Haydock Catholic Bible Commentary
Majesty. The world is enlightened by the preaching of the gospel; and the Church triumphant [in heaven] shall shine in perfection, when that which is sown in corruption shall put on incorruption, 1 Corinthians xv. (St. Jerome) --- The blessed Virgin Mary conceiving Jesus Christ may be insinuated. (St. Thomas Aquinas, [Summa Theologiae] p. 3. q. 27. a. 3.) (Worthington)
He came. Hebrew, "I came to destroy (Septuagint, to anoint) the city," marking such as should be spared, chap. ix. The glorious chariot entered by the eastern gate, and the prophet followed to the court of the priests, ver. 5, 13. (Calmet) --- The Jews says the second temple was deprived of the Shekinah, or glory of the Lord. Yet it seems here to enter; and Christ himself adorned this second house, more than the first, by his adorable presence, Aggeus ii. 8. (Haydock)
Said. The Lord spoke, (Chaldean; Theodoret) or the angel, (St. Jerome) in human shape. (Haydock) --- He addresses the prophet, ver. 12 to chap. xliv. 5., though what follows immediately seems to belong to the Lord, (Calmet) in whose name he speaks. --- Name. God hath abandoned the synagogue, but will remain with his Church unto the end, Matthew xxiii. 38., and xxviii. 20. Yet the perfect Church, without spot, is the [Church] triumphant [in heaven]; (Ephesians v. 27.; Worthington) though the Catholic Church, on earth, is every holy and "the communion of saints." (Haydock) --- Carcasses. Idols, according to some; or rather by the kings being buried on Sion. This is nowhere else reprehended; neither is their building too near the temple, which the prophet here condemns, ver. 8. (Calmet) --- It seems, however, that if these things had been blameable, such a number of pious and wise kings would not have acted thus, nor the prophets have neglected to admonish them of their duty. The carcasses and houses here specified may have been vestiges of idolatry; or, in future, the tombs and palaces were to be at a more respectful distance. (Haydock)
Wall. The kings of Juda had a door communicating with the temple, by which they entered on the west. It was guarded by Levites, 1 Paralipomenon xxvi. 16. Ezechiel places no door on that side. Yet in Herod's temple we find one leading to the adjacent palace, and three others into the town. (Josephus, Antiquities xv. 14.)
Carcasses. Literally, "ruins." (Haydock) --- The remains of the dead were probably not disturbed; but no more, that we know of, were placed on Sion. (Calmet) --- Kings may signify idols, Moloc, &c., which they had worshipped, and which some had even placed in the holy place, to the nation's ruin. (Haydock)
Measure, that they may be convinced of their ingratitude, (Menochius) which has deprived them of so noble a structure, and put them under the necessity of beginning so great a work again. It required all the exertions of the prophets to make them go forward with it, Aggeus i. (Haydock)
In the whole fabric, (Menochius) as thou hast described it, (Haydock) or received from the angel, with all the ceremonies to be observed.
Border. Nothing but the temple shall be on his mountain. It shall be wholly consecrated to the Lord. This was ill observed. The Asmonean princes erected the famous tower Antonia, at the north side. (Josephus) See ver. 8. The Jews assert that it was unlawful to spit on this ground, &c., but no such thing is specified in Josephus or in Scripture, only we find that none were to go out by the same door at which they had entered, (chap. xlvi. 9.; Calmet) except the king.
By. Hebrew, "by cubits." This cubit is a common cubit, &c. The Babylonian, (Haydock) or sacred one, was a palm longer. (Worthington) (Chap. xl. 5.) --- Breadth. It was the same as the depth, being designed to convey the blood by a conduit to the torrent Cedron. --- Trench, or bottom aforesaid. Septuagint, "the height." (Haydock) --- Chaldean, "disposition of the altar," which seems best.
Cubit. they were each a cubit broad, but this greater means higher up. Some assert that the priests stood on this base to avoid treading on the altar, when they place the wood or victims. But it would be too low; and steps were made for that purpose. The altar was ten, or rather twelve cubits high, and as many broad. Solomon's was ten high and twenty broad. Herod's was a square of forty cubits, raised fifteen from the ground. (Calmet)
The ariel. That is, the altar itself, or rather the highest part of it, upon which the burnt-offerings were laid. In the Hebrew it is harel, that is, the mountain of God; but in the following verse haariel, that is, the lion of God; a figure, from its consuming, and as it were devouring the sacrifices as a lion devours its prey. (Challoner) --- Fire descending sometimes from heaven. (St. Jerome) (Worthington) --- It also appeared like a little mountain in the court. See Isaias xxix. 1. The altar was probably made of brass, like Solomon's. Josephus and Philo say that rough stones were used after the captivity: but it seems little attention was paid to the dimensions of the temple, &c., given by Ezechiel. (Calmet) --- Yet the prophets were present to see the laws of God executed, and never complain of their infringement in these particulars, which were attended with no great difficulty, chap. xl. 1. (Haydock) --- It is certain the Jews never thought themselves bound to make their altars of a determinate size.
Crown, which was usually placed round altars and tables, that nothing might fall down. --- Bottom of the altar, or base, mentioned [in] ver. 13. --- Steps, boarded one each side, Exodus xx. 26.
Levites. Hebrew, "of the race of Levi, of the family of Sadoc." He had obtained the dignity under Saul, (Calmet) and after the deposition of Abiathar, under Solomon, (3 Kings ii. 26.; Haydock) his posterity always preserved it. (Calmet, Diss.) --- Calf. Thou shalt give it, or make known these rites to the priests. (Haydock) --- People are often said to do what they only command, as [in] ver. 20, &c.
Sanctuary, out of the precincts of the temple, but on the mountain, Leviticus iv. 3., and vi. 11.
He-goat. Septuagint add, "of the goats," (hircum caprarum. Haydock) denoting a young kid, (Menochius) or one selected (Haydock) rather from the flock. (Calmet)
Consecrate it. Literally, "fill his hand;" that is, dedicate and apply it to holy service, (Challoner) as the Hebrew, &c., speak of the altar. Septuagint, "they shall fill their hands," seems more natural, (Exodus xxviii. 41.) and is adopted by Pagnin, Vatable, &c. (Calmet)