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of the Temple Courts on the north, south,
and east sides. It was outside the walls,
and up this ramp of steps the devout wor-
shiper ascended m order to enter the outer
gates to the Court of Israel. Having entered
the gates, he passed up another range of 7
steps inside the walls before reaching the
pavement or Court This grand ascent out-

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side the walls was the one which the Queen
of Sheba so much admired (i Kings, x., 5).
The bottom of this grand ramp was the
general level of the palace grounds or street
level outside the Courts. The total height
of the grand ascent outside {\o cubits) and
of the 7 steps inside (5 cubits) was 10 4- 5=
15 cubits=22.i5567 ft., and the difference
between the levels was 2,423 ft. — 2,408 ft.
Herod cut away the rock forming this
grand ramp, and carried it inside, thereby
making the ascent inside the greater, con-
sisting of 14 instead of 7 steps, thus forming
two ranges into one grand stepped ascent
of 14 steps, from the Court of Gentiles to
the inner Court of Israel, the total height
being 1 5 cubits, as in the days of Solomon.

"That second Court of the Temple was called
' The Sanctuary/ and was ascended to by 14 steps
from the first Court.

"This Court was four-square; the height of its
buildings, although it was on the outside 40 cubits,
was hidden by the steps, and on the inside that
height was but 25 cubits [hence height of stepsssi5
cubits]."— Josephus, "Wars," v., 5, 2.

In Herod's Temple, therefore, the site of.
the grand ascent was converted by Herod into
the Court of Gentiles, and the rock cut away
where necessary, so that the grand ascent
was carried inward and added to the former
ascent, so that the ascent from the Court of
Gentiles to the Court of Israel consisted of
14 steps, whose total height was 15 cubits=
22.15567 feet

Mr. Beswick concludes from this result

wall to the interior to make room for the
Court of Gentiles, the rock has been cut
away in two places only, north and south-
In the north the rock has cropped up too
high, so that a deep scarp has been cut to
get the required level for the Gentile Court,
namely, 2,408 feet, and this deep scarp is
visible along the entire northern edge oF the
mosque platform. A careful, systeinatic
survey of the Sakhra, and the rock under-
neath the platform, proves clearly that its
successive levels fit truly, and correspond
with such levels, heights, lengths, and require-
ments, as would suit the Temple of Solomon
and its successor built by Herod as closely
as the nature of the case would admit of, or
could reasonably be expected.

It would be well if those who undertake
to give Biblical illustrations and plans of
Herod's Temple would take notice of this
important fact, which occupies a subordinate
place in Mr. Beswick's reconstruction of the
Temple Area.


Mr. Beswick says that the western side of
the inner door-way, Bab al Gharby, is exactly
45 cubits = 66.467 ft, from the Sakhra,
and that the exact site of the Most Holy
Place in the Old Temple is underneath the
door-sill of this western entrance to the
Dome of the Rock. The width of this door-
way is also exactly 20 cubits =29.54 ft.,
being the same width as the Nave and Holy



that the different ancient levels on the Sacred
Rock, made for the pavements and courts
of Solomon's Temple, were left unmutilated
by Herod, and that while he utilized them
when he rebuilt this famous edifice, he also
preserved them, and left the ancient land-
marks upon the Sacred Rock in situ. In
removing the grand ramp firom the outer

Place in Solomon's Temple. And there is
an unexplained tradition to this effect
among the Moslems of to-day, although
no traveler but Mr. Prime has mentioned it.
The tradition says, that there is a crypt, or
vault, underneath the western side of the
building, which is regarded as the Holy of
Holies, and is said to contain the armor of

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Mohammed himselfl The site is identical
with that of the Holy Place of the Jewish
Temple, according to Mr. Beswick's plan
of the Temple Area. About 22.1557 ft. by
29.54 ft. of the west side of the ancient site
of the Holy Place now lies outside the
western entrance of the Mosque, Kubbat

If Christian pilgrims only knew it, here
would be the place of reverence, of prostra-
tion and kneeling ; the most sacred spot on
earth to a Jew — ^now at the very threshold
of the western door of the Mosque of Omar,
exacdy half-way between the outer sill of
the gate, Bab al Gharby, and inner sill of

