Ezekiel 40:16
And there were narrow windows to the little chambers, and to their posts within the gate round about, and likewise to the arches: and windows were round about inward: and on each post were palm trees.
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40:1-49 The Vision of the Temple. - Here is a vision, beginning at ch. 40, and continued to the end of the book, ch. 48, which is justly looked upon to be one of the most difficult portions in all the book of God. When we despair to be satisfied as to any difficulty we meet with, let us bless God that our salvation does not depend upon it, but that things necessary are plain enough; and let us wait till God shall reveal even this unto us. This chapter describes two outward courts of the temple. Whether the personage here mentioned was the Son of God, or a created angel, is not clear. But Christ is both our Altar and our Sacrifice, to whom we must look with faith in all approaches to God; and he is Salvation in the midst of the earth, Ps 74:12, to be looked unto from all quarters.The whole length of the gate-building was thus made up:

Thickness of boundary wall 6 cubits Hall of the entrance 5 cubits Three guard-chambers (6 cubits) 18 cubits Spaces between guard-chambers 10 cubits Hall of the porch 5 cubits The porch 6 cubits Total 50 cubits Ezekiel 40:16

The "narrow" (closed and (?)latticed "windows" lit up both the guard-chambers and the hall. On the square base of the "post" stood the shaft in the form of a palm-tree, as we see in ancient buildings in the east.

16. narrow—latticed [Henderson]. The ancients had no glass, so they had them latticed, narrow in the interior of the walls, and widening at the exterior. "Made fast," or "firmly fixed in the chambers" [Maurer].

arches—rather, "porches."

Narrow windows: these lights were made through the thickness of the wall of the chambers, and the wall was sloped for that purpose, both within toward the chamber, and without toward the cloister, this outward sloping gathering the light from without, and the inward sloping did disperse it over all the chamber; so they were windows narrowed inward, to the middle.

The little chambers; the three on each side of the porch.

To their posts; the upper lintel of each door, over which was a window to let in light from that side.

To the arches; windows under the arches between post and post, to give light to the five cubits’ space between chamber and chamber.

Windows were round about inward: these were on both sides of the porch within the gate exactly unlike.

Palm trees, i.e. engraven with curious art for beauty, and whose upper branches spreading themselves along under the arches seemed to bear up the arches. And there were narrow windows to the little chamber,.... The walls being sloped both within and without, that the light let in might be spread the more: as those "little chambers" signify the several congregated churches of Christ in the Gospel dispensation; See Gill on Ezekiel 40:7, so these windows design the word and ordinances therein administered, which are the means of letting light into them; see Sol 2:9, in attending on these, the light of God's countenance is enjoyed, which lies in the discoveries of his love; in the manifestations of himself; in his gracious presence, and in communion with him; than which nothing is more desirable or delightful: through these ordinances Christ the sun of righteousness shines in upon his people; he looks in at these windows, and shows himself through these lattices; he is seen through the glass of the Gospel; he is held forth in the ordinance of the supper; and by means thereof the souls of God's people are enlightened, comforted, and warmed: also in this way are communicated the illuminations of the Spirit, both at first conversion, and in after discoveries of the things freely given of God; of the doctrines of the Gospel; of the blessings of grace, and of the glories of heaven. The Gospel itself is a great and glorious light; and the ministers of it are the light of the world, and of the churches; and by the light being diffused through these little chambers, the churches, those who are in them see to walk on in Christ, as they have received him, and becoming his Gospel, and their profession of it; and also see to work, not for life, justification, and salvation, but to evidence their faith, and adorn their profession; to glorify God by their shining lights, and to cause others to glorify him; and by the whole, the light of joy, peace, and comfort, is transmitted to all the inhabitants of Zion. These windows are said to be "narrow", or "shut", or "closed" (c); that is, comparatively, not absolutely, for then they would be of no use. The ordinances of the Gospel dispensation are no doubt clearer, and the light of it larger, than of the legal dispensation, but this light has been darkened by the Papacy; and though it increased at the Reformation, yet before the latter day glory will break forth it will be as a twilight, neither clear nor dark, day nor night, Zechariah 14:6 and though the light that then will break out will be exceeding great, as the light of the sun, and that as the light of seven days, Isaiah 30:26, yet in comparison of the light of the New Jerusalem state, when there will be no need of the sun or moon, but the Lord will be the everlasting light of his people; and in comparison of the ultimate glory, when the saints shall see face to face; the light even of this dispensation will be like what is let in at narrow windows; see Revelation 21:23.

