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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Ezekiel 46

Verses 1-2

Thus saith the Lord GOD; The gate of the inner court that looketh toward the east shall be shut the six working days; but on the sabbath it shall be opened, and in the day of the new moon it shall be opened.

The gate of the inner court that looketh toward the east shall be shut the six working days; but on the sabbath it shall be opened ... And the prince shall enter by the way of the porch of that gate without, and shall stand by the post of the gate. The prince is to go through the east gate without (open on the Sabbath only, to mark its special sanctity) to the entrance of the gate of the inner court: he is to go no further, but "stand by the post" (cf. 1 Kings 8:14; 1 Kings 8:22, Solomon standing before the altar of the Lord in the presence of the congregation; also 2 Kings 11:14, The king stood by a pillar, as the manner was; 2 Kings 23:3). This was therefore the customary place, the court within belonging exclusively to the priests. There, as representative of the people, in a peculiarly near relation to God, he is to present his offerings to Yahweh, while at a greater distance the people are to stand worshipping at the outer gate of the same entrance. The offerings on Sabbaths are larger than those of the Mosaic law, to imply that the worship of God is to be conducted by the prince and people in a more munificent spirit of self-sacrificing liberality than formerly.

Verses 3-8

Likewise the people of the land shall worship at the door of this gate before the LORD in the sabbaths and in the new moons.

No JFB commentary on these verses. Ezekiel 46:9

But when the people of the land shall come before the LORD in the solemn feasts, he that entereth in by the way of the north gate to worship shall go out by the way of the south gate; 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.

When the people of the land shall come before the Lord in the solemn feasts, he that entereth in by the way of the north gate to worship shall go out by the way of the south gate. The worshippers were on the great feasts to pass from one side to the other, through the temple courts, in order that, in such a throng as should attend the festivals, the ingress and egress should be the more unimpeded, those going out not being in the way of those coming in.

Verse 10

And the prince in the midst of them, when they go in, shall go in; and when they go forth, shall go forth.

The prince in the midst of them, when they go in, shall go in - not isolated, as at other times, but joining the great throng of worshippers, at their head, after the example of David ( Psalms 42:4, "I had gone with the multitude; I went with them to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise, with a multitude that kept holyday"); the highest in rank animating the devotions of the rest by his presence and example.

Verse 11

And in the feasts and in the solemnities the meat offering shall be an ephah to a bullock, and ephah to a ram, and to the lambs as he is able to give, and an hin of oil to an ephah.

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verses 12-15

Now when the prince shall prepare a voluntary burnt offering or peace offerings voluntarily unto 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: then he shall go forth; and after his going forth one shall shut the gate.

Now when the prince shall prepare a voluntary burnt offering, or peace offerings voluntarily unto the Lord, one shall then open him the gate that looketh toward the east ... then he shall go forth; and after his going forth one shall shut the gate. Not only is he to perform official acts of worship on holy days and feasts, but in "voluntary" offerings daily he is to show his individual zeal, surpassing all his people in liberality, and so setting them a princely example. The prince goes forth on the most solemn occasions, not only holy days, but when offering extraordinary sacrifices, through the gate looking toward the east, whereby the God of Israel entered in, because of the prince's close connection with Messiah, whose representative he shall be. Compare Ezekiel 44:2-3 , notes.

Verses 16-18

Thus saith the Lord GOD; 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.

If the prince give a gift unto any of his sons, the inheritance thereof shall be his sons' ... but if he give a gift ... to one of his servants, then it shall be his to the year of liberty; after it shall return to the prince. The prince's possession is to be inalienable, and any portion given to a servant is to revert to his sons at the year of jubilee, that he may have no temptation to spoil his people of their inheritance as formerly (cf. the case of Ahab and Naboth's vineyard, 1 Kings 21:1-29 .) The mention of the year of jubilee implies that there is something literal meant, besides the spiritual sense. The jubilee year was restored after the captivity. (Josephus' 'Antiquities,' 14: 10, 6; 1Ma 6:49 .) Perhaps it will be restored under Messiah's coming reign. Compare Isaiah 61:2-3, where "the acceptable year of the Lord" is closely connected with the comforting of the mourners in Zion, and "the day of vengeance" on Zion's foes. The mention of the prince's sons is another argument against Messiah being meant by "the prince."

