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Ezekiel 42-44 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 42

Other Structures. Then he led me north to the outer court, bringing me to some chambers on the north side opposite the restricted area and the north building. They were a hundred cubits long on the north side and fifty cubits wide. Built in rows at three different levels, they stood between the twenty cubits of the inner court and the pavement of the outer court. In front of the chambers was a walkway ten cubits wide on the inside of a wall one cubit wide. The doorways faced north. [a]The upper chambers were shorter because they lost space to the lower and middle tiers of the building. Because they were in three tiers, they did not have foundations like the court, but were set back from the lower and middle levels from the ground up. The outside walls ran parallel to the chambers along the outer court, a length of fifty cubits. The chambers facing the outer court were fifty cubits long; thus the wall along the nave was a hundred cubits. At the base of these chambers, there was an entryway from the east so that one could enter from the outer court 10 where the wall of the court began.

To the south along the side of the restricted area and the building there were also chambers 11 with a walkway in front of them. They looked like the chambers on the north side in length and width, in their exits, their design, and their doorways. 12 At the base of the chambers on the south side there was an entry at the end of a walkway in front of the protective wall by which one could enter from the east. 13 He said to me, “The north and south chambers facing the restricted area are the chambers of the holy place where the priests who approach the Lord shall eat the most holy meals. Here they shall place the most holy offerings: the grain offerings, the purification offerings, and the reparation offerings; for the place is holy.[b] 14 When the priests have entered, they must not go out again from the holy place into the outer court without leaving the garments in which they ministered because they are holy. They shall put on other garments before approaching the area for the people.”

Measuring the Outer Court. 15 When he finished measuring the interior of the temple area, he brought me out by way of the gate facing east and measured all around it. 16 He measured the east side, five hundred cubits by his measuring rod. Then he turned 17 and measured the north side: five hundred cubits by his measuring rod. He turned 18 and measured the south side, five hundred cubits by his measuring rod. 19 He turned and measured the west side, also five hundred cubits by his measuring rod. 20 Thus he measured it on the four sides. It was surrounded by a wall five hundred cubits long and five hundred cubits wide, to separate the sacred from the profane.

Restoration of the Temple

Chapter 43

The Glory of the Lord Returns. Then he led me to the gate facing east, and there was the glory of the God of Israel coming from the east! His voice was like the roar of many waters, and the earth shone with his glory. The vision I saw was like the vision I had seen when he came to destroy the city and like the vision I had seen by the river Chebar—I fell on my face. The glory of the Lord entered the temple by way of the gate facing east. Then the spirit lifted me up and brought me to the inner court. And there the glory of the Lord filled the temple! I heard someone speaking to me from the temple, but the man was standing beside me. The voice said to me: Son of man, do you see the place for my throne, and the place for the soles of my feet? Here I will dwell among the Israelites forever. The house of Israel, neither they nor their kings, will never again defile my holy name, with their prostitutions and the corpses of their kings at their death. When they placed their threshold against my threshold[c] and their doorpost next to mine, with only a wall between me and them, they defiled my holy name by the abominations they committed, and I devoured them in my wrath. From now on, let them put their prostitution and the corpses of their kings far from me, and I will dwell in their midst forever.

The Law of the Temple. 10 As for you, son of man, describe the temple to the house of Israel so they are ashamed for their sins. Let them measure its layout. 11 If they are ashamed for all they have done, tell them about the layout and design of the temple, its exits and entrances, with all its regulations and instructions; write it down for them to see, that they may carefully observe all its laws and statutes. 12 This is the law for the temple: the entire area on top of the mountain all around will be a most holy place. This is the law for the temple.

