« PreviousContinue »
ed so very long, and thereby the Jews were involved into such incurable calamities.
5. Io the mean time many of the principal men of the city were persuaded by Ananus, the son of Jonathan, and invited Cestius into the city, and were about to open the gates for him; but he overlooked this offer, partly out of his anger at the Jews, and partly because he did not thoroughly believe they were in earnest; whence it was that he delayed the matter so long, that the seditious perceived the treachery, and threw Apanus and those of his party down from the wall, and pelting them with stones, drove them into their houses ; but they stood themselves at proper distances in the towers, and threw their darts at those that were getting over the wall. Thus did the Roinaus make their attack against the wall for five days, but to no purpose : but on the next day Cestius took a great many of his choicest men, and with them the archers, and attempted to break into the temple at the northero quarter of it ; but the Jews beat them off from the cloisters, and repulsed them several times when they were gotten near to the wall, till at length the multitude of the darts cut them off, and made them retire : but the first rank of the Romans rested their shields upon the wall, and so did those that were behind them, and the like did those that were still more backward, and guarded themselves with what they called
Testudo, (the back of a tortoise, upon which the darts that were thrown fell and slided off without doing them any harm; so the soldiers undermined the wall, without being themselves hurt, and got all things ready for setting fire to the gate of the temple.
6. And now it was that a horrible fear seized upon the seditious, insomuch, that many of them ran out of the city, as though it were to be taken immediately ; but the people upon this took courage, and where the wicked part of the city gave ground, thither did they come, in order to set open the gates, and to admit Cestius as their benefactor, who, had he but continued the siege a little longer, had certainly taken the city; but it was, I suppose, owing to the * aversion God
* There may another very important and very providential reason be here assigned, for this strange and foolish retreat of Cestins; which, if Josephus had been now a Christian, he might probably have taken notice of also ; and that is, the affording the Jewisń Christians in the city an opportunity of calling to mind the prediction and caution given them by Christ about 33 1-2 years before, had already at the city, and the sanctuary, that he was hindered from putting an end to the war that very day.
7. It then happened that Cestius was not conscious either how the besieged despaired of success, por how courageous the people were for liim; and so he recalled his soldiers from the place, and by despairing of any expectation of taking it, without having received any disgrace, he retired from the city, without any reason in the world. But when the robbers perceived this unexpected retreat of his, they resumed their cour. raye, and ran alter the hinder parts of his army, and destroyed a considerable number of both their horsemeo and footmen; and now Cestius lay all night at the camp which was at Scopus, and as be went off farther next day, he thereby invited the enemy to follow him, who still fell upon the hindmost and destroyed them; they also fell upon the flank on each side of the army, and threw darts upon them obliquely, nor durst those that were hio:lmost turn back upon those who wouuded them behind, as imagining that the multitude of those who pursued them was immense : nor did they venture to drive away those that pressed upon them on each side, because they were heavy with their arms, and were afraid of breaking their ranks to pieces, and because they saw that the Jews were light, and ready for making incursions upon them. And this was the reason why the Romans suffered greatly, without be. ing able to revenge themselves upon their enemies; so they were galled all the way, and their raoks were put into disorder, and those that were thus put out of their ranks were slain; among whom were Priscus, the commander of the sixth legion, and Longinus the tribune, and Emilius Secund. us, the commander of a troop of horsemen. So it was not without difficulty that they got to Gabao, their former camp, and that not without the loss of a great part of their baggage. that when they should see the abomination of desolation, the idolatrous htuman armies, with the images of their idols in their ensigns, reaely to lay Jerusalem desolate) stand where it ought not ; or, in the holy place ; or when they should sec Jerusalem compassed with armies, they should then f.ee to the mountuins. By complying with which those Jewish Christians filed to the mountains of Perea, and escaped this destruction. See Lit. Accompl. of Proph, page 69,70. Nor was there, perhaps, any one instance of a more unpolitic, but more provi. dential conduct, than this retreat of Cestius visible during this whole siege of Jerusalem ; which was yet providentially such a great tribulation, as had not been from the beginning of the world to that time ; non por ever should be. Ibid. page 70, 71. ,
There it was that Cestius staid two days, and was in great distress to know what he should do in these circumstances; but when, on the third day, he saw a still much greater number of enemies, and all the parts round about him full of Jews, he understood that his delay was to his owo detriment, and that if he stayed any longer there, he should have still more enemies upon him.
