Gardiner: Ezekiel and Levitical Law

                        Journal of Biblical Literature 1 (1881) 172-205.

           Public Domain.  Digitally prepared by Ted Hildebrandt (2004)




              The Relation of Ezekiel to the Levitical Law.



                           BY PROF. FREDERIC GARDINER, D. D.



            In the discussions which have arisen of late years about the origin

and date of the Mosaic legislation it has been generally recognized

that the book of Ezekiel, especially in its later chapters, has a peculiar

importance. The traditional view regards the laws of the Pentateuch

as having been given through Moses to the Israelites soon after their

Exodus from Egypt, and as having formed in all subsequent ages

their more or less perfectly observed standard of ecclesiastical law and

religious ceremonial; the view of several modern critics, on the other

hand, is that this legislation was of gradual development, having its

starting point, indeed, quite far back in the ages of Israel's history,

but reaching its full development only in the times succeeding the

Babylonian exile. Especially, the exclusive limitation of the func-

tions of the priesthood to the Aaronic family, and the distinction

between the priests and their brethren of the tribe of Levi, as well as

the cycle of the feasts and other like matters, are held by these critics

to be of post-exilic origin.

            The writings of a priest who lived during the time of the exile, and

who devotes a considerable part of his book to an ideal picture of the

restored theocracy, its temple, its worship, and the arrangement of

the tribes, cannot fail to be of deep significance in its bearing upon

this question. Certain facts in regard to Ezekiel are admitted by all:

he was himself a priest (i. 3); he had been carried into captivity not

before he had reached early manhood; and, whether he had himself

ministered in the priest's office at Jerusalem (as Kuenen positively

asserts, Relig. of Israel, vol. ii. p. 105) or not, he was certainly thor-

oughly conversant with the ceremonial as there practiced and with the

duties of the priesthood; further, he began his prophecies a few years

after Zedekiah was carried into captivity, and continued them until

near the middle of the Babylonian exile, the last nine chapters being

dated "in the 25th year of our captivity," which corresponds with the

PROF. GARDINER ON EZEKIEL AND THE LAW.                    173


33d of Nebuchadrezzar's reign. If any development of Israel's reli-

gion, therefore, were going on during the captivity, it must have been

already well advanced at the time of this vision. So far there is a

general agreement. The main point necessarily follows:--that in

such case Ezekiel's vision must present an intermediate stage on the

line of progress from that which we certainly know to have existed

before to that which we know, with equal certainty, was practiced


            It is indeed theoretically conceivable that in the course of this

development of religion Ezekiel may have been a strange, erratic

genius, who was both regardless of the traditions of his fathers and

was without influence upon the course of his successors; but such

strange estimation of him is entertained by no one, and needs no

refutation. It would be contradicted by his birth, his position as a

prophet, his evident estimation among his contemporaries, and his

relations to his fellow prophet-priest, Jeremiah. It may be assumed

that his writings were an important factor in whatever religious devel-

opment actually occurred.

            This argument is the more important on account of the great

weight attached by some critics to the argument e silentio. This argu-

ment can be only of limited application in regard to historical books,

fully; occupied as they are with other matters, and only occasionally and

incidentally alluding to existing ecclesiastical laws and customs; but it

is plainly of great importance in this prophetical setting forth of quite

a full and detailed ecclesiastical scheme. The omission of references

to any ritual law or feast or ceremony in the historical books can occa-

sion no surprise, and afford no just presumption against the existence

of such rites and ceremonies, unless some particular reason can be

alleged why they should have been mentioned; but a corresponding

omission from the pages of Ezekial is good evidence either that the

thing omitted was too familiar to require mention, or else that he

purposely excluded it from his scheme. In other words, it shows

that what he omits, as compared with the mosaic law, was either

already entirely familiar to him and to the people; or else that the

law he sets forth was, in these particulars, different from the Mosaic

law. To illustrate by an example: There can be no question that

circumcision was a fundamental rite of the religion of the Israelites,

practiced in all ages of their history; yet, after the Pentateuch and

the few first chapters of Joshua, there is no mention of it, and the

words circumcise, circumcised, circumcision, do not occur in the sacred

literature down to the time of Jeremiah; neither does the word fore-

skin, except in connection with David's giving the foreskins of the

174                                         JOURNAL.


Philistines as dowry for Michal (I Sam. xviii. 25, 27; 2 Sam. iii. 14).

Even uncircumcised, as a designation of the enemies of Israel, occurs

only nine times (Judg. xiv. 3; xv. 18; I Sam. xiv. 6; xviii. 26, 36;.

xxxi. 4; 2 Sam. i. 20; i Chron. x. 4; Isa. lii. 1) in the interval,

and several of these passages are considered by the critics to be of

later date; neither is there any allusion to circumcision in Ezekiel,

except the mention of the stranger “uncircumcised in heart and un-

circumcised in flesh" (xliv. 7, 9). Of course, the reason for this, in

both cases, is that the law of circumcision was so familiar and the

practice so universal that there was no occasion for its mention. On the

other hand, the fast of the day of atonement is not mentioned either in

the historical books or in Ezekiel. We are not surprised at its omis-

sion from the former, nor "can this cast any shade of doubt on its

observance, unless some passage can be shown in which it would have

been likely to bespoken of; but we can only account for its being

passed over in the cycle of the festivals in Ezekiel on the supposition

that it formed no part of his scheme, while yet, as will be shown

farther on, there, are indications that he recognizes it, in his other

arrangements, as existing in his time.

While abundant references to the Mosaic law may be found in

every part of Ezekiel,* it has seemed best to confine the present

investigation to the last nine chapters, both because these are by far

the most important in this connection, and also because these have

been chiefly used in the discussion of the subject.  Unfortunately,

there is a difference of opinion in regard to the general interpretation

of these chapters. Some will have them to be literally understood as

the expression of the prophet's hope and expectation of what was

actually to be; more generally the vision is looked upon as a figur-

ative description of the future glory of the church, clothed, as all

such descriptions must necessarily be, in the familiar images of the

past. A determination of this question is not absolutely necessary to

the present discussion, but is so closely connected with it, and the

argument will be so much clearer when this has first been examined

that it will be well to give briefly some of the reasons for considering

Ezekiel's language in this passage to be figurative.

            It is evident that Ezekiel's description differs too widely from the

past to allow of the supposition that it is historical; and written at a


            *For a very ample list of quotations and allusions to the law in Eze-

kiel, see pp. 105-110 in A Study of the Pentateuch, for Popular Read-

ing, &c. By Rufus P. Stebbins, D. D. (Boston, 1881).

            This question is treated more fully in my notes upon these chapters

in Bp. Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers.

