The 9th of Av in Scripture and History
In order to simplify my Answering Objections page, I have divided it into several major subtopics for ease of reading. Below are my answers to questions regarding the issue of "Does the 9th of Av play a pivotal role in divine intervention?"
QUESTION: Does the 9th of Av really play a major role in history and Scripture, such that the Almighty tends to especially intervene in human affairs on that special date?
ANSWER: The 9th of Av is clearly a significant date in the history of both man and the ancient Jewish people. Essentially, what this amounts to is the fact that there is extensive evidence of prophetic signs even within the Hebrew Calendar. In Grant Jeffrey’s book, Armageddon--Appointment with Destiny, he gives eight examples of disastrous events taking place on a certain date of the Jewish calendar—the 9th of Av. This in itself constitutes an amazing sign (even without heavenly signs to accompany it):
1. Ten of the 12 spies returned with a bad report on the 9th of Av. (c. 1435 BCE).
2. Solomon’s temple was destroyed by the Babylonians on the 9th of Av (c. 587 BCE).
3. The second temple was destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE on the 9th of Av.
4. In 71 CE the Roman army plowed the city of Jerusalem with salt on the 9th of Av.
5. Bar Kochba was killed and his army destroyed on the 9th of Av, in the year 135 CE.
6. In 1290 CE, England expelled all Jews from the country on the 9th of Av.
7. In 1492, Spain expelled all Jews from their country on the 9th of Av.
8. In 1914, on the 9th of Av., World War I was declared. In Eastern Russia, the Russian government began a campaign of severe persecution against the Jews at that time.
In addition to this, at a time well after researching and establishing the Jubilee Calendar and the dates that are associated with it, I discovered (to my amazement) that there was one more sign that was in alignment with the 9th of Av. It appears that the comet Shoemaker-Levy crashed into Jupiter between July 16 and July 24 of 1994. According to the current Jewish calendar, the 9th of Av for that year came on July 16.
However, this is not where the similarity ends. This is only the beginning. Please notice the number of "coincidences" which are associated with this last event as well as the date associated with it:
1. It came on a day of the Jewish calendar known for terrible events—the 9th of Av. The 9th of Av is most often associated with the judgments of Yahweh.
2. It came only about 50 days prior to the start of the next civil year (Tishri 1). That next year, according to the evidence presented in the Jubilee Calendar, is a year of Jubilee.
3. During that event (on July 18, 1994) a major bombing took place in Buenos Aires at the Jewish Community Center, killing 85 people. The next day a suicide bombing of a Panamanian commuter plane killed 12 Jews and 9 others. Seven days later a car bomb exploded in front of the Israeli Embassy in London.
4. Shoemaker-Levy began striking Jupiter exactly 49 years to the very day after the first testing of the atomic bomb on July 16, 1945, at the Trinity test site near Alamogordo, New Mexico. About two weeks later, the bomb was used in Japan, and the nuclear era had begun. Like 1994, 1945 is a 49th year in the Jubilee Calendar.
5. Based upon the various evidences presented both here in the Jubilee Code, and in the Jubilee Calendar itself, the year 1994 is very likely to be the year 5978 from Creation. When you add 21 years (each year represented by one of the strikes of Shoemaker-Levy) it takes you to the year 5999 on the calendar. Clearly, the 21 strikes of this comet were intended to convey the message that we have 21 years to repent and turn our hearts back to Yahweh prior to the year 6000.
The First Test of an Atomic Bomb took place on July 16, 1945, exactly 49 years to the very day before the first fragment of Comet Shoemaker-Levy began striking Jupiter on July 16, 1994.
For more detailed information on this and other related questions, please read this article: Comets and Eclipses: Signs of the End.
Were both Temples in Jerusalem
destroyed on the 9th of Av?
There is some question regarding when exactly the temple was destroyed--the first temple (in c. 587 BCE) and the second temple (in 70 CE). Scripture says that they were destroyed on the 10th of Av and Jewish tradition says it was the 9th of Av. when the fires began while the 10th was when the temple was finally destroyed. Here we will explore this question, as it not only has a bearing upon the significance of the 9th of Av., but may also be important in establishing Sabbatical and Jubilee years.
QUESTION: Serious doubts have been raised [by the loyal opposition] regarding the historical accuracy of the dates you give for Sabbatical years, and even the Sedar Olam text which it is based upon. For example, it has been pointed out that the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem in 70 CE would have taken place in a Sabbatical year (based upon Sedar Olam), not in a post-Sabbatical year (as you maintain). Do you have any information that will shed some light on this issue?