8. That therefore he might fly the faster, he gave orders. to cast away what might hinder his army's march, so they kilJed the mules, and other creatures, excepting those that carried their darts, and machines, which they retained for their owu use, and this principally because they were afraid lest the Jews should sieze upon them. He then made his army march on as far as Beth-horop. Now the Jews did not so much press upon them when they were in large open places, but when they were penned up in their descent through narrow passages, then did some of them get before, and hindered them from getting out of them, and others of them thrust the hindmost down in the lower places, and the whole multitude extended themselves over against the neck of the passage, and covered the Roman army with their darts. In which circumstances, as the footmen koew not how to defend themselves, so the danger pressed the horsemen still more, for they were so pelted, that they could not march along the road in their ranks, and the ascents were so high, that the cavalry were pot able to march against the enemy; the precipices also, and valleys into which they frequently fell, and tumbled down, were such on each side of them, that there were neither place for their flight, nor any contrivance could be thought of for their defence ; till the distress they were at last in was so great, that they betook themselves tolamentations, and to such mouroful cries as men use in the utmost despair; the joyful acclamations of the Jews also, as they encouraged one another, echoed the sounds back again, these last composing a noise of those that once rejoiced, and were in a rage. Indeed, things were come to such a pass, that the Jews had almost taken Cestius' entire army prisoners, had not the night come on, when the Romans fled to Betli-horon, and the Jews seized upon all the places round about them, and watched for their comiug out fin the morning.]
9. Aud then it was that Cestius, despairing of obtaining room for a public march, contrived how he might best run away; and when he had selected four hundred of the most courageous of his soldiers, he placed them at the strongest of their fortifications, and gave order, that when they weut up to the morning guard, they should erect their epsigos, that the Jews might be made to believe that the entire army was there still, while he himself took the rest of bis forces with him, and marched without any noise, thirty furlongs. But when the Jews perceived, in the morning that the camp was empty, they ran upon those four hundred who had deluded them, and immediately threw their darts at them and slew them, and they pursued after Cestius. But he had already made use of a great part of the night in his flight, and still marched quicker when it was day. Iosomuch that the soldiers, through the astonishment and fear they were in, left behind them their engines for sieges, and for throwing of stones, and a great part of the instruments for war. So the Jews went pursuing the Romans as far as Antipatris, after which, seeing they could not overtake them, they came back, and took the engines, and spoiled the dead bodies, and gathering their prey together which the Romans had left behiod them, and came back running and singing to their metropolis. When they had tbemselves lost a few oply, but had slain of the Romans five thousand and three hundred footmen, and three hundred and eighty horsemen. This defeat happened on the eighth day of the month Dius, [Maz hesvan,) in the twelfth year of the reiga of Nero.
CHAP. XX. Cestius sends abassadors to Nero. The people of Damascus slay
those Jews that lived with them. The people of Jerusalem, after they had [left off] pursuing Cestius, return to the city, and get things ready for its defence, and make a great many generals for their armies, and particularly Josephus, the writer of these books. Some account of his administration.
8 1. After this calamity had befallen Cestius, many of the most eminent of the Jews swam away from the city, as from a ship when it was going to sink. Costobarus, therefore, and Saul, who were brethren, together with Philip, tlie son of Jacimus, who was the commander of king Agrippa's forces, ran away from the city, and went to Cestius. But then how Antipas, who had been besieged with them in the king's palace, he would not fly away with them, was afterward slain by the seditious, we shall relate hereafter. However, Cestius sent Saul, and his friends, at their own desire, to
Achaia, to Nero, to inform him of the great distress they were in, and to lay the blame of their kindling the war upon Florus, as hoping to alleviate his own danger, by provokin his indignation against Florus. - 2. In the mean time the people of Damascus when they were informed of the destruction of the Romans, set about the slaughter of those Jews that were among them; and as they had them already cooped up together in the place of public exercises, which they had done out of the suspicion they had of them, they thought they should meet with no difficulty in the attempt : yet did they distrust their owo wives, which were almost all of them addicted to the Jewish religion ; on which account it was that their greatest concern was, how they might conceal these things from them ; so they came upon the Jews and cut their throats, as being in a parrow place, in number ten thousand, and all of them unarmed, and this in one hour's time, without any body to disturb them.
3. But as to those who had pursued after Cestius when they were returned back to Jerusalem, they overbore some. of those that favoured the Romans by violence, and some they persuaded [by entreaties) to join with them, and got to.. gether in great numbers in the temple, and appointed a great many generals for the war. *Joseph also, the son of Gorion, and Anapus the high-priest, were chosen as governors of all affairs within the city, and with a particular charge to repair the walls of the city; for they did not ordain Eleazar the son of Simon to that office, although he had gotten into his possession the prey they had taken from the Romans, and the money they had taken from Cestius, together with a great part of the public treasures, because they saw he was of a ty ravvical temper, and that his followers were, in their behaviour, like guards about him. However, the want they were in of Eleazar's money, and the subtile tricks used by him, brought all so about that the people were circumvented, and submitted themselves to his authority in all public affairs.
* From this name of Joseph the son of Gorion, or Gorion the son of Joseph, as B iv. chap. iii. $ 9. vol. v. one of the governors of Jeru. salem, who was slain at the beginning of the tumults by the zealots, B. iv. chap. vi. 1. the much later Jewish author of an history of that nation takes his title, and yet personates our true Josephus, the son of Matthias : but the cheat is too gross to put upon the learned world.