76 PICTURESQUE PALESTINE.
" Through it one could see the high-priest who burned the heifer and all his assistants '
out to the Mount of Olives." The south side had "gates in its middle "—the Huldah C
that served for going in and out—which there is little difficulty in identifying with
"Double Gate" beneath the Mosque El Aksa.
The walls of the Temple enclosure were surmounted by cloisters of great mao-nific
On the north, west, and east the cloisters were double, with monolithic columns of r
marble and roofs of curiously carved cedar. On the south were the royal cloisters Si-
Basilica, which consisted of one hundred and sixty-two columns with Corinthian capital
arranged in four rows so as to form three aisles. The outer row of columns was attached t
the wall; the remaining columns stood free; and the size of each was such " that three men
might, with their arms extended, fathom it round and join their hands again." The centre
aisle was forty-five feet, and each of the side aisles thirty feet wide, and the " roofs were
adorned with deep sculptures in wood, representing many sorts of figures. The middle was
much higher than the rest, and the wall of the front was adorned with beams, resting upon
pillars that were interwoven into it, and that front was all of polished stone; insomuch that its
fineness to such as had not seen it was incredible, and to such as had seen it was greatly
The cloisters were separated from the steps which, led up to the Inner Temple by an
open space which is supposed to have been from twenty-four to thirty cubits wide, the width
varying on each side of the Temple. The cloisters and Court of the Gentiles formed the
Outer Temple, and it was this portion of the building which our Lord characterized as a den
of thieves. Here, as in a market-place, were assembled those who bought and sold, and here
stood the tables of the money-changers and those who sold doves. Here the Jew who had
come from some Gentile nation could change the foreign money he had brought with him into
Jewish coin, which could alone be paid into the Temple treasury, and here turtle-doves and
young pigeons could be purchased for sacrifice. The whole or a portion of the eastern cloister
was called Solomon's Porch. Here Jesus was accustomed to walk; and it was here, too, that
the people ran together and surrounded Peter and John after they had healed the lame man.
From the Court of the Gentiles a few steps led up to a flat terrace called the Chel, on the
outer edge of which ran a stone screen or partition, three cubits high, of very elegant construction. Upon the screen " stood pillars, at equal distances from one another, declaring the
law of purity, some in Greek and some in Roman letters, that no foreigner should go within
that sanctuary " on pain of death. It was one of the inscriptions from these pillars which, as
previously mentioned, was found by Mons. Ganneau. The Chel on the north, west, and
south was ten cubits wide; but on the east, in front of the Temple, it was of greater width,
and formed a rectangular space surrounded by a wall of its own, called the Court of ti<
Women. Such as were pure were allowed to enter this court with their wives, but t <
women were not allowed to pass beyond.
From the Chel other steps led up through gates to the Inner Temple, which was square