The SECOND TEMPLE (Hebrew : בֵּית־הַמִּקְדָּשׁ
הַשֵּׁנִי, Beit HaMikdash HaSheni ) was the
Temple which stood on the
Temple Mount in
Jerusalem during the Second
Temple period , between 516 BCE and 70 CE . According to
Judeo-Christian tradition, it replaced Solomon\'s Temple (the First
Temple), which was destroyed by the
Babylonians in 586 BCE, when
Jerusalem was conquered and part of the population of the Kingdom of
Judah was taken into exile to Babylon .
Jewish eschatology includes a belief that the
Second Temple will be
replaced by a future
Third Temple .
* 1 Biblical narrative
* 2 Rabbinical literature
* 3 Rededication by the
Hasmonean dynasty and Roman conquest
* 5 Herod\'s Temple
* 5.1 Construction
* 5.2 Platform
* 5.3 Court of the Gentiles
* 5.5 Inside the Soreg
* 5.6 Temple sanctuary
* 6 Pilgrimages
* 7 Destruction
* 8 Archaeology
* 10 See also
* 11 References
* 12 External links
Second Temple period
The accession of
Cyrus the Great
Cyrus the Great of the Persian Empire in 559 BCE
made the re-establishment of the city of
Jerusalem and the rebuilding
of the Temple possible. According to the Bible, when the Jewish
exiles returned to
Jerusalem following a decree from Cyrus the Great
(Ezra 1:1–4, 2 Chron 36:22–23), construction started at the
original site of Solomon's Temple. After a relatively brief halt due
to opposition from peoples who had filled the vacuum during the Jewish
captivity (Ezra 4), work resumed ca. 521 BCE under Darius the Great
(Ezra 5) and was completed during the sixth year of his reign (ca. 516
BCE), with the temple dedication taking place the following year.
The events take place in the second half of the 5th century BCE.
Listed together with the
Book of Ezra
Book of Ezra as
Ezra-Nehemiah , it represents
the final chapter in the historical narrative of the
Hebrew Bible .
The original core of the book, the first-person memoir, may have been
combined with the core of the
Book of Ezra
Book of Ezra around 400 BCE. Further
editing probably continued into the Hellenistic era .
The book tells how Nehemiah, at the court of the king in
Susa , is
Jerusalem is without walls and resolves to restore them.
The king appoints him as governor of the province
Yehud Medinata and
he travels to Jerusalem. There he rebuilds the walls, despite the
opposition of Israel's enemies, and reforms the community in
conformity with the law of Moses . After 12 years in
Jerusalem , he
Susa but subsequently revisits Jerusalem. He finds that the
Israelites have been backsliding and taking non-
Jewish wives, and he
Jerusalem to enforce the Law.
Based on the biblical account, after the return from Babylonian
captivity, arrangements were immediately made to reorganize the
Yehud Province after the demise of the Kingdom of Judah
seventy years earlier. The body of pilgrims, forming a band of 42,360,
having completed the long and dreary journey of some four months,
from the banks of the
Euphrates to Jerusalem, were animated in all
their proceedings by a strong religious impulse, and therefore one of
their first concerns was to restore their ancient house of worship by
rebuilding their destroyed Temple and reinstituting the sacrificial
rituals known as the korbanot .
On the invitation of
Zerubbabel , the governor, who showed them a
remarkable example of liberality by contributing personally 1,000
golden darics , besides other gifts, the people poured their gifts
into the sacred treasury with great enthusiasm. First they erected
and dedicated the altar of God on the exact spot where it had formerly
stood, and they then cleared away the charred heaps of debris which
occupied the site of the old temple; and in the second month of the
second year (535 BCE), amid great public excitement and rejoicing, the
foundations of the
Second Temple were laid. A wide interest was felt
in this great movement, although it was regarded with mixed feelings
by the spectators (
Haggai 2:3, Zechariah 4:10).
The Samaritans made proposals for co-operation in the work.
Zerubbabel and the elders, however, declined all such cooperation,
feeling that the Jews must build the Temple without help. Immediately
evil reports were spread regarding the Jews. According to Ezra 4:5,
the Samaritans sought to "frustrate their purpose" and sent messengers
Ecbatana and Susa, with the result that the work was suspended.
