INTRODUCTION TO Ezekiel 45
This chapter treats of the division of the land in future time, and the persons and uses for which it is to be made; one part being for the sanctuary, and the priests that serve in it, and for their houses for them to dwell in, Ezekiel 45:1, another for the Levites and their chambers, Ezekiel 45:5, and another for the city, for the Israelites in common, Ezekiel 45:6, and the last for the prince; and of the situation and extent of it, Ezekiel 45:7 and of the righteous administration of civil government in the time of the spiritual reign of Christ, in abstinence from violence and exactions, and doing justice, for which orders and directions are given, Ezekiel 45:9, then of the oblations of the people of the land, Ezekiel 45:13, and next of those that are to be prepared by the prince, Ezekiel 45:17, and the times of the offering of them, at the beginning of the year, on the feasts of the passover and tabernacles, Ezekiel 45:18, the rules for which are so different from the Mosaic law, as show the abrogation of that; and that all this is to be understood in a spiritual and evangelic sense.
Moreover, when ye shall divide by lot the land for inheritance, ye shall offer an oblation unto the LORD, an holy portion of the land: the length shall be the length of five and twenty thousand reeds, and the breadth shall be ten thousand. This shall be holy in all the borders thereof round about.Moreover, when ye shall divide by lot the land, for inheritance,.... This is not to be understood literally of the division of the land of Israel; which agrees not with the division of it begun by Moses, and finished by Joshua, upon his conquest of it, and the introduction of the people of Israel into it; nor was such a division as this made when the Jews returned from Babylon; nor is there any reason to expect the like when they shall be converted in the latter day; nor is it meant typically of the heavenly inheritance, which saints obtain in Christ by lot, Ephesians 1:11, of which the earthly Canaan was a type; though some in this way interpret it: but since the whole vision respects the church of Christ on earth, it must be meant mystically and spiritually of the kingdom of Christ, and the settlement and establishment of it throughout the whole world, according to the allotment and determination of God; and they are a distinct and special people that are admitted into this state; it is by the distinguishing grace of God that they are taken into the Gospel church, and have a part and share in all the privileges and immunities of it.
Ye shall offer an oblation unto the Lord, an holy portion of the land; which should be lifted up as the heave offering was, and dedicated to the Lord: this designs such persons who are separated from the world, and sanctified by the Spirit of God, who shall be brought by the ministers of the word to the Lord, as trophies of his efficacious and victorious grace, ascribing the whole glory of their conversion to him; and these shall present themselves, souls and bodies, a holy, living, and acceptable sacrifice to him; see Isaiah 66:20.
The length shall be the length of five and twenty thousand reeds, and the breadth shall be ten thousand; the kind of measure is not expressed in the original, so that it is a question whether reeds or cubits are meant; some think the latter, and the rather, because mention is made of them, Ezekiel 45:2, and it is added,
and of this measure shall thou measure the length of five and twenty thousand; which, if understood of cubits, will greatly reduce the length and breadth of this holy portion of the land; wherefore it is best to take the largest measure, since that seems better to answer the design of the Holy Ghost in this passage; and the rather, since this measure is more proper to measure land with, and is that which the measurer is said to have in his hand, Ezekiel 40:5, and besides, the measure of the sanctuary, said to be five hundred square, Ezekiel 45:2 was measured with the measuring reed, and not the cubit, Ezekiel 42:16, and which therefore must be supplied here; and a measuring reed being six cubits, by a cubit and a hand's breath, Ezekiel 40:5, makes this portion of land to be more than six times larger than if it was supposed to be measured by the cubit; and twenty five thousand of this measure, according to Cornelius Lapide, made five hundred miles, which was three times as large as the land of Canaan; that being, as Jerom (u) says, a hundred and sixty miles long, and forty six broad; and is a proof, that the land of Canaan literally taken is not here meant; but the whole is designed to set forth the amplitude and large extent of the church of Christ in the world, in the times the vision refers to.
This shall be holy in all the borders thereof round about; that is, this portion of land measured out, and distinguished from the rest: holiness of heart and life shall appear in all the subjects of Christ's kingdom, and members of his church, which becomes his house for ever.
(u) Ad Dardanum, tom. 3. fol. 21. I. K.
