THE JERUSALEM TEMPLE
The Pre-Herodian Temple
The second Temple underwent many partial renovations and even a complete dismantling and rebuilding until its destruction by the Romans in 70. Unfortunately, information on the history of the second Temple is meager.
The second Temple was built on the ruins of Solomon's Temple on the Temple mount. A very incomplete description of the plan of the structure built under the direction of Zerubbabel is found in a copy of the original decree by Cyrus (Ezra 6:3-4; 1 Esdras 6:24-25; see Ant. 11.4.6; 99).
The Temple was to be a place of sacrifice—so that the altar was to be rebuilt—and was to be ninety feet (i.e., sixty cubits) high and ninety feet wide with three courses of well-polished stones and one of timber. The gold and silver utensils from Solomon's Temple were to be returned in order to be used in the rebuilt Temple.
The history of the Temple
during the Persian and early Hellenistic periods is largely unknown,
owing to a lack of sources. Presumably, it still existed and operations
went on within it as normal. There is one reference from this period
to consider. Josephus claims to quote from a work written by a
certain Hecataeus of Abdera, a philosopher who lived in the fourth and
third centuries BCE who wrote a work about the Jews. In his work, Hecataeus
describes the Jerusalem Temple (Apion 1.22; 198-99).
He says that the Temple encompassed an area of five plethra (one plethron = c. 100 feet) long and one hundred cubits broad, access to which was through a pair of gates (The implication is that the Temple is surrounded by a wall). He describes the altar, which was square (twenty cubits by twenty cubits and ten cubits high) and made of unhewn stones, and beside it, a building containing an (incense) altar and a lampstand, both made of gold. The lamps on the lampstand are never extinguished. He remarks that in the Temple there are no statues or votive offerings, and no vegetation, in the form of sacred groves.
Palestine, which included Judea, passed over from the Ptolemaic kingdom to the Seleucid kingdom in c. 198 BCE. It seems that during the war between the two kingdoms the Temple was damaged, so that Antiochus III, the king of the Seleucid kingdom, decreed that work on the Temple be completed under favorable political conditions. The goal was to make it more splendid than it was before (Ant. 12.3.3; 139-41). The only reference to a specific feature of the Temple is to the stoa (portico): "I would also have the work about the temple finished, and the stoa, and if there be any thing else that ought to be rebuilt" (Ant. 12.3.3; 141). Whether these stoa were already existent before the renovations sponsored by Antiochus III or were architectural innovations is impossible to determine. The edict published by Antiochus III concerning the Temple, as cited by Josephus, implies that there was an outer court, into which gentiles may enter, provided that they have purified themselves: "He [Antiochus III] also published a decree through all his kingdom in honor of the temple, which contained what follows: 'It shall be lawful for no foreigner to come within the limits of the Temple round about; which thing is forbidden also to the Jews, unless to those who, according to their own custom, have purified themselves'" (Ant. 12.3.4; 145). Surely the decree of Antiochus III would not have allowed gentiles to enter the inner courts, so that there must have existed an outer court into which ritually-pure gentiles were allowed to enter, but proceed no further.
It seems that it was Simon (the Just), High Priest from 219-196 BCE, who was responsible for overseeing the Temple repairs and renovations (Sirach 50.1-3). In particular it is said, "In his time the wall was built, for the residence in the Temple of the King. In his day the reservoir was dug, the pool with the vastness like the sea's" (50:2-3). The wall that Simon built seems to be the outer wall, which would encompass the outer court. Simon also dug a reservoir, presumably to hold water used for sacrifice or other purposes. In his eyewitness description of Simon's high-priestly service in the Temple, most likely on the Day of Atonement, Sirach mentions "the house of the curtain" (oikos katapetasmatos) (i.e., the holy of holies) (50:5) as well as the altar and the court of the sanctuary (50:11).
Succeeding Antiochus III
was Antiochus IV Epiphanes, who in 168 BCE plundered the Jerusalem Temple.
He also built another altar on the altar already in the Temple. After
several years of armed struggle, Judas Maccabees took control of the
Temple, but found it in a state of disrepair. The description of the
state of the Temple after the Antiochan persecution and Judas' restoration
of it in 1 Macc 4.36-51 provides valuable data for a historical reconstruction
of the second Temple.
The Temple desecrated by Antiochus had gates, which were burnt down; in addition, it seems that there were living quarters for priests on duty, which were in ruins. All the furniture and utensils were missing, including the curtains separating the holy place from the holy of holies (see also Ant. 12.317-18 = War 1.39). Both 1 Macc 4:51 and Ant. 12.318 refer to "curtains" (katapetasmata / empetasmata), implying that there was more than one curtain separating the holy place from the holy of holies. Judas removed both the original altar and the altar that Antiochus placed upon the original, replacing these with another altar made with unhewn stones. Judas and his followers made a new lampstand, altar of incense and table (of shewbread). It seems also that a new curtains were manufactured. (In 2 Macc 4.12, 28; 5.5 references are made to the citadel adjacent to the Temple.)
The Letter of Aristeas
may be a historical fiction written in the early part of the second
century either before or during the Antiochan persecution, as opposed
to the time of Ptolemy II Philadelphius (283-247 BCE). Nevertheless,
the description of the Jerusalem Temple found in Letter of Aristeas
(83-91) is credible and seems to be that of an eyewitness.
If he is writing around the time of Antiochus IV, then the author is
probably describing the Jerusalem Temple as it appeared in the early
second century. How similar the Temple in this description was to the
Temple a century earlier during the reign of Ptolemy II is impossible
The author of Letter of Aristeas says that the Temple sat upon the tallest hill in Jerusalem and faced east; it had three enclosing walls over seventy cubits high, while the west wall of the sanctuary served as the fourth enclosing wall. In general, the author was impressed by the quality of the workmanship and the material used in its construction, giving as examples the doors, their fastenings and the lintels. He mentions the curtain (katapetasma) and describes how air currents would cause it to be in a gentle but perpetual motion, which created quite the spectacle for the on-looker. The foundation of the Temple was said to be covered with precious stones. He also makes reference to the altar, which one approached by a ramp, and how there was a method devised to wash away sacrificial blood from the altar using water from a spring and a system of underground reservoirs that channeled water to the altar; the blood was washed out through discrete holes at the base of the altar through which the water would wash away the sacrificial blood. Presumably, the water and blood would flow underground and exit somewhere beyond the outer walls. The author also claims to have toured the citadel adjacent to the Temple; he describes seeing towers and catapults (100-104).
