This chapter falls into three divisions:
and the people of the land when engaged in solemn acts of worship;
how he may dispose of his portion or inheritance;
kitchens for the priests and for the people.
The supplementary directions contained in these verses relate to the worship of
the prince and the people on the sabbaths and the new moons (vs. 1-7) and at
the appointed feasts generally (vs. 5-15).
1 “Thus saith the Lord GOD; The gate of the inner court that looketh
toward the east shall be shut the six working days; but on the
sabbath it shall be opened, and in the day of the new moon it shall
be opened.” Like the preceding sections which introduced distinctly new
enactments in Ezekiel’s Torah (see ch. 44:9; 45:9, 18), this properly opens with a
Thus saith the Lord God, since it refers to the worship that should be celebrated
at the gate of the inner court which looketh toward the east. Ewald, after the
Septuagint - (ἡ πύλη ἡ ἐν τῇ αὐλῇ τῇ ἐσωτέρᾳ - hae pulae hae en tae aulae tae
esotera - ), changes the text so as to read the outer court gate, and
understands the statement here made to be a qualification of that contained
in 44:1-3. It is, however, the inner east gate to which the
present clause alludes, and the announcement made concerning it is that,
like the outer east gate, it should be shut on the six working days;
literally, the six days of the business (compare I Samuel 20:19); but that,
unlike the outer east gate, it should be opened on the sabbath (literally, in
the day of the sabbath) and in the day of the new moon, both of which
days had been marked under the Law, and should in future continue to be
marked, by special sacrificial celebrations.
2 “And the prince shall enter by the way of the porch of that gate
without, and shall stand by the post of the gate, and the priests
shall prepare his burnt offering and his peace offerings, and he
shall worship at the threshold of the gate: then he shall go forth;
but the gate shall not be shut until the evening.”
The reason for the opening of this inner east gate should be that
the prince might enter it as far as its threshold, and stand there worshipping
by the posts of the gate, while his burnt offerings and his peace offerings
were being prepared by the priests, who, rather than the prince, were the
proper ministers for conducting the sacrificial ceremony. The prince should
reach his station at the threshold of the inner gate, by the way of the
porch of that (or, the) gate without; but whether this signified that he
should pass through the eastern gate of the outer court, and so advance
towards the inner east gate, as Ewald, Keil, Kliefoth, and Plumptre assume,
or, as Hengstenberg, Schroder, and Smend suppose, that he should enter
the inner gate by the way of the porch of the gate, i.e. from the outside,
from the outer court into which he had previously entered through either
the north or the south outer gates, cannot be decided. In favor of the
former may be urged the consideration that it seems more natural to apply
מִהוּצ to the outer gate than to the outer court, since no, one could enter
the inner gate except from the outer court, unless he were already in the
inner court; but in favor of the latter is:
expressly declares that the outer east gate should not be opened, and that
no man should enter in by it, thus scarcely admitting of an exception; and
“appointed feasts” the prince and the people alike should enter the outer
court either by the north or the south gate, since, if any of these “feasts”
fell upon a sabbath, this regulation would not be practicable, if the prince
and the people were required to enter by different doors. The question,
however, in itself is immaterial. The points of importance are that the
prince should worship in the porch of the inner gate, and that, on finishing
his worship, he should retire, and that the gate should not be shut; until the
3 “Likewise the people of the land shall worship at the door of this
gate before the LORD in the sabbaths and in the new moons.”
Likewise (or, and) to the people of the land should be
accorded permission to worship at this inner gate, only not like the prince,
in its porch, but at its door, yet on the same occasions as he, in the
sabbaths and in the new moons. Kliefoth, who takes “this gate” to
signify the outer gate, through which, according to his interpretation of
v. 2 (see above), the prince should pass so as to reach the inner east gate,
conceives the import of the present verse to be that, while the prince
should be permitted on the sabbaths and new moons to pass through the
eastern gate, the people “should remain standing in front of the outer east
gate, and, looking through it and the opened inner east gate, should pray
before Jehovah.” This, however, is unnatural, even on the hypothesis that
the prince should pass through the outer east gate, and the view of Keil is
greatly preferable, that “this gate” was the inner east gate, and that the
people should reach it (even if the prince did not) by entering the outer
court through the north gate or the south.
The Daily Offering (vs. 1-3)
There is nothing inconsistent in the combination of special solemnities
observed upon certain occasions with the regular daily worship. They are
not contradictory of, but complementary to, each other. If there is an
adaptation between annual festivals and one principle of human nature,
there is an equal adaptation between another tendency of that nature and
the constantly recurring daily sacrifice of prayer and praise. Accordingly, in
this same chapter are found directions as to the yearly feasts and
instructions concerning the daily sacrifice. How just and reasonable is this
latter provision for our religious life is apparent from:
The tokens of God’s goodness and bounty, forbearance and grace, do not
come to us at long intervals. They are incessantly bestowed. He daily
loadeth us with benefits. (Psalm 68:19) He giveth us day by day our daily
bread. (Matthew 6:11) The mind that is at once observant and sensitive is,
at the contemplation of renewed, unceasing favors, ready to exclaim,
“Every day will I praise thee, and I will bless thy Name for ever and ever.”
WHICH FORGIVENESS HAS TO BE ASKED. The offerings and
sacrifices of the temple included not only thank offerings, but sin and
trespass offerings. The Israelite worshipper appeared before Jehovah as a
penitent supplicating forbearance and pardon. There is no human
worshipper who has not occasion to come into the presence of the God of
holiness with shame and confusion of face. Daily transgressions and
omissions call for daily acts of humiliation and daily entreaties for mercy.
The self-righteous may conceal from themselves this fact, and the
hypocritical may seek to conceal it from God. But those who know
themselves, and are sincere in their devotions, will implore the clemency
and the forgiveness promised by the righteous Sovereign to those who seek
reconciliation through THE MEDIATION OF THE DIVINE REDEEMER!
NEEDED, AND WHICH HAVE TO BE SOUGHT FROM GOD.
Devotion is primarily the offering of the heart, its love and grateful praise,
to God. But it includes also the seeking of blessings which it is His
prerogative to bestow. There is no day which does not bring with it duties
that can be properly fulfilled only with Divine assistance, trials which can
only be passed through securely and beneficially through the direction
which God’s Holy Spirit alone can vouchsafe. If this is so, how reasonable
is the provision for daily communion with God! Thus only can we be
assured of that grace which will enable us so to pass through the discipline
of earth that it may be the means of meeting us for THE SERVICE AND
JOYS OF HEAVEN!
The Consecration of Time (vs. 1-3)
God has mercifully imparted to human life a pleasant variety. It might have
been, especially as the result of transgression, a dull monotony. It might
have been day without night; a continuous season, neither summer nor
winter; working days in perpetual succession. But as in nature He has given
to us the delightfu1 spectacle of mountain and valley, land and water; as in
the circumstance and experience of life we have youth, manhood and old
age; so also we have secular days and sacred. (I Recommend Thomas Cole’s
Voyages of Life @ http://www.explorethomascole.org/tour/items/73/series/
for contemplation. CY – 2017)
RELIGION. Sun and moon and stars not only serve as luminaries of our
earth, they are appointed as signs. They signify unseen and spiritual
realities. The sun speaks to us of another Fount of light — the Sun of
Righteousness, who illuminates man’s soul. (Malachi 4:2) The moon,
with her many phases, serves as an emblem of the Church, receiving her
light and heat from the Sun. Every mountain appeals to us to rise above
the common level of a mortal’s life. Every flower points to spiritual beauty
and usefulness, while it preaches likewise a lesson of man’s brief opportunity.
So when the gate that looked towards the east was opened, it was that the
worshippers might be moved and lifted heavenward, by the sight of the
rising sun. This privilege was repeated on the day when the new moon
appeared. Incarnate as we are in flesh and blood, we need to learn from
every quarter lessons of spiritual moment. God deigns to instruct us by the
service of a thousand, teachers. If our eyes are open wide we may learn
gospel lessons on every side.
