For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
Romans 15:4



A Bible Study - Commentary by Jim Melough

Copyright 2003 James Melough

41:1.  “Afterward he brought me to the temple, and measured the posts, six cubits broad on the one side, and six cubits broad on the other side, which was the breadth of the tabernacle.”


The “he” is the same guide who is first introduced in 40:3.  The “posts” were the door jambs; and the RSV translation of this verse reads, “Then he brought me to the nave, and measured the jambs; on each side six cubits was the breadth of the jambs.”  “... six cubits broad on each side” is the AAT rendering of the latter part of the verse.


41:2.  “And the breadth of the door was ten cubits; and the sides of the door were five cubits on the one side, and five cubits on the other side: and he measured the length thereof, forty cubits: and the breadth, twenty cubits.”


The sides of the door were its two leaves or halves.  The forty cubit length, and twenty cubit breadth were the dimensions of the building.


41:3.  “Then went he inward, and measured the post of the door, two cubits; and the door, six cubits, and the breadth of the door, seven cubits.”


The RSV translation here reads, “Then he went into the inner room and measured the jambs of the entrance, two cubits,” the latter half of the verse being rendered by NEB “the opening itself was six cubits, and the corners of the opening were seven cubits in each direction,” the RSV translation of the latter part being “and the breadth of the entrance, six cubits; and the sidewalls of the entrance, seven cubits.”


41:4.  “So he measured the length thereof, twenty cubits; and the breadth, twenty cubits, before the temple: and he said unto me, This is the most holy place.”


These dimensions relate to the inner compartment, the holy of holies of the Temple, into which only the angelic guide entered.


41:5.  “After he measured the wall of the house, six cubits; and the breadth of every side chamber, four cubits, round about the house on every side.”


The six cubit measurement was the height of the wall; and there were side chambers, each four cubits wide, extending all the way round the building.


41:6.  “And the side chambers were three, one over another, and thirty in order; and they entered into the wall which was of the house for the side chambers round about, that they might have hold, but they had not hold in the wall of the house.”


The New American Bible translates this verse, “There were thirty side chambers built one above the other in three stories, and there were offsets in the outside wall of the temple that enclosed the side chambers; these served as supports so that there were no supports in the temple wall proper.”  It is generally believed that these rooms were for storing the offerings brought by the people, and for the implements used in connection with the Temple service.


41:7.  “And there was an enlarging, and a winding about still upward to the side chambers: for the winding about of the house went still upward round about the house: therefore the breadth of the house was still upward, and so increased from the lowest chamber to the highest by the midst.”


This enigmatic KJ version may be clarified somewhat for some readers by other versions, e.g., “And the side-chambers were broader as they encompassed the house higher and higher; for the encompassing of the house went higher and higher round about the house, therefore the breadth of the house continued upward; and so one went up from the lowest chamber to the highest by the middle chamber,” ASV.  “And the side chambers became broader as they rose from story to story, corresponding to the enlargement of the offset from story to story round about the temple ... on the side of the temple a stairway led upward, and thus one went upward from the lowest story to the top story through the middle story,” RSV.  “... causing the wall of the house to contract in breadth as it rose upward ...” AAT.  Personally I find none of them very clear.


41:8.  “I saw also the height of the house round about: the foundations of the side chambers were a full reed of six great cubits.”


The AAT translates this verse, “And round about the house ran a raised platform, a full rod of six cubits and six handbreadths high, which formed the foundation of the side chambers.”


41:9.  “The thickness of the wall, which was for the side chamber without was five cubits: and that which was left was the place of the side chambers that were within.”


The first part of this verse is also translated, “The outside wall of the side chambers was five cubits broad,” AAT.


41:10.  “And between the chambers was the wideness of twenty cubits round about the house on every side.”


The ATT translates this, “and between the side chambers of the house and the row of chambers in the court lay a yard, twenty cubits broad, all round the house.”


41:11.  “And the doors of the side chambers were toward the place that was left, one door toward the north, and another door toward the south: and the breadth of the place that was left was five cubits round about.”


The RSV renders this verse, “And the doors of the side chambers opened on the part of the platform that was left free, and the breadth of the part that was left free was five cubits round about.”