Of this there shall be for the sanctuary five hundred in length, with five hundred in breadth, square round about; and fifty cubits round about for the suburbs thereof.Of this there shall be for the sanctuary,.... Or temple, the house before described in the preceding chapters:
five hundred in length, and five hundred in breadth, square round about: that is, five hundred reeds square, as is manifest from Ezekiel 42:16, and this denotes the largeness, perfection, and stability of the church of Christ, which the sanctuary was a type of:
and fifty cubits round about for the suburbs thereof; which were a void place of fifty cubits round about the sanctuary, measuring from the wall to that; this was done in reverence to the holy place, and to show that we should not rush hastily into the house of God, and church of Christ, but first pass through the suburbs or open place. Cubits being here mentioned, show that reeds are to be understood where the kind of measure is not expressed.
And of this measure shalt thou measure the length of five and twenty thousand, and the breadth of ten thousand: and in it shall be the sanctuary and the most holy place.And of this measure shalt thou measure the length of five and twenty thousand, and the breadth of ten thousand,.... Not that the sense is, that of and according to the cubit measure last mentioned, this length and this breadth should be measured; but "after this measure", as Starckius renders it, and as the particle is rendered, Daniel 11:23 and which Sanctius mentions; and Jerom seems to have understood it in this light: and the sense is, that after he had finished the measure of five hundred reeds square, and fifty cubits round, he should proceed to measure the rest of the twenty five thousand in length, and ten thousand in breadth:
and in it shall be the sanctuary, and the most holy place; that is, in the midst portion of land, consisting of the above measures, be the holy place, and the holy of holies; this is, but a further explanation of the two preceding verses.
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.The holy portion of the land shall be for the priests, the ministers of the sanctuary,.... That is, the rest of it, which is not for the sanctuary, shall be for the use of the priests that minister in holy things in the sanctuary; either the ministers of the Gospel, who shall have a sufficient maintenance from the churches of Christ, as the priests had under the law: or it may be meant of all the saints, who are priests unto God, and serve and worship him in his sanctuary; who shall all be satisfied with the goodness and fatness of his house, the word and ordinances, and the blessings of grace conveyed by them:
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:
and an holy place for the sanctuary; which may denote the church of God in general, as houses may do particular churches.
And the five and twenty thousand of length, and the ten thousand of breadth, shall also the Levites, the ministers of the house, have for themselves, for a possession for twenty chambers.And the five and twenty thousand, of length, and ten thousand of breadth,.... This seems to be another portion of the land, distinct from the former, though of the same measure; see Ezekiel 48:13,
shall also the Levites, the ministers of the house, have for themselves; separate from the priests, to whom they ministered, and were as numerous; or more numerous, than they; this is still designed to set forth the largeness of the church, and the great numbers of its members, who will all be accommodated and supplied with good things:
for a possession for twenty chambers; which some understand of twenty rows of chambers; by which may be meant particular congregated churches, as we have seen all along in this vision, erected for the better use and convenience of the saints in all places and parts of the world, where they are called.
And ye shall appoint the possession of the city five thousand broad, and five and twenty thousand long, over against the oblation of the holy portion: it shall be for the whole house of Israel.And ye shall appoint the possession of the city, Which is something distinct from the house or temple, which was as the frame of a city, being so large, and consisting of so many parts, Ezekiel 40:2 and seems also different from the city in Ezekiel 48:30, the measures of the one and of the other not agreeing. Starckius thinks that this city prefigures the academies that should be among Christians, in which the priests or ministers of the word should teach those that came out of all parts unto them; but I am rather of opinion that the civil state of the people of God is here meant, as it will be in the spiritual reign of Christ; when all civil power and authority will not as yet be put down, only it will come into the hands of the saints, and be administered by Christian kings and princes.
