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Bible Commentaries

Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible

Ezekiel 40

Verses 1-20


The New Temple

Ezekiel, transported in vision to Palestine, is set down on the N. side of the Temple mountain, and sees the Temple buildings extending to the S. like a city. A supernatural figure, like those in Ezekiel 9, appears, and measures the various parts of the Temple in Ezekiel’s presence (Ezekiel 40:1-4).

(a) The Outer Court and its Gateways (Ezekiel 40:5-27)

The Outer Eastern Gateway (Ezekiel 40:5-16), Fig. 3, E. For the following details see Fig. 1. The outer boundary of the Temple was a wall 6 cubits thick and 6 cubits high (Ezekiel 40:5). Steps led up to the E. gateway, which had a threshold (a) 6 cubits broad (Ezekiel 40:6, ef), and 10 cubits wide (Ezekiel 40:11, ee, ff). Within the threshold were three guardrooms (b) on either side (Ezekiel 40:7, Ezekiel 40:10), each 6 cubits square, and separated by wall-spaces (posts) of 5 cubits (gh, ik). The inner threshold (c) had the same dimensions as the outer one (Ezekiel 40:6-7). Beyond it was a porch (d) 8 cubits wide (mn), the jambs (posts) of the doorway being 2 cubits broad (no, Ezekiel 40:9). The whole length of the gateway (eo) was 50 cubits (Ezekiel 40:15), and its breadth 25 cubits (Ezekiel 40:13). The guardrooms and the porch were lit by windows, and there were also windows in the wall-spaces (posts) between the guardrooms. These spaces, too, were decorated with palm trees (Ezekiel 40:16).

5. Cubit] Yarious sizes of cubit, from 18 in. to nearly 24 in. were employed in ancient measurements. Ezekiel’s cubit was one of the larger forms—an ordinary cubit and a handbreadth.

6. The other threshold] is that mentioned in Ezekiel 40:7 (c).

7. Within] RV ’toward the house,’ or Temple proper.

8. Should be omitted. It contradicts Ezekiel 40:9, and is evidently a copyist’s repetition.

9. Inward] RV ’toward the house.’

11. The length of the gate, thirteen cubits] an obscure statement, not reconcilable with the other measurements. If ’breadth’ instead of ’length’ were meant 13 + 6 + 6 would make 25, but this would allow no space for the outer walls of the guardrooms.

Click image for full-size version

Click image for full-size version

12. The space] RV ’and a border,’ probably a low parapet in front of each guard-room (fg, hi, kl) taking a cubit on either side off the width of the passage.

14. He made.. threescore cubits] read, with LXX, ’and he measured the porch (d) 20 cubits’ (i.e. in length, the breadth being 8 cubits, Ezekiel 40:9). The latter half of the v. is obscure.

16. Arches] should be ’porch,’ and so everywhere.

The Outer Court (Ezekiel 40:17-19) had a pavement (Fig. 3, B) 50 cubits wide, corresponding to the length of the gateways. On this pavement were 30 chambers (C), the exact arrangement of which is unknown. From the inner opening of the outer gateways to the inner gateways was 100 cubits. The whole outer court including the pavement was therefore 150 cubits wide.

18. Over against] RV ’answerable unto.’

The Outer Northern Gateway (Ezekiel 40:20-23), Fig. 3, N. This was similar to the E. gateway. ’Porch’ should be read for ’arches.’ Seven steps led up to this gateway, and the breadth of the outer court was the same on the N. as on the E. side.

The Outer Southern Gateway (Ezekiel 40:24-27), Fig. 3, S. This was similar to those already described. ’Porch’ for ’arches’ as before.

(b) The Inner Court and its Gateways (Ezekiel 40:28-47)

The Inner Southern Gateway (Ezekiel 40:28-31), Fig. 3, S1. This was reached from the outer court by 8 steps. It was exactly similar to the outer gateways, except that the porch (Fig. 1, d) was at the outer and not at the inner end. Ezekiel 40:30 should be omitted with LXX.

The Inner Eastern Gateway (Ezekiel 40:32-34), Fig. 3, E1, and the Inner Northern Gateway (Ezekiel 40:35-37), Fig. 3, N1, were similar to that on the S.

