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Ezekiel - Chapter 44

1 He brought me back to the outer east gate of the sanctuary. It was shut.

2 Yahweh said to me, 'This gate will be kept shut. No one may open it or go through it, since Yahweh, God of Israel, has been through it. And so it must be kept shut.

3 The prince himself, however, may sit there to take his meal in the presence of Yahweh. He must enter and leave through the porch of the gate.'

4 He led me through the north gate to the front of the Temple. And then I looked; I saw the glory of Yahweh filling the Temple of Yahweh; and I fell to the ground.

5 Yahweh said to me, 'Son of man, pay attention, look carefully and listen closely to everything I explain; these are all the arrangements of the Temple of Yahweh and all its laws. Be careful about who is admitted to the Temple and who is excluded from the sanctuary.

6 And say to the rebels of the House of Israel, "The Lord Yahweh says this: You have gone beyond all bounds with all your loathsome practices, House of Israel,

7 by admitting aliens, uncircumcised in heart and body, to frequent my sanctuary and profane my Temple, while offering my food, the fat and the blood, and breaking my covenant with all your loathsome practices.

8 Instead of maintaining the service of my holy things, you have deputed someone else to maintain my service in my sanctuary.

9 The Lord Yahweh says this: No alien, uncircumcised in heart and body, may enter my sanctuary, none of the aliens living among the Israelites.

10 "As regards the Levites who abandoned me when Israel strayed far from me by following its idols, they must bear the weight of their own sin.

11 They must be servants in my sanctuary, responsible for guarding the Temple gates and serving the Temple. They will kill the burnt offerings and the sacrifice for the people, and hold themselves at the service of the people.

12 Since they used to be at their service in front of their idols and were an occasion of guilt for the House of Israel, very well, I stretch out my hand against them -- declares the Lord Yahweh -- they will bear the weight of their guilt.

13 They may never approach me again to perform the priestly office in my presence, nor touch my holy things and my most holy things; they must bear the disgrace of their loathsome practices.

14 I shall give them the responsibility of serving the Temple; I shall make them responsible for serving it and for everything to be done in it.

15 "As regards the levitical priests, the sons of Zadok, who maintained the service of my sanctuary when the Israelites strayed far from me, they will approach me to serve me; they will stand in my presence to offer me the fat and blood -- declares the Lord Yahweh.

16 They will enter my sanctuary and approach my table to serve me; they will maintain my service.

17 Once they enter the gates of the inner court, they must wear linen vestments; they must wear no wool when they serve inside the gates of the inner court and in the Temple.

18 They must wear linen caps on their heads and linen breeches on their loins; they may not wear anything round their waists that makes them sweat.

19 When they go out to the people in the outer court, they must remove the vestments in which they have performed the liturgy and leave them in the rooms of the Holy Place, and put on other clothes, so as not to hallow the people with their vestments.

20 They may neither shave their heads nor let their hair grow long, but must cut their hair carefully.

21 No priest may drink wine on the day he enters the inner court.

22 They may not marry widows or divorced women, but only virgins of the race of Israel; they may, however, marry a widow, if she is the widow of a priest.

23 They must teach my people the difference between what is sacred and what is profane and make them understand the difference between what is clean and what is unclean.

24 They must be judges in law-suits; they must judge in the spirit of my judgements; they must follow my laws and ordinances at all my feasts and keep my Sabbaths holy.

25 They may not go near a dead person, in case they become unclean, except in these permissible cases, that is, for father, mother, daughter, son, brother or unmarried sister.

26 After one of them has been purified, seven days must elapse;

27 then, the day he enters the Holy Place in the inner court to minister in the Holy Place, he must offer his sacrifice for sin -- declares the Lord Yahweh.

28 They may have no heritage; I myself shall be their heritage. You may give them no patrimony in Israel; I myself shall be their patrimony.

29 Their food must be the oblation, the sacrifice for sin and the sacrifice of reparation. Everything dedicated by vow in Israel shall be for them.

30 The best of all your first-fruits and of all the dues and of everything you offer, must go to the priests; and the best of your dough you must also give to the priests, so that a blessing may rest on your house.

31 Priests must not eat the flesh of anything that has died a natural death or been savaged, be it bird or animal." '

Book of Ezekiel Chapters

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