[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]


Plan of the TEMPLE AT JERUSALEM, according to Lamy and Calmet.

sion, is one of the noblest and most sublime compositions in SECTION II.

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 pro

tection of the Israelites from the time of their departure out 1. The temple of Solomon.-II. The second temple.--Its va- of Egypt; and imploring pardon and forgiveness for all their

rious courts.- Reverence of the Jews for it.-III, Notice of sins and transgressions in the land, and during the captivithe temples at Heliopolis and Gerizim.

ties which might ensue.? Various attempts have been made

to describe the proportions and several parts of this strucACCORDING to the opinion of some writers, there were three ture; but as no two writers scarcely agree on this subject, a temples, viz. the first, erected by Solomon; the second, by minute description of it is designedly omitted. It retained Zerubbabel and Joshua, the high-priest; and the third, by its pristine splendour only thirty-three or thirty-four years, Herod a few years before the birth of Christ. But this opi- when Shishak king of Egypt took Jerusalem, and carried nion is very properly rejected by the Jews: who do not away the treasures of the temple; and after undergoing suballow the third to be a new temple, but only the second tem-sequent profanations and pillages, this stupendous building ple rebuilt: and this opinion corresponds with the prophecy was finally plundered and burnt by the Chaldæans under of Haggai (ii. 9.), that the glory of this latter house--the tem- Nebuchadnezzar in the year of the world 3416, or before ple built by Zerubbabel, should be greater than that of the Christ 584. (2 Kings xxv. 13—15. 2 Chron. xxxvi. 17–20.) former; which prediction was uttered with reference to the II. After the captivity the temple emerged from its ruins, Messiah's honouring it with his presence and ministry. being, rebuilt by Zerubbabel, but with vastly inferior and

1. The first temple is that which usually bears the name diminished glory; as appears from the tears of the aged men of SOLOMON; the materials for which were provided by David who had beheld the former structure in all its grandeur. before his death, though the edifice was raised by his son. (Ezra iii. 12.), The second temple was profaned by order It stood on Mount Moriah, an eminence of the mountainous of Antiochus Epiphanes (A. M. 3837, B. c. 163); who caused ridge in the Scriptures termed Mount Sion (Psal. cxxxii. the daily sacrifice to be discontinued, and erected the image 13, 14.), which had been purchased of Araunah or Ornan the of Jupiter Olympius on the altar of burnt-offering. In this Jebusite. (2 Sam. xxiv. 23, 24. 1 Chron. xxi. 25.) The condition it continued three years (2 Macc. x. 128.), when plan and whole model of this superb structure were formed Judas Maccabæus purified and repaired it, and restored the after that of the tabernacle, but of much larger dimensions. sacrifices and true worship of Jehovah. (A. M. 3840, B. C. It was surrounded, except at the front or east end, by three 160.) stories of chambers, each five cubits square, which reached Some years before the birth of our Saviour, the repairing to half the height of the temple; and the front was orna- or rather gradual rebuilding of this second temple, which mented with a magnificent portico, which rose to the height had become decayed in the lapse of five centuries, was unof one hundred and twenty cubits : so that the form of the dertaken by Herod the Great, who for nine years employed whole edifice was not unlike that of some ancient churches eighteen thousand workmen upon it, and spared no expense which have a lofty tower in the front, and a low aisle run- to render it equal, if not superior, in magnitude, splendour, ning along each side of the building. The utensils for the and beauty to any thing among mankind. Josephus calls it sacred service were the same; excepting that several of a work the most admirable of any that had ever been seen them, as the altar, candlestick, &c. were larger, in propor- or heard of, both for its curious structure and its magnitude, tion to the more spacious edifice to which they belonged. and also for the vast wealth expended upon it, as well as for Seven years and six months were occupied in the erection the universal reputation of its sanctity. But though Herod of the superb and magnificent temple of Solomon; by whom accomplished his original design in the time above specified, it was dedicated with peculiar solemnity to the worship of the Most High, who on this occasion vouchsafed to honour 2 Hales's Chronology, vol. ii. p. 393. it with the Shechinah, or visible manifestation of His pre- supposed to have been, in Hame's Hist

. of the Jews, vol. ii

. pp. 149–158.

