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Visiting King Solomon’s Temple

Sunil Beta Baskar David

Chapter 1


King Solomon’s Temple has been the subject of interest to many, especially
the Freemasons as it forms an important ritual part of the “Blue Lodge.”1 This
work draws upon sources[New28] including Sir Isaac Newton among several oth-
ers to present as much information as is known about this structure. This work
is intented for anyone who may be interested in King Solomon’s Temple or an-
cient Jewish or Semitic archaeological sites. Some information presented may
be exclusively interesting to Freemasons.

There is mystic belief that the numbers encoded in the architectural draft
of the temple constitute an encoded message. This work intends to provide in-
formation, diagrams, cite and highlight differences existing among the sources.
The reader may use this information to interpret the Temple as an exemplary
edifice or an allegory or a hidden message or a combination of all.

The Temple was located in Jerusalem built upon what is termed the Temple
mount. Biblical accounts exclusively state that the Temple was constructed by
King Solomon, the third King of Israel, son of King David. There is no historic
or archaeologic record confirming the life of any of the early monarchs of Israel
as described in the Bible. Scholars attribute this to lexical drift resulting in
changes of names, titles and dates in historic accounts.

The Temple which was built by King Solomon as a house of the God and the
sanctuary of the Ark of the Tabernacle is referred to as The First Temple. Upon
return of the Israelites from Babylonian exile, the edifice that was restored as
part of the reconstruction of Jerusalem is referred to as The Second Temple.
Later work in renovating and expanding the temple under Herod, the Great,
under the Roman Empire is referred to as The Renovated Temple. All references
to the structure excavated and explored by archaeologists from the time of the
Knights Templar to the present day refer to the site of the construction as The
Temple Mount. This terminology is to avoid confusion. The structure referred
to in all periods is King Solomon’s Temple, the subject of this book.

The years used for chronology are from the revised Gregorian Calendar in
1 The Craft Lodge


use in the present day. Years are designated BCE (Before Common Era) and
CE (in the Common Era) synonymous to BC (Before Christ) and AD (Anno
Domini) or the Year of the Lord. I have referred to the Dome of Rock as The
Temple Mount in most part of this text. I have specified references to the
Al-Aqsa mosque explicitly when necessary to distinguish it from the Temple
Mount. There are references to the existence of ruins of a Jebusite structure at
or near the place of the Temple when it was first constructed. These ruins are
referred to as The Temple of Enoch. This may not be a reference to the Biblical
Enoch and has almost no supporting archaeologic evidence. I have excluded
discussions on such structures which have too few references and no archaelogic
Chapter 2

Brief Chronology

Year Edifice Architect

950 BCE The First Temple King Solomon (Monarch)
587 BCE Sacked Nebuchadnezzar
515 BCE The Second Temple Zerubabel (Exilarch)
445 BCE The Second Temple Nehemiah (Exilarch)
4 BCE The Renovated Temple Herod the Great (Client King)
70 CE Sacked Nero Caesar
691 CE The Temple Mount Caliph Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan
1035 CE The Temple Mount Caliph Al-Zahir
1112 CE (Excavations) The Knights Templar

Table 2.1: Brief Chronology of the Temple

2.1 The First Temple

King Solomon’s Temple itself is believed to have been constructed in 950 BCE
at Jerusalem. Construction of the Temple is thought to have been aided by
the Phoenicians, namely King Hiram of Tyre. The successors of King Solomon
were weak and ruled a divided Israel (regents Reheboam and Jereboam.)
Nebuchadnezzar II is documented to have conquered Jerusalem in 597 BCE
which was then ruled by Jehoiakim. The Jews were exiled into Babylonian cap-
tivity following the invasion.

It is documented in Biblical annals that a Jewish revolt was quelled and

the Temple was destroyed in 587 BCE. A clay tablet documents a successful
invasion of Egypt (referred to as Mitzaim) which was then ruled by Amasis.
There is a reference to his subjugation of Tyre (Phoenicia) in a siege lasting at
least a decade. There is archaelogical account of an earlier attempt at invading
Egypt in 601 BCE which was not successful. None of these accounts specifically
mention the existence of a Temple in Jerusalem. There is also no record of the
Temple of Melqa’art (in Tyre) which supposedly existed at this time and was
chiefly considered a Temple of Heracles adorned by two Bronze pillars[Str69].


2.2 The Second Temple

The Babylonians were invaded by the Aechemnid Empire under Cyrus the
Great who sent the Jews back in a gesture of good-will. Cyrus the Great who
is also referred to as Cyrus II is recognized as the first Emperor (Shahanshah)
of Persia. The ruins of the old temple were supposedly rediscovered in 530 BCE.
The Temple was planned for reconstruction in the year 515 BCE. The plans for
reconstruction are attributed to Zerubabel who was authorized by Cyrus, the
Great to carry them out. Actual construction of the Second Temple was done
by Nehemiah in 445 BCE. Following this reconstruction, the edifice required
maintenance and building work that had been postponed for years.

2.3 The Renovated Temple

Herod the Great, expanded the Second Temple[Jos93] working from 19 BCE
until 4 BCE into a much larger structure. Hostilities with Rome in 67 CE re-
sulted in total destruction of the Temple in 70 CE during the first Jewish-Roman

2.4 Excavations, The Temple Mount

Preservation by the Caliphates Almost a millennium later, another an-
cient structure of archaeologic and religious interest in Jerusalem named the
Al-Aqsa mosque is dated to have been consructed in 738 CE and renovated in
1035 CE by Caliph Al-Zahir.
An older structure named the sacred Dome of Rock was constructed in 691
CE. This structure covers what is presumed to be a portion of the front porch
of the Temple itself. The ruins of the Temple are thought to extend under the
Dome of Rock where early excavation attempts were conducted.
Two legends are associated with the Dome of Rock. It is considered by some
to be the place of Prophet Mohammed’s ascension to Heaven. It is thought to
be part of extensive remains of King Solomon’s Temple. The latter brought
interest to the Knights Templar.

The Knights Templar Legend has it that the ruins of this structure were
discovered by the Knights Templar (lit. the Knights of the Temple) or the
Order of the Poor Knights of Christ during the First Crusade1 . The Knights
Templar are believed to have conducted the only known extensive excavation
attempt at this time. This excavation was not thoroughly documented nor is
the result of the excavation published in any form. The Knights Templar were
thought to have taken hidden secrets of ancient Knowledge and Treasures from
the excavation site back to Europe. Some believe that the Knights Templar
had discovered the biblical Ark of the Covenant or a like priceless treasure or
artefact. Most of this speculation is owing to the lack of public documentation
of their excavations.

