Ezekiel 45



From the sustenance of the priests (Ezekiel 44:29-31), the new Torah

naturally passes in the present chapter to the maintenance of the temple

service as a whole, setting forth in the first section of the chapter (vs. 1-8)

the portions of land that should be allotted respectively to the sanctuary,

i.e. for the temple buildings, and the priests’ and Levites’ houses (v. 1-5),

to the city and its inhabitants, that they might be able to discharge their

religious and civil obligations on the one hand to the temple, and on the

other hand to the state (v. 6), and to the prince to enable him to support

himself and meet the charge of those public offerings which were required

of him as the head of the community (vs. 7-8); in the second section

(vers. 9-17) dealing with the oblations the people should make to the

prince for this purpose, reminding the prince, on the one hand, that these

should not be levied from the people by extortion (v. 9), and the people,

on the other, that these should be delivered to the prince with honesty

(vs. 10-16), and both that a certain part of the prince’s revenue from the

people’s oblations should be devoted to the furnishing of offerings for the

solemnities of the house of Israel (v. 17); and in the third section (vs. 18-25)

instituting a new feast-cycle, beginning with a Passover in the first (vs. 18-24)

and ending with a Feast of Tabernacles in the seventh (v. 25) month.



The Portions of Land that should be allotted to the Sanctuary,

the City, and the Prince (vs. 1-8)


1 “Moreover, when ye shall divide by lot the land for inheritance, ye

shall offer an oblation unto the LORD, an holy portion of the land:

the length shall be the length of five and twenty thousand reeds,

and the breadth shall be ten thousand. This shall be holy in all the

borders thereof round about.”  Moreover, When ye shall divide by lot the land

(literally, and in your causing the land to fall) for inheritance. As the territory of

Canaan had been originally divided by lot among the twelve tribes after the

conquest (compare Numbers 26:55; 33:54; Joshua 13:6, etc.), this

same method of allocating the soil amongst the new community should be

followed on a second time taking possession of it after the exile. Currey

believes the phrase, “divide by lot,” does not imply anything like casting

lots, but is equivalent to our notion of allotment, the several portions being

assigned by rule. There is, however, little doubt “lots” were cast to

determine, if not the actual size, at least the precise situation, of each

tribe’s territory (see Keil and ‘Pulpit Commentary’ on Numbers 26:54).

That no such methodical distribution of Canaan ever took place, or for that

matter could have taken place amongst the returned exiles, should be proof

sufficient that the prophet here moves in the region of the ideal and

symbolical rather than of the real and literal. Ye shall offer an oblation

literally, lift up a heave offering (compare ch. 44:30; Exodus 25:2-3; 29:28;

30:13-14; Leviticus 7:14, 32; 22:12; Numbers 15:19; 18:24) — unto the Lord,

an holy portion of the land; literally, a holy (portion) from the land. Very

significantly, in the new partition of Palestine the Lord’s portion should be the

first to be marked off and solemnly dedicated to Jehovah for the purposes to be

forthwith specified. Those who, like Wellhansen and Smend, perceive in this

allotment of land to Jehovah, and therefore to the priests, a contradiction to

ch. 44:28, omit to notice first that Jehovah required some place on which His

sanctuary might be erected, and the priests some ground on which to build

houses for themselves; and secondly, that, so far as the priests were

concerned, the land was given by the people, not to them, but to Jehovah,

and by Him to them (ibid. ). The exact site of this terumah, or “holy portion,”

is afterwards indicated (ch. 48:8); meanwhile its dimensions are recorded.

The length shall be the length of five and twenty thousand reeds, and the

breadth shall be ten thousand. Whether “reeds” or “cubits” should be supplied

after “thousand” has divided expositors. Bottcher, Hitzig, Ewald, Hengstenberg,

and Smend decide for “cubits,” principally on the grounds that “cubits” are

mentioned in v. 2; that “cubits” have been the usual measure hitherto,

even (as they contend) in ch. 42:16; and that otherwise the dimensions of this

sacred territory must have been colossal, in fact, out of all proportion to the

Holy Land, viz. about 720 square miles (25,000 reeds,

or 42.5 miles, × 10,000 reeds, or 17 miles, = 722.5 square miles).

Havernick, Keil, Kliefoth, Currey, and Plumptre favor “reeds,” chiefly for

the reasons that in v. 2 “cubits” are specified, and are therefore to be

regarded as exceptional; that the customary measuring instrument

throughout has been a reed (see ch. 40:5; 42:16); and that the dimensions,

which Ezekiel designed should be colossal (compare ch. 40:2), correspond

exactly with the measurements afterwards given in Ezekiel 48., if these be in reeds,

but not if they be in cubits. As to the breadth of this terumah from east to west,

Hitzig, Keil, Smend, Schroder, and Plumptre follow the Septuagint (εἴκοσι χιλιάδας

eikosi chiliadastwenty thousand) in substituting 20,000 for 10,000, considering

that the space referred to in v. 3 appears as if meant to be taken from an already

measured larger area, which could only be that of v. 1 — the portion in v. 1 being

the whole territory assigned to the priests and Levites, and that in v. 3 the allotment

for the priests.  Kliefoth, however, contends that no necessity exists for tampering

with the text, and certainly if vs. 1-4 be regarded as descriptive of the priests’

portion only, and מִן in the phrase, “of this measure” (וּמִן־חַמִּדָּה הַזּלֺאת),

in v. 8 be rendered “according to” — a sense it may have (see Gesenius,

sub voce), the supposed difficulty disappears. In this case the

demonstrative this in the last clause will refer to the priests’ portion

exclusively; in the former case, to the whole portion of the priests and

Levites. That ch. 48:14 declares the Levites’ portion to be “holy unto the land”

does not prove it must have been included in the holy terumah of v. 1 Nor does

this concession follow, as will appear, from v. 7.


2 “Of this there shall be for the sanctuary five hundred in length, with

five hundred in breadth, square round about; and fifty cubits round

about for the suburbs thereof.”  Of this district, either of 25,000 × 10,000,

or 25,000 × 20,000 reeds, according to the view taken of v. 1, there should be

measured off for the sanctuary five hundred in length, with five hundred in

breadth. The supplement here also, Keil, Kliefoth, Plumptre, and others consider

to be “reeds,” since obviously the whole temple with its precincts is intended

(ch. 42:16-20), though Hengstenberg and Schroder prefer “cubits,”

holding the sanctuary to be the temple buildings enclosed within the outer

court well (ch. 40.). The free space of fifty cubits round about for

the suburbs (or, open places) thereof seems to indicate that the larger

area was that alluded to by the prophet. That the term מִגְדָשׁ. occurs more

frequently in the so-called priest-code (Leviticus 25:34; Numbers 35:2-5, 7;

Joshua 14:4; 21:2-3, 8, 11, 13, etc.) and in the Chronicles (I Chronicles 5:16;

6:35, 37; 13:2; II Chronicles 11:14; 31:19) than in Ezekiel (see ch. 27:28; 48:15,17)

is a fact; but on this fact cannot be founded an argument for the priority of Ezekiel,

since it rather points to Ezekiel’s acquaintance with such “suburbs” in connection

with priestly and Levitical cities.


3 “And of this measure shalt thou measure the length of five and

twenty thousand, and the breadth of ten thousand: and in it shall be

the sanctuary and the most holy place.”  And of this measure shalt thou

measure. As above explained (v. 1), if מִן “of,” be taken as equivalent to “from,”

i.e. deducted from, then the whole “measure” in v. 1 must have been 25,000 ×

20,000 reeds; but if, as Ewald translates, it may signify “after,” “according to,”

then the text in v. 1 will not require to be altered (see on v. 1), and the present

verse will be merely a reiteration of the statement in v. 1 that the priests’ portion

should be 25,000 × 10,000 reeds, preparatory to the additional notification

that in it should be the sanctuary and the most holy place, or rather, the

sanctuary which is most holy (Revised Version). The exact position of the

sanctuary in the priests’ portion is afterwards stated to have been in the

midst (see ch. 48:8).


4 “The holy portion of the land shall be for the priests the ministers of

the sanctuary, which shall come near to minister unto the LORD:

and it shall be a place for their houses, and an holy place for the

sanctuary.”  The holy portion of the land just defined (v. 3) should be

reserved for the priests the ministers of the sanctuary, i.e. of the inner

court, who were privileged to draw near to Jehovah in altar ministrations

(compare ch. 44:15; Exodus 28:43; 30:20; Numbers 16:5, 40),

as distinguished from the Levites, who were only “ministry of the

house (v. 5), i.e. guardian, of the temple and assistants in its outer court

services. As such this holy portion should serve the twofold purpose of

providing for the priests a place for their houses in which they might

dwell, and an holy place for the sanctuary, in which they should minister.


5 “And the five and twenty thousand of length, and the ten thousand

of breadth shall also the Levites, the ministers of the house, have

for themselves, for a possession for twenty chambers.”

A portion of similar dimensions should likewise be marked off

for the Levites, for themselves, for a possession of twenty chambers;

better, for a possession unto themselves for twenty chambers (Revised

Version). Ewald, Hitzig, and Smend, as usual, follow the Septuagint -

 εἰς κατάσχεσινπόλεις τοῦ κατοικεῖνeis kataschesinpoleis tou katoikein

for a possession of twenty chambers), and amend the text after

Numbers 35:2; Joshua 21:2, so as to read “cities (עָרִים); to dwell

in;” and with them Keil agrees, only substituting “gates” (שְׁעָרִים) instead

of “cities.” Kliefoth and Curroy retain the word “chambers” as in the text,

and think the “chambers” and the “land” were two distinct possessions of

the Levites, the chambers having been within (see ch. 40:17-18) as

the land was without the sanctuary. Rosenmüller, Havernick,

Hengstenberg, and Schroder decide for “chambers,” or “courts,” rows of

dwellings standing outside the sanctuary as the priests’ chambers were

located within. Havernick supposes that along with these, which were

obviously designed to be employed when the Levites were on duty, there

may have been other Levitical towns and dwellings, Hengstenberg

conceives them as having been “barracks for the Levites, the inhabitants of

which used the twentieth part of the land assigned to them as pasturage.”