The Altar. 13 These were the dimensions of the altar[d] in cubits, a cubit being one cubit plus a handbreadth. The channel was one cubit deep by one cubit wide, and its rim had a lip one span wide all around it. The height of the altar itself was as follows: 14 from the channel at floor level up to the lower ledge was two cubits, with the ledge one cubit wide; from the lower ledge to the upper ledge, four cubits, with the ledge one cubit wide. 15 The altar hearth was four cubits high, and extending up from the top of the hearth were four horns. 16 The hearth was twelve cubits long and twelve cubits wide, a square with four equal sides. 17 The upper ledge was fourteen cubits long and fourteen cubits wide on all four sides. The rim around it was half a cubit, with a channel one cubit all around. The steps faced east.

18 Then he said to me: Son of man, thus says the Lord God: These are the statutes for the altar when it is set up for sacrificing burnt offerings and splashing blood on it. 19 A young bull must be brought as a purification offering to the priests, the Levites descended from Zadok, who come near to serve me—oracle of the Lord God. 20 You shall take some of its blood and smear it on the four horns of the altar, and on the four corners of the ledge, and all around its rim. Thus you shall purify and purge it. 21 Then take the bull as purification offering and burn it in the appointed place outside the sanctuary. 22 On the second day present an unblemished male goat as a purification offering, to purify the altar as you did with the bull. 23 When you have completed the purification, you must bring an unblemished young bull and an unblemished ram from the flock 24 and present them before the Lord. The priests shall throw salt on them and sacrifice them as burnt offerings to the Lord. 25 Daily for seven days you shall give a male goat as a purification offering; and a young bull and a ram from the flock, all unblemished, shall be offered 26 for seven days. Thus they shall purge the altar, in order to cleanse and dedicate it. 27 And when these days are over, from the eighth day on, the priests shall sacrifice your burnt offerings and communion offerings on the altar. Then I will be pleased with you—oracle of the Lord God.

Chapter 44

The Closed Gate. Then he brought me back to the outer gate of the sanctuary facing east, but it was closed. The Lord said to me: This gate must remain closed; it must not be opened, and no one should come through it. Because the Lord, the God of Israel, came through it, it must remain closed. Only the prince may sit in it to eat a meal in the presence of the Lord; he must enter through the vestibule of the gate and leave the same way.[e]

The New Law

Admission to the Temple. Then he brought me by way of the north gate to the facade of the temple. I looked—and the glory of the Lord filled the Lord’s house! I fell on my face. The Lord said to me: Son of man, pay close attention, look carefully, and listen intently to everything I tell you about all the statutes and laws of the Lord’s house. Pay close attention to the entrance into the temple and all the exits of the sanctuary. Say to that rebellious house, the house of Israel: Thus says the Lord God: Enough of all your abominations, house of Israel! You have admitted foreigners, uncircumcised in heart and flesh, into my sanctuary to profane it when you offered me food, the fat and blood.[f] Thus you have broken my covenant by all your abominations. Instead of caring for the service of my sanctuary, you appointed these foreigners to care for the service of my sanctuary. Thus says the Lord God: No foreigners, uncircumcised in heart and flesh, shall ever enter my sanctuary: not even any of the foreigners who live among the Israelites.

Levites. 10 As for the Levites who went far away from me when Israel strayed from me after their idols, they will bear the consequences of their sin. 11 They will serve in my sanctuary only as gatekeepers and temple servants; they will slaughter burnt offerings and sacrifices for the people. They will stand before the people to serve them. 12 Because they used to serve them before their idols, thus becoming a stumbling block to the house of Israel, therefore I have sworn an oath against them, says the Lord God, and they will bear the consequences of their sin. 13 They shall no longer come near to serve as my priests, nor shall they touch any of my sacred things or my most sacred offerings, for they must bear their shame, the abominations they committed. 14 Instead I will make them responsible for the service of the temple and all its work, for everything that must be done in it.

