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Various Laws for the Ruler and the People

46 The Lord said:

The east gate of the inner courtyard must remain closed during the six working days of each week. But on the Sabbath and on the first day of the month, this gate will be opened. Israel’s ruler will go from the outer courtyard into the entrance room of this gate and stand in the doorway while the priest offers sacrifices to ask my blessing[a] and sacrifices to please me.[b] The ruler will bow with his face to the ground to show that he has worshiped me. Then he will leave, and the gate will remain open until evening.

Each Sabbath and on the first day of each month, the people of Israel must also come to the east gate and worship me. On the Sabbath, the ruler will bring six lambs and one ram to be offered as sacrifices to please me. There must be nothing wrong with any of these animals. With the ram, he is to offer twenty pounds of grain, and with each of the lambs, he can offer as much as he wants. He must also offer four quarts of olive oil with every twenty pounds of grain.

The ruler is to bring six lambs, a bull, and a ram to be offered as sacrifices at the New Moon Festival. There must be nothing wrong with any of these animals. With the bull and the ram, he is to offer twenty pounds of grain, and with each of the lambs, he can offer as much as he wants. He must also offer four quarts of olive oil with every twenty pounds of grain. The ruler must come through the entrance room of the east gate and leave the same way.

When my people come to worship me during any festival, they must always leave by the opposite gate from which they came: Those who come in the north gate must leave by the south gate, and those who come in the south gate must leave by the north gate. 10 Their ruler will come in at the same time they do and leave at the same time they leave.

11 At all other festivals and celebrations, twenty pounds of grain will be offered with a bull, and twenty pounds will be offered with a ram. The worshipers can offer as much grain as they want with each lamb. Four quarts of olive oil must be offered with every twenty pounds of grain.

12 If the ruler voluntarily offers a sacrifice to please me or to ask my blessing, the east gate of the inner courtyard will be opened for him. He will offer his sacrifices just as he does on each Sabbath; then he will leave, and the gate will be closed.

13 Each morning a year-old lamb that has nothing wrong with it must be offered as a sacrifice to please me. 14 Along with it, three pounds of fine flour mixed with a quart of olive oil must be offered as a grain sacrifice. This law will never change— 15 the lamb, the flour, and the olive oil will be offered to me every morning for all time.

Laws about the Ruler’s Land

16 The Lord God said:

If the ruler of Israel gives some of his land to one of his children, it will belong to the ruler’s child as part of the family property. 17 But if the ruler gives some of his land to one of his servants, the land will belong to the servant until the Year of Celebration, when it will be returned to the ruler.[c] Only the ruler’s children can keep what is given to them.

18 The ruler must never abuse my people by taking land from them. Any land he gives his children must already belong to him.

The Sacred Kitchens

19 The man who was showing me the temple[d] then took me back to the inner courtyard. We walked to the south side of the courtyard and stopped at the door to the sacred rooms that belonged to the priests. He showed me more rooms at the western edge of the courtyard 20 and said, “These are the kitchens where the priests must boil the meat to be offered as sacrifices to make things right[e] and as sacrifices for sin.[f] They will also bake the grain for sacrifices in these kitchens. That way, these sacred offerings won’t have to be carried through the outer courtyard, where someone could accidentally touch them and be harmed.”[g]

21 We went back to the outer courtyard and walked past the four corners. 22 At each corner I saw a smaller courtyard, sixty-eight feet long and fifty feet wide. 23 Around the inside of these smaller courtyards was a low wall of stones, and against the wall were places to build fires.[h] 24 The man said, “These are the kitchens where the temple workers will boil the meat that worshipers offer as sacrifices.”

The Stream Flowing from the Temple

47 The man took me back to the temple, where I saw a stream flowing from under the entrance. It began in the south part of the temple, where it ran past the altar and continued east through the courtyard.

We walked out of the temple area through the north gate and went around to the east gate. I saw the small stream of water flowing east from the south side of the gate.

The man walked east, then took out his measuring stick and measured five hundred sixty yards downstream. He told me to wade through the stream there, and the water came up to my ankles. Then he measured another five hundred sixty yards downstream, and told me to wade through it there. The water came up to my knees. Another five hundred sixty yards downstream the water came up to my waist. Another five hundred sixty yards downstream, the stream had become a river that could be crossed only by swimming. The man said, “Ezekiel, son of man, pay attention to what you’ve seen.”

We walked to the riverbank, where I saw dozens of trees on each side. The man said:

This water flows eastward to the Jordan River valley and empties into the Dead Sea, where it turns the salt water into fresh water. Wherever this water flows, there will be all kinds of animals and fish, because it will bring life and fresh water to the Dead Sea. 10 From En-Gedi to Eneglaim, people will fish in the sea and dry their nets along the coast. There will be as many kinds of fish in the Dead Sea as there are in the Mediterranean Sea. 11 But the marshes along the shore will remain salty, so that people can use the salt from them.

12 Fruit trees will grow all along this river and produce fresh fruit every month. The leaves will never dry out, because they will always have water from the stream that flows from the temple, and they will be used for healing people.

The Borders of the Land

13-14 The Lord God said to the people of Israel:

When the land is divided among the twelve tribes of Israel, the Joseph tribe[i] will receive two shares. Divide the land equally, because I promised your ancestors that this land would someday belong to their descendants. These are the borders of the land:

15 The northern border will begin at the Mediterranean Sea, then continue eastward to Hethlon, to Lebo-Hamath, then across to Zedad, 16 Berothah,[j] and Sibraim, which is on the border between the two kingdoms of Damascus and Hamath. The border will end at Hazer-Hatticon, which is on the border of Hauran. 17 So the northern border will run between the Mediterranean Sea and Hazar-Enon, which is on the border between Damascus and Hamath.[k]

18 The eastern border will begin on the border between the two kingdoms of Hauran and Damascus. It will run south along the Jordan River, which separates the territories of Gilead and Israel, and it will end at the Dead Sea near the town of Tamar.[l]

19 The southern border will begin at Tamar, then run southwest to the springs near Meribath-Kadesh. It will continue along the Egyptian Gorge and will end at the Mediterranean Sea.

