Ezekiel 45
Lange Commentary on the Holy Scriptures

1And when ye allot [divide] the land as inheritance, ye shall make an oblation to Jehovah, a holiness from the land; the length five and twenty thousand and the breadth ten thousand; holiness [is] it in all its border round 2about. Of this shall be [come, belong] to the sanctuary five hundred by five hundred, a square round about; and fifty cubits of environs for it round 3about. And from [according to] this measure shalt thou measure a length of five and twenty thousand and a breadth of ten thousand, and in it shall be 4the sanctuary, the most holy place. Holiness from the land is this; for the priests, the ministers of the sanctuary shall it be, who draw near to minister to Jehovah; and it is to them a place for houses, and a holy place for the 5sanctuary. And five and twenty thousand in length and ten thousand in breadth shall be [belong] to the Levites, the ministers of the house, to them 6for a possession, twenty chambers. And as a possession of the city ye shall give five thousand in breadth, and in length five and twenty thousand, beside [running along] the oblation of holiness; it shall be for the whole house of Israel 7And for the prince: adjoining the oblation of holiness on both sides and the possession of the city, before the oblation of holiness and before the possession of the city, on the west side westward, and on the east side eastward, and the length, beside [running along] one of the [tribal] portions from the west border 8to the east border. It shall be land to him for a possession in Israel; and My princes shall no more oppress My people; and [but] the land shall they give to the house of Israel according to their tribes. 9Thus saith the Lord Jehovah: Enough for you, O princes of Israel; remove [put away] violence and rapine, and do judgment and justice, take away your expulsions from My people,—sentence of the Lord Jehovah. 10Ye shall have just balances, and a just ephah, and a just bath. 11The ephah and the bath shall be of one measure; that the bath may contain [amount to] the tenth of the homer, and the ephah a tenth of the homer; its measure shall be after the homer. 12And the shekel [shall be] twenty gerahs; twenty shekels, five and twenty shekels, fifteen shekels, shall be your maneh. 13This is the oblation which ye shall make: the sixth of the ephah from the homer of wheat, and ye shall six the ephah 14from the homer of barley. And the ordinance of the oil: the bath of oil [what is to be offered as bath from the oil shall be] the tenth of the bath out of the cor, 15[which is] ten baths, a homer; for ten baths are a homer. And one sheep [or goat] out of the flock, from two hundred from the watered [land] of Israel, for the meat-offering, and for the burnt-offering, and for peace-offerings, to atone for [to cover] them,—sentence of the Lord Jehovah. 16All the people of 17the land, they shall be [held] to this oblation for the prince in Israel. And upon the prince shall be the burnt-offerings, and the meat-offering, and the drink-offering, on the feasts, and on the new moons, and on the Sabbaths, in all the festal seasons of the house of Israel; he shall prepare the sin-offering, and the meat-offering, and the burnt-offering, and the peace-offerings, to atone for [to cover] the house of Israel. 18Thus saith the Lord Jehovah: In the first [month], on the first of the month, thou shalt take a bullock, a young steer, without blemish, and cleanse the sanctuary: 19And the priest takes of the blood of the sin-offering, and puts it upon the posts of the house, and upon the four corners of the ledge of the altar, and upon the posts of 20the gate of the inner court. And so shalt thou do on the seventh of the month for the erring man and for the fool, and ye atone for the house. 21In the first [month], on the fourteenth day of the month, shall the passover be to you, a feast of seven days; unleavened bread shall be eaten [one shall eat22mazzoth]. And the prince brings on this day for himself and for the whole 23people of the land a bullock as a sin-offering. And the seven days of the feast he shall bring as a burnt-offering to Jehovah seven bullocks and seven rams without blemish, daily the seven days; and as a sin-offering a kid of the 24goats for the day [daily]. And as a meat-offering he shall offer an ephah for a bullock, and an ephah for a ram, and of oil an hin for the ephah. 25In the seventh [month], on the fifteenth day of the month, in the feast he shall bring just such [offerings] seven days, as the sin-offering, as the burnt-offering, and as the meat-offering, and as the oil.

Ezekiel 45:1. Sept.: ... ἀπαρχην … κ. εὐρος εἰκοσι χιλιαδας—(The second or the first ארך is omitted in the various manuscripts.)

Ezekiel 45:2. ... εἰς ἁγιασμα … διαστημα αὐτων—Vulg.: Et erit ex omni parte sanctificatum … in suburbana ejus

Ezekiel 45:3. ... διαμετρησεως … το ἁγιασμα των ἁγιων. Vulg.: … templum sanctumque sanctorum.

Ezekiel 45:4. ... εἰς οἰκους ἀφωρισμενους τω ἁγικσμω αὐτων.

Ezekiel 45:5. ... αὐτοις εἰς κατασχισν πολεις του κατοικειν.

Ezekiel 45:6. ... ὁν τροτον λαι ἡ ἀπαρχη των ἁγιων παντι οἰκω Ἰσρ. ἐσονται.

Ezekiel 45:7. ... εἰς τας ἀπαρχας τ. ἁγιων, εἰς κατασχεσιν τ. πολεως, κατα προσωπον των ἀπαρχων … τα προς θαλασσαν κ. ἀπο των προς θαλασσαν τα προς ἀνατολας κ. το μηκος ὡς μια των μεριδων ἀπο των ὁριων των προς θαλασσαν, κ. το μηκος ἐπι τα ὁρικ τα προς ἀνατολας (8) της γης. Κ. ἐστω αὐτω … οὐκετι οἱ ἀφηγουμενοι του Ἰσρ . … κ. την γην κατακληρονομησουσιν οἰκος Ἰσρ.—Vulg.: … et non depopulabuntur—(Another reading: לעמַת.)

Ezekiel 45:9. Ἱκανουσθω ὑμιν … κ. ταλαιπωριαν … κ. ἐξαρατε καταδυναστειαν—Vulg.: … Iniquitatem et rapinas … separate confinia vestra a populo meo

Ezekiel 45:10. ... κ. μετρον δικαιον κ. χοινιξ δικαια ἐσται ὑμιν του μετρου.

