Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges
Afterward he brought me to the temple, and measured the posts, six cubits broad on the one side, and six cubits broad on the other side, which was the breadth of the tabernacle.Ezekiel 41:1-2. Measurement of the “temple,” the holy place, Fig. 2, B
1. The “posts” or jambs of the entrance wall were 6 cubits thick, Fig. 2, cd.
breadth of the tabernacle] Heb. tent. The word does not occur in the prophet except in the compounds Oholah and Oholibah. Read: other side: the breadth of the posts.
And the breadth of the door was ten cubits; and the sides of the door were five cubits on the one side, and five cubits on the other side: and he measured the length thereof, forty cubits: and the breadth, twenty cubits.2. The entrance way between the posts N. to S. was 10 cubits. Fig. 2, cc, dd.
sides of the door] i.e. the pieces of wall running N. to S. on each side of the entrance, Fig. 2, di, that is, 10 + 5 + 5 = 20, breadth of the house. The length (E. to W.) of the “temple” or holy place was 40 cubits.
Then went he inward, and measured the post of the door, two cubits; and the door, six cubits; and the breadth of the door, seven cubits.3, 4. The most holy place, Fig. 2, C
3. The wall was 2 cubits thick, Fig. 2, ef.
breadth of the door, seven cubits] The actual door or entrance Fig. 2, ee, ff, was 6 cubits (preceding clause); the present statement, therefore, refers to the walls on either side of the entrance (N. to S.). LXX. read or rightly interpreted: and the entrance six cubits; and the side pieces of the entrance seven cubits on one side and seven cubits on the other. Fig. 2, fk. That is 6 + 7 + 7 = 20, breadth of the house as before (Ezekiel 41:4). It is to be observed that while Ez., being a priest, enters the holy place along with the guide he refrains from entering the most holy place, which the angel alone enters.
So he measured the length thereof, twenty cubits; and the breadth, twenty cubits, before the temple: and he said unto me, This is the most holy place.4. The most holy place was a square of 20 cubits.
before the temple] in front of. The “temple” is the holy place, 1 Kings 6:3; 1 Kings 6:5.
After he measured the wall of the house, six cubits; and the breadth of every side chamber, four cubits, round about the house on every side.5. The wall of the house at its base was 6 cubits thick, and the breadth (N. to S.) of the side-chambers on the basement was 4 cubits. If the rebatements in the wall of the house were the same here as in Solomon’s temple, the second story would be a cubit broader than the ground floor, and the third a cubit broader than the second (1 Kings 6:6), i. e. 4, 5 and 6 cubits. In Solomon’s temple the side-chambers were larger, measuring 5, 6 and 7 cubits.
Ch. Ezekiel 41:5-11. The side chambers or annexe to the house
The text in some places is confused, but the general meaning is clear. Round about the wall of the house on three sides (N., W. and S.) were built side-chambers in three stories, thirty chambers in each story, Fig. 2, D. The chamber on the ground floor was 4 cubits wide (N. to S.), but in the second story the width was greater than in the first, and in the third story greater than in the second. The reason of this greater wideness of the upper stories was that the wall of the house on which the chambers were built diminished in thickness as it ascended. This wall was 6 cubits thick at the base (Ezekiel 41:5), but it was let in at two points as it ascended. The same arrangement had place in Solomon’s temple—“on the outside he made rebatements in the wall of the house round about” (1 Kings 6:6). The effect of this decrease in the thickness of the wall (in Solomon’s temple a cubit each time) was that the chambers in the second and third stories became so much broader. In consequence of this narrowing of the wall of the house at two points two ledges ran round the wall on three sides, and on these ledges the beams that supported the second and third stories of the side-chambers rested, without being let into the wall (Ezekiel 41:6). The wall of the side-chambers was thus on one side the wall of the house; on the other side they had a wall of their own, 5 cubits thick (Ezekiel 41:9). The whole structure, house and side chambers, was built upon a raised platform, 6 cubits higher than the level of the inner court (Ezekiel 41:8). The buildings, however (temple and side-chambers), did not quite cover the platform: a margin of 5 cubits (“that which was left,” Ezekiel 41:9; Ezekiel 41:11) remained free outside the side-chambers, on two sides (N. and S.), Fig. 2, E; and from this free space the doors into the side-chambers opened, one on the N. and another on the S., Fig. 2, g (Ezekiel 41:11). Further, on the walls of the inner court, N. and S., were chambers for the priests, Fig. 3, GG´, and between the temple-platform and these cells ran a passage or court of 20 cubits (“the separate place,” Ezekiel 41:12). This court ran round the house-platform on three sides (N. W. S.), Fig. 3, H. The way in which one story of the side-chambers communicated with another is described only generally (Ezekiel 41:7); in Solomon’s temple the communication is supposed to have been by a spiral staircase, or more probably by a ladder and trap-doors. It is evident that the prophet reproduces in the main the arrangements of the temple, hence he refers to the several things, even when first mentioning them, as the so and so, assuming that they are well known.
