And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple
He not only went out of it for that time, but took his final leave of it, never to return more to it; having foretold its desolation, which he, in part, by so doing, immediately fulfilled: this the disciples observing, and being intent on the outward splendour, and worldly grandeur of it, were concerned that so beautiful a structure should be deserted; and almost thought it incredible, that so strong, and firm a building could be destroyed. And his disciples came unto him:
as he went, and as soon as he was come out of the temple, and whilst in view of it: for to show him the buildings of the temple;
the walls of it, and courts adjoining to it, how beautiful and firm they were: whether this was done by them to raise in him admiration or commiseration, in hopes he might change the sentence he had passed upon it, is not easy to say; or whether this did not express their incredulity about the desolation of it; which Christ's answer, in the next verse, seems to imply. Mark says, it was "one of the disciples" that observed these to him, who might be accompanied with the rest, and in their name address him; and who, probably, might be Peter, since he was generally their mouth; and that he should speak to him in this manner: "master, see what manner of stones, and what buildings are here!" Luke says, "how it was adorned with goodly stones, and gifts." The Jews give very great encomiums of the second temple, as repaired by Herod; and it was undoubtedly a very fine structure. They say F16, that he built the house of the sanctuary, "an exceeding beautiful building"; and that he repaired the temple, in beauty "greatly exceeding" that of Solomon's F17. They moreover observe F18, that
``he who has not seen the building of Herod, has never seen, (han Nyynb) , "a beautiful building." With what is it built? says Rabbah, with stones of green and white marble. And there are others say, that it was built with stones of spotted green and white marble.''These, very likely, were the very stones the disciples pointed to, and admired; and were of a prodigious size, as well as worth. Some of the stones were, as Josephus F19 says,
``forty five cubits long, five high, and six broad.''Others of them, as he elsewhere affirm F20,
``were twenty five cubits long, eight high, and twelve broad.''And he also tells us, in the same place, that there were,
``in the porches, four rows of pillars: the thickness of each pillar was as much as three men, with their arms stretched out, and joined together, could grasp; the length twenty seven feet, and the number of them an hundred and sixty two, and beautiful to a miracle.''At the size of those stones, and the beauty of the work, it is said F21, Titus was astonished, when he destroyed the temple; at which time his soldiers plundered it, and took away "the gifts", with which it is also said to be adorned. These were rich and valuable things which were dedicated to it, and either laid up in it, or hung upon the walls and pillars of it, as it was usual in other temples F23. These may, intend the golden table given by Pompey, and the spoils which Herod dedicated; and particularly the golden vine, which was a gift of his F24; besides multitudes of other valuable things, which were greatly enriching and ornamental to it. Now the disciples suggest, by observing these, what a pity it was such a grand edifice should be destroyed; or how unaccountable it was; that a place of so much strength, could easily be demolished.
F16 Juchasin, fol. 139. 1.
F17 Ganz Tzemach David, par. 1. fol. 24. 2.
F18 T. Bab. Bava Bathra, fol. 4. 1. & Succa, fol. 51. 2.
F19 De Bello Jud. l. 5. c. 5.
F20 Antiq. Jud. l. 15. c. 14.
F21 Egesippus, l. 5. c. 43.
F23 Vid. Ryckium de Capitol. Rom. c. 21
F24 Joseph. Antiq. l. 15.