Second Temple

The Temple of Zerubbabel by Easton

After the return from captivity, under Zerubbabel (q.v.) and the high priest Jeshua, arrangements were almost immediately made to reorganize the long-desolated kingdom. The body of pilgrims, forming a band of 42,360, including children, having completed the long and dreary journey of some four months, from the banks of the Euphrates to Jerusalem, were animated in all their proceeding by a strong religious impulse, and therefore one of their first cares was to restore their ancient worship by rebuilding the temple. On the invitation of Zerubbabel, the governor, who showed them a remarkable example of liberality by contributing personally 1,000 golden darics (probably about $6,000), besides other gifts, the people with great enthusiasm poured their gifts into the sacred treasury (Ezra 2). First they erected and dedicated the altar of Jehovah on the exact spot where it had formerly stood, and they then cleared away the charred heaps of debris which occupied the site of the old temple; and in the second month of the second year (B.C. 535), amid great public excitement and rejoicing (Ps. 116; 117; 118), the foundations of the second temple were laid. A wide interest was felt in this great movement, although it was regarded with mingled feelings by the spectators (Hag. 2:3; Zech. 4:10). The Samaritans made proposals for a co-operation in the work. Zerubbabel and Jeshua and the elders, however, declined all such cooperation: Judah must build the temple without help. Immediately evil reports were spread regarding the Jews. The Samaritans sought to "frustrate their purpose" (Ezra 4:5), and sent messengers to Ecbatana and Susa, with the result that the work was suspended. Seven years after this Cyrus died ingloriously, having killed himself in Syria when on his way back from Egypt to the east, and was succeeded by his son Cambyses (B.C. 529-522), on whose death the "false Smerdis," an imposter, occupied the throne for some seven or eight months, and then Darius Hystaspes became king (B.C. 522). In the second year of this monarch the work of rebuilding the temple was resumed and carried forward to its completion (Ezra 5: 6-17; 6:1-15), under the stimulus of the earnest counsels and admonitions of the prophets Haggai and Zechariah. It was ready for consecration in the spring of B.C. 516, twenty years after the return from captivity. This second temple had not the ark, the Urim and Thummim, the holy oil, the sacred fire, the tables of stone, the pot of manna, and Aaron's rod. As in the tabernacle, there was in it only one golden lamp for the holy place, one table of shewbread, and the incense altar, with golden censers, and many of the vessels of gold that had belonged to Solomon's temple that had been carried to Babylon but restored by Cyrus (Ezra 1:7-11). This second temple also differed from the first in that, while in the latter there were numerous "trees planted in the courts of the Lord," there were none in the former. The second temple also had for the first time a space, being a part of the outer court, provided for proselytes who were worshippers of Jehovah, although not subject to the laws of Judaism. The temple, when completed, was consecrated amid great rejoicings on the part of all the people (Ezra 6:16), although there were not wanting outward evidences that the Jews were no longer an independent people, but were subject to a foreign power. Hag. 2:9 is rightly rendered in the Revised Version, "The latter glory of this house shall be greater than the former," instead of, "The glory of this latter house," etc., in the Authorized Version. The temple, during the different periods of its existence, is regarded as but one house, the one only house of God (comp. 2:3). The glory here predicted is spiritual glory and not material splendour. "Christ himself, present bodily in the temple on Mount Zion during his life on earth, present spiritually in the Church now, present in the holy city, the heavenly Jerusalem, of which he is the temple, calling forth spiritual worship and devotion is the glory here predicted"

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The Temple of Solomon by Easton

Before his death David had "with all his might" provided materials in great abundance for the building of the temple on the summit of Mount Moriah (1 Chr. 22:14; 29:4; 2 Chr. 3:1), on the east of the city, on the spot where Abraham had offered up Isaac (Gen. 22:1-14). In the beginning of his reign Solomon set about giving effect to the desire that had been so earnestly cherished by his father, and prepared additional materials for the building. From subterranean quarries at Jerusalem he obtained huge blocks of stone for the foundations and walls of the temple. These stones were prepared for their places in the building under the eye of Tyrian master-builders. He also entered into a compact with Hiram II., king of Tyre, for the supply of whatever else was needed for the work, particularly timber from the forests of Lebanon, which was brought in great rafts by the sea to Joppa, whence it was dragged to Jerusalem (1 Kings 5). As the hill on which the temple was to be built did not afford sufficient level space, a huge wall of solid masonry of great height, in some places more than 200 feet high, was raised across the south of the hill, and a similar wall on the eastern side, and in the spaces between were erected many arches and pillars, thus raising up the general surface to the required level. Solomon also provided for a sufficient water supply for the temple by hewing in the rocky hill vast cisterns, into which water was conveyed by channels from the "pools" near Bethlehem. One of these cisterns, the "great sea," was capable of containing three millions of gallons. The overflow was led off by a conduit to the Kidron. In all these preparatory undertakings a space of about three years was occupied; and now the process of the erection of the great building began, under the direction of skilled Phoenician builders and workmen, in the fourth year of Solomon's reign, 480 years after the Exodus (1 Kings 6; 2 Chr. 3). Many thousands of labourers and skilled artisans were employed in the work. Stones prepared in the quarries underneath the city (1 Kings 5:17, 18) of huge dimension (see QUARRIES -T0003032) were gradually placed on the massive walls, and closely fitted together without any mortar between, till the whole structure was completed. No sound of hammer or axe or any tool of iron was heard as the structure arose (6:7). "Like some tall palm the noiseless fabric sprang." The building was 60 cubits long, 20 cubits wide, and 30 cubits high. The engineers of the Israel Exploration Fund, in their explorations around the temple area, discovered what is believed to have been the "chief corner stone" of the temple, "the most interesting stone in the world." It lies at the bottom of the south-eastern angle, and is 3 feet 8 inches high by 14 feet long. It rests on the solid rock at a depth of 79 feet 3 inches below the present surface. (See PINNACLE -T0002957.) In examining the walls the engineers were "struck with admiration at the vastness of the blocks and the general excellence of the workmanship." At length, in the autumn of the eleventh year of his reign, seven and a half years after it had been begun, the temple was completed in all its architectural magnificence and beauty. For thirteen years there it stood, on the summit of Moriah, silent and unused. The reasons for this strange delay in its consecration are unknown. At the close of these thirteen years preparations for the dedication of the temple were made on a scale of the greatest magnificence. The ark was solemnly brought from the tent in which David had deposited it to the place prepared for it in the temple, and the glory-cloud, the symbol of the divine presence, filled the house. Then Solomon ascended a platform which had been erected for him, in the sight of all the people, and lifting up his hands to heaven poured out his heart to God in prayer (1 Kings 8; 2 Chr. 6, 7). The feast of dedication, which lasted seven days, followed by the feast of tabernacles, marked a new era in the history of Israel. On the eighth day of the feast of tabernacles, Solomon dismissed the vast assemblage of the people, who returned to their homes filled with joy and gladness, "Had Solomon done no other service beyond the building of the temple, he would still have influenced the religious life of his people down to the latest days. It was to them a perpetual reminder and visible symbol of God's presence and protection, a strong bulwark of all the sacred traditions of the law, a witness to duty, an impulse to historic study, an inspiration of sacred song." The temple consisted of, (1.) The oracle or most holy place (1 Kings 6:19; 8:6), called also the "inner house" (6:27), and the "holiest of all" (Heb. 9:3). It was 20 cubits in length, breadth, and height. It was floored and wainscotted with cedar (1 Kings 6:16), and its walls and floor were overlaid with gold (6:20, 21, 30). There was a two-leaved door between it and the holy place overlaid with gold (2 Chr. 4:22); also a veil of blue purple and crimson and fine linen (2 Chr. 3:14; comp. Ex. 26:33). It had no windows (1 Kings 8:12). It was indeed the dwelling-place of God. (2.) The holy place (q.v.), 1 Kings 8:8-10, called also the "greater house" (2 Chr. 3:5) and the "temple" (1 Kings 6:17). (3.) The porch or entrance before the temple on the east (1 Kings 6:3; 2 Chr. 3:4; 29:7). In the porch stood the two pillars Jachin and Boaz (1 Kings 7:21; 2 Kings 11:14; 23:3). (4.) The chambers, which were built about the temple on the southern, western, and northern sides (1 Kings 6:5-10). These formed a part of the building. Round about the building were, (1.) The court of the priests (2 Chr. 4:9), called the "inner court" (1 Kings 6:36). It contained the altar of burnt-offering (2 Chr. 15:8), the brazen sea (4:2-5, 10), and ten lavers (1 Kings 7:38, 39). (2.) The great court, which surrounded the whole temple (2 Chr. 4:9). Here the people assembled to worship God (Jer. 19:14; 26:2). This temple erected by Solomon was many times pillaged during the course of its history, (1) 1 Kings 14:25, 26; (2) 2 Kings 14:14; (3) 2 Kings 16:8, 17, 18; (4) 2 Kings 18:15, 16. At last it was pillaged and destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar (2 Kings 24:13; 2 Chr. 36:7). He burned the temple, and carried all its treasures with him to Babylon (2 Kings 25:9-17; 2 Chr. 36:19; Isa. 64:11). These sacred vessels were at length, at the close of the Captivity, restored to the Jews by Cyrus (Ezra 1:7-11).

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The Destruction of the Jerusalem Temple in 70 AD

The destruction of the Jerusalem Temple by Titus in 70 AD. Painting by Francesco Hayez

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Brief History of the Second Temple by Easton

The temple erected by the exiles on their return from Babylon had stood for about five hundred years, when Herod the Great became king of Judea. The building had suffered considerably from natural decay as well as from the assaults of hostile armies, and Herod, desirous of gaining the favour of the Jews, proposed to rebuild it. This offer was accepted, and the work was begun (B.C. 18), and carried out at great labour and expense, and on a scale of surpassing splendour. The main part of the building was completed in ten years, but the erection of the outer courts and the embellishment of the whole were carried on during the entire period of our Lord's life on earth (John 2:16, 19-21), and the temple was completed only A.D. 65. But it was not long permitted to exist. Within forty years after our Lord's crucifixion, his prediction of its overthrow was accomplished (Luke 19: 41-44). The Roman legions took the city of Jerusalem by storm, and notwithstanding the strenuous efforts Titus made to preserve the temple, his soldiers set fire to it in several places, and it was utterly destroyed (A.D. 70), and was never rebuilt.

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Brief Description of Herod's Temple by Easton

Several remains of Herod's stately temple have by recent explorations been brought to light. It had two courts, one intended for the Israelites only, and the other, a large outer court, called "the court of the Gentiles," intended for the use of strangers of all nations. These two courts were separated by a low wall, as Josephus states, some 4 1/2 feet high, with thirteen openings. Along the top of this dividing wall, at regular intervals, were placed pillars bearing in Greek an inscription to the effect that no stranger was, on the pain of death, to pass from the court of the Gentiles into that of the Jews. At the entrance to a graveyard at the north-western angle of the Haram wall, a stone was discovered by M. Ganneau in 1871, built into the wall, bearing the following inscription in Greek capitals: "No stranger is to enter within the partition wall and enclosure around the sanctuary. Whoever is caught will be responsible to himself for his death, which will ensue." There can be no doubt that the stone thus discovered was one of those originally placed on the boundary wall which separated the Jews from the Gentiles, of which Josephus speaks. It is of importance to notice that the word rendered "sanctuary" in the inscription was used in a specific sense of the inner court, the court of the Israelites, and is the word rendered "temple" in John 2:15 and Acts 21:28, 29. When Paul speaks of the middle wall of partition (Eph. 2:14), he probably makes allusion to this dividing wall. Within this partition wall stood the temple proper, consisting of, (1) the court of the women, 8 feet higher than the outer court; (2) 10 feet higher than this court was the court of Israel; (3) the court of the priests, again 3 feet higher; and lastly (4) the temple floor, 8 feet above that; thus in all 29 feet above the level of the outer court. The summit of Mount Moriah, on which the temple stood, is now occupied by the Haram esh-Sherif, i.e., "the sacred enclosure." This enclosure is about 1,500 feet from north to south, with a breadth of about 1,000 feet, covering in all a space of about 35 acres. About the centre of the enclosure is a raised platform, 16 feet above the surrounding space, and paved with large stone slabs, on which stands the Mohammedan mosque called Kubbet es-Sahkra i.e., the "Dome of the Rock," or the Mosque of Omar. This mosque covers the site of Solomon's temple. In the centre of the dome there is a bare, projecting rock, the highest part of Moriah (q.v.), measuring 60 feet by 40, standing 6 feet above the floor of the mosque, called the sahkra, i.e., "rock." Over this rock the altar of burnt-offerings stood. It was the threshing-floor of Araunah the Jebusite. The exact position on this "sacred enclosure" which the temple occupied has not been yet definitely ascertained. Some affirm that Herod's temple covered the site of Solomon's temple and palace, and in addition enclosed a square of 300 feet at the south-western angle. The temple courts thus are supposed to have occupied the southern portion of the "enclosure," forming in all a square of more than 900 feet. It is argued by others that Herod's temple occupied a square of 600 feet at the south-west of the "enclosure."

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The Dome of the Rock by Easton

The summit of Mount Moriah, on which the temple stood, is now occupied by the Haram esh-Sherif, i.e., "the sacred enclosure." This enclosure is about 1,500 feet from north to south, with a breadth of about 1,000 feet, covering in all a space of about 35 acres. About the centre of the enclosure is a raised platform, 16 feet above the surrounding space, and paved with large stone slabs, on which stands the Mohammedan mosque called Kubbet es-Sahkra i.e., the "Dome of the Rock," or the Mosque of Omar. This mosque covers the site of Solomon's temple. In the centre of the dome there is a bare, projecting rock, the highest part of Moriah (q.v.), measuring 60 feet by 40, standing 6 feet above the floor of the mosque, called the sahkra, i.e., "rock." Over this rock the altar of burnt-offerings stood. It was the threshing-floor of Araunah the Jebusite. The exact position on this "sacred enclosure" which the temple occupied has not been yet definitely ascertained. Some affirm that Herod's temple covered the site of Solomon's temple and palace, and in addition enclosed a square of 300 feet at the south-western angle. The temple courts thus are supposed to have occupied the southern portion of the "enclosure," forming in all a square of more than 900 feet. It is argued by others that Herod's temple occupied a square of 600 feet at the south-west of the "enclosure."

