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Bible Commentaries
Ezekiel 42

Ironside's Notes on Selected BooksIronside's Notes

Verses 1-20

Chapter Forty-two

The Many Mansions Of The Father’s House

This chapter takes up, more particularly, the arrangements for the comfort of the priests of the Lord, the chambers or abodes where those who served might find accommodations during their stay at the temple. These, as we have seen, are the many mansions in the Father’s house, depicting the places of rest in heaven, of which Jesus spoke in His last discourse to His disciples (John 14:0:l-3).

“Then he brought me forth into the outer court, the way toward the north: and he brought me into the chamber that was over against the separate place, and which was over against the building toward the north. Before the length of a hundred cubits was the north door, and the breadth was fifty cubits. Over against the twenty cubits which belonged to the inner court, and over against the pavement which belonged to the outer court, was gallery against gallery in the third story. And before the chambers was a walk of ten cubits’ breadth inward, a way of one cubit; and their doors were toward the north. Now the upper chambers were shorter; for the galleries took away from these, more than from the lower and the middlemost, in the building. For they were in three stories, and they had not pillars as the pillars of the courts: therefore the uppermost was straitened more than the lowest and the middlemost from the ground. And the wall that was without by the side of the chambers, toward the outer court before the chambers, the length thereof was fifty cubits. For the length of the chambers that were in the outer court was fifty cubits: and, lo, before the temple were a hundred cubits. And from under these chambers was the entry on the east side, as one goeth into them from the outer court. In the thickness of the wall of the court toward the east, before the separate place, and before the building, there were chambers. And the way before them was like the appearance of the way of the chambers which were toward the north; according to their length so was their breadth: and all their egresses were both according to their fashions, and according to their doors. And according to the doors of the chambers that were toward the south was a door at the head of the way, even the way directly before the wall toward the east, as one entereth into them”-vers. 1-12.

On three sides of the temple proper and facing on the court itself there were three-story apartments, suitable as dwelling-places for the priests. It was as though God would have His worshippers close to Himself, according to the word, “Blessed are they that dwell in Thy house: they will be still praising Thee” (Psalms 84:4). He delights to abide amid the praises of His people.

“Then said he unto me, The north chambers and the south chambers, which are before the separate place, they are the holy chambers, where the priests that are near unto Jehovah shall eat the most holy things: there shall they lay the most holy things, and the meal-offering, and the sin-offering, and the trespass-offering; for the place is holy. When the priests enter in, then shall they not go out of the holy place into the outer court, but there they shall lay their garments wherein they minister; for they are holy: and they shall put on other garments, and shall approach to that which pertaineth to the people”-vers. 13-14.

The priests were to eat of the holy things within the temple enclosure in the chambers, or rooms prepared for them. In this they picture God’s priestly house today feeding by meditation upon Christ who is the satisfying portion of His people’s hearts. He has said, “He that eateth Me, even he shall live by Me” (John 6:57). All the offerings spoke of Him, and the priests fed upon these.

“Now when he had made an end of measuring the inner house, he brought me forth by the way of the gate whose prospect is toward the east, and measured it round about. He measured on the east side with the measuring reed five hundred reeds, with the measuring reed round about. He measured on the north side five hundred reeds with the measuring reed round about. He measured on the south side five hundred reeds with the measuring reed. He turned about to the west side, and measured five hundred reeds with the measuring reed. He measured it on the four sides: it had a wall round about, the length five hundred, and the breadth five hundred, to make a separation between that which was holy and that which was common”-vers. 15-20.

In this section we have the final measurements completing Ezekiel’s tour of the temple area, as seen in the vision. There are certain difficulties and perplexities as to these measures which are not easily explained, but we may be sure the original text was without fault, and if in later manuscripts discrepancies appeared they were the result of copyists’ mistakes.

The entire temple area is what is here before us-a spacious courtyard surrounded by a great wall with gates on the four sides. The entire space, according to the specifications given here, is far too large for the top of Mount Moriah on which the temple of Solomon, and the temple of Zerubbabel, and that of Herod, stood. So if all is to be taken literally we must understand some great convulsions of nature in the Jerusalem area that will alter considerably the topography of the land. If all is symbolic there need be no difficulty. In God’s due time He will make everything plain.

Even the seeming vagueness of some of the details regarding the court, the sanctuary and the priests’ apartments, might well remind us that God’s ways are not our ways nor are His thoughts our thoughts. Much that He has in store for both His earthly and His heavenly people is far beyond our present understanding, but in due time all will be made clear. Till then it is ours to trust and wait patiently for the glory yet to be revealed.

As the wise-hearted in Israel meditated on the description and dimensions of this vast temple and its environs they must have been impressed with the greatness of God’s plan for their future blessing and the meticulous care which He will take in the working out of all His counsels.

Bibliographical Information
Ironside, H. A. "Commentary on Ezekiel 42". Ironside's Notes on Selected Books. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/isn/ezekiel-42.html. 1914.
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