SEASONS. He came near to Jacob in a special manner by the vision at
with his friend. Especially He has ordained the sabbath as a time when He
will commune with men. Even ignorant men have discovered that rest of
body and intellect one day in seven is a benefit to the man and to the
nation. But without doubt God sees a deeper reason for the institution of
the sabbath than do we. Certain it is that in the olden time He regarded the
observance of the sabbath as emphatically the maintenance of men’s
covenant with Him. The violation of the sabbath obtained His withering
frown. And the intrinsic value of the day is as great now, although its
violation be not followed by the summary punishment of God. The sabbath
day is peculiarly a day “in which He may be found.” Having spread the
banquet for human souls, the King comes near to see His guests.
INNER DOOR OF THE HEART MUST BE OPENED. The hindrance to
intimate fellowship with God is on our side. On God’s side there is eager
willingness. “We are not straitened in Him.” He is prepared to make His
presence a joyous reality as much as ever He did to saints in the olden time.
We may walk with Him as Enoch did (Genesis 5:24), if we will. We may have
communications with Him as Abraham did, if we will. The hindrance is in
our own will. If only the door of the heart be unbarred, if only our
strongest affections wait on the threshold to give Him welcome, He will
meet with us, and give us all the comforts of His friendship. Other guests
are often entertained, such as vain ambitions, animal inclinations, worldly
cares, evil companionships, and we are ashamed to bring in the heavenly
King. Alas! too often the door is locked on the inside.
exerts an influence either for evil or for good over multitudes. His example
is especially contagious. If he is sincerely pious, he can induce many to
serve the Lord. But even the prince may not bring the sacrifice near to
God. His rank and office are limited by Divine authority. In the service of
the sanctuary he may not be supreme. Even the king must draw nigh to
God through the offices of the priest. The priest likewise renders useful
service to multitudes. He speaks for them to God. He conveys substantial
good from God to them. So every man, in proportion to his faith and piety
and prayerfulness, may win over others to the side of virtue — to the side
of God. Each of us occupies a center, and by a holy character we can draw,
by the magnetic power of love Godward, men and women from a wide
circumference. As “one sinner destroyeth much good” (Ecclesiastes 9:18),
so one saint may save alive a myriad of his fellow-men.
THRESHOLD OF THE
material nature, that we can get no further than the margin of the eternal
kingdom. We can see the great realities “only through a glass darkly.”
(I Corinthians 13:12) Yet we make them more obscure:
Ø by our spiritual laziness and
Ø our undue attachment to earthly pursuits.
Above everything, candor and openness of soul are needed to allow the light
of truth to stream in. We can make earthly and carnal all the sensibilities of
our souls by the habitual neglect of God’s presence. (“To be carnally
minded is death but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.” Romans 8:6)
But if we wish honestly and earnestly to know God more, and to have friendly
relations with Him, we can. The open door of the heart will be a welcome
to God well understood.
The People’s Worship (v.3)
Although there was an elaborate hierarchical system in the Hebrew
religion, care was taken that the people generally should take an important
part in the service. They were not admitted to the most sacred parts of the
temple enclosure, but they were expected to come up to the temple and
share in its worship.
under the Law, much more is it looked for in the gospel dispensation,
according to which all the Lord’s people are priests, and all are admitted to
the most holy place through the rent veil God has personal dealings with
each soul, and it is right for each soul to come up before him in grateful
adoration. The service in which the people do not take part cannot be said
to be of much use to them. It is true that there is value in intercession, and
we should all plead one for another. Still, we cannot grant to any priest a
power of attorney to execute our religious contracts in our stead.
joy on earth can be more rich and full.
“Lord, how delightful ‘tis to see
A whole assembly worship thee!”
The dreariness of Sunday just arises from the fact that so many people who
go to church really take no part in the service. It must be wearisome to sit
as spectator of a feast of which one does not partake. But when once a
living interest is taken in the worship, and the spectator becomes a guest at
the table, the whole character of the scene is changed, and the joy of
worship is experienced. Then it is possible to say, “How amiable are thy
tabernacles, O Lord of hosts! my soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the
courts of the Lord;” and “I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go
into the house of the Lord.”
be possible to make it all that we would desire in form and external
expression. Indeed, popular worship can never reach the standard of
fastidious aestheticism. In trying to satisfy the refined taste of one or two
cultured persons, we may simply destroy the means of worship for the
majority of a congregation. In that case the service, while it reaches the
perfection of art, loses its spiritual character and degenerates into a mere
musical performance. We should always bear in mind the practical end of
worship, always see that it is in touch with the people and expresses and
helps the devotion of the congregation generally. The church should be the
people’s home of worship, not the shrine of a privileged aristocracy. Christ
was one of the people.
MAY BE MADE POPULAR. There is considerable danger of running into
this opposite extreme in the effort to attract and interest the indifferent.
But then the whole object is defeated. We may get the people and amuse
them for a while, but what is the use of doing so if we sacrifice the great
end of assembling together — the reverent adoration of the holy God?
Fine art may be sacrificed, but spiritual reality must be retained. Religion,
the essence of which is reverence, cannot be helped by mere vulgarity.
The people’s worship must be worship.
Worship (v. 3)
The prophet, having described by anticipation the sacred city and temple,
having represented the several duties of prince, priest, and people, having
given regulations for sacrifices and festivals, now proceeds to depict the
sacred services for which all this preparation has been undertaken. The
rulers of the nation, the ministers of religion, and the people of the land are
beheld uniting in the solemn function of spiritual worship. This is the
loftiest exercise of the Church, whether upon earth or in heaven. The
worship of the individual soul yields in beauty and in grandeur to that
sacrifice of worship in which multitudes, willingly, gratefully, and joyfully
unite. (“And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about
the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was
ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands;
Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to
receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor,
and glory, and blessing.” Revelation 5:11-12)
worshipped gods many and lords many, the chosen people worshipped
Jehovah, and Him alone. In the
and holy in former times are remembered with gratitude and veneration,
worship, in the strict and proper sense of the term, is reserved for the
SUPREME and ETERNAL, who shares his honor with none beside.
His glorious perfections demand the homage and adoration of His intelligent
creatures; and the more His character is studied, the more will it appear
worthy of all the admiration and reverence which can be brought into
HIS SACRED PRESENCE!.
The great and the small, the young and the old, the learned and the lay, are
all qualified to present to the Eternal the spiritual tribute which is His due.
For it is in virtue of their humanity, their participation in human nature,
experience, and powers, and not in virtue of any peculiar possession or
acquisition, that they are summoned to unite in the worship of their
CREATOR! The idea of the prophet was one in a high degree expanded and
comprehensive; yet even this fell short of the great reality as apprehended
by the Apocalyptic seer.
true that this spiritual doctrine is especially that of Christianity, of the New
Testament. But the attentive reader of the Psalms and prophecies of the old
covenant is aware that the enlightened Hebrews were superior to a merely
formal and mechanical view of worship. Sacrifices and offerings were
known and felt to be of no avail unless they expressed the deep and sincere
emotions of the inner nature. Thus it must ever be; He who is a Spirit must
be worshipped in spirit and in truth. (John 4:24)
THE NATURE AND NEED OF THE WORSHIPPERS.
Ø There must be acknowledgment of the Divine attributes,
contemplated with reverence.
Ø There must be humiliation and confession of sin.
Ø There must be the presentation of the due offering of gratitude
TO HIM FROM WHOM ALL BLESSINGS FLOW!
Ø There must be petitions and intercessions for needed good.
WITH THE INDIVIDUAL WORSHIPPER AND HIS
CIRCUMSTANCES. It is narrow bigotry to insist upon one form of
spiritual service or of uttered adoration and prayer. There are occasions
upon which worship may be spontaneous and ejaculatory; and other
occasions upon which it may be elaborate, artistic, and protracted. The
worship of the individual who is momentarily touched by what is beautiful
in nature, or impressive in the Word of God, is as acceptable as the liturgy
of a cathedral service, or as the fervent service of praise in which
expression may be given to a nation’s gratitude for signal favors.
