Ezekiel 42 (CEV)
The Sacred Rooms for the Priests
1-2 After the man and I left the temple and walked back to the outer courtyard, he showed me a set of rooms on the north side of the west building. This set of rooms was one hundred seventy feet long and eighty-five feet wide. 3 On one side of them was the thirty-four feet of open space that ran alongside the temple, and on the other side was the sidewalk that circled the outer courtyard. The rooms were arranged in three levels 4 with doors that opened toward the north, and in front of them was a walkway seventeen feet wide and one hundred seventy feet long. 5 The rooms on the top level were narrower than those on the middle level, and the rooms on the middle level were narrower than those on the bottom level. 6 The rooms on the bottom level supported those on the two upper levels, and so these rooms did not have columns like other buildings in the courtyard. 7-8 To the north was a privacy wall eighty-five feet long, 9-10 and at the east end of this wall was the door leading from the courtyard to these rooms.
Ezekiel’s radiant guide took him away from the temple building back to the outer court. There they noted gallery against gallery in three stories. These held chambers or rooms.
There was also a set of rooms on the south side of the west building. 11 These rooms were exactly like those on the north side, and they also had a walkway in front of them. 12 The door to these rooms was at the east end of the wall that stood in front of them.
13 The man then said to me:
These rooms on the north and south sides of the temple are the sacred rooms where the Lord’s priests will eat the most holy offerings. These offerings include the grain sacrifices, the sacrifices for sin, and the sacrifices to make things right.
“Such storage space housed ritual equipment, votive gifts, and the revenue taken in by the temple. Since revenue was not in money but in kind, enormous space was required for sacks of grain, amphorae of oil, and the kegs of wine, not to mention other kinds of goods that found their way into the priests’ hands.”
–Daniel I. Block
14 When the priests are ready to leave the temple, they must go through these rooms before they return to the outer courtyard. They must leave their sacred clothes in these rooms and put on regular clothes before going anywhere near other people.
The Size of the Temple Area
15 After the man had finished measuring the buildings inside the temple area, he took me back through the east gate and measured the wall around this area. 16 He used his measuring stick to measure the east side of this wall; it was eight hundred forty feet long. 17-19 Then he measured the north side, the south side, and the west side of the wall, and they were each eight hundred forty feet long, 20 and so the temple area was a perfect square.
This is a large area, much larger than the present temple mount.
“The entire area was much too large for Mount Moriah where Solomon’s and Zerubbabel’s temples stood. The scheme requires a great change in the topography of the land which will occur as indicated in Zechariah 14:9-11, the very future time which Ezekiel had in view.”
–Charles L. Feinberg
The wall around this area separated what was sacred from what was ordinary.
“Verse 20 concludes with a note explaining the function of the outside walls. They are not constructed to keep enemy forces out, if by these forces one means human foes of Israel, but to protect the sanctity of the sacred area from the pollution of common touch and to prevent the contagion of holiness from touching the people.”
–Daniel I. Block
As we read these chapters about plans for a temple, a place to worship the Most High God, I want us to hear some of the hymns that have been sung for many generations in many different countries and denominations. These are some of a Christian’s most precious treasures! HERE is “Be Thou My Vision,” a traditional hymn from Ireland. The words are based on a Middle Irish poem often attributed to the sixth-century Irish Christian poet Dallan Forgaill. The best-known English version, with some minor variations, was translated by Eleanor Hull and published in 1912. Since 1919 it has been commonly sung to the Irish folk tune “Slane.”