-Temple Mount and Ophel
-With cistern explainations
|5 location Theories
-Map and info
-Map of City Walls
-On the highest hill
-What was Triple Gate?
-Not Huldah Gate
-Who built it?
-Ruins reveal the location
-illustration 70 AD
-According to ruins
-According to Josephus
- from David to Herod
-A little history
(updated March 3, 2013)
by Norma Robertson
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and Cistern #11
Dimensions of Solomon's Portico
Attached to the original temple of Solomon was "the porch of judgment" where king Solomon had constructed a large hall 50 cubits long and 30 cubits wide. Originally there was cedar from floor to ceiling. This was the hall of judgment where the king would make judgments and exercise justice. The "porch" or "portico" was located on the east side of the outer court of the New Testament temple of Herod.
Also Josephus gives the full length of Solomon's east wall as 400 cubit (what appears to be in Roman cubits) which is the length Solomon's east wall (in Green) on the diagram above.
The lower section of the Triple Gate halls on Warren's map, is a three-aisled portico, and is approximately 50 x 30 Hebrew cubits. The woman's court was called the outer court.
Also Josephus gives the full length of Solomon's east wall as 400 cubit (Josephus used Roman cubits @17.5), which is the same length Solomon's east wall (in Green) on the diagram above.
To think that Solomonís Porch/Portico might still exist
to this day, buried beneath the surface of the Temple Mount, is amazing
to say the least.
Solomon's Temple according to Josephus Flavius
War of the Jews - BOOK 5, CH. 5
A DESCRIPTION OF THE TEMPLE.
1. NOW this temple, as I have already
said, was built upon a strong hill. At first
the plain at the top was hardly sufficient
for the holy house and the altar, for the ground about it was very uneven,
and like a precipice; but when king Solomon,
who was the person that built the temple, had built a wall to it on
its east side, there was then added one cloister founded on
a bank cast up for it, and on the other parts the holy house
But in future ages the people added new banks, (12) and the hill became a larger plain.
This cloister/portico on the east was called Solomon's porch or portico. According to Josephus the portico was built upon a bank cast up for it, which would be the big E shaped structure underneath it. This structure allowed the portico to be built on the edge of the hill over looking the kidron valley.
It is written
Solomon's Porch was on the east side of the courtyard adjacent to the many porticoes surrounding the courtyard. Jesus walked in Solomon's Porch (John 10:23); Peter and John healed a lame man at Solomon's Porch (Acts 3:1-11); the early church met on Solomon's Porch (Acts 5:12).
2986 \Porch, Solomon's\ - a colonnade on the east of the temple, so called from a tradition that it was a relic of Solomon's temple left standing after the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians. (Comp. 1 Kings 7:6.) The word "porch" is in the New Testament the rendering of the Greek word: por'-ti-ko- Stoa, meaning a portico or verandah (John 5:2; 10:23; Acts 3:11; 5:12).
In architecture a "porch" is strictly an exterior structure forming a covered approach to the entrance of a building; a "portico" is an ambulatory, consisting of a roof supported by columns placed at regular intervals--a roofed colonnade.
The portico bearing
Solomon's name was that running along the eastern wall. The portico
was the scene of Christ's teaching at the Feast of the Dedication (John
10:23), and was flocked to by the multitude after the healing of the lame
man (Acts 3:11 "the porch that is called Solomon's"). There the apostles
preached and wrought other miracles (Acts 5:12).
Herod did not rebuild Solomon's porch, called the eastern
The workers wanted to rebuild the eastern cloisters. (The
request was denied)
A portion of the temple which according to Josephus remained from Solomon's time. Josephus Flavius Ant. 20:9, section 7 "These cloisters belonged to the outer court, and were situated in a deep valley, and had walls that reached four hundred cubits [in length], and were built of square and very white stones, the length of each of which stones was twenty cubits, and their height six cubits. This was the work of king Solomon, who first of all built the entire temple"
These gates, although visible from the outside, are in fact enter into passages below the ground level of the surface within the Temple Mount.
This open aired Portico
would have been built as a covered area for entering the eastern gate of
the Temple complex, needed because of the steepness of the hill and the
high elevation of the complex wall above the Kidron Valley. The Porch was
entered from a southern entrance, and from the porch, the King would
then enter the Temple Compound through the East gate.
The three openings on the wall show where the gates are.
Below I have drawn the gates in place.
Notice the western gate is on the west side of the wall and the other two gates are on the eastern side of the wall. This means that the western passageway was within Solomon's temple compound, past of the eastern court of the gentiles and the other two were the porch outside the temple compound. The row of arches between the two vaulted passages actually acted as the eastern wall for this section of the temple compound.
Only the top portion of the arches can be seen above the dirt and rubble in these passages.
Below excerpts from:
Ordnance Survey Office,
Southampton, 29th March 1866.
Colonel Royal Engineers
Italic font in parentheses added by me.
(Part of the survey concerning Triple gate from outside the south wall);
"The " triple gateway" is closed with small masonry, its arches are semicircular, with a span of 13 feet, and the stones in both piers and arches have plain chiseled faces. In front of the gateway are some large fiat slabs of stone, which appear to have formed part of a flight of steps leading up to it; an excavation was made here, and three passages discovered by Monsr. De Saulcy explored, a description of which will be given in another place. To the west of the gateway there are two courses of (Herod) stones with the draft, and one of these can be traced to the " double gateway," where it abruptly terminates; this course is of some height, 5 feet 5 inches being seen above ground, and the blocks are finely finished with plain picked faces, and 3.25 inch draft chiseled round the margins; one of these stones, which forms part of the left jamb of the western entrance of the "triple gateway," has a molding worked on it, which seems to have been intended as a sort of architrave, (a beam; a beam resting on the top of a column ) and to have been worked at the time the gateway was built, certainly after the stone was set; on its face the characters shown in Sketch 4, Plate XI can be traced.
