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Two Places

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by David Prentice

MASADA.

According to Josephus, this fortress in Israel was finally overrun by the Romans in 73 AD. It was there that the Jewish rebellion was crushed, but the night before the triumphal entry of the Romans, the rebels made one last defiant act. They decided they would all die first.

This Jewish rebellion had held out against Rome for months in a virtually impregnable fortress. A fortress that had stockpiles of food and water to hold off the most determined foe. It was unapproachable for an army to assault. It was designed to be a safe place to hold out for almost any length of time. When it became clear to the rebels the Romans would finally breach the wall, they decided to make one last stand.

Rather than be conquered and brought into slavery, they entered a pact of mass death, one that killed every man, woman, and child that night. When the Romans entered, they would not take one prisoner, nor have one more slave for their empire. There would be no one to cower before them. They would all be dead.

It was the ultimate act of defiance.  An act in the face of what looked like an impossible future. The Jewish nation had fallen, and as it turned, wouldn’t rise again for some two thousand years. The mark of that ending was the devastating defeat at Masada, after the destruction of the city of Jerusalem.

EN GEDI.

This is not far from Masada, less than a one-hour drive today. But the important story about this place came a thousand years before Masada’s siege. David and his warriors hid there as King Saul pursued them in his desire to kill them all. 

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