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Ezekiel 33-48 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

IV. Hope for the Future

Chapter 33

The Prophet as Sentinel. The word of the Lord came to me: Son of man, speak to your people and tell them: When I bring the sword against a land, if the people of that land select one of their number as a sentinel[a] for them, and the sentinel sees the sword coming against the land, he should blow the trumpet to warn the people. If they hear the trumpet but do not take the warning and a sword attacks and kills them, their blood will be on their own heads. They heard the trumpet blast but ignored the warning; their blood is on them. If they had heeded the warning, they could have escaped with their lives. If, however, the sentinel sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, so that the sword attacks and takes someone’s life, his life will be taken for his own sin, but I will hold the sentinel responsible for his blood.

You, son of man—I have appointed you as a sentinel for the house of Israel; when you hear a word from my mouth, you must warn them for me. When I say to the wicked, “You wicked, you must die,” and you do not speak up to warn the wicked about their ways, they shall die in their sins, but I will hold you responsible for their blood. If, however, you warn the wicked to turn from their ways, but they do not, then they shall die in their sins, but you shall save your life.

Individual Retribution. 10 As for you, son of man, speak to the house of Israel: You people say, “Our crimes and our sins weigh us down; we are rotting away because of them. How can we survive?” 11 Answer them: As I live—oracle of the Lord God—I swear I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! Why should you die, house of Israel?

12 As for you, son of man, say to your people: The justice of the just will not save them on the day they sin; the wickedness of the wicked will not bring about their downfall on the day they turn from their wickedness. No, the just cannot save their lives on the day they sin. 13 Even though I say to the just that they shall surely live, if they, relying on their justice, do wrong, none of their just deeds shall be remembered; because of the wrong they have done, they shall die. 14 And though I say to the wicked that they shall die, if they turn away from sin and do what is just and right— 15 returning pledges, restoring stolen goods, walking by statutes that bring life, doing nothing wrong—they shall surely live; they shall not die. 16 None of the sins they committed shall be remembered against them. If they do what is right and just, they shall surely live.

17 Your people say, “The way of the Lord is not fair!” But it is their way that is not fair. 18 When the just turn away from justice and do wrong, they shall die for it. 19 When the wicked turn away from wickedness and do what is right and just, because of this they shall live. 20 But still you say, “The way of the Lord is not fair!” I will judge each of you according to your ways, house of Israel.

The Survivor from Jerusalem. 21 On the fifth day of the tenth month,[b] in the twelfth year of our exile, the survivor came to me from Jerusalem and said, “The city is taken!” 22 The hand of the Lord had come upon me the evening before the survivor arrived and opened my mouth when he reached me in the morning. My mouth was opened, and I was mute no longer.

Those Left in Judah.[c] 23 The word of the Lord came to me: 24 Son of man, these who live among the ruins in the land of Israel are saying: “Abraham was only one person, yet he was given possession of the land. Since we are many, the land must be given to us as our possession.” 25 Therefore say to them: Thus says the Lord God: You eat on the mountains, you raise your eyes to your idols, you shed blood—yet you would keep possession of the land? 26 You rely on your swords, you commit abominations, each defiles his neighbor’s wife—yet you would keep possession of the land? 27 Say this to them: Thus says the Lord God: As I live, those among the ruins shall fall by the sword; those in the open field I have made food for the wild beasts; and those in rocky hideouts and caves shall die by the plague. 28 I will make the land a desolate waste, so that its proud strength will come to an end, and the mountains of Israel shall be so desolate that no one will cross them. 29 Thus they shall know that I am the Lord, when I make the land a desolate waste because of all the abominations they committed.

Popular Misunderstanding. 30 As for you, son of man, your people are talking about you beside the walls and in the doorways of houses. They say to one another, “Let’s go hear the latest word that comes from the Lord.” 31 My people come to you, gathering as a crowd and sitting in front of you to hear your words, but they will not act on them. Love songs are on their lips, but in their hearts they pursue dishonest gain. 32 For them you are only a singer[d] of love songs, with a pleasant voice and a clever touch. They listen to your words, but they do not obey them. 33 But when it comes—and it is surely coming!—they shall know that there was a prophet among them.

Chapter 34

Parable of the Shepherds. The word of the Lord came to me: Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds[e] of Israel. Prophesy and say to them: To the shepherds, thus says the Lord God: Woe to the shepherds of Israel who have been pasturing themselves! Should not shepherds pasture the flock? You consumed milk, wore wool, and slaughtered fatlings, but the flock you did not pasture. You did not strengthen the weak nor heal the sick nor bind up the injured. You did not bring back the stray or seek the lost but ruled them harshly and brutally. So they were scattered for lack of a shepherd, and became food for all the wild beasts. They were scattered and wandered over all the mountains and high hills; over the entire surface of the earth my sheep were scattered. No one looked after them or searched for them.

Therefore, shepherds, hear the word of the Lord: As I live—oracle of the Lord God—because my sheep became plunder, because my sheep became food for wild beasts, for lack of a shepherd, because my shepherds did not look after my sheep, but pastured themselves and did not pasture my sheep, therefore, shepherds, hear the word of the Lord: 10 Thus says the Lord God: Look! I am coming against these shepherds. I will take my sheep out of their hand and put a stop to their shepherding my flock, so that these shepherds will no longer pasture them. I will deliver my flock from their mouths so it will not become their food.

11 For thus says the Lord God: Look! I myself will search for my sheep and examine them. 12 As a shepherd examines his flock while he himself is among his scattered sheep, so will I examine my sheep. I will deliver them from every place where they were scattered on the day of dark clouds. 13 I will lead them out from among the peoples and gather them from the lands; I will bring them back to their own country and pasture them upon the mountains of Israel, in the ravines and every inhabited place in the land. 14 In good pastures I will pasture them; on the mountain heights of Israel will be their grazing land. There they will lie down on good grazing ground; in rich pastures they will be pastured on the mountains of Israel. 15 I myself will pasture my sheep; I myself will give them rest—oracle of the Lord God. 16 The lost I will search out, the strays I will bring back, the injured I will bind up, and the sick I will heal; but the sleek and the strong I will destroy. I will shepherd them in judgment.

Separation of the Sheep. 17 As for you, my flock, thus says the Lord God: I will judge between one sheep and another, between rams and goats. 18 Was it not enough for you to graze on the best pasture, that you had to trample the rest of your pastures with your hooves? Or to drink the clearest water, that you had to pollute the rest with your hooves? 19 Thus my flock had to graze on what your hooves had trampled and drink what your hooves had polluted. 20 Therefore thus says the Lord God: Now I will judge between the fat and the lean. 21 Because you push with flank and shoulder, and butt all the weak sheep with your horns until you drive them off, 22 I will save my flock so they can no longer be plundered; I will judge between one sheep and another. 23 I will appoint one shepherd[f] over them to pasture them, my servant David; he shall pasture them and be their shepherd. 24 I, the Lord, will be their God, and my servant David will be prince in their midst. I, the Lord, have spoken.

25 I will make a covenant of peace with them and rid the country of wild beasts so they will dwell securely in the wilderness and sleep in the forests. 26 I will settle them around my hill and send rain in its season, the blessing of abundant rain. 27 The trees of the field shall bear their fruits, and the land its crops, and they shall dwell securely on their own soil. They shall know that I am the Lord when I break the bars of their yoke and deliver them from the power of those who enslaved them. 28 They shall no longer be plundered by the nations nor will wild beasts devour them, but they shall dwell securely, with no one to frighten them. 29 I will prepare for them peaceful fields for planting so they are never again swept away by famine in the land or bear taunts from the nations. 30 Thus they shall know that I, the Lord, their God, am with them, and that they are my people, the house of Israel—oracle of the Lord God. 31 Yes, you are my flock: you people are the flock of my pasture, and I am your God—oracle of the Lord God.

Chapter 35

Against Edom.[g] The word of the Lord came to me: Son of man, set your face against Mount Seir and prophesy against it. Say to it: Thus says the Lord God: Watch out! I am against you, Mount Seir. I will stretch out my hand against you and turn you into a desolate waste. Your cities I will turn into ruins, and you shall be a desolation; then you shall know that I am the Lord.

Because you nursed a long-standing hatred and handed the Israelites over to the sword at the time of their collapse, at the time of their final punishment,[h] therefore, as I live—oracle of the Lord God—you are guilty of blood, and blood, I swear, shall pursue you. I will make Mount Seir a desolate waste and cut off from it anyone who travels across it and back. I will fill its mountains with the slain; those slain by the sword shall fall on your hills, into your valleys and all your ravines.

