Ezekiel 43:7
And he said to me, Son of man, the place of my throne, and the place of the soles of my feet, where I will dwell in the middle of the children of Israel for ever, and my holy name, shall the house of Israel no more defile, neither they, nor their kings, by their prostitution, nor by the carcasses of their kings in their high places.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(7) The place of the soles of my feet.—Comp. 1Chronicles 28:2; Psalm 132:7.

I will dwell . . . for ever.—This should be the peculiar distinction of the Temple seen in the vision. The Tabernacle and Solomon’s Temple had both been accepted as the peculiar dwelling-place of God, but both had passed away. So also it would be with the material Temple of the restoration. But in this Temple of the vision God promises that He would dwell for ever.

By the carcases of their kings.—The “shall defile” with which the later clauses of this verse are connected is not an imperative, but a simple future, and is in accordance with the generally ideal character of the vision. The word “carcases” is here a difficult one. Some commentators understand it literally of the burial of some of the kings in the Temple area; but there is no historical proof that any were so buried, the gardens of the royal palace being quite too distant for the language here used, nor is there anywhere any allusion to such defilement. The simplest explanation is that the language is founded upon Leviticus 26:30, and means idols. Manasseh and others had introduced their idols into the very courts of the Temple (2Kings 21:4-7; sec also 2Kings 16:11).

Ezekiel 43:7-9. And he said unto me, Son of man, &c. — God here, in retaking possession of his house, in effect renews his covenant with his people Israel; and Ezekiel negotiates the matter, as Moses formerly did. This would be of great use to the captives at their return, both for direction and for encouragement; but it more especially concerns those that are blessed with the privileges of the gospel temple, and shows that they hold their blessings under the condition of their obedience. The place of my throne — The sense would be plainer if the beginning of the verse were rendered, This is the place of my throne, &c. — The cherubim are described as God’s throne, and he is said to dwell, or sit, between the cherubim, and the ark was as his footstool. Observe, reader, his temple, the church, is the place where the throne of his grace is erected; and in the dispensations of grace he has a throne, and manifests himself as a king, to whom we must be subject. Where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel for ever — He alludes to the promise formerly made with relation to the tabernacle and temple, (see Psalm 68:16; Psalm 132:14,) which promise is to be understood, like all God’s other promises made of old, as conditional, (see Ezekiel 43:9,) and intended to be eminently fulfilled in and by Christ, in whom all the promises of the Old Testament are to have their final accomplishment. Zechariah prophesied, Zechariah 6:13, that the Messiah should build the temple of the Lord, and bear the glory; that is, as such prophecies are explained in the New Testament, he shall build the Christian Church, and in him shall all the fulness of the Godhead dwell bodily and really, not in types and figures. To the same sense we may explain the prophecy of Haggai 2:7, The glory of the latter house shall be greater than that of the former; for no visible glory appeared in the second temple, till the Lord whom they expected came to his temple, Malachi 3:1; that is till the Messiah, who was the brightness of his Father’s glory, appeared there, and made it an illustrious figure of that true temple, or church of believers, where he would continue his presence for ever; see 2 Corinthians 6:16. And my holy name shall Israel no more defile by their whoredom — By idolatry, often described in Scripture under the metaphor of fornication. The captivity had that good effect upon the Jews, that they scarce ever after relapsed into idolatry. And the entire destruction of idolatry is often mentioned as a blessing reserved for the latter days, when the Jews shall be converted, and the fulness of the Gentiles come into the church. Nor by the carcasses of their kings in their high places — Idols are called carcasses, because they are without life and motion, and likewise upon the account of their being hateful and loathsome in the sight of God: see the margin. They are called carcasses of kings because they were set up, and the worship of them encouraged, by the idolatrous kings of Judah, who erected high places for that purpose near Jerusalem, in the very view of the temple, 2 Kings 23:13. By this means the temple itself was profaned by those that came directly from the worship of idols to attend upon God’s service in the temple. Nay, they even advanced to such high degrees of idolatry, as to set up their threshold by God’s threshold, that is, to erect the altars and images of their idols in the temple itself, and the courts before it. And the wall — For there was but a wall between me and them: see the margin.43:1-27 After Ezekiel had surveyed the temple of God, he had a vision of the glory of God. When Christ crucified, and the things freely given to us of God, through Him, are shown to us by the Holy Ghost, they make us ashamed for our sins. This frame of mind prepares us for fuller discoveries of the mysteries of redeeming love; and the whole of the Scriptures should be opened and applied, that men may see their sins, and repent of them. We are not now to offer any atoning sacrifices, for by one offering Christ has perfected for ever those that are sanctified, Heb 10:14; but the sprinkling of his blood is needful in all our approaches to God the Father. Our best services can be accepted only as sprinkled with the blood which cleanses from all sin.He said - i. e., God "said." Both the Septuagint and the Vulgate break this verse into two, so as to make the first half the solemn words of dedication. place a full stop after "forever;" the words mark the distinction between the new and the former sanctuary.

