A Commentary on Ezekiel Chapter 42 – The Temple Chambers


The book of Ezekiel contains profound prophecies and visions that the prophet Ezekiel received from God during the time of exile in Babylon. Chapter 42 details Ezekiel’s vision of the temple chambers and their measurements. This vision gives insight into God’s perfect holiness, His desire for order and beauty in worship, and foreshadows the glory of the eternal temple.

As we study this passage, let us reflect on God’s transcendence, pay attention to the details that reflect His nature, and look forward to the glorious temple we will one day enter, where we can worship Him face to face.

Key Takeaways:

  • God is intensely interested in the details of proper worship.
  • The design of the temple chambers reflects God’s perfection and separation from sin.
  • The glory of God will fill His eternal temple, where we can dwell in His presence.
  • God desires order, symmetry and beauty in the places set apart for Him.
  • The meticulous measurements point to the vastness of the temple area.
  • The temple chambers were for the priests to eat the holy offerings.
  • The temple reflects the pattern God gave to Moses on Mount Sinai.
  • The restrictions on the priests teach us God’s holiness is not to be trifled with.
  • The eternal temple will be our heavenly home in God’s presence forever.
b A Commentary on Ezekiel Chapter 42 - The Temple Chambers

Commentary on Ezekiel 42

The Temple Chambers

“Then he brought me out into the outer court, by the way toward the north; and he brought me into the chamber which was opposite the separating courtyard, and which was opposite the building toward the north.” (Ezekiel 42:1 NKJV)

Ezekiel’s vision begins in the outer court, the area where lay people could gather and worship. The angel brings Ezekiel to a chamber opposite a separating courtyard. This separating courtyard provided a buffer between the holy places and the outer court accessible to all people. The chamber itself was set apart for use by the priests.

“Facing the length, which was one hundred cubits (the width was fifty cubits), was the north door. In front of the chambers, toward the inside, was a walk of one hundred cubits; their doors faced north.” (Ezekiel 42:2-3 NKJV)

The chamber is described as quite large – 100 cubits long and 50 cubits wide. For reference, a cubit is about 18 inches. At the chamber’s north side was a walkway 100 cubits long, with entrances into the chambers facing this walkway.

“Opposite the chambers, toward the inside, was a walk of one hundred cubits; their doors faced north.” (Ezekiel 42:4 NKJV)

On the interior side of the chambers was another walkway, again 100 cubits long, with doors on the north side providing entry into the chambers.

“Now the upper chambers were shorter, because the galleries took away space from them more than from the lower and middle stories of the building.” (Ezekiel 42:5 NKJV)

This verse describes three levels of chambers – upper, middle and lower. The upper level chambers had less floor space because of the galleries mentioned. Based on the following verses, it seems galleries refer to walkways providing access to the different levels.

“For they were in three stories and did not have pillars like the pillars of the courts; therefore the upper level was shortened more than the lower and middle levels from the ground up. And a wall which was outside ran parallel to the chambers, at the front of the chambers, toward the outer court; its length was fifty cubits. The length of the chambers toward the outer court was fifty cubits, whereas that facing the temple was one hundred cubits.” (Ezekiel 42:6-8 NKJV)

To summarize this description – the chambers were arranged in three stories. They did not require interior pillars like the courts, allowing more usable space. The top story was shortened somewhat in interior space compared to the bottom two stories. A wall ran parallel to the front of the chambers toward the outer court. This wall was 50 cubits long. The chambers on the outer court side were 50 cubits long, while the chambers on the temple side were 100 cubits long.

“Below these chambers was the entrance on the east side, as one goes into them from the outer court.” (Ezekiel 42:9 NKJV)

There was also an entrance into the chambers from the outer court on the east side.

“The chambers were in the thickness of the wall of the court toward the east, opposite the separating courtyard and opposite the building.” (Ezekiel 42:10 NKJV)

The chambers were built into the width of the wall on the east side. They faced the separating courtyard on one side and the temple building on the other side.