PROF. GARDINER ON EZEKIEL AND THE LAW.                    175


time when the temple lay in ashes and the land desolate, it cannot

refer to the present. It must then have reference to the future. The

presumption is certainly that it portrays an ideal future, because the

whole was seen “in the visions of God” (xl. 2), an expression which

Ezekiel always applies to a symbolic representation rather than to an

actual image of things (cf. i. I; viii. 3; also xi. 24, and xliii. 3).

Moreover, if it is to be literally understood, it must portray a state of

things to be realized either in the near future, or else at a time still in

advance of our own day. If the former, as is supposed by a few

commentators, it is plain that the prophecy was never fulfilled, and

remains a monument of magnificent purposes unaccomplished. The

attempt to explain this by the theory that the returning exiles found

themselves too few and feeble to carry out the prophet's whole designs,

and therefore concluded to postpone them altogether to a more con-

venient season, must be regarded as an entire failure. For one of

two suppositions must be adopted, both of them leading to the same

result: either that of the negative critics--that certain great features of

the Mosaic law, such as the distinction between the priests and

Levites and the general priestly legislation, had their origin with

Ezekiel; and in this case it is inconceivable that, while adopting this,

no attention should have been paid to the authority of this great

prophet in other matters; or else we must accept the commonly

received view, that the Mosaic law was earlier, and is here profoundly

modified by Ezekiel. In the latter case, however much the returning

exiles might have been disappointed in their circumstances, yet if they

understood the prophet literally, they must have looked forward to

the accomplishment of his designs in the future, and would naturally

have been anxious to order the restored theocracy on his plan, as far

as they could, from the first, to avoid the necessity of future changes;

and a large part of the scheme, such as the cycle of the feasts, the

ordering of the sacrifices, &c., was quite within their power. In

either case, if the vision is to be taken literally, it is inexplicable that

there should be no reference to it in the historical books of Ezra and

Nehemiah and the prophecies of Haggai and Zechariah, which all

relate to this period, and describe the return and settlement in the

land, and the rebuilding of the temple.

            It is scarcely necessary to speak of a literal fulfilment still in the

future. Ordinarily it is difficult to say that any state of things may

not possibly be realised in the future; but here there are features of

the prophecy, and those neither of a secondary nor incidental charac-

ter, which enable us to assert positively that their literal fulfilment

would be a plain contradiction of the Divine revelation. It is impos-

176                                         JOURNAL.


sible to conceive, in view of the whole relations between the old and

new dispensations, that animal sacrifices can ever be restored by

Divine command and with acceptance to God. And, it may be added,

it is equally impossible to suppose that the church of the future, pro-

gressing in the liberty wherewith Christ has made it free, should ever

return to "the weak and beggarly elements" of Jewish bondage here

set forth.

            Having thus alluded to these general presumptions, we are pre-

pared to look at those particular indications which have been intro-

duced into the prophecy itself as if to show that it is to be under-

stood ideally. I do not propose to speak of those more general

indications, such as the regularity of proportions and forms, the sym-

metry of measurements &c., which here, as in the later chapters of

the apocalypse, give to almost every reader a somewhat indefinable

but very strong impression of the ideality of the whole description;

but will confine myself to statements which admit of definite tests in

regard to their literalness.

            In the first place, the connection between the temple and the city

of Jerusalem in all the sacred literature of the subject, as well as in

the thought of every pious Israelite, is so close that, a prophecy inci-

dentally separating them, without any distinct statement of the fact or

of the reason for so doing, could hardly have been intended, or have

been understood literally. Yet in this passage the temple is described

as at a distance of nearly nine and a half miles from the utmost

bound of the city, or about fourteen and a quarter miles from its centre.*

            A temple in any other locality than Mount Moriah could hardly be

the temple of Jewish hope and association. The location of Ezekiel's

temple depends upon whether the equal portions of land assigned to

            *This holds true, however the tribe portions of the land and the

“oblation” are located; for the priests' portion of the "oblation," in the

midst of which the sanctuary is placed, (xlviii. 10) is 10,000 reeds, or

about nineteen miles broad; to the south of this (xlviii. 15-17) is a strip

of land of half the width, in which the city is situated, occupying with

its "suburbs " its whole width. These distances, in their exactness,

depend upon the length of the cubit which is variously estimated. For

the purposes of this discussion it is taken at a convenient average of the

conflicting estimates, viz: 20 inches. If it were a little more or a little

less the general argument would remain the same. There should

also be noticed the view of a few writers (Henderson on xlv. 1; Hengs-

tenberg on xlv. 1, and a few others) that the dimensions given in this

chapter are to be understood of cubits and not of reeds; but this is so

generally rejected, and is in itself so improbable that it seems to require

no discussion. Even if adopted, it would only change the amount of

the distance and would still leave the temple quite outside the city and

separated from it by a considerable space.

PROF. GARDINER ON EZEKIEL AND THE LAW.                    177


each of the tribes in ch. xlviii. were actually equal in area, or were

only strips of equal width. The latter view is, so far as I know,

adopted by all commentators. On this supposition Ezekiel's city

would be several miles north of Jerusalem, and the temple, still north

of that, would be well on the road to Samaria. On the other

supposition, it would fall nearly in the latitude of Hebron.

            In either case, the temple, with its precincts, is described as a mile

square, or larger than the whole ancient city of Jerusalem. In xliii.

12 it is expressly said "that the whole limit thereof round about" is

"upon the top of the mountain." But without pressing this, it is

hardly possible that the precincts of any actual temple could be in-

tended to embrace such a variety of hill and valley as would be


            Moreover, the description of the "oblation" itself is physically

impossible. The boundaries of the land are expressly said to be the

Mediterranean on the one side and the Jordan on the other (xlvii.

15-2 1). The eastern boundary is not formed by an indefinite exten-

sion into the desert, but is distinctly declared to be the Jordan, and

above that, the boundaries of Hauran and Damascus. It is substan-

tially the same with that given in Num. xxxiv. 10-12, and in both

cases excludes the trans-Jordanic territory which was not a part of

Palestine proper, and in which, even after its conquest, the two and a

half tribes had been allowed to settle with some reluctance (Num.

xxxii. ). Now, if the portions of the tribes were of equal width, the

"oblation" could not have been extended so far south as the mouth

of the Jordan; but even at that point the whole breadth of the country,

according to the English "exploration fund" maps, is only 55 miles.

Measuring northwards from this point the width of the oblation, 47 1/3

miles, a point is reached where the distance between the river and the

sea is only 40 miles. It is impossible therefore that the oblation itself

should be included between them, and the description requires that

there should also be room left for the prince's portion at either end.

It has been suggested that the prophet might have had in mind meas-

urements made on the uneven surface of the soil or along the usual

routes of travel; but both these suppositions are absolutely excluded

by the symmetry and squareness of this description.