The palace of Solomon abutted upon the southern side of the embankment of the temple-platform; there was but "a wall between Yahweh and them." When the kings gave themselves up to idolatry, this vicinity was to the temple a pollution and defilement. Thus it has been conjectured that "the garden of Uzza" in which Manasseh and Amon were buried 2 Kings 21:18, 2 Kings 21:26, and on which now stands the mosque of Omar, was on the temple area itself; if so, this would explain the mention of "high places" in connection with the defilement by the "carcases of kings," since the platform of the mosque of Omar at the time of Ezekiel rose to a considerable height above the temple.

Besides this, idolatrous kings of Judah did actually introduce their idolatries into the temple courts themselves (compare 2 Kings 16:11; 2 Kings 21:4).

7. the place—that is, "behold the place of My throne"—the place on which your thoughts have so much dwelt (Isa 2:1-3; Jer 3:17; Zec 14:16-20; Mal 3:1). God from the first claimed to be their King politically as well as religiously: and He had resisted their wish to have a human king, as implying a rejection of Him as the proper Head of the state. Even when He yielded to their wish, it was with a protest against their king ruling except as His vicegerent. When Messiah shall reign at Jerusalem, He shall then first realize the original idea of the theocracy, with its at once divine and human king reigning in righteousness over a people all righteous (Eze 43:12; Isa 52:1; 54:13; 60:21). And he; the glorious God of Israel.

The place of my throne: his throne, i.e. of glory and majesty, is in heaven, but the throne of his grace is in his temple; in the dispensations of grace, God manifests himself a King.

The place of the soles of my feet: after the manner of man God speaks, and expresseth his abode and rest, where it is in his temple, as type, in his church, as the antitype.

I will dwell; not only shall my ordinances be there administered, but I myself will dwell there.

For ever; for a very long time, till the age of infancy with the Jewish church be over; and to eternity with my church, signified by this temple and city.

My holy name: see Ezekiel 22:26 36:20. No more defile; dishonour, and bring into contempt, as they have done. Neither they; the priests, the false prophets, and the common people, nor their governors and kings.

By their whoredom; by idolatries, and worshipping of strange gods, which, after the captivity, they did very punctually abstain from, as history assures us.

By the carcasses of their kings; either the dead bodies of their deceased kings, buried too near the temple, less likely; or by the sacrificing of men to their idols, to Moloch; or idols are here called carcasses, as dead, stinking, loathsome things in the sight of God. Or, if I had instances of any kings buried in the temples Of the idols, I should incline to interpret this passage of the profane and wicked burying idolatrous kings near the idols they worshipped.

In their high places; where idol temples and idol worship were celebrated. And he said unto me, son of man,.... A kind, usual, and singular appellation, given to this prophet: these are the words either of the man that stood by him, so the Arabic version; or of Jehovah, speaking out of the house to him:

the place of my throne, and the place of the soles of my feet: that is, this house, the church of God, is the place where the throne of the Lord is set; where he rules and reigns; where he sets his feet, and is his resting place; even his, whose throne is the heaven, and the earth his footstool; here Christ, as King of saints, dwells, and here he walks and shows the glory of his majesty:

where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel for ever; not Carnal, but spiritual Israel; such as are Israelites indeed, or which the church will be full in the latter day, both Jews and Gentiles; and in the midst of these will Jehovah dwell, and grant his gracious presence, and never more depart from them: this shows that this house or building can not be understood of the second temple; since the Lord did not dwell in that for ever, but has left that house desolate hundreds of years ago: some Jewish writers (p) have owned that it belongs to the times of the Messiah:

and my name shall the house of Israel no more defile, or "profane"; or cause to be blasphemed by immoralities, or false doctrines, or superstition and will worship; denoting the holiness of life, purity of doctrine and worship, in the churches of Christ in the latter day; see Isaiah 4:3,

neither they, nor their kings, by their whoredom: that is, idolatry, which is spiritual fornication; such as the kings of Israel, and their subjects, were often guilty of, before their captivity in Babylon, though not after; nor will they ever return to it in the latter day, when converted; for they will never espouse the idolatries of Rome; and those kings and people that bear the name of Christians, and yet commit fornication with the whore of Babylon, shall do so no more after these times, Revelation 17:2,

nor by the carcasses of their kings in their high places; or, and "their high places" (q); that is, by both; by the carcasses of their kings being buried in or near the house of God; so the Targum adds, at their death (r); or by human carcasses being sacrificed to Molech or Milcom, which signifies their king: or else the idols themselves are so called, because lifeless and abominable; see Jeremiah 16:18, and the worship of which the kings of Israel encouraged by precept and practice, order and example, and therefore called theirs; and also by their high places, which they made for idolatrous worship, and which were made where the carcasses of their kings were laid, as Ben Melech observes; and all which were done, especially in the reigns of Manasseh and Ammon: but now nothing of this kind shall be hereafter, or any thing now similar to it, in the antichristian state.

