The Shepherds and Angels

Now we continue with one of the most memorable and haunting events from the whole war, which happened during the siege of Jerusalem in Book VI of the Wars of the Jews. During the siege, there was a terrible famine that broke out as the Romans tried to starve the Jews out, but the rebel leaders {Simon and John;} refused to allow the people to surrender.

“There was a certain woman that dwelt beyond Jordan, her name was Mary; her father was Eleazar {Lazarus;}… She was eminent for her family and her wealth, and had fled away to Jerusalem with the rest of the multitude, and was with them besieged therein at this time. The other effects of this woman had been already seized upon, such I mean as she had brought with her out of Perea, and removed to the city. What she had treasured up besides, as also what food she had contrived to save, had been also carried off by the rapacious guards, who came every day running into her house for that purpose… and it was now become impossible for her any way to find any more food, while the famine pierced through her very bowels and marrow… She then attempted a most unnatural thing; and snatching up her son, who was a child sucking at her breast, she said, “O thou miserable infant! for whom shall I preserve thee in this war, this famine, and this sedition? As to the war with the Romans, if they preserve our lives, we must be slaves. This famine also will destroy us, even before that slavery comes upon us. Yet are these seditious rogues more terrible than both the other. Come on; be thou my food, and be thou a fury to these seditious varlets, and a by-word to the world, which is all that is now wanting to complete the calamities of us Jews.” As soon as she had said this, she slew her son, and then roasted him, and ate the one half of him, and kept the other half by her concealedUpon which the whole city was full of this horrid action immediately; and while every body laid this miserable case before their own eyes, they trembled, as if this unheard of action had been done by themselves. So those that were thus distressed by the famine were very desirous to die, and those already dead were esteemed happy, because they had not lived long enough either to hear or to see such miseries.”

– Josephus, Wars of the Jews, Book VI, 3:4

We find a story in the New Testament with all of the same details, of Mary (only one appearance of this name in all of the works of Josephus) being pierced, of the things she treasures, of her baby in a feeding situation, all of which is intended to be a sign to the people and everyone who heard it was amazed:

“And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: You will find a baby wrapped in strips of cloth and lying in a feeding trough”All who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds {guards;} told them. However, Mary continued to treasure all these things in her heart and to ponder them… Then Simeon blessed them and told Mary, his mother, “This infant is destined to cause many in Israel to fall and rise. Also, he will be a sign that will be opposed. Indeed, a sword will pierce your own soul, too {not just the famine;}, so that the inner thoughts of many people might be revealed.””

– Luke 2:8-35

A famine {sword;} did indeed pierce Mary’s bowls {soul;} revealing the inner thoughts of many and her only treasure left was in her heart after she had her baby-in-a-feeding {trough;} event which was intended to be a sign to the world. These are almost exactly the same story.

“…Now this is such a most tragical fable as is full of nothing but cruelty and impudence…”

– Flavius Josephus Against Apion, :8

Notice, these are four coincidences of very specific and complex details (Mary’s baby feeding is one story detail!), which is why I need four forms of emphasis to show how much these two stories are talking about the same event. And since there is only one mention of someone named Mary in all of the works of Josephus, it is far too large of a coincidence that she, just like the Mary in Luke, is also pierced, “treasures” things in her heart, has a baby in a feeding situation and that baby is expected to become a sign for the world.  I will show you, as well, over four hundred more of these sort of coincidences between the New Testament and the works of Josephus in the eBook, showing the mocking humor of the New Testament.

 

Shepherds and Angels(2): The Heavenly Army Appears

Then, in the very next passage of Josephus, the Roman army is besieging Jerusalem, waiting for them to starve to death, when they get wind of this horrifying act of cannibalism:

“There was a certain womanher name was MaryWhat she had treasured up besides, as also what food she had contrived to save, had been also carried off by the rapacious guards… while the famine pierced through her very bowels and marrow… and snatching up her son, who was a child sucking at her breast, she said, “O thou miserable infant! for whom shall I preserve thee in this war, this famine… Come on; be thou my food, and be thou a fury to these seditious varlets, and a by-word to the world…” As soon as she had said this, she slew her son, and then roasted him, and eat the one half of him, and kept the other half by her concealed. This sad instance was quickly told to the Romans, some of whom could not believe it, and others pitied the distress which the Jews were under; but there were many of them who were hereby induced to a more bitter hatred than ordinary against our nation. But for Caesar, he excused himself before God as to this matter, and said that he had proposed peace and liberty to the Jews, as well as an oblivion of all their former insolent practices; but that they, instead of concord, had chosen sedition; instead of peace, war; and before satiety and abundance, a famine. That they had begun with their own hands to burn down that temple which we have preserved hitherto; and that therefore they deserved to eat such food as this was. That, however, this horrid action  of eating an own child ought to be covered with the overthrow of their very country itself… wherein mothers are thus fed, although such food be fitter for the fathers than for the mothers to eat of, since it is they that continue still in a state of war against us, after they have undergone such miseries as these. And at the same time that he said this, he reflected on the desperate condition these men must be in…”

– Josephus, Wars of the Jews, Book VI, 3:4-5

“And this will be a sign for you: You will find a baby wrapped in strips of cloth and lying in a feeding trough.” Suddenly, a multitude of the Heavenly {Roman;} Army appeared with the angel, praising God by saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and peace on earth to people who enjoy his favor!” When the angels had left them and gone back to heaven, the shepherds told one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see what has taken place that the Lord has told us about.” So they went quickly and found Mary and Joseph with the baby, who was lying in the feeding trough. When they saw this, they repeated what they had been told about this child. All who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. However, Mary continued to treasure all these things in her heart and to ponder them. Then the shepherds returned to their flock, glorifying and praising God for everything they had heard and seen, just as it had been told to them…”

– Luke 2:12-35

 

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