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OF THE TEMPLE.
I. The temple of Solomon.-II. The second temple.-Its various courts. Reverence of the Jews for it.-III. Notice of the temples at Heliopolis and Gerizim.
ACCORDING to the opinion of some writers, there were three temples, viz. the first, erected by Solomon; the second, by Zerubbabel and Joshua, the high-priest; and the third, by Herod a few years before the birth of Christ. But this opinion is very properly rejected by the Jews: who do not allow the third to be a new temple, but only the second temple rebuilt: and this opinion corresponds with the prophecy of Haggai (ii. 9.), that the glory of this latter house-the temple built by Zerubbabel, should be greater than that of the former; which prediction was uttered with reference to the Messiah's honouring it with his presence and ministry.
I. The first temple is that which usually bears the name of SOLOMON; the materials for which were provided by David before his death, though the edifice was raised by his son. It stood on Mount Moriah, an eminence of the mountainous ridge in the Scriptures termed Mount Sion (Psal. cxxxii. 13, 14.), which had been purchased of Araunah or Ornan the Jebusite. (2 Sam. xxiv. 23, 24. 1 Chron. xxi. 25.) The plan and whole model of this superb structure were formed after that of the tabernacle, but of much larger dimensions. It was surrounded, except at the front or east end, by three stories of chambers, each five cubits square, which reached to half the height of the temple; and the front was ornamented with a magnificent portico, which rose to the height of one hundred and twenty cubits: so that the form of the whole edifice was not unlike that of some ancient churches which have a lofty tower in the front, and a low aisle running along each side of the building. The utensils for the sacred service were the same; excepting that several of them, as the altar, candlestick, &c. were larger, in proportion to the more spacious edifice to which they belonged. Seven years and six months were occupied in the erection of the superb and magnificent temple of Solomon; by whom it was dedicated' with peculiar solemnity to the worship of the Most High, who on this occasion vouchsafed to honour it with the Shechinah, or visible manifestation of His presence. The prayer of the Hebrew monarch, on this occa
In the year of the world 3001; before Christ 999.
sion, is one of the noblest and most sublime compositions in the Bible, exhibiting, in the prophetic spirit of Moses, the most exalted conceptions of the omnipresence of the Deity, of his superintending Providence, and of his peculiar protection of the Israelites from the time of their departure out of Egypt; and imploring pardon and forgiveness for all their sins and transgressions in the land, and during the captivities which might ensue.2 Various attempts have been made to describe the proportions and several parts of this structure; but as no two writers scarcely agree on this subject, a minute description of it is designedly omitted. It retained its pristine splendour only thirty-three or thirty-four years, when Shishak king of Egypt took Jerusalem, and carried away the treasures of the temple; and after undergoing subsequent profanations and pillages, this stupendous building was finally plundered and burnt by the Chaldæans under Nebuchadnezzar in the year of the world 3416, or before Christ 584. (2 Kings xxv. 13-15. 2 Chron. xxxvi. 17-20.)
II. After the captivity the temple emerged from its ruins, being rebuilt by Zerubbabel, but with vastly inferior and diminished glory; as appears from the tears of the aged men who had beheld the former structure in all its grandeur. (Ezra iii. 12.) The second temple was profaned by order of Antiochus Epiphanes (A. M. 3837, B. c. 163); who caused the daily sacrifice to be discontinued, and erected the image of Jupiter Olympius on the altar of burnt-offering. In this condition it continued three years (2 Macc. x. 1-8.), when Judas Maccabæus purified and repaired it, and restored the sacrifices and true worship of Jehovah. (A. M. 3840, B. C. 160.)