Priests. 15 As for the levitical priests, sons of Zadok, who took charge of my sanctuary when the Israelites strayed from me, they may approach me to serve me and stand before me to offer the fat and the blood—oracle of the Lord God. 16 They may enter my sanctuary; they may approach my table to serve me and carry out my service. 17 Whenever they enter the gates of the inner court, they shall wear linen garments; they shall not put on anything woolen when they serve at the gates of the inner court or within the temple. 18 They shall have linen turbans on their heads and linen undergarments on their loins; they shall not gird themselves with anything that causes sweat. 19 And when they go out to the people in the outer court, they shall take off the garments in which they served and leave them in the rooms of the sanctuary, and put on other garments so they do not transmit holiness to the people[g] by their garments.

20 They shall not shave their heads nor let their hair hang loose, but they shall keep their hair carefully trimmed. 21 No priest shall drink wine before he enters the inner court. 22 They shall not take as wives either widows or divorced women, but only unmarried women from the line of Israel; however, they may take as wives widows who are widows of priests. 23 They shall teach my people to distinguish between sacred and profane and make known to them the difference between clean and unclean. 24 In legal cases they shall stand as judges, judging according to my ordinances. They shall observe all my laws and statutes regarding all my appointed feasts, and they shall keep my sabbaths holy.

25 They shall not make themselves unclean by going near a dead body; only for their father, mother, son, daughter, brother, or unmarried sister may they make themselves unclean. 26 After he is again clean, he must wait an additional seven days; 27 on the day he enters the inner court to serve in the sanctuary, he shall present a purification offering for himself—oracle of the Lord God. 28 I will be their heritage: I am their heritage! You shall not give them any property in Israel, for I am their property! 29 They shall eat grain offerings, purification offerings, and reparation offerings; anything under the ban[h] in Israel belongs to them; 30 all the choicest first fruits of every kind and all the best of your offerings of every kind shall belong to the priests; the best of your dough you shall also give to the priests to bring a blessing upon your house. 31 The priests shall not eat anything, whether bird or animal, that died naturally or was killed by wild beasts.


  1. 42:5–6 The three rows of identical chambers, on different ground levels, necessarily had roofs on correspondingly different levels.
  2. 42:13 The function of these chambers is explained again in 46:19–20.
  3. 43:8 They placed their threshold against my threshold: in preexilic Jerusalem, the Temple and the palace belonged to the same complex of buildings; kings like Ahaz and Manasseh treated it as their private chapel for the religious practices Ezekiel condemns. In the new Israel the Temple is free, even spatially, from civil jurisdiction; cf. 45:7–8. This is an instance of Ezekiel’s broader program to separate the sacred from the secular.
  4. 43:13–17 The altar: like altars from Assyria and other parts of the ancient Near East, this altar has three parts: a base, a pedestal, and an upper block with a channel cut into the surface on all sides. The rim around the upper block (v. 17) stopped blood and other sacrificial material from falling to the ground.
  5. 44:3 Ezekiel imagines a scene like this: The prince stands at the eastern gate of the inner court while his sacrifice is being offered (46:2); he then goes to the vestibule of the outer court to eat the sacrificial meal. The closed outer gate on the eastern side signifies that the Lord has entered the Temple permanently, not to depart again.
  6. 44:7–14 According to Ezekiel, the Levites’ priestly role is reduced to the performance of menial tasks as punishment for their misdeeds (cf. vv. 10–14). This demotion was enforced during the restoration of Temple worship under Ezra and Nehemiah; this may explain the small number of Levites willing to return to Jerusalem after the exile.
  7. 44:19 Transmit holiness to the people: holiness was considered to have a physical quality that could be communicated from person to person. It is a danger to those who have not prepared themselves to be in God’s presence. The priests remove their ceremonial garments out of concern for the people.
  8. 44:29 Under the ban: dedicated to the Lord.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Ben Sira 36:17-31 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

17 Show mercy to the people called by your name:
    Israel, whom you named your firstborn.
18 Take pity on your holy city:
    Jerusalem, your dwelling place.
19 Fill Zion with your majesty,
    your temple with your glory.

