Easy Read Study Bible                                          Front Page

FRAMEWORKS: Ezekiel

(Return to Old Testament Contents)

 

FRAMEWORKS: Ezekiel 40: Measuring the Temple: [1] Outer & Inner Courtyards

 

Context:

Part 7: Vision for a new day: Temple, lands & worship

Time & Location 7: Given in the 14 th year after the fall of Jerusalem

Ch.40 – Measuring the Temple: [1] Outer & Inner Courtyards

Ch.41 – Measuring the Temple: [2] Main Building

Ch.42 – Measuring the Temple: [3] Rooms for the Priests

Ch.43 – The Glory Returns & Instructions given

Ch.44 – The Priesthood restored

Ch.45 – Sacred areas, honesty & justice, and sacrificial worship

Ch.46 – The worshipping prince and priests

Ch.47 – The river from the temple; land boundaries

Ch.48 – Division of the land, new city gates

 

[Introductory Comments for chapter 40 to 48: This chapter starts the last Part of nine chapters describing a temple and worship seen in a vision [or visions] by Ezekiel. Because of the complexity and detail of the descriptions we will not try to itemize and cover all the detail, just making occasional comment. We will see that Ezekiel is to pay attention to all he now sees and convey it to his people [40:4 below & 43:10a] “that they may be ashamed of their sins” [43:10b] as they “consider its perfection” [43:10c].

 

The fact is that when they returned from exile and started to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem, it would seem that none of these observations and instructions in these chapters were followed. This leaves one asking, why therefore these nine chapters that some have referred to as an Appendix to the main book?

 

Questions also arise over whether these verses should be interpreted literally and materially, or whether they should be seen as figurative and indicative of some future time, and so commentators postulate it is the temple that Zerubbabel should have built, or it is a literal temple to be rebuilt during the millennial reign of Christ, or a temple which is symbolic of the worship of God by the Christian church today, or a symbol of the future and eternal reign of God. The text gives little or no guidance in this respect, however see the note on dating below.

 

As we note below, these chapters, seemingly needing to be read as one, were given to Ezekiel in what must have been about the fourteenth year after the fall of Jerusalem and the utter destruction of the temple. The fact that Ezekiel is told [v.4] to tell all his people what he has seen, indicates the Lord wants them encouraged by the thought of yet a future temple, even though the present one had simply been a pile of rubble for well over a decade. Would this act as a constant reminder and encouragement suggesting they yet DID have a future in the Land that involved an ongoing worshipping relationship with the Lord? There will still be roughly several more decades before they start to return to the Land and when Cyrus does eventually start sending them back [2 Chron 36:22,23] it is expressly to start rebuilding the temple before anything else. Although they obviously don't know this yet, Ezekiel's vision would be there in the background of their cultural consciousness in the same way that the book of Revelation is for the Christian Church today, an anchor point or marker of God's intentions as yet unfulfilled.]

 

 

v.1-4 Ezekiel is now given visions and told to convey them to Israel

v.1   In the twenty-fifth year of our exile, at the beginning of the year, on the tenth of the month, in the fourteenth year after the fall of the city  – on that very day the hand of the Lord was on me and he took me there.

v.2  In visions of God he took me to the land of Israel and set me on a very high mountain, on whose south side were some buildings that looked like a city.

v.3  He took me there, and I saw a man whose appearance was like bronze; he was standing in the gateway with a linen cord and a measuring rod in his hand.

v.The man said to me, ‘Son of man, look carefully and listen closely and pay attention to everything I am going to show you, for that is why you have been brought here. Tell the people of Israel everything you see.'

 

[Notes: In a vision Ezekiel is taken [remember he is still in Babylon] to Israel and sees a man with a measuring rod and he is told to note all he sees and convey it to his people. It is the twenty-fifth year on his measuring scale – see main Introduction – probably about the 14 th year after the fall of Jerusalem.]

 

v.5 The surrounding wall to the temple precincts

v. 5  I saw a wall completely surrounding the temple area . The length of the measuring rod in the man's hand was six long cubits, each of which was a cubit and a handbreadth. [note: a ‘long cubit', probably about ten feet long] He measured the wall; it was one measuring rod thick and one rod high.

 

[Notes: The wall surrounding the temple precincts was ten feet high and ten feet thick.]

 

v.6-16 The east gate into the outer court

v.6  Then he went to the east gate. He climbed its steps and measured the threshold of the gate; it was one rod deep. [i.e. a ten foot alcove into the gate]

v.The alcoves for the guards were one rod long and one rod wide, and the projecting walls between the alcoves were five cubits thick. And the threshold of the gate next to the portico facing the temple was one rod deep.

v.8  Then he measured the portico [inside porch] of the gateway;

v.9  it was eight cubits deep and its jambs were two cubits thick. The portico of the gateway faced the temple.

v.10  Inside the east gate were three alcoves on each side; the three had the same measurements, and the faces of the projecting walls on each side had the same measurements.

v.11  Then he measured the width of the entrance of the gateway; it was ten cubits and its length was thirteen cubits.

v.12  In front of each alcove was a wall one cubit high, and the alcoves were six cubits square.

v.13  Then he measured the gateway from the top of the rear wall of one alcove to the top of the opposite one; the distance was twenty-five cubits from one parapet opening to the opposite one.

v.14  He measured along the faces of the projecting walls all around the inside of the gateway – sixty cubits. The measurement was up to the portico facing the courtyard.

v.15  The distance from the entrance of the gateway to the far end of its portico was fifty cubits.

v.16  The alcoves and the projecting walls inside the gateway were surmounted by narrow parapet openings all round, as was the portico; the openings all round faced inward. The faces of the projecting walls were decorated with palm trees.