Five thousand broad, and five and twenty thousand long, over against the oblation of the holy portion; five thousand reeds in breadth are allowed less for the civil than the church state; and though they are contiguous, and there is a connection between them, yet are separate from each other; the material temple was in the city of Jerusalem; but the holy portion, in which the sanctuary shall be, is without the city, and the city over against that; hence John seems, to have borrowed his idea and language, "I saw no temple therein", Revelation 21:22, though speaking of another city: the church and the world shall be no more mixed together; Christ's kingdom is not of this world, nor to be fixed on a civil establishment:
it shall be for the whole house of Israel; they shall all be under one and the same form of government; I do not say they shall be all under one temporal king or prince; but all Christian kings and princes shall exercise the same kind of rule and government; so that, as their church state will be uniform, their civil state or polity will be alike.
And a portion shall be for the prince on the one side and on the other side of the oblation of the holy portion, and of the possession of the city, before the oblation of the holy portion, and before the possession of the city, from the west side westward, and from the east side eastward: and the length shall be over against one of the portions, from the west border unto the east border.And a portion shall be for the prince,.... Meaning not the civil magistrate; though he ought to be supported in his dignity and authority, and in such manner that he may be under no temptation to oppress his subjects; and who ought to be, and at this time will be, the protector of the Lord's people, both in their civil and church state; but the Prince Messiah, of whom see Ezekiel 44:3, to whom God will divide a portion with the great; Jacob shall be his portion, the Heathen his inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth his possession, Isaiah 53:12,
on the one side and on the other side of the oblation of the holy portion, and of the possession of the city; on each side, both of the holy portion, in which are the sanctuary, the houses of the priests, and the chambers of the Levites, and also of the city for the house of Israel; so that his portion will lie, or he be placed, on each side both of the church state and civil state of the Lord's people, and so be the protector of both; he will be a wall of fire round about them, a covert and a hiding place for them; he will be near them, and they to him; he will be on every side of them, and preserve them from persecuting enemies, and false teachers; they shall enjoy his word, his ordinances, and Gospel ministers, and be kept in the utmost peace and prosperity of all kinds; he will protect and defend them, both in their civil and religious liberties, and none shall make them afraid.
Before the oblation of the holy portion, and before the possession of the city; or rather, "over against" them (w), as it is rendered, Ezekiel 41:15 so, as the possession of the city was over against the holy portion, the portion of the prince was to be over against them both:
from the west side westward, and from the east side eastward; which explains on which sides of them it lay:
and the length shall be over against one of the portions; that is, against everyone of the portions:
from the west border unto the east border; now as there is no measure given to the portion of the prince, but the whole space eastward and westward is left for it, it shows the large extent of Christ's kingdom; that his dominion shall be from sea to sea, and from the river to the ends of the earth; his Gospel shall be preached everywhere; the Spirit shall be poured down upon all flesh to make it successful; multitudes shall be everywhere converted, and churches set up in all places; the kingdoms of the world will become Christ's, even all the Pagan, Papal, and Mahometan nations; Christ will be King over all the earth, and his name shall be one; there will be but one religion everywhere, Psalm 72:8. Some of the Jewish writers interpret this of the King Messiah, to whom they suppose is here allotted the thirteenth part of the land: so Kimchi says,
"to Israel belong twelve parts or portions, and to the prince the thirteenth part; the portion of the prince is as the portion of one of the tribes in length and in breadth, excepting that within the inheritance of the prince should be an oblation,''
as in Ezekiel 45:13, and Maimonides (x) says,
"the King Messiah takes out of all lands, subdued by the Israelites, one part out of thirteen; and this thing is a statute for him and his sons for ever;''
which seems plainly to refer to this passage in Ezekiel; though there are some who understand him of any anointed king of Israel, as being his right: but the learned Selden (y) is of opinion that he is speaking of the King Messiah, and has respect to this distribution; and rightly observes, from the same author (z), that all that was subdued by him was his own, and he could dispose of it at his pleasure to his servants and soldiers.
(w) "contra faciem", V. L. (x) Hilchot Melachim, c. 4. sect, 8. (y) De Jure Naturae & Gentium, l. 6. c. 16. (z) Maimon Hilchot Melachim, c. 4. sect. 10.
