men who have the power by land and sea, but he gives judgment respecting the stranger, and the orphan, and the widow. 4.178. In the case of the first, because he has made his own kinsmen, whom alone it was natural for him to have as allies and champions, his irreconcileable enemies, by quitting their camp and taking up his abode with the truth, and with the honour of the one Being who is entitled to honour, abandoning all the fabulous inventions and polytheistic notions which his fathers, and grandfathers, and ancestors, and all his kindred, who cleave to the beautiful settlement which he has forsaken, were wont to honour. In the case of the second, because he is deprived of his father and mother, his natural defenders and protectors, and by consequence of the only power which was bound to show itself as his ally. And lastly, in the case of the woman who is a widow because she has been deprived of her husband, who succeeded her parents as her guardian and protector; for a husband is to his wife in point of relationship what her parents are to a virgin. 4.179. And one may almost say that the whole nation of the Jews may be looked upon in the light of orphans, if they are compared with all other nations in other lands; for other nations, as often as they are afflicted by any calamities which are not of divine infliction, are in no want of assistance by reason of their frequent intercourse with other nations, from their habitual dealings in common. But this nation of the Jews has no such allies by reason of the peculiarity of its laws and customs. And their laws are of necessity strict and rigorous, as they are intended to train them to the greatest height of virtue; and what is strict and rigorous is austere. And such laws and customs the generality of men avoid, because of their inclination for and their adoption of pleasure. 4.180. But, nevertheless, Moses says that the great Ruler of the universe, whose inheritance they are, does always feel compassion and pity for the orphan and desolate of this his people, because they have been dedicated to him, the Creator and Father of all, as a sort of first-fruits of the whole human race. 4.181. And the cause of this dedication to God was the excessive and admirable righteousness and virtue of the founders of the nation, which remain like undying plants, bearing a fruit which shall ever flourish to the salvation of their descendants, and to the benefit of all persons and all things, provided only that the sins which they commit are such as are remediable and not wholly unpardonable. 4.182. Let not any one then think that nobility of birth is a perfect good, and therefore neglect virtuous actions, considering that that man deserves greater anger who, after he has been born of virtuous parents, brings disgrace on his parents by reason of the wickedness of his disposition and conduct; for if he has domestic examples of goodness which he may imitate, and yet never copies them, so as to correct his own life, and to render it healthy and virtuous, he deserves reproach.XXXV. 4.185. but those men who acquire great power and authority to the injury and damage of their subjects, ought to be entitled, not rulers, but enemies, inasmuch as they are acting the part of implacable foes. Not but what those who injure one treacherously are even more wicked than those who oppose one openly, since it is possible to repel the one without difficulty, as they display their hostility without disguise; but the evil-mindedness of the others is difficult to detect and hard to unveil, being like the conduct of men on the stage, who are clothed in a dress which does not belong to them, in order to conceal their real appearance. 4.187. for this is to act in imitation of God, since he also has the power to do either good or evil, but his inclination causes him only to do good. And the creation and arrangement of the world shows this, for he has summoned what had previously no being into existence, creating order out of disorder, and distinctive qualities out of things which had no such qualities, and similarities out of things dissimilar, and identity out of things which were different, and intercommunion and harmony out of things which had previously no communication nor agreement, and equality out of inequality, and light out of darkness; for he is always anxious to exert his beneficent powers in order to change whatever is disorderly from its present evil condition, and to transform it so as to bring it into a better state.XXXVI. 4.188. Therefore it is right for good rulers of a nation to imitate him in these points, if they have any anxiety to attain to a similitude to God; but since innumerable circumstances are continually escaping from and eluding the human mind, inasmuch as it is entangled among and embarrassed by so great a multitude of the external senses, as is very well calculated to seduce and deceive it by false opinions, since in fact it is, as I may say, buried in the mortal body, which may very properly be called its tomb, let no one who is a judge be ashamed to confess that he is ignorant of that of which he is ignorant
10. Philo of Alexandria, On The Virtues, 66, 57 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

