The Court

The Gentile Court

The Collonades

Surrounding the Court of the Gentiles were a series of "porches" or cloisters through which ran double rows of Corinthian pillars, each cut from marble and measuring 37 feet in height and covered by a flat roof. The entire court was paved with marble. The southern of these porches was known as "Solomon’s Porch" (Acts 3:11). This court derived its name from the fact that Gentiles were permitted into this area provided they conducted themselves in a reverent manner. Gentiles were forbidden from the inner temple areas, and even Roman citizenship did not protect a Gentile who intruded into prohibited areas.

The Outer Courtyard

This picture reveals just how large the Court of the Gentiles was. ArchPark, Israel

"The Temple Mount of Herod had the 500 by 500 cubit soreg designating the original outer court area. "At the end of the court was a soreg (a stone lattice work) which surrounded the consecrated area--the Temple Mount proper in the narrow mishnaic sense, i.e., the "500 cubits by 500 cubits" (Mid. 2:1). According to the Mishnah (Mid. 2:3) the height of the soreg was 10 handbreadths (70 cm. = 28 in.), but Josephus states that it was 3 cubits (1.5 m. = 5 ft.); this latter measurement seems more appropriate for a fence to which were attached plaques written in Greek and Latin forbidding gentiles to pass that point on pain of death. Remains of these inscriptions bearing the Greek text (one complete plaque and one partly preserved) have been discovered in Jerusalem (in 1870 and 1936). Beyond the soreg were 14 steps and then the hel [Chayl] ("rampart"), which was 10 cubits (5 m. = 17 ft.) broad (Mid. 2:3; Wars 5:195-7). Beyond the hel [Chayl] were the wall of the main forecourt (azarah), and the Court of the Women (ezrat nashim). In the outer court were the store-chambers for the shekels and the Temple vessels, and also "shofarot" (chests in the form of horns, i.e., narrow at the top, where the opening was, and wider lower down) for the donations (terumot) of the people (Shek. 2:1)."

[Encyclopaedia Judaica CD, "Temple, Second Temple, Structure, The Temple Square"; (x "the great court" - I Kings 7:12, 9; Ezekiel 42:15-20, 8)]