 

[Notes: The east gate comprises what is essentially a large tunnel with thick walls, with three rooms or alcoves on either side for guards. If this is simply figurative language, the size and bulk of the walls etc. must convey stability and endurance.]

 

v.17-19 The outer courtyard and rooms off it

v.17  Then he brought me into the outer court. There I saw some rooms and a pavement that had been constructed all round the court; there were thirty rooms along the pavement.

v.18  It abutted the sides of the gateways and was as wide as they were long; this was the lower pavement.

v.19  Then he measured the distance from the inside of the lower gateway to the outside of the inner court; it was a hundred cubits on the east side as well as on the north.

 

v.20-23 The north gate into the outer courtyard

v.20  Then he measured the length and width of the north gate, leading into the outer court.

v.21  Its alcoves – three on each side – its projecting walls and its portico had the same measurements as those of the first gateway. It was fifty cubits long and twenty-five cubits wide.

v.22  Its openings, its portico and its palm tree decorations had the same measurements as those of the gate facing east. Seven steps led up to it, with its portico opposite them.

v.23  There was a gate to the inner court facing the north gate, just as there was on the east. He measured from one gate to the opposite one; it was a hundred cubits.

 

v.24-27 The south gate into the outer courtyard

v.24  Then he led me to the south side and I saw the south gate. He measured its jambs and its portico, and they had the same measurements as the others.

v.25  The gateway and its portico had narrow openings all round, like the openings of the others. It was fifty cubits long and twenty-five cubits wide.

v.26  Seven steps led up to it, with its portico opposite them; it had palm tree decorations on the faces of the projecting walls on each side.

v.27  The inner court also had a gate facing south, and he measured from this gate to the outer gate on the south side; it was a hundred cubits.

 

v.28-37 The gates into the inner courtyard

v.28  Then he brought me into the inner court through the south gate, and he measured the south gate; it had the same measurements as the others.

v.29  Its alcoves, its projecting walls and its portico had the same measurements as the others. The gateway and its portico had openings all round. It was fifty cubits long and twenty-five cubits wide.

v.30  (The porticoes of the gateways around the inner court were twenty-five cubits wide and five cubits deep.)

v.31  Its portico faced the outer court; palm trees decorated its jambs, and eight steps led up to it.

v.32  Then he brought me to the inner court on the east side, and he measured the gateway; it had the same measurements as the others.

v.33  Its alcoves, its projecting walls and its portico had the same measurements as the others. The gateway and its portico had openings all round. It was fifty cubits long and twenty-five cubits wide.

v.34  Its portico faced the outer court; palm trees decorated the jambs on either side, and eight steps led up to it.

v.35  Then he brought me to the north gate and measured it. It had the same measurements as the others,

v.36  as did its alcoves, its projecting walls and its portico, and it had openings all round. It was fifty cubits long and twenty-five cubits wide.

v.37  Its portico faced the outer court; palm trees decorated the jambs on either side, and eight steps led up to it.

 

v.38-43 The rooms for preparing sacrifices

v.38   A room with a doorway was by the portico in each of the inner gateways, where the burnt offerings were washed.

v.39  In the portico of the gateway were two tables on each side, on which the burnt offerings, sin offerings and guilt offerings were slaughtered.

v.40  By the outside wall of the portico of the gateway, near the steps at the entrance of the north gateway were two tables, and on the other side of the steps were two tables.

v.41  So there were four tables on one side of the gateway and four on the other – eight tables in all – on which the sacrifices were slaughtered.

v.42  There were also four tables of dressed stone for the burnt offerings, each a cubit and a half long, a cubit and a half wide and a cubit high. On them were placed the utensils for slaughtering the burnt offerings and the other sacrifices.

v.43  And double-pronged hooks, each a handbreadth long, were attached to the wall all round. The tables were for the flesh of the offerings.

 

v.44-47 The rooms for the priests

v.44  Outside the inner gate, within the inner court, were two rooms, one at the side of the north gate and facing south, and another at the side of the south gate and facing north.

v.45  He said to me, ‘The room facing south is for the priests who guard the temple,

v.46  and the room facing north is for the priests who guard the altar. These are the sons of Zadok, who are the only Levites who may draw near to the Lord to minister before him.'

v.47  Then he measured the court: it was square – a hundred cubits long and a hundred cubits wide. And the altar was in front of the temple.

 

v.48,49 The entrance to the new temple

v.48  He brought me to the portico of the temple and measured the jambs of the portico; they were five cubits wide on either side. The width of the entrance was fourteen cubits and its projecting walls were three cubits wide on either side.

v.49  The portico was twenty cubits wide, and twelve cubits from front to back. It was reached by a flight of stairs, and there were pillars on each side of the jambs.

   

   

Continue to Chapter 41