CONTINUOUS. The text speaks of the “new moons” and the “sabbaths”
as opportunities for solemn and public services of devotion. Yet we read a
little later of the daily offering. The truth is that there is no season when
worship is unsuitable on the part of man or unacceptable to God. Yet
there is wisdom in the appointment both of regular and of special seasons
and occasions of worship. None can worship God too much, or too
reverently, or too fervently.
“From every place beneath the skies
Let the Creator’s praise arise!
Let the Redeemer’s Name be sung
In every land, by every tongue!”
4 “And the burnt offering that the prince shall offer unto the LORD in
the sabbath day shall be six lambs without blemish, and a ram
without blemish. 5 And the meat offering shall be an ephah for a ram,
and the meat offering for the lambs as he shall be able to give, and an hin
of oil to an ephah.” These two verses describe the sacrifices the prince should
offer unto the Lord on the sabbaths.
Mosaic Law, or so-called priests’ code, demanded two yearling lambs
the lambs as he shall be able to give; literally, a gift of his hand — not a
handful, but, as v. 7 explains, what his hand can attain unto (compare
Leviticus 14:31; 25:26), i.e. as much as he can, with a hin of oil to an
ephah, for which again the Law required two-tenths of an ephah of fine
flour mingled with oil ( Numbers 28:9).
6 “And in the day of the new moon it shall be a young bullock
without blemish, and six lambs, and a ram: they shall be without
blemish. 7 And he shall prepare a meat offering, an ephah for a bullock,
and an ephah for a ram, and for the lambs according as his hand shall
attain unto, and an hin of oil to an ephah.” Verses 6-7 specify the
corresponding sacrifices for the new moons.
ram, with which may be compared the two bullocks, one ram, and seven
lambs of the Mosaic Torah (Numbers 28:11-15).
the ram, and for the lambs according as his hand shall attain unto
(compare v 5; and the similar expressions in Leviticus 5:7, 11; 12:8),
with a hin of oil to an ephah. This also is less than that which had been
demanded by the Law, viz. three-tenths of an ephah of fine flour mingled
with oil for each bullock, two-tenths for the ram and one-tenth for every
lamb (Numbers 28:11-15). The Torah of Ezekiel omits the sin offering
of a he-goat, which had a place in the Torah of Moses.
8 “And when the prince shall enter, he shall go in by the way of the
porch of that gate, and he shall go forth by the way thereof.” This
begins an ordinance relative to the mode of conducting worship at
the appointed festivals (v. 9; compare ch. 36:38; 45:17; Leviticus 23:2;
Hosea 12:9), by indicating first how the prince should enter and depart from
the temple. According to Kliefoth and Keil, the prince’s entrance and departure
should be by the way of the porch of the outer, according to Hengstenberg,
Smend, and Currey, of the inner, east gate (see on v. 2).
9 “But when the people of the land shall come before the LORD in
the solemn feasts, he that entereth in by the way of the north gate
to worship shall go out by the way of the south gate; and he that
entereth by the way of the south gate shall go forth by the way of
the north gate: he shall not return by the way of the gate whereby
he came in, but shall go forth over against it.”
But when the people of the land shall come before the Lord.
As the preceding verse referred to the prince’s entrance into and departure
from the inner gate, this was intended to regulate the movements of the
prince’s subjects when they should enter the outer court at any of the festal
seasons — not the high festivals alone, such as the Passover and the Feast
of Tabernacles, which are usually denominated חַגּים, but the ordinary
appointed feasts (מוְעֲדִים), including, besides the high festivals, the
sabbaths and the new moons and such other religions celebrations as were
or should be prescribed in the new Torah. In order to prevent confusion,
and that all might be conducted with propriety (compare I Corinthians
14:40), no one should depart by the gate through which he had entered,
but by the opposite, i.e. he who had entered by the north gate should retire
through the south gate, and vice versa. Hengstenberg thinks the reason for
this regulation “cannot be sought in the endeavor to avoid a throng,” since
“in that case it must have been ordained that all should go in by the same
gate and go out by the opposite one;” it must, he holds, have been “a
theological one,” viz. “to signify that each should go out of the sanctuary
another man than he came in.”
The Soul’s Growth in Goodness (v. 9)
The wisdom of God has been clearly evinced in the spiritual training of the
human family. The forbidden fruit was the wisest test that God could
impose on Adam. The simple sacrifice of a lamb was the fittest training of
men’s souls during the patriarchal age. And as the race developed from
infancy into youth, and from youth to manhood, God’s methods for
unfolding and maturing the spiritual nature have been singularly
appropriate. The highest good man can obtain is the development of his
spirit — the expansion of his highest powers. To this end all religious
worship is designed to contribute.
see development from a simple germ to highest perfection. For high
reasons God does not produce perfected natures at a single stroke. Even
this unconscious earth passed through long stages of preparation before it
was fit for human habitation. The rose does not reach perfection except by
patient culture. Everything about us is in transition, and is moving onward
in a course of development. Art is not yet perfected. Our bodily nature
begins with a microscopic germ, and slowly develops towards maturity. If
anything is plainly revealed in Scripture, it is this — that the life of the soul
begins at the lowest point and is intended to reach the highest. We do not
begin our earthly career with robust faith in the unseen God, nor yet with a
sensitive conscience, nor yet with strong aspirations after moral excellence.
All this is the result of research and self-discipline and prayer. Clearly there
is an intimate analogy between all the varieties of life known to us. With
respect to the grain there is first the seed, then the blade, then stalk, then
ear, then full corn in the ear. (Mark 4:28) With respect to the body there is
babyhood, infancy, youth, manhood, maturity. And the life of the soul begins
with a thought, a feeling, a wish, a prayer. It begins in the understanding, passes
into the conscience, touches the emotions, moves the desires, constrains the will,
molds the life. It begins in feebleness and develops into world-controlling
power. Probably the main reason for this is that the spiritual
life, to have any beauty or excellence, must be the spontaneous desire and
endeavor of the man himself. If, by the constitution of his nature, a man
must be holy and benevolent, there would be no merit in holiness, no worth
in benevolence. Therefore scope is given to a man, greater or lesser, to
foster the young germ of spiritual life, and to develop it unto the noblest
perfection. This is our supreme business during OUR MORTAL CAREER!
PUBLIC WORSHIP. The temple in the olden time, and Christian
sanctuaries now, are designed by God for this end. (The greatest temple
is the soul where God doeth “dwell with us!” Matthew 1:23 - CY – 2017)
Ø Instruction is provided. In the former ages this was furnished in the
form of rite and emblem; now, almost entirely, by oral utterance. There
is conveyed information respecting God:
o His nature,
o His kingdom,
o His will,
o His doings and,
information respecting man:
o his nature,
o his fall,
o his redemption,
o his possible elevation to purity, and
o his destinies in a future state.
Ø Access to God is allowed.
o Self-inspection is encouraged.
o Interior sin, in inclination and desire, is detected.
o The eye is turned inward upon the soul.
o The best sensibilities of the heart are strengthened and expanded.
o A vision of holiness is obtained.
o New aspirations begin to bud.
o The sacred influence of God is felt upon the soul.
o True prayer is stimulated.
Ø Right habits are confirmed. Every man is more or less influenced by his
fellow-man, so contact with holy men produces salutary impressions upon
every sensitive mind. The forceful presentation of truth upon the moral
nature tends to elevate it. Convictions of religious duty are inwrought.
Regard for God’s revelation and for God’s will is deepened. Resolution to
follow a right course is often formed. The energies of the soul are braced
up for high endeavor. Familiarity with God and with eternal things is
increased. As a plant grows and buds under the influence of the vernal sun,
so a man’s soul unfolds amid the surroundings of public worship.
Ø A Divine influence is present.
BY EVERY VISIT TO THE SANCTUARY. This is the main truth taught
in this verse. Men were not allowed, in the second temple, to retrace their
steps. They might not depart by the same path as that by which they
approached the altar. Without doubt this was ordained in order to leave an
impressive lesson on their minds. The law yet remains. It is written on
man’s spiritual constitution. It is written in the very structure of the temple.
