The holy angels speak (Dan 8:13-8:14)

“Then I heard

A holy one speaking.

Another holy one

Said to the one

That spoke.

‘For how long

Is this vision

Concerning

The regular burnt offering

Continue?

This transgression

Makes desolate

The sanctuary.

How long will

The sanctuary

With the host

Be trampled?’

He answered.

‘For two thousand three hundred

Evenings and mornings.

Then the sanctuary

Shall be restored

To its rightful state.’”

Here Daniel has a conversation between 2 holy ones, probably a reference to angels. One holy one or angel wanted to know how long the lack of the regular burnt offerings at the sanctuary would continue. The transgression of the sanctuary meant that the it and the people who worked there, the hosts, the priests, were trampled under. The response of the other angel was an exact time, 2,300 evenings and mornings, that turns out to be 1,150 days or about 3 ½ years. It was about 3 years that the sanctuary was defiled until 164 BCE.

 

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The place for the prince (Ezek 48:21-48:22)

“What remains on both sides

Of the holy portion

With the property

Of the city

Shall belong

To the prince.

This extends from

The twenty-five thousand cubits

Of the holy portion

To the east border,

This extends westward from

The twenty-five thousand cubits

To the west border.

It shall be

Parallel to the tribal portions.

It shall belong

To the prince.

The holy portion

With the sanctuary

Of the temple was

In the middle of it.

The property of the Levites,

With the property of the city,

Shall be in the middle

Of what belongs to the prince.

The portion of the prince

Shall lie between

The territory of Judah and

The territory of Benjamin.”

Now suddenly, Yahweh, via Ezekiel has a place for the prince, or the new leader, on the outskirts of the property already explained in great detail. This princely territory would extend on the east border to the end of the 25,000 cubits border and on the west side to its 25,000 cubits border of the holy portion.  Somehow it would be parallel to the tribal portions. The prince would own this land, even though the sanctuary of the Temple, the Levite property, and the city open fields were in the middle of this territory. This holy portion was to lie between the territory of Judah and Benjamin, on the north side of Judah.

The Levitical priests (Ezek 48:13-48:14)

“Alongside the territory

Of the priests,

The Levites shall have

An allotment.

It shall be

Twenty-five thousand cubits

In length,

Ten thousand cubits

In width.

The whole length

Shall be

Twenty-five thousand cubits.

The whole width

Shall be

Twenty thousand cubits.

They shall not sell

Any of it.

They shall not exchange

Any of it.

They shall not transfer

This choice portion

Of the land.

It is holy

To Yahweh.”

Just like in chapter 44, Ezekiel separated the Levites from the priests of Zadok, yet they had an equal amount of living quarters. The Levites would have the opposite side of the sanctuary, next to the descendants of Zadok, with the same size of a portion, 25,000 cubits long and 10,000 cubits wide. Thus, the whole holy portion with the living quarters for the priests and the Levites would be 25,000 by 20,000 cubits, including the sanctuary portion also. These priests and Levites were not allowed to sell, exchange, or transfer any of this choice portion of the land, because it was the holy land of Yahweh.

The good river (Ezek 47:10-47:12)

“People will stand fishing

Beside the sea,

From En-gedi

To En-eglaim.

It will be a place

For the spreading

Of nets.

Its fish will be

Of a great many kinds,

Like the fish

Of the Great Sea.

But its swamps,

With its marshes,

Will not become fresh.

They are to be left

For salt.

On the banks,

On both sides

Of the river,

There will grow

All kinds of trees

For food.

Their leaves

Will not wither.

Their fruit

Will not fail.

But they will bear

Fresh fruit

Every month,

Because the water

For them

Flows from the sanctuary.

Their fruit will be

For food.

Their leaves will be

For healing.”

This mysterious water from the Temple would mean that people could fish out on the northwestern side of the Dead Sea from En-gedi to En-eglaim. All one had to do was spread fishing nets, then all kinds of wonderful fish would be caught, just like in the great Mediterranean Sea. However, the swamps and marshes would not become fresh, but they would remain salty. On both sides of this river, all kinds of trees would grow with monthly fresh fruit and perennial leaves for healing. This river coming from the sanctuary of the Temple had all these wonderful powers because of the power of Yahweh, much like other Canaanite and Mesopotamian mythical rivers.

 

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.

The punishment for the idol loving Levite ministers (Ezek 44:10-44:12)

“‘But the Levites,

Who went far from me,

Going astray

From me

After their idols,

When Israel went astray,

Shall bear

Their punishment.

They shall be ministers

In my sanctuary,

Having oversight

At the gates

Of the temple.

They shall serve

In the temple.

They shall slaughter

The burnt offerings.

They shall slaughter

The sacrifices

For the people.

They shall attend

On them.

They shall serve them.

Because they ministered

To them

Before their idols,

They made

The house of Israel

Stumble into iniquity.

Therefore,

I have sworn concerning them.

They shall bear their punishment.’

Says Yahweh God!”

In a diatribe against the Levitical priests who had served idols in the high places, Yahweh was upset. However, his punishment was merely lowly menial tasks in the Temple, not a drastic death sentence. These Levites had sinned because they had led Israel astray with their idol worshipping. They made Israel stumble into iniquity. Thus, they were to be punished. They would only have oversight at the gates to the Temple, not in the sanctuary. They also would slaughter the burnt offerings and other sacrifices. They would continue to minister to Yahweh and his people, but only in the more pedestrian roles. This seems like a mild form of punishment for idol worship and leading the Israelites astray.

The ordinances of the Temple (Ezek 44:5-44:5)

“Yahweh said to me.

‘Son of man!

Mark well!

Look closely!

Hear attentively

To all that I shall tell you

Concerning all the ordinances

Of the temple

Of Yahweh

With all its laws!

Mark well

Those who may be admitted

To the temple!

Mark well

Those who are to be excluded

From the sanctuary!’”

Yahweh then proceeded to outline all the ordinances about the Temple to Ezekiel, the son of man. Ezekiel was to be observant, pay attention, and listen to what Yahweh had to say. Yahweh was going to enumerate all the laws about the Temple of Yahweh. Ezekiel was to take special notice about who would be admitted into the Temple. Certain people were to be excluded from the sanctuary.