Matthew Poole's English Annotations
on the Holy Bible
EZEKIEL CHAPTER 45
The portion of land for the sanctuary, Ezekiel 45:1-5, for the city, Ezekiel 45:6, and for the prince, Ezekiel 45:7,8. Ordinances for the prince, Ezekiel 45:9-25.
When ye, ye returned Jews, restored to your own land, shall divide by lot: it was not on the return divided by lot, as it was by Joshua, but lot and inheritance are the same many times in the Scripture, and the expression alludes to the usual way of assigning inheritances. The land; land of Canaan. Ye shall offer an oblation; as it is fit God have his portion first set out. Holy portion, by its relation to God, and because dedicated to his service. Reeds: the Hebrew doth not express either reeds or cubits; our translators supply reeds. but the French reads it cubits, (coudees,) Rochelle edit. 1616. The Greek keeps to the Hebrew, and adds not reed or cubit. Could it be demonstrated which is here intended, we might proceed with greater clearness and certainty. It is true reeds are first mentioned as the measure, but cubits are also very often mentioned, as a known measure in measuring the temple and courts, as appears to any one that will read over chapters 40 through 43. Besides, the 2nd verse expressly saith cubits; and I am apt to think that it hath relation as well to the twenty-five thousand, Ezekiel 45:1, as, to the five hundred, Ezekiel 45:2. I rather favour the cubit measure than the reed, that so the whole contents may not seem overgrown; for at reed measure this portion contains at least seventy-seven miles and a little more in length; but at the cubit measure it amounts but to twelve miles and a half. This easily, the other hardly imaginable. Ten thousand reeds is at least thirty miles and a half, but cubits amount to five miles in breadth, and this seems to me both likeliest to be intended and easiest to be understood: however, since the 1st verse mentions not the particular measure, I may as well borrow it from the 2nd verse, as others fetch it from the 40th chapter; and I think the 3rd expressly limits us to the measure by cubits, which see, with notes. Shall be holy; set apart for holy uses, the whole circuit thereof.
Of this whole consecrate portion of twenty-five thousand cubits long, or twelve miles and half, and ten thousand broad, or five miles and little more.
For the sanctuary; for a platform for the sanctuary, both house and courts.
Five hundred in length, with five hundred in breadth; five hundred cubits square, which is about one-fourth of a mile square.
Fifty cubits; which amount to twenty-nine yards and half a foot. This bears some proportion to the contents of that square, which is one quarter of a mile in each side; but fifty cubits suburb to that square, that should be supposed to have sides each a mile, a half, and half quarter long.
The suburbs thereof: place round about this the five hundred cubits square mountain of the house.
Of, or by, or from this cubit measure, Ezekiel 45:2, shalt thou measure. So express, that indeed I wonder a dispute can arise; and this justifies the French version, which from this verse no doubt took the coudee, which they use in Ezekiel 45:1.
In it, in the centre or navel of this twenty-five thousand and ten thousand, shall the whole sanctuary, courts, temple, and holy of holies, or the oracle, be built.
The holy portion; the whole contents of twelve miles and half long, and five broad.
For the priests; sons of Zadok, who minister to the Lord, and others with them, who, though degraded from the priestly honour, yet lived upon priestly provision.
A place for their houses; in which twenty-three of twenty-four courses of priests may dwell conveniently, while the twenty-fourth minister at the temple, as by order they did.
And an holyplace; and how much God did reserve to himself for his dwelling is expressly mentioned. Thus God makes himself and what is his the inheritance and possession of the priests his servants, as he told them, Ezekiel 44:28.
As we render the words they are a little clouded, but as they are rendered in the French they are plainer: we read them as if the verse spake of the same twenty-five thousand long and ten thousand broad, which the priests have; but the French thus, there shall be other twenty-five thousand in length and ten thousand in breadth, which shall appertain to the Levites, who do the service of the house, with twenty chambers; so they have abroad in the country equal share with the priests, and in the outer court or courts about the house twenty chambers or rows of them in which to abide for their conveniences, when, in their courses, they attend the services they were to perform, as porters, singers, and attendants on the priests.
