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The Inner Space of the Temple (see Plate III B and C)
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 Böttcher, 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.”
The Wall and the Side-Building
Ezekiel 41:5. And he measured the wall of the house six cubits, and the breadth of the side storey four cubits round the house round about. Ezekiel 41:6. And of the side-rooms there were room upon room three, and that thirty times, and they came upon the wall, which the house had by the side-rooms round about, so that they were held, and yet they were not held in the wall of the house. Ezekiel 41:7. And it spread out, and was surrounded upwards more and more to the side-rooms, for the enclosure of the house went upwards more and more round about the house; therefore the house received breadth upwards; and so the lower ascended to the upper after the proportion of the central one. Ezekiel 41:8. And I saw in the house a height round about, with regard to the foundations of the side-rooms a full rod, six cubits to the joint. Ezekiel 41:9. The breadth of the wall, which the side storey had on the outside, was five cubits, and so also what was left free was by the side-chamber building of the house. Ezekiel 41:10. And between the cells was a breadth of twenty cubits round the house round about. Ezekiel 41:11. And the door of the side-chamber building led toward what was left free, one door toward the north and one door toward the south, and the breadth of the space left free was five cubits round about. - From the interior of the sanctuary the measuring man turned to the outer work, and measured, first of all, the wall of the house (Ezekiel 41:5), i.e., the wall commencing with the pillars in the front (Ezekiel 41:1), which surrounded the holy place and the holy of holies on the north, the west, and the south ( e). This was six cubits thick, He then measured the breadth of the צלע , i.e., of the building consisting of three storeys of side-rooms, which was erected against the north, west, and south sides of the sanctuary ( h). For צלע signifies not only a single side-room, but collectively the whole range of these side-chambers, the entire building against the sides of the temple house, called יצוּע in 1 Kings 6:5-6, with which הצּלע (Ezekiel 41:8) is also used alternately there (see the comm. on 1 Kings 6:5).; - The breadth of the side-building was four cubits in the clear, that is to say, the space from the temple wall to the outer wall of the side-building ( f), which was five cubits thick (Ezekiel 41:9), and that uniformly all round the temple. - The further particulars concerning the side-rooms in Ezekiel 41:6 and Ezekiel 41:7 are very obscure, so that they can only be made perfectly intelligible by comparing them with the description of the similar building in Solomon's temple. According to this, Ezekiel 41:6 is to be taken thus: “and as for the side-rooms, there were room upon room ( אל for על ) three, and (that) thirty times,” and understood as signifying that there were three side-rooms standing one above another, and that this occurred thirty times, so that the side-building had three storeys, each containing thirty rooms (chambers), so that there were thirty times three rooms standing one above another ( h h h). There is no necessity, therefore, for the transposition of שׁלושׁ וּשׁלשׁים into שׁלשׁים ושׁלושׁ , which Böttcher, Hitzig, and Hävernick have adopted from the lxx, because of their having taken אל in the sense of against, room against room thirty, and that three times, which yields the same thought, no doubt, but not so clearly, inasmuch as it remains indefinite whether the three times thirty rooms were above one another or side by side. Nothing is said about the distribution of the thirty rooms in each storey; but it is very probable that the distribution was uniform, so that on each of the longer sides, i.e., against the northern and southern walls of the temple, there were twelve rooms, and six against the shorter western wall. The northern and southern walls were sixty cubits, plus six cubits the thickness of the wall, plus four cubits the breadth of the side building against the western wall (60 + 6 + 4), in all therefore seventy cubits, or, deducting five cubits for the thickness of the outer wall at the front of the building, sixty-five cubits long; and the western wall was 20 + 2 x 6 (the thickness of the side wall), i.e., thirty-two cubits long. If, therefore, we fix the length of each side-room at 4 1/2 cubits, there remain five cubits against the western wall for the seven party walls required, or five-sevenths of a cubit for each, and against the northern and southern walls eleven cubits for party walls and staircase, and reckoning the party walls at four-sevenths of a cubit in thickness, there are left four cubits and a seventh for the space of the stairs, quite a sufficient space for a winding staircase.
The clauses which follow relate to the connection between these side-rooms and the temple house. באות בּקּיר , they were coming (going) upon the wall. בּוא ב , generally intrare in locu , here, on account of what follows, to tread upon the wall; that is to say, they were built against the wall in such a manner that the beams of the floors of the three storeys rested on the temple wall on the inner side, i.e., were held or borne by it, but not so as to be inserted in the wall and held fast thereby. The only way in which this could be effected was by so constructing the temple wall that it had a ledge at every storey on which the beams of the side-storeys could rest, i.e., by making it recede half a cubit, or become so much thinner on the outer side, so that if the thickness of the wall at the bottom was six cubits, it would be five cubits and a half at the first storey, five cubits at the second, and four and a half at the third. In this way the side-rooms were supported by the temple wall, but not in such a manner that the beams laid hold of the walls of the sanctuary, or were dovetailed into them, which would have done violence to the sanctity of the temple house; and the side storeys appeared as, what they should be, an external building, which did not interfere with the integrity of the sanctuary. That this is the meaning of the words is rendered certain by a comparison with 1 Kings 6:6, where the ledges on the temple wall are expressly mentioned, and the design of these is said to be לבלתּי אחז בּקירות , that the beams might not be fastened in the walls of the house, to which the last words of our verse, ולא־יהיוּ אחוּזים בּקיר הבּית , refer. Kliefoth's rendering of באות בּקּיר , “they went against the wall,” is grammatically untenable, as בּוא sa ,elba with ב does not mean to go against anything. אשׁר לבּית לצּלעות , which the (temple) house had toward the side-rooms. סביב סביב , round about, i.e., on all three sides of the temple. The peculiarity of the storeys, arising from this resting upon the temple, is described in Ezekiel 41:7, of which different explanations have been given, but the general meaning of which is that it occasioned a widening of the side-rooms proceeding upwards from storey to storey, as is plainly stated in 1 Kings 6:6. The words ורחבה ונסבה are not to be taken together, as expressing one idea, viz., “it spread round about” (De Wette), but contain two different assertions, which are more precisely defined in what follows by the substantives מוּסב and רחב . Neither קיר nor הצלע is to be taken as the subject; but the verbs are to be regarded as impersonal: “there spread out and surrounded,” i.e., a widening and a surrounding took place. The double למעלה has been correctly explained by Bochart, viz., “by continued ascending,” i.e., the higher one went the more extension and compass did one find, with regard to, i.e., according to the measure of, the side-rooms or side-storeys. לצּלעות belongs to למעלה , and is added for the purpose of defining more precisely how the widening took place, not gradually, but at each storey; for “these צלעות are the three rooms standing one above another, spoken of in Ezekiel 41:6” (Kliefoth).
