The Third Temple
The Brit-Am Commentary on the Tanach (Bible) is intended to go
through Scripture and give a general overview while emphasizing points
connected somehow or other to the Lost Ten Tribes especially regarding
their present-day identity. We have reached the 40th chapter of Ezekiel
which deals with the future Third Temple. This is an interesting subject
deserving a complete study in its own right. If, however, we wait until we
gain a better appreciation of the subject matter we may end up waiting for
a long time.
Various sources say that rebuilding the third temple requires
the participation of the Lost Ten Tribes headed by Joseph and that this
participation will indeed become a reality. The sources concerned however
are Midrashim or commentaries of great Rabbis and while probably correct
they do not have the authority of Scripture. They may (at least at a
superficial level) also be contradicted by other equally valid sources.
Alternately they could be fulfilled in ways we do not understand at present
and may never do so. At all events let us go ahead as well as we can.
Ezekiel chapter 40 uses some terms and descriptions that most
commentators do not really understand. In the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem
there exist two large scale models of the Third Temple according to Ezekiel
40. They are located not far from each other. One model is found on Chabad
St, and the other on the bottom floor of Yeshivat HaKotel where you go down
the stairs to the Western Wall. The two models are quite different from
each other and demonstrate the difficulty there is in understanding this
chapter. Ezekiel gives the basic floor plan with the width and length. He
appears to leave the question of height open though at one point he hints
(40:14) that this future temple will be extremely tall by any standards.
Maimonides (Hilchot Bayit HaBachirah 1:4): The Temple that Solomon built
was described in the Book of Kings. The Temple that is destined to be built
even though it is described in the Book of Ezekiel is not clearly
explained. The people of the Second Temple Period when they rebuilt the
Temple in the time of Ezra built it like the Temple of Solomon with aspects
of what was clear from Ezekiel.
[Ezekiel 40:1] IN THE FIVE AND TWENTIETH YEAR
OF OUR CAPTIVITY, IN THE BEGINNING OF THE YEAR, IN THE TENTH DAY OF THE MONTH,
IN THE FOURTEENTH YEAR AFTER THAT THE CITY WAS SMITTEN, IN THE SELFSAME DAY
THE HAND OF THE LORD WAS UPON ME, AND BROUGHT ME THITHER.
[Ezekiel 40:2] IN THE VISIONS OF GOD BROUGHT HE ME INTO THE LAND OF
ISRAEL, AND SET ME UPON A VERY HIGH MOUNTAIN, BY WHICH WAS AS THE FRAME OF
A CITY ON THE SOUTH.
<<INTO THE LAND OF ISRAEL>>: Ezekiel more than the other prophets refers to
both Judah and the Ten Tribes as Israel and does not always distinguish
between the two.
[Ezekiel 40:3] AND HE BROUGHT ME THITHER, AND,
BEHOLD, THERE WAS A MAN, WHOSE APPEARANCE WAS LIKE THE APPEARANCE OF BRASS,
WITH A LINE OF FLAX IN HIS HAND, AND A MEASURING REED; AND HE STOOD IN THE
<<A MAN, WHOSE APPEARANCE WAS LIKE THE APPEARANCE OF BRASS>>: i.e. an angel.
[Ezekiel 40:4] AND THE MAN SAID UNTO ME,
SON OF MAN, BEHOLD WITH THINE EYES, AND HEAR WITH THINE EARS, AND SET THINE
HEART UPON ALL THAT I SHALL SHEW THEE; FOR TO THE INTENT THAT I MIGHT SHEW
THEM UNTO THEE ART THOU BROUGHT HITHER: DECLARE ALL THAT THOU SEEST TO THE
HOUSE OF ISRAEL.
[Ezekiel 40:5] AND BEHOLD A WALL ON THE OUTSIDE OF THE HOUSE ROUND ABOUT,
AND IN THE MAN'S HAND A MEASURING REED OF SIX CUBITS LONG BY THE CUBIT AND
AN HAND BREADTH: SO HE MEASURED THE BREADTH OF THE BUILDING, ONE REED; AND
THE HEIGHT, ONE REED.
