Ezekiel 44-45 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
The East Gate Must Remain Closed
44 The man took me back to the outer courtyard, near the east gate of the temple area. I saw that the doors to this gate were closed. 2 The Lord said:
I, the Lord God of Israel, came through this gate, so it must remain closed forever! No one must ever use it. 3 The ruler of Israel may come here to eat a sacrificial meal that has been offered to me, but he must use only the entrance room of this gate.
People Who Are Not Allowed in the Temple
4 Then the man took me through the north gate to the front of the temple. I saw that the brightness of the Lord’s glory had filled the temple, and I immediately bowed with my face to the ground.
5 The Lord said:
Ezekiel, son of man, I am going to give you the laws for my temple. So pay attention and listen carefully to what kind of people are allowed to come in the temple, and what kind are not. 6 Tell those rebellious people of Israel:
I, the Lord God, command you to stop your evil ways! 7 My temple has been disgraced, because you have let godless, stubborn foreigners come here when sacrifices are being offered to me. You have sinned and have broken our solemn agreement. 8 Instead of following the proper ways to worship me, you have put foreigners in charge of worship at my temple.
9 And so I, the Lord God, say that no godless foreigner who disobeys me will be allowed in my temple. This includes any foreigner living in Israel.
The Levites Are Punished
The Lord said:
10 Some of the Levites turned their backs on me and joined the other people of Israel in worshiping idols. So these Levites must be punished! 11 They will still be allowed to serve me as temple workers by guarding the gates and by killing the animals to be sacrificed and by helping the worshipers. 12 But because these Levites served the people of Israel when they worshiped idols, I, the Lord God, promise that the Levites will be punished. They did not stop the Israelites from sinning, 13 and now I will no longer let the Levites serve as my priests or come near anything sacred to me. They must suffer shame and disgrace for their disgusting sins. 14 They will be responsible for all the hard work that must be done in the temple.
Rules for Priests
The Lord said:
15 The priests of the Levi tribe who are descendants of Zadok the priest were faithful to me, even when the rest of the Israelites turned away. And so, these priests will continue to serve as my priests and to offer the fat and the blood of sacrifices. 16 They will come into my temple, where they will offer sacrifices at my altar and lead others in worship.
17 When they come to the inner courtyard, they must wear their linen priestly clothes. My priests must never wear anything made of wool when they are on duty in this courtyard or in the temple. 18 Even their turbans and underwear must be made of linen to keep my priests from sweating when they work. 19 And before they leave to join the other people in the outer courtyard, they must take off their priestly clothes, then place them in the sacred rooms and put on their regular clothes.[a] That way, no one will touch their sacred clothes and be harmed.[b]
20 Priests must never shave their heads when they are mourning. But they must keep their hair properly trimmed and not let it grow too long. 21 They must not drink wine before going to the inner courtyard.
22 A priest must not marry a divorced woman; he can marry only a virgin from Israel or the widow of another priest.
23 Priests must teach my people the difference between what is sacred and what is ordinary, and between what is clean and what is unclean. 24 They will make decisions in difficult legal cases, according to my own laws. They must also observe the religious festivals my Law requires and must always respect the Sabbath.
25 Touching a dead body will make a person unclean. So a priest must not go near a dead body, unless it is one of his parents or children, or his brother or unmarried sister. 26 If a priest touches a dead body, he is unclean and must go through a ceremony to make himself clean. Then seven days later, 27 he must go to the inner courtyard of the temple and offer a sacrifice for sin. After that, he may once again serve as my priest. I, the Lord God, have spoken.
28 I myself will provide for my priests, and so they won’t receive any land of their own. 29 Instead, they will receive part of the grain sacrifices, as well as part of the sacrifices for sin and sacrifices to make things right. They will also be given everything in Israel that has been completely dedicated to me.[c] 30 The first part of every harvest will belong to the priests. They will also receive part of all special gifts and offerings the Israelites bring to me. And whenever any of my people bake bread, they will give their first loaf as an offering to the priests, and I will bless the homes of the people when they do this.