            Again: the city of the vision is described as the great city of the

restored theocracy; but, as already said, it cannot be placed geo-

graphically upon the site of Jerusalem. Either, then, this city must

be understood ideally, or else a multitude of other prophecies, and

notably many of Ezekiel which speak of Zion and of Jerusalem,

must be so interpreted. There is no good reason why both may not

178                                         JOURNAL.


be figurative, but it is impossible to take both literally; for some of

them make statements in regard to the future quite as literal in form

as these, and yet in direct conflict with them. Such prophecies, both

in Ezekiel and in the other prophets, in regard to Jerusalem, are too

familiar to need citation; yet one, on a similar point, from a prophet

not much noticed, may be given as an illustration. Obadiah (accord-

ing to some authorities, a contemporary of Ezekiel) foretells (ver. 19)

that at the restoration "Benjamin shall possess Gilead"; but accord-

ing to Ezekiel, Gilead is not in the land of the restoration at all, and

Benjamin's territory is to be immediately south of the " oblation."

Again, Obadiah (ver. 20) says, "The captivity of Jerusalem" (which

in distinction from "the captivity of the host of the children of Israel,"

must refer to the two tribes) " shall possess the cities of the south";

but according to Ezekiel, Judah and Benjamin are to adjoin the cen-

tral "oblation," and four other tribes are to have their portions south

of them. Such instances might easily be multiplied. It must surely

be a false exegesis which makes the prophets gratuitously contradict

each other and even contradict themselves (as in this case of Obadiah)

almost in the same sentence.

            The division of the land among the twelve tribes; the assignment

to the priests and the Levites of large landed estates, and to the

former as much as to the latter; the enormous size of the temple

precincts and of the city, with the comparatively small allotment of

land for its support, are all so singular, and so entirely destitute of

either historical precedent or subsequent realization, that only the

clearest evidence would justify the assumption that these things were

intended to be literally carried out. No regard is paid to the differ-

ing numbers of the tribes, but--as if to set forth an ideal equality-

an equal strip of land is assigned to each; and, the trans-Jordanic

territory being excluded and about one-fifth of the whole land being

set apart as an "oblation," the portion remaining allows to each of

the tribes only about two-thirds as much territory as, on the average,

they had formerly possessed. The geographical order of the tribes is

also extremely singular, and bears all the marks of ideality. More-

over, nearly the whole territory assigned to Zebulon and Gad is

habitable only by nomads.

            A further difficulty with the literal interpretation may be found in

the description of the waters which issued from under the eastern

threshold of the temple (xlvii. 1-1 2). This difficulty is so great that

some commentators, who have adopted generally a literal interpreta-

tion, have found themselves constrained to resort here to the figurative;

but on the whole, it has been recognized that the vision is essentially

PROF. GARDINER ON EZEKIEL AND THE LAW.                    179


one, and that it would be unreasonable to give a literal interpretation

to one part of it and a figurative to another. The waters of the vision

run to the "east country," and go down "'to the sea," which can only

be the Dead Sea; but such a course would be physically impossible

without changes in the surface of the earth, since the location of the

temple of the vision is on the west of the water-shed of the country.*

They had, moreover, the effect of "healing" the waters of the sea,

an effect which could not be produced naturally without providing an

outlet from the sea, and Ezekiel (xlvii. 11) excludes the idea of an

outlet. No supply of fresh water could remove the saltness, while

this was all disposed of by evaporation. But, setting aside minor

difficulties, the character of the waters themselves is impossible, ex-

cept by a perpetual miracle. Without insisting upon the strangeness

of a spring of this magnitude upon the top of "a very high moun-

tain" (xl. 2; cf. also xliii. 12), at the distance of 1,000 cubits from

their source, the waters have greatly increased in volume; and so

with each successive 1,000 cubits, until at the end of 4,000 (about a

mile and a half) they have become a river no longer fordable, or, in

other words, comparable to the Jordan. Such an increase, without

accessory streams, is clearly not natural. Beyond all this, the descrip-

tion of the waters themselves clearly marks them as ideal. They are

life-giving and healing; trees of perennial foliage and fruit grow upon

their banks, the leaves being for "medicine," and the fruit, although

for food, never wasting. The reader cannot fail to be reminded of

"the pure river of water of life" in Rev. xxii. I, 2. " on either side"

of which was " the tree of life," with " its twelve manner of fruits"

and its leaves " for the healing of the nations." The author of the

Ayocalypse evidently had this passage in mind; and just as he has

seized upon the description of Gog and Magog in chaps. xxxviii.,

xxxix., as an ideal description, and applied it to the events of the

future, so he has treated this as an ideal prophecy, and applied it to

the Church triumphant.

            Finally, it should be remembered that this whole vision is inti-

mately bound together, and all objections which lie against a literal

interpretation of any one part, lie also against the whole. Additional

reasons for spiritual interpretation will incidentally appear in the fol-

lowing pages.

            If it is now asked--and this seems to be the chosen ground of the


            *This is true with any possible location of the "oblation"; for the

central point between the Jordan and the Mediterranean is well on the

western water-shed at every locality from the head waters of the Jordan

to the extremity of the Dead Sea.

180                                         JOURNAL.


literal interpreters--why then is this prophecy given with such a

wealth of minute material detail? the answer is obvious, that this is

thoroughly characteristic of Ezekiel. The tendency to a use of con-

crete imagery, strongly marked in every part of his book, merely cul-

minates in this closing vision. The two previous chapters, especially,

have abounded in definite material details of the attack of a great host

upon the land of Israel, while these very details, upon examination,

show that they were not meant to be literally understood, and that

the whole prophecy was intended to shadow forth the great and final  

spiritual conflict, prolonged through ages, between the power of the

world and the kingdom of God. So here, the prophet, wishing to

set forth the glory, the purity, and the beneficent influence of the

church of the future, clothes his description in those terms of the past

with which his hearers were familiar. The use of such terms was a

necessity in making himself intelligible to his contemporaries; just as

to the very close of the inspired volume it is still necessary to set forth

the glory and joy of the church triumphant under the figures of earthly

and familiar things, but no one is misled thereby to imagine that the

heavenly Jerusalem will be surrounded by a literal wall of jasper

1,500 miles high (Rev. xxi, 16, 18), or that its 12 gates shall be each

of an actual pearl. At the same time the prophet is careful to intro-

duce among his details so many impossible points as to show that his

description must be ideal, and its realisation be sought for beneath

the types and shadows in which it is clothed.  It may be as impossi-

ble to find the symbolical meaning of each separate detail as it is to

tell the typical meaning of the sockets for the boards of the tabernacle

although the tabernacle as a whole is expressly said to have been a

type. This is the case with every vision, and parable, and type, and  

every form of setting forth truth by imagery; there must necessarily

be much which has no independent signification, but is merely sub-  

sidiary to the main point. Ezekiel's purpose was so far understood

by his contemporaries, that they never made any attempt to carry out

his descriptions in the rebuilding of the temple and the reconstruct

tion of the State. The idea of a literal interpretation of his words was

reserved for generations long distant from his time, from the forms of

the church under which he lived, and from the circumstances and

habits of expression with which he was familiar, and under the

influence of which he wrote.


