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manded the Jews to return them to the tower of Antonia, and into the custody of the Romans. This, as may be supposed, grieving the Jews, they sent to the Emperor Claudius, to request their restoration ; but the young King Agrippa, being then at Rome, procured himself to be made keeper, in order to strengthen his political influence. (Joseph. Antiq. xv. 11 ; xviii. 4.) It is easy to see, from the above description of the tower of Antonia, of what importance it was to the Roman governors; for it contained a sacred deposit, and enabled him to see all that happened in the temple. Hence we may account for the speedy rescue which was given to Paul, by this officer, from the enraged Jews. He was in the immediate neighbourhood of the temple, could observe, from the loftiness of the towers, all that happened : ran down from thence through an entrance in the north wall which he had for his own use, and was instantly in the court of the Gentiles, where the crowd was collected. Such were the gates in the outer wall, and such the tower adjoining to the temple, which is so often mentioned in the Jewish writings. Let us now, therefore, before we enter the wall, examine the objects which meet the eye while walk- . ing round its several sides; and, as the east was described as the principal front, it appears most natural to begin with that.
There, directly in front, was the valley Kidron, Cedron, or Jehoshaphat, about two miles long, fruitful where broadest, and watered by the brook Kedron, which Le Brun says (tom. ii. ch. 48.) is about three paces broad. Yet it only deserves the name of a brook in winter and after rain; for it was quite dry on the 6th of April, 1697, when Maundrell saw it, and it continues in that state till after the autumnal equinox, when the rainy season com
a Acts xxi. 31, 32, &c.
mences. Sandys informs us (p. 146,) that, after leaving the valley, it runs for several miles in a south-east direction, till it loses itself in the Dead Sea. On the other side of the valley of Kidron was the Mount of Olives, and that part of it especially where they used to burn the red heifer; and to which there was a road from the temple, across the valley, formed of arch upon arch, to prevent the priest, who went on that errand, from being polluted by any secret grave. Indeed, the Mount of Olives, or Olivet, extended considerably both to the right and left, and was distant from the temple, in its nearest point, a sabbath day's journey, or two thousand cubits;' which, at 21.888 inches to a cubit, make one thousand two hundred and sixteen yards, or nearly three quarters of an English mile.
It was on this eminence, in front of the temple, that Solomon, when instigated by his idolatrous wives, in his
built a high place to Chemosh, or the solar light, the abomination of Moab; and to Moloch, or the solar fire, the abomination of the children of Ammon, in direct opposition to that temple which he had formerly built on Mount Moriah, to Jehovah Aleim, or the selfexisting Three, who, to use the language of men, and as the word Aleim imports, bound themselves by an oath, to fulfil their parts in the plan of redemption. Here it was that our blessed Saviour also, in the days of his flesh, wept over the devoted city;d* and here, likewise, both he and his disciples sat when they shewed him the build
• Zech. xiv, 4.
Lightf. Comment. on Acts i. 12.; founded probably on Josh, iii. 4. • 1 Kings Xi. 7.
( Luke xix, 41. * "Jerusalem is encompassed with hills, that make it appear as if situated in an amphitheatre; but there is no place, that I know of, that affords a distant view of it. That from the Mount of Olives, which is the best, from which it can all be seen, is so near, that when our Saviour was there, he might be said almost, in a literal sense, to have wept over it.” (Shaw's Travels, vol. ii. ch. i.)