I will make you a desolation forever,
    your cities will not be inhabited,
    and you shall know that I am the Lord.

10 Because you said: The two nations and the two lands[i] belong to me; let us take possession of them—although the Lord was there— 11 therefore, as I live—oracle of the Lord God—I will deal with you according to the anger and envy you dealt out to them in your hatred, and I will make myself known to them when I execute judgment on you, 12 then you shall know that I am the Lord.

I have heard all the insults you spoke against the mountains of Israel, saying: They are desolate; they have been given to us to devour. 13 You boasted against me with your mouths and used insolent words against me. I heard everything! 14 Thus says the Lord God: Because you rejoiced that the whole land was desolate, so I will do to you. 15 As you rejoiced over the devastation of the heritage of the house of Israel, the same I will do to you: you will become a ruin, Mount Seir, and the whole of Edom, all of it! Then they shall know that I am the Lord.

Chapter 36

Regeneration of the Land. As for you, son of man, prophesy to the mountains of Israel and say: Mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord! Thus says the Lord God: Because the enemy said about you, “Ha! the ancient heights have become our possession,” therefore prophesy and say: Thus says the Lord God: because you have been ridiculed and hounded on all sides for becoming a possession for the remaining nations and have become a byword and a popular jeer, therefore, mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord God: Thus says the Lord God to the mountains and hills, to the ravines and valleys, to the desolate ruins and abandoned cities, plundered and mocked by the nations remaining around you: therefore thus says the Lord God: Truly, with burning jealousy I speak against the remaining nations and against Edom; they all took possession of my land for plunder with wholehearted joy and utter contempt. Therefore, prophesy concerning the land of Israel and say to the mountains and hills, to the ravines and valleys: Thus says the Lord God: See! in my jealous fury I speak, because you endured the reproach of the nations. Therefore, thus says the Lord God: I raise my hand and swear: the nations around you shall bear their own reproach.

But you, mountains of Israel, you will sprout branches and bear fruit for my people Israel, for they are coming soon. Look! I am for you! I will turn my face toward you; you will be plowed and planted. 10 Upon you I will multiply the whole house of Israel; cities shall be resettled and ruins rebuilt. 11 Upon you I will multiply people and animals so they can multiply and be fruitful. I will resettle you as in the past, and make you more prosperous than at your beginning; then you shall know that I am the Lord.

12 Upon you I will have them walk, my people Israel. They shall possess you, and you shall be their heritage. Never again shall you rob them of their children.

13 Thus says the Lord God: Because they say of you, “You devour your own people,[j] you rob your nation of its children,” 14 therefore, you shall never again devour your people or rob your nation of its children—oracle of the Lord God. 15 I will no longer make you listen to the reproach of nations. You will never again endure insults from the peoples. Never again shall you rob your nation of its children—oracle of the Lord God.

Regeneration of the People. 16 The word of the Lord came to me: 17 Son of man, when the house of Israel lived in its land, they defiled it with their behavior and their deeds. In my sight their behavior was like the impurity of a woman in menstruation. 18 So I poured out my fury upon them for the blood they poured out on the ground and for the idols with which they defiled it. 19 I scattered them among the nations, and they were dispersed through other lands; according to their behavior and their deeds I carried out judgment against them. 20 [k]But when they came to the nations, where they went, they desecrated my holy name, for people said of them: “These are the people of the Lord, yet they had to leave their land.” 21 So I relented because of my holy name which the house of Israel desecrated among the nations to which they came. 22 Therefore say to the house of Israel: Thus says the Lord God: Not for your sake do I act, house of Israel, but for the sake of my holy name, which you desecrated among the nations to which you came. 23 But I will show the holiness of my great name, desecrated among the nations, in whose midst you desecrated it. Then the nations shall know that I am the Lord—oracle of the Lord God—when through you I show my holiness before their very eyes. 24 I will take you away from among the nations, gather you from all the lands, and bring you back to your own soil. 25 [l]I will sprinkle clean water over you to make you clean; from all your impurities and from all your idols I will cleanse you. 26 I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 I will put my spirit within you so that you walk in my statutes, observe my ordinances, and keep them. 28 You will live in the land I gave to your ancestors; you will be my people, and I will be your God. 29 I will deliver you from all your impurities. I will summon the grain and make it plentiful; I will not send famine against you. 30 I will increase the fruit on your trees and the crops in your fields so that you no longer endure reproach from the nations because of famine. 31 Then you will remember your evil behavior and your deeds that were not good; you will loathe yourselves for your sins and your abominations. 32 Not for your sake do I act—oracle of the Lord God. Let this be known to you! Be ashamed and humbled because of your behavior, house of Israel.

33 Thus says the Lord God: When I cleanse you of all your guilt, I will resettle the cities and the ruins will be rebuilt. 34 The desolate land will be tilled—once a wasteland in the eyes of every passerby. 35 They will say, “This once-desolate land has become like the garden of Eden. The cities once ruined, laid waste and destroyed, are now resettled and fortified.” 36 Then the surrounding nations that remain shall know that I, the Lord, have rebuilt what was destroyed and replanted what was desolate. I, the Lord, have spoken: I will do it. 37 Thus says the Lord God: This also I will be persuaded to do for the house of Israel: to multiply them like sheep. 38 Like sheep for sacrifice, like the sheep of Jerusalem on its feast days, the ruined cities shall be filled with flocks of people; then they shall know that I am the Lord.

Chapter 37

Vision of the Dry Bones.[m] The hand of the Lord came upon me, and he led me out in the spirit of the Lord and set me in the center of the broad valley. It was filled with bones. He made me walk among them in every direction. So many lay on the surface of the valley! How dry they were! He asked me: Son of man, can these bones come back to life? “Lord God,” I answered, “you alone know that.” Then he said to me: Prophesy over these bones, and say to them: Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! Thus says the Lord God to these bones: Listen! I will make breath enter you so you may come to life. I will put sinews on you, make flesh grow over you, cover you with skin, and put breath into you so you may come to life. Then you shall know that I am the Lord. I prophesied as I had been commanded. A sound started up, as I was prophesying, rattling like thunder. The bones came together, bone joining to bone. As I watched, sinews appeared on them, flesh grew over them, skin covered them on top, but there was no breath in them. Then he said to me: Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man! Say to the breath: Thus says the Lord God: From the four winds come, O breath, and breathe into these slain that they may come to life.[n] 10 I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath entered them; they came to life and stood on their feet, a vast army. 11 He said to me: Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel! They are saying, “Our bones are dried up, our hope is lost, and we are cut off.” 12 Therefore, prophesy and say to them: Thus says the Lord God: Look! I am going to open your graves; I will make you come up out of your graves, my people, and bring you back to the land of Israel. 13 You shall know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves and make you come up out of them, my people! 14 I will put my spirit in you that you may come to life, and I will settle you in your land. Then you shall know that I am the Lord. I have spoken; I will do it—oracle of the Lord.

The Two Sticks. 15 [o]Thus the word of the Lord came to me: 16 As for you, son of man, take one stick and write on it, “Judah and those Israelites associated with it.” Then take another stick and write on it: “Joseph, Ephraim’s stick, and the whole house of Israel associated with it.” 17 Join the two sticks together so they become one stick in your hand. 18 When your people ask you, “Will you not tell us what you mean by all this?” 19 answer them: Thus says the Lord God: I will take the stick of Joseph, now in Ephraim’s hand, and the tribes of Israel associated with it, and join to it the stick of Judah, making them one stick; they shall become one in my hand. 20 The sticks on which you write, you must hold in your hand in their sight. 21 Say to them: Thus says the Lord God: I will soon take the Israelites from among the nations to which they have gone and gather them from all around to bring them back to their land. 22 I will make them one nation in the land, upon the mountains of Israel, and there shall be one king for them all. They shall never again be two nations, never again be divided into two kingdoms.

23 No longer shall they defile themselves with their idols, their abominations, and all their transgressions. I will deliver them from all their apostasy through which they sinned. I will cleanse them so that they will be my people, and I will be their God. 24 David my servant shall be king over them; they shall all have one shepherd. They shall walk in my ordinances, observe my statutes, and keep them. 25 They shall live on the land I gave to Jacob my servant, the land where their ancestors lived; they shall live on it always, they, their children, and their children’s children, with David my servant as their prince forever. 26 I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them. I will multiply them and put my sanctuary among them forever. 27 My dwelling shall be with them; I will be their God, and they will be my people. 28 Then the nations shall know that I, the Lord, make Israel holy, by putting my sanctuary among them forever.

