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From the time that David established himself in Jerusalem, the city was laid open to every one of the House of Israel, without reserve; and even circumcised strangers were occasionally allowed to dwell there, living during the term of their abode, without expense, upon the hospitality of its inhabitants. I
The Temple, as well as the city, stood within the boundaries of two tribes; being partly situated in that of Judah, and partly in that of Benjamin. 2 Of all contagions, the Jews feared that of pollution the most, and avoided with the utmost caution, the least tendency either to touch or approach any unhallowed or unclean thing. The bodies of the dead were never deposited within their walls, unless indeed, we except those of the House or David, and perhaps one or two others of exalted sanctity and fame; yet these repositories, from being regarded as unholy, were whitened and adorned from time to time, to warn the unwary to avoid approaching, and being contaminated by their baneful
1 Of this custom we find an instance recorded by St. Matthew (xxvi. 18.)
Go into the city to such a man, and say unto him, the Master saith, My s time is at hand, I will keep the Passover at thy house with my Disciples." See also Matt. x. 11,
The inhabitants of Jerusalem did not let out their houses at a price to those that came to the feasts, but granted them gratis.-Lightfoot.
It was the custom at Jerusalem for the inhabitants to give the free use of their rooms and furniture to the strangers at the Passover, without pay or advantage, except of the skins of the lambs sacrificed. Le Clerc.
2 It was in consequence of this, that the Jews explain Benjamin shall " ravin as a wolf: in the morning he shall devour the prey, and at night he “shall divide the spoil.” (Gen. xlix. 27.) to signify that the altar at which the sacrifices were slain belonged to Benjamin: or, that the Priests in the morning should sacrifice the victims, and in the evening divide those things which were collected from the people.
influence. But of all the objects of admiration and reverence of which Jerusalem could boast, none could equal, that which from its foundation was regarded as the true source of all its holiness and glory! The Temple erected by Solomon at the command of God! This, however, had been completely destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar 588 years before Christ; afterwards the Jews being led into captivity, Jerusalem for many years assumed no other appearance than, that of desolation and ruin; while nothing but its ashes served to mark the place of its former magnificence. In this state it continued till 535 years before Christ; when Cyrus, having taken Babylon, freed the Jews from bondage and restored them to their inheritance; giving them, at the same time, a decree2 for rebuilding
their i He that toucheth the dead body of any man shall be unclean seven days, and whosoever toucheth one that is slain with the sword in the open fields, or a dead body, or a bone of a man, or a grave, shall be unclean seveņ days.—Numb. xix. 11. 16.
Woe unto you Scribes and Pharisees, Hypocrites, for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful without, but within are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness.—Matt. xxiii. 27.
“ They do not carry the bones of a dead body through it: (the city) they f do not let out houses in it, nor do they allow sepulchres, except those of “ the House of David and that of Huldah the Prophetess, which were there “from the days of the former Prophets—nor do they suffer a dunghill in it & on account of creeping things, nor are scaffolds brought out and placed against the walls, for fear of defilement."
Maimonides quoted by Lightfoot. 2 There is no question, says Rollin, in his History of Cyrus, but this Edict was obtained by the care and solicitation of Daniel, who was in great crédit and authority at Court. That he might the more effectually induce the King to grant him this request, he shewed him undoubtedly the prophecies of Isaiah, wherein above 200 years before his birth, he was marked out by name as a Prince appointed by God to be a Conqueror, and to reduce a multitude of nations under his dominion; and at the same time to be a deliverer of the captive Jews, by ordering their Temple to be re-built, and Jerusalem and Judea to be repossessed by their ancient inhabitants (xliv. 28),
their City and Temple; which after a lapse of seventy years, was finally completed under Zerubbabel, when all the vessels were restored, which Nebuchadnezzar had brought from Jerusalem, and placed in the Temple of his God Baal.' This Temple remained till within sixteen years of the birth of Christ, when Herod thoroughly repaired, rather than actually rebuilt it. It is this building with which we are more immediately concerned, as it was the scene in which our Saviour more particularly displayed himself. It was here, that the shouts and acclamations of the people followed him; proclaiming him the Messiah, the Son of David. It was here, that he performed the great miracle of openly driving out those, who regardless of its holiness, made it the place of merchandise and traffic. Here, he publicly delivered the great precepts of that Gospel, which brought light and immortality into the world ; and here too, he declared to his Disciples; glorious as that building appeared, and wonderful as it was in construction, there should not be left one stone standing upon another which should not shortly be thrown down. 2
I think it may not be improper in this place to insert that Edict at length, which is certainly the most glorious circumstance in the life of Cyrus, and for which it may be presumed that God had endowed him with many heroic virtues, and blessed him with such an uninterrupted series of victories and successes.-See Ezra i. 1-8.
