Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament, by Carl Friedrich Keil and Franz Delitzsh, [1857-78], at sacred-texts.com
The determination of the means of support for the priesthood is followed still further by an explanation of the manner in which Jehovah will be their inheritance and possession; in other words, assign to the priests and Levites that portion of the land which was requisite for their abode. This is to be done by His causing a definite tract of land to be set apart for Himself, for the sanctuary, and for His servants, and for the capital, when the country is distributed among the tribes of Israel (Eze 45:1-8). On both sides of this domain the prince is also to receive a possession in land, to guard against all exaction on the part of the princes in time to come. And everywhere unrighteousness is to cease, just weight and measure are to be observed (Eze 45:9-12), and the people are to pay certain heave-offerings to provide for the sacrifices binding upon the prince (Eze 45:13-17).
The Holy Heave from the Land. - Eze 45:1. And when ye divide the land by lot for an inheritance, ye shall lift a heave for Jehovah as a holy (portion) from the land; five and twenty thousand the length, and the breadth ten (? twenty) thousand. It shall be holy in all its circumference round about. Eze 45:2. Of this five hundred shall belong to the Holy by five hundred square round about, and fifty cubits open space thereto round about. Eze 45:3. And from this measured space thou shalt measure a length of five and twenty thousand, and a breadth of ten thousand, and in this shall be the sanctuary, a holy of holies. Eze 45:4. A holy (portion) of the land shall this be; to the priests, the servants of the sanctuary, shall it belong who draw near to serve Jehovah, and it shall be to them the place for houses and a sanctuary for the sanctuary. Eze 45:5. And five and twenty thousand in length and ten thousand in breadth shall belong to the Levites, the servants of the house, for a possession to them as gates to dwell in. Eze 45:6. And as a possession for the city, ye shall give five thousand in breadth and five and twenty thousand in length, parallel to the holy heave; it shall belong to the whole house of Israel. Eze 45:7. And to the prince (ye shall give) on both sides of the holy heave and of the possession of the city, along the holy heave and along the possession of the city, on the west side westwards and on the east side eastwards, and in length parallel to one of the tribe-portions, from the western border to the eastern border. Eze 45:8. It shall belong to him as land, as a possession in Israel; and my princes shall no more oppress my people, but shall leave the land to the house of Israel according to its tribes. - The domain to be first of all set apart from the land at the time of its distribution among the tribes is called תּרוּמה, heave, not in the general sense of the lifting or taking of a portion from the whole, but as a portion lifted or taken by a person from his property as an offering for God; for תּרוּמה comes from הרים, which signifies in the case of the minchah the lifting of a portion which was burned upon the altar as אזכּרה for Jehovah (see the comm. on Lev 2:9). Consequently everything that was offered by the Israelites, either voluntarily or in consequence of a precept from the Lord for the erection and maintenance of the sanctuary and its servants, was called תּרוּמה (see Exo 25:2., Eze 30:15; Lev 7:14; Num 15:19, etc.). Only the principal instructions concerning the heave from the land are given here, and these are repeated in Eze 48:8-22, in the section concerning the division of the land, and to some extent expanded there. The introductory words, "when ye divide the land by lot for an inheritance," point to this. (See the map on Plate IV.) הפּיל, sc. גּירל (Pro 1:14), to cast the lot, to divide by lot, as in Jos 13:6. Then shall ye lift, set apart, a heave for Jehovah as a holy (portion) from the land. מן is to be closely connected with קדשׁ, as shown by Eze 45:4. In the numbers mentioned the measure to be employed is not given. But it is obvious that cubits are not meant, as Bttcher, Hitzig, and others assume, but rods; partly from a comparison of Eze 45:2 with Eze 42:16, where the space of the sanctuary, which is given here as 500 by 500 square, is described as five hundred rods on every side; and partly also from the fact that the open space around the sanctuary is fixed at fifty cubits, and in this case אמּה is added, because rods are not to be understood there as in connection with the other numbers. The correctness of this view, which we meet with in Jerome and Raschi, cannot be overthrown by appealing to the excessive magnitude of a τέμενος of twenty-five thousand rods in length and ten thousand rods in breadth; for it will be seen in Ezekiel 48 that the measurements given answer to the circumstances in rods, but not in cubits. The ארך before and after the number is pleonastic: "as for the length, twenty-five thousand rods in length." Length here is the measurement from east to west, and breadth from north to south, as we may clearly see from Eze 48:10. No regard, therefore, is paid to the natural length and breadth of the land; and the greater extent of the portions to be measured is designated as length, the smaller as breadth. The expression אשׂרה אלף is a remarkable one, as עשׂרת אלפים is constantly used, not only in Eze 45:3 and Eze 45:5, but also in Eze 48:9-10,Eze 48:13, Eze 48:18. The lxx have εἴκοσι χιλιάδας, twenty thousand breadth. This reading appears more correct than the Masoretic, as it is demanded by Eze 45:3 and Eze 45:5. For according to Eze 45:3, of the portion measured in Eze 45:1 twenty-five thousand rods in length and ten thousand in breadth were to be measured for the sanctuary and for the priests' land; and according to Eze 45:5, the Levites were also to receive twenty-five thousand rods in length and ten thousand in breadth for a possession. The first clause of Eze 45:3 is unintelligible if the breadth of the holy terumah is given in Eze 45:1 as only ten thousand rods, inasmuch as one cannot measure off from an area of twenty-five thousand rods in length and ten thousand rods in breadth another space of the same length and breadth. Moreover, Eze 45:1 requires the reading עשׂרים אלף, as the "holy terumah" is not only the portion set apart for the sanctuary and the priests' land, but also that which was set apart for the Levites.
