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"The history of Jerusalem, viewed as the fulfilment of prophecy, furnishes evidence of the truth of Christianity which neither Jew nor infidel can reject without positive infatuation. At the same time, it also reveals to us the awful depravity of human nature. Let nations look upon Judea, let cities look upon Jerusalem, let individuals look upon the personal calamities of the Jews, and let all fear God and fly from transgression. If, indeed, we would escape a destruction, of which that of Jerusalem was but a faint emblem, let us embrace proffered mercy, and “know the things that belong to our peace, before they are hid” FOREVER “from our eyes.”
FLAVIUS JOSEPHUS was born at Jerusalem thirty-seven years after CHRIST. He was of the order of the priesthood, and was an ornament of the sect of the Pharisees, to which he belonged. After the revolt of the Jews from the Romans, he was appointed a principal general of the Jewish army, and conducted the defense of Galilee with remarkable skill and courage. Being ultimately besieged in the fortified town of Jotapata, and having for a long time defended it, he was ultimately captured with the place by Vespasian, the Roman general. He was treated with kindness and respect, and continued in the Roman army until the close of the war, acting as interpreter between the Romans and Jews. After this, he went with Titus, the son and successor of Vespasian, to Rome, and wrote the history of the war. Haying been an eye witness of the scenes which he describes, he has given a most authentic account of the miseries as well as of the unparalleled crimes of his nation. Though a Jew, and by no means intending to favor Christianity, and though he suppresses most of what related to its Author, yet his history of facts shows the fulfilment of the predictions of Jesus of Nazareth, as well as those of Moses, to the very letter.
In the following pages some of the principal prophecies are selected from Moses and Jesus Christ, and placed at the head of each chapter, that the reader may more readily perceive their literal and precise accomplishment. In the Introduction a descriptive sketch of Palestine, together with a brief view of the previous history of Jerusalem, is given. At the conclusion of the abridgment, a few remarks are added, as well as an epitome of the modern history of Jerusalem. The work is intended chiefly for sabbath schools, but will be found suitable to persons of any age, should they choose to give it a perusal.
December 6, 1838.
SKETCH OF PALESTINE
The history of no other country on earth affords so great an amount of interest and instruction as that of Palestine; and with no other are there connected so many important events as with that of Jerusalem. In Scripture Palestine is usually called Canaan. It derived its name from Canaan, the grandson of Noah, whose posterity settled the country after the flood. The inhabitants of the land gradually forsook the worship of Jehovah, and became sinners of the worst kind. They offered human victims on the altars of their idol gods, causing “their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire to Moloch.” God therefore promised their land to the Israelites, and to them he gave it after forbearing with the Canaanites till “the cup of their iniquities was full.”
Palestine was a country admirably situated.. It lay on the east of the Mediterranean Sea, formerly the great highway of nations, and on whose shores arts, sciences, and wealth were congregated. On the south, below the Mediterranean, was the fertile vale of Egypt. On the east lay the fertile plain between the Euphrates and Tigris; and still farther Media, Persia, India, and China. On the north was the vast empire of Syria, and the opulent territory of Asia Minor. No country could be better situated to become wealthy by commerce. In the days of David and Solomon the ships of the Mediterranean, and the rich caravans from India, poured their treasures into Palestine, until the country became surfeited with riches. The temple of Solomon contained more treasures than any other edifice the world ever saw; and the country generally abounded in wealth.
As its geographical position was admirable, so its internal aspect was delightful. It was beautifully diversified with hills and plains— hills now barren and gloomy, but once cultivated to their summits, and smiling in the variety of their produce. Plains over which the Bedouin Arab now roves to collect a scanty herbage for his cattle, once yielded an abundance, of which the inhabitants of a more northern clime can scarcely form an idea.
The description of Moses was both beautiful and accurate: “The Lord bringeth thee into a good land—a land of brooks, of water, of fountains and depths that spring out of valleys and hills; a land of wheat, and barley, and vines, and fig-trees, and pomegranates; a land of oil olive and honey.” Rich in its soil, smiling in the sunshine of an almost perpetual summer, and abounding in scenery of the grandest as well as the most picturesque and beautiful kind, this happy country was indeed a land which the Lord had blessed.
But Mohammedan sloth and despotism, as the instruments employed to execute the curse of Heaven, have converted a great part of it into a waste of rock and desert. There are, however, still remaining spots of verdure sufficient to attest the accounts formerly given of it; and when properly cultivated its most rocky, and, to appearance, insuperably sterile parts are made to yield abundantly. Dr. Clarke gives us the following account of what he saw on the road from Naploitse to Jerusalem: “The road was rocky, mountainous, and full of loose stones, yet the cultivation was everywhere marvellous: it afforded one of the most striking pictures of human industry which it is possible to behold. The limestone rocks and stony valleys of Judea were entirely covered with plantations of figs, vines, and olive-trees: not a single spot seemed to be neglected. The hills, from their bases to their uppermost summits, were entirely covered with gardens; all of these were free from weeds, and in the highest state of agricultural perfection. Even the sides of the most barren mountains had been rendered fertile by being divided into terraces like steps, rising one above another, whereon soil had been accumulated with astonishing labor. Among the standing crops we noticed millet, cotton, linseed, (or flax,) and tobacco, and occasionally small fields of barley. A sight of this territory can alone convey any adequate idea of its surprising produce. It is truly the Eden of the east, rejoicing in the abundance of its wealth. Under a wise and beneficent government the produce of the Holy Land would exceed all calculation. Its perennial harvests, the salubrity of its air, its limpid springs, its rivers, lakes, and matchless plains, its hills and dales, all these, added to the serenity of its climate, prove this land to be indeed ‘a field which the Lord hath blessed. God hath given it of the dew of heaven, and the fatness of the earth, and plenty of corn and wine.’”
It should be remembered that eastern impressions of fertility differ from ours. To an oriental, plantations of figs, vines, and olives, with which the limestone rocks of Judea were once covered, would suggest the same associations of plenty and opulence that are called up to the mind of an American by rich tracts of arable land. The land of Canaan is spoken of as flowing with milk and honey, and it still answers to this description. For it contains extensive pasture lands of the richest quality; and the rocky country is covered with aromatic plants and flowers, yielding to the wild bees, which hive in the hollows of the rocks, abundance of honey. Mr. Buckingham says he scarcely ever sat down to a meal, or saw a table spread in Palestine, but that honey formed a part of the repast.
The lofty palm-tree also flourished here. “The extensive importance of this tree,” says Dr. E. D. Clarke, “is one of the most curious subjects to which the traveler can turn his attention. A considerable part of the inhabitants of Egypt, of Arabia, and Persia subsist almost entirely upon its fruit. They boast of its medicinal virtues. Their camels feed upon the date stone. From the leaves they make couches, baskets, bags, mats, and brushes: from the branches, cages for their poultry and fences for their gardens; from fibers of the boughs, thread, ropes, rigging from the sap is prepared a spirituous liquor, and the body of the tree furnishes fuel.”
“The diligent natives,” says Gibbon, “celebrated either in prose or verse the three hundred and sixty uses to which the trunk, the branches, the leaves, the juice, and the fruit were skillfully applied.” Such was ancient Palestine, its situation, its climate, its soil, and productions. Its limits were not extensive, but such were its advantages of soil, and climate, and for commerce, that in the happiest periods of the Jewish nation it sustained an immense population.
Jerusalem, its capital, was situated a little south of the center of Palestine, about half way between the Dead Sea and the Mediterranean. It stood in the midst of a rocky region, surrounded with hills, and was itself built upon hills. The territory and places adjacent were well watered, having the fountains of Gihon and Siloam and the brook Kedron at the foot of its walls.
Besides these there were in its later days the waters of Ethan, which Pilate had conveyed through aqueducts into the city. It was celebrated for its extent, being, according to Strabo, sixty furlongs in length; for the strength of its walls and bulwarks; but above all, for its magnificent temple, and for the divine manifestations which it so richly enjoyed. Here flourished those singular and excellent men, the Hebrew prophets. Here they unveiled the future, predicting the fate of kingdoms, the rise and fall of empires, and the coming of the great Messiah.
Here also almost the entire nation congregated at their great religious celebrations; and finally, here the Savior of the world performed some of his most glorious miracles, uttered some of his most striking predictions, manifested some of his most tender sympathies, and finally accomplished the grand work of human redemption. No city was ever so highly exalted as Jerusalem; no city ever abused its privileges more wickedly, and none ever witnessed more fearful judgments or experienced more dreadful sufferings.
HISTORICAL SKETCH OF JERUSALEM IMMEDIATELY BEFORE BESIEGED BY THE ROMANS
The account of the destruction of Jerusalem will he better understood if the reader have before him a brief history of its condition immediately before it was attacked by the Romans. About Sixty-three or four years before the birth of Christ a contest arose between two brothers, Hyrcanus and Aristobulus,about the succession of the crown. Both parties applied for assistance to the Romans, who had conquered the adjacent countries. Scaurus, the Roman general, being bribed by Aristobulus, placed him upon the throne.
Not long after, Pompey, then chief general of the Roman army, returned from the east to Syria, and both the brothers applied to him for protection, and pleaded their cause before him. Pompey considered this a favorable time for reducing Palestine under the power of the Romans. Without, therefore, deciding the points in dispute between the brothers, he marched his army into Judea, and besieged and took possession of Jerusalem. He appointed Hyrcanus high priest, but would not allow him to take the title of king. He, however, gave him the title of prince, with very limited authority.
Pompey did not take away the holy utensils or treasures of the temple, but he made Judea subject and tributary to the Romans. About nine years after this Crassus plundered the temple of every thing valuable belonging to it. Julius Caesar afterward confirmed Hyrcanus in his office, and granted additional privileges to the Jews; but about four years after his death, Antigonus, son of Aristobulus, assisted by the Parthians, and while Rome was in an unsettled state, deposed his uncle Hyrcanus, seized the government, and assumed the title of king.
Herod, by birth an Idumean, whose father, Antipater, as well as himself, had occupied posts of honor and trust under Hyrcanus, immediately set out for Rome, and prevailed upon the senate to appoint him king of Judea. Armed with this authority, he returned and began hostilities against Antigonus. In about three years he took Jerusalem, and put an end to the government of the Maccabees, or Hasmonians, which had continued about a hundred and thirty years. He sent Antigonus a prisoner to Rome, where he was put to death. Herod married Mariamne, who lived to be the only remaining member of the Maccabee family, and was finally put to death by his order.
He enlarged the kingdom of Judea, though he continued it tributary to the Romans. He also adorned and enriched the temple. But he abridged the civil power of high priesthood, and changed it from being hereditary and for life to an office granted and held at the pleasure of the monarch; and this sacred office was now often given to those who bid the highest for it, without any regard to merit. Herod oppressed and persecuted the Jews, whom he feared and hated, and they in return both feared and hated him. He was an inexorable tyrant even to his own children, three of whom he caused to be murdered.
At this time there was a general expectation of the appearance of the Messiah among the Jews, and from the prophecies which had been spread among the surrounding heathens an idea prevailed among them that some extraordinary conqueror or deliverer would soon appear in Judea. In the thirty-sixth year of Herod’s reign, and while Augustus was emperor at Rome, the Savior of the world was born in Bethlehem, according to the word of prophecy. Herod, misled by the opinion prevalent among the Jews, that the Messiah was to be a military prince, and judging from the inquiries of the “wise men,” who came from the east in quest of him, that he was already born, he sent to Bethlehem and slew the children under two years old. Thus he hoped he had destroyed one whom he considered as the rival of himself and family.
He was soon after smitten with a most loathsome and tormenting disease, and died a signal example of divine justice about a year and a quarter after the birth of the Savior, who, by the direction of an angel, had been carried to Egypt before the slaughter of the children took place. Herod made his will not long before, dividing the kingdom among his three sons, Archilaus, Herod Antipas, and Herod Philip. This will was ratified by the emperor Augustus in its most material points.
Archilaus, who had retained the government of Judea, was a cruel tyrant, and after reigning ten years, upon a complaint of the Jews, was banished by Augustus to Vienne, in Gaul, where he died. After Augustus sent Publius Sulpitius Quirinus, who, according to the Greek way of writing that name, is called by St. Luke Cyrenius, to reduce the countries over which Archelaus had reigned to the form of a Roman province, Judea was made subordinate to the president of Syria, with Coponius, a Roman, for its governor, bearing the title of procurator.
The power of life and death was now taken out of the hands of the Jews, and taxes from this time paid, not as before, to a prince of their own, but immediately to the Roman emperor. Justice was administered in the name and by the laws of Rome. Still, in what concerned their religion, their own laws, and the power of the high priest and Sanhedrin, or great council, were continued to them. Thus “the scepter” finally and for ever “departed from Judah” at the very time Jacob had foretold—the time when “Shiloh,” the Savior, “came.”
After Coponius, Ambivius Annius, Rufus Valerius, Gratus, and Pontius Pilate were successively procurators of Judea. This was the species of government to which Judea and Samaria were subject during the ministry of our Savior. Herod Antipas was still tetrarch of Galilee, and it was to him that Pilate sent our Savior. Some time after the removal of Pontius Pilate, Judea, and finally nearly all the countries, formerly governed hy Herod the Great, were given to Herod Agrippa, grandson of the former. Herod Agrippa is the same who put to death James, the brother of John, and imprisoned Peter. He died and left a son seventeen years old, called also Agrippa, but the Roman emperor, thinking him too young to govern his father’s extensive dominions, made Cuspus Fadus governor of Judea.
Fadus was soon succeeded by Tiberias, and he was followed by Alexander Cumanus, Felix, and Festus. But Claudius afterward conferred Trachonitus and Abilene, to which a part of Galilee was added, upon young Agrippa. This was the Agrippa before whom Paul afterward spoke at Caesarea. Several of the Roman governors severely oppressed and persecuted the Jews, and at length Florus, obtaining the government, excelled all his predecessors in his tyranny and insults.
The Jews in the meantime had become a nation of desperadoes. Jerusalem, the seat of their religion, and the place of their once solemn festivals, was filled with mobs, turbulence, and violence. Their once grave and dignified Sanhedrin, or great national council, now resembled the mob parliament of France in the time of the French revolution, where decency and order gave place to violence and tumult. They had imbrued their hands in the blood of the Savior; murdered Stephen without even so much as a mock trial, and, like infuriate fiends, seized every opportunity to butcher the followers of the Messiah. Thus the governor and the people were equally wicked.
Florus, indeed, became a public robber, and used his office and power for rapine and plunder. He not only oppressed the people with illegal and enormous taxes, but united with the desperadoes of the land, selling to all sorts of criminals their freedom, if they had but money or friends to purchase it. He thought it but a petty offence, indeed, says Josephus, to get money out of single persons, so he spoiled whole cities and ruined entire bodies of men at once, and did almost publicly proclaim all over the country that they had liberty given them to turn robbers, upon condition that they allowed him a share of the spoils. His enormities finally became so public, and so great, that, beginning to fear the Romans would punish him for his crimes, he determined to force the Jews into a rebellion to conceal his villainies.
An opportunity soon offered. The Jews at Caesarea had a synagogue built upon land belonging to a Greek. They had frequently endeavored to purchase the land, but the Greek not only refused to sell it, but continued to raise other buildings, such as mechanics’ shops, around the place. These left them so narrow an entrance that it was difficult to approach their place of worship. The Jews then gave to Florus a bribe of eight talents, for which he promised to put a stop to the erection of the buildings. But after getting the money, he left Caesarea, and allowed the work to go on.
On the following Sabbath, as the Jews were repairing to their place of worship, a man of Caesarea took at earthen vessel, and setting it near the entrance of the synagogue, sacrificed some birds upon it This was the ceremony performed at the cleansing of leprous persons (see Leviticus, chap. xiv) and intended to reproach the Jews, as though they were polluted with that loathsome disease. It was also an insult to their worship, and polluted their sanctuary. Being exceedingly enraged, the Jews and the populace of Caesarea came to blows, and the former, taking away their copies of the laws retired to a place belonging to them, called Narbata. They also sent a complaint to Florus, who, instead of giving them any redress, seized the messengers and put them in prison.
The Jews at Jerusalem felt themselves as deeply injured by the insult offered to their religion as those of Caesarea; but they kept quiet until Florus, determined to force the nation into a rebellion, sent and took seventeen talents from the temple, under pretense that they were wanted by Caesar. This so exasperated the people that they ran together to the temple in a tumultuous manner, calling on Caesar by name to deliver them from the tyranny of Florus.
To ridicule him, some of them took baskets and went about the streets begging small sums of money for him, as one who needed charity. Florus, instead of going to Caesarea to quell the disturbance there, immediately marched an army of horse and foot to Jerusalem. Here he committed a variety of flagrant acts, and finally ordered his soldiers to plunder the upper market place, and slay such as they should find. The soldiers slew and plundered, and Florus scourged and crucified, so that there were slain, men, women and children, about three thousand six hundred.
Bernice, the sister of Agrippa, being at this time in Jerusalem, besought Florus to spare the Jews; but she only endangered her own life by her interference. Agrippa came also to Jerusalem about this time, and endeavored to persuade the people to submit to Florus until Caesar should learn the state of affairs, and appoint another governor in his place. But Florus had so exasperated them, that Agrippa found himself unable to succeed He also learned that the Jews had neglected to pay the annual tribute exacted by the Romans, and therefore retired into his own kingdom. The flames of war were now fast kindling, and the leaders of the sedition began in earnest to prepare for it. In the following chapters I shall give some of the predictions concerning the destruction of the devoted city Jerusalem, and abridge the history of Josephus to show their fulfilment.
"But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then recognize that her desolation is near. Then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains, and those who are in the midst of the city must leave, and those who are in the country must not enter the city; because these are days of vengeance, so that all things which are written will be fulfilled.” —Jesus Christ, Luke 21:20-22; NASU
Florus had at length succeeded in kindling the spirit of revolt, and the Jews, after seeing numbers of their relations butchered, had attacked and killed the guards stationed in the castle of Antonia. The news of this brought Cestius from Syria with a large army. He encamped within a short distance of Jerusalem, and after remaining in his camp for three days, took possession of the suburbs, the Jews retreating into the inner part of the city and into the temple. Cestius seems to have been disposed to follow up his advantage, and to force the walls, but was diverted from the attempt by one of his principal officers, at the suggestion of Florus, who wished to lengthen out the war. The more considerate part of the people were, indeed, about to open the gates to him, when, without any sufficient reason whatever, he withdrew from the city, pursued and harassed by the Jews.
[This circumstance was very remarkable. But it was doubtless providential. For the Christians, who were shut up in the city while his army was besieging it, remembering the words of their Master, uttered several years before, now took the opportunity to flee, and, as the early Christian writers inform us, escaped in a body from the impending calamities of the place. Josephus, who was not a Christian, is careful to say very little of Christ or his followers; but he tells us, “After this calamity, which had befallen Cestius, many of the most eminent Jews swam away from the city as from a ship that was going to sink.”]
When Nero, the Roman emperor, heard of the shameful and cowardly retreat of Cestius, he sent Vespasian, one of the most able of his generals, to take command of the forces in Syria, and carry on the war against the Jews. Vespasian sent his son Titus to Alexandria, in Egypt, to bring the fifth and tenth Roman legions which were there, proceeding himself to Syria. Titus, having brought up the two legions from Egypt, met his father at Ptolemais, in Palestine. These two legions, the most eminent of all, were joined with the fifteenth, which was already with Vespasian. Eighteen cohorts followed these, and there came also five cohorts from Caesarea, with one troop of horsemen from Syria.
There were also a considerable number of auxiliaries got together that came from the kings Antiochus, and Agrippa, and Sohemus, each of them contributing one thousand footmen who were archers, and a thousand horsemen. Malchus, also, the king of Arabia, sent a thousand horsemen and five thousand footmen, the greater part of whom were archers. The whole army, including the auxiliaries sent by the kings, amounted to sixty thousand besides the servants, who followed in vast numbers, and had been trained up in war with the rest, and therefore ought not to be distinguished from the fighting men; for serving both in peace and war they were inferior to none either in strength or skill.
One cannot but admire the precaution and skill of the Romans, for their military exercises differ not at all from the real use of arms; nor should we greatly err in calling their military exercises un-bloody battles, and their battles bloody exercises. Nor can their enemies surprise them with the suddenness of their incursions, for as soon as they have marched into an enemy’s land, they do not begin to fight till they have walled their camp about, and leveled their ground.
Their camp is four-square, and carpenters are ready in great numbers with their tools to erect their buildings. That which is within is set apart for tents, but the outward circumference resembles a wall, and is adorned with towers at equal distances. Between the towers stand the engines for throwing arrows and darts, and slinging stones, with all other engines that can annoy an enemy. They also erect four gates, one on each side, wide enough for the entrance of beasts, or making excursions. They divide the camp within into streets, and place the tents of the commanders in the middle, and in the midst of all the general’s own tent, rising like a temple; so that the whole appears like a city built suddenly, with its market and place for handicraft trades, and seats for the officers superior and inferior, where, if any difference arises, their causes are heard and determined.
When occasion requires, a trench six feet deep, and of the same width, is drawn around the whole. When they have thus secured themselves, they live together by companies with quietness and decency, supping and dining together. Their times for sleeping, watching, and rising are notified by the sound of trumpets. In the morning the soldiers go every one to their centurions, and these centurions to their tribunes to salute them, with whom all the superior officers go to the general of the army, who then gives them the watchword and orders to be carried to all under their command.
When they go out of their camp, the trumpet sounds, and all take down their tents: it sounds again, and the baggage is laid upon their mules. Then it sounds a third time, and a crier, standing at the general’s right hand, asks them thrice if they are ready. To which they reply in a loud voice, “We are ready.” This they do as filled with a kind of martial fury, lifting up their right hands at the same time. The Roman soldiers are, moreover, hardened for war by fear; for their laws inflict capital punishment not only for desertion from the ranks, but for slothfulness and inactivity. They also bestow great rewards on valiant soldiers.
The war was now prosecuted with vigor; one after another of the cities in possession of the Jews fell into the hands of the Romans, and after a most obstinate and bloody siege Jotapata, with Josephus, was taken by the Romans. The Jews had lost their most able general when Josephus was taken, and Vespasian soon overran the whole country and took all the principal cities, except Jerusalem.
“But it shall come about, if you do not obey the LORD your God, to observe to do all His commandments and His statutes with which I charge you today, that all these curses will come upon you and overtake you: . . . The LORD will send upon you curses, confusion, and rebuke, in all you undertake to do, until you are destroyed and until you perish quickly, on account of the evil of your deeds, because you have forsaken Me.” — Predictions of Moses, Deut. 28:15, 20; NASV)
GISCHALA was one of the last cities that surrendered to the army of Vespasian. It had been commanded by one John, a cunning knave, capable of assuming various shapes, very rash in expecting great things, and very sagacious in bringing about his plans. By deceiving Titus he had succeeded in escaping with a part of his troops to Jerusalem. Upon his entry into Jerusalem, thousands crowded about him and his followers, inquiring what miseries had happened abroad. Though they had entered the city out of breath from the haste of their flight, they began to talk pompously under their misfortunes, and said they had not fled from the Romans, but came to the city in order to fight them with less hazard.
John asserted that the affairs of the Romans were in a very weak condition, and extolled his own power. He jested at the idea of their being able to take Jerusalem. By these harangues he deluded many of the young men, and fired them for war. But there was not a man of years and discretion who did not foresee the impending miseries.
It must also be observed that sedition raged among those who came out of the country before it began in Jerusalem. There were disorders and civil wars in every city; and those that were quiet from the Romans turned their hands against each other. There were also bitter contests between those fond of war and those desjrous of peace. Quarrels at first began among private families, and those that were dearest to each other broke through all restraints, and every one, associating with those of his own opinions, was ready for strife with all who differed from him. The young men who were fond of innovation and for war were too hard for the aged and prudent. Many betook themselves to rapine, and formed bodies of plunderers, who proved a greater scourge than the Romans themselves.
The Roman garrisons which were stationed in the cities, through indolence and hatred of the Jews, did little or nothing to put a stop to these disorders, till the captains of these troops of robbers, being satiated with rapine in the country, stole into Jerusalem, a city now in anarchy, receiving all without distinction that belonged to their nation, as though they came out of kindness, and to render assistance. These men, besides helping to blow up the flames of discord, hastened the calamities of the city by devouring the provisions. There was, in short, abundance of robbers that came out of the country, and joining with those already there, they murdered openly some of the most eminent persons in the city. They even proceeded to imprison some men of the royal lineage, and fearing lest their friends should bring them to account for so flagrant an act, they sent and cut their throats in the prison.
Finally, they grew so bold and blasphemous that they disannulled the succession of the high priests, and appointed certain unknown and ignoble persons to that office, that they might obtain the influence of the office to aid them in the commission of their crimes. They also contrived to excite the principal men against each other, that no one might be left to obstruct their measures. Finally, transferring their crimes against men to the most contumelious conduct toward God himself, they defiled the temple and entered the sanctuary with polluted feet.
The multitude were now about to rise against them. They were persuaded to do so by Annus, the most ancient of the high priests. He was a very prudent man, and might, perhaps, have saved the city, could he have escaped the hands of the murderers. These men had now converted the holy temple into a strong hold, and the sanctuary had become a shop of tyranny.
To see how far their power extended, and how much the people would bear, they sent for one of the pontifical tribes, and set up the high priest’s office to be disposed of by lot. The lot fell upon one Phannias, so much of a rustic that he scarcely knew what the high priesthood was; yet this man was brought from the country and adorned with a counterfeit face or mask. The sacred garments were put upon him, and he was taught the course he must pursue. This shocking piece of wickedness was sport to some, but it occasioned the other priests, who saw their law made a jest, sorely to lament the desecration of such a sacred dignity.
The people, enraged at this most insolent procedure, now came together. But they seemed afraid to attack the zealots, as they called themselves. But Annus, standing in the midst of them and casting his eyes, filled with tears, toward the temple, addressed them in a most affecting manner, urging them to attack and disperse these murderous and blasphemous men. An attack was accordingly made, and a most bloody conflict ensued; and after great slaughter on both sides, the zealots were driven into the temple which was polluted with their blood.
Fleeing into the inner court, they shut the gates. Annus, deeming it unlawful to introduce the multitude into the inner court before they were purified, chose out six thousand men by lot, whom he placed as a guard in the cloisters. Matters were also arranged for a succession of guards, one after the other, every one being obliged to take his course.
Now John, who, as before related, fled from Gischala to Jerusalem, was one of the chief causes of all these difficulties. He was a crafty villain, with a strong passion for tyranny, and pretending to be opposed to the zealots, and to side with the people, he went about with Annus every day when he went to consult the chief men. But no sooner had he gained possession of their secrets than he went and made them known to the seditious. He informed the zealots that Annus was determined on their destruction, and that to secure his own power he and his party were intending to open the gates to Vespasian. He therefore hinted that they had better send for the Idumeans to come to their assistance (these were the descend ants of Esau, and had been so reduced by the Maccabees that they had consented to embrace the religion of the Jews, and had been incorpo rated with them).
The leaders of the zealots were Eleazar. the son of Simon, the most plausible man of them all, and Zacharias, the son of Phalek, both of whom were of the families of the priests. After hearing from John that Annus intended opening the gates to the Romans, they wrote a letter to the Idumeans to this effect: that “Annus had imposed on the people, and was betraying their metropolis to the Romans; that they themselves had revolted from the rest, and were in custody in the temple on account of the preservation of liberty; that there was but a short time left wherein they might hope for deliverance; and that unless the Idumeans would come immediately to their assistance, they should themselves be in the power of Annus, and the city would be in the power of the Romans.”
Now they very well judged that the Idumeans would comply with their desires, for they were ever a tumultuous and disorderly people, ready to make haste to battle as though it were a feast. The rulers of the Idumeans ran about the nation like madmen, making proclamation that the people should assemble for war. Twenty thousand of them were immediately in battle array, and under four commanders named John, Jacob, Cathlas, and Phineas, were before the walls of Jerusalem.
The message to the Idumeans was unknown to Annus, but perceiving the approach of the army he ordered the gates to be shut and the walls to be guarded. When they were assembled under the walls, Jesus, the eldest high priest next to, Annus, stood upon the tower over against them, and addressing them, gave a true account of the state of things in the city.
