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WILLIAM WHISTON, A. M.
The Jewish War, &c. &c.
HISTORY OF THE DESTRUCTION OF JERUSALEM.
CONTAINING THE INTERVAL OF NEAR SIX MONTHS.
[From the coming of Titus to besiege Jerusalem, to the great extremity
to which the Jews were reduced.]
Concerning the seditions at Jerusalem, and what terrible mise
ries afflicted the city by their means.
81. WHEN therefore Titus had marched over that de: sert which lies between Egypt and Syria, in the manner forementioned, he came to Cæsarea, having resolved to set his forces in order at that place, before he began the war. Nay, indeed, while he was assisting his father at Alexandria in settling that government which had been newly conferred upon them by God, it so happened, that the sedition at Jerusalem was revived, and parted into three factions, and that · one faction fought against the other, wbich partition in such
evil cases may be said to be a good thing, and the effect of divine justice. Now, as to the attack the zealots made upon the people, and which I esteem the beginning of the city's destruction, it hath been already explained after an accurate manner; as also whence it arose, and to how great a mischief it was increased. But, for the present sedition, one should not mistake if he called it a sedition begotten by another sedition, and to be like a wild beast grown mad, which, for want of food from abroad, fell now upon eating its own flesh.
2. For Eleazar, the son of Simon, who made the first sepa. ration of the zealots from the people, and made them retire into the temple, appeared very angry at John's insolent attempts, which he made every day upon the people ; for this inan never left off murdering: but the truth was, that he could not bear to submit to a tyrant who set up after him. So, being desirous of gaining the entire power and dominion to himself, he revolted from John, and took to his assistance Judas, the son of Chelcias, and Simon the son of Ezron, who were among the men of greatest power. There was also with him Hezekiah, the son of Chobar, a person of eminence. Each of these was followed by a great many of the zealots ; these seized upon the inner court * of the temple, and laid their arms upon the holy gates, and over the holy front of that court. And because they had plenty of provisions, they were of good courage ; for there was a great abundance of what was consecrated to sacred uses, and they scrupled not the making use of them'; yet were they afraid on account of their small number, and when they had laid up their arms there, they did not stir from the place they were in. Now, as to John, what advantage he had above Eleazar in the multitude of his followers, the like disadvantage he had in the situation he was in, since he had his enemies over his head ; and as he could not make any assault upon them without some terror, so was his anger too great to let him be at rest; nay, although he suffered more mischief from Eleazar and his party, than he could inflict upon them, yet would be not leave off assaulting them, insomuch that there were continual sallies made one against another, as well as darts thrown at one another, and the temple was defiled every where with murders.
3. But now the tyrant Simon, the son of Gioras, whom the people had invited in, out of the hopes they had of his assistance in the great distress they were in, having in his power the upper city, and a great part of the lower, did now make more vehement assaults upon John and his party, because they were fought against from above also ; yet was he bea neath their situation, when he attacked them, as they were beneath the attacks of the others above them. Whereby it
* This appears to be the first time that the zealots ventured to pollute this most sacred court of the temple, which was the court of the priests, wherein the temple itself and the altar stood. So that the conjectures of those that would interpret that Zacharias, who was slain “ between the temple and the altar” sereral months before, B. iv. ch. v. | 4. vol. V. as if he were slaio there by these zealots, is groundless, as I have noed on that place already.