According to Eze 48:14, this was also "holy to Jehovah;" whereas the portion measured off for the city was "common" (Eze 48:15). This is borne out by the fact that in the chapter before us the domain appointed for the city is distinguished from the land of the priests and Levites by the verb תּתּנוּ (Eze 45:6), whilst the description of the size of the Levites' land in Eze 45:5 is closely connected with that of the land of the priests; and further, that in Eze 45:7, in the description of the land of the prince, reference is made only to the holy terumah and the possession of the city, from which it also follows that the land of the Levites is included in the holy terumah. Consequently Eze 45:1 treats of the whole of the תּרוּמת קדשׁ, i.e., the land of the priests and Levites, which was twenty-five thousand rods long and twenty thousand rods broad. This is designated in the last clause of the verse as a holy (portion) in its entire circumference, and then divided into two domains in Eze 45:2 and Eze 45:3. - Eze 45:2. Of this (מזּה, of the area measured in Eze 45:1) there shall come, or belong, to the holy, i.e., to the holy temple domain, five hundred rods square, namely, the domain measured in Eze 42:15-20 round about the temple, for a separation between holy and common; and round this domain there is to be a מגרשׁ, i.e., an open space of fifty cubits on every side, that the dwellings to the priests may not be built too near to the holy square of the temple building. - Eze 45:3. המּדּה, this measure (i.e., this measured piece of land), also points back to Eze 45:1, and מן cannot be taken in any other sense than in מזּה (Eze 45:2). From the whole tract of land measured in Eze 45:1 a portion is to be measured off twenty-five thousand rods in length and ten thousand rods in breadth, in which the sanctuary, i.e., the temple with its courts, is to stand as a holy of holies. This domain, in the midst of which is the temple, is to belong to the priests, as the sanctified portion of the land, as the place or space for their houses, and is to be a sanctuary for the sanctuary, i.e., for the temple. Eze 45:5. A portion equally large is to be measured off to the Levites, as the temple servants, for their possession. The Keri יהיה is formed after the והיה of Eze 45:4, and the Chetib יהיה is indisputably correct. There is great difficulty in the last words of this verse, עשׂרים לשׁכת, "for a possession to them twenty cells;" for which the lxx give αὐτοῖς εἰς κατάσχεσιν πόλεις τοῦ κατοικεῖν, and which they have therefore read, or for which they have substituted by conjecture, ערים לשׁבת. We cannot, in fact, obtain from the עשׂרים לשׁכת of the Masoretic text any meaning that will harmonize with the context, even if we render the words, as Rosenmller does, in opposition to the grammar, cum viginti cubiculis, and understand by לשׁכת capacious cell-buildings. For we neither expect to find in this connection a description of the number and character of the buildings in which the Levites lived, nor can any reason be imagined why the Levites, with a domain of twenty-five thousand rods in length and ten thousand rods in breadth assigned to them, should live together in twenty cell-buildings. Still less can we think of the "twenty cells" as having any connection with the thirty cells in the outer court near to the gate-buildings (Eze 40:17-18), as these temple cells, even though they were appointed for the Levites during their service in the temple, were not connected in any way with the holy terumah spoken of here. Hvernick's remark, that "the prophet has in his eye the priests' cells in the sanctuary, - and the dwellings of the Levites during their service, which were only on the outside of the sanctuary, were to correspond to these," is not indicated in the slightest degree by the words, but is a mere conjecture. There is no other course open, therefore, than to acknowledge a corruption of the text, and either to alter לשׁכת `srym עשׂרים into לערים לשׁבת, as Hitzig proposes (cf. Num 35:2-3; Jos 21:2), or to take עשׂרים as a mistake for שׁערים: "for a possession to them as gates to dwell in," according to the frequent use of שׁערים, gates, for ערים, cities, e.g., in what was almost a standing phrase, "the Levites who is in thy gates" (= cities; Deu 12:18; Deu 14:27; Deu 16:11; cf. Exo 20:10; Deu 5:14, etc.). In that case the faulty reading would have arisen from the transposition of עש into שע, and the change of ב into כ.
