Gate for the Prince
44 Then He brought me back by the way of the outer gate of the sanctuary, which faces the east; and it was shut. 2 Then the Lord said to me, “This [a]gate shall be shut; it shall not be opened, and no one shall enter by it, for the Lord, the God of Israel, has entered by it; therefore it shall be shut. 3 As for the prince, he shall sit in it as prince to eat bread before the Lord; he shall enter by way of the porch (portico) of the gate and shall go out the same way.”
4 Then He brought me by way of the north gate to the front of the house; I looked, and behold, the glory and brilliance of the Lord filled the house of the Lord, and I fell face downward.(A) 5 The Lord said to me, “Son of man, pay careful attention, see with your eyes and hear with your ears all that I say to you concerning all the statutes of the house of the Lord and all its laws; and pay careful attention to the entering of the house [by people], with all the departures from the sanctuary [of people, those who are allowed to enter the temple and all those who are excluded from the sanctuary]. 6 You shall say to the rebellious ones, to the house of Israel, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “Enough of all your repulsive acts, O house of Israel! 7 In that you brought in foreigners, uncircumcised in heart and uncircumcised in flesh, to be in My sanctuary to pollute and profane it—My house—when you offered My bread, the fat, and the blood; and [b]they made My covenant void —this in addition to all your other repulsive acts. 8 And you have not kept charge of My holy things yourselves, but you have chosen foreigners [to please yourselves] and have set them in charge of My sanctuary.”
9 ‘Thus says the Lord God, “No foreigner uncircumcised in heart and flesh, of all the foreigners who are among the sons of Israel, shall enter My sanctuary. 10 But the Levites who went far away from Me when Israel went astray, who went astray from Me after their idols, they shall bear the punishment for their sin and guilt. 11 Yet they shall minister in My sanctuary, having oversight [as guards] at the gates of the temple and ministering in the temple. They shall slaughter the burnt offering and the sacrifice for the people, and they shall stand before them to minister to them. 12 Because the priests ministered to them before their idols and became a stumbling block of sin to the house of Israel, therefore I have lifted up My hand and have sworn [an oath] against them,” says the Lord God, “that they shall bear the punishment for their sin and guilt. 13 And they shall not come near to Me to serve as priests to Me, nor come near to any of My holy things, to the things that are most holy; but they shall bear their shame and their disgrace and [the consequences of] their repulsive acts which they have committed. 14 Yet I will appoint them as caretakers of the temple, for all its service and for all that shall be done in it.
Ordinances for the Levites
15 “But the Levitical priests, the sons of Zadok, who performed the duty of My sanctuary when the children (descendants) of Israel went astray from Me, shall come near to Me to minister to Me; and they shall stand before Me to offer to Me the fat and the blood,” declares the Lord God. 16 “They shall enter into My sanctuary; and they shall come near to My table to minister to Me and they shall perform [the priestly] duty to me. 17 It shall be that when they enter the gates of the inner courtyard, they shall be clothed in linen garments; no wool shall be on them while they minister at the gates of the inner courtyard and within the temple (house). 18 They shall have linen turbans on their heads and linen undergarments on their [c]loins; they shall not dress themselves with anything which makes them sweat. 19 When they go out into the outer court, into the outer courtyard to the people, they shall take off the garments in which they have been ministering and leave them in the holy chambers; then they shall put on other clothing so that they will not transmit holiness to the people with their [ceremonial] garments. 20 Also they shall not shave their heads, yet they shall not allow their hair to grow long; they shall only cut short or trim their hair. 21 Nor shall any priest drink wine when he enters the inner courtyard. 22 And they shall not marry a widow or a divorced woman; but they shall marry virgins of the descendants of the house of Israel, or a widow who was previously married to a priest. 23 The priests shall teach My people the difference between the holy and the common, and teach them to distinguish between the (ceremonially) unclean and the clean. 24 In a controversy they shall take their stand to act as judges; they shall judge it in accordance with My ordinances. They shall also keep My laws and My statutes in all My appointed feasts and sanctify My Sabbaths. 25 They shall not go to a dead person to [d]defile themselves; except for father or for mother, for son or for daughter, for brother or for sister who has had no husband; they may defile themselves.(B) 26 After he is cleansed [from the defilement of a corpse], seven days more shall elapse for him [before returning to the temple]. 27 On the day that he goes into the sanctuary, into the inner courtyard to minister in the sanctuary, he shall offer his sin offering,” says the Lord God.
28 “It [their ministry to Me] shall be as an inheritance to them, for I am their inheritance; and you shall give them no property (land) in Israel, for I am their possession.(C) 29 They shall eat the grain offering, the sin offering and the guilt offering; and every devoted thing (offering) in Israel [dedicated by a solemn vow to God] shall be theirs. 30 The first of all the first fruits of every kind, and every contribution and offering of every kind, from all your contributions and offerings, shall belong to the priests. You shall also give to the priest the first of your coarse meal and bread dough, so that a blessing may rest on your house. 31 The priests shall not eat any bird or animal that has died a natural death or has been torn to pieces.
