And within were hooks, an hand broad, fastened round about: and on the tables was the flesh of the offering.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Hooks.—This is a word of doubtful meaning, found elsewhere only in Psalm 68:13, where it is translated pots. It certainly designates something “within” the porch, and therefore could not have been anything attached to the tables which were “without.” Our translators, following the ancient Chaldee paraphrast, have probably given the true sense, hooks, upon which the flesh of the victims was hung after it had been prepared upon the tables.Ezekiel 40:43. Within were hooks, a hand broad, fastened round about — Within the gate, or entrance, on the north side of the inner court, were iron hooks, for the hanging up the beasts that were to be sacrificed, in order to the flaying off their skins. And upon the tables was the flesh, &c. — Or, they laid the flesh of the offering; upon the marble tables the priests laid the flesh of the slain beasts, which they cut in pieces, and fitted for the altar: see Leviticus 1:6.
Hooks; learned conjectures here, as in many other places, perplex more than explain. Hooks, on which the slaughtered sacrifice might be hanged. while they prepared it further, were needful, and the word imports such iron hooks. It is probable that there might be two hooks of iron fastened to or wrought out, where the plate was so broad, and therefore called hooks in the plural. Fastened to walls, no doubt, near these tables.
Upon the tables was the flesh of the offering; they were careful to keep the holy flesh from lying any where that might look like common ground. It is like that the sacrifice was fastened to these hooks, and rested on these stone tables, while the priests cut them into their pieces. Ezekiel 40:38, on which they were hung, when they were flayed, or the skin took off: in the slaughter house in the second temple, to the north of the altar, there were eight low stone pillars, upon which were boards of cedar foursquare, and iron hooks were fixed in them; and there were three rows of them in each, on which they hung the sacrifices (s), which were one above another; on the lowest they hung a lamb, on the middlemost a ram, and on the highest a bullock; these hooks stood out a hand's breadth from the pillars (t): such like iron hooks were fixed on the walls and pillars in the court, where they slew the passover lamb, on which they hung it, and skinned it (u): this may denote either, as Cocceius suggests, the exaltation of Christ, who suffered and was raised for our justification; or rather the lifting of him up, and holding him forth to view, as a suffering Saviour, in the ministry of the word, and in the ordinance of the supper.
And upon the tables was the flesh of the offering: here another word is used, and may design that part of the flesh of the sin offering that was eaten by the priest, Leviticus 6:25 so that these tables were feasting tables also; as the table of the Lord, or the ordinance of the Lord's supper, is a feast of fat things, a feast of love; a table where the flesh of Christ is laid, which is meat indeed, and only to be fed upon by those that are made kings and priests unto God. Now these tables being many show that there will be a large number of Gospel churches everywhere; and wherever they are there will be tables: the ordinance of the Lord's supper will be celebrated in the four parts of the world; at present it is chiefly in the northern part, and where these tables were seen in this vision.And within were hooks, an hand broad, fastened round about: and upon the tables was the flesh of the offering.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)43. within were hooks] The word rendered hooks occurs in the sense of cattlepens (Psalm 68:14), a meaning precluded here by the dimension, a handbreadth. Such hooks fitted up “within,” i.e. in the porch, might be used for hanging the carcases upon in order to flay them (Targ.). The meaning “hooks” is not certain. LXX. assumes that the stone tables are still referred to and points differently, reading lip or border for “hooks:” “and they shall have a border of hewn stone inwards round about of a span broad.” Cf. Ezekiel 43:13; Ezekiel 43:17.
flesh of the offering] Except in a clause of Ezekiel 20:28 (wanting in LXX.) the word “offering” is not used by Ezek. The present clause seems to say little. LXX. reads: “and over the tables above (they shall have) coverings, to protect them from the wet and from the heat”—which has a suspicious resemblance to Isaiah 4:6.
