The Month of Tammuz
THE 4TH MONTH OF TAMMUZ
** notes from Debbie's talk on the month of Tammuz (hope you like it!)
This month is characterised by strict judgement, so it is believed demonic forces can be most powerful during this month.
In Lamentations 1:8 it states,
“Jerusalem has sinned greatly, so she has been tossed away like a filthy rag. All who once honoured her now despise her, for they have seen her stripped naked and humiliated. All she can do is groan and hide her face”.
These 1st 4 words, ‘Jerusalem has sinned greatly.”
In Hebrew, it is hinted in the letters of chet (sight or vision) and het (hearing).
Sinning greatly is losing sight/vision of what YHVH desires you to go and het (hearing), is the inability to hear His Voice due to sin in our lives.
"and, behold, there sat women weeping for Tammuz." Ezekiel 8:14
Most modern Jews refer to the Fourth Hebrew Month as "Tammuz", the name of a pagan fertility deity mentioned in the Book of Ezekiel. The prophet Ezekiel described a vision in which an angel brought him to the Temple in Jerusalem:
"Then he brought me to the door of the gate of Yehovah's house which was toward the north; and, behold, there sat women weeping for Tammuz." Ezekiel 8:14
In the 19th century, archaeologists began to uncover archaeological remains that shed light on the ancient pagan religion that led the Israelites astray. Today we know the women were weeping over Tammuz, because he was a fertility god who represented the life cycle of wheat. In Israel, wheat becomes ripe in early Summer when the wheat plant dies, leaving behind a viable seed that can be planted the next year. The Winter rains provide moisture, causing the new wheat crop to rise out of the ground. Unlike in Europe and North America, the Summer in Israel is characterized by a dry period with no rain in which everything green dies and the Winter is characterized by rain with abundant growth and life. The ancient pagans believed that this agricultural cycle of Summer death and Winter rebirth was a shadow picture of the life of Tammuz. The god Tammuz died in early Summer leaving behind the life-giving food that sustained the world; then he was resurrected in the Winter, beginning the cycle again.
Tammuz is often thought to be a Babylonian fertility god. However, a stone monument discovered at Arad in southern Israel may be the earliest representation of the Canaanite Tammuz. The "Arad Stela" (see above image) dating to the Early Bronze Age shows a personified grain deity standing and lying down. Archaeologists have suggested that this represents the death and resurrection of Tammuz.
Later Israelites in the time of Ezekiel adopted this pagan belief. The women were weeping over Tammuz because of his tragic death, which brought life to the world.
Today, echoes of the worship of Tammuz survive in Jewish tradition. The name Tammuz itself only appears in the Bible in reference to this pagan deity. However, Jewish tradition adopted the name "Tammuz" for the Fourth Hebrew Month. Over the centuries the pagan origins of the "Month of Tammuz" were forgotten, only to be rediscovered in modern times.
Jewish tradition considers Tammuz to be a month of mourning, and rabbinical Jews(1) even observe a fast on the 17th day of the month. They also refrain from listening to music and other joyous acts from the 17th to the end of the month. The origins of these mourning practices have become obscured over time, and today tradition associates them with the destruction of the Temple. Little do they know that mourning during the Month of Tammuz began long before the destruction of the Temple with a mourning over the death of Tammuz.
The 17th of Tammuz (Hebrew: שבעה עשר בתמוז Shiv'ah Asar b'Tammuz) is:
* a Jewish fast day commemorating the breach of the walls of Jerusalem before the destruction of the Second Temple. It falls on the 17th day of the Hebrew month of Tammuz and marks the beginning of the three-week mourning period leading up to Tisha B'Av.
* The day also traditionally commemorates the destruction of the two tablets of the Ten Commandments. "The Siege and Destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans Under the Command of Titus, A.D. 70" by David Roberts.
* The fast of Tammuz, according to Rabbi Akiva's interpretation, is the fast mentioned in the Book of Zechariah as "the fast of the fourth [month]" (Zechariah 8:19). This refers to Tammuz, which is the fourth month of the Hebrew calendar.
