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[95] Solomon made all these things for the honor of God, with great variety and magnificence, sparing no cost, but using all possible liberality in adorning the temple; and these things he dedicated to the treasures of God. He also placed a partition round about the temple, which in our tongue we call Gison, but it is called Thrigcos by the Greeks, and he raised it up to the height of three cubits; and it was for the exclusion of the multitude from coming into the temple, and showing that it was a place that was free and open only for the priests. He also built beyond this court a temple, whose figure was that of a quadrangle, and erected for it great and broad cloisters; this was entered into by very high gates, each of which had its front exposed to one of the [four] winds, and were shut by golden doors. Into this temple all the people entered that were distinguished from the rest by being pure and observant of the laws. But he made that temple which was beyond this a wonderful one indeed, and such as exceeds all description in words; nay, if I may so say, is hardly believed upon sight; for when he had filled up great valleys with earth, which, on account of their immense depth, could not be looked on, when you bended down to see them, without pain, and had elevated the ground four hundred cubits, he made it to be on a level with the top of the mountain, on which the temple was built, and by this means the outmost temple, which was exposed to the air, was even with the temple itself. 1 He encompassed this also with a building of a double row of cloisters, which stood on high upon pillars of native stone, while the roofs were of cedar, and were polished in a manner proper for such high roofs; but he made all the doors of this temple of silver.


1 When Josephus here says that the floor of the outmost temple or court of the Gentiles was with vast labor raised to be even, or of equal height, with the floor of the inner, or court of the priests, he must mean this in a gross estimation only; for he and all others agree, that the inner temple, or court of the priests, was a few cubits more elevated than the middle court, the court of Israel, and that much more was the court of the priests elevated several cubits above that outmost court, since the court of Israel was lower than the one and higher than the other. The Septuagint say that "they prepared timber and stones to build the temple for three years," 1 Kings 5:18; and although neither our present Hebrew copy, nor Josephus, directly name that number of years, yet do they both say the building itself did not begin till Solomon's fourth year; and both speak of the preparation of materials beforehand, 1 Kings v. 18; Antiq. B. VIII. ch. 5. sect. 1. There is no reason, therefore, to alter the Septuagint's number; but we are to suppose three years to have been the just time of the preparation, as I have done in my computation of the expense in building that temple.


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