02.01.22 Sicarii. (See also Zealots 02.01.23). This group of freedom fighters was known as the “Sicarii” to the Romans and as the “Zealots” to the Jewish people. Some scholars say that the names are interchangeable, but are listed as two separate groups because other scholars say that the Zealots were a subgroup within the Sicarii organization. Nonetheless, they were dedicated to eliminating Hellenized Jews, overthrowing the Roman Empire to gain independence for Israel, as well as reestablishing the Torah and the orthodox faith in Judaism.
Josephus identified them as a nationalistic group that was known for various terroristic murderous activities. For example, they would walk in a crowded market, surround their victim who was unaware of his situation and, on a given secret signal, pull out short thin daggers and assassinate the victim. In fact, the name Sicarii is the Latin word meaning dagger or short sword. The group would then walk away as if nothing had happened leaving the victim dead on the street. They utterly terrorized Jerusalem. Luke mentioned a false messiah who led four thousand Sicarii terrorists in a revolt that failed (Acts 21:38). The last of these hyper-Zealots was destroyed in A.D. 73 with the fall of Masada.
. Josephus, Wars 4.9; Antiquities 20.8.6.
. Bruce, New Testament History. 93.
. Josephus, Wars 2.13.3.
. House, Chronological and Background Charts of the New Testament. 75.