The Writings of Philo Judaeus of Alexandria
Philo's works were enthusiastically received by the early Christians.
Early Christian Research Library Volume 1 information ..

Philo of Alexandria

PREFACE| Book 23
Book 1   | Book 24
Book 2   | Book 25
Book 3   | Book 26
Book 4   | Book 27
Book 5   | Book 28
Book 6   | Book 29
Book 7   | Book 30
Book 8   | Book 31
Book 9   | Book 32
Book 10  |Book 33
Book 11  |Book 34
Book 12  |Book 35
Book 13  |Book 36
Book 14  |Book 37
Book 15  |Book 38
Book 16  |Book 39
Book 17  |Book 40
Book 18  |Book 41
Book 19  |Book 42
Book 20  |Book 43
Book 21  |Book 44
Book 22 

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Book 28: Philo, The Special Laws, II

Yonge's title, A Treatise on the Special Laws, Which Are Referred to Three Articles of the Decalogue, Namely the Third, Fourth, and Fifth; About Oaths, and the Reverence Due to Them; About the Holy Sabbath; About the Honour To Be Paid to Parents.

Listen to Book 28: Philo, The Special Laws, IIIn the treatise preceding this one we have discussed with accuracy two articles of the ten commandments, that which relates to not thinking that any other beings are absolute gods, except God himself; and the other which enjoins us not to worship as God any object made with hands. And we also spoke of the laws which relate specially to each of these points. But we will now proceed to discuss the three which come next in the regular order, again adapting suitable special laws to each. And the first of these other commandments is not to take the name of God in vain; for the word of the virtuous man, says the law, shall be his oath, firm, unchangeable, which cannot lie, founded steadfastly on truth. And even if particular necessities shall compel him to swear, then he should make the witness to his oath the health or happy old age of his father or mother, if they are alive; or their memory, if they are dead. And, indeed, a man's parents are the copies and imitations of divine power, since they have brought people who had no existence into existence. One person is recorded in the law, one of the patriarchs of the race, and one of those most especially admired for his wisdom, "as swearing by the face of his father," for the benefit, I imagine, of all those who might live afterwards, and with the object of giving necessary instruction, so that posterity might honour their parents in the proper manner, loving them as benefactors and respecting them as rulers appointed by nature, and might therefore not rashly invoke the name of God. And these men also deserve to be praised who, when they are compelled to swear, by their slowness, and delay, and evasion, cause fear not only to those who see them, but to those also who invite them to take an oath; for when they do pronounce the oath they are accustomed to say only thus much, "By the--;" or, "No, by the--;" without any further addition, giving an emphasis to these words by the mutilation of the usual form, but without uttering the express oath. However, if a man must swear and is so inclined, let him add, if he pleases, not indeed the highest name of all, and the most important cause of all things, but the earth, the sun, the stars, the heaven, the universal world; for these things are all most worthy of being named, and are more ancient than our own birth, and, moreover, they never grow old, lasting for ever and ever, in accordance with the will of their Creator.

And some men display such easiness and indifference on the subject, that, passing over all created things, they dare in their ordinary conversation to rise up to the Creator and Father of the universe, without stopping to consider the place in which they are, whether it be profane or sacred; or the time, whether it be suitable; or themselves, whether they are pure in body and soul; or the business, whether it be important; or the occasion, whether it is necessary; but (as the proverb says), they pollute everything with unwashed feet, as if it were decent, since nature has bestowed a tongue upon them, for them to let it loose unrestrained and unbridled to approach objects which it is impious to approach. When they ought rather to employ that most excellent of all the organs by which voice and speech (the most useful things in human life, and the causes of all communion among men) are made distinct and articulate, in a manner to contribute to the honour, and dignity, and blessing of the great Cause of all things. But now, out of their excessive impiety, they use the most awful names in speaking of the most unimportant matters, and heaping one appellation upon another in a perfect crowd they feel no shame, thinking that by the frequency and number of their uninterrupted oaths they will attain to the object which they desire, being very foolish to think so; for a great number of oaths is no proof of credibility, but rather of a man's not deserving to be believed in the opinion of men of sense and wisdom.

But if any one being compelled to swear, swears by anything whatever in a manner which the law does not forbid, let him exert himself with all his strength and by every means in his power to give effect to his oath, interposing no hindrance to prevent the accomplishment of the matter thus ratified, especially if neither implacable anger or frenzied love, or unrestrained appetites agitate the mind, so that it does not know what is said or done, but if the oath has been taken with sober reason and deliberate purpose. For what is better than to speak with perfect truth throughout one's whole life, and to prove this by the evidence of God himself? For an oath is nothing else but the testimony of God invoked in a matter which is a subject of doubt, and to invoke God to witness a statement which is not true is the most impious of all things. For a man who does this, is all but saying in plain words (even though he hold his peace), "I am using thee as a veil for my iniquity; do thou co-operate with me, who am ashamed to appear openly to be behaving unjustly. For though I am doing wrong, I am anxious not to be accounted wicked, but thou canst be indifferent to thy reputation with the multitude, having no regard to being well spoken of." But to say or imagine such things as these is most impious, for not only would God, who is free from all participation in wickedness, but even any father or any stranger, provided he were not utterly devoid of all virtue, would be indignant if he were addressed in such a way as this. A man, therefore, as I have said, must be sure and give effect to all oaths which are taken for honourable and desirable objects, for the due establishment of private or public objects of importance, under the guidance of wisdom, and justice, and holiness.

And in this description of oaths those most lawful vows are included which are offered up in consequence of an abundance of blessings, either present or expected; but if any vows are made for contrary objects, it is not holy to ratify them, for there are some men who swear, if chance so prompts them, to commit theft, or sacrilege, or adultery, or rape, or to inflict wounds or slaughter, or any similar acts of wickedness, and who perform them without any delay, making an excuse that they must keep their oaths, as if it were not better and more acceptable to God to do no iniquity, than to perform such a vow and oath as that. The national laws and ancient ordinances of every people are established for the sake of justice and of every virtue, and what else are laws and ordinances but the sacred words of nature having an authority and power in themselves, so that they differ in no respect from oaths? And let every man who commits wicked actions because he is so bound by an oath, beware that he is not keeping his oath, but that he is rather violating one which is worthy of great care and attention to preserve it, which sets a seal as it were to what is honourable and just, for he is adding wickedness to wickedness, adding lawless actions to oaths taken on improper occasions, which had better have been buried in silence. Let such a man, therefore, abstain from committing iniquity, and seek to propitiate God, that he may grant to him the mercy of that humane power which is innate in him, so as to pardon him for the oaths which he took in his folly. For it is incurable madness and insanity to take upon himself twofold evils, when he might put off one half of the burden of them. But there are some men who, out of the excess of their wicked hatred of their species, being naturally unsociable and inhuman, or else being constrained by anger as by a hard mistress, think to confirm the savageness of their natural disposition by an oath, swearing that they will not admit this man or that man to sit at the same table with them, or to come under the same roof; or, again, that they will not give any assistance to such an one, or that they will not receive any from him as long as he lives. And sometimes even after the death of their enemy, they keep up their irreconcileable enmity, not allowing their friends to give the customary honours even to their dead bodies when in the grave. I would recommend to such men, as to those I have mentioned before, to seek to propitiate the mercy of God by prayers and sacrifices, that so they may find some cure for the diseases of their souls which no man is competent to heal.

But there are other persons, also, boastful, puffed up with pride and arrogance, who, being insatiably greedy of glory, are determined to obey none of the precepts which point to that most beneficial virtue, frugality; but even if any one exhorts them to it, in order to induce them to shake off the obstinate impetuosity of the appetites, they look upon all their admonitions as insults, and drive their course on headlong to every kind of effeminate luxury, despising those who seek to correct them, and making a joke of and turning into ridicule all the honourable and advantageous recommendations of wisdom. And if such men happen to be in such circumstances as to have any abundance and superfluity of the means of living, they declare with positive oaths that they will indulge in all imaginable expense for the use and enjoyment of costly luxury. For instance, a man who has lately come into the enjoyment of considerable riches, embraces a prodigal and extravagant course of life; and when some old man, some relation perhaps, or some friend of his father, comes and admonishes him, exhorting him to alter his ways and to come over to a more honourable and strict behaviour, he is indignant beyond all measure at the advice, and being obstinate in his contentious disposition, swears that as long as he has the means and resources necessary for supplying his wants he will not practise any single way which leads to economy or moderation, neither in the city nor in the country, neither when travelling by sea nor by land, but that he will at all times and in all places show how rich and liberal he is; but as it seems to me such conduct as this is not so much a display of riches as of insolence and intemperance. And yet many men who have before now been placed in situations of great authority, and even many who now are so, though they have most abundant resources of all kinds, and enormous riches, wealth continually and uninterruptedly flowing upon them as if from some unceasing spring, do nevertheless at times turn to the same things which we poor men use, to earthenware cups, and small cheap loaves, and olives, or cheese, or vegetables, for a seasoning to their dinners; and in the summer put on a girdle and a linen garment, and in winter any whole and stout cloak, and for sleep use a bed made on the ground, discarding gladly couches made of ivory or wrought in tortoiseshell and gold, and coverlets of various embroidery, and rich clothes and purple dyes, and the luxury of sweet and elaborate confectionery, and costly viands; and the reason of this conduct is not merely that they have a virtuous and abstemious disposition by nature, but also that they have enjoyed a good education from their earliest youth, which has taught them to honour what belongs to man rather than what belongs to authority, which also taking up its settled abode in the soul, I may almost say reminds it every day of its humanity, drawing it down from lofty and arrogant thoughts, and reducing it within due bounds, and correcting whatever is unequal by the introduction of equality. Therefore such men fill their cities with vigour and abundance, and with good laws and peace, depriving them of no good thing whatever, but providing them with all requisite blessings in the most unlimited and unsparing manner; for this conduct and actions of this sort are the achievements of men of real nobility, and of men who may truly be called governors. But the actions of men newly become rich, of men who by some blunder of fortune have arrived at great wealth, who have no notion, not even in their dreams, of wealth which is genuine and truly endowed with sight, which consists of the perfect virtues, and of actions in accordance with such virtues, but who stumble against that wealth which is blind, leaning upon which, and therefore of necessity missing the right road, they turn into one which is no road at all, admiring objects which deserve no honour at all, and ridiculing things that are honourable by nature; men whom the word of God reproves and reproaches in no moderate degree for introducing oaths on unfitting occasions; for such men are difficult to purify and difficult to cure, so as not to be thought deserving pardon even by God, who is all-merciful by nature.

But the law takes away from virgins and from married women the power of making vows independently, pronouncing the parents of the one class, and the husbands of the other, their lords; and with reference to any confirmation or disavowal of their oaths, declaring that that power belongs in the one case to the father, and in the other to the husband. And very reasonably, for the one class by reason of their youth are not aware of the importance of oaths, so that they stand in need of the advice of others to judge for them; while the other class do often out of easiness of disposition take oaths which are not for the interest of their husbands, on which account the law invests the husbands and fathers with authority either to ratify their oaths or to declare them void. And let not widows swear inconsiderately, for they have no one who can beg them off from the effect of their oaths; neither husbands, from whom they are now separated, nor fathers, whose houses they have quitted when they departed from home on the occasion of their marriage, since it is unavoidable that their oaths must stand as being confirmed through the absence of any one to take care of the interests of the swearers. But if any one knows that any one else is violating his oath, and does not inform against him, or convict him, being influenced by friendship, or respect, or fear, rather than by piety, he shall be liable to the same punishment as the perjured person; for assenting to one who does wrong differs in no respect from doing wrong one's self. And punishment is inflicted on perjured persons in some cases by God and in others by men; but those punishments which proceed from God are the most fearful and the most severe, for God shows no mercy to men who commit such impiety as that, but allows them to remain for ever unpurified, and in my opinion with great justice and propriety, for the man who despises such important matters cannot complain if he is despised in his turn, receiving a fate equal to his actions. But the punishments which are inflicted by men are of various characters, being death, or scourging; those men who are more excellent and more strict in their piety inflicting death on such offenders, but those who are of milder dispositions scourging them with rods publicly in the sight of all men; and to men who are not of abject and slavish dispositions scourging is a punishment not inferior in terror to death.

