EZEKIEL CHAPTER 42.
The Sacred Cells and the Outside Dimensions.
THE CELLS OF THE PRIESTS. — V. 1. Then He brought me forth into the utter court, the outer court of the Temple, the way toward the north; and He brought me into the chamber, a structure containing cells, that was over against the separate place, thus at least partly hiding this place, where refuse was stored, and which was before the building toward the north. V. 2. Before the length, that is, in front of the long side of this cell-building, of an hundred cubits was the north door, and the breadth was fifty cubits, v. 3. over against the twenty cubits which were for the inner court, this passage separating this cell-building from the main structure of the Temple; and over against the pavement which was for the utter court, which extended on the other side of this building, was gallery against gallery in three stories, or, “gallery ran before gallery in the third,” so that the galleries of the two buildings were just opposite each other. V. 4. And before the chambers was a walk of ten cubits’ breadth inward, extending from west to east, the long side, a way of one cubit, this denoting the narrow approach to the inner court, and their doors toward the north. V. 5. Now, the upper chambers were shorter, since the building became narrower as it rose in height, for the galleries were higher than these, they took away from the breadth, than the lower and than the middlemost of the building. V. 6. For they were in three stories, but had not pillars as the pillars of the courts, the third story and the second story did not rest upon pillars, therefore the building was straitened more than the lowest and the middlemost from the ground, by the width of the gallery in either story. V. 7. And the wall that was without, the enclosure, over against the chambers, serving as a dividing-wall or boundary-fence, toward the utter court on the forepart of the chambers, the length thereof was fifty cubits. This wall concealed, in a measure, the things that were carried on in certain parts of this building. V. 8. For the length of the chambers that were in the utter court was fifty cubits; and, lo, before the Temple were an hundred cubits. V. 9. And from under these chambers was the entry on the east side, rather, “and from under it,” that is, the dividing wall, “were these chambers,” for, since their lower part was hidden by the boundary-wall, it might seem to one coining from the east that they arose out of this wall, as one goeth into them from the utter court, literally, “the entrance was from the east in coming to them from the outer court.” The purpose of the wall on this side was probably to hide the priests from the gaze of the curious, especially when they changed their garments. V. 10. The chambers were in the thickness of the wall of the court toward the east, resting on the wall which separated the outer court from the inner, over against the separate place and over against the building, the meaning being the same as in front of the length of a hundred cubits in verse 2. V. 11. And the way before them was like the appearance of the chambers which were toward the north, as long as they and as broad as they, they agreed exactly in architecture and arrangement with this section of the Temple-buildings on the north; and all their goings out, their various entrances, were both according to their fashions and according to their doors. The meaning is that the cells on the south side of the building agreed in appearance with those on the north side. in length, in width, in the location of the portals. and in the arrangement, both outward nod inward. V. 12. And according to the doors of the chambers that were toward the south was a door in the head of the way, literally. “And like their doors,” namely, those of the cells toward the north, “so were also the doors of the cells toward the south: an opening was at the head of the way,’’ where the passages connecting the cell-buildings came together, even the way directly before the wall toward the east, as one entereth into them, as one approached the cells. V. 13. Then said He unto me, The north chambers and the south chambers, the cells as just described, which are before the separate place, since they ran along in front of the long side, they be holy chambers, set apart for a most exclusive use, where the priests that approach unto the Lord shall eat the most holy things, the so-called priests’ portions; there shall they lay the most holy things, setting them aside for later use, and the meat-offering and the sin-offering and the trespass-offering; for the place is holy. Cp. Lev. 2, 3. 10; 6, 9-20; 7, 6; 10. 12. “Because neither the meal, mingled with oil, of the meat-offering nor the flesh of the sin- and guilt-offerings could be eaten by the priests immediately after the presentation of the offering, but first the one had to be baked and the other cooked; they were, until this preparation, allowed to be set aside, but not in any place one pleased.” V. 14. When the priests enter therein, after performing the functions of their office, then shall they not go out of the Holy Place into the utter court, where they might come into contact with some unclean thing; but there they shall lay their garments wherein they minister, for they are holy, the cells thus serving also as vestries; and shall put on other garments and shall approach to those things which are for the people. Just as the priests were here instructed to keep themselves strictly uncontaminated in the performance of their duties, so Christians will ever keep themselves unspotted from the world and from the deeds of the flesh.
THE OUTSIDE MEASUREMENTS. — V. 15. Now, when He had made an end of measuring the inner house, the Temple-buildings proper, He brought me forth toward the gate whose prospect is toward the east and measured it round about, the outer circumference of all that was comprised within the Sanctuary area. V. 16. He measured the east side with the measuring-reed, five hundred reeds, with the measuring-reed round about. V. 17. He measured the north side, five hundred reeds, with the measuring-reed round about. V. 18. He measured the south side, five hundred reeds, with the measuring-reed. V. 19. He turned about to the west side and measured five hundred reeds with the measuring-reed. The dimensions of the Temple proper were thus five hundred cubits square, but the entire area in which the Temple was situated was five hundred rods square. V. 20. He measured it by the four sides; it had a wall round about, five hundred reeds long and five hundred broad, to make a separation between the Sanctuary and the profane place, so that the separation would he clearly observed, not between Jew arid Gentile, but between sacred and profane. The vast extent of time area of this singular Temple is a feature which clearly marks its ideal character. “It symbolizes the great enlargement of the kingdom of God, when Jehovah-Messiah shall reign to the ends of time earth.”