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For The Temple by G. A. Henty

Chapter 9: The Storming Of Gamala.

At last, John made sure that all his followers must have taken up a favorable position. Rising to his feet he sounded a short note on his horn; then sprang forward and seized one of the blazing brands, and applied it to a tent. The canvas, dried by the scorching sun, lit in an instant and, as the flame leaped up, John ran further among the tents, lighted another and, leaving the brand there, sprang twenty yards away and then threw himself down.

By this time, although not twenty seconds had elapsed since he had given the signal, a sudden uproar had succeeded the stillness which had reigned in the camp. The sentries had started on their posts, as they heard the note of the horn; but had stood a moment, irresolute, not knowing what it meant. Then, as the first flash of flame shot up, a simultaneous shout had arisen from every man on guard; rising louder and louder as the first flame was followed, almost instantly, by a score of others in different parts of the camp.

It was but a few seconds later that the first trumpeter who rushed from his tent blew the alarm. Before its notes ceased, it was answered all over the camp and, with a start, the sleeping soldiers sprang up, caught up their arms, and rushed out of their tents. Startled, as they were, with the suddenness of the awaking, and the sight of the blazing tents, there was none of that confusion that would have occurred among troops less inured to warfare. Each man did his duty and -- buckling on their arms as best they might, stumbling over the tent ropes in the darkness, amazed by the sound of the fall of tents, here and there, expecting every moment to be attacked by their unseen foe -- the troops made their way speedily to the wide streets, and there fell in together, in military array, and waited for orders.

These were not long in coming. As soon as the generals reached the spot, they told off a number of men to endeavor to extinguish the flames; sent other parties to scour the camp, and search for the enemy; while the rest, in solid order, awaited any attack that might be made upon them.

But, short as was the time that had elapsed since the first alarm, it had sufficed to give the flames such hold and power that they were beyond control. With extraordinary rapidity the fire had leaped from tent to tent, and threatened to overwhelm the whole camp. The soldiers tried, in vain, to arrest the progress of the flames; rushing among the blazing tents, cutting the ropes to bring them to the ground, and trying to beat out the masses of fire as they fell. Many were terribly burnt, in their endeavors, but in vain; and the officers soon called them off, and set them to work pulling down the tents which the fire had not yet reached. But even this was useless: the flakes of fire, driven before the wind, fell on the heaps of dried canvas; and the flames spread almost as rapidly as they had done when the tents were standing.

Nor were the parties in search of the incendiaries more successful. John had lain quiet, where he threw himself down, for a minute or two; by which time the tents had emptied of their occupants. Then, pausing only occasionally to circle a tent and cut away its ropes, he made his way to the edge of the camp. By this time the sheet of flame had extended well-nigh across the camp; extending high above it, and lighting it almost as if by day. But between him and the fire lay, still, a dark mass of tents; for the wind was blowing in the opposite direction and, light as it was elsewhere, in the black shadow of the tents it was still dark in the extreme.

John made his way along, until he came to the end of the next street, and then paused. Already, three or four active figures had run past him at the top of their speed, and he wished to be the last to retreat. He stayed till he heard the tramp of troops coming down -- driven out by the spreading flames -- and then sprang across the end of the road and dashed along at full speed, still keeping close to the line of tents.

A shout, which rose from the leading files of the Roman column, showed that he was seen. As he neared the end of the next opening, the Roman soldiers were pouring out; and he turned in among the tents again. Through these he made his way; dashing across the open spaces and, once, rushing through the midst of a Roman column -- through which he passed before the troops had time to strike at, or seize him.

At last, he reached the extremity of the camp. The slope down to the river was but fifty yards away and, once over the brow, he would be in darkness and safe from pursuit. But already the Romans had drawn up a column of men along the edge of the plateau, to cut off any who might try to pass. John paused among the last row of the tents, hesitating what course to adopt. He could not make directly up the mountain, for the space between it and the camp was now covered by the Roman cavalry -- the greater portion of their infantry being still engaged in trying to save at least some portion of the camp.

Suddenly he heard a footstep among the tents, close behind him. He drew back into the tent by which he was standing, and peered cautiously out. A Roman soldier came hastily along, and entered the next tent -- doubtless to fetch some article of value, which he had left behind him as he rushed out, on the first alarm.

A sudden idea flashed across John's brain. He waited till the soldier came out, followed him with silent steps; and then sprang upon him at a bound, hurling him to the ground, and burying his knife again and again in his body.

