Then he brought me forth into the utter court, the way toward the north: and he brought me into the chamber that was over against the separate place, and which was before the building toward the north.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)XLII.
This chapter describes what is not only new in this vision, but also unknown in either the former or the later Temple. Ezekiel 42:1-14 are occupied with the account of certain chambers for the priests adjoining the inner court, but actually within the area of the outer. From Ezekiel 42:14 it is plain that these chambers, although thus situated in the outer court, were considered for ecclesiastical purposes as belonging to the inner. Ezekiel 42:15-20 describe a very large area enclosing the Temple and its courts as an additional safeguard to its sanctity.
(1) Utter court.—Outer court (see Note on 40:31). The “into” of the next clause should be “unto”; so also in Ezekiel 46:19.
Before the building.—The preposition is the same as that translated just before, and also twice in Ezekiel 42:3, “over against.” The length of this chamber, or series of chambers, was 100 cubits (Ezekiel 42:2), and as it appears from Ezekiel 46:19 that it did not reach to the western wall, it must have extended the whole remaining length of the building to the west of the separate place, across the separate place itself, and probably also across the chambers at the west end of the Temple (see Plan II., H, H [Ezekiel 40:44-49]). The chamber on the north is particularly described in Ezekiel 42:1-9, and in Ezekiel 42:10-12 mention is made more briefly of a corresponding one on the south.Ezekiel 42:1-4. Then he brought me forth into the outer court — Outer with respect to the temple itself, or the outer part of the court, which court was that of the priests, as appears from what follows. Into the chamber that was over against the separate place — Chamber is put for chambers. Before the length, &c., was the north door — This north door faced one of the cloisters, the length of which was a hundred cubits, and its breadth fifty, which was the proportion of all the cloisters. Over against the twenty cubits which were for [or, which belonged to] the inner court, and over against the pavement which was for [or, belonged to] the outer court — One side of these building looked upon the void space about the temple, which contained twenty cubits, mentioned Ezekiel 41:10; and the other side was toward the pavement belonging to the outer court, described Ezekiel 40:17. And before the chamber was a walk of ten cubits — According to our reading of this verse, there seem to have been two rows of these chambers, and a walk between them of ten cubits’ breadth, with an entrance into it from the chambers of the breadth of one cubit. But the LXX., Syriac, Houbigant, and Bishop Newcome, after a walk of ten cubits breadth, add, and of a hundred cubits long.Ezekiel 42:3.
Into the chamber ... before the building - to the chambers (See L, Plan II)... over against etc. "The building" is the temple-building, for this row of chambers was built against eighty cubits of the wall bounding "the separate place" and twenty cubits of the wall of the temple-court.
Eze 42:1-20. Chambers of the Priests: Measurements of the Temple.The chambers for the priests, Ezekiel 42:1-12. The use thereof, Ezekiel 42:13,14. The measures of the outward court, Ezekiel 42:15-20.
"by the way of the gate which is open to the way of the north:''
and he brought me into the chamber that was over against the separate place; or holy of holies; see Ezekiel 41:12, over against or before this, to the north of it, were a chamber or chambers; the singular being put for the plural; whither the prophet was brought to take a view of, being a new and distinct building from all others he had seen before; unto one of them, or to the place of them, as Jarchi, where they stood: there were two rows of them opposite to each other, and a walk between them; they are afterwards called the north and south chambers, Ezekiel 42:13,
and which was before the building toward the north; this chamber or chambers were over against or before the whole fabric, to the north of it. The Jews here confess their ignorance, there being nothing in the first or second temple answerable to these. Lipman (s) expressly says these chambers were not in the second temple; perhaps they may design the Protestant reformed churches in the northern parts of the world; the religion of Protestants is by the Papists called the northern heresy: and if our northern churches are here pointed at and described, it is a great honour that is done them, to have a particular apartment allotted them in this wonderful building; compare Psalm 48:2.Then he brought me forth into the utter court, the way toward the north: and he brought me into the chamber that was over against the separate place, and which was before the building toward the north.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)1. the utter court] LXX. the inner court. Something may be said for both. On the one hand the entrance-way to the chambers was from the outer court, and the prophet might have been first brought to the outer court and then by this way to the chambers in the inner court. This, however, is rather a complicated movement, and is not indicated; and perhaps the “inner” of LXX. has most probability. The position of the prophet is pretty clear, it was on the E. of the chambers, to the N. of the longer wing and facing it, Fig. 3, Q. LXX. reads “eastward” for “the way.”
