EZEKIEL CHAPTER 46.
Ordinances Concerning the Worship of the Prince.
VARIOUS SACRIFICES. — V. 1. Thus saith the Lord God, The gate of the inner court that looketh toward the east shall be shut the six working days, just like the outer portal, chap. 44, 1; but on the Sabbath it shall be opened, and in the day of the new moon, another day of peculiar sanctity, it shall be opened. V. 2. And the prince shall enter by the way of the porch of that gate without, from the outer court, and shall stand by the post of the gate, by a pillar of the gate leading to the Court of the Priests, and the priests shall prepare his burnt offering and his peace-offerings, and he shall worship at the threshold of the gate, offering his prayers from that point; then he shall go forth, returning the same way in which he had come; but the gate shall not be shut until the evening. “As, on the one hand, the prince is unreservedly acknowledged in his special exaltation, so, on the other, his rights appear in due limitation, in reference to encroachment of any kind on the priestly prerogatives.” (Haevernick.) V. 3. Likewise the people of the land shall worship at the door of this gate before the Lord, through which they could get a glimpse of the altar of burnt offering and of the priests engaged in the work of their ministry, in the Sabbaths and in the new moons, thus partaking in all the privileges granted the prince, but at a greater distance. . V. 4. And the burnt offering that the prince shall offer unto the Lord in the Sabbath-day shall be six lambs without blemish, and a ram without blemish. “The offerings on the Sabbaths are larger than those of the Mosaic Law, to imply that the worship of God is to be conducted by prince and people in a more munificent spirit of self-sacrificing liberality than formerly.” V. 5. And the meat-offering, usually in the form of flour, shall be an ephah for a ram, also an increase of that of the Mosaic dispensation, and the meat-offering for the lambs as he shall be able to give, with correspondingly increased faithfulness and devotion, and an hin of oil to an ephah, this again representing an advance over the ancient rites. V. 6. And in the day of the new moon it shall be a young bullock without blemish and six lambs and a ram, this sacrifice presenting a decrease over that formerly required, Num. 28, 11. 12; they shall be without blemish. V. 7. And he shall prepare a meat-offering, an ephah for a bullock and an ephah for a ram, and for the lambs according as his hand shall attain unto, the factor of voluntary sacrifices standing out prominently throughout the passage, and an hin of oil to an ephah. V. 8. And when the prince shall enter, he shall go in by the way of the porch of that gate, and he shall go forth by the way thereof, this repetition of verse 2 serving to connect the next ordinances with those pertaining to the Sabbaths and new moons. V. 9. But when the people of the land shall come before the Lord in the solemn feasts, at the set time and assembling of the congregation, he that entereth in by the way of the north gate to worship shall go out by the way of the south gate, to prevent disorder and tumult; and he that entereth by the way of the south gate shall go forth by the way of the north gate; he shall not return by the way of the gate whereby he came In, but shall go forth over against it, so that all confusion might be avoided at the time of divine worship, for our God is a God of order. V. 10. And the prince in the midst of them, joining the great throng of worshipers as one of them, when they go in, shall go in, Ps. 42, 4; and when they go forth, shall go forth. We have here a “beautiful picture of a religious people: the highest in rank freely mingling with the mass of worshipers and inspiriting their devotions by the elevating influence of his presence and example.” V. 11. And in the feasts and in the solemnities, when there are two festival days in succession, the meat-offering shall be an ephah to a bullock and an ephah to a ram and to the lambs as he is able to give, and an hin of oil to an ephah, the factor of voluntary offerings once more appearing at this point. V. 12. Now, when the prince shall prepare a voluntary burnt offering or peace-offerings voluntarily unto the Lord, by reason of special inward impulse, a joyful readiness to serve the Lord, one shall then open him the gate that looketh toward the east, and he shall prepare his burnt offering and his peace-offerings, as he did on the Sabbath-day, this rule therefore applying to all festivals; then he shall go forth, and after his going forth one shall shut the gate, so that the rule concerning its being closed would always be observed. The passage rightly sets forth the fine rivalry which may exist between the various ranks and classes of people in their acts of homage and adoration to God. V. 13. Thou shalt daily prepare a burnt offering unto the Lord, as by the Mosaic ordinances, Ex. 29, 38; Num. 28, 3, of a lamb of the first year without blemish; thou shalt prepare it every morning, literally, “morning for morning.” V. 14. And thou shalt prepare a meat-offering for it every morning, cp. Lev. 2; 6, 14-23, the sixth part of an ephah and the third part of an hin of oil, to temper with the fine flour, for the sacrificial cakes; a meat-offering continually by a perpetual ordinance unto the Lord. If the evening sacrifice was thus to he discontinued, the increase of the meat-offering in the morning was probably intended to compensate for it. V. 15. Thus shall they prepare the lamb and the meat-offering and the oil every morning for a continual burnt offering. The considerable, in part radical, departures from the Mosaic ordinances almost throughout again indicate that the entire description is symbolical of the Messianic era, when the essence of worship would be voluntary homage to the Lord.
THE SACRIFICIAL KITCHENS. — V. 16. Thus saith the Lord God, in making provisions for the future, lest conditions arise which would result in acts of violence on the part of the ruler, If the prince give a gift unto any of his sons, the inheritance thereof shall be his sons’; it shall be their possession by inheritance, to remain permanently under their dominion. V. 17. But if he give a gift of his inheritance, of the special land set aside for his use and enjoyment, to one of his servants, as a reward of service or loyalty, then it shall be his to the year of liberty, the so-called year of the jubilee, Lev. 25, 10; after, it shall return to the prince, revert to him as his property; but his inheritance shall be his sons’ for them, that is, only what the prince has presented to his Sons shall remain in their property at that time. V. 18. Moreover, the prince shall not take of the people’s inheritance by oppression, a feature against which these ordinances guarded, to thrust them out of their possession, as when Ahab took Naboth’s vineyard; but he shall give his sons inheritance out of his own possession, cp. 1 Sam. 8, 14; 22, 7, that My people be not scattered every man from his possession. V. 19. After, that is, afterward, He brought me through the entry which was at the side of the gate, the entry mentioned chap. 42, 9, into the holy chambers of the priests, those nearest to the inner north gate, which looked toward the north; and, behold, there was a place on the two sides westward, a section of the Temple area which had not yet been described. V. 20. Then said He unto me, This is the place where the priests shall boil the trespass-offering and the sin-offering, where they shall bake the meat-offering, the food of the priests thus being prepared in immediate proximity to their chambers lest its sanctity be in any way polluted, that they bear them not out into the utter court to sanctify the people, to bring them into contact with this consecrated food and thus to defeat the object of the ordinance. V. 21. 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, a smaller tributary of the larger court. V. 22. In the four corners of the court there were courts joined, closed, shut off from the rest of the court, of forty cubits long and thirty broad; these four corners were of one measure, of the same size. V. 23. And there was a row of building round about in them, along their walls, round about them four, and it was made with boiling-places under the rows round about, roofed cooking apartments or kitchenettes, with a fireplace in each, next to the walls. V. 24. Then said He unto me, These are the places of them that boil, where the ministers of the house, the ordinary Levites as servants of the Sanctuary, shall boil the sacrifice of the people, that part which belonged to the priests. By the sacrificial meals eaten by the people, then, was the communion and fellowship of all believers brought out symbolically.