The Idumeans paid no attention to the address of Jesus, but were greatly enraged because they were excluded from the city. But Simon, one of their generals, after quieting the noise and tumult among his own people, stood where the high priest could hear him and re plied as follows: “I can no longer wonder that the patrons of liberty are under custody in the temple, since there are those that shut the gates of our common city against their own nation; at the same time they are prepared to admit the Romans into it, nay, perhaps are disposed to crown the gates with garlands at their coming, while they speak to the Idumeans from their towers, and enjoin them to throw down their arms, which they have taken up for the preservation of liberty. And while they will not in- trust the guarding of our metropolis to their kindred, they do themselves condemn a whole nation after an ignominious manner, and have now walled up that city from their own nation which used to be open even to all foreigners that came to worship there. But here we will abide before the walls in our armor, until either the Romans grow weary in waiting for you, or you become friends to liberty and repent of what you have done against it.”
When Simon finished his speech the Idumeans set up a loud acclamation; but Jesus went away sorrowful at discovering them to be against all moderate counsel, and at seeing the city besieged on both sides. Many of the Idumeans were also enraged at the zealots when they found they received no support from them, and would have returned but for the shame of coming and doing nothing. So they lay all night before the wall, though in a very bad encampment.
There broke out, also in the night a prodigious storm. It came with the utmost violence, attended by strong winds, the largest showers of rain, continued lightnings, terrible thunderings, and amazing concussions and bellowings of the earth. Both the Idumeans and citizens thought God was angry with the former for taking arms against the metropolis. Annus and his party thought God had acted as a general for them, and that they had conquered without fighting. But their opinions were not well founded; for the Idumeans fenced one another by uniting their bodies into one band, thereby keeping themselves warm, and connecting their shields over their heads they were not much injured by the rain.
But the zealots were much concerned for the Idumeans, and endeavored to contrive some plan for assisting them. The more rash party were for falling upon the guards and rushing to the gates to admit them, but the more prudent were opposed to so rash a measure, as they supposed Annus would be visiting the guards every hour; which, indeed, was done upon other nights, but was omitted that night. For, as the night was far gone, and the storm very terrible, Annus gave the guards in the cloisters liberty to go to sleep. The zealots now thought of making use of the saws which were in the temple, with which they cut the bars of the gates to pieces. The noise of the wind, united with that of the thunder, prevented their being discovered.
The Idumeans were thus let into the city, and entering the temple they attacked and slew the sleeping guards. The zealots also rushed out of the inner court, and joined them in the work of slaughter. But as those now awakened made a cry, .the whole multitude arose, and seizing their arms fought bravely until learning they had the Idumeans as well as the zealots to contend with, their, courage forsook them, and they gave themselves up to lamentation. Some few of the younger men, however, covering themselves with their armor, valiantly defended the old men. Others gave a signal to those in the, city of the situation they were in, but these were seized with consternation; and instead of coming to their assistance, only returned the terrible echo of wailing and lamentation.
The women also mingled the voice of their sorrows with the general wail, while the Idumeans and zealots raised the fiendish shout of triumph, and all mingled with the howlings of the storm. The Idumeans spared nobody. Being naturally a most barbarous and bloody nation, and having been distressed by the tempest, they were infuriated against those who had shut their gates against them, and went on slaying indiscriminately. They even ran those through with their swords who supplicated for mercy and desired them to remember the relation there was between them, and to have regard to their common temple.
The citizens were driven together in heaps, and butchered without butchering and plundering all who came in their way. Weary at length with indiscriminate slaughter, they sought for the high priests, and when they had murdered them they stood upon their dead bodies, and in ridicule upbraided Annus with his kindness to the people, and Jesus with his speech made to them from the tower. In the morning the light presented the horrid spectacle of eight thousand five hundred dead bodies lying in the outer temple weltering in their own blood.
I should not mistake, says Josephus, if I said that the death of Annus was the beginning of the destruction of the city; and that from this very day may be dated the overthrow of her wall and the ruin of her affairs. He was a very venerable and very just man, and besides the grandeur of his nobility and the honor which he possessed, he had been a lover of a kind of parity even with regard to the meanest of the people. He was, indeed, a prodigious lover of liberty, and an admirer of a free government; and did ever prefer the public welfare before his own advantage, and preferred peace above all things. He was thoroughly sensible that the Romans were not to be conquered. He also foresaw that unless the Jews came to terms, they would be destroyed. In a word, if Annus had lived they certainly would have come to an agreement.
Jesus was also united with him, and though his inferior, he was superior to the rest; and I cannot but think it was because God had doomed this city to destruction as a polluted city, and was determined to purge his sanctuary by fire, that he cut off these their great defenders, and allowed them who a little before had worn the sacred garments, presided over public worship, and been esteemed venerable by those who dwelt upon the whole habitable earth when they came into our- city, to be cast out naked as food for dogs and wild beasts. I cannot but imagine that virtue herself groaned over these men, and lamented that here she was so terribly conquered by wickedness.
After Anus and Jesus were slain, the zealots and Idumeans fell upon the people as upon a herd of profane animals, and cut their throats. But the noblemen and youth they bound and shut up in prison, in hopes they should bring them over to their party; yet they did not succeed: these men preferring death to being enrolled among such wicked wretches. But their refusal brought upon them the most terrible tortures; for they were scourged and tormented till death released them from their tormentors. Those whom they caught in the day time were slain at night, and thrown out to empty the prisons for new victims. So great was the terror that none dare bury their murdered friends, or scarcely weep for them, lest they should share the same fate. Only in the night they ventured to cast a little dust. upon the bodies of the slain. Of the most respectable inhabitants twelve thousand thus perished.
Weary of killing in this way, the Idumeans and zealots set up a sort of mock tribunal. Wishing to slay Zacharias, the son of Baruch, a lover of virtue and a man of wealth, they called together seventy of the principal men of the populace, and constituting them a council of judges, they brought Zacharias before them on a charge of wishing to betray the city to the Romans. Not a shadow of evidence was brought to support the charge; but when the judges acquitted him a couple of the zealots fell upon him and slew him in the midst of the temple, and cast his body over the wall. Moreover, they abused the judges, striking them with the backs of their swords; and thrusting them out of the temple they spared their lives only that, dispersing among the people, they might become messengers to let them know that they were all regarded as slaves.
About this time the Idumeans, touched with a little remorse at the abominations they had committed, and being told by one of the zealots that the report that Annus and his party had intended to deliver up the city to the Romans was false, concluded to depart. Before they went they set about two thousand of the populace at liberty, who had been confined in prison, and these persons immediately left the city and joined themselves to one Simon, of whom we shall speak hereafter. After this the Idumeans, to the great surprise of all parties, returned home.
Upon their departure the courage of the people revived for a while, and they attempted again to oppose the zealots. But the latter grew more insolent than ever, and still thirsting for blood, particularly that of the most valiant men, and men of good families, the one sort they destroyed out of envy, and the other out of fear. Supposing their security depended on leaving no potent men alive, they slew among others Gorion, a person of eminent dignity, and also Niger of Perea, a man of great valor in the war with the Romans, who, as he was drawn through the middle of the city, cried out and showed the scars he had received in their defense. When he saw they were determined on imbruing their hands in his blood, he besought a them to grant him a burial, but they threatened beforehand not to grant him a grave.
Now when they were slaying him he uttered this imprecation upon them: that “they might suffer both famine and pestilence in this war, and come to the mutual slaughter of one another;” all of which was most fearfully confirmed. After the death of Niger they seemed no longer to stand in any fear, and went on entirely reckless in their work of blood. If any one did not come near them they slew him as a proud man; if any one came with boldness they esteemed him a condemner of their authority; and if any came as aiming to oblige them, he was supposed to have some plot against them, while the only punishment for any sort of alleged crime, great or small, was death.
While sedition was thus raging in the city, the officers in Vespasian’s army were very earnest to march against the city; but Vespasian replied, “If they now attacked the city, those who were at present consuming each other would unite to oppose the Roman army; whereas, the true policy was to let them alone, while God seemed to be acting as the general of the Romans in giving up the Jews to them without any pains of their own.”
Many persons now deserted to the Romans every day, although it was quite difficult to get out of the city, as the zealots guarded the passes, and slew those whom they found attempting to escape. Yet the rich purchased their flight by money, while the poor were voted traitors and put to death. All along the roads vast numbers of dead bodies lay in heaps, which induced many who had been zealous for deserting to choose rather to die in the city in hopes of burial.
But the zealots at last determined to bestow burial neither on those who perished in the city, nor those who lay along the streets, so they left the dead bodies to putrefy under the Sun; and the same punishment was inflicted on those who buried any as on those who deserted. If any one, therefore, granted a grave to another, he would presently need one himself. To say all in one word, no other gentle passion was so entirely lost among them as mercy, for the greatest objects of pity did most of all irritate them. The terror was, indeed, so great that the survivors envied the dead, and those under torture in the prisons wished themselves in the place of those who lay unburied. These men, therefore, trampled on all the laws of men, and laughed at the laws of God. They
ridiculed the predictions of the prophets, although those very predictions were then being fulfilled.
"But it shall come about, if you do not obey the LORD your God, to observe to do all His commandments and His statutes with which I charge you today, that all these curses will come upon you and overtake you: . . . Your carcasses will be food to all birds of the sky and to the beasts of the earth, and there will be no one to frighten them away. The LORD will smite you with the boils of Egypt and with tumors and with the scab and with the itch, from which you cannot be healed. The LORD will smite you with madness and with blindness and with bewilderment of heart; and you will grope at noon, as the blind man gropes in darkness, and you will not prosper in your ways; but you shall only be oppressed and robbed continually, with none to save you.” — The Predictions of Moses, Duet. 28:15, 26-29; NASU
AT this time John (of Gischala) began to rise in arrogance, and thinking it beneath him to stand on an equality with the other seditious leaders, he united to himself the very wickedest of all parties, and breaking off from the rest of the faction, set up for himself. Some submitted to him through fear, some were enticed by his cunning, and others thought they should be more safe if all were joined under one leader, instead of so many. His activity was great, his guards numerous; and he was evidently aiming at monarchy. Yet he had a large party of antagonists, who dreaded his arriving at supreme power. So the sedition was divided into two parts: John reigned in opposition to his adversaries, and both parties fought against the people, contending who should bring home the greatest spoil.
Thus the city struggled with war, tyranny, and sedition; and war seemed the least evil of the three. Many of the people, indeed, ran away to the Romans and obtained that protection from their enemies which was denied them by their own countrymen. And now there arose still another war in Jerusalem. There was one Simon, a son of Giora, who rose to power by joining himself with a band of robbers, of whom he became the leader. His power becoming quite formidable, many of the populace united with him, and obeyed him as a king. Marching suddenly with a considerable force into Idumea, he took the city of Hebron, where he found considerable booty. After this, he succeeded in overrunning all Idumea. His forces increasing, he finally commanded an army of forty thousand, and such was his hatred to the Idumeans that he almost depopulated their country.
This success of Simon excited the anger of the zealots; but being afraid to fight him openly, they set ambushes to watch for him in the passes of the mountains. These men, lying in wait, seized the wife of Simon with her attendants, and came back rejoicing, as though they had taken Simon himself, supposing he would lay down his arms and make supplication to them for her.
But Simon, being in a great fury at the capture of his beloved wife, came like a wild beast to the walls of Jerusalem. He seized upon the poor unarmed people who went out to gather herbs and sticks; these he tormented and slew. He also cut off the hands of numbers and sent them into the city to astonish his enemies, and induce the people to take up arms against those who had seized his wife. He sent word into the city that unless his wife was restored he would break down the wall, and spare neither innocent nor guilty. These threats so affrighted them that they sent back his wife.
Simon, having now recovered his wife, he turned to complete the work of desolation in Idumea; and driving the people before him, he compelled many of them to take refuge in Jerusalem. Thither he followed them, and encompassed the city with his army of robbers.
Now this Simon, who was without the wall, became a greater terror to the people than the Romans themselves, and the zealots within were worse than both the others put together. John’s party in the mean time, who were chiefly Galileans, became the most desperate set of wretches on the face of the earth. Arraying themselves in the apparel of women, they went out and fell unexpectedly upon the people; and drawing out their instruments of death from under their finely died cloaks, they ran every body through whom they pleased. Every resource for the wretched inhabitants was now cut off: they were hunted down by John within the walls, and their only hope, that of flying to the Romans, was cut off by Simon, who butchered them as soon as they ventured without the walls.
The Idumeans, envying the power and hating the cruelty of John, now separated from him, and attempted to destroy him. They slew many of the zealots, and drove them into the temple, and plundered John’s effects, which he had obtained by his enormities. But the zealots, who had been dispersed over the city, came together into the temple to John, who had now become so furious it was feared he would set fire to the city. So the people, with the high priest, assembled to consult together what should be done.
But God overruled their counsel, so that the remedy they devised turned out worse than the disease itself. For, in order to overthrow John, they determined to admit Simon, and sent Matthias, the high priest, to invite him to come in. Accordingly, he, in an arrogant manner, granted them his lordly protection, and came into the city to deliver it from the zealots. The people received him with joyful acclamations as a deliverer; but after he had taken care to secure his own authority, he looked upon those who invited him in as no less his enemies than those against whom they invited him to come.
Thus did Simon and his party get possession of Jerusalem in the third year of the war, while John and his zealots beheld his entry with despair. Simon now ordered an assault to be made upon the temple. His troops were also assisted by the people. But John’s party defended themselves from the cloisters and battlements, and threw arrows down upon their assailants, among whom they made considerable slaughter. They had also erected four very large towers, from which they fought with much advantage. The assault of Simon became more faint, though from his superior numbers it was still kept up.
About this time the government of the Roman empire became very unsettled. Nero had been deposed and slain; Galba succeeded him for a very short time, and was in his turn succeeded by Otho. Otho was soon deprived of the empire by Vitellius, whose vices, extravagance, and gluttony rendering him odious to the Roman people, the army in Judea proclaimed Vespasian emperor. The legions in Alexandria confirming the act of those in Judea, Vespasian, after presenting Josephus with his liberty, left the army under the command of Titus, and went to Rome to attend to the administration of the government. Josephus still continued with the Roman army, acting as interpreter between Titus and the Jews.
“Eleazar, the son of Simon, who made the first separation of the zealots from the people, and made them retire into the temple, appeared very angry at John’s insolent attempts, which he made every day upon the people; for this man never left off murdering: but the truth was, that he could not bear to submit to a tyrant who set up after him. So, being desirous of gaining the entire power and dominion to himself, he revolted from John, and took to his assistance Judas the son of Chelcias, and Simon the son of Ezron, who were among the men of greatest power. There was also with him Hezekiah, the son of Chobar, a person of eminence.
“Each of these was followed by a great many of the zealots; these seized upon the inner court of the temple, and laid their arms upon the holy gates, and over the holy front of that court (this appears to be the first time that the zealots ventured to pollute this most sacred court of the temple). And because they had plenty of provisions, they were of good courage; for there was a great abundance of what was consecrated to sacred uses, and they scrupled not the making use of them; yet were they afraid on account of their small number, and when they had laid up their arms there, they did not stir from the place they were in. Now, as to John, what advantage he had above Eleazar in the multitude of his followers, the like disadvantage he had in the situation he was in, since he had his enemies over his head; and as he could not make any assault upon them without some terror, so was his anger too great to let him be at rest; nay, although he suffered more mischief from Eleazar and his party than he could inflict upon them, yet would he not leave off assaulting them, insomuch that there were continual sallies made one against another, as well as darts thrown at one another, and the temple was defiled everywhere with murders.
“But now the tyrant Simon, the son of Gioras, whom the people had invited in, out of the hopes they had of his assistance in the great distress they were in, having in his power he upper city, and a great part of the lower, did now make more vehement assaults upon John and his party, because they were fought against from above also; yet was he beneath their situation, when he attacked them, as they were beneath the attacks of the others above them. Whereby it came to pass, that John did both receive and inflict great damage, and that easily, as he was fought against on both sides; and the same advantage that Eleazar and his party had over him, since he was beneath them, the same advantage had he, by his higher situation, over Simon. On which account he easily repelled the attacks that were made from beneath by the weapons thrown from their hands only; but was obliged to repel those that threw their darts from the temple above him by his engines of war; for he had such engines as threw darts, and javelins, and stones, and that in no small number, by which he did not only defend himself from such as fought against him, but slew moreover many of the priests as they were about their sacred ministrations. For, notwithstanding these men were mad with all sorts of impiety, yet did they still admit those that desired to offer their sacrifices, although they took care to search the people of their own country beforehand, and both suspected and watched them; while they were not so much afraid of strangers, who, although they had gotten leave of them, how cruel soever they were, to come into that court, were yet often destroyed by this sedition; for those darts that were thrown by the engines came with that force that they went over all the buildings, and reached as far as the altar, and the temple itself, and fell upon the priests, and those that were about the sacred offices; insomuch that many persons who came thither with great zeal from the ends of the earth, to offer sacrifices at this celebrated place, which was esteemed holy by all mankind, fell down before their own sacrifices themselves, and sprinkled that altar which was venerable among all men, both Greeks and barbarians, with their own blood; till the dead bodies of strangers were mingled together with those of their own country, and those of profane persons with those of the priests, and the blood of all sorts of dead carcasses stood in lakes in the holy courts themselves. And now, ‘O most wretched city, what misery so great as this didst thou suffer from the Romans, when they came to purify thee from thy intestine hatred? for thou couldst be no longer a place fit for God, nor couldst thou long continue in being, after thou hadst been a sepulchre for the bodies of thy own people, and hadst made the holy house itself a burying place in this civil war of thine. Yet mayest thou again grow better, if perchance thou wilt hereafter appease the anger of that God who is the author of thy destruction.’ But I must restrain myself from these passions by the rules of history, since this is not a proper time for domestic lamentations, but for historical narrations I therefore return to the operations that follow in this sedition.
“And now there were three treacherous factions in tho city, the one parted from the other. Eleazar and his party, that kept the sacred first-fruits, came against John. Those that were with John plundered the populace, and went out with zeal against Simon. This Simon had his supply of provisions from the city in opposition to the seditious. When, therefore, John was assaulted on both sides, he made his men turn about, throwing his darts upon those citizens that came up against him from the cloisters he had in his possession, while he opposed those that attacked him from the temple by his engines of war. And if at any time he was freed from those that were above him, which happened frequently, from their being drunk and tired, he sallied out with a great number upon Simon and his party; and this he did always in such parts of the city as he could come at, till he set on fire those houses that were full of corn, and of all other provisions.1 The same thing was done by Simon, when, upon the other’s retreat, he attacked the city also; as if they had on purpose done it to serve the Romans, by destroying what the city had laid up against the siege, and by thus cutting off the nerves of their own power. Accordingly, it so came to pass, that all the places that were about the temple were burned down, and were become an intermediate desert space, ready for fighting on both sides of it; and that almost all that corn was burned which would have been sufficient for a siege of many years. So they were taken by means of the famine, which it was impossible they should have been unless they had thus prepared the way for it by this procedure.
“And now, as the city was engaged in a war on all sides, from these treacherous crowds of wicked men, the people of the city between them were like a great body torn in pieces. The aged men and the women were in such distress by their internal calamities that they wished for the Romans, and earnestly hoped for an external war, in order to their delivery from their domestic miseries. The citizens themselves were under a terrible consternation and fear; nor had they any opportunity of taking counsel, and of changing their conduct; nor were there any hopes of coming to an agreement with their enemies; nor could such as had a mind flee away; for guards were set at all places, and the heads of the robbers, although they were seditious one against another in other respects, yet did they agree in killing those that were for peace with the Romans, or were suspected of an inclination to desert to them, as their common enemies. They agreed in nothing but this, to kill those that were innocent. The noise also of those that were fighting was incessant both by day and by night; but the lamentations of those that mourned exceeded the other; nor was there ever any occasion for them to leave off their lamentations, because their calamities came perpetually, one upon another, although the deep consternation they were in prevented their outward wailing; but being constrained by their fear to conceal their passions, they were inwardly tormented, without daring to open their lips in groans. Nor was any regard paid to those that were still alive by their relations; nor was there any care taken of burial for those that were dead: the occasion of both which was this, that every one despaired of himself: for those that were not among the seditious had no great desires of any thing, as expecting for certain that they should very soon be destroyed; but for the seditious themselves, they fought against each other while they trod upon the dead bodies as they lay heaped one upon another, and taking up a mad rage from those dead bodies that were under their feet, became the fiercer thereupon. They, moreover, were still inventing somewhat, or other that was pernicious against themselves; and when they had resolved upon any thing, they executed it without mercy, and omitted no method of torment or of barbarity. Nay, John abused the sacred materials, and employed them in the construction of his engines of war; for the people and the priests had formerly determined to support the temple, and raise the holy house twenty cubits higher; for King Agrippa had, at a very great expense, and with very great pains, brought thither such materials as were proper for that purpose, being pieces of timber very well worth seeing, both for their straightness and their largeness; but the war coming on, and interrupting the work, John had them cut and prepared for the building him towers, he finding them long enough to oppose his adversaries that fought him from the temple that was above him. He also had them brought and erected behind the inner court, over against the west end of the cloisters, where alone he could erect them; whereas the other side of the court had so many steps as would not let them come nigh enough to the cloisters.2
“Thus did John hope to be too hard for his enemies by these engines, constructed by his impiety; but God himself demonstrated, that his pains would prove of no use to him, by bringing the Romans upon him before he had reared any of his towers; for Titus, when he had gotten together part of his forces about him, and had ordered the rest to meet him at Jerusalem, marched out of Caesarea. He had with him those three legions that had accompanied his father when he laid Judea waste, together with that twelfth legion which had been formerly beaten with Gestius; which legion, as it was otherwise remarkable for its valor, so did it march on now with greater alacrity to avenge themselves on the Jews. Of these legions he ordered the fifth to meet him by going through Emmaus, and the tenth to go up by Jericho: he also moved himself together with the rest, besides which, marched those auxiliaries that came from the kings, being now more in number than before, together with a considerable number that came to his assistance from Syria. Those also that had been selected out of these four legions, and sent with Mucianus to Italy against Vitellius, had their places filled up out of those soldiers that came out of Egypt with Titus; which were two thousand men, chosen out of the armies at Alexandria. There followed him also three thousand drawn from those that guarded the river Euphrates: as also there came Tiberius Alexander, who was a friend of his, most valuable both for his good will to him, and for his prudence. He had formerly been governor of Alexandria, but was now thought worthy to be general of the army under Titus. The reason of this was, that he had been the first who encouraged Vespasian very lately to accept this his new dominion, and joined himself to him with great fidelity when,things were uncertain, and fortune had not yet declared for him. He also followed Titus as a counselor, very useful to him in this war both by his age, and skill in such affairs.”
"The LORD will bring a nation against you from afar, from the end of the earth, as the eagle swoops down, a nation whose language you shall not understand, a nation of fierce countenance who will have no respect for the old, nor show favor to the young. Moreover, it shall eat the offspring of your herd and the produce of your ground until you are destroyed, who also leaves you no grain, new wine, or oil, nor the increase of your herd or the young of your flock until they have caused you to perish. It shall besiege you in all your towns until your high and fortified walls in which you trusted come down throughout your land, and it shall besiege you in all your towns throughout your land which the LORD your God has given you. — Predictions of Moses, Deut. 28:49-52; NASU
TITUS now led his army against Jerusalem, approaching it in the following order: The auxiliaries sent by the different kings composed the van of the advancing host. Next came the men who were to prepare the roads, and mark out the encampment. Then came the baggage of the officers. Titus himself followed with a select body: the pikemen were next in order, followed by the horsemen belonging to that legion. All these advanced before the engines, which were followed by the tribunes and leaders of cohorts, with their select bodies. Next in order were the ensigns with the eagle, preceded by the trumpeters belonging to them: these were followed by the main body of the army in ranks six deep. The servants, with their baggage, followed the main body, and were in turn succeeded by the mercenaries the guard of these last brought up the rear.
Now Titus, according to the Roman usage, went into the front of the army, and having advanced to a place called the Valley of Thorns, about thirty furlongs from Jerusalem, he pitched his camp. Here he chose out six hundred select horsemen, and went to take a view of the city, to observe its strength, and ascertain how the courage of the Jews held out. He wished to learn whether they would stand a battle, or whether they would submit; for he had learned that many, tired of their calamities, were desirous of peace; which was, indeed, true, but having fallen under the power of the robbers, and being too weak to rise up against them, they were forced to be quiet.
Now while he kept the direct road to the city, no one appeared out of the gates; but when he turned toward the tower Psephinus, and led his band of horsemen obliquely, an immense number of Jews suddenly leaped out of the tower called the Women’s Tower, and intercepted his horsemen. They intercepted Titus, also, with a few others. Now it was impossible for him to go forward, because the place had trenches dug in it from the wall to preserve the gardens, of which it was full, as well as of hedges. To return to his own men, from whom he had been separated, was equally impossible, because of the multitude of Jews who were between them. Titus’s own men, in the mean time, did not know that he had been separated from them, but in the affray supposed him in the midst of them. Titus, perceiving that his life depended wholly upon his own courage, turned his horse, and crying aloud to the few that were with him to follow him, pushed with violence into the midst of his enemies, forcing his way back toward his own men. Many darts were thrown at him, but, although he had on neither his head-piece nor breast-plate, not one of them touched him. So he parried off those that came by his side with his sword, and overthrew those that pressed him in front, riding over them. The enemy made a shout at the boldness of Caesar,3 and exhorted one another to rush upon him. Two of Titus’s horsemen were slain on this occasion, and others wounded, but he came off unhurt. This slight success considerably elevated the hopes of the Jews.
Caesar now removed his camp to a place called Scopus, from which the city and the great temple might be plainly seen. This place, on the north quarter of the city, was a plain, and very properly called Scopus, which signifies a prospect. It was seven furlongs from Jerusalem. Here Titus ordered a camp to be fortified for two of his legions (a legion was five thousand men), and another for the fifth legion three furlongs in the rear of the first camp. The tenth legion, which came by the way of Jericho, now arrived at a place where a party of armed men had formerly lain to guard that pass into the city, which had before been taken by Vespasian. These had orders to encamp at the distance of six furlongs from Jerusalem, at the mount called the Mount of Olives, which lies over against the city on the east side, and is parted from it by a deep valley named Kidron.
Now when the seditious, who had been actively carrying forward their civil war, saw three camps pitched against them, and a foreign war bursting suddenly upon the city, they began to think of an awkward sort of concord. They said, therefore, one to another, “What do we here, and what do we mean, when we suffer three fortified walls to be built to coop us in, so that we shall not be able even to breathe freely, while the enemy is securely building a kind of city in opposition to us, and while we sit still within our walls and become spectators only of what they are doing, with our hands idle, and our armor laid by, as if they were about somewhat that is for our good and advantage? We are, it seems, courageous only against ourselves, while the Romans are likely to gain the city without bloodshed by our sedition.”
“Thus did they encourage one another when they were gotten together, and took their armor immediately, and ran out upon the tenth legion, and fell upon the Romans with great eagerness, and with a prodigious shout, as they were fortifying their camp. These Romans were caught in different parties, and this in order to perform their several works, and on that account had in a great measure laid aside their arms; for they thought the Jews would not have ventured to make a sally upon them; and, had they been disposed so to do, they supposed their sedition would have distracted them. So they were put into disorder unexpectedly; when some of them left their works, and immediately marched off, while many ran to their arms, but were smitten and slain before they could turn back upon the enemy.
“The Jews became still more and more in number, as encouraged by the good success of those that first made the attack; and while they had such good fortune, they seemed, both to themselves and to the enemy, to be many more than they really were. The disorderly way of their fighting at first put the Romans also to a stand, who had been constantly used to fight skillfully in good order, and with keeping their ranks, and obeying the orders that were given them: for which reason the Romans were caught unexpectedly, and were obliged to give way to the assaults that were made upon them.