3 The reader will find a copious description of what the first temple is sence. The prayer of the Hebrew monarch, on this occa- In the year of the world 3033 ; before Christ 967. 1 Kings xiv. 25, 26.

2 Chron. xii. 9.

Ezra i.-vi. Josephus, Ant. Jud. lib. xi. c. 4., · In the year of the world 3001; before Christ 999.

a De Bell. Jud. lib. vi. c. 4. $ 8.

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.?

that remained in the second temple, the piazza which stood Before we proceed to describe this venerable edifice, it upon it retained the name of that prince. Here it was that may be proper to remark, that by the temple is to be under our Lord was walking at the feast of dedication (John x. stood not only the fabric or house itself, which by way of 23.), and the lame man, when healed by Peter and John, eminence is called The Temple, viz. the holy of holies, the glorified God before all the people. (Acts iii. 11.) This susanctuary, 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 represents it as the noblest work beneath the sun, being elewhich this prodigious edifice comprehended, and each of vated to such a prodigious height that no one could look which had its respective degree of holiness, increasing in down from its flat roof to the valley below without being proportion to its contiguity to the holy of holies. This re- seized with dizziness, the sight not reaching to such an immark it will be necessary to bear in mind, lest the reader of measurable depth. The south-east corner of the roof of this the Scriptures should be led to suppose that whatever is portico, where the height was greatest, is supposed to have there said to be transacted in the temple was actually done been the 7tefuz ev, pinnacle, or extreme angle, whence Satan 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 Luke iv. 9.) This also was the spot where it was predicted Lord refers (John xiv. 2.); and, by a very striking and mag- that the abomination of desolation, or the Roman ensigns, nificent simile borrowed from them, he represents those nu- should stand. (Dan. ix. 27. Matt. xxiv. 15.) Solomon's pormerous seats and mansions of heavenly bliss which his tico was situated in the eastern front of the temple, opposite Father's house contained, and which were prepared for the to the Mount of Olives, where our Lord is said to have sat everlasting abode of the righteous. The imagery is singu- when his disciples came to show him the grandeur of its larly beautiful and happy, when considered as an allusion to various buildings, of which, grand as they were, he said, the the temple, which our Lord not unfrequently called his time was approaching when one stone should not be left upon Father's house.

another. (Matt. xxiv. 1-3.) This outermost court being The second temple, originally built by Zerubbabel, after assigned to the Gentile proselytes, the Jews, who did not worthe captivity, and repaired by Herod, differed in several re- ship in it themselves, conceived that it might be lawfully spects from that erected by Solomon, although they agreed put to profane uses: for here we find that the buyers and in others.

sellers of animals for sacrifices, and also the money-changers, -The temple erected by Solomon was more splendid and had stationed themselves; until Jesus Christ, awing them magnificent than the second temple, which was deficient in into submission by the grandeur and dignity of his person five remarkable things that constituted the chief glory of the and behaviour, expelled them, telling them that it was the first:—these were the ark and mercy-seat,—the shechinah house of prayer for all nations, and that it had a relative or manifestation of the divine Presence in the holy of holies, sanctity, and was not to be profaned. It is not improbable, -the sacred fire on the altar, which had been first kindled that the captains of the temple, who were officers that had from heaven,—the urim and thummim,—and the spirit of the care and charge of it, let out this court for profit and adprophecy. But the second temple surpassed the first in vantage; and that the sellers, to compensate themselves for glory, being honoured by the frequent presence of our divine what they paid for their tables and seats, made an unjust Saviour, agreeably to the prediction of Haggai. (ii

