JEWS ARE GETTING KNIFED in their homeland. It’s all over the news.
But I remember reading old news from Bible times, when Jews were doing the stabbings – for much the same reason the Palestinians are doing it today.
They felt disenfranchised, diminished, and discarded by intruders occupying their homeland.
In Bible times, it was the Italians who came – an army of the Roman Empire. Then they wouldn’t the heck leave. They stayed for centuries.
They came in 63 BC to help settle a disagreement about which Jew should rule the country. Roman General Pompey essentially said, “Neither.” Then he took over and added the country to the Roman Empire.
By about a century later, when Jesus and his disciples were walking the planet, a bunch of Jews upset with the still-occupying Roman army started working a nice little revolt that eventually stirred up the people enough to drive out the Romans, for a few years. The Italians would soon come back. And it wasn’t to deliver pizza.
One technique that a splinter group of extremist Jewish rebels used was to stab people affiliated with Rome. Jews who did the stabbing were called “Dagger men.” That’s scarii in Latin, the language of the Romans.
These assassins would sneak up on someone, at night or in a crowd. They would pull a dagger and stab their target – usually a Roman official or a Jew who collaborated with the Romans.
Tax collectors were fine target. They bid on their job like a contractor does today. High bid got the Roman Empire’s assignment to assess and collect taxes from fellow Jews in a city or a territory.
Matthew, one of Jesus’ disciples, collected taxes in Capernaum – until Jesus recruited him.
Oddly, Jesus also recruited what sounds like a rebel: Simon the Zealot. Zealots wanted Jewish independence. Scarii, Dagger Men, were a fringe group trying to make it happen – but in ways that most Jews didn’t seem to embrace.
Palestinians want the same thing as the Zealots and the Scarii. They want their independence. And some modern-day Dagger Men seem to be operating as a fringe group trying to make it happen – using methods that most Palestinians don’t seem to be embracing.
I’m not trying to make a political point here.
It’s just an observation from history that I thought was interesting.
It’s hard for me to read news about stabbings that Palestinians in the Holy Land have done this month without remembering the stabbings that Jews did in Bible times.
Both used terrorist tactics for the sake of freedom.
Jewish body count at the moment: eight Israelis dead and about 70 Israelis injured, from what I heard reported by Mark Regev, spokesman for the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Thirty-one Palestinians dead, according to the Associated Press: 14 alleged attackers and the rest accused of throwing stones and and bottles filled with flammable liquid.
In Bible times, Jewish terrorists won the day but lost the war. They drove out the Roman soldiers stationed there. But a massive Roman army came and took back the land and scattered the Jews.
Jews didn’t get their land back for nearly 2,000 years.
After Hitler orchestrated the World War II Holocaust that killed some six million Jews, the world community figured that the surviving Jews needed a safe haven. So they gave them plugs of ground in what is now Israel – the traditional Jewish homeland, as far as the Bible tells it.
They’ve been fighting ever since with Palestinian locals who make the case that 2,000 years of living in the land warrants some accommodation.
For more about Jews fighting locals
- Arab Israel
- Book: “Taking back the Promised Land,” A Quick Guided Tour Through the Bible, pages 55-78
- Book: “Joshua,” Complete Guide to the Bible, pages 61-70
- Book: “God ordered Joshua and the invading Jews to kill everyone…” 100 Tough Questions About God and the Bible, pages 113-114
Blog subscribers who win books this week
- Paula Leverett
- Judy Slimmer
I give away free books each week. It’s normally to randomly selected subscribers to my free blog and quarterly newsletter. But this time I picked two of the most recent subscribers. I’ll probably pick from the newbies for the next several weeks.
The winners will get the option of choosing my new release: A Quick Guided Tour Through the Bible – among about half a dozen other titles.