And the side chambers were three, one over another, and thirty in order; and they entered into the wall which was of the house for the side chambers round about, that they might have hold, but they had not hold in the wall of the house.6. The Heb. would naturally read: “and the side-chambers were side-chamber against side-chamber three and thirty times”—which would give 33 chambers. Apart from syntax this is not probable. LXX. and some other versions give a different order: “and the side-chambers, side-chamber against side-chamber, were thirty, three times” (cf. 1 Kings 7:4-5). It is probable that the chambers were thirty; those in the outer court were also thirty (Ezekiel 40:17), and Josephus is cited as witness for this number (Boett., Corn.).
wall … of the house for the side chambers] It must not of course be supposed that the house had two walls,—a separate one for the chambers. The word “entered into” must either be taken as a noun: and there were intakes in the wall of the house for the side chambers; or it must be altered into some other word having this sense (1 Kings 6:6, LXX. uses the same word here as there)—and there were rebatements &c.; or some word of this meaning has fallen out before “entered into.” LXX. has rendered the word “times,” doubly, “thrice” “twice.” If the word “times,” lit. steps, could have the required meaning of intakes, it might be supposed that being written twice it had fallen out. But this is doubtful.
might have hold] It is self-evident that the second and third stories must have been supported in some way by the wall of the house, which was their own wall on one side, and mere contact with a perpendicular wall could be no support. The beams had support on the wall, but were not let into the wall in holes.
And there was an enlarging, and a winding about still upward to the side chambers: for the winding about of the house went still upward round about the house: therefore the breadth of the house was still upward, and so increased from the lowest chamber to the highest by the midst.7. What the verse means to say is that the side-chambers widened in the second and third stories through the retreating of the wall of the house. The present text being assumed it might read: “and there was a widening of the side-chambers and an encompassing (by them) ever upwards; for the encompassing of the house was (the more) ever upwards, round about the house”—the meaning being that the higher the three story building rose the broader it grew and the closer it encompassed the house, i.e. appeared to encroach upon the house owing to the retreat of the wall. Another sense of the present reading would be got if the word rendered “encompass” could be supposed to be something which the house did, viz. “turn,” turn in, retreat. The sense would remain the same. LXX. omits “encompassing” after “widening” and instead of “for the encompassing” &c. it reads: according to the appendage (projection, i.e. the ledge) out of the wall—giving the same general meaning.
the breadth of the house] The words mean: the house became broader upwards—an impossible sense. Either “house” must be omitted with LXX., or the clause read: and it broadened toward the house (or, inwards) ever upward. Subject is the side building.
and so increased] The words state how the various stories communicated with one another, according to the clear statement, 1 Kings 6:8. Read: and from the lowest one went up to the highest and to the middle story, or possibly with R.V., by the middle story. LXX. perspicuously: that they might go up from the chambers below to the upper chambers, and from the middle chambers to the third story. Syr. is equally distinct.
I saw also the height of the house round about: the foundations of the side chambers were a full reed of six great cubits.8. I saw also] An uncommon form; usually it is said, and there appeared, which LXX. probably read here. For “height” (gobah) probably “raised pavement” (gabbah, Gabbatha, John 19:13) should be read (cf. footnote)—and the house appeared as having a raised pavement round about, lit. there appeared (belonging) to the house &c., cf. ch. Ezekiel 10:8. All that was seen of the platform was the passage of 5 cubits round about the building (Ezekiel 41:11). “House” includes both the temple proper and the side-chambers. This is supplemented by saying that the foundations of the side-chambers were 6 cubits high—of course house and side-chambers were on the same level.
