In the four corners of the court there were courts joined,
&c.] To the side walls of the outward court, which met in right angles: or, "were made with chimneys" F18, as some render it; that the smoke of the fire of the kitchens in them, and the steam of the boiled flesh, might ascend through them. So the Jewish writers, as Jarchi and Kimchi, from the Misnah F19, generally interpret the word, that these courts were made so as to let out the smoke, and were not roofed or floored over F20; and in which treatise and also by Maimonides F21; the uses of them in the second temple are observed: for in answer to the question, what do they serve for? it is said, at the southeast was the chamber of the Nazarites, where they boiled their peace offerings, and shaved their hair, and put them under the pot; at the northeast was the wood chamber, where the priests that had blemishes wormed the wood; and any wood, in which a worm was found, was rejected from the altar: at the northwest was the chamber of the lepers: of that which was at the southwest, saith R. Eliezer Ben Jacob, I have forgot (some render it found) of what use it is; but Abba Saul says, there they put the wine and oil, wherefore it was called the oil chamber. These four chambers, according to the same treatise, were in the four corners of the court of the women, and consisted of forty cubits long, but were not roofed; and so, they say, they will be in future time, according to this passage of Scripture. These places, as Dr. Lightfoot F23 observes, are called by the prophet "courts", and in everyone of them places to boil the sacrifices in; and yet they are allotted to other uses in the Misnah, and which seem to require that they should be roofed; all which may consist together, he says: for, grant everyone of these spaces to be built within, with chambers round about, there might be very fair chambers, and yet a good handsome open court in the middle; at either end chambers of ten cubits broad, and yet an open space of twenty cubits between; and on either side chambers of seven or eight cubits broad, and yet an open space of fourteen or sixteen cubits between: thus therefore, adds he, it seems to be, that there were fair chambers round about, which were roofed over as other buildings; and in the middle was an open court, round about which were boiling ranges, whose chimneys went up in the inner walls of the chambers, or the walls to the open place: thus the inner court served for boiling places, and the rooms round about for other uses; see the two following verses. The measure of the courts were, of forty cubits long, and thirty broad;
an oblong quadrangle: these four corners were of one measure;
the courts that were in these four corners were, of the same measure, as to length and breadth; denoting the equality of Gospel churches, being of the same faith, order and discipline, power and authority.
F18 (twrjq twrux) "atria caminata", Junius & Tremellius, Polanus, Cocceius; "fumosa", Tigurine version, Castalio; "fumigata", Starckius.
F19 Middot, c. 2. sect. 5.
F20 Maimon. & Bartenora in ib.
F21 Hilchot Beth Habechira, c. 5. sect. 8.
F23 Prospect of the Temple, c. 18. p. 1092, 1093.