Matthew Poole's English Annotations
on the Holy Bible
EZEKIEL CHAPTER 42
The chambers for the priests, Ezekiel 42:1-12. The use thereof, Ezekiel 42:13,14. The measures of the outward court, Ezekiel 42:15-20.
After a particular view of the temple, and all its parts, with the inmost court, and all in it, the prophet is
brought forth into the utter court; called so in regard to that more inward, whence the prophet now cometh: it is likely, if not certain, this was the priests’ court, which had two others more outward, but because the prophet had been in one more inward than that of the priests, he giveth the name of outer to this court.
Toward the north; through the north gate, by which he descended into the court, where the staircase was by which he went up into the chambers, built over the pilasters and arches, so that underneath was a cloister, or gallery.
The chamber; either the singular number for the plural, or chamber for the row of chambers; or else, into one of the many that were there.
The separate place: whether you take it for the temple itself, or for that building equal to the temple, on the west part of the temple, still this row of chambers faced the north part of it.
Before the building toward the north: the south front of this range of chambers looked to the north front of the temple, and its buildings on that side, or to the north front of the separate place, and its buildings on that side, or to the north front of the separate place.
The temple, of one hundred cubits long, and of fifty broad, was on the south prospect of these chambers; or, possibly, this north door did give entrance into buildings that were one hundred cubits long and fifty cubits broad.
The twenty cubits’ space of the inner court, or court of the temple, faced the south front of this row of chambers, their southern lights looked into this space, and to the north of the temple:
The pavement, which was in the priests’ court, and on the north side of this building, into which pavement the north windows looked.
Gallery against gallery; that is, a gallery on the south part toward the inner court, and a gallery toward the pavement northward, and between the backs of these galleries were chambers.
In three stories; either in height, or else in three ranks, as now placed, two galleries on the sides, and a chamber in the midst; or two rows of chambers, and one long gallery in the middle.
This row of chambers had on the south side, or inward, a walk of ten cubits broad, which my between the wall on which these chambers were built, and the twenty cubits’ space; possibly it might be some cloister, running along the wall on the inside. Before the galleries, probably, was a ledge of one cubit broad, running the whole length from east to west, called here a way, though not designed for any to walk on it: such ledges we see in many great houses. Every chamber door opened to the north; and so the entrance into these chambers was through the gallery, which looked to the pavement of the outer court.
Were shorter: at first view it should seem to refer to the length, but indeed it refers to the height of the chambers, of which the lowest chamber was highest pitched from the floor to the ceiling; the second lower pitched than the first, yet of greater height than the uppermost between the floor and ceiling.
The galleries were higher than these: possibly, there might be over the uppermost chambers a fiat roof, on which, as on a gallery, they might walk from one end to another, and therefore that floor was much lower than the middle or lowest, according to the rule of architecture, which directs that the upper rooms take not up so much in their height as the lower, that the weight of the timber be not too heavy for the walls..
In three stories; built high one over another.
As the pillars of the courts; as thick and strong as those were, but of the slenderer and weaker make.
The building, the highest room of the building, was straitened; was laid at nearer distance than the middlemost from the lowest, or than the roof of the lowest from the ground.
The wall; not of the chambers, but some wall at distance from them; perhaps some wall that might keep up a terrace-walk.
Over against the chambers; therefore was northward from the chambers.
The utter court; the court of the men, or of Israel, which is called utter with respect to this, wherein this building stood, as this was called utter, Ezekiel 42:1,3, with respect to the court that was more inward.
On the forepart of the chambers; which evidently shows that the wall of fifty cubits stood north from these chambers.
The length thereof was fifty cubits; answerable to the length of this building from east to west.
This verse gives us a reason why the wall over against the chambers was but fifty cubits, it might not be more or less because it was to hold exact symmetry with these buildings, which it confronted: possibly this verse may give some light to the second verse, latter part.
The utter court: see Ezekiel 42:1,7.
And, lo, before the temple were an hundred cubits: some say the angel, conducting the prophet from these north chambers to the south, hath occasion given him to take notice of, and to measure a second time, this space before the temple; but what if the angel and the prophet were now on the roof of this fifty cubits’ building, as they seem to be Ezekiel 42:5, measuring it, and thence the angel might point to the hundred cubits’ space before the temple, and bid the prophet to mind it? The former, most received, suits best with the 11th and 12th verses.
I suppose this verse describes the entrance into the south chambers, that it was on the east point, and that whose would go into them must go up the stairs (which probably were winding stairs) at the east end of these buildings, whose front was toward the south.
The chambers, galleries also with them, of this south building now measured.
The thickness, or the breadth, of that wall of the court which was eastward, and as an enclosure of the building.
The separate place; which was west from this building, whose length lay north and south, and its breadth east and west: what this separate place may be, see Ezekiel 42:1.
The building: see Ezekiel 42:1.
The way; the walk, as Ezekiel 42:4.
Like the appearance, exactly uniform with the fabric, on the north side.
All their goings out; every window and door.
Were both according to their fashions; framed in the same manner.