Appoint; order and measure out.
The possession; land to be a possession to the citizens of Jerusalem, and to be the contents of the city.
Five thousand broad, and five and twenty thousand long; about two miles and half broad, and twelve miles and half long, measured by the cubit, as Ezekiel 45:3 directs.
Over against the oblation of the holy portion: this must run along parallel in length with the holy portion, though but half its breadth.
For the whole house of Israel: as the chief and capital city, to which the tribes resort, it must be large enough to entertain them too; and was to be framed with twelve gates to twelve streets, for the twelve tribes, as Ezekiel 48:31. as Ezekiel 48:31 Ezekiel 48:31.
A portion; though not said how much, it is likely it was near fourfold to that of the city, sanctuary, or the priests and Levites.
For the prince; the king, or supreme ruler. One half of the prince’s portion lay on the west side of those three already set out; the other half lay on the east side thereof; so the portion of city, Levites, and priests lay in the middle of it.
Of the holy portion; of priests, and Levites, and sanctuary.
Before; it lay parallel, as broad as these three were broad, and so run on both sides in its breadth from north to south, and had its length as the other from east to west, as in this diagram.
The tribe of Judah’s portion from west to east.
The tribe of Benjamin’s portion from west to east.
Over against; what called now over against, or parallel, or by the side all along, is called before three times together. So now you have an exact square of 25,000 cubits laid out for God, the Levites, and city, which appears thus in the breadth:
10,000 for the priests. 10,000 for the Levites. 5,000 for the city.
And the length of each 25,000, that is, some twelve miles and half square.
And the prince’s portion embracing or bounding all at each end, as a guard and defence both of church and state, of religion and the civil rights, which may fairly be intimated by this assigning him his portion on each end of the other three.
In the land; either in that portion of land set out for him, or, as it is added, in Israel, i.e. in the land of Israel.
My princes; who own my favour in their advancement, and my law in their government. All princes are in some sort God’s princes, but all do not regard God as sovereign Lord of them and their people; but God did raise up such at the return out of Babylon, who were and did recognise themselves God’s princes.
Shall no more oppress: both Ezekiel and other prophets did reprove the injustices, cruelties, and oppressive methods of the kings of Israel, and yet they took not off the yoke; but it shall be better after the days of Babylonish captivity are ended.
The rest; after God had his portion, which was that the priests and Levites had, after the city and the prince have theirs, the remainder is to be given to the people.
They; the persons that are officers appointed to divide the land.
The house of Israel; two tribes and ten tribes.
According to their tribes, to the number of the tribes, and their right; we must be restored to them, or they compensated with an equal value.
Princes are here in God’s name, and by advice from him he made them princes, counselled, exhorted, and commanded.
Let it suffice; be content, aim not at more: he who gave no more can make this enough, and he will curse and blast what you indirectly, and by sinful, oppressive crafts, wrest from others.
Remove violence; put it far from yourselves, do not you use it, and so discountenance in others, that neither common subjects dare violate one another, nor your officers violate any of them.
Spoil; either the same as violence, or the effect of it, violent courses; rob the oppressed and spoil them.
Execute judgment; judge righteously, and they look the sentence be executed, for terror to the unjust, and relief of the oppressed.
And justice: this is added for emphasis, though the same thing.
Exactions; heavy taxes and impositions on estates or trade.
My people; whom I must, if you will not, right.
Ye; princes of Israel.
Shall have: though they were not traders to use, yet they must have, i.e. appoint, for to them as a privilege it appertains to appoint standards for measure among their subjects. Just balances, or weights and scales, by which to measure what is to he sold by weight, one and the same to all, that none buy by a greater and sell by a lesser. So Leviticus 19:35,36 Pr 11:1 16:11 Micah 6:10,11. So must the prince remove oppressive cheating by divers weights.