Beside the holy terumah for sanctuary, priests, and Levites, they are also (Eze 45:6) to give a tract of twenty-five thousand rods in length and five thousand rods in breadth as the property of the city (i.e., of the capital). לעמּת: parallel to the holy heave, i.e., running by the longer side of it. This portion of land, which was set apart for the city, was to belong to all Israel, and not to any single tribe. The more precise directions concerning this, and concerning the situation of the whole terumah in the land, are not given till Eze 48:8-22. Here, in the present chapter, this heave is simply mentioned in connection with the privileges which the servants of the Lord and of His sanctuary were to enjoy. These included, in a certain sense, also the property assigned to the prince in Eze 45:7 as the head of the nation, on whom the provision of the sacrifices for the nation devolved, and who, apart from this, also needed for his subsistence a portion of the land, which should be peculiarly his own, in accordance with his rank. They were to give him as his property (the verb תּתּנוּ is to be supplied to לנּשׂיא from Eze 45:6) the land on this side and that side of the holy terumah and of the city-possession, and that in front (אל־פּני) of these two tracts of land, that is to say, adjoining them, extending to their boundaries, 'מפּאת ים , "from" (i.e., according to our view, "upon") the west side westward, and from (upon) the east side eastward; in other words, the land which remained on the eastern and western boundary of the holy terumah and of the city domain, both toward the west as far as the Mediterranean Sea, and toward the east as far as the Jordan, the two boundaries of the future Canaan. The further definition 'וארך לעמּות וגו is not quite clear; but the meaning of the words is, that "the length of the portions of land to be given to the prince on the east and west side of the terumah shall be equal to the length of one of the tribe-portions," and not that the portions of land belonging to the prince are to be just as long from north to south as the length of one of the twelve tribe-possessions. "Length" throughout this section is the extent from east to west. It is so in the case of all the tribe-territories (cf. Eze 48:8), and must be taken in this sense in connection with the portion of land belonging to the prince also. The meaning is therefore this: in length (from east to west) these portions shall be parallel to the inheritance of one of the twelve tribes from the western boundary to the eastern. Two things are stated here: first, that the prince's portion is to extend on the eastern and western sides of the terumah as far as the boundary of the land allotted to the tribes, i.e., on the east to the Jordan, and on the west to the Mediterranean (cf. Eze 48:8); and secondly, that on the east and west it is to run parallel (לעמּות) to the length of the separate tribe-territories, i.e., not to reach farther toward either north or south than the terumah lying between, but to be bounded by the long sides of the tribe-territories which bound the terumah on the north and south. ארך is the accusative of direction; אחד, some one (cf. Jdg 16:7; Psa 82:7). - In Eze 45:8, לארץ with the article is to be retained, contrary to Hitzig's conjecture לארץ: "to the land belonging to him as a possession shall it (the portion marked off in Eze 45:7) be to him." ארץ, as in Kg1 11:18, of property in land. In Eze 45:8, the motive for these instructions is given. The former kings of Israel had no land of their own, no domain; and this had driven them to acquire private property by violence and extortion. That this may not occur any more in the future, and all inducement to such oppression of the people may be taken from the princes, in the new kingdom of God the portion of land more precisely defined in Eze 45:7 is to be given to the prince as his own property. The plural, "my princes," does not refer to several contemporaneous princes, nor can it be understood of the king and his sons, i.e., of the royal family, on account of Eze 46:16; but it is to be traced to the simple fact "that Ezekiel was also thinking of the past kings, and that the whole series of princes, who had ruled over Israel, and still would rule, was passing before his mind" (Kliefoth), without our being able to conclude from this that there would be a plurality of princes succeeding one another in time to come, in contradiction to Eze 37:25. - "And the land shall they (the princes) leave to the people of Israel" (נתן in the sense of concedere; and הארץ, the land, with the exception of the portion set apart from it in Eze 45:1-7). - The warning against oppression and extortion, implied in the reason thus assigned, is expanded into a general exhortation in the following verses.
General Exhortation to Observe Justice and Righteousness in their Dealings. - Eze 45:9. Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, Let it suffice you, ye princes of Israel: desist from violence and oppression, and observe justice and righteousness, and cease to thrust my people out of their possession, is the saying of the Lord Jehovah. Eze 45:10. Just scales, and a just ephah, and a just bath, shall ye have. Eze 45:11. The ephah and the bath shall be of one measure, so that the bath holds the tenth part of the homer, and the ephah the tenth part of the homer: after the homer shall its standard be. Eze 45:12. And the shekel shall have twenty gerahs; twenty shekels, five and twenty shekels, fifteen shekels, shall the mina be with you. - The exhortation in Eze 45:9 is similar to that in Eze 44:6, both in form and substance. As the Levites and priests are to renounce the idolatry to which they have been previously addicted, and to serve before the Lord in purity and holiness of life, so are the princes to abstain from the acts of oppression which they have formerly practised, and to do justice and righteousness; for example, to liberate the people of the Lord from the גּרשׁות. גּרוּשׁה is unjust expulsion from one's possession, of which Ahab's conduct toward Naboth furnished a glaring example (1 Kings 21). These acts of violence pressed heavily upon the people, and this burden is to be removed (הרים מעל). In Eze 45:10-12 the command to practise justice and righteousness is expanded; and it is laid as a duty upon the whole nation to have just weights and measures. This forms the transition to the regulation, which follows from Eze 45:13 onwards, of the taxes to be paid by the people to the prince to defray the expenses attendant upon the sacrificial worship. - For Eze 45:10, see Lev 19:36 and Deu 25:13. Instead of the hin (Lev 19:36), the bath, which contained six hins, is mentioned here as the measure