The Wars Of The Jews
The History Of The Destruction Of Jerusalem
THE GREAT DISTRESS THE JEWS WERE IN UPON THE CONFLAGRATION OF THE HOLY HOUSE. CONCERNING A FALSE PROPHET, AND THE SIGNS THAT PRECEDED THIS DESTRUCTION.
1. WHILE the holy house was on fire, every thing was plundered that came to hand, and ten thousand of those that were caught were slain; nor was there a 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 round 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.
This is yet another 10,000 Jews that were slain by the leaders of the rebellion – apparently anyone that tried to salvage anything from the burning temple was slain young old thieves and priests alike.
The flame was also carried a long way, and made an echo, together with the groans of those that were slain; and because this 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, who were marching all together, 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, and made sad moans
The groans and moans of those dying and slain by the rebellion can be heard by all. They then drive by sword a large group of innocent civilians into the roman ranks.
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 brake out into groans and outcries again: Pera did also return the echo, as well as the mountains round about [the city,] and augmented the force of the entire noise. Yet was the misery itself more terrible than this disorder; for one would have thought that the hill itself, on which the temple stood, was seething hot, as 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 no where 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 outward 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 bases, which were made of lead, and shot them at the Romans instead of darts. But then as they gained nothing by so doing, and as the fire burst out upon them,
The Priests then took lead spikes that had been on the temple and attempted to use them as darts on the Romans but a flame from the house of God bust upon these priests and put them against a wall.
They retired to the wall that was eight cubits broad, and there they tarried; yet did two of these 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 burnt together with the holy house; their names were Meirus the son of Belgas, and Joseph the son of Daleus.
I stead of surrendering two leaders of the priests tossed themselves into the flames of the house of God.
2. And now the Romans, judging that it was in vain to spare what was round about the holy house, burnt 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 burnt afterward. They also burnt down the treasury chambers, in which was an immense quantity of money, and an immense number of garments, and other precious goods there reposited; 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 Caesar 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 burnt in the cloisters themselves. Nor did any one of them escape with his life.
FALSE PROPHET HAD PREDICTED MIRACULOUS SIGNS AND THE CITIES DELIVERANCE
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.
THE SEDITION MAKES USE OF FALSE PROPHETS TO TRY TO HOLD THE PEOPLE TOGETHER
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 it is that the patient is full of hopes of such his deliverance.
3. Thus were the miserable people persuaded by these deceivers, and such as belied God himself; while they did not attend nor give credit to the signs that were so 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.
THE SIGNS THAT CAME FROM GOD
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 Xanthicus, [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 day time; which 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 a lamb 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 not without 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 foreshowed the desolation that was coming upon them. Besides these, a few days after that feast, on the one and twentieth day of the month Artemisius, [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 sun-setting, 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, they 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 great 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 not he 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, where he was whipped till his bones were laid bare; yet he did not 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 came? and why he uttered such words? he made no manner of reply to what he said, but still did not leave off his melancholy ditty, 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 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 this ditty 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.
One of the most stunning and stark things about all this is that NOT ONE Christian, NOT ONE prophet from the body of Christ, came to Jerusalem to make a final call and appeal to the city -- It disturbs me greatly that it fell upon God alone to do this final act alone. This is an indictment of the sad state that the ek-klesia had come into just 36 years. The Ek-klesia was in such disarray that they could not be used.
Isaiah 59:16-20 And he saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor: therefore his arm brought salvation unto him; and his righteousness, it sustained him. For he put on righteousness as a breastplate, and an helmet of salvation upon his head; and he put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, and was clad with zeal as a cloak. According to their deeds, accordingly he will repay, fury to his adversaries, recompence to his enemies; to the islands he will repay recompence. So shall they fear the name of the LORD from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him. And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the LORD.
4. Now if any one consider these things, he will find that God takes care of mankind, and by all ways possible foreshows to our race what is for their preservation; but that men perish by those miseries which they madly and voluntarily bring upon themselves; for the Jews, by demolishing the tower of Antonia, had made their temple four-square, while at the same time they had it written in their sacred oracles, "That then should their city be taken, as well as their holy house, when once their temple should become four-square." But now, what did the most elevate them in undertaking this war, was an ambiguous oracle that was also found in their sacred writings, how," about that time, one from their country should become governor of the habitable earth." The Jews took this prediction to belong to themselves in particular, and many of the wise men were thereby deceived in their determination. Now this oracle certainly denoted the government of Vespasian, who was appointed emperor in Judea. However, it is not possible for men to avoid fate, although they see it beforehand. But these men interpreted some of these signals according to their own pleasure, and some of them they utterly despised, until their madness was demonstrated, both by the taking of their city and their own destruction.