Later, as the conflict between the Seleucid kingdom and the Maccabeans continued, Antiochus V Eupator, the son of Antiochus IV, is said to have pulled down the walls of the Temple: "But when the king entered Mount Zion and saw what a strong fortress the place was, he broke the oath he had sworn and gave orders to tear down the wall all around. " (1 Macc 6.60-63; see Ant. 12.9.7; 382-83). These walls were probably the outer walls surrounding what was known as the outer court, because In 1 Macc 9.54, it is said that the high priest Alcimus, hostile to the Maccabeans, tore down the walls of the inner court: "In the one hundred and fifty-third year, in the second month, Alcimus gave orders to tear down the wall of the inner court of the sanctuary." Exactly which walls these were is not clear, but probably they were the walls surrounding the priests' court and sanctuary. Jonathan, a brother of Judas, rebuilt the outer Temple wall (1 Macc 10.11; Ant. 13.2.1; 41); presumably the inner walls were also rebuilt at some point after Alcimus' death. According to Josephus, Jonathan later repaired the Temple walls and added high towers to the Temple precincts: "When Simon and Jonathan had finished these affairs, they returned to Jerusalem, where Jonathan gathered all the people together, and took counsel to restore the walls of Jerusalem, and to rebuild the wall that encompassed the temple, which had been thrown down, and to fortify the Temple precincts by very high towers" (Ant. 13.5.11; 181). Presumably, parts of the outer walls of Temple were destroyed during Jonathan's conflicts with the Seleucids, since he had repaired the outer Temple wall earlier.
John Hyrcanus, the son of
Simon, inherited the high priesthood from his father. Josephus describes
how, on what seems to be the Day of Atonement, Hyrcanus burned incense
alone in the Temple, no doubt in the holy place: "Hyrcanus, who
was alone in the Temple, burning incense as High Priest, heard a voice
saying that his sons had just defeated Antiochus (IX Cyzicenus)"
(Ant. 13.10.3; 282). During the reigns of Aristobolus I, the
son of Hyrcanus I and the reign of Alexandra, references are made to
the citadel adjacent to the Temple: "For he was ill lying in the
fortress (baris) afterwards called Antonia..."(Ant.
13.11.2; 307 = War 13.3; 76; Ant. 13.16.5;
426-27 = War 1.5.4; 117-19; see Ant.
14.1.2; 5, 14.3.4; 51). Alexander Jannaeus, the second husband of Alexandra,
is said to have erected a wooden barrier around the altar and the Temple
as far as the wall in order to keep the people away from him and the
other priests (Ant. 13.13.5; 372-73).
This innovation was precipitated by the fact that some Jewish men observing Alexander Jannaeus offering the required sacrifices at the festival of Tabernacles pelted him with kitra (citrus fruits) during the feast of Tabernacles. This barrier to keep the people at a distance from the High Priest seems to be a wall designed to keep non-priests at a safe distance from the priests (i.e., out of throwing range). It is not clear, however, how this new barrier related to the one that must have already been in place before the kitra-throwing incident. Perhaps what is being described is an enlargement of the area where only priests could enter. Or perhaps the wooden barrier was higher than the previous wall and so could prevent people from having access to him.
Josephus says that during the Hasmonean period, the ravine between the Temple mount and the city was filled in to give better access to the Temple; in addition, the hill on which the Akra (fortress) stood was lowered, so that the Temple would be the tallest structure in Jerusalem and not be blocked from view by the Akra (War 5.4.1; 139-40).
The faction loyal to Aristobolus II took refuge in the Temple when the Roman general Pompey marched on Jerusalem in 63 BCE. In his description of Pompey's siege, Josephus describes the Temple and its situation (Ant. 14.4.1-4; 58-73 = War 1.7.2-6; 143-53). The rebels took refuge in the Temple and cut the bridge that led to the Temple from the city: "It was this party that made the first move and occupied the Temple, and cutting the bridge that stretched from it to the city, prepared themselves for a siege" (Ant. 14.4.2; 58). This bridge was probably on the western side of the outer wall, and seems to have been a suspension-type bridge. The Temple is said to have have been a natural fortress since it was surrounded by a ravine; in addition, the Temple was fortified with towers, which may refer to towers attached to the fortress later called Antonia or to other towers built into the outer wall of the Temple. During the siege and even when Pompey's troops had breached the outer wall, the priests faithfully carried out their duties of offering the morning and evening sacrifices, the Tamid offering. Pompey eventually breached the largest towers: "Now when the siege-engine was brought up, the largest of the towers was shaken and fell, making a breach through which the enemy poured through" (Ant. 14.4.3; 68). Josephus says that Pompey and some of his troops entered the inner court of the Temple and even inspected the holy place. They saw the golden table, the sacred lampstand, the libation vessels, and a great quantity of spices, but took nothing, not even the deposits in the Temple treasury.
The author(s) of the Psalms of Solomon refers disapprovingly to Pompey's siege of the Temple, especially as he desecrated it (Ps. Sol. 2.1-2, 26-27; 8.16-18; 17.12).
The Roman Crassus, proconsul
of Syria from 54-53 BCE, intending to march against the Parthians and
needing funds for this campaign, took money on deposit in the Temple
and is said to have planned to strip all the gold off the Temple also
(Ant.. 14.7.1; 105-109 = War 1.8.8; 179).
Apparently the gold covered the interior and/or exterior of the walls of the Temple buildings. Eleazar gave Crassus the golden beam or rod that held up the curtains in the sanctuary. The purpose of these curtains (katapetasmata) is not clear; possibly this is a reference to other curtains than the one thatseparated the holy place from the holy of holies. Josephus explains that the Temple contained much wealth, some of which was used as ornamentation, because Jews from outside of Palestine sent money to the Temple (Ant. 14.109-13).
Antigonus, a Hasmonean,
the son of Aristobolus II, allied with the Parthians took control of
Jerusalem from the Romans. Herod, with Roman support, in 39 BCE began
a campaign to retake Jerusalem. Herod laid siege to the Temple, and
eventually gained access to the outer courts of the Temple and the lower
city. When he took the outer court of the Temple and the lower city,
Herod's enemies fled into the inner courts and the upper city. Once
the Romans gained access to the inner courts, a massacre ensued, but
Herod restrained the Roman soldiers from entering into the sanctuary
(Ant. 14.15.14; 465-83 = War 1.17.8-18.3;
342-57). Josephus says
that some of the porticos were burnt, which may be porticos in the inner
courts or the outer courts.
