XXXII. (167) And when he came into the middle of the camp, and marvelled at the sudden way in which the multitude had forsaken all their ancient habits, and at the vast amount of falsehood which they had embraced instead of truth, he, seeing that the disease had not extended among them all, but that some were still sound, and still cherished a disposition which loathed wickedness; wishing to distinguish those who were incurable from those who felt indignation at what had taken place, and to know also whether any of those who had offended repented them of their sin, caused a proclamation to be made; and it was indeed a shrewd test of the inclination of each individual, to see how he was disposed to holiness, or to the contrary. (168) “Whoever,” said he, “is on the side of the Lord, let him come to me.” It was but a brief sentence which he thus uttered, but the meaning concealed under it was important; for what was intimated by his words was the following sense: “If any one does not think anything whatever that is made by hands, or anything that is created, a god, but believes that there is one ruler of the universe only, let him come to me.” (169) Now of the others, some resisted by reason of the admiration which they had conceived for the Egyptian pride, and they did not attend to what he said; others wanted courage to come nearer to him, perhaps out of fear of punishment; or else perhaps they dreaded punishment at the hand of Moses, or a rising up against them on the part of the people; for the multitude invariably attack those who do not share in their frenzy. (170) But that single tribe of the whole number which was called the tribe of Levi, when they heard the proclamation, as if by one preconcerted agreement, ran with great haste, displaying their earnestness by their promptness and rapidity, and proving the keenness of the desire of their soul for piety; (171) and, when Moses saw them rushing forward as if starting from the goal in a race, he said, “Surely it is not with your bodies alone that you are hastening to come unto me, but you shall soon bear witness with your minds to your eagerness; let every one of you take a sword, and slay those men who have done things worthy of ten thousand deaths, who have forsaken the true God, and made for themselves false gods, of perishable and created substances, calling them by the name which belongs only to the uncreated and everlasting God; let every one, I say, slay those men, whether it be his own kinsmen or his friends, looking upon nothing to be either friendship or kindred but the holy fellowship of good men.” (172) And the tribe of Levi, outrunning his command with the most eager readiness, since they were already alienated from those men in their minds, almost from the first moment that they beheld the beginning of their lawless iniquity, killed them all to a man, to the number of three thousand, though they had been but a short time before their dearest friends; and as the corpses were lying in the middle of the place of the assembly of the people, the multitude beholding them pitied them, and fearing the still fervid, and angry, and indignant disposition of those who had slain them, reproved them out of fear; (173) but Moses, gladly approving of their exceeding virtue, devised in their favour and confirmed to them an honour which was appropriate to their exploit, for it was fitting that those who had undertaken a voluntary war for the sake of the honour of God, and who had carried it out successfully in a short time, should be thought worthy to receive the priesthood and charge of officiating in his service.