Imágenes de página

drawn through the central western gate of the mountain, the perforation of the Sakrah, and the great eastern gate of the platform, subtends an angle of 79° 51'

with the meridian, giving a direction 10° 9' north of east.

The date given in the English translation of the Book of Chronicles for the foundation of the Temple is the second of Zif, in the fourth year of Solomon. According to the Jewish calendar, it was on the seventh of Zif. The amplitude of sunrise on that day at Jerusalem, according to tables which we have always found accurately to explain the Hebrew dates, was 10° 48' 30" north of east. But something like a degree would be lost owing to the elevation of the Mount of Olives. Without a special observation, both of the point taken as normal on Mount Moriah, and of the corresponding portion of the Olivet ridge, it is impossible to speak more accurately. As it is, the correspondence is so close that there can be little room to doubt that the sunrise line, on the day of the foundation of the Temple, determined the orientation of the Holy House, while the meridian determined the face of the platform. The western wall of the Sanctuary was traced square to the sunrise line; and the line through the double Huldah Gate, the Great Altar, and the subterranean gallery to the north, runs parallel to the western wall.

We are thus justified in stating that in the alignment of the rock-hewn scarps and colossal masonry of the Sanctuary and the enclosing mountain, King Solomon not only formed a record, more durable than brass, of the grand unity of his original design, but further calendared, to all future time, the very year and day of the foundation of the Holy House. That day, in the year in question, fell on the first day of the week. To trace such long-hidden characters of the wisdom which is proverbial in the East, is a pursuit unusually fascinating to the imagination. But it is not the imagination which supplies the facts. They lie patent on the face of the Ordnance survey. It is to the methodic application of the ordinary science of the engineer that every step in our path is due. The results, however startling, are certain, definite, and in natural sequence. We ask the company of our readers for yet a few steps further.

The contour of the live rock of Mount Moriah, levelled on its summit, and scarped and walled around the sides of its crowning platform, when the dimensions are compared with the numerous details preserved by the great writers of the Mishna and the Tosaphtoth, enables us to determine the distribution of the Sanctuary, or inner courts of the Temple of


In the survey

Solomon, with a precision hitherto unattempted. There remain an entirely independent source of verification. It is supplied by the crypts, or subterranean passages, which have been, as yet, but very partially identified.

It is matter of long tradition that the Temple mountain was pierced, and honeycombed by secret passages. Several are distinctly mentioned by Josephus, and in different tracts of the Talmud. Others are inferentially referred to. by Captain Wilson, which in the first instance had reference to the water supply of Jerusalem, every subterranean chamber observed in the mountain was regarded as a tank or cistern. Among the vaults to the south of the Haram may be identified the great internal reservoir which, as we learn from the Book of Ecclesiasticus, the high priest Simon roofed over with brazen plates. The aqueduct which, according to the Jerusalem Talmud, brought water from Etam for the supply of the brazen laver of King Solomon, yet enters the Sanctuary over the causeway of the gate Kipunus. But much has been discovered which can in no intelligible manner be connected with hydraulic purposes. . And when we compare some of the details already ascertained with the statements contained in the literature of the subject, the result, if only partially ascertained, is indubitable as to its bearing.

In a direct line with the long adit of the double Huldah Gate, under the northern part of the platform, Captain Warren has traced for 130 feet a tunnel 24 feet wide, the floor of which is some 30 feet below the surface of the wall. It is partly hewn, and partly walled, and roofed with a segmental arch. There was an occult passage built for the king,' says Josephus. It led from Antonia to the Inner Temple at its eastern gate

... that he might have the opportunity of a subterranean ascent to the Temple.'* Further exploration will show whether these two descriptions refer to the same excavation.

A second gallery has been discovered by Captain Warren, partly excavated in rock, partly built, lying along the north edge of the platform. Its width is 18 feet. It has been traced for only 70 feet, where the passage is stopped with rubbish. It is on the level of the former passage, with which no doubt it communicates, and it bears every sign of having been a crypt to the north cloister of the Sanctuary.

Again the Talmud + states that in the north-west chamber of the house Moked was a descent leading to the House of Baptism. Through this the priest, who had ceremonial need of the


[ocr errors]

* Ant. XV. ii. 7.

| Middoth, I. vi. 9.

[ocr errors]

bath, 'rose and went out in the gallery that ran under the arch,

and candles flamed on either side until he came to the House of · Baptism. A partially explored crypt, connected with curious

' chambers under the north-west part of the platform, points exactly in the direction of Beth Moked, at the south-western angle of the Sanctuary. A fourth member of this unexplored system

of subterranean communications, to the north of the Water Gate, may have been connected with that part of the ritual which directed the pouring of water and wine into the silver basins, with holes, like nostrils, at the bottom, at the Feast of Tabernacles, of which we have a minute account in the Talmud.* The accurate survey of these remarkable crypts is most earnestly to be desired. If the Roll of the Law, which is believed to be buried in the mountain, should be found, it will probably be in the course of this exploration. A shaft is visible which lies under the site of the three-cubit gallery in the north wall of the Holy House, and which may prove an important indication.

