In his prophecy concerning the destruction of Jerusalem, Jesus said of that city: “Days will come upon you when your enemies will build around you a fortification with pointed stakes and will encircle you and distress you from every side.” (Luke 19:43)
Jesus’ words came true in the year 70 C.E. when the Romans, commanded by Titus, erected a siege wall, or palisade, around the city. Titus’ objective was threefold—to prevent the Jews from fleeing, to encourage their surrender, and to starve the inhabitants into submission.
According to Flavius Josephus, a first-century historian, once the decision to build this palisade was made, the various legions and lesser divisions of the Roman army competed with one another to see which could complete its assigned section of the siege wall first.
The countryside to a distance of some ten miles [16 km] around the city was stripped of trees, and the palisade, which proved to be about four and a half miles [7 km] long, took a mere three days to complete. At that, says Josephus, “all hope of escaping was now cut off from the Jews.” Reduced to famine and to murderous struggles among its various armed factions, the city fell to the besiegers some five months later.