« AnteriorContinuar »
The Temple of Jerusalem. ACCORDING to Josephus, the Temple of Jerusalem stood upon a rocky eminence in the eastern part of the city, on which at first there was scarcely level space enough for the fane and altar, the sides being everywhere steep and precipitous. Solomon built first a wall around the summit, (probably, in order to gain space for the body of the temple ;) and built up also a wall on the east, filled in on the inside apparently with earth, on which he erected a portico, or covered colonnade. The temple itself was thus left naked on three sides. cess of time, the whole enclosure was built up and filled in, quite to a level with the hill, which in this way was enlarged; a three-fold wall being carried up from the bottom, and thus both the upper enclosure and the lower (parts of the) temple constructed . . . The enclosure thus constructed, was a quadtangle ... the interior (of which)... was surrounded by porticos or covered colonnades along the walls;
and the open part was laid, or paved, with variegated stones. This was a great place of resort for Jews and strangers, and became, at length, also, a place of trade and business. It is sometimes called by christian writers, the Court of the Gentiles. Near the middle of this court, an ornamented wall, or balustrade of stone, formed the boundary of a smaller enclosure; which neither foreigners nor the unclean might pass. Within this an inner wali ... surrounded the second or inner court; but it was encompassed on the outside by fourteen steps, leading up to a level area around it ... from which, again, five other steps led up to the interior ..:
Within this second court was still the third, or most sacred, enclosure, which none but the priests might enter;
consisting of the ... temple itself, and the small court before it, where stood the altar. To this there was an ascent from the second court by twelve steps. It was this ... body of the temple alone which was rebuilt by Herod, who also built over again some of the magnificent porticos around the area.
But no mention is made of his having had anything to do with the massive walls of the exterior enclosure . . . On the west side of this great outer court, four gates led out into the city; the southernmost of which opened upon the bridge connecting the area of the temple with the Xystusi on Mount Zion ...?
“ If, now, with these accounts before us, we turn our eyes upon the present similar area of the grand mosk of Omar, it would seem to be hardly a matter of question that the latter occupies, in part or in whole, the same general location ...
“ The area of the great mosk is an elevated ... terrace ... supported by and within massive walls, built up from the valleys, or lower ground on all sides The upper part of these walls is obviously of modern origin ... the lower part, in several places, is composed of very large hewn stones, which at once strike the eye of the beholder as ancient... We measured one, and found it twenty-four feet long, by six feet broad, and three feet high ... The appearance of the walls in almost every part seems to indicate that they have been built up on ancient foundations; as if an ancient and far more massive wall had been thrown down, and, in later times, a new one erected
its remains. Hence the line between these lower antique portions and the modern ones above them is very irregular, though it is also very distinct . .. At the south-west corner, huge blocks become again conspicuous, for some distance on each side, and of a still greater size. The corner-stone on the west side now next above the surface of the ground, measures thirty feet ten inches in length by six and a half feet broad. ... It is not, however, the great size of these stones alone which arrests the attention of the beholder; but the manner in which they are hewn gives them also a peculiar character ...
1. They are ... bevelled; which here means, that, after the whole face has first been hewn and squared, a narrow strip along the edges is cut down a quarter or half an inch lower than the rest of the surface. When these bevelled stones are laid up in a wall, the face of it of course exhibits lines or grooves formed by these depressed edges at their junction, marking more dis
(1) The Xystus was an open place in the extreme part of the upper city, where the people sometimes assembled, and was connected with the temple
by a bridge.
tinctly the elevation of the different courses, as well as the length of the stones of which they are composed. The face of the wall has then the appearance of many panels ... In the upper parts of the wall, which are obviously the most modern, the stones are small, and not bevelled.
