Ezekiel 40:6
Then came he unto the gate which looketh toward the east, and went up the stairs thereof, and measured the threshold of the gate, which was one reed broad; and the other threshold of the gate, which was one reed broad.
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Ezekiel 40:6-16 contain a description of the eastern gate, or rather, gate-building of the Temple, by which one entered from the precincts into the outer court. The other gates were like it, but this is described first, because it had the pre-eminence. It looked straight to the door of the Temple itself; it was by this that the glory of the Lord was afterwards seen to enter His house (Ezekiel 43:1); and in consequence this gate was to be kept shut, except for the prince (Ezekiel 44:2-3). The accompanying plan may be a help in understanding the description. Notwithstanding the minuteness of detail in the text, a few points remain undetermined; but the plan represents the main features correctly, and gives the most probable view of the parts that are not entirely settled.

(6) The stairs.—These steps to the porch were seven in number (Ezekiel 40:22; Ezekiel 40:26) for the north and south gates, and therefore probably also for this. They were entirely outside of the threshold, and hence are not reckoned in the dimensions of the gate-building. (See plan, A.)

One reed broad.—That is, from east to west (see plan, T). This was just the thickness of the enclosing wall, w (Ezekiel 40:5). The text of this verse becomes clearer by omitting the words in italics which are not in the original; also throughout the description it is better to omit the inserted words was and were, since the various things mentioned are all dependent upon measured.

The other threshold.—This is the threshold at the opposite, or inner end of the gate-building (T′). It is mentioned here to bring out the fact that the two were alike, but is spoken of again in its place in Ezekiel 40:7.

(7) Little chamber.—Rather, guard-chamber, and so throughout this passage. The original word is quite different from that translated “chamber” in Ezekiel 40:17, and is used in 1Kings 14:28; 2Chronicles 12:11 in the sense of guard-chamber. These rooms were only ten feet square, but there were three of them (Ezekiel 40:10) on each side of the entrance-way. They were for sentries who were to guard against the entrance of any improper person or thing (see plan, G). These guard-rooms were separated by spaces (s) one cubit narrower than themselves, which probably formed a part of the solid wall, and the ward-rooms were therefore in reality large niches in the wall.

(8) The porch of the gate within.—The same expression as in the previous verse, and indicates a porch or vestibule to the gateway on the inner or Temple side. Its width from east to west was the same as that of the guard-rooms, added to the thickness of the porch-walls, and was probably equal also to the space occupied by the steps leading to the other end of the gateway (P).

(9) Eight cubits.—This is often considered the measurement of the porch from north to south. A more probable suggestion is that this is the same measurement as in Ezekiel 40:8, but is now the external instead of the internal length. In this case the porch must be considered as built independently of the gateway proper, and having short return walls on the east and west of a cubit each. In this way the whole length of the gateway (including the porch and its “posts “), as given in Ezekiel 40:15, exactly agrees with the details. It is accordingly so drawn on the plan.

(10) The posts.—This verse gives the further information about the guard-chambers of Ezekiel 40:7, that they were all alike, and also about the “posts” of Ezekiel 40:9, that they were alike (see plan, c). The supposition, therefore, that there was a colonnade inside the gateway is quite uncalled for. Such an arrangement would have seriously obstructed the passage-way, and is hardly supposable in view of the height of the columns mentioned in Ezekiel 40:14.

(11) The breadth of the entry of the gate.—This is the measurement of the clear space between the sides of the gate, and, according to the length of the cubit adopted, was 16½ feet.

The length of the gate, thirteen cubits.—This is a difficult expression, and has been variously explained. It is now generally understood of that part of the gateway which was roofed over, including the threshold of six cubits, and the first pair of guard-chambers of six cubits more, together with one cubit of the space or wall between these guard-chambers and the next. The reason for extending it over this last cubit was doubtless that the width was otherwise too great (10 cubits + 6 × 2 = 22) to span with the roof without support. It was therefore necessary to carry it one cubit further. In the plan the part supposed to be thus roofed is marked by lines (RR). Whether there was a corresponding roofing at the other end of the gateway does not appear, but that some at least of the guard-chambers were roofed is certain from Ezekiel 40:13.

(12) The space.—The guard-chambers themselves were just six cubits square (Ezekiel 40:7), but in front of each was a space (a) of one cubit projecting into the passage way. This must have been separated by some sort of railing from the passage-way itself, although there is no mention of this. The object of this space was evidently to allow the guard to command a view of the passage-way, as they could not have done if kept behind the line of its walls.

(13) From the roof . . . . to the roof.—This is a measurement across the gateway from north to south. The passage-way was ten cubits, each guard- chamber six, and an allowance of a cubit and a half for the outer wall will exactly make up the sum of “five and twenty cubits” (10 + 2 × (6 + 1½) = 25).

