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For the Temple - A Tale of the Fall of Jerusalem
by G. A. Henty
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For the Temple: A Tale of the Fall of Jerusalem By G. A. Henty.

Contents

Preface. Chapter 1: The Lake Of Tiberias. Chapter 2: A Storm On Galilee. Chapter 3: The Revolt Against Rome. Chapter 4: The Lull Before The Storm. Chapter 5: The Siege Of Jotapata. Chapter 6: The Fall Of The City. Chapter 7: The Massacre On The Lake. Chapter 8: Among The Mountains. Chapter 9: The Storming Of Gamala. Chapter 10: Captives. Chapter 11: A Tale Of Civil Strife. Chapter 12: Desultory Fighting. Chapter 13: The Test Of Devotion. Chapter 14: Jerusalem. Chapter 15: The Siege Is Begun. Chapter 16: The Subterranean Passage. Chapter 17: The Capture Of The Temple. Chapter 18: Slaves. Chapter 19: At Rome.

Illustrations

On the Sea of Galilee. Heightening the Walls of Jotapata under Shelter of Ox Hides. John Incites his Countrymen to Harass the Romans. The Roman Camp Surprised and Set on Fire. Mary and the Hebrew Women in the Hands of the Romans. Titus Brings Josephus to See John. John and his Band in Sight of Jerusalem. Misery in Jerusalem During the Siege by Titus. 'Lesbia,' the Roman said, 'I have brought you two more slaves.' The Return of John to his House on the Lake.



Preface.

In all history, there is no drama of more terrible interest than that which terminated with the total destruction of Jerusalem. Had the whole Jewish nation joined in the desperate resistance made, by a section of it, to the overwhelming strength of Rome, the world would have had no record of truer patriotism than that displayed, by this small people, in their resistance to the forces of the mistress of the world.

Unhappily, the reverse of this was the case. Except in the defense of Jotapata and Gamala, it can scarcely be said that the Jewish people, as a body, offered any serious resistance to the arms of Rome. The defenders of Jerusalem were a mere fraction of its population—a fraction composed almost entirely of turbulent characters and robber bands, who fought with the fury of desperation; after having placed themselves beyond the pale of forgiveness, or mercy, by the deeds of unutterable cruelty with which they had desolated the city, before its siege by the Romans. They fought, it is true, with unflinching courage—a courage never surpassed in history—but it was the courage of despair; and its result was to bring destruction upon the whole population, as well as upon themselves.

Fortunately the narrative of Josephus, an eyewitness of the events which he describes, has come down to us; and it is the storehouse from which all subsequent histories of the events have been drawn. It is, no doubt, tinged throughout by his desire to stand well with his patrons, Vespasian and Titus; but there is no reason to doubt the accuracy of his descriptions. I have endeavored to present you with as vivid a picture as possible of the events of the war, without encumbering the story with details and, except as regards the exploits of John of Gamala, of whom Josephus says nothing, have strictly followed, in every particular, the narrative of the historian.

G. A. Henty.



Chapter 1: The Lake Of Tiberias.

"Dreaming, John, as usual? I never saw such a boy. You are always in extremes; either tiring yourself out, or lying half asleep."

"I was not half asleep, mother. I was looking at the lake."

"I cannot see much to look at, John. It's just as it has been ever since you were born, or since I was born."

"No, I suppose there's no change, mother; but I am never tired of looking at the sun shining on the ripples, and the fishermen's boats, and the birds standing in the shallows or flying off, in a desperate hurry, without any reason that I can make out. Besides, mother, when one is looking at the lake, one is thinking of other things."

"And very often thinking of nothing at all, my son."

"Perhaps so, mother; but there's plenty to think of, in these times."

"Plenty, John; there are baskets and baskets of figs to be stripped from the trees, and hung up to dry for the winter and, next week, we are going to begin the grape harvest. But the figs are the principal matter, at present; and I think that it would be far more useful for you to go and help old Isaac and his son, in getting them in, than in lying there watching the lake."

"I suppose it would, mother," the lad said, rising briskly; for his fits of indolence were by no means common and, as a rule, he was ready to assist at any work which might be going on.

"I do not wonder at John loving the lake," his mother said to herself, when the lad had hurried away. "It is a fair scene; and it may be, as Simon thinks, that a change may come over it, before long, and that ruin and desolation may fall upon us all."

There were, indeed, few scenes which could surpass in tranquil beauty that which Martha, the wife of Simon, was looking upon—the sheet of sparkling water, with its low shores dotted with towns and villages. Down the lake, on the opposite shore, rose the walls and citadel of Tiberias, with many stately buildings; for although Tiberias was not, now, the chief town of Galilee—for Sepphoris had usurped its place—it had been the seat of the Roman authority, and the kings who ruled the country for Rome generally dwelt there. Half a mile from the spot where Martha was standing rose the newly-erected walls of Hippos.

Where the towns and villages did not engross the shore, the rich orchards and vineyards extended down to the very edge of the water. The plain of Galilee was a veritable garden. Here flourished, in the greatest abundance, the vine and the fig; while the low hills were covered with olive groves, and the corn waved thickly on the rich, fat land. No region on the earth's face possessed a fairer climate. The heat was never extreme; the winds blowing from the Great Sea brought the needed moisture for the vegetation; and so soft and equable was the air that, for ten months in the year, grapes and figs could be gathered.

The population, supported by the abundant fruits of the earth, was very large. Villages—which would elsewhere be called towns, for those containing but a few thousand inhabitants were regarded as small, indeed—were scattered thickly over the plain; and few areas of equal dimensions could show a population approaching that which inhabited the plains and slopes between the Sea of Galilee and the Mediterranean. None could then have dreamed of the dangers that were to come, or believed that this rich cultivation and teeming population would disappear; and that, in time, a few flocks of wandering sheep would scarce be able to find herbage growing, on the wastes of land which would take the place of this fertile soil.

Certainly no such thought as this occurred to Martha, as she re-entered the house; though she did fear that trouble, and ruin, might be approaching.

John was soon at work among the fig trees, aiding Isaac and his son Reuben—a lad of some fifteen years—to pick the soft, luscious fruit, and carry it to the little courtyard, shaded from the rays of the sun by an overhead trellis work, covered with vines and almost bending beneath the purple bunches of grapes. Miriam—the old nurse—and four or five maid servants, under the eye of Martha, tied them in rows on strings, and fastened them to pegs driven into that side of the house upon which the sun beat down most hotly. It was only the best fruit that was so served; for that which had been damaged in the picking, and all of smaller size, were laid on trays in the sun. The girls chatted merrily as they worked; for Martha, although a good housewife, was a gentle mistress and, so long as fingers were busy, heeded not if the tongue ran on.

"Let the damsels be happy, while they may," she would say, if Miriam scolded a little when the laughter rose louder than usual. "Let them be happy, while they can; who knows what lies in the future?"

But at present, the future cast no shade upon the group; nor upon a girl of about fourteen years old, who danced in and out of the courtyard in the highest spirits, now stopping a few minutes to string the figs, then scampering away with an empty basket which, when she reached the gatherers, she placed on her head and supported demurely, for a little while, at the foot of the ladder upon which John was perched—so that he could lay the figs in it without bruising them. But, long ere the basket was filled she would tire of the work and, setting it on the ground, run back into the house.

"And so you think you are helping, Mary," John said, laughing, when the girl returned for the fourth time, with an empty basket.

"Helping, John! Of course I am—ever so much. Helping you, and helping them at the house, and carrying empty baskets. I consider myself the most active of the party."

"Active, certainly, Mary! but if you do not help them, in stringing and hanging the figs, more than you help me, I think you might as well leave it alone."

"Fie, John! That is most ungrateful, after my standing here like a statue, with the basket on my head, ready for you to lay the figs in."

"That is all very fine!" John laughed; "but before the basket is half full, away you go; and I have to get down the ladder, and bring up the basket and fix it firmly, and that without shaking the figs; whereas, had you left it alone, altogether, I could have brought up the empty basket and fixed it close by my hand, without any trouble at all."

"You are an ungrateful boy, and you know how bad it is to be ungrateful! And after my making myself so hot, too!" Miriam said. "My face is as red as fire, and that is all the thanks I get. Very well, then, I shall go into the house, and leave you to your own bad reflections."

"You need not do that, Mary. You can sit down in the shade there, and watch us at work; and eat figs, and get yourself cool, all at the same time. The sun will be down in another half hour, and then I shall be free to amuse you."

"Amuse me, indeed!" the girl said indignantly, as she sat down on the bank to which John had pointed. "You mean that I shall amuse you; that is what it generally comes to. If it wasn't for me I am sure, very often, there would not be a word said when we are out together."

"Perhaps that is true," John agreed; "but you see, there is so much to think about."

