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[577] And thus did Simon get possession of Jerusalem, in the third year of the war, in the month Xanthicus [Nisan]; whereupon John, with his multitude of zealots, as being both prohibited from coming out of the temple, and having lost their power in the city, (for Simon and his party had plundered them of what they had,) were in despair of deliverance. Simon also made an assault upon the temple, with the assistance of the people, while the others stood upon the cloisters and the battlements, and defended themselves from their assaults. However, a considerable number of Simon's party fell, and many were carried off wounded; for the zealots threw their darts easily from a superior place, and seldom failed of hitting their enemies; but having the advantage of situation, and having withal erected four very large towers aforehand, that their darts might come from higher places, one at the north-east corner of the court, one above the Xystus, the third at another corner over against the lower city, and the last was erected above the top of the Pastophoria, where one of the priests stood of course, and gave a signal beforehand, with a trumpet 1 at the beginning of every seventh day, in the evening twilight, as also at the evening when that day was finished, as giving notice to the people when they were to leave off work, and when they were to go to work again. These men also set their engines to cast darts and stones withal, upon those towers, with their archers and slingers. And now Simon made his assault upon the temple more faintly, by reason that the greatest part of his men grew weary of that work; yet did he not leave off his opposition, because his army was superior to the others, although the darts which were thrown by the engines were carried a great way, and slew many of those that fought for him.

2

1 This beginning and ending the observation of the Jewish seventh day, or sabbath, with a priest's blowing of a trumpet, is remarkable, and no where else mentioned, that I know of. Nor is Reland's conjecture here improbable, that this was the very place that has puzzled our commentators so long, called "Musach Sabbati," the "Covert of the Sabbath," if that be the true reading, 2 Kings 16:18, because here the proper priest stood dry, under a "covering," to proclaim the beginning and ending of every Jewish sabbath.

2 HOW THE SOLDIERS, BOTH IN JUDEA AND EGYPT, PROCLAIMED VESPASIAN EMPEROR;AND HOW VESPASIAN RELEASED JOSEPHUS FROM HIS BONDS.

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