for liquids. The בּת is met with for the first time in Isa 5:10, and appears to have been introduced as a measure for liquids after the time of Moses, having the same capacity as the ephah for dry goods (see my Bibl. Archol. II pp. 139ff.). This similarity is expressly stated in Eze 45:11. Both of them, the ephah as well as the bath, are to contain the tenth of a homer (לשׂאת, to carry, for להכיל, to contain, to hold; compare Gen 36:7 with Amo 7:10), and to be regulated by the homer. Eze 45:12 treats of the weights used for money. The first clause repeats the old legal provision (Exo 30:13; Lev 27:25; Num 3:47), that the shekel, as the standard weight for money, which was afterwards stamped as a coin, is to contain twenty gerahs. The regulations which follow are very obscure: "twenty shekels, twenty-five shekels, fifteen shekels, shall the mina be to you." The mina, המּנה, occurs only here and in Kg1 10:17; Ezr 2:69; and Neh 7:71-72, - that is to say, only in books written during the captivity of subsequent to it. If we compare Kg1 10:17, according to which three minas of gold were used for a shield, with Ch2 9:16, where three hundred (shekels) of gold are said to have been used for a similar shield, it is evident that a mina was equal to a hundred shekels. Now as the talent (כּכּר) contained three thousand (sacred or Mosaic) shekels (see the comm. on Exo 38:25-26), the talent would only have contained thirty minas, which does not seem to answer to the Grecian system of weights. For the Attic talent contained sixty minas, and the mina a hundred drachms; so that the talent contained six thousand drachms, or three thousand didrachms. But as the Hebrew shekel was equal to a δίδραχμον, the Attic talent with three thousand didrachms corresponded to the Hebrew talent with three thousand shekels; and the mina, as the sixtieth part of the talent, with a hundred drachms or fifty didrachms, ought to correspond to the Hebrew mina with fifty shekels, as the Greek name μνᾶ is unquestionably derived from the Semitic מנה. The relation between the mina and the shekel, resulting from a comparison of Kg1 10:17 with Ch2 9:16, can hardly be made to square with this, by the assumption that the shekels referred to in Ch2 9:16 are not Mosaic shekels, but so-called civil shekels, the Mosaic half-shekel, the beka, בּקע, having acquired the name of shekel in the course of time, as the most widely-spread silver coin of the larger size. A hundred such shekels or bekas made only fifty Mosaic shekels, which amounted to one mina; while sixty minas also formed one talent (see my Bibl. Archol. II pp. 135, 136).
But the words of the second half of the verse before us cannot be brought into harmony with this proportion, take them how we will. If, for example, we add the three numbers together, 20 + 25 + 15 shekels shall the mina be to you, Ezekiel would fix the mina at sixty shekels. But no reason whatever can be found for such an alteration of the proportion between the mina and the talent on the one hand, or the shekel on the other, if the shekel and talent were to remain unchanged. And even apart from this, the division of the sixty into twenty, twenty-five, and fifteen still remains inexplicable, and can hardly be satisfactorily accounted for in the manner proposed by the Rabbins, namely, that there were pieces of money in circulation of the respective weights of twenty, twenty-five, and fifteen shekels, for the simple reason that no historical trace of the existence of any such pieces can be found, apart from the passage before us.
(Note: It is true that Const. l'Empereur has observed, in the Discursus ad Lectorem prefixed to the Paraphrasis Joseph. Jachiadae in Danielem, that "as God desired that justice should be preserved in all things, He noticed the various coins, and commanded that they should have their just weight. One coin, according to Jewish testimony, was of twenty shekels, a second of twenty-five, and a third of fifteen shekels; and as these together made one mina, according to the command of God, in order that it might be manifest that each had its proper quantity, He directed that they should be weighed against the mina, so that it might be known whether each had its own weight by means of the mina, to which they ought to be equal." But the Jewish witnesses (Judaei testes) are no other than the Rabbins of the Middle Ages, Sal. Jarchi (Raschi), Dav. Kimchi, and Abrabanel, who attest the existence of these pieces of money, not on the ground of historical tradition, but from an inference drawn from this verse. The much earlier Targumist knows nothing whatever of them, but paraphrases the words thus: "the third part of a mina has twenty shekels; a silver mina, five and twenty shekels; the fourth part of a mina, fifteen shekels; all sixty are a mina; and a great mina (i.e., probably one larger than the ordinary, or civil mina) shall be holy to you;" from which all that can be clearly learned is, that he found in the words of the prophet a mina of sixty shekels. A different explanation is given by the lxx, whose rendering, according to the Cod. Vatic. (Tischendorf), runs as follows: πέντε σίκλοι, πέντε καὶ σίκλοι, δέκα καὶ πεντήκοντα σίκλοι ἡ μνᾶ ἔσται ὑμῖν; and according to the Cod. Al.: οἱ πεντε σικλοι πεντε και ὁι δεκα σικλοι δεκα και πεντηκοντα κ.τ.λ. Boeckh (Metrol. Untersuch. pp. 54ff.) and Bertheau (Zur Gesch. der Isr. pp. 9ff.) regard the latter as the original text, and punctuate it thus: οἱ πέντε σίκλοι πέντε, καὶ οἱ δέκα σίκλοι δέκα, καὶ πεντήκοντα σίκλοι ἡ μνᾶ ἔσται ὑμῖν, - interpreting the whole verse as follows: "the weight once fixed shall remain unaltered, and unadulterated in its original value: namely, a shekel shall contain ten gerahs; five shekels, or a five-shekel piece, shall contain exactly five; and so also a ten-shekel piece, exactly ten shekels; and the mina shall contain fifty shekels." But however this explanation may appear to commend itself, and although for this reason it has been adopted by Hvernick and by the author of this commentary in his Bibl. Archol., after a repeated examination of the matter I cannot any longer regard it as well-founded, but am obliged to subscribe to the view held by Hitzig and Kliefoth, "that this rendering of the lxx carries on the face of it the probability of its resting upon nothing more than an attempt to bring the text into harmony with the ordinary value of the mina." For apart from the fact that nothing is known of the existence of five and ten shekel pieces, it is impossible to get any intelligible meaning from the words, that five shekels are to be worth five shekels, and ten shekels worth ten shekels, as it was self-evident that five shekels could not be worth either four shekels or six.)
