Masada


By Dr. Randall Smith
Courtesy of Christian Travel Study Programs, Ltd.

Surrounded on all sides by deep ravines, overlooking the Dead Sea and cut off from civilization by the Judean desert, the fortress of Masada was built for the personal needs of King Herod.

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By Dr. Randall Smith
Courtesy of Christian Travel Study Programs, Ltd.

Surrounded on all sides by deep ravines, overlooking the Dead Sea and cut off from civilization by the Judean desert, the fortress of Masada was built for the personal needs of King Herod. Having usurped the throne with Roman support, Herod was worried that either the Jews or the Romans would try to overthrow him, so he built for himself this private, luxurious fortress-palace.

Herod diverted the floods of the Judean desert into cisterns carved into the plateau of Masada, and stored there huge quantities of foods, and weapons – all for his personal use. Remains of Herod’s luxurious palace-fortress have been uncovered on Masada; so have the Roman bathhouse, storerooms and northern palace.

About 70 years after Herod’s death, Jewish zealots turned Masada into their final bastion. The Romans, in their desire to lower Jewish morale, sent several legions to Masada. Their aim: to destroy the 960 men, women children who had fled Jerusalem after the Temple was destroyed in 70 AD.

Unable to live their lives in the tradition of their forefathers, the defenders of Masada chose to die at their own hand rather than fall into the hands of the Romans and fall into slavery.

© Christian Travel Study Programs, Ltd.

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