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3S Sakhra. If the Moslem devotees only
knew it, the most sacred spot in the Haram
Sanctuary is within the limits of the west-
ern entrance, Bab al Gharby, or 7.385 ft.
outside die inner post of the inner door-sill ;
it is the central spot, where once stood the
Mercy-seat in the middle of the Holy Place.

the same. The entire space within that
western gate is one of the most sacred
spots on earth, the exact central spot of the
Holy of Holies. The outside width of the
gate is 20 cubits = 29.54 ft., exacdy the
width of the Sacred Place in the Temple ;
and the north and south sides of the gate

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are in the identical places where the north
and south sides of the Sacred Oratory once
stood ; whilst the place where the Ark once
lay is in the vestibule of the gate- way itself,
and almost touching the sill of the inner


If the Sakhra was the Central Core of
the Temple Area, and occupied a central
position, as Mr. Beswick's discovery and the
Biblical statement by Ezekiel (xliii., 12)
affirm it to have done, then important con-
sequences follow, which will subject this
discovery to a very singular and severe, but
very important test And, if it stands this
test, it would seem as if it were useless to
subject it to any other. Granting that the
Sakhra and its apex had their site in the very
center of the Old Temple Area, where the
Porch of the Temple stood, it would seem
to be a natural inference that the Crown of
the Rock would be cut down in length, and
depth, and width, to suit the length, width
and depth of the Porch of the Temple
wherever the rock required it Mr. Beswick
assures \is that such is the fact The apex of
the Sakhra is cut at the sides as if to a pat-
tern, and made to fit into the vestibule and
porch of a temple having the plan and
measurement of the Temple built by Sol-

According to Mr. Beswick's careful meas-
urements of the Sakhra, under the Dome
of the Rock, the northern side is cut down
vertically from the western edge of the
crown, or fi-om west to east, to a distance
of 9 cubits =13.2934 ft.; and the distance
of me nave-sill in Solomon's Temple to the
fix)nt of the platform of the Porch was also
9 cubits = 13.2934 ft. Hence the stones
of the outer pavement of the Court were
laid down up to the very sides of the vesti-
bule and platform of the Porch. Then again,
the width of the eastern fix)nt was 30 cubits;
but if the thickness (2 cubits) of the side-
walls of the vestibule be deducted, there
will be left 30—4=26 cubits=38.4 ft, inside
measurement, as the length of vestibule
inside. This accords with the shape of the
Sakhra, as the explorer sees it to-day. The
Crown of the Rock is actually cut down to
this length, 38.4 ft., from north to south,
by 13.2934 ft. from west to east. The Ves-
tibule in Solomon's Temple was in length
38.4 ft. by 7.3852 ft. And the platform
of die Porch was also in length (not includ-

ing the width of side- walls or pilasters iq>aD
which the platform rested) 38.4 ft. by
5.9 ft, the total width being 7.3854-5.908=
13.2934 ft. The crown of the Sakhra has
these two vertical cuttings of 7.385 and
5.9 ft. in width on the northern side ofi tiie
rock, made due east and west Obtain
Wilson, of the English Palestine party, sent
out in 1854, says of these cuttings:

"On the western side it is cut down in tbree
steps, and on the northern side in an irregular sliape»
the object of which could not be discovered."

The two vertical cuttings have had their
corresponding ones on the south side, but
these have been almost defaced, although
still visible. And these cuttings are exactly
at the same distance from the western wall
as the vestibule and platform of the Porch
were distant from the same base line of veri-
fication in the Temple Area in Solomon's


When Herod enlarged the Temple Area \>y
adding another cloister called the Court of
Gentiles, he could only make this addition to
three of its sides ; for the west wall of the in-
closure came in contact with the Old Temple
Area at the western side of the Court of
Israel. There was no space between. This
is one of the most important points in Mr.
Beswick's discovery; and it is one which *
has never before been suspected — ^the Court
of Gentiles, added to the Temple Area by
Herod, had no western side whatever. It
had only three sides, as stated by Josephus
(" Wars," v., 5, i). The new court was 30
cubits=44.3ii3 ft. in width; therefore the
northern and southern sides of the Temple
Area were 30 cubits shorter than the east-
em and western sides. At the north-west-
em angle of the Area was a north-western
cloister, which xmited the Temple Area with
the Antonia. Its length was 220 cubits =
324.949 ft., including the width of the

Now Josephus gives the entire length of
these cloisters, and his estimate will enable
us to test the correctness and value of Mr.
Beswick's discovery. Josephus says :

"And the cloisters were 30 cubits wide (the three
cloisters forming the Court of Gentiles); and the
wholi circuit of cloisters measured six furlongs when
the Antonia also is included." — "Wars," v., 5, 2.