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Second Temple Remains by Easton

Several remains of Herod's stately temple have by recent explorations been brought to light. It had two courts, one intended for the Israelites only, and the other, a large outer court, called "the court of the Gentiles," intended for the use of strangers of all nations. These two courts were separated by a low wall, as Josephus states, some 4 1/2 feet high, with thirteen openings. Along the top of this dividing wall, at regular intervals, were placed pillars bearing in Greek an inscription to the effect that no stranger was, on the pain of death, to pass from the court of the Gentiles into that of the Jews. At the entrance to a graveyard at the north-western angle of the Haram wall, a stone was discovered by M. Ganneau in 1871, built into the wall, bearing the following inscription in Greek capitals: "No stranger is to enter within the partition wall and enclosure around the sanctuary. Whoever is caught will be responsible to himself for his death, which will ensue." There can be no doubt that the stone thus discovered was one of those originally placed on the boundary wall which separated the Jews from the Gentiles, of which Josephus speaks. It is of importance to notice that the word rendered "sanctuary" in the inscription was used in a specific sense of the inner court, the court of the Israelites, and is the word rendered "temple" in John 2:15 and Acts 21:28, 29. When Paul speaks of the middle wall of partition (Eph. 2:14), he probably makes allusion to this dividing wall. Within this partition wall stood the temple proper, consisting of, (1) the court of the women, 8 feet higher than the outer court; (2) 10 feet higher than this court was the court of Israel; (3) the court of the priests, again 3 feet higher; and lastly (4) the temple floor, 8 feet above that; thus in all 29 feet above the level of the outer court.

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The Inner Court of Herod's Temple from Unger's Bible Dictionary

The entrance to the court of the Israelites was the western gate of the outer court and was reached by a stair of fifteen steps. This inner court measured 187 cubits long (from E to W) and 135 wide (from S to N), and surrounded the Temple. Against its walls were chambers for storing the utensils required for the services. It had three gates on both the S and N sides, making seven entrances in all. Eleven cubits of the eastern end were partitioned off by a stone balustrade 1 cubit high, for the men (the court of the Israelites), separating it from the rest of the space that went to form the court of the priests. In this latter court stood the altar of burnt offering, made of unwrought stone, 30 cubits in length and breadth, and 15 high. West of this was the Temple, and between it and the altar stood the laver.

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The Temple Proper in Herod's Temple From Unger's Bible Dictionary

The Temple stood so much higher than the court of the priests that it was approached by a flight of twelve steps. It stood in the western end of the inner court on the NW part of the Temple mount and was built, according to Josephus (Ant. 15.11.3), upon new foundations of massive blocks of white marble, richly ornamented with gold both inside and out. Some of these stones were 45 cubits long, 6 broad, and 5 high. Its length and height, including the porch, were 100 cubits; on each side of the vestibule there was a wing 20 cubits wide, making the total width of this part of the building 100 cubits. The porch was 10 cubits deep, measuring from E to W, 50 wide, 90 in height, and had an open gateway 70 cubits high and 25 in width. The interior of the Temple was divided into the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies. "The temple had doors also at the entrance, and lintels over them, of the same height with the temple itself. They were adorned with embroidered veils, with their flowers of purple, and pillars interwoven: and over these, but under the crown-work, was spread out a golden vine, with its branches hanging down from a great height" (Josephus Ant. 15.11.3). The holy place was 40 cubits long, 20 wide, and 60 in height. It contained one golden lampstand, a single table of the bread of the Presence, and one altar of incense. Separated from it by a wooden partition was the Holy of Holies, 20 cubits long and 60 high, which was empty. The rabbinical writers maintain that there were two veils over its entrance. It was this veil that was rent on the occasion of our Lord's crucifixion. As in the case of Solomon's Temple, side rooms three stories high were built on the sides of the main structure. For a discussion of recent excavation on the Temple mount, see Jerusalem.

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Initiation of the Work of Herod's Temple ISBE

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 Jn 2:20, "Forty and six years," etc.); indeed the work was not entirely completed till 64 AD-6 years before its destruction by the Romans.

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The Grandeur of Herod's Temple ISBE

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 Holy of Holies, and the Holy Place; 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 Court of the Gentiles" (Jerusalem, II, 502). On the "four courts," compare Josephus, Apion, II, viii.

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Original Authorities on Herod's Temple ISBE

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.

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Measurements of Herod's Temple ISBE

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.

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Court of Gentiles in Herod's Temple ISBE

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 "Solomon's Porch" of the New Testament (Jn 10:23; Acts 3:11; 5:19). There were also chambers for officials, and perhaps a place of meeting for the Sanhedrin (beth din) (Josephus places this elsewhere). In the wide spaces of this court took place the buying and selling described in the Gospels (Mt 21:12 and parallel's; Jn 2:13 ff).

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Walls and Gates of Herod's Temple

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 PARTITION, THE MIDDLE WALL OF). 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 Beautiful Gate" of Acts 3:2,10 (see for identification, Kennedy, ut supra, 270). This principal gate received its names from being the gift of a wealthy Alexandrian Jew, Nicanor, and from its being made of Corinthian brass. It was of great size--50 cubits high and 40 cubits wide--and was richly adorned, its brass glittering like gold (Mid., ii.3). See BEAUTIFUL GATE. The other gates were covered with gold and silver (Josephus, BJ, V, v, 3).

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Court of the Women in Herod's Temple ISBE

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, Mk 12:41 ff; Lk 21:1 ff); for which reason, and because this court seems to have been the place of deposit of the temple-treasures generally, it bore the name "treasury" (gazophulakion, Jn 8:20).

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The Inner Courts of Herod's Temple ISBE

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).

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The Altar in Herod's Temple ISBE

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 Mt 23:35). The altar, according to the Mishna (Mid., iii.1), was 32 cubits square, and, like Ezekiel's, rose in stages, each diminishing by a cubit: one of 1 cubit in height, three of 5 cubits, which, with deduction of another cubit for the priests to walk on, left a square of 24 cubits at the top. It had four horns. Josephus, on the other hand, gives 50 cubits for the length and breadth, and 15 cubits for the height of the altar (BJ, V, v, 6)--his reckoning perhaps including a platform (a cubit high?) from which the height is taken (see ALTAR). The altar was built of unhewn stones, and had on the South a sloping ascent of like material, 32 cubits in length and 16 in width. Between temple and altar, toward the South, stood the "laver" for the priests. In the court, on the north side, were rings, hooks, and tables, for the slaughtering, flaying and suspending of the sacrificial victims.

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The House and Porch of Herod's Temple ISBE

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.

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The Hekhal and the Debhir of Herod's Temple ISBE

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 (Mt 27:51 and parallel's; Mid., iv.7, makes two veils, with a space of a cubit between them). The Holy of Holies was empty; only a stone stood, as in the temple of Zerubbabel, on which the high priest placed his censer on the Day of Atonement (Mishna, Yoma', v.2). In the holy place were the altar of incense, the table of shewbread (North), and the seven-branched golden candlestick (South). Representations of the two latter are seen in the carvings on the Arch of Titus (see SHEWBREAD, TABLE OF; CANDLESTICK, THE GOLDEN). The spacious entrance to the holy place had folding doors, before which hung a richly variegated Babylonian curtain. Above the entrance was a golden vine with clusters as large as a man (Josephus, Ant, XV, xi, 3; BJ, V, v, 4).

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The Hekhal and the Debhir of Herod's Temple ISBE

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 (Mt 27:51 and parallel's; Mid., iv.7, makes two veils, with a space of a cubit between them). The Holy of Holies was empty; only a stone stood, as in the temple of Zerubbabel, on which the high priest placed his censer on the Day of Atonement (Mishna, Yoma', v.2). In the holy place were the altar of incense, the table of shewbread (North), and the seven-branched golden candlestick (South). Representations of the two latter are seen in the carvings on the Arch of Titus (see SHEWBREAD, TABLE OF; CANDLESTICK, THE GOLDEN). The spacious entrance to the holy place had folding doors, before which hung a richly variegated Babylonian curtain. Above the entrance was a golden vine with clusters as large as a man (Josephus, Ant, XV, xi, 3; BJ, V, v, 4).

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The Side Chambers of the Holy Place in Herod's Temple ISBE

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.

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Jesus in the Temple ISBE

The chronological sequence of the Fourth Gospel depends very much upon the visits of Jesus to the temple at the great festivals (see JESUS CHRIST). At the first of these occurred the cleansing of the temple-court--the court of the Gentiles--from the dealers that profaned it (Jn 2:13 ff), an incident repeated at the close of the ministry (Mt 21:12 ff and parallel's). When the Jews, on the first occasion, demanded a sign, Jesus spoke of the temple of His body as being destroyed and raised up in three days (Jn 2:19), eliciting their retort, "Forty and six years was this temple in building," etc. (Jn 2:20). This may date the occurrence about 27 AD. At the second cleansing He not only drove out the buyers and sellers, but would not allow anyone to carry anything through this part of the temple (Mk 11:15-17). In Jn His zeal flamed out because it was His Father's house; in Mk, because it was a house of prayer for all nations (compare Isa 56:7). With this non-exclusiveness agrees the word of Jesus to the woman of Samaria: "The hour cometh, when neither in this mountain (in Samaria), nor in Jerusalem, shall ye worship the Father" (Jn 4:21). During the two years following His first visit, Jesus repeatedly, at festival times, walked in the temple-courts, and taught and disputed with the Jews. We find Him in Jn 5 at "a feast" (Passover or Purim?); in John 7; 8, at "the feast of tabernacles," where the temple-police were sent to apprehend Him (7:32,45 ff), and where He taught "in the treasury" (8:20); in Jn 10:22 ff, at "the feast of the dedication" in winter, walking in "Solomon's Porch." His teaching on these occasions often started from some familiar temple scene--the libations of water carried by the priests to be poured upon the altar (Jn 7:37 ff), the proselytes (Greeks even) in the great portico (Jn 12:20 ff), etc. Of course Jesus, not being of the priestly order, never entered the sanctuary; His teaching took place in the several courts open to laymen, generally in the "treasury" (see Jn 8:20).

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The Passion Week and Herod's Temple ISBE

The first days of the closing week of the life of Jesus--the week commencing with the Triumphal Entry--were spent largely in the temple. Here He spoke many parables (Mt 21; 22 and parallel's); here He delivered His tremendous arraignment of the Pharisees (Mt 23 and parallel's); here, as He "sat down over against the treasury," He beheld the people casting in their gifts, and praised the poor widow who cast in her two mites above all who cast in of their abundance (Mk 12:41 ff and parallel's). It was on the evening of His last day in the temple that His disciples drew His attention to "the goodly stones and offerings" (gifts for adornment) of the building (Lk 21:5 and parallel's) and heard from His lips the astonishing announcement that the days were coming--even in that generation--in which there should not be left one stone upon another (Lk 21:6 and parallel's). The prediction was fulfilled to the letter in the destruction of the temple by the Romans in 70 AD.

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History of the Second Temple - Wikipedia

The accession of Cyrus the Great of Persia in 538 BCE made the re-establishment of the city of Jerusalem and the rebuilding of the Temple possible. According to the Bible, when the Jewish exiles returned to Jerusalem following a decree from Cyrus the Great (Ezra 1:1-4, 2 Chron 36:22-23), construction started at the original site of Solomon's Temple, which had remained a devastated heap during the approximately 70 years of captivity (Dan. 9:1-2). After a relatively brief halt due to opposition from peoples who had filled the vacuum during the Jewish captivity (Ezra 4), work resumed c. 521 BCE under the Persian King Darius (Ezra 5) and was completed during the sixth year of his reign (c. 518/517 BCE), with the temple dedication taking place the following year. Flavius Josephus records that Herod the Great completely rebuilt the Temple, even going so far as to replace the foundation stones and to smooth off the surface of the Temple Mount. This Temple became known as Herod's Temple. The Romans destroyed Jerusalem and its Temple in 70 CE under Titus, decisively ending the Great Jewish Revolt that had begun four years earlier. The lower levels of the Western Wall form part of the few surviving remains of Herod's complex. Traditional rabbinic sources state that the Second Temple stood for 420 years and based on the 2nd-century work Seder Olam Rabbah, place construction in 350 BCE (3408 AM), 166 years later than secular estimates, and destruction in 70 CE (3829 AM).

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Rebuilding the Temple - Wikipedia

Based on the biblical account, after the return from Babylonian captivity arrangements were immediately made to reorganize the desolated Yehud Province after the demise of the Kingdom of Judah seventy years earlier. The body of pilgrims, forming a band of 42,360, having completed the long and dreary journey of some four months, from the banks of the Euphrates to Jerusalem, were animated in all their proceedings by a strong religious impulse, and therefore one of their first concerns was to restore their ancient house of worship by rebuilding their destroyed Temple and reinstituting the sacrificial rituals known as the korbanot. On the invitation of Zerubbabel, the governor, who showed them a remarkable example of liberality by contributing personally 1,000 golden darics, besides other gifts, the people poured their gifts into the sacred treasury with great enthusiasm. First they erected and dedicated the altar of God on the exact spot where it had formerly stood, and they then cleared away the charred heaps of debris which occupied the site of the old temple; and in the second month of the second year (535 BCE), amid great public excitement and rejoicing, the foundations of the Second Temple were laid. A wide interest was felt in this great movement, although it was regarded with mixed feelings by the spectators. The Samaritans made proposals for co-operation in the work. Zerubbabel and the elders, however, declined all such cooperation, feeling that the Jews must build the Temple without help. Immediately evil reports were spread regarding the Jews. According to Ezra 4:5, the Samaritans sought to "frustrate their purpose" and sent messengers to Ecbatana and Susa, with the result that the work was suspended. Seven years later, Cyrus the Great, who allowed the Jews to return to their homeland and rebuild the Temple, died, and was succeeded by his son Cambyses. On his death, the "false Smerdis," an imposter, occupied the throne for some seven or eight months, and then Darius I of Persia became king (522 BCE). In the second year of this monarch the work of rebuilding the temple was resumed and carried forward to its completion, under the stimulus of the earnest counsels and admonitions of the prophets Haggai and Zechariah. It was ready for consecration in the spring of 516 BCE, more than twenty years after the return from captivity. The Temple was completed on the third day of the month Adar, in the sixth year of the reign of King Darius, amid great rejoicings on the part of all the people although it was evident that the Jews were no longer an independent people, but were subject to a foreign power. The Book of Haggai includes a prediction that the glory of the second temple would be greater than that of the first.

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Articles Missing from the First Temple - Wikipedia

Since some of the original artifacts were, according to the biblical account, lost after the destruction of the First Temple, the Second Temple lacked the following holy articles: The Ark of the Covenant, containing the Tablets of Stone, the pot of manna, and Aaron's rod, The Urim and Thummim (parchment contained in the Hoshen), The holy oil, The sacred fire. In the Second Temple, the Kodesh Hakodashim (Holy of Holies) was separated by curtains rather than a wall as in the First Temple. Still, as in the Tabernacle, the Second Temple included: The Menorah (golden lamp) for the Hekhal, The Table of Showbread, The golden altar of incense, with golden censers. The Second Temple also included many of the original vessels of gold that had been taken by the Babylonians but restored by Cyrus the Great. According to Jewish tradition, however, the Temple lacked the Shekinah/Ruach HaKodesh, the dwelling or settling divine presence of God, present in the first.

