Ezekiel 44:12
Because they ministered to them before their idols, and caused the house of Israel to fall into iniquity; therefore have I lifted up my hand against them, said the Lord GOD, and they shall bear their iniquity.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
44:1-31 This chapter contains ordinances relative to the true priests. The prince evidently means Christ, and the words in ver. 2, may remind us that no other can enter heaven, the true sanctuary, as Christ did; namely, by virtue of his own excellency, and his personal holiness, righteousness, and strength. He who is the Brightness of Jehovah's glory entered by his own holiness; but that way is shut to the whole human race, and we all must enter as sinners, by faith in his blood, and by the power of his grace.Lifted up mine hand - i. e., "The Lord sware" Ezekiel 20:5, that they should bear their iniquities. 10, 11. Levites … shall … bear—namely, the punishment of

their iniquity … Yet they shall be ministers—So Mark, a Levite, nephew of Barnabas (Ac 4:36), was punished by Paul for losing an opportunity of bearing the cross of Christ, and yet was afterwards admitted into his friendship again, and showed his zeal (Ac 13:13; 15:37; Col 4:10; 2Ti 4:11). One may be a believer, and that too in a distinguished place, and yet lose some special honor—be acknowledged as pious, yet be excluded from some dignity [Bengel].

charge at the gates—Better to be "a doorkeeper in the house of God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness" (Ps 84:10). Though standing as a mere doorkeeper, it is in the house of God, which hath foundations: whereas he who dwells with the wicked, dwells in but shifting tents.

Ministered; acted as priests to idols, and in the name of idolatrous worshippers sacrificed to the idols.

Caused the house of Israel; were first occasion of fall to some, when their example was followed; and in after-times they seduced, persuaded, and urged them to serve their idols, and sacrifice to them, for this was the gain of the idol priests.

Lifted up mine hand; sworn against them, that they shall suffer for this their iniquity. This lifting up the hand is the form of an oath, Exodus 6:8 Deu 32:40 Ezekiel 20:5.

Their iniquity; the punishment of this sin; so it is Ezekiel 14:10 18:19,20 23:35,49. Because they ministered unto them before their idols,.... Had officiated for them in the priest's office, their idols being in the courts of the Lord at the same time; or preached unto them false doctrines, such as are not agreeable to the word of God; and led them into superstition and will worship, and confirmed them therein:

and caused the house of Israel to fall into iniquity; or, "were for a stumbling block of iniquity" (h); unto them the means of their stumbling and falling; by their ministrations, teaching them unsound doctrine; and by their practices and example, leading them into a way of false worship, and dissoluteness of life and conversation; who ought to have been examples to them in word and conversation, in faith and purity:

therefore have I lifted up mine hand against them, saith the Lord; to smite and afflict them, and chastise them for the same; or, "upon them", or "concerning them" (i); and so it may be expressive of an oath, of which lifting up the hand is a sign; wherefore, that what the Lord had said of them might be believed and expected, he swears to it:

and they shall bear their iniquity; which is repeated for the confirmation and certainty of it; see Ezekiel 44:10, what is meant by it follows.

(h) "in offendiculum iniquitatis", Pagninus, Montanus; "offendiculo ad iniquitatem", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; "offendiculo pravitatis", Starckius. (i) "super eos", Pagninus, Montanus; "super ipsos", Starckius; "super ipsis", Cocceius.

Because they ministered unto them before their idols, and caused the house of Israel to fall into iniquity; therefore have I lifted up mine hand against them, saith the Lord GOD, and they shall bear their iniquity.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
12. caused … to fall … iniquity] lit. as marg.: were a stumbling-block of iniquity unto. Ch. Ezekiel 7:19, Ezekiel 14:3-4, Ezekiel 18:30. On “idols,” Ezekiel 44:10.

