CHAMBERS OF IMAGERY (chim'bers ov Im'aj-ry).
The scenes of pictorial representation referred to by this phrase are connected with an inter esting passage in the history of Ezekiel and the Jewish exiles, who were stationed in Assyria, on the banks of the Chebar (Ezek. viii).
Ezekiel, in presence of his friends, consisting of the exiled elders of Judah, was suddenly wrapt in mystic vision, and graciously shown. for his own satisfaction, as well as that of his pious associates. the reasons of God's protracted controversy with Israel, and the sad necessity there was for still dealing harshly with them. Transported to the city and temple of Jerusalem he there saw national apostasy and corruption, sufficient to justify, both to the mind of the prophet and his circle of pious associates, the severity of the divine judgments on Israel.
(1) Statue of Baal. The first spectacle that caught his eye was a colossal statue, probably of Baal, around which crowds of devotees were per forming their frantic revelries, and whose for bidden ensigns were proudly blazoning on the walls and portals of his house. Leading him to that side of the court along which were ranged the houses of the priests, his conductor pointed to a mud-wall (verse 7). which, to screen them selves from observation, the apostate servants of the trite God had raised: and in that wall was a small chink, by widening which he discovered a passage into a secret chamber, which was com pletely impervious to the rays of the sun. hut which he found, nn entering, to he lighted up by a profusion of brilliant lamps. The sides of it were covered with numerous paintings of beasts and reptiles—the favorite deities of Egypt ; and, with their eves intently fixed on these decorations was a conclave of seventy persons, in the garb of priests—the exact number, and in all proba bility the individual members, of the Sanhedrin, who stood in the attitude of adoration, holding in their hands each a golden censer, containing all the costly and odoriferous materials which the pomp and magnificence of the Egyptian ritual re luired. The scene described was wholly formed on the model of Egyptian worship. and every one
'ho has read the works of Wilkinson, Belzoni, Richardson, and others, will perceive the close resemblance that it bears to the outer walls, the sanctuaries, and the hieroglyphical figures that distinguished the ancient mythology of Egypt.
(2) Sacred Paintings. In order to show the reader still further how exactly this inner chamber that Ezekiel saw was constructed after the Egyp tian fashion, we subjoin an extract from the work of another traveler, descriptive of the great Temple of Edfou, one of the admired relics of an tiquity; from which it will be seen that the de generate priests of Jerusalem had borrowed the whole style of the edifice in which they were celebrating their hidden rites—its form, its en trance, as well as its pictorial ornaments on the walls—from their idolatrous neighbors of Egypt: —'Considerably below the surface of the adjoin ing building,' says he, 'my conductor pointed out to me a chink in an old wall, which he told me I should creep through on my hands and feet. After proceeding about ten yards in utter dark ness, the heat became excessive, the breathing was laborious, the perspiration poured down my face, and I would have given the world to have got out ; but my companion, whose person I could not distinguish, though his voice was audible, called out to me to crawl a few feet farther, and that I should find plenty of room. I joined him at length, and had the inexpressible satisfaction of standing once more upon my feet. We found ourselves in a splendid apartment of great ntagni lode, adorned with an incredible profusion of sacred paintings and hieroglyphics.' (3) Orgies of Tammuz. it might have been supposed impossible for men to have sunk to a lower depth of superstition than that of imitating the Egyptians in worshiping the monsters of the Nile, or the vegetable produce of their fields and gardens, had not the prophet been directed to turn yet again and he would see greater abomina tions than they did. 'Then he brought me to the gate of the Lord's house, which was towards the north; and behold there sat women weeping for Tammuz' (verse 141.