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Sacred places of mankind.
Evidences of the religious outlook of mankind are found wherever man has been able to establish some continuity of habitation. The b.c.; Kenyon, Archaeology of the Holy Land, 420). A characteristic feature is the presence of an enclosing wall, setting the area off from its surroundings, thus emphasizing the implied superiority and sanctity of the place and its deity.of Mesopotamia-Egypt furnishes examples of some of the oldest sacred sites and temples, with Jericho providing one of the oldest, dating from Mesolithic times (c. 6800
In Egypt, the earliest discernible temple form was a small house similar to that of the worshiper. In front of it was placed the symbol of the god, the whole enclosed by a fence or low wall (BA, VII, 44). In later times, this house was replaced by a large and complex series of courts and halls (viz., Karnak and Luxor temples of the 15th cent. b.c.) inside an enclosing wall, within which were not only the principal deity but also other related and subsidiary deities.
Ceremonially, there developed a need to express theological concepts, demonstrated by the “pilgrimages” of Amon in Karnak through various “stations” in the temple complex (op. cit., 45).
Southern Mesopotamia (Sumer) in the earlier periods erected simple temple structures built mostly of reeds. Expansion came with the advent of building with sun-dried brick. Plan variations occurred until toward the end of the third millennium when temples were formalized in a large hall with the idol placed at the narrow end, usually in a shallow room opposite a doorway. The worshiper assembled in an outer court and looked into the main hall where, at the far end, he saw the gorgeously arrayed god framed by a monumental portal. The design was to impress the worshiper and inspire him with fear and awe. This was not, however, the purpose of the Temple of Yahweh in Jerusalem (see below).
In Assyrian times in the northern Mesopotamian area (Assyria), the outer court familiar from Babylonian temples was lacking; the worshiper entered by a door in the side wall into the sanctuary where the idol was present and then turned to face the image. Pilasters or short walls on the side walls at that end framed the deity, which stood on a low dais. In Babylonian times, the entrance was frequently given flanking towers.
The southern Mesopotamian temples show derivation from houses, whereas the Assyrian temple stressed the more private relationship of deity and worshiper. This temple was usually found at the base of the ziggurat, on which the deity alighted when he descended to earth. It is recorded that small shrines were erected on the top for the convenience of the deity at his arrival, but no example has survived.
Worship and theology.
The proof of the presence of the divinity in both Egypt and Mesopotamia was the presence of the image, thus explaining how it could be said that the people went into captivity when the images were carried off by a conqueror. Both in Egypt and southern Mesopotamia, the gods were taken out in procession among the people. In Assyria, however, at least down to Assurnasirpal II (883-859 b.c.), they remained in their sanctuaries. In such processions they were objects of rejoicing and singing of the common people, but in no case in the Early or Middle Kingdom periods in Egypt did they have entry to worship the deity. Other than the royal family and priests, only the nobility and upper class achieved this status in later times.
In Egypt the complexity of later forms provided an easy vehicle or stimulus to the concept that it was a microcosm of the world: the god was in the sanctuary, and the temple complex represented the universe around him. This concept was absent in both the Mesopotamian and Canaanite forms. The Assyrians adopted the ziggurat at a later time, indicating Babylonian influence. The Palestinian, or Canaanite temples, witness to a simpler outlook.
The Mesopotamian temple had additional quarters for the priests, and storehouses for offerings and receipts from temple lands, to which frequent references are made in the clay cuneiform business documents. There were also school buildings for training scribes in writing the cuneiform to provide recorders for the temple receipts and the administration of its holdings. For the Temple in Jerusalem there were the chambers built around the sides and rear, and in the Herodian structure a small section provided for the use of the priests immediately attending the Temple, but not on the grand scale of the Babylonian temples. The need for such quarters to that extent did not exist in Jerusalem.
One of the earlier forms of Canaanite temples is found at Megiddo (c. 3000 b.c.), which consists of a simple, rectangular large room containing the idol. Three others at Megiddo date from c. 1900 b.c. having the same plan; all place the door on the long side. A particularly notable example of this type occurs at Ai (c. 2500 b.c.). About 1500 b.c., the plan is square, with an added porch. A further refinement occurs at Bethshan in the addition of a small room or cubicle at the rear raised above the room floor, containing the idol; this constitutes one of the earliest examples of a holy of holies (Heb. דְּבִיר, H1808, debîr), as in Solomon’s Temple.
A strictly Phoen. style temple for the period post-1000 b.c. was found in the Tel Tainat (ancient Hattina) in Syria. This consists of a porch, a holy place, and a holy of holies, remarkably like the description in
Significance of Solomonic Temple
The outstanding feature of the Solomonic Temple is that there was no idol in it, having only the mercy seat over the Ark and the Cherubim (֝כְּרוּבִ֗ים) overshadowing the former, declaring to the world that idols are unnecessary to define the presence of God or His sanctity. Because the lightless room could only be reached through a specific ritual at a specified annual time for the purpose of making reconciliation for the people, the “house of Yahweh” in Jerusalem was not considered a cosmic house of God, but emphasized the way of salvation to the penitent and assured to him the grace of God for his joy and blessing (
Cause of existence.
That contemporary peoples had temples is not sufficient grounds to justify the Temple of Yahweh in Jerusalem. Though David saw this lack as invidious (
In addition to the practical good of centralized worship, a central cultic house was important to the Covenant structure of Yahweh with Israel. The loyalty of Israel to Yahweh her God was expressed in the sacrifices and offerings that were presented at the Temple. The high places of the various tribes divided the people and were disruptive of their loyalty to God; they diverted from Him His rightful due as their Creator and Lord, and in this sense the high places were roundly condemned. The Temple thus became an affirmation by Israel of the Covenant. This view makes it unnecessary to hold that the law of the central sanctuary was a late development; it was delayed until Israel should be a stable people, dwelling in peace in her land, when Yahweh would take up His abode in her midst in a more obvious manner (cf. Kline, op. cit., 80ff.;
A unifying force.
The Temple was for Israel to be the place where, in three annual festivals particularly, they were to rejoice before their God and remember His great blessings to them (
Designation of the site.
The selection of the place of the dwelling for the name of Yahweh came in the peculiar happenings of David’s numbering the people (
This place symbolized the hearing ear of God (
In the early days of the Church, Stephen, slain for his faith, was evidently going to declare that the people were putting the Temple above God, forgetting that He did not really need a temple building in the sense of rooms of stone and wood (
There is a prior step to the achievement of this result. The millennium will see a Temple raised to God, the refuge of all nations; but it will be primarily memorial. When the millennium runs its course and the new age of perfection is established, there will be no Temple, for the Lamb will be there in the midst of His people (
Araunah’s threshing floor.
The location of Solomon’s Temple is identified with the threshing floor of Araunah (alternately Ornan,
The altar, therefore, would not be placed on top of the rise forming the cave. David demanded the threshing floor at a price to erect there the altar of God. It would appear that David referred to the flatter area around this rise, for it was there that the actual threshing was done. Hence, one must consider that the altar was located to the E of the rise, or even to the NE or SE where there was in any of these areas ample space for the location of the altar and its ritual. Moreover, more room was required for the altar ritual, for the laver was to be in the immediate neighborhood of the altar, and there was insufficient room on the rock over the cave. Let it also be recalled that there was a foundation of great stones for the Temple (
On the site of the threshing floor David made it a practice to sacrifice to Yahweh (cf.
Character of the site.
The researches and excavations of Warren, Wilson, Conder, Schick, and others in Jerusalem have established the topography of the city quite conclusively (cf. Wilson and Warren, The Recovery of Jerusalem, 50ff.). The area of the city divides principally into an eastern and western ridge, separated by a wide valley known by the name Tyropoean. The eastern ridge is bounded on the E side by the deep, narrow valley of the Kidron. At the S end of the western hill is theinto which ran the Tyropoean (now mostly filled), and then the Hinnom continues eastward past the S end of the E ridge to the Kidron. (See topographic sketch.)
