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for his people, history was tending with slow but steady and sure movement toward the destruction of their capital city, and with it. their corporate life; and this he announced with unmistakable clearness and great boldness.
$4. OCCASIONS AND FORMS OF THE POLITICAL FORECAST MADE BY JESUS
From the nature of the case, any reference by Jesus to a coming national catastrophe was calculated to awaken or intensify dislike for him, and hence to hasten the hour when the climax of hatred should be reached. For this reason, Jesus acted in this case as he did in several others of a like nature; he withheld full and explicit statement till the last days of his public activity, when the boldest and baldest utterance could add nothing to the activity of his opponents. Once only before his final entrance into Jerusalem was there drawn from him an expression of his conviction as to the national future. When it became evident to those who were watching his every movement that he had definitely set his face toward Jerusalem, and when, in addition, the ever-increasing multitude that was attaching itself to him seemed to indicate unmistakably an early, triumphant, and spectacular entrance into the city, the effort was made to dissuade him from that effort which they assumed he was making for the awakening of the popular messianic expectation. This was done by reminding him of the tragic fate of a recent uprising of like kind.1 Jesus used this politic warning, thrown out by the self-appointed guardians of the national peace, as the occasion for announcing that, short of a national regeneration, which should give another direction to the national ambitions and tendencies, it was certain that the nation as a whole would perish, and perish after the same drastic manner that marked the treatment of the Galilean insurgents by Pilate.2 We are not helped by other sources to a precise knowledge of the event in connection with the tower of Siloam, 3 but it may be conjectured that the eighteen men were in detention there for participation in some political uprising. Not having himself introduced the subject of the national future as affected by present-day popular tendencies, Jesus does not follow it beyond the instance cited to him,
3 Luke 13:4. 5,
2 Luke 13:2, 3.
1 Luke 13:1.
and another closely related to it. When he passes to a general statement,' he gives to his thought that form of expression which, because of its indefiniteness, will not immediately offend, but, because of its pictorial form, will remain in the memory to reveal its content at some future, more appropriate time. But to those among his hearers who were open-minded and far-visioned, the meaning of Jesus' parable was doubtless as clear as to those who now read it, after its prophecy has become history.
When once Jesus had reached the last week of his life, he substituted direct statement for parable, and vivid, detailed portrayal for general assertions. Thus, in connection with his approach to Jerusalem, it is recorded of him that he said of the future of that city,
If thou hadst known in this day, even thou, the things which belong unto peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes. For the days shall come upon thee, when thine enemies shall cast up a bank about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, and shall dash thee to the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another."
A period of national upheaval and redistribution, if not destruction, seems involved in the parable of the Wicked Husbandmen which Jesus addressed to the religious leaders.3 And this conjectural interpretation of the parable is justified further when one meets elsewhere, in the record of these last days, forms of statement the meaning of which is beyond doubt. For Jesus had on this subject, as on others of prime importance, dealings with his disciples alone, as well as with the people at large. He closed the last day of his public ministry by an impressive reference, in the presence of his disciples, to the future of the temple, the beauty and grandeur of which made an appeal even to the untrained aesthetic sense of his Galilean followers:
And as he went forth out of the temple, one of his disciples saith unto him, Master, behold, what manner of stones and what manner of buildings! And Jesus said unto him, Seest thou these great buildings? there shall not be left here one stone upon another, which shall not be thrown down.4
This explicitness of statement was the occasion for a question from the disciples which led Jesus to his longest, most vivid and dramatic portrayal of the siege and destruction of Jerusalem.5 And even after
3 Mark 12:9.
1 Luke 13:6-9.
4 Mark 13:1, 2.
2 Luke 19:42-44.
5 Mark 13:14-20. For a critical examination of this paragraph, refer to chap.
his public labors were ended, on the way to the cross when words from him were few, he spoke a message dictated by that phase of his people's future which loomed up with largeness of horror:
Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children. For behold, the days are coming, in which they shall say, Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bare, and the breasts that never gave suck. Then shall they begin to say to the mountains, Fall on us; and to the hills, Cover us. For if they do these things in the green tree, what shall be done in the dry?1
$5. ABSENCE FROM THE RECORDS OF AN ADEQUATE BASIS FOR JESUS' FORECAST
Over against these clear, specific, and reiterated utterances of Jesus, by which his confident and steady conviction as to the future of Jerusalem is made evident, there stands, by contrast, the almost entire absence from the synoptic account of such historical indications of Jesus' time as must have formed the basis for such positive declarations. Not that the gospel records are wanting in reasons, morally and religiously grounded, why the sentence of condemnation must be the verdict upon the life of the nation; they make it abundantly evident that the Jewish people, by virtue of their present attitude toward the life and light in Jesus-not to go back into their past history or forward into their future-pass judgment upon themselves. The condemnation, then, is certain and is sufficiently justified. But what is the basis for the conjecture by Jesus, nay, the confident prophecy, that in these latter days condemnation, unlike that in many other generations, will find expression as retribution? And in what tendencies of the day lay the certainty that retribution would take the extreme form of the destruction of the capital city, even of the center of national religious life? For an answer to these questions, the appeal must be made to sources other than the gospels, to writers whose interest lay in the broader historical movements and outlook.