In 20-19 BCE, in the eighteenth or the seventeenth year of his reign, Herod announced that he planned to renovate the Temple (Ant. 15.11.1-2; 380-90 = War 1.21.1; 401). Actually, it seems that what he intended was its dismantling and complete reconstruction, so that one could call it a new Temple; some feared that Herod would pull down the old structures but would not be able to rebuild them. Josephus' detailed description the Herodian Temple will be considered later.
When Herod was on his death bed, Josephus says that some youths, at the instigation of their teachers Judas and Matthias, pulled down a golden eagle that Herod had erected over the great gate of the Temple as a dedicatory offering (Ant. 17.6.1-3; 151-63 = War 1.33.2-4; 649-55). The Temple gate referred to is probably the eastern gate leading into the inner courts of the Temple, called the Beautiful Gate. In their view, the biblical prohibition against images justified their action. The youths responsible climbed onto the roof, lowered themselves and cut the image down with axes.
Upon Herod's death, Archelaus, one of Herod's sons, went to the Temple, ascended a platform and sat on a golden throne (Ant. 17.8.4; 200 = War 2.1.1; 1-2). Where exactly in the Temple this took place is not clear. This pretentious act was for the purpose of staking a claim to power. When Archelaus was in Rome petitioning Augustus to confirm the last will of his father, Herod, a riot broke out in the Temple during the Festival of Weeks; Varus, proconsul of Syria, attempted to quell the disturbance (Ant. 17.10.2; 254-64 = War 2.3.2-3; 45-50). According to Josephus, the rioters climbed atop the porticos surrounding the outer court and attacked the Roman legionnaires from above. In retaliation, the Romans burned the porticos feeding the fire with combustible materials until the porticos collapsed (Josephus says that the porticos had some wooden components and even gold ornamentation). Pushing their way through the fire, the Romans made their way into the Temple treasury, which they proceeded to plunder; where exactly in relation to the porticos the treasury was situated is difficult to determine. Probably, however, as will be seen, the Temple Treasury was located in the women's court.
Josephus gives an account of how Samaritans scattered human bones throughout the Temple during Passover, when the priests were accustomed to throwing open the gates of the temple after midnight; this had the effect of ritually contaminating the Temple (Ant. 18.2.2; 29). When he was procurator of Judea, Pontius Pilate illegally expropriated funds from the Temple treasury to build an aqueduct (Ant. 18.3.2; 60-62 = War 2.9.4; 175-77). Josephus also explains, in some detail, how, when he became emperor, Gaius (Caligula) ordered Petronius, proconsul of Syria, to erect a statue of him in the Temple. Petronius protested and delayed, and Gaius died before the former carried out the order, to the relief of all sensible people (Ant. 18.8.2-9; 261-309 = War 2.10.1-5; 184-203). Finally, Josephus relates how once during a Passover celebration, a Roman soldier standing on exterior temple walls exposed himself to the Passover crowds, thereby causing a riot. As a result a massacre ensued as the Roman legionnaires attempted to restore order (Ant. 20.5.2; 104-12).
During the reign of Agrippa II (52-66 CE), the Temple was to undergo renovations because its foundation had begun to sink. Importing huge timbers from Lebanon, Agrippa hoped to underpin the sanctuary and raise it up twenty cubits, but the war with Rome interrupted his work (War 5.1.5; 36). On behalf of the unemployed construction workers, whose jobs were terminated with the completion of the Temple, the people requested that Agrippa II allow the workers to raise the height of the east portico, which Josephus says was built by Solomon. No doubt, he means that the eastern wall was pre-Herodian, that Herod did not rebuild this part of the outer wall (Ant. 20.9.7; 219-22).
Herod's Temple was under
construction from c. 20/19 BCE until 63 (see John 2:20), but most of
the work was completed earlier rather than later. Josephus says that
the Temple proper (ho naos) was completed after a year and a
half, whereas the construction of the stoa and the outer courts took
eight years (Ant. 15.11.5-6; 420-21). The rest of the time
was spent finishing the task. He also claims that during the time the
Temple proper (ho naos) was under construction, no rain fell
during the day, but only at night, so as not to hinder progress (Ant.
15.11.7; 425). Josephus records Herod's speech to the people on
the eve of his massive renovation project (Ant. 15. 382-87);
probably Josephus copied it from the court archives.
Herod's Temple was under construction from c. 20/19 BCE until 63, just before its destruction by the Romans, but most of the work was completed earlier rather than later. Josephus says that the Temple proper (ho naos) was completed after a year and a half, whereas the construction of the stoa and the outer courts took eight years (Ant. 15.11.5-6; 420-21). The rest of the time was spent finishing the task. He also claims that during the time the Temple proper (ho naos) was under construction, no rain fell during the day, but only at night, so as not to hinder progress (Ant. 15.11.7; 425). The Roman historian Tacitus describes the Temple as "possessing enormous riches" (Hist. 5.8.1).
No one knows for certain what Herod's temple looked like in all its detail, nor its exact dimensions, but one can form a general idea of its layout from recent archaeological excavations (see M. ben-Dov, In the Shadow of the Temple), accounts of authors contemporary with Herod's Temple and from the Mishnah. The major literary sources are Josephus (War 5.5.1-8; 184-247; Ant. 15.11.5-7; 410-25) and the Mishnaic tractate Middot (m. Mid.), as well as other tractates. The problem is that the literary sources are all incomplete and somewhat contradictory at points; the Mishnah is suspect on some counts because it was written long after living memory of the Temple. In this study, where these sources diverge, either both are given as options or one of the two options is determined to be the most likely.
The Jerusalem Temple was situated on top of the Temple Mount, also known as Mt. Moriah. To the west of the Temple was the Tyropoeon valley and to the south and east was the Kidron valley, possible identical to the Hinnom valley (Gehinnom).
The north provided easiest access to the Temple. Josephus describes the city as laying before the Temple as a "theater," by which he means that the city was situated as on the west and south sides of the Temple, in a sort of semi-circle (Ant. 15.410). Archaeological investigation reveals the outer wall of Herod's Temple itself was an irregular quadrangle: south wall = 280 m.; west wall = 485 m.; north wall = 315 m.; east wall 460 m. The total circumference of the temenos or sacred precincts, was 1,540 m., and the total area = c. 144,000 sq. m. (M. ben-Dov, In the Shadow of the Temple, 77). These dimensions were large by ancient standards; most temples in the ancient world were much smaller. Herod had the the old foundations of the Temple removed (Ant. 15.391). Archaeological evidence suggests, however, that he kept the eastern wall in tact, for there is a "seam" visible near the southern corner of the eastern wall separating the Herodian stonework and what is presumed to be the pre-Herodian eastern wall. From the seam southward is thirty-two meters (out of a total of 460 meters) of Herodian wall, from which it may be inferred that Herod's builders extended the outer wall this distance to the south (M. ben-Dov, In the Shadow of the Temple, 101-103). There is also archaeological evidence of an elaborate drainage system.
