See also Temple
II. EZEKIEL’s PROPHETIC SKETCH
1. Relation to History of Temple:
Wellhausen has said that Ezekiel 40-48 "are the most important in his book, and have been, not incorrectly, called the key to the" (Prolegomena, English translation, 167). He means that Ezekiel’s legislation represents the first draft, or sketch, of a priestly code, and that subsequently, on its basis, men of the priestly school formulated the Priestly Code as we have it. Without accepting this view, dealt with elsewhere, it is to be admitted that Ezekiel’s sketch of a restored temple in chapters 40-43 has important bearings on the history of the Temple, alike in the fact that it presupposes and sheds back light upon the structure and arrangements of the first Temple (Solomon’s), and that in important respects it forecasts the plans of the second (Zerubbabel’s) and of Herod’s temples.
2. The Conception Unique and Ideal:
While, however, there is this historical relation, it is to be observed that Ezekiel’s temple-sketch is unique, presenting features not found in any of the actually built temples. The temple is, in truth, an ideal construction never intended to be literally realized by returned exiles, or any other body of people. Visionary in origin, the ideas embodied, and not the actual construction, are the main things to the prophet’s mind. It gives Ezekiel’s conception of what a perfectly restored temple and the service of Yahweh would be under conditions which could scarcely be thought of as ever likely literally to arise. A literal construction, one may say, was impossible. The site of the temple is not the old Zion, but "a very high mountain" (
3. Its Symmetrical Measurements:
The visionary character of the temple has the effect of securing that its measurements are perfectly symmetrical. The cubit used is defined as "a cubit and a handbreadth" (
II. Plan of the Temple.
Despite obscurities and corruption in the text of Ezekiel, the main outlines of the ideal temple can be made out without much difficulty (for details the commentaries must be consulted; A. B. Davidson’s "Ezekiel" in the Cambridge Bible series may be recommended; compare also Keil; a very lucid description is given in Skinner’s "Book of Ezk," in the Expositor’s Bible, 406-13; for a different view, see Caldecott, The Second Temple in Jerusalem).
1. The Outer Court:
2. The Inner Court:
See ALTAR OF BURNT OFFERING.
3. The Temple Building and Adjuncts:
Such, in general, was the sanctuary of the prophet’s vision, the outer and inner courts of which, and, crowning all, the temple itself, rising in successive terraces, presented to his inner eye an imposing spectacle which, in labored description, he seeks to enable his readers likewise to visualize.
III. THE TEMPLE OF ZERUBBABEL
1. The Decree of Cyrus:
Forty-eight years after Nebuchadnezzar’s destruction of the first Temple, the Babylonian empire came to an end (538 BC), and Persia became dominant under Cyrus. In the year following, Cyrus made a decree sanctioning the return of the Jews, and ordering the rebuilding of the Temple at Jerusalem (
2. Founding of the Temple:
The first work of Joshua and Zerubbabel was the building of the altar on its old site in the 7th month of the return (
3. Opposition and Completion of the Work:
The work soon met with opposition from the mixed population of Samaria, whose offer to join it had been refused; hostile representations, which proved successful, were made to the Persian king; from which causes the building was suspended about 15 years, till the 2nd year of Darius Hystaspis (520 BC; Ezr 4). On the other hand, the prophets Haggai and Zechariah stimulated the flagging zeal of the builders, and, new permission being obtained, the work was resumed, and proceeded so rapidly that in 516 BC the temple was completed, and was dedicated with joy (
II. The Temple Structure.
1. The House:
Few details are available regarding this temple of Zerubbabel. It stood on the ancient site, and may have been influenced in parts of its plan by the descriptions of the temple in Ezekiel. The inferiority to the first Temple, alluded to in
2. Its Divisions and Furniture:
The temple was divided, like its predecessor, into a holy and a most holy place, doubtless in similar proportions. In 1 Macc 1:22 mention is made of the "veil" between the two places. The most holy place, as just said, was empty, save for a stone on which the high priest, on the great, placed his censer (Yoma’ v.2). The holy place had its old furniture, but on the simpler scale of the tabernacle--a golden altar of incense, a single table of shewbread, one 7-branched candlestick. These were taken away by (1 Macc 1:21,22). At the cleansing of the sanctuary after its profanation by this prince, they were renewed by Judas Maccabeus (1 Macc 4:41 ff). Judas pulled down also the old desecrated altar, and built a new one (1 Macc 4:44 ff).