Some years before the birth of our Saviour, the repairing or rather gradual rebuilding of this second temple, which had become decayed in the lapse of five centuries, was undertaken by Herod the Great, who for nine years employed eighteen thousand workmen upon it, and spared no expense to render it equal, if not superior, in magnitude, splendour, and beauty to any thing among mankind. Josephus calls it a work the most admirable of any that had ever been seen or heard of, both for its curious structure and its magnitude, and also for the vast wealth expended upon it, as well as for the universal reputation of its sanctity. But though Herod accomplished his original design in the time above specified,
yet the Jews continued to ornament and enlarge it, expend- | cubits high, in order to enlarge the area on the top of the ing the sacred treasure in annexing additional buildings to it; mountain, and make it equal to the plan of his intended so that they might with great propriety assert that their tem- building; and as this terrace was the only work of Solomon's ple had been forty-and-six years in building.1 that remained in the second temple, the piazza which stood upon it retained the name of that prince. Here it was that our Lord was walking at the feast of dedication (John x. 23.), and the lame man, when healed by Peter and John, glorified God before all the people.4 (Acts iii. 11.) This surepresents it as the noblest work beneath the sun, being elevated to such a prodigious height that no one could look down from its flat roof to the valley below without being seized with dizziness, the sight not reaching to such an immeasurable depth. The south-east corner of the roof of this portico, where the height was greatest, is supposed to have been the TV, pinnacle, or extreme angle, whence Satan Luke iv. 9.) This also, was the spot where it was predicted that the abomination of desolation, or the Roman ensigns, should stand. (Dan. ix. 27. Matt. xxiv. 15.) Solomon's portico was situated in the eastern front of the temple, opposite to the Mount of Olives, where our Lord is said to have sat when his disciples came to show him the grandeur of its various buildings, of which, grand as they were, he said, the time was approaching when one stone should not be left upon another. (Matt. xxiv. 1-3.) This outermost court being assigned to the Gentile proselytes, the Jews, who did not worre-ship in it themselves, conceived that it might be lawfully put to profane uses: for here we find that the buyers and sellers of animals for sacrifices, and also the money-changers, had stationed themselves; until Jesus Christ, awing them into submission by the grandeur and dignity of his person and behaviour, expelled them, telling them that it was the house of prayer for all nations, and that it had a relative sanctity, and was not to be profaned. It is not improbable, that the captains of the temple, who were officers that had the care and charge of it, let out this court for profit and advantage; and that the sellers, to compensate themselves for what they paid for their tables and seats, made an unjust and exorbitant gain; and that this circumstance occasioned its being called a den of thieves. (Matt. xxi. 12, 13. Mark xi. 15-17. Luke xix. 45, 46.)
Before we proceed to describe this venerable edifice, it may be proper to remark, that by the temple is to be understood not only the fabric or house itself, which by way of eminence is called The Temple, viz. the holy of holies, the sanctuary, and the several courts both of the priests and Is-perb portico is termed the ROYAL PORTICO by Josephus, who raelites; but also all the numerous chambers and rooms which this prodigious edifice comprehended, and each of which had its respective degree of holiness, increasing in proportion to its contiguity to the holy of holies. This remark it will be necessary to bear in mind, lest the reader of the Scriptures should be led to suppose that whatever is there said to be transacted in the temple was actually done in the interior of that sacred edifice. To this infinite num-tempted our Saviour to precipitate himself. (Matt. iv. 5. ber of apartments into which the temple was disposed our Lord refers (John xiv. 2.); and, by a very striking and magnificent simile borrowed from them, he represents those numerous seats and mansions of heavenly bliss which his Father's house contained, and which were prepared for the everlasting abode of the righteous. The imagery is singularly beautiful and happy, when considered as an allusion to the temple, which our Lord not unfrequently called his Father's house.
The second temple, originally built by Zerubbabel, after the captivity, and repaired by Herod, differed in several spects from that erected by Solomon, although they agreed
The temple erected by Solomon was more splendid and magnificent than the second temple, which was deficient in five remarkable things that constituted the chief glory of the first:-these were the ark and mercy-seat,-the shechinah or manifestation of the divine Presence in the holy of holies, -the sacred fire on the altar, which had been first kindled from heaven, the urim and thummim,-and the spirit of prophecy. But the second temple surpassed the first in glory, being honoured by the frequent presence of our divine Saviour, agreeably to the prediction of Haggai. (ii. 9.) Both, however, were erected upon the same site, a very hard rock encompassed by a very frightful precipice; and the foundation was laid with incredible expense and labour. The superstructure was not inferior to this great work; the height of the temple wall, especially on the south side, was stupendous; in the lowest places it was three hundred cubits or four hundred and fifty feet, and in some places even greater. This most magnificent pile was constructed with hard white stones of prodigious magnitude.2
The temple itself, strictly so called (which comprised the portico, the sanctuary, and the holy of holies), formed only a small part of the sacred edifice on Mount Moriah; being surrounded by spacious courts, making a square of half a mile in circumference. It was entered through nine magnificent gates; one of which, called the Beautiful Gate in Acts iii. 2., was more splendid and costly than all the rest: it was composed of Corinthian brass, the most precious metal in ancient times.
