Tag Archives: Jotapata

Josephus the Traitor! and Historian!

Jotapata was a city in Lower Galilee about 3 mi. [5 km.] north of Sepphoris and 9 mi. [14.5 km.] north of Nazareth.  It is not mentioned in scripture, but 37 times in the works of the Jewish historian Josephus.

It was fortified by Josephus, who was the Jewish commander in Galilee at the beginning of the First Revolt (AD 66-70) and after a 47-day siege the Romans captured the city.

View to Jotapata from the north

Here Josephus went over to the side of the Romans—being one of the few survivors of the siege (War III: 141-408)!  It was here that he prophesied that the general Vespasian would become emperor—which in fact he did!

Ritual Bath (Miqvah) at Jotapata

The site has been excavated in recent years and here remains of the siege ramp, the defensive walls, houses (one with frescoes!), cisterns, caves, ritual baths, stone vessels, arrowheads, etc. have been discovered.

Josephus wrote his description of the First Jewish Revolt in his The Jewish Wars around AD 75-85.  This is a first hand description, with embellishments, of the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple by Titus in AD 70.

For more pictures and commentary on Jotapata Click Here.

For a description of the excavations see: Aviam, Mordechai. “Yodfat.” Pages 2076–78 in The New Encyclopedia of Archaeological Excavations in the Holy Land — vol. 5 — Supplementary Volume. Edited by Ephraim Stern, Ayellet Lewinson–Gilboa, and Joseph Aviram. Jerusalem and Washington, DC: Israel Exploration Society and Biblical Archaeological Society, 2008.

Yodfat/Jotapata — New Road

Paved Road to Jotapata

On July 11 I was in the field teaching a group of students from the Jerusalem University College who were studying “Jesus and His Times.”  I wanted to take them to Jotapata to help them understand Josephus and the First Jewish Revolt, but it was close to the end of the day and remembering last year’s hour walk into the site, and 100 degree F temperatures, I thought we would just view it from above.  Much to my delight I found that a new paved road had been built to the site!  So instead of an hour walk in, we just drove to the foot of the mound and began exploring Jotapata.