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Temple, The

The religious structure in Jerusalem that was the center of Israelite national life in the biblical period, beginning with the monarchy (tenth century BCE) and continuing until its final destruction by the Roman legions in 70 CE. It underwent two major reconstructions, one following the exile and the other as part of the enormous building projects carried out by King Herod. The importance of the Temple in the religious life of Israel is as a visible reminder of God’s presence and as the place where authorized sacrifices were offered. The First Temple, built under Solomon, is described in some detail in (1Kgs 6-8) and the parallel account in (2Chr 2-4). Ezekiel also has an extensive Temple section (chaps. 40–46). The Second Temple was built between 520 and 515 BCE as a replacement for Solomon’s Temple, which had been destroyed by the Babylonians (2Kgs 25:8-17). The structure, which apparently lacked splendor (Hag 2:3; Ezra 3:12), was defiled by Antiochus IV Epiphanes. Herod the Great subsequently expanded the Second Temple in significant ways during his reign (37 BCE–4 CE). But Titus and his legions destroyed the edifice in 70 CE.