Vv 1-8: Worship on the sabbath and new moon days
V 1: The Lord specified that the gate in the inner east
gate complex should be open only on sabbath days and on the new moon days (ie,
the first of each month). All other days it was to remain closed. (An exception
to this rule follows in v 12.) Observance of the sabbath day will remind the
Israelites of God's creation of the cosmos, His creation of their nation, and
His coming provision of rest (in the Messiah). The new moon (month) celebrations
may be periodic reminders of God's providential control of nature and His
faithful provision of His people's needs.
THE GATES OF THE INNER COURT FACING EAST IS TO BE SHUT ON
THE SIX WORKING DAYS, BUT ON THE SABBATH DAY AND ON THE DAY OF THE NEW MOON IT
IS TO BE OPENED: Ct this with Isa 60:11: "Your gates will always stand open,
they will never be shut, day or night, so that men may bring you the wealth of
the nations -- their kings led in triumphal procession." In the Kingdom Age, the
gates will be open continually.
On these special days, the prince would lead the people in
worship. He would enter the inner east gate complex and stand in its vestibule.
Evidently he will not be able to enter the inner court because he will not be a
priest (cf Num 29:38), but he will be able to view the inner court and the altar
from the doorway at the western end of the gate complex. The vestibule would be
the site of his worship as he presented his burnt and peace offerings
(symbolizing his personal dedication and his gratitude for God's fellowship
respectively). After he finished worshipping, he would depart from that gate
into the outer court, but the gate would remain open until the
It looks as though the "prince" here is NOT a "priest", in
contrast with the age to come -- where, of course, Jesus will be King AND
The other worshippers would also worship at the same gate
during those special days, but they too would not enter the inner court. Only
priests could enter that court.
Vv 4,5: On the sabbath days, the prince's burnt offering would
consist of six lambs and a ram without blemish. Grain offerings were to
accompany them: an ephah with the ram, and as much as he was able to provide
with the lambs. He was also to offer a hin of oil with each ephah of grain. This
is a variation of what the Mosaic Law prescribed (Num. 28:9,10). These grain and
oil offerings evidently symbolized the Lord's rich provisions for His
Vv 6,7: On the new moon days, the prince was to offer the same
offerings as he did on the sabbath days plus a young bull and an ephah of flour
and a hin of oil with it. This too is somewhat different from the Mosaic
requirement (Num 28:11-15).
The prince would enter the inner gate complex and leave it
using the vestibule, which faced the outer court (Eze 40:31). Undoubtedly the
priests would use the tables in the vestibule of this gate complex and the
tables in the outer court near it to prepare these offerings (Eze
Vv 9-15: Worship during the annual feasts 46:9-15.
V 9: When the people living in the Promised Land came
to worship on the appointed feasts (Passover and Tabernacles: Eze 45:21-25),
they were to enter the outer court by either the north or south outer gate
complexes. There was no gate on the west side, and the east gate would be sealed
(Eze 44:1-2). When they finished worshipping, they should depart from the
opposite gate from which they entered, not the same one. This would result in an
orderly traffic pattern during these crowded times -- so that "everything should
be done in a fitting and orderly way" (1Co 14:40).
WHOEVER ENTERS BY THE NORTH GATE TO WORSHIP IS TO GO OUT
THE SOUTH GATE; AND WHOEVER ENTERS BY THE SOUTH GATE IS TO GO OUT THE NORTH
GATE. NO ONE IS TO RETURN THROUGH THE GATE BY WHICH HE ENTERED, BUT EACH IS TO
GO OUT THE OPPOSITE GATE: "A man may enter either by the north door or the
south. There is perfect liberty here. But there is no liberty as to what he
shall do after that. He shall go right through. He shall make for the [opposite
side]. Has not this a very plain meaning for us -- that we should not sit still
at that side of religion which first attracted us, not keep going back over the
old ground, but strive to go through the whole breadth of religion. There is a
north and a south in religion. There is a bright, sunny side. It is always warm
and genial there. And there is a cold, dark side, which only gets the sun on the
longest days. Some come in by the one side, and some by the other. Some come
with grief and tears, driven by bitter cold or wild beasts. Others come in by
the door of hope and joy, drawn by bright promises. They come calm, easy, and
radiant, as to an old home which they had never lost. Religion has many
opposites, though no contradictions. The Bible is continually speaking of the
importance of joining opposites together, such as prayer and praise, working and
waiting... resting and running, weeping and rejoicing, past and future, time and
eternity... We should go on to the opposite good of that which we possess, not
simply further than where we are, but that we should strive to reach and embrace
the directly opposite attainment, not leaving or undervaluing what is possessed,
but uniting to it that which may seem contrary or which may possibly have been
considered by us as wholly antagonistic and incompatible. We shall find that it
is these opposites which not only preserve from exaggeration and caricature, but
that they are needful even for proper rooting and strength. When one finds out
how opposites coalesce and help each other, need each other, claim each other,
and are only themselves when they find each other, he is fortified against moral
scepticism and against religious unrest. What I contend for is not a compromise,
but a junction in which each remains to strengthen and develop the other"
The prince should accompany the people on those occasions,
entering and exiting the court with them. He would worship God as one of the
people then, not as someone set apart and special.
