Lange Commentary on the Holy Scriptures
5. THE CLOSING VISION: OF THE GLORY OF JEHOVAH’S KINGDOM (Ch. 40–48)
(1) The Temple and its Service (Ch. 40–46)
EZEKIEL 40:1. In the five and twentieth year of our captivity, in the beginning of the year, on the tenth of the month, in the fourteenth year after the city was smitten, in the selfsame day, the hand of Jehovah was upon me [came over me], 2and He brought me thither: In visions of God brought He me to the land of Israel, and made me rest [set me down] beside [on] a very high mountain, and on [over] it [was, rose up] a city-like building to the south. 3And He brought me thither, and, behold, a man whose appearance was as the appearance of brass, and a line of flax in his hand, and a measuring rod; and he stood in the gate. 4And the man said to me, Son of man, behold with thine eyes, and hear with thine ears, and apply thine heart to all that I show thee, for in order to let thee see it wert [art] thou brought hither; declare all that thou seest to the house of Israel. 5And behold a wall outside the house round about, and in the man’s hand the measuring rod of six cubits by [measured by] the cubit and an handbreadth; and he measured the breadth of the building one rod, and the 6height one rod. And he came to the gate which looketh towards the east, and went up on its steps, and measured the threshold of the gate—one rod 7broad, even one threshold one rod broad: And the chamber [the guardroom] one rod long and one rod broad; and between the chambers five cubits; and 8the threshold of the gate beside the porch of the gate within, one rod. And 9he measured the porch of the gate within, one rod. And he measured the porch of the gate, eight cubits; and its pillars [literally, its pillar, i.e. one by one], two 10cubits; and the porch of the gate [was, or, thus was the porch of the gate] within. And the chambers of the gate towards the east [literally, the way of the east] were three on this side, and three on that; the three of them of one measure; and the pillars on this side and on that were of one measure. 11And he measured the breadth of the opening of the gate, ten cubits; the length [height] of the gate, 12thirteen cubits. And a barrier was before the chambers [guardrooms], one cubit [on this side], and one cubit the barrier on that side; and the chamber six cubits 13on this side, and six cubits on that. And he measured the gate from the roof of the chamber to its roof, the breadth five and twenty cubits, opening against 14opening [door against door]. And he made the pillars (Ezekiel 40:9) sixty cubits, and at the pillars [literally, at the pillar] was the court round and round the gate. 15And from the front of the entrance-gate to the front of the porch of the inner gate, fifty cubits. And closed windows were in the chambers [guardrooms] and in their pillars within the gate round and round, and likewise in the wall-projections, 16and there were windows round and round inward; and on the pillars [literally, the pillar], 17palms. And he brought me to the outer court, and behold apartments [cells] and a stone pavement [Mosaic], made for the court round about; thirty apartments by the pavement. 18And the pavement was by the side of the gates, 19exactly the length of the gates, [namely] the lower pavement. And he measured the breadth from the front of the gate of the lower [pavement] to the front of the inner court from without, a hundred cubits; the east and the north. 20And the gate which was towards the north on the outer court he measured 21in its length and its breadth. And its chambers [guardrooms], three on this side and three on that, and its pillars and its wall-projections; it was after the measure of the first [former] gate, fifty cubits its length, and the breadth five 22and twenty cubits. And its windows and its wall-projections and its palms were after the measure of the gate that is towards the east, and they shall ascend [one goes up on them] by seven steps, and its wall-projections are before them. 23And [there was] a gate to the inner court opposite that to the north and to the 24east; and he measured from gate to gate a hundred cubits. And he brought me towards the south, and behold a gate towards the south, and he measured its pillars and its wall-projections by those measures. 25And there were windows to it and to its wall-projections round about, like those windows; fifty cubits the length, and the breadth five and twenty cubits. And its ascent had seven steps, and its wall-projections before them; 26and there were palms to it, one on this side and one on that at its pillars. 27And there was a gate to the inner court towards the south, and he measured from that gate to the gate towards the south, a hundred cubits. 28And he brought me to the inner court into the south gate [through the south gate], and he measured the south gate after 29those measures; And its chambers and its pillars and its wall-projections after those measures. And its windows [were] to it and to its wall-projections round about; fifty cubits the length, and the breadth five and twenty cubits. 30And wall-projections round about, the length five and twenty cubits, and the 31breadth five cubits. And its wall-projections were towards the outer court; and palms on its pillars, and eight steps [were] its steps. 32And he brought me to the inner court towards the east, and measured the gate after those measures; 33And its chambers and its pillars and its wall-projections after those measures. And [there were] windows to it and to its wall-projections round 34about; fifty cubits the length, and the breadth five and twenty cubits. And its wall-projections [were] towards the outer court, and palms on its pillars on this side and on that, and its steps eight steps. 35And he brought me to the 36north gate, and measured after those measures; Its chambers, its pillars, and its wall-projections and windows [were] round about, fifty cubits the length, 37and the breadth five and twenty cubits. And its pillars were towards the outer court, and palms on its pillars on this side and on that, and its steps 38eight steps. And a cell and its opening was by the pillars at the gates; there shall they wash the burnt-offering. 39And in the porch of the gate were two tables on this side and two tables on that side, to slay in relation to them [or, on them] the burnt-offering and the sin-offering and the trespass-offering. 40And at the side without for him that goeth up, at the extreme of the gate towards the north, were two tables; and at the other side, which [belongeth] to 41the porch of the gate, two tables. Four tables on this side and four tables on that, by the side of the gate; eight tables, on them will they slaughter. 42And four tables at the ascent [for the burnt-offering] of hewn stone, the length a cubit and a half, and the breadth a cubit and a half, and the height one cubit; on them will they lay the instruments with which they will slay the burnt-offering 43and the slain-offering. And the double staples of a handbreadth were fastened on the house round and round [on the wails around the temple]; and on the 44tables is the flesh of the offering. And outside at the inner gate were cells for the singers in the inner court which was at the side of the north gate, and their front towards the south; a part at the side of the east gate, fronting towards the north. 45And he said to me, This cell, whose front is towards the south, is 46for the priests that wait upon the charge [service] of the house; And the cell whose front is towards the north, for the priests that wait upon the charge of the altars; these are the sons of Zadok, who of the sons of Levi draw near to 47Jehovah to minister to Him. And he measured the court; the length a hundred cubits and the breadth a hundred cubits, forming a square; and the altar was before the house. 48And he brought me to the porch of the house, and measured the pillar of the porch, five cubits on this side and five cubits on that; and the breadth of the gate, three cubits on this side and three cubits on that. 49The length of the porch was twenty cubits, and the breadth eleven cubits, and [that] at the steps by which they will go up to it; and there were posts by the pillars, one on this side and one on that.
Ezekiel 40:1. Sept.: Κ. ἐγενετο … ἐν τ. πρωτω μηνι omittunt שָׁמָּה et 5:2 הֱבִיאַנִי.
Ezekiel 40:2. ἐν ὁρασει θ. … ἀπεναντι.
Ezekiel 40:3. ... χαλκου στιλβοντος … σπαρτιον οἱκοδομων κ.—Sept., Vulg.: leg. bis ἐν τη χειρι αὐτου.
Ezekiel 40:4. Sept.: interrogativè ἑωρακας συ; ἰδε ... κ. ταξον εἰς τ. καρδιαν σ. παντα … και δειξεις παντα—
Ezekiel 40:5. ... περιβολος … διεμετρησεν το προτειχισμα—Vulg.: … sex cubitorum et palmo—
Ezekiel 40:6. … εἰσηλθεν εἰς … ἐν ἑπτκ ἀναβαθμοις.. διεμετρησεν θεε ἑξἐνθεν κ. το αἰλαμ τ. πυλης ἰσον τω καλαμω.
Ezekiel 40:7. … κ. το αἰλαμ ἀνα μεσον τον θεηλαθ κηχων ἑξ κ. το θεε το δευτερον ἰσον τ. καλαμω το πλκτος κ. ἰσον τ. καλαμω μηκκος; κ. το αἰλαμ πηχεων πεντε κ. τ. θεε τ. τριτον ἰσον τ. καλαμω τ. μηκος κ. ἰσος τ. καλ. τ. πλατος, κ. τ. αἱλαμ τ. συλωνος (8) πλησιον του αἰλαμ τ πυλης ἐσωθεν ἰσον τ. καλαμω. Vulg.: … portæ juxta vestibulum.
Ezekiel 40:8. Vulg.: portæ intrinsecus calamo uno. (The verse is wanting in the Sept., in the Vulg., in the Syriac version, and in many manuscripts.)
Ezekiel 40:9. ... Κ. το αἰλευ … κ. τ. αἰλαμ τ. πυλης ἐσωθεν, Vulg.: … et frontem ejus duobus cubitis, vestibulum autem portæ erat intrinsecus.
Ezekiel 40:10. ... θεε κατεναντι … κ. μετρον ἑν ἐν τ. αἰλαμ ἐνθεν κ. ἐνθεν. Vulg.: … mensura una frontium ex utra-que parte.
Ezekiel 40:12. Κ. πηχυς ἐπισυναγομενς κατα προσωπον τ. θεειμ πηχεος ἑνος κ. πηχ. ἑνος, ὁριον ἐνθεν,—Vulg.: … et marginem ante … cubiti unius, et cubitus unus finis utrimque—
Ezekiel 40:14. κ. το αἰθριον του αἰλαμ τ. πυλης ἐξωθεν πηχεις εἰκοσι πεντε κ. το θεεμ τ. πυλης κυκλω. Vulg.: … fecit frontes … et ad frontem atrium portæ undique per circuitum.
Ezekiel 40:15. Κ. το αἰθριον τ. πυλης ἐξωθεν εἰς τ. αἰθριον του αἰλαμ τ. πυλης ἐσωθεν—Vulg.: et ante faciem portæ quæ pertingebat usque ad faciem vestibuli portæ interioris—
Ezekiel 40:16. Sept.: Κ. θυριδες κρυπται ἐπι τα θεειμ κ. ἐπι τκ αἰλαμ ἐσωθεν της αὐλης … κ. ὁσαυτως τοις αἰλαμ θυριδες—fenestras obliquas in thalamus et in frontibus eorum, quæ erant intra portam undique per circuitum … et in vestibulis—
Ezekiel 40:17. ... εἰσηγκγεν … εἰς … παστοφορια κ. περιστυλα—Vulg.: … gazophylacia … in circuitu pavimenti.
Ezekiel 40:18. Κ. αἱ στοαι—in fronte portarum secundum—
Ezekiel 40:19. ... ἐσωθεν ἐπι τ. αἰθριον τ. πυλης βλεπουσης ἐξω, κηχ. ἑκατον τ. βλεπουσης κατʼ ἀνατολας. Κ. εἰσηγαγεν με ἐπι βορραν (20) κ. ἰδου πυλη βλεπουσα προς βορραν—
Ezekiel 40:22. … κ. τα αἰλαμμων ἐσωθεν.—
Ezekiel 40:24. … κ. τα θεε κ. τα αἰλευ κ. τα αἰλαμμωθ—
Ezekiel 40:25. … καθως αἱ θυιδες του αἰλαμ—
Ezekiel 40:26. … αἰλαμμωθ ἐσωθεν—
Ezekiel 40:27. … κ. το εὐρος προς νοτον πηχεις εἰκοσι κεντε.