ANSWER: The Sedar Olam is an important, but certainly not infallible, witness concerning ancient chronology. It is also called by the title of "the Large Chronicle of the World," and it is an ancient Jewish Talmudic study of world chronology as seen through the eyes of the Jews. The key to determining when in the Sabbatical year cycles the second temple was destroyed is the Sedar Olam as it relates to the Jewish day of gloom (the 9th of Av). Historically, many terrible events are noted to have happened on that date in Jewish history--including the destruction of both the first and second temples. Here is another link regarding the 9th of Av. Since we can use moon calculation programs to determine exact dates in ancient history, it is possible for us to also determine the 9th of Av for certain historical dates. But before we look at that, please take note of this reference work which indicates the dating problems:
Not all scholars, however, accepted Zuckermann's dates. The most significant challenge has been from Ben Zion Wacholder, who placed the shemitah associated with Alexander one year later than did Zuckermann. For the time associated with the fall of the Second Temple, Zuckermann's calendar began a Sabbatical year in the fall (Tishri) of 68 CE, whereas Wacholder's calendar began it in the fall of 69. Since the destruction of the city and the Temple occurred in the summer of 70 CE, this would have been within the Sabbatical year by Wacholder's calendar of shemitot, but in a post-Sabbatical year by Zuckermann's calendar. Which of these two options does the SO support?
To answer this question, it is necessary to examine the relevant passage in SO [Seder Olam] 30 with some care. It will first be given in Guggenheimer's translation:Wacholder used the following translation of this same SO passage:
R. Yose says: A day of rewards attracts rewards and a day of guilt attracts guilt. You find it said that the destruction of the First Temple was at the end of Sabbath, at the end of a Sabbatical year, when the priests of the family of Yehoiariv was [sic] officiating, on the Ninth of Ab, and the same happened the second time.
Rabbi Jose says: 'Favorable judgment forbode favorable days and guilty judgments guilty days. You find it said: When the Temple was destroyed for the first time, that happened on a day after the Sabbath (Sunday), during a post-Sabbatical year, and during the Watch of Jehoiarib, and on the ninth of Ab; and so also when the Second (Temple was destroyed).'
The first translation says that the destructions were within a Sabbatical year and on a Sabbath day, whereas the second translation says they were in a year after a Sabbatical year and on the day after the Sabbath." (The Jewish Bible Quarterly, July-September 2006, "Seder Olam and the Sabbaticals Associated With the Two Destructions of Jerusalem.”)
Now let me get to the point quickly so we can continue. This article (when read in full) takes the position that the destruction of the temple had to have happened in a Sabbatical year based upon the usage and meaning of the word motsae within the Sedar Olam, which is translated as either "after" or "at the end of." The author of that article favors the meaning of "at the end of." There is much disagreement by scholars as to the correct translations of that. But instead of arguing over linguistics here, I think it is best to simply bypass that issue for now and instead focus on the actual calendar dates used by Sedar Olam. Please remember, according to several reliable sources the actual destruction of the temple took place on the ninth of Av--so any verifiable calendar evidence will certainly override any linguistic uncertainties.
Please note that Sedar Olam clearly states the belief that the second temple was destroyed at the conclusion of 490 years, and that this is based on the 70 weeks of Daniel's prophecy: "The 420 years of the Second Temple are divided into the following periods: the domination of the Persians, 34 years; of the Greeks, 180 years; of the Maccabees, 103 years; of the Herods, 103 years. It will be seen that the allowance, contrary to historical facts, of only thirty-four years for the Persian domination is necessary if agreement with the Biblical text is to be insisted upon; for it is stated (Dan. ix. 24) that the second exile was to take place after seventy Sabbaths of years (= 490 years). If from this number the seventy years of the first Captivity be deducted, and the beginning of Alexander's domination over Palestine be placed, in accordance with Talmudical evidence, at 386 years before the destruction of the Second Temple, there remain only thirty-four for the Persian rule. From the destruction of the Second Temple, which, according to the "Seder 'Olam," occurred at the end of the last week of the Sabbatical year, to the suppression of Bar Kokba's revolt, or the destruction of Bethar, was a period of fifty-two years. . . ." (JewishEncylopedia.com, SEDER 'OLAM RABBAH, http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?artid=428&letter=S&search=Seder+Olam )
The chronology of Sedar Olam is not always accurate, for it leaves only 34 years for the rule of the Persians. However, this is believed by most scholars to be an attempt to make the prophecy of Daniel 9 somehow apply to Bar Kochba. It is very likely that the rest of the Sedar Olam dating of events is correct. With all of this in mind, take note of seven important points which will help us identify the exact date of the destruction of both Solomon's and Herod's Temple:
The author of Sedar Olam believed that the prophecy of Daniel 9 was based upon the Sabbatical years--which would make them continuous Sabbatical years (490 years is divisible by 49, not 50), with no allowance for an additional 50th year.