Unfavorable to the first view is the fact that it requires the text to be

altered. Against the second is its awkward dividing of the verse and

unexpected interjection of a reference to cells within the sanctuary while

speaking of the land without. The third, while not free from difficulty as

taking לְשָׁכֹת to be equivalent to “cell-buildings,” is perhaps the best.



Devotement and Consecration (vs. 1-5)


In the ideal kingdom there was to be a certain portion of the land devoted

to sacred objects — to the sanctuary of Jehovah and to the residence of his

ministers. This was called “a holy portion;” it was “an oblation unto the

Lord.” Thus in the very heart of the metropolis, in the most commanding

situation, on the very best possible site, there was an abiding witness of the

presence and the claims of God, and a continual recognition of and

response to those claims on the part of the nation. In a country as Christian

as ours the towers and spires of our sanctuaries, rising heavenward under

every sky, standing strong and even thick among the homes and the shops

and counting-houses of town and city, bear their testimony that God is

remembered, that Jesus Christ is honored and worshipped by the people of

the land. But better than this devotement of land and this building of

sanctuaries, good as that is, is the consecration of heart and life to the

Person and the service of the Redeemer. The first and essential step in this

act is:



recognition that we are not our own, but His; that He claims us in virtue of

His surpassing love and His supreme sacrifice; that He has “bought us with

the price” of His own blood (I Corinthians 6:20). And the free and full

surrender of ourselves to Himself; the hearty and definite acceptance of Him

as our Divine Teacher, Lord, and. Friend; so that in the future it is the will

of Christ, not our own will, that will be the determining power within us.

This surrender or consecration of self necessarily includes:



SERVICE. Being His, in the deepest thought of our mind and the strongest

feeling of our heart and the most deliberate choice of our will, we can

withhold nothing from Him.


Ø      Not merely will one day in seven be given to worship in His sanctuary,

but all the hours of all our days will be spent as in His presence and to

His praise.


Ø      Not only shall we sing some psalms and utter some prayers “unto the

Lord,” but we shall use every faculty we possess, both of mind and

sense, with the view OF PLEASING AND OF HONORING HIM!

And beyond this, or we might say, implied and included in this, is:



HIS SERVICE. This includes:


Ø      The holding and the spending of all that we have in the spirit of

obedience, having regard to His will in all that we do with our



Ø      The assignment of some serious proportion of our means to the cause of

God and of man, of religion and of humanity. What that proportion shall

be, and what form it shall take — land, money, time, labor — is left to

the individual conscience. There is no prescription in the New Testament.

We are called unto liberty; but we are sacredly and happily bound to give

all we can for SUCH A SAVIOUR, in such a cause.


6 “And ye shall appoint the possession of the city five thousand

broad, and five and twenty thousand long, over against the oblation

of the holy portion: it shall be for the whole house of Israel.”

In addition to the holy terumah for the priests and the portion

for the Levites, should be marked off as the possession of the city a third

tract of territory, five thousand (reeds) broad, and five and twenty

thousand long, over against — rather, side by side with (Revised

Version), “parallel to” (Keil) — the oblation of the holy portion. That is

to say, it should lie upon the south, as the Levites’ territory lay upon the

north of the priests’ portion. Adding the 10,000 reeds of breadth for the

Levites’ domain, the 10,000 for the priests’ land, and the 5000 for the city

quarter, makes a total breadth of 25,000 reeds; so that the tract in which all

these were included was a square. That the portion for the city should be

for the whole house of Israel implied that it should be communal

property, belonging to no tribe in particular, but to all the tribes together

— in modern phrase should be “common good, ein Volksgut (Kliefoth),

which should neither be confiscated by kingly rapacity (compare Jeremiah

22:13) nor invaded by individual and private appropriation, but retained for

the use of the inhabitants generally (see ch. 48:18-19).


7 “And a portion shall be for the prince on the one side and on the

other side of the oblation of the holy portion, and of the possession

of the city, before the oblation of the holy portion, and before the

possession of the city, from the west side westward, and from the

east side eastward: and the length shall be over against one of the

portions, from the west border unto the east border.”

And a portion shall be (or, ye shall appoint) for the prince.

As to situation, his portion should lie on both sides of the holy portion (or

portions, i.e. of the priests and of the Levites; see ch. 48:20-22),

and of the possession, or portion, of the city; should stretch exactly in front

or alongside of these, i.e. from north to south; and should extend on the

one side westward (to the Mediterranean), and on the other side eastward

(to the Jordan). The concluding clause, And the length shall be over

against (לְעֻמות, a plural form, occurring only here) one of the portions,

from the west border unto the east border, though somewhat obscure,

obviously imports that the prince’s portion, on both sides of the holy

terumah, should extend lengthwise, i.e. from east to west, along the side of

one of the portions assigned to the tribes; in other words, should be

bounded on the north and south by the tribal territories of Judah and

Benjamin (see ch. 48:22).



The Prince’s Portion (v. 7)


In the division of the land and its produce, while care was taken for the

maintenance of the priesthood by means of the sacrifices, arrangements

were also made for the support of the government by assigning a certain

portion to “the prince.” Christ, as “Prince of Peace,” the Head of the

spiritual kingdom, has a right to claim His portion in all that we possess.



PRINCE. All that we have should be devoted to Christ, and nothing used

except as He may be pleased with the purpose to which it is directed. In all

our daily pursuits, if we are true Christians, we should not forget that

Christ owns us, and therefore owns all our property. But it is not enough

to allow this truth and even endeavor to act upon it. As the idea of the

sacredness of all days is sometimes pleaded in excuse for the misuse of

Sunday, so the notion that all we have belongs to Christ may be used as a

plea for escaping from all direct acts of sacrifice on behalf of His cause. But

we have to remember that our Master claims a portion for His immediate

use. Some of our time should be devoted to Christ’s work, some of our

money to the furtherance of His kingdom among men. What we give to a

missionary society should be considered as especially a part of the Prince’s

portion. Does the Prince have all that is due to Him in this way?



we give wisely to the cause of Christ is not wasted as a merely ceremonial

oblation. It is not like a sacred libation which is spilt for no practical

purpose. The money and labor spent in the cause of Christ should bear fruit

in advancing His cause. By the economy of Providence this great work is

left to Christ’s people. If they do not give their Prince His portion, the

rights of the kingdom will be crippled, and its progress among men will be

hindered. Great and rich as He is, Christ has graciously condescended to

make the spread of His kingdom on earth depend on the gifts and labors of

Christian men and women. ("For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus

Christ, that, though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor,

that ye through His poverty might be rich."  II Corinthians 8:9)

Thus we may say the Prince needs His portion.



grow impatient at the claims of princes, whom they consider to be idle and

useless. But some princes have their missions in the world. Christ came to

do a great work. He was no indolent Prince, only eager to clutch at His

dues, and giving His people nothing in return. Christ has given Himself

for His people. He has now ascended up on high, to give gifts to men

(Ephesians 4:8). When we give Him anything, we are only returning

some portion of what we first received from Him, only rendering to Him

what is His own. If we would measure Christ’s claim upon us, we must be

able to tell how great was His condescension in coming to this world, how

tremendous was His sacrifice in His death on the cross, and how glorious

are the blessings which He bestows on his people.


8 “In the land shall be his possession in Israel: and my princes shall

no more oppress my people; and the rest of the land shall they give

to the house of Israel according to their tribes.” My princes shall no more

oppress my people. That Israel in former times had suffered from the oppressions

and exactions of her kings, from Solomon downwards, as Samuel had predicted

she would (I Samuel 8:10-18), was matter of history (see I Kings 12:4,10-11;

II Kings 23:35), and was perhaps partly explained, though not justified, by

the fact that the kings had no crown lands assigned them for their support.

This excuse, however, for regal tyranny should in future cease, as a

sufficient portion of land should be allocated to the prince and his

successors, who accordingly should give, or leave, the rest of the land to

the house of Israel according to their tribes. The use of “princes” does

not show, as Hengstenberg asserts, that “under the ideal unity of the prince

in Ezekiel, a numerical plurality is included,” and that “these who

understand by the prince merely the Messiah must here do violence to the

text;” but simply, as Kliefoth explains, that Ezekiel was thinking of Israel’s

past kings, and contrasting with them the rulers Israel might have in the

future, without affirming that these should be many or one (see on ch. 44:3).



Princes not Oppressors (v. 8)


In the apportionment of the restored and newly occupied territory there

was need for a display of a just and equitable spirit. That there was some

danger of another and contrary spirit is evident from the admonition here

addressed by the prophet in the name of the Lord to those in power and



  • THE SPHERE OF OPPRESSION. The oppressor may exercise his

might in violation of the principles of righteousness; either:


Ø      against the personal liberty, or

Ø      against the property and possessions, of the oppressed.


  • THE MOTIVE TO OPPRESSION. This is almost always selfishness,

the desire of personal enrichment, aggrandizement, or power, to attain

which the rights of another are treated as of no account.


  • THE OPPORTUNITY OF OPPRESSION. It is no merit on the part

of the obscure, the impoverished, the friendless, that they abstain from

oppression, for the simple reason that it is not in their power; they may be

oppressed, but they cannot be oppressors. But those in high station,

especially princes, whose power is arbitrary and unchecked, have many

opportunities of wronging their subjects and inferiors. In a country like our

own, where public rights are secured, and where the monarch acts of

necessity within constitutional limits, it is not easy to understand how in

other states of society the poor and uninfluential may be at the mercy of the



  • THE SIN OF OPPRESSION. This appears from considering the fact

that the distinctions obtaining amongst men are to a large extent accidental

and artificial. It is for the welfare of society that certain individuals should

be entrusted with power; when that power is abused, the very purpose of

such distinctions is violated. The law of Him who is King of kings, and the

principles of whose government are justice and mercy, is opposed to the

exercise of political power in an unrighteous and inconsiderate manner.


