Tobit and the 3rd Temple?

Discussion about the Hebrew Bible, Septuagint, pseudepigrapha, Philo, Josephus, Talmud, Dead Sea Scrolls, archaeology, etc.
Post Reply
Posts: 203
Joined: Wed May 14, 2014 5:48 am

Tobit and the 3rd Temple?

Post by Kris » Sun Jun 11, 2017 12:34 pm

I was reading an internet article on the second temple and towards the end, the writer dipped into the topic of those who didn't feel the second temple was the final temple etc.. here is a snippet:

Some Jews during the second-Temple period believed that the second Temple would be replaced by a third, eschatological Temple. The author of the Book of Tobit, writing sometime in the second century BCE, states that the Temple rebuilt under Nehemiah will be replaced by a third Temple, built at the final restoration of Israel to the land. (Although this book purports to be a historical record of events in the late 8th and early 7th centuries, it probably dates from the early 2nd century, before the reign of Antiochus IV, and reflects ideas from that period.) In chap. 13, in a hymn to God, Tobit expresses the hope that, after God has afflicted Israel for its iniquities, God would then show it mercy again by gathering the people from all nations and restoring them to the land; Jerusalem will be restored along with the temple and nations shall come to Jerusalem to worship God. But in 14:1-11, part of the testament of Tobit, it is stated that in fact two Temples will be built, one immediately upon returning to the land and the other "when the times of fulfillment shall come" (14:5). The author explains, "After this they will all return from their exile and rebuild Jerusalem in splendor, and in it the Temple of God will be rebuilt, just as the prophets of Israel have said concerning it" (14:5). At that time the nations of the world will be converted, and abandon all their idols, those who go to Jerusalem will live in safety and the wicked will disappear from the earth. In other words, the author distinguishes between the Temple rebuilt by Ezra and the eschatological Temple foretold by the prophets.

What did Tobit mean when he felt another temple needed to be constructed? Was this in reference to Ezekeil? What about Herods basic demolition of the original second temple and then he reconstruction? How does that play in to Tobit if at all? Does this writing provide any kind of validity that a third temple needs to be built? Or again when he mentions the prophets, is he talking about Ezekiels temple that was not realized at the time of his writing?

If you want to read the whole article for context, here is the link: ... temple.htm

Posts: 375
Joined: Sat Mar 08, 2014 6:27 pm

Re: Tobit and the 3rd Temple?

Post by semiopen » Tue Jun 20, 2017 5:09 am

Interesting observations Kris, interesting enough to google.

The Jewish Novel in the Ancient World by Lawrence M. Wills ... ient+World is available on Google books - ... le&f=false

Wills suggests that chapters 13 and 14 were added by a redactor after the fall of the second temple. He also considers it somewhat likely that chapter 1 was added after chapters 2-12.

Willis cites Frank Zimmerman, The Book of Tobit ... 9990538328 and he notes in footnote 39 that Zimmermann mentions a late Aramaic version of the book lacking chapters 13 and 14.

Still not inspired enough to actually read any of the Apocrypha.

One might think that some BCE (or early CE) guy thinking that the second temple was corrupt and would eventually be replaced by something different and better is eminently reasonable, but apparently there is no convincing evidence that it happened.

At any rate, Wills book might be worth buying.

Post Reply