|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 5. - The rendering of the Revised Version sufficiently explains this otherwise obscure verse, "Now the upper chambers were shorter," or narrower, "for the galleries took away from these;" literally, did eat of them, "more than from the lower and the middlemest in the building." In other words, the chambers rose in terrace form, each of the upper stories receding from that below it, as was customary in Babylonian architecture.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Now the upper chambers were shorter,.... The chambers were in three stories, as in the following verse, one above another; the middlemost were shorter than the lowermost, and the upper shorter than either; just the reverse of the chambers in Ezekiel 41:7, they were not so high from the floor to the ceiling, nor so broad from side to side. The reason follows:
for the galleries were higher than these; or, "ate out of these" (w), "than the lower, and than the middlemost of the building"; the meaning is, that the galleries or balconies in the middlemost and upper chambers were taken, out of them, and so made them lesser than the lower ones, and the upper ones lesser than either; or the posts or pillars, as the word may be rendered, see Ezekiel 42:3, which supported the chambers, took more out of the uppermost than the others, and so made them shorter. This may signify the diversity of gifts and grace, of light and knowledge, and of liberty and comfort, in the churches; and that, as those that are uppermost have most light, they are usually the least, and fewest members in them; who are the few names in Sardis, Revelation 3:4, and are generally more straitened, afflicted, reproached, and persecuted.
(w) Keri, "comedebant ex ipsis", Mariana; "demordebant ab illis", Cocceius, Starckius.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
5. shorter—that is, the building became narrower as it rose in height. The chambers were many: so "in My Father's house are many mansions" (Joh 14:2); and besides these there was much "room" still left (compare Lu 14:22). The chambers, though private, were near the temple. Prayer in our chambers is to prepare us for public devotions, and to help us in improving them.
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