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Eze 44:1 Then he brought me back the way of the gate of the outward sanctuary which looketh toward the east; and it [was] shut.
Ver. 1. Then he brought me back. ] From the east gate, which was found shut, to the north gate, where the prophet received large instructions. Eze 44:4 Christ must be followed, though he seem to lead us in and out, backward and forward, as if we were treading a maze.
Eze 44:2 Then said the LORD unto me; This gate shall be shut, it shall not be opened, and no man shall enter in by it; because the LORD, the God of Israel, hath entered in by it, therefore it shall be shut.
Ver. 2. This gate shall be shut. ] Is, and shall be, save only to Messiah the Prince, and to whomsoever he, as having the keys of David, shall open it. "This gate of the Lord into which the righteous shall enter" Psa 118:20 - sc., By that "new and living way," which Christ, their forerunner, Heb 6:20 hath prepared and paved for them with his own blood. Heb 10:20 See Hebrews 7:8-9 ; Hebrews 7:11-12 ; Hebrews 7:24 ; Hebrews 9:11-12 .
And no man shall enter in it. ] No mere man, [no man] unless it be Emmanuel. See John 3:13 .
Ezekiel 44:3 [It is] for the prince; the prince, he shall sit in it to eat bread before the LORD; he shall enter by the way of the porch of [that] gate, and shall go out by the way of the same.
Ver. 3. It is for the prince. ] For "Messiah the Prince"; so Christ is called in Daniel 9:25 ; or for the chief priest, who, as he had a singular privilege herein above other priests, so hath Christ, the high priest of the Church Christian, singular privileges above all his brethren.
He shall sit in it to eat bread. ] He shall sit at the right hand of the majesty on high, and enjoy heaven’s happiness, which is oft compared to a feast, as Matthew 8:11 ; Matthew 22:1-2 Isaiah 53:11 . He shall ascend up into heaven, and therehence come again to judge the quick and the dead. Acts 1:11 Heb 9:28 Some by "prince" here understand the ruler of the people, see Eze 46:1-2 who is peculiarly licensed to enter in at the east gate, and there to sit, and eat and drink his part of the peace offering. Compare Exodus 24:11 . It is not meant of Peter the apostle, to be sure, much less of the Pope, his pretended successor, as some of his parasites would have it.
Eze 44:4 Then brought he me the way of the north gate before the house: and I looked, and, behold, the glory of the LORD filled the house of the LORD: and I fell upon my face.
Ver. 4. Then brought he me. ] See on Ezekiel 44:1 .
The glory of the Lord. ] See Ezekiel 43:2 ; Ezekiel 43:5 .
And fell upon my face. ] See Ezekiel 43:3 ; Ezekiel 1:28 .
Eze 44:5 And the LORD said unto me, Son of man, mark well, and behold with thine eyes, and hear with thine ears all that I say unto thee concerning all the ordinances of the house of the LORD, and all the laws thereof; and mark well the entering in of the house, with every going forth of the sanctuary.
Ver. 5. Mark well, and behold with thine eyes. ] Summon the sobriety of thy senses before thine own judgment. See Ezekiel 40:4 . The refining of the ministry and discipline of the Church, with the same charge in regard of the excellency of the matter repeated for attention, to Ezekiel 44:17 , and laws prescribed to that purpose, Ezekiel 44:17-31 .
Eze 44:6 And thou shalt say to the rebellious, [even] to the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord GOD; O ye house of Israel, let it suffice you of all your abominations,
Ver. 6. And thou shalt say to the rebellious. ] Heb., To rebellion. Vulgate, To the exasperating house.
Let it suffice you. ] Ye have sinned enough, and more than enough. 1Pe 4:3 Now that I have set you up a new temple, turn over a new leaf for shame; as Eze 43:10 when shall it once be? Jer 13:27
Eze 44:7 In that ye have brought [into my sanctuary] strangers, uncircumcised in heart, and uncircumcised in flesh, to be in my sanctuary, to pollute it, [even] my house, when ye offer my bread, the fat and the blood, and they have broken my covenant because of all your abominations.
