Notes on Ezekiel 1 to 37 by F. W. Grant, from the fourth volume of the Numerical Bible.

Notes on Ezekiel 38 to 48, with a Historical Chart of the Prophets, Plans illustrating the Temple, and the Future Division of the Land, by J. Bloore.


The Location of the Sanctuary and the Allotment of the Land.*

{*See Map in the following pages.}

The location of the Sanctuary and the arrangement of the tribes in relation to it, are given in Ezek. 48. We begin at the north with Dan, and six tribes follow him in succession toward the south (vers. 1-7). Then we have what is called "the heave offering." This has three main parts, and these claim special consideration since they are in immediate relation to the Sanctuary. Five tribes follow this "heave offering," thus completing the division to the southern limits of the land.

The "heave offering" is of first importance since the Sanctuary enclosure is within its bounds. It is foursquare, 25,000 by 25,000, divided into three main parts; 25,000 by 10,000 for the priests, 25,000 by 10,000 for the Levites, and 25,000 by 5,000 for the city and environs. Then the Prince's portion is mentioned as being on the east and west of this great square, reaching to the eastern and western boundaries of the land. The Sanctuary enclosure is in the priests, portion. While these numbers are given, a question at once confronts us: are they reeds or cubits? In the text of chapter 48 this is not stated. Can it be determined from other parts of the vision?

In Ezek. 45:1-8 we find another detailed specification of the several parts which form this heave offering, but here again the reed and the cubit are not mentioned in giving the dimensions, with one exception; 50 cubits are allowed as open space around the 500 by 500 (something) for the Sanctuary (ver. 2). That cubits are mentioned in the one item seems to imply that the measures in the other cases are of a different denomination. Turning now to Ezek. 42:15-20 we are told that after completing the measurement of the inner house, the prophet was brought toward the gate fronting east. Here a space with a wall was measured as being 500 by 500 reeds. This made a separation between what was holy and what was common. This appears to determine the allotted space of Ezek. 45:2 to be 500 reeds, surrounded by a free or open space of 50 cubits.* If this conclusion is correct then we may determine that the other measurements are to be taken as reeds. This conclusion seems the only reasonable one when we consider that 5,000 by 5,000 (something) is given for the city (Ezek. 48:15, 17). If these were cubits the city would be no more than about 1.136 miles square — a very insignificant place of little more than one and a quarter square miles. Taking the measurement as reeds — the reed is six cubits, Ezek. 40:5; Ezek. 43:13 — we have a city more fitting in size to the glory of the millennial kingdom: it would be about 6.81 miles square, or cover nearly 47 square miles.**

{*These 50 cubits that surround the Sanctuary plot would appear to be for the purpose of preventing the priests' houses being built against the enclosing wall. This impresses the lesson of the sanctity of the Sanctuary precincts, the separation from anything relatively common, a fundamental lesson of these visions.

** The fact, too, that Levi, one of the tribes, has his entire inheritance as part of the heave offering (10,000 x 25,000) argues for the reed against the cubit. Were it the latter he would not have more than 15 square miles, while all the other tribes would have from about 800 to over 1,000 square miles, as shown on the map.}

Before going further let us consider the size of the cubit used in determining these dimensions. We know the cubit was used in Babylonia and Egypt. In the latter there is evidence of its use from very early times in two forms — the common or commercial cubit of six hand-breadths, and the royal one of seven hand-breadths. Ezekiel specifies the cubit used in measuring the Sanctuary as a cubit and a hand-breadth, which some think points to a measure similar to the Egyptian royal cubit of seven hand-breadths. From the monuments and other remains a length of 17.68 inches has been fixed for the Egyptian short cubit, and 20.63 for the long. It is not possible to determine that the Hebrew cubit was identical with that of Egypt, and it does not seem probable, for if either of these cubits is used to determine the measurements of the oblation, it is not possible to place this allotment within the boundaries of the land itself as given in Ezek. 47.