1 I will punish Bell in Babylon, and I will bring forth that which he hath swallowed.-Jer. li. 52.
2 The city and Temple were both utterly destroyed, as it will afterwards appear, A. D. 70, which was within forty years of the Crucifixion. Hence the fulfilment of our Saviour's words, “ VERILY I SAY UNTO YOU, ALL THESE
THINGS SHALL COME UPON THIS GENERATION.”—Matt. xxiii. 36.- VERILY “ I SAY UNTO YOU, THIS GENERATION SHALL NOT PASS AWAY TILL ALL THESE
The second and third Temples were not endowed with that glory, which had been possessed by the first; as they were deficient in those five material things which constituted its greatest sanctity : 9 yet all these were abundantly supplied, when “ the desire of all “ nations,” the Lord whom they sought, came to it, and Jesus Christ, the true Shechinah of the divine Majesty, honoured it with his presence; and in this respect, the glory of the latter, far exceeded that of the former House. S This Temple, as was just mentioned, was
THINGS BE FULFILLED.—Mark, xiii. 30.—Matt. xxiv. 34. And that it did not, is evident, from the circumstance of St. John's outliving the Destruction; who was one of the party present to whom these words were addressed.
Certe multi eorum qui tum vivebant imo qui at. virilem ætatem jam pervenerunt potuerunt non excidium tantum Hierosolymorum, sed et multa ei excidio posteriora conspicere quod vel unius Johannis exemplo manifestum est.-Grotius in Matt. xxiv.
i First, Solomon's--Second, Zerubbabel's—Third, Herods.
The Jews, however, only acknowledge two_Solomon's and Zerubbabel's -considering that of Herod merely a renovation of the latter. Solomon's Temple continued 410 years before it was destroyed by the Babylonians, Zerubbabel's 420 before its destruction by the Romans.
2 The Ark of the Covenant with the Mercy Seat—the Holy Fire-the Urim and Thummim—the Holy Anointing Oil—the Shechinah or Holy Spirit.
3 When the Jewish People, after their return from the Babylonish Captivity, laid the foundation of the New House, “ Many of the Priests, “the Levites, and the Chief of the Fathers who were ancient men, wept with “a loud voice,” (Ezra, iii. 12.) for there was a very considerable difference and disparity between this and the former one, as appears from the following passages of the Prophet Haggai :-“Who is left among you that saw this “ House in its first glory? and how do you see it now?-Is it not in your
eyes, in comparison of it, as nothing? Yet now be strong, O Zerub“ babel! saith the Lord of Hosts : I will shake all nations, and the Desire “ of all Nations shall come, and I will fill this House with glory, saith the “ Lord of Hosts. The glory of this latter House shall be greater than that s of the former, saith the Lord of Hosts.”—(ü. 3.) The same appears from
re-built by Herod, with a view not only of conciliating the affections of the Jews, but also to erect a monument of lasting honour to his name: and from building afterwards a palace on Mount Zion, it appears probable, that his ambition led him to aspire, in some measure, to the glory and popularity of Solomon; by imitating him in erecting the same species of magnificent structures.
The Temple was begun by him, just forty-six years before the first Passover of Christ's personal ministry." There were not less than 163,300 workmen employed in building it; its height was eighty-two yards, and that of the courts around it forty-one : the fronts on the east and south sides, were sustained by ramparts of square stone of vast bulk ; that on the south was built up
the promise God gave them by the Prophet Malachi, in order to comfort them on this occasion; that he would exalt the glory of the latter, above that of the former House, by the presence of the Messiah: “Behold, I will send
my Messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me, and the Lord whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his Temple; even the Messenger of the Covenant whom ye delight in; behold! He shall come, saith the Lord of Hosts.” (iii. 1.)
i Forty and six years was this Temple in building.—John ii. 20.-Not the Temple alone, but all the cloisters and enclosures surrounding it. The Temple itself occupied the Priests a year and six months in building. (Antiq. 15. xi. 6.) Josephus informs us, that Herod began the Temple in the 18th year of his reign (Antig. 15, xiv. 2.), and that he died in the 37th, after he was declared King by the Romans (Antiq. 17, viii. 1.). From his beginning to build to the time of his death was therefore nineteen years: and from his death to the 30th year of Christ, when he entered into his public ministry, leaves twenty-seven, which added to the former nineteen, makes forty-six years exactly. In another place Josephus tells us (Bell. Jud. 1. xxxiii. 8.) that Herod began the Temple in the 15th year of his reign, and that he reigned thirty-four years from the time of his conquest over Antigonus: so that the 15th year of his thirty-four years reign, from Antigonus, corresponds with the 18th year of his thirty-seven years reign, from the time of his being declared King by the Romans.
Vide Bp. Kidder's Demonstration of the Messiah, Part. ii. p. 125.