§6. AN EXHIBIT OF THE CRITICAL EVENTS WITHIN THE LIFETIME OF JESUS
It will suffice if the view be confined to those years within which Jesus himself lived. The critical events of those years by themselves, without the tracing of their roots in preceding time or their fruits in
1 Luke 23:28-31.
after years, will serve to base the general religious and political outlook of Jesus. Mere enumeration, without enlargement or extended comment, answers the present purpose.
1. Jesus was born into the midst of political ferment. The rumor that the sickness of Herod the Great had taken a fatal turn was the signal for an outburst of long-subdued protest and revolt. Incited by two rabbis of high repute, Judas and Matthias, a large body of the more ardently patriotic and religious among the younger men of the nation tore down the golden eagle erected by Herod, contrary to Jewish law, over the great gate of the temple. This was part of a general plan "to defend the cause of God." As a result, Herod deprived the high-priest, Matthias, of his office because of his supposed sympathy with the movement; and burnt alive with his companions the other Matthias, who had raised the insurrection. Others who had been arrested he delivered to the proper officers to be put to death.1
2. Herod the Great got together the most illustrious men out of every village in all Judea into the hippodrome at Jericho. He left orders that they be slain immediately upon his death, that there might be mourning for him-a mourning to take the place of that spontaneous sorrow which hatred for him would prevent. Though the design was frustrated by Salome and her husband, it indicates the political situation. Indeed, it is recorded that Herod even went so far as to command, for this same purpose, "that one out of every family should be slain."3
3. Upon the death of Herod, the demand was made of Archelaus, his successor in Judea, that Herod's punishment of the revolt under Judas and Matthias be recognized as wrong, especially by the deposition of the high-priest whom Herod had appointed in the place of that Matthias whom he had suspected. The demand proceeded from a great multitude which had assembled at the time of the Passover. Archelaus sent his general with soldiers to exhort the crowd to quiet and order. The soldiers were assaulted and most of them stoned to death. Thereupon Archelaus dispatched his whole army against the
I War, i, 33, §§2-4; Antiquities, xvii, 6, §§1-4.
2 War, i, 33, §§6, 8; Antiquities, xvii, 6, §5 and 8, §2.
Passover multitudes inside and outside of the city. The cavalry of Archelaus slew three thousand men.'
4. Plots and counter-plots, arguments and answers to arguments were set forth before the Emperor at Rome as to the succession to the throne of Herod. Large emphasis was laid upon the ruthless conduct of Archelaus in slaying the thousands of Jews at the Passover.'
5. Upon the departure of Archelaus for Rome, and while Varus, . governor of Syria, was at Jerusalem, a serious revolt broke out. This Varus quieted. Sabinus, a procurator sent to Palestine after Herod's death, pending the settlement of the question of succession, pursued a policy which fanned the flames of revolt. At the Feast of Pentecost, myriads of the Jews besieged Sabinus and his soldiers. A terrible battle was fought, to the disadvantage of the Jews. The Romans set fire to the porticoes of the temple which were being used by the Jews as vantage-points; and in the conflagration many Jews were burnt.3
6. The rebellion spread from the city throughout the country, some indications of its extent and form being given by the mention of: (a) The banding together of two thousand of Herod's veterans for purposes of rebellion and gain in Idumea and Judea; (b) The assault under Judas, son of Ezekias, upon the royal armories at Sepphoris in Galilee, and his subsequent use of weapons there obtained for purposes of plunder. He had "a thirst for power, and an ambitious desire for royal rank;" (c) In Perea, Simon, who had been a slave of Herod the king, "was so bold as to put a diadem on his head, and a certain number of the people stood by him, and by their madness he was hailed as king;" (d) "The royal palace at Amatha, near the river Jordan, was also burnt down by a party of men that mustered together, like those belonging to Simon;" (e) "At this time also Athronges, a person eminent neither for the dignity of his progenitors, nor for any great virtue or wealth of his own, as he was only a shepherd, and obscure in all respects, because he was a tall man, and excelled others in the strength of his hands, was so bold as to set up for king." Having given these specific cases, Josephus contents himself, for the rest,
I War, ii, 1, §§1-3; Antiquities, xvii, 9, §§1-3.
2 War, ii, 2, 83; Antiquities, xvii, 9, §4.
3 War, ii, 3, §§1-4; Antiquities, xvii, 10, 881-3.