Matthew Poole's Commentary
Afterward he brought me to the gate, even the gate that looketh toward the east:The glory of God returneth into the temple, Ezekiel 43:1-6. God promiseth to dwell there, if the people will put away their sins, Ezekiel 43:7-9. In order to incite them to repentance, the prophet showeth them the model and law of the house, Ezekiel 43:10-12. The measures of the altar, Ezekiel 43:13-17. The ordinances thereof Ezekiel 43:18-27.
After that the measuring of the temple was finished,
he brought me, from the west gate where the whole was finished, and where the 42nd chapter left the prophet,
to the gate, which, lest we should mistake, is expressly described the east gate, of the first wall measured, where he began with the angel, Ezekiel 40:6. From this gate, in a direct line, you have the fairest prospect of the temple.
And, behold, the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east: and his voice was like a noise of many waters: and the earth shined with his glory.Behold: sometimes this word is expletive, but here surely it stands for more; it expresseth, no doubt, the joy the prophet had to see this excellent sight, which should not be seen there more than sixty year’s; for in the sixth year of the captivity the glory of God left the city, Ezekiel 11:22,23; and now the prophet foreseeth its return after the settling the temple, its buildings, and ordinances, which took up a great time, as is evident, John 2:20, which time of forty-six years (viz. thirty in Cyrus, eight in Cambyses, and some six in Darius) is very near accounted. So that between the departure and the return of the glory of God, are about one hundred and six or eight years, and about fourscore between this vision and the accomplishment. The glory: see Ezekiel 1:28.
Of the God of Israel; of him who is an infinitely glorious Being, yet in covenant with us, as a peculiar people of God.
Came from the way of the east: when the glory departed it went eastward, and now that it returns it comes from the east.
His voice: though by the voice of God thunder is sometimes meant, yet here it was an articulate voice, as appears Ezekiel 43:7,8. Perhaps this might be attended with thunder, as usually in such cases.
Like a noise of many waters; terrible, and a mighty voice, as the noise of mighty waves of the sea; so Ezekiel 1:24 Revelation 1:15.
The earth; not the whole earth, but that part about Jerusalem and the temple.
Shined with his glory; the rays of glory, like the sun-beams, made the dark earth to shine with glorious light.
And it was according to the appearance of the vision which I saw, even according to the vision that I saw when I came to destroy the city: and the visions were like the vision that I saw by the river Chebar; and I fell upon my face.And it, this glory of the God of Israel,
was according to the appearance of the vision which I saw: see Ezekiel 1:4,28.
To destroy the city; to declare that their sins would ruin their city, Ezekiel 9:3 10:4, which see. Here the effect seems ascribed to him, though he only declares it will be.
By the river Chebar: see Ezekiel 1:1,3.
Fell upon my face; overwhelmed, and as it were swallowed up: see Ezekiel 1:28.
And the glory of the LORD came into the house by the way of the gate whose prospect is toward the east.The glory: see Ezekiel 43:3.
Came; the sins of impenitent Israel caused the glory of the Lord to go out of his house, but now the repentance of Israel is blessed with the return of this glory.
Into the house; the temple where before it dwelt.
Whose prospect is toward the east; whose front looks eastward: see Ezekiel 43:2.
So the spirit took me up, and brought me into the inner court; and, behold, the glory of the LORD filled the house.The spirit: see Ezekiel 2:2.
Brought me; carried me, at least supported and moved.
The inner court; the court next to the house of the Lord, this was the innermost court.
Filled, either with splendour and brightness, or with a cloud, such as formerly was, Leviticus 16:2 1 Kings 8:10,11, the token of his presence.
The house; the temple.
And I heard him speaking unto me out of the house; and the man stood by me.I heard, distinctly, intelligibly, so that I am sure it was no delusion.
Him; the Lord, who was in that glory.
Speaking; what was spoken appears in the next two verses.
Out of the house; God speaks to his out of his temple.
The man; Christ, Mediator.
Stood by, to encourage, inform, and strengthen him.
And he said unto me, Son of man, the place of my throne, and the place of the soles of my feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel for ever, and my holy name, shall the house of Israel no more defile, neither they, nor their kings, by their whoredom, nor by the carcases of their kings in their high places.And he; the glorious God of Israel.
The place of my throne: his throne, i.e. of glory and majesty, is in heaven, but the throne of his grace is in his temple; in the dispensations of grace, God manifests himself a King.
The place of the soles of my feet: after the manner of man God speaks, and expresseth his abode and rest, where it is in his temple, as type, in his church, as the antitype.
I will dwell; not only shall my ordinances be there administered, but I myself will dwell there.