Ver. 7. Strangers. ] Yourselves are no better; Amo 9:7 strangers from the covenants; Eph 2:12 degenerate children, Isa 1:4 alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in you, Eph 4:18 and through your blind leaders of the blind, priests of your own making, &c.
Uncircumcised in heart. ] Erroneous in judgment.
Uncircumcised in flesh. ] Enormous in practice.
When ye offer my bread, ] i.e., The fat and the blood, as it followeth, which I seem to feed upon as a man doth upon bread.
Because of all your abominations. ] Or, Besides all your abominations mentioned. Eze 44:6
Eze 44:8 And ye have not kept the charge of mine holy things: but ye have set keepers of my charge in my sanctuary for yourselves.
Ver. 8. For yourselves. ] Pro vestro arbitratu, non pro mea voluntate; as best suited with your own ends, and fitted to your own humours.
Eze 44:9 Thus saith the Lord GOD; No stranger, uncircumcised in heart, nor uncircumcised in flesh, shall enter into my sanctuary, of any stranger that [is] among the children of Israel.
Ver. 9. Shall enter into my sanctuary. ] See a like prohibition in 1 Timothy 3:3 ; 1Ti 3:8 Titus 1:7 . Such as were the scribes and Pharisees, the Arian bishops, the Popish priests, the cleri (ut vocant) - dehonestamenta among us, till cast out.
Eze 44:10 And the Levites that are gone away far from me, when Israel went astray, which went astray away from me after their idols; they shall even bear their iniquity.
Ver. 10. And the Levites. ] The apostate priests, that for fear or favour have comported with idolaters: such as were the posterity of Ithamar, those time servers in Ezra; Ezra 2:61 ; Ezr 2:63 those in the books of Maccabees, Demas (if Dorotheus may be believed), Paulus Diaconus, Pendleton, Pflugius and Sidonius, authors of the "Interim" in Germany, &c.
They shall even bear their iniquity, ] i.e., Degradation, as a punishment of their iniquity.
Eze 44:11 Yet they shall be ministers in my sanctuary, [having] charge at the gates of the house, and ministering to the house: they shall slay the burnt offering and the sacrifice for the people, and they shall stand before them to minister unto them.
Ver. 11. Yet they shall be ministers in my sanctuary. ] Though lapsed, they shall not be altogether discarded, see 2Ki 23:9 Neh 13:28 partly for the honour of the priesthood, but principally for the encouragement of such as, having fallen by infirmity, rise again by repentance. Capite minuuntur, sed non penitus efficiuntur.
Eze 44:12 Because they ministered unto them before their idols, and caused the house of Israel to fall into iniquity; therefore have I lifted up mine hand against them, saith the Lord GOD, and they shall bear their iniquity.
Ver. 12. Because they ministered unto them before their idols. ] Being carried down the stream of the times, and hurried away by violent temptation, which they afterwards regretted and repented of. So did not those Popish bishops and priests at the coming in of Queen Elizabeth, who were therefore worthily turned out, even fourteen bishops, six abbots, twelve deans, as many archdeacons, fifty prebendaries, fifteen presidents of colleges, many parsons, and other stiff mass priests. a
a Camden’s Elisabeth.
Eze 44:13 And they shall not come near unto me, to do the office of a priest unto me, nor to come near to any of my holy things, in the most holy [place]: but they shall bear their shame, and their abominations which they have committed.
Ver. 13. And they shall not come near unto me. ] How great then was the love of the Lord Jesus to Peter and the rest of his disciples after his resurrection, as in sending them that sweet message, Mar 16:7 so in readmitting them to the work of the ministry after so foul a revolt. Joh 20:21-23 And doth he not the very same still for his poor sinful servants, who desire indeed to fear his name, but are often overtaken in a fault through infirmity of the flesh? Surely, Father Traves, said Mr Bradford, martyr, in a letter to him, I have clean forgotten God; I am all secure, idle, proud hearted, utterly void of brotherly love; I am envious, and disdain others; I am a very stark hypocrite, &c. a Thus he, and much more to like purpose, in his heavenly letters.
a Acts and Mon., 1511.
