At this point, the Romans are bringing and end to the siege of Jotapata and Josephus is hiding in a hole in the ground with a bunch of other Jews until the Romans discover them and send Nicanor to try to convince Josephus to surrender. But the other Jews refuse and want to commit suicide and want to kill Josephus if he thinks of surrendering to the enemy. So, Josephus starts to preach repentance to them:
“Now as Josephus began to hesitate with himself about Nicanor’s proposal, the soldiery were so angry, that they ran hastily to set fire to the den; but the tribune would not permit them so to do, as being very desirous to take the man alive. And now, as Nicanor lay hard at Josephus to comply, and he understood how the multitude of the enemies threatened him, he called to mind the dreams which he had dreamed in the night time, whereby God had signified to him beforehand both the future calamities of the Jews, and the events that concerned the Roman emperors. Now Josephus was able to give shrewd conjectures about the interpretation of such dreams as have been ambiguously delivered by God. Moreover, he was not unacquainted with the prophecies contained in the sacred books, as being a priest himself, and of the posterity of priests: and just then was he in an ecstasy; and setting before him the tremendous images of the dreams he had lately had, he put up a secret prayer to God, and said, “Since it pleaseth thee, who hast created the Jewish nation, to depress the same, and since all their good fortune is gone over to the Romans, and since thou hast made choice of this soul of mine to foretell what is to come to pass hereafter, I willingly give them my hands, and am content to live. And I protest openly that I do not go over to the Romans as a deserter of the Jews, but as a minister from thee.” Upon this Josephus was afraid of their attacking him, and yet thought he should be a betrayer of the commands of God, if he died before they were delivered. So he began to talk like a philosopher to them in the distress he was then in, when he said thus to them: “O my friends, why are we so earnest to kill ourselves? and why do we set our soul and body, which are such dear companions, at such variance? It is a brave thing to die in war; but so that it be according to the law of war, by the hand of conquerors. If, therefore, I avoid death from the sword of the Romans, I am truly worthy to be killed by my own sword, and my own hand…””
– Josephus, Wars of the Jews, Book 3, 8:3
“Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him…That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles; The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up. From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
– Matthew 4:11-17
Josephus says time and time again how his actions are always with pure intention and inspired by God and everything that happens is God’s will. So the Bible mocks him, portraying him as if he were fulfilling biblical prophecy as a traitor to his nation which he will later see brutally slaughtered before his eyes. The storyline is inspired by Josephus, but the language and the idea that Josephus’ history should be interpreted as the fulfillment of biblical prophecy is from the Old Testament:
“Nevertheless the dimness shall not be such as was in her vexation, when at the first he lightly afflicted the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, and afterward did more grievously afflict her by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, in Galilee of the nations. The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined. Thou hast multiplied the nation, and not increased the joy: they joy before thee according to the joy in harvest, and as men rejoice when they divide the spoil. For thou hast broken the yoke of his burden, and the staff of his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, as in the day of Midian. For every battle of the warrior is with confused noise, and garments rolled in blood; but this shall be with burning and fuel of fire. For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”
– Isaiah 9:1-6
And boy did he preach! This guy went on and on for pages after this about how he tried to convince these people to come to their senses and not to kill themselves, but give themselves up to the Romans, because the hand of the conqueror and kingdom of God is at hand.
“Jesus said to his disciples, “Compare me to something and tell me what I am like.” Simon Peter said to him, “You are like a just messenger.” Matthew said to him, “You are like a wise philosopher.” Thomas said to him, “Teacher, my mouth is utterly unable to say what you are like.”…”
– Thomas 1:13
Hahahaha. Towards the end I will show you that Saint Thomas represents the Germans. The Germans at this time were called Barbarians, an invented word that imitated the babbling sounds made by people who could not speak proper Greek. Some languages even still today call Germans “mute” or “people unable to speak”, so this comment from Thomas is pretty funny. Although, this ancient joke is pretty racist and offensive, Germans are fully capable of learning Greek. But the best part is of course where Matthew says he is like a wise philosopher when Josephus himself said he began to “talk like a philosopher”, hahaha.