Ezekiel 44:7
In that you have brought into my sanctuary strangers, uncircumcised in heart, and uncircumcised in flesh, to be in my sanctuary, to pollute it, even my house, when you offer my bread, the fat and the blood, and they have broken my covenant because of all your abominations.
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(7) Strangers, uncircumcised in heart.—The heathen living in Israel, or coining to worship at the Temple, were allowed, and even in some cases required, to offer sacrifices (Leviticus 17:10; Leviticus 17:12; Numbers 15:14; Numbers 15:26; Numbers 15:29). This seems also to have been recognised in Solomon’s prayer at the consecration of the Temple (1Kings 8:41-43); but the ground on which the Israelites are here censured for the licence given to strangers is, that they allowed those to draw near in worship who were uncircumcised in heart as well as in flesh, i.e., ungodly men who had no real purpose to worship God.

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.Strangers - This refers especially to the sin of unauthorized and unfaithful priests ministering in the services of the temple. Compare marginal references.7. uncircumcised in heart—Israelites circumcised outwardly, but wanting the true circumcision of the heart (De 10:16; Ac 7:51).

uncircumcised in flesh—not having even the outward badge of the covenant-people.

Ye have brought; either by abusing your power you have licensed, or by conniving you have permitted, to come into my holy courts.

Strangers; foreigners and heathen, who had their idols in the very courts of the temple, and there worshipped their idols, as Ezekiel 8:5,10,14,16.

Uncircumcised in heart; the worst of them, profane and impious.

Uncircumcised in flesh: no uncircumcised one should come into the court of the people, but you have brought them into the very sanctuary at the times of public worship, and when you have been offering my bread, &c. Some think that the profane carelessness of the Jewish rulers was such, that they suffered uncircumcised ones to be priests among them, and to approach to God’s altar. This was done in Solomon’s degenerate days, and in the days of Ahaz, Manasseh, Amon.

My bread; either the meat-offering, or first-fruits of corn and dough, and the show-bread.

The fat, which was taken off the sacrifices and burnt.

The blood, how let out, received into vessels, sprinkled and poured out, the priests and rulers of my house, through a sinful familiarity with heathens, have given them courage to ask, and you have not zeal and courage enough to refuse them, but you have satisfied their forbidden curiosity, and showed them all these things; or, as was said, have advanced some to be priests in my house, and suffered others to be priests of idols, standing and worshipped in my courts.

They, the whole nation of the Jews, the people of the land,

have broken my covenant; turned idolaters, mixed with heathens, forsaken me and my law, taking example from your practices, or complying with your superstitious and idolatrous inventions. In that ye have brought into my sanctuary strangers,.... Unregenerate men, who are in a state of alienation and estrangement to divine and spiritual things: strangers to God; to the true knowledge of him in Christ; to the fear and love of God; to the true grace of God in conversion; and to communion with him: strangers to Christ, to his person and offices; to the way of peace, life, and salvation by him; to his righteousness; to faith in him, love of him, and fellowship with him: strangers to the Spirit; to his person, to regeneration and sanctification by him; to the graces of the Spirit, faith, hope, love, humility, self-denial, &c.; to the things of the Spirit, which they neither know nor savour; and to the several offices he performs, as a comforter, the Spirit of adoption, an earnest and sealer: strangers to their own hearts, and the plague of them, and sin that dwells in them: strangers to the nature of sin, and the exceeding sinfulness of it; to the deceitfulness of sin, and the consequences of it; to true repentance for it, and to the right way of atonement of it, by the blood of Christ: strangers to the Gospel of Christ, and the truths of it; and to the saints and people of God:

and uncircumcised in heart; who never were pricked in the heart for sin, or felt any pain there on account of it; never had the hardness of their heart removed, or the impurity of it discovered to them; never were filled with shame and loathing because of it; or ever put off the body of sins in a course of conversation; or renounced their own righteousness:

and uncircumcised in flesh; carnal, as they were born; men in the flesh, in a state of nature, mind and savour the things of the flesh, and do the works of it; having never been taught by the grace of God to deny ungodliness, and worldly lusts, and to abstain from fleshly ones: or, who put their trust in the flesh, in outward things, in carnal privileges, and external righteousness: these the Lord complains were brought

to be in my sanctuary, to pollute it, even my house: either to be members here, and partake of all the ordinances and privileges of the Lord's house; or to officiate here as priests and ministers of the Lord:

when ye offer my bread, the fat and the blood; which, under the law, were the Lord's; and here signify the ministry of the word and ordinances, the goodness and fatness of the Lord's house; and especially the ordinance of the Lord's supper, that feast of fat things; in which Christ, the true and living bread of God, whose flesh is meat indeed, and whose blood is drink indeed, is represented to the faith of God's people:

and they have broken my covenant, because of all your abominations: that is, have broken the rule of the divine word and everlasting Gospel by such abominations; by admitting such ministers and members, the one to administer, the other to partake of, Gospel ordinances: this is the true state of the case of most of the reformed churches in our days; it is to be feared that there are multitudes of unregenerate ministers in them; that they are full of carnal professors; and notorious it is that the ordinance of the Lord's supper is prostituted to wicked persons, and to answer ends it never was designed for; which must be an abomination to the Lord.

In that ye have brought into my sanctuary {b} strangers, uncircumcised in heart, and uncircumcised in flesh, to be in my sanctuary, to pollute it, even my house, when ye offer my bread, the fat and the blood, and they have broken my covenant because of all your abominations.

(b) For they had brought idolaters who were from other countries, to teach them their idolatry, Eze 23:40.

7. into my sanctuary strangers] i.e. foreigners. What is reprobated is not of course allowing foreigners to present sacrifices to Jehovah, which they might do (Leviticus 17:10; Leviticus 17:12; Numbers 15:14), but allowing them to officiate in the offering, and in general in the ministry of the sanctuary. It is not ascertainable to what extent these uncircumcised heathen were permitted to fill the subordinate offices about the house, such as those of keepers of the gates and assistants to the priests, but just as the kings employed foreign mercenaries as guards (who were employed even in the temple, 2 Kings 11:7), it appears that persons not Israelites and not incorporated in Israel by the necessary rites, were employed in the house. They were probably captives taken in war and the like (Joshua 9:27; 1 Samuel 2:13; Zechariah 14:21; cf. Ezra 8:20; Ezra 2:58). This is regarded by the prophet as a profanation of the house and an infraction of the covenant between Jehovah and Israel. It is the latter from the nature of the case. Israel was the people of the Lord and his service must be performed by Israel. These heathen were uncircumcised both in flesh and heart, their service was purely mercenary, and without religious reality. For “and they have broken” LXX. reads, and ye have broken, which is more exact.

because of all] Perhaps: in addition to all your abominations.Verse 7. - The special sin chargeable against Israel in the past had been the introduction into the sanctuary, while the priests were engaged in sacrifice, of strangers - aliens (Revised Version); literally, sons of a stranger - uncircumcised in heart and uncircumcised in flesh, in express contravention of Jehovah's covenant. Ewald, Havernick, Hengstenberg, Schroder, and Currey restrict the designation "strangers" to unfaithful and unauthorized priests, who, as in the days of Israel's apostasy, notoriously under Jeroboam (1 Kings 12:31; 2 Chronicles 11:15), may, in the confluence of idolatries that took place in Jerusalem during the reigns of Ahaz (2 Kings 16:3, 4, 10-15; 2 Chronicles 28:2-4, 23-25) and Manasseh (2 Kings 21:2-7, 11, 15; 2 Chronicles 33:2-7), have been admitted to participate in the temple services; but Kliefoth, Delitzsch, Keil, Smend, and Plumptre, with better judgment, recognize in the "strangers" foreigners who had not incorporated themselves with Israel by submitting to circumcision, but, though dwelling in the midst of Israel, were still uncircumcised heathen in both heart and flesh. With regard to these foreigners, the Law of Moses (Leviticus 17:8, 10) enacted that, by accepting circumcision, they might become members of the Israelitish commonwealth, but that without this they could not be permitted to partake of the Passover, the highest symbol of national and religious unity (Exodus 12:48, 49). Nevertheless, it was open to them, on giving a certain measure of obedience to the Law (Exodus 12:19; Exodus 20:10; Leviticus 17:10, 12; Leviticus 18:26; Leviticus 20:2; Leviticus 24:16, 22), to enter the sanctuary and present all sorts of offerings to Jehovah (Leviticus 17:8; Numbers 15:14, 29) Hence Israel's offence had not been the admission of such "sons of the stranger" into the sanctuary, but the admission of them without insisting on the above specified conditions, in other words, the admission of such as not only lacked the bodily mark of circumcision - which would not have excluded them - but were destitute as well of the first elements of Hebrew piety, i.e. were as uncircumcised in heart as they were in the flesh. The sanctioning of such within the temple courts, while Jehovah's bread, the fat and the blood, was being offered, i.e. while sacrificial worship was being performed, was not simply a desecration of the "house," but was an express violation of the covenant Jehovah had made with Israel with reference to these very "sons of the stranger." The North Gate and the South Gate of the Outer Court (1 Plate IA)

The description of these two gate-buildings is very brief, only the principal portions being mentioned, coupled with the remark that they resembled those of the east gate. The following is the description of the north gate. - Ezekiel 40:20. And the gate, whose direction was toward the north, touching the outer court, he measured its length and its breadth, Ezekiel 40:21. And its guard-rooms, three on this side and three on that, and its pillars and its wall-projections. It was according to the measure of the first gate, fifty cubits its length, and the breadth five and twenty cubits. Ezekiel 40:22. And its windows and its wall-projections and its palms were according to the measure of the gate, whose direction was toward the east; and by seven steps they went up, and its wall-projections were in front of it. Ezekiel 40:23. And a gate to the inner court was opposite the gate to the north and to the east; and he measured from gate to gate a hundred cubits. - With the measuring of the breadth of the court the measuring man had reached the north gate, which he also proceeded to measure now. In Ezekiel 40:20 the words והשּׁער to החיצונה are written absolutely; and in Ezekiel 40:21 the verb היה does not belong to the objects previously enumerated, viz., guard-rooms, pillars, etc., but these objects are governed by ויּמד yb denrevog e, and היה points back to the principal subject of the two verses, השּׁער: it (the gate) was according to the measure... (cf. Ezekiel 40:15 and Ezekiel 40:13). For the use of ב in definitions of measurement, "25 בּאמּה" (by the cubit, sc. measured), as in Exodus 27:18, etc., see Gesenius, 120. 4, Anm. 2. The "first gate" is the east gate, the one first measured and described. In Ezekiel 40:23 the number of steps is given which the flight leading into the gateway had; and this of course applies to the flight of steps of the east gate also (Ezekiel 40:6). In Ezekiel 40:22, כּמדּת is not to be regarded as doubtful, as Hitzig supposes, or changed into כּ; for even if the windows of the east gate were not measured, they had at all events a definite measurement, so that it might be affirmed with regard to the windows of the north gate that their dimensions were the same. This also applies to the palm-decorations. With regard to the אלמּים (Ezekiel 40:21), however, it is simply stated that they were measured; but the measurement is not given. לפּניהם (Ezekiel 40:22, end) is not to be altered in an arbitrary and ungrammatical way into לפנימה, as Bttcher proposes. The suffix הם refers to the steps. Before the steps there were the אילמּים of the gate-building. This "before," however, is not equivalent to "outside the flight of steps," as Bttcher imagines; for the measuring man did not go out of the inside of the gate, or go down the steps into the court, but came from the court and ascended the steps, and as he was going up he saw in front (vis--vis) of the steps the אילמּים of the gate, i.e., the wall-projections on both sides of the threshold of the gate. In Ezekiel 40:23 it is observed for the first time that there was a gate to the inner court opposite to the northern and the eastern gate of the outer court already described, so that the gates of the outer and inner court stood vis--vis. The distance between these outer and inner gates is then measured, viz., 100 cubits, in harmony with Ezekiel 40:19.