In the Mishnah it is said that the Temple mount—the outer wall—was 500 cubits square (m. Mid. 2.1) (A cubit is c. 22 inches or 56.1 centimeters), and Josephus says that the east portico was 400 cubits long (Ant. 20.9.7; 221-22). Obviously there is a discrepancy between the archaeological and the literary evidence concerning the size of the Temple. (The Mishnah may base its measurements on Ezek 42:16-20, which specifies that the Temple should be 500 cubits square.) In another place, Josephus said the circumference of the outer walls was four stadia (stadion = c. 607 ft. or 184 m.) with each side being one stadion, which would make the outer courts a square (Ant. 15.401).
In Apion 2.8; 103-109,
Josephus gives a brief description of the layout of the Temple. He
says that the Temple had four courts, each with restrictions on who
could enter. The outer court was open to all, including non-Jews,
except menstruating women. Into the second court were allowed all
Jewish men and menstrually clean Jewish women. Beyond the second
court was the third court into which ritually pure Jewish men could
enter. Finally the fourth court was restricted to priests who were
properly attired. Josephus also indicates that only the high priest
dressed in his high priestly raiment could enter the sanctuary (adytum).
Similarly, the Mishnah distinguishes degrees of holiness possessed by
various areas of the Temple: the Temple mount was holier that the city,
whereas the terrace surrounding the inner courts was holier than the
Temple mount. The court of women is holier than the terrace and the
court of the Israelites is holier than it. Finally, the court of the
priests is holier than all (m. Kelim 1.8-9).
It should also be noted that one ascended as one went up to the Temple
and, once in the Temple, moved upwards towards the sanctuary (War
5.1.1; 9-11). When they came to visit for festivals, Jews in the second-Temple
period brought to Jerusalem second-tithe money, ten percentage of their
income after the first tithe (see Deut 14:22-26; Jub. 32:11
Tobit 1:7; Ant.. 4.205; m. Ma'aser Sheni). This meant
that many Jews spent sizable sums of money in the city, which no doubt
included purchases of types of sacrifices that they themselves could
eat (fellowship and peace offerings).
The outer courts were surrounded by a high and thick wall. Josephus says that this wall was the "greatest ever heard of," which, although exaggerated, is not far from the truth (Ant. 15.11.3; 396). Parts of this wall still survive today and have recently been excavated down to their original street level. Not surprisingly the stones used were large, especially those used in the lower courses and the corners. Josephus says that some of the stones were 40 cubits long (c. 20 m.) and six cubits (c. 3 m.) high (War 5.5.1; 189; Ant. 20.9.7; 221); the largest stone found to date is 12 m. x 3 m. x 4 m., weighing c. 400 tons (M. ben-Dov, In the Shadow of the Temple, 88). The outer wall consisted of three rows of blocks and was about five meters thick (M. ben-Dov, In the Shadow of the Temple, 90-91); the blocks were fitted together using the "dry construction" method, which means that no mortar was used in the construction. Each block had a "marginal dressing," meaning that each had a frame or margin chiseled around its edge (M. ben Dov, In the Shadow of the Temple, 96). The stones used are described by Josephus as "hard and white" (lithoi leukoi te kai krataioi) (Ant. 15.11.3; 392). According to Josephus, Roman battering rams were unable to cause a breach in the outer western wall (War: 6.4.1; 220-22).
The height of the wall varied,
but on the exterior to the south it extended more than thirty meters
above ground level (Sanders, Judaism, 68). In some places, the
actual height of the wall is fifty meters, because the foundation is
twenty meters below street level (M. ben-Dov, In the Shadow of the Temple, 77, 92). (Josephus says that the actual height of the wall
in some places was as high as 300 cubits (= c. 150 meters), but this
seems to be in error; he is is correct, however, in noting in general
that, "The whole depth of the foundations was not apparent; for
they filled up a considerable part of the ravines, wishing to level
the narrow alleys of the town" [War, 5.188].) On the top
of the outer wall, there was probably a parapet on either side, in order
to allow people safe access to the top of the wall.
Josephus describes how the
outer wall was constructed (Ant. 15. 397-400). The outer walls
were built around the base of the Temple mount, starting from the lowest
point; the blocks were fastened to one another with lead (He also says
clamps were used on the inside of the blocks to join them together,
giving the outer walls greater strength). When the wall reached the
designated height, the summit of the Temple mount was leveled off, and
fill was brought in to fill up the empty space between the walls and
the Temple mount, so that the outer walls functioned as retaining walls.
This provided a level surface for the Temple complex. Actually,
the empty space between the summit and the outer walls was not completely
filled in, for under the Temple complex towards the southeastern corner
of the Temple are three stories of vaulted chambers, what is known today
as "Solomon's Stables" (M. ben-Dov, In the Shadow of the
Temple, 91). The empty space underground reduced the pressure exerted
against the outer walls from within. These vaulted chambers were connected
to the Triple Huldah Gate passageway and supported the floor of the
Temple on the southeast side of the Temple complex. (see also m.
Para 3.3: "The Temple Mount and the Temple Courts had a hollow
space beneath them in case there was a grave in the depths"). Obviously
the outer wall would be almost impenetrable, especially since the Temple
was surrounded on three sides by ravines; only the access from the north
was relatively level. This explains why so frequently the Temple
was used as a citadel.
According to the Mishnah, one entered the Temple complex, surrounded by the outer wall, through one of five gates, two on the south and one each other side (m. Mid. 1.3); according to m. Mid. 2.3 the gates were ten cubits wide by twenty cubits high (c. five meters by ten meters). The gate on the west was known as the Coponius (Kiphonus) Gate (m. Mid. 1.3), which may correspond to what is today known as Barclay's Gate, named after the American J. T. Barclay, who identified the remains of the lintel and arch of this Herodian gate (M. ben-Dov, In the Shadow of the Temple, 116, 140-41). Contrary to the Mishnah, however, archaeological evidence confirms that there was more than one gate on the west side, bordering the Tyropoeon valley. In fact, Josephus says that there were four gates leading into the Temple from the west (Ant. 15.11.5; 410). The most southerly of these four gates was situated twelve meters north of the southwest corner of the outer wall. In 1838, Edward Robinson identified the remains of an archway, now known as "Robinson's Arch," that once led to the place where this gate once stood; the supporting pier for the western edge of this arch was uncovered thirteen meters from the western wall.
