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EZEKIEL CHAPTER 41
The measures, parts, chambers, and ornaments of the temple.
After the measuring of the courts, &c., now the prophet is brought to see the temple itself measured. The posts; the thickness of the walls (called posts here, as also Ezekiel 40:48) on the north side and on the south side of the gate. Six cubits broad; one whole reed in thickness. These walls in their thickness took up as much space as the whole breadth of Moses’s tabernacle, Exodus 26:22-25, where eight boards, each one cubit and half broad, make just the breadth of the tabernacle, twelve cubits.
The door; or the aperture, the open space which let in light, as well as men; properly the door of the porch. Ten cubits, between post and post, on which the folding doors did hang.
The sides of the door; the space from the edge of the wall by the posts to the side wall inward was on each side five cubits, on the north side so many, and on the south so many, which make the contents between wall and wall, as the verse hath it, twenty cubits in breadth.
The length of the sanctuary, from the porch to the partition between the holy of holies, and the inward front of the wall of the sanctuary, was forty cubits, unless we must take in the thickness of the walls of both sanctuary and holy of holies, of which more may possibly be spoken.
Inward; from the porch through the body of the temple, to the partition between the body of the temple and the holy of holies, or the oracle.
The post; either the thickness of that partition wall, or of the pilasters, which stood one on one side and the other on the other side of the door.
The door, or entrance out of the temple into the oracle. This door was
six cubits high, say some, but, more likely, it was six cubits broad, and an upright bar or post on which the leaves did meet, and which was of one cubit’s breadth, make out the seven cubits mentioned in the last words of this verse.
The length thereof; of the oracle, or holy of holies. It was an exact square, as was Solomon’s, 1 Kings 6:20.
Before the temple; parallel with the breadth of the temple.
He said unto me; the prophet was commanded to hear, and now he shows us his attention.
This is the most holy place, as having the tokens of God’s more especial presence, in that the mercy-seat and propitiatory were there, so called Numbers 7:89; it was called also the oracle, 1 Kings 6:16, and
the inner house, Ezekiel 41:15,Ezekiel 41:17.
Having left the holy of holies measured in the 3rd verse, now he is come to take the measures of the outer wall.
The house; the temple itself,
Six cubits; three yards thick was this wall from the ground to the first story of the side chambers.
Every side chamber of the lowest floor; for there were three stories of these, and they differed in their breadth, as the wall of the temple on which they rested abated of its thickness; for the middle chambers were broader than the lowest by a cubit, and the highest as much broader than the middle.
Round about; on the north, south, and west parts.
On every side; on each side of every one of these three gates. The east gate, and buildings about that, were not faced with such facings.
One over another; in three stories high.
Thirty in order: how these thirty in a row were distributed is not said, some guess twelve on the north side, as many on the south side, and six on the west; but as this may be, so possibly it may not be; but we are sure the whole number is thirty in a row on each story, i.e. three times thirty, or ninety in all.
The wall; not the five or six cubit wall, which was the wall of the house, but another wall of one cubit thickness, on the top whereof was a rest or ledge of one cubit breadth, on which the ends of the cedar beams were fastened. It is said this was built
for the side chambers: either from the foundation the wall was made so thick, that at five cubits from the ground they might rebate or draw in the thickness of the ascending wall one cubit, or else this cubit-thick wall was after added; but this, as not probable, I reject.
That they might have hold; that the beams of the chambers might have good and firm resting hold.
They had not hold in the wall; the ends of the beams were not thrust into the main body of the wall of the temple, as we see beams laid into the body of the walls of houses. But for each story a rebatement of one cubit in the thickness of the wall, so that six cubits thick at the ground, up to the first floor, and five cubits thick from that to the second floor, and four cubits thick from the second to the third floor, so each floor rests on a ledge of one cubit without the wall, and each story grows a cubit broader than that which is next lower.
An enlarging, viz. of the side chambers, so much of breadth added to the chamber as was taken from the thickness of the wall; that is, two cubits in the uppermost, and one cubit in the middlemost, more than in the lowest chambers.
A winding about; winding stairs which enlarged as the rooms did, and these run up between each two chambers, from the bottom to the top; so there were two doors at the head of each pair of stairs, one door opening into one chamber, and the other into the opposite chamber: or else you must make the chambers thoroughfares, and suppose passages through all. These stairs, as they rose in height, enlarged themselves too.
Round about, i.e. on all sides of the house where these chambers were, which, as observed, was on three sides of the house.
The breadth of the house; of each chamber.
Increased; grew broader by one cubit in every upper room or chamber; from five in the lowest to six in the middle, and to seven in the highest chamber.
