in Herod’s Temple
By Ernest L. Martin, PH. D., January 2002
THERE WAS AN ATMOSPHERIC “SPRING” WITHIN THE TEMPLE
A trickling water flow was produced by a mechanical supersaturation device that utilized the formation of dew as its water source.
Eyewitness accounts inform us that there was within the precincts of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem an inexhaustible spring of water (this was stated by Aristeas in the third century B.C.E. 1 and re-confirmed by Tacitus in the late first century C.E. 2 ). The documentary references to this and other historical sources mentioned in this article with abundant commentary by me are found in my book “The Temples that Jerusalem Forgot.” Yes, the only spring of water that issued from the ground within a five-mile radius of Jerusalem both in ancient and modern times is the Gihon Spring. It is located on the west side of the Kedron Valley underneath the former Ophel mound on the southeast ridge. At this spring is where David pitched his special Tabernacle [a temporary Temple or “House of God”] to house the Ark of the Covenant. 3 The Ark remained in “David’s House” at the Gihon Spring for 38 years until Solomon transported the Ark directly up the slope of the Ophel to place it in Solomon’s newly-built Temple of stone on the top of the Ophel mound. This means that the Temples were located on one site at Jerusalem – including the temporary Temple for housing the Ark called “David’s House” — and this was over and around that Gihon Spring. This area is about a third of a mile south of the Dome of the Rock region within the Haram esh-Sharif. The truth is, not one of the Temples was built in the area of the Haram esh-Sharif (see my book that thoroughly proves this fact).
There was, however, another minor (though important) water source within the enclosure of Herod’s Temple where sanctified water of the purest kind could be collected and then used. It could be designated an “atmospheric spring.” The later Rabbis of the Talmudic period mention this “spring” in the Temple (and they accepted its designation as being properly called a “spring”). This is recorded in the Babylonian Talmud. 4 A reference to this “water source” is also mentioned in the Mishnah 5 (compiled about 200 C.E.). Where did the water originate? It came from a manufactured “spring” that brought forth very pure sanctified water. This type of “water source” for the Temple was situated in the area of the Holy of Holies. The source can be shown to be an engineering device manufactured within the architectural design of the Temple in order to create water from the evening and morning dew that is prominent in the Judean hill country in the late spring and early summer.
Although meteorologists today do not count dew as precipitation (because the water formed as dew does not reach the level surface of the earth as does rain and snow), the hill country around Jerusalem can produce about one inch of water annually from dew on plants and other open surfaces during the dew season. 6 I have seen watermelons grow on the hillsides in the spring and summer into some of the nicest tasting melons and not a drop of rain or irrigation water was put on the plants. The water came from dew. Several verses referring to dew appear in the Bible, according to which the main season of dew is late spring-early summer, or at harvest time (e.g., Hosea 14:5; Proverbs 19:12; Isaiah 18:4; Job 29:19). King Solomon was supposed to have said to the woman he was courting: “For my head [shock of hair] is filled with dew, and my locks with the drops of the night” (Song of Songs 5:2). Soon after harvest time in the Harod Valley, Gideon “wrung enough dew from the fleece to fill a bowl with water” (Judges 6:38). Though the quantity was comparatively small to rain, its absence was considered to be like a drought within the land of Israel (Haggai 1:10,11). Besides that, water from dew was highly esteemed for its purity. The holiness of such water was described in Psalm 133:3 as “the dew of [Mount] Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion [at Jerusalem], for there [in Zion] the Lord commanded the blessing, even life forevermore.”
The last biblical verse shows that life was associated as a symbol with dew. Yes, dew came to be an allegorical equation for life itself (especially the life obtained by the righteous at their resurrections from the dead) (Isaiah 26:19). Dew was also the nucleus around which “angel’s food” (or Manna) was created (Numbers 11:9). All of these factors put the matter of dew into a spiritual realm of interpretation that concern matters only associated with the powers of God to create or to sustain parts of His miraculous creations. This is why dew was important even in Temple symbolism. As stated above, biblical interpretation connected its virtues with spiritual life and the resurrection to life. To bring these metaphorical teachings of the Holy Scriptures into the full view of the people of Israel, the architects and engineers who constructed the Temple in Herod’s time created an elaborate (yet cogent) architectural design within the outer walls of the Inner Shrine. This design made it possible to collect dew into a form of usable water of the highest purity. Enough water was distilled through their engineering skills (though in small quantity) to assure an exceptionally pure and ritualistically clean water supply of the most sanctified type of priestly purification use in the Temple.
This dew originated at an apparatus called an “atmospheric spring.” This was created by chiseling out of the stones on the outer sides of the northern, western and southern walls of the Inner Shrine a water channel that was shaped like the letter “V” (but lying on its side ninety degrees from being upright and with its tip pointing inward). The top part of this concave groove was a little over two feet high and its interior dimension was probably about two feet away from the outer face of the wall. A catchment area in the shape of a “U” was further cut into the bottom of this channel to receive water from dripping dew. The channel was designed with a slight decline westward to allow the trickles of water to flow toward a particular drainage area located on the backside (the west side) of the Inner Shrine.
The dew would form on filaments of entwined string about three feet long on the outside and progressively shorter toward the interior. The strands had very fine diameters. The Talmud gives us the dimension of filaments as thin as the antennae of grasshoppers 7 . By analysis we can think of these threads or filaments being tied in several rows to a fiber mesh in the form of a net (like a volleyball net with wide warps and woofs and about 3 feet high and 32 feet long). These long nets were suspended by hooks spaced laterally along the top part of the channel at convenient points to allow (when the need arose) the nets to be taken off the hooks for cleaning, etc. Each of these nets was attached diagonally to the upper part of the concave incision all the way to its interior wall. The filaments hanging downward were also in several rows with each strand hanging independently of the others. The filaments were also of differing lengths (the longest on the outside and shortest on the inside of the concave channel).
Dew would catch on the long filaments like dew forms on spiders’ webs. But with a slight movement of the wind (or by mechanical means with a slight shaking) the accumulated dew would drip down into the “U” bottom of the channel. In fact, there were actually two of these channels in the outer northern, western and southern walls of the Inner Shrine. The Sanctuary was 100 cubits high (150 feet) and also 100 cubits wide at its eastern entrance. The whole of the Sanctuary was shaped like the letter “T” with the lateral beam being 100 cubits wide and facing east, while the western stem was only 70 cubits wide. The building appeared as a crouching lion with broad shoulders and a much smaller body in the rear.