This "holy heave offering foursquare with the possession of the city" [i.e., the 25,000 by 20,000, plus 25,000 by 5,000] (ver. 20) is bounded on the north by Judah, and on the south by Benjamin (Ezek. 48:8, 22, 23; see map); but from ver. 8 it would appear that this holy offering is part of another and somewhat larger offering, not specifically called holy, which while 25,000 reeds in breadth from north to south, and thus exactly the same as the holy heave offering in this direction, is "in length as one of the parts [i.e., of the tribes] from the east side unto the west side." This larger offering, then, extended from the Mediterranean Sea on the west to the eastern boundary of the land, or in other words, to the Jordan and the Dead Sea; and this larger offering included the holy heave offering of 25,000 by 25,000 reeds with the Prince's portions, one on each side, extending from the line of the holy offering to the east and west borders of the land, and stretching from the border of Judah to that of Benjamin. This appears clear from vers. 20-23. In fact no other arrangement seems possible if we follow the requirements of the text. These verses also confirm another point — the location of the priests, portion. The Sanctuary, it is said, is in the midst of the offering (vers. 8, 21). From Ezek. 45:3, 4 we know that the Sanctuary was in the priests, portion, which was 25,000 by 10,000, and therefore this must be the central division of the holy heave offering since the Sanctuary is in the midst of the whole offering. Then on one side of this is the Levites' portion, also 25,000 by 10,000; and on the other the city and its possessions — 25,000 by 5,000. As to whether the Levites were on the north side, and the city on the south, or the reverse, we will consider a little later.

Now, as already mentioned, the west side is the Great Sea, the Mediterranean (47:20); and the east side is formed by the Jordan and the East, or Dead, Sea: that is, at that part of the land where this offering would be located. This then limits the 25,000 to the territory between these established boundaries. We have taken the 25,000 to be reeds, and this would be equivalent to 150,000 cubits. If these cubits are calculated of the longer Egyptian form, the 25,000 reeds would equal slightly less than 49 miles. This would extend west to east, beyond the limits of the land by several miles. On the other hand if we limit the cubit to the common or smaller form, which is about 18 inches, the plot of 25,000 reeds would just fall within the prescribed boundaries, but leaves no land for the Prince which, as we have already determined, is on the east and west sides of the offering between the border of Judah and the border of Benjamin.

To solve this problem I have adopted the sizes of the cubit given by Dr. W. Shaw Caldecott. He has given this subject of measurement an exhaustive examination. He says,

"It is a commonly held opinion that the cubit of the Bible is one of eighteen inches in length. This is based on the fact of its being the common denominator of all the spaces in the best known of Babylonian ruins . . . In the absence of later and fuller light upon the matter, it has, therefore, been understood that the cubit of the Bible was half a yard in length. But further light is derivable from the other three columns of the Senkereh Tablet.* This does not contradict, but confirms. the evidence already before us, and adds to it the additional information that an 18 inch cubit was not the only one used; but that there were two others of lesser length, all three of which were commensurate with one another.

{*This tablet is a small square of unbaked clay, 7 1/2 inches by 5 3/4 inches in size, written on both sides of its upper and under surfaces, in closely packed rows and columns of figures. These divide themselves, on the one side, into four separate columns, each of six perpendicular rows of numerals and mathematical characters. It is in these four columns of cuneiform that we find the fuller light by which we detect three cubits of different lengths, each used in its own department of work.}

"The second column of the tablet (the first having been devoted to the palm*) is limited to the various extensions of the palm into an ell, or cubit, of three palms. This is that which is represented on the statue of Gudea** the cardinal fact in relation to these two antiques being, that the fractions, formed by the cuts in the stone, are those which are represented by the figures and hieroglyphs of the clay tablet. This coincidence — often repeated — is the proof that both these spoils of the pick-axe and the spade belong to one system of measures, and that they are complementary to one another. By their collation and agreement, it has been established, nemine contradicente, that in Babylonia there were three ells [or, cubits], respectively of 3, 4 and 5 palms' length; the evidence on this behalf being completed by the fact that the third column of the tablet is one of 4 palms', and the fourth column one of 5 palms'.

{* A basic measure of 3.6 inches.