Ezekiel 40:32. … με εἰς τ. πυλην … αὐτην—
Ezekiel 40:33. Vulg.: thalamum ejus et frontem ej. et vestibulum ejus—
Ezekiel 40:36. … θυριδες αὐτω κυκλω, κ. τα αἰλαμμωθ αὐτης κυκλω, πηχεις—
Ezekiel 40:37. Vulg.: Et vestibulum ejus respiciebat … et cælatura palmarum in fronte—
Ezekiel 40:38. Τα παστοφορια αὐτης κ. τα θυρωματα αὐτης κ. τα αἰλαμμωθ αὐτης ἐπι τ. πυλης τ. δευτερας ἐκρυσις· ἐκει πλυνουσιν—Vulg.: Et per singula gazophylacia ostium in frontibus portarum; ibi—
Ezekiel 40:40. Sept.: Κ. κατα νωτου του ῥυακος τ. ὁλοκαυτωματων τ. θυρας βλεπουσης προς … προς ἀνατολας κατα νωτου τ. δευτερας κ. του αἰλαμ … κ. ὀκτω τραπεζαι κατʼ ἀνατολας. Vulg.: … latus … quod ascendit … portæ, quæ … ante vestibulum portæ
Ezekiel 40:41. … ἐπʼ αὐτας … τα θυματα, κατεναντι των ὀκτω τρακεζων των θυματων. Vulg.: … per latera portæ octo mensæ erant—
Ezekiel 40:42. … των ὁλοκαυτωματων λιθιναι, λελαξευμεναι—
Ezekiel 40:43. ... Κ. παλαιστην ἑξουσιν γεισος λελαξευμενον ἐσωθεν κυκλω, κ. ἐπι … ἐπανωθεν στεγας του καλυπτεσθαι ἀπο του ὑετου κ. ἀπο της ξηρασιας. Vulg.: Et labia earum … reflexa intrinsecus per circuitum—
Ezekiel 40:44. Κ. εἰσηγαγεν με εἰς τ. αὐλην· τ. ἐσωτεραν, κ. ἰδου δυο ἐξεδραι ἐν τ. αὐλη τ. ἐσωτερα, μια κατα νωτου τ. πυλησ τ. βλεπουσης προς βορραν φερουσα προς νοτον, κ. μια κατα νωτου τ. πυλης της προς νοτον, βλεπουσης δε προς βορραν. Vulg.: … una ex latere portæ orientalis—
Ezekiel 40:48. … πεντε το πλατος ἐνθε κ. … πεντε ἐνθεν, κ. το εὐρος … πηχεων δεκατεσσαρων, κ. ἐπωμιδες τ. θυρας του αἰλαμ πηχεων τριων ἐνθεν—Vulg.: … mensus est vestibulum quinque—
Ezekiel 40:49. ... το εὐρος πηχεις δωδεκα, κ. ἐπι δεκα ἀναβαθμσιν—Vulg.: … et octo gradibus ascendebatur … erant in frontibus, una hinc—
LITERATURE.—In addition to Böttcher’s treatise, already mentioned in the Introduction, p. 30, we have to mention: THENIUS, Proben altt. Schrifterkl, nach wissensch. Sprachforschung, Leipzig 1833; BALMER-RINCK, Des Propheten Ezechiel Ansicht vom Tempel, Ludwigsburg 1858. Of the older authors: VITRINGA, Aanleydinge tot het rechte Verstant, etc., and his defence against Cocceius, the son (Naeder Ondersoeck van het rechte Verstant van den Tempel Ezechiels); STURM, Sciagraphia Templi, etc., Leipzig 1694; and a little earlier: VILLALPANDUS (p. 29); and, in a ponderous monograph, MATTH. HAFENREFFER, Templ. Ez., Tübing. 1613.—Great diligence and acute combination distinguish KLIEFOTH, whose second part treats entirely of the following chapters in 390 pages.—OEDER, in his Freye Untersuch. über einige BB. des Alten Testaments, Halle 1771, and L. VOGEL, the editor of this treatise, and CORRODI also in the anonymous treatise, Beleuchtung d. jüd. und chr. Bibel-kanons, have criticised away the following nine chapters from our prophet, and capriciously attributed them to a Samaritan or a very late returned Jew; for what they have adduced upon “grounds” has been already refuted by J. D. MICHAELIS, EICHHORN, BERTHOLDT, and JAHN.
Ezekiel 40:1–4. Exordium—Introductory
As in Ezekiel 1, with which the divine mission of our prophet opens, so also in Ezekiel 40 here, an exordium, stating the point of time, the condition of Ezekiel, the locality, as well as the first and immediate view which he got, introduces us to what follows.
Ezekiel 40:1. By the first date given: in the five and twentieth year of our (Introd. § 3) captivity, the reference back to Ezekiel 1 (comp. Ezekiel 40:2) is still more express. According to Bunsen and Duncker, 573 B.C. According to Schmieder, 574. According to Hitzig, 575. As to sense and meaning, this reference back to Ezekiel 1 implies on the one hand, that the glory of Jehovah solemnizes its consummation in the glory of His kingdom (Introd. § 5), and on the other, that the divine mission of Ezekiel has now come to the close which befits its commencement. Ezekiel’s prophecy, Ezekiel 29:17 sq., is chronologically his last (comp. on it). “The prophet has introduced it as an appendix to an earlier prophecy, in order to conclude with this great vision of restoration, in contrast to the great opening vision of destruction” (HENGST.). According to J. H. Michaelis, we have to remember in regard to the twenty-fifth year in Ezekiel here, that the Babylonish captivity of the Jews began in the fourth year of Jehoiakim, when Daniel and his companions were carried away, so that there were in all thirty-two years of exile to take into account.—Hitzig interprets הַשָּׁנָה בְּרֹאשׁ in the sense of “new year,” and regards the phrase: on the tenth of the month, as explanatory, since he (as also Jewish tradition) takes it to be a year of jubilee (Lev. 25:9). The previous year must have been a sabbatic year: such a year ended in the autumn of 575, and may have been a 49th year. The significant element in this coincidence (on a day of atonement commencing a year of jubilee) would, moreover, still continue even if we should not be able, like Kliefoth, to speak of an “absolutely eschatological vision.” Rdak observes: “God let the prophet see the temple and the future freedom of Israel on the day of jubilee, because then servants become free, and on the day of atonement, because then the sins of Israel are forgiven.” If what is intended is the beginning of the civil year and the month Tisri, then, in order to that, this much later alteration of the beginning of the Hebrew year—the old Mosaic reckoning constantly prevails still in the post-exile Old Testament writings—must be proved to have been already in practice in Ezekiel’s time; to say nothing of the fact that such a departure from the law in our prophet, with his specially priestly and other peculiarities of mind and spirit, is scarcely suitable, at least without more definite indication, even to the character of our chapter. For this reason Hävernick, with the majority of expositors, holds to the commencement of the ecclesiastical year, and thus to the month Nisan, making the phrase: רֹאשׁ הַשָּׁנָה, not found elsewhere in the Old Testament, look back to Ex. 12:2 as a brief mode of expression for the full form there, and connecting the mention of the tenth day directly with Ex. 12:3 (on which day the lambs for the passover were set apart, SCHMIEDER). “It is the period when the preparation begins for the solemnization of the feast of the passover. To the prophet, inspired by the Spirit of God, the future shapes itself as the consummated glorification of the past, of the first history of development of the people of God” (HÄV.). “The month did not need to be stated more exactly; from the words: In the beginning of the year, it was self-evident that the first month only could be intended. That the day is significant for the thing is confirmed by the emphatic form: On the selfsame day. On the day when of old the passover was instituted in Egypt, and the people were brought as it were into the sacred precincts of the approaching redemption, the day on which the coming sealing afresh of God’s redeeming grace had thus for centuries been solemnly announced, along with the increased pain just on account of the cessation of these festivals, hope also must have arisen more strongly than at any other time, since God had given in the redemption of the olden time a pledge to His people. The day occurs elsewhere also as significant, e.g. the leading across Jordan, Josh. 4:19, etc. On the same day was the entrance of Christ into Jerusalem, the inauguration of His kingdom. The day was thus as significant here as the day of His resurrection in Rev. 1:10. How even in later times the popular hope of deliverance was connected with the passover appears from the release at the feast of a prisoner, who, in the eyes of the Jews, represented the people enslaved by the Romans” (HENGST.). Next to the captivity, the circumstance that the city was smitten, which points back to Ezekiel 33:21, forms the second element in fixing the date. It is a verbal reference to prepare us for understanding how the renewed divine mission of the prophet, in view of that accomplished act of judgment, would now, for the first time, fully open his mouth for the prophecy of God’s compassions on His people. At all events, the capture of Jerusalem was the consummation of the misery of the Old Testament covenant-people, but with it was presented also the exactly corresponding background for the consummation of Jehovah’s glory in His kingdom in the world. And so, in this respect also, Ezekiel cannot, in conformity with his continuous mission as prophet of Jehovah’s glory in the exile, withdraw more fully from the theatre of his activity. What the prophet had been obliged to announce regarding the wrath and judgment of God on Israel throughout Ezekiel 2–24, has been all fulfilled,—God has made a tabula rasa; but the strictly fulfilled threatening presents itself also as guarantee for the realization of the promise already wrapt up in it, which, in the transition portion of our book (Ezekiel 25–32, see Introd. § 5), prepared for itself a background in the kingdoms of this world, in order with Ezekiel 33 to set forth in prospect with increasing clearness and energy the purification, sanctification, restoration, and final victory of the new Israel, the Israel after the Spirit, over the world. What had been there prophesied in isolated instances of the future salvation becomes now collected into a united whole, so that to all, appearance, as if a separate book by itself began with Ezekiel 40, our opening verses only confirm more expressly that which already results from a reconsideration of the previous chapters. “Even in the first prophecy, in the rainbow which surrounds the appearance of the offended Deity,” says Hengstenberg, “lies the germ of this last prophecy;” and Hitzig says: “Not only Ezekiel 33–39, the previous section” (to which specially our prophecy forms the conclusion), “but Ezekiel’s prophecy in general, advances here also to internal completion.”—In the selfsame day; comp. Ezekiel 24:2.—Comp. Ezekiel 1:3, 33:22, 37:1. “Not merely a divine word, but he shall experience something” (KLIEF.).—Not directly, but certainly indirectly, there is also a reference to Ezekiel 8. sq.; for although thither is explained from what precedes as the site of the smitten city, yet Jerusalem comes immediately—just as in Ezekiel 8. sq.—into consideration principally as regards the temple. [Hävernick finds in the thither the direction of the longing expressed.]
Ezekiel 40:2. In visions of God; comp. on Ezekiel 1:1. The state of Ezekiel.—Ezekiel 37:1.—Now comes the locality of the vision,—in general: the land of Israel, and then, in what follows, the first and immediate view in particular. Against Kliefoth’s observation, correct in itself, that אֶל and עַל stand for each other in Ezekiel, we remark that here, however, occurring as they do close together, they can hardly be otherwise than distinct. Ezekiel is, in the Spirit, set down at all events at the foot or the side of a mountain, which to him, looking up in vision, appears very high. Had Ezekiel been “upon” it, he could have spoken more fitly of its size or breadth than of its height. First of all, the mountain, since it has to be taken in contrast with the smitten city, refers neither to Moriah nor Zion in particular, but symbolizes generally the loftily situated Jerusalem (comp. Ezekiel 17:22, 23); but that it appears very high points, above all, to a glorious restoration, and indicates spiritual elevation, for which comp. Isa. 2:2 (where the exaltation is immediately explained from the consciousness, the religious movement of the nations, and as no merely outward one); Zech. 14:9, 10, 16; Mic. 4:1 (Rev. 21:10). This establishes in the outset the ideality of the further views vouchsafed to Ezekiel. Where the first vision (Ezekiel 1.) “exhibits in prospect anger and judgment,” the last exhibits in prospect “the healing of the wounds.” There the prophet went against the dream of a God gracious to (self-righteous) sinners, and an immediately approaching future of salvation; here at the end, after that announcement has been made, he deals a last powerful blow against the second dangerous enemy of God’s people, that has now come into the foreground,—the despair, which as effectually as the former false security leads away from treading the God ordained path of repentance” (HENGST.). That, however, which is made prominent for Jerusalem in general, and described as a city-like building, is, according to what follows, the temple. [Hävernick makes the prophet see from the mount of the temple, as the building in the south, the New Jerusalem (Heb. 12:22), situated south of the mountain where the prophet stood, and consequently makes sanctuary and city to be at once announced as the two (?) main parts of the vision. According to Abarbanel, Ezekiel saw even the builders in the south building the city. Hengstenberg finds in עִיר the substitute for the smitten city (Ezekiel 40:1), and the temple here, as also in Heb. 12, included in the city in the wider sense. The reverse is the correct view, as even Hengstenberg himself goes on to call the temple “the proper essence of the city,” “the spiritual dwelling-place of the whole people.” His reference to Ezekiel 8. concerning the central position of the temple is good.] Apart from the fact, observed also by Keil against Kliefoth, that the city is not thus described in Ezekiel 45:6, 48:15 sq., 30 sq., everything is made clear by the distinction between אֶל and עַל; to the prophet set down at the mountain, from Babylon, and hence coming from the north, the building on the mountain appears מִנֶּגֶב, that is, looking from the south (as in Ezekiel 21:2 sq., Judea in general), which the ἀπεναντι of the Sept. (מִנֶּגֶד) renders quite correctly.
