Second Temple
Overview
 
The Jewish Second Temple was an important shrine which stood on the Temple Mount
Temple Mount
The Temple Mount, known in Hebrew as , and in Arabic as the Haram Ash-Sharif , is one of the most important religious sites in the Old City of Jerusalem. It has been used as a religious site for thousands of years...

 in Jerusalem between 516 BCE and 70 CE
Common Era
Common Era ,abbreviated as CE, is an alternative designation for the calendar era originally introduced by Dionysius Exiguus in the 6th century, traditionally identified with Anno Domini .Dates before the year 1 CE are indicated by the usage of BCE, short for Before the Common Era Common Era...

. It replaced the First Temple which was destroyed in 586 BCE, when the Jewish nation was exile
Diaspora
A diaspora is "the movement, migration, or scattering of people away from an established or ancestral homeland" or "people dispersed by whatever cause to more than one location", or "people settled far from their ancestral homelands".The word has come to refer to historical mass-dispersions of...

d to Babylon
Babylonian captivity
The Babylonian captivity was the period in Jewish history during which the Jews of the ancient Kingdom of Judah were captives in Babylon—conventionally 587–538 BCE....

. Both temples were centres of Jewish
Judaism
Judaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...

 sacrificial worship and are still most important today in the politics and history of Judaism.

The accession of Cyrus the Great
Cyrus the Great
Cyrus II of Persia , commonly known as Cyrus the Great, also known as Cyrus the Elder, was the founder of the Achaemenid Empire. Under his rule, the empire embraced all the previous civilized states of the ancient Near East, expanded vastly and eventually conquered most of Southwest Asia and much...

 of Persia
Achaemenid Empire
The Achaemenid Empire , sometimes known as First Persian Empire and/or Persian Empire, was founded in the 6th century BCE by Cyrus the Great who overthrew the Median confederation...

 in 538 BCE made the re-establishment of the city of Jerusalem and the rebuilding of the Temple possible.
Encyclopedia
The Jewish Second Temple was an important shrine which stood on the Temple Mount
Temple Mount
The Temple Mount, known in Hebrew as , and in Arabic as the Haram Ash-Sharif , is one of the most important religious sites in the Old City of Jerusalem. It has been used as a religious site for thousands of years...

 in Jerusalem between 516 BCE and 70 CE
Common Era
Common Era ,abbreviated as CE, is an alternative designation for the calendar era originally introduced by Dionysius Exiguus in the 6th century, traditionally identified with Anno Domini .Dates before the year 1 CE are indicated by the usage of BCE, short for Before the Common Era Common Era...

. It replaced the First Temple which was destroyed in 586 BCE, when the Jewish nation was exile
Diaspora
A diaspora is "the movement, migration, or scattering of people away from an established or ancestral homeland" or "people dispersed by whatever cause to more than one location", or "people settled far from their ancestral homelands".The word has come to refer to historical mass-dispersions of...

d to Babylon
Babylonian captivity
The Babylonian captivity was the period in Jewish history during which the Jews of the ancient Kingdom of Judah were captives in Babylon—conventionally 587–538 BCE....

. Both temples were centres of Jewish
Judaism
Judaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...

 sacrificial worship and are still most important today in the politics and history of Judaism.

The accession of Cyrus the Great
Cyrus the Great
Cyrus II of Persia , commonly known as Cyrus the Great, also known as Cyrus the Elder, was the founder of the Achaemenid Empire. Under his rule, the empire embraced all the previous civilized states of the ancient Near East, expanded vastly and eventually conquered most of Southwest Asia and much...

 of Persia
Achaemenid Empire
The Achaemenid Empire , sometimes known as First Persian Empire and/or Persian Empire, was founded in the 6th century BCE by Cyrus the Great who overthrew the Median confederation...

 in 538 BCE made the re-establishment of the city of Jerusalem and the rebuilding of the Temple possible. According to the Bible, when the Jewish exiles returned to Jerusalem following a decree from Cyrus the Great (Ezra 1:1-4, 2 Chron 36:22-23), construction started at the original site of Solomon's Temple, which had remained a devastated heap during the approximately 70 years of captivity (Dan. 9:1-2). After a relatively brief halt due to opposition from peoples who had filled the vacuum during the Jewish captivity (Ezra 4), work resumed c. 521 BCE under the Persian King Darius
Darius II
Darius II , was king of the Persian Empire from 423 BC to 405 BC.Artaxerxes I, who died on December 25, 424 BC, was followed by his son Xerxes II. After a month and a half Xerxes II was murdered by his brother Secydianus or Sogdianus...

 (Ezra 5) and was completed during the sixth year of his reign (c. 518/517 BCE), with the temple dedication taking place the following year.

Around 19 BCE, Herod the Great
Herod the Great
Herod , also known as Herod the Great , was a Roman client king of Judea. His epithet of "the Great" is widely disputed as he is described as "a madman who murdered his own family and a great many rabbis." He is also known for his colossal building projects in Jerusalem and elsewhere, including his...

 renovated the Temple, which became known as Herod's Temple.

