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Bible Commentaries

Dr. Constable's Expository Notes

Ezekiel 45

Verse 1

In the future the Israelites were to divide the land by lot, but the Lord, of course, would control the outcome (Proverbs 16:33). This land belonged to the Lord-He was the Israelites’ inheritance-but He would allow them to occupy it as He specified. They were to set aside one part of the land for the Lord’s use for especially holy purposes. It was to be 25,000 cubits long and 10,000 cubits wide (about 8.3 miles by 3.3 miles). The Hebrew text has "rods" rather than "cubits," but long cubits must be the measurement in view to harmonize with the other measurements in these chapters. This land was to be considered holy within all its boundaries.

Verses 1-8

The sacred district in the Promised Land 45:1-8

The Lord next gave Ezekiel directions for the division of some of the Promised Land in the future. Revelation about apportioning the rest of the land follows later (Ezekiel 47:13 to Ezekiel 48:35). These descriptions do not coincide with any division of the land in the past, and the amount of detail argues for a literal fulfillment in the future.

Verses 2-4

Within this area there was to be a space 500 cubits by 500 cubits (about 833 feet by 833 feet). This was the size of the temple complex (cf. Ezekiel 42:20). Surrounding this complex there would be an open space of an additional 50 cubits (83 feet), a kind of green belt. This sacred space would facilitate and illustrate the holiness of the sanctuary area. The temple sanctuary would stand within this 25,000 by 10,000 cubits (8.3 miles by 3.3 miles) area and constitute the most holy part of the land. The Zadokite priests would live in the land outside the open space around the temple complex within this larger area (cf. Ezekiel 48:10-12).

Verse 5

The other Levites would occupy another 25,000 by 10,000 cubits (8.3 miles by 3.3 miles) area beside the one just described (cf. Ezekiel 48:13). It would evidently be immediately to the north. Under the Mosaic system the priests and Levites lived scattered throughout Israel, not all in very close proximity to the temple, as here.

Verse 6

Another parcel of land 25,000 by 5,000 cubits (about 8.3 miles by 1.7 miles), apparently immediately to the south, would contain the city of Jerusalem, and all the Israelites would have access to it. Later Ezekiel clarified that the city itself would occupy the center of this portion of land, and suburbs, or city lands, would flank it on the east and west (cf. Ezekiel 48:15; Ezekiel 48:17-19).

Verse 7

The prince (cf. Ezekiel 44:3) would also receive a special land allotment to the west and to the east of the city portions and the holy areas occupied by the Zadokites and the Levites (cf. Ezekiel 48:21-22). There was no specially designated area in which the kings of Israel lived in former times except the royal palaces, which were much smaller.

Verse 8

The rest of the Promised Land would be the portion of the other Israelites (cf. ch. 48). The whole arrangement would contribute to the equitable governing of the Israelites and would discourage rulers from oppressing the people (cf. Ezekiel 11:1-13; Ezekiel 14:1-11; Ezekiel 20:1 to Ezekiel 23:49; Ezekiel 34:1-10).

Verse 9

The Lord next commanded the leaders of the Israelites to stop destroying the people, treating them violently, and appropriating their possessions for themselves. This is a common cry in the Bible (cf. Leviticus 19; Leviticus 25; Numbers 35; Deuteronomy 25:13-16; Proverbs 11:1; Amos 8:5; Micah 6:10-12; Matthew 5:23-24). Rather they should treat them fairly and do what was right.

Verses 9-12

An exhortation to Israel’s leaders 45:9-12

Mention of the proper leadership of the Israelites in the Millennium led to an exhortation to Israel’s leaders to practice justice and righteousness in the present and in the future.

Verses 9-24

Regulations for offerings and feast days 45:9-46:24

This section contains seven subsections all of which deal with the same basic subject.

Verses 10-12

They should also be fair in their commercial dealings. Their basic dry and liquid measures, an ephah (about one-half bushel) and a bath (about six gallons), were to be standard and equal. An ephah should always be a tenth of an homer (five to six bushels), and a bath should always be a tenth of an homer (five to six bushels). Likewise weights should be the same. One shekel (about two-fifths of an ounce) should equal 20 gerahs (about one-fiftieth of an ounce). Twenty shekels plus 25 shekels plus 15 shekels (60 shekels) should equal one mina (about one and one-quarter pounds). Different commentators and Bible dictionaries vary somewhat in explaining the modern equivalents of these amounts.

". . . linear measurements of the ancient Near East were not as accurate as those of today. This is also true of volume measurements. Ezekiel delineated the proper standard of volume measure in the terms of his day." [Note: Alexander, "Ezekiel," p. 982.]

