|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
41:1-26 After the prophet had observed the courts, he was brought to the temple. If we attend to instructions in the plainer parts of religion, and profit by them, we shall be led further into an acquaintance with the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven.
Verses 18-20. - As in Solomon's temple (1 Kings 6:29), the wainscoting was adorned with artistic carving of cherubim and palm trees, a palm tree and a cherub standing alternately. Each cherub had two of its four faces exhibited (since four could not be conveniently represented on a plain surface) - a man's face (symbolizing the rational creation) directed towards the palm tree on one side, and a young lion's face (symbolizing the irrational creation) turned towards the palm tree on the other side. This particular style of ornamentation was employed from the ground unto above the door, which Plumptre interprets as an indication of the height of the palm trees and cherubic figures, but which probably meant the same thing as the preceding clause, "through- all the house round about." Cherubic figures formed part of the adornment of the tabernacle curtains (Exodus 26:1; Exodus 36:8). (On the nature of the cherubim and their symbolic significance, see Ezekiel 1:5-10.)
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And it was made with cherubim and palm trees,.... That is, all the wall of the house round about was ornamented with these, even both of the holy and of the most holy place; with these the curtains of Moses's tabernacle, and the vail that divided between the holy and the most holy place, were decorated; as also the walls, both of the sanctuary and oracle, in Solomon's temple, Exodus 26:1. The former, according to the commonly received notion, were an emblem of angels; the latter of true believers, or holy upright men: why these are called palm trees; see Gill on Ezekiel 40:16,
so that a palm tree was between a cherub and a cherub; these were so placed all around, that there was first a cherub, next a palm tree, and then a cherub again, and so on; and if angels and saints are meant, and that notion could be supported, which some have given into, that the number of men redeemed by Christ is the same with that of the angels that fell, and their places are filled up by them; this would serve to illustrate it, particularly as these were all around the walls of the most holy place; a type of heaven, as here of the New Jerusalem state; that as there was a cherub and a palm tree, a cherub and a palm tree, throughout all the house, so an angel and a saint, an angel and a saint, throughout all the mansions in the holy city, and in the heavenly glory:
and every cherub had two faces: which, by what follows, were the faces of a man, and of a lion. The "cherubim" Ezekiel saw in his first vision had four faces, Ezekiel 1:10 and so these must be supposed to have, though only two were seen; because these were carved or painted on the walls, so that the hindmost faces, those of the ox and eagle, could not be perceived.
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