Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 1. The temple. This plan of a temple, which was here shewn to the prophet in a vision, partly had relation to the material temple, which was to be rebuilt: and partly, in a mystical sense, to the spiritual temple of God, the Church of Christ. (Challoner) — The description seems grander than Solomon’s; and yet Zorobabel’s temple was meaner than his. Hence this prophecy, and those of Aggeus and Zacharias, cannot be understood of it, but of the Church. (St. Jerome; St. Augustine, City of God xviii. 45.) (Worthington)
Ver. 3. Front, or door-posts. The temple was 20 cubits broad.
Ver. 5. Four. Herein it differed from Solomon’s chambers, which were in breadth five, six, and seven cubits, in the three stories, respectively. (Calmet)
Ver. 6. One by another, or one over another: literally, side to side, or side upon side. (Challoner) — The word side is here equivocal, like Hebrew tsela, sometimes denoting the boards, and at other times the apartments round the temple, except on the west, over against the sanctuary, which seems to be the case here. It is true, we shall not easily find sixty-six chambers. But the Hebrew, &c., have only thirty-three. (Calmet) — Villalpand rightly translated anterides, (ver. 5.) but here he substitutes trabes, “beams or thick planks,” to make it agree with 3 Kings vi. 6., as if the same temple were meant. He also adopts the Vulgate bis. — Twice. Hebrew pehamim. Yet he afterwards places in his commentary, pedes, “thirty-three feet, that is twenty-two cubits,” though feet are never used at all as a measure in Scripture. (Houbigant)
Ver. 7. Broader, as the wall was not so thick. (Haydock) — Midst. The two staircases were round in the hollow of the wall, (Menochius) at the eastern end of the chambers. (Josephus) See 3 Kings. (Calmet)
Ver. 9. House. Because these side-chambers were in the very walls of the temple all around: or it may also be rendered, (more agreeably to the Hebrew) so as to signify, that the thickness of the wall for the side-chambers within was the same as that of the wall without; that is, equally five cubits. (Challoner) — Protestants, “and that which was left, was the place of the side-chambers that were within.” (Haydock) — To manifest a greater respect for God, the apartments of the priests were twenty-five cubits distant from the temple, (ver. 10.) and divided by a wall, which Josephus describes as three cubits high. (Antiquities viii. 2.) This wall was at the distance of five cubits from the temple. (Calmet)
Ver. 11. Prayer, or “separated;” munnach, (Haydock) the inner house, ver. 9.
Ver. 13. Separate, different from that [in] ver. 9., (Calmet; Hebrew gizra.; Haydock) between the temple and the priests’ apartments, which it may also designate, (Calmet) unless it (Haydock) mean the temple itself, which was divided from the rest, (Menochius) and set aside for prayer, &c. (Haydock)
Ver. 15. Galleries; Ethecas, or as the more correct manuscripts of St. Jerome read, Ecthetas, seems to be formed from (Calmet) Hebrew athikim, (Haydock) which St. Jerome explains a balcony, portico, or gallery.
Ver. 16. About. Thus he intimates the inner temple, which was covered with boards. — Windows. The temple was hidden so far by the chambers; or rather he measured (Calmet) “the ground and up to the windows, which were” shut up with lattices, affording light over the doors (Haydock) and apartments, fifteen cubits from the ground.
Ver. 18. Two. Before he describes them with four faces. But they varied, (Exodus xxv. 18.) or the other two might be against the wall. (Calmet) — The cherub signified “knowledge,” and the palm-tree victory, to shew that man must be instructed with divine knowledge, and so fight for the victory. The face of man implied that Christ would suffer, and that of a lion announced that he would overcome all his enemies. (Worthington)
Ver. 21. The threshold was four-square. That is, the gate of the temple was four-square, and so placed as to answer the gate of the sanctuary within. (Challoner) — It was not an arch, though not a perfect square, 3 Kings vi. 34.
Ver. 22. Table, or altar of incense, larger than that of Moses, Exodus xxx. 1.
Ver. 23. Sanctuary. One folding door opened into it, the other into the temple.
Ver. 24. Other. It was not perhaps necessary to open the large door.
Ver. 26. Sides, (humerulis) or pilasters. Hebrew, “on the shoulder of the porch, and on the sides of the house, and beams.” (Calmet)
Bible Text & Cross-references:
A description of the temple, and of all the parts of it.
1 And he brought me into the temple, and he measured the fronts six cubits broad on this side, and six cubits on that side, the breadth of the tabernacle.
2 And the breadth of the gate was ten cubits; and the sides of the gate five cubits on this side, and five cubits on that side; and he measured the length thereof forty cubits, and the breadth twenty cubits.
3 Then going inward he measured the front of the gate two cubits; and the gate six cubits; and the breadth of the gate seven cubits.
4 And he measured the length thereof twenty cubits, and the breadth twenty cubits, before the face of the temple; and he said to me: This is the holy of holies.
5 And he measured the wall of the house six cubits; and the breadth of every side-chamber four cubits round about the house on every side.
6 And the side-chambers one by another, were twice thirty-three; and they bore outwards, that they might enter in through the wall of the house in the sides round about, to hold in, and not to touch the wall of the temple.
7 And there was a broad passage round about, going up by winding stairs, and it led into the upper loft of the temple all round; therefore was the temple broader in the higher parts; and so from the lower parts they went to the higher by the midst.
8 And I saw in the house the height round about, the foundations of the side-chambers, which were the measure of a reed, the space of six cubits:
9 And the thickness of the wall for the side-chamber without, which was five cubits; and the inner house was within the side-chambers of the house.
10 And between the chambers was the breadth of twenty cubits round about the house on every side.
11 And the door of the side-chambers was turned towards the place of prayer: one door was toward the north, and another door was toward the south: and the breadth of the place for prayer, was five cubits round about.
12 And the building that was separate, and turned to the way that looked toward the sea, was seventy cubits broad: and the wall of the building, five cubits thick round about: and ninety cubits long.
13 And he measured the length of the house, a hundred cubits: and the separate building, and the walls thereof, a hundred cubits in length.
14 And the breadth before the face of the house, and of the separate place toward the east, a hundred cubits.
15 And he measured the length of the building over-against it, which was separated at the back of it: and the galleries on both sides a hundred cubits: and the inner temple, and the porches of the court.
16 The thresholds, and the oblique windows, and the galleries round about on three sides, over-against the threshold of every one, and floored with wood all round about: and the ground was up to the windows, and the windows were shut over the doors.
17 And even to the inner house, and without all the wall round about, within and without, by measure.
18 And there were cherubims and palm-trees wrought, so that a palm-tree was between a cherub and a cherub, and every cherub had two faces.
19 The face of a man was toward the palm-tree on one side, and the face of a lion was toward the palm-tree on the other side: set forth through all the house round about.
20 From the ground even to the upper parts of the gate, were cherubims and palm-trees wrought in the wall of the temple.
21 The threshold was four-square, and the face of the sanctuary, sight to sight.
22 The altar of wood was three cubits high: and the length thereof was two cubits: and the corners thereof, and the length thereof, and the walls thereof, were of wood. And he said to me: This is the table before the Lord.
23 And there were two doors in the temple, and in the sanctuary.
24 And in the two doors on both sides were two little doors, which were folded within each other: for there were two wickets on both sides of the doors.
25 And there were cherubims also wrought in the doors of the temple, and the figures of palm-trees, like as were made on the walls: for which cause also the planks were thicker in the front of the porch without.
26 Upon which were the oblique windows, and the representation of palm-trees on this side, and on that side, in the sides of the porch, according to the sides of the house, and the breadth of the walls.