The Ninth of Av

Written by Drew on August 18th, 2005

Sunday, August 14, marked the ninth of Av on the Jewish calendar, a day known as Tisha B’Av. The day is known by the Jewish people to be an anniverary of infamy and sorrow, and this year is no exception.

This year on Tisha B’Av, Israel ended its 38-year presence in Gaza. Following a 48-hour evacuation notice, Israel’s troops began on Wednesday forcibly removing resistant settlers from their own 21 Gaza settlements. Most Jews view the removal as a tragic loss in the fight against Palestinian terrorists.

Interestingly, the ninth of Av earned its dark reputation through an eerie recurrence of calamity and heartbreak. Below is a partial list of other disasters that have befallen the Jews on this day. Some of them are even recorded in the Bible.

1. Traditionally, this is the day the spies sent out by Moses to explore Canaan returned with a false report, believed by the people in spite of the exhortation of Joshua and Caleb. For this they were punished by wandering forty years in the wilderness.

2. In 586 BC the First Temple was destroyed by the Babylonians, led by Nebechadnezzar. 100,000 Jews perished, and millions were exiled.

3. On the same day 656 years later, in AD 70, the Second Temple was destroyed by the Romans, led by Titus. Again many Jews died and were exiled.

4. 65 years later, in AD 135, the Bar Kochba revolt was crushed by the Roman Emperor Hadrian. The fortress of Betar, a Jewish stronghold, was liquidated and over 100,000 Jews were slaughtered.

5. The Temple area and its surroundings were plowed under by the Roman general Turnus Rufus. Jerusalem was rebuilt as a pagan city named Aelia Capitolina, and access was forbidden to Jews.

6. Pope Urban II declared the First Crusade. Tens of thousands of Jews were killed, and many Jewish communities were obliterated.

7. In 1290 this day marked the first nation-wide rejection of Jews when the official decree expelling them from England was signed.

8. On the same date in 1492 one of the greatest upheavals in Jewish history occurred when the large Jewish community in Spain was expelled.

9. Jews were first ordered into a ghetto on this date in 1555 when the Jews of Rome were ordered to live in a district near the Tiber.

10. W.W.I broke out on Tisha B’Av in 1914 when Germany declared war on Russia. German resentment from the war set the stage for the Holocaust.

11. In 1941 on the same day Reinhard Heydrich was ordered to carry out the “final solution” for European Jewry.

Historical data taken from Israel’s Harvest Ministries.


1 Comments so far ↓

  1. Andy says:

    Joshua led the Israelites to conquer the land of Canaan for the people of God and the nation of Israel. “And the land had rest from war,” says the end of Joshua 11. However, “There was none of the Anakim left in the land of the people of Israel. Only in Gaza, in Gath, and in Ashdod did some remain” (Joshua 11:22). From that time on (because of the incomplete obedience of Joshua and the Israelites), Gaza was a thorn in the side of Israel. Samson found trouble in Gaza in Judges 16. Through Amos God said, “For three transgressions of Gaza, and for four, I will not revoke the punishment, because they carried into exile a whole people to deliver them up to Edom” (Amos 1:6). One has to wonder what would have followed (i.e., how much peace would have followed) had the Israelites completely obeyed God’s instructions: “When you pass over the Jordan into the land of Canaan, then you shall drive out all the inhabitants of the land from before you and destroy all their figured stones and destroy all their metal images and demolish all their high places” (Numbers 33:52). God told them what would happen if they didn’t: “But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you, then those of them whom you let remain shall be as barbs in your eyes and thorns in your sides, and they shall trouble you in the land where you dwell. And I will do to you as I thought to do to them” (Numbers 33:55, 56, ESV).

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