Ezekiel 46

The Word Made Fresh

1This is what the LORD God says: “The gate to the inner court that faces east is to remain closed on the six days of work, but opened on the sabbath day and on the day of the new moon. 2The prince shall enter by the passageway of the gate from outside, and take his stand before the gate post. The prince must offer his burnt offerings and offerings of well-being, and he must bow down at the passageway of the gate. Then he will leave, but the gate must remain open until evening. 3The people from the lands around must bow down before the LORD at the entrance of that gate on the sabbaths and new moons. 4The burnt offering of the prince on the sabbath day must be six unblemished lambs and an unblemished ram, 5and the grain offering accompanying the ram must be an ephah (bushel). His grain offering with the lambs may be as much as he wishes to give, but he must give a hin (gallon) of oil for each ephah of grain. 6At the new moon he must offer a young bull, six lambs and a ram, all without blemishes. 7He must also bring grain offerings along with the animals; an ephah with the bull and an ephah with the ram, and as much as he wishes with the lambs. He must add a hin of oil to each ephah. 8The prince must enter by the passage at the gate and leave by the same way.

9“When the people come before the LORD for the festivals, those who enter to worship by the north gate must go out by the south gate, and if they enter by the south gate they must leave by the north gate. They must not leave through the gate by which they entered; they must continue straight ahead to depart. 10The prince must come in with them and go out with them.

11“At the festivals and designated feasts an ephah of wheat must be offered with the young bull, and with the ram, and as much wheat as one wishes with the lambs. A hin of oil must accompany each ephah of wheat. 12If the prince should make a freewill offering, whether it is a burnt offering or fellowship offering, the gate facing east is to be opened for him. He will then make his offerings in the same way that he does when it is on a sabbath day. Then he must depart, and the gate must be closed behind him.

13“Every morning the prince is to provide an unblemished yearling lamb as a burnt offering to the LORD. 14He must also provide a grain offering each morning: one-sixth of an ephah and one-third of a hin of oil mixed in the special flour. This is a permanent rule. 15The lamb and grain and oil offerings are to be provided each morning as regular burnt offerings.”

16The LORD says that if the prince gives a gift to any of his sons from his inheritance, it will be considered part of that son’s inheritance. 17But if he gives a gift out of his inheritance to a servant, it will belong to that servant until the year he is given his liberty; then it must be returned to the prince. Only the sons may keep a gift from the prince’s inheritance. 18The prince is not permitted to take any part of the inheritance of the people and deny them what is rightfully theirs. He must give his sons their inheritance out of what belongs to him. This is to insure that none of my people will be dispossessed of their belongings.

19Then he led me through the entrance beside the gate to the northern row of sacred rooms for the priests. I saw a place at the western end of the row, 20and he told me, “This is the place where the priests must boil the guilt and sin offerings and bake the grain offerings. This is to keep them from bringing the offering into the outer court and pass its holiness to the people.”

21Then he brought me to the outer courtyard and led me past its four corners. In each corner there was another court. 22Small courts were in the four corners of the large court. They were all the same size – forty cubits long and thirty cubits wide. 23Inside the four courts was a brick row with hearths at the bottom of the row. 24Then he told me, “These are the ovens where those who serve at the temple shall boil the sacrifices the people bring.”


1-8: The outer east gate is permanently closed, but we learn now that the inner east gate which leads into the inner court surrounding the sanctuary where offerings are sacrificed is also kept closed except on the Sabbath. The required offerings to be made by the prince are enumerated. It is obvious that the purpose of these laws is to insure that the people see their prince engaged in the proper worship of God.

9-10: Traffic in the outer court moves in one direction, either north to south or south to north, take your pick. Even the prince has to follow this rule.

11-12: We learn now that the inner east gate may be opened during the week on the occasion of the prince presenting an offering; but only so long as it takes for the offering to be made.

13-15: The regular daily offerings provided by the prince are listed. It is becoming clear that the prince will have little time to get into trouble.

16-18: This is the only mention in Ezekiel of the “year of liberty.” It seems to correspond to what has been called the “year of jubilee” (Leviticus 25: 8-17), the provision by which every 50 years debts were to be excused and lands returned. Gifts bestowed by the prince to anyone other than his sons are to be returned in that year.

19-20: Guilt and sin offerings are prepared in a special area of the temple compound to avoid passing its holiness to the people (compare 44:19).

21-24: We’re beginning to get some idea of the scope of the sacrifices carried out by the Israelites. It required an extraordinary number of animals and correspondingly enormous areas for the preparation of the animals for offering.


Ezekiel’s vision is of an extraordinary future for the people of Israel who were denied their land. They will be allowed to return to their homeland and worship in Jerusalem. And this time, the worship of the LORD will prevent them from falling into the kinds of idol-worship that led to their downfall. Regular worship is essential for reorienting one’s focus on God. It is a recharging, if you will, of the soul.