  • THE REMEDY FOR OPPRESSION. This is set forth in a very striking

manner in the passage before us: “My princes shall no more oppress my

people.” The fact that both superior and inferior, both governors and

subjects, are the Lord’s, is adduced as the strongest argument against

oppression. If both alike are the Lord’s, the unreasonableness is apparent

of one class treating the other with harshness and injustice. In fact, religion

is here, as elsewhere, the true guide of human conduct, the true corrective

of human ills. Let men first consider their obligations to the Giver of all,

their responsibility to the Ruler of all, and such considerations will preserve

them from wronging those who are, with them, subjects of the same

Sovereign and children of the same Father. All alike are His, and there is a

community of interest amongst all who acknowledge a common allegiance

and a common indebtedness. In such a case, oppression is not only

unrighteous, it is unreasonable and monstrous.




Human Oppression (v. 8)


“My princes shall no more oppress my people.” God is now upon the

throne (see Ezekiel 43:7), and there is no room for an earthly

sovereign. The highest ruler is the “prince;” but that word stands for

human authority and power, whatever be the name by which it is indicated.

The promise has a reflex significance; it points to the evils which had been

in past times. And Israel would have been fortunate indeed if it had

escaped the common doom of oppression at the hand of its kings and

princes. Many and sad are the sorrows which this poor world of ours has

endured at the hand of those who should have lived TO BLESS and not

TO CURSE IT!  The view, or review, is melancholy in the last degree;

surely it is only too true that —


“Man’s inhumanity to man

Makes countless ages mourn.”



  • ITS VARIOUS FORMS. These are:


Ø      Impressment. The children of Israel were plainly and powerfully

forewarned of this evil (I Samuel 8:11-17).


Ø      Taxation. It was not long before the land groaned beneath the weight

of the sovereign’s levies.


Ø      Robbery of individual right, and invasion of individual liberty. It needs

but to mention the case of David’s sad defection from right, and Ahab’s

senseless covetousness and weak yielding to his truculent queen, to be

reminded how kings, even of Judah and Israel, defrauded men of their

dearest rights. And if we extend the meaning of the word “prince” to

any one in authority, or in power, or in possession, we think at once of

the terrible oppressions, in this worst form, that have:


o       dishonored the lands,

o       darkened the homes, and

o       blighted the lives of men


under every sky and in every age of the world.


Ø      Violence.



truth? It is a shameful abuse of power. It is nothing less than a man taking

from the hand of God the power or opportunity which He gave him in order

that he might use for the good, the elevation, the happiness of his kind, and

turning that power into an instrument of mischief and of sorrow. It is a

heartless and shameless exaggeration by a man of his own personal

importance, as if his comfort were everything, and an equally heartless and

shameless disregard of the wishes and the wants, the joys and the sorrows,

the hearts and the homes of other people. It is a guilty perversion of the

purpose and debasement of the gift of God.



Father of all human spirits see one of His children wronging, oppressing a

number of his fellows, weighting them with grievous burdens or robbing

them of the essential rights of their manhood or their womanhood, without

deep, Divine indignation and sorrow (see Exodus 3:7; II Kings 13:4; 14:26;

Isaiah 1:23-24; 49:25; Jeremiah 22:17; Hosea 4:18; and here, ch. 22:27)?



The time shall come when princes and powers “shall no more oppress.”

When Jesus Christ shall exercise His benignant sway over all nations, when

His spirit of righteousness and of love shall fill the hearts and regulate the

lives of men, then the hard hand of oppression will be taken off every

shoulder; the cruel exactions shall cease; the spirit of the Christian poet will

prevail, when he says —


“I would rather be myself the slave

And wear the bonds than fasten them on him;”


cruelty shall give place to kindness, and selfishness to considerateness; and

instead of men asking — How much can I get out of the multitude to fill

my purse and serve my purpose? they will ask — What can I do to

enlighten, to enrich, to elevate, to bless?



The Oblations of the People to the Prince for the Sanctuary

     (vs. 9-17)


9 “Thus saith the Lord GOD; Let it suffice you, O princes of Israel:

remove violence and spoil, and execute judgment and justice, take

away your exactions from my people, saith the Lord GOD.”

In continuation of the foregoing thought, the princes of Israel

first are reminded that whatever they should obtain from the people for the

sanctuary was not to be extorted from them by violence and spoil (compare

ch. 7:11,23; 8:17; Jeremiah 6:7; 20:8; Habakkuk 1:3) or by

exactions — literally, expulsions, or drivings of persons out of their

possessions, such as had been practiced on Naboth by Ahab (I Kings 21.)

but levied with judgment and justice, which, besides, should regulate

their whole behavior towards their subjects (compare II Samuel 8:15;

Jeremiah 23:5; 32:25).


10 “Ye shall have just balances, and a just ephah, and a just bath.”

The exhortation addressed to the princes to practice justice

and judgment now extends itself so as to include their subjects, who are

required, in all their commercial dealings, to have just balances and just

measuresa just ephah for dry goods, and a just bath for liquids

(compare the prescriptions in Leviticus 19:35-36 and Deuteronomy 25:13-16,

and contrast the practices in Hosea 12:7; Amos 8:5; Micah 6:10-11; see also

Proverbs 16:11).



                                                Just Balances (v. 10)


The princes of Israel are exhorted to govern justly and to be fair in their

exaction of taxes. The older prophets often had occasion to denounce the

oppression and robbery of the people by the princes. After the chastisement

of the Captivity, the restored people should be well treated by a better

order of princes. But when the rulers set an example of using just balances,

the people may be required to follow.



is possible to represent the spirituality of religion as so extremely ethereal

that it has no contact with the commonplace facts of daily life. There is a

subtle temptation to antinomianism in the highest pretensions of holiness.

But the scriptural view of religion keeps it in close relations with plain

every-day morality. The saintliness that is too refined to condescend to

questions of truth and honesty is pure hypocrisy. The Christian should be

first just and true; let him then add whatever other graces he may attain to.

But to neglect these duties is to leave the most fundamental parts of

morality unestablished. The airy pinnacles of rapturous devotion that shoot

up so high in the heavens rest on an insecure foundation when these

essential duties are neglected.



CHRISTIAN PEOPLE. In some quarters there seems to be a tacit

understanding that it is impossible to be quite true and straightforward. A

certain amount of laxity is said to be permitted by “the custom of the

trade.” This evil is glaringly apparent in regard to those goods that are

exported to foreign nations. The worthless shoddy and the sized calico that

wealthy English firms send abroad advertise to the world the hypocrisy of

English Christianity. It is hard for the missionary to urge the heathen to

embrace the gospel when the merchant offers to them these things as

specimens of its products. It is vain to urge that competition is so fierce as

to make an honest course ruinous to these who would pursue it. It is better

to be a bankrupt than to be a thief. But experience shows that dishonest

trading does not pay in the long run. Its character is certain to be

discovered, and then confidence is destroyed and the trade checked. On the

other hand, there are well-known houses that have grown rich and

prosperous on their ascertained fairness in supplying good wares by honest




WICKED. This is the case where incorrect measures are used. The

measures are intended to represent a certain standard, of which they come

short. There is the pretence of giving good measure. This is worse than the

offering of a short quantity without the show of testing it. The highwayman

who meets a man openly and demands his purse is no hypocrite. But the

business man who uses false measures is passing himself off as honest

while he is acting as a thief. The shame of lying is added to the crime of

stealing. There is an abuse of confidence, for the well-known measure is

supposed to represent a certain quantity. The deceitfulness of this conduct

utterly degrades the miserable man who fattens for a while on its ill-gotten

gains, only to reap in the end certain ruin in the next world, if not in this.



Piety and Equity (v. 10)


“Ye shall have just balances.” Devotion, when divorced from morality, is

worth nothing in the sight of God. Men have thought and taught that the

one thing that God (or the gods) required was to be reverently approached

by His adherents, and to receive their numerous offerings (see Micah 6:6-7).

But His disciples did not so learn Moses, and we have not so

learned Christ. Under Him we have come to understand that every good

tree must bring forth good fruit, and that it is he who doeth righteousness

that is righteous. In this great matter of equity between man and man it is

difficult to over-estimate its religious importance. By error and failure

therein we separate ourselves from God; by rectitude and fidelity therein

we commend ourselves to His loving favor. We take the injunction as

covering more ground than the words themselves express; and we look,

therefore, at:


  • THE RANGE OF ITS APPLICATION. “Ye shall have just balances”

means, of course, more especially — Be fair in your dealings when you

trade one with another; but it also means — Do what is just and upright in

all your relations; do sound and thorough work at the carpenter’s bench,

and at the forge, when you build the house or dig the garden or plant the

field; be true and faithful to your scholars, to your people, to your clients,

to your constituents, in the schoolroom, or the pulpit, or the court, or the

House of Commons. Do what you undertake to do; be what you profess to

be; be honest, sincere, faithful in every sphere in which you move.


  • THE DIVINE REGARD. “The eyes of the Lord are in every place,

beholding the evil and the good;” but if they could overlook anything they

would not fail to observe whether men did or did not do justice to their

fellows. If we suppose that there are some things respecting which God is

indifferent, among these, assuredly, is not the question whether we do or

leave undone what we have promised to do. From the formal compact,

carefully drawn and solemnly ratified between the sovereign and the nation,

down to the word of promise made by the tradesman or the seamstress, all

our human dealings and undertakings are the object of the Divine regard.

“I have seen” (Exodus 3:7) is a sentence we should do well to hear at all

times and in every place when we covenant with men.




Ø      Approval or displeasure. We may make quite sure that, when we are

acting unfairly or unfaithfully in any relationship whatever, however we

may be gathering money or reaping honor, we are laying up a large

measure of Divine disapproval; the “anger of the Lord is kindled

against us.” (II Samuel 24:1) But when we are acting conscientiously

and equitably:  however we may be disregarded and passed by on the

part of our fellows, we are enjoying the favor of our Lord.


Ø      Reward or penalty. Faithfulness will bring


o       our own self-respect;

o       the esteem of those whom we serve;

o       the consolidation of our Christian character;

o       commendation and promotion in the day of Divine recompense

(Luke 19:17).


Unfaithfulness will have to bear a penalty corresponding to this:


o       the loss of self-respect,

o       public reprobation,

o       degradation of character, and

o       Divine condemnation in the future.


11 “The ephah and the bath shall be of one measure, that the bath may

contain the tenth part of an homer, and the ephah the tenth part of

an homer: the measure thereof shall be after the homer.”