The E ridge was further divided toward the N by a small offshoot of the Kidron to the W and then quickly turned generally northward, known as St. Anne’s Valley. The valley is now covered by the northern end of the Haram. The S end of the E ridge was the site of both the cities of David and Nehemiah, with Ophel about midway toward St. Anne’s Valley. The ridge continued to rise toward the N quite rapidly to a high elevation at the threshing floor of Araunah and an even higher peak at the location of Antonia; the site was more level to the E of the Sakhra before dropping off sharply away to the Kidron, and on the W side dropping sooner to the Tyropoean, thus limiting the extent of the original Solomonic construction more considerably on the W side than on the E. The Tyropoean Valley is now mostly filled in with debris from over the centuries.
The location of the Temple was influenced by the location of David’s city and by the attraction of the upper rocky platform. It was near the city but outside it, free from interferences offered by existing city structures, and on an eminence appropriate to its character, not even today overpowered by the city on the western ridge.
The inspiration for the Temple.
The inspiration for the Temple plan and structure came to David from Yahweh when He had given him rest from all his enemies (
The collection of materials.
The amassing of materials was begun early by David when Solomon was young (
David also prepared stones in the quarry, iron nails without number, cedar for framing and paneling (
The people obligated to build.
The people from the highest prince under David down to the lowliest were put under obligation to Solomon (
The Temple service given by God.
The Temple service was also set out by David by the command of God’s Spirit (
Thus the pattern of the Temple, the size of furniture, and the worship were ordained by Yahweh. It is to be understood that no thing of worship, implements, ritual or buildings was left to human invention lest by the inclusion of a single element formed solely according to human thinking or ingenuity be present to cast suspicion on the entire worship center, and justify in any way the idea of human cooperation in establishing the way of reconciliation with God.
The principal sources of information relating to Solomon’s Temple are OT references (
Date of beginning.
The foundryman was a Phoen., Hiram of Tyre (
The rest of
The construction of the side chambers is given as a series of rooms one above another (
Access to the upper stories of the side chambers was by stairways (
Windows (חַלּוֹן, H2707) are referred to (
The Temple porch (אֵילָם, H395) was reached by a series of steps at the front from the level of the court (cf.
Interior walls and ceilings were finished with cedar (
The Holy of Holies was a cube (
Against this partition on the ark side, a veil was hung (
A door was provided for the Holy Place (
Around the Temple building a court was formed by the erection of a stone wall three courses high with a row of three timbers holding it together (
Much of the wall surfaces in the Holy Place and Holy of Holies were carved (
The Ark with its mercy seat from the Tabernacle was placed at the back of the Holy of Holies under the cherubim, which were made of olivewood (
In the Holy Place before the door to the Holy of Holies was placed the altar of incense (
Before the Temple on the platform surrounding the Temple stood the two brass pillars, Jachin (יָכִ֔ין) and Boaz (בֹּֽעַז). The form of the first term is an old participle causative from כון, meaning “sustainer” (JBL, LXVIII, 317ff.), stressing the positive side of God’s character. Boaz is the participle form of the simple stem from the Arab bâgiz meaning “smiter,” giving the negative aspect of the character of Yahweh as Keeper of Israel (ibid.).
It is questionable that these pillars were for incense burning, since their height would make it difficult to reach their tops to replenish the incense. They were approximately four cubits in diameter and eighteen cubits high (
The bowls (
The prominent feature of the court was the molten sea (
The rim was finished off with the petal (lily) work familiar from the pillar capitals. It also had knops (
The sea stood on a base composed of twelve oxen in sets of three, one set toward each of the compass points (
The wheeled stands for movable lavers (
Into the stands at the top were fitted the lavers containing the water for washing the sacrificial animals (
The focal point in the court was the great brass altar (
Other implements are listed (
Little is said in Kings or Chronicles concerning the courts surrounding the Temple building.
Access to the outer court was through gates; though they are not specifically listed, the door leaves for them are enumerated (
The work of building the Temple occupied seven years and six months (
The dedication occurred in the month Ethanim, the seventh month, in later times called Tishri. The intervening months between Bul (
At a later period after the completion of the Temple, among the inventory of goods carried in Solomon’s ships was algum (or almug; Ugar. algm) wood, possibly the red sandalwood of India and Ceylon, prob. the latter because the ships went for gold nearer to Ophir. The wood was finished and formed part of the woodwork of the walls of the Holy Place (
Concerning the monies of the Temple, a treasury was recorded (
It is likely that the treasury rooms were the three-storied rooms around the Temple, for
History of Solomon’s Temple.
When Rehoboam, Solomon’s son became king, his repressive policy became the immediate cause of the division of the kingdom. Shrines were set up by Jeroboam at Dan and Bethel, thus splitting the allegiance of Israel to God (
Asa placed in the Temple the spoils of his father (
In the reign of Amaziah, son of Joash, Jehoash of Israel invaded Judah, broke into the city (
Uzziah, an energetic, able king, rebuilt the city of Jerusalem, but he fell into the error of pride and sought to usurp priestly functions in the Temple (
Jotham succeeded his father Uzziah and built the “upper gate” (
Hezekiah reversed the policies of Ahaz. He opened the closed doors of the Temple and demanded that the Levites restore it to its former sanctity (
Manasseh reversed the good deeds of his father Hezekiah, raised up idolatrous altars in the Temple courts and placed a graven image in the Temple (
Amon worshiped the image of his father Manasseh, and after a reign of two years his servants assassinated him (
Josiah directed the repair of the Temple in his days (
In the reign of Jehoiakim, Nebuchadnezzar took all the “west land” and Jehoiakim became his tributary, but he rebelled after three years and the city was besieged. The vessels of the Temple (
Jehoiachin followed as king, but at the end of three months was besieged by Nebuchadnezzar who took him captive to Babylon along with the palace treasures, additional vessels of the Temple made by Solomon (
In the reign of Zedekiah, the end of Solomon’s Temple came. Zedekiah rebelled against Nebuchadnezzar; the city fell in 586 b.c. Zedekiah tried to flee by night but was captured by the Chaldean troops. The city and Temple were burned to the ground. The remaining vessels of bronze and gold were assembled to be taken to Babylon. The pillars before the Temple, their bases, and the brazen sea were broken up and carried away to Babylon. The Ark and the cherubim, prob. now only wooden forms, perished in the flames. The 380 years of the Temple were ended, fulfilling Jeremiah’s words of the destruction of the city, Temple, and people for their sins (
Certain problematical aspects of the structure of the Temple were not discussed above, to avoid disruption of the general description.
The height of the Holy of Holies.
Was its floor on the level of that of the Holy Place, or was it raised? Examples of raised altar rooms occur in the Middle E (see Temples of Dagon). A lower ceiling height than in the Holy Place would require a stone clerestory wall dividing the two, but evidence is lacking in documenting a supporting beam. Other evidence shows the two to be on the same level. In the Herodian Temple, a double curtain separated the two, eliminating the necessity of steps (see below VII. C, 1). Second, coins of the 1st cent. a.d., depicting the Temple on the day of the sacrifice of the red heifer (A Muehsam, Coin and Temple, 26f.; plates, Vff.), show the Ark within the Temple but no steps leading up to its level, indicating the Holy of Holies to be on the same level as the Holy Place. It may be assumed that this arrangement goes back at least to the Temple of Zerubbabel. It is also possible that Zerubbabel followed the earlier form of Solomon’s Temple. It is very possible that the floor levels of the two rooms were always on the same level and that an attic existed over the Holy of Holies (see below VII, C, 1).
The height of the porch.
This is given as 120 cubits (
Is such a tower of 120 cubits feasible? Foundations for it would be most important. However, indications of structural formations to support such massive tower works are found in temples from Megiddo (Strat V, age of Rameses III; Strata VIII-VII A), Shechem and possibly at Beth-shan (Stratum V).
