And the side chambers were three, one over another, and thirty in order; and they entered into the wall which was of the house for the side chambers round about, that they might have hold, but they had not hold in the wall of the house.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Three, one over another, and thirty in order.—Literally, three (and that) thirty times—i.e., there were three storeys of chambers one above the other, and this was repeated thirty times, giving thirty chambers in each storey, or ninety in all. These chambers were exactly like those surrounding Solomon’s Temple, except that they were one cubit narrower, and the description of them is made clearer by a comparison with 1Kings 6:5-10. The Greek version says that there was a space between these chambers and the wall of the house, and several interpreters have followed this explanation; but this is quite inconsistent with the language of the original, and would involve an inner wall for the chambers, of which there is no mention, and for which no space is allowed.
Entered into the wall . . . but they had not hold.—More exactly, they came upon the wall. The “house” cannot without violence be understood of anything but the Temple itself. The construction was the same as in Solomon’s Temple (1Kings 6:6), the wall receding with each storey of the chambers, thus leaving a ledge on which the beams should rest, “that the beams should not be fastened in the walls of the house.”
Nothing is said of the distribution of these chambers, but, as will be seen by the plan, a uniform size requires that they should be placed twelve on each side, and six at the end of the Temple.
The wall which was of the house for the side chambers - Not the wall of the temple but another wall Ezekiel 41:9 parallel to it, which might be said to be "of the house," i. e., belonging to it. The side-chambers of Solomon's Temple were built against the temple-wall, but in Ezekiel's vision the desire to keep the temple still more separate and holy led to a fresh arrangement, namely, that another wall should be built at such a distance from the temple-wall as to allow of chambers being built against it, facing the temple-wall, and opening into a passage or corridor (F), separating them from the temple itself.
That they might have hold, but they had not hold in the wall of the house - that they might have hold but not have hold on the wall of the house, i. e., entirely separating the chambers from the temple-wall proper.One over another; in three stories high.
Thirty in order: how these thirty in a row were distributed is not said, some guess twelve on the north side, as many on the south side, and six on the west; but as this may be, so possibly it may not be; but we are sure the whole number is thirty in a row on each story, i.e. three times thirty, or ninety in all.
The wall; not the five or six cubit wall, which was the wall of the house, but another wall of one cubit thickness, on the top whereof was a rest or ledge of one cubit breadth, on which the ends of the cedar beams were fastened. It is said this was built
for the side chambers: either from the foundation the wall was made so thick, that at five cubits from the ground they might rebate or draw in the thickness of the ascending wall one cubit, or else this cubit-thick wall was after added; but this, as not probable, I reject.
That they might have hold; that the beams of the chambers might have good and firm resting hold.
They had not hold in the wall; the ends of the beams were not thrust into the main body of the wall of the temple, as we see beams laid into the body of the walls of houses. But for each story a rebatement of one cubit in the thickness of the wall, so that six cubits thick at the ground, up to the first floor, and five cubits thick from that to the second floor, and four cubits thick from the second to the third floor, so each floor rests on a ledge of one cubit without the wall, and each story grows a cubit broader than that which is next lower. 1 Kings 6:5, but Josephus (z) says they were thirty, and one above another, three stories of them, as here. Some think twelve were on the north side, twelve on the south, and six on the west; or fifteen on the north, and fifteen on the south. The Misnic doctors (a) say there were thirty eight in the second temple, fifteen on the north side, fifteen on the south, and eight on the west. The Targum is,
"the chambers were chamber over chamber thirty three, eleven in a row;''
and so some (b) understand it, that they were in all but thirty three, eleven in the first storey, as many in the second, and the same number in the third; and place them four in the north, four in the south, and three in the west, so Starckius; but the first account seems best. This denotes the number of churches in Gospel times, especially in the latter day; when there will be large conversions, and room enough for all the converts: and as there are many mansions in heaven for all the saints; so there will be room enough in the New Jerusalem, the more perfect state of the church on earth, to hold the whole palm bearing company, whose number no man can number; and all the nations of them that are saved, who will walk in the light of it, Revelation 7:9,
and they entered into the wall which was of the house for the side chambers round about, that they might have hold, but they had not hold in the wall of the house; the beams of the floors of those side chambers rested indeed upon the wall of the house which was built for them; but were not inserted into it, or laid in it, as we see in some buildings; but there were projections or buttresses in the wall, or what are called narrowed rests, 1 Kings 6:6 or rebatements of the breadth of a cubit, on which they were laid and rested; and so it was in the upper stories, as in the lowermost; there being an abatement of a cubit in the thickness of the wall in each storey, as in the following verse. This shows the firmness of this spiritual building resting upon such a wall and such buttresses as God himself is to it; See Gill on Ezekiel 41:5.And the side chambers were three, one over another, and thirty in order; and they entered into the wall which was of the house for the side chambers round about, that they might have hold, but they had not hold in the wall of the house.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)6. The Heb. would naturally read: “and the side-chambers were side-chamber against side-chamber three and thirty times”—which would give 33 chambers. Apart from syntax this is not probable. LXX. and some other versions give a different order: “and the side-chambers, side-chamber against side-chamber, were thirty, three times” (cf. 1 Kings 7:4-5). It is probable that the chambers were thirty; those in the outer court were also thirty (Ezekiel 40:17), and Josephus is cited as witness for this number (Boett., Corn.).
