Separation and Society
Ezekiel 42:4-14
And before the chambers was a walk to ten cubits breadth inward, a way of one cubit; and their doors toward the north.…

What did those "chambers" mean, of which we read so much in this vision? Their immediate use, as intimated to the prophet, is given in the thirteenth and fourteenth verses. They were for the personal accommodation of the priests; that they might there, in a place which was nowise profane but thoroughly holy, eat that part of the sacrifices which fell to their share; and that they might there robe and unrobe, so as to serve in sacred vestments and mingle with the people in ordinary dress. Their object, therefore, was to maintain the separateness or sanctity of the priests. It has been suggested that they also answered this general purpose by constituting places for sacred retirement and devotion; possibly for the accommodation of those who, like Anna the prophetess, "departed not from the temple, night or day" (Luke 2:37). Those who were to minister in the temple were to be provided with rooms which were separated from the commerce and the strife of the outer world, where there would be nothing to contaminate or interrupt. But what meant the "walk of ten cubits breadth" (ver. 4)? Was not this for society, as the chambers were for separation? Matthew Henry suggests that these "walks of five yards broad were for those that had lodgings in the chambers, that there they might meet for conversation, might walk and talk together for their mutual edification, might communicate their knowledge and experiences; for," he adds with characteristic good sense, "we are not to spend all our time between the church and the chamber." We learn -


1. That which is obligatory and constant; viz. to be separate in spirit and in sympathy from sin; to stand apart, in spirit, from all that is in any way unchristian.

2. That which is obligatory and frequent; viz. to separate ourselves much and generally from the society of the sinful. Jesus Christ was thus "separate from sinners" (Hebrews 7:26). It is the sacred duty of most good men, and of all the young, to keep aloof from the vicious and profane; to decline the society, and firmly to refuse the friendship, of those who fear not God and whose conduct is unprincipled and deleterious.

3. That which is wise and occasional; viz. to retire into the seclusion of the quiet chamber, where there is no disturbing voice to prevent our close communion with the Father and Savior of our spirits.

II. THE SERVICE OF SOCIETY. There are truths to be learned and there are influences to be gained in solitude which cannot be secured in society; but, on the other hand, there is a service which only society can render us. To meet men and to know them as they are living their daily life of toil and struggle; to come into close contact with their difficulties, their doubts, their joys, and their sorrows; to exchange ideas with them; to learn what their experience and their wisdom have to teach us, and to convey to them what we ourselves have learned in the solitary place; to be in the world, and still above it; - this is not only the true triumph of Christian principle, it is the fair and open opportunity of Christian usefulness. - C.

Parallel Verses
KJV: And before the chambers was a walk of ten cubits breadth inward, a way of one cubit; and their doors toward the north.

WEB: Before the rooms was a walk of ten cubits' breadth inward, a way of one cubit; and their doors were toward the north.

Provision Made in the Temple for Social Intercourse
Top of Page
Top of Page