Tisha B’Av- Jewish Temple Mourning Tonight

Although there is no biblical requirement (which is why we in the COGs do not observe it), a Jewish holiday called Tisha B’Av begins Monday evening at sundown, which is the ninth day (Tish’a) of the Jewish month of Av.  It commemorates two of the saddest events in Jewish history…the destruction of the First Temple built by Solomon, and the destruction of the Second Temple.  Both events occurred in the same month, Av, and as tradition has it, both on the ninth day.

Since there have been some questions about the precise date of the destruction, a reader sent the following:

Resolving the Temple Destruction Dates

The following text is from the scholastic “Handbook of Biblical Chronology“, Finegan, 1999, p. 106:

“As to the month and day, the Jewish sources claim a striking identity between the destruction of the Second Temple and of the First Temple 2 Kings 25:8 states that the First Temple was burned by Nebuzaradan on the seventh day of the fifth month, while Jeremiah 52:12 gives the tenth day of the fifth month.  The rabbis reconciled these data by explaining that the Babylonians entered the temple on the seventh day of Ab (which is the fifth month), ate and did damage to it on that day and the eighth, and on the ninth day toward dusk set fire to it; it then continued to burn through the whole of that day which is presumably extended through the tenth.  As to the reoccurrence of disaster at the identical time, they said, “The same thing too happened in the Second Temple.”  For a single day, the ninth of Ab was taken as the exact date: “On the ninth of Ab…the Temple was destroyed the first and the second time”.”

“In his account of the second destruction Josephus gives the following sequence of events.  On Xanthikos 14 Titus encamped before the city (War 5.99; 5.133; 5.567).  On Panemos 17 the daily sacrifices ceased (6.94).  On Loos 8 the Roman armies completed their earthworks (6.220) and Titus ordered the gates of the temple area set afire (6.228).  On the following day, which was Loos 9, Titus resolved to spare the temple (6.241).  On yet the following day, which was Loos 10, amidst the fighting, a soldier cast a firebrand into the temple and it was burned (6.244, 252).  The date of the burning is stated explicitly by Josephus: “the tenth of the month Loos, the day on which of old it had been burnt by the king of Babylon” (6.250).  In the later correlation of the Macedonian calendar as it was used in Palestine, Loos was parallel to Ab, the fifth month.  Therefore Josephus’s date of Loos = Ab 10 is identical with Jeremiah’s 52:12 date of the tenth day of the fifth month for the first destruction, and just one day later than the ninth day of Ab taken as the official date by the rabbis”. 

Two items of related interest may include:

Solomon’s Temple This is a a 5 minute animated film that shows one artist’s understanding of the details about Solomon’s temple.
The Temple and the Work This article discusses the two temples of the Old Testament and gives insight as to their possible relevance to the situation which has impacted the Church during this past decade or so.

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