Ezekiel 40 Bible Commentary

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

(Read all of Ezekiel 40)

Verse 1

[1] In the five and twentieth year of our captivity, in the beginning of the year, in the tenth day of the month, in the fourteenth year after that the city was smitten, in the selfsame day the hand of the LORD was upon me, and brought me thither.

Of our captivity — Of those that were carried away into captivity with Jeconiah eleven years before Jerusalem was burnt. And this falls in with the three thousand three hundred and seventy fourth year of the world, about five hundred and seventy four years before Christ's incarnation.

The beginning — In the month Nisan.

The tenth day — The day that the paschal lamb was to be taken up in order to the feast on the tenth day.

Brought me — To Jerusalem, the place where it did stand.

Verse 2

[2] In the visions of God brought he me into the land of Israel, and set me upon a very high mountain, by which was as the frame of a city on the south.

In the visions of God — By this it appears it was not a corporeal transportation of the prophet.

The frame — The portrait of a city.

On the south — On the south of the mountain, where the prophet was set.

Verse 3

[3] And he brought me thither, and, behold, there was a man, whose appearance was like the appearance of brass, with a line of flax in his hand, and a measuring reed; and he stood in the gate.

A man — The same no doubt that appeared to the prophet, chap. 1:26, whose name is the branch, and who builds the temple, Zechariah 6:12,13, whose colour was like burnished brass; Revelation 1:15, which speaks glory and strength.

A line — A plumb-line, a mason's line to discover the rectitude of the building, or its defects.

In the gate — In the north gate, next toward the east.

Verse 5

[5] And behold a wall on the outside of the house round about, and in the man's hand a measuring reed of six cubits long by the cubit and an hand breadth: so he measured the breadth of the building, one reed; and the height, one reed.

A wall — This was that outmost wall, that compassed the whole mount Sion, upon whose top the temple stood.

The man's hand — Christ, hath, and keeps the reed in his own hand, as the only fit person to take the measures of all.

A measuring reed — Or cane, for this measuring rod was of those canes growing in that country, long, and light, which architects made use of.

Six cubits long — Each cubit consisting of eighteen inches in our common account.

An hand breadth — Added to each six cubits.

The breadth — The thickness of the walls, which were one reed, and one hand's breadth, or three yards, and three inches thick.

Height — And the height equal, taking the measure from the floor on the inside of the wall.

Verse 6

[6] Then came he unto the gate which looketh toward the east, and went up the stairs thereof, and measured the threshold of the gate, which was one reed broad; and the other threshold of the gate, which was one reed broad.

The east — Either of one of the inner walls, or of the temple itself.

Went up — 'Till he was got up, he could not measure the threshold, which was at the top of the stairs, and these were ten, if the measurer be supposed in the gate of the house; or eight, if in the gate of the court of the priests; or seven, if in the court of Israel; and each stair was half a cubit in height, too high for him to take the measure of the threshold, if he did not go up the stairs.

The threshold — It is probable he measured the lower threshold first, as next at hand.

The other threshold — The upper threshold, or lintel of the gate, which was of equal dimensions with the lower, three yards and three inches broad, or thick.

Verse 7

[7] And every little chamber was one reed long, and one reed broad; and between the little chambers were five cubits; and the threshold of the gate by the porch of the gate within was one reed.

Chamber — Along the wall of the porch were chambers, three on one side, and three on the other, each one reed square.

Five cubits — A space of two yards and one half between each chamber, either filled with some neat posts or pillars, or it may be quite void.

Within — The inward and outward threshold, were of the same measures, and curiously arched over head from side to side, and end to end, which was from east to west.

Verse 8

[8] He measured also the porch of the gate within, one reed.

The porch — The posts which were joined together at the top by an arch, and so made the portico.

Verse 9

[9] Then measured he the porch of the gate, eight cubits; and the posts thereof, two cubits; and the porch of the gate was inward.

The porch — Probably another porch, or another gate distinct from that, verse 6.

The posts — These were half columns, that from the floor to the height of the wall jetted out, as if one half of the column were in the wall, and the other without, and the protuberance of this half column, was one cubit.

Verse 10

[10] And the little chambers of the gate eastward were three on this side, and three on that side; they three were of one measure: and the posts had one measure on this side and on that side.

Chambers — These chambers were for the priests and Levites to lodge in during their ministration.

Verse 11

[11] And he measured the breadth of the entry of the gate, ten cubits; and the length of the gate, thirteen cubits.

Of the entry — It is meant of the whole length of the entry, or walk through the porch, to which they ascended by stairs of a semicircular form.

Verse 12

[12] The space also before the little chambers was one cubit on this side, and the space was one cubit on that side: and the little chambers were six cubits on this side, and six cubits on that side.

The space — The rails, which were set up at a cubit distance from the front of these little chambers, on the outside for convenient placing of benches for the priests to sit on.

The space — Between the rails, and the chambers.

Verse 13

[13] He measured then the gate from the roof of one little chamber to the roof of another: the breadth was five and twenty cubits, door against door.

From the roof — From the extremity of one little chamber on the north side of the gate, to the extremity of the opposite chamber on the south side, and so one cubit and half for the back wall of one chamber, and as much for the back wall of the other chamber, with the length of the chambers, six cubits each, and ten for the breadth of the gate, amounts to twenty five cubits.

Door against door — It seems the doors of the chambers were two in each chamber in the east and west parts, and so exactly set, that the doors being all open you had a clear prospect through all the chambers to the temple.