These then are the ordinances contained in the express language of these commandments; but there is also an allegorical meaning concealed beneath, which we must extract by a careful consideration of the figurative expressions used. We must be aware, therefore, that the correct principles of nature recognise the power both of the father and of the husband as equal, but still in different respects. The power of the husband exists because of his sowing the seed of the virtues in the soul, as in a fertile field; that of the father arises from its being his natural office to implant good counsels in the minds of his children, and to stimulate them to honourable and virtuous actions; and because, when he has done so, he cherishes them with salutary doctrines, which education and wisdom supply; and the mind is compared at one time to a virgin, and at another to a woman who is a widow, and again to one who is still united to a husband. It is compared to a virgin, when it preserves itself pure, and undefiled, free from the influence of pleasures and appetites, and likewise of pains and fears, treacherous passions, and then the father who begot it retains the regulation of it; and her principle, as in the case of a virtuous woman, she now being united to pure reason, in accordance with virtue, will exert a proper care to defend her, implanting in her, like a husband, the most excellent conceptions. But the soul which is deprived of the wisdom and guardianship of a parent, and of the union of right reason, being widowed of her most excellent defences, and abandoned by wisdom, if it has chosen a life open to reproach, must be bound by its own conduct, not having reason in accordance with wisdom to act as intercessor, to relieve her of the consequences of her sins, neither has a husband living with her, nor as a father who has begotten her.

But in the case of those persons who have vowed not merely their own property or some part of it, but also their own selves, the law has affixed a price to their vows, not having a regard to their beauty, or their importance, or to any thing of that kind, but with reference to the number of the individuals separating the men from the women, and the infants from those who are full grown. For the law Ordains that from twenty years of age to sixty the price of a man shall be two hundred drachmas of solid silver money, and of a woman a hundred and twenty drachmas. And from five years of age to twenty, the price of a male child is eighty, and of a female child forty drachmas. And from infancy to five years old, the price of a male is twenty; of a female child, twelve Drachmas. And in the case of men who have lived beyond sixty years of age, the ransom of the old men is sixty, and of the old women forty drachmas. And the law has regulated this ransom with reference to the same age both in men and women on account of three most important considerations. First of all, because the importance of their vow is equal and similar, whether it be made by a person of great or of little importance. Secondly, because it is fitting that those who have made a vow should not be exposed to the treatment of slaves; for they are valued at a high or at a low price, according to the good condition and beauty of their bodies, or the contrary. Thirdly, which, indeed, is the most important consideration of all, because inequality is valued among men, but equality is honoured by God.

These are the ordinances established in respect of men, but about animals the following commands are given. If any one shall set apart any beast; if it be a clean beast of any one of the three classes which are appropriate to sacrifice, such as an ox, or a sheep, or a goat, he shall surely sacrifice it, not substituting either a worse animal for a better, or a better for a worse. For God does not take delight in the fleshiness of fatness of animals, but in the blameless disposition of the man who has vowed it. But if he should make a substitution, then he must sacrifice two instead of one; both the one which he had originally vowed, and the one which he wished to substitute for it. But if any one vows one of the unclean animals, let him bring it to the most venerable of the priests; and let him value it, not exaggerating its price, but adding to its exact value one-fifth, in order that if it should be necessary to sacrifice an animal that is clean instead of it, the sacrifice may not fall short of its proper value. And this is ordained also for the sake of causing the man who has vowed it to feel grieved at having made an inconsiderate vow, having vowed an animal which is not clean, looking upon it, in my opinion, for the moment as clean, being led away by error of mind through some passion. And if the thing which he has vowed be his house, again he must have the priest for a valuer. But those who may chance to buy it shall not pay an equal ransom for it; but if the man who has vowed it chooses to ransom it, he shall pay its price and a fifth besides, punishing his own rashness and impetuous desire for his two faults, his rashness for making the vow, and his impetuous desire for wishing for things back again which he had before abandoned. But if any one else brings it he shall not pay more than its value. And let not the man who has made the vow make any long delay either in the accomplishment of his vow or in procuring a proper valuation to be made of it. For it is absurd to attempt to make strict covenants with men, but to look upon agreements made with God who has no need of any thing, and who has no deficiency of any thing as unnecessary to be observed, while those who do so are by their delays and slowness convicting themselves of the greatest of offences, namely, of a neglect of him whose service they ought to look upon as the beginning and end of all happiness. This is enough to say of oaths and Vows.

The next commandment is that concerning the sacred seventh day, in which are comprehended an infinite number of most important festivals. For instance, there is the release of those men who by nature were free, but who, through some unforeseen necessity of the times, have become slaves, which release takes place every seventh year. Again, there is the humanity of creditors towards their debtors, as they forgive their countrymen their debts every seventh year. Also there is the rest given to the fertile ground, whether it be in the champaign or in the mountainous country, which also takes place every seventh year. Moreover, there are those ordinances which are established respecting the fiftieth year. And of all these things the bare narration (without looking to any inner and figurative signification) is sufficient to lead those who are well disposed to perfect virtue, and to make even those who are obstinate and stubborn in their dispositions more docile and tractable. Now we have already spoken at some length about the virtue of the number seven, explaining what a nature it has in reference to the number ten; and also what a connection it has to the decade itself, and also to the number four, which is the foundation and the source of the decade. And now, having been compounded in regular order from the unit, it in regular order produces the perfect number twenty-eight; being multiplied according to a regular proportion equal in all its parts, it makes at last both a cube and a square. I also showed how there is an infinite number of beauties which may be extracted from a careful contemplation of it, on which we have not at present time to dilate. But we must examine every one of the special matters which are before us as comprehended in this one, beginning with the first. The first matter to be considered is that of the Festivals.

Now there are ten festivals in number, as the law sets them down.

The first is that which any one will perhaps be astonished to hear called a festival. This festival is every day.

The second festival is the seventh day, which the Hebrews in their native language call the sabbath.

The third is that which comes after the conjunction, which happens on the day of the new moon in each month.

The fourth is that of the passover which is called the passover.

The fifth is the first fruits of the corn--the sacred sheaf.

The sixth is the feast of unleavened bread, after which that festival is celebrated, which is really

The seventh day of seventh days.

The eighth is the festival of the sacred moon, or the feast of trumpets.

The ninth is the fast.

TThe tenth is the feast of tabernacles, which is the last of all the annual festivals, ending so as to make the perfect number of ten. We must now begin with the first festival.


The law sets down every day as a festival, adapting itself to an irreproachable life, as if men continually obeyed nature and her injunctions. And if wickedness did not prosper, subduing by their predominant influence all those reasonings about what things might be expedient, which they have driven out of the soul of each individual, but if all the powers of the virtues remained in all respects unsubdued, then the whole time from a man's birth to his death would be one uninterrupted festival, and all houses and every city would pass their time in continual fearlessness and peace, being full of every imaginable blessing, enjoying perfect tranquillity. But, as it is at present, covetousness and the system of mutual hostility and retaliation with which both men and women are continually forming designs against one another, and even against themselves, have destroyed the continuity of cheerfulness and happiness. And the proof of what I have just asserted is visible to all men; for all those men, whether among the Greeks or among the barbarians, who are practisers of wisdom, living in a blameless and irreproachable manner, determining not to do any injustice, nor even to retaliate it when done to them, shunning all association with busy-bodies, in all the cities which they inhabit, avoid all courts of justice, and council halls, and market-places, and places of assembly, and, in short, every spot where any band or company of precipitate headstrong men is collected, admiring, as it were, a life of peace and tranquillity, being the most devoted contemplators of nature and of all the things in it. Investigating earth and sea, and the air, and the heaven, and all the different natures in each of them; dwelling, if one may so say, in their minds, at least, with the moon, and the sun, and the whole company of the rest of the stars, both planets and fixed stars. Having their bodies, indeed, firmly planted on the earth, but having their souls furnished with wings, in order that thus hovering in the air they may closely survey all the powers above, looking upon them as in reality the most excellent of cosmopolites, who consider the whole world as their native city, and all the devotees of wisdom as their fellow citizens, virtue herself having enrolled them as such, to whom it has been entrusted to frame a constitution for their common city.

Being, therefore, full of all kinds of excellence, and being accustomed to disregard all those good things which affect the body and external circumstances, and being inured to look upon things indifferent as really indifferent, and being armed by study against the pleasures and appetites, and, in short, being always labouring to raise themselves above the passions, and being instructed to exert all their power to pull down the fortification which those appetites have built up, and being insensible to any impression which the attacks of fortune might make upon them, because they have previously estimated the power of its attacks in their anticipations (for anticipation makes even those things light which would be most terrible if unexpected), their minds in this manner calculating that nothing that happens is wholly strange, but having a kind of faint perception of everything as old and in some degree blunted. These men, being very naturally rendered cheerful by their virtues, pass the whole of their lives as a festival. These men, however, are therefore but a small number, kindling in their different cities a sort of spark of wisdom, in order that virtue may not become utterly extinguished, and so be entirely extirpated from our race. But if men everywhere agreed with this small number, and became, as nature originally designed that they should, all blameless and irreproachable, lovers of wisdom, delighting in all that is virtuous and honourable, and thinking that and that alone good, and looking on everything else as subordinate and slaves, as if they themselves were the masters of them, then all the cities would be full of happiness, being wholly free from all the things which are the causes of pain or fear, and full of all those which produce joy and cheerfulness. So that no time would ever cease to be the time of a happy life, but that the whole circle of the year would be one festival.

Wherefore, if truth were to be the judge, no wicked or worthless man can pass a time of festival, no not even for the briefest period, inasmuch as he must be continually pained by the consciousness of his own iniquities, even though, with his soul, and his voice, and his countenance, he may pretend to smile; for how can a man who is full of the most evil counsels, and who lives with folly, have any period of genuine joy? A man who is in every respect unfortunate and miserable, in his tongue, and his belly, and all his other members, since he uses the first for the utterance of things which ought to be secret and buried in silence, and the second he fills full of abundance of strong wine and immoderate quantities of food out of gluttony, and the rest of his members he uses for the indulgence of unlawful desires and illicit connections, not only seeking to violate the marriage bed of others, but lusting unnaturally, and seeking to deface the manly character of the nature of man, and to change it into a womanlike appearance, for the sake of the gratification of his own polluted and accursed passions. On which account the all-great Moses, seeing the pre-eminence of the beauty of that which is the real festival, looked upon it as too perfect for human nature and dedicated it to God himself, speaking thus, in these very words: "The feast of the Lord." In considering the melancholy and fearful condition of the human race, and how full it is of innumerable evils, which the covetousness of the soul begets, which the defects of the body produce, and which all the inequalities of the soul inflict upon us, and which the retaliations of those among whom we live, both doing and suffering innumerable evils, are continually causing us, he then wondered whether any one being tossed about in such a sea of troubles, some brought on deliberately and others unintentionally, and never being able to rest in peace nor to cast anchor in the safe haven of a life free from danger, could by any possibility really keep a feast, not one in name, but one which should really be so, enjoying himself and being happy in the contemplation of the world and all the things in it, and in obedience to nature, and in a perfect harmony between his words and his actions, between his actions and his words. On which account he necessarily said that the feasts belonged to God alone; for he alone is happy and blessed, having no participation in any evil whatever, but being full of all perfect blessings. Or rather, if one is to say the exact truth, being himself the good, who has showered all particular good things over the heaven and earth. In reference to which fact, a certain pre-eminently virtuous mind among the people of old, when all its passions were tranquil, smiled, being full of and completely penetrated with joy, and reasoning with itself whether perhaps to rejoice was not a peculiar attribute of God, and whether it might not itself miss this joy by pursuing what are thought delights by men, was timorous, and denied the laughter of her soul until she was comforted. For the merciful God lightened her fear, bidding her by his holy word confess that she did laugh, in order to teach us that the creature is not wholly and entirely deprived of joy; but that joy is unmingled and the purest of all which can receive nothing of an opposite nature, the chosen peculiar joy of God. But the joy which flows from that is a mingled one, being alloyed, being that of a man who is already wise, and who has received as the most valuable gift possible such a mixture as that in which the pleasant are far more numerous than the unpleasant ingredients. And this is enough to say on this subject.