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Rededication by the Maccabees - Wikipedia

Following the conquest of Judea by Alexander the Great, it became part of the Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt until 200 BCE, when King Antiochus III the Great of Syria defeated King Ptolemy V Epiphanes of Egypt at the Battle of Panion. Judea became at that moment part of the Seleucid empire of Syria. When the Second Temple in Jerusalem was looted and its religious services stopped, Judaism was effectively outlawed. In 167 BCE, Antiochus ordered an altar to Zeus erected in the Temple. He also banned circumcision and ordered pigs to be sacrificed at the altar of the Temple. Following the Maccabean Revolt against the Seleucid empire, the Second Temple was rededicated and became the religious pillar of the Jewish Hasmonean kingdom, as well as culturally associated with the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah.

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Herod's Temple - Wikipedia

Reconstruction of the temple under Herod began with a massive expansion of the Temple Mount. Religious worship and temple rituals continued during the construction process. Following the Great Revolt of the Province of Iudaea, the Temple was destroyed by Roman troops under Titus during the Siege of Jerusalem in 70 CE. The most complete ancient account of this event is The Jewish War by Flavius Josephus. Later Roman governors used the remains to build palaces and a Temple of Jupiter, and the Byzantines a Church. It was not until the Dome of the Rock was built between 687 and 691 that the last remnants of the Temple were taken down. In addition to the platform, some remnants of the Temple remain above ground, including a step leading to the Dome of the Rock that is actually the capstone of the pre-Herodian wall of the Temple Mount platform. The Temple itself was located on the site of what today is the Dome of the Rock. The gates let out close to Al-Aqsa.

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Herod's Temple Construction - Wikipedia

Herod's Temple was one of the larger construction projects of the 1st century BCE. Herod was interested in perpetuating his name for all eternity through building projects, and his construction program was extensive. He had magnificent palaces in Masada, Caesarea and Tiberias. Herod built temples for various pagan gods to serve the gentile populations, which were paid for by heavy taxes on the local Jewish population.[18] But his masterpiece was the Temple of Jerusalem. The old temple built by Zerubbabel was replaced by a magnificent edifice. An agreement was made between Herod and the Jewish religious authorities: the sacrificial rituals, called korbanot, were to be continued unabated for the entire time of construction, and the Temple itself would be constructed by the Kohanim.

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Herod's Temple Platform - Wikipedia

Mt. Moriah had a plateau at the northern end, and steeply declined on the southern slope. It was Herod's plan that the entire mountain be turned into a giant square platform. The Temple Mount was originally intended to be 1600 feet wide by 900 feet deep by 9 stories high, with walls up to 16 feet deep, but had never been finished. To complete it, a trench was dug around the mountain, and huge stone "bricks" were laid. Some of these weighed well over 100 tons, the largest measuring 44.6 feet by 11 feet by 16.5 feet and weighing approximately 567 to 628 tons,[19][20] while most were in the range of 2.5 by 3.5 by 15 feet (approximately 28 tons). King Herod had architects from Greece, Rome and Egypt plan the construction. The blocks were presumably quarried by using pickaxes to create channels. Then they hammered in wooden beams and flushed them with water to force them out. Once they were removed, they were carved into precise squares and numbered at the quarry to show where they would be installed. The final carving would have been done by using harder stones to grind or chisel them to create precise joints. They would have been transported using oxen and specialized carts. Since the quarry was uphill from the temple they had gravity on their side but care needed to be taken to control the descent. Final installation would have been done using pulleys or cranes. Roman pulleys and cranes weren't strong enough to lift the blocks alone so they may have used multiple cranes and levers to position them.[21] As the mountainside began to rise, the western side was carved away to a vertical wall and bricks were carved to create a virtual continuation of the brick face, which was continued for a while until the northern slope reached ground level. Part of the Antonian hill to the north of Moriah was annexed to the complex and the area between was filled up with landfill. The project began with the building of giant underground vaults upon which the temple would be built so it could be larger than the small flat area on top of Mount Moriah. Ground level at the time was at least 20 ft. (6m) below the current level, as can be seen by walking the Western Wall tunnels. Legend has it that the construction of the entire complex lasted only three years, but other sources such as Josephus say that it took far longer, although the Temple itself may have taken that long. During a Passover visit by Jesus the Jews replied that it had been under construction for 46 years.[22] It is possible that the complex was only a few years completed when the future Emperor Titus burnt the place to the ground in 70 CE.

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Pilgrimages to Jerusalem - Wikipedia

A Jew from distant parts of the Roman Empire would arrive by boat at the port of Jaffa (now part of Tel Aviv), where he or she would join a caravan for the three day trek to the Holy City (a trip which only takes about an hour by automobile today), and would then find lodgings in one of the many hotels or hostelries. Once lodging was secured and money changed, the pilgrim would purchase a sacrificial animal, usually a pigeon or a lamb, in preparation for the following day's events. The gleaming white marble of the edifice was visible from well outside the walls of the city. The scale of the building was designed to impress, and it dominated the landscape, effectively becoming the focal point of Jerusalem. Even the three great towers near Herod's palace seemed small in comparison. The first thing a pilgrim would do would be to approach the public entrance on the south side of the Temple Mount complex. He would check his animal, then visit a mikveh, where he would ritually cleanse and purify himself. The pilgrim would then retrieve his sacrificial animal, and head to the Huldah gates. After ascending a staircase three stories in height, and passing through the gate, the pilgrim would find himself in the "Court of the Gentiles."

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The Court of the Gentiles in the Second Temple - Wikipedia

This area was primarily a bazaar, with vendors selling souvenirs, sacrificial animals, food, as well as currency changers, exchanging Roman for Tyrian money because the Jews were not allowed to coin their own money and they viewed Roman currency as an abomination to the Lord,[23] as also mentioned in the New Testament account of Jesus and the Money Changers. Guides that provided tours of the premises were also available. Jewish males had the unique opportunity to be shown inside the temple itself. The Kohanim (Priests), in their white linen robes and tubular hats, were omnipresent, directing pilgrims and advising them what kinds of sacrifices were to be performed. Behind one as they entered the Court of the Gentiles was the Royal Portico, which contained a marketplace, administrative quarters, and a synagogue as well. On the upper floors, the great Jewish sages held court, Cohanim and Levites performed various chores, and from there tourists were able to observe the events. To the east of the court was the Portico of Solomon, and to the north, the Soreg, a giant stone structure separating the public area from the area where only Jews could enter. Within the soreg was the temple itself.

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Inside the Soreg of the Second Temple - Wikipedia

According to Josephus, there were ten entrances into the inner courts, four on the south, four on the north, one on the east and one leading east to west from the Court of Women to the court of the Israelites, named the Nicanor Gate.[24] The gates were: On the south side (going from west to east) the Fuel Gate, the Firstling Gate, the Water Gate. On the north side, from west to east, are the Jeconiah Gate, the Offering Gate, the Women's Gate and the Song Gate. On the Eastern side, the Nicanor gate, which is where most Jewish visitors entered via the Nicanor gate. A few pieces of the Soreg have survived to the present day. Within this area was the court of the women where all Jews, male and female, were permitted. Even a ritually unclean Cohen could enter to perform various housekeeping duties. There was also a place for lepers (considered ritually unclean), as well as a ritual barbershop for Nazirites. In this, the largest of the temple courts, there could be seen constant dancing, singing and music. The Court of the Israelites could only be entered by men. Sacrifices of the high priest in the court of the priests were visible from here. The Court of the Priests was reserved for Levite priests.

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The Second Temple Sanctuary - Wikipedia

Between the entrance of the building and the curtain veiling the Holy of Holies were the famous vessels of the temple: the menorah, the incense-burning altar, and various other implements.

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Destruction of the Second Temple - Wikipedia

In 66 CE the Jewish population rebelled against the Roman empire. Four years later, in 70 CE, Roman legions under Titus retook and subsequently destroyed much of Jerusalem and the Second Temple. The Arch of Titus, located in Rome and built to commemorate Titus's victory in Judea, depict a Roman victory procession with soldiers carrying spoils from the Temple, including the Menorah. Although Jews continued to inhabit the destroyed city, Jerusalem was razed by the Emperor Hadrian at the end of the Bar Kokhba revolt in 135 CE when he established a new city called Aelia Capitolina. The destruction date according to the Hebrew calendar was the 9th of Av, also known as Tisha B'Av (29 or 30 July 70).

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Archaeological Findings from the Second Temple - Wikipedia

After 1967, archaeologists found that the wall extended all the way around the Temple Mount and is part of the city wall near the Lion's Gate. Thus, the Western Wall is not the only remaining part of the Temple Mount. Currently, Robinson's Arch (named after American Edward Robinson) remains as the beginning of an arch that spanned the gap between the top of the platform and the higher ground farther away. This had been used by the priests as an entrance. Commoners had entered through the still-extant, but now plugged, gates on the southern side which led through beautiful colonnades to the top of the platform. One of these colonnades is still extant and reachable through the Temple Mount. The Southern wall was designed as a grand entrance. Recent archeological digs have found thousands of mikvehs (ceremonial bathtubs) for the ritual purification of the worshipers, as well as a grand stairway leading to the now blocked entrance. Inside the walls, the platform was supported by a series of vaulted archways, now called Solomon's Stables, which still exist and whose current renovation by the Waqf is extremely controversial. The temple itself was constructed of imported white marble that gleamed in the daylight. On September 25, 2007 Yuval Baruch, archaeologist with the Israeli Antiquities Authority announced the discovery of a quarry compound which may have provided King Herod with the stones to build his Temple on the Temple Mount. Coins, pottery and an iron stake found proved the date of the quarrying to be about 19 BCE. Archaeologist Ehud Netzer confirmed that the large outlines of the stone cuts is evidence that it was a massive public project worked by hundreds of slaves.

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Destruction and Siege of Jerusalem Painting by Roberts

The Siege and Destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans Under the Command of Titus, A.D. 70, Oil on canvas, 1850. (1850 painting by David Roberts)

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Plans of the Second Temple

These four drawings represent plans of the Temple of Herod in Jerusalem during the Second Temple Period or First Century AD.

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The Temple in Christian Thought - ISBE

From the time that the temple ceased to exist, the Talmud took its place in Jewish estimation; but it is in Christianity rather than in Judaism that the temple has a perpetual existence. The New Testament writers make no distinction between one temple and another. It is the idea rather than the building which is perpetuated in Christian teaching. The interweaving of temple associations with Christian thought and life runs through the whole New Testament. Jesus Himself supplied the germ for this development in the word He spoke concerning the temple of His body (Jn 2:19,21). Paul, notwithstanding all he had suffered from Jews and Jewish Christians, remained saturated with Jewish ideas and modes of thought. In one of his earliest Epistles he recognizes the "Jerus that is above" as "the mother of us all" (Gal 4:26 the King James Version). In another, the "man of sin" is sitting "in the temple of God" (2 Thess 2:4). The collective church (1 Cor 3:16,17), but also the individual believer (1 Cor 6:19), is a temple. One notable passage shows how deep was the impression made upon Paul's mind by the incident connected with Trophimus the Ephesian (Acts 21:29). That "middle wall of partition" which so nearly proved fatal to him then was no longer to be looked for in the Christian church (Eph 2:14), which was "a holy temple" in the Lord (Eph 2:21). It is naturally in the Epistle to the Hebrews that we have the fullest exposition of ideas connected with the temple, although here the form of allusion is to the tabernacle rather than the temple (see TABERNACLE; compare Westcott on Hebrews, 233 ff). The sanctuary and all it included were but representations of heavenly things. Finally, in Revelation, the vision is that of the heavenly temple itself (11:19). But the church--professing Christendom?--is a temple measured by God's command (11:1,2 ff). The climax is reached in 21:22-23: "I saw no temple therein (i.e. in the holy city): for the Lord God the Almighty, and the Lamb, are the temple thereof .... and the lamp thereof is the Lamb." Special ordinances are altogether superseded.

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The Apostles - ISBE

Seven weeks after the crucifixion the Pentecost of Acts 2 was observed. The only place that fulfils the topographical conditions of the great gatherings is Solomon's Porch. The healing of the lame man (Acts 3:1 ff) took place at the "door .... called Beautiful" of the temple, and the multitude after the healing ran together into "Solomon's Porch" or portico (Acts 3:11). Where also were the words of Lk 24:53, they "were continually in the temple, blessing God," and after Pentecost (Acts 2:46), "day by day, continuing stedfastly .... in the temple," etc., so likely to be fulfilled? For long the apostles continued the methods of their Master in daily teaching in the temple (Acts 4:1 ff). Many years later, when Paul visited Jerusalem for the last time, he was put in danger of his life from the myriads of Jewish converts "all zealous for the law" (Acts 21:20), who accused him of profaning the temple by bringing Greeks into its precincts, i.e. within the coregh (Acts 21:28-30). But Christianity had now begun to look farther afield than the temple. Stephen, and after him Saul, who became Paul, preached that "the Most High dwelleth not in houses made with hands" (Acts 7:48; 17:24), though Paul himself attended the temple for ceremonial and other purposes (Acts 21:26).

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The Apostles - ISBE

Seven weeks after the crucifixion the Pentecost of Acts 2 was observed. The only place that fulfils the topographical conditions of the great gatherings is Solomon's Porch. The healing of the lame man (Acts 3:1 ff) took place at the "door .... called Beautiful" of the temple, and the multitude after the healing ran together into "Solomon's Porch" or portico (Acts 3:11). Where also were the words of Lk 24:53, they "were continually in the temple, blessing God," and after Pentecost (Acts 2:46), "day by day, continuing stedfastly .... in the temple," etc., so likely to be fulfilled? For long the apostles continued the methods of their Master in daily teaching in the temple (Acts 4:1 ff). Many years later, when Paul visited Jerusalem for the last time, he was put in danger of his life from the myriads of Jewish converts "all zealous for the law" (Acts 21:20), who accused him of profaning the temple by bringing Greeks into its precincts, i.e. within the coregh (Acts 21:28-30). But Christianity had now begun to look farther afield than the temple. Stephen, and after him Saul, who became Paul, preached that "the Most High dwelleth not in houses made with hands" (Acts 7:48; 17:24), though Paul himself attended the temple for ceremonial and other purposes (Acts 21:26).