As for the two channels, one was lower than the other. Both circuited around three-quarters of the building. One was located about 50 cubits above the floor of the Inner Shrine (about 70 feet up). The other channel was identically built and about 50 cubits higher (or about 140 feet up). The second was located just shy of the roof under the surrounding balustrade. These two catchment channels within the three walls (one above the other and both identical) were each 2 cubits high and 300 cubits in length (i.e., 3 feet and 450 feet) and each was called “the Place of the Water Droppings.” 8
Besides this, on the western wall and located 5 cubits north from the southwestern corner of the Inner Shrine, was an area 3 cubits wide in the Middot called “the Place for the Going Down of the Water.” This 3 cubits’ wide chute was built to allow the trickling water to descend to the floor level of the Inner Shrine. The chute then emptied the trickling water into a small reservoir at the bottom of the western wall. From there an underground channel took the water eastward to the entrance of the Holy Place. From that point there was another channel that led the water to the eastern part of the Temple. This west/east channel could also carry run-off rain water. This slightly bigger channel was mentioned in the Middot and I will show what the Rabbis say about it when we survey what Middotrelates.
The Two Channels Were Called “the Places of the Water Droppings.”
Each of these two outer channels chiseled within those three walls (one midway to the ceiling and the other very near the roof of the Inner Shrine) had an open-air surface space of about 900 square feet for the collection of dew (this was 1800 square feet surface exposure for both channels combined). But this outward surface was only a minor part of the “atmospheric spring.” Recall that there were many independent filaments in many lines hanging from the interior mesh within the concave channels. This allowed dew to form on both the outward and inward strands that were suspended from the web support. This effect made the various meshes to be strewn out laterally along the channels with their hanging filaments. It appeared a short distance away like hundreds upon hundreds (indeed, thousands) of spider-type webs hanging vertically along both channels (each channel being 450 feet long). These two outer channels in the outer Sanctuary appeared like two fringes (midway up and at the top) that gave a furling effect like a large flag in the gentle winds and further causing a glistening effect when dew was evident. The dewdrops would hang on the filaments like sparkling dew on spiders’ webs.
The Two Channels Carried the Trickling Water to a Central Place in the Sanctuary
The waters from the “atmospheric spring” fell into two specially designed channels (that theMiddot called “The Place of the Water Droppings“). Then a slight declined slope took the accumulated water in the channels to a drainage area that the Middot called “the Place for the Going Down of the Water” near the southwestern corner of the Holy of Holies. This drainage area for about 1800 surface square feet (plus the interior filaments that were many more in number) on the three walls of the Inner Shrine was channeled to the floor level of the Sanctuary. This is where a new channel that drained eastward commenced. This lower channel was located just under the pavement floor of the Holy Place on the south side of the Inner Shrine and directed the water eastward until it emerged from the Holy Place. During this eastward motion within the Inner Shrine, the channel was further supplied with other waters from feeder channels bringing water from drainage pipes that carried off water from the roof of the Sanctuary that were primarily designed to handle rain water. 9 So, when it rained, these additional gutters associated with the Inner Shrine brought more water at times from the roof areas into the main west/east channel and the water volume increased in size. Thus, all the water collected on the Sanctuary was diverted into these special channels and viaducts and if possible used in ritualistic services.
This allowed the west/east channel to carry the trickles of water eastward to the porch of the Holy Place, and then southeastward to another larger channel. This larger channel is described in detail in the Middot. The water in it flowed from the southeast corner of the Holy Place and was directed west/east to an aperture in the floor of the Temple court. 10This aperture was opposite the Water Gate (at the corner of the Court of the Women). This was in the far eastern part of the Temple. Through this drain, the water descended precipitously to what the Middot called “the Threshold of the House.” In no way can this phrase mean the Threshold of the Holy Place as a similar phrase has it in the prophecy of Ezekiel. This particular “House” is shown even in the Middot to be to the far east and at the corner of the Court of the Women. Even better, however, is a further identification in the Talmud 11 . The Rabbis knew the site as “the Threshold of the House of David.” This was the spot where David erected a House (that is, Tabernacle) to house the Ark of the Covenant before Solomon built the Temple. This “House” was located just above the Gihon Spring (and even the Soncino commentators state the location of this “House” was at the bottom of Mount Zion where David once lived). The reservoir of the Gihon Spring located directly below to become (with the addition of the Gihon Spring waters) a small stream that flowed down the Kedron into the Dead Sea.
This architectural design to the Inner Shrine allowed for the creation of ritualistic waters of the purest kind. The water obtained from dew was the most sanctified kind of water because dew was not only thought to symbolically mean “life” and the resurrection from the dead (and was an essential factor in the creation of Manna), but it was one of the fourteen essential elements that comprised the Seventh Heaven in the divine House of God within the celestials. The Inner Shrine (the Holy of Holies) of the Temple in Jerusalem resembled the actual Seventh Heaven that was located within the heavenly geography pertaining to God and all His celestial entourage. Note what Prof. Louis Ginzberg has to say on the fourteen divine attributes inhabiting the Seventh Heaven as Jews came to understand it. He said: “The seventh heaven, on the other hand, contains naught but what is good and beautiful: right, justice, and mercy, the storehouses of life, peace, and blessing, the souls of the pious, the souls and spirits of unborn generations, the dew with which God will revive the dead on the resurrection day, and, above all, the Divine Throne, surrounded by the seraphim. the ofanim, the holy Hayyot, and the ministering angels.” 12
What we see in this architectural design is an “atmospheric spring” that symbolically duplicated the dew in heaven with which God will revive the dead on resurrection day. That Inner Shrine was constructed by the engineers of Herod to promote in an ideal manner the accumulation of this dew on man-made strands (filaments) associated with entwined fibers. The architects made it so that dew that would distill on the outer surfaces of the Inner Shrine that were exposed to the air and then the accumulated water was brought into the Holy of Holies by channels. Dew was distilled on strands of these filaments, which were made in three different size diameters. The smallest was the size of the antennae of grasshoppers, the next was a slightly larger size of threads designed for the woof, and then a slightly larger size of threads designed for the warp. The three sizes (and the forms of the filaments) are described in the Talmud. Let us note how the Rabbis referred to the whole apparatus for this collection of water in the area of the Inner Shrine, and how the Rabbis regarded it as having come from what they called “a SPRING.” The words within double brackets are my explanation. 13
“R. Phinehas in the name of R. Huna of Sepphoris said: The spring that issues from the Holy of Holies in its beginning resembles the antennae of locusts [[water (that is, dew) on very fine filaments like the diameter of spiders’ webs]]; as it reaches the entrance to the Sanctuary [[“the Place for the Going Down of the Waters” in the western wall]] it becomes as the thread of the warp [[a slightly larger filament]]; as it reaches the Ulam, it becomes as the thread of the woof [[slightly larger still]]; as it reaches the entrance to the [Temple] court, it [[the channel]] becomes as large as the mouth of a small flask [[other feeder pipes for drainage increased its volume]], that is meant by what we learned: R. Eliezer b. Jacob said: [Hence] go forth the waters [Mas. Yoma 78a] which will bubble forth from under the threshold of the Sanctuary. From there onwards it becomes bigger, rising higher and higher, until it reaches the entrance to the House of David [[at the bottom of the Ophel slope where David pitched his “House” (Tabernacle) for the Ark at the Gihon Spring]]. As soon as it reaches the entrance to the house of David [[at the Gihon Spring]], it becomes even as a swiftly running brook, in which men and women afflicted with gonorrhea, menstruating women, and women after childbirth bathe, as it is said: In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for purification and for sprinkling. Said R. Joseph: Hence there is an intimation that a menstruating woman [at her purification] must sit in water [that reaches in height] up to the neck.”