“Now, when these Romans were overtaken, and turned back upon the Jews, they put a stop to their career, who, when they did not take care enough of themselves through the vehemence of their pursuit, were wounded by them; but as still more and more Jews sallied out of the city, the Romans were at length brought into confusion, and put to flight, and ran away from their camp. Nay, things looked as though the entire legion would have been in danger, unless Titus had been informed of their condition, and had sent them succors immediately. So he reproached them for their cowardice, and brought those back that were running away, and fell himself upon the Jews on their flank with those select troops that were with him, and slew a considerable number and wounded more of them, and put them all to flight, and made them run away hastily down the valley.
“Now as these Jews suffered greatly in the declivity of the valley, so, when they were gotten over it, they turned about, and stood over against the Romans, having the valley between them, and there fought with them. Thus did they continue the fight till noon; but when it was already a little after noon, Titus set those that came to the assistance of the Romans with him, and those that belonged to the cohorts, to prevent the Jews from making any more sallies, and then sent the rest of the legion to the upper parts of the mountain to fortify their camp.
“This march of the Romans seemed to the Jews to be a flight; and as the watchman who was placed upon the wall gave a signal by shaking his garment, there came out a fresh multitude of Jews, and that with such mighty violence that one might compare it to the running of the most terrible wild beasts. To say the truth, none of them that opposed them could sustain the fury with which they made their attacks; but, as if they had been cast from an engine, they broke the enemy’s ranks to pieces, who were put to flight, and ran away to the mountain—none but Titus himself, and a few others with him, being left in the midst of the acclivity. Now these others, who were his friends, despised the danger they were in, and were ashamed to leave their general, earnestly exhorting him ‘to give way to these Jews that are fond of dying, and not to run into such dangers before those that ought to stay before him; to consider what his fortune was, and not by supplying the place of a common soldier to venture to turn back upon the enemy so suddenly; and this because he was general in the war, and lord of the habitable earth, on whose preservation the public affairs do all depend.’
“These persuasions Titus seemed not so much as to hear, but opposed those that ran upon him, and smote them on the face; and when he had forced them to go back, he slew them: he also fell upon great numbers as they marched down the hill, and thrust them forward; while those men were so amazed at his courage and his strength that they could not fly directly to the city, but declined from him on both sides, and pressed after those that fled up the hill; yet did he still fall upon their flank, and put a stop to their fury. In the mean time, a disorder and a terror fell again upon those that were fortifying their camp at the top of the hill, upon their seeing those beneath them running away; insomuch that the whole legion was dispersed, while they thought that the sallies of the Jews upon them were plainly insupportable, and that Titus himself was put to flight; because they took it for granted, that if he had stayed, the rest would never have fled.
“Thus were they encompassed on every side by a kind of panic, and some dispersed themselves one way and some another, till certain of them saw their general in the very midst of an action, and, being under great concern for him, they loudly proclaimed the danger he was in to the entire legion: and now shame made them turn back; they reproached one another that they did worse than run away by deserting Caesar. So they used their utmost force against the Jews, and declining from the straight declivity, they drove them on heaps into the bottom of the valley. Then did the Jews turn about and fight them; but as they were themselves retiring, and now, because the Romans had the advantage of the ground, being above the Jews, they drove them all into the valley. Titus also pressed upon those that were near him, and sent the legion again to fortify their camp while he, and those that were with him before, opposed the enemy, and kept them from doing farther mischief; insomuch that if I may be allowed neither to add any thing out of flattery, nor to diminish any thing out of envy, but speak the plain truth, Caesar did twice deliver that entire legion when it was in jeopardy, and gave them a quiet opportunity of fortifying their camp.”
As the war without now ceased for a while, it revived within; for on the feast of Unleavened Bread,4 Eleazar and his party opened the gates of the inner court of the temple, and admitted such of the people as desired to worship in it. But John, making use of this festival as a cloak for his treachery, armed a part of his followers, who, with weapons under their garments, entered in order to seize the inner court; and throwing aside their garments, they appeared in their armor: upon which there was a great disturbance about the holy house. The people who had no concern in the sedition supposed the assault was made upon them, and Eleazar’s party thought it was made against them.
The zealots, deserting the gates which they had been guarding, leaped down from their battlements, and fled away into the subterranean caverns, while the people that stood trembling at the altar and around the holy house were rolled together in heaps and trampled upon and beaten without mercy. Those who had private animosities took this opportunity of gratifying them, by killing those whom they disliked; and those who had formerly offended any of these wretches were now led away to the slaughter. When they had thus treated the innocent in the most merciless manner, they granted a truce to the guilty, and let those escape who came out of the caverns, while John and his party seized upon the inner court of the temple, and the engines of war which were in it, and then ventured to renew the war with Simon. Thus the sedition, which had been divided into three factions, was now reduced to two.
Titus, intending now to pitch his camp nearer to the city than Scopus, placed a body of his choice horsemen opposite the Jews, to prevent a sally, and gave orders to his whole army to level the distance as far as the walls of the city. So they threw down all the hedges and garden walls, and cut down the groves and fruit trees, and filled up the hollow places and chasms, and demolished the rocky precipices with iron instruments, and leveled the whole distance from Scopus to Herod’s monuments, adjoining the pool called the Serpent’s pool.
Now the Jews contrived a stratagem against the Romans. A party of the boldest went out at the towers called the Women’s Towers, as though they had been driven out by the party who were for peace. Those on the walls at the same time, seeming to be of the people’s side, cried aloud for peace, and threw stones at those without. They also called on the Romans to come to their assistance, promising to open the gates. A part of the Roman soldiers who were nearest the city, deceived by the stratagem, and without Titus’s orders, seized their weapons and ran to the gates; The party of Jews who had come out, at first retired, but when the Romans had got between the towers, they rushed upon them while those on the walls cast down a shower of stones and darts, slaying a number and wounding many more. The Jews were greatly elated with this success, while Caesar severely reprimanded and threatened those who had brought upon themselves this calamity by acting without orders.
“And now, when the space between the Romans and the wall had been leveled, which was done in four days, as he was desirous to bring the baggage of the army, with the rest of the multitude that followed him, safely to the camp, he set the strongest part of his army over against that wall which lay on the north quarter of the city, and over against the western part of it, and made his army seven deep, with the footmen placed before them, and the horsemen behind them, each of the last in three ranks, while the archers stood in the midst in seven ranks. And now, as the Jews were prohibited by so great a body of men, from making sallies upon the Romans, both the beasts that bore the burdens and belonged to the three legions, and the rest of the multitude, marched on without any fear. But as for Titus himself, he was but about two furlongs distant from the wall, at the corner, and over against that tower which was called Psephinus, at which tower the compass of the wall belonging to the north bended, and extended itself over against the west; but the other part of the army fortified itself at the tower called Hippicus, and was distant, in like manner, but two furlongs from the city. However, the tenth legion continued in its own place upon the Mount of Olives.”
“Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised, in the city of our God, His holy mountain. Beautiful in elevation, the joy of the whole earth, is Mount Zion in the far north, the city of the great King . . . Walk about Zion and go around her; count her towers; consider her ramparts; go through her palaces, that you may tell it to the next generation.” The Sons of Korah, Psalm 48:1-2, 12-13; NASU
“THE city of Jerusalem was fortified with three walls, on such parts as were not encompassed with impassable valleys; for in such places it had but one wall. It was built upon two hills, which are opposite to one another, and have a valley to divide them asunder at which valley the corresponding rows of houses on both hills end. Of these hills, that which contains the upper city is much higher, and in length more direct. Accordingly, it was called “the citadel” by King David; he was the father of that Solomon who built this temple at the first; but it is by us called the Upper Marketplace. But the other hill, which was called Acra, and sustains the lower city, is of the shape of a moon when she is horned; over against that there was a third bill, but naturally lower than Acra, and parted formerly from the other by a broad valley.
“However, in those times when the Hasmonians reigned, they filled up that valley with earth, and had a mind to join the city to the temple. They then took off part of the height of Acra, and reduced it to be of less elevation than it was before, that the temple might be superior to it. Now the valley of the Cheesemongers, as it was called, and was that which we told yon before distinguished the hill of the upper city from that of the lower, extended as far as Siloam; for that is the name of a fountain which hath sweet water in it, and this in great plenty also. But on the outsides, these hills are surrounded by deep valleys, and by reason of the precipices on both sides, they are everywhere impassable.
“Now of these three walls, the old one was hard to be taken, both by reason of the valleys and of that hill on which it was built, and which was above them. But besides that great advantage, as to the place where they were situated, it was also built very strong; because David and Solomon, and the following kings, were very zealous about this work. Now that wall began on the north, at the tower called Hippicus, and extended so far as the Xistus, a place so called, and then joining to the council house, ended at the west cloister of the temple. But if we go the other way westward, it began at the same place, and extended through a place called Bethso, to the gate of the Essenes; and after that it went southward, having its bending above the fountain Siloam, where it also bends again toward the east, at Solomon’s pool, and reaches as far as a certain place which they called Ophlas, where it was joined to the eastern cloister of the temple.
“The second wall took its beginning from that gate which they called Gennath, which belonged to the first wall: it only encompassed the northern quarter of the city, and reached as far as the tower Antonia. The beginning of the third wall was at the tower Hippicus, whence it reached as far as the north quarter of the city, and the tower Psephinus, and thence extended till it came over against the monument of Helena, which Helena was queen of Adiabene, the daughter of Izates; it then extended farther to a great length, and passed by the sepulchral caverns or the kings, and bent again at the tower of the Corner, at the monument which is called the Monument of the Fuller, and joined to the old wall, at the valley of Kidron. It was Agrippa who encompassed the parts added to the old city with this wall, which had been all naked before; for as the city grew more populous it gradually crept beyond its old limits and those parts of it that stood northward of the temple, and joined that hill to the city, and made it considerably larger, and occasioned that hill which is in number the fourth, and is called Bezetha, to be inhabited also. It lies over against the tower Antonia, but is divided from it by a deep valley, which was dug to hinder the foundation of the tower of Antonia from joining to this hill, and thereby affording an opportunity for getting to it with ease, and hindering the security that arose from its superior elevation; for which reason also, that depth of the ditch made the elevation of the towers more remarkable. This new-built part of the city was called Bezetha, in our language, which signifies the New City. Since, therefore, its inhabitants stood in need of a covering, the father of the present .king, and of the same name with him, Agrippa, began that wall we spoke of; but he left off building it when he had only laid the foundations, out of the fear he was in of Claudius Caesar, lest he should suspect that so strong a wall was built in order to make some innovation in public affairs; for the city could no way have been taken, if that wall had been finished in the manner it was begun; as its parts were connected together by stones twenty cubits long, and ten cubits broad, which could neither have been either easily undermined by any iron tools, or shaken by any engines. The wall was, however, ten cubits wide, and it would probably have had a height greater than that, had not his zeal, who began it, been hindered from exerting itself. After this it was erected with great diligence by the Jews as high as twenty cubits, above which it hath battlements of two cubits, and turrets of three cubits altitude, insomuch that the entire altitude extended as far as twenty-five cubits.
“Now the towers that were upon it were twenty cubits in breadth, and twenty cubits in height; they were square and solid, as was the wall itself, wherein the niceness of the joints and the beauty of the stones were no way inferior to those of the holy house itself. Above this solid altitude of the towers, which was twenty cubits, there were rooms of great magnificence, and over them upper rooms, and cisterns to receive rain water. They were many in number, and the steps by which you ascended up to them were every one broad: of these towers then the third wall had ninety, and the spaces between them were each two hundred cubits; but in the middle wall were forty towers, and the old wall was parted into sixty, while the whole compass of the city was thirty-three furlongs.5
“Now the third wall was all of it wonderful; yet was the tower Psephinus elevated above it at the north-west corner, and there Titus pitched his own tent: for being seventy cubits high, it both afforded a prospect of Arabia and the sunrising, as well as the utmost limits of the Hebrew possessions at the sea westward. Moreover, it was an octagon, and over against it was the tower Hippicus, and hard by it two others were erected by King Herod, in the old wall. These were for size, beauty, and strength, beyond all that were in the habitable earth; for, besides the magnanimity of his nature, and his magnificence toward the city on other occasions, he built these after such an extraordinary manner, to gratify his own private affections, and dedicated them to the memory of those three persons who had been the dearest to him, and from whom be named them. They were his brother, his friend, and his wife.
“Hippicus, so named from his friend, was square, its length and breadth were each twenty-five cubits, and its height thirty; and it had no vacuity in it. Over this solid building, which was composed of great stones united together, there was a reservoir twenty-five cubits deep; over which there was a house of two stories, whose height was twenty-five cubits, and divided into several parts; over which were battlements of two cubits, and turrets all around of three cubits high, insomuch that the entire height added together amounted to eighty cubits.
“The second tower, which he named from his brother Phasaelus, had its breadth and its height equal, each of them forty cubits; over which was its solid height of forty cubits; over which a cloister went round about, whose height was ten cubits, and it was covered from enemies by breastworks and bulwarks. There was also built over that cloister another tower, parted into magnificent rooms, and a place for bathing; so that this tower wanted nothing that might make it appear to be a royal palace. It was also adorned with battlements and turrets, more than was the foregoing, and the entire height was about ninety cubits: the appearance of it resembled the tower of Pharos, which exhibited a fire to such as sailed to Alexandria, but was much larger than it in compass. This was now converted to a house, wherein Simon exercised his tyrannical authority.
“The third tower was Mariamne, for that was his queen’s name: it was solid as high as twenty cubits: its breadth and its length were twenty cubits, and were equal to each other: its upper buildings were more magnificent, and had greater variety than the other towers had; for the king thought it most proper for him to adorn that which was denominated from his wife better than those denominated from men, as those were built stronger than this that bore his wife’s name. The entire height of this tower was fifty cubits.
“Now, as these towers were so very tall, they appeared much taller by the place on which they stood; for that very old wall wherein they were was built on a high hill, and was itself a kind of elevation that was still thirty cubits taller, over which were the towers situated, and thereby were made much higher to appearance. The largeness also of the stones was wonderful; for they were not made of common small stones, nor of such larger ones only as men could carry, but they were of white marble, cut out of the rock; each stone was twenty cubits in length, and ten in breadth, and five in depth. They were so exactly united to one another that each tower looked like one entire rock of stone, so growing naturally, and afterward cut by the hands of the artificers into their present shape and corners, so little, or not at all, did their joints or connection appear.
“Now as these towers were themselves on the north side of the wall, the king had a palace inwardly thereto adjoined, which exceeds all my ability to describe it; for it was so very curious as to want no cost nor skill in its construction, but was entirely walled about to the height of thirty cubits, and was adorned with towers at equal distances, and with large bed- chambers, that would contain beds for a hundred guests a piece, in which the variety of the stones is not to be expressed; for a large quantity of those that were rare, of that kind, was collected together. Their roofs were also wonderful,.both for the length of the beams and the splendor of their ornaments. The number of the rooms was also very great, and the variety of the figures that were about them was prodigious; their furniture was complete, and the greatest part of the vessels that were put in them were of silver and gold. There were, besides, many porticoes, one beyond another, around about; and in each of those porticoes curious pillars; yet were all the courts that were exposed to the air everywhere green.
“There were, moreover, several groves of trees, and long walks through them, with deep canals and cisterns, that in several parts were filled with brazen statues, through which the water ran out. There were withal many dovecotes of tame pigeons about the canals. But indeed it is not possible to give a complete description of these places: and the very remembrance of them is a torment to one, as putting one in mind what vastly rich buildings that fire, which was kindled by the robbers, hath consumed: for these were not burned by the Romans, but by these internal plotters, as we have already related, in the beginning of their rebellion. That fire began at the tower of Antonia, and went on to the palaces, and consumed the upper parts of the three towers themselves.
“A DESCRIPTION OF THE TEMPLE.—Now this temple, as I have already said, was built upon a strong hill. At first the plain at the top was hardly sufficient for the holy house and the altar, for the ground about it was very uneven, and like a precipice; but when King Solomon, who was the person that built the temple, and built a wall to it, on its east side, there was then added one cloister founded on a bank cast up for it, and on the other parts the holy house stood naked. But in future ages the people added new banks, and the hill became a larger plain.6
“They then broke down the wall on the north side, and took in as much as sufficed afterward for the compass of the entire temple. And when they had built walls on three sides of the temple around about, from the bottom of the hill, and had performed a work that was greater than could be hoped for, in which work ages were spent, as well as immense treasures exhausted; they then encompassed their upper courts with cloisters, as well as [afterward] the lowest court of the temple. The lowest part of this was erected to the height of three hundred cubits, and in some places more; yet did not the entire depth of the foundations appear, for they brought earth and filled up the valleys, as being desirous to make them on a level with the narrow streets of the city; wherein they made use of stones of forty cubits in magnitude: for the great plenty of money they then had, and the liberality of the people, made this attempt of theirs to succeed to an incredible degree: and what could not be so much as hoped for as ever to be accomplished, was, by perseverance and length of time, brought to perfection.
“Now the works above were not unworthy of such foundations; all the cloisters were double, and the pillars to them belonging were twenty-five cubits in height, and supported the cloisters. These pillars were of one entire stone each of them, and that stone was white marble; and the roofs were adorned with cedar curiously graven. The natural magnificence, and excellent polish, and the harmony of the joints in these cloisters, afforded a prospect that was very remarkable; nor was it on the outside adorned with any work of the painter or engraver. The cloisters of the outmost court were in breadth thirty cubits, while the entire compass of it was, by measure, six furlongs, including the tower of Antonia; those entire courts that were exposed to the air were laid with stones of all sorts.
“When you go through these first cloisters unto the second court of the temple, there was a partition, made of stone all around, the height of which was three cubits; its construction was very elegant; upon it stood pillars, at equal distances from one another, declaring the law of purity, some in Greek, and some in Roman letters, that no foreigner should go within that sanctuary; for that second court of the temple was called the sanctuary, and as ascended to by fourteen steps from the first court. This court was foursquare, and had a wall about it peculiar to itself; the height of its buildings, although it were on the outside forty cubits, was hidden by the steps, and on the inside that height was but twenty-five cubits; for it being built over against a higher part of the hill with steps, it was no farther to be entirely discerned within, being covered by the hill itself.
“Beyond the first steps there was the distance of ten cubits: this was all plain: whence there were other steps each of five cubits a piece, that led to the gates, which gates on the north and south sides were eight, on each of those sides four, and two on the east. For since there was a partition built for the women on that side, as the proper place wherein they were to worship, there was a necessity of a second gate for them; this gate was cut out of its wall over against the first gate. There was also on the other sides one southern and one northern gate, through which was a passage into the court of the women; for, as to the other gates, the women were not allowed to pass through them; nor when they went through their own gate could they go beyond their own wall. This place was allotted to the women of our own country, and of other countries, provided they were of the same nation, and that equally: the western part of this court had no gate at all, but the wall was built entire on that side. But then the cloisters which were between the gates, extended from the wall inward before the chambers; for they were supported. by very fine and large pillars. These cloisters were single, and, excepting their magnitude, were no way inferior to those of the lower court.
“Now nine of these gates were on every side covered over with gold and silver, as were the jambs of their doors and their lintels; but there was one gate that was without the inward court of the holy house, which was of Corinthian brass, and greatly excelled those that were only covered over with silver and gold. Each gate had two doors, whose height was severally thirty cubits, and their breadth fifteen. However, they had large spaces within of thirty cubits, and had on each, side rooms, and those both in breadth and in length built like towers, and their height was above forty cubits. Two pillars did also support these rooms, and were in circumference twelve cubits. Now the magnitudes of the other gates were equal one to another; but that over the Corinthian gate, which opened on the east over against the gate of the holy house itself, was much larger; for its height was fifty cubits, and its doors were forty cubits; and it was adorned after a most costly manner, as having much richer and thicker plates of silver and gold upon them than the other. These nine gates had that silver and gold poured upon them by Alexander, the father of Tiberius. Now there were fifteen steps which led from the wall of the court of the women to this greater gate; whereas those that led thither from the other gates were five steps shorter.
“As to the holy house itself, which was placed in the midst of the inmost court, that most sacred part of the temple, it was ascended to by twelve steps; and, in front, its height and its breadth were equal, and each a hundred cubits, though it was behind forty cubits narrower; for on its front it had what may be styled shoulders on each side, that passed twenty cubits farther. Its first gate was seventy cubits high, and twenty-five cubits broad: but this gate had no doors; for it represented the universal visibility of heaven, and that it cannot be excluded from any place. Its front was covered with gold all over, and through it the first part of the house that was more inward did all of it appear; which, as it was very large, so did all the parts about the more inward gate appear to shine to those that saw them: but then, as the entire house was divided into two parts within, it was only the first part of it that was open to our view. Its height extended all along to ninety cubits in height, and its length was fifty cubits, and its breadth twenty. But that gate which was at this end of the first part of the house was, as we have already observed, all over covered with gold, as was its whole wall about it: it had also golden vines above it, from which clusters of grapes hung as tall as a man’s height. But then this house, as it was divided into two parts, the inner part was lower than the appearance of the outer, and had golden doors of fifty-five cubits’ altitude, and sixteen in breadth; but before these doors there was a veil of equal largeness with the doors. It was a Babylonian curtain, embroidered with blue, and fine linen, and scarlet, and purple, and of a design that was truly wonderful.
“When any persons entered into the temple, its floor received them. This part of the temple, therefore, was in height sixty cubits, and its length the same; whereas its breadth was but twenty cubits: but still that sixty cubits in length was divided again, and the first part of it was cut off at forty cubits, and had in it three things that were very wonderful and famous among all mankind, the candlestick, the table of showbread, and the altar of incense. But the inmost part of the temple of all was of twenty cubits. This was also separated from the outer part by a veil. In this there was nothing at all. It was inaccessible and inviolable, and not to be seen by any; and was called the holy of holies. Now, about the sides of the lower part of the temple, there were little houses, with passages out of one into another; there were a great many of them, and they were of three stories high; there were also entrances on each side into them from the gate of the temple. But the superior part of the temple had no such little houses any farther, because the temple was there narrower, and forty cubits higher, and of a smaller body than the lower parts of it. Thus we collect that the whole height, including the sixty cubits from the floor, amounted to one hundred cubits.
“Now, the outward face of the temple, in its front, wanted nothing that was likely to surprise either men’s minds or their eyes; for it was covered all over with plates of gold, of great weight, and, at the first rising of the sun, reflected back a very fiery splendor, and made those who forced themselves to look upon it to turn their eyes away just as they would have done at the sun’s own rays. But this temple appeared to strangers, when they were coming to it at a distance, like a mountain covered with snow; for, as to those parts of it that were not gilt, they were exceeding white. On its top it had spikes with sharp points to prevent any pollution of it by birds sitting upon it. Of its stones, some of them were forty-five cubits in length, five in height, and six in breadth.
“Before this temple stood the altar, fifteen cubits high, and equal both in length and breadth; each of which dimensions was fifty cubits. The figure it was built in was a square, and it had corners like horns; and the passage up to it was by an insensible acclivity. It was formed without any iron tool, nor did any such iron tool so much as touch it at any time. There was also a wall of partitions, about a cubit in height, made of fine stones, and so as to be grateful to the sight; this encompassed the holy house and the altar, and kept the people that were on the outside off from the priests.
“The priests who offered sacrifices went up to the altar clothed in floe linen: the high priest went up with them on the sabbath festivals and new moons. The fringes of his garments were adorned with golden bells and pomegranates The girdle that tied the garment to the breast was embroidered with five rows of various colors, of gold, and purple, and scarlet, as also of fine linen and blue, with which colors, we told you before, the veils of the temple were embroidered also. The like embroidery was upon the ephod; but the quantity of gold therein was greater. Its figure was that of a stomacher for the breast. There were upon it two golden buttons like small shields, which buttoned the ephod to the garment; in these buttons were enclosed two very large and excellent sardonyxes, having the names of the tribes of that nation engraved upon them; on the other part there hung twelve stones, three in a row one way, and four in the other; a sardius, a topaz, and an emerald; a carbuncle, a jasper, and a sapphire; an agate, an amethyst, and a ligure; an onyx, a beryl, and a chrysolite; upon every one of which was again engraved one of the aforementioned names of the tribes.
“A miter also of fine linen encompassed his head, which was tied by a blue, decorative ribbon about which there was another golden crown, in which was engraved the sacred name of God: it consists of four vowels. However, the high priest did not wear these garments at other times, but a more plain habit; he only did it when he went into the most sacred part of the temple, which he did but once in a year on that day when our custom is for all of us to keep a fast to God. And thus much concerning the city and the temple; but, for the customs and laws hereto relating we shall speak more accurately another time; for there remain a great many things thereto relating which have not been here touched upon.
“Now, as to the tower of Antonia, it was situated at the corner of two cloisters of the court of the temple, of that on the west, and that on the north; it was erected upon a rock of fifty cubits in height, and was on a precipice: it was the work of King Herod. In the first place, the rock itself was covered over with smooth pieces of stone, from its foundation, both for ornament, and that any one who could either try to get up, or to go down it, might not be able to hold his feet upon if. Next to this, and before you come to the edifice of the tower itself, there was a wall three cubits high: but within that wall all the space of the tower of Antonia itself was built upon, to the height of forty cubits.
“The inward parts had the largeness and form of a palace, it being parted into all kinds of rooms and other conveniences, such as courts, and places for bathing, and broad spaces for camps: insomuch that, by having all conveniences that cities wanted, it might seem to be composed of several cities, but by its magnificence it seemed a palace; and as the entire structure resembled that of a tower, it contained also four other distinct towers at its four corners; whereof the others were but fifty cubits high, whereas that which lay upon the south-east corner was seventy cubits high, that from thence the whole temple might be viewed: but on the corner where it joined to the two cloisters of the temple it had passages down to them both, through which the guards (for there always lay in this tower a Roman legion) went several ways among the cloisters, with their arms, on the Jewish festivals, in order to watch the people, that they might not there attempt to make any innovations; for the temple was a fortress that guarded the city, as was the tower of Antonia a guard to the temple; and in that tower were the guards of those three. There was a peculiar fortress belonging to the upper city, which was Herod’s palace; but for the hill Bezetha, it was divided from the tower of Antonia, as we have already told you; and as that hill, on which the tower of Antonia stood, was the highest of these three, so did it adjoin to the new city, and was the only place that hindered the sight of the temple on the north.”
"For I know that after my death you will act corruptly and turn from the way which I have commanded you; and evil will befall you in the latter days, for you will do that which is evil in the sight of the LORD, provoking Him to anger with the work of your hands." — Predictions of Moses, Deut. 31:29; NASU
The number of the seditious in the city, who bore arms under Simon, were ten thousand, besides Idumeans. These were under fifty commanders, of whom Simon was supreme. The Idumeans, who paid him homage, were five thousand, under eight commanders; among whom the most eminent were Jacob, the son of Josas, and Simon, the son of Cathlus.
John, the leader of the other faction, who had seized the temple, had six thousand armed men, under twenty commanders. The zealots, under Eleazar, had also come over to him, amounting to two thousand four hundred. They were still under Eleazar, together with one Simon, the son of Arinus. While these factions fought each other, the people were their prey on both sides, and were plundered by both parties. Simon, the son of Goiras, held the upper city, with the part about the fountain of Acra, which was called the lower city. John held the temple and the parts adjacent.
The portion of the city between them they had burned, leaving a clear space for battle ground; for though, when the Romans first came they united against them for a little time, yet they soon commenced their slaughter of each other again, and did all the besiegers could desire for the destruction of the city. “I venture to affirm,” says our historian, “that the sedition destroyed the city, and the Romans destroyed the sedition, which was much harder than to destroy the walls, so that we may ascribe our misfortunes to our own people, and the just vengeance taken upon them to the Romans.”
While affairs in the city were in this posture, Titus, with a chosen body of horsemen, rode around the walls to reconnoiter. He was quite in doubt what to do, for the place seemed inaccessible on every side. He finally, however, determined to make an assault upon the monument of John, the high priest, for there the first fortification was lower, and the second was not joined to it, the builders having neglected to build the wall strong where the new city was not much inhabited. Here was also an easy passage to the third wall, through which he hoped to take the upper city, and through the tower of Antonia the temple itself.
While Titus was passing around the city on this excursion, his friend Nicanor, approaching too near the wall, in company with Josephus, to discourse about peace, was wounded with an arrow. By this Caesar was much irritated, and seeing they would not listen to any terms, he determined to press the siege with new vigor. He also, at the same time, gave his soldiers leave to set the suburbs on fire, and ordered them to bring timber and raise banks against the city. The engines that threw darts and stones were placed to guard the men who raised the banks against the sallies of the Jews, who endeavored constantly to annoy them.