Chapter 38

First Prophecy Against Gog. The word of the Lord came to me:[p] Son of man, turn your face against Gog[q] of the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him. Say: Thus says the Lord God: See! I am coming against you, Gog, chief prince of Meshech and Tubal. I will turn you around and put hooks in your jaws to lead you out with all your army, horses and riders, all well armed, a great company, all of them with bucklers and shields, carrying swords: Persia, Cush, and Put with them, all with shields and helmets; Gomer and all its troops, Beth-togarmah from the recesses of Zaphon and all its troops—many nations will accompany you. Prepare and get ready, you and the company mobilized for you, but in my service. After many days you will be called to battle; in the last years you will invade a land that has survived the sword—a people gathered from many nations back to the long-deserted mountains of Israel, brought forth from the nations to dwell securely. You shall come up like a sudden storm, covering the land like a cloud, you and all your troops and the many nations with you.

10 Thus says the Lord God: On that day thoughts shall cross your mind, and you shall devise an evil plan. 11 You will say, “I will invade a land of open villages and attack a peaceful people who live in security—all of them living without city walls, bars, or gates”— 12 in order to plunder and pillage, turning your hand against resettled ruins, against a people gathered from the nations, a people whose concern is cattle and goods, dwelling at the center[r] of the earth. 13 Sheba and Dedan, the merchants of Tarshish and all its “young lions” shall ask you: “Have you come here to plunder? Have you summoned your army for pillage, to carry off silver and gold, to take away cattle and goods, to seize much plunder?”

Second Prophecy Against Gog. 14 Therefore, prophesy, son of man, and say to Gog: Thus says the Lord God: On that day, when my people Israel dwell securely, will you not take action, 15 leaving your base in the recesses of Zaphon,[s] you and many nations with you, all mounted on horses, a great company, a mighty army? 16 You shall rise up over my people Israel like a cloud covering the land. In those last days, I will let you invade my land so that the nations acknowledge me, when in their sight I show my holiness through you, Gog.

17 Thus says the Lord God: About you I spoke in earlier times through my servants, the prophets of Israel, who prophesied at that time that I would let you invade them. 18 But on that day, the day Gog invades the land of Israel—oracle of the Lord God—my fury will flare up in my anger, 19 and in my jealousy, with fiery wrath, I swear on that day there will be a great earthquake in the land of Israel. 20 Before me will tremble the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, the beasts of the field and everything that crawls on the ground, and everyone on the face of the earth. Mountains will be overturned, terraces will collapse, and every wall will fall to the ground. 21 Against him I will summon every terror—oracle of the Lord God; every man’s sword will be raised against his brother. 22 I will execute judgment on him: disease and bloodshed; flooding rain and hailstones, fire and brimstone, I will rain down on him, on his troops and on the many nations with him. 23 And so I will show my greatness and holiness and make myself known in the sight of many nations. Then they shall know that I am the Lord.

Chapter 39

Third Prophecy Against Gog. You, son of man, prophesy against Gog, saying: Thus says the Lord God: Here I am, Gog, coming at you, chief prince of Meshech and Tubal. I will turn you around, even though I urged you on and brought you up from the recesses of Zaphon and let you attack the mountains of Israel. Then I will strike the bow from your left hand and make the arrows drop from your right. Upon the mountains of Israel you shall fall, you and all your troops and the peoples with you. I will give you as food to birds of prey of every kind and to wild beasts to be eaten. In the open field you shall fall, for I have spoken—oracle of the Lord God.

I will send fire against Magog and against those who live securely on the seacoast, and they will know that I am the Lord. I will reveal my holy name among my people Israel, and I will never again allow my holy name to be defiled. Then the nations shall know that I am the Lord, the Holy One of Israel. Yes, it is coming! It shall happen—oracle of the Lord God. This is the day I decreed.

Everyone living in the cities of Israel shall go out and set fire to the weapons, buckler and shield, bows and arrows, clubs and spears; for seven years they shall make fires with them. 10 They will not need to bring in wood from the fields or cut down trees in the forests, for they will make fires with the weapons, plundering those who plundered them, pillaging those who pillaged them—oracle of the Lord God.

11 On that day I will give Gog a place for his tomb in Israel, the Valley of Abarim,[t] east of the sea. It will block the way of travelers. There Gog shall be buried with all his horde; it shall be called “Valley of Hamon-Gog.” 12 For seven months the house of Israel shall bury them in order to cleanse the land. 13 All the people of the land shall take part in the burials, making a name for themselves on the day I am glorified—oracle of the Lord God. 14 Men shall be permanently assigned to pass through the land, burying those who lie unburied in order to cleanse the land. For seven months they shall keep searching. 15 When these pass through the land and see a human bone, they must set up a marker beside it, until the gravediggers bury it in the Valley of Hamon-Gog. 16 Also the name of the city is Hamonah. Thus the land will be cleansed.

17 As for you, son of man, thus says the Lord God: Say to birds of every kind and to every wild beast: “Assemble! Come from all sides for the sacrifice I am making for you, a great slaughter on the mountains of Israel. You shall eat flesh and drink blood! 18 You shall eat the flesh of warriors and drink the blood of the princes of the earth: rams, lambs, and goats, bulls and fatlings from Bashan, all of them. 19 From the sacrifice I slaughtered for you, you shall eat fat until you are sated and drink blood until you are drunk. 20 At my table you shall be sated with horse and rider, with warrior and soldier of every kind—oracle of the Lord God.

Israel’s Return. 21 Then I will display my glory among the nations, and all the nations will see the judgment I executed, the hand I laid upon them. 22 From that day forward the house of Israel shall know that I am the Lord, their God. 23 The nations shall know that the house of Israel went into exile because of its sins. Because they betrayed me, I hid my face from them, handing them over to their foes, so they all fell by the sword. 24 According to their defilement and their crimes I dealt with them, hiding my face from them.

25 Therefore, thus says the Lord God: Now I will restore the fortunes of Jacob and take pity on the whole house of Israel; I am zealous for my holy name. 26 They will forget their shame and all the infidelities they committed against me when they live securely on their own land with no one to frighten them. 27 When I bring them back from the nations and gather them from the lands of their enemies, I will show my holiness through them in the sight of many nations. 28 Thus they shall know that I, the Lord, am their God, since I who exiled them among the nations will gather them back to their land, not leaving any of them behind. 29 I will no longer hide my face from them once I pour out my spirit upon the house of Israel—oracle of the Lord God.

V. The New Israel[u]

The New Temple

Chapter 40

The Man with a Measure. In the twenty-fifth year of our exile, at the beginning of the year, on the tenth day of the month, fourteen years after the city had been captured, on that very day the hand of the Lord came upon me and brought me back there. In a divine vision he brought me to the land of Israel, where he set me down on a very high mountain. In front of me, there was something like a city built on it. He brought me there, and there standing in the gateway was a man whose appearance was like bronze! He held in his hand a linen cord and a measuring rod. The man said to me, “Son of man, look carefully and listen intently. Pay strict attention to everything I show you, for you have been brought here so that I might show it to you. Then you must tell the house of Israel everything you see.” There an outer wall completely surrounded the temple. The measuring rod in the man’s hand was six cubits long, each cubit being a cubit plus a handbreadth;[v] he measured the width of the structure, one rod, and its height, one rod.

The East Gate.[w] Going to the gate facing east, he climbed its steps and measured the threshold of the outer gateway as one rod wide. Each cell was one rod long and one rod wide, and there were five cubits between the cells; the threshold of the inner gateway adjoining the vestibule of the gate facing the temple was one rod wide. He also measured the vestibule of the inner gate, eight cubits, and its posts, two cubits each. The vestibule faced the inside. 10 On each side of the east gatehouse were three cells, all the same size; their posts were all the same size. 11 He measured the width of the gate’s entryway, ten cubits, and the length of the gate itself, thirteen cubits. 12 The borders in front of the cells on both sides were one cubit, while the cells themselves measured six cubits by six cubits from one opening to the next. 13 Next he measured the gatehouse from the back wall of one cell to the back wall of the cell on the opposite side through the openings facing each other, a width of twenty-five cubits. 14 All around the courtyard of the gatehouse were posts six cubits high. 15 From the front of the gatehouse at its outer entry to the gateway of the porch facing inward, the length was fifty cubits. 16 There were recessed windows in the cells on all sides and in the posts on the inner side of the gate. Posts and windows were all around the inside, with palm trees decorating the posts.

The Outer Court. 17 Then he brought me to the outer court,[x] where there were chambers and pavement laid all around the courtyard: thirty chambers facing the pavement. 18 The pavement lay alongside the gatehouses, the same length as the gates; this was the lower pavement. 19 He measured the length of the pavement from the front of the lower gate to the outside of the inner gate, one hundred cubits. He then moved from the east to the north side.