The Ezekiel 40:38-43 are no doubt in some disorder. They suggest several questions not easily settled. Upon the whole it is improbable that slaughtering took place at more than one gate. The word “northwards” indeed (Ezekiel 40:40) seems decisive of this point. Either the N. gate is intended, or the N. side of the E. gate, no other gate having a N. side. There are several things in favour of the N. gate:
(1) In Ezekiel 40:35-37 the prophet was at the N. inner gate, and no intimation is given that he was transported to another gate in Ezekiel 40:38. (2) In the Law slaughtering is ordered to be performed on the N. side of the altar in the case of the burnt, sin and trespass offerings (Leviticus 1:11; Leviticus 4:24; Leviticus 4:29; Leviticus 4:33; Leviticus 6:25; Leviticus 7:2; Leviticus 14:13); no injunction is given in the case of the peace-offering (Ezekiel 3:2; Ezekiel 3:8; Ezekiel 3:13). It is probable that the prophet’s legislation and that of the Levitical books will be in harmony. (3) In ch. Ezekiel 8:5 the “altar-gate” is certainly the N. gate. (4) The E. gate, both inner and outer, was to be kept shut except on sabbaths and new moons (Ezekiel 46:1), or on other occasions when the prince wished to offer a freewill offering (Ezekiel 46:12). In favour of the E. gate there is the supposed meaning of Ezekiel 40:40; but the rendering, “on the N. of one going up to the entry,” is hardly tenable (Ezekiel 40:40). Ew. indeed for “gates” Ezekiel 40:38 would read “east gate”—a purely arbitrary amendment. And altogether unhappy is his proposal to read for without (michuçah), Ezekiel 40:40, “runnel” (meruçah)—the verb to “run” being never used of the running of water or fluids.Verse 43. - The hooks. The word שְׁפַתַּיִם occurs again only in Psalm 68:13, where it signifies "sheepfolds," or "stalls;" its older form (מִשְׁפְתַיִם) appearing in Genesis 49:14 and Judges 5:16. As this sense is unsuitable, recourse must be had to its derivation (from שָׁפַת, "to put, set, or fix"), which suggests as its import here either, as Ewald, Kliefoth, Hengstenberg, Havernick, and Smend, following the LXX. and Vulgate, prefer, "ledges," or "border guards," on the edge of the tables, to keep the instruments or flesh from falling off; or, as Kimchi, Gesenius, Furst, Keil, Schroder, and Plumptre, after the Chaldean paraphrast, explain, "pegs" fastened in the wall for hanging the slaughtered caresses before they were flayed. In favor of the first meaning stand the facts that the second clause of this verse speaks of" tables," not of "walls," and that the measure of the shephataim is one of breadth rather than of length; against it are the considerations that the dual form, shephataim, fits better to a forked peg than to a double border, and that the shephataim are stated to have been fastened "in the house" (ba-baith), which again suits the idea of a peg fastened in the outer wall of the porch, rather than of a border fixed upon a table. The last clause of this verse is rendered by Ewald, after the LXX., "and over the tables" (obviously those standing outside of the porch) "were covers to protect them from rain and from drought;" and it is conceivable that coverings might have been advantageous for both the wooden tables and the officiating priests; only the Hebrew must be changed before it can yield this rendering.
