Page images
PDF
EPUB

the country, and seized upon whatsoever came in his way, and set fire to the villages that were round about them; and then returned to Ptolemais. But when the Syrians, and especially those of Berytus, were busy in plundering. the Jews resumed their courage; for they knew that Cestius was retired; and fell upon those that were left behind unexpectedly, and destroyed about two thousand of them. | Now Cestius himself marched from Ptolemais, and came to Cæsarea. But be sent part of his army before him to Joppa : and gave order, that if they could take that city by surprise they should keep it; but that in case the citizens should perceive they were coming to attack them, they then should stay for him, and for the rest of the army. So some of them made a brisk march by the sea-side, and some by land, and so coming upon them on both sides, they took the city with ease. And as the inhabitants had made no provision beforehand for a flight, nor had gotten any thing ready for fighting; the soldiers fell upon them, and slew them all, with their families; and then plundered and burnt the city. The number of the slain was eight thousand four hundred. In like manner Cestius sent also a considerable body of horsemen to the toparchy of *Narbatene, that adjoined to Cæsarea : who destroyed the country, and slew a great multitude of its people. They also plundered what they had, and burnt their villages.

But Cestius sent Gallus, the commander of the twelfth legion, into Galilee; and delivered to him as many of his forces as he supposed sufficient to subdue that nation. He was received by the strongest city of Galilee, which was Sepphoris, with acclamations of joy. Which wise conduct of that city occasioned the rest of the cities to be in quiet. While the seditious part, and the robbers, ran away to the mountain Asamon, which lies in the very middle of Galilee, and is situate over against Sepphoris. So Gallus brought his forces against them. But while those men were in the superior parts above the Romans, they easily threw their darts upon them as they made their approaches; and slew about two hundred of them. But when the Romans had gone round the mountains, and were gotten into the parts above their enemies,

* See chap. 14.

the others were soon beaten. Nor could they who had only light armour on sustain the force of them that fought them armed all over. Nor when they were beaten could they escape the enemy's horsemen. Insomuch that only some few concealed themselves in certain places hard to be come at, among the mountains, while the rest, above two thousand in number, were slain.

CHAP. XIX.

OF WHAT CESTIUS DID AGAINST THE JEWS; HIS INVESTMENT OF

JERUSALEM; AND THE CALAMITIES HE UNDERWENT IN HIS RETREAT.

NOW Gallus, seeing nothing more that looked towards an innovation in Galilee, returned with his troops to Cæsarea. But Cestius removed with his whole army, and marched to * Antipatris. And when he was informed that there was a great body of Jewish forces gotten together in a certain tower called tAphek, he sent a party before to fight them. But this party dispersed the Jews by affrighting them, before it came to a battle. So they came, and finding their camp deserted, they burnt it, as well as the villages that lay about it. But when Cestius had marched from Antipatris to Lydda, he found the city empty of its men. For the Iwhole multitude were gone up to Jerusalem to the feast of tabernacles. Yet did he destroy fifty of those that showed themselves, and burut the city, and so marched forwards. And ascending by * Bethoron, he pitched his camp at a certain place called Gabao; fifty furlongs distant from Jerusalem. .

* In the road to Jerusalem. + See Antiquities, VIII 14.

Here we have an eminent example of that Jewish language, which Dr. Wall truly observes we several times find used in the sacred writings ; I mean where the words all, or whole multitude, &c. are used for much the greatest part only; but not so as to include every person, without exception. For when Josephus had said, that the whole multitude, all the males, of Lydda were gone to the feast of tabernacles, be immediately adds, that however no fewer than fifty of them appeared, and were slain by the Romans. Other examples somewhat like this I bave observed elsewhere in Josephus: but I think, none so remarkable as this. See Wall's Critical Observations on the Old Testament, page 49, 50.

We have also here two eminent facts to be observed, viz. the first example, that I remember, in Josephus, of the onset of the Jews' enemies upon their country when their males were gone up to Jerusalem, to one of their three sacred festivals : which during the theocracy, God had promised to preserve them from, Exod. xxxiv. 84. The second fact is, the breach of the Sabbath by the seditious Jews in an offensive fight; contrary to the universal doctrine and practice of their nation in these ages ; and even contrary to what they themselves afterward practised in the rest of this war. See the note on Antiq. XVI. 2.

