In this chapter we have,
I. Some further rules given both to the priests and to the people,
relating to their worship,
II. A law concerning the prince's disposal of his inheritance,
III. A description of the places provided for the boiling of the
sacrifices and the baking of the meat-offerings,
Rules Relating to Worship.
B. C. 574.
1 Thus saith the Lord GOD; The gate of the inner court that
looketh toward the east shall be shut the six working days; but
on the sabbath it shall be opened, and in the day of the new moon
it shall be opened.
2 And the prince shall enter by the way of the porch of that
gate without, and shall stand by the post of the gate, and the
priests shall prepare his burnt offering and his peace offerings,
and he shall worship at the threshold of the gate: then he shall
go forth; but the gate shall not be shut until the evening.
3 Likewise the people of the land shall worship at the door of
this gate before the LORD in the sabbaths and in the new moons.
4 And the burnt offering that the prince shall offer unto the
LORD in the sabbath day shall be six lambs without blemish, and
a ram without blemish.
5 And the meat offering shall be an ephah for a ram, and the
meat offering for the lambs as he shall be able to give, and an
hin of oil to an ephah.
6 And in the day of the new moon it shall be a young bullock
without blemish, and six lambs, and a ram: they shall be without
7 And he shall prepare a meat offering, an ephah for a bullock,
and an ephah for a ram, and for the lambs according as his hand
shall attain unto, and a hin of oil to an ephah.
8 And when the prince shall enter, he shall go in by the way of
the porch of that gate, and he shall go forth by the way
9 But when the people of the land shall come before the LORD in
the solemn feasts, he that entereth in by the way of the north
gate to worship shall go out by the way of the south gate; and he
that entereth by the way of the south gate shall go forth by the
way of the north gate: he shall not return by the way of the gate
whereby he came in, but shall go forth over against it.
10 And the prince in the midst of them, when they go in, shall
go in; and when they go forth, shall go forth.
11 And in the feasts and in the solemnities the meat offering
shall be an ephah to a bullock, and an ephah to a ram, and to the
lambs as he is able to give, and a hin of oil to an ephah.
12 Now when the prince shall prepare a voluntary burnt offering
or peace offerings voluntarily unto the LORD, one shall then
open him the gate that looketh toward the east, and he shall
prepare his burnt offering and his peace offerings, as he did on
the sabbath day: then he shall go forth; and after his going
forth one shall shut the gate.
13 Thou shalt daily prepare a burnt offering unto the LORD of
a lamb of the first year without blemish: thou shalt prepare it
14 And thou shalt prepare a meat offering for it every morning,
the sixth part of an ephah, and the third part of a hin of oil,
to temper with the fine flour; a meat offering continually by a
perpetual ordinance unto the LORD.
15 Thus shall they prepare the lamb, and the meat offering, and
the oil, every morning for a continual burnt offering.
Whether the rules for public worship here laid down were designed to be
observed, even in those things wherein they differed from the law of
Moses, and were so observed under the second temple, is not certain; we
find not in the history of that latter part of the Jewish church that
they governed themselves in their worship by these ordinances, as one
would think they should have done, but only by law of Moses, looking
upon this then in the next age after as mystical, and not
literal. We may observe, in these verses,
I. That the place of worship was fixed, and rules were given concerning
that, both to prince and people.
