|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
40:1-49 The Vision of the Temple. - Here is a vision, beginning at ch. 40, and continued to the end of the book, ch. 48, which is justly looked upon to be one of the most difficult portions in all the book of God. When we despair to be satisfied as to any difficulty we meet with, let us bless God that our salvation does not depend upon it, but that things necessary are plain enough; and let us wait till God shall reveal even this unto us. This chapter describes two outward courts of the temple. Whether the personage here mentioned was the Son of God, or a created angel, is not clear. But Christ is both our Altar and our Sacrifice, to whom we must look with faith in all approaches to God; and he is Salvation in the midst of the earth, Ps 74:12, to be looked unto from all quarters.
Verses 44-46. - The chambers of the ringers According to ver. 44, these, of which the number is not recorded, were situated in the inner court, outside of the inner gate, at the side of the north gate, and looked towards the south, one only being located at the side of the east gate with a prospect towards the north. Interpreted in this way, they cannot have been the same as the "priests' chambers" mentioned in vers. 45, 46, though these also looked in the same direction. The language, however, seems to indicate that they were the same, and on this hypothesis it is difficult to understand how they should be called "the chambers of the singers," and at the same time be assigned to the priests, "the keepers of the charge of the house" and "the keepers of the charge of the altar." Hengstenberg. Kliefoth, Schroder, and others hold that Ezekiel purposed to suggest that in the vision-temple before him the choral service was no longer to be left exclusively in the hands of the Levites as it had been in the Solomonic temple (1 Chronicles 6:33-47; 1 Chronicles 15:17; 2 Chronicles 20:19), but that the priests were to participate therein. Dr. Currey imagines the chambers may have been occupied in common by the singers and the priests when engaged on duty at the temple. The LXX. text reads, "And he led me unto the inner court, and behold two chambers in the inner court, one at the back of the gate which looks towards the north, and bearing towards the south, and one at the back of the gate which looks towards the south, and bearing towards the north;" and in accordance with this Rosenmüller, Hitzig, Ewald, Keil, and Smend propose sundry emendations on the Hebrew text. Since, however, it cannot be certified that the LXX. did not paraphrase or mistranslate the present rather than follow a different text, it is safer to abide by the renderings of the Authorized and Revised Versions. Yet one cannot help feeling that the LXX. translation has the merit of clearness and simplicity.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And without the inner gate were the chambers of the singers,.... These singers are true believers in Christ, members of Gospel churches; whose duty and privilege it is to sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs; which is a part of internal, spiritual, and evangelical worship, Ephesians 5:19, these are the spiritual harpers, that have harps in their hands, and make melody in their hearts, and are able to sing the songs of electing, redeeming, calling, pardoning, justifying, and adopting grace; these deservedly have a place in the churches of Christ, in the inward court, being inward court worshippers, even all such who sing with the spirit and the understanding; for these chambers were in the inward court: the prophet being brought through the inner northern gate, into the open space between the inward court, saw these chambers; for it follows,
in the inner court, which was at the side of the north gate; in that part of the court which lay near the north gate, where now the prophet and his guide were:
and their prospect was toward the south; that is, some of these chambers, one row of them, were by the side of the north gate, and these faced the south; north and south being opposite to each other:
one at the side of the east gate, having the prospect toward the north: another row of chambers for the singers was in that part of the inner court which was on the side of the east gate, on the north side of it, and so faced the north part of the court. The Septuagint version, if admitted, makes the sense of it more clear, but different,
"and he brought me into the inner court, and behold two chambers in the inner court; one at the back of the gate that looks to the north, bearing to the south; and one at the back of the gate to the south, looking to the north.''
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
44. the chambers of the singers—two in number, as proved by what follows: "and their prospect (that is, the prospect of one) was toward the south, (and) one toward the north." So the Septuagint.
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