Ezekiel 44 Good News Translation (GNT)
The Use of the East Gate
44 The man led me to the outer gate at the east side of the Temple area. The gate was closed, 2 and the Lord said to me, “This gate will stay closed and will never be opened. No human being is allowed to use it, because I, the Lord God of Israel, have entered through it. It is to remain closed. 3 The ruling prince, however, may go there to eat a holy meal in my presence. He is to enter and leave the gateway through the entrance room at the inner end.”
Rules for Admission to the Temple
4 Then the man took me through the north gate to the front of the Temple. As I looked, I saw that the Temple of the Lord was filled with the dazzling light of his presence. I threw myself face downward on the ground, 5 and the Lord said to me, “Mortal man, pay attention to everything you see and hear. I am going to tell you the rules and regulations for the Temple. Note carefully which persons are allowed to go in and out of the Temple, and which persons are not allowed.
6 “Tell those rebellious people of Israel that I, the Sovereign Lord, will no longer tolerate the disgusting things that they have been doing. 7 They have profaned my Temple by letting uncircumcised foreigners, people who do not obey me, enter the Temple when the fat and the blood of the sacrifices are being offered to me. So my people have broken my covenant by all the disgusting things they have done. 8 They have not taken charge of the sacred rituals in my Temple, but instead have put foreigners in charge.
9 “I, the Sovereign Lord, declare that no uncircumcised foreigner, no one who disobeys me, will enter my Temple, not even a foreigner who lives among the people of Israel.”
The Levites Are Excluded from the Priesthood
10 The Lord said to me, “I am punishing those Levites who, together with the rest of the people of Israel, deserted me and worshiped idols. 11 They may serve me in the Temple by taking charge of the gates and by performing the work of the Temple. They may kill the animals which the people offer for burnt offerings and for sacrifices, and they are to be on duty to serve the people. 12 But because they conducted the worship of idols for the people of Israel and in this way led the people into sin, I, the Sovereign Lord, solemnly swear that they must be punished. 13 They are not to serve me as priests or to go near anything that is holy to me or to enter the Most Holy Place. This is the punishment for the disgusting things they have done. 14 I am assigning to them the menial work that is to be done in the Temple.”
15 The Sovereign Lord said, “Those priests belonging to the tribe of Levi who are descended from Zadok, however, continued to serve me faithfully in the Temple when the rest of the people of Israel turned away from me. So now they are the ones who are to serve me and come into my presence to offer me the fat and the blood of the sacrifices. 16 They alone will enter my Temple, serve at my altar, and conduct the Temple worship. 17 When they enter the gateway to the inner courtyard of the Temple, they are to put on linen clothing. They must not wear anything made of wool when they are on duty in the inner courtyard or in the Temple. 18 So that they won't perspire, they are to wear linen turbans and linen trousers, but no belt. 19 Before they go to the outer courtyard where the people are, they must first take off the clothes they wore on duty in the Temple and leave them in the holy rooms. They are to put on other clothing in order to keep their sacred clothing from harming the people.[a]
20 “Priests must neither shave their heads nor let their hair grow long. They are to keep it a proper length. 21 Priests must not drink any wine before going into the inner courtyard. 22 No priest may marry a divorced woman; he is to marry only an Israelite virgin or the widow of another priest.
23 “The priests are to teach my people the difference between what is holy and what is not, and between what is ritually clean and what is not. 24 When a legal dispute arises, the priests are to decide the case according to my laws. They are to keep the religious festivals according to my rules and regulations, and they are to keep the Sabbaths holy.
25 “A priest is not to become ritually unclean by touching a corpse, unless it is one of his parents, one of his children or a brother or an unmarried sister. 26 After he has become clean again, he must wait seven days 27 and then go into the inner courtyard of the Temple and offer a sacrifice for his purification, so that he can serve in the Temple again. I, the Sovereign Lord, have spoken.
28 “The priests have the priesthood as their share of what I have given Israel to be handed down from one generation to another. They are not to hold property in Israel; I am all they need. 29 The grain offerings, the sin offerings, and the repayment offerings will be the priests' food, and they are to receive everything in Israel that is set apart for me. 30 The priests are to have the best of all the first harvest and of everything else that is offered to me. Each time the people bake bread, they are to give the priests the first loaf as an offering, and my blessing will rest on their homes. 31 The priests must not eat any bird or animal that dies a natural death or is killed by another animal.”
