"O Father!" exclaimed Jennie as she ran towards the door to meet him, "you don't know how lonesome it has been this long, rainy day without you. Charley and I have played every thing we could think of, and still it keeps on raining and raining, as if it would never stop."
Mr. Sherman had just come from his place of business, where he had been very active all the long day. Yet he was never too tired to enter into the feelings of his children; so he met them with kind words, and as soon as had hung up his wet overcoat, and put on the slippers which Jennie had placed by the fire, he took his seat with an arm around each child.
For some time their tongues ran merrily, telling of all the ways they had taken to amuse themselves, and how they tumbled over chairs and ran against tables in playing blind-man's-bluff.
Mr. Sherman was amused at their descriptions, and after a hearty laugh, said, "So you have played all this afternoon, have you? I wonder if you cannot mingle something useful with your recreations, and make them more satisfactory? How old are you, Charlie?"
"I was fourteen last August, father."
"And you, Jennie?"
"I, father? Why, I am going on thirteen," she replied, straightening up to look as old as possible.
Charles laughed as he exclaimed, "Father, just hear her! She was twelve last month; and she is not going on thirteen any faster than I am going on fifteen."
"Yes, yes, my children, you are both getting on in life rapidly, and will soon be as old as you will care to be. You ought to be learning as fast as you are growing. Suppose you take the history of some city of country, and study it, and in the evening tell me what you have learned. Would you like that?"
"Oh yes," they both said in a breath. "But what shall it be?"
"Well, let me see," said Mr. Sherman thoughtfully. "How would you like the Fall of Jerusalem?"
"Oh father, I should like that very much," said Charles. "I like to read of those old cities. There was old Troy, which fell through trick of the wooden horse. I wonder if the fall of Jerusalem would be as interesting?"
"As interesting! Certainly, my child, far more so. Troy was no more than any other city, while Jerusalem is identified with the church of God in all ages. David said of it, 'Glorious things are spoken of thee, O city of God.' 'The Lord loveth the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob.'"
"Then it seems that God had a particular regard for that city," said Jennie.
"Yes, my child. He chose Jerusalem that his name might be there, and commanded that a very splendid temple should be built, in which he promised to appear and talk with his people, and be their God and king. The whole city, with the thousands of worshipers in its golden temple, was a type of that New Jerusalem which cometh down out of heaven from God."
"Did the Jews understand this?" asked Jennie.
"They must have understood something of this. But when they read of the Messiah, who they know would 'come suddenly to his temple'--that he should be called 'Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace,' they understood that he would be some great king, who should drive away the Romans, and deliver them from all their enemies. They expected Christ to appear in great pomp and make his throne in Jerusalem. When they read in Isaiah, 'Awake, awake! put on thy strength, O Zion, put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city; for henceforth there shall no more come into thee the uncircumcised and the unclean,' they thought it referred to the time when their city should sit as a queen among the nations."
"They understood," said Charles, "that the shedding of the blood of lambs in sacrifice pointed to Christ, and that their own Scriptures spoke of him as 'a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief;' but they acted as if they forgot it all."
"Father," said Jennie, "if the Jews had not rejected Christ, would their temple have been destroyed?"
"I do not see why it should have been," replied Mr. Sherman; "but the Jews were so wicked, and held so tightly to their forms and ceremonies, instead of obeying God, that he was obliged to destroy not only the city, but them also, in order to bring in the Gospel of Christ, and show to the world that the Jewish ceremonies were done away."
"I do not wonder," said Charles, "that they held onto their old modes of worship; for they had been required by God himself to observe strictly all those forms; and they did not believe that Jesus of Nazareth, the son of a carpenter, and brought up in poverty, was the Messiah they were looking for; and I suppose they thought that God required them to go right on as they had done with the sacrifices that typified a coming Saviour."
"My son," said Mr. Sherman earnestly, "their sin lay in not believing. Their Scriptures were very plain; and in perfect harmony with them were Christ's life and miracles, which were sufficient proofs of his divinity; so they were left 'without excuse.' We shall see as we go on this history what terrible distresses this unbelief brought upon them, and it ought to be a warning to us all. If we reject Christ, we too shall be excluded from that Jerusalem above, 'which is the mother of us all;' of which John said, 'I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city Jerusalem coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride for her husband.' 'And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, having the glory of God. And her light was like a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal; and had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels.' 'And the wall was built of precious stones, and the twelve gates were twelve pearls, and the streets of the city were pure gold, transparent as glass. And I saw no more temple therein, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.' Nothing that was sinful was to enter into it, only those whose names were written in the Lamb's book of life."
"What a glorious description, father," said Charles. "But I never thought before of Jerusalem as meaning any thing more than the city in the land of Judea. I now understand that the church of God in all ages, not only the old Jewish church, but the present Christian church, and the church in heaven, are all spoken of as Jerusalem or Zion. And the destruction of the city of Jerusalem, you say, implied the doing away of the Jewish church, or, as you call it, the old dispensation."
"Yes, Charles; and that was breaking the shell, that the substance might be seen. The Jews, not believing in Christ, would have gone on till this time, if they could, with their temple worship. And I think you will learn, as we look farther, that the destruction of Jerusalem was an absolute necessity, in order to clear the way for the glorious recognition of Christ, who had now come, and in whom centred all those symbols which were ever after useless. The Old Testament was full of predictions and types of Christ's coming, and dying, and reigning. All prophecy pointed to him. He was the world's greatest expectation."
"Then," said Charles, "if the Jews had been allowed to go on with their sacrifices, they would have been pointing the wrong way to Christ."
"Yes, my son, in the fulness of time Christ came; after which, Christians looked back to him as having already died."
"How is it with the Jews of the present time?" asked Jennie. "Do they still look for the Messiah?"
"Certainly, they have this article in their creed: 'I believe with a perfect faith in the advent of the Messiah; and though he should tarry, yet I will patiently wait for him every day till he come.'"
"Strange," said Jennie. "very strange that they cannot see. But I suppose it wouldn't be very pleasant for them to feel that they had killed their own Messiah. But where, father, do the Jews expect him to live? They have no country now of their own."
"They expect to be gathered back into their own land again; and there are some passages in the Bible that seem to promise it," said Mr. Sherman.
"Father," said Charles, "the Bible does not give us an account of the destruction of Jerusalem."
"No, Charles; but we have a very particular account of it in the writings of Josephus who was a Jew, and a priest; and he is considered a reliable historian. We may naturally conclude that he would not wish to write any thing untrue against his own people. His works are the very ones for you to consult in this matter."
"I think," said Charles, "there is great interest in those places where Christ walked, and taught, and suffered."
"Father," said Jennie, "I wish you could tell us when Jerusalem was founded, who lived there before the Jews came, and all you know about it."