To the south of this pier,
perpendicular to the archway, was uncovered the foundations of a row
of vaults that rose gradually from south to north; these vaults supported
a staircase connecting the street running along the Tyropoeon Valley
with the Temple. Josephus
may be describing this gate when he writes, "The last [gate] led to
the other part of the city, from which it was separated by many steps
going down to the ravine and from here up again to the hill" (Ant.
15.11.5; 410). It is clear both from Josephus' description and the archaeological
evidence that one used this staircase in order to enter this southern
most gate on the western side of Temple complex. North
of "Robinson's Arch" and "Barclay's Gate," which is probably the Coponius
Gate, is located what is now known as "Wilson's Arch,"
named after the man who explored it in the late 1860's. This structure
probably dates from the post-destruction period, but marks the location
of another western gate (M. ben-Dov, In the Shadow of the Temple,
169-78). The northernmost gate along the western wall may have
been situated at what is now known as "Warren's Gate,"
named after its discoverer, Charles Warren, who led the British expedition
under the auspices of the Palestine Exploration Fund. What is visible
at present is the upper portion of a blocked-up gate, which is probably
a later Muslim reconstruction of a gate original to Herod's Temple (The
arched lintel of "Warren's Gate" dates from the Muslim period,
but the gate posts are probably from the second-Temple period [M. ben-Dov,
In the Shadow of the Temple, 145]). Josephus describes how, during
the siege of the Temple, Titus burned some of the outer gates and how
their silver plating melted to revealed a wooden interior, which soon
caught fire; this fire soon spread to the porticoes (War 6.4.2;
232-35). On the outside of the outer western wall of the Temple ran
a street paved with stones; along the eastern side of the street, adjacent
to the outer western Temple wall were many shops (see M. ben-Dov, In the Shadow of the Temple, 80, 114).
A staircase led to a walkway that ran along the top of the shops along the western wall; it led to the two lower gates through which one entered into the Temple underground.
The two sets of southern gates are known as the two Huldah Gates, the double Huldah gate and the triple Huldah gate. It seems that the southern gates became the de facto main entrance to and exit from the Temple, because they were the most used. A paved street seven meters wide ran along the southern outer wall of the Temple in front of the Huldah gates for a distance of 280 meters. Access to the both Huldah gates was by means of staircases.
The staircase in front of the double Huldah gate was 65 m. wide, while that in front of the triple Huldah gate was 15 m. (The staircase in front of the double Huldah gate alone still exists.) The risers on the steps are low, between seven and ten inches, and the treads vary between twelve and thirty-five inches, which forces a person to adopt an slow and deliberate gate when using the staircase, as if in a procession. The double Huldah gate served as an exit from the Temple, while the triple Huldah gate was used as an entrance (m. Mid. 1.3; 2.2) (M. ben-Dov, In the Shadow of the Temple, 113). The Mishnah says, "They entered from the right and exited to the left" (m. Mid. 2.2). The staircase in front of the double Huldah gate was wider than that in front of the triple Huldah gate in order to accommodate the simultaneous exit of people from the Temple when ceremonies or festivities ended and perhaps their lingering for the purpose of socializing. Entrance into the Temple would be more staggered and so a more narrow staircase sufficed. Both gates opened into highly-decorated tunnels that led upwards into the outer courts (M. ben-Dov, In the Shadow of the Temple, 136-37). As indicated, the passageway of the triple Huldah gate was connected to the vaulted chambers beneath the southeastern part of the Temple, what is now called "Solomon's stables," where there were stalls for animals. Presumably, those entering the Temple from the south could buy animals for sacrifice that were certified as valid by the Temple authority.
The eastern gate led to the Mount of Olives, whereas the gate on the north, the Tadi Gate, was not used (m. Mid. 2.1). There are also the remains of an arch near the "seam" on the eastern wall, indicating that there used to be a entrance into the Temple at this point and that there was a street that ran under this arch parallel to the eastern wall (M. ben-Dov, In the Shadow of the Temple, 115-16).C. Beyond the Outer Walls
The area inside the outer walls is known as the outer courts or, as Josephus expresses, "the first court" (ho prôtos peribolos) (The Mishnah refers to the outer courts as the "Mount of the House"); the largest area within the outer court was to the south, then the east, then the north and finally the west (m. Mid. 2.1). It was paved with stones (War 5.11.2; 192-93). Any person who was ritually pure could enter into the outer courts.
The outer court
was surrounded by a portico adjacent to the inside of the walls (War
5.5.2; 191-93; Ant. 15.11.5; 410-416) (A portico is a porch
or walkway with a roof supported by columns). The portico consisted
of three rows of columns, except along the southern wall where there
were four rows of columns (Acts 2:46). The outermost columns were pilasters,
columns set into the Temple wall (M. ben-Dov, In the Shadow of the
Temple, 93). The portico consisting of four rows of columns on
the south was called the Royal Portico. Another one of these porticoes
is called Solomon's portico, which probably was situated along the east
side of the outer court (John 10:23; Acts 3:11; Acts 5:12).
Around the inner courts was a partition separating it from the outer court. Josephus says that this partition was three cubits high, whereas m. Mid. 2.3 says that it was only ten handbreadths high, or almost half as high. This partition is called the soreg in the Mishnah, which derives from the verb srg, which means to interlace or plait, so that it seems to refer to some type of lattice work, the implication possibly being that it was made of wood. Josephus, however, calls this balustrade a druphaktos, by which is meant a railing or balustrade, and says that it was made of stone. So the two sources are divergent about the nature of this partition. Since he was an eyewitness, Josephus' account should be preferred. It is possible that the partition was a free-standing structure, but it may also have formed part of the vertical extremity of the terrace that lay beyond it. Regardless, it had warning signs regularly spaced along it advising gentiles that entrance into the inner court was forbidden on pain of death (War5.193; m. Mid. 2.3) (see also Josephus, War 6.124-26; Ant. 15. 417; Philo Leg. ad Gaium 212).
