Should they continue to mourn (Zech 7:2-7:3)

“Now the people of Bethel

Had sent Sharezer

And Regem-melech,

With their men,

To entreat

The favor of Yahweh.

They were to

Ask the priests

Of the house of Yahweh of hosts,

With the prophets,

‘Should I mourn?

Should I practice abstinence

In the fifth month,

As I have done

For so many years?’”

The people of Bethel, from the old northern kingdom of Israel sent a couple of representatives to Jerusalem.  The two men were Sharezer and Regem-melech, both with Assyrian sounding names.  They had come to Jerusalem to find favor with Yahweh.  Thus, they went to his priests and prophets.  They wanted to know if they still had to mourn and abstain in the 5th month of the year as they had done for many years.  Apparently, the 5th month was when the Jerusalem Temple was destroyed in 587 BCE.  Was the time of mourning for the old Temple over?

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Who saw the original Temple? (Hag 2:2-2:3)

“Haggai said.

‘Speak now to Zerubbabel,

The son of Shealtiel,

The governor of Judah.

Speak now

To Joshua,

The son of Jehozadak,

The high priest.

Speak now

To all the remnant

Of the people.’

Say.

‘Who is left among you

That saw this house

In its former glory?

How does it look to you now?

Is it not in your sight

As nothing?’”

Haggai once again spoke to the people of Jerusalem with the same enumeration as in the preceding chapter, Governor Zerubbabel, the high priest Joshua, and the remnant of the people.  Haggai wanted to know who was there who remembered the old Temple, since they would have to be then 70 or 80 years old.  Who remembered the former glory?  How did it look now in ruins, as if it was nothing?

The wall around the temple (Ezek 40:5-40:5)

“Now there was a wall

All around the outside

Of the temple area.

The length

Of the measuring reed

In the man’s hand

Was six long cubits.

Each cubit

Was a cubit

Plus a handbreadth

In length.

He measured

The thickness

Of the wall,

One reed.

He measured

The height

Of the wall.

One reed.”

Almost like Moses in Exodus, Ezekiel’s vision of the future described what the new Temple should look like. Surprisingly, it was much like the old Temple. There was no indication that the Second Temple was built like this vision of Ezekiel indicated. First, this bronze man was going to measure the wall around the Temple. He took his measuring reed that was 6 long cubits. The long cubit was 4 inches longer or the width of a hand longer than the regular cubit that was about a foot and a half long. When this bronze man measured the thickness and the height of the wall, they were symmetrical, exactly the same, one reed or 6 long cubits, somewhere between about 10 feet high and 10 feet wide, a massive construction.