There is almost no agreement about any of the verses in this chapter among the sages and bible scholars, and I don’t understand the meaning of most of them. I will keep my remarks to a minimum because I can offer little help in making anything clearer.
וַיֹּוצִאֵנִי אֶל־הֶחָצֵר הַחִיצֹונָה הַדֶּרֶךְ דֶּרֶךְ הַצָּפֹון וַיְבִאֵנִי אֶל־הַלִּשְׁכָּה אֲשֶׁר נֶגֶד הַגִּזְרָה וַאֲשֶׁר־נֶגֶד 42:1 הַבִּנְיָן אֶל־הַצָּפֹון׃
Ezek. 42:1 Then He led me out to the outer courtyard, the one directed toward the north, and brought me to the room that was in front of the separate place and that was in front of the structure to the north,
From this verse we might believe there was another structure to the north, but it’s not certain. It might also mean that Ezekiel or the room was to the north of the Temple building.
אֶל־פְּנֵי־אֹרֶךְ אַמֹּות הַמֵּאָה פֶּתַח הַצָּפֹון וְהָרֹחַב חֲמִשִּׁים אַמֹּות׃ 42:2
Ezek. 42:2 the distance of one hundred cubits to the front of the north door, then the expanse of fifty cubits,
נֶגֶד הָעֶשְׂרִים אֲשֶׁר לֶחָצֵר הַפְּנִימִי וְנֶגֶד רִצְפָה אֲשֶׁר לֶחָצֵר הַחִיצֹונָה אַתִּיק אֶל־פְּנֵי־אַתִּיק 42:3 בַּשְּׁלִשִׁים׃
Ezek. 42:3 opposite the twenty that was for the inner courtyard and in front of the pavement that was for the outer courtyard, gallery to the front of gallery, by threes.
וְלִפְנֵי הַלְּשָׁכֹות מַהֲלַךְ עֶשֶׂר אַמֹּות רֹחַב אֶל־הַפְּנִימִית דֶּרֶךְ אַמָּה אֶחָת וּפִתְחֵיהֶם לַצָּפֹון׃ 42:4
Ezek. 42:4 And before the rooms was a walkway of ten cubits width directed one cubit to the inside, and their entries were to the north.
וְהַלְּשָׁכֹות הָעֶלְיֹונֹת קְצֻרֹות כִּי־יֹוכְלוּ אַתִּיקִים מֵהֵנָה מֵהַתַּחְתֹּנֹות וּמֵהַתִּכֹנֹות בִּנְיָן׃ 42:5
Ezek. 42:5 Now the uppermost rooms were shortest because the galleries took from these more than the lower ones or the middle ones of the structure.
כִּי מְשֻׁלָּשֹׁות הֵנָּה וְאֵין לָהֶן עַמּוּדִים כְּעַמּוּדֵי הַחֲצֵרֹות עַל־כֵּן נֶאֱצַל מֵהַתַּחְתֹּונֹות וּמֵהַתִּיכֹנֹות 42:6 מֵהָאָרֶץ׃
Ezek. 42:6 For they were three fold, and there were no columns for them like the columns of the courtyards; because of this it was taken from the lowest ones, even more from the middle ones, above the ground.
וְגָדֵר אֲשֶׁר־לַחוּץ לְעֻמַּת הַלְּשָׁכֹות דֶּרֶךְ הֶחָצֵר הַחִצֹונָה אֶל־פְּנֵי הַלְּשָׁכֹות אָרְכֹּו חֲמִשִּׁים אַמָּה׃ 42:7
Ezek. 42:7 And the wall that was to the outside by the side of the rooms toward the outer courtyard to the front of the rooms, its length was fifty cubits.