It should be noted that though much of the above information resembles somewhat the description by Ezekiel of his future prophetic Temple shown in chapters 40 to 48, this account deals specifically and solely with the Temple that existed in the time of Herod and also Christ Jesus (as anyone can read in the Talmud). Yet, there will be something similar (and more grand) to happen in the future. This was described in a prophetic vision by the prophet Ezekiel. The prophet elaborated on this trickling of water from the Holy Place in a prophetic sense by increasing its volume of water from the feeder channels that entered the single stream that exited from the Holy Place. In Ezekiel’s prophetic account, the result of this vast accumulation of water was a main west/east channel so large that it became a gigantic river that will be able to fill the Dead Sea with fresh water.
And while the whole of Ezekiel’s description of this “water source” from the Holy of Holies has a thoroughly future prophetic significance, we should not forget these references inMiddot that early Jewish Rabbis knew that there was an actual “water source” originating in the shrine area of Herod’s Temple. It served as a literal parallel to what Ezekiel described prophetically. Sadly, the future prophecy in Ezekiel gave the translators of Middot in the other versions (Soncino, Danby, Neusner) the erroneous impression that the author ofMiddot was simply referring to Ezekiel’s Temple alone. And since Ezekiel put his prophecy into the future (of course), the translators above avoided the simple grammar of the actualMiddot and erroneously worded the teaching of the Middot into being a prophecy of the future. Edersheim, however, DID NOT MAKE THIS ERRONEOUS grammatical change. He left the text in Middot just as the author of Middot wrote it. Edersheim translated the words precisely how the text renders them. There was nothing future about the discourse. What this means is the fact that Middot is actually giving a description of Herod’s Temple, and NOT the future one of Ezekiel. And it is true that the author of Middot did quote Ezekiel on occasion for corroborative reasons to sustain some geographical points in his account in which Ezekiel’s description agreed with that of Herod’s Temple. But Edersheim still DID NOT erroneously translate the text of Middot into being a future prophecy (as the others) to make Middot to equal Ezekiel.
In a word, the Tractate Middot (along with the Talmudic reference in Yoma 78a) is telling us in plain language that there was a real “atmospheric spring” designed into the architecture of Herod’s Temple. That “spring” actually existed, yet it was on a more minor scale than the one in Ezekiel’s prophetic description for the future Messianic Temple.
With the information given above as a background, all scholars who want to know in detail what the “Water Management in the Temple” entailed should read what the Tractate Middotin the Mishnah has to say about it. It is a fascinating account, especially when read in the Alfred Edersheim translation (which makes it much clearer to understand). 14 The Middot is highly detailed in its description of the “Temple Mount.” It stated that the “Temple Mount”(which I show in my book on the Temple is a special and unique Rabbinic designation for “The Levitical Camp” and NOT the walled Temple itself). This Levitical Camp (called “Temple Mount”) was a square of 500 cubits (750 feet) on each side. Interestingly, in the historical book “The Chronicles of Jerahmeel” 15 written close to 1170 C.E. (one quite respected in the Medieval Jewish community), in interpreting Middot, the Jewish scholar who wrote this work states that within this 500 cubits square area was another square region that was located 100 cubits INWARD from each of the 500 cubits perimeters. So, instead of 500 cubits square, 100 cubits was deducted from each side to make the most sacred part of the Levitical Camp to be 400 square cubits. This added factor in Jerahmeelshows a reduced square that was located 100 cubits inward from the outer 500 cubits by 500 cubits of the “Camp of the Levites.” This answered to an inward square area that was 400 cubits by 400 cubits. This latter dimension must refer to the walls of the Temple that were within the “Levitical Camp” (the exact size that Josephus said were the proper dimensions of the four squared walls of the Temple). 16
Besides that, the same book (The Chronicles of Jerahmeel) states that the above dimensions were exactly the same as those surrounding the Tabernacle that Moses erected in the wilderness. The historian states that there was a square camp around the Tabernacle that was 4000 cubits on each side within which the 12 tribes of Israel encamped. The camp area for the Tribe of Levite, however, was exactly one/eighth that of the over-all camp. This of course answers to: one/eighth of 4000 cubits on each side that represents 500 cubits on each side as its outer limits. This is exactly what the Mishnah states in Middot. But, the Tribe of Levite with its animals, etc. had a 100 cubits’ area INWARD around each side of the Tabernacle. This minimized the sacred Levitical area from being 500 cubits by 500 cubits (which includes an outward area for the animals of the Levites) to be a new square of 400 cubits by 400 cubits into which domestic animals could not enter. In the time of Herod this latter 400 cubits’ square was indeed the precise measurements of the outer walls of the Temple itself. 17 These facts of measurement for Herod’s Temple and those measurements in Middot along with Jerahmeel are exact and in precise conformity to each other.
But there was one other important geographical fact that the author of The Chronicles of Jerahmeel stated that is of utmost importance regarding the location of Herod’s Temple. The historian said that Miriam’s Well (a miraculous well that the Rabbis of the Medieval Period often speak about) was located just inside the court of the Tabernacle opposite the Tent of Moses on the east side of the entrance to the Tabernacle. The historian says water from that well flowed around the Camp of the Shekinah (the Priestly Camp), and then exited the Tabernacle from the south east to go further southeastward to encircled the Camp of the Levites. Then it led to the south east corner of the outer Camp of the Israelites in order to encircle all the “Camp of the Israelites.” This circular feature provided abundant water to the whole of the Three Camps in the wilderness. 18
What is remarkable is the fact that it was AT THIS EXACT LOCATION that the Gihon Spring was located in the time of Herod’s Temple. The waters of the Gihon exited the Temple at its south east corner to provide water to the Kedron Valley and Hezekiah’s tunnel. Medieval Jews (such as the author of Jerahmeel) thought the Gihon Spring was selected by David and Solomon for the eastern entrance to the Temple to simulate in a typical manner this miraculous “Well of Miriam” (the sister of Moses) located at the same spot. And in the eleventh century when the Gihon waters turned bitter to the taste, this identification was further realized because the word “Miriam” in some contexts was associated with the word “bitter.” 19 But when Saladin, the Kurdish caliph, “blocked up” the Gihon Spring just after 1187 C.E., Jews of later times only retained hints of memory about the Gihon being called “Miriam’s Well.” Christians now enter the picture. With this name “Miriam” esoterically designating the spring among Jews, the Gihon for later Christians began to assume the title (somehow) of being “Mary’s Well.” The actual Hebrew name of Mary the mother of Jesus was, of course, “Miriam.” Thus, the name “Mary” by the fifteenth century became identified with the Gihon and by extrapolation it became known as “the Virgin’s Spring” which some still call the Gihon Spring to this day. But recall that to Jews of the medieval period, this water source was reckoned to be the miraculous “Well of Miriam,” the like of which was situated in the Wilderness just inside the entrance to the Tabernacle (the Sanctuary). So, a replica of “Miriam’s Well” became the Gihon Spring once David set the Ark in a special Tent at the spot and then Solomon built the permanent Temple on the Ophel mound just above and around the Gihon Spring.