            With this unavoidably prolonged discussion the ground is cleared

for a comparison of the cultus set forth in this vision of Ezekiel with

PROF. GARDINER ON EZEKIEL AND THE LAW.                                181


that commanded in the Mosaic law, and an examination of the rela-

tion between them. This discussion is embarrassed by the difficulty

of finding any historical data which will be universally accepted. If

we might assume that any of the older historical books of the Old

Testament were as trustworthy as ordinary ancient histories making

no claim to inspiration, or that the books of most of the prophets

were not pious frauds, the task would be greatly simplified. As it is,

I shall endeavor to conduct the examination on the basis of such

obvious facts as would abe admitted by the authors of what seem to

the writer such strange romances as Kuenen's "Religion of Israel"

and "Prophets and Prophecy in Israel."*

            The first point to which attention may be called is the landed prop-

erty of the priests and Levites. According to the Mosaic law, they

had no inheritance of land like the other tribes, but merely scattered

cities for residence; and were to depend for support, partly upon their

portion of the sacrifices, and chiefly upon the tithes of the people.

While the payment of these tithes was commanded, there was abso-

lutely no provision for enforcing their payment. This rested entirely

upon moral obligation, and the condition of the whole Levitical

tribe was thus dependent upon the conscientiousness of the Israelites.

When the sense of religious obligation was strong, they would be

well provided for; when it was weak, they would be in want. And

this is exactly what appears from the general course of the history, as

well as from such special narratives as are universally admitted to be

of great antiquity. (See Judg. xvii. 7-18, &c.) Now, after the

exile, at a time when there can be no question in regard to the facts,

we find the priests and Levites similarly unprovided with landed

property. The Mosaic law, the condition of things before the exile

and after, agree together; but Ezekiel represents a totally different

state of things. He assigns two strips of territory, one to the priests

and the other to the Levites, each of nearly the same size as the

allotment to any of the tribes (xlviii. 9-14). This very small tribe

would thus have had almost twice as much land as any other; and

such a provision would obviously have profoundly modified the whole

state and relations of the priestly order and of the subordinate Levites.

In this point, therefore, we find that if any process of development

was going on in the ecclesiastical system of Israel, it was such as to


            *Substantially the same views, especially in relation to Ezekiel, are

taken by Graf (Die Gesehichtl. Bucher des alien Test.), Smend (Der

Prophet Ezechiel), and others, with sundry variations in detail; but as

Kuenen is the author most widely known, and presents his theories in

the most favorable point of view, the references of this paper will be

confined to his works.

182                                         JOURNAL.


leave the final result just what it had been before, while the system of

Ezekiel, which, on that supposition, should be a middle term be-

tween the two, is entirely foreign to both of them.

            There are other noteworthy points involved in the same provision.

According to Deut. xix. 2-9 three cities, and conditionally another

three, and according to Num. xxxv. 9-15 the whole six, were to be

selected from the cities of the Levites and appointed as cities of refuge

in case of unintentional manslaughter. The same provision is

alluded to in Ex. xxi. 13, 14, and it plainly forms an essential feature

of the whole Mosaic law in regard to manslaughter and murder.

After the conquest, according to Josh. xxi. this command was exe-

cuted and the cities were distributed as widely as possible in different

parts of the land, three of them on either side of the Jordan, the east-

ern side being considered as an extension of the land not included in

the original promise and therefore bringing into force the conditional

requirement of Deuteronomy.*  But by the arrangement of Ezekiel,

the Levites were not to have cities scattered through the land, and their

central territory could not afford the necessary ease of access from the

distant parts. There is here therefore an essential difference in regard

to the whole law in reference to manslaughter and murder, and it is

plain that the Mosaic law in this point could not have been devised

from Ezekiel.

            But besides this obvious inference, it is in the highest degree im-

probable that this provision of the Mosaic law could have originated

after the captivity, when it would have been entirely unsuited to the

political condition of the people. Still more, it is inconceivable

that the record of the execution of this law by Joshua could have been

invented after the time of Ezekiel; for neither in his vision is any such

selection of cities indicated, nor in the actual territorial arrangement

of the restoration was there any opportunity therefor. Yet the same

account which records the selection (incidentally mentioned in con-

nection with each city as it is reached in the list) clearly recognizes

the distinction between the priests and the Levites (Josh. xxi.) This

distinction then must have been older than Ezekiel.

            In quite another point Ezekiel's assignment of territory, taken in

connection with Numbers and Joshua, has an important bearing upon

the antiquity of the distinction between priests and Levites. Accord-

ing to the Mosaic law the priests were a higher order ecclesiastically


            *Deuteronomy was indeed written after the conquest of the trans-

Jordanic territory; but it was immediately after, and when this territory

was yet hardly considered as the home of the tribes. Some writers

prefer to consider the number of six cities as fixed and the three con-

ditional, which in their view were never set apart, as making nine.

PROF. GARDINER ON EZEKIEL AND THE LAW.                    183


than the Levites and in accordance with this position, were provided

with a more ample income; for being much less than a tenth of the

tribe, the priests received a tenth of the income of all the other Levites

(Num. xviii. 25-28). Both these facts are in entire accordance with

the relations of the priests and Levites in post-exilic times; but they

are at variance with those relations as set forth in Joshua, if that be

post-exilic, and also with Ezekiel considered as a preparatory stage of

the legislation of the Pentateuch. Of course, the whole body of the

Levites must have been originally many times more numerous than

the members of the single family of Aaron, and if Joshua xxi. be very

ancient we need not be surprised that the 48 Levitical cities provided

for in Numbers (xxxv. 1-7) should have been given, 13 to the priests

and 35 to the other Levites (Josh. xxi.); for this gave to the priests

individually a much larger proportion than to the Levites. The same

thing is true of the provision made by Ezekiel. The equal strips of

land given to the priests collectively and to the Levites collectively,

gave much more to the former individually. But all this would have

been entirely untrue after the exile. In the census of the returning

exiles, given in both Ezra and Nehemiah, the number of priests is set

down as 4289 (Ezra ii. 36-38; Neh. vii. 39-42), while that of the

Levites--even including the Nethinim--is 733, or but little more than

one-sixth of that number (Ez. ii. 40-58; in Neh. vii, 43-60 the

number is 752).*  It may indeed be argued that Ezekiel has no re-

gard to the actual numbers of the two bodies, but writing at an early

stage of the process of separation between the priests and the Levites,

intends to put them upon a precise equality; and that only at a later

period was the pecuniary provision for the Levites made inferior to

that of the priests. If this be so, then Joshua xxi, must be post-

exilic; for in its whole arrangement it clearly recognizes the distinc-

tion and the superiority of the priests. Yet this gives 35 cities to the

very few Levites and only 13 to the comparatively numerous priests-


            *Kuenen (Relig. of Isr. Vol. II. p. 203, 204) and his school undertake

to explain this disparity of numbers by the supposition that the Levites

were " degraded priests " of which he thinks he finds evidence in Ezek.