Of the house; of the chambers, or the three stories of them; it is not the temple. The lowest chamber had properly a foundation laid on the earth, but the floor of the middle and highest story must be accounted here a foundation; so from the ground to the ceiling of the first room was six great cubits; from the first beams, joists, and boards to the second; six great cubits; and from the third floor to the roof of the chamber, a like number: to which if we add one cubit for thickness of each of the three roofs or floors, you have twenty-one cubits for height, ten yards and half high.
The outward wall for these chambers was five cubits in thickness, and was made of stone, which added both beauty and strength to the other part of the building, and served as buttresses to the temple wall.
That which was left; that space which was left without this wall, about five cubits broad, and served for a walk before the chambers, or for a passage from one chamber to another.
Within the walk and wall.
Between the chambers that on one side joined to the temple, and were public repositories for offerings, and tithes, &c., and those other chambers, which were built on the wall of this inner court, and were lodgings for the priests, there was a void space, or pavement, in the open air, twenty cubits broad, and these round about on all sides of the court, and probably some rails, or balusters, or low wall round too before them enclosing this space.
The doors of the lowest row opened into this void paved space. Beside the particular doors to each chamber, there were two, one on the north, where was a fair staircase, which did lead up to every story, and above these to the top of the temple. And so another like this on the south, excepting that this south staircase led not up to the top of all, as that north staircase did.
This is a new building not yet mentioned, but now measured by itself.
Before, or over against,
the separate place; either the temple, with all the appendant treasury chambers; or the oracle, which was in the west end of the temple, and separate from the rest of the temple; or that twenty cubits’ space which was cut off from the chambers, an& the five cubits’ space before them by a breast wall, as some think.
At the end of either temple, oracle, or foresaid space,
toward the west, was seventy cubits broad: as men are not agreed about the fabric, and its dimensions, here intended to be measured, so they are as little agreed how to compute the measures; every one however makes out his account, whether the thing he measures be the right or mistaken. First, suppose the temple and the west part of it from north to south, thus: Twenty cubits the oracle, each side wall six cubits, breadth of chambers on each side four, the thickness of the out-walls of these chambers on both sides five cubits each, a void space of five cubits compassing the whole, and then the low or breast wall that enclosed this space five cubits thick on each side, making up the third ten, produce the seventy cubits. But they that think of a distinct building on the west end of the temple, do also in their method make out the account.
The wall of the building was five cubits thick: this seems to countenance their opinion who conceive a distinct building meant.
The length thereof ninety cubits: these proportions are easily laid together, which will make up the total, and agree with the temple, thus: Temple and oracle with their walls seventy cubits, porch eleven, and chambers and walls nine cubits. And who will have such a new structure here measured (which is more than was in the first temple fabric) will make all correspond to their hypothesis, and you may more easily object against another’s than demonstrate your own guess. The best is, the error is not great if a man do err here.
The house; the whole temple, oracle, sanctuary, and porch, with the walls.
An hundred cubits long, from east to west, thus: Stairs of the east porch or the thickness of the wall six cubits, the passage through the porch eleven, wall of the temple within the porch six cubits, the temple itself forty cubits, partition wall two cubits, the oracle twenty cubits, west wall thick six cubits, the chambers at bottom of the west wall four cubits, and the outer wall of the chambers five cubits.
The separate place: see Ezekiel 41:12.
The building, on both the north and south side of the temple.
An hundred cubits long; which is thus reckoned: The breadth of the temple twenty cubits, thickness of both walls twelve cubits, the bottom chambers on both sides eight cubits, the outer walls of these chambers five cubits a piece, the breadth of the place left out on each side five, on both sides ten, (i.e. five each,) and then the wideness between this on either side twenty cubits.
Of the face; the whole front of the house eastward, the prospect of it being to the east.
Of the separate place: this explains the other, say some, the house is the separate place; or else, as others, that other building on the west end of the temple, which was of equal dimensions with the temple.
An hundred cubits; measuring from the north point along by the eastern front to the south point, or corner of the building or wall. The admeasuring the particulars I forbear; but since this side runs equal with the length of the whole from east to west, we need not doubt it is a hundred cubits.
The building, possibly that of Ezekiel 41:12,Ezekiel 41:13, or else the buildings of this court next to the temple, or else the west buildings behind the oracle, or the buildings of the utter court, of which in Ezekiel 42:1,Ezekiel 42:3,Ezekiel 42:7,Ezekiel 42:8.
The separate place: see Ezekiel 41:12.
Which was behind it; the buildings that were behind on the west side of that supposed range, of buildings, or else behind the temple.
Galleries; either chambers, or porches, or balconies, places supported by pilasters, made for beauty and delight.
With the inner temple; according to the measures of the temple, and its appendant buildings.
What are here recounted were all measured by the angel, and with the same reed or measure.
