Ezekiel 40:2
In the visions of God brought he me into the land of Israel, and set me on a very high mountain, by which was as the frame of a city on the south.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(2) In the visions of God.—This expression presupposes that what follows is an ideal description rather than an account of anything that ever had or ever should have a literal existence. The same expression has been used in the same sense in regard to Ezekiel 1-3, and again Ezekiel 8-11. It always refers, not to an actual image of existing things, but to a symbolic representation of their substance.

Upon a very high mountain.—Comp. Isaiah 2:2; Micah 4:1. This cannot apply literally to the hill of Moriah, surrounded by greater heights, but is frequently used to mark the spiritual importance of the Temple site. (Comp. Ezekiel 17:22-23; also Revelation 21:10.)

By which.—The margin is more accurate, upon which. This proposition and the one just before translated upon are different in the original, but upon is the proper sense of this one, while the former has the meaning of unto. The structure which the prophet sees is upon the mountain, and is not the city, but in size and with walls, &c., “as the frame of a city;” in fact, it was the greatly enlarged Temple, as the whole following description snows.

On the south.—The prophet, although transported only in vision, has in mind the usual way of entering Palestine from Chaldæa, viz., at the north. Hence he sees the Temple “on the south.”

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.By which - Better as in the margin. (compare Ezekiel 43:12).

As the frame of a city - It is not "a city" which is seen, but a building (the temple and its courts) like a city in its construction, surrounded by massive walls.

On the south - southward, i. e., on the southern slope, just as the temple actually stood on Mount Moriah. The temple was at the northeast corner of the city - part of the western portion of the city being more to the north, but no part directly north of the temple.

2. visions of God—divinely sent visions.

very high mountain—Moriah, very high, as compared with the plains of Babylon, still more so as to its moral elevation (Eze 17:22; 20:40).

by which—Ezekiel coming from the north is set down at (as the Hebrew for "upon" may be translated) Mount Moriah, and sees the city-like frame of the temple stretching southward. In Eze 40:3, "God brings him thither," that is, close up to it, so as to inspect it minutely (compare Re 21:10). In this closing vision, as in the opening one of the book, the divine hand is laid on the prophet, and he is borne away in the visions of God. But the scene there was by the Chebar, Jehovah having forsaken Jerusalem; now it is the mountain of God, Jehovah having returned thither; there, the vision was calculated to inspire terror; here, hope and assurance.

In the visions: by this it appears it was not a corporeal transumption of the prophet: see Ezekiel 8:3.

Brought me: see Ezekiel 40:1.

Into the land of Israel; the land of Canaan was in a scheme represented to him.

Set me upon a very high mountain; placed him in the most convenient situation for prospect. It were vain to inquire what mountain this was, since this is a vision; probably it was Mount Moriah here signified.

Was the frame, the portrait and model,

of a city; a goodly, fair city, or, by way of eminence,

the city, or of that city which fourteen years ago was burnt.

On the south; on the south of the mountain where the prophet was set, and this was the situation of Jerusalem, on whose north was Mount Zion, Psalm 48:2. In the visions of God brought he me into the land of Israel,.... Or by the spirit of prophecy, as the Targum again; that is, being under the impressions of the Spirit of God, it appeared to him, in a visionary way, as if he was really brought out of Chaldea, and set in the land of Israel; see Ezekiel 8:3, as John was carried away in the spirit to see the New Jerusalem, Revelation 21:10,

and set me upon a very high mountain; as John also was, that he might have a view of this large city and temple, which were to fill the whole world: thus Christ was taken up to an exceeding high mountain, to be shown the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them, Matthew 4:8, it is needless to inquire what this mountain was, whether Moriah, on which the temple was formerly built, or any other mountain near Jerusalem, since no material temple is exhibited to be built upon it; nor would such a mountain, especially Zion or Moriah, have been a proper place, if material temple at Jerusalem was here designed, which must have stood upon it; but this is visionary, as well as the city and temple; if it respects anything, it may the strength, the visibility, and exalted state of the church of Christ in the latter day; see Isaiah 2:2,

by, which was as the flame of a city on the south: the prophet in the vision, and as to his view of things coming from Babylon, which lay north of Judea, has a prospect of the south of the city and temple; and, first, there appeared to him, to the south of the mountain on which he stood, the plan of a city; or which was as one, for the city is not described till last; the description is of the temple first; and which for its wall, gates, courts, and towers, looked more like a city than a temple; nothing is more common than for the church of Christ to be compared to a city, especially as in the latter day; see Psalm 87:3.

In the visions of God brought he me into the land of Israel, and set me upon a very high mountain, by which was as the frame of a city on the south.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
2. visions of God] ch. Ezekiel 1:1, Ezekiel 8:3, Ezekiel 11:24.

a very high mountain] The site is the ancient hill of Zion, but it is now exalted above the hills, Isaiah 2:2; Zechariah 14:10, cf. Ezekiel 17:22; Ezekiel 20:40.

by which … frame of a city] lit. upon which was as it were a building of a city, i.e. a city-like, or, citadel-like building. The ref. is to the Temple, with its complex of buildings (Ezekiel 40:3).

on the south] The pre-exile Temple at any rate occupied the southern slope of the hill, and possibly Ezek. recalls this. For “on the south” LXX. read fronting me (neged for negeb).Verse 2. - In the visions of God; i.e. in the clairvoyant state which had been superinduced upon him by the hand of God, and in which he became conscious both of bodily sensations and mental perceptions transcending those that were possible to him in his natural condition. Upon a very high mountain (comp. Matthew 4:8; Luke 4:5). Schroder stands alone in taking אֶל as "beside" rather than "upon," other interpreters considering that אֶל has here the force of עַל, as in Ezekiel 18:6, and Ezekiel 31:12. That this mountain, though resembling the temple hill in Jerusalem, was not that in reality, but "the mountain of the Lord's house" of Messianic times (see on Ezekiel 43:12; and comp. Ezekiel 17:22, 23; Ezekiel 20:40; Isaiah 2:2; Micah 4:6), may be inferred from its greater altitude than that of either Moriah or Zion, which pointed obviously to the loftier spiritual elevation of the new Jerusalem. As the frame of a city on the south. What Ezekiel beheld was not "beside" or "by" (Authorized Version), but "on" the mountain, and was not, as Havernick, Ewald, and Kliefoth suppose, the new city of Jerusalem, though this might with a fair measure of accuracy be described as lying south of Moriah on which the temple stood, but the temple itself, which, with its walls and gates, chambers and courts, rose majestically before the prophet's view, with all the magnificence, and indeed (as the particle כִי. indicates), with the external appearance of a city. That the prophet should speak of it as "on the south" receives sufficient explanation from the circumstance that he himself came from the north, and had it always before him in a southerly direction. The idea is correctly enough expressed by the ἀπέναντι of the LXX., which signifies "over against" to one coming from the north.
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