Ezekiel 8:7
And he brought me to the door of the court; and when I looked, behold a hole in the wall.
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(7) To the door of the court.—This is clearly a different place from that in which the prophet had hitherto been in his vision, and yet is not so described that its locality can be certainly fixed. He had been inside the inner court near its north gate; in Ezekiel 8:14 he is taken to the north gate of the outer enclosure of the temple precincts. It is probable, therefore, that this was between them. We do not know from the description of Solomon’s temple that there were any other than the inner and the outer courts; but as there were others in the temple of Herod built upon the same area, it is altogether likely that there was a further division, and that it was to such a dividing wall, with chambers attached, that the prophet was now brought. Here he finds a hole, or window, too small for entrance, and is directed to enlarge it that he may go in. Having done so, he finds a door which he is told to enter. The object of this part of the vision is to show the extreme secrecy of what he is now to see—a, secrecy made necessary by the connection of this idolatry with Egypt, the foe of Chaldæa. Any question in regard to the way the idolaters themselves entered is out of place, as all is only in vision.

Ezekiel 8:7-11. And he brought me to the door of the court — This, Dr. Lightfoot understands of the east gate of the inner court, called the gate of Nicanor, over which was the council chamber, where the sanhedrim used to meet, and in some of the rooms near it they secretly practised idolatry, as God discovered to the prophet, Ezekiel 8:11. Behold a hole in the wall — Through which I could look in, and see what abominations were committing there. Then he said, Dig now in the wall — This, and what follows, was done only by vision, during the prophet’s trance or ecstasy, while the elders sat before him. And when I had digged in the wall, behold a door — A private door, by which the elders entered into the chambers of their imagery, to perform idolatrous worship to the images. And he said unto me, Go in, &c. — To give me the fullest conviction, I not only looked through the hole, mentioned Ezekiel 8:7, but went into the very room where these idolatries were committed. Behold the abominations that they do here — Hebrew, are doing here: even under the approach of judgments, and under the walls of my temple. So I went in, and behold every form of creeping things — It is probable that they imitated the Egyptians in this kind of idolatry; for the Egyptians used to worship several kinds of beasts and reptiles. According to Diodorus Siculus, 50. 1. p. 59, edit. Wess., (referred to by Secker,) “round the room in Thebes, where the body of King Osymanduas seemed to be buried, a multitude of chambers were built, which had elegant paintings of all the beasts sacred in Egypt.” It is not unlikely they imagined they evaded the law against setting up any image to worship, by having them only portrayed, or painted, on the wall; or, at least, that it was not so great an offence; for the Jewish people in general seem to have had little regard to any thing but the strict letter of the law, not regarding the spirit of it. However, as to objects for worship, pictures were prohibited, as well as carved images, as appears from Numbers 33:52. And there stood before them seventy men of the ancients, &c. — Heads of the tribes or families, or, at least, principal men, (according to the number of the sanhedrim,) who ought to have been examples of true religion, not ringleaders in idolatry. By this the prophet was given to see, that it was not the vulgar, or the poor and ignorant only that were guilty of idolatry, but the leading men of the nation, and those of the greatest knowledge, power, and influence, who were superior to, and had the direction of the common people; so that it was properly a national guilt, and, as such, loudly called for national punishment. And in the midst of them stood Jaazaniah — Probably a prince of the people; the son of Shaphan — Mentioned 2 Kings 22:9. Shaphan was forward in reforming under Josiah, and his son is as forward in corrupting the worship of God. 8:7-12 A secret place was, as it were, opened, where the prophet saw creatures painted on the walls, and a number of the elders of Israel worshipped before them. No superiority in worldly matters will preserve men from lust, or idolatries, when they are left to their own deceitful hearts; and those who are soon wearied in the service of God, often grudge no toil nor expense when following their superstitions. When hypocrites screen themselves behind the wall of an outward profession, there is some hole or other left in the wall, something that betrays them to those who look diligently. There is a great deal of secret wickedness in the world. They think themselves out of God's sight. But those are ripe indeed for ruin, who lay the blame of their sins upon the Lord.The door of the court - The seer is brought to another spot. In Ezekiel's time there were various buildings on the space around the inner court which formed a court or courts, not improbably enclosed by a wall. The idolatries here were viewed as taking place in secret, and it is more in accordance with the temple arrangements to suppose that such chambers as would give room for those rites should belong to the outer than to the inner court. The seer is now outside the wall of the outer court, by the door which leads from it out of the temple-boundary. By breaking through the wall he enters into a chamber which stands in the outer court against the wall near the gate. 7. door of the court—that is, of the inner court (Eze 8:3); the court of the priests and Levites, into which now others were admitted in violation of the law [Grotius].

hole in … wall—that is, an aperture or window in the wall of the priests' chambers, through which he could see into the various apartments, wherein was the idolatrous shrine.

The door; the second door, for there were two in the north side.

The court; Ezekiel 8:3. Some say it was the court into which the Levites only, not the people, might enter, and round about which were the chambers of the priests.

