Ezekiel 46
Lange Commentary on the Holy Scriptures

1Thus saith the Lord Jehovah: The gate of the inner court that looketh toward the east shall be shut the six working days; and on the Sabbath day it shall be opened, and on the day of the new moon it shall be opened. 2And the prince cometh the way of [to] the porch of the gate from without, and will stand at the post of the gate; and the priests offer up his burnt-offering and his peace-offerings; and he worships at the threshold of the gate, and 3will go out; and the gate shall not be shut until the evening. And the people of the land worship at the door of this gate in the Sabbaths and in the new moons before Jehovah. 4And the burnt-offering which the prince shall offer to Jehovah on the Sabbath day is six lambs without blemish, and a ram without blemish. 5And the meat-offering [shall be] an ephah for the ram, and for the lambs the meat-offering [shall be] what his hand gives, and 6oil a hin to the ephah. And on the day of the new moon without blemish a bullock—a young steer, and six lambs and a ram; without blemish shall 7they be. And an ephah for the bullock and an ephah for the ram shall he make the meat-offering, and for the lambs so much as his hand will attain to, and oil a hin to the ephah. 8And when the prince cometh he shall come the way of the porch of the gate, and by the same way shall he go out. 9And when the people of the land come before Jehovah in the set times, he that cometh the way of the north gate to worship shall go out the way of the south gate, and he that cometh the way of the south gate shall go out the way of the north gate; he shall not return the way of the gate by which he came, but they shall go out each straight before him. 10And the prince shall come in their midst; when they come and when they go out, they shall go out [together]. 11And in the feasts and in the set times the meat-offering shall be an ephah for the bullock and an ephah for the ram, and for the 12lambs what his hand gives, and oil a hin to the ephah. And when the prince shall offer a free-will offering, burnt-offering, or peace-offering, as a free-will offering to Jehovah, then one opens to him the gate that looketh toward the east, and he offers his burnt-offering and his peace-offering, as he will do on the Sabbath day; and he goeth out, and one shuts the door after 13his going out. And a lamb a year old without blemish shalt thou daily 14offer as a burnt-offering to Jehovah; every morning shalt thou offer it. And a meat-offering shalt thou offer with it every morning, the sixth of an ephah, and oil the third of a hin, to moisten the fine flour,—a meat-offering to 15Jehovah, ordinances perpetual, continual. And they offer the lamb and the meat-offering and the oil every morning, as a continual burnt-offering. 16Thus saith the Lord Jehovah: When the prince shall give a gift to one of his sons, it [is] his inheritance, to his sons shall it be [become], their possession 17as an inheritance. And when he shall give a gift from his inheritance to one of his servants, then it is his until the year of freedom, when it returns to 18the prince; only his inheritance of his sons shall belong to them. And the prince shall not take of the people’s inheritance to thrust them out of their possession; from his own possession he may endow his sons, that My people 19be not scattered every man from his possession. And he brought me, in the entry which was at the side of the gate, to the chambers of holiness, to the priests, that look toward the north; and, behold, there was a place on the 20hinder side westward. And he said to me, This is the place where the priests shall boil the guilt-offering and the sin-offering, where they shall bake the meat-offering, so as not to bring it forth to the outer court, to sanctify 21the people. And he brought me forth to the outer court, and made me pass on to the four corners of the court, and, behold, in each corner of the court was a court. 22In the four corners of the court were smoking courts, forty [cubits] long and thirty [cubits] broad; one measure was to them to the four 23corner-rooms. And a range was round about in them, round about the four 24of them, and cooking-places were made under the ranges round about. And he said to me: These are the house of the cooks, where the ministers of the house shall boil the slain-offering of the people.

Ezekiel 46:2. Sept.: ... της πυλης της ἐξωθεν … ἐπι τα προθυρα—Vulg.: … stabit in limine

Ezekiel 46:3. ... κατα τα προθυρα

Ezekiel 46:4. K. το ὁλοκαυτωμα προσοισει

Ezekiel 46:6. Another reading: תקח פר and תמים; all the old translations read singular as the latter.

Ezekiel 46:9. ... ἀλλ̓ ἠ κατ̓ εὐθυ αὐτης εξελευσεται. Vulg.: … sed e regione illius egredietur. (Another reading: יצא, also Ezekiel 46:10.)

Ezekiel 46:10. ... εἰσλευσεται μετ̓ αὐτων, κ. ἐν τω … ἐξελευσεται μετ̓ αὐτων.