57. On which account he did not trust to his own knowledge, but he supplicated and entreated God, who alone can behold the invisible soul, who sees accurately the mind of man, to choose and select the most suitable man for the supreme authority, one who would care for the people who were to be his subjects like a father. And stretching his pure, and, as one may say in a somewhat metaphorical manner, his virgin hands towards heaven, he said
11. Philo of Alexandria, On The Life of Moses, 1.151, 1.221, 1.306, 2.9, 2.26-2.28, 2.31-2.32, 2.51, 2.142, 2.160, 2.183 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

1.151. for he kept one most invariable object always steadily before him, namely, that of benefiting those who were subjected to his authority, and of doing everything both in word and deed, with a view to their advantage, never omitting any opportunity of doing anything that might tend to their prosperity. 1.221. and accordingly he chose out twelve men, to correspond in number to the twelve tribes, one out of each tribe to be the leader of it, selecting the most approved men, with reference to their excellence, in order that no quarrels might arise from any one party being better or worse off than another, but that they might all, by the agency of those to whom the matter was entrusted, be equally instructed as to the state of affairs among the inhabitants, if only the spies who were sent out brought a true report. 1.306. Therefore Moses did not think fit to carry on war against him with his whole army, knowing that superfluous numbers are apt to meet with disaster in consequence of those very numbers; and also, at the same time, thinking it useful to have stations of reserve, to be assistants to those of their allies who appeared likely to fail; but he selected a thousand picked men of the youth of the nation, selected man by man, out of each tribe, twelve thousand in all, for that was the number of the tribes, and he appointed Phinehas to be the commander in the war, as he had already given proof of the happy daring which becomes a general; and after he had offered up sacrifices of good omen, he sent forth his warriors, and encouraged them in the following words:-- 2.9. Now these four qualities are closely connected with and related to the legislative power, namely, humility, the love of justice, the love of virtue, and the hatred of iniquity; for every individual who has any desire for exercising his talents as a lawgiver is under the influence of each of these feelings. It is the province of humanity to prepare for adoption such opinions as will benefit the common weal, and to teach the advantages which will proceed from them. It is the part of justice to point out how we ought to honour equality, and to assign to every man his due according to his deserts. It is the part of the love of virtue to embrace those things which are by nature good, and to give to every one who deserves them facilities without limit for the most unrestrained enjoyment of happiness. It is also the province of the hatred of iniquity to reject all those who dishonour virtue, and to look upon them as common enemies of the human race. 2.26. In olden time the laws were written in the Chaldaean language, and for a long time they remained in the same condition as at first, not changing their language as long as their beauty had not made them known to other nations; 2.27. but when, from the daily and uninterrupted respect shown to them by those to whom they had been given, and from their ceaseless observance of their ordices, other nations also obtained an understanding of them, their reputation spread over all lands; for what was really good, even though it may through envy be overshadowed for a short time, still in time shines again through the intrinsic excellence of its nature. Some persons, thinking it a scandalous thing that these laws should only be known among one half portion of the human race, namely, among the barbarians, and that the Greek nation should be wholly and entirely ignorant of them, turned their attention to their translation. 2.28. And since this undertaking was an important one, tending to the general advantage, not only of private persons, but also of rulers, of whom the number was not great, it was entrusted to kings and to the most illustrious of all kings. 2.31. He, then, being a sovereign of this character, and having conceived a great admiration for and love of the legislation of Moses, conceived the idea of having our laws translated into the Greek language; and immediately he sent out ambassadors to the high-priest and king of Judea, for they were the same person. 2.32. And having explained his wishes, and having requested him to pick him out a number of men, of perfect fitness for the task, who should translate the law, the high-priest, as was natural, being greatly pleased, and thinking that the king had only felt the inclination to undertake a work of such a character from having been influenced by the providence of God, considered, and with great care selected the most respectable of the Hebrews whom he had about him, who in addition to their knowledge of their national scriptures, had also been well instructed in Grecian literature, and cheerfully sent them. 2.51. For both in his commandments and also in his prohibitions he suggests and recommends rather than commands, endeavouring with many prefaces and perorations to suggest the greater part of the precepts that he desires to enforce, desiring rather to allure men to virtue than to drive them to it, and looking upon the foundation and beginning of a city made with hands, which he has made the commencement of his work a commencement beneath the dignity of his laws, looking rather with the most accurate eye of his mind at the importance and beauty of his whole legislative system, and thinking it too excellent and too divine to be limited as it were by any circle of things on earth; and therefore he has related the creation of that great metropolis, the world, thinking his laws the most fruitful image and likeness of the constitution of the whole world. 2.142. Accordingly, Moses selected his brother, choosing him out of all men, because of his superior virtue, to be high priest, and his sons he appointed priests, not giving precedence to his own family, but to the piety and holiness which he perceived to exist in those men; and what is the clearest proof of this is, that he did not think either of his sons worthy of this honour (and he had two 2.160. And, again, the election of these officers was conducted in a novel and not in the ordinary manner. God chose out one of the twelve tribes, having selected it for its superior excellence, and appointed that to furnish the keepers of the temple, giving it rewards and peculiar honours in return for its pious acting. And the action which it had to perform was of this kind. 2.183. This is an emblem of the soul which is inclined to the practice of meditation, from which he thinks it is proper to turn it to virtue by showing it that it is necessary first of all to encounter danger. But labour is a bitter, and distasteful, and harsh thing, from which good is produced, for the sake of which one must not yield to effeminate indolence;
12. Philo of Alexandria, Questions On Genesis, 2.16 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