Illustration: The Roman Camp Surprised and Set on Fire.

Not a cry had escaped the Roman. The instant he was sure he was dead, John rose to his feet, placed the helmet of the fallen man on his head, secured the breastplate by a single buckle round his neck, took up his buckler and sword; and then, emerging from one of the tents, ran towards the Roman line, making for one of the narrow openings between the different companies. Several other soldiers -- who had, like the man whom John had killed, gone back to their tents to fetch armor, or arms, left there -- were also hurrying to take their places in the ranks. Therefore, no special attention was paid to John until he was within a few yards of the opening.

Then a centurion at the end of the line said sternly:

|You will be punished, tomorrow, for not being in your place. What is your name?| for, as John was between him and the sheet of flame rising from the camp, the Roman was unable to see his face.

Instead of halting, as he expected, John sprang past him and, throwing down his helmet and buckler, dashed through the space between the companies.

|Seize him! Cut him down!| the centurion shouted; but John was already descending the slope.

As he ran, he swung the loosely buckled breastplate round on to his back; and it was well he did so for, a moment later, a Roman javelin rang against it, the force of the blow almost throwing him on his face. But, in a moment, he continued his course. He was in total darkness now and, though the javelins were flying around him, they were thrown at random. But the descent had now become so steep he was obliged to pause in his course, and to make his way cautiously.

He undid the buckle, and left the breastplate behind him; threw down the sword; and climbed down until he stood by the side of the river. He could hear shouts above him, and knew that the Romans were searching the hillside, hoping that he had been killed or wounded by their darts. But he had no fear of pursuit. He swam the river -- for he had struck upon a deep spot -- and then, at full speed, ran along on the bank -- knowing that some of the Roman cavalry were encamped upon the plain, and would soon be on the spot.

However, all was quiet, and he met no one until he arrived opposite the place where it had been arranged that the party should meet. Then he waded across.

|Is that you, John?| a voice exclaimed.

|It is I, Jonas. Thank God, you have got back safely! How many are with you?|

There was a loud cry of satisfaction and, as he made his way up the bank, a number of his followers crowded round him; all in the highest state of delight at his return. Jonas threw his arms round his neck, crying with joy.

|I thought you must have fallen, John. I have been here ten minutes. Most of the others were here before me. Only three have arrived since and, for the last five minutes, none have come.|

|I fear no more will come,| John said. |The Romans have cut off all retreat.

|How many are missing?|

|We were nineteen, here, before you came,| one of the men replied.

|Then there are six missing,| John said. |We will not give them up. Some may have made their way straight up the mountain, fearing to be seen as they passed the ends of the open spaces. Some may have made their way, down the opposite slope, to the other arm of the river. But, even if all are killed, we need not repine. They have died as they wished -- taking vengeance upon the Romans.

|It has been a glorious success. More than half the Roman camp is assuredly destroyed; and they must have lost a prodigious quantity of stores, of all kinds.

|Who are missing?|

He heard the names of those absent.

|I trust we may see some of them, yet,| he said; |but if not, Jonas, tomorrow, shall carry to their friends the news of their death. They will be wept; but their parents will be proud that their sons have died in striking so heavy a blow upon our oppressors. They will live, in the memory of their villages, as men who died doing a great deed; and women will say:

|'Had all done their duty, as they did, the Romans would never have enslaved our nation.'

|We will wait another half hour, here; but I fear that no more will join us, for the Romans are drawn up all along the line where, alone, a descent could be made in the valley.|

|Then how did you escape, John,| Jonas asked; |and how is it that you were not here, before? Several of those who were in the line beyond you have returned.|

|I waited till I hoped that all had passed,| John said. |Each one who ran past the open spaces added to the danger -- for the Romans beyond could not but notice them, as they passed the spaces lighted by the flames -- and it was my duty, as leader, to be the last to go.|

|Six of those who were beyond you have joined us,| one of the men said. |The other six are those that are missing.|

|That is what I feared,| John answered. |I felt sure that those behind me would have got safely away, before the Romans recovered from their first confusion. The danger was, of course, greater in proportion to the distance from the edge of the slope.|

|But how did you get through, John, since you say that all escape is cut off?|

John related how he had slain the Roman soldier, and escaped with his armor; and the recital raised him still higher in the estimation of his followers -- for the modern feeling, that it is right to kill even the bitterest enemy only in fair fight, was wholly unknown in those days when, as was done by the Romans at Jotapata, men would cut the throat of a sleeping foe, with no more compunction than if they were slaughtering a fowl.