** "In the year 1881, a French explorer in Babylonia discovered, in the courtyard of an ancient palace, a number of headless statues. These are now in the Louvre Museum. One of the sitting figures has on his knees a slab bearing the ground plan of an early royal residence, which stood on the same site as that in which it was found. On this slab, of hard diorite, is engraved a representation of the measure by which the palace was built. This measure was found, on examination, to have been ten and four-fifths English inches in length, and to have been divided into two main portions, one of which is twice the length of the other. The smaller portion is thus 3.6 inches [or, one palm], and the larger, 7.2 inches in length [or, two palms, so that this measure of three palms is equivalent to the smallest of the three ells, or cubits, found on the Senkereh mathematical tablet]."}

"We thus obtain, from a fundamental palm-breadth of 3.6 inches, the three measures of 10.8, 1.4.4 and 18 inches."

Dr. Caldecott is of the opinion that these measures were those of Palestine, and that they were used in the construction of the Tabernacle and Solomon's Temple.

"Care, however, must be taken to observe the rule that each of the three cubits is confined to its own department — the larger to land spaces, the middle to buildings, and the smallest to gold work."

These considerations show that we have three cubits of which the shortest one, that of three hand-breadths, or palms, equaling 10.8 inches, is the fundamental or basic measure. With this system of measures Ezekiel would doubtless be quite familiar either from the knowledge of its use in Palestine, or acquaintance with it through his long residence in Babylonia. Now he is quite explicit in stating what is the unit of measurement in his visions of the Sanctuary, and in fact no other unit is given, whether it be the record of the building measurements, or those of the holy heave offering, so that we appear warranted in adopting the same basis throughout these visions of the Temple and the land. The unit he gives us is "a measuring reed of six cubits, of a cubit and a hand-breadth each," and again he says, "the cubit is a cubit and a hand-breadth" (Ezek. 40:5; Ezek. 43:13). Taking the smallest cubit as the basic measure, we may conclude that Ezekiel's unit of a cubit and a hand-breadth is equivalent to this smallest cubit of three palms or hand-breadths plus one hand-breadth, or in other words that it is the same as the middle cubit of 14.4 inches.* Let us now apply this conclusion to the measurements of the holy heave offering, and see if it enables us to solve the difficulty referred to in a previous paragraph.

{*This cubit, Dr. Caldecott has determined, is the one used for building work, and so would seem the suitable unit for the prophet to mention, while since no other is given when land measures are recorded, it seems only reasonable to use the same unit throughout. This also appears justified by the results of its application, as I go on to show.}

Upon this basis of measurement the holy heave offering with the city portion forms a great square of 34 miles, having an area of about 1160 square miles. Within its bounds centre all the interests of the Divine worship and government as established on the earth. There the Sanctuary, the holy of holies, and the city are situated with all the attendant ministers and servants of both. Here we have the mountain of Jehovah's House to which all nations shall come (Isa. 2; Micah 4). Now by reference to the map we see at once that on this basis of measure the holy heave offering is of such a size that it falls within the prescribed boundaries of the land, and allows a suitable portion on both the east and west side for the possession of the Prince. This result, as already stated, is impossible by the use of either the royal Egyptian cubit, or the smaller and common cubit of 18 inches, for in the former case the holy heave offering extends beyond the actual limits of the land, and in the latter, though it falls just within those limits, it leaves no portion for the Prince. To adopt the middle cubit solves this difficulty, and enables us to keep within the requirements of the text.*

{*Another argument in favor of the middle cubit, I find in calculating the height of the steps of the House. The elevation of the house above the altar court is specified as a full reed of six cubits, and the ascent is by 10 steps (Ezek. 41:8 and Ezek. 40:49, according to the reading of the LXX). Thus the six cubits of height were divided into 10 steps, each being therefore six-tenths (.6) of a cubit. The middle cubit equals 14.4 inches, so that each step would be 8.64 inches high. This is a reasonable height for steps of such a structure. But to use a cubit of larger standard would make them objectionably high. Even the 18 inch cubit would make each step 10.8 inches, not to mention the still larger or royal Egyptian cubit of about 21 inches.}

