THE family from which I am derived is not an ignoble one, but hath descended all along from the priests; and as nobility among several people is of a different origin, so with us to be of the sacerdotal dignity, is an indication of the splendor of a family. Now, I am not only sprung from a sacerdotal family in general, but from the first of the twenty-four (1) courses; and as among us there is not only a considerable difference between one family of each course and another, I am of the chief family of that first course also; nay, further, by my mother I am of the royal blood; for the children of Asamoneus, from whom that family was derived, had both the office of the high priesthood, and the dignity of a king, for a long time together. I will accordingly set down my progenitors in order. My grandfather's father was named Simon, with the addition of Psellus: he lived at the same time with that son of Simon the high priest, who first of all the high priests was named Hyrcanus. This Simon Psellus had nine sons, one of whom was Matthias, called Ephlias: he married the daughter of Jonathan the high priest, which Jonathan was the first of the sons of Asamoneus, who was high priest, and was the brother of Simon the high priest also. This Matthias had a son called Matthias Curtus, and that in the first year of the government of Hyrcanus: his son's name was Joseph, born in the ninth year of the reign of Alexandra: his son Matthias was born in the tenth year of the reign of Archclaus; as was I born to Matthias in the first year of the reign of Caius Caesar. I have three sons: Hyrcanus, the eldest, was born in the fourth year of the reign of Vespasian, as was Justus born in the seventh, and Agrippa in the ninth. Thus have I set down the genealog of my family as I have found it described (2) in the public records, and so bid adieu to those who calumniate me [as of a lower original].
(1) We may hence correct the error of the Latin copy of the second book Against Apion, sect. 8, (for the Greek is there lost,) which says, there were then only four tribes or courses of the priests, instead of twenty-four. Nor is this testimony to be disregarded, as if Josephus there contradicted what he had affirmed here; because even the account there given better agrees to twenty-four than to four courses, while he says that each of those courses contained above 5000 men, which, multiplied by only four, will make not more than 20,000 priests; whereas the number 120,000, as multiplied by 24, seems much the most probable, they being about one-tenth of the whole people, even after the captivity. See Ezra 2:36-39; Nehemiah 7:39-42; 1 Esdras 5:24, 25, with Ezra 2;64; Nehemiah 7:66; 1 Esdras 5:41. Nor will this common reading or notion of but four courses of priests, agree with Josephus's own further assertion elsewhere, Antiq. B. VII. ch. 14. sect. 7, that David's partition of the priests into twenty-four courses had continued to that day.
(2) An eminent example of the care of the Jews about their genealogies, especially as to the priests. See Against Ap. B. 1 sect. 7.