Josephus: Background

josephus[1] I am slowly working through Josephus right now.

Flavius Josephus was a Jewish general and priest.  He fought against the Romans until his garrison was about to be captured.  The rest of his troops killed themselves rather than be captured and crucified.  Josephus however did not.  Josephus then struck up a friendship with Vespasian and Titus, Roman generals and later emperors.  His military, lingual and cultural skills were used by the Romans in their subsequent battles over the years including the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 CE.

Many Jews at the time and later hated Josephus, labeling him a traitor to the country and to God.  Josephus however did not see it this way.  He felt that he was a law and Law abiding citizen.  Many assassination plots were set out against him, though none successful.

No matter what you think of his politics or the depth of his piety, we owe a great deal of thanks to him.  For in his retirement Josephus set out to write a history of the Jews.  This he did along with a short autobiography and a long history of the wars specifically.  These documents would serve as source material for many subsequent emperors to understand the Jewish people and know better how to treat them in the kingdom.  And we Christians can thank Josephus for his in-depth look and understanding of Israel, more specific Galilee at around the time of Christ.

One thing that I am learning: Josephus was a clever guy.

One time his army was in another town, but the city of Tiberius was getting a little rowdy, and being the general in charge of the area it was Joephus’ job to go calm them down.  But without an army what was he going to do?

So he went to another town on the other side of the Sea of Galilee and told women and children to climb into the boats.  He waited until night time and then they all sailed across the lake with lanterns lit.

Now, the rowdy people in Tiberius saw this and freaked out saying, “Look at this army that Josephus is bringing against us!  We must surrender.  We must repent!”  The city surrendered without a problem and the “army” never had to make landfall.

Clever guy.



About coleyoakum

My name is Coleman Yoakum. I am formerly a student at Harding University. Today you can find me in Detroit Michigan doing what I can to expand the Kingdom of God and preparing to start an intentional community in Pontiac. I enjoy reading, writing, photography, music and politics. I am sure that all of these things will find their way to this blog from time to time. Twitter: coleyoakum Facebook: Coleman Yoakum Email: Flickr:

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