Verse 14

[14] He made also posts of threescore cubits, even unto the post of the court round about the gate.

He made — Measured, and thereby shewed what kind of posts they should be.

Threescore cubits — Probably this refers to the height of this gate built up two stories above the arch, and the posts in their height are only mentioned, but imply all the rest of the building over the east gate.

Unto the post — These high columns, on the inner front of this gate were so disposed, that the last on each side was very near the first post, or pillar of the court on either side of the gate, and so the posts and buildings laid on those posts joined on each side of this gate.

Verse 15

[15] And from the face of the gate of the entrance unto the face of the porch of the inner gate were fifty cubits.

And — This verse seems to sum up all the dimensions; this gate, its porch, and thickness of its walls, and so sum the cubits, six in the thickness of the outer wall, eighteen in the three chambers, twenty in the spaces between the chambers, and six cubits in the thickness in the inner wall of the porch.

Verse 16

[16] And there were narrow windows to the little chambers, and to their posts within the gate round about, and likewise to the arches: and windows were round about inward: and upon each post were palm trees.

Narrow windows — Windows narrowed inward to the middle.

Their posts — The upper lintel of each door over which was a window.

To the arches — Windows under the arches between post and post, to give light to the five cubits space between chamber and chamber.

Round about — These were on both sides of the porch within the gate, exactly alike.

Verse 17

[17] Then brought he me into the outward court, and, lo, there were chambers, and a pavement made for the court round about: thirty chambers were upon the pavement.

The outward court — So called in regard of the more inward court, between that where he was, and the temple itself; this court, was the second about the temple.

Chambers — Not only lodging rooms for the priests, but also store-houses for tithes and offerings.

A pavement — A beautiful floor laid with checker works. The whole floor of this court was thus paved.

Thirty chambers — That is, fifteen on the south side of the gate, and fifteen on the north side, built over the pavement.

Verse 18

[18] And the pavement by the side of the gates over against the length of the gates was the lower pavement.

The pavement — That mentioned, verse 17.

By the side — That part which lay on each side of the gate, and from thence spread itself toward the chambers, leaving a space of pavement of equal breadth with the porch, or gate in the middle.

The length — The length was measured fifty cubits.

The inner pavement — The side pavement was laid somewhat lower than this middle pavement, not only for state, but for the more convenient, keeping it clean; so the middle pavement rose with a little convex surface.

Verse 19

[19] Then he measured the breadth from the forefront of the lower gate unto the forefront of the inner court without, an hundred cubits eastward and northward.

The breadth — Of the whole ground between the inner front of one gate and porch, to the outer front of the next gate more inward to the temple.

The lower gate — Called so in respect to the next gate, which was on the higher ground.

The forefront — To the outside front of the gate of the priests court, which was next to this gate now measured, that is from the west front of the lower to the east front of the upper gate.

The inner court — This court from the west front of the lower gate, was one hundred cubits in length to the east front of the gate of the inner court.

East-ward and north-ward — And so was the space from the south front of the court to the north front. So the court was exactly square. Divers courts are here spoken of, which may put us in mind, of the diversity of gifts, graces and offices in the church: as also of the several degrees of glory in the courts and mansions of heaven.

Verse 22

[22] And their windows, and their arches, and their palm trees, were after the measure of the gate that looketh toward the east; and they went up unto it by seven steps; and the arches thereof were before them.

Before them — Within the steps or gate.

Verse 23

[23] And the gate of the inner court was over against the gate toward the north, and toward the east; and he measured from gate to gate an hundred cubits.

Toward the east — The east gate of the inner court was directly over against the east gate of the outer court, and equally distant from each other.

Verse 26

[26] And there were seven steps to go up to it, and the arches thereof were before them: and it had palm trees, one on this side, and another on that side, upon the posts thereof.

To it — The floor, or square court.

Verse 28

[28] And he brought me to the inner court by the south gate: and he measured the south gate according to these measures;

Brought me — From the south-gate of the outer court through the porch, and over the hundred cubit pavement, to the south-gate of the inner court.

Verse 32

[32] And he brought me into the inner court toward the east: and he measured the gate according to these measures.

The inner court — The court of the priests, which was next to the temple.

Verse 43

[43] And within were hooks, an hand broad, fastened round about: and upon the tables was the flesh of the offering.

Within — Within the porch, where these tables stood.

Hooks — Hooks on which the slaughtered sacrifice might be hanged, while they prepared it farther.

Fastened — To walls no doubt, near these tables.

Verse 45

[45] And he said unto me, This chamber, whose prospect is toward the south, is for the priests, the keepers of the charge of the house.

The keepers — While, according to their courses, they had the charge of the house of God, and attended on the service of it.

Verse 46

[46] And the chamber whose prospect is toward the north is for the priests, the keepers of the charge of the altar: these are the sons of Zadok among the sons of Levi, which come near to the LORD to minister unto him.

The keepers — To preserve the fire perpetually on the altar.

Verse 48

[48] And he brought me to the porch of the house, and measured each post of the porch, five cubits on this side, and five cubits on that side: and the breadth of the gate was three cubits on this side, and three cubits on that side.

The breadth — The whole breadth was eleven cubits, but the breadth of each leaf of this folding-gate was three cubits, and they met, or shut on an upright post, set in the middle of the gate space, and this was one cubit broad. And each leaf hung on posts two cubits thick, which amount to eleven cubits.