This statement is explained, and the reason assigned, in the clause introduced with כּי , the meaning of which depends upon the explanation of the word מוּסב . This word may mean a way round, and a surrounding. The Rabbins, whom Hävernick follows, understand by מוּסב a winding staircase, the לוּלים mentioned in 1 Kings 6:8, which led from the lower storey to the upper ones. This is decidedly wrong; for apart from the question whether this meaning can be grammatically sustained, it is impossible to attach any rational meaning to the words, “a winding staircase of the house was upwards more and more round about the house,” since a winding staircase could never run round about a building seventy cubits long and forty cubits broad, but could only ascend at one spot, which would really give it the character of a winding staircase. Böttcher's explanation is equally untenable: “for the winding round of the interior was upwards more and more round and round inwards.” For, in the first place, הבּית does not mean the interior, and לבּית does not mean inwards; and secondly, “winding round” is not equivalent to an alteration of form in the shape of the rooms, through which those in the bottom storey were oblongs running lengthwise, those in the central storey squares, and those in the third oblongs running inwards, which Böttcher imagines to have been the case. It would be much easier to adopt the explanation of Kliefoth and others, who take מוּסב in the sense of a way round, and regard it as signifying a passage running round the house in the form of a gallery, by which one could walk all round the house, and so reach the rooms in the upper storeys. This, as Kliefoth still further remarks, was the reason why the surrounding of (circuit round) the house was greater the higher one ascended, and also the reason why it became wider up above in the upper storeys, as the words, “therefore the breadth of the house increased upwards,” affirm. In these words Kliefoth finds a distinct assertion “that there is no foundation for the assumption that the widening upwards was occasioned by the receding of the temple walls; but that the widening of the building, which took place above, arose from the passages round that were attached to the second and third storeys, and that these passages ran round the building, and consequently were attached to the outside in the form of galleries.” But we are unable to see how this can be distinctly asserted in the words רחב לבּית למעלה . Even if הבּית , in connection with מוּסב , signified the side-building, including the temple house, the only thought contained in the words would be, that the side-building became broader at each storey as you ascended, i.e., that the breadth of the side-building increased with each storey. But even then it would not be stated in what manner the increase in breadth arose; whether in consequence of the receding of the temple wall at each storey, or from the fact that the side-rooms were built so as to project farther out, or that the side-storeys were widened by the addition of a passage in the form of a gallery. And the decision in favour of one or other of these possibilities could only be obtained from the preceding clause, where it is stated that מוּסב הבּית went round about the side-building, and that in favour of the last.
But, in the first place, the assumption that הבּית and לבּית denote the side-building, to the exclusion of the temple house, is extremely harsh, as throughout the whole section הבּית signifies the temple house; and in Ezekiel 41:6 לבּית is used again in this sense. If we understand, however, by מוּסב הבּית a passage or a surrounding all round the temple house, the words by no means imply that there were outer galleries running round the side-rooms. In the second place, it is extremely harsh to take מוּסב in the sense of a passage round, if the preceding נסבה is to signify surrounded. As מוּסב takes up the word נסבד again, and “precisely the same thing is signified by the two verbs רחבה ונסבה as by the substantives רחב and מוּסב afterwards,” we cannot render נסבה by surrounded, and מוסב by a passage round. If, therefore, מוּסב signified a passage, a gallery running round the building, this would necessarily be expressed in the verb נסבה , which must be rendered, “there went round,” i.e., there was a passage round, more and more upwards, according to the measure of the storeys. But this would imply that the passage round existed in the case of the bottom storey also, and merely increased in breadth in the central and upper storeys. Now a gallery round the bottom storey is shown to be out of the question by the measurements which follow. From this we may see that the supposition that there were galleries on the outside round the second and third storeys is not required by the text, and possibly is irreconcilable with it; and there is not even a necessity to adduce the further argument, that Kliefoth's idea, that the entire building of three storeys was simply upheld by the outer wall, without any support to the beams from the wall of the temple, is most improbable, as such a building would have been very insecure, and useless for the reception of any things of importance. We therefore take נסב and מוּסב in the sense of surrounded and surrounding. In this case, Ezekiel 41:7 simply affirms that the surrounding of the house, i.e., the side-building round about the temple house, became broader toward the top, increasing (more and more) according to the measure of the storeys; for it increased the more in proportion to the height against the temple house, so that the house became broader as you ascended. To this there is appended by means of וכן the last statement of the verse: “and so the lower ascended to the upper after the measure of the central one.” This clause is taken by the majority of the commentators to mean: thus they ascended from the lower to the upper after the central one. But many have observed the folly of an arrangement by which they ascended a staircase on the outside from the lower storey to the upper, and went from that into the central one, and have therefore followed the lxx in changing וכן into וּמן and לתּיכונה into בּתּיכונה , “and from the lower (they ascended) to the upper through the central one.” But there is no apparent necessity for these alterations of the text, as the reading in the text yields a good sense, if we take התּחתּונה as the subject to יעלה : and thus the lower storey ascended to the upper after the measure of the central one, - a rendering to which no decisive objection can be urged on the ground of the difference of gender (the masc. יעלה ). וכן affirms that the ascent took place according to the mode of widening already mentioned.
