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.
Verses 1-8. - The portions of land that should be allotted to the sanctuary, the city, and the prince. Verse 1. - Moreover, When ye shall divide by lot the land (literally, and in your causing the land to fall) for inheritance. As the territory of Canaan had been originally divided by lot among the twelve tribes after the conquest (comp. Numbers 26:55; Numbers 33:54; Joshua 13:6, etc.), this same method of allocating the soil amongst the new community should be followed on a second time taking possession of it after the exile. Currey believes the phrase, "divide by lot," "does not imply anything like casting lots, but is equivalent to our notion of allotment, the several portions being assigned by rule." There is, however, little doubt "lots" were cast to determine, if not the actual size, at least the precise situation, of each tribe's territory (see REFERENCE_WORK:Keil & DelitzschNumbers 26:54 Keil and 'Pulpit Commentary' on Numbers 26:54). That no such methodical distribution of Canaan ever took place, or for that matter could hays taken place amongst the returned exiles, should be proof sufficient that the prophet here moves in the region of the ideal and symbolical rather than of the real and literal. Ye shall offer an oblation -literally, lift up a heave offering (comp. Ezekiel 44:80; Exodus 25:2, 3; Exodus 29:28; Exodus 30:13, 14; Leviticus 7:14, 32; Leviticus 22:12; Numbers 15:19; Numbers 18:24) - unto the Lord, an holy portion of the land; literally, a holy (portion) from the land. Very significantly, in the new partition of Palestine the Lord's portion should be the first to be marked off and solemnly dedicated to Jehovah for the purposes to be forthwith specified. Those who, like Wellhansen and Smend, perceive in this allotment of land to Jehovah, and therefore to the priests, a contradiction to Ezekiel 44:28, omit to notice first that Jehovah required some place on which his sanctuary might be erected, and the priests some ground on which to build houses for themselves; and secondly, that, so far as the priests were concerned, the laud was given by the people, not to them, but to Jehovah, and by him to them (comp. on Ezekiel 44:28). The exact site of this terumah, or "holy portion," is afterwards indicated (Ezekiel 48:8); meanwhile its dimensions are recorded. The length shall be the length of five and twenty thousand reeds, and the breadth shall be ten thousand. Whether "reeds" or "cubits" should be supplied after "thousand" has divided expositors. Bottcher, Hitzig, Ewald, Hengstenberg, and Smend decide for "cubits," principally on the grounds that "cubits" are mentioned in ver. 2; that "cubits" have been the usual measure hitherto, even (as they contend) in Ezekiel 42:16; and that otherwise the dimensions of this sacred territory must have been colossal, in fact, out of all proportion to the Holy Land, viz. about 720 square miles (25,000 reeds, or 42.5 miles, × 10,000 reeds, or 17 miles, = 722.5 square miles). Havernick, Keil, Kliefoth, Currey, and Plumptre favor "reeds," chiefly for the reasons that in ver. 2 "cubits" are specified, and are therefore to be regarded as exceptional; that the customary measuring instrument throughout has been a reed (see Ezekiel 40:5; Ezekiel 42:16); and that the dimensions, which Ezekiel designed should be colossal (comp. Ezekiel 40:2), correspond exactly with the measurements afterwards given in Ezekiel 48, if these he in reeds, but not if they be in cubits. As to the breadth of this terumah from east to west, Hitzig, Keil, Smend, Schroder, and Plumptre follow the LXX. (εἴκοσι χιλιάδας) in substituting 20,000 for 10,000, considering that the space referred to in ver. 3 appears as if meant to be taken from an already measured larger area, which could only be that of ver. 1 - the portion in ver. 1 being the whole territory assigned to the priests and Levites, and that in ver. 3 the allotment for the priests. Kliefoth, however, contends that no necessity exists for tampering with the text, and certainly if vers. 1-4 be regarded as descriptive of the priests' portion only, and מִן in the phrase, "of this measure" (וּמִן־חַמִּדָּה הַזּלֺאת), in ver. 8 be rendered "according to" - a sense it may have (see Gesenius, sub voce), the supposed difficulty disappears. In this case the demonstrative this in the last clause will refer to the priests' portion exclusively; in the former ease, to the whole portion of the priests and Levites. That Ezekiel 48:14 declares the Levites' portion to be "holy unto the land" does not prove it must have been included in the holy terumah of ver. 1 Nor does this concession follow, as will appear, from ver. 7.
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.