HOW THE ROMANS CARRIED THEIR ENSIGNS TO THE TEMPLE, AND MADE JOYFUL ACCLAMATIONS TO TITUS. THE SPEECH THAT TITUS MADE TO THE JEWS WHEN THEY MADE SUPPLICATION FOR MERCY. WHAT REPLY THEY MADE THERETO; AND HOW THAT REPLY MOVED TITUS'S INDIGNATION AGAINST THEM.
1. 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 gate; and there did they offer sacrifices to them, and there did they make 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 perfidiousness. 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.
This is the origin of the Custom of handshaking – the “Right hand of Fellowship” if a person offered his right hand and the roman would accept it and shake it the person would come to no harm. Again and again we see the Romans showing mercy to these people. They did not slay them utterly. Titus sought to end this peacefully and he sought to spare the house of God. But the Jewish leaders of the sedition appear almost demon possessed and do everything in their power to see that they are utterly destroyed – the reason that I post this is I see a start warning to all that calls itself the church, to all that have put themselves under anti-Christs that those leaders those self appointed apostles and councils and denominations shall be seized with a similar madness at the end of the age to seek their utter destruction and the destruction of all that would follow them.
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.
2. But as for the tyrants themselves, and those that were with them, when they found that they were encompassed on every side, and, as it were, walled round, without any method of escaping, they desired to treat with Titus by word of mouth. Accordingly, such was the kindness of his nature, and his desire of preserving the city 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 Sinran and John, with great hopes of pardon; and the Romans about Caesar, in great expectation how Titus would receive their supplication. So Titus charged his soldiers to restrain their rage, and to let their darts alone, and appointed an interpreter between them, which was a sign that he was the conqueror, and first began the discourse, and said, "I hope you, sirs, are now satiated with the miseries of your country, who have not bad any just notions, either of our great power, or of your own great weakness, but have, like madmen, after a violent and inconsiderate manner, made such attempts, as have brought your people, your city, and your holy house to destruction. You have been the men that have never left off rebelling since Pompey first conquered you, and have, since that time, made open war with the Romans. Have you depended on your multitude, while a very small part of the Roman soldiery have been strong enough for you? Have you relied on the fidelity of your confederates? And what nations are there, out of the limits of our dominion, that would choose to assist the Jews before the Romans? Are your bodies stronger than ours? nay, you know that the [strong] Germans themselves are our servants. Have you stronger walls than we have? Pray, what greater obstacle is there than the wall of the ocean, with which the Britons are encompassed, and yet do adore the arms of the Romans. Do you exceed us in courage of soul, and in the sagacity of your commanders? Nay, indeed, you cannot but know that the very Carthaginians have been conquered by us. It can therefore be nothing certainly but the kindness of us Romans which hath excited you against us; who, in the first place, have given you this land to possess; and, in the next place, have set over you kings of your own nation; and, in the third place, have preserved the laws of your forefathers to you, and have withal permitted you to live, either by yourselves, or among others, as it should please you: and, what is our chief favor of all we have given you leave to gather up that tribute which is paid to God with such other gifts that are dedicated to him; nor have we called those that carried these donations to account, nor prohibited them; till at length you became richer than we ourselves, even when you were our enemies; and you made preparations for war against us with our own money; nay, after all, when you were in the enjoyment of all these advantages, you turned your too great plenty against those that gave it you, and, like merciless serpents, have thrown out your poison against those that treated you kindly. I suppose, therefore, that you might despise the slothfulness of Nero, and, like limbs of the body that are broken or dislocated, you did then lie quiet, waiting for some other time, though still with a malicious intention, and have now showed your distemper to be greater than ever, and have extended your desires as far as your impudent and immense hopes would enable you to do it. At this time my father came into this country, not with a design to punish you for what you had done under Cestius, but to admonish you; for had he come to overthrow your nation, he had run directly to your fountain-head, and had immediately laid this city waste; whereas he went and burnt Galilee and the neighboring parts, and thereby gave you time for repentance; which instance of humanity you took for an argument of his weakness, and nourished up your impudence by our mildness. When Nero was gone out of the world, you did as the wickedest wretches would have done, and encouraged yourselves to act against us by our civil dissensions, and