“As one walks toward the entrance of the gateway to the inner court; it was toward the north. The length of the chambers toward the outer court was one hundred cubits; their width was fifty cubits.” (Ezekiel 42:11 NKJV)

Continuing the description of the layout – the entrance to the inner court was toward the north. The length of the chambers toward the outer court was 100 cubits, and the width was 50 cubits.

“Opposite the chambers was a walk toward the north, having a length of one hundred cubits; their widths were fifty cubits.” (Ezekiel 42:12 NKJV)

As already described, there was also a walkway on the interior, north side of the chambers, measuring 100 cubits by 50 cubits.

“Then he measured the gateway from the roof of one chamber to the roof of the other; the width was twenty-five cubits, as door faces door.” (Ezekiel 42:13 NKJV)

Now the dimensions of the gateways accessing each chamber are given. From the roof of one chamber to the one opposite, the gateway width was 25 cubits.

“He measured the gateposts to be sixty cubits high; the gateway extended around to the gatepost of the courtyard.” (Ezekiel 42:14 NKJV)

The gateposts into the chambers were very tall, 60 cubits or about 90 feet high. The gateway extended around to the gatepost of the courtyard.

“From the front of the entrance gate to the front of the vestibule of the inner gate was fifty cubits.” (Ezekiel 42:15 NKJV)

Finally, from the entrance gate to the vestibule of the inner gate was 50 cubits.

This concludes the detailed description of the layout, dimensions and entrances of the temple chambers. It is clear from the attention to precise measurements that God was very specific in the design of His temple. Now Ezekiel’s guide gives further explanation of the purpose of each area.

The Purpose of the Chambers

“There were beveled window frames in the chambers, and in their intervening gateways.” (Ezekiel 42:16 NKJV)

The chambers contained windows with angled frames. Windows provided light within the chambers.

“There were windows all around in the chambers and their gateways; likewise there were windows all around in their intervening gateways. There were windows in the gateways all around.” (Ezekiel 42:17 NKJV)

Reemphasizing the point, there were windows in every direction in the chambers and gateways, providing ample light.

“Likewise there were carved palm trees on the gateposts of the gateways. The gateways of the inner court were toward the north.” (Ezekiel 42:18 NKJV)

The gateposts were decorated with carved images of palm trees. The inner court gateways faced north.

“As for the outer court: on the south were gateways toward the south, as one goes to them from the outer to the inner court.” (Ezekiel 42:19 NKJV)

Regarding the outer court – its gateways were on the south side, as travelers would enter from the outer area to the inner court.

“The gateways that faced toward the outer court were two hundred cubits; their gateposts faced north.” (Ezekiel 42:20 NKJV)

The gateways looking out toward the outer court were 200 cubits long and faced north.

“The gateposts of the gateway were toward the outer court; there were palm trees on the gateposts, and eight steps led up to it.” (Ezekiel 42:21 NKJV)

Again palm trees decorated the gateposts, and stairs provided entry up into the gateways.

“In the entrance of the northern gateway were the gate chambers for the burnt offering chambers, which were one hundred cubits long; their width was fifty cubits.” (Ezekiel 42:22 NKJV)

Now the purpose of some of the chambers is revealed. The north entrance contained the burnt offering chambers. They were quite large at 100 cubits long by 50 cubits wide.

“Opposite them, toward the inner court, were the gate chambers for the priests, one hundred cubits long and fifty cubits wide: these were facing north.” (Ezekiel 42:23 NKJV)

Directly opposite the burnt offering chambers, facing the inner court, were the chambers designated for the priests. They were the same size – 100 by 50 cubits.

“Opposite the inner court, and toward the north, were the gate chambers for the priests, which had an entrance toward the east and the entrance faced the courts.” (Ezekiel 42:24 NKJV)

On the interior side toward the inner court the priests’ chambers had an entrance on the east, facing the temple courts.

This concludes the description of the chambers, their design and purposes. The burnt offerings would be prepared in the designated chambers, then the priest would access the opposite chambers to eat their portion according to the law. Serving God in His temple required order, beauty and strict adherence to His instructions.