When I looked; probably being at the door of the court, he might espy such a hole in the opposite wall that was toward the temple, whereon were built the treasury chamber, and chambers for tithes, and for other necessaries about the temple worship, and for the priests’ lodgings, in which these abominations were acted.

A hole in the wall, or little blind window, through which he might see somewhat, though not much, of what was done within. And he brought me to the door of the court,.... Of the inner court, the court of the priests and Levites. Dr. Lightfoot (x) says this was the east gate, and most common way of entrance; and in that gate the sanhedrim used to sit in these times; and there the prophet sees their council chamber painted about with imagery:

and when I looked, behold a hole in the wall; of one of the chambers of the priests and Levites, where they lay.

(x) Prospect of the Temple, c. 28. p. 2018.

And he brought me to the door of the court; and when I looked, behold a hole in the wall.
7–12. The secret idolatry of the Elders

7. the door of the court] i.e. the outside entrance of the gateway into the inner court. Placed at first near the entrance the prophet is now brought to the gateway itself, either unto some chamber within it or some building attached to it, cf. Ezekiel 40:44. In the wall of this building he observed a hole, through which he dug and entered a chamber, on the walls of which were portrayed all manner of creatures, and in the chamber were seventy elders offering incense to the imagery on the walls.

behold a hole] The symbolism is not very clear. The “hole” is meant to suggest that entrance into the chamber was obtained secretly by those who practised their rites there. The words are wanting in LXX.Verse 7. - To the door of the court. What follows suggests that the prophet was led to the gate that opened from the inner to the outer court. This gas surrounded by chambers or cells (Jeremiah 35:4). The term for "wall" (kir) is that specially used for the wall which encloses a whole group of buildings (Numbers 35:4). Behold a hole in the wall. The fact was clearly significant. The worship here was more clandestine than that of the "image of jealousy." We are not warranted, perhaps, in insisting on minute consistency in the world of visions, but the question naturally arises - How did the worshippers enter the chamber if Ezekiel had to enlarge the hole in the wall in order to get in? We may surmise that the entrance from the temple court had been blocked up all but entirely in the days of Josiah, that the idolaters now entered it from without or through some other chamber, while Ezekiel thinks of himself as coming upon them like a spy in the dim distance of the covered passage through which he made his way. Third strophe

Thus will they fall into irresistible destruction; even their silver and gold they will not rescue, but will cast it away as useless, and leave it for the enemy. - Ezekiel 7:15. The sword without, and pestilence and famine within: he who is in the field will die by the sword; and famine and pestilence will devour him that is in the city. Ezekiel 7:16. And if their escaped ones escape, they will be upon the mountains like the doves of the valleys, all moaning, every one for his iniquity. Ezekiel 7:17. All hands will become feeble, and all knees flow with water. Ezekiel 7:18. They will gird themselves with sackcloth, and terrors will cover them; on all faces there will be shame, and baldness on all their heads. Ezekiel 7:19. They will throw their silver into the streets, and their gold will be as filth to them. Their silver and their gold will not be able to rescue them in the day of Jehovah's wrath; they will not satisfy their souls therewith, nor fill their stomachs thereby, for it was to them a stumbling-block to guilt. Ezekiel 7:20. And His beautiful ornament, they used it for pride; and their abominable images, their abominations they made thereof: therefore I make it filth to them. Ezekiel 7:21. And I shall give it into the hand of foreigners for prey, and to the wicked of the earth for spoil, that they may defile it. Ezekiel 7:22. I shall turn my face from them, that they defile my treasure; and oppressors shall come upon it and defile it. - The chastisement of God penetrates everywhere (Ezekiel 7:15 compare with Ezekiel 5:12); even flight to the mountains, that are inaccessible to the foe (compare 1 Macc. 2:28; Matthew 24:16), will only bring misery. Those who have fled to the mountains will coo - i.e., mourn, moan - like the doves of the valleys, which (as Bochart has correctly interpreted the simile in his Hieroz. II. p. 546, ed. Ros.), "when alarmed by the bird-catcher or the hawk, are obliged to forsake their natural abode, and fly elsewhere to save their lives. The mountain doves are contrasted with those of the valleys, as wild with tame." In כּלּם המות the figure and the fact are fused together. The words actually relate to the men who have fled; whereas the gender of המות is made to agree with that of כּיוני. The cooing of doves was regarded by the ancients as a moan (hâgâh), a mournful note (for proofs, see Gesen. on Isaiah 38:14); for which Ezekiel uses the still stronger expression hâmâh fremere, to howl or growl (cf. Isaiah 59:11). The low moaning has reference to their iniquity, the punishment of which they are enduring. When the judgment bursts upon them, they will all (not merely those who have escaped, but the whole nation) be overwhelmed with terror, shame, and suffering. The words, "all knees flow with water" (for hâlak in this sense, compare Joel 4:18), are a hyperbolical expression used to denote the entire loss of the strength of the knees (here, Ezekiel 7:17 and Ezekiel 21:12), like the heart melting and turning to water in Joshua 7:5. With this utter despair there are associated grief and horror at the calamity that has fallen upon them, and shame and pain at the thought of the sins that have plunged them into such distress. For כּסּתה פלּצוּת, compare Psalm 55:6; for אל־כּל־פנים בּוּשׁה, Micah 7:10; Jeremiah 51:51; and for קרחה 'בּכל־ראשׁ, Isaiah 15:2; Amos 8:10. On the custom of shaving the head bald on account of great suffering or deep sorrow, see the comm. on Micah 1:16.

