Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges
Ch. Ezekiel 45:1-17. The portions of land assigned for maintenance to the priests, levites and prince respectively; with the dues which the people shall pay the prince, in return for which he shall provide the ritual
(1) Ezekiel 45:1-8. The oblation (terumah) of land for maintenance of priests, Levites and prince, and for the city.
(2) Ezekiel 45:9-12. Regulations as to just standards of weight, measure and coinage.
(3) Ezekiel 45:13-17. Dues to be paid the prince in respect of his being at the charge of providing the materials of ritual.
In the centre of the country a portion of land shall be measured oft 25,000 long and 20,000 broad. The measure is no doubt cubits, not reeds, though this is stated only in regard to the free place around the sanctuary (Ezekiel 45:2). Length is the measure E. to W., and breadth that from N. to S. This region is to be divided into two parallel strips E. to W., one of 25,000 long and 10,000 broad, which shall be for the priests (Ezekiel 45:4), and another N. of this, of the same length and breadth, which shall be for the Levites (Ezekiel 45:5). Parallel to this on the S. side of the priests’ domain, of the same length (25,000) with it and 5000 broad, there shall be a portion of land for the possession of the city. In the midst of it the city shall be situated (Ezekiel 45:6). These three portions thus form a square of 25,000. Finally the land from the E. side of this square to the Jordan, and from the W. side of it to the sea shall be for a possession to the prince (Ezekiel 45:7-8).
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.1. divide by lot] So the phrase originally signified, but probably it came to mean merely “divide” or assign portions to. Ezek. definitely fixes the positions of the tribes, and each tribe appears to have the same extent of territory assigned to it.
offer an oblation] Cf. Ezekiel 44:30.
holy portion of the land] i.e. out of, or from the land.
breadth … ten thousand] Grammar as well as context seems to require twenty thousand, cf. Ezekiel 45:3; Ezekiel 45:5, Ezekiel 48:10; Ezekiel 48:18. In Ezekiel 45:3 this “measure” is divided into two portions each 10,000 broad. So LXX. For reeds, no doubt, cubits.
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.2. In this sacred territory, more particularly, in the half of it assigned to the priests (Ezekiel 45:3-4), shall the sanctuary be situated, a square of 500, surrounded by a free space of 50 cubits on all sides. The 500 are certainly cubits, cf. Ezekiel 42:20.
the suburbs thereof] What the “suburbs” are appears from Numbers 35:4; it is an open space around the walls of an enclosure, a city or building, held to belong to the building or city, but not occupied by it. It is the liberties of a city or the precincts of an edifice, Ezekiel 48:15; Ezekiel 48:17.
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.3. The portion of the sacred land assigned to the priests shall consist of a tract 25,000 long by 10,000 broad.
sanctuary and the most holy] sanctuary, (even) the most holy thing. The whole area of land is holy, the sanctuary most holy.
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.4. Read: An holy portion of the land is it, it shall be for, &c.
holy place for the sanctuary] Lit. a sanctuary for the sanctuary. The use of “sanctuary” in the sense of sacred territory can hardly be supported by evidence, though the idea of a sacred territory around a sacred house or locality is a common one in the East. LXX. reads: a place for houses set apart for their sanctity, i.e. possibly: houses set apart for them (the priests), they being holy. No satisfactory emendation has been proposed.
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.5. Read: and five …, and ten … shall the Levites have. (The Keri is unnecessary).
for twenty chambers] Probably with LXX.: for cities to dwell in. Cf. same words Numbers 35:2; Joshua 14:4. In Ezekiel 45:6 Jerusalem, with its suburbs, is assigned a tract of land only half of this given to the Levites.
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.6. The city possesses a strip of land 5000 cubits broad and 25,000 long, running parallel to the portion of the priests, cf. Ezekiel 48:15. The city shall stand in the midst of this tract, which it entirely covers N. to S., cf. Ezekiel 48:16-17.
