The temple of the
Creator in the time of ancient Israel. Comprised with Barnes
Notes: The temple, also called tabernacle of the Creator which
was the temple dedicated and devoted to the service of God, was built on
Mount Moriah. The first temple was built by Solomon, about 1006 years before
6:1. Solomon was seven years in building it: 1Kings
David, his father,
had contemplated the design of building it and had prepared many materials
for it, but was prevented, because he had been a man of war: 1Chronicles
1Kings 5:5. This temple,
erected with great magnificence, remained till it was destroyed by the
under Nebuchadnezzar-II, five
hundred and eighty-four years before Christ:.2Chronicles
After the Babylonish
captivity, the temple was rebuilt by Zerubbabel,
but with vastly inferior and diminished beauty. The aged men wept when
they compared it with the glory of the former temple as mentioned in Ezra
3rd chapter. This was called the second temple. This temple was often
defiled in the wars before the time of Christ. It had become much decayed
Herod the Great, being
exceedingly unpopular among the Jews, on account of his cruelties, was
desirous of doing something to obtain the favour of the people and accordingly,
about sixteen years before Christ's physical birth as Emmanuel and in the
eighteenth year of his reign, he commenced the work of repairing it. This
he did, not by taking it down entirely at once, but by removing one part
after another till it had become in fact a new temple, greatly surpassing
the former in magnificence. It was still called by the Jews the second
temple and by Christ's coming to this temple thus repaired, was fulfilled
the prophecy in Haggai 2:7-9.
On this building Herod employed
eighteen thousand men and completed it so as to be fit for use in nine
years, about eight years before Emmanuel's birth. But additions continued
to be made to it and it continued increasing in splendor and magnificence,
till ANNO DOMINI 64.(64
John says in John 2:20
"forty and six years was this temple in building"..Christ/Emmanuel
was then thirty years of age, which, added to the sixteen years occupied
in repairing it before his birth, makes forty-six years. .Barnes
temple Herod the Great commenced repairing or began to rebuild, in the
eighteenth year of his reign, that is, sixteen years before the birth of
book xv. 1). The main body of the temple
he completed in nine years and a half.(Josephus.
book, xv. 5, 6), yet the temple, with
its outbuildings, was not entirely complete in the time of our Saviour.
Herod continued to ornament it and to perfect it even till the time of
book xx. ch. viii. % 11). As Herod
began to rebuild the temple sixteen years before the birth of Jesus.(proper
and as what is here mentioned happened in the thirtieth year of the age
of Jesus, so the time which had been occupied in it was forty-six years."
The word temple was given,
not merely to the sacred edifice or house itself, but to all the numerous
chambers, courts and rooms connected with it, on the top of Mount Moriah.
The temple itself was a small edifice and was surrounded by courts and
chambers half a mile in circumference. Into the sacred edifice itself our
Saviour never went. The high priest only went into the holy of holies and
that but once a year and none but priests were permitted to enter the holy
place. Our Saviour was neither. He was of the tribe of Judah and he consequently
was allowed to enter no farther than the other Israelites into the temple.
The works that he is said to have performed in the temple, therefore, are
to be understood as having been performed in the courts surrounding the
sacred edifice. These courts will now be described.
What was the
The temple was erected on Mount Moriah. The space on the summit of the
mount was not, however, large enough for the buildings necessary to be
erected. It was therefore enlarged by building high walls, from the valley
below and filling up the space within. One of these walls was six hundred
feet in height. The ascent to the temple was by high flights of steps.
The entrance to the temple, or to the courts on the top of the mount, was
by nine gates, all of them extremely splendid. On every side they were
thickly coated with gold and silver.