into the chamber] unto the chambers. The word is sing. as collective. The “separate place” is the 20 cubits broad court running round the house on its three sides, Fig. 3, H. The longer wing of the block of cells ran along this “separate” place its whole length of 100 cubits, Fig. 3, G. The “building toward the N.” is the wall of the outer court with its blocks of cells (Ezekiel 40:5), Fig. 3, B, C. As there was nothing between the wing of chambers on the N. wall of the inner court and this “building” or wall of the outer court with its cells, except the mere level of the court, the one is said to be over against the other.
1–3. These verses may read consecutively: “And he brought me forth into the inner court, the way toward the north; and he brought me unto the chambers that were over against the separate place, and that were over against the (wall-) building toward the north, 2 (even) in front of the length of 100 cubits with the doors toward the north; and the breadth was 50 cubits, 3 over against the 20 cubits belonging to the inner court, and over against the pavement belonging to the outer court, gallery (being) over against gallery in the third story.”
1–12. The chambers in the inner court.
In the inner court on the two sides N. and S. of the house or temple proper were erected blocks of cells for the use of the priests, where they ate the holy things and deposited their sacred garments. They are those referred to Ezekiel 41:10. The block on the N. side is fully described (Ezekiel 42:1-9), and that on the S. of the house is said to be similar in all respects (Ezekiel 42:10-12). The block on the N. extended from the “separate place” to the N. wall of the inner court, a breadth of 50 cubits, all the space available. The block of cells had two wings, one 100 cubits long running along the “separate place,” Fig. 3, G, the other 50 cubits long, Fig. 3, G, running along the N. wall of the inner court—both measurements E. to W. Between the two wings of the block ran a walk of 10 cubits broad and 100 cubits long, i.e. the whole length of the longer wing, Fig. 3, O, and on this walk the doors into the chambers opened, i.e. looked to the N. (at least in the longer wing). The chambers were built in three stories, but those of the third story were narrower than those of the other two, because a “gallery” in the uppermost story took up some space. The chambers had no pillars like those in the outer court. There was an entrance-way leading to the chambers from the outer court, through the wall of the inner court, but its precise situation is not indicated.Verses 1-14. - The priests' chambers. Verse 1. - The survey of the house having been completed, the seer was conducted by his guide into the outer court (see on Ezekiel 40:17), by the way toward the north, i.e. by the inner north gate (see Ezekiel 40:23) and from the outer court into the chamber that was over against the separate place, and which was before the building toward the north. That this chamber, or these chambers (לִשְׁכָּה being a collective noun, though in vers. 4 and 5 it occurs in the plural), were not the same cells as those mentioned in Ezekiel 40:17, 44, as Havernick supposes, is apparent from their situation and use. Those in Ezekiel 40:44 were in the inner, while these were in the outer; and if the cells spoken of in Ezekiel 40:17 were in the outer court, they were also on the pavement by the outer wall, while the chambers now alluded to were "over against," or in front of, the gizrah, or separate place (see on Ezekiel 41:12), and "over against," or in front of, "the building toward the north." This building Kiel, Hengstenberg, Schroder, and Plumptre hold to have been the erection on the gizrah; Ewald, Kliefoth, Smend, and Currey believe it to have meant the temple. The question as to which view is correct is immaterial, since the row of chambers extended in front of parts of both buildings. Ewald, as usual, follows the LXX., and translates, "brought me to the fifteen (another Greek text has five) cells;" but of this the Hebrew contains nothing.
