The Works of Josephus Speech of Eleazar at MasadaTranslated into modern English by Jeff MartinBook VII, Chap. VIII, para. 6 Page 600 "Long ago, my friends, we resolved neverto be servants to the Romans, nor to any otherthan God himself, who alone is the true and justLord of mankind. Now the time has come toenforce that resolution. Let us not bringreproach on ourselves by contradicting ourcommitment to remain free. We could havebeen enslaved before without the danger ofpunishment which we now face, which iscompletely intolerable. We were the first torevolt against the Romans, and the last tocontinue to fight against them. Perhaps God hasgranted us the power to die bravely, and in astate of freedom, which has not been the case
with other rebels who were attackedunexpectedly. It is plain to see that we will betaken in a days time. But we still can choose todie in a glorious manner here with our dearestfriends. Even our enemies cannot prevent this,although they desire to take us alive. We donthave the potential to fight and beat the Romansnow. We should have thought about this longago when we were defending our liberty andyet at the same time fighting with one anotheras well. It seems that the same God, who hadlong ago taken the Jewish nation into his favor,has now condemned them to destruction. If Hehad continued to be favorable toward us or atleast been a little less displeased with us,maybe there wouldn’t have been so many menkilled, and His most holy city would not havebeen burnt and demolished by our enemies. Atleast our group here has tried to preserve ourlives and our liberty in a good consciencetoward God. And we also taught others to worktoward preserving their liberty. Now it is hardto understand how God has shown us that our
hopes were in vain, by bringing this calamityupon us which is worse than we would haveimagined. Especially since this fortresswhich was thought to be unconquerable, andyet has not provided for our deliverance, eventhough we still have plenty of food andweapons. God himself has deprived us of anyhope of deliverance. The fire which we tried touse against our enemies even came back andconsumed our own wall, and it didnt do that byitself, but it was the effect of Gods angeragainst us for our many sins. Let us not receivethe punishment now from the Romans for oursins, but from God himself as executed by ourown hands, for we will be more moderate thanthe Romans. Let our wives die before they areabused, and our children before they havetasted of slavery; and after we have slainthem, let us bestow that glorious benefit uponone another and preserve ourselves infreedom, as an excellent funeral monumentfor us. But first we will destroy ourstorehouses of food and goods and the fortress
by fire, because that will surely make theRomans mad since they will not be able tocapture us and enjoy the wealth of ourprovisions. These provisions will be atestimony that we were not defeated because ofa lack of food or water, but that according toour original resolution, we have preferred deathbefore slavery." When some of the men showed weaknessin not immediately deciding to begin thegruesome task ahead, Eleazar spoke much moreabout death, and the afterlife as well as theabuses and slavery which they faced if theysurrendered to the Romans. Eleazar continues: "Our hands are still atliberty and we have a sword in them: Let usdie before we become slaves under ourenemies, and let us go out of the world,together with our children and our wives in a
state of freedom. This is what our lawscommand us to do, and this is what our wivesand children crave at our hands, and Godhimself has made this necessary for us. But theRomans desire to take us alive. So let’s hurryand instead of giving them the pleasure oftaking us into their control, let us leave theman example which shall at once cause theirastonishment, and their admiration of ourhardiness in carrying out our own deaths." Now, Eleazar was cut short in his speechand the men at once took their wives andchildren into their arms, and gave them thelongest parting kisses with tears in their eyes,and at the same time carried out the task ofending their lives. Then the men, one by onelaid down embracing the bodies of theirfamilies, as certain men who were appointed todo so carried out the death sentence uponthem as well. The last man made sure that allwere dead, set fire to the palace, then ran a
sword through himself and fell down beside hisfamily. In this way 960 men, women, and childrendied together in freedom at Masada. Twowomen and five children had been spared andhidden down below. They came out when theRomans entered, and told what had happened.