All of this shows that as late as the time of the writing of The Chronicles of Jerahmeel(1100’s C.E.), the Gihon Spring was connected symbolically by the Jewish authorities to “Miriam’s Well” located inside the eastern entrance to the Sanctuary. This was the position of the Gihon Spring in Herod’s Temple. Thus, the measurements of the Temple enclosure being described by the tractate Middot and also the additional information in the Talmud(with the extra symbolic features that connected these features to the Tabernacle of Moses in the wilderness that we find recorded in The Chronicles of Jerahmeel) combine together to effectively describe the Temple that existed in the time of Herod. And though Middotdoes have a sentence or two that reflects upon the futuristic context of the prophet Ezekiel in chapters 40 to 48, the text of Middot itself concentrates its description strictly to Herod’s Temple that some of the Rabbis who composed the Middot had memories about.
What is amazing, the measurements of Middot compared with The Chronicles of Jerahmeelare quite compatible. They combine to make the statements of Josephus (who with his own eyes saw the Temple when it was in existence in Jerusalem) to be in precise and exact agreement from the three later sources. This recognition is a breakthrough in understanding that the medieval Jews (as late at the time of Saladin in 1187 C.E.) were well aware that the Temple of Herod was not located within the confines of the Haram esh-Sharif (nor was it anywhere near the present Dome of the Rock). It was actually located over the Gihon Spring which was later identified with the miraculous “Well of Miriam” which had been situated just within the court of the Tabernacle (at its east entrance) in the time of Moses. All fits comfortably with symbolic reasonableness when all these things are compared and associated.
So, it will pay us to study the tractate Middot carefully. That is why I have attached it (in Edersheim’s translation) to this article regarding the “atmospheric spring” that was manufactured by Herod’s architects to provide water from dew that was obtained around the Inner Shrine of the Temple. The water from dew was collected by the two lateral channels surrounding the outer Inner Shrine, then it was directed to a chute at the southwestern part of the Inner Shrine where it descended to the beginning of an underground viaduct that went eastward. This channel located under the pavement of the Inner Shrine was supplied with gutter spurs that increased its flow marginally until it reached the Porch at the eastern end of the Holy Place. Then the channel went downward and southeastward to another channel that went eastward alongside the Court of Israel and that of the Women. This came to the Water Gate (at the southeast corner of the Court of the Women). There was an aperture in the pavement that allowed the collected water to descend precipitously to the Gihon reservoir at the bottom of the chute. This is the spot known as “David’s House” (or the place where David set up the special Tent that contained the Ark of the Covenant for 38 years before Solomon built the Temple). This was also known in later times by the Jews as the “Well of Miriam.” From there the waters went either through Hezekiah’s tunnel or into a channel on the west side of the Kedron Valley to drain into the region of the Judean Wilderness and finally into the Dead Sea.
This is the “Water System” that the hydrologists of King Herod were able to manage when the Temple was in operation in the time of Jesus and the apostles. It, along with the Temple itself, must have been a wonder to behold. You will find most of this in the tractateMiddot. It also describes the buildings and other major facilities within the sacred enclosure. Thankfully, it is still easy to follow by the words that have come down to us. Indeed, if you will simply slow down and read the account in Middot carefully, you will discover much more about the Temple of Herod (the one Jesus attended) than ever before. It is important to realize that the whole account concerns Herod’s Temple, NOT the prophetic Sanctuary of Ezekiel. You will note that in the Middot, I have highlighted in bold letters the pertinent parts to which the text of my article above refers. And when we compare the Middot with Josephus (who was an eyewitness) about the Temple, we will find that what I have stated in my book “The Temples that Jerusalem Forgot” is accurate and it is timely. The proper conclusion is, to this whole historical and geographical issue, that the Temple of Herod was located directly over and around the Gihon Spring in the Kedron Valley. The Haram esh-Sharif area is NOT the Temple Mount.
This translation of Middot comes from: “Sketches of Jewish Social Life”
by Alfred Edersheim
(Being the Mishnic Tractate Descriptive of the Measurements of the Temple). Words in brackets and parentheses are explanatory words by Edersheim, in double brackets by ELM. The use of the * is a further comment or endnote by Edersheim.
Gemara either in the Jerusalem or the Babylon Talmud. In the former the whole of Seder 5 is awanting; in the latter only two and a-half Tractates (half Tamid,Middot, and Kinnim). Middot contains Halachah only in the following passages: i, 2, 3, 9; ii. 2, 4, 5, 6; iii. 3, 5, 8; iv. 2, 5; v. 3, 4. Throughout the Mishnah the names of 128 sages are introduced. Those Rabbis mentioned in this Tractate almost all witnessed the destruction of the Temple.
1. The priests kept watch in the Temple [[Hebrew: Bet or House]] in three places: in the house Avtinas, and in the house Nitsuts, and in the house of Moked; 20 and the Levites in twenty-one places: 5 at the five gates leading into the Temple (the Mountain of the House),21 4 in the four angles within, at the five gates of the court, 4 in its four angles without, and 1 in the chamber of offering 22 , and 1 in the chamber of the vail, 23 and 1 behind the Most Holy Place (the House of Atonement). 24
2. The Captain of the Temple [[Hebrew: Bet or House]] (the man of the Temple Mount) visited each guard, and burning torches were carried before him. And every guard which did not stand up (which was not standing), the Captain of the Temple [[Hebrew: Bet or House]] said to him: “Peace be to thee.” If he observed that he slept, he smote him with his stick, and he had authority to burn his dress. And they said, “What is the noise (voice) in the court?” “It is the noise of a Levite who is Middot is the tenth Tractate of Seder V. (Kodashim) of the Mishnah. It has no beaten, and his clothes are set on fire, because he slept upon his watch.” Rabbi Eliezer, the son of Jacob, said: “On one occasion they found the brother of my mother sleeping, and they burned his dress.”
3. There were five gates 25 to the Temple inclosure [[Hebrew: Bet or House]] (Temple Mount): the two gates of Huldah from the south, which served for entrance and for exit; Kipponos from the west; Tadi from the north — did not serve for anything; the eastern gate, upon which was a representation of the city of Shushan, 26 and by it the high-priest who burned the Red Heifer, and all who assisted, went out upon the Mount of Olives.
