Ezekiel 40

Listen to Ezekiel 40

Vision of the New Temple

1 1In the twenty-fifth year 2of our exile, at the beginning of the year, on the tenth day of the month, 3in the fourteenth year after the city was struck down, on that very day, 4the hand of the LORD was upon me, and he brought me to the city.[a]
2 In 5visions of God he brought me to the land of Israel, and set me down on 6a very high mountain, on which was a structure like a city to the south.
3 When he brought me there, behold, there was 7a man whose appearance was 8like bronze, with 9a linen cord and 10a measuring reed in his hand. And he was standing in the gateway.
4 And the man said to me, 11"Son of man, 12look with your eyes, and 13hear with your ears, and set your heart upon all that I shall show you, for you were brought here in order that I might show it to you. 14Declare all that you see to the house of Israel."

The East Gate to the Outer Court

5 And behold, there was 15a wall all around the outside of the temple area, and the length of the measuring reed in the man's hand was six long cubits, 16each being a cubit and a handbreadth[b] in length. So he measured the thickness of the wall, one reed; and the height, one reed.
6 Then he went into 17the gateway facing east, 18going up its steps, and measured the threshold of the gate, one reed deep.[c]
7 And 19the side rooms, one reed long and one reed broad; and the space between the side rooms, five cubits; and the threshold of the gate by the vestibule of the gate at the inner end, one reed.
8 Then he measured the vestibule of the gateway, on the inside, one reed.
9 Then he measured the vestibule of the gateway, eight cubits; 20and its jambs, two cubits; and the vestibule of the gate was at the inner end.
10 And there were three side rooms on either side of the east gate. 21The three were of the same size, and the jambs on either side were of the same size.
11 Then he measured the width of the opening of the gateway, ten cubits; and the length of the gateway, thirteen cubits.
12 There was a barrier before the side rooms, one cubit on either side. And the side rooms were six cubits on either side.
13 Then he measured the gate from the ceiling of the one side room to the ceiling of the other, a breadth of twenty-five cubits; the openings faced each other.
14 He measured also 22the vestibule, twenty cubits. And around the vestibule of the gateway was the court.[d]
15 From the front of the gate at the entrance to the front of the inner vestibule of the gate was fifty cubits.
16 And the gateway had 23windows all around, narrowing inwards toward the side rooms and toward their 24jambs, and likewise the vestibule had windows all around inside, and on the jambs were 25palm trees.

The Outer Court

17 Then he brought me into 26the outer court. And behold, there were 27chambers and a 28pavement, all around the court. 29Thirty chambers faced the pavement.
18 And the pavement ran along the side of the gates, corresponding to the length of the gates. This was the lower pavement.
19 Then he measured the distance from the inner front of the lower gate to the outer front of the inner court,[e] a hundred cubits on the east side and on the north side.[f]

The North Gate

20 As for 30the gate that faced toward the north, belonging to 31the outer court, he measured its length and its breadth.
21 Its 32side rooms, three on either side, and its jambs and its vestibule were of the same size as those of 33the first gate. Its length was 34fifty cubits, and its breadth 35twenty-five cubits.
22 And 36its windows, its vestibule, and 37its palm trees were of the same size as those of the gate that faced toward the east. And by seven steps 38people would go up to it, and find its vestibule before them.
23 And opposite the gate on the north, as on the east, was a gate to 39the inner court. And 40he measured from gate to gate, a hundred cubits.

The South Gate

24 And he led me toward the south, and behold, there was a gate on the south. And 41he measured its jambs and its vestibule; they had the same size as the others.
25 Both it and its vestibule 42had windows all around, like the windows of the others. Its length was fifty cubits, and its breadth twenty-five cubits.
26 And there were seven steps leading up to it, and its vestibule was before them, and it had 43palm trees on its jambs, one on either side.
27 And there was a gate on the south of 44the inner court. And he measured from gate to gate toward the south, a hundred cubits.