"And so you choose the time when you are with me to think! Thank you, John! You had better think, at present," and, rising from the seat she had just taken, she walked back to the house again, regardless of John's explanations and shouts.

Old Isaac chuckled, on his tree close by.

"They are ever too sharp for us, in words, John. The damsel is younger than you, by full two years; and yet she can always put you in the wrong, with her tongue."

"She puts meanings to my words which I never thought of," John said, "and is angered, or pretends to be—for I never know which it is—at things which she has coined out of her own mind, for they had no place in mine."

"Boys' wits are always slower than girls'," the old man said. "A girl has more fancy, in her little finger, than a boy in his whole body. Your cousin laughs at you, because she sees that you take it all seriously; and wonders, in her mind, how it is her thoughts run ahead of yours. But I love the damsel, and so do all in the house for, if she be a little wayward at times, she is bright and loving, and has cheered the house since she came here.

"Your father is not a man of many words; and Martha, as becomes her age, is staid and quiet, though she is no enemy of mirth and cheerfulness; but the loss of all her children, save you, has saddened her, and I think she must often have pined that she had not a girl; and she has brightened much since the damsel came here, three years ago.

"But the sun is sinking, and my basket is full. There will be enough for the maids to go on with, in the morning, until we can supply them with more."

John's basket was not full, but he was well content to stop and, descending their ladders, the three returned to the house.

Simon of Gadez—for that was the name of his farm, and the little fishing village close by, on the shore—was a prosperous and well-to-do man. His land, like that of all around him, had come down from father to son, through long generations; for the law by which all mortgages were cleared off, every seven years, prevented those who might be disposed to idleness and extravagance from ruining themselves, and their children. Every man dwelt upon the land which, as eldest son, he had inherited; while the younger sons, taking their smaller share, would settle in the towns or villages and become traders, or fishermen, according to their bent and means.

There were poor in Palestine—for there will be poor, everywhere, so long as human nature remains as it is; and some men are idle and self indulgent, while others are industrious and thrifty—but, taking it as a whole there were, thanks to the wise provisions of their laws, no people on the face of the earth so generally comfortable, and well to do. They grumbled, of course, over the exactions of the tax collectors—exactions due, not to the contribution which was paid by the province to imperial Rome, but to the luxury and extravagance of their kings, and to the greed and corruption of the officials. But in spite of this, the people of rich and prosperous Galilee could have lived in contentment, and happiness, had it not been for the factions in their midst.

On reaching the house, John found that his father had just returned from Hippos, whither he had gone on business. He nodded when the lad entered, with his basket.

"I have hired eight men in the market, today, to come out tomorrow to aid in gathering in the figs," he said; "and your mother has just sent down, to get some of the fishermen's maidens to come in to help her. It is time that we had done with them, and we will then set about the vintage. Let us reap while we can, there is no saying what the morrow will bring forth.

"Wife, add something to the evening meal, for the Rabbi Solomon Ben Manasseh will sup with us, and sleep here tonight."

John saw that his father looked graver than usual, but he knew his duty as a son too well to think of asking any questions; and he busied himself, for a time, in laying out the figs on trays—knowing that, otherwise, their own weight would crush the soft fruit before the morning, and bruise the tender skins.

A quarter of an hour later, the quick footsteps of a donkey were heard approaching. John ran out and, having saluted the rabbi, held the animal while his father assisted him to alight and, welcoming him to his house, led him within. The meal was soon served. It consisted of fish from the lake, kid's flesh seethed in milk, and fruit.

Only the men sat down; the rabbi sitting upon Simon's right hand, John on his left, and Isaac and his son at the other end of the table. Martha's maids waited upon them, for it was not the custom for the women to sit down with the men and, although in the country this usage was not strictly observed, and Martha and little Mary generally took their meals with Simon and John, they did not do so if any guest was present.

In honor of the visitor, a white cloth had been laid on the table. All ate with their fingers; two dishes of each kind being placed on the table—one at each end. But few words were said during the meal. After it was concluded, Isaac and his son withdrew and, presently, Martha and Mary, having taken their meal in the women's apartments, came into the room. Mary made a little face at John, to signify her disapproval of the visitor, whose coming would compel her to keep silent all the evening. But though John smiled, he made no sign of sympathy for, indeed, he was anxious to hear the news from without; and doubted not that he should learn much, from the rabbi.

Solomon Ben Manasseh was a man of considerable influence in Galilee. He was a tall, stern-looking old man, with bushy black eyebrows, deep-set eyes, and a long beard of black hair, streaked with gray. He was said to have acquired much of the learning of the Gentiles, among whom, at Antioch, he had dwelt for some years; but it was to his powers as a speaker that he owed his influence. It was the tongue, in those days, that ruled men; and there were few who could lash a crowd to fury, or still their wrath when excited, better than Solomon Ben Manasseh.

For some time they talked upon different subjects: on the corn harvest and vintage, the probable amount of taxation, the marriage feast which was to take place, in the following week, at the house of one of the principal citizens of Hippos, and other matters. But at last Simon broached the subject which was uppermost in all their thoughts.

"And the news from Tiberias, you say, is bad, rabbi?"

"The news from Tiberias is always bad, friend Simon. In all the land there is not a city which will compare with it, in the wrongheadedness of its people and the violence of its seditions; and little can be hoped, as far as I can see, so long as our good governor, Josephus, continues to treat the malefactors so leniently. A score of times they have conspired against his life and, as often, has he eluded them; for the Lord has been ever with him. But each time, instead of punishing those who have brought about these disorders, he lets them go free; trusting always that they will repent them of their ways, although he sees that his kindness is thrown away, and that they grow even bolder and more bitter against him after each failure.

"All Galilee is with him. Whenever he gives the word, every man takes up his arms and follows him and, did he but give the order, they would level those proud towns Tiberias and Sepphoris to the ground, and tear down stone by stone the stronghold of John of Gischala. But he will suffer them to do nothing—not a hair of these traitors' heads is to be touched; nor their property, to the value of a penny, be interfered with.

"I call such lenity culpable. The law ordains punishment for those who disturb the people. We know what befell those who rebelled against Moses. Josephus has the valor and the wisdom of King David; but it were well if he had, like our great king, a Joab by his side, who would smite down traitors and spare not."

"It is his only fault," Simon said. "What a change has taken place, since he was sent hither from Jerusalem to take up our government! All abuses have been repressed, extortion has been put down, taxes have been lightened. We eat our bread in peace and comfort, and each man's property is his own. Never was there such a change as he has wrought and, were it not for John of Gischala, Justus the son of Piscus, and Jesus the son of Sapphias, all would go quietly and well; but these men are continually stirring up the people—who, in their folly, listen to them—and conspiring to murder Josephus, and seize upon his government."

"Already he has had, more than once, to reduce to submission Tiberias and Sepphoris; happily without bloodshed for, when the people of these cities saw that all Galilee was with Josephus, they opened their gates and submitted themselves to his mercy. Truly, in Leviticus it is said:

"'Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people; but thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.'

"But Josephus carries this beyond reason. Seeing that his adversaries by no means observe this law, he should remember that it is also said that 'He that taketh the sword shall fall by the sword,' and that the law lays down punishments for the transgressors. Our judges and kings slew those who troubled the land, and destroyed them utterly; and Josephus does wrong to depart from their teaching."

"I know not where he could have learned such notions of mercy to his enemies, and to the enemies of the land," Simon said. "He has been to Rome, but it is not among the Romans that he will have found that it is right to forgive those who rise up in rebellion."

"Yes, he was in Rome when he was twenty-six years old," Solomon said. "He went thither to plead the cause of certain priests who had been thrown into bonds, by Felix, and sent to Rome. It was a perilous voyage, for his ship was wrecked in the Adriatic and, of six hundred men who were on board, only eighty were picked up—after floating and swimming all night—by a ship of Cyrene. He was not long in Rome for, being introduced to Poppaea, the wife of Caesar, he used his interest with her and obtained the release of those for whose sake he went there.

"No, if he gained these ideas from anyone, he learned them from one Banus—an Ascetic, of the sect of the Essenes, who lived in the desert with no other clothing than the bark and leaves of trees, and no other food save that which grew wild. Josephus lived with him, in like fashion, for three years and, doubtless, learned all that was in his heart. Banus was a follower, they say, of that John whom Herod put to death; and for ought I know, of that Jesus who was crucified, two years afterwards, at Jerusalem, and in whom many people believed, and who has many followers, to this day. I have conversed with some of them and, from what they tell me, this Jesus taught doctrines similar to those which Josephus practices; and which he may have learned from Banus, without accepting the doctrines which the members of this sect hold, as to their founder being the promised Messiah who was to restore Israel."

