Ezekiel 40

1 In the twenty-fifth year of our exile, at the beginning of the year, on the tenth day of the month - this was the fourteenth year after the city [of Yerushalayim] was struck - it was on that very day that the hand of ADONAI was on me, and he took me there.
2 In visions God brought me into the land of Isra'el and put me down on a very high mountain; on it, toward the south, it seemed that a city was being built.
3 That is where he took me, and there in front of me was a man whose appearance was like bronze. He had a flax cord and a measuring rod in his hand, and he stood in the gateway.
4 The man said to me, "Human being, look with your eyes, hear with your ears, and pay attention to all the things I am showing you; because the reason you were brought here is so that I could show them to you. Tell everything you see to the house of Isra'el."
5 There was a wall surrounding the house. The man had in his hand a measuring rod six cubits long [ten-and-a-half feet], each cubit [twenty-one inches] being a normal cubit [eighteen inches] plus a handbreadth [three inches]. He measured the wall's width at ten-and-a-half feet and its height ten-and-a-half feet.
6 He went to the east gate, climbed its steps and measured one of the gate's doorposts at ten-and-a-half feet wide and the other one the same.
7 There were guardrooms, each ten-and-a-half feet square; the distance between the guardrooms was eight-and-three-quarters feet. The threshold of the gate adjoining the gate's entranceway facing the house measured ten-and-a-half feet.
8 He measured the gate's entranceway facing the house at ten-and-a-half feet.
9 Then he measured the gate's entranceway itself, fourteen feet, and its supports, three-and-a-half feet; the gate's entranceway was on the side facing the house.
10 There were three guardrooms on each side of the east gate, all the same size; and on each side the supports [between the guardrooms] were also all the same size.
11 He measured the width of the opening to the gateway at seventeen-and-a-half feet and the width of the passage through the gateway at twenty-two-and-three-quarters feet.
12 There was a partition in front of the guardrooms [on one side] twenty-one inches [wide] and a partition on the other side twenty-one inches [wide], with the guardrooms themselves being ten-and-a-half feet square.
13 He measured [inside] the gate from the back wall of one guardroom to the back wall of the other a distance of forty-three-and-three-quarters feet, the openings [to the guardrooms] being opposite each other.
14 He made the posts 105 feet, likewise the posts of the other gates around the courtyard.
15 The distance along the passage from the outer opening of the gateway to the far side of the entranceway at the inner end of the gateway was eighty-seven-and-a-half feet.
16 There were narrow windows to the guardrooms and to their supports facing inward all along the gate; also the vestibules had windows all around facing inward. On each side support were [carvings of] palm trees.
17 Then he brought me into the outer courtyard. There I saw rooms and paved mosaic flooring made for the courtyard all around its perimeter, and thirty rooms facing the flooring.
18 The flooring was alongside the gates and corresponded to the length of the gates [from outside to inside], this lower flooring.
19 He measured at 175 feet the distance from inside this lower gate that faced east to the outside of the inner courtyard, and he did the same for the gate that faced north.
20 Next he measured the length and width of the outer courtyard gate that faced north.
21 It had three guardrooms on each side, and its supports and vestibule were the same size as those at the first gate; its length was eighty-seven-and-a-half feet and its width forty-three-and-three-quarters feet.
22 Its windows, vestibule and palm trees were the same size as those at the east gate. Seven steps led up to it [from the outside], while its vestibule was toward the inside.
