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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The death of King Sennacherib of Assyria (Isa 37:36-37:38)

“Then King Sennacherib of Assyria left.

He went home.

He lived at Nineveh.

While he was worshiping

In the house of his god Nisroch,

His sons

Adrammelech with Sharezer killed him

With a sword.

They escaped

Into the land of Ararat.

Sennacherib’s son,

Esarhaddon,

Succeeded him.”

Once again, this is almost word for word from 2 Kings, chapter 19. As far we know, King Sennacherib died in 681 BCE. Thus it might not have been contemporaneous with his sojourn in Judah. In fact, the text does not indicate that. He was killed by 2 of his sons, Adrammelech and Sharezer, but a third son Esarhaddon took over. The god Nisroch was an eagle headed human figure that was a favorite of the Assyrians in Nineveh. Nineveh was on the Tigris River about 250 miles north of Babylon, near the modern day city of Mosul. Esarhaddon was the youngest son of the king’s second wife and ruled from 681-669 BCE, after he defeated his brothers who had killed their father.