Destruction of First Temple Foreseen
The prophet Jeremiah predicted the destruction of the Jerusalem and a seventy year captivity of the people. He also pronounced judgment on those who would destroy her, namely the Babylonians. It was only a matter of time until the times of the First Temple were to come to a sad and terrible end:
And the whole land [of Israel] shall be a desolation and an astonishment, and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years. Then it will come to pass, when seventy years are completed, that I will punish the king of Babylon and that nation, the land of the Chaldeans, for their iniquity,’ says the Lord; ‘and I will make it a perpetual desolation. (Jeremiah 25:12, 13).
- Solomon Steckoll, The Temple Mount,Tom Stacey Ltd., London, 1972.2. Zev Vilnay, Legends of Jerusalem,Jewish Publication Society of America, Philadelphia, 1973.3. Steve Austin, The Extraordinary Middle East Earthquake of 750 BC, Institute of Creation Research, San Diego, 1989.4. In response to a question about the actual dates for the First and Second Temples the following brief comments are offered: Solomon spent 13 years building his own house and seven years building the First Temple (“Solomon’s Temple”). It was twice the size of the Tabernacle and was finished in the Jewish month of Bul, 960 BC. I Kings and II Chronicles describes the building of the temple in detail.
This temple was totally destroyed by the Babylonians led by King Nebuchadnezzar. That occurred on the 9th day of Av, 586 BC. That means the First Temple stood for 374 years.
At the end of the 70 years captivity of the Jews in Babylon, the Medes and Persians who conquered Babylon allowed the Jews to return to Jerusalem, first to build a new temple and later to rebuild the walls of the city. (See Ezra, Haggai, Nehemiah).
The foundation of the Second Temple was laid in 535 BC and finally finished (after delays) on March 12, 515 BC.
Persian rule over the area was replaced by Greek control and then Roman. Herod the Great was ruler of Israel under the Romans from about 47 BC to 4 BC. He built extensively around the country and greatly enlarged the Second Temple, its courts and walls. The work was begun in 20 BC and continued well beyond Herod’s death to 63 AD. Jewish revolts against the Romans in 70 AD caused the Roman General Titus (later to become Caesar) to beseige the city. The second Temple was totally destroyed by fire on the 9th of Av, 70 AD. Thus that temple (with its enlargements was in service about 584 years.