Verse 2. - Of this district, either of 25,000 × 10,000, or 25,000 × 20,000 reeds, according to the view taken of ver. 1, there should be measured off for the sanctuary five hundred in length, with five hundred in breadth. The supplement here also, Keil, Kliefoth, Plumptre, and others consider to be "reeds," since obviously the whole temple with its precincts is intended (Ezekiel 42:16-20), though Hengstenberg and Schroder prefer "cubits," holding the sanctuary to be the temple buildings enclosed within the outer court well (Ezekiel 40.). The free space of fifty cubits round about for the suburbs (or, open places) thereof seems to indicate that the larger area was that alluded to by the prophet. That the term מִגְדָשׁ. occurs more frequently in the so-called priest-code (Leviticus 25:84; Numbers 35:2, 3, 4, 5, 7; Joshua 14:4; Joshua 21:2, 3, 8, 11, 13, etc.) and in the Chronicles (1 Chronicles 5:16; 1 Chronicles 6:35, 37; 1 Chronicles 13:2; 2 Chronicles 11:14; 2 Chronicles 31:19) than in Ezekiel (see Ezekiel 27:28; Ezekiel 48:15, 17) is a fact; but on this fact cannot be founded an argument for the priority of Ezekiel, since it rather points to Ezekiel's acquaintance with such "suburbs" in connection with priestly and Levitical cities.
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.
Verse 3. - And of this measure shalt thou measure. As above explained, if מִן, "of," be taken as equivalent to "from," i.e. deducted from, then the whole "measure" in ver. 1 must have been 25,000 × 20,000 reeds; but if, as Ewald translates, it may signify "after," "according to," then the text in ver. 1 will not require to be altered (see on ver. 1), and the present verse will be merely a reiteration of the statement in ver. 1 that the priests' portion should be 25,000 × 10,000 reeds, preparatory to the additional notification that in it should be the sanctuary and the most holy place, or rather, the sanctuary which is most holy (Revised Version). The exact position of the sanctuary in the priests' portion is afterwards stated to have been in the midst (see Ezekiel 48:8).
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.
Verse 4. - The holy portion of the land just defined (ver. 3) should be reserved for the priests the ministers of the sanctuary, i.e. of the inner court, who were privileged to draw near to Jehovah in altar ministrations (comp. Ezekiel 44:15; Exodus 28:43; Exodus 30:20; Numbers 16:5, 40), as distinguished from the Levites, who were only" ministry of the house" (ver. 5), i.e. guardian, of the temple and assistants in its outer court services. As such this holy portion should serve the twofold purpose of providing- for the priests a place for their houses in which they might dwell, and an holy place for the sanctuary, in which they should minister.
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.
Verse 5. - A portion of similar dimensions should likewise be marked off for the Levites, for themselves, for a possession of twenty chambers; better, for a possession unto themselves for twenty chambers (Revised Version). Ewald, Hitzig, and Smend, as usual, follow the LXX. αὐτοῖς εἰς κατάσχεσινπόλεις τοῦ κατοικεῖν), and amend the text after Numbers 35:2; Joshua 21:2, so as to read "cities (עָרִים) to dwell in;" and with them Keil agrees, only substituting "gates" (שְׁעָרִים) instead of "cities." Kliefoth and Curroy retain the word "chambers "as in the text, and think the "chambers" and the "land" were two distinct possessions of the Levites, the chambers having been within (see Ezekiel 40:17, 18) as the land was without the sanctuary. Rosenmüller, Havernick, Hengstenberg, and Schroder decide for "chambers," or "courts," rows of dwellings standing outside the sanctuary as the priests' chambers were located within. Havernick supposes that along with these, which were obviously designed to be employed when the Levites were on duty, there may have been other Levitical towns and dwellings, Hengstenberg conceives them as having been "barracks for the Levites, the inhabitants of which used the twentieth part of the land assigned to them as pasturage." Unfavorable to the first view is the fact that it requires the text to be altered. Against the second is its awkward dividing of the verse and unexpected interjection of a reference to cells within the sanctuary while speaking of the land without. The third, while not free from difficulty as taking לְשָׁכֹת to be equivalent to "cell-buildings," is perhaps the best.
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.
Verse 6. - In addition to the holy terumah for the priests and the portion for the Levites, should be marked off as the possession of the city a third tract of territory, five thousand (reeds) broad, and five and twenty thousand long, over against - rather, side by side with (Revised Version), "parallel to" (Keil) - the oblation of the holy portion. That is to say, it should lie upon the south, as the Levites' territory lay upon the north of the priests' portion. Adding the 10,000 reeds of breadth for the Levites' domain, the 10,000 for the priests' land, and the 5000 for the city quarter, makes a total breadth of 25,000 reeds; so that the tract in which all these were included was a square. That the portion for the city should be for the whole house of Israel implied that it should be communal property, belonging to no tribe in particular, but to all the tribes together - in modern phrase should be "common good, ein Volksgut (Kliefoth), which should neither be confiscated by kingly rapacity (comp. Jeremiah 22:13) nor invaded by individual and private appropriation, but retained for the use of the inhabitants generally (see Ezekiel 48:18, 19).