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.7. The domain of the prince. A portion of land shall fall to the prince equal in breadth (N. to S.) to the whole square assigned to the priests, Levites and city (viz. 25,000), and extending on both sides of this square to the borders of the country, to the Jordan on the E., and the sea on the W.
and the length … portions] and in length answerable to one of the portions, as R.V. The “portions” here are the tracts of land assigned to the tribes respectively (ch. 48). These stretched across the country from the Jordan to the sea. The portion of the prince in like manner stretches across the whole country, only it is interrupted in the middle by the 25,000 square tract assigned to priests, Levites and city. Cf. Ezekiel 48:21.
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.8. In the land … possession] In the land it shall be to him for a possession, lit. in respect of the land. Others: for a domain it shall be …, for a possession. The art. must then be omitted, and the use of “land” in this sense is unnatural.
my princes] The language my is unusual. In Ezekiel 45:9, “princes of Israel,” and so LXX. here. It is possible that Israel was represented in MS. merely by the initial letter, which is the same as the last letter of “princes” (cons.), and that one of the letters fell out.
the rest of the land] Read: oppress my people, but shall give the land to the house. On the oppressions of the princes, cf. Ezekiel 22:25; Jeremiah 22:17.
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.9. take away your exactions] Lit. remove your expulsions from my people. Ref. probably to unjust extrusion of persons from their possessions, of which the early prophets often complain, Isaiah 5:8; Micah 2:9; Micah 3:2-3, and the story of Naboth, 1 Kings 21.
9–17. The dues to be given the prince, and his obligations to provide the materials for the ritual.
Ezekiel 45:9 seq. The former unjust and irregular exactions of the princes shall cease. These exactions had not only been oppressive in their nature, but unjust and arbitrary from want of a fixed standard in weights, measures and currency.
Ye shall have just balances, and a just ephah, and a just bath.10. Cf. Leviticus 19:35-36; Deuteronomy 25:13-15; Micah 6:10-11 (the accursed scanty ephah); Proverbs 11:1; Proverbs 16:11; Proverbs 20:10. From this it appears that the words of Amos 8:5 “making the ephah small and the shekel large” are more than a figure.
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.11. The homer is assumed as the standard both for liquid and dry measures. The ephah was a tenth of the homer, dry measure; and the bath a tenth of the homer, liquid measure, Isaiah 5:10.
And the shekel shall be twenty gerahs: twenty shekels, five and twenty shekels, fifteen shekels, shall be your maneh.12. Cf. Exodus 30:13; Leviticus 27:25; Numbers 3:47; Numbers 18:16. The verse at present is without meaning. Read after LXX. (cod. Alex.): and the shekel shall be twenty gerahs; five (shekels) shall be five, and ten shekels ten, and fifty shekels shall be your maneh (mina). The text is grammatically suspicious, and the way in which “fifteen” is supposed to be expressed, viz. “ten and five” is without parallel. The statement that “five shekels shall be five,” &c., does not imply that there were five and ten shekel pieces, but means that just weighing of money shall prevail, and five go for five, no more and no less. The passage has been fully discussed by Bertheau (Zur Gesch. der Israeliten, pp. 8–14), whose table of money weights may be given (p. 14):
Cf. Exodus 38:25; Leviticus 27:3; Leviticus 27:6; Joshua 7:21; 1 Kings 10:17; Ezra 2:69; Nehemiah 7:71.
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:13. oblation … offer] The people are addressed. The due which they shall pay the prince is one sixtieth in grain. For, of an homer, rather: out of an homer.
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:14. The cor was another name for the homer, 1 Kings 5:2; 2 Chronicles 2:9; 2 Chronicles 27:5.
which is a homer … baths] ten baths are an homer. The words are wanting in LXX. The due in oil was one-hundredth part.