Arrangements for Preparing the Sacrifices (Ezekiel 40:38-43). At one of the inner gateways (probably that on the N.) there were a chamber for washing the burnt offerings (Ezekiel 40:38) and a number of tables for slaying and preparing them (Ezekiel 40:39-43). The exact position of the tables must remain uncertain.

38. The chambers and the entries] RV ’ a chamber with the door.’

The Chambers for the Singers (Ezekiel 40:44-47), Fig. 3, DD. These were two in number. One, by the N. gateway and looking toward the S., was for the priests. The other, by the S. gateway and looking toward the N., was for the Levites.

44. East] should obviously be S.: see RM. Without the inner gate] means not ’in the outer court,’ but ’beyond the gateway, in the inner court.’

Dimensions of the Inner Court (Ezekiel 40:47). Excluding the space occupied by the gateways, this court formed a square (Fig. 3, iklm) of 100 cubits each way. The altar (F) was in the centre of the court.

(c) The Temple Proper (Ezekiel 40:48 to Ezekiel 41:26)

The main Temple building was on the W. side of the inner court. The details that follow are illustrated in Fig. 2.

The Porch (Ezekiel 40:48-49), Fig. 2, A. This was 20 cubits long (hh) and 12 cubits broad. The posts or jambs (ab) of the doorway were 5 cubits across, and the sidewalls (hb, bh) were of 3 cubits each. This left 14 cubits for the width of the entrance (aa, bb). Each jamb had a pillar beside it. The porch was approached by 10 steps.

48. Breadth of the gate] should be ’sides of the entrance,’ as in Ezekiel 41:2.

49. Eleven] should be ’twelve,’ as the LXX reads, and the other measurements require: see Ezekiel 41:13. And he brought me .. whereby] RM ’and by ten steps.’

Verses 1-35


§ 2. The Ordinances of the New Israel (Ezekiel 40-48)

This concluding section of the book is dated in the twenty-fifth year of Ezekiel’s captivity, i.e. the fourteenth year after the fall of Jerusalem (572 b.c.). It is therefore thirteen years later than the previous section (Ezekiel 33-39), and, with the exception of Ezekiel 29:17-21, forms the latest part of the book. It is in the form of a vision, which is the counterpart of that in Ezekiel 8-11. There God forsook the old Temple which had been polluted by idolatry. Here we have a description of the Temple of the restored kingdom, of God’s return to it, and of the various religious arrangements and institutions of the future. The vision is marked by great minuteness of detail, and no doubt Ezekiel had brooded long and deeply over the particulars of the Temple and its ritual. Yet, as in former cases, there is no reason to doubt that this vision was an actual experience, in which the subjects of previous reflection stood out vividly before the prophet’s mind. While the material details are so minute, some features of the vision are supernatural and miraculous. The whole forms an ideal picture, which was never actually to be realised, but which strikingly embodied the conception of the abiding presence of God with His people, and of their perfect fellowship with Him.

The Plans of Ezekiel’s Temple, on p. 518, are by permission of the Cambridge University Press.

Verses 1-49

The New Temple

Ezekiel, transported in vision to Palestine, is set down on the N. side of the Temple mountain, and sees the Temple buildings extending to the S. like a city. A supernatural figure, like those in Ezekiel 9:0, appears, and measures the various parts of the Temple in Ezekiel's presence (Eze 40:1-4).

(a) The Outer Court and its Gateways (Eze 40:5-27)

The Outer Eastern Gateway (Eze 40:5-16), Fig. 3, E. For the following details see Fig. 1. The outer boundary of the Temple was a wall 6 cubits thick and 6 cubits high (Eze 40:5). Steps led up to the E. gateway, which had a threshold (a) 6 cubits broad (Ezekiel 40:6, ef), and 10 cubits wide (Ezekiel 40:11, ee, ff). Within the threshold were three guardrooms (b) on either side (Ezekiel 40:7, Eze 40:10), each 6 cubits square, and separated by wall-spaces (posts) of 5 cubits (gh, ik). The inner threshold (c) had the same dimensions as the outer one (Eze 40:6-7). Beyond it was a porch (d) 8 cubits wide (mn), the jambs (posts) of the doorway being 2 cubits broad (no, Eze 40:9). The whole length of the gateway (eo) was 50 cubits (Eze 40:15), and its breadth 25 cubits (Eze 40:13). The guardrooms and the porch were lit by windows, and there were also windows in the wall-spaces (posts) between the guardrooms. These spaces, too, were decorated with palm trees (Eze 40:16).

