When Jonathan and his companions heard this, they were in fear of their own lives, and in danger lest they should be assaulted by the Galileans on nay account; so they contrived how they might run away. But as they were not able to get off, for I desired them to stay, they looked down with concern at my words to them. I ordered, therefore, the multitude to restrain entirely their acclamations, and placed the most faithful of my armed men upon the avenues, to be a guard to us, lest John should unexpected fall upon us; and I encouraged the Galileans to take their weapons, lest they should be disturbed at their enemies, if any sudden insult should be made upon them. And then, in the first place, I put Jonathan and his partners in mind of their [former] letter, and after what manner they had written to me, and declared they were sent by the common consent to the people of Jerusalem, to make up the differences I had with John, and how they had desired me to come to them; and as I spake thus, I publicly showed that letter they had written, till they could not at all deny what they had done, the letter itself convicting them. I then said, "O Jonathan! and you that are sent with him as his colleagues, if I were to be judged as to my behavior, compared with that of John's, and had brought no more than two or three witnesses, (20) good men and true, it is plain you had been forced, upon the examination of their characters beforehand, to discharge the accusations: that therefore you may be informed that I have acted well in the affairs of Galilee, I think three witnesses too few to be brought by a man that hath done as he ought to do; so I gave you all these for witnesses. Inquire of them (21) how I have lived, and whether I have not behaved myself with all decency, and after a virtuous manner, among them. And I further conjure you, O Galileans! to hide no part of the truth, but to speak before these men as before judges, whether I have in any thing acted otherwise than well."
(20) We here learn the practice of the Jews, in the days of Josephus, to inquire into the characters of witnesses before they were admitted; and that their number ought to be three, or two at the least, also exactly as in the law of Moses, and in the Apostolical Constitutions, B. II. ch. 37. See Horeb Covenant Revived, page 97, 98.
(21) This appeal to the whole body of the Galileans by Josephus, and the testimony they gave him of integrity in his conduct as their governor, is very like that appeal and testimony in the case of the prophet Samuel, 1 Samuel 12:1-5, and perhaps was done by Josephus in imitation of him.