« הקודםהמשך »
T/IE WALLS OF THE TEMPLE A REA.
entrance, and Issa—their name for Jesus—on the Mount of Olives opposite, and together judge the world. Along the southern side there is little to detain us. We have on our right the wall surmounted by the roof of the mosque of El Aksa and on our left the slope of Ophel running down to the point at which the Valleys of
THE GOLDEN GATE,
Hinnom and Kedron meet. But immediately after turning the south-west corner we come upon an object of profound interest. The Temple was on this side divided from the city by a valley, now nearly filled up. From the wall which here bears traces of extreme antiquity and appears to be a part of the original structure, some huge blocks of stones are seen to project. These were found by Robinson to form the first courses of an arch. Captain
-- - - - - - -
Wilson, acting on behalf of the Palestine Exploration Fund, caused a line of shafts to be sunk due westward from this point, and discovered a series of piers upon which other arches had rested, so that we have here the remains of a bridge which ran across the valley connecting the Temple with the city. We learn from Josephus that the valley was spanned by a bridge leading from the Temple to the palace. All subsequent researches have tended to establish the conclusion at which Robinson arrived that, “This arch could only belong to THE BRIDGE, and it proves incontestably the antiquity of that portion of the wall from which it springs.” The only difficulty in the way of ascribing this great work to Solomon or his successors is that the principle of the arch was not then known. A more thorough acquaintance with Egyptian architecture, however, proves that this statement is not strictly true. Examples of the arch, though rare, may yet be found in buildings of undoubted antiquity. In the narrative of the visit of the Queen of Sheba to Solomon we read that, “When she had seen . . . his ascent by which he went up unto the house of the Lord, there was no more spirit in her.” This seems to be spoken of as the climax of all the wonders which were shown her. If we may venture to identify the arched bridge across the PROJECTING STONES OF ROBINSON's ARCH. valley with “the ascent” thus spoken of it will adequately explain the astonishment with which it was regarded. A little farther along the western wall we come to the Wailing Place of the Jews. It is close to the Jewish quarter—the foulest, most squalid and wretched part of the city. The masonry here is the finest, and in the best preservation, of any part of the enclosure. Many of the stones are twentyfive feet in length and apparently have remained undisturbed since the time of the first builder. Here the Jews assemble every Friday to mourn over
* I Kings x. 4, 5. * If we adopt Mr. Fergusson's theory as to the site of the Temple, a line running through the Altar and the Holy