 The curious word in LXX. καὶ τὸ θραὲλ appears a transliteration of this reading with following prep. l attached, ותרא ל (fem. apoc. Impf. niph.); cf. for form and construction ch. Ezekiel 10:8; and for short final vowel the spelling Abimael, Genesis 10:28. Therefore a fem. noun should be read as subj. (gabbah).
six great cubits] as R.V., marg., six cubits to the joint, or angle, i.e. probably to the point where the vertical line of the height of the platform cut the level of the court. The words cannot be a description of the kind of cubit, nor, since the foundations are being described, can there be any reference to the height within of the side-chambers or to the point of junction of one story with another.
8–11. The raised platform upon which the house and the side-chambers stood
The house and the annexe stood on a platform raised a full reed, or 6 cubits above the level of the inner court (Ezekiel 41:8). The platform was reached in front of the house by a flight of so steps (Ezekiel 40:49) from the court. The outside wall of the annexe was 5 cubits thick (Ezekiel 41:9). A space of 5 cubits of the platform remained unoccupied by the buildings (Ezekiel 41:11), Fig. 2, E. Then came a free space of 20 cubits running round the platform (Ezekiel 41:10), Fig. 3, H. Finally came other buildings in the inner court, one behind the house on the W. (Ezekiel 41:15), Fig. 3, K; and others on both sides of it, N. and S. (Ezekiel 42:1 seq.), Fig. 3, GG´.
The thickness of the wall, which was for the side chamber without, was five cubits: and that which was left was the place of the side chambers that were within.9. The outside wall of the side-chambers was 5 cubits; and there was left a part of the raised platform not covered by buildings (Ezekiel 41:11).
that which was left was] This clause is in some disorder; and must be connected with Ezekiel 41:10. The text clearly distinguishes between “that which was left” (munnach), i.e. the outer margin of the raised platform left free of buildings, which was 5 cubits broad (Ezekiel 41:11), Fig. 2, E, and the “separate place” (gizrah), Fig. 3, H, i.e. the court running round the whole house buildings or the raised platform on which they stood, which was 20 cubits broad (Ezekiel 41:10; Ezekiel 41:13-14)—although LXX. renders both by the same word. In Ezekiel 41:9, “that which was left” cannot differ from the same in Ezekiel 41:11, where it is undoubtedly the remainder of the raised platform. Some words have fallen out in Ezekiel 41:9. It is easiest perhaps to supply the words “five cubits” from Syr. and read: and that which was left was 5 cubits; and between (bçth for bçn) the side-chambers of (belonging to) the house, 10 and the cells was a breadth of 20 cubits, &c. All the versions agree as to Ezekiel 41:10, but “between the cells” cannot mean between something else and the cells. The “cells” or chambers here are undoubtedly those on the N. and S. walls of the inner court (Ezekiel 42:1, seq.), which were separated from the house buildings by the court of 20 cubits, Fig. 3, GG´.
And between the chambers was the wideness of twenty cubits round about the house on every side.
And the doors of the side chambers were toward the place that was left, one door toward the north, and another door toward the south: and the breadth of the place that was left was five cubits round about.11. The verse states plainly that the place that was left, i.e. the margin of platform unoccupied by buildings, was 5 cubits broad, Fig. 2, E. and that the doors of the side-chambers opened upon it, one on the N. and another on the S. side, Fig. 2, g. It is evident that the side-chambers could have doors nowhere else, for their wall on one side was the wall of the house, in which doors could not be permitted; and the measurements seem to shew that the margin of raised basement did not go round the house on the west. In Solomon’s temple there was probably only one door, on the S. side, 1 Kings 6:8.