(p) Vid. R. Isaac Chizzuk Emunah, par. 1. p. 51. (q) "et excelsis suis", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator. (r) So Abendana takes this word to signify "in their death"; their carcasses being buried in their gardens, as Manasseh, 2 Kings 21.18.

And he said to me, Son of man, the place of my throne, and the place of the soles of my feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel for ever, and my holy name, shall the house of Israel no more {c} defile, neither they, nor their kings, by their harlotry, nor by the carcases of {d} their kings in their high places.

(c) By their idolatries.

(d) He alludes to Amon and Manasseh, who were buried in their gardens near the Temple and there had erected monuments to their idols.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
7. the place of my throne] this is the place of my throne … for ever: and the house of Israel shall no more defile. No change of reading is implied but the emphatic position of “the place” &c. requires to be expressed by some such word as “this is,” or, “Behold.” On “soles of my feet” cf. Isaiah 60:13; Isaiah 66:1; Lamentations 2:1; Psalm 132:7; 1 Chronicles 28:2.

by their whoredom] Their idolatries, cf. ch. 8.

in their high places] Probably: in their death, i.e. when dead, Leviticus 11:31-32. So some mss., Targ., by change of one vowel. The ref. is to the burial of the kings in the vicinity of the temple. The passages Leviticus 26:30; Jeremiah 16:18, to which appeal is made, do not sustain the idea that “carcase” could be used as a mere name of opprobrium for idols (Psalm 106:28 is of doubtful meaning). In the former passage the hewn down idol is a carcase just as the slain man is; and in Jeremiah 16:18 the use of the word “dead body” is not figurative. It is true that there is no record of kings being buried close to the temple, but their sepulchres were in such vicinity that in comparison with the new ideal of holiness they could not but be held to bring defilement to the dwelling-place of Jehovah, the living God. Ezekiel 43:9 seems conclusive for this rendering.Verses 7-12. - Debate exists as to who the speaker in the seventh verse was, whether Jehovah or the man - some holding with Kliefoth, Ewald, Smend, and Currey, that he was Jehovah; others, with Havernick, Keil, Hengstenberg, and Schroder, that he was "the man;" and still others, with Plumptre, that it cannot be decided which he was. One thing is clear, that if "the man" was the speaker, his words and message were not his own, but Jehovah's. Yet unless the man had been the angel of the Lord - the view of Hengstenberg and Schroder - it will always seem incongruous that he should have addressed Ezekiel without a "Thus saith the Lord." Hence the notion that the speaker was Jehovah is, perhaps, the one freest from difficulty. The message announced or communication made to the prophet related first to Jehovah's purpose in entering the temple (vers. 7-9), and secondly to his object in showing the house to the prophet, viz. that he might show it to the house of Israel (vers. 10-12). Verse 7. - The LXX. and the Vulgate divide the present verse into two parts, and take the first as equivalent to a solemn word of consecration, the former supplying ἑώρακας the latter vidisti, "thou hast seen." The Chaldee Targum inserts, hic est locus, "this is the place," and in so doing is followed by Luther and the Revised Version. Some word, it is obvious, either a "see!" or a "behold!" must be interpolated, in thought at least, unless one adopts the construction of the Authorized Version, with which Smend agrees, and makes "the place of my throne," etc., to be governed By the verb "defile," or, with Ewald, places it under the regimen of "show" in ver. 10, throwing the whole intervening clause into a long parenthesis - a device which does not contribute to lucidity. Of the two expressions here employed to designate the sanctuary - not the temple proper, but the whole house with its surroundings - the former, the place of my throne, though peculiar to Ezekiel, receives explanation from the conception, familiar to earlier writers, of Jehovah as dwelling between the cherubim (Exodus 25:22; 1 Samuel 4:4; 2 Kings 19:15; Psalm 80:1; Isaiah 37:16); the latter, the place of the soles of my feet, was of frequent occurrence to denote the ark of the covenant (1 Chronicles 28:2; Psalm 99:5; Psalm 132:7) and the temple (Isaiah 60:13; Lamentations 2:1). The word of consecration was expressed in the promise, I will dwell (in the temple) in the midst of the children of Israel forever, etc., which went beyond anything that had been spoken concerning either the tabernacle of Moses or the temple of Solomon (comp. Exodus 25:8; Exodus 29:45; 1 Kings 6:13). The second part of the verse announces what would be the result of Jehovah's perpetual inhabitation of the temple - the house of Israel would no more defile his holy Name either by their whoredom or by the carcasses of their kings in their high places, or, according to another reading, in their death. That the whoredom signified idolatry (comp. Ezekiel 16.) commentators are agreed. What divides them is whether this also is alluded to in the alternative clause. Rosenmüller, Havernick, Keil, Fairbairn, and Plumptre believe it is, contending that the "carcasses of their kings" (comp. Leviticus 26:30; and Jeremiah 16:18) was a contemptuous and satirical designation of the idols they had formerly served, that the word "kings ' is frequently employed in this sense in Scripture (see Isaiah 8:21; Amos 5:26; Zephaniah 1:5), and that the special sin complained of, that of building altars for dead idols in the very temple court, had been practiced by more kings than one in Judah (comp. 2 Kings 16:11; 2 Kings 21:4, 5-7); and in support of this view may be urged first that it is favored by the use of the term bamotk, or "high places," in ver. 7, and secondly by the exposition offered in ver. 8 of the nature of the sin. Ewald, Hitzig, Kliefoth, and Smend, on the other hand, regard the sin spoken of in the second clause as different from that indicated in the first, maintaining that while this was the practice of defiling Jehovah's sanctuary by idolatry that was the desecration of the same by the interment in its courts of their dead kings. Against this, however, stands the fact that no authentic instance can be produced of a Judaean sovereign's corpse having been interred in the temple area. David, Solomon, Jehoshaphat, and others were buried in the city of David (1 Kings 2:10; 1 Kings 11:43; 1 Kings 22:50), and a place of sepulchers existed on the south-west comer of Zion in the days of Nehemiah (Nehemiah 3:16); but these prove nothing unless the temple hill be taken, as no doubt it sometimes was, in an extended sense as inclusive of Mount Zion. Similarly, the statement that Manasseh had a burial-place in the garden of Uzzah (2 Kings 21:18, 26) cannot be adduced in support of this view, unless it can be shown that the garden of Uzzah was situated on the temple hill. On the whole, therefore, the balance of argument inclines in favor of the first view, though it does involve the introduction of a figurative sense into the words. The Buildings of the East Gate