41:12.  “Now the building that was before the separate place at the end toward the west was seventy cubits broad; and the wall of the building was five cubits thick round about, and the length thereof ninety cubits.”


“The building that was facing the temple yard on the west side was seventy cubits broad,” is the RSV translation of this verse.

The purpose of this building is not explained.


41:13.  “So he measured the house, an hundred cubits long; and the separate place, and the building, with the walls thereof, an hundred cubits long;”


41:14.  “Also the breadth of the face of the house, and of the separate place toward the east, an hundred cubits,” is translated “The facade of the temple, along with the free area, on the east side, was one hundred cubits wide,” by the NAB.


41:15.  “And he measured the length of the building over against the separate place which was behind it, and the galleries thereof on the one side and on the other side, an hundred cubits, with the inner temple and the porches of the court;”


The NEB translates this, “He measured the length of the building at the far end of the free space to the west of the temple, and its corridors on each side, a hundred cubits.”


41:16.  “The door posts, and the narrow windows, and the galleries round about on their three stories, over against the door, circled with wood round about, and from the ground up to the windows, and the windows were covered;”


41:17.  “To that above the door, even unto the inner house, and without, and by all the wall round about within and without, by measure.”


“The nave, the inner room, and the vestibule were roofed over; and all three had latticed windows round about.  The inside walls of the house were paneled with wood round about, from the floor to the windows, and from the windows to the roof,” is the AAT translation of these verses.  Many believe that the paneling was of very costly black wood.


41:18.  “And it was made with cherubims and palm trees, so that a palm tree was between a cherub and a cherub; and every cherub had two faces;”


Palm trees are symbolic of righteousness, see Ps 92:12, “The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree.”  The frequent mention of palm trees therefore emphasizes the righteousness that characterizes God’s house, and that is also to mark His people, for believers constitute that house, see Heb 3:6, “But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we ....”


Since the cherubim are always associated with the guardianship of God’s holiness, these carved cherubim were the symbolic guardians of the holiness that is inseparable from His house.


41:19.  “So that the face of a man was toward the palm tree on the one side, and the face of a young lion toward the palm tree on the other side: it was made through all the house round about.”


41:20.  “From the ground unto above the door were cherubims and palm trees made, and on the wall of the temple.”


41:21.  “The posts of the temple were squared, and the face of the sanctuary; the appearance of the one as the appearance of the other.”


The door posts or jambs were square; and the JFB Commentary renders the latter part of the verse, “the appearance of the sanctuary or holy of holies was similar to that of the temple.”


41:22.  “The altar of wood was three cubits high, and the length thereof two cubits; and the corners thereof, and the length thereof, and the walls thereof, were of wood: and he said unto me, This is the table that is before the Lord.”


In front of the Holy place was a wooden altar, called here “the table,” some believing it to be for the presented offerings which were God’s spiritual food, He receiving satisfaction from the offerings presented, just as one receives satisfaction from eating food; others believing it to be the table of show bread.


41:23.  “And the temple and the sanctuary had two doors.”


41:24.  “And the doors had two leaves apiece, two turning (folding) leaves; two leaves for the one door, and two leaves for the other door.”


The temple, and the holy place, had each double, i.e., two-leafed doors.


41:25.  “And there were made on them, on the doors of the temple, cherubims and palm trees, like as were made upon the walls; and there were thick planks upon the face of the porch without.”


Carved on the doors of the temple were cherubs and palm trees similar to those carved on the walls; and relative to the latter part of the verse it is variously translated, “there was a threshold of wood upon the face of the porch without,” ASV; “There was also a canopy of wood outside in front of the vestibule,” AAT; “Before the vestibule outside was a wooden lattice,” NAB.


41:26.  “And there were narrow windows and palm trees on the one side and on the other side, on the sides of the porch, and upon the side chambers of the house, and thick planks.”


This is also translated, “there were closed windows and palm trees on the one side and on the other side, on the sides of the porch: thus were the side chambers of the house, and the thresholds,” ASV; “there were recessed windows and palm trees on either side, on the side walls of the vestibule,” RSV.

[Ezekiel 42]


     Scripture portions taken from the Holy Bible, King James Version
© 2000-2005 James Melough