The ephah (a word of Egyptian origin) and the bath shall be

of one measure. That is, each was to be the tenth part of an homer (see

Leviticus 27:16; Numbers 11:32), or cor (כֹר - κόροςkoros -  measure

I Kings 4:22; Luke 16:7), which appears to have contained about seventy-five

gallons, or thirty-two pecks. The homer (or, cheroot) is to be distinguished

from the omer of Exodus 16:36, which was the tenth part of an ephah.


12 “And the shekel shall be twenty gerahs: twenty shekels, five and twenty

shekels, fifteen shekels, shall be your maneh.”  The shekel shall be twenty garahs.

This ordained that the standard for money weights should remain as it had been fixed

by the Law (Exodus 30:13; Leviticus 27:25; Numbers 3:47). The “shekel”

(or “weight,” from שָׁקַל - “to weigh;” compare the Italian lira, the French

livre out of the Latin libra, and the English Found sterling) was a piece of

silver whose value, originally determined by weight, became gradually

fixed at the definite sum of twenty “gerahs,” beans, or grains (from גָּרַר -

to roll”). The “gerah,” value two pence, was the smallest silver coin; the

“shekel,” therefore, was forty pence, or 3s. 4d. Commentators are divided

as to how the second half of this verse should be understood: twenty

shekel, five and twenty shekels, fifteen shekels shall be your maneh.

The “maneh” (or “portion,” from מָנָה -“to be divided”), which occurs only

here and in I Kings 10:17; Ezra 2:69; and Nehemiah 7:71-72 — “that is to say,

only in books written during the Captivity or subsequent to it” (Keil) — was

probably the same coin as the Greek mina (μνᾶ - mnaa certain weight),

though its weight may have somewhat differed. A comparison of

I Kings 10:17 with II Chronicles 9:16 shows that a maneh was equal to a

hundred shekels, which cannot be made to harmonize with the statement in

this verse without supposing either that an error has crept in through

transcription, or that the chronicler has employed the late Greek style of

reckoning, in which one mina is equivalent to a hundred drachmas. Again,

the Hebrew and Attic talents, when examined, fail to solve the problem as

to how the text should be rendered. The Hebrew talent, כִּכָּר, contained

3000 sacred or Mosaic shekels according to Exodus 38:25-26; and the

Attic talon 60 minas, each of 100 drachmas, i.e. 6000 drachmas, or 3000

drachmas, each of which again was equal to a Hebrew shekel. Hence the

Attic mina must have been one-sixtieth part of 3000, i.e. 50 shekels, which

once more fails to correspond with Ezekiel’s notation. What this notation

is depends on how the clauses should be connected. If with “and,” as

Ewald, following the Targumists, thinks, Ezekiel is supposed to have

ordained that in the future the maneh should be, not 50, but 60 (20 + 25 -

1- 15) shekels — the weight of the ‘Babylonian mana (‘Records of the

Past,’ 4:97, second series); only, if he so intended, one sees not why he

should have adopted this roundabout method of expression instead of

simply stating that henceforth the maneh should be sixty shekels If with

“or,” as Michaelis, Gesenius, Hitzig, and Hengstenberg prefer, then the

prophet is regarded as asserting that in the future three manehs of varying

values should be current — one of gold, another of silver, and a third of

copper (Hitzig), or all of the same metal, but of different magnitudes

(Michaelis); and this arrangement might well have been appointed for the

future, although no historical trace can be found of any such manehs of

twenty, twenty-five, and fifteen shekels respectively having been in

circulation either among the Hebrews or among foreign peoples. Kliefoth

pronounces both solutions unsatisfactory, but has nothing better to offer.

Keil supposes a corruption of the text of old standing, for the correction of

which we are as yet without materials. Bertheau and Havernick follow the

Septuagint. (Cod. Alex.), Οἱ πέντε σίκλοι πέντε καὶ δέκα  σίκλοι δέκα καὶ

πεντήκοντα σίκλοιμνᾶ ἐσται ὑμῖνHoi pente sikloi pente kai deka sikloi

deka kai pentaekonta sikloi hae mna estai humin -  The five shekel (piece)

shall be five shekels, and the ten shekel (piece) shall be tea shekels, end

fifty shekels shall your maneh be;” but Hitzig’s judgment on this proposal,

with which Kliefoth and Keil agree, will most likely be deemed correct,

that “it carries on the face of it the probability of its resting upon nothing

more than an attempt to bring the text into harmony with the ordinary

value of the maneh.”



Religion the Parent of Morality (vs. 9-12)


It is certain that God feels an active interest in all the covenants of man.

The same authority that requires love to God requires love for our

neighbors, equal in strength to love for self. True religion is not sublimely

indifferent to the details of home and mercantile life. It designs to make

every home a nursery for the Church, every shop an arena for the victories

of faith. Every commercial transaction bears a testimony either for God or

against Him.



SOCIETY. Like the sun in the heavens, religion exerts the benignest

influence on men of every rank and station. It teaches the monarch humility

and self-restraint. It teaches princes to live for others. It teaches

magistrates the value of equity and justice. It teaches merchants principles

of honesty and truthfulness. It cares for the poorest and the meanest among

men; inspires them with the spirit of industry; casts a halo of beauty over

the lowliest lot. Nothing that appertains to man is too insignificant for the

notice of true religion. For every stage in life, from childhood to old age,

religion has some kindly ministration. For every circumstance it affords

some succor. It superadds dignity to the prince. It gives a kingly bearing to

the peasant. It links all classes (when unhindered) in true and blissful

harmony (and when it don’t) – CY – 2017).  Tyranny on the one hand,

and insubordination on the other, are equally obnoxious to religion.



DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN LIFE. We cannot go into any assembly of

men for whatever purpose they meet, where we are excused from

manifesting the principles and the spirit of true religion. Whether we meet

for gaining knowledge, or for industrial toil, or for political action, or for

commercial pursuits, RELIGION CLAIMS TO PRESIDE over all our

thoughts and plans and deeds. The shop and the mart are capacious fields

for the daily exercise of Christian virtues — fields exquisitely suited for the

growth and ripening of the noblest qualities. Courage can only be developed

in presence of strife and peril; so our religious virtues can only be

strengthened in an atmosphere of temptation.  If a man is not pious and

faithful and truthful in his commercial transactions, he will not be pious and

faithful anywhere. This is his test; and woe be to the man who succumbs in

the strife!



ACTIONS. “Ye shall have just balances.” The shekel and the homer were

to be fixed standards. If fraud be allowed to creep into our commercial

scales and measures, the fraud will corrupt every transaction. The very

heart of the mercantile system will be poisoned. Villany secreted here

would spread as from a center to the whole circumference of commerce. It

is supremely important that men establish right standards of speech and

conduct. If the exchange is to prosper, it must (like the throne) be

established IN RIGHTEOUSNESS! Over the portals of every shop, on

the beam of every balance, engraved on every coin, ought the maxim to run

in largest capitals, “Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye

even so to them!”  (Matthew 7:12)


13 “This is the oblation that ye shall offer; the sixth part of an ephah of

an homer of wheat, and ye shall give the sixth part of an ephah of

an homer of barley:  14 Concerning the ordinance of oil, the bath of oil,

ye shall offer the tenth part of a bath out of the cor, which is an homer of

ten baths; for ten baths are an homer:  15 And one lamb out of the flock,

out of two hundred, out of the fat pastures of Israel; for a meat offering,

and for a burnt offering, and for peace offerings, to make reconciliation

for them, saith the Lord GOD.” 


The offerings the people’ should present are next



(1) Of wheat, the sixth part of an ophah of (out, of, or from) an homer;

i.e. the sixtieth part of an homer, equal to about one-tenth of a bushel (v. 13).


(2) Of barley, the same (ibid.).


(3) Of oil, a tenth part of a bath out of the cor, or homer of ten Baths,

i.e. the hundredth part of every homer, equal to a little more than half a

gallon (v. 14).


(4) Of the flock, one lamb or kid (שֶׂה, meaning either) out of the flock,

out of two hundred, out of the fat — or well-watered (see Genesis 13:10)

pastures of Israel, i.e. one of every two hundred, and never the

worst, but always the best. These oblations should be made for the

maintenance of the necessary sacrificial worship in the new temple, for the

meal, burnt, and peace or thank offerings that should there be presented to

make reconciliation or atonement for the house of Israel.


Compared with the offerings prescribed by the Law of Moses, these

discover important variations.


(1) Of flour, the Law demanded one-tenth of an ephah of fine flour with a

lamb (Exodus 29:40), with a ram two-tenths (Numbers 15:6), with

a bullock three-tenths (ibid. v. 9); of wheat and of barley Ezekiel’s

Torah requires one-sixteenth of an ephah for each, i.e. one-third in all.


(2) Of oil, the Mosaic ordinance was, with a lamb should be presented

one-fourth of a hin, i.e. one-twenty-fourth of a bath; with a ram, one-third of a

hin, i.e. one-eighteenth of a bath; with a bullock one-half of a hin, i.e. one-twelfth

of a bath. Ezekiel’s ordinance was in every case one-tenth of a bath.


(3) Of animals, the Pentateuchal legislation left the necessary victims,

whether rams, goats, or bullocks, to be provided by the offerers at their

own free-will, stipulating as compulsory only the firstborn of the flocks and

herds (Exodus 13:2, 12; 22:29-30; Leviticus 27:26; Numbers 3:13; 8:17;

Deuteronomy 15:19), the first ripe fruits of the earth (Exodus 22:29;

Numbers 18:12), and the tithes, or tenths, of seed, fruit, the herd and flock

(Leviticus 27:30-33); the Ezekelian omits the latter, but ordains in lieu of the

former that one animal out of every two hundred in every flock shall be obligatory

on Jehovah’s worshippers. Thus the demands of Ezekiel’s Torah surpass those of

the earlier or Mosaic Torah in quantity as well as quality. That these demands are

definitely specified does not prove they should partake rather of the nature of a tax

than of a free-will offering. That they were not to be regarded as taxes is

shown by the absence of any allusion to penalties for neglect of payment;

that they were designed to be looked upon as free-will offerings is plain

from the circumstance that Jehovah never supposes for a moment that

these generous offerings will be withheld; and perhaps all that is really

signified by them is that the liberality of Jehovah’s people in the future age

should greatly exceed that which had been practiced at any former time.



