XLIV. (243) And having given his divine directions respecting the petitions which the orphan maidens had preferred, he proceeds to lay down a more general law concerning the succession to inheritances, summoning the sons in the first instance to the sharing of the paternal property; and, if there should be no sons, then the daughters in the second place, to whom he says that it is proper to attach the inheritance as an external and adventitious ornament, but not as a possession belonging to and rightly connected with them; for that which is attached to anything has no actual relationship to that which is adorned by it, inasmuch as it is devoid of all harmony and union with it. (244) And, after the daughters, then he invites the brothers to share it in the third place; and, in the fourth place, he assigns the property to the uncles on the father’s side, showing under this figure that the fathers might, if alive be the heirs of their sons. For it is a very foolish idea to imagine that when he allots the inheritance of the nephew to his father’s brother, out of a regard to his relationship to his father, he has excluded the father himself from the succession. (245) But since the law permits the property of parents to be inherited by the children, but does not allow the parents themselves to inherit, he has abstained from any express mention of the subject as one to be deprecated and of evil omen, in order that the father and mother might not seem to receive any gain from the inconsolable affliction of the loss of children dying prematurely; but he indirectly intimated their right to be invited to such an inheritance when he conceded it to the uncles, in order that in this way he might attain the best objects of cultivating propriety and of avoiding the improper alienation of the estate. And, after the uncles, the fifth class of inheritors was to be composed of the nearest relations, to the first of whom he invariably assigns the inheritance.

XLV. (246) Having now, as I was forced to do, gone through the entire account of those sacred commands referring to a mixed possession of an inheritance, I shall now proceed to show the oracles which were divinely given by the inspiration of the prophet; for this was a subject which I promised to explain. Now the beginning of his divine inspiration, which was also the commencement of prosperity to his nation, arose when he was sent out of Egypt to dwell as a settler in the cities of Syria, with many thousands of his countrymen; (247) for both men and women, having accomplished together a long and desolate journey through the wilderness, destitute of any beaten road, at last arrived at the sea which is called the Red Sea. Then, as was natural, they were in great perplexity, neither being able to cross over by reason of their want of vessels, nor thinking it safe to return back by the way by which they had come. (248) And while they were all in this state of mind, a still greater evil was impending over them; for the king of the Egyptians, having collected a power which was far from contemptible, a vast army of cavalry and infantry, sallied forth in pursuit of them, and made haste to overtake them, that he might avenge himself on them for the departure which he had been compelled by undeniable communications from God to permit them to take. But, as it should seem, the disposition of wicked men is unstable, so that, like any thing in a lightly-balanced scale, it inclines on very slight causes to different directions at different times. (249) So now, the Hebrews being intercepted between their enemies and the sea, despaired of their safety, some looking on the most miserable death as a blessing to be prayed for; and others thinking it better to perish by the agency of the parts of nature than to become a laughing-stock to their enemies, were inclined to throw themselves into the sea; and now, being laden with heavy burdens, they sat down on the sea shore, that when they saw the enemy near they might more readily leap into the sea. (250) For now, by reason of the necessity which environed them, and from which they saw no means of extricating themselves, they were in great agitation, being full of expectation of a miserable death.