"Yes, daughter, I think it would be well to look back over the ground a little," replied Mr. Sherman. "The first mention we find made of the place, was about two thousand years before Christ, when Melchizedek, the king of Salem, who was a type of the Saviour, came out and blessed Abraham.
"About forty years afterwards, Abraham was commanded to take his son Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah, and there offer him a sacrifice to God. In the book of Chronicles you will see that Mount Moriah was where Solomon's temple was afterwards built, 2 Chron. 3:1; and Abraham's offering was to typify that greater Sacrifice which was to be offered in after ages at Jerusalem.
"The Ammonites probably founded the city, but there was then no great interest attached to the place, which was afterwards to be called, 'the perfection of beauty, the joy of the whole earth.' It was a secluded place on a rocky ridge, with deep valleys separating it from other hills around it, especially from the east and south. Thus it was very strongly fortified by nature, and was also probably a walled city even at this early period. About four hundred and twenty or thirty years after this, we find it the royal city of the Jebusites, and called Jebus. During most of these years the Jews had been in bondage in Egypt; but now they had come back and were commanded to take the whole country by the sword. They took Jericho, and most of the other places, and attacked Jebus. They tried on one side, then on another, but it was like running their heads against solid rocks; the strong citadel stood as quietly as if no attack had been made. In Joshua 15:63, we read, 'As for the Jebusites, the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the children of Judah could not drive them out.'
"Adonizedek, the king of Jebus, made Joshua a great deal of trouble. He called together at one time several neighboring kings, and attacked the children of Israel; but in the battle he was killed. Still Joshua could not get into the strongest part of the city, and the Jebusites held it, and lived there in the land of Judea about four hundred years longer."
"that is very strange," said Charles. "Why didn't Joshua put all his forces together, and take it any way?"
"You don't know, my son, what a strong place it was. It was almost or quite equal to Gibraltar; and the Jebusites felt very secure, I assure you.
"At length David became king of Israel. He was a great warrior, never losing a battle. Jerusalem, he said, must be taken, and the Jebusites dispossessed. They defied him, and said he could not take their city; but he went about it with determination, and God helped him. He knew the danger of those who should attack it; and calling his brave men together, he told them if any one would volunteer to go up first, and smite the Jebusites, he should be chief and captain in his army. Joab his nephew led the attack, and succeeded. So David took the stronghold, and called it 'The City of David.'
David immediately went to work to beautify and enlarge the place; he built strong walls, and a splendid palace for himself. The he brought in the ark of the Lord with great rejoicings, dancing before it with all his might, and presented before it peace-offerings. These were the first acts towards constituting Jerusalem the Holy City."
"Didn't he want to build a temple, father," asked Jennie. "in which to place the ark?"
"Yes; but he was forbidden, because he was such a man of war; but he collected vast stores of gold and silver, besides very great quantities of brass, iron, and timber, all of which, and the design, or plan of the house, he left with Solomon.
"In the fourth year of his reign Solomon commenced the house. As the hill on which it was to stand was not large enough, Solomon had a wall built up from the valley, and then filled in between this wall and the hill, thus enlarging it. Josephus says that persons could scarcely look from this elevation to the ground below without becoming dizzy. At the entrance of one of the courts of the temple, on this high elevation, Solomon built a beautiful gate of bright Corinthian brass, the most precious metal then known, which was seventy-five feet high. When that beautiful gate and the temple itself, all of white marble edged with gold, stood in the bright sunshine, they were so dazzling that a person could scarcely look upon them.
"Solomon was seven years in building the temple, though he employed one hundred and eighty-three thousand and six hundred men upon it. When done, it was the most wonderful structure ever made. After many years of great prosperity, Solomon allowed idol worship in the nation, and built idol temples, for which sin God took away from his son Rehoboam a large part of his kingdom; and as kings and people went on sinning, God, after long forbearance, gave up the Jews into the hands of the Babylonians, who destroyed the temple, and carried the nation into captivity."
"O father, what a pity! How long had the temple stood?" asked Jennie.
"A little more than four hundred years; and its destruction was five hundred and eighty-eight years before Christ."
"How long did it lie in ruins?" asked Charles.
"Fifty-two years. Zerubbabel and upwards of fourty-two thousand Jews, besides their servants, were sent back to Cyrus, the king of Persia, to their own land, to build again the temple of God. He also restored to them all the vessels of gold and silver, five thousand and four hundred pieces, Ezra 1:11, which had been taken away from Jerusalem. Isaiah, chapter 45, foretold this one hundred and twenty years before the temple was destroyed; and it is probable that Cyrus had read the prediction. Josephus says that 'God stirred up the mind of Cyrus, and made him write this throughout all Asia: Thus saith the king: since God Almighty hath appointed me to be king of the habitable earth, I believe he is the God whom the nations of Israelites worship; for indeed he foretold my name by the prophets, and that I should build him a house at Jerusalem, in the country of Judea.'
"It took a long time to rebuild the temple; and when it was done it had no ark, no mercy-seat, no sacred fire, and God did not appear in this as he had the first."
"Please tell us something about the ark," said Jennie.
"It was quite like a box, my daughter, more than a yard long, but not quite as broad or high, and was covered with pure gold. The mercy-seat, or cover of the ark, was solid gold. Over it, standing on each side, were two golden figures called cherubim; and in it was a golden pot of manna, Aaron's rod that budded and blossomed and bore fruit, and those tables of stone upon which God wrote with his finger the ten commandments.
"When Zerubbabel's temple had stood about five hundred years, it became very much dilapidated; and Herod the Great, who then had charge of Judea, took in hand the repairing and rebuilding of it. He hoped to gain the favor of the Jews, and also to get himself a great name."
"How long before Christ was the temple commenced?" asked Jennie.
"Seventeen years, daughter; and it was forty-six years in rebuilding."
"Father, was that the Herod that tried to kill Christ in Bethlehem?" asked Jennie.
"Yes, the very one. It would seem that he was sent to cleanse and rebuild the temple for the reception of the Saviour; but God did not allow him to lay his hand upon his Son for harm. Herod soon after died, abhorred by the people, and an angel was sent, you remember, to Egypt to announce his death to Joseph and Mary, that they might return home."
After this talk, Mr. Sherman had a quiet hour in which to read his papers; but the rain pattered so steadily upon the window panes, and the long branches of the old elm swung so monotonously against the roof, that he dropped to sleep and knew nothing more till his children came in to call him to tea.
At the table Mr. Sherman said, "Charles, I would like to have you find out, and tell me in our next talk, something about our historian Josephus, that we may see what advantages he had for knowing the facts which he relates."
When they met again in the parlor to talk together, the children's faces showed that they had ideas which they wished to communicate.
"Well, Charlie, what have you learned? Can you tell me when, and where, Josephus was born?" asked Mr. Sherman, as he took his seat by the fire.
