Commentary on the Bible, by Adam Clarke, , at sacred-texts.com
The glory of the Lord is represented as returning to the temple, Eze 43:1-6; where God promises to fix his residence, if the people repent and forsake those sins which caused him to depart from them, Eze 43:7-12. Then the measures of the altar, and the ordinances relating to it, are set down, Eze 43:13-27.
The glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east - This was the chariot of cherubim, wheels, etc., which he saw at the river Chebar. And this glory, coming from the east, is going to enter into the eastern gate of the temple, and thence to shine out upon the whole earth. Is there not a mystery here? All knowledge, all religion, and all arts and sciences, have traveled, according to the course of the sun, From East To West! From that quarter the Divine glory at first came; and thence the rays of Divine light continue to diffuse themselves over the face of the earth. From thence came the Bible, and through that the new covenant. From thence came the prophets, the apostles, and the first missionaries, that brought the knowledge of God to Europe, to the isles of the sea, and to the west first, and afterwards to these northern regions.
The spirit took me up - And, to follow this thought for a moment, how many men has this heavenly Spirit taken up; filled them with his own influence, and sent them to every country, and nation, and tongue, and people, to testify the Gospel of the grace of God, and to preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ! What spiritual temples have been raised, beautified, and filled with the glory of God! And this light is shining and burning more and more unto the perfect day, when the whole earth shall be filled with the glory of God!
Son of man, the place of my throne - The throne refers to his majesty; the soles of his feet, to his condescension in dwelling among men.
Where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel - The tabernacle and temple were types of the incarnation of Jesus Christ: "Destroy This Temple, and after three days I will raise it up; - but this he spake of the temple of his body;" Joh 2:19, Joh 2:21. And in That Temple "dwelt all the fullness of the Godhead bodily." Into this immaculate humanity did the glory of the Supreme God enter; and thus, "God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself." And this Jesus is Immanuel, God with Us. In him we find united the ineffable majesty of God, with the abjectness of man. He humbled himself in human nature, not only to bear the form of a servant, but to suffer death upon the cross as a malefactor slave! But by these means he has purchased eternal redemption for us; and the spiritual Israel, who find redemption in his blood, shall be raised up wherever his holy name shall be proclaimed; and shall not, like the old apostate Israel, defile that great name by idolatry or a life of wickedness, but they shall show forth the virtues of Him who has called them from darkness into his marvellous light.
In their setting of their threshold - They had even gone so far as to set up their idol altars by those of Jehovah; so that their abominable idols were found in the very house of God! therefore, "he consumed them in his anger."
Now let them put away their whoredom - Their idolatry.
And the carcasses of their kings - It appears that God was displeased with their bringing their kings so near his temple. David was buried in the city of David, which was on Mount Zion, near to the temple; and so were almost all the kings of Judah; but God requires that the place of his temple and its vicinity shall be kept unpolluted; and when they put away all kinds of defilement, then will he dwell among them.
Show the house to the house of Israel - Show them this holy house where the holy God dwells, that they may be ashamed of their iniquities. Their name, their profession, their temple, their religious services, all bound them to a holy life; all within them, all without them, should have been holiness unto the Lord. But alas! they have been bound by no ties, and they have sinned against all their obligations; nevertheless, let them measure the pattern, let them see the rule by which they should have walked, and let them measure themselves by this standard, and walk accordingly.
And if they be ashamed - If, in a spirit of true repentance, they acknowledge their past transgressions, and purpose in his help never more to offend their God, then teach them every thing that concerns my worship, and their profiting by it.
This is the law of the house - From the top of the mountain on which it stands, to the bottom, all round about, all shall be holy; no buildings shall be erected in any part, nor place nor spot be appropriated to a common use; all shall be considered as being most holy.
The cubit is a cubit and a hand breadth - It is the same cubit by which all the previous admeasurements were made, and was a hand breadth or four inches longer than the Babylonian cubit.
So the altar - ההראל haharel, "the mount of God."
And from the altar - ומהאראיל umihaariel, "and from the lion of God." Perhaps the first was a name given to the altar when elevated to the honor of God, and on which the victims were offered to him, and the second, the lion of God, may mean the hearth, which might have been thus called, because it devoured and consumed the burnt-offerings, as a lion does his prey. See on Isa 29:1 (note).
And the settle - The ledge on which the priests walked round the altar, see Eze 43:14. By these settles or ledges the altar was narrowed towards the top. "The ascent shall look toward the east;" this ascent was an inclined plane. But these settles, or more properly ledges, as Bp. Newcome translates, may be thus computed. The altar itself was ten feet high and twenty broad; the same as that of Solomon, Ch2 4:1.
Height Cubits For the base, Eze 43:13, is in height 1 From the surface of the base to the first ledge, Eze 43:14 1 From the lower ledge to the upper, Eze 43:14 4 From the upper ledge to the ariel or hearth, Eze 43:15 4 In all 10 Breadth Cubits And as to the breadth, the upper ledge, Eze 43:17, was 14 Add a cubit on each side for the higher ledge, Eze 43:14, latter part 2 Add a cubit on each side for the lower ledge, Eze 43:14, former part 2 Add a cubit on each side for the base, Eze 43:13 2 In all 20
The altar of burnt-offerings, described Exo 27:1; Exo 38:1, was smaller than this, because it was to be removed from place to place with the tabernacle. This was designed for a permanent temple. See Bp. Newcome on this chapter.
The priests - that be of the seed of Zadok - It was this Zadok that was put in the place of Abiathar, by Solomon, Kg1 2:35, in whose family the priesthood had continued ever since.
Seven days shalt thou prepare - These are, in general, ordinances of the Law; and may be seen by consulting the parallel passages. All these directions are given that they might follow them, when they should be put in possession of their own land. For in several cases the prophet enters into particulars, as if he had supposed that the book of the law had perished.