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Tuesday, May 21st, 2024
the Week of Proper 2 / Ordinary 7
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Bible Commentaries
Ezekiel 46

Old & New Testament Restoration CommentaryRestoration Commentary

Verses 1-8

Eze 46:1-8

Ezekiel 46:1

This chapter gives instructions for worship on the day of the new moon, and on the sabbath, and the gate by which the prince (or king) would be required to enter the temple. If one entered by the north gate he was required to exit by the south gate; and if he entered by the south gate, he was required to exit by the north gate. Also the king would be required to enter with the people and also to leave when they left. There are also directions for the king’s offering of a voluntary burnt-offering or peace-offering.

Ezekiel 46:1-8

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. 2 And the prince shall enter by the way of the porch of that gate without, and shall stand by the post of the gate, and the priests shall prepare his burnt offering and his peace offerings, and he shall worship at the threshold of the gate: then he shall go forth; but the gate shall not be shut until the evening. 3 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. 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. 5 And the meat offering shall be an ephah for a ram, and the meat offering for the lambs as he shall be able to give, and an hin of oil to an ephah. 6 And in the day of the new moon it shall be a young bullock without blemish, and six lambs, and a ram: they shall be without blemish. 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, and an hin of oil to an ephah. 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.

Regulations for the Sabbath. Ezekiel 46:1-8.

The inner east gate of the sanctuary was closed for six days and opened on the Sabbath and New Moon, a special Sabbath celebrating the beginning of a new month (Ezekiel 46:1). The inner east gate is the place from which the prince will carry out his ministry on Sabbath and feast days (Ezekiel 46:2). He will not enter the inner court or take part in the sacrifices because he was not a priest. He remained inside the east gate of the inner court to perform his duties while the people were just outside the gate in the outer court (Ezekiel 46:3). For each Sabbath observance the prince will bring six male lambs, one ram, plus a grain offering and a hin of oil for each ephah of grain (Ezekiel 46:4-5). On the New Moon he will bring an offering consisting of a young bull, six lambs, a ram, a grain offering, and a hin of oil for each ephah of grain (Ezekiel 46:6-7). The prince will perform his duties entering the east gate by way of the porch (Ezekiel 46:8).

Verses 9-15

Eze 46:9-15

Ezekiel 46:9-15

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. 10 And the prince in the midst of them, when they go in, shall go in; and when they go forth, shall go forth. 11 And in the feasts and in the solemnities 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. 12 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. 13 Thou shalt daily prepare a burnt offering unto the LORD of a lamb of the first year without blemish: thou shalt prepare it every morning. 14 And thou shalt prepare a meat offering for it every morning, the sixth part of an ephah, and the third part of an hin of oil, to temper with the fine flour; a meat offering continually by a perpetual ordinance unto the LORD. 15 Thus shall they prepare the lamb, and the meat offering, and the oil, every morning for a continual burnt offering.

General worship regulations. Ezekiel 46:9-15

Worshipers could enter by the north or south gate, but they must exit by the opposite gate; no one could exit by the gate through which they entered (Ezekiel 46:9-10). Every animal of sacrifice brought by a worshiper was to be accompanied by an offering of one ephah of grain plus a hin of oil (Ezekiel 46:11). Any time the prince desired, he could offer a freewill offering; when he presented a freewill offering, the inner east gate was opened for him, and the regulation of Ezekiel 46:1 was temporarily set aside (Ezekiel 46:12). Daily sacrifices are to be offered consisting of a yearling lamb (Ezekiel 46:13); accompanying the sacrifice is to be a grain offering of one-sixth an ephah of grain and one-third a hin of oil (Ezekiel 46:14-15). All the details of worship are a reminder that God is a God of order, not chaos (1 Corinthians 14:40); this is an appropriate prescription for worship at any time.

Verses 16-18

Eze 46:16-18

Ezekiel 46:16-18

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. 17 But if he give a gift of his inheritance to one of his servants, then it shall be his to the year of liberty; after it shall return to the prince: but his inheritance shall be his sons’ for them. 18 Moreover the prince shall not take of the people’s inheritance by oppression, to thrust them out of their possession; but he shall give his sons inheritance out of his own possession: that my people be not scattered every man from his possession.

Regulations concerning the prince and his property. Ezekiel 46:16-18.

The preexilic kings were able to increase the property holdings of the crown by purchasing available property (2 Samuel 24:24; 1 Kings 16:24). The prince will exercise the same right of purchase and will be able to increase his land holdings by purchase of available property (Ezekiel 46:16). Inheritance and property rights were extremely important and carefully guarded by the Israelites. All property was to be returned to its original owner or family in the Year of Jubilee (Leviticus 25:10). The same regulation will apply to all property given by the prince to a servant (Ezekiel 46:17). Any property given by the prince to one of his sons will be theirs in perpetuity, but the prince is specifically prohibited from taking the property of others and giving it to his sons (Ezekiel 46:18).

Verses 19-24

Eze 46:19-24

Ezekiel 46:19-24

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. 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; that they bear them not out into the utter court, to sanctify the people. 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. 22 In the four corners of the court there were courts joined of forty cubits long and thirty broad: these four corners were of one measure. 23 And there was a row of building round about in them, round about them four, and it was made with boiling places under the rows round about. 24 Then said he unto me, These are the places of them that boil, where the ministers of the house shall boil the sacrifice of the people.