"Oh, yes, father; I have found out that he was born in Jerusalem, only about seven years after Christ was crucified. His father, Matthias, was a high-priest."
"What about his mother, Jennie?" asked Mr. Sherman.
"I read that she belonged to a royal family, the Asmonæans; and I suppose she was as proud and haughty as her husband. They were among the first families of the nation, and probably had a splendid house, and took a great deal of pains with their little boy."
"Very likely; but what would they teach him, as he grew up, about Christ?" asked Mr. Sherman.
"I can tell, father," said Charles. "If Matthias did help in condemning Christ, he would tell Josephus that Jesus was an impostor, and that the Saviour was still to come; and that they must still offer bulls, goats, sheep, and doves for their sins. I suppose that, as Josephus was to be trained up for a priest, his father took him every day to the temple where Christ had so lately been; and there, in the court, as they called it, before the temple, he saw innocent lambs killed, and their blood sprinkled on the people."
"What did they mean by sprinkling the blood upon the people?" asked Jennie.
"It meant, my child, that God could not forgive sin without blood being shed to atone for it. The lamb meant or represented Christ, who is called 'the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sin of the world.' When we believe on him, his blood, or death, cancels all our sins, and we are forgiven for his sake."
"So I suppose," said Charles, "that Matthias taught Josephus to observe all the old ceremonial laws that are found in the Old Testament, and to despise those who believed in Christ. I think he must have heard a great deal about Christ; for Stephen preached in Jerusalem, and was stoned to death, after Josephus was old enough to understand about these things."
"Very likely," replied Mr. Sherman; "but he may not have been much interested in such matters."
"I know what Josephus was interested in," said Jennie; "it was his studies; and he became so learned that by the time he was fourteen years old his fame went all over Jerusalem. And, father, sometimes those old learned Jewish doctors of the law came to him to ask his opinion about matters which they did not understand. I think he loved to study better than Charlie does."
"Or any girl I ever heard of," replied Charles, a little touched.
"Girls and boys may both accomplish a great deal by making a little effort," replied Mr. Sherman; "and I should be glad to have you both do your best in your studies. Josephus had a good work to do in the world, and his education prepared him for it. God may have something for my children to do which will require a cultivated intellect. So fit yourselves to fill any station in life."
"Father," asked Jennie, "what school did Josephus attend? or where was he educated?"
"I really do not know, daughter; but I have read of one in Jerusalem where Paul was educated, the school of Gamaliel, who was President of the Sanhedrim--the Jewish Senate--thirty-two years. Very likely it was there that Josephus was educated."
"Father," said Charles, "when Josephus was about sixteen he noticed that all men were not Pharisees, as his father was; and being a very inquisitive boy, he began to question who was right. There was a sect called Sadducees, who did not believe that men will live again after death, and said there were neither angels nor spirits. Josephus studied on that some time, but concluded his father's belief was better.
"He afterwards heard of a sect called the Essenes. They were a very peculiar people, living in caves and by-places, denying themselves nearly all the comforts of life, not even allowing themselves the society of their mothers and sisters, except on the Sabbath, when they met and ate their coarse hard fare together. Josephus went and lived with them for some time, but concluded their religion was not the right one."
"And I read," said Jennie, "of a man by the name of Bannus, who lived in the desert, and was dressed with the bark of trees, and ate what he could find in the woods. He was a very religious man, and preached to all who would hear him. Josephus went to see him, and for a long time remained there under his instruction."
"How long was Josephus engaged in testing these different sects?"
"About four years," replied Charles; "and then he went home, and concluded to be a Pharisee like his father."
"Did you find that Josephus wrote anything about Christ?" asked Mr. Sherman.
"Yes, father," said Charles; "yet it is not as much as I should suppose he would have said. I will read it to you: 'Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man, for he was a doer of wonderful works--a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles. He was (the) Christ; and when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men among us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him; for he appeared alive to them again the third day, as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him; and the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day.' Isn't that wonderful, father? If Josephus should come upon the earth now, he would think the 'tribe' of Christians had greatly increased; and he would be astonished, too, at all that has been done and is now doing in the cause of Christ."
"Indeed he would," replied Mr. Sherman. "But Josephus' testimony concerning the Saviour is worth a great deal; for you must remember he lived at a time when Christ's acts and words were fresh in the minds of the people, and had he written was was false, it would have been detected at once. Besides, he was an active priest, and had every opportunity of hearing a great deal said about Christ by the very persons who had seen him in Jerusalem, had heard him talk, and had perhaps seen him die. He heard the opinions of friends and enemies; and with all these opportunities to learn the truth, he makes up his mind that Jesus was the Christ, and that he rose from the dead on the third day, as our own Bible teaches us."
"Father, if Josephus believes that, why did he go on at the temple in the old way, offering sacrifices for sin, as if the Saviour had not come?"
"I suspect, Charles, that Josephus wrote his history after the destruction of Jerusalem. You will find, and you pursue the subject, that he was carried off to Rome; and it is probable that most of his history was written there."
"Josephus visited Rome," said Charles, "when he was about twenty-six years old, to defend some of his friends. He and other priests at the temple often had serious difficulties; at one time it resulted in quite a hard battle. At length this reached the ears of Felix the governor, who tried and condemned some of them, and sent them to Rome to be judged by Cæsar. They happened to be those in whom Josephus felt a particular interest; and he, in his zeal, took a ship and went on after them. It was a large ship, and had on board no less than six hundred persons as it started off over 'the great sea,' as the Mediterranean was then called. I suppose the people on board with Josephus were so glad to be on their way to their homes, or to visit friends, or to prosecute their business, that they borrowed no trouble about the winds and the waves, but sailed on joyfully many days."
"Did those ships sail under the protection of heathen gods?" asked Mr. Sherman.
"I think some of them did," said Charles. "You know the ship Paul sailed in had the sign of Castor and Pollux. Were they heathen gods, father?"
"Yes; they were supposed to be the twin sons of Jupiter, and to preside over the destiny of sailors," replied Mr. Sherman.
"Well, father, soon after Josephus' vessel entered the Adriatic waters, they found the winds rising and the waves swelling, and the vessel began pitching and rolling. Some thought that the winds would soon subside; but they waited and watched in vain; for instead of the sea becoming calmer, it only grew worse. All night they were in great fear;
and when morning came there was no sun--nothing but clouds, rain, and wind. The distress on board increased, and the hope of being saved was nearly gone. I suppose Josephus did what he could to comfort the rest, but he was in great fear himself; and when he saw the timbers of the ship straining, and threatening to part and let them down into the boiling waves, he could say nothing encouraging to the distressed creatures who were imploring help. Another day was drawing to a close, and night was setting in again with fearful sounds, and with a darkness that could almost be felt. I think, father, that then friends clasped each other in their arms and clung together tightly, that they might die together. At length there came, oh, such a heart-rending sound! the timbers parted, the vessels filled, and amid the screams of those six hundred horrified souls it went down into the sea. The waves were covered with human beings struggling for life. Some clung to each other, others to boards or whatever floated from the ship. But the struggle with most was short, and they sank here and there and all around. Josephus, with about eighty strong men, kept swimming and catching hold of whatever they could reach all night. But about daylight, when they were nearly exhausted, a ship hove in sight. How glad they were to see it, and yet so afraid it would not come that way; but it did come, and all these poor exhausted men were picked up and cared for. A few days' sailing after this brought them to Puteoli, in Italy, about eight miles from the Naples, and not a great way from Rome.
"While Josephus was there," said Charles, "he was introduced to a play-actor, who was acquainted with Poppea, Cæsar's wife; and the play-actor brought Josephus to Poppea, who treated him kindly, released the priests, and made him a great many presents, such as queens alone have to give; and he and the priests returned to Jerusalem."
"Father." said Charles, "I would like to know how long the Romans had had possession of Judea. The country seems to have had a great deal of trouble under the Roman rulers."
"Pompey took it sixty-three years before Christ," replied Mr. Sherman, "and the poor Jews never regained their liberty. Cæsar, who lived in Rome, sent out such men as Herod, Pilate, and Agrippa to rule Judea, but most of these rulers were hard-hearted and cruel men."
"Here is something about Felix," said Charles. "He made his home in the magnificent city of Cæsarea, which was sixty miles northwest of Jerusalem, on the Mediterranean sea. There he lived in great pomp, and all the Jews who were accused of any thing wrong, whether they were guilty or not, were taken to him to be judged."
"Christ," said Mr. Sherman, "was crucified about twenty-three years before Felix was appointed governor. After he arrived in Judea he must have learned a great deal about the Christian religion."
"Felix was a very wicked man," said Charles, "and would do almost any thing for money."
"Yes," said Mr. Sherman, "he had great faults. He persuaded Drusilla, the daughter of Herod, to leave her husband and marry him; and they were living together when Paul was carried from Jerusalem to him one night. Felix put Paul in prison and kept him there two years. But one day Felix and Drusilla thought they would hear what Paul had to say in favor of the new religion which he advocated; so the prisoner with the heavy chain upon his arm, was brought in and told that he might speak. Paul was bold and spoke the truth, and pressed it home so strongly that Felix trembled; and I think the guilty Jewess Drusilla wished she had not put herself in the prisoner's presence. Felix sent him back to prison, hoping money would be given for his release."
"Father," said Jennie. "I think Josephus must have seen Paul; for it is probable that he was still lying at Cæsarea in prison when Josephus came back from Rome."
"Very possible, my daughter; and if he did not hear and see him, he must have of heard him."
"Just about the time Josephus returned," said Charles, "they were having great trouble in Cæsarea. The Jews said, as Herod who built the city was a Jew, the place belonged to them, and they ought to have more privileges there than the foreigners. The Gentiles, who were often called Grecians, insisted that the beautiful temples and statues there were never designed for the Jews; and this dispute finally resulted in hard fights, and then Felix sent the Roman soldiers, who killed the Jews till the streets of the city ran with blood. Their property was taken, and many of their first men were whipped and thrown into prison. The city was finally given to their enemies."
"Did Felix rule long, Charles?"
"About ten years, I think," replied Charles. "He became so oppressive that Cæsar sent for him to return to Rome; and we learn from the Bible that when he went off, he left Paul lying in prison without any just cause."
"Many of the Jews followed Felix," said Mr. Sherman, "and accused him before Cæsar, and had it not been for the interference of his brother, he would have been condemned to suffer death. The country was in such a bad and restless state, that Josephus felt that ruin was ahead unless something could be done to quiet the people, who seemed determined to rise and throw off the Roman yoke. He assured them that it would be madness for them to think of fighting the whole Roman force; 't would be certain defeat, and destruction to themselves and their families. Festus was the next ruler, but he did very little except to drive out the robbers. Albinus succeeded him, but was so cruel, that he was soon recalled.
"At length it was announced that a new governor had arrived, whose name was Florus. The people were delighted, and were ready to become quiet and obedient citizens, if their rights could be respected.
"Josephus was glad to see this disposition, and hoped the war-cloud had passed away. He and others visited Florus, who met them with kindness, and promised that the rights of all should be respected. But it was not too long before the nation was astonished to hear of his wickedness. Whole cities were nearly ruined by his exactions, and hundreds of the best citizens moved away to other countries to avoid the calamities that were hanging over them."
"Couldn't they have accused him before Cæsar and been heard?"
"None dared do it, my son, lest Florus should hear of it and take their lives. God was forsaking these Jews. They had stoned the prophets, crucified their Saviour, and persecuted the Christians, and now they were suffering great evils."
"What occurred next?" asked Charles.
"The feast of unleavened bread was about to be observed," said Mr. Sherman, "and every man was required to be in Jerusalem. This was a feast in commemoration of the departure of the children of Israel out of Egypt; and God had enjoined upon the people the necessity of remembering the great deliverance he had wrought for them. A lamb must be carried for each family. and there killed and eaten. The country was densely populated, and at some of these feasts multitudes were present. At this time Jerusalem was full, and wherever men met they were discussing the conduct of Florus. But they did it in low and confidential tones, while their faces looked earnest and anxious. Some however were more bold and spoke out strongly for war and death, rather than bear such oppression and servitude. Roman soldiers were stationed in all parts of the city, and the tower of Antonia, near the temple, was full of them; and should they see the least move towards an outbreak, they would be down upon the unarmed people at once.
"After a day or two the Jews were surprised to hear that Cestius, the president of all Syria, and Florus had arrived in Jerusalem. Then there was great excitement, and every mouth seemed unstopped. They crowded upon the president with complaints against Florus; and begged of him, if he had any compassion upon the nation, to remove their wicked ruled. They told him with tears that they had been robbed, their friends murdered, and their rights taken from them, till death was to be preferred to such a life. Cestius was sorry for the people, and told them that in future they should be protected. He then urged them to be obedient and peaceable citizens, and not allow any outbreaks, and assured them that all should be well.
"When Cestius went back to Antioch, Florus rode with him, and made him believe that the people were misinformed, that they were excited, and that while he had been kind to them, they were disposed for war and rebellion. And Cestius concluded that Florus was a pretty good man after all."
"But we shall be obliged to consider him a bad man," said Charles.
"Sometimes God uses just such men to punish people," replied Jennie.