4. There were seven gates in the court [[Azarah]] 27 ; three on the north, and three on the south, and one in the east. That in the south was the gate of burning; second to it, the gate of the firstborn; third to it, the water gate. That in the east was the gate of Nicanor, and two chambers belonged to it, one on the right hand, and one on the left— one the chamber of Phineas, the wardrobe keeper, and the other the chamber of those who made the pancake offering [* For the daily offering of the high-priest].
5. And that on the north was the gate Nitsuts, and it was after the form of an Exhedra, and an Alijah was built on the top of it; and the priests kept guard above, and the Levites below, and it had a door to the Chel [[an outer walkway ramp 10 cubits wide that surrounded the prohibited area called the Azarah into which only Israelites could enter]]. Second to it was the gate of offering; third to it the Beth Moked.
6. And four rooms were in the Beth Moked, like small bed chambers opening on a dining apartment; two in the place that was holy, and two in that which was not holy, and the heads of the beams separated between that which was holy and that which was not holy. And for what did they serve? That on the south-west was the chamber of offering; that on the south-east the chamber of the shew-bread; on the north-east, there the Asmoneans deposited the stones of the altar which the King of Javan had defiled; on the north-west, there they went down to the bath-house.
7. There were two gates to the Beth Moked — one opened upon the Chel [[the outer walkway ramp]], the other upon the court. Rabbi Jehudah says: “That which opened upon the court had a small wicket by which they went in to explore the court.”
8. The Beth Moked was arched, and was a great house surrounded by extensions (perhaps terraces) of stone, and the elders of the house of their fathers slept there, and the keys of the court in their hand; and the young priests, every one with his pillow on the ground (his dress).
9. And there was a place there, a cubit by a cubit, and a slab of marble, and a ring was fastened on it, and the chain with the keys were hung thereon. When the time came for closing, he lifted the slab by the ring, and took the keys from the chain, and the priest closed the gates from within, and the Levite had to sleep without. When he had finished closing, he returned the keys to the chain, and the slab to its place; he placed his pillow upon it and slept there. If an accident befell one of them, he went out and had to go by the winding [[inclined]] stair which went under the house, and lights were burning on either side, till he came to the bath-house. Rabbi Eliezer, the son of Jacob, said: “By the winding [[inclined]] stairs he passed under the Chel, and went out and had to go through Tadi [[the outer gate which none of the public used]].
1. The Temple inclosure [[Hebrew: Bet or House]] (the Temple Mount) was 500 cubits by 500 cubits, 28 it [[the Camp of the Levites]] was largest on the south; next largest on the east; then on the north; smallest on the west. The place where there was most measurement there was also most service.
2. All who entered the Temple [[Hebrew: Bet or House]] 29 inclosure entered by the right, and turned and went out by the left, except those whom something had befallen, who turned to the left. “What ails thee that thou turnest to the left?” “Because I am a mourner.” “He that dwelleth in this house comfort thee!” “Because I am under the bann.” “He that dwelleth in this house put it in their hearts, that they restore thee!” So Rabbi Meir. Rabbi Jose says to him, “This would make it, as if they had transgressed against him in judgment; but rather: ‘He that dwelleth in this house put it in thy heart, that thou hearken to the words of thy brethren, and they restore thee.’”
3. Farther on was the Sorag [[this was a lattice or Josephus said a stone barrier that separated the Chel from the Azarah]], ten handbreadths high. And thirteen breaches were in it, which the Kings of Javan had made. They restored and strengthened it, and they decreed towards them thirteen obeisances [in remembrance]. Again farther on the Chel [[the outer walkway surrounding the Sorag that delineated the Azarah portion of the Temple]], ten cubits; and twelve steps were there; the step half a cubit high, and half a cubit in extension. All the steps which were there, each step was half a cubit high, and the extension half a cubit, except those which were at the porch. All the doorways and gates which were there, were twenty cubits high, and ten cubits wide, except that in the porch. All the doorways which were there, had doors, except that in the porch. All the gates which were there, had lintels, except that in the gate Tadi, 30 which had two stones resting, this on the back of that. All the gates which were there, were renewed to be with gold, except the gate of Nicanor, because there was wrought upon them a miracle, and some say, because the brass sparkled.
4. All the walls which were there were high, except the wall in the east, 31 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.
5. The Court of the Women was 135 cubits long by 135 cubits broad, and four chambers were in the four angles, each 40 cubits square, and they were not roofed in. And so they are intended to be, as it is said: “And he brought me forth into the outer court, and caused me to pass by the four corners of the court, and behold, in every corner of the court a court. In the four corners of the court [there were] courts smoking” …It is said, they were “smoking,” and that because they were not roofed. And for what did they serve? That on the south-east was the chamber of the Nazarites, where the Nazarites washed their peace-offerings, and polled their hair, and threw it under the pot. That on the northeast was the wood chamber, where the priests who were disqualified picked the wood, and every stick in which a worm was found, it was unfitted for the altar. That on the northwest was the chamber of the lepers. That on the southwest Rabbi Eliezer, the son of Jacob, said: “I have forgotten for what it served.” Abba Shaul said: “There they put the wine and the oil; it was called the chamber of the house of Schamanyah.” And it [the wall] was at first flush, and they surrounded it with a gallery, so that the women looked from above and the men from beneath, for the purpose that they might not be mixed together. 32 And fifteen steps went up from there to [[from]] the Court of Israel, like the fifteen degrees in the Psalms [Songs of Degrees in the Psalms]. Upon these the Levites stood singing the songs. They were not rectangular but rounded, like the arc of a rounded substance.
6. And there were chambers beneath [[on the pavement level of]] the Court of Israel, and they [[also]] opened upon the Court of the Women [[located aloft]]. There the Levites placed their harps, and their psalteries, and their cymbals, and all the musical instruments. The Court of Israel was 135 cubits long by 11 broad [[a broadway 11 cubits wide for walking was in the center of the court]] and similarly, the Court of the Priests was 135 long by 11 broad [[a broadway 11 cubits wide for walking was in the center of the court]], and the heads of the beams divided between the Court of Israel and the Court of the Priests. Rabbi Eliezer, the son of Jacob, said: There was a step, a cubit high, and upon it theDuchan was placed, and on it were three steps, each half a cubit. It results, that the Court of the Priests was 2 1/2 cubits higher than that of Israel. The entire court was 187 cubits long and 135 cubits broad. Thirteen obeisances took place there. Abba Jose, the son of Canaan, said: “Towards the thirteen gates.” The southern were: nearest to the west, the upper gate, then the gate of burning, the gate of the first-born, and the water gate [[the southeastern gate]]. And why was its name called the water-gate? Because through it they brought the pitcher [[Neusner: glass]] of water for pouring out for the “Feast of Tabernacles.” Rabbi Eliezer, the son of Jacob, said: “And by it [[i.e. “near it” (near the southeast gate)]] the waters were flowing [[Danby: trickling]] down, with the direction of coming out below the threshold of the Temple [[Hebrew: bet or House]].” 33
And opposite to them to the north were (nearest to the west) the gate of Jeconiah, the gate of offering, the gate of the women, and the gate of the song. And why was it called the gate of Jeconiah? Because by it Jeconiah went out into captivity. That on the east was the gate of Nicanor, and it had two wickets, one on its right and the other on its left. And there were two [gates] to the west; they had no name.