Door against door.—The immediate object of this clause is to mark the direction in which the above measurement was taken; but besides this, it shows that there were doors to the guard-rooms. These doors were presumably in the outer wall to allow the watch. men free passage between the court and their posts of duty. There is no mention of an inner wall between these chambers and the passage-way, and it is more probable that there was none. If any existed its thickness must be deducted from that given above for the outer wall.

(14) He made also posts of threescore cubits.—The word “made” instead of measure correctly represents the original, and the change is for the obvious reason that columns of the height mentioned could not be directly measured by the reed. Made is therefore used in the sense of determined or fixed, although we are not told by what method of calculation.

The height of these columns, sixty cubits, though only half that given in 2Chronicles 3:4 as the height of the porch of Solomon’s Temple, is sufficient to remind us of the Egyptian custom of placing obelisks before the doors of their temples. The height is also very great in proportion to the size of the columns, which were but two cubits square (Ezekiel 40:9). Probably the columns were engaged with the wall as far as the height of the porch, as the original word for “posts” seems to indicate, and as the dimensions of the gateway suggest. Thus buttressed the size would be sufficient for stability. It is to be remembered, however, that as in the case of the wheels in Ezekiel 1:16-17, we are here studying only a vision, not an actual structure.

Even unto the post of the court round about the gate.—This is scarcely intelligible, and even the original is obscure: lit., “And unto the post the court the gate round about;” and the proper translation seems to be, “the court (extended) to the column and (was) round about the gate.” The object is to show that the court reached quite to the gate-building and encircled it on three sides, so that the gate structure projected inwards from the line of the wall and terminated in the columns, beyond which, and on each side of the gate, the outer court of the Temple began.

(15) Fifty cubits.—The length of the gate-building was just twice its breadth, and was made up as follows: outer threshold, 6 cubits; three guard-rooms, each 6 cubits = 18; two “spaces” between these, each 5 cubits = 10; inner threshold, 6 cubits; porch, 8 cubits; columns, 2 cubits (6 + 18 + 10 + 6 + 8 + 2 = 50).

(16) Narrow windows.—This is an abbreviated form of the expression used in 1Kings 6:4 of the windows in Solomon’s Temple. Narrow should be closed, as in the margin; the windows had over them lattice-work which could not be opened. ‘It is difficult to understand the situation of these windows on account of the uncertainty in the meaning of the words translated “their posts” and “the arches.” The former, from its use in 1Kings 6:31, and also in Ezekiel 41:3, of the “side posts” of the door into the Holy of Holies, must mean the jambs or parts of the wall to which the doors were attached; and the latter indicates some projection of the wall which is most probably to be explained of the “spaces” between the guard-chambers and at the sides of the inner threshold. The meaning of the whole verse will then be, that within the gateway windows were seen on both sides, both at the side of the doors leading from the court to the guard-chambers, and also in the parts of the wall projecting between the guard-chambers. On the plan these are marked (w).

Upon each post were palm trees.—The palm had been largely used in the carving of Solomon’s Temple (1Kings 6:29; 1Kings 6:32; 1Kings 6:35).

Ezekiel 40:6-8. Then came he unto the gate, &c. — After having passed the court of the Gentiles, he came to the eastern gate, or the court of Israel. For the temple being placed toward the west part of the holy mountain, as the holy of holies was at the west end of the temple, this was the first gate that led to it, and it opened into the court of the people: see Ezekiel 40:19. It is called the king’s gate, (1 Chronicles 9:18,) as being built by King Solomon. And went up the stairs thereof, &c. — He went up the stairs that he might more easily measure the upper lintel, as well as the lower threshold. The word סŠ, translated threshold, signifies the lintel, or upper part of the door-case, as well as the threshold properly so called, or the lower part of it. Some understand the word here of the two side-posts, in which sense it is used Amos 9:1. And every little chamber, &c. — Along the wall of the porch were chambers, three on each side, Ezekiel 40:10; these the angel measured, and they were of equal dimensions, each one reed square, with a passage of five cubits breadth between them. And the threshold of the gate, &c., was one reed — The inward threshold at the further end of the porch, looking into the first court, was of the same size with the outward one, Ezekiel 40:6. He measured also — Or, he even measured; the porch of the gate within — The words seem to be a repetition of what was said in the latter part of Ezekiel 40:7.

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 east gate-building. See Plan III.

Ezekiel 40:6

Stairs - Seven in number Ezekiel 40:22. Each threshold of the gate (was) one reed broad (or 9 ft.). The measurements are being taken from East to west, i. e., in depth.

6. the stairs—seven in number (Eze 40:26).

threshold—the sill [Fairbairn].

other threshold—Fairbairn considers there is but one threshold, and translates, "even the one threshold, one rod broad." But there is another threshold mentioned in Eze 40:7. The two thresholds here seem to be the upper and the lower.

Then, when the prophet had well observed the outer wall and the measuring thereof,

came he, the man with the measuring reed, i.e. Christ.