Ezekiel 39:9. Then will the inhabitants of the cities of Israel go forth, and burn and heat with armour and shield and target, with bow and arrows and hand-staves and spears, and will burn fire with them for seven years; Ezekiel 39:10. And will not fetch wood from the field, nor cut wood out of the forests, but will burn fire with the armour, and will spoil those who spoiled them, and plunder those who plundered them, is the saying of the Lord Jehovah. Ezekiel 39:11. And it will come to pass in that day, that I will give Gog a place where his grave in Israel shall be, the valley of the travellers, and there will they bury Gog and all his multitude, and will call it the valley of Gog's multitude. Ezekiel 39:12. They of the house of Israel will bury them, to purify the land for seven months. V.1 3. And all the people of the land will bury, and it will be to them for a name on the day when I glorify myself, is the saying of the Lord Jehovah. Ezekiel 39:14. And they will set apart constant men, such as rove about in the land, and such as bury with them that rove about those who remain upon the surface of the ground, to cleanse it, after the lapse of seven months will they search it through. Ezekiel 39:15. And those who rove about will pass through the land; and if one sees a man's bone, he will set up a sign by it, till the buriers of the dead bury it in the valley of the multitude of Gog. Ezekiel 39:16. The name of a city shall also be called Hamonah (multitude). And thus will they cleanse the land. Ezekiel 39:17. And thou, son of man, thus saith the Lord Jehovah, Say to the birds of every plumage, and to all the beasts of the field, Assemble yourselves, and come, gather together from round about to my sacrifice, which I slaughter for you, to a great sacrifice upon the mountains of Israel, and eat flesh and drink blood. Ezekiel 39:18. Flesh of heroes shall ye eat, and drink blood of princes of the earth; rams, lambs, and he-goats, bullocks, all fattened in Bashan. Ezekiel 39:9. And ye shall eat fat to satiety, and drink blood to intoxication, of my sacrifice which I have slaughtered for you. Ezekiel 39:20. And ye shall satiate yourselves at my table with horses and riders, heroes and all kinds of men of war, is the saying of the Lord Jehovah. - To show how terrible the judgment upon Gog will be, Ezekiel depicts in three special ways the total destruction of his powerful forces. In the first place, the burning of all the weapons of the fallen foe will furnish the inhabitants of the land of Israel with wood for firing for seven years, so that there will be no necessity for them to fetch fuel from the field or from the forest (Ezekiel 39:9 and Ezekiel 39:10). But Hvernick is wrong in supposing that the reason for burning the weapons is that, according to Isaiah 9:5, weapons of war are irreconcilable with the character of the Messianic times of peace. This is not referred to here; but the motive is the complete annihilation of the enemy, the removal of every trace of him. The prophet therefore crowds the words together for the purpose of enumerating every kind of weapon that was combustible, even to the hand-staves which men were accustomed to carry (cf. Numbers 22:27). The quantity of the weapons will be so great, that they will supply the Israelites with all the fuel they need for seven years. The number seven in the seven years as well as in the seven months of burying (Ezekiel 39:11) is symbolical, stamping the overthrow as a punishment inflicted by God, the completion of a divine judgment.
With the gathering of the weapons for burning there is associated the plundering of the fallen foe (Ezekiel 39:10), by which the Israelites do to the enemy what he intended to do to them (Ezekiel 38:12), and the people of God obtain possession of the wealth of their foes (cf. Jeremiah 30:16). In the second place, God will assign a large burying-place for the army of Gog in a valley of Israel, which is to be named in consequence "the multitude of Gog;" just as a city in that region will also be called Hamonah from this event. The Israelites will bury the fallen of Gog there for seven months long, and after the expiration of that time they will have the land explored by men specially appointed for the purpose, and bones that may still have been left unburied will be sought out, and they will have them interred by buriers of the dead, that the land may be thoroughly cleansed (Ezekiel 39:11-16). מקום שׁם, a place where there was a grave in Israel, i.e., a spot in which he might be buried in Israel. There are different opinions as to both the designation and the situation of this place. There is no foundation for the supposition that גּי העברים derives its name from the mountains of Abarim in Numbers 27:12 and Deuteronomy 32:49 (Michaelis, Eichhorn), or that it signifies valley of the haughty ones (Ewald), or that there is an allusion to the valley mentioned in Zechariah 14:4 (Hitzig), or the valley of Jehoshaphat (Kliefoth). The valley cannot even have derived its name (העברים) from the עברים, who passed through the land to search out the bones of the dead that still remained unburied, and have them interred (Ezekiel 39:14, Ezekiel 39:15). For העברים cannot have any other meaning here than that which it has in the circumstantial clause which follows, where those who explored the land cannot possibly be intended, although even this clause is also obscure. The only other passage in which חסם occurs is Deuteronomy 25:4, where it signifies a muzzle, and in the Arabic it means to obstruct, or cut off; and hence, in the passage before us, probably, to stop the way. העברים are not the Scythians (Hitzig), for the word עבר is never applied to their invasion of the land, but generally the travellers who pass through the land, or more especially those who cross from Peraea to Canaan. The valley of העברים is no doubt the valley of the Jordan above the Dead Sea. The definition indicates this, viz., קדמת, on the front of the sea; not to the east of the sea, as it is generally rendered, for קדמת never has this meaning (see the comm. on Genesis 2:14). By היּם we cannot understand "the Mediterranean,"as the majority of the commentators have done, as there would then be no meaning in the words, since the whole of the land of Israel was situated to the east of the Mediterranean Sea. היּם is the Dead Sea, generally called היּם הקּדמוני (Ezekiel 47:18); and קדמת, "on the front side of the (Dead) Sea," as looked at from Jerusalem, the central point of the land, is probably the valley of the Jordan, the principal crossing place from Gilead into Canaan proper, and the broadest part of the Jordan-valley, which was therefore well adapted to be the burial-place for the multitude of slaughtered foes. But in consequence of the army of Gog having there found its grave, this valley will in future block up the way to the travellers who desire to pass to and fro. This appears to be the meaning of the circumstantial clause.