"I, too, have talked with many of the sect," Simon said; "and have argued with them on the folly of their belief, seeing that their founder by no means saved Israel, but was himself put to death. From what I could see, there was much that was good in the doctrines they hold; but they have exaggerated ideas, and are opposed to all wars, even to fighting for their country. I hear that, since there has been trouble with Rome, most of them have departed altogether out of the land, so as to avoid the necessity of fighting."

"They are poor creatures," Solomon Ben Manasseh said, scornfully; "but we need not talk of them now, for they affect us in no way, save that it may be that Josephus has learned somewhat of their doctrines, from Banus; and that he is thus unduly and, as I think, most unfortunately for the country, inclined too much to mercy, instead of punishing the evildoers as they deserve."

"But nevertheless, rabbi, it seems to me that there has been good policy, as well, in the mercy which Josephus has shown his foes. You know that John has many friends in Jerusalem; and that, if he could accuse Josephus of slaughtering any, he would be able to make so strong a party, there, that he could obtain the recall of Josephus."

"We would not let him go," Solomon said, hotly. "Since the Romans have gone, we submit to the supremacy of the council at Jerusalem, but it is only on sufferance. For long ages we have had nothing to do with Judah; and we are not disposed to put our necks under their yoke, now. We submit to unity because, in the Romans, we have a common foe; but we are not going to be tyrannized. Josephus has shown himself a wise ruler. We are happier, under him, than we have been for generations under the men who call themselves kings, but who are nothing but Roman satraps; and we are not going to suffer him to be taken from us. Only let the people of Jerusalem try that, and they will have to deal with all the men of Galilee."

"I am past the age at which men are bound to take up the sword, and John has not yet attained it but, if there were need, we would both go out and fight. What could they do, for the population of Galilee is greater than that of Judah? And while we would fight, every man, to the death; the Jews would, few of them, care to hazard their lives only to take from us the man we desire to rule over us. Still, Josephus does wisely, perhaps, to give no occasion for accusation by his enemies.

"There is no talk, is there, rabbi, of any movement on the part of the Romans to come against us, in force?"

"None, so far as I have heard," the rabbi replied. "King Agrippa remains in his country, to the east; but he has no Roman force with him sufficient to attempt any great enterprise and, so long as they leave us alone, we are content."

"They will come, sooner or later," Simon said, shaking his head. "They are busy elsewhere. When they have settled with their other enemies, they will come here to avenge the defeat of Cestius, to restore Florus, and to reconquer the land. Where Rome has once laid her paw, she never lets slip her prey."

"Well, we can fight," Solomon Ben Manasseh said, sternly. "Our forefathers won the land with the sword, and we can hold it by the sword."

"Yes," Martha said quietly, joining in the conversation for the first time, "if God fights for us, as He fought for our forefathers."

"Why should He not?" the rabbi asked sternly. "We are still his people. We are faithful to his law."

"But God has, many times in the past, suffered us to fall into the hands of our enemies as a punishment for our sins," Martha said, quietly. "The tribes were carried away into captivity, and are scattered we know not where. The temple was destroyed, and the people of Judah dwelt long as captives in Babylon. He suffered us to fall under the yoke of the Romans.

"In his right time, He will fight for us again; but can we say that that time has come, rabbi, and that He will smite the Romans, as He smote the host of Sennacherib?"

"That no man can say," the rabbi answered, gloomily. "Time only will show but, whether or no, the people will fight valiantly."

"I doubt not that they will fight," Simon said; "but many other nations, to whom we are but as a handful, have fought bravely, but have succumbed to the might of Rome. It is said that Josephus, and many of the wisest in Jerusalem, were heartily opposed to the tumults against the Romans, and that they only went with the people because they were in fear of their lives; and even at Tiberias many men of worth and gravity, such as Julius Capellus, Herod the son of Miarus, Herod the son of Gamalus, Compsus, and others, are all strongly opposed to hostility against the Romans.

"And it is the same, elsewhere. Those who know best what is the might and power of Rome would fain remain friendly with her. It is the ignorant and violent classes have led us into this strait; from which, as I fear, naught but ruin can arise."

"I thought better things of you, Simon," the rabbi said, angrily.

"But you yourself have told me," Simon urged, "that you thought it a mad undertaking to provoke the vengeance of Rome."

"I thought so, at first," Solomon admitted, "but now our hand is placed on the plow, we must not draw back; and I believe that the God of our fathers will show his might before the heathen."

"I trust that it may be so," Simon said, gravely. "In His hand is all power. Whether He will see fit to put it forth, now, in our behalf remains to be seen. However, for the present we need not concern ourselves greatly with the Romans. It may be long before they bring an army against us; while these seditions, here, are at our very door, and ever threaten to involve us in civil war."

"We need fear no civil war," the rabbi said. "The people of all Galilee, save the violent and ill disposed in a few of the towns, are all for Josephus. If it comes to force, John and his party know that they will be swept away, like a straw before the wind. The fear is that they may succeed in murdering Josephus; either by the knife of an assassin, or in one of these tumults. They would rather the latter, because they would then say that the people had torn him to pieces, in their fury at his misdoings.

"However, we watch over him, as much as we can; and his friends have warned him that he must be careful, not only for his own sake, but for that of all the people; and he has promised that, as far as he can, he will be on his guard against these traitors."

"The governor should have a strong bodyguard," John exclaimed, impetuously, "as the Roman governors had. In another year, I shall be of age to have my name inscribed in the list of fighting men; and I would gladly be one of his guard."

"You are neither old enough to fight, nor to express an opinion unasked," Simon said, "in the presence of your elders."

"Do not check the boy," the rabbi said. "He has fire and spirit; and the days are coming when we shall not ask how old, or how young, are those who would fight, so that they can but hold arms.

"Josephus is wise not to have a military guard, John, because the people love not such appearance of state. His enemies would use this as an argument that he was setting himself up above them. It is partly because he behaves himself discreetly, and goes about among them like a private person, of no more account than themselves, that they love him. None can say he is a tyrant, because he has no means of tyrannizing. His enemies cannot urge it against him at Jerusalem—as they would doubtless do, if they could—that he is seeking to lead Galilee away from the rule of Jerusalem, and to set himself up as its master for, to do this, he would require to gather an army; and Josephus has not a single armed man at his service, save and except that when he appears to be in danger many, out of love of him, assemble and provide him escort.

"No, Josephus is wise in that he affects neither pomp nor state; that he keeps no armed men around him, but trusts to the love of the people. He would be wiser, however, did he seize one of the occasions when the people have taken up arms for him to destroy all those who make sedition; and to free the country, once and for all, from the trouble.

"Sedition should be always nipped in the bud. Lenity, in such a case, is the most cruel course; for it encourages men to think that those in authority fear them, and that they can conspire without danger; and whereas, at first, the blood of ten men will put an end to sedition, it needs, at last, the blood of as many thousands to restore peace and order. It is good for a man to be merciful, but not for a ruler, for the good of the whole people is placed in his hands. The sword of justice is given to him, and he is most merciful who uses it the most promptly against those who work sedition. The wise ruler will listen to the prayers of his people, and will grant their petitions, when they show that their case is hard; but he will grant nothing to him who asketh with his sword in his hand, for he knows full well that when he yields, once, he must yield always; until the time comes, as come it surely will, when he must resist with the sword. Then the land will be filled with blood whereas, in the beginning, he could have avoided all trouble, by refusing so much as to listen to those who spoke with threats.

"Josephus is a good man, and the Lord has given him great gifts. He has done great things for the land; but you will see that many woes will come, and much blood will be shed, from this lenity of his towards those who stir up tumults among the people."

A few minutes later the family retired to bed; the hour being a late one for Simon's household, which generally retired to rest a short time after the evening meal.

The next day the work of gathering in the figs was carried on, earnestly and steadily, with the aid of the workers whom Simon had hired in the town and, in two days, the trees were all stripped, and strings of figs hung to dry from the boughs of all the trees round the house.

Then the gathering of the grapes began. All the inhabitants of the little fishing village lent their aid—men as well as women and children—for the vintage was looked upon as a holiday; and Simon was regarded as a good friend by his neighbors, being ever ready to aid them when there was need, judging any disputes which arose between them, and lending them money without interest if misfortune came upon their boats or nets, or if illness befell them; while the women, in times of sickness or trouble, went naturally to Martha with their griefs, and were assured of sympathy, good advice, and any drugs or dainty food suited to the case.

The women and girls picked the grapes, and laid them in baskets. These were carried by men, and emptied into the vat; where other men trod them down, and pressed out the juice. Martha and her maids saw to the cooking and laying out, on the great tables in the courtyard, of the meals; to which all sat down, together. Simon superintended the crushing of the grapes; and John worked now at one task, and now at another. It was a pretty scene, and rendered more gay by the songs of the women and girls, as they worked; and the burst of merry laughter which, at times, arose.