Ezekiel 44 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
The Closed Gate
44 Then he brought me back to the outer gate of the sanctuary, which faces east; and it was shut. 2 The Lord said to me: This gate shall remain 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 remain shut. 3 Only the prince, because he is a prince, may sit in it to eat food before the Lord; he shall enter by way of the vestibule of the gate, and shall go out by the same way.
Admission to the Temple
4 Then he brought me by way of the north gate to the front of the temple; and I looked, and lo! the glory of the Lord filled the temple of the Lord; and I fell upon my face. 5 The Lord said to me: Mortal, mark well, look closely, and listen attentively to all that I shall tell you concerning all the ordinances of the temple of the Lord and all its laws; and mark well those who may be admitted to[a] the temple and all those who are to be excluded from the sanctuary. 6 Say to the rebellious house,[b] to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord God: O house of Israel, let there be an end to all your abominations 7 in admitting foreigners, uncircumcised in heart and flesh, to be in my sanctuary, profaning my temple when you offer to me my food, the fat and the blood. You[c] have broken my covenant with all your abominations. 8 And you have not kept charge of my sacred offerings; but you have appointed foreigners[d] to act for you in keeping my charge in my sanctuary.
9 Thus says the Lord God: No foreigner, uncircumcised in heart and flesh, of all the foreigners who are among the people of Israel, shall enter my sanctuary. 10 But the Levites who went far from me, going astray from me after their idols when Israel went astray, shall bear their punishment. 11 They shall be ministers in my sanctuary, having oversight at the gates of the temple, and serving in the temple; they shall slaughter the burnt offering and the sacrifice for the people, and they shall attend on them and serve them. 12 Because they ministered to them before their idols and made the house of Israel stumble into iniquity, therefore I have sworn concerning them, says the Lord God, that they shall bear their punishment. 13 They shall not come near to me, to serve me as priest, nor come near any of my sacred offerings, the things that are most sacred; but they shall bear their shame, and the consequences of the abominations that they have committed. 14 Yet I will appoint them to keep charge of the temple, to do all its chores, all that is to be done in it.
The Levitical Priests
15 But the levitical priests, the descendants of Zadok, who kept the charge of my sanctuary when the people of Israel went astray from me, shall come near to me to minister to me; and they shall attend me to offer me the fat and the blood, says the Lord God. 16 It is they who shall enter my sanctuary, it is they who shall approach my table, to minister to me, and they shall keep my charge. 17 When they enter the gates of the inner court, they shall wear linen vestments; they shall have nothing of wool on them, while they minister at the gates of the inner court, and within. 18 They shall have linen turbans on their heads, and linen undergarments on their loins; they shall not bind themselves with anything that causes sweat. 19 When they go out into the outer court to the people, they shall remove the vestments in which they have been ministering, and lay them in the holy chambers; and they shall put on other garments, so that they may not communicate holiness to the people with their vestments. 20 They shall not shave their heads or let their locks grow long; they shall only trim the hair of their heads. 21 No priest shall drink wine when he enters the inner court. 22 They shall not marry a widow, or a divorced woman, but only a virgin of the stock of the house of Israel, or a widow who is the widow of a priest. 23 They shall teach my people the difference between the holy and the common, and show them how to distinguish between the unclean and the clean. 24 In a controversy they shall act as judges, and they shall decide it according to my judgments. They shall keep my laws and my statutes regarding all my appointed festivals, and they shall keep my sabbaths holy. 25 They shall not defile themselves by going near to a dead person; for father or mother, however, and for son or daughter, and for brother or unmarried sister they may defile themselves. 26 After he has become clean, they shall count seven days for him. 27 On the day that he goes into the holy place, into the inner court, to minister in the holy place, he shall offer his sin offering, says the Lord God.
28 This shall be their inheritance: I am their inheritance; and you shall give them no holding in Israel; I am their holding. 29 They shall eat the grain offering, the sin offering, and the guilt offering; and every devoted thing in Israel shall be theirs. 30 The first of all the first fruits of all kinds, and every offering of all kinds from all your offerings, shall belong to the priests; you shall also give to the priests the first of your dough, in order that a blessing may rest on your house. 31 The priests shall not eat of anything, whether bird or animal, that died of itself or was torn by animals.
