VIII. (37) This is enough to say on this part of the subject. Accordingly, the young man, having been conducted into Egypt, and there, as has already been stated, having become the slave of a eunuch, gave in a few days such proofs of virtue and excellence of disposition, that he had authority over his fellow servants given to him, and the management of the whole household committed to his charge; for already his master had learnt by many circumstances to perceive that his servant in all his words and in all his actions was under the immediate direction of divine providence. (38) Accordingly, in consequence of this opinion of his purchaser, he was appointed superintendent of his house, apparently indeed by his master, but, in fact and reality, by nature herself, which procured for him the government of a mighty city, and nation, and country. For it was necessary that one who was destined to be a statesman should be previously practised and trained in the management of a single household; for a household is a city on a small and contracted scale, and the management of a household is a contracted kind of polity; so that a city may be called a large house, and the government of a city a widely spread economy. (39) And from these considerations we may see that the manager of a household and the governor of a state are identical, though the multitude and magnitude of the things committed to their charge may be different, as in the case too with the arts of painting and statuary; for the good statuary or painter, whether he is making many and colossal figures, or only few and those of a small size, is still the same person, and the art which he is practising is the same art.
IX. (40) But while he is earning a very high reputation in the matters connected with the management of his master’s house, he is plotted against by the wife of his master, because of the incontinent love which she had conceived for him; for she, being maddened by the beauty of the young man, and being unable to restrain the violence of her frenzy and passion, addressed a proposal of illicit intercourse to him; but he resisted it vigorously, and would not at all endure to approach her, by reason of the orderly and temperate disposition implanted in him by nature and habit. (41) But when she, inflaming and exciting her lawless desire, kept continually tempting him, and continually throwing herself in his way, and continually failing in her object, she at last, in the violence of her passion, had recourse to force, and seizing hold of his cloak dragged him vigorously toward the bed, her passion endowing her strength with greater vigour, as it often does strengthen even the weak. (42) But he, proving more powerful than even the alluring opportunity, uttered a cry becoming a free man, and worthy of his race, saying, What are you forcing me to? We, the descendants of the Hebrews, are guided by special customs and laws of our own; (43) in other nations the youths are permitted, after they are fourteen years of age, to use concubines and prostitutes, and women who make gain by their persons, without restraint. But among us a harlot is not allowed even to live, but death is appointed as a punishment for any one who adopts such a way of life. Therefore, before our lawful marriage we know nothing of any connection with any other woman, but, without ever having experienced any similar cohabitation, we approach our virgin brides as pure as themselves, proposing as the end of our marriage not pleasure but the offspring of legitimate children. (44) I, therefore, having kept myself pure to this day, will not begin now to transgress the law by adultery which is the greatest of all sins, when I ought rather, even if in past time I had lived in an irregular manner, and had been led away by the impulses of youth, and had imitated the licentiousness of the natives, still not to seek to pollute the marriage of another man, an offence which who is there would not avenge with blood? For though different nations differ in other points, still all agree in this alone, that all men think him worthy of ten thousand deaths who does so, and give up the man who is detected in adultery without trial to the husband who has detected him. (45) But you, pressing me thus to load myself with guilt, would add even a third pollution in my case, since you bid me not merely commit adultery, but also to violate my mistress and my master’s wife, unless, indeed, this is to be looked upon as the reason for which I entered your house, that I might neglect the duties which a servant ought to perform, and get drunk, and become intoxicated with hopes fit for my master who has bought me, polluting his marriage, and his house and his family. (46) Nevertheless I am induced to honour him not merely as my master, but also as one who has before now been my benefactor. He has committed to my care the whole management of his household; there is nothing whatever, be it great or small, which is withdrawn from my superintendence, except you who are his wife. In return for these kindnesses is it fitting for me to requite him with such an action as you recommend to me? I will rather, as becomes me, endeavour with honourable service to requite the kindness of which he has set me the example, and which is due him. (47) He, being my master, has made me, who was a captive and a slave, a free man and a citizen by his great goodness, as far at least as depended on him; and shall I, who am a slave, compare myself to my master as if he were a stranger and a captive? And with what disposition can I commit this unholy action? and with what face can I be impudent enough to look upon him? The consciousness of guilt which I shall have contracted will not suffer me to look him in the face, even if I should be able to be undiscovered, but in fact I shall never escape detection, for there are innumerable witnesses of all the things which are done privily who may not be silent. (48) I forbear to say that, even if no one else should know it, or being privy to it should not divulge it, still I nevertheless shall be a witness against myself by my complexion, by my look, by my voice, as I said a little while ago, being convicted by my own conscience; and if no one else informs against me, shall I not fear nor respect, justice the assessor of God, and the overlooker of all human actions?