xliv. 10-16. For the present point this is quite immaterial; all that is

here required is admitted by him--the fact of the great disparity in num-

bers. But the supposition itself is quite gratuitous, and rests upon two

unfounded assumptions: (I) that "the Levites" in ver. 10 cannot be

used kat ] e]coxh<n for the priests--a point to be spoken of elsewhere; and

(2) that the "sons of Zadok " ver. 15, is synonymous with "sons of

Aaron," which is not true. The simple and natural explanation of the

passage in Ezekiel is that the prophet means to degrade the priests who

have been guilty of idolatry. (See Curtiss' The Levitical Priests p.


184                                         JOURNAL.


in other words is self-contradictory. In this respect the bearing of

Ezekiel is plain; it makes the Mosaic law and the history of Joshua,

consistent if they were ancient, but inconsistent and self-contradictory

if Ezekiel's vision was a stage in the late differentiation of the priests

from the Levites.

            We are now prepared to go a step further. It is agreed on all sides,

that Ezekiel recognizes a distinction between the priests and the

Levites. To an ordinary reader of his book it appears that he makes

this recognition incidentally and as a matter of course, as of an old,

familiar, and established distinction. He nowhere states that -there

shall be such a distinction, nor gives any grounds upon which it shall

rest, nor describes who shall be included in the one body and who in

the other, except that he confines the priests to "the sons of Zadok",

(xl. 46; xliii. 19; xliv. 15; xlviii. 11), of which more will be said

presently. Certainly this does not look, upon the face of it, like the

original institution of this distinction. But Kuenen (Relig. of Isr.

vol. 2 p. 116) asserts that at the time of Josiah's reformation, "all,

the Levites, without exception, were considered qualified to serve as

priests of Jahweh," and that "Ezekiel is the first to desire other rules

for the future;" and that the priestly laws of the Pentateuch, of which

he had no knowledge, were subsequent. Again he says (ib, p. 153)

Ezekiel, in uttering his wishes as to the future, made a beginning

of committal to writing of the priestly tradition. The priests in Bab-

ylonia went on in, his footsteps.  A first essay in priestly legis-

lation--remains of which have been preserved to us in Lev. xviii-xxvi.

--was followed by others, until at last a complete system arose, con-

tained in an historical frame. Possessed of this system, the priestly

exiles, and among them Ezra in particular, could consider themselves

entitled and called upon to come forward as teachers in Judea, and

to put in practice the ordinances which hitherto had been exclusively

of theoretical interest to them."* These passages are cited from

Kuenen simply to bring distinctly before the mind the theory which

has recently gained acceptance with an intelligent school of critics;  

it is the bearing upon this of the vision of Ezekiel which we are to

consider. The question to be asked is whether the more careful ex-

amination of this vision bears out the prima facie impression produced

by it, or confirms the somewhat elaborate theory of Kuenen.

            There can be no manner of doubt that in Ezekiel's time they

already existed two classes of persons known respectively as “priests”


            * He admits that the distinction is recognized in 1 Kings viii. 4, but

says this is merely in consequence of a clerical error." Relig. Isr.

vol. II. p. 301.)

PROF. GARDINER ON EZEKIEL AND THE LAW.                    185


and as "Levites." Whatever may have been the ground of the dis-

tinction, and whether or not all were equally entitled to offer sacri-

fices, Ezekiel certainly recognizes the two classes as existing, since he

could not otherwise have used the terms without defining them. The

Levites, of course, may be considered already well known as the

descendants of the tribe of Levi; but why not the priests in a similar

way? How could he have used the term in distinction from the

Levites, if no such distinction had been hitherto known?

            But further: Ezekiel assigns to the priests the functions of offering

the sacrifices and of eating the sin offering, while to the Levites he

gives the duty of "ministering in the sanctuary." Of course the

mere expression "minister" (xliv. 11) might, if it stood alone, be

understood of any sort of service; but the whole context shows it is

meant of a service inferior to the priests, and the existence here of the

same distinctions as those of the Mosaic law has been so universally

recognized as to lead some scholars to argue that the provisions of this

law must have been derived from this prophet. It is found however,

that precisely the same distinction appears, and precisely the same

duties are assigned respectively to the priests and to the Levites in the

ages before Ezekiel. There is no occasion to speak of the functions

of the priests since there is no dispute about them; in regard to the

Levites, I will refer only to a single passage already cited by Kuenen

(ubi sup. p. 304) as pre-exilic, and of especial interest because it is

taken from Deuteronomy (xviii. I-8), and is partly in the same words

as those used by Ezekiel. At first sight it appears to join the two

classes together, but on closer examination is found to make a clear

distinction between them. "The priests the Levites, all the tribe of

Levi, shall have no part nor inheritance with Israel; they shall eat

the offerings of the Lord made by fire, and his inheritance" (vs. 1).

This statement has been thought to show that the whole tribe was

here treated as a unit, with no distinction between its members. If it

stood alone it might be so regarded; but the lawgiver immediately

goes on to speak separately of the two parts of the tribe: "And this

shall be the priests' due from the people, from them that offer a sac-

rifice," specifying the parts of the victim and also the first fruits; "for

the Lord thy God hath chosen him out of all thy tribes to stand to

minister in the name of the Lord, him and his sons forever." So far

about the priests. Then follows, "And if a Levite come from any of

thy gates out of all Israel, where he sojourned, and come with all

the desire of his mind unto the place which the Lord shall choose,

then he shall minister in the name of the Lord his God, as all his

brethren the Levites do, which stand before the Lord. They shall

186                                         JOURNAL.


have like portions to eat, besides that which cometh of the sale of his

patrimony." There is here nothing, as in the case of the priests,

about sacrifice; but the Levites appear to be inferior ministrants, just

as in the Book of Numbers; and it is provided that any of the tribe,

wherever he has before lived, may come and join himself to their

number and share in the provision for their support, without regard

to his private property. The supposition that the Levites referred to

in these last verses were also priests, i. e. entitled to offer sacrifice,

would be exegetically inadmissible; for they are said to "come from

any of thy gates out of all Israel," while in Josh. xxi. 9-19 the cities

of the priests (described also as the sons of Aaron) are confined to the

tribes of Judah, Benjamin, and Simeon. Consequently those who

were to offer sacrifice could not "come from any of thy gates out of

all Israel."*  But independently of this fact, the priests are mentioned

in Deuteronomy with their duties, then afterwards the Levites sepa-

rately with their duties, which are not the same; and the point would

require to be otherwise most clearly proved before it could be admit-

ted that the persons were the same. Of course Ezekiel's vision,

while it separates clearly the priests from the Levites, yet in assigning

to each of them a compact territory, looks to an entirely different

state of things from that contemplated in Numbers or fulfilled in


            Again: the expression "the priests the Levites" used seven times

in Deuteronomy (xvii. 9, 18; xviii. i; xxi. 5; xxiv: 8; xxvii. 9;