(See Plate II 1). - Ezekiel 40:6. And he went to the gate, the direction of which was toward the east, and ascended the steps thereof, and measured the threshold of the gate one rod broad, namely, the first threshold one rod broad, Ezekiel 40:7. And the guard-room one rod long and one rod broad, and between the guard-rooms five cubits, and the threshold of the gate by the porch of the gate from the temple hither one rod. Ezekiel 40:8. And he measured the porch of the gate from the temple hither one rod. Ezekiel 40:9. And he measured the porch of the gate eight cubits, and its pillars two cubits; and the porch of the gate was from the temple hither. Ezekiel 40:10. And of the guard-rooms of the gate toward the east there were three on this side and three on that side; all three had one measure, and the pillars also one measure on this side and on that. Ezekiel 40:11. And he measured the breadth of the opening of the gate ten cubits, the length of the gate thirteen cubits. Ezekiel 40:12. And there was a boundary fence before the guard-rooms of one cubit, and a cubit was the boundary fence on that side, and the guard-rooms were six cubits on this side and six cubits on that side. Ezekiel 40:13. And he measured the gate from the roof of the guard-rooms to the roof of them five and twenty cubits broad, door against door. Ezekiel 40:14. And he fixed the pillars at sixty cubits, and the court round about the gate reached to the pillars. Ezekiel 40:15. And the front of the entrance gate to the front of the porch of the inner gate was fifty cubits. Ezekiel 40:16. And there were closed windows in the guard-rooms, and in their pillars on the inner side of the gate round about, and so also in the projections of the walls; there were windows round about on the inner side, and palms on the pillars. - ויּבוא אל שׁער is not to be rendered, "he went in at the gate." For although this would be grammatically admissible, it is not in harmony with what follows, according to which the man first of all ascended the steps, and then commenced the measuring of the gate-buildings with the threshold of the gate. The steps (B in the illustration) are not to be thought of as in the surrounding wall, but as being outside in front of them; but in the description which follows they are not included in the length of the gate-buildings. The number of steps is not give here, but they have no doubt been fixed correctly by the lxx at seven, as that is the number given in Ezekiel 40:22 and Ezekiel 40:26 in connection with both the northern and southern gates. From the steps the man came to the threshold (C), and measured it. "The actual description of the first building, that of the eastern gate, commences in the inside; first of all, the entire length is traversed (Ezekiel 40:6-9), and the principal divisions are measured on the one side; then (Ezekiel 40:10-12) the inner portions on both sides are given more definitely as to their character, number, and measure; in Ezekiel 40:13-15 the relations and measurement of the whole building are noticed; and finally (Ezekiel 40:16), the wall-decorations observed round about the inside. The exit from the gate is first mentioned in Ezekiel 40:17; consequently all that is given in Ezekiel 40:6-16 must have been visible within the building, just as in the case of the other gates the measurements and descriptions are always to be regarded as given from within" (Bttcher). The threshold (C) was a rod in breadth, - that is to say, measuring from the outside to the inside, - and was therefore just as broad as the wall was thick (Ezekiel 40:5). But this threshold was the one, or first threshold, which had to be crossed by any one who entered the gate from the outside, for the gate-building had a second threshold at the exit into the court, which is mentioned in Ezekiel 40:7. Hence the more precise definition ואת סף אחד, "and that the one, i.e., first threshold," in connection with which the breadth is given a second time. את is neither nota nominativi, nor is it used in the sense of זאת; but it is nota accus., and is also governed by ויּמד. And אחד is not to be taken in a pregnant sense, "only one, i.e., not broken up, or composed of several" (Bttcher, Hvernick), but is employed, as it frequently is in enumeration, for the ordinal number: one for the first (vid., e.g., Genesis 1:5, Genesis 1:7).

