Ezekiel 44:15–31

Read the passage.

It suddenly strikes me that the Lord is emphasizing to Ezekiel that the priests that serve in the temple are Levitical priests. Israel wasn’t supposed to have any other kind of priest, and it is very rare for the Bible to describe any other kind. (Melchizedek in Genesis 14 is a very interesting exception; all other priests either server false gods or falsely serve the Lord in disobedient ways like the Levites in Judges 17–19.) Let’s not forget all the reasons the Lord has given for Israel’s punishment and exile. The priests that had been serving were letting the people go astray into idolatry and immorality. If foreigners had been serving in the temple, maybe they were serving as priests, too, which would be against the laws for the priesthood that Moses had been given.

We are told that Zadok’s line is the one family of priests that will be allowed to continue serving as priests in the new temple, for they were faithful to the Lord. Zadok served as high priest during David’s and Solomon’s reign. Abiathar was also high priest during David’s reign, but was dismissed from service when he supported Adonijah to be the next king instead of Solomon whom the Lord had chosen.

What follows is mostly a summary of the regulations regarding the priesthood: how they should dress, whom they may marry, and what duties they have to the community outside of worship services. These appear to be a reiteration of what is found in the book of Leviticus, though I don’t remember if there used to be restrictions on the priests’ hair styles before.

Finally, there are instructions for the duties of the people towards the priests. They are to support them financially through the sacrifices offered because the priesthood is not given an inheritance of land among the other tribes. The Lord Himself is their portion, and He provides for them out of the offerings of the rest of the people.

Because of Your holiness, we cannot approach You on our own terms, but must submit to Your decrees.

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