Eze 44:14 But I will make them keepers of the charge of the house, for all the service thereof, and for all that shall be done therein.
Ver. 14. But I will make them keepers. ] Which was one of the meanest offices.
Eze 44:15 But the priests the Levites, the sons of Zadok, that kept the charge of my sanctuary when the children of Israel went astray from me, they shall come near to me to minister unto me, and they shall stand before me to offer unto me the fat and the blood, saith the Lord GOD:
Ver. 15. But the priests, the sons of Zadok. ] Who follow their father’s footsteps, and are careful to fulfil the ministry that they have received in the Lord; to be best in the worst times as right heirs of Moses’s benediction. Deuteronomy 33:9 , &c.
Saith the Lord God. ] "Them that honour me I will honour." 1Sa 2:20 This is a bargain of God’s own making. Huius rei fides penes Deum tota est; a we may trust to it.
Eze 44:16 They shall enter into my sanctuary, and they shall come near to my table, to minister unto me, and they shall keep my charge.
Ver. 16. To my table, ] i.e., To mine altar, Eze 41:22 Malachi 1:7 ; Mal 1:12 which as often as they do, they receive a double pledge of the pardon of their own sins. Joh 20:23
Eze 44:17 And it shall come to pass, [that] when they enter in at the gates of the inner court, they shall be clothed with linen garments; and no wool shall come upon them, whiles they minister in the gates of the inner court, and within.
Ver. 17. They shall be clothed with linen garments. ] As so many earthly angels, Mat 28:3 Revelation 4:4 ; Rev 7:13 for innocence and victory over their corruptions.
And no wool shall come upon them. ] No brutish and sensual lusts and practices shall be found in them. Ex brutorum lana vestes contexuntur. a
Eze 44:18 They shall have linen bonnets upon their heads, and shall have linen breeches upon their loins; they shall not gird [themselves] with any thing that causeth sweat.
Ver. 18. They shall have linen bonnets upon their heads. ] In token of constant subjection to God. 1 Corinthians 11:6-7 ; 1Co 11:10
They shall have linen breeches. ] For honesty sake; and to admonish them to procure and "provide for things honest not only in the sight of the Lord, but in the sight of men." 2Co 8:21
With anything that causeth sweat. ] That they may not have an ill savour, or seem to do God’s work to their own trouble: the Lord loveth a cheerful giver.
Eze 44:19 And when they go forth into the utter court, [even] into the utter court to the people, they shall put off their garments wherein they ministered, and lay them in the holy chambers, and they shall put on other garments; and they shall not sanctify the people with their garments.
Ver. 19. They shall put off their garments. ] See Ezekiel 42:14 .
They shall not sanctify the people with their garments, ] i.e., By the touch of their garments. See Exodus 29:37 ; Exo 30:29 Ezekiel 46:20 . To "sanctify the people," in this text, is to persuade them that they are sanctified by the touch or sight of the priestly vestments. The monks at this day make the silly people believe that they cannot be damned when they die if they be buried in a Franciscan’s cowl.
Eze 44:20 Neither shall they shave their heads, nor suffer their locks to grow long; they shall only poll their heads.
Ver. 20. Neither shall they shave their heads. ] What can the Popish shavelings say to this, qui ne pilum ullum viri bona habere videntur, as Cicero a saith of Fannins Chaereas? noting it to be a sign of crafty malice to be shaven. And indeed is so bald and heathenish a ceremony that some priests in France are ashamed of the mark, and few of them have it that can handsomely avoid it. b
Nor suffer their locks to grow long. ] As women’s: some heathen priests nourished their hair to a great length. A shag-haired minister is an ugly sight: bushes of vanity become not such, of any men.
They shall only poll their heads. ] Or, Round them. Certainly, saith one, c the devil had forgotten this text when he raised up that reproach of Roundheads. To have hairy scalps is the garb of God’s enemies. Psa 68:21
a In Orat. pro Rosc. Comaedo.
b Spec. Eur.
c Mr Burroughs.