Ezekiel 45:11. ... Κ. ἡ χοιν.ξ ὁμοιες μια ἐσται του λαμβανειν, το δεκατον του γομορ ἡ χοινιξ, κ. το δικατον του γομορ το μετρον προς το γομορ ἐσται ἰσον. Vulg.: … æqualia et unius mensuræ … partem cori … juxta mensuram cori erit æqua libratio eorum.

Ezekiel 45:12. Κ. τα σταθμια εἰκοσι ὀβολοι, οἱ πεντε σικλοι κεντε κ. οἱ δεκα σικλοι δεκα κ. πεντηκοντα σικλοι ἡ μνα ἐσται ὑμιν. Vulg.: … obolos … Porro viginti sicli et … et … mnam faciunt. (Another reading: שקלים.)

Ezekiel 45:13. ... ἑκτον του μετρου … κ. το ἑκτον του οἰφι—Vulg.: … primitiæ.

Ezekiel 45:14. Sept: ... κοτυλην ἐλαιου ἀπο των δεκα κοτυλων, ὁτι οἱ δεκα κοτυλοι εἰσιν γομορ. Vulg.: … batus olei, decima pars cori est; et decem bati corum faciunt, quia decem bati implent corum.

Ezekiel 45:15. Κ. προβατον ἑν ἀπο τ. δεκα προβατων ἀφαιρεμα ἐκ πασων των κατριων τ. Ἱσρ.—Vulg.: Et arietem unum de grege ducentorum, de his quæ nutriunt Israel

Ezekiel 45:17. Κ. δια του ἀφηγουμενου ἐσται—(Other readings: העולה and ובכל מועדי.)

Ezekiel 45:18. ... ληψεσθε.

Ezekiel 45:19. Another reading: מזוזות.

Ezekiel 45:20. ... ἐν τ. μηνι τω ἑβδομω μικ του μηνος ληψη παῤ ἑκαστου ἀγνοουτος κ. ἀπο νηπιου, Vulg.: … qui ignoravit et errore deceptus est

Ezekiel 45:22. ... ὐπερ αὐτου κ. ὑπερ τ. οἰκου κ. ὑπερ παντος τ. λαου τ. γης

Ezekiel 45:23. ... κ. θυσιαν. (24) Κ. πεμμα τω μοσχω

Ezekiel 45:24. Vulg.: Et sacrificium ephi per vitulum

Ezekiel 45:25. ... ποιησεις κατα τα αὐτα … κ. καθως το μαναα—Vulg.: … sicut supra dicta sunt


Ezekiel 45:1–9. The Oblation of Holiness, the Land of the Levites, the Possession of the City, and the Portion of the Prince

That Jehovah is the inheritance and possession of His priests (Ezekiel 44:28) is a reality even for this world, as godliness in like manner has the promise “of the life that now is.” In order to give form to this truth, Ezekiel 45:1 connects what follows with the preceding.—הִפִּיל, from נָפַל, signifies: “to make to fall,” and is used peculiarly of the lot (Ezekiel 24:6); but when nothing suggests this, and when לְ is not prefixed to the word, it is to be taken in its general sense, and בְּנַחֲלָה, cum בְּ essentiœ, is to be understood as meaning: to divide in general. Comp. Ps. 16:6. (The reference to the time immediately after the Babylonian servitude, hitherto maintained by Hengstenberg, must now, as we may well conceive, be abandoned; and so then he makes the prophet travel to Utopia, etc.)—תָּרִימוּ תְרוּמָה (Hiphil of רוּם, referring to what was done in the case of the peace or thank-offerings with the shoulder of the victim—the waving with the breast) has here the more general signification, although not that of: “to present a present,” nor that of: “to offer an offering,” but that of: to consecrate, to hallow to the Lord (לַיהוָֹה), which, moreover, was the meaning of the ceremony of heaving on high as well as of the heaving up upon the altar. Comp. also on Ezekiel 44:30. For details see on Ezekiel 48.—Holiness (corresponding to Jehovah) from the land, and thus separated, “partly for sacred and partly at least for higher, more general purposes” (BUNSEN); but see the intended use in what follows.—The word length is repeated, perhaps on account of the significant number mentioned for the first time, or because the natural length of the land is not to be regarded, but by length reference is meant to be made to that which is forthwith so called in the vision, the extension from east to west, and so the repetition is not exactly pleonastic. Whether rods (JEROME, RASHI, HÄV.) or cubits (EWALD, HITZIG, HENGST.) are meant, is not said. The supporters of both interpretations appeal to Ezekiel 42:16 sq.; hence compare what is said there.—The express mention, too, of cubits in Ezekiel 45:2 is pressed into the service of both parties. Those who hold for rods say: Thus rods are always meant in what goes before, because here cubits are excepted; those who contend for cubits reply: Thus in what goes before, too, as everywhere in the case of all the large measurements, cubits are to be understood, otherwise rods would need to be expressly named. That cubits are mentioned first in Ezekiel 45:2, Hengstenberg explains from “the unexpectedly small measure there, so that one might easily think of a larger scale.” Böttcher, moreover, adduces against the measurement by rod which he calculates would give 40 German [about 900 English] square miles (?), i.e. almost the tenth of the whole land, the colossal disproportion to the statements elsewhere, especially as to the temple, which measures only 500 cubits square. Keil, on the other hand, maintains that Ezekiel 48 with its proportions corresponds throughout to the τεμενος of 25,000 rods in length and 10,000 rods in breadth. Comp. therefore Ezekiel 48.—The breadth trends from north to south (Ezekiel 48:10).—Keil finds עֲשָׂרָה אֶלֶף for 10,000 surprising, for which, he observes, עֲשְׂרֶת אֲלָפִים is constantly used in Ezekiel 45:3, 5, and in Ezekiel 48. He therefore prefers the 20,000 of the Sept., giving is additional reasons for this, that the part mentioned in Ezekiel 45:3 is to be measured off from what was measured in Ezekiel 45:1; also that the Levites of Ezekiel 45:5 are to be considered, whose possession is likewise “Terumah of holiness” (Ezekiel 48:14 sq.), as is plain from other passages of our chapter; Ezekiel 45:1 comprehends the land of the priests and of the Levites [25,000 and 20,000], which Ezekiel 45:2 and 3 divide into two districts.—Finally, the character of the oblation, because to Jehovah, is again insisted on, and that in respect of all its border round about.