The length of the threshold, i.e., its measure between the two door-posts (from north to south), is not given; but from the breadth of the entrance door mentioned in Ezekiel 40:11, we can infer that it was ten cubits. Proceeding from the threshold, we have next the measurement of the guard-room (G), mentioned in Ezekiel 40:7. According to 1 Kings 14:28, תּא is a room constructed in the gate, for the use of the guard keeping watch at the gate. This was a rod in length, and the same in breadth. A space of five cubits is then mentioned as intervening between the guard-rooms. It is evident from this that there were several guard-rooms in succession; according to Ezekiel 40:10, three on each side of the doorway, but that instead of their immediately joining one another, they were separated by intervening spaces (H) of five cubits each. This required two spaces on each side. These spaces between the guard-rooms, of which we have no further description, must not be thought of as open or unenclosed, for in that case there would have been so many entrances into the court, and the gateway would not be closed; but we must assume "that they were closed by side walls, which connected the guard-rooms with one another" (Kliefoth). - After the guard-rooms there follows, thirdly, the threshold of the gate on the side of, or near the porch of, the gate "in the direction from the house," i.e., the second threshold, which was at the western exit from the gate-buildings near the porch (D); in other words, which stood as you entered immediately in front of the porch leading out into the court (C C), and was also a cubit in breadth, like the first threshold at the eastern entrance into the gate. מהבּית, "in the direction from the house," or, transposing it into our mode of viewing and describing directions, "going toward the temple-house." This is added to אלם השּׁער to indicate clearly the position of this porch as being by the inner passage of the gate-buildings leading into the court, so as to guard against our thinking of a porch erected on the outside in front of the entrance gate. Bttcher, Hitzig, and others are wrong in identifying or interchanging מהבּית with מבּית, inwardly, intrinsecus (Ezekiel 7:15; 1 Kings 6:15), and taking it as referring to סף, as if the intention were to designate this threshold as the inner one lying within the gate-buildings, in contrast to the first threshold mentioned in Ezekiel 40:6.