The gate, either of one of the inner walls, or of the temple itself.

Went up the stairs thereof: till he was got up, he could not measure the threshold, which was laid at the top of the stairs; and these were ten if the measurer be supposed in the gate of the house, or eight if in the gate of the court of the priests, or seven if in the court of Israel, and each stair half a cubit in height, too high at lowest for him to take the measure of the threshold, if he did not go up the stairs.

Measured the threshold; it is like he measured the lower threshold first, as next hand.

The other threshold, i.e. the upper threshold, or lintel of the gate, which was of equal dimensions with the lower, a reed broad, or three yards and three inches broad, or thick.

Then came he unto the gate which looketh toward the east,.... Or, "whose face is the way to the east" (r); to the east of the house or temple; not to the eastern gate of the wall about the house; but to the eastern gate of the outward court; see Ezekiel 40:20, for the man came from the wall he had measured unto this gate; which, with the other gates after mentioned, spiritually design Christ himself, who is the way, door, and gate, John 14:6 and this eastern gate more especially, where the prince sat, Ezekiel 44:3, and which led into the outward court; and over against which was another that led into the inner court, and so straight on to the holy of holies, at the west end of the house. Christ and faith in him, and a profession of him, are the way into the outward visible church, and to the external ordinances of it, baptism and the Lord's supper; he is also the way or gate that leads into the inner court, or into spiritual communion and fellowship with God; he is the way of access to the Father, and through whom saints have communion with him; for there is no coming to him, nor enjoyment of him, but through a mediator; and Christ is he, and he only, by whom we can draw nigh to God, have audience of him, and acceptance with him: he is the gate also that leads to eternal life; the way to heaven and happiness lies through his person, blood, and righteousness; he is the only way, the new and the living way; the plain way, and open gate, yet strait and narrow:

and went up the stairs thereof; or the steps unto it, which were seven; see Ezekiel 40:22 and so the Septuagint and Arabic versions express it here, and read, "seven steps"; according to Jarchi, there were twelve steps, which he takes from the Misnah (s); that there was a "chel" of ten cubits, and there were there twelve steps. It is certain that to the north and south gates there were but seven steps; though Lipman (t) observes, that it is possible there might be a greater declivity on the east side, which required so many steps. Some of the Jewish writers think this is to be understood of the height of the court of Israel above this court; as if it was said, from this court they went up seven steps to the court of Israel; but the plain meaning, as Lipman (u) observes, is, that these steps were without the gate, and are the height of the court from the mountain of the house to it: these Cocceius very ingeniously illustrates by the seven trumpets in the Revelation; which indeed are so many steps or gradual advances towards the kingdom of Christ, and the glorious and spiritual state of his church in the latter day; which will be introduced by the blowing of the seventh trumpet, when the mystery of God will be finished, and the kingdoms of this world become Christ's, Revelation 10:7 perhaps the man leading the prophet up these steps or stairs to the gate may signify the gradual increase of spiritual light and knowledge of the saints, in the person, offices, and grace of Christ, the way, the truth, and the life; indeed the whole work of grace on the heart is gradual; it is carried on by degrees; it is but begun, not yet finished, particularly the work of faith; believers proceed from one step to another; first see Christ by faith, then go to him, then lay hold on him, and retain him; their faith increases, and they go from strength to strength; and sometimes it grows exceedingly; the advances in it are many and manifest:

and measured the threshold of the gate, which was one reed broad; of the same measure. The Hebrew word (w) signifies both a threshold and the upper lintel; and the one may intend the one; and the other the other, and both these: some think they point at the two Testaments; or, as others, the two natures in Christ, and the strength of them, who is the gate, the way to God, the Mediator between him and man, and the mighty Redeemer. Cocceius, because mention is made of a third threshold, Ezekiel 40:7, fancies that these three thresholds design the three witnesses, Father, Word, and Spirit; which three are one, and found in one gate, which is Christ; so that he that believes in him believes in all three; and he that has the one has the other: but it is a mistake of this learned man that these three thresholds belong to one gate; for that after mentioned is the threshold of the inner, and not the outer gate. Jarchi and Kimchi understand not the thresholds of the gate, but the posts of it.

(r) "facies ejus via ad orientem", Montanus; "eujus facies, ejus", Vatablus. (s) Middot, c. 2. sect. 3.((t) Tzurath Beth Hamikdash, sect. 9. fol. 2. 2. (u) lbid. (w) "sumitur pro inferiore limine, et pro superliminari, sive superiore limine", Capellus, Sanctius.