Mr. Beswick gives the following lengths
of the sides of the outer cloister in Heiod's

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CuHU, Fett.

^^^ 520 - ^2.83379

5>oatli 570 » 782.83379

East 560 — 827.14513

'West 560 — 827. 14513

. 2180 - 3219.95783

Antoma Ootster 220 « 324.94987

6 furlongsiM 2400 wm 3544.90770

Therefore the whole circuit of the outer
cloister measured six furlongs, or, 2,400 cu-
bits, as Josephus described it when Jerusalem
was destroyed by Titus, This is a very remark-
able and severe test of Mr. Beswick*s plan
of the Temple Area, which has been based
upon his discovery of the Temple site. No
other plan yet presented has ever stood this
test, including those of Robinson, Fergusson,
Williams, Porter, Levrin, Lightfoot, Kraft,
Barclay, Tobler, Thrupp, and, lastly. Cap-
tain Warren. Of course, all these estimates
are based upon the fundamental discovery,
that the Sakhra was the central core of the
Temple Area.

Occupjring a subordinate place in this
discovery is the site of the Fortress Antonia,
and among the many proofe which Mr.
Beswick cites is the following. At the
south-east comer of the site, where he has
placed the Antonia, the natural rock has
been cut to the actual shape of a comer, as
if to form the angle of some ancient build-
ing of the same size as the Antonia. This
" rocky angle has been hitherto overlooked
by every other explorer. Its identification
and recognition spring out of the fact that
this was the only spot where the Antonia
could have been, if Mr. Beswick's plan of
the site and area of the Old Temple be
correct; and, upon looking for the evidences
of its existence upon this spot, the scarped
angle was foimd to occupy the site. It
dearly belongs to a square of 124.0717 ft.,
and leaves a space of 100.439 ft- on each
side, north and south, to make up the 324.-
9498 ft., which was the length of the nordi-
west cloister.

Width of Antonia 124.0717

Northern end of cloister 100.4390

Soathern " •• 100.4390


About 25 ft. are cleariy visible to-day,
forming the east and south sides of the
angle. The east side is 124.0717 ft. from
the line of the west wall in the Haram, and
the south side of the angle is 100.439 ft-
firom the ancient site of the Temple north
wall The site of the Antonia is midway

between the length of the north-west clois-
ter, of which the Antonia formed a part,
and by which it was joined to the Temple
Courts. The identification of this site has
been based upon direct and indirect proofe
too numerous to mention. Everything
appears to fall into line and take the most
suitable and natural position the moment
Mr. Beswick's plan is placed upon a map
of the Haram drawn to the same scale as
his own. In this respect, the Ordnance
Survey map of the Haram, published by the
English Palestine Exploration Fund, has
done him good service, and might have
been made to suit his purpose.

The western wall of the Haram is there-
fore a reliable base line, and a line of 250
cubits=369.26 ft., drawn fix)m the middle
of the Sakhra to this base, is a first standard
ofl&et, to which all others are reduced, form-
ing north and south sides to the court and
walls of the Temple Area. According to
the Talmud, "The greatest space was on
the south, the next on the east, next on the
north, and least on the west." (Lightfoot,
" Descr. Temple Hieros." c 3.) In other
words, the Temple and Courts were on the
north-west part of its own inclosure, as seen
on Mr. Beswick's plan; and as they were
placed against the western wall of the
mclosure, the space inclosed was " least on
the west"


A casual and seemingly imimportant
remaik is made by Josephus in relation to
the enlargement of the Temple Area by
Herod. The old south wall of the inclosure
was extended by Herod, until its south-west
angle was in line with the old western wall ;
it was now 625 cubits=923.i53 ft according
to Mr. Beswick's measurement. Herod
now carried the eastem front forward, so as
to make the entire length of the whole Tem-
ple Area equal in width. Its northem and
southern sides were alike and equal, being
923.153 ft And as the northem Court of
Gentiles Umited the Temple Area on the
north, the eastem and western walls of the
inclosure, not including the Antonia branch,
measured by the distance of the north and
south walls, were both of equal length,
namely: 1,220.030 ft., including the width
of walls, north and south. But as the north
and south walls were each 8 cubits=ii.-
816359 ft thick ("Wars," vi., 5. i), and
the east and west walls were each only 4.
cubits=5.903i79 ft. thick, the length of
space inclosed was only 91 1.33 by 1,196.4 ft»

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The Old Temple Area was a quadrangle
of 500 cubits=738.S22 ft., therefore the old
area was as follows :

500x500^250,000 cubits.