The North Gate. 20 He measured the length and width of the north gate of the outer courtyard. 21 Its cells, three on each side, its posts, and its vestibule had the same measurements as those of the first gate, fifty cubits long and twenty-five cubits wide. 22 Its windows, its vestibule, and its palm decorations had the same proportions as those of the gate facing east. Seven steps led up to it, and its vestibule faced the inside. 23 The inner court had a gate opposite the north gate, just as at the east gate; he measured one hundred cubits from one gate to the other.

The South Gate. 24 Then he led me to the south. There, too, facing south, was a gate! He measured its posts and vestibule; they were the same size as the others. 25 The gate and its vestibule had windows on both sides, like the other windows, fifty cubits long and twenty-five cubits wide. 26 Seven steps led up to it, its vestibule faced inside; and palms decorated each of the posts opposite one another. 27 The inner court also had a gate facing south. He measured it from gate to gate, facing south, one hundred cubits.

Gates of the Inner Court.[y] 28 Then he brought me to the inner courtyard by the south gate, where he measured the south gateway; its measurements were the same as the others. 29 Its cells, posts, and vestibule were the same size as the others, fifty cubits long and twenty-five cubits wide. 30 [z]The vestibules all around were twenty-five cubits long and five cubits wide. 31 Its vestibule faced the outer court; palms decorated its posts, and its stairway had eight steps. 32 Then he brought me to the inner courtyard on the east and measured the gate there; its dimensions were the same as the others. 33 Its cells, posts, and vestibule were the same size as the others. The gate and its vestibule had windows on both sides, fifty cubits long and twenty-five cubits wide. 34 Its vestibule faced the outer court, palms decorated the posts opposite each other, and it had a stairway of eight steps. 35 Then he brought me to the north gate, where he measured the dimensions 36 of its cells, posts, and vestibule; they were the same. The gate and its vestibule had windows on both sides, fifty cubits long and twenty-five cubits wide. 37 Its vestibule faced the outer court; palm trees decorated its posts opposite each other, and it had a stairway of eight steps.

Side Rooms. 38 There was a chamber opening off the vestibule of the gate where burnt offerings were washed. 39 In the vestibule of the gate there were two tables on either side for slaughtering the burnt offerings, purification offerings, and reparation offerings. 40 Two more tables stood along the wall of the vestibule by the entrance of the north gate, and two tables on the other side of the vestibule of the gate. 41 There were thus four tables on one side of the gate and four tables on the other side, eight tables in all, for slaughtering. 42 The four tables for burnt offerings were made of cut stone, one and a half cubits long, one and a half cubits wide, and one cubit high; the instruments used for slaughtering burnt offerings and other sacrifices were kept 43 on shelves the width of one hand, fixed all around the room; but on the tables themselves was the meat for the sacrifices. 44 Outside the inner gatehouse there were two rooms on the inner courtyard, one beside the north gate, facing south, and the other beside the south gate, facing north. 45 He said to me, “This chamber facing south is reserved for the priests who have charge of the temple area, 46 while this chamber facing north is reserved for the priests who have charge of the altar; they are the sons of Zadok,[aa] the only Levites who may come near to minister to the Lord.” 47 He measured the courtyard, a square one hundred cubits long and a hundred cubits wide, with the altar standing in front of the temple.

The Temple Building.[ab] 48 Then he brought me into the vestibule of the temple and measured the posts, five cubits on each side. The gateway was fourteen cubits wide, its side walls three cubits. 49 The vestibule was twenty cubits long and twelve cubits wide; ten steps led up to it, and there were columns by the posts, one on each side.

Chapter 41

Then he brought me to the nave and measured the posts; each was six cubits wide. The width of the entrance was ten cubits, and the walls on either side measured five cubits. He measured the nave, forty cubits long and twenty cubits wide.

Then he went inside and measured the posts at the other entrance, two cubits wide. The entrance was six cubits wide, with walls seven cubits long on each side. Next he measured the length and width of the room beyond the nave, twenty cubits long and twenty cubits wide. He said to me, “This is the holy of holies.”[ac]

Then he measured the wall of the temple, six cubits wide, and the width of the side chambers stretching all around the temple, four cubits each. [ad]There were thirty side chambers, chamber upon chamber in three stories; terraces on the outside wall of the temple enclosing the side chambers provided support, but there were no supports for the temple wall itself. A broad passageway led up the side chambers, for the house was enclosed all the way up and all the way around. Thus the temple was widened by the ascent that went from the lowest story through the middle one to the highest story. I saw a raised platform all around the temple, the foundation for the side chambers; the width of this terrace was a full rod, six cubits. The width of the outside wall enclosing the side chambers was five cubits. There was an open space between the side chambers of the temple 10 and the other chambers that measured twenty cubits around the temple on all sides. 11 The side chambers had entrances to the open space, one entrance on the north and the other on the south. The width of the wall surrounding the open space was five cubits. 12 The building[ae] opposite the restricted area on the west side was seventy cubits long and ninety cubits wide, with walls five cubits thick all around it. 13 Thus he measured the temple, one hundred cubits long. The restricted area, its building and walls, measured a hundred cubits in length. 14 The temple facade, along with the restricted area to the east, was also one hundred cubits wide. 15 He then measured the building opposite the restricted area which was behind it, together with its terraces on both sides, one hundred cubits.

Interior of the Temple. The inner nave and the outer vestibule 16 were paneled; the windows had recesses and precious wood trim around all three sides except the sill. Paneling covered the walls from the floor up to the windows and even the window sections. 17 Even above the doorway and in the inner part of the temple and outside as well, around all the walls inside and out, 18 were figures of cherubim and palm trees: a palm tree between each pair of cherubim. Each cherub had two faces: 19 the face of a human being looked toward one palm tree and the face of a lion looked toward the other palm tree. Thus the figures covered all the walls around the temple. 20 From the floor to the lintel of the door, cherubim and palm trees decorated the walls. 21 The nave had a square door frame, and inside facing the holy place was something that looked like 22 a wooden altar,[af] three cubits high, two cubits long, and two cubits wide. It had corners and a wooden base and sides. He said to me, “This is the table that stands before the Lord.” 23 The nave had a double door, and the holy place 24 also had a double door; each door had two sections that could move; two sections on one door, and two on the other. 25 Cherubim and palm trees decorated the doors of the nave like the decoration on the walls. Outside a wooden lattice faced the vestibule. 26 There were recessed windows and palm trees on the side walls of the vestibule. The side chambers of the temple also had latticework.

Chapter 42

Other Structures. Then he led me north to the outer court, bringing me to some chambers on the north side opposite the restricted area and the north building. They were a hundred cubits long on the north side and fifty cubits wide. Built in rows at three different levels, they stood between the twenty cubits of the inner court and the pavement of the outer court. In front of the chambers was a walkway ten cubits wide on the inside of a wall one cubit wide. The doorways faced north. [ag]The upper chambers were shorter because they lost space to the lower and middle tiers of the building. Because they were in three tiers, they did not have foundations like the court, but were set back from the lower and middle levels from the ground up. The outside walls ran parallel to the chambers along the outer court, a length of fifty cubits. The chambers facing the outer court were fifty cubits long; thus the wall along the nave was a hundred cubits. At the base of these chambers, there was an entryway from the east so that one could enter from the outer court 10 where the wall of the court began.

To the south along the side of the restricted area and the building there were also chambers 11 with a walkway in front of them. They looked like the chambers on the north side in length and width, in their exits, their design, and their doorways. 12 At the base of the chambers on the south side there was an entry at the end of a walkway in front of the protective wall by which one could enter from the east. 13 He said to me, “The north and south chambers facing the restricted area are the chambers of the holy place where the priests who approach the Lord shall eat the most holy meals. Here they shall place the most holy offerings: the grain offerings, the purification offerings, and the reparation offerings; for the place is holy.[ah] 14 When the priests have entered, they must not go out again from the holy place into the outer court without leaving the garments in which they ministered because they are holy. They shall put on other garments before approaching the area for the people.”

Measuring the Outer Court. 15 When he finished measuring the interior of the temple area, he brought me out by way of the gate facing east and measured all around it. 16 He measured the east side, five hundred cubits by his measuring rod. Then he turned 17 and measured the north side: five hundred cubits by his measuring rod. He turned 18 and measured the south side, five hundred cubits by his measuring rod. 19 He turned and measured the west side, also five hundred cubits by his measuring rod. 20 Thus he measured it on the four sides. It was surrounded by a wall five hundred cubits long and five hundred cubits wide, to separate the sacred from the profane.