In Ezekiel 40:24-27 the south gate is described with the same brevity. Ezekiel 40:24. And he led me toward the south, and behold there was a gate toward the south, and he measured its pillars and its wall-projections according to the same measures. Ezekiel 40:25. And there were windows in it and its wall-projections round about like those windows; fifty cubits was the length, and the breadth five and twenty cubits. Ezekiel 40:26. And seven steps were its ascent and its wall-projections in the front of them, and it had palm-work, one upon this side and one upon that on its pillars. Ezekiel 40:27. And there was a gate to the inner court toward the south, and he measured from gate to gate toward the south a hundred cubits. - This gate also was built exactly like the two others. The description simply differs in form, and not in substance, from the description of the gate immediately preceding. כּמּדּות האלּ, "like those measures," is a concise expression for "like the measures of the pillars already described at the north and east gates." For Ezekiel 40:25, compare Ezekiel 40:16 and Ezekiel 40:21; and for Ezekiel 40:26, vid., Ezekiel 40:22. Ezekiel 40:26 is clearly explained from Ezekiel 40:16, as compared with Ezekiel 40:9. And lastly, Ezekiel 40:27 answers to the 23rd verse, and completes the measuring of the breadth of the court, which was also a hundred cubits upon the south side, from the outer gate to the inner gate standing opposite, as was the case according to Ezekiel 40:19 upon the eastern side. Hvernick has given a different explanation of Ezekiel 40:27, and would take the measurement of a hundred cubits as referring to the distance between the gates of the inner court which stood opposite to each other, because in Ezekiel 40:27 we have משּׁער in the text, and not מן השּׁער; so that we should have to render the passage thus, "he measured from a gate to the gate toward the south a hundred cubits," and not "from the gate (already described) of the outer court," but from another gate, which according to the context of the verse must also be a gate of the inner court. But it is precisely the context which speaks decidedly against this explanation. For since, according to Ezekiel 40:18, the measuring man did not take the prophet into the inner court, for the purpose of measuring it before his eyes, till after he had measured from (a) gate to the south gate of the inner court, the distance which he had previously measured and found to be a hundred cubits is not to be sought for within the inner court, and therefore cannot give the distance between the gates of the inner court, which stood opposite to one another, but must be that from the south gate of the outer court to the south gate of the inner. This is the case not only here, but also in Ezekiel 40:23, where the north gate is mentioned. We may see how little importance is to be attached to the omission of the article in משּׁער from the expression משּׁער אל שׁער in Ezekiel 40:23, where neither the one gate nor the other is defined, because the context showed which gates were meant. Hvernick's explanation is therefore untenable, notwithstanding the fact that, according to Ezekiel 40:47, the size of the inner court was a hundred cubits both in breadth and length. - From the distance between the gates of the outer court and the corresponding gates of the inner, as given in Ezekiel 40:27, Ezekiel 40:23, and Ezekiel 40:19, we find that the outer court covered a space of two hundred cubits on every side, - namely, fifty cubits the distance which the outer court building projected into the court, and fifty cubits for the projection of the gate-building of the inner court into the outer court, and a hundred cubits from one gate-porch to the opposite one (50 + 50 + 100 equals 200).

Consequently the full size of the building enclosed by the wall (Ezekiel 40:5), i.e., of the temple with its two courts, may also be calculated, as it has been by many of the expositors. If we proceed, for example, from the outer north gate to the outer south gate upon the ground plan (Plate I), we have, to quote the words of Kliefoth, "first the northern breadth of the outer court (D) with its two hundred cubits; then the inner court, which measured a hundred cubits square according to Ezekiel 40:47 (E), with its hundred cubits; and lastly, the south side of the outer court with two hundred cubits more (D); so that the sanctuary was five hundred cubits broad from north to south. And if we start from the entrance of the east gate of the court (A), we have first of all the eastern breadth of the outer court, viz., two hundred cubits; then the inner court (e) with its hundred cubits; after that the temple-buildings, which also covered a space of a hundred cubits square according to Ezekiel 41:13-14, including the open space around them (G), with another hundred cubits; and lastly, the גּזרה (J), which was situated to the west of the temple-buildings, and also covered a space of a hundred cubits square according to Ezekiel 41:13-14, with another hundred cubits; so that the sanctuary was also five hundred cubits long from east to west, or, in other words, formed a square of five hundred cubits."

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