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Bible Encyclopedias

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblical Literature

Chambers of Imagery

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These are mentioned in , as among the abominations within the precincts of the holy place at Jerusalem, which were disclosed to the prophet in vision where he was among the captives on the banks of the Chebar, with the design of justifying and explaining the judgments which had been brought and were still to be brought upon the chosen people. A heavenly guide conducts the prophet to view in succession the various idolatries of alienated Judah. After having shown him enough to excite his horror and indignation, the angel bade him turn another way, and he would see greater abominations. Leading him to that side of the court along which were ranged the houses of the priests, his conductor pointed to a mud-wall (), which, to screen themselves from observation, the apostate servants of the true God had raised; and in that wall was a small chink, by widening which he discovered a passage into a secret chamber, which was completely impervious to the rays of the sun, but which he found, on entering it, lighted up by a profusion of brilliant lamps. The sides of it were covered with numerous paintings of beasts and reptiles—the favorite deities of Egypt; and, with their eyes intently fixed on these decorations, was a conclave of seventy persons, in the garb of priests—the exact number, and, in all probability, the individual members of the Sanhedrim, who stood in the attitude of adoration, holding in their hands each a golden censer, containing all the costly and odoriferous materials which the pomp and magnificence of the Egyptian ritual required. 'There was every form of creeping things and abominable beasts, and all the idols of the house of Israel portrayed round about.' The scene described was wholly formed on the model of Egyptian worship; and everyone who has read the works of Wilkinson, Belzoni, Richardson, and others, will perceive the close resemblance that it bears to the outer walls, the sanctuaries, and the hieroglyphical figures that distinguished the ancient mythology of Egypt.

In order to show the reader still further how exactly this inner chamber that Ezekiel saw was constructed after the Egyptian fashion, we subjoin an extract from the work of Mr. Madden, descriptive of the great Temple of Edfou, one of the admired relics of antiquity; from which it will be seen that the degenerate priests of Jerusalem had borrowed the whole style of the edifice, in which they were celebrating their hidden rites—its form, its entrance, as well as its pictorial ornaments on the walls—from their idolatrous neighbors of Egypt:—'Considerably below the surface of the adjoining building,' says he, 'my conductor pointed out to me a chink in an old wall, which, he told me, I should creep through on my hands and feet; the aperture was not two feet and a half high, and scarcely three feet and a half broad. My companion had the courage to go first, thrusting in a lamp before him: I followed. The passage was so narrow that my mouth and nose were almost buried in the dust, and I was nearly suffocated. After proceeding about ten yards in utter darkness, the heat became excessive, the breathing was laborious, the perspiration poured down my face, and I would have given the world to have got out; but my companion, whose person I could not distinguish, though his voice was audible, called out to me to crawl a few feet farther, and that I should find plenty of room. I joined him at length, and had the inexpressible satisfaction of standing once more upon my feet. We found ourselves in a splendid apartment of great magnitude, adorned with an incredible profusion of sacred paintings and hieroglyphics.'





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Bibliography Information
Kitto, John, ed. Entry for 'Chambers of Imagery'. "Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblical Literature".

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