1. The first or outer court, which encompassed the holy house and the other courts, was named the COURT OF THE GENTILES; because the latter were allowed to enter into it, but were prohibited from advancing further: it was surrounded by a range of porticoes or cloisters, above which were galleries or apartments supported by pillars of white marble, each consisting of a single piece, and five-and-twenty cubits in height. One of these was called SOLOMON's PORCH Or Piazza, because it stood on a vast terrace, which he had originally raised from a valley beneath, four hundred
2. Within the court of the Gentiles stood the COURT OF THE ISRAELITES divided into two parts or courts, the outer one being appropriated to the women, and the inner one to the men. The Court of the Women was separated from that of the Gentiles by a low stone wall or partition, of elegant construction, on which stood pillars at equal distances, with inscriptions in Greek and Latín, importing that no alien should enter into the holy place To this wall St. Paul most evidently alludes in Eph. ii. 13, 14. But now in Christ Jesus, ye, who sometimes were far off, are made nigh by the blood of Christ: for he is our peace, who hath made both one (united both Jews and Gentiles into one church), and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; having abolished the law of ordinances by which, as by the wall of separation, both Jews and Gentiles were not only kept asunder, but also at variance. In this court was the treasury, over-against which Christ sat, and beheld how the people threw their voluntary offerings into it for furnishing the victims and other things necessary for the sacrifices. (Mark xii. 41. John viii. 20.)
From the court of the women, which was on higher ground than that of the Gentiles, there was an ascent of fifteen steps into the Inner or Men's Court: and so called because it was appropriated to the worship of the male Israelites. In these two courts, collectively termed the Court of the Israelites, were the people praying, each apart by himself for the pardon of his sins, while Zechariah was offering incense within the sanctuary. (Luke i. 10.)
1 John ii. 20. There is, therefore, no real contradiction between the sacred writer and Josephus. The words of the evangelist are, "Forty-and- 3. Within the court of the Israelites was that of the six years was this temple in building." This, as Calmet well observes, is PRIESTS, which was separated from it by a low wall, one not saying that Herod had employed forty-six years in erecting it. Josephus acquaints us that Herod began to rebuild the temple, yet so as not to cubit in height. This enclosure surrounded the altar of be esteemed a new edifice, in the eighteenth year of his reign (Antiq. lib. burnt-offerings, and to it the people brought their oblations xv. c. 14.), computing from his being declared king by the Romans, or in and sacrifices: but the priests alone were permitted to enter the fifteenth year (Bell. Jud. lib. i. c. 16.), reckoning from the death of Antigonus. He finished it for use in about nine years (Ant. xv. 14.); but it it. From this court twelve steps ascended to the TEMPLE continued increasing in splendour and magnificence through the pious donations of the people (Bell. Jud. v. 14.) to the time of Nero, when it was completed, and 18,000 workmen were dismissed from that service, during the procuratorship of Albinus. From the eighteenth of Herod, who reigned thirty-seven years, to the birth of Christ, more than a year before the death of that prince, was above sixteen years, added to which, the age of Christ, now thirty, gives forty-six complete years. Calmet's Comment. in Antiq. Jud. lib. xv. § 5.
Antiq. Jud. lib. xv. c. 11. §3.
Of the same kind with these porticoes, cloisters, or piazzas, were doubtless the five porticoes which surrounded the pool of Bethesda. (John v. 2.) The pool was probably a pentagon, and the piazzas round it were designed to shelter from the weather the multitude of diseased persons who lay waiting for a cure by the miraculous virtue of those waters. Jennings's Jewish Antiq. p. 267.
Bp. Pearce's Commentary, vol. i. on Matt. xxi. 13.
strictly so called, which was divided into three parts, the portico, the outer sanctuary, and the holy place.
1. In the PORTICO were suspended the splendid votive offerings made by the piety of various individuals. Among its other treasures, there was a golden table given by Pompey, together with several golden vines of exquisite workmanship as well as of immense size: for Josephus relates that there were clusters as tall as a man. And he adds, that all around were fixed up and displayed the spoils and trophies taken by Herod from the Barbarians and Arabians. These votive offerings, it should seem, were visible at a distance; for when Jesus Christ was sitting on the Mount of Olives, and his disciples called his attention to the temple, they pointed out to him the gifts with which it was adorned. (Luke xxi. 5.) This porch had a very large portal or gate, which, instead of folding doors, was furnished with a costly Babylonian veil, of many colours, that mystically denoted the universe.