In the Ezekiel 41:8 we have a further statement concerning the side-rooms, as we may see from the middle clause; but it has also been explained in various ways. Böttcher, for example, renders the first clause thus: “and I saw what the height round about was in an inwardly direction;” but this is both grammatically false and senseless, as לבּית does not mean inwardly, and “in an inwardly direction” yields no conceivable sense. Kliefoth adopts the rendering: “I fixed my eyes upon the height round about to the house;” but this is also untenable, as ראה does not mean to fix the eyes upon, in the sense of measuring with the eyes, and in this case also the article could hardly be omitted in the case of גּבהּ . The words run simply thus: “I saw in the house a height” = an elevation round about. What this means is shown in the following words: the side-rooms had foundations a full rod, i.e., the foundation of the rooms was a full rod (six cubits) high. מיסדות is not a substantive מיסדות , but a participle Pual מיסּדות ; and the Keri is substantially correct, though an unnecessary correction; מלו for מלוא (compare Ezekiel 28:16, מלוּ for מלאוּ ). The side-building did not stand on level ground, therefore, but had a foundation six cubits high. This is in harmony with the statement in Ezekiel 40:49, that they ascended by steps to the temple porch, so that the temple house with its front porch was raised above the inner court. As this elevation was a full rod or six cubits, not merely for the side-building, but also for the temple porch, we may assume that there were twelve steps, and not ten after the lxx of Ezekiel 40:49, as half a cubit of Ezekiel's measurement was a considerable height for steps. - The expression which follows, “six cubits אצּילה ,” is obscure, on account of the various ways in which אצילה may be understood. So much, however, is beyond all doubt, that the words cannot contain merely an explanation of the length of the rod measure: “six cubits (measured) to the wrist,” because the length of the rod has already been fixed in Ezekiel 40:5, and therefore a fresh definition would be superfluous, and the one given here would contradict that of Ezekiel 40:5. אצּיל signifies connection or joint, and when applied to a building can hardly mean anything else than the point at which one portion of the building joins on to the other. Hävernick and Kliefoth therefore understand by אצּיל the point at which one storey ends and another begins, the connecting line of the rooms standing one above another; and Hävernick takes the clause to be a more precise definition of מיסדות הץ ' , understanding by מיסדות the foundations of the rooms, i.e., the floors. Kliefoth, on the other hand, regards the clause as containing fresh information, namely, concerning the height of the storeys, so that according to the statement in this verse the side-building had a foundation of six cubits in height, and each of the storeys had also a height of six cubits, and consequently the whole building was twenty-four cubits high, reckoning from the ground. So much is clear, that מיסדות does not signify the floors of the rooms, so that Hävernick's explanation falls to the ground. And Kliefoth's view is also open to this objection, that if the words gave the height of the storeys, and therefore supplied a second measurement, the copula ו could hardly fail to stand before them. The absence of this copula evidently leads to the conclusion that the “six cubits” אצּילה are merely intended to furnish a further substantial explanation as to the foundation, which was a full rod high, the meaning of which has not yet been satisfactorily cleared up, as all the explanations given elsewhere are still further from the mark.
In Ezekiel 41:9 there follow two further particulars with reference to the side-building. The wall of it without, i.e., on the outside ( f), was five cubits thick or broad, and therefore one cubit thinner than the temple wall. The מנּח in the side-building was just the same breadth. In the clause beginning with ואשׁר the measure (five cubits) given in the first clause is to be repeated, so that we may render ו by “ and also,” and must take the words in the sense of “just as broad.” מנּח , the Hophal participle of הנּיח , to let alone, in the case of a building, is that portion of the building space which is not built upon like the rest; and in Ezekiel 41:11, there it is used as a substantive, it signifies the space left open by the sides of the building (Plate I i). The Chaldee rendering is אתר , locus relictus . בּית צלעות is an adverbial or locative accusative: against the house of side-chambers, or all along it; and אשׁר לבּית is an appositional explanation: “which was to the temple,” i.e., belonged to it, was built round about it. - Consequently there is no necessity for any alteration of the text, not even for changing בּית into בּין in order to connect together Ezekiel 41:9 and Ezekiel 41:10 as one clause, as Böttcher and Hitzig propose; though all that they gain thereby is the discrepancy that in Ezekiel 41:9 and Ezekiel 41:10 the space left open between the side-rooms against the temple house and between the cells against the wall of the court is said to have been twenty cubits broad, whereas in Ezekiel 41:12 the breadth of this munnâch is set down as five cubits. - There follows next in Ezekiel 41:10 the account of the breadth between the temple-building and the cells against the wall of the inner court, and then in Ezekiel 41:11 we have further particulars concerning the side-building and the space left open. הלשׁכות (Ezekiel 41:10) are the cell buildings, more fully described in Ezekiel 42:1., which stood along the wall dividing the inner court from the outer on the west of the north and south gates of the inner court, and therefore opposite to the temple house (Plate I L L). To the expression, “and between the cells there was a breadth,” there has to be supplied the correlative term from the context, namely, the space between the מנּח and the לשׁכות had a breadth of twenty cubits round about the house, i.e., on the north, west, and south sides of the temple house. - The description of this space closes in Ezekiel 41:11 with an account of the entrances to the side-building. It had a door toward the space left open, i.e., leading out into this space, one to the north and one to the south (Plate III i i), and the space left open was five cubits broad round about, i.e., on the north, west, and south sides of the temple-building. מקום , the place of that which remained open, i.e., the space left open.