20 The western border will run north along the Mediterranean Sea to a point just west of Lebo-Hamath.

21 That is the land to be divided among the tribes of Israel. 22 It will belong to the Israelites and to any foreigners living among them whose children were born in Israel. These foreigners must be treated like any other Israelite citizen, and they will receive 23 a share of the land given to the tribe where they live. I, the Lord God, have spoken.

The Division of Land among Tribes in the North

The Lord said:

48 1-7 Each tribe will receive a section of land that runs from the eastern border of Israel west to the Mediterranean Sea. The northern border of Israel will run along the towns of Hethlon and Lebo-Hamath, and will end at Hazar-Enon, which is on the border between the kingdoms of Damascus and Hamath. The tribes will receive their share of land in the following order, from north to south: Dan, Asher, Naphtali, Manasseh, Ephraim, Reuben, and Judah.

The Special Section of Land

The Lord said:

South of Judah’s territory will be a special section of land. Its length will be eight miles, and its width will run from the eastern border of Israel west to the Mediterranean Sea. My temple will be located in this section of land.

An area in the center of this land will belong to me. It will be eight miles long and six[m] miles wide.

10 I, the Lord, will give half of my sacred land to the priests. Their share will be eight miles long and three miles wide, and my temple will be right in the middle. 11 Only priests who are descendants of Zadok will receive a share of this sacred land, because they remained faithful to me when the Levites and the rest of the Israelites started sinning. 12 The land belonging to the priests will be the most sacred area and will lie south of the area that belongs to the Levites.

13 I will give the other half of my sacred land to the Levites. Their share will also be eight miles long and three miles wide, 14 and they must never sell or trade any of this land—it is the best land and belongs to me.

15 South of my sacred land will be a section eight miles long and two miles wide. It will not be sacred, but will belong to the people of Israel and will include the city of Jerusalem, together with its houses and pastureland. 16 The city will be a square: Each side will be a mile and a half long, 17 and an open area four hundred twenty feet wide will surround the city. 18 The land on the east and west sides of the city limits will be farmland for the people of Jerusalem; both sections will be three miles long and two miles wide. 19 People from the city will farm the land, no matter which tribe they belong to.

20 And so the center of this special section of land will be for my sacred land, as well as for the city and its property. The land will be a square, eight miles on each side.

21 The regions east and west of this square of land will belong to the ruler of Israel. His property will run east to the Jordan River and west to the Mediterranean Sea. In the very center of his property will be my sacred land, as well as the temple, 22 together with the share belonging to the Levites and the city of Jerusalem. The northern border of the ruler’s property will be the land that belongs to Judah, and the southern border will be the land that belongs to Benjamin.

The Division of Land among Tribes in the South

The Lord God said:

23-27 South of this special section will be the land that belongs to the rest of Israel’s tribes. Each tribe will receive a section of land that runs from the eastern border of Israel west to the Mediterranean Sea. The tribes will receive their share of land in the following order, from north to south: Benjamin, Simeon, Issachar, Zebulun, and Gad.

28 Gad’s southern border is also the southern border of Israel. It will begin at the town of Tamar, then run southwest to the springs near Meribath-Kadesh. It will continue along the Egyptian Gorge and end at the Mediterranean Sea.

29 That’s how the land of Israel will be divided among the twelve tribes. I, the Lord God, have spoken.

The Gates of Jerusalem

The Lord said:

30-34 The city of Jerusalem will have twelve gates, three on each of the four sides of the city wall. These gates will be named after the twelve tribes of Israel. The gates of Reuben, Judah, and Levi will be in the north; Joseph, Benjamin, and Dan will be in the east; Simeon, Issachar, and Zebulun will be in the south; Gad, Asher, and Naphtali will be in the west. Each side of the city wall will be a mile and a half long, 35 and so the total length of the wall will be six miles. The new name of the city will be “The-Lord-Is-Here!”

Footnotes

  1. 46.2 sacrifices to ask my blessing: See the note at 43.27.
  2. 46.2 sacrifices to please me: See the note at 40.38,39.
  3. 46.17 the Year of Celebration. . . to the ruler: This was a sacred year for Israel, traditionally called the “Year of Jubilee.” During this year, all property had to go back to its original owner (see Leviticus 25.8-34).
  4. 46.19 The man. . . temple: See 40.3.
  5. 46.20 sacrifices to make things right: See the note at 40.38,39.
  6. 46.20 sacrifices for sin: See the note at 40.38,39.
  7. 46.20 someone. . . touch them and be harmed: See the note at 44.19.
  8. 46.23 fires: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 23.
  9. 47.13,14 the Joseph tribe: That is, the two tribes of Manasseh and Ephraim, Joseph’s sons.
  10. 47.15,16 to Lebo-Hamath, then across to Zedad, 16 Berothah: One ancient translation; Hebrew “to Lebo-Zedad, 16 then across to Hamath, Berothah. “
  11. 47.17 which is on the border between Damascus and Hamath: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  12. 47.18 near the town of Tamar: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  13. 48.9 six: The Hebrew text has “three” (but see 45.1 and the note there).

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