Page images

that were within the city, while they covered themselves with their armour, and prevented the Romans, when they were trying to get into the city again, and made a wall of their own bodies over against that part of the wall that was cast down. Thus did they valiantly defend themselves for three days; but on the fourth day they could not support themselves against the vehement assaults of Titus, but were compelled by force to fly whither they had fled before, so he quietly possessed himself again of that wall, and demolished it entirely. And when he had put a garrison into the towers that were on the south parts of the city, he contrived how he might assault the third wall.


Titus when the Jews were not at all mollified by his leaving off the

siege for a while, set biinself again to prosecute the saine ; but soon sent Josephus to discourse witb his own countrymen about peace.

$ 1. A RESOLUTION was now taken by Titus to relax the siege for a little while, and to afford the seditious an interval for consideration, and to see whether the demolishing of their second wall would not make them a little more compliant, or whether they were not somewhat afraid of famine, because the spoils they had gotten by rapine would not be sufficient for them long ; so he made use of this relasation in order to compass his own designs. Accordingly, as the usual appointed time, when he must distribute subsistence money to the soldiers, was now come, he gave orders that the commanders should put the army in battle array, in the face of the enemy, and then gave every one of the soldiers their pay. So the soldiers, according to custom, opened the cases wherein before their arms lay covered, and marched with their breast plates on, as did the horsemen lead their horses in their fine trappings. Then did the places that were before the city shine very splendidly for a great way ; nor was their any thing either so grateful to Titus's own men, or so terrible to the enemy as that sight. For the whole old wall, and the north side of the temple was full of spectators ; and one might see the houses full of such as looked at them : nor was there any

part of the city which was not covered over with their inultitudes : nay, a very great consternation seized upon the hardiest of the Jews themselves, when they saw all the army in the same place together with the fineness of their arms, and the good order of their men. And I cannot but think that the seditious would have changed their minds at the sight, unless the crimes they had committed against the people, had been so horrid, that they despaired of forgiveness from the Romans ; but as they believed death with torments must be their punishment, if they did not go on in the defeuce of the city, they thought it much better to die in war. Fate also prevailed so far over them, that the illnocent were to perish with the guilty, and the city was to be destroyed with the seditious that were in it.

2. Thus did the Romans spend four days in bringing this subsistence money to the several legions. But on the fifth day, when no signs of peace appeared to come from the Jews, Titus divided his legions, and began to raise banks, both at the tower of Antonia, and at John's monument. Now his designs were, to take the upper city at that monument, and the temple at the tower of Antonia ; for if the temple were not taken, it would be dangerous to kecp the city itself: so at each of these parts he raised him banks, each legion raising one. As for those that wrought at John's monument, the Idumeans, and those that were in arms with Simon, made sallies upon them, and put some stop to them : while John's party, and the multitude of zealots with them, did the like to those that were before the tower of Antonia. These Jews were now too hard for the Romans, not only in direct fighting, because they stood upon the higher ground, but because they had now learned to use their own engines ; for their continual use of them one day after another, did by degrees improve their skill about them ; for of one sort of engines for darts they had three hundred, and forty for stones, by the means of which they made it more tedious for the Romans to raise their banks. But then Titus, knowing that the city would be either saved or destroyed for himself, did not only proceed earnestly in the siege, but did not omit to have the Jews exhorted to repentance; so he mixed good counsel with his own works for the siege. And, being sensible that exliortations are frequently more effectual than arms, he persuaded them to surrender the city, now in a manner

already taken, and thereby to save themselves, and sent Josephus to speak to them in their own language ; for he imagined they might yield to the persuasion of a countryman of their own.

3. So Josephus went round about the wall, and tried to find a place that was out of the reach of their darts, and yet within their hearing, and besought them, in many words, “ To spare themselves, to spare their country and their “ temple, and not to be more obdurate in these cases than “ foreigners themselves : for that the Romans, who had no “ relation to those things, had a reverence for their sacred “ rites and places, although they belonged to their enemies, “ and had till now kept their hands off from meddling with “then, while such as were brought up under them, and, if 6 they be preserved will be the only people that will reap the 6 benefit of them, hurry on to have them destroyed.--“ That certainly they have seen their strongest walls de“ molished, and that the walls still remaining was weaker “ than those that were already taken. That they must “ know the Roman power was invincible, and that they “ had been used to serve them ; for, that in case it be al. “ lowed a right thing to fight for liberty, that ought to “ have been done at first ; but, for them that have once fal“ len under the power of the Romans, and have now sub“ mitted to them for so many long years, to pretend to shake “ off that yoke afterward, was the work of such as have a mind “ to die miserably, not of such as were lovers of liberty. “ Besides, men may well enough grudge at the dishonour " of owning ignoble masters over them, but ought not to do “ so to those who have all things under their command ; for " what part of the world is there that hath escaped the Ro“mans, unless it be such as are of no use for violent heat, " or for violent cold ? And evident it is that fortune is on " all hands gone over to them ; and that God, when he had “ gone round the nations with this dominion, is now settled “ in Italy. That, moreover, it is a strong and a fixed law, “ even among brute beasts, as well as among men, to yield “ to those that are too strong for them; and to suffer those " to have the dominion, who are too hard for the rest in “ war. For which reason it was, that their forefathers, “ who were far superior to them both in their souls and bor “ dies, and other advantages, did yet submit to the Ros mans, which they would not have suffered, had they not! “ known that God was with them. As for themselves