According to their doors; according to the number of the doors in the one was the number of the other, all in all things exactly like.
This verse is a particular description of the door and way that, from the east end of this south building, did lead either under the buildings, or through some part of them toward the west point, as before; such a way from the north buildings did lead to the south, nor do I think necessary to speak more of the words.
Then said he; the measurer, Christ, man in appearance at that time.
The separate place: see Ezekiel 42:1.
Holy chambers; set apart, consecrated to holy services and uses, as vessels, garments, and days may be holy.
The priests, and Levites too,
that approach; that were then in waiting, according to their courses; for this approach is not only mentioned as distinguished from the distance the people were kept at, but as including the present actual approaches of the priests, in their ministering before the Lord.
Shall eat together, as in a public refectory.
The most holy things; things devoted to God were these most holy, some parts whereof God gave to the priests to live on. In some of these chambers the holy things that might be eat were laid up as in a storehouse, and those which were not for present use were here to be reserved till they were to be used; and whether it were more or less that was allowed to the priests out of the offerings, here it was to be kept till used.
The meat-offering: see what this was, Leviticus 2:1-12 6:14-16.
The sin-offering: see what this, Leviticus 6:26,29,30.
The trespass-offering: see Leviticus 7:2,3, &c.
When, at the time of their service, the priests, and Levites also, who assisted, enter therein, come into the court of the temple or inmost court in their priestly garments to offer sacrifice, or to do any other part of their office,
then, when they have done their office,
shall they not go out, in their priestly garments, of the holy place, the court of the priests, not of the temple, into the utter court, the court of the people.
There; in some one of the chambers of south or north buildings, which is a wardrobe for them. Lay their garments; lay up, either for other priests, whose course came next, or for themselves against the next return of their course.
Wherein they minister; expressly directed by God, Exodus 28:40-43.
They are holy; consecrated, ceremonially and relatively holy, for they are not capable of inherent holiness.
Shall put on other garments when they go out of this court into the outer, or outmost, they must put on common garments.
Shall approach to those things, and so they may, as they have occasion, and see good,
which are for the people; which common people may meddle with, which the priests may in their ordinary garments intermeddle with, and not be guilty, but may not touch while in the garments of their ministration..
The inner house; the holy of holies, the temple, and all the buildings that were in it, and its inner courts.
He brought me forth, quite out to the outmost court, and wall of it, which compassed all the rest of the courts.
Toward the gate whose prospect is toward the east; to the east gate of the outside wall, mentioned Ezekiel 40:6, which see.
Round about, i.e. the four squares of the wall for this, as the other walls, was square, not round, and therefore this round about is to be understood of measuring all four equilateral sides or parallels.
He, the angel, or Christ in the appearance of a man,
measured the east side, from the two opposite angles of the inside north and south, with the measuring reed, which was of six cubits and one hand or three inches.
Round about; as Ezekiel 42:15. The four square was five hundred reeds, that is, each wall was one hundred and twenty-five reeds, say some, yet this hath its difficulties, though I think it more likely than the conjecture of L. C.; and, for aught I see, the guess of Villalpandus may be admitted, that the whole square was four times measured round about, from the east round, from the north round, &c., as this: the 17th, 18th, and 19th verses repeat it.
Here is nothing new added but what is in the 16th verse. I observe that the 16th and 17th verses expressly mention the measuring round about, and why I should doubt it was twice done, when it is related twice, as done from different points, I know not; and then it is easy, and likely enough, that the double relation of this measuring in the 18th and 19th verses will be the relation of the same way of measuring from other points; which, I suppose, is the ground of Villalpandus’s opinion, and is far more agreeable to the Hebrew text, and context, and account, and more agreeably to divinity, than that of L. C.
He measured it, the whole wall, by the four sides, repeating the measure of the whole, according to the number of the sides.
It had a wall; the whole had such a wall: had each side been five hundred reeds, the prophet must in propriety of speech have said
they, i.e. the sides, not
it, i.e. the whole compass of the wall.
Five hundred reeds long: in such an equilateral square there is properly no length, for all sides are equal, but because in the temple structure there was length and breadth, therefore that latus, or side, which runs in straight line, parallel with the length of the temple, is here taken for the length; the other, which was parallel to the breadth of the temple, is the breadth of this isopleuron, or equilateral square.
Five hundred broad: he speaks not here of the thickness, though sometimes breadth and thickness are the same.
To make a separation; to distinguish, and accordingly to exclude or admit persons, for all might not go in.
The sanctuary; not the temple, this is not here meant; but we must remember here that the Jews accounted the whole earth profane, i.e. common or unclean, compared with Canaan, and Canaan common or less holy than Jerusalem, and every part nearer the temple the more holy; and so here the outward court was enclosed to distinguish it by its comparative holiness, it was more holy than all without it.
Thus, enveloped in clouds and darkness, thou hast, good reader, a conjecture at many things, which, I need not blush to confess, are more above mine own comprehension than above some others. The mystical sense I refer to thy thoughts.
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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Ezekiel 42". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://beta.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 20 / Ordinary 25