Then came he unto the gate which looketh toward the east, and went up the stairs thereof, and measured the threshold of the gate, which was one reed broad; and the other threshold of the gate, which was one reed broad.
6. The threshold. After measuring the surrounding wall the man entered the gateway. On the outside of the entrance, ascending to it, were steps, seven in number, as is stated in connexion with N. and S. gateways (Ezekiel 40:22; Ezekiel 40:26). Thus the gateway was elevated above the ground outside, and on the same level with it was the outer court. Again, from the outer court an ascent of eight steps went up to the gateway leading into the inner court (Ezekiel 40:31), and the inner court was on the same level as the gateway. Finally, an ascent of ten steps led up to the entrance to the house itself (Ezekiel 40:49), which thus stood on a raised platform above the inner court which surrounded it. According to Ezekiel 41:8 the ten steps to the house were equal to six cubits of elevation; if the steps leading up to the gateways were of the same dimensions they would together amount to nine cubits, so that the elevation of the house above the level outside the surrounding wall (Ezekiel 40:5) would be 15 cubits. The whole structure formed three terraces, each rising above the other inwards.

the threshold] The space between the steps and the guardrooms is called threshold, being just the breadth of the wall, 6 cubits. Fig. 1 a.

and the other threshold] This is no translation of the original, which syntactically is scarcely translateable. The words are probably a gloss suggested by the fact that there was a second threshold (Ezekiel 40:7). The definition “broad” is suspicious, because, though in general the smaller dimension might be named breadth, and the larger one length, the prophet going from E. to W. calls measurements in that direction “length” (Ezekiel 40:7), and the direction N. to S. “breadth,” even should it be the larger dimension (Ezekiel 40:11). The words are wanting in LXX. Read Ezekiel 40:6 thus: and he measured the threshold of the gate one reed.

6–16. The outer gateway on the East side

As the Temple lay east and west, the eastern gateway was the natural entrance. Through it Jehovah entered to take up his abode in the new House (Ezekiel 43:4); it was therefore to be kept shut (Ezekiel 44:1-2). The measurements of this gate are given in detail, Ezekiel 40:6-16; those of the N. and S. gateways are said to be similar.

Verse 6. - The east gate. The gate which looketh toward the east; literally, whose face was toward the east. That this was not the gate in which the angel had been first observed standing seems implied in the statement that he came to it. That he began with it is satisfactorily accounted for by remembering that the east gate was the principal entrance, and stood directly in front of the porch of the temple proper. The same reasons will explain the fullness of description accorded to it rather than to the others. It was ascended by stairs, or steps, of which the number seven is omitted, though it is mentioned in connection with the north (ver. 22) and south (ver. 26) gates. "The significance was obvious," writes Plumptre. "Men must ascend in heart and mind as they enter the sanctuary, and the seven steps represented the completeness at last of that ascension." The steps lay outside the wall, and at their head had a threshold (סַפ, properly an "expansion," or "spreading out") one reed broad, i.e. measuring inwards from east to west, the thickness of the wall. Its extension from south to north, afterwards stated, was ten cubits, or fifteen feet (ver. 11). The last clause, improperly rendered, and the other threshold (Authorized and Revised Versions), or "the back threshold" (Ewald), of the gate which was one reed, should be translated, even one threshold (Revised Version margin), or the first threshold, as distinguished from the second, to be afterwards specified (ver. 7); comp. Genesis h 5, "the first (one) day." Ezekiel 40:6The Buildings of the East Gate

