Yosef Ben Matityahu
The Destruction of the Second Temple
The Wars of the Jews, 6: 9-11
And Titus returned to the capital and decided to besiege from the next day after the dawn at the Temple at the head of all his forces and conquer it. But the Lord had already decreed from the first days to let His temple be consumed by fire, and here came the day of judgement for the end of the times, in which the First Temple was also burned by the king of Babylon. And from the hands of the Jews the fire came out for the first time and from them was the reason. For after Titus returned from the place of the war, the rebels took some air and went out again to fight the Romans. The guardians of the Temple fought with the haters who extinguished the fire, in the courtyard of the inner house of the Lord, and those who defeated the Jews and pursued them into the Temple.
From there the Romans moved to the hall that remained in the courtyard of the outer house of the Lord. And there the people, women and children escaped and there was great famine for 6000 people. And the army did not wait until the emperor had issued the decree regarding those remaining and the soldiers' ministers would give them their orders, but rushed to the hall in a vengeance and sent out a fire. Those who jumped out of the fire broke their bones and died, and those who remained alive were burned alive. And one of the men of the army did not wait for the order and was not frightened by the terrible act which he was told to do, and he sent a torch to the golden window, which was close to him from the entrance on the side of the fire, north of the chambers surrounding the Hall.
And when the flame flared, the Jews raised a terrible cry, acknowledging the enormity of the disaster, and hurried from all sides to stop the fire and spare their lives and pity their forces, seeing the loss of their temple and their home for which they had preserved their souls.
“Who is the man who will not gamble on the destruction of this house? It is the most beautiful of all the buildings, our eyes have seen and we have heard from our ears, and the highest of all in its size and majesty and splendor?”.