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Bible Commentaries
Ezekiel 40

Garner-Howes Baptist CommentaryGarner-Howes

Verses 1-4

EZEKIEL - CHAPTER 40

VISION OF THE MAN WITH THE MEASURING REED

Verses 1-4:

Verse 1 fixes the time of Ezekiel’s vision, and call from the Lord in the following matter, as the 25th year of Judah’s captivity, and the 10th day of the month of Nisan, and in the 14th year, after the city of Jerusalem was destroyed, Ezekiel 33:21. On that day the hand of the Lord was upon Ezekiel and brought him by vision to behold the things God would show him in the land of Israel, Ezekiel 1:3. In the fourteenth year after the temple was smitten, together with the city, and the commonwealth, Ezekiel saw it, in contrast with its beauty in the glorious restoration.

Verse 2 certifies that in visions the Lord brought him into the land of Israel and sat him upon a very high mountain, (mount Moriah) by which was a frame-form of a city (Jerusalem), on the south. It was the city center to which all the prophet’s thoughts tended, Ezekiel 8:3; Ezekiel 17:22; Ezekiel 20:40; Revelation 21:10. The frame of a city had as its center the temple and its courts, like a city under construction, surrounded by massive walls. This vision was designed to inspire hope and assurance in Israel.

Verses 3, 4 describe Ezekiel’s vision of a man in resplendent glory of power and purpose, with the appearance of brass, Daniel 10:6; With a flax-line in his hand, Ezekiel 47:3; and holding a measuring reed, instruments of engineers and architects, Revelation 11:1. This person of the vision stood in the frame-gate, and addressed Ezekiel as the "Son of man," charging him to behold closely with his eyes, hear earnestly with his ears, and set or fix his heart with purpose of obedience, in reporting by prophecy, all that he was to be shown. It was all to be declared to the house of Israel, Ezekiel 2, 7, 8; Ezekiel 44:5; Matthew 5:27; See also Ezekiel 43:10.

Verses 5-43

A VISION OF THE FUTURE TEMPLE

Verses 5-43:

Verse 5 describes a wall on the outside, encircling the house. In the man’s hand before the building, v. 3, there was a measuring reed of six cubits length, by the cubit and an hand breadth. He measured the breadth of the building and found it to be one reed and the height to be one reed; The reed was about 12 feet in length. Thus it appears that the walls were some twelve feet high and twelve feet thick, so that a chariot might be driven upon the walls. Each of these cubits was 18 inches and an handbreath making it a long cubit of two feet in length, as also used Ezekiel 43:13.

Verse 6 recounts the man of the vision with the architect’s reed’s actions. He came to the east gate steps leading up to the gate, and went up the stairs and measured the threshold of the east gate entrance, and it was one reed or twelve feet both in breadth and in height. It was to keep out anything that might defile the city, a most sacred gate. Through it the glory of the Lord departed from Israel, and to rough it the glory of Israel is to return.

Verse 7 further describes the approach to the temple from without, passing through the east gate entrance, from which a covered porch of some 20 feet width led to the temple. Around and attached to the temple were chambers where Levites, keepers or guards of the temple resided and deposited utensils and musical instruments. The chambers were some twelve feet square and twelve feet high. The chambers were some ten feet apart for purposes of privacy, 1 Chronicles 9:18; 1 Chronicles 9:26-27; 2 Kings 22:4.

Verse 8 states that the man measured the porch of the gate within, within the outer walls of the city from the east, but extending outward from the chambers around the outer part of the temple to the east. The porch was one reed or some 12 feet in outward extension, from the guard chambers, without the temple.

Verse 9 describes the measurement of the covered porch that extended to the temple from the eastern gate. The porch was eight cubits or 16 feet, and the posts two cubits or four feet in width, evidently forming column walkways, from the east gate into the temple.

Verse 10 adds that the little chambers were three on each side of the pathway that led to the temple. And all six chambers were of identical size, appearance, and construction, as well as the posts on either side of the entrance to each, 1 Chronicles 26:12-13; Nehemiah 13:5; Nehemiah 13:9; Nehemiah 13:12-13; Isaiah 26:20; Jeremiah 35:2.

