The Siege of Jerusalem
by Flavius Josephus
There is factional fighting with Jerusalem. Eleazar son of Simon seizes the inner court of the Temple, John and his men continue the plunder in the city, and Simon son of Gioras also fights to win the Temple. The Jews are effectively destroying the city. The grain that would feed them during the siege is destroyed in flames, the hunger that will follow thus being their responsibility. John purloins the sacred timbers to make engines of war. Titus “Caesar” advances on Jerusalem. He is trapped at one point and has to fight for his life. John seizes the inner court of the Temple from the Zealots and Eleazar son of Simon. Josephus is recruited by Titus to serve as an intermediary, to persuade his people to surrender.
Simon’s partisans and John and his Zealots continue to fight each other, even when the Romans are closely encamped. Josephus states that Jerusalem’s internal divisions destroyed the City, and the Romans destroyed the internal divisions. The siege begins and the factions unite. The Romans build siege towers. The outer wall is breached and soon the second wall is broken down. Josephus makes more appeals to the people. He appeals to reliance on God and says they are fighting against God. He recounts past episodes of Jewish subjugation in which force of arms had not succeeded–the Egyptians, Babylonians, Antiochus Epiphanes [Antiochus IV, Syrian king 175 -164 BC], and Pompey the Great. The Jewish nation was never intended to bear arms. The Romans are only expecting the customary tribute. Josephus states he is willing to sacrifice his mother, wife, children, and even his own life in order to persuade the people to relent. Read the full article