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M.Besant E.Walter
Jerusalem, the city of Herod and Saladin

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M.Besant E.Walter
Jerusalem, the city of Herod and Saladin
page 59



knew, too, where were the places best fitted for strongholds, and secretly fortified them; so that when they appeared suddenly and unexpectedly as the aggressors, they became masters almost at one stroke of fifty strong places and nearly a thousand villages.. The first thing they did was to take Jerusalem, which probably offered only the small resistance of a feeble garrison. Here, no doubt, they set up an altar again, and, after a fashion, rebuilt the Temple. Turnus Rufus, the Roman governor, whose troops were few, slaughtered the unoffending people all over Judaea, but was not strong enough to make head against the rebellion, which grew daily stronger. Then Julius Severus, sent for by Hadrian in haste, came with an overwhelming force, and, following the same plan as had been adopted by Vespasian, attacked their strong places in detail. Jerusalem was taken, the spirits of the insurgents being crushed by the falling in of the vaults on Mount Zion, and Barcochebas himself was slain. The rebels, in despair, changed his name to Bar Koziba, the " Son of a Lie," and fled to Bether, their last stronghold, where they held out, under Bufus, the son of Barcochebas, for two years more. A story is told of its defence which shows at least how the hearts of the Jews were filled with the spirit of their old histories.* Seeing the desperate state of things, Eliezer, the Rabbi, enjoined the besieged to seek their last resource in prayer to God. All day long he prayed, and all day long, while he prayed, the battle went in favour of the Jews. Then a treacherous Samaritan stole up to the Rabbi and whispered in his ear. The leader of the insurgents f asked what he whispered. The Samaritan refused at first to tell, and then, with assumed reluctance, pretended that it was the answer to a secret message which * Milman, iii. p. 122. See also Derenbourg, Hist, de la Palestine, chap. xxiv. ; t Milman says Barcochebas, but though all is uncertainty, it appears probable, as stated above, that he was dead already.


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