In the land shall be his possession in Israel: and my princes shall no more oppress my people; and the rest of the land shall they give to the house of Israel according to their tribes.In the land shall be his possession in Israel,.... Or, "as for the land, it shall be his for a possession in Israel" (a); the people of the land shall be a people for possession, as in 1 Peter 2:9 or a peculiar people of his throughout all Israel; all the spiritual Israel, whether Jew or Gentile, shall be Christ's possession and inheritance:
and my princes shall no more oppress my people; neither ecclesiastical princes, as the Scribes and Pharisees formerly, nor civil magistrates; not the one with false doctrines, carnal rites and ceremonies; nor the other with heavy taxes, and rigorous exactions:
and the rest of the land shall they give to the house of Israel according to their tribes; the spiritual and mystical Israel, Jews and Gentiles, who shall now inherit the earth, and possess all temporal good things, as well as spiritual ones.
(a) "de terra vel quod attinet ad terram, sive terrae (illud), erit in possessionem in Israel", Starckius.
Thus saith the Lord GOD; Let it suffice you, O princes of Israel: remove violence and spoil, and execute judgment and justice, take away your exactions from my people, saith the Lord GOD.Thus saith the Lord, let it suffice you, O princes of Israel,.... Christian kings and princes, for such there shall be in those times; and who will have large and ample salaries provided for them, as they should have to support their dignity; and with which they should be content, as they will be, and not encroach upon the properties of their subjects:
remove violence and spoil; from your administration; the sense is, do not use violence, and exercise rapine and spoil, let these be far from you; seize not on the goods of your subjects, or spoil them of them by heavy taxes and impositions, or by vexatious lawsuits, and unjust sentences:
and execute judgment and justice; between men; let everyone enjoy his own property; and when any matter of controversy arises about it, fairly hear and examine the case, and do justice:
take away your exactions from my people, saith the Lord; such as had been exacted of them in former times by tyrannical and unjust princes: or, "your expulsions" (b); driving them from their houses, estates, fields, and vineyards; either by taking them away from them, and annexing them to their own, as Ahab did; or by levying such taxes upon them they could not pay, and so were obliged to leave their inheritances and possessions. This, and some following verses, contain rules for regulating the civil state of the people of God in the latter day; which did not take place upon the Jews' return from Babylon, as appears from Nehemiah 5:15 but will be strictly observed by Christian princes in the latter day glory; see Isaiah 40:17.
(b) "delulsiones vestras", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Polanus; "expulsiones vestras", Cocceius, Starckius.
Ye shall have just balances, and a just ephah, and a just bath.Ye shall have just balances,.... That is, take care that true weights and just measures be used in trade and commerce, that so one man may not impose upon and cheat another; which is the business of the civil magistrate to look after:
and a just ephah, and a just bath; and not make the ephah small, and the shekel great, and falsifying the balances by deceit, as some did, Amos 8:5 the "ephah" was a measure for dry things, as wheat, barley, &c. and the "bath" for liquid things, as wine oil, &c. as Jarchi and Kimchi observe; see Leviticus 19:35.
The ephah and the bath shall be of one measure, that the bath may contain the tenth part of an homer, and the ephah the tenth part of an homer: the measure thereof shall be after the homer.The ephah and the bath shall be of one measure,.... The one held as much of dry things as the other of liquor; which, according to Bishop Cumberland, were seven wine gallons, four pints, and a little more:
that the bath may contain the tenth part of an homer, and the ephah the tenth part of an homer; this "homer" must be carefully distinguished from another measure, called "omer", written without an "h", which was but the tenth part of an "ephah", Exodus 16:36,
the measure thereof shall be after the homer: "as the homer was", so should the ephah and bath be, just the tenth part of it.
And the shekel shall be twenty gerahs: twenty shekels, five and twenty shekels, fifteen shekels, shall be your maneh.And the shekel shall be twenty gerahs,.... This is a rule for money or coin; the shekel was a silver coin, and is generally reckoned about the value of two shillings and six pence of our money, so a gerah about three half pennies: Bishop Cumberland reckons the shekel more exactly at two shillings and four pence farthing, and a little more, and the gerah at eleven grains of silver; see Leviticus 27:25,
twenty shekels, five and twenty shekels, fifteen shekels, shall be your maneh; these were several pieces of money; one was a twenty shekel piece, which according to the common account was fifty shillings of our money; another was a five and twenty shekel piece, which was three pounds, two shillings, and sixpence; and a third was a fifteen shekel piece, which was one pound thirteen and sixpence; and together made a maneh or pound, which consisted of sixty shekels, or seven pounds, ten shillings; by which the other pieces should be tried, whether they were of just weight: the sense of the whole is, that no adulteration of coin should be made, which is very prejudicial in civil affairs.