But there was one gate of
peculiar magnificence. This was called the beautiful gate:.Acts
3:2. It was on the east side and was made of Corinthian brass, one
of the most precious metals in ancient times. This gate was fifty cubits,
or seventy-five feet in height. The whole temple, with all its courts,
was surrounded by a wall about twenty-five feet in height. This was built
on the wall raised from the base to the top of the mountain; so that from
the top of it to the bottom, in a perpendicular descent, was in some places
not far from six hundred feet. This was particularly the case on the south-east
corner and it was here, probably, that Satan wished our Saviour to cast
himself down. On the inside of this wall, between the gates, were piazzas
or covered porches. On the eastern, northern and western sides there were
two rows of these porches; on the south, three. These porches were covered
walks, about twenty feet in width, paved with marble of different colours,
with a flat roof of costly cedar, which was supported by pillars of solid
marble, so large that three men could scarcely stretch their arms so as
to meet around them. These walks or porches afforded a grateful shade and
protection to the people in hot or stormy weather. The one on the east
side was distinguished
for its beauty and was called Solomon's porch:.John
10:23; Acts 3:11. It stood over
the vast terrace or wall which Solomon had raised from the valley beneath
and which was the only thing of his work that remained in the sacred temple.
When a person entered any
of the gates into this space within the wall, he saw the temple rising
before him with great magnificence. But the space was not clear all the
way up to it. Going forward, he came to another wall, inclosing considerable
ground, considered more holy than the rest of the hill. The space between
this first and second wall was called the court of the Gentiles. It was
so called because Gentiles might come into it, but they could proceed no
farther. On the second wall and on the gates, were inscriptions in Hebrew
and Greek forbidding any Gentile or unclean person from proceeding farther,
on pain of death.
This court was not of equal
dimensions all the way round the temple. On the east, north and west, it
was quite narrow. On the south it was wide, occupying nearly half of the
whole surface of the hill. In this court the Gentiles might come. Here
was the place where much secular
business was transacted.
This was the place occupied by the buyers and sellers and the money changers,
which Emmanuel cast out.
within the second wall was nearly twice as long from east to west as from
north to south. This enclosure was also divided. The eastern part of it
was called the court of the women; so called because women might advance
thus far, but no farther. This court was square. It was entered by three
gates, one on the north, one on the east directly opposite to the beautiful
gate and one on the south. In passing from the court of the Gentiles to
that of the women, it was necessary to ascend
about nine feet by steps. This court of the women was enclosed with a double
wall, with a space between the walls about fifteen feet in width, paved
with marble. The inner of these two walls was much higher than the one
outside. The court of the women was paved with marble. In the corners of
that court were different structures for the various uses of the temple.
It was in this court that the Jews commonly worshipped. Here, probably,
Peter and John, with others, went up to pray:.Acts
3:1. Here, too, the Pharisee and publican prayed; the Pharisee near
the gate that led forward to the temple, the publican standing far off
on the other side or the court:.Luke
18:9-14. Paul also was seized here and charged with defiling the temple,
by bringing the Gentiles into that holy place:.Acts
A high wall on the west side
of the court of the women divided it from the court of the Israelites;
so called because all the males of the Jews might advance there. To this
court there was an ascent of fifteen steps. These steps were in the form
of a half circle. The great gate, called the gate Beautiful to which these
steps led was called the gate Nicanor. Besides this, there were three gates
on each side, leading from the court of the women to the court of the Israelites.
Within the court of the Israelites
was the court of the priests, separated by a wall about a foot and a half
in height. Within that court was the altar of burnt offering and the laver.(basin).standing
in front of it. Here the priests performed the daily service of the temple.
In this place, also, were accommodations for the priests, when not engaged
in conducting the service of the temple and for the Levites, who conducted
the music of the sanctuary.
The following is a view of
the temple and its courts, as here described and here
The temple, properly so called,
stood within the court. It surpassed in splendor all the other buildings
of the holy city; perhaps in magnificence unequalled in the world. It fronted
the east, looking down through the gates Nicanor and the beautiful gate
and onward to the Mount of Olives.