Ezekiel 46:11. ... και ἐν ταις πανηγυρεσιν

Ezekiel 46:12. ... ὁμολογιαν ὁλοκαυτωμα σωτηριου τω κυριω κ. ἀνοιξει

Ezekiel 46:13. ... ποιησει … ποιησει—(Another reading: יעשה, also Ezekiel 46:14.)

Ezekiel 46:14. Sept.: ... προσταγμα αἰωνιον διαπαντος (15) ποιησετε τον ἀμνον κ. … ποιησετε—Vulg.: … cata mane … sacrificium domino legitimum, juge atque perpetuum.

Ezekiel 46:15. Faciet … cata mane mane—(Qeri: יַעֲשׂוּ.)

Ezekiel 46:16. ... υἱως αὐτου του ἐκ τ. κληρονομιας αὐτου, τουτο

Ezekiel 46:17. ... κ. ἀποδωσει … πλην τ. κληρονομιας τ. υἱων αὐτου—Vulg.:.. hæreditas autem ejus filiis ejus erit.

Ezekiel 46:18. Vulg.: … per violentiam et de possession eorum,

Ezekiel 46:19. ... ἐκει τοπος κεχωρισμενος.

Ezekiel 46:20. ... ἐπι τα τεσσαρα μερμ τ. αὐλης … αὐλη κατα τα κλιτη τ. αὐλης, αὐλη κατα το κλιτος, αὐλη (22) ἐπι τα σεσσ. κλιτη τ. αὐλης, αὐλη μικρα μηκους—Vulg.: … in angulo atrii, atriola singula per angulos atrii.

Ezekiel 46:22. Vulg: … atriola disposita

Ezekiel 46:23. Κ. ἐξεδραι … ἐν αὐταις, … κ. μαγειρεια γεγονοτα ὑποκατω των ἐξεδων—Vulg.: Et paries per circuitum ambiens quatuor atriola … subter porticus

Ezekiel 46:24. ... οἰ οἰκοι των μαγειρειων—Vulg.: domus culinarum


Ezekiel 46:1–12. The Prince and People at Sacrifice

Ezekiel 44:1 sq. treated of the outer east gate, while here the inner east gate comes into consideration. There the prince appears as sitting feasting upon the offerings; here he is viewed as standing, in accordance with his duty of offering. Both passages accord to him precedence of the people. In Keil’s view the two passages supplement each other in this way, that we have here the exceptions to the rule there. But Ezekiel 44 permits no exception in regard to the shutting of the gate (comp. on Ezekiel 43:5, also 47:2); and besides, it is the outer gate that is spoken of there, whereas here it is the inner. If one is to call it a case of supplementing, he can say: whereas Ezekiel 44 shuts the outer east gate always, the inner east gate also, according to our passage, should as a rule be shut; the Sabbath day and the day of the new moon are to form the exceptions.

