What are ancient Israel's Greatest Disasters?
How many times has Jerusalem been attacked?

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On what single day has many of Israel's greatest events and national disasters occurred? How many times throughout history has the city of Jerusalem been attacked?

MANY of ancient Israel's greatest disasters have happened on the 9th day of the Hebrew month of Ab. Jewish people have historically observed this day by mourning and fasting, especially for the destruction of the beloved temple in Jerusalem. Throughout history there have been at least 9 terrible events that have adversely affected Israelites both in the holy land and around the world.

  • The first set of the Ten Commandments, written with the finger of God, were broken by Moses after he witnessed the Israelites giving themselves wholly over to idol worship (Exodus 32).

  • Ten of the twelve men (except Caleb and Joshua) whom Moses sent to spy out the Land of Promise returned and gave a negative report regarding Israel's chances of receiving its inheritance. Instead of having faith in God to do what he promised, the very pessimistic report led to almost all the people losing faith in God and rebelling against Him. This ultimately led to Israel having to wander in the wilderness for forty years before going into the land of milk and honey.
  • The total destruction of the first temple, known as Solomon's Temple, was begun on Ab 9 in 586 B.C.. The temple's destruction was carried out by the Babylonians, led by King Nebuchadnezzar, who destroyed both the temple and the city (See Jeremiah 52).

  • Jerusalem's SECOND temple (known as Herod's temple) began its destruction by the Romans on this day in 70 A.D.

  • In 71 A.D. the Roman army plowed Jerusalem with salt in preparation to make the city a Roman colony.

  • The army of Simon Bar Kochba, who had rebelled against Rome in 132 A.D., was destroyed by Roman legions in 135 A.D. The last great army of an independent Israel was slaughtered without mercy.
Map showing
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Map of the
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Who were the
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  • King Edward I of England expelled all Jews from England on Ab 9. It wasn't until 1657 A.D. that England, through Oliver Cromwell, allowed Jews the right of return and resettle.

  • King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain expelled all Jews from Spain (about 800,000).

  • In 1914 A.D. World War I was declared on Ab 9. In Russia's mobilization for war they launched bitter persecutions against the Jews in the country.

How many times has Jerusalem been attacked?

Throughout history there have been many sieges against the city of Jerusalem. Below is a list of some of these attacks.

  • After 1380 B.C.  The city at this time is known as Jebus. It is inhabited by the Jebusites, which are a Canaanite tribe. A partial siege by the tribe of Judah against the Jebusites takes place a short time after the death of Joshua (Judges 1:8).

  • 1003 B.C.  King David attacks the Jebusites and takes the city. The city becomes the capital of a united Israel and is henceforth known as the city of David (2Samuel 5:6 - 7, 9 - 10, see also 1Chronicles 12:23 - 39).

  • 925 B.C. Shishak, king of Egypt, attacks during the reign of Judah's King Rehoboam (2Chronicles 12:9; 1Kings 14:25 - 26). The temple is plundered.

  • 850 B.C.  The Philistines, Arabians, and Ethiopians lay siege during the rule of King Jehoram (2Chronicles 21:16). The King's palace is sacked and the Temple plundered.

  • 792 B.C. Jehoash, king of Israel, attacks Amaziah, king of Judah (2 Kings 14:13,14). Jerusalem and Temple are pillaged. Jehoash captures Amaziah and takes him captive to northern Israel.

  • 735 - 732 B.C.  Rezin, king of Aram, and Pekah, king of Israel, attacks Ahaz, king of Judah (2Chronicles 28). Ahaz seeks the aid of Tiglath-Pileser, king of Assyria, to deliver him from Rezin and Pekah. In 732 Tiglath-Pileser conquers Damascus and executes Rezin.

  • 701 B.C. Sennacherib, king of Assyria, tries to lay siege to the city during the reign of King Hezekiah (2Chronicles 32). Sennacherib threatens to destroy Jerusalem but God has the Angel of the Lord kill 185,000 troops as they prepare to enter (2Kings 18 - 19).

  • 605 B.C. Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, conquers the city (2Chronicles 36:7). The prophet Daniel and his companions are taken captive to Babylon.

  • 597 B.C. Nebuchadnezzar again attacks the city (2Chronicles 36:10). He captures King Jehoiachin whom he takes to Babylon.

  • 586 B.C. Nebuchadnezzar attacks a third time. He burns the temple, destroys the city and carries all the temple's treasures to Babylon (2Kings 24:13; 2Chronicles 36).

  • 320 B.C. General Nicanor of Egypt marches on Syria and takes control of the area (including Jerusalem).

  • About 200 B.C. City is attacked by Antiochus the Great.

  • 175 B.C. The new ruler of the Hellenistic Seleucid Empire is Antiochus Epiphanes. He pillages Jerusalem then places an altar to the pagan god Zeus within the Temple.

  • 164 B.C. Judas Maccabeus (Judah the Maccabee) leads an army of Jewish dissidents to victory over the Seleucids. The city is captured and the temple is rededicated.

  • 134 B.C. Seleucid King Antiochus VII Sidetes recaptures the city. According to Jewish historian Josephus, John Hyrcanus opens King David's sepulchre and removes three thousand talents of gold to pay Antiochus to spare the city. Assuming a modern value of $1,500 per troy ounce, these talents are totally worth $4.9 BILLION U.S.
  • 63 B.C. The Roman Republic, under Pompey the Great, occupies Palestine (Judea) and takes Jerusalem.

  • 70 A.D. The Roman legions attack and take the city by storm. Jerusalem and its temple are completely destroyed.

  • 132 - 135 A.D. A political revolt is started by Simon Bar Kochba against the Romans. Although he initially controls Jerusalem for 3 years, the Romans brutally crush his rebellion and gain back control of the city.

  • 636 - 637 A.D. Caliph Omar the Great besieges and captures the city.

  • 1099 A.D. The city is captured by the army of the first Crusade. They murder almost all the Jews and Muslims.

  • 1187 A.D. Jerusalem is taken from the Crusaders by Saladin.

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