Seven years later,
Cyrus the Great
Cyrus the Great , who allowed the Jews to return
to their homeland and rebuild the Temple, died (2 Chronicles
36:22–23) and was succeeded by his son
Cambyses . On his death, the
Smerdis ," an impostor, occupied the throne for some seven or
eight months, and then Darius became king (522 BCE). In the second
year of his rule the work of rebuilding the temple was resumed and
carried forward to its completion (Ezra 5:6–6:15), under the
stimulus of the earnest counsels and admonitions of the prophets
Haggai and Zechariah . It was ready for consecration in the spring of
516 BCE, more than twenty years after the return from captivity. The
Temple was completed on the third day of the month
Adar , in the sixth
year of the reign of Darius, amid great rejoicings on the part of all
the people (Ezra 6:15,16), although it was evident that the Jews were
no longer an independent people, but were subject to a foreign power.
The Book of
Haggai includes a prediction that the glory of the second
temple would be greater than that of the first (
Some of the original artifacts from the Temple of Solomon are not
mentioned in the sources after its destruction in 597 BCE, and are
presumed lost. The
Second Temple lacked the following holy articles:
Ark of the Covenant
Ark of the Covenant containing the
Tablets of Stone ,
before which were placed the pot of manna and Aaron\'s rod
Urim and Thummim (divination objects contained in the
* The holy oil
* The sacred fire.
In the Second Temple, the
Kodesh Hakodashim (
Holy of Holies ) was
separated by curtains rather than a wall as in the First Temple.
Still, as in the
Tabernacle , the
Second Temple included:
* The Menorah (golden lamp) for the
* The Table of
* The golden altar of incense , with golden censers .
According to the
Mishnah (Middot iii. 6), the "
Foundation Stone "
stood where the Ark used to be, and the High Priest put his censer on
Yom Kippur .
Second Temple also included many of the original vessels of gold
that had been taken by the
Babylonians but restored by Cyrus the Great
. According to the
Babylonian Talmud (
Yoma 22b), however, the
Temple lacked the
Shekinah , the dwelling or settling divine presence
of God, and the
Ruach HaKodesh , the Spirit of Holiness, present in
Traditional rabbinic literature state that the
Second Temple stood
for 420 years and based on the 2nd-century work
Seder Olam Rabbah ,
placed construction in 350 BCE (3408 AM ), 166 years later than
secular estimates , and destruction in 70 CE (3829 AM ).
REDEDICATION BY THE MACCABEES
Following the conquest of
Alexander the Great
Alexander the Great , it became
part of the
Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt until 200 BCE, when King
Antiochus III the Great of Syria defeated King
Ptolemy V Epiphanes of
Egypt at the Battle of Paneion .
Judea became at that moment part of
Seleucid empire of Syria. When the
Second Temple in
looted and its religious services stopped,
Judaism was effectively
outlawed. In 167 BCE,
Antiochus IV Epiphanes
Antiochus IV Epiphanes ordered an altar to Zeus
erected in the Temple. He also banned circumcision and ordered pigs to
be sacrificed at the altar of the Temple.
Maccabean Revolt against the Seleucid empire, the
Second Temple was rededicated and became the religious pillar of the
Hasmonean kingdom , as well as culturally associated with the
Jewish holiday of
HASMONEAN DYNASTY AND ROMAN CONQUEST
There is some evidence from archaeology that further changes to the
structure of the Temple and its surroundings were made during the
Salome Alexandra , the queen of Hasmonean Kingdom
appointed her elder son
Hyrcanus II as the high priest of Judaea . Her
Aristobulus II was determined to have the throne, and as
soon as she died he seized the throne. Hyrcanus, who was in line to be
the king, agreed to be contented with being the high priest. Antipater
, the governor of Idumæa, encouraged Hyrcanus not to give up his
throne. Eventually Hyrcanus fled to
Aretas III , king of the Nabateans
, and returned with an army to take back the throne. He defeated
Aristobulus and besieged Jerusalem. The Roman general
Pompey , who was
in Syria fighting against the Armenians in the
Third Mithridatic War
Third Mithridatic War ,
sent his lieutenant to investigate the conflict in Judaea. Both
Hyrcanus and Aristobulus appealed to him for support.