The Romans destroyed Jerusalem and its Temple in 70 CE under Titus, decidedly ending the Great Jewish Revolt that had begun four years earlier. The lower levels of the Western Wall
Western Wall
The Western Wall, Wailing Wall or Kotel is located in the Old City of Jerusalem at the foot of the western side of the Temple Mount...

 form part of the few surviving remains of Herod's complex.

Traditional rabbinic sources
Rabbinic literature
Rabbinic literature, in its broadest sense, can mean the entire spectrum of rabbinic writings throughout Jewish history. However, the term often refers specifically to literature from the Talmudic era, as opposed to medieval and modern rabbinic writing, and thus corresponds with the Hebrew term...

 state that the Second Temple stood for 420 years and based on the 2nd-century work Seder Olam Rabbah
Seder Olam Rabbah
Seder Olam Rabbah is a 2nd century CE Hebrew language chronology detailing the dates of biblical events from the Creation to Alexander the Great's conquest of Persia...

, place construction in 350 BCE
350s BC
-Births:* July 356 BC – Alexander the Great, Macedonian king 336–323 BC...

 (3408 AM
Anno Mundi
' , abbreviated as AM or A.M., refers to a Calendar era based on the Biblical creation of the world. Numerous efforts have been made to determine the Biblical date of Creation, yielding varying results. Besides differences in interpretation, which version of the Bible is being referenced also...

), 166 years later than secular estimates, and destruction in 70 CE (3829 AM
Anno Mundi
' , abbreviated as AM or A.M., refers to a Calendar era based on the Biblical creation of the world. Numerous efforts have been made to determine the Biblical date of Creation, yielding varying results. Besides differences in interpretation, which version of the Bible is being referenced also...

).

Rebuilding the Temple

Based on the biblical account, after the return from Babylonian captivity under Zerubbabel
Zerubbabel
Zerubbabel was a governor of the Persian Province of Judah and the grandson of Jehoiachin, penultimate king of Judah. Zerubbabel led the first group of Jews, numbering 42,360, who returned from the Babylonian Captivity in the first year of Cyrus, King of Persia . The date is generally thought to...

, arrangements were almost immediately made to reorganize the desolated Yehud Province after the demise of the Kingdom of Judah
Kingdom of Judah
The Kingdom of Judah was a Jewish state established in the Southern Levant during the Iron Age. It is often referred to as the "Southern Kingdom" to distinguish it from the northern Kingdom of Israel....

 seventy years earlier. The body of pilgrims, forming a band of 42,360, having completed the long and dreary journey of some four months, from the banks of the Euphrates
Euphrates
The Euphrates is the longest and one of the most historically important rivers of Western Asia. Together with the Tigris, it is one of the two defining rivers of Mesopotamia...

 to Jerusalem, were animated in all their proceedings by a strong religious impulse, and therefore one of their first concerns was to restore their ancient house of worship by rebuilding their destroyed Temple and reinstituting the sacrificial rituals known as the korbanot.

On the invitation of Zerubbabel, the governor, who showed them a remarkable example of liberality by contributing personally 1,000 golden darics, besides other gifts, the people poured their gifts into the sacred treasury with great enthusiasm. First they erected and dedicated the altar of God on the exact spot where it had formerly stood, and they then cleared away the charred heaps of debris which occupied the site of the old temple; and in the second month of the second year (535 BCE), amid great public excitement and rejoicing, the foundations of the Second Temple were laid. A wide interest was felt in this great movement, although it was regarded with mixed feelings by the spectators.

The Samaritan
Samaritan
The Samaritans are an ethnoreligious group of the Levant. Religiously, they are the adherents to Samaritanism, an Abrahamic religion closely related to Judaism...

s made proposals for co-operation in the work. Zerubbabel and the elders, however, declined all such cooperation, feeling that the Jews must build the Temple without help. Immediately evil reports were spread regarding the Jews. According to Ezra 4:5, the Samaritans sought to "frustrate their purpose" and sent messengers to Ecbatana
Ecbatana
Ecbatana is supposed to be the capital of Astyages , which was taken by the Persian emperor Cyrus the Great in the sixth year of Nabonidus...

 and Susa, with the result that the work was suspended.

Seven years later, Cyrus the Great
Cyrus the Great
Cyrus II of Persia , commonly known as Cyrus the Great, also known as Cyrus the Elder, was the founder of the Achaemenid Empire. Under his rule, the empire embraced all the previous civilized states of the ancient Near East, expanded vastly and eventually conquered most of Southwest Asia and much...

, who allowed the Jews to return to their homeland and rebuild the Temple, died, and was succeeded by his son Cambyses
Cambyses
Cambyses can refer to two ancient rulers and two plays:-*Cambyses I, King of Anshan 600 to 559 BCE*Cambyses II, King of Persia 530 to 522 BCE*Cambyses, a tragedy by Thomas Preston...

. On his death, the "false Smerdis," an imposter, occupied the throne for some seven or eight months, and then Darius I of Persia
Darius I of Persia
Darius I , also known as Darius the Great, was the third king of kings of the Achaemenid Empire...

 became king (522 BCE). In the second year of this monarch the work of rebuilding the temple was resumed and carried forward to its completion, under the stimulus of the earnest counsels and admonitions of the prophets Haggai
Haggai
Haggai was a Hebrew prophet during the building of the Second Temple in Jerusalem, and one of the twelve minor prophets in the Hebrew Bible and the author of the Book of Haggai. His name means "my holiday"...

 and Zechariah. It was ready for consecration in the spring of 516 BCE, more than twenty years after the return from captivity. The Temple was completed on the third day of the month Adar
Adar
Adar is the sixth month of the civil year and the twelfth month of the ecclesiastical year on the Hebrew calendar. It is a winter month of 29 days...

