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Second Temple
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Second Temple


Second Temple Destroyed

The Second Temple was the reconstructed Temple in Jerusalem which stood between 515 BC and 70 CE. During this time, it was the center of Jewish worship. The first Temple was destroyed when the Jews were sent into Babylonian Captivity, and it was rebuilt upon their return.

Table of contents
1 Nation Reorganized
2 Missing articles
3 Completion
4 See also
5 Sources

Nation Reorganized

After the return from captivity, under Zerubbabel and the high priest Jeshua, arrangements were almost immediately made to reorganize the long-desolated kingdom of Israel. The body of pilgrims, forming a band of 42,360, including children, having completed the long and dreary journey of some four months, from the banks of the Euphrates to Jerusalem, were animated in all their proceeding by a strong religious impulse, and therefore one of their first cares was to restore their ancient worship by rebuilding the temple.

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 with great enthusiasm poured their gifts into the sacred treasury (Ezra 2). First they erected and dedicated the altar of Jehovah 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 BC), amid great public excitement and rejoicing (Psalms 116; 117; 118), the foundations of the second temple were laid. A wide interest was felt in this great movement, although it was regarded with mingled feelings by the spectators (Haggai 2:3; Zechariah 4:10).

Samaritans offer

The Samaritans made proposals for a co-operation in the work. Zerubbabel and Jeshua and the elders, however, declined all such cooperation, feeling that Judah 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.

Monarchs

Seven years after this Cyrus died ingloriously, having killed himself in Syria when on his way back from Egypt to the east, and was succeeded by his son Cambyses, on whose death the "false Smerdis," an imposter, occupied the throne for some seven or eight months, and then Darius Hystaspes became king (522 BC). In the second year of this monarch the work of rebuilding the temple was resumed and carried forward to its completion (Ezra 5: 6-17; 6:1-15), under the stimulus of the earnest counsels and admonitions of the prophets Haggai and Zechariah. It was ready for consecration in the spring of 515 BC, more than twenty years after the return from captivity.

Missing articles

This second temple was missing the Ark, the Urim and Thummim, the holy oil, the sacred fire, the tables of stone, the pot of manna, nor Aaron's rod. As in the tabernacle, there was in it only one golden lamp for the holy place, one table of shewbread, and the incense altar, with golden censers, and many of the vessels of gold that had belonged to Solomon's temple that had been carried to Babylon but restored by Cyrus (Ezra 1:7-11).

This second temple also differed from the first in that, while in the latter there were numerous "trees planted in the courts of the Lord," there were none in the former. The second temple also had for the first time a space, being a part of the outer court, provided for proselytes who were worshippers of Jehovah, although not subject to the laws of Judaism.

Completion

The temple, when completed, was consecrated amid great rejoicings on the part of all the people (Ezra 6:16), although there were not wanting outward evidences that the Jews were no longer an independent people, but were subject to a foreign power. The Book of Haggai records a prediction (2:9) that the glory of the second temple would be greater than that of the first. This temple, during the different periods of its existence, is often regarded by believers as but one house, the one only house of God. Many Christians argue that the glory here predicted is spiritual glory and not material splendor, in that Jesus would be present during his life at the second temple.

See also

Sources

This entry incorporates text from
Easton's Bible Dictionary, 1897, with some modernization.