Ezekiel 44:8
And you have not kept the charge of my holy things: but you have set keepers of my charge in my sanctuary for yourselves.
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(8) For yourselves.—Comp. 1Kings 12:31.

44:1-31 This chapter contains ordinances relative to the true priests. The prince evidently means Christ, and the words in ver. 2, may remind us that no other can enter heaven, the true sanctuary, as Christ did; namely, by virtue of his own excellency, and his personal holiness, righteousness, and strength. He who is the Brightness of Jehovah's glory entered by his own holiness; but that way is shut to the whole human race, and we all must enter as sinners, by faith in his blood, and by the power of his grace.Mine holy things - The altar, its sacrifices, the sacred utensils, and the like.

For yourselves - According to your own pleasure, not My ordinances Numbers 16:40.

8. keepers … for yourselves—such as you yourselves thought fit, not such as I approve of. Or else, "Ye have not yourselves kept the charge of My holy things, but have set others as keepers of My charge in My sanctuary for yourselves" [Maurer]. You have not observed the laws I gave you for the careful and exact keeping of my holy things; house, sacrifices, and worship. You have substituted others in your rooms, made officials, and surrogates, and curates to look to the gates, and these have let in the profane and unclean; your pride, or covetousness, or laziness, hath taken you off from your duty and your charge; or you have, as you saw good, consecrated persons, whether fit or unfit, whether approved or not approved by me. So you have profaned my name, and violated my law, Numbers 18:4. And ye have not kept the charge of mine holy things,.... That is, have not kept and retained the holy doctrines of the Gospel; nor observed the holy ordinances of it, as they were first delivered:

but ye have set keepers of my charge in my sanctuary for yourselves; meaning either, that such as were in public office did not attend to it; but were idol shepherds, and left the flock, their care and charge, to others, to surrogates and curates, to do their work for them; while they indulged themselves in sloth and idleness: or that the members and hearers set up preachers for themselves, according to their lusts, agreeable to their own carnal sentiments, without any regard to the will and glory of God.

And ye have not kept the {c} charge of my holy things: but ye have set keepers of my charge in my sanctuary for yourselves.

(c) You have not offered to me according to my Law.

8. ye have set keepers] Some would read: ye have set them keepers. This of course is the meaning. The change is hardly supported by LXX (as Well. p. 122).Verse 8. - Instead of having exercised a holy solicitude for the purity of the temple and the regularity of its rites, by keeping strict watch over the holy things of Jehovah, the house of Israel had set keepers; literally, had set them, i.e. the uncircumcised "strangers" above referred to, as keepers of Jehovah's charge in his sanctuary for themselves, i.e. to please themselves, irrespective altogether of Jehovah's enactments. From this it has been argued, by Wellhausen, Smend, Driver, and others, that the "strangers" above mentioned had been not only allowed access to the outer court as spectators or as worshippers while the priests were offering sacrifice, but admitted to the inner court as assistants to the priests in their altar duties, that this, the employment of these heathen hierodules, had been the special wickedness of which Israel had been guilty, and that henceforward these "foreign ministers" were to be thrust out from their offices, and their places supplied by the about-to-be-degraded Levites. It is, however, doubtful if the phrase, keepers of my charge in the sanctuary, can be made to signify more than has already been expressed by the clause, "to be in my sanctuary... when ye offer my bread" (ver. 7), by which, as Kliefoth and Keil explain, Israel had practically made these strangers "keepers of Jehovah's charge," i.e. observers of the rites of worship prescribed by him, though observers in their way, not in his; if more can be extracted from the words, then the most they can be legitimately made to affirm (as there is no mention of the inner court) is that these "strangers," in addition to obtaining access to the outer court to witness the sacrifices, or perhaps offer such for themselves, had been more or less frequently employed in performing subordinate offices towards the Levites, who were the proper priests' assistants, like the Gibeonites, whom Joshua (Joshua 9:27) made "hewers of wood and drawers of water for the congregation and for the altar of the Lord unto this day," and like the Nethinim, whom, according to Ezra (Ezra 8:20), David and the princes had given for the service of the Levites (see Delitzsch, Luthardt's 'Zeitschrift fur kirchliche Wissenschaft,' 1880, p. 283). (On the phrase, "to keep the charge of Jehovah," as signifying to follow his directions or comply with his prescriptions, see Numbers 9:23.) "In the sanctuary" explains that the prescriptions alluded to were those pertaining to the sanctuary or to the worship of Jehovah. The North Gate and the South Gate of the Outer Court (1 Plate IA)