xxxi. 9) and twice in Joshua (iii. 3; viii. 33) has been relied upon as

a proof that the two classes were not distinguished when these books

were written. That this argument will not apply to Joshua has

already appeared, and Curtiss in his "Levitical Priests" has shown

that the same expression is used in the post-exilic books of Chroni-

cles; but our concern is with Ezekiel. He has the expression twice

(xlii. 19; xliv. 15) and each time with an addition which leaves no

possible doubt of his meaning: "that be of the seed of Zadok" and

"sons of Zadok." Hence the same reasoning which would make all

Levites into priests in Deuteronomy, Joshua, and Chronicles, would

make them all into "sons of Zadok" in Ezekiel.

            But this leads to another fact in the prophet's description of the

priesthood. As already said, he recognizes as the priests of the future


            *This difficulty might be avoided by supposing Joshua to be later than

Deuteronomy; but it has already been shown that this would only involve

other and no less formidable difficulties on the other side.

            "The Levitical Priests, a contribution to the criticism of the Penta-

teuch." By S. J. Curtiss, jr., Ph. D. with a preface by Franz Delitzsch,

Edinburgh and Leipzig, 1877.

PROF. GARDINER ON EZEKIEL AND THE LAW.                    187


only "the sons of Zadok (xl. 46; xliii. 19; xliv. 15; xlviii. 11).

Kuenen indeed seems to assume (ubi sup. p. 116) that "sons of

Zadok " and “sons of Aaron” are synonymous terms; it needs no

argument to show that they are really very different. By universal,

agreement, the priesthood was not of old restricted to the "sons of

Zadok," and it may be added, I suppose by the same universal

agreement, it was not so restricted afterwards. The return of other

priests is mentioned by Ezra (ii. 36-39) and Nehemiah (vii. 39-42),

and I do not know that there has ever been any question that priests

of other families served in the temple in later ages. Here then the

prophet is found, as in so many other cases, to be at variance alike

with the earlier and the later practice and with the Mosaic law, instead

of constituting a link between them. If it be alleged that he pro-

posed to restrict the priesthood to the family of Zadok, but that this

was found impracticable and his successors carried out his plan as

far as they could, by restricting it to the wider family of Aaron, it may

well be asked, where is the proof of this? Where is the thought or

suggestion anywhere outside of Ezekiel that such a narrower restric-

tion was ever desired or attempted? If we look upon the prophet's

description as ideal, the whole matter is plain enough. "The sons

of Zadok," in view of the facts of history, are the faithful priests, and

only such would Ezekiel have to minister; but as a scheme for a

change in the actual and literal priesthood, the whole matter is inex-


            Another point in which Ezekiel differs from the Mosaic ritual is in

regard to the persons who were to slay the ordinary sacrificial victims.

According to Lev. i. 5, 11; iii. 2, 8, 13; iv. 4 (cf. 15), 24, 29, 33,

the victim was to be killed by the one who made the offering, and

according to Ex. xii. 6, the same rule was to be observed with regard

to the Passover. This was apparently the custom in all ages. The

language of Josephus (Ant. iii. 9. § I), although not very clear,

favors this supposition, and the record in 2 Chron. xxix. 20, ss., 34;

xxx. 17 seems decisive. In this post-exilic book, in the account of

the purification of the sanctuary under Hezekiah, the exceptional

sacrifices of the purification are said to be slain by the priests, and the

assistance of the Levites in flaying the victims is expressly excused on

account of the insufficiency in the number of the priests, while at the

subsequent Passover it is said "the Levites had the charge of the

killing the Passovers for everyone that was not clean." These excuses

for these acts imply that, in the time of the Chronicler, it was still the

custom for the people to kill their own sacrifices and for the priests to

flay them. The Levitical law and the post-exilic custom (as well as

188                                         JOURNAL.


the pre-exilic) here agree as usual; but Ezekiel, is quite apart from

them and provides (xliv. 11) that the Levites "shall slay the burnt

offering and the sacrifice for the people." Here again he is not at all

in the line of a developing system. It may be added incidentally that

the Samaritan Pentateuch shows what would have been the actual

progress of development if it had existed in these matters in Israel;

for, by changing the number of the pronouns and verbs in Leviticus,

it makes the priests the slayers of the victims in all cases.

            It has often been noticed that the office of high-priest is ignored in

this vision, and an argument has been based on this fact to show that

the writings of Ezekiel mark an early stage in the development of the

Jewish hierarchy, when the precedence of the high-priest had not yet

been established. The fundamental statement itself is not strictly

true, and it will appear presently that the prophet, in several different

ways, incidentally recognizes the existence of the high-priest and of

some of the principal laws in relation to him. But the high-priest

fills a prominent and important place in the Mosaic legislation, and

if it could be shown on the one hand that there was no high-priest

before the captivity, and on the other, that Ezekiel knew of none, it

would certainly create a presumption that the laws of the priesthood

might be of later origin. But the facts are so precisely opposite, that

the maintenance of such propositions seems very strange. It may be

well to refer again to Kuenen, as a fair exponent of this school of

critics, to show that the non-existence of the high-priesthood before

the captivity is distinctly maintained by them.       He admits, indeed,

“that one of the high-priests, who bore the title of Kohen hagadol

[‘the high-priest’] or Kohen rosch [‘the head-priest’], at any rate

from the days of Jehoash; stood at the head of the Jerusalem priests,"

but he associates him in honor and rank only with the three door-

keepers," and tells us that the various passages cited "teach us that

one of the priests superintended the temple, or, in other words, kept

order there, in which duty he was of course assisted by others"; and

that "it follows, from 2 Kings xi. 18; xii. 12; Jer. xxix. 26, that

this post was instituted by Jehoiada, the contemporary of King

Jehoash" (Relig. of Isr. vol. II. p. 304). Again he marks emphat-

ically, as one of the evidences of the late origin of the high-priesthood,

that "the distinction between the duties of the priests and the high-

priest, Lev. xxi. 1-9 and verses 10-15, does not occur at all in

Ezekiel" (ib. p. 190). And still again (ib. p. 214), he represents that,

even in the days of Ezra and Nehemiah, the duties and authority of

the high-priest were still in a vague and unsettled condition.

