Ezekiel 40:49
The length of the porch was twenty cubits, and the breadth eleven cubits; and he brought me by the steps whereby they went up to it: and there were pillars by the posts, one on this side, and another on that side.
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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 porch of Solomon's Temple was twenty cubits broad and ten deep 1 Kings 6:3. This corresponds nearly with the dimensions of Ezekiel's porch; the difference in the breadth may be explained by supposing a space of one cubit in front of the porch (as Ezekiel 40:11-12). The circumstance of this porch being approached by stairs of probably ten steps makes this more probable, a small space in front of the porch being naturally required.

Pillars by the posts - literally, to "the posts," meaning that upon the bases (posts) stood shafts (pillars). These shafts were probably in the form of palm-trees Ezekiel 40:16. The porch with its steps must have jutted into the inner court.

49. twenty … eleven cubits—in Solomon's temple (1Ki 6:3) "twenty … ten cubits." The breadth perhaps was ten and a half; 1Ki 6:3 designates the number by the lesser next round number, "ten"; Ezekiel here, by the larger number, "eleven" [Menochius]. The Septuagint reads "twelve."

he brought me by the steps—They were ten in number [Septuagint].

Though learned men dispute the position of the length, whether from east to west, or from north to south, express word determines the dimensions of this length and breadth. The steps: eight, say some, others eleven, and some say ten, others say twelve; but most say eight.

There were pillars: so soon as he was come into the porch, he saw two pillars, that stood off from the side walls, not joined to them, as the posts were, much like Jachin and Boaz in Solomon’s temple.

The length of the porch was twenty cubits,.... From east to west; from the first gate of it to the last; which led directly into the house, or temple:

and the breadth eleven cubits; which may be thus accounted for; two cubits apiece being allowed for each post, and three for each leaf of the door that were hung upon them, and one for the upright post in the middle on which they shut; in all eleven:

and he brought me by the steps whereby they went up to it; as there was an ascent of seven steps to the several gates that led into the outward court; and another of eight steps, which led from that to the gates of the inner court; so there was an ascent from the inner court to the porch of the house, or temple; but how many steps there were is not said. The Septuagint and Arabic versions read ten steps; and the Vulgate Latin version eight steps. According to the Misnah (w), there were twelve in the second temple; so say Jarchi and Kimchi, with whom Josephus (x) agrees. Cocceius thinks there could not be more than two, since the ground of the inward court and temple were continued; but as their number is not given, a determination cannot be made; only it may be observed, that the saints' progress in the knowledge of Christ, and of divine things, and in faith and holiness, is gradual.

And there were pillars by the posts, one on this side, and another on that side; one on the north side, and the other on the south, somewhat like the two pillars of Jachin and Boaz, in Solomon's temple; which some apply to the ordinances of the Gospel saints partake of at their entrance into the Gospel church; but rather they are an emblem of Christ, the supporter of his church, and of all those that aright enter into it; and who, through his grace and strength, become pillars there also, Revelation 3:12, he is their Jachin, who establishes them on himself, the sure foundation; and their Boaz, in whom their strength is, and from whom they have it to exercise grace, discharge duty, and persevere to the end.

(w) Middot, c. 2. sect. 3.((x) De Bello Jud. l. 5. c. 5. sect. 4.

The length of the porch was twenty cubits, and the breadth eleven cubits, and he brought me by the steps whereby they went up to it: and there were pillars by the posts, one on this side, and another on that side.
49. Here “length” is the larger dimension N. to S. (1 Kings 6:3), Fig. 2, hh; and breadth the smaller E. to W.; Fig. 2, bc.

breadth eleven cubits] twelve cubits, as LXX. The number eleven cannot be reconciled with the other measurements. The length of the house E. to W. was 100 cubits, i.e. 5 (wall, Ezekiel 40:48) + 12 (porch, here) + 6 (wall of holy place, Ezekiel 41:1) + 40 (holy place) + 2 (wall of holiest, Ezekiel 41:3) + 20 (holiest, Ezekiel 40:4) + 6 (wall, Ezekiel 40:5) + 4 (annexe, Ezekiel 40:5) + 5 (outer wall of annexe, Ezekiel 40:9) = 100.

and … by the steps whereby] and by ten steps they went up to it; so LXX. Beside the posts stood two pillars, one on either side of the entrance. These would narrow in some measure the entrance of 14 cubits. These pillars correspond to the Jachin and Boaz of Solomon’s temple (1 Kings 7:21).

Verse 49. - Like the gates into the courts, the temple porch was entered by steps, of which the number is not stated, though, after the LXX., it is usually assumed to have been ten, Hengstenberg suggesting fourteen. The last particular noted, that there were pillars by the posts, has been explained to signify that upon the posts, or bases, stood shafts or pillars (Currey), or with more probability that by or near the pillars rose columns (Keil, Kliefoth). The height of these is not given, though Hengstenberg again finds it in the elevation of the porch of Solomon's temple - a hundred and twenty cubits (2 Chronicles 3:4). Their exact position is not stated; but they were probably, like Jachin and Boaz in the Solomonic temple, stationed one on each side of the steps.

