Ezekiel 40

The Word Made Fresh

1We had been in exile for twenty-five years, when on the tenth day of the first month, fourteen years after the city was demolished, the hand of the LORD came upon me and took me there. 2God brought me in visions to the land of Israel, and put me down on a very high mountain on which stood a structure like a city to the south. 3A man met me there, who appeared to be shining like bronze. He was holding a linen cord and a measuring reed in his hand. He was standing at the gateway. 4He said to me, “Son of man, look closely and listen attentively. Consider everything I am about to show you because that is why you were brought here. Then go and tell the families of Israel everything that you have seen.”

5A wall surrounded the temple area. The man’s measuring reed was six great cubits – a cubit and hand width in length – and he measured the wall. It was one reed thick and one reed high. 6Then he went through the gateway that faced east. He climbed the steps and measured the threshold of the gate, which was one reed deep. 7There were recesses; each was one reed wide and one deep, with five cubits between each recess. The threshold of the gate beside the entrance was one reed deep. 8Then he measured the inner lobby to be one cubit. 9The lobby itself was eight cubits, with two cubits between each column. The inner lobby faced the temple. 10There were three recesses on each side of the east gate, each the same size, and the columns on each side were the same size. 11Then he measured the width of the gateway to be ten cubits and the entrance itself was thirteen cubits wide. 12Each recess was guarded by a barrier on each side, each was one cubit high and six cubits square. 13The gate he measured to be twenty-five cubits from wall to wall.

14The entryway was twenty cubits, and there were gates next to the columns on each side of the court. 15From the front of the entryway to the end of the inner passage inside the gate was fifty cubits. 16The recesses and columns had shuttered windows inside the gateway all around, and the entryways had windows all around, and there were palm trees on each of the columns.

17Then he led me to the outer court which was paved all around. There were rooms there, thirty of them facing the pavement, 18which ran along the sides of the gates – this was the lower pavement. 19Then he measured the distance between the inside of the lower gate to the outside of the inner court to be one hundred cubits.

20Then he measured the depth and width of the north-facing gate of the outer court. 21Its recesses and columns, and its entryway, were the same size as those at the first gate. It was fifty cubits long and twenty-five cubits wide. 22The windows and the entryway and the palm trees were the same size as those of the east gate. There were seven steps leading up to it, and the entrance was on the inside. 23Across from the gate in the north wall was another gate, as in the east wall, to the inner court; one hundred cubits from gate to gate.

24Then he led me southward. There was a gate on the south side. He measured its columns and entryway to be the same as the others. 25It had windows all around it like the windows of the other sides. It was fifty cubits deep and twenty-five cubits wide. 26Its entryway was on the inside, with seven steps leading up to it. Each column had a palm tree on either side. 27There was another gate on the south side of the inner courtyard, and he measured southward from gate to gate, one hundred cubits.

28Then he led me through the south gate to the inner court, which had the same dimensions as the others. 29Its recesses, columns and entryways were all the same size as the others. There were windows all around it and its entryway. It was fifty cubits deep and twenty-five cubits wide. 30There were hallways all around, each was twenty-five cubits deep and five cubits wide. 31They faced the outer court, and each had palm trees on its columns. The stairway had eight steps.

32Then he led me to the inner court on the east side. He measured the gate, which was the same size as the others. 33Its recesses, columns and entryways were all the same dimensions as the others. There were windows all around it. It was fifty cubits deep and twenty-five cubits wide. 34Its entryway faced the outer court. It had palm trees on either side of its columns, and its stairway had eight steps.

35Then he brought me to the north gate, and measured it. It was the same size as the others; 36its recesses, columns, and entryway were the same size and it had windows all around. It was fifty cubits deep and twenty-five cubits wide. 37Its entryway faced the outer court. It had palm trees on its columns and its stairway had eight steps.

38There was a room with its doorway in the entrance of the gate where burnt offerings were washed. 39At the entrance were two tables, one on each side, on which the burnt offerings and the sin offerings and the guilt offerings were to be slaughtered. 40Outside the entryway of the north gate were two tables, and two more tables were on the other side of the entryway. 41Four tables were inside and four outside the gate, eight tables in all, on which the sacrifices were slaughtered. 42There were also four tables, made of hewn stones, for the burnt offerings. Each was a cubit and a half square and one cubit high on which the knives were laid with which the burnt offerings and sacrifices were slaughtered. 43There were pegs, each as long as a hand’s breadth, standing all around the inside of the tabletops. The bodies of the offerings were to be laid there.

44Outside the inner gateway there were rooms for the singers in the inner court. One was beside the north gate, facing south. The other was beside the east gate facing north. 45He told me, “This room that faces south is for the priests who are in charge of the temple, 46and the room facing north is for the priests who are in charge of the altar. They are all descendants of Zadok, and they alone among Levi’s descendants may come near to minister to the LORD.” 47He measured the court, and it was a square, a hundred cubits deep and wide. The altar was in front of the temple.

48Then he brought me to the temple entrance and measured the pilaster columns there; five cubits on either side. The gate was fourteen cubits wide, and the width of the gate was three cubits. 49The entrance was twenty cubits long and twelve cubits wide. Ten steps led up to it, and there were pillars beside the columns on either side.


1-4: The remainder of the book of Ezekiel will be concerned with describing the great restoration that will take place, first of the temple, then of the whole land. There is a bit of a problem with Ezekiel’s double date notices, but it seems this final vision takes place about 572 B.C., in the 25th year of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign and 14 years after Jerusalem was destroyed. Nebuchadnezzar is still king of Babylon, and this is the year in which the siege of Tyre will end in a compromise, with Tyre accepting Babylonian authority without surrendering their city. Ezekiel is once again transported to Jerusalem in a vision where he is greeted by a divine architect who beckons Ezekiel to observe him measure off the sections of the new temple.

5-16: First he measures the outer wall of the temple compound and the recesses within the wall for storage and such.

17-19: The outer court is measured.

20-23: An elaborate gate in the north of the outer court wall is described and measured.

24-27: Now he measures the massive and elaborate southern gate that leads into the outer court.

28-31: Moving from the outside toward the inside, the gate at the southern end of the wall that leads from the outer court to the inner court is measured.

32-34: The gate at the eastern side of the wall separating outer and inner courts is measured.

35-37: The gate at the northern end of the wall that leads from the outer to the inner court is measured.

38-43: The rooms where the animal offerings were to be slaughtered are measured along with the tables on which the offerings were butchered to separate the parts to be offered from the remainder to be disposed of.

44-47: The spaces provided for the singers and other priests are described and measured.

48-49: We finally reach the temple itself, where the man measures the vestibule at the entrance with the “pilasters,” columns partly in and partly out of the walls.


It is important for God’s people to have a place to worship God. The practice of building such places as synagogues and churches is as old as the Bible itself. Sometime after the events in Ezekiel the synagogue system was developed to provide places set aside for God’s people to worship and learn about God. Jesus conducted his teaching wherever he happened to be – in the synagogues, on a mountainside, at wedding feasts, in and around Galilee and Jerusalem.