Here a word of explanation must be given for a departure from the location of the Offering as usually given by Commentators. It has been customary to place it just north of the Dead Sea, and (because of calculating it by larger cubits) permitting it to extend across the Jordan, so going beyond the east boundary. This doubtless seemed necessary to allow for the Prince's portion. on the west, but of course this placed both part of the holy offering and the Prince's portion beyond the limits of the land on the east. As already explained these difficulties are overcome by using the smaller cubit. In addition to this change the present writer also thinks it is better to place the Offering between the Mediterranean and the Dead Sea, as shown on the map. His reason for this change from. the usual location is found in the prophecy of Zechariah, which states that the land is to be a great plain from Geba to Rimmon south of Jerusalem (14:10). He found that the Offering measured by the smaller cubit so closely fitted the territory between these points as almost to be exact. Geba is about six miles north of Jerusalem, and Rimmon is identified with Umm er Ramamin, about 30 miles south of Jerusalem. The map shows that the Offering as calculated on the basis of the smaller cubit may be so placed that its northern and southern boundaries touch Geba and Rimmon respectively. It may also be noted that to pass through these points the Offering must be placed at the angle shown on the map, making the northern and eastern lines of the great square run east with an inclination of 4° to the south.*

{*In this connection it has been a matter of interest to consider the identification of Ramet-el-Khulil, a spot close to Hebron (see map), with the Ramah of Samuel's altar where Saul feasted with the prophet and was informed of his selection to be king. It is a location of sacred memories, for within an hour's walk of this Ramah is the ancient city of Kirjath-Arba, afterwards called Hebron, where three of the Patriarchs are buried.

The interest in this identification of Ramah chiefly lies in the finding at this location a large walled enclosure which evidently served as a place of sacrifice and worship. It is taken to be the high place of 1 Sam. 9:11-13, etc. Here, that is to Ramah, Samuel returned after his yearly circuit, for there was his house, and there he judged Israel; and there he built an altar to Jehovah" (1 Sam. 7:17).

The structure referred to has been carefully examined and measured, with the result that it is found to be an enclosed space of 100 x 145 cubits, consisting of a court 100 cubits square with the additional space of 100 x 45 cubits divided into three parts of different levels, and these give evidence of being used for the work of the sacrifices and the ablutions of the priests, a well being in one corner, while niches in the wall seem to indicate the location of stone tables for preparing the sacrifices, similar to those specified by Ezekiel in connection with the North Gate of the inner court. The entrance to this enclosure was by an eastern gateway.

Dr. Caldecott, to whom reference has been made, thoroughly investigated this site. He has presented convincing evidence for its identification with this notable centre of religion and government in Samuel's day.

I call particular attention to the fact that a survey of this walled enclosure shows that it was built with "the north and south walls running east with an inclination of 4 degrees to the south, as recorded in the third volume of the Survey of Western Palestine." This appears as the angle of inclination which fits the placement of the heave offering of Ezekiel between Geba and Rimmon (see map). Perhaps this has some significance, or is it mere coincidence?

It may not be amiss to quote briefly from Dr. Caldecott as to this very interesting site. He says:

"The special ruin to which I refer is a large rectangular ground-figure enclosed within monolithic stone walls, standing near to, though not visible from, the ancient highway leading from Jerusalem to Hebron. Countless travellers have looked on this mysterious handiwork of man with reverence and wonder. Each must have speculated as to who reared its massive masonry, and for what purpose. Archaeologists have agreed that we have not here the remains of a church. Nor could these low walls of solid stone have been those of any military fortification, as the work is of too refined and time-engrossing a character to have been done for purposes of war . . . the four walls which formed the enclosure [are not perfect]. That on the south side is in almost unbroken condition, many of its stones being 12 and 15 feet in length, laid without mortar, and truly squared. The west wall is in fair condition, as is a portion on the north side. The east wall has almost completely disappeared, though its line can still be traced. There is thus no difficulty in determining the size of the enclosure as originally constructed."