23 There were gates to the inner courtyard across from the gates to the north and east; he measured 175 feet from each outer gate to its corresponding inner gate.
24 He led me toward the south, and there I saw a gate that faced south. He measured its supports and vestibule; they were the same size as the others.
25 There were windows in it and all around its vestibule like the other windows; the length was eighty-seven-and-a-half feet and the width forty-three-and-three-quarters feet.
26 Seven steps led up to it [from the outside], while its vestibule was toward the inside. It had palm trees, one on each side, on its supports.
27 The inner courtyard had a gate on the south; he measured from gate to gate toward the south 175 feet.
28 He brought me to the inner courtyard through its south gate. He measured this south gate as being the same size;
29 its guardrooms, supports and vestibule were the same size; it had windows and a vestibule surrounding it; it was eighty-seven-and-a-half feet long and forty-three-and-three-quarters feet wide.
30 There was a vestibule around it forty-three-and-three-quarters feet long and eight-and-three-quarters feet wide;
31 this vestibule faced the outer courtyard, palm trees were on its supports, and it had eight steps leading up to it.
32 He brought me into the inner courtyard, went toward the east and measured that gate as being the same size;
33 its guardrooms, supports and vestibule were the same size; it had windows and a vestibule surrounding it; it was eighty-seven-and-a-half feet long and forty-three-and-three-quarters feet wide.
34 Its vestibule faced the outer courtyard, palm trees were on its supports, both on the one side and on the other; and it had eight steps leading up to it.
35 He brought me over to the north gate and measured it as being the same size;
36 it had guardrooms, supports and a vestibule with windows all around; the length was eighty-seven-and-a-half feet and the width forty-three-and-three-quarters feet.
37 Its supports faced the outer courtyard; palm trees were on its supports, both on the one side and on the other; and it had eight steps leading up to it.
38 There was a room with its entry by the supports at the gates where the burnt offerings were washed.
39 In the entranceway to the gate were two tables on the one side and two on the other, on which to slaughter the burnt offerings, sin offerings and guilt offerings.
40 On the outside, as one goes up to the entry of the north gate, were two tables; and on the other side of the entranceway to the gate were two tables.
41 So there were four tables on the one side and four on the other side, by the gate - eight tables on which to slaughter sacrifices.
42 There were four tables of cut stone for the burnt offering, thirty-one-and-a-half inches square and twenty-one inches high, on which to lay the instruments for slaughtering the burnt offerings and other sacrifices.
43 Hooks a handbreadth long were fastened all around the inside of the room; the flesh of the offerings was to be placed on the tables.
44 Outside the inner gate, in the inner courtyard, were rooms for the singers, one facing south alongside the north gate, and one facing north alongside the east gate.
45 He said to me, "This room facing south is for the cohanim in charge of the house;
46 while the room facing north is for the cohanim in charge of the altar; these are the descendants of Tzadok, who are the descendants of Levi designated to approach ADONAI and serve him."
47 Then he measured the courtyard at 175 feet long and 175 feet wide - it was square. The altar was in front of the house.
48 He brought me to the vestibule of the house and measured at eight-and-three-quarters feet the thickness of the walls on either side of its entrance. On each side, these walls extended five-and-a-quarter feet from the side-walls of the vestibule.
49 The length of the vestibule was thirty-five feet and the width nineteen-and-a-quarter feet; steps led up to it. There were columns on each side of the entrance.

