Sunday, January 16, 2011

Hailstones One Hundred Pounds in Weight Thrown Upon City.

Now the stones that were cast were of the weight of a talent (1), and were carried two furlongs and further. The blow they gave was no way to be sustained, not only by those that stood first in the way, but by those that were beyond them fo...r a great space.

As for the Jews, they at first watched the coming of the stone, for it was of a white color, and could therefore not only be perceived by the great noise it made, but could be seen also before it came by its brightness; accordingly the watchmen that sat upon the towers gave them notice when the engine was let go, and the stone came from it, and cried out aloud, in their own country language, THE STONE COMETH so those that were in its way stood off, and threw themselves down upon the ground; by which means, and by their thus guarding themselves, the stone fell down and did them no harm.

But the Romans contrived how to prevent that by blacking the stone, who then could aim at them with success, when the stone was not discerned beforehand, as it had been till then; and so they destroyed many of them at one blow. Yet did not the Jews, under all this distress, permit the Romans to raise their banks in quiet; but they shrewdly and boldly exerted themselves, and repelled them both by night and by day.

"The missiles shot by the catapults, stone-throwers, and "quick-firers" flew all over the temple, killing priests and worshipers at the very altar itself. For despite war, the sacrifices went on..." (Josephus The Essential Writings p.329)

"All the Roman engines were well built, but those belonging to the Tenth legion were most powerful. Their stone -projectors hurled boulders weighing a talent (75-85 pounds) a quarter mile, and the Jews set lookouts on the towers to spot the fired stones which, being white, shone and whizzed as they flew. When they saw the stone discharged, these watchmen would call out,'Sonny's coming!' ("The stone" in Hebrew is ha-eben, which is easily corrupted to ha-ben, "the son.") - at which those in the line of fire dropped down to let the stone pass through harmlessly. When it occurred to the Romans to blacken them, the stones were more effective, destroying many with a single shot." (Josephus The Essential Writings p.340)

Scripture fulfillment. "And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath. And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. (And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent): and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail; for the plague thereof was exceeding great." (Revelation 16:19-21, KJV) It might be of interest here to mention that the stones that were thrown from the Roman ballista were the exact weight of the hail stones (a talent) John mentions in Revelation.

"As with the other plagues of Revelation, imagery is borrowed from the plagues that were brought upon Egypt by Moses. (In the current case, the seventh plague: Exodus ). "Behold, tomorrow about this time I will cause very heavy hail to rain down, such as has not been in Egypt since its founding until now. "Therefore send now and gather your livestock and all that you have in the field, for the hail shall come down on every man and every animal which is found in the field and is not brought home; and they shall die."

He who feared the word of the LORD among the servants of Pharaoh made his servants and his livestock flee to the houses. But he who did not regard the word of the LORD left his servants and his livestock in the field. Then the LORD said to Moses, "Stretch out your hand toward heaven, that there may be hail in all the land of Egypt—on man, on beast, and on every herb of the field, throughout the land of Egypt." And Moses stretched out his rod toward heaven; and the LORD sent thunder and hail, and fire darted to the ground. And the LORD rained hail on the land of Egypt. So there was hail, and fire mingled with the hail, so very heavy that there was none like it in all the land of Egypt since it became a nation. And the hail struck throughout the whole land of Egypt, all that was in the field, both man and beast; and the hail struck every herb of the field and broke every tree of the field. Only in the land of Goshen, where the children of Israel were, there was no hail. Exodus 9:18-26

The plague of hailstones also calls up associations with "the large stones from heaven" that God threw down upon the Canaanites when the Land was being conquered under Joshua. Joshua. 10:11 And it happened, as they fled before Israel and were on the descent of Beth Horon, that the LORD cast down large hailstones from heaven on them as far as Azekah, and they died. There were more who died from the hailstones than the children of Israel killed with the sword.

In association with their destruction Jesus made a clear declaration of himself by saying: "And whoever falls on this stone will be broken; but on whomever it falls, it (will grind him to powder)." (Matthew 21:44) There can be little doubt that the chief priests and Pharisees who heard these words were indeed ground into powder. Matthew 21:45-46 Now when the chief priests and Pharisees heard His parables, they perceived that He was speaking of them. But when they sought to lay hands on Him, they feared the multitudes, because they took Him for a prophet.

All this occurred in Jesus’ contemporaries..