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Deeper Commentary

Ezekiel 41:1 He brought me to the temple and measured the doorposts, six cubits broad on the one side, and six cubits broad on the other side, which was the breadth of the structure- "The temple" here refers to the holy place, the nave. "Structure" is 'tabernacle', to ever remind the people that the temple was but a masonry expression of the simple tent in the wilderness where God met with His wandering people. All organized religious structures must ever remember this.

Ezekiel 41:2 The breadth of the entrance was ten cubits- The door into the porch was eleven cubits (Ez. 40:49). This would have the effect of rendering the door into the holy place more conspicuous.

And the sides of the entrance were five cubits on the one side, and five cubits on the other side: and he measured its length, forty cubits, and the breadth, twenty cubits- Matching Solomon's temple (1 Kings 6:16,17).

Ezekiel 41:3 Then he went inside and measured each post of the entrance, two cubits; and the entrance, six cubits; and the breadth of the entrance, seven cubits- The Angel entered the Most Holy, and presumably called out the measurements to Ezekiel.

Ezekiel 41:4 He measured its length, twenty cubits, and the breadth, twenty cubits, before the temple. He said to me, This is the most holy place- Matching Solomon's temple (1 Kings 6:19,20). No details are given of what was within the most holy place, perhaps because it was simply to be indwelt by the glory of God. In Ezekiel’s system there is a lack of many things required under the Mosaic system (see too Ez. 45:23), because at the restoration they could have been spiritually fulfilled. That didn't work out, and so the fulfilment has been reapplied and rescheduled to the work of the Lord Jesus. There was:

·       No Laver (see Ezekiel 36:24-27, John 15:3) ;

·       No Table of Shewbread (see Micah 5:4, John 6:35);

·       No Lampstand or Menorah (see Isaiah 49:6, John 8:12);

·       No Golden Altar of Incense (Zechariah 8:20-23, John 14:6)

·       No Veil (Isaiah 25:6-8, Matthew 27:51) ;

·       No Ark of the Covenant (Jeremiah 3:16, John 10:30-33).

Ezekiel 41:5 Then he measured the wall of the house, six cubits; and the breadth of every side room, four cubits, all around the house on every side- Solomon’s system of “chambers” or "ribs" was replicated (1 Kings 6:5,8,16 cp. Ez. 41:5-11 s.w.). The measuring began with the outer wall, which, beginning at the pillars (Ez. 41:1), enclosed the temple on its south, west, and north sides.

Ezekiel 41:6 The side rooms were in three floors, one over another, and thirty on each floor. The outer wall on each floor was thinner than on the floor below, so that the rooms could rest on the wall without being anchored into it- Matching Solomon's temple (1 Kings 6:6,10).The chambers were ranged in three stories of thirty each; Josephus (Antiquities 8.3.2) claims this was exactly how it was in Solomon’s temple. Perhaps there were twelve threes on each of the longer sides, the north and the south, and six threes on the shorter or western side. 

Ezekiel 41:7 The walls of the house, when seen from the outside, seemed to have the same thickness all the way to the top. Against the house's outer wall, on the outside of the rooms, two wide stairways were built, so that it was possible to go from the lower story to the middle and the upper stories- Matching Solomon's temple (1 Kings 6:6,8). The AV speaks of an "enlarging", as if the floor area of each floor increased from the first to the third story. The AV "and a winding about still upward to the side chambers" could suggest that Ezekiel’s temple had a spiral staircase like that in Solomon’s temple (see 1 Kings 6:8).

Ezekiel 41:8 I saw also that the house had a raised base all around: the foundations of the side rooms were a full reed of six great cubits- RV "A raised basement". The six cubits are the height of the ceiling above the floor in each story, which would give a height of eighteen cubits for the three stories; but probably they mark only the height of the temple and side chamber measured from above ground level.

Ezekiel 41:9 The thickness of the wall, which was for the side rooms, on the outside, was five cubits: and that which was left was the place of the side rooms that belonged to the house- The five cubits were between the temple wall and the side chambers.

Ezekiel 41:10 Between the rooms was a breadth of twenty cubits around the house on every side- The LXX combines :9 and :10: "And that which was left between the side chambers of the house and the cells [along the inner court wall] was twenty cubits round about the house on every side".

Ezekiel 41:11 The doors of the side rooms were toward the place that was left, one door toward the north, and another door toward the south: and the breadth of the free space that was left was five cubits all around- The breadth of the court was comprised of: 1. Breadth of the house 20 cubits; 2. Breadth of wall, 6 x 2 cubits = 12 cubits; 3. Breadth of chambers, 4 x 2 cubits = 8 cubits; 4. Breadth of chamber wall, 5 x 2 cubits = 10 cubits; 5. Breadth of corridor, 5 x 2 cubits = 10 cubits; 6. Breadth of free space, 20 x 2 cubits = 40 cubits. Total = 100 cubits. The length of the court was comprised of: 1. The length of the house—60 cubits; 2. The temple wall—6 cubits; 3. The chambers—4 cubits; 4. The chamber wall—5 cubits; 5. The corridor ["free space"]—5 cubits; 6. The space towards the west—20 cubits. Total = 100 cubits. The "house" was thus one hundred cubits square.

Ezekiel 41:12 The building that was before the separate place at the side toward the west was seventy cubits broad; and the wall of the building was five cubits thick all around, and its length ninety cubits- "The separate ['cut off'] place" refers to a space behind the temple on the west, which was marked off from the rest of the ground on which the temple with its courts and chambers stood. There was a similar space behind Solomon's temple (2 Kings 23:11; 1 Chron. 26:18), apparently for rubbish.