If, then, in conclusion, we gather together all the measurements of the temple house and its immediate surroundings, we obtain (as is shown in Plate I) a square of a hundred cubits in breadth and a hundred cubits in length, exclusive of the porch. The temple ( G) was twenty cubits broad in the inside (Ezekiel 41:2); the wall surrounding the sanctuary was six cubits (Ezekiel 41:5), or (for the two walls) 2 x 6 = 12 cubits. The side-buildings being four cubits broad in the clear on each side (Ezekiel 41:5), make 2 x 4 = 8 cubits. The outside walls of these buildings, five cubits on each side (Ezekiel 41:9), make 2 x 5 = 10 cubits. The מנּח ( i), five cubits round about (Ezekiel 41:11), makes 2 x 5 = 10 cubits. And the space between this and the cells standing by the wall of the court ( e-g-h-f), twenty cubits round about (Ezekiel 41:10), makes 2 x 20 = 40 cubits. The sum total therefore is 20 + 12 + 8 + 10 + 10 + 40 = 100 cubits, in perfect harmony with the breadth of the inner court given in Ezekiel 40:47. The length was as follows: forty cubits the holy place, and twenty cubits the holy of holies (Ezekiel 41:2 and Ezekiel 41:4); the western wall, six cubits; the side-rooms on the west, four cubits; and their wall, five cubits; the מנּח , on the west, five cubits; and the space to the cells, twenty cubits; in all, 40 + 20 + 6 + 4 + 5 + 5 + 20 = 100 cubits, as stated in Ezekiel 41:13. The porch and thickness both of the party-wall between the holy place and the most holy, and also of the front (eastern) wall of the holy place, are not taken into calculation here. The porch is not included, because the ground which it covered belonged to the space of the inner court into which it projected. The party-wall is not reckoned, because it was merely a thin wooden partition, and therefore occupied no space worth notice. But it is difficult to say why the front wall of the holy place is not included. As there was no room for it in the square of a hundred cubits, Kliefoth assumes that there was no wall whatever on the western side of the holy place, and supposes that the back wall (i.e., the western wall) of the porch supplied its place. But this is inadmissible, for the simple reason that the porch was certainly not of the same height as the holy place, and according to Ezekiel 40:48 it had only sixteen cubits of external breadth; so that there would not only have been an open space left in the upper portion of the front, but also an open space of two cubits in breadth on either side, if the holy place had had no wall of its own. Moreover, the measurement both of the pillars on both sides of the front of the היכל (Ezekiel 41:1), and of the shoulders on both sides of the door (Ezekiel 41:2), presupposes a wall or partition on the eastern side of the holy place, which cannot be supposed to have been thinner than the side-walls, that is to say, not less than six cubits in thickness. We are shut up, therefore, to the conjecture that the forty cubits' length of the holy place was measured from the door-line, which was ten cubits broad, and that the thickness of the door-shoulders on the two sides is included in these forty cubits, or, what is the same thing, that they were not taken into account in the measurement. The objection raised to this, namely, that the space within the holy place would thereby have lost a considerable portion of its significant length of forty cubits, cannot have much weight, as the door-shoulders, the thickness of which is not reckoned, were only five cubits broad on each side, and for the central portion of the holy place, which was occupied by the door, and was ten cubits broad, the length of forty cubits suffered no perceptible diminution. Just as the pillars of the door of the holy of holies with the party-wall are reckoned in the 40 + 20 cubits' length of the sanctuary, and are not taken into consideration; so may this also have been the case with the thickness of wall of the door-shoulders of the holy place. The measurements of the space occupied by the holy place and holy of holies, which have a symbolical significance, cannot be measured with mathematical scrupulosity.