. 9.) Both, and exorbitant gain; and that this circumstance occasioned however, were erected upon the same site, a very hard rock its being called a den of thieves." (Matt. xxi. 12, 13. Mark encompassed by a very frightful precipice; and the founda- xi. 15–17. Luke xix. 45, 46.) tion was laid with incredible expense and labour. The su- 2. Within the court of the Gentiles stood the Court of perstructure was not inferior to this great work; the height THE ISRAELITES divided into two parts or courts, the outer of the temple wall, especially on the south side, was stupen- one being appropriated to the women, and the inner one to dous; in the lowest places it was three hundred cubits or four the men. The Court of the Women was separated from hundred and fifty feet, and in some places even greater. This that of the Gentiles by a low stone wall or partition, of elemost magnificent pile was constructed with hard white stones gant construction, on which stood pillars at equal distances, of prodigious magnitude.2.

with inscriptions in Greek and Latín, importing that no alien The temple itself

, strictly so called (which comprised the should enter into the holy place To this wall St. Paul most portico, the sanctuary, and the

holy of holies), formed only a evidently alludes in Eph. ii. 13, 14. But now in Christ small part of the sacred edifice on Mount Moriah; being Jesus, , who sometimes were far off, are made nigh by the surrounded by spacious courts, making a square of half a blood of Christ : for he is our peace, who hath made both one mile in circumference. It was entered through nine magni- (united both Jews and Gentiles into one church), and hath ficent gates; one of which, called the Beautiful Gate in Acts broken down the middle wall of partition between us ; haviii. 2., was more splendid and costly than all the rest: it ing abolished the law of ordinances by, which, as by the was composed of Corinthian brass, the most precious metal wall of separation, both Jews and Gentiles were not only in ancient times.

kept asunder, but also at variance. In this court was the 1. The first or outer court, which encompassed the holy treasury, over-against which Christ sat, and beheld how the house and the other courts, was named the Court of the people threw their voluntary offerings into it for furnishing Gentiles; because the latter were allowed to enter into it, the victims and other things necessary for the sacrifices. but were prohibited from advancing further: it was sur- (Mark xii. 41. John viii. 20.) rounded by a range of porticoes or cloisters, above which From the court of the women, which was on higher were galleries or apartments supported by pillars of white ground than that of the Gentiles, there was an ascent of fifmarble, each consisting of a single piece, and five-and-twenty teen steps into the Inner or Men's Court: and so called becubits in height. One of these was called SOLOMON's cause it was appropriated to the worship of the male Israel. Porch or Piazza, because it stood on a vast terrace, which ites. In these two courts, collectively termed the Court of he had originally raised from a valley beneath, four hundred the Israelites, were the people praying, each apart by himself

for the pardon of his síns, while Zechariah was offering in1 John ii. 20. There is, therefore, no real contradiction between the cense within the sanctuary. (Luke i. 10.) 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 phus 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 tigonus. 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 do. nations of the people (Bell. Jud. v. 14.) to the time of Nero, when it was 3 Antiq. Jud. lib. xv. c. 11. $3. completed, and 18,000 workmen were dismissed from that service, during • Ofthe same kind with these porticoes, cloisters, or piazzas, were doubtthe procuratorship of Albinus. From the eighteenth of Herod, who reigned less the five porticoes which surrounded the pool of Bethesda. (John v. 2) thirty-seven years, to the birth of Christ, more than a year before the The pool was probably a pentagon, and the

piazzas round it were designed death of that prince, was above sixteen years, added to which, the age of to shelter from the weather the multitude of diseased persons who lay waitChrist, now thirty, gives forty-six complete years. Calmet's Comment in ing for a cure by the miraculous virtue of those waters. Jennings's Jewish

Antiq. p. 267. . Antiq. Jud. lib. xv. $ 5.

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

BABA 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 (3.) The Holy of Holies was twenty cubits square. No grace through the one great mediator, Jesus Christ. (Heb. person was ever admitted into it but the high-priest, who X. 19–22.) This corresponded with the Holy Place in the entered it once a year on the great day of atonement. (Exod. Tabernacle. In it were placed the Golden Candlestick, the xxx. 10. Lev. xvi. 2. 15. 34. Heb. ix. 2—7.)2 Altar of Incense, and the Table of Shew-Bread, which con- Magnificent as the rest of the sacred edifice was, it was sisted of twelve loaves, according to the number of the tribes infinitely surpassed in splendour by the Inner Temple or of Israel. Various fanciful delineations have been given of Sanctuary. Its appearance,” according to Josephus, had these articles : in the subjoined engraving is represented the every thing that could strike the mind or astonish the sight: form of the Golden CANDLESTICK as it was actually carried for it was covered on every side with plates of gold, so that in the triumphal procession of the Roman General Titus; 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 (FOTATCL 1901, 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.) 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 Babylunish 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 and the following engraving exhibits the Table of Shew- instructions, happening to say, Destroy this temple, and in