For ever; for a very long time, till the age of infancy with the Jewish church be over; and to eternity with my church, signified by this temple and city.
My holy name: see Ezekiel 22:26 36:20. No more defile; dishonour, and bring into contempt, as they have done. Neither they; the priests, the false prophets, and the common people, nor their governors and kings.
By their whoredom; by idolatries, and worshipping of strange gods, which, after the captivity, they did very punctually abstain from, as history assures us.
By the carcasses of their kings; either the dead bodies of their deceased kings, buried too near the temple, less likely; or by the sacrificing of men to their idols, to Moloch; or idols are here called carcasses, as dead, stinking, loathsome things in the sight of God. Or, if I had instances of any kings buried in the temples Of the idols, I should incline to interpret this passage of the profane and wicked burying idolatrous kings near the idols they worshipped.
In their high places; where idol temples and idol worship were celebrated.
In their setting of their threshold by my thresholds, and their post by my posts, and the wall between me and them, they have even defiled my holy name by their abominations that they have committed: wherefore I have consumed them in mine anger.The idolatrous kings of Judah and Israel built, temples and altars for their idols, and these are called their thresholds. The Jews, or people of Judah, and their kings, erected these in the courts, or near the courts., of the temple, and so ill local nearness their threshold was by God’s thresholds, and their posts by his, that they were a nuisance to him. And there was but a wall between me and them, that under my eye, and within my hearing, they have with greatest presumption defiled my name.
Defiled my holy name; despised my ordinances, corrupted my worship, or forsaken it, used me as if I were neither great nor holy.
Abominations; abominable idolatries, and wickednesses not to be named.
Committed; acted boldly and openly, against precept, threat, and admonitions.
Wherefore I have consumed them; for which sins I brought destruction upon them. The Chaldeans ruined them, but they were the rod of God’s anger.
In mine anger; in great displeasure and wrath, i.e. in my provoked justice, as Ezekiel 20:13 22:31.
Now let them put away their whoredom, and the carcases of their kings, far from me, and I will dwell in the midst of them for ever.This verse is either prophetic or perceptive, it doth direct the Jew what he should in duty do under this temple, and foretell what the people of God will do under the gospel.
Put away; cast away, as impure and loathsome things should be cast away.
Their whoredom, & c.: see Ezekiel 43:7.
Far from me, my temple and worship.
I will dwell in the midst of them, as their light, protection, and glory. The promises which are made in these cases enjoin us duty: men may sin away God’s presence and blessings. Cast away all sin, that God cast not you away.
For ever: see Ezekiel 43:7.
Thou son of man, shew the house to the house of Israel, that they may be ashamed of their iniquities: and let them measure the pattern.Song of Solomon of man; Ezekiel, who is called thus above eighty times in this book.
Show: he could not lay a model before their eye, but he could, and this is required, describe it to them in all the parts.
The house; temple, which he had seen, and exactly measured.
To the house of Israel; to the rulers, prophets, and priests especially, not excluding others.
That they may be ashamed of their iniquities; when they shall blush to see what glory their iniquities had ruined, how great losers they were by their sins: or else thus interpret the meaning of these things, And let the Jews know what a church God will erect among the Gentiles, that so the Jews may be ashamed of their iniquities, which provoked God to east them off, and to destroy their church and state.
Let them measure the pattern; as thou declarest let them write down, delineate all, and then compute the whole, that they may fully comprehend it.
And if they be ashamed of all that they have done, shew them the form of the house, and the fashion thereof, and the goings out thereof, and the comings in thereof, and all the forms thereof, and all the ordinances thereof, and all the forms thereof, and all the laws thereof: and write it in their sight, that they may keep the whole form thereof, and all the ordinances thereof, and do them.They; the house of Israel.
Be ashamed; repent, and show it by manifest tokens.
Of all: it is not true repentance which is ashamed of some only, but not of all sins. The form, ; the model of the temple.
The fashion; the manner of the building, and fitting each part to other.
The goings out there of, and the comings in thereof; all the alleys, gates, stairs, &c.
The forms, which ought to be observed, saith the French version. Now though this be not in the Hebrew, yet the word may imply as much, it being an idea, pattern, or platform to which a thing is to be confirmed.
The ordinances; rites and orders, rules of governing priests, and their services. These are again repeated in the next words of the verse, which is usual in Scripture, and with this prophet.
Write it in their sight: that it may be remembered, they shall have a draught of it from thy hand, and drawn in their sight, that they may inquire of any particular wherein doubt ariseth.
That they may keep the whole form thereof: as Moses and Solomon did, so must the builders of this temple, frame the whole to the pattern or exemplar set before them, for not doing whereof a heavy account lieth on some in the church.
