Ezekiel 44:19
And when they go forth into the utter court, even into the utter court to the people, they shall put off their garments wherein they ministered, and lay them in the holy chambers, and they shall put on other garments; and they shall not sanctify the people with their garments.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(19) They shall put off their garments.—The requirement that the priests shall wear their official dress only when engaged in official duty, putting it on when they entered the inner court, and putting it off when they went out, which is only implied in Exodus and Leviticus, is here expressly enjoined. Utter here, as elsewhere, means outer.

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.They shall not sanctify the people - They shall not touch the people with their holy garments. The word "sanctify" is used because the effect of touching was to separate as holy the persons or things so touched (Exodus 29:37; Exodus 30:29; compare Leviticus 6:18). The priests wore the distinctive dress, only while performing in the temple strictly sacrificial services.

The holy chambers; see Ezekiel 42:1 ff.

19. not sanctify the people with their garments—namely, those peculiarly priestly vestments in which they ministered in the sanctuary. See Ezekiel 42:14, where this verse is explained, yet here are two things that verse hath not, of which a word. The utter court: this tells us in which court stood the chambers, wherein the priests did attire themselves, into which also they retired to unclothe themselves of the priestly garments. The chambers were in the court next to the court of the people, as Ezekiel 42:14. They shall not sanctify: by the law, common things touching holy things became consecrate, and to be no more for common use. If the priests’ consecrated clothes touched the people’s, they must part with them, this would be inconvenient; so some. Or lost the people should think themselves the holier for such contact, and grow proud of it; so others. The Chaldee paraphrast frames it to the last clause of the 14th verse of the 42nd chapter, they in holy vests shall not intermix with the people; this would be a profaning the holy vests. Or else thus, they shall not come out to bless the people in their priestly garments, but, having finished the sacrifice and all belonging thereto, they should change garments, and in their ordinary garments come out to the people, and bless them in that form, Numbers 6:23,24.

And when they go forth into the utter court,.... Out of the inner court where they minister, when they have done their service:

even into the utter court to the people; out of the church into the world, where the people are, doing their business, whether good men or bad:

they shall put off their garments wherein they ministered, and lay them in the holy chambers; the north and south chambers; See Gill on Ezekiel 42:13, Ezekiel 42:14,

and they shall put on other garments; which are their outward conversation garments, which are proper to appear in before men, for the honour of religion; though not sufficient to appear in before God, and render acceptable unto him:

and they shall not sanctify the people with their garments; the garments of the priesthood were reckoned holy, whatsoever was holy, that which it touched accounted holy also; and therefore, to preserve a difference between the priests and the common people, they were not to wear their holy garments but in the time of service; or lest any superstitious notion should obtain among the people, that they were sanctified by touching their clothes; as the Papists give out, that if a man is buried in a monk's cowl, he shall be saved: or the sense is, that they should not possess the minds of the people with a notion of any real sanctity in their garments; or that their conversation garments, or good works, can be of any service to them: this may be opposed to works of supererogation.

And when they go forth into the utter court, even into the utter court to the people, they shall put off their garments wherein they ministered, and lay them in the holy chambers, and they shall put on other garments; and they shall not sanctify the people with their garments.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
19. The sacred garments shall be worn only in the inner court, and in service. Before going out into the outer court the priests shall put them off and deposit them in the sacred cells, Ezekiel 42:13-14.

sanctify the people] i.e. by bringing that which is holy in contact with them. The enactment is not a precaution against defilement of the holy garments, at least in form, though it may be a precaution against confusion of the sacred and the common. Cf. Ezekiel 46:20; Exodus 29:37; Exodus 30:29; Leviticus 6:27. The words “even into the utter court” are probably an accidental repetition. LXX. omits.

