66 AD

- פ ו י -

Massacres in Ethnically-Mixed Cities

66 AD

The revolt begins to spread across the land. This stage of the uprising is characterized by conflicts and mutual aggressions between Jews and gentiles in ethnically-mixed population centers. In Caesarea, thousands of Jews are killed. This incident translates into massacres of gentiles in the cities where they are a minority. In Beit She’an, residents of all faiths swear they will not attack each other. However, once they manage to ward off the rebels, the gentiles renege on their vow and massacre the Jews. This incident shocks many across Judea, eroding the trust that had prevailed between different ethnicities. Each group tries to exterminate the other; wherever Jews are a minority, they are either annihilated or expelled, and the opposite is true, as well. Such is the fate of towns such as Sebastia, Acre, Sidon, Tyre, Philadelphia, Esebus, Gaza, and others. The summer of 66 AD is rife with turmoil and mutual killings. The Romans have lost control of the region.

The repeated acts of vengeance that ensue lead to further grief, rather than peace or consolation. Only when we calm our wrath can the voice of inner peace be heard and guide us to make wiser decisions.

 “However, the Syrians were even with the Jews in the multitude of the men whom they slew; for they killed those whom they caught in their cities, and that not only out of the hatred they bare them, as formerly, but to prevent the danger under which they were from them; so that the disorders in all Syria were terrible, and every city was divided into two armies, encamped one against another, and the preservation of the one party was in the destruction of the other… Moreover, greediness of gain was a provocation to kill the opposite party, even to such as had of old appeared very mild and gentle towards them; for they without fear plundered the effects of the slain, and carried off the spoils of those whom they slew to their own houses, as if they had been gained in a set battle” (Josephus Flavius, The Jewish Wars, Book 2, Chapter 18, paragraph 2)

Certainty in the love and blessings of the Creator leads to peacefulness and the end of violence.