44 Then the Lord brought me back to the outer wall’s eastern passageway, but it was closed. And he said to me:

“This gate shall remain closed; it shall never be opened. No man shall pass through it; for the Lord, the God of Israel, entered here, and so it shall remain shut. Only the prince—because he is the prince—may sit inside the passageway to feast there before the Lord. But he shall go and come only through the entry hall of the passage.”

Then he brought me through the north passageway to the front of the Temple. I looked and saw that the glory of the Lord filled the Temple of the Lord, and I fell to the ground with my face in the dust.

And the Lord said to me:

“Son of dust, notice carefully; use your eyes and ears. Listen to all I tell you about the laws and rules of the Temple of the Lord. Note carefully who may be admitted to the Temple and who is to be excluded from it. And say to these rebels, the people of Israel, ‘The Lord God says: O Israel, you have sinned greatly by letting the uncircumcised into my sanctuary—those who have no heart for God—when you offer me my food, the fat and the blood. Thus you have broken my covenant in addition to all your other sins. You have not kept the laws I gave you concerning these holy affairs, for you have hired foreigners to take charge of my sanctuary.’”

The Lord God says: “No foreigner of all the many among you shall enter my sanctuary if he has not been circumcised and does not love the Lord. 10 And the men of the tribe of Levi who abandoned me when Israel strayed away from God to idols must be punished for their unfaithfulness. 11 They may be Temple guards and gatemen; they may slay the animals brought for burnt offerings and be present to help the people. 12 But because they encouraged the people to worship other gods, causing Israel to fall into deep sin, I have raised my hand and taken oath,” says the Lord God, “that they must be punished. 13 They shall not come near me to minister as priests; they may not touch any of my holy things, for they must bear their shame for all the sins they have committed. 14 They are the Temple caretakers, to do maintenance work and to assist the people in a general way.

15 “However, the sons of Zadok, of the tribe of Levi, continued as my priests in the Temple when Israel abandoned me for idols. These men shall be my ministers; they shall stand before me to offer the fat and blood of the sacrifices,” says the Lord God. 16 “They shall enter my sanctuary and come to my Table to minister to me; they shall fulfill my requirements.

17 “They must wear only linen clothing when they enter the passageway to the inner court, for they must wear no wool while on duty in the inner court or in the Temple. 18 They must wear linen turbans and linen trousers; they must not wear anything that would cause them to perspire. 19 When they return to the outer court, they must take off the clothes they wear while ministering to me, leaving them in the sacred chambers, and put on other clothes lest they harm the people by touching them with this clothing.

20 “They must not let their hair grow too long nor shave it off. Regular, moderate haircuts are all they are allowed. 21 No priest may drink wine before coming to the inner court. 22 He may marry only a Jewish maiden, or the widow of a priest; he may not marry a divorced woman.

23 “He shall teach my people the difference between what is holy and what is secular, what is right and what is wrong.[a]

24 “They will serve as judges to resolve any disagreements among my people. Their decisions must be based upon my laws. And the priests themselves shall obey my rules and regulations at all the sacred festivals, and they shall see to it that the Sabbath is kept a sacred day.

25 “A priest must not defile himself by being in the presence of a dead person, unless it is his father, mother, child, brother, or unmarried sister. In such cases it is all right. 26 But afterward he must wait seven days before he is cleansed and able to perform his Temple duties again. 27 The first day he returns to work and enters the inner court and the sanctuary, he must offer a sin offering for himself,” the Lord God says.

28 “As to property, they shall not own any, for I am their heritage! That is enough![b]

29 “Their food shall be the gifts and sacrifices brought to the Temple by the people—the cereal offerings, the sin offerings, and the guilt offerings. Whatever anyone gives to the Lord shall be the priests’. 30 The first of the first-ripe fruits and all the gifts for the Lord shall go to the priests. The first samples of each harvest of grain shall be donated to the priests too, so that the Lord will bless your homes. 31 Priests may never eat meat from any bird or animal that dies a natural death or that dies after being attacked by other animals.