The author of Sedar Olam believed that both temples were destroyed on the 9th of Av in the Hebrew Calendar.
The author of Sedar Olam believed both temples were destroyed either on or after the Sabbath day, depending upon which translation you accept.
The author of Sedar Olam believed both temples were destroyed either on or after a Sabbatical year, depending upon which translation you accept.
Since we know the temple was destroyed in the year 70 CE, it is simply a matter of determining when the 9th of Av was in that year and also 490 years earlier. If we can discover the actual date, we can also discover the day of the week that it happened on.
If we can determine which day the 9th of Av that year was on (either a Sabbath or a Sunday), then we can also deduce how motsae was intended to be translated as it relates to the Sabbatical years.
Since the Sedar Olam also taught that the first temple was destroyed exactly 490 years prior to the destruction of the second (both on the 9th of Av), we also have a means of comparing the two dates (August 5, 70 CE and August 22, 421 BCE [i.e., the presumed (not actual) date of the first temple's destruction].
There is a website which gives lunar cycles that are very accurate going back even 2000 or 3000 years, and it is with this important information we will be able to determine when the 9th of Av was in both 70 CE and 490 years earlier, in 421 BCE. We will also be able to see what calendar day of the week that date falls on. Here is the lunar calendar for 70 CE (both July and August of that year), from the website of Paul Carlisle http://paulcarlisle.net/mooncalendar/ :
While it is true that the Jewish calendar eventually was based upon the calculations of Hillel (which is closer to a conjunction moon), this was not the case at the time the temple was destroyed, nor prior. Therefore, all new moon calculations are based upon an observable crescent. The date underlined in RED indicates the earliest possible sighting of a new moon. The numbers listed afterwards in BLUE indicate the actual Jewish calendar dates for the month of Av, 70 CE. Here now is the next Gregorian month, which will indicate both the 9th of Av and the date of the destruction of the temple (as indicated by the Sedar Olam):
Please note that the 9th of Av in 70 CE would have fallen on a Sunday, not on a Sabbath day.
Before going any further, let me say this regarding the difference between Gregorian and Julian dates: Even though a Julian date will be slightly different than a Gregorian date, the day of the week will remain the same. This discrepancy will sometimes show up as historians will state that the temple was either destroyed on the 5th of August, or the 10th of August 70 CE. This moon calendar program simply shows us the lunar cycles going back over 2000 years using the Gregorian calendar--it doesn't matter if our Gregorian date is one, two, or five days out of sync from the Julian date, for the lunar cycles and the days of the week do not change.
Based upon this very accurate moon calendar, the 9th of Av in 70 CE could not possibly be anytime earlier than Sunday, August 5 (Gregorian date). But the Sedar Olam indicates that 490 years prior to this date, the first temple was also believed to have been destroyed on the 9th of Av. Could that have (hypothetically) happened on a Sabbath day, or was it the day after the Sabbath? Here is the moon calendar for the year 421 BCE, the month of August, and the earliest possible sighting of the moon is underlined in RED:
Please note that the 9th of Av in 421 BCE [490 years before the destruction of the second temple] would have fallen on a Sunday, not on a Sabbath day.
Counting the days from the first possible sighting of the crescent moon until the 9th of Av, 421 BCE (which is 490 years prior to 70 CE) we find a strange coincidence--the 9th of Av falls on a Sunday, just as it did in 70 CE. Now we know (based upon confirmed historical records) that the first temple was actually destroyed in either 586 or 587 BCE. While the Talmud is not always a reliable source of historical information, it is likely that these are not coincidences, but instead show the actual calendar date for the destruction of these two temples did indeed take place on the 9th of Av. And since we know that the 9th of Av in both of these dates was most likely a Sunday, that would indicate the translation of Sedar Olam is more likely to be "after the Sabbath" instead of "at the end of the Sabbath."--for the astronomical observation shows it to actually be "after the Sabbath!"