The Temple Area inclosed by Herod
was as follows :

810x61 7^500,000 cubits.
H96.4X9"-33-»»09o83o.67 ft.

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Its half would be :

500 X 5005=250,000 cubits.
73»-52X73«-52«5454i5-33 ft.

The newly inclosed space was exactly
iTvice as large as that before inclosed.
Josephus says that such was the fact
** Herod rebuilt the Temple, and encom-
passed a piece of land about it with a wall,
which was twice as large as that before
inclosed." ("Wars," i., 21., i.)

This proof, like the former one, is numer-
ical in character, and is wholly based on
the discovery that the Sakhra is that Mount
Moriah, whose apex or crown was in the
center of the Temple Area, for the outer
Court of Gentiles on the north fixes the
limit of the eastern and western walls, and
the extent of the area northward.


This result of Mr. Bcswick's researches is
one of the most valuable and important
of all his discoveries, growing out of the
fundamental determination which fixes the
site of Solomon's Temple where the Sakhra
occupies the central spot in the area. It
is also one of the most unexpected of
his discoveries. He asks the pjertinent
question, " If the Temple Area inclosed
by Solomon and Nehemiah was placed
against the western wall, would you not
either- have to pull down this wall, or else
have no western cloister to the Court of
Gentiles ? " On the other hand, Mr. Beswick
claims that Josephus distinctly affirms that
the Court of Gentiles had only three sid^,
while he also says that the Court of Israel
was quadrangular or four-sided. Josephus
declares that the Inclosure wall of Herod
was built up on three sides only.

** And when Herod and others had built walls on
three sides of the Temple round about from the
bottom of the hill, they then encompassed their [the
three walls] upper courts with cloisters." — "Wars,"
v., 5, I.

The western wall remained as before ; the
three sides round about were only north,
east, and south, and the cloisters built upon
them could only be three in number. The
cloisters and their walls were only three in
number. This passage is simple and clear.
A western cloister to the Court of Gentiles
is never referred to by Josephus.

On the other hand, Mr. Beswick claims
that in the same passage Josephus speaks of
the Court of Israel as being four-square in
such a way as to imply that the Court of

Gentiles he had just described was not four-
sided. He says :

" When you go through these cloisters [Court of
Gentiles] unto the second Temple, etc., * • *
for that second Temple was called the Sanctuary.
This Court [Court of Israel] was four-squared —
"Wars," v., 5, 2.

This marked distinction would have no
meaning if it were not designed to teach
that the Court of Gentiles was not foiur-
square. This radical error appears to be
universal ; it has been overlooked in aU the
published plans of the Temple Area, without
a single exception. The Court of Gentiles
had DO western side whatever; it was three-
sided, and not quadrangular. And this fact,
which has never before been even suspected,
readily accounts for some remarkable state-
ments of Josephus when describing the attack
of the Roman legions under Titus on the
western wall of the Temple Area. He says :

" Titus gave orders that the battering-rams should
be brought and set over against the western edifice
of the inner temple [or Court of Israel]. "— ** Wars,"
vi., 4, I.

'< The one bank was over against the north-west
comer of the inner temple [Court of Israel]." —
"Wars," vi., 2, 7.

Mr. Beswick, when citing this passage,
asks, "How could the battering-rams be
placed against the western cloister of the
mner temple, or Court of Israel, before a
single cloister had been stormed and taken ? "
Of course, if the Court of Gentiles had
extended along the western side of the Temple
Area between the wall and Court of Israel
then the banks would have been placed
against the north-west comer of the Court
of Gentiles, and not the inner temple. The
first court would have been the Coint of
Gentiles. But Josephus says :

•* The lemons came near ^t first court, and began
to raise their banks. The one bank was over agamst
the north-west comer of the inner temple."

