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Bible Commentaries

John Trapp Complete Commentary
Ezekiel 40

 

 

Verse 1

Ezekiel 40:1 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.

Ver. 1. In the five and twentieth year; &c.] After the defeat of Gog and Magog cometh, in these last nine chapters, a new prophecy, aptly depending upon the former, concerning the Christian Church, and the spiritual state and constitution thereof; which is here prefigured by types of rebuilding the temple, restoring the Levitical rites, and repossessing the promised land. To those Jews who here hence expect a most glorious temple and state at the coming of their imaginary Messiah, and for whose sakes these high things are thus expressed, Christ may well say, as afterwards he did to Nicodemus, [John 3:12] "If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe if I telI you of heavenly?" The wiser of their Rabbis, (a) as Galatinus testifieth, convinced by good reasons, understand these chapters not of an earthly building according to the letter, but of a heavenly, and in a mystical sense. And John the divine so interpreteth this scripture [Revelation 21:1-11; Revelation 21:22-27; Revelation 22:7] - viz., of the heavenly Jerusalem, that mother of us all. It is ordinary with the prophets to speak figuratively of the amplitude, splendour, and magnificence of the Christian Church; as Isaiah 54:11-12, "I will lay thy stones with fair colours, and lay thy foundation with sapphires," &c. - that is, I will erect and raise my Church and temple among the Gentiles, and adorn and deck it with lustre and variety of precious graces. Divines observe, that God here showeth Ezekiel a new temple larger than the old Jerusalem, and a new Jerusalem larger than all the land of Canaan; yea, according to the account of some learned Rabbis, larger than all the world; for [Ezekiel 48:35] it was round about eighteen thousand measures - i.e., leucas, say they. Now in opening of this prophecy, it must not be expected that something should be said to every verse, as elsewhere hath been done; and yet we must know that there is nothing in Holy Scripture that is not useful and profitable, [2 Timothy 3:16] though at first sight it may seem otherwise. Metals lie hidden in hardest quarries; wholesome herbs are found often in the roughest places, and precious stones in barren sands. Hippocrates saith that in the faculty of medicine there is nothing small, nothing contemptible. (b) Aristotle saith in all nature nothing is so mean, vile, and abject that deserveth not to be admired. The Rabbis have a saying that there is a mountain of sense which hangeth upon every apex of the Word of God, &c.

And brought me thither,] scil., To Jerusalem, in vision, that valley of vision. In the beginning of this book, the Spirit carried him into the plain of Shinar, there to see a vision purporting the destruction of the material temple. Here, toward the close of it, he is by the same hand carried to Jerusalem to see a mystical temple, set up in the stead thereof, far more stately. "The sufferings of this life are in no comparison worthy of the glory that shall be revealed." [Romans 8:18]


Verse 2

Ezekiel 40:2 In the visions of God brought he me into the land of Israel, and set me upon a very high mountain, by which [was] as the frame of a city on the south.

Ver. 2. Brought he me,] i.e., The Spirit brought me, who is called God’s hand, [Ezekiel 40:1] quia a Patre Filioque quasi marius dimanat: so he is called the "finger of God" [Exodus 8:19] - that is, his power.

And set me upon a very high mountain.] Moriah, where had stood the temple which overlooked the city, and had been a kind of heaven upon earth, wherein the holy priests and Israelites were as stars.

By which was the frame of a city.] So the temple seemed to him, for its many courts, walls, towers, gates, &c. So doth the seraglio at this day.


Verse 3

Ezekiel 40:3 And he brought me thither, and, behold, [there was] a man, whose appearance [was] like the appearance of brass, with a line of flax in his hand, and a measuring reed; and he stood in the gate.

Ver. 3. And, behold, there was a man.] Christ the sovereign architect of his Church. {as Revelation 11:1} This might well be brought in with an Ecce Behold. He appeared after another manner in that first dreadful vision. [Ezekiel 1:1]

Whose appearance was like the appearance of brass.] Bright and durable; importing Christ’s purity and eternity.

