Published online by Cambridge University Press: 01 June 2011
In a recent study, raʿanan boustan has provided a detailed analysis of the story of Temple vessels in what appears to be one of the earlier redactions of ʾOtot ha-Mashiah and this story's relation to a broader literary motif of Temple spoils kept in Rome. As noted by Boustan, this redaction of ʾOtot ha-Mashiah displays no knowledge of a confrontation between Christian Byzantium and Islam. Instead, the eschatological struggle takes place strictly between Jews and Rome. Already in the opening sections of the text the latter is portrayed as the ultimate persecutor of Jews and Judaism. The sixth sign that contains the story about Temple vessels constitutes the culmination of the struggle between the two. A king rules in Rome for nine months, during which time he devastates numerous lands, levies heavy taxes upon Israel, and promulgates numerous decrees against it. After nine months Nehemiah son of Hushiel, the Messiah son of Joseph, is revealed. He launches a war against the king of Edom:
The Messiah son of Joseph will come and wage war against the king of Edom. He will win a victory against Edom and kill heaps and mounds of them. He will kill the king of Edom and lay waste the province of Rome. He will take out some of the Temple vessels which are hidden in the palace of Julianos Caesar and come to Jerusalem. Israel will hear [about this] and gather to him.