, in the sixth year of the reign of King Darius, amid great rejoicings on the part of all the people although it was evident that the Jews were no longer an independent people, but were subject to a foreign power. The Book of Haggai
Book of Haggai
The Book of Haggai is a book of the Hebrew Bible or Tanak, and has its place as the antepenultimate of the Minor Prophets or the "Book of the Twelve." It is a short book, consisting of only two chapters. The historical setting dates around 520 BCE before the Temple has been rebuilt...

 includes a prediction that the glory of the second temple would be greater than that of the first.

Missing articles

Since some of the original artifacts were, according to the biblical account, lost after the destruction
Siege of Jerusalem (597 BC)
In 601 BC, in the fourth year of his reign, Nebuchadnezzar II, king of Babylon, unsuccessfully attempted to invade Egypt and was repulsed with heavy losses...

 of the First Temple, the Second Temple lacked the following holy articles:
  • The Ark of the Covenant
    Ark of the Covenant
    The Ark of the Covenant , also known as the Ark of the Testimony, is a chest described in Book of Exodus as solely containing the Tablets of Stone on which the Ten Commandments were inscribed...

    , containing the Tablets of Stone
    Tablets of stone
    The Tablets of Stone, Stone Tablets, Tablets of Law, or Tablets of Testimony in the Bible, were the two pieces of special stone inscribed with the Ten Commandments when Moses ascended Mount Sinai as recorded in the Book of Exodus...

    , the pot of manna
    Manna
    Manna or Manna wa Salwa , sometimes or archaically spelled mana, is the name of an edible substance that God provided for the Israelites during their travels in the desert according to the Bible.It was said to be sweet to the taste, like honey....

    , and Aaron's rod
    Aaron's rod
    Aaron's rod refers to any of the staves carried by Moses' brother, Aaron, in the Old Testament of the Bible. The Bible tells how, along with Moses' rod, Aaron's rod was endowed with miraculous power during the Plagues of Egypt which preceded the Exodus...

  • The Urim and Thummim
    Urim and Thummim
    In ancient Israelite religion and culture, Urim and Thummim is a phrase from the Hebrew Scriptures or Torah associated with the Hoshen , divination in general, and cleromancy in particular...

     (parchment contained in the Hoshen
    Hoshen
    The priestly breastplate was a sacred breastplate worn by the High Priest for the Israelites, according to the Book of Exodus...

    )
  • The holy oil
    Holy anointing oil
    The holy anointing oil , formed an integral part of the ordination of the priesthood and the high priest as well as in the consecration of the articles of the tabernacle and subsequent temples in Jerusalem...

  • The sacred fire.


In the Second Temple, the Kodesh Hakodashim (Holy of Holies
Holy of Holies
The Holy of Holies is a term in the Hebrew Bible which refers to the inner sanctuary of the Tabernacle and later the Temple in Jerusalem where the Ark of the Covenant was kept during the First Temple, which could be entered only by the High Priest on Yom Kippur...

) was separated by curtains rather than a wall as in the First Temple. Still, as in the Tabernacle
Tabernacle
The Tabernacle , according to the Hebrew Torah/Old Testament, was the portable dwelling place for the divine presence from the time of the Exodus from Egypt through the conquering of the land of Canaan. Built to specifications revealed by God to Moses at Mount Sinai, it accompanied the Israelites...

, the Second Temple included:
  • The Menorah (golden lamp) for the Hekhal
    Hekhal
    The Hebrew noun hekhal in Classical Hebrew means a large building. This can be either the main building of the Temple in Jerusalem, that is the nave or sanctuary of the Temple, or a palace, such as the "palace" of Ahab king of Samaria, or the "palace" of the King of Babylon.-Usage:It is used 80...

  • The Table of Showbread
    Showbread
    Showbread , in the King James Version: shewbread, in a biblical or Jewish context, refers to the cakes or loaves of bread which were always present on a specially dedicated table, in the Temple in Jerusalem as an offering to God...

  • The golden altar of incense, with golden censers.


The Second Temple also included many of the original vessels of gold that had been taken by the Babylonians but restored by Cyrus the Great
Cyrus the Great
Cyrus II of Persia , commonly known as Cyrus the Great, also known as Cyrus the Elder, was the founder of the Achaemenid Empire. Under his rule, the empire embraced all the previous civilized states of the ancient Near East, expanded vastly and eventually conquered most of Southwest Asia and much...

. According to Jewish tradition, however, the Temple lacked the Shekinah/Ruach HaKodesh
Ruach HaKodesh
The Hebrew language phrase ruach ha-kodesh is a term used in the Hebrew Bible and Jewish writings to refer to the Spirit of YHVH. The Hebrew term ruakh kodeshka , without the definite article, also occurs...

 present in the first.