[Ezekiel 40:6] THEN CAME HE UNTO THE GATE WHICH LOOKETH TOWARD THE EAST,
AND WENT UP THE STAIRS THEREOF, AND MEASURED THE THRESHOLD OF THE GATE, WHICH
WAS ONE REED BROAD; AND THE OTHER THRESHOLD OF THE GATE, WHICH WAS ONE REED
[Ezekiel 40:7] AND EVERY LITTLE CHAMBER WAS
ONE REED LONG, AND ONE REED BROAD; AND BETWEEN THE LITTLE CHAMBERS WERE FIVE
CUBITS; AND THE THRESHOLD OF THE GATE BY THE PORCH OF THE GATE WITHIN WAS
[Ezekiel 40:8] HE MEASURED ALSO THE PORCH OF THE GATE WITHIN, ONE REED.
[Ezekiel 40:9] THEN MEASURED HE THE PORCH OF THE GATE, EIGHT CUBITS;
AND THE POSTS THEREOF, TWO CUBITS; AND THE PORCH OF THE GATE WAS INWARD.
[Ezekiel 40:10] AND THE LITTLE CHAMBERS OF THE GATE EASTWARD WERE THREE
ON THIS SIDE, AND THREE ON THAT SIDE; THEY THREE WERE OF ONE MEASURE: AND
THE POSTS HAD ONE MEASURE ON THIS SIDE AND ON THAT SIDE.
[Ezekiel 40:11] AND HE MEASURED THE BREADTH OF THE ENTRY OF THE GATE, TEN CUBITS; AND THE LENGTH OF THE GATE, THIRTEEN CUBITS.
[Ezekiel 40:12] THE SPACE ALSO BEFORE THE LITTLE CHAMBERS WAS ONE CUBIT
ON THIS SIDE, AND THE SPACE WAS ONE CUBIT ON THAT SIDE: AND THE LITTLE CHAMBERS
WERE SIX CUBITS ON THIS SIDE, AND SIX CUBITS ON THAT SIDE.
[Ezekiel 40:13] HE MEASURED THEN THE GATE FROM THE ROOF OF ONE LITTLE
CHAMBER TO THE ROOF OF ANOTHER: THE BREADTH WAS FIVE AND TWENTY CUBITS, DOOR
[Ezekiel 40:14] HE MADE ALSO POSTS OF THREESCORE CUBITS, EVEN UNTO THE POST OF THE COURT ROUND ABOUT THE GATE.
<<ALSO POSTS OF THREESCORE CUBITS>>: Usually understood to mean 60 cubits
high which is explained to be the height of a 12 storey building. The
Commentary Daat Mikraremarks that from an engineering point of view this
concept of height makes it difficult to reconcile with the rest of the
[Ezekiel 40:15] AND FROM THE FACE OF THE GATE OF THE ENTRANCE UNTO THE FACE OF THE PORCH OF THE INNER GATE WERE FIFTY CUBITS.
[Ezekiel 40:16] AND THERE WERE NARROW WINDOWS TO THE LITTLE CHAMBERS,
AND TO THEIR POSTS WITHIN THE GATE ROUND ABOUT, AND LIKEWISE TO THE ARCHES:
AND WINDOWS WERE ROUND ABOUT INWARD: AND UPON EACH POST WERE PALM TREES.
[Ezekiel 40:17] THEN BROUGHT HE ME INTO THE OUTWARD COURT, AND, LO,
THERE WERE CHAMBERS, AND A PAVEMENT MADE FOR THE COURT ROUND ABOUT: THIRTY
CHAMBERS WERE UPON THE PAVEMENT.
[Ezekiel 40:18] AND THE PAVEMENT BY THE SIDE OF THE GATES OVER AGAINST THE LENGTH OF THE GATES WAS THE LOWER PAVEMENT.
[Ezekiel 40:19] THEN HE MEASURED THE BREADTH
FROM THE FOREFRONT OF THE LOWER GATE UNTO THE FOREFRONT OF THE INNER COURT
WITHOUT, AN HUNDRED CUBITS EASTWARD AND NORTHWARD.
[Ezekiel 40:20] AND THE GATE OF THE OUTWARD COURT THAT LOOKED TOWARD THE
NORTH, HE MEASURED THE LENGTH THEREOF, AND THE BREADTH THEREOF.
[Ezekiel 40:21] AND THE LITTLE CHAMBERS THEREOF WERE THREE ON THIS SIDE
AND THREE ON THAT SIDE; AND THE POSTS THEREOF AND THE ARCHES THEREOF WERE
AFTER THE MEASURE OF THE FIRST GATE: THE LENGTH THEREOF WAS FIFTY CUBITS,
AND THE BREADTH FIVE AND TWENTY CUBITS.