Preparation of Gog and his army for the invasion of the restored land of Israel. - Ezekiel 38:1. And the word of Jehovah came to me, saying, Ezekiel 38:2. Son of man, set thy face toward Gog in the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal, and prophesy against him, Ezekiel 38:3. And say, Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, Behold, I will deal with thee, Gog, thou prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal, Ezekiel 38:4. And will mislead thee, and will put rings in thy jaws, and lead thee out, and all thine army, horses, and riders, all clothed in perfect beauty, a great assembly, with buckler and shield, all wielding swords; Ezekiel 38:5. Persian, Ethiopian, and Libyan with them, all of them with shield and helmet; Ezekiel 38:6. Gomer and all his hosts, the house of Togarmah in the uttermost north with all his hosts; many peoples with thee. Ezekiel 38:7. Be prepared and make ready, thou and all thine assembly, who have assembled together to thee, and be thou their guard. Ezekiel 38:8. After many days shalt thou be visited, at the end of the years shalt thou come into the land, which is brought back from the sword, gathered out of many peoples, upon the mountains of Israel, which were constantly laid waste, but now it is brought out of the nations, and they dwell together in safety; Ezekiel 38:9. And thou shalt come up, come like a storm, like a cloud to cover the land, thou and all thy hosts and many peoples with thee. - Ezekiel 38:1 and Ezekiel 38:2. Command to prophesy against God. גּוג, Gog, the name of the prince against whom the prophecy is directed, is probably a name which Ezekiel has arbitrarily formed from the name of the country, Magog; although Gog does occur in 1 Chronicles 5:4 as the name of a Reubenite, of whom nothing further is known. The construction גּוג ארץ מגוג, Gog of the land of Magog, is an abbreviated expression for "Gog from the land of Magog;" and 'ארץ מג is not to be taken in connection with שׂים פּניך, as the local object ("toward Gog, to the land of Magog"), as Ewald and Hvernick would render it; since it would be very difficult in that case to explain the fact that גּוג is afterwards resumed in the apposition 'נשׂיא וגו.
מגוג, Magog, is the name of a people mentioned in Genesis 10:2 as descended from Japhet, according to the early Jewish and traditional explanation, the great Scythian people; and here also it is the name of a people, and is written with the article (המגוג), to mark the people as one well known from the time of Genesis, and therefore properly the land of the Magog (-people). Gog is still further described as the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal. It is true that Ewald follows Aquila, the Targum, and Jerome, and connects ראשׁ with נשׂיא as an appellative in the sense of princeps capitis, chief prince. But the argument used in support of this explanation, namely, that there is no people of the name of Rosh mentioned either in the Old Testament or by Josephus, is a very weak one; whilst, on the other hand, the appellative rendering, though possible, no doubt, after the analogy of הכּהן ראשׁ in 1 Chronicles 27:5, is by no means probable, for the simple reason that the נשׂיא occurs again in Ezekiel 38:3 and Ezekiel 39:1, and in such repetitions circumstantial titles are generally abbreviated. The Byzantine and Arabic writers frequently mention a people called ̔Ρῶς, Arab. Ru equals s, dwelling in the country of the Taurus, and reckoned among the Scythian tribes (for the passages, see Ges. Thesaurus, p. 1253), so that there is no reason to question the existence of a people known by the name of Rosh; even though the attempt of Bochart to find a trace of such a people in the ̔Ρωξαλᾶνοι (Ptol. iii. 5) and Roxalani (Plin. h. n. iv. 12), by explaining this name as formed from a combination of Rhos (Rhox) and Alani, is just as doubtful as the conjecture, founded upon the investigations of Frhn (Ibn Foszlan, u. a. Araber Berichte ber die Russen lterer Zeit, St. Petersburg 1823), that the name of the Russians is connected with this ̔Ρῶς, Arab. ru equals s, and our ראשׁ. Meshech and Tubal (as in Ezekiel 27:13 and Ezekiel 32:26), the Moschi and Tibareni of classical writers (see the comm. on Genesis 10:2), dwelt, according to the passage before us, in the neighbourhood of Magog. There were also found in the army of Gog, according to Ezekiel 38:5, Pharas (Persians), Cush, and Phut (Ethiopians and Libyans, see the comm. on Ezekiel 30:5 and Ezekiel 27:10), and, according to Ezekiel 38:6, Gomer and the house of Togarmah. From a comparison of this list with Genesis 10:2, Kliefoth draws the conclusion that Ezekiel omits all the peoples mentioned in Genesis 10:2 as belonging to the family of Japhet, who had come into historical notice in his time, or have done so since, namely, the Medes, Greeks, and Thracians; whilst, on the other hand, he mentions all the peoples enumerated, who have never yet appeared upon the stage of history. But this remark is out of place, for the simple reason that Ezekiel also omits the Japhetic tribes of Ashkenaz and Riphath (Genesis 10:3), and still more from the fact that he notices not only the פּרס, or Persians, who were probably related to the מדי, but also the Hamitic peoples Cush and Phut, two African families. Consequently the army of Gog consisted not only of wild Japhetic tribes, who had not yet attained historical importance, but of Hamitic tribes also, that is to say, of peoples living at the extreme north (ירכּתי צפון, Ezekiel 38:6) and east (Persians) and south (Ethiopians), i.e., on the borders of the then known world. These are all summoned by Gog, and gathered together for an attack upon the people of God. This points to a time when their former foes, Ammon, Moab, Edom, Philistines, and Syrians, and the old imperial powers, Egypt, Asshur, Babel, Javan, will all have passed away from the stage of history, and the people of God will stand in the centre of the historical life of the world, and will have spread so widely over the earth, that its foes will only be found on the borders of the civilised world (compare Revelation 20:8).