The description of these two gate-buildings is very brief, only the principal portions being mentioned, coupled with the remark that they resembled those of the east gate. The following is the description of the north gate. - Ezekiel 40:20. And the gate, whose direction was toward the north, touching the outer court, he measured its length and its breadth, Ezekiel 40:21. And its guard-rooms, three on this side and three on that, and its pillars and its wall-projections. It was according to the measure of the first gate, fifty cubits its length, and the breadth five and twenty cubits. Ezekiel 40:22. And its windows and its wall-projections and its palms were according to the measure of the gate, whose direction was toward the east; and by seven steps they went up, and its wall-projections were in front of it. Ezekiel 40:23. And a gate to the inner court was opposite the gate to the north and to the east; and he measured from gate to gate a hundred cubits. - With the measuring of the breadth of the court the measuring man had reached the north gate, which he also proceeded to measure now. In Ezekiel 40:20 the words והשּׁער to החיצונה are written absolutely; and in Ezekiel 40:21 the verb היה does not belong to the objects previously enumerated, viz., guard-rooms, pillars, etc., but these objects are governed by ויּמד yb denrevog e, and היה points back to the principal subject of the two verses, השּׁער: it (the gate) was according to the measure... (cf. Ezekiel 40:15 and Ezekiel 40:13). For the use of ב in definitions of measurement, "25 בּאמּה" (by the cubit, sc. measured), as in Exodus 27:18, etc., see Gesenius, 120. 4, Anm. 2. The "first gate" is the east gate, the one first measured and described. In Ezekiel 40:23 the number of steps is given which the flight leading into the gateway had; and this of course applies to the flight of steps of the east gate also (Ezekiel 40:6). In Ezekiel 40:22, כּמדּת is not to be regarded as doubtful, as Hitzig supposes, or changed into כּ; for even if the windows of the east gate were not measured, they had at all events a definite measurement, so that it might be affirmed with regard to the windows of the north gate that their dimensions were the same. This also applies to the palm-decorations. With regard to the אלמּים (Ezekiel 40:21), however, it is simply stated that they were measured; but the measurement is not given. לפּניהם (Ezekiel 40:22, end) is not to be altered in an arbitrary and ungrammatical way into לפנימה, as Bttcher proposes. The suffix הם refers to the steps. Before the steps there were the אילמּים of the gate-building. This "before," however, is not equivalent to "outside the flight of steps," as Bttcher imagines; for the measuring man did not go out of the inside of the gate, or go down the steps into the court, but came from the court and ascended the steps, and as he was going up he saw in front (vis--vis) of the steps the אילמּים of the gate, i.e., the wall-projections on both sides of the threshold of the gate. In Ezekiel 40:23 it is observed for the first time that there was a gate to the inner court opposite to the northern and the eastern gate of the outer court already described, so that the gates of the outer and inner court stood vis--vis. The distance between these outer and inner gates is then measured, viz., 100 cubits, in harmony with Ezekiel 40:19.