Ezekiel 41:13 So he measured the house, one hundred cubits long; and the separate place, and the building, with its walls, one hundred cubits long- See on :14.

Ezekiel 41:14 Also the breadth of the face of the house, and of the separate place toward the east, one hundred cubits- We can summarize: The breadth of the area from west to east:
1. The separate place (including walls)—100 cubits
2. The "house" (with free space behind)—100 cubits
3. The inner court—100 cubits
4. The outer court (the two gates with space between them)—200 cubits
Total = 500 cubits
The length of the area from north to south—
1. The outer court (the two northern gates with spaces between them)—200 cubits
2. The "house" (with free space on both sides)—100 cubits
3. The outer court (the two southern gates with distance between them)—200 cubits
Total = 500 cubits.


Ezekiel 41:15 He measured the length of the building before the separate place which was at its back, and its galleries on the one side and on the other side, one hundred cubits; and the inner temple, and the porches of the court- The "galleries" could be "ledges", or some kind of terrace buildings.

Ezekiel 41:16 The thresholds, and the closed windows, and the galleries around on their three stories, over against the threshold, with wood ceilings all around, and from the ground up to the windows, (now the windows were covered)- If parts of the structure were to be made of wood, we wonder whether this was really intended to last for 1000 years, as required by the view that this temple is that of a future Millennial reign of Christ. The 'covering' of the windows could refer to a lattice, or it could imply that from below, they were not seen.

Ezekiel 41:17 To the space above the door, even to the inner house, and outside, and by all the wall all around inside and outside, by measure- The 'complete covering' (GNB) with cherubim (:18) reflected the complete and total presence of God and His activity for His people, which is what the cherubim represented. 

Ezekiel 41:18 It was made with cherubim and palm trees; and a palm tree was between cherub and cherub, and each cherub had two faces- The temple was to have cherubim motifs throughout it- as if to show that the Cherubim of Ezekiel 1 had now ‘landed’ on the temple at the end of the prophecy. The vision of God’s glory entering the temple “was according to the vision… that I saw by the river Chebar” back in Babylon (Ez. 43:2,3). This is the meaning of the fact that cherubim visions both begin and end the prophecy of Ezekiel. The cherubim would move from Judah to Babylon and then back to Judah, to enter into and dwell in the temple. Yet God’s glory did not enter the temple which Nehemiah built. This was because the people had not followed Ezekiel’s example, they had not identified themselves with the Angelic movements above them, but rather remained dominated by their petty self interests. They never really repented- for Ezekiel 43:11 records Ezekiel being told to only give Judah “the form of the house” and “write it in their sight” only “if  they be ashamed of all that they have done”. There is no record of Ezekiel giving them the promised further plans for the temple- so the wonderful prophecy could not be fulfilled, because they did not repent.

Ezekiel 41:19 So that there was the face of a man toward the palm tree on the one side, and the face of a young lion toward the palm tree on the other side. Thus was it made through all the house all around- Each cherub had only two of its faces revealed on the wall. Perhaps the allusion was to the man who was to be the lion of Judah, the Messiah figure who could have arisen at the restoration.

Ezekiel 41:20 From the ground to above the door were cherubim and palm trees made: thus was the wall of the temple- The entire wall was covered with this motif.

Ezekiel 41:21 As for the temple, the door posts were squared; and as for the face of the sanctuary, the appearance of it was as the appearance of the temple- The emphasis upon the !squared" pattern again connects with the four fold nature of the cherubim vision of Ez. 1. The cherubim of glory had as it were landed permanently in the temple. And all of God's people who identified with His work would likewise come there.

Ezekiel 41:22 The altar was of wood, three cubits high, and its length two cubits; and its corners, and its length, and its walls, were of wood: and he said to me, This is the table that is before Yahweh- Matching Solomon's temple (1 Kings 6:20,22). A wooden altar may seem unsuitable for the task. But the idea of the altar was that it was God's table, at which He as it were ate in fellowship with men. We too sit at such a humanly inadequate table in fellowship with the same God. However a wooden altar may imply this was the altar of incense (Ex. 30:1; 1 Kings 7:48). But again we note a difference with the old system; the dimensions of this altar in the tabernacle were two cubits high and one cubit long and broad.

Ezekiel 41:23 The temple and the sanctuary had two doors- Matching Solomon's temple (1 Kings 6:31-35; 6:32 AVmg.).

Ezekiel 41:24 The doors had two leaves apiece, two turning leaves: two leaves for the one door, and two leaves for the other- Considering all the detail given of even the doors, the absence of any mention of an ark of the covenant within them is significant. The glory of God was to dwell there. Or perhaps the details of the most holy place would have been given later, had Judah been responsive to this outline description (Ez. 43:11).

Ezekiel 41:25 There were made on them, on the doors of the temple, cherubim and palm trees, like as were made on the walls- Matching Solomon's temple (1 Kings 6:32).

And there was a threshold of wood on the face of the porch outside- "Wood" is "thick planks". There are many links between Solomon’s temple and that described by Ezekiel.  There were “thick planks” upon the porch of Solomon’s temple; and the same word is only used elsewhere in describing how this would feature in Ezekiel’s temple too (1 Kings 7:6 cp. Ez. 41:25,26).

Ezekiel 41:26 There were closed windows and palm trees on the one side and on the other side, on the sides of the porch: thus were the side rooms of the house, and the thresholds- .  Even the “windows of narrow lights” of Solomon's temple (1 Kings 6:4) were to be replicated (Ez. 40:16; 41:16,26). The idea is that the Davidic throne and kingdom was to be reestablished, and we know from Zechariah that this was envisaged as happening at the restoration from Babylon.