Page images
PDF
EPUB

many of them as were hindered from running up to the ci adel, not knowing what in the world to do, fell among the Roman guards, while the groans of those that were killed were prodigiously great every where, and the blood ran down all the lower parts of the city from the upper. But then Vespasian himself came to his asssistance against those that had fled to the citadel, and brought his whole army with him ; now this upper part of the city was every way rocky, and difficult of ascent, and elevated to a vast altitude. and very full of people on all sides, and encompassed with precipices, whereby the Jews cut off those that came up to them, and did much mischief to the others by their darts, and the large stones which they rolled down upon them, while they were themselves so high that the enemies' darts could hardly reach them. However, there arose such a divine storm against them as was instrumental to their destruction; this carried the Roman darts upon them, and made those which they threw return back, and drove them obliquely away from them : nor could the Jews indeed stand upon the precipices, by reason of the violence of the wind, having nothing that was stable to stand upon, nor could they see those that were ascending up to them; so the Roinans got up and surrounded them, and some they slew before they could defend themselves, and others as they were delivering up themselves ; and the remembrance of those that were slain at their former entrance into the city increased their rage against them now: a great number also of those that were surrounded on every side, and despaired of escaping, threw their children and their wives, and themselves also, down the precipices, into the valley beneath, which, near the citadel, had been dug hollow to a vast depth ; but so it happened that the anger of the Romans appeared not to be so extravagant, as was the madness of those that were now taken, while the Romans slew but four thousand. whereas the number of those that had thrown themselves down was found to be five thousand; nor did any one escape except two women, who were the daughters of Ptilip, and Philip himself was the son of a certain eminent man called Jacimus, who had been general of king Agrippa's arıny; and these did therefore escape, because they lay concealed from the rage of the Romans, when the city was taken ; for otherwise they spared not so much as the infants ; of whom many were flung down by them from the citadel. And thus was Gamala taken on the three and twentieth day of the month Hvperhereteus, [Tisri,] whereas the city had first revolted on the four and twentieth day of the month Gorpieus, (Elul.]

CHAP. II. The Surrender of Gischala ; when John flies from it to Jerusalem. 61. Now no place of Galilee remained to be taken but the small city of Gischala, whose multitude yet were desirous of peace; for they were gene. rally husbandmen, and always applied themselves to cultivate the fruits of the earth. However, there were a great number that belonged to a band of robbers, that were already corrupted, and had crept in amoug them, and some of the governing part of the citizens were sick of the same distemper. It was John, the son of a certain man whose name was Levi, that drew them into this rebellion, and encouraged them in it. He was a cunning knare, and of a temper that could put on various shapes; very rash in expecting great things, and very sagacious in bringing about what he hoped for. It was known to every body that he was fond of war, in order to

thrust himself into authority: and the seditious part of the people of Gis. chala were under his management, by whose means the populace, who seemed ready to send ambassadors in order to surrender, waited for the coming of the Romans in battle array. Vespasian sent against them Titus, with a thousand horsemen, but withdrew the tenth legion to Scythopolis, while he returned to Cesarea with the two other legions, that he might allow them to refresh themselves after their long and hard campaign, thinking withal that the plenty which was in those cities would improve their bodies and their spirits, against the difficulties they were to go through afterwards ; for he saw there would be occasion for great pains about Jerusalem, which was not vet taken, because it was the royal city, and the principal city of the whole nation, and because those that had run away from the war in other places got all together thither. It was also naturally strong, and the walls that were built round it made him not a little concerned about it. Moreover, he esteemed the men that were in it to be so courageous and bold, that even without the consideration of the walls it would be hard to subdue them; for which reason he took care of, and exercised his soldiers beforehand for the work, as they do wrestlers before they begin their undertaking.

2. Now Titus, as he rode up to Gischala, found it would be easy for bim to take the city upon the first onset ; but he knew withal, that if he took it by force, the multitude would be destroyed by the soldiers without mercy. (Now he was already satiated with the shedding of blood, and pitied the major part, who would then perish without distinction, together with the guilty.)—So he was rather desirous the city might be surrendered up to him on terms. Accordingly, when he saw the wall full of those men that were of the corrupted party, he said to them, That “he could not but wonder what it was they depended on, when they alone stayed to fight the Romans, after every other city was taken by them; especially when they have seen cities much better fortified than theirs is, overthrown by a single attack upon them; while as many as have trusted themselves to the security of the Romans' right hands, which he now offers to them, without regarding their former insolence, do enjoy their possessions in safety; for that, while they had hopes of recovering their liberty, they might be pardoned; hut that their continuance still in their opposition, when they saw that to be impossible, was inexcusable ; for that, if they will not comply with such humane offers, and right hands for security, they should have experience of such a war that should spare nobody, and should soon be made sensible that the wall would be but a trifle, when battered by the Roman machines; in depending on which, they demonstrate themselves to be the only Galileans that were no better than arrogant slaves and captives."