From the fact that Gog's multitude is buried there, the valley itself will receive the name of Hamon-Gog. The Israelites will occupy seven months in burying them, so enormously great will be the number of the dead to be buried (Ezekiel 39:12), and this labour will be for a name, i.e., for renown, to the whole nation. This does not mean, of course, "that it will be a source of honour to them to assist in this work;" nor is the renown to be sought in the fact, that as a privileged people, protected by God, they can possess the grave of Gog in their land (Hitzig), - a thought which is altogether remote, and perfectly foreign to Israelitish views; but the burying of Gog's multitude of troops will be for a name to the people of Israel, inasmuch as they thereby cleanse the land and manifest their zeal to show themselves a holy people by sweeping all uncleanness away. יום is an accusative of time: on the day when I glorify myself. - Ezekiel 39:14, Ezekiel 39:15. The effort made to cleanse the land perfectly from the uncleanness arising from the bones of the dead will be so great, that after the great mass of the slain have been buried in seven months, there will be men specially appointed to bury the bones of the dead that still lie scattered here and there about the land. אנשׁי תּמיד are people who have a permanent duty to discharge. The participles עברים and מקבּרים are co-ordinate, and are written together asyndetos, men who go about the land, and men who bury with those who go about. That the words are to be understood in this sense is evident from Ezekiel 39:15, according to which those who go about do not perform the task of burying, but simply search for bones that have been left, and put up a sign for the buriers of the dead. ראה, with the subject indefinite; if one sees a human bone, he builds (erects) a ציּוּן, or stone, by the side of it (cf. 2 Kings 23:17). - Ezekiel 39:16. A city shall also receive the name of Hamonah, i.e., multitude or tumult. To שׁם־עיר we may easily supply יהיה from the context, since this puts in the future the statement, "the name of the city is," for which no verb was required in Hebrew. In the last words, וטהרוּ הארץ, the main thought is finally repeated and the picture brought to a close. - Ezekiel 39:17-20. In the third place, God will provide the birds of prey and beasts of prey with an abundant meal from this slaughter. This cannot be understood as signifying that only what remain of the corpses, and have not been cleared away in the manner depicted in Ezekiel 39:11-16, will become the prey of wild beasts; but the beasts of prey will make their meal of the corpses before it is possible to bury them, since the burying cannot be effected immediately or all at once. - The several features in the picture, of the manner in which the enemies are to be destroyed till the last trace of them is gone, are not arranged in chronological order, but according to the subject-matter; and the thought that the slaughtered foes are to become the prey of wild beasts is mentioned last as being the more striking, because it is in this that their ignominious destruction culminates. To give due prominence to this thought, the birds and beasts of prey are summoned by God to gather together to the meal prepared for them. The picture given of it as a sacrificial meal is based upon Isaiah 34:6 and Jeremiah 46:10. In harmony with this picture the slaughtered foes are designated as fattened sacrificial beasts, rams, lambs, he-goats, bullocks; on which Grotius has correctly remarked, that "these names of animals, which were generally employed in the sacrifices, are to be understood as signifying different orders of men, chiefs, generals, soldiers, as the Chaldee also observes."
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