One surprising correspondence, I notice, between this structure and that of Ezekiel is found in the wall being 6 cubits high in both. Furthermore, Dr. Caldecott found that the cubit of 14.4 inches proved to be the common denominator of all the dimensions of original work still standing. (Quotations and references are from "The Tabernacle, its History and Structure," 2nd edition, by Dr. Caldecott.)}

A further indication that this is the location of the heave offering may be found in the direction of the stream which issues from the House (Ezek. 47:1, 2, 8) . This goes out toward the east country, down. into the plain or Arabah (the name of the depression of the Jordan Valley, the Dead Sea, and southward to the Gulf of Akaba: see map), and into the sea, that is, the Dead Sea. In the location usually given to the Offering this stream, flowing east, would enter the River Jordan, not the Sea; but in the location here given the requirements are all met.

Another question remains. The holy heave offering is divided into three main parts, and we have before determined that the priests' portion. is the central division; on which side then, are we to place the Levitical portion and that of the city? First, we may notice that in. the location. I have given to the Offering, the ancient city of Jerusalem lies in its northern part; then the distance between Geba and Jerusalem is about six miles, and the 5,000 reeds allotted for the city of Ezekiel's vision is equal to 6.81 miles. This along with the fact that the prophecies do not intimate any change of site for the Millennial city, but rather maintain identity all through, seem to suggest that we are to place the city and its environs on the north side of the priests' portion. If we thus locate it on the north side of this great uplifted plain, the mountain of the Lord's house, may we not think of this answering to the Psalmist's description of the city of the future: "Great is Jehovah, and greatly to be praised in the city of our God, His holy hill. Beautiful in elevation, the joy of the whole earth, is Mount Zion, on. the sides of the north,  the city of the great King" (Ps. 48:1, 2; Num. Bible). I have ventured to so show the city, placing the Levitical portion as the southern division of the Offering. In so placing the three parts of this Offering I am not forgetting that in the text where they are described the priests' portion is mentioned first, then the Levitical, and lastly the city, making it appear that such is the order from north to south. But as I have already pointed out, the Sanctuary is in the midst, and that being in the priests, part, necessitates making this the central division of the whole Offering. This seems to show that after specifying the whole Offering, the description follows along the line of the relative importance of the several parts, rather than giving their geographical order. From this point of view the order is quite natural, for certainly the priests' portion in which the Sanctuary is located is of first importance, while that of the Levites falls into the second place, both of these parts being considered distinctly holy; then lastly the part which is called "a common place for the city, for dwellings and for suburbs" (Ezek. 48:15). Thus the order of thought which governs throughout these visions governs in this also, namely, that what has to do with God, His holiness and glory, is always given first place. This is a lesson we may well take to heart, and consider our ways in its searching light, for who more than we should be ever careful to give Him His rightful place, caring for His honor, rendering happy obedience to His blessed will?

Without a doubt there are spiritual lessons to learn from the order and relation of the tribes, but these we will look at in their place.

As to the Sanctuary enclosure itself, this is shown by the outline plan. Full references to the text accompany this plan. The Gate buildings and the Temple itself are illustrated on separate plans drawn to a larger scale. Elevations of the buildings have not been attempted since measurements of height are not given. It is distinctly a plan which the prophet spreads out before us, for the only certain features of height are found in the number of steps specified for each court and the Temple square, except in the case of the altar.

Some Construction Details

As a help to understand the structure of the Gate-buildings, it may be useful to define some of the terms. First, the "threshold" is in Hebrew saph, a word suggesting the idea of a vestibule. "Lodge" is tah; it occurs only in Ezek. 40, 1 Kings 14:28 and 2 Chron. 12:11, being rendered in the last two passages as "guard-chamber." The word therefore denotes a room of some kind. Tah is connected with a primitive root, meaning to mark off or out, used only in Num. 34:7, 8, for marking out the border of the land, and so we get the idea of a room that is marked out in some special way within a larger space. This suggests and appears to warrant arranging the lodges of the Gate-buildings as shown on the plan. This seems confirmed by the fact that the posts of these lodges are said to be "within the gate" (ver. 16). The word for posts is considered a little later.

