68 AD

- ל כ ב -

The Galilee Falls Into Roman Hands

68 AD

Following the siege in Jotapata, Tiberias surrenders as soon as the legions reach its walls. Many rebels flee to Tarichee (Magdala), by the northwestern shore of the sea of Galilee. Once the city falls into Roman hands, Titus’ men kill everyone they can. Josephus later describes how the lake turned red from the blood of the rebels. After the fall of Tarichee, Vespasian then marches to Hama before finally arriving in the outskirts of Gamala, the last vital stronghold of the rebellion in the Galilee. Like Jotapata, this city is also surrounded by a cliff on three sides, with a wall running along the least-steep ascent. Vespasian himself is almost trapped and killed as he storms the city.

At about that same time, Mount Tabor, Yafi’a, and Gerizim also fall. Many survivors of the rebellion in the Galilee flee to Jerusalem. After these conquests, Gischala – hometown of the zealot leader, John – is the only standing Jewish stronghold in the region. When Titus’ army approaches the city, John requests that the battle be postponed for a day so that he and his men will not have to fight on the Sabbath. John’s wish is granted and the defenders of Gischala use this opportunity to escape to Jerusalem. The Romans manage to kill only the few men they succeed in catching as they chase after John.

Vespasian displays formidable judgment in devising long-term plans, executing them patiently, and persevering until his goals are achieved.

“But so many of them as were hindered from running up to the citadel, not knowing what in the world to do, fell among the Roman guards, while the groans of those that were killed were prodigiously great every where, and blood ran down over all the lower parts of the city, from the upper… so the Romans got up and surrounded them, and some they slew before they could defend themselves, and others as they were delivering up themselves… for otherwise they spared not so much as the infants, of which many were flung down by them from the citadel”  (Josephus Flavius, The Jewish Wars, Book 4, Chapter 1, paragraph 10)

Persistence is the relentless pursuit of our personal mission.