And to their posts within the gate round about; that is, to the posts of the doors that led into these chambers, over the lintel of them, were windows to let in light to those that were entering them, as well as were in them; and so there were to all the chambers round about the porch on one side and the other, between the two gates:

and likewise to the arches; or "porches" (d); to these doors, to which there were windows giving light to those that passed through:

and the windows were round about inward; in all the chambers within the grand porch, on the north and south:

and upon each post were palm trees; that is, on every post, column, or pillar, belonging to the chambers; and very probably on all the other before mentioned, Ezekiel 40:9, these posts or pillars signify either the ministers of the Gospel; so called for their strength, being mighty in the Scriptures, able ministers of the New Testament, capable of retaining and defending the truths of the Gospel, and of bearing reproach and persecution for them, and also the infirmities of weak believers; and for their stability, being steadfast and immovable in the work and cause of Christ, and not to be taken off from it either by the frowns or flatteries of men; and for their usefulness, in supporting the cause and interest of the Redeemer, and the minds of weak Christians, as well as the glorious truths of the Gospel; and may with great propriety be called the pillar and ground of truth; see Proverbs 9:1, yea, all true believers, and proper members of the churches of Christ, are pillars there, and such as shall never go out, Revelation 3:12, the word (e) used has the signification of strength, as pillars should be strong; and such believers are, not in themselves, but in Christ, in his power and grace, and through his Spirit; whereby they can do all things, perform all duties, exercise all grace, and engage with all enemies. They are like pillars that stand firm and stable; grounded in the love of God; secured in election grace; settled in the everlasting covenant; laid on the sure foundation Christ, and established in the truths of the Gospel; so that they never go out of the heart of God, the hands of Christ, the family of the saints, or church of God. They are as pillars; some more useful to support in an external way the interest of religion, giving liberally to the maintenance of ministers, the relief of the poor, and the defraying of all necessary charges; and others to strive and contend for, and so maintain and preserve, the truths and ordinances of the Gospel; and others to comfort and confirm weak believers. Now on these posts or pillars were "palm trees" painted, two on each, one on one side, and one on the other, as appears from Ezekiel 40:26, which are also an emblem of true believers in Christ; see Psalm 92:12 comparable to them for their uprightness, Jeremiah 10:5 these looking upwards to Christ by faith, and moving heavenwards in their affections and desires, and being upright in heart and life; and for their bearing pressures, and growing the more under them, as the palm tree does. Saints have many weights on them, a body of sin and death, reproaches, afflictions, and persecution; but they bear up under all, and are not left to desert the cause, they are engaged in; yea, grow the more hereby, in numbers and grace, like the children of Israel, Exodus 1:12 the force of the palm tree is in its top or head; if that is taken away it dies: Christ is the believers' head, from him they have their life, grace, strength, nourishment, and fruitfulness; could they be separated from him, all would be gone. The palm tree grows best in sunny places, is fruitful, an ever green, and lasts long: and such are the people of God; they grow most under the warm beams of divine love, and rays of the sun of righteousness; in the churches of Christ, where the Gospel is preached, and ordinances administered, which make their hearts burn within them; they are fruitful in grace and good works, retain their leaf of profession, and never perish. Once more, the palm tree is a token of joy and victory, and has been used on such occasions, Leviticus 23:40, and may denote the victory and joy upon it, which saints have through Christ, over sin, Satan, the world, and death.

(c) "clausae", Montanus, Vatablus, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator. (d) "in vestibulis", Vatablus, Montanus, Piscator; "porticibus", Cocceius, Starckius. (e) "fortitudo, hinc" "fortis".