John, out of his fear of Simon, did not venture out, although his men joined in the attacks upon the works of the Romans. In the mean time Simon brought out his engines of war, which had been taken at the time Cestius retreated from Jerusalem, and placing them, together with those taken from the tower of Antonia, upon the wall, he set them at work against the besiegers. But the Jews were unskillful in their management, which made them of little service. There were, however, a few deserters who knew a little of their use, and directed them to some little effect.
The engines of the Romans, particularly those belonging to the tenth legion, were admirably contrived, and of great power, throwing large stones to the distance of two furlongs. But the Jews contrived to avoid these huge stones by watching as they were propelled from the engine, their white appearance giving them an opportunity of discovering their approach. But the Romans prevented this by blacking the stones, after which they threw with success. Still the Jews harassed the Romans both night and day, while they were raising their works.
When the Romans had finished their banks they set their battering engines at work against the wall, which caused a prodigious noise to echo around the walls. This caused a great outcry among the citizens, and terrified the seditious themselves. The seditious then cried out that they were acting in concert with their common enemy, and that they ought, under present circumstances at least, to suspend their attacks upon one another, and unite against the Romans. Accordingly, Simon, by proclamation, allowed those who came out of the temple to go to the wall. John, also, although he could not believe Simon in earnest, granted them the same liberty.
“So, on both sides, they laid aside their hatred aud their peculiar quarrels, and formed themselves into one body; they then ran around the walls, and having a vast number of torches with them, they threw them at the machines,and shot darts perpetually upon those that impelled those engines which battered the wall; nay, the bolder sort leaped out by troops upon the hurdles that covered the machines, and pulled them to pieces, and fell upon those that belonged to them, and beat them, not so much by any skill they had, as principally by the boldness of their attacks.
“However, Titus himself still sent assistance to those that were the hardest set, and placed both horsemen and archers on the several sides of the engines, and thereby beat off those that brought the fire to them; he also thereby repelled those that shot stones or darts from the towers, and then set the engines to work in good earnest; yet did not the wall yield to these blows, excepting where the battering ram of the fifteenth legion moved the corner of a tower, while the wall itself continued unhurt.
“And now the Jews intermitted their sallies for a while; but when they the Romans dispersed all abroad at their works, and in their several camps, (for they thought the Jews had retired out of weariness and fear,) these all at once made a sally at the tower Hippicus, through an obscure gate, and at the same time brought fire to burn the works, and went boldly up to the Romans, and to their very fortifications themselves, where, at the cry they made, those that were near came presently to their assistance, and those farther off came running after them; and here the boldness of the Jews was too hard for the good order of the Romans; and as they beat those whom they first fell upon, so they pressed upon those that were now gotten together.
“So this fight about the machines was very hot, while the one side tried hard to set them on fire, and the other side to prevent it; on both sides there was a confused cry made, and many of those in the forefront of the battle were slain. However, the Jews were now too hard for the Romans, by the furious assaults they made, like madmen and the fire caught hold of the works, and all those works and the engines themselves had been in danger of being burned, had not many of those select soldiers that came from Alexandria opposed themselves to prevent it; and had they not behaved themselves with greater courage than they themselves supposed they could have done; for they outdid those in this fight that had greater reputation than themselves before. This was the state of things till Caesar took the stoutest of his horsemen, and attacked the enemy, when he himself slew twelve of those that were in the forefront of the Jews; which death of these men, when the rest of the multitude saw, they gave way, and he pursued them, and drove them all into the city, and saved the works from the fire.
“Now, it happened at this fight, that a certain Jew was taken alive, who, by Titus’ order, was crucified before the wall, to see whether the rest of them would be affrighted, and abate of their obstinacy. But after the Jews were retired, John, the son of Josas, who was commander of the Idumeans, and was talking to a certain soldier of his acquaintance before the wall, was wounded by an arrow, shot at him by an Arabian, and died immediately, leaving the greatest lamentation to the Jews, and sorrow to the seditious. For he was a man of great eminence.”
Titus now gave orders for the erection of three towers, each fifty cubits high, that be might set the lighter engines upon them to drive the Jews from the wall. One of these fell in the night, making a great disturbance among the Romans, but the other two succeeded in obliging the Jews to retire. As the battering rams were now able to work without interruption, they began gradually to prevail. There was one, particularly, of great power, which the Jews called Nico, that is, Victor, because it conquered all things. The Jews, weary of fighting, and at variance among themselves, and having two walls more to trust in, had become negligent and retired, when Nico, having made a breach in the wall, the Romans mounted it and threw open the gates to the whole army. This was on the fifteenth day of the siege, which was the seventh of the month Jayr, or Jair.
“They now pitched their camp within the northern part of the city, at that place which was called the camp of the Assyrians, having seized upon all that lay as far as Kidron, but took care to be out of the reach of the Jews’ darts. He then presently began his attacks, upon which the Jews divided themselves into several bodies, and courageously defended that wall, while John and his faction did it from the tower of Antonia, and from the northern cloister of the temple, and fought the Romans before the monuments of King Alexander; and Simon’s army also took for their share the spot of ground that was near John’s monument, and fortified it as far as to that gate where water was brought into the tower Hippicus.
“However, the Jews made violent sallies, and that frequently also, and that in bodies together, out of the gates, and there fought the Romans; and when they were pursued all together to the wall, they were beaten in those fights, as wanting the skill of the Romans. But when they fought them from the walls, they were too hard for them; the Romans being encouraged by their power, joined to their skill, as were the Jews by their boldness, which was nourished by the fear they were in, and that hardiness which is natural to our nation under calamities; they were also still encouraged by the hope of deliverance, as were the Romans by their hopes of subduing them in a little time. Nor did either side grow weary; but attacks and fighting upon the wall, and perpetual sallies out in bodies, were there all the day long; nor was there any sort of warlike engagements that was not then put in use.
“And the night itself had much ado to part them, when they began to fight in the morning: nay, the night itself was passed without sleep on both sides, and was more uneasy than the day to them, while the one was afraid lest the wall should be taken, and the other lest the Jews should make sallies upon their camps both sides also lay in their armor during the night-time, and thereby were ready at the first appearance of light to go to the battle.
“Now among the Jews the ambition was, who should undergo the first dangers, and thereby gratify their commanders. Above all, they had a great veneration and dread of Simon; and to that degree was he regarded by every one of those that were under him, that at his command they were very ready to kill themselves with their own hands. What made the Romans so courageous was their usual custom of conquering, and disuse of being defeated, their constant wars, and perpetual warlike exercises, and the grandeur of their dominion. And what was now their chief encouragement, Titus was present everywhere with them all; for it appeared a terrible thing to grow weary while Caesar was there, and fought bravely as well as they did, and was himself at once an eye witness of such as behaved themselves valiantly, and their rewarder also. It was, besides, esteemed an advantage at present to have any one’s valor known by Caesar, on which account many of them appeared to have more alacrity than strength to answer it.
“And now, as the Jews were about this time standing in array before the wall, and that in a strong body, and while both parties were throwing their arrows at each other, Longinus, one of the equestrian order, leaped out of the army of the Romans, and into the very midst of the army of the Jews; and as they dispersed themselves upon this attack, he slew two of their men of the greatest courage; one of them he struck in his mouth as he was coming to meet him, the other was slain by him by that very dart which he drew out of the body of the other, with which he ran this man through his side, as he was running away from him; and when he had done this he first of all ran out of the midst of his enemies to his own side. So this man signalized himself for his valor, and many there were who were ambitious of gaining the like reputation. And now the Jews were unconcerned at what they suffered themselves from the Romans, and were only solicitous about what mischief they could do them; and death itself seemed a small matter to them if at the same time they could but kill any one of their enemies. But Titus did not approve of rashness, and said that inconsiderate violence was madness, and that this alone was the true courage, that was joined with good conduct.
“Titus, having brought one of his engines to bear upon the middle tower of the north part of the wall, took this wall on the fifth day after he had taken the first; and when the Jews had fled from him, he entered into it with a thousand armed men, choice troops, and this at a place where were the merchants of wool, the brasiers, and the market for cloth, and where the narrow streets led obliquely to the wall. Wherefore, if Titus had either demolished a larger part of the wall immediately, or had come in, and, according to the law of war, had laid waste what was left, this victory would not, I suppose, have been mixed with any loss to himself. But now, out of the hope he had that he should make the Jews ashamed of their obstinacy by not being willing, when he was able, to afflict them more than he needed to do, he did not widen the breach of the wall, in order to make a safer retreat upon occasion; for he did not think they would lay snares for him that did them such a kindness.
“When, therefore, he came in, be did not permit his soldiers to kill any of those they caught, nor to set fire to their houses; nay, he gave leave to the seditious, if they had a mind, to fight without any harm to the people, and promised to restore the people’s effects to them; for he was very desirous to preserve the city for his own sake, and the temple for the sake of the city. As to the people, he had them of a long time ready to comply with his proposals; but as to the fighting men, this humanity of his seemed a mark of his weakness, and they imagined that he made these proposals because he was not able to take the rest of the city. They also threatened death to the people, if they should any one of them say a word about a surrender.
“They, moreover, cut the throats of such as talked of a peace, and then attacked those Romans that were come within the wall, some of them they met in the narrow streets, and some they fought against from their houses, while they made a sudden sally out at the upper gates, and assaulted such Romans as were near the wall till those that guarded the wall were so affrighted that they leaped down from the towers, and retired to the several camps. Upon which, a great noise was made by the Romans that were within, because they were encompassed around on every side by their enemies; as also by them that were without, because they were in fear for those that were left in the city.
“Thus did the Jews grow more numerous perpetually, and had great advantages over the Romans by their full knowledge of those narrow lanes; and they wounded a great many of them, and fell upon them, and drove them out of the city. Now these Romans were at present forced to make the best resistance they could, for they were not able in great numbers to get out at the breach in the wall, it was so narrow. It is also probable that all those that were gotten within had been cut to pieces, if Titus had not sent them succors; for he ordered the archers to stand at the upper end of these narrow lanes, and he stood himself where was the greatest multitude of his enemies, and with his darts he put a stop to them; as with him did Domitius Sabinus also, a valiant man. Thus did Caesar continue to shoot darts at the Jews continually, and to hinder them from coming upon his men, and this until all his soldiers had retreated out of the city.
“And thus were the Romans driven out, after they had possessed themselves of the second wall. Whereupon the fighting men that were in the city were elevated upon their good success, and began to think that the Romans would never venture to come into the city any more. For God had blinded their minds for the transgressions they had been guilty of, nor could they see how much greater forces the Romans had than those that were now expelled, no more than they could discern how a famine was creeping upon them; for hitherto they had fed themselves out of the public miseries, and drunk the blood of the city. But now poverty had for a long time seized upon the better part, and a great many had already died for want of necessaries; although the seditious indeed supposed the destruction of the people to be a relief to themselves; for they desired that none others might be preserved but such as were against a peace with the Romans; and they were pleased when the multitude of those of a contrary opinion were consumed.
“And this was their disposition of mind with regard to those that were within the city, while they covered themselves with their armor, and prevented the Romans, when they were trying to get into the city again, and made a wall of their own bodies over against that part of the wall that was cast down. Thus did they valiantly defend themselves for three days; but on the fourth day they could not support themselves against the vehement assault of Titus, but were compelled by force to fly whither they had fled before; so he quietly possessed himself again of that wall, and demolished it entirely; And when he had put a garrison into the towers that were on the south parts of the city, he contrived how he might assault the third wall.
“A resolution was now taken by Titus to relax the siege for a little while, and to afford the seditious an interval for consideration, and to see whether the demolishing of their second wall would not make them a little more compliant, or whether they were not somewhat afraid of famine, because the spoils they had got by rapine would not be sufficient for them long; so he made use of this relaxation in order to compass his own designs. Accordingly, as the usual appointed time, when he must distribute subsistence-money to the soldiers, was now come, he gave orders that the commanders should put the army in battle array, in the face of the enemy, and then gave every one of the soldiers their pay. So the soldiers, according to custom, opened the cases wherein before their arms lay covered, and marched with their breastplates on, as did the horsemen lead their horses in their fine trappings.
“Then did the places that were before the city shine very splendidly for a great way; nor was there any thing either so grateful to Titus’s own men, or so terrible to the enemy as that sight. For the whole old wall and the north side of the temple was full of spectators; and one might see the houses full of such as looked at them: nor was there any part of the city which was not covered over with their multitudes: nay, a very great consternation seized upon the hardiest of the Jews themselves when they saw all the army in the same place, together with the fineness of their arms, and the good order of their men.
“And I cannot but think that the seditious would have changed their minds at the sight, unless the crimes they had committed against the people had been so horrid that they despaired of forgiveness from the Romans; but as they believed death with torments must be their punishment if they did not go on in the defense of the city, they thought it much better to die in war. Fate also prevailed so far over them that the innocent were to perish with the guilty, and the city was to be destroyed with the seditious that were in it.
“Thus did the Romans spend four days in bringing this subsistence-money to the several legions. But on the fifth day, when no signs of peace appeared to come from the Jews, Titus divided his legions, and began to raise banks, both at the tower of Antonia, and at John’s monument. Now his designs were, to take the upper city at that monument, and the temple at the tower of Antonia; for if the temple were not taken, it would be dangerous to keep the city itself: so at each of these parts he raised him banks, each legion raising one.
“As for those that served at John’s monument, the Idumeans, and those that were in arms with Simon, made sallies upon them, and put some stop to them; while John’s party, and the multitude of zealots with them, did the like to those that were before the tower of Antonia. These Jews were now too hard for the Romans, not only in direct fighting, because they stood upon the higher ground, but because they had now learned to use their own engines; for their continual use of them one day after another did by degrees improve their skill about them; for of one sort of engines for darts they had three hundred, and forty for stones, by the means of which they made it more tedious for the Romans to raise their banks.
“But when Titus, knowing that the city would be either saved or destroyed for himself, did not only proceed earnestly in the siege, but did not omit to have the Jews exhorted to repentance; so he mixed good counsel with his own works for the, siege. And, being sensible that exhortations are frequently more effectual than arms, he persuaded them to surrender the city, now in a manner already taken, and thereby to save themselves, and sent Josephus to speak to them in their own language; for he imagined they might yield to the persuasion of a countryman of their own.
“So Josephus went around about the wall, and tried to find a place that was out of the reach of their darts, and yet within their hearing, and besought them, in many words, ‘to spare themselves, to spare their country, and their temple, and not to be more obdurate in these cases than foreigners themselves.’ He assured them that Roman power was invincible; that their city was already, in a manner, taken; that famine would oblige them to surrender, if their walls should even prove too strong for the Romans; and that, if they now yielded, Titus would show them mercy.
“While Josephus was thus addressing them, they scoffed at him, and reproached him; nay, some threw darts at him. Finding these motives wholly lost upon them, he appealed to the history of their nation. He assured them their former deliverances had been from God, after they humbled themselves before him, but that these calamities were from God for their wickedness. ‘Wherefore,’ said he, ‘I cannot but suppose God is fled out of his sanctuary, and stands on the side of those against whom you fight. Now, even a man, if he be but a good man, will fly from any impure house, and will hate those that are in it; and do you persuade yourselves that God will abide with you in your iniquities, who sees all secret things, and hears what is kept most private? Now what crime is there, I pray you, that is so much as kept secret among you, or is concealed by you? Nay, what is there that is not open to your very enemies? For you show your transgressions after a pompous manner, and contend one with another which of you shall be more wicked than another; and you make a public demonstration of your injustice, as if it were virtue. However, there is place left for your preservation, if you be willing to accept of it; and God is easily reconciled to those that confess their faults and repent of them. O hard-hearted wretches as you are! Cast away all your arms, and take pity of your country, already going to ruin, return from your wicked ways, and have regard to the excellence of that city you are going to betray, to that excellent temple with the donations of so many countries in it. Who could bear to be the first that should set that temple on fire? Who could be willing that these things should be no more? And what is there that can better deserve to be preserved?
O insensible creatures, and more stupid than are the stones themselves! And if you cannot look at these things with discerning eyes, yet, however, have pity upon your families, and set before every one of your eyes your children, and wives, and parents, who will be gradually consumed either by famine or by war. I am sensible that this danger will extend to my mother, and wife, and that family of mine which hath been by no means ignoble, and indeed to one that hath been very eminent in old time; and perhaps you may imagine that it is on their account only that I give you this advice: if that be all, kill them; nay, take my own blood as a reward, if it may but procure your preservation; for I am ready to die in case you will but return to a sound mind after my death.”
“...in hunger, and in thirst, and in nakedness, and in want of all things...” — Predictions of Moses, Deut. 28:48
“Away with him, away with him; crucify him, crucify him.” — Jews before Pilate
“I am innocent of the blood of this just man.” — Pilate
“His blood be on us, and on our children.” — Jews
Though the seditious would not listen to the arguments of Josephus, yet many of the people sold their possessions for a small value and deserted to Titus, who let many of them go into the country where they pleased. But as for the richer sort, it was all the same with them whether they stayed in the city, or attempted to leave it; for they were put to death by the seditious under pretense that they were intending to desert, but in reality that they might plunder them. John and Simon now began to watch more carefully those that wished to flee out of the city than they did against the Romans coming in and if any one was suspected of deserting, he was put to death immediately.
“The madness of the seditious did also increase together with their famine, and both those miseries were every day inflamed more and more; for there was no corn which anywhere appeared publicly, but the robbers came running into and searched men’s private houses: and then, if they found any, they tormented them, because they had denied they had any, and if they found none, they tormented them worse, because they supposed they had more carefully concealed it. The indication they made use of, whether they had any or not, was taken from the bodies of these miserable wretches; which, if they were in good case, they supposed they were in no want at all of food; but if they were wasted away, they walked off without searching any farther: nor did they think it proper to kill such as these, because they saw they would very soon die of themselves for want of food.
“Many there were, indeed, who sold what they had for one measure; it was of wheat, if they were of the richer sort, but of barley if they were poorer. When these had so done, they shut themselves up in the inmost rooms of their houses, and ate the corn they had gotten; some did it without grinding it, by reason of the extremity of the want they were in, and others baked bread of it according as necessity and fear dictated to them: a table was nowhere laid for a distinct meal, but they snatched the bread out of the fire, half baked, and ate it very hastily.
“It was now a miserable case, and a sight that would justly bring tears into our eyes, how men stood as to their food, while the more powerful had more than enough, and the weaker were lamenting for want of it. But the famine was too hard for all other passions, and it is destructive to nothing so much as to modesty; for what was otherwise worthy of reverence was in this case despised; insomuch that children pulled the very morsels that their fathers were eating out of their very mouths; and what was still more to be pitied, so did the mothers do as to their infants; and when those that were most dear were perishing under their hands, they were not ashamed to take from them the very last drops that might preserve their lives: and while they ate after this manner, yet were they not concealed in so doing; but the seditious everywhere came upon them immediately, and snatched away from them what they had gotten from others; for when they saw any house shut up, this was to them a signal that the people within had gotten some food; whereupon they broke open the doors, and ran in, and took pieces of what they were eating almost up out of their very throats, and this by force; the old men, who held their food fast, were beaten, and if the women hid what they had within their hands, their hair was torn for so doing; nor was there any commiseration shown either to the aged or to the infants, but they lifted up children from the ground, as they hung upon the morsels they had gotten, and shook them down upon the floor.
“But still were they more barbarously cruel to those that had prevented their coming in, and had actually swallowed down what they were going to seize upon, as if they had been unjustly defrauded of their right. They also invented terrible methods of torments (too horrid to relate) to discover food: and this was done when these tormentors were not themselves hungry; for the thing had been less barbarous had necessity forced them to it; but this was done to keep their madness in exercise, and as making preparation of provisions for themselves for the following days.
“These men went also to meet those that had crept out of the city by night, as far as the Roman guards, to gather some plants and herbs that grew wild; and when those people thought they had got clear of the enemy, these snatched from them what they had brought with them, even while they had frequently entreated them, and that by calling upon the tremendous name of God, to give them back some part of what they had brought; though these would not give them the least crumb, and they were to be well contented that they were only spoiled, and not slain at the same time.
“These were the afflictions which the lower sort of people suffered from these tyrants’ guards; but for the men that were in dignity, and withal were rich, they were carried before the tyrants themselves; some of them were falsely accused of laying treacherous plots, and so were destroyed: others of them were charged with designs of betraying the City to the Romans; but the readiest way of all was this, to suborn somebody to affirm that they were resolved to desert to the enemy. And he who was utterly despoiled of what he had by Simon was sent back again to John; as of those who had been already plundered by John, Simon got what remained; insomuch that they drank the blood of the populace to one another, and divided the dead bodies of the poor creatures between them: so that, although on account of their ambition after dominion they contended with each other, yet did they very well agree in their wicked practices; for he that did not communicate what he got by the miseries of others to the other tyrant seemed to be too little guilty, and in one respect only; and he that did not partake of what was so communicated to him grieved at this as at the loss of what was a valuable thing, that he had no share in such barbarity.
“It is, therefore, impossible to go distinctly over every instance of these men’s iniquity. I shall, therefore, speak my mind here at once briefly, that neither did any other city ever suffer such miseries, nor did any age ever breed a generation more fruitful in wickedness than this was, from the beginning of the world. Finally, they brought the Hebrew nation into contempt, that they might themselves appear comparatively less impious with regard to strangers. They confessed what was true, that they were the slaves, the scum, and the spurious offspring of our nation, while they overthrew the city themselves, and forced the Romans to gain a melancholy reputation by acting gloriously against them, and drew that fire upon the temple which they seemed to think came too slowly; and, indeed, when they saw that temple burning from the upper city, they were neither troubled at it, nor did they shed any tears on that account, while yet those passions were discovered among the Romans themselves.
“Titus’ banks were advanced a great way, notwithstanding his soldiers had been very much distressed from the wall. He then sent a party of horsemen, and ordered they should lay ambushes for those that went out into valleys to gather food. Some of these were, indeed, fighting men, who were not contented with what they got by rapine; but the greater part of them were poor people, who were deterred from deserting by the concern they were under for their own relations: for they could not hope to escape away together with their wives and children without the knowledge of the seditious; nor could they think of leaving these relations to be slain by the robbers on their account; nay, the severity of the famine made them bold in thus going out; so nothing remained but that, when they were concealed from the robbers, they should be taken by the enemy, and when they were going to be taken, they were forced to defend themselves for fear of being punished; as after they had fought, they thought it too late to make any supplications for mercy: so they were first whipped, and then tormented with all sorts of tortures, before they died, and were then crucified7 before the wall of the city.
“This miserable procedure made Titus greatly to pity them, while they caught every day five hundred Jews; nay, some days they caught more; yet did it not appear to be safe for him to let those that were taken by force go their way, and to set a guard over so many, he saw would be to make such as guarded them useless to him. The main reason why he did not forbid that cruelty was this, that he hoped the Jews might perhaps yield at that sight, out of fear lest they might themselves afterward be liable to the same cruel treatment. So the soldiers, out of the wrath and hatred they bore the Jews, nailed those they caught, one after one way and another after another, to the crosses, by way of jest, when their multitude was so great that room was wanting for the crosses.
“But so far were the seditious from repenting at this sad sight that, on the contrary, they made the rest of the multitude believe otherwise; for they brought the relations of those that had deserted upon the wall, with such of the populace as were very eager to go over upon the security offered them, and showed them what miseries those underwent who fled to the Romans; and told them that those who were caught were supplicants to them, and not such as were taken prisoners. This sight kept many of those within the city who were so eager to desert till the truth was known; yet did some of them run away immediately as unto certain punishment, esteeming death from, their enemies to be a quiet departure, if compared with that by famine.
“So Titus commanded that the hands of many of those that were caught should be cut off, that they might not be thought deserters, and might be credited on account of the calamity they were under, and sent them in to John and Simon, with this exhortation, that they would now at length leave off their madness, and not force him to destroy the city, whereby they would have those advantages of repentance, even in their utmost distress, that they would preserve their own lives, and so fine a city of their own, and that temple which was their peculiar.’ He then went around about the banks that were cast up, and hastened them, in order to show that his words should in no long time be followed by his deeds.
“In answer to which, the seditious cast reproaches upon Caesar himself, and upon his father also, and cried out with a loud voice, that ‘they contemned death, and did well in preferring it before slavery; that they would do all the mischief to the Roman they could, while they had breath in them; and that for their own city, since they were, as he said, to be destroyed, they had no concern about it, and that the world itself was a better temple to God than this. That yet this temple would be preserved by Him that inhabited therein, whom they still had for their assistant in this war, and did therefore laugh at all his threatenings, which would come to nothing; because the conclusion of the whole depended upon God only. These words were mixed with reproaches, and with them they made a mighty clamor.
“Now as the Romans began to raise their banks on the twelfth day of the month Jyar, so they had much ado to finish them by the twenty- ninth day of the same month, after they had labored hard for seventeen days continually. For there were now four great banks raised, one of which was at the tower Antonia; this was raised by the fifth legion, over against the middle of that pool which was called Struthius. Another was cast up by the twelfth legion, at the distance of about twenty cubits from the other. But the labors of the tenth legion, which lay a great way off these, were on the north quarter, and at the pool called Amygdalon; as was that of the fifteenth legion about thirty cubits from it, and at the high priest’s monument. And now, when the engines were brought, John had from within undermined the space that was over against the tower of Antonia, as far as the banks themselves, and had supported the ground over the mine with beams laid across one another, whereby the Roman works stood upon an uncertain foundation.
“Then did he order such materials to be brought in as were daubed over with pitch and bitumen, and set them on fire; and as the cross beams that supported the banks were burning, the ditch yielded on the sudden, and the banks were shaken down, and fell into the ditch with a prodigious noise. Now, at the first there arose a very thick smoke and dust, as the fire was choked with the fall of the bank; but as the suffocated materials were now gradually consumed, a plain flame broke out, on which sudden appearance of the flame a consternation fell upon the Romans, and the shrewdness of the contrivance discouraged them: and in deed this accident coming upon them at a time when they thought they had already gained their point, cooled their hopes for the time to come. They also thought it would be to no purpose to take the pains to extinguish the fire, since, if it were extinguished, the banks were swallowed up already, and become useless to them.
“Two days after this, Simon and his party made an attempt to destroy the other banks; for the Romans had brought their engines to bear there, and begun already to make the wall shake. And here one Tephtheus of Garsis, a city of Galilee, and Megassarus, one who was derived from some of Queen Mariam’s servants, and with them one from Adiabene, (he was the son of Nabatus, and called by the name of Chagiras, from the ill fortune he had, the word signifying a ‘lame man,’) snatched some torches, and ran suddenly upon the engines. Nor were there, during this war, any men that ever sallied out of the city, who were their superiors, either in their own boldness, or in the terror they struck into their enemies. For they ran out upon the Romans, not as if they were enemies, but friends, without fear or delay; nor did they leave their enemies till they had rushed violently through the midst of them, and set their machines on fire. And though they had darts thrown at them on every side, and were on every side assaulted with their enemies’ swords, yet did they not withdraw themselves out of the danger they were in till the fire had caught hold of the instruments; and when the flames went up, the Romans came running from their camp to save their engines.
“Then did the Jews hinder their succors from the wall, and fought with those that endeavored to quench the fire, without any regard to the danger their bodies were in. So the Romans pulled the engines out of the fire, while the hurdles that covered them were on fire; but the Jews caught hold of the battering rams through the flame itself, and held them fast, although the iron upon them was become red hot; and. now the fire spread itself from the engines to the banks, and prevented those that came to defend them; and all this while the Romans were encompassed around about with the flame, and despairing of saving their works from it, they retired to their camp. Then did the Jews become still more and more in number, by the coming of those that were within the city to their assistance; and as they were very bold upon the good success they had had, their violent assaults were almost irresistible; nay, they proceeded as far as the fortifications of the enemies’ camp, and fought with their guards.
