Then he brought me back the way of the gate of the outward sanctuary which looketh toward the east; and it was shut.
So called in opposition to the temple itself, which was the inner sanctuary.
Then said the LORD unto me; This gate shall be shut, it shall not be opened, and no man shall enter in by it; because the LORD, the God of Israel, hath entered in by it, therefore it shall be shut.
It is for the prince; the prince, he shall sit in it to eat bread before the LORD; he shall enter by the way of the porch of that gate, and shall go out by the way of the same.
It is probable that the prince mentioned here and elsewhere, does not mean the Messiah, but the ruler of the Jewish nation for the time being. For it is not only directed where he should sit in the temple, and eat his portion of the sacrifices, and when and how he should go out; but it is also ordered (ch. 45:22,) that at the passover he shall offer a bullock, a sin offering for himself and the people; and to guard him against any temptation of oppressing the people, he had a provision of land allotted to him, (ch. 45:8,) out of which he is to give an inheritance for his sons, (ch. 46:18.) These appear plainly to be political rules for common princes, and for a succession of them; but as no such rules were observed under the second temple, the fulfilment of it must still be future.
he shall enter
Then brought he me the way of the north gate before the house: and I looked, and, behold, the glory of the LORD filled the house of the LORD: and I fell upon my face.
and I fell
And the LORD said unto me, Son of man, mark well, and behold with thine eyes, and hear with thine ears all that I say unto thee concerning all the ordinances of the house of the LORD, and all the laws thereof; and mark well the entering in of the house, with every going forth of the sanctuary.
Heb. set thine heart.
and mark well
And thou shalt say to the rebellious, even to the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord GOD; O ye house of Israel, let it suffice you of all your abominations,
thou shalt say
let it suffice
In that ye have brought into my sanctuary strangers, uncircumcised in heart, and uncircumcised in flesh, to be in my sanctuary, to pollute it, even my house, when ye offer my bread, the fat and the blood, and they have broken my covenant because of all your abominations.
ye have brought
Heb. children of a stranger.
uncircumcised in heart
The introduction of uncircumcised persons to eat of the peace offerings and oblations, would have been a gross violation of the Mosaic law; but, as there was no law to exclude "the uncircumcised of heart," who were circumcised and ritually clean, this seems to point out a new and different constitution.
And ye have not kept the charge of mine holy things: but ye have set keepers of my charge in my sanctuary for yourselves.
ye have not
or, ward, or ordinance, and so ver.
Thus saith the Lord GOD; No stranger, uncircumcised in heart, nor uncircumcised in flesh, shall enter into my sanctuary, of any stranger that is among the children of Israel.
And the Levites that are gone away far from me, when Israel went astray, which went astray away from me after their idols; they shall even bear their iniquity.
Yet they shall be ministers in my sanctuary, having charge at the gates of the house, and ministering to the house: they shall slay the burnt offering and the sacrifice for the people, and they shall stand before them to minister unto them.
they shall be
As few, if any, of those who, before the captivity, had been guilty in these respects, lived to witness the restoration of the temple service; and as it does not appear that their descendants were thus degraded for the idolatry of their ancestors; it is probable that a thorough reformation of the whole church, or the prevalence of pure religion among the converted Jews, is here predicted.
Because they ministered unto them before their idols, and caused the house of Israel to fall into iniquity; therefore have I lifted up mine hand against them, saith the Lord GOD, and they shall bear their iniquity.
caused the house of Israel to fall into iniquity
Heb. were for a stumbling-block of iniquity unto, etc.
and they shall
And they shall not come near unto me, to do the office of a priest unto me, nor to come near to any of my holy things, in the most holy place: but they shall bear their shame, and their abominations which they have committed.
they shall not
But I will make them keepers of the charge of the house, for all the service thereof, and for all that shall be done therein.
But the priests the Levites, the sons of Zadok, that kept the charge of my sanctuary when the children of Israel went astray from me, they shall come near to me to minister unto me, and they shall stand before me to offer unto me the fat and the blood, saith the Lord GOD:
they shall stand
They shall enter into my sanctuary, and they shall come near to my table, to minister unto me, and they shall keep my charge.
They shall enter
to my table
To place the shew-bread there. It is observable, that the table in the sanctuary is mentioned rather than the altar of incense; perhaps intimating the change in the external institutions of Divine worship which should take place before the accomplishment of the prophecy. It is not easy to determine, whether any external regulations, with respect to Divine ordinances, answerable to these predictions, will be made among the converted Jews, when reinstated in their own land, or not.
And it shall come to pass, that when they enter in at the gates of the inner court, they shall be clothed with linen garments; and no wool shall come upon them, whiles they minister in the gates of the inner court, and within.
They shall have linen bonnets upon their heads, and shall have linen breeches upon their loins; they shall not gird themselves with any thing that causeth sweat.
with anything that causeth sweat
or, in sweating places. Heb. in, or with sweat.
And when they go forth into the utter court, even into the utter court to the people, they shall put off their garments wherein they ministered, and lay them in the holy chambers, and they shall put on other garments; and they shall not sanctify the people with their garments.
they shall put
Neither shall they shave their heads, nor suffer their locks to grow long; they shall only poll their heads.
Neither shall any priest drink wine, when they enter into the inner court.
Neither shall they take for their wives a widow, nor her that is put away: but they shall take maidens of the seed of the house of Israel, or a widow that had a priest before.
This was prohibited only to the high priest under the law; but is here extended to all the priests, perhaps to intimate the superior sanctity of the times to which it refers.
Heb. thrust forth.
that had a priest before
Heb. from a priest.
And they shall teach my people the difference between the holy and profane, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean.
And in controversy they shall stand in judgment; and they shall judge it according to my judgments: and they shall keep my laws and my statutes in all mine assemblies; and they shall hallow my sabbaths.
This seems to intimate, that controversies, in the period predicted, will be generally decided by arbitration, according to the law of God; and not by litigations before human tribunals, according to the laws of man.
they shall keep
and they shall hallow
And they shall come at no dead person to defile themselves: but for father, or for mother, or for son, or for daughter, for brother, or for sister that hath had no husband, they may defile themselves.
And after he is cleansed, they shall reckon unto him seven days.
And in the day that he goeth into the sanctuary, unto the inner court, to minister in the sanctuary, he shall offer his sin offering, saith the Lord GOD.
unto the inner
he shall offer
And it shall be unto them for an inheritance: I am their inheritance: and ye shall give them no possession in Israel: I am their possession.
I am their inheritance
They shall eat the meat offering, and the sin offering, and the trespass offering; and every dedicated thing in Israel shall be theirs.
And the first of all the firstfruits of all things, and every oblation of all, of every sort of your oblations, shall be the priest's: ye shall also give unto the priest the first of your dough, that he may cause the blessing to rest in thine house.
or, chief. all the first-fruits.
that he may
The priests shall not eat of any thing that is dead of itself, or torn, whether it be fowl or beast.