Ezekiel 41:21
The posts of the temple were squared, and the face of the sanctuary; the appearance of the one as the appearance of the other.
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(21) The posts of the temple.—Posts is a different word from that hitherto used, and always means the framework in which the doors were hung. Temple is, as before, the Holy Place, in distinction from the sanctuary, or Holy of Holies. The door-frames of both were square and just alike.

Ezekiel 41:21-22. The posts of the temple were squared, &c. — The lintels, or door-posts, both of the temple and inner sanctuary, were not arched, but square, with a flat beam, or upper lintel, laid upon the top of the side-posts: compare the margin of 1 Kings 6:33. The altar of wood was three cubits high, and the length thereof two cubits — The LXX. add, by way of explication, και το ευρος πηχων δυο, and the breadth thereof two cubits; that it might be foursquare, as Moses’s altar of incense was, Exodus 30:2. The altar here described is a cubit higher, and double the breadth to that of Moses, which is supposed to be agreeable to the dimensions of the altar made by Solomon, who did not exactly observe the proportions prescribed to Moses, in making the cherubim and the other furniture of the temple; God having given a new model to David of all the parts and ornaments of the temple, 1 Chronicles 28:12; 1 Chronicles 28:19. This altar was made of wood, but overlaid with gold, Exodus 30:3, and therefore is called the golden altar. And the corners thereof, &c., were of wood — The corners are the same with the horns, mentioned Exodus 30:2, being made out of the four posts which supported each corner of the altar. The surface, or top of it, is called the length, and the sides the walls. This is the table that is before the Lord — The words altar and table are used promiscuously; and this table, or altar, is said to be before the Lord, as being in the place of his peculiar presence: compare Exodus 30:8. In the same sense the burnt-offering is said to be made at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the Lord, that is, in the place dedicated to his worship, Exodus 29:42; and the lamp is said to burn before the Lord, chap. Ezekiel 27:21, though the candlestick stood in the outward sanctuary.

41:1-26 After the prophet had observed the courts, he was brought to the temple. If we attend to instructions in the plainer parts of religion, and profit by them, we shall be led further into an acquaintance with the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven.The posts - Not the word used before (see Ezekiel 40:9 note). These "posts" are rather pilasters forming part of the inner walls.

The appearance ... other - i. e., the appearance in this vision was the same as in the actual temple (compare Ezekiel 43:3); (or, according to others, the front of the sanctuary resembled, the front of the holy place).

21. appearance of the one as the appearance of the other—The appearance of the sanctuary or holy of holies was similar to that of the temple. They differed only in magnitude. The posts on each side of the gate or door, both of temple and oracle, were squared; not round, as some other were, and as the posts of the door of the tabernacle were, but of exact square.

The face, the form of the door, or gate of the temple, was square, i.e. not arched, as the gates of our churches ordinarily are, but with a flat beam, or upper lintel, laid on the top of the posts, and so either made an equilateral square, or an oblong square.

The appearance of the one as the appearance of the other; as was the form of the gate of the temple in its larger, so was the form of the gate of the oracle in its lesser dimensions.

The posts of the temple were squared,.... Or, were "foursquare" (n); the two posts on each side the door, the lintel and the threshold, made a square; the posts themselves were not round, as pillars, but flat and square; and the upper part was not arched, as in some buildings, but square. Jarchi says he had heard that the posts of Solomon's temple were foursquare; but that is not certain; however, these were. The Vulgate Latin version renders it "four cornered"; as doors formerly were: this was the ancient way of building, as Philander (o) observes; almost everything in this wonderful building was foursquare; denoting the firmness, stability, and perfection of all things in it:

and the face of the sanctuary; the appearance of the one as the appearance of the other; that is, the front of the holy of holies was like that of the temple; they both had the same appearance, though one was larger than another. The posts of the one were squared, even as the posts of the other; showing that the same is the way of entrance into the Gospel church and into the New Jerusalem church state, and even into the heavenly glory, which is Christ; and, whether in the less or more perfect state of the church on earth, there are the same precious faith, and love, and communion, though different degrees. The Targum is,

"and the face of the house of the propitiatory; and its appearance as the appearance of its glory;''

which Jarchi interprets, as the appearance of the throne of glory, seen by the prophet at the river Chebar, Ezekiel 1:26.

(n) "quadratus", Montanus, Vatablus, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator. (o) Not. in Vitruvium de Architect. l. 4. c. 6. p. 153.