Ezekiel 44 Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)
44 Then he brought me back by way of the outer gate of the sanctuary, the one facing east; and it was shut. 2 Adonai said to me, “This gate will remain shut; it will not be opened, and no one will go through it; because Adonai, the God of Isra’el, has gone through it. Therefore, it is to be kept shut. 3 Only the prince, since he is a prince, is to sit there to eat his meal before Adonai; he is to enter through the vestibule of the gate and leave the same way.”
4 Then he brought me through the north gate to the front of the house. I looked, saw Adonai’s glory filling the house of Adonai, and fell on my face. 5 Adonai said to me, “Human being, pay attention; see with your eyes and hear with your ears everything I tell you about all the regulations of Adonai’s house and about all its Torah; pay attention to who can enter the house and who must be excluded from the sanctuary. 6 You are to tell the rebels, the house of Isra’el, that this is what Adonai Elohim says: ‘House of Isra’el, enough of all your disgusting practices! 7 You brought in foreigners, uncircumcised in both heart and flesh, to be in my sanctuary and profane it — yes, my house — when you offered my food, the fat and the blood; thus in addition to all your disgusting practices, they broke my covenant. 8 Instead of taking care of my holy things yourselves, you have put these people in charge of my sanctuary.’ 9 Here is what Adonai Elohim says: ‘No foreigner, uncircumcised in both heart and flesh, is to enter my sanctuary — no foreigner living among the people of Isra’el.
10 “‘Rather, the L’vi’im, who went far away from me when Isra’el went astray, going astray after their idols — they will bear the consequences of their guilt, 11 but they are to serve in my sanctuary. They will have charge of the gates of the house and of serving in the house; they will slaughter the burnt offering and the sacrifice for the people; and they will attend and serve them. 12 Because they served them in the presence of their idols and became an occasion of sin for the house of Isra’el, I am raising my hand against them,’ says Adonai Elohim, ‘and they will bear the consequences of their guilt. 13 They will not approach me to serve me in the office of cohen or approach any of the holy things or the especially holy things; but they will bear their shame for the disgusting practices they committed. 14 Yet I will put them in charge of the house and all its maintenance and everything to be done in it.
15 “‘However, the cohanim, who are L’vi’im and descendants of Tzadok, who took care of my sanctuary when the people of Isra’el went astray from me — they are the ones who will approach me and serve me; it is they who will attend me and offer me the fat and the blood,’ says Adonai Elohim. 16 ‘They will enter my sanctuary, approach my table to minister to me and perform my service.
17 “‘Once they enter the gates of the inner courtyard, they are to wear linen clothing; they are not to wear any wool while serving at the gates of the inner courtyard or inside it. 18 They are to wear linen turbans on their heads and linen underclothes on their bodies, and they are not to wear anything that makes them sweat. 19 Before going out to the people in the outer courtyard, they are to remove the clothes in which they minister, lay them in the holy rooms, and put on other clothes; so that they won’t transmit holiness to the people by means of their clothing. 20 They are not to shave their heads or let their hair grow long, but must keep their hair carefully trimmed. 21 No cohen is to drink wine when he enters the inner courtyard. 22 They may not marry a widow or a divorcee but must marry virgins descended from the house of Isra’el or a widow whose deceased husband was a cohen.
23 “‘They are to teach my people the difference between holy and common and enable them to distinguish between clean and unclean. 24 They are to be judges in controversies, and they are to render decisions in keeping with my rulings. At all my designated festivals they are to keep my laws and regulations, and they are to keep my shabbats holy. 25 They are not to come to any dead person, because this would make them unclean; however, for father, mother, son, daughter, brother or sister who has had no husband they may make themselves unclean. 26 After a cohen has been purified, he is to wait seven days. 27 Then, on the day he enters the sanctuary, when he goes into the inner courtyard to minister in the sanctuary, he is to offer his sin offering,’ says Adonai Elohim.
28 “‘Their inheritance is to be this: I myself am their inheritance. You are not to grant them any possession in Isra’el — I myself am their possession. 29 They are to eat the grain offerings, sin offerings and guilt offerings; and everything in Isra’el devoted [to God] will be theirs. 30 The first of all the firstfruits of everything, and every voluntary contribution of everything, from all your offerings, will be for the cohanim. You are also to give the cohen the first of your dough, so that a blessing will rest on your house. 31 The cohanim are not to eat anything, bird or animal, that dies naturally or is torn to death.