כִּי־אֹרֶךְ הַלְּשָׁכֹות אֲשֶׁר לֶחָצֵר הַחִצֹונָה חֲמִשִּׁים אַמָּה וְהִנֵּה עַל־פְּנֵי הַהֵיכָל מֵאָה אַמָּה׃ 42:8
Ezek. 42:8 For the length of the rooms that were to the outer courtyard were fifty cubits, and lo, at the front of the Temple it was one hundred cubits.
וּמִתַּחֲתָה) (לְּשָׁכֹות) [וּמִתַּחַת] [הַלְּשָׁכֹות] הָאֵלֶּה (הַמָּבֹוא) [הַמֵּבִיא] מֵהַקָּדִים בְּבֹאֹו לָהֵנָּה 42:9 מֵהֶחָצֵר הַחִצֹנָה׃
Ezek. 42:9 and from beneath it those rooms were the entrance from the east coming in to these from the outer courtyard.
There appear to be three errors flagged in this verse in the two and one half sets of parentheses. I don’t believe any of them are errors. I believe the intent of this verse has been incorrectly understood. I believe this verse addresses the lowest rooms that were the east entrances from the outer courtyard by which the priests who were in common clothing could come in and don their priestly garments before ministering. See v. 42:14 below that provides the directions for the priests in removing their priestly garments.
בְּרֹחַב גֶּדֶר הֶחָצֵר דֶּרֶךְ הַקָּדִים אֶל־פְּנֵי הַגִּזְרָה וְאֶל־פְּנֵי הַבִּנְיָן לְשָׁכֹות׃ 42:10
Ezek. 42:10 Rooms were in the breadth of the wall of the courtyard toward the east, to the front of the separate place and to the front of the structure,
וְדֶרֶךְ לִפְנֵיהֶם כְּמַרְאֵה הַלְּשָׁכֹות אֲשֶׁר דֶּרֶךְ הַצָּפֹון כְּאָרְכָּן כֵּן רָחְבָּן וְכֹל מֹוצָאֵיהֶן וּכְמִשְׁפְּטֵיהֶן 42:11 וּכְפִתְחֵיהֶן׃
Ezek. 42:11 with a way before them, like the appearance of the rooms that were directed northward; so was their length, so was their breadth, and all their exits and so their fittings and so their doors.
וּכְפִתְחֵי הַלְּשָׁכֹות אֲשֶׁר דֶּרֶךְ הַדָּרֹום פֶּתַח בְּרֹאשׁ דָּרֶךְ דֶּרֶךְ בִּפְנֵי הַגְּדֶרֶת הֲגִינָה דֶּרֶךְ הַקָּדִים 42:12 בְּבֹואָן׃
Ezek. 42:12 And like the doorways of the rooms that were toward the south, there was a doorway at the head of a way, the way before the appropriate wall, directed eastward to go in them.
וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלַי לִשְׁכֹות הַצָּפֹון לִשְׁכֹות הַדָּרֹום אֲשֶׁר אֶל־פְּנֵי הַגִּזְרָה הֵנָּה לִשְׁכֹות הַקֹּדֶשׁ אֲשֶׁר 42:13 יֹאכְלוּ־שָׁם הַכֹּהֲנִים אֲשֶׁר־קְרֹובִים לַיהוָה קָדְשֵׁי הַקֳּדָשִׁים שָׁם יַנִּיחוּ קָדְשֵׁי הַקֳּדָשִׁים וְהַמִּנְחָה וְהַחַטָּאת וְהָאָשָׁם כִּי הַמָּקֹום קָדֹשׁ׃
Ezek. 42:13 Then He said to me, “The rooms of the north, the rooms of the south, which are to the front of the separate place, they are the rooms of holiness that the priests who will be near the Lord will eat there the holiest of holy things; there they shall set down the holiest of holy things, and the meal offering and the sin offering and the guilt offering, for the place shall be holy.”
