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tion, yet alive among us, commemorates the fact that neither hammer, nor axe, nor any tool of iron was heard in the House of the Lord while it was in building. The discovery of the quarry marks of the Phænician masons on the foundation courses of the great eastern wall of the mountain, shows that this reverent provision was applied by King Solomon to the entire enclosure. Letters so ancient that they appear to be the common progenitors of the Greek, the Samaritan, and the square Chaldean characters, still designate, after a lapse of 2,875 years, the course for which more than one stone was hewn, and in which it is still found. Beth occurs on the stone of the second course, Daleth on the fourth, and a numeral 5 on the fifth. The skill of experts has been called in to identify the letters; but their unmistakeable purport has not before been pointed out. At various places on each wall (with the exception of the unexplored northern line), from the north-east angle round to the middle of the western wall, the same notable indication has been distinctly found. One, or more, of the foundation courses, especially where these are on the lowest level, consists of stones drafted round the edges, and fair-dressed within the draft. Abore these courses occur others, also of drafted masonry, but of a different appearance. Some are much worn. Some appear to have been reversed, the under side being more worn than the upper. Others are carefully drafted, and admirably fitted; but within the draft the face is rough, projecting, in some cases, as much as 20 inches beyond the fair-work.
occur cubical projections, or hollows of corresponding form.
In all these phenomena we recognise the proofs of rebuilding with old materials. Where the stones are worn, especially where most worn on the under side, the justice of the remark is self-evident. Where the face projects, we conceive that the block had its arrises destroyed by the violence of the overthrow. The rebuilder, finding a stone otherwise available, cut back the draft, until he had a fair arris all round, but did not take the trouble to remove the face in cases where he knew that the work would be buried by the débris of the first demolition, which averages the depth of 25 feet. Thus we have, with a probability which, in the judgment of a mason, amounts to certainty, the marks of the original work of Solomon, of the furious and unrelenting destruction effected by the Chaldeans, and of the husty rebuilding by Nehemiah. And the mortices and tenons which, in the uncemented work of the founder, bound stone to stone, are left apparent, at times, on the face of the work of the restorer, who often reset a block at right angles to its former position in the wall.
In the superimposed pavements, separated from one another by 25 feet of débris, and of which the lower covers a second 25 feet of similar material, we have the marks of a first restoration, after the Chaldean storm, and of a second after that by the Romans. And in one place, at the south-west angle, under the site of the arched causeway that led from the Temple to the palace, we find the joggled (or morticed) voussoirs of the Arch of Solomon at the very bottom--the natural position, as the bridge would have been destroyed before the wall-and those of the reconstructed arch lying (under yet a further depth of 25 feet of débris) on the lower pavement. Are we not justified in speaking of these facts as possessing an historic value akin to that of the geological record of the earth?
We have little doubt that the entire history of this unique fortress-wall will hereafter become intelligible in detail. No work has been pointed out in its perimeter
which can be identified with that of Herod, at least as existing in situ. But the account of Josephus by no means implies that Herod rebuilt the outer wall. He rebuilt the south, the west, and the north cloisters; the cloisters and gates of the inner Sanctuary; and the Temple. In the absence of any notice of demolition of the fortress-wall after its rebuilding by Simon the Just, there is no authority for asserting that the work of Herod went lower than the bottom of the outer cloisters.
This view of the grand historic unity of the megalithic Sanctuary wall is illustrated by notes of Captain Warren. In a mine near the north-east angle of the Haram, which opened an unexplained wall running under the débris without, he remarked: • The stones here are very well dressed, but have a • curious cracked appearance, as if they had been subjected to great heat.'* Again, on reaching the Sanctuary wall through some vaulting near the arched causeways of the Gate of Peace, he found the drafted stones very black and glazed, • apparently from the smoke of fires.'t These burnt and blackened stones occur in the very spots where Josephus mentions two signal conflagrations; that of the western cloister, purposely fired by the Jews on the eightieth day of the siege; and that of the north cloister, as far as the east angle, built over the Kedron valley, on which account the depth was fright*ful,' which was burnt down by the Romans on the following day.
It requires no very profound degree of professional know
* Recovery of Jerusalem, p. 179. † Ant. VI. iii. 1, 2.
| Idem, p. 83.
ledge to see that the Sakrah, or Sacred Rock, which occupies the summit and centre of the Great Altar Mountain, must furnish, when rightly understood, the key to the entire system of the Temple. This portion of the live rock rises some eight feet above the pavement of the mosque which covers it. It is of an irregular form, stepped as if for the reception of masonry, and contains a chamber, into which access is afforded by a flight of steps. The levelling of the mountain in some places, its scarping in others, the alignment of the faces of the platform on which the mosque now stands, the position of the steps, partly rock-hewn, the intermixture of masonry with hewn live rock, and the direction of the important crypts, or subterranean galleries, are all so many consistent portions of one great comprehensive plan. A chamber, 25 feet square, hewn in this rock, does not appear to form a portion of the main system to which we refer. While the lines of the outer walls run approximately north and south, and cast and west, the aperture into this cave faces the south-east. Its plan accords with the contours of the rock, not with the buildings. The cave itself is cemented. It returns in some places a hollow sound when struck; and it is not certain that we know its actual extent. But, so far as we can trace it, its origin appears to be foreign to that of the Temple. Its form is not that of a tomb, so that its object, if not ritual, is likely to have been industrial or domestic. Its site, when the city was unbuilt, must have commanded a prospect from a considerable distance.
