When King Herod expanded the Temple Mount platform, he did so to the west, the north and the south, but not to the east. The reason why? The Kidron Valley.
The original structure of the Second Temple was built by Zerubavel and Nechemia 70 years after the first Temple was destroyed and the Jews of Judea were exiled to Babylonia.
The Book of Ezra begins with a decree from King Cyrus of Persia, allowing the Jews to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple that had been destroyed by the Babylonians in 587 BC (Ezra 1:2-4). Some of the exiled Jews returned to Israel from Babylon and began to rebuild the Temple.
The initial construction of the Second Temple was completed in 515 B.C.E., and the rededication was a huge celebration. The Temple would stand as rebuilt by Zerubbabel until the Hasmonean period.
Simon ben Yohanan, the Hasmonean, (Simon the Just) c. 200 B.C.E., refurbished the initial rebuilt Second Temple but he did not modify the basic structure. Yet, the Second Temple still was a far cry from its beautiful First Temple structure, until King Herod.
King Herod the Great substantially refurbished the Temple starting in 20 B.C.E with a huge expansion of the whole Temple Mount area. The final Second Temple structure is King Herod’s most accomplished building project.
The Roman General Titus then destroyed Jerusalem and the Second Temple in 70 AD, expelling many of the Jews from their homeland, as a result of the great Jewish rebellion, which was the most successful rebellion against the Roman Empire.
A Temple Mount Moment is the joint project of the Temple Institute and High on the Har. Temple Mount experts and co founders of High on the Har, Dr. Melissa Jane Kronfeld and Rabbi Yehuda Levi present each week fascinating facts and insights about the Temple Mount and the Holy Temple, its past, present and future!