If we use the calendar date of 586 as the year of the first temples' destruction, we will not have either a Sabbath or a Sunday for the 9th of Av--instead, it falls on Friday that year.
But please notice now how the 9th of Av appears for the year 587 (the second of two possible historical dates for the destruction of the first temple):
Once again, the 9th of Av in 587 BCE [one of the two most likely years that the first temple was destroyed] would have fallen on a Sunday, August 27, not on a Sabbath day.
Amazing! Coincidence? Probably not. But, how does this help us determine whether the second temple was destroyed the year after a Sabbatical year? Simply, the same Sedar Olam text which indicates both temples were destroyed the day after the Sabbath day, also tells us that they were destroyed the year after the Sabbatical year, using the same word in both of these statements: the word motsae! Since the Sedar Olam states these things happened on the 9th of Av, and that date could only have been from Saturday night to Sunday night, therefore the only other possible meaning for motsae would be "after the Sabbath"--for to translate it as "at the end of the Sabbath" results in the temple being destroyed on the 8th of Av, instead of the 9th of Av.
But remember, while the Sedar Olam chronology is not completely accurate (it looses 165 years from the Persian rule), and the destruction of the first temple could not have been on a Sabbatical year (because the number of years between these two events is actually different from that expressed in the Sedar Olam) it does line up in many other areas, such as both temples being destroyed on a day after the Sabbath, and both being destroyed on the 9th of Av. Regardless of the linguistic arguments surrounding an apparent discrepancy in the meaning of the word motsae, the second temple (based upon that same Sedar Olam text) could not have been destroyed in a Sabbatical year, anymore than it could have been destroyed on the Sabbath day--for the direct astronomical evidence shows that the day of the week it would have actually been destroyed on was a Sunday, the 9th of Av, and the day "after the Sabbath." That means also (according to that same text of Sedar Olam) the year it was destroyed would also have to be a post-sabbatical year.
CONCLUSION: Benedict Zuckerman (contrary to the opinions of others) was correct all along! The dating of a Sabbatical year by him from the fall of 68 to the fall of 69 CE is the correct date! In fact, the Jews today follow this same system to establish Sabbatical years in the land of Israel. "The last Shemittah year began on the Jewish New Year in September 2007. . ." (Wikipedia article on Shmita under Since the establishment of the state) Thus, the last Sabbatical year celebrated in Israel was from the fall of 2007 to the fall of 2008, and is in perfect alignment with a Sabbatical year from the fall of 68 to the fall of 69 CE. The Sedar Olam (in conjunction with the astronomical alignment of lunar cycles in antiquity) confirms that the second temple was destroyed in a post-Sabbatical year (70 CE) on the 9th of Av, which was the day following the Sabbath in that particular year.
QUESTION: There is a text in Jeremiah 52:12-13 that plainly states that the Babylonians, led by Nebuzar-adan, destroyed the first temple on the 10th day of Av, not the 9th of Av as you have asserted. As the loyal opposition has said, "For anyone to suggest that the Temple was destroyed a day earlier than the 10th is nothing short of a blatant disregard of the Scriptural account." What is your response?
ANSWER: That is not the only text which directs our attention to this issue. The other text which speaks about that event is found in 2 Kings 25:8-9. Here, let's quote them both:
Now in the fifth month, in the tenth day of the month, which was the nineteenth year of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon, came Nebuzaradan, captain of the guard, which served the king of Babylon, into Jerusalem, And burned the house of Yahweh, and the king's house; and all the houses of Jerusalem, and all the houses of the great men, burned he with fire: (Jeremiah 52:12-13)
And in the fifth month, on the seventh day of the month, which is the nineteenth year of king Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, came Nebuzaradan, captain of the guard, a servant of the king of Babylon, unto Jerusalem: And he burnt the house of Yahweh, and the king's house, and all the houses of Jerusalem, and every great man's house burnt he with fire. (2 Kings 25:8-9)
How do we reconcile these two apparently conflicting texts? The most logical answer is that the occupation itself began on the 7th day of the 5th month, and ended on the 10th day of the 5th month. Previously I had used the term siege to describe this event, however, this was an error on my part--my reference (which follows shortly) clearly shows my intention was to describe an occupation--not a siege. Furthermore, 2 Kings 25:1-3 shows that the actual siege had begun about a year and a half prior to this.
