The rebels fail to take advantage of the “Year of the Four Emperors” (69 AD) to reorganize or rearm themselves. In fact, the unrest and bloodshed only intensifies. Eleazar ben Simon breaks off and takes control of the Temple and its courtyards, while John of Gischala and his followers occupy the surrounding square. Meanwhile, Simon bar Giora’s men continue to barrage Temple Mount. Each faction mercilessly attacks the others. Several priests are killed by the stones and arrows shot from the upper city. When the stockpiles of grain and wood are set ablaze, the people begin to starve.
The Jews of Jerusalem have deteriorated into such depths of darkness and hatred that they are no longer able to receive God’s light. All they can do now is advance their own impending doom. It will take great mental effort for them to preserve and cultivate their faith and spirit in the face of this great destruction.
“And now, as the city was engaged in a war on all sides, from these treacherous crowds of wicked men, the people of the city, between them, were like a great body torn in pieces. The aged men and the women were in such distress by their internal calamities, that they wished for the Romans, and earnestly hoped for an external war, in order to their delivery from their domestical miseries. The citizens themselves were under a terrible consternation and fear; nor had they any opportunity of taking counsel, and of changing their conduct; nor were there any hopes of coming to an agreement with their enemies; nor could such as had a mind flee away” (Josephus Flavius, The Jewish Wars, Book 5, Chapter 1, paragraph 5)
Mental strengths are the inner resources providing us with the strength necessary to face obstacles and challenges.