In connection with this great height, Josephus wrote that Jotham added porticos and gateways in the Temple area (Jos. Antiq. IX. xi. 2). The Temple building was erected to a height of sixty cubits (
The enclosing walls of the Temple
are not described in Kings or Chronicles in enough detail to discern their location or height. None of the original structure of King Solomon’s Temple has survived to give the wall height of the three courses (
A further problem relates to the columns Jachin and Boaz (see above, IV, B, 5). Were they structural columns within the porch, and did they support the roof structure above? Or were they free standing? A first consideration of the plan of the small temple of Tel Tainat, where the columns are located within the roof line, might indicate that the columns of Solomon’s Temple would also have been placed in the same situation. However, would they have been given memorial names of such diverse meaning (as shown above) if they were merely structural? Likewise, the arrangements of the networks of chains and pomegranates on top of the capitals suggest quite strongly the freestanding character of these columns. The place where they stood is stated as—“before the Temple” in
Solomon’s pillars differed further from the Canaanite examples by the chain network draped over them, and performed a different function than the Canaanite, i.e. of memorializing God’s character; the pomegranates symbolized the totality of God’s word through separate commandments, symbolized by the seeds.
In the fourteenth year after the destruction of Jerusalem (572 b.c.), Ezekiel was taken back to Jerusalem in a vision, and an angel in his presence measured the Temple.
Meaning of the Temple.
What is the significance of Ezekiel’s Temple? This is expressed in “the law of the house” (
Since this vision occurs at the end of the prophecy of Ezekiel, one must look at it as the culmination of the work of the prophet. God’s holiness was the focal point of his ministry. God’s holiness had been outraged by the persistent iniquity of Israel. There was to be the process of exposure, arraignment, and judgment of Israel (
Identity of the Temple.
What Temple is this? Is it completely separated from the previous Temple in Jerusalem? Is it a completely new complex of buildings? A study of the sequence of events helps to answer this question. Israel had, in all her tribes, gone into captivity; the destruction of her Temple symbolized God’s judgment upon her for her sin. She had been promised restoration upon repentance (
The above, however, does not answer the question—is Ezekiel’s Temple actually to be created? The emphasis on ritual and the elimination of ritual in the NT indicates that his temple serves another purpose.
Therefore, Ezekiel’s Temple was a “visual aid” to faith. Since the returning exiles adhered to the form of the previous Temple and not that of Ezekiel’s Temple, it would appear that his Temple should be understood symbolically. The true restoration of Israel is yet to come, when God a second time (
The outer court.
Over the E end is a roof (
At the inner end of the complex is the porch and inside is a threshold or paving six cubits wide, the width of a post between the guard rooms but one cubit wider, and prob. also roofed.
The porch at the inner end is said to be “inward,” that is its space opens into the gateway passage (
The above dimension of forty-eight cubits assumes that between the third guard chamber and the porch area is a pier six cubits long, the same dimension as the threshold (
Verse 10 is a summary of the uniformity of dimensions of guard rooms, and the posts were also of uniform dimension (
The portal through the outer wall and the first guard chamber plus one cubit more make a total of thirteen cubits (
Before each side chamber is a space a cubit wide by a reed long (six cubits;
The heights of the posts at the walls of the inner porch are given as sixty cubits and the use of the verb “made” indicates a quotation from annals recording the construction, since it is manifestly impossible to measure them within the limits of human capability, which again presupposes their previous existence. Though they have a small plan area relative to height, when attached to the wall behind there would be no problem of vertical stability.
The gateway building intrudes forty-four cubits into the court (
Windows occur also in the side walls of the inside porch (
Emerging from the gateway, Ezekiel was led into the outer court (
The court size is determined by the space between walls that faces the gateways. The space between the W face of the E gate and the E face of the gate opposite to the inner court (L) is recorded as 100 cubits (F); the same (H, J) is true for the gates to the N (G) and S (I) sides of the outer court (cf.
Ezekiel was then led (
The inner court.
Ezekiel was then brought into the inner court (
The E gate (
Immediately outside the N gate in the inner court (
The porch of the Temple.
The inner court is measured as 100 cubits N to S and the same from the E wall to the W wall of the Temple (
If as in
However, if one considers that the twenty cubit dimension be taken N to S, and as an inside dimension, and the five cubits dimension of
Surrounding the house is a platform (U,
The door to the Holy Place (Q) from the porch is ten cubits wide (
The angel went into the Holy of Holies alone (
Although an apparent contradiction occurs, it is clear that the opening into the Holy of Holies is seven cubits wide (last part,
The Holy of Holies is then measured at twenty cubits each way, presumably the same in height and the same in all directions to Solomon’s Temple, continuing the basic agreement with it.
The wall surrounding the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies was measured as one reed (
The west building.
The “separate place” (
The recapitulation continues through
At the jambs also are post formations set under the lintels. The measurements as a résumé continue in
The decoration of the house walls is described as alternating representations of palm trees and double-faced cherubim (
The altar of incense is described (
The doors themselves are formed in pairs of leaves folding back on themselves so that when opened against the jambs, they occupy smaller areas of the floor (
A further note (
The walls of the porch, the side chambers, and their floor beams are decorated only with carvings of palm trees, denoting the lesser sanctity of these areas.
Ezekiel’s attention was next directed to another set of buildings in the outer court (Y,
The cell building is three-storied, as seen in the term שְׁלִשִֽׁים, which means third, not three (cf.
Then he brought me out into the outer court by the direction of the N way and brought me to the cell-building that was opposite the separate place, and that was opposite the building on the N, along the front by length one hundred cubits, with a door in the N, and by width fifty cubits (
The last phrase may be understood as referring to galleries that face one another across the passage between the buildings. This passage provides access to the chambers (
In verses 5, 6, the construction of chambers and third story galleries is described. Since pillars are not employed to support the outer wall of the gallery (6a), the method of a supporting wall is used at the outer gallery wall and in the first and second stories at the line of the wall common to the gallery and chambers in the third floor. The idea of the columns (which do not occur; contrast is indicated) is suggested by the columns in the outer court, possibly between or along the chambers against its outer wall (6a).
There is a wall opposite the chambers, fifty cubits long (
This chamber building is repeated on the S side of the inner court. The word “east” results from a copyist’s error where קָדִ֛ים has been mistransmitted for דָּרֹ֔ום, “south.” This change of text is supported by
In the width of the court wall to the S, before the separate place and before the building, there were cells with a way before them, like the cells that stood toward the N...” (free translation).
Verses 13 and 14 give the function of these buildings. Since they are referred to as being N and S chambers fronting the separate place there can be only these two buildings, one N and one S. Here in quiet seclusion and contemplation, the priests can eat their sacramental portions of the offerings. The offerings are stored in this place until cooked or baked (meat of the sacrifices was boiled; meal was baked). The chambers provide privacy that there may not be anything casual in the eating or disrobing, for the eating shared in the holy character of the service. The purpose of sacrifice was communion with Yahweh and it had to be carried out by those who were ritually pure.
The Temple precincts.
The Temple is surrounded by a sacred area and the angel proceeds to measure it: 500 reeds (3,000 cubits) on each side. The measuring process was done to emphasize its sacred character (
It is at this point that one must look to the future for this Temple. The terrain of Jerusalem in Ezekiel’s time could not accommodate this development. After the events of
Very little data is provided concerning Zerubbabel’s Temple from which a description may be formulated. The treatment of the Temple is done in a context of its significance for the future. Haggai gave Messianic significance to the Temple as did Zechariah. This was necessary in an age that was approaching the advent of the
Under the Pers. kings, Judah was organized in the satrapy of Trans-Eupharatia (Across-the-Euphrates; cf.
Included in the decree of Cyrus was authorization to secure building materials at the expense of the Pers. royal treasury (
Shortly after rebuilding began, obstructionist attempts to frustrate it arose from people of Samaria because their offer to help was rejected since they were not of the Jewish folk (
The original adversaries were the Samaritans, who were descended from those whom the Assyrian king brought in to replace the deported northern Israelites. In the days of Haggai and Zechariah the chief adversaries were named: Tattenai the governor and Shethar-boznai and his cohorts (
In their report to Darius in an attempt to curtail rebuilding they demanded a search to see if Cyrus did indeed make a decree, which finally was found in Hamadan (Ach-Metha-Ecbatana) in confirming all the claims of the Jews (
It would appear that the early delay in building progress prevented the raising of the walls of the Temple. When, therefore, a foundation is said to have been laid on the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month of the second year of Darius, a question arises as to just what the laying of the foundation was (
Significance of the Temple.