And the other attempts that have been made to explain the difficult words are no satisfactory. The explanation given by Cocceius and J. D. Michaelis (Supplem. ad lex. p. 1521), that three different minas are mentioned, - a smaller one of fifteen Mosaic shekels, a medium size of twenty shekels, and a large one of twenty-five-is open to the objection justly pointed out by Bertheau, that in an exact definition of the true weight of anything we do not expect three magnitudes, and the purely arbitrary assumption of three different minas is an obvious subterfuge. The same thing applies to Hitzig's explanation, that the triple division, twenty, twenty-five, and fifteen shekels, has reference to the three kinds of metal used for coinage, viz., gold, silver, and copper, so that the gold mina was worth, or weighed, twenty shekels; the silver mina, twenty-five; and the copper mina, fifteen, - which has no tenable support in the statement of Josephus, that the shekel coined by Simon was worth four drachms; and is overthrown by the incongruity in the relation in which it places the gold to the silver, and both these metals to the copper. - There is evidently a corruption of very old standing in the words of the text, and we are not in possession of the requisite materials for removing it by emendation.
The Heave-offerings of the People. - Eze 45:13. This is the heave-offering which ye shall heave: The sixth part of the ephah from the homer of wheat, and ye shall give the sixth part of the ephah from the homer of barley; Eze 45:14. And the proper measure of oil, from the bath of oil a tenth of the bath from the cor, which contains ten baths or a homer; for ten baths are a homer; Eze 45:15. And one head from the flock from two hundred from the watered land of Israel, for the meat-offering, and for the burnt-offering, and for the peace-offerings, to make atonement for them, is the saying of the Lord Jehovah. Eze 45:16. All the people of the land shall be held to this heave-offering for the prince in Israel. Eze 45:17. And upon the prince shall devolve the burnt-offerings, and the meat-offering, and the drink-offering at the feasts, the new moons, and the Sabbaths, at all the festivals of the house of Israel; he shall provide the sin-offering, and the meat-offering, and the burnt-offering, and the peace-offerings, to make atonement for the house of Israel. - The introductory precepts to employ just measures and weights are now followed by the regulations concerning the productions of nature to be paid by the Israelites to the prince for the sacrificial worship, the provision for which was to devolve on him. Fixed contributions are to be levied for this purpose, of wheat, barley, oil, and animals of the flock - namely, according to Eze 45:13-15, of corn the sixtieth part, of oil the hundredth part, and of the flock the two hundredth head. There is no express mention made of wine for the drink-offering, or of cattle, which were also requisite for the burnt-offering and peace-offering, in addition to animals from the flock. The enumeration therefore is not complete, but simply contains the rule according to which they were to act in levying what was required for the sacrifices. The word שׁשּׁיתם in Eze 45:13 must not be altered, as Hitzig proposes; for although this is the only passage in which שׁשּׁה occurs, it is analogous to חמּשׁ in Gen 41:34, both in its formation and its meaning, "to raise the sixth part." A sixth of an ephah is the sixtieth part of a homer. חק, that which is fixed or established, i.e., the proper quantity. הבּת השּׁמן is in apposition to השּׁמן (for the article, see the comm. on Eze 43:21), the fixed quantity of oil, namely of the bath of oil-i.e., the measure of that which is to be contributed from the oil, and that from the bath of oil-shall be the tenth part of the bath from the cor, i.e., the hundredth part of the year's crop, as the cor contained ten baths. The cor is not mentioned in the preceding words (Eze 45:11), nor does it occur in the Mosaic law. It is another name for the homer, which is met with for the first time in the writings of the captivity (Kg1 5:2, 25; Ch2 2:9; Ch2 27:5). For this reason its capacity is explained by the words which are appended to מכּור: 'עשׂרת הבּתּים וגו, from the cor (namely) of ten baths, one homer; and the latter definition is still further explained by the clause, "for ten baths are one homer." - Eze 45:15. ממּשׁקה, from the watered soil (cf. Gen 13:10), that is to say, not a lean beast, but a fat one, which has been fed upon good pasture. לכפּר עליהם indicates the general purpose of the sacrifices (vid., Lev 1:4). - Eze 45:16. The article in העם, as in הבּת ni sa ,העם ni in Eze 45:14. היה אל, to be, i.e., to belong, to anything - in other words, to be held to it, under obligation to do it; היה על (Eze 45:17), on the other hand, to be upon a person, i.e., to devolve upon him. In בּכל־מועדי the feast and days of festival, which have been previously mentioned separately, are all grouped together. 'עשׂה את החטּאת וגו' .rehtegot, to furnish the sin-offering, etc., i.e., to supply the materials for them.
