Ezekiel 45:18
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:
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(18) In the first month, in the first day of the month.—The rest of this and the first fifteen verses of the following chapter are occupied with the ritual of the sacrifices on certain special occasions. In each case the deviations from the Mosaic law are remarkable, as well as the omission of any mention of the Feast of Weeks (Pentecost) and of the Great Day of Atonement. Ezekiel, as a priest, must have been familiar with the law in these matters, and therefore the changes he introduces must have been intentional. Like the changes in the division of the land, they seemed designed to show that this was an ideal vision. No attempt was ever made to follow the arrangements here laid down. The Mosaic law prescribed (in addition to the burnt offerings and meat offerings) a sin offering, which was to be a he-goat (Numbers 28:15) for the first of every month; also on the tenth day of the seventh month, on the Great Day of Atonement, two he-goats (one for the “scape-goat”) were to be offered. Of all these Ezekiel mentions only the sin offering for the beginning of the first month, and also for the seventh day of the same, of which the Mosaic law knows nothing; but he provides for these bullocks instead of goats. In the ritual of the blood he makes a corresponding change. The law gives no special directions for the sprinkling of the blood of the sin offerings on the first of each month, because they were included in the ordinary rule (Leviticus 4:25; Leviticus 4:30, &c.) of sprinkling upon the sides of the altar of burnt offering; only in the case of the sin offering for the high priest or for the whole congregation (when the victim was a bullock) was the blood brought within the Temple itself, and sprinkled seven times before the vail, and applied to the horns of the altar of incense. On the Day of Atonement it was carried into the Holy of Holies, and sprinkled upon and before the mercyseat. All this is here changed. Some of the blood of these sin offerings (Ezekiel 45:19) is to be put upon the “posts of the house” (see Ezekiel 41:21), upon the “corners of the settle of the altar,” and “upon the posts of the gate of the inner court.”

Ezekiel 45:18-20. In the first month, &c., thou shalt take a young bullock — These words are directed to the prince, who is commanded, on the first day of the new year, (which, according to the ecclesiastical computation, began with the month Nisan, and answers to our 10th of March: see Exodus 12:2,) to provide a bullock for a burnt-offering to cleanse the temple from any defilement it might have contracted, by the people’s offering their sacrifices, or coming into any of the courts belonging to it, while they were under any legal pollution. And the priest shall take of the blood, &c. — The office of the priest is here distinguished from that of the prince: the prince was to provide the sacrifices, and the priest to offer them. So shalt thou do the seventh day for every one that erreth — For all the errors of all the house of Israel through ignorance. There were particular sacrifices appointed for sins of ignorance, whether of private persons or of the whole congregation, Leviticus 4:13. So shall ye reconcile the house —

Cleanse it from any pollution it may have contracted through the ignorance of any of the common people.

45:1-25 In the period here foretold, the worship and the ministers of God will be provided for; the princes will rule with justice, as holding their power under Christ; the people will live in peace, ease, and godliness. These things seem to be represented in language taken from the customs of the times in which the prophet wrote. Christ is our Passover that is sacrificed for us: we celebrate the memorial of that sacrifice, and feast upon it, triumphing in our deliverance out of the Egyptian slavery of sin, and our preservation from the destroying sword of Divine justice, in the Lord's supper, which is our passover feast; as the whole Christian life is, and must be, the feast of the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.This order of certain solemn services does not follow exactly the order of Moses, of Solomon, or of Ezra. The deviation can scarcely have been accidental, and furnishes a fresh indication that the whole vision is symbolic, representative of the times when, after the oblation of the one Sacrifice, reconciliation and sanctification were effected for man through the presence of God dwelling in the midst of the people.

Ezekiel 45:18

In the first day - If this is only a special Passover for the dedication, the prolongation of the festival may be compared with that under Solomon 2 Chronicles 7:8. But it is more probably a general ordinance, and, in this case, we have an addition to the Mosaic ritual (compare Leviticus 23:5). Here the "first day" is marked by the rites of expiation, which are repeated on the seventh day Ezekiel 45:20, for the purpose of including those who transgressed from ignorance rather than willfulness.

18. The year is to begin with a consecration service, not mentioned under the Levitical law; but an earnest of it is given in the feast of dedication of the second temple, which celebrated its purification by Judas Maccabeus, after its defilement by Antiochus. In the first month of the year, every new-year’s day; or the first new-year’s day after the temple is built, a kind of feast of dedication: the former better agreeth with the following verses.

Thou shalt take; procure, either being out of his own flock, or buy with his money; this the prince must do.

A young bullock without blemish; such the law required, both for kind and quality, in what sacrifice, or on what occasion soever the sacrifice was offered.

And cleanse the sanctuary; that by this, offered according to the law, the temple might be cleansed.

Thus saith the Lord God,.... Here begins the account of the times and seasons in which the above sacrifices should be prepared and offered; or that which was signified by them be held forth in the ministry of the word to the faith of God's people:

in the first month, in the first day of the month; the month Nisan, as Kimchi observes, who adds,

"which is the month of redemption, in which Israel were redeemed out of Egypt, and in which they shall be redeemed in time to come:''

this month answers to part of our March and part of April; it was the first month in the year with the Jews for their ecclesiastical affairs; so that the first day of this month was New Year's Day:

thou shall take a young bullock without blemish, and cleanse the sanctuary; or, "make a sin offering for it" (g); here the Jews are puzzled; since, according to the law of Moses, in the beginnings of their months, they were to offer a burnt offering of two young bullocks and a ram, &c. Numbers 28:11, whereas here only one bullock, and that a sin offering; wherefore R. Jochanan and R. Judah say, this must be left till Elijah comes to explain it; and as much at a loss are they how to account for it that Ezekiel should do this, whom they suppose to be the person spoken to; and therefore imagine this will be done by him after the resurrection, not being able to see that this shows the abrogation of the law of Moses; and that not the Prophet Ezekiel, but Christ the Prince and Priest, is here addressed; and whose sacrifice is designed by the young bullock without blemish; a type of him both in his strength and purity; and by which his sanctuary, his church and people, have all their sins expiated; and particularly the sins of the year past, this being represented as done on New Year's Day, which the annual atonement prefigured.

(g) "expiatoque", Piscator; "expiabis", Cocceius, Starckius.

Thus saith the Lord GOD; In the first month, in the first day of the {e} month, thou shalt take a young bull without blemish, and cleanse the sanctuary:

(e) Which was Nisan containing part of March and part of April.

Ezekiel 45:18-25. Offerings at the feasts

18–20. The stated atonement for the sanctuary twice in the year—on the first day of the first month (Ezekiel 45:18); and on the first day of the seventh month (Ezekiel 45:20). The sin-offering on both occasions shall be a young bullock to cleanse, better: to make atonement for the sanctuary (Ezekiel 43:20).

Ch. Ezekiel 45:18 to Ezekiel 46:24. The offerings to be made at the feasts and other appointed seasons

-1Ezekiel 45:18-25. Offerings at the feasts.

-2Ezekiel 46:1-11. Offerings for the sabbaths and new moons.

(3) Ezekiel 45:12. Voluntary offerings of the prince.

(4) Ezekiel 45:13-15. The daily burnt-offering.

(5) Ezekiel 45:16-18. Case of the prince alienating any part of his landed estate to his children or servants.

(6) Ezekiel 45:19-24. Kitchens for boiling the offerings eaten by the priests, and those partaken of by the people.

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). Ezekiel 45:18The Sin-Offerings in the First Month