1 dated to the period 1095-1099 CE


The Al-Aqsa Mosque was used as a palace by the Knights Templar during
their excavation near the sacred Dome of Rock. The excavation itself is also
undocumented. The Excavations were permitted by King Baldwin II and later
by Salahedine Ayubi 2 . The Templar Knights were consecrated in 1119 CE. It is
known that by 1129 CE The Templar Knights were offered special rights under
Omne Datum Optimum, a Papal Bull3 which was issued by Pope Innocent II.
This allowed them to become what could officially be designated the world’s
first multinational corporation. They were permitted to establish offices in dif-
ferent states without having to pay taxes for passage between them. They also
improvised and provided banking services. King Philip IV of France is said to
have relied heavily on the Knights Templar for Financial and Banking services.
This elevation of the order itself raised many eyebrows and hinted that they had
possessed something from Jerusalem that was highly valued by the Church. On
Friday, 13th October 1304 CE a Papal Bull condemning the Knights Tem-
plar as enemies of the Church resulted in the execution of most members of the
order. The organization ceased to exist after this infamous event. After the
dissolution of the order in 1312 CE, the Shroud of Turin was revealed in the
possession of the surviving descendants of the Knights Templar (Geoffroy de

Further excavation attempts have been forbidden to ensure structural preser-

vation of many archaelogical structures in Jerusalem. Recent archaelogical work
has revealed a network of arches and tunnels directly under the Temple Mount.
These structures have been attributed to Herod, the Great who used them to
increase the support structure beneath the Temple to expand the complex.
Old Pottery work and artefacts dating back to late 8th Century BCE and 7th
Century BCE suggest the existence of a structure. This excavation work is in-
complete and inconclusive. The Nation State of Israel and the reduced Kingdom
of Judaea are not recorded in the historical annals from the 8th Century BCE
until the invasion of the Babylonians under Nebuchadnezzar.

Although the Dome of Rock is off-limits to visitors in the modern day, a

Military Lodge of Freemasons held a meeting here in 1918 CE which is docu-
mented here[Sto00] online.

The Chronology of the Temple prior to the construction of The Second

Temple has no historical basis. Zerubbabel and Nehemiah’s contributions were
documented by the Persians under Artaxerxes I. There are no known accounts
of the existence of a Temple such as King Solomon’s Temple prior to Zerub-
babel in public domain.

2 better known as Saladin or Salah-ud-din, noted for his Chivalry

3 letter patent issued by the Pope with the papal seal (bulla)
Chapter 3

Description of the Temple

3.1 The Biblical Description

The Temple is described in the Biblical Old Testament in I Kings 6:1...8:11.

3.1.1 Stone, Wood and Gold

The Temple, built as the House of God by King Solomon was sixty(60) cubits in
length, twenty(20) cubits in breadth and thirty(30) cubits in height. The porch
before the Temple was twenty(20) cubits in length, according to the breadth of
the House. The breadth of the front was Ten(10) cubits. Windows of narrow
frames were made for the House. Floors were built against the wall of the house.
These walls were built all around the temple and the sanctuary with rooms all
around. The lowest storey1 was five(5) cubits broad the middle storey was six(6)
cubits broad and the third was seven(7) cubits broad. There were narrow ledges
built around so as not to lay hold of the walls of the House.

The House was built of stone made ready2 beforehand. No hammer or axe or
iron tool was used for construction of the edifice. The door of the middle storey
was in the right side of the house. This door went up with winding stairs into
the middle storey and (the stairs led) out of the middle storey into the third.
The House was covered with beams and rows of cedar. He built the side-stories
on all the house, five(5) cubits high. They rested on the House with timbers of

The inner walls of the House were built with boards of cedar from the floor
unto the ceiling. The inside was covered with wood and the floor of the House
was made of planks of fir. King Solomon built twenty(20) cubits on the sides of
the House, both on the floor and the walls with boards of cedar. He even built
them for it inside for the sanctuary for the Holy of Holies. The House, with the
Temple before it was forty(40) cubits. The cedar of the house was carved with
gourds and open flowers. The cedar covered all the stone on the inside. The
1 inner section, also story, not “overlaid floor” or level as in modern use
2 cut for fitment


Holy of Holies was inside the House to set the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord.

The Holy of Holies in the front part was twenty(20) cubits in length, breadth
and height. It was overlaid with pure gold. The altar was covered with cedar.
The inside of the House was overlaid with gold. Inside the Holy of Holies he
made two cherubs of olive wood, each ten(10) cubits high. He overlaid all the
House with gold until he had completed his work on the House. Each wing of
a cherub was five(5) cubits giving a ten(10) cubit wingspan. The cherubs were
set inside in the inner House with their wingspans set from wall to wall, their
wings touching in the middle of the House. The cherubs too were overlaid with

He carved all the walls of the House with figures of cherubs, palm trees and
open flowers on the inside and the outside. The floor of the house was overlaid
with gold inside and outside. The doors to the Holy place were made of olive
wood. The lintel and side posts were a fifth? part. The two(2) doors were of
olive wood with similar carvings of cherubs, palm trees and open flowers. They
were overlaid with gold. There were side posts for the entrance to the temple
from the doors of olive, a fourth? part. The two side-posts to the door were of
fir tree. The two leaves of each door were folding, both carved with cherubs,
palm trees and open bowers further covered with gold fitted on carved work.

The inner court was built with three rows of cut stone and a row of cedar
beams. The foundation of the House of the Lord was laid in the month of Zif
of the fourth(4th ) year. The House was completed in the month of Bul of the
eleventh(11th ) year according to all its plans. It took Seven(7) years in building
the House.

A description of the palace and house of King Solomon that was constructed
in thirteen years made of hewn stone cut by metal mentioned in the book of
Kings has been omitted from this text. Like King Solomon’s Temple, there is no
archaeological evidence yet of such a palace or house.

3.1.2 Bronze work

King Hiram of Tyre sent a man, the son of a widow of the tribe of Napthali
whose father was a skilled worker in bronze. He cast two pillars of bronze, each
eighteen(18) cubits high. A line of twelve(12) cubits circumvented the second
pillar. Two capitals of Melted bronze were set atop the pillars. The height of
each capital was five(5) cubits. Twisted threads of chain-work formed gratings
on the belly of the pillars. There were seven(7) threads for each pillar. Two(2)
rows of pomegranates covered the capitals around the gratings. The pillars were
set in the porch of the temple. The right pillar (from the inside of the temple)
was named “Jachin” and the left pillar, “Boaz.” The top of the pillars was
adorned with lily-work thus completing both pillars. The pomegranates were
two-hundred(200) in number.

The man sent by King Hiram of Tyre is (also) referred to as Hiram. This
reference is omitted in this text, but the role of the Bronze artificer is exclusively

undertaken by this man.

When the pillars had been completed, he made a molten sea with a diameter
of ten(10) cubits from brim to brim. It was five(5) cubits high with a circum-
ference (or line of) thirty(30) cubits. Under the brim were gourds around it,
ten(10) to each cubit. The gourds were cast in two rows. The molten sea stood
on twelve(12) oxen, three facing each direction (North, East, West and South.)
The sea atop was but a hand-breadth thick with the brim fashioned like that of
a cup with the bud of a lily. It contained a thousand baths.

Ten(10) bases of bronz, four(4) cubits long and four(4) cubits broad at one
base, three(3) cubits high. The work of the bases had borders between the stays.
On the borders between the ledges3 were lions, oxen and cherubs. A pedestal
was above the stays. Beneath the lion and oxen were wreaths of hanging work.
The base had four(4) bronze wheels and axles of bronze.