This is the law of the house; Upon the top of the mountain the whole limit thereof round about shall be most holy. Behold, this is the law of the house.This is the first comprehensive rule. Holiness becomes God’s house or temple: this relative holiness referred to personal and real holiness, and required it. The whole circuit of this mountain shall be holy, but the top of it, on which the temple stands, shall be most holy, into which only holy persons and holy things shall be brought.
And these are the measures of the altar after the cubits: The cubit is a cubit and an hand breadth; even the bottom shall be a cubit, and the breadth a cubit, and the border thereof by the edge thereof round about shall be a span: and this shall be the higher place of the altar.Of the altar of burnt-offerings; for the altar of incense was within the temple, and is called the golden altar, but this in this verse is the brazen altar, and stood in the court of the house.
The cubit is a cubit and an hand breadth; the great or sacred cubit, three inches longer than the common cubit.
The bottom, the ledge or settle, or as a little bench fastened to the altar on all sides at the bottom, shall be a cubit in height.
The breadth, from the edge of this settle or bench on the outside, to the edge where it joined the body of the altar, a cubit; and this breadth, twenty-one inches, broad enough for the priests to walk on round the altar, as they had occasion.
The border, a ledge going round on all the squares, on the outer edge of this settle, a span high, about nine inches, which was to prevent the priests. that they slipped not down in walking on this settle.
This shall be the higher place of the altar: this seems somewhat harshly translated; the French hath it, this shall be the back of the altar; as the back bears burdens, so this should bear the weight of the whole altar; this the basis or bottom, as called before, which was one cubit in each square broader than the next square frame or settle.
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.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.
So the altar shall be four cubits; and from the altar and upward shall be four horns.The altar: this upper part is now called the altar, though sometimes this name is given to the whole, as Ezekiel 43:13.
Four cubits in height, for it was of much greater wideness, as in the next verse.
From the altar; from the top of the altar, at each corner shall be a horn, four in all.
And the altar shall be twelve cubits long, twelve broad, square in the four squares thereof.The altar; that which in the 15th verse is precisely determined to be the altar, the uppermost and least settle.
Twelve cubits long, twelve broad; all exact square, by which we may know the dimensions of the other two; the first of the two was wider by two cubits, and longer by two cubits, than the highest, and the lowest was as much greater and larger than the middlemost. The highest twelve cubits square, the middle fourteen cubits square, and the lowest sixteen cubits square.
And the settle shall be fourteen cubits long and fourteen broad in the four squares thereof; and the border about it shall be half a cubit; and the bottom thereof shall be a cubit about; and his stairs shall look toward the east.The settle; so called now, since the uppermost carrieth the name of altar, proper to itself.
Fourteen cubits, as said in the former verse: nor can it be otherwise, since it is one cubit on each side broader than the altar, which was twelve cubits square.
The border; or a border, or ledge, fastened to the edge of the outside of this bench, that goes round about the settle.
Half a cubit; about eleven inches, being the half of this great cubit: now this border was for security to the priests in their going round the altar, that if a foot slipped, this border might stay it.
The bottom, the superficies, on which the priest treads when he is doing any thing on the altar, or the breadth of this bench within the border,
Stairs, or steps, for such they needed; and probably each stair about one fourth of a cubit, to carry them up to the first and second settles. These stairs were placed eastward, that he who went up should have his face to the west, his back to the east; his face toward God, not toward the rising sun, as they who made the sun their idol.
And he said unto me, Son of man, thus saith the Lord GOD; These are the ordinances of the altar in the day when they shall make it, to offer burnt offerings thereon, and to sprinkle blood thereon.These are the ordinances; these are the measures and proportions for building the altar.
In the day when, whensoever,
they shall make it, the returned captives shall build and use it.
To offer burnt-offerings thereon: it appears then this was the great brazen altar, of which see Exodus 38:30 39:39.
To sprinkle blood thereon, according to the law, Leviticus 1:5.
And thou shalt give to the priests the Levites that be of the seed of Zadok, which approach unto me, to minister unto me, saith the Lord GOD, a young bullock for a sin offering.Thou shalt give; direct or command that it be given; for the prophet could not bestow such a gift on them.
The priests the Levites; explaining who were meant by the priests.
Zadok, who was put into Abiathar’s room. See Ezekiel 40:46 44:15.
To minister unto me: see Ezekiel 42:13.
A young bullock; the sacrifice appointed, Exodus 29:1,36, at the consecrating of the priests.