It lasted four days, by which time the last bunch, save those on a few vines preserved for eating, was picked and crushed; and the vats in the cellar, sunk underground for coolness, were full to the brim. Simon was much pleased with the result; and declared that never, in his memory, had the vine and fig harvest turned out more abundant. The corn had long before been gathered, and there remained now only the olives; but it would be some little time yet before these were fit to be gathered, and their oil extracted, for they were allowed to hang on the trees until ready to drop.

The last basket of grapes was brought in with much ceremony; the gatherers forming a little procession, and singing a thanksgiving hymn as they walked. The evening meal was more bounteous, even, than usual; and all who helped carried away with them substantial proofs of Simon's thankfulness, and satisfaction.

For the next few days Simon and his men, and Martha's maids, lent their assistance in getting in the vintage of their neighbors; for each family had its patch of ground, and grew sufficient grapes and fruits for its own needs. Those in the village brought their grapes to a vat, which they had in common; the measures of the grapes being counted as they were put in, and the wine afterwards divided, in like proportion—for wine, to be good, must be made in considerable quantities.

And now there was, for a time, little to do on the farm. Simon superintended the men who were plowing up the corn stubbles, ready for the sowing in the spring; sometimes putting his hand to the plow, and driving the oxen. Isaac and his son worked in the vineyard and garden, near the house; aided to some extent by John who, however, was not yet called upon to take a man's share in the work of the farm—he having but lately finished his learning, with the rabbi, at the school in Hippos. Still, he worked steadily every morning and, in the afternoon, generally went out on the lake with the fishermen, with whom he was a great favorite.

This was not to last long for, at seventeen, he was to join his father, regularly, in the management of the farm and, indeed, the Rabbi Solomon, who was a frequent guest, was of opinion that Simon gave the boy too much license; and that he ought, already, to be doing man's work.

But Simon, when urged by him, said:

"I know that, at his age, I was working hard, rabbi; but the lad has studied diligently, and I have a good report of him; and I think it well that, at his age, the bow should be unbent somewhat.

"Besides, who knows what is before us! I will let the lad have as much pleasure from his life as he can. The storm is approaching; let him play, while the sun shines."



Chapter 2: A Storm On Galilee.

One day, after the midday meal, John said:

"Mary, Raphael and his brother have taken the big boat, and gone off with fish to Tiberias; and have told me that I can take the small boat, if I will. Ask my mother to let you off your task, and come out with me. It is a fortnight since we had a row on the lake, together."

"I was beginning to think that you were never going to ask me again, John; and, only I should punish myself, I would say you nay. There have you been, going out fishing every afternoon, and leaving me at home to spin; and it is all the worse because your mother has said that the time is fast coming when I must give up wandering about like a child, and must behave myself like a woman.

"Oh, dear, how tiresome it will be when there will be nothing to do but to sit and spin, and to look after the house, and to walk instead of running when I am out, and to behave like a grown-up person, altogether!"

"You are almost grown up," John said; "you are taller, now, than any of the maids except Zillah; but I shall be sorry to see you growing staid and solemn. And it was selfish of me not to ask you to go out before, but I really did not think of it. The fishermen have been working hard, to make up for the time lost during the harvest; and I have really been useful, helping them with their nets, and this is the last year I shall have my liberty.

"But come, don't let's be wasting time in talking; run in and get my mother's permission, and then join me on the shore. I will take some grapes down, for you to eat; for the sun is hot today, and there is scarce a breath of wind on the water."

A few minutes later, the young pair stood together by the side of the boat.

"Your mother made all sorts of objections," Mary said, laughing, "and I do think she won't let me come again. I don't think she would have done it, today, if Miriam had not stood up for me, and said that I was but a child though I was so tall; and that, as you were very soon going to work with your father, she thought that it was no use in making the change before that."

"What nonsense it all is!" John said. "Besides, you know it is arranged that, in a few months, we are to be betrothed according to the wishes of your parents and mine. It would have been done, long ago, only my father and mother do not approve of young betrothals; and think it better to wait, to see if the young ones like each other; and I think that is quite right, too, in most cases—only, of course, living here, as you have done for the last three years—since your father and mother died—there was no fear of our not liking each other."

"Well, you see," Mary said, as she sat in the stern of the boat, while John rowed it quietly along, "it might have been just the other way. When people don't see anything of each other, till they are betrothed by their parents, they can't dislike each other very much; whereas, when they get to know each other, if they are disagreeable they might get to almost hate each other."

"Yes, there is something in that," John agreed. "Of course, in our case it is all right, because we do like each other—we couldn't have liked each other more, I think, if we had been brother and sister—but it seems to me that, sometimes, it must be horrid when a boy is told by his parents that he is to be betrothed to a girl he has never seen. You see it isn't as if it were for a short time, but for all one's life. It must be awful!"

"Awful!" Mary agreed, heartily; "but of course, it would have to be done."

"Of course," John said—the possibility of a lad refusing to obey his parents' commands not even occurring to him. "Still it doesn't seem to me quite right that one should have no choice, in so important a matter. Of course, when one's got a father and mother like mine—who would be sure to think only of making me happy, and not of the amount of dowry, or anything of that sort—it would be all right; but with some parents, it would be dreadful."

For some time, not a word was spoken; both of them meditating over the unpleasantness of being forced to marry someone they disliked. Then, finding the subject too difficult for them, they began to talk about other things; stopping, sometimes, to see the fishermen haul up their nets, for there were a number of boats out on the lake. They rowed down as far as Tiberias and, there, John ceased rowing; and they sat chatting over the wealth and beauty of that city, which John had often visited with his father, but which Mary had never entered.

Then John turned the head of the boat up the lake and again began to row but, scarcely had he dipped his oar into the water, when he exclaimed:

"Look at that black cloud rising, at the other end of the lake! Why did you not tell me, Mary?"

"How stupid of me," she exclaimed, "not to have kept my eyes open!"

He bent to his oars, and made the boat move through the water at a very different rate to that at which she had before traveled.

"Most of the boats have gone," Mary said, presently, "and the rest are all rowing to the shore; and the clouds are coming up very fast," she added, looking round.

"We are going to have a storm," John said. "It will be upon us long before we get back. I shall make for the shore, Mary. We must leave the boat there, and take shelter for a while, and then walk home. It will not be more than four miles to walk."

But though he spoke cheerfully, John knew enough of the sudden storms that burst upon the Sea of Galilee to be aware that, long before he could cross the mile and a half of water, which separated them from the eastern shore, the storm would be upon them; and indeed, they were not more than half way when it burst.

The sky was already covered with black clouds. A great darkness gathered round them; then came a heavy downpour of rain; and then, with a sudden burst, the wind smote them. It was useless, now, to try to row, for the oars would have been twisted from his hands in a moment; and John took the helm, and told Mary to lie down in the bottom of the boat. He had already turned the boat's head up the lake, the direction in which the storm was traveling.

The boat sprang forward, as if it had received a blow, when the gale struck it. John had, more than once, been out on the lake with the fishermen, when sudden storms had come up; and knew what was best to be done. When he had laid in his oars, he had put them so that the blades stood partly up above the bow, and caught the wind somewhat; and he, himself, crouched down in the bottom, with his head below the gunwale and his hand on the tiller; so that the tendency of the boat was to drive straight before the wind. With a strong crew, he knew that he could have rowed obliquely towards the shore but, alone, his strength could have done nothing to keep the heavy boat off her course.

The sea rose, as if by magic, and the spray was soon dashing over them; each wave, as it followed the boat, rising higher and higher. The shores were no longer visible; and the crests of the waves seemed to gleam, with a pallid light, in the darkness which surrounded them. John sat quietly in the bottom of the boat, with one hand on the tiller and the other arm round Mary, who was crouched up against him. She had made no cry, or exclamation, from the moment the gale struck them.

Illustration: On the Sea of Galilee.

"Are we getting near shore?" she asked, at last.

"No, Mary; we are running straight before the wind, which is blowing right up the lake. There is nothing to be done but to keep straight before it."

Mary had seen many storms on the lake, and knew into what a fury its waters were lashed, in a tempest such as was now upon them.

"We are in God's hands, John," she said, with the quiet resignation of her race. "He can save us, if He will. Let us pray to him."

John nodded and, for a few minutes, no word was spoken.

"Can I do anything?" Mary asked, presently, as a wave struck the stern, and threw a mass of water into the boat.

"Yes," John replied; "take that earthen pot, and bale out the water."

John had no great hope that they would live through the gale, but he thought it better for the girl to be kept busily employed. She bailed steadily but, fast as she worked, the water came in faster; for each wave, as it swept past them, broke on board. So rapidly were they traveling that John had the greatest difficulty in keeping the boat from broaching to—in which case the following wave would have filled, or overturned, her.

