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Bible Dictionaries

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible

Porch

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PORCH . This word is a doublet of ‘portico’ (from Lat. porticus ), both originally denoting a covered entrance to a building. When the front of this entrance is supported on pillars, the porch becomes a portico. particus , like the Gr. stoa , was extended to signify a roofed colonnade running round a public building such as a temple, or enclosing an open space, like the cloisters of a mediæval monastery. The most famous of these ‘porches’ a sense in which the word is now obsolete were the ‘painted porch’ the Porch par excellence at Athens, and Solomon’s porch at Jerusalem (see below).

In the OT a porch is named chiefly in connexion with the Temple (see below), or with the palace (wh. see) of Solomon. The pillars of the temple of Dagon at Gaza which Samson pulled down, or rather slid from their stone bases, were probably two of those supporting the portico, as ingeniously explained by Macalister, Bible Sidelights , etc., ch. vii. (see House, § 5 ). The word rendered ‘porch’ in Judges 3:23 is of quite uncertain meaning and even of doubtful authenticity.

In the NT, in connexion with the trial of Jesus, mention is made of a ‘porch’ or, as RVm [Note: Revised Version margin.] , ‘forecourt’ (Mark 14:63 ), as distinguished from the ‘court’ ( Mark 14:66 RV [Note: Revised Version.] ) of the high priest’s palace, for which Matthew 26:71 (EV [Note: English Version.] ‘porch’) has a word elsewhere rendered ‘gate.’ In both cases the covered gateway leading from the street to the court is probably meant.

Solomon’s porch ( John 10:23 , Acts 3:11; Acts 5:12 ) was a covered colonnade or cloister running along the east side of the Temple enclosure (see Temple, § 1 ( a ), where the triple colonnade of Herod’s temple the ‘Royal Porch’ of Josephus is also discussed. For details see ExpT [Note: Expository Times.] , Nov. 1908, p. 68). A similar colonnade enclosed the pool of Bethesda ( John 5:2 ).

A. R. S. Kennedy.

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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Porch'. Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/hdb/p/porch.html. 1909.

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