Verses 19-24

After he brought me through the entry, which was at the side of the gate, into the holy chambers of the priests, which looked toward the north: and, behold, there was a place on the two sides westward.

He brought me ... into the holy chambers of the priests, which looked toward the north: and, behold, there was a place on the two sides westward. Due regard is to be had for the sanctity of the officiating priest's food, by cooking courts being provided close to their chambers. One set of apartments for cooking was to be at the corners of the inner court, reserved for the flesh of the sin offered, to be eaten only by the priests, whose perquisite it was ( Leviticus 6:25 ; Leviticus 7:7 ), before coming forth to mingle again with the people; another set of apartments was to be at the corners of the outer court, for cooking the flesh of the peace offerings, of which the people partook along with the priests. All this implies that no longer are the common and unclean to be confounded with the sacred and divine, but that in even the least things, as eating and drinking, the glory of God is to be the aim ( 1 Corinthians 10:31).

Verse 22. There were courts joined - Fairbairn translates, 'roofed' or 'vaulted' [qªTurowt (H7000).] But these cooking apartments seem to have been uncovered, to let the smoke and smell of the meat the more easily pass away. They were smaller coups 'joined' or 'attached' to the walls of the courts, at the corners of the latter. In these cooking courts the flesh of the peace offerings was boiled-namely, in the outer court, or court of the women, inasmuch as these offerings were of less sanctity; whereas the flesh of the holiest offerings-namely, the sin offerings which the priests alone eat of-were cooked in an inner place near the temple (Menochius). The Hebrews translate it as the margin, 'made with chimneys' or 'fire-places.' The English version, with many authorities, take it from [ qaaTar (H7000)] to join or attach.

Verse 23. Boiling places - boilers.

Under the rows - at the foot of the rows - i:e., in the lowest part of the rows of side walls, or buildings, were the places for boiling made. They were close to the ground, not on the stories above.

Remarks:

(1) The Sabbaths and new moons are herein mentioned as about hereafter to be holy days observed by the Israelites when restored to their own land under Messiah. So also in Isaiah 66:23 it is written, "It shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the Lord." The prince shall stand in especial proximity to the Lord, as representative of the nation, on these days, and shall pass through the east gate, by which no other man is to be allowed to enter; for it shall have been hallowed by the entrance of Messiah through it. Standing before Yahweh by the post of the gate, at the threshold of the gate ( Ezekiel 46:2), he shall present to the Lord offerings on a larger scale than those appointed by the Mosaic law ( Ezekiel 46:4-7). The millennial state, and the special relation of Israel to God in that period, will be attended with observances of which some, as the sacrifices and new moons, are certainly set aside in our in termediate Judeo-Gentile catholic dispensation. Paul in the Epistle to the Hebrews opposes the continuance of the Jewish sacrifices; and in Colossians 2:16 maintains that the observances of the new moons is no longer obligatory. So that this portion of Scripture is rather a directory for Israel in that coming day than for us. Still there is a spiritual lesson herein for us also: we must come to God through our great Representative, and only Prince and Saviour, the Lord Jesus. While all our days are the Lord's, yet it is well that there are special days consecrated to His service more peculiarly, of which the foremost is the Christian Sabbath, the Memorial of the resurrection of Him who is ever near the Father, and through whom alone we must draw near to the Father.