No man leaves God’s house precisely the same man as he went in. He is
either worse or better for his visit. If he has yielded in any measure to the
claims of God, he is the better. If he has resisted them afresh, HE IS THE
Ø Let us contemplate the foolish man.
o If he enter by the gate of self-righteousness he will in all probability
leave by the gate of insensibility. His soul will be hardened under the
process. The sun that melts wax hardens clay.
o If he enter by the gate of unbelief he will leave by the gate of despair.
Foregone conclusions fasten like a bandage upon the eyes. THE ROOT
OF BLINDNESS IS A PERVERSE WILL! The man without God
is without hope. (“....without Christ......having no hope, and
without God in the world:” – Ephesians 2:11)
o If he enter by the gate of formal custom he will leave by the gate of
bondage. His carnal fetters will have been more firmly riveted by the
Ø Let us contemplate the wise man — the beneficial visit.
o He who enters by the gate of inquiry leaves by the gate of
o He who enters by the gate of penitence leaves by the gate of
o He who enters by the gate of prayer leaves by the gate of
o He who enters by the gate of consecration leaves by the gate
of immortal hope.
10 “And the prince in the midst of them, when they go in, shall go in;
and when they go forth, shall go forth.” The regulation seems to teach
that in such observances at least the prince should stand on a level with the
people, and both enter and retire by the same door as they.
Distinction and Equality in the
We have here a distinction drawn between one citizen and all the rest. The
prince was to enter by the way of the porch of the east gate and stand by
the post of the gate, “at the porch of the inner court,” while the people
were to stand at a distance, at the outer gate (vs. 2-3); yet on other
occasions the prince and the people together were to enter in and to go
forth together without regard to social distinction (v. 10). We are thus
invited to consider that, in the coming kingdom, of which this whole vision
was prophetic, there were to be both distinction and equality. And we have
Christ there are:
Ø Higher posts in the Church to be occupied by a few; there have been (or
are) apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, teachers, deacons, etc.; and
there is a sense in which these have a priority of position over the ordinary
members of the Church.
Ø Higher order of service to be rendered by some. While every citizen of
essential principles in daily action in every sphere, it is given to some to
commend the saving truth by powerful and persuasive utterances, or by
unanswerable and imperishable literature; and yet again it is given to others
to contribute still nobler service by suffering, or even dying, “for the sake
of the Lord Jesus” and in confirmation of the truth (see Acts 5:41;
Philippians 1:29; Revelation 7:13-14).
Ø Longer period of service granted to some than given to others.
o There are those who are called and blessed from childhood to old age,
who serve Christ and His cause through all the stages of human life,
with the gathered wisdom of long and varied experience.
o There are those who have not heard the Divine summons until the
greater part of life is over, and these can only bring their wasted and
rapidly declining faculties to the altar of holy service. Yet is there
Ø All must enter at the same gate. To one and all alike, however favored
or however denied, JESUS CHRIST IS THE ONE OPEN DOOR
by which to enter (John 10:7).
Ø All must advance by the same spiritual course — by means of
watchfulness and prayer and holy usefulness, by learning of God, by
gaining from God, by working for God.
Ø All must give account of the Christian life, and the use they have made
of their the opportunity (Luke 19:12-26; II Corinthians 5:10).
Ø All will be judged on principles of perfect equity (Matthew 25:20-23;
Luke 12:48; II Corinthians 8:12).
The Prince in the Midst of Them (v. 10)
The center of the glory of restored
prince appeared, however, who was able to accomplish the expectations of
prophecy until the advent of Jesus Christ. He is “the Prince in the midst
of His people.”
Ø He is one of them. The Jew’s Prince was a Jew, not a foreigner. Christ is
“the Firstborn among many brethren.” He is a true Man, the Son of
man. He has been over the Christian course, and has Himself lived the
pattern Christian life.
Ø He is their Head. Christ stoops to save, but He rises again to rule. Even
during His earthly humiliation He plainly took the lead among His
disciples. Now He is seated on His throne in heaven, reigning over
ministry He dwelt among men. Unlike John the Baptist, who retired to the
solitude of the wilderness and to whom people had to come by leaving
their homes, Jesus went about through the towns and villages of
eating and drinking with all sorts and conditions of men. Although He is no
longer visible, we have His assurance that He will be always with His true
disciples (Matthew 28:20). Christ does not simply visit His people in
moments of great need; He is always with them. He does not select some
choice followers for His companionship, to the neglect of the great body
of His people, like a prince who enjoys himself with his courtiers and
takes little or no notice of the bulk of the nation. Jesus is in the midst
of His people, right in the center of the population of the kingdom of
people go in, i.e. to the temple, the Prince shall go in. The Prince must
worship with His people. Prince and peasant must bow together before
their common Lord. Every purely human prince needs to confess his sins as
a penitent and to utter the publican’s prayer, “God be merciful to me a
sinner!” Christ the sinless cannot take part in our confession except by
sympathy. But He is with us throughout our worship. Christian worship at
its highest is communion with Christ. In that most sacred act of worship,
the Lord’s Supper, we seek especially for the living presence of Christ. For
surely every Protestant must admit that there is a real Presence — not in
the bread or wine — but in the hearts of Christ’s worshipping people.
the people go forth their Prince is to accompany them. It would be sad if
Christ only met His people in their worship. He is more needed in work, in
temptation, in trouble. Christ is with us in the world as well as in the
Church. He does not confine His sympathy to ecclesiastical circles. But
when we have some hard task to accomplish or some severe trial to face
His presence may be especially looked for. The good leader will be in the
thick of the fight, cheering his soldiers just where the battle is hottest. Our
Captain of salvation accompanies us in the holy war against sin. If courage
fails, this should be our cheering thought — the Prince is in the midst of
11 “And in the feasts and in the solemnities the meat offering shall be
an ephah to a bullock, and an ephah to a ram, and to the lambs as
he is able to give, and an hin of oil to an ephah.” This
specifies the meat (or, meal) offering which should be presented
in the feasts (חַגּים), or high festivals, as the Passover and Feast of
Tabernacles, and in the solemnities (מועֲדִים), or appointed feasts
generally, viz. an ephah to a bullock, and an ephah to a ram, and to
the lambs as he is able to give (comp. vs. 5, 7), with a hin of oil to an
ephah. This is the same meat offering as was appointed for the new moons
(see v. 7), but slightly different in quantity from, though the same in
principle as, that stipulated for the seven days of the Passover (ch. 45:24).
Feasts and Solemnities (v. 11)
In all religions there are instituted festivals and public functions, which
serve to manifest and to sustain the religious life of the community. This
was especially the case with Judaism, which prescribed many stated
solemnities. Even the Christian religion has its appointed sacraments, and,
in addition to these, which were instituted by the Divine Founder, the
Church has at various periods set apart times and seasons for certain public
observances, participation in which has been found conducive to religious
earnestness and vitality, as well as to ecclesiastical prosperity.
HARMONIZING WITH THE VERY NATURE OF THE HUMAN
MIND. It is not in human nature to proceed in one undeviating and
monotonous course. Life is best lived when the regular and stated order of
things is varied by occasional diversities. As in ordinary existence, so in the
religious life, it is well that there should be variety, and that men should be
invited to special engagements of a spiritual nature, whether of humiliation
or of rejoicing, whether commemorative or anticipatory. Men do not cease
to be men because they are Christians, and Christianity is not only
compatible with, it is promoted by, special sacred festivals, fasts, and other
BY THE NATURE OF DIVINE INTERPOSITIONS WHICH ARE
OCCASIONAL AND SPECIAL. The Jews had, in the course of their
national history, experienced wonderful interventions of Divine mercy upon
their behalf. And it is evident that the solemnities, which formed so
beautiful a feature of the Jewish religion, were for the most part designed
to celebrate the great things which God had done for His chosen people.