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.
Verse 7. - And a portion shall be (or, ye shall appoint) for the prince. As to situation, his portion should lie on both sides of the holy portion (or portions, i.e. of the priests and of the Levites; see Ezekiel 48:20-22), and of the possession, or portion, of the city; should stretch exactly in front or alongside of these, i.e. from north to south; and should extend on the one side westward (to the Mediterranean), and on the other side eastward (to the Jordan). The concluding clause, And the length shall be over against (לְעֻמות, a plural form, occurring only here) one of the portions, from the west border unto the east border, though somewhat obscure, obviously imports that the prince's portion, on both sides of the holy terumah, should extend lengthwise, i.e. from east to west, along the side of one of the portions assigned to the tribes; in other words, should be bounded on the north and south by the tribal territories of Judah and Benjamin (see Ezekiel 48:22).
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.
Verse 8. - My princes shall no more oppress my people. That Israel in former times had suffered from the oppressions and exactions of her kings, from Solomon downwards, as Samuel had predicted she would (1 Samuel 8:10-18), was matter of history (see 1 Kings 12:4, 10, 11; 2 Kings 23:35), and was perhaps partly explained, though not justified, by the fact that the kings had no crown lands assigned them for their support. This excuse, however, for regal tyranny should in future cease, as a sufficient portion of land should be allocated to the prince and his successors, who accordingly should give, or leave, the rest of the land to the house of Israel according to their tribes. The use of "princes" does not show, as Hengstenberg asserts, that "under the ideal unity of the prince in Ezekiel, a numerical plurality is included," and that "these who understand by the prince merely the Messiah must here do violence to the text;" but simply, as Kliefoth explains, that Ezekiel was thinking of Israel's past kings, and contrasting with them the rulers Israel might have in the future, without affirming that these should be many or one (see on Ezekiel 44:3).
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.
Verses 9-17. - The oblations of the people to the prince for the sanctuary. Verse 9. - In continuation of the foregoing thought, the princes of Israel first are reminded that whatever they should obtain from the people for the sanctuary was not to be extorted from them by violence and spoil (comp. Ezekiel 7:11, 23; Ezekiel 8:17: Jeremiah 6:7; Jeremiah 20:8; Habakkuk 1:3) or by exactions - literally, expulsions, or drivings of persons out of their possessions, such as had been practiced on Naboth by Ahab (1 Kings 21.) - but levied with judgment and justice, which, besides, should regulate their whole behavior towards their subjects (comp. 2 Samuel 8:15; Jeremiah 23:5; Jeremiah 32:25).
Ye shall have just balances, and a just ephah, and a just bath.
Verse 10. - The exhortation addressed to the princes to practice justice and judgment now extends itself so as to include their subjects, who are required, in all their commercial dealings, to have just balances and just measures - a just ephah for dry goods, and a just bath for liquids (compare the prescriptions in Leviticus 19:35, 36 and Deuteronomy 25:13 - 15, and contrast the practices in Hosea 12:7; Amos 8:5; Micah 6:10, 11; see also Proverbs 16:11).
The ephah and the bath shall be of one measure, that the bath may contain the tenth part of an homer, and the ephah the tenth part of an homer: the measure thereof shall be after the homer.
Verse 11. - The ephah (a word of Egyptian origin) and the bath shall be of one measure. That is, each was to be the tenth part of an homer (see Leviticus 27:16; Numbers 11:32), or cot (כֹר, κόρος, 1 Kings 4:22; Luke 16:7), which appears to have contained about seventy-five gallons, or thirty-two pecks. The homer (or, cheroot) is to be distinguished from the omer of Exodus 16:36, which was the tenth part of an ephah.
And the shekel shall be twenty gerahs: twenty shekels, five and twenty shekels, fifteen shekels, shall be your maneh.