never to be forgiven. Our Saviour, in the course of his public Bread, with a cup upon it, and with two of the sacred trum- three days I will raise it up again (John i. 19.), it was construed pets, which were used to proclaim the year of Jubilee, as into a contemptuous disrespect, designedly thrown out against they were also carried in the same triumph. They are co- the temple; his words instantly descended into the heart of pied from the plates in Reland's Treatise on the Spoils of the Temple of Jerusalem, the drawings for which were 3 Godwin's Moses and Aaron, book ii. ch. 1.; Jennings's Jewish Antiqui. made 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.

pp. 145–150.) Pareau, Antiquitas Hebraica, pp. 196 -203.; Brunings, than it now is.

Antiq. Hebr. pp. 165–172.

3 Josephus, Antiq. Jud. lib. xv. c. 11. $3. De Bell, Jud. lib. v. c. 5. $$ 1 Hadr. Relandus de Spoliis Templi in Arcu Titiano Romæ conspicuis, 1-6. Trajecti ad Rhenum, 1775. 8vo.

• Dr. Harwood's Introd. to the New Test. vol. ii. pp. 159. 161.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


a Jew, and kept rankling there for several years; for upon those who were deemed to be seditious, without the interhis trial, this declaration, which it was impossible for a Jew vention of the Roman procurator. ever to forget or to forgive, was immediately alleged against III. Besides the temple at Jerusalem, two others were him as big with the most atrocious guilt and impiety: they erected, viz: one in Egypt, and another on Mount Gerizim, told the court they had heard him publicly assert, I am able of which the following notice may not be unacceptable to the to destroy this temple. The rancour and virulence they had reader :conceived against him for this speech, which they imagined 1. The HELIOPOLITAN TEMPLE, also called the Temple of had been levelled against the temple, was not softened by all Onias, was erected in imitation of that at Jerusalem by the affecting circumstances of that excruciating and wretched Onias, the son of Onias the high priest: who finding that death they saw him die: even as he hung upon the cross, no hope remained of his being restored to the pontifical dig. with infinite triumph, scorn, and exultation, they upbraided nity which had been held by his ancestors, fled into Egypt him with it, contemptuously shaking their heads, and saying, in the time of Antiochus Épiphanes. Having acquired Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, great favour with the then reigning sovereign, Ptolemy Phisave thyself! If thou be the Son of God, come down from the lometer, and his queen Cleopatra, by his skill in political cross. (Matt

. xxvii. 40.) The superstitious veneration, which and military affairs, Onias represented to them, that it would this people had for their temple, further appears from the ac- be productive of great advantage to their kingdom, if the count of Stephen. When his adversaries were baffled and numerous Jewish inhabitants of Egypt and Cyrene could have confounded by that superior wisdom and those distinguished a temple of their own, which would supersede the necessity gifts which he possessed, they were so exasperated at the of their repairing to Jerusalem in the dominions of a foreign victory he had gained over them, that they suborned persons monarch, to perform their religious services: and that, if to swear that they had heard him speak blasphemy against such a temple were built, many more Jews would be induced Moses and against God. These inflaming the populace, the to settle in the country, as Judæa was continually exposed magistrates, and the Jewish clergy, the holy man was seized, to the evils of war. By such representations he at length dragged away, and brought before the Sanhedrin. Here the obtained permission to erect a temple for the Jews, on the false witnesses, whom they had procured, stood up and said, site of an ancient temple of Bubastis or Isis, in the city of This person before you is continually uttering the most re- Leontopolis in the Heliopolitan nome (or district) over which proachful expressions against this sacred place, meaning the he was governor." To the Jews he justified his undertaktemple. This was blasphemy not to be pardoned. A judi-ing, on the plea that the building of such a temple had been cature composed of high-priests and scribes would never for- predicted by the prophet Isaiah, who lived about six hundred give such impiety.