ings of the temple, meaning the steep wall of four hurtdred cubits, which Solomon had raised from the valley of Kidron, the large stones of which it was composed, and the beautiful front of the porch of the temple : while he, less attentive to the grandeur of the building than the guilt of the worshippers, poured forth that prophecy concerning its fall, which, from its wonderful accuracy, clearly evinces his Divine mission. Such then was the view directly in front, but on turning to the right hand, the scene was considerably varied; for a part of the Mount of Olives still presented itself; and, among other villages, with which it was interspersed, one saw the delightful village of Bethany, or the house of dates, so called on account of the abundance of palm trees that grew there, of which dates are the fruit; fifteen furlongs distant from Jerusalem, or nearly two miles, whither, the blessed Saviour often resorted, after the fatigues of public teaching, to enjoy the conversation and kind offices of Lazarus and his sisters ;' and in the neighbourhood of which, having led his disciples thither, after his resurrection, he gave them his parting advice, and ascended up into heaven. Its present situation is thus described by Maundrell :- Bethany is only a small village. At the entrance into it are some old ruins, called Lazarus's Castle, supposed to have been the house where he lived; and near it, the sepulchre, out of which he was raised by Christ. There is a descent into it of twenty-five steps, at the bottom of which is first a small square room, and from thence a passage into another, that is still less, and about a yard and a-half deeper, in which the body is said to have been laid. This place is held in great veneration by the Turks, who use it for an oratory, and make all Christians pay a caphar (or tribute) for their admission into it.” Nor would the spectator overlook that part of the valley of Kidron, which lay on that quarter, between Mount Olivet and the city;" and was unfortunately but too well known, by the valley of Tophet, and the valley of the sons of Hinnom: for their multitudes of children were sacrificed to Moloch, which was the same as Baal, or the solar fire, in a manner the most shocking to humanity. There is little pleasure in describing scenes of horror, but they are useful; they shew us the evils of a false religion, and should make us thankful for the enjoyment of the true. Let it be known, then, to the disgrace of the Jews, that, although in possession of the knowledge and worship of the true God, they were but two much inclined to the worship of idols; and that there, in the valley of Tophet, they erected an altar to one of those agents, which God employs for the benefit of the world. The solar fire was erected into a divinity. An idol of brass, having the head of an ox, but the body of a man, was made to represent it. That idol was seated on a throne of the same metal; a crown was placed upon his head, and its hands were extended to receive their gifts. But what gifts were deemed most acceptable? Had garlands of roses, baskets of fruit, or the lives of animals been the only request, it had been comparatively well : but human sacrifices were demanded; and the tender pledges of conjugal love must glut the rapacity of this fictitious divinity. The hollow idol was heated to redness; the parent himself, by a refinement of cruelty, in order to acquire the summit of sanctity, must become the priest-himself must place his darling on its arms. No bewitching smiles, nor mournful cries, must drive him from his purpose. His eye must not pity, nor his ear regard. His heart must be steeled against every tender impression, and a complete conquest obtained oyer the strongest feelings of humanity. Fortunately the scene lasted not long; sacred drums, as they were impiously called, drowned their cries: their bodies became the victims of a merciless superstition ; but their souls fled to a merciful God.-From this account of the worship of Moloch, we may see the origin of those names which marked the place where he was worshipped : for it was called the valley of the sons of Hinnom, or the valley of the sons or children which shrieked; and the valley of Tophet, or of drums, from their being constantly used on such an occasion. The following extract from D. Kimchi, on 2 Kings xxiii. 10. will shew the arts which were used to excite the devotion of the worshippers, and at the same time explain, perhaps, what we are to understand by 6 the tabernacle of Moloch," which is mentioned in Acts vii. 43:-Our rabbins, of happy memory," says he, “ inform us, that although all other houses of idolatry were in Jerusalem, Moloch was without it, and the image was made hollow, and sat within seven chapels. Whosoever offered a flower, they opened to him the first of these; whoso offered turtles or pigeons, they opened to him the second; whoso offered a lamb, they opened to him the third; whoso offered a
· Matt. xxiv. 1, &c.
b John xi. 18.
1 ram, they opened to him the fourth ; whoso offered a calf, they opened to him the fifth ; whoso offered an ox, they opened to him the sixth ; but whoso offered his son, they opened to him the seventh."
We have already considered the scenery in front of the temple, and on the right hand ; let us now look for a little to the left. And on that side, likewise, Mount Oli
· Calmet Dict,