Perceiving, by John's narration, that there was no chance of any of their comrades getting through to join them, now, the party struck off into the hills and, after three hours' march, reached their encampment. They gave a shout of joy, as they approached it; for a fire was burning brightly, and they knew that some of their comrades must have reached the spot before them.

Four men rose, as they approached, and joyful greetings were exchanged. Their stories were soon told. As soon as they heard -- by the shouts of the Romans on the hillside, and of the outer sentries -- that they were discovered as they passed the spaces lit up by flames, they had turned back. Two of them had made their way up a deep watercourse, past the Roman guard on the hill -- the attention of the soldiers being fixed upon the camp. The other two had climbed down the precipitous rocks on the other side of the hill.

|It was terrible work, in the darkness,| one of them said. |I fell, once, and thought I had broken my leg; but, fortunately, I had caught on a ledge, and was able to go on after a time. I think two of our party must have perished there; for twice, as I was descending, I heard a sudden cry, and then a sound as of a body falling from rock to rock.|

|Better so than to have fallen into the hands of the Romans,| John said, |and to have been forced to slay themselves by their own hands, as we agreed to do.

|Well, my friends, we have done a glorious deed. We have begun well. Let us trust that we may strike many more such blows against our tyrants. Now, let us thank God that he has fought by our hands, and that He has brought so many of us back from so great a danger!

|Simeon, you are the oldest of the party; do you lift up your voice for us all.|

The party all stood listening reverently, while Simeon said a prayer of thanksgiving. Then one of them broke out into one of the psalms of triumph, and all joined at once. When this was done, they gathered round the fire, prepared their cakes of meal, and put meat on long skewers on the flames. Having eaten, they talked for hours, each in turn giving his account of his share in the adventure.

They then talked of their missing friends; those from the same village telling what they knew of them, and what relations they had left behind. At last, just as morning was breaking, they retired into the little bowers of boughs that had been erected to keep off the cold -- which was, at this elevation, sharp at nights. They were soon fast asleep.

The first thing the next morning, Jonas set off to explore the foot of the precipices on the south side of the Roman camp, and to search for the bodies of their two missing comrades. He found one, terribly crushed; of the other he could find no sign, whatever. On his returning to the mountain camp, one of the young men was sent off to bear, to the relatives of the man whose body had been found, the certain news of his death; and to inquire, of the friends of the other, whether he had any relations living near the mountains to whom he might have made his way, if hurt or disabled by his fall.

The messenger returned, on the following day, with the news that their missing comrade had already arrived at his home. His fall had not been a very deep one and, when he recovered consciousness, some hours before daybreak, he found that one of his legs was useless, and an arm broken. Thinking that, in the morning, the Romans might search the foot of the precipices, he dragged himself with the greatest difficulty a few hundred yards and, there, concealed himself among some bushes.

A man came along, in search of an ass that had strayed. He called to him and, on the man hearing that he was one of the party who had caused the great fire in the Roman camp -- the sight of whose flames had caused such exultation in the heart of every Jew in the plains around -- he hurried away, and fetched another with a donkey. Upon this the injured man was lifted, and carried down to the lake; passing, on the way, several parties of Roman soldiers, to whom the idea did not occur that the sick man was one of the party who had inflicted such a terrible blow upon them on the previous night. Once by the side of the lake, there was no difficulty in getting him on board a boat, in which he was carried to his native village.

The Romans were furious at the blow which had been struck them. More than half their camp and camp equipage had been destroyed; a great part of the baggage of the officers and soldiers had been burned, and each man had to deplore losses of his own, as well as the destruction of the public property. But, more than this, they felt the blow to their pride. There was not a soldier but felt humiliated at the thought that a number of the enemy -- for, from the fire breaking out simultaneously, it was certain at least a score of men must have been engaged in the matter -- should penetrate unseen into the midst of their camp; and worse still that, after effecting all this damage, all should have succeeded in making their escape -- for, so far as they knew, the whole of the Jews got safely away.

But not for a moment did they relax their siege operations. The troops engaged upon the embankment were relieved at the usual hour; and half a legion went up into the mountains, as usual, to procure timber; while four thousand archers, divided into parties two hundred strong, extended themselves all over the hills, and searched the forest for miles for some sign of their enemy -- who were, they were now convinced, comparatively few in numbers.