        Systematic Giving (vs. 13-15)


Very elaborate regulations were drawn up to determine the several

proportionate gifts of various kinds which were to be made by the

Israelites. These regulations were after the manner of the times, and in

accordance with the spirit of the Jewish Law. A larger freedom appertains

to the Christian era, and we are not now required to make our offerings

according to any definite proportion fixed for us by authority. But we are

not therefore to conclude that there is to be no system or method in our

giving for Christian or charitable objects. We are left to make our own

system. No one is to say what his brother should do. But each is

responsible to his Master to do what he feels to be right. Thus Paul

says, “Let every one of you lay by him in store as God hath prospered him”

(I Corinthians 16:2).



GIVING. People who live up to if not beyond their incomes find it

impossible to spare any considerable amount for objects outside the range

of their private expenses. But if the money to be contributed for such

objects were set aside from the first, it would be forthcoming, just as the

rent money is forthcoming. Christ’s portion is His due, and provision

should certainly be made for this, whatever may remain over for other

objects. That can be done by a man setting aside a portion of his income

as sacred for his Master’s use.



without method or consideration rarely know how little they give. There

are pitiable creatures, who feel as though they were being bled every time a

coin is extracted from them for some good object. They remember the

disagreeable operation long after, and it makes so deep an impression on

them that, when it comes to be repeated, they imagine that they are always

giving. If they were always giving this would be no hard thing; for are they

not always receiving? But if these people deliberately considered the claims

of the best objects, and then determined to assign a portion of their income

to meet those claims, they could not put down the miserable sum their

contributions now amount to, unless they were devoid of all Christian




charity may be very generous, but it is likely to be foolish and misdirected.

A more thoughtful method would lead to a more just apportioning of the

funds that are contributed. It is not right that the cause of Christ should

depend on irregular gushes of liberality. There may be less scope for

sentiment in a methodical manner of giving, but there will be more practical




TREATED IN A WRONG SPIRIT. One danger is that it should

degenerate into a mechanical routine, like the payment of taxes. Then all

heart and soul will vanish out of it. Another danger is that it may generate

ostentatiousness, since the left hand may know too well what the right

hand does. A third danger is that this system of giving may harden the heart

in regard to new claims. The systematic giver often fortifies himself against

the most pathetic appeals by the reply that he has reached the end of his

charitable fund. Such an answer is unworthy of one who has a Christian

heart of sympathy. The remedy is to be found in regarding the fixed

amount to be given as a minimum, never as a maximum.




Religion a Practical Thing (vs. 13-15)


In the infancy of the world outward symbol was more needed for the

religious instruction of men than it is today. In the sacred ceremonies of the

temple every man had a part to take. Religious truth can better be

impressed upon the mind when outward action accompanies inward

sentiment. Religion requires the loyalty and service of the entire man; and if

convictions of religious duty can be wrought into the soul, it is cheaply

purchased by the devotement of our wealth to God. No cost is too great by

which we can gain adequate appreciation of our indebtedness to God.

God’s requirements and our advantage are identical; they are interwoven

like light and heat in solar rays.



meat offerings, and burnt offerings, and peace offerings.” Each of these

had a distinct meaning, and represented a distinct need of man. In true

religion there enters the sentiment of reverential homage, gratitude for gifts

received, acknowledgment of transgression, application for larger blessing,

vows of fresh service, intercession on behalf of others. Offerings for

ourselves, for our household, for the nation, are suitable; and in desiring

the good of others, our benevolent nature expands, we get a larger good

ourselves. The expansion of the soul is real gain.



OFFERINGS. Wheat, barley, lambs, heifers, oil, were to be the staple of

the people’s offerings. It is of the first importance that men should feel that

God is the Creator and Giver of all good. We are absolutely dependent on

His bounty. To live in the hourly realization of this dependence is blessing

unspeakable. Nor can any arrangement better promote this end than the

regular offering of such things as God has conferred. We owe to Him our

ALL, OUR ENTIRE POSSESSIONS! But He graciously accepts a

part as acknowledged tribute, and gives in return a substantial blessing

upon the remainder. Best of all, He uses our gift as a channel through which

to pour new blessing and joy into our own souls. Our spontaneous

offerings foster the growth of faith and love and spiritual aspiration. “It is

more blessed to give than to receive.”  (Acts 20:35)



OUR PROSPERITY. The man that supposes God to be an austere

Taskmaster is a precipitant blunderer. He has grossly missed the truth. God

does not require gigantic offerings. He requires gifts simply proportionate

to our possessions. The gift of ten thousand pounds may be in the balance

of righteousness only a paltry and selfish deed. The giver may be seeking

only self-interests or human fame. The gift of a farthing may win the smile

of Jehovah. The magnitude of our offering is measured by the motive that

prompts it, the end sought, and the residue that remains. According to this

spiritual calculation, the woman who gave all she had gave transcendently

more than the rich donors of golden shekels. (Mark 12:41-44)  The offering

of our heart’s warm love is the noblest tribute which God appreciates (“my

son give me thine heart” – Proverbs 23:26), and unless our gifts are the

outflow and manifestation of our love, they are rejected as worthless, they are

like smoke in one’s eyes. “...that which is highly esteemed among men is

abomination in the sight of God.”  (Luke 16:15)



MEN. The end of such offerings among the Jews was “to make

reconciliation for them, saith the Lord God.” Yet we shall grossly err if we

look upon this as a commercial bargain. Reconciliation with God cannot be

purchased with gold, or tithes, or animal sacrifices. Reconciliation is the

outcome of God’s grace; but to bestow it upon rebellious men

indiscriminately would be a waste and a crime. The grace that has

originated reconciliation must prepare men’s hearts to possess it. This

omnipotent kindness of God moves the sinner’s heart to repentance. His

desire for God’s friendship expresses itself in prayer and in substantial

offerings. To obtain such a heavenly boon he is willing to make any

sacrifice. Such good does his conscience perceive to dwell in God’s favor

that obedience to His will is a delight, a very luxury to the soul. As a child

finds a delicious joy in pleasing its parent, and runs cheerfully to do that

parent’s will, so the repentant man loyally responds to God’s commands,

and at the altar of sacrifice implores to be reconciled. To have God as his

Friend is his supreme desire, his supreme good. “In His favor is life, His

loving-kindness is better than life.”  (Psalms 30:5; 63:3)




     Reconciliation (v. 15)


The relations between Israel and Jehovah were symbolical of those existing

between the race of man and the same righteous Ruler and Judge. The

sacrifices and priesthoods, the services and festivals, of the Mosaic

economy have all a spiritual significance, and are typical of spiritual and

Christian realities. Turning from the local and temporary circumstances,

and regarding only the abiding, permanent, and universal truths suggested

by the term “reconciliation,” we remark:



to be found in the estrangement of the human race from God, in that

rebellion which is both serious in itself and universal in extent, in the

displeasure of Him who is justly offended with the repudiation of His claims

and the rejection of His authority.



favor is essential to man’s welfare. God stands in no need of aught upon

man’s part. The requirements and necessity are on the human side; but the

advances and the provision must be upon the Divine side. The question is

— Is God willing to be reconciled with sinful, rebellious, guilty man? There

is no equality between the parties to the transaction. It is God’s part to

bestow, and man’s to receive.



APPOINTED MEDIATOR. It is observable that, in the arrangement

prescribed in the prophetic book, the prince and the priest both took part

in the work of reconciliation. The oblation of the people was handed to the

prince, and he gave it to the priests, who duly presented it. The kingly and

sacerdotal offices had accordingly each a part in the work of reconciliation.

This typifies the union of the two offices in the Person of the great

Reconciler, the Son of God. In Him were combined the functions of the

high priest with the functions of the king. The more the character and the

offices of Christ are studied, the more is it apparent that He combined in

Himself all the qualifications needed for the fulfillment of the atoning work,

for making reconciliation for the sins of the people.



ARE SACRIFICIAL. The sacrifices required under the old covenant were

minutely prescribed; but their importance lay, not only in the moral truths

which they symbolized, but in the great Sacrifice which was to be offered

up for all mankind, and not for Israel alone, and by which not a ceremonial

but a true and spiritual reconciliation was to be brought about. Christ

offered Himself for us.



Whether we consider:


Ø      the vast numbers of those whose acceptance and well-being is secured,

Ø      the completeness of the harmony effected, or

Ø      the everlasting duration of the peace secured,


we cannot but admit that the sacrifice offered on Calvary and pleaded in heaven

was not provided in vain. The nation of the saved is brought into harmonious

relations with THE LORD OF ALL!   Rebellion is at an end, and an

affectionate loyalty reigns for ever in place of discord and disobedience.


16 “All the people of the land shall give (literally, shall be for) this oblation

(or, terumah)  for the  prince in Israel.”  Assuming that the prince here refers

to the ordinary civil magistrate, Hengstenborg founds on this an argument in

support of state Churches: “This is also the general doctrine, that the magistrate

shall take first of all from the taxes levied the means for the proper observance

of Divine worship.” But if the oblations above referred to were not properly taxes,

and if the prince was not properly an earthly sovereign of the ordinary type, this

argument falls to the ground.


17 “And it shall be the prince’s part to give burnt offerings, and meat

offerings, and drink offerings, in the feasts, and in the new moons,

and in the sabbaths, in all solemnities of the house of Israel: he

shall prepare the sin offering, and the meat offering, and the burnt

offering, and the peace offerings, to make reconciliation for the

house of Israel.”  The prince, as receiver-general of the people’s offerings,

should devote them to maintaining (literally, it should be upon him, and so

form part of his duty to maintain) the sacrificial worship of the new temple,

in the feasts (הַגִּים, or joyous celebrations), and in the now moons, and

in the sabbaths, and generally in all solemnities (מועָדִים, or appointed

times, hence festal seasons) of the house of Israel (compare I Kings 8:62;

Ezra 7:17), that thereby he might make reconciliation (or, atonement) for

the house of Israel. This combination of the kingly and priestly offices in

the person of the prince (David) obviously typified the

similar union of the same offices in David’s Son (Christ).