Rededication by the Maccabees

Following the conquest of Judea
Judea
Judea or Judæa was the name of the mountainous southern part of the historic Land of Israel from the 8th century BCE to the 2nd century CE, when Roman Judea was renamed Syria Palaestina following the Jewish Bar Kokhba revolt.-Etymology:The...

 by Alexander the Great, it became part of the Ptolemaic Kingdom
Ptolemaic Kingdom
The Ptolemaic Kingdom in and around Egypt began following Alexander the Great's conquest in 332 BC and ended with the death of Cleopatra VII and the Roman conquest in 30 BC. It was founded when Ptolemy I Soter declared himself Pharaoh of Egypt, creating a powerful Hellenistic state stretching from...

 of Egypt until 200 BCE, when King Antiochus III the Great
Antiochus III the Great
Antiochus III the Great Seleucid Greek king who became the 6th ruler of the Seleucid Empire as a youth of about eighteen in 223 BC. Antiochus was an ambitious ruler who ruled over Greater Syria and western Asia towards the end of the 3rd century BC...

 of Syria defeated King Ptolemy V Epiphanes
Ptolemy V Epiphanes
Ptolemy V Epiphanes , son of Ptolemy IV Philopator and Arsinoe III of Egypt, was the fifth ruler of the Ptolemaic dynasty. He became ruler at the age of five, and under a series of regents the kingdom was paralyzed.-Regency infighting:Ptolemy Epiphanes was only a small boy when his father, Ptolemy...

 of Egypt at the Battle of Panion. Judea became at that moment part of the Seleucid empire
Seleucid Empire
The Seleucid Empire was a Greek-Macedonian state that was created out of the eastern conquests of Alexander the Great. At the height of its power, it included central Anatolia, the Levant, Mesopotamia, Persia, today's Turkmenistan, Pamir and parts of Pakistan.The Seleucid Empire was a major centre...

 of Syria. When the Second Temple in Jerusalem was looted and its religious services stopped, Judaism
Judaism
Judaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...

 was effectively outlawed. In 167 BCE, Antiochus ordered an altar to Zeus
Zeus
In the ancient Greek religion, Zeus was the "Father of Gods and men" who ruled the Olympians of Mount Olympus as a father ruled the family. He was the god of sky and thunder in Greek mythology. His Roman counterpart is Jupiter and his Etruscan counterpart is Tinia.Zeus was the child of Cronus...

 erected in the Temple. He also banned circumcision and ordered pigs to be sacrificed at the altar of the Temple.

Following the Maccabean Revolt against the Seleucid empire, the Second Temple was rededicated and became the religious pillar of the Jewish Hasmonean kingdom, as well as culturally associated with the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah
Hanukkah
Hanukkah , also known as the Festival of Lights, is an eight-day Jewish holiday commemorating the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt of the 2nd century BCE...

.

Herod's Temple

Herod's Temple in Jerusalem was a massive expansion of the Temple Mount
Temple Mount
The Temple Mount, known in Hebrew as , and in Arabic as the Haram Ash-Sharif , is one of the most important religious sites in the Old City of Jerusalem. It has been used as a religious site for thousands of years...

 platform and major expansion of the Jewish Temple
Jewish temple
Jewish temple:*Jewish temple or The Jewish Temple, may refer to the original two ancient Jewish Temples in Jerusalem.**The First Temple was destroyed by the ancient Babylonians in 586 BCE.**The Second Temple was destroyed by Rome in 70 CE....

 by King Herod the Great
Herod the Great
Herod , also known as Herod the Great , was a Roman client king of Judea. His epithet of "the Great" is widely disputed as he is described as "a madman who murdered his own family and a great many rabbis." He is also known for his colossal building projects in Jerusalem and elsewhere, including his...

 around 19 BCE.

Herod's Temple to God
Names of God in Judaism
In Judaism, the name of God is more than a distinguishing title; it represents the Jewish conception of the divine nature, and of the relationship of God to the Jewish people and to the world. To demonstrate the sacredness of the names of God, and as a means of showing respect and reverence for...

 is believed to have been a renovation and reconstruction of the Second Temple building, while religious worship and temple rituals continued during the construction process.

Following the Great Revolt of the Province of Iudaea
Iudaea Province
Judaea or Iudaea are terms used by historians to refer to the Roman province that extended over parts of the former regions of the Hasmonean and Herodian kingdoms of Israel...

, the Temple was destroyed by Roman
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

 troops under Titus
Titus
Titus , was Roman Emperor from 79 to 81. A member of the Flavian dynasty, Titus succeeded his father Vespasian upon his death, thus becoming the first Roman Emperor to come to the throne after his own father....

 during the Siege of Jerusalem
Siege of Jerusalem (70)
The Siege of Jerusalem in the year 70 AD was the decisive event of the First Jewish-Roman War. The Roman army, led by the future Emperor Titus, with Tiberius Julius Alexander as his second-in-command, besieged and conquered the city of Jerusalem, which had been occupied by its Jewish defenders in...

 in 70 CE. The most complete ancient account of this event is The Jewish War by Flavius Josephus. Later Roman governors used the remains to build palaces and a Temple of Jupiter, and the Byzantines
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

 a Church. It was not until the Dome of the Rock
Dome of the Rock
The Dome of the Rock is a shrine located on the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem. The structure has been refurbished many times since its initial completion in 691 CE at the order of Umayyad Caliph Abd al-Malik...

 was built between 687 and 691 that the last remnants of the Temple were taken down. In addition to the platform, some remnants of the Temples remain above ground, including a step leading to the Dome of the Rock
Dome of the Rock
The Dome of the Rock is a shrine located on the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem. The structure has been refurbished many times since its initial completion in 691 CE at the order of Umayyad Caliph Abd al-Malik...

 that is actually the capstone of the pre-Herodian wall of the Temple Mount platform.