Ezekiel 44 The Message (MSG)
44 Then the man brought me back to the outside gate complex of the Sanctuary that faces east. But it was shut.
2-3 God spoke to me: “This gate is shut and it’s to stay shut. No one is to go through it because God, the God of Israel, has gone through it. It stays shut. Only the prince, because he’s the prince, may sit there to eat in the presence of God. He is to enter the gate complex through the porch and leave by the same way.”
4 The man led me through the north gate to the front of the Temple. I looked, and—oh!—the bright Glory of God filling the Temple of God! I fell on my face in worship.
5 God said to me, “Son of man, get a grip on yourself. Use your eyes, use your ears, pay careful attention to everything I tell you about the ordinances of this Temple of God, the way all the laws work, instructions regarding it and all the entrances and exits of the Sanctuary.
6-9 “Tell this bunch of rebels, this family Israel, ‘Message of God, the Master: No more of these vile obscenities, Israel, dragging irreverent and unrepentant outsiders, uncircumcised in heart and flesh, into my Sanctuary, feeding them the sacrificial offerings as if it were the food for a neighborhood picnic. With all your vile obscenities, you’ve broken trust with me, the solemn covenant I made with you. You haven’t taken care of my holy things. You’ve hired out the work to foreigners who care nothing for this place, my Sanctuary. No irreverent and unrepentant aliens, uncircumcised in heart or flesh, not even the ones who live among Israelites, are to enter my Sanctuary.’
10-14 “The Levites who walked off and left me, along with everyone else—all Israel—who took up with all the no-god idols, will pay for everything they did wrong. From now on they’ll do only the menial work in the Sanctuary: guard the gates and help out with the Temple chores—and also kill the sacrificial animals for the people and serve them. Because they acted as priests to the no-god idols and made my people Israel stumble and fall, I’ve taken an oath to punish them. Decree of God, the Master. Yes, they’ll pay for what they’ve done. They’re fired from the priesthood. No longer will they come into my presence and take care of my holy things. No more access to The Holy Place! They’ll have to live with what they’ve done, carry the shame of their vile and obscene lives. From now on, their job is to sweep up and run errands. That’s it.
15-16 “But the Levitical priests who descend from Zadok, who faithfully took care of my Sanctuary when everyone else went off and left me, are going to come into my presence and serve me. They are going to carry out the priestly work of offering the solemn sacrifices of worship. Decree of God, the Master. They’re the only ones permitted to enter my Sanctuary. They’re the only ones to approach my table and serve me, accompanying me in my work.
17-19 “When they enter the gate complex of the inside courtyard, they are to dress in linen. No woolens are to be worn while serving at the gate complex of the inside courtyard or inside the Temple itself. They’re to wear linen turbans on their heads and linen underclothes—nothing that makes them sweat. When they go out into the outside courtyard where the people gather, they must first change out of the clothes they have been serving in, leaving them in the sacred rooms where they change to their everyday clothes, so that they don’t trivialize their holy work by the way they dress.
20 “They are to neither shave their heads nor let their hair become unkempt, but must keep their hair trimmed and neat.
21 “No priest is to drink on the job—no wine while in the inside courtyard.
22 “Priests are not to marry widows or divorcees, but only Israelite virgins or widows of priests.
23 “Their job is to teach my people the difference between the holy and the common, to show them how to discern between unclean and clean.
24 “When there’s a difference of opinion, the priests will arbitrate. They’ll decide on the basis of my judgments, laws, and statutes. They are in charge of making sure the appointed feasts are honored and my Sabbaths kept holy in the ways I’ve commanded.
25-27 “A priest must not contaminate himself by going near a corpse. But when the dead person is his father or mother, son or daughter, brother or unmarried sister, he can approach the dead. But after he has been purified, he must wait another seven days. Then, when he returns to the inside courtyard of the Sanctuary to do his priestly work in the Sanctuary, he must first offer a sin offering for himself. Decree of God, the Master.
28-30 “As to priests owning land, I am their inheritance. Don’t give any land in Israel to them. I am their ‘land,’ their inheritance. They’ll take their meals from the grain offerings, the sin offerings, and the guilt offerings. Everything in Israel offered to God in worship is theirs. The best of everything grown, plus all special gifts, comes to the priests. All that is given in worship to God goes to them. Serve them first. Serve from your best and your home will be blessed.
31 “Priests are not to eat any meat from bird or animal unfit for ordinary human consumption, such as carcasses found dead on the road or in the field.”