Ezekiel 45:1-25

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When the people would be allotting the land for the individual tribes of the nation, they were to set aside from the land a holy place as a contribution to YHWH. The dimensions of this portion were 25,000 (c. 8⅓ miles; c. 13.3 kilometers) in length and 10,000 (c. 3⅓ miles; c. 5.3 kilometers [20,000 (LXX), c. 6⅔ miles; c. 10.7 kilometers]) in width, with the unit of measurement possibly to be understood as being the cubit. This entire area was to be holy. (45:1; see the Notes section.) From the land that was set aside, a portion measuring 500 [c. 875 feet; c. 266.7 meters] on each side was to be allotted for the “holy place” or the temple complex. All around the allotted portion, there was to be an open space of 50 [c. 87½ feet; c. 26.7 meters]. (45:2; see the Notes section.)

At this point, the directive to measure changes to second person singular (“you shall measure”). The measuring was done with a reed that had a length of six long cubits (c. 10½ feet or over 3 meters). (See the Notes section on Ezekiel 40:5.) In view of the second person singular verb (“you shall measure”), it may be that, in the vision, Ezekiel measured a length of 25,000 (c. 8⅓ miles; c. 13.3 kilometers) and a width of 10,000 (c. 3⅓ miles; c. 5.3 kilometers [20,000 (LXX), c. 6⅔ miles; c. 10.7 kilometers]). The sanctuary would then be a most holy structure in this measured section. (45:3; see the Notes section.)

As a sacred portion of the measured territory, the area outside the temple complex would be the land where the priests who served YHWH at the temple would have their homes. The measured territory would include the part set aside for the sanctuary or temple. (45:4)

An additional area measuring 25,000 (c. 8⅓ miles; c. 13.3 kilometers) in length and 10,000 (c. 3⅓ miles; c. 5.3 kilometers [20,000 (LXX), c. 6⅔ miles; c. 10.7 kilometers]) in width would be granted to the Levites who served in the temple complex. According to the Hebrew text, they would have “20 chambers” as their possession. In this case, the Septuagint rendering appears to fit the context better. It refers to “cities” where the Levites would be living. (45:5)

The people were to given an area with a width of 5,000 (c. 1.7 miles; c. 2.7 kilometers) and a length of 25,000 (c. 8⅓ miles; c. 13.3 kilometers) for the city YHWH-Shammah and its surrounding territory. (48:15, 16, 35) This area would be alongside the holy contribution. The city itself would be for “all the house [or people] of Israel,” indicating that right to reside in the city would not be limited to one tribe. In the Septuagint, the concluding phrase could be rendered, “Thus the first fruit of the holy things for all the house of Israel they will be.” This could mean that the city and the surrounding area would be like the first fruit, or the section of land designated for the people of Israel, from the entire sacred territory. (45:6)

The prince or leader would have two parcels of land, one bordering the west side of the “holy contribution and the property of the city,” and the other one bordering the east side of the “holy contribution and the property of the city.” From the west side of his designated territory to the east side of his other designated parcel of land, the distance would correspond to one of the tribal territories extending from west to east. (45:7) This would be the prince’s property in Israel. The situation in the past when princes, rulers, or kings mistreated the people and appropriated land for themselves would cease. YHWH is quoted as declaring, “My princes shall no more oppress my people, and they shall let the house [or people] of Israel have the land according to their tribes.” These words indicated that the people would be secure in their allocated territories, with no fear of ever being deprived of any portion of their land. (45:8)

At this point, the message from the Lord YHWH is directed to the princes or leaders then among the people. He had enough of them and their corrupt actions. Through Ezekiel, YHWH commanded them to change their ways. “Thrust away violence and oppression and execute justice and righteousness. End your evictions of my people.” They needed to do what was just and right for the people, earnestly seeking to promote their well-being, and to stop depriving them of their land and homes. According to the Septuagint, they were to remove “oppression” from the people. (45:9)

The princes or leaders of the people had been guilty of defrauding them. Therefore, they were commanded to have “just” or honest balances for weighing and just or honest bath and ephah measures for determining liquid or dry quantities. The “bath” was a liquid measure of about 5.8 gallons (c. 22 liters), and the ephah was a dry measure of approximately 20 dry quarts (c. 22 liters). (45:10; see the Notes section.) The standard volume of the ephah and the bath measure was to be the same, with each one being one tenth of a homer. (45:11; see the Notes section.)