Ezekiel 40:3. And He brought, etc. Resumption from Ezekiel 40:1, after that the parenthesis Ezekiel 40:2 has treated of the locality in general, and the first immediate view in particular. Now comes the vision proper: And behold. The description: a man, the less excludes the angel of the Lord, the known mediator of divine revelations, whom even Hitzig accepts here, “since He is called ‘Jehovah’ in Ezekiel 44:2, 5,” as the comparison of his appearance: as the appearance of brass (see on Ezekiel 1:5), seems to point to Ezekiel 1. (Ezekiel 40:7), and the line of flax to Ezekiel 9:2, Comp. generally what has been said on Ezekiel 9:2; also Zech. 2:1 sq. (Matt. 16:18; Heb. 11:16). The brass suggests to Hengstenberg: “solidity, durability, power of resistance,” which is so comforting to the Church of God, because its earthly representatives rather resemble soft wax. Hitzig, like the Sept., makes it denote a “brilliant appearance;” Kliefoth: “an ordinary angelus interpres” (Rev. 21:9). The brass not only removes the appearance from the human sphere, but also gives in the outset an idea of firmness, hence certainty, for everything which it will determine. For that the man has to measure is shown by his equipment, as that in its completeness denotes, according to Hengstenberg: “building activity in general, in contrast to the instruments of destruction (Ezekiel 9:1);” according to Hävernick (BÖTTCHER), that it is: “for the greater and the lesser measurements,—the line of flax more for the site; the measuring rod more for the masonry;” according to KLIEF.: “that he has much to measure of various descriptions.” HENGST., referring to Rev. 21:15, calls attention to the measuring rod as distinguished from a line of flax.—He stood in the (at the) gate. HITZIG, correctly: “waiting for the new-comer.” Which gate, namely, of that which looked as a city-like building (Ezekiel 40:2), therefore which temple-gate it was, is not particularized here. But as Ezekiel comes from the north, the first that met him was probably the north gate, from which the man escorts him to the east gate (Ezekiel 40:6).
Ezekiel 40:4. The supposition is (Ezekiel 40:2), that the building is already erected; hence: behold with thine eyes. That he should “hear with his ears” gives promise of oral explanation also, as, for example, Ezekiel 40:45 sq. But because the expression of the building as to its proportions will be made known to the prophet specially by measuring, Ezekiel has “to apply his heart to all” that he will in this way obtain a sight of (all that I show thee), for through him Israel is to obtain knowledge of it (comp. Ex. 25:9).
Ezekiel 40:5. The Enclosing Wall.
As חוֹמָה (“checking,” “keeping off”), the wall is a barrier against what might come from without (מִחוּץ). It runs right round the house, and will thus in relation to it, that is, to the temple generally, symbolize the warding off of the profane, the unclean, the false; and not so much protection. Comp. Ezekiel 42:20, and Ps. 15. The height, at least, to be mentioned immediately, is nothing particular in the way of protection. [HÄV.: “In the former sanctuary such an enclosing wall appeared more arbitrary, a construction called forth by external circumstances. Here the wall is an essential constituent part. The Babylonian temples, too, had their surrounding walls, but here is certainly a contrast to the colossal structures of the Babylonians. The wall on the east side in the later temple, begun by Solomon, was 300 cubits high at the lowest parts.”] [The wall “bears the square form, as broad as it is high; but this being only twelve feet at the utmost, it was manifestly not designed to present, by its altitude, an imposing aspect, or by its strength to constitute a bulwark of safety. In these respects it could not for a moment be compared with many of the moral erections which existed in antiquity. But as the boundary-line between the sacred and the profane, which, being drawn by the hand of God, must therefore remain free from all interference on the part of man, it is precisely such as might have been expected.”—FAIRBAIRN’S Ezekiel.—W. F.] But the measuring begins with it, and so the measuring rod is here fixed at 6 cubits—the cubit, however, with the addition of a handbreadth (Ezekiel 43:13), hence 6 cubits and 6 handbreadths = 1 rod. The measure is accordingly greater than that of the usual rod of 6 cubits. Comp. 2 Chron. 3:3, and Deut. 3:11. A cubit measure found in the ruins of Memphis shows both measures, one of 6 and one of 7 handbreadths. See a lengthened disquisition on Jewish measurement by J. D. Michaelis on our passage, p. 112 sq. [HENGST.: In the case of Solomon’s temple the former cubit, because then current, was the measure, hence it was the more needful to give the relation of the one to the other here. The greater cubit, which meets us first in Ezekiel, was probably borrowed in the exile from the Chaldeans. Keil assumes a shortening of the common cubit from the old Mosaic sacred cubit, which, he says, still formed the measure for Solomon’s temple, and will do so for the new temple likewise.] From this statement of a greater measure, we may presume that what is to be measured is uncommon, magnificent, surpassing that which actually exists.—Inasmuch as by measuring the dimension is made known as distinguished from the mere mass, we may say with Bähr that law and proportion, hence order, consequently the spiritual, the divine ideality, are displayed. This is what is expressed generally in the numbers occurring here. But the very preponderance of the number six, in itself non-significant, forbids us to attach to them special significance. In this respect, also, Hengstenberg’s observation, that in order to get the significant number seven, it is necessary to revert to the cubit, which after the prophet’s explanation no longer comes into consideration, tells against Kliefoth. Moreover, מָדַד comes from “extending,” and serves here rather to elucidate in detail to the prophet that which he beholds as already completed work.—הַבִּנְיָן is the mason-work of the wall, the equality of which in breadth and height corresponds strikingly to the purpose assigned to it—to separate.
Ezekiel 40:6–16. The East Gate
After the wall now follows in Ezekiel 40:6 the most noteworthy part of it, the gates, of which, as being “the chief,” as Hengstenberg supposes (“because of the rising sun”), the east gate is described. It lay opposite the entrance into the sanctuary, and hence was the one among the gates which could first come into consideration with reference to the house in the narrower sense, in respect to which it is also several times expressly defined in what follows. On the significance of the gates of Ezekiel’s temple, comp. the Doctrinal Reflections on Ezekiel 40–46. The steps, seven in number, according to Ezekiel 40:22, 26 (SEPT.), are the first thing observed about the gate. Since the man arrives at it by them, they can hardly be conceived of otherwise than as before, and not running into the gate; they show, moreover, that the court to which the east gate leads lies higher by these seven steps. Thus the ascent, an exaltation (Col. 3.), is conjoined with the separating character of the wall.—םַף is a border or panel on the ground at the entrance, thus threshold; nothing can be made of “projecting lower cornice” (HITZIG). As the threshold enters into the gate a rod-breadth, which is the breadth of the wall, it fills up exactly the opening made by the gate in the wall.—וְאֵת םף אֶחָד explains the threshold measured as “one” (HÄV.: only one, because so broad), that is, for the present, for a second follows in addition, Ezekiel 40:7; hence אֶחָד, in the sense of “first.”
Ezekiel 40:7. וְהַתָּא placed here, at the entrance into the gate, so simply as to explain itself, is the chamber which is wont to be in this place, the guardroom for the gate-watch (Ezekiel 44:11). “An arrangement dating from David and Solomon; a sacred temple-guard was appointed to surround it” (HÄV.). [FAIRBAIRN: “Furnished, as the gates were, so amply with guard-chambers for those who should be charged with maintaining the sanctity of the house (Ezekiel 44:11, 14), they were formed more especially with a view to the holiness, which must be the all-pervading characteristic of the place. It was imprinting on the architecture of this portion of the buildings the solemn truth, ‘that there shall in no wise enter into it anything that defileth, neither worketh abomination, or maketh a lie’ (Rev. 21:27),—a truth which, in past times, partly from defective arrangements, partly from the wilful disregard of such as existed, had been most grievously suffered to fall into abeyance. But henceforth it must be made known to all that holiness becometh God’s house, and that they only who possess this shall be allowed to come and minister before Him.”—W. F.] Since the gate extends from the wall into the court, and Ezekiel has first to pass through to the end, the first thing determined is as to the guardroom, of which, moreover, there were several (הַתָּאִים),—the “length” (from east to west), and with that also the breadth, and in this way the form, that of a square.—It is to be understood that the intervening spaces also (the distances from chamber to chamber) were measured as they went onward, and thus made clear to the prophet.—The conclusion is formed by the threshold of the gate, which, in distinction from the entrance one (Ezekiel 40:6) of the same dimension, is named from the porch (אוּלָם or אֻלָם is vestibule or portico, often with pillars), into which the whole gate-building runs out, as the porch and thereby this threshold is fixed with respect to the temple, that is, westward. אֵצֶל indicates that this threshold lay close to the porch, adjoined it.
Ezekiel 40:8. The porch, because it opens the way to the court, is a principal part of the gate, hence its lengthened description. The Sept. and Hitzig erase this verse on account of the dimension being different from that given in Ezekiel 40:9. Kliefoth finds given in Ezekiel 40:8 the size of the porch in the light, the width of its inner space from east to west, namely, 6 cubits of Ezekiel’s measure (Ezekiel 40:5). The width was naturally the same as that of the gate. Consequently the measurement given in Ezekiel 40:9 would be that of the porch in the wider sense, including the projecting side-walls upon it (2 cubits) and the אֵילִים fronting each other (Ezekiel 40:10), and each 2 cubits thick. אַיִל, mostly plural, signifies that which is “firm,” “strong,” which can be a prop, can afford support. The signification of the verb אוּל, “to be in front,” accepted by Kliefoth, is the derived one. The “Elim” (אֵילִים) undoubtedly project, as observed, but in reality they are pillar-like props attached to the walls, to form sides and supports for doors and windows. And the porch, etc., forming a conclusion; in connection with which Kliefoth directs attention to the מֵהַבַּיִת, repeated for the third time, as marking the difference from the gates of the inner court (Ezekiel 40:31, 34, 37).
Ezekiel 40:10. A return to the “guardrooms of the east gate” (Ezekiel 40:7). They are six in number, three on one side fronting three on the other, and all of the same size. [KLIEFOTH: 2 × 3 watches at each of the three outer gates, and the same at the three inner gates, in all 3 × 12; “for God Himself will be the proper Guardian and Protector of this sanctuary of His people.”]—The one measure spoken of the אֵילִים on this occasion seems to refer to those mentioned in Ezekiel 40:9. KLIEF.: “the gate-pillars of the porch.” [Hengstenberg supposes “pillars” one cubit thick, as in Ezekiel 40:9 (?), standing in front of the walls at both sides of the guardrooms; others otherwise.]
