The Second Temple
also known as: Zerubbabel's Temple, Temple of Zerubbabel, Ezra's Temple, and Nehemiah’s Temple
After the return from captivity, under Zerubbabel and the high priest Jeshua, arrangements were almost immediately made to reorganize the long-desolated kingdom. The crowd of pilgrims, forming a band of 42,360, including children, having completed the long and dreary journey of some 4 months, from the banks of the Euphrates to Jerusalem, were excited by a strong religious impulse, and therefore one of their first cares was to restore their ancient worship by rebuilding the temple destroyed by the Babylonians.
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).
Repair and construction
A wide interest was felt in this great movement, although it was regarded with mingled feelings by the spectators.
‘Who is left among you who saw this temple in its former glory? And how do you see it now? Does it not seem to you like nothing in comparison? —Haggai 2:3 NASB
Immediately evil reports were spread regarding the Jews. The Samaritans “bribed officials to work against them and frustrate their plans” (Ezra 4:5 NIV), and sent messengers to Ecbatana and Shushan (Susa), with the result that the work was suspended.
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 (B.C. 529-522), on whose death the “false Smerdis,” an imposter, occupied the throne for some 7 or 8 months, and then Darius Hystaspes became king (B.C. 522).
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.
Places depicted1 in the above video, with Nehemiah’s verses
- King David’s Tomb (Neh. 3:16) [0:19]
- The Stairs of David (Neh. 3:15) [0:31]
- Fountain Gate (Neh. 3:15) [0:39]
- Dung Gate (Neh. 3:13-14) [1:05]
- Kings Garden (Neh. 3:15) [1:08]
- Pool of Shelah (Neh 3:15) [1:25]
- Mount of Olives [1:36]
- House of Mighty Men (Neh. 3:16) [1:48]
- House of Elishab (Neh. 3:20-21) [2:03]
- Houses of Benjamin and Hasshub [2:12]
- House of Azaziah (Neh. 3:22) [2:15]
- Water Gate (Neh. 3:26) [2:38]
- House of the King (Neh. 3:25) [2:57]
- Horse Gate (Neh. 3:28) [3:17]
- House of the Priests (Neh. 3:18) [3:43]
- East Gate (Neh. 3:29) [4:23]
- Zerubbabel Temple (Second Temple) (Neh. 3:8; 6:18) [4:30]
- Altar (Neh. 3:2-3) [4:42]
- Michullam’s Quarters (Neh. 3:30) [5:10]
- Muster Gate (Neh. 3:31) [5:25]
- House of Temple Servants (Neh. 3:31) [5:30]
- Corner Tower (Neh. 3:31-32) [5:36]
- Tower of the Guard (Neh. 12:39) [5:43]
- Sheep Gate (Neh. 3:1; 3:32) [5:50]
- Tower of Hundred (Neh. 3:1) [5:54]
- Tower of Hananel (Neh. 3:1) [6:08]
- Fish Gate (Neh. 3:3) [6:18]
- Gate of Yeshanah (Neh. 3:6) [6:26]
- Gate of Ephraim (Neh. 8:16; 12:49) [6:36]
- Western Hill not rebuilt by Nehemiah [6:47]
- House of Jedaiah (Neh. 3:10) [6:53]
- Tower of Ovens (Neh. 3:11) [7:16]
- Valley Gate (Neh. 3:13) [7:23]
- Hinnon (Hinnom) Valley, Tyropoeon Valley, Kidron Valley [7:50]
- all gates labeled [9:01]
- Protecting Tower, and other features [9:06]
- Historical photographs [9:13]
Lacking in the Second Temple
This temple lacked…
- the Ark of the Covenant and its contents
- the tablets of stone (10 Commandments)
- the pot of manna
- Aaron's rod
- the Urim and Thummim
- the holy oil
- the sacred fire
As in the Holy Tabernacle, the Second Temple had…
- golden lamp for the holy place
- table of shewbread
- incense altar
- golden censers
- 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)
The 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.
The Second Temple, when completed, was consecrated amid great rejoicing 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.
Haggai 2:9 is rightly translated in NASB, 2:9 ESV, and the RKJV, “The latter glory of this house shall be greater than the former,” instead of, “The glory of this latter house,” etc., in the King James Version (Haggai 2:9 KJV).
The temple, during the different periods of its existence, is regarded as but one house, the one only house of God (compare Haggai 2:3). The glory here predicted is spiritual glory and not material splendor.
“Christ himself, present bodily in the temple on Mount Zion during his life on Earth, present spiritually in the Church now, present in the holy city, the heavenly Jerusalem, of which he is the temple, calling forth spiritual worship and devotion is the glory here predicted.” —John James Stewart Perowne
- Video reference sources include: • Ritmeyer Archaeological Project • Rose Guides Materials • Official City of David website • Charting the Bible Chronologically by Ed Hindson and Tomas Ice • Museum of the Bible Lands in Jerusalem • Bibleplaces.com
- Who is Nehemiah?
- What is the Tabernacle?
- What is the Ark of the Covenant?
- Solomon's Temple
- Herod's Temple
- What is the Captivity?
- Who is Zerubbabel?
- What is a high priest?
- Who is Jeshua?
- GATES of the Bible