Chapter XII.—Helen, the Queen of the Osrhœnians.
1. 352 “And at this time 353 it came to pass that the great famine 354 took place in Judea, in which the queen Helen, 355 having purchased grain from Egypt with large sums, distributed it to the needy.”
2. You will find this statement also in agreement with the Acts of the Apostles, where it is said that the disciples at Antioch, “each according to his ability, determined to send relief to the brethren that dwelt in Judea; which also they did, and sent it to the elders by the hands of Barnabas and Paul.” 356
3. But splendid monuments 357 of this Helen, of whom the historian has made mention, are still shown in the suburbs of the city which is now called Ælia. 358 But she is said to have been queen of the Adiabeni. 359
Josephus, Ant. XX. 5. 2.113:353
In the times of these procurators, Cuspius Fadus and Tiberius Alexander.113:354
Josephus had already mentioned this famine in the same book of his Ant., chap. 2, §5.113:355
Josephus gives an extensive account of this Helen and of her son Izates in the Ant. XX. 2. Helen was the wife of the king Monabazus of Adiabene, and the mother of Izates, his successor. Both Izates and Helen embraced the Jewish religion, and the latter happening to come to Jerusalem in the time of the famine, did a great deal to relieve the distress, and was seconded in her benefactions by her son. After their death the bones of both mother and son were brought to Jerusalem and buried just outside of the walls, where Helen had erected three pyramids (Jos. Ant. XX. 4. 3).113:356
Acts 11:29, 30. The passage in Acts has Saul instead of Paul. But the change made by Eusebius is a very natural one.113:357
“Pausanias (in Arcadicis) speaks of these great monuments of Helen and compares them to the tomb of Mausolus. Jerome, too, testifies that they were standing in his time. Helen had besides a palace in Jerusalem” (Stroth).113:358
Ælia was the heathen city built on the site of Jerusalem by Hadrian (see below, Bk. IV. chap. 6).113:359
Adiabene was probably a small province lying between the Tigris, Lycus, and the Gordiæan Mountains (see Dion Cassius, LXVIII.), but before the time of Pliny, according to Vaux (in Smiths Dict. of Greek and Roman Geography), the word was used in a wider sense to indicate Assyria in general (see Pliny, H. N. VI. 12, and Ammianus Marcellinus, XXIII. 6). Izates was king of Adiabene in the narrower sense.