Ezekiel 40:17
Then brought he me into the outward court, and, lo, there were chambers, and a pavement made for the court round about: thirty chambers were upon the pavement.
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The prophet is now taken across the outer court, which he describes on the way (Ezekiel 40:17-19), to the north gate (Ezekiel 40:20), and then to the south gate (Ezekiel 40:24).

(17) Outward court.—The Temple of Ezekiel has two courts, an outer and an inner; but there is no appropriation of these courts to the special use of any classes. It may be assumed that the inner court, from its size and arrangements, was for the priests engaged in the sacrifices, and the outer for the people generally.

A pavement.—Comp. 2Chronicles 7:3; Esther 1:6. The word is generally understood to mean a tesselated or mosaic pavement.

Thirty chambers.—The size and location of these chambers is not given. In accordance with the general symmetry of the arrangements, it may be assumed that there were ten on each of the three sides not occupied by the Temple buildings, and that five were on each side of the gate. They are conjecturally indicated on Plan II. (page 124 [Ezekiel 40:44-49]) by DD. They are drawn as if joined together; but this is not certain. Such chambers for the use of officiating priests and Levites, and for the storage of the tithes, are mentioned both in connection with Solomon’s Temple and with that of the restoration (see Jeremiah 35:4; Jeremiah 36:10; 1Chronicles 9:26; Nehemiah 10:38-39).

Ezekiel 40:17. Then brought he me into the outward court — There were two courts belonging to Solomon’s temple; the outward for the people, the inward for the priests. It is probable that Solomon built only the inner court: see 1 Kings 6:36, compared with chap. 1 Kings 8:64 : and that the outer court was built after his time, whereupon it is called the new court, (2 Chronicles 20:5,) after which time there is particular mention of the two courts of the house of the Lord, 2 Kings 21:5. A third court, called the court of the Gentiles, was afterward added by Herod, when he rebuilt the temple. And lo, there were chambers — These chambers were over the cloister, and supported by it: see Ezekiel 40:14, and Ezekiel 42:8. They might be for the use of the priests, and likewise store-houses for tithes and offerings: see 1 Chronicles 28:12. And a pavement made for the court round about — A beautiful floor made with checker-work. The whole floor of this court was thus paved. Thirty chambers were upon the pavement — That is, fifteen on the south side of the gate, and fifteen on the north side, built over the pavement.

40:1-49 The Vision of the Temple. - Here is a vision, beginning at ch. 40, and continued to the end of the book, ch. 48, which is justly looked upon to be one of the most difficult portions in all the book of God. When we despair to be satisfied as to any difficulty we meet with, let us bless God that our salvation does not depend upon it, but that things necessary are plain enough; and let us wait till God shall reveal even this unto us. This chapter describes two outward courts of the temple. Whether the personage here mentioned was the Son of God, or a created angel, is not clear. But Christ is both our Altar and our Sacrifice, to whom we must look with faith in all approaches to God; and he is Salvation in the midst of the earth, Ps 74:12, to be looked unto from all quarters.The "outward" or outer "court" (o, Plan II) corresponds to what was in Herod's temple the court of Women, into which all Jews, but not Gentiles were admitted.

Ezekiel 40:17

Chambers - (I) See Jeremiah 35:2.

A pavement - (H) Of mosaic work 2 Chronicles 7:3; Esther 1:6 which formed a border of forty-four cubits. On each side of the court in which there were gates, i. e., on east, north, and south. It was called the "lower pavement" to distinguish it from the pavement of the inner court; the outer court being lower than the inner Ezekiel 40:31.

17. pavement—tesselated mosaic (Es 1:6).

chambers—serving as lodgings for the priests on duty in the temple, and as receptacles of the tithes of salt, wine, and oil.

The outward court; so called in regard of the more inward court, between that where he was and the temple itself: this court here, called the outward court, was at least the second about the temple, as you go through the first and greatest court, or floor encompassed with that wall of one reed high, and one thick, through the second, which is the court of the people, and which probably is this in our text.

There were chambers; not only lodging rooms for the priests, but also storehouses for tithes and offerings; these were treasuries, and so rendered by some.

A pavement; a very beautiful floor laid with checker-work, as some say of marble, or of porphyry, which is much richer.

Round about; it was not laid as we see some courts before great houses with us, in a fair walk up from the gate to the door of the house, but the whole floor of this court was thus paved.

Thirty chambers; that is, fifteen on the south side of the gate, and fifteen on the north side, built over the pavement.