(Note: The excerpt below is part of the description Warren gave after being led through the substructure of the terraced area of the south east corner called Solomon's Stables. Warren is then lead into the area of the Triple Gate ruins from the inside):
"The remaining part of the substructure is made up of the three vaulted passages leading from the "Triple Gateway," (leading north) these appear to have been built at the same time as the other vaults; but having been intended as an entrance, the eastern boundary is of solid masonry, through which there is an entrance from the other substructures, by a slightly elliptical doorway, the arch having a span of 5 feet 9 inches, and rise of 3 feet 4 inches.
There is a large accumulation of rubbish in the passages, especially the two eastern ones, which cannot be traced far.
"The jambs of the "Triple Gateway" seen from the inside, (Note; Warren now facing south viewing the three arches in the south wall from the inside) are made out of old material, the one on the west has a portion of an engaged column, similar to those at the Golden Gate, built into it at the bottom, but there was too much rubbish to see whether this was a portion of an older building "in situ," (meaning original construction) or merely a stone taken from some other gateway; it may be mentioned that several of these stones are found lying about and built in, in the immediate neighborhood.
On examining the west wall or boundary
these passages, the pilaster (a supporting
column projecting slightly from a wall)
were found to be cut out of the solid masonry of an older building,
so as to correspond with the piers supporting the vaults.
Not far from the gateway a hole in the ground opens into a short passage which, passing beneath the western wall, leads to a cistern (No. X.). the first part of the passage is through rubbish, and is roofed with large flat stones, but the latter part is cut in the solid rock.
higher up there is a hole on the
right-hand side, partly excavated in the rock, and beyond this on the left
there is, in the side of the wall, either
a large stone or a portion of the natural rock which looks very like the
lintel of an old doorway. The
surface of the rubbish rises to the under side of this, but a stick between
three and four feet long could be pushed in horizontally, and the ground
beneath appeared to be soft; the distance between the vertical joints was
18 feet 2 inches.
A little higher up the passage are the remains of a water pipe (partly embedded in a groove cut in the wall), for conducting surface drainage into the cisterns ; from this point to the end of the passage, the western wall is formed of the natural rock scarped down. Some of the arches near the gateway have been supported by columns placed under their centres, and others look as if they would soon need it, the roots of trees having in several places forced their way through.
Solomon's porch/portico was at one time the boundary of the temple compound on the east.
The substructures east of triple gate, called Solomon's Stables by the Crusaders, was built a thousand years later with recycled Herodian stones.
There were deep valleys on the west and east of the threshing floor that King David had purchased, Solomon had to come up with some pretty ingenious ideas to increase the top of the mount. We can see that work today but it is hard to recognize because it is buried deep beneath a now flat surface of the temple mount, which is many times larger then what was there in Solomon's time.
Warren and Wilson's maps show substructures that would have, at one time, been on the edge of the cliff of the Kidron Valley.
The vaulted passage from the Triple Gate lies appoxamatly 5 feet under the surface of the Temple Mount. Directly below that is cistern #11 (big E). The bottom of the cistern is 61 feet 6 inches below the surface of the ground. It consists of three tanks, each about 26 feet by 40 feet, lying east and west, connected by a passage 14 feet wide, running north and south. The roof is cut in rock, in the form of arches. Steps cut in the rock run up along the west side, and issue close to the mouth of the cistern. There is the foundation of a massive wall on the rock to west of steps.
When Solomon built a portico east of the Temple it had to be built on the side of a steep hill. This was called Solomon's Porch/portico: the kings entrance. His palace was between the city of David and this entrance, built on the Ophel south east of the temple.
When I lay my diagram of the Temple in Solomon's time over Warren's map the western passage and arch of the triple passages is within the eastern wall of the compound and the two eastern passages are outside the wall.
Quote: After building the Temple, Solomon also erected a palace, a hall of justice, an armory, and other administrative buildings on Mount Moriah.
Solomon's palace was built at a lower elevation just southeast of the Temple.
Hall of Judgement (Solomon's Porch) where he would pronounce judgment in those matters of law that were brought before him.
The armory (the treasury of the Temple) was an exedra, (Hebrew, siderot, "arrangement of columns") a three-story, semi-circular building (perhaps with one long side and three shorter sides at the back rather than a truly curved back) whose roof was supported by three rows of columns, giving the appearance of its interior an effect something like that of a forest. It's rear wall continued this motif, having murals of trees. Because of this motif, the armory was called the House of the Forest of Lebanon. It was a place for judges to meet and discuss cases.
These three buildings lay outside the square of the Temple Mount.
From 1968 to 1977, large-scale excavations took place in Jerusalem along the southern wall of the Temple Mount and the southern portion of the western wall. In the area of the Ophel, south of the eastern Hulda Gate (Triple Gate), remains of a royal building complex of the First Temple period were discovered.
Further evidence of the Davidic dynasty was found in 1986 by archaeologist Eilat Mazar. Digging on the southeast Ophel slope, she discovered an eighth-century B.C. gate that may well have led to the First Temple area. Beyond it: an area that appears to have been a royal administrative center.
Major construction units of this area from the outset of construction in the First Temple period: two towers, a gate, and an adjacent royal building, apparently first built in the 9th century BCE.