[Ezekiel 40:22] AND THEIR WINDOWS, AND THEIR ARCHES, AND THEIR PALM
TREES, WERE AFTER THE MEASURE OF THE GATE THAT LOOKETH TOWARD THE EAST; AND
THEY WENT UP UNTO IT BY SEVEN STEPS; AND THE ARCHES THEREOF WERE BEFORE THEM.
[Ezekiel 40:23] AND THE GATE OF THE INNER COURT WAS OVER AGAINST THE
GATE TOWARD THE NORTH, AND TOWARD THE EAST; AND HE MEASURED FROM GATE TO
GATE AN HUNDRED CUBITS.
[Ezekiel 40:24] AFTER THAT HE BROUGHT ME TOWARD THE SOUTH, AND BEHOLD
A GATE TOWARD THE SOUTH: AND HE MEASURED THE POSTS THEREOF AND THE ARCHES
THEREOF ACCORDING TO THESE MEASURES.
[Ezekiel 40:25] AND THERE WERE WINDOWS IN IT AND IN THE ARCHES THEREOF
ROUND ABOUT, LIKE THOSE WINDOWS: THE LENGTH WAS FIFTY CUBITS, AND THE BREADTH
FIVE AND TWENTY CUBITS.
[Ezekiel 40:26] AND THERE WERE SEVEN STEPS TO GO UP TO IT, AND THE ARCHES
THEREOF WERE BEFORE THEM: AND IT HAD PALM TREES, ONE ON THIS SIDE, AND ANOTHER
ON THAT SIDE, UPON THE POSTS THEREOF.
[Ezekiel 40:27] AND THERE WAS A GATE IN THE
INNER COURT TOWARD THE SOUTH: AND HE MEASURED FROM GATE TO GATE TOWARD THE
SOUTH AN HUNDRED CUBITS.
[Ezekiel 40:28] AND HE BROUGHT ME TO THE INNER COURT BY THE SOUTH GATE:
AND HE MEASURED THE SOUTH GATE ACCORDING TO THESE MEASURES;
[Ezekiel 40:29] AND THE LITTLE CHAMBERS THEREOF, AND THE POSTS THEREOF,
AND THE ARCHES THEREOF, ACCORDING TO THESE MEASURES: AND THERE WERE WINDOWS
IN IT AND IN THE ARCHES THEREOF ROUND ABOUT: IT WAS FIFTY CUBITS LONG, AND
FIVE AND TWENTY CUBITS BROAD.
[Ezekiel 40:30] AND THE ARCHES ROUND ABOUT WERE FIVE AND TWENTY CUBITS LONG, AND FIVE CUBITS BROAD.
[Ezekiel 40:31] AND THE ARCHES THEREOF WERE TOWARD THE UTTER COURT;
AND PALM TREES WERE UPON THE POSTS THEREOF: AND THE GOING UP TO IT HAD EIGHT
[Ezekiel 40:32] AND HE BROUGHT ME INTO THE INNER COURT TOWARD THE EAST: AND HE MEASURED THE GATE ACCORDING TO THESE MEASURES.
[Ezekiel 40:33] AND THE LITTLE CHAMBERS THEREOF, AND THE POSTS THEREOF,
AND THE ARCHES THEREOF, WERE ACCORDING TO THESE MEASURES: AND THERE WERE
WINDOWS THEREIN AND IN THE ARCHES THEREOF ROUND ABOUT: IT WAS FIFTY CUBITS
LONG, AND FIVE AND TWENTY CUBITS BROAD.
[Ezekiel 40:34] AND THE ARCHES THEREOF WERE TOWARD
THE OUTWARD COURT; AND PALM TREES WERE UPON THE POSTS THEREOF, ON THIS SIDE,
AND ON THAT SIDE: AND THE GOING UP TO IT HAD EIGHT STEPS.
[Ezekiel 40:35] AND HE BROUGHT ME TO THE NORTH GATE, AND MEASURED IT ACCORDING TO THESE MEASURES;
[Ezekiel 40:36] THE LITTLE CHAMBERS THEREOF, THE POSTS THEREOF, AND
THE ARCHES THEREOF, AND THE WINDOWS TO IT ROUND ABOUT: THE LENGTH WAS FIFTY
CUBITS, AND THE BREADTH FIVE AND TWENTY CUBITS.
