Marcus Galerius – Caiaphas is threatened by Galerius – Chief priests and elders plot the death of Yeshua – John the Baptizer is arrested – John is imprisoned in Machaerus – Herod kills John the Baptizer – John is buried in Egypt
1 Now there overlooked the grounds of the temple the fortress Antonia, and standing in the upper reaches thereof stood Marcus Galerius, for he was appointed by Pilate to command.
2 And seeing in the courts of the temple a great and swelling commotion, he called one of his servants who was a Jew, and commanded that he should go and inquire of this thing.
3 And the servant, going unto the temple, inquired of certain priests concerning the clamor within, and they answered, saying:
4 “Behold, there is a prophet from Galilee who would cleanse the house of the Lord with indignation and fury.”
5 When he heard this the servant asked, saying: “Tell me then what men say of him that I might go and report.”
6 And one answered, saying: “They say that this man is the very Anointed One.”
7 Thus did the servant inquire and he went and told Galerius all which he had heard. And Galerius, being charged by Pilate to keep peace in Jerusalem, sent word unto Caiaphas that he would speak with him concerning the Galilean.
8 Now this Marcus Galerius was a brutish man who ruled harshly over all men, whether Jew or Gentile; for there had dwelt aforetime in the regions of Gischala, Barak Bar Annas, a bandit of great renown.
9 And Galerius, hearing of his great plundering, did capture him and all his men. And he crucified every man among them, and taking their wives and children, he slew them before the eyes of the crucified. By such harshness did Galerius make peaceful the regions round about.
10 So Caiaphas, taking Shemiah for his interpreter, went unto Galerius. And told him of Yeshua and how that many thought him to be the one promised by the prophets of old.
11 But Galerius, hearing this, said with great anger: “You Jews are a troublesome people, ever looking for a deliverer. Have there not come many messiahs already, and have they not all perished?
12 How long will you suffer the Jews to perish for the sake of another Galilean?
13 Are you so stiffnecked that you cannot remember Judas of Gamala and the two thousand crucified?
14 Take care to yourselves, therefore, concerning this man. For if the Jews shall lift again the sword against Caesar, to disturb the nation’s peace, then shall all Israel be made to suffer, and you shall lose your place in the temple, and that office which you covet above all others shall be given unto another.
15 And if it so be that I must war against this people to restore again the peace of the city, know then that under the standards of Rome shall I enter the temple and seize by force the treasury thereof, that I might have recompense against you and all this people.”
16 Now hearing this, Caiaphas made peace with Galerius, and rushing to the temple, he called into the chambers of the High Priest all the chief priests, elders, and scribes and told them all which Marcus Galerius had spoken unto him concerning Yeshua.
17 And one spoke, saying: “But what shall we do against this man, seeing that he is a worker of miracles?
18 Did we not see for ourselves the light fall upon him from Heaven? Did he not heal, from among us, one of our own brethren, even Simon of Bethany?
19 If we thus let him alone, then all Israel will believe in him; and if it so be that he would take by force the throne of David, then shall the Romans come and take away both our place and nation.”
20 But Nicodemus said unto them: “Will our law judge a man before it hears him, or sees what it is he does?”
21 And Ananus, hearing this, rebuked him, saying: “Have you become his disciple already? What are miracles when compared to the law? Go, then, and search the scriptures, for at no time has there come a prophet out of Galilee.”
22 Thus contended the rulers of the temple among themselves concerning the Master, for there were some who would deal kindly with Yeshua because of the miracles wrought, but others were made all the more angry because of them.
23 And Caiaphas, being weary of contention, said: “It is expedient for us that one man should die for the sake of the nation. For why should Israel perish because of him?
24 For if he should continue unabated, then shall all men believe in him, and the law which was given into our keeping shall prove of no effect.”
25 So spoke Caiaphas, and calling Judas of Kerioth, he commanded that he should follow the Nazarene and give report of all which he said and did; for they would find against him some offense.
26 Thus did the chief priests and elders conspire against the very Anointed, that they might, by some means, put him to death.
27 Now Marcus Galerius reported all these things to Pontius Pilate in Caesarea, and Pilate, being distrustful of the Jews, sent unto Jerusalem a cohort of men wherewith Galerius might insure, by force if need be, the peace of the city.
28 But in Jericho did John the Baptizer preach the coming of the kingdom of God. And many came to hear for themselves this prophet which was come up out of the wilderness.
29 And Herod, hearing that he was in the city, and seeing that many followed after the man, commanded that he should be brought to stand before him.
30 And when it was night and the multitudes had gone away unto their own houses, John was seized by the soldiers of the king and brought to stand before him.
31 And seeing that the Essene was clothed only in a raiment of camel’s hair, Herod mocked him, saying: “Is this the prophet of God?
32 Consider, O Israel, how he seems more beggar than prophet.” And the whole house of Herod was filled with laughter and ridicule against John.
33 But one of the ministers, fearing for the king, spoke, saying: “My lord, it is not good that this man be kept prisoner here in the palace, for there are a great many who believe him to be a prophet of God.
34 And if it so be that they should hear of his capture, then might they take by force this Essene to set him free.
35 Therefore, O king, let us be wise concerning this man and send him under guard to Machaerus, for in that place shall he no more trouble the land, and all things will continue as before.”
36 So they sent John unto the fortress of Machaerus by the borders of the sea, and when it was known that the Baptizer was imprisoned, many feared for Israel because of him.
37 And there came unto the king from Jerusalem a delegation of scribes and Pharisees and they demanded of Herod that John be killed.
38 But Herod replied, saying: “For what purpose should I kill this man, seeing that he is put out of the way already?
39 If he would speak ill of Herod, then let him speak to scorpions and lizards, for in the fastness of Machaerus shall no man hear again the voice of the prophet.”
40 Yet would the scribes and Pharisees not be content, but said: “My lord, as long as this man lives no man among us is safe.
41 For John has made ridicule of those who rule, and the temple which your father built these forty and six years has he called defiled and corrupted by hands made red by blood.
42 For the heart of all Israel is the temple, and in Jerusalem is the rule of all our power made secure.
43 If, therefore, the temple perish because of this man, what nation shall you rule then, seeing that the glory of your father is made to become as nothing in the minds of the people?
44 Hear and be wise, O Herod, for while this man lives, all our place is made unsure. Therefore, kill him and Israel will forget him altogether, and his words shall no man remember.”
45 But Herod would not kill the prophet, for he had regard for him. And seeing this, the scribes and Pharisees spoke to him privily, saying:
46 “O king, be wise and reject not our counsel; for except you kill this John, we shall be made insecure.
47 Come now and take heart, for it is a small thing to kill a man, or to make sacrifice for the good of the nation.”
48 When Herod heard these things, he relented and sent word that John should be killed. For the power of Rome did he fear greatly, neither would he have Caesar think him weak and of no effect.
49 So John perished in Machaerus, being beheaded at the word of Herod and his disciples, taking the body towards Egypt, buried him amidst great weeping.
50 And they mourned for him thirty days; in sackcloth and ashes did they lament the passing of the Essene.
51 And when the days of mourning were completed, certain of John’s disciples went northward unto Galilee seeking the one before whom John knelt when he baptized beyond Jordan in Perea.
52 And all Israel, hearing of John’s death, grew fearful; for the heavens were filled with signs and portents, and the learning of the wise were confounded and filled with trouble.
53 And Herod brooded continually against the scribes and Pharisees for John’s sake and would not be comforted.