Ezekiel 46:2. We are told in Ezekiel 44 how the prince arrives at the outer gate; namely, by the way of the porch of the gate (מִדֶּרֶךְ׳); that same way, only in respect to the inner east gate,—which, however, as we have seen on Ezekiel 40:31, has its porch likewise turned to the outer court,—the prince comes here also, so that מִחוּץ means just the same as מִן in מִדֶּרֶךְ (Ezekiel 44:3): from the outer court, into which he entered by the north or south gate. מִחוּץ only makes the gate intended, but not expressly named in Ezekiel 46:2, more plain as the inner gate, the gate that leads into the inner court. [Hengst. takes it as: “without,” “beyond”; he makes the prince proceed through the opened door of the inner east gate as far as its threshold and post; not pass through the porch, but remain standing on this side of it, beyond the gate-opening, but close by it, on the threshold between the gate-opening and the porch. Keil, again, understands מִחוּץ as meaning from outside of the temple through the outer east gate. Ewald makes as correction in Ezekiel 46:1 the gate of the “outer” court.] The mention again of the east gate repeats, in reference to the prince, the distinction conferred upon him in Ezekiel 44. It is, however, rather a distinction from the people, or a distinction of the people in his person, than a distinguishing approximation of the prince to the priests. Compare with what is here said Solomon’s probably pulpit-like brazen scaffold, on which he knelt, and which thus was situated before the altar of burnt-offering in the inner court (2 Chron. 6:13); likewise 2 Kings 11:14, 23:3; 2 Chron. 23:13, 34:31. According to the passage before us, the position even of the prince inside of the environs of the temple suffers a noteworthy modification. A definite, fixed, elevated standing place, a suggestus for the bearer of princely power at the entrance into the inner court, as occupied since Solomon by the pre-exile kings, is no longer spoken of. The king of the future is the Messiah; the princedom shines in His light (Doct. Reflec. 14), in the brightness of the glory that entered through the east gate, which in view thereof is shut for ever toward the outside, and it (namely, the east gate) is temporarily opened only toward the interior, to be shut again at even. The Messianic idea dominates the modification of the prerogative of the possession derived from the pre-exile kingdom within the architectonic symbolism of the theocracy. Hengst. says: “What is treated of here is not merely a subordination of the prince to God; there is also as regards worship a sharp line drawn between prince and priest.” Hävernick observes: “As on the one hand the prince is unreservedly acknowledged in his special exaltation, so on the other his rights appear in due limitation, in reference to encroachment of any kind on the priestly prerogatives. With regard to this, a position is assigned to him at the post of the gate leading to the inner court, on the threshold of the gate, hence at the head of the people, yet not in the priests’ court proper.” While he stands, the priests “do” what the prince cannot do, but must cause to be done by them. הִשְׁתַּחֲוָה, (שָׁחָה, “to bow”), Hithp. with וה as reduplication of the third radical, reflexive.—And will go out by the way that he came (Ezekiel 44:3). As what has been said invests the prince with privileges only above the people, Ezekiel 46:3 fixes the people’s place at worship. פֶּתַח׳ [HENGST.: “opposite the opened door, through which they catch a glimpse of the altar of burnt-offering, which the prince—this is the only difference (? he enters the inner east gate, however)—sees from a nearer point”] is, according to Klief., equivalent to: through the opening of the gate, inasmuch as the people before the outer east gate have to look at the temple through it, and also through the inner gate (comp. Ezekiel 46:9). The arrangement intimates that the people shall worship outside of the threshold of the inner east gate, the gate spoken of (הַהוּא). Ps. 95:6.

Ezekiel 46:4. The Sabbath-offerings to be brought and offered by the prince are instead of: two lambs of the first year without blemish for a burnt-offering, and two-tenth deals of flour and oil for a meat-offering and drink-offering (Num. 28:9); in future: three times as many lambs and a ram besides.

Ezekiel 46:5. This increase of offerings extends also to the meat-offering: an ephah for the ram (Ezekiel 45:24). This may, and doubtless does, imply a proportionate increase with respect to the lambs likewise; מַתַּת יָדוֹ, however, which does not necessarily mean the same as the formula in Ezekiel 46:7, expresses free-willingness as the other element in the ordinance. A range of freedom along with the obligation, as HENGST., is not, however, so much the thought here, as, on the one hand, greater richness and splendour, which on the other presupposes a liberal and munificent disposition in the individual. “The disposition has become changed; with the greater blessings, demands higher than hitherto present themselves. But the more the amount to be spent is left to the free will of the individual, the more of zeal and faithfulness is presupposed” (HÄV.).

Ezekiel 46:6. The new-moon offerings, on the contrary, show a decrease; namely, instead of: two bullocks, one ram, seven lambs (Num. 28:11 sq.), we have here only: one bullock, one ram, six lambs. Hengst., indeed, disputes this; the number of bullocks, he says, “is left to the free judgment, only it may not fall short of the two required by the law.” In support of this view he takes פַּר as collective (an “ideal unity”), and appeals to the plural תְּמִימִים, which certainly cannot be interpreted as referring to the frequent recurrence of the feast. (According to Keil, it is a “blunder of the transcriber” for תָּמִים.) Not only one bullock and one ram, however, but also the goat for the sin-offering (Num. 28:15) is wanting here.

Ezekiel 46:7. The increase appears to be retained only through the meat-offering (comp. Ezekiel 45:24), and to be expressed by the formula: כַּאֲשֶׁר תַּשִּׂיג יָדוֹ, which takes as measure, not the free will, like Ezekiel 46:5, but ability (Lev. 14:30).

In order to pass over from Sabbaths and new moons to other seasons of worship, Ezekiel 46:8 first repeats what has been said in Ezekiel 46:2. בְּדַרְכּוֹ=by the same way.

