Q u e s t i o n s  A b o u t  S c r i p t u r e s--N o t e s ,  P a g e  3
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Chapter 5. Distress of the Jews upon the destruction of the Temple. 70 A.D., from-The Revised Works Of Josephus

1. (271) While the holy house was on fire, everything was plundered that came to hand, and ten thousand of those who were caught were slain; nor was there a pity of any age, or any reverence of gravity; but children, and old men, and common persons, and priests were all slain in the same manner; so that this war went around all sorts of men, and brought them to destruction, and as well those who made supplication for their lives, as those who defended themselves by fighting. (272) The flame was also carried a long way and made an echo,together with the groans of those who were slain; and because this hill was high and the works at the temple were very large, one would have thought the whole city had been on fire. Nor can one imagine anything either greater or more terrible than this noise; (273) for there was at once a shout of the Roman legions, who were marching all together and a sad clamour of the seditious, who were now surrounded with fire and sword. The people also who were left above were beaten back upon the enemy and under a great consternation and made sad moans at the calamity they were under: (274) the multitude also that was in the city joined in this outcry with those who were upon the hill; and besides, many of those who were worn away by the famine and their mouths almost closed, when they saw the fire of the holy house, they exerted their utmost strength, and broke out into groans and outcries again: Perea-{some prominent hills or perhaps mountains familiar to them back then}-did also return the echo, as well as the mountains around [the city], and augmented the force of the entire noise. (275) 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 who slew them; (276) for the ground did nowhere appear visible, for the dead bodies that lay on it; but the soldiers went over heaps of those bodies, as they ran upon such as fled from them. (277) 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 there into the city, while the remainder of the populace fled into the cloister of that outer court. (278) As for the priests, some of them plucked up from the holy house the spikes {b} that were upon it, with their bases, which were made of lead, and shot them at the Romans instead of missiles. (279) But then as they gained nothing by so doing, and as the fire burst out upon them, they retired to the wall that was eight cubits broad, and there they tarried; (280) 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, threw 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. 

2. (281) And now the Romans, judging that it was in vain to spare what was around 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. (282) 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 deposited; and, to speak all in a few words, there it was that the entire riches of the Jews were heaped up together, while the rich people had there built themselves chambers [to contain such furniture]. {James 5:1-7} (283) The soldiers also came to the rest of the cloisters that were in the outer [court of the] temple, where the women and children and a great mixed multitude of the people fled, in number about six thousand. (284) But before Caesar had determined anything 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 killed by throwing themselves down headlong and some were burnt in the cloisters themselves. Nor did anyone of them escape with his life. (285) A false prophet {c} 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. (286) Now there was then a great number of false prophets bribed by the tyrants to impose on the people, who announced 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. {Matthew 24:24-26} (287) 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. (288) 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. (289) Thus there was a star resembling a sword, which stood over the city, and a comet, that continued a whole year. (290) 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 of Xanthikos [Nisan], (Niese: April 25, Capellus: April 8) and at the ninth hour of the night, so great a light shone around the altar and the holy house, that it appeared to be bright daytime; which lasted for half an hour. (291) This light seemed to be a good sign to the unskilful, but was so interpreted by the sacred scribes as to portend those events that followed immediately upon it. (292) 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. (293) Moreover, the eastern gate of the inner [court of the] temple, which was of brass, and extremely heavy, and had been with difficulty shut by twenty men, and fastened with iron-bound bars, and had bolts sunk 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. (294) Now, those who kept watch in the temple, came hereupon running to the captain of the temple, and told him of it; who then came up there, and not without great difficulty was able to shut the gate again. (295) This also appeared to the common people to be a very happy prodigy, as if God thereby opened to 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. (296) So these publicly declared that the signal predicted the desolation that was coming upon them. Besides these, a few days after that feast, on the twenty-first day of the month of Artemisios [Iyyar], (Niese: June 8, Capellus: May 21) (297) 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 who saw it, (298) and were not the events that followed it of so considerable a nature as to deserve such signals; for, before sunsetting, chariots and troops of soldiers in their armour were seen (299) running about among the clouds, and surrounding the 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, (300) and after that they heard a sound as of a great multitude, saying, “We are departing from here.” But, what is still more terrible, there was one Jesus-(not Jesus Christ), the son of Ananus, a common man 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 everyone to make tabernacles to God in the temple, (301) began suddenly 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 bridegroom and the bride, and a voice against this whole people!” {Jeremiah 7:34} This was his cry, as he went about by day and by night, in all the lanes of the city. (302) 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 he did not either say anything for himself, or anything peculiar to those who chastised him, but still went on with the same words which he cried before. (303) 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; (304) where he was whipped till his bones were laid bare; yet he did not make any supplication for {Matthew 24:24-26} 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!” (305) And when Albinus (for he was then our procurator) asked him, “Who he was? and from where he came? And why he uttered such words?”-He made no manner of reply to what he said, but still did not stop his melancholy dirge, till Albinus took him to be a madman, and dismissed him. (306) Now, during all the time that passed before the war began, this man did not go near anyone 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!”-(307) Nor did he give ill words to any of those who beat him every day, nor good words to those who gave him food; but this was his reply to all men, and indeed no other than a melancholy presage of what was to come. (308) This cry of his was the loudest at the festivals; and he continued this dirge 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; (309) for as he was going around 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. 


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