This is the oblation that ye shall offer; the sixth part of an ephah of an homer of wheat, and ye shall give the sixth part of an ephah of an homer of barley:This is the oblation that ye shall offer,.... Not at the dedication of the temple, to be built in time to come, as Kimchi thinks; nor for the daily sacrifices, as others; but for the maintenance of the priests, that is, the ministers of the Gospel; for here begin the rules for the right ordering of ecclesiastical affairs of those times:
the sixth part of an ephah of an homer of wheat, and ye shall give the sixth part of an ephah of an homer of barley: this confirms that an "ephah" was for dry measure, of wheat and barley; and as it was the tenth part of an homer, a sixtieth part of an homer of wheat and barley was to be given for this service; that is, if a man had an homer of wheat or of barley, he was to give a sixtieth part of it for the use of the ministers of the Lord: the meaning is, that the people should give freely and liberally, according to their substance, for their support and maintenance,
Concerning the ordinance of oil, the bath of oil, ye shall offer the tenth part of a bath out of the cor, which is an homer of ten baths; for ten baths are an homer:Concerning the ordinance of oil, the bath of oil,.... This shows that the bath was for liquid measure; and as oil was a part of food with the Jews, as well as used in their offerings, a rule is given for the distribution of that to the Lord's ministers, that they may have everything convenient for them:
ye shall offer the tenth part of a bath out of a cor; which was the same measure with the "homer", only another name for it, as follows:
which is an homer of ten baths, for ten baths are an homer; so that if a man had an homer or ten baths of oil, he was to give a hundredth part of it for the use of the priests and Levites, or ministers of the word; a greater portion of wheat or barley is given than of oil, because there is a greater expense in families of the one than of the other.
And one lamb out of the flock, out of two hundred, out of the fat pastures of Israel; for a meat offering, and for a burnt offering, and for peace offerings, to make reconciliation for them, saith the Lord GOD.And one lamb out of the flock, out of two hundred,.... As provision is before made for bread and oil, so here for meat for the servants of the Lord: if a man had two hundred lambs in his flock, one of them was to be given to them; it may be observed, that this plainly refers to times when the Mosaic dispensation should be abrogated; not tithes of all things are to be given to the priests, as heretofore; only the sixtieth part of wheat and barley, the hundredth part of oil, and but one lamb of two hundred; and which denotes the moderate maintenance of Gospel ministers, with which they should be contented, and the people should not grudge to give; nothing extraordinary or extravagant being required of them: this lamb was to be taken
out of the fat pastures of Israel; or, out of the watery places (c); out of those fields which were well watered, and produced good pasture, which fattened the sheep and lambs that were fed in them; and denotes that the best of the kind is to be given to the Lord, and to his servants, or for the support of his interest; not the lean and the lame, the halt and the blind, Malachi 1:8,
for a meat offering, and for a burnt offering, and for peace offerings; not that the lamb was given for all these; but the wheat and the oil for the meat offering, and the lamb for the burnt offering and peace offerings. The sense may be, that this provision of wheat and barley, oil and lambs, or the sufficient maintenance signified by them, was in the room of the meat offering, burnt offerings, and peace offerings, which fell to the share of the priests under the legal dispensation:
to make reconciliation for them, saith the Lord God; either to this end, that the ministers of the Gospel, who have the word of reconciliation committed to them, might cheerfully and faithfully dispense it to the people; or that they, by these liberal and generous contributions of theirs to the maintenance of them, might testify that they have truly by faith received the atonement by the sacrifice of Christ.
(c) "de irriguo", Montanus, Vatablus; "ex irriguis pascuis", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Polanus.
All the people of the land shall give this oblation for the prince in Israel.All the people of the land shall give this oblation,.... None shall be exempted from it; all according to their capacity and ability shall contribute to the support of the ministry, and the service of religion:
for the prince in Israel; not the high priest, nor the civil magistrate, but the Prince Messiah: or rather "to the prince in Israel" (d); what the people shall do in this way, they shall do it as to the Lord, freely and cordially, and for his honour and glory; and he will take it as done to himself; see Matthew 10:41.