(2.) The SANCTUARY or Holy Place was separated from the holy of holies by a double veil, which is supposed to have been the veil that was rent in twain at our Saviour's crucifixion: thus emblematically pointing out that the separation between Jews and Gentiles was abolished, and that the privilege of the high-priest was communicated to all mankind, who might henceforth have access to the throne of grace through the one great mediator, Jesus Christ. (Heb. x. 19-22.) This corresponded with the Holy Place in the Tabernacle. In it were placed the Golden Candlestick, the Altar of Incense, and the Table of Shew-Bread, which consisted of twelve loaves, according to the number of the tribes of Israel. Various fanciful delineations have been given of these articles in the subjoined engraving is represented the form of the GOLDEN CANDLESTICK as it was actually carried in the triumphal procession of the Roman General Titus;
(3.) The HOLY OF HOLIES was twenty cubits square. No person was ever admitted into it but the high-priest, who entered it once a year on the great day of atonement. (Exod. xxx. 10. Lev. xvi. 2. 15. 34. Heb. ix. 2-7.)2 Magnificent as the rest of the sacred edifice was, it was infinitely surpassed in splendour by the Inner Temple or Sanctuary. Its appearance," according to Josephus," had every thing that could strike the mind or astonish the sight: for it was covered on every side with plates of gold, so that when the sun rose upon it, it reflected so strong and dazzling an effulgence, that the eye of the spectator was obliged to turn away, being no more able to sustain its radiance than the splendour of the sun. To strangers who were approaching, it appeared at a distance like a mountain covered with snow, for where it was not decorated with plates of gold, it was extremely white and glistering. On the top it had sharppointed spikes of gold, to prevent any bird from resting upon it and polluting it. There were," continues the Jewish historian," in that building several stones which were forty-five cubits in length, five in height, and six in breadth. When all these things are considered, how natural is the exclamation of the disciples when viewing this immense building at a distance: Master, see what MANNER of STONES (TOTATO, what very large stones), and what BUILDINGS are here! (Mark xiii. 1.); and how wonderful is the declaration of our Lord upon this, how unlikely to be accomplished before the race of men who were then living should cease to exist. Seest thou these great buildings? There shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down." (Mark xiii. 2.)1 Improbable as this prediction must have appeared to the disciples at that time, in the short space of about forty years after, it was exactly accomplished; and this most magnificent temple, which the Jews had literally turned into a den of thieves, through the righteous judgments of God upon that wicked and abandoned nation, was utterly destroyed by the Romans A. M. 4073 (A. D. 73), on the same month, and on the same day of the month, when Solomon's temple had been rased to the ground by the Babylonians!
Both the first and second temples were contemplated by the Jews with the highest reverence: of their affectionate regard for the first temple, and for Jerusalem, within whose walls it was built, we have several instances in those psalms which were composed during the Babylonish captivity; and of their profound veneration for the second temple we have repeated examples in the New Testament. "They could not bear any disrespectful or dishonourable thing to be said of it. The least injurious slight of it, real or apprehended, instantly awakened all the choler of a Jew, and was an affront instructions, happening to say, Destroy this temple, and in never to be forgiven. Our Saviour, in the course of his public three days I will raise it up again (John i. 19.), it was construed into a contemptuous disrespect, designedly thrown out against the temple; his words instantly descended into the heart of
and the following engraving exhibits the TABLE OF SHEWBREAD, with a cup upon it, and with two of the sacred trumpets, which were used to proclaim the year of Jubilee, as they were also carried in the same triumph. They are copied from the plates in Reland's Treatise on the Spoils of the Temple of Jerusalem, the drawings for which were 2 Godwin's Moses and Aaron, book ii. ch. 1.; Jennings's Jewish Antiquimade at Rome, upwards of a century since, when the trium-ties, book ii. ch. 1.; Schulzii Archæologia Hebraica, pp. 204-220.; Beauphal arch of Titus was in a much better state of preservation sobre's and L'Enfant's Introduction. (Bp. Watson's Theol. Tracts, vol. iii. Antiq. Hebr. pp. 165-172.