Verse 11 continues a disclosure of the dimension of the measurements of the breadth of the temple entry as ten cubits (long cubits) or 20 feet. And the length or heights of the gate that was extended to cover the gate entrance was 13 cubits, or 26 feet.

Verse 12 explains that between or before the chambers there was a one cubit passage way, left solely for the chamber guards to keep guard or occupy, where the people could not walk, on their way to or about the temple area, Ezekiel 27:4; Ezekiel 43:13; Ezekiel 43:17; Ezekiel 19:12.

Verses 13, 14 describe measurements and dimensions of gates or passage from the roof of one little chamber to another, as 25 cubits. There were also posts of 60 cubits encircling the temple to the court round about the gate, Psalms 65:4; Psalms 84:2; Psalms 84:4; Psalms 100:4; Isaiah 54:2; Isaiah 60:8-9; Isaiah 62:9. Windows were of lattice work.

Verses 15,16 state that the distance from the east gate entrance, to the face or front of the inner gate, as fifty cubits. There were narrow or latticed windows to each little chamber, and to the posts within the gates, and to the arches. There too were palm trees carved upon each post, within the entrance to the temple, 1 Kings 6:4. The chambers were places of lodging for the priests, and receptacles for the tithes, salt, wine, and oil.

Verses 17, 18 disclose that the Lord brought Ezekiel, in vision, into the outward court of the temple proper, where there were 30 chambers and a mosaic pavement surrounding them, Ezekiel 10:1; Revelation 11:2; 1 Kings 6:5; Ezekiel 45:5; 1 Chronicles 28:12; Malachi 3:10. The higher pavement was level with the gate entrances; the lower pavement was on either side of the raised, higher pavement. In this temple there was to be no room for human corruption, as in Solomon’s temple, 2 Kings 23:11-12; 2 Chronicles 20:5; This lower fine pavement of 100 cubits was to be walked on, only by clean feet, Isaiah 35:8. This was the sacred area or temporary quarters for the officiating priests.

Verses 19, 20 give the layout and dimensions of the temple approach and exit, from the forefront of the lower gate, to the forefront of the inner gate without, as an hundred cubits both to the east and north gates.

Verses 21, 22 assert that the outer chambers, posts, and arches of the porches to the north gate were identical with those before or within the east gate. Their windows, arches, and palm trees were also identical with those of the east gate; And they went up to the north gate from without by seven steps, directly before the arched walkway within, 2 Chronicles 3:5; Revelation 7:9. No building of 30 chambers was on the north however.

Verse 23 adds that the inner court gate toward the north was located, by measure of distance, 100 cubits from the gate to the east, Exodus 27:9; Exodus 27:18; Exodus 38:9; Exodus 38:12.

Verses 24, 25 recounts that the reed-measuring man, building architect of the vision led Ezekiel next to the south side of the temple area. There he was shown the south gate which he also measured with her posts and arches. There were identical windows in this gate of the south and in the arches around about it, with a length of 50 cubits and a breadth of 25 cubits, as further described at length 1 Kings 6:4; 1 Kings 7:4; Psalms 36:9; Isaiah 54:12; Isaiah 60:1; Matthew 4:16; Luke 1:79; John 1:4; John 3:19; John 8:12; John 9:5; John 12:46; 1 Corinthians 13:12; 2 Peter 1:19; 1 John 2:8-9.

Verses 26, 27 describe the entrance to the south gate as an approach with seven steps, the same as the north gate, with palm trees on either side of the posts, with a gate in the inner court, the distance of one hundred cubits from the east gate, the same distance as that of the north gate from the east gate, v. 23. No mention is made of outer chambers about it or either of the other gates, as none was needed. For those 30 chambers about the east gate were adequate to care for the most sacred part of the temple area where the priests officiated.

Verses 28, 29 tell of Ezekiel’s being brought by the reed-man to the inner court, by the south gate. He measured the "little chambers," posts, and arches, and their windows. Their dimensions totaled five cubits long and twenty five cubits broad. See also 1 Kings 6:5-6; 1 Kings 6:10; 1 Chronicles 28:11-12; 2 Chronicles 3:9; 2 Chronicles 31:11; Nehemiah 10:38-39; Nehemiah 12:44; Nehemiah 13:5; Nehemiah 13:9; Nehemiah 13:12-13; Jeremiah 35:2; Jeremiah 35:4; Jeremiah 36:10.