בְּבֹאָם הַכֹּהֲנִים וְלֹא־יֵצְאוּ מֵהַקֹּדֶשׁ אֶל־הֶחָצֵר הַחִיצֹונָה וְשָׁם יַנִּיחוּ בִגְדֵיהֶם אֲשֶׁר־יְשָׁרְתוּ בָהֶן 42:14 כִּי־קֹדֶשׁ הֵנָּה יִלְבְּשׁוּ בְּגָדִים אֲחֵרִים וְקָרְבוּ אֶל־אֲשֶׁר לָעָם׃
Ezek. 42:14 “On the coming in of the priests, then they shall not leave from the holy place to the outer courtyard, but there they shall lay down their garments in which they would minister, for they are holy; they shall put on other garments; then they can approach to where it is for the people.”
I believe this verse reveals something about Ezekiel’s style of writing about his experiences. The word translated as their garments is usually masculine. But Ezekiel uses feminine pronouns twice in referring to them in this verse. I believe he was telling us that the priests’ garments included skirt-like tunics, which must have resembled the skirts that were worn by all women of the day. Remember that Ezekiel was himself a priest.
וְכִלָּה אֶת־מִדֹּות הַבַּיִת הַפְּנִימִי וְהֹוצִיאַנִי דֶּרֶךְ הַשַּׁעַר אֲשֶׁר פָּנָיו דֶּרֶךְ הַקָּדִים וּמְדָדֹו סָבִיב סָבִיב׃ 42:15
Ezek. 42:15 Now he completed the measurements of the inner house; so he brought me toward the gate that its front was toward the south, and he measured it continually all around.
מָדַד רוּחַ הַקָּדִים בִּקְנֵה הַמִּדָּה חֲמֵשׁ־(אֵמֹות) [מֵאֹות] קָנִים בִּקְנֵה הַמִּדָּה סָבִיב׃ 42:16
Ezek. 42:16 He measured the side eastward with the reed of measurement, five hundred reeds, with the reed of measurement repetitively.
There appears to be an actual error in the word in the parentheses. The aleph and mem are interchanged in position. The word as spelled means cubits, and would make part of the verse read “... measurement, five cubits of reeds,” which can’t be right. The correction in the brackets makes the measurement five hundred reeds, as it is in the next three verses.
מָדַד רוּחַ הַצָּפֹון חֲמֵשׁ־מֵאֹות קָנִים בִּקְנֵה הַמִּדָּה סָבִיב׃ 42:17
Ezek. 42:17 He measured the side northward, five hundred reeds, with the reed of measurement repetitively.
אֵת רוּחַ הַדָּרֹום מָדָד חֲמֵשׁ־מֵאֹות קָנִים בִּקְנֵה הַמִּדָּה׃ 42:18
Ezek. 42:18 The side southward he measured, five hundred reeds, with the reed of measurement.
סָבַב אֶל־רוּחַ הַיָּם מָדַד חֲמֵשׁ־מֵאֹות קָנִים בִּקְנֵה הַמִּדָּה׃ 42:19
Ezek. 42:19 He turned around to the side westward; he measured five hundred reeds with the reed of measurement.
לְאַרְבַּע רוּחֹות מְדָדֹו חֹומָה לֹו סָבִיב סָבִיב אֹרֶךְ חֲמֵשׁ מֵאֹות וְרֹחַב חֲמֵשׁ מֵאֹות לְהַבְדִּיל בֵּין 42:20 הַקֹּדֶשׁ לְחֹל׃
Ezek. 42:20 According to the four sides he measured it; there was a wall for it surrounding all around of length five hundred and of breadth five hundred to separate between the holy and the common.
I gather that the outer court was square and extended all around the Temple structure and any other structures that might be identifiable from the foregoing, and was surrounded by a wall of 500 reeds length to a side. Now 500 reeds is a large dimension -- 5,375 feet. According to Ezekiel, the future outer courtyard would be over a mile square. This may be one of the reasons the sages believed Ezekiel’s description was of a future third Temple. The mount of the second Temple is much smaller than that. [Return to Ezek. 43:8] [Return to Ezek. 45:1]
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