The news of the daring attack on the Roman camp spread far and wide among the towns and villages of the plains; and aroused the drooping spirits of the people, who had begun to think that it would be worse than useless to offer any opposition to the Roman power. Whence came the party which had accomplished the deed, or who was its leader, none knew; and the inhabitants of the villages near Hippos who, alone, could have enlightened them, were careful to maintain an absolute silence; for they knew that if, by any chance, a rumor reached the Romans of the locality from which their assailants had come, they would have carried fire and sword among all the villages by the lake.

Titus was away, being absent on a mission in Syria; and Vespasian himself went among the troops, exhorting them not to be downcast at the disaster that had befallen them, for that the bravest men were subject to sudden misfortunes of this kind; and exhorted them to push on the siege with all the more vigor, in order that they might the sooner remove to camping grounds where they would not be exposed to such attacks by a lurking foe.

The soldiers replied with cheers; and the next day, the embankment being completed, they opened so terrible a fire from their war engines upon the defenders of the walls that these were forced to retire into the city. The Romans at once pushed forward their battering rams to the walls and, setting to work with the greatest vigor, speedily made three breaches; through which they rushed, with exulting shouts. The Jews ran down to oppose them, and a desperate conflict took place in the narrow streets; but the Romans, pouring in in great numbers through the breaches, pressed them step by step up the steep hill.

The Jews, animated by despair, again turned, and fell upon them with such fury that the Romans could not withstand the assault, and were driven down the steep lanes and paths, with great slaughter. But those who fled were stopped by the crowd of their own men, pressing up the hill from below; and the Roman soldiers -- jammed, as it were, between the Jews above, and their own countrymen below -- took refuge in the houses, in great numbers.

But these were not constructed to bear the weight of so many men, in heavy armor The floors fell in and, as many of the Romans climbed up on to the flat roofs, these also fell, bringing the walls down with them. Standing, as they did, almost one above another, each house that fell brought down the one below it and, thus, the ruin spread -- as one house of cards brings down another -- until the whole of the town standing on the steep declivity, on its eastern side, was a mass of ruins.

The confusion was tremendous. The dust of the falling houses so thickened the air that men could not see a yard in front of them. Hundreds of the Roman soldiers were buried among the ruins. Some were killed, at once. Others, jammed between fallen timbers, strove in vain to extricate themselves, and shouted to their comrades to come to their assistance; but these -- enveloped in darkness, ignorant of the ground, half suffocated with dust -- were powerless to aid them.

In the confusion, Romans fell by the swords of Romans. Many who could not extricate themselves slew themselves, with their own swords; while the exulting Jews -- seeing, in this terrible disaster, a miracle effected in their favor -- crowded down from above, slaying with their swords, hurling masses of stone down on the foe, killing those unable to retreat, and adding to the confusion and terror with their yells of triumph, which rose high above the confused shouts of the Romans.

Vespasian himself, who had entered the town with his soldiers, and had pushed forward with them up the hill, was nearly involved in the common destruction; but, as the houses came crashing down around him, he shouted loudly to the soldiers near to gather round him, and to lock their shields together to form a testudo. Recognizing the voice of their beloved general, the soldiers near rallied round him and, sheltered beneath their closely-packed shields, resisted the storm of darts and stones from above and, gradually and in good order, made their way down over the ruins and issued safely from the walls.

The loss of the Romans was great. The soldiers were greatly dispirited by their defeat, and especially by the thought that they had deserted their general in their retreat. Vespasian, however, was wise enough to see that this was no time for rebuke; and he accordingly addressed them in language of approbation. He said that their repulse was in no way due to want of valor on their part, but to an accident such as none could foresee; and which had been brought about, to some extent, by their too impetuous ardor, which led them to fight rather with the desperate fury of the Jews than with the steady discipline that distinguished Roman soldiers.

The defenders of the city were full of exultation at their success and, setting to work with ardor, soon repaired the breaches and strengthened the walls. But all knew that, in spite of their momentary success, their position was desperate, for their provisions were almost exhausted. The stores which had been laid up were very large; but the siege had lasted for many months before the arrival of the Romans, and the number of the people assembled within the walls far exceeded the usual population.

The Romans, on their part, increased the height of their embankment, and prepared for a second assault.