But after this continued and uninterrupted festival which thus lasts through all time, there is another celebrated, namely, that of the sacred seventh day after each recurring interval of six days, which some have denominated the virgin, looking at its exceeding sanctity and purity. And others have called the motherless, as being produced by the Father of the universe alone, as a specimen of the male kind unconnected with the sex of women; for the number seven is a most brave and valiant number, well adapted by nature for government and authority. Some, again, have called it the occasion, forming their conjectures of that part of its essence which is appreciable only by the intellect, from the objects intelligible to their outward senses. For whatever is best among the objects of the external senses, the things by means of which the seasons of the year and the revolutions of time are brought to perfection in their appointed order, partake of the number seven. I mean that there are seven planets; that the stars of the Bear are seven, that the Pleiads are seven, and the revolutions of the moon when increasing and waning, and the orderly well-regulated circuits of the other bodies, the beauty of which exceeds all description. But Moses, from a most honourable cause, called it consummation and perfection; attributing to the number six the origination of all the parts of the world, and to the number seven their perfection; for the number six is an oddeven number, being composed of twice three, having the odd number for the male and the even number for the female, from the union of which, production takes place in accordance with the unalterable laws of nature. But the number seven is free from all such commixture, and is, if one must speak plainly, the light of the number six; for what the number six engendered, that the number seven displayed when brought to perfection. In reference to which fact it may properly be called the birthday of the world, as the day in which the work of the Father, being exhibited as perfect with all its parts perfect, was commanded to rest and abstain from all works. Not that the law is the adviser of idleness, for it is always accustoming its followers to submit to hardships, and training them to labour, and it hates those who desire to be indolent and idle; at all events, it expressly commands us to labour diligently for six days, but in order to give some remission from uninterrupted and incessant toil, it refreshes the body with seasons of moderate relaxation exactly measured out, so as to renew it again for fresh works. For those who take breath in this way, I am speaking not merely about private individuals but even about athletes, collect fresh strength, and with more vigorous power, without any shrinking and with great endurance, encounter everything that must be done. And the works meant are those enjoined by precepts and doctrines in accordance with virtue. And in the day he exhorts us to apply ourselves to philosophy, improving our souls and the dominant part of us, our mind. Accordingly, on the seventh day there are spread before the people in every city innumerable lessons of prudence, and temperance, and courage, and justice, and all other virtues; during the giving of which the common people sit down, keeping silence and pricking up their ears, with all possible attention, from their thirst for wholesome instruction; but some of those who are very learned explain to them what is of great importance and use, lessons by which the whole of their lives may be improved. And there are, as we may say, two most especially important heads of all the innumerable particular lessons and doctrines; the regulating of one's conduct towards God by the rules of piety and holiness, and of one's conduct towards men by the rules of humanity and justice; each of which is subdivided into a great number of subordinate ideas, all praiseworthy. From which considerations it is plain that Moses does not leave those persons at any time idle who submit to be guided by his sacred admonitions; but since we are composed of both soul and body, he has allotted to the body such work as is suited to it, and to the soul also such tasks as are good for that. And he has taken care that the one shall succeed the other, so that while the body is labouring the soul may be at rest, and when the body is enjoying relaxation the soul may be labouring; and so the best lives with the contemplative and the active life, succeed to one another in regular alternations. The active life having received the number six, according to the service appointed for the body; and the contemplative life the number seven, as tending to knowledge and to the perfecting of the intellect.

It is forbidden also on this day to kindle a fire, as being the beginning and seed of all the business of life; since without fire it is not possible to make any of the things which are indispensably necessary for life, so that men in the absence of one single element, the highest and most ancient of all, are cut off from all works and employments of arts, especially from all handicraft trades, and also from all particular services. But it seems likely that it was on account of those who were less obedient, and who were the least inclined to attend to what was done, that Moses gave additional laws, besides, thinking it right, not only that those who were free should abstain from all works on the seventh day, but also that their servants and handmaids should have a respite from their tasks, proclaiming a day of freedom to them also after every space of six days, in order to teach both classes this most admirable lesson; so that the masters should be accustomed to do some things with their own hands, not waiting for the services and ministrations of their servants, in order that if any unforeseen necessities came upon them, according to the changes which take place in human affairs, they might not, from being wholly unaccustomed to do anything for themselves, faint at what they had to do; but, finding the different parts of the body active and handy, might work with ease and cheerfulness; and teaching the servants not to despair of better prospects, but having a relaxation every six days as a kind of spark and kindling of freedom, to look forward to a complete relaxation hereafter, if they continued faithful and attached to their masters. And from the occurrence of the free men at times submitting to the tasks of servants, and of the servants enjoying a respite and holiday, it will arise that the life of mankind advances in improvement towards perfect virtue, from their being thus reminded of the principles of equality, and repaying each other with necessary services, both those of high and those of obscure rank. But the law has given a relaxation, not to servants only on the seventh day, but also to the cattle. And yet by nature the servants are born free; for no man is by nature a slave. But other animals are expressly made for the use and service of man, and are therefore ranked as slaves; but, nevertheless, those that ought to bear burdens, and to endure toil and labour on behalf of their owners, do all find a respite on the seventh day. And why need I mention other particulars? The ox, the animal who is born for the most important and most useful of all the purposes of life, namely, for the plough, when the earth is already prepared for seed; and again, when the sheaves are brought into the barn, for threshing in order to the purification of the crop, is on this day unharnessed, keeping as a festival that day which is the birthday of the year. And thus its holiness pervades every thing and affects every creature.

And Moses thinks the number seven worthy of such reverence that even all other things which at all partake of it are honoured by him; at all events, on every seventh year he ordains a remission of debts, assisting the poor, and inviting the rich to humanity; that so they, from their abundance, giving to those that are in want, may also look forward to receiving services from them in the case of any disaster happening to them. For the accidents of human life are numerous, and life is not always anchored on the same bottom, but is apt to change like the fickle wind which blows in different directions at different times. It is well, therefore, that the kindness shown by the creditors should extend to all the debtors. But since all men are not naturally inclined to magnanimity, but some men are the slaves of money, or perhaps not very rich, the law has appointed that they should contribute what will not inconvenience them when parted with. For while it does not permit them to lend on usury to their fellow countrymen, it has allowed them to receive interest from foreigners; calling the former, with great felicity of expression, their brothers, in order to prevent any one's grudging to give of his possessions to those who are as if by nature joint inheritors with themselves; but those who are not their fellow countrymen are called strangers, as is very natural. For the being a stranger shows that a person has no right to a participation in any thing, unless, indeed, any one out of an excess of virtue should treat even those in the conditions of strangers as kindred and related, from having been bred up under a virtuous state of things, and under virtuous laws which look upon what is virtuous alone as good. But the action of lending on usury is blameable; for a man who lends on usury has not abundant means of living, but is clearly in some want; and he does so as being compelled to add the interest to his principal in order to subsist, and so he at last becomes of necessity very poor; and while he thinks that he is deriving advantage he is in reality injured, just as foolish animals are when they are deceived by a present bait. But I should say to such persons, "O you who lend on usury, why do you seek to disguise your unsociable disposition by an apparent pretence of good fellowship? And why do you in words, indeed, pretend to be a humane and considerate person, while in your actions you exhibit a want of humanity and a terrible hardness of heart, exacting more than you gave, and sometimes even doubling your original loan, so as to make the poor man an absolute beggar? Therefore no one sympathises with you in your distress, when, having endeavoured to obtain more, you fail to do so, and besides lose even what you had before. But, on the contrary, all men are glad of your misfortunes, calling you a usurer, and a skinflint, and all kinds of names like those, looking on you as one who lies in wait for human misfortunes, and who esteems the misfortunes of others his own prosperity." But, as some have said, wickedness is a most laborious thing; and he who lends on usury is blind, not seeing the time of repayment, in which he will scarcely, or perhaps not at all, receive the things which in his covetousness he had hoped to gain. Let such a man pay the penalty of his avaricious disposition, not recovering back what he has expended, so as to make a gain of the misfortunes of men, deriving a revenue from unbecoming sources. But let the debtors be thought worthy of a humanity enjoined by the law, not paying back their loans and usurious interest upon them, but paying back merely the original sum lent. For again, at a proper season, they will give the same assistance to those who have aided them, requiting those who set the example of kindness with equal services.

After having given these commandments, Moses proceeds in regular order to establish a law full of all gentleness and humanity. "If," says this law, "one of thy brethren be sold to thee, let him serve thee for six years; and in the seventh year let him be set free without any Payment," Here again Moses calls their fellow countrymen their brothers, implanting in the soul of the owner by this appellation an idea of relationship to his servant, that he may not neglect him as a stranger, towards whom he has no bond of goodwill. But that, yielding to a feeling of affection for him as a relation, in consequence of the lesson which the holy scripture thus suggests, he may not feel indignant when his servant is about to recover his freedom. For it has come to pass that such men are called slaves (douloi), but they are in reality only servants (thetes), serving their masters for the sake of their necessities. And even though they had a thousand times over given their masters absolute power and authority over them, still their masters ought to be gentle to them, considering these beautiful injunctions of the law. O man, he is a hireling who is called a slave, and he also is a man, having a most sublime relationship to you, inasmuch as he is of the same nation as yourself; and perhaps he is even of the same tribe and the same borough as yourself, and is now reduced to this condition through want. Do you, therefore, casting out of your soul that treacherous evil, insolence, behave to him as if he were a hireling, giving some things and receiving others. And so he will, with all energy and cheerfulness perform the services due to you, at all times and in all places, never delaying, but by his speed and willingness anticipating your commands. And do you, in return, provide him with food and raiment, and take all other necessary care of him; not yoking him to the plough like a brute beast, and not oppressing him with heavy burdens beyond his power to bear, nor treating him with insolence, nor reducing him to painful despondency by threats and infliction of punishment; but giving him proper relaxation and well-regulated periods of rest; for the precept, "Let nothing be too much," applies to every case, and especially to the conduct of masters to their servants. Therefore, when he has served you for a very sufficient time, for six years, then, when the most sacred number, the seventh year is about to arrive, let him who is free by nature depart in freedom; and grant him this kindness without hesitating as to your part, my good man, but joyfully, because you have now an opportunity of doing a service to that most excellent of all animals, man, in the most important of all matters; for there is no blessing to a slave greater than freedom. Do you, therefore, set him free joyfully; and, moreover, make him a present from your own property, from each portion of your possessions, giving to him who has served you faithfully means to support himself on his journey. For it will tend to your credit if he does not leave your house in poverty but having a plentiful supply for all his necessities, so that he may not again, through want, fall into his previous calamity, namely, slavery, being compelled through want of his daily food to sell himself, and so your kindness will be lost. This, then, is enough to say about the poor.

