Ezekiel 40

The Temple Area Restored

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.
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.
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.
4 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.”

The East Gate to the Outer Court

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,[a] each of which was a cubit and a handbreadth. He measured the wall; it was one measuring rod thick and one rod high.
6 Then he went to the east gate. He climbed its steps and measured the threshold of the gate; it was one rod deep.
7 The alcoves for the guards were one rod long and one rod wide, and the projecting walls between the alcoves were five cubits[b] thick. And the threshold of the gate next to the portico facing the temple was one rod deep.
8 Then he measured the portico of the gateway;
9 it[c] was eight cubits[d] deep and its jambs were two cubits[e] thick. The portico of the gateway faced the temple.
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.
11 Then he measured the width of the entrance of the gateway; it was ten cubits and its length was thirteen cubits.[f]
12 In front of each alcove was a wall one cubit high, and the alcoves were six cubits square.
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[g] from one parapet opening to the opposite one.
14 He measured along the faces of the projecting walls all around the inside of the gateway—sixty cubits.[h] The measurement was up to the portico[i] facing the courtyard.[j]
15 The distance from the entrance of the gateway to the far end of its portico was fifty cubits.[k]
16 The alcoves and the projecting walls inside the gateway were surmounted by narrow parapet openings all around, as was the portico; the openings all around faced inward. The faces of the projecting walls were decorated with palm trees.

The Outer Court

17 Then he brought me into the outer court. There I saw some rooms and a pavement that had been constructed all around the court; there were thirty rooms along the pavement.
18 It abutted the sides of the gateways and was as wide as they were long; this was the lower pavement.
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[l] on the east side as well as on the north.

The North Gate

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

The South Gate

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

The Gates to the Inner Court

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.
29 Its alcoves, its projecting walls and its portico had the same measurements as the others. The gateway and its portico had openings all around. It was fifty cubits long and twenty-five cubits wide.
30 (The porticoes of the gateways around the inner court were twenty-five cubits wide and five cubits deep.)
31 Its portico faced the outer court; palm trees decorated its jambs, and eight steps led up to it.
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.
33 Its alcoves, its projecting walls and its portico had the same measurements as the others. The gateway and its portico had openings all around. It was fifty cubits long and twenty-five cubits wide.
34 Its portico faced the outer court; palm trees decorated the jambs on either side, and eight steps led up to it.
35 Then he brought me to the north gate and measured it. It had the same measurements as the others,
36 as did its alcoves, its projecting walls and its portico, and it had openings all around. It was fifty cubits long and twenty-five cubits wide.
37 Its portico[m] faced the outer court; palm trees decorated the jambs on either side, and eight steps led up to it.

The Rooms for Preparing Sacrifices

38 A room with a doorway was by the portico in each of the inner gateways, where the burnt offerings were washed.
39 In the portico of the gateway were two tables on each side, on which the burnt offerings, sin offerings[n] and guilt offerings were slaughtered.
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.
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.
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.[o] On them were placed the utensils for slaughtering the burnt offerings and the other sacrifices.
43 And double-pronged hooks, each a handbreadth[p] long, were attached to the wall all around. The tables were for the flesh of the offerings.

The Rooms for the Priests

44 Outside the inner gate, within the inner court, were two rooms, one[q] at the side of the north gate and facing south, and another at the side of the south[r] gate and facing north.
45 He said to me, “The room facing south is for the priests who guard the temple,
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.”
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.
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[s] and its projecting walls were[t] three cubits[u] wide on either side.
49 The portico was twenty cubits[v] wide, and twelve[w] cubits[x] from front to back. It was reached by a flight of stairs,[y] and there were pillars on each side of the jambs.

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 59

Footnotes 25

  • [a]. That is, about 11 feet or about 3.2 meters; also in verse 12. The long cubit of about 21 inches or about 53 centimeters is the basic unit of measurement of length throughout chapters 40–48.
  • [b]. That is, about 8 3/4 feet or about 2.7 meters; also in verse 48
  • [c]. Many Hebrew manuscripts, Septuagint, Vulgate and Syriac; most Hebrew manuscripts "gateway facing the temple; it was one rod deep. " 9"Then he measured the portico of the gateway; it"
  • [d]. That is, about 14 feet or about 4.2 meters
  • [e]. That is, about 3 1/2 feet or about 1 meter
  • [f]. That is, about 18 feet wide and 23 feet long or about 5.3 meters wide and 6.9 meters long
  • [g]. That is, about 44 feet or about 13 meters; also in verses 21, 25, 29, 30, 33 and 36
  • [h]. That is, about 105 feet or about 32 meters
  • [i]. Septuagint; Hebrew "projecting wall"
  • [j]. The meaning of the Hebrew for this verse is uncertain.
  • [k]. That is, about 88 feet or about 27 meters; also in verses 21, 25, 29, 33 and 36
  • [l]. That is, about 175 feet or about 53 meters; also in verses 23, 27 and 47
  • [m]. Septuagint (see also verses 31 and 34); Hebrew "jambs"
  • [n]. Or "purification offerings"
  • [o]. That is, about 2 2/3 feet long and wide and 21 inches high or about 80 centimeters long and wide and 53 centimeters high
  • [p]. That is, about 3 1/2 inches or about 9 centimeters
  • [q]. Septuagint; Hebrew "were rooms for singers, which were"
  • [r]. Septuagint; Hebrew "east"
  • [s]. That is, about 25 feet or about 7.4 meters
  • [t]. Septuagint; Hebrew "entrance was"
  • [u]. That is, about 5 1/4 feet or about 1.6 meters
  • [v]. That is, about 35 feet or about 11 meters
  • [w]. Septuagint; Hebrew "eleven"
  • [x]. That is, about 21 feet or about 6.4 meters
  • [y]. Hebrew; Septuagint "Ten steps led 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

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