Pompey was not
diligent in making a decision about this which caused Aristobulus to
march off. He was pursued by
Pompey and surrendered but his followers
Jerusalem to Pompey's forces. The Romans besieged and took the
city in 63 BCE. The priests continued with the religious practices
inside the Temple during the siege. The temple was not looted or
harmed by the Romans.
Pompey himself, perhaps inadvertently, went into
Holy of Holies and the next day ordered the priests to repurify
the Temple and resume the religious practices. Solomon's Temple
which was on the site prior to the building of the
This picture shows the temple as imagined in 1966 in the
Holyland Model of Jerusalem .
Reconstruction of the temple under Herod began with a massive
expansion of the Temple Mount. Religious worship and temple rituals
continued during the construction process. When the Roman emperor
Caligula planned to place his own statue inside the temple, Herod's
Agrippa I was able to intervene and convince him against
James Tissot – Reconstruction of
Jerusalem and the Temple of
Brooklyn Museum A model of the southern wall and
Stoa Eastern portion of the southern wall
Temple Mount Remains of the Hulda Gates Marwan
Mosque on the site of Solomon\'s Stables
Herod's Temple was one of the larger construction projects of the 1st
Josephus records that Herod was interested in
perpetuating his name through building projects, that his construction
programs were extensive and paid for by heavy taxes, but that his
masterpiece was the Temple of Jerusalem.
The old temple built by
Zerubbabel was replaced by a magnificent
edifice. An agreement was made between Herod and the
authorities: the sacrificial rituals, called offerings , were to be
continued unabated for the entire time of construction, and the Temple
itself would be constructed by the priests. Later the Exodus 30:13
sanctuary shekel was reinstituted to support the temple as the temple
Moriah had a plateau at the northern end, and steeply declined on
the southern slope. It was Herod's plan that the entire mountain be
turned into a giant square platform. The
Temple Mount was originally
intended to be 1600 feet wide by 900 feet broad by 9 stories high,
with walls up to 16 feet thick, but had never been finished. To
complete it, a trench was dug around the mountain, and huge stone
"bricks" were laid. Some of these weighed well over 100 tons, the
largest measuring 44.6 feet by 11 feet by 16.5 feet and weighing
approximately 567 to 628 tons, while most were in the range of 2.5
by 3.5 by 15 feet (approximately 28 tons). King Herod had architects
Rome and Egypt plan the construction. The blocks were
presumably quarried by using pickaxes to create channels. Then they
hammered in wooden beams and flushed them with water to force them
out. Once they were removed, they were carved into precise squares and
numbered at the quarry to show where they would be installed. The
final carving would have been done by using harder stones to grind or
chisel them to create precise joints. They would have been transported
using oxen and specialized carts. Since the quarry was uphill from the
temple they had gravity on their side but care needed to be taken to
control the descent. Final installation would have been done using
pulleys or cranes . Roman pulleys and cranes weren't strong enough to
lift the blocks alone so they may have used multiple cranes and levers
to position them. As the mountainside began to rise, the western side
was carved away to a vertical wall and bricks were carved to create a
virtual continuation of the brick face, which was continued for a
while until the northern slope reached ground level. Part of the
Antonian hill to the north of
Moriah was annexed to the complex and
the area between was filled up with landfill.
The project began with the building of giant underground vaults upon
which the temple would be built so it could be larger than the small
flat area on top of Mount Moriah. Ground level at the time was at
least 20 ft. (6m) below the current level, as can be seen by walking
Western Wall tunnels. Legend has it that the construction of the
entire complex lasted only three years, but other sources such as
Josephus say that it took far longer, although the Temple itself may
have taken that long. During a Passover visit by
Jesus the Jews
replied that it had been under construction for 46 years. It is
possible that the complex was only a few years completed when the
Titus destroyed the Temple in 70 CE.
COURT OF THE GENTILES
This area was primarily a bazaar, with vendors selling souvenirs,
sacrificial animals, food, as well as currency changers, exchanging
Roman for Tyrian money because the Jews were not allowed to coin their
own money and they viewed Roman currency as an abomination to the
Lord, as also mentioned in the New Testament account of
Jesus and the
Money Changers when
Jerusalem was packed with Jews who had come for
Passover, perhaps numbering 300,000 to 400,000 pilgrims . Guides
that provided tours of the premises were also available.
had the unique opportunity to be shown inside the temple itself.
