It was vitally important that the Mizbeyach be built in precisely the right location and so a prophet was consulted to pinpoint its exact coordinates. In addition, although the entire expanse of Har Habayis was built over a system of arches to protect it from corpse-tumah of any graves which may have been located within the ground, both the Mizbeyach and its ramp were required to be attached directly to solid ground and could not have any hollow areas intervening between them and the bedrock. Therefore, after excavating the site of the Mizbeyach down to the bedrock, they replaced the dirt in this area after verifying that it was free of any human remains.
The Yesod [lit. base] of the Mizbeyach, although it measured 32 amos per side, was not a perfect square for the following reason: The city of Yerushalayim and the Beis Hamikdash itself were built partially within the tribal portion of Binyamin and partially within the portion of Yehudah. The eastern side of the Beis Hamikdash belonged to Yehudah and the western side, including the Heychal Building and Mizbeyach, went to Binyamin. However, the border between these two tribes was not a straight line running north to south, rather some of Yehudah’s portion cut into the place of the Mizbeyach by one amah along most of its eastern and southern edges. The Mizbeyach —whose location was fixed and could not be moved — was required to be built completely within the portion of Binyamin. As a result, the Yesod only encompassed three of the Mizbeyach’s four corners.
Binyamin Hatzaddik prophetically foresaw that the southeastern corner of the Yesod would not be in his territory. He longed for it so earnestly that Hashem rewarded him by having the Aron rest in his portion (in the Kodesh Hakodashim).
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