wall … of the house for the side chambers] It must not of course be supposed that the house had two walls,—a separate one for the chambers. The word “entered into” must either be taken as a noun: and there were intakes in the wall of the house for the side chambers; or it must be altered into some other word having this sense (1 Kings 6:6, LXX. uses the same word here as there)—and there were rebatements &c.; or some word of this meaning has fallen out before “entered into.” LXX. has rendered the word “times,” doubly, “thrice” “twice.” If the word “times,” lit. steps, could have the required meaning of intakes, it might be supposed that being written twice it had fallen out. But this is doubtful.
might have hold] It is self-evident that the second and third stories must have been supported in some way by the wall of the house, which was their own wall on one side, and mere contact with a perpendicular wall could be no support. The beams had support on the wall, but were not let into the wall in holes.Verse 6. - The side chambers were three, one over another, and thirty in order; literally, side chamber over side chamber, three and thirty times; which means that they were ranged in three stories of thirty each; in this, again, agreeing, as to number and position, with the chambers in Solomon's temple (see Josephus, 'Ant.,' 8:03. 2). It is not needful to alter the text, as Bottcher, Hitzig, Havernick, and Ewald propose to do, in order to make it read, with the LXX., "chamber against chamber, thirty and (this) three times," on the ground that אֵל and not עַל is the preposition, because in Ezekiel אֵל often stands for עַל (Ezekiel 18:6; Ezekiel 31:12; Ezekiel 40:2). How the chambers were arranged along the three sides is not stated; but most likely there were twelve threes on each of the longer sides, the north and the south, and six threes on the shorter or western side. Like the chambers in Solomon's temple (1 Kings 6:6). those in Ezekiel's were not fastened to "the wall of the house," i.e. of the temple proper; the only question is whether they were built against the temple wall, as Kliefoth, Keil, Smend, and Schroder suppose, or, as Ewald and Dr. Currey seem to think, against another wall, five cubits thick (ver. 9), which ran parallel to the temple wall, and which, having been built expressly for the support of the side chambers, might properly enough be said to be "of the house," i.e. belonging to it. In the former case the chambers would doubtless be fastened to the temple wall by means of "ledges," "holds," "rebates," as in the temple of Solomon: in the latter case, as Ewald translates, there would be "a light passage between the wall of the house and the side chambers around."