Regarding this issue, it would appear that the rabbinic answer to this apparent contradiction (in Judaism 101) is worthy of our highest consideration:
"How then are these dates to be reconciled? On the seventh the heathens entered the Temple and ate therein and desecrated it throughout the seventh and eighth and towards dusk of the ninth they set fire to it and it continued to burn the whole of that day. ... How will the Rabbis then [explain the choice of the 9th as the date]? The beginning of any misfortune [when the fire was set] is of greater moment. -Talmud Ta'anit 29a[http://www.jewfaq.org/holidayd.htm]
So, if the temple was set ablaze toward the end of the 9th day, it could have continued on into the 10th day, and that date would then be listed as the date of the destruction. While there are those who may wish to assert that the temple could not have been destroyed on the 9th of Av (because of the text in Jeremiah 52). this would seem (based upon 2 Kings 25) to be a premature conclusion, since the text of 2 Kings indicates it took place on the 7th day of that month.
Now I would like to ask a question of my own: How is it that the previously cited author would state that my study regarding this was a "blatant disregard of the Scriptural account," while simultaneously ignoring the other parallel account in 2 Kings 25, which says it happened on the 7th day of the 5th month? Obviously, the author of that quote has failed in the very area in which he has accused me--a blatant disregard of both of these Scriptural accounts. His response is that he does "not believe . . . there was any need for [himself] to include the passage from II Kings." However, it is apparent that he failed to include the other text in his original analysis. But it is clear from reading these two texts that they are both direct parallel texts that directly address this issue! Therefore, the inclusion of both in this study is of vital importance. Regardless of which date we believe is of premier importance regarding the destruction of the first temple (the 7th or the 10th), these apparently conflicting texts naturally require us to reconcile them and not just assume that one or the other is the actual date that the destruction of the temple began.
CONCLUSION: It is entirely plausible that the actual burning of the temple began on the 9th of Av and concluded on the 10th of Av! This is the traditional Jewish understanding of that event, both from the Talmud and the Sedar Olam, and none of these Scriptural accounts can be used to prove otherwise.
QUESTION: Did the account of Josephus regarding the time of the destruction of the second temple really state that the temple was destroyed on the 10th of Av?
ANSWER: Josephus states that the temple was destroyed on the 10th of Av, just as the first temple had also been destroyed on the 10th of Av. However, upon carefully reading the account of Josephus, it appears that he could be understood as telling us the fire started on the 9th of Av. I have personally studied this statement of Josephus very carefully, and find that there is no clear indication that the fire which destroyed the temple started on the 10th of Av. It is clear that the report of Josephus leads us to understand that the destruction of the temple was completed on the 10th (just as the first time the temple was destroyed), but there is still room for doubt regarding when the fire actually began. The statement of Josephus clearly shows that the fire on the walls and parts of the city began on the 8th of Av., such that it is left up to the reader to determine if the temple itself was set ablaze by the 9th of Av, or the 10th of Av. His statement here from section 4 (regarding events from the 8th of Av) is of interest: "4. Now it is true that on this day the Jews were so weary, and under such consternation, that they refrained from any attacks. But on the next day they gathered their whole force together. . ." As stated by Josephus, the fighting had been going on exactly six days prior to this particular day (the 8th of Av.). Was it just because they were weary, or was that day a Sabbath day in which they were not so inclined to fight a battle? Please review the lunar calendar showing when the 9th of Av was in 70 CE (from the website of Paul Carlisle http://paulcarlisle.net/mooncalendar/) that demonstrates clearly that the 8th of Av in 70 CE was in-fact a Sabbath!
We know from the history of the Jewish people in the post-temple era that they very frequently refrained from doing battle on a Sabbath. If the argument is over when the temple was first put to the torch and whether the temple was destroyed on a Sabbath day, or directly after the Sabbath day, this reference might well prove to be very significant. Based upon a comparison between the statement of Josephus, the lunar calendar shown above, and the Sedar Olam account, we can ascertain that the final most significant battle most likely started on the 9th of Av (the day after the Sabbath) and was concluded on the 10th of Av. While some may be of the opinion that Josephus is saying the temple was set on fire on the 10th of Av, this is not as clear as it may appear. Let's lay out a simple timeline based upon Josephus' account:
"1. AND now two of the legions had completed their banks on the eighth day of the month Lous [Ab]. . ."
