44 1THEN the man [an angel] brought me back the way of the outer gate of the sanctuary which faces the east, and it was shut. 2Then the Lord said to me, This gate shall be [F]shut; it shall not be opened and no man shall enter in by it, for the Lord, the God of Israel, has entered in by it; therefore it shall remain shut. 3As for the prince, being the prince, he shall sit in it to eat bread before the Lord; he shall enter by way of the porch or vestibule of the gate and shall go out the same way. 4Then he brought me by way of the north gate to the front of the temple; I looked, and behold, the glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord, and I fell upon my face. 5And the Lord said to me, Son of man, mark well and set your heart to see with your eyes and hear with your ears all that I say to you concerning all the ordinances of the house of the Lord and all its laws, and mark well and set your heart to know who are allowed to enter the temple and all those who are excluded from the sanctuary. 6And you shall say to the rebellious, even to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord God: O you house of Israel, let all your previous abominations be enough for you! [Do not repeat them!] 7You have brought into My sanctuary aliens, uncircumcised in heart and uncircumcised in flesh, to be in My sanctuary to pollute and profane it, even My house, when you offer My bread, the fat and the blood; and through it all and in addition to all your abominations, they and you have broken My covenant. 8And you have not kept charge of My holy things, but you have chosen foreign keepers to please yourselves and have set them in charge of My sanctuary. 9Therefore thus says the Lord God: No foreigner uncircumcised in heart and flesh shall enter into My sanctuary [where no one but the priests might enter], of any foreigners who are among the children of Israel. 10But the Levites who went far away from Me when Israel went astray, who went astray from Me after their idols, they shall bear [the punishment for] their iniquity and guilt. 11They shall minister in My sanctuary, having oversight as guards at the gates of the temple and ministering in the temple. They shall slay the burnt offering and the sacrifice for the people, and they shall attend the people to serve them. 12Because [the priests] ministered to [the people] before their idols and became a stumbling block of iniquity and guilt to the house of Israel, therefore I have lifted up My hand and have sworn against them, says the Lord God, that they shall bear the punishment for their iniquity and guilt. 13And they shall not come near to Me to do the office of a priest to Me, nor come near to any of My holy things that are most sacred; but they shall bear their shame and their punishment for the abominations which they have committed. 14Yet I will appoint them as caretakers to have charge of the temple, for all the service of the temple and for all that will be done in it. 15But the Levitical priests, the sons of Zadok, who kept the charge of My sanctuary when the children of Israel went astray from Me, shall come near to Me to minister to Me, and they shall attend Me to offer to Me the fat and the blood, says the Lord God. 16They shall enter into My sanctuary; and they shall come near to My table to minister to Me, and they shall keep My charge. 17When they enter the gates of the inner court, they shall be clothed in linen garments; no wool shall be on them while they minister at the gates of the inner court and within the temple. 18They shall have linen turbans on their heads and linen breeches upon their loins; they shall not gird themselves with anything that causes [them to] sweat. 19And when they go out into the outer court to the people, they shall put off the garments in which they ministered and lay them in the holy chambers, and they shall put on other garments, lest by contact of their garments with the people they should consecrate (separate and set apart for holy use) such persons [unintentionally and unfittingly]. 20Neither shall they shave their heads or allow their locks to grow long; they shall only cut short or trim the hair of their heads. 21Neither shall any priest drink wine when he enters the inner court. 22Neither shall they take for their wives a widow or a woman separated or divorced from her husband; but they shall marry maidens [who are virgins] of the offspring of the house of Israel or a widow previously married to a priest. 23The priests shall teach My people the difference between the holy and the common or profane, and cause them to distinguish between the unclean and the clean. 24And in a controversy they shall act as judges, and they shall judge according to My judgments; and they shall keep My laws and My statutes in all My appointed feasts, and they shall keep My Sabbaths holy. 25And they shall go near to no dead person to defile themselves, except for father or for mother, for son or for daughter, for brother or for sister who has had no husband; for them they may defile themselves. 26And after he is cleansed [from the defilement of a dead body] they shall reckon to him seven days more before returning to the temple. 27And on the day that he goes into the sanctuary, into the inner court to minister in the sanctuary, he shall offer his sin offering, says the Lord God. 28This [their ministry to Me] shall be to them as an inheritance, for I am their inheritance; and you shall give them no possession in Israel, for I am their possession. 29They shall eat the meal offering and the sin offering and the trespass offering, and every offering in Israel dedicated by a solemn vow to God shall be theirs. 30And the first of all the firstfruits of all kinds, and every offering of all kinds from all your offerings, shall belong to the priests. You shall also give to the priest the first of your coarse meal and bread dough, that a blessing may rest on your house. 31The priests shall not eat of anything that has died of itself or is torn, whether it be bird or beast.
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