Ezekiel 46:9. Keil notices as a distinction from Ezekiel 46:3, that there the people were spoken of “only incidentally” ( “provided some of them came”), since they were “not bound to come on Sabbaths and new moons.” Such a distinction, however, would require to be more definitely noted. In reality, Ezekiel as much supposes the people coming in Ezekiel 46:3 as here, where the coming and going of individuals (הַבָּא) is expressly mentioned. Something similar to Deut. 16:16 is not exactly expressed here. The most that can be said is, that בַּמּוֹעֲדִים (this is what makes the distinction from Ezekiel 46:3)—מוֹעֵד (יָעַד) the set time and assembling of the community—the coming and going of the people, might make more of a throng, so that here the relative rank of people and prince, expressed in Ezekiel 46:3, is not so much regarded, but care is taken for due order in the temple; and while in Ezekiel 46:2, 3 the prince was distinguished from the people, here he and they are taken together. [FAIRBAIRN: “At the great festivals the prince was to depart from the state of isolation which it was proper for him to observe at other times, and at the head of the people join in the great throng of worshippers that were to pass through the temple courts from one side to another. It reminds us of David, who in this was doubtless the exemplar in the eye of the prophet: ‘I had gone with the multitude, I went with them to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise, with a multitude that kept holy-day.’ A beautiful picture of a religious people: the highest in rank freely mingling with the mass of worshippers, and inspiriting their devotions by the elevating influence of his presence and example.”—W. F.] ( “The reason of the regulation in Ezekiel 46:9 can only be a theological one, that each should go out of the sanctuary another man than he came in (Phil. 3:13); to avoid a throng, all must have been obliged to go in by the same gate, and out by the opposite one.”—HENGST.) Hengst. renders בַּמּוֹעֲדים here: “in the feast seasons;” in Ezekiel 46:11: “on the feast days;” in order to assure himself of the continuance of the great day of atonement; and hence he renders בַּחַנִּים: “on the joyous feasts.” Keil makes מוֹעֲדִים comprehend “Sabbaths, new moons, and the day of atonement, all the seasons and days sanctified to the Lord.” This in itself cannot be disputed, but in the connection here in Ezekiel may be very questionable. Keil at all events overthrows by this his own distinction of Ezekiel 46:9 and 10 from Ezekiel 46:3, which rests on the ground that Ezekiel 46:9 and 10 speak of the high feasts, at which every one has to appear. בַּמּוֹעֲדִים in Ezekiel 46:9 points rather to the two days appointed for the first month, Ezekiel 45:18, 20.—Since mention is made of two ways of coming, the singular Qeri (יֵצֵא) must be rejected.

Ezekiel 46:10, very suitably for the two days of the first month, views the prince and people together. Here, too, the Qeri is to be rejected; יֵצֵאוּ are prince and people. Hengstenberg rightly compares Ps. 42:5 [4].

Ezekiel 46:11 introduces the “feasts” strictly so called (see Ezekiel 45:21 and 25) in addition to the “set seasons” (Ezekiel 45:18, 20); but, as the statement of the meat-offering shows, the מוֹעֲדִים are chiefly meant, for as to the feasts comp. the meat-offering ordained in Ezekiel 45:24 sq., while the lambs are explained from Ezekiel 46:6 of our chapter, which tells of those for the new moon. Hence what is there mentioned for burnt-offering must hold good also in Ezekiel 45:18–20, and likewise the meat-offering here, for which comp. Ezekiel 46:7 of our chapter. While the formula there measures according to ability, the one here expresses also that which corresponds to free-will, and this the more appropriately as free-will offerings are treated of in what follows.

Ezekiel 46:12. נְדָבָה (Ps. 110:3), from נָדַב, “to impel,” is the peculiar inward impulse, the joyful readiness for good and for all sacrifices which comes from the Spirit of God (Ps. 51:14 [12]). The expression is used, as of the impulse originally, so of that to which one feels himself impelled, of the gift, and especially of the sacrifice to which a man was bound by no vow (Lev. 22:23). The repetition in our verse of this element makes it specially prominent. [FAIRBAIRN: “To show that his worship was not merely of a public and official nature, that it should spring from a heart truly alive to divine things, and itself delighting in fellowship with God, the prophet passes from those holiday services to the voluntary offerings and the daily morning sacrifice, which the prince was also to present to the Lord. In a word, the proper head of a religious people, he was to surpass them all, and be an example to them all, in the multitude and variety of his acts of homage and adoration.”—W. F.] Keil observes on the modified regulation in regard to opening and shutting the gate, as compared with Ezekiel 46:2, that the freewill offering could be brought on any day of the week; Hengst. points to the distinction that “in the free-will offering the prince appears as an individual, in the Sabbath-offering as the representative of the people.”