Then brought he me into the outward court,.... The divine and glorious Person in human form, having brought the prophet up to the eastern gate, and through it, and the porch that belonged to it, to the inner gate of it, which lay westward; and having measured that gate, its threshold, the porch, the posts or pillars, and little chambers in it; introduced him into a spacious piece of ground, that lay open to the air, and surrounded the whole building; and answers to the court of the Israelites in the temple, where they worshipped promiscuously, good and bad: and so may design the outward visible state of the Gospel church, consisting of good and bad, of wise and foolish virgins; like a field that has both wheat and tares in it; or a corn floor that has wheat and chaff upon it; which in the latter day will grow worse and worse, and be given to the Gentiles, Revelation 11:2 but shall be recovered again, and make a considerable part of this fabric; which represents the state of the church, and the outward administration of the word and ordinances in it, and the visible fellowship of the saints together in them.

And, lo, there were chambers; in the outward court, in various parts of it; which signify, as before, visible congregated churches, formed according to the order of the Gospel; in which the word is preached, ordinances administered, and saints have fellowship one with another. It is a different word here used from that in Ezekiel 40:7, and is by some rendered "cells, storehouses, treasuries" (f); and here, the unsearchable riches of Christ are preached, and the treasures of wisdom and knowledge hid in him are brought forth, and presented to the view of the saints.

And a pavement made for the court round about; as this court went round about the whole building, so there was a pavement upon it all around. The word (g) used has the signification of a "burning coal". Probably this pavement appeared as made of stones of various colours, of black, white, and red, like a chequered work of black and white marble; or as made of the porphyry stone, which is variegated with divers colours. This pavement was for those that dwelt in the chambers to walk in, and converse together: and it may denote the walk of the saints, both in the ordinances of the Gospel, and in their outward conversation, as becoming it; in love to them that are within, and in wisdom towards those that are without: and this is walking as on a pavement, on firm ground, in a plain and even way, where there is no occasion of stumbling; it is walking clean, in righteousness and holiness, and not in the mire and dirt of sin; and it is pleasant walking in the courts of the Lord, and in the ways and paths of wisdom; and beautiful it is to see the saints walk harmoniously and comfortably together here, conversing with each other, and building up one another upon their most holy faith.

Thirty chambers were upon a pavement; according to some, fifteen on each side of the eastern gate, as you came out of it into the court; or rather, according to Cocceius's tables, these were all around the court, eight to the east, eight to the north, eight to the south, and six to the west; or, as Villalpandus, seven to the east and west each, and eight to the north and south apiece. This suggests that there will be visible congregated churches in the latter day in all parts of the world, east, west, north, and south; see Isaiah 43:5.

(f) "cellae", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Polanus, Cocceius, Starckius; Sept; "gazophylacia", V. L. (g) "pruna ardens", Isa. vi. 6.

Then brought he me into the outward court, and, lo, there were chambers, and a pavement made for the court round about: thirty chambers were upon the pavement.
17–27. Measurements of the outer court and remaining gates

17. outward court] outer court. The prophet passed out of the pathway, where he had hitherto been, into the outer court. Round about on the inside of the surrounding wall of this court (Ezekiel 40:5) was a pavement, probably of stone, Fig. 3, B, and on the pavement chambers, thirty in number, Fig 3, C. The chambers ran round the wall on three sides, the W. being occupied with other buildings (Ezekiel 41:12). The chambers were probably used for meetings and feasts; the ancient high places had such a feast chamber (1 Samuel 9:22), cf. Jeremiah 35:4 (Ezekiel 36:10). It is not stated how the chambers were disposed, whether singly or in blocks They were apparently of several stories (Ezekiel 42:6), but did not occupy the corners of the wall, in which kitchens were situated (Ezekiel 46:11-24).