Verse 12. - The shekel shall be twenty garahs. This ordained that the standard for money weights should remain as it had been fixed by the Law (Exodus 30:13; Leviticus 27:25; Numbers 3:47). The "shekel" (or "weight," from שָׁקַל, "to weigh;" compare the Italian lira, the French livre out of the Latin libra, and the English Found sterling) was a piece of silver whose value, originally determined by weight, became gradually fixed at the definite sum of twenty "gerahs," beans, or grains (from גָּרַר, "to roll"). The "gerah," value two pence, was the smallest silver coin; the "shekel," therefore, was forty pence, or 3s. 4d. Commentators are divided as to how the second half of this verse should be understood: twenty shekel, five and twenty shekels, fifteen shekels shall be your maneh. The "maneh" (or "portion," from מָנָה, "to be divided"), which occurs only here and in 1 Kings 10:17; Ezra 2:69; and Nehemiah 7:71, 72 - "that is to say, only in books written during the Captivity or subsequent to it" (Keil) - was probably the same coin as the Greek rains (μνᾶ), though its weight may have somewhat differed. A comparison of 1 Kings 10:17 with 2 Chronicles 9:16 shows that a maneh was equal to a hundred shekels, which cannot be made to harmonize with the statement in this verse without supposing either that an error has crept in through transcription, or that the chronicler has employed the late Greek style of reckoning, in which one mina is equivalent to a hundred drachmas. Again, the Hebrew and Attic talents, when ex-stained, fail to solve the problem as to how the text should be rendered. The Hebrew talent, כִּכָּר, contained 3000 sacred or Mosaic shekels according to Exodus 38:25, 26; and the Attic talon 60 minas, each of 100 drachmas, i.e. 6000 drachmas, or 3000 drachmas, each of which again was equal to a Hebrew shekel. Hence the Attic mina must have been one-sixtieth part of 3000, i.e. 50 shekels, which once more fails to correspond with Ezekiel's notation. What this notation is depends on how the clauses should be connected. If with "and," as Ewald, following the Targumists, thinks, Ezekiel is supposed to have ordained that in the future the maneh should be, not 50, but 60 (20 + 25 -1- 15) shekels - the weight of the 'Babylonian mana ('Records of the Past,' 4:97, second series); only, if he so intended, one sees not why he should have adopted this roundabout method of expression instead of simply stating that henceforth the maneh should be sixty shekels If with "or," as Michaelis, Gesenius, Hitzig, and Hengstenberg prefer, then the prophet is regarded as asserting that in the future three manehs of varying values should be current - one of gold, another of silver, and a third of copper (Hitzig), or all of the same metal, but of different magnitudes (Michaelis); and this arrangement might well have been appointed for the future, although no historical trace can be found of any such manehs of twenty, twenty-five, and fifteen shekels respectively having been in circulation either among the Hebrews or among foreign peoples. Kliefoth pronounces both solutions unsatisfactory, but has nothing better to offer. Keil supposes a corruption of the text of old standing, for the correction of which we are as yet without materials. Bertheau and Havernick follow the LXX. (Cod. Alex.), Οἱ πέντε σίκλοι πέντε καὶ δέκα σίκλοι δέκα καὶ πεντήκοντα σίκλοι ἡ μνᾶ ἐσται ὑμῖν, "The five shekel (piece) shall be five shekels, and the ten shekel (piece) shall be tea shekels, end fifty shekels shall your maneh be;" but Hitzig's judgment on this proposal, with which Kliefoth and Keil agree, will most likely be deemed correct, that "it carries on the face of it the probability of its resting upon nothing more than an attempt to bring the text into harmony with the ordinary value of the maneh."
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:
Verses 13-15. - The offerings the people' should present are next specified.
(1) Of wheat, the sixth part of an ophah of (out, of, or from) an homer; i.e. the sixtieth part of an homer, equal to about one-tenth of a bushel (ver. 13).
(2) Of barley, the same (ver. 13).
(3) Of oil, a tenth part of a bath out of the cor, or homer of ten Baths, i.e. the hundredth part of every homer, equal to a little more than half a gallon (ver. 14).
(4) Of the flock, one lamb or kid (שֶׂה, meaning either) out of the flock, out of two hundred, out of the fat - or well-watered (see Genesis 13:10) - pastures of Israel, i.e. one of every two hundred, and never the worst, but always the best. These oblations should be made for the maintenance of the necessary sacrificial worship in the new temple, for the meal, burnt, and peace or thank offerings that should there be presented to make reconciliation or atonement for the house of Israel. Compared with the offerings prescribed by the Law of Moses, these discover important variations.
(1) Of flour, the Law demanded one-tenth of an ephah of fine flour with a lamb (Exodus 29:40), with a ram two-tenths (Numbers 15:6), with a bullock three-tenths (Numbers 15:9); of wheat and of barley Ezekiel's Torah requires one-sixteenth of an ephah for each, i.e. one-third in all.
(2) Of oil, the Mosaic ordinance was, with a lamb should be presented one-fourth of a bin, i.e. one-twenty-fourth of a bath; with a ram, one-third of a bin, i.e. one-eighteenth of a bath; with a bullock one-half of a hin, i.e. one-twelfth of a bath. Ezekiel's ordinance was in every case one-tenth of a bath.