Verses 13-15

The Israelites in the future would bring offerings to the temple periodically, but how often is not clear. The amounts that follow probably represent what they would bring for the service of the temple (cf. Exodus 30:11-16). As the following verses show, the prince would take the lead in presenting these offerings to the Lord with the assistance of the Zadokite and other Levitical priests at various times during the year.

The Lord specified that the people should bring a sixth of an ephah (one-twelfth of a bushel) of wheat or barley taken out of each homer (five to six bushels) they possessed. If their offering was oil, it should be a tenth of a bath (about 6 gallons) taken from each of their cors (about 60 gallons). Ten baths (about 60 gallons liquid measure) were about the same quantity as an homer (about 6 bushels dry measure). They were also to offer one sheep fed on Israel’s well-watered pastures out of every 200 they owned. These were the quantities they were to offer in their grain, burnt, and peace offerings to make atonement for themselves on the occasions that follow (cf. Leviticus 9:7; Leviticus 10:17). Making atonement signifies maintaining proper relationship with God or getting oneself back into proper relationship with God.

"The required offering for grain will be one-sixth of all produce (Ezekiel 45:13). One percent of the oil will be given for use in the temple (Ezekiel 45:14) and one of every two hundred animals (Ezekiel 45:15)." [Note: L. Cooper, p. 400.]

Verses 13-17

Offerings for the prince 45:13-17

Unlike the unfair leaders in Israel’s past, the prince of the future would be faithful to the Lord and upright in his dealings with the Israelites. Messiah will be the chief ruler during the Millennium, but this prince will serve under Him and will oversee temple offerings (and probably other things).

Verses 16-17

The people should bring these offerings to the prince for him to offer on their behalf on special occasions: feasts, new month celebrations, and Sabbaths. He would make these offerings for the people as a whole to secure their corporate atonement. As mentioned previously, these sacrifices would be memorials of Christ’s death and or the means whereby the uncleanness of their sins as believers would be removed so they could continue to enjoy intimate fellowship with God. These sacrifices will not result in the peoples’ salvation any more than the sacrifices of the Mosaic system provided salvation (cf. Hebrews 10:10).

Verses 18-20

On the first new year’s day of each year the people should offer a young bull without blemish to cleanse the accumulated sinful defilement of the sanctuary. The priest in charge was to apply some of the blood of a sin offering to the door frames of the temple proper, the four corners of the altar of sacrifice, and the door frames of the inner court of the temple. Another offering was to occur on the seventh day of the new year, and it would cover the guilt of sins committed ignorantly. It too would result in the cleansing of the temple for another year.

Verses 18-25

Regulations for the feasts 45:18-25

Verses 21-24

On the fourteenth day of the first month of the year the Israelites were to celebrate the Passover and then a seven-day feast using unleavened bread (cf. Exodus 12:1-14; Leviticus 23:5-8; Numbers 28:16-25). The same relationship between the Passover and the feast of Unleavened Bread that existed under the Old Covenant appears to exist here. The Jews celebrated the Passover after sundown on the fourteenth of Nisan. For the next seven days they celebrated the feast of Unleavened Bread. The Jews counted the beginning and ending of their days at sundown. So the whole combined festival really lasted seven days, and they often referred to it simply as Passover.

On the day of the Passover the prince would offer a bull as a sin offering for himself and the people. During the seven days of this Passover festival the prince would also offer each day seven bulls and seven rams without blemish as a burnt offering of worship and one ram for a sin offering. He would offer with each bull and each ram one ephah (about one-half bushel) of grain as a grain offering plus a hin (about one gallon) of oil with the grain. This celebration will doubtless commemorate Jesus Christ’s sacrificial death as the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world and the importance of living sin-free in view of that sacrifice.

Verse 25

On the fifteenth day of the seventh month, at the feast on that day, the prince would repeat the cycle of offerings he made during the Passover. This feast corresponds to the seven-day feast of Tabernacles under the Mosaic system (cf. Leviticus 23:39-43; Numbers 29:12-38). In the Millennium it will undoubtedly be a celebration of God’s faithfulness in bringing the Israelites securely and permanently into the Promised Land, which the feast of Tabernacles anticipated.

Other feasts of Israel in the past receive no mention in Ezekiel’s revelation concerning future worship: Firstfruits, Pentecost (Harvest, Weeks), Trumpets, and day of Atonement. Probably they will be absent in the future millennial system of worship. Some scholars believe that by describing only two of the feasts (Passover/Unleavened Bread and Tabernacles) Ezekiel was using a figure of speech (merism) and meant the reader to understand all the others. It is, of course, a dangerous interpretive practice to assume that the writer intended something that he did not state, especially when so much detail characterizes this portion of Ezekiel. However, this interpretation is possible.

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Bibliographical Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Ezekiel 45". "Dr. Constable's Expository Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/dcc/ezekiel-45.html. 2012.