The treatment of the nation by God had not been of a uniform and regular
character; and it was natural that there should be a correspondence
between the national history and the national religion, between what
Jehovah had effected on behalf of His chosen people, and what that people
did in acknowledgment of the Divine mercy. Similarly with our Christmas,
Easter, and Whitsuntide; we celebrate the special mercy of God in the
advent, the death, and the resurrection of our Savior, and in the fulfillment
of “the promise of the Father” (Acts 1:4), in the outpouring of the
BY THE SUCCESSIVE GENERATIONS WHO NEED TO BE
IMPRESSED BY THE SAME GREAT SPIRITUAL TRUTHS. With
reference to the Jewish Passover, we are expressly assured that one
purpose of its observance was to train the rising generation in the reverent
memory of the signal favors of God. When the son of the household asked,
“What mean ye by this service?” the answer was given that it
commemorated the loving-kindness and faithfulness of the God of the
Hebrews, who had delivered his chosen people from destruction and
assured to them His lasting protection. How much more powerfully was
such a lesson taught by such ordinances than by words! The youthful mind
is especially impressed by sacred solemnities, and by their observance
provision is made that the attention of successive generations shall be
directed to the glorious truth that GOD HAS VISITED and REDEEMED
12 “Now when the prince shall prepare a voluntary burnt offering or
peace offerings voluntarily unto the LORD, one shall then open
him the gate that looketh toward the east, and he shall prepare his
burnt offering and his peace offerings, as he did on the sabbath
day: then he shall go forth; and after his going forth one shall shut
the gate.” This determines the procedure in case of the prince resolving to offer
privately, on his own account, a voluntary burnt offering or peace
offering; better, a free-will offering (נְדָבָה), a sacrifice prompted by the
heart of the offerer, as opposed to one legally enjoined (Exodus 35:29;
Leviticus 22:23), which might be either a burnt or a peace offering. In
this case the east inner gate should be opened to him as on the sabbath
days (see v. 1), but, differently from what occurred on the sabbath, it
should not remain open till the evening (v. 2), but should be shut
immediately the prince’s offering was done.
The Optional and the Obligatory in the
1. Here are minute and positive prescriptions, requiring exact conformity
and allowing no deviation. The burnt offering was to be six lambs and one
ram — no more and no less (v. 4). In the day of the new moon — at that
particular time — the offering was to include a young bullock (v. 6).
They who entered in by the north gate were to go out by the south gate,
and vice versa (v. 9). These (and other) instructions were in full and
careful detail, and there was to be no departure from them.
2. On the other hand, the prince might, at certain hours and on occasion,
bring an offering that was purely “voluntary;” one that was “voluntarily”
presented unto the Lord (v. 12). Room was left for spontaneity, even in
midst of these very specific requirements. In the
Christ we have these two orders of service — the obligatory and the
optional, the plainly and positively enjoined, and the voluntary; and that
Christian life is not complete which is lacking in either.
which are indispensable there are:
Ø At its entrance:
o humility (or penitence); and
o faith, that living faith in Jesus Christ which includes the acceptance
of Him as THE SAVIOUR OF THE SOUL and THE LORD OF
Ø Throughout its course:
o worship, or the approach of the human spirit to the Divine in prayer,
in thanksgiving, in consecration;
o obedience, or the conformity of conduct to those precepts which
are an essential part of Christian morals;
o love, including not only the “love of the brethren,” or a special
attachment to those who are the friends and followers of
Jesus Christ, but also a genuine pity for those who are far from
Him and need to be brought nigh, and a practical determination
to seek and to win these erring souls.
necessary in our Christian life.
Ø In the particulars of our worship. We have one main principle binding
upon all men everywhere (“God is a Spirit and they that worship Him
must worship Him in Spirit and in Truth.” John 4:24), but it is left to
our individual choice — to our own judgment and conscience — at
what times, in what forms, within what buildings, with what kind of
human ministry, we shall draw nigh to God in true and pure devotion.
Ø In the minutiae of obedience. What shall be the rules and the regulations
we shall lay down for the observance of the great principles of purity, of
temperance, of equity, of veracity, of reverential speech, of courtesy., —
these are not to be found in any Christian directory; they are to be
decided upon m the sanctuary of every consecrated spirit and of
every cultivated conscience.
Ø In the measure and methods of loving service. What proportion of our
income, what amount of our time, what order of personal effort, we
shall devote to the cause of Christ and in the interest of our fellow-men,
— this rests with every individual Christian man to decide. These must
be, in some sense and degree, “voluntary offerings.”
A Free-Will Offering (v. 12)
There were certain sacrifices and offerings which the pious Jew was bound
to present. To omit compliance with certain regulations upon these
observances would have been disloyalty. But there were other offerings
which were optional, which were left to the feelings and to the
circumstances of the worshipper. They were only brought when there was
an especially lively sense of the Lord’s goodness, and an especial desire to
express consecration and devotion. Gifts prompted by gratitude and love
are the only gifts which are of value in the sight of Him who searcheth and
looketh upon the hearers.
MAN. Man’s nature is distinguished by the glorious prerogative of liberty.
There is for him no moral excellence or beauty in constraint. The heart is
free, and it is the only gift which in God’s sight is precious (“My son, give
me thine heart.” – Proverbs 23:26); all other gifts have value so far only
as they are the expression of the love and loyalty of the spiritual nature.
Whatever is dedicated to God of the worshipper’s freewill is a human
and a worthy offering, such as a being with man’s prerogative of liberty
may justly offer.
religions sometimes extort from devotees, by the motive of terror, gifts and
offerings services and sacrifices which would otherwise be withheld. They
must be fictitious’ deities that are represented as gratified with such
offerings as these. But the character of God is such as assures us of His
willingness to receive what is freely and cheerfully presented. Not that he
can be enriched by anything that His creatures can present.
They acknowledge — ““All things come of thee, and of thine own have
we given thee.” (But all is precious to Him that reveals a loyal, loving,
and grateful heart.
13 “Thou shalt daily prepare a burnt offering unto the LORD of a lamb
of the first year without blemish: thou shalt prepare it every morning.
14 And thou shalt prepare a meat offering for it every morning, the
sixth part of an ephah, and the third part of an hin of oil, to temper
with the fine flour; a meat offering continually by a perpetual
ordinance unto the LORD. 15 Thus shall they prepare the lamb, and
the meat offering, and the oil, every morning for a continual burnt offering.”
These verses supply closing instructions for the daily sacrifice. The daily
burnt offering should be a lamb of the first year; literally, a son of his
year; whereas the Law of Moses required a lamb twice a day (Exodus
29:38-42; Numbers 28:1-8). The daily meat (or, meal) offering to
accompany this should be the sixth part of an ephah, instead of a tenth as
under Moses, and the third part of a hin of oil, instead of a fourth as (from
prescribed by the earlier legislation, to temper with — לָרֹס (from רָסַס - a
word peculiar to Ezekiel), to moisten or mix with — the fine flour. These
sacrifices should be offered every morning; literally, morning by morning;
but not every evening as in the Mosaic Law. This difference was not
accidental, but intentional, though why in the new order of things the
evening sacrifice should have been omitted does not appear. Currey thinks
Ezekiel did not intend to enumerate all the sacrifices of the Law, but only a
few of them, and that, though not mentioned, the evening sacrifice may
have been designed to be retained. The presentation of these sacrifices was
not to be the special duty of the prince, but should devolve upon the
community as a whole, who are now addressed as “thou” (vs. 13-14)
and “they” (v. 15), and who should act in its fulfillment through their priests.
The Morning Sacrifice (v. 13)
especially worship is fitting. It is sad to begin the day without prayer. But
the fresh morning devotion has a preciousness of its own. (The Psalmist
was on target when he cried “O God, thou art my God, early will I seek thee,
my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land,
where no water is” – Psalm 63:1 – CY – 2009)
Ø Then we awake from sleep. It is happy indeed to wake to some good
thought of God. He has preserved us through the long hours of
darkness. New strength has come by refreshing rest, and this is
God’s gift. Therefore grateful thoughts should rise with morning
Ø Then we commence a new day. Has the fig tree been fruitless hitherto?
Yet in his long-suffering patience the Master has not cut it down. Here is
another opportunity for fruit-bearing. Shall this new one be wasted as
were so many of bygone days?