(3) Of animals, the Pentateuchal legislation left the necessary victims, whether rams, goats, or bullocks, to be provided by the offerers at their own free-will, stipulating as compulsory only the firstborn of the flocks and herds (Exodus 13:2, 12; Exodus 22:29, 30; Leviticus 27:26; Numbers 3:13; Numbers 8:17; Deuteronomy 15:19), the first ripe fruits of the earth (Exodus 22:29; Numbers 18:12), and the tithes, or tenths, of seed, fruit, the herd and flock (Leviticus 27:30-33); the Ezekelian omits the latter, but ordains in lieu of the former that one animal out of every two hundred in every flock shall be obligatory on Jehovah's worshippers. Thus the demands of Ezekiel's Torah surpass those of the earlier or Mosaic Torah in quantity as well as quality. That these demands are definitely specified does not prove they should partake rather of the nature of a tax than of a free-will offering. That they were not to be regarded as taxes is shown by the absence of any allusion to penalties for neglect of payment; that they were designed to be looked upon as free-will offerings is plain from the circumstance that Jehovah never supposes for a moment that these generous offerings will be withheld; and perhaps all that is really signified by them is that the liberality of Jehovah's people in the future age should greatly exceed that which had been practiced at any former time.
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:
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.
All the people of the land shall give this oblation for the prince in Israel.
Verse 16. - All the people of the land shall give (literally, shall be for) this oblation (or, terumah) for the prince in Israel. Assuming that the prince here refers to the ordinary civil magistrate, Hengstenborg founds on this an argument in support of state Churches: "This is also the general doctrine, that the magistrate shall take first of all from the taxes levied the means for the proper observance of Divine worship." But if the oblations above referred to were not properly taxes, and if the prince was not properly an earthly sovereign of the ordinary type, this argument falls to the ground.
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.
Verse 17. - The prince, as receiver-general of the people's offerings, should devote them to maintaining (literally, it should be upon him, and so form part of his duty to maintain) the sacrificial worship of the new temple, in the feasts (הַגִּים, or joyous celebrations), and in the now moons, and in the sabbaths, and generally in all solemnities (מועָדִים, or appointed times, hence festal seasons) of the house of Israel (comp. 1 Kings 8:62; Ezra 7:17), that thereby he might make reconciliation (or, atonement) for the house of Israel. This combination of the kingly and priestly offices in the person of the prince (David) obviously typified the similar union of the same offices in David's Son (Christ).
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:
Verses 18-25. - These verses allude to the institution of a new feast-cycle, whose deviations from that of the Pentateuch will be best exhibited in the course of exposition. Whether three festivals are referred to or only two is debated by expositors. Fairbairn, Havernick, Ewald, Keil, Schroder, and Plumptre decide for three - the festival of the new year (vers. 18-20), the Passover (vers. 21-24), and the Feast of Tabernacles (ver. 25). Kliefoth, Smend, and Curtsy find only two a Passover and a Feast of Tabernacles. Hengstenberg sees in the solemnities of the first and seventh days of the new year a special consecration service for the new temple, not to be repeated, corresponding to the dedication of the tabernacle on the first day of the first month (Exodus 40:1, 17), or of the Solomonic temple in the seventh month (1 Kings 8:2; 2 Chronicles 7:8), and in imitation of which the post-exilic temple was dedicated, probably on the first day of the year (Ezra 6:16-22). Against the notion of a special dedication service, however, stand the facts
(1) that the temple had been already consecrated by the entrance into it of the glory of the Lord (Ezekiel 43:4); and
(2) that the service here described differs in respect either of time or ritual or both from every one of the three cited dedications. Between the two other views the difference is slight. If the festival of the new year (vers. 18-20) was distinct from the Passover, it was still, by the ritual of the seventh and fourteenth days of the first month (vers. 20, 22), so closely connected with the Passover as practically to form a preparation for and introduction to it. Then the circumstance that the proper ceremonial for the new moon is afterwards described (Ezekiel 46:6) favors the proposal to regard the rites in vers. 18-20 as a part of the Passover festival; while this view, if adopted, will explain the omission from ver. 25 of all mention of the Feast of Trumpets on the first day