World Wide Study Bible
a Bible passage
The Gate for the Prince
1Then he brought me back to the outer gate of the sanctuary, which faces east. And it was shut. 2And the Lord said to me, “This gate shall remain shut; it shall not be opened, and no one shall enter by it, for the Lord, the God of Israel, has entered by it. Therefore it shall remain shut. 3Only the prince may sit in it to eat bread before the Lord. He shall enter by way of the vestibule of the gate, and shall go out by the same way.”
4Then he brought me by way of the north gate to the front of the temple, and I looked, and behold, the glory of the Lord filled the temple of the Lord. And I fell on my face. 5And the Lord said to me, “Son of man, mark well, see with your eyes, and hear with your ears all that I shall tell you concerning all the statutes of the temple of the Lord and all its laws. And mark well the entrance to the temple and all the exits from the sanctuary. 6And say to the rebellious house,11Septuagint; Hebrew lacks house to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord God: O house of Israel, enough of all your abominations, 7in admitting foreigners, uncircumcised in heart and flesh, to be in my sanctuary, profaning my temple, when you offer to me my food, the fat and the blood. You22Septuagint, Syriac, Vulgate; Hebrew They have broken my covenant, in addition to all your abominations. 8And you have not kept charge of my holy things, but you have set others to keep my charge for you in my sanctuary.
9“Thus says the Lord God: No foreigner, uncircumcised in heart and flesh, of all the foreigners who are among the people of Israel, shall enter my sanctuary. 10But the Levites who went far from me, going astray from me after their idols when Israel went astray, shall bear their punishment.33Or iniquity; also verse 12 11They shall be ministers in my sanctuary, having oversight at the gates of the temple and ministering in the temple. They shall slaughter the burnt offering and the sacrifice for the people, and they shall stand before the people, to minister to them. 12Because they ministered to them before their idols and became a stumbling block of iniquity to the house of Israel, therefore I have sworn concerning them, declares the Lord God, and they shall bear their punishment. 13They shall not come near to me, to serve me as priest, nor come near any of my holy things and the things that are most holy, but they shall bear their shame and the abominations that they have committed. 14Yet I will appoint them to keep charge of the temple, to do all its service and all that is to be done in it.
Rules for Levitical Priests
15“But the Levitical priests, the sons of Zadok, who kept the charge of my sanctuary when the people of Israel went astray from me, shall come near to me to minister to me. And they shall stand before me to offer me the fat and the blood, declares the Lord God. 16They shall enter my sanctuary, and they shall approach my table, to minister to me, and they shall keep my charge. 17When they enter the gates of the inner court, they shall wear linen garments. They shall have nothing of wool on them, while they minister at the gates of the inner court, and within. 18They shall have linen turbans on their heads, and linen undergarments around their waists. They shall not bind themselves with anything that causes sweat. 19And when they go out into the outer court to the people, they shall put off the garments in which they have been ministering and lay them in the holy chambers. And they shall put on other garments, lest they transmit holiness to the people with their garments. 20They shall not shave their heads or let their locks grow long; they shall surely trim the hair of their heads. 21No priest shall drink wine when he enters the inner court. 22They shall not marry a widow or a divorced woman, but only virgins of the offspring of the house of Israel, or a widow who is the widow of a priest. 23They shall teach my people the difference between the holy and the common, and show them how to distinguish between the unclean and the clean. 24In a dispute, they shall act as judges, and they shall judge it according to my judgments. They shall keep my laws and my statutes in all my appointed feasts, and they shall keep my Sabbaths holy. 25They shall not defile themselves by going near to a dead person. However, for father or mother, for son or daughter, for brother or unmarried sister they may defile themselves. 26After he has become clean, they shall count seven days for him. 27And on the day that he goes into the Holy Place, into the inner court, to minister in the Holy Place, he shall offer his sin offering, declares the Lord God.
28“This shall be their inheritance: I am their inheritance: and you shall give them no possession in Israel; I am their possession. 29They shall eat the grain offering, the sin offering, and the guilt offering, and every devoted thing in Israel shall be theirs. 30And the first of all the firstfruits of all kinds, and every offering of all kinds from all your offerings, shall belong to the priests. You shall also give to the priests the first of your dough, that a blessing may rest on your house. 31The priests shall not eat of anything, whether bird or beast, that has died of itself or is torn by wild animals.
Eze 44:1-31. Ordinances for the Prince and the Priests.
2. shut … not be opened—(Job 12:14; Isa 22:22; Re 3:7). "Shut" to the people (Ex 19:21, 22), but open to "the prince" (Eze 44:3), he holding the place of God in political concerns, as the priests do in spiritual. As a mark of respect to an Eastern monarch, the gate by which he enters is thenceforth shut to all other persons (compare Ex 19:24).
3. the prince—not King Messiah, as He never would offer a burnt offering for Himself, as the prince is to do (Eze 46:4). The prince must mean the civil ruler under Messiah. His connection with the east gate (by which the Lord had returned to His temple) implies, that, as ruling under God, he is to stand in a place of peculiar nearness to God. He represents Messiah, who entered heaven, the true sanctuary, by a way that none other could, namely, by His own holiness; all others must enter as sinners by faith in His blood, through grace.
4-6. Directions as to the priests. Their acts of desecration are attributed to "the house of Israel" (Eze 44:6, 7), as the sins of the priesthood and of the people acted and reacted on one another; "like people, like priest" (Jer 5:31; Ho 4:9).
uncircumcised in flesh—not having even the outward badge of the covenant-people.
8. keepers … for yourselves—such as you yourselves thought fit, not such as I approve of. Or else, "Ye have not yourselves kept the charge of My holy things, but have set others as keepers of My charge in My sanctuary for yourselves" [Maurer].
10, 11. Levites … shall … bear—namely, the punishment of
their iniquity … Yet they shall be ministers—So Mark, a Levite, nephew of Barnabas (Ac 4:36), was punished by Paul for losing an opportunity of bearing the cross of Christ, and yet was afterwards admitted into his friendship again, and showed his zeal (Ac 13:13; 15:37; Col 4:10; 2Ti 4:11). One may be a believer, and that too in a distinguished place, and yet lose some special honor—be acknowledged as pious, yet be excluded from some dignity [Bengel].
charge at the gates—Better to be "a doorkeeper in the house of God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness" (Ps 84:10). Though standing as a mere doorkeeper, it is in the house of God, which hath foundations: whereas he who dwells with the wicked, dwells in but shifting tents.
15. Zadok—The priests of the line of Ithamar were to be discharged from ministrations in the temple, because of their corruptions, following in the steps of Eli's sons, against whom the same denunciation was uttered (1Sa 2:32, 35). Zadok, according to his name (which means "righteous") and his line, were to succeed (1Ki 2:35; 1Ch 24:3), as they did not take part in the general apostasy to the same degree, and perhaps [Fairbairn] the prophet, referring to their original state, speaks of them as they appeared when first chosen to the office.
17. linen—symbolical of purity. Wool soon induces perspiration in the sultry East and so becomes uncleanly.
19. not sanctify the people with their garments—namely, those peculiarly priestly vestments in which they ministered in the sanctuary.
20. Neither … shave … heads—as mourners do (Le 21:1-5). The worshippers of the Egyptian idols Serapis and Isis shaved their heads; another reason why Jehovah's priests are not to do so.
nor suffer … locks to grow long—as the luxurious, barbarians, and soldiers in warfare did [Jerome].