“Now there stood a body of soldiers in array before that camp, which succeeded one another by turns in their armor; and as to those, the law of the Romans was terrible, that he who left his post there, let the occasion be whatsoever it might be, he was to die for it; so that body of soldiers, preferring rather to die in fighting courageously than as a punishment for their cowardice, stood firm, and at the necessity these men were in of standing to it, many of the others that had run away, out of shame turned back again; and when they had set the engines against the wall, they kept the multitude from coming more of them out of the city, which they could the more easily do, because they had made no provision for preserving or guarding their bodies at this time; for the Jews now fought hand to hand with all that came in their way, and without any caution fell against the points of their enemies’ spears, and attacked them, bodies against bodies; for they were now too hard for the Romans, not so much by their other warlike actions, as by these courageous assaults they made upon them; and the Romans gave way more to their boldness than they did to the sense of the harm they had received from them.
“And now Titus was come from the tower of Antonia, whither he was gone to look out for a place for raising other banks, and reproached the soldiers greatly for permitting their own walls to he in danger, when they had taken the walls of their enemies, and sustained the fortune of men besieged, while the Jews were allowed to sally out against them, though they were already in a sort of prison. He then went around about the enemy with some chosen troops, and fell upon their flank himself; so the Jews, who had been before assaulted in their faces, wheeled about to Titus, and continued the fight. The armies also were now mixed, one among another, and the dust that was raised so far hindered them from seeing one another, and the noise that was made so far hindered them from hearing one another, that neither side could discern an enemy from a friend. However, the Jews did not flinch, though not so much from their real strength as from the despair of deliverance. The Romans also would not yield, by reason. of the regard they had to glory, and to their reputation in war, and because Caesar himself went into the danger before them; insomuch that I cannot but think the Romans would in the conclusion have now taken even the whole multitude of the Jews, so very angry were they at them, had these not prevented the upshot of the battle, and retired into the city. However, seeing the banks of the Romans were demolished, these Romans were very much cast down upon the loss of what had cost them so long pains, and this in one hour’s time. And many indeed despaired of taking the city with their usual engines of war only.”
“Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children.” — Jesus at his crucifixion, Luke 23:28.
“The days shall come that thine enemies shalt cast a trench about thee, (will enclose thee with a rampart, – Campbell’s translation) and compass thee around, and keep thee in on every side.” Prediction of Messiah, Luke 19:43.
“And now did Titus consult with his commanders what was to be done. Those that were of the warmest tempers thought he should bring the whole army against the city, and storm the wall; for that hitherto no more than a part of their army had fought with the Jews, but that in case the entire army was to come at once, they would not be able to sustain their attacks, but would be overwhelmed by their darts. But of those that were for a more cautious management, some were for raising their banks again, and others advised to let the banks alone, but to lie still before the city, to guard against the coining out of the Jews, and against their carrying provisions into the city, and so to leave the enemy to the famine, and this without direct fighting with them; for that despairwas not to be conquered, especially as to those who are desirous to die by the sword, while a more terrible misery than that is reserved for them.
“However, Titus did not think it fit for so great an army to lie entirely idle, and that yet it was in vain to fight with those that would be destroyed one by another: he also showed them how impracticable it was to cast up any more banks, for want of materials, and to guard against the Jews coming out still more impracticable: as also, that to encompass the whole city around with his army, was not very easy, by reason of its magnitude, and the difficulty of the situation, and on other accounts dangerous, upon the sallies the Jews might make out of the city. For although they might guard the known passages out of the place, yet would they, when they found themselves under the greatest distress, contrive secret passages out, as being well acquainted, with all such places; and if any provisions were carried in by stealth, the siege would thereby be longer delayed.
“He also owned, that he was afraid that the length of time thus to be spent would diminish the glory of his success: for though it be true that length of time will perfect everything, yet that to do what we do in a little time, is still necessary to the gaining reputation; that, therefore, his opinion was, that if they aimed at quickness, joined with security, they must build a wall around about the whole city, which was, he thought, the only way to prevent the Jews from coming out any way, and that then they would either entirely despair of saving the city, and so would surrender it up to him, or be still the more easily conquered, when the famine had farther weakened them. For that, besides this wall, he would not lie entirely at rest afterward, but would take care then to have banks raised again, when those that would oppose them were become weaker. But that, if anyone should think such a work to be too great, and not to be finished without much difficulty, he ought to consider that it is not fit for Romans to undertake any small work; and that none but God himself could with ease accomplish any great thing whatsoever.
“These arguments prevailed with the commanders. So Titus gave orders that the army should be distributed to their several shares of this work; and indeed there now came upon the soldiers a certain divine fury, so that they did not only part the whole wall that was to be built among them, nor did only one legion strive with another, but the lesser division of the army did the same; insomuch that each soldier was ambitious to please his decurion, each decurion his centurion, each centurion his tribune, and the ambition of the tribunes was to please their superior commanders; while Caesar himself took notice of, and rewarded the like contention in those commanders; for he went around about the works many times every day, and took a view of what was done.
“Titus began the wall from the camp to the Assyrians, where his own camp was pitched, and drew it down to the lower parts of Cenopolis; thence it went along the valley of Kidron to the Mount of Olives; it then bent toward the south, and encompassed the mountain as far as the rock called Peristereon, and that other hill which lies next it, and is over the valley which reaches to Siloam; whence it bended again to the west and went down to the valley of the Fountain, beyond which it went up again at the monument of Ananus the high priest, and encompassing that mountain where Pompey had formerly pitched his camp, it returned. back to the north side of the city, and was carried on as far as a certain village called the House of the Erebinthi; after which it encompassed Herod’s monument, and there, on. the east, was joined to Titus’s own camp, where it began.
“Now, the length of this wall was forty furlongs8, one only abated. Now at this wall without were erected thirteen places to keep garrison in, whose circumferences put together amounted to ten furlongs: the whole was completed in three days: so that what would naturally have required some months, was done in so short an interval as is incredible. When Titus had therefore encompassed the city with this wall, and put garrisons into proper places, he went around the wall at the first watch of the night and observed how the guard was kept; the second watch he allotted to Alexander; the commanders of legions took the third watch. They also cast lots among themselves who should be upon the watch in the night time, and who should go all night long around the spaces that were interposed between the garrisons.
“So all hope of escaping was now cut off from the Jews, together with their liberty of going out of the city. Then did the famine widen its progress, and devoured the people by whole houses and families; the upper rooms were full of women and children that were dying by famine, and the lanes of the city were full of the dead bodies of the aged; the children, also, and the young men wandered about the market places like shadows, and swelled with the famine, and fell down dead, wheresoever their misery seized them. As for burying them, those that were sick themselves were not able to do it, and those that were hearty and well were deterred from doing it by the great multitude of those dead bodies, and by the uncertainty there was how soon they should die themselves; for many died as they were burying others, and many went to their coffins before that fatal hour was come. Nor was there any lamentation made under these calamities, nor were heard any mournful complaints; but the famine confounded all natural passions; for those who were just going to die looked upon those that were gone to their rest before them with dry eyes and open mouths.
“A deep silence, also, and a kind of deadly night had seized upon the city; while yet the robbers were still more terrible than these miseries were themselves for they broke open those houses which were no other than graves of dead bodies, and plundered them of what they had, and carrying off the coverings of their bodies, went out laughing, and tried the points of their swords in their dead bodies; and in order to prove what metal they were made of, they thrust some of those through that still lay alive upon the ground; but for those that entreated them to lend them their right hand, and their sword to despatch them, they were too proud to grant their request, and left them to be consumed by the famine. Now, every one of these died with their eyes fixed upon the temple, and left the seditions alive behind them. Now the seditious at first gave orders that the dead should be buried out of the public treasury, as not enduring the stench of their dead bodies. But afterward, when they could not do that, they had them cast down from the walls into the valleys beneath.
“However, when Titus, in going his rounds along those valleys, saw them full of dead bodies, and the thick putrefaction running about them, he gave a groan, and spreading ont his hands to heaven, called Heaven to witness that this was not his doing; and such was the sad case of the city itself. But the Romans were very joyful, since none of the seditious could now make sallies out of the city, because they themselves were disconsolate, and the famine already touched them also. These Romans, besides, had great plenty of corn and other necessaries out of Syria, and out of the neighboring provinces; many of which would stand near to the wall of the city, and show the people what great quantities of provisions they had, and so make the enemy more sensible of their famine, by the great plenty, even to satiety, which they had themselves.
“However, when the seditious still showed no inclinations of yielding, Titus, out of his commiseration of the people that remained, and out of his earnest desire of rescuing what was still left out of these miseries, began to raise the banks again, although materials for them were hard to be come at; for all the trees that were about the city had been already cut down, for the making of the former banks. Yet did the soldiers bring with them other materials from the distance of ninety furlongs, and thereby raised banks in four parts, much greater than the former, though this was done only at the tower of Antonia. So Caesar went his rounds through the legions, and hastened on the works, and showed the robbers that they were now in his hands. But these men, and these only, were incapable of repenting of the wickedness they had been guilty of, and separating their souls from their bodies, they used them both as if they belonged to other folks, and not to themselves. For no gentle affection could touch their souls, nor could any pain affect their bodies, since they could still tear the dead bodies of the people as dogs do, and fill the prisons with those that were sick.”
The cruelty of Simon continued unabated, and Matthias the high priest, who opened to him the gates, now fell a victim to it. “This Matthias was the son of Boethus, and was one of the high priests, one that had been very faithful to the people, and in great esteem with them; he, when the multitude were distressed by the zealots, among whom John was numbered, persuaded the people to admit this Simon to come in to assist them, while he had made no terms with him, nor expected any thing that was evil from him.
“But when Simon was come in, and had gotten the city under his power, he esteemed him that had advised them to admit him as his enemy equally with the rest, as looking upon that advice as a piece of his simplicity only; so he had him then brought before him, and condemned to die for being on the side of the Romans, without giving him leave to make his defense. He condemned also his three sons to die with him; for as to the fourth, he prevented him by running away to Titus before. And when he begged for this, that he might be slain before his sons, and that as a favor, on account that he had procured the gates of the city to be opened to him, he gave order that he should be slain the last of them all; so he was not slain till he had seen his sons slain before his eyes, and that by being produced over against the Romans; for such a charge had Simon given to Ananus, the son of Bamadus, who was the most barbarous of all his guards.
“He also jested upon him, and told him that he might now see whether those to whom he intended to go over would send him any succors or not: but still he forbade their dead bodies should be buried. After the slaughter of these, a certain priest, Ananias the son of Masambalus, a person of eminence, as also Arisleus, the scribe of the Sanhedrin, and born at Emmaus, and with them fifteen men of figure among the people were slain. They also kept Josephus’ father in prison, and made public proclamation that no citizen whosoever should either speak to him himself, or go into his company among others for fear he should betray them. They also slew such as joined in lamenting these men, without any farther examination.
“In the mean time, Josephus, as he was going around the city, had his head wounded by a stone that was thrown at him; upon which he fell down as giddy. Upon which fall of his the Jews made a sally, and he had been hurried away into the city, if Caesar had not sent men to protect him immediately; and, as these men were fighting, Josephus was taken up, though he heard little of what was done. So the seditious supposed they had now slain that man whom they were the most desirous of killing, and made thereupon a great noise in way of rejoicing. This accident was told in the city; and the multitude that remained became very disconsolate at the news, as being persuaded that he was really dead, on whose account alone they could venture to desert to the Romans.
“But when Josephus’ mother heard in prison that her son was dead, she said to those that watched about her that ‘she had always been of opinion since the siege at Jotapata that he would be slain, and she should never enjoy him alive any more.’ She also made great lamentation privately to the maidservants that were about her, and said, ‘that this was all the advantage she had of bringing so extraordinary a person as this son into the world, that she should not be able even to bury that son of hers, by whom she expected to have been buried herself.’ However, this false report did not put his mother to pain, nor afford merriment to the robbers long; for Josephus soon recovered of his wound, and came out, and cried aloud, ‘that it would not be long ere they should be punished for this wound they had given him.’ He also made a fresh exhortation to the people, to come out upon the security that would be given to them. The sight of Josephus encouraged the people greatly, and brought a great consternation upon the seditious.
“Hereupon some of the deserters, having no other way, leaped down from the wall immediately, while others of them went out of the city with stones, as if they would fight them; but thereupon they fled away to the Romans. But here a worse fate accompanied these than what they had found within the city; and they met with a quicker despatch from the too great abundance they had among the Romans than they could have done from the famine among the Jews: for when they came first to the Romans, they were puffed up by the famine, and swelled like men in a dropsy: but indulging their appetites occasioned sudden death to many of them, those only escaping who had prudence enough to take but little food at a time, and satisfy themselves by degrees.”
There was still another calamity awaiting many of them. A report was circulated that the deserters had swallowed gold as the means of bringing it away, whereupon the Syrians and Arabians cut them in pieces, searching their bodies for the treasures. In the course of one night not less than two thousand of these deserters were dissected.
“When Titus came to the knowledge of this wicked practice, he had like to have surrounded those that had been guilty of it with his horse, and have shot them dead: and he had done it, had not their number been so very great, and those that were liable to this punishment would have been manifold more than those whom they had slain. However, he called together the commanders of the auxiliary troops he had with him, as well as the commanders of the Roman legions, (for some of his own soldiers had been also guilty herein, as he had been informed,) and had great indignation against both sorts of them, and said to them, ‘What! have any of my own soldiers done such things as this out of the uncertain hope of gain, without regarding their own weapons, which are made of silver and gold? Moreover, do the Arabians and Syrians now first of all begin to govern themselves as they please, and to indulge their appetites in a foreign war, and then, out of their barbarity in murdering men, and out of their hatred to the Jews, get it ascribed to the Romans?’ for this infamous practice was said to be spread among some of his own soldiers also.
Titus then threatened that he would put such men to death, if any of them were discovered to be so insolent as to do so again: moreover, he gave it in charge to the legions, that they should make a search after such as were suspected, and should bring them to him. But it appeared that the love of money was too hard for all their dread of punishment, and a vehement desire of gain is natural to men, and no passion is so venturesome as covetousness; otherwise such passions have certain bounds, and are subordinate to fear. But, in reality, it was God who condemned the whole nation, and turned every course that was taken for their preservation to their destruction. This, therefore, which was forbidden by Caesar under such a threatening, was ventured upon privately against the deserters, and these barbarians would go out still, and meet those that ran away before any saw them, and, looking about them to see that no Romans spied them, they dissected them, and pulled this polluted money out of their bowels; which money was still found in a few of them, while yet a great many were destroyed by the bare hope there was of thus getting by them: which miserable treatment made them that were deserting to return back again into the city.
“But, as for John, when he could no longer plunder the people, he betook himself to sacrilege, and melted down many of the sacred utensils, which had been given to the temple, as also many of those vessels which were necessary for such as ministered about holy things, the caldrons, the dishes, and the tables; nay, he did not abstain from those pouring vessels that were sent them by Augustus and his wife; for the Roman emperors did ever both honor and adorn this temple: whereas this man, who was a Jew, seized upon what were the donations of foreigners, and said to those that were with him, that it was proper for them to use divine things while they were fighting for the divinity, without fear, and that such whose warfare is for the temple should live of the temple; on which account he emptied the vessels of that sacred wine and oil which the priests kept to be poured on the burnt-offerings, and which lay in the inner court of the temple, and distributed it among the multitude, who, in their anointing themselves, and drinking, used each of them above a hin (three pints) of them. And here I cannot but speak my mind, and what the concern I am under dictates to me, and it is this: I suppose, that had the Romans made any longer delay in coming against these villains, the city would either have been swallowed up by the ground opening upon them, or been overflowed by water, or else been destroyed by such thunder as the country of Sodom9 perished by, for it had brought forth a generation of men much more atheistical than were those that suffered such punishments; for by their madness it was that all the people came to be destroyed.
“And indeed, why do I relate these. particular calamities? while Manneus, the son of Lazarus, came running to Titus at this very time, and told him, that there had been carried out through that one gate which was intrusted to his care no fewer than one hundred and fifteen thousand eight hundred and eighty dead bodies, in the interval between the, fourteenth day of the month Nisan, when the Romans pitched their camp by the city, and the first day of the month Tamuz. This was itself a prodigious multitude: and though this man was not himself set as a governor at that gate, yet was he appointed to pay the public stipend for carrying these bodies out, and so was obliged of necessity to number them, while the rest were buried by their relations: though all their burial was but this, to bring them away, and cast them out of the city.
“After this man, there ran away to Titus many of the eminent citizens and told him the entire number of the poor that were dead, and that no fewer than six hundred thousand were thrown out at the gates; though still the number of the rest could not be discovered; and they told him farther, that, when they were no longer able to carry out the dead bodies of the poor, they laid their corpses on heaps in very large houses, and shut them up therein; as also that a medimnus of wheat was sold for a talent, and that when, a while afterward, it was not possible to gather herbs, by reason the city was walled about, some persons were driven to that terrible distress as to search the common sewers, and dunghills of cattle, and to eat the dung which they got there; and what they of old could not endure so much as to see, they now used for food. When the Romans barely heard of all this, they commiserated their case; while the seditious, who saw it also, did not repent, but suffered the same distress to come upon themselves; for they were blinded by that fate which was already coming upon the city and upon themselves also.”
Unexampled as were the Jews’ calamities, they still increased every day. The famine, which had hitherto preyed only on the people, now began to be felt by the seditious also. But this was so far from producing any penitence among them, that they seemed to rise in wickedness as the judgments of the city increased in severity. Their despair only served to increase their fury. The multitude of dead bodies which lay in heaps produced a pestilential atmosphere, and impeded the progress of those who attempted to make sallies against the Romans. Nevertheless, as their right hands were already polluted with the murders of their own countrymen, they rushed without remorse over the heaps of dead bodies, and fought, not in hope of victory, but brutally glorying even in their despair.
“And now the Romans, although they were greatly distressed in getting together their materials, raised their banks in one and twenty days, after they had cut down all the trees that were in the country that adjoined to the city, and that for ninety furlongs round about, as I have already related. And truly, the very view itself of the country was a melancholy thing; for those places which were before adorned with trees and pleasant gardens were now become a desolate country every way, and its trees were all cut down; nor could any foreigner, that had formerly seen Judea and the most beautiful suburbs of the city, and now saw it as a desert, but lament and mourn sadly at so great a change; for the war had laid all the signs of beauty quite waste; nor, if any one, that had known the place before, had come on a sudden to it now, would he have known it again; but though he were at the city itself, yet would he have inquired for it notwithstanding.
“And now the banks were finished, they afforded a foundation of fear both to the Romans and to the Jews; for the Jews expected that the city would be taken, unless they could burn those banks; as did the Romans expect, that if they were once burned down they should never be able to take it; for there was a mighty scarcity of materials, and the bodies of the soldiers began to fail with such hard labors, as did their souls faint with so many instances of ill success; nay, the very calamities themselves that were in the city proved a greater discouragement to the Romans than to those within the city; for they found the fighting men of the Jews to be not at all mollified among such their sore afflictions, while they had themselves perpetually less and less hopes of success and their banks were forced to yield to the stratagems of the enemy, their engines to the firmness of their wall, and their closest fights to the boldness of their attack; and what was their greatest discouragement of all, they found the Jews’ courageous souls to be superior to the multitude of the miseries they were under by their sedition, their famine, and the war itself; insomuch that they were ready to imagine, that the violence of their attacks was invincible, and that the alacrity they showed could not be discouraged by their calamities; for what would not those be able to bear, if they should be fortunate, who turned their very misfortunes to the improvement of their valor? These considerations made the Romans to keep a stronger guard about their banks than they formerly had done.”
Before the battering engines were brought to bear upon the walls, John and his party sallied out with their torches, and attempted to burn them, but they did not succeed as they had done on former occasions; the Roman soldiers guarded them with greater care, and the sallies of the Jews began to be ill-concerted and languid, so that falling back from the attack, they returned reproaching each other for cowardice and effecting nothing.
“So when the Jews were retreated, the Romans brought their engines, although they had all the while stones thrown at them from the tower of Antonia, and were assaulted by fire and sword, and by all sorts of darts which necessity afforded the Jews to make use of; for although these had great dependance on their own wall, and a contempt of the Roman engines, yet did they endeavor to hinder the Romans from bringing them. Now these Romans struggled hard, on the contrary, to bring them, as deeming that this zeal of the Jews was in order to avoid any impression to be made on the tower of Antonia, because its wall was but weak, and its foundations rotten. However, that tower did not yield to the blows given it from the engines; yet did the Romans bear the impressions made by the enemies’ darts, which were perpetually cast at them, and did not give way to any of those dangers that came upon them. from above, and so they brought their engines to bear.
“But then, as they were beneath the other, and were sadly wounded by the stones thrown upon them, some of them threw the shields over their bodies, and partly with their hands, and partly with their bodies, and partly with crows, they undermined its foundations, and with great pains they removed four of its stones. Then night came upon both sides, and put an end to this struggle for the present: however, that night the wall was so shaken with the battering-rams in that place where John had used his stratagem before and had undermined their banks, that the ground then gave way, and the wall fell down suddenly.
“When this accident had unexpectedly happened, the minds of both parties were variously affected; for though one would expect that the Jews would be discouraged, because this fall of their wall was unexpected by them, and they had made no provision in that case, yet did they pull up their courage because the tower of Antonia itself was still standing; as was the unexpected joy of the Romans at this fall of the wall soon quenched by the sight they had of another wall, which John and his party had built within it. However, the attack of this second wall appeared to be easier than that of the former, because it seemed a thing of greater facility to get up to it through the parts of the former wall that were now thrown down. This new wall appeared also to be much weaker than the tower of Antonia, and accordingly the Romans imagined, that it had been erected so much on the sudden, that they should soon overthrow it: yet did not any body venture now to go up to this wall; for that such as first ventured to do so must certainly be killed.”
Titus was now very anxious to get possession of this new wall and the tower of Antonia, and knowing men are influenced by hopes and promises so as oftentimes to despise danger and even death itself, he called together the most courageous of his men and made them a long speech, animating them to this most dangerous but important attack.
“‘If we go up to this tower of Antonia, we gain the city; for, if there should be any more occasion for fighting against those within the city, which I do not suppose there will, since we shall then be upon the top of the hill,10 and be upon our enemies before they can have taken breath, these advantages promise us no less than a certain and sudden victory. As for that person who first mounts the wall, I should blush for shame if I did not make him to be envied of others by those rewards I would bestow upon him. If such a one escape with his life, he shall have the command of others who are now but his equals; although it be true also, that the greatest rewards will accrue to such as die in the attempt.11’”
“Upon this speech of Titus, the rest of the multitude were affrighted at so great a danger. But there was one whose name was Sabinus, a soldier that served among the cohorts, and a Syrian by birth, who appeared to be of very great fortitude, both in the actions he had done and the courage of his soul he had showed; although anybody would have thought, before he came to his work, that he was of such a weak constitution of body, that he was not fit to be a soldier: for his color was black, his flesh was lean and thin, and lay close together: but there was a certain heroic soul that dwelt in this small body, which body was indeed much too narrow for that peculiar courage which was in him.
“Accordingly, he was the first that rose up, when he thus spake: ‘I readily surrender up myself to thee, O Caesar! I first ascend the wall, and I heartily wish that my fortune may follow my courage and my resolution. And if some ill fortune grudge me the success of my undertaking, take notice that my ill success will not be unexpected, but that I choose death voluntarily for thy sake.’ When he had said this, and had spread out his shield over his head with his left hand, and had, with his right hand, drawn his sword, he marched up to the wall, just about the sixth hour of the day.
“There followed him eleven others, and no more, that resolved to imitate his bravery; but still this was the principal person of them all, and went first as excited by a divine fray. Now those that guarded the wall shot at them from thence, and cast innumerable darts upon them from every side; they also rolled very large stones upon them, which overthrew some of those eleven that were with him. But, as for Sabinus himself, he met the darts that were cast at him, and though he was overwhelmed with them, yet did he not leave off the violence of his attack before he had gotten up on the top of the wall, and had put the enemy to flight. For, as the Jews were astonished at his great strength, and the bravery of his soul, and as, withal, they imagined more of them had got upon the wall than really had, they were put to flight.
“And now, one cannot but complain here of fortune, as still envious at virtue, and always hindering the performance of glorious achievements: this was the case of the man before us when he had just attained his purpose; for he then stumbled at a certain large stone, and fell down upon it headlong, with a very great noise. Upon which the Jews turned back, and when they saw him to be alone, and fallen down also, they threw darts at him from every side. However, he got upon his knee, and covered himself with his shield, and at the first defended himself against them, and wounded many of those that came near him: but he was soon forced to relax his right hand, by the multitude of the wounds that had been given him, till at length he was quite covered over with darts, before he gave up the ghost. He was one who deserved a better fate, by reason of his bravery; but, as might be expected, he fell under so vast an attempt. As for the rest of his partners, the Jews dashed three of them to pieces with stones, and slew them, as they were gotten up to the top of the wall; the other eight being wounded, were pulled down, and carried back to the camp. These things were done upon the third day of the month Tamuz.
“Now two days afterward, twelve of those men that were on the forefront, and kept watch upon the banks, called to them the standard bearer of the fifth legion, and two others of a troop of horsemen, and one trumpeter; these went without noise, about the ninth hour of the night, through the ruins, to the tower of Antonia; and when they had cut the throats of the first guards of the place, as they were asleep, they got possession of the wall, and ordered the trumpeter to sound his trumpet. Upon which the rest of the guard got up on the sudden, and ran away before any body could see how many they were that were gotten up: for, partly from the fear they were in, and partly from the sound of the trumpet which they heard, they imagined a great number of the enemy were gotten up. But, as soon as Caesar heard the signal, he ordered the army to put on their armor immediately, and came thither with his commanders, and first of all ascended, as did the chosen men that were with him.
“And, as the Jews were flying away to the temple, they fell into that mine which John had dug under the Roman banks. Then did the seditious of both the bodies of the Jewish army, as well that belonging to John as that belonging to Simon, drive them away; and, indeed, were no way wanting as to the highest degree of force and alacrity: for they esteemed themselves entirely ruined, if once the Romans got into the temple, as did the Romans look upon the same thing as the beginning of their entire conquest. So a terrible battle was fought at the entrance of the temple, while the Romans were forcing their way, in order to get possession of that temple, and the Jews were driving them back to the tower of Antonia; in which battle the darts were on both sides useless as well as the spears, and both sides drew their swords, and fought it out hand to hand.
“Now, during this struggle, the positions of the men were undistinguished on both sides, and they fought at random, the men being intermixed one with another, and confounded, by reason of the narrowness of the place; while the noise that was made fell on the ear after an indistinct manner, because it was so very loud. Great slaughter was now made on both sides, and the combatants trod upon the bodies, and the armor of those that were dead, and dashed them to pieces. Accordingly, to which side soever the battle inclined, those that had the advantage exhorted one another to go on, as did those that were beaten make great lamentation. But still there was no room for flight, nor for pursuit, but disorderly revolutions and retreats, while the armies were intermixed one with another; but those that were in the first ranks were under the necessity of killing or being killed, without any way for escaping; for those on both sides that came behind forced those before them to go on without leaving any space between the armies.
“At length, the Jews’ violent zeal was too hard for the Roman skill, and the battle already inclined entirely that way; for the fight had lasted from the ninth hour of the night till the seventh hour of the day, while the Jews came on in crowds, and had the danger the temple was in for their motive; the Romans having no more here than a part of their army; for those legions on which the soldiers on that side depended had not come up to them. So it was at present thought sufficient by the Romans to take possession of the tower of Antonia.
“But there was one Julian, a centurion, that came from Bithynia, a man of great reputation, whom I had formerly seen in that war, and one of the highest fame, for his skill in war, his strength of body, and the courage of his soul. This man, seeing the Romans giving ground, as he stood by Titus at the tower of Antonia, leaped out, and of himself alone put the Jews to flight, when they were already conquerors; and made them retire as far as the inner court of the temple: from him the multitude fled away in crowds, as supposing that neither his strength nor his violent attacks could be those of a mere man. Accordingly, he rushed through the midst of the Jews, as they dispersed all abroad, and killed thole that he caught. Nor indeed was there any sight that appeared more wonderful in the eyes of Caesar, or more terrible to others than this.