Ezekiel 38:10. Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, It shall come to pass in that day, that things will come up in thy heart, and thou wilt devise an evil design, Ezekiel 38:11. And say, I will go up into the open country, I will come upon the peaceful ones, who are all dwelling in safety, who dwell without walls, and have not bars and gates, Ezekiel 38:12. To take plunder and to gather spoil, to bring back thy hand against the ruins that are inhabited again, and against a people gathered out of the nations, carrying on trade and commerce, who dwell on the navel of the earth. Ezekiel 38:13. Sabaea and Dedan, and the merchants of Tarshish, and all her young lions, will say to thee, Dost thou come to take plunder? Hast thou gathered thy multitude of people to take spoil? Is it to carry away gold and silver, to take possession and gain, to plunder a great spoil? Ezekiel 38:14. Therefore prophesy, son of man, and say to Gog, Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, Is it not so? On that day, when my people Israel dwelleth in security, thou wilt observe it, Ezekiel 38:15. And come from thy place from the extreme north, thou and many peoples with thee, all riding upon horses, a great crowd and a numerous army, Ezekiel 38:16. And wilt march against my people Israel, to cover the land like a cloud; at the end of the days it will take place; then shall I lead thee against my land, that the nations may know me, when I sanctify myself upon thee before their eyes, O Gog. - In Ezekiel 38:10 דּברים are not words, but things which come into his mind. What things these are, we learn from Ezekiel 38:11 and Ezekiel 38:12; but first of all, these things are described as evil thoughts or designs. Gog resolves to fall upon Israel, now living in peace and security, and dwelling in open unfortified places, and to rob and plunder it. ארץ , literally, land of plains, i.e., a land which has no fortified towns, but only places lying quite exposed (see the comm. on Zechariah 2:8); because its inhabitants are living in undisturbed peace and safe repose, and therefore dwell in places that have no walls with gates and bars (cf. Judges 18:7; Jeremiah 49:31). This description of Israel's mode of life also points beyond the times succeeding the Babylonian captivity to the Messianic days, when the Lord will have destroyed the horses and war-chariots and fortresses (Micah 5:9), and Jerusalem will be inhabited as an open country because of the multitude of the men and cattle, and the Lord will be a wall of fire round about her (Zechariah 2:8-9). For Ezekiel 38:12, compare Isaiah 10:6. להשׁיב ידך is not dependent upon אעלה, like the preceding infinitives, but is subordinate to אמרתּ אעלה וגו: "thou sayest, I will go up...to turn thy hand." השׁיב, to bring back, is to be explained from the fact that the heathen had already at an earlier period turned their hand against the towns of Israel, and plundered their possessions and goods. חרבות נושׁבות in this connection are desolate places which are inhabited again, and therefore have been rebuilt (cf. Ezekiel 12:20; Ezekiel 26:19). מקנה and קנין are synonyms; and מקנה does not mean flocks or herds, but gain, possession (cf. Genesis 36:6; Genesis 31:18; Genesis 34:23). One motive of Gog for making the attack was to be found in the possessions of Israel; a second is given in the words: who dwell upon the navel of the earth. This figurative expression is to be explained from Ezekiel 5:5 : "Jerusalem in the midst of the nations." This navel is not a figure denoting the high land, but signifies the land situated in the middle of the earth, and therefore the land most glorious and most richly blessed; so that they who dwell there occupy the most exalted position among the nations. A covetous desire for the possessions of the people of God, and envy at his exalted position in the centre of the world, are therefore the motives by which Gog is impelled to enter upon his predatory expedition against the people living in the depth of peace. This covetousness is so great, that even the rich trading populations of Sabaea, Dedan, and Tarshish (cf. Ezekiel 27:22, Ezekiel 27:20, and Ezekiel 27:12) perceive it, and declare that it is this alone which has determined Gog to undertake his expedition. The words of these peoples (Ezekiel 38:13) are not to be taken as expressing their sympathies (Kliefoth), but serve to give prominence to the obvious thirst for booty which characterizes the multitude led by Gog. כּפיריה, their young lions, are the rapacious rulers of these trading communities, according to Ezekiel 19:3 and Ezekiel 32:2. - Ezekiel 38:14 introduces the announcement of the punishment, which consists of another summary account of the daring enterprise of Gog and his hosts (cf. Ezekiel 38:14, Ezekiel 38:15, and Ezekiel 38:16 with Ezekiel 38:4-9), and a clear statement of the design of God in leading him against His people and land. תּדע (Ezekiel 38:14, close), of which different renderings have been given, does not mean, thou wilt experience, or be aware of, the punishment; but the object is to be taken from the context: thou wilt know, or perceive, sc. that Israel dwells securely, not expecting any hostile invasion. The rendering of the lxx (ἐγερθήσῃ) does not furnish any satisfactory ground for altering תּדע into תער equals תּעור (Ewald, Hitzig). With the words 'והביאותיך וגו (Ezekiel 38:16) the opening thought of the whole picture (Ezekiel 38:4) is resumed and defined with greater precision, for the purpose of attaching to it the declaration of the design of the Lord in bringing Gog, namely, to sanctify Himself upon him before the eyes of the nations (cf. Ezekiel 38:23 and Ezekiel 36:23).
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