In the next place Moses commands the people to leave the land fallow and untilled every seventh year, for many reasons; first of all, that they may honour the number seven, or each period of days, and months, and years; for every seventh day is sacred, which is called by the Hebrews the sabbath; and the seventh month in every year has the greatest of the festivals allotted to it, so that very naturally the seventh year also has a share of the veneration paid to this number, and receives especial honour. And the second reason is this, "Be not," says the lawgiver, "wholly devoted to gain, but even willingly submit to some loss," that so you may bear with the more indifference involuntary calamity if it should ever fall upon you, and not grieve and despond, as if at some new and strange occurrence; for there are some rich men so unfortunate in their dispositions, as, when want comes upon them, to groan and despond no less than they might do if they were deprived of all their substance. But of the followers of Moses, all who are true disciples, being practised in good laws, are accustomed, from their earliest age, to bear want with patience, by the custom of leaving their fertile land fallow; and being also taught magnanimity, and one may almost say, to let slip out of their hands, from deliberate intention, revenues of admitted certainty. The third reason appears to me to be thus, which is intimated in a somewhat figurative manner, namely, to show that it does not become any one whatever to weigh down and oppress men with burdens; for if one is to allow a period of rest to the portions of the earth which cannot by nature have any share in the feelings of pleasure or of pain, how much the more must men be entitled to a similar relaxation, who have not only these outward senses, which are common to the brute beasts, but also the especial gift of reason, by which the painful feelings which arise from toil and fatigue, are more vividly imprinted on their imaginations? Cease, therefore, ye who are called masters, from imposing harsh and intolerable commands on your slaves, which break the strength of the body by their compulsion, and compel the soul to faint even before the bodies; for there is no objection to your exerting a moderate degree of authority, giving orders by which you will receive the services to which you are entitled, and in consequence of which your servants will cheerfully do what they are desired; and then they will discharge their duties but for a short period, as if early exhausted, and, if one must say the truth, brought by their labours to old age before their time; but like athletes, preserving their youthful vigour for a long time, who do not become fat and corpulent, but who are accustomed, by exertion and sweat, to train themselves, so as to be able to acquire the things which are necessary and useful for life. Moreover let the governors of cities cease to oppress them with continual and excessive taxes and tributes, filling their own stores with money, and in preserving as a treasure the illiberal vices which defile their whole lives; for they do, on purpose, select as collectors of their revenues the most pitiless of men, persons full of all kinds of inhumanity, giving them abundant opportunity for the exercise of their covetousness; and they, in addition to their own innate severity of temper, receiving free license from the commands of their masters, and having determined to do everything so as to please them, practise all the harshest measures which they can imagine, having no notion of gentleness or humanity, not even in their dreams; therefore they throw everything into disorder and confusion, levying their exactions, not only on the possessions of the citizens, but also on their persons, with insults and violence, and the invention of new and unprecedented torture. And before now I have heard of some persons who, in their ferocity and unequalled fury, have not spared even the dead; but have been so brutal as even to venture to beat the dead corpses with goads; and when some one blamed their brutality, in that not even death, that relief and real end of all miseries, could prevent their victims from being insulted by them, but that, instead of a grave and the customary funeral rites, they were exposed to continued insult, they made a defence worse even than the accusation brought against them, saying that they were insulting the dead, not for the sake of abusing the dumb and senseless dust, for there was no advantage in that, but for the sake of making those who through ties of blood or of friendship were nearly connected with them feel compassion for them, and so inducing them to pay a ransom for their bodies, thus doing them the last service in their power.

Then, O you most worthless of all men! I would say to them, have you not first learnt what you are now teaching? or do you know how to invite other people to compassion even by the most inhuman actions, and yet have you eradicated all merciful and humane feelings from your own souls? And do you act in this way in spite of not being in want of good advisers, and especially of our laws, which have released even the earth from its yearly burdens, giving it a relaxation and a respite? and it, although it seems to be inanimate, is nevertheless fully prepared to make a requital and to recompence favours, hastening to pay back any gift which it has received; for as it receives an exemption every seventh year, and is not forced to exert itself that year, but is set wholly free for the whole circle of the year, in the subsequent year produces double, or sometimes, many times, larger crops than usual from its great productiveness. And in like manner you may see the trainers acting in the same way towards the athletes; for when they are exercising them with continual and uninterrupted practice, before they are wholly knocked up, they refresh them, giving a respite not only from their exertions in training, but also from their strict regimen of eating and drinking, relaxing the severity of their diet so as to produce a cheerfulness of soul and good condition of body. And yet they are not to be looked upon as teachers of indolence and luxury, inasmuch as their professed business is to train men to the endurance of labours, but by a certain method and artificial system they add to their natural strength a strength more powerful still, and to their innate vigour a more energetic vigour still, increasing their previous powers by reciprocal remission and exertion, as by a well-regulated harmony. And I have learnt all this from all-wise nature, which, knowing the industrious and laborious condition of our race, has distributed them into day and night, giving to us the one for wakefulness, and the other for sleep; for she felt a natural anxiety, like a careful mother, that her offspring should not be worn out with toil; for by day she excites our bodies, and rouses them up to all the necessities and duties belonging to life, compelling those to work who would gladly be accustomed to cultivate the leisure of idleness, and an effeminate and luxurious life. But by night, as if she were sounding a retreat in time of war, she invites us to rest, and to take care of our bodies. And those men who have laid aside a heavy weight of business, which has lasted from morning till evening, do now lay their burdens aside and return home and devote themselves to ease, and indulging in profound sleep, refresh themselves after the labours of the day. This long interval between sleeping and waking nature has allotted to men, that they may by turns labour diligently and by turns rest, so as to have all the parts of their bodies more ready for action, and more active and powerful.

And the lawgiver, who is a prophetic spirit, gave us our laws, having a regard to these things, and proclaimed a holiday to the whole country, restraining the farmers from cultivating the land after each six years' incessant industry. But it was not only on account of the motives which I have mentioned that he gave these injunctions, but also because of his innate humanity, which he thinks fit to weave in with every part of his legislation, stamping on all who study the holy scriptures a sociable and humane disposition. For he commands his people every seventh year to forbear to enclose any piece of land, but to let all the olive gardens and vineyards remain open, and all their other possessions, whether they be seed-land or trees, that so the poor may be able to enjoy the spontaneously growing crops without fear, in a greater, or at all events not in a less degree than the owners themselves. On which account he does not allow the masters to cultivate the land, having in view the object of not causing them any annoyance from the feeling that they are at all the expense, but that they do not receive any revenue from their lands to make up for the expense, while the poor enjoy all the crops as their own; and he permits those who appear to be strangers to enjoy all these things, raising them from their apparent lowly condition, and from the reproach of being beggars. Is it not then fit to love these laws which are full of such abundant humanity? by which the rich men are taught to share the blessings which they have with and to communicate them to others: and the poor are comforted, not being for ever compelled to frequent the houses of the indigent to supply the deficiencies by which they themselves are oppressed; but there are times when the widows and orphan children, as if they had been deriving a revenue from their own properties, namely the spontaneously growing crops, as I have said before, and all other classes of person who are disregarded from not being wealthy do at last find themselves in the possession of plenty, being on a sudden enriched by the gift of God, who has called them to share with the possessors themselves in the number of the sacred seven. And all those who breed flocks and herds lend their own cattle with fearlessness and impunity to graze on the land of others, choosing the most fertile plains, and the lands most suitable for the feeding of their cattle, availing themselves of the license of the jubilee; and they are not met by any ill-will or illiberality on the part of the masters, as having the property in these lands by old custom, which having prevailed for a very long time, so as to become familiar, has now prevailed even over nature.

Having laid down these principles as a kind of foundation of gentleness and humanity, he then puts together seven sevens of years, and so makes the fiftieth year an entirely sacred year, enacting with reference to it some ordinances of especial honour beyond those which relate to the ordinary years of communication of property. In the first place he gives this commandment. He thinks it fitting that all property that has been alienated should now be restored to its original masters in order that the inheritances originally apportioned to the different tribes may be preserved, and that no one who originally received an allotment may be wholly deprived of his possessions. Since it often happens that unforeseen circumstances come upon men by which they are compelled to sell what belongs to them. And so he provided in a suitable manner for their necessities, and prevented those who purchased the lands from being deceived, allowing the one to sell their lands, and teaching the others very plainly the conditions on which they are going to purchase. For the law says Do not give a price as if for an everlasting possession, but only for a definite number of years, which must be less than fifty; for the sale effected ought not to be a sale of the lands owned, but a sale of the crops, for two most weighty reasons; one, that the whole country is called the possession of God, and it is impious for any one else to be recorded as the masters of the possessions of God; and secondly, because a separate allotment has been assigned to each land-owner, of which the law does not choose the man who originally received the allotment to be deprived. Therefore, the law invites the man who is able to recover his original property within the period of fifty years, or any one of his nearest relations, to use every exertion to repay the price which he received, and not to be the cause of loss to the man who purchased it, and who served him at a time when he was in need of assistance. And at the same time it sympathises with the man who is in too great a state of indigence to do so, and bestows its compassion on him, giving him back his former property with the exception of any fields which have been consecrated by a vow, and are so placed in the class of offerings to God. And it is contrary to divine law that any thing which has been offered to God should ever by lapse of time become profane. On which account it is commanded that the accurate value of those fields shall be fully exacted, without showing any favour to the man who dedicated the offering.

These are the commandments which are given with respect to the divisions of the land and the inheritances so portioned out. There are others also enacted with respect to houses. And since of houses some are in cities, being within walls; while others are open abodes in the country, and not within any walls; the law has directed that those in the country shall always be redeemed with money, and that those which are not redeemed before the fiftieth year shall be restored without any payment to their original owners, just as their other possessions; for the houses are a portion of the man's possessions. But those which are within walls shall be liable to be redeemed by those who have sold them for a full year; but if they be not redeemed within that year, then after that year they shall be confirmed to those who had bought them, the jubilee of the fiftieth year not injuring the claim of the purchasers. And the reason of these enactments is that God wills to give even to strangers an opportunity of becoming firmly established in the land. For since they have no participation in the land, inasmuch as they are not numbered among those to whom the inheritances have been apportioned, the law has allotted to them a property in houses, being desirous that they who have come as suppliants to the laws, and who have taken refuge under their protection, should not be homeless wanderers in the land. For the cities, when the land was originally portioned out in inheritances, were not divided among the tribes, nor indeed were they originally built together in streets, but the inhabitants of the land preferred to make their abode in their open houses in the fields. But afterwards they quitted these houses and came together, the feeling of a love of fellowship and communication, as was natural, becoming stronger after a lapse of time, and so they built houses in the same place, and cities, of which they allowed a share also to the strangers, that they might not be destitute of every thing both in the country and in the cities.

And concerning the tribe which was set apart as consecrated for the priesthood, the following laws are established. The law did not bestow upon the keepers of the temple any portion of the land, considering the first fruits of it a sufficient revenue for them. But it allotted them eight and forty cities to dwell in, and a suburb of two thousand cubits around each City. Therefore, it did not confirm the houses in these cities in the same manner that it did those in the other cities which are built within walls, to the purchasers, if those who had sold them were not able to redeem them within the year, but it permitted them to be redeemed at any time, like the open houses in the country taken from the gentiles, to which they corresponded. Since the Levites had received only houses in this district, of which the lawgiver did not think it fit that those who received them should be deprived any more than those to whom the allotments of the open houses in the country had fallen. And this is enough to say about the houses.

