So all hope of escaping was now cut off from the Jews, together with
their liberty of going out of the city. Then did the famine widen its progress,
and devoured the people by whole houses and families; the upper rooms were
full of women and children that were dying by famine, and the lanes of
the city were full of the dead bodies of the aged; the children also and
the young men wandered about the market-places like shadows, all swelled
with the famine, and fell down dead, wheresoever their misery seized them.
As for burying them, those that were sick themselves were not able to do
it; and those that were hearty and well were deterred from doing it by
the great multitude of those dead bodies, and by the uncertainty there
was how soon they should die themselves; for many died as they were burying
others, and many went to their coffins before that fatal hour was come.
Nor was there any lamentations made under these calamities, nor were heard
any mournful complaints; but the famine confounded all natural passions;
for those who were just going to die looked upon those that were gone to
rest before them with dry eyes and open mouths. A deep silence also, and
a kind of deadly night, had seized upon the city; while yet the robbers
were still more terrible than these miseries were themselves; for they
brake open those houses which were no other than graves of dead bodies,
and plundered them of what they had; and carrying off the coverings of
their bodies, went out laughing, and tried the points of their swords in
their dead bodies; and, in order to prove what metal they were made of
they thrust some of those through that still lay alive upon the ground;
but for those that entreated them to lend them their right hand and their
sword to despatch them, they were too proud to grant their requests, and
left them to be consumed by the famine. Now every one of these died with
their eyes fixed upon the temple, and left the seditious alive behind them.
Now the seditious at first gave orders that the dead should be buried out
of the public treasury, as not enduring the stench of their dead bodies.
But afterwards, when they could not do that, they had them cast down from
the walls into the valleys beneath.