Ezekiel 43:14
And from the bottom upon the ground even to the lower settle shall be two cubits, and the breadth one cubit; and from the lesser settle even to the greater settle shall be four cubits, and the breadth one cubit.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
43:1-27 After Ezekiel had surveyed the temple of God, he had a vision of the glory of God. When Christ crucified, and the things freely given to us of God, through Him, are shown to us by the Holy Ghost, they make us ashamed for our sins. This frame of mind prepares us for fuller discoveries of the mysteries of redeeming love; and the whole of the Scriptures should be opened and applied, that men may see their sins, and repent of them. We are not now to offer any atoning sacrifices, for by one offering Christ has perfected for ever those that are sanctified, Heb 10:14; but the sprinkling of his blood is needful in all our approaches to God the Father. Our best services can be accepted only as sprinkled with the blood which cleanses from all sin.The bottom - The basement just described is now called "the bottom upon the ground." The altar (independently of the bottom) was composed of two stages called "settles," the base of the "upper settle" (M) being less than that of the "lower" (L).

To the lower settle - That is, to the top of "the lower settle," which was to be "two cubits high."

From the lesser settle ... to the greater settle - i. e., from the top of the "lower settle" to the top of the "upper settle," called "lesser" and "greater," because the height of the lower is less than that of the "upper; The breadth" here is the part of the lower settle not covered by the upper settle, projecting one cubit on every side.

13-27. As to the altar of burnt offering, which was the appointed means of access to God. From the bottom; from the superficies of the first ledge, which was a cubit broad and a cubit high from the ground.

To the lower settle; to the top of that square settle which is called lower, because another settle is raised upon it.

Two cubits in height.

The breadth one cubit on every square, as the first and bottom settle, which by this account was two cubits larger in each square or side than the middle settle.

From the lesser settle; from the highest edge of the uppermost settle, down to the cubit broad ledge about the lower settle. The prophet measures now downward.

The greater; so called, because it exceeded the upper settle a cubit in breadth on each side. Four cubits in the height thereof.

The breadth one cubit, as the two other were.

And from the bottom upon the ground, even to the lower settle,.... From the basis or foundation of the altar, as it stood upon the ground, to the lower settle or "court" (w), as it is called, where the priests stood; and in which they could walk round the altar, to do their business:

shall be two cubits, and the breadth one cubit; that is, two cubits high, and one broad:

and from the lesser settle or court, to the greater settle or court, shall be four cubits, and, the breadth one cubit; the lowermost settle is called the lesser, not in quantity, but in height, it being but two cubits high from the ground; but the upper settle was four cubits from that, and one broad, for the priests to walk on round about; in all six cubits from the bottom.

(w) "atrium auxilii", Montanus.

And from the bottom upon the ground even to the lower settle shall be two cubits, and the breadth one cubit; and from the lesser settle even to the greater settle shall be four cubits, and the breadth one cubit.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
14. Two cubits up from the basement the fabric underwent the first contraction, being let in a cubit. Thus a ledge of a cubit broad was formed running all round the altar. A.V. appears to call this bench or ledge a “settle.” The altar narrowed in dimension not gradually like an obelisk, but at two places. Cf. the similar way in which the wall of the house retreated, Ezekiel 41:6.

At a height of four cubits above the first inlet came another, of the same breadth of a cubit, so that a second ledge of a cubit broad was formed round the altar on its four sides.

Verse 14. - The next measurements which are taken from the bottom upon the ground, i.e. from the הֵיק, "base," or ground framework above described, to the lower settle, i.e. to the top of the undermost of the two "terraces," or enclosures," or "platforms," of which the altar consisted, are two cubits of height with one cubit of breadth; the measurements which follow, from the lesser settle, i.e. the undermost, to the greater settle, i.e. the uppermost, are four cubits of height with one cubit of breadth. Ezekiel 43:14Description and Consecration of the Altar of Burnt-Offering

