And he brought me into the inner court of the Lord's
&c.] The court of the priests, where they offered sacrifice, and into which none might come but themselves: and, behold, at the door of the temple of the Lord, between the porch
and the altar;
the porch that led into the temple, and the brasen altar, the altar of burnt offerings, which was a very sacred place, and reckoned more holy than the court of the priests F7 [were] about five and twenty men;
the number, more or less, not being exactly known; who they were, whether the priests or princes of the people, is not certain; probably some of both: with their backs towards the temple of the Lord;
that is, the most holy place, which they were obliged to, in order to do what is afterwards affirmed of them; for the sanctuary was built to the west, that in their worship the Jews might not look to the east, as the Gentiles did; wherefore these men, that they might imitate the Gentiles in their idolatry, turned their backs to the most holy place; which is an aggravation of their impiety; casting the utmost contempt on God, his worship, and the place of it: and their faces towards the east:
when the sun rises: and they worshipped the sun towards the east;
as many nations did, though forbidden the Jews by an express law of God, ( Deuteronomy 4:19 ) ( Deuteronomy 17:2 Deuteronomy 17:3 ) ; yet this they fell into, and had horses and chariots devoted to this idolatry; see ( 2 Kings 21:3 2 Kings 21:5 ) ( 2 Kings 23:5 2 Kings 23:11 ) . The word rendered "worshipped" is compounded of two words; one signifying to "corrupt", the other to "worship": showing that, by worshipping the sun, they corrupted themselves, and the house of God; and so the Targum renders it,
``and, lo, they corrupted themselves, worshipping in the east the sun;''and so it is explained in the Jerusalem Talmud,
``they corrupted the temple, and worshipped the sun;''but Kimchi thinks the word F8 consists of the verb in the past tense, and of the participle; and that the sense is, when the prophet saw the men worshipping the sun to the east, as amazed at it, put this question to those that went in, "do ye worship also?" F9 so Ben Melech.
F7 Bemidbar Rabba, sect. 7. fol. 184. 4.
F8 (Mtywxtvm) .
F9 Vid. Hottinger. Smegma Orientale, l. 3. par. 1. c. 24. p. 154. who rather is of opinion that the word is compounded of the participle and the particle (ta) , or the pronoun (Mta) .