|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
42:1-20 In this chapter are described the priests' chambers, their use, and the dimensions of the holy mount on which the temple stood. These chambers were many. Jesus said, In my Father's house are many mansions: in his house on earth there are many; multitudes, by faith, are lodging in his sanctuary, and yet there is room. These chambers, though private, were near the temple. Our religious services in our chambers, must prepare for public devotions, and further us in improving them, as our opportunities are.
Verse 20. - To make a separation between the sanctuary and the profane. In these words the prophet indicates the purpose designed to be served by this particular wall; and although it may be said the outer court divided between the "sanctuary," or that which was holy, and the "profane," or that which was common, yet a more decided separation would assuredly be made by extending in the way described the precincts of the house. The objections usually offered to the view which regards the present measurements as those of a larger quadrangle encompassing the outer court, are not sufficient to make that view impossible.
(1) It is said that the "sanctuary" always refers to the house as contrasted with its courts, especially with the outer court, and that in this sense it should here be taken; but the rendering, "that which is holy," shows how the idea of special sanctity might easily be extended to the whole structure, including courts as well as house (see Psalm 114:2; Daniel 9:20).
(2) It is urged that there is no other instance in which the measurements are represented as having been taken by "reeds" in the plural; but a glance at Ezekiel 45:1, etc., and Ezekiel 48:16, will show that this is incorrect.
(3) It is represented that in the center of such a huge quadrangle the house, with its courts and gates, would wear an insignificant appearance; but, while this might have been so had the area been crowded with other buildings, it is rather likely that in the midst of so large a vacant space the temple and its courts stand out with increased clearness, if not with augmented size.
(4) It is added that the summit of Mount Moriah could not admit of the construction of such a vast quadrangle; and it is answered that this shows the temple was an ideal house, never meant to be built upon the literal Moriah.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
He measured it by the four sides,.... Which were equilateral, parallel to each other, each measuring five hundred reeds; which in all made up two thousand reeds, or seven thousand yards: this shows that no material building can be designed; never was an edifice of such dimensions; this seems rather to describe a city than a temple; and denotes the largeness of the Gospel church state in the latter day, when the Jews will be converted, and the fulness of the Gentiles brought in:
it had a wall round about: the same with that in Ezekiel 40:5,
five hundred reeds long, and five hundred broad; it was foursquare, as the building was, and exactly answered to that in its dimensions. The Jews say (l) the mountain of the house was five hundred cubits by five hundred; that is, a perfect square of five hundred cubits on every side, two thousand cubits in the whole compass about. Josephus (m) says the whole circuit was half a mile, every side containing the length of a two hundred and twenty yards. Now, says Doctor Lightfoot (n), if any will take up the full circuit of the wall that encompassed the holy ground, according to our English measure, it will amount to half a mile and about one hundred and sixty six yards; and whosoever will likewise measure the square of Ezekiel, Ezekiel 42:20, will find it six times as large as this, Ezekiel 40:5, the whole amounting to three miles and a half, and about one hundred and forty yards, a compass incomparably larger than Mount Moriah divers times over; and by this very thing is showed that that is spiritually and mystically to be understood; wherefore these measures no doubt did, as Mr. Lee (o) observes, signify the great fulness of the Gentiles, and that compass of the church in Gospel days should be marvellously extended. The use of it was,
to make a separation between the sanctuary and the profane place: the church and the world; the world is profane, and lies in wickedness, and the men of it ought not to be admitted into the church of God, and partake of holy things in it; a difference must be made between the precious and the vile; and greater care will be taken in the latter day of the admission of members into Gospel churches, Isaiah 52:1; see Gill on Ezekiel 40:5.
(l) Misn. Middot, c. 2. sect. 1.((m) Antiqu. l. 15. c. 11. sect. 3. Ed. Hudson. (n) Prospect of the Temple, c. 2. p. 1051. (o) Temple of Solomon portrayed, &c. p. 241.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
20. wall … separation between … sanctuary and … profane—No longer shall the wall of partition be to separate the Jew and the Gentile (Eph 2:14), but to separate the sacred from the profane. The lowness of it renders it unfit for the purpose of defense (the object of the wall, Re 21:12). But its square form (as in the city, Re 21:16) is the emblem of the kingdom that cannot be shaken (Heb 12:28), resting on prophets and apostles, Jesus Christ being the chief corner-stone.
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