of the seventh month (Leviticus 23:24; Numbers 29:1), and of the great Day of Atonement on the tenth day of the seventh month (Leviticus 23:27; Numbers 29:7), with which the autumn festival was usually preceded, by showing that in lieu of these a sacrificial observance had been prefixed to the Passover on the first and seventh days of the first month. Smend's theory, that "Ezekiel's feast-calendar divides the ecclesiastical year into two halves, each of which begins with a re. conciliation ceremony (or expiatory sacrifice) on the first days of the first and seventh months respectively," would lend confirmation to the above view, were it not that the theory in question is based on an alteration of the text in ver. 20 (see Exposition). Verse 18. - Thus saith the Lord God. The usual solemn introduction prefixed to Divine enactments (comp. ver. 9; Ezekiel 43:19; Ezekiel 44:6, 9; Ezekiel 46:1, 16). In the first month, in the first day of the month (comp. Genesis 8:13). That the first month, Abib, was intended is apparent from ver. 21, compared with Exodus 12:2; Numbers 9:1. Under the Mosaic Torah, the Passover began on the tenth day of the first month by the selection of a lamb (Exodus 12:3-6), corresponding to which the great Day of Atonement in the seventh month fell upon the tenth day (Leviticus 23:27). In the Torah of Ezekiel, the ceremonies introducing and leading up to the Passover should begin with the first day of the month, as under the Law the Feast of Trumpets on the first day of the seventh mouth practically began the solemnities which culminated in the Feast of Tabernacles. A young bullock without blemish should form the sacrificial offering on this first day of the year, according to the ordinance published by Ezekiel; that promulgated by the Hebrew lawgiver appointed for new moons generally, in addition to the burnt and meat offerings, a he-goat for a sin offering (Numbers 28:15), and particularly for the first day of the seventh month, in addition to the regular burnt and meat offerings, one young bullock, one ram, and seven lambs for a burnt offering, meat offerings of flour and oil for each of these animals, and a he-goat for a sin offering (Numbers 29:2-6). The object for which the Mosaic offerings were presented was to make atonement for the worshippers; the Ezekelian sacrifices should stand in more immediate relation to the place of worship, and be designed to cleanse the sanctuary from such defilement, to be afterwards mentioned, as might be contracted from the presence in it of erring men (ver. 20).
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.
Verse 19. - The mode in which this act of purgation should be performed is next described. The blood of the sin offering should by the priest be put (not sprinkled) upon the posts of the house, i.e. upon the posts or pillars of the door connecting the holy place with the holy of holies (Ezekiel 41:21), and upon the four corners of the settle of the altar of burnt offering in the inner court (Ezekiel 43:14), and upon the posts of the gate of the inner court, not of the eastern gate only, as Hitzig suggests, but of all the three gates (Ezekiel 40:29, 33, 36). Compare Ezekiel 43:20, and the procedure in sin offerings under the Law, which directed that in certain cases part of the blood should be put by the priest's finger upon the horns of the altar, and the rest poured out beside the bottom of the altar (Exodus 29:12; Leviticus 4:7), while in other cases it should be sprinkled before the veil of the sanctuary (Leviticus 4:6, 17), and on the great Day of Atonement seven times even on and before the mercy-seat, and on the altar of incense (Leviticus 16:14, 18, 19).
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.
Verse 20. - The same ceremony should be repeated on the seventh day of the month, not on the first day of the seventh month, as Smend proposes, in accordance with the λήψῃ, and on the ground that "the seventh day of (the same) mouth" would have been in Hebrew בְּשִׁבְעָה לֶחֹדֶשׁ, as in Ezekiel 1:1; Ezekiel 30:20; at the same time admitting that בַּחֹדֶשׁ is sometimes used (Numbers 10:11), though not (except in this verse) by Ezekiel. The sin offerings in question should be made for (or, on account of, מִן, "away from," expressing the reason why anything is done) every one that erreth, and for him that is simple, i.e. for such transgressors as should have gone aside from the straight path through ignorance or foolishness, the "simple" man being here, as in Proverbs 7:7; Proverbs 22:3; Proverbs 27:12, one easily enticed or persuaded to do evil. For such offenders the Law of Moses provided means of expiation (Leviticus 2:2, etc.; Leviticus 5:15; Numbers 15:27); for the presumptuous sinner, who despised the word of the Lord and violated his commandment, only one doom remained, to be cut off from among his people (Numbers 15:30; Deuteronomy 17:12).
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.