A different word from tah is used for the chambers in the court, namely lishkah, which indicates a rather spacious room. Compare 1 Sam. 9:22. This word is from a root meaning to be joined, to adhere to, and so suitably describes the chambers around the court as being built in conjunction with its wall while also being connected or joined to each other in succession. The same word is used for the Chamber-buildings situated at the north and south sides of the separate place, doubtless because of similar construction and size.

Again a different word is used for the side-chambers of the House. It is tsalah, meaning a rib, literally of the body, or figuratively the sides or leaves of a double door; hence a side, and so architecturally, in the plural, ribs of a building, planks for wainscotting (1 Kings 6:15; 1 Kings 7:3): so this word fitly describes these side-chambers which like ribs or side planks go round the House.

"Porch" is ulam, from alam, which means "to tie fast," and so applies to a vestibule or porch as bound to the building.

"Post," or posts, is ayil, anything strong, and used for an oak or other strong tree, also for a ram, and architecturally a lintel as well as a post, or pilaster, as being a strong support. Thus it applies to a wall that projects forward, forming what serves as a partition or division, and also the jamb of an entry or doorway. This suggests that what is called the posts of the lodges "within the gate" are sections of wall projecting from the outer walls into the gate-building, so marking off these lodges from the surrounding space, an idea applicable to these lodges from the Hebrew word used for them, as we have seen. It is specified that these lodges and their posts had windows, and this would indicate that we are not to think of the posts as pillars or columns but sections of wall. (See plan in the following pages.)

"Border" is gebul. It is the usual word for border, that is, the boundary of any given territory. It is so used repeatedly in Ezek. 48, and 'elsewhere. That which is so called in the Gate-buildings is before the lodges and measured one cubit. This indicates something in the nature of a barrier, or fence, which marks off the lodges from the central corridor, so protecting them from encroachment on the part of the passing. crowd. This would be necessary if, as supposed, these lodges were used by the guards or keepers of the gate. The entrances to them would seem to be in the outer walls, and so lead into the outer court. This conclusion is drawn from ver. 13 in which the total measurement across the gate is given, and the fact noted that entry is opposite entry.

Finally, we have the word rendered "projections." This is elam, and is probably from ayil for posts, a word we have already considered. In the text it occurs in the plural only, and is variously taken to mean a colonnade, or vestibules, porches, recesses. It is conceded to be a word difficult to understand and apply. From its use in this chapter (vers. 16, 21, 22, 24, 25, 26, 29, 30, 31, 33, 34, 36, uniformly rendered "projections" in the accompanying text) it is clearly distinguished from "posts." Whatever the word signifies has windows as mentioned in vers. 16, 25, 29, 33; an exception is the North inner gate, in connection with which they are not specified (ver. 36). Again, what this word signifies is said to be before the steps in the North and South gates of the outer court, but this is not said in connection with the East gate. As to the South and East gates of the inner court, what this word signifies is said to be toward the outer court; but as to the North gate no mention is made, and the text reads, "its posts toward the outer court" — the word for posts appearing instead of that rendered "projections" as in the other cases, although this word occurs in its usual connection in ver. 34 as compared with the description of the other gates. It may be further noted that in each instance there follows the mention of the steps, and this seems to bring them and whatever this word signifies into close relation. Ver. 30 gives the only dimensions of these so-called "projections." But another difficulty confronts us here. Of this verse, Davidson says, it "is wanting in the LXX and some MSS., and in others deleted. No object belonging to the gateways has hitherto been mentioned to which the measurements can apply. The verse may have arisen inaccurate repetition of the measurements given in the previous verse." In the text the word appears as plural, but he considers this form of doubtful authenticity, and says that there is no evidence that the word has any other sense than "porch." While to adopt this meets some of the difficulties, it does not solve all. If we take it to be singular, and to mean porch, then this determines that the porch of the inner gates is at the end toward the outer court; this apparently agrees with what is said of the porch of the North inner gate, for in vers. 38-42 the porch appears to be in close relation to the ascent or the steps of this gate; but when we come to the outer gates we find that what this word speaks of, and which Davidson considers should mean "porch," is also stated to be "before the steps," whereas the porch of these gates is specifically stated to be "toward the House" (ver. 9), which means at the inner end of the gate and not the front end where the steps are located; and further this inner location of the porch of these gates seems confirmed by what is said of the Prince who eats in it before the Lord (Ezek. 44:3) — this would not be possible in the shut East gate if the porch was at the end where the steps ascend to it. In view of this, if we accept the suggestion and read "porch" for "projections," we must conclude that the outer gates had two porches, one at each end, while the inner gates had only one at the end toward the outer court. There seems nothing to warrant the former conclusion.

