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Bible Commentaries

Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ezekiel 40

Verse 1

Month; April 30, the year of the world 3430. (Usher) (Calmet) --- In explaining this last most obscure vision: I. The Jews say it was verified after the captivity. But thus the temple would be four miles round, and the city thirty-six, which never was the case. II. Hence more modern Jews assert it will be fulfilled by the Messias. III. Rejecting these errors, Lyranus, &c., suppose that the promise was conditional, and that the sins of the Jews prevented the city and temple from being so large; and that the mystical temple of the Church is also insinuated, into which both Jews and Gentiles shall enter. IV. Though this opinion be probable, it seems better to follow St. Jerome, St. Gregory, &c., who cannot apply al to the Old Testament, nor think that such a huge temple and city were indeed promised, but explain some parts of the captives at their return, as a figure of those redeemed by Christ, and brought into his Church, which is adorned with all graces. Yet the greatest part must be understood of the Church triumphant [in heaven]. (Worthington) --- St. Jerome confesses his ignorance of this subject; and those who have come after him, though they imitate not his modesty, add little to dissipate the mist with which this vision is surrounded. Some have adhered too close to Josephus, while Villalpand has here discovered all the magnificence of Greek and Roman architecture, and has represented the temple six times as large as it really was. It seems that the prophet has described the same temple of Solomon which he had seen, that the dimensions might be preserved, and the hopes of the people kept up; (Calmet) and that they might comprehend what a loss they actually sustained on account of their sins, (Haydock) and might strive to come up to this pattern (Du Hamel) as "near as they should be able," the wealth of the people being much less than Solomon's. (Grotius) --- These arguments do not, however, shew that the buildings were to resemble each other. They vary in many particulars; and the prophet would specify what was to be really executed. He says nothing of the ornamental part, and little of the height, which are the most expensive. (Houbigant) (Preface) --- If some things appear to be too grand for the temple of Solomon, and of Zorobabel, we must reflect that the prophet passes from the figure to the Church of Christ, which is not unusual. (Menochius) --- Alcasar and Bossuet explain it wholly of the Church, so that the letter requires few notes. (Du Hamel)

Verse 2

Mountain; Moria, in spirit. On the eastern side, the road to the city was level. Walls were added after the captivity, on the other sides. (Josephus, Jewish Wars vi. 6.) --- City, the temple was so large. --- South, to one coming from the north, though the temple lay on that side of the town, Psalm xlvii. 2. (Calmet) --- Septuagint read mongod, "over-against," instead of mongob, "south," which has perplexed many. (Houbigant) --- Ezechiel was placed on Sion, which was not very high, but here it denotes the Church. Jerusalem was in ruins. (Worthington)

Verse 3

Brass: shining. (Haydock) --- This angel waited for the prophet at the northern gate, but introduced him by that looking towards the east, ver. 16. --- Line. It seems never to have been used. (Calmet)

Verse 5

Breadth. Hebrew, Chaldean, Septuagint, "of six cubits, in a cubit and a palm;" imitating that the sacred cubit contained six palms, while the common one had only five, (chap. xliii. 13.; Worthington) being half a yard; (Arbuthnot) or the Hebrew cubit was a hand's breadth larger than the Babylonian, or about 21'bd inches, (Calmet) which may be styled (Menochius) the sacred cubit. (Arbuthnot) (Haydock) --- Reed. This outer wall (Calmet; Menochius) was to prevent any from falling down the precipice. It was about four yards nine inches in height and thickness, being so solid in order that the ground might not give way. Josephus describes prodigious walls, (Haydock) reaching to the bottom of the mountain, three hundred cubits on the south and west; but then the temple was much enlarged. (Calmet)

Verse 6

And. In this verse occurs the first of thirty-four words where the j is allowed by the keri to be omitted in this one chapter, always when it is the sign of the plural number before a suffixed v, and of course by voluntary assimilation. But Camb. Manuscript has the j regularly in the thirty-two of these words. (Kennicott) --- Steps. The ground was not quite level, which caused the buildings to rise one above another more elegantly. There were four great gates.

Verse 7

Chamber, for the porters, (Calmet) three on each side of the porch, ver. 10. (Haydock)

Verse 11

Thirteen, or twenty-six feet high.

Verse 14

Cubits high, or else the elevation is nowhere specified. (Calmet)

Verse 16

Slanting, or "lattice." Septuagint, "dark." See 3 Kings vii. 4. (Haydock) --- They were larger within, to afford light, as in Solomon's temple, and in castles. Interpreters disagree in their sentiments: but all allow that God here insinuated that he would reward people in the Old Testament with temporal, and those in the New with spiritual blessings; first with grace in this life, and with glory in the next. (Worthington) --- Yet we must not suppose that the saints of old were deprived of eternal goods. (Haydock) --- About. The other gates had the like ornaments. (Calmet)

Verse 17

There were chambers. Gazophylacia, so called, because the priests and Levites kept in them the stores and vessels that belonged to the temple. (Challoner) --- They went all round the courts. The women were in the second story. Villalpand and Capel, who are deemed the most accurate, suppose that there were no chambers below, but an open gallery. There seem, however, to have been chambers also, chap. viii. 7. (Calmet)

Verse 18

Lower. So that there was a step up to the threshold. (Haydock) --- Marble was used in all places exposed to the weather. (Josephus, Jewish Wars vi. 14.)

Verse 26

Seven. There were eight to the inner court, (ver. 31.) shewing that more perfection is now required, and a greater reward given. (St. Gregory) (Worthington)

Verse 28

CHAPTER XL.

Verse 30

Five cubits. The parallel passages would intimate "fifty." (Calmet) (Villalpand) --- But the texts all read five, and Maldonat understands the four vacant spaces between the chambers, ver. 7. (Menochius)

Verse 38

Gates. Hebrew is very obscure. The holocausts were slain on the north side of the altar, Leviticus i. 11.

Verse 43

Borders, to prevent any thing falling. Chaldean, &c., have "hooks."

Verse 44

North. The singers occupied two wings.

Verse 45

Watch over the sacred ornaments, perfumes, lamps of the sanctuary, &c., Numbers iii. 28.

Verse 46

Altar. Not on actual service, (chap. xli. 13.) but to prepare the victims.

Verse 48

That side. Septuagint add, "and the opening ( Greek: euros, width) of the gate was 14 cubits, and the breadth (projections, Greek: epomides ) of the," &c., (Haydock) or the wall on each side of the door was three cubits, so that the porch was 20 cubits broad. (Calmet)

Verse 49

Eleven. 3 Kings vi., says ten. The exact breadth was ten and a half, (Villalpand; Tirinus) or what the pavement covered is there specified according to some. Roman Septuagint has "twelve." But the edition of Basil reads more correctly, ten. (Calmet) --- Yet both ten and eleven may be right, if this temple be different. (Haydock) --- Eight. Hebrew seems corrupt, a being substituted for a. "They mounted by ten steps," as the Septuagint read. Aquila has eleven; Symmachus [has] eight. --- Pillars of brass, 3 Kings vii. 15. (Calmet) --- As they are not measured, they were like Solomon's. (Worthington)

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Bibliographical Information
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Ezekiel 40". "Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/hcc/ezekiel-40.html. 1859.