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suffered, deserted to the Romans; some making their escape by leaping the walls; others under pretence of attacking the enemy with stones; and the rest by the application of various other stratagems: but here, by avoiding one kind of misfortune, they fell into another not less dreadful; for the surfeit of provisions in the camp proved more immediately fatal than the want of them in the city. Famine had so long preyed upon them, that in the midst of plenty it was too difficult to controul the appetite, or check the importunate demands of hunger, till the enervated powers of nature, overburdened and exhausted, gave way to death. Scenes, alas! of more complicated wretchedness might still be developed; but among all the objects of calamity and distress, none can surely exceed in abhorrence that of a fugitive Jew, surprised among the Syrians, in the act of searching for gold he had swallowed purposely to conceal. The report of this discovery, flying through the camp, soon reached the knowledge of the Syrians and Arabs, who suspecting the Jews in general of having secreted their gold, by an application of the same disgustful means; ripped open ten thousand of them in one night to procure the hidden treasures: "than which," says the historian, "it does. "not appear to me that any misery, more terrible, ever "befel the Jews." Titus was so transported with anger, at the brutality of this action, that he was on the point of ordering his horse to surround and put the Syrians to immediate death, had not the number of the

(1) Bell. Jud. 5, xiii. 4.



guilty so greatly exceeded that of the murdered: discovering too, that many of his own soldiers were implicated in the crime; he first severely reprimanded the auxiliaries and those of his own men concerned with them, and then threatened death, without mercy, to any one who should be found afterwards committing a similar offence.

Thus even without the walls, the Jews, in this instance, sought in vain for that refuge and protection which seems hardly ever to have been withheld from them by the desire or command of Titus: so that the number of the slain in the camp was comparatively very small, and indeed not such as to be mentioned, when it is considered how many thousands perished in the city: for, on the testimony of one of the commanders of the gates, who afterwards espoused the cause of the Romans, it appeared from the period of the encampment of Titus before the town, to that day; a space of time rather exceeding two months, there passed through his gate, one hundred and fifteen thousand and eight dead bodies, and these only such as fell in his department to notice, and consequently exclusive of those thrown over the walls. It appeared afterwards upon the computation of many distinguished persons who deserted, that six hundred thousand poor people were carried out of the gates, besides others in a much greater number, who having no friends to bear their bodies without the city; were piled in heaps and shut up in houses.1 As an instance of the scarcity of provisions at this time, it may be mentioned; that wheat, where it could be pro


H h


Isaiah, xxiv. 10.

cured, was valued at a talent a bushel.' But since all outward communication with the city had been cut off, more disgusting expedients were resorted to than it is possible to conceive under dissimilar circumstances; such indeed, as human nature can reflect upon only with sensations of distress; but which at the same time manifested that even objects of abhorrence, by excessive hardships and misfortunes, become reconcileable to nature. The bare recital of these calamities excited pity in the Romans, but the factions having both witnessed and felt these sufferings, were not so much as sensible that their own rebellious obstinacy had caused this excess of misery; and thus "were hurried on, under the impulse of a blind fatality, to the ruin "of themselves, and the destruction of their city."*

John and his faction, finding the veneration for the Temple had lessened, and that all exercises of religion · had

(1) The value of the Jewish silver talent, which it is to be supposed this is intended to mean, amounted to three hundred and seventy-five pounds sterling money. Josephus says in the former description of the famine, that "the wealthier Jews gave all they possessed for a bushel of wheat."

(2) When the King of Syria besieged Samaria-There was a great famine în Samaria; and behold they besieged it, until an ass's head was sold for fourscore pieces of silver; and the fourth part of a cab of dove's dung (something more than a quarter of a pint) for five pieces of silver.—2 Kings, vi. 25.— When Nebuchadnezzar besieged Jerusalem-The famine prevailed in the city, and there was no bread for the people of the land.-2 Kings, xxv. 3.— In this siege we have just seen that a bushel of wheat would readily have been bought at the price of a talent, and it will shortly appear that greater and more complicated distress prevailed, such indeed as was not felt by any other nation, "no," says our Saviour," or ever shall be."

(3) Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush: therefore they shall fall among them that fall: at the time that I visit them; they shall be cast down, saith the Lord.-Jer. vi. 17.

(4) Bell. Jud. 5, xiii. 7.

had given way to the study of defensive warfare, and the pursuit of every cruel excess, which religion alone was calculated by her influence on the mind to prevent; seized without scruple upon the sacred vessels of the Temple, and applied them to the most unholy purposes; alleging, that they who fought for the Divinity were justified in the use of every gift or utensil consecrated to his service. Under such pretence, the depositories of the wine for the sacrifices were ransacked as well as the conservatories of the holy oil; and applied to those ends for which they were the least appropriated. This circumstance of itself, is sufficient to mark the degenerate state to which the minds of the insurgents were reduced, and how the excesses of misery and despair operate upon the human disposition. The Jews held every instrument belonging to the Temple, or employed in its service, in the most exalted estimation; and many are the instances in which other and important considerations have been sacrificed to their dread of infringing upon the ceremonials of their worship, or of the misapplication of the sacred furniture of their Temple. These scruples, in our Saviour's time, were carried to so great an extent, that he made it the frequent subject of his animadversions to this people, when he beheld them giving such a decided preference to the externals, rather than to the essentials of their religion.' The abhorrence in which even Josephus held the

(1) Woe unto you, ye blind guides, which say, whosoever shall swear by the temple, it is nothing; but whosoever shall swear by the gold of the temple, he is a debtor! Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gold, or the temple that sanctifieth the gold? And, whosoever shall swear by the altar, it is nothing; but whosoever sweareth by the gift that is upon it, he is guilty. Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gift, or the altar that sanctifieth.

the sacrilegious conduct of John and his adherents; the warmth of his indignation, excited by this occurrence, sufficiently testifies; as well as the punishment of which he thought it deserving. "And here," says he, "I "cannot but speak my mind, and give way to that

concern which it dictates; I suppose that had the "Romans delayed their coming against these profane "people, that their enormous wickedness would have "caused the city to have been buried by an earth"quake; or to have been swallowed up by the over"flowing of the waters: or by the same destructive "means, by which Sodom was wiped away from the "earth; for it brought forth men less mad and less "atheistical, than the people of this city.”

The state of Jerusalem was every day becoming worse; parties were still more violent and fierce, and the famine pressed without distinction upon all classes of the people. Having little to contend for within the walls, they proceeded from a civil, to a foreign war; inspired less with the hope of victory than with the expectation of giving vent to rage and despair. They who had hitherto been scrupulously fearful of becoming polluted by contact with the dead or unclean, were


tifieth the gift?-Woe unto you Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also. Matt. xxiii. 16, 19, 25, 26.

(1) Bell. Jud. 5, xiii. 6.

Josephus plainly alludes here, to the three great memorable punishments -that inflicted upon Korah and all his company, who were swallowed up by an earthquake (Numb. xvi. 32, 33)-that upon mankind by the deluge, (Gen. vii. 19)-and that which befel the Sodomites in the destruction of their city by fire from heaven (Gen. xix. 24.)

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