Verses 30, 31 further describe the porch arches as being five cubits long and 25 cubits broad. The arches were toward the outer court, with palm tree designs as ornaments upon them. There were eight steps leading up to the south gate, Psalms 92:12; Song of Solomon 7:7; Jeremiah 10:5.

Verses 32-37 indicate that from the inner precincts to the outer court were seven steps and from the outer to the inner court were eight steps or degrees. Certain Psalms of degrees were sung by the Levite choir, upon these steps of degrees of the temple courts.

Verses 38-39 explain that the chambers and the entries by the posts of the gates were where the people washed the burnt offering, Leviticus 1:9; Leviticus 1:11. This applies only to the north gate. There the offering was to be washed at the north gate, as prescribed by law, at the "gate of the altar," Ezekiel 8:5. At the porch or entrance of the north gate were two tables on each side, on which to slay the burnt offering, the sin offering, and the trespass offering, those most prominently offered, Leviticus 4:2-3; Leviticus 5:6; Leviticus 6:6; Leviticus 7:1.

Verses 40-42 adds that at the side of the north gate without, as one goes up outside the city gate, were two tables on each side, making eight tables on which the offerings were slain, before being washed again, before being placed upon the altar, v. 38. The four tables without were of hewn stone, for the burnt offering, a cubit and a half long and a cubit and a half broad and one cubit high. Upon it they laid the instruments with which they slew the burnt offering and the sacrifice.

Verse 43 states that within the gate-porch or porticos, covering each table, were hooks, an hand broad, two hearthstones on which to hang the flesh of the offering, that portion to be roasted as the patrimony that fell to the priests.

Verses 44-47

CHAMBERS OF THE SINGERS AND PRIESTS

Verses 44-47:

Verse 44 describes the residence chambers of the Levite singers of the temple as being in the inner court, at the side of the north gate, with their prospect toward the south and one at the side of the east gate, with their prospect toward the north. These were two primary residences facing each other, between the north and east gates of the temple. They were for Levites of the particular families of Heman, Asaph, and Merari, sweet singers of Israel whose genealogy is carefully set forth up to Levi, 1 Chronicles 6:31; Colossians 3:16; Ephesians 5:19.

Verses 45, 46 state that one particular chamber, whose prospect was toward the south, was for the priests who were keepers of the charge of house, as set forth Leviticus 8:35; Numbers 3:27-28; Numbers 3:32; Numbers 3:38; Numbers 18:5; 1 Chronicles 6:49; 1 Chronicles 9:23; 2 Chronicles 13:11; Psalms 134:1. They were keepers of the ordinance of the house of God from within. Then, second, the chamber with a prospect toward the north, was for the priests who were keepers of the charge of the altar of sacrifice. These priests were sons or heirs of Zadok, of the family lineage of Levi, who approached near to the Lord to minister unto Him, as prescribed Numbers 18:5; 1 Kings 2:35; Ezekiel 43:19; Ezekiel 44:15-16; See also Eph 2;17; Colossians 4:12.

Verse 47 concludes that the man measuring in the vision laid out the dimension as one hundred cubits long and one hundred cubits broad, foursquare in construction and dimensions, with the altar in it, in front of the temple toward the east. It was the court of the priests who had charge of the music and altar sacrifices.

Verses 48-49

THE PORCH OF THE TEMPLE Verses 48, 49:

Verse 48 asserts that this measuring architect or engineer of the temple led Ezekiel to the porch of the house of the Lord and measured the post of the porch, as extending five cubits on either side of the porch. The breadth of the gate was given as three cubits on each side. Both this verse and the following actually belong to chapter 41 where the temple description is given.

Verse 49 describes the length of the porch to the twenty cubits and the breadth eleven cubits. He was then led to the ten steps ascending to the temple or house of the Lord. And there were pillars, one on opposite sides, as one went up to that of the temple, 1 Kings 6:3; 1 Kings 7:1.

Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Ezekiel 40". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/ezekiel-40.html. 1985.
 
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