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REVIEWS AND MISCELLANIES.
ON THE TEMPLE OF EZEKIEL.
SIR,—There are some few subjects of important nature in the Old Testament of a character so peculiarly professional, that the full and exact understanding of them is, with the generality of Christians, a matter of considerable difficulty. Such, for instance, were the admixture of the oils and the frankincense, the proportions of which were enjoined of God to Moses (Ex. xxx.); the construction of the vast body of carpentry in the ark and in the tabernacle (Gen. vi. and Ex. xxv. xxvi. xxvii.); the brass castings of the latter, and of the temple (1 Kings vii. &c.); and the temple itself (1 Kings vii. &c). To the elucidation of these it hath been the custom of pious professors, in the earlier ages of the church, to devote themselves : and on several of the above subjects entire works* have been written, for the sake and information of those among the brethren whose time and occupations would not permit them to inquire for themselves concerning such abstruse matters: of which most catholic practice there hath been a conspicuous example within these few months. With the same intentions, and in the hope of stirring up other and abler men to labour in the same vineyard, I have it in contemplation to publish a workon the Temple of Jerusalem, according the description of the Prophet Ezekiel (Ezek .xl.-xlviii.): and that those who are desirous of comprehending, not a limited portion only of the plainer parts, but all of the revelations which God hath given for our instruction (2 Tim. iv. 16, 17), may judge whether that work shall be worthy of their patronage, I have engraved, and herewith submit to them, the ground plan of the temple : to the exact and diligent study and comparison of which I do most anxiously invite all men, while with the same care and exactitude I proceed to discover the agreement which it has with the text, and to explain its general arrangement. During the progress of which mutual inquiry, for our mutual edification, may
the hand of the Lord be upon us, even as it was upon this fervent but humble Prophet (chap. xl. 1, 2); making us to discern and set our hearts upon the things in this vision contained respecting the fortunes of the house of Israel (ver. 4); that if in our days it shall please their long-absent Lord (Hos. iii. 4) to bring again the captivity of Jacob, and pour out upon
Many of which are preserved in the Critici Sacri, and in the collections of Ikenius, Črenius, Braunius, Scacchus de Sacris unctionibus, &c. VOL. II.-NO, III,
the house of Israel his Holy Spirit (Ezek. xxxix. 25 and 29), and receive them again into covenant with himself (Ezek. xvi. 60-3), we may not be found in ignorance of or in opposition to the purposes which he will at that day set his hand to establish upon his ancient people: of which the erection of this very temple is one of the chiefest and most assured. (Ezek. xliii. 7, &c.)
There is a preliminary question, respecting the scale in which the measurements of the building are taken, which it is necessary should be first investigated and settled. In all the passages which have reference to the plan of the temple (to which, in this dissertation, I desire to confine myself )-namely, in the xlth, xli st, and xliid chapters, the five verses descriptive of the altar in the xliiid chapter (13–17 inclus.), and the four concluding verses of the xlvith chapter—the scale of cubits is invariably used, excepting in the 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th verses of the xlth chapter, where the heights and widths of several objects chancing to be of the exact dimension of the reed upon which the scale of six cubits was divided, that measure is expressed instead of the usual one of cubits. But that the general usage of the prophet is departed from in these instances simply from the casualty I have mentioned, is apparent from the 12th verse, in which the chambers, before described as one reed broad and long (ver. 17), are again measured six cubits square. This being understood, the only other measurement which appears to be taken in reeds remains to be examined. This is, the general extent of the wall which surrounds the sanctuary; thus given in our Bibles (xlii. 16): “He measured the east side with the measuring reed, five hundred reeds, with the measuring-reed round about." This passage, as it at present stands in our translation, would, were it correct, absolutely settle the scale here used, reeds, and not cubits: but the literal rendering of the Hebrew text will by no means permit the reeds to be taken as the scale: it runs thus: 3p Viaxwon,“ He measured the east side with the measuring-reed, five cubits of reeds, with the measuring-reed round about.The Masorites, perceiving that no meaning could be attached to this form of expression, attempted to correct it, by substituting, in the margin of their copies (na) hundreds, in the place of (hiex) cubits; from which substitution, and not from the original (which is as I have given it above), our translation of the verse is taken. If now, instead of using the above unwarrantable licence, these laborious commentators had observed that the external boundary of the house is again measured xlv. 2, and the numeral supplied, which, by the omission of the scale, they have here obtained, and merely inserted it in its appropriate place, the whole passage would have become clear; and many, who have now been misled into making the
sanctuary nearly six times its actual size, would have fallen readily upon the correct admeasurement. The verse thus rectified would follow the Hebrew text exactly, enlarged only by the introduction of a figure evidently necessary, which also is procured from a second description of the same object; and this would be its form : “He measured the east side with the measuringreed, five hundred' cubits of reeds (i.e. cubits of the sanctuary, reed xl. 5) with [or rather (17JP) on the measuring-reed round about.” These two apparently diverse dimensions being thus reconciled with the general scale used throughout that description of the ground-plan contained within the limits before defined, it appears that the measure of cubits is that which is to be employed in giving form and figure thereto. In accordance with the table of measures, &c. attached to the Bible, I have, in the comparative scales at the foot of the plan, made the sacred or sanctuary cubit equal to 1 ft. 9.888 in. of our feet; and the reed, which consisted of six of these cubits, 10 ft. 11:328 in. in lengt
The survey of the angel is begun with the breadth and height of the external wall of the sanctuary, and closed with its length "on the four sides thereof” (xlii. 15). “When he had made an end of measuring the inner-house, he brought me forth toward the gate whose prospect is toward the east” (xl. 5). “And behold, a wall on the outside of the house round about” (xlii. 20). “He measured it by the four sides five" hundred “cubits of reeds long, and five” hundred “cubits of reeds” broad. There are no entrances of any kind described in this boundary ; neither are there any ascending causeways provided for the worshippers to approach the summit of the “ very high mountain ” (xl. 2), the extreme and “holy" limit of which (xliii. 12) is by this wall encircled around : these provisions being perhaps omitted in the account, to be supplied by the reader from the evident necessity of the case (xlvi. 9, &c.) in any the most convenient form. I have therefore planned them of such a width as would permit the entry of a multitude without disorder, and allow the eye to take in all the proportions of the gate which the passenger was approaching, when arrived within an appropriate distance.