“Lo! here hath been dawning
Another blue day:
Think, wilt thou let it
Slip useless away?
Out of eternity
This new day is born;
At night will return.
“Behold it aforetime
No eye ever did; (How Profound!)
So soon it forever
From all eyes is hid.”
may think we have dedicated our lives to God. Yet we need to renew the
dedication — to dedicate our days as well as our years. Every day brings
its fresh duties, and these need the grace of Christ, that they may be rightly
discharged. Every day also brings its new temptations. We cannot live
today in the grace of yesterday. The manna fell daily to feed the Israelites
in the wilderness, and it would not bear keeping for the morrow. Christ
teaches us to pray for daily bread: “Give us this day our daily bread.”
SACRIFICE. The Israelites dedicated each day with morning burnt
offerings. Although we have outgrown the necessity of using these
symbolical offerings, we can never outgrow the requirement of sacrifice. It
is well to begin the day in the spirit of sacrifice. First there should be the
desire to slay all sin and renounce all bad habits. Then comes the positive
self-denial and cross-bearing for the sake of Christ. Is there any new
sacrifice of love that may be offered on the new day? Throughout the day
this thought should pervade the mind of the Christian: “I am a servant of
Christ. It is my part today to study my Master’s will, and live for His
see any great event. But it will be a day spent for God, in lowly service,
perhaps, yet in holy living. Such a day is one sure stepping-stone towards
The Essence of Religion (vs. 13-15)
Inasmuch as true religion is a daily help and solace to men, it was needful
to impress this upon the minds of the Jews by a daily sacrifice. In order to
obtain the highest good from God, we must dedicate our whole self to
God. It is in giving that we receive. Our interests and God’s interests are
not distinct; they are identical. Yet this is a difficult lesson for men to learn.
They persist in judging that time taken from secular pursuits is time
misspent; that money removed from material fructification is property
waste. Surely God does not need our poor gifts. And if He accepts them, it
is in order that they may be made channels of blessing to the worshipper.
The essence of religion is hearty self-sacrifice.
The burnt offering was wholly consumed. Outward and formal acts of
worship do not constitute acceptable religion. The ceremony may only be
the show and not the substance, the shell without the kernel, the body
without the soul, the channel without a living stream of love. If love be the
central germ of piety, then love constrains the dedication to God of all I am
— all I have. Such dedication is only reasonable. (Paul said, “I beseech you
therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies
a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable
service.” - Romans 12:1) I cannot lay my finger on any organ of my body,
or on any virtue in my soul, or on any item of my substance, which does
not belong to God by right; hence in complete consecration I only fulfill
my obligation; I give no more than is due. God has given to His children
all He has — He has not withheld His Son; Paul again says, “He that
spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall
He not with Him also freely give us all things.” (Romans 8:32) therefore
the obligation is intensified. No lesser repayment of the debt would be
complete. Self-dedication is God-like. As when a man carries his gold to
the royal mint that it may become current coin for exchange, he receives it
back with the image and superscription of the sovereign upon it; so, when
we give ourselves wholly to God, we get a nobler self; God’s image is
super-added. We’re most our own when most completely His.
The burnt offering was to be repeated “every morning.” The surrender of
self to God is not an isolated act done once for all. It means the continuous
habitude of the soul. As we open our shutters every morning or withdraw
our blinds in order to let in the light, so every morning we need to open all
the doorways of the soul afresh to give access to God. The tempter is ever
at hand to induce us to forget God; our fleshly nature asserts itself —
thrusts itself in between us and God; therefore there is daily need to renew
our sacred vows. As the fields are refreshed every summer morning by
another baptism of dew, so may our souls be refreshed by new communion
with God. Each day God wisely requires fresh service; we cannot withhold
it. Each day will bring new cares, new toils, new opportunities for making
God known; therefore we require new strength. Each day God has some
new blessing to convey: we should be ever ready to receive it. Self-
devotement should be repeated with THE DAWN OF EVERY DAY!
As new as God’s gifts to us should be our dedication to Him.
lamb was required to be “without blemish.” This was a daily and emphatic
reminder that God expected, for His society and His service, a perfect
character. Better still, this was a tacit promise that God would, by his
gracious expedients, make us perfect. (“The Lord will perfect that which
concerneth me.” (Psalm 138:8) We aspire after perfection. We are
ashamed of our imperfections. And we give ourselves up to God, that, by
His creative Spirit, He may mold us unto perfection. This is our confident
hope that perfect trust may lead to perfect holiness. By daily consecration
of every thought and feeling and purpose, we shall step by step attain the
likeness of our Savior. This is God’s purpose, and it cannot be frustrated.
The daily offering consisted of a “lamb.” Why this particular sacrifice was
commanded can have but one explanation; viz. that our earliest years
should be consecrated to God. While religion in its final end is sublime, in
its essential principle it is simple enough. It is love — love to the worthiest
Being, and a child has capacity to love. God takes especial interest in
children. When Jesus took into His arms young infants and blessed them, He
said substantially, “He that hath seen me hath seen the Father!” Inasmuch
as God regards things which are not as yet as though they were, He smiles
with Fatherly complacency on faith in embryo — on the tiny buds of
character not yet unfolded. (What about the unborn aborted child? “They .....
burn their sons with fire......which I commanded not, nor spake it,
neither came it into my mind.” Jeremiah 19:5 – CY – 2017) The first
breath of prayer ascends to heaven more fragrant than temple incense.
“Thou shalt prepare.” As considerable pains were required to prepare the
burnt offering, so thought and self-inspection are required for acts of piety.
To gain advantage and enjoyment from worship, we must bring to the
exercise concentration of mind, tender feeling, intelligent expectation,
steadfast trust. The farmer has to plough and pulverize his soil before he
casts in his seed, and, unless our hearts have their furrows open, the seed of
truth will disappear as soon as sown. The eye must be trained in order to
gain vision; the hand must be trained in order to dexterous industry; so too
the soul must be trained in order to enjoy high communion with God.
Desultory (lacking a plan, purpose or enthusiasm) talk is not prayer; for
prayer is the outgoing of the whole man Godward.
Vs. 16-18. — Instructions for the prince as to how he should deal with
his property are summarized in three regulations, introduced by the solemn
formula of “Thus saith the Lord” (compare v. 1; ch. 45:9).
16 “Thus saith the Lord GOD; If the prince give a gift unto any of his
sons, the inheritance thereof shall be his sons’; it shall be their
possession by inheritance.” The first regulation. The prince might dispose of
a portion of his royal property (see ch.45:7-8) by presenting part of it as a gift
to any of his sons. In this case what was gifted should belong to his son or
sons in perpetuity, should be his or theirs as his or their possession by
inheritance; it should never again revert to the prince.
17 “But if he give a gift of his inheritance to one of his servants, then it
shall be his to the year of liberty; after it shall return to the prince:
but his inheritance shall be his sons’ for them.”
The second regulation. Should the prince, however, bestow a
portion of his inheritance on one of his servants, what was thus bestowed
should not belong to that servant in perpetuity, but should be regarded
simply as a temporary loan which should be his till the year of liberty,
הֲדְּרור שְׁנַת, i.e. the year of free flowing general — compare Exodus
30:23, מָראּדּרור, pure myrrh (Authorized Version) or flowing myrrh
(Revised Version) — hence the year of release; after which it should return
to the prince. Smend thinks Ezekiel could hardly have had in view the year
of jubilee (Leviticus 25:10; 27:24), else he would not have employed
the term “liberty,” which Jeremiah (Jeremiah 34:8, 15, 17) uses to
denote the freedom regained by Hebrew bondmen in the seventh year
(Exodus 21:2; Deuteronomy 15:12). But:
reversion of property, and to this rather than to that Ezekiel refers.
in it both slaves were emancipated and property was liberated. And
either Exodus or Deuteronomy, the latter of which in particular speaks of
“the year of release” (שְׁםנת הַשְּׂמִטָּה), but adheres closely to the style of
Leviticus, which, in fact, it presupposes. שְׁנַת הַדְּרור can only signify the
year of the release, i.e. the well-known year of emancipation. The last
clause should be rendered, as in the Revised Version, “As for his
inheritance (generally), it shall be for his sons,” or, as Keil translates, “Only
his inheritance it is,” i.e. the prince’s; “as for his sons, it shall be for them.”