In Ezekiel 40:8 and Ezekiel 40:9 two different measures of this court-porch (D) are given, viz., first, one rod equals six cubits (Ezekiel 40:8), and then eight cubits (Ezekiel 40:9). The ancient translators stumbled at this difference, and still more at the fact that the definition of the measurement is repeated in the same words; so that, with the exception of the Targumists, they have all omitted the eighth verse; and in consequence of this, modern critics, such as Houbigant, Ewald, Bttcher, and Hitzig, have expunged it from the text as a gloss. But however strange the repetition of the measurement of the porch with a difference in the numbers may appear at the first glance, and however naturally it may suggest the thought of a gloss which has crept into the text through the oversight of a copyists, it is very difficult to understand how such a gloss could have been perpetuated; and this cannot be explained by the groundless assumption that there was an unwillingness to erase what had once been erroneously written. To this must be added the difference in the terms employed to describe the dimensions, viz., first, a rod, and then eight cubits, as well as the circumstance that in Ezekiel 40:9, in addition to the measure of the porch, that of the pillars adjoining the porch is given immediately afterwards. The attempts of the earlier commentators to explain the two measurements of the porch have altogether failed; and Kliefoth was the first to solve the difficulty correctly, by explaining that in Ezekiel 40:8 the measurement of the porch is given in the clear, i.e., according to the length within, or the depth (from east to west), whilst in Ezekiel 40:9 the external length of the southern (or northern) wall of the porch (from east to west) is given. Both of these were necessary, the former to give a correct idea of the inner space of the porch, as in the case of the guard-rooms in Ezekiel 40:8; the latter, to supply the necessary data for the entire length of the gate-buildings, and to make it possible to append to this the dimensions of the pillars adjoining the western porch-wall. As a portion of the gate-entrance or gateway, this porch was open to the east and west; and toward the west, i.e., toward the court, it was closed by the gate built against it. Kliefoth therefore assumes that the porch-walls on the southern and northern sides projected two cubits toward the west beyond the inner space of the porch, which lay between the threshold and the gate that could be closed, and was six cubits long, and that the two gate-pillars, with their thickness of two cubits each, were attached to this prolongation of the side walls. But by this supposition we do not gain a porch (אלם), but a simple extension of the intervening wall between the third guard-room and the western gate. If the continuation of the side walls, which joined the masonry bounding the western threshold on the south and north, was to have the character of a porch, the hinder wall (to the east) could not be entirely wanting; but even if there were a large opening in it for the doorway, it must stand out in some way so as to strike the eye, whether by projections of the wall at the north-east and south-east corners, or what may be more probable, by the fact that the southern and northern side walls receded at least a cubit in the inside, if not more, so that the masonry of the walls of the porch was weaker (thinner) than that at the side of the threshold and by the pillars, and the porch in the clear from north to south was broader than the doorway. The suffix attached to אילו is probably to be taken as referring to אלם השּׁער, and not merely to שׁער, and the word itself to be construed as a plural (איליו): the pillars of the gate-porch (E) were two cubits thick, or strong. This measurement is not to be divided between the two pillars, as the earlier commentators supposed, so that each pillar would be but one cubit thick, but applies to each of them. As the pillars were sixty cubits high (according to Ezekiel 40:14), they must have had the strength of at least two cubits of thickness to secure the requisite firmness. At the close of the ninth verse, the statement that the gate-porch was directed towards the temple-house is made for the third time, because it was this peculiarity in the situation which distinguished the gate-buildings of the outer court from those of the inner; inasmuch as in the case of the latter, although in other respects its construction resembled that of the gate-buildings of the outer court, the situation was reversed, and the gate-porch was at the side turned away from the temple toward the outer court, as is also emphatically stated three times in Ezekiel 40:31, Ezekiel 40:34, and Ezekiel 40:37 (Kliefoth).

On reaching the gate-porch and its pillars, the measurer had gone through the entire length of the gate-buildings, and determined the measure of all its component parts, so far as the length was concerned. Having arrived at the inner extremity or exit, the describer returns, in order to supply certain important particulars with regard to the situation and character of the whole structure. He first of all observes (in Ezekiel 40:10), with reference to the number and relative position of the guard-houses (G), that there were three of them on each side opposite to one another, that all six were of the same measure, i.e., one rod in length and one in breadth (Ezekiel 40:7); and then, that the pillars mentioned in Ezekiel 40:9, the measurement of which was determined (E), standing at the gate-porch on either side, were of the same size. Many of the commentators have erroneously imagined that by לאילם we are to understand the walls between the guard-rooms or pillars in the guard-rooms. The connecting walls could not be called אילים; and if pillars belonging to the guard-rooms were intended, we should expect to find לאיליו. - In Ezekiel 40:11 there follow the measurements of the breadth and length of the doorway. The breadth of the opening, i.e., the width of the doorway, was ten cubits. "By this we are naturally to understand the breadth of the whole doorway in its full extent, just as the length of the two thresholds and the seven steps, which was not given in Ezekiel 40:6 and Ezekiel 40:7, is also fixed at ten cubits" (Kliefoth). - The measurement which follows, viz., "the length of the gate, thirteen cubits," is difficult to explain, and has been interpreted in very different ways. The supposition of Lyra, Kliefoth, and others, that by the length of the gate we are to understand the height of the trellised gate, which could be opened and shut, cannot possibly be correct. ארך, length, never stands for קומה, height; and השּׁער in this connection cannot mean the gate that was opened and shut. השּׁער, as distinguished from פּתח השּׁער, can only signify either the whole of the gate-building (as in Ezekiel 40:6), or, in a more limited sense, that portion of the building which bore the character of a gate in a conspicuous way; primarily, therefore, the masonry enclosing the threshold on the two sides, together with its roof; and then, generally, the covered doorway, or that portion of the gate-building which was roofed over, in distinction from the uncovered portion of the building between the two gates (Bttcher, Hitzig, and Hvernick); inasmuch as it cannot be supposed that a gate-building of fifty cubits long was entirely roofed in. Now, as there are two thresholds mentioned in Ezekiel 40:6 and Ezekiel 40:7, and the distinction in Ezekiel 40:15 between the (outer) entrance-gate and the porch of the inner gate implies that the gate-building had two gates, like the gate-building of the city of Mahanaim (2 Samuel 18:24), one might be disposed to distribute the thirteen cubits' length of the gate between the two gates, because each threshold had simply a measurement of six cubits. But such a supposition as this, which is not very probable in itself, is proved to be untenable, by the fact that throughout the whole description we never find the measurements of two or more separate portions added together, so that no other course is open than to assume, as Bttcher, Hitzig, and Hvernick have done, that the length of thirteen cubits refers to one covered doorway, and that, according to the analogy of the measurements of the guard-rooms given in Ezekiel 40:7, it applies to the second gateway also; in which case, out of the forty cubits which constituted the whole length of the gate-building (without the front porch), about two-thirds (twenty-six cubits) would be covered gateway (b b), and the fourteen cubits between would form an uncovered court-yard (c c) enclosed on all sides by the gate-buildings. Consequently the roofing of the gate extended from the eastern and western side over the guard-room, which immediately adjoined the threshold of the gate, and a cubit beyond that, over the wall which intervened between the guard-rooms, so that only the central guard-room on either side, together with a portion of the walls which bounded it, stood in the uncovered portion or court of the gate-building.

