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The Jewish Temples:
The Destruction of the Second Temple

(70 CE)


Jewish Temples: Table of Contents | First Temple | Second Temple


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Flavius Josephus - The Jewish War, p. 303:

The Romans, though it was a terrible struggle to collect the timber, raised their platforms in twenty-one days, having as described before stripped the whole area in a circle round the town to a distance of ten miles.  The countryside like the City was a pitiful cite; for where once there had been a lovely vista of woods and parks there was nothing but desert and stumps of trees.  No one - not even a foreigner - who had seen the Old Judea and the glorious suburbs of the City, and now set their eyes on her present desolation, could have helped sighing and groaning at so terrible a change; for every trace of beauty had been blotted out by war, and nobody who had known it in the past and came upon it suddenly would have recognized the place:  when he was already there he would still have been looking for the City.

Flavius Josephus - Antiquities, xi. 1.2:

These Romans put the Jews to flight, and proceeded as far as the holy house itself.  At which time one of the soldiers, without staying for any orders, and without any concern or dread upon him at so great an undertaking, and being hurried on by a certain divine fury, snatched some what out of the materials that were on fire, and being lifted up by another soldier, he set fire to a golden window, through which there wion, passage to the rooms that were round about the holy house, on the north side of it.  As the flames went upward, the Jews made a great clamor, such as so mighty an affliction required, and ran together to prevent it; and now they spared not their lives any longer, nor suffered anything to restrain their force, since that holy house was perishing...thus it was the holy house burnt down...Nor can one imagine any thing greater or more terrible than this noise; for there was at once a shout of the Roman Legions, who were marching all together, and a sad clamor of the seditious, who were now surrounded with fire and sword... the people under a great consternation, made sad moans at the calamity they were under...Yet was the misery itself more terrible than the disorder; for one would have thought that the hill itself, on which the Temple stood, was seething hot, as full of fire on every part of it.

Flavius Josephus - The Jewish War, p. 292:

To give a detailed account of their outrageous conduct is impossible, but we may sum it up by saying that no other city has ever endured such horrors, and no generation in history has fathered such wickedness.  In the end they brought the whole Hebrew race into contempt in order to make their own impiety seem less outrageous in foreign eyes, and confessed the painful truth that they were slaves, the dregs of humanity, bastards, and outcasts of their nation.  ...It is certain that when from the upper city they watched the Temple burning they did not turn a hair, though many Romans were moved to tears.

Flavius Josephus - The Jewish War, p. 323:

As the flames shot into the air the Jews sent up a cry that matched the calamity and dashed to the rescue, with no thought now of saving their lives or husbanding their strength; for that which hitherto they had guarded so devotedly was disappearing before their eyes.


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