than it now is.
pp. 145-150.) Pareau, Antiquitas Hebraica, pp. 196 -203.; Brunings,
3 Josephus, Antiq. Jud. lib. xv. c. 11. §3. De Bell, Jud. lib. v. c. 5. §§ Dr. Harwood's Introd. to the New Test. vol. ii. pp. 159. 161.
a Jew, and kept rankling there for several years; for upon his trial, this declaration, which it was impossible for a Jew ever to forget or to forgive, was immediately alleged against him as big with the most atrocious guilt and impiety: they told the court they had heard him publicly assert, I am able to destroy this temple. The rancour and virulence they had conceived against him for this speech, which they imagined had been levelled against the temple, was not softened by all the affecting circumstances of that excruciating and wretched death they saw him die: even as he hung upon the cross, with infinite triumph, scorn, and exultation, they upbraided him with it, contemptuously shaking their heads, and saying, Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself! If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross. (Matt. xxvii. 40.) The superstitious veneration, which this people had for their temple, further appears from the account of Stephen. When his adversaries were baffled and confounded by that superior wisdom and those distinguished gifts which he possessed, they were so exasperated at the victory he had gained over them, that they suborned persons to swear that they had heard him speak blasphemy against Moses and against God. These inflaming the populace, the magistrates, and the Jewish clergy, the holy man was seized, dragged away, and brought before the Sanhedrin. Here the false witnesses, whom they had procured, stood up and said, This person before you is continually uttering the most reproachful expressions against this sacred place,2 meaning the temple. This was blasphemy not to be pardoned. A judicature composed of high-priests and scribes would never forgive such impiety.
"Thus, also, when St. Paul went into the temple to give public notice, as was usual, to the priests, of his having purified and bound himself with a religious vow along with four other persons, declaring the time when his vow was made, and the oblations he would offer for every one of them at his own expense, when the time of their vow was accomplished, some Jews of Asia Minor, when the seven days prescribed by the law were almost completed, happening to see him in the temple, struck with horror at the sight of such apprehended profanation, immediately excited the populace, who all at once rushed upon him and instantly seized him, vehemently exclaiming, Men of Israel, help! This is the man that teacheth all men every where against the people (the Jews), and the law, and this place; and, further, brought Greeks into the temple, and hath polluted this holy place. (Acts xxi. 28.) They said this, because they had a little before seen Trophimus an Ephesian along with him in the city, and they instantly concluded he had brought him into the temple. Upon this the whole city was immediately raised; all the people at once rushed furiously upon him, and dragged him out of the temple, whose doors were instantly shut. Being determined to murder him, news was carried to the Roman tribune that the whole city was in a commotion. The uproar now raised among the Jews, and their determined resolution to imbrue their hands in the blood of a person who had spoken disrespectfully of the temple, and who they apprehended had wantonly profaned it by introducing Greeks into it, verify and illustrate the declaration of Philo; that it was certain and inevitable death for any one who was not a Jew to set his foot within the inner courts of the temple."
It only remains to add, that it appears from several passages of Scripture, that "the Jews had a body of soldiers who guarded the temple, to prevent any disturbance during the ministration of such an immense number of priests and Levites. To this guard Pilate referred, when he said to the chief priests and Pharisees who waited upon him to desire he would make the sepulchre secure. Ye have a watch, go your way, and make it as secure as ye can. (Matt. xxvii. 65.) Over these guards one person had the supreme command, who in several places is called the CAPTAIN OF THE TEMPLE (Ergarngos To Jego), or officer of the temple guard. And as they spake unto the people, the priests and the captain of the temple and the Sadducees came upon them.' (Acts iv. 1. v. 25, 26. John xviii. 12.) Josephus mentions such an officer."4 It should seem that this officer was a Jew, from the circumstance of his assisting the high-priest in arresting
1 Matt. xxvi. 61. "This fellow said, I am able to destroy the temple of God and to build it in three days." 2 Acts vi. 13.
a Harwood's Introd. vol. ii. pp. 166-169.
S TO OTPATHYOV, Avavov, Ananias, the commander of the temple. Antiq. Jud. lib. xx. c. 6. §2. Bell. Jud. lib. ii. c. 17. § 2. ApopNUTES IS TO EXECαpov σTраTHOUTα, having the chief regard to Eleazar, the governor of the temple. Bell. Jud. lib. ii. c. 17. §2. edit. Hudson. Harwood's Introd. vol. ii. p. 169. and Dr. Lardner's Credibility; book i. ch. xi. § 1. ch. ix. $4.
those who were deemed to be seditious, without the intervention of the Roman procurator.
