The altar was, on every side, two-and-thirty cubits; after the ascent of one cubit, it was so straitened, that it was less by one cubit in the whole square,--that is, on every side thirty cubits. It went up five cubits, and again was straitened a cubit; so that there it was eight and twenty cubits on every side. The place of the horns on every part was the space of one cubit; so that now it was six and twenty cubits every way. The place of the priests' walk, hither and thither, was one cubit; so that the place of burning extended four and twenty cubits round about.
A scarlet thread begirt the middle of the altar, to discern between the upper bloods and the lower.
The basis of the altar towards the south-east had no corner, because that part was not within the portion of Judah.
At the horn between the west and the south were two holes, like nostrils, through which the sprinkled blood descended, and flowed into the brook Kedron.
The ascent to the altar was, on the south, two and thirty cubits, and the breadth sixteen cubits. There was a time, when, upon this ascent, one priest stabbed another priest with his knife, while they strove who should first get up to the altar.
On the north were six orders of rings, each of which contained four. There are some who assert there were four orders, and each contained six, at which they killed the sacrifices: there, therefore, was the place of slaughter. Near by were low pillars set up, upon which were laid, overthwart, beams of cedar: in these were fastened iron hooks, on which the sacrifices were hung; and they were flayed on marble tables, which were between those pillars.
There was a laver or cistern between the porch and the altar, and it lay a little to the south. "Ben Kattin made twelve cocks for it, which before had but two. He also made the machine of the cistern": that is, as the Gloss explains it, "Ben Kattin, when he was the chief priest, made those cocks for the cistern, that the waters might flow out of them; he made also a pulley, or a wheel, whereby water might be drawn for the use of the cistern."
Between the altar and the porch was the space of two and twenty cubits. They went up thither by twelve steps, each half a cubit in height.
The Temple was strait on the hinder part, but broad on the fore part; and resembled the figure of a lion, because it is said, "Woe to Ariel" (the lion of the Lord), "to Ariel, the city where David encamped." As the lion is narrower behind, and broader before, so also was the Temple. For the porch was broader than the Temple fifteen cubits on the north, and fifteen cubits on the south; and that space, jetting out on both sides, was called "The place of knives,"--namely, where the holy knives, used in killing of the sacrifices, were laid up.
The length of the Temple contained a hundred cubits,--the breadth seventy: including within this measure the porch, the chambers, and the thickness of the outward wall; to trace all which would be too much. And these things, which we have said, we have, therefore, run through with the more haste, both because the famous Constantine L'Empereur hath, very learnedly and largely, treated of them; and because we ourselves largely enough, though much more unlearnedly, have heretofore done these things in a just volume, in our English tongue.