what can they depend on in this their opposition, when " the greatest part of their city is already taken ? and when “ those that are within it are under greater miseries than it “ the city were taken, although their walls be still standing ? - For, that the Romans are not unacquainted with that “ famine which is in the city, whereby the people are al“ ready consumed, and the fighting men will in a little time “ be so too; for although the Romans should leave off the 6 siege, and not fall upon the city with their swords in their “hands, yet was there an insuperable war that beset them “ within, and was augmented every hour ; unless they were “ able to wage war with famine, and fight against it ; or « could alone conquer their natural appetites.” He added this farther, “ How right a thing it was to change their 6 conduct, before their calamities were become incu“ rable, and to have recourse to such advice as might « preserve them, while opportunity was offered them for so 6 doing. For that the Romans would not be mindful of " their past actions to their disadvantage, unless they pre« served their insolent behaviour to the end ; because they 6 were naturally mild in their conquests, and preferred t what was profitable, before what their passions dictated 6 to them ; which prosit of theirs lay not in leaving the city li empty of inhabitants, nor the country a desert : on which « account, Cæsar did now offer them his right hand for « their security. Whereas, if he took the city by force, 56 he would not save any of them, and this especially, if “ they rejected his offers in these their utmost distresses ; * for the walls that were already taken, could not but as* sure them that the third wall would quick!y be taken al"so. And although their fortifications should prove too <strong for the Romans to break through them, yet would < the famine fight for the Romans against them.”

4. While Josephus was making this exhortation to the Jews, many of them jested upon him from the wall, and many reproached him; nay, some threw their darts at him ; but when he could not himself persuade them by such open good advice, he betook himself to the histories belonging to their own nation, and cried out aloud, “O mis** erable creatures ! are you so unmindful of those that used *** to assist you, that you will fight by your weapons and “ by your hands against the Romans! when did we ever “couquer any other nation by such means? and when was “it that God, who is the Creator of the Jewish people, did “not avenge them when they had been injured ? Will you “not turn again and look back, and consider whence it is “ that you fight with such violence, and how great a Sup. “porter you have profanely abused ? Will you not recal to “mind the prodigious things done for your forefathers and “this holy place, and how great enemies of yours were by “hiin subdued under you? I even tremble myself in de“ claring the works of God before your ears that are un“ worthy to hear them: however hearken to me, that you “may be informed how you fight not only against the Ro“ mans but against God himself. In old time there was “one Necao, king of Egypt, who was also called Pharaoh ; “ he came with a prodigious army of soldiers, and seized " Queen Sarah, the mother of our nation. What did “ Abraham our progenitor then do? Did he defend himself “ from this injurious person by war, although he had three “hundred and eighteen captains under him, and an im“mense army under each of them ? indeed he deemed them “ to be no number at all without God's assistance, and only “ spread out his hands * towards this holy place, which " you have now polluted, and reckoned upon him as upon #his invincible Supporter, instead of his own army. Was “ not our Queen sent back, without any defilement, to her er husband, the very next evening ? while the king of Egypt “ fled away, adoring this place, which you have defiied “ by shedding thereon the blood of your own countrymen; v and he also trembled at those visions which he saw in the " night season, and bestowed both silver and gold on the “ Hebrews, as on a people beloved by God. Shall I say só nothing, or shall I mention the removal of our fathers «into Egypt, who, when they were used tyranpically, and 6 were fallen under the power of the foreign kings for four “ hundred years together, and might have defended them* selves by war and by fighting, did yet do nothing but - commit themselves to God! who is there that does not

* Josephus supposes in this his admirable speech to the Jews, that not Abraham only, but Pharaoh king of Egypt, prayed towards a temple at Jerusalem, or towards Jerusalem itself, in which were Mount Sion and Mount Moriah, on which the tabernacle and temple did afterwards stand ; and this long before either the Jewish tabernacle or temple were built. Nor is the famous command given by God to Abraham, to go two or three days jourpey on purpose to offer up his son Isaac there, unfavourale to such a lotion.

« PreviousContinue »