In the meantime, Itabyrium had fallen. The hill of Tabor was inaccessible, except on the north side; and the level area, on the top, was surrounded by a strong wall. Placidus had been sent, with six hundred horse, against the place; but the hill was so steep, and difficult, that he hesitated to attack it. Each party pretended to be anxious to treat, each intending to take advantage of the other. Placidus invited the garrison to descend the hill, and discuss terms with him. The Itabyrians accepted the invitation, with the design of assailing the Romans, unawares. Placidus, who was on his guard, feigned a retreat. The Itabyrians boldly pursued on to the plain; when the Roman horse, wheeling round, dashed among them, inflicting terrible slaughter and cutting off their retreat towards the city. Those who escaped the slaughter fled to Jerusalem.

The town, weakened by the loss of so many fighting men, and being much distressed by want of water, again opened negotiations; and surrendered upon the promise that the lives of all within it should be spared.

Hunger was now doing its work among the people of Gamala. The inhabitants suffered terribly, for the provisions were all taken for the use of the fighting men; and the rest had to subsist, as best they could, on any little hoards they might have hidden away, or on garbage of all kinds. Numbers made their escape through the sewers and passages which led into the ravines, where the Romans had placed no guards.

Still the assaults of the Romans were bravely repelled until, on the night of the 22d of September, two soldiers of the Fifteenth Legion contrived to creep, unobserved, to the foot of one of the highest towers of the wall; and began, silently, to undermine its foundations. Before morning broke, they had got in so far that they could not be perceived from the walls. Still they worked in, leaving a few stones in their place, to support the tower until the last moment. Then they struck these away, and ran for their lives.

The tower fell with a terrible crash, with the guards upon it. In their terror, the defenders of the walls leaped up and fled in all directions; and many were killed by the Romans' darts -- among them Josephus, one of their two leaders -- while Chares, who was lying in the height of a fever, expired from the excitement of the calamity.

The confusion in the town was terrible. Deprived of their two leaders, and with the town open to assault, none knew what was to be done. All expected instant destruction, and the air was filled with the screams and wailings of the women; but the Romans, mindful of their last repulse, did not at once advance to the assault. But in the afternoon Titus -- who had now returned -- taking two hundred horse, and a force of infantry, crossed the breach and entered the town.

Some of the defenders rushed to meet him. Others, catching up their children, ran with their wives to the citadel. The defenders fought bravely, but were driven steadily up the hill by the Romans -- who were now reinforced by the whole strength of the army, led by Vespasian. Quarter was neither asked nor given. The defenders contested every foot of the hill, until the last defender of Gamala, outside, the citadel had fallen.

Then Vespasian led his men against the citadel itself. It stood on a rugged rock, of great height, offering tremendous difficulties to the assailants. The Jews stood upon the summit, rolling down great stones and darts upon the Romans, as they strove to ascend. But the very heavens seemed to fight against the unfortunate Jews, for a terrific tempest suddenly broke upon the city. So furious was the wind that the Jews could no longer stand on the edge of the crag, or oppose the progress of the enemy; while the Romans, sheltered from the wind by the rock, itself, were able to press upwards.

The platform once gained, they rushed upon the Jews, slaying all they met, men, women, and children. Vast numbers of the Jews, in their despair, threw themselves headlong, with their wives and children, over the precipices and, when the butchery was complete, five thousand bodies were found at the foot of the rocks. Four thousand lay dead on the platform above. Of all those in Gamala when the Romans entered, two women, alone, escaped. They were the sisters of Philip, a general in Agrippa's army. They managed to conceal themselves until the carnage was over, and the fury of the Romans had subsided; and then showed themselves, and proclaimed who they were.

Gischala now, alone of the cities of Galilee, defied the Roman arms. The people themselves were, for the most part, tillers of the soil, and were anxious to make their submission; but John -- the rival and bitter enemy of Josephus -- with the robber band he had collected, was master of the town, and refused to allow any talk of submission. The city had none of the natural strength of Jotapata and Gamala, and Vespasian sent Titus against it with a thousand horse; while he ordered the Tenth Legion to take up its winter quarters at Scythopolis; and himself moved, with the other two legions, to Caesarea.

Titus, on his arrival before Gischala, saw that the city could be easily taken by assault but, desirous of avoiding any more shedding of blood, and learning that the inhabitants were desirous of surrendering, he sent an officer before it to offer terms of capitulation. The troops of John of Gischala manned the walls and, when the summons of Titus was proclaimed, John answered that the garrison accepted willingly the generous terms that were offered; but that, the day being the Sabbath, nothing could be concluded, without an infringement of the law, until the next day.