The door posts: see Ezekiel 40:48,Ezekiel 40:49. It is likely he means the door posts of every gate, or porch in every court.
Windows: see Ezekiel 40:16.
Galleries: see Ezekiel 41:5,Ezekiel 41:15.
Three stories; see Ezekiel 40:6,Ezekiel 40:7; or parts, or buildings; temple, separate place, and on the court walls.
The door; the singular for the plural number; the doors, which were
ceiled with wood, were measured; this ceiling was with choicest wood.
From the ground up to the windows; the height of these windows were taken too.
Were covered; had lids or curtains to cover them, and lattices too, say some.
In the 15th verse the prophet began his catalogue, and continueth it through this verse, in which, in the gross, he tells us all above the doors, in every porch and gate to the very inner house, and all without, the buildings about the walls, were measured exactly, though we have neither the particular account of what these were, either things or measures.
Now we are acquainted with the ornaments, the beautiful carving, which in all parts mentioned were to be seen.
Cherubims; generally taken for the portrait of angels, and framed to the beauty of young men with wings. Yet is the description of them very different in different places, as the curious observe in Ezekiel’s vision, Ezekiel 1:0, Isaiah’s vision, Isaiah 6:0, John’s vision, Revelation 4:0, and in Solomon’s temple.
Palm trees; a very beautiful, upright tree, from a straight, well-grown body, spreading its head with large boughs and branches, which were used on occasions of joy, and were emblems of victory, John 12:13; Revelation 7:9. These were so engraven, that each palm tree was between two cherubs, and each cherub between two palm trees, and this ariseth from the different aspect, or numbering them.
Two faces, curiously wrought on the same head, somewhat like a Janus’s head; what these facts were the next verse tells us.
The face of a man, this one face, the other
of a young lion. Now as to the aspect, it was thus; the cherub between two palm trees looked towards both trees, towards the one a man’s face, towards the other a young lion’s face, looked. And thus it was through the whole house round about, and from bottom to top, as Ezekiel 41:20.
The door: some think it is the great east gate; I think rather here, is an enallage, or change of number, door for doors, and that every porch was so beautified: see Ezekiel 40:16,Ezekiel 40:22,Ezekiel 40:26,Ezekiel 40:34. These beautiful sculptures were round about the walls of the temple, and oracle too, though not expressed here.
The posts on each side of the gate or door, both of temple and oracle, were squared; not round, as some other were, and as the posts of the door of the tabernacle were, but of exact square.
The face, the form of the door, or gate of the temple, was square, i.e. not arched, as the gates of our churches ordinarily are, but with a flat beam, or upper lintel, laid on the top of the posts, and so either made an equilateral square, or an oblong square.
The appearance of the one as the appearance of the other; as was the form of the gate of the temple in its larger, so was the form of the gate of the oracle in its lesser dimensions.
The altar of incense.
Of wood; so the inward parts were made, and covered with gold, Exodus 30:1-10; 1 Kings 6:20,1 Kings 6:22; and from this covering of gold it was called the
golden altar. Three cubits high; one cubit higher than that in the tabernacle of Moses, Exodus 30:2.
The length thereof two cubits; as long again as Moses’s altar of incense in the tabernacle.
The corners; the horns framed out of the four posts at each angle on the top of the altar. The sides of this altar, for it was made up on all sides, are here called
the walls thereof, made of wood, but covered with gold.
The table; some say it is spoken of this altar of incense; others say, the angel pointed him to the table of shew-bread, and spake of that.
Before the Lord; in the temple, not in the oracle, or holy of holies: this incense altar was placed without the oracle, as appears from the priests’ offering incense at it by courses, whereas none but the high priest might enter into the holy of holies.
Each had one door, so there were two doors, and they were folding doors, or two-leaved doors.
On them; the doors of both temple and oracle.
The temple; including the holy of holies also.
Cherubims: see Ezekiel 41:18.
Thick planks; I suppose these were boards of more than ordinary thickness, which were fastened to the great beams, whose ends came out beyond the wall of the porch, and probably were laid so as to make a part of an arch over the entrance into the gate, as we see over some houses, and as sometimes under the balconies; and here also in these thicker planks, it is like, were some ornaments,
Upon or above the front
of the porch.
Without; on the court-side of the porch, that part that looked outward.
Narrow windows: see Ezekiel 41:16.
Palm trees: see Ezekiel 41:18.
On the one side and on the other side; on the north and on the south side, as you enter in from east toward the west; thus the sides of the porch outward were garnished.
Upon the side chambers; which were thirty in a row, and three stories high: see Ezekiel 41:6.
Thick planks; alike carved and beautified, and alike strengthening and defending the places where they were used.
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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Ezekiel 41". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29