Vs. 18-25. These verses allude to the institution of a new feast-cycle,

whose deviations from that of the Pentateuch will be best exhibited in the

course of exposition. Whether three festivals are referred to or only two is

debated by expositors. Fairbairn, Havernick, Ewald, Keil, Schroder, and

Plumptre decide for three:


1.      the festival of the new year (vs. 18-20),

2.      the Passover (vs. 21-24), and

3.      the Feast of Tabernacles (v. 25).


Kliefoth, Smend, and Curtsy find only two a Passover and a Feast of Tabernacles.

Hengstenberg sees in the solemnities of the first and seventh days of the

new year a special consecration service for the new temple, not to be

repeated, corresponding to the dedication of the tabernacle on the first day

of the first month (Exodus 40:1, 17), or of the Solomonic temple in the

seventh month (I Kings 8:2; II Chronicles 7:8), and in imitation of

which the post-exilic temple was dedicated, probably on the first day of the

year (Ezra 6:16-22). Against the notion of a special dedication service,

however, stand the facts


  • that the temple had been already consecrated by the entrance into it of

the glory of the Lord (ch. 43:4); and


  • that the service here described differs in respect either of time or ritual

or both from every one of the three cited dedications.


Between the two other views the difference is slight. If the festival of the new year

(vs. 18-20) was distinct from the Passover, it was still, by the ritual of the seventh

and fourteenth days of the first month (vs. 20, 22), so closely connected

with the Passover as practically to form a preparation for and introduction

to it. Then the circumstance that the proper ceremonial for the new moon

is afterwards described (ch.46:6) favors the proposal to regard the

rites in vs. 18-20 as a part of the Passover festival; while this view, if

adopted, will explain the omission from v. 25 of all mention of the Feast

of Trumpets on the first day of the seventh month (Leviticus 23:24;

Numbers 29:1), and of the great Day of Atonement on the tenth day of

the seventh month (Leviticus 23:27; Numbers 29:7), with which the

autumn festival was usually preceded, by showing that in lieu of these a

sacrificial observance had been prefixed to the Passover on the first and

seventh days of the first month. Smend’s theory, that “Ezekiel’s feast-calendar

divides the ecclesiastical year into two halves, each of which

begins with a reconciliation ceremony (or expiatory sacrifice) on the first

days of the first and seventh months respectively,” would lend confirmation

to the above view, were it not that the theory in question is based on an

alteration of the text in v. 20 (see Exposition).


18 “Thus saith the Lord GOD; In the first month, in the first day of the month,

thou shalt take a young bullock without blemish, and cleanse the sanctuary:”

Thus saith the Lord God. The usual solemn introduction prefixed to Divine

enactments (compare v. 9; ch. 43:19; 44:6, 9; 46:1, 16). In the first month, in the

first day of the month (compare Genesis 8:13). That the first month, Abib, was

intended is apparent from v. 21, compared with Exodus 12:2; Numbers 9:1.

Under the Mosaic Torah, the Passover began on the tenth day of the first month

by the selection of a lamb (Exodus 12:3-6), corresponding to which the

great Day of Atonement in the seventh month fell upon the tenth day

(Leviticus 23:27). In the Torah of Ezekiel, the ceremonies introducing and

leading up to the Passover should begin with the first day of the month, as

under the Law the Feast of Trumpets on the first day of the seventh mouth

practically began the solemnities which culminated in the Feast of

Tabernacles. A young bullock without blemish should form the sacrificial

offering on this first day of the year, according to the ordinance published

by Ezekiel; that promulgated by the Hebrew lawgiver appointed for new

moons generally, in addition to the burnt and meat offerings, a he-goat for

a sin offering (Numbers 28:15), and particularly for the first day of the

seventh month, in addition to the regular burnt and meat offerings, one

young bullock, one ram, and seven lambs for a burnt offering, meat

offerings of flour and oil for each of these animals, and a he-goat for a sin

offering (Numbers 29:2-6). The object for which the Mosaic offerings

were presented was to make atonement for the worshippers; the Ezekelian

sacrifices should stand in more immediate relation to the place of worship,

and be designed to cleanse the sanctuary from such defilement, to be

afterwards mentioned, as might be contracted from the presence in it of

erring men (v. 20).


19 “And the priest shall take of the blood of the sin offering, and put it

upon the posts of the house, and upon the four corners of the settle

of the altar, and upon the posts of the gate of the inner court.”

The mode in which this act of purgation should be performed

is next described. The blood of the sin offering should by the priest be put

(not sprinkled) upon the posts of the house, i.e. upon the posts or pillars

of the door connecting the holy place with the holy of holies (ch. 41:21),

and upon the four corners of the settle of the altar of burnt

offering in the inner court (ch. 43:14), and upon the posts of the

gate of the inner court, not of the eastern gate only, as Hitzig suggests,

but of all the three gates (ch. 40:29, 33, 36). Compare ch. 43:20, and the

procedure in sin offerings under the Law, which directed that in certain cases

part of the blood should be put by the priest’s finger upon the horns of the

altar, and the rest poured out beside the bottom of the altar (Exodus 29:12;

Leviticus 4:7), while in other cases it should be sprinkled before the veil

of the sanctuary (ibid. vs. 6, 17), and on the great Day of Atonement

seven times even on and before the mercy-seat, and on the altar of incense

(Leviticus 16:14, 18-19).


20 “And so thou shalt do the seventh day of the month for every one

that erreth, and for him that is simple: so shall ye reconcile the house.”

The same ceremony should be repeated on the seventh day of

the month, not on the first day of the seventh month, as Smend proposes,

in accordance with the λήψῃ - laepsae -  and on the ground that “the seventh

day of (the same) mouth” would have been in Hebrew בְּשִׁבְעָה לֶחֹדֶשׁ, as in

ch. 1:1; 30:20; at the same time admitting that בַּחֹדֶשׁ is sometimes

used (Numbers 10:11), though not (except in this verse) by Ezekiel.

The sin offerings in question should be made for (or, on account of, מִן -

away from,” expressing the reason why anything is done) every one that

erreth, and for him that is simple, i.e. for such transgressors as should

have gone aside from the straight path through ignorance or foolishness,

the “simple” man being here, as in Proverbs 7:7; 22:3; 27:12, one easily

enticed or persuaded to do evil. For such offenders the Law of Moses

provided means of expiation (Leviticus 2:2, etc.; 5:15; Numbers 15:27);

for the presumptuous sinner, who despised the word of the Lord

and violated His commandment, only one doom remained, to be cut off

from among His people (Numbers 15:30; Deuteronomy 17:12).




Sanctity of Time and Place (vs. 18-20)


Human life on earth is conditioned by time and place. It is a necessity of

our existence here that we should occupy some definite place. It is a

necessity that we should live during some duration of time. We are cradled

amid outward circumstance. Until the soil has matured its powers, it is

molded and modified by external surroundings. What these are, the

character of the man, in great measure, will be.



RELIGION. A man’s personal piety must be nourished in secret — by

meditation, faith, and prayer. But a man is not an isolated creature. He is

related on many sides to others. He is part of a family, part of a

community. Therefore his religion must have a public aspect, and must

influence all his relationships. His religion is helped by mutual action and

reaction. It is fostered by common beliefs, common sympathies, common

worship. The meeting-place between man and man is also the meeting place

between men and God. Scarce any man will rise above the level of

religious life prevailing in the sanctuary. Here men’s souls are fed and

nourished and vitalized. What the sanctuary is the home will be, the nation

will be, the world will be. If the fountain be clear and abundant in its flow,

the streams will be full and clear also. The future of our world hangs upon

our sanctuary-worship.  (excerpt from The Pulpit Commentary on

Ezekiel 45:18-20)(This looks bad for the world if it is hoping in the

reports I hear about millenials”!  CY – 2017)



PURE. So subtle and insidious is the working of sin, that it insinuates a

way into the house of God. Base and selfish motives disfigure the beauty of

our worship. Worldliness clogs the wheels of the soul, and prevents it from

running in the way of holy duty. The priests and ministers of God are liable

to temptation’s defiling touch. The channel of communication between

heaven and men may become choked with avarice and earthly ambition.

The face of God may be hidden by the mists and clouds of human unbelief.

The ears of men may become deaf to the soft whispers of God’s voice. Sin

in the sanctuary may be so subtle as to remain undetected. Our knowledge

of God and of his will is so partial and imperfect that even good men sin

through ignorance and error and inadvertence. Hence arises the need for

the re-purification of the sanctuary. No means are to be neglected by which

men’s minds can be more deeply impressed with the need of purity. No

expenditure is waste by which the souls of men can be cleansed and

ennobled. Our very tears of repentance must be washed. The fountain of

truth and piety must he kept sweet.



FIRST MOMENTS OF OUR TIME. The holiest work must be the work

first done. The dawn of the new year is the most fitting time for this sacred

service. Just as every part of the nation is hallowed for God by the

hallowing of a particular spot, so the whole year is hallowed by the

consecration to God of its first moments. God’s claim to every part of our

nature and of our possessions must be practically yielded; and we admit the

obligation by bringing the first fruit of our fields, the best of our flocks, the

central spot of our territory, the first moments of the year. It is by giving

that we gain. None have been losers by giving freely unto God. That which

we thus give we really possess.




The Erring and the Simple (v. 20)


The sacrifices under the Law of Moses were not intended for

presumptuous, high-handed sins of the worst kind (see Numbers 15:30;

Deuteronomy 17:12). They were designed for the less grave offences,

more especially for transgressions of the ceremonial law. Here we have an

injunction requiring a general, and not individual, offering to be rendered

on behalf of those who had been inadvertently led into error, or who, by

reason of mental simplicity, had failed to recognize their duty, and had

therefore left it undone. It was valuable as recognizing the responsibility of

the nation for those of its members who were less well able to take care of

themselves, and it suggests to us our Christian duty to seek, for their sake

as much as for our own, to guide or to restore them.


