The food habits of the priests (Ezek 44:29-44:31)

“They shall eat

The grain offering,

The sin offering,

The guilt offering.

Every devoted thing

In Israel

Shall be theirs.

The first of all

The first fruits

Of all kinds

Shall belong

To the priests.

Every offering

Of all kinds,

From all your offerings,

Shall belong

To the priests.

You shall also give

To the priests

The first of your dough.

Thus,

A blessing may rest

On your house.

The priests shall not eat

Of anything,

Whether bird

Or animal,

That died of itself

Or was torn by animals.”

The Zadok Levitical priests had strict dietary habits that were very favorable to them. They were to eat all the various offerings that the people of Israel presented, the grain offerings, the sin offerings, the guilt offerings, or any devoted thing in Israel. They would also get the first fruits of all kinds, including the cooked dough. All these food items belonged to the priests. Giving them to the priests meant that your house would have a blessing. However, these priests were not allowed to eat any bird or animal that had died by itself or was mangled by another animal.

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The holy chambers (Ezek 42:13-42:13)

“Then he said to me.

‘The north chambers

As well as the south chambers,

Opposite the vacant area,

Are the holy chambers.

There the priests,

Who approach Yahweh,

Shall eat

The most holy offerings.

There they shall deposit

The most holy offerings,

The cereal offering,

The sin offering,

The guilt offering.

This place is holy.’”

Once again, the bronze man appeared on the scene to explain to Ezekiel the purpose for these rooms or chambers on the north and the south side. These rooms or chambers were for the priests to eat the various offerings that took place in the Debir, the Holy of holies, the place of Yahweh. There in these chambers, the priests would put the holy offerings, that is the cereal offerings, the sin offerings, and the guilt offerings. Thus, these rooms became holy.

The chamber for the burnt offering (Ezek 40:38-40:39)

“There was a chamber

With its door

In the vestibule

Of the gate.

There the burnt offering

Was to be washed.

In the vestibule

Of the gate

Were two tables

On either side.

Here the burnt offering,

The sin offering,

The guilt offering,

Were to be slaughtered.”

Now the bronze man was going to take Ezekiel into the inner chambers. First, there was the door to the chamber where the burnt offering was to be washed. There were 2 tables on either side of the door where the burnt offerings, the sin offerings, and the guilt offerings were to be killed and prepared for sacrifice.

Priests (Sir 7:29-7:31)

“With all your soul

Fear the Lord!

Revere his priests!

With all your might,

Love your Maker!

Do not neglect his ministers!

Fear the Lord!

Honor the priest!

Give him his portion,

As you have been commanded.

Give him

The first fruits,

The guilt offering,

The gift of the shoulders,

The sacrifice of sanctification,

The first fruits of the holy things.”

Once again, Sirach is absolute in his demands about the Israelite Levitical priests.   Listening to them was like listening to God. Obviously, you were to fear the Lord and love your Maker. You also were to revere God’s priests. Thus you should not neglect God’s ministers. They should have their portion as commanded by the law. In case there was any confusion, he specifically listed what the priests were to get, the first fruits, the guilt offerings, the shoulders, the sanctification sacrifice, and the first fruits of the holy things. I am not sure about the shoulders, but the others were common in the Torah.