* According to the Mishnah (Taanit 4:6), five calamities befell the Jewish people on this day:
1. Moses broke the two tablets of stone on Mount Sinai;
2. The daily tamid offering ceased to be brought;
3. During the siege of Jerusalem, the city walls were breached (proceeding to the destruction of the Second Temple);
4. Prior to Bar Kokhba's revolt, Roman military leader Apostomus burned a Torah scroll;
5. An idol was erected in the Temple.
The Babylonian Talmud (Taanit 28b) places the second and fifth tragedies in the First Temple period, while dating the third tragedy (breach of Jerusalem's walls) to the Second Temple period.
The walls of Jerusalem during the First Temple, on the other hand, were breached on the 9th of Tammuz (cf. Jeremiah 39.2, 52.6–7). However, the Jerusalem Talmud (Taanit IV, 5) states that the breach of Jerusalem in the First Temple occurred on 17th Tammuz as well; the text in Jeremiah 39 is explained by stating that the Biblical record was "distorted", apparently due to the troubled times.
* The 17th of Tammuz occurs forty days after the Jewish holiday of Shavuot.
* Moses ascended Mount Sinai on Shavuot and remained there for forty days.
* The Children of Israel made the Golden Calf on the afternoon of the 16th of Tammuz when it seemed that Moses was not coming down when promised. Moses descended the next day (forty days by his count), saw that the Israelites were violating many of the laws he had received from God, and smashed the tablets.
* Not only did the sieges of Jerusalem during the First and Second Temple periods occur on, or near, this date, but the breach of the walls of Jerusalem during the First Crusade occurred on the 17th of Tammuz, which corresponded to July 15, 1099.
(1) Rabbinic Judaism or Rabbinism (Hebrew: יהדות רבנית Yahadut Rabanit) has been the mainstream form of Judaism since the 6th century CE, after the codification of the Babylonian Talmud. Growing out of Pharisaic Judaism, Rabbinic Judaism is based on the belief that at Mount Sinai, Moses received from God the Written Torah (Pentateuch) in addition to an oral explanation, known as the "Oral Torah," that Moses transmitted to the people. Rabbinic Judaism contrasts with the Sadducees, Karaite Judaism and Samaritanism, which do not recognize the oral law as a divine authority nor the rabbinic procedures used to interpret Jewish scripture. Although there are now profound differences among Jewish denominations of Rabbinic Judaism with respect to the binding force of halakha (Jewish religious law) and the willingness to challenge preceding interpretations, all identify themselves as coming from the tradition of the oral law and the rabbinic method of analysis.
Psalm 145: 1-21 is read each and every day during the month of Tammuz to remind us all that YHVH rules and reigns over us. He is in charge, and no matter what demonic forces may attempt to weigh us down, always know that they are under our feet unless we give them our permission to rise up.
I will read it aloud to you.
“A praise psalm by David. I will exalt You, my God, the King. I will praise Your name forever and ever.
Every day I will praise you. I will extol Your Name forever and ever.
Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised! His greatness is unsearchable.
One generation will commend Your works to another and will declare Your mighty acts.
Of the glorious majesty of Your honour, of Your wondrous works, I will meditate.
Men will speak of the might of Your awesome acts. I will declare Your greatness.
They will utter the memory of Your great goodness and will sing of Your righteousness.
The LORD is gracious, merciful, Slow to anger, and of great lovingkindness.
The LORD is good to all. His tender mercies are over all His works.
All Your works will give thanks to You, LORD. Your holy ones will extol You.
They will speak of the glory of Your kingdom, and talk about Your power;
To make known to the sons of men His mighty acts, The glory of the majesty of His kingdom.
Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom. Your dominion endures throughout all generations.
The LORD upholds all who fall and raises up all those who are bowed down.
The eyes of all wait for You. You give them their food in due season.
You open Your Hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing.
The LORD is righteous in all His ways, And gracious in all His works.
The LORD is near to all those who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth.
He will fulfil the desire of those who fear Him. He also will hear their cry and will save them.
The LORD preserves all those who love Him, but all the wicked He will destroy.
My mouth will speak the praise of the LORD. Let all flesh bless His holy name forever and ever” .