III. (11) We have now then said enough by way of preface to this treatise. We will proceed to adduce the proofs of all that we have said, beginning first of all to establish the first point. We said, then, that ignorance was the cause of man’s behaving foolishly and misconducting himself, just as a great quantity of unmixed wine is to great numbers of foolish persons; (12) for ignorance is the primary evil of all the errors of the soul, if we must tell the truth, from which, as from a spring, all the actions of life do flow, never producing to any one, one single stream of wholesome or drinkable water, but only brackish water, the cause of disease and destruction to all who use it. (13) Thus, at all events, the lawgiver is very indignant with all uninstructed and unmanageable persons, more than he is with any other description of people whatever. And a proof of this is this: who are they who are united in alliance not so much by study as by nature, whether among men or among the other kinds of animals? No one; not even a madman would say that any beings were so closely united as parents and children; for even by the mere untaught instinct of nature the parent always cares for his offspring, and in every case endeavours to provide for its safety and durability.

IV. (14) Those, then, who are the natural protectors of others, Moses represents as having crossed over to the ranks of enemies, making those accusers who would naturally have been advocates, I mean the father and mother, in order that the children may be destroyed by those by whom above all others it was natural they should be saved; “For if,” says he, “any man’s son be disobedient, or contentious, not obeying the voice of his father and of his mother, and if they reprove him and he does not listen to them, then his father and his mother shall take him, and shall bring him before the elders of the city, and shall bring him to the gate of that place, and shall say to the men of their city, This our son is disobedient and contentious, and does not obey our voice, but spends his time in revelling and drunkenness. And the men of that city shall stone him, and you shall destroy that wicked one from among You.”{2}{#de 21:18.} (15) Therefore, here the accusations are four in number–disobedience, and contentiousness, and love of revelling, and drunkenness; and the last of these is the greatest, deriving its growth from the first, namely, from disobedience; for when the soul begins to be restive it advances onward through contention and quarrelsomeness, and arrives at last at the furthest boundary, drunkenness, the cause of alienation of mind and folly. But it is requisite to see the force of each of all these accusations, beginning with the first in order.