O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
Six Zealot Leaders and Four Edomite Leaders
12 And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast.
13 These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast.
14 These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.
15 And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.
16 And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire.
17 For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled.
18 And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth.
Six Zealot Commanders :
1 Simon bar Giora
2 Menahem ben Judah
3 John of Giscala
4 Eleazar ben Hanania
5 Eleazar ben Simon
6 Eleazar ben Yair
Four Edomite Commanders:
8 Jacob ben Sosa
9 Simon ben Cathlas
10 Phineas ben Clusothus
In 68 AD, there was growing unrest in Jerusalem. Ananus ben Ananus incited the people to rise up against the Zealots, who were robbing the people and using the Temple of Jerusalem as their base of operations. Ben Hanan began to recruit for armed conflict. The Zealots, who were quartered in the Temple, learned that ben Hanan was preparing for battle, and sallied forth, attacking all in their way. Ben Hanan quickly organized the people against them. The skirmish began with the belligerents throwing rocks at one another, then javelins, then finally hand-to-hand combat with swords ensued. Eventually the Zealots retreated to the inner court of the Temple, and 6,000 of Ben Hanan's men held the first (outer) court.
According to Josephus, John of Giscala, who secretly sought to rule Jerusalem, had cultivated a friendship with Ananus:
“ [John of Giscala] was a man of great craft, and bore about him in his soul a strong passion after tyranny, and . . . he pretended to be of the people's opinion, and went all about with Ananus when he consulted the great men every day, and in the night time also when he went round the watch; but he divulged their secrets to the zealots, and every thing that the people deliberated about was by his means known to their enemies, even before it had been well agreed upon by themselves. ”
John was suspected of being a spy, and so was made to swear an "oath of goodwill" to Ananus ben Ananus and the people. After swearing the oath, Ananus sent John of Giscala into the inner court, to speak with the Zealots on his behalf. John immediately turned coat, "as if his oath had been made to the zealots," telling them that they were in imminent danger, and could not survive a siege. He told them that they had two options: 1) to surrender, in which case they'd either face execution, vigilantism, or retribution for the "desperate things they had done"; or 2) to ask for outside assistance. John told the Zealots that Ananus had sent ambassadors to Vespasian to ask him to come take the city. This in fact was not true, but convinced them that they could not endure a siege without help.
“ [The Zealots] hesitated a great while what they should do, considering the shortness of the time by which they were straitened; because the people were prepared to attack them very soon, and because the suddenness of the plot laid against them had almost cut off all their hopes of getting any foreign assistance; for they might be under the height of their afflictions before any of their confederates could be informed of it. However, it was resolved to call in the Idumeans [Edomites]; so they wrote a short letter to this effect: That Ananus had imposed on the people, and was betraying their metropolis to the Romans; that they themselves had revolted from the rest, and were in custody in the temple, on account of the preservation of their liberty; that there was but a small time left wherein they might hope for their deliverance; and that unless they would come immediately to their assistance, they should themselves be soon in the power of Artanus, and the city would be in the power of the Romans. ”
The messengers managed to sneak out of the Temple and successfully deliver their message to the rulers of the Edomites, who were greatly alarmed, and quickly raised an army of 20,000 to march on Jerusalem, "in order to maintain the liberty of their metropolis." Upon receiving word that 20,000 Edomites were marching on Jerusalem, ben Hanan ordered the gates shut against them, and the walls guarded. Jesus, one of the elder high priests, made a speech from the walls, denouncing the Zealots as robbers and telling the Edomites to throw down their arms. Simon, son of Cathlas, one of Idumean commanders, quieted the tumult of his own men and answered: "I can no longer wonder that the patrons of liberty are under custody in the temple, since there are those that shut the gates of our common city to their own nation, and at the same time are prepared to admit the Romans into it; nay, perhaps are disposed to crown the gates with garlands at their coming, while they speak to the Idumeans from their own towers, and enjoin them to throw down their arms which they have taken up for the preservation of its liberty. . . ."
That night a thunderstorm blew over Jerusalem, and the Zealots sneaked from the Temple to the gates, and cut the bars of the gates with saws, the sound masked by the sound of the wind and thunder. They opened the gates of Jerusalem to the Edomites, who fell upon the guards and made their way to the Temple. They slaughtered Ananus' forces there, killing him as well. After freeing the Zealots from the Temple, they massacred the common people. Eventually, after learning that Vespasian had never been contacted by Ananus ben Ananus, the Edomites repented and left the city.
As a result of this despotic leadership and their insufficient representation in the government, many Idumeans defected to a violent extremist group outside the city walls known as the Sicarii, led by Simon b. Gioras. By 69 AD, with the support of most Idumeans, Simon captured Jerusalem and reduced Eleazar and John to a powerless state confinement in the Temple and inner court. Simon ben Gioras' control of Jerusalem rendered Eleazar and John's alliance useless and the Zealots split from John and barricaded themselves in the Temple. Just as Ananus' forces had surrounded him, in 69 AD. Eleazar found himself in a similar situation of helplessness. This year was marked by bitter civil war between the three factions under Simon, John, and Eleazar. According to Tacitus, "there were three generals and three armies, and between these three there was constant fighting, treachery, and arson" (Histories 5.12.3). Although Titus Flavius, the son of Emperor Vespasian, and his army were nearing Jerusalem, Eleazar and the other two leaders did not unite to prepare for the attack and were severely weakened by 70 AD. For example, some of the Zealots under Eleazar burned large stockpiles of food that would have lasted the Jews several years in order to "remove the security blanket" and force everyone to fight (Goodman 195).