In this state of anguish they will throw all their treasures away as sinful trash (Ezekiel 7:19.). By the silver and gold which they will throw away (Ezekiel 7:19), we are not to understand idolatrous images particularly - these are first spoken of in Ezekiel 7:20 - but the treasures of precious metals on which they had hitherto set their hearts. They will not merely throw these away as worthless, but look upon them as niddâh, filth, an object of disgust, inasmuch as they have been the servants of their evil lust. The next clause, "silver and gold cannot rescue them," are a reminiscence from Zephaniah 1:18. But Ezekiel gives greater force to the thought by adding, "they will not appease their hunger therewith," - that is to say, they will not be able to protect their lives thereby, either from the sword of the enemy (see the comm. on Zephaniah 1:18) or from death by starvation, because there will be no more food to purchase within the besieged city. The clause 'כּי assigns the reason for that which forms the leading thought of the verse, namely, the throwing away of the silver and gold as filth; מכשׁול עונם, a stumbling-block through which one falls into guilt and punishment; צבי עדיו, the beauty of his ornament, i.e., his beautiful ornament. The allusion is to the silver and gold; and the singular suffix is to be explained from the fact that the prophet fixed his mind upon the people as a whole, and used the singular in a general and indefinite sense. The words are written absolutely at the commencement of the sentence; hence the suffix attached to שׂמהוּ, Jerome has given the true meaning of the words: "what I((God) gave for an ornament of the possessors and for their wealth, they turned into pride." And not merely to ostentatious show (in the manner depicted in Isaiah 3:16.), but to abominable images, i.e., idols, did they apply the costly gifts of God (cf. Hosea 8:4; Hosea 13:2). עשׂה, to make of (gold and silver); ב denoting the material with which one works and of which anything is made (as in Exodus 31:4; Exodus 38:8). God punishes this abuse by making it (gold and silver) into niddâh to them, i.e., according to v. 19, by placing them in such circumstances that they cast it away as filth, and (v. 21) by giving it as booty to the foe. The enemy is described as "the wicked of the earth" (cf. Psalm 75:9), i.e., godless men, who not only seize upon the possession of Israel, but in the most wicked manner lay hands upon all that is holy, and defile it. The Chetib חלּלוּה is to be retained, notwithstanding the fact that it was preceded by a masculine suffix. What is threatened will take place, because the Lord will turn away His face from His people (מהם, from the Israelites), i.e., will withdraw His gracious protection from them, so that the enemy will be able to defile His treasure. Tsâphuun, that which is hidden, the treasure (Job 20:26; Obadiah 1:6). Tsephuunii is generally supposed to refer to the temple, or the Most Holy Place in the temple. Jerome renders it arcanum meum, and gives this explanation: "signifying the Holy of Holies, which no one except the priests and the high priest dared to enter." This interpretation was so commonly adopted by the Fathers, that even Theodoret explains the rendering given in the Septuagint, τὴν ἐπισκοπήν μου, as signifying the Most Holy Place in the temple. On the other hand, the Chaldee has ארעא בּית שׁכינתי, "the land of the house of my majesty;" and Calvin understands it as signifying "the land which was safe under His (i.e., God's) protection." But it is difficult to reconcile either explanation with the use of the word tsâphuun. The verb tsâphan signifies to hide, shelter, lay up in safety. These meanings do not befit either the Holy of Holies in the temple or the land of Israel. It is true that the Holy of Holies was unapproachable by the laity, and even by the ordinary priests, but it was not a secret, a hidden place; and still less was this the case with the land of Canaan.We therefore adhere to the meaning, which is so thoroughly sustained by Job 20:26 and Obadiah 1:6 - namely, "treasure," by which, no doubt, the temple-treasure is primarily intended. This rendering suits the context, as only treasures have been referred to before; and it may be made to harmonize with בּאוּ בהּ which follows. בּוא ב signifies not merely intrare in locum, but also venire in (e.g., 2 Kings 6:23; possibly Ezekiel 30:4), and may therefore be very properly rendered, "to get possession of," since it is only possible to obtain possession of a treasure by penetrating into the place where it is laid up or concealed. There is nothing at variance with this in the word חלּל, profanare, since it has already occurred in Ezekiel 7:21 in connection with the defiling of treasures and jewels. Moreover, as Calvin has correctly observed, the word is employed here to denote "an indiscriminate abuse, when, instead of considering to what purpose things have been entrusted to us, we squander them rashly and without selection, in contempt and even in scorn."

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