3. Its Courts, Altar, etc.:
The second temple had two courts--an outer and an inner (1 Macc 4:38,48; 9:54; Josephus, Ant, XIV, xvi, 2)--planned apparently on the model of those in Ezekiel. A.R.S. Kennedy infers from the measurements in the Haram that "the area of the great court of the second temple, before it was enlarged by Herod on the South and East, followed that of Ezekiel’s outer court--that is, it measured 500 cubits each way with the sacred rock precisely in the center" (Expository Times, XX, 182). The altar on this old Sakhra site--the first thing of all to be "set on its base" (
A brief contemporary description of this Temple and its worship is given in Aristeas, 83-104. This writer’s interest, however, was absorbed chiefly by the devices for carrying away the sacrificial blood and by the technique of the officiating priests.
4. Later Fortunes:
The vicissitudes of this temple in its later history are vividly recorded in 1 Maccabees and in Josephus. In Ecclesiasticus 50 is given a glimpse of a certain Simon, son of Onias, who repaired the temple, and a striking picture is furnished of the magnificence of the worship in his time. The desecration and pillaging of the sanctuary by Antiochus, and its cleansing and restoration under Judas are alluded to above (see Hasmoneans; Maccabaeus). At length Judea became an integral part of the Roman empire. In 66 BC Pompey, having taken the temple-hill, entered the most holy place, but kept his hands off the temple-treasures (Ant., XIV, iv, 4). Some years later Crassus carried away everything of value he could find (Ant., XIV, vii, 1). The people revolted, but Rome remained victorious. This brings us to the time of Herod, who was nominated king of Judea by Rome in 39 BC, but did not attain actual power until two years later.
IV. THE TEMPLE OF HEROD
1. Initiation of the Work:
Herod became king de facto by the capture of Jerusalem in 37 BC. Some years later he built the fortress Antonia to the North of the temple (before 31 BC). Midway in his reign, assigning a religious motive for his purpose, he formed the project of rebuilding the temple itself on a grander scale (Josephus gives conflicting dates; in Ant, XV, xi, 1, he says "in his 18th year"; in BJ, I, xxi, 1, he names his 15th year; the latter date, as Schurer suggests (GJV4, I 369), may refer to the extensive preparations). To allay the distrust of his subjects, he undertook that the materials for the new building should be collected before the old was taken down; he likewise trained 1,000 priests to be masons and carpenters for work upon the sanctuary; 10,000 skilled workmen altogether were employed upon the task. The building was commenced in 20-19 BC. The naos, or temple proper, was finished in a year and a half, but it took 8 years to complete the courts and cloisters. The total erection occupied a much longer time (compare
2. Its Grandeur:
Built of white marble, covered with heavy plates of gold in front and rising high above its marble-cloistered courts--themselves a succession of terraces--the temple, compared by Josephus to a snow-covered mountain (BJ, V, v, 6), was a conspicuous and dazzling object from every side. The general structure is succinctly described by G. A. Smith: "Herod’s temple consisted of a house divided like its predecessor into the, and the ; a porch; an immediate fore-court with an altar of burnt offering; a Court of Israel; in front of this a Court of Women; and round the whole of the preceding, a " (Jerusalem, II, 502). On the "four courts," compare Josephus, Apion, II, viii.
The original authorities on Herod’s temple are chiefly the descriptions in Josephus (Ant., XV, xi, 3, 5; BJ, V, v, etc.), and the tractate Middoth in the Mishna. The data in these authorities, however, do not always agree. The most helpful modern descriptions, with plans, will be found, with differences in details, in Keil, Biblical Archaeology, I, 187 ff; in Fergusson, Temples of the Jews; in the articles "Temple" in HDB (T. Witton Davies) and Encyclopedia Biblica (G. H. Box); in the important series of papers by A. R. S. Kennedy in The Expository Times (vol XX), "Some Problems of" (compare his article "Temple" in one-vol DB); in Sanday’s Sacred Sites of the Gospels (Waterhouse); latterly in G. A. Smith, Jerusalem, II, 499 ff.
Differences of opinion continue as to the sacred cubit. A. R. S. Kennedy thinks the cubit can be definitely fixed at 17,6 inches. (Expostory Times, XX, 24 ff); G. A. Smith reckons it at 20,67 inches. (Jerusalem, II, 504); T. Witton Davies estimates it at about 18 in. (HDB, IV, 713), etc. W. S. Caldecott takes the cubit of Josephus and the Middoth to be 1 1/5 ft. It will suffice in this sketch to treat the cubit, as before, as approximately equivalent to 18 inches.
