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[98] AS now the war abroad ceased for a while, the sedition within was revived; and on the feast of unleavened bread, which was now come, it being the fourteenth day of the month Xanthicus, [Nisan,] when it is believed the Jews were first freed from the Egyptians, Eleazar and his party opened the gates of this [inmost court of the] temple, and admitted such of the people as were desirous to worship God into it. 1 But John made use of this festival as a cloak for his treacherous designs, and armed the most inconsiderable of his own party, the greater part of whom were not purified, with weapons concealed under their garments, and sent them with great zeal into the temple, in order to seize upon it; which armed men, when they were gotten in, threw their garments away, and presently appeared in their armor. Upon which there was a very great disorder and disturbance about the holy house; while the people, who had no concern in the sedition, supposed that this assault was made against all without distinction, as the zealots thought it was made against themselves only. So these left off guarding the gates any longer, and leaped down from their battlements before they came to an engagement, and fled away into the subterranean caverns of the temple; while the people that stood trembling at the altar, and about the holy house, were rolled on heaps together, and trampled upon, and were beaten both with wooden and with iron weapons without mercy. Such also as had differences with others slew many persons that were quiet, out of their own private enmity and hatred, as if they were opposite to the seditious; and all those that had formerly offended any of these plotters were now known, and were now led away to the slaughter; and when they had done abundance of horrid mischief to the guiltless, they granted a truce to the guilty, and let those go off that came cut of the caverns. These followers of John also did now seize upon this inner temple, and upon all the warlike engines therein, and then ventured to oppose Simon. And thus that sedition, which had been divided into three factions, was now reduced to two.

1 Here we see the true occasion of those vast numbers of Jews that were in Jerusalem during this siege by Titus, and perished therein; that the siege began at the feast of the passover, when such prodigious multitudes of Jews and proselytes of the gate were come from all parts of Judea, and from other countries, in order to celebrate that great festival. See the note B. VI. ch. 9. sect. 3. Tacitus himself informs us, that the number of men, women, and children in Jerusalem, when it was besieged by the Romans, as he had been informed. This information must have been taken from the Romans: for Josephus never recounts the numbers of those that were besieged, only he lets us know, that of the vulgar, carried dead out of the gates, and buried at the public charges, was the like number of 600,000, ch. viii. sect. 7. However, when Cestius Gallus came first to the siege, that sum in Tacitus is no way disagreeable to Josephus's history, though they were become much more numerous when Titus encompassed the city at the passover. As to the number that perished during this siege, Josephus assures us, as we shall see hereafter, they were 1,100,000, besides 97,000 captives. But Tacitus's history of the last part of this siege is not now extant; so we cannot compare his parallel numbers with those of Josephus.

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