Ezekiel 45:2, after this general statement, marks-off from the above-mentioned (מִןֶּה) the sanctuary described and measured in Ezekiel 40, that is, the 500 cubits square forming the temple edifice, or, as Keil, in accordance with his view of Ezekiel 42:15 sq.: the 500 square rods pertaining to the sacred enclosures of the temple. But as he adds: “there is still to be around this enclosure, which separates between the sacred and the common, a free space of fifty cubits on each side to keep the priests’ dwellings from being built too near to the sacred square of the temple buildings,” how, we ask, does he leave this latter entirely out of account!?—מִגְרָשׁ, comp. on Ezekiel 27:28. “A free space of 50 cubits to a sanctuary of 500 rods would be much too small. It was evidently intended to be an interspace between the house of God and the houses of the priests” (HENGST.).

Ezekiel 45:3. מִן־הַמִּדָּה הַוֹּאת is not the same as מִוֶּה in Ezekiel 45:2; for if so, this distinct and different mode of expression would not have been chosen, which, as it refers to the measuring of the sanctuary, so it designates as the sanctuary the temple building, and not the “sacred enclosure of the temple.” Keil needs 10,000 rods more in Ezekiel 45:1, because he makes הַמִּדָּה הַוֹּאת here = “this measured piece of land.” מִן־, as modified by הַמִּדָּה, which has had always hitherto to be translated “measure,” denotes that from which the prophet has to take the measure, and is therefore entrusted with the “measuring” (תָּמוֹד, as it is expressly said); it had, indeed, been measured before him in Ezekiel 40. The temple building, just referred to in Ezekiel 45:2 as the principal part, is normal for the whole oblation, which as such is again referred to in Ezekiel 45:3, where also the centrality of the temple, already indicated by the phrase: and in it shall be the sanctuary, is distinctly denoted by the epithet: most holy, pointing to Ezekiel 43:12. After that the holiness, the separation from the land for the holy purpose (for Jehovah, for His sanctuary) of the land of which the oblation consists (הוּא), with (Ezekiel 45:3) the sanctuary in it (inclusive of the courts), has been again insisted on. Ezekiel 45:4 treats now of the area in question in its relation to the priests, who, as hitherto (Ezekiel 40:46, 42:13, 44:15)—here, however, with a view to the sanctuary and its central position—are described, both as respects their official functions and their dwelling-places. Since they are such, since this is their official calling, it is befitting to assign to them the holiness from the land as a place for houses, explained in the clause following to be: a holy place for the sanctuary, so that this latter defines the priests’ houses to be a dependency of the sanctuary, just as similarly in Ezekiel 43:12 the whole was even called most holy (Ezekiel 45:3 here). The last clause of the verse is commonly taken as indicating a second use for the area of the oblation, namely, for the temple, a superfluous repetition. The mention of houses is in harmony with the law, in which the thirteen cities for the priests (Josh. 21) likewise come into consideration simply as regards the houses in them. From that which is His own through the oblation Jehovah gives to the priests as His ministers, and as ministers of the sanctuary in the neighbourhood, the space necessary for dwellings (just as in Ezekiel 45 the necessaries of life). This is an arrangement which doubtless is to be taken in connection with the entire division of the land, but differs from that laid down in Num. 35, so that it will have to be understood from the idea meant to be illustrated (Doct. Reflec. 19).

Still more surprising is the new arrangement in Ezekiel 45:5, where an area equal to that occupied by the sanctuary and priests’ houses is assigned to the Levites as ministers of the house (Ezekiel 44:11 sq.), without any farther description, while the priests were described (Ezekiel 45:4) as ministers of the sanctuary, making thus a marked difference between them; and this distinction of the Levites is also marked by the phrase: to them for a possession; for the next verse goes on to speak likewise of a possession of the city, although this latter is “given” (comp. on the other hand Ezekiel 54:2–8, לֹא־תִתְּנוּ), and does not simply belong (יהיה), and לָהֶם לַאֲחֻזָּה stands evidently opposed to the וּמִקְדָּשׁ לַמִּקְדָּשׁ of ver 4. But this area will be different from the one demanded in general in Ezekiel 45:1, although the Levites too belong to the ministers of the Lord, and the twenty chambers correspond very little to a special landed possession of the extent mentioned. Keil includes the land of the Levites in Ezekiel 45:1; but indeed with his 20,000 rods in breadth there, of which 10,000 fall to the priests and the sanctuary, he has still a breadth of 10,000 rods left for the Levites. Hengst. on the other hand says: “Along with the priests the Levites receive a portion of land of like extent; then follows the district of the holy city with the same length, and a breadth of 5000 cubits; so that the whole portion marked off in advance for priests, Levites, and city is in breadth as in length 25,000 cubits.”—Instead of יִהְיֶה, the Qeri reads: יהָיָה.—The words עֶשְׁרִים לְשָֹׁכת formed a difficulty to the LXX., who perhaps imagined the text to be עָרִים לָשֶׁבֶת. The chambers, instead of the thirty-five Levitical cities of Moses with pasturage, form, as regards the expression, no difficulty; they are very suitable diminutives of the “houses” of the priests. The priests have houses, the Levites as inferiors only chambers, which possibly may mean ranges of cells (ROSENM.) or courts, with one-twentieth of the pasturage for each. Keil, who cannot understand the Masoretic text, and holds עֶשְׂרִים to be a corruption of שְׁעָרים, reads: לָשֶׁבֶת, by which, however, he obtains only “gates (! !) as dwellings” for the Levites, understanding indeed the “gates” as equivalent in meaning to cities. Hengst. calls them the barracks of the Levites; the departure from the ordinance of Moses, according to which the Levites dwelt scattered through the whole land, is so much the more surprising.

