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Bible Commentaries
Ezekiel 42

Utley's You Can Understand the BibleUtley Commentary


Ezekiel 42:0


Vision of the Restored Temple and Land(Ezekiel 40:1-35)Vision of the Future Temple(Ezekiel 40:1-35)
Chambers of the TempleThe Chambers For the PriestsThe Priests' ChambersTwo Buildings Near the TempleSubsidiary Buildings of the Temple
Ezekiel 42:1-9Ezekiel 42:1-9Ezekiel 42:1-10aEzekiel 42:1-10aEzekiel 42:1-9
Ezekiel 42:10-12Ezekiel 42:10-12 Ezekiel 42:10-14
Ezekiel 42:10-12Ezekiel 42:10-12
Ezekiel 42:13-14Ezekiel 42:13-14Ezekiel 42:13-14Ezekiel 42:13-14
Outer Dimensions of the TempleThe Total Temple AreaThe Measurements of the Temple AreaMeasurements of the Courts
Ezekiel 42:15-20Ezekiel 42:15-20Ezekiel 42:15-20Ezekiel 42:15-20Ezekiel 42:15-20

READING CYCLE THREE (see “Guide to Good Bible Reading”)


This is a study guide commentary, which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

Read the chapter in one sitting. Identify the subjects (reading cycle #3). Compare your subject divisions with the five translations above. Paragraphing is not inspired, but it is the key to following the original author's intent, which is the heart of interpretation. Every paragraph has one and only one subject.

1. First paragraph

2. Second paragraph

3. Third paragraph

4. Etc.

Verses 1-9

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Ezekiel 42:1-9 1Then he brought me out into the outer court, the way toward the north; and he brought me to the chamber which was opposite the separate area and opposite the building toward the north. 2Along the length, which was a hundred cubits, was the north door; the width was fifty cubits. 3Opposite the twenty cubits which belonged to the inner court, and opposite the pavement which belonged to the outer court, was gallery corresponding to gallery in three stories. 4Before the chambers was an inner walk ten cubits wide, a way of one hundred cubits; and their openings were on the north. 5Now the upper chambers were smaller because the galleries took more space away from them than from the lower and middle ones in the building. 6For they were in three stories and had no pillars like the pillars of the courts; therefore the upper chambers were set back from the ground upward, more than the lower and middle ones. 7As for the outer wall by the side of the chambers, toward the outer court facing the chambers, its length was fifty cubits. 8For the length of the chambers which were in the outer court was fifty cubits; and behold, the length of those facing the temple was a hundred cubits. 9Below these chambers was the entrance on the east side, as one enters them from the outer court.

Ezekiel 42:1 “he brought me” See note at Ezekiel 41:1.

NASB, NRSV, NJB, JPSOA“outer court” TEV“outer courtyard” RSV”inner court”

The Hebrew OT Text Project of the UBS gives “outer” an A rating (very high probability).

Ezekiel 42:4

NASB, NRSV, REB“a way of one hundred cubits” NKJV“at a distance of one cubit”

The MT has “one cubit,” but the Septuagint and Peshitta have “one hundred cubits. The Expositors Bible Commentary (p. 967) says that “an inner walk” (BDB 237) of Ezekiel 42:4 can be understood as a step (1x10 cubits). There are many ambiguous and rare terms and phrases in this section that remain unknown. See Special Topic: Cubit.

Verses 10-12

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Ezekiel 42:10-12 10In the thickness of the wall of the court toward the east, facing the separate area and facing the building, there were chambers. 11The way in front of them was like the appearance of the chambers which were on the north, according to their length so was their width, and all their exits were both according to their arrangements and openings. 12Corresponding to the openings of the chambers which were toward the south was an opening at the head of the way, the way in front of the wall toward the east, as one enters them.

Verses 13-14

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Ezekiel 42:13-14 13Then he said to me, “The north chambers and the south chambers, which are opposite the separate area, they are the holy chambers where the priests who are near to the LORD shall eat the most holy things. There they shall lay the most holy things, the grain offering, the sin offering and the guilt offering; for the place is holy. 14When the priests enter, then they shall not go out into the outer court from the sanctuary without laying there their garments in which they minister, for they are holy. They shall put on other garments; then they shall approach that which is for the people.”

Ezekiel 42:13 “the priests who are near to the LORD” This refers to Zadok's line which exclusively offered sacrifices (cf. Ezekiel 40:46). These priests were allowed to eat part of most sacrifices (cf. Leviticus 2:3; Leviticus 5:13; Leviticus 6:16, Leviticus 6:26, Leviticus 6:29; Leviticus 7:6, Leviticus 7:10; Leviticus 10:12-14). The sacrifices are described in Leviticus 1-7.

Ezekiel 42:14 The priests' garments (cf. Exodus 39:1-43) that they wore when ministering at the altar must be left in the “holy” place. This corresponds to Aaron's instruction in Leviticus 16:23.

Verses 15-20

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Ezekiel 42:15-20 15Now when he had finished measuring the inner house, he brought me out by the way of the gate which faced toward the east and measured it all around. 16He measured on the east side with the measuring reed five hundred reeds by the measuring reed. 17He measured on the north side five hundred reeds by the measuring reed. 18On the south side he measured five hundred reeds with the measuring reed. 19He turned to the west side and measured five hundred reeds with the measuring reed. 20He measured it on the four sides; it had a wall all around, the length five hundred and the width five hundred, to divide between the holy and the profane.

Ezekiel 42:16 “the measuring reed five hundred reeds by the measuring reed” The problem occurs in the length of a “measuring reed.” Earlier in the literary unit (cf. Ezekiel 40:5) it was over ten feet, but here it seems to refer to one cubit (i.e., 21 inches). The MT scholars recognized the problem.

Qere (to be read), five hundred reeds

Ketiv (written), five cubits, reeds

This same confusion is repeated in Ezekiel 42:17, Ezekiel 42:18, and 19.

If one assumes that a reed is over 10' the area was about 500 acres (The Jewish Study Bible, p. 1125), if 21” the area is about 14 acres. If the larger measurement is used it denotes the symbolic nature because of its size.

Ezekiel 42:20 “to divide between the holy and profane” This is another example of architectural design to accentuate holiness. The wall was too low to provide protection; therefore, some commentators see it as a wall of holiness (similar to the dividing walls of Herod's temple).

Bibliographical Information
Utley. Dr. Robert. "Commentary on Ezekiel 42". "Utley's You Can Understand the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ubc/ezekiel-42.html. 2021.
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