Beyond the soreg were stairs leading up to a terrace (called the chel in m. Kelim 1.8), ten cubits wide, which was bounded by the walls of the inner court. According to Josephus, there were fourteen steps leading up to the terrace, while the Mishnah states that there were only twelve steps (m. Mid. 2.3). The number in the Mishnah, however, is suspect because of the symbolic importance of the number twelve. Josephus explains that beyond the terrace lay other sets of five steps leading up to gates opening up into the inner courts (War 5.5.2; 196-97), but the Mishnah describes the terrace as bounded by the walls of the inner court with no additional steps (m. Mid. 2.3). On the exterior, the height of the wall (including the steps) separating the two courts was forty cubits, while on the inside it was twenty-five cubits, since the inner courts were elevated above the outer courts. According to the Mishnah, when Nisan 14 fell on the Sabbath (and carrying the sacrificed paschal offering out of the Temple was forbidden) the first group to offer the Passover remained in the outer court, the second group on the terrace surrounding the inner courts, inside of the soreg, whereas the last group waited where they sacrificed their lambs until sundown, when the Sabbath was concluded (m. Pesah. 5.10).
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, called the Nicanor Gate (War 5.5.2; 198; m. Mid. 1.4). This is confirmed by the Mishnah, for m. Sheqal. 6.3 and m. Mid. 2.6 both indicate that there are four gates each on the south and north sides of the inner courts, in addition to the Nicanor Gate. According to m. Sheqal. 6.3 and m. Mid. 2.6, on the south side, from west to east, are found the Upper Gate, the Fuel Gate, the Firstling Gate and the Water Gate; on the north side, from west to east, are located the Jeconiah Gate, the Offering Gate, the Women Gate and the Song Gate. Only three of these gates actually lead into the women's court from the outer courts, one from the east (see below), the Song Gate from the north and the Water Gate from the south. There is a discrepancy in the Mishnah, however, concerning the number of gates leading into the inner courts. M. Mid. 1.4-5 says that there were only seven gates, three on the south, three on the north and one on the east. But this text may refer only to the gates on the north, south and east sides that lead into the Court of the Priests or the Court of the Israelites (what Josephus calls the "sacred [court]" and the "third court" Ant. 15.11.5; 419), omitting to mention that there were three more gates, one on the north, one on the south and one on the east, each of which leads into the Court of Women. In addition, there is some disagreement on the names of the gates in this parallel passage. According to m. Mid. 1.4, the gates on the south were called the Fuel Gate, the Firstling Gate and the Water Gate. These three names also occur in m. Sheqal. 6.3 and m. Mid. 2.6. Only one of the names of the three gates on the north side in m. Mid. 1.5, however, matches the names of the four northern gates mentioned in m. Sheqal. 6.3 and m. Mid. 2.6: the Offering Gate. The other two gates on the north side in m. Mid. 1.5 are called the Light Gate and the Gate of the Chamber of the Hearth. In m. Mid. 1.5, the Light Gate is said to be a peristyle (court enclosed by columns, or a portico) on the ground level with an entrance on to the surrounding terrace and also had an upper story that was used to maintain guard by the priests and Levites. With the exception of the Nicanor Gate, these gates were thirty cubits high and fifteen wide, and each had two doors and a gate room. (In Apion 2.8; 119, Josephus says that the gates were sixty cubits high and twenty wide, which seems to be an exaggeration.) The Nicanor Gate was forty-cubits wide and fifty cubits high. The nine gate rooms (exedra) were thirty cubits wide, thirty cubits deep and forty cubits high, each supported by two columns (War 5.5.3; 202-203). Elsewhere, Josephus says that these gate rooms each consisted of three rooms (Ant. 15.11.5; 418). According to m. Mid. 1.4 (see m. Mid. 2.6), the Nicanor Gate had two gate rooms, one on either side of it; one was called the Chamber of Phineas where the priest responsible for the distribution of priestly raiment carried out his duties, while the other room was used for the preparation of the meal-offering cakes. In m. Mid. 1.6, the Chamber of the Hearth, connected somehow to the gate by the same name, is said to have four rooms opening into a reception room (Heb. trqlyn = Lat. torcularium), which were used for different purposes. The room to the southwest was the "Chamber of the Lamb Offerings," the one to the southeast the "Chamber of Shewbread," the one to the northeast the place where the Hasmoneans hid the defiled altar stones, and the room to the northwest was a chamber which led down to the "Chamber of Immersion," where priests would cleanse themselves ritually when needed. The two rooms on the south were considered to be on sacred ground, whereas the two on the north were in non-sacred ground. The Chamber of the Hearth also had two gates, one opening on to the terrace and the other on to the Priest's Court. The gate that opened on to the Priest's Court had a small wicket (pšpt), i.e., a small door built into or near a larger gate, that allowed priests access to the Priest's Court for the purpose of inspecting the court (m. Mid. 1.7). It also had a vault and a large room, presumably the reception room referred to in m. Mid. 1.6, which was surrounded by what is called stone rwbdyn, which seem to be steps. The room served as sleeping quarters for the elders of the priests' divisions who had in their possession the keys to the Priest's Court (m. Mid. 1.8).
The gate to
the east leading into the Court of Women may have been the Beautiful
Gate (Acts 3:1-10) and was the principal entrance into the inner courts.
(The inner courts were situated along an east-west axis, though the
main entrance to the outer courts was from the south.) Women were
required to enter through the north or south gates (War 5.5.2;
199). Like the other gates, they that were overlaid with silver and
gold (War 5.5.3; 201). The Beautiful Gate led into the Court
of Women, where all Jews could enter, except those who were ritually
impure (Apion 2.8; 104). The walls of the Court of Women were
lined by porticoes, thereby creating a corridor from east to west (War
5.5.2; 200); along the walls of the Court of Women were storage chambers
where Temple property or perhaps private property was stored (War
According to the Mishnah, which may be correct, there were four unroofed chambers in the four corners of the Court of Women. One was the place where unclean priests inspected the firewood removing wood that was worm-eaten; another was the room where those taking the Nazarite vow would cut their hair and cook their peace-offerings. A third was the place where lepers would cleanse themselves before presenting themselves before the priest (see Lev 14; Mark 1:44). According to t. Neg. 8:9 and m. Neg. 14:8, the leper who came to the Temple for final cleansing would immerse himself in "the chamber of the lepers" (lshkth hmtswr'im). This means that there must have been a ritual bath (mikveh) in this chamber. The Mishnah seems to refer to this chamber as being one of the two chambers closest to the eastern (i.e., Beautiful) gate; if so, in addition to the inspection of lepers, this chamber was also used for women to be purified after childbirth (Lev 12) and for the carrying out the ordeal for the suspected adulteress (Num 5:5-31) (m. Sotah 1.5; m. Tamid 5.6). (How often the latter was done is not known.) The fourth of these chambers was the place where drink offerings and grain offerings were kept (m. Mid. 2.5). Also, according to the Mishnah, which again may be correct, there was an elevated gallery in the Court of Women, probably on top of the portico roof on the south, east and north sides. It was meant for women to use in order to keep men and women from commingling (m. Mid. 2.5).
