Gab Baitha, i.e., "the ridge of the house" = "the temple-mound," on a part of which the fortress of Antonia was built. This "temple-mound" was covered with a tesselated "pavement" (Gr. lithostroton, i.e., "stone-paved"). A judgement-seat (bema) was placed on this "pavement" outside the hall of the "praetorium" (q.v.), the judgment-hall ( John 18:28 ; 19:13 ).
(elevated; a platform ) the Hebrew or Chaldee appellation of a place, also called "Pavement," where the judgment-seat or bema was planted, from his place on which Pilate delivered our Lord to death. ( John 19:13 ) It was a tessellated platform outside the praetorium, on the western hill of Jerusalem, for Pilate brought Jesus forth from thence to it.
Given (John 19:13) as the name of a special pavement (to lithostroton), and is probably a transcription in Greek of the Aramaic gabhetha', meaning "height" or "ridge."
Tradition which now locates the Pretorium at the Antonia and associates the triple Roman arch near there with the "Ecce Homo" scene, naturally identifies an extensive area of massive Roman pavement, with blocks 4 ft. x 3 1/2 ft. and 2 ft. thick, near the "Ecce Homo Arch," as the Gabbatha.
This paved area is in places roughened for a roadway, and in other places is marked with incised designs for Roman games of chance. The site is a lofty one, the ground falling away rapidly to the East and West, and it must have been close to, or perhaps included in, the Antonia. But apart from the fact that it is quite improbable that the Pretorium was here (see PRAETORIUM), it is almost certain that the lithostroton was a mosaic pavement (compare Esther 1:6), such as was very common in those days, and the site is irretrievably lost.
E. W. G. Masterman
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