20 Give evidence of your deeds of old;
    fulfill the prophecies spoken in your name.
21 Reward those who have hoped in you,
    and let your prophets be proved true.
22 Hear the prayer of your servants,
    according to your good will toward your people.
Thus all the ends of the earth will know
    that you are the eternal God.

Choice of Associates[a]

23 The throat can swallow any food,
    yet some foods are more agreeable than others.
24 The palate tests delicacies put forward as gifts,
    so does a keen mind test deceitful tidbits.
25 One with a tortuous heart brings about grief,
    but an experienced person can turn the tables on him.

26 A woman will accept any man as husband,
    but one woman will be preferable to another.
27 A woman’s beauty makes her husband’s face light up,
    for it surpasses all else that delights the eye.
28 And if, besides, her speech is soothing,
    her husband’s lot is beyond that of mortal men.
29 A wife is her husband’s richest treasure,
    a help like himself and a staunch support.
30 A vineyard with no hedge will be overrun;
    and a man with no wife becomes a homeless wanderer.
31 Who will trust an armed band
    that shifts from city to city?
Or a man who has no nest,
    who lodges wherever night overtakes him?


  1. 36:23–37:15 In the choice of wife, friend, or associate, experience is a discerner of character (36:23–26). Beauty and soothing speech make a woman desirable as wife (36:27–28). The good wife becomes her husband’s richest treasure, his help in establishing his household (36:29–31). Good friends fight for comrades and share the spoils with them (37:5–6); false friends deceive and abandon in time of need (37:1–4). A true counselor and associate should be sought among those who keep the commandments, not among those who break them and seek their own advantage (37:7–12). In all things one should pray to God for light and follow conscience (37:13–15).
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Revelation 6 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

IV. The Seven Seals, Trumpets, and Plagues, with Interludes[a]

Chapter 6[b]

The First Six Seals. [c]Then I watched while the Lamb broke open the first of the seven seals, and I heard one of the four living creatures cry out in a voice like thunder, “Come forward.” I looked, and there was a white horse, and its rider had a bow.[d] He was given a crown, and he rode forth victorious to further his victories.

When he broke open the second seal, I heard the second living creature cry out, “Come forward.” [e]Another horse came out, a red one. Its rider was given power to take peace away from the earth, so that people would slaughter one another. And he was given a huge sword.

When he broke open the third seal, I heard the third living creature cry out, “Come forward.” I looked, and there was a black horse,[f] and its rider held a scale in his hand. I heard what seemed to be a voice in the midst of the four living creatures. It said, “A ration of wheat costs a day’s pay,[g] and three rations of barley cost a day’s pay. But do not damage the olive oil or the wine.”

When he broke open the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature cry out, “Come forward.” I looked, and there was a pale green[h] horse. Its rider was named Death, and Hades accompanied him. They were given authority over a quarter of the earth, to kill with sword, famine, and plague, and by means of the beasts of the earth.

When he broke open the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar[i] the souls of those who had been slaughtered because of the witness they bore to the word of God. 10 They cried out in a loud voice, “How long will it be, holy and true master,[j] before you sit in judgment and avenge our blood on the inhabitants of the earth?” 11 Each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to be patient a little while longer until the number was filled of their fellow servants and brothers who were going to be killed as they had been.

12 [k]Then I watched while he broke open the sixth seal, and there was a great earthquake; the sun turned as black as dark sackcloth[l] and the whole moon became like blood. 13 The stars in the sky fell to the earth like unripe figs[m] shaken loose from the tree in a strong wind. 14 Then the sky was divided[n] like a torn scroll curling up, and every mountain and island was moved from its place. 15 The kings of the earth, the nobles,[o] the military officers, the rich, the powerful, and every slave and free person hid themselves in caves and among mountain crags. 16 They cried out to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of the one who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb, 17 because the great day of their[p] wrath has come and who can withstand it?”