1. The altar was 32 by 32 [cubits]. Upwards 1 cubit, and contract 1 cubit: that was the base. Remain 30 by 30. Upwards 5, and contract 1 cubit: that was the circuit. Remain 28 by 28. The place of the horns, a cubit on this side and a cubit on that side. Remain 26 by 26. The place for the tread of the priests, a cubit on this side and a cubit on that side. Remain 24 by 24: the place where the sacrifice was laid out. Rabbi Jose said: “At the first it was only 28 by 28; though it contracted and went up, according to this measurement, until there remained the place for laying the sacrifices: 20 by 20. But when the children of the Captivity came up, they added to it 4 cubits on the south and 4 on the west like a gamma, because it is said, ‘And Ariel shall be 12 cubits long by 12 broad, square.’ * That does not mean that it was only 12 by 12, since it is added: ‘In the four corners thereof,’ to teach that it measured from the middle 12 cubits in every direction.”
* Ezekiel 43:16, “Ariel” = the lion of God = the altar.
And a scarlet line girdled it in the middle to separate between the upper and the lower blood-sprinklings. And the base ran round all the north and all the west side, but was shortened a cubit on the south and on the east.
2. In the south-western angle were two apertures, like small nostrils, and the blood, poured on the base to the west, and on the base to the south, descended through them, and co-mingled in the canal, and flowed out into the brook Kedron [[that was a secondary channel called Shiloah as in Isaiah 8:6.]]
3. Below in the pavement, in that angle, there was a place, a cubit by a cubit, with a tablet of marble, and a ring was fastened in it, and here they went down into the sewer to cleanse it. And there was a sloping ascent to the south of the altar, 32 cubits long by 16 broad, and it had a pit at its west side, into which they put sin-offerings of birds that were defiled.
4. Both the stones of the sloping ascent and those of the altar were from the valley of Beth Cherem. And they dug beneath the virgin soil, and brought out from it undamaged (whole) stones, upon which iron had not been lifted, because iron defiles everything by contact, and by scratching. One of these stones was scratched: it was defiled; but the rest were lawful for use. And they whitened them twice in the year, once at the Passover, and once at the Feast of Tabernacles; and the Sanctuary once at the Passover. Rabbi * says: “On the eve of every Sabbath they whitened it with a cloth, on account of the blood-sprinklings.” They did not plaster it with an iron trowel, lest it might touch, and defile. For the iron is created to shorten the days of man, and the altar is created to lengthen the days of man, therefore it is not right that that which shortens should be lifted upon that which lengthens.
* The Rabbi, i.e. R. Jehudah the Holy [[the Rabbi who codified the Mishnahabout 200 C.E.]].
5. And rings were to the north of the altar: six rows, each of four; but some say, four rows, each of six; and in these they slaughtered the holy sacrifices. The house (place) of slaughtering was to the north of the altar. And there were eight short pillars and squares of cedar upon the top of them, and hooks of iron were fastened in them, and three rows were upon each of them, upon which they hung up, and they skinned upon marble tables which were between the pillars.
6. And the laver was between the porch and the altar, and inclined nearer towards the south. Between the porch and the altar were 22 cubits, and 12 steps were there, each step half a cubit high, and its extension a cubit— cubit, a cubit, and then an extension of three (cubits); and a cubit, a cubit, and an extension of three; and the topmost, a cubit, a cubit, and an extension of four (cubits). Rabbi Jehudah said: “The topmost a cubit, a cubit, and an extension of five (cubits).”
7. The doorway to the porch was 40 cubits high and 20 broad, and five beams of ash [[Danby: oak; Neusner: cedar]] were upon the top of it; the lowest protruded over the doorway a cubit on this and a cubit on that side; that above it protruded over it a cubit on this and a cubit on that side; it results, that the topmost [was] 30 cubits, and a buttress of stones was between each one of them.
8. And supports of cedar were fixed from the wall of the Sanctuary to the wall of the porch, lest they should bulge; and chains of gold were fixed in the roof of the porch, and by them the young priests mounted, to look at the crowns, as it is written: “And crowns shall be to Helem, and to Tobijah, and to Jedaiah, and to Hen the son of Zephaniah, for a memorial in the temple of the Lord.” A vine of gold was standing over the entrance to the Sanctuary, and was suspended on the top of beams. Every one who vowed a leaf, or a berry, or a bunch, brought it, and hung it up there. Rabbi Eliezer, the son of Rabbi Zadok, said: “It happened (that they had to remove it) and there were numbered for it 300 priests.” *[Edersheim says: To remove or to cleanse it].
1. The entrance to the Sanctuary was 20 cubits high, and 10 cubits broad; and it had four doors [two folding-doors]: two within and two without, as it is said: “And the Sanctuary and the Holy Place had two doors.” The outer doors opened to the inside of the doorway, to cover the thickness of the wall, and the inner doors opened inwards into the house, to cover behind the doors. For, the whole house was covered with gold, except behind the doors. Rabbi Jehudah said: “They [both pairs of doors] stood within the entrance, and were like Azteramita, * and they folded backwards— 2 1/2 cubits, and those 2 1/2 cubits. Half a cubit the door-post from this [corner], and half a cubit the doorpost from that, and so it is said: ‘And the doors had two leaves alike, two turning-leaves; two for the one door, and two leaves for the other.’”
* The term, which seems not to have been quite understood even in Talmudic times, is rendered by Jost: twisted leaf, and derived from strepho.
2. And the great gate had two wickets, one to the north and one to the south. That to the south, no man ever passed through it; and to this clearly refers what is said in Ezekiel, as it is written: “Then the Lord said unto me, This gate shall be shut, it shall not be opened, and no man shall enter in by it; because the Lord, the God of Israel, hath entered in by it, therefore it shall be shut.” He took the key, and opened the wicket, and entered the little chamber (atrium), and from the little chamber into the Sanctuary. Rabbi Jehudah said: “Along the thickness of the wall he walked, until he found himself standing between the two gates, and he opened the outer one from within and the inner one from without.”
3. And thirty-eight little chambers were there— on the north, fifteen on the south, and eight on the west. On the north and on the south, five on the top of five, and five on their top; and on the west three on the top of three, and two on the top of them. And each one of them had three entrances, one to the little chamber on the right, and one to the little chamber on the left, and one to the little chamber on the top. And at the north-western corner were five entrances, one to the little chamber at the right, and the other to the little chamber on the top, and another to the winding [[inclined]]-stair, and another to the wicket, and another to the Sanctuary.