In Ezekiel 40:24-27 the south gate is described with the same brevity. Ezekiel 40:24. And he led me toward the south, and behold there was a gate toward the south, and he measured its pillars and its wall-projections according to the same measures. Ezekiel 40:25. And there were windows in it and its wall-projections round about like those windows; fifty cubits was the length, and the breadth five and twenty cubits. Ezekiel 40:26. And seven steps were its ascent and its wall-projections in the front of them, and it had palm-work, one upon this side and one upon that on its pillars. Ezekiel 40:27. And there was a gate to the inner court toward the south, and he measured from gate to gate toward the south a hundred cubits. - This gate also was built exactly like the two others. The description simply differs in form, and not in substance, from the description of the gate immediately preceding. כּמּדּות האלּ, "like those measures," is a concise expression for "like the measures of the pillars already described at the north and east gates." For Ezekiel 40:25, compare Ezekiel 40:16 and Ezekiel 40:21; and for Ezekiel 40:26, vid., Ezekiel 40:22. Ezekiel 40:26 is clearly explained from Ezekiel 40:16, as compared with Ezekiel 40:9. And lastly, Ezekiel 40:27 answers to the 23rd verse, and completes the measuring of the breadth of the court, which was also a hundred cubits upon the south side, from the outer gate to the inner gate standing opposite, as was the case according to Ezekiel 40:19 upon the eastern side. Hvernick has given a different explanation of Ezekiel 40:27, and would take the measurement of a hundred cubits as referring to the distance between the gates of the inner court which stood opposite to each other, because in Ezekiel 40:27 we have משּׁער in the text, and not מן השּׁער; so that we should have to render the passage thus, "he measured from a gate to the gate toward the south a hundred cubits," and not "from the gate (already described) of the outer court," but from another gate, which according to the context of the verse must also be a gate of the inner court. But it is precisely the context which speaks decidedly against this explanation. For since, according to Ezekiel 40:18, the measuring man did not take the prophet into the inner court, for the purpose of measuring it before his eyes, till after he had measured from (a) gate to the south gate of the inner court, the distance which he had previously measured and found to be a hundred cubits is not to be sought for within the inner court, and therefore cannot give the distance between the gates of the inner court, which stood opposite to one another, but must be that from the south gate of the outer court to the south gate of the inner. This is the case not only here, but also in Ezekiel 40:23, where the north gate is mentioned. We may see how little importance is to be attached to the omission of the article in משּׁער from the expression משּׁער אל שׁער in Ezekiel 40:23, where neither the one gate nor the other is defined, because the context showed which gates were meant. Hvernick's explanation is therefore untenable, notwithstanding the fact that, according to Ezekiel 40:47, the size of the inner court was a hundred cubits both in breadth and length. - From the distance between the gates of the outer court and the corresponding gates of the inner, as given in Ezekiel 40:27, Ezekiel 40:23, and Ezekiel 40:19, we find that the outer court covered a space of two hundred cubits on every side, - namely, fifty cubits the distance which the outer court building projected into the court, and fifty cubits for the projection of the gate-building of the inner court into the outer court, and a hundred cubits from one gate-porch to the opposite one (50 + 50 + 100 equals 200).

Consequently the full size of the building enclosed by the wall (Ezekiel 40:5), i.e., of the temple with its two courts, may also be calculated, as it has been by many of the expositors. If we proceed, for example, from the outer north gate to the outer south gate upon the ground plan (Plate I), we have, to quote the words of Kliefoth, "first the northern breadth of the outer court (D) with its two hundred cubits; then the inner court, which measured a hundred cubits square according to Ezekiel 40:47 (E), with its hundred cubits; and lastly, the south side of the outer court with two hundred cubits more (D); so that the sanctuary was five hundred cubits broad from north to south. And if we start from the entrance of the east gate of the court (A), we have first of all the eastern breadth of the outer court, viz., two hundred cubits; then the inner court (e) with its hundred cubits; after that the temple-buildings, which also covered a space of a hundred cubits square according to Ezekiel 41:13-14, including the open space around them (G), with another hundred cubits; and lastly, the גּזרה (J), which was situated to the west of the temple-buildings, and also covered a space of a hundred cubits square according to Ezekiel 41:13-14, with another hundred cubits; so that the sanctuary was also five hundred cubits long from east to west, or, in other words, formed a square of five hundred cubits."

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