Eze 44:21 Neither shall any priest drink wine, when they enter into the inner court.
Ver. 21. Neither shall any priest drink wine. ] Wherein is excess. Eph 5:18 Lev 10:9
Eze 44:22 Neither shall they take for their wives a widow, nor her that is put away: but they shall take maidens of the seed of the house of Israel, or a widow that had a priest before.
Ver. 22. Neither shall they take for their wives. ] Ministers, of all men, should be careful whom they wed, for many reasons. Hear what good counsel one minister a of mine acquaintance gave another:
“ Quaere tibi uxorem quae sit Pia, Pulchra, Pudica,
Provida, verborum Parca, et Parere parata. ”
“Seek for yourself a wife who is pius, beautiful, chaste,
has forsight, of few words, and prepared to have children.”
a Mr Thomas Dugard.
Eze 44:23 And they shall teach my people [the difference] between the holy and profane, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean.
Ver. 23. And they shall teach. ] Ministers must be able and "apt to teach." 1 Timothy 3:2 Tit 1:9 Act 20:28
Eze 44:24 And in controversy they shall stand in judgment; [and] they shall judge it according to my judgments: and they shall keep my laws and my statutes in all mine assemblies; and they shall hallow my sabbaths.
Ver. 24. They shall stand in judgment, ] i.e., Stand to the right, and not stir from it; in matters of religion especially, accounting every parcel of truth precious.
They shall keep my laws. ] Not observe them only, but preserve them from the violations of others.
Eze 44:25 And they shall come at no dead person to defile themselves: but for father, or for mother, or for son, or for daughter, for brother, or for sister that hath had no husband, they may defile themselves.
Ver. 25. And they shall come at no dead person. ] Not defile their consciences with dead works.
They may defile themselves. ] So they keep a mean. Something they may yield to nature, nothing to impatience. Mens e luctu eluctetur, the mind surmounts difficulties from grief.
Eze 44:26 And after he is cleansed, they shall reckon unto him seven days.
Ver. 26. And after he is cleansed. ] This is a new sanction in the new temple, as Vatablus observeth.
Eze 44:27 And in the day that he goeth into the sanctuary, unto the inner court, to minister in the sanctuary, he shall offer his sin offering, saith the Lord GOD.
Ver. 27. He shall offer his sin offering. ] Because we do easily overshoot ourselves in things permitted. Licitis perimus omnes. We perish in permitting all things.
Eze 44:28 And it shall be unto them for an inheritance: I [am] their inheritance: and ye shall give them no possession in Israel: I [am] their possession.
Ver. 28. And it shall be, &c. ] This that followeth shall be their inheritance, Eze 44:29-31 and whatsoever they want more shall be made up in me.
Eze 44:29 They shall eat the meat offering, and the sin offering, and the trespass offering; and every dedicated thing in Israel shall be theirs.
Ver. 29. They shall eat. ] See on Ezekiel 44:28 .
Eze 44:30 And the first of all the firstfruits of all [things], and every oblation of all, of every [sort] of your oblations, shall be the priest’s: ye shall also give unto the priest the first of your dough, that he may cause the blessing to rest in thine house.
Ver. 30. That he may cause the blessing. ] Tithe and be rich. See Malachi 3:10 . See Trapp on " Mal 3:10 "
Eze 44:31 The priests shall not eat of any thing that is dead of itself, or torn, whether it be fowl or beast.
Ver. 31. The priests shall not eat, &c. ] They shall not be greedy of filthy lucre, nor oppressive. Popish priests made so much gain of the dead, and so "devoured widows’ houses," under a pretence of dirges, trentals, masses for the dead, &c., that there was a necessity in, this kingdom of a statute of mortmain a to restrain them.
a The figurative use is often based on the notion that the ‘dead hand’ means the posthumous control exercised by the testator over the uses to which the property is to be applied. ŒD
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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Ezekiel 44". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 20 / Ordinary 25