The Separate Place, and the External Dimensions of the Temple
Ezekiel 41:12. And the building at the front of the separate place was seventy cubits broad on the side turned toward the west, and the wall of the building five cubits broad round about, and its length ninety cubits. Ezekiel 41:13. And he measured the (temple) house: the length a hundred cubits; and the separate place, and its building, and its walls: the length a hundred cubits. Ezekiel 41:14. And the breadth of the face of the (temple) house, and of the separate place toward the east, a hundred cubits. - The explanation of these verses depends upon the meaning of the word גּזרה . According to its derivation from גּזר , to cut, to separate, גּזרה means that which is cut off, or separated. Thus ארץ גּזרה is the land cut off, the desert, which is not connected by roads with the inhabited country. In the passage before us, גּזרה signifies a place on the western side of the temple, i.e., behind the temple, which was separated from the sanctuary (Plate I J), and on which a building stood, but concerning the purpose of which nothing more definite is stated than we are able to gather, partly from the name and situation of the place in question, and partly from such passages as 1 Chronicles 26:18 and 2 Kings 23:11, according to which, even in Solomon's temple, there was a similar space at the back of the temple house with buildings upon it, which had a separate way out, the gate שׁלּכת , namely, that “this space,with its buildings, was to be used for the reception of all refuse, sweepings, all kinds of rubbish, - in brief, of everything that was separated or rejected when the holy service was performed in the temple, - and that this was the reason why it received the name of the separate place” (Kliefoth). The building upon this space was situated אל־פּני־הגּזרה , in the front of the gizrah (that is to say, as one approached it from the temple); and that פּאת דּרך־היּם , on the side of the way to the sea, i.e., on the western side, sc. of the temple, and had a breadth of seventy cubits (from north to south), with a wall round about, which was five cubits broad (thick), and a length of ninety cubits. As the thickness of the wall is specially mentioned in connection with the breadth, we must add it both to the breadth and to the length of the building as given here; so that, when looked at from the outside, the building was eighty cubits broad and a hundred cubits long. In Ezekiel 41:13 this length is expressly attributed to the separate place, and (i.e., along with) its building, and the walls thereof. But the length of the temple house has also been previously stated as a hundred cubits. In Ezekiel 41:14 the breadth of both is also stated to have been a hundred cubits - namely, the breadth of the outer front, or front face of the temple, was a hundred cubits; and the breadth of the separate place לקּדים toward the east, i.e., the breadth which it showed to the person measuring on the eastern side, was the same. If, them, the building on the separate place was only eighty cubits broad, according to Ezekiel 41:12, including the walls, whilst the separate place itself was a hundred cubits broad, there remains a space of twenty cubits in breadth not covered by the building; that is to say, as we need not hesitate to put the building in the centre, open spaces of ten cubits each on the northern and southern sides were left as approaches to the building on both sides ( K), whereas the entire length of the separate place (from east to west) was covered by the building. - All these measurements are in perfect harmony. As the inner court formed a square of a hundred cubits in length (Ezekiel 40:47), the temple house, which joined it on the west, extended with its appurtenances to a similar length; and the separate place behind the temple also covered a space of equal size. These three squares, therefore, had a length from east to west of three hundred cubits. If we add to this the length of the buildings of the east gates of the inner and outer courts, namely fifty cubits for each (Ezekiel 40:15, Ezekiel 40:21, Ezekiel 40:25, Ezekiel 40:29, Ezekiel 40:33, Ezekiel 40:36), and the length of the outer court from gate to gate a hundred cubits (Ezekiel 40:19, Ezekiel 40:23, Ezekiel 40:27), we obtain for the whole of the temple building the length of five hundred cubits. If, again, we add to the breadth of the inner court or temple house, which was one hundred cubits, the breadths of the outer court, with the outer and inner gate-buildings, viz., two hundred cubits on both the north and south sides, we obtain a total breadth of 100 + 200 + 200 = 500 (say five hundred) cubits; so that the whole building covered a space of five hundred cubits square, in harmony with the calculation already made (at Ezekiel 40:24-27) of the size of the surrounding wall.
Summary Account of the Measurement, the Character, and the Significant Ornaments of the Projecting Portions of the Temple Building. - Ezekiel 41:15. And thus he measured the length of the building in the front of the separate place which was at the back thereof, and its galleries on this side and that side, a hundred cubits, and the inner sanctuary, and the porches of the court; Ezekiel 41:16. The thresholds, and the closed windows, and the galleries round about all three - opposite to the thresholds was wainscoting wood round about, and the ground up to the windows; but the windows were covered - Ezekiel 41:17. (The space) above the doors, both to the inner temple and outside, and on all the wall round about, within and without, had its measures. Ezekiel 41:18. And cherubs and palms were made, a palm between every two cherubs; and the cherub had two faces; Ezekiel 41:19. A man's face toward the palm on this side, and a lion's face toward the palm on that side: thus was it made round about the whole house. Ezekiel 41:20. From the floor to above the doors were the cherubs and palms made, and that on the wall of the sanctuary. Ezekiel 41:21. The sanctuary had square door-posts, and the front of the holy of holies had the same form. Ezekiel 41:22. The altar was of wood, three cubits high, and its length two cubits; and it had its corner-pieces and its stand, and its walls were of wood: and he said to me, This is the table which stands before Jehovah. Ezekiel 41:23. And the holy place and the holy of holies had two doors. Ezekiel 41:24. And the doors had two wings, two turning leaves; the one door two, and the other two leaves. Ezekiel 41:25. And there were made upon them, upon the doors of the sanctuary, cherubs and palms, as they were made upon the walls; and a moulding of wood was on the front of the porch outside. Ezekiel 41:26. And there were closed windows and palms on this side and on that, on the side-walls of the porch, and the side-rooms of the house, and the beams. - Ezekiel 41:15 is the commencement of a comprehensive enumeration of particular features in the building, the greater part of which have not been mentioned before; so that וּמדד (for ויּמד ) is to be rendered, “and thus he measured.” The circumstance that another measurement follows in Ezekiel 41:15, whereas no further numbers are given from Ezekiel 41:15 onwards, does not warrant us in assuming that Ezekiel 41:15 is to be joined on to Ezekiel 41:14, and Ezekiel 41:15 to be taken in connection with Ezekiel 41:16. The absence of the cop. ו before הסּפּים in Ezekiel 41:16 is sufficient to preclude the latter, showing as it does that הסּפּים commences a fresh statement; and the words ' וההיכל וגו in Ezekiel 41:15 are still governed by the verb וּמדד in Ezekiel 41:15. The contents of Ezekiel 41:15 are also decisive against the separation mentioned. If, for instance, we connect Ezekiel 41:15 with Ezekiel 41:14, the first clause contains a pure tautology, as the length of the building has been already measured, and the result is given in Ezekiel 41:13. The tautology does not exist, if the summary statements of the measurement of different portions of the whole temple building commence with Ezekiel 41:15; and in connection with these a supplementary account is given of various details not mentioned before.