Here it states the 8th of Av is the date that two Roman legions completed their building project intended to storm the city of Jerusalem.
"2. In the mean time, there deserted to him Ananus, . . ."
In section 2 it is stated that it is still the 8th of Av. Continuing later in that same section it talks about the fire to the gates:
"... And now the soldiers had already put fire to the gates, and the silver that was over them quickly carried the flames to the wood that was within it, whence it spread itself all on the sudden, and caught hold on the cloisters. Upon the Jews seeing this fire all about them, their spirits sunk together with their bodies, and they were under such astonishment, that not one of them made any haste, either to defend himself or to quench the fire, but they stood as mute spectators of it only. However, they did not so grieve at the loss of what was now burning, as to grow wiser thereby for the time to come; but as though the holy house itself had been on fire already, they whetted their passions against the Romans. This fire prevailed during that day and the next also; for the soldiers were not able to burn all the cloisters that were round about together at one time, but only by pieces."
In the conclusion of section 2 Josephus tells us that the gates were put on fire, as well as the "cloisters." The date is Av. 8, and in the last sentence it says that the fire prevailed into the next day also (Av. 9). Now we continue with the testimony of Josephus:
"3. But then, on the next day, Titus commanded part of his army to quench the fire, and to make a road for the more easy marching up of the legions, while he himself gathered the commanders together. . . ."
What day is this "next day?" It is most likely the 9th of Av because the bulk of the previous paragraph is in regard to the 8th of Av and the context strongly suggests that the "next day" in both sentences is referring to the same day--for the fire continued into the next day and Titus sought to quench the fire on that next day. Continuing...
"4. Now it is true that on this day the Jews were so weary, and under such consternation, that they refrained from any attacks. But on the next day they gathered their whole force together, and ran upon those that guarded the outward court of the temple very boldly, through the east gate, and this about the second hour of the day. . ."
What is "this day?" Is it still the 8th of Av or is it now the 9th of Av? It is very unlikely to be a reference to Av. 9, because we know that a similar refrain from battle is mentioned in section 1 regarding the 8th of Av. where it is said ". . .Upon the Jews seeing this fire all about them, their spirits sunk together with their bodies, and they were under such astonishment, that not one of them made any haste, either to defend himself or to quench the fire, but they stood as mute spectators of it only. . . " Therefore, "this day" is much more likely to still be the 8th of Av., as he had previously spoken of such a refrain from attack on the 8th of Av in section 1. And such a conclusion is logical because we know that the 8th of Av. in 70 CE was indeed a Sabbath day--a day in which faithful Jews would not be engaging in any pre-emptive battle (as this narrative plainly says they did not initiate any attacks on that day). If this is true, then the "next day," the day that they "gathered their whole force together" against the Romans, was on a Sunday, the 9th of Av. Now notice the rest:
"But as the Romans were going off, the Jews turned upon them, and fought them; and as those Romans came back upon them, they retreated again, until about the fifth hour of the day they were overborne, and shut themselves up in the inner [court of the] temple. . . ."
This takes place on the day after "this day" (the 8th of Av.), and so we can conclude that the Jews took refuge in the inner court of the temple (and later that day, the temple itself) on the 9th of Av. The "fifth hour of the day" is about 10 to 11 AM,, and it was still several hours before sundown on the 9th of Av. Continuing on it says this regarding the events which transpired that afternoon, after the fifth hour of the day (about 11 AM):
"5. So Titus retired into the tower of Antonia, and resolved to storm the temple the next day, early in the morning, with his whole army, and to encamp round about the holy house. . ."
Please notice that it does not say Titus went to sleep in the night, but that he simply "retired." We can "retire" at any hour of the day without it having to be night. And it simply says he "resolved" to attack the temple the next day--not that he actually did it. Because of the fire that came soon after his "retiring," he was forced to change his plans somewhat. Remember, the day Titus retires into the tower of Antonia is still the 9th of Av. We know it is the 9th of Av because it plainly says that the 10th of Av is "the next day. . . that fatal day. . ." Now note what follows:
"... But as for that house, God had, for certain, long ago doomed it to the fire; and now that fatal day was come, according to the revolution of ages; it was the tenth day of the month Lous, [Ab,] upon which it was formerly burnt by the king of Babylon. . ."