Now the building that was before the separate place at the end toward the west was seventy cubits broad; and the wall of the building was five cubits thick round about, and the length thereof ninety cubits.12. The building behind the house on the west, Fig. 3, K
To the west of the house proper, but divided from it by the 20 cubits of the “separate place” (Fig. 3, H), was a large building, 70 cubits broad (E. to W. Fig. 3, rp, sq), and 90 long (N. to S. Fig. 3, rs, pq)—breadth being the smaller and length the larger dimension here. The wall of the building all round was 5 cubits thick. The measurements 70 and 90 are inside. The uses which this building served are not specified, they were probably general.
before the separate place] i.e. the court of 20 cubits broad (Fig. 3, H), which ran round the house. “Before” is opposite to or facing.
So he measured the house, an hundred cubits long; and the separate place, and the building, with the walls thereof, an hundred cubits long;13. Two measurements of 100 cubits E. to W
house an hundred cubits long] namely, 5 (wall of porch, Ezekiel 40:48) + 12 (porch, Ezekiel 40:49) + 6 (wall of holy place, Ezekiel 41:1) + 40 (length of holy place, Ezekiel 41:2) + 2 (wall of holiest, Ezekiel 41:3) + 20 (length of holiest, Ezekiel 41:4) + 6 (wall of house, Ezekiel 41:5) + 4 (side-chambers, Ezekiel 41:5) + 5 (wall of side-chambers, Ezekiel 41:9) = 100. Here it is evident that on the W. of the house the margin or “that which was left” of the raised basement does not appear. It existed only on two sides N. and S., where the doors of the side-chambers opened from it; on the W. the “separate place” skirted the wall of the side-chambers.
separate place, and the building] The “building” here (though spelled differently) can be no other than that mentioned Ezekiel 41:12, Fig. 3, K. The “separate place” or court of 20 cubits, Fig. 3, H, being added to this building formed a length of 100 cubits, viz. 20 (separate place) + 5 + 5 (two walls of building) + 70 (interior of building) = 100, Fig. 3, np.
13–15. General measurements of length and breadth of buildings.—These measurements form three squares of 100 cubits. First, the inner court forms a square of 100 cubits when lines are drawn along the front of the house and in front of the inner ends of the gates, Fig. 3, iklm. Secondly, the house buildings form a square of 100 cubits, when the 20 cubits of “separate place” N. and S. of them are included, Fig. 3, lmno. And thirdly, the building W. of the house buildings forms a square of 100 cubits when the twenty cubits of “separate place” are added to its dimensions from E. to W., Fig. 3, nopq.
Also the breadth of the face of the house, and of the separate place toward the east, an hundred cubits.14. Two measurements of 100 cubits from N. to S.
The front of the house buildings, the “separate place” on each side of them being included, gives 100 cubits, namely, 20 (breadth of house) + 6 + 6 (side walls) + 4 + 4 (side-chambers) + 5 + 5 (walls of side-chambers) + 5 + 5 (remainder of raised basement) + 20 + 20 (separate place) = 100, Fig. 3, lm.
And he measured the length of the building over against the separate place which was behind it, and the galleries thereof on the one side and on the other side, an hundred cubits, with the inner temple, and the porches of the court;15. The “length” here is reckoned from N. to S.
which was behind it] Rather: behind which it was. The building, while lying “over against” the “separate place,” was behind it, i.e. to the W. of it. If this construction be not adopted the meaning is, which (building) was behind it (the separate place)—an independent clause. The length of the building as it lay along the “separate place” N. to S. was 100 cubits, i.e. 90 (interior, Ezekiel 41:12) + 5 + 5 (side walls, Ezekiel 41:12) = 100, Fig. 3, rs. The term rendered “galleries” is of uncertain meaning. It occurs only Ezekiel 41:15-16 and Ezekiel 42:3; Ezekiel 42:5. If the reading be right here it can mean nothing else but walls, or something equivalent to walls and occupying the same space, according to Ezekiel 41:12. Syriac uses a term by which it also renders the “walls” of the altar, Ezekiel 41:22.—The verse should end at the word cubits.
