In Ezekiel chapter 40 the prophet recorded the details of the slaying blocks at the gates and the washing tables in
the porches at the northern side of the Temple. Later in the tour Ezekiel reached the corner area of the outer court on the northern side.

The Corner Courts

 Ezekiel 46:21–22 “Then he brought me forth into the utter court, and caused me to pass by the four corners of the court; and, behold, in every corner of the court there was a court. In the four corners of the court there were courts joined of forty cubits long and thirty broad: these four corners were of one measure”.

 The smaller dimension was the measure of each side of the square court. The larger measure was the height.

In verse 22, the word “cubits” is in italics. It was not in the original and has been inserted by the translators. The measure of the house is the reed. The courts are said to be of one measure. Therefore each side is 30 measures (30 reeds) and the height is 40 measures (40 reeds).

The court has a base of 180 cubits x 180 cubits and a height of 240 cubits.

If we now compare these measurements with that of the outer (square) building, made up of a row of chambers (40 cubits wide) plus an outer court (100 cubits) and another row of chambers (40 cubits), we find the total width of the outer building is 40+100+40 = 180 cubits. The corner court fits exactly.

The height of the corner towers will be approximately that of the large pyramid in Cairo, or the height of the Sydney Harbour Bridge from water level or the height of Bank SA in Adelaide. The next time you are in the Adelaide city centre, take time to walk down King William Street and visualise it as the length and width of the outer court. Think about the tessellated pavement under your feet and as you view the older “Bank buildings” of approximately twelve stories (the maximum allowable height forty years ago) you can visualise the height of the outer walls and then look up to the Bank SA building and reflect on the height of the corner towers of Jerusalem’s Temple of the Kingdom Age.

From verse 21 it is obvious that Ezekiel passed into the corner court, thus indicating a way into it from the outer court. During the prophet’s tour of inspection, he discovered all four corner courts were alike and of one measure.

The word “joined” in verse 22 is more correctly translated “smoking” or “steaming with fragrances”. Hence a margin comment “made with chimneys”.

Ezekiel 46:23–24 “And there was a row of buildings round about in them, round about them four, and it was made with boiling places under the rows round about. Then said he unto me, these are the places of them that boil, where the ministers of the house shall boil the sacrifice of the people.”

In the lower portion of the buildings (“under the rows”) surrounding the courts, Ezekiel saw the cooking facilities or the big kitchens, where the priests will boil the sacrifices of the people. We recall the prophet’s words when he was in a porch on the northern side. “And within were hooks, an hand broad, fastened round about; and upon the tables was the flesh of the offering” (Ezekiel 40:43). The flesh of the offerings was upon the tables. Ezekiel was describing the Temple in full preparation for the inaugural ceremony. Therefore since he observed the smoke and the steam while passing through a corner court he saw food being prepared.

Thus a corner court formed a terminal to the outer court buildings. A magnificent sight! No wonder the Psalmist wrote: “Walk about Zion, and go round about her: tell the towers thereof. Mark ye well her bulwarks, consider her palaces; that ye may tell it to the generation following”(Psalm 48:12–13).

  This article completes the consideration of the Outer Court buildings. Future articles—God willing—will consider the circular buildings and their functions.