The Court of Women led into the Court of the Israelites via a curved staircase of fifteen steps, which led up to the Nicanor Gate (m. Mid. 1.4; 2.6). As indicated, according to Josephus, this gate was larger than the other nine gates (being fifty cubits high with doors forty cubits wide); its doors were supposed to have been made of Corinthian bronze (War 5.201) and it took twenty men to open and close it (War 6.5.3; 293). The Levites would stand on these steps when they sang the Song of Ascents (m. Mid. 2.6). One first entered into the Court of Israelites, where only ritually pure Jewish men could enter (Ant. 15.11.5; 419). (According to Josephus, during the Roman attack on the revolutionaries who had taken refuge in the Temple, the Nicanor Gate opened of its own accord after having been closed and bolted [War 6.5.3; 293-94].) Under the Court of the Israelites there were chambers that opened out into the Court of the Women; these underground rooms were used for storage equipment and musical instruments used by the Levites (m. Mid. 2.6). According to the Mishnah, the Court of the Israelites was 135 cubits wide and eleven cubits deep, and was separated from the Court of the Priests by a low balustrade, which was elevated above the Court of the Israelites by a few steps (War 5.5.6; 226; m. Mid. 2.6). The Mishnah also claims that the Court of Priests was 135 cubits wide and eleven cubits deep, whereas the entire Temple Court (seemingly excluding the Court of Women) was 135 cubits wide and 187 cubits deep (m. Mid. 2.6). If true, then probably what is referred to as the Court of Priests ("Hall of Priests") in m. Mid. 2.6 does not include the area in which the altar is found, because the altar would seem to be too large to fit comfortably into a space of eleven cubits; rather the eleven cubits is probably a space separating the altar from the Court of Israelites (see below).
The Mishnah indicates that there were six chambers (lškwt) along the north and south sides of the Court of Priests, three on the north side and three on the south side, corresponding to the six gates, set aside for special purposes. On the north side there was the "Salt Chamber" where salt used for sacrifices was stored, the Parvah Chamber where the hides of the sacrifices were salted and the "Rinsing Chamber" where sacrifices were rinsed (probably the innards of sacrifices). On the south side, were located the "Wood Chamber," the function of which was forgotten, the "Diaspora Chamber," where the water supply for the Temple was controlled, and the "Gazith Chamber" (i.e., Hewn Stone Chamber) where the Sanhedrin used to meet to judge the priesthood (m. Mid. 5.3-4). Around the courtyard and between the gates there were porticos (War 5.200).
In the Court of Priests stood the altar, the ramp, the shambles, and the laver among other things needed for sacrifice (War 5.5.6; 225; m. Mid. 3.1, 6; 5.2; m. Tamid 1.4). (There is also a reference to the "Chamber of Utensils" in m. Tamid 3.4.) According to m. Mid. 3.1, the base of the altar was thirty-two cubits square, rose one cubit from the ground and had a one cubit wide ledge around it; on the base stood the altar itself, five cubits high with a one cubit ledge around it. Josephus, who may be more credible, however, indicates that the altar was fifteen cubits high and fifty cubits square (War 5.5.6; 225). On each corner of the altar there were four "horns." Leading up to the altar on the south side was a ramp; on the west side of the ramp was a "cavity" where disqualified bird offerings were thrown (m. Mid. 3.3). The Letter of Aristeas describes a drainage system connected to the altar in the pre-Herodian Temple for the purpose of washing away sacrificial blood (89-90); since the Mishnah also refers to a system for the elimination of sacrificial blood (m. Mid. 3.2), likely this indispensable feature was retained in the Herodian Temple. According to m. Mid. 3.2, at the southwest corner of the altar there were two holes through which blood was flushed away by water into the Kidron valley. Also at the same corner of the altar there was a pit covered by a paving stone functioning as a lid; the paving stone had a ring in it with which to remove it (m. Mid. 3.3). Priests probably poured what remained of libations into this pit. According to Josephus, there was a day set aside in the year for the people to bring an offering of wood to be used for the altar (War 2.425). To the north of the altar there were rows of rings affixed to the ground, which were used in the slaughtering of animals. (It seems that the animal's head was put into the ring to keep it immobile.) In the same location was found the shambles ("House of Slaughter") where the animal was killed and flayed (m. Mid. 3.5). To the south, between the sanctuary portico and altar was situated the laver (m. Mid. 3.6). According to biblical prescription, priests would wash their hands and feet in the laver before making sacrifices.
sanctuary (hykl), consisting most importantly of the Holy Place
and the Holy of Holies, was situated west of the Court of the Priests;
to the west of the altar was a portico functioning as a propylaeum
(an entrance or vestibule) to the building behind it (War 5.5.3;
206). (The Mishnah refers to this as the 'wlm [m. Mid.
3.7].) According to m. Mid. 4.7, the portico was called the
"Chamber of the Slaughter-knives" because knives used for killing sacrificial
animals were stored there. The entire sanctuary was wider in front and
narrower behind (War 5.5.4; 207; m. Mid. 4.7 "like
a lion"). The portico was 100 cubits across and 100 cubits high; the
width of the building behind the portico was sixty cubits (War5.5.4;
207; 5.5.5; 221); according to m. Mid. 4.7, from east to west,
the sanctuary was 100 cubits. The exterior of the building was covered
with gold so that it reflected the sunlight (War 5.5.6; 222);
this part of the Temple was the most elevated so that the gold would
be visible from afar off. There were golden spikes affixed to the roof
of the sanctuary to keep birds from landing on it (War 5.5.6;
223-24; m. Mid. 4.6).