abused that time, when both I and my father were gone away to Egypt, to make preparations for this war. Nor were you ashamed to raise disturbances against us when we were made emperors, and this while you had experienced how mild we had been, when we were no more than generals of the army. But when the government was devolved upon us, and all other people did thereupon lie quiet, and even foreign nations sent embassies, and congratulated our access to the government, then did you Jews show yourselves to be our enemies. You sent embassies to those of your nation that are beyond Euphrates to assist you in your raising disturbances; new walls were built by you round your city, seditions arose, and one tyrant contended against another, and a civil war broke out among you; such indeed as became none but so wicked a people as you are. I then came to this city, as unwillingly sent by my father, and received melancholy injunctions from him. When I heard that the people were disposed to peace, I rejoiced at it; I exhorted you to leave off these proceedings before I began this war; I spared you even when you had fought against me a great while; I gave my right hand as security to the deserters; I observed what I had promised faithfully. When they fled to me, I had compassion on many of those that I had taken captive; I tortured those that were eager for war, in order to restrain them. It was unwillingly that I brought my engines of war against your walls; I always prohibited my soldiers, when they were set upon your slaughter, from their severity against you. After every victory I persuaded you to peace, as though I had been myself conquered. When I came near your temple, I again departed from the laws of war, and exhorted you to spare your own sanctuary, and to preserve your holy house to yourselves. I allowed you a quiet exit out of it, and security for your preservation; nay, if you had a mind, I gave you leave to fight in another place. Yet have you still despised every one of my proposals, and have set fire to your holy house with your own hands. And now, vile wretches, do you desire to treat with me by word of mouth? To what purpose is it that you would save such a holy house as this was, which is now destroyed? What preservation can you now desire after the destruction of your temple? Yet do you stand still at this very time in your armor; nor can you bring yourselves so much as to pretend to be supplicants even in this your utmost extremity. O miserable creatures! what is it you depend on? Are not your people dead? is not your holy house gone? is not your city in my power? and are not your own very lives in my hands? And do you still deem it a part of valor to die? However, I will not imitate your madness. If you throw down your arms, and deliver up your bodies 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."
3. To that offer of Titus they made this reply: 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 had great indignation, 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 further 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 burnt down, as were also those houses that were full of the dead bodies of such as were destroyed by famine.
4. 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 old 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.
WHAT AFTERWARD BEFELL THE SEDITIOUS WHEN THEY HAD DONE A GREAT DEAL OF MISCHIEF, AND SUFFERED MANY MISFORTUNES; AS ALSO HOW CAESAR BECAME MASTER OF THE UPPER CITY,
1. AND now the seditious rushed into the royal palace, into which many had put their effects, because it was so strong, and drove the Romans away from it. They also slew all the people that had crowded into it, who were in number about eight thousand four hundred, and plundered them of what they had. They also took two of the Romans alive; the one was a horseman, and the other a footman. They then cut the throat of the footman, and immediately had him drawn through the whole city, as revenging themselves upon the whole body of the Romans by this one instance. But the horseman said he had somewhat to suggest to them in order to their preservation; whereupon he was brought before Simon; but he having nothing to say when he was there, he was delivered to Ardalas, one of his commanders, to be punished, who bound his hands behind him, and put a riband over his eyes, and then brought him out over against the Romans, as intending to cut off his head. But the man prevented that execution, and ran away to the Romans, and this while the Jewish executioner was drawing out his sword. Now when he was gotten away from the enemy, Titus could not think of putting him to death; but because he deemed him unworthy of being a Roman soldier any longer, on account that he had been taken alive by the enemy, he took away his arms, and ejected him out of the legion whereto he had belonged; which, to one that had a sense of shame, was a penalty severer than death itself.
2. 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 burnt down, and the city was on fire, there was nothing further 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 spake 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. Nor was there any place in the city that had no dead bodies in it, but what was entirely covered with those that were killed either by the famine or the rebellion; and all was full of the dead bodies of such as had perished, either by that sedition or by that famine.
3. So now the last hope which supported the tyrants, and that crew of robbers who were with them, was in the caves and caverns under ground; whither, if they could once fly, they did not expect to be searched for; but endeavored, that after the whole city should be destroyed, and the Romans gone away, they might come out again, and escape from them. 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 under-ground subterfuges, and set more places on fire than did the Romans themselves; and those that fled out of their 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 one with 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.
HOW CAESAR RAISED BANKS ROUND ABOUT THE UPPER CITY [MOUNT ZION] AND WHEN THEY WERE COMPLETED, GAVE ORDERS THAT THE MACHINES SHOULD BE BROUGHT. HE THEN POSSESSED HIMSELF OF THE WHOLE CITY.
1. 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, and this on the twentieth day of the month Lous [Ab]. Now the carriage of the materials was a difficult task, since all the trees, as I have already told you, that were about the city, within the distance of a hundred furlongs, had their branches cut off already, in order to make the former banks. 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.
2. It was at this time that the commanders of the Idumeans got together privately, and took counsel about surrendering up themselves 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 reluctancy 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. They were all received by the Romans,
We see an entire garrison surrenders only because they we able do defend themselves from leaders of the sedition – and the Romans gate them their hand and they were forgiven.
because Titus himself grew negligent as to 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 were 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.
3. 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 of the 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 other 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.
4. And now were the banks finished on the seventh day of the month Gorpieus, [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 went 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 a 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, as 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 entirely 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 have never been taken by force, nor indeed by 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.
5. 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 acclamations 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 and set fire to the houses whither the Jews were fled, and burnt 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 dead 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 that eighth day of the month Gorpieus [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 this its overthrow.
WHAT INJUNCTIONS CAESAR GAVE WHEN HE WAS COME WITHIN THE CITY. THE NUMBER OF THE CAPTIVES AND OF THOSE THAT PERISHED IN THE SIEGE; AS ALSO CONCERNING THOSE THAT HAD ESCAPED INTO THE SUBTERRANEAN CAVERNS, AMONG WHOM WERE THE TYRANTS SIMON AND JOHN THEMSELVES.
1. 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 largeness of their several stones, and the exactness of their joints, as also how great was their breadth, and how extensive their length, he expressed himself after the manner following: "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 towards 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 could not otherwise have been taken by him.
2. And now, since his soldiers were already quite tired with killing men, and yet there appeared to be a vast multitude still remaining 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 the infirm; but for those that were in their flourishing age, and who might be useful to them, they drove them together into the temple, and shut them up within the walls of the court of the women; over which Caesar set one of his freed-men, 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 to the Egyptian mines Titus also sent a great number into the provinces, as a present to them, that they might be destroyed upon their theatres, 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 whom 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.
3. Now the number of those that were carried captive during this whole war was collected 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 were indeed 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 upon 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 power of the city, who otherwise was disposed to contemn that nation, entreated the high priests, if the thing were possible, to take the number of their whole multitude. So these high priests, upon the coming of that feast which is called the Passover, when they slay their sacrifices, from the ninth hour till the eleventh, but so that a company not less than ten belong to every sacrifice, (for it is not lawful for them to feast singly by themselves,) and many of us are twenty in a company, found the number of sacrifices was two hundred and fifty-six thousand five hundred; which, upon the allowance of no more than ten that feast together, amounts to two millions seven hundred thousand and two hundred persons that were pure and holy; for as to those that have the leprosy, or the gonorrhea, or women that have their monthly courses, or such as are otherwise polluted, it is not lawful for them to be partakers of this sacrifice; nor indeed for any foreigners neither, who come hither to worship.
4. 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 ill savor 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 now give him their right hand for his security, which he had often proudly rejected before; but for Simon, he struggled hard with the distress he was in, fill he was forced to surrender himself, as we shall relate hereafter; so he was reserved for the triumph, and to be then slain; as was John condemned to perpetual imprisonment. And now the Romans set fire to the extreme parts of the city, and burnt them down, and entirely demolished its walls.
THAT WHEREAS THE CITY OF JERUSALEM HAD BEEN FIVE TIMES TAKEN FORMERLY, THIS WAS THE SECOND TIME OF ITS DESOLATION. A BRIEF ACCOUNT OF ITS HISTORY.