The Temple itself was located on the site of what today is the Dome of the Rock
Dome of the Rock
The Dome of the Rock is a shrine located on the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem. The structure has been refurbished many times since its initial completion in 691 CE at the order of Umayyad Caliph Abd al-Malik...

. The gates let out close to Al-Aqsa
Al-Aqsa Mosque
Al-Aqsa Mosque also known as al-Aqsa, is the third holiest site in Sunni Islam and is located in the Old City of Jerusalem...

.

Construction

Herod's Temple was one of the larger construction projects of the 1st century BCE. Herod was interested in perpetuating his name for all eternity through building projects, and his construction program was extensive. He had magnificent palaces in Masada
Masada
Masada is the name for a site of ancient palaces and fortifications in the South District of Israel, on top of an isolated rock plateau, or horst, on the eastern edge of the Judean Desert, overlooking the Dead Sea. Masada is best known for the violence that occurred there in the first century CE...

, Caesarea and Tiberias. Herod built temples for various pagan gods to serve the gentile populations, which were paid for by heavy taxes on the local Jewish population.

But his masterpiece was to be the Temple of Jerusalem. The old temple, built by Zerubbabel
Zerubbabel
Zerubbabel was a governor of the Persian Province of Judah and the grandson of Jehoiachin, penultimate king of Judah. Zerubbabel led the first group of Jews, numbering 42,360, who returned from the Babylonian Captivity in the first year of Cyrus, King of Persia . The date is generally thought to...

 nearly half a millennium before, despite frequent renovation, most notably by the Maccabees
Hasmonean
The Hasmonean dynasty , was the ruling dynasty of Judea and surrounding regions during classical antiquity. Between c. 140 and c. 116 BCE, the dynasty ruled semi-autonomously from the Seleucids in the region of Judea...

 in the century before, was still run down and relatively small.

In 20 BCE, Herod announced that the old temple would be torn down and replaced with something truly magnificent. The Kohanim, or Jewish priesthood, as well as the rest of the population, were skeptical, requiring Herod to quarry all the stones required for the project before the destruction of the Post-Exile structure could begin.

An agreement was made between Herod and the Jewish religious authorities: the sacrificial rituals, called korbanot, were to be continued unabated for the entire time of construction, and the Temple itself would be constructed by the Kohanim.

Mt. Moriah
Moriah
Moriah is the name given to a mountain range by the Book of Genesis, in which context it is giv. the location of the sacrifice of Isaac. Traditionally Moriah has been interpreted as the name of the specific mountain at which this occurred, rather than just the name of the range...

 had a plateau at the northern end, and steeply declined on the southern slope. It was Herod's plan that the entire mountain be turned into a giant square platform. The Temple Mount was originally intended to be 1600 feet wide by 900 feet deep by 9 stories high, with walls up to 16 feet deep, but had never been finished. To complete it, a trench was dug around the mountain, and huge stone "bricks" were laid. Some of these weighed well over 100 tons, the largest measuring 44.6 feet by 11 feet by 16.5 feet and weighing approximately 567 to 628 tons, while most were in the range of 2.5 by 3.5 by 15 feet (approximately 28 tons). King Herod had architects from Greece, Rome and Egypt plan the construction. The blocks were presumably quarried by using pick axes to create channels. Then they hammered in wooden beams and flushed them with water to force them out. Once they were removed, they were carved into precise squares and numbered at the quarry to show where they would be installed. The final carving would have been done by using harder stones to grind or chisel them to create precise joints. They would have been transported using oxen and specialized carts. Since the quarry was uphill from the temple they had gravity on their side but care needed to be taken to control the descent. Final installation would have been done using pulleys or cranes. Roman pulleys and cranes weren't strong enough to lift the blocks alone so they may have used multiple cranes and levers to position them. Several experiments moving megaliths with ancient technology were done at other locations some of them are listed here. As the mountainside began to rise, the western side was carved away to a vertical wall and bricks were carved to create a virtual continuation of the brick face, which was continued for a while until the northern slope reached ground level. Part of the Antonian hill to the north of Moriah was annexed to the complex and the area between was filled up with landfill.

The project began with the building of giant underground vaults upon which the temple would be built so it could be larger than the small flat area on top of Mount Moriah
Temple Mount
The Temple Mount, known in Hebrew as , and in Arabic as the Haram Ash-Sharif , is one of the most important religious sites in the Old City of Jerusalem. It has been used as a religious site for thousands of years...

. Ground level at the time was at least 20 ft. (6m) below the current level, as can be seen by walking the Western Wall
Western Wall
The Western Wall, Wailing Wall or Kotel is located in the Old City of Jerusalem at the foot of the western side of the Temple Mount...

 tunnels. The edge of this platform remains everywhere; part of it forms the Western Wall.