Underneath the basin4 were casted supports with wreaths at each side. The
mouth within and above the capital was one(1) cubit. Its mouth was rounded
like the pedestal, a cubit and a half (1.5) in diameter. On the mouth were
carvings and the borders were square, not round. There were four(4) wheels
under the border. The axles of the wheels were in the base. The height of each
wheel was a cubit and a half (1.5). The work of the wheels resembled a chariot
wheel in its likeness of axle-rods5 , rims, hubs and spokes. Four(4) supports were
provided to the four(4) corners of each base.

At the top of the base sat a round compass, half a cubit(0.5) high. He
engraved cherubs, lions and palm trees on the plates of its sides and its borders.
There were ten(10) bases made with one casting and one measure making them
uniform. Five(5) bases were placed on the right of the house and five(5) on the
left. The sea was set at the right of the House, placed in the South-East corner
of the House. He made the basins, shovels and bowls of bronze thus finishing
all the work in his due for king Solomon for the House of the Lord.

Casting the Bronze

Two pillars, two bowls6 of the capitals, top of the two pillars and two gratings
to cover the two bowls of capitals on the top of the pillars. The four hundred
pomegranates for the two pillars, two rows for each to cover the bowls of the
capitals were on the face of the pillars. The ten(10) basins were placed on the
ten(10) bases. One melted sea with twelve(12) oxen seated under was placed.
All the vessels made for the House of the Lord were of burnished7 bronze. The
king cast them in the plain of Jordan in the thick soil of the ground between
Succoth and Zarethan. King Solomon left all vessels unweighed8 because they
3 below the stays
4 base
5 axle-trees
6 spheres
7 lustred, polished
8 unaccounted for value

were exceedingly many.

3.1.3 Vessels
King Solomon placed all the vessels in the House of the Lord, the altar of gold
and the table of gold on which was the Bread of the Presence9 . The lampstands
were of pure gold, five(5) on the right and five(5) on the left. These were placed
in front of the Holy of Holies with the flowers, lamps and tongs of gold. The
bowls, snuffers, basins, spoons, fire-pans of pure gold and hinges of gold for the
doors of the inner House were made as such. All work that King Solomon made
for the House of the Lord was completed. King Solomon brought in the things
whichhis father king David dedicated: the silver, gold and vessels were put into
the treasuries of the House of the Lord.

3.1.4 Consecration
King Solomon gathered the elders of Israel and the heads of all the tribes, the
chief of the fathers of the sons of Israel to king Solomon in Jerusalem to bring
the Ark of the Covenant out of the city of David which is Zion. The men of
Israel gathered to King Solomon at the feast during the holy month of Ethanim
which is the seventh(7th ) month. The elders of Israel came in and the priests
took up the Ark. They brought the Ark up unto the Lord and the Tabernacle
of the congregation with the holy vessels which were in the tabernacle; and even
those that the priests10 and the Levites brought.

The Ark of the convenant was placed in the holy place into the Holy of
Holies, under the wings of the Cherubs. The Cherubs covered the Ark at front.
Staves covered the Ark above. They drew out the staves such that the ends of
the staves were visible in the holy place . They were not seen outside the Holy of
Holies. There was nothing within the Ark excepting the two(2) Tablets of stone
placed inside by Moses at Horeb. As the Ark was set and the priests came out
of the Holy of Holies, a cloud filled the House of the Lord. The priests could not
stand to minister because of the thick cloud. The glory of the Lord had filled
the House.

The biblical units described were slightly different from the con-
ventional units of the same name. Because of their relativistic
nature and variation based on role (normal, royal) they do not
correspond exactly to a measure in the modern System Inter-
nationale units.

• The cubit is 48 - 57.6 cm; the variation comes from the deployment as
distance or as solid measure.

• The bath is 24.88 - 43.2 L, the larger volume being the Royal “Bat”.

9 Showbread
10 Kohanim

3.2 Sir Isaac Newton’s Description

This description of the Temple is from “The Chronology of Ancient Kingdoms
- Amended” by Sir Isaac Newton.

3.2.1 The Structural Plan

The Temple looked eastward and stood in a square area called the Separate
Place. Before it stood the Altar in the center of another square area called
the Inner Court or Court of Priests. These two square areas were parted only
by a marble rail that ran two-hundred(200) cubits from west to east and one-
hundred(100) cubits north to south. This area was enclosed in the west with
a wall. On the other three sides it was surrounded by a pavement which was
fifty(50) cubits wide. Upon this pavement there were rooms11 for the Priests
with cloysters underneath. The pavement was separated from the inside by
a marble rail before the cloysters. The whole made an area two-hundred and
fifty(250) cubits long from west to east and two-hundred(200) cubits broad
north to south. This structure itself was enclosed by an outward Court which
was called the Great Court or Court of the People which was one-hundred(100)
cubits on every side. These were the only two courts built by king Solomon. The
outward Court was four(4) cubits lower than the Inner Court. This was further
encompassed by a wall on the west and another pavement fifty(50) cubits wide
on the three sides. Upon this pavement there were buildings for the People. All
of this completed the Sanctuary.

This construction attributed to King Solomon made a square five-hundred(500)

cubits long and five-hundred(500) cubits broad. It was entirely surrounded by a
walkway called the Mountain of the House. The walk itself was fifty(50) cubits
broad and was skirted by a wall that stood six(6) cubits broad, six(6) cubits
high and six-hundred(600) cubits.

The Biblical Cubit is a measure equivalent to 21 12 or almost 22

inches of the English Foot, Pound and Second (FPS) system.
The sacred cubit is bigger than the common cubit. It was by a
hand-breadth12 or one-sixth( 61 th ) longer than the common cubit.
This is also referred to as the Sacred Cubit of the Jews.

3.2.2 The Altar

The Altar stood in the center of the whole structure of the inner and outer
courts. In the buildings of both Courts over against the middle of the altar,
eastward, southward and northward were gates measuring twenty-five(25) cu-
bits in breadth and forty(40) cubits long with porches of ten(10) cubits looking
toward the Altar Court which made the whole length of the gates fifty(50) cubits
across the pavements. Every gate had two doors one at either end. The doors
were ten(10) cubits wide, twenty(20) high with posts and thresholds six(6) cu-
bits broad: within the gates was an area twenty-eight(28) cubits long between
11 syn. buildings
12 heb. tefach

the thresholds and thirteen(13) cubits wide.

On either side of this area were three(3) posts, each six(6) cubits square and
twenty(20) cubits high with arches five(5) cubits wide between them. The posts
and arches filled the twenty-eight(28) cubits in length between the thresholds.
Their breadth being added to the thirteen(13) cubits made the whole breadth
of the gates twenty-five(25) cubits. These posts were hollow and had rooms in
them with narrow windows for the porters and a step before them which was
one(1) cubit broad. The walls of the porches were six(6) cubits thick and was
hollow13 for several uses.