Standard weights used for business transactions were the shekel, the gerah, and the maneh or mina. Based on archeological evidence, the shekel has been calculated to have weighed 11.4 grams (0.403 ounce avoirdupois; 0.367 ounce troy). One shekel was to equal 20 gerahs (20 times 0.57 gram [0.01835 ounce troy]). The maneh or mina was to be reckoned as amounting to “20 shekels, 25 shekels, 5 and 10 shekels” or a total of 60 shekels. According to the Septuagint, the mina was to be “50 shekels,” and there also is archaeological evidence for a mina of 50 shekels. (45:12; see the Notes section.)

God’s people were to present the following special contribution: a sixth of an ephah (c. 3⅓ dry quarts; c. 3.7 liters) from every harvested homer (c. 200 dry quarts; c. 220 liters) of wheat and from every harvested homer of barley. (45:13; see the Notes section.) The amount of olive oil was measured by the “bath” It appears that the contributed amount was to be a “bath” from every “cor” or a tenth from every cor of oil. The “cor” was the liquid measure (c. 58.1 gallons; c. 220 liters), and the corresponding dry measure was the “homer,” which equaled ten ephahs or ten bath measures. (45:14; see the Notes section.) To make atonement for the people, one sheep from the flock out of every 200 (a “sheep from ten sheep” [LXX]) from the well-watered land of Israel (“from all the families of Israel” [LXX]) was to be presented in conjunction with the grain offering, the holocaust, and the peace offerings (offerings of well-being or communion sacrifices). (45:15)

This entire contribution was to be given to the “prince [or leader] of Israel.” (45:16) The apparent reason for this appears to be that he would be the one to make sure that the required offerings would be made. He personally would be responsible for the holocausts or burnt offerings, the grain offerings and the libations at the festivals, at the time of the new moon or on the first day of each month, on the sabbaths, and at all the appointed “festivals of the house [or people] of Israel.” The prince was to provide the sin offering, the grain offering, the holocaust, and the peace offerings (offerings of well-being or communion sacrifices) “to make atonement for the house [or people] of Israel.” (45:17)

The Lord YHWH declared that the sanctuary was to be cleansed or purified on the first day of the first month (Nisan or Abib [mid-March to mid-April]) For this purpose, an unblemished young bull was to be sacrificed as a sin offering. (45:18) The officiating priest was to take some blood from the sin offering and apply it to the “doorpost [doorposts (LXX)] of the house” or temple and to the “four corners of the altar ledge [the propitiatory and upon the altar (LXX)],” and the “doorpost [doorposts (LXX)] of the gate of the inner court.” (45:19) This procedure would also be followed to make atonement for the “house” or temple on the seventh day of the first month on account of defilement resulting from sin any man or person might have committed unintentionally or in ignorance. (45:20; see the Notes section.)

Passover was to be observed on the fourteenth day of the first month (Nisan or Abib [mid-March to mid-April]). Then, during the seven days of the festival, unleavened bread was the only bread to be eaten. (45:21) On the fourteenth day, the prince or leader was to provide a young bull as a sin offering “for himself [and the house (LXX), but not in P967] and for all the people of the land.” (45:22) For a holocaust to YHWH, the prince or leader was to provide seven unblemished young bulls and seven unblemished rams on each day of the seven-day festival. Additionally, for a sin offering, the prince was to provide a male goat on each day. (45:23)

A grain offering of one ephah (c. 20 dry quarts; c. 22 liters), which the prince would provide, was to accompany the sacrifice of each bull and each ram during the seven-day festival. He was also to provide a hin of olive oil for each ephah of grain. (45:24; see the Notes section.)