But the laws established with respect to those who owed money to usurers, and to those who had become servants to masters, resemble those already mentioned; that the usurers shall not exact usurers' interest from their fellow countrymen, but shall be contented to receive back only what they lent; and that the masters shall behave to those whom they have bought with their money not as if they were by nature slaves, but only hirelings, giving them immunity and liberty, at once, indeed, to those who can pay down a ransom for themselves, and at a subsequent period to the indigent, either when the seventh year from the beginning of their slavery arrives, or when the fiftieth year comes, even if a man happen to have fallen into slavery only the day before. For this year both is and is looked upon as a year of remission; every one retracing his steps and turning back again to his previous state of prosperity. But the law permits the people to acquire a property in slaves who are not of their own countrymen, but who are of different nations; intending in the first place that there should be a difference between one's own countrymen and strangers, and secondly, not desiring completely to exclude from the constitution that most entirely indispensable property of slaves; for there are an innumerable host of circumstances in life which require the ministrations of Servants. Sons shall inherit their parents' property, but if there should be no sons, then the daughters would inherit. For just as in their nature men take precedence over women, so also in families they shall have the first share, inheriting property and filling the station of those who have died, being held by a law of necessity that lets no earthborn mortal live forever. But if virgins are left behind with unmarried, no dowry having been set apart by the parents while they were still living, they shall receive a share equal to that of the males. But the presiding power must take care to watch over those who are left behind and of their growth and of the expenses for sustenance and the training that is appropriate for girls, and, whenever the time should come, for appropriate marriage, husbands approved in all things having been selected by merit. Preferably they should be relatives, but if not, they should at least be of the same deme and tribe, so that the lots assigned as dowries will not be alienated through marriages but remain in the tribal allotments as ordered from the beginning. But if someone should have no offspring, then let the brothers of the deceased succeed to the inheritance. For the place in the family after sons and daughters belongs to brothers. And if someone who has no brothers should die, the uncles on the father's side should succeed to the property, and if there are no uncles, then the aunts, the closest of the remaining household members and other relatives. But if scarcity should seize the family, so that no blood relations are left, then let the tribe be the heir. For the tribe is also a kind of family, if we draw a larger and more complete circle. The perplexity raised by some, however, should be laid to rest: Seeing that the law mentions all members of the family, the deme, and the tribe in the order of succession to inheritances, why did it remain silent only about parents, who, it would seem, should be just as eligible to inherit their children's property as the children are to inherit theirs? Here is the answer, my good fellow! Since the law is divine, and since it always aims at following the logic of nature, it did not wish to introduce any ill-omened provisions; for parents pray to leave behind living offspring who will have succeeded to their name, their lineage, and their property, while their worst enemies call down the opposite on them as a curse, namely, that the sons and daughters should die before their parents. Therefore in order to avoid making explicit provisions for a situation that would be illfitting and discordant with the harmony and concord that characterize the administration of the whole cosmos--namely, the case where children die and parents survive--the law both necessarily and fittingly omitted ordering that mothers and fathers should inherit the property of sons and daughters, knowing that this outcome was out of accord with life and nature. So then, the law was careful not to say in so many words that parents inherit when their children die, in order not to seem to reproach grieving parents by allotting to them a benefit that no one would want, and in order not to call misfortunes to mind; but it allotted the property to them in another way, as a small consolation for a great evil. How, then, does it do this? It puts down the father's brother as the heir of his nephews, no doubt rewarding the uncle for the father's sake--unless anyone is so silly as to suppose that one who honors someone for the sake of someone else thereby chooses to dishonor the latter. Those who pay attention to their friends' acquaintances do not thereby neglect their friends, do they? Do not those who show the most solicitous care for those whom they honor also welcome their friends? In precisely the same way, when when the law names the father's brother to share in the inheritance on account of the father, how much more does it name the father! It does not do this explicitly, for the reasons cited, but it makes clear the will of the lawgiver with surer force than an explicit mention. The eldest son does not share equally with those who came after him but is considered worthy of a double portion, since two people who were previously husband and wife became father and mother on account of the first offspring, and once he came along he was the first to call those who engendered him by these names. Furthermore--and this is the most essential point--the household that was previously childless became one blessed with a son for the continuance of the human race. The seed of this continuance is marriage, and its fruit is the begetting of children, of whom the eldest is the head. I suppose that it is for this reason that the firstborn sons of the enemies who had given no quarter, as the holy scriptures reveal, were all cut off in their youth in one night, while the firstborn of the people of the nation were dedicated to God as a thank-offering and were thus consecrated. For it was necessary to weigh down the former with a heavy and inconsolable grief, the destruction of those who held first place, but to reward the savior God with the firstfruits, whose lot was the preeminence among the children. But there are some men who after getting married and having children have at length unlearned prudence and drifted into incontinence. Lusting after other women, these men have wronged their first wives and behaved toward their children from them no longer as fathers but as uncles, imitating the impious behavior of stepmothers toward previously born children. They have given themselves and their property over entirely to their new wives and to their sons, having been overcome by pleasure, the most shameful passion. The law would not have hesitated to bridle these lusts somehow if it had been possible, lest they kick up their heels even more; but since it was difficult, or rather impossible, to cure this wild frenzy, the law abandoned the man as being in the grip of an incurable disease. It did not, however, overlook the son of the woman wronged on account of the new love but commanded that he should receive a double share of the distribution left for the brothers. There are many reasons for this. For in the first place it punishes the guilty man by compelling him to do something good for the son whom he has chosen to treat badly; and it makes clear the invalidity of his inconsiderate judgment in that it profits the one who was in danger of suffering loss at his hands by putting itself in the role of the parent--the role abandoned by the natural father with regard to the firstborn son. Secondly, it shows mercy and compassion on those who have been treated unjustly, whose burden of distress it lightens by giving them a share in grace and gift; for the double portion of the inheriting son was no less likely to please the mother, who will be encouraged by the kindness of the law, which did not permit her and her offspring to be totally overcome by their enemies. In the third place, being a good referee of justice, it considered in itself that the father had freely lavished provisions upon the sons of the beloved wife due to his affection for her, while he considered the sons of the hated wife to deserve nothing due to his hatred for their mother. Thus the former had inherited more than their equal share during his lifetime, while the latter were in danger even upon his death of being deprived of the whole patrimony. So then, in order to equalize the distribution to the sons of both wives, it set aside a double portion as the rightful inheritance of the eldest, the son of the wife who had been put away. This is enough regarding these things.


Following the order which we have adopted, we proceed to speak of the third festival, that of the new moon. First of all, because it is the beginning of the month, and the beginning, whether of number or of time, is honourable. Secondly, because at this time there is nothing in the whole of heaven destitute of light. Thirdly, because at that period the more powerful and important body gives a portion of necessary assistance to the less important and weaker body; for, at the time of the new moon, the sun begins to illuminate the moon with a light which is visible to the outward senses, and then she displays her own beauty to the beholders. And this is, as it seems, an evident lesson of kindness and humanity to men, to teach them that they should never grudge to impart their own good things to others, but, imitating the heavenly bodies, should drive envy away and banish it from the Soul. The fourth reason is that of all the bodies in the heaven, the moon traverses the zodiac in the least appointed time: it accomplishes its orbit in a monthly interval. For this reason the law has honored the end of its orbit, the point when the moon has finished at the beginning point from which it began to travel, by having called that day a feast so that it might again teach us an excellent lesson that in the affairs of life we should make the ends harmonious with the beginnings. This will happen if we hold the reins on our first impulses with the power of reason and do not permit them to refuse the reins and to run free like animals without anyone in charge of the herd. With regard to the benefits which the moon provides to all on earth, why is it necessary to run through and detail them? Their proofs are obvious. Or isn't it by its waxings that rivers and springs overflow, and again by its wanings that they diminish; that seas sometimes retreat and are drawn down through their ebb and flow, and at other times suddenly run full through the tide; that the air experiences all sorts of shifts in the form of clear weather, cloudy weather, and other changes? Don't the fruits of cultivated crops and trees grow and come to maturity through the orbits of the moon which nurses and ripens each of the growing crops through dewladen and very gentle breezes? But this is not the appropriate occasion, as I said, to speak at length about the praise of the moon by running through and enumerating the benefits which it provides to animals and to all on the earth. For these reasons and others similar to them, the new moon has been honored and taken its place among the feasts.


And after the feast of the new moon comes the fourth festival, that of the passover, which the Hebrews call pascha, on which the whole people offer sacrifice, beginning at noonday and continuing till evening. And this festival is instituted in remembrance of, and as giving thanks for, their great migration which they made from Egypt, with many myriads of people, in accordance with the commands of God given to them; leaving then, as it seems, a country full of all inhumanity and practising every kind of inhospitality, and (what was worst of all) giving the honour due to God to brute beasts; and, therefore, they sacrificed at that time themselves out of their exceeding joy, without waiting for priests. And what was then done the law enjoined to be repeated once every year, as a memorial of the gratitude due for their deliverance. These things are thus related in accordance with the ancient historic accounts. But those who are in the habit of turning plain stories into allegory, argue that the passover figuratively represents the purification of the soul; for they say that the lover of wisdom is never practising anything else except a passing over from the body and the passions. And each house is at that time invested with the character and dignity of a temple, the victim being sacrificed so as to make a suitable feast for the man who has provided it and of those who are collected to share in the feast, being all duly purified with holy ablutions. And those who are to share in the feast come together not as they do to other entertainments, to gratify their bellies with wine and meat, but to fulfil their hereditary custom with prayer and songs of praise. And this universal sacrifice of the whole people is celebrated on the fourteenth day of the month, which consists of two periods of seven, in order that nothing which is accounted worthy of honour may be separated from the number seven. But this number is the beginning of brilliancy and dignity to everything.


And there is another festival combined with the feast of the passover, having a use of food different from the usual one, and not customary; the use, namely, of unleavened bread, from which it derives its name. And there are two accounts given of this festival, the one peculiar to the nation, on account of the migration already described; the other a common one, in accordance with conformity to nature and with the harmony of the whole world. And we must consider how accurate the hypothesis is. This month, being the seventh both in number and order, according to the revolutions of the sun, is the first in power; on which account it is also called the first in the sacred scriptures. And the reason, as I imagine, is as follows. The vernal equinox is an imitation and representation of that beginning in accordance with which this world was created. Accordingly, every year, God reminds men of the creation of the world, and with this view puts forward the spring, in which season all plants flourish and bloom; for which reason this is very correctly set down in the law as the first month, since, in a manner, it may be said to be an impression of the first beginning of all, being stamped by it as by an archetypal Seal. Although the month in which the autumnal equinox occurs is first in sequence according to solar orbits, it is not considered first in the law. The reason is that at that time, after all the crops have been harvested, the trees lose their leaves and everything that springtime produced in the height of its glory is withering under dry winds after it has been made dry by the flaming heat of the sun. Therefore he thought that to apply the name "first" to the month in which the hill country and the plain become barren and infertile, was incongruous and unfitting. For it is necessary that the most beautiful and desirable phenomena belong to those things which are first and have received the position of leadership, those phenomena through which the reproduction and growth of animals and fruit and crops take place, but not the ominous destructive forces. And this feast is begun on the fifteenth day of the month, in the middle of the month, on the day on which the moon is full of light, in consequence of the providence of God taking care that there shall be no darkness on that day. And, again, the feast is celebrated for seven days, on account of the honour due to that number, in order that nothing which tends to cheerfulness and to the giving of thanks to God may be separated from the holy number seven. And of the seven days, Moses pronounces two, the first and the last, holy; giving, as is natural, a preeminence to the beginning and to the end; and wishing, as if in the case of a musical instrument, to unite the two extremities in harmony. And the unleavened bread is ordained because their ancestors took unleavened bread with them when they went forth out of Egypt, under the guidance of the Deity; or else, because at that time (I mean at the spring season, during hich this festival is celebrated) the crop of wheat is not yet ripe, the plains being still loaded with the corn, and it not being as yet the harvest time, and therefore lawgiver has ordained the use of unleavened food with a view to assimilating it to the state of the crops. For unleavened food is also imperfect or unripe, as a memorial of the good hope which is entertained; since nature is by this time preparing her annual gifts for the race of mankind, with an abundance and plenteous pouring forth of necessaries. The interpreters of the holy scriptures do also say that the unleavened food is a gift of nature, but that barmed bread is a work of art. Since, therefore, the vernal festival is a commemoration of the creation of the world, and since that it was inevitable that the most ancient persons, those formed out of the earth, must have used the gifts of the world without alteration, pleasure not having as yet obtained the dominion, the lawgiver ordained that food which was the most suitable to the occasion, wishing to kindle every year a desire to walk in the paths of a holy and rigid way of Life. The setting out of twelve loaves--the same number as the tribes--on the sacred table especially guarantees the things which have been said. For they are all unleavened, the clearest example of an unmixed food which has been prepared not by human skill for pleasure but by nature for the most essential use. These things are sufficient for this topic.


