Here, concerning the chambers, they differ. The tract Middoth assigns these to the south side; |The chamber of wood, the chamber of the spring water, the chamber Gazith.| -- The Babylonian Gemara and Maimonides assign them to the north side. In Middoth, |the chamber of salt, the chamber of Happarva, the chamber of them that was,| were on the north side: in those, they are said to be on the south. The matter is hardly of so great moment, that we should weary ourselves in deciding this controversy. We enter not into disputes, but follow those things that are more probable, the Middoth being our guide.
I. Therefore we suppose, first, that the chamber Gazith was on the south side of the court, near the east corner: and that upon this reason, -- that since, according to all the Jews (howsoever differing on what side it was placed), this chamber was not in the middle of the three chambers before named, but on the outside, either on the one hand or on the other, -- the council could not sit in the lot Judah, if Gazith were not seated about that place which we assign.
|The chamber Gazith was in the form of a great court walk. And half of it was in the Holy Place, and the other half in that which was common: and it had two doors; whereof one opened towards the Holy Place, -- the other towards that which was common|: -- that is, one into the court, the other to the Chel. The great Sanhedrim sat in that part, which was in Chel; for |none might sit in the court, unless kings only of the stock of David.|
|In the chamber of Gazith sat the council of Israel, and judged concerning the priests. Whosoever was found touched with any spot was clothed in black, and was veiled in black, and went away. Whoever was without spot, being clothed and veiled in white, went into the court, and ministered with his brethren.|
|The president sat in the west part of the chamber|; and |Ab Beth Din [the next in rank to the president], on his right hand, and the elders on both sides, in a half circle.|
How the Sanhedrim was driven from this chamber, and when and why, we observe elsewhere.
II. |The chamber of the spring| was next to this, westwardly: |where was a well, and a pulley: whence water was supplied to the whole court.|
III. Contiguous to this was the |gate of waters|; so called, either because the water, to be poured out upon the altar, on the feast of Tabernacles, was brought in through this gate; or because the water-course, conveyed into the Temple from the fountain Etam, went along through this gate into the chamber of the spring. |Abai saith, That fountain was deeper than the pavement of the court three and twenty cubits.| -- |And I think (saith the author of the Gloss), that the fountain Etam was the same with the waters of Nephtoah, of which mention is made in the book of Joshua, 15:9; from thence it descends and slopes into the east and west, and that place was the highest in the land of Israel.|
IV. After this gate was the 'chamber of wood'; and above that, |the chamber of the magistrates|; or, as it was commonly called, |the chamber of the counsellors|: where there was a sessions of the priests, consulting about the affairs of the Temple and Service. The 'wood-chamber' seems to be called so upon this account, because the wood was conveyed hither, after the search about it was made in the 'chamber of wood' (which was in the corner of the Women's Court,) whether there were any worms in it: that which was found fit for the altar was laid-up here, that it might be more in readiness.
V. Beyond that was |the gate of offering|: and, after that, |the gate of kindling.|