Bible Commentaries

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Ezekiel 45

Verse 1

Ezekiel 45:1. When ye shall divide by lot the land for inheritance — The land was first divided by lot under Joshua, a particular share of which was to be God’s portion, as an acknowledgment of his sovereign dominion: see Leviticus 25:23. It is therefore here called תרומה, an oblation. The word properly signifies the offering made to God out of the first-fruits and other increase of the ground, (see Ezekiel 44:30; Numbers 18:24,) because this was a sort of first-fruits of the land or soil itself, Ezekiel 48:14. The length shall be five and twenty thousand reeds, and the breadth ten thousand — The Hebrew does not express either reeds or cubits: our translation supplies the word reeds, but Houbigant, Waterland, Newcome, and many other interpreters, read cubits, which sense they think is plainly determined by Ezekiel 45:3, where it is said, Of this measure (namely, the cubit measure mentioned in the preceding clause, Ezekiel 45:2) shalt thou measure the length of five and twenty thousand, &c. According to this measure, the portion here set apart will be almost seven miles square; whereas if we measure by reeds it will arise to six times as much, and can only be understood in a mystical sense. Mr. Scott, however, with some others, is of opinion, “that our translators did right in adding the word reeds to the numbers mentioned in this admeasurement; referring to the reed that was in the hand of Ezekiel’s divine conductor, because the length and breadth of the sanctuary are stated the same as before: (see Ezekiel 42:16-19 :) so that,” they think, “unless the text be there totally changed, without any authority, this passage as well as that must be understood of reeds.” They acknowledge, indeed, “that the land of Canaan could by no means admit of so large a proportion being allotted to the sanctuary, with the priests and Levites,” &c.; but they think “this was intended to intimate the immensely large extent of the Christian Church above that of Israel; especially in those glorious times, which are doubtless emblematically predicted.”

Verses 2-5

Ezekiel 45:2-5. Of this there shall be for the sanctuary five hundred in length, &c. — If we understand these dimensions of cubits, it exactly agrees with the opinion of the Jews, that the temple stood in an area of five hundred cubits square. And fifty cubits for the suburbs — This likewise bears a suitable proportion to the contents of a square of five hundred cubits. And in it shall be the sanctuary and the most holy place — Both the outward sanctuary and the inward oracle, or holy of holies, together with the courts adjoining, shall be placed in the centre or middle of it: see Ezekiel 48:10. And it shall be a place for their houses — The priests were divided into twenty-four courses, (1 Chronicles 24.,) who performed the public worship by turns: so the houses were for them to live in who were not in their course of waiting. And the five and twenty thousand of length, &c. — The French translation renders the sense plainer, thus: There shall be other five and twenty thousand, &c: see Ezekiel 48:13. This appears to be the true sense of the place, because otherwise there will be wanting ten thousand in breadth to make an exact square of twenty-five thousand: see the following verse. The Levites, being very numerous, (they were reckoned at thirty-eight thousand in David’s time, 1 Chronicles 23:3,) had as large a piece of ground allotted to them as belonged to the temple and the whole priestly order. For twenty chambers — Most commentators understand this of several rows of chambers, or ranges of building. The LXX. read, πολεις του κατοικειν, cities to inhabit: such cities as were allotted to them by Moses, Numbers 35:2.

Verse 6

Ezekiel 45:6. And ye shall appoint the possession of the city, five thousand broad, &c., over against (or by the side of, see Ezekiel 48:14) the oblation of the holy portion — This must run parallel in length with the holy portion, though but half its breadth, by which means these three portions made an exact square. It shall be for the whole house of Israel — The capital city, to which all the tribes shall resort upon the solemn festivals, and shall have twelve gates, according to the number of the tribes of Israel, Ezekiel 48:31. This portion appointed for the city, considered separate from the other portions, was a rectangle, containing an area of about seventeen miles in circuit; which, according to Josephus, was more than four times the circuit of Jerusalem: see Bell. Jud., 5. 4:3, where that city is stated to be thirty-three stadia in circumference.

Verse 7-8

Ezekiel 45:7-8. And a portion shall be for the prince on the one side, &c. — One-half of the prince’s portion was to lie on the west side of the three portions laid out for the priests and sanctuary, the Levites and city; and the other half to be on the east side of it, and to run parallel to them in breadth from north to south. And the length shall be over against one of the portions — Or, as the words may be more intelligibly rendered, And the length shall be answerable to every one of these portions, both on the west border and on the east; that is, it shall run parallel with them, both on the east and west side. In the land shall be his possession in Israel — Or, this shall be his possession of land in Israel. And my princes shall no more oppress my people — As they formerly did: for which they are severely reproved: see the margin.

