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Smith's Bible Dictionary

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Palace

Palace in the Bible, in the singular and plural, is the rendering of several words of diverse meaning. (1 Chronicles 29:1; Ezra 4:14; Amos 4:3) etc. It often designates the royal residence, and usually suggests a fortress or battlemented house. The word occasionally included the whole city as in (Esther 9:12) and again, as in (1 Kings 16:18) it is restricted to a part of the royal apartments. It is applied, as in (1 Chronicles 29:1) to the temple in Jerusalem. The site of the palace of Solomon was almost certainly in the city itself on the brow opposite to the temple, and overlooking it and the whole city of David. It is impossible, of course, to be at all certain what was either the form or the exact disposition of such a palace; but, as we have the dimensions of the three principal buildings given in the book of Kings and confirmed by Josephus, we may, by taking these as a scale, ascertain pretty nearly that the building covered somewhere about 150,000 or 160,000 square feet. Whether it was a square of 400 feet each way, or an oblong of about 550 feet by 300, must always be more or less a matter of conjecture. The principal building situated within the palace was, as in all eastern palaces, the great hall of state and audience, called "the house of the forest of Lebanon," apparently from the four rows of cedar pillars by which it was supported. It was 100 cubits (175 feet) long, 50 (88 feet) wide, and 30 (52 feet) high. Next in importance was the hall or "porch of judgment," a quadrangular building supported by columns, as we learn front Josephus, which apparently stood on the other side of the great court, opposite the house of the forest of Lebanon. The third edifice is merely called a "porch of pillars." Its dimensions were 50 by 30 cubits. Its use cannot be considered as doubtful, as it was an indispensable adjunct to an eastern palace. It was the ordinary place of business of the palace, and the reception-room when the king received ordinary visitors, and sat, except on great state occasions, to transact the business of the kingdom. Behind this, we are told, was the inner court, adorned with gardens and fountains, and surrounded by cloisters for shade; and there were other courts for the residence of the attendants and guards, and for the women of the harem. Apart from this palace, but attached, as Josephus tells us, to the hall of judgment, was the palace of Pharaoh’s daughter-too proud and important a personage to be grouped with the ladies of the harem, and requiring a residence of her own. The recent discoveries at Nineveh have enabled us to understand many of the architectural details of this palace, which before they were made were nearly wholly inexplicable. Solomon constructed an ascent from his own house to the temple, "the house of Jehovah," (1 Kings 10:5) which was a subterranean passage 250 feet long by 42 feet wide, of which the remains may still be traced.


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Bibliography Information
Smith, William, Dr. "Entry for 'Palace'". "Smith's Bible Dictionary".
<http://classic.studylight.org/dic/sbd/view.cgi?number=T3303>. 1901.


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