The east gate of the Peoples Court was called the King’s gate. At this
(east) gate were six(6) porters. At the north gate were four(4) porters and a
like four(4) in the south gate. The people went in and out through the north
and south gates. The east gate was opened only for the King and in this gate
he ate the Sacrifices.

There were also four(4) gates or doors in the western wall of the Mountain
of the House. Of these the one which was closer north was called Shallecheth or
the gate of the causey which led to the King’s palace. The valley between was
filled up with a causey. The next gate called Parbar led to the suburbs Millo.
The third and fourth gates were both called Asuppim, one led to Millo and the
other to the city of Jerusalem. The steps went down the valley and extended up
into the city. At the gate Shallecheth were four(4) porters. At the other three
gates were six(6) porters, two(2) at each gate. The house of the porters who
had charge of the north gate of the People’s Court also had charge of the gates
Shallechet and Parbar. The house of the porters who had charge of the south
gate of the People’s Court had also the charge of the two gates called Asuppim.

The Altar referred here is a sacrificial altar whose purpose is to receive the
sacrifices of the People.
13 indicative of a repository

Figure 3.1: King Solomon’s Temple, Structural Plan, Drawing I, Sir Isaac

The legend to this plan is taken verbatim from the account of Sir Isaac

ABCD. The Separate Place in which stood the Temple.

ABEF. The Court of The Priests.
G. The Altar.
DHLKICEFD. A Pavement compassing three sides of the foremention’d
Courts, and upon which stood the Buildings for the Priests, with Cloysters
under them.
MNOP. The Court of the People.
MQTSRN. A Pavement compassing three sides of the Peoples Court, upon
which stood the Buildings for the People, with Cloysters under them.
UXYZ. The Mountain of the House.

aabb. A Wall enclosing the whole.

c. The Gate Shallecheth. (North-East corner)
d. The Gate Parbar.
ef. The two Gates Assupim.
g. The East Gate of the Peoples Court, called the Kings Gate.
hh. The North and South Gates of the same Court.
iiii. The chambers over the Cloysters of the Peoples Court where the People
ate the Sacrifices, 30 Chambers in each Story.
kkkk. Four little Courts serving for Stair Cases and Kitchins for the People.
l. The Eastern Gate of the Priests Court, over which sate the Sanhedrin.
m. The Southern Gate of the Priests Court.
n. The Northern Gate of the same Court, where the Sacrifices were flayed.

opqrst. The Buildings over the Cloysters for the Priests, viz six large
Chambers (subdivided) in each Story, whereof o and p were for the High
Priest and Sagan, q for the Overseers of the Sanctuary and Treasury, r for the
Overseers of the Altar and Sacrifice and s and t for the Princes of the
twenty-four Courses of Priests.

uu. Two Courts in which were Stair Cases and Kitchins for the Priests.
x. The House or Temple which (together with the Treasure Chambers y, and
Buildings zz on each side of the Separate Place) is more particularly describ’d
on the second Plate.

3.2.3 Access through the Gates

People came through the four(4) western gates into the Mountain of the House
and went up from there to the People’s Court by seven(7) steps. From the Peo-
ple’s Court to the gates of the Priest’s Court were eight(8) steps. The arches
in the sides of the gates of both courts led into cloysters under a double build-
ing, supported by three(3) rows of marble pillars which butted directly upon
the centres of the square posts. The axis of the pillars of the middle-row were
eleven(11) cubits apart from the axis of the pillars of the two rows on either
hand. These pillars were each three(3) cubits in diameter below and their bases
were four-and-a-half (4 21 ) cubits square.

The gates and buildings of both Courts were alike and faced their Courts.
The Cloysters of all the builidngs and the porches of all the gates faced the Al-
tar. The row of pillars behind the cloysters adhered to the marble walls14 which
bounded the cloysters and supported the buildings. These buildings were three
storeys15 high above the cloysters. A row of cedar beams or pillars of cedar
standing above the middle row of the marble pillars were the primary support
for these buildings.

A cloyster (lat. claustrum) is a covered walk-way with an open collonnade

on each side. It is also spelt cloister in modern usage.
14 railings
15 floors as in the modern sense

Figure 3.2: Cloyster of St.Trophimus, Arles, France

3.2.4 Sacrifices: Kitchens and Support Structures

The buildings on either side of every gate of the People’s Court being 187 12
cubits long and were distinguished in having five chambers on a floor running in
lengh from the gates to the corners or the Courts. There were a total of thirty
chambers to each storey where People ate the Sacrifices. These were synony-
mously thirty exhedras each of which contained three chambers, a lower, middle
and upper chamber. Every exhedra was 37 12 cubits long, being supported by
four pillars in each row. The base of these pillars was four-and-a-half(4 12 ) cubits
square. The distance between their bases was six-and-a-half(6 21 ) cubits. The
distances between the axes of the pillars was thus eleven(11) cubits and at the
part where the two exhedras (across the pillars) joined, the bases of the pillars
joined, the axis of those two pillars were only four-and-a-half(4 12 ) cubits distant
from each other.

For strengthening16 the building the space between the axes of these two
pillars was filled up with a marble column which was four-and-a-half(4 12 ) cubits
square. The two pillars stood half out on either side of the square column.
At the ends of these buildings in the four corners of the Peoples Court were
little courts fifty(50) cubits square on the outside of their walls and forty(40)
cubits square on the inside thereof for the stair-cases of the buildings and the
kitchens17 to bake and boil the Sacrifices for the People.

Each kitchen was thirty(30) cubits broad and the stair-case ten(10) cubits
broad. The buildings on either side o fthe gates of the Priests Court were also
37 12 cubits long and contained within each of them a great chamber in a storey
subdivided into smaller rooms for the Great Officers of the Temple and Princes
of the Priests. In the South-East and North-East corners of this court, at the
ends of the buildings were kitchens and stair-cases for the Great Officers; and
perhaps rooms for laying up wood for the Altar.

16 Newton’s supposition for this structure’s purpose

17 Newton uses kitchins, old english

Figure 3.3: King Solomon’s Temple, Plan, Drawing II, Sir Isaac Newton

The Legend to this drawing is also taken verbatim as prior.

ABCD. The Separate Place.

ABEF. The Inner Court, or Court of the Priests, parted from the Separate
Place, and and Pavement on the other three sides, by a marble rail.
G. The Altar.
HHH. The East, South, & North Gates of the Priests Court.
III. & c. The Cloysters supporting the Buildings for the Priests.
KK. Two Courts in which were Stair Cases and Kitchins for the Priests.
L. Ten Steps to the Porch of the Temple.
M. The Porch of the Temple.
N. The Holy Place.
O. The most Holy Place.
PPPP. Thirty Treasure-Chambers, in two rows, opening into a gallery, door
against door, and compassing three sides of the Holy & most Holy Places.

