Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Ezekiel 40:1

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

In the five and twentieth year of our captivity - According to the date here given, this prophecy was delivered on Tuesday, April 20, A.M. 3430, in the twenty-fifth year of the captivity of Jeconiah, and fourteen years after the taking of Jerusalem.

The temple here described by Ezekiel is, in all probability, the same which he saw before his captivity, and which had been burned by the Chaldeans fourteen years before this vision. On comparing the Books of Kings and Chronicles with this prophet, we shall find the same dimensions in the parts described by both; for instance, the temple, or place which comprehended the sanctuary, the holy place, and the vestibule or porch before the temple, is found to measure equally the same both in Ezekiel and the Kings. Compare 1 Kings 6:3-16, with Ezekiel 41:2, etc. The inside ornaments of the temple are entirely the same; in both we see two courts; an inner one for the priests, and an outer one for the people. Compare 1 Kings 6:29-36; 2 Chronicles 4:9; and Ezekiel 41:16, Ezekiel 41:17, and Ezekiel 48:7-10. So that there is room to suppose that, in all the rest, the temple of Ezekiel resembled the old one; and that God's design in retracing these ideas in the prophet's memory was to preserve the remembrance of the plan, the dimensions, the ornaments, and whole structure of this Divine edifice; and that at the return from captivity the people might more easily repair it, agreeably to this model. The prophet's applying himself to describe this edifice was a motive of hope to the Jews of seeing themselves one day delivered from captivity, the temple rebuilt, and their nation restored to its ancient inheritance. Ezekiel touches very slightly upon the description of the temple or house of the Lord, which comprehended the holy place or sanctuary, and which are so exactly described in the Books of Kings. He dwells more largely upon the gates, the galleries, and apartments, of the temple, concerning which the history of the kings had not spoken, or only just taken notice of by the way.

This is the judgment of Calmet; and although every Biblical critic is of the same opinion, yet more labor is spent on rebuilding this temple of Ezekiel than was spent on that built by Solomon! The Jesuits, Prada and Villalpand, have given three folio volumes on this temple, with abundance of cuts, where the different parts are exhibited after the finest models of Grecian and Roman architecture! But still the building is incomplete. Now, of what consequence is all this to the Christian, or to any other reader? I confess I see not. While, then, we have the exact dimensions and accurate description in 1 Kings and 2 Chronicles, of that built by Solomon, in imitation of which this plan by Ezekiel was drawn, we need not be very solicitous about the manner of measuring and describing used by the prophet; as, when we have labored through the whole, we have only the measurements and description of that built by Solomon, and delineated by a hand not less faithful in the First Book of Kings, Ezekiel 6:1-14, and 2 Chronicles 2, 3, 4, 2 Chronicles 5:1-14; and 6.

As the prophet knew that the Chaldeans had utterly destroyed the temple, he thought it necessary to preserve an exact description of it, that on their restoration the people might build one on the same model. As to allegorical meanings relative to this temple, I can say nothing: God has given no data by which any thing of this kind can be known or applied; and as to those who have labored in this way, perhaps "Solomon's Temple Spiritualized, by John Bunyan," is equally good with their well-intended inventions. Those who wish to enter much into the particulars of this temple must have recourse to the more voluminous expositors, who on this subject seem to have thought that they could never say enough. See also the accompanying map.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

In the first and twentieth year - This was the fiftieth year from the 18th of Josiah, the year of his memorable Passover 2 Kings 23:22. See the Ezekiel 1:1 note. If that was a jubilee year, which is highly probable, this vision also falls in a jubilee year, which seems appropriate. The jubilee year began with the month of Tisri, a sufficient reason for speaking of the time as “the beginning of the year.” The tenth day of this month was the day of atonement Leviticus 16:29-30.