Verse 19. - When the priests retired from the inner court, and before they passed into the outer court to mingle with the people, they were enjoined to lay aside their official robes, depositing them in the holy chambers already described (Ezekiel 42:1-14), and to put on other, i.e. their ordinary, clothes (comp. Leviticus 6:11). The reason for this injunction was that they might not sanctify the people (comp. Ezekiel 46:20) through the people's coming in contact with their garments. These, being in a manner, i.e. ceremonially, holy, would impart to the people a levitical or ritualistic sanctity which would disqualify them, for a time, at least, from attending to the common duties of life, as under the Law those were who touched the sacrificial flesh (Leviticus 6:18, 27), the altar (Exodus 29:37), and the vessels of the sanctuary (Exodus 30:29). Ezekiel 44:19Requisites for the Administration of the Priests' Office, and the Obligations and Privileges of that Office. - Ezekiel 44:17. And it shall come to pass, when they go to the gates of the inner court, they shall put on linen clothes, and no wool shall lie upon them, when they serve in the gates of the inner court and serve toward the house. Ezekiel 44:18. Linen turbans shall be upon their head, and linen drawers upon their hips; they shall not gird themselves in sweat. Ezekiel 44:19. And when they go out into the outer court, into the outer court to the people, they shall take off their clothes in which they have ministered, and put them in the holy cells, and put on other clothes, that they may not sanctify the people with their clothes. Ezekiel 44:20. And they shall not shave their head bald, nor let their hair grow freely; they shall cut the hair of their head. Ezekiel 44:21. And they shall not drink wine, no priest, when they go into the inner court. Ezekiel 44:22. And a window and a divorced woman they shall not take as wives, but virgins of the seed of the house of Israel, and the widow who has become the widow of a priest they may take. Ezekiel 44:23. And they shall teach my people, make known to them the difference between holy and common, and between unclean and clean. Ezekiel 44:24. And they shall stand to judge concerning disputes; and they shall observe my laws and my statutes at all my feasts, and sanctify my Sabbaths. Ezekiel 44:25. And one shall not go to any corpse of a man to defile himself; only for father and mother, for son and daughter, for brother, for sister who had no husband, may they defile themselves. Ezekiel 44:26. And after his purification shall they reckon seven days more to him; Ezekiel 44:27. And on the day when he comes to the holy place, into the inner court, to serve in the holy place, he shall offer his sin-offering, is the saying of the Lord Jehovah. - Ezekiel 44:28. And so shall it be with their inheritance, that I am their inheritance, ye shall not give them a possession in Israel: I am their possession. Ezekiel 44:29. The meat-offering, and the sin-offering, and the trespass-offering, these shall they eat, and everything banned in Israel shall belong to them. Ezekiel 44:30. And the firstlings of all the first-fruits of everything, and every heave-offering of everything, of all your heave-offerings, shall belong to the priests; and the firstlings of all your ground meal shall ye give to the priest, that a blessing may come down upon thy house. Ezekiel 44:31. No carrion nor anything torn in pieces of fowl and of beast shall the priests eat. - To the directions, who are to perform the service in the new temple, there are appended corresponding instructions concerning the bodily condition in which this service is to be performed, as the bodily condition shadows forth the state of the soul, or the spiritual constitution of the servants of God. The dress prescribed in Exodus 28 for the priests to wear during the holy service had this signification. The same rule is here presupposed as still in force; and it is simply renewed and partially emphasized by the enumeration of some of the leading points. At the service at the altar and in the holy place the priests are to wear linen clothes, and, after the performance of the service, they are to take them off again when they go into the outer court (Ezekiel 44:17-19). In the Mosaic law, שׁשׁ, white byssus, or בּד, white linen, is mentioned as the material used for the priests' clothing (Exodus 28:39, Exodus 28:42); here the material is more distinctly designated as פּשׁתּים, flax linen; and צמר, animal wool, is expressly forbidden, the motive being assigned for this regulation, namely, that the priest is not to cause himself to sweat by wearing woollen clothing. Sweat produces uncleanness; and the priest, by keeping his body clean, is to show even outwardly that he is clean and blameless. With regard to the putting on and off of the official clothes, the new thorah accords with the Mosaic. For we cannot agree with Kliefoth, who detects a deviation in the fact that, according to Exodus 28:43, the priests were to wear the official clothes only when they entered the tabernacle and when approaching the altar, and, according to Leviticus 6:4; Leviticus 16:23, were to take them off when the service was ended; whereas, according to Ezekiel 44:17 of the chapter before us, they were to put them on as soon as they entered the inner court, and were never to come before the people in the official costume. If, according to the Mosaic law, the priests were to go before the altar of burnt-offering in the court in their holy official dress, and not otherwise, they must have put on this dress on entering the court; for they could not wait till they were in front of the altar before they changed their clothes. For the expression צאת אל העם does not imply that, according to Ezekiel, they were never to appear in the presence of the people in their official costume, as it does not mean "come before the people," but "go out to the people," or "walk among the people;" nor is this involved in the words 'ולא יקדּשׁוּ , they shall not sanctify the people in their clothes (by their clothes). The latter by no means affirms that they are to sanctify the people by intercourse with them, but are not to do this in official costume; the meaning is simply that they are not to move among the people in the outer court while wearing their official clothes, that they may not sanctify them by their holy clothes.

This sanctification cannot be understood in any other way than as analogous to the rule laid down in the law, that touching most holy sacrificial flesh would sanctify (Leviticus 6:11, Leviticus 6:20), which Ezekiel repeats in Ezekiel 46:20, and which does not stand in anything like an isolated position in the law, but is also affirmed in Exodus 29:37 and Exodus 30:29 of the altar of burnt-offering and the vessels of the sanctuary. The same thing which applied to these vessels - namely, that their holiness passed from them to any one who touched them - is here predicated of the holy dresses of the priests; and the moving of the priests among the people in their holy clothes is forbidden, because such holiness, acquired by contact with holy objects, imposed upon the person to whom it had passed the obligation to guard against all defilement (Leviticus 21:1-8), which the people could not avoid in the ordinary relations of life, and thus a weakening or abolition of the distinction between things holy and common would inevitably have ensued. לשׁכות הקּדשׁ are the holy cell-buildings described in Ezekiel 42:1-14. - To the clothing there is simply appended in Ezekiel 44:20 the direction concerning the hair of the head, the natural covering of the head, in relation to which excess on either side is prohibited, either shaving the head bald or wearing the hair uncut. Both of these were forbidden to the priests in the law: shaving in Leviticus 21:5, and letting the hair grow freely in Leviticus 10:6; and the latter was simply imposed upon the Nazarites for the period of their vow (Numbers 6:5). כּסם only occurs here; but its meaning, to cut the hair, is obvious from the context. - Ezekiel 44:21. The prohibition of the drinking of wine when performing service agrees with Leviticus 10:9; on the other hand, the instructions concerning the choice of wives are sharpened in Ezekiel 44:22, as that which only applied to the high priest in the law is here extended to all the priests. In fact, Ezekiel throughout makes no distinction between the high priest and the common priests. In Leviticus 21:14, marrying a widow is only forbidden to the high priest, who was to marry a virgin of his own people, whereas no such restriction is laid down for the ordinary priests. Here, on the other hand, marrying a widow is forbidden to all the priests, marriage with the widow of a priest being the only one allowed. מכּהן belongs to תּהיה, who has become the widow of a priest.

(Note: The Rabbins (Targ. Talm. and Masor. according to their accentuation) have endeavoured to obliterate this distinction, by applying the first hemistich to the high priest alone, and explaining the second thus: "The widow, who is really a widow, the priest may take," interpreting מכּהן by quidam sacerdotum, or aliqui ex ordine sacerdotali, or ceteri sacerdotes. But this is contrary to the usage of the language, as מכּהן cannot possibly be understood in a partitive sense in this passage, where the priests generally are spoken of, and the plural יקּחוּ follows.)

In Ezekiel 44:23 and Ezekiel 44:24 the general official duties of the priests are mentioned, viz., to teach the people, and to instruct them concerning the difference between the holy and the unholy, the clean and the unclean, as in Leviticus 10:10 (cf. Deuteronomy 33:10 and Ezekiel 22:26); also to administer justice in questions in dispute according to the rights of God-a duty which had already been committed to the priests in its highest form in Deuteronomy 17:8., Deuteronomy 19:17, and Deuteronomy 21:5. על ריב, concerning, in the case of, matters in dispute. עמד , to stand to judge, i.e., to appear or act as judge (compare העמיד שׁפטים, to appoint or institute judges, in 2 Chronicles 19:5). The Keri למשׁפּט is a needless emendation after 2 Chronicles 19:8. The Chetib ושׁפטהוּ, on the other hand, is a copyist's error for ישׁפטהוּ. Lastly, at all the feasts they are to observe the laws and statutes of Jehovah, that is to say, to perform all the priestly duties binding upon them at the feasts, and to sanctify the Sabbaths, not merely by offering the Sabbath sacrifices, but also by maintaining the Sabbath rest (cf. Leviticus 23:3). - In Ezekiel 44:25-27 there follow regulations concerning defilement from the dead, and its removal. Ezekiel 44:25 is a simple repetition of Leviticus 21:1-3. But the instructions concerning the purification from defilement from the dead are sharpened, inasmuch as not only is the purification prescribed by the law (Numbers 19:1.), and which lasted seven days, required (this is meant by טהרתו), but a further period of seven days is appointed after these, at the expiration of which the presentation of a sin-offering is demanded before the service in the sanctuary can be resumed. By this demand for a heightened purification, the approach to a corpse permitted to the priests, which was prohibited to the high priest in the Mosaic law, even in the case of father and mother (Leviticus 21:11), is tolerably equalized.

For these duties and obligations of service the priests are to receive corresponding emoluments. These are treated of in Ezekiel 44:28-31. They are not, indeed, to receive any share of the land as their property in time to come any more than in former times; but in the place of this Jehovah will be their property and possession, and give them the necessary room for their dwellings from His own property in the land (Ezekiel 45:4), and let them draw their maintenance from His altar (Ezekiel 44:29 and Ezekiel 44:30). The promise that Jehovah will be the נחלה and אחזּה of the priests is a simple repetition of the regulation in the law (Numbers 18:20; Deuteronomy 18:1; Deuteronomy 10:9). So far as the construction in Ezekiel 44:28 is concerned, the words אני נחלתם are really the subject to 'והיתה להם לן, which we are obliged to render obliquely, "the inheritance for them shall be, I am their inheritance." For the proposal of Hitzig to take the words from אני נחלתם to the close of the verse as a parenthesis, and to regard 'המּנחה וגו in Ezekiel 44:29 as the subject to 'והיתה, is untenable, not only on account of the great harshness which such a parenthesis would involve, but principally because these portions of the sacrifices and heave-offerings which belonged to the priest were not a נחלה, and are never designated as נחלה, inheritance, i.e., property in land. Ezekiel 44:28 treats of the property in land, which God assigned to the Levites and priests under the Mosaic economy, by appointing them towns to dwell in, with meadows for the feeding of their cattle, within the territory of the other tribes, but would assign to them in future from the heave-offering set apart from the land for the sanctuary (Ezekiel 45:4). It is not till Ezekiel 44:29 and Ezekiel 44:30 that the means of support for the priests are spoken of. They are to be supported from the sacrifices and the tithes and first-fruits which Israel has to pay to Jehovah as the lord of the land, and which He transfers to His servants the priests. For the priests' share of the meat-offering, sin-offering, and trespass-offering, see Leviticus 2:3; Leviticus 6:9, Leviticus 6:11, Leviticus 6:19; Leviticus 7:6-7; for that which is put under the ban, Leviticus 27:21; for the first-fruits, Exodus 23:19; Exodus 34:26; Deuteronomy 18:4; Numbers 18:13; for the תּרוּמות, Numbers 15:19; Numbers 18:19; for the ראשׁית עריסות, Numbers 15:20-21. In 'להניח, "to cause a blessing to rest upon thy house," the individual Israelite is addressed. For the fact itself, see Malachi 3:10. - To the enumeration of the means of support there is appended in Ezekiel 44:31 an emphatic repetition of the command in Leviticus 22:8, not to eat of any dead thing (i.e., anything that has died a natural death), or anything torn to pieces, either of birds or beasts, on account of its defiling (Leviticus 17:15).

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