Q. The Stairs leading to the Middle Chamber.

RRRR. & c. The buildings for the twenty-four(24) Courses of Priests, upon
the Pavement on either side of the Separate Place, three Stories high without
Cloysters, but the upper Stories narrower than the lower, to make room for
Galleries before them. There were 24 Chambers in each Story and they opend
into a walk or alley, SS. between the Buildings.
TT. Two Courts in which were Kitchins for the Priests of the twenty-four(24)

3.2.5 The High Officers of the Temple

In the eastern gate of the Peoples Court sat a Judicial court composed of 23
Elders18 . The eastern gate of the Priests Court with buildings on either side
was for the High-Priest19 and his deputy, the Sagan and for the Sanhedrim
or Supreme Court of Judges composed of seventy(70) Elders. The building or
exhedra on the eastern side of the southern gate, was for the Priests who had
the oversight of the charge of the Sanctuary with its treasuries. They were
two Catholikim, High-Treasurers and Secretaries to the High-Priest. They ex-
amined, stated and prepared all acts and accounts to be signed and sealed by
him. There were seven Amarcholim who kept the keys of the seven locks of
every gate of the Sanctuary. They also held the treasuries and had oversight,
direction and appointment of all things in the Sanctuary. There were three or
more Gisbarim or Under-Treasurers or Receivers who kept the Holy vessels and
the Public Money20 . They received or disposed of such sums brought in for the
service of the Temple and accounted for the same. All of them with the High-
Priest composed the Supreme Council for managing the affairs of the Temple.

The High Priest is not counted among the seventy Elders of the Sanhedrim
which makes the council seventy-one.

3.2.6 Officers of the Daily Affairs

The Sacrifices were killed on the northern side of the Altar. They were flayed,
cut in pieces and salted in the Northern gate of the Temple. Therefore the
building or exhedra on the eastern side of this gate was for the Priests who
were overseers of the charge of the Altar. Officers received money from the
People for purchasing things for Sacrifices and handed out tickets21 for the same.
Another group of Officers delivered wine, flour and oil to those possessing the
tickets. Pigeons and Doves were exchanged for the tickets because this was
considered purchase. There was a Physician in attendance to the Priests. An
officer administered the use of water. There was an Officer who was charged
with time-keeping and also cried out to the Priests or Levites to attend in their
ministeries. There was an Officer who was charged with overseeing the opening
of the gates in the morning to begin service and shut them in the evening when
service was done. He therefore held the keys of the Amarcholim and returned
18 The Lesser Sanhedrin
19 Kohen Gadol
20 lit. treasure stewards
21 bonds or deeds

them to the High-officers after service hours. There was an Officer of the night-
watch. There was an Officer by a Cymbal who called the Levites to their station
for singing. There was an Officer who appointed the Hymns and set the Tune.
Another Officer took care of the Showbread. There were Officers who took care
of the Perfume, the Veil and the Wardrobe of the Priests.

3.2.7 The Priests Court

The exhedra on the western side of the south gate and that on the western side
of the north gate were for the princes of the twenty four22 (24) courses of the
Priests, one exhedra for twelve(12) of the Princes and the other exhedra for the
other twelve(12). Upon the pavement on either side of the Separate Place were
other buildings without cloysters for the twenty four courses of the Priests to
partake of the Sacrifices and lay up their garments and the most holy things.
Each pavement was a hundred(100) cubits long and fifty(50) broad with rooms23
on either side which were twenty(20) cubits broad. There was an alley ten(10)
cubits broad between them. The building which bordered the Separate Place
was a hundred cubits(100) long, that next to the Peoples Court fifty(50) the
other fifty(50) cubits westward for a stair-case and kitchen within them. These
buildings (or rooms) were three stories high with the middle storey narrower in
the front than the lower storey and the upper storey narrower than the middle
storey. This allowed room for galleries before them. Under these galleries were
closets for laying up the holy things and the garments of the priests. These
galleries were towards the walk or alley which ran between the buildings.

3.2.8 The Temple

From the Priests Court to the Temple was a staircase of ten(10) steps which
reached the Porch of The Temple. The House of the Temple was twenty(20)
cubits broad and sixty(60) long within or thirty(30) broad and seventy70 long
including the walls. The treasure-chambers were between the wall of the Temple
and the wall outside built of cedar. They were twenty(20) cubits broad on three
sides of the house. The breadth of the gallery, the chambers and both walls was
twenty-five(25) cubits. The Treasure chambers were either two or three stories
high. A walk-way ran between and through them which was five(5) cubits broad
in the lower storey, six(6) cubits broad in the middle storey and seven(7) cubits
broad in the upper storey. Including them, the Temple was seventy(70) cubits
broad and ninety(90) long. The Porch itself was ten(10) cubits long and a
hundred-and-twenty(120) cubits high. Its length from South to North equalled
the breadth of the House. The House itself was Three storeys High which made
the height of the Holy Place ninety(90) cubits24 , and that of the Most Holy
sixty(60) cubits25 . The upper rooms were treasure-chambers. The breadth of
the chambers from wall-to-wall was ten(10) cubits. They went up to the middle
chamber by winding staircase in the southern shoulder of the House and from
the middle into the upper.
22 Newton: lit. four and twenty
23 Newton: lit. buildings
24 three times thirty cubits
25 three times twenty cubits

3.2.9 The New Court

Some time after this Temple was built, the Jews added a New Court on the
eastern side of the Priests Court before the King’s gate and therein built a covert
for the Sabbath. This Court was not measured by Ezekiel, but the dimensions
may be gathered from those of the Womens Court of the second Temple, built
after example of this New Court.

3.2.10 Comparison with the Second Temple

When Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the first Temple, Zerubbabel by the commis-
sions of Cyrus and Darius ? built another upon the same area except the Outward
Court which was left open to the Gentiles. This Temple was sixty(60) cubits
long, sixty(60) broad and only two(2) stories high. The Second Temple had
only one row of treasure-chambers about it. On either side of the Priests Court
were double-buildings for the Priests built upon three rows of Marble pillars in
the lower storey with a row of cedar beams or pillars in the stories above. The
cloyster in the lower storey looked towards the Priests Court. The Separate
Place, Priests Court with their buildings at the north and south sides and the
Womens Court at the east end took up an area three-hundred(300) cubits long
and two-hundred(200) broad. The Altar stood in the center of the entire struc-
ture. The Womens Court was named so because women were also allowed as
were men. There were galleries for women and the men worshipped upon the
ground below. This was the state of the Temple under the reign of the Persians.
It suffered further alteration in the days of Herod, the Great.

Figure 3.4: Gates of the Peoples Court with part of the adjoining Cloyster,
Drawing III, Sir Isaac Newton

The Legend to this drawing is also taken verbatim as prior.

uw. The inner margin of the Pavement compassing three sides of the Peoples

xxx. &c. The Pillars of the Cloyster supporting the Buildings for the People.
yyyy. Double Pillars where two Exhedræ joyned, and whose interstices in the
front zz were filled up with a square Column of Marble.

3.2.11 Acknowledgement by Sir Isaac Newton

The description of the Temple is principally taken from Ezekiel’s Vision and
the ancient Hebrew copy followed by the Seventy differing in some readings
from the copy followed by the editors of the present Hebrew version. These are
sub-joined with the part of the Vision and like the description Outward Court
deduced from the present Hebrew and the version of the Seventy.

(refer: Ezekiel 40:5...)