  • THE PRESENCE OF THE SIMPLE. We not only come into this world

very variously endowed, some having inclinations and faculties of which

others are not conscious at all, but our minds are of very different

gradations in general capacity. Between that of the man just above

imbecility and that of the greatest poet, or statesman, or organizer, how

immeasurable the distance! There is quite a considerable company of the

imbecile; these have been, in some countries, singularly regarded as in close

connection with the supernal powers, and treated with peculiar regard on

that account. Otherwise and elsewhere they are usually the objects of a

good-natured tolerance. But above these and below the men and women of

average intelligence are “the simple” — those who can acquire but very

little learning, study how they may; who soon lose their way in reasoning,

and are easily worsted in dispute; who cannot look far ahead, and may be

readily taken advantage of by the unscrupulous; who cannot discern

dangers ahead, and are specially open to the attacks of the enemy.


  • THE PRESENCE OF THE ERRING. It is, no doubt, “the simple” who

become “the erring,” whose error is due to their simplicity. But it is not all

the simple who err, nor are all the erring to be found among the simple.

There are those who leave the strait path without that excuse — men and

women who are possessed of the ordinary intelligence and have received a

very fair measure of instruction and Christian influence, who are found in

paths of folly. Some temptation has proved too strong for them. And if

they are not among the flagrantly immoral, yet is there, in their case, a

deviation from the straight line of truthfulness, or of purity, or of sobriety,

or of reverence, or of the becoming and the consistent — a deviation which

detracts seriously from the worth and beauty of their character, and which

makes their best friends concerned or even alarmed about them.





Ø      To guide and guard. Those on whom God has conferred greater power,

and who can consequently see more clearly where evil lies and where

danger begins, should esteem it their most sacred and bounden duty to

befriend, to preserve, to save, those who are feebler and more exposed.

We have our powers, no doubt, that we may take care of ourselves, that  

we may secure and enrich ourselves. But this is only one part, and it is  

quite a small part, of our duty and of our opportunity. We live to love

and bless.  God has made us what we are and given us what we have,

for the express purpose that we may serve those who are around us,  

and more particularly those who are nearly related to us, by defending

them when they are assailed, by timely warning against attack, by

arming them for the evil hour, by encouraging them in the midst of

the battle when they are distressed, by enabling them to make the

most of the resources which they possess. By wise direction and

strengthening companionship many a simple soldier has been enabled,

on moral as well as material fields, to fight a brave and faithful battle,

and to win the victory and the crown.


Ø      To restore. “Ye who are spiritual restore such a one” (Galatians 6:1).

Here is not only a sacred duty, but a   very high privilege. To win a

fortune, to establish “a house” or a family, to build up a great

reputation, to rise to conspicuous eminence, — this is laudable,  

honorable, attractive enough, or at least it may be so. But there are

things which are higher and better than these. And of these nobler

things there are few that rank higher in the estimate of Christ or will

give our own hearts deeper satisfaction in the calmer and truer moments

of our life than the act of restoration. To lead our erring brother or

sister back again from the highway or the byway of evil into the road

of rectitude, into the path of life, — this is emphatically and

pre-eminently the Christian thing to do; it is to reduce to action the

Divine instruction, “As my Father hath sent me, even so send I

you.”  (John 20:21)


21 “In the first month, in the fourteenth day of the month, ye shall have

the passover, a feast of seven days; unleavened bread shall be eaten.”

With the fourteenth day of the month, the day appointed by

the Law of Moses for the killing of the Paschal lamb (Exodus 12:6),

the Passover (חַפָסַה with the article, the well-known festival of that

name) should commence. Though the selection of the lamb upon the tenth

day of the first month is not specified, it may be assumed that this would be

implied in the appointment of a Passover which should begin on the day

already legalized by the Mosaic Torah. According to Wellhausen and

Smend, the first mention of the Passover occurs in Deuteronomy 16:2, 5-6,

and the next in II Kings 23:22; but this can only be maintained by

declaring Exodus 34:25, which occurs in the so-called “Book of the

Covenant” — a pre-Deuteronomic work — “a gloss,” and by relegating

Exodus 12 to the “priest-code” for no other reason than that it alludes to

the Passover (vs. 11, 21, 27, 43) — a principle of easy application, and

capable of being used to prove anything. Smend likewise regards it as

strange that the Passover should be made to commence on the fourteenth

of the month, and not, as the autumn feast, on the fifteenth (v. 25); and

suggests that the original reading, which he supposes was the fifteenth,

may have been corrected subsequently in accordance with the priest, code.

But if the priest-code was posterior to and modeled after Ezekiel. Why

should it have ordained the fourteenth instead of that which its master

recommended, viz. the fifteenth? A sufficient explanation of the differing

dates in Ezekiel is supplied if Ezekiel, in fixing them, may be held to have

followed the so-called priest-code. A feast of seven days; literally, a feast

of hebdomad of days (חַג שְׁבֻעות יָמִים). By almost all interpreters this is

understood to mean “a feast of a full week, the exact duration of the Feast

of Unleavened Bread, which began with the eating of the Paschal lamb

(Exodus 12:8, 15-20; Leviticus 23:6; Numbers 9:11; Deuteronomy 16:3-4).

At the same time, it is frankly admitted that, to extract this sense from the

words, שְׁבֻעות must be changed into שְׁבְעַת. As the words stand, they can

only signify a feast of weeks of days. חַג שְׁבֻעות, in Exodus 34:22 and

Deuteronomy 16:10, is applied to the Feast of Pentecost, which was called

a Feast of Hebdomads,” from the seven weeks which intervened between the

Passover and it. Hence Kliefoth, adhering to the legitimate sense of the expression,

understands the prophet to say that the whole period of seven weeks between the

first Passover and Pentecost should be celebrated in the new dispensation as a

Feast of Unleavened Bread. In support of this Kliefoth cites a similar use of the

word “days” in Genesis 29:14; 41:1; Deuteronomy 21:13; II Kings 15:13;

Jeremiah 28:3, 11; Daniel 10:2-3; and certainly no objection can be taken

to a Passover of seven weeks, if Ezekiel may be supposed to have been merely

expressing analogically spiritual conceptions, and not furnishing actual legislation

to be afterwards put in operation. Against this translation, however, Keil urges

that the expression, “seven days of the feast” (v. 23), appears to mark the duration

of the festival; but this is not so convincing as its author imagines, since the

prophet may be held as describing, in vs. 23-24, the procedure of each

seven days without intending to unsay what he had already stated, that the

feast should continue seven weeks of days. A second objection pressed by

Keil, that יָמִים “is not usually connected with the preceding noun in the

construct state, but is attached as an adverbial accusative,” as in the above

cited passages, is sufficiently disposed of by Kliefoth’s statement that the

punctuation might easily be altered so as to read שָׁבֻעות. Upon the whole,

while not free from difficulty, the view of Kliefoth seems best supported by




The Moral of the Passover (v. 21)   


This great feast, which was so solemnly though hastily inaugurated, and so

solemnly and joyously renewed after a discreditable lapse (Exodus 12; 2

II Chronicles 30), had an historical and also a religious aspect.


  • ITS HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE. It recalled one great event of

surpassing national interest; it brought back to memory the pitiless cruelty,

the blind obduracy, the false confidence of Egypt, and, at the same time,

the sad sufferings and the trembling hopes of Israel. “With what solemn

awe and yet with what thrilling expectation did their forefathers in the land

of bondage partake of that strange meal! With what eager carefulness did

they see that the saving blood-stream marked the lintels of the door which

would shut in their dear ones! And what a morning on the morrow! What

joyous congratulations in each Hebrew family when they all met, in life and

health, on that memorable march! And what terrible consternation in those

Egyptian homes where the angel of death had not passed by but had struck

his fearful stroke! It was the hour of Jehovah’s most signal interposition; it

was the hour of national redemption. They might well remember it “in all

their dwellings through all their generations.”


  • ITS SPIRITUAL SIGNIFICANCE. The keeping of the Passover was

fitted to exert a most invaluable influence in two ways.


Ø      It was calculated to bind the nation together and so to preserve its

unity; or, when that unity was broken, to induce a kinder or more brotherly

feeling between the separated communities, and to prevent further

dissolution. For nothing is a stronger tie than common sacred memories —

the vivid recollection of scenes, of sufferings, of struggles, through which

common ancestors have passed. Such memories allay ill feeling and

strengthen existing “cords of love.”


Ø      It was calculated to preserve their allegiance to their Divine Deliverer.

For the slaying and eating of the lamb in their homes:


o        Spoke to their hearts of the vast and the immeasurable obligation under

which they stood to the Lord their God; it presented Him to their minds

as the Lord their Redeemer, who had with a mighty hand rescued them

from tyranny and oppression, and placed them in the land of plenty,

in homes of peace.


o        Summoned them to the liveliest gratitude for such signal mercy, for

such abounding and abiding goodness.


o        Charged them to live that life of purity and of separateness from

heathen iniquity of which the unleavened bread spoke to them while

the feast lasted (see homily in loc., in Leviticus 23:4-8).


§         It is well to signalize individual mercies; it is well, by some

wise habit or institution, to call to remembrance, for renewed

gratitude and consecration, some special deliverance granted

us by the God of our life during our past career.


§         It is well to commemorate common, national favors; to

recall, with thankfulness and devotion, the goodness of

God shown in great national conjunctures.


§         It is best to perpetuate the one great, surpassing redemption

of our race; to join in the commemoration of that supreme




22 “And upon that day shall the prince prepare for himself and for all the

people of the land a bullock for a sin offering.”  The first day of the feast proper,

i.e. the fourteenth, should be distinguished by the prince’s presenting, for himself

and for all the people of the land, a bullock for a sin offering. That this was a

deviation from the earlier Mosaic legislation in three particulars is apparent. In, the

first place, the “sin offering” here prescribed was manifestly to take

precedence of the Paschal feast proper, whereas in the Paschal festival of

the so-called priest-code the daily sacrifices were appointed to begin on

the fifteenth after the Paschal lamb had been slain and eaten (Leviticus 23:8).

In the second place, the sin offering was to consist of a bullock instead of a

he-goat as formerly (Numbers 28:22). In the third place, it was not intended to

be renewed on each of the seven following days of the feast, but was designed,

by repeating the sacrifice of the first and seventh days, to connect these with the

fourteenth, on which the feast proper opened.