Verses 9-12

Ezekiel 45:9-12. Let it suffice, O ye princes of Israel — This is a reproof of the oppressions of the former kings and their chief officers. The title of princes of Israel is to be understood of such princes as the Jews afterward had of the Asmonæan race; for there were no more princes to reign of the tribe of Judah till Christ came. Ye shall have just balances — Ye shall take care that there be no deceit in private trade: ye shall provide just measures, both for buying and selling, both dry things and liquid: for the ephah was the measure of dry things, as the bath was of liquid. The homer was about ten bushels, which amounts to about eighty gallons in liquid things. And the shekel shall be twenty gerahs. — This is made the standard of the shekel, Exodus 30:13, which confutes the common opinion, that the weights of the sanctuary were double to those of common use. The shekel is usually valued at 2 Samuel 6 d. of our money; but some suppose it to be in value 2 Samuel 4½d. of our money, and a little over. Twenty shekels, five and twenty, fifteen shall be your maneh — Maneh is the same with the Greek μνα, and the Latin mina, being both derived from it. A maneh, or mina, consists of sixty shekels, that is, thirty ounces of silver; which, reckoning every shekel at 2 Samuel 6 d. value, amounts to 7l. 10s. The dividing the maneh into twenty, twenty- five, and fifteen shekels, supposes there were coins of these several values, which, taken all together, were to be of the same weight with the mina.

Verses 13-16

Ezekiel 45:13-16. This is the oblation, &c. — The Hebrew word here translated oblation, distinguished from the first-fruits, (see note on Ezekiel 45:1,) signifies the portion belonging to the Levites out of the fruits of the earth, when they were gathered in: see Ezekiel 44:30. For which reason St. Jerome, upon the place, supposes the following words to express the proportion the people ought to pay the Levites out of the increase of their ground; which by their rabbins was determined to amount to at least a sixtieth part: after which separation a tenth part was to be paid out of the remainder. The portions allotted to the priests and Levites were not intended only for their own maintenance; but likewise to make a constant provision for those sacrifices, both ordinary and extraordinary, which were appointed by the law: see Malachi 3:10. And one lamb out of the flock, out of two hundred — This offering is enjoined, besides the setting apart the firstborn for the use of the priests and Levites, for making provision for the daily burnt-offering, Numbers 28:3, and for burnt-offerings and peace-offerings, or sacrifices of thanksgiving, that were to be made upon proper occasions. Out of the fat pastures of Israel — This implies that these lambs were to be the best and fattest of their kind, as all other tithes and things dedicated to God were to be. To make reconciliation for them This effect is ascribed to burnt-offerings, as well as to those which were properly sacrificed for sin. All the people, &c., shall give this oblation for the prince — Or, with the prince; that is, the people shall join with the prince in making these oblations; whereas those that follow in the next verse are to be at the sole charge of the prince.

Verses 18-20

Ezekiel 45:18-20. In the first month, &c., thou shalt take a young bullock — These words are directed to the prince, who is commanded, on the first day of the new year, (which, according to the ecclesiastical computation, began with the month Nisan, and answers to our 10th of March: see Exodus 12:2,) to provide a bullock for a burnt-offering to cleanse the temple from any defilement it might have contracted, by the people’s offering their sacrifices, or coming into any of the courts belonging to it, while they were under any legal pollution. And the priest shall take of the blood, &c. — The office of the priest is here distinguished from that of the prince: the prince was to provide the sacrifices, and the priest to offer them. So shalt thou do the seventh day for every one that erreth — For all the errors of all the house of Israel through ignorance. There were particular sacrifices appointed for sins of ignorance, whether of private persons or of the whole congregation, Leviticus 4:13. So shall ye reconcile the house —

Cleanse it from any pollution it may have contracted through the ignorance of any of the common people.

Verse 25

Ezekiel 45:25. In the seventh month — According to their ecclesiastical account, which is Tisri, and answers to part of our August and September. In the fifteenth day, &c., shall he do the like — Namely, the prince. On that day the feast of tabernacles began, and continued seven days. Here we see the deficiency of the legal sacrifices for sin; they were often repeated, not only every year, but every feast, and every day of the feast, because they could not make the comers thereunto perfect. Hence we may also learn the necessity of frequently repeating the same religious exercises. Indeed, the sacrifice of atonement was offered once for all; but the sacrifice of acknowledgment, that of a broken heart, that of a thankful heart, must be offered every day. And these spiritual sacrifices are always acceptable to God through Christ Jesus.

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Bibliographical Information
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Ezekiel 45". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/rbc/ezekiel-45.html. 1857.