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Bible Commentaries

Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Ezekiel 45


This chapter describes the portion of territory reserved for the priests, in the middle of which is to be the temple with its courts and precincts, for the Levites, for the city, and for the prince.

Verse 1

By lot - Not by casting lots, but by “allotment,” the several portions being assigned by rule Joshua 13:6.

Oblation - The oblation (properly “heaveoffering”) was regarded as the Lord’s portion Leviticus 27:30. This “oblation” is given here as part of the provision made for the priests, and was probably in lieu of tithes Leviticus 27:30; Numbers 18:21, just as the prince had his definite portion of land instead of being supported by the contributions of the people. The priests and Levites had, in addition, the sacrifices (Ezekiel 44:28, note). This provision for them, out of proportion in any actual arrangement, is no doubt intended to symbolize the reverence and honor due to God, and expressed by liberality to His services and His ministers. The Septuagint read “the breadth twenty thousand;” and those who adopt this, read Ezekiel 45:3 “and from this” whole measure is to be deducted the priests’ special portion 25,000 from east to west, and 10,000 from north to south. Others, retaining the reading of the text, suppose the term oblation here to denote the portion assigned to the priests alone (as in Ezekiel 48:9), and “of this measure” Ezekiel 45:3 to mean not “deducted from this measure,” but “computed by this measure.” The King James Version rightly supplies “reeds,” since the precincts Ezekiel 42:20 were 500 “reeds” square. 25,000 reeds =about 42 12 statute miles, 36 12 geographic miles.

Verse 2

The “sanctuary” here probably means the whole temple precincts.

Suburbs - literally, as margin. To mark out more distinctly the sacred precincts, a vacant space of fifty cubits was left on all sides.

Verse 5

For a possession for twenty chambers - literally, “For a possession twenty chambers,” possibly twenty out of the thirty chambers in the outer court Ezekiel 40:17, and assigned for their use during residence in the sanctuary. The Septuagint reads “for cities to dwell in” (compare Numbers 35:2) which some adopt here.

Verse 6

This portion is to belong to the whole people, not to be subject to the encroachments made by the later kings of Judah Jeremiah 22:13. The Levites’ portion 10,000 reeds, the priests’ portion 10,000 reeds, and the city portion 5,000 reeds. make in all 25,000 reeds from north to south. The measure of each of these portions from east to west has been defined to be 25,000 reeds (Ezekiel 45:1 note), and thus we have a square of 25,000 in all.

Verses 7-8

On either side of the 25,000 reeds a strip of land, running westward to the sea, eastward to the Jordan, formed the possession of the prince (see Ezekiel 46:18 note). For the other tribes the limits from west to east are the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan Ezekiel 48:8.

Ezekiel 45:7

And the length shall be over against - Or, “and” in length “over against.”

The definition of the prince’s territory was to prevent the oppressions foretold (1 Samuel 8:14 ff), described 2 Kings 23:35, and reproved Jeremiah 22:0.

Verse 9

The princes are exhorted to execute judgment, and abstain from “exaction” (literally “ejection”) such as that of Naboth by Ahab 1 Kings 21:19.

Verse 10

A general exhortation to honesty, expressed by true weights and measures (marginal references). This fitly introduces the strict regulation of quantities in the prescribed offerings.

Verse 11

The ephah was in use for dry measure, the bath for liquid. The homer seems to have contained about 75 gallons (see Exodus 29:40, note; Leviticus 19:36, note).

After the homer - i. e., according to the standard of the homer.

Verse 12

The shekel - See the marginal reference.

The “maneh” shall be of true weight, but it would seem that in Ezekiel’s time there were “manehs” of different value.

Verses 13-17

The offerings. to be made by the people through the prince for the service of the sanctuary. In the Mosaic Law the offerings for the sacrifices of the ordinary festivals were left to the free will of the people. Here they are reduced to regular order and the amounts ordained. In later days there were often shortcomings in these respects Malachi 3:8. This is obviated, and regularity ensured in the new order of things. No mention is made of wine for the drink-offering, or of bullocks for the burnt-offering, so that the enumeration is not complete.

Ezekiel 45:14

Cor - Translated “measure” in 1 Kings 5:11, ... Here it is a synonym of “homer.”

Ezekiel 45:17

The people’s gifts were to be placed in the hands of the prince, so as to form a common stock, out of which the prince was to provide what was necessary for each sacrifice. Compare 1 Kings 8:62; Ezra 7:17. The prince handed the gifts to the priests, whose part it was to sacrifice and offer. But the prominent part assigned to the prince in “making reconciliation for the sins of the people” seems to typify the union of the kingly and priestly offices in the person of the Mediator of the New covenant.

Verses 18-25

This order of certain solemn services does not follow exactly the order of Moses, of Solomon, or of Ezra. The deviation can scarcely have been accidental, and furnishes a fresh indication that the whole vision is symbolic, representative of the times when, after the oblation of the one Sacrifice, reconciliation and sanctification were effected for man through the presence of God dwelling in the midst of the people.

Ezekiel 45:18

In the first day - If this is only a special Passover for the dedication, the prolongation of the festival may be compared with that under Solomon 2 Chronicles 7:8. But it is more probably a general ordinance, and, in this case, we have an addition to the Mosaic ritual (compare Leviticus 23:5). Here the “first day” is marked by the rites of expiation, which are repeated on the seventh day Ezekiel 45:20, for the purpose of including those who transgressed from ignorance rather than willfulness.

Ezekiel 45:23

Comparing this with the daily sacrifices of the Paschal week Numbers 28:19-4.28.24, and those of the daily sacrifices of the week of the Feast of tabernacles (see Numbers 29:12...), it will be seen that here the covenant number seven is preserved throughout to indicate a perfect, in lieu of an imperfect, covenant with God.

Ezekiel 45:25

The Feast of tabernacles (compare the marginal references). Some think that the other great festival, the Feast of Weeks, is intended.

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Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Ezekiel 45". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". 1870.