Cast out

John is told to measure the temple but not the court (Revelation 11:2). The verb can mean “except” but regularly connotes more than simple exclusion (cf. John 2:15; 9:34-35; 12:31). John is told to “cast out” ( ekbale exothen ) the court to be trampled by the nations.

The verb ekballo occurs frequently in the LXX, and never with exothen . In Leviticus 14:40, however, the verb is used with exo in a passage describing the disposal of the stones of a “leprous” house. If the stain of leprosy spreads in the wall of the house, the stones have to be removed and cast outside the city. That is what John is supposed to do with the temple: He measures it, marking it as holy space, but the court is dismantled and thrown away.

It seems that the court is identified with the “holy city,” an ironic identification because the court is cast away as something impure and defiled.

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