The Babylonians led by Nebuzaradan
, commander of the Army of King Nebuchadnezzar burned down the temple (3 Kings 25:8-17);
"Now on the seventh day of the fifth month, which was the nineteenth year of King Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, Nebuzaradan
the captain of the guard, a servant of the king of Babylon, came to Jerusalem.
Rashi refers to Pesikta Rabbati 3:4, which has Jacob explaining why he had acted as he did: "But you should know that I buried her there by the word of God, that she might help her children when Nebuzaradan
would exile them: (2) For when they passed along that road, Rachel came forth from her grave and stood by her tomb beseeching mercy for them, as it is said, A voice is heard in Ramah, lamentation and bitter weeping, Rachel weeping for her children (Jer.
In the Apophthegmata, a handful of the abbas dabble with allegory, but the only other figure who does so more than once is Abba Cronius--and he does so three times.(76) By contrast, one finds twelve examples among the sayings attributed to Poemen.(77) Here is an example: "Abba Poemen also said, `If Nebuzaradan
, the head cook, had not come, the temple of the Lord would not have been burned; that is to say, if slackness and gluttony did not come into the soul, the spirit would not be overcome in its combat with the enemy."(78) This saying alludes to the tragic story in 2 Kings 25 in which Judea was vanquished by the Babylonians, its king bound and blinded, its leaders dragged into exile.