(2) The offerings of the prince on the Sabbaths are to be on a far larger scale than those under the Mosaic law (Ezekiel 46:4-7; Ezekiel 46:11): besides his official offerings, the amount of which is defined, he is also to present voluntary offerings (Ezekiel 46:12-15 ) to a munificent extent, in order Both to testify his zeal in the cause of the Lord, and to set an example of self-sacrificing liberality before his people. Happy is the people among whom the rulers, nobles, and rich men are leaders and models for their inferiors, in respect to Christian acts of charity and devotedness. The Lord's day is a day in which especially liberal gifts to the Lord's cause are the appropriate accompaniments of the worship of the sanctuary, attesting that we do not desire to offer to our best Benefactor a service which costs us nothing (2 Samuel 24:24 ). If the Israelite was not to "appear before the Lord" at the Passover "empty" ( Exodus 23:15 ), much less ought the Christian, who enjoys such vastly superior privileges, to offer grudging and stunted gifts. (3) The prince, though separated at other times from his people by his princely position, yet at the solemn feasts is to go "in the midst" of them (Ezekiel 46:10 ), joining in the great throng of worshippers, at their head, and animating their devotions by his presence and example. Prince and peasant stand on the same level in worshipping before God, who is no respecter of persons: yet those in exalted positions, as princes and nobles, exercise a powerful influence over men, and may accordingly be the instruments of great good when they set a godly example before those beneath them. Thus David blended with the multitude that kept holyday, going up to the house of God, and evincing, by his whole bearing, his consciousness that he needed the blessing of the God of his salvation as much as any of his subjects.

(4) Provision shall be made in the re-established theocracy for the removal of all incentives to oppression (Ezekiel 46:16-18) on the part of the prince, by securing to himself and his family the permanence of the ample possessions allotted to him. How blessed shall that state be wherein alike the temptation from without, and the inclination from within, to do wrong, shall no longer have place! This is the model toward which we ought to aspire; and in this respect this picture of the future Israel may serve as the ideal according to which, in the spirit, if not in the letter, our state-politics should be framed.

(5) The distinction between things common and secular, and things sacred and divine, shall in that coming time be accurately observed, at once in their spirit and in their letter. In the Old Testament these distinctions were observed in the mere letter, their spirit not being understood. In our catholic Judeo-Gentile times their spirit is enjoined, but not the letter. In the coming New Testament times of restored Israel the letter and the spirit shall be combined in perfection, the letter being so observed as not to sacrifice the spirit, and the spirit at the same time not superseding the letter. The Christian rule is, and in all ages shall be, "Whether ye eat or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God" (1 Corinthians 10:3).

(6) In David's time, the tabernacle which he pitched for the ark of the covenant, after he had brought it from Obed-Edom's house (2 Samuel 6:17), was in Zion (2 Chronicles 1:4), and was called "the tabernacle of David" ( Amos 9:11-12). It remained there all his reign, for 30 years, until the erection of the temple of Solomon; whereas the tabernacle of the congregation remained all the 30 years at Gibeon (2 Chronicles 1:3), where the priests ministered (1 Chronicles 16:39 ). Sacred song and thanksgivings were the service performed by David's servants, Asaph and others, before the ark in Zion: but sacrifices were the service in the tabernacle of the congregation. The two, previously separate, were brought together in the temple made by Solomon. So it shall be in the antitypical temple which shall be in Jerusalem restored during the millennium: whereas now, in our Judeo-Gentile catholic dispensation, the priestly office and intercession are exercised for us in heaven by our Great High Priest there, our service of prayer and praise is carried on in another place-namely, here on earth; just as David's service was before the ark in Zion, apart from the priestly tabernacle of the congregation in Gibeon. In the glorious millennial temple that is to be, the two will be combined in their perfection. The priesthood of Christ, which is now exercised unseen by us, and afar off, shall then be exercised among men in manifested glory; and combined with it shall be the spiritual sacrifices of prayer and praise, which are now our sole worship on earth. That shall be the time of perfect liturgy and perfect praise. Let us try to have a foretaste of that blessed period even already, in our hearty realization by faith of the priestly office of Christ, as though it were seen and near us, and in rendering "the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name" ( Hebrews 13:15).

Finally, in the new and heavenly Jerusalem, on the regenerated earth which shall follow the Millennium, when the mediatorial kingdom, of Christ shall be "delivered up to the Father" (1 Corinthians 15:24; 1 Corinthians 15:28). His sacrificial and sacerdotal intercession shall cease. God shall be all in all, and there shall be no temple; the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb shall be the temple of it (Revelation 21:22). There is thus a beautiful progression in the scheme of redemption, the crowning work of God, even as there is in all His other works.

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Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Ezekiel 46". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jfu/ezekiel-46.html. 1871-8.