Ezekiel 40:11. The opening of the gate is its entire width, and along with the statement of its breadth there is given at the same time the still undetermined length of the two thresholds and the steps.—In distinction from the width, הַשַּׁעַר (from שָׁעַר, to make fast, to close, and so meaning literally: “closed place” [Schloss]—cognate to םֹהַר) as such signifies the ward, wherefore the gate too is very suitably treated of here in the midst of the more exact description of the guardrooms (Ezekiel 40:10, 12). (Comp. Ezekiel 44:1 sq.) Viewed with respect to its opening, it opens the way to the court; as a gate it is a silent but stedfast guardian (comp. on Ezekiel 40:48).—As every other interpretation hitherto attempted leads only to quite uncertain suppositions not contained in the text (roofed and open spaces, courtyards, and the like), the length of 13 cubits here must mean the height. In itself, אֹרֶך signifies: what is extended in time and space, hence: what is long. When the breadth has been given already, the extension of the gate-barricade proper (the door) can scarcely be conceived of otherwise than in height (comp. on Ezekiel 40:15), and the guardrooms supply all that is requisite to fix the length here. Length, therefore, does not in general stand for height; neither does the special application need to be explained from the circumstance that the door was lying when measured. [“To the last number of perfection, ten (δεκα, implying that it takes into it the other numbers), is added the first number of perfection, three,” HENGST.]
Ezekiel 40:12. In unison with the shutting character of the gate, the idea of the guardrooms is completed by the barrier (גְבוּל) of one cubit in breadth before each of them. As is evident from what follows, a מִפֹּה has to be supplied between אַמָּה אֶחָת and וְאַמָּה־אַחַת. [KLIEF.: “And the barrier on this side was a cubit, but the guardroom was 6 cubits on this side and 6 cubits on that,” that is to say: the guardroom formed a square of 6 cubits each side; but the barrier-space formed an oblong of 6 cubits in length before the guardroom, and 1 cubit in breadth; and the barrier-space was not taken from the space of the guardroom, which on the contrary remained a square of 6 cubits, but joined on before the guardroom.] The statement that that which was guardroom (הַתָּא, collective, generic) occupied 6 cubits on either side, is here understood of the length, and hence is neither formally nor virtually (as KEIL) a repetition of Ezekiel 40:7, but is made expressly for giving a clear notion of the barriers, namely, how they ran along the entire length of each guardroom. From this it follows that these guardrooms are niche-like cells, opening into the gate, and hence closed in by the barriers, and that when one cubit on each side is taken from the 10 cubits (Ezekiel 40:11), the passage leading through is limited to 8 cubits. The barrier is hardly constructed in order that the watchman “stepping out may look around right and left, and while doing so be protected against the too near approach of the people, and hindrance by them” (HITZIG); it lessens the available space in the thoroughfare, and thereby facilitates the control on both sides, and it protects the guardroom, which without it would stand entirely open, from those who wished to press into the court in this way through the doors to be mentioned immediately. [HENGST.: “The arrangement supposes that there are impudent people among the entrants who wished to force an entrance not allowed to them; comp. Luke 13:24.”]
Ezekiel 40:13. The entire breadth of the gate-buildings: 25 cubits, measured from the guardroom (הַתָּא, as Ezekiel 40:12), as this is what has just been spoken of, and the guardrooms represent the greatest breadth. Thus guardroom opposite guardroom, from roof to roof, from north to south, or vice versâ, so that the whole breadth comes out. The explanation: פֶּתַח נֶֹגֶד פָּתַח, indicates an opening of the guardrooms out towards the court, for the barriers close them up towards the interior of the gate. This at the same time explains to us the measuring; for since there is only a barrier closing up on either side, there is a free view on both sides into the respective guardrooms to their openings (under the end of each roof) into the court, so the man needs not go out (as KLIEF.) to determine the measure; moreover, And he measured will immediately (Ezekiel 40:14) pass over into: And he made! Accordingly, Ezekiel 40:7 gave only the dimensions of the interior of the guardrooms in the light, whereas now the space of the outside walls (1½ cubits each, according to Ezekiel 40:42) is included. [HITZIG: נָּג is not the cover of a chamber, but its ridge = גַּב.] The barriers may be imagined as situated in the gateway, but also as in the guardrooms, of course without lessening their space. The object of the barriers recommends the first view.—In order to give the entire extension of the gate-buildings in this direction, we have in Ezekiel 40:14 the statement of the height of the אֵילִים, the two wall-pillars (Ezekiel 40:9) adjoining the porch. From their height as stated, Kliefoth explains the change of expression. [HENGST.: “The usual height of the gate-building might be gathered from the height of the gate-door, Ezekiel 40:11.”] That it is the length (height) of the gate-structure which is meant to be determined is shown by the description of these pillars. “They are as it were the head of the whole, that which the steeples are in our churches, towering up towards and pointing to heaven” (HENGST.). Kliefoth excellently observes: “They are 60 cubits high. If one had reflected that our church towers also have grown out of gate-pillars, that one can see not only by Egyptian obelisks and Turkish minarets, but also by our factory chimneys, which, moreover, are hollow, how pillars 60 cubits high can be erected on a base of 4 cubits square, and that finally the thing spoken of is a colossal building seen in vision, one would have felt no critical anxieties at this statement of height.” On: he made, Hangstenberg says: “The prophet goes back to the time when he who here explains the building to him prepared it. In reality the meaning is: he had made.”—וְאֶל־אַיִל collectively, and this the rather because the pillars are the highest parts of the gate-structure. It is quite clear from the description in Ezekiel 40:9 that the court (הֶחָצֵר) was immediately adjoining; an inner court is out of the question. Accordingly, הַשַּׁעַר must be accusative; in relation to the gate, as to the gate,—אֶל with אַיִל, in which the gate terminates in the court, precedes,—hence: the outer court of the temple surrounded the gate-structure round about, this structure was built in the court. When the relation to the court into which the gate extended has been thus considered, the entire length of the gate-structure can now
Ezekiel 40:15—be noted. For this purpose the gate on the side from which the measuring begins, that is, from the ascending steps of Ezekiel 40:6, is designated as הָאִיתוֹן, which word is only here in the Qeri (Kethibh: הַיְּאָתוֹן). Either adjective or substantive, it is derived from אָתָה, “to come,” and designates, as the point of departure, the entrance-gate to which one comes when one wishes to go to the temple. As the opposite standpoint, towards the court, פֶּתַח־השַּׁעַר, has been mentioned in Ezekiel 40:11, the special designation of the gate was so much the more in place.—Although for fixing the terminus ad quem, עַל־ will have to be taken as versus, “towards,” yet when, as here, it stands in conjunction with לִפְנֵי, it has not its full force. There lies in it something like: “upon,” “above,” which seeks to assert itself; for in Ezekiel 40:11 the height of the gate, and in Ezekiel 40:13 the roofing of the gate-chambers, and in Ezekiel 40:14 the summit of the entire gate-structure, came into consideration. [“From” and “to” are omitted, says Hengstenberg, because the relation is clear in itself.] The porch is known from Ezekiel 40:7 sq., and thereby, as from the contrast to הָיִאתוֹן, the “inner” gate, the gate leading into the court, and hence to the interior of the temple; especially when the east gate is vis à vis the sanctuary proper.—For this the man needs only step forward on the seventh step, look up, and, passing through the gate-buildings, calculate his starting-point: first threshold, 6 cubits; three guardrooms with two intervening spaces, 28 cubits; second threshold, 6 cubits; porch, 6 cubits; projection of the side and gate-pillars, 4 cubits = 50 cubits. This length is the double of the breadth. [“When the Psalmist calls upon the gates of the temple or of the holy city to lift themselves up, to widen themselves, at the entering in of the ark of the covenant (Ps. 24.), the idea which underlies this song is here symbolically embodied and expressed.”]
Ezekiel 40:16 appropriately closes the description with an explanation of the way in which the gate-structure was lighted; for it needs light for the inspection of the watchmen especially. Hence there were windows; first of all, in the guardrooms, namely, in their wall-pillars, by which they are distinguished from the אֵילִים in Ezekiel 40:10 (אֵלִים, written defectively). Pillars projecting from the wall enclosed the windows of the guardrooms. That these windows were closed (1 Kings 6:4) certainly does not mean that they were not to let the light pass through, but that they were only for light, and not to be opened for any other purpose; that they were windows meant “for a sacred purpose” (HÄV.), and “not so much for looking through” (HITZIG). The being closed explains itself fully when we once consider that they, as also the doors of these chambers, led into the court, into which, therefore, no one was to press forward, either through the doors or by means of these windows, and then consider that their relation to the gateway given as within must put them on the same line with the other windows to be mentioned immediately, which came directly into the gateway, and had to be made “so” (כֵן). Although the windows of the guardrooms are for the use of the gate, yet the word within shows that the gate gets the light first of all from the guardrooms, which indeed are also open inward up to the barrier. But since the guardrooms on both sides of the gate come forward to the court, it can be said of their windows that they were round and round the gate, as was said of the court (Ezekiel 40:14) in relation to the gate. [KLIEF.: “In the inside of the gate - structure round about” (?).] For the purpose, however, of giving more light to the gate-structure, there were such windows לָאֵלַמּוֹת. Since nothing is nearer to the guardrooms than their partition-walls (Ezekiel 40:7), we will have to think, in the first place, of them. אֵילָם is etymologically connected with אֵילִים and with אוּלָם, but is, however, as Klief. has satisfactorily shown, distinct from both. The signification: “projecting part,” which Keil gives to the word, that is, what is on a solid wall for architectural ornament or necessity,—as for the windows in question, moulding, frieze, frame, and such like,—suits perfectly to the partition-walls with their windows, for these walls are, according to Ezekiel 40:30, to be taken here too as 5 cubits broad, and thus were a projection on the gate-structure. [Klief. translates: “porch walls.”] If, then, they projected likewise into the court on both sides, the “round and round” is as apposite and illustrative in respect to them as in respect to the guardrooms formerly. The carrying out of the parallel thus, the windows round and round, and the concluding expressly (inwards) with the lighting of the gateway, shows that that has been sufficiently cared for. [What Hengst. quotes from BALMER - RINCK about the pillars, by which “the windows are as it were latticed,” would have been more suitable had it been said that the Elim were on the windows, and not the reverse, as here.]—Kliefoth, however, understands by the “Elammoth” or “Elammim” not only “the parapets and walls filling up the spaces between the guardrooms, but also the sides of the porch and the sides adjoining the second threshold” as pierced through with windows. The observation also is perhaps correct, as the measuring (Ezekiel 40:13) from roof to roof of the guardrooms possibly shows already, that when the gate-structure thus has windows all over, it was roofed and covered. Since אַיִל in a collective sense may possibly include the just now mentioned “Elim” of the guardrooms, while in Ezekiel 40:9 and 14, on the other hand, mention is specially made of the two high pillars at the porch, it will be a question whether we have, with Kliefoth, to imagine the whole of the “Elim” decorated with palm-leaf work. Hengst. (who insists on its “inseparable connection with the cherubim,” of which we may remark there is here no mention) makes the palms “indicate that the gate leads to a building consecrated to the Lord of creation; it corresponds to the merely introductory character of the gate that the creation is here represented not by the animal kingdom, but by the lower region of the vegetable kingdom, of which the palm is king.” HÄV.: “By this symbol nothing else is meant to be impressed upon the temple than the stamp of the noblest and grandest prosperity.” More fully BÄHR (see der Salom. Tempel, p. 120 sq.): “Since all fulness, riches, and glory of vegetable life is comprehended in the palm, it above all is adapted for the habitation of Jehovah, which is called a habitation of glory; it stands, therefore, parallel to the cherub, nothing vegetable can so announce the glory of the Creator. By it the habitation of Jehovah is indicated as a perpetually flourishing habitation, abiding in vigorous strength, concealing in itself the fulness of life; it becomes the place of salvation, life, peace, and joy, a paradise of God. But since the sanctification of Israel is the end and aim of Jehovah’s dwelling among them, these ideas are of an ethical character (Ps. 1:3, 52:10 ; Jer. 17:8; Prov. 11:28, 30; Ezek. 47:12; Rev. 22:2; particularly Ps. 92:13  sq.). The fact that the temple was adorned with these figures, while the tabernacle was destitute of them, has its ground in the Promised Land. Palestine is the native land of the palm, hence these armorial bearings and badges of the land and people of Israel on the coins of the age of the Maccabees, and on Phœnician coins, while on those of Titus we have a palm tree with Judœa capta. In Solomon’s temple, on the other hand, Judœa victrix had been represented, for the temple was at once the monument of Israel’s victory over its enemies and of Jehovah’s covenant faithfulness, and a pledge of the firm possession of the land (comp. Ezekiel 37). The palm, already pointing in this way to salvation, peace, joy, and rest, was very specially a symbol of that which had dawned for Israel with the period of the ‘house’ and its builder, the Prince of Peace. Thus there is a relation of Jehovah’s habitation to the land, and of the land to the sanctuary; both relations are bound up with each other in the palm. The place of Jehovah’s residence and revelation is a place of palms, thus the land of palms is a land of Jehovah’s residence and revelation, a heavenly land.” [KLIEF.: “The palm branches stand in close relation to the feast of tabernacles, and it is the eschatological signification of that feast which is designed to be stamped by this adorning with palms upon the edifice of the sanctuary” (?).] Comp. however, here, for the entrance into the temple of the New Jerusalem, the entry of the Messiah through the midst of palms, Matt. 21:8; Mark 11:8.