Ezekiel 40 Commentary

Chapter 40

The Vision of the Temple.

- Here is a vision, beginning at ch. 40, and continued to the end of the book, ch. 48, which is justly looked upon to be one of the most difficult portions in all the book of God. When we despair to be satisfied as to any difficulty we meet with, let us bless God that our salvation does not depend upon it, but that things necessary are plain enough; and let us wait till God shall reveal even this unto us. This chapter describes two outward courts of the temple. Whether the personage here mentioned was the Son of God, or a created angel, is not clear. But Christ is both our Altar and our Sacrifice, to whom we must look with faith in all approaches to God; and he is Salvation in the midst of the earth, ( Psalms 74:12 ) , to be looked unto from all quarters.

Chapter Summary


This and the eight following chapters contain a vision of a city and temple herein described, and are thought to be the most difficult part of the whole Bible. The Jews forbid the reading of it till a man is arrived to thirty years of age; and then he must expect to meet with things in it he does not understand, and which must be left until Elijah comes to explain them. Many Christian commentators have omitted the exposition of these chapters; and all acknowledge the difficulties in them. Something however may be got out of them, relating to the Gospel, and Gospel church state, which I am fully persuaded is intended by the city and temple; for that no material building can be designed is clear from this one observation; that not only the whole land of Israel would not be capable of having such a city as is here described built upon it, but even all Europe would not be sufficient; nor the whole world, according to the account of the dimensions which some give of it. The circumference of the city is said to be about eighteen thousand measures, Eze 48:35; but what they are is not certain. Luther makes them to be thirty six thousand German miles; and a German mile being three of ours, the circuit of this city must be above a hundred thousand English miles; and this is sufficient to set aside all hypotheses of a material building, either of city or temple, the one being in proportion to the other. The Jews dream of a third temple to be built, by their vainly expected Messiah; but nothing is more clear than that the true Messiah was to come into the second temple, and by that give it a greater glory than the former ever had; as is evident from Hag 2:6-9 and, according to Malachi, he was to come suddenly into his temple, which could be no other than the then present one, Mal 3:1, and into which Jesus came, and where he often appeared and taught, as well as entered into it with power and authority, as the Lord and proprietor of it; by which he appeared to be the true Messiah, as by many other characters; see \Lu 2:22,46 21:37 Mt 21:12,13\. There are some who think that Solomon's temple, as it was before it was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar, and as it was rebuilt by Zerubbabel, is here described; and that partly to let the Jews know what a glory to their nation they lost by their sins; and partly that they might have a complete pattern for the rebuilding of it, as well as to comfort them under its present ruins; but there is no agreement between them. This temple was to be built at a distance from the city, several miles; according to some ten, others twenty, and by the best account twenty seven miles; see Eze 45:1-5, whereas Solomon's temple, and that built by Zerubbabel, were in the city of Jerusalem: nor from either of these flowed waters, which rose up to a river, on the bank of which were many trees for food and medicine, and whose waters were healing, and quickened wherever they came, as from this, Eze 47:1-12, nor do we ever read of the east gate of these temples always shut, as this, Eze 44:2, and besides, both these temples were profaned and destroyed; whereas this shall never be, but God will dwell in it forever, Eze 43:7, neither place, structure, nor worship, agree. Nor is this city here the same with the New Jerusalem John had a vision of; for though he borrows some of his expressions to describe it from hence; and in some things there is an appearance of agreement, as of the river of water of life, and the tree of life on both sides of the river, Re 22:1,2, yet the description agrees not, either with respect to its gates, or its compass; and though there was no temple in that John saw, as there was none in this, it being without the city; yet here is a temple in this vision, and the greatest part of it is taken up in the description of it. It remains that this must be understood mystically and figuratively of the Gospel church, which is often spoken of as a city and temple, Heb 12:22, Re 3:12 and which began to have its accomplishment in the first times of the Gospel, immediately after the death and resurrection of Christ; when his disciples had a commission to preach the Gospel to all nations; and who accordingly did, even before the destruction of Jerusalem, and of the material temple, so that Gospel churches were planted in all parts of the world; and especially this was the case, when the Roman empire, called the whole world, became Christian: though the further and greater accomplishment of this vision will be in the latter day; when the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea; when Jews and Gentiles will be converted, and Gospel churches be set up everywhere; so that the Gospel church state, or kingdom of Christ, signified by the great mountain in Da 2:35, and by this large city here, will fill the whole earth: and the rather this may be thought to be the design of this vision to represent it, as it follows the prophecies of the Jews' settlement in their own land; and of the destruction of Gog, or the Turk, attempting to dispossess them; of which in chapters 37-39. In this chapter are first an account of the vision in general, the time, manner, and place of it, Eze 40:1,2, a description of the person, the builder and owner of the house; and by whom the prophet is shown each of the parts and dimensions of it, whom he calls to him for that purpose, Eze 40:3,4, and then a particular account is given, which begins with the outward wall around the house, Eze 40:5, then the east gate, with its posts, porch, and chambers, and the outward court with its chambers, Eze 40:6-19, then the gate of the outward court to the north, with its chambers, and the gate of the inner court over against that, Eze 40:20-23, then the gate to the south, with its posts, arches, and chambers, Eze 40:24-31, then the inner court to the east, its gate, chambers, and arches, Eze 40:32-34, then the north gate, with its posts, chambers, and arches, Eze 40:35-38, in the porch of which are the tables, on which the sacrifices are slain, Eze 40:39-43, after which are described the chambers for the singers and the priests, Eze 40:44-46, then the inner court and altar in it; and the chapter is concluded with the dimensions of the porch of the house, Eze 40:48,49.

Ezekiel 40 Commentaries

Complete Jewish Bible Copyright 1998 by David H. Stern. Published by Jewish New Testament Publications, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.