23 “And seven days of the feast he shall prepare a burnt offering to the

LORD, seven bullocks and seven rams without blemish daily the

seven days; and a kid of the goats daily for a sin offering.

24 And he shall prepare a meat offering of an ephah for a bullock, and

an ephah for a ram, and an hin of oil for an ephah.”

The deviations of Ezekiel’s Torah from that of Moses in

regard to the offerings to be made during the seven days of the feast are

also unmistakable (see Numbers 28:19-22).


  • While the Pentateuchal code demanded, as a daily burnt offering, two

bullocks, one ram, and seven yearling lambs, this of Ezekiel prescribes

seven bullocks and seven rams.


  • While that enjoined, as a meat offering, three-tenths of an ephah of

flour mixed with oil for each bullock, two-tenths for a ram, and one-tenth

for each lamb, this asks an ephah of flour with a hin of oil for each bullock

and each ram.


  • The sin offering in the new Torah should be the same as in the old, a

he-goat daily.


25 “In the seventh month, in the fifteenth day of the month, shall he do

the like in the feast of the seven days, according to the sin offering,

according to the burnt offering, and according to the meat offering,

and according to the oil.”  In the seventh month, i.e. in month of Tishri

(I Kings 8:2), in the fifteenth day of the month, shall he, i.e. the prince, as in

v. 22, do the like in the feast of the seven days; or, in the feast shall he do

the like the seven days (Revised Version). That is, the same sacrifices

should be offered daily throughout the seven days of this feast as had been

offered during the seven days of the former feast. That this feast was

designed to represent the ancient Feast of Tabernacles can scarcely be

doubted, though the practice of living in booths (Leviticus 23:40-43) is

not adverted to. Possibly this may have been omitted, as Keil remarks,

“because the practice of living in booths would be dropped in the time to

come” (see, however, Nehemiah 8:14-17), or, as Kliefoth observes,

because, when Ezekiel’s Torah should come into operation, the people of

God would be dwelling in the eternal tabernacles of which the booths of

the Mosaic Torah were but the types.” Nor are the deviations of Ezekiel’s

Torah from that of Moses, in respect of the daily offerings prescribed for

this feast, fewer or of less importance than those which have been noted in

connection with the Passover. Ezekiel’s Torah prescribes for a burnt

offering seven bullocks and seven rams daily, for a sin offering a he-goat

daily, for a meat offering an ephah of flour with a hin of oil for each

bullock and each ram daily; the Mosaic Torah, while retaining the he goat

for a sin offering, required — for a burnt offering on the first day thirteen

young bullocks, two rams, and fourteen lambs, and so on, diminishing by

one bullock each day, till the seventh, when seven bullocks, two rams, and

fourteen lambs should be sacrificed; and for a meal offering three-tenths of

an ephah of flour for every bullock, and two-tenths of an ephah for every

ram, and one-tenth of an ephah for each lamb, according to the number of

bullocks, rams, and lambs for each day. In addition, the Mosaic celebration

concluded with a solemn assembly with special sacrifices on the eighth day

(see Leviticus 23:34-36; Numbers 29:12-39), of which no mention

is made in Ezekiel. Nor should it be overlooked that Ezekiel’s Torah omits

all reference to the other great festival that figures in the Mosaic Torah,

viz. that of Pentecost, or the Feast of Weeks, as well as to the Feast of

Trumpets and the great Day of Atonement (see on v. 21), although

Hengstenberg is of opinion that Ezekiel, having instanced the Passover and

Tabernacles, the beginning and end of the feast-cycle already known to the

Jews, designed that all the feasts which lay between should be included. Be

this, however, as it may, to infer from the deviations in Ezekiel’s Torah

from that of Moses, as George, Vatke, Kuenen, Wellhausen, Smend,

Robertson Smith, Cornill, and Driver have done, that the latter had no

existence in the time of Ezekiel is, as Havernick observes, not only to

render Ezekiel’s representations completely unintelligible, but to beg the

entire question between the newer criticism and the old faith. “How will

one generally explain,” asks Cornill (‘Einleitung in das Alte Testament,’ p.

64), “that a Jerusalem priest sets up a Torah for the future, which

completely ignores the priest.code (?), in all points remains far behind its

requirements (?), and in a groping manner lays hold of the future, instead

of appropriating to himself the finished system (i.e. of the, so-called priest

code, supposing it to have then existed)? Why does Ezekiel require, in the

cultus (which he sets up) so much less than Numbers 28, and 29.? Where,

in Ezekiel is the high priest, who for the priest code is the center of the

theocracy? Where is the great Day of Atonement of Leviticus 16.?” and so

on. The answer to these interrogations is that Ezekiel did not intend to

republish the Mosaic Torah, but to modify it so as to meet the

requirements of the new era, or (perhaps better) to express more

adequately the new conceptions of religion and worship he had been

commissioned to set before his fellow-exiles; and that Ezekiel had a perfect

right to deal in this way even with the Mosaic Torah, inasmuch as he

distinctly claimed, in committing to writing the details of his temple- vision,

to be acting under special Divine guidance (Ezekiel 43:10-11; 44:5).

Canon Driver (‘An Introduction to the Literature of the Old Testament,’ p.

133) admits that the argument from Ezekiel’s deviations from the so-called

priest-code in favor of the later origin of the latter, if “taken by itself,

would not, perhaps, be a decisive one,” and even adds that, “however

doubtful it may be whether Ezekiel presupposes the completed priests’

code, it is difficult not to conclude that he presupposes parts of it” ibid., p.

138). But if none of it existed before Ezekiel, then a counter-question to

that of Cornill may be put, “How is it to be explained that the unknown

author of the priests’ code should have allowed himself to deviate so far

from the arrangements which Ezekiel, a prophet acting under Jehovah’s

guidance, had established?” The natural reply is that when the priests’ code

was composed, Ezekiel’s Torah did not exist. If the newer criticism

believes that Ezekiel would not have deviated so largely as he has done

from the rites prescribed in the priests’ code had these been in operation

and invested with authority (see ‘Drivel’, ‘An Introduction,’ etc., p. 133),

the newer criticism should explain how the priests’ code came to deviate

from the Torah of Ezekiel, which, if it was not then in actual operation,

was at least invested with Divine authority. Is it not every way as logical to

infer, from the deviations of the priests’ code (supposing it to be postexilic)

from the Torah of Ezekiel, that the author of the priests’ code could

not have known of the existence of Ezekiel’s Torah, and therefore that it

could not then have been in existence, as vice versa that Ezekiel had no

acquaintance with the priests’ code, and that therefore it had not in his day

been composed? The impartial reasoner, with no theory to uphold, will

recognize that the two arguments run exactly purpose.




Sacred Festivals (vs. 18-25)


The prophet here refers to some of those great “feasts of the Jews” which

formed so interesting a feature of the social and religious life of the chosen

people. These references are suggestive of the spiritual privileges and

religious exercises of the vaster Israel of God, which He has redeemed to

Himself by the death of His Son and consecrated to Himself by the grace of

His Spirit. Among the lessons which these festivals may thus convey may be




have more impressively realized and displayed their oneness in political and

religious life than when they together celebrated such festivals as those of

the Passover and of Tabernacles, both referred to by the prophet in this

passage. A grander unity distinguishes the spiritual Israel, which is one



Ø      under the care of the one Father,

Ø      redeemed by the one Mediator, and,

Ø       because informed, hallowed, and guided by the one Spirit.


It was the prayer and the purpose of the Divine High Priest that all His

people might be as one nation:


Ø      cherishing the same memories,

Ø      obeying the same laws,

Ø      speaking the same language, and

Ø      honoring the same King.



PEOPLE. It was not to celebrate a merely human community that the

children of Israel kept their solemn feasts; it was in order to realize, in a

striking and helpful manner, the perpetual interest and care of their glorious

Lord and King. They were a chosen nation, a peculiar people, and this they

both recognized and testified when they assembled to observe their festive

solemnities, instituted by Divine wisdom to retain among the nation the

sentiment of nearness to the unseen but mighty Head.



THE CONSECRATED, PEOPLE. The sacrifices and offerings presented

were the symbolic means of preserving this harmony between Jehovah and

the seed of Abraham.


Ø      Offences were confessed with penitence,

Ø      submission was made,

Ø      prescribed observances were complied with, and

Ø      the favor of God was manifested and the conscience was purged

from guilt.


Such harmony, only deeper and more spiritual, obtains between God and his

Church on earth. The:


Ø      estrangement and enmity are abolished;

Ø      reconciliation is effected;

Ø      communion is enjoyed.




Hebrew people were accustomed, upon occasion of their sacred festivals,

to remind one another of the blessings bestowed upon their forefathers.


Ø      The Passover reminded them of their deliverance from the cruel

bondage of Egypt;


Ø      the Feast of Tabernacles brought to their memory the wanderings in

the wilderness.


On such occasions they would turn their thoughts to their

marvelous national history, and especially to its more instructive and

memorable incidents. Similarly in the Church of Christ, the wonderful

interpositions effected by Divine power and clemency can never be

forgotten; they must be held in everlasting remembrance; the mighty works

which God did in old time must never lose their freshness and their

wonder. The “sacred year” of the Church is filled with reminders of God’s

mercy, and especially of those supremely glorious and blessed events in

which the Church on earth took its rise; events connected with the advent,

the sacrifice, and the glory of Immanuel, and those connected with the gift

of the Holy Spirit of God.



festivals were occasions of social and sacred joy. With them were

associated the thanksgivings and the adorations of a nation. The people

gave thanks to the God of gods, the Lord of lords, to Him who

remembered them in their low estate, who led His people through the

wilderness; for His mercy endureth forever. (Deuteronomy 8:2; Psalm 136:16)

There is no exercise more congenial or delightful to the Church of Christ than

the exercise of grateful praise. The songs of the redeemed and the righteous

ever ascend to Him from whom all mercies flow, to whom ALL PRAISE

 is due. The moral nation of the saved ever lifts to heaven the tribute and

offering of filial gratitude and spiritual worship.





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