XXXVIII. And when they were grieved at his threat, and wholly overwhelmed at the false accusations brought against them, the fourth in age, and he was one of a daring character, combined with modesty, and full of true courage, inasmuch as he had studied freedom of speech without impudence, came forward and said, “I entreat you, O master! not to give way to your passion; nor, because you are placed in the rank next to the king, to be in a hurry to condemn us before you have heard our defence. When on our former journey hither, you inquired of us concerning our brother and our father, we answered you: Our father was an old man, aged, not more because of the power of time, than because of his uninterrupted misfortunes, by which he has been constantly exercised like a wrestler, and has passed his whole life amid labours and calamities hard to be borne. “And our brother is very young, a mere child, loved beyond all measure by his father, since he is the son of his old age, and because also he had but him and one other child by the same mother, and this one alone is left, since the elder died a violent death. And when you commanded us to bring our brother hither, and threatened us that, if he did not come, you would not permit us to come into your sight, we departed in great depression of spirits; and with difficulty, when we had arrived at home, did we declare the commands which we had received from you to our father. And he at first wholly refused, being greatly alarmed for the child; but as necessary food was becoming scarce, and as not one of us dared to come hither to buy food without our youngest brother, by reason of your vehement commands; he was at last, with difficulty, persuaded to send him with us, blaming us bitterly for having confessed that we had another brother, and pitying himself very much for being about to be separated from him; for he is but a child and wholly ignorant of business, and not only of business in a foreign land, but even of such as is transacted in his own city. How, then, shall we approach our father who is under the influence of such feelings? And with what eyes shall we be able to behold him without this his youngsst son? He will die most miserably if he only hears that his son has not returned; and then all those who delight in hatred and in evil-speaking, and who rejoice in such misfortunes of their neighbours, will call us murderers and parricides, and the greater part of the accusation will fall upon me; for I promised my father to give him up many things, confessing that I received my brother as a pledge, which I was to restore whenever he was reclaimed from me. And how shall I be able to restore him unless you are prevailed upon to show us mercy? I entreat you, then, to have pity on the old man, and to give a thought to the evils by which he will be grieved, if he does not receive back again him whom he has unwisely entrusted to my hands. Nevertheless, do you exact punishment for the injuries which you imagine to have been done to you; and that punishment I will volunteer to submit to. Set me down as your slave from this day forth. I will cheerfully undergo the fate of those who have been just bought, if you will only be willing to let the child go free; and not only shall you, if you will give him his liberty, receive thanks from him and me, but also from him who is not present, but who will then be relieved from his anxiety, the father of these men here, and of all the family; for we are all your suppliants, having fled for succour to your right hand, and may we never fail to obtain it. Let, then, compassion for the age of the old man seize your heart, who during his whole life has constantly devoted himself to the labours of virtue. He has brought all the cities of Syria to receive him, and to submit to his authority, and to do him honour; even though he guides himself by foreign customs and laws very different from them, and although he is in all respects very unlike the natives of the land. But the excellence of his life, and the consistency and uniformity of his actions with his words, and of his words with his actions, have prevailed, so that he has been able to win over those who, out of regard for their national customs, were not at first well-disposed towards him. You will do him such a favour that it will not be possible for him to receive a greater. For what can be a more valuable gift to give to a father, than to allow him to receive back a son of whose safety he has despaired?”