The offerings on these special occasions were to be the same
as on the sabbath days and the new moon days (cp vv 4-7).
When the prince brought a voluntary offering to the temple on
other days, either a burnt or peace offering, the priests should open the east
inner gate for him to use and close it after he departed this gate
Vv 13-15: The priests were also to offer a daily sacrifice to
the Lord every morning, namely one lamb a year old without blemish as a burnt
offering. One-sixth of an ephah of grain with one-third of a hin of oil mixed
into it should accompany this continual daily burnt offering. Its purpose is
probably to demonstrate the daily rededication of the people to the Lord, the
meaning of the daily burnt offering under the Mosaic system. Under the Mosaic
Law, there was a daily morning and evening sacrifice (Num 28:3,4).
Vv 16-18: The prince's gifts 46:16-18.
Vv 16,17: The prince could give a gift to any of his sons out
of his own inheritance from the Lord. This gift was theirs forever. However, if
he gave such a gift to one of his servants, it would revert back to him on the
year of liberty. This year would evidently be similar to the year of jubilee
(every fiftieth year) under the Mosaic Covenant (Lev 25:10; 27:24). Its purpose
was to remind God's people that He owns everything and that they only occupy and
possess what He has entrusted to them.
The prince was not to give gifts from the inheritances of the
other people of the land, but only from his own inheritance. Israel's leaders
and people in the past had appropriated other people's property as their own (cp
Eze 45:89; 2Sa 24:24; 1Ki 21:19; Mic 2:1,2). This ordinance would also result in
the prince's sons remaining in his allotment of land rather than being scattered
among the other tribal allotments.
THE PRINCE MUST NOT TAKE ANY OF THE INHERITANCE OF THE
PEOPLE...: These are warnings to a MORTAL "prince", not for an immortal
HE IS TO GIVE HIS SONS THEIR INHERITANCE: Another
indication that this "prince" is mortal. Since this prince would have sons it
seems clear that he will not be the Messiah.
Vv 19-24: The priests' kitchens.
Vv 19-20: The LORD, or Ezekiel's guide, then took him into the
structure that housed the priests' rooms that were beside the south inner gate
complex that faced north (Eze 40:44,46). This was evidently one of the two
three-story structures in which the priests eat the sacrifices and changed their
clothes (Eze 42:1-14). At the west side of this building there were kitchen
facilities where the priests could boil the guilt and sin offerings and bake the
grain offerings. They were to prepare these offerings there so they would not
have to enter the outer court and so transmit holiness to the people.
Vv 21-24: The same person then took Ezekiel out to the outer
court and showed him the four corners of that court. In each of the four corners
there was a courtyard 40 cubits by 30 cubits. Within each of these enclosures
there were ledges with fireplaces underneath that created cooking areas where
the priests were to boil the sacrifices that the people brought to the temple.
Since the people would eat some of the sacrifices they brought, the outer court
would be a place of both spiritual worship and social interaction. There they
would enjoy fellowship with other worshippers as well as fellowship with
Vv 22-24: In each corner of the court there is a "kitchen",
for the sacrifices, "forty cubits long, and thirty wide".
HAW comments: "But in this volume [the book of HSul] the
dimensions already adopted for the outer court will not allow of anything so
small. So (perhaps permissibly) the cubits are turned into reeds. Another
difficulty is that the courts formed at the corners of this square frame must
themselves necessarily be square, and not 40 by 30. So the word for 'long' is
turned into 'high', although in 37 other places in these nine chapters the same
word plainly means 'long'. The result is four 'monster towers... 360 feet square
and 480 feet high' for the boiling of sacrifices! 'Such a building defies
description.' Here, at least, one is inclined to agree" (FLET).