And the five and twenty thousand of length, and the ten thousand of breadth shall also the Levites, the ministers of the house, have for themselves, for a possession for twenty chambers.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)For a possession for twenty chambers.—Adjoining the priests’ portion of the oblation, another equal portion is assigned to the Levites. The last clause of the verse, as it stands, admits of no satisfactory explanation. The suggestion that it may refer to twenty out of the thirty chambers in the outer court of the sanctuary (Ezekiel 40:17) is quite out of place. Even if these were intended for the use of the Levites (which does not appear), it would be strange that they should be abruptly spoken of in the midst of this description of the oblation. A slight change in the text—the transposition of two letters in the first word, and the change of one letter in the second for another much like it—will make the clause read, “for a possession of gates to dwell in,” gates being used, as in Deuteronomy 12:18; Deuteronomy 14:27; Deuteronomy 16:11 (comp. Exodus 20:10; Deuteronomy 5:14), for cities. The sense would then be that this portion should be to the Levites what the former portion was to the priests, a place for their dwellings.Ezekiel 40:17, and assigned for their use during residence in the sanctuary. The Septuagint reads "for cities to dwell in" (compare Numbers 35:2) which some adopt here.
Eze 45:1-25. Allotment of the Land for the Sanctuary, the City, and the Prince.
1. offer an oblation—from a Hebrew root to "heave" or "raise"; when anything was offered to God, the offerer raised the hand. The special territorial division for the tribes is given in the forty-seventh and forty-eighth chapters. Only Jehovah's portion is here subdivided into its three parts: (1) that for the sanctuary (Eze 45:2, 3); (2) that for the priests (Eze 45:4); (3) that for the Levites (Eze 45:5). Compare Eze 48:8-13.
five and twenty thousand reeds, &c.—So English Version rightly fills the ellipsis (compare Note, see on Eze 42:16). Hence "cubits" are mentioned in Eze 45:2, not here, implying that there alone cubits are meant. Taking each reed at twelve feet, the area of the whole would be a square of sixty miles on each side. The whole forming a square betokens the settled stability of the community and the harmony of all classes. "An holy portion of the land" (Eze 45:1) comprised the whole length, and only two-fifths of the breadth. The outer territory in its distribution harmonizes with the inner and more sacred arrangements of the sanctuary. No room is to be given for oppression (see Eze 45:8), all having ample provision made for their wants and comforts. All will mutually co-operate without constraint or contention.Ezekiel 48:13,
shall also the Levites, the ministers of the house, have for themselves; separate from the priests, to whom they ministered, and were as numerous; or more numerous, than they; this is still designed to set forth the largeness of the church, and the great numbers of its members, who will all be accommodated and supplied with good things:
for a possession for twenty chambers; which some understand of twenty rows of chambers; by which may be meant particular congregated churches, as we have seen all along in this vision, erected for the better use and convenience of the saints in all places and parts of the world, where they are called.And the five and twenty thousand of length, and the ten thousand of breadth shall also the Levites, the ministers of the house, have for themselves, for a possession for twenty chambers.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)5. Read: and five …, and ten … shall the Levites have. (The Keri is unnecessary).
for twenty chambers] Probably with LXX.: for cities to dwell in. Cf. same words Numbers 35:2; Joshua 14:4. In Ezekiel 45:6 Jerusalem, with its suburbs, is assigned a tract of land only half of this given to the Levites.Verse 5. - A portion of similar dimensions should likewise be marked off for the Levites, for themselves, for a possession of twenty chambers; better, for a possession unto themselves for twenty chambers (Revised Version). Ewald, Hitzig, and Smend, as usual, follow the LXX. αὐτοῖς εἰς κατάσχεσινπόλεις τοῦ κατοικεῖν), and amend the text after Numbers 35:2; Joshua 21:2, so as to read "cities (עָרִים) to dwell in;" and with them Keil agrees, only substituting "gates" (שְׁעָרִים) instead of "cities." Kliefoth and Curroy retain the word "chambers "as in the text, and think the "chambers" and the "land" were two distinct possessions of the Levites, the chambers having been within (see Ezekiel 40:17, 18) as the land was without the sanctuary. Rosenmüller, Havernick, Hengstenberg, and Schroder decide for "chambers," or "courts," rows of dwellings standing outside the sanctuary as the priests' chambers were located within. Havernick supposes that along with these, which were obviously designed to be employed when the Levites were on duty, there may have been other Levitical towns and dwellings, Hengstenberg conceives them as having been "barracks for the Levites, the inhabitants of which used the twentieth part of the land assigned to them as pasturage." Unfavorable to the first view is the fact that it requires the text to be altered. Against the second is its awkward dividing of the verse and unexpected interjection of a reference to cells within the sanctuary while speaking of the land without. The third, while not free from difficulty as taking לְשָׁכֹת to be equivalent to "cell-buildings," is perhaps the best.