[FAIRBAIRN: “Here also nothing was left to men’s caprice or corrupt fancies, as had been the case of old” in the outer court of Solomon’s temple. “A more perfect state of things was to be brought in; and even all in the outer court was to be regulated by God’s hand, and bear the impress of His holiness. This, too, must be hallowed ground, fashioned and ruled in all its parts after the perfect measure of the divine mind and the just requirements of His service; therefore such was evidently the practical result aimed at,—let not the ungodly and profane any longer presume to tread such courts (Isa. 1:12), or desecrate them by the introduction of their own unwarranted inventions. Let all feel that in coming here they have to do with a God of purer eyes than to behold iniquity.”—W. F.]
Ezekiel 40:17–19. The Outer Court
It is necessary to pass over it to come to the other gates. Comp. Ezekiel 10:5.—לִשְׁכָּה is properly: “appendage,” and so.: annexed building or side-room; specially used for small chambers at the sides, which served for keeping utensils and provisions, for the residence of the priests, and also for sacrificial feasts (1 Sam. 9:22). Comp. Jer. 35:2. Hengst. describes well the use of the “Leshachoth:” a refuge from storm and rain, as the pavement preserved the feet from mud, but principally for rejoicing before the Lord, for the eating and drinking before Him (Deut. 12; Luke 13:26), in which the necessitous also participated, the agapœ of the Old Covenant.—רִצְפָּה, a stone-covered floor, literally: what is “made firm,” pavement, stone-cover, like pavimentum, from pavire (παιω), to ram tight.—עָשׂוּי is particip. masc. sing., referring, according to Hengst., to the chambers and the stone pavement as a whole in a neuter sense; according to Kliefoth, only to the stone pavement, which is feminine; but, as Keil justly observes, his grounds for this are not cogent. That both the chambers and the pavement were made for the court round about, brings them near to the wall, and makes them run along it round about the court, except its west side. Thirty such chambers are easily divided into ten in each of the three possible directions, although in Ezekiel 40:18 only the stone pavement is expressly placed in relation to the three gates; for the “Leshachoth” are described as “beside” (not “upon”) the stone pavement; according to Hengst.: opening on it, meaning probably that they bounded the pavement. Since these chambers may be supposed spacious, each like an annexe by itself,—whence also it may be seen how they presented themselves singly to the eye for numbering,—they might, reaching, as they did, nearly from gate to gate, have been like a connection between these.
Ezekiel 40:18. As the chambers were אֶל־הָרִצְפָּה, so the stone pavement was אֶל־כֶּתֶף, by the “shoulder,” that is, side of the gates, for the gates of the outer court are already looked on collectively; and this אֶל־כֶּתֶף is more exactly explained by לְעֻמַּת אֹרֶךְ הַשְּׁעָרִים, meaning that the length of the gates fixed the breadth of the stone pavement. As the lower, it is to be distinguished from that situated higher, that is, the upper, inner court.
Ezekiel 40:19 measures the breadth of the outer court, starting from the east gate, the gate hitherto spoken of, and that, doubtless, from the front of its porch.—הַתַּחְתּוֹנָה refers neither to שַׁעַר nor to an omitted הֶחָצֵר, but simply to the stone pavement of the outer court, called in Ezekiel 40:18 הַתַּחְתּוֹנָה.—To the front, etc., this terminus ad quem is indicated by מִחוּץ in respect to the gates of the inner court, as they advance 50 cubits into the outer court; and here, in respect to the east gate of the inner court, to the front of the porch of this gate, where, accordingly, one stepped from without on to the inner court (Ezekiel 40:23, 27). The man neither measured into the inner court nor yet up to its wall. The מִחוּץ also, doubtless, belongs to the starting-point of the measuring,—100 cubits + 2 gate lengths of 50 = 200 cubits. The breviloquent expression: “the east and the north,” which latter points to what follows, would, when resolved, run as follows: Thus with respect to the east side, and the same with respect to the north side.
Ezekiel 40:20–23. The North Gate
The length and breadth, only mentioned as measured in Ezekiel 40:20, are in Ezekiel 40:21 determined after the measure of the gate. הָיָה refers, according to Keil, to the north gate (Ezekiel 40:20), but may be referred more exactly to the collectives אֵילָו֯ ,תָאָו֯, and אֵלַמִָּו֯: all that was, etc. In citing particulars, the porch and thresholds are omitted. The number of the guardrooms is again given with more exactitude.—בָּאַמָּה, strictly: measured “by the cubit.”—While brevity thus characterizes the repetition, with which the use of collectives harmonizes, Ezekiel 40:22 subjoins the number of the steps, applicable to the east gate also. In addition to the windows, the “Elammim” and the palms are again expressly mentioned, and what the אֵילַמִּים are is made plainer by their being indicated as before those who go up. לִפְנֵיהֶם refers, not to מַעֲלוֹת, but to יַעֲלוּ. The mention of the “Elammim” here, for the third time, is in order to supplement the description of the east gate, in which only those between the guardrooms had been thought of. Thus the entrance threshold, too, had “Elammim”; these, of course, being without windows, because filling the breadth of the wall (Ezekiel 40:6), but furnished with projecting cornices. It lay vis à vis level with the last step.
Ezekiel 40:23. Now that the parts opposite have been spoken of, the not hitherto observed relation of the gate (of the inner court) to the gate (of the outer court) is given with reference to the two gates described northward and eastward.
Ezekiel 40:24–27. The South Gate
Ezekiel 40:24. כַּמִּדּוֹת הָאֵלֶּה, by those measures which were observed on the east and north gates; and also of which the dimension had not been stated in definite numbers, but yet had its measured definite magnitude.—The guardrooms are not mentioned here.
Ezekiel 40:25. That the windows here are described as: like those windows, shows how the כְּמִדַּת regarding them in Ezekiel 40:22 is to be understood.—לוֹ, referring to the gate-structure, is prefixed in order to be able to give as briefly as is done the length and breadth of the gate.
Ezekiel 40:26. לִפְנֵיהֶם, to be understood from Ezekiel 40:22.—אֶל־אֵילָו֯ refers to the two pillars at the porch. Comp. on Ezekiel 40:16. Hengst. supposes that by every pillar stood two artificial palms, which put it between them (?).
Ezekiel 40:27 to be understood from Ezekiel 40:23.—Kliefoth calculates the entire extent of the temple building as a square of 500 cubits.
Ezekiel 40:28–37. The Gates of the Inner Court
We already know that the inner court has, opposite the three gates of the outer court, likewise three gates. The measuring reached in Ezekiel 40:27 to the south gate, which is therefore spoken of first in Ezekiel 40:28. בְּשַׁעַר: so that I found myself in the south gate; others translate: through, etc. The general statement retains the same dimensions, as in the outer gates.
Ezekiel 40:29, befitting the brevity, almost entirely collectives.
Ezekiel 40:30 tells how many cubits the “Elammoth” claimed from the gates in length and, because round about, in breadth, thus advancing into the court. Twenty-five cubits’ length makes the half of the whole length of the gate. Keil accordingly includes in this latter: 10 cubits of the two partition-walls of the guardrooms, 12 for two threshold walls, and 2 cubits for the porch walls; the missing cubit forms mouldings. Hengst. does not allow the side walls of the porch to extend to the space before the terminating pillars, and deducts from the 10 + 12 + 6 = 28 cubits, the special side walls of the guardrooms, 3 cubits thick on the whole, which, however, are to be reckoned into the 5 cubits of the space between the guardrooms, and into the 6 cubits of the threshold. So Kliefoth previously.—The 5 cubits’ breadth, which is likewise included in the entire breadth of 25 cubits, gives Hengst. occasion to remark that, since a bulwark of 5 cubits would have been useless, we may suppose two walls with a dark space within, the breadth of the guardrooms projecting 1½ or 2½ cubits before the side parapets. The statement in Ezekiel 40:31 that the side walls in the length and breadth mentioned, collectively וְאֵילַמָּו֯, were directed towards the outer court, makes this inner gate, like the outer gates, seem built in the outer court, and, as its אַיִל (Ezekiel 40:9) is spoken of immediately, with the two gate pillars (Ezekiel 40:37), hence towards the side of the porch, and thus in reverse relation to the outer gates, and consequently so that the one porch faced the other. So Kliefoth, who then places the steps here before the porch. But how can he (and Keil after him) say of the inner gates, that the “second threshold lay between the surrounding walls of the inner court, and the gate-structure extended thence into the outer court,” and yet maintain that the gate of the inner court lay “with its whole length” within the outer court? Reckoned from the “second threshold” that cannot be said; the porch only with the gate pillars was there. Hengst., on the other hand, makes the terminating point towards the inner court be the pillars with their palms, between which one went forth into the inner court; and the commencement of the gateway which reached farthest into the outer court he makes to be the stair.—מַעֲלָו֯ (HITZIG: singular; KEIL: plural of מַעֲלֶה, “ascent”) instead of עֹלוֹת in Ezekiel 40:26, the “ascending steps which form the stair” (HITZIG). On the steps being eight, a number elsewhere without import, Hengst. says: “It is here to be regarded merely as an advance on the number at the outer court, a hint at the superior dignity of the inner court, which, with its altar of burnt-offering, rises still higher above the outer court than this does above the profane exterior.” [KLIEF.: “Eight is the number of the new beginning, and so the signature of the New Covenant, and of the res novissimœ in general; those who ascend to this priests’ court will be a new priestly race, when God has established a new beginning. The number eight does not occur in John’s vision of the New Jerusalem, because the new beginning is already given.”]
Ezekiel 40:32. The inner east gate.
Ezekiel 40:33 as Ezekiel 40:29.
Ezekiel 40:34. Comp. Ezekiel 40:31.
Ezekiel 40:35. The inner north gate.
Ezekiel 40:36. More abbreviated than Ezekiel 40:33.