Ezekiel 45:6. The land of the Levites could be properly oblation only if it were the same portion of land as that of the priests and the sanctuary, or if the reading in Ezekiel 45:1 be 20,000 rods in breadth. Hence Hengst. limits the oblation to the sanctuary and the priests’ portion. Only “in the wider sense” does he make it include also the portion of the Levites and the circuit of the city; it may include even the portion of the prince (he says), “since the prince acts as the minister of God.” The structure of the clause in Ezekiel 45:5 speaks in favour of a special area of 10,000 in breadth as Levites’ land; and so does the consideration that by such a possession in land the so much greater number of cities than of priests’ cities, which according to the ordinance of Moses belonged to them, is perhaps given expression to. Comp. besides on Ezekiel 48:20. But however much the definition in Ezekiel 45:5: to them for a possession, indicates a special pertion of Levites’ land outside of the Terumah ( “oblation”) demanded in Ezekiel 45:1, yet the possession of the city lies still farther outside, as likewise תִּתְּנוּ seems to separate it even from the land of the Levites. The city is the capital of the land. Its area has the same length as that hitherto given (25,000), but differs in breadth, which therefore is mentioned first; we have in this respect 10,000 + 10,000 + 5000 = 25,000. The possession of the city “is to be distinguished from the city itself, which (Ezekiel 48:16) is square, the length being equal to the breadth” (HENGST.). The length of this possession runs along the oblation of holiness, by which designation is meant specially the land of the priests and the sanctuary. Its destined purpose, for the whole house of Israel, shows that it is to belong to no single tribe merely. Comp. Ezekiel 48.

The transition to לַנָּשִׂיא in Ezekiel 45:7 is mediated by the whole house of Israel in Ezekiel 45:6, of which the prince is the civil head and representative.—Either a kind of protasis to which Ezekiel 45:8 forms the apodosis, or we may supply: “ye shall give,” from Ezekiel 45:6.—מִזֶּה וּמִזֶּה = on both sides, so that the oblation of holiness, which certainly may here include the land of the Levites, and the possession of the city lie between, running before these from north to south, so that seen from the west side what is westward as far as the Mediterranean Sea, seen from the east side what lies east as far as the Jordan is to belong to the prince; just as וְאֹרֶךְ explains that as to the length, that is from west to east, the territory shall run the same length with one, i.e. any one of the portions of the tribes, shall neither go beyond nor fall short of any single tribal portion. Jerome remarks that the prince received for himself a whole tribal portion, with the exclusion, however, of the land of the sanctuary, the priests, the Levites, and the city; but in return he has not only the duty of protecting the square in question, but also the honour of possessing on his territory whatever is holy pertaining to the nation.

Ezekiel 45:8. לָאָרֶץ, more exactly defined by לַאֲחֻזָּה: the land described in Ezekiel 45:7 shall be the land assigned to him for a possession in Israel. The reason for this arrangement follows: וְלֹא׳. The former state of things, in which no landed possession, no crown estate, was allotted to them qua princes, had tempted them to misuse of their power, to acquire for themselves possessions.—My princes corresponds to My people; hence those who will in future have princely power over the people. This My applied to both parties contains at the same time the divine sentence on the former princes, who may be considered persons as little conscious of their high and responsible position as of the significance of Israel. Instead of taking to themselves, they are rather to give to the house of Israel, that is, to leave in possession, and also, if need be, to restore. The phrase: according to their tribes, shows what land is meant. [FAIRBAIRN: “That the whole ground for the priesthood, the prince, and the people of the city was to form together a square, betokened the perfect harmony and agreement which should subsist between these different classes, as well as the settled order and stability which should distinguish the sacred commonwealth, in which they held the highest place. That the priesthood were to occupy what was emphatically holy ground, was a symbol of the singular degree of holiness which should characterize those who stood in their official position the nearest to the Lord. And that the prince was to have a separate possession assigned him was to cut off all occasion for his lawlessly interfering with the possessions of the people, and to exhibit the friendly bearing and upright administration which was to be expected of him (Ezekiel 45:8). And not only must he personally abstain from all oppressive behaviour, but as the divinely constituted head of a righteous commonwealth, he must take effective measures for establishing justice and judgment throughout the whole. Particular examples are given of this in regard to the using of just weights and measures in the transactions of business (Ezekiel 45:9–12).”—W. F.]

Ezekiel 45:9 concludes what specially regards the princes, by whose conduct in good and in bad a mirror and example was held up to the people, while at the same time it solemnly introduces the more general regulations which follow in regard to judgment and justice in trade and commerce.—The subject in Ezekiel 44:6 was the people with reference to the priesthood, here it is the prince in reference to the people; as there holiness and sanctification, so here judgment and justice. (Jerome interprets רַב׳ let this tribe-like possession suffice you!) What has already taken place far too often is now so much the more enough, as all natural temptation has been taken away by the assigning of domains (Ezekiel 45:7 sq.).—(שַׁדַד שֹׁד) is virtually the same as חָמָס, a violent mode of acting, misuse of power, only stronger, because the consequence thereof: “devastation,” is implied in the word, as in the corresponding justice the exercise of judgment is manifested. Hengstenberg thinks: the direct address shows that representatives or descendants of the princes who had formerly committed injustice were also in exile.—גְּרֻשָׁה is expulsion of the lawful possessor from his property, as in 1 Kings 21.—The burden which this was to the community, the pressure which thereby was inflicted on Israel, is depicted in the words: הָרִימוּ מֵעַל׳. “The political parties especially,” observes Hengstenberg, “gave occasion for the confiscations.” Comp. besides, 1 Sam. 8:14.