There is also a festival on the day of the paschal feast, which succeeds the first day, and this is named the sheaf, from what takes place on it; for the sheaf is brought to the altar as a first fruit both of the country which the nation has received for its own, and also of the whole land; so as to be an offering both for the nation separately, and also a common one for the whole race of mankind; and so that the people by it worship the living God, both for themselves and for all the rest of mankind, because they have received the fertile earth for their inheritance; for in the country there is no barren soil but even all those parts which appear to be stony and rugged are surrounded with soft veins of great depth, which, by reason of their richness, are very well suited for the production of living Things. The reason is that a priest has the same relation to a city that the nation of the Jews has to the entire inhabited world. For it serves as a priest--to state the truth--through the use of all purificatory offerings and the guidance both for body and soul of divine laws which have checked the pleasures of the stomach and those under the stomach and [tamed] the mob [of the Senses] by having appointed reason as charioteer over the irrational senses; they also have driven back and overturned the undiscriminating and excessive urges of the soul, some by rather gentle instructions and philosophical exhortations, others by rather weighty and forcible rebukes and by fear of punishment, the fear which they brandish threateningly. Apart from the fact that the legislation is in a certain way teaching about the priesthood and that the one who lives by the laws is at once considered a priest, or rather a high priest, in the judgment of truth, the following point is also remarkable. The multitude of gods, both male and female, honored in individual cities happens to be undetermined and indefinite. The poetic clan and the great company of humans have spoken fabulously about them, people for whom the search for truth is impractical and beyond their capability of investigation. Yet all do not reverence and honor the same gods, but different people different gods. The reason is that they do not consider as gods those belonging to another land but make the acceptance of them the occasion for laughter and a joke. They charge those who honor them with great foolishness since they completely violate sound sense. But if he is, whom all Greeks together with all barbarians acknowledge with one judgment, the highest Father of both gods and humans and the Maker of the entire cosmos, whose nature--although it is invisible and unfathomable not only to sight but also to perception--all who spend their time with mathematics and other philosophy long to discover, leaving aside none of the things which contribute to the discovery and service of him, then it was necessary for all people to cling to him and not as if through some mechanical device to introduce other gods into participation of equal honors. Since they slipped in the most essential matter, the nation of the Jews--to speak most accurately--set aright the false step of others by having looked beyond everything which has come into existence through creation since it is generate and corruptible in nature, and chose only the service of the ungenerate and eternal. The first reason for this is because it is excellent; the second is because it is profitable to be dedicated and associated with the Older rather than those who are younger and with the Ruler rather than those who are ruled and with the Maker rather those things which come into existence. For this reason it amazes me that some dare to charge the nation with an anti-social stance, a nation which has made such an extensive use of fellowship and goodwill toward all people everywhere that they offer up prayers and feasts and first fruits on behalf of the common race of human beings and serve the really self-existent God both on behalf of themselves and of others who have run from the services which they should have rendered. These are the things they do for the entire race of human beings. On the other hand they give thanks for themselves for many things. The first is that they are not perpetually wandering here and there among islands and continents and like foreigners and those without a permanent abode who have settled the lands of others and occupy others' wealth are reproached since they have acquired no portion of land from lack of means, but have acquired a land and cities and for a long time have been in possession of their own inheritance, for which reason it has been a sacred duty for them to offer the first fruits. The second is that they did not receive a worthless and common land, but a good and fertile land both for the breeding of domestic animals and the abundance of unspeakably great crops. For there is no poor soil in it, and even the parts that seem to be stony and hardened are broken up with soft and especially deep veins which because of their richness are good for crop production. In addition to these things, they did not receive a desolate land, but one in which there was a populous nation and great cities abounding in men. Yet the cities were emptied of their inhabitants and the entire race disappeared except for a small part: some as a result of wars and others as a result of divinely sent attacks because of their new and strange practices of wrongs and all of the impieties they used to commit through their great efforts to demolish the laws of nature. These things happened so that those who replaced them might be sobered by the calamities of others, and learn from their deeds that those who become devotees of evil deeds will suffer the same fate but those who have honored a life of virtue will possess their assigned portion, numbered not among emigrants but among the native residents. That the first fruit is a handful for their own land and for all lands, offered in thanksgiving for prosperity and a good season which the nation and the entire race of human beings were hoping to enjoy, has been demonstrated. We should not be unaware that many benefits have come by means of the first fruit: first, memory of God--it is not possible to find a more perfect good than this; then, the most just recompense to the real Cause of the fruitfulness. For the things which occur as a result of agricultural skill are few or none at all: to build up furrows, to dig and spade all around a plant, to deepen a trench, to cut off excessive growths, or to perform any similar task. But the things which come from nature are all essential and useful: the most fertile ground, a land well-watered by springs and both spring-fed and seasonal rivers and sprinkled with annual rains, mild temperatures of air moved by breezes which are most conducive for life, countless types of crops and plants. For which of these has a human either discovered or engendered? Nature which has engendered these things has not begrudged a man its own goods, but considered him to be the governing part of mortal animals because he has a share in reason and good sense. She therefore chose him on the basis of his merit and summoned him to participate in her own goods. For these things it is right that the host, God, be praised and admired since he sees to it that the truely hospitable earth, all of it, is always full of not only the necessities but even of the things which make for a luxurious life. In addition to these things, we should not fail to pay our regard to benefactors. For the person who is thankful to God who needs nothing and is selfsufficient, will also make it a habit to be thankful to humans who are in need of how many countless things. And there are many meanings intended by this offering of the first fruits. In the first place they are a memorial of God; secondly, they are a most just requital to be offered to him who is the real cause of all fertility; and the sheaf of the first fruits is barley, calculated for the innocent and blameless use of the inferior animals; for since it is not consistent with holiness to offer first fruits of everything, since most things are made rather for pleasure than for any actually indispensable use, it is also not consistent with holiness to enjoy and partake of any thing which is given for food, without first giving thanks to that being to whom it is becoming and pious to offer them. That portion of the food which was honoured with the second place, namely, barley, was ordered by the law to be offered as first fruits; for the first honours were assigned to wheat, of which it has deferred the offering of the first fruits, as being more honourable, to a more suitable season.


The solemn assembly on the occasion of the festival of the sheaf having such great privileges, is the prelude to another festival of still greater importance; for from this day the fiftieth day is reckoned, making up the sacred number of seven sevens, with the addition of a unit as a seal to the whole; and this festival, being that of the first fruits of the corn, has derived its name of pentecost from the number of fifty, (pentekostos). And on it it is the custom to offer up two leavened loaves made of wheat, as a first fruit of the best kind of food made of corn; either because, before the fruit of the year is converted to the use of man, the first produce of the new crop, the first gathered corn that appears is offered as a first fruit, in order that by an insignificant emblem the people may display their grateful disposition; We must disclose another reason. Its nature is wondrous and highly prized for numerous reasons including the fact that it consists of the most elemental and oldest of the things which are encased in substances, as the mathematicians tell us, the rightangled triangle. For its sides, which exist in lengths of three and four and five, combine to make up the sum twelve, the pattern of the zodiac cycle, the doubling of the most fecund number six which is the beginning of perfection since it is the sum of the same numbers of which it is also the Product. To the second power, it seems, they produce fifty, through the addition of x and x and x . The result is that it is necessary to say that to the same degree that fifty is better than twelve, the second power is better than the first power. If the image of the lesser is the most beautiful sphere of those which are in heaven, the zodiac, then of what would the better, the number fifty, be a pattern than a completely better nature? This is not the occasion to speak about this. It is sufficient for the present that the difference has been noted so that a principal point is not considered to be subordinate. the feast which takes place on the basis of the number fifty has received the name "the feast of the first produce" since during the feast it is customary to offer two leavened loaves made from wheat as the first fruit of grain, the best food. It is named "the feast of the first produce" Either because before the annual crop has proceeded to human use, the first produce of the new grain and the first fruit which has appeared are offered as first fruit. For it is just and religiously correct that those who have received the greatest gift from God, the abundance of the most necessary as well as most beneficial and even the sweetest food, should not enjoy it or have any use of it at all before they offer the first fruits to the Supplier. They are giving him nothing since all things and possessions and gifts are his, but through a small symbol demonstrate a thankful and God-loving character to the one who needs no favors but showers continuous and ever-flowing favors. Or else because the fruit of wheat is most especially the first and most excellent of all productions. And the bread is leavened because the law forbids any one to offer unleavened bread upon the altar; not in order that there should be any contradiction in the injunctions given, but that in a manner the giving and receiving may be of one sort; the receiving being gratitude from those who offer it, and the giving an unhesitating bestowal of the customary blessings on those who offer. For those for whom it is lawful and permissible will use what has once been consecrated; and it is lawful for those who are consecrated to the priesthood, who have received the right given by the humaneness of the law to share in the things offered on the altar which are not consumed by the unquenchable fire, either as a wage for their services or as a prize for contests in which they compete on behalf of piety or as a sacred allotment in view of the fact that with regard to the land they have not acquired their appropriate part in the same way as the other tribes. And it is permitted to the priests; and the leaven is also an emblem of two others things; first of all of that most perfect and entire food, than which one cannot, among all the things of daily use, find any which is better and more advantageous; and the fruit of wheat is the best of all the things that are sown; so that it is fitting, that that should be offered as the most excellent of first fruits, for the most excellent gift. The second is a more figurative meaning, implying that every thing which is leavened is apt to inflate and elate; and joy is an irrational elation of the soul. Now man is not by nature disposed to rejoice at anything that exists more than at an abundant and sufficient supply of necessaries; for which it is very proper to give thanks joyfully, making a display of gratitude, for the invisible happiness affecting the mind, which shall be perceptible to the outward senses through the medium of the leavened loaves; and these first fruits are loaves, not corn, because when there is corn there is no longer anything wanting for the enjoyment of food, for it is said that the wheat is the last of all the grains which are sown to ripen and to come to harvest. And there are thus two most excellent acts of thanksgiving having a reference to two distinct times; to the past, in which we have been saved from experiencing the evils of scarcity and hunger while living in happiness and plenty; and to the future, because we have provided ourselves with supplies and abundant preparations for it.


Immediately after comes the festival of the sacred moon; in which it is the custom to play the trumpet in the temple at the same moment that the sacrifices are offered. From which practice this is called the true feast of trumpets, and there are two reasons for it, one peculiar to the nation, and the other common to all mankind. Peculiar to the nation, as being a commemoration of that most marvellous, wonderful, and miraculous event that took place when the holy oracles of the law were given; for then the voice of a trumpet sounded from heaven, which it is natural to suppose reached to the very extremities of the universe, so that so wondrous a sound attracted all who were present, making them consider, as it is probable, that such mighty events were signs betokening some great things to be accomplished. And what more great or more beneficial thing could come to men than laws affecting the whole race? And what was common to all mankind was this: the trumpet is the instrument of war, sounding both when commanding the charge and the retreat. ... There is also another kind of war, ordained of God, when nature is at variance with itself, its different parts attacking one another. And by both these kinds of war the things on earth are injured. They are injured by the enemies, by the cutting down of trees, and by conflagrations; and also by natural injuries, such as droughts, heavy rains, lightning from heaven, snow and cold; the usual harmony of the seasons of the year being transformed into a want of all concord. On this account it is that the law has given this festival the name of a warlike instrument, in order to show the proper gratitude to God as the giver of peace, who has abolished all seditions in cities, and in all parts of the universe, and has produced plenty and prosperity, not allowing a single spark that could tend to the destruction of the crops to be kindled into flame.


And after the feast of trumpets the solemnity of the fast is celebrated, Perhaps some of those who are perversely minded and are not ashamed to censure excellent things will say, "What sort of a feast is this where there is no eating and drinking, no troupe of entertainers or audience, no copious supply of strong drink nor the generous display of a public banquet, nor moreover the merriment and revelry of dancing to the sound of flute and harp, and timbrels and cymbals, and the other instruments of music which awaken the unruly lusts through the channel of the ears? For it is in these and through these, it seems, that they think good cheer consists. They do this in ignorance of the true good cheer which the all-wise Moses saw with the most sharpsighted eyes and so proclaimed the fast a feast and named it the greatest of feasts in our ancestral language, "a Sabbath of Sabbaths," or as the Greeks would say, a seven of sevens and a holier than things holy. He did this for many reasons. The first reason is the temperance which the lawgiver is continually exhorting men to display at all times, both in their language and in their appetites, both in and below the belly. And he most especially enjoins them to display it now, when he devotes a day to the particular observances of it. For when a person has once learnt to be indifferent to meat and drink, those very necessary things, what can there be of things which are superfluous that he would find any difficulty in disregarding? The second reason is, that every one is at this time occupied in prayers and supplications, and since they all devote their entire leisure to nothing else from morning till evening, except to most acceptable prayers by which they endeavour to gain the favour of God, entreating pardon for their sins and hoping for his mercy, not for their own merits but through the compassionate nature of that Being who will have forgiveness rather than punishment. The third is an account of the time at which this fast is fixed to take place; for by this season all the fruits which the earth has produced during the whole year are gathered in. And therefore to proceed at once to devour what has been produced Moses looked upon as an act of greediness; but to fast, and to abstain from touching food, he considered a mark of perfect piety which teaches the mind not to trust to the food which it may have prepared as the cause of health or life. Therefore those who, after the gathering in of the harvest, abstain from the food, do almost declare in express words, "We have with joy received, and we shall cheerfully store up the bounteous gifts of nature; but we do not ascribe to any corruptible thing the cause of our own durable existence, but we attribute that to the Saviour, to the God who rules in the world, and who is able, either by means of these things or without them, to nourish and to preserve Us. At all events, behold, he nourished our forefathers even in the desert for forty Years. How he opened fountains to give them abundant drink; and how he rained food from heaven sufficient for each day so that they might consume what they needed, and rather than hording or bartering or taking thought of the bounties received, they might rather reverence and worship the bountiful Giver and honour him with hymns and benedictions such as are due him." The day of the fast is always celebrated on the tenth day of the month by order of the law. Why is it on the tenth? As we have specified in our treatments of it, it is named complete perfection by wise Men and encompasses all the proportions, the arithmetical and the harmonic and the geometric, and in addition the harmonies: the : ratio through four notes, the : ratio through five notes, the : ratio through the octave, the : ratio through the double octave, and it also has the : ratio so that it is the most perfect summation of musical theories. From this fact it is named complete Perfection. Therefore God has ordained that abstinence from food should take place in accordance with the perfect number, for the sake of affording the best nourishment to the best thing which is in us; that no one may suppose that the interpreter of God's word is enjoining hunger, the most intolerable of all evils, but only a brief cutting off of the stream which flows into the channels of the body. For thus the clear stream which proceeds from the fountain of reason was likely to be borne smoothly and evenly to the soul, since the uninterrupted use of food inundating the body contributes also to confuse the reason. But if the supply of food be checked, then the reason getting a firm footing as in a dry road, will be able to proceed in safety without stumbling; and besides it was fitting that when the supply of all things had turned out according to the wishes of the people and become completed, they should, amid the abundance of their harvest, preserve a commemoration of their previous want by abstinence from food, and should offer up prayers, in order that they might never come to a real experience of a want of necessary food.