"I don't think it's any use, John," Mary said, quietly, as a great wave broke on board; pouring in as much water, in a second, as she could have baled out in ten minutes.

"No use, dear. Sit quietly by me but, first, pull those oars aft. Now, tie them together with that piece of rope. Now, when the boat goes down, keep tight hold of them.

"Cut off another piece of rope, and give it me. When we are in the water, I will fasten you to the oars. They will keep you afloat, easily enough. I will keep close to you. You know I am a good swimmer and, whenever I feel tired, I can rest my hands on the oars, too.

"Keep up your courage, and keep as quiet as you can. These sudden storms seldom last long; and my father will be sure to get the boats out, as soon as he can, to look for us."

John spoke cheerfully, but he had no great hopes of their being able to live in so rough a sea. Mary had still less, but she quietly carried out John's instructions. The boat was half-full of water, now, and rose but heavily upon the waves.

John raised himself and looked round; in hopes that the wind might, unnoticed, have shifted a little and blown them towards the shore. As he glanced around, him he gave a shout. Following almost in their track, and some fifty yards away, was a large galley; running before the wind, with a rag of sail set on its mast.

"We are saved, Mary!" he exclaimed. "Here is a galley, close to us."

He shouted loudly, though he knew that his voice could not be heard, many yards away, in the teeth of the gale but, almost directly, he saw two or three men stand up in the bow of the galley. One was pointing towards them, and he saw that they were seen.

In another minute the galley came sweeping along, close to the boat. A dozen figures appeared over her side, and two or three ropes were thrown. John caught one, twisted it rapidly round Mary's body and his own, knotted it and, taking her in his arms, jumped overboard. Another minute they were drawn alongside the galley, and pulled on board. As soon as the ropes were unfastened, John rose to his feet; but Mary lay, insensible, on the deck.

"Carry the damsel into the cabin," a man, who was evidently in authority said. "She has fainted, but will soon come round. I will see to her, myself."

The suddenness of the rescue, the plunge in the water, and the sudden revulsion of his feelings affected John so much that it was two or three minutes before he could speak.

"Come along with me, lad," one of the sailors said, laying his hand on his shoulder. "Some dry clothes, and a draught of wine will set you all right again; but you have had a narrow escape of it. That boat of yours was pretty nearly water logged and, in another five minutes, we should have been too late."

John hastily changed his clothes in the forecastle, took a draught of wine, and then hurried back again towards the aft cabin. Just as he reached it, the man who had ordered Mary to be carried in came out.

"The damsel has opened her eyes," he said, "and you need not be uneasy about her. I have given her some woolen cloths, and bade her take off her wet garments, and wrap herself in them.

"Why did you not make for the shore, before the tempest broke? It was foolish of you, indeed, to be out on the lake, when anyone could see that this gale was coming."

"I was rowing down, and did not notice it until I turned," John replied. "I was making for the shore, when the gale struck her."

"It was well, for you, that I noticed you. I was, myself, thinking of making for the shore although, in so large and well-manned craft as this, there is little fear upon the lake. It is not like the Great Sea; where I, myself, have seen a large ship as helpless, before the waves, as that small boat we picked you from.

"I had just set out from Tiberias, when I marked the storm coming up; but my business was urgent and, moreover, I marked your little boat, and saw that you were not likely to gain the shore; so I bade the helmsman keep his eye on you, until the darkness fell upon us; and then to follow straight in your wake, for you could but run before the wind—and well he did it for, when we first caught sight of you, you were right ahead of us."

The speaker was a man of about thirty years of age; tall, and with a certain air of command.

"I thank you, indeed, sir," John said, "for saving my life; and that of my cousin Mary, the daughter of my father's brother. Truly, my father and mother will be grateful to you, for having saved us; for I am their only son.

"Whom are they to thank for our rescue?"

"I am Joseph, the son of Matthias, to whom the Jews have intrusted the governorship of this province."

"Josephus!" John exclaimed, in a tone of surprise and reverence.

"So men call me," Josephus replied, with a smile.

It was, indeed, the governor. Flavius Josephus, as the Romans afterwards called him, came of a noble Jewish family—his father, Matthias, belonging to the highest of the twenty-four classes into which the sacerdotal families were divided. Matthias was eminent for his attainments, and piety; and had been one of the leading men in Jerusalem. From his youth, Josephus had carefully prepared himself for public life, mastering the doctrines of the three leading sects among the Jews—the Pharisees, Sadducees, and Essenes—and having spent three years in the desert, with Banus the Ascetic. The fact that, at only twenty-six years of age, he had gone as the leader of a deputation to Rome, on behalf of some priests sent there by Felix, shows that he was early looked upon as a conspicuous person among the Jews; and he was but thirty when he was intrusted with the important position of Governor of Galilee.

Contrary to the custom of the times, he had sought to make no gain from his position. He accepted neither presents, nor bribes; but devoted himself entirely to ameliorating the condition of the people, and in repressing the turbulence of the lower classes of the great towns; and of the robber chieftains who, like John of Gischala, took advantage of the relaxation of authority, caused by the successful rising against the Romans, to plunder and tyrannize over the people.

The expression of the face of Josephus was lofty and, at the same time, gentle. His temper was singularly equable and, whatever the circumstances, he never gave way to anger, but kept his passions well under control. His address was soft and winning, and he had the art of attracting respect and friendship from all who came in contact with him. Poppaea, the wife of Nero, had received him with much favor and, bravely as he fought against them, Vespasian and Titus were, afterwards, as much attached to him as were the Jews of Galilee. There can be no doubt that, had he been otherwise placed than as one of a people on the verge of destruction, Josephus would have been one of the great figures of history.

John had been accustomed to hear his father and his friends speak in tones of such admiration for Josephus, as the man who was regarded not only as the benefactor of the Jews of Galilee, but as the leader and mainstay of the nation, that he had long ardently desired to see him; and to find that he had now been rescued from death by him, and that he was now talking to him face to face, filled him with confusion.

"You are a brave lad," Josephus said, "for you kept your head well, in a time when older men might have lost their presence of mind. You must have kept your boat dead before the wind; and you were quick and ready, in seizing the rope and knotting it round yourself, and the maid with you. I feared you might try and fasten it to the boat. If you had, full of water as she was, and fast as we were sailing before the wind, the rope would barely have stood the strain."

"The clouds are breaking," the captain of the boat said, coming up to Josephus, "and I think that we are past the worst of the gale. And well it is so for, even in so staunch a craft, there is much peril in such a sea as this."

The vessel, although one of the largest on the lake, was indeed pitching and rolling very heavily; but she was light and buoyant and, each time that she plunged bows under, as the following waves lifted her stern high in the air, she rose lightly again; and scarce a drop fell into her deep waist, the lofty erections, fore and aft, throwing off the water.

"Where do you belong, my lad?" Josephus asked. "I fear that it is impossible for us to put you ashore, until we reach Capernaum; but once there, I will see that you are provided with means to take you home."

"Our farm lies three miles above Hippos."

"That is unfortunate," Josephus said, "since it lies on the opposite side of the lake to Capernaum. However, we shall see. If the storm goes down rapidly, I may be able to get a fishing boat to take you across, this evening; for your parents will be in sore trouble. If not, you must wait till early morning."

In another hour they reached Capernaum. The wind had, by this time, greatly abated; although the sea still ran high. The ship was soon alongside a landing jetty, which ran out a considerable distance, and formed a breakwater protecting the shipping from the heavy sea which broke there when the wind was, as at present, from the south.

Mary came out from the cabin, as the vessel entered the harbor, wrapped up from head to foot in the woolen cloths with which she had been furnished. John sprang to her side.

"Are you quite well, Mary?"

"Quite well," she said, "only very ashamed of having fainted, and very uncomfortable in these wrappings. But, oh! John, how thankful we ought to be, to God, for having sent this ship to our aid, just when all seemed lost!"

"We ought, indeed, Mary. I have been thanking him, as I have been standing here watching the waves; and I am sure you have been doing the same, in the cabin."

"Yes, indeed, John. But what am I to do, now? I do not like going on shore like this, and the officer told me I was, on no account, to put on my wet clothes."

"Do you know, it is Josephus himself, Mary—think of that—the great Josephus, who has saved us! He marked our boat before the storm broke and, seeing that we could not reach the shore, had his vessel steered so as to overtake us."

Mary was too surprised to utter more than an exclamation. The thought that the man, who had been talking so kindly and pleasantly to her, was the great leader of whom she had heard so much, quite took away her breath.

At that moment Josephus, himself, came up.

"I am glad to see you have got your color again, maiden," he said. "I am just going to land. Do you, with your cousin, remain on board here. I will send a woman down, with some attire for you. She will conduct you both to the house where I shall be staying.

