421Then the man took me into the outer courtyard and led me to a building on the north side of the Temple, not far from the building at the west end of the Temple. 2This building was fifty metres long and 25 metres wide. 3On one side it faced the space ten metres wide which was alongside the Temple, and on the other side it faced the pavement of the outer court. It was built on three levels, each one set further back than the one below it. 4Along the north side of this building was a passage five metres wide and fifty metres long,42.4 Some ancient translations fifty metres long; Hebrew a way of fifty centimetres. with entrances on that side. 5The rooms at the upper level of the building were narrower than those at the middle and lower levels because they were set further back. 6The rooms at all three levels were on terraces and were not supported by columns like the other buildings in the courtyard. 7-8At the lower level the outer wall of the building was solid for 25 metres, half its length; and there were rooms in the remaining 25 metres. At the top level there were rooms in the entire length of the building. 9-10Below these two rooms at the east end of the building, where the wall of the courtyard began,42.9–10 One ancient translation where… began; Hebrew in the breadth of the wall of the courtyard. there was an entrance into the outer courtyard.
At the south42.9–10 One ancient translation south; Hebrew east. side of the Temple there was an identical building not far from the building at the west end of the Temple. 11In front of the rooms there was a passage just like the one on the north side. It had the same measurements, the same design, and the same kind of entrances. 12There was a door under the rooms on the south side of the building, at the east end where the wall began.
13The man said to me, “Both these buildings are holy. In them the priests who enter the LORD's presence eat the holiest offerings. Because the rooms are holy, the priests will place the holiest offerings there: the grain offerings and the sacrifices offered for sin or as repayment offerings. 14When priests have been in the Temple and want to go to the outer courtyard, they must leave in these rooms the holy clothing they wore while serving the LORD. They must put on other clothes before going out to the area where the people gather.”
15When the man had finished measuring inside the temple area, he took me out through the east gate and then measured the outside of the area. 16He took the measuring rod and measured the east side, and it was 250 metres. 17-19Then he measured the north side, the south side, and the west side; each side had the same length, 250 metres,42.17–19 Verses 16–19 in Hebrew are unclear. 20so that the wall enclosed a square 250 metres on each side. The wall served to separate what was holy from what was not.
431The man took me to the gate that faces east, 2
and there I saw coming from the east the dazzling light of the presence of the God of Israel. God's voice sounded like the roar of the sea, and the earth shone with the dazzling light. 3This vision was like the one I had seen when God came to destroy Jerusalem, and the one I saw by the River Chebar. Then I threw myself face downwards on the ground. 4The dazzling light passed through the east gate and went into the Temple.
5The LORD's spirit lifted me up and took me into the inner courtyard, where I saw that the Temple was filled with the glory of the LORD. 6The man stood beside me there, and I heard the LORD speak to me out of the Temple: 7“Mortal man, here is my throne. I will live here among the people of Israel and rule over them for ever. Neither the people of Israel nor their kings will ever again disgrace my holy name by worshipping other gods or by burying the corpses of43.7 by burying the corpses of; or by putting up monuments to. their kings in this place. 8The kings built the thresholds and doorposts of their palace right against the thresholds and doorposts of my Temple, so that there was only a wall between us. They disgraced my holy name by all the disgusting things they did, and so in my anger I destroyed them. 9Now they must stop worshipping other gods and remove the corpses of43.9 remove the corpses of; or remove the monuments to. their kings. If they do, I will live among them for ever.”
10And the LORD continued, “Mortal man, tell the people of Israel about the Temple, and let them study its plan. Make them ashamed of their sinful actions. 11Then if they are ashamed of what they have done, explain the plan of the Temple to them: its design, its entrances and exits, its shape, the arrangement of everything, and all its rules and regulations. Write all this down for them so that they can see how everything is arranged and can carry out all the rules. 12This is the law of the Temple: all the area surrounding it on the top of the mountain is sacred and holy.”
These are the measurements of the altar, using the same unit of measurement as in measuring the Temple. All round the base of the altar there was a gutter fifty centimetres deep and fifty centimetres wide, with a rim at the outside edge 25 centimetres high. 14The lowest section of the altar, from the top of the base, was one metre high. The next section was set back from the edge fifty centimetres all round, and was two metres high. The section after that was also set back from the edge fifty centimetres all round. 15This top section, on which the sacrifices were burnt, was also two metres high. The projections on the four corners were higher than the rest of the top. 16The top of the altar was a square, six metres on each side. 17The middle section was also a square, seven metres on each side, with a rim at the outside edge 25 centimetres high. (The gutter was fifty centimetres wide.) The steps going up the altar were on the east side.