Verse 21. - With the fourteenth day of the month, the day appointed by the Law of Moses for the killing of the Paschal lamb (Exodus 12:6), the Passover (חַפָסַה with the article, the well-known festival of that name) should commence. Though the selection of the lamb upon the tenth day of the first month is not specified, it may be assumed that this would be implied in the appointment of a Passover which should begin on the day already legalized by the Mosaic Torah. According to Wellhausen and Smend, the first mention of the Passover occurs in Deuteronomy 16:2, 5, 6, and the next in 2 Kings 23:22; but this can only be maintained by declaring Exodus 34:25, which occurs in the so-called "Book of the Covenant" - a pre-Deuteronomic work - "a gloss," and by relegating Exodus 12. to the "priest-code" for no other reason than that it alludes to the Passover (vers. 11, 21, 27, 43) - a principle of easy application, and capable of being used to prove anything. Smend likewise regards it as strange that the Passover should be made to commence on the fourteenth of the month, and not, as the autumn feast, on the fifteenth (ver. 25); and suggests that the original reading, which he supposes was the fifteenth, may have been corrected subsequently in accordance with the priest, code. But if the priest-cede was posterior to and modeled after Ezekiel. Why should it have ordained the fourteenth instead of that which its master recommended, viz. the fifteenth? A sufficient explanation of the differing dates in Ezekiel is supplied if Ezekiel, in fixing them, may be held to have followed the so-called priest-cede. A feast of seven days; literally, a feast of hebdomad of days (חַג שְׁבֻעות יָמִים). By almost all interpreters this is understood to mean "a feast of a full week, the exact duration of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which began with the eating of the Paschal lamb (Exodus 12:8, 15-20; Leviticus 23:6; Numbers 9:11; Deuteronomy 16:3, 4). At the same time, it is frankly admitted that, to extract this sense from the words, שְׁבֻעות must be changed into שְׁבְעַת. As the words stand, they can only signify a feast of weeks of days. חַג שְׁבֻעות, in Exodus 34:22 and Deuteronomy 16:10, is applied to the Feast of Pentecost, which was called "a Feast of Hebdomads," from the seven weeks which intervened between the Passover and it. Hence Kliefoth, adhering to the legitimate sense of the expression, understands the prophet to say that the whole period of seven weeks between the first Passover and Pentecost should be celebrated in the new dispensation as a Feast of Unleavened Bread. In support of this Kliefoth cites a similar use of the word "days" in Genesis 29:14; Genesis 41:1; Deuteronomy 21:13; 2 Kings 15:13; Jeremiah 28:3, 11; Daniel 10:2, 3; and certainly no objection can be taken to a Passover of seven weeks, if Ezekiel may be supposed to have been merely expressing analogically spiritual conceptions, and not furnishing actual legislation to be afterwards put in operation. Against this translation, however, Keil urges that the expression, "seven days of the feast" (ver. 23), appears to mark the duration of the festival; but this is not so convincing as its author imagines, since the prophet may be held as describing, in vers. 23, 24, the procedure of each seven days without intending to unsay what he had already stated, that the feast should continue seven weeks of days. A second objection pressed by Keil, that יָמִים "is not usually connected with the preceding noun in the construct state, but is attached as an adverbial accusative," as in the above-cited passages, is sufficiently disposed of by Kliefoth's statement that the punctuation might easily be altered so as to read שָׁבֻעות. Upon the whole, while not free from difficulty, the view of Kliefoth seems best supported by argument.
And upon that day shall the prince prepare for himself and for all the people of the land a bullock for a sin offering.
Verse 22. - The first day of the feast proper, i.e. the fourteenth, should be distinguished by the prince's presenting, for himself and for all the people of the land, a bullock for a sin offering. That this was a deviation from the earlier Mosaic legislation in three particulars is apparent. In, the first place, the "sin offering" here prescribed was manifestly to take precedence of the Paschal feast proper, whereas in the Paschal festival of the so-called priest-code the daffy sacrifices were appointed to begin on the fifteenth after the Paschal lamb had been slain and eaten (Leviticus 23:8). In the second place, the sin offering was to consist of a bullock instead of a he-goat as formerly (Numbers 28:22). In the third place, it was not intended to be renewed on each of the seven following days of the feast, but was designed, by repeating the sacrifice of the first and seventh days, to connect these with the fourteenth, on which the feast proper opened.
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.
Verses 23, 24. - The deviations of Ezekiel's Torah from that of Moses in regard to the offerings to be made during the seven days of the feast are also unmistakable (see Numbers 28:19-22).
(1) While the Pentateuchal code demanded, as a daily burnt offering, two bullocks, one ram, and seven yearling lambs, this of Ezekiel prescribes seven bullocks and seven rams.
(2) While that enjoined, as a meat offering, three-tenths of an ephah of flour mixed with oil for each bullock, two-tenths for a ram, and one-tenth for each lamb, this asks an ephah of flour with a hin of oil for each bullock and each ram.
(3) The sin offering in the new Torah should be the same as in the old, a he-goat daily.
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.