13. Epictetus, Discourses, 1.14 (1st cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

14. Anon., Letter of Aristeas, 121, 32-33, 35-40, 11

11. your library.' 'What is to prevent you from doing this?' replied the king. 'Everything that is necessary has been placed at your disposal.' 'They need to be translated,' answered Demetrius, 'for in the country of the Jews they use a peculiar alphabet (just as the Egyptians, too, have a special form of letters) and speak a peculiar dialect. They are supposed to use the Syriac tongue, but this is not the case; their language is quite different.' And the king when he understood all the facts of the case ordered a letter to be written to the Jewish High Priest that his purpose (which has already been described) might be accomplished.


Subjects of this text:

subject book bibliographic info
alexandria, philos perspective on Salvesen et al., Israel in Egypt: The Land of Egypt as Concept and Reality for Jews in Antiquity and the Early Medieval Period (2020) 232, 240
alexandria Salvesen et al., Israel in Egypt: The Land of Egypt as Concept and Reality for Jews in Antiquity and the Early Medieval Period (2020) 232, 240
animals Wilson, Philo of Alexandria: On Virtues: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2010) 170
aristeas, letter of Salvesen et al., Israel in Egypt: The Land of Egypt as Concept and Reality for Jews in Antiquity and the Early Medieval Period (2020) 240
arrogance Wilson, Philo of Alexandria: On Virtues: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2010) 344
augustus (octavian) Salvesen et al., Israel in Egypt: The Land of Egypt as Concept and Reality for Jews in Antiquity and the Early Medieval Period (2020) 232
courtiers Salvesen et al., Israel in Egypt: The Land of Egypt as Concept and Reality for Jews in Antiquity and the Early Medieval Period (2020) 240
dead sea scrolls, interpreters Flatto, The Crown and the Courts (2021) 34, 35
dead sea scrolls, philo on Flatto, The Crown and the Courts (2021) 34, 35, 42
dead sea scrolls Flatto, The Crown and the Courts (2021) 35
eleazar (high priest in letter of aristeas), unnamed in philo of alexandrias account of the ptolemaic embassy to jerusalem Salvesen et al., Israel in Egypt: The Land of Egypt as Concept and Reality for Jews in Antiquity and the Early Medieval Period (2020) 240
gentiles, non-jews (christians, muslims) Salvesen et al., Israel in Egypt: The Land of Egypt as Concept and Reality for Jews in Antiquity and the Early Medieval Period (2020) 232
greek, language Salvesen et al., Israel in Egypt: The Land of Egypt as Concept and Reality for Jews in Antiquity and the Early Medieval Period (2020) 232, 240
health Wilson, Philo of Alexandria: On Virtues: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2010) 344
homer Salvesen et al., Israel in Egypt: The Land of Egypt as Concept and Reality for Jews in Antiquity and the Early Medieval Period (2020) 232
humanity Wilson, Philo of Alexandria: On Virtues: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2010) 170, 344
insolence Wilson, Philo of Alexandria: On Virtues: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2010) 344
jerusalem, in letter of aristeas Salvesen et al., Israel in Egypt: The Land of Egypt as Concept and Reality for Jews in Antiquity and the Early Medieval Period (2020) 240
jerusalem, ptolemy ii and Salvesen et al., Israel in Egypt: The Land of Egypt as Concept and Reality for Jews in Antiquity and the Early Medieval Period (2020) 240
jerusalem, second temple Salvesen et al., Israel in Egypt: The Land of Egypt as Concept and Reality for Jews in Antiquity and the Early Medieval Period (2020) 240
justice Wilson, Philo of Alexandria: On Virtues: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2010) 170
kingship, philo on Flatto, The Crown and the Courts (2021) 34, 42