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.15. The due out of the flock was one in two hundred.
the fat pastures] lit. the watered land of Israel (Genesis 13:10). LXX. reads, out of all the families of Israel. These dues from the flock and from the soil were for purposes of sacrifice and offering (Ezekiel 45:17).
All the people of the land shall give this oblation for the prince in Israel.16. A.V. margins on this verse ought to be deleted. The words “all the people of the land” are anomalous grammatically; LXX. omits “of the land.”
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.17. In return for these dues paid him by the people the prince shall be charged with providing the sacrifices for public worship.
he shall prepare] provide.
The “feasts” were the three great festivals, passover or unleavened bread (easter), the feast of weeks, or pentecost, and the feast of ingathering or tabernacles at the end of the vintage. Ezekiel, however, seems to give no place to pentecost.
all solemnities] i.e. stated seasons. A reconciling or “atoning” efficacy appears attributed by the prophet to all the various kinds of sacrifices.
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:Ezekiel 45:18-25. Offerings at the feasts
18–20. The stated atonement for the sanctuary twice in the year—on the first day of the first month (Ezekiel 45:18); and on the first day of the seventh month (Ezekiel 45:20). The sin-offering on both occasions shall be a young bullock to cleanse, better: to make atonement for the sanctuary (Ezekiel 43:20).
Ch. Ezekiel 45:18 to Ezekiel 46:24. The offerings to be made at the feasts and other appointed seasons
-1Ezekiel 45:18-25. Offerings at the feasts.
-2Ezekiel 46:1-11. Offerings for the sabbaths and new moons.
(3) Ezekiel 45:12. Voluntary offerings of the prince.
(4) Ezekiel 45:13-15. The daily burnt-offering.
(5) Ezekiel 45:16-18. Case of the prince alienating any part of his landed estate to his children or servants.
(6) Ezekiel 45:19-24. Kitchens for boiling the offerings eaten by the priests, and those partaken of by the people.
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.19. Ceremonial with the blood. The blood shall be put on the door-posts of the house (Ezekiel 41:21), on the four corners of the great “settle” of the altar (Ezekiel 43:20), and upon the door-posts of the gateway of the inner court—which gateway is not specified, probably that at which the victims were slaughtered. Gateway, however, might be used collectively.
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.20. seventh day of the month] The text can hardly be so rendered. Probably: in the seventh month, on the new moon (i.e. the first day). LXX. fully: in the seventh month, on the first day of the month. An atonement was made for the sanctuary, purifying it from the defilements of the people, at the beginning of each half-year. No mention is made of burnt-offerings, but cf. Ezekiel 46:6-7.
every one that erreth] i.e. not for any particular person had in view, but for the people on account of there being among them persons who have erred unwittingly or through simplicity, i.e. natural slowness which may not have apprehended the exact requirements of duty. Ezekiel is speaking of the people in their perfect condition, when, of course, only such mistakes will be committed as are due to inadvertence and the limitations to which the mind of man is subject.
reconcile the house] make atonement for. Cf. Leviticus 16:6; Leviticus 16:18.
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.21. The feasts. The passover on the fourteenth of the first month
feast of seven days] So no doubt Heb. should be read, with the ancient versions. At present it reads: a feast of weeks of days. Ezekiel omits all ref. to the so-called feast of weeks, i.e. pentecost, seven weeks after the unleavened bread, when the sickle was put into the grain.
And upon that day shall the prince prepare for himself and for all the people of the land a bullock for a sin offering.22. prepare for himself] provide, Ezekiel 45:17.
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.23. kid of the goats] a he goat. For prepare, provide, so Ezekiel 45:24.
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.
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.25. Feast of tabernacles on the fifteenth day of the seventh month. Render: in the seventh month, on the fifteenth day of the month, in the feast, shall he do the like, the seven days. The “feast” is that of tabernacles, the feast par excellence of the year, concluding the yearly round of festivals (Isaiah 29:1). For this feast the prince makes the same provision as for the feast of unleavened bread (Ezekiel 45:23).