5. Cubit] Yarious sizes of cubit, from 18 in. to nearly 24 in. were employed in ancient measurements. Ezekiel's cubit was one of the larger forms—an ordinary cubit and a handbreadth.

6. The other threshold] is that mentioned in Ezekiel 40:7 (c).

7. Within] RV 'toward the house,' or Temple proper.

8. Should be omitted. It contradicts Ezekiel 40:9, and is evidently a copyist's repetition.

9. Inward] RV 'toward the house.'

11. The length of the gate, thirteen cubits] an obscure statement, not reconcilable with the other measurements. If 'breadth' instead of 'length' were meant 13 + 6 + 6 would make 25, but this would allow no space for the outer walls of the guardrooms.

Click image for full-size version

Click image for full-size version

12. The space] RV 'and a border,' probably a low parapet in front of each guard-room (fg, hi, kl) taking a cubit on either side off the width of the passage.

14. He made.. threescore cubits] read, with LXX, 'and he measured the porch (d) 20 cubits' (i.e. in length, the breadth being 8 cubits, Eze 40:9). The latter half of the v. is obscure.

16. Arches] should be 'porch,' and so everywhere.

The Outer Court (Eze 40:17-19) had a pavement (Fig. 3, B) 50 cubits wide, corresponding to the length of the gateways. On this pavement were 30 chambers (C), the exact arrangement of which is unknown. From the inner opening of the outer gateways to the inner gateways was 100 cubits. The whole outer court including the pavement was therefore 150 cubits wide.

18. Over against] RV 'answerable unto.'

The Outer Northern Gateway (Eze 40:20-23), Fig. 3, N. This was similar to the E. gateway. 'Porch' should be read for 'arches.' Seven steps led up to this gateway, and the breadth of the outer court was the same on the N. as on the E. side.

The Outer Southern Gateway (Eze 40:24-27), Fig. 3, S. This was similar to those already described. 'Porch' for 'arches' as before.

(b) The Inner Court and its Gateways (Eze 40:28-47)

The Inner Southern Gateway (Eze 40:28-31), Fig. 3, S1. This was reached from the outer court by 8 steps. It was exactly similar to the outer gateways, except that the porch (Fig. 1, d) was at the outer and not at the inner end. Eze 40:30 should be omitted with LXX.

The Inner Eastern Gateway (Eze 40:32-34), Fig. 3, E1, and the Inner Northern Gateway (Eze 40:35-37), Fig. 3, N1, were similar to that on the S.

Arrangements for Preparing the Sacrifices (Eze 40:38-43). At one of the inner gateways (probably that on the N.) there were a chamber for washing the burnt offerings (Eze 40:38) and a number of tables for slaying and preparing them (Eze 40:39-43). The exact position of the tables must remain uncertain.

38. The chambers and the entries] RV ' a chamber with the door.'

The Chambers for the Singers (Eze 40:44-47), Fig. 3, DD. These were two in number. One, by the N. gateway and looking toward the S., was for the priests. The other, by the S. gateway and looking toward the N., was for the Levites.

44. East] should obviously be S.: see RM. Without the inner gate] means not 'in the outer court,' but 'beyond the gateway, in the inner court.'

Dimensions of the Inner Court (Eze 40:47). Excluding the space occupied by the gateways, this court formed a square (Fig. 3, iklm) of 100 cubits each way. The altar (F) was in the centre of the court.

(c) The Temple Proper (Eze 40:48 to Eze 41:26)

The main Temple building was on the W. side of the inner court. The details that follow are illustrated in Fig. 2.

The Porch (Eze 40:48-49), Fig. 2, A. This was 20 cubits long (hh) and 12 cubits broad. The posts or jambs (ab) of the doorway were 5 cubits across, and the sidewalls (hb, bh) were of 3 cubits each. This left 14 cubits for the width of the entrance (aa, bb). Each jamb had a pillar beside it. The porch was approached by 10 steps.

48. Breadth of the gate] should be 'sides of the entrance,' as in Ezekiel 41:2.

49. Eleven] should be 'twelve,' as the LXX reads, and the other measurements require: see Ezekiel 41:13. And he brought me .. whereby] RM 'and by ten steps.'

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Bibliographical Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Ezekiel 40". "Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/dcb/ezekiel-40.html. 1909.