1. AND thus was Jerusalem taken, in the second year of the reign of Vespasian, on the eighth day of the month Gorpeius [Elul]. It had been taken five times before, though this was the second time of its desolation; for Shishak, the king of Egypt, and after him Antiochus, and after him Pompey, and after them Sosius and Herod, took the city, but still preserved it; but before all these, the king of Babylon conquered it, and made it desolate, one thousand four hundred and sixty-eight years and six months after it was built. But he who first built it. Was a potent man among the Canaanites, and is in our own tongue called [Melchisedek], the Righteous King, for such he really was; on which account he was [there] the first priest of God, and first built a temple [there], and called the city Jerusalem, which was formerly called Salem. However, David, the king of the Jews, ejected the Canaanites, and set-tied his own people therein. It was demolished entirely by the Babylonians, four hundred and seventy-seven years and six months after him. And from king David, who was the first of the Jews who reigned therein, to this destruction under Titus, were one thousand one hundred and seventy-nine years; but from its first building, till this last destruction, were two thousand one hundred and seventy-seven years; yet hath not its great antiquity, nor its vast riches, nor the diffusion of its nation over all the habitable earth, nor the greatness of the veneration paid to it on a religious account, been sufficient to preserve it from being destroyed. And thus ended the siege of Jerusalem.
The Lord is furious with the Church and Judgment is coming on like a freight train to all those who have profaned the name of the Father and the Son. To all who have defiled the sacrifice of the Son by performing false sacrifices. To all who have defiled themselves and their garments with the pollutions of this world. To such the tares shall be gathered first and burned, the lord shall cause all that causes to offend to be removed – that is not the rapture that has been preached for the last 90 years, that is the coming of final judgment where God shall cleanse and purge his temple as was done in Jerusalem in 70 AD with fire. In this day we are surrounded by hundreds of false prophets false teachers and now false apostles who are all crying of a great deliverance of God that God is just going to change us all in a blink of an eye from this corrupt earthly self serving state into this Elijah company of overcomers – this defies all of scripture this contradicts all that God has ever said and did. But the blind shall be lead to the slaughter. I weep for the Church and for the coming judgments. I weep not for the leaders of this evil sedition against the Lord for the Children – those who came to the Lord and were instead delivered into the hands of evil men who turned the invisible image of the incorruptible God a God of physical earthly and fleshly things – A God as unto us that has our same base and corrupt desires. That is not Christ and the Father. That is not the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the Apostles – repent, repent, repent, while it is still day turn to Jesus as your lord and master alone and forsake all that you have discipled yourself to that you may be spared the coming destruction.
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 Book VI. ch. 2. sect. 5.
In this speech of Titus we may clearly see the notions which the Romans then had of death, and of the happy state of those who died bravely in war, and the contrary estate of those who died ignobly in their beds by sickness. Reland here also produces two parallel passages, the one out of Atonia Janus Marcellinus, concerning the Alani, lib. 31, that "they judged that man happy who laid down his life in battle ;" the other of Valerius Maximus, lib. 11. ch. 6, who says, "that the Cimbri and Celtiberi exulted for joy in the army, as being to go out of the world gloriously and happily."
See the note on p. 809.
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.
This was a remarkable day indeed, the seventeenth of Paneruns. [Tamuz,] A.D. 70, when, according to Daniel's prediction, six hundred and six years before, the Romans "in half a week caused the sacrifice and oblation to cease," Daniel 9:27. For from the month of February, A.D. 66, about which time Vespasian entered on this war, to this very time, was just three years and a half. See Bishop Lloyd's Tables of Chronology, published by Mr. Marshall, on this year. Nor is it to be omitted, what year nearly confirms this duration of the war, that four years before the war begun was somewhat above seven years five months before the destruction of Jerusalem, ch. 5. sect. 3.
The same that in the New Testament is always so called, and was then the common language of the Jews in Judea, which was the Syriac dialect.
Our present copies of the Old Testament want this encomium upon king Jechoniah or Jehoiachim, which it seems was in Josephus's copy.
Of this oracle, see the note on B. IV. ch. 6. sect. 3. Josephus, both here and in many places elsewhere, speaks so, that it is most evident he was fully satisfied that God was on the Romans' side, and made use of them now for the destruction of that wicked nation of the Jews; which was for certain the true state of this matter, as the prophet Daniel first, and our Savior himself afterwards, had clearly foretold. See Lit. Accompl. of Proph. p. 64, etc.