With a line of flax in his hand.] Christ’s measuring line is the Holy Scripture and the preaching of the Word; so is also his measuring rod here said to be of reed, but in Revelation 11:1 of gold. Both these are in Christ’s hand, to show that the power and efficacy of the Word read or preached is from him alone. [1 Corinthians 3:9-18 2 Corinthians 10:13-17]


Verse 4

Ezekiel 40:4 And the man said unto me, Son of man, behold with thine eyes, and hear with thine ears, and set thine heart upon all that I shall shew thee; for to the intent that I might shew [them] unto thee [art] thou brought hither: declare all that thou seest to the house of Israel.

Ver. 4. Son of man.] A most kind compellation, holding forth Christ’s philanthropy or love to mankind. He calleth us "sons of men," who for our sakes became "The Son of man," that we might become the sons of God. It is observed that Ezekiel, with the Seventy, is υιος ανθρωπου, the Son of man; but Christ is υιος του ανθρωπου - that is, the Son of Adam: he was the next and only other common person.

Behold with thine eyes, and hear with thine ears, and set thine heart, &c.] We should give all possible diligence and heed to a discourse of the New Jerusalem, that city of pearl; setting to work both our outward and inward senses, and those well exercised, to discern both good and evil. [Hebrews 5:14]

Declare all that thou seest unto the house of Israel.] For therefore hast thou seen it. The manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit with. [1 Corinthians 12:7] And as any man hath received the gift, so let him minister the same to others. [1 Peter 4:10] What use is there of a candle under a bushel?


Verse 5

Ezekiel 40:5 And behold a wall on the outside of the house round about, and in the man’s hand a measuring reed of six cubits [long] by the cubit and an hand breadth: so he measured the breadth of the building, one reed; and the height, one reed.

Ver. 5. And behold a wall on the outside of the house.] Betokening God’s almighty protection of his Church and chosen. [Isaiah 26:1 Zechariah 2:9 Job 1:10 Psalms 125:1-2; Psalms 46:1-3]


Verse 6

Ezekiel 40:6 Then came he unto the gate which looketh toward the east, and went up the stairs thereof, and measured the threshold of the gate, [which was] one reed broad; and the other threshold [of the gate, which was] one reed broad.

Ver. 6. Then came he unto the gate.] Henceforth we shall read of gates, greeces, posts, porches, courts, chambers, windows, &c., after the manner of Solomon’s temple, now burnt to ashes. Concerning all which, various and very different are the opinions of interpreters. We shall see hereafter the whole building in heaven. Meanwhile, for many things here mentioned, we must content ourselves with a "learned ignorance," and not call it descriptionem insulsam, as that Popish commenter blasphemed, (a) or think that the holy penman spake he knew not what. This was basely to "speak evil of the things that he knew not." How much better those Rabbis who, meeting with many things here inextricable and inexplicable, say, Elias cum venerit solvet omnia.


Verse 7

Ezekiel 40:7 And [every] little chamber [was] one reed long, and one reed broad; and between the little chambers [were] five cubits; and the threshold of the gate by the porch of the gate within [was] one reed.

Ver. 7. And every little chamber.] Or, Porter’s lodge.


Verse 8

Ezekiel 40:8 He measured also the porch of the gate within, one reed.

Ver. 8. He measured, also the porch.] This porch, which had neither doors nor roof that we read of, was symbolum coeli: coelum enim undique conspicuum lateque patens significabat, saith Josephus. (a) It represented heaven.


Verse 9

Ezekiel 40:9 Then measured he the porch of the gate, eight cubits; and the posts thereof, two cubits; and the porch of the gate [was] inward.

Ver. 9. And the porch of the gate was inward.] Or, This was the porch of the inner gate.


Verse 10

Ezekiel 40:10 And the little chambers of the gate eastward [were] three on this side, and three on that side; they three [were] of one measure: and the posts had one measure on this side and on that side.

Ver. 10. And the little chambers.] Here lay the doorkeepers, whose office was to keep out the unclean. [2 Chronicles 23:19] Oh for such officers among us!


Verse 11

Ezekiel 40:11 And he measured the breadth of the entry of the gate, ten cubits; [and] the length of the gate, thirteen cubits.

Ver. 11. And the length.] That is, the height of the gate.


Verse 12

Ezekiel 40:12 The space also before the little chambers [was] one cubit [on this side], and the space [was] one cubit on that side: and the little chambers [were] six cubits on this side, and six cubits on that side.

Ver. 12. The space also before the little chambers.] Which space served either for seats, walks, or eaves rather at either end.


