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“we, and presented yourselves an armed, though not “ a declared enemy, secretly making preparations for
a war against us, with what in fact, we considered “ as our own money. You sent embassies to those of
your nation who lived beyond the Euphrates, to assist “ you in raising disturbances. New walls were built “ around your city; sedition arose, and one tyrant con“tended with another, till you became distracted by “ civil commotions." 1
It was A. D. 68, when Vespasian, who had hitherto commanded a large army in Egypt, for the purpose of arranging the government established by Nero; received the news of that Emperour's death, of the Jews' intestine divisions, and of their disaffection to the Roman power; upon which he hastened the completion of his projects in Syria, and in the following year returned to the capital, sending his son Titus to Jerusalem, with the main body of his army.*
i Bell. Jud. 6. vi. 2.
2 This interval offered a favourable opportunity for the disciples of Christ to fly to the mountains, as they had now seen the Romans coming against them in the manner they had been forewarned; of this they prudently took advantage. The Jews had the like opportunity of reflecting upon the posture of their affairs, and of guarding against the uncertain, if not probable issue of an unequal conflict; but reflection was banished from their minds, and instead of combining their strength, upon a determination to pursue hostile measures; they weakened it, by kindling animosity, and by forming various and opposite interests amongst themselves: thus hastening on inevitable ruin. Our Saviour plainly foresaw, that nothing would reclaim them after his endeavours had failed of their effect.-“When he was come near, he beheld the city and wept over it, saying, if thou hadst known, even thou, in this thy day, the things that belong to thy peace, but now they are hid from thine eyes.”—Luke xix. 41.
3 THE LORD SHALL BRING A NATION AGAINST THEE FROM AFAR, FROM THE END OF THE EARTH, AS SWIFT AS THE EAGLE FLIETH; A NATION WHOSE TONGUE
" He was received,” says Tacitus,“ in Judea, at " the head of three legions, the fifth, the tenth, and " the fifteenth, all experienced veterans, who had “served under Vespasian. To these were added the
twelfth, from Syria, and the third and twenty-second “ from Alexandria. He had, besides, twenty cohorts of “allies and eight squadrons of horse. The two Kings,
Agrippa and Sohemus, joined his standard, Antiochus “sent the forces of his kingdom. A formidable body “of Arabs, with that animosity which often embitters “ neighbouring nations against each other, took the “ field as avowed enemies of the Jewish nation. The “number that passed over from Rome and Italy, to
serve as volunteers under a prince not yet decided “ in his friendships, was considerable. With this force “ Titus advanced into the enemy's country in order “ of battle, by his scouts exploring the motions of the enemy, and always prepared for action.”!
THOU SHALT NOT UNDERSTAND.-A NATION OF FIERCE COUNTENANCE, WHICH SHALL NOT REGARD THE PERSON OF THE OLD, NOR SHEW FAVOUR TO THE YOUNG.—Deut. xxviii. 49, 50.—Jer. iv. 5, &c.
Vespasian and Adrian were sent from their command in Britain (which was then considered as the extremity of the world), against Judea, and the rapidity of their conquests might be compared to eagles, and, probably, had a reference to the eagle on their standards.-Vide Kett.
THUS SAITH THE LORD, BÉHOLD A PEOPLE COMETH FROM THE NORTH COUNTRY
AND A GREAT NATION SHALL BE RAISED FROM THE SIDES OF THE EARTH.
SHALL LAY HOLD ON BOW AND SPEAR; THEY ARE CRUEL AND HAVE NO MERCY; THEIR VOICE ROARETH LIKE THE SEA : AND THEY RIDE UPON HORSES, SET IN ARRAY AS MEN OF WAR AGAINST THEE, OH DAUGHTER OF zion !-Jer. vi. 22, 23.
i Tres eum in Judæâ Legiones, quinta et decima et quinta decima-vetus Vespasiani miles excepere. Tradidit et Syria duodecimam, et adductos Alexandria duo et vicesimanos tertianosque. Comitabantur viginti sociæ Cohortes, octo equitum alæ : simul Agrippa, Sohemusque Reges, et auxilia Regis Antiochi, validaque spes acciverant, occupandi principem adhuc
In this manner he arrived, with his army formed into three divisions; and placing two of them on the north side, and one on Mount Olivet to the east, he encamped before the city.? The many factions that had before existed in the
vacuum. His cum copiis finis hostium ingressus, composito agmine, cuncta explorans, paratusque decernere, haud procul Hierosolymis castra facit.
Tacit. Hist. v. i.
I WILL GATHER ALL NATIONS AGAINST JERUSALEM TO BATTLE. Zech, xiv. 2.
By “ all nations,” says Louth, "are meant the Romans, who being Lords of the then known world, had the strength of all nations united to their forces.”
This statement of the forces of Titus, nearly corresponds with the accounts given by Josephus. (Bell. Jud. 5, xi. 6.) The number of his whole army has been computed at 60,000 men, besides victuallers and boys. “ Sexaginta millia militum præter lixas et calones ad urbem duxit.” The force employed on the Jewish side amounted to about half that number.
i The seditious Jews within the city beheld, with astonishment, the Romans measuring out the ground for their camps in three places.