Restoration of the Temple

Chapter 43

The Glory of the Lord Returns. Then he led me to the gate facing east, and there was the glory of the God of Israel coming from the east! His voice was like the roar of many waters, and the earth shone with his glory. The vision I saw was like the vision I had seen when he came to destroy the city and like the vision I had seen by the river Chebar—I fell on my face. The glory of the Lord entered the temple by way of the gate facing east. Then the spirit lifted me up and brought me to the inner court. And there the glory of the Lord filled the temple! I heard someone speaking to me from the temple, but the man was standing beside me. The voice said to me: Son of man, do you see the place for my throne, and the place for the soles of my feet? Here I will dwell among the Israelites forever. The house of Israel, neither they nor their kings, will never again defile my holy name, with their prostitutions and the corpses of their kings at their death. When they placed their threshold against my threshold[ai] and their doorpost next to mine, with only a wall between me and them, they defiled my holy name by the abominations they committed, and I devoured them in my wrath. From now on, let them put their prostitution and the corpses of their kings far from me, and I will dwell in their midst forever.

The Law of the Temple. 10 As for you, son of man, describe the temple to the house of Israel so they are ashamed for their sins. Let them measure its layout. 11 If they are ashamed for all they have done, tell them about the layout and design of the temple, its exits and entrances, with all its regulations and instructions; write it down for them to see, that they may carefully observe all its laws and statutes. 12 This is the law for the temple: the entire area on top of the mountain all around will be a most holy place. This is the law for the temple.

The Altar. 13 These were the dimensions of the altar[aj] in cubits, a cubit being one cubit plus a handbreadth. The channel was one cubit deep by one cubit wide, and its rim had a lip one span wide all around it. The height of the altar itself was as follows: 14 from the channel at floor level up to the lower ledge was two cubits, with the ledge one cubit wide; from the lower ledge to the upper ledge, four cubits, with the ledge one cubit wide. 15 The altar hearth was four cubits high, and extending up from the top of the hearth were four horns. 16 The hearth was twelve cubits long and twelve cubits wide, a square with four equal sides. 17 The upper ledge was fourteen cubits long and fourteen cubits wide on all four sides. The rim around it was half a cubit, with a channel one cubit all around. The steps faced east.

18 Then he said to me: Son of man, thus says the Lord God: These are the statutes for the altar when it is set up for sacrificing burnt offerings and splashing blood on it. 19 A young bull must be brought as a purification offering to the priests, the Levites descended from Zadok, who come near to serve me—oracle of the Lord God. 20 You shall take some of its blood and smear it on the four horns of the altar, and on the four corners of the ledge, and all around its rim. Thus you shall purify and purge it. 21 Then take the bull as purification offering and burn it in the appointed place outside the sanctuary. 22 On the second day present an unblemished male goat as a purification offering, to purify the altar as you did with the bull. 23 When you have completed the purification, you must bring an unblemished young bull and an unblemished ram from the flock 24 and present them before the Lord. The priests shall throw salt on them and sacrifice them as burnt offerings to the Lord. 25 Daily for seven days you shall give a male goat as a purification offering; and a young bull and a ram from the flock, all unblemished, shall be offered 26 for seven days. Thus they shall purge the altar, in order to cleanse and dedicate it. 27 And when these days are over, from the eighth day on, the priests shall sacrifice your burnt offerings and communion offerings on the altar. Then I will be pleased with you—oracle of the Lord God.

Chapter 44

The Closed Gate. Then he brought me back to the outer gate of the sanctuary facing east, but it was closed. The Lord said to me: This gate must remain closed; it must not be opened, and no one should come through it. Because the Lord, the God of Israel, came through it, it must remain closed. Only the prince may sit in it to eat a meal in the presence of the Lord; he must enter through the vestibule of the gate and leave the same way.[ak]

The New Law

Admission to the Temple. Then he brought me by way of the north gate to the facade of the temple. I looked—and the glory of the Lord filled the Lord’s house! I fell on my face. The Lord said to me: Son of man, pay close attention, look carefully, and listen intently to everything I tell you about all the statutes and laws of the Lord’s house. Pay close attention to the entrance into the temple and all the exits of the sanctuary. Say to that rebellious house, the house of Israel: Thus says the Lord God: Enough of all your abominations, house of Israel! You have admitted foreigners, uncircumcised in heart and flesh, into my sanctuary to profane it when you offered me food, the fat and blood.[al] Thus you have broken my covenant by all your abominations. Instead of caring for the service of my sanctuary, you appointed these foreigners to care for the service of my sanctuary. Thus says the Lord God: No foreigners, uncircumcised in heart and flesh, shall ever enter my sanctuary: not even any of the foreigners who live among the Israelites.

Levites. 10 As for the Levites who went far away from me when Israel strayed from me after their idols, they will bear the consequences of their sin. 11 They will serve in my sanctuary only as gatekeepers and temple servants; they will slaughter burnt offerings and sacrifices for the people. They will stand before the people to serve them. 12 Because they used to serve them before their idols, thus becoming a stumbling block to the house of Israel, therefore I have sworn an oath against them, says the Lord God, and they will bear the consequences of their sin. 13 They shall no longer come near to serve as my priests, nor shall they touch any of my sacred things or my most sacred offerings, for they must bear their shame, the abominations they committed. 14 Instead I will make them responsible for the service of the temple and all its work, for everything that must be done in it.

Priests. 15 As for the levitical priests, sons of Zadok, who took charge of my sanctuary when the Israelites strayed from me, they may approach me to serve me and stand before me to offer the fat and the blood—oracle of the Lord God. 16 They may enter my sanctuary; they may approach my table to serve me and carry out my service. 17 Whenever they enter the gates of the inner court, they shall wear linen garments; they shall not put on anything woolen when they serve at the gates of the inner court or within the temple. 18 They shall have linen turbans on their heads and linen undergarments on their loins; they shall not gird themselves with anything that causes sweat. 19 And when they go out to the people in the outer court, they shall take off the garments in which they served and leave them in the rooms of the sanctuary, and put on other garments so they do not transmit holiness to the people[am] by their garments.

20 They shall not shave their heads nor let their hair hang loose, but they shall keep their hair carefully trimmed. 21 No priest shall drink wine before he enters the inner court. 22 They shall not take as wives either widows or divorced women, but only unmarried women from the line of Israel; however, they may take as wives widows who are widows of priests. 23 They shall teach my people to distinguish between sacred and profane and make known to them the difference between clean and unclean. 24 In legal cases they shall stand as judges, judging according to my ordinances. They shall observe all my laws and statutes regarding all my appointed feasts, and they shall keep my sabbaths holy.

25 They shall not make themselves unclean by going near a dead body; only for their father, mother, son, daughter, brother, or unmarried sister may they make themselves unclean. 26 After he is again clean, he must wait an additional seven days; 27 on the day he enters the inner court to serve in the sanctuary, he shall present a purification offering for himself—oracle of the Lord God. 28 I will be their heritage: I am their heritage! You shall not give them any property in Israel, for I am their property! 29 They shall eat grain offerings, purification offerings, and reparation offerings; anything under the ban[an] in Israel belongs to them; 30 all the choicest first fruits of every kind and all the best of your offerings of every kind shall belong to the priests; the best of your dough you shall also give to the priests to bring a blessing upon your house. 31 The priests shall not eat anything, whether bird or animal, that died naturally or was killed by wild beasts.

Chapter 45

The Holy Portion. When you apportion the land heritage by heritage, you shall set apart a holy portion for the Lord, holier than the rest of the land—twenty-five thousand cubits long and twenty thousand cubits wide; the entire area shall be holy. Of this land a square plot, five hundred by five hundred cubits, shall be assigned to the sanctuary, with fifty cubits of free space around it. From this tract also measure off a length of twenty-five thousand cubits and a width of ten thousand cubits; on it the sanctuary, the holy of holies, shall stand. This shall be the sacred part of the land belonging to the priests, the ministers of the sanctuary, who draw near to minister to the Lord; it shall be a place for their homes and an area set apart for the sanctuary. There shall also be a strip twenty-five thousand cubits long and ten thousand wide for the Levites, the ministers of the temple, so they have cities to live in. You shall assign a strip five thousand cubits wide and twenty-five thousand long as the property of the city parallel to the sacred tract; this shall belong to the whole house of Israel. A section shall belong to the prince, bordering both sides of the sacred tract and city combined, extending westward on the west side and eastward on the east side, corresponding in length to one of the tribal portions from the west boundary to the east boundary of the land. This shall be his property in Israel so that my princes will no longer oppress my people, but will leave the land to the house of Israel according to its tribes. Thus says the Lord God: Enough, you princes of Israel! Put away violence and oppression, and do what is just and right! Stop evicting my people!—oracle of the Lord God.