“However, he was himself pursued by fate, which it was not possible that he, who was but a mortal man, should escape; for as he had shoes all full of thick and sharp nails, as had every one of the other soldiers, so when he ran on the pavement of the temple, he slipped and fell down on his back with a very great noise, which was made by his armor.12 This made those that were running away to turn back; whereupon those Romans that were in the tower of Antonia set up a great shout, as they were in fear for the man. But the Jews got about him in crowds, and struck at him with their spears, and with their swords on all sides. Now, he received a great many of the strokes of these iron weapons upon his shield, and often attempted to get up again, but was thrown down by those that struck at him; yet did he, as he lay along, stab many of them with his sword. Nor was he soon killed, as being covered with his helmet, and his breastplate, in all those parts of his body where he might be mortally wounded; he also pulled his neck close to his body, till his limbs were shattered, and nobody dared come to defend him, and then he yielded to his fate.
“Now Caesar was deeply affected on account of this man of so great fortitude, and especially as he was killed in the sight of so many people; he was desirous himself to come to his assistance, but the place would not give him leave, while such as could have done it, were too much terrified to attempt it. Thus, when Julian had struggled with death a great while, and had let but few of those that had given him his mortal wound go off unhurt, he was slain; then the Jews caught up his dead body, and put the Romans to flight again, and shut them up in the tower of Antonia.”
“To afford a ready passage for his army, Titus now gave orders to his soldiers to dig up the foundations of the tower of Antonia: while he sent at the same time for Josephus to come and address the Jews. Now on this very day, being the seventeenth of the month Thamus, the sacrifice which had been offered to God, called the daily sacrifice,13 ceased, there being no person to offer it. At this the Jews were greatly distressed. Titus having learned this fact, directed Josephus to inform John and his party that ‘if he had any malicious inclination for fighting, he might come out with as many of his men as he pleased, in order to fight without the danger of destroying either his city or temple; but he desired that he would not defile the temple nor thereby offend against God. That he might, if he pleased, offer the sacrifices which were now discontinued, by any of the Jews whom he should pitch upon.’
“Upon this, Josephus stood in such a place where he might be heard, not by John only, but by many more, and then declared to them what Caesar had given him in charge, and this in the Hebrew language. So he earnestly prayed them, ‘to spare their own city, and to prevent that fire which was just ready to seize upon the temple, and to offer their usual sacrifices to God therein.’ At these words of his, a great sadness and silence was observed among the people. But the tyrant himself cast many reproaches upon Josephus, with imprecations besides; and added, ‘that he did never fear the taking of the city, because it was God’s own city.’ In answer to which, Josephus thus said with a loud voice, ‘To be sure you have kept this city wonderfully pure for God’s sake; the temple also continues entirely unpolluted ! Nor have you been guilty of any impiety against Him for whose assistance you hope! If any one should deprive thee of thy daily food, you would esteem him to be an enemy to you; but you hope to have that God for your supporter in this war whom you have deprived of his everlasting worship: and you impute those sins to the Romans, who, to this very time, take care to have our laws observed, and almost compel these sacrifices to be still offered to God, which have by thy means been intermitted. Who is there that can avoid groans and lamentations at the amazing change that is made in his city? since very foreigners and enemies do now correct that impiety which you have occasioned; while you who are a Jew, and were educated in our laws, have become a greater enemy to them than the others. But still, John, it is never dishonorable to repent, and amend what has been done amiss even at the last extremity. I dare venture to promise that the Romans shall still forgive you. And take notice that I, who make this exhortation to you, am one of your own nation; I, who am a Jew, do make this promise to you. And it will become you to consider who I am that gives you this counsel, and whence I am derived; for while I am alive I shall never be in such slavery as to forego my own kindred, or forget the laws of our forefathers. You have indignation at me again, and make a clamor at me, and reproach me; indeed I cannot deny but I am worthy of worse treatment than all this amounts to, because, in opposition to fate, I make this kind invitation to you, and endeavor to force deliverance upon those whom God has condemned. And who is there that does not know what the writings of the ancient prophets contain in them? and particularly that oracle which is just now going to be fulfilled upon this miserable city? For they foretold that this city should be taken when somebody shall begin the slaughter of his own countrymen. And are not both the city and the entire temple now full of the dead bodies of your countrymen? It is God, therefore, it is God himself who is bringing on this fire to purge that city and temple by means of the Romans, and is going to pluck up this city, which is full of your pollutions.’
“As Josephus spake these words, with groans, and tears in his eyes, his voice was intercepted by sobs. However, the Romans could not but pity the affliction he was under, and wonder at his conduct. But, for John, and those that were with him, they were but the more exasperated against the Romans on this account, and were desirous to get Josephus also into their power: yet did that discourse influence a great many of the better sort; and truly some of them were so afraid of the guards set by the seditious, that they tarried where they were, but still were satisfied that both they and the city were doomed to destruction. Some also there were, who, watching a proper opportunity, when they might quietly get away, fled to the Romans, of whom, were the high priests Joseph and Jesus, and of the sons of the high priests three, whose father was Ishmael, ‘who was beheaded in Cyrene, and four sons of Matthias; many also of the other nobility went over to the Romans together with the high priests.
“Now Caesar not only received these men very kindly in other respects, but, knowing they would not willingly live after the customs of other nations, he sent them to Gophna, and desired them to remain there for the present, and told them, that when he was gotten clear of this war, he would restore them to their possessions again; so they cheer fully retired. to that small city, which them, without fear of any danger. But as they did not appear, the seditious gave out again that those deserters were slain by the Romans, which was done in order to deter the rest from running away, by fear of the like treatment. This trick of theirs succeeded now for a while, as did the like before; for the rest were hereby deterred from deserting, by fear of the like treatment.
“However, when Titus had recalled those men from Gophna, he gave orders that they should go around the wall together with Josephus, and show themselves to the people; upon which a great many fled to the Romans. These also got in a great number together, and stood before the Romans, and besought the seditious, with groans, and tears in their eyes, in the first place to receive the Romans entirely into the city, and save that their own place of residence again; but, that, if they would not agree to such a proposal, they would at least depart out of the temple, and save the holy house for their own use; for that the Romans would not venture to set the sanctuary on fire, but under the most pressing necessity. Yet did the seditious still more and more contradict them; and while they cast loud and bitter reproaches upon these deserters, they also set their engines for throwing of darts, and javelins, and stones upon the sacred gates of the temple, at due distances from one another, insomuch that all the space round about, within the temple, might be compared to a charnel house, so great was the number of the dead bodies therein; as might the holy house itself be compared to a citadel.
“Accordingly, these men rushed upon these holy places in their armor, that were otherwise unapproachable, and that while their hands were yet warm with the blood of their own people, which they hard shed; nay, they proceeded to such great transgressions that the very same indignation which Jews would naturally have against Romans, had they been guilty of such abuses against them, the Romans had now against Jews, for their impiety in regard to their own religious customs. Nay, indeed, there were none of the Roman soldiers who did not look with a sacred horror upon the holy house, and adored it, and wished that the robbers would repent before their miseries became incurable.
“Now, Titus was deeply affected with this state of things, and reproached John and his party, and said to them, ‘Have not you, vile wretches that you are, by our permission put up this partition wall before your sanctuary? Have not you been allowed to put up the pillars thereto belonging, at due distances, and on it to engrave in Greek, and in your own letters, this prohibition, “that no foreigner should go beyond that wall?“ Have we not given you leave to kill such as go beyond it, though he were a Roman? And what do you do now, you pernicious villains? Why do you trample upon dead bodies in this temple? and why do you pollute this holy house with the blood of both foreigners and Jews themselves? I appeal to the gods of my own country, and to every god that ever had any regard to this place; (for I do not suppose it to be now regarded by any of them;) I also appeal to my own army, and to those Jews that are now with me, and even to you yourselves, that I do not force you to defile this your sanctuary; and if you will but change the place whereon you will fight, no Roman shall either come near your sanctuary, or offer any affront to it; nay, I will endeavor to preserve you your holy house, whether you will or not.’
“As Josephus explained these things from the mouth of Caesar, both the robbers and the tyrant thought that these exhortations proceeded from fear, and not from his good will to them, and grew insolent upon it. But when Titus saw that these men were neither to be moved by commiseration toward themselves, nor had any concern upon them to have the holy house spared, he again proceeded unwillingly to go on with the war against them. He could not indeed bring all his army against them, the place was so narrow; but choosing thirty soldiers of the most valiant out of every hundred, and committing a thousand to each tribune, and making Cerealis their commander-in-chief, he gave orders that they should attack the guards of the temple about the ninth hour of that night.
“But as he was now in his armor and preparing to go down with them, his friends would not let him go, by reason of the greatness of the danger, and what the commanders suggested to them; for they said, that he would do more by sitting above in the tower of Antonia, as a dispenser of rewards to those soldiers that signalized themselves in the fight, than by coming down, and hazarding his own person in the forefront of them. With this advice Caesar complied. So he sent the soldiers about their work at the hour aforementioned, while he went out himself to a higher place in the tower of Antonia, whence he might see what was done, and there waited with impatience to see the result.
“However, the soldiers that were sent did not find the guards of the temple asleep, as they hoped to have done, but were obliged to fight with them immediately hand to hand, as they rushed with violence upon them with a great shout. Now, as soon as the rest within the temple heard that shout of those that were upon the watch, they ran out in troops upon them. Then did the Romans receive the onset of those that came first upon them; but those that followed them fell upon their own troops, and many of them treated their own soldiers as if they had been enemies; for the great confused noise that was made on both sides hindered them from distinguishing one another’s voices, as did the darkness of the night hinder them from the like distinction by the sight; besides that blindness which arose otherwise also from the passion and the fear they were in at the same time for which reason it was all one to the soldiers who it was they struck at.
“However, this ignorance did less harm to the Romans than to the Jews, because they were joined together under their shields, and made the sallies more regular than the others did, and each of them remembered their watch word, while the Jews were perpetually dispersed abroad, and made their attacks and retreats at random, and so did frequently seem to one another to be enemies; for every one of them received those of their own men that came back in the dark as Romans, and made an assault on them, so that more of them were wounded by their own men than by the enemy, till, upon the coming on of the day, the nature of the fight was discerned by the eye afterward.
“Then did they stand in battle array in distinct bodies, and cast their darts regularly, and regularly defended themselves. Nor did either side yield or grow weary. The Romans contended with each other who should fight the most strenuously, both single men and entire regiments, as being under the eye of Titus; and every one concluded that this day would begin his promotion, if he fought bravely. What the great encouragements of the Jews to act vigorously were, their fear for themselves and for the temple, and the presence of their tyrant, who exhorted some, and beat and threatened others, to act courageously.
“Now, it so happened that this fight was for the most part a stationary one, wherein the soldiers went on and came back in a short time and suddenly; for there was no long space of ground for either of their flights or pursuits. But still there was a tumultuous noise among the Romans from the tower of Antonia, who loudly cried out upon all occasions to their own men to press on courageously, when they were too hard for the Jews, aud to stay, when they were retiring backward; so that here was a kind of theater of war; for what was done in this fight could not be concealed either from Titus or from those that were about him. This fight, which began at the ninth hour of the night, was not over till past the fifth hour of the day, and that in the same place where the battle began neither party could say they had made the other to retire; but both the armies left the victory in uncertainty.
“In the meantime, the rest of the Roman army had in seven days removed a part of the foundations of the tower of Antonia, and had made a ready and broad way to the temple. Then did the legions come near the first court, and began to raise their banks. The one bank was over against the northwest corner of the inner temple; another was at the northen edifice which was between the two gates of the other two, one was at the western cloister of the outer court of the temple; the other against its northern cloister. However, these works were thus far advanced by the Romans, not without great difficulty, and particularly by being obliged to bring their materials from the distance of a hundred furlongs.” They also suffered from considering themselves too secure, and by growing remiss, for while their horses were foraging and had been allowed to run without their bridles, they were seized and carried off in large numbers by the Jews.
“Now, after one day had been interposed since the Romans ascended the breach, many of the seditious were so pressed by the famine upon the present failure of their ravages that they got together, and made an attack on those Roman guards that were upon the mount of Olives, and this about the eleventh hour of the day, as supposing first that they would not expect such an onset, and in the next place, that they were then taking care of their bodies, and that therefore they should easily beat them. But the Romans were apprized of their coming to attack them beforehand, and running together from the neighboring camps on the sudden, prevented them from getting over their fortification, or forcing the wall that was built about them. Upon this came on a sharp fight, and here many great actions were performed on both sides; while the Romans showed both their courage and their skill in war, as did the Jews come on them with immoderate violence, and intolerable passion. The one part were urged on by shame, and the other by necessity; for it seemed a very shameful thing to the Romans to let the Jews go, now they were taken in a kind of net; while the Jews had but one hope of saving themselves, and that was in case they could by violence break through the Roman wall.
“In the mean time, the Jews were so distressed by the fights they had been in, as the war advanced higher and higher, and creeping up to the holy bouse itself, that they, as it were, cut off those limbs of their body which were infected, in order to prevent the distemper’s spreading farther; for they set the northwest cloister, which was joined to the tower of Antonia, on fire, and after that, brake off about twenty cubits of that cloister, and thereby made a beginning in burning the sanctuary: two days after which, or on the twenty-fourth day of the aforementioned month, (Tamuz,) the Romans set fire to the cloister that joined to the other, when the fire went fifteen cubits farther.
“The Jews, in like manner, cut off its roof; nor did they entirely leave off what they were about till the tower of Antonia was parted from the temple, even when it was in their power to have stopped the fire, nay, they lay still while the temple was first set on fire, and deemed this spreading of the fire to be for their own advantage. However, the armies were still fighting one against another about the temple, and the war was managed by continual sallies of particular parties against one another.
“But now the seditious that were in the temple did every day openly endeavor to beat off the soldiers that were upon the banks, and on the twenty-seventh day of the aforementioned month (Tamuz) contrived the following stratagem: they filled that part of the western cloister (of the court of the Gentiles) which was between the beams, and the roof under them, with dry materials, as also with bitumen and pitch, and then retired from that place as though they were tired with the pains they had taken; at which procedure of theirs, many of the most inconsiderate among the Romans, who were carried away with violent passions, followed hard after them as they were retiring, and applied ladders to the cloister, and got up to it suddenly; but the more prudent part of them, when they understood this unaccountable retreat of the Jews, stood still where they were before.
“However, the cloister was full of those that were gone up the ladders; at which time the Jews set it all on fire; and as the flame burst out everywhere on the sudden, the Romans that were out of the danger were seized with a very great consternation, as were those that were in the midst of the danger in the utmost distress. So when they perceived themselves surrounded with the flames, some of them threw themselves down backward into the city, and some among their enemies in the temple, as did many leap down to their own men, and broke their limbs to pieces: but a great number of those that were going to take these violent methods were prevented by the fire; though some prevented the fire by their own swords.
“However, the fire was on the sudden carried so far as to surround those who would not have otherwise perished. As for Caesar himself, he could not, however, but commiserate those that thus perished, although they got up thither without any order for so doing, since there was no way of giving them any relief. Some there were indeed who retired into the wall of the cloister, which was broad, and were preserved out of the fire, but were then surrounded by the Jews; and although they made resistance against the Jews for a long time, yet were they wounded by them, and at length they all fell down dead.
“The Jews also cut off the rest of that cloister from the temple, after they had destroyed those that got up to it. But the next day the Romans burned down the northern cloister entirely as far as the east cloister, whose common angle joined to the valley that was called Kidron, and was built over it; on which account the depth was frightful. And this was the state of the temple at that time.”
"The man who is refined and very delicate among you shall be hostile toward his brother and toward the wife he cherishes and toward the rest of his children who remain, so that he will not give even one of them any of the flesh of his children which he will eat, since he has nothing else left, during the siege and the distress by which your enemy will oppress you in all your towns. The refined and delicate woman among you, who would not venture to set the sole of her foot on the ground for delicateness and refinement, shall be hostile toward the husband she cherishes and toward her son and daughter, and toward her afterbirth which issues from between her legs and toward her children whom she bears; for she will eat them secretly for lack of anything else, during the siege and the distress by which your enemy will oppress you in your towns.” — Deuteronomy 28:54-57
The number of those who perished by the famine was incredible, and the miseries they endured unutterable.
“If so much as the shadow of any kind of food did anywhere appear, a war was commenced presently, and the dearest friends fell a fighting, one with another about it, snatching from each other the most miserable supports of life. Nor would men believe that those who were dying had no food, but the robbers would search them when they were expiring, lest any one should have concealed food in their bosoms, and counterfeit d dying: nay, these robbers gaped for want, and ran about stumbling and staggering along like mad dogs, and reeling against the doors of the houses like drunken men; they would also, in the great distress they were in, rush into the very same houses two or three times in one day.
“Moreover, their hunger was so intolerable, that it obliged them to chew every thing, while they gathered such things as the most sordid animals would not totich, and endured to eat them; nor did they, at length, abstain from girdles and shoes, and the very leather which belonged to their shields they pulled off and gnawed: the very wisps of old hay became food to some, and some gathered up fibres, and sold a very small weight of them for four Attic drachma (fifty-six cents).
“But why do I describe the shameless impudence that the famine brought on men in their eating inanimate things while I am going to relate a matter of fact, the like to which no history relates, either among the Greeks or Barbarians? It is horrible to speak of it, and incredible when heard. I had indeed willingly omitted this calamity of ours, that I might not seem to deliver what is so portentous to posterity, but that I have innumerable witnesses to it in my own age; and, besides, my country would have had little reason to thank me for suppressing the miseries that she underwent at this time.
“There was a certain woman that dwelt beyond Jordan; her name was Mary; her father was Eleazer, of the village of Bethezub, which is translated the House of Hyssop. She was eminent for her family and her wealth, and had fled away to Jerusalem with the rest of the multitude, and was with them besieged therein at this time. The other effects of this woman had already been seized upon, such, I mean, as she had brought with her out of Perea, and removed to the city. What she had treasured up besides, as also what food she had contrived to save, had been also carried off by the rapacious guards, who came every day running into her house for that purpose.
“This put the poor woman into a very great passion, and by the frequent reproaches and imprecations she cast at these rapacious villains she had provoked them to anger against her; but none of them, either out of the indignation she had raised against herself, or out of commiseration of her case, would take away her life: and if she found any food, she perceived her labors were for others and not for herself: and it was now become impossible for her any way to find any more food, while the famine pierced through her bowels and marrow, when also her passion was fired to a degree beyond the famine itself; nor did she consult with any thing but with her passion and the necessity she was in.
“She then attempted a most unnatural thing, and, snatching up her son, who was a child sucking at her breast, she said, ‘O miserable infant for whom shall I preserve you in this war, this famine, and this sedition? As to the war with the Romans, if they preserve our lives, we must be slaves. This famine also will destroy us even before that slavery comes upon us. Yet are these seditious rogues more terrible than both the other. Come on; be my food, and be a fury to these seditious varlets, and a byword to the world; which is all that is now wanting to complete the calamities of us Jews.’
“As soon as she had said this, she slew her son, and then roasted him, and ate the one half of him, and kept the other half by her, concealed. Upon this the seditious came in presently, and smelling the horrid scent of this food, they threatened her, that they would cut her throat immediately if she did not show them what food she had gotten ready. She replied, that she had saved a very fine portion of it for them; and withal uncovered what was left of her son. Hereupon, they were seized with a horror and amazement of mind, and stood astonished at the sight, when she said to them, ‘This is mine own son, and what hath been done was mine own doing. Come, eat of this food, for I have eaten of it myself. Do not you pretend to be either more tender than a woman, or more compassionate than a mother; but if you be so scrupulous, and do abominate this my sacrifice, as I have eaten the one half, let the rest be reserved for me also.’
“After this, these men went out trembling, being never so much affrighted at any thing as they were at this, and with some difficulty they left the rest of that meat to the mother. Upon which the whole city was full of this horrid action immediately; and while every body laid this miserable case before their own eyes, they trembled as if this unheard-of action had been done by themselves. So those that were thus distressed by the famine were very desirous to die, and those already dead were esteemed happy because they had not lived long enough either to hear or to see such miseries.
“This sad instance was quickly told to the Romans, some of whom could not believe it, and others pitied the distress which the Jews were under; but there were many of them who were hereby induced to a more bitter hatred than ordinary against our nation. But for Caesar, he excused himself before God as to this matter, and said, that ‘he had proposed peace and liberty to the Jews, as well as an oblivion of all their former insolent practices, but that they, instead of concord, had chosen sedition; instead of peace, war; and, before satiety and abundance, a famine. That they had begun, with their own hands, to burn down that temple which we have preserved hitherto; and that, therefore, they deserved to eat such food as this was. That however this horrid action of eating an own child ought to be covered with the overthrow of their very country itself and men ought not to leave such a city upon the habitable earth, to be seen by the sun, wherein mothers are thus fed, although such food be fitter for the fathers than for the mothers to eat of, since it is they that continue still in a state of war against us, after they have undergone such miseries as these.’
“And at the same time that he said this, he reflected on the desperate condition these men must be in; nor could he expect that such men could be recovered to sobriety of mind, after they had endured those very sufferings, for the avoiding whereof it only was probable they might have repented.”
"It shall besiege you in all your towns until your high and fortified walls in which you trusted come down throughout your land, and it shall besiege you in all your towns throughout your land which the LORD your God has given you.” — Deuteronomy 28:52
“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling. Behold, your house is being left to you desolate!” Matthew 23:37-38
“When He approached Jerusalem, He saw the city and wept over it, saying, ‘If you had known in this day, even you, the things which make for peace! But now they have been hidden from your eyes.’” Luke 19:41-42
“And now, two of the legions had completed their banks, on the eighth day of the month Ab. Whereupon, Titus gave orders that the battering rams should be brought, and set over against the western edifice of the inner temple; for, before these were brought, the firmest of all the other engines had battered the wall togther for six days without ceasing, without making any impression upon it; hut the vast largeness and strong connection of the stones, was superior to that engine, and to the other battering rams also. Other Romans did indeed undermine the foundations of the northern gate, and, after a world of pains, removed the outermost stones, yet was the gate still upheld by the inner stones, and stood still unhurt; till the workmen despairing of all such attempts by engines and crows, brought their ladders to the cloisters.
“Now the Jews did not interrupt them in so doing; but, when they were gotten up, they fell upon them, and fought with them; some of them they thrust down, and threw them backward headlong, others of them they met, and slew: they also beat many of those that went down the ladders again, and slew them with their swords before they could bring their shields to protect them; nay, some of the ladders they threw down from above, when they were full of armed men: a great slaughter was made of the Jews also at the same time, while those that bare the engines fought hard for them, as deeming it a terrible thing, and what would tend to their great shame, if they permitted them to be stolen away.
“Yet did the Jews, at length, get possession of these engines, and destroyed those that had gone up the ladders, while the rest were so intimidated, by what those suffered who were slain, that they retired; although none of the Romans died without having done good service before his death. Of the seditious, those that had fought bravely in the former battles did the like now; as besides them did Eleazar, the brother’s son of Simon the tyrant. But when Titus perceived that his endeavors to spare a foreign temple turned to the damage of his soldiers, and made them be killed, he gave orders to set the gate oil fire.
“In the mean time, there deserted to him Ananus, who came from Emmaus, the most bloody of all Simon’s guards, and Archelaus, the son of Magdatus, they hoping to be still forgiven, because they left the Jews at a time when they were conquerors. Titus objected this to these men, as a cunning trick of theirs and, as he had been informed of their other barbarities toward the Jews, he was going in all haste to have them both slain. He told them, that ‘they were only driven to desertion because of the utmost distress they were in, and did not come away of their own good disposition; and that those did not deserve to be preserved by whom their own city was already set on fire, out of which fire they now hurried themselves away.’
“However, the security he had promised deserters overcame his resentments, and he dismissed them accordingly, though he did not give them the same privileges that he had afforded to others. And now the soldiers had already put fire to the gates, and the silver that was over them quickly carried the flames to the wood that was within it, whence it spread itself all on the sudden, and caught hold of the cloisters. Upon the Jews seeing this fire all about them, their spirits sunk, together with their bodies, and they were under such astonishment, that not one of them made any haste, either to defend himself, or to quench the .fire, but they stood as mute spectators of it only. However, they did not so grieve at the loss of what was now burning as to grow wiser thereby for the time to come; but, as though the holy house itself had been on fire already, they whetted their passions against the Romans. This fire prevailed during that day, and the next also; for the soldiers were notable to burn all the cloisters that were around about together at one time, but only by pieces.
“But then, on the next day, Titus commanded part of his army to quench the fire, and to make a road for the more easy marching up of the legions, while he himself gathered the commanders together. Of those that were assembled, the six principal persons, Tiberius Alexander, the commander, under the general, of the whole army, with Sextus Cerealis, commander of the fifth legion, and Larcius Lepidus, the commander of the tenth legion, and Titus Frigius, the commander of the fifteenth legion; there was also with them Eternius, the leader of the two legions that came from Alexandria, and Marcus Antonius Julianus, procurator of Judea; after these came together also the rest of the procurators and tribunes.
“Titus proposed to these, that they should give him their advice what should be done about the holy house. Now some of these thought ‘it would be the best way to act according to the rules of war, and demolish it, because the Jews would never leave off rebelling while that house was standing, at which house it was that they used to get all together.’ Others of them were of opinion, that ‘in case the Jews would leave it, and none of them would lay their arms up in it, he might save it; but that in case they got upon it, and fought any more, he might burn it; because it must then be looked upon not as a holy house, but as a citadel, and that the impiety of burning it would then belong to those that forced this to be done, and not to them.’
“But Titus said, that ‘although the Jews should get upon that holy house, and fight us thence, yet ought we not to revenge ourselves on things that are inanimate, instead of the men themselves; and that he was not in any case for burning down so vast a work as that was, because this would be a mischief to the Romans themselves, as it would be an ornament to their government while it continued.’ So Fronto, and Alexander, and Cerealis, grew bold upon that declaration, and agreed to the opinion of Titus. Then was this assembly dissolved, when Titus had given order to the commanders, that the next of their forces should lie still, but that they should make use of such as were most courageous in this attack. So he commanded that the chosen men that were taken out of the cohorts should make their way through the ruins, and quench the fire.
“Now it is true, that on this day the Jews were so weary, and under such consternation, that they then refrained from any attacks. But on the next day they gathered their whole force together, and ran upon those that guarded the outer court of the temple very boldly through the east gate, and this about the second hour of the day. These guards received their attack with great bravery, and by covering themselves with their shields before, as if it were with a wall, they drew their squadron close together; yet was it evident that they could not abide there very long, but would be overborne by the multitude of those that sallied out upon them, and by the heat of their passion. However, Caesar seeing, from the tower of Antonia, that this squadron was likely to give way, sent some chosen horsemen to support them. Hereupon the Jews found themselves not able to sustain their onset, and upon the slaughter of those in the forefront, many of the rest were put to flight. But, as the Romans were going off the Jews turned upon them, and fought them; and as those Romans came back upon then they retreated again, until, about the fifth hour of the day, ‘they were overborne, and shut themselves up in the inner court of the temple.
“So Titus retired into the tower of Antonia, and resolved to storm the temple the next day, early in the morning, with his whole army, and to encamp around about the holy house. But, as for that, house, God had, for certain, long ago doomed it to the fire and now that fatal day was come, according to the revolution of ages; it was the tenth day of the month Ab, upon which it was formerly burned by the king of Babylon; although these flames took their rise from the Jews themselves, and were occasioned by them; for, upon Titus’ retiring, the seditious lay still for a little while, and then attacked the Romans again, when those that guarded the holy house fought with those that quenched the fire that was burning the inner court of the temple; but these Romans put the Jews to flight, and proceeded as far as the holy house itself.
“At which time, one of the soldiers, without any orders, being hurried only by a certain divine fury, snatched somewhat out of the materials that were on fire, and being lifted up by another soldier, he set fire to a golden window, through which there was a passage to the rooms that were round about the holy house, on the north side of it. As the flames went upward, the Jews made a great clamor, such as so mighty an affliction required, and ran together to prevent it: and now they spared not their lives any longer, nor suffered any thing to restrain their force, since that holy house was perishing for whose sake it was that they kept such a guard about it.