Materials for the Temple.
Materials for the Temple adornment came from the people through freewill offerings (
History of the Temple
In the era of Ezra and Nehemiah.
Ezra’s ministry in Jerusalem involved the separation of the Israelites from “defilement” because of intermarriage with the surrounding peoples (
When Nehemiah left to return to King Artaxerxes in Babylon, ecclesiastical affairs fell into disarray. Eliashib, the high priest, set apart a chamber in the court of the Temple for Tobiah (
From Nehemiah to the Maccabees.
There are a few references to this period in the Apocrypha.
rewarded the Jews for their support in his early campaign against Egypt (Jos. Antiq. XII. iii. 3) to the extent of providing sacrifices and ordered repairs, including the completion of the erection of cloisters, as well as other repairs that in the estimation of local authorities must be done. Necessary materials were to be provided from the forests of Judea and other countries, free of taxation. Taxes on the Jews for three years were remitted to facilitate this work. In addition Antiochus decreed that no unpurified person be allowed in the Temple precincts. Included in the general ban of the impure were unclean animals.
Next in order of time are the records of the Maccabees. The account of the plundering of the Temple by b.c. is preserved (
In the year 161-160 b.c., Alcimus, friend of Demetrius I, king of Syria, tore down the wall forming the inner court of the Temple (
Aristeas in the account of the origin of the LXX related in glowing language the presentation of furniture to the Temple by Ptolemy Philadelphus (283-245 b.c.), king of Egypt. This furniture consisted of an outsize solid gold table of showbread handsomely decorated with wreathed work, fruits, and precious stones held in settings. Mixing bowls, a meander of scale-like appearance, gold vials with wreathed work decoration were also included. Aristeas accompanied the embassy bearing the gifts to Jerusalem. There he was impressed by the fortress walls of the Temple standing more than seventy cubits (Letter of Aristeas, v. 84). The portal was covered with a costly curtain waving in the breeze. The stone-paved court floor was necessary because of the frequent washings to remove the blood of the sacrifices (v. 88). Cisterns underground provided ample water supplies. Aristeas continued (v. 92) with an over-stressed description of the labor of the priests in the sacrifices, and then was taken to the fortress adjacent to the Temple that had walls higher than those of the Temple (v. 100ff.). Aristeas described the presence of an inexhaustible spring within the Temple precincts. No trace, however, of a spring has ever been found in the area and for the tradition no reasonable ground can be adduced (however, cf.
From the Maccabees to Herod.
Josephus is the source of much of the information regarding the Temple in this period. The usefulness of Josephus as an objective historian has been questioned because of apparent contradictions of certain dates in his writings. However, the judgment of his status as an uncreditable (so-called) historian of events of the period 200 b.c.-a.d. 100 must now be revised, as indicated by Farmer (Maccabees, Zealots and Josephus ). Josephus functioned both as a justifier of Rom. actions against the Jews and a strong apologist for his own people. He represented the defeat of the Jews by the Romans as divine approval of Rom. rule and also their defeat as the judgment of God (Jos. War V. iv. 3, 4). The onus of being an inaccurate historian thus rests not on Josephus, but on a misconception of his dual role in a difficult situation. Rather, one may proceed in a factual usage of his data.
Alexander Jannaeus (104-78 b.c.) was involved in an incident in the Temple (Jos. Antiq. XIII. xiii. 5) from which light is shed on the arrangement of the Temple courts. The Jews resented his officiating as high priest and pelted him with citrons. There was easy access to the high priest at the altar (cf.
Aristobulus II (69-63 b.c.) fled to the Temple and used it as a fortress when Aretas III of Nabatea moved against him on behalf of his brother Hyrcanus II, the rightful high priest and king. When both Hyrcanus and Aristobulus appealed to Pompey for adjudication, he took so long to make up his mind that Aristobulus took precipitate action and was taken into custody and detained. His cohorts, however, seized the Temple and withstood a siege by Pompey for three months. He finally breached the walls by battering rams, slaughtered the officiating priests and 12,000 other Jews. During the siege, defending Jews cut the bridge across the Tyropoean by which access was made to the city on the western ridge (Jos. War I. vii. 2). Pompey profaned the Holy of Holies by entering it to satisfy his curiosity but took no plunder. Afterward he ordered it rehallowed (Jos. Antiq. XIV, iii. 1-4; cf. War I. vii. 6). Later Crassus took a side trip from his campaign against the Parthians to Jerusalem and carried off the treasure Pompey had refused to take (Jos. Antiq. XIV. iv. 2). In skirmishes with Herod, the Jews frequently fled to the Temple because of its defensive character (XIV. xiii. 4). When Herod had been declared king of the Jews by the Rom. Senate, he proceeded to move against Antigonus, last of the Hasmoneans. In the attack on the city and Temple, certain of the cloisters were destroyed by fire (XIV. xvi. 3), but when the city was taken, he prevented the soldiery and foreigners from entering the Temple and desecrating it, taking thought for his future domains (XIV. xvi. 3). To deliver the city and Temple from further plundering, Herod bought off the soldiers and their officers. Not until the eighteenth year of Herod’s reign did further development of the Temple take place.
Zerubbabel’s Temple had assumed the proportions of a fortress. Though the building was highly regarded by the Jews, yet this fortress character rendered it subject to criticism in Herod’s opinion and therefore rebuilding was necessary. His principal and ostensible reason was presented in a speech to the people, saying that the Temple did not measure up to its former glory, specifically noting that it lacked some sixty cubits of height from that of pre-exilic times (Jos. Antiq. XV. xi. 1); this obviously referred to the height of the porch (
Sources for the description of Herod’s Temple are not many. Josephus in his Antiquities (XV, xi), Wars of the Jews (V, v), the Mishna tractate Middoth and the few references in the NT comprise the principal source material. A few references are found in parts of the Talmud. Since Josephus wrote nearer to the time of the Temple than when Middoth was composed, his record is preferable in some cases, yet Middoth does indeed provide dimensions where Josephus does not. Actually only a small portion of the NT references to the Temple bear on its structure, for most refer to attitudes of the Jews toward it. That the Temple was an imposing structure is evident from them.
The Temple proper.
The work of rebuilding the sanctuary (Holy Place and Holy of Holies) was begun in the eighteenth year of Herod’s reign, 20-19 b.c. (Jos. Antiq. XV. xi. 6). The stone used was the white mezzeh stone native to the area, finely cut and polished. The dimensions given by Josephus of twenty-five cubits length, eight in height and twelve in width, is obvious hyperbole, since the stones in the enclosure walls of the present Haram are not that large. The former structure was removed down to bedrock and new foundation stones were laid, 100 cubits long (ibid.) but 100 cubits wide at the porch, and sixty back of the porch for the Holy Place (Jos. War, V. v. 4). There were side chambers at the sides and rear sixty cubits high, and above this was a narrower structure extending an additional forty cubits upward, making a total of 100 cubits (ibid., V. v. 5). The façade, or porch (25), was 100 cubits high and 100 cubits wide, producing an extension of twenty cubits beyond the Holy Place (26) walls. The portal in the E face of the porch was seventy cubits high by twenty-five broad, without doors, exposing to view the Holy Place entrance wall within. Interior measurements of the porch are given as ninety cubits to the ceiling, fifty cubits N to S (length) and twenty broad. Middoth (IV, 7) gives the thickness of the front wall of the porch as five cubits, the E-to-W width as eleven cubits (inside) and the Holy Place wall as six cubits, a total of twenty-two, near enough to the twenty of Josephus (cf. above on the dimensions of the porch of Ezekiel’s Temple for the same dimensions). The front wall of the porch was stabilized against outward bulging by the insertion of cedar beams from the Holy Place wall (Middoth, III, 8). The portal opening was framed by a lintel formed of five oak beams, each separated from the one below by a course of stones, the first beam being one cubit longer on each end than the opening below, and each upper beam one cubit longer on each end than the beam below. Draped on the face of the porch wall were vines of gold-work with gold grape clusters as tall as a man (Jos. War V. v. 4). Josephus next described doors to the Holy Place of fifty-five cubits height and sixteen in breadth. Hollis (op. cit., 202) rejects this door size as too large for the practical reason that it would be impossible to operate them. Middoth (IV, 1) gives the dimensions as twenty cubits high and ten wide, more in order of operability. Again this is an instance of hyperbole on the part of Josephus, or he was referring to some feature now lost. These doors were doubled, a set on the E side and one on the W side of the doorway. They were formed on a pivot member of half a cubit, an attached leaf member two and a half cubits wide, with a folding member two cubits wide, for a total of five cubits, half the opening width. This arrangement provided that the doors cover only half of the wall thickness, three cubits, as they laid back against the jambs when open, the fold point abutting. Josephus adds that a great veil was hung over this door, excluding from view the inside of the Holy Place. This is not enumerated in Middoth; instead at the ceremony of the red heifer, the priest on the Mt. of Olives was to look directly into the Holy Place at the propitious moment (Middoth, II, 4). The curtain of which Josephus wrote may have been added at a later time when fears of defilement of the Temple by even a look by a foreigner were felt.