After all there seems no better solution than to consider the term to refer to the sections of wall which project from the posts within the gate which are between the lodges, and which therefore form the lodges and are joined by the posts (wall) which close these lodges toward the outer court, as indicated on the plan. This arrangement meets the several features already mentioned in regard to these parts, or, as we shall call them, "wall-projections." They are thus distinguished from the posts, and all have windows. They appear before the steps in the sense of facing one as the ascent is made, the steps being the full width of the gate-building. Then these wall-projections of the inner gates could be rightly specified as toward the outer court since these gates are situated wholly in that court (see outline plan). This item of information has its importance, for it establishes the location of these inner gates in reference to the courts. Apparently the one point of difference between the outer and inner gates is that in the latter the porch is situated at the outer end toward the outer court, and in the former at the inner end toward the House.

Two or three other points remain. Ver. 11 presents a difficulty. The statement, "the length of the gate 13 cubits," seems impossible to reconcile with the other measurements and preserve the 50 cubits given in ver. 15, for as a measurement of length it would naturally run from east to west. The LXX has "breadth" in place of length. A possible solution is that this dimension refers to what is primarily considered the gate, namely the gate-entry already specified as 10 cubits in breadth, plus the walls of 1% cubits on each side, making up the 13 cubits of this verse. Thus it would be proper to speak of the breadth of the gate as being this size, and all the other parts as "wall-projections" which, as may be seen by the plan, make up the 25 cubits of breadth given in ver. 13.

Ver. 14 is obscure. "He made posts of 60 cubits, and up to the posts was the court of the gate round about." The reading of the LXX affords no real help. Some take this as applying to the posts of the porch in ver. 9, making it mean their height, comparing them to the pylons of Egyptian structures or the obelisks set up before the doors of their temples. But the posts in ver. 9 are only 2 cubits (2.88 feet), and a height of 60 cubits (72 feet) is out of all proportion and an improbable construction. An added difficulty is the word made when elsewhere in this part it is a matter of measurement. The latter part of the verse, though not easy to understand, may mean that the court surrounded the gate on all three sides, but as to the former statement a really satisfactory solution does not seem. possible at present.

Considering these textual difficulties, the plan here proposed seems to give, as near as now attainable, an intelligible lay-out of these gate-buildings.

The Present Condition of the Dead Sea

"The Dead Sea receives, beside the Jordan, four or five smaller streams, but has no relief for its waters, except through evaporation. This is raised to enormous proportions by the fervent heat which prevails in the sunken valley during the greater part of the year. The extracted moisture usually forms a haze impenetrable to the eye for more than a few miles, but sometimes vast columns of mist rear themselves from the sea, heavy clouds are formed above, and thunderstorms, the more violent for their narrow confines, rage, as the torn coasts testify, with lightning and floods of rain. . . While the water of the ocean contains 4 to 6 per cent of solids in solution, the Dead Sea holds from 24 to 26 per cent, or five times as much. The water is very nauseous to the taste and oily to the touch, leaving on the skin, when it dries, a thick crust of salt. But it is very brilliant, seen from far away no lake on earth looks more blue and beautiful. Swim out upon it, and at the depth of twenty feet you can count the pebbles through the transparent waters. . . The surface is generally smooth, the heavy water rises not easily; but when in storm it does rise, the waves are immensely powerful. . .like the blows of a sledge hammer. No fish can exist in the waters, nor is it proved that any low forms of life have been discovered.

