The Glory of the Lord Returns. 1Then he led me to the gate facing east,a 2and there was the glory of the God of Israel coming from the east! His voice was like the roar of many waters, and the earth shone with his glory. 3The vision I saw was like the vision I had seen when he came to destroy the city and like the vision I had seen by the river Chebar—I fell on my face. 4The glory of the LORD entered the temple by way of the gate facing east.b 5Then the spirit lifted me up and brought me to the inner court. And there the glory of the LORD filled the temple!c 6I heard someone speaking to me from the temple, but the man was standing beside me. 7The voice said to me: Son of man, do you see the place for my throne, and the place for the soles of my feet? Here I will dwell among the Israelites forever. The house of Israel, neither they nor their kings, will ever again defile my holy name, with their prostitutions and the corpses of their kings at their death.d 8When they placed their threshold against my threshold* and their doorpost next to mine, with only a wall between me and them, they defiled my holy name by the abominations they committed, and I devoured them in my wrath.e 9From now on, let them put their prostitution and the corpses of their kings far from me, and I will dwell in their midst forever.f
The Law of the Temple. 10As for you, son of man, describe the temple to the house of Israel so they are ashamed for their sins. Let them measure its layout. 11If they are ashamed for all they have done, tell them about the layout and design of the temple, its exits and entrances, with all its regulations and instructions; write it down for them to see, that they may carefully observe all its laws and statutes. 12This is the law for the temple: the entire area on top of the mountain all around will be a most holy place. This is the law for the temple.
The Altar. 13These were the dimensions of the altar* in cubits, a cubit being one cubit plus a handbreadth. The channel was one cubit deep by one cubit wide, and its rim had a lip one span wide all around it.g The height of the altar itself was as follows: 14from the channel at floor level up to the lower ledge was two cubits, with the ledge one cubit wide; from the lower ledge to the upper ledge, four cubits, with the ledge one cubit wide. 15The altar hearth was four cubits high, and extending up from the top of the hearth were four horns. 16The hearth was twelve cubits long and twelve cubits wide, a square with four equal sides. 17The upper ledge was fourteen cubits long and fourteen cubits wide on all four sides. The rim around it was half a cubit, with a channel one cubit all around. The steps faced east.h
18Then he said to me: Son of man, thus says the Lord GOD: These are the statutes for the altar when it is set up for sacrificing burnt offerings and splashing blood on it.i 19A young bull must be brought as a purification offering to the priests, the Levites descended from Zadok, who come near to serve me—oracle of the Lord GOD.j 20You shall take some of its blood and smear it on the four horns of the altar, and on the four corners of the ledge, and all around its rim. Thus you shall purify and purge it.k 21Then take the bull as purification offering and burn it in the appointed place outside the sanctuary.l 22On the second day present an unblemished male goat as a purification offering, to purify the altar as you did with the bull. 23When you have completed the purification,m you must bring an unblemished young bull and an unblemished ram from the flock 24and present them before the LORD. The priests shall throw salt on them and sacrifice them as burnt offerings to the LORD. 25Daily for seven days you shall give a male goat as a purification offering; and a young bull and a ram from the flock, all unblemished,n shall be offered 26for seven days. Thus they shall purge the altar, in order to cleanse and dedicate it. 27And when these days are over, from the eighth day on, the priests shall sacrifice your burnt offerings and communion offerings on the altar. Then I will be pleased with you—oracle of the Lord GOD.
* [43:8] They placed their threshold against my threshold: in preexilic Jerusalem, the Temple and the palace belonged to the same complex of buildings; kings like Ahaz and Manasseh treated it as their private chapel for the religious practices Ezekiel condemns. In the new Israel the Temple is free, even spatially, from civil jurisdiction; cf. 45:7–8. This is an instance of Ezekiel’s broader program to separate the sacred from the secular.
* [43:13–17] The altar: like altars from Assyria and other parts of the ancient Near East, this altar has three parts: a base, a pedestal, and an upper block with a channel cut into the surface on all sides. The rim around the upper block (v. 17) stopped blood and other sacrificial material from falling to the ground.
a. [43:1] 1 Chr 9:18.
d. [43:7] 1 Chr 28:2; Ps 132:7; Is 6:1; Jer 3:17.
i. [43:18] Ex 29:16; Lv 4:6; 5:9.
l. [43:21] Ex 29:14; Lv 4:12; 8:17; cf. Heb 13:11–13.