The posts of the temple were squared, and the face of the sanctuary; the appearance of the one as the appearance of the other.
21. the posts … squared] The text is very uncertain, the versions deviating from Heb. and from one another. The word “temple” (Ezekiel 41:20) being omitted the words read: and the wall, 21 of the temple was square door-posts—a construction scarcely possible to express the idea that the wall had square door-posts. Syriac read: and the wall of the temple was four-square—omitting “door-posts.” LXX.: and the holy place (holiest) and the temple opened (spread out) four-square—reading “holy place” for wall, and “opened” for door-posts. It is probable that something is said of the holiest, because the next clause refers to an article that stood in front of it. It is also probable that the “door” referred to Ezekiel 41:20 is that from the holy place into the holiest. But the witnesses leave us uncertain whether something be said about the wall or about the door-posts. If of the first the reading may be: and the wall of the holiest was four-square (Hitz., Corn.). Reference, however, might be to the door-posts. In Solomon’s temple those of the holy place appear to have been four-cornered, and those of the holiest five-cornered (1 Kings 6:31; 1 Kings 6:33).

face of the sanctuary … the other] This has no probability. The clause is rather to be connected with Ezekiel 41:22. Perhaps: and in front of the sanctuary (the holiest) was the appearance as the appearance 22 of an altar of wood, three cubits the height thereof, &c. So LXX. and partly Syr. In the holy place in front of the holiest there stood an object having the appearance of an altar of wood. The present text might read: “and (as for) the front of the sanctuary, the appearance was as the appearance,” i.e. it had the appearance which is well known and does not need further description—a form of speech common enough in Shemitic, but quite improbable here.

Verse 21. - The posts of the temple were squared; literally, as for the temple the doorposts were squared, or "the sanctuary post work of square form" (Keil). The remaining clauses ought to read as in the Revised Version, "As for the face of the sanctuary, the appearance thereof was as the appearance of the temple," the sanctuary being the holy of holies as distinguished from the holy place or the house as a whole, The precise force of the last words, the appearance as the appearance, is supposed by Kliefoth and Keil to be that the sanctuary door, like that of the temple, had square pests; by Ewald, that it appeared to be what it really was; by Plumptre, that the appearance was like that he (Ezekiel) had formerly described: by Currey, that the appearance in this vision was the same as in the other visions, and as in the actual temple (comp. Ezekiel 43:2). Something can be said for each of these attempts to elucidate a dark phrase. Smend and Hitzig, follow the LXX. in connecting the last clause of ver. 21 with ver. 22 in this fashion, "And in front of the holy place was an appearance like the sight of a wooden altar." Ezekiel 41:21Summary Account of the Measurement, the Character, and the Significant Ornaments of the Projecting Portions of the Temple Building. - Ezekiel 41:15. And thus he measured the length of the building in the front of the separate place which was at the back thereof, and its galleries on this side and that side, a hundred cubits, and the inner sanctuary, and the porches of the court; Ezekiel 41:16. The thresholds, and the closed windows, and the galleries round about all three - opposite to the thresholds was wainscoting wood round about, and the ground up to the windows; but the windows were covered - Ezekiel 41:17. (The space) above the doors, both to the inner temple and outside, and on all the wall round about, within and without, had its measures. Ezekiel 41:18. And cherubs and palms were made, a palm between every two cherubs; and the cherub had two faces; Ezekiel 41:19. A man's face toward the palm on this side, and a lion's face toward the palm on that side: thus was it made round about the whole house. Ezekiel 41:20. From the floor to above the doors were the cherubs and palms made, and that on the wall of the sanctuary. Ezekiel 41:21. The sanctuary had square door-posts, and the front of the holy of holies had the same form. Ezekiel 41:22. The altar was of wood, three cubits high, and its length two cubits; and it had its corner-pieces and its stand, and its walls were of wood: and he said to me, This is the table which stands before Jehovah. Ezekiel 41:23. And the holy place and the holy of holies had two doors. Ezekiel 41:24. And the doors had two wings, two turning leaves; the one door two, and the other two leaves. Ezekiel 41:25. And there were made upon them, upon the doors of the sanctuary, cherubs and palms, as they were made upon the walls; and a moulding of wood was on the front of the porch outside. Ezekiel 41:26. And there were closed windows and palms on this side and on that, on the side-walls of the porch, and the side-rooms of the house, and the beams. - Ezekiel 41:15 is the commencement of a comprehensive enumeration of particular features in the building, the greater part of which have not been mentioned before; so that וּמדד (for ויּמד) is to be rendered, "and thus he measured." The circumstance that another measurement follows in Ezekiel 41:15, whereas no further numbers are given from Ezekiel 41:15 onwards, does not warrant us in assuming that Ezekiel 41:15 is to be joined on to Ezekiel 41:14, and Ezekiel 41:15 to be taken in connection with Ezekiel 41:16. The absence of the cop. ו before הסּפּים in Ezekiel 41:16 is sufficient to preclude the latter, showing as it does that הסּפּים commences a fresh statement; and the words 'וההיכל וגו in Ezekiel 41:15 are still governed by the verb וּמדד in Ezekiel 41:15. The contents of Ezekiel 41:15 are also decisive against the separation mentioned. If, for instance, we connect Ezekiel 41:15 with Ezekiel 41:14, the first clause contains a pure tautology, as the length of the building has been already measured, and the result is given in Ezekiel 41:13. The tautology does not exist, if the summary statements of the measurement of different portions of the whole temple building commence with Ezekiel 41:15; and in connection with these a supplementary account is given of various details not mentioned before.

