This seems to be a distinct and third sign, foreboding the general calamity of the Jews; that there should be not only seditions and intestine wars, in the midst of their country, but there should be wars in other nations, one with another; and with the Jews, and the Jews with them: and this also is made a sign of the Messiah's coming by them, for so they say F11;
``when thou seest, (wlab wla twrgtm twyklm) , "kingdoms stirred up one against another", look for the feet of the Messiah: know thou that so it shall be; for so it was in the days of Abraham: by the means of kingdoms stirred up one against another, redemption came to Abraham.''Poor blinded creatures! when these very things were the forerunners of their destruction. And so it was, the Jewish nation rose up against others, the Samaritans, Syrians, and Romans: there were great commotions in the Roman empire, between Otho and Vitellius, and Vitellius and Vespasian; and at length the Romans rose up against the Jews, under the latter, and entirely destroyed them; compare the writings in 2 Esdras:
``And one shall undertake to fight against another, one city against another, one place against another, one people against another, and one realm against another.'' (2 Esdras 13:31)
``the beginning of sorrows and great mournings; the beginning of famine and great death; the beginning of wars, and the powers shall stand in fear; the beginning of evils! what shall I do when these evils shall come?'' (2 Esdras 16:18)
``Therefore when there shall be seen earthquakes and uproars of the people in the world:'' (2 Esdras 9:3)And there shall be famines:
a fourth sign of the desolation of the city and temple, and which the Jews also say, shall go before the coming of the Messiah:
``in the second year (of the week of years) in which the son of David comes, they say F12, there will be "arrows of famine" sent forth; and in the third year, (lwdg ber) , "a great famine": and men, women, and children, and holy men, and men of business, shall die.''But these have been already; they followed the Messiah, and preceded their destruction: one of these famines was in Claudius Caesar's time, was foretold by Agabus, and is mentioned in ( Acts 11:28 ) and most dreadful ones there were, whilst Jerusalem was besieged, and before its utter ruin, related by Josephus.
a pestilence is described by the Jews after this manner F13:
``a city that produces a thousand and five hundred footmen, as Cephar Aco, and nine dead men are carried out of it in three days, one after another, lo! (rbd hz) , "this is a pestilence"; but if in one day, or in four days, it is no pestilence; and a city that produces five hundred footmen, as Cephar Amiko, and three dead men are carried out of it in three days, one after another, lo! this is a pestilence.''These commonly attend famines, and are therefore mentioned together; and when the one was, the other may be supposed sooner or later to be:
and earthquakes in divers places
of the world; as, at Crete F14, and in divers cities in Asia F15, in the times of Nero: particularly the three cities of Phrygia, Laodicea, Hierapolis, and Colosse; which were near to each other, and are all said to perish this way, in his reign F16;
``and Rome itself felt a tremor, in the reign of Galba F17.''
F11 Bereshit Rabba, sect. 42. fol. 37. 1.
F12 T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 97. 1. Misn. Sota, c. 9. sect. 15.
F13 T. Bab. Taanith, fol. 21. & 19. 1. Maimon. Hilch. Taaniot, c. 2. sect. 5.
F14 Philostrat. in vit. Apollon. l. 4. c. 11.
F15 Sueton. in vit. Nero, c. 48.
F16 Orosius, l. 7. c. 7.
F17 Sueton. in vit. Galba, c. 13.