When the priests enter therein, then shall they not go out of the holy place into the utter court, but there they shall lay their garments wherein they minister; for they are holy; and shall put on other garments, and shall approach to those things which are for the people.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)There they shall lay their garments.—It was apparently the requirement of the law that the priests should wear their official garments only when engaged in priestly duties within the tabernacle; this is not expressly stated in general terms, but it is said that they were to wear them when engaged in such duty (Exodus 28:43), and in some particular cases that they were to put them off when they went out of the tabernacle (Leviticus 6:10-11; Leviticus 16:23). It seems probable, therefore, that Ezekiel here recognises the ancient custom.Leviticus 16:23.When, at the time of their service, the priests, and Levites also, who assisted, enter therein, come into the court of the temple or inmost court in their priestly garments to offer sacrifice, or to do any other part of their office,
then, when they have done their office,
shall they not go out, in their priestly garments, of the holy place, the court of the priests, not of the temple, into the utter court, the court of the people.
There; in some one of the chambers of south or north buildings, which is a wardrobe for them. Lay their garments; lay up, either for other priests, whose course came next, or for themselves against the next return of their course.
Wherein they minister; expressly directed by God, Exodus 28:40-43.
They are holy; consecrated, ceremonially and relatively holy, for they are not capable of inherent holiness.
Shall put on other garments when they go out of this court into the outer, or outmost, they must put on common garments.
Shall approach to those things, and so they may, as they have occasion, and see good,
which are for the people; which common people may meddle with, which the priests may in their ordinary garments intermeddle with, and not be guilty, but may not touch while in the garments of their ministration..
then shall they not go out of the holy place into the utter court; denoting, not that the ministers of the word should not concern themselves in secular employments, but give themselves up to the word and prayer, though so to do is right; but the perseverance of the saints in the house and worship of God, in grace and holiness, and in all the duties of religion; these should not relinquish their profession, desert their station and the service of God, and return to the world; but continue as pillars in the temple of God, and go no more out, but abide by the truths and ordinances of the Gospel:
but there they shall lay their garments wherein they minister, for they are holy; these signify Christ's robe of righteousness and garments of salvation, that fine linen, clean and white, which is the righteousness of the saints; and fitly represented by the linen garments of the priests, in which they ministered in their office, and were like them holy, pure, and spotless; in these only saints appear before God, and present their supplications to him, not for their own, but for Christ's righteousness sake, making mention of that only; and herein they have acceptance with God now, and shall be introduced into his presence hereafter, and behold his face, clothed with these garments, and serve him for ever:
and shall put on other garments, and shall approach to those things which are for the people; these are the conversation garments of the saints, which are not fit to appear in before God, being attended with imperfection and sin; but very proper to appear in before men, among whom their lights should shine, and their good works be seen, for the adorning of the doctrine of Christ, the recommending of the Christian religion, and the stopping of the mouths of gainsayers: for this respects not the different habits of ministers, when they are in their ministrations, and out of them; though the allusion is to the priests under the law, who wore their priestly garments only in the temple, and while ministering there, and never elsewhere, or when among the common people on civil accounts: so Josephus says (c), the priests only wore their holy garments when they ministered; at other times they appeared in the habit of private persons; with which agrees what Maimonides (d) says, their garments are not upon them when they are not ministering in the priestly office, but then they are clothed as laymen; or when, as the Targum here has it,
"they were mingled with the people.''
There were places in the temple where they put on and off their clothes, and where they were laid up. So Adrichomius (e) says, speaking of the temple,
"there were rooms, otherwise called treasuries, and priests' apartments, which were houses on the side of it, like towers, long, broad, and high; in which the priests, when they went into the sanctuary, put off their common woollen garments, and put on their holy linen ones; and, when they had performed their holy services, laid them up there again.''
And another writer, quoted by Solomon Ben Virga (f), observes, that
"here (that is, the temple) was a house for the priest whose office it was to clothe the rest of the priests at the time of service; and he gave to everyone of them four sorts of garments, as were commanded, and fetched them out of the chests of the wardrobe; and on every chest, which were at the walls of this house, that is, above everyone of them, was the name of the garment, that there might be no mistake nor confusion when they were wanted.''
And this agrees with what is said in the Misnah (g), that there was one that was appointed over the priests' garments, and who might be properly enough called the master of the wardrobe; on which one of the commentators says (h), his business was
"to clothe the priests at the time of service, and to unclothe them after service was done, and to keep the garments of the priesthood in the chambers made for that purpose.''
Very wrongly, therefore, is the learned Selden (i) charged by Mr. Shoringham (k), with a mistake, in denying that the priests wore their holy garments at any other time but when they were at divine service.
(c) De Bello Jud. l. 5. c. 5. sect. 7. (d) Cele Hamikdash, c. 10. sect. 4. (e) Theatrum Terrae Sanct. Jerusalem, No. 92. p. 161. (f) Shebet Judah, fol. 43. 2. Ed. Gentii, p. 464. (g) Shekalim, c. 5. sect. 1.((h) Bartenora in ib. (i) De Success. in Pontif. Heb. l. 2. c. 7. Vid. ib. de Synedriis, l. 3. c. 11. sect. 6. & Braunium, de Vestitu Sacerdot. Hebr. l. 2. c. 25. (k) Ad Codicem Joma, c. 7. sect. 1. p. 78, 79.When the priests enter therein, then shall they not go out of the holy place into the utter court, but there they shall lay their garments wherein they minister; for they are holy; and shall put on other garments, and shall approach to those things which are for the people.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)14. the priests enter therein] Omit therein. The ref. is not to the holy cells, but to the house or more probably the inner court, in which the altar stood.
go out of the holy place] probably the whole inner court is meant, with its contents, house and chambers, seeing it is contrasted with the outer court.
things … for the people] Or, that which is for the people—the outer court.
Ezekiel 39:21. Then will I display my glory among the nations, and all nations shall see my judgment which I shall execute, and my hand which I shall lay upon them. Ezekiel 39:22. And the house of Israel shall know that I am Jehovah their God from this day and forward. Ezekiel 39:23. And the nations shall know that because of their wickedness the house of Israel went into captivity; because they have been unfaithful toward me, I hid my face from them, and gave them into the hand of their oppressors, so that they all fell by the sword. Ezekiel 39:24. According to their uncleanness, and according to their transgressions, I dealt with them, and hid my face from them. Ezekiel 39:25. Therefore thus saith the Lord Jehovah, Now will I bring back the captivity of Jacob, and have pity upon all the house of Israel, and be jealous for my holy name. Ezekiel 39:26. Then will they bear their reproach and all their faithlessness which they have committed toward me when they dwell in their land in security, and no one alarms them; Ezekiel 39:27. When I bring them back out of the nations, and gather them out of the lands of their enemies, and sanctify myself upon them before the eyes of the many nations. Ezekiel 39:28. And they will know that I, Jehovah, am their God, when I have driven them out to the nations, and then bring them together again into their land, and leave none of them there any more. Ezekiel 39:29. And I will not hide my face from them any more, because I have poured out my Spirit upon the house of Israel, is the saying of the Lord Jehovah. - The terrible judgment upon Gog will have this twofold effect as a revelation of the glory of God - first, Israel will know that the Lord is, and will always continue to be, its God (Ezekiel 39:22); secondly, the heathen will know that He gave Israel into their power, and thrust it out of its own land, not from weakness, but to punish it for its faithless apostasy (Ezekiel 39:23 and Ezekiel 39:24; compare Ezekiel 36:17.). עשׂה אתם (Ezekiel 39:24), as in Ezekiel 7:27, etc. But because this was the purpose of the Lord with His judgments, He will now bring back the captives of Israel, and have compassion upon all His people. This turn of the prophecy in Ezekiel 39:25 serves to introduce the promise to Israel with which the prophecy concerning Gog and the whole series of prophecies, contained in Ezekiel 35:1 onwards, are brought to a close (Ezekiel 39:25-29). This promise reverts in 'עתּה אשׁיב וגו to the prophet's own time, to which Ezekiel had already gone back by mentioning the carrying away of Israel in Ezekiel 39:23 and Ezekiel 39:24. The restoration of the captives of Jacob commences with the liberation of Israel from the Babylonian exile, but is not to be restricted to this. It embraces all the deliverances which Israel will experience from the termination of the Babylonian exile till its final gathering out of the nations on the conversion of the remnant which is still hardened and scattered. לכן, therefore, sc. because God will prove Himself to be holy in the sight of the heathen nations by means of the judgment, and will make known to them that He has punished Israel solely on account of its sins, and therefore will He restore His people and renew it by His Spirit (Ezekiel 39:29). - In what the jealousy of God for His holy name consists is evident from v.7, and still more plainly from Ezekiel 36:22-23, namely, in the fact that by means of the judgment He manifests Himself as the holy God. ונשׂוּ is not to be altered into ונשׁוּ, "they will forget," as Dathe and Hitzig propose, but is a defective spelling for ונשׂאוּ (like מלוּ for מלאוּ in Ezekiel 28:16): they will bear their reproach. The thought is the same as in Ezekiel 16:54 and Ezekiel 16:61, where the bearing of reproach is explained as signifying their being ashamed of their sins and their consequences, and feeling disgust thereat. They will feel this shame when the Lord grants them lasting peace in their own land. Raschi has correctly explained it thus: "When I shall have done them good, and not rewarded them as their iniquity deserved, they will be filled with shame, so that they will not dare to lift up their face." - Ezekiel 39:27 is only a further expansion of Ezekiel 39:26. For the fact itself, compare Ezekiel 36:23-24; Ezekiel 20:41, etc. And not only will Israel then be ashamed of its sins, but (Ezekiel 39:28, Ezekiel 39:29) it will also know that Jehovah is its God from henceforth and for ever, as was affirmed in Ezekiel 39:22, when He shall fully restore to their own land the people that was thrust into exile, and withdraw His favour from it no more, because He has poured out His Spirit upon it, and thereby perfectly sanctified it as His own people (cf. Ezekiel 36:27).
The promise with which the prophecy concerning the destruction of Gog is brought to a close, namely, that in this judgment all nations shall see the glory of God, and all Israel shall know that henceforth Jehovah will be their God, and will no more hide His face from them, serves to confirm the substance of the threat of punishment; inasmuch as it also teaches that, in the destruction of Gog and his gathering of peoples, the last attack of the heathen world-power upon the kingdom of God will be judged and overthrown, so that from that time forth the people of God will no more have to fear a foe who can disturb its peace and its blessedness in the everlasting possession of the inheritance given to it by the Lord. Gog is not only depicted as the last foe, whom the Lord Himself entices for the purpose of destroying him by miracles of His almighty power (Ezekiel 38:3-4, Ezekiel 38:19-22), by the fact that his appearance is assigned to the end of the times, when all Israel is gathered out of the nations and brought back out of the lands, and dwells in secure repose in the open and unfortified towns of its own land (Ezekiel 38:8, Ezekiel 38:11-12); but this may also be inferred from the fact that the gathering of peoples led by Gog against Israel belongs to the heathen nations living on the borders of the known world,since this points to a time when not only will the ancient foes of the kingdom of God, whose destruction was predicted in Ezekiel 25-32, have departed from the stage of history and perished, but the boundaries of Israel will also stretch far beyond the limits of Palestine, to the vicinity of these hordes of peoples at the remotest extremities on the north, the east, and the south of the globe. - So much may be gathered from the contents of our prophecy in relation to its historical fulfilment. But in order to determine with greater precision what is the heathen power thus rising up in Gog of Magog against the kingdom of God, we mut take into consideration the passage in the Apocalypse (Revelation 20:8 and Revelation 20:9), where our prophecy is resumed. Into this, however, we will not further enter till after the exposition of Ezekiel 40-48, when we shall take up the question as to the historical realization of the new temple and kingdom of God which Ezekiel saw.
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