years before. Accordingly, the temple was completed on “ Thus, also, when St. Paul went into the temple to give the model of that at Jerusalem. Onias was invested with public notice, as was usual, to the priests, of his having the high-priesthood; the subordinate priests were furnished purified and bound himself with a religious vow along with from the descendants of Aaron: Levites were employed in four other persons, declaring the time when his vow was the sacred services; and the whole of their religious wormade, and the oblations he would offer for every one of them ship was performed in the same manner as at Jerusalem. at his own expense, when the time of their vow was accom- Though the Heliopolitan temple was smaller in its dimenplished, some Jews of Asia Minor, when the seven days pre- sions than the temple at Jerusalem, it was made conformascribed by the law were almost completed, happening to see ble to the latter in every respect, except that a golden lamp him in the temple, struck with horror at the sight of such suspended by a golden chain was substituted for a candleapprehended profanation, immediately excited the populace, stick. It was also adorned with votive gifts. This temple who all at once rushed upon him and instantly seized him, continued until the time of Vespasian, who, in consequence vehemently exclaiming, Men of Israel, help! This is the man of a tumult which had been raised by the Jews in Egypt, that teacheth all men every where against the people (the Jews), commanded Lupus the governor to demolish it. Accordingly, and the law, and this place; and, further, brought Greeks into the gates were effectually closed, so that no vestiges rethe temple, and hath polluted this holy place. (Acts xxi. 28.) mained of any divine worship having been there performed. They said this, because they had a little before seen Trophi- This occurrence took place three hundred and forty-three mus an Ephesian along with him in the city, and they in- years after the building of the temple. In 2 Macc. i. 1—9. stantly concluded he had brought him into the temple. Upon there is an epistle from the Jews at Jerusalem to those in this the whole city was immediately raised; all the people Egypt. at once rushed furiously upon him, and dragged him out of 2. The TEMPLE ON Mount Gerizim was erected by Santhe temple, whose doors were instantly shut. Being deter- ballat, under the authority of Alexander the Great, for the mined to murder him, news was carried to the Roman tribune use of the Samaritans; who, on the return of the Jews from that the whole city was in a commotion. The uproar now the Babylonish captivity, pretended that they were of the raised among the Jews, and their determined resolution to stock of the true and ancient Hebrews, and that their mounimbrue their hands in the blood of a person who had spoken tain was the most proper place of worship. (Upon this disrespectfully of the temple, and who they apprehended had principle the Samaritan women argued with Jesus Christ in wantonly profaned it by introducing Greeks into it, verify John ív. 20.) Sanballat constituted his son-in-law Manasseh and illustrate the declaration of Philo; that it was certain the first high-priest. This temple was destroyed about two and inevitable death for any one who was not a Jew to set hundred years afterwards by Hyrcanus, and was rebuilt by his foot within the inner courts of the temple.”3

the Samaritans, between whom and the Jews there subsisted It only remains to add, that it appears from several pas- the bitterest animosity.8 Representations of this temple are sages of Scripture, that “ the Jews had a body of soldiers who to be seen on the coins of the city of Sichem or Neapolis." 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

SECTION III. he would make the sepulchre secure.

Ye have a watch, go your way, and make it as secure as ye can. (Matt. xxvii. 65.) OF THE HIGH PLACES, AND PROSEUCHÆ, OR ORATORIES Over these guards one person had the supreme command, who in several places is called the CAPTAIN OF THE TEMPLE (Ergarnos

tol *legos), or officer of the temple guard. And I. Of the high places.II. Of the proseuche, or oratories. as they spake unto the people, the priests and the captain of the temple and the Sadducees came upon them.' (Acts iv. 1.

I. Besides the tabernacle, which has been described in a v. 25, 26. John xviii. 12.) Josephus mentions such an offi- former section, frequent mention is made, in the Old Testacer."4 It should seem that this officer was a Jew, from the ment, of places of Worship, called High Places, which circumstance of his assisting the high-priest in arresting

were in use both before and after the building of the temple.


