HALL. In the KJV this denotes (1) the court of the high priest’s palace (Luke.22.55) and (2) the official residence of a Roman provincial governor. It was called the praetorium (Matt.27.27; Mark.15.16).
2. The Hall of Pillars (אוּלָ֤ם הָֽעַמּוּדִים; KJV “porch of pillars”) and the Hall of Judgment (אֻלָ֥ם הַמִּשְׁפָּ֖ט; KJV “porch for the throne”)—1 Kings 7:6-8. Among the buildings which Solomon erected after the completion of the Temple was a Hall of Pillars, the purpose of which is not stated; a Hall of the Throne, also called the Hall of Judgment, where he sat in judgment on cases brought before him; a palace for Solomon himself, and another for the daughter of Pharaoh whom he had taken in marriage. The exact position of these various buildings to each other is a matter of dispute.
3. The king’s hall (בֵּית־הַמֶּ֨לֶכְ) mentioned in Esther 5:1 was in the royal palace in Susa, the winter capital of the Pers. kings, called Shushan in the KJV (Neh 1:1; Esth 1:2; Dan 8:2). In an inscr. in which Darius the Great tells about the building of this palace he recorded that wood was brought from Lebanon, Gandhara, and Carmania; gold from Sardis and Bactria; lapis lazuli and carnelian from Sogdiana; turquoise from Chorasmia; silver and ebony from Egypt; ivory from Ethiopia, Sind, and Arachosia; ornamentation for the walls from Ionia; and stone columns from Elam. Stonecutters came from Ionia and Sardis, goldsmiths from Media and Egypt, carpenters from Sardis and Egypt, brickmakers from Babylon, and wall decorators from Media and Egypt. The walls were decorated with panels of beautifully colored glazed bricks, many of the designs being executed in relief. The king’s audience hall, in which he met Esther, was a huge room 193 ft. square, with 36 pillars 65 ft. high supporting the roof.
4. The banqueting hall (בֵ֥ית מִשְׁתְּיָ֖א, Dan 5:10 KJV “banquet house”) in which King Belshazzar saw the handwriting on the wall was in Babylon, which for centuries was one of the great cities of antiquity. Herodotus, who visited the city after its conquest by Cyrus, in his description of it (Book I) says that it was a great square forty-two m. in circuit and that it was surrounded by a rampart 300 ft. high and 75 ft. broad with 100 gates of brass. Its famous hanging gardens were regarded by ancients as one of the seven wonders of the world. The city had three royal palaces, the largest of which contained the throne room. The city also has been described by other ancient writers (Diodorus Sic. ii. 7, 9, 10; Strabo, xvi. c. 1.2, 5; Q. Curtius, v. c. i).
5. The author of the Acts of the Apostles says (19:9) that when Jews in Ephesus rejected and opposed Paul’s message, he left the synagogue where he had been teaching for three months and went to the hall of Tyrannus (σχολή, G5391, KJV “school”) where he taught daily for two years. This hall was prob. a part of some gymnasium, which normally included not only areas for exercise and sports, but also gardens and halls, which were made use of by teachers, poets, and philosophers for giving recitations and lectures. Ephesus had at least five such gymnasiums. By some arrangement Paul obtained the use of the hall and taught there every day from noon until the end of the afternoon.
6. The RSV tr. of ἀκροατήριον, G211, in Acts 25:23 (KJV “place of hearing”). The reference is to the audience room of the Rom. procurator. Since Paul’s appearance before Festus and his specially invited guests was not strictly a trial, the word can mean simply “auditorium.” This was in the palace of Herod the Great in Caesarea, used by Rom. procurators as their headquarters in Pal.
A. T. Olmstead, History of the Persian Empire (1948), 280-283; J. A. Montgomery and H. S. Gehman, Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Books of Kings (1951), 164, 165; J. Finegan, Light From the Ancient Past (1959), 224, 242-244.
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)
(Lu 22:55 the King James Version).