[Ezekiel 40:37] AND THE POSTS THEREOF WERE TOWARD THE UTTER COURT; AND
PALM TREES WERE UPON THE POSTS THEREOF, ON THIS SIDE, AND ON THAT SIDE: AND
THE GOING UP TO IT HAD EIGHT STEPS.
[Ezekiel 40:38] AND THE CHAMBERS AND THE ENTRIES THEREOF WERE BY THE POSTS OF THE GATES, WHERE THEY WASHED THE BURNT OFFERING.
[Ezekiel 40:39] AND IN THE PORCH OF THE GATE WERE TWO TABLES ON THIS
SIDE, AND TWO TABLES ON THAT SIDE, TO SLAY THEREON THE BURNT OFFERING AND
THE SIN OFFERING AND THE TRESPASS OFFERING.
[Ezekiel 40:40] AND AT THE SIDE WITHOUT, AS ONE GOETH UP TO THE ENTRY
OF THE NORTH GATE, WERE TWO TABLES; AND ON THE OTHER SIDE, WHICH WAS AT THE
PORCH OF THE GATE, WERE TWO TABLES.
[Ezekiel 40:41] FOUR TABLES WERE ON THIS SIDE, AND FOUR TABLES ON THAT
SIDE, BY THE SIDE OF THE GATE; EIGHT TABLES, WHEREUPON THEY SLEW THEIR SACRIFICES.
[Ezekiel 40:42] AND THE FOUR TABLES WERE
OF HEWN STONE FOR THE BURNT OFFERING, OF A CUBIT AND AN HALF LONG, AND A
CUBIT AND AN HALF BROAD, AND ONE CUBIT HIGH: WHEREUPON ALSO THEY LAID THE
INSTRUMENTS WHEREWITH THEY SLEW THE BURNT OFFERING AND THE SACRIFICE.
From this it appears that (contrary to some opinions) animal sacrifice will be renewed.
[Ezekiel 40:43] AND WITHIN WERE HOOKS, AN HAND BROAD, FASTENED ROUND ABOUT: AND UPON THE TABLES WAS THE FLESH OF THE OFFERING.
[Ezekiel 40:44] AND WITHOUT THE INNER GATE WERE THE
CHAMBERS OF THE SINGERS IN THE INNER COURT, WHICH WAS AT THE SIDE OF THE
NORTH GATE; AND THEIR PROSPECT WAS TOWARD THE SOUTH: ONE AT THE SIDE OF THE
EAST GATE HAVING THE PROSPECT TOWARD THE NORTH.
[Ezekiel 40:45] AND HE SAID UNTO ME, THIS CHAMBER, WHOSE PROSPECT IS
TOWARD THE SOUTH, IS FOR THE PRIESTS, THE KEEPERS OF THE CHARGE OF THE HOUSE.
[Ezekiel 40:46] AND THE CHAMBER WHOSE PROSPECT IS TOWARD THE NORTH IS
FOR THE PRIESTS, THE KEEPERS OF THE CHARGE OF THE ALTAR: THESE ARE THE SONS
OF ZADOK AMONG THE SONS OF LEVI, WHICH COME NEAR TO THE LORD TO MINISTER
[Ezekiel 40:47] SO HE MEASURED THE COURT, AN HUNDRED
CUBITS LONG, AND AN HUNDRED CUBITS BROAD, FOURSQUARE; AND THE ALTAR THAT
WAS BEFORE THE HOUSE.
[Ezekiel 40:48] AND HE BROUGHT ME TO THE PORCH OF THE HOUSE, AND MEASURED
EACH POST OF THE PORCH, FIVE CUBITS ON THIS SIDE, AND FIVE CUBITS ON THAT
SIDE: AND THE BREADTH OF THE GATE WAS THREE CUBITS ON THIS SIDE, AND THREE
CUBITS ON THAT SIDE.
[Ezekiel 40:49] THE LENGTH OF THE PORCH WAS TWENTY CUBITS, AND THE BREADTH
ELEVEN CUBITS, AND HE BROUGHT ME BY THE STEPS WHEREBY THEY WENT UP TO IT:
AND THERE WERE PILLARS BY THE POSTS, ONE ON THIS SIDE, AND ANOTHER ON THAT