Verse 13

Ezekiel 40:13 He measured then the gate from the roof of [one] little chamber to the roof of another: the breadth [was] five and twenty cubits, door against door.

Ver. 13. Door against door.] The one facing the other in a direct line.


Verse 14

Ezekiel 40:14 He made also posts of threescore cubits, even unto the post of the court round about the gate.

Ver. 14. Even unto the post,] i.e., The height was the same everywhere. See these things best set forth by pictures at the end of Castalio’s and Lavater’s annotations on the text.


Verse 16

Ezekiel 40:16 And [there were] narrow windows to the little chambers, and to their posts within the gate round about, and likewise to the arches: and windows [were] round about inward: and upon [each] post [were] palm trees.

Ver. 16. Narrow windows,] i.e., Narrowed, the better to let in light, and so shadowing out that spiritual illumination and joy wrought in the hearts of the children of light. See Isaiah 42:7; Isaiah 49:6; Isaiah 60:19-20, Micah 7:8, Luke 2:32, John 3:19; John 8:12; John 9:5; John 12:35-36; John 12:46.

Were palm trees.] As for ornament, so in token of victory gotten by the saints, who do overcome. [Romans 8:31-37 1 Corinthians 15:54-55]


Verse 17

Ezekiel 40:17 Then brought he me into the outward court, and, lo, [there were] chambers, and a pavement made for the court round about: thirty chambers [were] upon the pavement.

Ver. 17. Then brought he me into the outward court.] In this temple were more courts and more chambers than ever were in Solomon’s. Heaven is large, and full of mansions. [John 14:2]

And a pavement made.] More costly and stately than that of Ahasuerus. [Esther 1:6] God’s people are said to be living stones; [1 Peter 2:5] more precious than sapphires; [Isaiah 54:11] firm as a pavement by faith, and low by humility; submitting to their teachers, [Hebrews 13:17] and obeying from the heart the form of doctrine delivered unto them. [Romans 6:17]


Verse 18

Ezekiel 40:18 And the pavement by the side of the gates over against the length of the gates [was] the lower pavement.

Ver. 18. Was the lower pavement.] See on Ezekiel 40:17.


Verse 19

Ezekiel 40:19 Then he measured the breadth from the forefront of the lower gate unto the forefront of the inner court without, an hundred cubits eastward and northward.

Ver. 19. An hundred cubits.] Square.


Verse 21

Ezekiel 40:21 And the little chambers thereof [were] three on this side and three on that side; and the posts thereof and the arches thereof were after the measure of the first gate: the length thereof [was] fifty cubits, and the breadth five and twenty cubits.

Ver. 21. Of the first gate,] i.e., Of the east gate, first measured.


Verse 22

Ezekiel 40:22 And their windows, and their arches, and their palm trees, [were] after the measure of the gate that looketh toward the east; and they went up unto it by seven steps; and the arches thereof [were] before them.

Ver. 22. And their windows.] See Ezekiel 40:16.

And they went up unto it by seven steps.] Whereby was noted the saints’ progress in knowledge and holiness, [Luke 17:5 Romans 1:17 Revelation 22:11] still climbing up toward the heavenly temple. [Psalms 84:7]


Verse 31

Ezekiel 40:31 And the arches thereof [were] toward the utter court; and palm trees [were] upon the posts thereof: and the going up to it [had] eight steps.

Ver. 31. And palm trees.] See on Ezekiel 40:16.

Eight steps.] See on Ezekiel 40:22.


Verse 35

Ezekiel 40:35 And he brought me to the north gate, and measured [it] according to these measures;

Ver. 35. And measured it according to these measures.] Vilalpandus here noteth that whatsoever is measured in one gate, the same is common to all the rest.


Verse 38

Ezekiel 40:38 And the chambers and the entries thereof [were] by the posts of the gates, where they washed the burnt offering.

Ver. 38. Where they washed the burnt offering.] All must be pure and clean in God’s service.

Pura Deus mens est, ”& c.

This washing of the burnt offering prefigured baptism, saith Polanus, as did the tables, [Ezekiel 40:39] the Lord’s Supper, wherein Christ the Lamb of God is slain in our sight.


Verse 39

Ezekiel 40:39 And in the porch of the gate [were] two tables on this side, and two tables on that side, to slay thereon the burnt offering and the sin offering and the trespass offering.