(See Plate II 1). - Ezekiel 40:6. And he went to the gate, the direction of which was toward the east, and ascended the steps thereof, and measured the threshold of the gate one rod broad, namely, the first threshold one rod broad, Ezekiel 40:7. And the guard-room one rod long and one rod broad, and between the guard-rooms five cubits, and the threshold of the gate by the porch of the gate from the temple hither one rod. Ezekiel 40:8. And he measured the porch of the gate from the temple hither one rod. Ezekiel 40:9. And he measured the porch of the gate eight cubits, and its pillars two cubits; and the porch of the gate was from the temple hither. Ezekiel 40:10. And of the guard-rooms of the gate toward the east there were three on this side and three on that side; all three had one measure, and the pillars also one measure on this side and on that. Ezekiel 40:11. And he measured the breadth of the opening of the gate ten cubits, the length of the gate thirteen cubits. Ezekiel 40:12. And there was a boundary fence before the guard-rooms of one cubit, and a cubit was the boundary fence on that side, and the guard-rooms were six cubits on this side and six cubits on that side. Ezekiel 40:13. And he measured the gate from the roof of the guard-rooms to the roof of them five and twenty cubits broad, door against door. Ezekiel 40:14. And he fixed the pillars at sixty cubits, and the court round about the gate reached to the pillars. Ezekiel 40:15. And the front of the entrance gate to the front of the porch of the inner gate was fifty cubits. Ezekiel 40:16. And there were closed windows in the guard-rooms, and in their pillars on the inner side of the gate round about, and so also in the projections of the walls; there were windows round about on the inner side, and palms on the pillars. - ויּבוא אל שׁער is not to be rendered, "he went in at the gate." For although this would be grammatically admissible, it is not in harmony with what follows, according to which the man first of all ascended the steps, and then commenced the measuring of the gate-buildings with the threshold of the gate. The steps (B in the illustration) are not to be thought of as in the surrounding wall, but as being outside in front of them; but in the description which follows they are not included in the length of the gate-buildings. The number of steps is not give here, but they have no doubt been fixed correctly by the lxx at seven, as that is the number given in Ezekiel 40:22 and Ezekiel 40:26 in connection with both the northern and southern gates. From the steps the man came to the threshold (C), and measured it. "The actual description of the first building, that of the eastern gate, commences in the inside; first of all, the entire length is traversed (Ezekiel 40:6-9), and the principal divisions are measured on the one side; then (Ezekiel 40:10-12) the inner portions on both sides are given more definitely as to their character, number, and measure; in Ezekiel 40:13-15 the relations and measurement of the whole building are noticed; and finally (Ezekiel 40:16), the wall-decorations observed round about the inside. The exit from the gate is first mentioned in Ezekiel 40:17; consequently all that is given in Ezekiel 40:6-16 must have been visible within the building, just as in the case of the other gates the measurements and descriptions are always to be regarded as given from within" (Bttcher). The threshold (C) was a rod in breadth, - that is to say, measuring from the outside to the inside, - and was therefore just as broad as the wall was thick (Ezekiel 40:5). But this threshold was the one, or first threshold, which had to be crossed by any one who entered the gate from the outside, for the gate-building had a second threshold at the exit into the court, which is mentioned in Ezekiel 40:7. Hence the more precise definition ואת סף אחד, "and that the one, i.e., first threshold," in connection with which the breadth is given a second time. את is neither nota nominativi, nor is it used in the sense of זאת; but it is nota accus., and is also governed by ויּמד. And אחד is not to be taken in a pregnant sense, "only one, i.e., not broken up, or composed of several" (Bttcher, Hvernick), but is employed, as it frequently is in enumeration, for the ordinal number: one for the first (vid., e.g., Genesis 1:5, Genesis 1:7).

The length of the threshold, i.e., its measure between the two door-posts (from north to south), is not given; but from the breadth of the entrance door mentioned in Ezekiel 40:11, we can infer that it was ten cubits. Proceeding from the threshold, we have next the measurement of the guard-room (G), mentioned in Ezekiel 40:7. According to 1 Kings 14:28, תּא is a room constructed in the gate, for the use of the guard keeping watch at the gate. This was a rod in length, and the same in breadth. A space of five cubits is then mentioned as intervening between the guard-rooms. It is evident from this that there were several guard-rooms in succession; according to Ezekiel 40:10, three on each side of the doorway, but that instead of their immediately joining one another, they were separated by intervening spaces (H) of five cubits each. This required two spaces on each side. These spaces between the guard-rooms, of which we have no further description, must not be thought of as open or unenclosed, for in that case there would have been so many entrances into the court, and the gateway would not be closed; but we must assume "that they were closed by side walls, which connected the guard-rooms with one another" (Kliefoth). - After the guard-rooms there follows, thirdly, the threshold of the gate on the side of, or near the porch of, the gate "in the direction from the house," i.e., the second threshold, which was at the western exit from the gate-buildings near the porch (D); in other words, which stood as you entered immediately in front of the porch leading out into the court (C C), and was also a cubit in breadth, like the first threshold at the eastern entrance into the gate. מהבּית, "in the direction from the house," or, transposing it into our mode of viewing and describing directions, "going toward the temple-house." This is added to אלם השּׁער to indicate clearly the position of this porch as being by the inner passage of the gate-buildings leading into the court, so as to guard against our thinking of a porch erected on the outside in front of the entrance gate. Bttcher, Hitzig, and others are wrong in identifying or interchanging מהבּית with מבּית, inwardly, intrinsecus (Ezekiel 7:15; 1 Kings 6:15), and taking it as referring to סף, as if the intention were to designate this threshold as the inner one lying within the gate-buildings, in contrast to the first threshold mentioned in Ezekiel 40:6.