Ezekiel 45:10–12. Justice in Common Life

The transition which is made by Ezekiel 45:10 shows what an example for the community the conduct of the prince may be in evil and ought to be in good.—( “Princes have in all times attempted to take advantage of their subjects by alteration of coinage and weights,” PHILIPPSON.)—מְשׁזְנַיִם dual, denotes the two scales of the balance, from אָזַן, “to make ready,” “to fix;” in reference to the way this can be done, “to weigh,” to determine the weight.—(אֶפָּה) אֶיפַה, according to Josephine in Greek, a measure about the same as a Berlin bushel [about 1 1/12; bushels English]; see GESEN. Lexicon. In the same way as the ephah for dry goods, the בַּת was used for liquids, as Delitzsch observes on Isa. 5:10. This measure occurs first in the days of the kings, and from Josephus’ calculation it might contain somewhat more than 33 Berlin quarts [about 7 gallons English],

Ezekiel 45:11 now begins to discuss what is right as to measure (תֹּכֶן, pensum, Ex. 5:18), that which the ephah and bath are to represent, in order clearly to set forth exactness in trade and commerce as the divine characteristic of the people, as their holiness in ordinary life. Ezekiel 45:10 is expounded and illustrated by examples.—לָשֵׂאת Rashi explains by לָקַחַת, “to bear” = to hold, to contain. The חֹמֶר (a heap collected together) shall be the measure, the norm, for ephah and bath, as the greatest dry goods measure, commonly called “cor” from the time of the kings, and (from Josephus) estimated at a little more than 15 Berlin pecks [about 600 English pints].

Ezekiel 45:12 proceeds to speak of the standard for money, the shekel. An exactly weighed and hence definite (small) pound of silver, called by the Rabbins “rock” in distinction from the gerah, which they called “little stone,” is the oldest biblical standard of value, originally, in barter a weight, afterwards a coin, like the drachma among the Greeks and the as among the Romans. The value doubtless affixed by common agreement of the dealers to the ordinary shekel before the time of Moses cannot now be determined; but originating probably in Babylon, and coming through the Phœnicians, the word meets us also in Greek (σικλος, σιγλος).—גֵּרָה is what is “made small,” hence grain as a small piece, like “grain” (a weight), from granum; Gesenius supposes it to be the carob bean (κερατιον), which the Greeks, Romans, and Arabians used as the smallest weight, in the same way as barley and pepper-corns have been so used,—the smallest biblical silver coin.—After the value of the shekel has been thus defined from the parts it contains (comp. Ex. 30:13; Lev. 27:25; Num. 3:47), there may perhaps, as Cocceius and J. D. Michaelis think, be three different kinds of shekel given, a larger, an intermediate, and a smaller. Hengstenberg better: “the maneh, probably of foreign origin, which explains its rare and late occurrence, is stated at a threefold value,” according to its different worth in the several countries from which it came. The normal maneh = 20 shekels, corresponding to the 20 gerahs, stands first.—מָנֶה (1 Kings 10:17; Ezra 2:69; Neh. 7:71, 72), from a comparison of the first passage—in which Hengstenberg, indeed, prefers to read מֵאוֹת instead of מָנּים—with 2 Chron. 9:16, it appears that a maneh is equal to 100 shekels, a result usually reconciled with our passage by saying that civil shekels, that is, Mosaic half-shekels, are intended to be meant in 2 Chron. 9, since the בֶּקַע in the course of time became as shekel the widest spread large silver piece. But still 100 such shekels, or 50 Mosaic ones, by which Ezekiel reckons, would not be 20 + 25 + 15, the numbers given here, added together = 60 shekels; and besides, the three divisions and the putting of the 20 first remain unexplained! Hence Keil infers a very ancient corruption of the text. Hitzig, accepting like Hengstenberg three manehs, the only reasonable interpretation of the present text, supposes computation in gold, silver, and copper; that is, a gold, a silver, and a copper maneh. The Chaldee paraphrast, on the other hand, took the 60 shekels as the extraordinary value of the happy Messianic age (ומני רבא קודשא יהי לכון). The interpretation of the LXX., accepted by Boeckh (Metrol. Unters.) and Bertheau (Gesch. der Isr.), gives the following very insignificant proposition: The 5-shekel weight shall be to you 5 shekels, and the 10-shekel weight 10, and 50 shekels shall be a maneh.

Ezekiel 45:13–17. The Oblation of the People

As formerly it was from the prince to the people, so now it is what the people have to render to the prince. The foregoing fixing of measures forms the transition, and the designation הַתְּרוּמָה in Ezekiel 45:13, taken from Ezekiel 45:1 sq., is also an intermediate link. The oblation is offered to Jehovah as being set apart for purposes of worship. It is to be the sixtieth part of wheat and barley. שִׁשָּׁה, to divide into six parts, hence here: to take off the sixth part.

Ezekiel 45:14. חֹק הַשֶּׁמֶן is the ordinance of the oil, what the law of the oblation is to be in respect to the oil; namely, as explained by the apposition: הַבַּת הַשֶּׁמֶן, which Hengstenberg makes a parenthesis, and paraphrases thus: “the bath is the measure for the oil,”—the quantity taken from the bath of oil shall be the tenth part of it. The cor (1 Kings 5:2 [4:22]; 2 Chron. 2:9 [10], 27:5), for dry goods and liquids, a post-Mosaic name of a measure; and hence it is not only added that the cor is ten baths, but also that it is the same as the homer, for ten baths (Ezekiel 45:11) make a homer. [HENGST.: homer without doubt the native name; cor introduced from the Aramaic during or after the exile.] Thus the tenth of the bath is as regards the oil the hundredth part of the harvest.—Wine (specifically for the drink-offering) is not mentioned; small cattle however are

Ezekiel 45:15—(the “oblation” in their case is to be one out of two hundred, and that one to come from fat pastures, to be well fed), but not oxen. The enumeration, says Keil, is not complete, but contains only the norm for levying the contributions; as Hengstenberg expresses himself: to serve as proof that the regulations here “do not bear the character of an actual tax,” but are only by way of example and outline. Philippson remarks: “This impost appears intended to serve as substitute for the tithes prescribed by Moses, which are not mentioned here.”—מַשְׁקֶה is “a watered district,” like Gen. 13:10; a significant allusion: Israel after their return to their own land will be as richly blessed as ever the valley of Jordan was before its devastation.