The contents of the second clause, namely, what is stated concerning the אתּיקים, belong directly to the latter. The building in front of the separate place, which was measured by the man, is more precisely defined, so far as its situation is concerned, by the words אשׁר על־אחריה. The feminine suffix in אחריה points back to הגּזרה; consequently אשׁר can only refer to הבּנין: "the building...which was at the back of the gizrah." This is not at variance with the situation indicated in אל־פּני הגּזרה, but serves as a more exact definition of this statement, showing that the building which stood at the front of the gizrah occupied the hinder part of it, i.e., extended in length from the front of the gizrah to the back. - The meaning of אתּוּקים or אתּיקים, here (Keri) and in Ezekiel 41:16; Ezekiel 42:3 and Ezekiel 42:5, the only other passages in which it occurs, is involved in obscurity. Even Raschi confesses that he does not know what it means, and the older translators have simply resorted to vague conjectures for their renderings; the lxx here, ἀπόλοιπα, in Ezekiel 42:3 and Ezekiel 42:5 περίστυλον and στοαί; the Vulgate, here, ethecas (the Hebrew word Latinized), in Ezekiel 42 porticus; Targum, in the London Polyglot, Ezekiel 41:15, זיויתהא; Ezekiel 41:16, אתּיקיּא; Ezekiel 42:3, זוי; and Ezekiel 42:5, זיזיּא. There is no root אתק in Hebrew; and the derivation of the word from עתק is not only uncertain, but furnishes us with nothing that can be used for tracing the architectural signification of the word. Even the context in Ezekiel 41:15 and Ezekiel 41:16 of this chapter supplies nothing, for in both verses the meaning of the clauses in which אתיקים stands is a matter of dispute. It is only in Ezekiel 42:3 and Ezekiel 42:5 that we find any clue. According to Ezekiel 42:3, in the three-storied cell-building there was אתּיק אל־פּני on the third storey; and according to Ezekiel 41:5 the cells of the upper storey in this building were shorter than those of the lower and central storey, because אתּיקים took space away from them; and the reason for this, again, was, that the three-storied cells had no pillars. From this we may infer with certainty that the אתּיקים were galleries or passages running along the outer walls of the building, which were not supported by pillars, and therefore necessarily rested upon ledges obtained by the receding of the rooms of the upper storey. This meaning also suits the present chapter. The suffix in אתּוּקיהא (an Aramaic form for אתּיקיה) points back, not to בּנין, but to הבּניה in Ezekiel 41:13; for the words, "and its galleries on this side and on that," i.e., on the north and south sides of the building, are not dependent upon ארך הבּנין, in the sense of "the length of the building, with its galleries on this side and on that," as ואתוקיהא is too widely separated from 'ארך הב for this. ואתוקיהא is rather a second object to מדד: he measured (1) the length of the building; (2) its galleries on this side and that - a hundred cubits; (3) the inner temple, etc. The hundred cubits do not refer to the length of the building, but to the galleries on both sides, which were of the same length as the building, and therefore ran along its entire length, - a fact which it was not superfluous to mention, as they might possibly have been shorter. ההיכל הפּנימי is the temple house, with the buildings against it, within the inner court. In addition to these, there are also mentioned the porches of the court, i.e., at the gate-buildings of the inner and outer courts, as the projecting portions of these buildings. These three works mentioned in Ezekiel 41:15 comprise the whole of the buildings, the measurements of which have been mentioned in the previous description - viz. the building to the west of the temple, in Ezekiel 41:12-14; the inner temple, in Ezekiel 41:1-11; the porches of the courts, to which the temple porch in front of the holy place is to be added, as having been reckoned in the measurement as belonging to the inner court, in Ezekiel 41. - Thus the contents of our verse (Ezekiel 41:15) plainly show that it not only is an indivisible whole, but forms a conclusion in which the foregoing measurements are all summed up, and which serves as an introduction, in accordance with this, to the following summary of various additional features in the temple buildings which are also worthy of mention.