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Christ's Prophesy of Desolation by Fausset

The Jews' "house was left desolate," according to Christ's prophecy, 37 years before the event; though Titus wished to spare it, the fury of his soldiers and the infatuation of the Jewish zealots thwarted his wish, and unconsciously fulfilled the decree of God; and fragments of old pottery and broken lamps now are found where the light of Jehovah's glory once shone, Hadrian, the emperor, in 130, erected on the site a temple to Jupiter Capitolinus. The apostate emperor Julian tried to rebuild the temple, POTTERY TRADE MARKS. but was thwarted by balls of fire which interrupted the workmen. The mosque of Omar has long stood on the site of the temple in the S.W. of the Harem area. But when "the times of the Gentiles shall be fulfilled, "and when the Jews shall look to Jesus and say, "Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord," the kingdom with its temple will come again to Israel (Luke 13:35; Luke 21:24; Acts 1:6-7). (See VEIL.)

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Korban Inscription with Doves for Sacrifice in Herod's Temple

Cast of the top of a stone vessel incised with two doves and the Hebrew word "Korban" (Sacrifice). Found in excavations at the wailing wall, Jerusalem, Herodian Period. The Israeli Museum, Jerusalem. [Image of the Korban Inscription]

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Temple Menorah and other Implements Incised on Plaster

Incised on plaster of a house wall found in the Jewish quarter of old Jerusalem. Herod’s time (40-48 A.D.) The Israel Museum, Jerusalem. [Image of Temple Menorah]

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Roman Legion Inscription from the Destroyers of Herod's Temple

Tile inscribed with "Legio X Fretensis" – the name of the Roman legion which destroyed Jerusalem. Studium Biblicum Franciscanum, Jerusalem. [Image of the Roman Legion Inscription]

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Black and White Sketch by Ritmeyer

The Temple Mount during the Second Temple Period.

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Herod's Temple Illustration

Diagram of Herod's Temple with identification of the various gates, buildings, and courts.

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Schematic Plan of the Temple

Diagram of Herod's Temple with the locations of inner and outer courts, rooms, gates, porches, porticoes, and buildings after the Avi Yonah model in Jerusalem.

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City of Jerusalem in the First Century Showing Herod's Temple

This drawing depicts the city of Jerusalem in the early first century AD. It reveals the walls, gates, towers, and various locations of springs and sites.

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Temple of Herod Devotional Bible Study

The Temple and it’s sacrifices provided a stage whereby a story was told, of a Supreme sacrifice that would be paid for the sins of mankind. Though built by Herod, Jesus called it "my father’s house." It’s grandeur was immense, it’s beauty could be seen glimmering in the sun from miles away. It housed the continuing worship of God, by the Levitical system of vicarious atonement through blood sacrifice, declaring to the world, the immensity of it’s sin, and the power of God’s grace. The Son of God entered it’s hallowed grounds, and cleansed it of corrupt profiteering on the part of the religious leaders at the beginning of His ministry, and once again nearing it’s end, preserving it’s message of justice and mercy by the righteous and loving Creator. The pinnacle of the temple provided a location for the devil to tempt the Lord into taking His authority prematurely, unwisely, and pridefully, against the nature and character of the Father. The courts of the gentiles provided an awe inspiring backdrop for the Messiah to teach the multitudes who gathered to experience His glory and unparalleled wisdom. The courts of the temple provided a location for a lesson on giving, as Jesus pointed out that the widow who gave 2 mites, offered more than all the wealthy put together, because it cost her more, giving all she had. But as beautiful and holy as the Jerusalem Temple was, it was still only a building, who’s ultimate meaning was in teaching that humanity was indeed enslaved within a sinful nature, and man’s approach to God was not automatic or cost free. The Holy God had provided a means, and the temple declared that the means was through a vicarious payment for man’s sins. The Passover lambs, the scapegoats, the blood taken into the Holy of Holies on the Day of Atonement, all testified that man’s sinfulness exacted a terrible price, and the price must be paid. Yet, the writer of Hebrews realized by the Holy Spirit, that the blood of bulls and goats could not take away sins permanently. They were but checks, that would have to be covered by the blood in the bank account of the True Lamb of God, Jesus Christ. (Heb. 10:4) After the unspeakable gift of Christ’s sacrifice upon a Roman cross paid for the sins of the world, the temple no longer provided that vicarious access to God. It’s veil, which separated man from the very Presence of God Himself, was miraculously torn in two, from top to bottom, declaring that the way of approach to God was no longer found inside this granite and marble structure, but now was open to all, who would enter by the sacrifice once for all given, by Jesus Christ. (Mat 27:51) The new abode of God, was each individual who accepts this sacrifice on their behalf, becomes filled with the Holy Spirit, and thus becomes a glorious individual temple of God. As we understand the majesties of the Jerusalem Temple, we must realize that by accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior, we by far outshine the former temple in our value to God, who loves us, and paid the supreme price for our redemption.

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The Eight Gates Leading Into the Temple

There were eight gates leading into the temple. There were the two Huldah Gates or "mole" Gates from the south, which passed underneath the Royal Porch. To the east was the Gate of Susa, still visible as the Golden Gate which was walled up by the Byzantines. In the western wall was the main gate named the Gate of Coponius after the first procurator; it was decorated with the golden eagle as a sign that the Temple had been placed under the protection of Rome. Anyone was allowed to enter the outer area, which was therefore called the Court of the Gentiles. The actual Temple was enclosed by a balustrade, and at the entrances to it were warning notices, one of them is now in a museum in Istanbul. It says that foreigners have freedom of access provided they do not go beyond the balustrade which went all around the central edifice and which no uncircumcised could cross without incurring the death penalty. Fourteen steps led through the Beautiful Gate to the Court of the women where the poor boxes were, into one of which the poor widow cast her two mites (Luke 21:1-4). Another fifteen steps led up to the famous Gate of Nicanor, to which Mary had brought the child at the time of his presentation; this led through the Court of the Men to that of the priests, which had in its center the altar for the burnt offerings and to the left of it a large basin called the Brazen Sea resting upon twelve bulls cast in bronze. Further steps led up to the actual temple, a comparatively small building. A priceless curtain, embroidered with a map of the known world, concealed from view what lay beyond, and none except the priest on duty was allowed to go farther. It contained the golden altar at which incense was offered and next to it the seven-branched candelabrum and the table with the twelve loaves of shewbread, which were replaced by fresh ones every sabbath. Beyond it, behind another large curtain, lay the Holy of Holies, which none except the high priest was allowed to enter, and he only on the Day of Atonement. A stone designated the place where once the Ark of the Covenant had stood. Jesus came to the Temple at a very young age and in Solomon's Porch the boy argued with the rabbis, astonishing them with his questions and with his answers. He remained behind when his parents left, and when his worried mother at last found him he said to her enigmatically: "'Did you not know that I must be in my Father's house?"' (Luke 2:49). It is one of the most original sayings of Jesus, in which he speaks of God for the first time as "avi" (My Father) which was an expression reserved for the Son of God. Today the Western Wall, the so-called Wailing Wall, is all that remains of the ancient walls of Herod's Temple; one can still see the pilaster and the beginning of Robinson’s Arch, which was part of a large viaduct leading to the upper city. Excavations in 1967, led by the well-known archaeologist Benjamin Mazar, revealed the cornerstone. Adjacent to it on the southern side remain traces of the road from which the pilgrims entered the gates.

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The Colonnades of the Temple

The historian Josephus describes the Second Temple colonnades: "All the cloisters were double, and the pillars to them belonging were twenty-five cubits in height, and supported -the cloisters. These pillars were of one entire stone each of them, and that stone was white marble; and the roofs were adorned with cedar, curiously graven. The natural magnificence, and excellent polish, and the harmony of the joints in these cloisters, afforded a prospect that was very remarkable; nor was it on the outside adorned with any work of the painter or engraver. The cloisters -(of the outmost court) were in breadth thirty cubits, while the entire compass of it was by measure six furlongs, including the tower of Antonia; those entire courts that were exposed to the air were laid with stones of all sorts" (Jewish War 5. 5. 2). The eastern portico was named after King Solomon and the part to the south, which overlooked the Valley of Kidron, was called "Royal." On the east side the high corner was possibly the pinnacle of the temple, mentioned in the story of the temptation of Jesus (Matthew 4:5). When Jesus came to Jerusalem, the Temple had just been marvelously rebuilt by Herod the Great. The Temple area had been enlarged to a size of about thirty-five acres. Around the Temple area were double colonnades.

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The Priests of Herod's Temple

The priests officiated at the altar of sacrifice. There were actually a multitude of priests from a long line of priestly families whose genealogies were recorded in the Torah. To be accepted into the priesthood strict measures were in order, since the Jews believed that true worship can only be conducted and led by properly qualified men. Only the descendants of the sons of Aaron could be priests, although the descendants of Levi can perform a limited number of functions. At the head of the priesthood and head of the Jewish people was the High Priest who was also a political leader who negotiated with neighboring governments. From the beginning of Hebrew history the High Priest sprinkled the blood of sacrifice on the mercy seat at Yom Kippur and led the Jewish people in Temple worship. It is important to note that the high priest was different than the chief priests who were the heads of priestly families.

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Overview of the Temple of Herod

The Temple Jesus knew was the Temple renovated, enlarged and beautified by Herod the Great. Architecturally it was new; religiously it was still Zerubbabel's Temple, rebuilt after the Jews returned from the Babylonian exile. The six centuries between the return from exile and the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD are known in Jewish history as the age of the second Temple. Even though the synagogue was the commonplace of local Jewish life and worship, the Jerusalem temple was the commonplace of national Jewish life and worship. The Jewish Temple in Jerusalem told the world the fact that there is only one God. The synagogue was mainly a place of instruction, yet the Temple differed greatly, being a place of sacrifice. Jews within Israel, and those who lived outside Israel (the Diaspora), saw the Temple as the symbol of unity. Every year, Jews throughout the world send large contributions to the Temple, and most Jews longed for the opportunity to visit the Temple at least once in their lifetime. The Temple courts were always crowded, and Temple worship and sacrifices happened every morning and every evening.

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Mount Moriah and Herod's Temple

The Site – The Temple Mount. The site on which Herod’s Temple stood during the time of Jesus is believed to be the same holy mountain known in the Old Testament as "Mount Moriah" which was one of the hills in "The land of Moriah" where Abraham, the first Hebrew, went to build an altar and offer up his son Isaac. It is also the hill in Jerusalem on which Solomon built the Temple, on the spot once occupied by the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite. The Jews themselves believe that the rock, which sticks out on the top of the Temple hill, is exactly the spot where the altar of burnt offering in the Temple stood and the very site of the altar on which Abraham intended to offer up his son. Gen 22:2 "Then He said, "Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you." 2 Chron 3:1-2 "Now Solomon began to build the house of the LORD at Jerusalem on Mount Moriah, where the LORD had appeared to his father David, at the place that David had prepared on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite. "

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Solomon's Temple

Solomon's Temple had stood on the site of Mount Moriah for over 350 years before the Babylonians destroyed it in 586 BC beyond the possibility of repair. Solomon built the temple on the east side of Jerusalem on Mount Moriah, "where the Lord had appeared to his father David, at the place that David had prepared on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite" (1 Chron 21:28; 2 Chron 3:1). King David was forbidden to build God’s house: "But the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 'You have shed much blood, and have waged great wars; you shall not build a house to My name, because you have shed so much blood on the earth before Me'" (1 Chron 22:8). But David’s son Solomon was a man of peace and began the project of constructing God a house of worship. To secure an adequate site for the Temple and its courts, an area of at least 600 by 300 feet was required. The summit of the hill had to be leveled and slightly enlarged by means of fill and retaining walls built on the sides. The construction was completed in the eleventh year of Solomon's reign, (in seven and a half years, 953 BC). Chron 22:9-10 Behold, a son shall be born to you, who shall be a man of rest; and I will give him rest from all his enemies all around. His name shall be Solomon, for I will give peace and quietness to Israel in his days. He shall build a house for My name, and he shall be My son, and I will be his Father; and I will establish the throne of his kingdom over Israel forever.' The highest part of Mount Moriah is now the site of the building called The Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem. The Destruction of Solomon’s Temple Jer 52:12-14 "Now in the fifth month, on the tenth day of the month (which was the nineteenth year of King Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon), Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard, who served the king of Babylon, came to Jerusalem. He burned the house of the LORD and the king's house; all the houses of Jerusalem, that is, all the houses of the great, he burned with fire. And all the army of the Chaldeans who were with the captain of the guard broke down all the walls of Jerusalem all around."

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Zerubbabel's Temple

About 70 years after the destruction of Solomon’s Temple and the Jewish deportation an entirely new Temple was built on Mount Moriah, by a decree of the Persian king. The new Temple was dedicated on March 12, 515 BC, some very old people who could remember Solomon's Temple regarded it a poor thing in comparison with the splendor of the original Temple. Yet their prophet Haggai predicted far greater glory for it in days to come (Haggai 2:3-9). Hag 2:3-9 "'Who is left among you who saw this temple in its former glory? And how do you see it now? In comparison with it, is this not in your eyes as nothing? Yet now be strong, Zerubbabel,' says the LORD; 'and be strong, Joshua, son of Jehozadak, the high priest; and be strong, all you people of the land,' says the LORD, 'and work; for I am with you,' says the LORD of hosts. 'According to the word that I covenanted with you when you came out of Egypt, so My Spirit remains among you; do not fear!' "For thus says the LORD of hosts:' Once more (it is a little while) I will shake heaven and earth, the sea and dry land; and I will shake all nations, and they shall come to the Desire of All Nations, and I will fill this temple with glory,' says the LORD of hosts. 'The silver is Mine, and the gold is Mine,' says the LORD of hosts. 'The glory of this latter temple shall be greater than the former,' says the LORD of hosts. 'And in this place I will give peace,' says the LORD of hosts." The high priesthood in the new Temple remained for nearly 350 years in the family of Zadok, which had filled the chief priests in Solomon's Temple from its dedication onwards. The Temple was repaired and enlarged at various times between Zerubbabel and Herod.