Ezekiel 38:3-9 contain in general terms the determinate counsel of God concerning Gog. - Ezekiel 38:3-6. Jehovah is about to mislead Gog to a crusade against His people Israel, and summons him to prepare for the invasion of the restored land of Israel. The announcement of the purpose for which Jehovah will make use of Gog and his army, and the summons addressed to him to make ready, form two strophes, which are clearly marked by the similarity of the conclusion in Ezekiel 38:6 and Ezekiel 38:9. - Ezekiel 38:3. God will deal with Gog, to sanctify Himself upon him by means of judgment (cf. Ezekiel 38:10). He therefore misleads him to an attack upon the people of Israel. שׁובב, an intensive form from שׁוּב, may signify, as vox media, to cause to return (Ezekiel 39:27), and to cause to turn away, to lead away from the right road or goal, to lead astray (Isaiah 47:10). Here and in Ezekiel 39:2 it means to lead or bring away from his previous attitude, i.e., to mislead or seduce, in the sense of enticing to a dangerous enterprise; according to which the Chaldee has rendered it correctly, so far as the actual sense is concerned, אשׁדלנּך, alliciam te. In the words, "I place rings in thy jaws" (cf. Ezekiel 29:4), Gog is represented as an unmanageable beast, which is compelled to follow its leader (cf. Isaiah 37:29); and the thought is thereby expressed, that Gog is compelled to obey the power of God against his will. הוציא, to lead him away from his land, or natural soil. The passage in Revelation 20:8, "to deceive the nations (πλανῆσαι τὰ ἔθνη), Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle," corresponds to these words so far as the material sense is concerned; with this exception, that Satan is mentioned as the seducer of the nations in the Apocalypse, whereas Ezekiel gives prominence to the leading of God, which controls the manifestations even of evil, "so that these two passages stand in the same relation to one another as 2 Samuel 24:1 and 1 Chronicles 21:1" (Hv.). In Ezekiel 38:4-6 the army is depicted as one splendidly equipped and very numerous. For לבשׁי מכלול, see the comm. on Ezekiel 23:12, where the Assyrian satraps are so described. קהל , as in Ezekiel 17:17. The words buckler and shield are loosely appended in the heat of the discourse, without any logical subordination to what precedes. Besides the defensive arms, the greater and smaller shield, they carried swords as weapons of offence. In the case of the nations in Ezekiel 38:5, only the shield and helmet are mentioned as their equipment, for the sake of variation, as in Ezekiel 27:10; and in Ezekiel 38:6 two other nations of the extreme north with their hosts are added. Gomer: the Cimmerians; and the house of Togarmah: the Armenians (see the comm. on Ezekiel 27:14). For אגפּים, see the comm. on Ezekiel 12:14. The description is finally rounded off with עמּים רבּים . In Ezekiel 38:7, the infin. abs. Niphal הכּון, which occurs nowhere else except in Amos 4:12, is used emphatically in the place of the imperative. The repetition of the same verb, though in the imperative Hiphil, equip, i.e., make ready, sc. everything necessary (cf. Ezekiel 7:14), also serves to strengthen the thought. Be thou to them למשׁמר, for heed, or watch, i.e., as abstr. pro concr., one who gives heed to them, keeps watch over them (cf. Job 7:12 and Nehemiah 4:3, Nehemiah 4:16), in actual fact their leader.