The Royal Cloister, rebuilt by Herod the Great to the south of the great court of the Temple, is referred to as one of the most splendid features of the whole series of magnificent works. Its three walls, we are told in the Antiquities,' reached from the eastern to the western valleys. The height of its pavement above the rock-hewn foundations of these two limiting walls, is proved by shafts to have been 106 feet at the east, and 180 feet at the west. The central aisle, or nave, in Herod's Cloister, was 45 feet wide and 100 feet high.f The side aisles were each 30 feet wide and 50 feet in height. It was supported on 162 columns, 27 feet high, with spiral bases, and of such a diameter that it took three men to encircle them with their arms. It is not stated whether the aggregate width of 105 feet was measured in the clear, or from centre to centre of the columns. But if we take, as appears natural, the centre of the arch which led from this great cloister to the scarp of Zion, and of which the springing course and the bottom of the first piers are in situ, as indicating the centre line of the cloisters, the extreme width was 129 feet. In the adits of the Huldah Gates yet remain bases and blocks of megalithic masonry that suggest the conclusion that the total width of the original cloister of Solomon, including walls, piers, and columns, was 91 cubits, or 121 feet 4 inches. It is remarkable that in speaking of Herod’s Cloister, Josephus uses the foreign dimension of the foot, instead of his usual unit of the cubit. I • Succah, iv. 9.

† Ant. XV. ii. 5. # In order to understand the explanation which the details contained


The roof of this magnificent work was of carved cedar, fragments of which, charred by the fire kindled in the Roman siege, have been recovered from beneath the enormous mass of débris that hides the face of the southern wall. Much difficulty has been raised as to the number of columns mentioned by Josephus. It is, palpably, indivisible by four. It is therefore worthy, at least, of inquiry, whether it included the pilasters, or engaged columns, in the southern wall. Assuming, for the moment, that it does not, we find that the number would give 53 bays, or intercolumniations. It may be said that one number is as problematical as another. But we find from the large plan, that if we provisionally take 13 cubits, which is the 53rd part of the total length, as a unit of measurement, 19 of these moduli reach exactly to the eastern jamb of the double gate, fifteen more, thence to the western jamb of the triple gate, and a second series of nineteen thence to the wall. There seems, therefore, no room to doubt that we have recovered the actual modulus or unit of intercolumniation, seven of which units give the original width of the Royal Cloister of Solomon.

We have not space, while attempting to recover the lost word' of King Solomon, to enter into the quaint magic of the Cabbala. But all students of the Hebrew writings are aware that some important facts are hidden in the obscure language in which the prophet Ezekiel speaks of the measurement of the Temple. The term the full reed, of 6 great 'cubits,'* and the description of the reed borne by the angel as 6 cubits long, † by cubit and hand-breadth, denote the use of some dimension that differs from the ordinary ameh of 16

in the works of the Jewish writers may yield of the Ordnance survey of the Nobie Sanctuary, the first requisite is the determination of the Jewish cubit. The subject is one, confessedly, of difficulty. It is complicated by the fact that, according to the Talmud, and, indeed, according to the Bible, different metrical systems were applied by the Jews for different purposes; but there is no doubt that the ordinary Jewish ameh, or cubit, contained 6 palms, 24 digits, or 48 barleycorns; and was the equivalent of 16 English inches. That the apparently vague unit of a barleycorn agrees closely with the lowest dimension of English long measure, is proved by the accurate accordance of certain measurements taken by Captain Warren with English feet and inches. We thus gain this important step; that the measurements of the Sanctuary are commensurate with the 16-inch cubit. But it is another matter to say what was the actual unit there employed. That further step can only be taken as the result of a scientific examination of the actual dimensions of the building. * Ez. xli. 8.

Ez. xl. 4.

inches. Again, the dimension applied to the altar, cor

. responding to the first measure of the Book of Chroni

‘ cles,* is a cubit, a cubit and a hand-breadth. + The two Hebrew terms, the Tephah which contains 4 digits, and the Zereth which contains 12, appear to be used indeterminately, and indeed as equivalent to the half-cubit, in these passages. The difficulty was one only to be solved by actual admeasurement. But when we find that the intercolumniation of the Royal Cloister was a space of 13 cubits, giving 12 great cubits of 26 digits each, the matter becomes perfectly clear. In actual fact, the whole alignment of the Temple, inner and outer, has been determined by this definite unit.

We compared, in a former page, the lengths and widths of the courts of the Sanctuary and of the Mountain of the House. It remains to add that these dimensions are accurately determined by the above determined unit of 17:4 feet. The length of the platform, north and south, is 31 intercolumniations; that of the Haram is 93. The mean width of the platform is half of that of the Haram, the alignment of the walls having been slightly varied, so as to give an exact number of bays at each end. The gates of the mountain are all situated at exact intercolumnar distances. The four principal gates referred to in the Middoth measure are exactly 2, 2), and 3 units in width. The position of the other gates is determined by the same standard ; the measure being taken, not to the centre, but to the jamb. The only dimension in the ancient work which is less than half a bay, or 6 full cubits, occurs in the south wall, which is 531 bays long. But the reason for this is manifest. The line of the face of the platform not only bisects this wall, but bisects the space between the centres of the two Huldah Gates. As one of these gates is 2} bays wide, and the other 3, there is a difference of twice the eighth part of a bay to take into account, which is accurately added to the length of the wall, and of which account is again taken in the platform.

Thus the sunrise line, through Temple and altar, through the central western gate of the mountain and the great east gate of the Sanctuary, bisects the enclosure of the Haram north and south; while the meridian line, determining the face of the platform, bisects the southern wall of the Sanctuary. It would be difficult to give clearer proof of unity of intelligent design.

And all these walls, gates, and courts are measured by this one accuratc unit of 104 inches, or its double, 208.

* Par. II. u. 3.

† Ez. xliii. 13.

« AnteriorContinuar »