The Septuagint is referred to as the Version of the Seventy. It is also referred to
as LXX or G which may also be written as G in modern times. The Septuagint
was written in Coptic Greek and is associated with Hellenistic Judaism.

3.3 The Vision of Ezekiel

The Biblical description from the Septuagint through the Modern King James
Version (MKJV) is included here verbatim. Not all text is included as is. Only
text that describes the structure of the Temple as part of the vision have been
included. Text that describes the role and function of the priests has not been
included completely except in reference to the Kitchens for sacrifices. The reason
for including this text is to aid the reader in understanding Sir Isaac Newton’s
deduction of the dimensions and plan of the Temple. The Second Temple was
in several ways different from the First Temple which is also pointed out by
Sir Isaac Newton. One can deduce from the Vision that the Temple did not
exist in the time of Ezekiel in the manner and form of its construction by King
Solomon. The name of the City within which the Temple exists is given in this
vision to Ezekiel which literally means “City where God is” or literally “Where
JHVH is” and does not propose that the New Temple will be constructed on
the ruins of the First Temple.

3.3.1 Ezekiel Ch. 40

(Ezekiel 40:1. . . 49) 5 And behold, a wall on the outside of the house all
around, and in the man’s hand was a measuring reed, six cubits
long, with a cubit and a span. And he measured the building’s
breadth, one reed; and the height, one reed. 6 And he came
to the gate which faced eastward, and went up its steps, and
measured the threshold of the gate, one reed wide, even the one
threshold, one reed wide. 7 And a room was one reed long and
one reed wide. And between the rooms were five cubits. And the
threshold of the gate by the porch of the gate from the house,
one reed. 8 He also measured the porch of the gate inside, one
reed. 9 And he measured the porch of the gate, eight cubits;
and its pillars, two cubits; also the porch of the gate from the

house. 10 And the gate rooms eastward were three from here,
and three from there; one measure to the three of them; and one
measure was to the pillars from here and from there. 11 And
he measured the breadth of the gate-opening, ten cubits. The
length of the gate was thirteen cubits. 12 And the border in
front of the rooms was one cubit from here, and the space was
one cubit from there. And the room was six cubits from here and
six cubits from there. 13 And he measured the gate of the room
from the roof to roof, twenty-five cubits wide, door to door. 14
He also made the pillars, sixty cubits, even to the court-pillar,
from the gate all around. 15 And on the face of the entrance
gate to the face of the porch of the inner gate was fifty cubits;
and latticed windows were to the rooms and to their pillars
inside the gate all around. And so for the porches; and windows
were all around inside; and to each pillar were palm trees. 17
And he brought me into the outer court, and lo, chambers, and
a pavement made for the court all around. Thirty rooms were
on the pavement. 18 And the pavement by the side of the gates
to equal the length of the gates was the lower pavement. 19 And
he measured the breadth from the front of the lower gate to the
front of the inner court on the outside, a hundred cubits eastward
and northward. 20 And the gate which faces the way of the north
of the outer court, he measured its length and its breadth. 21
And its rooms were three from here and three from there. And
its pillars and its porches were according to the first measure.
Its length was fifty cubits, and its breadth, twenty-five cubits. 22
And their windows, and their porches, and their palm trees, were
according to the measure of the gate facing the east. And they
went up to it by seven steps; and its porches were before them. 23
And the gate of the inner court was across from the gate toward
the north and toward the east. And he measured from gate to
gate, a hundred cubits. 24 And he led me southward, and behold
a gate southward. And he measured its pillars and its porches
according to these measures. 25 And there were windows in it
and in its porches all around, like those windows. The length was
fifty cubits, and the breadth, twenty-five cubits. 26 And seven
steps were going up to it, and its porches were before them. And
it had palm trees, one from here and another from there, on its
And there was a gate in the inner court southward. And he
measured from gate to gate southward, a hundred cubits. 28
And he brought me to the inner court by the south gate. And he
measured the south gate according to these measures, 29 and its
rooms and its pillars and its porches according to these measures.
And there were windows in it and in its porches all around. It
was fifty cubits long and twenty-five cubits wide. 30 And the
porches all around were twenty-five cubits long and five cubits
wide. 31 And its porches were toward the outer court; and palm
trees on its pillars. And its stairway had eight steps. 32 And

he brought me into the inner court eastward. And he measured

the gate according to these measures. 33 And its rooms, and
its pillars, and its porches, were measured according to these
measures. And there were windows in it and in its porches all
around. It was fifty cubits long and twenty-five cubits wide. 34
And its porches were toward the outer court. And palm trees
were on its pillars, from here, and from there. And its stairway
had eight steps. 35 And he brought me to the north gate, and
measured it according to these measures; 36 its rooms, its pillars,
and its porches, and its windows all around. The length was fifty
cubits, and the breadth twenty-five cubits. 37 And its pillars were
toward the outer court. And palm trees were on its pillars, from
here and from there. And its stairway had eight steps. 38 And
the chamber and its door was by the pillars of the gates; they
washed the burnt offering there.
And in the porch of the gate were two tables from here and two
tables from there, for the slaughtering of the burnt offering and
the sin offering and the trespass offering. 40 And to the side
outside, as one goes up to the door of the gate northward were
two tables; and on the other side at the porch of the gate, two
tables. 41 Four tables were from here, and four tables were from
there, by the side of the gate: eight tables; they slaughter on
them. 42 And the four tables for burnt offering were of cut stone,
a cubit and a half long, and a cubit and a half wide, and one cubit
high. They also rested on them the instruments with which they
slaughtered the burnt offering and the sacrifice.43 And the double
hooks of one span were fastened in the house all around, and on
the tables the flesh of the offering. 44 And from the outside to
the inner court were the chambers of the singers in the inner
court, which was at the side of the north gate. And their face
was southward: one at the side of the east gate looked the way of
the north. 45 And he said to me, This chamber facing southward
is for the priests, the keepers of the charge of the house. 46 And
the chamber facing northward is for the priests, the keepers of
the charge of the altar. They are the sons of Zadok among the
sons of Levi, who come near the LORD to minister to Him. 47
And he measured the court, a square, a hundred cubits long and
a hundred cubits wide; and the altar was before the house. 48
And he brought me to the porch of the house and measured each
pillar of the porch, five cubits from here and five cubits from
there. And the gate was three cubits wide from here and three
cubits from there. 49 The porch was twenty cubits long, and
eleven cubits wide. And he brought me by the steps by which
they went up to it. And columns were by the pillars, one from
here and another from there.