From the Mount of Olives
on the east there was a beautiful and commanding view of the whole sacred
edifice. It was there that our Savior sat, when the disciples directed
his attention to the goodly stones with which the temple was built:.Mark
13:1. The entrance into the temple itself was from the court of the
priests, by an ascent of twelve steps. The porch in front of the temple
was a hundred and fifty feet high and as many broad. The open space in
this porch, through which the temple was entered, was one hundred and fifteen
feet high and thirty-seven broad, without doors of any sort. The appearance
of this, built as it was with white marble and decorated with plates of
silver. From the Mount of Olives it was exceedingly dazzling and splendid.
says, that in the rising of the Sun it reflected so strong and dazzling
a brilliant radiance, that the eye of the spectator was obliged to turn
away. To strangers at a distance it appeared like a mountain covered with
snow. Where it was not decorated with plates of silver it was extremely
white and glistening.
The temple itself was divided
into two parts: the first, called the sanctuary or holy place, was sixty
feet in length, sixty feet in height and thirty feet in width. In this
was the golden candlestick, the table of shewbread and the altar of incense.
The holy of holies, the most holy place, was thirty feet each way. In the
first temple, this contained the
ark of the covenant, the tables of the law and over the ark was the
mercy seat and the two-winged cherubim.
cherubim have four wings.
Into this place no person
entered but the high priest and he but once in the year. These two apartments
were separated only by a vail,
very costly and curiously wrought. It was this vail which was rent from
the top to the bottom when the Saviour died:.Matthew
27:51-53. Around the walls of the temple was a structure three stories
high, containing chambers for the use of the officers of the temple. The
temple was wholly razed
to the ground by the Romans under Titus
and his father Vespasian and was wholly destroyed, according to the predictions
of the Saviour:.Matthew
24:2. The site of it was made like a ploughed field. Julian the apostate
attempted to rebuild it, but the workmen, according to his own historian,
Ammianus Marcellinus, were prevented by balls of fire breaking out from
the ground. See Warburton's Divine Legation of Moses. Its site is
now occupied by the mosque of Omar, one of the most splendid
specimens of Saracenic.(Moslem
culture at the time of the Crusades).architecture
in the World.
21:12-14 "And Emmanuel went into the temple of God and cast out all
them that sold and bought in the temple and overthrew the tables of the
moneychangers and the seats of them that sold doves. And said unto them,
It is written.(in
56:7), My house shall be called
the house of prayer, but you have made it a den of thieves. And the blind
and the lame came to him in the temple and he healed them."
The place where this was
done was not the temple itself, but the outer court or the court of the
Gentiles. This was esteemed the least sacred part of the temple and the
Jews it seems, did not consider it profanation
this to any business in any way connected with the temple service. The
things which they bought and sold were, at first, those pertaining
to the sacrifices. It is not improbable,
however, that the traffic afterwards extended to all kinds of merchandise.
It gave rise to much confusion, noise, contention and fraud, in that the
items mostly had to be purchased in Jewish money and so people had to exchange
their Roman money for Jewish currency and like today those in control worked
it for all they could.
Judea was subject to the
Romans. The money in current use was Roman coin. Yet the Jewish law required
that every man should pay a tribute to the service of the sanctuary of
half a shekel:.Exodus
30:11-16. This was a Jewish coin and it was required to be paid in
that coin. It became therefore a matter of convenience to have a place
where the Roman coin might be exchanged for the Jewish half-shekel. This
was the professed business of these men. Of course they would demand a
small sum for the exchange and among so many thousands as came up to the
great feasts, it would be a very profitable employment and one easily giving
rise to much fraud and oppression.
The seats of them that sold
doves. Doves were required to be offered in sacrifice back then:.Leviticus
14:22; Luke 2:23,24. Yet it was
difficult to bring them from the distant parts of Judea. It was found much
easier to purchase them in Jerusalem. Hence it became a business to keep
them to sell to those who were required to offer them.
Mark adds in Mark
11:16-18 that he would not suffer that any man should carry any vessel
through the temple. That is, probably, any of the vessels or implements
connected with the traffic in oil, incense, wine, etc., that were kept
for sale in the temple.