"After that," said her father, "Florus sent men to Jerusalem to take seventeen talents, (about twenty-five thousand dollars,) out of the sacred treasury, pretending that Cæsar wanted them. The Jews of course were very much outraged to think that he would presume to touch their sacred treasures, and rose in a mass to oppose it. Florus thought it a good time to fight, and taking a large body of cavalry and footmen marched upon Jerusalem.
"The Jews heard he was coming, but thought the best way to obtain favor was to march out like friends and escort him into the city. But Florus and his troops rode in among them, and trod them down, till the poor creatures in a terrible fright got back into the city as soon as possible, and spent the night in great fear.
"The next day Florus set his tribunal before the palace; and taking his seat upon it called before him the high priests, and the most eminent men of the city, and demanded that they deliver up to him all those who had reproached him, and threatened punishment upon them if they did not obey his orders.
"These priests and other told Florus that the large body of the people were disposed for peace, and that they could not know who had spoken amiss; and asked that he would forgive them, and not by an attempt to punish a few, create great disorder in the city.
"Florus was provoked, and ordered his soldiers to go and plunder the upper market-place, and kill the people they found. This was a densely populated part of Jerusalem, and the soldiers not only did what they were commanded, but much more; murdering women and children, and causing many quiet people to be whipped and crucified. All day the soldiers butchered them, and at night three thousand people lay dead.
"The next day there was a great rush from other parts of the city to see what had been done, and the sight was so dreadful that they all began to weep in a loud voice, and reproach Florus. But the priests rent their clothes and begged them to stop, or Florus would be provoked to kill them also."
"What a terrible condition the country was in," said Charles.
"Yes," said Mr. Sherman, "Every thing seemed tending to its destruction--Josephus was obliged to be very careful what he did and said, for his life also was in danger. Florus was not yet satisfied with the blood he had shed; and calling the principal men together, he told them that peace should be restored on condition that they and the people should go out and escort a company of soldiers who were on their way to the city. He then sent word to these troops to ride over them and destroy the Jews.
"To satisfy him, and to save their own lives, they went out, but it was very unwillingly however, for they felt that it would do no good. At length the Roman soldiers came dashing forward with their brass helmets and bright spears glistening in the sun. The poor submissive Jews took a very humble posture, as they had been commanded, but the haughty Romans drew their swords and rode in among them and killed many. The Jews in their haste to get back into the city ran over each other in narrow places, till hundreds of them lay dead and dying on the ground. Those who reached the city, and others there, hurried upon the roofs of the houses and fought, throwing darts and stones among the Romans, who were trying to reach the temple to rob it of its gold. Florus and his troops were driven back, and finally left the city; and the people were glad enough to get him out of their sight.
"Bernice, the sister of Agrippa was in Jerusalem about this time, and was very much displeased at what the Roman soldiers were doing. She sent the masters of her horse and her guards to Florus and begged him to leave off those slaughters. But he had no regard to her requests. She then sent again, beseeching him to spare the people; but it only exasperated the soldiers. They tormented those they caught before her eyes, and she herself was obliged to fly to the palace for protection, where she remained all night. She was then in Jerusalem performing a vow she had made to God; and she went before Florus as he sat upon his tribunal, and stood barefoot, and besought him to spare the Jews. But it did no good."
"Christ," said Jennie, "wept over Jerusalem, for he saw how much misery was shortly to come upon it."
Mr. Sherman then took the Bible and read from the twenty-eighth chapter of Deuteronomy: "And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the Lord thy God will set thee on high above all the nations of the earth. The Lord shall cause thine enemies to rise up against thee to be smitten before thy face; they shall come out against thee one way, and flee before thee seven ways. But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day, that all these curses shall come upon thee and overtake thee: Cursed shalt thou be in the city, and cursed shalt thou be in the field; cursed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and cursed shalt thou be when thou goest out. The Lord shall cause thee to be smitten before thine enemies; thou shalt go out one way against them, and flee seven ways before them, and shalt be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth. And thy carcass shall be meat unto all fowls of the air, and unto the beasts of the earth, and no man shall fray them away. The Lord shall bring a nation against them from far, from the end of the earth, as swift as the eagle flieth; a nation whose tongue thou shalt not understand; a nation of fierce countenance, which shall not regard the person of the old, nor show favor to the young."
"Father," said Charles, "couldn't the Jews talk and understand the language of the Romans?"
"No, my son; neither could the Romans understand the Jews, except through interpreters."
Charles was becoming very much interested in the oppression the Jews were under, and read with interest of the hopes which were excited by the arrival in the country of Agrippa, the brother of Bernice, who was of Jewish descent.
"What do you know of him?" asked Mr. Sherman, as they seated themselves one evening in the parlor.
"I know," said Charles, "the he was the son of that Herod Agrippa who, seated on his throne to make an oration to the people, received divine honors, and was eaten of worms, and died. At that time this Agrippa was only seventeen years old, and was living at Rome with Claudius the emperor. Claudius thought of giving him at once all his father's territory in Judea, but concluded that he was too young, and kept him four years longer. About that time his uncle, king of Chalcis, died; and Agrippa soon after came into large possessions in Judea, and was a man of extended influence.
"When Festus first arrived in Cæsarea, Agrippa and his sister went up to salute him. While they were enjoying the hospitality of the ruler, and probably wishing amusement, Paul was brought in and allowed to speak for himself. The apostle said he was happy to speak before King Agrippa, because he knew him to be familiar with all customs and questions among the Jews. At the end of his very eloquent speech, which is in the twenty-sixth chapter of Acts, Paul said, 'King Agrippa, believest thou the prophets? I know that thou believest.' Then Agrippa said unto Paul, 'Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.'"
"Father," asked Jennie, "was he ever a Christian?"
"I think not," replied Mr. Sherman. "He put it off, like many other people; and after the destruction of Jerusalem, he and his sister went to Rome, where he died, at the age of seventy.
"While the troubles which we have been relating were occurring in Jerusalem, Agrippa had been down in Egypt; and now he had but just returned, and was stopping a short time in a city near. Bernice, in the mean time, had despaired of moving Florus to be more merciful, and wishing to benefit the Jews, had written to Cestius, as had many of the principal men of Jerusalem, asking his interference. Cestius felt it his duty to do something; and calling Neopolanitus, one of his tribunes, ordered him to go down and investigate the charges. It so happened that the day he arrived at the place where King Agrippa was stopping, several of the principal men of Jerusalem were there to congratulate the king on his safe return, and lay before him their grievances.
"Agrippa was very indignant towards Florus when he learned how much evil he had done in his absence, and went with Neopolanitus to Jerusalem. When the Jews heard that Agrippa, who, being brought up a Jew, knew how to sympathize with them, was coming, they were overjoyed, and hundreds of the first men of the city went out to meet him.
"They had not gone far before the widows of those who had been killed came running, weeping and lamenting with loud voices. This touched the hearts of the men, who also wept aloud. Agrippa and Neopolanitus were greatly moved at the sight of this sorrow, and to hear these people beg for deliverance from their oppressors. Agrippa and Neopolanitus were taken over to the upper marketplace and shown the desolations there, and then the Jews besought Neopolanitus to take only one servant and go all over the city, and see if the people were not disposed to be quiet, and obedient to all their rulers except Florus. This he did, and expressed himself pleased with what he saw of their conduct. After performing such worship at the temple as he was allowed to do, he returned to Cestius.
"Agrippa knew, from what he saw and heard, that the people had been greatly abused; and gathering them into the temple, gave them a long talk, in which he praised them for the good disposition they had manifested. Some asked if they might not send an ambassador to Rome, to complain of Florus to the emperor. Agrippa replied, 'That would be a dangerous thing for you to do. It might work to your own hurt.'
"He then placed his sister Bernice where she could be seen, and commenced by saying that the Romans were a powerful nation: they had conquered nearly every people on the globe; all over Europe and Asia they had carried their arms, and had subdued many nations, who were better able to maintain their independence than the Jews. He tried to show them that it was madness for them, without a fleet or arms or money, to think of going to war. He said, 'Do you depend upon the walls of your city? Did not Pompey the Roman general destroy them years ago? If you could not keep your liberty when you had it, how do you expect to regain it when you are slaves? You cannot depend upon God, for he will not hear you on account of your sins. He has forsaken you; and now, if you have any pity upon your wives and children, keep the peace.' Agrippa talked in this way an hour or two, and he and Bernice both wept."
"Probably some of these same Jews," said Mr. Sherman, "heard Christ when he said, 'How often would I have gathered you, as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not.' Poor Jews! they did not know when good came, and now they were left to their doom. Before Agrippa left the city, he told them that they must build up some of the places which had been broken down, and pay their tribute to Cæsar, and thus prevent complaints. For a long time they had objected to paying taxes to the Romans; even when Christ was with them they asked him if it was lawful to pay tribute to Cæsar."
"He taught them by example to do it," said Jennie. "He once wrought a miracle to get the money."
"Yes," said Mr. Sherman. "Christ taught them to obey their rulers. These Jews accepted the advice of Agrippa, and paid up all that was due, and the war spirit subsided for a while."
Charles said, "The difficulty was, there were two parties in Jerusalem. One was for resisting and fighting the Romans; and the other, with Josephus at its head, was for peace. Some suspected he was for betraying his nation more completely into the hands of the Romans; and their anger burnt so fiercely, that for several days he lay secreted in the temple. Eleazer, who was the ruler of the temple, prevailed upon the priests not to offer any more sacrifices for foreigners, not even for Cæsar, as they had usually done. The chief men in the city saw what that would lead to, and begged of the people to do differently; but as they persisted in their course, which was creating great dissatisfaction, word was sent to Agrippa and also to Florus that more troops were necessary in order to keep the people quiet."
"Agrippa was sorry," said Mr. Sherman, "to hear of this necessity; he could not bear to destroy any part of the city, especially the beautiful temple. Yet as he was placed in his office by the Romans, he felt that he must keep the Jews in subjection. He gave Philip, one of his generals, three thousand men, and ordered him to Jerusalem. But Florus paid no attention to his request for troops, for he had rather have disturbance than not.
"This asking for an increase of the army had a very different effect from what was expected. The Jews were aroused, and with Eleazer at their head, armed themselves, and seized upon the temple and the city surrounding it. But the Roman soldiers, with another party of the Jews, kept possession of the rest of the city, and for several days these parties fought each other.
"Hundreds of robbers, who were prowling around, came in and joined the army at the temple, and with their short swords, which they carried concealed, stabbed all who opposed them. When Philip and his army arrived, the peace party expected that Eleazer and his men would be routed; but they were disappointed for they rushed furiously down, and drove the Romans back. They set fire to the beautiful house of Ananias the high priest, and the flames had hardly burst forth there before dark clouds of smoke began to rise from the splendid palace of Agrippa and Bernice. They also applied the torch to the buildings where their public papers were kept, and all were soon reduced to ashes. Mines were also dug under some strong towers, where the people were assembled, and they fell, killing hundreds. Poor Ananias the priest was nearly crazy in the tumult, and crawled into an aqueduct; and Hezekiah his brother hid not far off, and there they lay in great fear while the work of death went on above them. But they were found next day by the robbers, who took their lives. When God gives up a people, he chooses his own instruments by which to punish them. All these were steps towards the final overthrow of Jerusalem."
"Well, father," said Charles, "the Jews did not seem to be any better off in other places; for in Cæsarea Florus was murdering them by thousands. They ran to and fro, trying to save their wives and children; but twenty thousand lay dead there in the street at one time. As soon as the news of this horrid massacre spread over Palestine, every city was aroused and flew to arms. Some joined their enemies, and they fought and destroyed each other in the most dreadful manner.
"When it was night, a terrible fear, worse if possible than death itself, prevailed, and robbers could be seen treading around among the dead looking for plunder. At Scythopolis the Jews were so alarmed that they all went into the ranks of the Romans; but they were suspicious of the Jews, and fearing they might betray the city, commanded them to go to a grove, a few miles out, and remain in quietness. They left their all and went; but the second night they were awakened only to see themselves and their families cut down by the sword of the Romans, and learn too late that they had been sent there that they might all be killed at once. When the sun arose the next morning, it looked down upon the thirteen thousand dead bodies in that place. At Askelon, the city of the Philistines, twenty-five hundred were killed. At Ptolemais and Tyre, and indeed in every city, imprisonment or death was their portion. And even down in Egypt, at Alexandria, the Romans are said to have killed fifty thousand in one day."
"Charles," said Mr. Sherman, "you give us a very deplorable account of the country, and of the Jews generally; I should suppose that by that time there would have been some organized army among the Jews for their own protection."
"Josephus did call a large meeting in Jerusalem," said Charles, "and told the people that, as the difficulties had gone so far, there was no hope of peace, and if the would unite, he would do all in his power to help them. So he joined heartily with his nation, and became their counsellor. Cestius heard of all the movements and disturbances in the country, and thought the time had now come when an army must be raised and the Jews brought into subjection.
"He took the twelfth Roman legion from Antioch; and many small cities each sent in two thousand cavalry, with great numbers of archers; and the petty kings around furnished troops; so that when they were all collected, armed, and drilled, they looked very formidable. Agrippa took part of them under his command, and marched down with Cestius towards Jerusalem. When they reached Zebulon, a city of Galilee, not an individual was to be seen; all had fled to the mountains; so they distributed themselves over the city, which was full of every good thing, took what they wanted, and then set fire to the place, though it was of admirable beauty, and marched on. The inhabitants soon after returned, only to see the smoldering ruins of their once peaceful homes. It aroused them, however, and hundreds hurried on to assist in the defence of Jerusalem.
"The Feast of Tabernacles occurred about this time, and as Jerusalem was filled up with strong men, they were armed and put upon duty. Josephus estimates that on such occasions not far from three millions of people were in the city, and Cestius thought this a good time to strike a blow."
"His camp," said Mr. Sherman, "was a few miles from Jerusalem, and was equal to any of modern times. If they ground was uneven, they leveled it and divided it up into streets. The tent of the general was placed in the centre, and his officers were encamped around him, while the common soldiers occupied the rest of the space. A high wall, with towers at equal distances, encircled it, but spaces were left for the great engines with which they threw arrows and stones. A gate on either side was for the use of the men and the huge army of elephants. Other beasts were employed, particularly horses and mules, which they had by thousands. When they were about to leave the camp to attack an enemy, trumpets were sounded. At the first blast the tents were all taken down; at the second the baggage was laid upon the beasts, and all stood ready; at the third they marched. The horsemen, with headpieces and breastplates, carried a sword in their right hand with a long pole in their left. A shield lay before them, with several broad darts. The footmen also had headpieces and breastplates, a lance, a spear, a buckler, a saw, a pickaxe, a thong of leather, a hook, a basket, and provision for three days. A brazen eagle, to which they paid divine honors, led them wherever they went, and slothfulness and desertion was punished to death."
"On the following sabbath,
as the bright sun gilded the tops of the mountains which were round
about Jerusalem, and lighted with splendor the golden temple, the Romans
were seen advancing in solid phalanx towards the walls of the city.
The brazen eagle was raised on high, and they were exulting in the
thought that the thousands of Jews before them would fall an easy prey
to their prowess. They had waited for holy time, thinking the Jews
on that day would make no resistance, which had indeed been true in some
parts of their history, but now they were ready and desperate."
"Father," said Charles,
"they were greatly encouraged on account of their numbers, and rushed
out from the gates with such force and violence that they broke the
ranks of the Romans and marched through the midst of them, killing and
slaughtering as they went. Some of the horesmen wheeled, and went
to the succor of those who were firm in their places, and thus saved
Cestius, who had been in great danger. Four hundred and fifteen
horsemen, were killed. Cestius then ordered a retreat to the camp.
The Jews followed, and fell upon them as they went, and captured many of
the elephants that carried their weapons of war. Cestius lay in
camp three days ; but the Jews were on the watch, and determined that he
should not move without trouble."
Mr. Sherman said, "There
were many Christians in the city. Some of them had seen and talked
with Christ thirty-three years before, and had heard him say that when
they should see 'the abomination of desolation standing where it ought
not' - which meant this very army, with the images of their idols in
their ensigns - and 'Jerusalem compassed with armies,' then they should
'flee to the mountains.' But now how could they? The gates
were shut and watched ; no one could go in or out ; every day they were
expecting another attack from Cestius ; and, with his well-trained
forces, he felt sure of taking the city. All they could do was, to
pray that God would deliver them ; they could see no possible way of
escape. The mountains around were covered with Jews, anxious to
fall upon the Romans if they made a move in any direction ; and the
thousands in the city were equally determined to do them all the harm
they could. Agrippa saw his danger, and thought to try what words
would do. He hoped to divide the Jews into parties who would fight
against each other ; so he sent two men with orders to say to the Jews
that if they would lay down their arms and come over to him they should
"The Jews were so
outraged by such offers that they slew one of the men, and the other
made his escape badly wounded. Some of the Jews, however, were
indignant at what they termed the rash usage of the peace ambassadors,
and this occasioned a war among themselves. Cestius was on the
watch for this, and when he saw the disturbance, took his whole army and
attacked the Jews around, and drove them back into the city. He
then moved his camp nearer the walls."
"The poor Christians,"
said Jennie ; "I hope they will escape somehow."
"It will be easy for God
to open a door for them," replied her father.
"For three days after
this," said Charles, "Cestius kept a large part of his army out among
the neighboring towns, gathering grain. He was giving the Jews
time for reflection, hoping they would come to his terms. But on
the fourth day, with a very large force and a few battering rams, he
attacked the city ; and so furious were the blows upon the wall that it
began to crack."
"Why, father," said
Jennie, "if the city was so strongly fortified both by nature and art,
and had stood so many years, why should it give out now so easily?"
"You must remember, my
daughter, that Jerusalem had been taken several times, and its walls
destroyed and rebuilt. Perhaps the walls were not as strong as
formerly. In the time of Herod the city had outgrown its walls on
the north, and he built a new wall for its protection. It was at
this wall, which was never completed, that Cestius was at work ; and
after a hard struggle with the Jews, who threw stones and darts with
great force, it fell. The Jews all ran, and the Romans marched in
with great rejoicings.
"But Cestius found that
another wall, which could not be so easily destroyed, stood between him
and the upper part of the city. He set fire to all the buildings
where he was, and then made arrangements to attack the city where the
Jews were assembled.
"There was great
consternation among the Jews. Some were for giving up and opening
the gates at once, others were for fighting till every man should fall ;
and in the confusion, a few slyly slid off, and informed Cestius that
they would open the gates and let him in. He looked upon their
offer with suspicion, and after consulting with his officers, concluded
he would not trust or accept their friendship."
"I am glad he did not,"
"But, my daughter," said
Mr. Sherman, "the Romans soon after appeared behind the wall near the
temple with their battering rams. And no sooner had they made
their attack, than Josephus and all the Jews who loved their nation,
resisted, and fought with all their energy, determining to give their
lives, before the Romans should take their great Holy House.
Florus had secretly corrupted the camp-master of the Roman army, and a
great number of the officers of the horse ; and by this means the war
was prolonged , they not taking advantage of opportunities presented.
"About this time many of
the principal men among the Jews became disaffected, and, through the
persuasion of one Ananus, were about to open the gates and invite
Cestius in. But he could not believe they were in earnest, and
delayed till the treachery was discovered. Ananus and his
followers were seized, thrown from the walls, and pelted with stones.
"For five days the Romans
made their attacks upon the wall to no purpose. Then Cestius took
a great many of his most valiant men, with many archers to clear the
Jews from the wall, and attempted to break through to the temple.
Several times the Jews drove them back ; but at length the arrows flew
so thick, they were compelled to give way. The Romans were
undermining the wall, and had all things ready to set fire to the gate
of the temple.
"Great distress now
filled Jerusalem, and many wept and lamented, as if their beautiful and
holy temple was already in flames. There seemed to be no help for
them ; the fighting men were driven back, and others were rushing
forward to open the gates, when Cestius, not knowing how matters stood
within, suddenly became discouraged and gave orders for his army to
retire to the camp."
"Now," said Jennie, "the
Christians may have a chance to escape."