Josephus had before told us, B. V. ch. 13. sect. 1, that this fourth son of Matthias ran away to the Romans "before" his father's and brethren's slaughter, and not "after" it, as here. The former account is, in all probability, the truest; for had not that fourth son escaped before the others were caught and put to death, he had been caught and put to death with them. This last account, therefore, looks like an instance of a small inadvertence of Josephus in the place before us.
Of this partition-wall separating Jews and Gentiles, with its pillars and inscription, see the description of the temples, ch. 15.
That these seditious Jews were the direct occasions of their own destruction, and of the conflagration of their city and temple, and that Titus earnestly and constantly labored to save both, is here and every where most evident in Josephus.
Court of the Gentiles.
Court of Israel.
Of the court of the Gentiles.
What Josephus observes here, that no parallel examples had been recorded before this time of such sieges, wherein mothers were forced by extremity of famine to eat their own children, as had been threatened to the Jews in the law of Moses, upon obstinate disobedience, and more than once fulfilled, (see my Boyle's Lectures, p. 210-214,) is by Dr. Hudson supposed to have had two or three parallel examples in later ages. He might have had more examples, I suppose, of persons on ship-board, or in a desert island, casting lots for each others' bodies; but all this was only in cases where they knew of no possible way to avoid death themselves but by killing and eating others. Whether such examples come up to the present case may be doubted. The Romans were not only willing, but very desirous, to grant those Jews in Jerusalem both their lives and their liberties, and to save both their city and their temple. But the zealots, the rubbers, and the seditious would hearken to no terms of submission. They voluntarily chose to reduce the citizens to that extremity, as to force mothers to this unnatural barbarity, which, in all its circumstances, has not, I still suppose, been hitherto paralleled among the rest of mankind.
These steps to the altar of burnt-offering seem here either an improper and inaccurate expression of Josephus, since it was unlawful to make ladder steps; (see description of the temples, ch. 13., and note on Antiq. B. IV. ch. 8. sect. 5;) or else those steps or stairs we now use were invented before the days of Herod the Great, and had been here built by him; though the later Jews always deny it, and say that even Herod's altar was ascended to by an acclivity only.
This Perea, if the word be not mistaken in the copies, cannot well be that Perea which was beyond Jordan, whose mountains were at a considerable distance from Jordan, and much too remote from Jerusalem to join in this echo at the conflagration of the temple; but Perea must be rather some mountains beyond the brook Cedron, as was the Mount of Olives, or some others about such a distance from Jerusalem; which observation is so obvious, that it is a wonder our commentators here take no notice of it.
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 hath already assured us, B. V. ch. 5. sect. 6.
Reland here takes notice, that these Jews, who had despised the true Prophet, were deservedly abused and deluded by these false ones.
Whether Josephus means that this star was different from that comet which lasted a whole year, I cannot certainly determine. His words most favor their being different one from another.
Since Josephus still uses the Syro-Macedonian month Xanthicus for the Jewish month Nisan, this eighth, or, as Nicephorus reads it, this ninth of Xanthicus or Nisan was almost a week before the passover, on the fourteenth; about which time we learn from St. John that many used to go "out of the country to Jerusalem to purify themselves," John 11:55, with 12:1; in agreement with Josephus also, B. V. ch. 3. sect. 1. And it might well be, that in the sight of these this extraordinary light might appear.
This here seems to be the court of the priests.
Both Reland and Havercamp in this place alter the natural punctuation and sense of Josephus, and this contrary to the opinion of Valesilus and Dr. Hudson, lest Josephus should say that the Jews built booths or tents within the temple at the feast of tabernacles; which the later Rabbins will not allow to have been the ancient practice: but then, since it is expressly told us in Nehemiah, ch. 8:16, that in still elder times "the Jews made booths in the courts of the house of God" at that festival, Josephus may well be permitted to say the same. And indeed the modern Rabbins are of very small authority in all such matters of remote antiquity.
Take Havercamp's note here: "This (says he) is a remarkable place; and Tertullian truly says in his Apologetic, ch. 16. p. 162, that the entire religion of the Roman camp almost consisted in worshipping the ensigns, in swearing by the ensigns, and in preferring the ensigns before all the [other] gods." See what Havercamp says upon that place of Tertullian.
