The Talmud, by Joseph Barclay, , at sacred-texts.com
1. The Mountain of the House was five hundred cubits square. The largest space was on the south, the second on the east, the third on the north, and the least westward. In the place largest in measurement was held most service.
2. All who entered the Mountain of the House entered on the right-hand side, and went round, and passed out on the left: except to whomsoever an accident occurred, he turned to the left. "Why do you go to the left?" "I am in mourning." "He that dwelleth in this House comfort thee." "I am excommunicate." "He that dwelleth in this House put in thy heart (repentance), and they shall receive thee." The words of Rabbi Meier. To him said Rabbi José, "thou hast acted as though they had transgressed against him in judgment; but, 'may He that dwelleth in this House put it in thy heart that thou hearken to the words of thy neighbours, and they shall receive thee'"
3. Inside of the (Mountain of the House) was a reticulated
wall, ten hand-breadths high; and in it were thirteen breaches, broken down by the Greek kings. The (Jews) restored, and fenced them, and decreed before them thirteen acts of obeisance. Inside of it was the Chel, ten cubits broad, and twelve steps were there. The height of each step was half a cubit, and the breadth half a cubit. All the steps there were in height half a cubit, and in breadth half a cubit, except those of the porch. All the doors there were in height twenty cubits, and in breadth ten cubits, except that of the porch. All the gateways there had doors, except that of the porch. All the gates there had lintels, except Tadi; there two stones inclined one upon the other. All the gates there were transformed into gold, except the gate Nicanor, 1 because to it happened a wonder, though some said "because its brass glittered like gold."
4. And all the walls there were high, except the eastern wall, that the priest who burned the heifer, might stand on the top of the Mount of Olives, and look straight into the door of the Sanctuary when he sprinkled the blood.
5. The Court of the women was one hundred and thirty-five cubits in length, by one hundred and thirty-five in breadth. And in its four corners were four chambers, each forty cubits square, and they had no roofs; and so they will be in future, as is said, "Then he brought me forth into the utter court, and caused me to pass by the four corners of the court; and, behold, in every corner of the court there was a court." 2 In the four corners of the court there were courts smoking, yet not smoking, since they were roofless. And what was their use? The south-east one was the chamber of the Nazarites, for there the Nazarites cooked their peace-offerings, and polled their hair, and cast it under the pot. The north-east was the chamber for the wood, and there the priests with blemishes gathered out the worm-eaten wood. And every stick in which a worm was found, was unlawful
for the altar. The north-west was the chamber for the lepers. The south-west? Rabbi Eleazar, the son of Jacob, said, "I forget for what it served." Abashaul said, "there they put wine, and oil." It was called the chamber of the house of oil. And it was open at first and surrounded with lattice work, that the women might see from above and the men from beneath, lest they should be mixed. And fifteen steps corresponding to the fifteen steps in the Psalms, ascended from it to the court of Israel; upon them the Levites chanted. They were not angular, but deflected like the half of a round threshing-floor.
6. And under the court of Israel were chambers open to the court of the women. There the Levites deposited their harps, and psalteries, and cymbals, and all instruments of music. The court of Israel was one hundred and thirty-five cubits long, and eleven broad; and likewise the court of the priests was one hundred and thirty-five cubits long, and eleven broad. And pointed rails separated the court of Israel from the court of the priests. Rabbi Eleazar, the son of Jacob, said, "there was a step a cubit high, and a dais placed over it. And in it were three steps each half a cubit in height." We find that the priests court was two and a half cubits higher than the court of Israel. The whole court was one hundred and eighty-seven cubits in length, and one hundred and thirty-five cubits in breadth, and the thirteen places for bowing were there. Abajose, the son of Chanan, said, "in front of the thirteen gates." In the south near to the west were the upper gate, the gate of flaming, the gate of the firstborn, the water gate. And why is it called the water gate? Because through it they bring bottles of water for pouring out during the feast of Tabernacles. Rabbi Eleazar the son of Jacob said, "through it the water returned out, and in future it will issue from under the threshold of the house." And there were opposite to them in the north, near to the west, the gate of Jochania, the gate of the offering, the gate of the women, the gate of music. And "why was it called the gate of Jochania?" "Because through it Jochania went out in his captivity." In the east was the gate Nicanor, and in it were
two wickets, one on the right, and one on the left, and two in the west which were nameless.
Our Beauty be upon Thee, O Mountain of the House.
258:1 So called either because Nicanor a Pharisee had the gate made in Alexandria, and though it was thrown overboard from a ship in a storm, it yet came safe to land: or because Nicanor, a Greek prince, was slain there in the time of the Asmoneans.
258:2 Ezekiel xlvi. 21.