Please note Josephus is now merely reflecting upon the fact that both temples were destroyed on the same day, the 10th of Av., which he implies is that "next day" after Titus retired, the day he intended to storm the temple. But remember, this is simply telling us what day the temple was ultimately destroyed. As we are about to discover, Titus was forced to change his plans and attack sooner. Now let's read the rest:
"... although these flames took their rise from the Jews themselves, and were occasioned by them; for upon Titus's retiring, . . ."
We previously identified the date that Titus "retired" as the 9th of Av, sometime after 11 AM in the morning. Please look carefully at those words--"upon Titus's retiring" and "So Titus retired." Are both of these statements talking about the same event? Yes, the context clearly shows that these are the same events. Since the time "Titus retired" is the same as the time "upon Titus's retiring," it is only natural that we should understand the date of these events to be the 9th of Av., and the statement in-between (referring to the 10th of Av.) would simply be a parenthetical statement. So now Josephus is about to tell us exactly what happened when Titus retired, on the 9th of Av:
". . .for upon Titus's retiring, the seditious lay still for a little while, and then attacked the Romans again, when those that guarded the holy house fought with those that quenched the fire that was burning the inner [court of the] temple; . . ."
How long after Titus retired did the "seditious lay still?" For a "little while." Does this mean it is still the same day? Yes, it is still the same day--the 9th of Av. So on what day was the inner court of the temple on fire? It was the 9th of Av. And yes, that fire was being quenched. And yes, Titus was "retiring"--but it was still before the "next day."
Here is the full statement up to this point:
"5. So Titus retired into the tower of Antonia, and resolved to storm the temple the next day, early in the morning, with his whole army, and to encamp round about the holy house. But as for that house, God had, for certain, long ago doomed it to the fire; and now that fatal day was come, according to the revolution of ages; it was the tenth day of the month Lous, [Ab,] upon which it was formerly burnt by the king of Babylon; although these flames took their rise from the Jews themselves, and were occasioned by them; for upon Titus's retiring, the seditious lay still for a little while, and then attacked the Romans again, when those that guarded the holy house fought with those that quenched the fire that was burning the inner [court of the] temple; . . ."
Look at the context very carefully please. The narrative goes from Titus retiring, to a reflection regarding the destruction of the temple on the 10th of Av [i.e.., the "next day"], and then goes back to the original timeline that says "upon Titus's retiring. . ." Clearly this indicates that the fire to the inner court began and was quenched on the 9th of Av., soon after Titus had retired. But what about the fire that started to burn the temple? Let's read the rest of Josephus' commentary regarding the events of the conclusion of that fateful day (the 9th of Av), and please remember that the context places the following events on the same day as the fire which was now in the process of being quenched a little earlier in the inner court of the temple:
". . . for upon Titus's retiring [my comments: soon after 11 AM on the 9th of Av., since it is the same time "Titus retired" on the afternoon of that day--the day before the 10th of Av.], the seditious lay still for a little while, and then attacked the Romans again, when those that guarded the holy house fought with those that quenched the fire that was burning the inner [court of the] temple; these Romans put the Jews to flight, and proceeded as far as the holy house itself. At which time [my comments: "at which time" indicates that this happened very soon after they began to quench the first fire set in the inner court of the temple.] one of the soldiers, without staying for any orders, and without any concern or dread upon him at so great an undertaking, and being hurried on by a certain divine fury, snatched somewhat out of the materials that were on fire, [my comments: where did this soldier get the fire from? Obviously, it came from the fire that was in the process of being quenched, the only fire we are aware of that was in close proximity to the temple itself. But even if it came from another source (assuming the temple court fire was already fully quenched) the timeframe is clearly referencing the same approximate time--the afternoon of the 9th of Av.] and being lifted up by another soldier, he set fire to a golden window, through which there was a passage to the rooms that were round about the holy house, on the north side of it. [my comments: this "holy house" is none other than the temple itself ] As the flames went upward, the Jews made a great clamor, such as so mighty an affliction required, and ran together to prevent it; and now they spared not their lives any longer, nor suffered any thing to restrain their force, since that holy house was perishing, for whose sake it was that they kept such a guard about it."