“ At the first view of these walls, I was led to the persuasion that the lower portions had belonged to the ancient temple, and every subsequent visit only served to strengthen this conviction. The size of the stones, and the heterogeneous character of the walls, render it a matter beyond all doubt, that the former were never laid in their present places by the Muhammedans; and the peculiar form in which they are hewn does not properly belong, so far as I know, either to Saracenic or to Roman architecture. Indeed, everything seems to point to a Jewish origin; and a discovery which we made in the course of our examination, reduces this ... to an absolute certainty ... During our first visit to the south-west corner of the area of the mosk, we observed several of the large stones jutting out from the western wall, which, at first sight, seemed to be the effect of a bursting of the wall from some mighty shock, or earthquake. We paid little regard to this at the moment ... but, on mentioning the fact not long after in a circle of friends, we found that they had also noticed it; and the remark was incidentally dropped, that the stones had the appearance of having once belonged to a large arch. At this remark a train of thought flashed upon my mind, which I hardly dared to follow out, until I had again repaired to the spot, in order to satisfy myself with my own eyes as to the truth or falsehood of the suggestion. I found it even so! The courses of these immense stones, which seemed at first to have sprung out from their places in the wall
, in consequence of some enormous violence, occupy, nevertheless, their original position; their external surface is hewn to a regular curve; and being fitted one upon another, they form the commencement, or foot, of an immense arch, which once sprang out from this western wall in a direction towards Mount Zion, across the valley of the Tyropæon. This arch could only have belonged to The Bridge, which, according to Josephus, led from this part of the temple to the Xystus on Zion; and it proves incontestably the antiquity of that portion of the wall from which it springs. The traces of this arch are too distinct and definite to be mistaken ... Three courses of its stones still remain; of which one is five feet, and the rest in like proportion ... The distance from this point across the valley
to the precipitous natural rock of Zion, we measured, as exactly as the intervening field of prickly pear would permit, and found it to be 350 feet, or about 116 yards.
“ This gives the proximate length of the ancient bridge.
The existence of these remains of the ancient bridge, seems to remove all doubt as to the identity of this part of the enclosure of the mosk with that of the ancient temple . . . Here, then, we have indisputable remains of Jewish antiquity, consisting of an important portion of the western wall of the ancient temple area. They are, probably, to be referred to a period long antecedent to the days of Herod; for the labours of this splendour-loving tyrant appear to have been confined to the body of the temple, and the porticos around the court. The magnitude of the stones, also, and the workmanship, as compared with other remaining monuments of Herod, seem to point to an earlier origin. In the accounts we have of the destruction of the temple by the Chaldeans, and its rebuilding by Zerubbabel, under Darius, no mention is made of these exterior walls. The former temple was destroyed by fire, which would not affect these foundations; nor is it probable that a feeble colony of returning exiles could have accomplished works like these. There seems, therefore, little room for hesitation in referring them back to the days of Solomon, or rather of his successors, who, according to Josephus, built up here immense walls, 'immoveable for all time.' Ages upon ages have since rolled away, yet these foundations still endure, and are immoveable as at the beginning. Nor is there aught in the present physical condition of these remains to prevent them from continuing as long as the world shall last. It was the temple of the living God; and, like the everlasting hills on which it stood, its foundations were laid · for all time'...
“ It is related of our Saviour, that, as he once went out of the temple, his disciples came to him, to show him the buildings of the temple. And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things ? Verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.' This language was spoken of the buildings' of the temple, the splendid fane itself, and its magnificent porticos; and in this sense the prophecy has been terribly fulfilled, even to the utmost letter. Or, if we give the words a wider sense, and include the outer works of the temple, and even the whole city, still the spirit of the prophecy has received its full and fearful accomplishment; for the few substructions which
remain, serve only to show where once the temple and the city stood ... The remaining substructions of (the) exterior walls are easily accounted for; even on the supposition that the Romans were bent upon their utter subversion. The conquerors, doubtless, commenced the work of destruction by casting down the stones outwards from above; these, of course, accumulated at the foot of the walls; covered the lower parts; and thus naturally protected them from further demolition.”Robinson's Researches, vol. i. pp. 343, 344, 416—437.
Rámet El-Khủlil, or House of Abraham at Hebron.' “At one hour from Hebron, a blind path went off to the right, at right-angles, leading to Tekû’a; and on it, about five minutes' walk from our road, are the foundations of an immense building, which excited our curiosity. We ran thither on foot, leaving our beasts to proceed slowly, and found the substructions of an edifice, which would seem to have been commenced on a large scale, but never completed. They consist of two walls, apparently of a large enclosure; one facing towards the S. W., 200 feet long; and the other at right angles, facing N. W., 160 feet long, with a space left in the middle of it as if for a portal. There are only two courses of hewn stones above ground, each three feet four inches high; one of the stones measured fifteen and a half feet long, by three and one-third feet thick. In the N. W. angle is a well, or cistern, arched over, but not deep. There are no stones nor ruins of any kind lying around to mark that these walls were ever carried higher. It is difficult to say, judging merely from the remains themselves, what could have been the object for which the building was intended. It may have been a church; though it does not lie, like most ancient churches, in the direction from west to east. Or it might possibly have been begun as a fortress, though there would seem to be nothing in the vicinity to guard. At any rate, these walls cannot have been constructed later than the first centuries after the Christian era, and the size of the stones points rather to an earlier age. The spot is called by the Arabs Râmet el-Khủlîl. The Jews of Hebron call it the House of Abraham, and regard this as the place of Abraham's tent and terebinth at Mamre. May