4. And the lowermost (chamber) was 5 cubits, and the roofing (extension, platitude) 6; the middle (chamber) 6, and the roofing 7; and the uppermost 7, as it is said: “The nethermost chamber was 5 cubits broad, and the middle 6 cubits broad, and the third 7 cubits broad, for he made rebatements in the ‘house’ round about without, that [the beams] should not be fastened within the walls of the house.”
5. And a winding-stair 34 went up from the north-eastern angle to the north-western angle, by which they went up to the roofs of the chambers. One went up the winding [[inclined]]-stair with his face to the west, and went all along the north side, until he came to the west. He came to the west, and turned his face to the south, and went all along the west side till he came to the south. He came to the south, and turned his face eastwards, and went along the south side, till he came to the entrance of the Alijah; for the entrance to the Alijah opened to the south, and in the entrance to the Alijah were two beams of cedar, by which they went up to the roof of the Alijah, and the heads of the beams divided in the Alijah between the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place. And trap doors opened in the Alijah into the Most Holy Place, by which they let down the workmen in chests, that they might not feast their eyes in the Most Holy Place.
6. And the Sanctuary was 100 by 100, by 100 high; the solid foundation 6 cubits, and the height upon it 40 cubits; 1 cubit, decorated scroll; 2 cubits, the place for the water-droppings; 1 cubit covering, and 1 cubit pavement, and the height of the Alijah 40 cubits, and 1 cubit scroll-work, and 2 cubits the place for the droppings, and 1 cubit covering, and 1 cubit pavement, and 3 cubits balustrade, and 1 cubit scare-raven. Rabbi Jehudah said: “The scare-raven was not counted from the measurement, but the balustrade was 4 cubits.” [[Bold letters are ELM’s for emphasis.]]
7. From the east to the west 100 cubits— wall of the porch 5, and the porch 11; the wall of the Sanctuary 6, and its interior space 40 cubits, 1 cubit intermediate wall, and 20 cubits the Most Holy Place, the wall of the Sanctuary 6, and the little chamber 6, and the wall of the little chamber 5. From the north to the south 70 cubits— wall of the winding [[inclined]]-stair 5, and the winding [[inclined]]-stair 3, the wall of the little chamber 5, and the little chamber 6, the wall of the Sanctuary 6, and its interior space 20 cubits, the wall of the Sanctuary 6, and the little chamber 6, and the wall of the little chamber 5, andthe place for the going down of the water 3 cubits, and the wall 5 cubits. The porch protruded beyond it, 15 cubits from the north and 15 cubits from the south, and it was called the house of the sacrificial knives, because there they deposited the knives. And the Sanctuary was narrow behind [[for 79 cubits in length]] and wide in front [[for the remaining 21 cubits]], and like to a lion, as it is said: “O Ariel, the lion of God, the city where David dwelt.” As the lion is narrow behind and wide in front, so is the Sanctuary narrow behind and wide in its front. [[Bold letters are ELM’s for emphasis.]]
1. The whole court was 187 cubits long by 135 cubits broad. From the east to the west 187: the place for the tread of Israel 11 cubits; the place for the tread of the priests 11 cubits; the altar 32; between the porch and the altar 22 cubits; the Sanctuary 100 cubits; and 11 cubits behind the house of Atonement.
2. From the north to the south 135 cubits: the altar and the circuit 62; from the altar to the rings 8 cubits; the place of the rings 24 cubits; from the rings to the tables 4; from the tables to the pillars 4; from the pillars to the wall of the court 8 cubits; and the rest between the circuit and the wall, and the place of the pillars.
3. There were six rooms in the court— to the north, and three to the south. Those on the north: the salt-chamber, the chamber Parvah, the chamber of those who washed out. The salt-chamber: there they put salt to the offering. The chamber of Parvah: there they salted the skins of the holy sacrifices, and on the roof was the bath-house of the high-priest on the Day of Atonement. The chamber of those who washed out, where they washed the inwards of the holy things, and thence a winding-stair [[inclined stairway]] went up to the roof of the house of Parvah.
4. Those on the south: the wood-chamber, the chamber of the captivity, the chamber of “hewn stones.” The wood-chamber— Rabbi Eliezer, the son of Jacob: “I have forgotten for what it served.” Abba Shall [[Soncino: Saul]] said: It was the chamber of the high-priest, and it lay behind the other two, and a roof was extended over the three (they had one common roof). The chamber of the captivity: a well was there**, and a wheel was placed upon it, and thence they provided water for the whole court [[the Azarah, or “Sacred Area for Israelites]].” [[Bold letters are for emphasis.]]
The chamber of “hewn stones”: there the great Sanhedrim of Israel sat, and judged the priesthood. And the priest in whom was found disqualification was clothed in black, and veiled in black, and went out, and had to go. And if there was not found in him disqualification, he was dressed in white, and veiled in white; he went in and served with his brethren the priests. And they made a feast-day, because there was not found disqualification in the seed of Aaron the priest, and thus spake they: “Blessed be God, blessed be He, that there has not been found disqualification in the seed of Aaron, and blessed be He Who has chosen Aaron and his sons, to stand to serve before the face of the Lord in the Most Holy House.”
[[End of Middot.]]
** Comment by ELM: Edersheim adds the phrase “which they of the captivity had digged” at this spot in the text though the phrase does not occur in the original Mishnah. It is not found in the Soncino or Danby editions. It represents an interpretation of Edersheim (an innocent one because Soncino adds a footnote that “it was supposed“ that the men of the exiles dug it. The truth is, this is pure supposition. The Talmud simply states the exiles “used it” no doubt in a primary sense but it does not state that the returned Exiles “dug it” (Eiruvin 104b). This point is important because we find that this “Well of the Exiles” was a “Haker-type” of well that had flowing spring water at its bottom (water that “welled up”). This is certain proof that this “Well of the Exiles” in the Chamber of the Captivity was dug to reach the flowing waters of the Gihon Spring that were located directly below the southern part of the Temple.
There is no cistern like this near the Dome of the Rock or anywhere within the entire region of the Haram esh-Sharif. The comment in the Talmud (Eiruvin 104b): “Not all the haker cisterns [[can be used on Festivals]] but only this one [[in the Temple]], did they permit. Now if you explain it to mean that concerning it arguments welled forth, what could be the meaning of ‘only this one’? — Rather, said R. Nahman b. Isaac: A well of living water, as it is said in Scripture: As a cistern welleth with her water etc. [To turn to] the main text. Not all the haker cisterns [[can be used]], but only this one, did they permit. And when the exiles returned they encamped by it [[the Exiles used this well especially – thus, it was called “The Well of the Exiles”]] and the prophets among then, permitted them to use it [on Festivals]; and not only the prophets among them did this but it was a practice of their forefathers that they upheld.” This means the “Well of the Exiles” in the Chamber of Captivity in the Temple was a well with a spring waters at the bottom.
