Exploring Jews’ Fasting in Exile

(2Kngs 25, Jer 41 & 52 and way down to Zech 7 & 8)

📝 The Day of Atonement was the only annual FAST required by God’s Law (Lev 23:27; Num 29:7) although in other occasional fasts were called for by God (Joel 1:13;14)

📝 Jews also choose to FAST in times of Great Need/ Crisis such as :
✅ WAR (Jdg 20:26)
✅ SICKNESS(2Sam 12:16-17)
✅ DEATH (1Sam 31:13)
✅ AFTER SINNING (Deut 9:15,18)
📝 In addition, FAST had been declared to commemorate National Calamities.

📝 According to OT, FASTING means:
✅ Denying self (Lev 16:29-31)
✅ Confession of sins (Neh 9:2)
✅ Reading God’s Word (Neh 9:3a)
✅ Worshipping the Lord (Neh 9:3b)
✅ Complete surrender to the Lord (Joel 2:12,13)


📝 Jews fasted in certain months ie 4th, 5th, 7th & 10th months in exile for a period of 70 years (Zec 7:3,5; 8: 19). All these fasting commemorated with the events related to the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple.
✅ 4th Month : Fasting that lamented the breaching of the walls by Nebuchadnezzar (2Kings 25:3-4; Jer 52:6-7)
✅ 5th Month : Commemorated the burning of the Temple and other buildings (2Kings 25:8-10; Jer 52:12-14)
✅ 7th Month: Marked the anniversary of Gedaliah’s assassination (2Kings 25:22-25; Jer 41:1-3)
✅ 10th Month: Mourned the beginning of Nebuchadnezzar’s siege of Jerusalem (2Kings 25:1; Jer 52:4; Eze 24:1-2)

After returning back home from the exiles, the people brought a question before the priests and the prophets: Should I mourn and fast.. as I have done for so many years (70)? Zec 7:3. Fasting for the past events was not the standard.
🌈 The Lord replied, “When you fasted..for the past 70 years.. Was it really for me?” Zec 7:5
The Lord is not interested in pseudo fasting.

The Jews fasted for 70 years in exile, and were satisfied for the length/ periods of fasting. It reveals that they were not fasting out of genuine sorrow and repentance, but out of self-pity.

In Zec 7:8-10 the Lord demands the following virtues from the people :
✅ Administer true justice.
✅ Show mercy and compassion to the neighbours.
✅ Show respect to widows, orphans, strangers and poor.
✅ Stop planning evil against each other.
📌 Finally the Lord encourages them to love TRUTH and PEACE, and promises them that all their fasts will become joyful and glad occasions (Zec 8:19)

💕 Beloved Church, FASTING is an important activity for Christians today because it involves REPENTANCE and DENYING-SELF to draw near to the Lord.

Glory to God 🙏
✍🏽 Mark Boje
Arunachal Pradesh, India 🇮🇳

Zechariah: 7: 4, 5

This is the message of the Lord that came to me. He said, “Tell the people of the land and the priests that when they fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh months during these seventy years, it was not in honour of me”

⚡ Zechariah, like Ezekiel
and Jeremiah, is a priest as
well as a prophet. The first
eight chapters of Zechariah
are written to encourage the
people while they were rebuilding the temple. The
last six chapters are written
sometime after the comple-
tion of the temple in
anticipatian of Israel’s
coming Messiah.

⚡ This book is second
only to Isaiah in the volume
of material about the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ. Prediction of Jesus riding a donkey (Zech:9:9)
Prediction of Jesus’ betrayal for 30 shekels of silver
( Zech: 11: 4-13) Prediction
of Jesus’ return to the Mount
of Olives ( Zech:14:4) are
some among them.

⚡ There are altogether seven prophecies about
Jesus in the the book of
Zechariah, out of which
three of them are about His
first coming, which were fulfilled. And so four about
His second coming will
also be going to fulfill.

⚡ A team from Bethel came to the prophet to ask of God whether they have to continue the fasting they observed while on exile. God rebuked their form of religion while neglecting their love for God and fellow humankind. (V:4-7)

Four aspects of true fast
are listed in verses 8 to 10.
While reading that portion, let us take time to examine and see how we fare in each
of these four aspects. Let us
also examine our relation-
ship with our”brother”, within
the family, church, community and each segment of society to which
we belong.

🔥Our goal in any spiritual
discipline must be to draw closer to Jesus. As we grow
in likeness to Him, we will gain a heart for those He loves.
Let us pray:
God, I am so probs to seek my own pleasure and the approval of others. Help my life please You as I serve
others: Amen.

Dr. Thomas David.🎯