Ezekiel 45:16 consigns this oblation to the princes.יִהְיוּ אֶל׳, they are to see to it that they render it. The prince is hereby on the one hand enabled to provide for the service of worship, as on the other his representation of the people is made manifest. Hengstenberg holds the amount of this oblation to be too great, and barley moreover was not used in worship, unless we understand that “the other expenses for the general good” were to be included.

Ezekiel 45:17. Instead of הָיָה אֶל, which applies to all the people, we have now הָיָה עַל, that which concerns the prince only; on him it shall be incumbent. First, the things incumbent upon him are enumerated, and then is added what he has to do (הוּא־יַעֲשֶׂה), namely, as is obvious from his very position, that he shall defray the material expenses of worship, and in so far perform it. He is indeed “governor of the feast,” but not “officiator in presenting the atoning sacrifice on the feast days,” with a priestly dignity, such as Umbreit attributes to him. יַעֲשֶׂה may simply be: cause to be done (Ezekiel 46:2). Hävernick again well observes: “Thus there arises a beautiful contrast to the former state of matters. Instead of violent exactions, harsh oppression, infamous tyranny, and mutual injustice and disloyalty, comes a settled order of things, conscientious gifts of the people which are holy gifts. The prince appears as the theocratic head, who truly cares for the weal and safety of Israel, who supports in the liveliest and demands in the strongest manner the close communion of the people with their God; not only administering justice, but also caring for the most sacred interests of the people,” etc.

Ezekiel 45:18–20. The Sin-offering in the First Month

A solemn introduction: Thus saith, etc.—( “Taking occasion from the thought in Ezekiel 45:17, the prophet now portrays, as a new, solemn cycle of feasts begins in Israel, what also the prophets elsewhere announce regarding the sacred festivals in the Messianic period, e.g. Isa. 66:23; Zech. 14:16,” HÄV.) The whole mode of expression in Ezekiel 45:18, as well as the comparison of Ezekiel 43:18 sq. (of the difference between that and this), and the connection with what follows,—all this compels us to reject the view given by Hengstenberg, that corresponding to the consecration of the altar of burnt-offerings, we have to regard the consecration of the sanctuary as a solemnity occurring only once. Hengstenberg compares the seven days’ solemnity in the case of Solomon’s temple (2 Chron. 7:8), and the fresh consecration of the temple under Hezekiah (2 Chron. 29:18 sq.), but especially the consecration of the tabernacle on the first day of the first month in Ex. 40. Besides what we have said already, the following consideration tells against this view. Surely we may suppose a difference between these sanctuaries built by men, like the altar of burnt-offerings (בְּיוֹם הֵעָשׂוֹתוֹ), and the divine temple beheld by Ezekiel, when its consecration in this sense had already taken place by the coming in of the divine glory (Ezekiel 43:2 sq.). The solemnity here ordained on the first and seventh days of the month (Nisan, Ezekiel 45:21) is a yearly returning one, as is shown also by the reference in Ezekiel 45:20 to continual recurrence. Num. 28:11 sq. shows that the beginning of every month is to be solemnized, and Num. 29 that there is to be additionally a special solemnity on the first day of the seventh month. On this comp. Ezek. 46—The cleansing of the sanctuary is effected here through a young bullock, instead of the goat prescribed by Moses for the new moon,—an augmentation of the sin-offering as to the victim, just as in Ezekiel 45:19 through the process which accomplishes the cleansing. The posts of the house (Ezekiel 41:21) refer to the sanctuary (Ezekiel 45:18), without distinction in respect to its two divisions, the altar of burnt-offerings and the gate (doubtless collective for all the three gates, for if only the east gate were meant, specific mention of it would hardly be omitted) of the inner court.

Ezekiel 45:20, however, explains in direct terms that this cleansing of the sanctuary on the first and seventh days of the first month takes place from the ground (מִן), the cause which, in view of the holiness of the house, may be found in אִישׁ שֹׁגֶה, that is: the erring, frail man, and פְּתִי, either: folly, or, abstr. pro concreto: the fool (properly, the man open to every impression, easily led astray). The two designations are distinguished as actus and potentia, the occasional act and the natural disposition; but it has been rightly remarked that both denote sins of weakness. [Keil wrongly interprets מִן׃ “from, away from,” setting him free from his sin; for this neither agrees with the immediately following וְכִפַּרְתֶּם אֶת־הַבַּיִת, nor can it be found in the וְכֵן תַּעֲשֶׂה, which refers back to Ezekiel 45:19.] “Thus shall the year, newly consecrated by such a beginning, most truly present the appearance of a holy year. At the same time this is the preparation for the feast of the passover in Ezekiel 45:21” (HÄV.). Since the great day of atonement (Lev. 16:16 sq.) had the same end in view as the very expressive and augmented solemnity ordained here on the first day of the month, the single yearly day of atonement is otherwise quite passed over, and thus there is ground for the opinion that the solemnity here is meant to express the idea of the day of atonement for the worship of the future.

Ezekiel 45:21–25. The Passover and the Feast of Tabernacles

Ezekiel 45:21. The chief fundamental feast of Israel, the beginning of the feast-cycle, as afterwards its close, so that with the passover and the feast of tabernacles the whole circle of feasts in the narrower sense is either embraced (HÄV.), or decreed as the annual feasts of the future (KEIL). Comp. the original institution of the feast of the passover in Ex. 12.—חַג שְׁבֻעוֹת, to which is here added יָמִים, is: feast of seven days, because it always lasted seven days (comp. Num. 28:17), so that the “continuous” feast is denoted, but not, as HENGST.: “in contrast to the feast of consecration,” but rather implying that in this connection recurring feasts are spoken of. The old translations render the designation simply: “a feast of seven days”; the addition: יָמִים, will at least distinguish it as seven-dayed from the “feast of weeks” (חַג שְׁבֻעוֹת), celebrated later at the close of harvest. Kliefoth, on the other hand, supposes that in future the passover will be held as a feast of seven weeks, which lasts seven weeks; and so not merely the seven days of unleavened bread, but the whole seven weeks will be passover—the feast of weeks shall be one with the passover. The ordinance regarding the מַצּוֹת relates (he holds) to the whole seven weeks up to the feast of first-fruits. See the refutation of this in Keil on the passage. The seven days of the feast in Ezekiel 45:23 also tell very plainly what is meant. Comp. on Deut. 16.