In this summary there are five points noticed: (a) the fact that all parts of the buildings had their measurements (Ezekiel 41:16 and Ezekiel 41:17); (b) the significant ornamentation of the inner walls of the sanctuary (Ezekiel 41:18-21); (c) the altar in the holy place (Ezekiel 41:22); (d) the character and decoration of the doors of the sanctuary (Ezekiel 41:23-25); (e) the style of the porch and of the side-buildings against the temple (Ezekiel 41:25, Ezekiel 41:26). - Ezekiel 41:16 and Ezekiel 41:17 form one period, enlarged by the parenthetical insertion of explanatory statements, similar to the construction in Ezekiel 41:18 and Ezekiel 41:19. The predicate to the three subjects - the thresholds, the closed windows, and the galleries - is not to be sought for either in סביב or in 'הסּף שׁחיף וגו. The latter construction, adopted by Bttcher and Hvernick, yields the unmeaning assertion that the thresholds lay across in front of the threshold. The former gives the apparently bald thought, that thresholds, windows, and galleries were round about; in which the use of the article, the thresholds, the windows, is exceedingly strange. The predicate to 'הסּפּים וגו is מדּות at the end of Ezekiel 41:17 : the thresholds, etc., had measurements; and the construction is so far anakolouthistic, that the predicate מדּות, strictly speaking, belongs to the things mentioned in Ezekiel 41:17 alone, and the subjects mentioned in Ezekiel 41:16 are to be regarded as absolute nominatives. The words סביב לשׁלשׁתּם belong to the three preceding subjects, as a further definition, the thresholds, windows, and galleries (which were) against these three round about. The suffix to שׁלשׁתּם, "their triad," refers to the three buildings mentioned in Ezekiel 41:15 : the one upon the separate place, the temple building, and the porches of the court; and the appositional סביב is not to be so pressed as to lead to the conclusion that all three buildings, and therefore the porches of the court also, had אתּיקים round about. As the סביב לשׁלשׁתם is affirmed of the thresholds, and the windows, and the galleries, and these three objects are introduced by the article, as well known, i.e., as already mentioned and described in the preceding verses, the more precise definition (resp. limitation) of the apposition, "round about these three," is to be taken from the preceding description of these three buildings, and we are simply to assume the existence of thresholds, windows, and galleries in these buildings in those cases in which they have been mentioned in that description; so that the only place in which there were galleries was the building upon the separate place. But before the intended information is given concerning the thresholds, etc., a remark is introduced, with the words from נגד הסּף to סביב, as to the construction of the thresholds: viz., that opposite to the threshold (הסּף being used in a general sense for every threshold) there was שׁחיף עץ, a thin covering of wood, or wainscoting. נגד does not mean across the front (Bttcher), but "opposite;" and the part opposite to the threshold of a door is, strictly speaking, the lintel. Here, however, the word is probably used in the broader sense for the framework of the door, above and on the two sides, as is shown by סביב סביב which follows. With הארץ a fresh object is introduced. הארץ is a nominative, like הסּפּים, etc.; and the thought of supplying מן gniylppus, "from the ground," has originated in a faulty interpretation of the words. The idea is this: as the thresholds, the windows, etc., so also the ground up to the windows, i.e., the space between the ground and the windows, had measurements. The allusion to the windows is followed by the remark, in the form of a circumstantial clause, that "the windows were covered." מכסּות is apparently only a substantial explanation of אטמות (see the comm. on Ezekiel 40:16).

