The priests and the sanctuary land (Ezek 45:3-45:4)

“In the holy district,

You shall measure off

A section

Twenty-five thousand cubits long,

Ten thousand cubits wide.

This shall be

The sanctuary,

The most holy place.

It shall be

A holy portion

Of the land.

It shall be

For the priests,

Who minister

In the sanctuary.

They approach Yahweh

To minister

To him.

It shall be

A place

For their houses,

A holy place

For the sanctuary.”

This 25,000 by 20,000-cubit area was divided into 2 parts. This first part included the space for the Zadok priests and the sanctuary itself so that it was 25,000 by 10,000 cubits. The sanctuary, the most holy place, the 500-square cubit building would be in this half of the holy land of Jerusalem. Besides the sanctuary, this area included the houses for the Zadok priests who ministered to Yahweh in this sanctuary. Thus, the holy priests would live next to the holy place, where they would be cultic ministers.

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No uncircumcised foreigners in the sanctuary (Ezek 44:9-44:9)

“Therefore,

Thus says Yahweh God!

‘No foreigner

Shall enter my sanctuary!

No uncircumcised in heart

Shall enter my sanctuary!

No uncircumcised in flesh

Shall enter my sanctuary!

None of all the foreigners,

Who are among

The people of Israel,

Shall enter my sanctuary.’”

There was no doubt about what Yahweh wanted. No foreigners were to be allowed to enter into his sanctuary. No one uncircumcised in heart or flesh would be allowed into the sanctuary of Yahweh. This even included the foreigners who were living among the Israelites. Only the circumcised, but more precisely, only the Zadok Levitical priests were allowed into his sanctuary.

The altar base (Ezek 43:13-43:14)

“These are the dimensions

Of the altar

By cubits.

The cubit is a cubit

With a handbreadth.

Its base shall be

One cubit high,

One cubit broad,

With a rim

Of one span

Around its edge.

This shall be

The height of the altar.

From the base

On the ground

To the lower ledge,

Two cubits,

With a width

Of one cubit.

From the smaller ledge

To the larger ledge,

Four cubits,

With a width

Of one cubit.”

Ezekiel continued with his detailed explanation about the size of the altar. First, he started with the altar base that was relatively small. His measurement was the larger cubit that also included a hand size or another 5 inches to the already normal 18-inch cubit. Thus, the altar base was one cubit, only 23 inches high, or just less than 2 feet high and wide. However, it had a rim around its edge. Apparently, there were 2 ledges, a small ledge and a larger ledge. The smaller lower ledge was only 2 cubits high and 1 cubit wide. The larger ledge was 4 cubits high and 1 cubit wide.

Measuring the Temple (Ezek 41:13-41:15)

“Then he measured

The temple.

It was

A hundred cubits long.

The yard

With the building,

Including its walls,

Was one hundred cubits deep.

The width

Of the east front

Of the temple

With the yard,

Was one hundred cubits.

Then he measured

The depth of the building

Facing the yard,

Together with its galleries

On either side,

A hundred cubits.”

Now the bronze man was back measuring the Temple. However, he included the yard and its building, as well as its galleries. This turned out to be a square building, 100 cubits long and wide, about a 160 feet square building with the front facing east and the back facing west.

The two sticks (Ezek 37:15-37:17)

The word of Yahweh

Came to me.

‘Son of man!

Take a stick!

Write on it!

‘For Judah,

With the Israelites

Associated with him.’

Then take another stick!

Write on it!

‘For Joseph,

The stick of Ephraim,

With all

The house of Israel

Associated with it.’

Join them together

Into one stick.

Thus,

They may become

One

In your hand.’”

As usual, the word of Yahweh came to Ezekiel, the son of man. Yahweh wanted Ezekiel to take two sticks and join them together. Ezekiel was to write on the first stick Judah and everyone associated with him. This was an obvious reference to Judah and the collapsed kingdom of the south. The second stick was a reference to the Israelite kingdom of the north that fell in 721 BCE, a couple of centuries earlier. However, the written title on the second stick was Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, one of Joseph’s sons. All those associated with the northern kingdom were included with the house of Israel. Ezekiel was then to take these two sticks and put them together in his hand, so that they would become one stick. This was an obvious reference that Yahweh wanted the people of both the old northern kingdom of Israel and the southern kingdom of Judah to come together, just like what had happened in Ezekiel’s hand.

The idol worship service of the seventy Jerusalem elders (Ezek 8:10-8:11)

“So I went in.

I looked.

There portrayed

On the wall,

All around,

Were all kinds

Of creeping things,

Loathsome animals,

With all the idols

Of the house of Israel.

Before them

Stood seventy

Of the elders

Of the house

Of Israel,

With Jaazaniah,

The son of Shaphan,

Standing among them.

Each had his censer

In his hand.

The fragrant cloud

Of incense

Was ascending.”

Ezekiel went into the worship service room on the other side of the wall. He saw various inscriptions or pictures all around the walls that included creeping things, despicable animals, and all kinds of idols from the house of Israel. This must have indicated some kind of Egyptian or Babylonian idol gods, perhaps the god Osiris. However, this might be a mishmash of various idol gods. Even more shocking was to see the 70 Jerusalem elders of Israel, including Jaazaniah, the son of Shaphan, standing there with lit censers in their hands as the fragrant smell of incense ascended in the air. This was a shocking sight to see.

The reading of the book (Bar 1:3-1:4)

“Baruch read

The words

Of this book

To King Jeconiah,

The son of King Jehoiakim,

King of Judah.

He read it

To all the people

Who came

To hear the book.

He read it

To the nobles,

To the princes,

To the elders,

To all the people,

Small and great,

All who lived

In Babylon

By the river Sud.”

Baruch was accustomed to reading aloud as he had done in Jeremiah, chapter 36. Here he is reading his book to King Jeconiah (598 BCE) in exile in 582 BCE, and not King Zedekiah (598-587 BCE). King Jeconiah was also known as King Coniah or King Jehoiachin, who ruled for less than a year after the death of his father King Jehoiakim (609-598 BCE). As in Jeremiah, Baruch read this book publically to anyone who wanted to hear it. He also read it to all the important people in Babylon that included the nobles, the princes, and the elders, those great and small. There was no mention of the Babylonian king here. As for the Sud River, no one seems to know where that was.