(d) "principi", Castalio, Cocceius, Starckius; so Abendana,
And it shall be the prince's part to give burnt offerings, and meat offerings, and drink offerings, in the feasts, and in the new moons, and in the sabbaths, in all solemnities of the house of Israel: he shall prepare the sin offering, and the meat offering, and the burnt offering, and the peace offerings, to make reconciliation for the house of Israel.And it shall be the prince's part to give burnt offerings,.... Or, "upon the prince shall be the burnt offerings" (e); it shall lie upon him to provide them; who is not the high priest, as Jarchi; nor the civil magistrate or king, as Menachem; but Christ, who is both Prince and Priest; and whose sacrifice of himself is designed by these, and the other sacrifices after mentioned, of which the sacrifices were all typical; though he is but one, they many, his answers to them all, and is one for all; and though his is but once offered up, they often, because of the fulness of efficacy in the one, and the want of it in the other; and though in itself infinitely superior to these. Of the burnt offerings, and of their being typical of Christ; see Gill on Ezekiel 40:39,
and meat offerings, and drink offerings; the meat offerings, which were rather bread offerings, were made of fine flour, with oil poured, and frankincense put thereon, Leviticus 2:1 and were typical of Christ, compared to a corn of wheat dying in the earth, and bringing forth fruit, John 12:24 and to wheat as bruised and ground into fine flour, kneaded and baked, which may denote his various sufferings, and so made bread of; he being the true and living bread, which gives life to men. The "oil" poured upon this offering may signify the grace of the Spirit without measure on Christ; and the "frankincense" how savoury and acceptable he is to his people. The "drink offering" was of wine, which went along with other sacrifices, and was very acceptable to God; and may denote the blood of Christ, which is drink indeed; and his love expressed in shedding it, which is better than the choicest wine; both these are held forth, Christ's flesh, which is meat, and his blood, which is drink, in the ordinance of the supper, administered by his priests, whom he furnishes with such offerings to set before his saints:
in the feasts, and in the new moons, and in the sabbaths, and in all solemnities of the house of Israel; in the feasts of the passover, tabernacle, and pentecost, which were all figures of Christ; of his being the passover sacrificed for us, of his tabernacling in our nature, and of the effusion of his Spirit; and the "new moons", and "sabbaths", and "solemn days", are only Old Testament phrases to express the times of New Testament worship; see Isaiah 66:23, as monthly days for the administration of the ordinance of the supper, and the Lord's day for the preaching of the word, and other parts of public worship; in all which the sacrifice of Christ, his blood, righteousness, and satisfaction, make a principal part:
he shall prepare the sin offering; which also was a type of Christ; of which See Gill on Ezekiel 40:39, and this, with the
meat offering; and the burnt offering, of which before, were to be prepared by the prince himself, or our Lord Jesus Christ: and also the "peace offerings", or thank offerings (f); his own thank offerings for himself and his people; see John 11:41 and the thank offerings of them, or their sacrifices of praise, which become acceptable through him, Hebrews 13:15, and even himself, for whom the saints offer thanks to God, 2 Corinthians 9:15, and as the end of all the legal sacrifices was
to make reconciliation for the house of Israel; so this is the end and use of the sacrifice of Christ, typified by them, to make peace for the Israel of God; which could not be made by them, by their obedience, repentance, or faith; and yet was necessary to their happiness, to their communion with God, and enjoyment of him; this Christ has made by his obedience, sufferings, and death, whereby he has fulfilled the law, satisfied justice, and made atonement for sin: this is all at his expense, and is meant by his "preparing" these offerings; which denotes his ready and cheerful engagement to become a sacrifice; his voluntary offering up himself unto God, or giving himself an offering and a sacrifice unto him; and also his furnishing his ministers with proper matter for their ministrations in all the solemn times and seasons thereof, which is the doctrine of his sacrifice and satisfaction, or salvation by a crucified Christ; and so as the people are to offer to their maintenance, Christ the Prince takes care to furnish them for their ministry.
