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Temple

court, cubits, temples, height, holy and worship

TEMPLE, a name applied in religious his tory particularly to the temple built by Solo mon at Jerusalem as a House of the Lord, and to the temples which succeeded it, more espe cially the magnificent structure, erected by Herod the Great, which is often mentioned in the New Testament. Solomon's Temple was built with the aid of an architect and skilled workmen from Phoenicia. The temple was an oblong stone building, 60 cubits in length, 20 in width and 30 in height. On three sides were corridors, rising above each other to the height of three stories, and containing rooms in which were preserved the holy utensils and treasures. The fourth or front side was open, and was ornamented with a portico, 10 cubits in width, supported by two brazen pillars, Jachin and Boaz (stability and strength). The interior was divided into the most holy place or oracle, 20 cubits long, which contained the ark of the covenant, and was separated by a curtain or veil from the sanctuary or holy place, in which were the golden candlesticks, the table of the shew-bread, and the altar of incense. The walls of both apartments and the roof and ceiling of the most holy place were overlaid with wood work, skilfully carved. None but the high priest was permitted to enter the latter, and only the priests devoted to the temple service the former. The temple was surrounded by an inner court, which contained the altar of burnt offering, the brazen sea and lavers, and such instruments and utensils as were used in the sacrifices, which, as well as the prayers, were offered here. Colonnades, with brazen gates, separated this court of the priests from the outer court, which was likewise surrounded by a wall. This temple was destroyed about by the Assyrians, and after the return from the Babylonish captivity some 70 years later, a second temple of the same form, but much inferior in splendor, was erected. Herod the Great rebuilt it, beginning the work about 20 a.c., of a larger size, surrounding it with four courts, rising above each other like ter races. This being the temple of the time of

Christ possesses great interest. The lower court was 500 cubits square, on three sides sur rounded by a double, and on the fourth by a triple row of columns and was called the court of the Gentiles, because individuals of all na tions were admitted into it indiscriminately. A high wall separated the court of the women, 135 cubits square, in which the Jewish females assembled to perform their devotions, from the court of the Gentiles. From the court of the women 15 steps led to the court of the temple, which was enclosed by a colonnade, and divided by trellis-work into the court of the Jewish men and the court of the priests. In the mid dle of this enclosure stood the temple, of white marble richly gilt, 100 cubits long and wide, and 60 cubits high, with a porch 100 cubits wide, and three galleries like the first temple which it resembled in the interior, except that the most holy place was empty, and the height of Herod's temple was double the height of Solo mon's. Rooms appropriated for different pur poses filled the upper story above the roof of the inner temple. This edifice was destroyed by the Romans in 70 and for many cen turies the long-consecrated height has been oc cupied by the Mosque of Omar.

The Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Persians, and other ancient nations had temples for the worship of their gods, and the Mexicans and Peruvians, at the time of the arrival of the Spaniards in the New World, had splendid temples. On the sacrificial platforms of Aztec temples thousands of victims perished annually. The Greek and Roman temples were, as a rule, models of architectural grandeur and beauty. The word "temple' is sometimes, but not often, applied to Christian places of worship as a spe cial designation, although frequently used in a figurative sense. The Mormons designate as 'The Temple,' the large structure in which they worship at Salt Lake City. Consult Fer gusson, James, The Temple of the Jews' (1878); Smith, G. A., (Jerusalem> (1908). See