Verse 25. - In the seventh month, i.e. in month of Tishri (1 Kings 8:2), in the fifteenth day of the month, shall he, i.e. the prince, as in ver. 22, do the like in the feast of the seven days; or, in the feast shall he do the like the seven days (Revised Version). That is, the same sacrifices should be offered daily throughout the seven days of this feast as had been offered during the seven days of the former feast. That this feast was designed to represent the ancient Feast of Tabernacles can scarcely be doubted, though the practice of living in booths (Leviticus 23:40-43) is not adverted to. Possibly this may have been omitted, as Keil remarks, "because the practice of living in booths would be dropped in the time to come" (see, however, Nehemiah 8:14-17), or, as Kliefoth observes, "because, when Ezekiel's Torah should come into operation, the people of God would be dwelling in the eternal tabernacles of which the booths of the Mosaic Torah were but the types." Nor are the deviations of Ezekiel's Torah from that of Moses, in respect of the daily offerings prescribed for this feast, fewer or of less importance than those which have been noted in connection with the Passover. Ezekiel's Torah prescribes for a burnt offering seven bullocks and seven rams daily, for a sin offering a he-goat daily, for a meat offering an ephah of flour with a hin of oil for each bullock and each ram daily; the Mosaic Torah, while retaining the he goat for a sin offering, required - for a burnt offering on the first day thirteen young bullocks, two rams, and fourteen lambs, and so on, diminishing by one bullock each day, till the seventh, when seven bullocks, two rams, and fourteen lambs should be sacrificed; and for a meal offering three-tenths of an ephah of flour for every bullock, and two-tenths of an ephah for every ram, and one-tenth of an ephah for each lamb, according to the number of bullocks, rams, and lambs for each day. In addition, the Mosaic celebration concluded with a solemn assembly with special sacrifices on the eighth day (see Leviticus 23:34-36; Numbers 29:12-39), of which no mention is made in Ezekiel. Nor should it be overlooked that Ezekiel's Torah omits all reference to the other great festival that figures in the Mosaic Torah, viz. that of Pentecost, or the Feast of Weeks, as well as to the Feast of Trumpets and the great Day of Atonement (see on ver. 21), although Hengstenberg is of opinion that Ezekiel, having instanced the Passover and Tabernacles, the beginning and end of the feast-cycle already known to the Jews, designed that all the feasts which lay between should be included. Be this, however, as it may, to infer from the deviations in Ezekiel's Torah from that of Moses, as George, Vatke, Kuenen, Wellhausen, Smend, Robertson Smith, Cornill, and Driver have done, that the latter had no existence in the time of Ezekiel is, as Havernick observes, not only to render Ezekiel's representations completely unintelligible, but to beg the entire question between the newer criticism and the old faith. "How will one generally explain," asks Cornill ('Einleitung in das Alte Testament,' p. 64), "that a Jerusalem priest sets up a Torah for the future, which completely ignores the priest code (?), in all points remains far behind its requirements (?), and in a groping manner lays hold of the future, instead of appropriating to himself the finished system (i.e. of the, so-called priest code, supposing it to have then existed)? Why does Ezekiel require, in the cultus (which he sets up) so much less than Numbers 28, and 29.? Where, in Ezekiel is the high priest, who for the priest code is the center of the theocracy? Where is the great Day of Atonement of Leviticus 16.?" and so on. The answer to these interrogations is that Ezekiel did not intend to republish the Mosaic Torah, but to modify it so as to meet the requirements of the new era, or (perhaps better) to express more adequately the new conceptions of religion and worship he had been commissioned to set before his fellow-exiles; and that Ezekiel had a perfect right to deal in this way even with the Mosaic Torah, inasmuch as he distinctly claimed, in committing to writing the details of his temple- vision, to be acting under special Divine guidance (Ezekiel 43:10, 11; Ezekiel 44:5). Canon Driver ('An Introduction to the Literature of the Old Testament,' p. 133) admits that the argument from Ezekiel's deviations from the so-called priest-code in favor of the later origin of the latter, if "taken by itself, would not, perhaps, be a decisive one," and even adds that, "however doubtful it may be whether Ezekiel presupposes the completed priests' code, it is difficult not to conclude that he presupposes parts of it" ibid., p. 138). But if none of it existed before Ezekiel, then a counter-question to that of Cornill may be put, "How is it to be explained that the unknown author of the priests' code should have allowed himself to deviate so far from the arrangements which Ezekiel, a prophet acting under Jehovah's guidance, had established?" The natural reply is that when the priests' code was composed, Ezekiel's Torah did not exist. If the newer criticism believes that Ezekiel would not have deviated so largely as he has done from the rites prescribed in the priests' code had these been in operation and invested with authority (see 'Drivel', 'An Introduction,' etc., p. 133), the newer criticism should explain how the priests' code came to deviate from the Torah of Ezekiel, which, if it was not then in actual operation, was at least invested with Divine authority. Is it not every way as logical to infer, from the deviations of the priests' code (supposing it to be post-exilic) from the Torah of Ezekiel, that the author of the priests' code could not have known of the existence of Ezekiel's Torah, and therefore that it could not then have been in existence, as vice versa that Ezekiel had no acquaintance with the priests' code, and that therefore it had not in his day been composed? The impartial reasoner, with no theory to uphold, will recognize that the two arguments run exactly purpose.