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BENJAMIN OF TIBERIAS:

A rich Jew who, when the emperor Heraclius in 628 went to Jerusalem during the Persian war, was accused of hostility toward the Christians. This accusation probably implied that he sided with the Persians. Notwithstanding this charge, however, the emperor became the guest of Benjamin, who provided both for him and for his army. Reproached by Heraclius for his hostility toward the Christians, Benjamin frankly declared: "The Christians, also, are enemies of my religion." When the emperor punished the Jews after his victory, he spared Benjamin on condition that the latter would consent to baptism, and perhaps with the further understanding that he would emigrate to Egypt.

Bibliography:
  • Theophanes, Chronographia, ed. Bonn, i. 504;
  • Jost, Gesch. der Israeliten, v. 205;
  • Grätz, Gesch. der Juden, 3d ed., v. 27. A passage from Elia Rabba (§19) has been recently referred to our Benjamin;
  • see Friedmann, "Elia Rabba," p. 101, Vienna, 1902.
G. S. Kr.
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