This is why the water from THIS “WELL of the Exiles” could be used to purify “the whole Azarah (the Sacred Area for the Israelites in the Temple). Only the purest of water could ritualistically be used for the purification of Sacred Areas of the Temple. Ordinarily, water that filled normal cisterns would have their origin from rain that fell on unpurified areas (such as pavements on which people could walk) before the water flowed into the cisterns. This type of water was deemed less holy for purification purposes. Note that Solomon placed his laver in the Temple (for use of waters within the Sanctuary) in an elevated area on the backs of twelve stone oxen. This feature would assure the priests that the water did not come from areas that were in contact with the pavement where people walked or sat. And remember (as I have shown in my book on the Temples), even the waters that were placed into the laver of the Temple were waters from the Gihon Spring. They were lifted up from the Spring by a wheeled apparatus such as that associated with “the Well of the Exiles.” And, upon reading my work on Middot, my friend Bill Lavers in England looked up Edersheim’s comments in another of his books (page 53 of “The Temple, its Ministry and Services as they were in the time of Christ”). Edersheim stated: “the chamber Golah [[the Captivity Chamber]] is the place in the Temple that housed the water apparatus that emptied and filled the laver.” This observation by Edersheim makes sense. The spring waters that filled the laver in the Temple came from the “Well of the Exiles.”
Thus, the “Well of the Exiles” was a “Haker-type” of well (cistern) that had a “welling up” or bubbling water that typically came from wells that were able to tap veins of spring waters. There were several such wells in the land of Israel (note the cisterns at Gibeon, Megiddo and Hazor). This was the same type of water system that was also at Jebus (the early name of Jerusalem). Such dug out wells were the “Haker-type.” There were NO SUCH WELLS within the Haram esh-Sharif, nor are there any of this type to be found today. This matter alone disqualifies the Haram esh-Sharif from being a Temple area.
When the biblical, historical and geographical evidence is consulted, it becomes evident that all our modern scholars have misjudged where the actual Temples of God were located in Jerusalem. The information provided in my book, however, “The Temples that Jerusalem Forgot,” gives the main facts that show the original Temples were all constructed over and around the Gihon Spring on the southeast ridge of Jerusalem. This was on the Ophel Mound just to the north of Mount Zion. In this matter there can be no doubt. It is time that the professional scholars who can easily understand these things to be true, inform the world of these recently discovered facts. Indeed, the evidence goes along way in helping the modern people of Jerusalem (who are presently fighting over the wrong spots) to be aware of their many mistakes in their false understanding of the early geographical matters about Jerusalem. These truths, could help bring about proper negotiations among the present citizens of Jerusalem that will result in the type of peace that the world needs in that part of the world.
1 Aristeas said: “There is an inexhaustible reservoir of water, as would be expected from an abundant spring gushing up naturally from within [the Temple]“ (Eusebius, recording Aristeas in “Proof of the Gospel,” chapter 38).
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2 Tacitus said: “The Temple resembled a citadel, and had its own walls, which were more laboriously constructed than the others [within Jerusalem]. Even the colonnades with which it was surrounded formed an admirable outward work. It[the Temple] contained an inexhaustible spring“ (Tacitus, History Book 5, para.12).
20 This section of the Temple was the holiest part (the western part, known as the Court of the Priests and also the Camp of the Priests). The extreme western part of this priestly section was the Inner Shrine with the Porch and even further westward the Holy of Holies.
24 This was the Holy of Holies of the Inner Shrine that only the High Priest could officially enter on the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) each year. It was the furthest chamber in the western part of the Sanctuary.
25 These five gates were those in the actual four walls of the Temple square. These four wall were located (according to The Chronicles of Jerahmeel) exactly 100 cubits inward from the four imaginary limits to “the Temple Mount” that both Jerahmeel and theMiddot show were 500 cubits by 500 cubits square. This made the actual four walls surrounding the Temple of Herod as being 400 cubits long on each side (that is, 400 cubits’ square or about 600 feet on each side — in Greek measurement this equaled astade or stadium in length).
27 The Azarah was the elevated platform upon which the Courts of the Women and Men of Israel and the Priestly Court were located. No Gentiles could enter into the area of the Azarah because it was restricted to only purified Israelites. There was a lattice type of stone wall (called the Sorag) that surrounded this area of the Azarah. Right outside all four walls of the Azarah was the region 10 cubits’ wide known as the Chel (this was a walkway on the outside of the Azarah). Gentiles could walk on the roadway of the Chel, but they go no further into the interior of the Temple of Herod at Jerusalem.
28 These 500 cubits’ square refer to an area known by the Rabbis as “The Camp of the Levites” to distinguish it from “The Camp of the Priests” (in the interior of the Temple) and “The Camp of the Israelites” which was totally exterior to the Temple). This “Temple Mount” is simply “the Levitical Camp” and it had no stone wall in its outer limits. The actual Temple, however, was a building made of stone (with stone walls around it). It was, according to Josephus, 400 cubits’ square (smaller by 100 cubits in a lateral sense than “the Levitical Camp)”. So, there was a space of 100 cubits separating the inner walls of Herod’s Temple square and the outer perimeter limits of the square that represented “the Levitical Camp.”
30 That is, the inner Gate Tadi that was a part of the Sorag balustrade surrounding the Azarah, NOT the outer Gate Tadi in the northern wall that was closed for public use (theinner Gate Tadi was opposite to the outer Gate Tadi).
31 This was the wall on top of the eastern platform of the square Temple enclosure. At the top of this wall was a roadway that surrounded the Temple square. There was a further gate in the interior (further west) known as the Gate of Nicanor. These two gates are often confused, but the two gates are quite distinct from each other.
32 The Court of the Women was simply the second story (or a superimposition) of the Court of Israel – so the two courts were identical with the same lateral and linear dimensions. The Court of the Women was simply the second story of the Court of the Israelites.
33 Comment by ELM: The bold letters are for emphasis. This particular “threshold” in the previous sentence in the Middot was geographically located in an eastern part of the outer Temple and near the southeastern corner of the Court of the Women. It was NOT, however, believed to be a threshold inside the enclosure known as Herod’s Temple. This is clearly seen by the Talmud’s explanation of the verse (in Yoma 78a). The Talmud describes it as “the threshold of the House (or, “Temple”) of David.” This “House of David” was at the entrance to the Gihon Spring. It was the place where David erected a Tabernacle (House) to house the Ark of the Covenant before the Temple of Solomon was constructed. One must be very careful in recognizing this significant feature.
34 Soncino translation has “circuit” or Hebrew “surrounding” – an inclined upward staircase from the northeast corner up to the northwest corner and then on the south side a downward staircase from the southwest corner to ground level at the southeast corner; or making a complete up and down circuit of the Holy Place.
Ernest L. Martin, 2002
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