So far as the fact is concerned, the Mosaic law makes no mention of any contributions to the sanctuary, with the exception of the first-born, the first-fruits and the tithes, which could be redeemed with money, however. Besides these, it was only on extraordinary occasions - e.g., the building of the tabernacle - that the people were called upon for freewill heave-offerings. But the Mosaic law contains no regulation as to the sources from which the priests were to meet the demands for the festal sacrifices. So far, the instructions in the verses before us are new. What had formerly been given for this object as a gift of spontaneous love, is to become in the future a regular and established duty, to guard against that arbitrary and fitful feeling from which the worship of God might suffer injury. - To these instructions there are appended, from Eze 45:18 onwards, the regulations concerning the sacrifices to be offered at the different festivals.
The Sin-Offerings in the First Month
Eze 45:18. Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, In the first (month), on the first of the month, thou shalt take a bullock, a young ox without blemish, and absolve the sanctuary. Eze 45:19. And the priest shall take of the blood of the sin-offering, and put it upon the door-posts of the house, and upon the four corners of the enclosure of the altar, and upon the door-posts at the gate of the inner court. Eze 45:20. And so shalt thou do on the seventh of the month, for the sake of erring men and of folly, that so ye may make atonement for the house. - The Mosaic law had prescribed for the new moons generally the sin-offering of a he-goat, in addition to the burnt-offerings and meat-offerings (Num 28:15); and, besides, this, had also distinguished the new-moon's day of the seventh month by a special feast-offering to be added to the regular new-moon's sacrifices, and consisting of a sin-offering of a he-goat, and burnt-offerings and meat-offerings (Num 29:2-6). This distinguishing of the seventh month by a special new-moon's sacrifice is omitted in Ezekiel; but in the place of it the first month is distinguished by a sin-offering to be presented on the first and seventh days. Nothing is said in Eze 45:18-20 about burnt-offerings for these days; but as the burnt-offering is appointed in Eze 46:6-7 for the new-moon's day without any limitation, and the regulations as to the connection between the meat-offering and the burnt-offerings are repeated in Eze 46:11 for the holy days and feast days (הגּים וּמועדים) generally, and the new-moon's day is also reckoned among the מועדים, there is evidently good ground for the assumption that the burnt-offering and meat-offering prescribed for the new moon in Eze 46:6-7 were also to be offered at the new moon of the first month. On the other hand, no special burnt-offering or meat-offering is mentioned for the seventh day of the first month; so that in all probability only the daily burnt-offering and meat-offering were added upon that day (Eze 46:13.) to the sin-offering appointed for it. Moreover, the sin-offerings prescribed for the first and seventh days of the first month are distinguished from the sin-offerings of the Mosaic law, partly by the animal selected (a young bullock), and partly by the disposal of the blood. According to the Mosaic law, the sin-offering for the new moons, as well as for all the feast days of the year, the Passover, Pentecost, day of trumpets, day of atonement, and feast of tabernacles (all eight days), was to be a he-goat (Num 28:15; Num 22:30; Num 29:5, Num 29:11, Num 29:16, Num 29:19, Num 29:22, Num 29:25, Num 29:28, Num 29:31, Num 29:34, Num 29:38). Even the sin-offering for the congregation of Israel on the great day of atonement simply consisted in a he-goat (or two he-goats, Lev 16:5); and it was only for the sin-offering for the high priest, whether on that day (Lev 16:3), or when he had sinned so as to bring guilt upon the nation (Lev 4:3), or when the whole congregation had sinned (Lev 4:14), that a bullock was required. On the other hand, according to Ezekiel, the sin-offering both on the first and seventh days of the first month, and also the one to be brought by the prince on the fourteenth day of that month, i.e., on the day of the feast of Passover (Eze 45:22), for himself and for all the people, were to consist of a bullock and only the sin-offering on the seven days of the feast of Passover and tabernacles of a he-goat (Eze 45:23, Eze 45:25). The Mosaic law contains no express instructions concerning the sprinkling of the blood of the sin-offering at the new moons and feasts (with the exception of the great atoning sacrifice on the day of atonement), because it was probably the same as in the case of the sin-offerings for the high priest and the whole congregation, when the blood was first of all to be sprinkled seven times against the curtain in front of the capporeth, and then to be applied to the horns of the altar of incense, and the remainder to be poured out at the foot of the altar of burnt-offering (Lev 4:6-7, Lev 4:17-18); whereas, in the case of the great atoning sacrifice on the day of atonement, some of the blood was first of all to be sprinkled at or upon the front side of the capporeth and seven times upon the ground, and after that it was to be applied to the horns of the altar of incense and of the altar of burnt-offering (Lev 16:15-17). But according to Ezekiel, some of the blood of the sin-offerings on the first and seventh days of the first month, and certainly also on the same days of the feasts of Passover and tabernacles, was to be smeared upon the posts of the house - that is to say, the posts mentioned in Eze 41:21, not merely those of the היכל, the door into the holy place, but also those of the קדשׁ, the door leading into the most holy place, upon the horns and the four corners of the enclosure of the altar of burnt-offering (Eze 43:20), and upon the posts of the gate of the inner court. It is a point in dispute here whether שׁער החצר is only one door, and in that case whether the east gate of the inner court is to be understood as in Eze 46:2 (מזוּזת השּׁער), as Hitzig and others suppose, or whether שׁער rehtehw is to be taken in a collective sense as signifying the three gates of the inner court (Kliefoth and others). The latter view is favoured by the collective use of the word מזוּזה by itself, and also by the circumstance that if only one of the three gates were intended, the statement which of the three would hardly have been omitted (cf. Eze 46:1; Eze 44:1, etc.).