The contents of the second clause, namely, what is stated concerning the אתּיקים , belong directly to the latter. The building in front of the separate place, which was measured by the man, is more precisely defined, so far as its situation is concerned, by the words אשׁר על־אחריה . The feminine suffix in אחריה points back to הגּזרה ; consequently אשׁר can only refer to הבּנין : “the building...which was at the back of the gizrah .” This is not at variance with the situation indicated in אל־פּני הגּזרה , but serves as a more exact definition of this statement, showing that the building which stood at the front of the gizrah occupied the hinder part of it, i.e., extended in length from the front of the gizrah to the back. - The meaning of אתּוּקים or אתּיקים , here ( Keri) and in Ezekiel 41:16; Ezekiel 42:3 and Ezekiel 42:5, the only other passages in which it occurs, is involved in obscurity. Even Raschi confesses that he does not know what it means, and the older translators have simply resorted to vague conjectures for their renderings; the lxx here, ἀπόλοιπα , in Ezekiel 42:3 and Ezekiel 42:5 περίστυλον and στοαί ; the Vulgate, here, ethecas (the Hebrew word Latinized), in Ezekiel 42 porticus ; Targum, in the London Polyglot, Ezekiel 41:15, זיויתהא ; Ezekiel 41:16, אתּיקיּא ; Ezekiel 42:3, זוי ; and Ezekiel 42:5, זיזיּא . There is no root אתק in Hebrew; and the derivation of the word from עתק is not only uncertain, but furnishes us with nothing that can be used for tracing the architectural signification of the word. Even the context in Ezekiel 41:15 and Ezekiel 41:16 of this chapter supplies nothing, for in both verses the meaning of the clauses in which אתיקים stands is a matter of dispute. It is only in Ezekiel 42:3 and Ezekiel 42:5 that we find any clue. According to Ezekiel 42:3, in the three-storied cell-building there was אתּיק אל־פּני on the third storey; and according to Ezekiel 41:5 the cells of the upper storey in this building were shorter than those of the lower and central storey, because אתּיקים took space away from them; and the reason for this, again, was, that the three-storied cells had no pillars. From this we may infer with certainty that the אתּיקים were galleries or passages running along the outer walls of the building, which were not supported by pillars, and therefore necessarily rested upon ledges obtained by the receding of the rooms of the upper storey. This meaning also suits the present chapter. The suffix in אתּוּקיהא (an Aramaic form for אתּיקיה ) points back, not to בּנין , but to הבּניה in Ezekiel 41:13; for the words, “and its galleries on this side and on that,” i.e., on the north and south sides of the building, are not dependent upon ארך הבּנין , in the sense of “the length of the building, with its galleries on this side and on that,” as ואתוקיהא is too widely separated from ' ארך הב for this. ואתוקיהא is rather a second object to מדד : he measured (1) the length of the building; (2) its galleries on this side and that - a hundred cubits; (3) the inner temple, etc. The hundred cubits do not refer to the length of the building, but to the galleries on both sides, which were of the same length as the building, and therefore ran along its entire length, - a fact which it was not superfluous to mention, as they might possibly have been shorter. ההיכל הפּנימי is the temple house, with the buildings against it, within the inner court. In addition to these, there are also mentioned the porches of the court, i.e., at the gate-buildings of the inner and outer courts, as the projecting portions of these buildings. These three works mentioned in Ezekiel 41:15 comprise the whole of the buildings, the measurements of which have been mentioned in the previous description - viz. the building to the west of the temple, in Ezekiel 41:12-14; the inner temple, in Ezekiel 41:1-11; the porches of the courts, to which the temple porch in front of the holy place is to be added, as having been reckoned in the measurement as belonging to the inner court, in Ezekiel 41. - Thus the contents of our verse (Ezekiel 41:15) plainly show that it not only is an indivisible whole, but forms a conclusion in which the foregoing measurements are all summed up, and which serves as an introduction, in accordance with this, to the following summary of various additional features in the temple buildings which are also worthy of mention.
