Antiquities XIV Chapter 4,3
3. Which thing when the Romans understood, on those days which we call Sabbaths they threw nothing at the Jews, nor came to any pitched battle with them; but raised up their earthen banks, and brought their engines into such forwardness, that they might do execution the next day. And any one may hence learn how very great piety we exercise towards God, and the observance of his laws, since the priests were not at all hindered from their sacred ministrations by their fear during this siege, but did still twice a-day, in the morning and about the ninth hour, offer their sacrifices on the altar; nor did they omit those sacrifices, if any melancholy accident happened by the stones that were thrown among them; for although the city was taken on the third month, on the day of the fast, (1) upon the hundred and seventy-ninth olympiad, when Caius Antonius and Marcus Tullius Cicero were consuls, and the enemy then fell upon them, and cut the throats of those that were in the temple; yet could not those that offered the sacrifices be compelled to run away, neither by the fear they were in of their own lives, nor by the number that were already slain, as thinking it better to suffer whatever came upon them, at their very altars, than to omit any thing that their laws required of them. And that this is not a mere brag, or an encomium to manifest a degree of our piety that was false, but is the real truth, I appeal to those that have written of the acts of Pompey; and, among them, to Strabo and Nicolaus [of Damascus]; and besides these two, Titus Livius, the writer of the Roman History, who will bear witness to this thing. (2)
(1) That is, on the 23rd of Sivan, the annual fast for the defection and idolatry of Jeroboam, "who made Israel to sin;" or possibly some other fast might fall into that month, before and in the days of Josephus.
(2) It deserves here to be noted, that this Pharisaical, superstitious notion, that offensive fighting was unlawful to Jews, even under the utmost necessity, on the Sabbath day, of which we hear nothing before the times of the Maccabees, was the proper occasion of Jerusalem's being taken by Pompey, by Sosius, and by Titus, as appears from the places already quoted in the note on Antiq. B. XIII. ch. 8. sect. 1; which scrupulous superstition, as to the observation of such a rigorous rest upon the Sabbath day, our Savior always opposed, when the Pharisaical Jews insisted on it, as is evident in many places in the New Testament, though he still intimated how pernicious that superstition might prove to them in their flight from the Romans, Matthew 25:20.