The holy portion of the land shall be for the priests the ministers of the sanctuary, which shall come near to minister to the LORD: and it shall be a place for their houses, and an holy place for the sanctuary.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Eze 45:1-25. Allotment of the Land for the Sanctuary, the City, and the Prince.
1. offer an oblation—from a Hebrew root to "heave" or "raise"; when anything was offered to God, the offerer raised the hand. The special territorial division for the tribes is given in the forty-seventh and forty-eighth chapters. Only Jehovah's portion is here subdivided into its three parts: (1) that for the sanctuary (Eze 45:2, 3); (2) that for the priests (Eze 45:4); (3) that for the Levites (Eze 45:5). Compare Eze 48:8-13.
five and twenty thousand reeds, &c.—So English Version rightly fills the ellipsis (compare Note, see on Eze 42:16). Hence "cubits" are mentioned in Eze 45:2, not here, implying that there alone cubits are meant. Taking each reed at twelve feet, the area of the whole would be a square of sixty miles on each side. The whole forming a square betokens the settled stability of the community and the harmony of all classes. "An holy portion of the land" (Eze 45:1) comprised the whole length, and only two-fifths of the breadth. The outer territory in its distribution harmonizes with the inner and more sacred arrangements of the sanctuary. No room is to be given for oppression (see Eze 45:8), all having ample provision made for their wants and comforts. All will mutually co-operate without constraint or contention.The holy portion; the whole contents of twelve miles and half long, and five broad.
For the priests; sons of Zadok, who minister to the Lord, and others with them, who, though degraded from the priestly honour, yet lived upon priestly provision.
A place for their houses; in which twenty-three of twenty-four courses of priests may dwell conveniently, while the twenty-fourth minister at the temple, as by order they did.
And an holyplace; and how much God did reserve to himself for his dwelling is expressly mentioned. Thus God makes himself and what is his the inheritance and possession of the priests his servants, as he told them, Ezekiel 44:28.
which shall come near to minister unto the Lord; these sons of Zadok, these faithful ones, in the worst of times; see Ezekiel 44:15,
and it shall be a place for their houses; in this large spot shall be many congregated churches, houses of the living God, where his priests and people dwell, and will be serving and praising him:The holy portion of the land shall be for the priests the ministers of the sanctuary, which shall come near to minister unto the LORD: and it shall be a place for their houses, and an holy place for the sanctuary.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)4. Read: An holy portion of the land is it, it shall be for, &c.
holy place for the sanctuary] Lit. a sanctuary for the sanctuary. The use of “sanctuary” in the sense of sacred territory can hardly be supported by evidence, though the idea of a sacred territory around a sacred house or locality is a common one in the East. LXX. reads: a place for houses set apart for their sanctity, i.e. possibly: houses set apart for them (the priests), they being holy. No satisfactory emendation has been proposed.Verse 4. - The holy portion of the land just defined (ver. 3) should be reserved for the priests the ministers of the sanctuary, i.e. of the inner court, who were privileged to draw near to Jehovah in altar ministrations (comp. Ezekiel 44:15; Exodus 28:43; Exodus 30:20; Numbers 16:5, 40), as distinguished from the Levites, who were only" ministry of the house" (ver. 5), i.e. guardian, of the temple and assistants in its outer court services. As such this holy portion should serve the twofold purpose of providing- for the priests a place for their houses in which they might dwell, and an holy place for the sanctuary, in which they should minister.
Ezekiel 41:1. And he led me into the temple, and measured the pillars, six cubits breadth on this side and six cubits breadth on that side, with regard to the breadth of the tent. Ezekiel 41:2. And the breadth of the door was ten cubits; and the shoulders of the door, five cubits on this side, and five cubits on that: and he measured its length, forty cubits; and the breadth, twenty cubits. Ezekiel 41:3. And he went within the measured the pillar of the door, two cubits; and the door, six cubits; and the breadth of the door, seven cubits. Ezekiel 41:4. And he measured its length, twenty cubits; and the breadth, twenty cubits, toward the temple; and said to me, This is the holy of holies. - Ezekiel 41:1 and Ezekiel 41:2 give the measurements of the holy place. היכל is used here in the more restricted sense for the nave of the temple, the holy place (B), without the porch and the holy of holies (cf. 1 Kings 6:17). The measuring commences with the front (eastern) wall, in which there was the entrance door. This wall had pillars (e e) of six cubits breadth on either side (on the right hand and the left), and between the pillars a door (d) ten cubits broad, with door-shoulders (e e) of five cubits on this side and that (Ezekiel 41:2). These measurements (6 + 6 + 10 + 5 + 5) yield for the front wall a total breadth of thirty-two cubits. This agrees with the measurements which follow: twenty cubits, the (internal) breadth of the holy place, and six cubits the thickness of the wall (e) on either side (Ezekiel 41:5). The only remaining difficulty is in the very obscure words appended, רחב האהל, in which Ewald and Hitzig propose to alter האהל into האיל otni האהל re, because the lxx have substituted τοῦ αἰλάμ, but without making any improvement, as האיל is still more inexplicable. Kliefoth, after examining the various attempts to explain these words, comes to the conclusion that no other course is left than to take האהל as signifying the inner space of Ezekiel's temple, consisting of the holy place and the holy of holies, which was the same in the entire building as the tabernacle had been, - viz. the tent of God's meeting with His people, and which is designated as אהל to show the substantial identity of this space and the tabernacle. The clause רחב האהל is thus attached to the preceding double מפּה (i.e., to the measurement of the two pillars bounding the holy space), in an elliptical manner, in the following sense: "he measured the breadth of the pillars, on this side and that, which marked off the breadth of the tent, on the outside, that is to say, of the inner space of the holy place which resembled the tabernacle;" so that this clause formed a loose apposition, meaning, "with regard to the breath of the tent." כּתפות הפּתח are the walls on both sides of the door (e e), between the door and the boundary pillars. - The internal length and breadth of the holy place are the same as in the holy place of Solomon's temple (1 Kings 6:2, 1 Kings 6:17).
Ezekiel 41:3 and Ezekiel 41:4 refer to the holy of holies (c). "He went within." We have וּבא (for ויּבוא) and not ויביאני (Ezekiel 41:1), because the prophet was not allowed to tread the most holy place, and therefore the angel went in alone. פּנימה is defined in Ezekiel 41:4 as the holy of holies. The measurements in Ezekiel 41:3 refer to the partition wall between the holy place and the most holy (g). איל הפּתח, the pillar-work of the door, stands for the pillars on both sides of the door; and the measurement of two cubits no doubt applies to each pillar, denoting, not the thickness, but the breadth which it covered on the wall. There is a difficulty in the double measurement which follows: the door six cubits, and the breadth of the door seven cubits. As the latter is perfectly clear, and also apparently in accordance with the fact, and on measuring a door the height is the only thing which can come into consideration in addition to the breadth, we agree with Kliefoth in taking the six cubits as a statement of the height. The height of six cubits bears a fitting proportion to the breadth of seven cubits, if there were folding-doors; and the seven is significant in the case of the door to the holy of holies, the dwelling of God. The Seventy, however, did not know what to do with this text, and changed רחב הפּתח שׁבע אמּות into τὰς ἐπωμίδας τοῦ θυρώματος πηχῶν ἑπτὰ ἔνθεν καὶ ἔνθεν, in which they have been followed by Bttcher, Hitzig, and others. But it is obvious at once that the Seventy have simply derived these data from the measurements of the front of the holy place (Ezekiel 41:2), and have overlooked the fact, that in the first place, beside the measure of the כּתפות הפּתח, i.e., ἐπωμίδες τοῦ πυλῶνος, the רחב הפּתח, or breadth of the door, is also expressly measured there, whereas here, on the contrary, it is preceded by הפּתח alone, without רחב; and secondly, as the measurement of the אילים given in Ezekiel 41:1 indicates their breadth (from south to north), in the present instance also the measure ascribed to the איל הפּתח can only refer to the breadth of the איל, and not to its thickness (from east to west). But if we explain the first clause of Ezekiel 41:3 in this manner, as both the language and the fact require, the reading of the lxx is proved to be a false correction, by the fact that it yields a breadth of twenty-two or twenty-four cubits (2 + 2 + 6 + 7 + 7), whereas the holy of holies, like the holy place, was only twenty cubits broad. The dimensions of the holy of holies also correspond to the space covered by the holy of holies in Solomon's temple (1 Kings 6:20). The expression אל־פּני ההיכל, "toward the holy place," is to be explained by the supposition that the measuring angel, after he had proceeded to the western end of the holy of holies for the purpose of measuring the length, turned round again to measure the breadth, so that this breadth lay "toward the holy place."
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