In 1967 Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

 captured Old Jerusalem (and the Temple Mount) from Jordan. It was found that the wall extended all the way around the Temple Mount and is part of the city wall near the Lion's Gate. Thus, the Western Wall is not the only remaining part of the Temple Mount
Temple Mount
The Temple Mount, known in Hebrew as , and in Arabic as the Haram Ash-Sharif , is one of the most important religious sites in the Old City of Jerusalem. It has been used as a religious site for thousands of years...

. Currently, Robinson's Arch (named after American Edward Robinson
Edward Robinson (scholar)
Edward Robinson was an American biblical scholar, known as the “Father of Biblical Geography.” He has been referred to as the “founder of modern Palestinology.” -Biography:...

) remains as the beginning of an arch that spanned the gap between the top of the platform and the higher ground farther away. This had been used by the priests as an entrance. Commoners had entered through the still-extant, but now plugged, gates on the southern side which led through beautiful colonnade
Colonnade
In classical architecture, a colonnade denotes a long sequence of columns joined by their entablature, often free-standing, or part of a building....

s to the top of the platform. One of these colonnades is still extant and reachable through the Temple Mount.
The Southern wall
Southern Wall
The Southern Wall is a wall at the southern end of the Temple Mount and the former southern side of the Second Temple in Jerusalem. It was built during King Herod's expansion of the Temple Mount platform southward on to the Ophel.-Construction:...

 was designed as a grand entrance. Recent archeological digs have found thousands of mikvehs (ceremonial bathtubs) for the ritual purification of the worshipers, as well as a grand stairway leading to the now blocked entrance.

Inside the walls, the platform was supported by a series of vaulted archways, now called Solomon's Stables
Solomon's Stables
Solomon's Stables or Marwani Mosque is an underground mosque some 600 square yards beneath al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem...

, which still exist and whose current renovation by the Waqf
Jerusalem Islamic Waqf
The Jerusalem Islamic Waqf is an Islamic trust best known for controlling and managing the current Islamic edifices on the Al-Aqsa Mosque in the Old City of Jerusalem. The Waqf has governed access to the geographic region since the Muslim reconquest of the Kingdom of Jerusalem in 1187...

is extremely controversial.

As for the temple itself, it was made, not of local stone, as was the rest of the complex, but imported white marble, which was in sharp contrast to the entire city and gleamed in the daylight.

Legend has it that the construction of the entire complex lasted only three years, but other sources such as Josephus
Josephus
Titus Flavius Josephus , also called Joseph ben Matityahu , was a 1st-century Romano-Jewish historian and hagiographer of priestly and royal ancestry who recorded Jewish history, with special emphasis on the 1st century AD and the First Jewish–Roman War, which resulted in the Destruction of...

 say that it took far longer, although the Temple itself may have taken that long. During a Passover visit by Jesus the Jews replied that it had been under construction for 46 years. It is possible that the complex was only a few years completed when the future Emperor Titus
Titus
Titus , was Roman Emperor from 79 to 81. A member of the Flavian dynasty, Titus succeeded his father Vespasian upon his death, thus becoming the first Roman Emperor to come to the throne after his own father....

 burnt the place to the ground in 70 CE.

Life in and around the temple

In the decades after the suppression of the Bar Kochba revolt, the 2nd century CE Jewish sage Judah ha-Nasi, fearing that a Third Temple would not be built in his lifetime, committed to writing the Mishnah
Mishnah
The Mishnah or Mishna is the first major written redaction of the Jewish oral traditions called the "Oral Torah". It is also the first major work of Rabbinic Judaism. It was redacted c...

 in order to keep the "oral law,"
Oral Torah
The Oral Torah comprises the legal and interpretative traditions that, according to tradition, were transmitted orally from Mount Sinai, and were not written in the Torah...

 including the rules pertaining to the functioning of the temple ceremonials and precincts, intact for that day when the sacrifices might begin again.

The Gemara
Gemara
The Gemara is the component of the Talmud comprising rabbinical analysis of and commentary on the Mishnah. After the Mishnah was published by Rabbi Judah the Prince The Gemara (also transliterated Gemora or, less commonly, Gemorra; from Aramaic גמרא gamar; literally, "[to] study" or "learning by...

, a commentary on the Mishnah, provides many details of the architecture of Herod's temple, as well as what life was like in and around the temple. This has aided modern researchers in painting a clear picture of what the Temple Mount was like during the time of Jesus
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

.

Reaching Jerusalem

A Jew from distant parts of the Roman Empire would arrive by boat at the port of Jaffa
Jaffa
Jaffa is an ancient port city believed to be one of the oldest in the world. Jaffa was incorporated with Tel Aviv creating the city of Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel. Jaffa is famous for its association with the biblical story of the prophet Jonah.-Etymology:...

 (now part of Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv , officially Tel Aviv-Yafo , is the second most populous city in Israel, with a population of 404,400 on a land area of . The city is located on the Israeli Mediterranean coastline in west-central Israel. It is the largest and most populous city in the metropolitan area of Gush Dan, with...