"The sea is going down, and the captain tells me that he thinks, in another three or four hours, I shall be able to get a boat to send you across to your home. It will be late, but you will not mind that; for they are sure not to retire to rest, at home, but to be up all night, searching for you."

A crowd had assembled on the jetty, for Josephus was expected, and the violent storm had excited the fears of all for his safety; and the leading inhabitants had all flocked down to welcome him, when his vessel was seen approaching.

"Isn't he kind and good?" Mary said, enthusiastically, as she watched the greeting which he received, as he landed. "He talked to me, just as if he had been of my own family."

"He is grand!" John agreed, with equal enthusiasm. "He is just what I pictured to myself that a great leader would be; such as Joshua, or Gideon, or the Prince of the Maccabees."

"Yes; but more gentle, John."

"Brave men should always be gentle," John said, positively.

"They ought to be, perhaps," Mary agreed, "but I don't think they are."

They chatted, then, about the storm and the anxiety which they would be feeling, at home; until an officer, accompanied by a woman carrying attire for Mary, came on board. Mary soon came out of the cabin, dressed; and the officer conducted them to the house which had been placed at the disposal of Josephus. The woman led them up to a room, where a meal had been prepared for them.

"Josephus is in council, with the elders," she said. "He bade me see that you had all that you required. He has arranged that a bark shall start with you, as soon as the sea goes down; but if, by eight o'clock, it is still too rough, I shall take the maiden home to my house, to sleep; and they will arouse you, as soon as it is safe to put out, whatever the hour may be, as your friends will be in great anxiety concerning you."

The sun had already set and, just as they finished their meal, the man belonging to the boat came to say that it would be midnight before he could put out.

Mary then went over with the woman; and John lay down on some mats, to sleep, until it was time to start. He slept soundly, until he was aroused by the entry of someone, with lights. He started to his feet, and found that it was Josephus, himself, with an attendant.

"I had not forgotten you," he said, "but I have been, until now, in council. It is close upon midnight, and the boat is in readiness. I have sent to fetch the damsel, and have bidden them take plenty of warm wraps, so that the night air may do her no harm."

Mary soon arrived; and Josephus, himself, went down with them to the shore, and saw them on board the boat—which was a large one, with eight rowers. The wind had died away to a gentle breeze, and the sea had gone down greatly. The moon was up, and the stars shining brightly. Josephus chatted kindly to John, as they made their way down to the shore.

"Tell your father," he said, "that I hope he will come over to see me, ere long; and that I shall bear you in mind. The time is coming when every Jew who can bear arms will be needed in the service of his country and, if your father consents, I will place you near my person; for I have seen that you are brave and cool, in danger, and you will have plenty of opportunities of winning advancement."

With many thanks for his kindness, John and Mary took their places in the stern of the boat. Mary enveloped herself in the wraps that had been prepared for her, for the nights were chilly. Then the sail was hoisted, and the boat sailed away from the land. The wind had shifted round, somewhat, to the west, and they were able to lay their course across towards Hippos; but their progress was slow, and the master bade the crew get out their oars, and aid the sail.

In three hours they neared the land, John pointing out the exact position of the village; which was plainly enough marked out, by a great fire blazing on the shore. As they approached it, they could see several figures and, presently, there came a shout, which John recognized as that of Isaac.

"Any news?"

"Here we are, Isaac, safe and well."

There was a confused sound, of shouts and cries of pleasure. In a few minutes, the boat grated on the shallow shore. The moment she did so, John leaped out over the bow and waded ashore, and was at once clasped in his mother's arms; while one of the fishermen carried Mary to the land. She received, from Martha, a full share of her caresses; for she loved the girl almost as dearly as she did her son. Then Miriam and the maids embraced and kissed her, while Isaac folded John in his arms.

"The God of Israel be thanked and praised, my children!" Martha exclaimed. "He has brought you back to us, as from the dead, for we never thought to see you again. Some of the fishermen returned, and told us that they saw your boat, far on the lake, before the storm burst; and none held out hope that you could have weathered such a storm."

"Where is father?" John asked.

"He is out on the lake, as are all the fishermen of the village, searching for you.

"That reminds me, Isaac, set fire to the other piles of wood that we have prepared.

"If one of the boats returned, with any sure news of you, we were to light them to call the others back—one fire if the news was bad, two if it was good—but we hardly even dared to hope that the second would be required."

A brand from the fire was soon applied to the other piles, and the three fires shone out across the lake, with the good news. In a quarter of an hour a boat was seen approaching, and soon came a shout:

"Is all well?"

"All is well," John shouted, in reply, and soon he was clasped in his father's arms.

The other boats came in, one by one; the last to arrive towing in the boat—which had been found, bottom upwards, far up the lake, its discovery destroying the last hope of its late occupants being found alive.

As soon as Simon landed, the party returned to the house. Miriam and the maids hurried to prepare a meal—of which all were sorely in need, for no food had been eaten since the gale burst on the lake; while their three hours in the boat had again sharpened the appetite of John and Mary. A quantity of food was cooked, and a skin of old wine brought up from the cellar; and Isaac remained down on the shore, to bid all who had been engaged in the search come up and feast, as soon as they landed.

John related to his parents the adventure which had befallen them, and they wondered greatly at the narrowness of their deliverance. When the feasting was over, Simon called all together, and solemnly returned thanks to God for the mercies which He had given them. It was broad daylight before all sought their beds, for a few hours, before beginning the work of the day.

A week later Josephus himself came to Hippos, bringing with him two nobles, who had fled from King Agrippa and sought refuge with him. He had received them hospitably, and had allotted a home to them at Tarichea, where he principally dwelt.

He had, just before, had another narrow escape, for six hundred armed men—robbers and others—had assembled round his house, charging him with keeping some spoils which had been taken, by a party of men of that town, from the wife of Ptolemy—King Agrippa's procurator—instead of dividing them among the people. For a time, he pacified them by telling them that this money was destined for strengthening the walls of their town, and for walling other towns at present undefended; but the leaders of the evildoers were determined to set his house on fire, and slay him.

He had but twenty armed men with him. Closing the doors, he went to an upper room, and told the robbers to send in one of their number to receive the money. Directly he entered, the door was closed. One of his hands was cut off, and hung round his neck; and he was then turned out again. Believing that Josephus would not have ventured to act so boldly, had he not had a large body of armed men with him, the crowd were seized with panic and fled to their homes.

After this, the enemies of Josephus persuaded the people that the nobles he had sheltered were wizards; and demanded that they should be given up to be slain, unless they would change their religion to that of the Jews. Josephus tried to argue them out of their belief, saying that there were no such things as wizards and, if the Romans had wizards who could work them wrong, they would not need to send an army to fight against them; but as the people still clamored, he got the men privately on board a ship, and sailed across the lake with them to Hippos; where he dismissed them, with many presents.

As soon as the news came that Josephus had come to Hippos, Simon set out with Martha, John, and Mary, to see him. Josephus received them kindly, and would permit no thanks for what he had done.

"Your son is a brave youth," he said to Simon, "and I would gladly have him near me, if you would like to have it so. This is a time when there are greater things than planting vineyards, and gathering in harvests, to be done; and there is a need for brave and faithful men. If, then, you and your wife will give the lad to me, I will see to him, and keep him near me. I have need of faithful men with me, for my enemies are ever trying to slay me. If all goes well with the lad, he will have a good opportunity of rising to honor.

"What say you? Do not give an answer hastily, but think it over among yourselves and, if you agree to my proposal, send him across the lake to me."

"It needs no thought, sir," Simon said. "I know well that there are more urgent things, now, than sowing and reaping; and that much trouble and peril threaten the land. Right glad am I that my son should serve one who is the hope of Israel, and his mother will not grudge him for such service. As to advancement, I wish nothing better than that he should till the land of his fathers; but none can say what the Lord has in store for us, or whether strangers may not reap what I have sown. Thus, then, the wisdom which he will gain, in being with you, is likely to be a far better inheritance than any I can give him.

"What say you, Martha?"

"I say as you do, Simon. It will grieve me to part with him, but I know that such an offer as that which my lord Josephus makes is greatly for his good. Moreover, the manner in which he was saved from death seems to show that the Lord has something for his hand to do, and that his path is specially marked out for him. To refuse to let him go would be to commit the sin of withstanding God—

"Therefore, my lord, I willingly give up my son to follow you."

"I think that you have decided wisely," Josephus said. "I tarry here, for tonight, and tomorrow cross to Tiberias; therefore, let him be here by noon."

Mary was the most silent of the party, on the way home. Simon and his wife felt convinced the decision they had made was a wise one and, although they were not ambitious, they yet felt that the offer of Josephus was a most advantageous one, and opened a career of honor to their son.

