Ezek. 45 notes


וּבְהַפִּילְכֶם אֶת־הָאָרֶץ בְּנַחֲלָה תָּרִימוּ תְרוּמָה לַיהוָה קֹדֶשׁ מִן־הָאָרֶץ אֹרֶךְ חֲמִשָּׁה וְעֶשְׂרִים אֶלֶף   45:1 אֹרֶךְ וְרֹחַב עֲשָׂרָה אָלֶף קֹדֶשׁ־הוּא בְכָל־גְּבוּלָהּ סָבִיב׃

Ezek. 45:1   “‘And on your dividing the land by lot to be an inheritance, you shall contribute an offering to the Lord of a holy portion out of the land of length twenty-five thousand long and of breadth ten thousand; it shall be a holy place within all the border everywhere.’

This verse continues the words Ezekiel is directed to say to the house of Israel as dictated to him by the Lord starting in Ezek. 44:6.  The units of the dimensions given here and in the verses below are almost entirely omitted.  Some believe the unit is reeds, others that it is cubits. 

What would an area of 25,000 by 10,000 look like in reeds and in cubits?  Well, 25,000 reeds is more than 51 miles and 10,000 reeds is over 20.5 miles, giving an area of almost 1,032 square miles.  For comparison, the Island of Manhattan in New York City is about 23 square miles and modern Israel is about 15,000 square miles, less than fifteen times the area in question.  This area has to be too large.   For another comparison, present day Jerusalem is considerably smaller than Manhattan.  Now 25,000 cubits is more than 8 1/2 miles and 10,000 cubits is about 3.4 miles, giving an area of about 30 square miles.  So I am fairly certain the unit is cubits.  And as long as we are considering the possibility of reeds as the measurement unit, I suppose the cubit is still the cubit of the Temple, that is, approximately 21 1/2 inches, and not the common cubit of about 18 inches.

Now I address a concern of still greater import in this verse, coupling it with v. 45:3.  This verse says the whole of the above area shall be a holy place within its entire border and v. 45:3 says the area will also contain the Temple and its grounds.  Yet if we look back to Ezek. 42:20, we find that the wall of 500 reeds by 500 reeds surrounding the Temple grounds separated the holy from the common.  So Ezek. 42:20 tells us that the area outside of the wall was not holy.  This is in direct conflict with the two verses in this chapter.  I see no way to reconcile these conflicting verses in Ezekiel’s favor.  I suspect that Ezekiel lost his concentration either there or here (more than likely it was there) and momentarily slipped.