Ezekiel 45:18. Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, In the first (month), on the first of the month, thou shalt take a bullock, a young ox without blemish, and absolve the sanctuary. Ezekiel 45:19. And the priest shall take of the blood of the sin-offering, and put it upon the door-posts of the house, and upon the four corners of the enclosure of the altar, and upon the door-posts at the gate of the inner court. Ezekiel 45:20. And so shalt thou do on the seventh of the month, for the sake of erring men and of folly, that so ye may make atonement for the house. - The Mosaic law had prescribed for the new moons generally the sin-offering of a he-goat, in addition to the burnt-offerings and meat-offerings (Numbers 28:15); and, besides, this, had also distinguished the new-moon's day of the seventh month by a special feast-offering to be added to the regular new-moon's sacrifices, and consisting of a sin-offering of a he-goat, and burnt-offerings and meat-offerings (Numbers 29:2-6). This distinguishing of the seventh month by a special new-moon's sacrifice is omitted in Ezekiel; but in the place of it the first month is distinguished by a sin-offering to be presented on the first and seventh days. Nothing is said in Ezekiel 45:18-20 about burnt-offerings for these days; but as the burnt-offering is appointed in Ezekiel 46:6-7 for the new-moon's day without any limitation, and the regulations as to the connection between the meat-offering and the burnt-offerings are repeated in Ezekiel 46:11 for the holy days and feast days (הגּים וּמועדים) generally, and the new-moon's day is also reckoned among the מועדים, there is evidently good ground for the assumption that the burnt-offering and meat-offering prescribed for the new moon in Ezekiel 46:6-7 were also to be offered at the new moon of the first month. On the other hand, no special burnt-offering or meat-offering is mentioned for the seventh day of the first month; so that in all probability only the daily burnt-offering and meat-offering were added upon that day (Ezekiel 46:13.) to the sin-offering appointed for it. Moreover, the sin-offerings prescribed for the first and seventh days of the first month are distinguished from the sin-offerings of the Mosaic law, partly by the animal selected (a young bullock), and partly by the disposal of the blood. According to the Mosaic law, the sin-offering for the new moons, as well as for all the feast days of the year, the Passover, Pentecost, day of trumpets, day of atonement, and feast of tabernacles (all eight days), was to be a he-goat (Numbers 28:15; Numbers 22:30; Numbers 29:5, Numbers 29:11, Numbers 29:16, Numbers 29:19, Numbers 29:22, Numbers 29:25, Numbers 29:28, Numbers 29:31, Numbers 29:34, Numbers 29:38). Even the sin-offering for the congregation of Israel on the great day of atonement simply consisted in a he-goat (or two he-goats, Leviticus 16:5); and it was only for the sin-offering for the high priest, whether on that day (Leviticus 16:3), or when he had sinned so as to bring guilt upon the nation (Leviticus 4:3), or when the whole congregation had sinned (Leviticus 4:14), that a bullock was required. On the other hand, according to Ezekiel, the sin-offering both on the first and seventh days of the first month, and also the one to be brought by the prince on the fourteenth day of that month, i.e., on the day of the feast of Passover (Ezekiel 45:22), for himself and for all the people, were to consist of a bullock and only the sin-offering on the seven days of the feast of Passover and tabernacles of a he-goat (Ezekiel 45:23, Ezekiel 45:25). The Mosaic law contains no express instructions concerning the sprinkling of the blood of the sin-offering at the new moons and feasts (with the exception of the great atoning sacrifice on the day of atonement), because it was probably the same as in the case of the sin-offerings for the high priest and the whole congregation, when the blood was first of all to be sprinkled seven times against the curtain in front of the capporeth, and then to be applied to the horns of the altar of incense, and the remainder to be poured out at the foot of the altar of burnt-offering (Leviticus 4:6-7, Leviticus 4:17-18); whereas, in the case of the great atoning sacrifice on the day of atonement, some of the blood was first of all to be sprinkled at or upon the front side of the capporeth and seven times upon the ground, and after that it was to be applied to the horns of the altar of incense and of the altar of burnt-offering (Leviticus 16:15-17). But according to Ezekiel, some of the blood of the sin-offerings on the first and seventh days of the first month, and certainly also on the same days of the feasts of Passover and tabernacles, was to be smeared upon the posts of the house - that is to say, the posts mentioned in Ezekiel 41:21, not merely those of the היכל, the door into the holy place, but also those of the קדשׁ, the door leading into the most holy place, upon the horns and the four corners of the enclosure of the altar of burnt-offering (Ezekiel 43:20), and upon the posts of the gate of the inner court. It is a point in dispute here whether שׁער החצר is only one door, and in that case whether the east gate of the inner court is to be understood as in Ezekiel 46:2 (מזוּזת השּׁער), as Hitzig and others suppose, or whether שׁער rehtehw is to be taken in a collective sense as signifying the three gates of the inner court (Kliefoth and others). The latter view is favoured by the collective use of the word מזוּזה by itself, and also by the circumstance that if only one of the three gates were intended, the statement which of the three would hardly have been omitted (cf. Ezekiel 46:1; Ezekiel 44:1, etc.).

According to Ezekiel 45:18, these sin-offerings were to serve for the absolving of the sanctuary; and according to Ezekiel 45:20, to make atonement for the temple on account of error or folly. Both directions mean the same thing. The reconciliation of the temple was effected by its absolution or purification from the sins that had come upon it through the error and folly of the people. Sins בּשׁגגה are sins occasioned by the weakness of flesh and blood, for which expiation could be made by sin-offerings (see the comm. on Leviticus 4:2 and Numbers 15:22.). מאישׁ שׁגה, lit., away from the erring man, i.e., to release him from his sin. This expression is strengthened by מפּתי, away from simplicity or folly; here, as in Proverbs 7:7, as abstractum pro concreto, the simple man. - The great expiatory sacrifice on the day of atonement answered the same purpose, the absolution of the sanctuary from the sins of the people committed בּשׁגגה (Leviticus 16:16.).

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