The Word of the Lord to Ezekiel

Chapter 40

The time, manner, and end of the vision of the city and temple, 1-5. The description of the east gate of the outer court, 6-19; of the north gate, 20-23; of the south gate, 24-26; of the south gate of the inner court, 27-31; of the east gate, 32-34; and of the north gate, 35-38. Eight tables, 39-43. The chambers, 44-47. The porch of the house, 48, 49.

1 In the twenty-fifth year of our captivity, in the beginning of the year, on the tenth day of the month, in the fourteenth year after the city was smitten, on that same day the hand of the LORD was upon me and brought me there. 2 In the visions of God he brought me into the land of Israel and set me upon a very high mountain, by which was as the frame of a city on the south. 3 And he brought me there, and behold, there was a man whose appearance was like the appearance of brass with a line of flax in his hand and a measuring reed, and he stood in the gate. 4 And the man said to me, "Son of man, behold with your eyes and hear with your ears, and set your heart upon all that I shall show you, for, to the intent that I might show them to you, you are brought here. Declare all that you see to the house of Israel."

5 And behold a wall on the outside of the house around, and in the man's hand a measuring reed of six cubits long by the cubit and a hand-breadth. So he measured the breadth of the building, one reed, and the height, one reed. 6 Then he came to the gate which looks toward the east and ascended its stairs. And he measured the threshold of the gate, which was one reed broad, and the other threshold of the gate, which was one reed broad. 7 And every little chamber was one reed long and one reed broad. And between the little chambers were five cubits. And the threshold of the gate by the porch of the gate within was one reed. 8 He also measured the porch of the gate within, one reed. 9 Then he measured the porch of the gate, eight cubits, and its posts, two cubits, and the porch of the gate was inward. 10 And the little chambers of the gate eastward were three on this side and three on that side. The three of them were of one measure. And the posts had one measure on this side and on that side. 11 And he measured the breadth of the entry of the gate, ten cubits, and the length of the gate, thirteen cubits. 12 Also the space before the little chambers was one cubit on this side and the space was one cubit on that side. And the little chambers were six cubits on this side and six cubits on that side. 13 He then measured the gate from the roof of one little chamber to the roof of another. The breadth was twenty-five cubits, door against door. 14 He also made posts of sixty cubits, even to the post of the court around the gate. 15 And from the face of the gate of the entrance to the face of the porch of the inner gate was fifty cubits. 16 And there were narrow windows to the little chambers and to their posts within the gate around, and likewise to the arches. And windows were around inward. And upon each post were palm-trees.

17 Then he brought me into the outward court, and behold, there were chambers and a pavement made for the court around. Thirty chambers were upon the pavement. 18 And the pavement by the side of the gates over against the length of the gates was the lower pavement. 19 Then he measured the breadth from the front of the lower gate to the front of the inner court outside, one hundred cubits eastward and northward.

20 And he measured the length and the breadth of the gate of the outward court that looked toward the north. 21 And its little chambers were three on this side and three on that side. And its posts and its arches were after the measure of the first gate. Its length was fifty cubits and its breadth twenty-five cubits. 22 And their windows, their arches, and their palm-trees were after the measure of the gate that looks toward the east. And they went up to it by seven steps, and its arches were before them. 23 And there was a gate in the inner court over against the gate toward the north, just like the one toward the east. And he measured from gate to gate one hundred cubits.

24 After that he brought me toward the south, and behold a gate toward the south. And he measured its posts and its arches according to these measures. 25 And there were windows in it and in its arches around, like those windows. The length was fifty cubits and the breadth twenty-five cubits. 26 And there were seven steps to go up to it, and its arches were before them. And it had palm-trees, one on this side and another on that side, upon its posts. 27 And there was a gate in the inner court toward the south. And he measured from gate to gate toward the south one hundred cubits.