The area left at the ends of the porch area was occupied by rooms for sacrificial equipment used at the altar (Middoth, IV, 7).
The Holy Place itself was forty cubits long by twenty wide and sixty high (Jos. War V. v. 5) and contained a lampstand, the table of showbread, and the altar of incense. The Holy of Holies (27) was separated from the Holy Place by a veil and measured twenty cubits by twenty cubits in plan and sixty cubits high. No furniture was placed in it, but it was considered unapproachable and inviolable, and was designated “the Holy of Holies” (ibid). According to the Mishna tractate Yoma (V, 1), the partition was two veils, hung one cubit apart, one attached at its N side, the second at its S side, requiring the high priest to pass between the two from S to N to enter the Holy of Holies. It was this curtain that was rent in two when Christ died (
Chambers in three stories were built against the side and rear walls of the Holy of Holies, approached from small doors in either side of the porch (Jos. War V. v, 5), five on each story on the N and S sides, three in the first and second story and two on the third story on the W side (Middoth, IV, 3). The width of the first-story rooms was five cubits, the second six and the third seven (cf.
Access to the roof was made by progressing through the upper story from the NE corner westward, then southward and eastward to a pole ladder at the SE corner. On the roof surface was a line of stones set flush, which marked the division between the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies. Above the Holy of Holies below the upper roof was a chamber with access openings to enter the Holy of Holies to make repairs. Around the roof was a parapet to guard against persons falling off.
The porch face of the Holy Place wall was decorated with gold (leaf?) and the E face of the porch was covered with gold plates, presenting a most brilliant spectacle from the Mt. of Olives (
From the porch a descent of twelve steps led to the priests’ court (28). These steps were divided into flights of three treads each, of one cubit width and one-half cubit height with a landing of three cubits between. Against a top landing of four cubits (Middoth III, 6) a more logical tradition is the five cubits of area in the thickness of the front wall of the porch at the portal; the edge of this area would form the top riser of the uppermost flight of steps. The total of fifteen cubits in the plan of the steps provide seven cubits from the bottom riser to the altar. Other calculations bring the bottom riser too near the altar to provide proper area for circulation around it. The total distance from porch wall to altar (23) was twenty-two cubits (Middoth III, 6). The height of the steps was six cubits, agreeing with the height of Ezekiel’s platform (
The altar (Middoth III, 1) was thirty-two cubits square at the ground, formed with a great plinth course, or foundation, one cubit high, with the next upper face set back one cubit. By the Gemara tractate Zebāchîm, this was a solid single-length timber. The surrounding was filled solid and then timber was laid across the foundation for a height of five cubits, the outside face being thirty cubits in length. This framework was filled in solid and was designated the sôbēb, or surrounding (Zeb V, 54). A structure was placed on top of the surrounding and its face was set back one cubit, thus being twenty-eight cubits square. This second structure was three cubits high and there was again a setback of one cubit at the top to a structure designated the ma’arākhāh. At the corners of the surrounding were stone formations, designated horns, three cubits high by a cubit square. By the one cubit setback the ma’arākhāh became twenty-six cubits square. On top of this was a final level, set back one cubit and one cubit high and giving a square twenty-four cubits on a side. The total height of the altar reached ten cubits. The priests walked on the upper space of one cubit and on the next lower one-cubit space. On the top level the sacrificial fires were laid. The fifty cubits square of the base of the altar as given by Josephus (Jos. War V. v. 6) appears to be much too large for the area available. In relation to previous altars, a rabbinic tradition indicates that the altar of the Herodian Temple was more like the postexilic altar, which was enlarged over the preexilic altar (Middoth III, 1b).
The Middoth presents the tradition of a drainage channel to drain off to the Kidron the blood sprinkled on the base of the altar. There has been found no physical evidence of such a drain channel from the cave under the Sakhra, so this cannot be used as a main point for locating the altar on the Rock. Moreover, the drain channel was said to start at the SE corner of an altar, whether on the Rock or elsewhere. Access to the altar was by an incline on the S side of thirty-two cubits long by sixteen wide. The stones for the altar and ascent were secured at Beth-haccerem (
The sacrifices were slaughtered N of the altar (24), then hung up on a skinning rack near the slaughterer’s shed and skinned before being placed on the wood on the altar (Middoth III, 5). The laver was placed S of the altar but aligned between the altar and porch (ibid. III, 6).
The priests’ court, the area within the inner court immediately surrounding the Temple was 187 cubits long by 135 wide, N to S. An area 11 cubits wide by 135 cubits N to S at the E end was called the priests’ court (Middoth V, 1). Surrounding the inner priests’ court was the court of Israel (29), i.e., the court of the men of Israel, also 135 cubits N to S and 11 cubits E to W. The length of 135 cubits gives the length of the line separating the priests’ court from the court of Israel at the E of the altar; from the N and S ends of this line, boundaries marked the separation of the two westward to the W limit of the priests’ court. The Tosephta (Zeb, XXX 6, 1) states that the Court of Israel surrounded the priests’ court. The Court of Israel was at least 11 cubits wide beyond the priests’ court on all sides, giving a length of 198 cubits E to W and 157 cubits N to S, and was surrounded by a colonnade. Josephus (War, V. vi.) described a separator between the Priests’ Court and the Court of Israel “about a cubit in height.” Middoth (II, 7) indicates that the division was a marker set flush on the court surface.
In the inner court were two other buildings, the building on the N containing the chamber Parva, and that on the S containing the room of the draw well. Each building had three rooms, which were possibly located partly within the priests’ court and partly within the court of Israel.
The colonnade (30) around the Court of Israel (Jos. War V. v. 2-3) is described as single but otherwise not inferior in any way to the colonnades of the outer court; since the latter were doubled and thirty cubits wide, these were fifteen cubits wide on at least three sides and possiby on the W side, although Josephus (Jos. War V. v. 2) seems to indicate otherwise. The outer side of the colonnade was a wall twenty-five cubits high (ibid.). In this wall and projecting outward at least thirty cubits (Jos. War V., v., 3) were gates, three in the N wall (20), one in the E wall called the Great Gate (Muehsa m, Coin and Temple, 26), and three in the S wall (19) (Middoth I, 4). On either side of the Great Gate was a chamber; the S chamber was called Phineas where vestments were stored, and the N chamber was that of the maker of the flat cakes (pancakes) of the daily baked offering.