Ephah, to measure dry things, as corn, olives, dates, &c.
Bath: this was a measure of liquid things, as oil, wine, or water, and what each contained the next verse will acquaint us. s.
One shall contain as much as the other, the ephah shall contain as many gallons of dry, as the bath doth contain of liquid things.
An homer is commonly said to be thirty bushels, or near it. So that the ephah will be some three bushels, in dry things, and the bath sixty-four pints, or eight gallons, in liquid things.
Having laid down the standard for weight and measure in less valuable things, and that are sold for money, now the standard is set down for the current coin which passed among them, and the valuation of which was part of the prince’s prerogative. The first mentioned in the text is the shekel, which, saith the text, contained
twenty gerahs; now every gerah was one penny halfpenny English value: the shekel then was two shillings and sixpence. The twenty shekels was two pounds ten shillings, the fifteen shekels was one pound seventeen shillings and sixpence, and twenty-five was three pounds two shillings and six pence.
Maneh: some say it is one pound, and that the pound was either least, middle, or greatest, according as there were more or fewer shekels in it; the least or common pound was but seventeen shillings and sixpence; the next, which was the royal, was fifty shillings; and the greatest, or pound of the sanctuary, was sixty-two shillings and six pence.
In the daily service, the morning and evening sacrifice, there must be wheat and barley flour.
Sixth part of an ephah; sixtieth part of an homer, about one half bushel, and one peck, and one quarter of a peck, and three pints, or near it; so some. Others abate the odd measures, and say the ephah was about our half bushel, as indeed it can be no more; if the homer were thirty bushels, the ephah a tenth part of the homer, that is, three bushels, the sixth part of the ephah amounts to four gallons, or half a bushel.
Now forasmuch as oil was always offered with the meat-offering, here is direction what quantity shall be used at each offering.
The bath of oil; which contained about twenty-four gallons, or very near it.
The tenth part; so the quantity of oil by this account will be two gallons, three pints, and a little more.
The cor; which is here said to be an homer: these were two names of one and the same measure, and described by the baths it contained.
This verse prescribes the proportion that is to he observed in bringing the lambs for daily sacrifice. They were bound to choose out of the best pastures of Israel the best and fattest lambs, one out of two hundred; so favourable was God to them in these cattle, taking so few out of so many. And these lambs were designed for to be offered with the meat-offering, either in expiatory sacrifices, or in eucharistical sacrifices: thus daily sacrifices kept up their peace with God.
The plain and summary meaning of this verse is, that this daily sacrifice should be, as for the people and the prince, so should it be provided by a common purse of prince and people, all should contribute to this charge. Though some think the people were to give this, and the prince to give a like share; and I know some think that this prince is the high priest, and that all the people, joining and contributing to this sacrifice, are here bound to bring it to the high priest.
The prince’s part; beside the share he gives to the daily sacrifice in the common charge, Ezekiel 45:16, the prince is bound also on solemnities to give sacrifices out of his own.
Burnt-offerings: see Le 1, where these are described. Meat-offerings rings: see Leviticus 2:1, &c. Drink-offerings: see Exodus 30:9 Numbers 15:24 the drink-offering was ever joined with the meat-offering, Numbers 29:11,16,19,22.
In the feasts; which he doth particularly recount, as new moons, &c.; of all particularly to treat would be too long.
He shall prepare: here lieth the main deciding circumstance, whether the secular or ecclesiastical prince be here intended. Some say this preparing is a sacerdotal act in order to offering; if so, it must be the high priest; but I think they mistake. This preparing is nothing more than on the prince’s charge, and by his care, to see that there be such beasts ready at hand as are required at such solemnities; and so it is the secular prince.
To make reconciliation: see Ezekiel 45:15.
For the house of Israel; all the people.
In the first month of the year, every new-year’s day; or the first new-year’s day after the temple is built, a kind of feast of dedication: the former better agreeth with the following verses.