According to Ezekiel 40:12, there was a גּבוּל, or boundary, in front of the guard-rooms, i.e., a boundary fence of a cubit in breadth, along the whole of the guard-room, with its breadth of six cubits on either side. The construction of this boundary fence or barrier (a) is not explained; but the design of it is clear, namely to enable the sentry to come without obstruction out of the guard-room, to observe what was going on in the gate both on the right and left, without being disturbed by those who were passing through the gate. These boundary fences in front of the guard-rooms projected into the gateway to the extent described, so that there were only eight (10-2) cubits open space between the guard-rooms, for those who were going out and in. In Ezekiel 40:12 we must supply מפּה after the first אחת because of the parallelism. Ezekiel 40:12 is a substantial repetition of Ezekiel 40:7. - In Ezekiel 40:13 there follows the measure of the breadth of the gate-building. From the roof of the one guard-room to the roof of the other guard-room opposite (לגגּו is an abbreviated expression for לגג התּא) the breadth was twenty-five cubits, "door against door." These last words are added for the sake of clearness, to designate the direction of the measurement as taken right across the gateway. The door of the guard-room, however, can only be the door in the outer wall, by which the sentries passed to and fro between the room and the court. The measurement given will not allow of our thinking of a door in the inner wall, i.e., the wall of the barrier of the gateway, without touching the question in dispute among the commentators, whether the guard-rooms had walls toward the gateway or not, i.e., whether they were rooms that could be closed, or sentry-boxes open in front. All that the measuring from roof to roof presupposes is indisputable is, that the guard-rooms had a roof. The measurement given agrees, moreover, with the other measurements. The breadth of the gateway with its ten cubits, added to that of each guard-room with six; and therefore of both together with twelve, makes twenty-two cubits in all; so that if we add three cubits for the thickness of the two outer walls, or a cubit and a half each, that is to say, according to Ezekiel 40:42, the breadth of one hewn square stone, we obtain twenty-five cubits for the breadth of the whole gate-building, the dimension given in Ezekiel 40:21, Ezekiel 40:25, and Ezekiel 40:29.