This wall completed, “ then came he unto the gate which looketh towards the east, and went up the stairs thereof," through the porch, "and measured the threshold of the gate one reed broad, and the other,” or opposite, “threshold of the gate one reed broad” (xl. 6): the “ length of the gate" between the thresholds is subsequently found thirteen cubits” (ver. 11): so that between the extreme eastern and western lines of the two thresholds there would be twenty-five cubits. This is the breadth of the gate, contemplated, as it is throughout these chapters, apart from the two porches which enclose it on either
side: which separation of the combined structure of the gate
“ Between these little chambers were five cubits” (ver. 7). Now if, in the area above alloted for the three chambers, they and the five cubits which were between them be placed from east to west in one row, their united dimensions (twenty-eight cubits) would exceed the twenty-five cubits which are to contain them; and if placed in the opposite direction, they would much rather exceed the space, which is there but twenty cubits. I have therefore arranged them as in the plan, in, I believe, the only manner in which they will combine, so as to have “the five cubits between them ” as a vestibule. No widths appearing in the text for the walls of any part of the gate, I have made those on the north and south five cubits thick, to correspond with “ the thickness of the wall which was for the side-chambers” (xli. 9) of the Temple, and the others, both external and internal, of such widths as were most convenient. The doors and windows all come centrally in each chamber: the latter I have made very narrow, and to enlarge inwardly, in compliance with the marginal translation of the same word given 1 Kings vi. 41, “ He made windows broad within and narrow without. The former are planned one and a half cubits wide, the size now usual in apartments not exceeding eleven feet square (rather more than six cubits square). The foregoing investigation of the Prophet's description does, I believe, when applied in its results to the plan, cause it to fulfil the conditions of the text in every respect exactly, as may more readily be seen by a comparison of the two. I have occupied myself thus largely, and been thus minute in the description of
this gate, because, the five others (with a slight exception in the interior north and south gates) in all their proportions resembling it, there will be now no occasion to enter severally upon the details of them (xl. 20—22, and 24-26, and 28–31, and 32—34, and 35-38).
To the porches of this eastern gate we now direct our atten, tion, premising, that the remarks which it will be necessary to make upon them will be equally applicable to the two porches of the north and of the south gates, and to the porch of the three inner gates. First: of the outer porch it is written (xl. 9), “ Then measured he the porch of the gate eight cubits, and the posts thereof two cubits.” As the number of the
posts,” which enclosed the portico of “eight cubits,” is not defined, I have made them equal to those which most appropriately fill a space rather more than the length of the porch. This description applies to the external porches of the north and south external gates, and to those of the three internal gates. “ And
“ And in the porch of the (north) gate were two tables on this side, and two tables on that side; and at the side without were two tables, and on the other side were two tables : four tables on this side, and four tables, on that side, eight tables, a cubit and an half long, and a cubit and an half broad, whereupon they slew the sacrifices” (xl. 39–43). “ And within were hooks an hand broad, fastened round about” (ver. 43). “ The porch of the gate within,” or on the inner front, “he measured one reed” (xl. 8); and as the posts” “had one measure on this side and on that side” (ver. 10)-viz. two cubits--so (the length of the porches being similar) I have made them equal in number. Into this porch, through the north and south walls thereof, I have made entrances, that those whose office pertains to the fifteen chambers on either hand of the gate may. with the more ease pass from one to the other, without intermixing with the people who occupy and throng the outer court. These entries excepted, this porch is the model of the inner porches of the two other gates in every respect (vers. 21-24).
For the ascent to the north and south gates of the outer court, it is said, “ There were seven steps to go up thereto” (xl. 22, 26); but of the east gate it is merely intimated that there were steps to it (“ He went up the stairs thereof,” ver. 6), and their number is omitted. But as it is to the same level of the outer court that all the gates conduct, it may hardly be doubted, that, seeing the mode of ascent is similar in all, the number of the steps is also similar : and I have therefore so planned them. Of the three inner gates, however, it is expressly said “ that the going up thereto had eight steps' (xl. 31-37). Between the two north and the two south gates "he measured from gate to gate a hundred cubits” (xl. 23—27);