Second Temple: Rich and Poor There was tremendous wealth in Jerusalem. The gulf between the rich and the poor was immense and the very poor families were often driven from their homes to become the slum-dwellers of Jerusalem.
The Wealthy and the Poor in Herod's Temple
There was tremendous wealth in Jerusalem. Many of the rich publicans (tax-gatherers) and influential leaders resided in Jerusalem, not only in their houses, but their summer residences, their large parks, and their country estates. Their vast wealth reached unbelievable proportions in the days of Herod. These plutocratic families were powerful in government circles and "prided themselves in their excesses." The gulf between the rich and the poor was immense and the very poor families were often driven from their homes to become the slum-dwellers of Jerusalem.
By the time of Jesus Jerusalem had become a parasitic city, lying in wait for the multitudes of pilgrims who flocked into the city in their hundreds of thousands at each Festival. At the Passover there would be at least a million visitors, and Josephus multiplies this figure by four.
Jesus promised the religious aristocracy that their "Temple would be left desolate," and not a single stone of the Temple would be left on top of another that would not be thrown down. Not even forty years passed when it all happened, for in 70 A.D. the legions of Rome came, led by Titus, and the Words of Christ were fulfilled.