In Ezekiel 40:8 and Ezekiel 40:9 two different measures of this court-porch (D) are given, viz., first, one rod equals six cubits (Ezekiel 40:8), and then eight cubits (Ezekiel 40:9). The ancient translators stumbled at this difference, and still more at the fact that the definition of the measurement is repeated in the same words; so that, with the exception of the Targumists, they have all omitted the eighth verse; and in consequence of this, modern critics, such as Houbigant, Ewald, Bttcher, and Hitzig, have expunged it from the text as a gloss. But however strange the repetition of the measurement of the porch with a difference in the numbers may appear at the first glance, and however naturally it may suggest the thought of a gloss which has crept into the text through the oversight of a copyists, it is very difficult to understand how such a gloss could have been perpetuated; and this cannot be explained by the groundless assumption that there was an unwillingness to erase what had once been erroneously written. To this must be added the difference in the terms employed to describe the dimensions, viz., first, a rod, and then eight cubits, as well as the circumstance that in Ezekiel 40:9, in addition to the measure of the porch, that of the pillars adjoining the porch is given immediately afterwards. The attempts of the earlier commentators to explain the two measurements of the porch have altogether failed; and Kliefoth was the first to solve the difficulty correctly, by explaining that in Ezekiel 40:8 the measurement of the porch is given in the clear, i.e., according to the length within, or the depth (from east to west), whilst in Ezekiel 40:9 the external length of the southern (or northern) wall of the porch (from east to west) is given. Both of these were necessary, the former to give a correct idea of the inner space of the porch, as in the case of the guard-rooms in Ezekiel 40:8; the latter, to supply the necessary data for the entire length of the gate-buildings, and to make it possible to append to this the dimensions of the pillars adjoining the western porch-wall. As a portion of the gate-entrance or gateway, this porch was open to the east and west; and toward the west, i.e., toward the court, it was closed by the gate built against it. Kliefoth therefore assumes that the porch-walls on the southern and northern sides projected two cubits toward the west beyond the inner space of the porch, which lay between the threshold and the gate that could be closed, and was six cubits long, and that the two gate-pillars, with their thickness of two cubits each, were attached to this prolongation of the side walls. But by this supposition we do not gain a porch (אלם), but a simple extension of the intervening wall between the third guard-room and the western gate. If the continuation of the side walls, which joined the masonry bounding the western threshold on the south and north, was to have the character of a porch, the hinder wall (to the east) could not be entirely wanting; but even if there were a large opening in it for the doorway, it must stand out in some way so as to strike the eye, whether by projections of the wall at the north-east and south-east corners, or what may be more probable, by the fact that the southern and northern side walls receded at least a cubit in the inside, if not more, so that the masonry of the walls of the porch was weaker (thinner) than that at the side of the threshold and by the pillars, and the porch in the clear from north to south was broader than the doorway. The suffix attached to אילו is probably to be taken as referring to אלם השּׁער, and not merely to שׁער, and the word itself to be construed as a plural (איליו): the pillars of the gate-porch (E) were two cubits thick, or strong. This measurement is not to be divided between the two pillars, as the earlier commentators supposed, so that each pillar would be but one cubit thick, but applies to each of them. As the pillars were sixty cubits high (according to Ezekiel 40:14), they must have had the strength of at least two cubits of thickness to secure the requisite firmness. At the close of the ninth verse, the statement that the gate-porch was directed towards the temple-house is made for the third time, because it was this peculiarity in the situation which distinguished the gate-buildings of the outer court from those of the inner; inasmuch as in the case of the latter, although in other respects its construction resembled that of the gate-buildings of the outer court, the situation was reversed, and the gate-porch was at the side turned away from the temple toward the outer court, as is also emphatically stated three times in Ezekiel 40:31, Ezekiel 40:34, and Ezekiel 40:37 (Kliefoth).

On reaching the gate-porch and its pillars, the measurer had gone through the entire length of the gate-buildings, and determined the measure of all its component parts, so far as the length was concerned. Having arrived at the inner extremity or exit, the describer returns, in order to supply certain important particulars with regard to the situation and character of the whole structure. He first of all observes (in Ezekiel 40:10), with reference to the number and relative position of the guard-houses (G), that there were three of them on each side opposite to one another, that all six were of the same measure, i.e., one rod in length and one in breadth (Ezekiel 40:7); and then, that the pillars mentioned in Ezekiel 40:9, the measurement of which was determined (E), standing at the gate-porch on either side, were of the same size. Many of the commentators have erroneously imagined that by לאילם we are to understand the walls between the guard-rooms or pillars in the guard-rooms. The connecting walls could not be called אילים; and if pillars belonging to the guard-rooms were intended, we should expect to find לאיליו. - In Ezekiel 40:11 there follow the measurements of the breadth and length of the doorway. The breadth of the opening, i.e., the width of the doorway, was ten cubits. "By this we are naturally to understand the breadth of the whole doorway in its full extent, just as the length of the two thresholds and the seven steps, which was not given in Ezekiel 40:6 and Ezekiel 40:7, is also fixed at ten cubits" (Kliefoth). - The measurement which follows, viz., "the length of the gate, thirteen cubits," is difficult to explain, and has been interpreted in very different ways. The supposition of Lyra, Kliefoth, and others, that by the length of the gate we are to understand the height of the trellised gate, which could be opened and shut, cannot possibly be correct. ארך, length, never stands for קומה, height; and השּׁער in this connection cannot mean the gate that was opened and shut. השּׁער, as distinguished from פּתח השּׁער, can only signify either the whole of the gate-building (as in Ezekiel 40:6), or, in a more limited sense, that portion of the building which bore the character of a gate in a conspicuous way; primarily, therefore, the masonry enclosing the threshold on the two sides, together with its roof; and then, generally, the covered doorway, or that portion of the gate-building which was roofed over, in distinction from the uncovered portion of the building between the two gates (Bttcher, Hitzig, and Hvernick); inasmuch as it cannot be supposed that a gate-building of fifty cubits long was entirely roofed in. Now, as there are two thresholds mentioned in Ezekiel 40:6 and Ezekiel 40:7, and the distinction in Ezekiel 40:15 between the (outer) entrance-gate and the porch of the inner gate implies that the gate-building had two gates, like the gate-building of the city of Mahanaim (2 Samuel 18:24), one might be disposed to distribute the thirteen cubits' length of the gate between the two gates, because each threshold had simply a measurement of six cubits. But such a supposition as this, which is not very probable in itself, is proved to be untenable, by the fact that throughout the whole description we never find the measurements of two or more separate portions added together, so that no other course is open than to assume, as Bttcher, Hitzig, and Hvernick have done, that the length of thirteen cubits refers to one covered doorway, and that, according to the analogy of the measurements of the guard-rooms given in Ezekiel 40:7, it applies to the second gateway also; in which case, out of the forty cubits which constituted the whole length of the gate-building (without the front porch), about two-thirds (twenty-six cubits) would be covered gateway (b b), and the fourteen cubits between would form an uncovered court-yard (c c) enclosed on all sides by the gate-buildings. Consequently the roofing of the gate extended from the eastern and western side over the guard-room, which immediately adjoined the threshold of the gate, and a cubit beyond that, over the wall which intervened between the guard-rooms, so that only the central guard-room on either side, together with a portion of the walls which bounded it, stood in the uncovered portion or court of the gate-building.