3.3.2 Ezekiel Ch.41

(Ezekiel 41:1. . . 26)

And he brought me to the temple and measured the pillars, six
cubits wide from here and six cubits wide from there, which was
the breadth of the tabernacle. 2 And the breadth of the door
was ten cubits; and the sides of the door, five cubits from here,
and five cubits from there. And he measured its length, forty
cubits, and the breadth, twenty cubits. 3 And he went inside
and measured the pillar of the door, two cubits; and the door
was six cubits; and the breadth of the door, seven cubits. 4 And
he measured its length, twenty cubits; and the breadth, twenty
cubits, before the temple. And he said to me, This is the Holy of
Holies. 5 And he measured the wall of the house, six cubits; and
the width of each side room was four cubits, all around the house
on every side. 6 And the side chambers were a side chamber over
a side chamber, three stories, and thirty times. And they entered
the wall of the house for the side chambers all around, that they
might be fastened, for they were not fastened to the wall of the
house. 7 And there was a widening, and a winding upwards
and upwards to the side chambers. For the winding around of
the house went upward and upward, all around the house. On
account of this the width of the house went upward, and so from
the lowest it went up to the highest by the middle story. 8 I also
saw the height of the house all around. The foundations of the
side rooms were a full reed, six large cubits by joining. 9 The
width of the wall, which was for the side chamber to the outside,
was five cubits, and what was left between the side chambers
that were of the house. 10 And between the chambers was the
width of twenty cubits, circling the house all around. 11 And the
door of the side chamber was toward the open space, one door
northward and one door southward. And the width of the place
of the open space was five cubits all around.
And the building that was before the separate place at the end
of the way of the west was seventy cubits wide. And the wall
of the building was five cubits wide all around, and its length,
ninety cubits. 13 And he measured the house, a hundred cubits
long. And the separate place, and the building, and its wall,
were a hundred cubits long. 14 And the width of the front of the
house and of the separate place eastward was a hundred cubits.
And he measured the length of the building to the front of
the separate place which was behind it; and its gallery from here
and from there, a hundred cubits, with the inner temple and the
porches of the court, 16 the thresholds, and the latticed narrow
windows, and the galleries all around, their three stories across
from the threshold, with wood panelings all around, and from
the ground up to the windows; and the windows were covered;
to that above the door, even to the inner house, and outside,
and by all the wall around inside and outside, by measure. 18
And it was made with cherubs and palm trees, and a palm tree
was between cherub and cherub. And each cherub had two faces,
the face of a man was toward the palm tree from here, and

the face of a young lion toward the palm tree from there. It was
made through all the house all around. 20 From the ground to
above the door were cherubs and palm trees made, and on the
wall of the temple. 21 The temple doorposts were squared, and
the face of the sanctuary. The looks of the one was like the looks
of the other. 22 The altar of wood was three cubits high, and its
length two cubits. And its corners, and its length, and its walls,
were of wood. And he said to me, This is the table that is before
the LORD. 23 And the temple and the sanctuary had two doors.
And two doors leaves were to each of the doors, two turning
doors, two for the one door, and two for the other door. 25 And
on them, on the temple doors, were made cherubs and palm trees
like those made on the walls, and thick wood on the face of the
porch outside. 26 And latticed windows, and palm trees, were
from here and from there, on the sides of the porch, and on the
side chambers of the house, and wooden canopies.

3.3.3 Ezekiel Ch.42

(Ezekiel 42:1. . . 20)
And he brought me out into the outer court, the way northward.
And he brought me into the chamber that was across from the
separate place and which was in front of the building to the north.
Before the length of a hundred cubits was the north door, and
the width was fifty cubits. 3 Across from the twenty cubits which
were for the inner court, and across from the pavement which
was for the outer court, gallery was on gallery in three stories. 4
And before the chambers was a walk of ten cubits width inward,
a way of one cubit. And their doors were northward. 5 And
the upper chambers were shorter; for the galleries used up more
space than the lower and middle ones in the building. 6 For they
were in three stories, but there were no columns to them like the
columns of the courts. So the third story was made narrower
than the lower and the middle stories from the ground. 7 And
the wall that was outside near the chambers, toward the outer
court on the front of the chambers, its length was fifty cubits. 8
For the length of the chambers that were in the outer court was
fifty cubits. And lo, in front of the temple was a hundred cubits.
And under these chambers was the entrance on the east side,
as one goes into them from the outer court, 10 in the width of
the wall of the court eastward, to the front of the separate area,
and to the front of the building were chambers. 11 And the way
in front of them looked like the chambers which were northward,
as their length, so their width. And all their exits were as their
patterns, and as their doors. 12 And as the doors of the chambers
that were southward was a door in the head of the way, even the
way directly in front of the wall eastward, as one enters them. 13
And he said to me, The north chambers and the south chambers
which are in front of the separate place, they are holy chambers,

where the priests shall eat, those who approach to the LORD
shall eat the most holy things. There they shall lay the most
holy things, and the food offering, and the sin offering, and the
guilt offering. For the place is holy. 14 When the priests enter,
then they shall not go out of the holy place into the outer court,
but they shall lay their clothes there by which they minister in
them, for they are holy. And they shall put on other clothes, and
shall approach that which is for the people.
And he finished measuring the inner house; he brought me out
the way of the gate whose view is eastward, and measured all
around. 16 He measured the east side with the measuring reed,
five hundred reeds with the measuring reed, all around. 17 He
measured the north side, five hundred reeds with the measuring
reed all around. 18 He measured the south side, five hundred
reeds with the measuring reed. 19 He turned to the west side,
measuring five hundred reeds with the measuring reed. 20 He
measured it by the four sides. It had a wall all around, five hun-
dred long, and five hundred wide, to make a separation between
the holy place and the common place.

3.3.4 Ezekiel Ch.43

(Ezekiel 43:13. . . 17)
And these are the measures of the altar by the cubit. The cubit
is a cubit and a span; even the base shall be a cubit, and the
width a cubit, and its border by its edge all around shall be a
span. And this is the upper part of the altar. 14 And from the
base on the ground even to the lower ledge shall be two cubits,
and the width one cubit. And from the smaller ledge even to
the greater ledge shall be four cubits, and the width one cubit.
And the altar hearth shall be four cubits, and from the altar
hearth and upward shall be four horns. 16 And the altar hearth
shall be twelve cubits long, twelve wide, square in its four sides.
And the ledge shall be fourteen long and fourteen wide in its
four sides. And the border around it shall be half a cubit, and
its base a cubit around. And its steps shall face eastward.

3.3.5 Ezekiel Ch.45

(Ezekiel 45:1. . . 7, 45:19. . . 24)
And, when you make fall the land by lot for inheritance, you shall
offer an offering to the LORD, a holy portion of the land. The
length shall be twenty-five thousand cubits long, and the width
ten thousand. It shall be holy in all its borders all around. 2
Of this there shall be five hundred by five hundred cubits for the
sanctuary, square all around; and fifty cubits around shall be for
its open space. 3 And from this measure you shall measure the
length of twenty-five thousand, and the width of ten thousand.

And in it shall be the sanctuary and the most holy place. 4 It is

the holy portion of the land for the priests, it shall be for the min-
isters of the sanctuary who come near to minister to the LORD.
And it shall be a place for their houses and a holy place for the
sanctuary. 5 And the twenty-five thousand cubits in length, and
the ten thousand in width, shall also be for the Levites, the min-
isters of the house, for themselves for a possession, twenty rooms.
And you shall give the possession of the city, five thousand cu-
bits wide, and twenty-five thousand long, beside the offering of
the holy portion. It shall be for the whole house of Israel. 7 And
a portion shall be for the ruler from here and from there, for the
heave offering of the holy place, and of the possession of the city,
in front of the heave offering of the holy place, and to the front
of the city’s possession, from the west side westward and from
the east side eastward. And the length shall be alongside one of
the portions, from the west border to the east border.

