Notes on the Bible, by Albert Barnes, , at sacred-texts.com
The temple Eze 41:1-11. See Plan I.
The Temple - Properly the holy place (a), as distinguished from the porch (G) and the holy of holies (B) Kg1 6:17; Kg1 7:50.
The posts - The outer wall of the temple was six cubits thick Eze 41:5. The eastern posts of this wall forming part of the front of the temple were ornamented with pillars, six cubits on each side.
He measured the breadth - This breadth was twenty cubits Eze 41:2. Omit "which was." "tabernacle" is here the interior (the covered portion) of the temple.
The measurements are internal, the same as in the Temple of Solomon.
Went he inward - Toward the holy of holies. It is not said, "he brought me in," but "he went in," because the holy of holies was not to be entered even by a priest like Ezekiel, but only by the high priest once a year. So the "angel" enters and announces: the measurements.
The post of the door - On either side of the entrance was a pillar, the two together making up two cubits. The first measurement of the door was from "post to post," six cubits; and the second measurement, the "breadth of the door," was the breadth of the actual doors which shut off the holy of holies Eze 41:23, and which may have been so, hung that each of the "posts" projected half a cubit beyond the hinge of the door (which opened inwards), so as to secure the complete closure of the holy of holies.
The Temple - here is the holy place as distinguished from the most holy, "the Oracle," which is "before" the holy place, inwards.
The wall of the house - This was the outer wall of the temple itself. Its thickness of six cubits corresponds with the colossal proportions of the architecture of the east.
Every side chamber - the side-chambers (D). These were a marked feature in Solomon's Temple, and were probably used as storehouses for the furniture and property of the temple. The arrangement of these side-chambers differed in some respects from that of Solomon's Temple, the object of Ezekiel's vision being throughout to bring all things to a more exact proportion.
Three, one over another, and thirty in order - i. e., there were three stories, and each story was divided into thirty chambers.
The wall which was of the house for the side chambers - Not the wall of the temple but another wall Eze 41:9 parallel to it, which might be said to be "of the house," i. e., belonging to it. The side-chambers of Solomon's Temple were built against the temple-wall, but in Ezekiel's vision the desire to keep the temple still more separate and holy led to a fresh arrangement, namely, that another wall should be built at such a distance from the temple-wall as to allow of chambers being built against it, facing the temple-wall, and opening into a passage or corridor (F), separating them from the temple itself.
That they might have hold, but they had not hold in the wall of the house - that they might have hold but not have hold on the wall of the house, i. e., entirely separating the chambers from the temple-wall proper.
An enlarging - The "wall for the side-chambers" had for the ground story its full thickness of five cubits Eze 41:9 - then it was diminished one cubit, so as to form a ledge whereon to rest the beams of the floor of the second story, and again was further diminished one cubit for the floor of the third story. Thus there was an "enlarging" of the second story of the chambers by one cubit, and of the third story by two cubits beyond the breadth of the chambers on the ground-floor.
A winding about still upward - Winding stairs led "upward" from one story to another.
The winding about of the house - A collective expression for the various winding staircases to the side-chambers which extended on the north, west, and south sides.
And so increased ... - Rather, "and the lowest story was such that one went by the middle story up to the highest." The winding stairs were not visible outside, so that one could not go to the upper story without passing through the middle story.
The foundations of the side chambers - Therefore the height of the side-chambers from the floor was six cubits there being three stories, which corresponds sufficiently with the twenty cubits which was the height of the temple. "A great cubit" is probably an architectural term to denote the line of junction between two stories, which would be that of the ceiling of the lower and the floor of the upper story.
And that which was left - i. e., the passage (F) between the side-chambers and the temple-wall, was five cubits Eze 41:11.
The place of the side chambers that were within - Within the side-chambers which belong to the house. The seer is giving first the height of the side-chambers Eze 41:8, and then the breadth, from the outside of the wall of these chambers to the temple-wall.
See H, Plan I.
The doors of the side-chambers opened on to the passage or corridor, between the chambers and the temple-wall.
The separate place - See F, Plan II. The word occurs only in this chapter. The name, which seems one of discredit, has led to the conjecture that the purpose of this place and its building was to receive the offal of the sacrifices and sweepings of the courts, to be carried thence by a postern gate (compare Eze 43:21). The building itself was, we are told, seventy cubits wide, with walls five cubits thick (eighty cubits in all), leaving ten cubits on each side to make up the 100 cubits from north to south. The length was ninety cubits, which, adding as before the thickness of the walls, gives 100 cubits in length. The whole temple-building was 500 cubits from west to east, and from north to south, 500 cubits.
Toward the east - The separate place was measured on its eastern side, for the western was not approachable for the purpose of measurement.
The description of certain details is introduced by a summary statement of what had been already done.
Galleries - On either side of the eastern front of the building on the separate place was a gallery of ten feet, under which was an approach to the building, by which the refuse was to be carried in by openings in the north and south, and then carried out by a western postern.
Galleries - The upper story of the side-chambers was probably built in the form of an open gallery.
Over against the door - The rows of the side-chambers extended to the front of the temple, so that they were "over against" the opening, but did not extend so far as the porch.
Cieled - Overlaid. Pillars, galleries, narrow windows were overlaid with wood Kg1 6:15-16.
Were covered - With wood.
To that ... - Over above the door ..."within and without" was "by measure." This verse asserts that all the overlaying was done by careful measurement.
On the symbolism of the "cherubim" see Eze 1:1 note ...
Every cherub had two faces - Not as in Ezek. 1, "four faces." Convenience of delineation upon a wall may have suggested the alteration. The cherubic devices on the curtains of the tabernacle Exo 26:1; Exo 36:8 were no doubt like the cherubim over the ark, of which we have no reason to suppose that each had "two faces." The symbolic character here admitted of the deviation.
The posts - Not the word used before (see Eze 40:9 note). These "posts" are rather pilasters forming part of the inner walls.
The appearance ... other - i. e., the appearance in this vision was the same as in the actual temple (compare Eze 43:3); (or, according to others, the front of the sanctuary resembled, the front of the holy place).
The altar of wood - The altar for incense (marginal reference); "altar of gold" (see Kg1 7:48).
Walls - The corner pieces of the altar, rising into projections called in Exodus horns, here corners.
Table - "table and altar" were convertible terms Mal 1:7.
See the marginal reference.
Thick planks - Others render it: leaves in wood (and in Eze 41:26).