Ezekiel 45:22 exhibits the prince in the charge imposed upon him (הוּא־יַעֲשֶׂה, here וְעָשָׂה).—בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא).—is the above-mentioned fourteenth day of the first month, the feast-day proper (הַפֶּסַח), on the evening of which the paschal lamb was slain and eaten.—The sin-offering precedes, whereas in Num. 28 it follows after. In this way the idea of the day of atonement pervades also the passover of the future (for himself and for the whole people of the land). The victim, too, of the sin-offering on the first feast-day proper is not a goat, but a bullock! For the seven following days of the mazzoth there are ordained

Ezekiel 45:23—as a burnt-offering, instead of the two bullocks of Moses, seven bullocks, and instead of the one ram in the law, here seven rams, all without blemish, לַיּוֹם, “for the day,” each of the seven days; and only the one goat as daily sin-offering is retained from the law of Moses. This enhancement of the feast-offerings, 49 bullocks and 49 rams as burnt-offering, is additional proof of an element which has already repeatedly shown itself, to wit, Israel’s state of grace for the future. In reference to the passover Hengstenberg observes: “That precisely the grace of redemption sealed by this festival was to receive so rich an accession by the events of the future.” The seven lambs of the first year ordained in the law are omitted by Ezekiel; we might say, because the Lamb of God, who is the fulfilment of this feast, will be sufficient in the Messianic times. But, as only befits the symbolized idea meant to be made prominent, the meat-offering

Ezekiel 45:24—accompanying the burnt-offering surpasses even the measure of the latter. In the law there are to each bullock only three-tenths of an ephah of flour mingled with oil, two-tenths to the ram, and only one-tenth to each of the seven lambs; here a whole ephah, namely of flour, is appointed for each bullock and each ram, finally of oil one הִין (Ezekiel 4:11).

Ezekiel 45:25 describes the feast of tabernacles, the feast (בֶּחָג) falling on the 15th day of the 7th month, so designated because not expressed by name. Keil and Kliefoth assign as the reason for its not being named: “without doubt because the dwelling in tabernacles will for the future be discontinued.” What the prince has to perform in this feast is, as to time (seven days) and kinds of offering, the same as in the passover. Hengstenberg excepts from this similarity the number of victims. Comp. Num. 29:13 sq. But the definition: as meat-offering, leaves us to suppose for the rest also nothing but a matter relative to number and measure, and Hengstenberg’s solicitude about the passover as “the root of all feasts,” seems in the case of such a comparison as is made here to overlook the fact that the number of victims, which indeed daily decreased, was far more signal and greater in the Mosaic feast of tabernacles; moreover, the eighth day, as concluding feast with its special offerings, is, as Keil observes, wanting here. Hävernick farther observes: “The sacred number seven dominates here both in the passover and in the offerings of the feast of tabernacles. The gradual decrease of the number of victims in the latter, explained by Bähr as a gradual decrease of the festal character of the seven feast-days, receives a fresh confirmation. Here, namely, an equal number of victims is appointed for every day. The distinction between the feasts themselves thereby almost disappears. Each day comes forth in its proper and symmetrical holiness. The sacred number seven pervades the whole cycle of feasts. The defective and imperfect character of the ancient mode gives place to a higher and more perfect form.”


[ “As it was more especially in connection with the stated and yearly festivals that the prince had to represent the people in the public service of God, so the prophet takes a rapid glance of these, and refers particularly to the first and the last. But he first mentions a consecration service with which the year was always to begin, and of which no mention whatever was made in the law (Ezekiel 45:18–20). On the first and again on the seventh day of the first month, the sanctuary was always to be cleansed, that the year might be commenced in sacredness, and that all might be in preparation for the feast of the passover on the fourteenth day of the month. As the prophet has introduced a new solemnity before the passover, so for the passover itself he appoints quite different sacrifices from those named by Moses; instead of one ram and seven lambs for the daily burnt-offering, he has seven bullocks and seven rams; and the meat-offerings also vary. And while there were quite peculiar offerings prescribed in the law for the feast of tabernacles, constantly diminishing as the days of the feast proceeded; here, on the other hand, the prophet appoints the same as in the case of the passover. This shows how free a use was made by the prophet of the Old Testament ritual, and how he only employed it as a cover for the great spiritual truths he sought to unfold. They were not permanently fixed and immutable things, he virtually said, those external services of Judaism, as if they had an absolute and independent value of their own, so that precisely those and no other should be thought of; they were all symbolical of the spiritual and eternal truths of God’s kingdom, and may be variously adjusted, as is now done, in order to make them more distinctly expressive of the greater degree of holiness and purity that is in future times to distinguish the people and service of God over all that has been in the past.”—FAIRBAIRN’S Ezekiel, pp. 485, 486.—W. F.]


On Ch. 45

Ezekiel 45:1 sq. “Here in particular I acknowledge the weakness of my knowledge. I silently revere the mysteries of this passage. Neither will any mortal explain them completely, because that which God has prepared for them that love Him does not come into the heart of man. This indeed I see, that he speaks of the possession of the land of the living, as also the Revelation of John has borrowed much from this passage.” Thus Œolampadius expresses himself.—“God promises believers an inheritance, and will also give it them in due time, but that is in heaven” (STARCK).—“God the Lord needs indeed no land for Himself, yet it is for His honour when real estates are bequeathed to churches and schools, that those who labour in them may receive their support from them, Gen. 47:22” (STARKE).—“They who live from God’s hand are content with His measure, even when it turns out small and modest” (STARCK).—“It ought to be our joy to be near God, to be associated with Him” (STARCK).

Ver, 2. “There is nothing twisted and crooked with God; with Him everything is straight” (STARCK).—“The paths are often crooked and yet straight on which Thou makest Thy children come to Thee,” etc. (ARNOLD.)