But as for the Jews, when they saw the war approaching to their metropolis, they left the feast, and betook themselves to their arms. And taking courage greatly from their multitude, they went in a sudden and disorderly manner to the fight, with a great noise; and without any consideration of the rest of the seventh day: althoùgh the sabbath was the day to which they had the greatest regard. But that rage which made them forget their religious observance of the sabbath, made them too hard for their enemies in the fight. With such violence, therefore, did they fall upon the Romans, as to break into their ranks, and to march through the midst of thein ; making a great slaughter as they went. Insomuch, that unless the horsemen, and such part of the footmen as were not yet tired in the action had wheeled round, and succoured that part of the army which was not yet broken, Cestius, with his whole army, had been in danger. However, five hundred and fifteen of the Romans were slain : of which number four hundred were footmen, and the rest horsemen : while the Jews lost only twenty-two. Of whom the most valiant were the kinsmen of [Monobazus, king of Adiabene : and their names were Monobazus, and Kenedeus. And next to them were Niger of Perea, and Silas of Babylon ; who had deserted from king Agrippa to the Jews. For he had formerly served in his army. When the front of the Jewish army had been cut off, the Jews retired into the city. But still Simon, the son of Giora, fell upon the backs of the Romans, as they were ascending up Bethoron, and put the hindmost of the army into disorder; and carried off many of the beasts that carried the weapons of war; and led them into the city. But as Cestius tarried there three days, the Jews seized upon the elevated parts of the city, and set watches at the entran

* See Chap. 12.
+ See Antiquities, VII. 1.
See Antiquities, XX. 2.

ces, and appeared openly resolved not to rest, when once the Romans should begin to march.

Now when Agrippa observed that even the affairs of the Romans were likely to be in danger, while such an immense multitude of their enemies had seized upon the mountains round about; he determined to try what the Jews would agree to by words : as thinking that he should either persuade them all to desist from fighting; or however, that he should cause the sober part of them to separate from the opposite party. So he sent Borceus and Phebus, the persons of his party that were the best known to them; and promised that Cestius should give them his right hand, to secure them of the Romans' entire forgiveness of what they had done amiss, if they would throw away their arms, and come over to them. But the seditious, fearing lest the whole multitude, in hopes of security to themselves, should go over to Agrippa, resolved immediately to fall upon and kill the ambassadors. Accordingly they slew Phebus, before he said a word. But Borceus was only wounded, and so prevented his fate by fleeing away. And when the people were very angry at this, they had the seditious beaten with stones, and clubs; and drove them before them into the city.

But now Cestius, observing that the disturbances that were begun among the Jews afforded him a proper opportunity to attack them, took his whole army along with him, and put the Jews to flight, and pursued them to Jerusalem. He then pitched his camp upon the elevation called *Scopus, or the watch-tower ; which was distant seven furlongs from the city. Yet did not he assault them in three days' time: out of expectation that those within might perhaps yield a little : and in the mean time he sent out a great many of his soldiers into the neighbouring villages, to seize upon their corn. And on the fourth day, which was the thirtieth of the month Hyperbereteus or Tisri, when he had put his army in array, he brought it into the city. Now the people were kept under by the seditious. But the seditious themselves were greatly affrighted at the good order of the Romans; and retired from the suburbs, and retreated into the inner part of the city, and into the temple. But when Cestius was come into the city, he set the part called * Bezetha, which is called Cenopolis or the new city, on fire: as he did also to the timber market. After which he came into the upper city, and pitched his camp over against the royal palace. And had he but at this very time attempted to get within the walls by force, he had won the city presently: and the war had been put an end to at once. But Tyrannius Priscus, the muster-master of the army, and a great number of the officers of the horse, had been corrupted by Florus; and diverted him from that attempt. And that was the occasion that this war lasted so very long; and thereby the Jews were involved in such incurable calamities.

* See Book V. chap. 2.

In the mean time many of the principal men of the city were persuaded by Ananus, the son of Jonathan, and invited by 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 Ananus 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 Romans 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 northern quarter of it. But the Jews beat them off from the cloisters; and repulsed them several times when they were gotten dear 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 call 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.

* See chap. 15.

« PreviousContinue »