The last of all the annual festivals is that which is called the feast of tabernacles, which is fixed for the season of the autumnal equinox. And by this festival the lawgiver teaches two lessons, both that it is necessary to honour equality, the first principle and beginning of justice, the principle akin to unshadowed light; and that it is becoming also, after witnessing the perfection of all the fruits of the year, to give thanks to that Being who has made them perfect. For the autumn (metoporon), as its very name shows is the season which comes after (meta) the fruits of the year (ten oporan) are now gathered into the granaries, on account of the providence of nature which loves the living creatures upon the earth. And, indeed, the people are commanded to pass the whole period of the feast under tents, either because there is no longer any necessity for remaining in the open air labouring at the cultivation of the land, since there is nothing left in the land, but all ... is stored up in the barns, on account of the injuries which otherwise might be likely to visit it from the burning of the sun or the violence of the Rains. For when the crops which provide nourishment are in the fields, you act as a manager and guard of those necessities not by having cooped yourself up like a woman who belongs at home, but by having gone out to the fields. If severe cold or summer heat befalls you as you live in the open air, the overgrowths of the trees are handy shelters. If you get under their protection, you will be able to escape easily the harm from each. But when all the crops are in, go in with them to look for a more substantial abode for rest in place of the toils which you endured as you worked the land. Or again, it may be a reminder of the long journey of our ancestors which they made through a wide desert, living in tents for many years at each station. And it is proper in the time of riches to remember one's poverty, and in an hour of glory to recollect the days of one's disgrace, and at a season of peace to think upon the dangers that are past. In addition to the pleasure it provides, a not inconsiderable advantage for the practice of virtue comes from this. For people who have had prosperity and adversity before their eyes and have pushed the latter away and are enjoying the free use of the better, of necessity become thankful in disposition and are being urged on to piety by fear of a change of state to the contrary condition. As a result they honor God in songs and words for their present wealth and persistently entreat and conciliate him with supplications that they will no longer be tested with calamities. Again, the beginning of this festival is appointed for the fifteenth day of the month, on account of the reason which has already been mentioned respecting the spring season, also that the world may be full, not by day only but also by night, of the most beautiful light, the sun and moon on their rising opposite to one another with uninterrupted light, without any darkness interposing itself between so as to divide them. And after the festival has lasted seven days, he adds an eighth as a seal, calling it a kind of crowning feast, not only as it would seem to this festival, but also to all the feasts of the year which we have enumerated; for it is the last feast of the year, and is a very stable and holy sort of conclusion, befitting men who have now received all the produce from the land, and who are no longer in perplexity and apprehension respecting any barrenness or scarcity. Perhaps, however, the first cubic number, the number eight, was assigned to the feast for the following reason. It is in its Capacity the beginning of solid substance at the transition from the incorporeal, the end of the intelligible. The intelligible [make the Transition] to a solid nature through the scale of ascending powers. And in fact, the autumnal feast, just as I said, as a kind of summation and end of all the feasts in the year seems to be more stable and steadier since people have already received the revenue from the land and are no longer in a state of fear and baffled by doubts about productivity or dearth. For the anxious thoughts of farmers are not settled until the crops are in because of the losses just waiting to happen from so many people and animals. I have spoken in this way about the sacred week and the sacred number seven at more than usual length, wishing to show that all the feasts of the year are, as it were, the offspring of the number seven, which stands in the relation of a mother. Follies and joys; and because in such assemblies and in a cheerful course of life there are thus established seasons of delight unconnected with any sorrow or depression supporting both the body and the soul; the one by the pleasure and the other by the opportunities for philosophical study which they Afford.

There is, besides all these, another Festival sacred to God, and a solemn assembly on the day of the festival which they call castallus, from the event that takes place in it, as we shall show presently. Now that this festival is not in the same rank, nor of the same importance with the other festivals, is plain from many considerations. For, first of all, it is not one to be observed by the whole population of the nation as each of the others is. Secondly, none of the things that are brought or offered are laid upon the altar as holy, or committed to the unextinguishable and holy fire. Thirdly, the very number of days which are to be observed in the festival are not expressly stated.

Nevertheless, any one may easily see that it has about it some of the characteristics of a sacred festival, and that it comes very near to having the privileges of a solemn assembly. For every one of those men who had lands and possessions, having filled vessels with every different species of fruit borne by fruit-bearing trees; which vessels, as I have said before, are called castalli, brings with great joy the first fruits of his abundant crop into the temple, and standing in front of the altar gives the basket to the priest, uttering at the same time the very beautiful and admirable hymn prescribed for the occasion; and if he does not happen to remember it, he listens to it with all attention while the priest recites it. And the hymn is as follows:--"The leaders of our nation renounced Syria, and migrated to Egypt. Being but few in number, they increased till they became a populous nation. Their descendants being oppressed in innumerable ways by the natives of the land, when no assistance did any longer appear to be expected from men, became the supplicants of God, having fled for refuge to entreat his assistance. Therefore he, who is merciful to all who are unjustly treated, having received their supplication, smote those who oppressed them with signs and wonders, and prodigies, and with all the marvellous works which he wrought at that time. And he delivered those who were being insulted and enduring every kind of perfidious oppression, not only leading them forth to freedom, but even giving them in addition a most fertile land; for it is from the fruits of this land, O bounteous God! that we now bring you the first fruits; if indeed it is a proper expression to say that he who receives them from you brings them to you. For, O Master! they are all your favours and your gifts, of which you have thought us worthy, and so enabled us to live comfortably and to rejoice in unexpected blessings which thou hast given to us, who did not expect them."

This hymn is sung from the beginning of summer to the end of autumn, by two choruses replying to one another uninterruptedly, on two separate occasions, each at the end of one complete half of ten years; because men cannot all at once bring the fruits of the seasons to God in accordance with his express command, but different men bring them at different seasons; and sometimes even the same persons bring first fruits from the same lands at different times; for since some fruits become ripe more speedily, and others more slowly, either on account of the differences of the situations in which they are grown, as being hotter or colder, or from innumerable other reasons, it follows that the time for offering the first fruits of such productions is undefined and uncertain, being extended over a great space. And the use of these first fruits is permitted to the priests, since they had no portion of the land themselves, and had no possessions from which they could derive revenue; but their inheritance is the first fruits from all the nation as the wages of their holy ministrations, which they perform day and night.

I have now said thus much respecting the number seven, and the things referring to it among the days, and the months, and the years; and about the festivals which are connected with this number seven, following the regular connection of the heads of the subject, which I proposed to myself according to the order in which they are mentioned in the sacred history. And I shall now proceed in regular order to consider the commandment which comes next, which is entitled the one about the honour due to Parents.

Having already spoken of four commandments which, both as to the order in which they are placed and as to their importance, are truly the first; namely, the commandment about the lenity of that sovereign authority by which the world is governed, and that which commands that man should not look upon any representation or figure of anything as God, and that which forbids the swearing falsely, or indeed the swearing carelessly and vainly at all, and that concerning the sacred seventh day--all which commandments tend to piety and holiness. I now proceed to the fifth commandment, relating to the honour due to parents; which is, as I showed in the mention I made of it separately before, on the borders between those which relate to the affairs of men and those which relate to God. For parents themselves are something between divine and human nature, partaking of both; of human nature, inasmuch as it is plain that they have been born and that they will die; and of divine nature, because they have engendered other beings, and have brought what did not exist into existence: for, in my opinion, what God is to the world, that parents are to their children; since, just as God gave existence to that which had no existence, they also, in imitation of his power, as far at least as they were able, make the race of mankind everlasting.

And this is not the only reason why a man's father and mother are deserving of honour, but here are also several other reasons. For among all those nations who have any regard for virtue, the older men are esteemed above the younger, and teachers above their pupils, and benefactors above those who have received kindnesses from them, and rulers above their subjects, and masters above their slaves. Accordingly, parents are placed in the higher and superior class; for they are the elders, and the teachers, and the benefactors, and the rulers, and the masters. And sons and daughters are placed in the inferior class; for they are the younger, and the pupils, and the persons who have received kindnesses, and subjects, and slaves. And that every one of these assertions is correct is plain from the circumstances that take place, and proofs derived from reason will establish the truth of them yet more undeniably.

I affirm, therefore, that that which produces is always older than that which is produced, and that that which causes anything is older than that of which it is the cause; but those who beget or bring forth a child are in some sense the causes and producers of the child which is begotten or brought forth, and they stand in the light of teachers, inasmuch as all that they know themselves they teach to their children from their earliest infancy, and they not only exercise and train them in the supernumerary accomplishments, impressing reasonings on the minds of their children when they come to their prime, but they also teach them those most necessary lessons which refer to choice and avoidance, the choice, that is to say, of virtues, and the avoidance of vices, and of all the energies in accordance with them. For who can be more completely the benefactors of their children than parents, who have not only caused them to exist, but have afterwards thought them worthy of food, and after that again of education both in body and soul, and have enabled them not only to live, but also to live well; training their body by gymnastic and athletic rules so as to bring it into a vigorous and healthy state, and giving it an easy way of standing and moving not without elegance and becoming grace, and educating the soul by letters, and numbers, and geometry, and music, and every kind of philosophy which may elevate the mind which is lodged in the mortal body and conduct it up to heaven, and can display to advantage the blessed and happy qualities that are in it, producing an admiration of and a desire for an unchangeable and harmonious system, which they will afterwards never leave if they preserve their obedience to their captain. And in addition to the benefits which they heap upon them, they have likewise authority over the children of whom they are the parents, not as is the case in cities, in consequence of some drawing of lots or election, so that any one can find fault with his governor as having become so either by some blunder of fortune and not by reason, or it may be by the impetuosity of the multitude, the most inconsiderate and foolish of all things, but being established in this post by the most excellent and perfect wisdom of the sublime nature, which regulates all divine and human affairs in accordance with justice.