In this summary there are five points noticed: ( a) the fact that all parts of the buildings had their measurements (Ezekiel 41:16 and Ezekiel 41:17); ( b) the significant ornamentation of the inner walls of the sanctuary (Ezekiel 41:18-21); ( c) the altar in the holy place (Ezekiel 41:22); ( d) the character and decoration of the doors of the sanctuary ( Ezekiel 41:23-25); ( e) the style of the porch and of the side-buildings against the temple (Ezekiel 41:25, Ezekiel 41:26). - Ezekiel 41:16 and Ezekiel 41:17 form one period, enlarged by the parenthetical insertion of explanatory statements, similar to the construction in Ezekiel 41:18 and Ezekiel 41:19. The predicate to the three subjects - the thresholds, the closed windows, and the galleries - is not to be sought for either in סביב or in ' הסּף שׁחיף וגו . The latter construction, adopted by Böttcher and Hävernick, yields the unmeaning assertion that the thresholds lay across in front of the threshold. The former gives the apparently bald thought, that thresholds, windows, and galleries were round about; in which the use of the article, the thresholds, the windows, is exceedingly strange. The predicate to ' הסּפּים וגו is מדּות at the end of Ezekiel 41:17: the thresholds, etc., had measurements; and the construction is so far anakolouthistic, that the predicate מדּות , strictly speaking, belongs to the things mentioned in Ezekiel 41:17 alone, and the subjects mentioned in Ezekiel 41:16 are to be regarded as absolute nominatives. The words סביב לשׁלשׁתּם belong to the three preceding subjects, as a further definition, the thresholds, windows, and galleries (which were) against these three round about. The suffix to שׁלשׁתּם , “ their triad,” refers to the three buildings mentioned in Ezekiel 41:15: the one upon the separate place, the temple building, and the porches of the court; and the appositional סביב is not to be so pressed as to lead to the conclusion that all three buildings, and therefore the porches of the court also, had אתּיקים round about. As the סביב לשׁלשׁתם is affirmed of the thresholds, and the windows, and the galleries, and these three objects are introduced by the article, as well known, i.e., as already mentioned and described in the preceding verses, the more precise definition ( resp. limitation) of the apposition, “round about these three,” is to be taken from the preceding description of these three buildings, and we are simply to assume the existence of thresholds, windows, and galleries in these buildings in those cases in which they have been mentioned in that description; so that the only place in which there were galleries was the building upon the separate place. But before the intended information is given concerning the thresholds, etc., a remark is introduced, with the words from נגד הסּף to סביב , as to the construction of the thresholds: viz., that opposite to the threshold ( הסּף being used in a general sense for every threshold) there was שׁחיף עץ , a thin covering of wood, or wainscoting. נגד does not mean across the front (Böttcher), but “opposite;” and the part opposite to the threshold of a door is, strictly speaking, the lintel. Here, however, the word is probably used in the broader sense for the framework of the door, above and on the two sides, as is shown by סביב סביב which follows. With הארץ a fresh object is introduced. הארץ is a nominative, like הסּפּים , etc.; and the thought of supplying מן gniylppus , “from the ground,” has originated in a faulty interpretation of the words. The idea is this: as the thresholds, the windows, etc., so also the ground up to the windows, i.e., the space between the ground and the windows, had measurements. The allusion to the windows is followed by the remark, in the form of a circumstantial clause, that “the windows were covered.” מכסּות is apparently only a substantial explanation of אטמות (see the comm. on Ezekiel 40:16).
In Ezekiel 41:17 two further objects are mentioned as having measurements; not, however, in the logical position of subjects, but with prepositions על and אל : upon that which was above the opening of the door...and (what was) on all the walls, i.e., the space above the doors and on all the walls. To this periphrasis of the subject, through על and אל , there is attached the predicate מדּות , which belongs to all the subjects of Ezekiel 41:16 and Ezekiel 41:17, in the sense of, “on all the walls there were measures.” The meaning is, that all the parts of the building which have been named had their definite measurements, were carefully measured off. In order to express this thought in as general and comprehensive a manner as possible, the ideas contained in the subjects in Ezekiel 41:17 are expanded by means of appositions: that of the space above, over the entrance door, by ולחוּץ ' ועד הבּית הף (both ו - ו = et-et) into the inner temple, i.e., both the inside of the temple throughout, and also to the outside. The idea of the whole wall is expressed by “round about, in the inside and on the outside.” - Thus everything in Ezekiel 41:16 and Ezekiel 41:17 is clear, and in accordance with fact; and there is no necessity either for the critical scissors of Ewald and Hitzig, who cut out all that they do not understand as glosses, or for the mal -emendation of Böttcher, who changes מדּות into מקלעות (1 Kings 6:18), and thus finds it good to ornament the temple with sculptures, even on the outsides of all the walls.
Ezekiel 41:18-21 treat of the ornamenting of the inside of the sanctuary, i.e., of the holy place and the holy of holies. Ezekiel 41:18 and Ezekiel 41:19 form, like Ezekiel 41:16 and Ezekiel 41:17, a period extended by parentheses. The predicate עשׂוּי , standing at the beginning of Ezekiel 41:18, is resumed in Ezekiel 41:19, and completed by ס ' ' אל־כּל־הבּית ס . That the cherubim and palms were executed in sculpture or carving, is evident from the resemblance to Solomon's temple. They were so distributed that a cherub was followed by a palm, and this by a cherub again, so that the palm stood between the two cherubim, and the cherub turned one of its two faces to the palm on this side, and the other to the palm upon that side. In sculpture only two faces could be shown, and consequently these cherubic figures had only two faces, and not four, like those in the vision. This sculpture was placed round about the whole house, and that, as is added in Ezekiel 41:20 by way of explanation, from the ground even to up above the door, namely, on the inner wall of the sanctuary ( ההיכל ). כּל־הבּית is hereby limited to the היכל , the holy place and the holy of holies. וקיר is a local accusative. To this there is appended the further notice in Ezekiel 41:21, that the sanctuary had door-posts in a square form. The loose arrangement of the words, “the sanctuary post work of square form,” is a concise form of expression after the manner of brief topographical notices. מזוּזה invariably signifies, wherever it occurs, the door-posts, i.e., the projecting framework of the entrances. רבוּע , “ foured,” does not mean four-cornered merely, but really square (Exodus 27:1 and Exodus 28:16). Consequently the words, “the door-posts of the holy place were of a square shape,” might be understood as signifying not merely that the door-posts were beams cut square, but, as Kliefoth supposes, that the post work surrounding the door was made of a square form, that is to say, was of the same height as breadth, which would be quite in keeping with the predominance of the square shape, with its symbolical significance, in this picture of a temple. But the statement in the second half of the verse can hardly be reconciled with this; for whatever diversity there may be in the interpretation of this verse in particular points, it is certain that it does contain the general assertion that the doorway of the holy of holies was also shaped in the same way. But the door of the holy of holies, instead of being square, was (according to Ezekiel 41:3) six cubits high and seven cubits broad. הקּודשׁ , as distinguished from ההיכל , is the holy of holies, which Ezekiel 41:23 places beyond all doubt (for this use of הקּדשׁ , see Leviticus 16:2-3, Leviticus 16:16). פּני־הקּדשׁ , the face of the holy of holies, the front which met the eye of a person entering the holy place. המּראה כּמּראה is the predicate, which is attached as loosely as in the first hemistich. The front of the holy of holies had the appearance like the appearance (just described), i.e., like the appearance of the היכל ; in fact, it had also a doorway with four-cornered posts. J. F. Starch has already given this explanation of the words: Eadem facies et aspectus erat utriusque portae templi et adyti, utraque quadrata et quadratis postibus conspicua erat . The proposal of Ewald, on the other hand, to connect כּמּראה with the following word המּזבּח , “in front of the holy of holies there was something to be seen like the shape of the altar” (lxx, Syr.), has the article in המּראה against it (Böttcher).