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Court of the Gentiles by Edersheim

It was the rule when entering the Temple to pass in by the right, and when leaving it to go out by the left hand. The great Court of the Gentiles, * which formed the lowest or outer enclosure of the Sanctuary, was paved with the finest variegated marble. We have adopted this name as in common use, though Relandus (Antiq. p. 78) rightly objects that the only term for it used in Jewish writings is the 'mountain of the house.' According to Jewish tradition, it formed a square of 750 feet. Its name is derived from the fact that it was open to all--Jews or Gentiles--provided they observed the prescribed rules of decorum and reverence. In this court tradition places eating and sleeping apartments for the Levites, and a synagogue. But, despite pharisaic punctilliousness, the noise, especially on the eve of the Passover, must have been most disturbing. For there the oxen, sheep, and doves selected as fit for sacrifices were sold as in a market; and here were those tables of the money-changers which the Lord overthrew when He drove from His Father's house them that bought and sold (Matthew 21:12; John 2:14). Within a short distance, in the court, a marble screen 4 1/2 feet high, and beautifully ornamented, bore Greek and Latin inscriptions, warning Gentiles not to proceed, on pain of death. One of those very tablets, bearing almost the same words as those given by Josephus, has been discovered in late excavations. It was because they thought Paul had infringed this order, that the infuriated multitude 'went about to kill him' (Acts 21:31). Beyond this enclosure a flight of fourteen steps, each 9 inches high, led up to a terrace 15 feet broad, called the 'Chel,' which bounded the inner wall of the Temple. We are now approaching the Sanctuary itself, which consisted, first, of three courts, each higher than the former, and, beyond them, of the Holy and Most Holy Places, with their outbuildings. Entering by the principal gate on the east we pass, first into the Court of the Women, thence into that of Israel, and from the latter into that of the Priests. This would have been, so to speak, the natural way of advancing. But there was a nearer road into the Court of the Priests. For both north and south, along the terrace, flights of steps led up to three gates (both north and south), which opened into the Court of the Priests, while a fourth gate (north and south) led into the middle of the Court of the Women. Thus there were nine gates opening from 'the Terrace' into the Sanctuary--the principal one from the east, and four north and south, of which one (north and south) also led into the Court of the Women, and the other three (north and south) into that of the Priests.

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The Beautiful Gate by Edersheim

These eight side gates, as we may call them, were all two-leaved, wide, high, with superstructures and chambers supported by two pillars, and covered with gold and silver plating. But far more magnificent than any of them was the ninth or eastern gate, which formed the principal entrance into the Temple. The ascent to it was from the terrace by twelve easy steps. The gate itself was made of dazzling Corinthian brass, most richly ornamented; and so massive were its double doors that it needed the united strength of twenty men to open and close them. This was the 'Beautiful Gate'; and on its steps had they been wont these many years to lay the lame man, just as privileged beggars now lie at the entrance to Continental cathedrals. No wonder that all Jerusalem knew him; and when on that sunny afternoon Peter and John joined the worshippers in the Court of the Women, not alone, but in company with the well-known cripple, who, after his healing, was 'walking and leaping and praising God,' universal 'wonder and amazement' must have been aroused. Then, when the lame man, still 'holding by' the apostles, again descended these steps, we can readily understand how all the people would crowd around in Solomon's Porch, close by, till the sermon of Peter--so fruitful in its spiritual results--was interrupted by the Temple police, and the sudden imprisonment of the apostles.

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Court of the Women by Edersheim

The Court of the Women obtained its name, not from its appropriation to the exclusive use of women, but because they were not allowed to proceed farther, except for sacrificial purposes. Indeed, this was probably the common place for worship, the females occupying, according to Jewish tradition, only a raised gallery along three sides of the court. This court covered a space upwards of 200 feet square. All around ran a simple colonnade, and within it, against the wall, the thirteen chests, or 'trumpets,' for charitable contributions were placed. These thirteen chests were narrow at the mouth and wide at the bottom, shaped like trumpets, whence their name. Their specific objects were carefully marked on them. Nine were for the receipt of what was legally due by worshippers; the other four for strictly voluntary gifts. Trumpets I and II were appropriated to the half-shekel Temple-tribute of the current and of the past year. Into Trumpet III those women who had to bring turtledoves for a burnt- and a sin-offering dropped their equivalent in money, which was daily taken out and a corresponding number of turtledoves offered. This not only saved the labour of so many separate sacrifices, but spared the modesty of those who might not wish to have the occasion or the circumstances of their offering to be publicly known. Into this trumpet Mary the mother of Jesus must have dropped the value of her offering (Luke 2:22,24) when the aged Simeon took the infant Saviour 'in his arms, and blessed God.' Trumpet IV similarly received the value of the offerings of young pigeons. In Trumpet V contributions for the wood used in the Temple; in Trumpet VI for the incense, and in Trumpet VII for the golden vessels for the ministry were deposited. If a man had put aside a certain sum for a sin-offering, and any money was left over after its purchase, it was cast into Trumpet VIII. Similarly, Trumpets IX, X, XI, XII, and XIII were destined for what was left over from trespass-offerings, offerings of birds, the offering of the Nazarite, of the cleansed leper, and voluntary offerings. In all probability this space where the thirteen Trumpets were placed was the 'treasury,' where Jesus taught on that memorable Feast of Tabernacles (John 7 and 8; see specially 8:20). We can also understand how, from the peculiar and known destination of each of these thirteen 'trumpets,' the Lord could distinguish the contributions of the rich who cast in 'of their abundance' from that of the poor widow who of her 'penury' had given 'all the living' that she had (Mark 12:41; Luke 21:1). But there was also a special treasury-chamber, into which at certain times they carried the contents of the thirteen chests; and, besides, what was called 'a chamber of the silent,' where devout persons secretly deposited money, afterwards secretly employed for educating children of the pious poor. It is probably in ironical allusion to the form and name of these treasure-chests that the Lord, making use of the word 'trumpet,' describes the conduct of those who, in their almsgiving, sought glory from men as 'sounding a trumpet' before them (Matthew 6:2)--that is, carrying before them, as it were, in full display one of these trumpet-shaped alms-boxes (literally called in the Talmud, 'trumpets'), and, as it were, sounding it. * The allusion is all the more pointed, when we bear in mind that each of these trumpets had a mark to tell its special object. It seems strange that this interpretation should not have occurred to any of the commentators, who have always found the allusion such a crux interpretum. An article in the Bible Educator has since substantially adopted this view, adding that trumpets were blown when the alms were collected. But for the latter statement there is no historical authority whatever, and it would contravene the religious spirit of the times.

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The Women's Court Unroofed Chambers by Edersheim

In each of the four corners of the Court of the Women were chambers, or rather unroofed courts, each said to have been 60 feet long. In that at the right hand (on the north-east), the priests who were unfit for other than menial services on account of bodily blemishes, picked the worm-eaten wood from that destined for the altar. In the court at the farther angle (north-west) the purified lepers washed before presenting themselves to the priests at the Gate of Nicanor. At the left (south-east) the Nazarites polled their hair, and cooked their peace-offerings; while in a fourth court (at the south-west) the oil and wine were kept for the drink-offerings. The musical instruments used by the Levites were deposited in two rooms under the Court of the Israelites, to which the access was from the Court of the Women. Of course the western colonnade of this court was open. Thence fifteen easy steps led through the so-called Gate of Nicanor into the Court of Israel. On these steps the Levites were wont on the Feast of Tabernacles to sing the fifteen 'Psalms of Degrees,' or ascent (Psalms 120 to 134), whence some have derived their name. Here, or, rather, in the Gate of Nicanor, all that was ordered to be done 'before the Lord' took place. There the cleansed leper and the women coming for purification presented themselves to the priests, and there also the 'water of jealousy' was given to the suspected wife.

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The Court of Israel by Edersheim

Perhaps it will be most convenient for practical purposes to regard the two Courts of Israel and of the Priests as in reality forming only one, divided into two parts by a low balustrade 1 1/2 feet high. Thus viewed, this large double court, inclusive of the Sanctuary itself, would measure 280 1/2 feet in length by 202 1/2 feet in breadth. Of this a narrow strip, 16 1/2 feet long, formed the Court of Israel. Two steps led up from it to the Court of the Priests. Here you mounted again by three low semicircular steps to a kind of pulpit or platform, where, as well as on the 'fifteen steps,' the Levites sang and played during the ordinary service. The priests, on the other hand, occupied, while pronouncing the blessing, the steps at the other end of the court which led up to the Temple porch. A similar arrangement existed in the great court as in that of the Women. Right and left of the Nicanor Gate were receptacles for the priestly vestments (one for each of the four kinds, and for the twenty-four courses of priests: 4 x 24 = 96). Next came the chamber of the high-priest's meat-offering (Lev 6:20), where each morning before going to their duties the officiating priesthood gathered from the so-called 'Beth-ha-Moked,' or 'house of stoves.' The latter was built on arches, and contained a large dining-hall that communicated with four other chambers. One of these was a large apartment where fires were continually burning for the use of the priests who ministered barefoot. There also the heads of the ministering courses slept, and here, in a special receptacle under the pavement, the keys of the Temple were hung up at night. Of the other three chambers of the Beth-Moked, one was appropriated to the various counterfoils given as a warrant when a person had paid his due for a drink-offering. In another the shewbread was prepared, while yet a third served for the lambs (at least six in number) that were always kept ready for the regular sacrifice. Here also a passage led to the well-lit subterranean bath for the use of the priests. Besides the Beth-Moked there were, north and south of the court, rooms for storing the salt for the altar, for salting the skins of sacrifices, for washing 'their inwards,' for storing the 'clean' wood, for the machinery by which the laver was supplied with water, and finally the chamber 'Gazith,' or Hall of Hewn Stones, where the Sanhedrim was wont to meet. Above some of these chambers were other apartments, such as those in which the high-priest spent the week before the Day of Atonement in study and meditation.

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The Court of the Priests by Edersheim

Perhaps it will be most convenient for practical purposes to regard the two Courts of Israel and of the Priests as in reality forming only one, divided into two parts by a low balustrade 1 1/2 feet high. Thus viewed, this large double court, inclusive of the Sanctuary itself, would measure 280 1/2 feet in length by 202 1/2 feet in breadth. Of this a narrow strip, 16 1/2 feet long, formed the Court of Israel. Two steps led up from it to the Court of the Priests. Here you mounted again by three low semicircular steps to a kind of pulpit or platform, where, as well as on the 'fifteen steps,' the Levites sang and played during the ordinary service. The priests, on the other hand, occupied, while pronouncing the blessing, the steps at the other end of the court which led up to the Temple porch. A similar arrangement existed in the great court as in that of the Women. Right and left of the Nicanor Gate were receptacles for the priestly vestments (one for each of the four kinds, and for the twenty-four courses of priests: 4 x 24 = 96). Next came the chamber of the high-priest's meat-offering (Lev 6:20), where each morning before going to their duties the officiating priesthood gathered from the so-called 'Beth-ha-Moked,' or 'house of stoves.' The latter was built on arches, and contained a large dining-hall that communicated with four other chambers. One of these was a large apartment where fires were continually burning for the use of the priests who ministered barefoot. There also the heads of the ministering courses slept, and here, in a special receptacle under the pavement, the keys of the Temple were hung up at night. Of the other three chambers of the Beth-Moked, one was appropriated to the various counterfoils given as a warrant when a person had paid his due for a drink-offering. In another the shewbread was prepared, while yet a third served for the lambs (at least six in number) that were always kept ready for the regular sacrifice. Here also a passage led to the well-lit subterranean bath for the use of the priests. Besides the Beth-Moked there were, north and south of the court, rooms for storing the salt for the altar, for salting the skins of sacrifices, for washing 'their inwards,' for storing the 'clean' wood, for the machinery by which the laver was supplied with water, and finally the chamber 'Gazith,' or Hall of Hewn Stones, where the Sanhedrim was wont to meet. Above some of these chambers were other apartments, such as those in which the high-priest spent the week before the Day of Atonement in study and meditation.

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The Chambers Around the Court of Israel by Edersheim

The account which Jewish tradition gives of these gates and chambers around the Court of the Priests is somewhat conflicting, perhaps because the same chambers and gates may have borne different names. It may, however, be thus summarised. Entering the Great Court by the Nicanor Gate, there was at the right hand the Chamber of Phinehas with its 96 receptacles for priests' vestments, and at the left the place where the high-priest's daily meat-offering was prepared, and where every morning before daybreak all the ministering priests met, after their inspection of the Temple and before being told off to duty. Along the southern side of the court were the Water-gate, through which at the Feast of Tabernacles the pitcher with water was brought from the Pool of Siloam, with a chamber above it, called Abtinas, where the priests kept guard at night; then the Gate of the Firstlings, through which the firstlings fit to be offered were brought; and the Wood-gate, through which the altar-wood was carried. Alongside these gates were Gazith, the hall of square polished stones, where the Sanhedrim sat; the chamber Golah, for the water apparatus which emptied and filled the laver; and the wood-chamber. Above and beyond it were the apartments of the high-priest and the council-chamber of the 'honourable councillors,' or priestly council for affairs strictly connected with the Temple. On the northern side of the Priests' Court were the gate Nitzutz (Spark Gate), with a guard-chamber above for the priests, the Gate of Sacrifices, and the Gate of the Beth-Moked. Alongside these gates were the chamber for salting the sacrifices; that for salting the skins (named Parvah from its builder), with bathrooms for the high-priest above it; and finally the Beth-Moked with its apartments. The two largest of these buildings--the council-chamber of the Sanhedrim at the south-eastern, * and the Beth-Moked at the north-western angle of the court--were partly built into the court and partly out on 'the terrace.' It is very strange what mistakes are made about the localisation of the rooms and courts connected with the Temple. Thus the writer of the article 'Sanhedrim' in Kitto's Encycl., vol. iii. p. 766, says that the hall of the Sanhedrim 'was situate in the centre of the south side of the Temple-court, the northern part extending to the Court of the Priests, and the southern part to the Court of the Israelites.' But the Court of Israel and that of the Priests did not lie north and south, but east and west, as a glance at the Temple plan will show! The hall of the Sanhedrim extended indeed south, though certainly not to the Court of Israel, but to the Chel or terrace. The authorities quoted in the article 'Sanhedrim' do not bear out the writer's conclusions. It ought to be remarked that about the time of Christ the Sanhedrim removed its sittings from the Hall of Square Stones to another on the east of the Temple-court. This, because none other than a prince of the house of David might sit down within the sacred enclosure of the Priests' Court. Probably there was a similar arrangement for the high-priest's apartments and the priests' council-chamber, as well as for the guard-chambers of the priests, so that at each of the four corners of the court the apartments would abut upon 'the terrace.' * We know that the two priestly guard-chambers above the Water-gate and Nitzutz opened also upon the terrace. This may explain how the Talmud sometimes speaks of six and sometimes of eight gates opening from the Priests' Court upon the terrace, or else gates 7 and 8 may have been those which opened from the terrace north and south into the Court of the Women. All along the colonnades, both around the Court of the Gentiles and that of the Women, there were seats and benches for the accommodation of the worshippers.

