Gad Javan in the Temple.

In the Talmudic book Zavim these words occur obscure enough: "He saw one [woman] multiplied [or continued] like three, which are as from Gad Javan to Siloah." The thing discoursed of is of the discovery of some profluvious issue. For example, one discovers such a profluvious issue in himself, now one by and by another, presently after a third; it is disputed how great or how little distance of time is to be assigned, to make it one or two profluviums; and consequently, to how great or how small an oblation the party is bound for his purification. The tradition which we have produced comes to this: namely, if one sees such an issue at one time, which is so continued, that it contains the space of three discoveries; that is, so much time as one might walk "from Gad Javan to Siloam, behold! such a man is completely profluvious."

The Glossers and the Aruch teach us what was Gad Javan. Hear themselves; "Gad Javan is a phrase drawn from those words: 'That prepare a table for that troop': (Isa 65:11: where the LXX read, 'preparing a table for the devil.' The Vulgar reads, 'who set a table for fortune.' The Interlinear, 'a table of Jupiter.') And it is a place where the kings of Grecia erected an idol: as it is said in the book Avodah Zarah, In the corner looking north-east the Asmoneans hid the stones of the altar, which the Greeks had profaned with their idols."

But whether these our interpreters suppose Gad Javan to be that chamber where those stones lay hid, laid up there by the Asmoneans when they repaired the altar, concerning which place see if you please the place in the margin; or whether they suppose it to be the place itself where the idol stood, inquire. But how much space it was thence, and what way they went from thence to Siloam, I heartily wish they had told us. They say only thus much of that matter, that "it was so much space as one might walk while a man twice bathed, and twice dried himself."

Being now in the Temple we cannot but take notice of a name of it usual among the masters, namely, Birah, that is, as the Aruch explains it, a palace. "If a mischance in the night [or a gonorrhea] happened to any Levite going forth, he went down into a secret walk which led away under Birah, or the sanctuary, to a bath," &c. These things are related of the second Temple. But elsewhere, when it is disputed 'Whether men were better under the first Temple or the second,' Rabba determines it, Birah may teach this which they had that lived before; but they had not that lived after. If by Birah, is to be understood the Temple itself, both they that lived before and they that lived after had it; if some particular part of the Temple, they that lived after had that also, as appears from the places alleged. But by the thread of the discourse in the place quoted, it seems, that by Birah, Rabbah understood not the Temple itself, but the glory of the Temple, and those divine endowments of it, "The heavenly fire, the ark, Urim," &c. which were present to the first Temple, but absent from the second. For presently they slip into discourse concerning the ceasing of prophecy under the second Temple, and the Bath Kol's succeeding in its places. The word Birah is in David's mouth, 1 Chronicles 29:19; "to build the palace for which I have made provision."