Weights and Measures.[ao] 10 You shall have honest scales, an honest ephah, and an honest bath. 11 The ephah and the bath shall be the same size: the bath equal to one tenth of a homer, and the ephah equal to one tenth of a homer; their capacity is based on the homer. 12 The shekel shall be twenty gerahs. Twenty shekels plus twenty-five shekels plus fifteen shekels make up a mina[ap] for you.

Offerings. 13 This is the offering you must make: one sixth of an ephah from each homer of wheat and one sixth of an ephah from each homer of barley. 14 This is the regulation for oil: for every bath of oil, one tenth of a bath, computed by the kor,[aq] made up of ten baths, that is, a homer, for ten baths make a homer. 15 Also, one sheep from the flock for every two hundred from the pasture land of Israel, for the grain offering, the burnt offering, and communion offerings, to make atonement on their behalf—oracle of the Lord God. 16 All the people of the land shall be responsible for these offerings to the prince in Israel. 17 It shall be the duty of the prince to provide burnt offerings, grain offerings, and libations on feast days, new moons, and sabbaths, on all the festivals of the house of Israel. He shall provide the purification offering, grain offering, burnt offering, and communion offerings, to make atonement on behalf of the house of Israel.

The Passover. 18 Thus says the Lord God: On the first day of the first month you shall take an unblemished young bull to purify the sanctuary. 19 The priest shall take some of the blood from the purification offering and smear it on the doorposts of the house, on the four corners of the ledge of the altar, and on the doorposts of the gates of the inner courtyard. 20 You shall repeat this on the seventh day of the month for those who have sinned inadvertently or out of ignorance; thus you shall purge the temple. 21 On the fourteenth day of the first month you shall observe the feast of Passover; for seven days unleavened bread must be eaten. 22 On that day the prince shall sacrifice, on his own behalf and on behalf of all the people of the land, a bull as a purification offering. 23 On each of the seven days of the feast he shall sacrifice, as a burnt offering to the Lord, seven bulls and seven rams without blemish, and as a purification offering he shall sacrifice one male goat each day. 24 As a grain offering he shall offer one ephah for each bull and one ephah for each ram and one hin[ar] of oil for each ephah.

The Feast of Booths. 25 In the seventh month, on the fifteenth day of the seventh month, on the feast day and for the next seven days, he shall make the same offerings: the same purification offerings, burnt offerings, grain offerings, and offerings of oil.

Chapter 46

Sabbaths. Thus says the Lord God: The gate of the inner court facing east shall remain closed throughout the six working days, but on the sabbath and on the day of the new moon it shall be open. [as]Then the prince shall enter from outside by way of the vestibule of the gate and remain standing at the doorpost of the gateway while the priests sacrifice his burnt offerings and communion offerings; then he shall bow down in worship at the opening of the gate and leave. But the gate shall not be closed until evening. The people of the land also shall bow down in worship before the Lord at the opening of this gate on the sabbaths and new moons. The burnt offerings which the prince sacrifices to the Lord on the sabbath shall consist of six unblemished lambs and an unblemished ram, together with a grain offering of one ephah for the ram and whatever he pleases for the lambs, and a hin of oil for each ephah. On the day of the new moon, he shall provide an unblemished young bull, six lambs, and a ram without blemish, with a grain offering of one ephah for the bull and an ephah for the ram, and for the lambs whatever he can, and for each ephah a hin of oil.

Ritual Laws. When the prince enters, he shall always enter and depart by the vestibule of the gate. When the people of the land come before the Lord to bow down on the festivals, if they enter by the north gate they shall leave by the south gate, and if they enter by the south gate they shall leave by the north gate. They shall not go back by the gate through which they entered; everyone shall leave by the opposite gate. 10 When they come in, the prince shall be with them; he shall also leave with them. 11 On feasts and festivals, the grain offering shall be an ephah for a bull, an ephah for a ram, but for the lambs whatever they please, and a hin of oil with each ephah. 12 When the prince makes a freewill offering to the Lord, whether a burnt offering or communion offering, the gate facing east shall be opened for him, and he shall bring his burnt offering or peace offering as he does on the sabbath. Then he shall leave, and the gate shall be closed after his departure. 13 Every day you shall bring as a burnt offering to the Lord an unblemished year-old lamb; you shall offer it every morning, 14 and with it every morning a grain offering of one sixth of an ephah, with a third of a hin of oil to moisten the fine flour. This grain offering for the Lord is a perpetual statute. 15 The lamb, the grain offering, and the oil you must bring every morning as a perpetual burnt offering.

The Prince and the Land. 16 Thus says the Lord God: If the prince makes a gift of part of his heritage to any of his sons, it belongs to his sons; that property is their heritage. 17 But if he makes a gift of part of his heritage to one of his servants, it belongs to him until the year of release;[at] then it reverts to the prince. Only the heritage given to his sons belongs to him. 18 The prince shall not seize any part of the heritage of the people by forcing them off their property. From his own property he shall provide heritage for his sons, so that none of my people will be driven off their property.

The Temple Kitchens. 19 Then he brought me through the entrance at the side of the gateway to the chambers reserved for the priests, which faced north. There I saw a place at the far west end, 20 about which he said to me, “This is the place where the priests cook the reparation offerings and the purification offerings and bake the grain offerings, so they do not have to bring them into the outer court and so transmit holiness to the people.”[au] 21 Then he led me into the outer court and had me cross to the four corners of the court, and there, in each corner, was another court! 22 In all four corners of the courtyard there were courts set off, each forty cubits long by thirty cubits wide, all four of them the same size. 23 A stone wall surrounded them on four sides, and ovens were built along the bottom of the walls all the way around. 24 He said to me, “These are the kitchens where the temple ministers cook the sacrifices of the people.”

Chapter 47

The Wonderful Stream.[av] Then he brought me back to the entrance of the temple, and there! I saw water flowing out from under the threshold of the temple toward the east, for the front of the temple faced east. The water flowed out toward the right side of the temple to the south of the altar. He brought me by way of the north gate and around the outside to the outer gate facing east; there I saw water trickling from the southern side. When he continued eastward with a measuring cord in his hand, he measured off a thousand cubits and had me wade through the water; it was ankle-deep. He measured off another thousand cubits and once more had me wade through the water; it was up to the knees. He measured another thousand cubits and had me wade through the water; it was up to my waist. Once more he measured off a thousand cubits. Now it was a river I could not wade across. The water had risen so high, I would have to swim—a river that was impassable. Then he asked me, “Do you see this, son of man?” He brought me to the bank of the river and had me sit down. As I was returning, I saw along the bank of the river a great many trees on each side. He said to me, “This water flows out into the eastern district, runs down into the Arabah and empties into the polluted waters of the sea[aw] to freshen them. Wherever it flows, the river teems with every kind of living creature; fish will abound. Where these waters flow they refresh; everything lives where the river goes. 10 Fishermen will stand along its shore from En-gedi to En-eglaim;[ax] it will become a place for drying nets, and it will abound with as many kinds of fish as the Great Sea. 11 Its marshes and swamps shall not be made fresh, but will be left for salt. 12 Along each bank of the river every kind of fruit tree will grow; their leaves will not wither, nor will their fruit fail. Every month they will bear fresh fruit because the waters of the river flow out from the sanctuary. Their fruit is used for food, and their leaves for healing.”

The New Israel

Boundaries of the Land.[ay] 13 Thus says the Lord God: These are the boundaries of the land which you shall apportion among the twelve tribes of Israel, with Joseph having two portions. 14 You shall apportion it equally because I swore to give it to your ancestors as a heritage; this land, then, is your heritage. 15 These are the borders of the land: on the northern side, from the Great Sea in the direction of Hethlon, Lebo-hamath to Zedad, 16 Berothah, and Sibraim, along the frontiers of Damascus and Hamath, to Hazar-enon, on the border of Hauran. 17 Thus the border extends from the sea to Hazar-enon, north of the border of Damascus, the frontier of Hamath to the north. This is the northern boundary. 18 The eastern border shall be between Damascus and Hauran, while the Jordan will form the border between Gilead and the land of Israel down to the eastern sea as far as Tamar. This is the eastern boundary. 19 The southern border shall go southward from Tamar to the waters of Meribath-kadesh, on to the Wadi of Egypt, and into the Great Sea. This is the southern boundary. 20 The western border shall have the Great Sea as a boundary as far as a point opposite Lebo-hamath. This is the western boundary.

