The appointed Levitical ministerial tasks (Ezek 44:13-44:14)

“They shall not

Come near to me.

They shall not

Serve me

As a priest.

They shall not

Come near to

Any of my sacred offerings,

The things

That are most sacred.

But they shall

Bear their shame.

They shall

Bear the consequences

Of the abominations

That they have committed.

Yet I will appoint them

To keep charge

Of the temple,

To do all its chores.

They shall do

All that is to be done

In it.”

The idol worshiping Levites would be appointed to various menial tasks, so that they would be like Temple servants, rather than ministers. Yahweh, via Ezekiel, listed all the things that they could not do. They could not come near to Yahweh to serve him as a priest. They would not be allowed near any of the sacred holy offerings. They had to bear their shame. They had to suffer the consequences of their abominable actions. However, Yahweh was not going to destroy them. They were to be in charge of all the Temple chores, everything that had to be done around the Temple. They were to become second-class Levite priests or Temple servants.

More people come with Ezra (Ezra 8:15-8:20)

“I gathered them by the river that runs to Ahava. There we camped three days. As I reviewed the people and the priests, I found there none of the descendents of Levi. Then I sent for Eliezer, Ariel, Shemaiah, Elnathan, Jarib, Elnathan, Nathan, Zechariah, and Meshullam, who were leaders, and for Joiarib and Elnathan, who were wise. I sent them to Iddo, the leader at the place called Casiphia. I told them what to say to Iddo and his colleagues the temple servants at Casiphia. He should send us ministers for the house of our God. Since the gracious hand of our God was upon us, they brought us a man of discretion, of the descendents of Mahli son of Levi, son of Israel, namely Sherebiah, with his sons and kinsmen, eighteen. Also they brought Hashabiah and with him Jeshaiah of the descendents of Merari, with his kinsmen and their sons, twenty. Besides two hundred twenty of the temple servants, whom David and his officials had set apart to attend the Levites, also came. These were all mentioned by name.”

Once again, we have the use of the personal pronoun singular, “I gathered them.” Over and over again “I” appears. This is a personal first person account of what happened. The Ahava River is not known, but probably a tributary of the Euphrates River in Babylon. Ezra realized that he had no Levites. So he sent a group of people to Iddo who was the leader at Casiphia. There 4 or 5 different people with the name of Iddo, including Levites, and prophets. This one was a temple slave leader at Casiphia, which must have been an important place for a group of Israelite exiles because they had so many temple slaves. They may have had their own house of God there in northern Babylon. Interesting enough this Iddo sent 2 Levite families of 19 and 20 people from the Mahli and Merari branch of Levites. He also sent 220 Temple servants who were to help the Levites. There must have been a lot of them there.