According to Ezekiel 40:12, there was a גּבוּל, or boundary, in front of the guard-rooms, i.e., a boundary fence of a cubit in breadth, along the whole of the guard-room, with its breadth of six cubits on either side. The construction of this boundary fence or barrier (a) is not explained; but the design of it is clear, namely to enable the sentry to come without obstruction out of the guard-room, to observe what was going on in the gate both on the right and left, without being disturbed by those who were passing through the gate. These boundary fences in front of the guard-rooms projected into the gateway to the extent described, so that there were only eight (10-2) cubits open space between the guard-rooms, for those who were going out and in. In Ezekiel 40:12 we must supply מפּה after the first אחת because of the parallelism. Ezekiel 40:12 is a substantial repetition of Ezekiel 40:7. - In Ezekiel 40:13 there follows the measure of the breadth of the gate-building. From the roof of the one guard-room to the roof of the other guard-room opposite (לגגּו is an abbreviated expression for לגג התּא) the breadth was twenty-five cubits, "door against door." These last words are added for the sake of clearness, to designate the direction of the measurement as taken right across the gateway. The door of the guard-room, however, can only be the door in the outer wall, by which the sentries passed to and fro between the room and the court. The measurement given will not allow of our thinking of a door in the inner wall, i.e., the wall of the barrier of the gateway, without touching the question in dispute among the commentators, whether the guard-rooms had walls toward the gateway or not, i.e., whether they were rooms that could be closed, or sentry-boxes open in front. All that the measuring from roof to roof presupposes is indisputable is, that the guard-rooms had a roof. The measurement given agrees, moreover, with the other measurements. The breadth of the gateway with its ten cubits, added to that of each guard-room with six; and therefore of both together with twelve, makes twenty-two cubits in all; so that if we add three cubits for the thickness of the two outer walls, or a cubit and a half each, that is to say, according to Ezekiel 40:42, the breadth of one hewn square stone, we obtain twenty-five cubits for the breadth of the whole gate-building, the dimension given in Ezekiel 40:21, Ezekiel 40:25, and Ezekiel 40:29.