            The point here to be determined is whether we have evidence of

PROF. GARDINER ON, EZEKIEL AND THE LAW.                   189


the existence before the captivity of a high-priesthood as an import-

ant, regular office, transmitted by inheritance, and forming one of the

fundamental features of the Israelitish polity. Of course, we could

not expect to find in such histories as have been preserved other than

meagre and incidental allusions to the details of the high-priest's

duties, his dress, and such matters. Such allusions do occur, as in

the case of Ahimelech at the time of David's flight (I Sam. xxi. 1-9).

and of the ephod of Abiathar (I Sam. xxiii. 6, 9--observe that in

ver. 9 it is rOpx,hA with the definite article), in connection with David's

enquiry of the Lord. (Comp. also the charge against Ahimelech

that he "enquired of the Lord" for David. I Sam. xxii. 10, 15).

But the question is not about these matters of detail; the main point

is, that in Israel the priestly order had, and almost of necessity must

have had, especially in the times before the monarchy, an authorita-

tive and real head, as was the case with other nations of antiquity.

Even the exception here proves the rule, and we find that temporarily,

in one anomalous period of the history, during the reign of David,

there were two heads or high-priests, Zadok and Abiathar. The

latter, after the slaughter of his father and kinsman by Saul, had fled

to David in his outlawry and had become, as he was entitled to

become by inheritance, his high-priest. Meantime the office could

not be left in abeyance under the, regular government, and when

David ascended the throne he found the high-priesthood occupied by

Zadok. He did not presume to displace him, and neither would he

displace the faithful sharer of his own adversity; so it came about that

both were recognized. This anomalous state of things was the more

tolerable because at the same time, according to the history, the ark

and the tabernacle were separated, while the duties of the high priest

were connected with both of them. The high priest, or during the

period just mentioned, the two high priests, are mentioned in the fol-

lowing passages which are expressly cited by Kuenen (Relig. of Isr.

Note II. on ch. viii. Vol. II., p. 304) as pre-exilic: 2 Sam. viii. 17;

xx. 25; 1 Ki. iv. 4; ii. 22, 26, 27; 2 Ki. xii. 10; xxii. 4, 8; xxiii. 4;

xxv. 18; Jer. xx. I. It is well known how greatly this list might be

extended, and also how often the high priest is mentioned in the

books of Joshua and I Samuel, the names of Eleazar, Phinehas, Eli

or Ahiah, being often given in connection with the office, besides

those of Ahimelech, Abiathar, Zadok, and Ahitub. It would be

hard to find any single fact in the whole compass of Israelitish his-

tory in itself more probable or more abundantly attested than the

existence of the office of a real high priest, an important functionary

190                                         JOURNAL.


in the kingdom, the counsellor of the rulers, and whose especial

office it was to "enquire of the Lord" and communicate His com-

mands at important national emergencies. There is also perfectly

clear and ample evidence of the continued existence of the same

office after the captivity. Jeremiah (lii. 24-27) and the author of the

second book of Kings (xxv. 18-21) give the name of the person who

held the office at the time of the destruction of Jerusalem, Seraiah,

who was put to death by Nebuchadnezzar; while Ezra (ii. 2; iii. 2,

8, g; iv. 3; v. 2; x. i8) and Nehemiah (vii. 7; xii. I, 7, 10, 26)

unite with Haggai (i. 1, 12, 14; ii., 2, 4) and Zechariah (iii. I, 3,

6, 8, 9; vi. 11) in mentioning Joshua, or Jeshua, the son of Josedeck,

as the high priest of the restoration. But Ezekiel's vision, it is said,

recognizes no such office, and as will be seen presently, intentionally

excludes it. Once more then, this vision not only gives no coun-

tenance, but is in direct opposition to the theory, that Ezekiel origi-

nated or was a direct link in the development of the priesthood from

an earlier to a later differing form.

            There is however, one curious point incidentally occurring in the

vision which shows that Ezekiel was familiar with the office of high

priest. In the various measurements of the temple and all its details

given in chaps. xli., xlii., the prophet everywhere accompanies the

measuring angel until he comes to the holy of holies. There the

angel enters alone, as is shown by a sudden change in the language

(xli. 3). This certainly has the appearance of a consciousness on

the part of Ezekiel, the priest, that he might not enter there, and (since

it cannot be supposed that this part of the temple was not to be

entered at all) an allusion to that provision of the law by which

entrance into the holy of holies was forbidden to all, save to the high

priest only on the great day of atonement. I do not know of any

other explanation, and if this be the true one, it shows that not only

the high priest, but the principal Mosaic law in regard to him and

also the day of atonement was known to the prophet.

            That the omission of the high priest from this vision is not acci-

dental but intentional is shown by the laws of the priesthood here set

forth. These laws treat the priesthood as a single body without dis-

tinction and, considered only in themselves, admit of either of two

interpretations: (I) on the development hypothesis, that they are

original and general laws which were subsequently differentiated into

the special stricter ones for the high priest, and the less strict for his

brethren; or (2) that the specific laws were actually older than Ezekiel,

but when he omitted the high priest from his scheme, he com-

bined them into a certain mean between the two. The choice

PROP. GARDINER ON EZEKIEL AND THE LAW.                                191


between these two hypotheses is at once determined in favor of the

latter if, as has already been shown, there was a real high priest in the

previous ages. All reasonable ground of argument from these laws

in favor of the development hypothesis is thus taken away; and not

only so, but it is evident from the vision that Ezekiel knew of those

stricter laws in regard to the high priest which did not apply to the

priesthood in general. Besides the allusion already mentioned, the

peculiarity of the prophet's laws appears especially in two points: in

regard to marriage, and in regard to mourning. For the former,

the Levitical law allowed the marriage of the ordinary priest to any

but a profane or divorced woman, laying no restriction upon the

marriage with a widow (Lev. xxi. 7); but it restricted the high priest

to marriage with "a virgin of his own people " (ib. 14). Ezekiel

makes a general compromise law for all, allowing Marriage with a

widow in case her former husband had been a priest (xliv. 22). The

same thing is true of mourning. Ezekiel in general repeats literally

the law of Lev. xxi. 1-3, 11-14, but while there is there a distinction

between the high-priest and the ordinary priest, here there is one

intermediate regulation. In Leviticus the ordinary priest might be

"defiled for the dead" "for his kin that is near unto him," while

this is in all cases whatever forbidden to the high-priest; in Ezekiel

(xliv. 25-27) such defilement for the dead that "is near of kin" is

allowed to all, but must be followed not only by the ordinary cleansing

after contact with a dead body (see Num. xix. 11-17), but also by a

second special period of seven days closed by a sin offering before the

priest again enters upon the discharge of his duties. It will be noticed

that there is here not only allusion to the laws of Leviticus, but also

to a cleansing, apparently that prescribed in Numbers.