According to Eze 45:18, these sin-offerings were to serve for the absolving of the sanctuary; and according to Eze 45:20, to make atonement for the temple on account of error or folly. Both directions mean the same thing. The reconciliation of the temple was effected by its absolution or purification from the sins that had come upon it through the error and folly of the people. Sins בּשׁגגה are sins occasioned by the weakness of flesh and blood, for which expiation could be made by sin-offerings (see the comm. on Lev 4:2 and Num 15:22.). מאישׁ שׁגה, lit., away from the erring man, i.e., to release him from his sin. This expression is strengthened by מפּתי, away from simplicity or folly; here, as in Pro 7:7, as abstractum pro concreto, the simple man. - The great expiatory sacrifice on the day of atonement answered the same purpose, the absolution of the sanctuary from the sins of the people committed בּשׁגגה (Lev 16:16.).
Sacrifices at the Passover and Feast of Tabernacles
Eze 45:21. In the first (month), on the fourteenth day of the month, ye shall keep the Passover, a feast of a full week; unleavened shall be eaten. Eze 45:22. And the prince shall prepare on that day for himself and for all the people of the land a bullock as a sin-offering. Eze 45:23. And for the seven days of the feast he shall prepare as a burnt-offering for Jehovah seven bullocks and seven rams without blemish daily, the seven days, and as a sin-offering a he-goat daily. Eze 45:24. And as a meat-offering, he shall prepare an ephah for the bullock, and an ephah for the ram, and a hin of oil for the ephah. Eze 45:25. In the seventh (month), on the fifteenth day of the month, at the feast he shall do the same for seven days with regard to the sin-offering, as also the burnt-offering, and the meat-offering, as also the oil. - In the words, "shall the Passover be to you," there lies the thought that the Passover is to be celebrated in the manner appointed in Ex 12, with the paschal meal in the evening of the 14th Abib. - There is considerable difficulty connected with the following words, חג שׁבעות ימים, which all the older translators have rendered "a feast of seven days." שׁבעות ".syad neves fo signifies periods of seven days or weeks. A feast of heptads of days, or weeks of days, cannot possibly mean a feast which lasted only seven days, or a week. חג שׁבעות is used elsewhere for the feast of weeks (Exo 34:22; Deu 16:10), because they were to reckon seven weeks from the second day of the Passover, the day of the sheaf of first-fruits, and then to keep the feast of the loaves of first-fruits, or the feast of harvest (Deu 16:9). Kliefoth retains this well-established meaning of the words in this passage also, and give the following explanation: If the words חג stood alone without ימים, it would mean that in future the Passover was to be kept like the feast of seven weeks, as the feast of the loaves of first-fruits. But the addition of ימים, which is to be taken in the same sense as in Dan 10:2-3; Gen 29:14, etc., gives this turn to the thought, that in future the Passover is to be kept as a feast of seven weeks long, "a feast lasting seven weeks." According to this explanation, the meaning of the regulation is, "that in future not only the seven days of sweet loaves, but the whole of the seven weeks intervening between the feast of the wave-sheaf and the feast of the wave-loaves, was to be kept as a Passover, that the whole of the quinquagesima should be one Easter חג, and the feast of weeks be one with the Passover." To this there is appended the further regulation, that unleavened bread is to be eaten, not merely for the seven days therefore, but for the whole of the seven weeks, till the feast of the loaves of first-fruits. This explanation is a very sagacious one, and answers to the Christian view of the Easter-tide. But it is open to objections which render it untenable. In the first place, that ימים, when used in the sense of lasting for days, is not usually connected with the preceding noun in the construct state, but is attached as an adverbial accusative; compare שׁלשׁה in Dan 10:2-3, and שׁנתים ימים in Gen 41:1; Jer 28:3, Jer 28:11, etc. But a still more important objection is the circumstance that the words שׁבעת ימי החג in Eze 45:23 unquestionably point back to חג שׁבעות ימים, as there is no other way in which the article in החג ni elcitra eht h can be explained, just as בּיּום ההוּא in Eze 45:22 points back to the fourteenth day mentioned in Eze 45:21 as the time of the pesach feast. It follows from this, however, that שׁבעות ימים can only signify a seven days' feast. It is true that the plural שׁבעות appears irreconcilable with this; for Kimchi's opinion, that שׁבעות is a singular, written with Cholem instead of Patach, is purely a result of perplexity, and the explanation given by Gussetius, that Ezekiel speaks in the plural of weeks, because the reference is "to the institution of the Passover as an annual festival to be celebrated many times in the series of times and ages," is