John, himself, was in a state of the highest delight. To be about the person of Josephus seemed, to him, the greatest honor and happiness. It opened the way to the performance of great actions, which would bring honor to his father's name; and although he had been, hitherto, prepared to settle down to the life of a cultivator of the soil, he had had his yearnings for one of more excitement and adventure; and these were now likely to be gratified, to the fullest.

Mary, however, felt the approaching loss of her friend and playmate greatly, though even she was not insensible to the honor which the offer of Josephus conferred upon him.

"You don't seem glad of my good fortune, Mary," John said as, after they returned home, they strolled together, as usual, down to the edge of the lake.

"It may be your good fortune, but it's not mine," the girl said, pettishly. "It will be very dull here, without you. I know what it will be. Your mother will always be full of anxiety, and will be fretting whenever we get news of any disturbances; and that is often enough, for there seem to be disturbances, continually. Your father will go about silently, Miriam will be sharper than usual with the maids, and everything will go wrong. I can't see why you couldn't have said that, in a year or two, you would go with the governor; but that, at present, you thought you had better stop with your own people."

"A nice milksop he would have thought me!" John laughed. "No, if he thought I was man enough to do him service, it would have been a nice thing for me to say that I thought I was too young.

"Besides, Mary, after all it is your good fortune, as well as mine; for is it not settled that you are to share it? Josephus is all powerful and, if I please him and do my duty, he can, in time, raise me to a position of great honor I may even come to be the governor of a town, or a captain over troops, or a councilor."

"No, no!" Mary laughed, "not a councilor, John. A governor, perhaps; and a captain, perhaps; but never, I should say, a councilor."

John laughed good temperedly.

"Well, Mary, then you shall look forward to be the wife of a governor, or captain; but you see, I might even fill the place of a councilor with credit, because I could always come to you for advice before, I give an opinion—then I should be sure to be right.

"But, seriously, Mary, I do think it great honor to have had such an offer made me, by the governor."

"Seriously, so do I, John; though I wish, in my heart, he had not made it. I had looked forward to living here, all my life, just as your mother has done; and now there will be nothing fixed to look forward to.

"Besides, where there is honor, there is danger. There seem to be always tumults, always conspiracies—and then, as your father says, above all there are the Romans to be reckoned with and, of course, if you are near Josephus you run a risk, going wherever he does."

"I shall never be in greater risk, Mary, than we were, together, on the lake the other day. God helped us, then, and brought us through it; and I have faith that He will do so, again. It may be that I am meant to do something useful, before I die. At any rate, when the Romans come, everyone will have to fight; so I shall be in no greater danger than any one else."

"I know, John, and I am not speaking quite in earnest. I am sorry you are going—that is only natural—but I am proud that you are to be near our great leader, and I believe that our God will be your shield and protector.

"And now, we had better go in. Your father will, doubtless, have much to say to you, this evening; and your mother will grudge every minute you are out of her sight."



Chapter 3: The Revolt Against Rome.

That evening the Rabbi Solomon Ben Manasseh came in, and was informed of the offer which Josephus had made.

"You were present, rabbi," Simon said, "at the events which took place in Jerusalem, and at the defeat of Cestius. John has been asking me to tell him more about these matters for, now that he is to be with the governor, it is well that he should be well acquainted with public affairs."

"I will willingly tell him the history for, as you say, it is right that the young man should be well acquainted with the public events and the state of parties and, though the story must be somewhat long, I will try and not make it tedious.

"The first tumult broke out in Caesarea, and began by frays between our people and the Syrian Greeks. Felix the governor took the part of the Greeks; and many of our people were killed, and more plundered. When Felix was recalled to Rome, we sent a deputation there with charges against him; but the Greeks, by means of bribery, obtained a decree against us, depriving the Jews of Caesarea of rights of equal citizenship. From this constant troubles arose but, outside Caesarea, Festus kept all quiet; putting down robbers, as well as impostors who led the people astray.

"Then there came trouble in Jerusalem. King Agrippa's palace stood on Mount Zion, looking towards the Temple; and he built a lofty story, from whose platform he could command a view of the courts of the Temple, and watch the sacrifices. Our people resented this impious intrusion, and built a high wall to cut off the view. Agrippa demanded its destruction, on the ground that it intercepted the view of the Roman guard. We appealed to Nero, and sent to him a deputation; headed by Ismael, the high priest, and Hilkiah, the treasurer. They obtained an order for the wall to be allowed to stand, but Ismael and Hilkiah were detained at Rome. Agrippa thereupon appointed another high priest—Joseph—but, soon afterwards, nominated Annas in his place.

"When Festus—the Roman governor—was away, Annas put to death many of the sect called Christians, to gratify the Sadducees. The people were indignant, for these men had done no harm; and Agrippa deprived him of the priesthood and appointed Jesus, son of Damnai. Then, unhappily, Festus—who was a just and good governor—died, and Albinus succeeded him. He was a man greedy of money, and ready to do anything for gain. He took bribes from robbers, and encouraged, rather than repressed, evil doers. There was open war, in the streets, between the followers of various chief robbers. Albinus opened the prisons, and filled the city with malefactors; and, at the completion of the works at the Temple, eighteen thousand workmen were discharged, and thus the city was filled with men ready to sell their services to the highest bidders.

"Albinus was succeeded by Gessius Florus, who was even worse than Albinus. This man was a great friend of Cestius Gallus, who commanded the Roman troops in Syria; and who, therefore, scoffed at the complaints of the people against Florus.

"At this time, strange prodigies appeared in Rome. A sword of fire hung above the city, for a whole year. The inner gate of the Temple—which required twenty men to move it—opened by itself; chariots and armed squadrons were seen in the heavens and, worse than all, the priests in the Temple heard a great movement, and a sound of many voices, which said:

"'Let us depart hence!'

"So things went on, in Jerusalem, until the old feud at Caesarea broke out afresh. The trouble, this time, began about one of our synagogues. The land around it belonged to a Greek and, for this, our people offered a high price. The heathen who owned it refused and, to annoy us, raised mean houses round the synagogue. The Jewish youths interrupted the workmen; and the wealthier of the community—headed by John, a publican—subscribed eight talents, and sent them to Florus as a bribe, that he might order the building to be stopped.

"Florus took the money, and made many promises; but the evil man desired that a revolt should take place, in order that he might gain great plunder. So he went away from Caesarea, and did nothing; and a great tumult arose between the heathen and our people. In this we were worsted, and went away from the city; while John, with twelve of the highest rank, went to Samaria to lay the matter before Florus; who threw them into prison—doubtless the more to excite the people—and at the same time sent to Jerusalem, and demanded seventeen talents from the treasury of the Temple.

"The people burst into loud outcries, and Florus advanced upon the city with all his force. But we knew that we could not oppose the Romans; and so received Florus, on his arrival, with acclamations. But this did not suit the tyrant. The next morning he ordered his troops to plunder the upper market, and to put to death all they met. The soldiers obeyed, and slew three thousand six hundred men, women, and children.

"You may imagine, John, the feelings of grief and rage which filled every heart. The next day the multitude assembled in the marketplace, wailing for the dead and cursing Florus. But the principal men of the city, with the priests, tore their robes and went among them, praying them to disperse and not to provoke the anger of the governor. The people obeyed their voices, and went quietly home.

"But Florus was not content that matters should end so. He sent for the priests and leaders, and commanded them to go forth and receive, with acclamations of welcome, two cohorts of troops who were advancing from Caesarea. The priests called the people together in the Temple and, with difficulty, persuaded them to obey the order. The troops, having orders from Florus, fell upon the people and trampled them down and, driving the multitude before them, entered the city; and at the same time Florus sallied out from his palace, with his troops, and both parties pressed forward to gain the Castle of Antonia, whose possession would lay the Temple open to them, and enable Florus to gain the sacred treasures deposited there.

"But, as soon as the people perceived their object, they ran together in such vast crowds that the Roman soldiers could not cut their way through the mass which blocked up the streets; while the more active men, going up on to the roofs, hurled down stones and missiles upon the troops.

"What a scene was that, John! I was on the portico near Antonia, and saw it all. It was terrible to hear the shouts of the soldiers, as they strove to hew their way through the defenseless people; the war cries of our own youths, the shrieks and wailings of the women. While the Romans were still striving, our people broke down the galleries connecting Antonia with the Temple; and Florus, seeing that he could not carry out his object, ordered his troops to retire to their quarters and, calling the chief priests and the rulers, proposed to leave the city, leaving behind him one cohort to preserve the peace.

"As soon as he had done so, he sent to Cestius Gallus lying accounts of the tumults, laying all the blame upon us; while we and Bernice, the sister of King Agrippa—who had tried, in vain, to obtain mercy for the people from Florus—sent complaints against him. Cestius was moving to Jerusalem—to inquire into the matter, as he said, but really to restore Florus—when, fortunately, King Agrippa arrived from Egypt.