For these reasons it is allowable for parents even to accuse their children, and to reprove them with considerable severity, and even, if they do not submit to the threats which are uttered to them by word of mouth, to beat them, and inflict personal punishment on them, and to imprison them; and if they behave with obstinacy and resist this treatment, becoming stiff-necked through the greatness of their incurable wickedness, the law permits them to chastise them even to the extent of putting them to Death. But still this permission is not given to either the father by himself, or to the mother by herself, by reason of the greatness of the punishment, which it is not fitting should be determined by one, but by both together, for it is not probable that both the parents will agree about putting their child to death unless his iniquities are very grievous, and weigh down by a certain undoubted preponderance that firm affection which is firmly implanted in the parents by nature. But parents have received not only the power of a ruler and governor over their children, but also that of a master, according to both the very highest characteristics of the possession of servants, namely, possessing them as born in the house, and also as purchased with money, for they expend a price many times greater than their real value on their children and for the sake of their children, in wages to nurses, and instructors, and teachers, besides all the expenses which they incur for their dress and their food, and their other care of them when well and when sick, from their earliest infancy till the time that they are full grown. And not only are those looked upon as servants born in the house who have actually been brought forth within the walls, but those also are so regarded who by the laws of nature receive from the masters of the house a sufficient support to maintain them in life after they are born.

Since this, then, is the case, those who do honour their parents are not doing anything worthy of praise, since even any single one of the commandments already mentioned is sufficient to invite them to regard their parents with reverence. But are not those men worthy of blame, and accusation, and the very extremity of punishment, who neither respect them as older than themselves, nor listen to them as their teachers, nor think them worthy of any requital as their benefactors, nor obey them as their rulers, nor fear them as their masters? Therefore the law says, "Honour thy father and thy mother next after God;" assigning to them the second place in honour, on the same principle as nature herself has ranked them in her decision of their proper place and duties. And you will not honour them more by any line of conduct than by endeavouring and appearing to be virtuous persons. As the being such is a seeking of virtue without pride and without guile, and appearing such aims at virtue in connection with a good reputation and praise from one's associates; for parents, thinking but little of their own advantage, think the virtue and excellence of their children the perfection of their own happiness, for which reason it is that they are anxious that they should obey the injunctions which are laid upon them, and that they should be obedient to all just and beneficial commands; for a father will never teach his child anything which is inconsistent with virtue or with truth.

And any one may conjecture that pious respect is due to parents, not only from what has been said above, but also from the manner in which persons behave to those who are of the same age with their parents; for the man who shows respect to an old man, or to an old woman, who is no relation to him, must appear in some degree to be remembering his own father and mother, and, out of this consideration, to be looking upon them as the images of his parents, who are the real models. On which account, in the sacred scriptures, it is not only commanded that young men should rise up and give the best seats to their elders, but also that they should rise up before them when they pass by; showing honour to the grey hairs of old age, to which there is a hope that they may come themselves if they now yield precedence to them. And this commandment also seems to me to have been enacted with exceeding beauty and propriety; for the law says, "Let each man fear his father and his Mother," enjoining fear rather than affection, not as being more advantageous and profitable with reference to the present occasion, for the first of these feelings affects foolish persons when they are being instructed or reproved, and folly cannot be cured by any other means than fear. But the second feeling, namely, affection towards their parents, it is not fitting should be inculcated on children by the injunctions of a lawgiver, for nature requires that that should be spontaneous. For it has implanted it so deeply from very infancy in the souls of those who are so completely united by blood, and by the services done by the parents to the children, that it is always selftaught and spontaneous, and has no need of commandments to enforce it. But the law has enjoined fear, because children are accustomed to feel an easy indifference. For though parents attend to their children with an exceeding violence of affection, providing them with necessary things from all quarters, and bestowing all good things upon them, and shrinking from no labour and from no danger, being bound to them by love stronger than any oaths, still some persons do not receive their affection as if it aimed solely at their good, being full of luxury and arrogance; and coveting a luxurious life, and becoming effeminate both in body and soul, permitting them in no respect to entertain proper dispositions as through the native powers of their minds, which they are not ashamed to overthrow, and to enervate, and to deprive of each separate energy, and so they come not to fear their natural correctors, their fathers and mothers yielding to and indulging their own private passions and desires. But we must also urge on the parents of such persons that they employ more weighty and severe admonitions in order to cure this impetuous obstinacy of their children, and we must warn the children to reverence their parents, fearing them as their rulers and natural masters; for it is with difficulty even by these considerations that they will be brought to hesitate to act unjustly.

I have now then gone through all the five heads of laws in the first table, and have noticed also all the particular points which had any reference to any individual. I must also now point out the punishments affixed to the transgression of these laws. Now there is one common penalty affixed to them all, namely, death, through which all such offences have a kind of relationship to one another. But the causes of this sentence being pronounced in such cases are different, and we must begin with the last, the one that relates to parents, since it is in reference to this one that the words are still ringing in our ears, "If any one shall beat his father or his mother, let him be Stoned." And very justly, for it is not fit that that man should live who insults those who are the causes of his living; but some of the men of high rank, and some of the lawgivers, looking rather at the vain opinions of men than at the truth, have softened this commandment, and instituted as a penalty, for those who beat their fathers, that their hands should be cut off; and for the sake of bearing a good reputation in the eyes of hasty and inconsiderate persons, they profess to them that it is becoming, that the parts with which such men have struck their parents should be cut off; but it is a piece of folly to be angry with the servants rather than with those who are the causes of such folly; for it is not the hands that behave with such insolence, but insolent men perform their actions with their hands, and it is the men who must be punished, unless indeed it can be called fitting to let men go who have committed murder with the sword, and to content one's self with throwing away the sword; and unless, on the contrary, one ought not to give honour to those who have shown preeminent valour in war, but to the inanimate coats of armour, by means of which they have behaved themselves valiantly; and unless again it is reasonable, in the case of those who have gained the victory in the gymnastic games, in the stadium, or the double race, or the long straight course, or in the contest of boxing, or in the pancratium, to attempt to crown only the legs and arms of the conquerors, and to let the whole of their bodies remain unhonoured. Surely it would be a ridiculous thing to lay down such principles as these, and to abstain in consequence from punishing or honouring those who were the real causes of the results in question; for we do not pass over a man who has given a splendid exhibition of musical skill, playing exquisitely on the flute or the lyre, and think the instruments themselves worthy of proclamations and honours. Why, then, should we deprive of their hands men who beat their fathers, O you most noble lawgivers? Is it that they may for the future be wholly useless for any purpose whatever, and that they may exact as a tribute, not once a year but every day, from those whom they have treated with iniquity, compelling them to supply them with necessary food, as being unable to provide for themselves? For their father is not so wholly hard-hearted as to endure to see even a son who has so grievously offended against him dying of hunger, after his anger has been blunted by time. And even if he has not laid hands upon his parents, but has only spoken ill of those whom he was bound to praise and bless, or if he has in any other manner done anything which can tend to bring his parents into disrepute, still let him Die. For since he is a common enemy, and if one may tell the plain truth, he is a public enemy of all men, to whom else can he be kind and favourable when he is not so to the authors of his being, by whose means he came into this world, and of whom he is a sort of supplement?

Again, let the man who has profaned the sacred seventh day as far as it may have lain in his power, be liable to the punishment of death. For, on the contrary, it is proper rather to provide whatever is profane, be it a thing or be it a person, with means of purification, in order to induce a change for the better, since "envy," as some one has said, "goes forth out of the divine company." But to dare to adulterate or to deface the holy coinage is an act which displays an extraordinary degree of impiety. In that ancient migration which took place when the people of Israel left Egypt, and when the whole multitude was travelling through the pathless wilderness, when the seventh day came all those myriads of men which I have described before rested in their tents in perfect tranquillity; but one man, and he not one of the most despised or lowest class of the people, disregarding the commands which were laid upon the nation, and ridiculing those who attended to them, went forth to pick up sticks, but in reality to show his contempt for and violation of the law. And he indeed came back bearing with him a faggot in his arm, but the men who remained in their tents although inflamed with anger and exasperated by his conduct, nevertheless did not at once proceed to very harsh measures against him that day by reason of the holy reverence due to the day, but they led him before the ruler of the people, and made known his impious action, and he having committed him to prison, after a command had been given to put him to death, gave the man up to those who had originally seen him to execute. As therefore, in my opinion, it was not permitted to kindle a fire on the seventh day for the reason which I have already mentioned, so likewise it was not lawful to collect any fuel for a fire.

Against those who call God as a witness in favour of assertions which are not true, the punishment of death is ordained in the law; and very properly, for even a man of moderate respectability will never endure to be cited as a witness, and to have his name registered in support of a lie. But it seems to me that he would look upon any one who proposed such a thing to him as a thoroughly faithless enemy; on which account we must say this, that him, who swears rashly and falsely, calling God to witness an unjust oath, God, although he is merciful by nature, will yet never release, inasmuch as he is thoroughly defiled and infamous from guilt, even though he may escape punishment at the hands of men. And such a man will never entirely escape, for there are innumerable beings looking on, zealots for and keepers of the national laws, of rigid justice, prompt to stone such a criminal, and visiting without pity all such as work wickedness, unless, indeed, we are prepared to say that a man who acts in such a way as to dishonour his father or his mother is worthy of death, but that he who behaves with impiety towards a name more glorious than even the respect due to one's parents, is to be borne with as but a moderate offender. But the lawgiver of our nation is not so foolish as, after putting to death men who are guilty of minor offences, then to treat those who are guilty of heavier crimes with mildness, since surely it is a greater iniquity than even to speak disparagingly or to insult one's parents, to show a contempt for the sacred name of God by means of perjury. And if even he who swears in an unbecoming manner is guilty and blameable, of what punishment is that man worthy who denies the one only true and living God and now honours the creature above the Creator, and chooses to honour not only the earth and the water, or the air, or the fire, the elements of the universe, or again the sun and moon, and the planets and fixed stars, and the whole of heaven, and the universal world, but even stocks and stones, which mortal workmen have fashioned, and which by them have been shaped into human figures? Therefore, let such a man be himself likened to images carved by the hand; for it ought not to be that that man should have any soul himself who honours things destitute of soul or life, and especially after he has been a disciple of Moses, whom he has often heard announcing to him and under the influence of divine inspiration declaring those most sacred and holy admonitions, "Take not the name of any other gods into thy soul for a remembrance of them, and utter not their names with thy voice, but keep both thy mind and thy speech far from all other interpositions, and turn them wholly to the Father and Creator of the universe, that thus thou mayest cherish the most virtuous and godly thoughts about his single government, and mayest speak words that are becoming and most profitable both to thyself and to those that hear Thee."

We have now then mentioned the punishments which are ordained against those who neglect the five commandments. But the rewards which are offered to those who keep them, even though the law has not set them forth in express words of injunction, are nevertheless figuratively intimated. Therefore the fact of not thinking that there are any other gods but the true God, nor imagining that things made by the hand of man are gods, and the fact of not committing perjury, are things which have no need of any other reward, for the mere fact, in my opinion, of practising these virtues is itself a most excellent and most perfect reward. For at what circumstance can a lover of truth feel more really delighted than at the devotion of himself to one God, and attending in a guileless and pure manner to his service? And when I speak of witnesses, I mean not such persons as are slaves to pride, but such as are devoted to an admiration of goodness free from all error, by whom the truth is honoured. For wisdom itself is the reward of wisdom; and justice, and each of the other virtues, is its own reward. And truth, as being the most beautiful in the whole company, and as being the chief of all the holy virtues, is in much greater degree its own recompense and reward, affording as it does happiness to all who practise it, and blessings of which they cannot be deprived to their children and descendants.

Again, those who properly keep the sacred sabbath are benefited in two most important particulars, both body and soul; as to their body, by a rest from their continual and incessant labours; and as to their soul, by forming most excellent conceptions respecting God as the Creator of the universe and the careful protector of all the things and beings which and whom he has made. And he made the whole universe in one week. It is plain, therefore, from these things that the man who honours the seventh day will himself find honour. In the same way let not him who honours his parents dutifully seek for any further advantage, for if he considers the matter he will find his reward in his own conduct. Not but what, since this commandment is inferior in importance to the first five commandments, which have a more divine character, inasmuch as this is concerned with mortal subjects, God has given an inducement to obey this one, saying, "Honour thy father and thy mother, that it may be well with thee, and that thy days may be long in the Land;" affixing thus two rewards to this injunction, one being in fact the participation in virtue, for "well" means virtue, or at least cannot subsist without virtue; while the other is, if one is to say the truth, immortality by length of days, and a life of long duration, which thou wilt preserve even in the body living with thy soul, purified with a perfect purification. These things have now been discussed at sufficient length. Let us after this, since the opportunity offers, consider the commandments in the second table.