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The Chambers Around the Court of the Priests by Edersheim

The account which Jewish tradition gives of these gates and chambers around the Court of the Priests is somewhat conflicting, perhaps because the same chambers and gates may have borne different names. It may, however, be thus summarised. Entering the Great Court by the Nicanor Gate, there was at the right hand the Chamber of Phinehas with its 96 receptacles for priests' vestments, and at the left the place where the high-priest's daily meat-offering was prepared, and where every morning before daybreak all the ministering priests met, after their inspection of the Temple and before being told off to duty. Along the southern side of the court were the Water-gate, through which at the Feast of Tabernacles the pitcher with water was brought from the Pool of Siloam, with a chamber above it, called Abtinas, where the priests kept guard at night; then the Gate of the Firstlings, through which the firstlings fit to be offered were brought; and the Wood-gate, through which the altar-wood was carried. Alongside these gates were Gazith, the hall of square polished stones, where the Sanhedrim sat; the chamber Golah, for the water apparatus which emptied and filled the laver; and the wood-chamber. Above and beyond it were the apartments of the high-priest and the council-chamber of the 'honourable councillors,' or priestly council for affairs strictly connected with the Temple. On the northern side of the Priests' Court were the gate Nitzutz (Spark Gate), with a guard-chamber above for the priests, the Gate of Sacrifices, and the Gate of the Beth-Moked. Alongside these gates were the chamber for salting the sacrifices; that for salting the skins (named Parvah from its builder), with bathrooms for the high-priest above it; and finally the Beth-Moked with its apartments. The two largest of these buildings--the council-chamber of the Sanhedrim at the south-eastern, * and the Beth-Moked at the north-western angle of the court--were partly built into the court and partly out on 'the terrace.' It is very strange what mistakes are made about the localisation of the rooms and courts connected with the Temple. Thus the writer of the article 'Sanhedrim' in Kitto's Encycl., vol. iii. p. 766, says that the hall of the Sanhedrim 'was situate in the centre of the south side of the Temple-court, the northern part extending to the Court of the Priests, and the southern part to the Court of the Israelites.' But the Court of Israel and that of the Priests did not lie north and south, but east and west, as a glance at the Temple plan will show! The hall of the Sanhedrim extended indeed south, though certainly not to the Court of Israel, but to the Chel or terrace. The authorities quoted in the article 'Sanhedrim' do not bear out the writer's conclusions. It ought to be remarked that about the time of Christ the Sanhedrim removed its sittings from the Hall of Square Stones to another on the east of the Temple-court. This, because none other than a prince of the house of David might sit down within the sacred enclosure of the Priests' Court. Probably there was a similar arrangement for the high-priest's apartments and the priests' council-chamber, as well as for the guard-chambers of the priests, so that at each of the four corners of the court the apartments would abut upon 'the terrace.' * We know that the two priestly guard-chambers above the Water-gate and Nitzutz opened also upon the terrace. This may explain how the Talmud sometimes speaks of six and sometimes of eight gates opening from the Priests' Court upon the terrace, or else gates 7 and 8 may have been those which opened from the terrace north and south into the Court of the Women. All along the colonnades, both around the Court of the Gentiles and that of the Women, there were seats and benches for the accommodation of the worshippers.

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The Altar in Herod's Temple by Edersheim

The most prominent object in the Court of the Priests was the immense altar of unhewn stones, * a square of not less than 48 feet, and, inclusive of 'the horns,' 15 feet high. They were 'whitened' twice a year. Once in seven years the high-priest was to inspect the Most Holy Place, through an opening made from the room above. If repairs were required, the workmen were let down through the ceiling in a sort of cage, so as not to see anything but what they were to work at. All around it a 'circuit' ran for the use of the ministering priests, who, as a rule, always passed round by the right, and retired by the left. * The three exceptions to this are specially mentioned in the Talmud. The high-priest both ascended and descended by the right. As this 'circuit' was raised 9 feet from the ground, and 1 1/2 feet high, while the 'horns' measured 1 1/2 feet in height, the priests would have only to reach 3 feet to the top of the altar, and 4 1/2 feet to that of each 'horn.' An inclined plane, 48 feet long by 24 wide, into which about the middle two smaller 'descents' merged, led up to the 'circuit' from the south. Close by was the great heap of salt, from which every sacrifice must be salted with salt. * Also a receptacle for such sin-offerings of birds as had become spoiled. This inclined plane was kept covered with salt, to prevent the priests, who were barefooted, from slipping. On the altar, which at the top was only 36 feet wide, three fires burned, one (east) for the offerings, the second (south) for the incense, the third (north) to supply the means for kindling the other two. The four 'horns' of the altar were straight, square, hollow prominences, that at the south-west with two openings, into whose silver funnels the drink-offerings, and, at the Feast of Tabernacles, the water from the Pool of Siloam, were poured. A red line all round the middle of the altar marked that above it the blood of sacrifices intended to be eaten, below it that of sacrifices wholly consumed, was to be sprinkled. The system of drainage into chambers below and canals, all of which could be flushed at will, was perfect; the blood and refuse being swept down into Kedron and towards the royal gardens. Finally, north of the altar were all requisites for the sacrifices--six rows, with four rings each, of ingenious mechanism, for fastening the sacrifices; eight marble tables for the flesh, fat, and cleaned 'inwards'; eight low columns, each with three hooks, for hanging up the pieces; a marble table for laying them out, and one of silver for the gold and silver vessels of the service.

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The Laver in Herod's Temple by Edersheim

Between the altar and porch of the Temple, but placed towards the south, was the immense laver of brass, supported by twelve colossal lions, which was drained every evening, and filled every morning by machinery, and where twelve priests could wash at the same time. Indeed, the water supply to the Sanctuary is among the most wonderful of its arrangements. That of the Temple is designated by Captain Wilson as the 'low-level supply,' in contradistinction to the 'high-level aqueduct,' which collected the water in a rock-hewn tunnel four miles long, on the road to Hebron, and then wound along so as to deliver water to the upper portion of the city. The 'low-level' aqueduct, which supplied the Temple, derived its waters from three sources--from the hills about Hebron, from Etham, and from the three pools of Solomon. Its total length was over forty miles. The amount of water it conveyed may be gathered from the fact that the surplusage of the waters of Etham is calculated, when drained into the lower pool of Gihon, to have presented when full, 'an area of nearly four acres of water.' And, as if this had not been sufficient, 'the ground is perfectly honeycombed with a series of remarkable rock-hewn cisterns, in which the water brought by an aqueduct form Solomon's Pools, near Bethlehem, was stored. The cisterns appear to have been connected by a system of channels cut out of the rock; so that when one was full the surplus water ran into the next, and so on, till the final overflow was carried off by a channel into the Kedron. One of the cisterns--that known as the Great Sea--would contain two million gallons; and the total number of gallons which could be stored probably exceeded ten millions.' There seems little doubt that the drainage of Jerusalem was 'as well managed as the water supply; the mouth of the main drain being in the valley of the Kedron, where the sewerage was probably used as manure for the gardens.'

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The Great Stones of Herod's Temple by Edersheim

The mind becomes bewildered at numbers, the accuracy of which we should hesitate to receive if they were not confirmed by modern investigations. We feel almost the same in speaking of the proportions of the Holy House itself. It was built on immense foundations of solid blocks of white marble covered with gold, each block measuring, according to Josephus, 67 1/2 by 9 feet. Mounting by a flight of twelve steps to the 'Porch,' we notice that it projected 30 feet on each side beyond the Temple itself. Including these projections, the buildings of the Temple were 150 feet long, and as many broad. Without them the breadth was only 90, and the length 120 feet. Of these 60 feet in length, from east to west, and 30 feet in breadth, belonged to the Holy Place; while the Most Holy was 30 feet long, and as many broad. There were, therefore, on either side of the Sanctuary, as well as behind it, 30 feet to spare, which were occupied by side buildings three stories high, each containing five rooms, while that at the back had eight. These side-buildings, however, were lower than the Sanctuary itself, over which also super-structures had been reared. A gabled cedar roof, with golden spikes on it, and surrounded by an elegant balustrade, surmounted the whole.

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The Veil to the Holy Place in Herod's Temple by Edersheim

The entrance to the 'Porch,' which was curiously roofed, was covered by a splendid veil. Right and left were depositories for the sacrificial knives. Within the 'Porch' a number of 'dedicated' gifts were kept, such as the golden candelabra of the proselyte queen of Adiabene, two golden crowns presented by the Maccabees, etc. Here were also two tables--one of marble, on which they deposited the new shewbread; the other of gold, on which they laid the old as it was removed from the Holy Place. Two-leaved doors, * with gold plating, and covered by a rich Babylonian curtain of the four colours of the Temple ('fine linen, blue, scarlet, and purple'), formed the entrance into the Holy Place. There was also a small wicket gate by which he entered who opened the large doors from within. Above it hung that symbol of Israel (Psalm 80:8; Jeremiah 2:21, Ezekiel 19:10; Joel 1:7) a gigantic vine of pure gold, and made of votive offerings--each cluster the height of a man. In the Holy Place were, to the south, the golden candlestick; to the north, the table of shewbread; and beyond them the altar of incense, near the entrance to the Most Holy. The latter was now quite empty, a large stone, on which the high-priest sprinkled the blood on the Day of Atonement, occupying the place where the ark with the mercy-seat had stood. A wooden partition separated the Most Holy from the Holy Place; and over the door hung the veil which was 'rent in twain from the top to the bottom' when the way into the holiest of all was opened on Golgotha (Matthew 27:51). * The Rabbis speak of two veils, and say that the high-priest went in by the southern edge of the first veil, then walked along till he reached the northern corner of the second veil, by which he entered the Most Holy Place. Such was the Temple as restored by Herod--a work which occupied forty-six years to its completion. Yet, though the Rabbis never weary praising its splendour, not with one word do any of those who were contemporary indicate that its restoration was carried out by Herod the Great. So memorable an event in their history is passed over with the most absolute silence. What a complete answer does this afford to the objection sometimes raised from the silence of Josephus about the person and mission of Jesus!

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The Veil to the Holy of Holies in Herod's Temple by Edersheim

The entrance to the 'Porch,' which was curiously roofed, was covered by a splendid veil. Right and left were depositories for the sacrificial knives. Within the 'Porch' a number of 'dedicated' gifts were kept, such as the golden candelabra of the proselyte queen of Adiabene, two golden crowns presented by the Maccabees, etc. Here were also two tables--one of marble, on which they deposited the new shewbread; the other of gold, on which they laid the old as it was removed from the Holy Place. Two-leaved doors, * with gold plating, and covered by a rich Babylonian curtain of the four colours of the Temple ('fine linen, blue, scarlet, and purple'), formed the entrance into the Holy Place. There was also a small wicket gate by which he entered who opened the large doors from within. Above it hung that symbol of Israel (Psalm 80:8; Jeremiah 2:21, Ezekiel 19:10; Joel 1:7) a gigantic vine of pure gold, and made of votive offerings--each cluster the height of a man. In the Holy Place were, to the south, the golden candlestick; to the north, the table of shewbread; and beyond them the altar of incense, near the entrance to the Most Holy. The latter was now quite empty, a large stone, on which the high-priest sprinkled the blood on the Day of Atonement, occupying the place where the ark with the mercy-seat had stood. A wooden partition separated the Most Holy from the Holy Place; and over the door hung the veil which was 'rent in twain from the top to the bottom' when the way into the holiest of all was opened on Golgotha (Matthew 27:51). * The Rabbis speak of two veils, and say that the high-priest went in by the southern edge of the first veil, then walked along till he reached the northern corner of the second veil, by which he entered the Most Holy Place. Such was the Temple as restored by Herod--a work which occupied forty-six years to its completion. Yet, though the Rabbis never weary praising its splendour, not with one word do any of those who were contemporary indicate that its restoration was carried out by Herod the Great. So memorable an event in their history is passed over with the most absolute silence. What a complete answer does this afford to the objection sometimes raised from the silence of Josephus about the person and mission of Jesus!

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Our Lord's Prediction by Edersheim

With what reverence the Rabbis guarded their Temple will be described in the sequel. The readers of the New Testament know how readily any supposed infringement of its sanctity led to summary popular vengeance. To the disciples of Jesus it seemed difficult to realise that such utter ruin as their Master foretold could so soon come over that beautiful and glorious house. It was the evening of the day in which He had predicted the utter desolation of Jerusalem. All that day He had taught in the Temple, and what He had said, not only there, but when, on beholding the city, He wept over it, seems to have filled their minds alike with awe and with doubt. And now He, with His disciples, had 'departed from the Temple.' Once more they lingered in sweet retirement 'on the Mount of Olives' (Matthew 24:1,3). 'The purple light on the mountains of Moab was fast fading out. Across the city the sinking sun cast a rich glow over the pillared cloisters of the Temple, and over the silent courts as they rose terrace upon terrace. From where they stood they could see over the closed Beautiful Gate, and right to the entrance to the Holy Place, which now glittered with gold; while the eastern walls and the deep valley below were thrown into a solemn shadow, creeping, as the orb sunk lower, further and further towards the summit of Olivet, irradiated with one parting gleam of roseate light, after all below was sunk in obscurity' (Bartlett, Jerusalem Revisited, p. 115). Then it was and there that the disciples, looking down upon the Temple, pointed out to the Master: 'What manner of stones and what buildings are here.' The view from that site must have rendered belief in the Master's prediction even more difficult and more sad. A few years more, and it was all literally fulfilled! It may be, as Jewish tradition has it, that ever since the Babylonish captivity the 'Ark of the Covenant' lies buried and concealed underneath the wood-court at the north-eastern angle of the Court of the Women. And it may be that some at least of the spoils which Titus carried with him from Jerusalem--the seven-branched candlestick, the table of shewbread, the priests' trumpets, and the identical golden mitre which Aaron had worn on his forehead--are hidden somewhere in the vaults beneath the site of the Temple, after having successively gone to Rome, to Carthage, to Byzantium, to Ravenna, and thence to Jerusalem. But of 'those great buildings' that once stood there, there is 'not left one stone upon another' that has not been 'thrown down.'

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The Royal Bridge into Herod's Temple by Edersheim

Of the four principal entrances into the Temple--all of them from the west--the most northerly descended, perhaps by flights of steps, into the Lower City; while two others led into the suburb, or Parbar, as it is called. But by far the most magnificent avenue was that at the south-western angle of the Temple. Probably this was 'the ascent...into the house of the Lord,' which so astounded the Queen of Sheba (1 Kings 10:5) * According to Mr. Lewin, however (Siege of Jerusalem, p. 270), this celebrated 'ascent' to the house of the Lord went up by a double subterranean passage, 250 feet long and 62 feet wide, by a flight of steps from the new palace of Solomon, afterwards occupied by the 'Royal Porch,' right into the inner court of the Temple. It would, indeed, be difficult to exaggerate the splendour of this approach. A colossal bridge on arches spanned the intervening Valley of the Tyropoeon, connecting the ancient City of David with what is called the 'Royal Porch of the Temple.' From its ruins we can reconstruct this bridge. Each arch spanned 41 1/2 feet, and the spring-stones measured 24 feet in length by 6 in thickness. It is almost impossible to realise these proportions, except by a comparison with other buildings. A single stone 24 feet long! Yet these were by no means the largest in the masonry of the Temple. Both at the south-eastern and the south-western angles stones have been found measuring from 20 to 40 feet in length, and weighing above 100 tons.

