The new Temple had now been shown to the prophet with all its arrangements and measurements; it remained that the structure should be divinely accepted by the manifestation of the glory of the Lord, as in the case of the Tabernacle (Exodus 40:34-35), and of the former Temple (1 Kings 8:10-11; 2 Chronicles 5:13-14; 2 Chronicles 7:1-3). The description of this and the accompanying message occupy Ezekiel 43:1-12. With Ezekiel 43:13 the account of the ordinances of Divine worship to be celebrated in the Temple begins, and is continued to the close of Ezekiel 46.
(2) From the way of the east.—The prophet had been brought (Ezekiel 43:1) to the east gate, from which he had formerly seen the glory of the Lord depart (Ezekiel 10:18-19; Ezekiel 11:1; Ezekiel 11:23) on account of the pollution of His house. By the same way the glory of the Lord was now to return to the sanctuary prepared for it.
Like the vision that I saw.—Comp. Ezekiel 1:4, &c.; Ezekiel 3:23; Ezekiel 10:15; Ezekiel 10:22. The manifestation of Divine glory to the prophet was the same throughout.
I will dwell . . . for ever.—This should be the peculiar distinction of the Temple seen in the vision. The Tabernacle and Solomon’s Temple had both been accepted as the peculiar dwelling-place of God, but both had passed away. So also it would be with the material Temple of the restoration. But in this Temple of the vision God promises that He would dwell for ever.
By the carcases of their kings.—The “shall defile” with which the later clauses of this verse are connected is not an imperative, but a simple future, and is in accordance with the generally ideal character of the vision. The word “carcases” is here a difficult one. Some commentators understand it literally of the burial of some of the kings in the Temple area; but there is no historical proof that any were so buried, the gardens of the royal palace being quite too distant for the language here used, nor is there anywhere any allusion to such defilement. The simplest explanation is that the language is founded upon Leviticus 26:30, and means idols. Manasseh and others had introduced their idols into the very courts of the Temple (2 Kings 21:4-7; sec also 2 Kings 16:11).
Let them measure the pattern.—That is, let them carefully consider and follow out the provisions God had made for their worship. (Comp. Hebrews 8:5.) Exactness in the observance of all positive enactments is a necessary result of a desire to serve God.
With Ezekiel 43:13 a new part of the vision begins, extending to the close of Ezekiel 46, describing the new ordinances of the sanctuary. This is fitly opened with a description of the altar for the sacrifices, the central act of the ancient worship.
(a)Base or “bottom,” 1 cubit high, and 1 broad. This was 16 cubits square.
(bb′)“The border thereof,” a span or ½ cubit. It is uncertain whether this projected, forming a moulding as at b, and in this case was under c, and so increased the height of the altar; or whether it was as at b′, a ledge around 100. In Ezekiel 43:13 “higher place” should be base. The word means, primarily, arched, then a back, and then a support.
(c)The “lower settle,” 2 cubits high, and 1 broad.
(d)The “greater (or higher) settle,” 4 cubits high.
(e)The “altar” (Harel)—literally, the mountain of God—4 cubits high, and 12 cubits square.
(f)The “altar” (Ariel)—literally, the lion of God—the hearth of the same size, but the height not given, but probably not more than ½ cubit.
(gg) The “horns.” The whole height was eleven cubits or more, according to whether the height of f is included in that of e, and whether b passed under c, or was merely a ledge.
Ezekiel 43:18-27 make careful provision for the consecration of the altar just described. This is to be compared with Exodus 40 and Leviticus 8, although in that case the consecration of the altar and of the priests were joined together, while here that of the altar alone is described.
Of the seed of Zadok.—See Note on Ezekiel 40:46. (Comp. also Ezekiel 44:15.)
A young bullock.—In the case of the altar of the Tabernacle, the consecration began with anointing with oil (Leviticus 8:11), and this was a prominent feature of the service; but is here wholly omitted. The service began with the offering of a sin offering, which was always, according to the law, to be first offered when several kinds of sacrifice were to occur together. The propriety of this is manifest, since the first act of man’s approach to God must always consist of the confession of his sin.