The Northern Portions. 21 You shall divide this land according to the tribes of Israel. 22 You shall allot it as heritage for yourselves and for the resident aliens in your midst who have fathered children among you. You shall treat them like native Israelites; along with you they shall receive a heritage among the tribes of Israel. 23 In whatever tribe the resident alien lives, there you shall assign his heritage—oracle of the Lord God.

Chapter 48

These are the names[az] of the tribes:

At the northern end, along the side of the way to Hethlon, Lebo-hamath, and Hazar-enon, the border of Damascus, and northward up to the frontier with Hamath, from the eastern border to the western: Dan, one portion. Along the territory of Dan from the eastern border to the western border: Asher, one portion. Along the territory of Asher from the eastern border to the western border: Naphtali, one portion. Along the territory of Naphtali from the eastern border to the western border: Manasseh, one portion. Along the territory of Manasseh from the eastern border to the western border: Ephraim, one portion. Along the territory of Ephraim from the eastern border to the western border: Reuben, one portion. Along the territory of Reuben from the eastern border to the western border: Judah, one portion.

The Sacred Tract. Along the territory of Judah from the eastern border to the western border is the tract you shall set apart, twenty-five thousand cubits wide and as long as one of the portions from the eastern border to the western border. The sanctuary shall stand in the center of the tract. The tract you set apart for the Lord shall be twenty-five thousand cubits long by twenty thousand wide. 10 The sacred tract will be given to the following: the priests shall have twenty-five thousand cubits on the north, ten thousand on the west, ten thousand on the east, and twenty-five thousand on the south. The sanctuary of the Lord shall be in its center. 11 The consecrated priests, the Zadokites, who fulfilled my service and did not stray with the Israelites as the Levites did, 12 shall have their own tract set apart, next to the territory of the Levites, separate from the most holy tract. 13 The Levites shall have territory corresponding to that of the priests, twenty-five thousand cubits long and ten thousand cubits wide. The whole tract shall be twenty-five thousand cubits long and twenty thousand wide. 14 They may not sell or exchange or transfer any of it, the best part of the land, for it is sacred to the Lord. 15 The remaining section, five thousand cubits long and twenty-five thousand cubits wide, is profane land, assigned to the city for dwellings and pasture. The city is at its center. 16 These are the dimensions of the city: the north side, forty-five hundred cubits; the south side, forty-five hundred cubits; the east side, forty-five hundred cubits; and the west side, forty-five hundred cubits. 17 The pasture land for the city extends north two hundred fifty cubits, south two hundred fifty cubits, east two hundred fifty cubits, and west two hundred fifty cubits. 18 The remaining section runs eastward along the sacred tract for ten thousand cubits and westward ten thousand cubits. Its produce shall provide food for the workers of the city. 19 The workers of the city, from all the tribes of Israel, shall cultivate it. 20 The entire sacred tract measures twenty-five thousand by twenty-five thousand cubits; as a square you shall set apart the sacred tract together with the city property.

21 The remaining land on both sides of the sacred tract and the property of the city shall belong to the prince, extending eastward twenty-five thousand cubits up to the eastern boundary, and westward twenty-five thousand cubits to the western boundary. This portion belongs to the prince and corresponds to the tribal portions. The sacred tract and the sanctuary of the temple shall be in the middle. 22 Except for the Levites’ property and the city’s property, which are in the middle of the prince’s property, the territory between the portion of Judah and the portion of Benjamin shall belong to the prince.

The Southern Portions. 23 These are the remaining tribes:

From the eastern border to the western border: Benjamin, one portion. 24 Along the territory of Benjamin from the eastern border to the western border: Simeon, one portion. 25 Along the territory of Simeon from the eastern border to the western border: Issachar, one portion. 26 Along the territory of Issachar from the eastern border to the western border: Zebulun, one portion. 27 Along the territory of Zebulun from the eastern border to the western border: Gad, one portion. 28 Along the territory of Gad shall be the southern border. This boundary shall extend from Tamar to the waters of Meribath-kadesh, and along the Wadi of Egypt to the Great Sea. 29 This is the land you shall apportion as a heritage among the tribes of Israel, and these are their portions—oracle of the Lord God.

The Gates of the City. 30 These are the exits from the city: On the north side, measuring forty-five hundred cubits— 31 the gates are named after the tribes of Israel—on the north, three gates: the gate of Reuben, one; the gate of Judah, one; and the gate of Levi, one. 32 On the east side, measuring forty-five hundred cubits, three gates: the gate of Joseph, one; the gate of Benjamin, one; and the gate of Dan, one. 33 On the south side, measuring forty-five hundred cubits, three gates: the gate of Simeon, one; the gate of Issachar, one; and the gate of Zebulun, one. 34 On the west side, measuring forty-five hundred cubits, three gates: the gate of Gad, one; the gate of Asher, one; and the gate of Naphtali, one. 35 The circuit of the city shall be eighteen thousand cubits. From now on the name of the city is “The Lord is there.”

Footnotes:

  1. 33:2 Sentinel: the theme of the sentinel’s duty initiates a new commission to announce salvation (chaps. 33–48), just as the same command (3:17–21) opened Ezekiel’s ministry to announce judgment (chaps. 3–24).
  2. 33:21–22 The fifth day of the tenth month: January 8, 585 B.C. According to Jeremiah (39:2), Jerusalem was taken in July, 587. Some manuscripts read “eleventh” for “twelfth” year (January, 586); even so, there was ample time between the fall of Jerusalem and the arrival of the survivor from that city to journey to Babylon. However, this is the survivor sent to fulfill the promise of Ez 24:25–27, the eyewitness whose arrival would release Ezekiel from his muteness; cf. 3:26–27.
  3. 33:23–29 News brought by the survivor furnished the occasion for this prophecy. Like Jeremiah, Ezekiel rejects the idea that those left in Judah have any claim to the land. The new Israel is to be formed from the exiles.
  4. 33:32 Singer: perhaps the term indicates an entertainer whom one enjoys and then forgets.
  5. 34:2 Shepherds: the leaders of the people. A frequent title for kings and deities in the ancient Near East; the ideal ruler took care of his subjects and anticipated their needs. Ezekiel’s oracle broadens the reference to include the whole class of Jerusalem’s leaders (v. 17). The prophet assures his audience, the exiles in Babylon, that God holds these leaders responsible for what has happened to Jerusalem and will give Israel a new shepherd worthy of the title.
  6. 34:23 One shepherd: a future king to rule over a unified, restored Israel, in the image of the idealized David present in the Book of Kings (cf., e.g., 1 Kgs 3:3; 11:38; 2 Kgs 14:3; 22:2). My servant David: a common characterization of David; e.g., 1 Kgs 11:34, 36, 38; 2 Kgs 8:19; Ps 36:1; 78:70. See Ez 37:25.
  7. 35:1–15 After the fall of Jerusalem, Edom assisted the Babylonians in devastating the land and subduing the population in order to occupy part of Judah’s former territory. For this reason these oracles against Edom are found in the context of the city’s fall.
  8. 35:5 Final punishment: throughout this oracle the prophet echoes the threat against the mountains of Israel found in chaps. 6–7.
  9. 35:10 The two nations and the two lands: by presenting Edom’s excursion into the southern territory of Judah as its claim to both kingdoms, Ezekiel exaggerates Edom’s greed and arrogance. Lord was there: Edom’s betrayal of Judah becomes an attack on Judah’s God, the land’s sovereign. In 11:15 and 33:24, Ezekiel condemns Judahites who annex land that does not belong to them. Now the exiles in Babylon learn that even though God had left Jerusalem (chap. 11), he witnesses Edom’s insolence and pronounces judgment against it. Cf. 48:35, “The Lord is there!”
  10. 36:13 You devour your own people: i.e., the land destroys its own population; this phrase also occurs in Nm 13:32, where Israelite spies describe Canaan as “a land that devours its inhabitants.”
  11. 36:20–24 These verses make clear that Israel’s restoration is God’s initiative, independent of the people’s shame and repentance (v. 31). By their wickedness, Israel provoked the exile; its presence among the nations gave the impression that God could not protect his people. God’s gracious return of Israel to its land will restore his honor among these same nations.
  12. 36:25–26 God’s initiative to cleanse Israel (cf. 24:13–14) is the first act in the creation of a new people, no longer disposed to repeating Israel’s wicked past (chap. 20). To make this restoration permanent, God replaces Israel’s rebellious and obdurate interiority (“heart of stone”) with an interiority (“heart of flesh”) susceptible to and animated by God’s intentions (“my spirit,” v. 27).
  13. 37:1–14 This account is a figurative description of God’s creation of a new Israel. Even though that creation begins with the remains of the old Israel, the exiles under the image of dry bones, depicting a totally hopeless situation, the new Israel is radically different: it is an ideal people, shaped by God’s spirit to live the covenant faithfully, something the old Israel, exiles included, were unable to do. While this passage in its present context is not about the doctrine of individual or communal resurrection, many Jewish and Christian commentators suggest that the doctrine is foreshadowed here.
  14. 37:9 The Hebrew word rûah has multiple related meanings expressed by different English words: wind, spirit, breath. In this translation, rûah is rendered “spirit,” a powerful force that creates vision and insight (v. 1); “breath,” physical energy that quickens and enlivens (vv. 5–6); “wind,” invisible physical energy, sometimes destructive, sometimes invigorating (e.g., the rain-bearing winter winds), also a metaphor for restoration and new life (vv. 9–10); “my spirit,” a share in God’s power so the people observe the law that assures them life in the land (v. 14).
  15. 37:15–22 The symbolic action of joining two sticks into one continues Ezekiel’s description of God’s future saving action: the unification of Judah and Israel under an ideal ruler.
  16. 38:1–39:20 These three oracles against Gog (38:2–13; 14–23; 39:1–20) describe a mythic attack of God against a final enemy of his people sometime in the future. Like the oracles against the nations, their purpose is to strengthen Israel’s hope in God, since they end with God’s triumph on behalf of the people.
  17. 38:2 Gog: the name is symbolic, probably derived from Gyges, king of Lydia. The gloss Magog may be an Akkadian expression, mat-Gog, “the land of Gog.” Meshech and Tubal, as well as Gomer and Beth-togarmah (v. 6), were countries around the Black Sea, the northernmost countries known to the Israelites. The north was the traditional direction from which invasion was expected; cf. Jer 1:13–15.
  18. 38:12 Center: lit., “navel.” Many ancient peoples spoke of their own homelands as “the navel,” that is, the center of the earth.
  19. 38:15 Zaphon: cf. note on Jb 37:22.
  20. 39:11 The Valley of Abarim: in the Abarim mountains, east of the Jordan. “Abarim” plays on the word ’oberim, “travelers.” Hamon-Gog: “the horde of Gog.”
  21. 40:1–48:35 This lengthy vision of a new Temple and a restored Israel is dated in v. 1 to April 28, 573 B.C. The literary form of the vision is sometimes compared to a mandala, a sacred model through which one can move symbolically to reach the world of the divine. Ezekiel describes the Temple through its boundaries, entrances, and exits in chaps. 40–43; by its sacred and profane use and space in 44–46; and by its central place within the land itself in 47–48. The prophet could not have expected a literal fulfillment of much of what he described. The passage doubtless went through several editorial stages, both from the prophet and from later writers.
  22. 40:5 A cubit plus a handbreadth: a great cubit. The ordinary cubit consisted of six handbreadths; the great cubit, of seven. In measuring the Temple, a rod six great cubits long was used. The ordinary cubit was about one and a half feet, or, more exactly, 17.5 inches; the large cubit, 20.4 inches.
  23. 40:6–16 The gate facing east, leading into the outer court of the Temple, is described more fully than the north and south gates, which, however, have the same dimensions. On the west side of the outer court there is a large building instead of a gate (cf. 41:12).
  24. 40:17 The outer court: the court outside the Temple area proper, which had its own inner court (vv. 28–37).
  25. 40:28–37 The gates leading into the inner court of the Temple area correspond to the gates leading into the outer court, with the exception that their vestibules are on the outer rather than the inner side.
  26. 40:30 The reference to vestibules all around is uncertain, and the verse may have arisen as a partial repetition of v. 29.
  27. 40:46 Sons of Zadok: descendants of the priestly line of Zadok; cf. 2 Sm 15:24–29; 1 Kgs 1:32–34; 2:35.
  28. 40:48–41:15 The description of Ezekiel’s visionary Temple closely follows the description of the Temple of Solomon (1 Kgs 6), along with some crucial differences.
  29. 40:49–41:4 Vestibule…nave…holy of holies: the three divisions of the Temple building in progressing order of sanctity. The last is called “the inner sanctuary” in 1 Kgs 6.
  30. 41:6 The description of the three stories of rooms surrounding the Temple building can be compared with Solomon’s Temple in 1 Kgs 6:6; there a step-like or terraced retaining wall supported the Temple building so no beams or nails from these chambers would enter the Temple wall itself.
  31. 41:12 The building: the function of this structure behind the Temple is never specified.
  32. 41:22 A wooden altar: the altar of incense, standing in the nave at the entrance to the holy of holies.
  33. 42:5–6 The three rows of identical chambers, on different ground levels, necessarily had roofs on correspondingly different levels.
  34. 42:13 The function of these chambers is explained again in 46:19–20.
  35. 43:8 They placed their threshold against my threshold: in preexilic Jerusalem, the Temple and the palace belonged to the same complex of buildings; kings like Ahaz and Manasseh treated it as their private chapel for the religious practices Ezekiel condemns. In the new Israel the Temple is free, even spatially, from civil jurisdiction; cf. 45:7–8. This is an instance of Ezekiel’s broader program to separate the sacred from the secular.
  36. 43:13–17 The altar: like altars from Assyria and other parts of the ancient Near East, this altar has three parts: a base, a pedestal, and an upper block with a channel cut into the surface on all sides. The rim around the upper block (v. 17) stopped blood and other sacrificial material from falling to the ground.
  37. 44:3 Ezekiel imagines a scene like this: The prince stands at the eastern gate of the inner court while his sacrifice is being offered (46:2); he then goes to the vestibule of the outer court to eat the sacrificial meal. The closed outer gate on the eastern side signifies that the Lord has entered the Temple permanently, not to depart again.
  38. 44:7–14 According to Ezekiel, the Levites’ priestly role is reduced to the performance of menial tasks as punishment for their misdeeds (cf. vv. 10–14). This demotion was enforced during the restoration of Temple worship under Ezra and Nehemiah; this may explain the small number of Levites willing to return to Jerusalem after the exile.
  39. 44:19 Transmit holiness to the people: holiness was considered to have a physical quality that could be communicated from person to person. It is a danger to those who have not prepared themselves to be in God’s presence. The priests remove their ceremonial garments out of concern for the people.
  40. 44:29 Under the ban: dedicated to the Lord.
  41. 45:10–12 Besides the land monopoly fostered by royal greed and collusion with the wealthy (Mi 2:2; Is 3:12–15; 5:8–10), one grave social evil of preexilic Israel was dishonesty in business; cf. Hos 12:8; Am 8:5. Ephah, bath: see note on Is 5:10.
  42. 45:12 Mina: before the exile, a mina was worth fifty shekels; later, in imitation of Babylonian practice, its value increased to sixty shekels. A shekel weighed slightly less than half an ounce. A shekel’s monetary value depended on whether it was gold or silver.
  43. 45:14 Kor: a liquid and a dry measure, equal to a homer.
  44. 45:24 Hin: one sixth of the liquid measure known as a bath.
  45. 46:2–12 The prophet describes the inner eastern gateway opening on the inner court of the priests in front of the Temple itself where the altar of sacrifice stands. The people may watch the priests making offerings on sabbaths and feast days only by looking through the open gate; the prince, however, may stand inside the gate, in the vestibule on the edge of the inner court, to observe the offerings. Only priests could stand in the court itself.
  46. 46:17 The year of release: the jubilee year; cf. Lv 25:23–55.
  47. 46:20 Cf. note on 44:19.
  48. 47:1–12 The life and refreshment produced wherever the Temple stream flows evoke the order and abundance of paradise (cf. Gn 1:20–22; 2:10–14; Ps 46:5) and represent the coming transformation Ezekiel envisions for the exiles and their land. Water signifies great blessings and evidence of the Lord’s presence (cf. Jl 2:14).
  49. 47:8 The sea: the Dead Sea, in which nothing can live. This vision of the Temple stream which transforms places of death into places of life is similar in purpose to the oracle of dry bones in 37:1–14: it offers the exiles hope for the future.
  50. 47:10 From En-gedi to En-eglaim: En-gedi is about halfway down the western shore of the Dead Sea; En-eglaim may have been at its northern end.
  51. 47:13–20 These boundaries for a restored Israel correspond to the boundaries of the Davidic kingdom at its fullest extent; they are the “ideal boundaries” of the promised land; cf. Nm 34:3–12.
  52. 48:1–29 This distribution of the land among the tribes does not correspond to the geographical realities of Palestine. It is another idealizing element in Ezekiel’s representation of a restored and transformed Israel.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

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