“And now a certain person came running to Titus, and told him of this fire, as he was resting himself in his tent after the last battle whereupon, he rose up in great haste, and as he was, ran to the holy house, in order to have a stop put to the fire: after him followed all his commanders, and after them followed the several legions, in great astonishment: so there was a great clamor and tumult raised, as was natural upon the disorderly motion of so great an army. Then did Caesar, both by calling to the soldiers that were fighting, with a loud voice, and by giving a signal to them with his right hand, order them to quench the fire. But they did not hear what he said, though he spake so loud, having their ears already dinned by a greater noise another way; nor did they attend to the signal he made with his hand neither, as still some of them were distracted with fighting, and others with passion.
“But, as for the legions that came running thither, neither any persuasions, nor any threatenings could restrain their violence, but each on his own passion was his commander at this time; and as they were crowding into the temple together, many of them were trampled on by one another, while a great number fell among the ruins of the cloisters, which were still hot and smoking, and were destroyed in the same miserable way with those whom they had conquered: and when they had come near the holy house, they made as if they did not so much as hear Caesar’s orders to the contrary; but they encouraged those that were before them to set it on fire.
“As for the seditious, they were in too great distress already to afford their assistance toward quenching the fire; they were everywhere slain, and everywhere beaten; and, as for a great part of the people, they were weak, and without arms, and were slain wherever they were caught. Now round about the altar lay dead bodies heaped one upon another, as at the ascent going up to it ran a great quantity of their blood, whither also the dead bodies that were slain above on the altar fell down.
“And now, since Caesar was no way able to restrain the enthusiastic fury of the soldiers, and the fire proceeded on more and more, he went into the holy place of the temple, with his commanders, and saw it, with what was in it, which he found to be far superior to what the relations of foreigners contained, and not inferior to what we ourselves boasted of, and believed about it. But, as the flame had not as yet reached to its inward parts, but was still consuming the rooms that were about the holy house, and Titus supposing, what the fact was, that the house itself might yet be saved, he came up in haste, and endeavored to persuade the soldiers to quench the fire, and gave order to Liberalius, the centurion, and one of those spearmen that were about him, to beat the soldiers that were refractory with their staves, and to restrain them yet were their passions too hard for the regards they had for Caesar, and the dread they had of him who forbade them, as was their hatred of the Jews, and a certain vehement inclination to fight them, too hard for them also.
“Moreover, the hope of plunder induced many to go on, as having this opinion, that all the places within were full of money, and as seeing that all around about it was made of gold. And besides, one of those that went into the place prevented Caesar, when he ran so hastily out to restrain the soldiers, and threw the fire upon the hinges of the gate in the dark; whereby the flame burst out from within the holy house itself immediately, when the commanders retired, and Caesar with them, and when nobody any longer forbade those that were without to set fire to it. And thus was the holy house burned down without Caesar’s approbation.
“Now although any one would justly lament the destruction of such a work as this was, since it was the most admirable of all works, both for its curious structure and its magnitude, and also for the vast wealth bestowed up n it, as well as for the glorious reputation it had for its holiness; yet the irrevocable decree had gone forth against it. It was burned on the same month and the same day of the month on which it was burned formerly by the Babylonians. Now the number of years that passed from its first foundation, which was laid by King Solomon, till this its destruction, which happened in the second year of the reign of Vespasian, are one thousand one hundred and thirty years, seven months, and fifteen days; and from the second building of it, which was done by Haggai, in the second year of Cyrus the king, till its destruction under Vespasian, there were six hundred and thirty-nine years, and forty- five days.”
“. . . and there will be great earthquakes, and in various places plagues and famines; and there will be terrors and great signs from heaven.” — Predictions of Jesus; Luke 21:11
“While the temple was on fire, every thing was plundered that came to hand, and ten thousand of those that were caught were slain nor was there commiseration of any age, or any reverence of gravity, but children, and old men, and profane persons, and priests, were all slain in the same manner; so that this war went around all sorts of men, and brought them to destruction, and as well those that made supplication for their lives as those that defended themselves by fighting. The flame was also carried along way, and made an echo together with the groans of those that were slain; and because the hill was high, and the works at the temple were very great, one would have thought the whole city had been on fire. Nor can one imagine any thing either greater or more terrible than this noise; for there was at once a shout of the Roman legions, and a sad clamor of the seditious, who were now surrounded with fire and sword.
“The people also that were left above were beaten back upon the enemy, and, under a great consternation, made sad moans at the calamity they were under: the multitude also that was in the city joined in this outcry with those that were upon the hill. And besides, many of those that were worn away by the famine, and their mouths almost closed, when they saw the fire of the holy house, they exerted their utmost strength, and broke out into groans and outcries again, while the mountains echoed back the wail. Yet was the misery itself more terrible than this disorder; for one would have thought the hill on which the temple stood was seething hot, and full of fire on every part of it; that the blood was larger in quantity than the fire; and those that were slain more in number than those that slew them: for the ground did nowhere appear visible for the dead bodies that lay on it; but the soldiers went over heaps of those bodies, as they ran upon such as fled from them.
And now it was that the multitude of the robbers were thrust out of the inner court of the temple by the Romans, and had much ado to get into the outer court, and from thence into the city, while the remainder of the populace fled into the cloister of that outer court. As for the priests, some of them plucked up from the holy house the spikes that were upon it, with their leaden bases, and shot them at the Romans instead of darts.14 As the fire burst out upon them, they retired to the wall, that was eight cubits broad, and there tarried; yet did two of those of eminence among them, who might have saved themselves by going over to the Romans, or have borne up with courage, and taken their fortune with the others, throw themselves into the fire, and were burned, together with the holy house: their names were Meirus, the son of Belgas, and Joseph, the son of Daleus.
“And now the Romans, judging that it was in vain to spare what was round about the holy house, burned all those places, as also the remains of the cloisters and the gates, two excepted; the one on the east side and the other on the south, both which, however, they burned afterward. They also burned down the treasury chambers, in which was an immense quantity of money, and an immense number of garments, and other precious goods there deposited; and, to speak all in a few words, there it was that the entire riches of the Jews were heaped up together, while the rich people had there built themselves chambers to contain such furniture.
“The soldiers also came to the rest of the cloisters that were in the outer court of the temple, whither the women and children, and a great mixed multitude of the people, fled, in number about six thousand. But before had determined any thing about these people, or given the commanders any orders relating to them, the soldiers were in such a rage that they set that cloister on fire; by which means it came to pass that some of these were destroyed by throwing themselves down headlong, and some were burned in the cloisters themselves. Nor did any one of them escape with his life.
“A false prophet was the occasion of these people’s destruction, who had made a public proclamation in the city that very day, that ‘God commanded them to get upon the temple, and that there they should receive miraculous signs of their deliverance.’ Now, there was then a great number of false prophets suborned by the tyrants to impose on the people, who denounced this to them, that they should wait for deliverance from God; and this was in order to keep them from deserting, and that they might be buoyed up above fear and care by such hopes. Now, a man that is in adversity does easily comply with such promises; for, when such a seducer makes him believe that he shall be delivered from those miseries which oppress him, then is it that the patient is full of hopes of such his deliverance.
“Thus were the miserable people persuaded by these deceivers, and such as believed God himself; while they slid not attend nor give credit to the signs that were sq evident, and did so plainly foretell their future desolation, but like men infatuated, without either eyes to see, or minds to consider, did not regard the denunciations that God made to them. Thus there was a star resembling a sword, which stood over the city, and a comet that continued a whole year.
“Thus also, before the Jews’ rebellion, and before those commotions which preceded the war, when the people were come in great crowds to the feast of unleavened bread, on the eighth day of the month Nisan, and at the ninth hour of the night, so great a light shone round the altar and the holy house, that it appeared to be bright daytime; which light lasted for half an hour. This light seemed to be a good sign to the unskillful, but was so interpreted by the sacred scribes as to portend those events that followed immediately upon it. At the same festival also a heifer, as she was led by the high priest to be sacrificed, brought forth in the midst of the temple.
“Moreover, the eastern gate of the inner court of the temple, which was of brass, and vastly heavy, and had been with difficulty shut by twenty men, and rested upon a basis armed with iron, and had bolts fastened very deep into the firm floor, which was there made of one entire stone, was seen to be opened of its own accord about the sixth hour of the night. Now, those that kept watch in the temple came hereupon running to the captain of the temple, and told him of it; who then came up thither, and with great difficulty was able to shut the gate again. This also appeared to the vulgar to be a very happy prodigy, as if God did thereby open them the gate of happiness. But the men of learning understood it, that the security of their holy house was dissolved of its own accord, and that the gate was opened for the advantage of their enemies. So these publicly declared, that the signal foreshadowed the desolation that was coming upon them.
“Besides these, a few days after that feast, on the one and twentieth day of the month Jyar, a certain prodigious and incredible phenomenon appeared. I suppose the account of it would seem to be a fable, were it not related by those that saw it, and were not the events that followed it of so considerable a nature as to deserve such signals: for, before sunset, chariots and troops of soldiers in their armor were seen running about among the clouds, and surrounding of cities.
“Moreover, at that feast which we call Pentecost, as the priests were going by night into the inner court of the temple, as their custom was, to perform their sacred ministrations, Ihey said, that in the first place they felt a quaking, and heard a great noise, and after that they heard a sound as of a multitude, saying, ‘LET US REMOVE HENCE.’ But what is still more terrible, there was one Jesus, the son of Ananus, a plebeian and a husbandman, who, four years before the war began, and at a time when the city was in very great peace and prosperity, came to that feast whereon it is our custom for every one to make tabernacles to God in the temple, began on a sudden to cry aloud, ‘A voice from the east, a voice from the west, a voice from the four winds, a voice against Jerusalem and the holy house, a voice against the bridegrooms and the brides, and a voice against this whole people.’
“This was his cry, as he went about by day and by night, in all the lanes of the city. However, certain of the most eminent among the populace had great indignation at this dire cry of his, and took up the man and gave him a great number of severe stripes; yet did he not either say any thing for himself, or any thing peculiar to those that chastised him, but still went on with the same words which he cried before. Hereupon our rulers, supposing, as the case proved to be, that this was a sort of divine fury in the man, brought him to the Roman procurator, when he was whipped till his bones were laid bare; yet did not he make any supplication for himself, nor shed any tears; but turning his voice to the most lamentable tone possible, at every stroke of the whip his answer was, ‘Woe, woe to Jerusalem.’ And when Albinus (for he was then our procurator) asked him who he was and whence he caine and why he uttered such words, he made no manner of reply to what he said, but still did not leave off his melancholy cry, till Albinus took him to be a madman, and dismissed him.
“Now, during all the time that passed before the war began, this man did not go near any of the citizens, nor was seen by them while he had said so; but he every day uttered these lamentable words, as if it were his premeditated vow, ‘ Woe, woe to Jerusalem.’ Nor did he give ill words to any of those that beat him every day; nor good words to those that gave him food; but this was his reply to all men, and indeed no other than a melancholy presage of what was to come. This cry of his was the loudest at the festivals, and he continued it for seven years and five months, without growing hoarse, or being tired therewith, until the very time that he saw his presage in earnest fulfilled in our siege, when it ceased; for, as he was going round upon the wall, he cried out with his utmost force, ‘Woe, woe to the city again, and to the people, and to the holy house.’ And just as he added at the last, ‘Woe, woe to myself also,’ there came a stone out of one of the engines, and smote him, and killed him immediately; and as he was uttering the very same presages, he gave up the ghost.”
Josephus adds, “What did most elevate the Jews in undertaking this war was an ambiguous oracle that was found in their sacred writings, which declared, ‘About that time one from their country should become governor of the habitable earth.’ The Jews,” says he, “took this prediction to belong to themselves in particular, and many of the wise men were thereby deceived for this oracle certainly denoted the government of Vespasian, who was appointed emperor in Judea.”
Here our historian shows himself to be as blind as those he has been describing — the “veil” was indeed upon his own heart. Had he not, like his countrymen, been looking for a military Messiah instead of a spiritual Deliverer and Prince, he might have recognized in Him “who opened the eyes of the blind, unstopped the ears of the deaf, and raised the dead to life,” that glorious personage of whom the prophet spake when he said, “Behold thy King cometh;” or of whom Isaiah prophesied when he said, “Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called WONDERFUL, COUNSELOR, THE MIGHTY GOD, THE EVERLASTING FATHER, THE PRINCE OF PEACE. Of the increase of his government and PEACE there shall be no end, upon the throne of David and upon his kingdom, to order and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever.”
How different was this PRINCE OF PEACE from Vespasian the slaughtering warrior! But the same prophet who uttered an oracle by no means “ambiguous,” uttered also another, equally clear. He predicted the very blindness which is manifested by Josephus and his countrymen. “Who,” says he, “bath believed our report 7” And he declares that this very Messiah, whose coming and Character he had foretold, should be “despised and rejected of men;“ nay more, persecuted and slain by them, “led like a lamb to the slaughter.”
“Jesus came out from the temple and was going away when His disciples came up to point out the temple buildings to Him. And He said to them, ‘Do you not see all these things? Truly I say to you, not one stone here will be left upon another, which will not be torn down.’” Matthew 24:1-2
“Woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days; for there will be great distress upon the land and wrath to this people; and they will fall by the edge of the sword, and will be led captive into all the nations; and Jerusalem will be trampled under foot by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.” Luke 21:23-24
“And now the Romans, upon the flight of the seditious into the city, and upon the burning of the holy house itself, and of all the buildings round about it, brought their ensigns to the temple, and set them over against its eastern gale;15 and there did they offer sacrifices to them, and there did they declare Titus imperator with the greatest acclamations of joy. And now all the soldiers had such vast quantities of the spoils which they had gotten by plunder, that in Syria a pound weight of gold was sold for half its former value. But, as for those priests that kept themselves still upon the wall of the holy house, there was a boy that, out of the thirst he was in, desired some of the Roman guards to give him their right hands as a security for his life; and confessed he was very thirsty.
“These guards commiserated his age, and the distress he was in, and gave him their right hands accordingly. So he came down himself, and drank some water, and filled the vessel he had with him when he came to them with water, and then went off, and fled away to his own friends; nor could any of those guards overtake him; but still they reproached him for his deceitfulness, to which he made this answer: ‘I have not broken the agreement; for the security I had given me was not in order to my staying with you, but only in order to my coming down safely, and taking up some water; both which things I have performed, and thereupon think myself to have been faithful to my engagement.’ Hereupon, those whom the child had imposed upon, admired at his cunning, and that on account of his age.
“On the fifth day afterward, the priests that were pined with the famine came down, and when they were brought to Titus by the guards, they begged for their lives; but he replied, that ‘the time of pardon was over as to them, and that this very holy house, on whose account only they could justly hope to be preserved, was destroyed, and that it was agreeable to their office, that priests should perish with the house itself to which they belonged.’ So he ordered them to be put to death.
“But, as for the tyrants Simon and John, and those that were with them, when they found that they were encompassed on every side, without any method of escape, they desired to treat with Titus. Accordingly; such was the kindness of his nature, and his desire of preserving the bity from destruction, joined to the advice of his friends, who now thought the robbers were come to a temper, that he placed himself on the western side of the outer court of the temple; for there were gates on that side above the Xystus, and a bridge that connected the upper city to the temple. This bridge it was that lay between the tyrants and Caesar, and parted them; while the multitude stood on each side; those of the Jewish nation about Simon and John, with great hopes of pardon, and the Romans about Caesar, in great expectation how Titus would receive their supplication.”
After enumerating their repeated provocations, and the abominations of which they had been guilty, during the siege, and the insolent manner in which they had met all his proposals of peace, he said, “If you will throw down your arms, and deliver up your persons to me, I grant you your lives, and I will act like a mild master of a family; what cannot be healed shall be punished, and the rest I will preserve for my own use.”
To these terms they answered, “that they could not accept of it, because they had sworn never to do so; but they desired they might have leave to go through the wall that had been made about them, with their wives and children; for that they would go into the desert, and leave the city to him.” At this Titus was very indignant — that when they were in the case of men already taken captives, they should pretend to make their own terms with him, as if they had been conquerors. So he ordered this proclamation to be made to them, “that they should no more come out to him as deserters, nor hope for any farther security; for that he would henceforth spare nobody, but fight them with his whole army; and that they must save themselves as well as they could; for that he would from henceforth treat them according to the laws of war.” So he gave orders to the soldiers both to burn and to plunder the city; who did nothing indeed that day; but on the next day they set fire to the repository of the archives, to Acra, to the council house, and to the place called Ophlas; at which time the fire proceeded as far as the palace of Queen Helena, which was in the middle of Acra the lanes also were burned down, as were also those houses that were full of the dead bodies of such as were destroyed by famine.
“On the same day it was that the sons and brethren of Izates the king, together with many others of the eminent men of the populace, got together there, and besought Caesar to give them his right hand for their security upon which, though he was very angry at all that were now remaining, yet did he not lay aside his moderation, but received these men. At that time, indeed, he kept them all in, custody, but still bound the king’s sons and kinsmen, and led them with him to Rome, in order to make them hostages for their country’s fidelity to the Romans.”
‘The seditious now rushed into the royal palace, into which a large multitude had gathered with their effects, and drove the Romans away from it. They then plundered and slew the inhabitants whom they found there, amounting to eight thousand four hundred.
“On the next day the Romans drove the robbers out of the lower city, and set all on fire as far as Siloam. These soldiers were indeed glad to see the city destroyed. But they missed the plunder, because the seditious had carried off all their effects, and were retired into the upper city; for they did not yet at all repent of the mischiefs they had done, but were insolent as if they had done well; for, as they saw the city on fire, they appeared cheerful, and put on joyful countenances, in expectation, as they said, of death, to end their miseries.
Accordingly, as the people were now slain, the holy house was burned down, and the city was on fire, there was nothing farther left for the enemy to do. Yet did not Josephus grow weary, even in this utmost extremity, to beg of them to spare what was left of the city; he spoke largely to them about their barbarity and impiety, and gave them his advice in order to their escape; though he gained nothing thereby more than to be laughed at by them; and as they could not think of surrendering themselves up, because of the oath they had taken, nor were strong enough to fight with the Romans any longer upon the square, as being surrounded on all sides, and a kind of prisoners already, yet were they so accustomed to kill people, that they could not restrain their right hands from acting accordingly. So they dispersed themselves before the city, and laid themselves in ambush among its ruins, to catch those that attempted to desert to the Romans; accordingly. many such deserters were caught by them, and were all slain; for these were too weak, by reason of their want of food, to fly away from them; so their dead bodies were thrown to the dogs. Now every other sort of death was thought more tolerable than the famine, insomuch, that though the Jews despaired now of mercy, yet would they fly to the Romans, and would themselves, even of their own accord, fall among the murderous rebels also.
“So now the last hope which supported the tyrants, and that crew of robbers which were with them, was in the caverns under ground. Here they thought to remain until the Romans were gone, and then come out and escape. This was no better than a dream of theirs; for they were not able to lie hid either from God or from the Romans. However, they depended on these underground subterfuges, and set more places on fire than did the Romans themselves; and those that fled out of the houses thus set on fire into the ditches, they killed without mercy, and pillaged them also; and if they discovered food belonging to any one they seized upon it, and swallowed it down, together with their blood also, nay, they were now come to fight with one another about their plunder; and I cannot but think that, had not their destruction prevented it, their barbarity would have made them taste of even the dead bodies themselves.
“Now when Caesar perceived that the upper city was so steep that it could not possibly be taken without raising banks against it, he distributed the several parts of that work among his army. The works that belonged to the four legions were erected on the west side of the city, over against the royal palace; but the whole body of the auxiliary troops, with the rest of the multitude that were with them, erected their banks at the Xystus, whence they reached to the bridge, and.that tower of Simon which he had built as a citadel for himself against John, when they were at war one with another.
“It was at this time that the commanders of the Idumeans got together privately, and took counsel about surrendering themselves up to the Romans. Accordingly they sent five men to Titus, and entreated him to give them his right hand for their security. So Titus, thinking that the tyrants would yield if the Idumeans, upon whom a great part of the war depended, were once withdrawn from them, after some reluctance and delay, complied with them, and gave them security for their lives, and sent the five men back.
“But as these Idumeans were preparing to march out, Simon perceived it, and immediately slew the five men that had gone to Titus, and took their commanders and put them in prison, of whom the most eminent was Jacob, the son of Sosas; but as for the multitude of the Idumeans who did not at all know what to do, now their commanders were taken from them, he had them watched, and secured the walls by a more numerous garrison. Yet could not that garrison resist those that were deserting; for although a great number of them were slain, yet were the deserters many more in number.
“These were all received by the Romans, because Titus himself grew negligent of his former orders for killing them, and because the very soldiers grew weary of killing them, and because they hoped to get some money by sparing them; for they left only the populace, and sold the rest of the multitude, with their wives and children, and every one of them at a very low price, and that because such as were sold were very many, and the buyers very few; and although Titus had made proclamation beforehand that no deserter should come alone by himself, that so they might bring out their families with them, yet did he receive such as these also. However, he set over them such as were to distinguish some from others, in order to see if any of them deserved to be punished. And indeed the number of those that were sold was immense; but of the populace above forty thousand were saved, whom Caesar let go whither every one of them pleased.
“But now at this time it was that one of the priests, the son of Thebuthus, whose name was Jesus, upon his having security given him, by the oath of Caesar, that he should be preserved, upon condition that he should deliver to him certain precious things that had been reposited in the temple, came out of it, and delivered him, from the wall of the holy house, two candlesticks, like to those that lay in the holy house, with tables, and cisterns, and vials, all made of solid gold, and very heavy. He also delivered to him the veils, and the garments, with the precious stones, and a great number of ether precious vessels that belonged to their sacred worship.
“The treasurer of the temple, also, whose name was Phineas, was seized on, and showed Titus the coats and girdles of the priests, with a great quantity of purple and scarlet, which were there reposited for the uses of the veil, as also a great deal of cinnamon and cassia, with a large quantity of other sweet spices, which used to be mixed together, and offered as incense to God every day. A great many other treasures were also delivered to him, with sacred ornaments of the temple not a few; which things thus delivered to Titus obtained of him for this man the same pardon that he had allowed to such as deserted of their own accord.
“And now were the banks finished on the seventh day of the month Elul, in eighteen days time, when the Romans brought their machines against the wall. But, for the seditious, some of them, as despairing of saving the city, retired from the wall to the citadel; others of them vent down into the subterranean vaults, though still a great many of them defended themselves against those that brought the engines for the battery; yet did the Romans overcome them by their number, and by their strength, and what was the principal thing of all, by going cheerfully about their work, while the Jews were quite dejected, and become weak.
“Now as soon as part of the wall was battered down, and certain of the towers yielded to the impression of the battering rams, those that opposed themselves fled away, and such a terror fell upon the tyrants, ns was much greater than the occasion required; for before the enemy got over the breach they were quite stunned, and were immediately for flying away. And now one might see these men, who had hitherto been so insolent and arrogant in their wicked practices, to be cast down, and to tremble, insomuch that it would pity one’s heart to observe the change that was made in those vile persons.
“Accordingly they ran with great violence upon the Roman wall that encompassed them, in order to force away those that guarded it, and to break through it and get away. But when they saw that those who had formerly been faithful to them had gone away, (as indeed they were fled whithersoever the great distress they were in persuaded them to flee,) as also when those that came running before the rest told them that the western wall was quite overthrown, while others said the Romans were gotten in, and others, that they were near, and looking out for them, which were only the dictates of their fear, which imposed upon their sight, they fell upon their face, and greatly lamented their own mad conduct; and their nerves were so terribly loosed that they could not flee away.
“And here one may chiefly reflect on the power of God exercised upon these wicked wretches, and on the good fortune of the Romans; for these tyrants did now wholly deprive themselves of the security they had in their own power, and came down from those very towers of their own accord, wherein they could never have been taken by force, nor indeed any other way than by famine. And thus did the Romans, when they had taken such great pains about weaker walls, get by good fortune what they could never have gotten by their engines; for three of these towers were too strong for all mechanical engines whatsoever, concerning which we have treated above.
“So they now left these towers of themselves, or rather they were ejected out of them by God himself and fled immediately to that valley which was under Siloam, where they again recovered themselves out of the dread they were in for a while, and ran violently against that part of the Roman wall which lay on that side; but as their courage was too much depressed to make their attacks with sufficient force, and their power was now broken with fear and affliction, they were repulsed by the guards, and dispersing themselves at distances from each other, went down into the subterranean caverns.
“So the Romans being now become masters of the walls, they both placed their ensigns upon the towers, and made joyful acclamation for the victory they had gained, as having found the end of this war much lighter than its beginning; for when they had gotten upon the last wall without any bloodshed, they could hardly believe what they found to be true; but seeing nobody to oppose them, they stood in doubt what such an unusual solitude could mean. But when they went in numbers into the lanes of the city, with their swords drawn, they slew those whom they overtook without mercy, and set fire to the houses whither the Jews were fled, and burned every soul in them, and laid waste a great many of the rest; and when they were come to the houses to plunder them they found in them entire families of dead men, and the upper rooms full of corpses; that is, of such as died by the famine; they then stood in a horror at this sight, and went out without touching any thing.
“But although they had this commiseration for such as were destroyed in that manner, yet had they not the same for those that were still alive, but they ran every one through whom they met with, and obstructed the very lanes with their dead bodies, and made the whole city run down with blood, to such a degree, indeed, that the fire of many of the houses was quenched with these men’s blood. And truly so it happened, that though the slayers left off at the evening, yet did the fire greatly prevail in the night; and as all was burning came the eighth day of the month Elul upon Jerusalem, a city that had been liable to so many miseries during this siege, that had it always enjoyed as much happiness from its first foundation, it would certainly have been the envy of the world. Nor did it on any other account so much deserve these sore misfortunes, as by producing such a generation of men as were the occasions of its overthrow.
“Now when Titus was come into this upper city, he admired not only some other places of strength in it, but particularly those strong towers which the tyrants in their mad conduct had relinquished: for when he saw their solid altitude, and the size of their stones, and the exactness of their joints, he said, ‘We have certainly had God for our assistant in this war, and it was no other than God who ejected the Jews out of these fortifications; for what could the hands of men, or any machines, do toward overthrowing these towers?’ At which time he had many such discourses to his friends: he also let such go free as had been bound by the tyrants, and were left in the prisons. To conclude, when he entirely demolished the rest of the city, and overthrew its walls, he left these towers as a monument of his good fortune, which had proved his auxiliaries, and enabled him to take what otherwise could not have been taken by him.”
“Then you shall be left few in number, whereas you were as numerous as the stars of heaven, because you did not obey the LORD your God. It shall come about that as the LORD delighted over you to prosper you, and multiply you, so the LORD will delight over you to make you perish and destroy you; and you will be torn from the land where you are entering to possess it. Moreover, the LORD will scatter you among all peoples, from one end of the earth to the other end of the earth; and there you shall serve other gods, wood and stone, which you or your fathers have not known. Among those nations you shall find no rest, and there will be no resting place for the sole of your foot; but there the LORD will give you a trembling heart, failing of eyes, and despair of soul. So your life shall hang in doubt before you; and you will be in dread night and day, and shall have no assurance of your life. In the morning you shall say, 'Would that it were evening!' And at evening you shall say, 'Would that it were morning!' because of the dread of your heart which you dread, and for the sight of your eyes which you will see. The LORD will bring you back to Egypt in ships, by the way about which I spoke to you, 'You will never see it again!' And there you will offer yourselves for sale to your enemies as male and female slaves, but there will be no buyer.” — The Predictions of Moses, Deuteronomy 28:62-68
“The Roman soldiers were now quite tired with killing, and yet there appeared a vast multitude still alive. Caesar gave orders that they should kill none but those that were in arms, and opposed them, but should take the rest alive. But, together with those whom they had orders to slay, they slew the aged and infirm; but those that were in their flourishing age, and who might be useful to them, they drove together into the temple, and shut them up within the walls of the court of the women, over which Caesar set one of his freedmen, as also Fronto, one of his own friends, which last was to determine every one’s fate, according to his merits.
“So this Fronto slew all those that had been seditious, and robbers, who were impeached one by another; but of the young men he chose out the tallest and most beautiful, and reserved them for the triumph; and as for the rest of the multitude, that were above, seventeen years old, he put them into bonds, and sent them into the
Egyptian mines. Titus also sent a great number into the provinces as a present to them, that they might be destroyed upon their theaters by the sword, and by the wild beasts; but those that were under seventeen years of age were sold for slaves. Now, during the days wherein Fronto was distinguishing these men, there perished for want of food eleven thousand, some of which did not taste any food through the hatred their guards bore to them, and others would not take in any when it was given them. The multitude also was so very great, that they were in want even of corn for their sustenance.