- Ezekiel 44:2 The eastern gate of the temple which was shown to Ezekiel in the vision is not the old city’s eastern gate (Golden Gate) which was sealed by Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent in 1542.
- Ezekiel 44:7 So MT; ancient versions read you.
- Ezekiel 44:18 The midsection of the body between the lower ribs and the hips.
- Ezekiel 44:25 I.e. become ceremonially unclean.
New International Version
The Priesthood Restored
44 Then the man brought me back to the outer gate of the sanctuary, the one facing east,(A) and it was shut. 2 The Lord said to me, “This gate is to remain shut. It must not be opened; no one may enter through it.(B) It is to remain shut because the Lord, the God of Israel, has entered through it. 3 The prince himself is the only one who may sit inside the gateway to eat in the presence(C) of the Lord. He is to enter by way of the portico of the gateway and go out the same way.(D)”
5 The Lord said to me, “Son of man, look carefully, listen closely and give attention to everything I tell you concerning all the regulations and instructions regarding the temple of the Lord. Give attention to the entrance(H) to the temple and all the exits of the sanctuary.(I) 6 Say to rebellious Israel,(J) ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Enough of your detestable practices, people of Israel! 7 In addition to all your other detestable practices, you brought foreigners uncircumcised in heart(K) and flesh into my sanctuary, desecrating my temple while you offered me food, fat and blood, and you broke my covenant.(L) 8 Instead of carrying out your duty in regard to my holy things, you put others in charge of my sanctuary.(M) 9 This is what the Sovereign Lord says: No foreigner uncircumcised in heart and flesh is to enter my sanctuary, not even the foreigners who live among the Israelites.(N)
10 “‘The Levites who went far from me when Israel went astray(O) and who wandered from me after their idols must bear the consequences of their sin.(P) 11 They may serve in my sanctuary, having charge of the gates of the temple and serving in it; they may slaughter the burnt offerings(Q) and sacrifices for the people and stand before the people and serve them.(R) 12 But because they served them in the presence of their idols and made the people of Israel fall(S) into sin, therefore I have sworn with uplifted hand(T) that they must bear the consequences of their sin, declares the Sovereign Lord.(U) 13 They are not to come near to serve me as priests or come near any of my holy things or my most holy offerings; they must bear the shame(V) of their detestable practices.(W) 14 And I will appoint them to guard the temple for all the work that is to be done in it.(X)
15 “‘But the Levitical priests, who are descendants of Zadok(Y) and who guarded my sanctuary when the Israelites went astray from me, are to come near to minister before me; they are to stand before me to offer sacrifices of fat(Z) and blood, declares the Sovereign Lord.(AA) 16 They alone are to enter my sanctuary; they alone are to come near my table(AB) to minister before me and serve me as guards.(AC)
17 “‘When they enter the gates of the inner court, they are to wear linen clothes;(AD) they must not wear any woolen garment while ministering at the gates of the inner court or inside the temple. 18 They are to wear linen turbans(AE) on their heads and linen undergarments(AF) around their waists. They must not wear anything that makes them perspire.(AG) 19 When they go out into the outer court where the people are, they are to take off the clothes they have been ministering in and are to leave them in the sacred rooms, and put on other clothes, so that the people are not consecrated(AH) through contact with their garments.(AI)
20 “‘They must not shave(AJ) their heads or let their hair grow long, but they are to keep the hair of their heads trimmed.(AK) 21 No priest is to drink wine when he enters the inner court.(AL) 22 They must not marry widows or divorced women; they may marry only virgins of Israelite descent or widows of priests.(AM) 23 They are to teach my people the difference between the holy and the common(AN) and show them how to distinguish between the unclean and the clean.(AO)
24 “‘In any dispute, the priests are to serve as judges(AP) and decide it according to my ordinances. They are to keep my laws and my decrees for all my appointed festivals,(AQ) and they are to keep my Sabbaths holy.(AR)
25 “‘A priest must not defile himself by going near a dead person; however, if the dead person was his father or mother, son or daughter, brother or unmarried sister, then he may defile himself.(AS) 26 After he is cleansed, he must wait seven days.(AT) 27 On the day he goes into the inner court of the sanctuary(AU) to minister in the sanctuary, he is to offer a sin offering[a](AV) for himself, declares the Sovereign Lord.
28 “‘I am to be the only inheritance(AW) the priests have. You are to give them no possession in Israel; I will be their possession. 29 They will eat(AX) the grain offerings, the sin offerings and the guilt offerings; and everything in Israel devoted[b] to the Lord(AY) will belong to them.(AZ) 30 The best of all the firstfruits(BA) and of all your special gifts will belong to the priests. You are to give them the first portion of your ground meal(BB) so that a blessing(BC) may rest on your household.(BD) 31 The priests must not eat anything, whether bird or animal, found dead(BE) or torn by wild animals.(BF)