(e) "et super principem erunt holocausta", V. L. Starckius; "nam principi incumbet dare holocausta", Junius & Tremellius. (f) "eucharistica", Junius & Tremellius, Polanus, Piscator.
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: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.
And the priest shall take of the blood of the sin offering, and put it upon the posts of the house, and upon the four corners of the settle of the altar, and upon the posts of the gate of the inner court.And the priest shall take of the blood of the sin offering,.... An emblem of the blood of Christ, who was made sin for his people, and an offering for their sin; and which blood cleanses from all sin:
and put it upon the posts of the house; of the house of God, the sanctuary or temple; upon everyone of the posts of it, which stood at the entrance into it. The Targum is
"upon the threshold of the house:''
and upon the four corners of the settle of the altar; or four horns of it; see Ezekiel 43:14,
and upon the posts of the gate of the inner court; that is, of the temple: this is also a new rule or law about putting the blood of the sacrifice into these various places, of which nothing is said in the law of Moses; and shows that admission into the church of God, and the right participation of Christ, the altar, and the blessings of his grace, as well as entrance into heaven itself, are all through the blood of Christ.
And so thou shalt do the seventh day of the month for every one that erreth, and for him that is simple: so shall ye reconcile the house.And so thou shall do the seventh day of the month,.... Of the first month Nisan; here is another new rule or law, as Kimchi owns, of which no mention is made in the law of Moses:
for everyone that erreth, and for him that is simple: so shall ye reconcile the house; or, "expiate" it (h); make atonement for it; that is, for the house of God, the whole church, all his people; particularly for fallen believers, who have gone astray, either in principle or practice; through ignorance and simplicity, through the prevalence of corruption, the temptations of Satan, and the snares of this world; but are recovered again, and brought to repentance; to whom the doctrines of peace and reconciliation, of free and full pardon by the blood of Christ, and of atonement of all their sins by his sacrifice, are to be preached for the comfort and refreshment of their souls; and they are to be received into the church, having their consciences sprinkled by the blood of Christ; the same things being done on this day as on the first. Jarchi thinks these words are to be transposed thus,
and ye shall reconcile, or "expiate the house from the man that erreth, and the simple one": quite contrary to the design of the text, which directs to the reception, and not the exclusion, of such persons.
(h) "ut expietis", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; "et expiabitis", Cocceius, Starckius.
In the first month, in the fourteenth day of the month, ye shall have the passover, a feast of seven days; unleavened bread shall be eaten.In the first month, in the fourteenth day of the month,.... Of the month Nisan, that day fortnight from the cleansing of the sanctuary; and that day week from the expiation of the house, and the recovery and reception of backsliders:
ye shall have the passover; Christ the passover sacrificed for us; held forth in the ministry of the word, and in the ordinance of the Lord's supper; for the passover was a type of Christ: his purity and strength were signified by the lamb without blemish, a male of the first year; his separation to his office, his death, and the time of it, by the taking of this lamb from the flock some time before, and by slaying it between the two evenings; the manner of feeding on him, with fervent faith, and as a whole Saviour, attended with true repentance, and being willing also to suffer for him, by the lamb being eaten not raw, nor sodden, but roasted, and all of it, and with bitter herbs; and the security of his people by his blood from wrath and ruin, through the sprinkling it upon their consciences, by the sprinkling the blood of the passover on the lintel and door posts of the Israelites, which the Lord seeing passed by, and destroyed them not; and the new rules of keeping this passover, after observed, show that this respects not the type, but the antitype:
a feast of seven days; kept a whole week; and indeed Christ the passover is by faith to be lived upon throughout the week, as well as on Lord's days, and indeed in every week:
unleavened bread shall be eaten; and not leavened; with reference to which the Gospel feast is to be kept, not with old leaven, with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth, 1 Corinthians 5:7.