), where he or she would join a caravan for the three day trek to the Holy City (a trip which only takes about an hour by automobile today), and would then find lodgings in one of the many hotels or hostelries. Once lodging was secured and money changed, the pilgrim would purchase a sacrificial animal, usually a pigeon or a lamb, in preparation for the following day's events.

Access to the temple

The gleaming white marble of the edifice was visible from well outside the walls of the city. The scale of the building was designed to impress, and it dominated the landscape, effectively becoming the focal point of Jerusalem. Even the three great towers near Herod's palace seemed small in comparison.

The first thing a pilgrim would do would be to approach the public entrance on the south side of the Temple Mount complex. He would check his animal, then visit a mikveh, where he would ritually cleanse and purify himself. The pilgrim would then retrieve his sacrificial animal, and head to the Huldah gates. After ascending a staircase three stories in height, and passing through the gate, the pilgrim would find himself in the "Court of the Gentiles."

The Court of the Gentiles

This area was primarily a bazaar, with vendors selling souvenirs, sacrificial animals, food, as well as currency changers, exchanging Roman for Tyrian money because the Jews were not allowed to coin their own money and they viewed Roman currency as an abomination to the Lord, as also mentioned in the New Testament account of Jesus and the Money Changers
Jesus and the Money Changers
The narrative of Jesus and the money changers, commonly referred to as the cleansing of the Temple, occurs in all four canonical gospels of the New Testament....

. Guides that provided tours of the premises were also available. Jewish males had the unique opportunity to be shown inside the temple itself.

The Kohanim (Priests), in their white linen robes and tubular hats, and directed pilgrims where and advising them what kind of sacrifices were to be performed.

Behind one as they entered the Court of the Gentiles was the Royal Portico, which contained a marketplace, administrative quarters, and a synagogue as well. On the upper floors, the great Jewish sages held court, Cohanim and Levites performed various chores, and from there tourists were able to observe the events.

To the east of the court was the Portico of Solomon, and to the north, the Soreg, a giant stone structure separating the public area from the area where only Jews could enter. Within the soreg was the temple itself.

Inside the Soreg

According to Josephus, there were ten entrances into the inner courts, four on the south, four on the north, one on the east and one leading east to west from the Court of Women to the court of the Israelites, named the Nicanor Gate. The gates were: On the south side (going from west to east) the Fuel Gate, the Firstling Gate, the Water Gate. On the north side, from west to east, are the Jeconiah Gate, the Offering Gate, the Women's Gate and the Song Gate. On the Eastern side, the Nicanor gate, which is where most Jewish visitors entered via the Nicanor gate.

A few pieces of the Soreg have survived to the present day; see the photograph at right.

The Court of the Women

Within this area was the court of the women
Court of the women
The court of the women was the outer forecourt of the Temples in Jerusalem into which women were permitted to enter. The court was also known as the "middle court," as it stood between the Court of the Gentiles and the court of Israel, i.e...

 where all Jews, male and female, were permitted. Even a ritually unclean Cohen
Kohen
A Kohen is the Hebrew word for priest. Jewish Kohens are traditionally believed and halachically required to be of direct patrilineal descent from the Biblical Aaron....

 could enter to perform various housekeeping duties. There was also a place for lepers (considered ritually unclean), as well as a ritual barbershop for Nazirites. In this, the largest of the temple courts, there could be seen constant dancing, singing and music.

The Court of the Israelites

This area was exclusively for Jewish men to enter. The Jewish men could see the animal sacrifices made by the high priest in the court of the priests.

The Court of the Priests

The Court of the Priests was reserved for Levite priests who performed sacrifices, including lambs, doves, and pigeons.

The Temple itself

Between the entrance of the building and the curtain veiling the Holy of Holies were the famous vessels of the temple: the menorah, the incense-burning altar, and various other implements.

Discovery of quarry

On September 25, 2007 Yuval Baruch, archaeologist with the Israeli Antiquities Authority announced the discovery of a quarry compound which may have provided King Herod with the stones to build his Temple on the Temple Mount
Temple Mount
The Temple Mount, known in Hebrew as , and in Arabic as the Haram Ash-Sharif , is one of the most important religious sites in the Old City of Jerusalem. It has been used as a religious site for thousands of years...

. Coins, pottery and an iron stake found proved the date of the quarrying to be about 19 BCE. Archaeologist Ehud Netzer
Ehud Netzer
Ehud Netzer was an Israeli architect, educator and archaeologist, known for his extensive excavations at Herodium, where in 2007 he found the tomb of Herod the Great; and the discovery of the oldest Jewish synagogue, located at Jericho....

 confirmed that the large outlines of the stone cuts is evidence that it was a massive public project worked by hundreds of slaves.

Second Temple Judaism

The period between the construction of the Second Temple in 515 BCE and its destruction by the Romans in 70 CE witnessed major historical upheavals and significant religious changes that would affect most subsequent Western (or Abrahamic
Abrahamic religions
Abrahamic religions are the monotheistic faiths emphasizing and tracing their common origin to Abraham or recognizing a spiritual tradition identified with him...

) religions. The origins of the authority of scripture
Development of the Jewish Bible canon
Rabbinic Judaism recognizes the 24 books of the Masoretic Text, commonly called the Tanakh or Hebrew Bible, as authoritative. Evidence suggests that the process of canonization occurred between 200 BCE and 200 CE. A popular former theory is that the Torah was canonized c. 400 BCE, the Prophets c....

