Perhaps nearly every tourist who visits Israel goes to Masada. It is striking to behold. The legendary Herodian pleasure-palace sits on a cliff rising dramatically above an austere desert landscape. Its history is pure drama. The Roman siege in A.D. 73, ended with the 960 Jewish Zealots committing mass suicide rather than submitting to live out their lives as Roman slaves. Is this all there is to know about Masada?
In recent years archaeologists have again descended on Masada with new research tools and many remaining questions. They verified the 2.5-mile, 5-foot wide, 10-foot high circumvallation wall that the Romans built around the entire fortress, including fifteen towers lining the eastern and northern section. The Roman siege itself included 7,000 to 10,000 soldiers in eight camps, a large quantity of imported wood for the assault ramp, and weeks if not months of time to overcome the resistance. But what’s new?
- Large cisterns for collecting water have been discovered and uncovered. The effectiveness of their engineering was demonstrated during the tropical storm that hit Israel in April 2018. The 16-foot-deep cisterns were completely filled with water.
- Agricultural plantations were identified, including trees and a vineyard, with a system of shallow channels which enabled the irrigation of the plots, assuring long-term survival capability.
- Historical references indicate that King Herod the Great had not only built a fortress which could house 10,000 soldiers, but also equipped its five palaces with water installations—including three bathhouses and a swimming pool. These have been affirmed by archaeology, confirming that he had mastered the art of water collection and preservation, in a desert no less!
The stirring 2,000-year-old story of Masada continues. Much of the details of the destruction of Jerusalem and the Masada siege (A.D. 67-73) is known from the writings of Josephus Flavius, the first-century A.D. Jewish historian. But all of it was prophesied by Jesus already in A.D. 30, to His apostles:
As He approached Jerusalem and saw the city, He wept over it and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace – but now it is hidden from your eyes. The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.”(Luke 19:41-44 NIV)
Forty years after His saying this, it all came true! Now Jesus says to us,
In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.(John 14:2-3)
COUNT ON IT!
Source: “Masada: Still Surrendering Its Secrets to Scholars Today,” April 16, 2021 BAS LIBRARY EXPLORER