18The Sovereign LORD said to me, “Mortal man, listen to what I tell you. When the altar is built, you are to dedicate it by burning sacrifices on it and by sprinkling on it the blood of the animals that were sacrificed. 19Those priests belonging to the tribe of Levi who are descended from Zadok are the only ones who are to come into my presence to serve me. I, the Sovereign LORD, command this. You will give them a young bull to offer as a sacrifice for sin. 20You are to take some of its blood and put it on the projections on the top corners of the altar, and on the corners of the middle section of the altar, and all round its edges. In this way you will purify the altar and consecrate it. 21You are to take the bull that is offered as a sacrifice for sin and burn it at the specified place outside the temple area. 22The next day you are to take a male goat without any defects and offer it as a sacrifice for sin. Purify the altar with its blood in the same way as you did with the bull. 23When you have finished doing that, take a young bull and a young ram, both of them without any defects, 24and bring them to me. The priests will sprinkle salt on them and burn them as an offering to me. 25Each day for seven days you are to offer a goat, a bull, and a ram as sacrifices for sin. All of them must be without any defects. 26For seven days the priests are to consecrate the altar and make it ready for use. 27
When the week is over, the priests are to begin offering on the altar the burnt offerings and the fellowship offerings of the people. Then I will be pleased with all of you. I, the Sovereign LORD, have spoken.”
441The man led me to the outer gate at the east side of the temple area. The gate was closed, 2and the LORD said to me, “This gate will stay closed and will never be opened. No human being is allowed to use it, because I, the LORD God of Israel, have entered through it. It is to remain closed. 3The ruling prince, however, may go there to eat a holy meal in my presence. He is to enter and leave the gateway through the entrance room at the inner end.”
4Then the man took me through the north gate to the front of the Temple. As I looked, I saw that the Temple of the LORD was filled with the dazzling light of his presence. I threw myself face downwards on the ground, 5and the LORD said to me, “Mortal man, pay attention to everything you see and hear. I am going to tell you the rules and regulations for the Temple. Note carefully which persons are allowed to go in and out of the Temple and which persons are not.
6“Tell those rebellious people of Israel that I, the Sovereign LORD, will no longer tolerate the disgusting things that they have been doing. 7They have profaned my Temple by letting uncircumcised foreigners, people who do not obey me, enter the Temple when the fat and the blood of the sacrifices are being offered to me. So my people have broken my covenant by all the disgusting things they have done. 8They have not taken charge of the sacred rituals in my Temple, but instead have put foreigners in charge.
9“I, the Sovereign LORD, declare that no uncircumcised foreigner, no one who disobeys me, will enter my Temple, not even a foreigner who lives among the people of Israel.”
10The LORD said to me, “I am punishing those Levites who, together with the rest of the people of Israel, deserted me and worshipped idols. 11They may serve me in the Temple by taking charge of the gates and by performing the work of the Temple. They may kill the animals which the people offer for burnt offerings and for sacrifices, and they are to be on duty to serve the people. 12But because they conducted the worship of idols for the people of Israel and in this way led the people into sin, I, the Sovereign LORD, solemnly swear that they must be punished. 13They are not to serve me as priests or to go near anything that is holy to me or to enter the Most Holy Place. This is the punishment for the disgusting things they have done. 14I am assigning to them the menial work that is to be done in the Temple.”
15The Sovereign LORD said, “Those priests belonging to the tribe of Levi who are descended from Zadok, however, continued to serve me faithfully in the Temple when the rest of the people of Israel turned away from me. So now they are the ones who are to serve me and come into my presence to offer me the fat and the blood of the sacrifices. 16They alone will enter my Temple, serve at my altar, and conduct the temple worship. 17
When they enter the gateway to the inner courtyard of the Temple, they are to put on linen clothing. They must not wear anything made of wool when they are on duty in the inner courtyard or in the Temple. 18So that they won't perspire, they are to wear linen turbans and linen trousers, but no belt. 19
Before they go to the outer courtyard where the people are, they must first take off the clothes they wore on duty in the Temple and leave them in the holy rooms. They are to put on other clothing in order to keep their sacred clothing from harming the people.44.19 harming the people: It was believed that ordinary people would be harmed by touching something holy.
“Priests must neither shave their heads nor let their hair grow long. They are to keep it a proper length. 21
Priests must not drink any wine before going into the inner courtyard. 22
No priest may marry a divorced woman; he is to marry only an Israelite virgin or the widow of another priest.
“The priests are to teach my people the difference between what is holy and what is not, and between what is ritually clean and what is not. 24When a legal dispute arises, the priests are to decide the case according to my laws. They are to keep the religious festivals according to my rules and regulations, and they are to keep the Sabbaths holy.
“A priest is not to become ritually unclean by touching a corpse, unless it is one of his parents, one of his children or a brother or an unmarried sister. 26After he has become clean again, he must wait seven days 27and then go into the inner courtyard of the Temple and offer a sacrifice for his purification, so that he can serve in the Temple again. I, the Sovereign LORD, have spoken.
“The priests have the priesthood as their share of what I have given Israel to be handed down from one generation to another. They are not to hold property in Israel; I am all they need. 29
The grain offerings, the sin offerings and the repayment offerings will be the priests' food, and they are to receive everything in Israel that is set apart for me. 30The priests are to have the best of all the first harvest and of everything else that is offered to me. Each time the people bake bread, they are to give the priests the first loaf as an offering, and my blessing will rest on their homes. 31
The priests must not eat any bird or animal that dies a natural death or is killed by another animal.”