Ver. 39. Two tables.] See on Ezekiel 40:38.


Verse 40

Ezekiel 40:40 And at the side without, as one goeth up to the entry of the north gate, [were] two tables; and on the other side, which [was] at the porch of the gate, [were] two tables.

Ver. 40. As one goeth up to the entry of the north.] Hereby was signified, say some, that our corrupt affections must be mortified, and our lives laid down, if need be, for the truth’s sake, seem it never so hard to be done. Sicut a Septentrione venti flant asperi, as north winds are cold and comfortless.


Verse 41

Ezekiel 40:41 Four tables [were] on this side, and four tables on that side, by the side of the gate; eight tables, whereupon they slew [their sacrifices].

Ver. 41. Four tables.] Not altars, nor yet oyster boards, as the Papists scornfully call our communion tables.


Verse 42

Ezekiel 40:42 And the four tables [were] of hewn stone for the burnt offering, of a cubit and an half long, and a cubit and an half broad, and one cubit high: whereupon also they laid the instruments wherewith they slew the burnt offering and the sacrifice.

Ver. 42. Wherewith they slew the burnt offering.] The faithful ministers of the do daily execute their priestly offices, and have their instruments according. See Acts 10:13, Romans 15:15-16, Philippians 2:17. The saints also, as spiritual priests, &c. [Romans 12:1 1 Peter 2:9]


Verse 43

Ezekiel 40:43 And within [were] hooks, an hand broad, fastened round about: and upon the tables [was] the flesh of the offering.

Ver. 43. And within were hooks.] Where hung the beasts when they were flayed, and afterwards the priests’ and offerers’ portions, till after the sacrifice they were shared out.


Verse 44

Ezekiel 40:44 And without the inner gate [were] the chambers of the singers in the inner court, which [was] at the side of the north gate; and their prospect [was] toward the south: one at the side of the east gate [having] the prospect toward the north.

Ver. 44. Were the chambers of the singers.] These were to set forth that pastors should have all necessary help in their places by the other church officers. The Levites were singers and porters. [1 Chronicles 23:2; 1 Chronicles 23:5]


Verse 45

Ezekiel 40:45 And he said unto me, This chamber, whose prospect [is] toward the south, [is] for the priests, the keepers of the charge of the house.

Ver. 45. For the priests.] Let none else intrude into them. See 2 Chronicles 26:16.


Verse 46

Ezekiel 40:46 And the chamber whose prospect [is] toward the north [is] for the priests, the keepers of the charge of the altar: these [are] the sons of Zadok among the sons of Levi, which come near to the LORD to minister unto him.

Ver. 46. Which come near.] Exodus 19:22, Leviticus 10:3; Leviticus 21:17-18; Leviticus 21:21; Leviticus 21:23.


Verse 47

Ezekiel 40:47 So he measured the court, an hundred cubits long, and an hundred cubits broad, foursquare; and the altar [that was] before the house.

Ver. 47. So he measured.] Christ doeth all things in his Church in number, weight, and measure. By his Spirit he ordereth the length, breadth, and depth of his spiritual house, and bestoweth his gifts by measure to each member. [Romans 12:6 1 Corinthians 12:28-29 Ephesians 3:7; Ephesians 4:7]


Verse 48

Ezekiel 40:48 And he brought me to the porch of the house, and measured [each] post of the porch, five cubits on this side, and five cubits on that side: and the breadth of the gate [was] three cubits on this side, and three cubits on that side.

Ver. 48. The porch of the house.] Which was covered over-head, to keep them dry in foul weather. What Christ doth for all his. See Isaiah 4:5-6; Isaiah 25:4. {See Trapp on "Isaiah 25:4"}


Verse 49

Ezekiel 40:49 The length of the porch [was] twenty cubits, and the breadth eleven cubits; and [he brought me] by the steps whereby they went up to it: and [there were] pillars by the posts, one on this side, and another on that side.

Ver. 49. The length of the porch was twenty cubits.] After the cubit of the sanctuary, the weights and measures whereof were twice as large as those of the commonwealth, to show that God expects much more of those that serve him there than he doth of others.

 


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Bibliography Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Ezekiel 40:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/ezekiel-40.html. 1865-1868.

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