  1. Ezekiel 44:23 between what is holy and what is secular, what is right and what is wrong, literally, “between what is ritually clean and ritually unclean.”
  2. Ezekiel 44:28 That is enough! implied.
Living Bible (TLB)

The Living Bible copyright © 1971 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

The Priesthood Restored

44 Then the man brought me back to the outer gate of the sanctuary, the one facing east,(A) and it was shut. The Lord said to me, “This gate is to remain shut. It must not be opened; no one may enter through it.(B) It is to remain shut because the Lord, the God of Israel, has entered through it. The prince himself is the only one who may sit inside the gateway to eat in the presence(C) of the Lord. He is to enter by way of the portico of the gateway and go out the same way.(D)

Then the man brought me by way of the north gate(E) to the front of the temple. I looked and saw the glory of the Lord filling the temple(F) of the Lord, and I fell facedown.(G)

The Lord said to me, “Son of man, look carefully, listen closely and give attention to everything I tell you concerning all the regulations and instructions regarding the temple of the Lord. Give attention to the entrance(H) to the temple and all the exits of the sanctuary.(I) Say to rebellious Israel,(J) ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Enough of your detestable practices, people of Israel! In addition to all your other detestable practices, you brought foreigners uncircumcised in heart(K) and flesh into my sanctuary, desecrating my temple while you offered me food, fat and blood, and you broke my covenant.(L) Instead of carrying out your duty in regard to my holy things, you put others in charge of my sanctuary.(M) This is what the Sovereign Lord says: No foreigner uncircumcised in heart and flesh is to enter my sanctuary, not even the foreigners who live among the Israelites.(N)

10 “‘The Levites who went far from me when Israel went astray(O) and who wandered from me after their idols must bear the consequences of their sin.(P) 11 They may serve in my sanctuary, having charge of the gates of the temple and serving in it; they may slaughter the burnt offerings(Q) and sacrifices for the people and stand before the people and serve them.(R) 12 But because they served them in the presence of their idols and made the people of Israel fall(S) into sin, therefore I have sworn with uplifted hand(T) that they must bear the consequences of their sin, declares the Sovereign Lord.(U) 13 They are not to come near to serve me as priests or come near any of my holy things or my most holy offerings; they must bear the shame(V) of their detestable practices.(W) 14 And I will appoint them to guard the temple for all the work that is to be done in it.(X)

15 “‘But the Levitical priests, who are descendants of Zadok(Y) and who guarded my sanctuary when the Israelites went astray from me, are to come near to minister before me; they are to stand before me to offer sacrifices of fat(Z) and blood, declares the Sovereign Lord.(AA) 16 They alone are to enter my sanctuary; they alone are to come near my table(AB) to minister before me and serve me as guards.(AC)

17 “‘When they enter the gates of the inner court, they are to wear linen clothes;(AD) they must not wear any woolen garment while ministering at the gates of the inner court or inside the temple. 18 They are to wear linen turbans(AE) on their heads and linen undergarments(AF) around their waists. They must not wear anything that makes them perspire.(AG) 19 When they go out into the outer court where the people are, they are to take off the clothes they have been ministering in and are to leave them in the sacred rooms, and put on other clothes, so that the people are not consecrated(AH) through contact with their garments.(AI)

20 “‘They must not shave(AJ) their heads or let their hair grow long, but they are to keep the hair of their heads trimmed.(AK) 21 No priest is to drink wine when he enters the inner court.(AL) 22 They must not marry widows or divorced women; they may marry only virgins of Israelite descent or widows of priests.(AM) 23 They are to teach my people the difference between the holy and the common(AN) and show them how to distinguish between the unclean and the clean.(AO)

24 “‘In any dispute, the priests are to serve as judges(AP) and decide it according to my ordinances. They are to keep my laws and my decrees for all my appointed festivals,(AQ) and they are to keep my Sabbaths holy.(AR)

25 “‘A priest must not defile himself by going near a dead person; however, if the dead person was his father or mother, son or daughter, brother or unmarried sister, then he may defile himself.(AS) 26 After he is cleansed, he must wait seven days.(AT) 27 On the day he goes into the inner court of the sanctuary(AU) to minister in the sanctuary, he is to offer a sin offering[a](AV) for himself, declares the Sovereign Lord.

28 “‘I am to be the only inheritance(AW) the priests have. You are to give them no possession in Israel; I will be their possession. 29 They will eat(AX) the grain offerings, the sin offerings and the guilt offerings; and everything in Israel devoted[b] to the Lord(AY) will belong to them.(AZ) 30 The best of all the firstfruits(BA) and of all your special gifts will belong to the priests. You are to give them the first portion of your ground meal(BB) so that a blessing(BC) may rest on your household.(BD) 31 The priests must not eat anything, whether bird or animal, found dead(BE) or torn by wild animals.(BF)


  1. Ezekiel 44:27 Or purification offering; also in verse 29
  2. Ezekiel 44:29 The Hebrew term refers to the irrevocable giving over of things or persons to the Lord.
New International Version (NIV)

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