of Temple on Coin Minted during the "Bar Kochba" Revolt
One ascended twelve steps up to the portico into which one entered through a gate with no doors; this entrance was seventy cubits high and twenty five cubits wide (War 5.5.4; 208). (The Mishnah states the dimensions of this entrance, however, as forty cubits high and twenty cubits wide [m. Mid. 3.7].) Moving westward, one entered through the portico into the Holy Place, where only priests could enter. There were two doors fifty-five cubits high and sixteen wide, separating the portico from the Holy Place, each covered with gold, and above these were golden vines (War 5.5.4; 210; Ant. 15.9.2; 394; m. Mid. 3.8; see also Tacitus. Hist. 5.5). These golden vines may have hung from free-standing columns on either side of the doorway (Shanks, Jerusalem's Temple Mount, 95). In front of the doors, but presumably not obscuring them, hung a tapestry (War 5.5.4; 210). According to m. Yoma 3.10, Queen Helena donated a golden lamp that hung over the entrance of the sanctuary (hykl). In m. Mid. 4.1, it is specified that there were actually two sets of two doors separating the Holy Place from the portico; moreover, each of the four doors was a double door and would fold back on itself (m. Mid. 4.1). To open both sets of doors, a priest would enter through a small door on the north side of the portico and make his way into a room that led to a corridor between the two doors where he would open each set of doors; the smaller door also provided access into the Holy Place (m. Mid. 4.2). One could see through the entrance of the portico to the doors separating the portico from the Holy Place (War 5.5.4; 208). In the Holy Place stood the menorah, the incense altar, and the table of shewbread (War 5.5.5; 217) (see Luke 1:5-25). In one of the bas-reliefs of the arch of Titus, the table of shew-bread is depicted being carried as part of the Temple plunder in a triumphal procession; also included are trumpets, censers and the Menorah (see below).
To the west of the Holy Place lay the "shrine" (debir) or Holy of Holies (qodesh qodashim) where only the High Priest could enter once a year on the Day of Atonement; there was nothing in the Holy of Holies (War 5.5.5; 219; m. Mid. 4.7). The fact that there was no image of God in the holy of holies (or anywhere else in the Temple) was unusual in the ancient world and was incomprehensible to non-Jews. In fact, Josephus explains in some detail how, when he became emperor, Gaius (Caligula) ordered Petronius, proconsul of Syria, to erect a statue of him as in the sanctuary (naos) because he wanted the Jews to venerate him as a god. Petronius protested and delayed, and Gaius died before Petronius carried out the order, to the relief of all sensible people. (The Jews did agree to offer two sacrifices daily for the benefit of Caesar [Ant. 18.8.2-9; 261-309 = War 2.10.1-5; 184-203].) In m. Yoma 5.2, it is explained that there was a stone called "Foundation" (shetijah) three finger breadths high in the Holy of Holies. A curtain separated the Holy of Holies from the Holy Place (War 5.5.4; 212-13; 5..5.5; 219). Josephus describes this curtain in some detail.
There is some evidence that there were in fact two curtains, a cubit apart (half a meter), separating the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies (m. Yoma 5.1; see Heb 9:3). Philo explains that the outer curtain was called the "covering" (kalumma) whereas the inner curtain was called the "curtain" (katapetasma) (Vita Mos. 2.101).
To the north, south and west sides of the sanctuary (the Holy Place and Holy of Holies) (sixty cubits in height) were three stories of interconnected widowless rooms, thirty-eight in all; access to these rooms was from the two sides of the portico (War 5.5.5; 220-21). The Mishnah describes these rooms and their functions in some detail. According to this source, there were three stories of five rooms on the north and the south; on the west side there were two stories of three rooms and a third story of two rooms, for a total of thirty-eight rooms. These rooms were connected to one one another on either side and above and below. In addition, there was a winding staircase that led from the lower northeast corner to the upper northwest corner; one then traveled along a corridor on the west side moving south and, reaching the end, one turned east and traveled along the south side until one reached the entrance to the story above the sanctuary. From this upper story one could ascend a ladder until one reached the roof. In the upper story there were openings into the Holy of Holies from which workers could be lowered facing the wall in order to make repairs (m. Mid. 4.3-5). The use to which the upper portion of the sanctuary (forty cubits in height) was put is not known (War 5.5.5; 221).
In the north west corner of the Temple mount stood the Antonia citadel, a Roman garrison where the procurator resided when in Jerusalem; it was connected to the outer court of the Temple by an underground passage (Ant. 15.11.7; 424). This citadel was formerly called the baris (Heb. birah) (see Ant. 15.11.4; 403). There was an secret underground passage from the Antonia to the inner courts of the Temple (Ant. 15.11.7; 424). It seems also that there was access to the top of the outer walls of the Temple from the Antonia (War 2.15.6; 330; 6.2.9; 165).
Most Jews during the second Temple period recognized the Temple as a Jewish cultic center and made use of it, according to their interpretation of the biblical prescriptions. Evidence of this is the positive references to the Temple and its religious significance in Sirach, Letter of Aristeas and the writings of Philo of Alexandria (Spec. Laws, 1.141-44; 66-345; Embassy 156).
Some Jews during the second-Temple
period believed that the second Temple would be replaced by a third,
eschatological Temple. The author of Tobit, writing sometime in the
second century BCE, states that the Temple rebuilt under Nehemiah will
be replaced by a third Temple, built at the final restoration of Israel
to the land "according to what the prophets of Israel have said":
Although many of the Hebrew
prophets foretell the rebuilding of the Temple, only Ezekiel gives a
detailed description (Ezek 40-48). In a more polemical context, the
author of the Animal Apocalypse found in 1 Enoch affirms that
at the end God will remove the "old house" and replace it with a "new
By house is meant
either Temple or the city of Jerusalem, which would include the Temple.
The former Temple is said to have been defiled (89.73). Instead of a
Temple built by God, however, the Jews got Herod's Temple. Likewise,
in the Apocalypse of Weeks in 1 Enoch (93:1–10 + 91:11–17)
, in the eighth week, the time of the eschaton, it is said that "a
house shall be built for the Great King in glory for evermore"
(91:13). Presumably, the existing Temple, the pre-Herodian, second Temple,
is to be replaced. The Temple Scroll found at Qumran distinguishes
the present Temple from the eschatological Temple yet to be built and
destined to last forever:
See also 4Q174 1; Jubilees 1.15-29; 25.21; Testament of Benjamin 9.2; Sybilline Oracles 3.294, 702-20, 772-74; 5.414-33. The Qumran sectarian community forbade its members from entering or making use of the second Temple "during the age of wickedness" (CD 6.11b-14). If it is a sectarian document, the Temple Scroll represents a description of the Temple that is to replace the present defiled one. It seems, however, that the community understood "the council of the community," the ruling body of the community, as a temporary replacement of the Temple. The council of the community is described in terms befitting the Temple and said to provide atonement for the community (1QS 8.5-8; 9.3-6).
Last Modified On: