|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
44:1-31 This chapter contains ordinances relative to the true priests. The prince evidently means Christ, and the words in ver. 2, may remind us that no other can enter heaven, the true sanctuary, as Christ did; namely, by virtue of his own excellency, and his personal holiness, righteousness, and strength. He who is the Brightness of Jehovah's glory entered by his own holiness; but that way is shut to the whole human race, and we all must enter as sinners, by faith in his blood, and by the power of his grace.
Verses 23, 24. - Among the priests' official duties four things are prescribed.
(1) The education of the people in the fundamental principles of their religion, viz. that a distinction existed between the "holy" and "profane," or "common," and in the practical application of that principle, the art of discerning between the "unclean" and the "clean." This duty had been laid upon the priests of Mosaism (Leviticus 10:10; Deuteronomy 24:8; Deuteronomy 33:10), but in the last years of the monarchy had been neglected (Ezekiel 26:26; comp. Malachi 2:7-9).
(2) The administration of justice in all disputes arising out of and connected with the practices of their religion. This office had pertained to the priests under the Law (Numbers 5:14-31; Deuteronomy 17:8-13; Deuteronomy 19:17; Deuteronomy 21:5), and was exercised in pre-exilic times (Hosea 4:6; Micah 3:11; Isaiah 28:7; Jeremiah 18:18), though not always in accord-ante with Jehovah s judgments. That the juridical authority of the priests was purely of a moral kind (Wellhausen, Smend), can be maintained only by rejecting 2 Chronicles 17:7-9 and 2 Chron 19:5-11 as unhistorical
(3) The regulation of all festal assemblies in accordance with the Divine statutes. For errors in the celebration of these festivals, the priests should be answerable, as they had always been; only under the new regime there should be no errors.
4. The hallowing of Jehovah's sabbaths. This they should do both by resting on the seventh day and by offering the sabbath sacrifices, the showbread, and the burnt offering; both of which things the priests under the Law had been commanded to do (see Exodus 20:8-11; Exodus 31:13-17: Leviticus 23:3; Leviticus 24:8; Numbers 28:9), but had not done (Ezekiel 20:12, 13, 20, 21; Ezekiel 22:8; Ezekiel 23:28).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And they shall teach my people the difference between the holy and the profane,.... Persons and things; not in a ceremonial, nor merely in a moral, but in an evangelical sense, between truth and error; between the doctrine which is according to godliness, and that which is corrupt and unsound, and eats as cloth a canker; between holy worship, and superstition; between holy duties, and profane and Heathen rites and ceremonies; and between persons sanctified by the Spirit and grace of God, and unconverted ones:
and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean; impure persons, doctrines, and manners, and those which are agreeable to the word of God; the sense is, that they shall take pains to instruct persons in the knowledge of divine things, and shall do it truly, faithfully, and sincerely.
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