"While he was yet seven miles from the city, a procession of the people met him, headed by the women whose husbands had been slain. These, with cries and wailings, called on Agrippa for protection; and related to a centurion, whom Cestius had sent forward, and who met Agrippa on the way, the cruelty of Florus. When the king and the centurion arrived in the city, they were taken to the marketplace and shown the houses where the inhabitants had been massacred.

"Agrippa called the people together and, taking his seat on a lofty dais, with Bernice by his side, harangued them. He assured them that, when the emperor heard what had been done, he would send a better governor to them, in the place of Florus. He told them that it was vain to hope for independence, for that the Romans had conquered all the nations in the world; and that the Jews could not contend against them, and that war would bring about the destruction of the city, and the Temple. The people exclaimed they had taken up arms, not against the Romans, but against Florus.

"Agrippa urged us to pay our tribute, and repair the galleries. This was willingly done. We sent out leading men to collect the arrears of tribute, and these soon brought in forty talents. All was going on well, until Agrippa tried to persuade us to receive Florus, till the emperor should send another governor. At the thought of the return of Florus, a mad rage seized the people. They poured abuse upon Agrippa, threw stones at him, and ordered him to leave the city. This he did, and retired to his own kingdom.

"The upper class, and all those who possessed wisdom enough to know how great was the power of Rome, still strove for peace. But the people were beyond control. They seized the fortress of Masada—a very strong place near the Dead Sea—and put the Roman garrison to the sword. But what was even worse, Eleazar—son of Ananias, the chief priest—persuaded the priests to reject the offerings regularly made, in the name of the emperor, to the God of the Hebrews; and to make a regulation that, from that time, no foreigner should be allowed to sacrifice in the Temple.

"The chief priests, with the heads of the Pharisees, addressed the people in the quadrangle of the Temple, before the eastern gate. I, myself, was one of those who spoke. We told them that the Temple had long benefited by the splendid gifts of strangers; and that it was not only inhospitable, but impious, to preclude them from offering victims, and worshiping God, there. We, who were learned in the law, showed them that it was an ancient and immemorial usage to receive the offerings of strangers; and that this refusal to accept the Roman gifts was nothing short of a declaration of war.

"But all we could do, or say, availed nothing. The influence of Eleazar was too great. A madness had seized the people, and they rejected all our words; but the party of peace made one more effort. They sent a deputation—headed by Simon, son of Ananias—to Florus, and another to Agrippa, praying them to march upon Jerusalem, and reassert their authority, before it was too late. Florus made no reply, for things were going just as he wished; but Agrippa, anxious to preserve the city, sent three thousand horsemen, commanded by Darius and Philip. When these troops arrived, the party of peace took possession of the upper city; while Eleazar and the war party held the Temple.

"For a week, fighting went on between the two parties. Then, at the festival of the Wood Carrying, great numbers of the poorer people were allowed by the party of the chief priest to pass through their lines; and go, as usual, to the Temple. When there, these joined the party of Eleazar, and a great attack was made on the upper city. The troops of Darius and Philip gave way. The house of Ananias—the high priest—and the palaces of Agrippa and Bernice were burned, and also the public archives. Here all the bonds of the debtors were registered and, thus, at one blow the power of the rich over the poor was destroyed. Ananias himself, and a few others, escaped into the upper towers of the palace, which they held.

"The next day, Eleazar's party attacked the fortress of Antonia, which was feebly garrisoned and, after two days' fighting, captured it, and slew the garrison. Manahem, the son of Judas the Zealot, arrived two days later, while the people were besieging the palace. He was accepted as general, by them; and took charge of the siege. Having mined under one of the towers, they brought it to the ground, and the garrison asked for terms. Free passage was granted to the troops of Agrippa, and the Jews; but none was granted to the Roman soldiers, who were few in number and retreated to the three great towers, Hippicus, Phasaelus, and Mariamne.

"The palace was entered, and Ananias and Hezekiah—his brother—were found in hiding, and put to death. Manahem now assumed the state of a king; but Eleazar, unwilling that, after having led the enterprise, the fruits should be gathered by another, stirred up the people against him, and he was slain. The three towers were now besieged; and Metilius—the Roman commander—finding he could no longer hold out, agreed to surrender, on the condition that his men should deliver up their arms, and be allowed to march away, unharmed.

"The terms were accepted and ratified but, as soon as the Roman soldiers marched out, and laid down their arms, Eleazar and his followers fell upon them and slew them; Metilius himself being, alone, spared. After this terrible massacre, a sadness fell on the city. All felt that there was no longer any hope of making conditions with Rome. We had placed ourselves beyond the pale of forgiveness. It was war, to the death, with Rome.

"Up to this time, as I have told you, I was one of those who had labored to maintain peace. I had fought in the palace, by the side of Ananias; and had left it only when the troops, and we of their party, were permitted to march out when it surrendered. But, from this time, I took another part. All hope of peace, of concessions, or of conditions was at an end. There remained nothing now but to fight and, as the vengeance of Rome would fall on the whole Jewish people, it was for the whole Jewish people to unite in the struggle for existence.

"On the very day and hour in which the Romans were put to death, retribution began to fall upon the nation; for the Greeks of Caesarea rose suddenly, and massacred the Jews. Twenty thousand were slain, in a single day. The news of these two massacres drove the whole people to madness. They rose throughout the land, laid waste the country all round the cities of Syria—Philadelphia, Sebonitis, Gerasa, Pella, and Scythopolis—and burned and destroyed many places.

"The Syrians, in turn, fell upon the Jewish inhabitants of all their towns; and a frightful carnage, everywhere, took place. Then, our people made an inroad into the domains of Scythopolis but, though the Jewish inhabitants there joined the Syrians in defending their territory, the Syrians doubted their fidelity and, falling upon them in the night, slew them all, and seized their property. Thirteen thousand perished here. In many other cities, the same things were done; in Ascalon, two thousand five hundred were put to the sword; in Ptolemais, two thousand were killed. The land was deluged with blood, and despair fell upon all.

"Even in Alexandria, our countrymen suffered. Breaking out into a quarrel with the Greeks, a tumult arose; and Tiberias Alexander, the governor—by faith a Jew—tried to pacify matters; but the madness which had seized the people, here, had fallen also upon the Jews of Alexandria. They heaped abuse upon Alexander, who was forced to send the troops against them. The Jews fought, but vainly; and fifty thousand men, women, and children fell.

"While blood was flowing over the land, Cestius Gallus—the prefect—was preparing for invasion. He had with him the Twelfth Legion, forty-two hundred strong; two thousand picked men, taken from the other legions; six cohorts of foot, about twenty-five hundred; and four troops of horse, twelve hundred. Of allies he had, from Antiochus, two thousand horse and three thousand foot; from Agrippa, one thousand horse and three thousand foot; Sohemus joined him with four thousand men—a third of whom were horse, the rest archers. Thus he had ten thousand Roman troops, and thirteen thousand allies; besides many volunteers, who joined him from the Syrian cities.

"After burning and pillaging Zebulon, and wasting the district, Cestius returned to Ptolemais, and then advanced to Caesarea. He sent forward a part of his army to Joppa. The city was open, and no resistance was offered; nevertheless, the Romans slew all, to the number of eight thousand five hundred. The cities of Galilee opened their gates, without resistance, and Cestius advanced against Jerusalem.

"When he arrived within six miles of the town, the Jews poured out; and fell upon them with such fury that, if the horse and light troops had not made a circuit, and fallen upon us in the rear, I believe we should have destroyed the whole army. But we were forced to fall back, having killed over five hundred. As the Romans moved forward, Simon—son of Gioras—with a band, pressed them closely in rear; and slew many, and carried off numbers of their beasts of burden.

"Agrippa now tried, once more, to make peace, and sent a deputation to persuade us to surrender—offering, in the name of Cestius, pardon for all that had passed—but Eleazar's party, fearing the people might listen to him, fell upon the deputation, slew some, and drove the others back.

"Cestius advanced within a mile of Jerusalem and—after waiting three days, in hopes that the Jews would surrender, and knowing that many of the chief persons were friendly to him—he advanced to the attack, took the suburb of Bezetha, and encamped opposite the palace in the upper city. The people discovered that Ananias and his friends had agreed to open the gates; and so slew them, and threw the bodies over the wall. The Romans for five days attacked and, on the sixth, Cestius, with the flower of his army made an assault; but the people fought bravely and, disregarding the flights of arrows which the archers shot against them, held the walls, and poured missiles of all kinds upon the enemy; until at last, just as it seemed to all that the Romans would succeed in mining the walls, and firing the gates, Cestius called off his troops.

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