Before setting out, he quelled with the utmost cruelty a sedition of the Pharisees, slaying nearly 3000 of them.
The Pharisees were troublesome counsellors and doubtful allies for an ambitious prince.
But Salome Alexandra, his brother's widow, who released him from prison on the death of her husband and married him, was connected with the Pharisees through her brother Simon ben Shetach.
Eight hundred Jews who had held a fortress against him were crucified; 8000 Pharisees fled to Egypt and remained there.
According to the Talmud, he warned her " to fear neither the Pharisees nor their opponents but the hypocrites who do the deed of Zimri and claim the reward of Phinehas: " the warning indicates his justification of his policy in the matter of the crucifixions.