"Yes," replied her
father, "our historian Josephus says that 'The most eminent of the Jews
swam away from the city as from a ship when it was about to sink.'
It has also been said that, when the city was finally destroyed, not one
of the followers of Christ perished within its walls.
"Cestius lay in camp that
night, and the next day moved off farther. Of course the Jews
followed him, and fell upon the rear, and by darts and stones killed
many of his men ; others attacked the sides of the columns as they
marched, and thus they went on till they reached their old camp at Gabao.
On their way, Priscus, the commander of the sixth Roman Legion, was
killed ; also Longinus the tribune, and Emilius Secundus, commander of a
troop of horse. A great part of their baggage was also captured.
"Two days Cestius lay in
camp, in great perplexity, not knowing what to do. The country was
covered with Jews, and their numbers were continually increasing ; so he
concluded that the longer he remained there, the worse off he should be.
He gave orders to kill the mules and other animals except such as
carried their darts and machines, that they might not fall into the
hands of the Jews.
"When all were ready, the
Romans marched out in face of the Jews, who did not annoy them much in
open ground ; but in narrow places they poured upon them stones and
darts, and filling up the narrow way hindered their march and
threw them into confusion. The horsemen could not climb the ragged
sides of the heights to attack the Jews ; many of them attempting it
fell, and were destroyed. The distress they were in caused them to
lament aloud ; but the Jews shouted and rejoiced, till the mountains
echoed back their joy. Had not night set in, Cestius and his whole
army might have been taken. But they fled into Bethhoron, a place
twelve miles from Jerusalem, while the Jews lighted down all over the
hills, waiting for them to come out again in the morning.
"Cestius now came to the
conclusion that he could never get off with his army in the daytime, and
contrived how he might best run away. He selected four hundred of
his most courageous men, and placing them upon the strong
fortifications, told them to erect their ensigns in the morning, that
the Jews might believe that the whole army were there ; then, with the
rest of his troops, he stole slyly off, and travelled most of the night
before his flight was discovered."
"When the Jews saw the
ruse, they slew the four hundred men, and then with all their might
pursued on after Cestius. All the way they found the road strewn
with weapons, engines, and instruments of war ; but on they went as far
as Antipatris, some twenty miles or more from Jerusalem, when they
concluded to turn around and give up the chase.
"On their way back they
gathered up the engines, and what other things they wanted, robbed the
dead of any valuables they had upon their persons, and returned to
Jerusalem with great rejoicings. They had killed five
thousand and three hundred footmen, and three hundred and eighty
horsemen, while they had suffered comparatively little. This was
in October, in the twelfth year of Nero's reign."
"That was a very
mortifying defeat for those boastful Romans," said Charles, "and no
sooner did the news of it reach Damascus, than out of revenge, ten
thousand unarmed Jews whom they had shut up were killed.
"Soon after the Jews who
had pursued Cestius returned to the city," said Mr. Sherman, "they
persuaded some and compelled others to break the allegiance they had
professed to the Romans, and join them ; and a large meeting was called
and held in the temple, where the war was discussed, and generals
appointed to take charge of different parts of the country.
Josephus was to have command of Galilee ; a man by the name of John was
in charge of some cities near by ; others were sent to other parts, and
so the whole land was placed under military rulers. A hundred
thousand young men in Galilee soon offered themselves, which made
a fine army for Josephus, who had been collecting arms from the spoils
of the enemy and from other sources, so that nearly all his men were
"Getting his troops out
in a large place where he could review them, Josephus made a long
address, in which he spoke for some time of the thorough discipline of
the Romans, their determination of spirit, and their courage, and said,
'If you wish to repel these enemies of yours, and drive them from your
country, you must not only observe all things which I teach you, but you
must keep from thieving, robbery, and other sins, which provoke God to
fight against you.
"These one hundred
thousand young men who stood there that day full of life, and with
buoyant hope of future success, each holding the old weapon assigned
him, looked with pride upon their noble general, and determined as far
as possible to obey his orders, and rid their land of the oppressor's
rod. Josephus taught them to give signals ; to call
and recall by trumpets ; to extend the wings of the army, and to wheel
them about. He divided them into companies, and appointed
subordinate officers over them, after the manner of the Romans.
These officers he chose from the people of Galilee, in order to identify
them in the work and to make them his fast friends."
"Father," said Charles,
"Josephus was all engaged in administering the affairs in his field,
thinking he had the cooperation of all other officers near him, and
wholly unaware of the trickery and hatred of John of Gischala.
"This John was very
deceitful, and while he pretended to respect Josephus, was all the time
plotting his overthrow. He had no principle, and to serve his own
ambition would have gone as readily into the Roman ranks as into his
own. Power was what he wanted, and power was what he was
determined to have, even should he have to murder Josephus to gain it.
He was in great want of money, and by deceiving Josephus, got the
priviledge of supplying a part of the country with oil ; and by
purchasing cheap and selling dear, he made large sums, with which he
hired men to cooperate with him against Josephus.
"At another time he
pretended to be sick, and asked leave to go to Tiberias for the sake of
the hot baths there. Josephus treated him very kindly, and ordered
nice accommodations for him ; but no sooner had he reached the city,
than he began to spread his treason ; and had not Josephus been informed
of his treachery, the city would have revolted. Josephus went
there with an army, and John made his escape."
"I am glad to have you
speak of this man," said Mr. Sherman, "for we find him practising his
knavery down even to the final overthrow of Jerusalem."
"On another occasion,
father, he made Josephus a great deal of trouble, and it came near
costing Josephus his life. Ptolemy, the steward of King Agrippa
and Bernice, was passing through the country, carrying a great many rich
garments and many silver cups, and six hundred pieces of gold, when one
of the Jewish guards laid a snare for him, and robbed him of the whole.
It was all carried to Josephus. The robbers expected a share of
it, and being disappointed, united with John in raising a great outcry
against Josephus' loyalty ; and made so many believe that their general
was going to deliver them all into the hands of the Romans, that they
surrounded his house in the night, and he barely escaped with his life."
"Yes, Charles, Josephus
had a great deal of trouble in establishing himself in Galilee ; but he
finally succeeded, and all went to work in earnest to prepare for the
return of the Romans.
"In Jerusalem, two men
were appointed as governors of the city ; but there was much confusion,
and very little order. One Eleazer, the son of Simon, had managed
by trickery to get into his possession much of the spoil they had taken
from the Romans, and the money they had taken from Cestius, and to him
the people were obliged to submit.
"In every city, all
through Galilee, every man was engaged either in strengthening the
walls, or making instruments of war, or preparing for long sieges by
laying up in the cities immense quantities of provisions. Jotapata,
which we shall hear from hereafter, was not well supplied with water ;
and as there was no way of bringing it into the city in as short a time
as they had to work, they concluded