1. Josephus again, in the twentieth book of his Antiquities, relates the quarrel which arose among the priests during the reign of Nero, while Felix was procurator of Judea.
2. His words are as follows : |There arose a quarrel between the high priests on the one hand and the priests and leaders of the people of Jerusalem on the other. And each of them collected a body of the boldest and most restless men, and put himself at their head, and whenever they met they hurled invectives and stones at each other. And there was no one that would interpose; but these things were done at will as if in a city destitute of a ruler.
3. And so great was the shamelessness and audacity of the high priests that they dared to send their servants to the threshing-floors to seize the tithes due to the priests; and thus those of the priests that were poor were seen to be perishing of want. In this way did the violence of the factions prevail over all justice.|
4. And the same author again relates that about the same time there sprang up in Jerusalem a certain kind of robbers, |who by day,| as he says, |and in the middle of the city slew those who met them.|
5. For, especially at the feasts, they mingled with the multitude, and with short swords, which they concealed under their garments, they stabbed the most distinguished men. And when they fell, the murderers themselves were among those who expressed their indignation. And thus on account of the confidence which was reposed in them by all, they remained undiscovered.
6. The first that was slain by them was Jonathan the high priest; and after him many were killed every day, until the fear became worse than the evil itself, each one, as in battle, hourly expecting death.