Ezekiel's Temple Vision: Inner Court

Having posted some of my work on the gates of the Temple of Ezekiel's Prophecy, this post continues with material on the inner court.

At this point it's worth giving an overview of the two courts. The outer court is walled, with gates to the north, south and east. No western gate is ever described. A pavement runs around the outside of the court at the sides of each gate, and upon this pavement are thirty smaller buildings of unknown dimensions. In each corner are smaller enclosed courts which act as kitchens. An open space of one hundred cubits (about 53m) extends before each gate.

Within this open space lies the inner court. It too houses three gates to the north, south and east, but to the east lies the temple proper. In the center of the inner court, which is 100 cubits square, is the altar.

Image #1 - The layout of the Temple gates, chambers, and courts

From the information above we see the temple measures 500 cubits, north to south. We've not yet looked at the temple itself so we can't be sure of the east-west dimensions (spoiler: it's square).

Two other features are worthy of note. Attached to the porch of the northern gate in the inner court is a place for washing sacrifices. We're not told its dimensions, or its exact placement. There are also two priestly chambers by each of the gates, again of unknown size. Some texts note that these are for singers.

Image #2 - A view of the courts, looking north. In the bottom corner is a "kitchen court". The two priest's chambers can be seen in the inner court.

We're also given a description of the Temple itself. Like Solomon's Temple and the Tabernacle before it, the structure is composed of a Holy and Most Holy place.

Image #3 - The Temple

Around the temple are a series of side-chambers. These go up three stories high, and increase in size with each story. This mirrors the Temple built in the time of Solomon. Each story rests on the wall of the Temple like steps.

Image #4 - The Temple chambers

To the north and south of the Temple, facing the outer court, are changing rooms for the priests. These rooms can be accessed directly from the outer court, providing the priests with private access they can use to begin their service in the inner court. They also serve as a place for priests to eat the sin and trespass offerings.

Image #5 - Plan of the inner court

The language at the start of Ezekiel 42 is quite hard to follow, describing a three-storey structure that appears to run parallel to the temple at both north and south sides.

At the rear of the Temple where we might have expected to find a western gate, there is a structure with a large floor area. To the north is a cooking area in the inner court, and though it isn't mentioned in the passage I typically place one to the south too, as the priestly functions in general seem to be replicated in both north and south.

Image #6 - The western end of the Temple complex, looking east

A final structural feature of the Temple is a watercourse. This flows eastward from the southern threshold of the Temple, running out from the south of the Eastern gate. There is no indication of how the water gets from the inner court to the outside of the outer court. The water could simply flow across the court, or potentially run through a tunnel. Forced to make a choice I elected the former.

This brings us to the end of the "visual tour" of the Temple. In the next post on the Temple vision I'll be sharing some other studies I've found over the years.

Image #7 - An overview of the Temple area

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Nathan

Bible enthusiast, husband, Dad, and tech-head with too many projects and not enough time.