lift up mine hand] i.e. sworn, Ezekiel 20:5.The Gates of the Inner Court

(Vid., Plate I B and Plate II II). - Ezekiel 40:28. And he brought me into the inner court through the south gate, and measured the south gate according to the same measures; Ezekiel 40:29. And its guard-rooms, and its pillars, and its wall-projections, according to the same measures; and there were windows in it and in its wall-projections round about: fifty cubits was the length, and the breadth five and twenty cubits. Ezekiel 40:30. And wall-projections were round about, the length five and twenty cubits, and the breadth five cubits. Ezekiel 40:31. And its wall-projections were toward the outer court; and there were palms on its pillars, and eight steps its ascendings. Ezekiel 40:32. And he led me into the inner court toward the east, and measured the gate according to the same measures; Ezekiel 40:33. And its guard-rooms, and its pillars, and its wall-projections, according to the same measures; and there were windows in it and its wall-projections round about: the length was fifty cubits, and the breadth five and twenty cubits. Ezekiel 40:34. And its wall-projections were toward the outer court; and there were palms on its pillars on this side and on that side, and eight steps its ascent. Ezekiel 40:35. And he brought me to the north gate, and measured it according to the same measures; Ezekiel 40:36. Its guard-rooms, its pillars, and its wall-projections; and there were windows in it round about: the length was fifty cubits, and the breadth five and twenty cubits. Ezekiel 40:37. And its pillars stood toward the outer court; and palms were upon its pillars on this side and on that; and its ascent was eight steps. - In Ezekiel 40:27 the measuring man had measured the distance from the south gate of the outer court to the south gate of the inner court, which stood opposite to it. He then took the prophet through the latter (Ezekiel 40:28) into the inner court, and measured it as he went through, and found the same measurements as he had found in the gates of the outer court. This was also the case with the measurements of the guard-rooms, pillars, and wall-projections, and with the position of the windows, and the length and breadth of the whole of the gate-building (Ezekiel 40:29); from which it follows, as a matter of course, that this gate resembled the outer gate in construction, constituent parts, and dimensions. This also applied to both the east gate and north gate, the description of which in Ezekiel 40:32-37 corresponds exactly to that of the south gate, with the exception of slight variations of expression. It is true that the porch is not mentioned in the case of either of these gates; but it is evident that this was not wanting, and is simply passed over in the description, as we may see from Ezekiel 40:39, where the tables for the sacrifices are described as being in the porch (בּאוּלם). There are only two points of difference mentioned in Ezekiel 40:31, Ezekiel 40:34, and Ezekiel 40:37, by which these inner gates were distinguished from the outer. In the first place, that the flights of steps to the entrances to these gates had eight steps according to the closing words of the verses just cited, whereas those of the outer gates had only seven (cf. Ezekiel 40:22 and Ezekiel 40:26); whilst the expression also varies. מעלו being constantly used here instead of עלותו (Ezekiel 40:26). עלות, from עלה, the ascending, are literally ascents, i.e., places of mounting, for a flight of steps or staircase. מעלו, the plural of מללה, the ascent (not a singular, as Hitzig supposes), has the same meaning.

The second difference, which we find in the first clause of the verses mentioned, as of a more important character. It is contained in the words, "and its אלמּים (the projecting portions of the inner side-walls of the gateway) were directed toward the outer court" (אל and ל indicating the direction). The interpretation of this somewhat obscure statement is facilitated by the fact that in Ezekiel 40:37 אילו stands in the place of אילמּו (Ezekiel 40:31 and Ezekiel 40:34). אילו are the two lofty gate-pillars by the porch of the gate, which formed the termination of the gate-building towards the inner court in the case of the outer gates. If, then, in the case of the inner gates, these pillars stood toward the outer court, the arrangement of these gates must have taken the reverse direction to that of the outer gates; so that a person entering the gate would not go from the flight of steps across the threshold to the guard-rooms, and then across the second threshold to the porch, but would first of all enter the porch by the pillars in front, and then go across the threshold to the guard-rooms, and, lastly, proceed across the second threshold, and so enter the inner court. But if this gate-building, when looked at from without, commenced with the porch-pillars and the front porch, this porch at any rate must have been situated outside the dividing wall of the two courts, that is to say, must have been within the limits of the outer court. And further, if the אילמּים, or wall-projections between the guard-rooms and by the thresholds, were also directed toward the outer court, the whole of the gate-building must have been built within the limits of that court. This is affirmed by the first clauses of Ezekiel 40:31, Ezekiel 40:34, and Ezekiel 40:37, which have been so greatly misunderstood; and there is no necessity to alter ואילו in Ezekiel 40:37 into ואלמּו, in accordance with Ezekiel 40:31 and Ezekiel 40:34. For what is stated in Ezekiel 40:31 and Ezekiel 40:34 concerning the position or direction of the אילמּים, also applies to the אילים; and they are probably mentioned in Ezekiel 40:37 because of the intention to describe still further in Ezekiel 40:38 what stood near the אילים. Kliefoth very properly finds it incomprehensible, "that not a few of the commentators have been able, in spite of these definite statements in Ezekiel 40:13, Ezekiel 40:34, and Ezekiel 40:37, to adopt the conclusion that the gate-buildings of the inner gates were situated within the inner court, just as the gate-buildings of the outer gates were situated within the outer court. As the inner court measured only a hundred cubits square, if the inner gates had stood within the inner court, the north and south gates of the inner court would have met in the middle, and the porch of the east gate of the inner court would have stood close against the porches of the other two gates. It was self-evident that the gate-buildings of the inner gates stood within the more spacious outer court, like those of the outer gates. Nevertheless, the reason why the situation of the inner gates is so expressly mentioned in the text is evidently, that this made the position of the inner gates the reverse of that of the outer gates. In the case of the outer gates, the first threshold was in the surrounding wall of the outer court, and the steps stood in front of the wall; and thus the gate-building stretched into the outer court. In that of the inner gates, on the contrary the second threshold lay between the surrounding walls of the inner court, and the gate-building stretched thence into the outer court, and its steps stood in front of the porch of the gate. Moreover, in the case of the east gates, for example, the porch of the outer gate stood toward the west, and the porch of the inner gate toward the east, so that the two porches stood opposite to each other in the outer court, as described in Ezekiel 40:23 and Ezekiel 40:27."