Description of the Altar

Ezekiel 43:13. And these are the measures of the altar in cubits: The cubit a cubit and a handbreadth; a ground-framework of a cubit (in height), and a cubit in breadth, and its moulding on its border round about a span. This is the base of the altar. Ezekiel 43:14. And from the ground-framework of earth to the lower enclosure, two cubits (in height), and a cubit in breadth; and from the small enclosure to the greater enclosure, four cubits (in height), and one cubit in breadth. Ezekiel 43:15. And the mount of God, four cubits; and from the heart of God upwards, the four horns. Ezekiel 43:16. And the hearth of God, twelve cubits in length by twelve cubits in breadth; squared on its four sides. Ezekiel 43:17. And the enclosure, fourteen cubits in length by fourteen cubits in breadth on its four sides; and the moulding round about it, half a cubit; and the ground-framework of it, a cubit round about: and its steps faced the east. - To the heading, "these are the measures of the altar in (according to) cubits," there is once more appended, as in Ezekiel 40:5, in connection with the measuring of the temple, the length of the cubit measure. The description commences with the foundation of the altar, and, proceeding upwards, gives the height and breadth of the several gradations of the walls of the altar, up to the horns at the four corners (Ezekiel 43:13-15). It then passes from above downwards, to supply the length and breadth or the circumference of the different stages (Ezekiel 43:16 and Ezekiel 43:17). As the first, or lowest part, the חיק is mentioned, literally, the bosom or lap; then by transference, the hollow formed by the sides of a chariot (1 Kings 22:35); here the lower hollow or base of the altar (p), formed by a border of a definite height, to merely "a frame running round, a stand in which the altar stood" (Hitzig), nor merely "the hollow filled with earth" (Kliefoth), but both together. This ground-framework (p) was a cubit (sc., high) and a cubit broad. That האמּה is to be taken as referring to the height, is evident from the statement of the breadth which follows. חיק האמּה is not to be altered into חיקהּ אמּה, as Ewald proposes, nor is האמּה to be changed into באמּה (Hitzig); but Hvernick's explanation is to be adopted: "and a bosom (was there) the cubit," i.e., of the height of the cubit just described. רחב, breadth, is the extent to which the bosom projected beyond the next enclosure (q) on every side, and formed a support, the circumference of which was a cubit more than the lower cube of the altar on every side. This is shown by the measurements in Ezekiel 43:16 and Ezekiel 43:17. The חיק had a גּבוּל on its שׂפה of a span (half a cubit) in height (o). שׂפה, lip, is the rim (1 Kings 7:26; Genesis 22:17); and גּבוּל, the bordering on the rim, is a moulding. The feminine suffixes attached to גּבוּלהּ and שׂפתהּ refer to חיק, which is of the masculine gender, no doubt, when used in its literal sense of bosom or lap, but is construed as a feminine in the tropical sense of an inanimate object. The ground-framework, with its moulding, formed the גּב of the altar. גּב, the arched, then a hump or back, signifies here the support of the altar. Upon this support the altar rose in a cubical enclosure or frame, which diminished in circumference by ledges or steps. The enclosure resting upon the support, and therefore the lowest enclosure (q), is mentioned in Ezekiel 43:14; and the one which followed (r) in Ezekiel 43:14.