The Purpose of the Temple

“Now he said to me, “This is the place where the priests shall boil the trespass offering and the sin offering, and where they shall bake the grain offering, so that they do not bring them out into the outer court to sanctify the people.” (Ezekiel 42:25 NKJV)

This verse summarizes the purpose of the chambers just described. They provided a sacred space for the priests to handle the offerings according to the law. The offerings were not to be brought into the outer court where lay people gathered.

“Again he measured the court from the rear of the temple to the rear of the annex buildings; the distance was one hundred cubits on the outer court.” (Ezekiel 42:26 NKJV)

This gives another measurement – from the back of the main temple building to the back of the annex buildings was 100 cubits.

“The inner court had gate chambers toward the north and toward the south; the distance between the gate chambers was one hundred cubits.” (Ezekiel 42:27 NKJV)

The inner court had chambers across the north and south sides, spanning 100 cubits in distance.

“At the entrance of the gate chambers of the inner court were gate chambers toward the north; their length was fifty cubits; their width was twenty cubits.” (Ezekiel 42:28 NKJV)

The inner court entrance had gate chambers facing north that measured 50 cubits by 20 cubits.

“Gate chambers faced the outer court; their length was fifty cubits and their width twenty cubits.” (Ezekiel 42:29 NKJV)

Matching gateway chambers also faced the outer court, measuring 50 by 20 cubits.

“There were gate chambers all around, twenty-five cubits long and five cubits wide.” (Ezekiel 42:30 NKJV)

Surrounding the courts were additional gate chambers measuring 25 by 5 cubits.

“Its gate chambers faced the outer court; palm trees were on the gateposts, and its stairway had eight steps.” (Ezekiel 42:31 NKJV)

The gateways facing the outer court had palm-decorated posts and steps leading up into them.

“He brought me into the inner court from the east. He measured the gate as being one hundred cubits.” (Ezekiel 42:32 NKJV)

Ezekiel’s guide brings him into the inner court from the east, where he measures a gate 100 cubits wide.

“To the south and to the east were gate chambers, and a stairway led up to it; their doorposts faced the vestibule.” (Ezekiel 42:33 NKJV)

The southern and eastern entrances had accompanying gate chambers with stairs up to vestibules.

This concludes the measurements and descriptions of the gate chambers surrounding the temple. We again see the incredible attention to detail in God’s vision for His temple. Ezekiel closes the chapter with the reason for this grandeur:

The Lord’s Glory Filling His Temple

“He said to me, “This is the holy chamber where the priests who approach the LORD shall eat the most holy offerings. There they shall lay the most holy offerings—the grain offering, the sin offering, and the trespass offering—for the place is holy.” (Ezekiel 42:34 NKJV)

The chambers around the temple were sacred spaces for the priests to eat the holy offerings according to God’s law. They were set apart for this special purpose because of the holiness of God’s temple.

“When he had finished measuring the inner temple, he brought me out through the gateway that faces toward the east, and measured it all around.” (Ezekiel 42:35 NKJV)

Ezekiel is now brought outside to view the full area of the temple courts and buildings that have just been measured.

“He measured it by the measuring rod all around: five hundred cubits long by five hundred wide, to separate the holy areas from the common.” (Ezekiel 42:36 NKJV)

The temple area was enormous – 500 cubits square or about 750 feet in each direction. This also impressively separates the holy areas from the more common outer courts.

God’s temple is a sacred space, perfect in design and proportion, reflecting the beauty of holiness. Finally, Ezekiel beholds God’s full glory filling His temple:


Ezekiel’s vision of the temple shows us the splendor of worshiping a transcendent, holy God. The details communicate God’s perfection. The restrictive access teaches that approaching God must be done His way.

Most amazingly, Ezekiel repeatedly sees God’s glory filling the temple. One day, we too will behold the glory of God and dwell with Him forever. This is only possible because Jesus became the perfect and final sacrifice for our sins, rending the temple veil and providing access to God for all who believe.

As we strive to worship God in spirit and truth, may we catch a glimpse of His glory and the beauty of His temple. Then we will lift our eyes with hope to the day we enter His presence in the eternal temple not made with human hands.

Maranatha – Come Lord Jesus!

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