Whatever may have been the origin of the cavern itself, two cylindrical perforations which exist, one in its roof and one in its floor, are unlike anything known elsewhere. So perfectly suitable is the arrangement, if regarded as an air-shaft, or means of supplying a constant current of air to the grating of the brazen altar, as to suggest the inquiry whether this could have been its site. On the application of the only test, actual measurement, to control this hypothesis, the facts that result are such as to leave little doubt, to a draughtsman, that the idea is ccrrect. The east face of the Harel, or base of the Great Altar of Solomon, we know from the Talmud,* bisected the width of the Sanctuary cast and west. That fact is exactly consistent with the placing of the altar on tie Sakrah. Not only so, but we obtain from this determination the following results of an exact admeasurement of Haram and the enclosed platform. East and west, the Court of the Priests, as
Middoth, iii. 1.
rebuilt by Herod, bisected the Sanctuary; the mean width of the platform being exactly half of the mean width of the Haram. North and south, the perforation in the Sakrah is equidistant from the walls of the Haram. The Court of the Priests forms one-third of the length of the platform. The platform is one-third of the length of the Haram. These proportions are not approximate, but exact. Thus, the Court of the Priests forms exactly one-sixth of the area of the Sanctuary, which we identify with the platform; and the Sanctuary is exactly one-sixth of the area of the entire Mountain of the House.* These dimensions may be verified by any draughtsman on the Ordnance map. They admit of but one explanation.
It is remarked by the rabbinical writers as a matter partaking of the nature of miracle that, during the whole continuance of the first Temple, not only were the three fires that burned day and night on the hearth of the Great Altar unextinguished, but that, whatever was the weather or the current of the wind, the smoke always rose straight towards heaven. From the distant hills of Palestine that perpetual smoke-column must have been visible, ever ascending as if from an unslumbering volcano ; deepening into thick blackness on the days of great sacrifices, but never absent, never extinct; the gilded pinnacle of the porch reflecting, in the darkness of night, the ruddy glow of the brazen hearth. A cloud and a smoke by day, in the language of the prophet, and the shining of a flaming fire by night, the glory and the defence of Sion.
The Arabian prophet, whose most remarkable vision hovers above the now altarless Sakrah, tells us how the wizard founder of the Temple bade a fountain of molten brass to flow for the service of his supernatural workmen.f He tells us how, feeling his end draw near, that wise sovereign so steadied his form, leaning on his staff, that his death was unperceived. For a full year after the soul of Solomon had taken its flight the awed and obedient genii toiled on, and it was not until a creeping thing of the earth, gnawing in twain the staff of the king, betrayed the secret, that the posthumous labour came to an end. In the language of the western world, and of the nineteenth century, we may say that a royal and crowned engineer, more magnificent than Napoleon, and more subtle
These proportions are those of the Temple of Herod. Vide Middoth. The court of the House, in the first Temple, was 100 cubits square (vide Ezek. xli. 13), or one-twelfth of the area of the Sanctuary.
| Koran, Saba. xxxiv.
than Souphis, knew how to feed the constant up-draught of his altar by a simple and effective arrangement, on which neither James Watt nor Isambard Brunel could have improved. On the return from the captivity, an altar built solid with unhewn stones, was substituted for the brazen hearth of King Solomon. But the light of the Shekina never rested on the second Temple, or on the altar that had been kindled by sparks struck from flint. Even in that removal of Solomon's altar by King Ahaz, which was the prelude to one of the most disastrous periods (almost passed over in silence by the sacred writers) of Jewish history, the brazen hearth was still maintained for the king 'to inquire by.' King Josiah restored the original order of the Sanctuary, after the innovations by Manasseh ; and it is pretty certain that Hezekiah removed the unauthorised work of his own father, in whose time the lamp of the Temple, and probably the fire of the altar, were extinguished. To this restoration the fourth chapter of Isaiah may refer.
A further question remains which we believe, also, to be altogether new : it is that of the form of the courts of the Temple. In every attempt at delineation, it has been assumed that the Sanctuary occupied a square. But the existing platform, on which stands the Dome of the Rock, is neither square nor rectangular. The first cause of this obliquity is to be sought in the orientation of the Temple. The direction of the axis of a building east and west, is ordinarily regarded as a characteristic of Christian ecclesiastical architecture. But in ancient Greece the temples were built to face the east. The same is the case in Cælo-Syria. At Palmyra the Temple of the Sun stands north and south; but it has a principal entrance towards the east. The Great Pyramid faces the cardinal points, with a slight variation of 4' 35". At Stonehenge, which appears to have been so built as to suit the requirements of the site, a large stone yet marks the point of sunrise at the summer solstice, as seen from the centre of the circle. The directions given in the Pentateuch, as to the position of the Tabernacle, regard the cardinal points. The oral law enjoined that all beds should be placed north and south, and not east and west. It might, therefore, be expected, à priori, that King Solomon would have adopted some precise rule for the orientation of his unrivalled Temple. The actual alignment of the east face of the platform coincides with the meridian as exactly as can be determined from the Ordnance map. This meridian line, if prolonged, accurately bisects the south wall of the mountain. The centre line