The contextual evidence here appears to strongly indicate that the fire that burned the temple down was started in the afternoon of the 9th of Av. In fact, we know that the same fire in the inner court of the temple provided some of the material that was used to also burn the temple itself--"snatched somewhat out of the materials that were on fire." While I cannot say beyond all doubt that the testimony of Josephus proves the fire started on the 9th of Av., it would seem that there is sufficient doubt from his testimony to conclude that it could indeed have started on that date. The narrative we have just read very strongly suggests that it was indeed the 9th of Av when the fire began. Of course, by the 10th of Av. (as Josephus clearly states) the city and temple were completely destroyed, and thus it was on this date (the 10th of Av.) that the destruction of that magnificent city and temple was completed (just exactly as Josephus notes it had been done the first time by the Babylonians.). [See War of the Jews, Josephus, Book 6, Chapter 4, Sections 1-6]
QUESTION: Do you have any other evidence which shows the second temple was destroyed in a post-Sabbatical year?
ANSWER: Yes, and it was mentioned briefly under my point #10 of reasons why the Jubilee Cycle is 49 and not 50 year cycles. When we actually follow one of the main formulas from the Talmud used to determine Sabbatical years (as given near the end of my Jubilee Calendar, in the tab called Talmudic Sabbatical Yr. Formula), we find that it is in complete harmony with the Sabbatical years given in my Jubilee Calendar. In addition to showing that the Jubilee Cycles follow 7 and 49 year continuously repeating patterns, it also shows the temple was destroyed in a post-Sabbatical year, and it shows that the second year of the Seleucid Era (and every seventh year afterwards) was to be considered a Sabbatical year (which can be confirmed when looking at the bottom of Cycle 75 of my Jubilee Calendar). Here is the bulk of that explanation found in the Jubilee Calendar:
"He who would determine what relation a year holds to the Sabbatical cycle, should ask the public notary which year is current. Let him then deduct two from the existing date or add five unto it; let the hundreds be omitted and two be added to the remainder for each of the omitted hundreds. Let the result be divided by seven, and the remainder of this division will give the place of the year within the series of the Sabbatical cycle." (the Talmudic book Abodah Sarah, 9b)
In Tosafoth to the Abodah Sarah 9b, it plainly states that this rule applied to the Seleucid era. Since the Seleucid era begins on August 12 of 312 BCE (and since it is very closely aligned with the Jewish fall to fall year which starts in the first or second week of September) it is clear that the Seleucid era is that which is referred to. When the calculations are made (according to this Talmudic rule) the result is repeatedly the same—not only do Sabbatical years always line up as repeating cycles of seven years, but they do so in harmony with the Sabbatical dates which we have already determined to be correct (based upon historical confirmation). These dates are shown below, based upon the Seleucid era.
To demonstrate this fact, please note the formula below along with the entry form. This formula is based upon the formula given in the Talmud as previously noted. [In the Talmud and other ancient Jewish literature, the month to begin calculating Sabbatical years is Tishri, not Nisan. Therefore, while the Seleucid era could sometimes be dated from the Babylonian system (the spring), as it is in 1 Maccabees, since the Talmud specifically starts the Sabbatical years from the fall, we would have to use the fall to fall Seleucid era to calculate this formula] (See Calendar and Chronology, Jewish and Christian, by Roger T. Beckwith, p. 83.)] Enter any date of the Seluecid era in the box provided (according to the stipulation given above it), and it will give you the exact number of years after a Sabbatical Year it is.
[Note: This calculation matrix entry form is located in the actual Jubilee Calendar spreadsheet.]
This dating method uses the number 5 from the Talmudic formula, but the number -2 could have also been used with the same results to follow. For each 100 years added, 2 years are subtracted from the formula, 5 years added, and the remainder of that number divided by 7 is given. The preset dates given here show that the years 149, 177, 275, 380, and 450 (SE, of the Seleucid Era) are clearly Sabbatical Yeara, since they return the number 0. 381 SE is the year the second temple was destroyed, one year after a Sabbatical year. When the dates change the numbers can range anywhere from 0-6, representing the order in the Sabbatical cycle that the year in question represents.
Here is an updated chart of known Sabbatical years that shows how this Talmudic formula lines up with the Seleucid Era (Macedonian Court dating), the Sabbatical years, and the year the second temple was destroyed (clearly a post-Sabbatical year). It also includes information regarding the dates for Messiah Yahushua's ministry, as well as dates for the Bar Kochba revolt.
W. Glenn Moore
Jubilee Countdown Ministries
PO Box 2015
Burleson, Texas 76097
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