There is a further difficulty in Ezekiel 40:14. The אילים, whose measurement is fixed in the first clause at sixty cubits, can only be the gate-pillars (איליו) mentioned in Ezekiel 40:9; and the measurement given can only refer to their height. The height of sixty cubits serves to explain the choice of the verb ויּעשׂ, in the general sense of constituit, instead of ויּמד, inasmuch as such a height could not be measured from the bottom to the top with the measuring rod, but could only be estimated and fixed at such and such a result. With regard to the offence taken by modern critics at the sixty cubits, Kliefoth has very correctly observed, that "if it had been considered that our church towers have also grown out of gate-pillars, that we may see for ourselves not only in Egyptian obelisks and Turkish minarets, but in our own hollow factory-chimneys, how pillars of sixty cubits can be erected upon a pedestal of two cubits square; and lastly, that we have here to do with a colossal building seen in a vision, - there would have been no critical difficulties discovered in this statement as to the height." Moreover, not only the number, but the whole text is verified as correct by the Targum and Vulgate, and defended by them against all critical caprice; whilst the verdict of Bttcher himself concerning the Greek and Syriac texts is, that they are senselessly mutilated and disfigured. - In the second half of the verse איל stands in a collective sense: "and the court touched the pillars." החצר is not a court situated within the gate-building (Hitzig, Hvernick, and others), but the outer court of the temple. השּׁער is an accusative, literally, with regard to the gate round about, i.e., encompassing the gate-building round about, that is to say, on three sides. These words plainly affirm what is implied in the preceding account, namely, that the gate-building stood within the outer court, and that not merely so far as the porch was concerned, but in its whole extent. - To this there is very suitably attached in Ezekiel 40:15 the account of the length of the whole building. The words, "at the front of the entrance gate to the front of the porch of the inner gate," are a concise topographical expression for "from the front side of the entrance gate to the front side of the porch of the inner gate." At the starting-point of the measurement מן (מעל) was unnecessary, as the point of commencement is indicated by the position of the word; and in על לפני, as distinguished from על פּני, the direction toward the terminal point is shown, so that there is no necessity to alter על into עד, since על, when used of the direction in which the object aimed at lies, frequently touches the ordinary meaning of עד (cf. על קצותם, Psalm 19:7, and על תּבליתם, Isaiah 10:25); whilst here the direction is rendered perfectly plain by the ל (in לפני). The Chetib היאתון, a misspelling for האיתון, we agree with Gesenius and others in regarding as a substantive: "entrance." The entrance gate is the outer gate, at the flight of steps leading into the gate-building. Opposite to this was the "inner gate" as the end of the gate-building, by the porch leading into the court. The length from the outer to the inner gate was fifty cubits, which is the resultant obtained from the measurements of the several portions of the gate-building, as given in Ezekiel 40:6-10; namely, six cubits the breadth of the first threshold, 3 x 6 equals 18 cubits that of the three guard-rooms, 2 x 5 equals 10 cubits that of the spaces intervening between the guard-rooms, 6 cubits that of the inner threshold, 8 cubits that of the gate-porch, and 2 cubits that of the gate-pillars (6 + 18 + 10 + 6 + 8 + 2 equals 50).

Lastly, in Ezekiel 40:16, the windows and decorations of the gate-buildings are mentioned. חלּונות, closed windows, is, no doubt, a contracted expression for חלּוני שׁקפים אטמים (1 Kings 6:4), windows of closed bars, i.e., windows, the lattice-work of which was made so fast, that they could not be opened at pleasure like the windows of dwelling-houses. but it is difficult to determine the situation of these windows. According to the words of the text, they were in the guard-rooms and in אליהמּה and also לאלמּות, and that לפנימה into the interior of the gate-building, i.e., going into the inner side of the gateway סביב סביב, round about, i.e., surrounding the gateway on all sides. To understand these statements, we must endeavour, first of all, to get a clear idea of the meaning of the words אילים and אלמּות. The first occurs in the singular איל, not only in Ezekiel 40:14, Ezekiel 40:16, and Ezekiel 41:3, but also in 1 Kings 6:31; in the plural only in this chapter and in Ezekiel 41:1. The second אילם or אלם is met with only in this chapter, and always in the plural, in the form אלמּות mrof e only in Ezekiel 40:16 and Ezekiel 40:30, in other cases always אילמּים, or with a suffix אילמּיו, after the analogy of תּאות in Ezekiel 40:12 by the side of תּאים in Ezekiel 40:7 and Ezekiel 40:16, תּאי in Ezekiel 40:10, and תּאיו or תּאו in Ezekiel 40:21, Ezekiel 40:29, Ezekiel 40:33, Ezekiel 40:36, from which it is apparent that the difference in the formation of the plural (אילמות and אילמים) has no influence upon the meaning of the word. On the other hand, it is evident from our verse (Ezekiel 40:16), and still more so from the expression אילי ואל, which is repeated in Ezekiel 40:21, Ezekiel 40:24, Ezekiel 40:29, Ezekiel 40:33, and Ezekiel 40:36 (cf. Ezekiel 40:26, Ezekiel 40:31, and Ezekiel 40:34), that אלים and אלמּים must signify different things, and are not to be identified, as Bttcher and others suppose. The word איל, as an architectural term, never occurs except in connection with doors or gates. It is used in this connection as early as 1 Kings 6:31, in the description of the door of the most holy place in Solomon's temple, where האיל signifies the projection on the door-posts, i.e., the projecting portion of the wall in which the door-posts were fixed. Ezekiel uses איל הפּתח in Ezekiel 41:3 in the same sense in relation to the door of the most holy place, and in an analogous manner applies the term אילים to the pillars which rose up to a colossal height at or by the gates of the courts (Ezekiel 40:9, Ezekiel 40:10, Ezekiel 40:14, Ezekiel 40:21, Links

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