In Ezekiel 40:30 further particulars respecting the אילמּים are given, which are apparently unsuitable; and for this reason the verse has been omitted by the lxx, while J. D. Michaelis, Bttcher, Ewald, Hitzig, and Maurer, regard it as an untenable gloss. Hvernick has defended its genuineness; but inasmuch as he regards אילמּים as synonymous with אוּלם, he has explained it in a most marvellous and decidedly erroneous manner, as Kliefoth has already proved. The expression סביב סביב, and the length and breadth of the אלמּות here given, both appear strange. Neither of the length of the twenty-five cubits nor the breadth of the five cubits seems to tally with the other measures of the gate-building. So much may be regarded as certain, that the twenty-five cubits' length and the five cubits' breadth of the אלמּות cannot be in addition to the total length of the gate-building, namely fifty cubits, or its total breadth of twenty-five cubits, but must be included in them. For the אלמּות were simply separate portions of the side-enclosure of the gateway, since this enclosure of fifty cubits long consisted of wall-projections (אלמּות), three open guard-rooms, and a porch with pillars. The open space of the guard-rooms was 3 x 6 equals 18 cubits, and the porch was six cubits broad in the clear (Ezekiel 40:7 and Ezekiel 40:8), and the pillars two cubits thick. If we deduct these 18 + 6 + 2 equals 26 cubits from the fifty cubits of the entire length, there remain twenty-four cubits for the walls by the side of the thresholds and between the guard-rooms, namely, 2 x 5 equals 10 cubits for the walls between the three guard-rooms, 2 x 6 equals 12 cubits for the walls of the threshold, and 2 cubits for the walls of the porch; in all, therefore, twenty-four cubits for the אלמּות; so that only one cubit is wanting to give us the measurement stated, viz., twenty-five cubits. We obtain this missing cubit if we assume that the front of the wall-projections by the guard-rooms and thresholds was a handbreadth and a half, or six inches wider than the thickness of the walls, that is to say, that it projected three inches on each side in the form of a moulding. - The breadth of the אלמּות in question, namely five cubits, was the thickness of their wall-work, however, or the dimension of the intervening wall from the inside to the outside on either side of the gateway. That the intervening walls should be of such a thickness will not appear strange, if we consider that the surrounding wall of the court was six cubits thick, with a height of only six cubits (Ezekiel 40:5). And even the striking expression סביב סביב becomes intelligible if we take into consideration the fact that the projecting walls bounded not only the entrance to the gate, and the passage through it on the two sides, but also the inner spaces of the gate-building (the guard-rooms and porch) on all sides, and, together with the gates, enclosed the gateway on every side. Consequently Ezekiel 40:30 not only as a suitable meaning, but furnishes a definite measurement of no little value for the completion of the picture of the gate-buildings. The fact that this definite measure was not given in connection with the gates of the outer court, but was only supplemented in the case of the south gate of the inner court, cannot furnish any ground for suspecting its genuineness, as several particulars are supplemented in the same manner in this description. Thus, for example, the number of steps in front of the outer gates is first given in Ezekiel 40:22, where the north gate is described. Still less is there to surprise us in the fact that these particulars are not repeated in the case of the following gates, in which some writers have also discovered a ground for suspecting the genuineness of the verse.

From the south gate the measuring man led the prophet (Ezekiel 40:32) into the inner court toward the east, to measure for him the inner east gate, the description of which (Ezekiel 40:33 and Ezekiel 40:34) corresponds exactly to that of the south gate. Lastly, he led him (Ezekiel 40:35) to the inner north gate for the same purpose; and this is also found to correspond to those previously mentioned, and is described in the same manner. The difficulty which Hitzig finds in אל־החצר in Ezekiel 40:32, and which drives him into various conjectures, with the assistance of the lxx, vanishes, if instead of taking דּרך הקּדים along with החצר הפּנימי as a further definition of the latter, we connect it with ויביאני as an indication of the direction taken: he led me into the inner court, the way (or direction) toward the east, and measured the gate (situated there). The words, when taken in this sense, do not warrant the conclusion that he had gone out at the south gate again. - וּמדד in Ezekiel 40:35 is an Aramaic form for ויּמד in Ezekiel 40:32 and Ezekiel 40:28.

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