  1. 6:1–16:21 A series of seven disasters now begins as each seal is broken (Rev 6:1–8:1), followed by a similar series as seven trumpets sound (Rev 8:2–11:19) and as seven angels pour bowls on the earth causing plagues (Rev 15:1–16:21). These gloomy sequences are interrupted by longer or shorter scenes suggesting the triumph of God and his witnesses (e.g., Rev 7; 10; 11; 12; 13; 14).
  2. 6:1–17 This chapter provides a symbolic description of the contents of the sealed scroll. The breaking of the first four seals reveals four riders. The first rider (of a white horse) is a conquering power (Rev 6:1–2), the second (red horse) a symbol of bloody war (Rev 6:3–4), the third (black horse) a symbol of famine (Rev 6:5–6), the fourth (pale green horse) a symbol of Death himself, accompanied by Hades (the netherworld) as his page (Rev 6:7–8). Rev 6:8b summarizes the role of all four riders. The breaking of the fifth seal reveals Christian martyrs in an attitude of sacrifice as blood poured out at the foot of an altar begging God for vindication, which will come only when their quota is filled; but they are given a white robe symbolic of victory (Rev 6:9–11). The breaking of the sixth seal reveals typical apocalyptic signs in the sky and the sheer terror of all people at the imminent divine judgment (Rev 6:12–17).
  3. 6:1–8 The imagery is adapted from Zec 1:8–10; 6:1–8.
  4. 6:2 White horse…bow: this may perhaps allude specifically to the Parthians on the eastern border of the Roman empire. Expert in the use of the bow, they constantly harassed the Romans and won a major victory in A.D. 62; see note on Rev 9:13–21. But the Old Testament imagery typifies the history of oppression of God’s people at all times.
  5. 6:4 Huge sword: this is a symbol of war and violence; cf. Ez 21:14–17.
  6. 6:5 Black horse: this is a symbol of famine, the usual accompaniment of war in antiquity; cf. Lv 26:26; Ez 4:12–13. The scale is a symbol of shortage of food with a corresponding rise in price.
  7. 6:6 A day’s pay: literally, “a denarius,” a Roman silver coin that constitutes a day’s wage in Mt 20:2. Because of the famine, food was rationed and sold at an exorbitant price. A liter of flour was considered a day’s ration in the Greek historians Herodotus and Diogenes Laertius. Barley: food of the poor (Jn 6:9, 13; cf. 2 Kgs 7:1, 16, 18); it was also used to feed animals; cf. 1 Kgs 5:8. Do not damage: the olive and the vine are to be used more sparingly in time of famine.
  8. 6:8 Pale green: symbol of death and decay; cf. Ez 14:21.
  9. 6:9 The altar: this altar corresponds to the altar of holocausts in the temple in Jerusalem; see also Rev 11:1. Because of the witness…word of God: literally, “because of the word of God and the witness they had borne.”
  10. 6:10 Holy and true master: Old Testament usage as well as the context indicates that this is addressed to God rather than to Christ.
  11. 6:12–14 Symbolic rather than literal description of the cosmic upheavals attending the day of the Lord when the martyrs’ prayer for vindication (Rev 6:10) would be answered; cf. Am 8:8–9; Is 34:4; 50:3; Jl 2:10; 3:3–4; Mt 24:4–36; Mk 13:5–37; Lk 21:8–36.
  12. 6:12 Dark sackcloth: for mourning, sackcloth was made from the skin of a black goat.
  13. 6:13 Unripe figs: literally, “summer (or winter) fruit.”
  14. 6:14 Was divided: literally, “was split,” like a broken papyrus roll torn in two, each half then curling up to form a roll on either side.
  15. 6:15 Nobles: literally, “courtiers,” “grandees.” Military officers: literally, “commanders of 1,000 men,” used in Josephus and other Greek authors as the equivalent of the Roman tribunus militum. The listing of various ranks of society represents the universality of terror at the impending doom.
  16. 6:17 Their: this reading is attested in the best manuscripts, but the vast majority read “his” in reference to the wrath of the Lamb in the preceding verse.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.


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