1 Matt. xxvi. 61. . "This fellow said, I am able to destroy the temple of s Jahn's Hist. of Hebr. Commonwealth, vol. i. p. 348. God and to build it in three days."

6 There is a considerable diversity of opinion among commentators con. 9 Acts vi. 13.

cerning the interpretation of Isa. xix. 18, 19., which is the prediction above a Harwood's Introd. vol. ii. pp. 166–169.

alluded to. See Bp. Lowth's Isaiah, and Dr. Boothroyd's translation of the Tov otputuyov, Avxvov, Ananias, the commander of the temple. Antiq. Bible on that passage. Jud. lib. xx. c. 6. $2. Bell. Jud. lib. ii. c. 17. 6 2. A popWvTis:15 TOU Encu

(upov 1 Josephus, Ant. Jud. lib. xiii. c. 3. Bell. Jud. lib. vii. c. 10. Schulzil otputug OUT", having the chief regard to Eleazar, the governor of the Archæol. Hebr. pp. 221, 222. Pareau, Antiq. Hebr. p. 203. temple. Bell. Jud. lib. ii. c. 17. 62. edit. Hudson. Harwood's Introd. vol. 8 Josephus, Ant. Jud. lib. x. c. 8. $62–4. lib. xiii. c. 9. $1. ii . p. 169. and Dr. Lardner's Credibility, book i. ch. xi. & 1. ch. ix. $4.

Schulzii Archæol. Hebr. p. 221 Pareau, Ant. Hebr. p. 229.

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 evii 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: people still sacrificed there (2 Kings xv. 3, 4.); the same obser

But 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 IIezekiah, 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. 7.5 In many passages of Scripture it is recorded of good king Josiah, a prince very zealous for the true religion, the Israélites (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 wickednīess 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 ex- II. From the preceding facts and remarks, however, we pressly commanded the Israelites utterly to destroy all the are not to conclude, that the prohibition relating to high places wherein the nations of Canaan, whose land they places and groves, which extended chiefly to the more solemn should possess, served their gods upon the high mountains and acts of sacrificing there, did on any account extend to the upon the hills: and to pay their devotions and bring their prohibiting of other acts of devotion, particularly prayer, in oblations to that place only which God should choose. (Deut. any other place besides the temple, the high places and groves xii. 2—15.) Nay, to prevent every approach to the idola- of the heathen (which were ordered to be razed) only extrous customs of the heathens, they were forbidden to plant cepted. For we learn from the Sacred Writings, that prayers any trees near the altar of the Lord. (Deut. xvi. 21.) Hence are always acceptable to God in every place, when performed it is clear, that after God should fix upon a place for his pub- with that true and sincere devotion of heart, which alone lic worship, it was entirely unlawful to offer sacrifices upon gives life and vigour to our religious addresses. And therehigh places, or any where else but in the place God 'did fore it was that in many places of Judæa, both before and after choose: so that after the building of the temple, the pro- the Babylonian captivity, we find mention made in the Jewhibition of places and groves (so far at least as concerned the ish and other histories of places built purposely for prayer, and sacrificing in them) unquestionably took place. And it was for resorted to only for that end, called PROSCUCHÆ or ORATORIES. 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 proseuchæ 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 proseuchæ 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, per thing in matters of religion, and who had peculiar priests mitting the Jews to erect oratories, part of which is in the following terms: whoin they termed prophets of the groves, 1 Kings xvili, 19.) serve the Sabbaths and perform

sacred rites according to the Jewish law, it 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 • Philo de Legatione ad Caium, p. 1011. Josephus de Vita sua, $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.

venal, Sat. iii. 14. Grotius, Whitby, and Doddridge on Luke vi. 12. Ernesti fods upon high places and mountains. See the examples adduced in Bur- ner's Credibility, book i. c. 3. 93. Dr. Harwood's Introduction to the New der's Oriental Literature, vol. I. p. 233.

Testament, vol. ii. pp. 171-180.

« ElőzőTovább »