3. Now none of the populace durst not only make a reply, but durst not so much as get upon the wall, for it was all taken up by the robbers, who were also the guard at the gates, in order to prevent any of the rest from going out, in order to propose terms of submission, and from receiving any of the horsemen into the city. But John returned Titus this answer, That “ for himself he was content to hearken to his proposals, and that he would either persuade or force those that refused them. Yet he said, that Titus ought to have such regard to the Jewish law, as to grant them leave to celebrate that day, which was the seventh day of the week, on which it was unlawful not only to remove their arms, but even treat of peace also; and that eren the Romans were not ignorant how the period of the seventh day was among them a cessation from all labours ; and that he who should compel them to transgress the law about that day, would be equally guilty with those that were compelled to transgress it : and that this delay could be of no disadvantage to him : for why should any body think of any thing in the night, unless it was to fly away? which he might prevent by placing his camp round about them; and that they should think it a great point gained, if they might not be obliged to transgress the laws of their country; and that it would be a right thing for bim, who designed to grant them peace, without the expectation of such a favour, to preserve the laws of those they saved inviolable.” Thus did this man put a trick upon Titus, not so much out of regard to the seventh day, as to his own preservation, for he was afraid lest he should be quite deserted, if the city should be taken, and had his hopes of life in that night, and in his flight therein. Now this was the work of God, who therefore preserved this John, that he might bring on the destruction of Jerusalem : as also it was his work that Titus was prevailed with by this pretence for a delay, and that he pitched his camp farther off the city at Cydessa. This Cydessa was a strong Mediterranean village of the Tyrians; which always hated and made war against the Jews; it had also a great number of inhabitants, and was well fortified, which made it a proper place for such as were enemies to the Jewish nation.

4. Now in the night time, when John saw that there was no Roman guard about the city, he seized the opportunity directly, and, taking with him not only the armed men that were about him, but a considerable number of those that had little to do, together with their families, he fied to Jerusalem. And indeed, though the man was making haste to get away, and was tormented with fears of being a captive, or of losing his life, yet did he prevail with himself to take out of the city along with him a multitude of women and children, as far as twenty furlongs; but there he left them, as he proceeded farther on his journey, where those that were left behind made sad lamentations ; for the farther every one of them was come from his own people, the nearer they thought themselves to be to their enemies. They also affrighted themselves with this thought, that those who would carry them into captivity were just at hand, and still turned themselves back at the mere noise they made themselves in this their hasty flight, as if those from whom they fled were just upon them. Many also of them missed their ways, and the earnestness of such as aimed to outgo the rest, threw down many of them. And indeed there was a miserable destruction made of the women and children ; while some of them took courage to call their husbands and kinsmen back, and to beseech them with the bitterest lamentations, to stay for them; but John's exhortation, who cried out to them to save themselves, and fly away, prevailed. He said also, that if the Romans should seize upon those whom they left behind, they would be revenged on them for it. So this multitude that ran away was dispersed abroad, according as each of them was able to run, one faster or slower than another.

5. Now on the next day Titus came to the wall, to make the agreement, whereupon the people opened their gates to him, and came out to him, with their children aud wives, and made acclamations of joy to him, as to one that had been their benefactor, and had delivered the city out of custody; they also informed him of John's flight, and besought him to

spare them, and to come in, and bring the rest of those that were for innovations to punishment. But Titus, not so much regarding the supplications of the people, sent part of his horsemen to pursue John, but they could not overtake him, for he was gotten to Jerusalem before ; they also slew six thousand of the women and children who went out with him ; but returned back and brought with them almost three thousand. However, Titus was greatly displeased that he had not been able to bring this John, who had deluded him, to punishment; yet he had captives enough, as well as the corrupted part of the city, to satisfy his anger, when it missed of John. So he entered the city in the midst of acclamations of joy: and when he had given orders to the soldiers to pull down a small part of the wall, as of a city taken in war, he repressed those that had disturbed the city, rather by threatenings than by executions; for he thought that many would accuse innocent persons, out of their animosities and quarrels, if he should attempt to distinguish those that were worthy of punishment from the rest; and that it was better to let a guilty person alone in his fears, than to destroy with him any one that did not deserve it, for that probably such a one might be taught prudence, by the fear of the punishment he had deserved, and have a shame upon him for his former offences, when he had been forgiven ; but that the punishment of such as have been once put to death could never be retrieved. However, he placed a garrison in the city for its security, by which means he should restrain those that were for innovations, and should leave those that were peaceably disposed in greater security. And thus was all Galilee taken, but this not till after it had cost the Romans much pains before it could be taken by them.

CHAP. III. Concerning John of Gischala. Concerning the Zealots, and the High Priest

Ananus; as also how the Jews raised Seditions one against another [in Je. rusalem.]

§ 1. Now upon John's entry into Jerusalem the whole body of the people were in an uproar, and ten thousand of them crowded about every one of the fugitives that were come to them, and inquired of them what miseries had happened abroad, when their breath was so short, and hot, and quick, that of itself it declared the great distress they were in; yet did they talk big under their misfortunes, and pretended to say, that they had not fied away from the Romans, but came thither in order to fight them with less hazard; for that it would be an unreasonable and a fruitless thing for them to expose themselves to desperate hazards about Gischala, and such weak cities, whereas they ought to lay up their weapons and their zeal, and reserve it for their metropolis But when they related to them the taking of Gischala, and their decent departure, as they pretended, from that place, many of the people understood it to be no better than a flight; and espe. cially when the people were told of those that were made captives, they were in great confusion, and guessed those things to be plain indications that they should be taken also. But for John, he was very little concerned for those he bad left behind him, but went about among all the people, and persuaded them to go to war, by the hopes he gave them. He affirmed that the affairs of the Romans were in a weak condition, and extolled his own power. He also jested upon the ignorance of the unskilful, as if those Romans, although they should take to themselves wings, could never ly

« PreviousContinue »