This declaring Titus imperator by the soldiers, upon such signal success, and the slaughter of such a vast number of enemies, was according to the usual practice of the Romans in like cases, as Reland assures us on this place.
The Jews of later times agree with Josephus, that there were hiding-places or secret chambers about the holy house, as Reland here informs us, where he thinks he has found these very walls described by them.
Spanheim notes here, that the Romans used to permit the Jews to collect their sacred tribute, and send it to Jerusalem; of which we have had abundant evidence in Josephus already on other occasions.
This innumerable multitude of Jews that were "sold" by the Romans was an eminent completion of God's ancient threatening by Moses, that if they apostatized from the obedience to his laws, they should be "sold unto their enemies for bond-men and bond-women," Deuteronomy 28;68. See more especially the note on ch. 9. sect. 2. But one thing is here peculiarly remarkable, that Moses adds, Though they should be "sold" for slaves, yet "no man should buy them;" i.e. either they should have none to redeem them from this sale into slavery; or rather, that the slaves to be sold should be more than were the purchasers for them, and so they should be sold for little or nothing; which is what Josephus here affirms to have been the case at this time.
What became of these spoils of the temple that escaped the fire, see Josephus himself hereafter, B. VII. ch. 5. sect. 5, and Reland de Spoliis Templi, p. 129-138.
These various sorts of spices, even more than those four which Moses prescribed, Exodus 31:34, we see were used in their public worship under Herod's temple, particularly cinnamon and cassia; which Reland takes particular notice of, as agreeing with the latter testimony of the Talmudists.
See the several predictions that the Jews, if they became obstinate in their idolatry and wickedness, should be sent again or sold into Egypt for their punishment, Deuteronomy 28:68; Jeremiah 44:7; Hosea 8:13; 9:3; 9:4, 5; 2 Samuel 15:10-13; with Authentic Records, Part I. p. 49, 121; and Reland Painest And, tom. II. p. 715.
The whole multitude of the Jews that were destroyed during the entire seven years before this time, in all the countries of and bordering on Judea, is summed up by Archbishop Usher, from Lipsius, out of Josephus, at the year of Christ 70, and amounts to 1,337,490. Nor could there have been that number of Jews in Jerusalem to be destroyed in this siege, as will be presently set down by Josephus, but that both Jews and proselytes of justice were just then come up out of the other countries of Galilee, Samaria, Judea, and Perea and other remoter regions, to the passover, in vast numbers, and therein cooped up, as in a prison, by the Roman army, as Josephus himself well observes in this and the next section, and as is exactly related elsewhere, B. V. ch. 3. sect. 1 and ch. 13. sect. 7.
This number of a company for one paschal lamb, between ten and twenty, agrees exactly with the number thirteen, at our Savior's last passover. As to the whole number of the Jews that used to come up to the passover, and eat of it at Jerusalem, see the note on B. II. ch. 14. sect. 3. This number ought to be here indeed just ten times the number of the lambs, or just 2,565,(D0, by Josephus's own reasoning; whereas it is, in his present copies, no less than 2,700,(D0, which last number is, however, nearest the other number in the place now cited, which is 3,000,000. But what is here chiefly remarkable is this, that no foreign nation ever came 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.
This is the proper place for such as have closely attended to these latter books of the War to peruse, and that with equal attention, those distinct and plain predictions of Jesus of Nazareth, in the Gospels thereto relating, as compared with their exact completions in Josephus's history; upon which completions, as Dr: Whitby well observes, Annot. on Matthew 24:2, no small part of the evidence for the truth of the Christian religion does depend; and as I have step by step compared them together in my Literal Accomplishment of Scripture Prophecies. The reader is to observe further, that the true reason why I have so seldom taken notice of those completions in the course of these notes, notwithstanding their being so very remarkable, and frequently so very obvious, is this, that I had entirely prevented myself in that treatise beforehand; to which therefore I must here, once for all, seriously refer every inquisitive reader. Besides these five here enumerated, who had taken Jerusalem of old, Josephus, upon further recollection, reckons a sixth, Antiq. B. XII. ch. 1. sect. 1, who should have been here inserted in the second place; I mean Ptolemy, the son of Lagus.