The policy of flattering alien or foreign-imposed local rulers with prophecies of future greatness or longevity was typical of Pharisaic practice from the time of Sameas or Pollio (c. 30 BC) until that of the fall of the Temple (68-70 CE), when either Josephus or R. Yohanan b. Zacchai — both self-professed "Pharisees" — have the audacity to apply "the Messianic Prophecy" (i. e., "the Star Prophecy" of Numbers 24:16-17) to Vespasian. In an unguarded moment during his discussion of Vespasian’s “Messianic” qualifications at the end of his account of the fall of Jerusalem in The Jewish War, Josephus also inadvertently reveals to us just the opposite and probably more accurate picture — that this same Messianic "Star Prophecy" was the moving force behind the Uprising against Rome...
source: http://www.jpost.com/Blogs/The-Eisenman ... hus-364045
I think that is too simplistic to dismiss Josephus as a flatterer of Vespasian in its anti-Jewish use of the Star Prophecy.
The logic of Josephus seems to be this:
1) the Star Prophecy galvanized especially the anti-Roman rebels.
2) but the Star Prophecy referred really to Vespasian.
3) So the Star Prophecy condemned the anti-Roman rebels themselves.
There is a method in this anti-Jewish use of Star Prophecy.
It remembers the anti-Jewish logic of the Gospels:
1) Jesus galvanized especially the followers of a Messiah ''according to flesh'' (Peter et the boanerghes).
2) but Jesus was really the Son of God.
3) So Jesus condemned the same traditional belief in a Messiah ''according to flesh'' (Peter et the boanerghes).
Josephus and the Gospels share both this trend: to use previous sacred scriptures to make an anti-Jewish point.
Could Josephus have inspired the first evangelist in this antithetical use of the Star Prophecy?
The second point I see in Josephus use of Star Prophecy is this:
Can Josephus be considered a ''Messiah-euhemerist'' in his identification of the Messiah with Vespasian?
Basically Josephus is minimizing the value of the Star Prophecy, saying simply that it concerned Vespasian. But by doing so he is reducing the same figure of the mighty future messiah (object of the Star Prophecy) to that of the mortal, and pagan, Vespasian. So he reminds Euhemerus to the extent that the latter minimized the gods and heroes by reducing them to mere mortals deified post-mortem.
Under the Jesus Myth theory, even this aspect is shared by Josephus and the first evangelist: euhemerize the figure of the Messiah, by using for the propaganda a stunt (respectively Vespasian and a ''historical'' Jesus of Nazareth) that with the object of the old prophecies had really nothing to do.