15 b seq. Description of the inside of the house, with its ornamentation
The details of measurement were exhausted in Ezekiel 41:15 a. The prophet proceeds now to describe the interior of the house in two particular points: (1) the woodwork with which the house in its walls, &c., was covered, 15b–16 a; and (2) the ornamentation of this woodwork, 16 b seq. The text is in some disorder, and the unknown term rendered “galleries” causes perplexity, though two general statements are plainly made, viz. that the whole interior of the house was covered with wood, and that this woodwork from floor to roof was ornamented in the holy place and in the holiest with cherubs and palms (in the porch perhaps with palms only). With no more changes than are absolutely necessary Ezekiel 41:15 b–16 a might read: “and the temple (i.e. holy place), and the inner house (holiest), and the porch of the court (more probably, and its outer porch), 16 and the thresholds, and the closed windows and the galleries round about the three of them, opposite the threshold (i.e. towards the interior) were veneered with wood (or, were polished wood) round about.” This would state generally that the whole interior was wainscotted. But the jump from “thresholds” (A.V. door-posts) to “closed windows” in Ezekiel 41:16 is unnatural. It is probable that “thresholds” should be read with LXX. cieled (or, wainscotted). It is certainly probable that the roofing is described; the word read by LXX. (saphan) is always used of the roof-work in the description of Solomon’s temple (1 Kings 6:7., unless Ezekiel 7:7 be an exception, a clause wanting in LXX.); and LXX. understood it so here (Ezekiel 41:20). Further the mention of the closed windows, which must have been toward the roof, in immediate connexion, is in favour of the roof-work. What the “galleries” were is obscure. LXX. either did not read the word or rendered it “narrow openings” (slit windows). A.V. “on their three stories” should be to the three of them (the holy place, holiest and porch, Ezekiel 41:15). Pointed thus the reading is: and the temple and the inner house (holiest) and the porch of the court (or, and its outer porch) were covered with a roof-work, and they three had their closed windows and their galleries round about.
The door posts, and the narrow windows, and the galleries round about on their three stories, over against the door, cieled with wood round about, and from the ground up to the windows, and the windows were covered;16. over against the door] the threshold. It looks as if some words had fallen out of the text here. LXX. reads: and the house and the adjoining parts were wainscotted with wood round about (and the floor). The present Heb. text, even if read, and over against the threshold was a wainscotting of wood, is too short to give the necessary sense—“over against the threshold” would be rather obscure as an expression for the whole interior of the house. The words “over against the threshold” can hardly be regarded as a definition of the locality of the “galleries,” as if these were borders or gangs (dado) going round the foot of the walls (Sm.).
Ezekiel 41:16 b seq. The ornamentation of the interior. Here also there is some obscurity: and from the floor unto the windows (and the windows were covered), 17 and unto above the door, and unto the inner house and without, and on all the walls round about in the inner (house) and the outer [were measures and], 18 there were made cherubs and palm-trees, so that, &c. The words in parenthesis “and the windows,” &c., may not be original. The phrase “and without” hardly refers to the porch, rather to the outer house or holy place; because it does not appear that cherubs were carved on the wall of the porch. The word “measures” is wanting in LXX. If genuine the term “measures” might possibly imply that the wall was panelled into compartments, and that in each of these was carved a cherub and palm. The term is used once of garments (Psalm 133:2) from the meaning to spread out or cover, but could hardly be used of a casing or wainscotting of wood. Boettcher suggested “carvings,” a sense which would add nothing to the general meaning. Ezekiel 41:20 is rather in favour of the omission of the word.
Ezekiel 41:18-19. Only the two chief faces of the cherub were represented, that of a man and of a lion.
To that above the door, even unto the inner house, and without, and by all the wall round about within and without, by measure.
And it was made with cherubims and palm trees, so that a palm tree was between a cherub and a cherub; and every cherub had two faces;
So that the face of a man was toward the palm tree on the one side, and the face of a young lion toward the palm tree on the other side: it was made through all the house round about.
From the ground unto above the door were cherubims and palm trees made, and on the wall of the temple.20. The prophet is to be conceived as standing in the holy place, and when he speaks of the “door” he evidently refers to the end walls and not to the side walls. It remains obscure whether it be the “door” of the holiest or that of the holy place to which he refers.
and on the wall … temple] The word “temple” is marked as suspicious by dots over it, and is omitted in some MSS. and in the ancient versions. The clause is to be connected with Ezekiel 41:21.