Ezekiel 38:8 and Ezekiel 38:9 indicate for what Gog was to hold himself ready. The first clause reminds so strongly of מרוב ימים in Isaiah 24:22, that the play upon this passage cannot possibly be mistaken; so that Ezekiel uses the words in the same sense as Isaiah, though Hvernick is wrong in supposing that הפּקד is used in the sense of being missed or wanting, i.e., of perishing. The word never has the latter meaning; and to be missed does not suit the context either here or in Isaiah, where יפּקד means to be visited, i.e., brought to punishment. And here also this meaning, visitari (Vulg.), is to be retained, and that in the sense of a penal visitation. The objection raised, namely, that there is no reference to punishment here, but that this is first mentioned in Ezekiel 38:16 or 18, loses all its force if we bear in mind that visiting is a more general idea than punishing; and the visitation consisted in the fact of God's leading Gog to invade the land of Israel, that He might sanctify Himself upon him by judgment. This might very fittingly be here announced, and it also applies to the parallel clause which follows: thou wilt come into the land, etc., with which the explanation commences of the way in which God would visit him. The only other meaning which could also answer to the parallelism of the clauses, viz., to be commanded, to receive command (Hitzig and Kliefoth), is neither sustained by the usage of the language, nor in accordance with the context. In the passages quoted in support of this, viz., Nehemiah 7:1 and Nehemiah 12:44, נפקד merely signifies to be charged with the oversight of a thing; and it never means only to receive command to do anything. Moreover, Gog has already been appointed leader of the army in v.7, and therefore is not "to be placed in the supreme command" for the first time after many days. מיּמים רבּים, after many days, i.e., after a long time (cf. Joshua 23:1), is not indeed equivalent in itself to בּאחרית השּׁנים, but signifies merely the lapse of a lengthened period; yet this is defined here as occurring in the אחרית השּׁנים. - אחרית השּׁנים, equivalent to אחרית היּמים (Ezekiel 38:16), is the end of days, the last time, not the future generally, but the final future, the Messianic time of the completing of the kingdom of God (see the comm. on Genesis 49:1). This meaning is also applicable here. For Gog is to come up to the mountains of Israel, which have been laid waste תּמיד, continually, i.e., for a long time, but are now inhabited again. Although, for example, תּמיד signifies a period of time relatively long, it evidently indicates a longer period than the seventy or fifty years' desolation of the land during the Babylonian captivity; more especially if we take it in connection with the preceding ad following statements, to the effect that Gog will come into the land, which has been brought back from the sword and gathered out of many peoples. These predicates show that in ארץ the idea of the population of the land is the predominant one; for this alone could be gathered out of many nations, and also brought back from the sword, i.e., not from the consequences of the calamity of war, viz., exile (Rosenmller), but restored from being slain and exiled by the sword of the enemy. משׁובבת, passive participle of the Pilel שׁובב, to restore (cf. Isaiah 58:12); not turned away from the sword, i.e., in no expectation of war (Hitzig), which does not answer to the parallel clause, and cannot be sustained by Micah 2:8. מעמּים , gathered out of many peoples, points also beyond the Babylonian captivity to the dispersion of Israel in all the world, which did not take place till the second destruction of Jerusalem, and shows that תּמיד denotes a much longer devastation of the land than the Chaldean devastation was. והיא introduces a circumstantial clause; and היא points back to ארץ, i.e., to the inhabitants of the land. These are now brought out of the nations, i.e., at the time when Gog invades the land, and are dwelling in their own land upon the mountains of Israel in untroubled security. עלה signifies the advance of an enemy, as in Isaiah 7:1, etc. שׁואה, a tempest, as in Proverbs 1:27, from שׁאה, to roar. The comparison to a cloud is limited to the covering; but this does not alter the signification of the cloud as a figurative representation of severe calamity.
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