Ezekiel 40:37. וְאֵילָו֯ instead of וְאֵלַמִָּו֯ in Ezekiel 40:34. “To this” (the north gate), says Hengst., “the prophet is brought last, because to it alone (?) belonged the noteworthy things of the inner court, to be described in the following section,—the arrangements for the slaughter of the victims, and the preparation of their flesh.”
Ezekiel 40:38–47. The Inner Court in respect of certain Arrangements for the Temple Service
The temple and its service is the theme of these closing chapters of our prophet. Hence it is easy to understand that what follows of the description of the inner court, which has hitherto been occupied with the consideration of the three gates, merely can be given in orderly connection. [FAIRBAIRN: “Everything connected even with the killing and preparing of victims must now be regulated by the word of God. Even there, all is to have an impress of sacredness, such as has not hitherto been found, in consequence of the higher elevation to which the divine kingdom was to attain.”—W. F.]—The opening of the annexe, the side-chamber (Ezekiel 40:17), is בְּאֵילִים, that is, beside the two pillars of the court. Hengstenberg limits the plural הַשְׁעָרִים (= “at the gates”), as a generic designation in distinction from the pillars in the interior, to the north gate. Böttcher likewise supposes two of such cells at the entrance to and two at the exit from this gate-structure, all of them on the side walls close by the thresholds. Keil finds with reason that הַשְׁעָרִים indicates a cell with a door to each of the three interior gates, a view supported by the intended use: there shall they wash the burnt-offering (a thing belonging to the priests’ court). יָרִיחוּ, Hiphil from דוּחַ, to “thrust out,” to “cast away,” the filth, hence: to wash. “The Old Testament and the Talmud recognise only the washing of the entrails and the legs of the victims for the burnt-offering (Lev. 1:9; 2 Chron. 4:6)” (KEIL). This, however, does not hinder us from taking הַעֹלָה here in its character of fulness, which makes it the first in the list of offerings in Ezekiel 40:39, not so much per synecdoche for the bloody offerings in general, as (like Ezekiel 40:43, הַקָּרְבָן more externally) bringing to view the idea of offering from its inmost and most fundamental conception. One cell at each gate is sufficient for the purpose (it is the last stage for the victim’s flesh before it is laid on the altar); but that there is such a cell at each gate is evident from the idea itself, which KLIEF. (who places the washing-cells in pairs, one on each side of each gate porch) thus expresses: “The slaying took place at the gate beside the porch, and no longer at the side of the altar of burnt-offering, as laid down in the law (Lev. 1:11); in the new temple the service will be so much more regular, zealous, and frequent; thither shall prince and people flow to bring their offerings; they will slay and (as there shall then be clean offerings) still more wash before all the gates.” Hengstenberg, on the other hand, insists upon the direction in Lev. 1:11: “northward.”—Passing over to the slaying, Ezekiel 40:39 speaks, according to HENGST., of the north gate (Ezekiel 40:35, 40, 44) alone; but הַשַּׁעַר may comprehend collectively הַשְׁעָרִים of the former verse, or (comp. on Ezekiel 40:40) may mean a definite gate at which what holds good of all the gates is to be exemplified.—The four tables, two and two opposite on opposite sides, are in the porch, as the cells for washing beside the gate pillars are there also. שָׁחַט, “to slay,” is either to be taken in a wider sense, comprehending the whole preparation of the flesh for the sacrifice, particularly the laying (comp. Ezekiel 40:43) of the pieces of flesh on the tables, which, however, would be strangely expressed by לִשְׁחֹט, or אֲלֵיהֶם only simply indicates that the slaying of the victim took place without, in the direction towards these tables, in relation to them.—In the enumeration of the offerings the expiatory sacrifices are fully represented, namely, by the sin-offering and the trespass-offering,—a hint for the understanding of Ezekiel’s temple, for the idea of the expiatory sacrifice has in view the restoration of the state of grace, or reception into that state. Although the burnt-offering stands first, as hitherto it has been treated of as instar omnium, and hence the relation in the state of grace must come principally into consideration, yet we are not to imagine an absolute parity of the people from sin in the time of this temple.
Ezekiel 40:40 adds two pairs of tables to these inner tables. The first pair, as they are said to be placed at the side, in contrast to the porch, so in contrast to the interior of the gate-structure they are described as without; and this is so much the more expressive, as reference is to be made immediately to him that goeth up (לָעוֹלֶה, particip.). The figurative expression: אֶל־הכָּתֵף, which Kliefoth here and in Ezekiel 40:18 presses far too much and unnecessarily, demands even as such a closer and proper definition, as here מִחוּצָה (KEIL: “outside”). But the phrase: “him that goeth up,” clearly shows that the steps (מַעֲלוֹת), and, since they lie before, with them לְפֶתַח הַשַׁעַר (comp. Ezekiel 40:11), are to be understood as belonging to the porch; and הַצָּפוֹנָה (thus correctly Keil) clearly explains the כָּתֵף to be the north side of the gate; whence Kliefoth infers that הַשַׁעַר in question is, just as in the case of the outer gates, the east gate. [Kliefoth, as others also, translates: “for him that goeth up to the gate-opening towards the north.” HENGST.: “to the door of the north gate.” HITZIG: northward, that is, to the right hand. Böttcher takes לָעוֹלֶה to mean: “at the stair.”]—The two other tables (in confirmation of the exposition given) were at the “following” (“other”) side, הָאַחֶרֶת, which designation forms a brief contrast to the הָצָּפוֹנָה, as in like manner אֲשֶׁר לְאֻלָּם׳ comprises in brief the rest that has been said.
Ezekiel 40:41. A summing up to the number eight of the tables designated as within and without in Ezekiel 40:39 and 40: because the latter four are tables set apart for slaying, אֲלֵיהֶם may be rendered: “on,” or: “at them.” Ezekiel 40:42 shows that the summing up with such indication of what is distinctive in the two latter pairs is made because there is still a third set of four tables to be mentioned. In accordance with the foregoing, one would expect here too a fixing of where they stood; hence עוֹלָה can hardly mean: “burnt-offering,” which is spoken of at the close, and much more completely.—They are stone tables (גָזִית, the “cutting” of the stones), formed of square blocks, as are also the stair steps. Hence those previously mentioned were doubtless of wood, particularly the second set, named as specially appointed for slaying, while this third set had to support heavy instruments. Finally, in addition and parallel to the burnt-offering, comes the slain-offering, which includes the sin - offering, trespass - offering, and thank-offering. [HENGST.: “There are twelve tables in all, according to the number of the tribes of Israel, Ezra 6:17, 8:35”]
Ezekiel 40:43. הַשְׁפַתַּיִם must be something definite, something well known, and at the same time (from the dual) double or biform. Gesen. has given up the meaning: stabula, “cattle-stalls,” held by Hupf. on Ps. 68:14 , for that of “stakes” or. “staples” standing out on the wall and bifurcated, to which they bound the beasts about to be slain. Meier, again, who rejects the idea of a fundamental signification: “to place,” accepts the meaning: “to draw together,” to separate, to make fast as such, and imagines: “enclosures of wicker-work for the cattle, of two rows, between which the herdsman used to rest.” But what purpose do these serve here? Keil therefore: “double staples,” on which the slaughtered animals were hung for skinning. The article may denote the kind (of staple). (Others: “drinking troughs,” or: conduits for conveying away the fluids.) But how does בַּבַּיִת harmonize? It only remains to make it a slip of the pen for בִּנְיָן, as the wall is called in Ezekiel 40:5, or an abbreviation, or, like Keil, to think of בִּנְיָה (“house” = building). מוּכָנִים is particip. Hoph. from כּוּן. The description: round and round, would, moreover, answer well for the wall of the inner court, which surrounded the temple edifice on three sides; and the sacrificial victims may well be conceived of as bound to this wall. [KEIL: “On the three outsides of the porch building.”] Kliefoth (and so Hengstenberg) understands raised ledges (border enclosures), with which the tables for laying the sacrificial flesh on were surrounded at the edge round about, so that the flesh lay securely between the ledges as between hurdles, and did not fall off; the ledges were opposite one another in pairs, hence the dual, a handbreadth high. But even with such an interpretation, בַּבַּיִת still causes a difficulty, for according to this, “in the house” must be taken as = in the interior of the porch (בְּאֻלָּם, Ezekiel 40:39), and that in distinction from the tables in Ezekiel 40:40 and 42, or, as already םָבִיב םָבִיב of the tables (“round about the table-tops,” KLIEF.), be taken as a figurative expression for “within” the tables (how does round and round harmonize with this?), and thus either the porch or a table must be taken as a house! Only the transition to the last clause would be easy, and this doubtless has given occasion to this interpretation; but, on the other hand, the new element would be wanting which the double staples give in this so exact representation. The ellipsis: And on the tables, etc., states the purpose for which the tables in Ezekiel 40:39 was intended, in distinction from that of the tables in Ezekiel 40:40 and 42. Keil makes the statement refer to all the tables in Ezekiel 40:39–42.—הַקָּרְבָן (“approaching,” “presenting”), like “offering,” from offerre, is the most general and comprehensive name for offerings. Mark 7:11: Κορβαν ὁ ἐστι δωρον. Hengstenberg observes in addition: “The very going into details apparently so minute showed how clearly and sharply the prophet in faith beheld the non-existent as existent, and was well fitted to draw away the minds of the people from the fixed look at the smitten city. We must indeed always keep in view the object of the prophet, to set up an interim temple for the imagination (!), in which it might expatiate as long as the real temple, and with it the kingdom of God, actually lay in ruins.”
Hitherto we have had arrangements for slaying and preparing the sacrificial victims (Ezekiel 40:38–43) in reference to the inner court. With Ezekiel 40:44 we come to the personelle of the service.—Since we have been in the foregoing at the side of the porch of the inner gate, hence properly in the outer court, and only in relation to the inner court, the more exact description of: outside at the inner gate, by: in the inner court, is only correct. On the other hand, the cells for the singers at once present an insuperable difficulty for those who, like Keil, still draw sharply, and apply here, the Old Testament distinction “between the Levitical singers and the Aaronites who administer the priesthood” (against this sharp distinction comp. Ezekiel 40:46). That Ezekiel selected certain descendants of Aaron—who, by the way, is not named in Ezekiel 40:46, although Levi is—for the service of this sanctuary, is no reason why these should not come into consideration here primarily as singers, especially when we consider the idea thereby expressed, and so made impressive. Hengstenberg says excellently: “That the singers are here so prominent is explained by this, that in the state of exaltation of the community of God, more ample material will be given to them for new songs, so that in the worship of the new temple the singing must play a chief part, as, indeed, the multiplication of the singers and musicians under David stood in connection with the advance which, under him, the people of God had made. According to Ps. 87, when the future of salvation has come, the singers with the dancers say: All my springs are in Thee. The second part of Isaiah, and its lyric echo, Ps. 91–100, are full of the thought, that in the time of salvation all things shall sing and play. Even in the times soon after the return from the exile, singing revived in a degree that had not been since David. In a long series of psalms, from Ps. 107 onward, the people thank God for the blessing of restoration. Hallelujah was the watchword.” The difficulties connected with the locality of these cells for the singer-priests, which have induced even Keil to enter on the slippery path of text-revision, guided by the Septuagint,—of which, however, we must first have some authentic text, if, on its authority, anything is to be altered in the Masoretic text,—are sufficiently solved by Kliefoth. He observes on מִחוּצָה׳, that, consequently, they “were not constructed in or on the gate building itself, like the cells in Ezekiel 40:38.” He rightly makes אֲשֶׁר׳ refer to that part and space of the inner court which is contiguous to the side of the north gate, and hence not contiguous to the east gate. The description of the locality of the cells becomes perfect by this, that their front is stated to be towards the south, that is, nearer to, the temple edifice than to the altar of burnt-offering, while the definition: “toward the north,” approaches nearer to the altar of burnt-offering. KLIEFOTH: “The entrance of the temple lay to the southwest from the north gate; from it the priests had the temple in their view.” HENGST.: “The chambers of the singers generally faced the south, where they (1 Chron. 16:37) chiefly had to perform.”—As the number is indefinite at the beginning, and it is simply said in the plural, just as the priests, afterwards distinguished, are here comprehended in the singers, so the limitation in the second part of the verse, before the pendant in question fronting the north, is applicable also to that fronting the south, so that we really have to suppose likewise, in the first part of the verse, if not only one cell, yet only one range of cells (with several chambers). The masculine אֶחָד can be understood of a part of the cells, and so the better corresponds to the previous plural, and especially to the וּפְנֵיהֶם. That it cannot mean “another” range of cells is self-evident, against Kliefoth. Situated at the side of the east gate signifies: if one steps out of the east gate into the inner court, as the following shows, with the front, towards the north. HENGST.: “There, in the court, stood the altar of burnt-offering, where the singers had to perform at the offering of the great national sacrifices, 1 Chron. 16:41” [KLIEF: On account of the “superintendence over the altar” (Ezekiel 40:46), and the “overseeing of the east gate.”] Keil translates Ezekiel 40:44: “And outside of the inner gate were two cells in the inner court, one at the shoulder of the north gate, with its front to the south, and one at the shoulder of the south gate, with the front to the north.”
