Second Themple

The Second Temple (Hebrew: בֵּית־הַמִּקְדָּשׁ הַשֵּׁנִי‎‎, Beit HaMikdash HaSheni) was the Jewish Holy Temple which stood on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem during the Second Temple period, between 516 BCE and 70 CE. According to Judeo-Christian tradition, it replaced Solomon's Temple (the First Temple), which was destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 BCE, when Jerusalem was conquered and part of the population of the Kingdom of Judah was taken into exile to Babylon.

Jewish eschatology includes a belief that the Second Temple will be replaced by a future Third Temple.

According to the Bible, when the Jewish exiles returned to Jerusalem following a decree from Cyrus the Great (Ezra 1:1–42 Chron 36:22–23), construction started at the original site of Solomon's Temple. After a relatively brief halt due to opposition from peoples who had filled the vacuum during the Jewish captivity (Ezra 4), work resumed ca. 521 BCE under Darius the Great (Ezra 5) and was completed during the sixth year of his reign (ca. 516 BCE), with the temple dedication taking place the following year.

The events take place in the second half of the 5th century BCE. Listed together with the Book of Ezra as Ezra-Nehemiah, it represents the final chapter in the historical narrative of the Hebrew Bible.[1]

The original core of the book, the first-person memoir, may have been combined with the core of the Book of Ezra around 400 BCE. Further editing probably continued into the Hellenistic era.[3]

The book tells how Nehemiah, at the court of the king in Susa, is informed that Jerusalem is without walls and resolves to restore them. The king appoints him as governor of the province Yehud Medinata and he travels to Jerusalem. There he rebuilds the walls, despite the opposition of Israel's enemies, and reforms the community in conformity with the law of Moses. After 12 years in Jerusalem, he returns to Susa but subsequently revisits Jerusalem. He finds that the Israelites have been backsliding and taking non-Jewish wives, and he stays in Jerusalem to enforce the Law.

Based on the biblical account, after the return from Babylonian captivity, arrangements were immediately made to reorganize the desolated Yehud Province after the demise of the Kingdom of Judah seventy years earlier. The body of pilgrims, forming a band of 42,360,[4] having completed the long and dreary journey of some four months, from the banks of the Euphrates to Jerusalem, were animated in all their proceedings by a strong religious impulse, and therefore one of their first concerns was to restore their ancient house of worship by rebuilding their destroyed Temple[5] and reinstituting the sacrificial rituals known as the korbanot.

On the invitation of Zerubbabel, the governor, who showed them a remarkable example of liberality by contributing personally 1,000 golden darics, besides other gifts, the people poured their gifts into the sacred treasury with great enthusiasm.[6] First they erected and dedicated the altar of God on the exact spot where it had formerly stood, and they then cleared away the charred heaps of debris which occupied the site of the old temple; and in the second month of the second year (535 BCE), amid great public excitement and rejoicing, the foundations of the Second Temple were laid. A wide interest was felt in this great movement, although it was regarded with mixed feelings by the spectators (Haggai 2:3Zechariah 4:10</ref>).[5]

The Samaritans made proposals for co-operation in the work. Zerubbabel and the elders, however, declined all such cooperation, feeling that the Jews must build the Temple without help. Immediately evil reports were spread regarding the Jews. According to Ezra 4:5, the Samaritans sought to "frustrate their purpose" and sent messengers to Ecbatana and Susa, with the result that the work was suspended.[5]

Seven years later, Cyrus the Great, who allowed the Jews to return to their homeland and rebuild the Temple, died (2 Chronicles 36:22–23) and was succeeded by his son Cambyses. On his death, the "false Smerdis," an impostor, occupied the throne for some seven or eight months, and then Darius became king (522 BCE). In the second year of his rule the work of rebuilding the temple was resumed and carried forward to its completion (Ezra 5:6–6:15), under the stimulus of the earnest counsels and admonitions of the prophets Haggai and Zechariah. It was ready for consecration in the spring of 516 BCE, more than twenty years after the return from captivity. The Temple was completed on the third day of the month Adar, in the sixth year of the reign of Darius, amid great rejoicings on the part of all the people (Ezra 6:15,16), although it was evident that the Jews were no longer an independent people, but were subject to a foreign power. The Book of Haggai includes a prediction that the glory of the second temple would be greater than that of the first (Haggai 2:9).[5]

Some of the original artifacts from the Temple of Solomon are not mentioned in the sources after its destruction in 597 BCE, and are presumed lost. The Second Temple lacked the following holy articles:

The Bezalel Style

 Bezalel , panoramic view c. 1913
from Bezalel catalogue

From the very beginnings of the Bezalel enterprise, there was a conscious effort to create a new and unique "Hebrew" style of art. Bezalel students and artisans sought inspiration in the native flora and fauna, notably the palm tree and the camel. They referenced archeological treasures, replicating Judean coins in filigree pieces and utilizing ancient mosaic floor designs in the carpet workshop. Traditional Jewish symbols such as the six-pointed Star of David and the seven-branched menorah were especially popular, as were architectural icons of the Holy Land. Biblical heroes, "exotic" Jewish ethnic types, modern halutzim (pioneers), and Zionist luminaries were also common subjects. Perhaps the most innovative "Hebrew" artistic creation of the Bezalel School was the decorative use of the letters of the Hebrew alphabet. Influenced both by Art Nouveau European typography and Islamic calligraphy, Hebrew letters served as a distinct decorative motif found on nearly every object created at Bezalel.

Bible with Bezalel Binding

This elaborate silver binding is the work of the two most renowned artists of the Bezalel School, Ze'ev Raban and Meir Gur-Arie. In addition to teaching at Bezalel, the two founded the Industrial Art Studio in 1923, which continued to operate after the closing of the school in 1929.

Three ivory medallions are set into the binding. On the front cover is an ivory plaque of the Tablets of the Law, guarded by the cherubim, here depicted as winged lions. On the back cover, four winged creatures, representing Ezekiel's vision of the Chariot of God, encircle an ivory roundel that portrays Jews praying at the Western Wall, the last standing remnant of the Temple. On the spine, a vertical plaque bears the Hebrew word TaNaKH, the acronym for TorahNevi'im, and Ketuvim (Pentateuch, Prophets, and Writings), the three sections of the Hebrew Bible.

Solomon's Temple

Solomon's Temple.jpg

According to the Hebrew BibleSolomon's Temple, also known as the First Temple, was the Holy Temple (Hebrew: בֵּית־הַמִּקְדָּשׁ‎‎: Beit HaMikdash) in ancient Jerusalem before its destruction by Nebuchadnezzar II after the Siege of Jerusalem of 587 BCE and its subsequent replacement with the Second Temple in the 6th century BCE.

The Hebrew Bible states that the temple was constructed under Solomon, king of the United Kingdom of Israel and Judah and that during the Kingdom of Judah, the temple was dedicated to Yahweh, and is said to have housed the Ark of the Covenant. Jewish historian Josephus says that "the temple was burnt four hundred and seventy years, six months, and ten days after it was built",[1] although rabbinic sources state that the First Temple stood for 410 years and, based on the 2nd-century work Seder Olam Rabbah, place construction in 832 BCE and destruction in 422 BCE, 165 years later than secular estimates.

Bezalel and Oholiab

What skills did Bezalel and Oholiab possess? What does this say about the way the Spirit of God equips people for leadership? Why might God have equipped them with people skills as well as artistic and practical skills? How would each be needed in building the Tabernacle?

    REFLECT: When told everything to do and exactly how to do it, how do you typically respond? If given the spiritual and physical resources to do it, and protected from overworking, how do you respond?

    Not only does ADONAI give the details and specifications for the building of the Tabernacle, but He also personally selected who would oversee the work. Bezalel was to have overall charge of the building with Oholiab as his assistant. Without a doubt these men were selected because of their superior talent and previous experience. God promised that Bezalel would be filled with the Spirit of God. The construction of the Tabernacle was no small task. It would take skill and imagination. For this responsibility the LORD chose the best and gave them divine help.

    Then ADONAI said to Moses His prophet: See, I have chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. It is unusual to mention the names of both a father and grandfather together. But the rabbis teach that Hur was murdered for opposing the making of the golden calf. If true, Hur’s life was redeemed in the work of his grandson, who fashioned gold into the dwelling of the living God.505 And I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts, to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, to cut and set stones, to work in wood, and to engage in all kinds of craftsmanship (31:1-5, 35:30-33, 38:22). Bezalel was filled, or controlled, by the Holy Spirit to do his ministry. The rabbis also teach that Bezalel was only thirteen when selected by God to do the work of constructing the Tabernacle.

    In addition to Bezalel, ADONAI appointed Oholiab son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan to help him. It is interesting to notice that Hiram, the chief artist Solomon employed to make the ornamental work of the Temple was also from the tribe of Dan (Second Chronicles 2:13-14). And God gave both of them the ability to teach others (35:34). Although all of the craftsmenpossessed skill, literally wise of heart, but only Bezalel was filled with the Spirit of God. The supervisors’ names were appropriate indeed, since Bezalel means, in the Shadow of God, and Oholiab means, God the Father is My Tent.