Thou shalt take; procure, either being out of his own flock, or buy with his money; this the prince must do.
A young bullock without blemish; such the law required, both for kind and quality, in what sacrifice, or on what occasion soever the sacrifice was offered.
And cleanse the sanctuary; that by this, offered according to the law, the temple might be cleansed.
The priest: had the 17th and 18th verses intended by prince the high priest, there would have been no need of changing the phrase, or of mentioning the priest, it would have been enough to have said, And he shall; but in those verses the bringing and preparing is not priestly, but ascribed to the prince, as it would be to any other who offers a sacrifice to the Lord by the hand of the priest.
Shall take; carry with him in some vessel or other, from the place where the bullock was slain.
Of the blood of the sin-offering: see Leviticus 1:5 Ezekiel 43:20.
Upon the four corners of the settle: see Ezekiel 43:20.
Upon the posts; the blood of the sin-offering was to be put upon the posts of the temple door, and on the posts of the gate of the inner court, or that next to the temple.
The priest must offer the like sacrifice for cleansing the errors of the people, and reconciling them.
The seventh day; about a week before the passover.
For every one that erreth; for all the errors of all the house of Israel, in all that had erred through ignorance.
For him that is simple; that is, of weak intellectuals, half-witted, or a fool, as the word signifies; or, for one that was seduced.
Reconcile the house, i.e. cleanse, as Ezekiel 45:18, which legally or ceremonially was defiled by those errors done in the city or courts of the house, whither these persons might come, for it is not the temple itself, I suppose, that is here meant.
In the first month; Nisan, which is part of March and part of April with us.
The fourteenth day; as was appointed of old by Moses, Exo 12 at large.
Ye shall have; have, and slay, for so Exodus 12:6.
The passover; the lamb, which was to be eaten with thanksgiving for God’s sparing the Jewish children, their first-born, when he slew the chief of the strength of Egypt, and for bringing the whole house of Israel out of Egypt.
A feast of seven days: see the institution, Exo 12.
Unleavened bread shall be eaten: though here is an ellipsis, yet the thing clearly speaks itself; through the whole feast unleavened bread was to be eaten under great penalty, Exodus 12:18,19. These things no doubt concerned the returned captives, though they have a mystical meaning also.
Upon that day; upon the fourteenth day, on which the passover was slain.
The prince; as before, Ezekiel 45:17,18.
Prepare for himself, to expiate his own sins.
And for all the people: see Ezekiel 45:17, where the same is found.
After the first day’s offering, Ezekiel 45:22, or else after the fifteenth day was over, though first more likely. The prince at his own charge is to get ready day by day seven bullocks, seven rams, perfect without blemish, as the law required, and one kid each day of the seven; in all forty-nine bullocks, as many rams, and seven kids of the goats. These the priests were to offer to make atonement for the prince and his people.
And he, the prince,
shall prepare a meat-offering; for the sacrifice was not entire without this, and the text proportions this also: for each
ephah of fine flour, three bushels and one half with the seven bullocks of the first day; and so for the rams; that is, seven bushels every day for seven days together, according to the number of rams and bullocks.
An hin of oil: this was about one gallon and three quarters of a pint.
For an ephah; to each ephah of meal. To every of the seven there were
Seven bullocks, seven ephahs, and seven hins of oil,
Seven rams, seven ephahs, and seven hins of oil;
Forty-nine of each kind of the beasts in the space of the seven days, and ninety-eight ephahs and as many hins with them: a greatly and costly service.
The seventh month, according to their ecclesiastical account, Tisri, which answers to part of our August and September.
The fifteenth day; on that day the feast of tabernacles began, and it continued seven days.
Shall he, the prince, as before, Ezekiel 45:24, do the like, in every respect, for sacrifices, and all that belonged to them.
According to the sin offering, & c.: as was required at the passover, so at this feast also, and therefore you are referred to the particulars of that feast.
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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Ezekiel 45". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://beta.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 20 / Ordinary 25