The posts of the temple were squared, and the face of the sanctuary; the appearance of the one as the appearance of the other.21. the posts … squared] The text is very uncertain, the versions deviating from Heb. and from one another. The word “temple” (Ezekiel 41:20) being omitted the words read: and the wall, 21 of the temple was square door-posts—a construction scarcely possible to express the idea that the wall had square door-posts. Syriac read: and the wall of the temple was four-square—omitting “door-posts.” LXX.: and the holy place (holiest) and the temple opened (spread out) four-square—reading “holy place” for wall, and “opened” for door-posts. It is probable that something is said of the holiest, because the next clause refers to an article that stood in front of it. It is also probable that the “door” referred to Ezekiel 41:20 is that from the holy place into the holiest. But the witnesses leave us uncertain whether something be said about the wall or about the door-posts. If of the first the reading may be: and the wall of the holiest was four-square (Hitz., Corn.). Reference, however, might be to the door-posts. In Solomon’s temple those of the holy place appear to have been four-cornered, and those of the holiest five-cornered (1 Kings 6:31; 1 Kings 6:33).
face of the sanctuary … the other] This has no probability. The clause is rather to be connected with Ezekiel 41:22. Perhaps: and in front of the sanctuary (the holiest) was the appearance as the appearance 22 of an altar of wood, three cubits the height thereof, &c. So LXX. and partly Syr. In the holy place in front of the holiest there stood an object having the appearance of an altar of wood. The present text might read: “and (as for) the front of the sanctuary, the appearance was as the appearance,” i.e. it had the appearance which is well known and does not need further description—a form of speech common enough in Shemitic, but quite improbable here.
The altar of wood was three cubits high, and the length thereof two cubits; and the corners thereof, and the length thereof, and the walls thereof, were of wood: and he said unto me, This is the table that is before the LORD.22. The altar was 3 cubits high and 2 long. LXX. adds that it was 2 broad.
the length thereof … of wood] and the base thereof, a simple emendation, after LXX., cf. Exodus 26:19 seq. The altar had corners, probably somewhat raised, but not horns. It was wholly of wood, and is called the table which is before the Lord. The term table is applied to the altar of burnt-offering Ezekiel 44:16 (cf. Malachi 1:7; Malachi 1:12). This is quite natural, as the flesh was the bread of Jehovah (Ezekiel 44:7). Ezek. does not name any other object in the holy place besides this table, and it is probable that he refers here to the altar-like table of shewbread, the cakes on which would also be considered an offering of bread for the Lord.
And the temple and the sanctuary had two doors.23. two doors] i.e. each had a double or two-leaved door.
23–26. The doors of the holy place and the holiest.
The temple or holy place and the holiest had each a two-leaved door; and each of the leaves was again divided into two leaves.
And the doors had two leaves apiece, two turning leaves; two leaves for the one door, and two leaves for the other door.24. And the doors] i.e. the leaves of the door had again two leaves, so that the doors as a whole of the holy place and holiest were each composed of four small leaves, like a screen.
And there were made on them, on the doors of the temple, cherubims and palm trees, like as were made upon the walls; and there were thick planks upon the face of the porch without.25. The doors of the holy place were carved with cherubs and palm trees just as the walls (Ezekiel 41:17 seq.).
thick planks upon the face] The word rendered “thick planks” (‘ab) occurs again 1 Kings 7:6 in connexion with a porch, but is of uncertain meaning. Here it is said to lie outside the porch and in front of it, and might be the “landing” at the top of the flight of steps. Others think of an overhanging on the front of the roof, to protect the entrance. But in 1 Kings 7:7 the ‘ab fronts the pillars, as here it faces the porch. Therefore perhaps: “and a landing of wood in front of the porch on the outside.” No doubt “without” might describe the lie of the porch in reference to the house and not the lie of the ‘ab in reference to the porch; in which case the ‘ab would be something between the holy place and the porch, and in fact the description in Ezekiel 41:26 refers to the inside of the porch. Still this is less probable.
And there were narrow windows and palm trees on the one side and on the other side, on the sides of the porch, and upon the side chambers of the house, and thick planks.26. For narrow windows, closed. The “sides” (lit. shoulders) are the side walls of the porch, but whether the walls on both sides of the entrance be meant, or the end-walls (N. and S.), cannot be decided. There should be a full stop at porch. The next statement is incomplete: and the side-chambers of the house and the landings.…