Chapter XII.—Vespasian commands the Descendants of David to be sought.
He also relates that Vespasian after the conquest of Jerusalem gave orders that all that belonged to the lineage of David should be sought out, in order that none of the royal race might be left among the Jews; and in consequence of this a most terrible persecution again hung over the Jews. 697
It is not certain that Eusebius intends to give Hegesippus as his authority for the statements of this chapter, inasmuch as he does not mention his name. He gives the account, however, upon the authority of some one else, and not as a direct historical statement, for the verb is in the infinitive, and it is much more natural to supply ῾Ηγήσιππος ἱστορεῖ, the last words of the preceding chapter, than to supply any other phrase, such as λόγος κατέχει, which occurs two chapters earlier. The translators are divided as to the words that are to be supplied, but it seems to me beyond doubt that this account rests upon the same authority as that of the previous chapter. There is in any case nothing at all unlikely in the report, as Vespasian and his successors kept a very close watch upon the Jews, and this would have been a very natural method of endeavoring to prevent future revolutions. The same course was pursued also by Domitian; see below, chaps. 19 and 20. We hear from no other source of a persecution raised against the Jews by Vespasian, and we may therefore conclude that it cannot have amounted to much, if indeed it deserves to be called a persecution at all.