A famine struck the city of Jerusalem when it was laid seige by the Romans in AD 70, and 2000-year-old evidence of it has been found by the Israel Antiquities Authority according to this Fox News article. The artifacts are cooking pots and an oil lamp, hidden down in a cistern where the owners probably tried to eat what little food they had in secret.
Josephus tells us just how bad the famine got. People were tortured in brutal, nasty ways in order to be made to give up their food. The famine was an important part of the the war, as it had been prophesied in earlier books of the Bible (Leviticus 16, Deuteronomy 28), and the destruction in general was prophesied by Jesus himself (Matthew 24, Mark 13, Luke 21).
As the article notes, the Jewish war with Rome began in AD 66. It resulted in the destruction of Jerusalem and, most importantly, the Temple, in AD 70.
This was an important event in Biblical history. It was the public execution of God’s harlotrous wife, the nation of Israel, after it publicly rejected God’s covenant by rejecting Christ. Much of the tribulation and sequence of events that culminated in AD 70 were spoken of in the book of Revelation.
That book was a word of hope from Jesus Christ to his young church who, at the time, was suffering increasing persecution at the hands of both the Jews and the Roman empire. [see Chilton, The Days of Vengeance, for a detailed exposition of the book which you can download for free by clicking the link.]
After the Resurrection of Christ, the Jews persecuted the early Christians just as they did Jesus. They enlisted the Romans for support — just as they did when they put Christ to death. Roman persecution of Christians significantly ramped up during Nero’s reign shortly after the Great Fire of Rome had burnt out in AD 64. He famously used Christians as fuel for his night lights, his Roman Candles, by burning them alive at his parties. But the Roman serpent’s attention was diverted when it turned against its charming masters when the Jewish rebellion began in 66 AD.
Josephus wrote that, once surrounded by the Roman armies and cut-off from incoming supplies, Jerusalem succumbed to famine. It “devoured the people by whole houses and families; the upper rooms were full of women and children that were dying by famine; and the lanes of the city were full of the dead bodies of the aged; the children also and the young men wandered about the marketplaces like shadows, all swelled with the famine, and fell down dead wheresoever their misery seized them. As for burying them, those that were sick themselves were not able to do it; and those that were hearty and well were deterred from doing it by the great multitude of those dead bodies, and by the uncertainty there was how soon they should die themselves, for many died as they were burying others, and many went to their coffins before that fatal hour was come!” [Paradise Restored, p.266]
Jesus spoke of these terrible times in Matthew 24, and it’s no wonder he told those left in Judea to “flee to the mountains.” He lamented “alas for women who are pregnant and for those who are nursing infants in those days!”
He also said that “if those days had not been cut short, no human being would be saved.”
The destruction of Jerusalem was the culmination of the negative sanctions promised by God in Deuteronomy, Chapter 28, for a nation that apostasized and turned away from him to idolotry.
As Chilton wrote in Paradise Restored, “”Let Him be crucified! Let Him be crucified! His blood be on us, and on our children!” the apostates had cried forty years earlier (Matt. 27:22-25); and when it was all over, more than a million Jews had been killed in the seige of Jerusalem; close to a million more were sold into slavery throughout the empire, and the whole of Judea lay smoldering in ruins, virtually depopulated. The days of vengeance had come with horrifying, unpitying intensity. In breaking her covenant, the holy city had become the Babylonish whore; and now she was a desert, ‘the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird’ (Rev. 18:2).” [Paradise Restored, p. 94]