1. The east gate, which was kept shut at other times, was to be opened
on the sabbath days, on the moons
and whenever the prince offered a voluntary offering,
Of the keeping of this gate ordinarily shut we read before
whereas the other gates of the court were opened every day, this was
opened only on high days and on special occasions, when it was opened
for the prince, who was to go in by the way of the porch of that
Some think he went in with the priests and Levites into the inner
court (for into that court this gate was the entrance), and they
observe that magistrates and ministers should join forces, and go the
same way, hand in hand, in promoting the service of God. But it should
rather seem that he did not go through the gate (as the glory of
the Lord had done), though it was open, but he went by the way of
the porch of the gate, stood at the post of the gate, and
worshipped at the threshold of the gate
where he had a full view of the priests' performances at the altar, and
signified his concurrence in them, for himself and for the people of
the land, that stood behind him at the door of that gate,
Thus must every prince show himself to be of David's mind, who would
very willingly be a door-keeper in the house of his God, and, as
the word there is, lie at the threshold,
Note, The greatest of men are less than the least of the ordinances of
God. Even princes themselves, when they draw near to God, must worship
with reverence and godly fear, owning that even they are
unworthy to approach to him. But Christ is our prince, whom God
causes to draw near and approach to him,
2. As to the north gate and south gate, by which they entered into the
court of the people (not into the inner court), there was this
rule given, that whoever came in at the north gate should go out
at the south gate, and whoever came in at the south gate
should go out at the north gate,
Some think this was to prevent thrusting and jostling one another; for
God is the God of order, and not of confusion. We may suppose
that they came in at the gate that was next their own houses, but, when
they went away, God would have them go out at that gate which would
lead them the furthest way about, that they might have time for
meditation; being thereby obliged to go a great way round the
sanctuary, they might have an opportunity to consider the
palaces of it, and, if they improved their time well in fetching
this circuit, they would call it the nearest way home. Some observe
that this may remind us, in the service of God, to be still pressing
and not to look back, and, in our attendance upon ordinances,
not to go back as we came, but more holy, and heavenly, and
3. It is appointed that the people shall worship at the door of the
east gate, where the prince does, he at the head and they attending
him, both on the sabbath and on the new moons
and that, when they come in and go out, the prince shall be in the
midst of them,
Note, Great men should, by their constant and reverent attendance on
God in public worship, give a good example to their inferiors, both
engaging them and encouraging them to do likewise. It is a very
graceful becoming thing for persons of quality to go to church with
their servants, and tenants, and poor neighbours about them, and to
behave themselves there with an air of seriousness and devotion; and
those who thus honour God with their honour he will delight to
II. That the ordinances of worship were fixed. Though the prince is
supposed himself to be a very hearty zealous friend to the sanctuary,
yet it is not left to him, no, not in concert with the priests, to
appoint what sacrifices shall be offered, but God himself appoints
them; for it is his prerogative to institute the rites and ceremonies
of religious worship.
1. Every morning, as duly as the morning came, they must offer a
lamb for a burnt-offering,
It is strange that no mention is made of the evening sacrifice; but
Christ having come, and having offered himself now in the end of the
we are to look upon him as the evening sacrifice, about the time of the
offering up of which he died.
2. On the sabbath days, whereas by the law of Moses four lambs were to
it is here appointed that (at the prince's charge) there shall be
six lambs offered, and a ram besides
to intimate how much we should abound in sabbath work, now in
gospel-time, and what plenty of the spiritual sacrifices of prayer and
praise we should offer up to God on that day; and, if with such
sacrifice God is well-pleased, surely we have a great deal of
reason to be so.
3. On the new moons, in the beginning of their months, there was over
and above the usual sabbath-sacrifices the additional offering of a
Those who do much for God and their souls, statedly and constantly,
must yet, upon some occasions, do still more.
4. All the sacrifices were to be without blemish; so Christ, the
great sacrifice, was
(1 Peter 1:19),
and so Christians, who are to present themselves to God as living
sacrifices, should aim and endeavour to be--blameless, and harmless,
and without rebuke.
5. All the sacrifices were to have their meat-offerings annexed to
them, for so the law of Moses had appointed, to show what a good table
God keeps in his house and that we ought to honour him with the fruit
of our ground as well as with the fruit of our cattle, because in both
he has blessed us,
In the beginning, Cain offered the one and Abel the other. Some observe
that the meat-offerings here are much larger in proportion than they
were by the law of Moses. Then the proportion was three tenth-deals
to a bullock, and two to a ram (so many tenth parts of an
ephah) and half a hin of oil at the most
but here, for every bullock and every ram, a whole ephah and a whole
hin of oil
which intimates that under the gospel, the great atoning sacrifice
having been offered, these unbloody sacrifices shall be more abounded
in; or, in general, it intimates that as now, under the gospel, God
abounds in the gifts of his grace to us, more than under the law, so we
should abound in the returns of praise and duty to him. But it is
observable that in the meat-offering for the lambs the prince is
allowed to offer as he shall be able to give
as his hand shall attain unto. Note, Princess themselves must
spend as they can afford; and even in that which is laid out in works
of piety God expects and requires but that we should do according to
our ability, every man as God has prepared him,
1 Corinthians 16:2.
God has not made us to serve with an offering
but considers our frame and state. Yet this will not countenance those
who pretend a disability that is not real, or those who by their
extravagances in other things disable themselves to do the good they
should. And we find those praised who, in an extraordinary case of
charity, went not only to their power, but beyond their
Laws Concerning the Prince's Inheritance.