Titus at once granted the delay, and drew off his troops to a neighboring town. In the night, John of Gischala marched away with all his armed men; followed by many of the inhabitants, with their wives and children -- fearing to remain in the city, exposed to the anger of Titus, when he found he had been duped. The women and children soon began to drop behind; but the men pressed on, leaving the helpless and despairing women behind them.

In the morning, when Titus appeared before the town, it opened its gates to him at once; the people hailing him as their deliverer from the oppression they had so long suffered, at the hands of John and his bands of ruffians. Titus entered Gischala amidst the acclamations of the people; and behaved with great moderation, injuring no one, and contenting himself with throwing down a portion of the walls; and warning the inhabitants that, if they again rose in rebellion, the same mercy would not be extended to them.

He had at once dispatched a troop of horse in pursuit of the fugitives. They overtook them, and slew six thousand of the men, and brought three thousand women and children back into the city. John himself, with the strongest of his band, were not overtaken, but made their way to Jerusalem.

The fame of the successful exploit, of the destruction of the Roman camp, brought large numbers of young men flocking to the hills, as soon as the Romans retired from Gamala, all eager to join the band; and John could have recruited his numbers to any extent but, now that all Galilee had fallen, and the Romans retired to their winter quarters, he did not see that there was anything to be done, until the spring. It would be madness to attack either of the great Roman camps, at Scythopolis or Caesarea; and although, doubtless, the garrisons left in Tiberias, Tarichea, and other towns might have been driven out, this would only have brought upon those cities the anger of the Romans, and involved them in ruin and destruction.

Still less would it have been of any advantage to go down, at present, into Judea. That province was suffering woes, as great as the Romans could inflict upon it, from the action of the factions. Under the pretense of punishing all who were supposed to be favorable to making terms with Rome, bands of armed men pervaded the whole country, plundering and slaying the wretched inhabitants.

Law and order were at an end. Those in Jerusalem who claimed, for themselves, the chief authority in the country had done nothing to assist their countrymen, in the north, in their struggle with the Romans. Not a man had been dispatched to Galilee. The leaders were occupied in their own desperate feuds, and battles took place in the streets of the city. The peaceful inhabitants were plundered and ill treated, and the condition of those within the walls was as terrible as was that of those without. Anarchy, plunder, and carnage extended throughout Judea and, while the destruction of Jerusalem was threatened by the Roman army in the north, the Jews made no preparation, whatever, for its defense, but spent their whole time and energy in civil strife.

When, therefore, the numerous band who had now gathered round him urged him to lead them down to Jerusalem, John refused to do so. Getting upon an elevated spot, where his voice could be heard by them all, he said:

|My friends, you have heard, as well as I, what is taking place in Jerusalem and the country round it. Did we go down there, what good could we do? We should be drawn into the strife, on one side or another; and the swords which should be kept for the defense of the Temple against the Romans would be stained with Jewish blood. Moreover, we should aid to consume the food stored away in the granaries.

|Nor can we, through the winter, attempt any enterprise against the Romans here. The woes of Galilee are over. Tens of thousands have fallen, but those that survive can go about their business and till their fields in peace. Were we to renew the war, here, we should bring upon them a fresh outburst of the Roman vengeance.

|Therefore, there is naught for us to do, now; but in the spring, when the Romans get into motion against Jerusalem, we will march to its defense We have naught to do with the evil deeds that are being performed there; we have but to do our duty, and the first duty of every Jew is to die, if need be, in the defense of the Temple. Therefore, let us now disperse to our homes. When the first news comes that the Romans are stirring, those of you who are disposed to follow me, and obey my orders, can assemble here.

|But let only such come. Let the rest make their way, singly, to Jerusalem. I am resolved to have only such with me who will follow me as one man. You know how the factions rage in the city. A compact body of men, true to themselves and their leader, can maintain themselves aloof from the strife, and make themselves respected by both parties; but single men must take sides with one faction or other, or be ill treated by both.

|We are wanted, at home. The fields are lying untilled, for want of hands; therefore let us lay aside our arms until the spring, and do our duty to our families until we are called upon to aid in the defense of the Temple. When the hour comes, I shall be ready to lead, if you are ready to follow.|

John's address received general approval, and the gathering dispersed; all vowing that they would assemble in the spring, and follow John wherever he chose to lead them -- for he was already regarded with an almost superstitious admiration in the country around. His deliverance at Jotapata and the success that he, alone of the Jewish leaders, had gained over the Romans, marked him in their eyes as one specially chosen by God to lead them to victory; and in a few hours the hill above Gamala was deserted, and John and his followers were all on their way towards their homes.

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