(17). Eastward through the Great Gate at the E side of the Court of Israel (War V, v, 3), which was fashioned of brass, led to a stairway down from the level of the Court of Israel to the level of the Court of Women, a stair of fifteen steps. These steps were curved (Middoth II, 6) and located at the middle of the W side and on line with the portal of the porch. Josephus (Jos. War V. v., 2) described a terrace against the enclosing wall of the colonnade at the S side of the inner court, being ten cubits wide, called the Chel (16; Middoth II, 3). One reached this terrace by a flight of five steps, each five cubits wide (16; Jos. War V. v. 2) down from the gates in the S wall. Beyond the terrace were fourteen steps (Jos. War V. v. 2) but twelve in Middoth (II, 3). Since the terrain slopes up from E to W, the steps would have to be more in number on the E than the W, two being sliced off by the rising ground. These steps did not continue around on the W because the ground rose rapidly. Since fifteen steps led up from the women’s court to the Court of Israel, the former must have been only slightly higher than the level outside at the foot of the fourteen steps up to the Chel. The women’s court was 135 cubits square between bounding lines (Middoth II, 5). Outside this area at the four corners were courts forty cubits square. The SE court was named Nazirite; the NE, Woodshed; the NW, Leper’s Chamber; and the SW, Shemanyah, possible meaning “oil of Yah” (Hollis, op. cit., 287). At a time later than the construction of the women’s court with the courts at its corners, balconies were added for use by the women so they could see the ceremonies inside the inner court (cf. Middoth II, 6).
At the W side of the court of women approximately on the same level and under the court of Israel were a series of chambers where musical instruments were stored (Middoth II, 7).
(12). Below the Chel, beyond the steps down from it, was an area bounded by a low wall called the Sōregh (Middoth II, 3), three handbreadths high (c. thirty inches high), but three cubits high according to Josephus (Jos. War V. v. 2) and a finely wrought trellis work with ornamental columns on top. Middoth prob. described the wall in its earlier form, whereas Josephus described it at a time after it had been embellished. On this wall on the outward side were placed warnings to Gentiles not to go beyond the wall, reading,
No Gentile may enter within the railing around the sanctuary and within the enclosure. Whosoever should be caught will render himself liable to the death penalty which will inevitably follow.
This prob. was located north of the stairs up from the Huldah gate.
The outer walls.
The present area of the Haram es-Sherif (Noble Sanctuary), where the Kubbet es-Sakhra (Dome of the Rock) is located, is considerably larger than the area of the court of Herod’s Temple. The present court is trapezoidal in shape, 929 ft. on the S side, 1,596 ft. on the W, 1,041 ft. on the N and 1,556 ft. on the E. Only the SW corner and the NE corner are right angles. The E and W walls coincide so markedly in appearance and location with the description of Herod’s works (Jos. Antiq. XV. xi. 3; War V. v. 1), that these in general must be considered Herod’s works (cf. Simons, op. cit., 391f.). That the W wall and the southernmost part of the E wall are of the same age as the S wall is seen in the sameness of the older (lower) stonework in these walls. Neither the E nor W walls of Herod’s work extended as far N as the present northern limits of the Haram, for the fortress Antonia was connected to the outer court by cloisters (Jos. War II. xv. 6) and there was a moat (Antiq. XIV. iv. 2) between the N wall of Herod’s enclosure and Antonia (C, Warren, Plans, Elevations, etc., Showing the Results of Excavations At Jerusalem ). An indication of the N end of the E wall in Herod’s time was found in the slight outward bulge in it just N of the “Golden Gate” (Gate to Mt. Olive) at a place called “Solomon’s Throne.” This point was about 1,158 ft. N of the SE corner. In the southerly end of this E wall was another slight bend in the wall, about 240 ft. N of the corner. At about 105 ft. N of the corner was a construction joint the full height of the wall, indicative of later construction. For the significance of this joint, see below, “royal portico.” From this joint northward to the “Throne of Solomon” the masonry originally below ground has marginal drafts but projecting fields, whereas the stones S of the joint have smooth faces full height. Josephus (Jos. Antiq. XX. ix. 7) related that in the general repairing of the Temple complex, Herod Agrippa was petitioned to rebuild the porticoes atop this E wall. It would seem that this colonnade was not built by Herod the Great since the repairing would have come too soon after its completion. It would appear, then, that this wall was pre-Herodian and that the wall S of the joint and the S wall was built by Herod the Great. Simons (op. cit., 422) shows that the E wall was actually a former city wall that Herod incorporated into his enlarged temple enclosure, thus providing more space E of the Sakhra for the Temple area, later occupied in part by the women’s court.
The W wall above and below ground presents a single homogenous character in its entire length. South of Barclay’s Gate (6; gate at the Valley Stairs) the lower courses down to bedrock have drafted edges but rough fields, indicative that they were below original finished grades. Stones above these and to the N have drafted edges and smoothed fields, pointing out that they were above the original finished grade, thus showing the general lay of the terrain at the time the wall was built. The present ground surface, however, is above the top of the stones with rough fields, showing the extent of fill to modern times.
The S wall is made up of two types of stones. To the E of the Double Gate to the SE corner the stones from bedrock to the later renovations are smoothed face with drafted edges, whereas to the W of Double Gate (1) below original grade they are rough face fields with drafted edges, the same as the southern end of the W wall. See below “royal portico” for the significance of this difference.
The area thus enclosed by these walls is said to have been double the area of the previous sanctuary (Jos. War I. xxi. 1). It would appear that a large part of this occurred at the S end, partly on the E side and the rest on the W side.
In the S wall are indications of three gates. A single gate occurred 105 ft. from the SE corner, the triple gate at 295 ft. and the double gate at about 558 ft. from the corner. Their sills occurred presumably at or near the original ground level. The double and triple gates (2) opened into tunnels leading northward and terminating in a staircase leading up to the outer court. The Sōregh would have been situated N of this because foreigners would have used this approach from the lower city. Their floors were approximately at bedrock and provided access from the city to the S. The gates are walled up, and the double gate is partially hidden by a disfiguring mass of broken buildings covering the western half.
Josephus recorded (Jos. Antiq. XV. xi. 5) four gates in the W wall. Since at “” (5) the excavations reveal no bridge piers across the Tyropoean Valley at this location, the omission indicated that there was no gate, but rather a balcony overlooking the valley (Simons, op. cit., 424). Josephus (Antiq. XIV. 61 [Marcus]) indicates a bridge connection between the Temple and city that was near the first wall (Jos. War II. xvi. 3; northern reach), and this bridge served the main gate, or first gate (Jos. Antiq. XV. xi. 5). This was the location of Wilson’s Arch (7; causeway gate) which is also the area of the Gate of the Chain (Bab es-Silsileh). At Barclay’s Gate (6; gate at the Valley Stairs), a stepped way led down into the Tyropoean Valley and up on the other side to the SW hill. The other two gates were situated to the N of the Gate of the Chain and led to the suburbs, i.e., that part of the city N of the first wall (8, 9; Jos. Antiq. XV, xi, 5).
In the N wall was one gate called Todi (21; Middoth I, 3). According to Josephus (War II. xix. 5), to attack this gate without throwing up a bank, places it below the level of the outer court, thus in the deep ditch at the N. There was only one gate in the E wall (11; Middoth I, 4), replaced by the present “Golden Gate” of Byzantine construction (Simons, op. cit., 428), and built over an earlier gate.
The area within the enclosing walls was filled in to provide the necessary required court space. At the southeastern corner are Solomon’s Stables, formed of stone paving over arches supported by columns down to bedrock. This structure appears to be of later date than the Herodian work, and was used by the Crusaders. The tops of the present outer walls date from even later times. The level of the royal portico may have been somewhat lower than the level of the Haram at its S end.