28 And he brought me to the inner court by the south gate. And he measured the south gate according to these measures, 29 And also its little chambers, its posts, and its arches according to these measures. And there were windows in it and in its arches around. It was fifty cubits long and twenty-five cubits broad. 30 And the arches around were twenty-five cubits long and five cubits broad. 31 And its arches were toward the outer court. And palm-trees were upon its posts. And the ascent to it had eight steps.

32 And he brought me into the inner court toward the east. And he measured the gate according to these measures, 33 And also its little chambers, its posts, and its arches according to these measures. And there were windows in it and in its arches around. It was fifty cubits long and twenty-five cubits broad. 34 And its arches were toward the outward court. And palm-trees were upon its posts on this side and on that side. And the ascent to it had eight steps.

35 And he brought me to the north gate and measured it according to these measures, 36 And also its little chambers, its posts, its arches, and the windows to it around. The length was fifty cubits and the breadth twenty-five cubits. 37 And its posts were toward the outer court. And palm-trees were upon its posts on this side and on that side. And the ascent to it had eight steps.

38 And the chambers and its entries were by the posts of the gates, where they washed the burnt-offering. 39 And in the porch of the gate were two tables on this side and two tables on that side, upon which to slay the burnt-offering, the sin-offering, and the trespass-offering. 40 And at the side outside, as one goes up to the entry of the north gate, were two tables, and on the other side, which was at the porch of the gate, were two tables. 41 Four tables were on this side and four tables on that side by the side of the gate—eight tables upon which they slew their sacrifices. 42 And the four tables were of hewn stone for the burnt-offering, of a cubit and a half long, a cubit and a half broad, and one cubit high, upon which they also laid the instruments with which they slew the burnt-offering and the sacrifice. 43 And within were hooks, a hand broad, fastened around. And upon the tables was the flesh of the offering.

44 And outside the inner gate were the chambers of the singers in the inner court. One was at the side of the north gate and its prospect was toward the south, the other at the side of the east gate having the prospect toward the north. 45 And he said to me, "This chamber, whose prospect is toward the south, is for the priests, the keepers of the charge of the house. 46 And the chamber whose prospect is toward the north is for the priests, the keepers of the charge of the altar. These are the sons of Zadok among the sons of Levi, who come near to the LORD to minister to him." 47 So he measured the court, one hundred cubits long and one hundred cubits broad, square, and also the altar that was before the house.

48 And he brought me to the porch of the house and measured each post of the porch, five cubits on this side and five cubits on that side. And the breadth of the gate was three cubits on this side and three cubits on that side. 49 The length of the porch was twenty cubits and the breadth eleven cubits. And he brought me by the steps by which they went up to it. And there were pillars by the posts, one on this side and another on that side.

Commentary

Matthew Henry Commentary - Ezekiel, Chapter 40

Notes

John Gill's 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 until 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 (Ezekiel 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 (Haggai 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 (Malachi 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 Luke 2:22, 46, 21:37; Matthew 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 Ezekiel 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 (Ezekiel 47:1-12); nor do we ever read of the east gate of these temples always shut, as this (Ezekiel 44:2); and besides, both these temples were profaned and destroyed; whereas this shall never be, but God will dwell in it forever (Ezekiel 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 here; 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 (Revelation 22:1-2), yet the description does not agree, 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 (Hebrews 12:22; Revelation 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 Daniel 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 (Ezekiel 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 (Ezekiel 40:3-4); and then a particular account is given, which begins with the outward wall around the house (Ezekiel 40:5); then the east gate, with its posts, porch, and chambers, and the outward court with its chambers (Ezekiel 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 (Ezekiel 40:20-23); then the gate to the south, with its posts, arches, and chambers (Ezekiel 40:24-31); then the inner court to the east, its gate, chambers, and arches (Ezekiel 40:32-34); then the north gate, with its posts, chambers, and arches (Ezekiel 40:35-38); in the porch of which are the tables, on which the sacrifices are slain (Ezekiel 40:39-43); after which are described the chambers for the singers and the priests (Ezekiel 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 (Ezekiel 40:48-49).

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