In this passage, the first court is clearly
the court of the inner temple, or Court of
Israel, on the west side of the Inclosure.
There are a number of such passages in
Josephus. This single element in Mr. Bes-
wick's discovery will almost revolutionize
our illustrated plans of the Temple Area
during the life-time of the Savior.


Mr, Beswick says that the old northern
wall of the Temple Area was pulled down
by Titus to its very foundations in the rocky

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platform upon which the Temple Courts
rested, and has never been rebuilt The
old wall was 923.153 ft in length. In
Herod's day, there was a northern wall of
352 ft., inclosing the Antonia with its rocky
foundations, which extended some distance
eastward beyond the citadel itself. Titus

the foundation so cut away was of the sazne
width as the base of the hill of which it
originally formed the lowest part The scarp
left a deep ditch 351.54 ft long and 57.6 fL
wide, running east and west between the
scarped bottom of the Bezetha hill and the
wall of the Antonia foundations. The wall


had no wall to destroy, excepting this short
stretch which coverea the foundations. It
was 351.24 ft. in length, exactly the width
of the Bezetha hill from valley to valley.
The entire width of the hill was cut away
from the foimdations of the Antonia, and

and foundations were of the same length as
the width of the hill thus cut away : we may
take the one as a measure of the other.

The width of the Bezetha hill has hitherto
been supposed to extend as far as the mod-
em east wall and St Stephen's Gate; but,

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Mr. Beswick's discoveries now prove that
this is a mistake. The eastern wall is a
modem constraction, including even the
pool Birket Israil, and every other work
whose sides are perpendicular o&ets of the
modem east wall, and look to it as a base
of verification. Every old work on the
eastern side of the northem wall of the
Haram, from the eastern valley of the Beze-
tha hUl, where the 352 ft. of scarped rock
ends, is wholly modem, and did not exist
when Titus destroyed Jerusalem. On the
•other hand, everything old within the limits
of this scarp is of a more ancient date than
anything east of it The 351.54 ft. of scarp
is die width of the Bezetha hill, and indicates
where the old line of the third wall ran when
Titus took Jerusalem.

The length of scarped rock being a meas-
ure of the width of Bezetha hill, also indi-
cates the space between the second and
Aird walls; at its western end was the
second wall, and at its eastern end was the
third wall. At the eastern end of this scarp
it turns directly north, forming a clear cor-
ner or angle. The old north wall ran from
tiiis comer along the foundations of the
Antonia westward, and joined the old west
wall at the extreme northem end of the
north-west cloister.

The second wall ran direct from the
Antonia cloister to the pool Struthius, pass-
ing right through its middle from end to
end Josephus sajrs: "The bank which
was raised at the Antonia was raised by the
fifth legion over against the middle of that
pool which is called Strathius." — ^**Wars,"
?., II, 4.

The bank was raised against the wall
running through the middle of the pool.
John's party undermined the bank, cutting
away the underlying rock. Mr. Beswick
calls attention to the evidence which exists
to this day of the rock having been taken
away from tins particular spot, in line with
the middle of the pool. The scarped rock
imder the barracks and Serai ends abmpdy,
and leaves an intervening space between it
and the direct line of the western wall witii
the middle of this pool, Struthius. The
scarped rock, direcdy in front of the south-
em end of the pool, has been leveled
and carried away to the extent required.
(" Wars," v., 1 1, 4.) The second wall clearly
ran up north-west along the western side of
the hill Bezetha; and the third wall clearly
lan up the eastern side of the same hill.
All bejrond this, including die traditional
pool Birket Israil and eastern wall, is mod-

em and post-Herodian. These researches
afford us the first clear insight into the
northem topography of the Temple Area,
and of the exact points where the second
and third walls joined the old walls of the
Temple Inclosure on the north.

The following is a synoptical table of the
principal measurements made by Mr. Bes-
wick, involving the leading points in this
notable discovery of the exact site of Solo-
mon's Temple in the Haram ash Shdrif at
Jemsalem, and the Baris or Castie of Anto-
nia adjoining thereto :



Haram Western wall 1590-77

•^ Eastern " 1530.21

« Nordiem ** 1045.74

«* Southern ** 923.15


East wall 738.52

Online LibraryFrancis HallThe Century, Volume 11 → online text (page 45 of 163)