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pinnacle in the Bible

Greek: πτερύγιον —transliteration: pterugion —meaning: a little wing (or anything like a wing)

also known as: parapet, a turret-like structure, apex, battlement, or any pointed extremity

This word appears twice in Scripture in Matthew 4:5 and Luke 4:9.

“Then the devil took Him into the holy city and had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple,” —Matthew 4:5 NKJV

On the southern side of Herod’s temple court was a range of open covered walkways (cloisters) forming three arcades. At the southeastern corner the roof overtop this walkway was far above the Kidron valley. The pinnacle, some parapet or wing-like projection, was above this roof, and hence at a great height overtop the massive retaining wall below.

The ancient Jewish historian Flavius Josephus describes this high pinnacle and claims it was almost 450 feet (approximately 137 meters) above the valley floor…

“This cloister deserves to be mentioned better than any other under the sun; for, while the valley was very deep, and its bottom could not be seen if you looked from above into the depth, this farther vastly high elevation of the cloister stood upon that height, insomuch that if any one looked down from the top of the battlements, or down both those altitudes, he would be giddy, while his sight could not reach to such an immense depth.” —Antiquities of the Jews, Book 15, Chapter 11:5 — Temples

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Article Version: June 30, 2021