"These bitter and imprisoned waters, that are yet so blue and brilliant, chafe a low beach of gravel, varied by marl or salted marsh . . . but the gravel is crowned with an almost constant hedge of drift-wood, every particle of which is stripped of bark and bleached, while much of it glitters with salt. You could not imagine a more proper crown for Death. With this the brilliant illusion of the Dead Sea fades, and everywhere beyond, violence and desolation reign supreme. If the coast is flat you have salt-pans or a briny swamp; if terraced there is a yellow, scurfy stretch of soil, with a few thorn bushes and succulent weeds. Ancient beaches of the sea are visible all around it, steep banks from five to fifty feet of stained and greasy marl, very friable, with heaps of rubbish at their feet, and crowned by nothing but their own bare, crumbling brows. Some hold that these gave the region its ancient name, the Vale of Siddim; and in truth it is they which chiefly haunt one's memory of the Dead Sea. Last crumbling shelves of the upper world, there are not in. nature more weird symbols of forsakenness and desolation. . .

"In this awful hollow [which seems like a] bit of the infernal regions come up to the surface, this hell [as the inhabitants sometimes call it] with the sun shining into it," was the scene of one of God's most awful judgments on human sin. "The glare of Sodom and Gomorrah is flung down the whole length of Scripture history. It is the popular and standard judgment on human sin. The story is told in Genesis; it is applied in Deuteronomy, by Amos, by Isaiah, by Jeremiah, by Zephaniah, in Lamentations, and by Ezekiel. Our Lord Himself 'employs it more than once as the figure of the judgment. He threatens it upon cities where the Word is preached in vain, and there we feel the flame scorch our own cheeks. Paul, Peter, Jude, all make mention of it, In the Apocalypse the great city of sin is spiritually called Sodom

"It is In accordance with the grace of God, making that first which was last and that last which was first, that this awful vale of judgment should be the scene of one of the most lively and stupendous hopes of prophecy."
("Historical Geography of the Holy Land," Geo. Adam Smith.)

References to Outline Plan

1. — Outer wall around court (Ezek. 40:5) .
2. — Outer court, its details (Ezek. 40:6-27).
3. — East Gate of outer court (Ezek. 40:6-16).
4. — Cells and pavement around the outer court, arranged on three sides in groups of five on each side of the Gate buildings (Ezek. 40:17-19).
5. — North Gate of Outer court (Ezek. 40:20-23).
6. — South Gate of Outer court (Ezek. 40:24-27).
7. — South Gate of Inner court (Ezek. 40:28-31).
8. — East Gate of Inner court (Ezek. 40:32-34).
9. — North Gate of Inner court (Ezek. 40:35-37).
10. — Cell for washing the Burnt offering near North Gate — text does not definitely fix the location (Ezek. 40:38).
11. — Sacrificial tables connected with the North Gate. These are placed in the porch of the Gate and adjacent to its ascent (Ezek. 40:39-43).
12. — Cells for the priests who are keepers of the charge of the House and the Altar — text does not definitely fix the location except that they are said to be outside the inner gate, in the inner cour (Ezek. 40:44-46).
13. — The Altar (Ezek. 40:47) . For its dimensions see Ezek. 43:13-17.
14. — Porch of the House (Ezek. 40:48, 49).
15. — The Temple itself, holy and most holy places, the side chambers and the separate place (Ezek. 41:1-11).
16. — The building to the west of the House, and a summary of the principal measurements (Ezek. 41:12-15).
17. — The cell building on the north side of the separate place (Ezek. 42:1-9).
18. — The cell building on the south side of the separate place* (Ezek. 42:10-14).
19. — Cooking places for the priests located at the west of the cell buildings devoted to their use — see 17 and 18 (Ezek. 46:19, 20).
20. — Cooking places for the sacrifices of the people (Ezek. 46:21-24).

{*Note. The text describing these two buildings is difficult to interpret, and in certain features obscure. The general location is clear, and this is indicated on the plan; but the actual arrangement of the several parts presents a problem to which a really satisfactory solution is hard to find.}