In Ezekiel 41:17 two further objects are mentioned as having measurements; not, however, in the logical position of subjects, but with prepositions על and אל: upon that which was above the opening of the door...and (what was) on all the walls, i.e., the space above the doors and on all the walls. To this periphrasis of the subject, through על and אל, there is attached the predicate מדּות, which belongs to all the subjects of Ezekiel 41:16 and Ezekiel 41:17, in the sense of, "on all the walls there were measures." The meaning is, that all the parts of the building which have been named had their definite measurements, were carefully measured off. In order to express this thought in as general and comprehensive a manner as possible, the ideas contained in the subjects in Ezekiel 41:17 are expanded by means of appositions: that of the space above, over the entrance door, by ולחוּץ 'ועד הבּית הף (both ו-ו equals et-et) into the inner temple, i.e., both the inside of the temple throughout, and also to the outside. The idea of the whole wall is expressed by "round about, in the inside and on the outside." - Thus everything in Ezekiel 41:16 and Ezekiel 41:17 is clear, and in accordance with fact; and there is no necessity either for the critical scissors of Ewald and Hitzig, who cut out all that they do not understand as glosses, or for the mal-emendation of Bttcher, who changes מדּות into מקלעות (1 Kings 6:18), and thus finds it good to ornament the temple with sculptures, even on the outsides of all the walls.

Ezekiel 41:18-21 treat of the ornamenting of the inside of the sanctuary, i.e., of the holy place and the holy of holies. Ezekiel 41:18 and Ezekiel 41:19 form, like Ezekiel 41:16 and Ezekiel 41:17, a period extended by parentheses. The predicate עשׂוּי, standing at the beginning of Ezekiel 41:18, is resumed in Ezekiel 41:19, and completed by ס' 'אל־כּל־הבּית ס. That the cherubim and palms were executed in sculpture or carving, is evident from the resemblance to Solomon's temple. They were so distributed that a cherub was followed by a palm, and this by a cherub again, so that the palm stood between the two cherubim, and the cherub turned one of its two faces to the palm on this side, and the other to the palm upon that side. In sculpture only two faces could be shown, and consequently these cherubic figures had only two faces, and not four, like those in the vision. This sculpture was placed round about the whole house, and that, as is added in Ezekiel 41:20 by way of explanation, from the ground even to up above the door, namely, on the inner wall of the sanctuary (ההיכל). כּל־הבּית is hereby limited to the היכל, the holy place and the holy of holies. וקיר is a local accusative. To this there is appended the further notice in Ezekiel 41:21, that the sanctuary had door-posts in a square form. The loose arrangement of the words, "the sanctuary post work of square form," is a concise form of expression after the manner of brief topographical notices. מזוּזה invariably signifies, wherever it occurs, the door-posts, i.e., the projecting framework of the entrances. רבוּע, "foured," does not mean four-cornered merely, but really square (Exodus 27:1 and Exodus 28:16). Consequently the words, "the door-posts of the holy place were of a square shape," might be understood as signifying not merely that the door-posts were beams cut square, but, as Kliefoth supposes, that the post work surrounding the door was made of a square form, that is to say, was of the same height as breadth, which would be quite in keeping with the predominance of the square shape, with its symbolical significance, in this picture of a temple. But the statement in the second half of the verse can hardly be reconciled with this; for whatever diversity there may be in the interpretation of this verse in particular points, it is certain that it does contain the general assertion that the doorway of the holy of holies was also shaped in the same way. But the door of the holy of holies, instead of being square, was (according to Ezekiel 41:3) six cubits high and seven cubits broad. הקּודשׁ, as distinguished from ההיכל, is the holy of holies, which Ezekiel 41:23 places beyond all doubt (for this use of הקּדשׁ, see Leviticus 16:2-3, Leviticus 16:16). פּני־הקּדשׁ, the face of the holy of holies, the front which met the eye of a person entering the holy place. המּראה כּמּראה is the predicate, which is attached as loosely as in the first hemistich. The front of the holy of holies had the appearance like the appearance (just described), i.e., like the appearance of the היכל; in fact, it had also a doorway with four-cornered posts. J. F. Starch has already given this explanation of the words: Eadem facies et aspectus erat utriusque portae templi et adyti, utraque quadrata et quadratis postibus conspicua erat. The proposal of Ewald, on the other hand, to connect כּמּראה with the following word המּזבּח, "in front of the holy of holies there was something to be seen like the shape of the altar" (lxx, Syr.), has the article in המּראה against it (Bttcher).

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