“Now the number of those that were carried captive during this whole war was considered to be ninety-seven thousand; as was the number of those that perished during the whole siege eleven hundred thousand, the greater part of whom, indeed, were of the same nation, (with the citizens of Jerusalem,) but not belonging to the city itself; for they were come up from all the country to the feast of unleavened bread, and were on a sudden shut up by an army, which at the very first occasioned so great a straitness among them, that there came a pestilential destruction among them, and soon afterward such a famine as destroyed them more suddenly. And that this city could contain so many people in it is manifest by that number of them which was taken under Cestius, who, being desirous of- informing Nero of the flower of the city, who otherwise was disposed to condemn that nation, entreated the high priests, if the thing were possible, to take the number of their whole multitude.”
This was done by calculating the number of their sacrifices at the Passover,16 (as there were at least ten persons to every sacrifice,) which, being two hundred fifty-six thousand five hundred, gives two million five hundred and sixty thousand.
“Now this vast multitude is indeed collected out of remote places; but the entire nation was now shut up by fate, as in prison, and the Roman army encompassed the city when it was crowded with inhabitants. Accordingly, the multitude of those that therein perished exceeded all the destructions that either men or God ever brought upon the world: for to speak only of what was publicly known, the Romans slew some of them, some they carried captives, and others they made a search for under ground, and when they found where they were, they broke up the ground and slew all they met with.
“There were also found slain there above two thousand persons, partly by their own hands, and partly by one another, but chiefly destroyed by the famine; but then the stench of the dead bodies was most offensive to those that lighted upon them, insomuch that some were obliged to get away immediately, while others were so greedy of gain that they would go in among the dead bodies that lay on heaps, and tread upon them; for a great deal of treasure was found in these caverns, and the hope of gain made every way of getting it to be esteemed lawful.
“Many also of those that had been put in prison by the tyrants were now brought out; for they did not leave off their barbarous cruelty at the very last; yet did God avenge himself upon them both in a manner agreeable to justice. As for John, he wanted food, together with his brethren, in these caverns, and begged that the Romans would iiow give him their right hand for his security, which he had often proudly rejected before.
“Now as soon as the army had no more people to slay, or to plunder, because there remained none to be the objects of their fury, Caesar gave orders that they should now demolish the entire city and temple, but should leave as many of the towers standing as were of the greatest eminence; that is, Phasaelus, and Hippious, and Mariamne, and so much of the wall as enclosed the city on the west side. This wall was spared in order to afford a camp for such as were to lie in garrison, as were the towers spared in order to demonstrate to posterity what kind of city it was, and how well fortified, which the Roman valor had subdued; but, for all the rest of the wall, it was so thoroughly laid even with the ground by those that dug it up to the foundation, that there was left nothing to make those that came thither believe it had ever been inhabited.”
While Titus was at Caesarea Philippi (where he spent some considerable time in witnessing those detestable abominations common among heathen nations of destroying captives by wild beasts, and by making them kill each other) he heard of the capture of the tyrant Simon. During the siege of Jerusalem he had remained in the upper city, but when the Roman army entered within the walls he took the most faithful of his friends with him, and among them some stone-cutters, with those iron tools which belonged to their occupation, and as great a quantity of provisions as would suffice them for a long time, and let himself and all them down into a certain subterraneous cavern that was not visible above ground.
Now, so far as had been dug of old, they went long without disturbance; but where they met with solid earth they dug a mine under ground, and this in hopes that they should be able to proceed so far as to rise from under ground in a safe place, and by that means escape. But when they came to make the experiment, they were disappointed of their hope, for the miners could make but small progress, and that with difficulty also, insomuch that their provisions, though they distributed them by measure, began to fail them.
“And now Simon, thinking he might be able to astonish and delude the Romans, put on a white frock, and buttoned upon him a purple cloak, and appeared out of the ground in the place where the temple had formerly. been. At first, indeed, those that saw him were greatly astonished, and stood still where they were; but afterward they came nearer to him, and asked him who he was. Simon would not tell them, but bid them call for their captain; and when they ran to call, Terentius Rufus,17 who was left to command the army, came to Simon, and learned of him the whole truth, and kept him in bonds, and let Caesar know that he was taken.
“Thus did God bring this man to be punished for what bitter and savage tyranny he had exercised against his countrymen; by those who were his worst enemies; and this while he was not subdued by violence, but voluntarily delivered himself up to them to be punished, and that on the very same account that he had laid false accusations against many Jews, as if they were falling away to the Romans, and had barbarously slain them. His rise of his out of the ground did also occasion the discovery of a great number of others of the seditious at that time who had hidden themselves under ground. But for Simon, he was brought to Caesar in bonds when he was come back to that Caesarea which was on the sea-side; who gave order that he should be kept against that triumph which he was to celebrate at Rome upon this occasion.”
We have thus passed through one of the most painfully interesting passages in the whole compass of history. The heart sickens at the melancholy picture; but the lesson is replete with instruction. It not only shows us how inseparable are national crime and national suffering, but furnishes us with evidence, which it is utterly impossible to gainsay, that those men who ages before these events drew the portrait both of the sins and calamities of Jerusalem, did indeed “speak as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” It establishes the Bible predictions as having God for their author, and attests the character of Jesus of Nazareth as the true Messiah.
The history of Jerusalem, viewed as the fulfilment of prophecy, furnishes evidence of the truth of Christianity which neither Jew nor infidel can reject without positive infatuation. At the same time, it also reveals to us the awful depravity of human nature. Here were a people favored above all others; they abused the highest mercies; they crucified their own long promised and expected Messiah, and God’s restraining grace was withdrawn from them. They were left to themselves, and thus left, they have given the world a specimen of human nature abandoned to its own deadly depravity. What they were any nation would be if the restraining grace of God were withdrawn in an equal degree. Surely here is proof positive that the disease of men requires even such a remedy as a God could bestow.
Let nations look upon Judea, let cities look upon Jerusalem, let individuals look upon the personal calamities of the Jews, and let all fear God and fly from transgression. Particularly let it be remembered that the great sin of the Jews, that which stood out alone in the horror of its aggravated features, was the rejection of the Messiah! If, indeed, we would escape a destruction, of which that of Jerusalem was but a faint emblem, let us embrace proffered mercy, and “know the things that belong to our peace, before they are hid” FOREVER “from our eyes.” Let us seek for an inheritance in that Jerusalem whose “walls are great and high — which cometh down from God out of heaven,” where are the spirits of just men made perfect — where is an innumerable company of angels, and where dwells the LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.
“. . . and Jerusalem will be trampled under foot by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.” Luke 21:24
“Jerusalem lay in ruins about forty-seven years, when the emperor Ælius Adrian began to build it anew, and erected a heathen temple, which he dedicated to Jupiter Capitolinus. The city was finished in the twentieth year of his reign, and called, after its founder, Ælia, or Ælia Capitolina, from the heathen deity who presided over it. In this state Jerusalem continued, under the name of Ælia, and inhabited more by Christians and pagans than by Jews, till the time of the emperor Constantine, styled the Great; who, about the year 323, having made Christianity the religion of the empire, began to improve it, adorned it with many new edifices and churches, and restored its ancient name.
About thirty-five years afterward, Julian, named the Apostate, not from any love he bore the Jews, but out of hatred to the Christians, whose faith he had abjured, and with the avowed design of defeating the prophecies which had declared that the temple should not be rebuilt, wrote to the Jews, inviting them to their city, and promising to restore their temple and nation. He accordingly employed great numbers of workmen to clear the foundations; but balls of fire bursting from the earth soon put a stop to their proceeding.
This miraculous interposition of Providence is attested by many credible witnesses and historians; and in particular by Ammianus Marcellinus, a heathen, and friend of Julian; Zemuch David, a Jew Nazianzen, Chrysostom, Ambrose Ruffinus, Theodoret, Sozomen, and Socrates, who wrote his account within fifty years after the transaction, and while many eye-witnesses of it were still living. So stubborn, indeed, is the proof of this miracle, that even Gibbon, who strives to invalidate it, is obliged to acknowledge the general fact.
“Jerusalem continued in nearly the same condition till the beginning of the seventh century, when it was taken and plundered by the celebrated Chosroes, king of Persia, by whom many thousands of the Christian inhabitants were killed, or sold for slaves. The Persians, however, did not hold it long, as they were soon after entirely defeated by the emperor Heraclius, who rescued Jerusalem, and restored it, not to the unhappy Jews, who were forbidden to come within three miles of it, but to the Christians.
A worse calamity was, however, speedily to befall this ill-fated city. The Mohammedan imposture arose about this time; and the fanatics who had adopted its creed carried their arms and their religion with unprecedented rapidity over the greater part of the east. The Calif Omar, the third from Mohammed, invested the city, which, after once more suffering the horrors of a protracted siege, surrendered on terms of capitulation in the year 637; and has ever since, with the exception of the short period that it was occupied by the Crusaders, been trodden under foot by the followers of the false prophet.
“The accounts of modern Jerusalem by travelers are very numerous. Mr. Conder, in his ‘Palestine,’ has abridged them with judgment; and we give the following extract: The approach to Jerusalem from Jaffa is not the direction in which to see the city to the best effect. Dr. E. D. Clarke entered it by the Damascus gate; and he describes the view of Jerusalem, when first descried from the summit of a hill, at about an hour’s distance, as most impressive. He confesses, at the same time, that there is no other point of view in which it is seen to so much advantage. In the celebrated prospect from the Mount of Olives the city lies too low, is too near the eye, and has too much the character of a bird’s-eye view, with the formality of a topographical plan.
‘We had not been prepared,’ says this lively traveler, ‘for the grandeur of the spectacle which the city alone exhibited. Instead of a wretched and ruined town, by some described as the desolate remnant of Jerusalem, we beheld, as it were, a flourishing and stately metropolis, presenting a magnificent assemblage of domes, towers, palaces, churches, and monasteries; all of which, glittering in the sun’s rays, shone with inconceivable splendor: As we drew nearer our whole attention was engrossed by its noble and interesting appearance. The lofty hills surrounding it gave the city itself an appearance of elevation less than it really has.’
Dr. Clarke was fortunate in catching this first view of Jerusalem under the illusion of a brilliant evening sunshine; but his description is decidedly overcharged. M. Chateaubriand, Mr. Buckingham, Mr. Brown, Mr. Joliffe, Sir F. Henniker, and almost every other modern traveler, confirm the representation of Dr. Richardson. Mr. Buckingham says, ‘The appearance of this celebrated city, independent of the feelings and recollections which the approach to it cannot fail to awaken, was greatly inferior to my expectations, and had certainly nothing of grandeur or beauty, of stateliness or magnificence, about it. It appeared like a walled town of the third or fourth class, having neither towers, nor domes, nor minarets within it, in sufficient numbers to give even a character to its impressions on the beholder; but showing chiefly large fiat-roofed buildings of the most unornamented kind, seated amid rugged hills, on a stony and forbidden soil, with scarcely a picturesque object in the whole compass of the surrounding view.’
Chateaubriand’s description is very striking and graphical. After citing the language of the prophet Jeremiah, in his lamentations on the desolation of the ancient city, as accurately portraying its present state, Lamentations 1:1-6; 2;1-9, 15; he thus proceeds ‘When seen from the Mount of Olives, on the other side of the Valley of Jehoshaphat, Jerusalem presents an inclined plane, descending from west to east. An embattled wall, fortified with towers and a Gothic castle, encompasses the city all around; excluding, however, part of Mount Zion, which it formerly enclosed. In the western quarter, and in the center of the city, the houses stand very close; but in the eastern part, along the brook Kidron, you perceive vacant spaces; among the rest, that which surrounds the mosque erected on the ruins of the temple, and the nearly deserted spot where once stood the castle of Antonia and the second palace of Herod.
‘The houses of Jerusalem are heavy square masses, very low, without chimneys or windows: they have flat terraces or domes on the top, and look like prisons or sepulchers. The whole would appear to the eye one uninterrupted level, did not the steeples of the churches, the minarets of the mosques, the summits of a few cypresses, and the clumps of a few nopals, break the uniformity of the plan. On beholding these stone buildings, encompassed by a stony country, you are ready to inquire if they are not the confused monuments of a cemetery in the midst of a desert.
‘Enter the city, but nothing will you there find to make amends for the dulness of its exterior. You lose yourself among narrow, unpaved streets, here going up hill, there down, from the inequality of the ground; and you walk among clouds of dust or loose stones. Canvass stretched from house to house increases the gloom of this labyrinth. Bazaars, roofed over, and fraught with infection, completely exclude the light from the desolate city. A few paltry shops expose nothing but wretchedness to view; and even these are frequently shut, from apprehension of the passage of a cadi.
‘Not a creature is to be seen in the streets, not a creature at the gates, except now and then a peasant gliding through the gloom, concealing under his garments the fruits of his labor, lest he should be robbed of his hard earnings by the rapacious soldier. Aside, in a corner, the Arab butcher is slaughtering some animal, suspended by the legs from a wall in ruins: from his haggard and ferocious look, and his bloody hands, you would suppose that he had been cutting the throat of a fellow-creature rather than killing a lamb. The only noise heard from time to time in the City is the galloping of the steed of the desert: it is the janizary who brings the head of the Bedouin, or who returns from plundering the unhappy Fellah.
‘Amid this extraordinary desolation, you must pause a moment to contemplate two circumstances still more extraordinary. Among the ruins of Jerusalem two classes of independent people find in their religion sufficient fortitude to enable them to surmount such complicated horrors and wretchedness. Here reside communities of Christian monks, whom nothing can compel to forsake the tomb of Christ; neither plunder, nor personal ill treatment, nor menaces of death itself. Night and day they chant their hymns around the holy sepulcher. Driven by the cudgel and the saber, women, children, flocks, and herds, seek refuge in the cloisters of these recluses. What prevents the armed oppressor from pursuing his prey, and overthrowing such feeble ramparts? The charity of the monks: they deprive themselves of the last resources of life to ransom their suppliants.
‘Cast your eyes between the temple and Mount Zion; behold another petty tribe cut off from the rest of the inhabitants of this city. The particular objects of every species of degradation, these people bow their heads without murmuring; they endure every kind of insult without demanding justice; they sink beneath repeated blows without sighing; if their head be required, they present it to the scimitar. On the death of any member of this proscribed community, his companion goes at night and inters him by stealth in the Valley of Jehoshaphat, in the shadow of Solomon’s temple.
‘Enter the abodes of these people, you will find them, amid the most abject wretchedness, instructing their children to read a mysterious book, which they in their turn will teach their offspring to read. What they did five thousand years ago these people still continue to do. Seventeen times have they witnessed the destruction of Jerusalem, yet nothing can discourage them, nothing can prevent them from turning their faces toward Zion.
‘To see the Jews scattered over the whole world, according to the word of God, must doubtless excite surprise. But to be struck with supernatural astonishment you must view them at Jerusalem; you must behold these rightful masters of Judea living as slaves and strangers in their own country; you must behold them expecting, under all oppressions, a king who is to deliver them. Crushed by the cross that condemns them, skulking near the temple, of which not one stone is left upon another, they continue in their deplorable infatuation. The Persians, the Greeks, the Romans, are swept from the earth; and a petty tribe, whose origin preceded that of those great nations, still exists unmixed among the ruins of its native land.’
To the same effect are the remarks of Dr. Richardson: ‘In passing up to the synagogue I was particularly struck with the mean and wretched appearance of the houses on both sides of the streets, as well as with the poverty of their inhabitants. The sight of a poor Jew in Jerusalem has in it something peculiarly affecting. The heart of this wonderful people, in whatever clime they roam, still turns to it as the city of their promised rest. They take pleasure in her ruins, and would kiss the very dust for her sake.
‘Jerusalem is the center around which the exiled Sons of Judah build in imagination the mansions of their future greatness. In whatever part of the world he may live, the heart’s desire of a Jew is to be buried in Jerusalem. Thither they return from Spain and Portugal, from Egypt and Barbary, and other countries among which they have been scattered: and when, after all their longings, and all their struggles up the steeps of life, we see them poor, and blind, and naked, in the streets of their once happy Zion, he must have a cold heart that can remain untouched by their sufferings, without uttering a prayer that God would have mercy on the darkness of Judah; and that the Day Star of Bethlehem might arise in their hearts.’
“Jerusalem,” remarks Sir Frederick Henniker, “is called, even by Muhammadans, the Blessed City, (El Gootz, El Koudes). The streets of it are narrow and deserted, the houses dirty and ragged, the shops few and forsaken; and throughout the whole there is not one symptom of either commerce, comfort, or happiness. The best view of it is from the Mount of Olives: it commands the exact shape and nearly every particular; namely, the church of the holy sepulcher, the Armenian convent, the Mosque of Omar, St. Stephen’s gate, the round-topped houses, and the barren vacancies of the city. Without the walls are a Turkish burial ground, the tomb of David, a small grove near the tombs of the kings, and all the rest is a surface of rock, on which are a few numbered trees.
“The Mosque of Omar is the St. Peter’s of Turkey, and the respective saints are held respectively by their own faithful in equal veneration. The building itself has a light pagoda appearance; the garden in which it stands occupies a considerable part of the city, and, contrasted with the surrounding desert, is beautiful. The burial place of the Jews is over the Valley of Kidron, and the fees for breaking the soil afford a considerable revenue to the governor. The burial place of the Turks is under the walls, near St. Stephen’s gate.
“From the opposite side of the valley I was witness to the ceremony of parading a corpse round the Mosque of Omar, and then bringing it forth for burial. I hastened to the grave, but was soon driven away as far as my on die tells me, it would have been worth seeing. The grave is strewn with red earth, supposed to be of the Ager Damascenus of which Adam was made; by the side of the corpse is placed a stick, and the priest tells him that the devil will tempt him to become a Christian, but that he must make good use of his stick; that his trial will last three days, and that he will then find himself in a mansion of glory.”
“The Jerusalem of sacred history is, in fact, no more. Not a vestige remains of the capital of David and Solomon; not a monument of Jewish times is standing. The very course of the walls is changed, and the boundaries of the ancient city are become doubtful, the monks pretend to show the sites of the sacred places; but neither Calvary, nor the holy sepulcher, much less the Dolorous Way, the house of Caiaphas, etc., have the slightest pretensions to even a probable identity with the real places to which the tradition refers.
“Dr. E. D. Clarke has the merit of being the first modern traveler who ventured to speak of the preposterous legends and clumsy forgeries of the priests with the contempt which they merit. ‘To men interested in tracing, within its walls, antiquities referred to by the documents of sacred history, no spectacle,’ remarks the learned traveler, ‘can be more mortifying than the city in its present state. The mistaken piety of the early Christians, in attempting to preserve, has either confused or annihilated the memorials it was anxious to render conspicuous. Viewing the havoc thus made, it may now be regretted that the Holy Land was ever rescued from the dominion of Saracens, who were far less barbarous than their conquerors.’
“‘The absurdity, for example, of hewing the rocks of Judea into shrines and chapels, and of disguising the face of nature with painted domes and gilded marble coverings, by way of commemorating the scenes of our Savior’s life and death, is so evident and so lamentable, that even Sandys, with all his credulity, could not avoid a happy application of the reproof conveyed by the Roman satirist against a similar violation of the Egerian fountain.’
“Dr. Richardson remarks, ‘It is a tantalizing circumstance for the traveler who wishes to recognize in his walks the site of particular buildings, or the scenes of memorable events, that the greater part of the objects mentioned in the description both of the inspired and the Jewish historian are entirely removed, and razed from their foundation, without leaving a single trace or name behind to point out where they stood. Not an ancient tower, or gate, or wall, or hardly even a stone, remains. The foundations are not only broken up, but every fragment of which they were composed is swept away, and the spectator looks upon the bare rock with hardly a sprinkling of earth to point out her gardens of pleasure, or groves of idolatrous devotion.’
“And when we consider the palaces, and towers, and walls about Jerusalem, and that the stones of which some of them were constructed were thirty feet long, fifteen feet broad, and seven and a half feet thick, we are not more astonished at the strength, and skill, and perseverance by which they were constructed, than shocked by the relentless and brutal hostility by which they were shattered and overthrown, and utterly removed from our sight.’
“A few gardens still remain on the sloping base of Mount Zion, watered from the pool of Siloam; the gardens of Gethsemane are still in a sort of ruined cultivation; the fences are broken down, and the olive-trees decaying, as if the hand that pressed and fed them were withdrawn; the Mount of Olives still retains a languishing verdure, and nourishes a few of those trees from which it derives its name; but all round about Jerusalem the general aspect is blighted and barren; the grass is withered; the bare rock looks through the scanty sward; and the grain itself, like the staring progeny of famine, seems in doubt whether to come to maturity or die in the ear. The vine that was brought from Egypt is cut off from the midst of the land; the vineyards are wasted; the hedges are taken away; and the graves of the ancient dead are open and tenantless.’”
On the accomplishment of prophecy in the condition in which this celebrated city has lain for ages, Keith well remarks: ‘It formed the theme of prophecy from the deathbed of Jacob; and, as the seat of the government of the children of Judah, the scepter departed not from it till the Messiah appeared, on the expiration of seventeen hundred years after the death of the patriarch, and till the period of its desolation, prophesied of by Daniel, had arrived. It was to be trodden down of the Gentiles, till the time of the Gentiles should be fulfilled. The time of the Gentiles is not yet fulfilled, and Jerusalem is still trodden down of the Gentiles.
‘The Jews have often attempted to recover it: no distance of space or of time can separate it from their affections: they perform their devotions with their faces toward it, as if it were the object of their worship as well as of their love; and, although their desre to return be so strong, indelible, and innate, that every Jew, in every generation, counts himself an exile, yet they have never been able to rebuild their temple, nor to recover Jerusalem from the hands of the Gentiles. But greater power than that of a proscribed and exiled race has been added to their own, in attempting to frustrate ‘the counsel that professed to be of God. Julian, the emperor of the Romans, not only permitted but invited the Jews to rebuild Jerusalem and their temple, and promised to reestablish them in their paternal city.
‘By that single act, more than by all his writings, he might have destroyed the credibility of the gospel, and restored his beloved but deserted paganism. The zeal of the Jews was equal to his own; and the work was begun by laying again the foundations of the temple. It was never accomplished, and the prophecy stands fulfilled. But even if the attempt of Julian had never been made, the truth of the prophecy itself is unassailable. The Jews have never been reinstated in Judea. Jerusalem has ever been trodden down of the Gentiles.
‘The edict of Adrian was renewed by the successors of Julian; and no Jews could approach unto Jerusalem but by bribery or by stealth. It was a spot unlawful for them to touch. In the crusades all the power of Europe Was employed to rescue Jerusalem from the heathen, but equally in vain. It has been trodden down for nearly eighteen centuries by its successive masters; by Romans, Grecians, Persians, Saracens, Mamelukes, Turks, Christians, and again by the worst of rulers, the Arabs and the Turks.
‘And could any thing be more improbable to have happened, or more impossible to have been foreseen by man, than that any people should be banished from their own capital and country, and remain expelled and expatriated for nearly eighteen hundred years ? Did the same fate ever befall any nation, though no prophecy existed respecting it? Is there any doctrine in Scripture so hard to be believed as was this single fact at the period of its prediction?
‘And even with the example of the Jews before us, is it likely, or is it credible, or who can foretell, that the present inhabitants of any country upon earth shall be banished into all nations, retain their distinctive character, meet with an unparalleled fate, continue a people, without a government and without country, and remain for an indefinite period, exceeding seventeen hundred years, till the fulfilment of a prescribed event which has yet to be accomplished. Must not the knowledge of such truths be derived from that prescience alone which scans alike the will and the ways mortals, the actions of future nations, and the history of the latest generations?’”
1. This destruction of such a vast quantity of corn and other provisions, as was sufficient for many years, was the direct occasion of that terrible famine which consumed incredible numbers of Jews in Jerusalem during its siege. Nor probably could the Romans have takes this city, after all, had not these seditious Jews been so infatuated as thus madly to destroy what Josephus here justly styles “the nerves of their power.”
2. There being no gate on the west, and only on the west side of the court of the priests, and so no steps there, this was the only side that the seditious, under this John of Gischala could bring their engines close to the cloisters of that court endwise, though upon the floor of the court of Israel.
3. Josephus calls him Caesar and king, though he was neither as yet.
4. Here we see the reason why such vast multitudes were in Jerusalem during the from all parts of the country to keep this great festival in addition to the great numbers who had fled for safety to this strong city. Josephus says six hundred thousand were buried at the public charge, and that one million one hundred thousand perished, besides ninety-seven thousand captives.
5. There is quite a discrepancy between Josephus and Strabo: the latter affirms the city to be sixty furlongs in length.
6. All that is, or can be true here, is this, that when the court of the Gentiles was long afterward to be encompassed with cloisters, the southern foundation for these cloisters was found not to be large or firm enough, and was raised, and that additional foundation supported by great pillars and arches under ground, which Josephus speaks of elsewhere ( Antiq. b, xv, c, xi, sec. 3, vol. iv), and which Mr. Maundrell saw, and describes, p. 190, as extant under ground at this day.
7. Retand very properly takes notice here, how justly this judgment came upon the Jews, when they were crucified in such multitudes together that the Romans wanted room for the crosses, and the crosses for the bodies of these Jews, since they had brought this judgment on themselves by the crucifixion of their Messiah.
8. A furlong is 220 yards, 201 meters or 1/8 mile.
9. Josephus, both here and before, b. iv, e. vii, see. 4, esteems the land of Sodom, not as part of the lake Asphaltites, or under its waters, but near it only, as Tacitus also took the same notion from him, Hist. v, vi, 7, which the great Reland takes to be the very truth, both in his note on this place, and in his Palestine, torn. i. pp. 254—258; though I rather suppose part of that region of Pentapolis to be now under the waters of the south part of that sea, but perhaps not the whole country.
10. Reland notes here, very pertinently, that the tower of Antonia stood higher than the floor of the temple, or court adjoining to it; and that accordingly they descended thence into the temple, as Josephus elsewhere speaks also. See b. vi, c. ii, sec. 5.
11. The Romans, like the Muhammadans, promised future happiness to those who died bravely in battle.
12. No wonder that this Julian, who had so many nails in his shoes, slipped upon the pavement of the temple, which was smooth, and laid with marble of different colors.
13. This was in A. D. 70, and was a remarkable day indeed the prediction of the prophet Daniel, uttered centuries before, was now fulfilled, the war “in half a week having caused the sacrifice oblation to cease.” For from the month of February, A.D. 66, about which time Vespasian commenced the war, to this time, was just three years and a half, or half a prophetic week, a day standing for a year.
14. Reland, I think, here judges well, when he interprets these spikes (of those that stood on the top of the holy house) with sharp points; they were fixed into lead to prevent the birds from sitting there, and defiling the holy house; for such spikes there were now upon it, as Josephus himself has already assured us, b. v, c. v, sec. 6, vol. vi.
15. Take Havercamp’s note here: “This,” says he, “is a remarkable place;” and Tertullian truly says, in his Apologetic, e. xvi, p. 162, that “the entire religion of the Roman camp almost consisted in worshiping the ensign, in swearing by the ensigns, and in preferring the ensigns before all other gods.” See, what Havercamp says upon that place of Tertullian.
16. What is here chiefly remarkable is this, that no foreign nation ever cams thus to destroy the Jews at any of their solemn festivals, from the days of Moses till this time, but came now, upon their apostasy from God, and from obedience to him. Nor is it possible, in the nature of things, that in any other nation such vast numbers should be gotten together, and perish in the siege of any one city whatsoever, as now happened in Jerusalem.
17. This Terentius Rufus, as Reland in part observes here, is the same person whom the Talmudists call Turnus Rufus, of whom they relate, that “he ploughed up Zion as a field, and made Jerusalem become as heaps, and the mountains of the house as the high places of a forest;” which was long before foretold by the prophet Micah 3:12 and quoted from him in the prophecies of Jeremiah, 26:18.
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