And to speak unto the priests which were in the house of
the Lord of hosts
That ministered in the sanctuary, as the Targum explains it, who offered sacrifices and who were to be consulted in matters of religion, ( Malachi 2:7 ) : and to the prophets;
who were then in being, as Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi: saying, Should I weep in the fifth month;
which is the month Ab, and answers to July: now on the seventh day of this month, according to ( 2 Kings 25:8 2 Kings 25:9 ) , the temple was burnt by the Chaldeans; and, according to ( Jeremiah 3:12 Jeremiah 3:13 ) , it was on the tenth of this month, which day was kept by the Jews as a day of fasting and humiliation, in commemoration of it; and by the Misnic doctors F21 afterwards was removed, and kept on the ninth day of the said month; but, seeing the temple was in great forwardness of being rebuilt, the question with those Jews was, whether they should continue any longer mourning and fasting on that account: separating myself:
that is, from eating and drinking, and not taking the lawful pleasures and recreations of life: as I have done these so many years?
for the space of seventy years, as in ( Zechariah 7:5 ) .
F21 Misn. Taanith, c. 4. sect. 7, 8. T. Bab. Taanith, fol. 29. 1.