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 time by mourning and fasting, especially for the destruction of the beloved temple in Jerusalem.
Throughout history, there have been at least nine terrible events that have adversely affected Israelites both in the holy land and around the world on Ab 9. Below is a list of these disasters that have affected Israel's people.
Events occurring on Ab 9
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 their chances of receiving it as an 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's people 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 Ab 9 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. Israel's last great army seeking independence was slaughtered without mercy.
King Edward I of England expelled all Jews from England on Ab 9. It was not 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.
Jews today observe the ninth of Ab by fasting. They stand mourning and weeping in prayer at the Wailing Wall, the only portion of the Temple still standing. Jews read from the book of Lamentations in a dirge-like chant. The questions is, are these fasts of the Jews, or the times when we fast, dedicated to the Eternal, and a call to repentance, or are they instead days without food by a rebellious people who want their own ways (see what God says in Zechariah 7:4 - 14)?
For all of these disasters to have occurred on the same day on the Hebrew calendar is more than coincidence. We should watch world events, especially those concerning Israel, and pray always that we may be accounted worthy to stand before the Son of Man (Luke 21:36).