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[184] NOW this temple, as I have already said, was built upon a strong hill. At first the plain at the top was hardly sufficient for the holy house and the altar, for the ground about it was very uneven, and like a precipice; but when king Solomon, who was the person that built the temple, had built a wall to it on its east side, there was then added one cloister founded on a bank cast up for it, and on the other parts the holy house stood naked. But in future ages the people added new banks, 1 and the hill became a larger plain. They then broke down the wall on the north side, and took in as much as sufficed afterward for the compass of the entire temple. And when they had built walls on three sides of the temple round about, from the bottom of the hill, and had performed a work that was greater than could be hoped for, (in which work long ages were spent by them, as well as all their sacred treasures were exhausted, which were still replenished by those tributes which were sent to God from the whole habitable earth,) they then encompassed their upper courts with cloisters, as well as they [afterward] did the lowest [court of the] temple. The lowest part of this was erected to the height of three hundred cubits, and in some places more; yet did not the entire depth of the foundations appear, for they brought earth, and filled up the valleys, as being desirous to make them on a level with the narrow streets of the city; wherein they made use of stones of forty cubits in magnitude; for the great plenty of money they then had, and the liberality of the people, made this attempt of theirs to succeed to an incredible degree; and what could not be so much as hoped for as ever to be accomplished, was, by perseverance and length of time, brought to perfection.

1 See the description of the temples hereto belonging, ch. 15. But note, that what Josephus here says of the original scantiness of this Mount Moriah, that it was quite too little for the temple, and that at first it held only one cloister or court of Solomon's building, and that the foundations were forced to be added long afterwards by degrees, to render it capable of the cloisters for the other courts, etc., is without all foundation in the Scriptures, and not at all confirmed by his exacter account in the Antiquities. All that is or can be true here is this, that when the court of the Gentiles was long afterward to be encompassed with cloisters, the southern foundation for these cloisters was found not to be large or firm enough, and was raised, and that additional foundation supported by great pillars and arches under ground, which Josephus speaks of elsewhere, Antiq. B. XV. ch. 11. sect. 3, and which Mr. Maundrel saw, and describes, p. 100, as extant under ground at this day.

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