And upon that day shall the prince prepare for himself and for all the people of the land a bullock for a sin offering.And upon that day,.... The fourteenth day of the month Nisan; the first day of the passover, as Kimchi observes:
shall the prince prepare for himself, and for all the people of the land, a bullock for a sin offering; here everything again is new, as the above Jewish writer observes; no one circumstance according to the law of Moses; which shows that this respects Gospel times; when the law would be null and void, the types and shadows gone, and the antitype take place, Christ the sum of all; under the law, every family was to prepare a lamb for themselves; but here the prince is to prepare for himself, and all the people of the land; by that it was to be a lamb, here a bullock, and that for a sin offering; whereas not a bullock, but a goat, was used for a sin offering. Christ himself is this Prince, and who has prepared himself a sacrifice, even for himself, his church, which is mystically himself; and to make atonement for all those sins which he took upon himself by imputation, and made his own; even for all his chosen people, and for all their sins: of his preparing this sacrifice, both to be offered up, and to be held forth in the ministry of the word; see Gill on Ezekiel 45:17, and who is very fitly represented by a bullock for his labouriousness and strength, in bearing the sins of his people, when he became an offering for them.
And seven days of the feast he shall prepare a burnt offering to the LORD, seven bullocks and seven rams without blemish daily the seven days; and a kid of the goats daily for a sin offering.And seven days of the feast he shall prepare a burnt offering to the Lord,.... Which is as follows:
seven bullocks and seven rams without blemish daily the seven days; that is, a bullock and a ram for each day:
and a kid of the goats daily for a sin offering; all which were typical of Christ, signified by the "bullock", for his labour and patience; by the "ram", for his strength; and by the kid of the goats, for his likeness of sinful flesh, and having the sins of his people reckoned to him; which made him of ill savour to the justice and holiness of God, and for which he fell a sacrifice. This is also different from the law of Moses, which required two young bullocks, one ram, and seven lambs, Numbers 28:19 and therefore Jarchi confesses he knew not how to make this Scripture stand, or establish the sense of it.
And he shall prepare a meat offering of an ephah for a bullock, and an ephah for a ram, and an hin of oil for an ephah.And he shall prepare a meat offering of an ephah for a bullock,.... Of the meat offering; see Gill on Ezekiel 45:17, this was to consist of an ephah of fine flour; and for every bullock on each of the seven days of the passover was a meat offering of such a quantity to be made:
and an ephah for a ram; a like quantity of fine flour was to be made into a meat offering for every ram on the same days:
and an hin of oil for an ephah; to every ephah of fine flour was, to be allowed an hin of oil, which, according to Bishop Cumberland, was a gallon and two pints, being the sixth part of an ephah or bath: here also, as Kimchi observes, will be an innovation in the offerings in future times, whether we will or not, he says; and Jarchi confesses his ignorance of these things; since, according to the law, three tenth parts of an ephah of fine flour were only allowed to make a meat offering for one bullock, and two tenth parts for a ram, Numbers 28:12, this may denote the more abundance of grace, and of the knowledge of Christ, under the Gospel dispensation, and especially in the latter day glory.
In the seventh month, in the fifteenth day of the month, shall he do the like in the feast of the seven days, according to the sin offering, according to the burnt offering, and according to the meat offering, and according to the oil.In the seventh month, in the fifteenth day of the month,.... The month Tisri, which answers to part of our September and October:
shall he do the like in the feast of the seven days; the feast of tabernacles, which began the fifteenth of Tisri, and was kept seven days; and on the eighth day was a solemn assembly, which is not here taken notice of: this feast was in commemoration of the Jews dwelling in tabernacles in the wilderness; and was typical of Christ's tabernacling in our nature, or of his incarnation; and which feast is to be kept in Gospel times, and particularly in the latter day, by believing in the incarnate Saviour, and in all the blessings flowing from his incarnation; and by attending the Gospel feast, his word and ordinances, which hold him forth as the only Saviour; See Gill on Zechariah 14:16, now, the same things are to be done at this feast as at the feast of the passover:
according to the sin offering, according to the burnt offering, and according to the meat offering, and according to the oil: that is, so many bullocks and rams for the burnt offering, and a kid of the goats for the sin offering, as before; and the same quantity of fine flour and oil for the meat offering: this also is a new thing, as Kimchi observes; for, according to the law, the sacrifices at the feast of passover, and at the feast of tabernacles, were very different; and it might be further observed, that no notice is taken of the feast of pentecost, or first fruits; and the whole confirms what has been already observed, that this shows the abrogation of the Mosaic economy; and that these things are to be understood in a spiritual and evangelic sense.