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The Temple Porches by Edersheim

The view from this 'Royal Bridge' must have been splendid. It was over it that they led the Saviour, in sight of all Jerusalem, to and from the palace of the high-priest, that of Herod, the meeting-place of the Sanhedrim, and the judgment-seat of Pilate. Here the city would have lain spread before us like a map. Beyond it the eye would wander over straggling suburbs, orchards, and many gardens--fairest among them the royal gardens to the south, the 'garden of roses,' so celebrated by the Rabbis--till the horizon was bounded by the hazy outline of mountains in the distance. Over the parapet of the bridge we might have looked into the Tyropoeon Valley below, a depth of not less than 225 feet. The roadway which spanned this cleft for a distance of 354 feet, from Mount Moriah to Mount Zion opposite, was 50 feet broad, that is, about 5 feet wider than the central avenue of the Royal Temple-Porch into which it led. These 'porches,' as they are called in the New Testament, or cloisters, were among the finest architectural features of the Temple. They ran all round the inside of its wall, and bounded the outer enclosure of the Court of the Gentiles. They consisted of double rows of Corinthian pillars, all monoliths, wholly cut out of one block of marble, each pillar being 37 1/2 feet high. A flat roof, richly ornamented, rested against the wall, in which also the outer row of pillars was inserted. Possibly there may have been towers where one colonnade joined the other. But the 'Royal Porch,' by which we are supposed to have entered the Temple, was the most splendid, consisting not as the others, of a double, but of a treble colonnade, formed of 162 pillars, ranged in four rows of 40 pillars each, the two odd pillars serving as a kind of screen, where the 'Porch' opened upon the bridge. Indeed, we may regard the Royal Porch as consisting of a central nave 45 feet wide, with gigantic pillars 100 feet high, and of two aisles 30 feet wide, with pillars 50 feet high. By very competent authorities this Royal Porch, as its name indicates, is regarded as occupying the site of the ancient palace of Solomon, to which he 'brought up' the daughter of Pharaoh. Here also had been the 'stables of Solomon.' When Herod the Great rebuilt the Temple, he incorporated with it this site of the ancient royal palace. What the splendour and height (Professor Porter has calculated it at 440 feet) of this one porch in the Temple must have been is best expressed in the words of Captain Wilson (Recovery of Jerusalem, p. 9): 'It is almost impossible to realise the effect which would be produced by a building longer and higher than York Cathedral, standing on a solid mass of masonry almost equal in height to the tallest of our church spires.' And this was only one of the porches which formed the southern enclosure of the first and outermost court of the Temple--that of the Gentiles. The view from the top of this colonnade into Kedron was to the stupendous depth of 450 feet. Here some have placed that pinnacle of the Temple to which the tempter brought our Saviour. These halls or porches around the Court of the Gentiles must have been most convenient places for friendly or religious intercourse--for meetings or discussions. Here Jesus, when still a child, was found by His parents disputing with the doctors; here He afterwards so often taught the people; and here the first assemblies of the Christians must have taken place when, 'continuing daily with one accord in the Temple,...praising God, and having favour with all the people,...the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.' Especially do we revert to Solomon's Porch, that ran along the eastern wall of the Temple, and faced its great entrance. It was the only remnant left of the Temple built by the wise King of Israel. In this porch 'Jesus walked' on that 'Feast of the Dedication,' (John 10:23) when He 'told it plainly,' 'I and my Father are one'; and it was thither 'that all the people ran together' when 'the notable miracle' on the lame man had been wrought at the 'Beautiful Gate of the Temple.'

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Herod's Temple in Easton's Bible Dictionary

The temple erected by the exiles on their return from Babylon had stood for about five hundred years, when Herod the Great became king of Judea. The building had suffered considerably from natural decay as well as from the assaults of hostile armies, and Herod, desirous of gaining the favour of the Jews, proposed to rebuild it. This offer was accepted, and the work was begun (B.C. 18), and carried out at great labour and expense, and on a scale of surpassing splendour. The main part of the building was completed in ten years, but the erection of the outer courts and the embellishment of the whole were carried on during the entire period of our Lord's life on earth (John 2:16,19-21), and the temple was completed only A.D. 65. But it was not long permitted to exist. Within forty years after our Lord's crucifixion, his prediction of its overthrow was accomplished (Luke 19:: 4144-44). The Roman legions took the city of Jerusalem by storm, and notwithstanding the strenuous efforts Titus made to preserve the temple, his soldiers set fire to it in several places, and it was utterly destroyed (A.D. 70), and was never rebuilt. Several remains of Herod's stately temple have by recent explorations been brought to light. It had two courts, one intended for the Israelites only, and the other, a large outer court, called "the court of the Gentiles," intended for the use of strangers of all nations. These two courts were separated by a low wall, as Josephus states, some 4 1/2 feet high, with thirteen openings. Along the top of this dividing wall, at regular intervals, were placed pillars bearing in Greek an inscription to the effect that no stranger was, on the pain of death, to pass from the court of the Gentiles into that of the Jews. At the entrance to a graveyard at the north-western angle of the Haram wall, a stone was discovered by M. Ganneau in 1871, built into the wall, bearing the following inscription in Greek capitals: "No stranger is to enter within the partition wall and enclosure around the sanctuary. Whoever is caught will be responsible to himself for his death, which will ensue." There can be no doubt that the stone thus discovered was one of those originally placed on the boundary wall which separated the Jews from the Gentiles, of which Josephus speaks. It is of importance to notice that the word rendered "sanctuary" in the inscription was used in a specific sense of the inner court, the court of the Israelites, and is the word rendered "temple" in John 2:15 and Acts 21:28,29. When Paul speaks of the middle wall of partition (Ephesians 2:14), he probably makes allusion to this dividing wall. Within this partition wall stood the temple proper, consisting of, (1) the court of the women, 8 feet higher than the outer court; (2) 10 feet higher than this court was the court of Israel; (3) the court of the priests, again 3 feet higher; and lastly (4) the temple floor, 8 feet above that; thus in all 29 feet above the level of the outer court. The summit of Mount Moriah, on which the temple stood, is now occupied by the Haram esh-Sherif, i.e., "the sacred enclosure." This enclosure is about 1,500 feet from north to south, with a breadth of about 1,000 feet, covering in all a space of about 35 acres. About the centre of the enclosure is a raised platform, 16 feet above the surrounding space, and paved with large stone slabs, on which stands the Mohammedan mosque called Kubbet es-Sahkra i.e., the "Dome of the Rock," or the Mosque of Omar. This mosque covers the site of Solomon's temple. In the centre of the dome there is a bare, projecting rock, the highest part of Moriah (q.v.), measuring 60 feet by 40, standing 6 feet above the floor of the mosque, called the sahkra, i.e., "rock." Over this rock the altar of burnt-offerings stood. It was the threshing-floor of Araunah the Jebusite. The exact position on this "sacred enclosure" which the temple occupied has not been yet definitely ascertained. Some affirm that Herod's temple covered the site of Solomon's temple and palace, and in addition enclosed a square of 300 feet at the south-western angle. The temple courts thus are supposed to have occupied the southern portion of the "enclosure," forming in all a square of more than 900 feet. It is argued by others that Herod's temple occupied a square of 600 feet at the south-west of the "enclosure."

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The Outer Court of Herod's Temple in Unger's Bible Dictionary

The outer court was surrounded with a high wall having several gates on its W side. It had porticoes running all around it, those on three of the sides having double and that on the S side having triple piazzas. These porticoes were covered with roofs of cedar supported on marble pillars, 25 cubits high, and were paved with mosaic work. This outer court, which could be frequented by Gentiles and unclean persons, had on its inner side and extending all around a rampart surrounded with a stone parapet, i.e., a mound 10 cubits broad, the top of which was reached by a flight of fourteen steps. This constituted the outer boundary of the inner Temple area (to deuteron hieron, Josephus Wars 5.5.2). Some distance back from the rampart was the wall by which the Temple and its inner courts were surrounded. On the outside this was 40 cubits high, while on the inside it was only 25, the level of the inner space being so much higher.

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Herod's Temple in Unger's Bible Dictionary

The Temple as it existed after the captivity was not such as would satisfy a man as vain and fond of display as Herod the Great; and he accordingly undertook the task of rebuilding it on a grander scale. Although the reconstruction was practically equivalent to an entire rebuilding, still this Temple cannot be spoken of as a third one, for Herod himself said, in so many words, that it was only intended to be regarded as an enlarging and further beautifying of that of Zerubbabel. After the necessary preparation the work of building was begun in the eighteenth year of Herod's reign ( 20 or 21 B.C.). The Temple proper, in which priests and Levites were employed, was finished in a year and a half, and the courts in the course of eight years. Subsidiary buildings were gradually erected, added to through the reigns of his successors, so that the entire undertaking was not completed till the time of Agrippa II and the procurator Albinus (A.D. 64 AD). For our knowledge of the last and greatest of the Jewish Temples we are indebted almost wholly to the works of Josephus, with an occasional hint from the Talmud. The Bible unfortunately contains nothing to assist in this respect. The Temple and its courts occupied an area of 1 stadium (Josephus), or 500 cubits (Talmud). They were arranged in terrace form, one court being higher than another, and the Temple highest of all, so as to be easily seen from any part of the city or vicinity, thus presenting an imposing appearance (Mark 13:2-3).

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The Women's Court of Herod's Temple in Unger's Bible Dictionary

Entering by the E gate one came to the court of the women, a square of 135 cubits, separated from the court of the Israelites by a wall on the W side and having gates on the N and S sides for the women to enter by. These gates, as well as those on the E and W sides of this court, had rooms built over them to a height of 40 cubits, each room being ornamented with two pillars 12 cubits in circumference, and provided with double doors 30 cubits high and 40 wide, overlaid with gold and silver. According to Middoth 2.3, the gates, with the exception of the eastern one, were only 20 cubits high and 10 wide. The eastern gate, called in the Talmud Nicanor's, or the great gate, was made of Corinthian brass and was regarded as the principal gate on account of its greater height (being 50 cubits) and width (40 cubits) and from its being more richly decorated with precious metals. It is undoubtedly the "gate of the temple which is called Beautiful" (Acts 3:2). Around the walls of the court, except the W side, ran porticoes (porches), the roof of which rested on lofty and highly finished pillars. In each corner was a room, used, respectively, for storing the wood deemed unfit to be burned on the altar; for those affected with leprosy to wash themselves; for storing sacrificial wine and oil; and that one in which the Nazirites shaved their hair and cooked the flesh of the consecration sacrifices. According to Josephus it was in some of the pillars of this court that the thirteen alms boxes were placed.

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The Court of the Gentiles in Herod's Temple

The entire Temple compound was considered holy, but it became increasingly more holy as one entered farther in, from east to west. King Herod had enclosed the outer court with colonnades and it was referred to as the Court of the Gentiles because the "gentiles" (non-Jews) were permitted to enter the Temple area. They could walk within in it but they were forbidden to go any further than the outer court. They were excluded from entering into any of the inner courts, and warning signs in Greek and Latin were placed that gave warning that the penalty for such trespass was death. The Romans permitted the Jewish authorities to carry out the death penalty for this offence, even if the offender were a Roman citizen. It was for this alleged crime that Paul was attacked and nearly beaten to death by an angry crowd during his last visit to Jerusalem (Acts 21:27-32).

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The Court of Israel in Herod's Temple

Heading east from the Women’s Court was the Court of Israel, which was open to Jewish laymen. There were 3 gates on both the south and north sides, making seven entrances in all. 11 cubits of the eastern end were partitioned off by a stone balustrade 1 cubit high, for the men (the court of the Israelites), separating it from the rest of the space that went to form the court of the priests.

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The Court of the Women in Herod's Temple

Heading east through the Inner Courts one would come to the Court of the Women. Its name is derived from the fact that Jewish women were admitted thus far (but no farther). In this court, at the west end, was the 'treasury', the section where there stood thirteen trumpet-shaped containers for voluntary offerings of money. Jesus was sitting ‘opposite the treasury' when he saw the widow put into one of the containers the two copper coins which were all that she had (Mark 12:41-44). Mark 12:41-44 "Now Jesus sat opposite the treasury and saw how the people put money into the treasury. And many who were rich put in much. Then one poor widow came and threw in two mites, which make a quadrans. So He called His disciples to Himself and said to them, "Assuredly, I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all those who have given to the treasury; for they all put in out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all that she had, her whole livelihood."

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The Court of the Priests in Herod's Temple

The innermost court was the Court of the Priests, which excluded all laymen. In the eastern part of this court, opposite the main gates leading from the other courts and the eastern entrance into the Temple area, so that it could be seen from a distance, stood the great altar of burnt offering. In this latter court stood the altar of burnt offering, made of unwrought stone, 30 cubits (45 feet) in length and breadth, and 15 cubits (22 feet) high. West of this was the Temple, and between the Holy Place and the altar stood the laver of cleansing.

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First Century Jerusalem Temple

Herod's finest achievement, the Temple in Jerusalem. "One of His disciples said to Him, 'Look, Teacher what wonderful stones and what wonderful buildings." (Mk 13:1) When Herod the Great rebuilt Jerusalem's Temple in 19 BC, he erected a great retaining wall to extend the Temple's base. Taking thousands of workers many years to build, the huge wall was made of limestone blocks (some of them over 30 feet long and 25 feet thick) hauled from a quarry on rollers and hoisted aloft by wooden cranes. [Jerusalem Temple Image]

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The Inner Courts of Herod's Temple

The Inner Courts were on a higher level than the outer court. To enter into the Inner Courts one would have to pass through the western gate of the outer court and up a flight of stairs that had 15 steps to the first court which was the Court of the Israelites. This inner court measured 187 cubits (280 feet) long and 135 cubits (202 feet) wide, and surrounded the whole Temple Proper. Against the walls were chambers which stored the utensils required for the services. There were 3 gates on both the south and north sides, making seven entrances in all. 11 cubits of the eastern end were partitioned off by a stone balustrade 1 cubit high, for the men (the court of the Israelites), separating it from the rest of the space that went to form the court of the priests.

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The Altar of Sacrifice in Herod's Temple

Inside the court of the priests and just after the entrance into the Temple area, stood the great Altar of Burnt Offering, it could be seen from a distance. The Altar of Burnt Offering was made of unwrought stone, 30 cubits (45 feet) in length and breadth, and 15 cubits (22 feet) high. West of this was the Temple, and between the Holy Place and the altar stood the laver of cleansing.

