|@October 2, 2023||ESV (2016)||ESV Prophets Plan 2023|
- The Inner Temple
The chapter opens with a continuation of the previous of Ezekiel closer to the center of the temple complex. He being brought by the man whose appearance was like bronze to the inner temple and given measurements. They eventually reached the Most Holy Place in Ezek. 41:4, but only the man entered. Ezekiel remained in the second room—which he, as a priest, would have been allowed to enter. Only the high priest was allowed to enter the most holy place, and then only once a year on the Day of Atonement.
The remainder of the chapter consists of measurements of the inner temple, but there are few standout features of the tour. First, was the numerous references to the thickness of walls of the interior section of the temple. In Ezek. 41:9, wall of the side chambers along with Ezek. 41:12 of the building on the west side is described as being five cubits thick. With 1 cubit equal to 18 inches (457mm), these walls would have been 90 inches thick (or 7.5 feet).
Secondly, that the temple had no western gate. Instead, a large building sat directly behind the temple (Ezek. 41:12). This location suggests that the building was meant to block rear access to the temple. Other than its size, no other details on the building are given.
Thirdly was the description of the nave (the main room between the vestibule and the Most Holy Place) and the vestibules of the court. Its wall all around “was carved of cherubim and palm trees, a palm tree between cherub and cherub” (Ezek. 41:18). Cherubim and palm trees were carved on the wall of the outer sanctuary and into the structure of Solomon’s temple (1 Kings 6:29–30). Cherubim were associated with the appearance of God in the visions of Ezek. 1:4–28 and Ezek. 10. Unlike the cherubim in the earlier visions, the cherubim in the temple had only two faces—a human face and a lion’s face—instead of four faces.
Lastly was the table that was in front of the Holy Place. Ezekiel says in Ezek. 41:21-22 that it was “something resembling an altar of wood” but his angelic guide later clarifies in Ezek. 41:22 that it was a table. It likely represented the table for the bread of the presence which was Twelve loaves of bread arranged in two stacks of six on the Table of the Showbread, replaced weekly on the Sabbath (Lev. 24:5–9). This table also had different dimensions from the one in Exod. 25, being made of wood instead of wood overlaid with gold.
As with yesterday, the application on this chapter is fairly light other than continued admiration of ornate design and detail. I can see these chapters being a delight for the Christians architects around the world. But even among those of us who are not, we can still regard them highly, acknowledging the temple as the dwelling place of God among His people. The length and fidelity to which Ezekiel describes the temple should bolster our appreciation that God chose to make His people His temple (1 Cor. 3:17b) and that His Spirit now dwells within us.
Scripture Journal Notes
Commentaries & Resources Used
- ESV Study Bible. (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2008)
- Faithlife Study Bible (Lexham Press, 2016)
- Believer’s Bible Commentary (Thomas Nelson, 2016)
- CSB Study Bible Notes (Holman Bible Publishers, 2017)
- Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible (Guardian Press, 1976)
- The Bible: A Reader’s Guide (Sterling Publishing, 2011)
- The Infographic Bible (Zondervan, 2018)
- ESV Digital Scripture Journal (Crossway, 2019)