Ezekiel 46:13–15. The Daily Sacrifice

Ezekiel 46:13. The address to the people (תַּעֲשֶׂה), where hitherto we have had to do with the prince, and the comparison of what was imposed on him in Ezekiel 45:17, make it probable that the daily sacrifice is to be “an affair of the community,” which “the priests have to provide” (KEIL). “Yet,” observes Hengstenberg, “the conclusion is not certain; the transition from the prince to the people is an easy one, since in the foregoing passage also the prince represents the people. Ezekiel 45:18–20 likewise began with the address to the people, and undoubtedly the close here corresponds to the beginning there; the prince is encompassed on both sides by the people.” According to Num. 28:3 sq., two such lambs were to be offered daily for a burnt-offering, namely, one in the morning and the other in the evening. The more exact statement here: בַּבֹּקֶר בַּבֹּקֶר, that it shall be done every morning, either abolishes the evening burnt-offering (KEIL), or silently supposes it (HENGST.). The aim is, corresponding to Ezekiel 45:18 sq., a similar sanctification of the commencement of the day as of that of the month and year; hence the sanctification of the whole of time in all its divisions, in distinction, perhaps, from the significance of the evening for Israel (Ex. 12:6). If the evening sacrifice is to be discontinued, the increase of the meat-offering every morning in Ezekiel 46:14 (compared with Num. 28:5, one-tenth of an ephah and one-fourth of a hin) perhaps comes into consideration for the deficit.—לָרֹס, from רָסַס, “to rend,” to scatter, to sprinkle. HENGST. and KEIL: to moisten.—סֹלֶת, probably from סָלַל (but of doubtful signification; MEIER: to split, to widen; GESEN.: to lift up, to oscillate), is the finest wheat meal. The plural חֻקּוֹת refers both to the burnt-offering in Ezekiel 46:13, and the meat-offering here. The significance of such a solemnity every morning is emphasized by the תָּמִיד strengthening the עוֹלָם, for which, with Hitzig, Lev. 23:14, 21, 31 is to be compared.

Ezekiel 46:15. Keil takes וַ֯עֲשׂוּ as imperative; it is preterite with yav. The Qeri reads the imperfect.—Again the emphatic תָּמִיד. ( “That which is to be done daily forms a contrast to the festivities; it is to be acknowledged and honoured in due dignity and significance as a perpetual burnt-offering,” HÄV.) HENGST.: “We move here entirely on the realm of Old Testament worship, and there is not the slightest (?) indication that, by the sacrifice of bulls, lambs, and goats, other forms of worship are here denoted. Even if the details were only colouring and means of representation, yet an intimation in regard to the whole should not be wanting” (neither is it wanting, it is manifest throughout the whole and in every part!) “if the announcement were to extend to a time when, by the offered sacrifice of Christ, a total revolution in the worship was produced. This is certainly correct; although the prophecy refers primarily to the restoration of the Old Testament worship, and in this respect has long ago found its fulfilment, and indeed a fulfilment that has long disappeared again,—the disappearance was proclaimed by the word of Christ: Behold, your house is left unto you desolate;—yet at the same time it conceals in the details the kernel of a general truth,—the imperishability of the worship in the community of God on earth, which is demonstrated among other things also by this, that as the worship here predicted had to perish by the Roman destruction, the worship in the Christian Church rose again gloriously.” Any misunderstanding, as if Ezekiel should have predicted the Roman or Greek-Catholic worship, or a new evangelical worship of kindred form, might have been obviated by the consideration, that in everything here relative to the service of the temple of the future, the object aimed at is to give to the idea an expression as distinct as possible, although in terms of the Old Testament, and so in a symbolizing prophetic form, here specially to the idea, that whereas the Church Militant is a teaching church, the Church Triumphant of eternity (עוֹלָם תָּמִיד) will on the contrary be a liturgic one; as also the so much debated question of constitution will be overcome, because solved.

Ezekiel 46:16–24 Appendices:

Ezekiel 46:16–18. The Right of the Prince as regards the Disposal of his Property.

Ezekiel 46:19–24. The Sacrificial Kitchens.

Just as supplementary matter to the temple building is appended in Ezekiel 41:15 sq. in the transition to the service of the temple, so we have here a supplementary statement in reference to the prince and the priests,—the former as the procurer and defrayer of the material of worship, the latter as the persons formally celebrating it, after the order of worship was finished in the foregoing.

