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gentiles into the court of the women, which is also called in the Bible the new court (2 Chron. xx. 5), and the outer court (Ezekiel xlvi. 21).
It was called the court of the women, not because none but women were permitted to enter it, but because it was their appointed place of worship, beyond which they might not go, unless when they brought a sacrifice, and then they went forward to the court of Israel. This gate was called the Beautiful, because the folding-doors, lintel, and side-posts were covered with Corinthian brass, which was more beautiful, and then was considered more precious, than gold. The height of the Beautiful gate was eighty-seven and a half feet, and its doors seventy feet. On each side of this gate, and all around the inner court, ran a wall or railing, of lattice work, a little more than five feet high. It was not, however, on a level with the outer courts, but there was an ascent of twelve steps to it. Along this wall, on pillars, were placed inscriptions in Greek and Latin, to warn strangers and unclean persons not to proceed any farther on pain of death. Jonathan and Simon stood by Selumiel and
Helah, silently admiring the splendour of the pillars and gates, and watching the crowd as they pressed into the court of the women. The children of Israel, out of all the tribes from Dan to Beersheba, from the extreme point of Galilee to the desert of Arabia, were here assembled in their festive attire. Every master of a house carried his lamb on his shoulder, or had it driven before him by his servants. The bleatings of the sheep, and the exclamations of their drivers, resounded between the shouts of joy and the hymns of praise. As soon as there was an opportunity to pass, Helah ordered his servants to lead forward the lamb, and Selumiel and the boys followed him up the steps into the court of the women. This court was considerably smaller than that of the gentiles, being one hundred and thirty-five cubits square. A cubit, as I explained to you in the lesson the other day, was about a foot and a half. It had four gates, one on each side ; and on three of its sides were piazzas, with galleries above them, whence could be seen what was passing in the great court. The boys paid little attention to what was passing near them. Their eyes
were directed forward up the fifteen steps which led through the gåte of Nicanor into the court of Israel. The Levites were already standing on them with their instruments. This court of Israel was divided into two equal portions, of which the inner half was called more appropriately the court of the priests. Between the court of the women and the court of Israel there was a wall thirty cubits and a half high on the outside, but only twentyfive on the inner. The reason of this difference was, that the rock on which the temple stood always became higher on advancing westward, and so the several courts became elevated in proportion.
Helah with his company was admitted into the court of Israel in the first of the three great divisions which were usually made of the people on these occasions. They entered, not on the east side through the gate of Nicanor, but on the southern side, and it was a rule that the sacrifices should not enter and leave this court by the same door, but pass directly through it. Within this court stood the brazen altar on which the sacrifices were consumed, the molten sea in which the
priests washed, and the ten brazen lavers, for washing the sacrifices; the candlesticks, the tongs, the snuffers, the basins, the censers, and all the various instruments and utensils, which were used in the sacrifices. You will find a particular account of them in 2 Chron. iv. As they passed in, Jonathan and Simon looked round on the sanctuary or inner temple with its three divisions, the porch, the Holy place, and the Holy of holies, as it rose at the distance of twenty-two cubits before them, and towered up above all the outer courts ; its foundation being twenty-two cubits above the court of the gentiles. As they fixed their eyes on the altar, fifteen cubits high, and fifty in length and breadth, which was now burning with the incense of the 'evening sacrifice; it was like a glimpse of heaven to them. All the descriptions which Selumiel had often given of these scenes had been able to convey only a very feeble idea of the wonders of the scene. Every thing was vast and imposing. The whole scene was adapted to make a very deep and lasting impression on their minds. For the sake of leading them to suitable thoughts on the occasion, Selumiel stooped down and
repeated in a low voice the verses of the hundred and forty-first psalm.
“Lord, I cry unto thee; make haste unto me;
The paschal lamb must be killed between the two evenings, the greater, which lasted from the middle of the seventh hour to the tenth (half-past twelve, to half-past four), and the lesser, which lasted till sunset, or about six o'clock. The lamb must be without blemish, more than eight days and less than a year old.*
Helah and his company were standing in the court of Israel during the offering of the evening sacrifice, which was an hour earlier on this evening than usual. When the sacri. fice was over, the folding-doors of the court of the priests were thrown open, and they were allowed to enter. The priests stood in a row reaching from the place where the lambs were killed to the altar, and each held in his hand a basin.
Helah was among the first. He presented
* Exodus xii. 5.