(400) This hill was walled all round, and in compass
four furlongs, [the distance of] each angle containing in length a
furlong: Josephus Antiquities Book 15, Chapter 11.
(411) but the fourth front of the temple, which was
southward, had indeed itself gates in its middle, as also it had the
royal cloisters, with three walks, which reached in length from the east
valley unto that on the west, for it was impossible it should reach any
farther; Josephus Antiquities Book 15, Chapter 11.
These two quote from Josephus are probably two of the most important
when it comes to defining exactly where the Temple stood. A furlong or a
stade was about 606ft in length.
The Southern Wall of the Temple Mount (The Haram) where the Royal
Porch was supposedly situated does reach from valley to valley. The
problem is to do that it has to be at least 922ft in length. Hence what
Josephus was describing could not have been the Haram Al-Sharif as we
know it today.
Many have asked why, when I referred to a forthcoming book by Ernest
Martin, I never mentioned it again and could not recommend it. Those who
have it note that my name is in the index but not in the body of the
book. The fact is that after the original thesis was discussed, the book
turned out to be deeply flawed and Martin was not open to any critique.
One of the major problems with his placing the Temple in the position
mentioned in the book is that his Southern Wall does not and cannot go
from valley to valley. Thus he cannot mention the above quotes in his
book which is one of the strongest pieces of evidence why the original
Temple of Solomon and the subsequent Temple of Herod could NOT have been
on the Temple Mount.
Even the solution provided by Arvidson does not satisfy the above
quotes and hence we have had to do our own map.
This therefore is the position of Solomon's Temple, his Palace and
associated buildings together with his inner courts which were later
enlarged by Herod.
For reference, we have added the position of where Herod's one
furlong square walls would eventually be built and where the Haram
Al-Sharif would eventually be built. The latter we contend was the
fortress Antonia and not "The Temple Mount".
For the last 100 years or so Benzinger's sketch of Solomon's Temple
Complex (in his Baedecker's guide book to Palestine and Syria 1906) is
the one most often used to describe how Solomon positioned his palace
and associated buildings. However we see no reason why the walls of the
outer court were "stepped" and therefore we have positioned them in
their more logical position. After all Josephus was clear that Herod
EXTENDED the walls of Solomon's Temple not repositioned them. We have
included the Benzinger sketch and our revision. In fact Josephus was
clear in that Herod doubled them.
1. (401) Accordingly, in the fifteenth year
of his reign, Herod rebuilt the temple, and encompassed a piece of land
about it with a wall; which land was twice as large as that before
enclosed. Josephus, Wars Book 1, Chapter 21.
As you can see from the map the total square footage of the Herod's
square is 606ft x 606ft - 367,236 sq. ft. Half of that would be 183,618
sq. ft. Thanks to the brilliant cartography of
we have the total area of Solomon's outer court under my thesis 183,600
I rest my case.
This is a picture I took of the location where Solomon's Temple was
built. It is now a junk yard in the City of David.
Michael S. Sanders
Thursday, July 19, 2001
"Temple" Series of lectures