The new Passover slaughter (Ezek 9:5-9:7)

“To the other executioners

Yahweh said

In my hearing.

‘Pass through the city

After him!


Your eye shall not spare!

You shall show no pity!

Cut down old men!

Cut down young men!

Cut down young women!

Cut down little children!

Cut down women!

But touch no one

Who has the mark!

Begin at my sanctuary!’

So they began

With the elders

Who were in front

Of the house.

Then he said

To them.

‘Defile the house!

Fill the courts

With the slain!

Go forth!’

So they went out.

They killed

In the city.”

Yahweh then told the other executioners so that Ezekiel could hear what he was saying. They were to pass through the city after the man with the writing case had marked off those who were to be saved. They were to kill all the others that were not marked with the taw. They were to spare no one. They were not to show any pity. They were to kill the old men, the young men, the young women, the little children, and the other older women. However, those with the mark were not to be touched. These executioners would begin at the sanctuary itself. Thus the first ones killed were the elders around the Temple. The holy house of Yahweh was defiled as the courts were filled with dead bodies. Yahweh told these killers to get going. Thus they went out and killed all the unmarked people in the city.


Value of skilled workers (Sir 38:31-38:34)

“All these workers rely

On their hands.

All are skilful

In their own work.

Without them,

No city can be inhabited.

Wherever they live,

They will not go hungry.

Yet they are not sought out

For the council of the people.

They do not attain eminence

In the public assembly.

They do not sit

In the judge’s seat.

They do understand

The decisions of the courts.

They cannot expound discipline.

They cannot expound judgment.

They are not found using proverbs.

They are not found among the rulers.

But they maintain

The fabric of the world.

Their concern is

For the exercise of their trade.

Their prayer is

In the practice of their trade.”

Sirach emphasizes the importance of skilled manual workers. No inhabitable city can exist without them, so that they will never go hungry. However, they do not serve in the city council or in public assemblies. They are not judges, since they do not understand the decisions of the courts, their discipline, or their judgments. They are never found among the rulers or using proverbs. Yet they maintain the fabric of society. Their concern and prayer is found in the exercise of their skilled manual trades.

Praise God in Zion (Ps 65:1-65:4)

To the choirmaster leader, a psalm of David, a song

“Praise is due to you!

O God in Zion!

To you

Shall vows be performed!

O you who answer prayers!

To you

All flesh shall come!

When deeds of iniquity overwhelm us,

You forgive our transgressions!

Happy are those

Whom you choose!

Happy are those

Whom you bring near!

Happy are those

Who live in your courts!

We shall be satisfied

With the goodness of your house,

Your holy temple!”

Psalm 65 is a choral psalm of David that is a song of thanksgiving and praise for the abundant harvest. This psalm refers to the holy Temple at Zion, but that was not completed until after the death of King David. Praise and vows should be given to the God at Zion because he answers prayers. All people should come when evil deeds overwhelm them. God will forgive sins. Even happier are those who are chosen to live in the courts of the Temple, which would be the Levites. They will be satisfied with the goodness of the Holy Temple, the house of God.

The duties of the Levites (1 Chr 23:24-23:32)

“These were the sons of Levi by their ancestral houses. These were the heads of fathers as they were enrolled according to the number of the names of the individuals from twenty years old and upward who were to do the work for the service of the house of Yahweh. King David said. ‘Yahweh, the God of Israel, has given rest to his people. He resides in Jerusalem forever. Thus the Levites no longer need to carry the tabernacle or any of the things for its service.’ According to the last words of King David, these were the number of the Levites from twenty years old and upward. However, their new duty shall be to assist the descendents of Aaron in the service of the house of Yahweh, having the care of the courts and the chambers, the cleansing of all that is holy, and any work for the service of the house of God. They were to assist also with the rows of bread, the choice flour for the grain offering, the wafers of unleavened bread, the baked offering, the offering mixed with oil, and all measures of quantity or size. They shall stand every morning, thanking and praising Yahweh, and likewise at evening. They shall do likewise whenever burnt offerings are offered to Yahweh on the Sabbath, new moons, and appointed festivals, according to the number required of them, regularly before Yahweh. Thus they shall keep charge of the tent of meeting and the sanctuary. They shall attend the descendents of Aaron, their kindred, for the service of the house of Yahweh.”

Here are the specific duties of the Levites. King David took some kind of census among the Levites. This is something that Yahweh frowned upon earlier in chapter 21. At the beginning of this chapter the number of Levites was 36,000 over the age of 30. Here the Levites are only 20 years old instead of 30. The duties in Numbers are no longer required because the Ark of the Covenant of Yahweh will be permanently in Jerusalem. The Levites have new duties to assist the descendents of Aaron. They were to take care of the courts and the chambers around the house of God. They were to clean the holy vessels. There were many specific duties. They were to be like the bakers of the Temple, preparing the breads, the flour, the use of oil, and the grain offerings. They were in charge of measuring the correct quantity. Every morning and every evening, they would thank and praise Yahweh. They will praise and thank Yahweh whenever burnt offerings are sacrificed. Whenever there is a festival, the Sabbath, or a new moon, they are the ones to thank and praise Yahweh. They were in charge of the tent and the sanctuary. This kind of work for many Christians is still being done by nuns and monks or priests, who do the praying for the rest of the community.