For a sin offering; an expiatory sacrifice, to make an atonement for errors, and to reconcile the person that brought the sacrifice. New consecration and reconciliation, needful after so long an interruption of their ministration, and for such as never were before consecrated.
And thou shalt take of the blood thereof, and put it on the four horns of it, and on the four corners of the settle, and upon the border round about: thus shalt thou cleanse and purge it.Thou shalt take; appoint it to be taken.
Of the blood thereof; of the slain bullock.
Put it, not all, but some of the blood, on the horns of the altar, as Leviticus 4:30 prescribeth, and as Moses did, Leviticus 8:15.
Of the settle, on which the altar stood, which was two cubits high, and set upon one of a cubit high from the ground.
Upon the border: see Ezekiel 43:17.
Cleanse and purge it; make it legally clean, that it may be fit for so sacred a use as this of sacrificing was.
Thou shalt take the bullock also of the sin offering, and he shall burn it in the appointed place of the house, without the sanctuary.Thou shalt take; as Ezekiel 43:20.
And he, the priest of Zadok’s line, that by his course in ministration ought at that time to offer the sacrifice,
shall burn it; either the whole, or so much as is commanded to be burnt.
The house here is not the temple itself, but a place within the circuit of the most consecrated ground; it is called
the place of the house, because the place in which the house was built, which is the sanctuary or temple. This was done without the gate, without the camp, while the tabernacle stood. Now it is to be done in the court of the house, and on the altar appointed and consecrated. This is the first day’s sacrifice.
And on the second day thou shalt offer a kid of the goats without blemish for a sin offering; and they shall cleanse the altar, as they did cleanse it with the bullock.The next day’s sacrifice is here directed.
Without blemish: this was a qualification required in all sacrifices, and there were priests appointed to search whether they were perfect, in which search they were very punctual and curious.
For a sin offering: see Ezekiel 43:19.
And they, the priests in attendance or course,
shall cleanse the altar, with the blood of the kid put upon the altar, as appointed, and as the blood of the bullock, Ezekiel 43:20.
When thou hast made an end of cleansing it, thou shalt offer a young bullock without blemish, and a ram out of the flock without blemish.Made an end of the first and second days’ sacrifices, and cleansing the altar.
Thou shalt offer on the third day, and so on, through seven days.
A ram: a kid, Ezekiel 43:22, now a ram; both, or either, as God appoints; there was no inherent excellency in either one or other to commend them to God, but a male and without blemish it must be.
And thou shalt offer them before the LORD, and the priests shall cast salt upon them, and they shall offer them up for a burnt offering unto the LORD.Thou shalt offer; direct them to offer.
Before the Lord; not only to the Lord, but before the Lord, i.e. before the temple; so the altar stood where the burnt-offering was to be offered.
Cast salt upon them; so the law, Leviticus 2:13, expressly required, and the priests salted every sacrifice made by fire three times, they say, in the salt chamber, at the bottom of the altar, and when the sacrifice was on the altar. It may allude to the perpetuity of the covenant thus made by sacrifice, and salted; as Numbers 18:19 2 Chronicles 13:5.
They; the priests.
Seven days shalt thou prepare every day a goat for a sin offering: they shall also prepare a young bullock, and a ram out of the flock, without blemish.By this it appears that there were seven days appointed for consecrating altar and priests, and that either these three sacrifices were every day of the seven offered up, and their blood sprinkled on the altar, or at least the young bullock every day, and one goat or one ram with it: the word here is copulative, but possibly the sense disjunctive, for so this particle is often used.
Seven days shall they purge the altar and purify it; and they shall consecrate themselves.They, the priests in course,
shall purge the altar: the same with what is said of the priests; they and the altar were thus consecrated and dedicated unto God, to be his in peculiar manner.
And when these days are expired, it shall be, that upon the eighth day, and so forward, the priests shall make your burnt offerings upon the altar, and your peace offerings; and I will accept you, saith the Lord GOD.When these days are expired; when you have on every day of these seven offered the sacrifices as appointed, and for the ends mentioned.
Upon the eighth day, which begins a new week and it is probable the first of these seven days for sacrifice might be the sabbath, and end on our Friday; however, the first week is spent in solemn consecration of altar and priests; all weeks after are to have, day by day, the usual appointed sacrifices.
Burnt-offerings; which were sacrifices expiatory, and for atonement of sin.
Upon the altar of burnt-offering, the great brazen altar described in this chapter, Ezekiel 43:13-17.
Peace-offerings; sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving unto God for his goodness.
I will accept you; be well-pleased with your persons, pardon your sins, smell a savour of rest in your thanksgiving, and own you with signal tokens of my favour and kindness; I will show my good-will and delight in you.