The Son and the Servant (vs. 16-17)
The Jewish Law made careful provision to prevent the alienation of land
from the families to which it originally belonged. The son might inherit
permanently; but the servant could only receive a gift of land for a time,
which would cease at the year of jubilee. Here was a marked distinction
between the privileges of sonship and
those of service. Now
attention to this distinction from another point of view, when contrasting,
the gospel with the Law. There is a religion of worship, and one of service.
This is the case with the spiritual experience of Christianity.
Ø The Christian is a son.
o He is begotten by God.
o He is adopted by God.
o He owns Christ for his Brother.
o He is admitted into God’s presence as a child at home.
o He has the liberty of a son and his privileges.
“The secret of the Lord is with them that fear Him.” (Psalm 25:14)
God makes His counsels known to true Christians.
Ø The son’s inheritance is permanent.
o For life, the grace of God given to the true Christian child will not
desert him in after-years if he still looks for it and follows its guidance.
God does not treat His people as the favorites of a day, whom a prince
pampers while the whim is on him, and then capriciously flings aside;
His favor is enduring like His eternal love.
o After death. The Christian inheritance is but tasted on earth; the better
of it awaits us beyond the grave. It is like the inheritance of
of which was on the coast of the
to be crossed before the main portion could be reached. “Godliness is
profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is,
and of that which is to come” (1 Timothy 4:8). We do not resign our
Christian inheritance when we lie down to die; on the contrary, then
we prepare to enter into the Promised Land in all its length and breadth.
Ø The promises of the Mosaic religion were for this world, as Bishop
Warburton proved with redundancy of argument, in his famous book on
the ‘ Divine Legation of Moses’ Therefore the Jew stood below the
Christian in regard to his prospects of future good. But there are far lower
lives of servitude than that of the pious Jew.
Ø Christ spoke of the slavery of sin (John 8:34). Now, this degraded
servitude has its rewards. Sin gives gifts to its slaves. But they are not
Ø The bondage of worldliness holds many men. This thraldom promises
great rewards. Riches and pleasures come in its train. The chains are
forged of gold, and at first the weight of them is not felt. But the rewards
of sin and worldliness are of brief duration. Their fruits may be sweet at
first, but the after-taste of them is unendurably bitter. Even if no
disappointment is met on earth, the worldly inheritance must be
resigned at death. The slave of sin and the world can carry none
of his treasures with him to the unseen future.
18 “Moreover the prince shall not take of the people’s inheritance by
oppression, to thrust them out of their possession; but he shall give
his sons inheritance out of his own possession: that my people be
not scattered every man from his possession.”
The third regulation. The prince in all cases should endow his
sons (or others) out of his own, and not out of his subjects’ possessions, of
which they have been violently robbed. A good rule for other princes
besides this, and for owners of property in general.
Earthly Sovereignty not Absolute (vs. 16-18)
Great temptations surround kings, inducing them to tyranny. Their own
will is enveloped within military force. Obsequious (obedient to a servile
degree) flatterers pander to royal power. For self-interest, soldiers usually
take sides with the prince. Hence a first lesson for princes to learn is that
right is superior to might. The voice of justice is the voice of God.
earthly king holds absolute sway over his subjects. In truth, the mightiest
monarch is only a vassal-king. He rules in the place of God. He has to
listen to the summons, “Thus saith the Lord.” He is appointed to
administer the laws of God. He is amenable to a superior authority, and
must render an account of his rule at the judgment-bar of heaven. To no
king has God transferred the right of absolute rule. The term of a tyrant’s
rule is entirely at the disposal of God. At any moment the King of kings
can terminate a prince’s rule, and require a report of his doings. (As
Belshazzar – Daniel 5:25-28 – CY - 2017) At the very height of a
boastful tyranny he has often suffered an humiliating fall. A prince is
simply a superior servant.
not absolute master of his subjects, neither is he absolute master of his
possessions. Even a king has no freehold in his property. It is held under
lease. He has only a life-enjoyment in it. Death dissolves all earthly
covenants. If he has sons, they are his heirs. By the indisputable law of God
they have a right in reversion. As the prince had full enjoyment of his
estates during his mortal life, so his sons shall have undiminished
enjoyment of the estates during their life. By no principle of law or justice
can a prince claim to extract from the ancestral estates more than a life-
enjoyment, nor encumber his estates for successors. He must learn to
identify himself with his children, to treat them as part and parcel of
himself. Checks on selfishness God everywhere imposes. In the household
of God sonship carries with it complete heirship.
Obligations among men are mutual. Kingship has duties as well as rights. If
subjects are under obligation to serve and support their ‘prince, so too
princes are under obligation to protect the lives and property of their
subjects. Rightly understood, the prosperity of the people is identical with
the prosperity of the king. The throne cannot be strong if the people are
impoverished. The king and his people are united by a common bond of
interest. The invasion of his subjects’ rights is suicide to his authority —
suicide to kingship. “No man liveth unto himself.” (Romans 14:7)
A selfish and avaricious policy is moral madness. No other principle is so
favorable to prosperity and joy as wise benevolence.
man is more dependent upon the service of others, no man so dependent,
as a prince. His time and strength are as limited as any other man’s, yet the
demands of duty are enormous. For his personal needs he requires
servants; for his family wants he requires servants; and for every
department of public government he requires servants. In proportion to the
value of the services, remuneration must be made. If the prince be
accounted mean or parsimonious, he will lose dignity, reputation, and
influence. (Even Sitting Bull was known among his people for his
generosity. CY – 2017) Yet his generous impulses must never be allowed
to violate principles of justice. He must never encroach on others’ possessions
to discharge a personal debt. Yet, alas! this has often been done! Kings stand
among the greatest criminals. Secret service to the king has been paid in
stolen coin. Yet restitution must some day be made, for God is always on
the side of righteousness. And to every prince he says, “Be just before you
A Warning to the Great (v. 18)
and supreme ruler of
exalted position. Yet he is responsible to God, and his duty is definitely
marked out for him. Even the most “irresponsible” ruler of a despotic state
cannot escape from responsibility in the sight of Heaven. Prince as well as
peasant will have to give account of himself before the judgment-seat of
God. Moreover, God directs and controls the movements of the most
powerful earthly magnates. He who said to the sea, “Hitherto shalt thou
come, but no further; and here shall thy proud waves be stayed”
(Job 38:11), “put
His hooks” in the proud ruler of
who enjoy the largest scope and who own the widest possessions must
come to the confines of their territory. The biggest park has its fence.
Now, a common temptation is to despise the best things within a man’s
right, in envy for what lies beyond them. Thus, with all the wealth of the
royal demesne, Ahab is sick with covetousness for Naboth’s vineyard
(1 Kings 21:4). The possession of considerable power aggravates the
temptation of the great to go beyond their rights. It is difficult for the
despot to avoid degenerating into a tyrant.
PEOPLE. The danger of power passing over to tyranny is the besetting
temptation of persons in influential positions. This danger alone raises a
question as to the wisdom of entrusting overmuch power even to the best
men. In the abstract, an irresistible paternal government might seem to be
likely to secure the greatest good of a nation. But for this to be satisfactory
we must not only endue the ruler with supreme wisdom, we must also
eliminate from his character every atom of selfishness.
OTHER PEOPLE. They have unique privileges, but these are bestowed in
the form of a solemn trust. God is no respecter of persons. He cares for all
His children. He is the people’s God, and the Friend of the poor. They who
can find no earthly protector may look to Heaven for deliverance, for He
who heard the cry of the Hebrews when they groaned under the oppression
of the Egyptian bondage, and saved them from Pharaoh and his host, is still
mighty to help the needy.
