Israel's Greatest Disasters
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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?
The ninth day of the fifth Hebrew month (known as Ab 9) is a MONUMENTAL day in the history of ancient Israel. Although not a commanded Biblical Holy or Feast day, Jews throughout history have annually mourned and fasted on this day (which occurs in July or August). It is on Ab 9 that at least NINE tragic events began in the history of ancient Israel and its people throughout the world.
Moses broke the tablets of the Law (Ten Commandments) when he saw the children of Israel worshipping a false god in the form of a golden calf (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 Jerusalem's 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 laid siege and destroyed the city and burned the temple to the ground (See Jeremiah 52).
Jerusalem's SECOND temple (known as Herod's temple) began its destruction by the Roman Empire 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.
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.
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.
"Now the children of Judah fought against Jerusalem and took it; they struck it with the edge of the sword and set the city on fire." (Judges 1:8, NKJV throughout)
1003 B.C. King David attacks the Jebusites in the city and captures it. The city becomes the capital of a united Israel and is henceforth known as the city of David:
"And the king and his men went to Jerusalem against the Jebusites, the inhabitants of the land, who spoke to David, saying, 'You shall not come in here; but the blind and the lame will repel you,' thinking, 'David cannot come in here.' Nevertheless David took the stronghold of Zion (that is, the City of David) . . .
"Then David dwelt in the stronghold, and called it the City of David . . . So David went on and became great, and the Lord God of hosts was with him." (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). The city 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, dispatched by Egypt's Ptolemy I Soter, takes control of Syria which includes Jerusalem.
About 200 B.C. City is attacked by Antiochus the Great.
175 B.C. Antiochus IV Epiphanes becomes ruler of the Hellenistic Seleucid Empire. He sacks Jerusalem and erects an altar to Zeus in the Temple after plundering it.
164 B.C. Judas Maccabeus (Judah the Maccabee) leads an army of Jewish dissidents to victory over the Seleucids. The Maccabees capture the city and rededicate the Temple.
- 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 the temple are completely destroyed.
132-135 A.D. Simon Bar Kochba begins a revolt against the Roman Empire which leads to him controlling the city for three years. Roman Emperor Hadrian sends Sextus Julius Severus to the region. He brutally crushes the revolt and retakes 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, who slaughter most of the city's Muslim and Jewish inhabitants.
1187 A.D. Saladin captures Jerusalem from the Crusaders.