Institution of the Fast Days over Destruction of the First Temple.
The Jewish People mourn over the Temple in several ways including fasting on
four days a year.
This is recalled in the Book of Zechariah.
[Zechariah 8:19] THE FAST OF THE FOURTH MONTH, - Tammuz.
AND THE FAST OF THE FIFTH, - Av
AND THE FAST OF THE SEVENTH, - Tishrei (Gedaliah)
AND THE FAST OF THE TENTH, - Tebeth (Tevet).
SHALL BE TO THE HOUSE OF JUDAH JOY AND GLADNESS, AND CHEERFUL FEASTS; THEREFORE
LOVE THE TRUTH AND PEACE.
The Babylonians destroyed the First Temple in ca. 580 BCE. Later, the Persians conquered
Babylonia. Cyrus the Great allowed the Jews of Judah to return and rebuild the
The rebuilding was completed in the reign of Darius in ca 518/517 BCE, with the
Temple Dedication taking place the following year.
The first contingent of Jews to return from Babylon were led by Zerubbabel.
Zerubbabel was a descendant of David and a grandson of King Jehoiacin. He was
officially appointed Governor of Judah.
Zerubbabel was accompanied by Joshua who was to serve as High Priest.
Zecharia speaks of Joshua.
The Prophet Iddo, grandfather of Zechariah, also returned with Zerubbabel.
Zerubbabel laid the foundation for rebuilding the Temple but did not complete
The First Temple had been destroyed by the Babylonians in the fifth month of
Ab. After the Destruction of the Temple most of the Jews were exiled. A small number
were allowed to stay under the governorship of Gedaliah who established a center
at Mizpah in the territory of Benjamin. Gedaliah was a son of Ahikam and
grandson of Shaphan who had been servants of the Kings of Judah.
Yishmael, the son of Nataniah, a descendant of David at the urging of the King
of Ammon with ten men murdered Gedaliah and most of the Jews who were with him.
The remaining Jews fled to Egypt (Jeremiah 41:2-3). This ended any hopes the
Jews still may have had of staying in the Land
The destruction of the Temple had taken place on the fifth Month (Av, Ab).
The final dispersion of the Jews as a result of the murder of Gedaliah by
Ishmael occurred in the seventh month (Tishrei).
Consequently, the Jews in Babylonian Exile had fasted on these two months.
Ataxerxes King of Persia sent Ezra to strengthen the community of Jews in Judah.
He later sent Nehemiah to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.
The building of the Second Temple had been discontinued. The building was
stopped by the Gentle neighbors of Judah such as the Samaritans who would send
slanders concerning the intentions of the Jews to the Kings of Persia. Finally, Darius
allowed the building to continue and be completed.The Offering of Sacrifices had
been renewed even before the building was finished.
[This Second Temple building was to be completely rebuilt much later in the
reign of Herod.]
The completion of the Temple took place in the time of the Prophet Zechariah. A
delegation of Jews asked Zechariah whether or not they should continue fasting
over the destruction of the First Temple.
[Zechariah 7:1] Now in the fourth year of King Darius it came to pass that the
word of the Lord came to Zechariah, on the fourth day of the ninth month,
Chislev, 2 when the people sent Sherezer, with Regem-Melech and his men,
to the house of God, to pray before the Lord, 3 and to ask the priests who
were in the house of the Lord of hosts, and the prophets, saying, Should I weep
in the fifth month and fast as I have done for so many years?
4 Then the word of the Lord of hosts came to me, saying, 5 Say to all the
people of the land, and to the priests: When you fasted and mourned in the
fifth and seventh months during those seventy years, did you really fast for
Me for Me? 6 When you eat and when you drink, do you not eat and drink for
yourselves? 7 Should you not have obeyed the words which the Lord proclaimed
through the former prophets when Jerusalem and the cities around it were
inhabited and prosperous, and the South and the Lowland were inhabited?
8 Then the word of the Lord came to Zechariah, saying,
9 Thus says the Lord of hosts:
Execute true justice,
Show mercy and compassion
Everyone to his brother.
10 Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless,
The alien or the poor.
Let none of you plan evil in his heart
Against his brother.
11 But they refused to heed, shrugged their shoulders, and stopped their ears
so that they could not hear. 12 Yes, they made their hearts like flint, refusing
to hear the law and the words which the Lord of hosts had sent by His Spirit
through the former prophets. Thus great wrath came from the Lord of hosts. 13
Therefore it happened, that just as He proclaimed and they would not hear, so
they called out and I would not listen, says the Lord of hosts. 14 But I
scattered them with a whirlwind among all the nations which they had not known.
Thus the land became desolate after them, so that no one passed through or
returned; for they made the pleasant land desolate.
What is happening here?
Zechariah after the way of Prophecy was switching between his own time and the
future. Zechariah shows how transgression caused the destruction of the First
Temple. Now if they continue to transgress the Second Temple will also be
destroyed. The Land will be made desolate. This is what happened much later.
There is a commandment to build the Temple.
5 But you shall seek the place where the Lord your God chooses, out of all your
tribes, to put His name for His dwelling place; and there you shall go. 6 There
you shall take your burnt offerings, your sacrifices, your tithes, the heave
offerings of your hand, your vowed offerings, your freewill offerings, and the
firstborn of your herds and flocks. 7 And there you shall eat before the Lord
your God, and you shall rejoice in all to which you have put your hand, you and
your households, in which the Lord your God has blessed you.
The Temple will be rebuilt. Different sources indicate that the Ten Tribes will
help rebuild the Temple.
a) Rebuilding the Temple, the Ten Tribes, and Messiah son of Joseph: Some
In Traditional Jewish sources there seems to be an apparent difference of
opinion concerning the future Temple.
Some say the future Temple will descend from Heaven.
Others say that the temple will be rebuilt by human hands.
We have a booklet (Sefer Torah Ha-Bayit by Rabbi Avigdor Alboim) quoting about
300 sources that the Temple will be rebuilt by man.
A good number of sources saying the opposite could also probably be collected.
Some of the sources quoted by Alboim however resolve the issue by quoting from
It seems that at first the Temple will be rebuilt by man. Everything in this
world has a parallel in heaven. There is a kind of heavenly Temple which will
exist in alignment with the one on earth.
A great level of holiness will be achieved in the Messianic Era. It will be like
Heaven on Earth. The Temple in Heaven will suffuse itself into the Temple on
What is below shall be infused from above.
In prosaic terms this means that a very high level of sanctity and inspiration
will be available through the Temple.
It will be a direct line to Heaven.
A Need for Repentance.
In the past they did not Execute true justice, nor Show mercy and compassion
Everyone to his brother but rather oppressed the widow and the fatherless.
They also estranged The alien and the poor. They planned evil in their heart,
everyone Against his brother (Zechariah 7:9-10). Consequently the Temp[le was
Mourning over the Temple was supposed to remind them of their sins.
Conversely, through repenting for our sins we can help rebuild the Temple.
The purpose of the Temple is to bring man close to God. It is a tool. It helps
when we go in the right path. By going in the right path we may be helped to get
This is a principle that once one begins to do good then help from Heaven is
given to aid in doing even more.
If we do what we should, God will give a Temple. This will help and strengthen
us. It will enable us to do even more good.
A Recall to Salvation. Highlights from the Book of Zechariah.
Commentary on the Book of Zechariah
THE BOW OF JUDAH AND THE ARROWS OF EPHRAIM
Parallels in Prophecy between the Maccabees and Ephraim in the Future.
The Tribes - 4th Edition Full Cover Spread.