corner graphic   Hi,    
ver. 2.0.19.12.09
Finding the new version too difficult to understand? Go to classic.studylight.org/

Bible Commentaries

Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible
Ezekiel 41

 

 

Introduction

Ezekiel 40-48. Religious Organisation of the People in the Messianic Days.

To a modern taste these chapters, crowded with architectural and ritual detail, may seem dreary and irrelevant: to Ezekiel they are the real climax of his book, the crown as well as the conclusion of all his literary and religious activity. The past had been stained with the record of innumerable sins against the holiness of Yahweh (Ezekiel 16, etc.)—His ritual no less than His ethical holiness: that must be made for ever impossible. As the God is holy, so must the people and the land be holy, and to a man of Ezekiel's priestly temper, that can be secured only by a definitely organised religious constitution and by a minutely prescribed ritual. Already we have seen how scrupulously the land was swept clean of whatsoever defiled it (Ezekiel 39:11-16) after the terrific assault of Gog and his hordes: this is significant of the punctilious purity which must everywhere prevail, and most of all in the formal worship of the sanctuary. True, the people of the latter days will be in possession of the spirit (Ezekiel 39:29); but spirit must express itself, and the expression must be correct. In this Ezekiel furnishes a very striking contrast to the severe spirituality of Jeremiah (cf. Jeremiah 3:16; Jeremiah 31:33).

Two considerations should be steadily held before the mind in pursuing one's way through the labyrinthine detail which seems to stand in so little real relation to pure and undefiled religion. (a) One is supplied by the very last phrase of the book—"Yahweh is there" (Ezekiel 48:35). This is the name of the holy city whose Temple, worship, and ministers are described with so thorough and faithful a minuteness. He is there—there, and nowhere else with the same completeness, i.e. among the people whose whole life and worship and approach to God are regulated by the standards laid down by His inspired prophet. This broad principle explains and controls the detail, and helps us to approach it more sympathetically, when we see the faith and hope, the devotion and enthusiasm by which it is inspired. (b) This whole section, ordaining the conditions by which the people and priests may maintain the requisite holiness and so make it possible for their holy God to return and dwell among them, is most fully appreciated when it is seen as the happy counterpart of the stern chapters 8-11 with their vivid descriptions of the base idolatries of Israel, and the solemn departure of Yahweh which those idolatries had occasioned. The lurid past is gone, and already Ezekiel beholds the dawning light of the radiant future, when it may be said of the people, "Yahweh dwells among them," and of the city, "Yahweh is there." The uninviting detail is lit with the presence of the God who had once withdrawn because His holiness had been insulted, but who has returned to abide with His people for evermore, because they know and do His holy will, as thus revealed.

The section is of great importance in the criticism of the Pentateuch, and for the historical reconstruction of the development of OT. Without going into detail, suffice it here to say broadly that the legislation here sketched is an advance on Dt., and prepares the way for the more elaborate legislation of the so-called Priestly Code (P) embodied in the Book of Lev. and the cognate sections of Ex. and Nu. This entirely agrees with what we know of the dates of the other codes. There are excellent reasons for believing that the Deuteronomic legislation was promulgated in the seventh century B.C. (621) and the Priestly Code in the fifth. Ezekiel's sketch comes between—in the sixth: its date, to be precise, is 572 (401). It is his last legacy to his people, conceived in the maturity of his power, elaborated with superlative accuracy, instinct with practical wisdom, and destined to exercise an immeasurable influence over the subsequent religious development of his people. See further pp. 46f., 129, 131.

Ezekiel 47, 48. The Holy Land, its Beauty, Boundaries, and Divisions.

Now that the Temple and its worship, which are indispensable to the welfare of the land, have been described, Ezekiel directs his parting glance to the land itself, introducing his description with a beautiful and suggestive picture, particularly refreshing after the long stretch of minute ceremonial detail, of the life-giving stream that flowed from the heart of the sanctuary. The clearness and keenness with which the prophet's imagination is working, comes out in the frequent repetition of the word "Behold."


Verses 1-4

Ezekiel 40:48 to Ezekiel 41:4. This consisted of three parts: (a) the porch—with a pillar on either side of it—reached by a flight of steps (Ezekiel 40:48 f.; in Ezekiel 40:49, for "eleven" read, with LXX, "twelve"); (b) the nave or large inner room beyond it (the "holy place"), whose name, "temple," was often applied to the whole structure; (c) beyond that the mysterious "most holy" place (half the length of the "holy place"), where Yahweh dwells, and only the supernatural guide (but not Ezekiel) is permitted to enter (Ezekiel 41:3 f.).


Verses 5-11

Ezekiel 41:5-11. Round the north, west, and south sides were cells in three stories, thirty on each story, possibly for the accommodation of Temple furniture, gifts, etc.


Verses 12-14

Ezekiel 41:12-14. Behind the Temple, at the extreme west of the whole area enclosed by the wall, was a large building, the purpose of which is not given—it may have been used for storage. The Temple building, with the ground immediately surrounding it, was 100 cubits (about 150 feet) square.


Verses 15-26

Ezekiel 41:15-26. The interior of the Temple was boarded or panelled—no stone was to be seen—the walls were carved with double-faced cherubs and palm-trees. In front of the most holy place was a small altar of wood, apparently to be identified with the table of the shew-bread (in olden times regarded as food for the God). Between the holy and the most holy place were carved doors with swinging wings. (The meaning of the words in Ezekiel 41:15 and Ezekiel 41:26 rendered "galleries and thick beams" is very uncertain.)

 


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Ezekiel 41:4". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pfc/ezekiel-41.html. 1919.

Lectionary Calendar
Monday, December 9th, 2019
the Second Week of Advent
ADVERTISEMENT
Commentary Navigator
Search This Commentary
Enter query in the box below
ADVERTISEMENT
To report dead links, typos, or html errors or suggestions about making these resources more useful use our convenient contact form
Powered by Lightspeed Technology