III. Besides the temple at Jerusalem, two others were erected, viz: one in Egypt, and another on Mount Gerizim, of which the following notice may not be unacceptable to the reader :
1. The HELIOPOLITAN TEMPLE, also called the Temple of Onias, was erected in imitation of that at Jerusalem by Onias, the son of Onias the high priest: who finding that no hope remained of his being restored to the pontifical dignity which had been held by his ancestors, fled into Egypt in the time of Antiochus Epiphanes. "Having acquired great favour with the then reigning sovereign, Ptolemy Phifometer, and his queen Cleopatra, by his skill in political and military affairs, Onias represented to them, that it would be productive of great advantage to their kingdom, if the numerous Jewish inhabitants of Egypt and Cyrene could have a temple of their own, which would supersede the necessity of their repairing to Jerusalem in the dominions of a foreign monarch, to perform their religious services: and that, if such a temple were built, many more Jews would be induced to settle in the country, as Judæa was continually exposed to the evils of war. By such representations he at length obtained permission to erect a temple for the Jews, on the site of an ancient temple of Bubastis or Isis, in the city of Leontopolis in the Heliopolitan nome (or district) over which he was governor." To the Jews he justified his undertaking, on the plea that the building of such a temple had been predicted by the prophet Isaiah, who lived about six hundred years before. Accordingly, the temple was completed on the model of that at Jerusalem. Onias was invested with the high-priesthood; the subordinate priests were furnished from the descendants of Aaron: Levites were employed in the sacred services; and the whole of their religious worship was performed in the same manner as at Jerusalem. Though the Heliopolitan temple was smaller in its dimensions than the temple at Jerusalem, it was made conformable to the latter in every respect, except that a golden lamp suspended by a golden chain was substituted for a candlestick. It was also adorned with votive gifts. This temple continued until the time of Vespasian, who, in consequence of a tumult which had been raised by the Jews in Egypt, commanded Lupus the governor to demolish it. Accordingly, the gates were effectually closed, so that no vestiges remained of any divine worship having been there performed. This occurrence took place three hundred and forty-three years after the building of the temple. In 2 Macc. i. 1-9. there is an epistle from the Jews at Jerusalem to those in Egypt.
2. The TEMPLE ON MOUNT GERIZIM was erected by Sanballat, under the authority of Alexander the Great, for the use of the Samáritans; who, on the return of the Jews from the Babylonish captivity, pretended that they were of the stock of the true and ancient Hebrews, and that their mountain was the most proper place of worship. (Upon this principle the Samaritan women argued with Jesus Christ in John iv. 20.) Sanballat constituted his son-in-law Manasseh the first high-priest. This temple was destroyed about two hundred years afterwards by Hyrcanus, and was rebuilt by the Samaritans, between whom and the Jews there subsisted the bitterest animosity. Representations of this temple are to be seen on the coins of the city of Sichem or Neapolis.9
OF THE HIGH PLACES, AND PROSEUCHÆ, OR ORATORIES OF THE JEWS.
I. Of the high places.-II. Of the proseuchæ, or oratories. I. BESIDES the tabernacle, which has been described in a former section, frequent mention is made, in the Old Testament, of places of worship, called HIGH PLACES, which were in use both before and after the building of the temple.
s Jahn's Hist. of Hebr. Commonwealth, vol. i. p. 348.
There is a considerable diversity of opinion among commentators concerning the interpretation of Isa. xix. 18, 19., which is the prediction above alluded to. See Bp. Lowth's Isaiah, and Dr. Boothroyd's translation of the Bible on that passage.
Josephus, Ant. Jud. lib. xiii. c. 3. Bell. Jud. lib. vii. c. 10. Schulzil Archæol. Hebr. pp. 221, 222. Pareau, Antiq. Hebr. p. 203. 8 Josephus, Ant. Jud. lib. x. c. 8. §§ 2-4. lib. xiii. c. 9. §1. Schulzii Archæol. Hebr. p. 221. Pareau, Ant. Hebr. p. 229.
