I saw also the height of the house round about: the foundations of the side chambers were a full reed of six great cubits.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)I saw also the height of the house.—This does not mean the height of the house itself, which is nowhere stated. The words are, literally, I saw for the house a height (i.e., an elevation) round about, and the meaning of this is explained in what follows. The Temple, as has been already said (Ezekiel 40:49), was entered by a flight of steps leading up to the porch, and was therefore on a higher level than the court. We are now told that the side chambers had a foundation of six cubits. Whether this “foundation” of the Temple and the side chambers was built of masonry, or, as is more probable, was a sort of basement to contain cisterns and storage rooms, we are not told; but it probably extended, under the name of “the place that was left” (Ezekiel 41:9; Ezekiel 41:11), five cubits beyond the outer wall of the chambers, forming a platform from which they were entered.
Six great cubits.—Literally, six cubits to the joint, or to the armpit, for the word has both significations. It is plain that a cubit of a different length, measured to the armpit, cannot be intended, both because no such cubit is known to have been in use at any time, and because Ezekiel in Ezekiel 40:5 has already fixed the length of the cubit he uses. The sense of joint is therefore to be taken, and this applied architecturally can only mean the point at which one part of the building joins another; here, the point where the superstructure meets the foundation, or, as we should say, “six cubits to the water-table.”
great—literally, "to the extremity" or root, namely, of the hand [Henderson]. "To the joining," or point, where the foundation of one chamber ceased and another began [Fairbairn].Of the house; of the chambers, or the three stories of them; it is not the temple. The lowest chamber had properly a foundation laid on the earth, but the floor of the middle and highest story must be accounted here a foundation; so from the ground to the ceiling of the first room was six great cubits; from the first beams, joists, and boards to the second; six great cubits; and from the third floor to the roof of the chamber, a like number: to which if we add one cubit for thickness of each of the three roofs or floors, you have twenty-one cubits for height, ten yards and half high.
the foundations of the side chambers were a full reed of six great cubits; not of the lowest storey of them, for that was but four cubits broad, Ezekiel 41:5, nor of the middlemost, which was five; but of the uppermost, which was six; and these were cubits of the largest size, a hand's breadth larger than the common cubit, and made one full reed, or three yards and a half; see Ezekiel 40:5, these foundations signify the same as the twelve foundations of the wall of the New Jerusalem; and which are no other than the one foundation Christ, ministerially laid by his twelve apostles; and who is the only foundation of his church and people, and is a sure one, Revelation 21:14.I saw also the height of the house round about: the foundations of the side chambers were a full reed of six great cubits.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)8. I saw also] An uncommon form; usually it is said, and there appeared, which LXX. probably read here. For “height” (gobah) probably “raised pavement” (gabbah, Gabbatha, John 19:13) should be read (cf. footnote)—and the house appeared as having a raised pavement round about, lit. there appeared (belonging) to the house &c., cf. ch. Ezekiel 10:8. All that was seen of the platform was the passage of 5 cubits round about the building (Ezekiel 41:11). “House” includes both the temple proper and the side-chambers. This is supplemented by saying that the foundations of the side-chambers were 6 cubits high—of course house and side-chambers were on the same level.
 The curious word in LXX. καὶ τὸ θραὲλ appears a transliteration of this reading with following prep. l attached, ותרא ל (fem. apoc. Impf. niph.); cf. for form and construction ch. Ezekiel 10:8; and for short final vowel the spelling Abimael, Genesis 10:28. Therefore a fem. noun should be read as subj. (gabbah).
six great cubits] as R.V., marg., six cubits to the joint, or angle, i.e. probably to the point where the vertical line of the height of the platform cut the level of the court. The words cannot be a description of the kind of cubit, nor, since the foundations are being described, can there be any reference to the height within of the side-chambers or to the point of junction of one story with another.
8–11. The raised platform upon which the house and the side-chambers stood
The house and the annexe stood on a platform raised a full reed, or 6 cubits above the level of the inner court (Ezekiel 41:8). The platform was reached in front of the house by a flight of so steps (Ezekiel 40:49) from the court. The outside wall of the annexe was 5 cubits thick (Ezekiel 41:9). A space of 5 cubits of the platform remained unoccupied by the buildings (Ezekiel 41:11), Fig. 2, E. Then came a free space of 20 cubits running round the platform (Ezekiel 41:10), Fig. 3, H. Finally came other buildings in the inner court, one behind the house on the W. (Ezekiel 41:15), Fig. 3, K; and others on both sides of it, N. and S. (Ezekiel 42:1 seq.), Fig. 3, GG´.Verse 8 explains that "the house" did not stand upon the level ground, but, like many temple buildings in antiquity (see Schurer, in Riehm's 'Handworterbuch,' art. "Tern. pel Salerno"), upon a height - or, raised basement (Revised Version) - round about, which agrees with the statement in Ezekiel 40:49 that the temple was approached by means of a stair. In consequence of this, the foundations of the side chambers were a full reed of six great cubits; or, of six cubits to the joining (Revised Version); "six cubits to the story" (Ewald); literally, six cubits to the armpit. This can hardly mean six cubits each equal to the distance from the elbow to the wrist, which would be a new definition of the length of the reed; but as Havernick and Kliefoth propose, must be taken as an architectural term indicative of the point where one portion of the building joined on to another. Accordingly, by most interpreters the six cubits are considered to be a statement of the height of the ceiling above the floor in each story, which would give an elevation of eighteen cubits for the three stories; but probably they mark only the height of the temple and side chamber basis above the ground. Kliefoth includes both views, and obtains an altitude of twenty-four cubits from the ground to the temple roof. 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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