The word עזרה, which has probably sprung from עצר by the softening of צ into ז, signifies enclosure, surrounding, and is mostly used for the outer court of the temple; here it is applied to the altar, and signifies the enclosure or framework of the kernel of the altar, consisting of earth. As the altar rose in steps, a distinction is made between the lower or smaller, and the (upper or) greater עזרה. The identity of the lower עזרה and the smaller one (הקּטנּה) is so evident from the course of the description, that it is universally admitted by modern expositors. The lower one (q) is called the small one, in comparison with the large one which stood above it, from the fact that its height was smaller, as it was only two cubits high, whereas the upper one (r) was four. When, therefore, the measurement of the greater one is given in this way in Ezekiel 43:14: "from the small enclosure to the great enclosure, four cubits," this statement cannot be understood in any other way than as meaning, that this enclosure or frame had a height of four cubits from the lower to the upper end, - that is to say, in other words, that the lower ledge was four cubits from the upper. Consequently the statement in Ezekiel 43:14, "from the ground-framework of earth to the lower enclosure, two cubits," can also have no other meaning than that the lower enclosure, from the lower edge by the moulding to the upper edge, at which the second enclosure commenced, was two cubits high. This height is reckoned from the upper edge of the חיק, or from the first (lowest) ledge. The height of these three portions taken together, therefore, was (1 + 2 + 4) seven cubits. To this the mount of God (s), which was four cubits (Ezekiel 43:15), has to be added, making in all eleven cubits. In Ezekiel 43:14 חיק is followed by הארץ: the חיק consisting of earth, or filled with earth. But the חיק, with its moulding, is designated גּב, the back or support of the altar, and is thereby distinguished from the altar itself; so that, for the height of the altar, we have only to reckon the two enclosures, with the mount of God, which amount to ten cubits. Upon the basis of the חיק, with its moulding, and the two enclosures (עזרה), there rose the true altar, with its hearth, and the horns at the four corners, noticed in Ezekiel 43:15. A distinction is here made between הראל, i.e., mount of God, and אריאל; and they are not to be identified, as they have been by many of the commentators, down to Hitzig, after the example of the lxx. אריאל (as the word is to be written according to the Keri) does not mean "lion of God," but "heart of God" (ארי, from ארה, to burn), as in Isaiah 29:1-2. The hearth of God is the surface of the altar, its fire-hearth (t); whereas הראל, mount of God (s), was the basis or foundation of the hearth. This was four cubits high, whereas no height is mentioned in connection with the hearth of God; but it is simply stated that four horns went upward from it, namely, at the four corners. With the horns of the altar, the size and height of which are not given, and which cannot be reckoned at three cubits, the description of all the parts, from the bottom to the top, is given; and all that remains to complete the measurements, is to describe the circumference of the several parts which rose one above another in the form of steps. This follows in Ezekiel 43:16 and Ezekiel 43:17. The hearth of God is twelve cubits long and twelve cubits broad, and is therefore רבוּע, square, of the same length and breadth on its four sides. Going downwards, there follow in Ezekiel 43:17 the length and breadth of the עזרה, with fourteen cubits, as it was a cubit broader on every side according to Ezekiel 43:14. It is very strange, however, that the length and breadth of only one עזרה are given here, as there are two of different heights mentioned in Ezekiel 43:14. Many of the commentators have therefore identified the mount of God with the great עזרה, and attribute only a height of seven cubits to the altar; whereas Kliefoth regards both the עזרה of Ezekiel 43:17 and the גּבוּל and חיק of Ezekiel 43:15 as different from the parts mentioned by the same name in Ezekiel 43:13 and Ezekiel 43:14, and takes them as referring to an enclosure and a barrier of the mount of God. One is as arbitrary as the other, as the words of the text do not require either of these assumptions. The difficulty, that only one עזרה is mentioned in Ezekiel 43:17, is easily solved, if we consider that in Ezekiel 43:15 only the height of the mount of God is given, and no breadth is mentioned as in the case of the עזרה in Ezekiel 43:14. We may see from this that the mount of God had the same breadth or the same circumference as the upper עזרה (see r and s in the illustration). In that case the length and breadth of all the parts of the altar were given, when, in addition to the length and breadth of the hearth of God (t), those of one עזרה, and that the lower, were given, as this alone was longer and broader than the hearth of God and the mount of God; whereas the length and breadth of the upper עזרה were identical with those of the circumference of the mount of God.

The altar, therefore, upon the upper surface, the hearth of God, was a square, of twelve cubits in length and breath. The mount of God and the upper enclosure had the same length and breadth. The lower enclosure, on the other hand, were fourteen cubits long and broad; and the support, finally, without the moulding, was sixteen cubits in length and breadth. The height of the altar was as follows: the support, with the moulding, a cubit and a half; the lower enclosure, two cubits; the upper, four; and the mount of God, with the hearth, also four cubits in height; whereas the altar in Solomon's temple was ten cubits high, and at its lower basis twenty cubits long and broad (2 Chronicles 4:1). - The description closes in Ezekiel 43:17 with an allusion to steps, which the altar of Ezekiel had upon the eastern side; whereas, in the case of the tabernacle, steps were not allowed to be placed by the altar (Exodus 20:23). The form פּנות is taken by Kimchi as a noun. Others regard it as an infin. nominasc.; whilst Hitzig proposes to point it as a participle פּנות.

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