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Temple of Jerusalem, one of two people of two holy places that to be the centre of worship and national identity in ancient Israel.


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The west Wall, in the Old City of Jerusalem, every that continues to be of the retaining wall surrounding the holy place Mount.

In the early years the the Israelite kingdom, the Ark that the covenant was regularly moved about among several sanctuaries, especially those the Shechem and also Shiloh. After ~ King David’s catch of Jerusalem, however, the Ark was relocated to that city. This activity joined Israel’s major religious object through the monarchy and also the city itself into a central symbol that union the the Israelite tribes. As the website for a future temple, David determined Mount Moriah, or the holy place Mount, wherein it was thought Abraham had developed the altar top top which come sacrifice his boy Isaac.

The very first Temple was created during the regime of David’s son, Solomon, and completed in 957 bce. Various other sanctuaries preserved their religious functions, however, till Josiah (reigned c. 640–609 bce) abolished them and established the holy place of Jerusalem as the only place of sacrifice in the Kingdom that Judah.

The an initial Temple was built as one abode because that the Ark and as a ar of assembly because that the whole people. The building itself, therefore, was not large, however the courtyard was extensive. The Temple building faced eastward. It to be oblong and also consisted of 3 rooms of equal width: the porch, or vestibule (ʾulam); the main room of religious service, or divine Place (hekhal); and also the divine of Holies (devir), the sacred room in which the Ark rested. A storehouse (yaẓiʿa) surrounding the Temple except on its former (east) side.


The very first Temple consisted of five altars: one at the enntrance gate of the divine of Holies, two others in ~ the building, a large bronze one prior to the porch, and also a huge tiered altar in the courtyard. A substantial bronze bowl, or “sea,” in the courtyard was provided for the priests’ ablutions. In ~ the divine of Holies, 2 cherubim that olive hardwood stood through the Ark; this innermost sanctuary was taken into consideration the dwelling location of the divine Presence (Shekhina) and also could be gone into only through the high priest and also only top top the day of Atonement (Yom Kippur).

The Temple endured at the hand of Nebuchadrezzar II that Babylonia, who gotten rid of the temple treasures in 604 bce and 597 bce and also totally ruined the structure in 587/586. This destruction and the deportations the Jews come Babylonia in 586 and also 582 were seen as fulfillments the prophecy and, therefore, strengthened Judaic spiritual beliefs and also awakened the hope for the reestablishment the the independent Jewish state.

Cyrus II, founder the the Achaemenian dynasty of Persia and conqueror the Babylonia, in 538 bce authorize an order enabling exiled Jews to go back to Jerusalem and rebuild the Temple. Work-related was completed in 515 bce. There is no recognized detailed arrangement of the second Temple, which was built as a modest version of the original building. The was surrounded by 2 courtyards v chambers, gates, and a windy square. It did not include the ritual objects the the very first Temple; of special meaning was the ns of the Ark itself. Ritual, however, was elaborate and was performed by well-organized family members of priests and Levites.

During the Persian and also Hellenistic (4th–3rd century bce) periods, the Temple typically was respected, and also in part subsidized, through Judaea’s international rulers. Antiochus IV Epiphanes, however, plundered the in 169 bce and also desecrated it in 167 bce by commanding the sacrifices it is in made come Zeus on an altar developed for him. This final act touched turn off the Hasmonean revolt, throughout which Judas Maccabeus cleansed and also rededicated the Temple; the event is commemorated in the annual festival the Hanukkah.

During the roman inn conquest, Pompey entered (63 bce) the holy of Holies but left the holy place intact. In 54 bce, however, Crassus plundered the holy place treasury. Of major importance was the rebuilding that the 2nd Temple begun by Herod the Great, king (37 bce–4 ce) that Judaea.

Construction began in 20 bce and lasted because that 46 years. The area the the temple Mount was doubled and surrounded through a retaining wall with gates. The holy place was raised, enlarged, and also faced with white stone. The new Temple square offered as a collection place, and also its porticoes sheltered merchants and also money changers. A stone fence (soreg) and also a rampart (ḥel) surrounded the consecrated area forbidden come Gentiles. The Temple ideal began, on the east, v the Court the Women, every side that which had actually a gate and each edge of which had a chamber. This court was called for a bordering balcony ~ above which ladies observed the annual celebration that Sukkoth. The western door of the court, approached by a semicircular staircase, led to the Court the the Israelites, that part of the Court that Priests open to all masculine Jews. Neighboring the within sanctuary, the Court the Priests included the sacrificial altar and also a copper laver for priestly ablutions. This court to be itself surrounding by a wall broken v gates and chambers. The holy place sanctuary structure was more comprehensive in front than in the rear; its east facade had actually two pillars on either next of the door to the enntrance gate hall. In ~ the hall, a good gate resulted in the sanctuary, at the western finish of which to be the divine of Holies.

The Herodian temple was again the center of Israelite life. It was not only the emphasis of religious ritual but also the repository the the holy Scriptures and also other national literature and also the meeting ar of the Sanhedrin, the highest possible court that Jewish law throughout the roman period. The rebellion against Rome that began in 66 ce soon concentrated on the Temple and effectively ended with the Temple’s damage on the 9th/10th of Av, 70 ce.

All that continued to be of the retaining wall surrounding the holy place Mount was a portion of the Western wall surface (also called the Wailing Wall), which continues to be the emphasis of Jewish aspirations and also pilgrimage. Made part of the wall surrounding the Muslim Dome that the Rock and Al-Aqṣā Mosque in 691 ce, it returned to Jewish control in 1967.

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This post was most recently revised and also updated through Brian Duignan, an elderly Editor.