II. From the preceding facts and remarks, however, we are not to conclude, that the prohibition relating to high places and groves, which extended chiefly to the more solemn acts of sacrificing there, did on any account extend to the prohibiting of other acts of devotion, particularly prayer, in any other place besides the temple, the high places and groves of the heathen (which were ordered to be razed) only excepted. For we learn from the Sacred Writings, that prayers are always acceptable to God in every place, when performed with that true and sincere devotion of heart, which alone gives life and vigour to our religious addresses. And therefore it was that in many places of Judæa, both before and after the Babylonian captivity, we find mention made in the Jewish and other histories of places built purposely for prayer, and resorted to only for that end, called PROSEUCHA Or ORATORIES.
In the early ages of the world, the devotion of mankind these high places. No sooner had Rehoboam the son of seems to have delighted greatly in groves, woods, and moun- Solomon, after the revolt of the ten tribes from him, strengthtains, not only because these retired places were naturally ened himself in his kingdom, but we read that Judah did evit fitted for contemplation, but probably also because they kin- in the sight of the Lord, and built them high places, and images, dled a certain sacred dread in the mind of the worshipper. and groves, on every high hill, and under every green tree. It is certain that nothing was more ancient in the East, than (1 Kings xiv. 22, 23.) altars surrounded by groves and trees, which made the place Of the exemplary sovereigns, Asa and Jehoshaphat, invery shady and delightful in those hot countries. The idol- deed, it is recorded that they took away the high places and aters in the first ages of the world, who generally worshipped groves (2 Chron. xiv. 3. xv. 16. xvii. 6.); but Jehoshaphat's the sun, appear to have thought it improper to straiten and son and successor, Jehoram, is said to have made high places confine the supposed infinity of this imaginary deity within in the mountains of Judah. (2 Chron. xxi. 11.) And though walls, and therefore they generally made choice of hills and Joash, one of his sons, set out well, yet in the latter part of mountains, as the most convenient places for their idolatry; his life he was perverted by his idolatrous courtiers, who and when in later times they had brought in the use of tem- served groves and idols, to whom it appears that he gave a ples, yet for a long time they kept them open-roofed. Nay, permission for that purpose; for, after making their obeisance, the patriarchs themselves, who worshipped the true God, we are told, that he hearkened to them, and then they left the generally built their altars near to some adjacent grove of house of God. (2 Chron. xxiv. 17, 18.) Nor was the reign trees, which, if nature denied, were usually planted by the of Amaziah the son of Joash any better, for still the people religious in those days. When Abraham dwelt at Beershe-sacrificed and burnt incense on the high places (2 Kings xiv. 4.); ba, in the plains of Mamre, it is said, He planted a grove and though Uzziah his son is said to have done that which there, and called upon the name of the Lord the everlasting God was right in the sight of God, yet this exception appears (Gen. xxi. 33.), and doubtless that was the place to which against him, that the high places were not removed, but the the patriarch and his family resorted for public worship.1 people still sacrificed there (2 Kings xv. 3, 4.); the same obserBut at length these hills and groves of the heathen idola-vation is made of Jotham and Ahaz. (2 Chron. xxviii. 4.) ters, as they were more retired and shady, became so much But Hezekiah, who succeeded him, was a prince of extrathe fitter for the exercise of their unholy rites, and for the ordinary piety: he removed the high places, and brake the commission of the obscene and horrid practices that were images, and cut down the groves (2 Kings xviii. 4.), which his usually perpetrated there. (See 1 Kings xv. 12. 2 Kings son Manasseh again built up. (2 Kings xxi. 2.) At length xxiii. 7. In many passages of Scripture it is recorded of good king Josiah, a prince very zealous for the true religion, the Israelites (who in this respect imitated the heathens) utterly cleared the land from the high places and groves, and that they secretly did the things which were not right, that purged it from idolatry: but as the four succeeding reigns they set up images and groves in every high hill, and under before the Babylonian captivity were very wicked, we may every green tree, and there burnt incense in all the high places, presume that the high places were again revived, though and wrought wickedness to provoke the Lord, as did the heathen. there is no mention of them after the reign of Josiah.2 (2 Kings xvii. 9-13.) On this account, therefore, God expressly commanded the Israelites utterly to destroy all the places wherein the nations of