Ezekiel 40:45, 46. Explanation of the purpose for which the two ranges of cells were intended with respect to the persons performing service.
Ezekiel 40:45. Therefore שָׁמַר מִשְׁמֶרֶת-.וַיְדבֵּר אֵלָי means: the waiting upon a business, to take care of an office, to attend to it. To make prominent the significance of temple and altar, the priestly service in respect to the house is kept separate from that with respect to the altar in Ezekiel 40:46, yet so that the significant general character of those ministering according to Ezekiel 40:44 is not thereby abolished.—The sons of Zadok are selected not as Aaronites in particular, but from among the sons of Levi (see the fuller treatment of this point on Ezekiel 44:15).—הַקְּרֵבִים is the general expression for the priestly function in general, as is also שָׁרַת (Heb. 7:19; James 4:8).
Ezekiel 40:47. A finishing off with the inner court by stating its length and breadth as 100 cubits each, forming a square, at the same time already making mention of its proper furniture, namely, the altar before the house, the altar of burnt-offering. On this comp. on Ezekiel 43:13 sq.
Ezekiel 40:48, 49. The Porch of the Temple
The description is surprisingly short in comparison with that of the parts previously delineated, and likewise when we compare it with the description of Solomon’s temple, in which reversely the courts are briefly treated of. Hengst. explains this latter circumstance from the familiarity of the people with the courts, while this had to be compensated for by a copious description of the part of the sanctuary inaccessible to them; and makes Ezekiel refer back to this description, and only in the case of the courts to enter more into detail in consideration of the people, and especially those of them to whom the courts might be wholly unknown.
Ezekiel 40:48 describes the porch before the holy place (1 Kings 6:3), by giving the measurement of its two pillars, and the breadth of the gate. The expressions: on this side, and: on that, easily explain themselves as regards the corner pillar on each side, but not sufficiently in respect to the breadth of the gate. What is meant there by מִפּוֹ מִפּוֹ? This statement cannot be occasioned merely by the pillar on this side and on that, but must have its cause in the construction of the gate, which then (comp. on Ezekiel 40:11) would be represented as a barricade with two halves, which had their hinges on the respectively contiguous corner pillars, so that from this construction the measure of each half of the gate is given by itself; so here and so there. The measurement of the gate given in the text comes out still more plainly if each half of the gate (probably lattice-work) shut up only a part, its own part, of the breadth of the porch; and since this made up only three cubits on either side, a breadth of five cubits remained open in the middle for looking in and walking in. This view of Kliefoth’s (also Hengstenberg’s) harmonizes exactly with the measurements which immediately follow; whereas Keil, with an entire breadth of sixteen cubits, has only six cubits left for the breadth of the gate. For Ezekiel 40:49, which measures twenty cubits for the length of the porch of the temple, that is, from east to west (comp. 1 Kings 6:3), gives its breadth, hence from north to south, or vice versâ, at eleven cubits, both measurements being taken in the light, and hence excluding the thickness of the walls. This interior breadth of the porch is shown to belong also to the outside by the statement: and that (also) at the steps, sq.; namely, the breadth was eleven cubits. The stair extended in equal breadth before the porch. In this way, as Kliefoth observes, the porch was wider by half a cubit on either side than the door leading from the porch into the holy place (Ezekiel 41:2), which door was thereby rendered as visible as its character of fixing the length of the porch demanded. [Hengst., referring to the ten cubits’ breadth of the porch in Solomon’s temple, supposes the eleventh cubit here to be occupied by the posts of the door on both sides.] From the height (six cubits), Ezekiel 41:8, Hengst. estimates the number of the steps, which is not given, to be “probably fourteen.” Kliefoth and Hengstenberg compute the entire breadth of the portal, inclusive of the two corner pillars (5 + 5), to be twenty-one cubits. For enclosing the porch from the pillars to the east wall of the temple, we have to suppose, as with the gates of the court, side-walls ( “Elammoth”), which Keil puts down at two and a half cubits each, so that the five cubits broad pillars would have only half their breadth on the inside of the porch. [Hengst., in opposition to most expositions of Solomon’s temple, holds that the length of the porch of the temple given here “corresponds to that of the porch in Solomon’s temple in 1 Kings 6:3”] The height of the two corner pillars of the porch, which also is wanting in Ezekiel’s vision, is supplied by Hengst., from 2 Chron. 3:4 (JOSEPHUS, Arch. 8:3. 2), as 5 cubits thick and 120 cubits high. The עַמֻּדִים, two in number, are set down as “at” or “beside” the corner pillars (the “Elim”), which remind us of “Jachin” and “Boaz” in Solomon’s temple (1 Kings 7:15 sq.), and, doubtless, for that very reason their position is not given more exactly. Kliefoth and Hitzig place them one at each side of the steps; and the same is done by Hengst., who says, regarding their import: taken away by the Chaldeans, Jer. 52:20 sq., they were “as it were the programme of the temple and of the kingdom of God represented by it; they represented what the people of God have in their God: Jachin (‘He establishes me’) and Boaz (‘in Him strong’); made of brass, very thick, uniform to the top, they are a figure of the unchangeable stability and strength which was only in appearance practically disproved by the Chaldeans,” etc.—The Septuagint is all confused in these verses; for example, its statement that the steps were ten rests on this, that it has transformed אֲשֶׁר into the similar עֶשֶׂר. Böttcher, Hitzig, and Maurer ground thereon their treatment of the text, and Hävernick is simply at a loss what to make of it.
On Ch. 40
Ezekiel 40:1 sq. Jerome, despairing of the possibility, and especially of his own ability, to expound these chapters of Ezekiel, wished to break off and finish his commentary here. Only the urgency and importunity of friends urged him to continue; but every instant he acknowledges his inability, etc.—“The commencement and close, the cherubim and the new temple, are what every one first thinks of when Ezekiel’s name is mentioned” (HENGST.).—The vision of the temple, as regards the date given, a trilogy of thoughts: from judgment to mercy, from prison to freedom, from the world to Christ and into the community of God.—“Under the material promises of God are concealed spiritual ones; take that to heart in these chapters too, therefore, sursum corda” (STARCK).—“God raises up His own in their misery by His comfort, and keeps them through the hope of things to come in faith and patience. When there is no prospect of deliverance, when no help, no refuge appears, then the Lord is present with His comfort” (HAFENREFFER).—“When it seems that all will be over with the Church of God, then God thinks of its maintenance and amelioration” (STARKE).—“To human eyes Canaan was lost for Israel, to human eyes Jerusalem lay in the dust; but the prophet sees it again far more glorious. Such seeing again is, however, truly given by God in the Spirit. Land and city and temple had been lost through the sins of the people; yet Israel must remain and fulfil its eternal purpose for the glory of God. God makes it even already in this prophet and in all like-minded bloom forth only the more gloriously, so that neither the sins of the people nor the power of its enemies can put an end to Israel. A fairer and loftier Jerusalem and temple must be still in store for Israel, which the prophet represents entirely by figures taken from the old land, the old royal seat, and the old temple. Yet he does not merely make the old be renewed; everything becomes quite different, in order to indicate that the kingdom of God will, in its completion, present a quite different figure” (DIEDRICH).—“The word of God, too, counts the years and months and days of our distress, to make us understand that it is not unknown to God how long we have borne the yoke of the cross and the oppression of tyrants” (STARCK).—“Ezekiel was already five and twenty years in a foreign land. We must be prepared and purified in many ways by God’s Spirit before we can rightly understand the consolations of God; and one grows in God when one learns, under present sufferings, to see more and more of the eternal comfort” (DIEDRICH).—“It is manifest that this vision ought to have comforted the Israelites,—that they who neither had nor saw a temple were meanwhile to busy themselves with considering this temple, and to study what such a vision might denote” (COCC.).—“In the selfsame day the hand of Jehovah was upon me: in this is verified anew the name of the prophet. God is strong; for in Him as in all others flesh and blood cry out: Gone is gone, lost is lost” (HENGST.).
Ezekiel 40:2. “Give me eyes to see the glorious grace of Thy kingdom; give me strength to go even into the sanctuary!” (LAMPE.)—“The prophet’s visions are not deceptive dreams, but true, divine inspirations, Jer. 26:12” (CR.).—“The land of Israel is the hieroglyph of the inheritance which God will give to His people from the whole world, which in contrast thereto is called the sea or the wilderness” (COCC.).—“The Church of God is the city set upon a hill, Matt. 5:14” (TÜB. BIB.).—How different was it in Matt. 4, when the tempter took Jesus to an exceeding high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them !—“Through Christ we come even here in the kingdom of grace to the mount of God, to the heavenly Jerusalem, but the true entrance still awaits us in the kingdom of glory, Heb. 12:22” (STARKE).—In the world, and yet high above the world; yea, the kingdom of the Anointed One is not of this world, and our citizenship is in heaven (Phil. 3:20); and they who live by faith of the Son of God seek the things that are above (Col. 3). The very high mountain points to the highest height.—On Mount Zion stands (Rev. 14) the Lamb, with His hundred and forty and four thousand.—“The high mountain is Christ, on whom the Church is founded” (GREGORY).—“The very high mountain is Mount Zion; not, however, in its present form, the state of humiliation, but in glorious exaltation. The high place already existed in the days before the destruction of the temple, Ps. 48:3 , 68:17 . It now returns. The new exaltation took its beginning in the return from the exile, and found its completion in the coming of Christ (Ezekiel 17:22, 23)” (HENGST.).—This is indeed a place to sit down in and meditate. Jerusalem in the Old Covenant, the Jerusalem which is the Christian Church, and the Jerusalem above,—what a theme for contemplation throughout time and eternity!—The repose in the contemplation of human and divine things.—Jerusalem a Sabbatic place in the working days of the world’s history.
Ezekiel 40:3. “Christ is indeed the foundation and corner-stone of His Church; but He is also the Builder, who has laid the foundation and brings the building erected thereon always more and more to perfection, Matt. 16:18” (STARKE).—“The brass signifies holiness and purity, also life and permanent strength” (COCC.).—“He gives the holy and eternal temple, in which will be unchangeable repose” (ŒCOLAMPADIUS).—“He is the strong and invincible Hero” (STARCK).—“The serpent in the wilderness, too, was brazen; and Christ is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever” (LUTHER).—“In the Church everything must be ordered and judged by the rule of the divine word, Acts 17:11” (STARKE).—The harmony of the kingdom of God.—“In the Church everything should be done decently and in order (1 Cor. 14:40); in it there is to be no confused teaching or dissolute life” (STARCK).—“Let every man examine himself by this measuring-rod, how far he has advanced” (GREGORY).—“Here applies what Plato wrote on his school: Let no one enter who is ignorant of geometry” (HAFENREFFER).—“Every believer ought to measure the temple of God and its magnitude, towers and palaces, and distinguish it from that which is not God’s house, Ps. 48:13, 14 [12, 13]” (COCC.).—“Elsewhere also Christ stands at the door and calls, invites in, shows the way, and opens the entrance to the temple and into the inner sanctuary” (BERL. BIB.).
