Ezekiel 44 Expanded Bible (EXB)
The Outer East Gate
44 Then the man brought me back to the outer east gateway of the ·Temple area [sanctuary], but the gate was shut. 2 The Lord said to me, “This gate will stay shut; it will not be opened. No one may enter through it, because the Lord God of Israel has entered through it. So it must stay shut. 3 Only the ·ruler [prince] himself may sit in the gateway to eat ·a meal [L bread; C probably his portion of the fellowship offering; Lev. 7:15; Deut. 12:7] ·in the presence of [before] the Lord. He must enter through the porch of the gateway and go out the same way.”
4 Then the man brought me through the outer north gate to the front of the ·Temple [L house]. As I looked, ·I saw [L look; T behold] the glory of the Lord [C his manifest presence] filling the Temple of the Lord, and I ·bowed [fell] facedown on the ground.
5 The Lord said to me, “·Human [T Son of man; 2:1], pay attention. Use your eyes to see, and your ears to hear. See and hear everything I tell you about all the ·rules [statutes; ordinances; requirements] and ·teachings [laws; instructions] of the ·Temple [L house] of the Lord. Pay attention to the entrance to the Temple and to all the exits from the ·Temple area [sanctuary]. 6 Then speak to ·those who refuse to obey [the rebellious]. Say to the ·people [L house] of Israel, ‘This is what the Lord God says: ·Stop doing all [Enough of] your ·acts that I hate [detestable/abominable acts], [L house of] Israel! 7 You brought foreigners into my ·Holy Place [sanctuary] who were not circumcised in the flesh and ·had not given themselves to serving me [L uncircumcised in the heart; Jer. 9:26; Acts 7:51]. You ·dishonored [defiled; profaned; C ritually] my ·Temple [L house] when you offered me food, fat, and blood. You broke my ·agreement [covenant; treaty] by all ·the things you did that I hate [your detestable/abominable acts]. 8 You did not take ·care [charge] of my holy things yourselves but put ·foreigners [or others] ·in charge of [to take care of] my ·Temple [sanctuary]. 9 This is what the Lord God says: Foreigners who ·do not give themselves to serving me [L are uncircumcised in heart] and who are uncircumcised in flesh may not enter my ·Temple [sanctuary]. Not even a foreigner living among the ·people [L sons/T children] of Israel may enter.
10 “‘But the Levites who ·stopped obeying [L went far from] me when Israel ·left me [went astray] and who followed their idols must ·be punished [be responsible; bear the penalty] for their sin. 11 These Levites are to be ·servants in [ministers of] my ·Holy Place [sanctuary]. They may guard the gates of the ·Temple [L house] and serve in the ·Temple area [L house]. They may ·kill the animals for [L slaughter] the burnt offering [Lev. 1:1–17] and the sacrifices for the people. They may stand before the people to ·serve [minister to] them. 12 But these Levites ·helped the people worship [L ministered to them before] their idols and caused the ·people [L house] of Israel to ·fall [stumble], so I ·make this promise [L swear with uplifted hand]: They will ·be punished [be responsible; bear the penalty] for their sin, says the Lord God. 13 They will not come near me to serve as priests, nor will they come near any of my holy things or the most holy offerings. But they will ·be made ashamed of [bear the shame for] ·the things they did that I hate [their detestable/abominable actions]. 14 Yet I will ·put them in charge of taking care [appoint them to guard/keep charge] of the ·Temple area [L house], all the work that must be done in it.
15 “‘But the priests who are Levites and descendants of Zadok took care of my ·Holy Place [sanctuary] when [L the sons/T children of] Israel ·left me [went astray], so they may come near to serve me. They may stand in my presence to offer me the fat and blood [C of sacrificial animals], says the Lord God. 16 They ·are the only ones who may [L will] enter my ·Holy Place [sanctuary]. ·Only they [L They] may come near my table to ·serve [minister to] me and ·take care of the things I gave them to do [keep my charge; or serve me as guards].
17 “‘When they enter the gates of the inner courtyard, they must wear linen robes. They must not wear wool to ·serve [minister] at the gates of the inner courtyard or in the ·Temple [L house]. 18 They will wear linen turbans on their heads and linen underclothes [Lev. 6:10]. They will not ·wear [bind/gird themselves with] anything that makes them perspire. 19 When they go out into the outer courtyard to the people, they must take off their serving ·clothes [garments] before they go. They must leave these clothes in the ·holy rooms [sacred chambers] and put on other ·clothes [garments]. Then they will not ·let their holy clothes hurt [or transmit holiness with their garments to] the people.
20 “‘They must not shave their heads or let their hair grow long but must keep the hair of their heads trimmed [Lev. 21:5]. 21 None of the priests may drink wine when they enter the inner courtyard [Lev. 10:9]. 22 The priests must not marry widows or divorced women. They may marry only virgins from the ·people [L offspring/seed of the house] of Israel or widows of priests [Lev. 21:7–8]. 23 They must teach my people the difference between what is holy and what is ·not holy [common; profane; C ritually]. They must help my people know what is unclean [C ritually] and what is clean.
24 “‘In ·court [a dispute/controversy] they will act as judges. When they judge, they will follow my ·teachings [judgments]. They must obey my ·laws [teachings; instructions] and my ·rules [statutes; ordinances; requirements] at all my ·special feasts [appointed festivals] and keep my Sabbaths holy.
25 “‘They must not go near a dead person, ·making themselves unclean [defiling themselves; C ritually]. But they are allowed to ·make themselves unclean [defile themselves; C ritually] if the dead person is their father, mother, son, daughter, brother, or a sister who has not married. 26 After a priest has been ·made clean again [cleansed; C ritually], he must wait seven days. 27 Then he may go into the inner courtyard to serve in the ·Temple [sanctuary], but he must offer a sin offering for himself, says the Lord God [Lev. 21:1–4].
28 “‘·These are the rules about the priests and their property [L This will be their inheritance]: ·They will have me instead of property [L I am their inheritance]. You will not give them any ·land to own [possessions] in Israel; I am ·what they will own [their possession]. 29 They will eat the ·grain [L gift; tribute] offerings [Lev. 2:1], ·sin [or purification] offerings [Lev. 4:3], and ·penalty [guilt; reparation] offerings [Lev. 5:14—6:7]. ·Everything Israel gives to me [L Every devoted thing in Israel] will be theirs. 30 The ·best [first] fruits of all the first harvests and all the special gifts offered to me will belong to the priests. You will also give to the priests the first part of your ·grain that you grind [dough] ·and so bring a blessing [L that a blessing may rest] on your family. 31 The priests must not eat any bird or animal that died a natural death or one that has been torn by wild animals.