Canaan, whose land they should possess, served their gods upon the high mountains and upon the hills and to pay their devotions and bring their oblations to that place only which God should choose. (Deut. xii. 2-15.) Nay, to prevent every approach to the idolatrous customs of the heathens, they were forbidden to plant any trees near the altar of the Lord. (Deut. xvi. 21.) Hence it is clear, that after God should fix upon a place for his public worship, it was entirely unlawful to offer sacrifices upon high places, or any where else but in the place God did choose: so that after the building of the temple, the prohibition of places and groves (so far at least as concerned the sacrificing in them) unquestionably took place. And it was for their disobedience to this command, by their sacrificing upon These places of worship were very common in Judæa (and high places and in groves, even after the temple was erected (2 it should seem in retired mountainous or elevated places) in Kings xv, 35.), and for not destroying the high places of the the time of Christ; they were also numerous at Alexandria, heathens, where their idol gods were worshipped, which by which was at that time a large and flourishing commercial that command and in many other places of Scripture (Num. city, inhabited by vast numbers of Jews: and it appears that xxxiii, 52.), they were expressly appointed to do;-that the in heathen countries they were erected in sequestered retreats, prophets with so much holy zeal reproached the Israelites. commonly on the banks of rivers, or on the sea shore. The We have, indeed, several instances in Scripture besides that of proseucha or oratory at Philippi, where the Lord opened the Abraham, where the prophets and other good men are said to heart of Lydia, that she attended unto the things which were have made use of these high places for sacrificing, as well spoken by Paul, was by a river side. (Acts xvi. 13, 14, 15.)3 as other less solemn acts of devotion, and which are not It is a question with some learned men, whether these condemned. Thus, Samuel, upon the uncertain abode of the proseuche were the same as the synagogues (of which an ark, fitted up a place of devotion for himself and his family account will be found in the following section), or distinct in a high place, and built an altar there, and sacrificed upon edifices from the latter. Both Josephus and Philo, to whom it. (1 Sam. ix, 12. 19. 25.) Gideon also built an altar and we may add Juvenal, appear to have considered them as offered a sacrifice to God upon the top of a rock (Judg. vi. synonymous; and with them agree Gro:ius, Ernesti, Drs. 25, 26.); and the tabernacle itself was removed to the high Whitby, Doddridge, and Lardner; but Calmet, Drs. Priplace that was at Gibeon. (1 Chron. xvi. 39. and xxi. 29.) deaux and Hammond, and others, have distinguished between But all this was before the temple was erected, which was these two sorts of buildings, and have shown that though the first fixed place that God appointed for his public wor- they were nearly the same, and were sometimes confounded ship; after which other places for sacrificing became unlawful. by Philo and Josephus, yet that there was a real difference That the Israelites, both kings and people, offered sacrifices between them; the synagogues being in cities, while the upon these high places even after the temple was built, will proseuche were without the walls, in sequestered spots, and evidently appear by noticing a few passages in their history; for (not to mention Jeroboam and his successors in the king- liticks, pp. 90-99, 2 Home's Hist. of the Jews, vol. ii. pp. 161-166. Croxall's Scripture Podom of Israel, whose professed purpose was to innovate every 3 Josephus has preserved the decree of the city of Halicarnassus, perthing in matters of religion, and who had peculiar priests mitting the Jews to erect oratories, part of which is in the following terms: whom they termed prophets of the groves, 1 Kings xviii. 19.) serve the Sabbaths and perform sacred rites according to the Jewish law, "We ordain, that the who are willing, both men women, do obit is clear that most of the kings of Judah,-even such of and build proseucha by the sea-side, according to the custom of their coun them who were otherwise zealous for the observance of the try; and if any man, whether magistrate or private person, give them any law, are expressly recorded as blameable on this head, and xiv. c. 10. § 23. hinderance or disturbance, he shall pay a fine to the city." Ant. Jud. lib. but few have the commendation given them of destroying venal, Sat. iii. 14. Grotius, Whitby, and Doddridge on Luke vi. 12. Ernesti Philo de de Vita §54. Ju■ Many ancient nations used to erect altars and offer sacrifices to their Institutio Interpretis Novi Testamenti, pp. 363, 364. edit. 4to. 1792. Lard. gods upon high places and mountains. See the examples adduced in Burner's Credibility, book i. c. 3. §3. Dr. Harwood's Introduction to the New der's Oriental Literature, vol. i. p. 233, Testament, vol. ii. pp. 171-180.