Ezekiel 40:4. “Christ by His Spirit speaks with us as man with man” (COCC.).—“There has been a difference of opinion among teachers regarding the signification of this temple, altar, city, and territory. But the opinion to be rejected above all is that of the Jews and men like them, who think that it is to be the third temple, which must be built by their coming Messiah, and in their vain and foolish hope boast much of its great glory, and do not see, blinded and dull people that they are, that the text will not bear such dreams as theirs. Therefore this building of Ezekiel’s is not to be understood of a new material building, but, like the chariot at the beginning, and also the building at the end, is nothing else than the kingdom of Christ, the holy Church of Christendom here on earth even to the last day. But how all the parts are to be properly interpreted and placed, that we will defer until that life in which we shall see the whole building prepared and ready. Now, while it is still in process of building, and much stone and wood belonging thereto are not yet born, not to speak of their being squared, we cannot see it all; it is enough for us to know that it is God’s house and His own building wherein we all are” (LUTHER).—The thing is to see and hear exactly and lay to heart what serves for our peace; and this Israel has not done (Luke 19:42).—“But all Israel must know its eternal calling; and if God gives special revelation to particular prophets, that revelation must accrue to the good of all” (DIEDRICH).—Although it is a mystery, it ought not to remain a mystery.—But what Israel was contemplated in this? Certainly not that which is called Israel after the flesh, but the spiritual, true Israel. The former built not after the pattern; the latter still continues to build itself in this temple.
Ezekiel 40:5. “To learn to understand the arrangement, the holy building, begin with the most distant things. We must not despise even those who stand employed at the threshold. The will, not the ability, is pleasing to God. Beware, therefore, of despising those who are still engaged in laying the foundations, and give only distant hope of life,” etc. (ŒCOL.)—“The boundary of the wall had a twofold signification. To the community it was a warning not to approach the sanctuary with unrenewed hearts (Ps. 15). With respect to God, it was a pledge that He would eventually separate His Church from the world. Because the people of God had neglected the admonition contained in the boundary, the boundary was as a righteous punishment destroyed also in the latter respect. Desecration as punishment followed desecration as guilt. In the broken-down wall of the smitten city was typified the abandoning of the people of God to the world. That this relation will in the future take another shape, that God will again raise up His reformed people to be an independent power, is typified by the erection of the new wall, which is in this respect an embodiment of God’s protection and grace, that are to be imparted to the covenant-people renewed in spirit” (HENGST.).—“The Church has a triple wall: God as protection, the angels as guardians, and believers, in other words their prayers” (À LAPIDE).—“God has indeed broken down by the death of Christ the wall of separation which was in the Old Testament between Jew and Gentile, yet He makes in the New Testament an invariable distinction between believers and unbelievers, Eph. 2:14” (STARKE).—“If even among men the king’s measure is larger than the ordinary one, not so much because kings require a more abundant measure, as because kings should replenish their subjects with all munificence, why should not God’s measure overflow with grace, truth, and power?” (COCC.)—The larger measure of the sanctuary: (1) from the love wherewith God loves us; (2) according to the love wherewith we ought in return to love God in the brethren.—“One should be more liberal for the advancement of God’s service than for other and worldly things, Gal. 6:9” (O.).—“The breadth of the Church points to love, for nothing is broader; the height embraces the contemplation and knowledge, which alway ascend higher” (GREGORY).
Ezekiel 40:6. “How beautifully is everything measured and arranged in the community of the Lord by the eternal counsel of God! This is done by the wisdom of the great Founder and Master-builder (Eph. 3:10, 11, 4:12); which prepares by the measuring-rod of the gospel (Gal. 6:16; Phil. 3:16) living stones for the building of the Church, that it may become a habitation of God in the Spirit (1 Pet. 2:5)” (TÜB. BIB.).—“When believers enter, they have (1) a Guide with them into all truth; (2) without Him they can do nothing; (3) progress is made toward full knowledge of God and Christ,” etc. (COCC.)—“We ought to increase and grow, as in age, so in wisdom and grace, Luke 2:52” (STARCK).—“Christ is the dayspring from on high, who for us has opened the way for the rising of the light” (GREGORY).—The east gate as model and pattern gate in its homiletic significance; every sermon ought to lead to the Father through Christ.—“In order to educate us by His Spirit, Christ undertook freely in our name this labour here, in that He became man for us, and ascended to the Father through suffering. Those also ascend these steps who will not, staying outside, give themselves up to lusts, but, wiser than the foolish multitude, attach themselves to God’s people” (ŒCOL.).—“One must not so thoughtlessly imagine that only a single leap is required to come into heaven, but constant ascent is requisite and necessary in order to seek after the things that are above, Col. 3.” (BERL. BIB.)
Ezekiel 40:7. “In the Lord’s house are many mansions, according to the distinction of offices and gifts; each mansion, however, serves to ornament the house, John 14:2” (TÜB. BIB.).—“Since there are many mansions in the Lord’s temple, there is certainly still room there. Let no one wantonly exclude himself therefrom, Acts 13:46” (STARKE).—The manifold positions and ministrations, and hence the manifold occupations in the kingdom of God.—“The thresholds show that entrance and exit are alike; as the beginning, so the end: he who begins well shall and will end well” (STARCK).
Ezekiel 40:8 sq. Behold, a wall round about; thou shalt not dream of overleaping it, or esteem it as non-existent; those whom God chose for Himself went out from the world, and are not of the world. There are also gates through which we have to enter in; but the way for mankind to God is through the one door, which is and continues to be Christ. Finally, the charge of the house for goings in and out is committed to the Spirit of Truth. No one shall enter in through the gate by lying and hypocrisy, and without the seal of the Spirit no one shall go out of the sanctuary into the world or pass over to eternity.—We first ascend the mountain on which the sanctuary is situated; next we must go up through the gate; and then we have before us the most holy place, namely, the manifestly revealed heart of the Father, with its blessed thoughts of peace.—“As he who no longer remains without is sheltered from the storms which rage there, so the Christian is not driven about by any wind. The porch reminds us of the peace and repose connected with the consciousness of the grace of God” (ŒCOL.).—“Truly, they who are preparing for the holy office of the ministry are measured in many ways, and they should still farther test themselves by the measure of the sanctuary” (STARCK).—“O soul, when so many depths, breadths, and heights of knowledge come before thee in the commencement of thy Christian course, let not that discourage thee! Christ gives thee the Holy Spirit, who will by degrees teach thee all things, John 14:26” (STARKE).
Ezekiel 40:12. Ministers of the Church should be protected against being too much pressed upon, for they are still but men. There is, however, a professedly pious impertinence, which addresses them as if their bones were iron and brass; e.g., “The Lord is able to strengthen you,” and the like. The Lord has in Ezekiel set a fence around the chambers of the keepers of the gate.—“We ought to avoid a brother who walks disorderly” (STARCK).
Ezekiel 40:13 sq. “Thus those who are in this way are walled around, covered, and protected on all sides; so that nothing can befall them in Him who is the Door and the Way, but everything leads forward to the sanctuary when we walk in Christ Jesus” (COCC.).
Ezekiel 40:16. “In the Church of God darkness has no place, but the light of truth and faith shines everywhere; yea, believers themselves are a light in the Lord, whose works shine before men, Matt. 5.” (STARCK.)—“Teachers and preachers ought to have a fuller knowledge of the divine mysteries than others, 1 Tim. 3:9” (O.).—“They who walk in the ways of the Lord have the true, cheerful, and clear light; while the natural soul is a gateway without windows” (STARCK).—“What is signified by the palms is already fulfilled in the essential nature of believers, and will be so in particular in Christ’s glorious kingdom (Ps. 92:13  sq.), when they shall sing of victory in the tabernacles of the righteous (Ps. 118), with palms in their hands, Rev. 7:9” (BERL. BIB.).
Ezekiel 40:17 sq. “In the Church of God provision is also made for satisfying the need of spiritual fellowship on the part of those who are like minded, and no one requires for this reason to wander about outside the wall in this or that sect, hole-and-corner conventicle, or society for any object whatever. Notice the ‘apartments’ here, and how Christ hallows them (Matt. 18:20), and comp. Zech. 3:10” (COCC.).—“Those who are employed in God’s house ought to keep even their feet clean, for holiness is the ornament of His house” (STARCK).
Ezekiel 40:20 sq. “By the diversity of the gates you may recognise the diversity of those who enter” (ŒCOL.).—“The way to the sanctuary has been opened to the nations of the north also” (STARKE).—“As in our cathedrals every part tells something to the deeper-seeing connoisseur, so this is still more the case in Ezekiel’s temple” (RICHTER).—“Everything here is in harmony and mutual correspondence, like the Old and the New Testaments, Moses and Christ, the prophets and the apostles” (STARCK).
Ezekiel 40:28 sq. “The courts are separated, for the covenant of Abraham is one thing, the covenant of Moses another, and the covenant of Christ still another. Yet they only mutually confirm one another. For are not the contents of the covenant the promises of God, who graciously forgives sin? One court, however, is nearer than another to the sanctuary. Walkest thou unhindered in the court of the priests, busied with spiritual sacrifices; then thank the Lord and extend meanwhile the hand to others, that by thy support they may overcome difficulties” (ŒCOL.).—“The inward and the outward measure must correspond perfectly in Christians” (STARKE).
Ezekiel 40:31. “So 2 Pet 1:5–7 enumerates eight virtues” (BERL. BIB.).
Ezekiel 40:38 sq. “This signifies that our heart may remain unclean, even when we give our bodies to be burned for the glory of God. The constant mortification of the flesh must ground itself on Christ, otherwise we will lose courage,” etc. (ŒCOL.)—“The believing soul presents its heart, as one sets a table, on which Christ as sacrifice is beheld, for faith lays hold of this alone” (STARCK).
Ezekiel 40:44 sq. “A place in the house of God is justly due to them who sing the praise of God in spiritual and heavenly songs, which contribute so powerfully to spiritual edification” (TÜB. BIB.).—“The spiritual songs of them who rejoice in the Lord, because they have been enabled to come to the altar and stand before God, form part of the spiritual sacrifice” (ŒCOL.).—“In these corrupt days music is used more for sin and vanity than for the praise of God. When will it be free from this service to vanity? Ps. 117:1; Isa. 12:1” (STARKE).—“He who draws near to God sings to Him also in his heart; they, however, sing best who in the midst of troubles are full of joy. They incite others to sing,” etc. (COCC.)
Ezekiel 40:46. “Since ‘sons of Zadok’ is in our language equivalent to: sons of righteousness, this implies that only those duly keep the charge who are justified by faith and born of God, whom Jesus Christ has begotten and upholds by the word of His power” (ŒCOL.).
Ezekiel 40:47 sq. “The true temple is the body of Christ as He took it out of the grave on the third day, for it surpasses all figures and is pure life. The prophet here prophesies of it; but he does so in lisping words, and for the sake of his contemporaries his understanding of Christ in these chapters, where he speaks of Christ’s kingdom and sanctuary, is still, as it were, in swaddling clothes” (DIEDRICH).
In the five and twentieth year of our captivity, in the beginning of the year, in the tenth day of the month, in the fourteenth year after that the city was smitten, in the selfsame day the hand of the LORD was upon me, and brought me thither.