But, upon his coming and fighting, he was beaten, and a great many of those that were with him fell. And this disgrace which Gessius [with Cestius] received, became the calamity of our whole nation; for those that were fond of the war were so far elevated with this success, that they had hopes of finally conquering the Romans. Of which war another occasion was ministered; which was this: - Those that dwelt in the neighboring cities of Syria seized upon such Jews as dwelt among them, with their wives and children, and slew them, when they had not the least occasion of complaint against them; for they did neither attempt any innovation or revolt from the Romans, nor had they given any marks of hatred or treacherous designs towards the Syrians. But what was done by the inhabitants of Scythopolis was the most impious and most highly criminal of all; (6) for when the Jews their enemies came upon them from without, they forced the Jews that were among them to bear arms against their own countrymen, which it is unlawful for us to do; (7) and when, by their assistance, they had joined battle with those who attacked them, and had beaten them, after that victory they forgot the assurances they had given these their fellow citizens and confederates, and slew them all, being in number many ten thousands [13,000]. The like miseries were undergone by those Jews that were the inhabitants of Damascus. But we have given a more accurate account of these things in the books of the Jewish war. I only mention them now, because I would demonstrate to my readers, that the Jews' war with the Romans was not voluntary, but that, for the main, they were forced by necessity to enter into it.
(7) The Jews might collect this unlawfulness of fighting against their brethren from that law of Moses, Leviticus 19:16, "Thou shalt not stand against the blood of thy neighbor;" and that, ver. 17, "Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people; but thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself;" as well as from many other places in the Pentateuch and Prophets. See Antiq. B. VIII. ch. 8. sect. 3.