Ezekiel 41:1. And he led me into the temple, and measured the pillars, six cubits breadth on this side and six cubits breadth on that side, with regard to the breadth of the tent. Ezekiel 41:2. And the breadth of the door was ten cubits; and the shoulders of the door, five cubits on this side, and five cubits on that: and he measured its length, forty cubits; and the breadth, twenty cubits. Ezekiel 41:3. And he went within the measured the pillar of the door, two cubits; and the door, six cubits; and the breadth of the door, seven cubits. Ezekiel 41:4. And he measured its length, twenty cubits; and the breadth, twenty cubits, toward the temple; and said to me, This is the holy of holies. - Ezekiel 41:1 and Ezekiel 41:2 give the measurements of the holy place. היכל is used here in the more restricted sense for the nave of the temple, the holy place (B), without the porch and the holy of holies (cf. 1 Kings 6:17). The measuring commences with the front (eastern) wall, in which there was the entrance door. This wall had pillars (e e) of six cubits breadth on either side (on the right hand and the left), and between the pillars a door (d) ten cubits broad, with door-shoulders (e e) of five cubits on this side and that (Ezekiel 41:2). These measurements (6 + 6 + 10 + 5 + 5) yield for the front wall a total breadth of thirty-two cubits. This agrees with the measurements which follow: twenty cubits, the (internal) breadth of the holy place, and six cubits the thickness of the wall (e) on either side (Ezekiel 41:5). The only remaining difficulty is in the very obscure words appended, רחב האהל, in which Ewald and Hitzig propose to alter האהל into האיל otni האהל re, because the lxx have substituted τοῦ αἰλάμ, but without making any improvement, as האיל is still more inexplicable. Kliefoth, after examining the various attempts to explain these words, comes to the conclusion that no other course is left than to take האהל as signifying the inner space of Ezekiel's temple, consisting of the holy place and the holy of holies, which was the same in the entire building as the tabernacle had been, - viz. the tent of God's meeting with His people, and which is designated as אהל to show the substantial identity of this space and the tabernacle. The clause רחב האהל is thus attached to the preceding double מפּה (i.e., to the measurement of the two pillars bounding the holy space), in an elliptical manner, in the following sense: "he measured the breadth of the pillars, on this side and that, which marked off the breadth of the tent, on the outside, that is to say, of the inner space of the holy place which resembled the tabernacle;" so that this clause formed a loose apposition, meaning, "with regard to the breath of the tent." כּתפות הפּתח are the walls on both sides of the door (e e), between the door and the boundary pillars. - The internal length and breadth of the holy place are the same as in the holy place of Solomon's temple (1 Kings 6:2, 1 Kings 6:17).
Ezekiel 41:3 and Ezekiel 41:4 refer to the holy of holies (c). "He went within." We have וּבא (for ויּבוא) and not ויביאני (Ezekiel 41:1), because the prophet was not allowed to tread the most holy place, and therefore the angel went in alone. פּנימה is defined in Ezekiel 41:4 as the holy of holies. The measurements in Ezekiel 41:3 refer to the partition wall between the holy place and the most holy (g). איל הפּתח, the pillar-work of the door, stands for the pillars on both sides of the door; and the measurement of two cubits no doubt applies to each pillar, denoting, not the thickness, but the breadth which it covered on the wall. There is a difficulty in the double measurement which follows: the door six cubits, and the breadth of the door seven cubits. As the latter is perfectly clear, and also apparently in accordance with the fact, and on measuring a door the height is the only thing which can come into consideration in addition to the breadth, we agree with Kliefoth in taking the six cubits as a statement of the height. The height of six cubits bears a fitting proportion to the breadth of seven cubits, if there were folding-doors; and the seven is significant in the case of the door to the holy of holies, the dwelling of God. The Seventy, however, did not know what to do with this text, and changed רחב הפּתח שׁבע אמּות into τὰς ἐπωμίδας τοῦ θυρώματος πηχῶν ἑπτὰ ἔνθεν καὶ ἔνθεν, in which they have been followed by Bttcher, Hitzig, and others. But it is obvious at once that the Seventy have simply derived these data from the measurements of the front of the holy place (Ezekiel 41:2), and have overlooked the fact, that in the first place, beside the measure of the כּתפות הפּתח, i.e., ἐπωμίδες τοῦ πυλῶνος, the רחב הפּתח, or breadth of the door, is also expressly measured there, whereas here, on the contrary, it is preceded by הפּתח alone, without רחב; and secondly, as the measurement of the אילים given in Ezekiel 41:1 indicates their breadth (from south to north), in the present instance also the measure ascribed to the איל הפּתח can only refer to the breadth of the איל, and not to its thickness (from east to west). But if we explain the first clause of Ezekiel 41:3 in this manner, as both the language and the fact require, the reading of the lxx is proved to be a false correction, by the fact that it yields a breadth of twenty-two or twenty-four cubits (2 + 2 + 6 + 7 + 7), whereas the holy of holies, like the holy place, was only twenty cubits broad. The dimensions of the holy of holies also correspond to the space covered by the holy of holies in Solomon's temple (1 Kings 6:20). The expression אל־פּני ההיכל, "toward the holy place," is to be explained by the supposition that the measuring angel, after he had proceeded to the western end of the holy of holies for the purpose of measuring the length, turned round again to measure the breadth, so that this breadth lay "toward the holy place."
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