B. C. 574.
16 Thus saith the Lord GOD; If the prince give a gift unto any
of his sons, the inheritance thereof shall be his sons'; it
shall be their possession by inheritance.
17 But if he give a gift of his inheritance to one of his
servants, then it shall be his to the year of liberty; after it
shall return to the prince: but his inheritance shall be his
sons' for them.
18 Moreover the prince shall not take of the people's
inheritance by oppression, to thrust them out of their
possession; but he shall give his sons inheritance out of his
own possession: that my people be not scattered every man from
We have here a law for the limiting of the power of the prince in the
disposing of the crown-lands.
1. If he have a son that is a favourite, or has merited well, he
may, if he please, as a token of his favour and in recompence for his
services, settle some parts of his lands upon him and his heirs for
provided it do not go out of the family. There may be a cause for
parents, when their children have grown up, to be more kind to one than
to another, as Jacob gave to Joseph one portion above his
2. Yet, if he have a servant that is a favourite, he may not in like
manner settle lands upon him,
The servant might have the rents, issues, and profits, for such a term,
but the inheritance, the jus proprietarium--the right of
proprietorship, shall remain in the prince and his heirs. It was
fit that a difference should be put between a child and a servant, like
The servant abides not in the house for ever, as the son does.
3. What estates he gives his children must be of his own
He shall not take of the people's inheritance, under pretence of
having many children to provide for; he shall not find ways to make
them forfeit their estates, or to force them to sell them and so
thrust his subjects out of their possession; but let him and his
sons be content with their own. It is far from being a prince's honour
to increase the wealth of his family and crown by encroaching upon the
rights and properties of his subjects; nor will he himself be a gainer
by it at last, for he will be but a poor prince when the people are
scattered every man from his possession, when they quit their
native country, being forced out of it by oppression, choosing rather
to live among strangers that are free people, and where what they have
they can call their own, be it ever so little. It is the interest of
princes to rule in the hearts of their subjects, and then all they have
is, in the best manner, at their service. It is better for themselves
to gain their affections by protecting their rights than to gain their
estates by invading them.
Buildings about the Temple.
B. C. 574.
19 After he brought me through the entry, which was at the
side of the gate, into the holy chambers of the priests, which
looked toward the north: and, behold, there was a place on the
two sides westward.
20 Then said he unto me, This is the place where the priests
shall boil the trespass offering and the sin offering, where they
shall bake the meat offering; that they bear them not out into
the utter court, to sanctify the people.
21 Then he brought me forth into the utter court, and caused me
to pass by the four corners of the court; and, behold, in every
corner of the court there was a court.
22 In the four corners of the court there were courts joined
of forty cubits long and thirty broad: these four corners
were of one measure.
23 And there was a row of building round about in them,
round about them four, and it was made with boiling places
under the rows round about.
24 Then said he unto me, These are the places of them that
boil, where the ministers of the house shall boil the sacrifice
of the people.
We have here a further discovery of buildings about the temple, which
we did not observe before, and those were places to boil the flesh of
the offerings in,
He that kept such a plentiful table at his altar needed large kitchens;
and a wise builder will provide conveniences of that kind. Observe,
1. Where those boiling-places were situated. There were some at the
entry into the inner court
and others under the rows, in the four corners of the outer court,
These were the places where, it is likely, there was most room to spare
for this purpose; and this purpose was found for the spare room, that
none might be lost. It is a pity that holy ground should be waste
2. What use they were put to. In those places they were to boil the
trespass-offering and the sin-offering, those parts of them which
were allotted to the priests and which were more sacred than the flesh
of the peace-offerings, of which the offerer also had a share. There
also they were to bake the meat-offering, their share of it,
which they had from the altar for their own tables,
Care was taken that they should not bear them out into the outer
court, to sanctify the people. Let them not pretend to sanctify the
people with this holy flesh, and so impose upon them; or let not the
people imagine that by touching those sacred things they were
sanctified, and made any the better or more acceptable to God. It
should seem (from
that there were those who had such a conceit; and therefore the priests
must not carry any of the holy flesh away with them, lest they should
encourage that conceit. Ministers must take heed of doing any thing to
bolster up ignorant people in their superstitious vanities.
Matthew Henry "Verse by Verse Commentary for 'Ezekiel' Matthew Henry Bible Commentary".