There is a further difficulty in Ezekiel 40:14. The אילים, whose measurement is fixed in the first clause at sixty cubits, can only be the gate-pillars (איליו) mentioned in Ezekiel 40:9; and the measurement given can only refer to their height. The height of sixty cubits serves to explain the choice of the verb ויּעשׂ, in the general sense of constituit, instead of ויּמד, inasmuch as such a height could not be measured from the bottom to the top with the measuring rod, but could only be estimated and fixed at such and such a result. With regard to the offence taken by modern critics at the sixty cubits, Kliefoth has very correctly observed, that "if it had been considered that our church towers have also grown out of gate-pillars, that we may see for ourselves not only in Egyptian obelisks and Turkish minarets, but in our own hollow factory-chimneys, how pillars of sixty cubits can be erected upon a pedestal of two cubits square; and lastly, that we have here to do with a colossal building seen in a vision, - there would have been no critical difficulties discovered in this statement as to the height." Moreover, not only the number, but the whole text is verified as correct by the Targum and Vulgate, and defended by them against all critical caprice; whilst the verdict of Bttcher himself concerning the Greek and Syriac texts is, that they are senselessly mutilated and disfigured. - In the second half of the verse איל stands in a collective sense: "and the court touched the pillars." החצר is not a court situated within the gate-building (Hitzig, Hvernick, and others), but the outer court of the temple. השּׁער is an accusative, literally, with regard to the gate round about, i.e., encompassing the gate-building round about, that is to say, on three sides. These words plainly affirm what is implied in the preceding account, namely, that the gate-building stood within the outer court, and that not merely so far as the porch was concerned, but in its whole extent. - To this there is very suitably attached in Ezekiel 40:15 the account of the length of the whole building. The words, "at the front of the entrance gate to the front of the porch of the inner gate," are a concise topographical expression for "from the front side of the entrance gate to the front side of the porch of the inner gate." At the starting-point of the measurement מן (מעל) was unnecessary, as the point of commencement is indicated by the position of the word; and in על לפני, as distinguished from על פּני, the direction toward the terminal point is shown, so that there is no necessity to alter על into עד, since על, when used of the direction in which the object aimed at lies, frequently touches the ordinary meaning of עד (cf. על קצותם, Psalm 19:7, and על תּבליתם, Isaiah 10:25); whilst here the direction is rendered perfectly plain by the ל (in לפני). The Chetib היאתון, a misspelling for האיתון, we agree with Gesenius and others in regarding as a substantive: "entrance." The entrance gate is the outer gate, at the flight of steps leading into the gate-building. Opposite to this was the "inner gate" as the end of the gate-building, by the porch leading into the court. The length from the outer to the inner gate was fifty cubits, which is the resultant obtained from the measurements of the several portions of the gate-building, as given in Ezekiel 40:6-10; namely, six cubits the breadth of the first threshold, 3 x 6 equals 18 cubits that of the three guard-rooms, 2 x 5 equals 10 cubits that of the spaces intervening between the guard-rooms, 6 cubits that of the inner threshold, 8 cubits that of the gate-porch, and 2 cubits that of the gate-pillars (6 + 18 + 10 + 6 + 8 + 2 equals 50).

Lastly, in Ezekiel 40:16, the windows and decorations of the gate-buildings are mentioned. חלּונות, closed windows, is, no doubt, a contracted expression for חלּוני שׁקפים אטמים (1 Kings 6:4), windows of closed bars, i.e., windows, the lattice-work of which was made so fast, that they could not be opened at pleasure like the windows of dwelling-houses. but it is difficult to determine the situation of these windows. According to the words of the text, they were in the guard-rooms and in אליהמּה and also לאלמּות, and that לפנימה into the interior of the gate-building, i.e., going into the inner side of the gateway סביב סביב, round about, i.e., surrounding the gateway on all sides. To understand these statements, we must endeavour, first of all, to get a clear idea of the meaning of the words אילים and אלמּות. The first occurs in the singular איל, not only in Ezekiel 40:14, Ezekiel 40:16, and Ezekiel 41:3, but also in 1 Kings 6:31; in the plural only in this chapter and in Ezekiel 41:1. The second אילם or אלם is met with only in this chapter, and always in the plural, in the form אלמּות mrof e only in Ezekiel 40:16 and Ezekiel 40:30, in other cases always אילמּים, or with a suffix אילמּיו, after the analogy of תּאות in Ezekiel 40:12 by the side of תּאים in Ezekiel 40:7 and Ezekiel 40:16, תּאי in Ezekiel 40:10, and תּאיו or תּאו in Ezekiel 40:21, Ezekiel 40:29, Ezekiel 40:33, Ezekiel 40:36, from which it is apparent that the difference in the formation of the plural (אילמות and אילמים) has no influence upon the meaning of the word. On the other hand, it is evident from our verse (Ezekiel 40:16), and still more so from the expression אילי ואל, which is repeated in Ezekiel 40:21, Ezekiel 40:24, Ezekiel 40:29, Ezekiel 40:33, and Ezekiel 40:36 (cf. Ezekiel 40:26, Ezekiel 40:31, and Ezekiel 40:34), that אלים and אלמּים must signify different things, and are not to be identified, as Bttcher and others suppose. The word איל, as an architectural term, never occurs except in connection with doors or gates. It is used in this connection as early as 1 Kings 6:31, in the description of the door of the most holy place in Solomon's temple, where האיל signifies the projection on the door-posts, i.e., the projecting portion of the wall in which the door-posts were fixed. Ezekiel uses איל הפּתח in Ezekiel 41:3 in the same sense in relation to the door of the most holy place, and in an analogous manner applies the term אילים to the pillars which rose up to a colossal height at or by the gates of the courts (Ezekiel 40:9, Ezekiel 40:10, Ezekiel 40:14, Ezekiel 40:21, Links

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