3.3.6 Ezekiel Ch.46

And he brought me through the entry which was at the side of the
gate, into the holy chambers of the priests, facing north. And
behold, there was a place on the two sides westward. 20 And
he said to me, This is the place where the priests shall boil the
guilt offering and the sin offering, and where they shall bake the
food offering, so that they may not bear them out into the outer
court to sanctify the people. 21 And he led me out into the outer
court and he made me pass by the four corners of the court. And
behold, in every corner of the court there was a court. 22 In the
four corners of the court were enclosed courts, forty cubits long
and thirty wide, one measure to the four of them, being made
in corners. 23 And a row was all around in them, all around the
four of them. And boiling water was made under the rows all
around. 24 And he said to me, These are the places of those who
boil, where the ministers of the house shall boil the sacrifice of
the people.

During the revelation of this vision, Ezekiel is referred to by the Heavenly

Host as “Ben Adam” or “Son of man” which is later used in Gospel works as
a reference to the Jesus Christ Himself. There is no specific connection drawn
between the two except for the use of the same naming convention. It seems
that the term “Ben Adam” (heb.) is used to denote Kings and Theocrats of
Jewish origin and was therefore used in the Gospels much later.
Chapter 4

The Second Temple under

Herod the Great

4.0.7 The Hasmonean Dynasty

Before Herod the Great, the Kingdom of Judaea was ruled by the Hasmonean
dynasty. This dynasty did little to renovate the temple and left it relatively
unknown to the rest of the world. This is a list of the kings who ruled under
the Hasmonean dynasty.

Regent Reign Region

Aristobulus I 104 BCE - 103 BCE Judaea
Alexander Jannaeus 103 BCE - 76 BCE Judaea
Salome Alexandra 76 BCE - 67 BCE Judaea
Hyrcanus II 67 BCE - 66 BCE Judaea
Aristobulus II 66 BCE - 63 BCE Judaea
Antigonus 40 BCE - 37 CE Judaea
Aristobulus III 37 BCE Judaea
Herod the Great 37 BCE - 4 BCE Judaea, Idumaea, Samaria, Gualanitis

Table 4.1: The Hasmonean Dynasty

Herod the Great is listed to contrast him from the Hasmonean Monarchs for
his acknowledged megalopsychia or great-spritedness. He was a client-king to
Rome officially but managed his affairs independently with little Roman
interference. It was during the reign of his sons that Roman interference in
Judaea and the eastern territories increased under Augustus, Germanicus and
later Tiberius Caesar.

4.1 Herod the Great

Herod’s contributions in renovating the Second Temple during Roman Rule of
Judaea proved crucial in two principal areas. It brought attention to the magni-
ficient construction that had been left unmaintained by the previous Hasmonean


kings. It shed light on the some of the methods and techniques used in build-
ing the Temple. The latter had been previously unknown and undocumented
for a long while until Tom Mueller published “Herod, The Holy Land’s Vision-
ary Builder” in the December 2008 issue of National Geographic[Mue08]. This
article was made possibile by the work of Archaeologist Ehud Netzer and His
team who unearthed structures previously undiscovered that shed light on the
massive architectural feat accomplished by Herod the Great.

Herod the Great is innocent of the “massacre of the innocents” for which he
is cited (oft as a villain) in the Christian gospel works. If such an event ever
occurred it was never documented by early Jewish Historians including Flavius
Josephus. Such an event is historically unlikely because of the thin population
in Bethlehem at that time. There are no parallel accounts of such a grievous
massacre. Herod the Great was the father of the Herodian dynasty which begat
three more kings Herod Philip, Herod Archelaus and Herod Antipas. Herod
Antipas is the son of Herod referred to in the trial of Jesus in the Gospel who
began his reign in 4 BCE. In this chapter, Herod the Great, the patron of the
short-lived Herodian dynasty is referred to in short as Herod or King Herod.

His reign is officially recorded from 20 BCE till 4 BCE ending with his death.
However there are records which indicate that he assumed leadership in the
year 37 BCE during an early conflict with the Parthians who conspired with the
Hasmonean theocracy and allegedly murdered Herod’s Father. Herod fought
against them and later built Herodium to commemorate this victory. He also
avenged the death of his father which he blamed on Aristobulus III of the Has-
monean dynasty.

The short-lived Herodian dynasty is llisted here only for reference. None of
the Kings following Herod are attributed with architectural feats that match
their patriarch Herod the Great. They were a tetrarchy and did not survive
beyond one generation terminating the Herodian dynasty in a relatively short
period in comparison to other dynasties, regents and governors who presided
over Judaea and Palestine.

Regent Reign Region

Herod (the Great) 37 BCE - 4 BCE Judaea, Galilee, Samaria
Herod Antipas 4 BCE - 39 CE Judaea, later Galilee
Herod Archelaus 23 BCE - 18 CE Galilee
Herod Philip II 4 BCE - 34 CE Gaulanitis, Batanea

Table 4.2: The Herodian Dynasty

4.2 The works of Herod

The most significant work of Herod which stands even to this day is the West-
ern wall of the Temple in Jerusalem which is constructed with huge stones. It
remains a structure of great interest to pilgrims and residents of Jewish and
Christian faith. The Dome of Rock which is one of Islam’s holiest sites rests

upon this structure. The foundation stones of the western wall are considered
to weigh no less than 600 tonnes and the stones resting above at least 40 tonnes
in weight. It is believed that the entire Temple was constructed with the help
of such enormous stones with an employment of a work-force of no less than
1000 priests. Herod is credited with a number of works including the artifi-
cial harbour at Caesarea, a Temple to Augustus Caesar and many more forts,
Masada being better-known. It is only right that he is referred to in the annals
of history as Herod the Architect for the numerous constructions and building
work attributed to him. He is also partially credited with restoring the water
pumping system which pushes water upward into the hilly city of Jerusalem.

4.3 Works on the Temple

The first startling discovery is a network of arches underneath the Temple mount
to provide support to the expanded complex of the second Temple. It is believed
that the huge network of arches were entirely constructed during the period of
Herod the Great. There are some who believe that the structures existed earlier
but were renovated and reinforced during the reign of Herod the Great. Many
archaeologists recognize King Herod’s role in reinforcing the stone foundation
of the temple mount which allowed for the increased area of the temple and the
city complex of Jerusalem surrounding the temple itself.

[Jos93] Flavius Josephus.

Antiquities of the Jews.
Project Gutenberg, 93.
[Mue08] Tom Mueller.
Herod, the holy land’s visionary builder.
[New28] Sir Isaac Newton.
The Chronology of Ancient Kingdoms Amended.
Project Gutenberg, 1728.
[Sto00] W.Bro. Keith Stockley.
The making of masonic history, 2000.
[Str69] Strabo.