Why do we Fast and Pray on the Ninth of Av?

Temple stones1

In Numbers chapter 13-14, Moses sends out 12 men of Israel to spy out the Promised Land. 40 days later they return and here’s what transpires:

Then they told the story of their trip: “We went to the land to which you sent us and, oh! It does flow with milk and honey! Just look at this fruit! The only thing is that the people who live there are fierce, their cities are huge and well fortified. Worse yet, we saw descendants of the giant Anak. Amalekites are spread out in the Negev; Hittites, Jebusites, and Amorites hold the hill country; and the Canaanites are established on the Mediterranean Sea and along the Jordan.” Caleb interrupted, called for silence before Moses and said, “Let’s go up and take the land–now. We can do it.” But the others said, “We can’t attack those people; they’re way stronger than we are.” They spread scary rumors among the People of Israel. They said, “We scouted out the land from one end to the other–it’s a land that swallows people whole. Everybody we saw was huge. Why, we even saw the Nephilim giants (the Anak giants come from the Nephilim). Alongside them we felt like grasshoppers. And they looked down on us as if we were grasshoppers.” The whole community was in an uproar, wailing all night long. All the People of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron. The entire community was in on it: “Why didn’t we die in Egypt? Or in this wilderness? Why has GOD brought us to this country to kill us? Our wives and children are about to become plunder. Why don’t we just head back to Egypt? And right now!” Soon they were all saying it to one another: “Let’s pick a new leader; let’s head back to Egypt.” (Num 13:27-14:4, Message Bible)

On that 8th of Av so long ago the leaders brought back the report of the land. Ten of them brought an evil report, but two, Joshua and Caleb, tried to encourage the people to go up and take the land. The people had a choice to make: agree with the evil report or agree that their God was more than enough and would, indeed, give them the land. On the 9th of Av, they brought forth their decision and that generation subsequently died in the wilderness as they had declared. What should have been a great day of triumph and victory became a day of mourning.

Since that time going forward, the 9th of Av has continued to be a day of mourning, often filled with unimaginable death and curses. Here are listed some of the more prominent events down through history of that day:

  • The first Temple was destroyed by the Babylonians on the 9th of Av.
  • The second Temple was destroyed by the Romans on the 9th of Av in 70CE.
  • Over 100,000 Jewish rebels were massacred during the Bar Kochba rebellion in 132CE.
  • The first Crusade was declared by Pope Urban II in 1095CE during which 10,000 Jews were killed in the first month alone.
  • The Jews were expelled from England in 1290 CE.
  • The Jews were expelled from France in 1306 CE.
  • The Jews were expelled from Spain in 1492 CE.
  • WW1 broke out in 1914 that subsequently led to WW2 & the holocaust.
  • SS commander Heinrich Himmler formally received approval from the Nazi Party for “The Final Solution” in 1941 on the 9th of Av.
  • Deportations from the Warsaw Ghetto to the Treblinka concentration camp began in 1942 on the 9th of Av.
  • The “Gaza expulsion plan” began on 10 Av 2005; it was postponed by the Israeli government when it was realized that the originally scheduled date fell on the 9th of Av.
  • As a side note: On that very same day (since the USA pressured Israel into giving up land for peace) a tropical storm formed in the Atlantic by the name of Katrina.

Hurricane winds




This is the time when we SHOULD stand with Israel, repent for our own part in the bringing of so many curses, petition Adonai to finally break the curse of the 9th of Av, fast AND pray for the peace of Jerusalem. Instead, the good old USA is once again pressuring Israel to compromise with its enemies. Sigh…..Will we ever learn? When will we (the Christian community and Jewish believers) rise up in unity, repentance, and prayer and take back our country? How much more will we have to suffer before we wake up? HOW BIG IS YOUR GOD AND DO YOU REALLY TRUST HIM?

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