Josephus (Jos. Antiq. XV. xi. 3) recorded that Herod enclosed the outer court with “very large cloisters...and he laid out larger sums of money on them than had been done before him,” so that by comparison his were the most imposing. It has also been pointed out that on the E side the colonnade known as
Herod built a new double-aisle colonnade on the W side (14) and prob. rebuilt a colonnade on the N (14; cf. for existence of colonnades Jos. Antiq. XIV. xvi. 2, where colonnades were destroyed in Herod’s attack on Jerusalem). These were built of white marble carved from single stones, twenty-five cubits high and spaced at thirty cubits between rows (Jos. War V. v. 2). At the S wall he erected a three-aisled colonnade (4) with the center aisle higher than the side aisle (Jos. Antiq. XV. xi. 5). This was called the “Royal Portico,” so designated perhaps in remembrance of the location of Solomon’s royal quarters that once occupied this area (cf. Simon, ibid., 401, n. 1). At the S side of the portico was a wall to which the S row of columns were attached, but in which presumably windows were made. The rows of columns were spaced thirty ft. apart at the side aisles and forty-five ft. at the center aisle, which was twice as high as the side aisles Columns were said to be twenty-seven ft. high, with bases of doubled tori and capitals in the Corinthian order. The diameter of the columns was such that three men were necessary to surround a column by joining arms, about four and a half ft. in diameter. The overall height to the top of the façade of the side aisles was fifty ft.; with the center aisle rising above the side aisles, a clerestory resulted. The “front” face of which Josephus wrote (Jos. Antiq. [Marcus] 411) can be construed as the S face above the high S wall: “the fourth front of this court facing south....” The colonnade was formed of fine polished stonework, having rectangular pillars to which the columns were attached, thus providing windows through which the country to the S could be observed. The roof beams were carefully framed onto (text: interwoven) the stonework. The ceilings of the cloisters were decorated with carved cedar paneling. Since the roof was construct ed of wood, the high center clerestory prob. was also constructed of wood walls of posts and wood paneling, with the roof framed of wood beams as were the lower roofs. Windows would have been necessary in the clerestory walls to let light in to permit observation of the carved ceilings. The clerestory structure would have towered 100 ft. or more into the air.
In this “Royal Portico” were 162 columns (Jos. Antiq. ibid.), and their length was a stadion, or 630 ft. (Olympic measure). If there were four rows of columns, each row would have had forty or forty-one columns, depending on how this portico was joined to adjacent structures. The maximum spaces would be forty, which works out to 15.75 ft. for column spacing. Not knowing the aisle spacing of Solomon’s Porch, it would be impossible to conclude whether the Royal Portico connected or not. Hollis (op. cit., 106, 107) considers the portico to extend the full length of the S wall, but this was longer than the stadion of Josephus for the length of the Portico (Jos. Antiq. XV. xi. 5) and Simons (op. cit., 410ff.). The approximate width of the portico was 105 ft., agreeing remarkably with the vertical joint in the E wall, located about 105 ft. N of the SE corner. It appears that this portion of the Haram was specifically added by Herod to provide the needed space for the Royal Portico (cf. Jos. Antiq. XV. xi. 3). Josephus seems to indicate that the portico did not extend the full length of the S wall. His words (Jos. Antiq. XV, 411 [Marcus]) may be tr.: It extended from the eastern valley Kidron in the direction of [not: to the western valley”; italics author’s]. Josephus then added, “because it could not be continued farther.” If the portico had extended the full length of the wall, everybody would have known it, and there would have been no need to add the last qualifying statement. Something occurred that caused the Portico to be terminated (cf. Simon, op. cit., 410, n. 1.). It is possible that approximately where the stadion of length of the portico would end (near the location of the double gate) there was a change in masonry from smoothed field stones to rough faces for the full height (see above, S wall), which would represent a later stage in Herod’s expansion of the Temple platform. The presence of a balcony at the W wall overlooking the Tyropoean Valley and the Xistus suggests a building of some size at the SE corner, near which the Portico terminated, and which therefore prevented its extension to the W end of the S wall.
The outer court.
This was the open area extending from the inner side of the porticoes (4, 13, 14) to the Sōregh (2). It was here that both Jews and Gentiles were free to mingle, but beyond the Sōregh only Jews were permitted to go. This outer court was paved with variegated stones (Jos. War V. v. 2).
There are some thirty-two caves, pits, and cisterns for water storage within the present Haram; all but six are within the area of Herod’s enclosure. Not all came from the same period; some were ancient passages closed up to form cisterns; others were completely in natural stone and others had built roofs. Exploration of these cisterns and caves has furnished some accurate information concerning the contours of the bedrock beneath the present enclosure. In all, Warren (Simons, op. cit., 350) estimated that their storage capacity exceeded ten million gallons. They were supplied not only by collecting the rainwater falling in the enclosure, but also by a conduit from the vicinity of Bethlehem; the Turkish conduit built in 1902 still functions as also does the medieval Arab conduit, their water being distributed through three main branches under the court surfaces to the different reservoirs.
This structure was built by the Hasmoneans (Jos. Antiq. XV. xi. 4). Herod strengthened it as a fort (ibid.). It was located N of the N wall of the Temple enclosure, approximately on the line of the W wall (Jos. War V. v. 8) on a rocky eminence near what is now known as the Convent of Notre Dame de Sion. The base of the fort was a glacis of flagstone topped by a wall three cubits high, surrounding the tower that rose behind the wall to a height of forty cubits. The interior rooms were fitted out like a palace—having cloisters, apartments, baths, and courtyards. Its more exact arrangement was a foursided structure with a tower at each of the four corners, filled with rooms enclosing a central courtyard. It was on the pavement of this courtyard that Christ was arraigned by the Jews before Pilate. The SE tower was seventy cubits high, to command an adequate view of the Temple complex, whereas the other three were fifty cubits high.
From Antonia, stairs led down to the Temple area (cf.
History of Herod’s Temple
In the first year of His ministry Christ cleared out the clamorous trade in sacrificial animals at the outer court (
The Temple was under the control of the Rom. guard quartered in Antonia (
Contrary to popular expectations about the endurance of the Temple, Christ in a.d. 30 predicted its destruction (
The history from A.D. 30 to A.D. 70.
Josephus indicates that G. Florus (a.d. 64-66), by his greed for gain and his rapacity in taking it, incited the Jews to the rebellion against Rom. occupation that precipitated the destruction of the Temple. He deliberately provoked the Jews, turned his soldiers loose on them Jos. War II. xiv), and though Agrippa (II) quieted them, yet they rebelled against his suggestion of submission to Florus until a successor should arrive. In the turmoil that followed, the Zealots persuaded the priests to discontinue the daily offerings for the emperor and empire, which amounted to a subtle declaration of war. Vespasian, who began the campaign to subdue the revolt, was later summoned to Rome to assume the throne, and he commissioned his son Titus to reduce the Jews to obedience. This eventuated in an attack on Jerusalem and the Temple in particular. In the spring of a.d. 70, Titus mounted the final siege. When initial efforts to persuade the Jews to surrender and thus preserve the city failed, Titus erected his encircling wall about the city to prevent help from reaching them, and began the final attack on Antonia. The outer cloisters were burned, and finally the inner court of the Temple was encircled, Aug. 29, a.d. 70. Against the desire of Titus, in the attack in the inner court the next day, a soldier tossed a firebrand through a window into one of the side chambers. Though Titus rushed up shouting commands to extinguish the flames, he was unable to effect his will. Instead another soldier tossed a burning brand into the Holy Place that set ablaze the sanctuary itself (Jos. War VI. iv. 5). On the roof of the side chambers the priests in defense of the Temple pulled up the bird-preventer spikes and hurled them unavailingly at the Rom. soldiers (Jos. War VI. v. 2). The rest of the Temple complex was in flames, last of all the Royal Portico, and about 6,000 persons seeking refuge in it perished.
One of the earliest attempts at reconstruction of this Temple was by the Jesuits Pradus and Villalpandus (1596-1604), but in a grandiose Greco-Roman style that largely nullified its value. Others followed, but contributed relatively little. More famous was Schick’s also grandiose but inaccurate attempt, in 1796. Paine in 1861 produced a restoration that is suggestive, but is highly inaccurate. Elements in it suggest that the Temple of Ezekiel’s vision was quite influential. The efforts of Perrot and Chipiez (1887-1889) are noted more for artistry than accuracy. Ferguson’s attempt (Temples of the Jews, 1887) suffers from lack of correspondence to the Biblical text, as well as in architectural style, for it is more classical than Canaanite.
The most recent efforts at construction are those of the Howland model (BA, XIV , 2-4) and the Stevens drawing sponsored by Albright and G. E. Wright (BA, XVIII , 41-44). These are quite similar, differing only on less essential points; both illustrate basic elements. The Stevens drawing suffers from its peculiar saw-toothed coping, whereas the Howland model completed the wall top with a coved cornice similar to Egyp. temples. This would have been a distinct innovation, but not well enough attested in Canaan to justify. The more usual coping is a straight, clean parapet wall. The altar must remain for either proposal a conjectural example, for little is known of its actual construction. An immense amount of time and money was spent on the Howland model and, apart from this, it represents the more faithful proposal of any presented to date.