The priests , in their white linen robes and tubular hats, were
everywhere, directing pilgrims and advising them on what kinds of
sacrifices were to be performed.
Behind them, as they entered the Court of the Gentiles from the south
Huldah Gates , was the Royal Porch, which contained a
marketplace, administrative quarters, and a synagogue. On the upper
floors, the great
Jewish sages held court, priests and Levites
performed various chores, and from there, tourists were able to
observe the events. The Royal Porch is widely accepted to be part of
Herod's work; however, recent archaeological finds in the Western Wall
tunnels suggest that it was built in the first century during the
reign of Agripas, as opposed to the first century BCE, while the
theory that Herod began the extension and the Royal Porch is based
mainly on Josephus's possibly politically motivated claim. During
Herod's reign the porch was not yet open to the public)
To the east of the court was Solomon\'s Porch , and to the north, the
soreg, the "middle wall of separation", a stone wall separating the
public area from the inner sanctuary where only Jews could enter,
described as being 3 cubits high by
Josephus (Wars 5.5.2 6.2.4).
The accounts of Jesus\' temptations in Matthew 's and Luke 's gospels
both suggest that the
Second Temple had one or more pinnacles (Greek :
το πτερυγιον του ιερου): "Then he (
Satan ) brought
Him to Jerusalem, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to
Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down from here".
INSIDE THE SOREG
According to Josephus, there were ten entrances into the inner
courts, four on the south, four on the north, one on the east and one
leading east to west from the Court of Women to the court of the
Israelites, named the Nicanor Gate. The gates were: On the south side
(going from west to east) the Fuel Gate, the Firstling Gate, the Water
Gate. On the north side, from west to east, are the Jeconiah Gate, the
Offering Gate, the Women's Gate and the Song Gate. On the Eastern
side, the Nicanor gate, which is where most
Jewish visitors entered. A
few pieces of the Soreg have survived to the present day.
Within this area was the Court of the Women , open to all Jews, male
and female. Even a ritually unclean Cohen could enter to perform
various housekeeping duties. There was also a place for lepers
(considered ritually unclean), as well as a ritual barbershop for
Nazirites . In this, the largest of the temple courts, one could see
constant dancing, singing and music.
Only men were allowed to enter the Court of the Israelites, where
they could observe sacrifices of the high priest in the Court of the
Priests. The Court of the Priests was reserved for Levite priests.
Foundation Stone under the Dome of the Rock, a possible
historical location for the
Between the entrance of the building and the curtain veiling the Holy
of Holies were the famous vessels of the temple: the menorah , the
incense-burning altar, and various other implements.
Proposed reconstruction of
Robinson's Arch Roman
triumphal procession with spoils from the Temple, depicted on the
inside wall of the Arch of
Rome The Madaba Map
depiction of 6th-century
Aelia Capitolina has the
Cardo Maximus, the
town’s main street, beginning at the northern gate, today's Damascus
Gate , and traversing the city in a straight line from north to south
to "Nea Church". Robinson\'s Arch – remains of the entrance
built by Herod to the Royal
Colonnade Remnants of the 1st
century Stairs of Ascent, discovered by archaeologist Benjamin Mazar,
to the entrance of the Temple Courtyard.
Pilgrims coming to make
sacrifices at the Temple would have entered and exited by this
stairway. Stones from the
Western Wall thrown down by Roman
soldiers in 70 CE See also: Pilgrimage §
Jews from distant parts of the Roman Empire would arrive by boat at
the port of
Jaffa (now part of
Tel Aviv ), where they would join a
caravan for the three-day trek to the Holy City and would then find
lodgings in one of the many hotels or hostelries. Then they changed
some of their money from the profane standard Greek and Roman currency
Jewish and Tyrian money , the latter two considered religious.
The pilgrims would purchase sacrificial animals, usually a pigeon or a
lamb, in preparation for the following day's events.
The first thing pilgrims would do would be to approach the public
entrance on the south side of the
Temple Mount complex. They would
check their animals, then visit a mikveh , where they would ritually
cleanse and purify themselves. The pilgrims would then retrieve their
sacrificial animals, and head to the Huldah gates. After ascending a
staircase three stories in height, and passing through the gate, the
pilgrims would find themselves in the Court of the Gentiles.