31 Priests must not eat any bird or animal that dies a natural death or that has been killed by a wild animal.
The Lord’s Sacred Land
The Lord said:
45 When the land of Israel is divided among the twelve tribes, you must set aside an area that will belong to me. This sacred area will be eight miles long and six[d] miles wide. 2 The temple will be on a piece of land eight hundred forty feet square, and the temple will be completely surrounded by an open space eighty-four feet wide.
3-4 I will give half of my sacred land, a section eight miles long and three miles wide, to the priests who serve in the temple. Their houses will be in this half, as well as my temple, which is the most sacred place of all.
5 I will give the other half of my land to the Levites who work in my temple, and the towns[e] where they will live will be there.
6 Next to my sacred land will be an area eight miles long and two miles wide. This will belong to the people of Israel and will include the city of Jerusalem.
Land for Israel’s Ruler
The Lord said:
7-8 The regions west and east of my sacred land and the city of Jerusalem will belong to the ruler of Israel. He will be given the region between the western edge of my land and the Mediterranean Sea, and between the eastern edge of my land and the Jordan River. This will mean that the length of his property will be the same as the sections of land given to the tribes.
This property will belong to every ruler of Israel, so they will always be fair to my people and will let them live peacefully in the land given to their tribes.
Israel’s Rulers Must Be Honest
9 The Lord God said:
You leaders of Israel have robbed and cheated my people long enough! I want you to stop sinning and start doing what is right and fair. You must never again force my people off their own land. I, the Lord, have spoken.
10 So from now on, you must use honest weights and measures. 11 The ephah will be the standard dry measure, and the bath will be the standard liquid measure. Their size will be based on the homer, which will equal ten ephahs or ten baths.[f]
12 The standard unit of weight will be the shekel.[g] One shekel will equal twenty gerahs, and sixty shekels will equal one mina.
13 Leaders of Israel, the people must bring you one sixtieth of their grain harvests as offerings to me. 14 They will also bring one percent of their olive oil. These things will be measured according to the bath, and ten baths is the same as one homer or one cor. 15 Finally, they must bring one sheep out of every two hundred from their flocks.
These offerings will be used as grain sacrifices, as well as sacrifices to please me[h] and those to ask my blessing.[i] I, the Lord, will be pleased with these sacrifices and will forgive the sins of my people.
16 The people of Israel will bring you these offerings. 17 But during New Moon Festivals, Sabbath celebrations, and other religious feasts, you leaders will be responsible for providing animals for the sacrifices, as well as the grain and wine. All these will be used for the sacrifices for sin, the grain sacrifices, the sacrifices to please me, and those to ask my blessing. I will be pleased and will forgive the sins of my people.
18 The Lord God said:
On the first day of the first month,[j] a young bull that has nothing wrong with it must be offered as a sacrifice to purify the temple. 19 The priest will take some blood from this sacrifice and smear it on the doorposts of the temple, as well as on the four corners of the altar and on the doorposts of the gates that lead into the inner courtyard.
20 The same ceremony must also be done on the seventh day of the month, so that anyone who sins accidentally or without knowing it will be forgiven, and so that my temple will remain holy.
21 Beginning on the fourteenth day of the first month, and continuing for seven days, everyone will celebrate Passover and eat bread made without yeast. 22 On the first day, the ruler will bring a bull to offer as a sacrifice for his sins and for the sins of the people. 23 Each day of the festival he is to bring seven bulls and seven rams as sacrifices to please me,[k] and he must bring a goat[l] as a sacrifice for sin. These animals must have nothing wrong with them. 24 He will also provide twenty pounds of grain and four quarts of olive oil to be offered with each bull and each ram.
25 The Festival of Shelters will begin on the fifteenth day of the seventh month[m] and will continue for seven days. On each day of this festival, the ruler will provide the same number of animals that he did each day during Passover, as well as the same amount of grain and olive oil for the sacrifices.
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