|@October 7, 2023||ESV (2016)||ESV Prophets Plan 2023|
- The Prince and the Feasts
- Boiling Places for Offerings
The chapter opens with God telling Ezekiel that the east-facing gate of the temple was only to be opened on the Sabbath day and on the day of the new moon. The prince was to enter through this gate to observe the priests making sacrifices but was not to enter the inner court. Instead, he was to “take his stand by the post of the gate” and, upon his exit, gate should remain open until evening (Ezek. 46:2). The people were to bow down at the entrance of the gate during Sabbaths and new moons (Ezek. 46:3). This was the closest the people could come to the divine presence.
Ezek. 46:4-8 represent the procedures for burnt offerings and grain offerings required of the prince on the Sabbath and New Moon. The prince was to enter “by the vestibule of the gate” and should “go out by the same way.”(Ezek. 46:8).
Ezek. 46:9-10 are instructions for people to enter and exit the temple during feasts. They could enter by the north or south gate but must proceed forward to exit through the opposite gate; they were not to travel backward and exit through the gate they had entered (Ezek. 46:10), following the movements of the prince (Ezek. 46:10).
Ezek. 46:11-12 are instructions for offerings for the feasts and appointed festivals. The east-facing gate shall be opened for the priest when he provides the freewill, burnt and peace offerings. He is then to exit and the gate to be shut (Ezek. 46:12).
Ezek. 46:13-15 are instructions for daily offerings. A lamb without blemish was to be provided “morning by morning” for a burnt offering to the LORD. It was a “perpetual statute” (Ezek. 46:15).
Ezek. 46:16-18 are instructions for the prince for gifts and inheritance. Unlike the time when Israel was ruled by a king, the land that belonged to the prince was to be carefully regulated. The sons of the prince could inherit lands from him, but if the prince made a gift from his inheritance to one of his servants, the servant was to return the property in the Year of Jubilee, or year of freedom (see Lev. 25:8–15). Furthermore, the prince could only give a gift from his own property, not from among the property of the people (Ezek. 46:18).
Ezek. 46:19-20 are instructions for the boiling of guilt and sin offerings and baking of the grain offering. These were to be performed at the extreme west end of the holy chambers for the priests. They were not bring them out to the outer court in order to prevent transmission of holiness to the people (Ezek. 46:20).
The final section (Ezek. 46:21-24) describe the four small courts in the corners of the outer court that were to be kitchens to boil the sacrifices of the people. These were the holy chambers used by the priests to cook the sacrifices brought in by the people.
More detailed directives are given here by God on how and by whom certain worship practices were to be performed. The temple is where God dwells among His people and so its activities are highly regulated, attesting to His holiness. God’s presence increased in intensity as one traveled inward and only those who were divinely appointed could be in the centermost areas. The common people had to remain in the outer court looking toward the inner court and the temple itself.
The awesomeness of God’s power in these verses in astounding. But equally astounding is that God provided a way to get close enough for proper worship. He did not have to then and does not have to now. And yet He did and He does, as an outpouring of His unending grace. Through the sacrifice of His only Son, He made a way despite our deserving no such way. To this news there is no other appropriate response than ceaseless praise.
Scripture Journal Notes
Commentaries & Resources Used
- ESV Study Bible. (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2008)
- Faithlife Study Bible (Lexham Press, 2016)
- Believer’s Bible Commentary (Thomas Nelson, 2016)
- CSB Study Bible Notes (Holman Bible Publishers, 2017)
- Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible (Guardian Press, 1976)
- The Bible: A Reader’s Guide (Sterling Publishing, 2011)
- The Infographic Bible (Zondervan, 2018)
- ESV Digital Scripture Journal (Crossway, 2019)