The Altar of Burnt-Offering in the holy place (see Plate III n). “The abrupt style of writing is still continued.” The altar wood for the altar was of wood three cubits high; its length, i.e., the expanse of the wall from one corner to the other, was two cubits; the breadth (thickness), which is not expressly mentioned, was the same, because the square form is presupposed from the shape of this altar in the tabernacle and Solomon's temple. Under the term מקצעותיו , its corner-pieces, the horns projecting at the corners, or the horn-shaped points, are probably included, as the simple mention of the corners appears superfluous, and the horns, which were symbolically significant features in the altar, would certainly not have been wanting. There is something strange in the occurrence of וארכוּ before and along with קירות , as the length is already included in the walls, and it would not be appropriately said of the length that it was of wood. ארכוּ is therefore certainly a copyist's error for אדנוּ , ἡ βάσις αὐτοῦ (lxx), its stand or pedestal. The angel describes this altar as the “table which stands before Jehovah” - in perfect harmony with the epithet already applied to the sacrifices in the Pentateuch, the “bread ( לחם ) of God,” though not “because the altar table was intended to combine the old table of shewbread and the altar of incense” (Böttcher). The table of shewbread is not mentioned any more than the candlestick and other portions of the temple furniture. - The altar of burnt-offering stood before Jehovah, i.e., before the entrance into the holy of holies. This leads in Ezekiel 41:23. to the notice of the doors of the sanctuary, the character of which is also described as simply openings ( פּתח ), since the doorway had been mentioned before. delet דּלת signifies a moveable door, and the plural דּלתות , doors, whether they consist of one leaf or two, i.e., whether they are single or folding doors. Here the דּלתות in Ezekiel 41:23 and Ezekiel 41:24 ( לדלתות ) are folding doors; on the other hand, the first דּלתות in Ezekiel 41:24 and דּלת ibid. are used for the wings of the door, and מוּסבּות for the swinging portions (leaves) of the separate wings. The meaning is this: the holy place ( היכל ) and the holy of holies ( הקּדשׁ ) had two folding doors (i.e., each of these rooms had one). These doors had two wings, and each of these wings, in the one door and in the other, had two reversible door-leaves, so that when going in and out there was no necessity to throw open on every occasion the whole of the wing, which was at least three or four cubits broad. There is no foundation for the objection raised by Kliefoth to the interpretation of להיכל ולקּדשׁ as signifying the holy place and the holy of holies; since he cannot deny that the two words are so used, היכל in 1 Kings 6:5, 1 Kings 6:17, 1 Kings 6:31, 1 Kings 6:33, and קדשׁ in Leviticus 16:2-3, etc. And the artificial explanation, “to the temple space, and indeed to the holy place,” not only passes without notice the agreement between our verses and 1 Kings 6:31-34, but gains nothing further than a side door, which does violence to the dignity of the sanctuary, a passage from the side chambers into the holy place, with which Böttcher has presented Solomon's temple. - These doors were ornamented, like the walls, with figures of cherubim and palms. - Other remarks are added in vv. 25 b and 26 concerning the porch in front of the holy place. The first is, that on the front of the porch outside there was עב אץ . The only other passage in which the word עב occurs in a similar connection is 1 Kings 7:6, where it refers to wood-work in front of the Ulam of Solomon's porch of pillars; and it cannot be determined whether it signifies threshold, or moulding, or threshold-mouldings. On the shoulders, i.e., on the right and left side walls of the front porch, there were closed windows and figures of palms. The cherubim were omitted here. - The last words of Ezekiel 41:26 are very obscure. וצלעות הבּ may be taken in connection with the preceding clause, “and on the side-rooms of the temple,” as there is no necessity to repeat the preposition in the case of closely continuous clauses (vid., Ewald, §351 a); and the side-rooms not only must have had windows, but might also be ornamented with figures of palms. But if the words be taken in this sense, the עבּים must also signify something which presented, like the walls of the porch and of the side chambers, a considerable extent of surface capable of receiving a similar decoration; although nothing definite has hitherto been ascertained with regard to the meaning of the word, and our rendering “beams” makes no pretension to correctness.
The Keil & Delitzsch Old Testament Commentary is a derivative of a public domain electronic edition.
Keil, Carl Friedrich & Delitzsch, Franz. "Commentary on Ezekiel 41". Keil & Delitzsch Old Testament Commentary. https://studylight.org/
the Fifth Week after Epiphany