Siege and Destruction of
Jerusalem by the Romans (1850 painting
by David Roberts ). Looking southwest View of Temple Mount
looking southwest View of the southern part of
Main article: Siege of
Jerusalem (AD 70)
In 66 CE the
Jewish population rebelled against the Roman Empire.
Four years later, in 70 CE,
Roman legions under
Titus retook and
destroyed much of
Jerusalem and the Second Temple. The Arch of
Rome and built to commemorate Titus' victory in
depicts a Roman victory procession with soldiers carrying spoils from
the Temple, including the Menorah . According to an inscription on the
Vespasian built the Colosseum with war spoils in 79
CE-possibly from the spoils of the Second Temple.
The sects of
Judaism that had their base in the Temple dwindled in
importance, including the priesthood and the
The destruction date according to the
Hebrew calendar was the 9th of
Av , also known as Tisha B\'Av . The Temple itself was located on the
site of what today is the
Dome of the Rock
Dome of the Rock . The gates let out close
Al-Aqsa Mosque (which came much later). Although Jews continued to
inhabit the destroyed city, Emperor
Hadrian established a new city
Aelia Capitolina . At the end of the
Bar Kokhba revolt
Bar Kokhba revolt in 135
CE, many of the
Jewish communities were massacred and Jews were banned
from living inside Jerusalem. A pagan
Roman temple was set up on the
former site of Herod's Temple.
In 1871, a hewn stone measuring 60 × 90 cm. and engraved with Greek
uncials was discovered near a court on the
Temple Mount in Jerusalem
and identified by
Charles Simon Clermont-Ganneau as being the Temple
Warning inscription . The stone inscription outlined the prohibition
extended unto those who were not of the
Jewish nation to proceed
beyond the soreg separating the larger Court of the Gentiles and the
inner courts. The inscription read in seven lines:
Translation: "Let no foreigner enter within the parapet and the
partition which surrounds the Temple precincts. Anyone caught will be
held accountable for his ensuing death." Today, the stone is preserved
in Istanbul's Museum of Antiquities.
In 1936 a fragment of a similar Temple warning inscription was found.
After 1967, archaeologists found that the wall extended all the way
Temple Mount and is part of the city wall near the Lions\'
Gate . Thus, the
Western Wall is not the only remaining part of the
Temple Mount . Currently,
Robinson's Arch (named after American Edward
Robinson ) remains as the beginning of an arch that spanned the gap
between the top of the platform and the higher ground farther away.
This had been used by the priests as an entrance. Commoners had
entered through the still-extant, but now plugged, gates on the
southern side which led through colonnades to the top of the platform.
One of these colonnades is still extant and reachable through the
Temple Mount. The
Southern wall was designed as a grand entrance.
Recent archeological digs have found thousands of mikvehs (ceremonial
bathtubs) for the ritual purification of the worshipers, as well as a
grand stairway leading to the now blocked entrance. Inside the walls,
the platform was supported by a series of vaulted archways, now called
Solomon\'s Stables , which still exist and whose current renovation by
the Waqf is extremely controversial. The temple itself was constructed
of imported white marble that gleamed in the daylight.
On September 25, 2007 Yuval Baruch , archaeologist with the Israeli
Antiquities Authority announced the discovery of a quarry compound
which may have provided King Herod with the stones to build his Temple
Temple Mount . Coins, pottery and an iron stake found proved
the date of the quarrying to be about 19 BCE.
Netzer confirmed that the large outlines of the stone cuts is evidence
that it was a massive public project worked by hundreds of slaves.
Magdala stone , is thought to be a representation of the Second
Temple carved before its destruction in the year 70.
Bar Kokhba tetradracm showing the
Jerusalem Temple façade 132-135 CE
Titus showing spoils of
The upper corner of Herod's temple colonnade with ancient Hebrew
The Warning Inscription found in 1871
A copy of the inscription found in 1871
Second Temple Warning
Trumpeting Place inscription , a stone (2.43x1 m ) with Hebrew
inscription "To the Trumpeting Place" excavated by
Benjamin Mazar at
the southern foot of the
Temple Mount is believed to be a part of the
SECOND TEMPLE JUDAISM
The period between the construction of the
Second Temple in 515 BCE
and its destruction by the Romans in 70 CE witnessed major historical
upheavals and significant religious changes that would affect most
subsequent Abrahamic religions. The origins of the authority of
scripture , of the centrality of law and morality in religion , of the
synagogue and of apocalyptic expectations for the future all developed
Judaism of this period.