no better. The plural שׁבעות must rather be taken as a plural of genus, as in ערי, Gen 13:12 and Jdg 12:7; בּהן, Gen 19:29; or בּנים, Gen 21:7; Isa 37:3; so that Ezekiel speaks indefinitely of heptads of days, because he assumes that the fact is well known that the feast only lasted one heptad of days, as he expressly states in Eze 45:23. If this explanation of the plural does not commend itself, we must take שׁבעות as a copyist's error for שׁבעת, feast of a heptad of days, i.e., a feast lasting a full week, and attribute the origin of this copyist's error to the fact that חג שׁבעת naturally suggested the thought of חג שׁבעות, feast of weeks, or Pentecost, not merely because the feast of Pentecost is always mentioned in the Pentateuch along with the feasts of Passover and tabernacles, but also because the only singular form of שׁבעות that we meet with elsewhere is שׁבוּע (Dan 9:27), or in the construct state שׁבע (Gen 29:27), not שׁבעה and שׁבעת.
The word הפּסח is used here as in Deu 16:1-2, so that it includes the seven days' feast of unleavened bread. The Niphal יאכל is construed with the accusative in the olden style: mazzoth shall men eat. - In Eze 45:22 and Eze 45:23 there follow the regulations concerning the sacrifices of this festival, and first of all concerning the sin-offering to be presented on the fourteenth day, on the evening of which the paschal lamb was slaughtered and the paschal meal was held (Eze 45:22). The Mosaic legislation makes no allusion to this, but simply speaks of festal sacrifices for the seven days of mazzoth, the 15th to the 21st Abib (Lev 23:5-8; Num 28:16-25), with regard to which fresh regulations are also given here. The Mosaic law prescribes for each of these seven days as burnt-offerings two bullocks, a ram, and seven yearling lambs, as a meat-offering; three-tenths of an ephah of meal mixed with oil for each bullock, two-tenths for the ram, and one-tenth for each lamb, and a he-goat for the sin-offering (Num 28:19-22). The new law for the feasts, on the other hand, also requires, it is true, only one he-goat daily for a sin-offering on the seven feast days, but for the daily burnt-offerings seven bullocks and seven rams reach; and for the meat-offering, an ephah of meal and a hin of oil for every bullock, and for every ram. In the new thorah, therefore, the burnt-offerings and meat-offerings are much richer and more copious, and the latter in far greater measure than the former. - Eze 45:25. The same number of sacrifices is to be offered throughout the feast of seven days falling upon the fifteenth day of the seventh month. This feast is the feast of tabernacles, but the name is not mentioned, doubtless because the practice of living in tabernacles (booths) would be dropped in the time to come. And even with regard to the sacrifices of this feast, the new thorah differs greatly from the old. According to the Mosaic law, there were to be offered, in addition to the daily sin-offering of a he-goat, seventy bullocks in all as burnt-offerings for the seven days; and these were to be so distributed that on the first day thirteen were to be offered, and the number was to be reduced by one on each of the following days, so that there would be only seven bullocks upon the seventh day; moreover, every day two rams and fourteen yearling lambs were to be offered, together with the requisite quantity of meal and oil for a meat-offering according to the number of the animals (Num 29:12-34). According to Ezekiel, on the other hand, the quantity of provision made for the sacrifices remained the same as that appointed for the feast of Passover; so that the whole cost of the burnt-offerings and meat-offerings did not reach the amount required by the Mosaic law. In addition to all this, there was an eighth day observed as a closing festival in the Mosaic feast of tabernacles, with special sacrifices; and this also is wanting in Ezekiel. - But the following is still more important than the points of difference just mentioned: Ezekiel only mentions the two yearly feats of seven days in the first and seventh months, and omits not only the Pentecost, or feast of weeks, but also the day of trumpets, on the first of the seventh month, and the day of atonement on the tenth; from which we must infer that the Israeli of the future would keep only the two first named of all the yearly feasts. The correctness of this conclusion is placed beyond the reach of doubt by the fact that he practically transfers the feasts of the day of trumpets and of the day of atonement, which were preparatory to the feast of tabernacles, to the first month, by the appointment of special sin-offerings for the first and seventh days of that month (Eze 45:18-20), and of a sin-offering on the day of the paschal meal (Eze 45:22). This essentially transforms the idea which lies at the foundation of the cycle of Mosaic feasts, as we intend subsequently to show, when discussing the meaning and significance of the whole picture of the new kingdom of God, as shown in Ezekiel 40-48.