A further defect concerns the tops of the pillars Jachin and Boaz, for both restorations picture them as having at their heads bowls for burning incense. The Biblical text does not present this view of their function (see above IV, G, 4), nor do the meanings of their names require that incense be burned.
The attempts of Corswant (Dictionnaire d’ Archaeologie Belgique ) present a line drawing of a proposed reconstruction that in many respects is quite like the Howland model, but differs from it, for the entrance to the side chambers is from the outside, not from inside, the Holy Place.
Père L. H. Vincent through the drawings of Père A. M. Steve has presented a well researched restoration, not markedly different in plan from the Howland model, but differing in significant details. The Holy of Holies is not elevated and its roof is lower than the Holy Place roof, causing the erection of a heavy stone wall between the two. The roof of the side chambers is dropped below the level of the roof of the Holy of Holies. In addition, access to the side chambers is from side rooms on the porch, which cannot be justified from the Biblical text. As to character of architecture, a crenellated cornice is applied that has little justification in the text or in Palestinian architecture. Each chamber is provided with a window, which is also not based on the Biblical text. The appearance of the whole is rather on the side of modern contemporary architecture.
Paine’s attempts at reconstruction of Solomon’s Temple appear to be influenced more by Ezekiel’s Temple than any other, and is here mentioned for what help it can give in illustrating the latter. Benzinger (Heb. Archäologie) has presented a convincing plan of the Temple complex though it suffers from incompleteness. The plan of Keil (Biblical Commentary on the Prophecy of Ezekiel ) is a more faithful reproduction. It is significant that this plan bears more relation to Herod’s complex than to Solomon’s structures. The primary feature of Ezekiel’s structure is its symmetry, which is intended to add to the emphasis of sanctity. Not many attempts have been made to produce models or illustrative sketches, partly because it has been considered an “ideal” expression of what the ritual ought to be.
Since this has been swallowed up by Herod’s rebuilding, and since it has had a continuous history to the latter Temple, a reconstruction of Herod’s Temple would serve better the purpose of reproducing the main features of the sacred structure.
Many and varied are the proposed reconstructions advanced for it. Warren in his researches (Plans, Elevations, Etc.) has given a restoration that conforms to the terrain. Yet faint indications from Josephus indicate that it underwent significant enlargement, viz., the addition of the women’s court on the E side. Schick’s plan and model (1896) is too grandiose to be accepted, and its architecture is entirely foreign to Jewish style and the records of Josephus and of the Middoth. The Vincent-Steve restoration suffers from the fact that it embraces too much of the present Haram, also contrary to the sources. It does not conform to certain internal arrangements as given in the sources. Watzinger’s proposal (1935) suffers from presentation in terms of classic European architectural styles not used in the Temple according to the sources. The plan in HDB rev., 712, 713, shows a significant departure from the text of Josephus and of the Middoth. However, the general relationship of the inner and outer courts is presumed to be correct, and from this standpoint it is illustrative.
M. de Vogue, Le Temple de Jerusalem (1864); E. Robinson, Biblical Researches in Palestine, 3rd ed. (1867); C. Wilson and C. Warren, The Recovery of Jerusalem (1871); C. Warren, Underground Jerusalem (1876); J. Fergusson, The Temples of the Jews and Other Buildings in the Haram Area at Jerusalem (1878); C. Wilson, “The Masonry of the Haram Wall,” PEQ (1880), 9-65; C. R. Conder, Survey of Western Palestine (1881); C. Warren, Plans, Elevations, Etc., Showing the Results of the Excavations at Jerusalem (1884); B. Stade, Geschichte des Volkes Israel (1887-1888), 311-343; I. Benzinger, Hebraische Archaeologie, 1st ed. (1894); C. Schick, Die Stiftshütte, der Temple in Jerusalem und der Templeplatz der Jetztzeit (1896); C. Watson, “The Site of the Temple,” PEQ (1896), 47-60, 226-228; H. Vincent, “La Description du Temple de Salomon,” RB (1907), 515-542; H. Gressmann, “Der Felsendom in Jerusalem,” Palastinjahrbuch, IV (1908), 54-57.
R. Kittel, “Die Kesselwagen des Salomonischen Temple,” BWANT (1908); G. A. Smith, Jerusalem, The Topography, Economics and History from the Earliest Times to a.d. 70 (1908); C. R. Conder, City of Jerusalem (1909); M. Dieulafoy, Le Rhythme Modulaire du Temple de Salomon (1913), 332-347; C. Bruston, “L’Inscription des deux Colonnes du Temple de Salomon,” ZATW (1924), 153, 154; E. I. Richmond, The Dome of the Rock (1924); G. A. Cooke, “Some Considerations on the Text and Teaching of Ezekiel 40-48,” ZATW (1924), 105-115; G. B. Gray, Sacrifice in the (1925); H. Gressmann, ed., Altorientalische Texte und Bilderzum Alten Testamentum (1926), plates 103, 204; F. J. Hollis, The Archaeology of Herod’s Temple (1934); C. W. McEwen, “The Syrian Expedition of the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago,” AJA, XLI (1937), 8-16; C. A. Thompson, “Certain Bible Difficulties: Date of the Founding of the Temple,” BS, XCVI (Oct. 1939), 459-478; R. B. Y. Scott, “The Pillars Jachin and Boaz,” JBL, LVIII (1939), 143-149; E. Burrows, “Note on Moreh,
J. H. Iliffe, “A Model Shrine of Phoenician Style,” QDAP, XI (1945), 91, 92; H. K. Eversull, The Temple in Jerusalem (1946); L. Waterman, “The Treasuries of Solomon’s Chapel,” JNES, VI (1947), 161-163; L. Gry, “La Ruine du Temple par Titus,” RB, LV (1948), 215-226; L. Waterman, “A Rebuttal,” JNES, VII (1948), 54, 55; G. E. Wright, “Dr. Waterman’s View Concerning the Solomonic Temple,” JNES, VII (1948), 53; C. C. Wylie, “On King Solomon’s,” BA, XII (1949), 86ff.; C. G. Howie, “The East Gate of Ezekiel’s Temple Enclosure and the Solomonic Gateway of Megiddo,” BASOR, CXVII (1950), 13-19; M. B. Rowton, “The Date of the Founding of Solomon’s Temple,” BASOR, CXVIX (1950), 20-22; P. L. Garber, “Reconstructing Solomon’s Temple,” BA, XIV (1951), 2-24; S. Corbett, “Some Observations on the Gateways to the Herodian Temple in Jerusalem,” PEQ (1952), 7-14; J. Simons, Jerusalem in the Old Testament (1952); A. Parrot, Le Temple de Jérusalem (1954); D. W. Gooding, “An Impossible Shrine,” Vet Test, XV (1955), 405-420; G. E. Wright, “The Steven’s Reconstruction of the Solomonic Temple,” BA, XVIII (1955), 43ff.; H. Vincent, Le Caractèr du Temple Salomonien (1957); P. L. Garber, “Reconsidering the Reconstruction of Solomon’s Temple,” JBL, LXXVII (1958), 123-127; R. B. Y. Scott, “The Hebrew Cubit,” JBL, LXXVII (1958), 205-214; G. E. Wright and W. F. Albright, “Comments on Professor Garber’s Article [in JBL, LXXVII], JBL, LXXVII (1958), 129-132; H. C. Thomson, “A Row of Cedar Beams,” PEQ, XCII (1960), 57-63; H. Schult, “Der Debir im Solomonischen Temple,” ZDPV, LXXX (1964), 46-54; S. Yeivin, “Was There a High Portal in the First Temple,” Vet Test XIV (1964), 331-343; A. Gelston, “The Foundation of the Second Temple,” Vet Test, XVI (1966), 232-235; W. F. Steinspring, “Wilson’s Arch Revisited,” BA, XXIX (1966), 27-36.