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The Holy Place in Herod's Temple

At its west side stood the sanctuary proper, comprising (from east to west) the porch, the holy place, and the cubical holy of holies. Into the holy place the priests entered to discharge various duties, in particular to offer incense on the golden-incense altar, as Zechariah did on the occasion when an angel appeared to him and announced the forth coming birth of his son John the Baptist (Luke 1:8-23). No ordinary priest could hope that the lot for offering the incense would fall to him on more than one day in his lifetime (if that); the day when Zechariah received the angelic announcement was in any case the red-letter day of his whole priestly career. Inside the Holy Place there was the Porch, the Hall and the Holy of Holies, just as in Solomon’s Temple. The back wall of the porch was overlaid with gold and a golden lamp was hung on it. In the center of the facade (face) was the main entrance, over the top was hung a golden bunch of grapes. Inside the Holy Place there was the Porch, the Hall and the Holy of Holies, just as in Solomon’s Temple. The back wall of the porch was overlaid with gold and a golden lamp was hung on it. In the center of the facade (face) was the main entrance, over the top was hung a golden bunch of grapes. The Porch - The only two pieces of furniture in the porch were the two tables, one of gold and the other of marble, on which the showbread was placed. This entrance was covered by a veil. The Hall - In the Hall stood the Golden Altar, the Golden Table for the showbread, on which were two frankincense cups and the Golden Lampstand. The Veil - A double veil separated the Hall from the Holy of Holies, which only the High Priest could access, once per year on the Day of Atonement. There was no furniture at all in the Holy of Holies. [Holy Place Image]

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Solomon's Porch Scripture Backdrop

John 10:23 "And Jesus walked in the temple, in Solomon's Porch." Attached to the original temple of Solomon was "the porch of judgement" where king Solomon had constructed a large hall 50 cubits long and 30 cubits wide because of the enormous porch in front. Originally there was cedar from floor to ceiling. This was the hall of judgement where the king would make judgements and exercise justice. The "porch" or "portico" was located on the east side of the outer court of the New Testament temple of Herod, and it rested on a massive Herodian retaining wall (which incidently can still be seen in part at the present Temple wall area). The wall that supported it was 400 cubits high resting in the valley below and made of marvelous stones. According to Josephus this was the area of the original temple that survived and was still standing in Jesus' day probably because of its immense size and beauty the Chaldeans left it standing. Its immenseness presented a marvelous appearance. Josephus says, "Its fineness, to such as had not seen it, was incredible; and to such as had seen it was greatly amazing." It was in these cloisters that the Levites resided and it was here that the doctors of the law met to hear and answer questions. The porch of Solomon was no doubt a special place for Jesus. It was here that Jesus was seen often, speaking and teaching the people or just walking, as in John 10 during the festival of "lamps" or chanukkah, which commemorates the re-dedication of the temple and of God to His people. Later, after His death his disciples gathered here often.

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The Antonia Fortress at Herod's Temple

Herod's palace fortress, named the Antonia after his friend Mark Antony was the place Jesus was no doubt tried before Pontius Pilate. During the time of Jesus there was a garrison of Roman soldiers who were stationed at the fortress of Antonia. It was northwest of the Temple area. Along the northern side of the temple courtyard on a high hill stood the massive palace – the fortress of Antonia, another of Herod's landmarks. A stairway and an underground passageway connected the Antonia with the Court of the Gentiles, and the 600 soldiers stationed there were always on the alert for disturbances within the temple compound. The precious ceremonial robes of the high priest were kept in one of its four guard towers and were released only on important religious feast days. The Romans had taken custody of the garments as a precautionary measure. Realizing the tremendous power of the high priest's office, they sought to limit it by restricting the use of the robes, which symbolized its authority. In the century before the Roman occupation in 63 BC, the king of Israel had also been the high priest and both offices had been hereditary. The Romans had abolished the Jewish kingship and had made the office of high priest appointive, always subject to Roman approval. Nonetheless, in Jesus' day the high priest remained the most powerful figure in the Jewish nation.

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The Golden Gate in Herod's Temple

THE EASTERN GATE. During the time of the First Temple the Eastern Gate (also called Shushan or HaKohan gate) was the main entrance into the Temple area. It was also the gate that Jesus entered on a humble donkey in His triumphal entry. If one were to stand on the Mount of Olives he could look over this Eastern Gate into the huge area presently north of the Dome of the Rock and see all the gates (at different levels) in a perfect line: the East (Shushan) Gate --Outer Court Gate --Inner Court Gate --Temple Entrance. The Talmud makes an interesting observation: "All the walls which were there were high, except the wall in the east, so that the priest who burned the heifer, standing on the top of the Mount of Olives, and directing himself to look, saw through the gateway of the sanctuary, at the time when he sprinkled the blood." [Mishnah, Middot 2:4]. The Golden Gate (Eastern Gate) in the eastern wall of Jerusalem gave access to the courtyards of the Temple from the Kidron valley. JEWISH TRADITION. According to Jewish tradition the Messiah (Mashiach) will enter Jerusalem from the east. The gate has a special holiness; legend has it that the Shechinah (Divine Presence) used to appear through this gate and will appear again, and that in the meantime it must be left untouched. The Arabs (Moslems) call this gate The Mercy Gate (Bab el Rahmeh) and according to the Koran, the just will pass through this gate on the Day of Judgment. A SEALED GATE. It is interesting that this gate is the only one of the eight gates in Jerusalem that is sealed. The Arabs believe that since the Jews expect that Messiah would come through this gate (Sha'ar harachamim) they would try to prevent any possibility of His return. The East gate was walled up by it's Muslim conquerors (the Ottoman Turks) with great stones in 1530 A.D. and a cemetery was planted in front of it thinking that the Jewish Messiah could not set foot in a cemetery and therefore would not be able to come. Many believe this was done to prevent the entrance of the Jewish Messiah through that gate as was foretold by known Old Testament prophecies. However, Ezekiel prophesied the shutting of this gate itself around 600 B.C. -- that it would be shut "because the LORD (Jehovah or Yahweh), the God of Israel, hath entered in by it, therefore it shall be shut." THE EASTERN GATE AND THE MESSIAH. Neh. 3:29 "...the gate that looketh toward the east: And the glory of the Lord came into the house by the way of the gate whose prospect is toward the east." Ezekiel 44:1-3 Then he brought me back to the outer gate of the sanctuary, which faces east; and it was shut. And he said to me, "This gate shall remain shut; it shall not be opened, and no one shall enter by it; for the LORD, the God of Israel, has entered by it; therefore it shall remain shut. Only the prince may sit in it to eat bread before the LORD; he shall enter by way of the vestibule of the gate, and shall go out by the same way." Jesus entered Jerusalem through the East gate around 30 A.D. (long before it was blocked by the Ottomans) as he came down from the Mount of Olives and entered the temple according to our understanding of Luke 19:28-48. He would have entered through the original gate in the wall which was destroyed with the city by the Romans in 70 A.D. Ezekiel says concerning this closed gate that the "Prince" (which the Messiah is often called throughout the Old Testament and Jesus is called in the New Testament) shall enter it again. Jesus, having entered the city, said that he would not be seen again until Jerusalem acknowledges him (Matthew 23:37-39). Today the Temple Mount is under Muslim control, and it is just over the golden (eastern) gate and has been guarded very closely even today. The Eastern gate is presently considered by the Arabs to be their exclusive property. It is sealed up and blocked off. However one day, the Messiah will land on the Mount of Olives, with all His saints, and walk down to and right through the Eastern Gate and into the Temple area.

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The Holy of Holies in Herod's Temple

A double veil separated the Hall from the Holy of Holies, which only the High Priest could access, once per year on the Day of Atonement. There was no furniture at all in the Holy of Holies. The High Priest entered on the Day of Atonement in the autumn, when he presented sacrificial blood to expiate his own sins and those of the nation, which he represented (Leviticus 16:1-34). The Holy Place was the first part of the Temple that was reconstructed. The white "mezzah" stone was used, it was finely cut and polished. The former building was removed all the way to the bedrock and new foundation stones were laid. 150 feet long, 150 feet wide at the porch, 90 feet back of the porch for the Holy Place (Jos 5.5.4)

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Jesus and Herod's Temple

When Jesus came to Jerusalem he entered the Temple compound and many events are recorded in the Bible. For example He drove out the money changers, he taught in Solomon's Porch, and he sat near the treasury in the Court of the Women and noticed the widow giving her last mite to the Lord.

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Passover Pilgrims in Herod's Temple

It was the Passover, and both Jewish and non-Jewish pilgrims alike from all over the world would come to Jerusalem to seek after God at the Temple. They would come marching through the hills singing and rejoicing of the great things that God has done. It was a wonderful time of joy and festivity. Once they arrived, the foreigners would come to the Court of the Gentiles (or in its porch), and they would be confronted with the "moneychangers." When Jesus saw them He made a whip of cords and drove them all out of the Temple and said "Do not make My Father's house a house of merchandise!" The large outer court was called "the Court of the Gentiles" because it was devoted to the foreigners who had come to worship God at the Temple and they could proceed no further. It is interesting that Jesus chose to stop at this place to show forth His anger toward the moneychangers, the Court of the "Gentiles," and this was not the first time that He came to the aid of non-Jews. The profanity and abuse of the moneychangers was no small thing. They treated the foreign guests with much contempt and even the Jewish authorities constantly scorned this place and abused the pilgrims who came to worship.

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The Money Changers in Herod's Temple

The word "moneychanger" means money-banker or money-broker. They would make large profits at the expense of the pilgrims. Every Israelite, rich or poor, who had reached the age of twenty was obligated to pay a half shekel as an offering to Jehovah into the sacred treasury. This tribute was in every case to be paid in the exact Hebrew half shekel. At Passover everyone in the world who was an adult male and wished to worship at the Temple would bring his "offering" or purchase a sacrificial animal at the Temple. Since there was no acceptance of foreign money with any foreign image the money changers would sell "Temple coinage" at a very high rate of exchange and assess a fixed charge for their services. The judges, who sat to inspect the offerings that were brought by the pilgrims, were quick to detect any blemish in them. This was expensive for the wealthy pilgrims, not to say how ruinous this was for the poor who could only offer their turtle-doves and pigeons. There was no defense for them or court of appeal, seeing that the priestly authorities took a large percentage on every transaction.

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The National Treasury in Herod's Temple

Jesus referred to the Temple as the "House of God" and called it a "House of Prayer," not just for the Jews, but for all nations. When Jesus arrived with the mass of pilgrims, He overturned the tables and called it a den of thieves and a house of merchandise. The Temple was in some sense the national bank. It was a great public treasury with vaults containing immense stores of private wealth. These deposits never sat idle, but were loaned at high rates of interest. The Jewish historian Josephus wrote an account of the burning of the archives in Jerusalem and it gives an appalling picture of the incredible debts that were owed by the poor to the rich. It is believed that the intention of the burning was to 'destroy the money-lenders' tallies and to prevent the exaction of debts. After reading about how an infuriated mob (around 30 years later) robbed the Temple booths and dragged the sons of Annas to their death, it can only be imagined how much the Jewish authorities were hated by the humble commoners.

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The Wealthy and the Poor in Herod's Temple

There was tremendous wealth in Jerusalem. Many of the rich publicans (tax-gatherers) and influential leaders resided in Jerusalem, not only in their houses, but their summer residences, their large parks, and their country estates. Their vast wealth reached unbelievable proportions in the days of Herod. These plutocratic families were powerful in government circles and "prided themselves in their excesses." The gulf between the rich and the poor was immense and the very poor families were often driven from their homes to become the slum-dwellers of Jerusalem. By the time of Jesus Jerusalem had become a parasitic city, lying in wait for the multitudes of pilgrims who flocked into the city in their hundreds of thousands at each Festival. At the Passover there would be at least a million visitors, and Josephus multiplies this figure by four. Jesus promised the religious aristocracy that their "Temple would be left desolate," and not a single stone of the Temple would be left on top of another that would not be thrown down. Not even forty years passed when it all happened, for in 70 A.D. the legions of Rome came, led by Titus, and the Words of Christ were fulfilled.

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Painting of The Wailing Wall

The Wailing Wall is all that remains of the Jerusalem Temple where Jesus taught and healed. King Herod's Temple began as a remodeling project in 19 B.C. and its construction continued long after Herod's death. The Second Temple was finally completed only seven years before the Romans came and destroyed the Temple in 70 AD.

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Painting of The Wailing Wall

The Wailing Wall is all that remains of the Jerusalem Temple where Jesus taught and healed. King Herod's Temple began as a remodeling project in 19 B.C. and its construction continued long after Herod's death. The Second Temple was finally completed only seven years before the Romans came and destroyed the Temple in 70 AD.

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The Western Wall in Herod's Temple

The Western (Wailing) Wall is all that remains of the Jerusalem Temple where Jesus ministered. This wall formed part of the Plaza within the Temple area. King Herod's incredible remodeling project began in 19 B.C. and continued long after his death. It was finally completed only seven years before the Romans came and destroyed the Temple in 70 AD. The Western (Wailing) Wall is all that remains of the Jerusalem Temple where Jesus ministered. This wall formed part of the Plaza within the Temple area. It is the most sacred place of prayer in the Jewish world. The below image shows the size of the wall in relation to the entire temple in the red rectangle. The Western (Wailing) Wall is indicated in the red box in the above photo of the Temple model wall. The Wall aboveground consisted of 24 rows of stones of different dressing and age, reaching a total height of 18 m. with 6 m. above the level of the Temple Mount. In 1867 excavations revealed that 19 more rows lay buried underground, the lowest being sunk into the natural rock of the Tyropoeon Valley. [Western Wall Images]

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The Place of Trumpeting Stone in Herod's Temple

The Place of Trumpeting stone was discovered by archaeologists excavating the Temple Mount area. It is inscribed with the words "To the place of trumpeting" and the photo is shows the block of stone. [Place of Trumpeting Stone Image]

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Bar Kochba Coin of Herod's Temple

The Bar Kochba coin was struck by Bar Kochba, the leader of the Jewish revolt against the Romans in 132 A.D., it reveals the entrance to the Holy Place within the Temple. It is the only image in history of the original facade of the Second Temple. [Bar Kochba Coin Image]

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Arch of Titus Frieze of Artifacts Taken from Herod's temple

This frieze from the Arch of Titus in Rome depicts the triumphant Roman soldiers carrying off the seven-branched menorah, the Table of the Shewbread and other spoils captured from the Temple in Jerusalem. It reveals the dreadful crushing of the Jewish revolt in 70 A.D. by Titus. [Arch of Titus Relief Image]

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Temple Warning Inscription from the Outer Court of Herod's Temple

Josephus the Jewish historian wrote about the warning signs that were on the barrier that separated the court of the gentiles from the other courts in the Temple. Not until recent times did archaeologists actually discover one. Its seven-line inscription read as follows: NO FOREIGNER IS TO GO BEYOND THE BALUSTRADE AND THE PLAZA OF THE TEMPLE ZONE WHOEVER IS CAUGHT DOING SO WILL HAVE HIMSELF TO BLAME FOR HIS DEATH WHICH WILL FOLLOW [Temple Warning Inscription Image]

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