Ezekiel 46:16–18. The Prince and his Possession

Ezekiel 46:16. כֹּה־אָמַר׳ expressly introduces what follows as a divine ordinance, and not the fancy of the prophet; and this connects itself with that which was assigned to the prince in Ezekiel 45:8 as his “possession in Israel.” As we know from that passage, reference is made here too to the former despotic regime. When Hengstenberg says that “the prophet does not set himself up as a lawgiver, but only seeks to give a representation of the thought that the princes of the future are to be no despots, are to beware of the unjust absolutism of the princes of the past,” it is clear, and Hengstenberg cannot deny it, that an ideal future is kept in view. But the ideality of the whole Old Testament is the future of the Messiah. Hengstenberg, indeed, observes quite correctly: “The prince cannot be Christ. He is one who may have several sons of his own body; who in the prospect of his death disposes of his property; who does not stand beyond the region of sin, else he should not need to be warned against it.” The concession in respect of one of his sons preserves the character of the princely possession; it becomes an inheritance, but it remains in the princely family. Hengstenberg connects נַחֲלָתוֹ הִיא with the principal clause, and makes the suffix refer to the prince: “this shall become his inheritance (surely: his possession, which in this case he bequeaths) to his sons.” It is more natural to connect it with לְאִישׁ מִבָּנָיו, and to make the suffix refer to the prince’s son in question: the inheritance shall be his, bequeathed to him by his father (comp. on Ezekiel 46:18); and this is confirmed by the immediately following clause, which does not generalize, so that, with Keil, the suffix in לְבָנָיו should now revert to the prince; but his sons are the sons of the just-mentioned prince’s son, and the idea of the נַחֲלָתוֹ is only farther carried out: it shall be their possession, so that it can be bequeathed (בְּנַחֲלָה) to their sons also.

Ezekiel 46:17. The idea of “inheritance” remains the key-note as formerly, so that the farther concession in respect of a meritorious or favourite servant of the prince does not indeed forbid a present to the servant in land from that which the prince possesses as hereditary property, but yet alienation and so lessening of the crown estates is guarded against by the limitation: until the year of freedom. דְּרוֹר (from דָרַר), which denotes free outflowing (Ex. 30:23), is free motion in general, freedom, as the year of jubilee is consequently named in Lev. 25:10, 13. The reversion is the same as in the case of an Israelitish heritable landed possession, when it passes by sale to another.—The meaning of the phrase: only his inheritance of his sons, is clear from the foregoing: only what the prince has presented to his sons from his inheritance shall remain to them. [KEIL: “only his inheritance is it (?); as regards his sons, to them it shall belong.”]

Ezekiel 46:18. That which is to be preserved in the case of the prince, is also to be preserved for the people: inheritance in their case as in his. יָנָה, “to oppress,” in general, hence: to exercise violence, to treat one with violence (Ezekiel 18:7 sq., 45:8), here with מִן.—On פוּץ, comp. Ezekiel 34 (1 Sam. 8:14, 22:7).

Ezekiel 46:19–24. The Sacrificial Kitchens for Priests and People

Ewald inserts this section after Ezekiel 42:13, 14, as he does the preceding Ezekiel 45 between Ezekiel 46:8 and 9. The prophet, who has not changed his standing-place since Ezekiel 44:4 sq., is brought to the הַלִּשְׁכוֹת described in Ezekiel 42:1 sq. (which comp.).—On בַּמָּבוֹא, comp. on Ezekiel 42:9.—As the chambers in question are the priests’, Hengst. explains the appositional phrase: to the priests, as in Roman Catholic countries one may say, for example: “to the Carmelites,” etc.—The description: that look toward the north, refers of course to chambers. The gate, accordingly, is the north inner gate; according to Hengst., the entry leads “from the inner court gate on the west to the east entrance gate of the fence-wall of the priests’ cells.”—שָׁם, KEIL: “At the cells on the extreme hinder side toward the west;” HENGST.: “Thus the kitchens are in the cell building, not by and outside of it.”—The Qeri has בַּיַּרְכָתַיִם (HENGST.: יַרְכְתָם, “on their west side;” “singular, as in Gen. 49:13; the suffix refers in fact to the chambers, in form to the priests, including under them the chambers”). Gesenius derives the dual from the original signification: limb.