The festival of the seventh month (mid-September to mid-October) is not named in the verse, but it is referred to elsewhere in the Scriptures as the “festival of tabernacles” or booths. For seven days, starting with the fifteenth day of the seventh month, the prince was to provide the same sin offering, holocaust, grain offering, and olive oil as he did for the seven-day festival of the first month. (45:25; see the Notes section.)


Expository comments: If the “prince” or leader referred to in this chapter is considered to be the future Anointed One, Messiah, Christ, or, according to Ezekiel 34:24, YHWH’s “servant David,” the responsibility for the sacrifices that was entrusted to him may be regarded as prophetically indicating that he alone would be offering the acceptable sacrifice that was needed to effect the forgiveness of sins. This would harmonize with the reality that the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ in the first century CE proved to be the sole basis for having one’s sins forgiven. All who would benefit from what Jesus Christ accomplished must put faith in him and accept the liberation from sin that his sacrificial death effected. The reference in verse 22 that refers to the prince as making a sin offering for himself and the people could be understood to point to the Messiah in his role as a sin bearer. (See Isaiah 53:5 and 1 Peter 2:24.)

In verses 1, 2, 3, 5, and 6, the unit by which distances are measured is not specified. It is commonly assumed that the unit is the long cubit. In the commentary section, the approximate corresponding dimensions in feet and meters have been provided on the basis of this assumption. There is a possibility, however, that the assumption about the cubit is in error, and that the reference is to the reed. This would mean that the dimensions actually are six times greater, emphasizing the surpassing grandeur of the new arrangement for worship as represented by the visionary temple when compared with the magnificent temple that had been built during the reign of King Solomon.

In verse 10, the Septuagint refers to a “just measure” and a just choinix. The choinix was a liquid measure corresponding approximately to one quart or one liter.

The “homer” mentioned in verse 11 equaled approximately 220 liters (c. 200 dry quarts or c. 58.1 gallons). It appears that the Septuagint translator did not understand the Hebrew measures and transliterated “homer” as gomor and used métron (measure) for “bath” and choinix for “ephah.”

The Septuagint rendering of verse 12 is, “And the státhmion, twenty oboloí; the five síklois [shekels], five, and the ten síklois [shekels], ten, and fifty síklois will be your mna [mina].” The obolós or obol equaled a sixth of a drachma or about 0.57 gram. A mina of 50 shekels would equal about 570 grams (18.35 ounces troy) and a mina of 60 shekels would equal about 684 grams (c. 22 ounces troy).

In verse 13, the Septuagint refers to the contribution as a “first fruit.” The “ephah” is called métron (measure) and, in its second occurrence, oiphi, and the Hebrew word “homer” is transliterated as gomor.

The Septuagint rendering of verse 14 for the Hebrew “bath” is kotýle (c. 0.3 quart or liter), and the Hebrew word “homer” is transliterated as gomor.

The rendering of verse 20 in the Septuagint differs significantly from the reading of the extant Hebrew text. It says, “And thus you shall do in the seventh month; on the first day of the month, you shall take a portion from each one and make atonement for the house” or temple.

Sources vary in assigning a value to the “hin” mentioned in verse 24. The Jewish historian Josephus wrote in his Antiquities that a hin “contains two Athenian choas [III, viii, 3],” and that the “bath is able to contain 72 sextaries [VIII, ii, 9].” Other ancient sources indicate that two choes equaled 12 sextaries. With the bath measure reckoned at about 5.81 gallons or about 22 liters, a hin of two Athenian choas would be one sixth of a bath or about 7¾ pints (c. 3.7 liters).

In verse 25 of the Septuagint, the Hebrew expression for grain offering is transliterated as manaa.