GREAT SHOULD LEAD ALL TO TRUST HIM. If God only favored the
so-called privileged classes, the multitude might well turn aside from
religion in despair. But since God has ever been on the side of the
oppressed, and has ever cared for the people, it is foolish to distrust him,
and ungrateful to disregard his goodness. Whatever else the great may
seize upon, they cannot take away the poor man’s religion. Here is a prize
of permanent possession. It would be well if all knew and loved the God
who cares for all.
Losing and Keeping the Inheritance (v. 18)
The subject of this commandment is “the inalienable nature of the prince’s
possession, and the sacred regard he must pay to the peoples’” its object
was to legislate so that “no temptation might exist to spoil the people of
their proper inheritances, as had been too often done in the days that were
past.” By the words of the text we are brought in contact with:
legislation contemplated keeping the land in the occupancy of the same
tribe and of the same family from generation to generation. It was not in
the power of the occupier to sell it or to will it away from the family; and
although it might be mortgaged, it reverted to the original possessor (or his
family) at the year of jubilee. (Every 50 years) The ideal was that of all the
families of the nation being interested and engaged in the happy, honorable,
and fruitfulemployment of agriculture. In this case there would be no super-
abounding wealth on the one hand, and no degrading poverty on the other
hand; while every Israelite would have the deepest interest in preserving the
integrity of his country’s freedom, and would be contributing to its wealth.
Such an ideal as this is hopelessly impossible in such a time as this, but in a
primitive and pastoral age it was one calculated to secure the largest
possible measure of:
Ø individual happiness,
Ø domestic comfort, and
Ø national prosperity.
Such a provision must have been attended with great difficulties in the way
of realization. Dissipation on the one hand and avarice on the other would
almost inevitably lead to loss and to appropriation. And there is no doubt
they did. As time went by the land became lost to the families to whom it
was originally apportioned (Joshua 19:51). And when the time came
for the great and sad deportation to other lands, the entire arrangement
was broken up; finally the Jews were “scattered, every man from his
possession;” and, dispersed among the Gentiles, they became the least
pastoral or agricultural, and the most trading and financing, of any people
on the earth. Where, then, does this prediction find:
Ø Provision for the material well-being of the people of the land. As the
result of Christian principle acting at both ends of the body politic,
elevating the character and therefore the condition of those at the
bottom, and leading those at the top to devote their resources and
employ their (legislative and other) opportunities in the interest of the
people, there will gradually ensue a wide distribution of comfort and
prosperity. Abject poverty and superfluous possession will give place
to universal competence, education, morality, piety — in fact,
NATIONAL WELL-BEING! Many forces will have to contribute
to this result, and it may be a long time coming, but it must be the
issue of a true and practical Christianity. There are other “inheritances”
beside that of land and wealth which need to be preserved, and which
a Christian family or a Christian Church should devoutly determine to
maintain. There must be:
o The perpetuation of the fair heritage of an honorable name,
a reputation for family goodness or wisdom that has come
down many generations.
o The preservation of the precious deposit of SACRED TRUTH!
V. 19-24. — The sacrificial kitchens for the priests and for the people.
This passage has been transferred by Ewald to Ezekiel 42, and inserted
after v. 14; but the Exposition will show it must have originally stood
where it is.
19 “After he brought me through the entry, which was at the side of the
gate, into the holy chambers of the priests, which looked toward
the north: and, behold, there was a place on the two sides westward.”
After (or, and) he — i.e. the measuring man, who had hitherto
acted as the prophet’s conductor — brought me through the entry,
which was at the side of the gate. This was the inner north gate, from
which the prophet had been conducted to the front of the house in order to
receive the sacrificial Torah (ch. 44:4), and to which, when this
was finished, he had been seemingly led back. From this gate, then, he was
taken by his guide along the entry or passage (ch. 42:9), which ran
towards and extended in front of the holy chambers of (or, for) the
priests, which looked toward the north, and which had already been
described (ch. 42:1-14). Arrived at the western corner of the
chambers, he perceived a place on the two sides — or, on the hinder part
(Revised Version) — westward. The translation in the Authorized Version
was obviously suggested by the dual form יַדְכָּתַיִם, which properly
signifies “on both sides” but when applied to the tabernacle (Exodus
26:23) or temple (I Kings 6:16), always describes the back part or rear.
That a similar “place” existed on the south side is more than probable;
though Smend thinks there was not a “place” on the south. The Septuagint
omits the words after “place,” and supplies κεχωρισμένος – kechorismenos –
separated. Keil finds in the description here given of the passage towards the
holy chambers a proof that this section could not have stood originally after
ch. 42:14, as in that case no such description would have been
needed. Nor would the language in ch. 47:1, “and he brought me
back,” have been required or appropriate had the prophet not in the mean
while changed his place, which he does to visit the holy chambers.
20 “Then said he unto me, This is the place where the priests shall boil
the trespass offering and the sin offering, where they shall bake the
meat offering; that they bear them not out into the utter court, to
sanctify the people.” The “place” was designed as a kitchen where the priests
should boil the trespass and the sin offerings and bake the meat (or, meal)
offering, i.e. cook the portions of the sacrifices they should eat in their official
capacity (see ch. 42:13). The Law of Moses (Leviticus 8:31) required the flesh
to be boiled (and probably also the flour to be baked) at the tabernacle door.
The last clause, that they, i.e. the priests, bear them,
i.e. the offerings, not out into the utter (or, outer) court, to sanctify the
people, is by most interpreters understood in the sense of ch. 44:19 (which see).
To this, however, Kliefoth objects that the conception of deriving ceremonial
sanctity from contact with such offerings is completely strange to the
Old Testament (see Haggai 2:12), andaccordingly he connects the words.
“to sanctify the people,” with the “baking” and “boiling” of the preceding
21 “Then he brought me forth into the utter court, and caused me to
pass by the four corners of the court; and, behold, in every corner
of the court there was a court. 22 In the four corners of the court there
were courts joined of forty cubits long and thirty broad: these four corners
were of one measure.” The prophet next observed, as his guide led him round
the outer area, that in every corner of the court there was a court —
literally, a court in a corner of the court, a court in a corner of the court
— and that these were courts joined of forty cubits long and thirty
broad. The word “joined” קְטֻרות) has been variously translated: by
Gesenins (see ‘Hebrews Lex.,’ sub voce), as “vaulted” or “roofed,” with
which Hitzig seems to agree; by the Septuagint, whom Bottcher and Ewald
follow, μικρά - mikra - equal to contracts; by Kliefoth, “uncovered;” by
Havernick, “firm,” “strongly built;” by Smend, “separated;” by
Hengstenberg and Schroder, after the Talmudists (fumum exhalantia),
“smoking” or “made with chimneys” (Authorized Version margin); but is
probably best rendered by the Revised Version, Keil, Currey, after
Gesenius (‘Thesaurus,’ p. 1213), “enclosed,” meaning muris cineta et
januis elausa. According to the last clause of v. 22, these four corners
were of one measure; or, one measure was to the four cut-away places,
i.e. corners, מְהֻקְצָעות being the hoph. participle of קָצַע, “to cut off.”
This last word is omitted in the Septuagint and the Vulgate, Hitzig, and Smend,
the puncta extraordinaria showing that the Massorites regarded it as suspicious.
23 “And there was a row of building round about in them, round about
them four, and it was made with boiling places under the rows round about.”
And there was a row of building round about in them; but whether טור meant
a “wall,” “fence,” or “enclosure,” as Gesenius, Havernick, and Ewald translate,
or “row,” “series,” “a shelf of brickwork which had several separate shelves
under which the cooking-hearths were placed,” as Keil explains, the obvious
intention was to describe the range of boiling places which were built along
the inside walls of these corner courts, as the next verse states.
24 “Then said he unto me, These are the places of them that boil,
where the ministers of the house shall boil the sacrifice of the
people.” These are the places (literally, houses) of them that boil —
hence kitchens — where the ministers of the house (or, temple) — e.g.
the Levites (see ch. 44:11-12) — shall boil the sacrifice of the
people; i.e. the portions of the people’s offerings which fall to be
consumed by the priests.
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