kingship Wilson, Philo of Alexandria: On Virtues: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2010) 170
memory, cultural Salvesen et al., Israel in Egypt: The Land of Egypt as Concept and Reality for Jews in Antiquity and the Early Medieval Period (2020) 232, 240
monarchy, deuteronomy Flatto, The Crown and the Courts (2021) 42
monarchy, philo on Flatto, The Crown and the Courts (2021) 34
moses, in philos life of moses Salvesen et al., Israel in Egypt: The Land of Egypt as Concept and Reality for Jews in Antiquity and the Early Medieval Period (2020) 232, 240
numa Wilson, Philo of Alexandria: On Virtues: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2010) 344
overseer Wilson, Philo of Alexandria: On Virtues: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2010) 170
passions Wilson, Philo of Alexandria: On Virtues: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2010) 344
philo, interpretation of deuteronomy Flatto, The Crown and the Courts (2021) 34, 35
philo, jurisprudence Flatto, The Crown and the Courts (2021) 42
philo, on monarchy Flatto, The Crown and the Courts (2021) 34
philo, on the judiciary Flatto, The Crown and the Courts (2021) 34, 35
philo, on the king Flatto, The Crown and the Courts (2021) 35
philo, royalism Flatto, The Crown and the Courts (2021) 42
philo of alexandria Salvesen et al., Israel in Egypt: The Land of Egypt as Concept and Reality for Jews in Antiquity and the Early Medieval Period (2020) 232, 240
philos perspective Salvesen et al., Israel in Egypt: The Land of Egypt as Concept and Reality for Jews in Antiquity and the Early Medieval Period (2020) 232, 240
plutarch Salvesen et al., Israel in Egypt: The Land of Egypt as Concept and Reality for Jews in Antiquity and the Early Medieval Period (2020) 232, 240
poetry Salvesen et al., Israel in Egypt: The Land of Egypt as Concept and Reality for Jews in Antiquity and the Early Medieval Period (2020) 232
poor, the Wilson, Philo of Alexandria: On Virtues: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2010) 344
prayer Wilson, Philo of Alexandria: On Virtues: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2010) 170
pretentiousness Wilson, Philo of Alexandria: On Virtues: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2010) 344
ptolemy ii philadelphus, in philos life of moses Salvesen et al., Israel in Egypt: The Land of Egypt as Concept and Reality for Jews in Antiquity and the Early Medieval Period (2020) 232, 240
ptolemy ii philadelphus Salvesen et al., Israel in Egypt: The Land of Egypt as Concept and Reality for Jews in Antiquity and the Early Medieval Period (2020) 232, 240
qumran literature, on kingship Flatto, The Crown and the Courts (2021) 35
qumran literature, on the judiciary Flatto, The Crown and the Courts (2021) 35
reason Wilson, Philo of Alexandria: On Virtues: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2010) 344
royal justice (judiciary), in psalms of solomon Flatto, The Crown and the Courts (2021) 35
royal justice (judiciary), philo and the concept of Flatto, The Crown and the Courts (2021) 42
royal justice (judiciary) Flatto, The Crown and the Courts (2021) 42
ruling classes Wilson, Philo of Alexandria: On Virtues: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2010) 344
septuagint (lxx) Salvesen et al., Israel in Egypt: The Land of Egypt as Concept and Reality for Jews in Antiquity and the Early Medieval Period (2020) 232, 240
stoicism Wilson, Philo of Alexandria: On Virtues: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2010) 170
thanksgiving Wilson, Philo of Alexandria: On Virtues: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2010) 170
theocritus Salvesen et al., Israel in Egypt: The Land of Egypt as Concept and Reality for Jews in Antiquity and the Early Medieval Period (2020) 232
wealth' Wilson, Philo of Alexandria: On Virtues: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2010) 344