II. The Temple and Its Courts.
1. Temple Area--Court of Gentiles:
Josephus states that the area of Herod’s temple was double that of its predecessor (BJ, I, xxi, 1). The Mishna (Mid., ii.2) gives the area as 500 cubits (roughly 750 ft.); Josephus (Ant., XV, xi, 3) gives it as a stadium (about 600 Greek ft.); but neither measure is quite exact. It is generally agreed that on its east, west and south sides Herod’s area corresponded pretty nearly with the limits of the present Haram area (see Jerusalem), but that it did not extend as far North as the latter (Kennedy states the difference at about 26 as compared with 35 acres, and makes the whole perimeter to be about 1,420 yards, ut supra, 66). The shape was an irregular oblong, broader at the North than at the South. The whole was surrounded by a strong wall, with several gates, the number and position of some of which are still matters of dispute. Josephus mentions four gates on the West (Ant., XV, xi, 5), the principal of which, named in Mid., i.3, "the gate of Kiponos," was connected by a bridge across the Tyropoeon with the city (where now is Wilson’s Arch). The same authority speaks of two gates on the South. These are identified with the "Huldah" (mole) gates of the Mishna--the present Double and Triple Gates--which, opening low down in the wall, slope up in tunnel fashion into the interior of the court. The Mishna puts a gate also on the north and one on the east side. The latter may be represented by the modern Golden Gate--a Byzantine structure, now built up. This great court--known later as the "Court of the Gentiles," because open to everyone--was adorned with splendid porticos or cloisters. The colonnade on the south side--known as the Royal Porch--was specially magnificent. It consisted of four rows of monolithic marble columns--162 in all--with Corinthian capitals, forming three aisles, of which the middle was broader and double the height of the other two. The roofing was of carved cedar. The north, west, and east sides had only double colonnades. That on the east side was the " " of the (
2. Inner Sanctuary Inclosure:
(1) Wall, "Chel," "Coregh," Gates.
In the upper or northerly part of this large area, on a much higher level, bounded likewise by a wall, was a second or inner enclosure--the "sanctuary" in the stricter sense (Josephus, BJ, V, v, 2)--comprising the court of the women, the court of Israeland the priests’ court, with the temple itself (Josephus, Ant, XV, xi, 5). The surrounding wall, according to Josephus (BJ, V, v, 2), was 40 cubits high on the outside, and 25 on the inside--a difference of 15 cubits; its thickness was 5 cubits. Since, however, the inner courts were considerably higher than the court of the women, the difference in height may have been some cubits less in the latter than in the former (compare the different measurements in Kennedy, ut supra, 182), a fact which may explain the difficulty felt as to the number of the steps in the ascent (see below). Round the wall without, at least on three sides (some except the West), at a height of 12 (Mid.) or 14 (Jos) steps, was an embankment or terrace, known as the chel (fortification), 10 cubits broad (Mid. says 6 cubits high), and enclosing the whole was a low balustrade or stone parapet (Josephus says 3 cubits high) called the coregh, to which were attached at intervals tablets with notices in Greek and Latin, prohibiting entry to foreigners on pain of death (see The Middle Wall of Partition). From within the coregh ascent was made to the level of the chel by the steps aforesaid, and five steps more led up to the gates (the reckoning is probably to the lower level of the women’s court). Nine gates, with two-storied gatehouses "like towers" (Josephus, BJ, V, v, 3), are mentioned, four on the North, four on the South, and one on the East--the last probably to be identified, though this is still disputed (Waterhouse, etc.), with the "Gate of Nicanor" (Mid.), or "Corinthian Gate" (Jos), which is undoubtedly "the " of
(2) Court of the Women.
The eastern gate, approached from the outside by 12 steps (Mid., ii.3; Maimonides), admitted into the court of the women, so called because it was accessible to women as well as to men. Above its single colonnades were galleries reserved for the use of women. Its dimensions are given in the Mishna as 135 cubits square (Mid., ii.5), but this need not be precise. At its four corners were large roofless rooms for storage and other purposes. Near the pillars of the colonnades were 13 trumpet-shaped boxes for receiving the money-offerings of the people (compare the incident of the widow’s mite,
(3) Inner Courts: Court of Israel; Court of the Priests:
From the women’s court, the ascent was made by 15 semicircular steps (Mid., ii.5; on these steps the Levites chanted, and beneath them their instruments were kept) to the inner court, comprising, at different levels, the court of Israel and the court of the priests. Here, again, at the entrance, was a lofty, richly ornamented gate, which some, as said, prefer to regard as the Gate of Nicanor or Beautiful Gate. Probably, however, the view above taken, which places this gate at the outer entrance, is correct. The Mishna gives the total dimensions of the inner court as 187 cubits long (East to West) and 135 cubits wide (Mid., ii.6; v.1). Originally the court was one, but disturbances in the time of Alexander Janneus (104-78 BC) led, as formerly told, to the greater part being railed off for the exclusive use of the priests (Josephus, Ant, XIII, xiii, 5). In the Mishna the name "court of the priests" is used in a restricted sense to denote the space--11 cubits--between the altar and "the court of Israel" (see the detailed measurements in Mid., v.1). The latter--"the court of Israel"--2 1/2 cubits lower than "the court of the priests," and separated from it by a pointed fence, was likewise a narrow strip of only 11 cubits (Mid., ii.6; v.1). Josephus, with more probability, carries the 11 cubits of the "court of Israel" round the whole of the temple-court (BJ, V, vi). Waterhouse (Sacred Sites, 112) thinks 11 cubits too small for a court of male Israelites, and supposes a much larger enclosure, but without warrant in the authorities (compare Kennedy, ut supra, 183; G. A. Smith, Jerusalem, II, 508 ff).