Bell. Jud. 5. ii. 4. The very spot on Mount Olivet, from whence Christ viewed Jerusalem and wept over it (Luke xix. 41), was that on which Titus here pitched his camp. This is remarked by Quaresmius, who quotes these words from Baronius :-“ Est res observatione certe ac stupore digna, in eodem Monte "Oliveti, ubi Christus aspiciens Jerosolymam fudit laerymas, Romanos, cum
essent obsessuri eamdem civitatem, ac funditus vastaturi et eversuri, primum castra, possuisse.”—Elucidatio Terræ Sanctæ. ii. p. 241.
2 This was early in April, A. D. 70.-It was the beginning of May that he was reinforced by a number of armed men, and a band, called the Macecedonian band, commanded by Antiochus Epiphanes, son of the King of Commagena.—Bell. Jud. 5. xi. 3.
Here was the DESOLATION OF ABOMINATION spoken of by Daniel, STANDING IN THE HOLY PLACE: for Jerusalem and its borders were accounted holy, as appears from 1st Macc. x. 31, and here the Army was stationed with its ensigns within sight of the City and Temple; “ rivalling as it were” says Newcome, “the God of Israel : this was a hostile contempt of the Jews, and is justly placed among the presages of their utter destruction.” Observations on the conduct of our Lord, p. 220.
city, were now reduced to three. 1 The first of these was headed by Simon, a man who had exhibited every symptom of determined obstinacy; and who, with a body of ten thousand Jews and five thousand Idumeans, formed a party of so daring and ferocious a character, as entitled it, after some struggles, to a marked pre-eminence over the other factions; and at length obtained for its tyranny, more than for its protection, the upper city.
Eleazar commanded a party of two thousand five hundred, who assumed the name of Zealots; with these he had made himself master of the Temple, and now stood
its defence. 2 John of Giscala,3 a cruel and specious man, of in
sinuating The images of the Emperour, and the eagles that were carried in front of the Legions, were regarded with religious abhorrence by the Jews; as they were ranked among the Pagan Deities, and reverenced with divine honours.
Kett's Hist. Int. of Prophecy, vol. 1. p. 213. 1 Tres Duces, totidem exercitus. Extrema et latissima mænium Simon; mediam urbem Johannes, quem et Burgioram vocabant; Templum Eleazarus loco pollebat. Sed prælia dolus, incendia inter ipsos, et magna vis frumenti ambusta. Tacit. Hist. v. 12.
2 The leading principle of these men was excessive devotion to the Law of Moses, to the permanence of the Jewish religion, and the independence of the Jewish state. They acknowledged no master but God; and considered it as a crime to pay any tribute to the Romans, or to submit in any way to the ignominy of a foreign and idolatrous yoke. When once they had resolved to employ these principles as justifiable grounds of action (although in their origin they might be considered only as a national way thinking), and when they had distinguished themselves from the rest of the people by their eagerness and zeal in manifesting these principles, they were insensibly carried on to the perpetration of the most atrocious crimes, and at length precipitated the nation into the very ruin which at first they vainly endeavoured to avert.
Maltby's Illustration, ch. ii. p. 94, Ed. 1803. 3 Vespasian had been attacked formerly by the Jews, at a considerable
sinuating address, and possessing a wonderful flow of language; looked with an eye of envy on the party, as well as on the situation of Eleazar: having himself an army of six thousand men, he adopted various stratagems to win over the Zealots to his side; till, by every effort of condescension and intrigue, he became a very formidable rival. At an earlier period, he had maintained his station in the upper city, when taking off the mask so long and artfully assumed; he gave way to every species of savage barbarity. His acts of depredation were so violent, and his outrages carried to so great an excess; that the people, harrassed and worn out by oppression, invited Simon to their deliverance; who with his army, augmented by those troops, which he suddenly raised by promises of future reward ; advanced to the gates of Jerusalem, amid the applauses of the people; and shortly succeeded in defeating John, and securing himself in the possession of the city.2 John, though he had recently sustained
distance from the city, under the command of John ; but having repulsed them, they fled to the city for protection;" which,” says the historian," was “ the work of God, who reserved John for the destruction of Jerusalem."
Bell. Jud. 4, ii. 3, 1 Amongst the number of his destructive actions, the most glaring was that of setting fire to the granaries filled with corn and provisions. The same was done by Simon afterwards, when he attacked the city. Thèse tended however, much more to their own ruin, than to the disadvantage of their enemies ; particularly, as this supply was sufficient to have lasted a siege of many years, and was indeed the direct occasion of that famine, in consequence of which, so many ultimately perished. Here they themselves helped to fulfil the prediction of Christ. EXCEPT THOSE DAYS BE
Matt. xxiv. 22. Vide Bell. Jud. 5. ii. 4 and 5, x. S. 2 A circumstance at this time took place, which elucidates the savage character of Simon, " et crimine ab uno, disce omnes.” As soon as he had
SHORTENED THERE SHALL NO FLESH BE SAVED.