Regulations for cooking in the temple. Ezekiel 46:19-24.

Ezekiel was brought to the entrance of the priest’s building in the inner court that was described in Ezekiel 42:1-14. In these rooms the priests cook the animal offerings and bake the grain offerings to avoid defilement by contact with the people (Ezekiel 46:19; cf. Ezekiel 44:19). In the four corners of the outer court were kitchens used to prepare sacrifices for the people (Ezekiel 46:21-24).

Applications.

The altar was a reminder not only of the gap that separates human beings from God, but also of the possibility of that gap’s being bridged. Human life finds its meaning in the relationship with God, but evil humans may not commune with the holy God. Only when human evil has been dealt with is communion with God possible. And thus the altar of Ezekiel’s visionary temple reminds us of another altar, in the form of a cross, on which a perfect sacrifice as last achieved the bridging of that gap that separates human beings from their God.

As in the heart of Israel’s land God’s plot was to be located, so too in every human life the divine presence must be located at the center. The significance of the whole land was to be found at the center; in the center strip, at its central point, was the sanctuary which symbolized God’s presence. Our own lives, however diverse their territory and character, require a focal point: it is the recognition that God is central to human living.

These regulations concerning worship in the temple are a reminder of the diversity of Israel’s worship, its daily continuity and its annual highlights. Every day there was worship in the temple; every seventh day there was special worship; at special points throughout the year, there were festivals and feasts. The maintenance of these worship activities were integral to the spiritual life of God’s people. Now, no less than in the past, we continue to need worship if the health of the inner person is to prosper.

Just as worshipers of old could not exit the same way they entered, we should not be able to leave worship in the same way we entered. If it doesn’t affect and change us we may be only attending, not worshipping.

Today there would be those who would urge changes in what God commanded. After all, it would be suggested, look at the people flocking to the high places. If we are ever going to attract people in those numbers we are going to have to get over doing it the same way all of the time. How much wiser it is to make our worship to God the best it can be in the manner he has commanded than it is to change it in a manner that is designed to please us with the excuse that it is done for the sake of others. God, not the community, determines what pleases him. Those who think God is pleased with those who change what he has commanded need to review God’s wrath poured out of the Hebrews for that very thing.

Rules Concerning the Temple and Worship

Ezekiel 44:1 to Ezekiel 46:24

Open It

1. Would you prefer a world where faithfulness and hard work are rewarded or a world where good fortune is dispensed at random? Why?

2. Why do you think society dictates that we dress up for certain occasions and not others?

Explore It

3. What special instructions did the guide in Ezekiel’s vision have for the east gate to the sanctuary? (Ezekiel 44:1-3)

4. How did Ezekiel react when he saw the glory of the Lord? (Ezekiel 44:4)

5. To what instructions did God tell Ezekiel to pay particular attention, in order to correct God’s people? (Ezekiel 44:5-6)

6. What practice would God not tolerate in the restored temple? (Ezekiel 44:7-9)

7. Why were the Levites to be limited only to certain duties within the temple? (Ezekiel 44:10-14)

8. What group did God designate to serve as priests in the inner court? (Ezekiel 44:15-16)

9. What were some ways in which the priests were expected to maintain a greater degree of purity in their life than were the common people? (Ezekiel 44:17-27)

10. What provisions did God make for the sustenance of the priests? (Ezekiel 44:28-31)

11. How did God redraw the map of Jerusalem to provide for the temple, the priests, and the prince in an equitable way? (Ezekiel 45:1-8)

12. What abuses of power by prior rulers did God want to eliminate in the restored kingdom? (Ezekiel 45:9-12)

13. What sorts of offerings did God specify for special days on the Jewish calendar? (Ezekiel 45:13-25)

14. How was the opening and closing of certain gates to be a part of the temple ceremonies? (Ezekiel 46:1-12)

15. What were the required daily offerings? (Ezekiel 46:13-15)

16. How did God’s laws on inheritance insure separateness for His people and justice among them? (Ezekiel 46:16-18)

17. What practical provision was made in the temple since most of the sacrifices were followed by feasts? (Ezekiel 46:19-24)

Get It

18. What indications do you see in these three chapters of God’s expectations of those in leadership?

19. Where in these chapters do you see God’s concern for the "little person"?

20. How does God’s concern for accurate units of measure demonstrate His concern about our life?

21. Why is it significant that the land set aside for worship was to be at the center of the restored city?

22. Why do you think that purity is so often stressed in situations where human beings approach God?

23. How did the temple rituals help the people understand what was important in life?

24. How was everyday life brought into the worship of God in the temple?

25. For whom do you think the feasts were designed primarily?

26. How should believers conduct themselves with regard to some of the questionable practices of commerce or society?

Apply It

27. What "weights and measures" or "rules and regulations" of daily life should you resolve before God to observe with greater faithfulness?

28. How can you give worship more of a central place in your life?

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on Ezekiel 46". "Old & New Testament Restoration Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/onr/ezekiel-46.html.
 
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