The Inner Court

28 Then he brought me to 45the inner court through the south gate, and 46he measured the south gate. It was of the same size as the others.
29 Its 47side rooms, its jambs, and its vestibule were of the same size as the others, and both it and its vestibule 48had windows all around. 49Its length was fifty cubits, and its breadth twenty-five cubits.
30 And there were vestibules all around, twenty-five cubits long and five cubits broad.
31 Its vestibule faced the outer court, and 50palm trees were on its jambs, and 51its stairway had eight steps.
32 Then he brought me to the inner court on the east side, and 52he measured the gate. It was of the same size as the others.
33 Its side rooms, its jambs, and its vestibule were of the same size as the others, and both it and its vestibule had windows all around. Its length was fifty cubits, and its breadth twenty-five cubits.
34 53Its vestibule faced the outer court, and it had palm trees on its jambs, on either side, and its stairway had eight steps.
35 Then he brought me to 54the north gate, and 55he measured it. It had the same size as the others.
36 Its side rooms, its jambs, and its vestibule were of the same size as the others,[g] and it had windows all around. Its length was fifty cubits, and its breadth twenty-five cubits.
37 Its vestibule[h] faced the outer court, and it had palm trees on its jambs, on either side, and its stairway had eight steps.
38 There was 56a chamber with its door in the vestibule of the gate,[i]57where the burnt offering was to be washed.
39 And in the vestibule of the gate were two 58tables on either side, on which the 59burnt offering and the 60sin offering and the 61guilt offering were to be slaughtered.
40 And off to the side, on the outside as one goes up to the entrance of the north gate, were two tables; and off to the other side of the vestibule of the gate were two tables.
41 62Four tables were on either side of the gate, eight tables, 63on which to slaughter.
42 And there were four tables 64of hewn stone for the burnt offering, a cubit and a half long, and a cubit and a half broad, and one cubit high, on which the instruments were to be laid with which the 65burnt offerings and the sacrifices were slaughtered.
43 And hooks,[j] a handbreadth long, were fastened all around within. And on the tables the flesh of the offering was to be laid.

Chambers for the Priests

44 On the outside of the inner gateway there were two 66chambers[k] in the 67inner court, one[l] at the side of the north gate facing south, the other at the side of the south[m] gate facing north.
45 And he said to me, This chamber that faces south is for the priests 68who have charge of the temple,
46 and the chamber that faces north is for the priests 69who have charge of the altar. These are 70the sons of Zadok, who alone[n] among the sons of Levi may come 71near to the LORD to minister to him.
47 And he measured the court, 72a hundred cubits long and 73a hundred cubits broad, a square. And 74the altar was in front of the temple.

The Vestibule of the Temple

48 Then he brought me to 75the vestibule of the temple and measured the 76jambs of the vestibule, five cubits on either side. And the breadth of the gate was fourteen cubits, and the sidewalls of the gate[o] were three cubits on either side.
49 77The length of the vestibule was twenty cubits, and the breadth twelve[p] cubits, and people would go up to it by ten steps.[q] And there were pillars beside the jambs, one on either side.

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.

Cross References 77

Footnotes 17

  • [a]. Hebrew brought me there
  • [b]. A cubit was about 18 inches or 45 centimeters; a handbreadth was about 3 inches or 7.5 centimeters
  • [c]. Hebrew deep, and one threshold, one reed deep
  • [d]. Text uncertain; Hebrew And he made the jambs sixty cubits, and to the jamb of the court was the gateway all around
  • [e]. Hebrew distance from before the low gate before the inner court to the outside
  • [f]. Or cubits. So far the eastern gate; now to the northern gate.
  • [g]. One manuscript (compare verses 29 and 33); most manuscripts lack were of the same size as the others
  • [h]. Septuagint, Vulgate (compare verses 26, 31, 34); Hebrew jambs
  • [i]. Hebrew at the jambs, the gates
  • [j]. Or shelves
  • [k]. Septuagint; Hebrew were chambers for singers
  • [l]. Hebrew lacks one
  • [m]. Septuagint; Hebrew east
  • [n]. Hebrew lacks alone
  • [o]. Septuagint; Hebrew lacks was fourteen cubits, and the sidewalls of the gate
  • [p]. Septuagint; Hebrew eleven
  • [q]. Septuagint; Hebrew and by steps that would go up to it

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

The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.