XXVI. (129) Having said thus much he proceeds next to put forth a law full of humanity. If, says he, the daughter of a priest, having married a man who is not a priest, becomes a widow by the death of her husband, or if she be left childless while he is still alive, let her return again to her father’s house, to receive her share of the first fruits which she enjoyed when she was a virgin; {16}{leviticus 22:12.} for in some degree and in effect she is now also a virgin, since she has neither husband nor children, and has no other refuge but her father; (130) but if she has sons or daughters, then the mother must of necessity be classed with the children; and the sons and daughters, being ranked as of the family of their father, draw their mother also with them into his House.{17}{yonge’s translation includes a separate treatise title at this point: On the Question: What the Rewards and Honours Are Which Belong to the Priests. Accordingly, his next paragraph begins with roman numeral I (= XVII in the Loeb). Yonge’s “treatise” concludes with number VI (= XXXII in the Loeb). The publisher has elected to follow the Loeb numbering.}

XXVII. (131) The law did not allot any share of the land to the priests, in order that they like others might derive revenues from the land, and so possess a sufficiency of necessary things; but admitting them to an excessive degree of honour, he said that God was their inheritance, having a reference to the things offered to God; for the sake of two objects, both that of doing them the highest honour, since they are thus made partners in those things which are offered up by pious men, out of gratitude to God; and also in order that they might have no business about which to trouble themselves except the offices of religion, as they would have had, if they were forced to take care of their inheritance. And the following are the rewards and preeminent honours which he assigns to them; (132) in the first place, that the necessary food for their support shall at all times be provided for them without any labour or toil of their own; for God commands those who are making bread, to take of all the fat and of all the dough, a loaf as first fruits for the use of the priests, making thus, by this legitimate instruction, a provision for those men who put aside these first fruits, proceeding in the way that leads to piety; (133) for being accustomed at all times to offer first fruits of the necessary food, they will thus have an everlasting recollection of God, than which it is impossible to imagine a greater blessing; and it follows of necessity, that the first fruits offered by the most populous of nations must be very plentiful, so that even the very poorest of the priests, must, in respect of his abundance of all necessary food, appear to be very wealthy. (134) In the second place, he commands the nation also to give them the first fruits of their other possessions; a portion of wine out of each winepress; and of wheat and barley from each threshing floor. And in like manner they were to have a share of oil from all; the olive trees, and of eatable fruit from all the fruit trees, in order that they might not pass a squalid existence, having only barely enough of necessary food to support life, but that they might have sufficient for a certain degree of comfort and luxury, and so live cheerfully on abundant means, with all becoming ornament and refinement. (135) The third honour allotted to them is an assignment of all the first-born males, of all kinds of land animals which are born for the service and use of mankind; for these are the things which God commands to be given to the men consecrated to the priesthood; the offspring of oxen, and sheep, and goats, namely calves, and lambs, and kids, inasmuch as they both are and are considered clean, both for the purposes of eating and of sacrifice, but he orders that money shall be given as a ransom for the young of other animals, such as horses, and asses and camels, and similar beasts, without disparaging their real value; (136) and the supplies thus afforded them are very great; for the people of this nation breed sheep, and cattle, and flocks of all kinds above all other peoples, separating them with great care into flocks of goats, and herds of oxen, and flocks of sheep, and a vast quantity of other troops of animals of all kinds. (137) Moreover the law, going beyond all these enactments in their favour, commands the people to bring them the first fruits, not only of all their possessions of every description, but also of their own lives and bodies; for the children are separable portions of their parents as one may say; but if one must tell the plain truth, they are inseparable as being of kindred blood, […]{18}{the above passage is quite unintelligible in the Greek, and is given up by Mangey as irremediably corrupt.} and being bound to them by the allurements of united good will, and by the indissoluble bonds of nature. (138) But nevertheless, he consecrates also their own first-born male children after the fashion of other first fruits, as a sort of thanks-offering for fertility, and a number of children both existing and hoped for, and wishing at the same time that their marriages should be not only free from all blame, but even very deserving of praise, the first fruit arising from which is consecrated to God; and keeping this in their minds, both husbands and wives ought to cling to modesty, and to attend to their household concerns, and to cherish unanimity, agreeing with one another, so that what is called a communion and partnership may be so in solid truth, not only in word, but likewise in deed. (139) And with reference to the dedication of the first-born male children, in order that the parents may not be separated from their children, nor the children from their parents, he values the first fruits of them himself at a fixed price in money ordering everyone both poor and rich to contribute an equal sum, not having any reference to the ability of the contributors, nor to the vigour or beauty of the children who were born; but considering how much even a very poor man might be able to give; (140) for since the birth of children happens equally to the most noble and to the most obscure persons of the race, he thought it just to enact that their contribution should also be equal, aiming, as I have already said, particularly to fix a sum which should be in the power of everyone to give.