Verses 17-19. - The outer court. Emerging from the doorway inwards, the prophet, accompanied by his celestial guide, stepped into the outward court, i.e. the area surrounding the temple buildings. There the first thing observed was that chambers and a pavement ran round the court. The chambers were cells, or rooms - לִשָׁכות always signifying single rooms in a building (see Ezekiel 42:1; 1 Chronicles 9:26) - whose dimensions, exact sites, and uses are not specified, though, as they were thirty in number, it is probable they were arranged on the east, north, and south sides of the court, five upon each side of the gate, and standing somewhat apart from each other; that they were large enough to contain as many as thirty persons (see 1 Samuel 9:22; and comp. Jeremiah 35:2); and that they were designed for sacrificial meals and such-like purposes (see Ezekiel 44:1, etc.). In pre-exilic times such halls had been occupied by distinguished person s connected with the temple service (see Ezekiel 8:8-12; 2 Kings 23:11; Jeremiah 35:4, etc.; Jeremiah 36:10; Ezra 10:6). The pavement was a tessellated floor (comp. Esther 1:6; 2 Chronicles 7:3), which ran round the court and was named the lower pavement, to distinguish it from that laid in the inner court which stood at a higher elevation than the outer. As another note of position, it is stated to have been by the side (literally, shoulder) of the gates over against - or, answerable to (Revised Version) - the length of the gates. This can only mean that the breadth of the pavement was fifty cubits (the length of the gates, ver. 15) less six cubits (the thickness of the wall, ver. 5), or forty-four cubits, and that it ran along the inner length of the wall on either side of the gates. The breadth of the court from the forefront of the lower gate, i.e. from the inner end of the east gate or the edge of the pavement, unto the forefront of the inner court without was an hundred cubits. Whether the measurement was up to the wall of the inner court, within which, on this hypothesis, its gate must have wholly lain, or only up to the door of the inner court, which, on this understanding, must have projected beyond its wall, is obscure. The first interpretation derives support from the circumstance that the terminus ad quem of the measurement is said to have been, not the inner gate, but the inner court; while the second finds countenance in the use of the preposition מִחוּצ, which seems to indicate that the measuring proceeded from the western extremity of the outer gate to the eastern extremity of the inner gate, and appears to be confirmed by vers. 23 and 27, as well as by the consideration that in this way the symmetry of the building would be better preserved than by making the outer gate project into the court and the inner gate lie wholly within the inner wall. In this way the hundred cubits marked the distance between the extremities of the gates, the whole breadth of the court being two hundred cubits, i.e. a hundred cubits between the gates, with two gates' lengths of fifty cubits each added. The same measurements applied to the north gate, which the seer next approached.

Ezekiel 40:17The Outer Court Described and Measured

Ezekiel 40:17. And he led me into the outer court, and behold there were cells and pavement made round the court; thirty cells on the pavement. Ezekiel 40:18. And the pavement was by the side of the gates, corresponding to the length of the gates, (namely) the lower pavement. Ezekiel 40:19. And he measured the breadth from the front of the lower gate to the front of the inner court, about a hundred cubits on the east side and on the north side. - Ezekiel having been led through the eastern gate into the outer court, was able to survey it, not on the eastern side only, but also on the northern and southern sides; and there he perceived cells and רצפּה, pavimentum, mosaic pavement, or a floor paved with stones laid in mosaic form (2 Chronicles 7:3; Esther 1:6), made round the court; that is to say, according to the more precise description in v. 18, on both sides of the gate-buildings, of a breadth corresponding to their length, running along the inner side of the wall of the court, and consequently not covering the floor of the court in all its extent, but simply running along the inner side of the surrounding wall as a strip of about fifty cubits broad, and that not uniformly on all four sides, but simply on the eastern, southern, and northern sides, and at the north-west and south-west corners of the western side, so far, namely, as the outer court surrounded the inner court and temple (see Plate I b b b); for on the western side the intervening space from the inner court and temple-house to the surrounding wall of the outer court was filled by a special building of the separate place. It is with this limitation that we have to take סביב סביב. fעשׂוּy may belong either to לשׁכות ורצפּה or merely to רצפּה, so far as grammatical considerations are concerned; for in either case there would be an irregularity in the gender, and the participle is put in the singular as a neuter. If we look fairly at the fact itself, not one of the reasons assigned by Kliefoth, for taking fעשׂוּy as referring to רצפּה only, is applicable throughout. If the pavement ran round by the side of the gate-building on three sides of the court, and the cells were by or upon the pavement, they may have stood on three sides of the court without our being forced to assume, or even warranted in assuming, that they must of necessity have filled up the whole length on every side from the shoulder of the gate-building to the corner, or rather to the space that was set apart in every corner, according to Ezekiel 46:21-24, for the cooking of the sacrificial meals of the people. We therefore prefer to take עשׂוּי as referring to the cells and the pavement; because this answers better than the other, both to the construction and to the fact. In Ezekiel 40:18 the pavement is said to have been by the shoulder of the gates. השּׁערים is in the plural, because Ezekiel had probably also in his mind the two gates which are not described till afterwards. כּתף, the shoulder of the agate-buildings regarded as a body, is the space on either side of the gate-building along the wall, with the two angles formed by the longer side of the gate-buildings and the line of the surrounding wall. This is more precisely defined by 'לעמּת ארך השׁ, alongside of the length of the gates, i.e., running parallel with it (cf. 2 Samuel 16:13), or stretching out on both sides with a breadth corresponding to the length of the gate-buildings. The gates were fifty cubits long, or, deducting the thickness of the outer wall, they projected into the court to the distance of forty-four cubits. Consequently the pavement ran along the inner sides of the surrounding wall with a breadth of forty-four cubits. This pavement is called the lower pavement, in distinction from the pavement or floor of the inner court, which was on a higher elevation.