(4) The Altar, etc.
In the priests’ court the principal object was the great altar of burnt offering, situated on the old site--the Sakhra--immediately in front of the porch of the temple (at 22 cubits distance--the space "between the temple and the altar" of
3. The Temple Building:
(1) House and Porch.
Yet another flight of 12 steps, occupying most of the space between the temple-porch and the altar, led up to the platform (6 cubits high) on which stood the temple itself. This magnificent structure, built, as said before, of blocks of white marble, richly ornamented with gold on front and sides, exceeded in dimensions and splendor all previous temples. The numbers in the Mishna and in Josephus are in parts discrepant, but the general proportions can readily be made out. The building with its platform rose to the height of 100 cubits (150 ft.; the 120 cubits in Josephus, Ant, XV, xi, 3, is a mistake), and was 60 cubits (90 ft.) wide. It was fronted by a porch of like height, but with wings extending 20 cubits (30 ft.) on each side of the temple, making the total breadth of the vestibule 100 cubits (150 ft.) also. The depth of the porch was 10 or 11 cubits; probably at the wings 20 cubits (Jos). The entrance, without doors, was 70 cubits high and 25 cubits wide (Mid. makes 40 cubits high and 20 wide). Above it Herod placed a golden eagle, which the Jews afterward pulled down (Ant., XVII, vi, 3). The porch was adorned with gold.
(2) "Hekhal" and "Debhir".
Internally, the temple was divided, as before, into a holy place (hekhal) and a most holy (debhir)--the former measuring, as in Solomon’s Temple, 40 cubits (60 ft.) in length, and 20 cubits (30 ft.) in breadth; the height, however, was double that of the older Temple--60 cubits (90 ft.; thus Keil, etc., following Josephus, BJ, V, v, 5). Mid., iv.6, makes the height only 40 cubits; A. R. S. Kennedy and G. A. Smith make the debhir a cube--20 cubits in height only. In the space that remained above the holy places, upper rooms (40 cubits) were erected. The holy place was separated from the holiest by a partition one cubit in thickness, before which hung an embroidered curtain or "veil"--that which was rent at the death of Jesus (
(3) The Side-Chambers.
The walls of the temple appear to have been 5 cubits thick, and against these, on the North, West, and South, were built, as in Solomon’s Temple, side-chambers in three stories, 60 cubits in height, and 10 cubits in width (the figures, however, are uncertain), which, with the outer walls, made the entire breadth of the house 60 or 70 cubits. Mid., iv.3, gives the number of the chambers as 38 in all. The roof, which Keil speaks of as "sloping" (Bib. Archaeology, I, 199), had gilded spikes to keep off the birds. A balustrade surrounded it 3 cubits high. Windows are not mentioned, but there would doubtless be openings for light into the holy place from above the sidechambers.
III. New Testament Associations of Herod’s Temple.
1. Earlier Incidents:
Herod’s temple figures so prominently in New Testament history that it is not necessary to do more than refer to some of the events of which it was the scene. It was here, before the incense altar, that the aged Zacharias had the vision which assured him that he should not die childless (
3. The Passion-Week:
The first days of the closing week of the life of Jesus--the week commencing with the
4. Apostolic Church:
5. The Temple in Christian Thought:
In general on the temples see Keil, Biblical Archaeology, I, in which the older literature is mentioned; Fergusson, Temples of the Jews; Comms. on K, Chronicles, Ezr, Neh, and Ezk; articles in the dicts. and encs (DB, HDB, EB); G. A. Smith, Jerusalem and similar works. On Solomon’s Temple, compare Benzinger, Heb. Archaologie. On Ezekiel’s temple, see Skinner’s "" in Expositor’s Bible. On Zerubbabel’s temple, compare W. Shaw Caldecott, The Second Temple in Jerusalem. The original authorities on Herod’s temple are chiefly Josephus, Ant, XV, xi, and BJ, V, v; and the Mishna, Middoth, ii (this section of the Middoth, from Barclay’s Talmud, may be seen in App. I of Fergusson’s work above named). The German literature is very fully given in Schurer, HJP, I, 1, 438 ff (GJV4, I, 392 f). See also the articles of A. R. S. Kennedy in Expository Times, XX, referred to above, and P. Waterhouse, in Sanday, Sacred Sites of the Gospels, 106 ff. On symbolism, compare Westcott, Hebrews, 233 ff. See also articles in this Encyclopedia on parts, furniture, and utensils of the temple, under their several headings.
W. Shaw Caldecott