Ezekiel 46:20. Here the guilt-offering comes first, whereas in Ezekiel 40:39, 42:13, 44:29, it always comes after the sin-offering, as it did in the law also, and hence appeared as a subordinate kind of sin-offering, ordained merely for certain cases; in accordance with the leading thought that the sinner should not only desire atonement of his sin before God by a sin-offering, but likewise endeavour as far as possible to pay what was owing, make good the damage, make restitution for the crime committed. —בָּשַׁל, “to swell;” hence, naturally: “to ripen;” artificially: “to cook” (Piel).—אָפָה, properly: to draw together, is: “to bake.” Comp. moreover, Ezekiel 42:13.—לְבִלְתִּי׳, to be understood as in Ezekiel 44:19, which comp.; הוֹצִיא, namely: out of the kitchens, which were situated in the corners of the outer court, like those which follow, where the priests had to pass through the crowd in order to get to their cells. To the outer court, mentioned to prepare for what follows, forms the transition to Ezekiel 46:21.—The repetition:חָצֵר בְּמִקְצֹעַ׳, repeats in words what was repeatedly seen: “a court in the corner of the court, and again a court in the corner of the court” (as HENGST.), so that Ezekiel 46:22 first gives the exact number of four.—The being brought forth to the outer court is explained by its distinction from the inner, the priests’ court, against whose wall the cells and kitchens rested, as belonging to the sanctuary. Comp. Ezekiel 46:19.

Ezekiel 46:22. These kitchens for the people are distinguished by the detailed description given from those formerly mentioned for the priests. Hengst. considers them: “as off-rooms of the chambers of the people in the sides of the court,” and translates קְטֻרוֹת הֲצֵרוֹת: “smoking courts,” saying that the ascending smoke is the characteristic mark of these “buildings,” and asserting that the verb קָטַר, with all its derivatives, signifies in Hebrew only: to exhale, to smoke, etc. Gesenius assumes another root, קָטַר, “to bind,” “to close,” and understands: closed (partic. pass.) with walls and doors. This latter description would express as little as the other meanings, which Keil rightly rejects, and which the expression cannot have, such as “uncovered” (KLIEF.), “firm” (HÄV.), “pressed over” (HITZIG.), and the like. The description from the smoke has, on the other hand, something pictorial and emblematic, in so far as it might point to this, that in these kitchens meat to cook will never be wanting.—מִקְצוֹעַ, plur. ים—and וֹת—, is: corner, from קָצַע, to “cut off.”—The Sept. and Vulgate omit מְחֻקְצָעוֹת, the last word of the verse, and the Masoretes, by points placed over it, mark it as suspicious. Hengst. holds it to be “a kind of priestly proper name for those rooms (HÄV.: a peculiar technical term for: placed in the corner), which Ezekiel here brings forward as a fond reminiscence.” It is part. Hophal, and signifies: “cornered,” “a corner room,” as Hengstenberg says; according to Keil: “cornered off,” “cut off in corners” (apposition to the suffix in לְאַרְבַּעְתָּם). Hävernick observes that the word still depends upon חֲצֵרוֹת.

Ezekiel 46:23. טוּר is something on which one walks round. Keil translates: “a row of standing places was in it round about.” [KLIEF.: “a framework was in it round about.”] Evidently the range of cooking-places (מְבַשְּׁלוֹת, literally: “which cause to cook,” partic. Piel), running below the court-walls (טִּירָה) and along them, is meant to be described. [KEIL: a tier of wall-work had several single tiers, under which the cooking-hearths were constructed. HÄV.: “the surrounding boundary-wall rises so high above the kitchens, that these are constructed below the wall.”]

Ezekiel 46:24. בֵּית הַמְּבַשְּׁלִים is in fact: the “kitchen-house,” but formally: the house where the cooks cook.—The ministers of the house, as formerly, are the mere Levites, in contradistinction from the priests.—“Not without reason is only the slain-offering mentioned (the name bearing reference to the form; earlier the name denoted the essence: Shelamim), in distinction from the sin and guilt-offerings to be prepared in the kitchens of the priests. Only with the slain-offerings, such offerings as are akin to common slaughtering, was a communion connected. The greater part fell to the offerers, and was consumed in the sacrificial meals. But the slain-offering was not allowed to be prepared by the people themselves” (HENGST.).


On Ch. 46

Ezekiel 46:1. “There is a time for prayer and a time for work. On work-days we are not to rest, as on the Sabbath. He who does not work ought not to eat, whatever his pretences are. The door to the Father, the Source of all grace, opens itself to us when the gracious light of the love of God again shines forth, as it often does after great darkness. The way to the Father, on which Christ preceded us when He prayed for us, now stands always open to us, for the Sabbath is eternal, and we see the door to the inner sanctuary of the temple: only in a figure through a glass do we see the glory of the Lord” (HEIM-HOFF.).—At the door, but not at the altar.—The temporal power, moreover, ought, in reverence for what is sacred,—which is and ought to remain sacred to its subjects,—not to overstep the privileged position assigned to it, not to command or forbid when it has no authority for the one or the other.—“Princes and lords should abide in their calling” (CR.).—“But the temporal power and teachers and preachers ought also to live in harmony with one another, and to assist one another in furthering the glory of God, 2 Chron. 19:11” (W.).

