|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
43:1-27 After Ezekiel had surveyed the temple of God, he had a vision of the glory of God. When Christ crucified, and the things freely given to us of God, through Him, are shown to us by the Holy Ghost, they make us ashamed for our sins. This frame of mind prepares us for fuller discoveries of the mysteries of redeeming love; and the whole of the Scriptures should be opened and applied, that men may see their sins, and repent of them. We are not now to offer any atoning sacrifices, for by one offering Christ has perfected for ever those that are sanctified, Heb 10:14; but the sprinkling of his blood is needful in all our approaches to God the Father. Our best services can be accepted only as sprinkled with the blood which cleanses from all sin.
Verses 13-27. - The temple-altar described (vers. 13-17), and the ritual for its consecration explained (vers. 18-27). Verse 13. - The measures of the altar. The altar is הַמִּזְבֵּחַ, that formerly mentioned as standing in the inner court, immediately in front of the" house" (Ezekiel 40:47), the altar of burnt offering, and not the altar of incense in the holy place (Ezekiel 41:22). Its dimensions, then omitted, are now reported in connection with its consecration, which also is narrated as a pendant to that of the "house," because of the intimate connection between the two - the consecration of the altar being practically equivalent to the consecration of the house, and the consecration of the house finding approximate expression in the consecration of the altar. As in the other portions of the temple, so in this, the measurements are given after the cubits, i.e. by or in cubits, the length of each cubit being noted at "a cubit and an hand-breadth," as in Ezekiel 40:5. They are likewise taken first from the foundation upwards (vers. 13-15), and then from the top downwards (vers. 16, 17). The first portion measured is the bottom; literally, the bosom (Hebrew, חֵיק, "that which embraces," from הוּק "to embrace;" LXX., κόλπωμα: Vulgate, sinus); but what exactly that signified is debated among interpreters. Gesenius thinks of "the hollowed part for the fire;" Hitzig, of "a frame running round, a stand in which the altar stood;" Kliefoth, of "a deepening on the wooden ring in which the whole altar stands;" Keil, of" a lower hollow or base of the altar, formed by a border of a definite height;" Smend, of "the channel or gutter of the altar base, which should receive the sacrificial blood;" Havernick, Currey, and Plumptre, of "a base upon which the altar stood." If Smend's feasible notion be not adopted, then probably that of Hitzig, Kliefoth, or Keil most nearly expresses the conception of the Hebrew term. The altar was surrounded by an enclosure in which it seemed to be set, or out of which to rise; the dimensions of this "stand" or "enclosure" being a cubit in height, and a cubit in breadth, with a border on its edge round about a span or half a cubit high. This, the stand just described, should be the higher place; literally, the back; hence the support, base (Revised Version), or elevation, ὕψος (LXX.) of the altar.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And these are the measures of the altar after the cubits,.... Of the altar of burnt offering, which though measured before, the dimensions were not given till now; see Ezekiel 40:47, this altar was a type of Christ, Hebrews 13:10 with respect to his deity, which is greater than the sacrifice of his human nature, the support of it, which sanctified it, and gave virtue and efficacy to it, and rendered it acceptable to God, Matthew 23:19 and the measures of it are said to be after the cubits used in the measuring of places and things belonging to this house, described; and what these were appears by what follows:
the cubit is a cubit and an hand breadth; not the common cubit, but what was larger than that by a hand breadth, or three inches:
even the bottom shall be a cubit, and the breadth a cubit; or, "the bosom" (t); that is, the foundation of the altar, as the Targum and Jarchi; the basis, foot, or settle of it; this was a cubit high, and a cubit broad:
and the border thereof by the edge thereof round about shall be a span; the edge or "lip" (u), of this bottom or settle, was a cubit broad, for the priests to stand and go round the altar, and to this there was a border of a span, or half a cubit, to prevent their slipping; or else to keep the blood, poured at the foot of the altar, from running upon the pavement:
and this shall be the higher place of the altar; or the projection or jetting of it out beyond others, which was further than any other part; otherwise it was the lower part of the altar.
(t) "sinus", Montanus; "gremium", Munster, Cocceius, Starckius. Ben Melech interprets it the middle of the altar. (u) "labium ejus", Pagninus, Montanus.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
13-27. As to the altar of burnt offering, which was the appointed means of access to God.
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