And there were narrow windows to the little chambers, and to their posts within the gate round about, and likewise to the arches: and windows were round about inward: and upon each post were palm trees.
16. The description of the gateway building concludes with a ref. to the way in which it was lighted.

narrow windows] Heb. closed, i.e. fastened, not capable of being opened like ordinary windows (2 Kings 13:17). Windows were usually openings with lattice-work. Here they may have been loop-holed, widening out toward the inside. For little chambers, guardrooms.

to their posts] i.e. those of the guardrooms. The ref. is to the 5 cubit thick wall fronts between the guardrooms. Cf. Ezekiel 40:10.

to the arches] Probably: and to the porch there of, i.e. of the gate. There are three words in this chapter which need to be distinguished: (1) “post” (ail), the meaning of which is certain from Ezekiel 40:9. It means the front face (thickness) of a wall that projects forward (Ezekiel 40:9), especially the jamb (on each side) of an entrance, e.g. Ezekiel 40:48, of the entrance to the porch of the house, and Ezekiel 41:3 of the entrance to the house itself, cf. 1 Kings 6:31. It seems also certainly used of the front (thickness) of any wall that springs forward, the side of which bounds a space, and so of the fronts of the walls which bounded the guardrooms (previous note and Ezekiel 40:10). (2) The second is “porch” (ulam), the meaning of which is also clear. It refers to the large apartment which lay at the inner end of the outer gate (Ezekiel 40:8-9), and at the outer end of the inner gate, and also to the apartment which formed the outmost of the three divisions of the house (Ezekiel 40:48). (3) The third word is that rendered “arch” (ailam), R.V. marg., colonnade. The term occurs only in this chapter. The punctuators always make it plur., though the text appears to make it sing.: except Ezekiel 40:16; Ezekiel 40:30 (fem. plur.; in Ezekiel 41:15 mas. pl. of ulam). These plurals are of doubtful authenticity. In regard to the word it appears, (1) that it is clearly distinguished from “post” (ail), Ezekiel 40:21; Ezekiel 40:24; Ezekiel 40:29; Ezekiel 40:33; Ezekiel 40:36. (7) The LXX. does not know the pronunciation ulam, uniformly transliterating ailam. (3) Even Heb. uses ailam in the sense of ulam (porch), e.g. certainly Ezekiel 40:31; Ezekiel 40:34; Ezekiel 40:37 (and probably Ezekiel 40:23; Ezekiel 40:26), where it is said that the “porch” (ailam) was towards the outer court There is no evidence that the word has any other sense than “porch.” The pronunciation ailam (êlam) is Assyr. also, the word meaning “anything in front” (Frd. Del., Baer Ezek.).

and windows] Probably: and the windows.

each post were palm trees] The “post” here is that of Ezekiel 40:9, viz. the wall front or jamb on each side of the egress from the porch into the outer court, Fig. 1, no. This alone was decorated with palm trees.Verse 16. - And there were narrow (Hebrew, closed) windows, probably of lattice-work, so fixed as to prevent either egress or ingress. That these "windows" (חַלּ ונות, so called from being perforated) were intended to impart light to the gateway, either in whole or in part, is apparent, though it is difficult to form a clear idea of how they were situated. They were in the chambers, and in their posts and in the arches, or colonnades (Revised Version margin). In the chambers, or "lodges," they were most likely in the back walls, and in or near the posts, or pillars, belonging to the doors of these chambers, the clause, "and in their posts," being regarded as epexegetic of the preceding, and designed to furnish a more precise explanation of the particular part of the guard-room in which the windows were. Similar windows existed in the Solomonic temple (1 Kings 6:4). The "arches," or "colonnades" (אֵלַ מּיִת), were probably wall-projections on the sides of the chambers, to that light was admitted from three sides. Thus to one standing within, the whole gateway appeared studded round and round with windows. The description of the gate closes with the statement that upon each post were palm trees, which may signify either that the shaft was fashioned like a palm tree, as is sometimes seen in ancient buildings in the East (Dr. Currey, Plumptre) or that it was ornamented with representations of palm branches or palm trees (Keil, Ewald, Kliefoth). Hengstenberg's idea, that "whole palms beside the pillars are meant," is favored by Smend, who cites, in addition to ver. 26, Ezekiel 41:18, etc., and 1 Kings 6:29; 1 Kings 7:36.
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