List of artifacts significant to the Bible
List of megalithic sites
* Replicas of the
* Temple of Peace,
* Timeline of
* Archaeological remnants of the
* ^ A B Albright, William (1963). The Biblical Period from Abraham
to Ezra: An Historical Survey. HarperCollins College Division. ISBN
* ^ A B C D E F Singer, Isidore ; et al., eds. (1901–1906).
"Temple, The Second".
Jewish Encyclopedia . New York: Funk & Wagnalls
* ^ Paul Cartledge, Peter Garnsey, Erich S. Gruen (editors),
Hellenistic Constructs: Essays In Culture, History, and
Historiography, page 92 (University of California Press, 1997). ISBN
* ^ Ezra 2:65
* ^ A B C D E F G H I J K Easton, Matthew George (1897). "Temple,
the Second". Easton\'s Bible Dictionary (New and revised ed.). T.
Nelson and Sons.
* ^ Ezra 2
Maimonides . "Mishneh Torah, Sefer Avodah, Beis Habechirah,
Chapter 4, Halacha 1". Retrieved 2013-05-20.
* ^ Ezra 1:7–11
* ^ Goldwurm, Hersh. History of the
Jewish people: the Second
Temple era, Mesorah Publications, 1982. Appendix: Year of the
Destruction, pg. 213. ISBN 0-89906-454-X
* ^ De Bellis Antiquitatis (DBA) The Battle of Panion (200 BC)
* ^ Flavius Josephus, The Wars of the Jews
Jewish War i. 34
* ^ A B
Lester L. Grabbe (2010). An Introduction to Second Temple
Judaism: History and Religion of the Jews in the Time of Nehemiah, the
Maccabees, Hillel, and Jesus.
A&C Black . pp. 19–20, 26–29. ISBN
* ^ A B Secrets of Jerusalem's Temple Mount,
Leen Ritmeyer ,
Kathleen Ritmeyer, 1998
* ^ A B Flavius Josephus: The
* ^ The History Channel cited the 16.5 depth 567 ton estimate in
"Lost Worlds of King Herod"
* ^ Dan Bahat: Touching the Stones of our Heritage, Israeli
ministry of Religious Affairs, 2002
* ^ "Modern Marvels: Bible tech" History channel
* ^ Gospel of John 2:20
* ^ Beasley-Murray, G. (1999). Word biblical commentary: John (2
ed., Vol. 36). Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson.
* ^ Sanders, E. P. The historical figure of Jesus. Penguin, 1993.
* ^ Funk, Robert W. and the
Jesus Seminar . The acts of Jesus: the
search for the authentic deeds of Jesus. HarperSanFrancisco. 1998.
* ^ "Israel Antiquities Authority".
* ^ In verse 14 of Ephesians 2:11–18
* ^ Luke 4:9
* ^ Josephus, War 5.5.2; 198; m. Mid. 1.4
* ^ Sanders, E. P. The historical figure of Jesus. Penguin, 1993.
* ^ Ehrman, Bart D. .
Jesus, Interrupted , HarperCollins, 2009.
* ^ Rome, By Bruce Johnston in. "Colosseum \'built with loot from
* ^ Alföldy, Géza (1995). "Eine Bauinschrift aus dem Colosseum".
Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik . 109: 195–226. JSTOR
* ^ Simmons, Shraga . "Tisha B\'Av – Ninth of Av". Retrieved
* ^ Gaffney, Sean (2007-09-24). "USATODAY.com, Report: Herod\'s
Temple quarry found". Usatoday.com. Retrieved 2013-08-31.
* ^ Kershner, Isabel (8 December 2015). "A Carved Stone Block
Upends Assumptions About Ancient Judaism".
New York Times
New York Times . Retrieved
9 December 2015.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to SECOND JEWISH TEMPLE IN
* Resources >
Second Temple and Talmudic Era > Second Temple
Jewish History Resource Center,