Ezekiel 45:3. The sanctuary was situated in the centre of all; so ought religion to be the central point of all life, and Christ the centre of true religion.—Religion, faith, Christianity ought not, either in the life of nations or of individuals, to be placed in a corner merely as a tolerated piece of antiquity.

Ezekiel 45:4. “If those who labour in the church and the school have no official houses, still they must have houses to dwell in. Therefore it is fitting that the community should build such, and keep them in a habitable condition” (STARKE).—“When ministers’ houses are near the church, they can the better attend to their office, 1 Chron. 9:27” (O.).—“The Lord’s faithful priests shall dwell beside Him, and be with Christ, for refreshment and revival from the strife and disquiet of men among whom they are scattered” (COCC.).

Ezekiel 45:5 sq. “Although a lesser service in the Church appears to be incumbent on church officers and school masters, yet care must be taken to provide them with food and lodging,” etc. (STARCK.)—“Hence offices and ranks which are not mutually destructive ought to continue; only let each in his place belong to the Lord” (TOSSANI).—“The sanctuary is not included in the city or state as formerly, for God will not permit His kingdom to be confounded with the temporal power; this, however, does not mean that God cannot rule in the state, bu only that God’s kingdom and human kingdoms are different. For human authority is not to interfere in the kingdom of God, but the divine authority does interfere in the kingdoms of men, and God makes subjects obey their princes, servants their masters, and children their parents; and all obedience, if of the right kind, is paid to Him as the Lord, and to men as brethren and fellow-servants whom the common Lord has placed in authority for the Lord’s sake. But we do not obey God for the sake of a man, nor can any man by his power make us obedient to God,” etc. (COCO.)—“Hence when this prophecy places the sanctuary outside of the city, and yet annexes the sanctuary to the city, that indicates that in the kingdom of Christ states and governments will belong to the people of God; in which, however, the kingdom of God will not be absorbed nor confined” (COCC.).—“The magisterial office is holy, and has also part in the holy, Num. 7:1 sq.” (CR.)—“For princes to have their domains is not unjust, but they should not seek to draw everything into these domains,” etc. (STARKE.)

Ezekiel 45:8 sq. “To protect, but not to fleece.—“Governments ought to give good heed to weights, measures, and coinage, and allow no inequalities to creep in” (TÜB. BIB.).—“Christians ought to be upright in their dealings, 1 Thess. 4:6” (O.).—“Knowingly to pass spurious coin is intentional deceit, and so is the clipping of coins in order to lessen their weight” (STARKE).—“Unjust gain does not profit the third generation. Lightly come, lightly gone” (HAFENREFFER).

Ezekiel 45:13 sq. “Even the small gifts of the poor, when given in true love, are an acceptable offering, Heb. 13:16” (COCC.).—“It is reasonable that a man set apart a considerable portion of his income for the glory of God and the support of the true worship, Rom. 15:16” (TÜB. BIB.).—“The revenue for spiritual objects is most defrauded” (STARKE).—There are liberals and liberals; the liberals of former days built churches, the liberals of to-day would like to tear them down; to the former, church endowment was an aim, to the latter an eyesore.—“Almsgiving in private is a fruit of faith; but not less so is liberality in endowments for churches and schools”(COCC.).—The Christian munificence of our fathers was a very different thing from the duty of subscribing to associations imposed on their children, and from the whole ordinary system of collecting as it is carried on to raise supplies for the kingdom of God.

Ezekiel 45:15. “The antitype of the lambs, the Lamb that bore the sin of the world” (STARCK).—The sacrifices considered in Christ.—Christian sacrifices are spiritual sacrifices.—The fulfilling of the sacrifices in the Spirit of Christ.

Ezekiel 45:17. “When Chris on the cross consecrated the new temple, He can celled our sins” (HEIM-HOFF.).

Ezekiel 45:18 sq. The new year of grace.—“At the beginning of the new year of grace, and with the newly rising light, the temple was again raised up or opened, and the true justification and sanctification through the sacrifice of Christ recognised and proclaimed” (BERL. BIB.).—Without cleansing there is no sanctuary for man, nor sanctification of him: “Let him who desires to be clean cleanse himself in the blood of Christ, 1 John 1:7” (STARCK).

Ezekiel 45:20. Sin as error and seduction, and error and seduction as sin.—“We ought to attend divine service from beginning to end” (CR.).

Ezekiel 45:21 sq. The ever-renewed remembrance of redemption in every participation of the Lord’s Supper, and also in the experience of believers.—Every solemnization of the Lord’s Supper a fulfilled paschal solemnity.—But our passover is Christ, 1 Cor. 5.—How wearisome are church festivals to the men of our time!—“This prophetic representation contains a beautiful pattern for many a land; yet the main matter is this, that the Holy Ghost teaches us here how firmly and fixedly God with His grace has settled down among us men, and how priesthood and royalty are upheld in Christendom from His fulness. But they must keep close to the sanctuary, and the magistracy must protect the confessors of the truth on the right and on the left. The deepest ground, however, is this: Christ’s disciples are all of them priests, and they themselves are also the royalty; they themselves offer sacrifice and also protect themselves, for God Himself is their strength through Christ. He who has the Spirit of Christ will easily understand the whole of this figure,” etc. (DIEDRICH).—“It behoves us to celebrate the feast of tabernacles in spirit and in truth so much more than the Jews the nearer we approach eternity. For the nearer we come thereto, the less ought we to hold by this world, but on the contrary ought to withdraw our thoughts from the earth, from houses, cities, and lands, and allow scarcely a thought to arise in us that we still have a portion on earth and in the world; but, since we only dwell in tabernacles, let us have our loins girded, as those who are ready to depart, that they may be with the Lord” (BERL. BIB.).—“Our home is above, to which we draw nearer every moment” (HEIM-HOFF.).—Tabernacles ought to be as passover; that is, we ought to pursue our pilgrimage on the ground of eternal redemption.

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.
Lange, John Peter - Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical

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