, of the centrality of law and morality in religion, of the synagogue
Synagogue
A synagogue is a Jewish house of prayer. This use of the Greek term synagogue originates in the Septuagint where it sometimes translates the Hebrew word for assembly, kahal...

 and of apocalyptic expectations for the future
Jewish eschatology
Jewish eschatology is concerned with the Jewish Messiah, afterlife, and the revival of the dead. Eschatology, generically, is the area of theology and philosophy concerned with the final events in the history of the world, the ultimate destiny of humanity, and related concepts.-The Messiah:The...

 all developed in the Judaism
Judaism
Judaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...

 of this period.

Destruction

In 66 CE the Jewish population rebelled against the Roman empire. Four years later, in 70 CE, Roman legions under Titus
Titus
Titus , was Roman Emperor from 79 to 81. A member of the Flavian dynasty, Titus succeeded his father Vespasian upon his death, thus becoming the first Roman Emperor to come to the throne after his own father....

 retook and subsequently destroyed much of Jerusalem and the Second Temple. The Arch of Titus
Arch of Titus
The Arch of Titus is a 1st-century honorific arch located on the Via Sacra, Rome, just to the south-east of the Roman Forum. It was constructed in c.82 AD by the Roman Emperor Domitian shortly after the death of his older brother Titus to commemorate Titus' victories, including the Siege of...

, located in Rome
Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

 and built to commemorate Titus's victory in Judea
Iudaea Province
Judaea or Iudaea are terms used by historians to refer to the Roman province that extended over parts of the former regions of the Hasmonean and Herodian kingdoms of Israel...

, depict a Roman victory procession
Roman triumph
The Roman triumph was a civil ceremony and religious rite of ancient Rome, held to publicly celebrate and sanctify the military achievement of an army commander who had won great military successes, or originally and traditionally, one who had successfully completed a foreign war. In Republican...

 with soldiers carrying spoils from the Temple, including the Menorah. Although Jews continued to inhabit the destroyed city, Jerusalem was razed by the Emperor Hadrian at the end of the Bar Kokhba revolt in 135 CE when he established a new city called Aelia Capitolina
Aelia Capitolina
Aelia Capitolina was a city built by the emperor Hadrian, and occupied by a Roman colony, on the site of Jerusalem, which was in ruins since 70 AD, leading in part to the Bar Kokhba revolt of 132–136.-Politics:...

.

The destruction date according to the Hebrew calendar
Hebrew calendar
The Hebrew calendar , or Jewish calendar, is a lunisolar calendar used today predominantly for Jewish religious observances. It determines the dates for Jewish holidays and the appropriate public reading of Torah portions, yahrzeits , and daily Psalm reading, among many ceremonial uses...

 was the 9th of Av
Av
Av is the eleventh month of the civil year and the fifth month of the ecclesiastical year on the Hebrew calendar. The name is Babylonian in origin and appeared in the Talmud around the 3rd century. This is the only month which is not named in the Bible. It is a summer month of 30 days...

, also known as Tisha B'Av
Tisha B'Av
|Av]],") is an annual fast day in Judaism, named for the ninth day of the month of Av in the Hebrew calendar. The fast commemorates the destruction of both the First Temple and Second Temple in Jerusalem, which occurred about 655 years apart, but on the same Hebrew calendar date...

 (29 or 30 July 70).

See also

  • Bar Kochba Revolt
  • First Temple
  • Jerusalem stone
    Jerusalem stone
    Jerusalem stone is a name applied to various types of pale limestone, dolomite and dolomitic limestone, common in and around Jerusalem that have been used in building since ancient times...

  • Jerusalem’s Model in the Late 2nd Temple Period

  • Herodian architecture
    Herodian architecture
    Herodian architecture is a style of classical architecture characteristic of the numerous building projects undertaken during the reign of Herod the Great, the Roman client king of Judea...

  • List of artifacts significant to the Bible
  • List of megalithic sites
  • Replicas of the Jewish Temple
    Replicas of the Jewish Temple
    Replicas of the Jewish Temple are scale models or authentic buildings that attempt to replicate the Temple of Solomon, Second Temple and Herod's Temple in Jerusalem.-Scale models:...

  • Siege of Jerusalem (70)
    Siege of Jerusalem (70)
    The Siege of Jerusalem in the year 70 AD was the decisive event of the First Jewish-Roman War. The Roman army, led by the future Emperor Titus, with Tiberius Julius Alexander as his second-in-command, besieged and conquered the city of Jerusalem, which had been occupied by its Jewish defenders in...

  • Temple of Peace, Rome
  • Third Temple
  • Timeline of Jewish history
    Timeline of Jewish history
    This is a timeline of the development of Jews and Judaism. All dates are given according to the Common Era, not the Hebrew calendar....

  • Tisha B'Av
    Tisha B'Av
    |Av]],") is an annual fast day in Judaism, named for the ninth day of the month of Av in the Hebrew calendar. The fast commemorates the destruction of both the First Temple and Second Temple in Jerusalem, which occurred about 655 years apart, but on the same Hebrew calendar date...


External links

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