All that is said concerning the לשׁכות is, that there were thirty of them, and that they were אל הרצפּה (see Plate I C). The dispute whether אל signifies by or upon the pavement has no bearing upon the fact itself. As Ezekiel frequently uses אל for על, and vice vers, the rendering upon can be defended; but it cannot be established, as Hitzig supposes, by referring to 2 Kings 16:17. If we retain the literal meaning of אל, at or against, we cannot picture to ourselves the position of the cells as projecting from the inner edge of the pavement into the unpaved portion of the court; for in that case, to a person crossing the court, they would have stood in front of (לפני) the pavement rather than against the pavement. The prep. אל, against, rather suggests the fact that the cells were built near the surrounding wall, so that the pavement ran along the front of them, which faced the inner court in an unbroken line. In this case it made no difference to the view whether the cells were erected upon the pavement, or the space occupied by the cells was left unpaved, and the pavement simply joined the lower edge of the walls of the cells all round. The text contains no account of the manner in which they were distributed on the three sides of the court. But it is obvious from the use of the plural לשׁכות, that the reference is not to thirty entire buildings, but simply to thirty rooms, as לשׁכּה does not signify a building consisting of several rooms, but always a single room or cell in a building. Thus in 1 Samuel 9:22 it stands for a room appointed for holding the sacrificial meals, and that by no means a small room, but one which could accommodate about thirty persons. In Jeremiah 36:12 it is applied to a room in the king's palace, used as the chancery. Elsewhere לשׁכּה is the term constantly employed for the rooms in the court-buildings and side-buildings of the temple, which served partly as a residence for the officiating priests and Levites, and partly for the storing of the temple dues collected in the form of tithes, fruits, and money (vid., 2 Kings 23:11; Jeremiah 35:4; Jeremiah 36:10; 1 Chronicles 9:26; Nehemiah 10:38 -40). Consequently we must not think of thirty separate buildings, but have to distribute the thirty cells on the three sides of the court in such a manner that there would be ten on each side, and for the sake of symmetry five in every building, standing both right and left between the gate-building and the corner kitchens. - In Ezekiel 40:19 the size or compass of the outer court is determined. The breadth from the front of the lower gate to the front of the inner court was 100 cubits. השּׁער התּחתּונה, the gate of the lower court, i.e., the outer gate, which was lower than the inner. התּחתּונה is not an adjective agreeing with שׁער, for apart from Isaiah 14:31 שׁער is never construed as a feminine; but it is used as a substantive for חצר התּחתּונה, the lower court, see the comm. on Ezekiel 8:3. מלפני denotes the point from which the measuring started, and לפני החצר the direction in which it proceeded, including also the terminus: "to before the inner court," equivalent to "up to the front of the inner court," The terminal point is more precisely defined by מחוּץ, from without, which Hitzig proposes to erase as needless and unusual, but without any reason. For, inasmuch as the gateways of the inner court were built into the outer court, as is evident from what follows, מחוּץ simply affirms that the measuring only extended to the point where the inner court commenced within the outer, namely, to the front of the porch of the gate, not to the boundary wall of the inner court, as this wall stood at a greater distance from the porch of the outer court-gate by the whole length of the court-gate, that is to say, as much as fifty cubits. From this more precise definition of the terminal point it follows still further, that the starting-point was not the boundary-wall, but the porch of the gate of the outer court; in other words, that the hundred cubits measured by the man did not include the fifty cubits' length of the gate-building, but this is expressly excluded. This is placed beyond all doubt by Ezekiel 40:23 and Ezekiel 40:27, where the distance of the inner court-gate from the gate (of the outer court) is said to have been a hundred cubits. - The closing words הקּדים have been very properly separated by the Masoretes from what precedes, by means of the Athnach, for they are not to be taken in close connection with ויּמד; nor are they to be rendered, "he measured...toward the east and toward the north" for this would be at variance with the statement, "to the front of the inner court." They are rather meant to supply a further appositional definition to the whole of the preceding clause: "he measured from...a hundred cubits," relating to the east side and the north side of the court, and affirm that the measuring took place from gate to gate both on the eastern and on the northern side; in other words, that the measure given, a hundred cubits, applied to the eastern side as well as the northern; and thus they prepare the way for the description of the north gate, which follows from Ezekiel 40:20 onwards.

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