Ezekiel 46:3 sq. Prayer and diligent attendance on divine service are becoming alike for people and prince.—In the Old Covenant it is said: before the Lord; in the New Covenant: in the Lord.

Ezekiel 46:8 sq. Every one has his assigned path under God’s guidance, and on it he should abide.—“God’s guidance demands quiet; where the foot itself makes a noise, the will of the eternal Father is exchanged for our own choice” (ZINZENDORF).—“But many shall come from the north and from the south to worship in the Lord’s house, Matt. 8:11”(STARKE).—“The influence of love shall extend into the whole world from the south to the north, so that they from the north and they from the south shall go to meet one another, in order to receive and embrace one another as brethren” (BERL. BIB.).—“He that will serve God must never go backward, but always forward, growing in grace, 2 Pet. 3:18”(STARCK).—“No one should go out of the church as he came into it; he should always take home with him something for his edification, Eccles. 4:17 [5:1]; Acts 16:14” (STARKE).—The prince has to go in the midst of his people, that his prerogative be not perverted into injustice; for the people do not exist for the sake of the prince, but the prince for the sake of the people.—“When magistrates and authorities give a good example to subjects and subordinates, that is a stronger motive than much teaching and exhortation, 2 Sam. 6:15” (STARKE).

Ezekiel 46:11 sq. Grace makes the heart free, and so also willing. Voluntariness is a measure of grace, as mercifulness is a sign that we ourselves shall obtain mercy.—“He who confines his prayers and devotions to Sundays and festivals does not yet know what it is to serve God, what it is always to pray (Luke 18:1) and to worship God in spirit and in truth. Daily ought we to exhort and arouse ourselves, that we fall not again into sin; daily ought the praise of God to be heard from our mouth, Heb. 3:13” (STARKE).—In every gift God looks on the giver’s heart: My son, give me thine heart.—A people that shall be pure willingness, the prospect held out in Ps. 110.—As God’s grace is new every morning, so also ought our devotion to Him to be renewed every morning.—The whole life of man ought to be a life consecrated to God.—“Our whole life should be a sacrifice, from morning to night, and next morning again” (BERL. BIB.).—The consecration of time.—Since Christ’s appearance the night has disappeared, and the day has come; there are now only morning sacrifices.—Watchman, what of the night? was a question of pre-Christian longing. Is there not yet light towards Hebron? was the daily question of the priest in the old temple.—“The whole section is of the deepest importance for us, inasmuch as it instructs us to live in the word, when God’s grace does not make itself known to us in the visible” (HENGST.).

Ezekiel 46:16 sq. If the prince is understood to be the Messiah, then according to that view Christ’s gifts here to the children are different from those to servants, which are only temporary, and taken from them again !—“The year of freedom shall be ‘the day of revelation of righteous judgment,’ which is already exercised in secret. The hypocrites, who are condemned by the silent judgment of their heart, shall one day be manifest also to the world” (HEIM-HOFF.).—“Rulers ought not to invade the rights of their subjects, 1 Kings 21:2 sq.” (TÜB. BIB.)—“He who is profuse in giving is (easily) compelled to take from others what belongs to them” (HENGST.).—“The kingdom of Christ is very different from an earthly one, for He supports His subjects, not His subjects Him, John 10:11” (STARCK).—In Christ’s kingdom injustice has no formula, either socially or judicially.—“Spiritual things ought to be left in the spiritual order, and temporal in the temporal; confusion in this particular confuses the position of the people in other particulars also” (HEIM-HOFF.).

Ezekiel 46:19 sq. In the kingdom of God, as in the kingdom of nature, and in the full sense of the expression, everything has its own place. Only the things of men are in disorder, because they are sinners, and sin is disorder in every respect.—Servants of the Church should have the gift of distinguishing times and places, and above all, of discerning the spirits.—Consideration for the people, an important part of pastoral prudence.—To cook is to bring to a proper condition, so that the food tastes well and is agreeable; so ought also the truth to be prepared.—Is not homiletics a kind of sacred cookery?—“When teachers have rightly experienced whole some truths in their heart, then they understand also how to set them rightly before others, Matt 13:52” (STARKE).—“The same kind of food does not do for the simple and children and for grown men” (BERL. BIB.).

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.
Lange, John Peter - Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical

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