Ezekiel 40:49The Temple-Porch

(see Plate III A). The measuring angel conducts the prophet still farther to the porch of the temple, and measures its breadth and length. - Ezekiel 40:48. And he led me to the porch of the house, and measured the pillar of the porch, five cubits on this side and five cubits on that side; and the breadth of the gate, three cubits on this side and three cubits on that side. Ezekiel 40:49. The length of the porch was twenty cubits, and the breadth eleven cubits, and that by the steps by which one went up; and columns were by the pillars, one on this side and one on that side. - הבּית is the temple in the more restricted sense of the word, the temple-house, as in 1 Kings 6:2, etc.; and אלם, the porch before the entrance into the holy place (cf. 1 Kings 6:3). The measurements in Ezekiel 40:48 and Ezekiel 40:49, which are apparently irreconcilable with one another, led the lxx to the adoption of arbitrary interpolations and conjectures in Ezekiel 40:49, in accordance with which Bttcher, Hitzig, and others have made corrections in the text, which have a plausible justification in the many artificial and for the most part mistaken interpretations that have been given of the text. The measures in Ezekiel 40:49 are perfectly plain, namely, the length of the porch twenty cubits, and the breadth eleven cubits; and there is no question that these measurements are to be understood in the clear, that is to say, as referring to the internal space, excluding the side-walls, as in the case of the holy place, the most holy place, and the inner court. The only question is whether the length signifies the dimension from east to west, i.e., the distance which had to be traversed on entering the temple, and therefore the breadth, the extent from north to south; or whether we are to understand by the length the larger dimension, and by the breadth the smaller, in which case the measurement from north to south, which formed the breadth of the house, would be designated the length of the porch, and that from east to west the breadth. Nearly all the commentators have decided in favour of the latter view, because, in the porch of Solomon's temple, the length of twenty cubits was measured according to the breadth of the house. But the fact has been overlooked, that in 1 Kings 6:3 the length given is more precisely defined by the clause, "in front of the breadth of the house." There is no such definition here, and the analogy of the building of Solomon's temple is not sufficient in itself to warrant our regarding the construction of the porch in the temple seen by Ezekiel as being precisely the same; since it was only in the essential portions, the form of which was of symbolical significance (the holy place and the most holy), that this picture of a temple resembled the temple of Solomon, whereas in those which were less essential it differed from that temple in various ways. At the very outset, therefore, the more probable assumption appears to be, that just as in the case of the holy place and the holy of holies, so also in that of the porch, we are to understand by the length, the distance to be traversed (from east to west), and by the breadth, the extension on either side (i.e., from south to north).

If, then, we understand the measurements in Ezekiel 40:49 in this way, the measures given in Ezekiel 40:48 may also be explained without any alterations in the text. The measuring of the pillar of the porch on either side, and of the gate on this side and that (Ezekiel 40:48), is sufficient of itself to lead to the conclusion that the front turned toward a person entering is the breadth from south to north. This breadth presented to the eye a pillar on this side and one on that - two pillars, therefore, each five cubits broad (c c), and a breadth of gate of three cubits on this side and three on that, six cubits in all (b), that is to say, a total breadth (k-k) of 5 + 3 + 3 + 5 equals 16 cubits. The only thing that can surprise one here is the manner in which the breadth of the gate is defined: three cubits on this side and that, instead of simply six cubits. But the only reason in all probability is, that the pillars on either side are mentioned just before, and the gate of six cubits' breadth consisted of two halves, which had their hinges fastened to the adjoining pillars, so that each half was measured by itself from the pillar to which it was attached. The breadth of front mentioned, viz., sixteen cubits, agrees very well with the breadth of the porch inside, i.e., eleven cubits (m-m), for it allows a thickness of two cubits and a half for each side wall (a), and this was sufficient for the walls of a porch. The pillars, which were five cubits broad on the outer face, were therefore only half that breadth (2 1/2 cubits) in the inner side within the porch, the other two cubits and a half forming the side wall. All the particulars given in Ezekiel 40:48 may be explained in this way without any artifice, and yield a result the proportions of which are in harmony with those of the entire building. For the porch, with an external breadth of sixteen cubits, was half as broad as the house, which had a breadth of twenty cubits in the clear, and side walls of six cubits in thickness (Ezekiel 41:5), so that when measured on the outside it was 6 + 20 + 6 equals 32 cubits broad. The breadth of the interior also is apparently perfectly appropriate, as the porch was not intended either for the reception of vessels or for the abode of individuals, but was a simple erection in front of the entrance into the holy place, the door of which (d) was ten cubits broad (Ezekiel 41:2), that is to say, half a cubit narrower on either side than the porch-way leading to it. And lastly, the length of the porch was also in good proportion to the holy place, which followed the porch; the porch being twenty cubits long, and the holy place forty cubits. If we add to this the front wall, with a thickness of two cubits and a half, corresponding to that of the side walls, we obtain an external length of twenty-two cubits and a half for the porch. In front were the steps by which one went up to the porch (l). It is generally supposed that there were ten steps, the אשׁר after בּמּעלות being changed into עשׂר (ten) after the example of the lxx. But however this alteration may commend itself when the facts of the case are considered, ten steps in front of the porch answering very well to the eight steps before the gateway of the inner court, and to the seven steps in front of the gateway of the outer court, it is not absolutely necessary, and in all probability is merely a conjecture of the Seventy, who did not know what to do with אשׁר, and possibly it is not even correct (see at Ezekiel 41:8). The words וּבמּעלות אשׁר can be attached without difficulty to the preceding account of the breadth: "the breadth was eleven cubits, and that at the steps by which they went up to it," i.e., when measured on the side on which the flight of steps stood. If the words are taken in this way, they serve to remove all doubt as to the side which is designated as the breadth, with special reference to the fact that the porch of Solomon's temple was constructed in a different manner. The number of steps, therefore, is not given, as was also the case with the east gate of the outer court (Ezekiel 40:6), because it was of no essential importance in relation to the entire building. The last statement, "and there were columns by the pillars on this side and on that," is free from difficulty, although there is also a difference of opinion among the commentators as to the position of these columns. האילים points back to אל אלם (Ezekiel 40:48). The preposition אל does not imply that the columns stood close to the pillars, and had the form of half-columns, but simply that they stood near the pillars (see Plate III K), like the columns Jachin and Boaz in Solomon's temple, to which they correspond.

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