            The regulations for the priests' dress (xliv. 17-19) require no

especial notice. They are very brief; and as far as they go, are a simple

reproduction of the provisions of Lev. xxviii. They have altogether

the air of presupposing a knowledge of that law and specifying only a

few particulars to recall the whole. As far as any inference is to be

drawn from them, it is decidedly in favor of a recognition of the

detailed precepts of Leviticus as already familiar.

            We may now pass to the feasts and sacrifices and under this gen-

eral head two points are to be considered:  1st, the changes in the

ritual of the particular feasts and sacrifices, and 2d, the changes in

the cycle of the feasts themselves. Under the former head the change

which, if literally carried out, would have been the most striking one

to the Israelite because most constantly before his mind, was that in

the daily burnt offering. Ezekiel requires that there shall be a burnt


192                                         JOURNAL,


offering every morning; he says nothing whatever of an evening sac-

rifice and his language is justly thought to exclude the idea of one

(xlvi. 13-15). The Mosaic law commanded that there should be a

burnt offering both morning and evening (Ex. xxix. 38, 39; Num.

xxviii. 3, 4; cf. also Lev vi. 8, 9). Is this an enlargement of, and

therefore later than Ezekiel's prescription? Of course this will depend

upon whether there is evidence of the custom of evening sacrifice

before the time of the exile. There are two passages which, as they

stand in our version, are clear and decisive upon this point. In 1

Ki. xviii. 36 it is said in connection with the controversy between

Elijah and the prophets of Baal on Mt. Carmel, "It came to pass at

the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah" &c.

Here this is evidently regarded as so fixed a custom as to suffice in

itself to make the hour. Again, in 2 Ki. xvi. 15, when Ahaz had

introduced his own idolatrous altar and yet wished the legal sacri-

fices to go on as usual, he "commanded Urijah the priest, saying,

upon the great altar burn the morning burnt offering, and the evening

meat offering" &c. Either of these passages, much more both of

them, would be entirely decisive were it not for the fact that the word

used for the evening sacrifice in both cases is hHAn;mi and it is urged that

this means an unbloody sacrifice. After the restoration also, when

Ezra on one occasion "sat astonied until the evening sacrifice" (Ezra

ix. 4) the word is the same. It is therefore suggested by some in-

terpreters that before and after the exile, as far as the time of Ezra, the

custom may have been to offer a burnt offering in the morning and

an unbloody oblation in the evening; and this interpretation is

thought to be confirmed by Ps. cxli. 2, "Let my prayer be set before

thee as incense, and the lifting up of my hands as the evening hHAn;mi".

From this it is argued that the Mosaic law, being at variance with this

custom, and also with Ezekiel, must be of later origin; but if so, it

must be also later than the book of Daniel, (which these critics place

at 165 B. C.) for he also describes the hour of evening sacrifice as

"the time of the evening hHAn;mi (ix. 21).  As far as Ezekiel is

concerned, this argument is seen, on a moment's reflection, to have

no force; for it is just as difficult to account for his omission of a reg-

ular evening oblation as of a burnt offering. But the matter cannot

be left here, for the whole interpretation is wrong. The technical

meaning of hHAn;mi as an unbloody oblation belongs to the Levitical

law, and if this law be of later origin, as is claimed by some critics,

this sense cannot be carried back to an earlier time. Besides, this

PROF. GARDINER ON EZEKIEL AND THE LAW.                    193


oblation was never offered alone except in certain peculiar cases which

do not bear upon the question;* it was always an accompaniment of

the bloody sacrifice. If, therefore, it could be proved--which it can-

not--that in I and 2 Kings and Ezra the unbloody oblation was

meant, it would yet remain that the mention of it implies and

involves also the animal sacrifice. But the sense of the word outside

of the technical language of the law is very general, being applied to

an ordinary present (Gen. xxxii. 13 [14], 18 [19], 20 [21], 21 [22];

xxxiii. 10; xliii. I1, and frequently), or to tribute (Judg. iii. 15-18,

and frequently); and when this is a present to God, or sacrifice, it is

applied indifferently to the unbloody or to the animal sacrifice.

Thus it is used of the animal sacrifice of Abel as well as of the

unbloody offering of Cain (Gen. iv. 3-5); in I Sam. ii. 29 it is clearly

meant to include all sacrifices, but with especial reference to those of

animals; in I Sam. iii. 14 it is used with Hbaz, of a propitiatory sacri-

fice; in Mal. i. 13 it clearly refers to an animal sacrifice, since the

"torn, and the lame, and the sick" are mentioned. In fact, it is a

general word for sacrifice of any kind, and while, following the

technical language of the law, it is often used specifically, and applied

to the unbloody, as distinguished from the animal sacrifice, yet it is

also used of sacrifice in general in such a way that it must be sup-

posed to include the animal sacrifice. (see I Sam. ii. 17; xxvi. 19;

I Chr. xvi. 29; Ps. xcvi. 8; Zeph. iii. 10; Mal. i. 10; ii. 12, 13;

iii. 3, 4). There is therefore no ground for the theory that the eve-

ning hHAn;mi of 1 Kings xviii. 29; 2 Kings xvi. 15; and Ezra ix. 4,

refers to an unbloody offering. In fact, the argument would prove

too much; for the same expression is used also of the morning sacri-

fice in 2 Kings iii. 20, "it came to pass in the morning, when the

hHAn;mi was offered."  It remains, therefore, that here, as elsewhere,

Ezekiel's provisions stand quite apart from the law and the custom,

and give no indication of being a step in the development of a cultus.


            *The only certain exception is the offering of jealousy (Num. v. 15-26).

In addition, the unbloody oblation was allowed (Lev. 11. 1-9; vii. 9, 10)

as a voluntary offering, although this was probably in connection with

the other sacrifices. Also it was a special offering of Aaron and his

sons in the day of their consecration" (Lev. vi. 20-23 [13-16]) in con-

nection with their other offerings. Further, an offering of the first

fruits of vegetable products was allowed (Lev. ii. 12--16; vi. 14-18 [7, 8] ),

but in so far as this was "the first fruits of the harvest" it was to be

accompanied with a lamb for a burnt offering (Lev. xxiii. 10-12, 17, 18).

The sin offering of fine flour of the very poor (Lev. v. 20-13) is expressly

distinguished from the hHAn;mi.

194                                         JOURNAL.


We regard these divergences, on the contrary, as intentional and

designed to show the people, familiar with the Mosaic law, that his

vision was to be understood ideally and not literally.

            There is another point in connection with this daily offering.

According to the law (Num. xxviii. 3-5) with each of the lambs,

morning and evening, a meat and drink offering was to be made of

1-10 of an ephah of flour, 1/4 of a hin of oil, and 1/4 of a hin of strong

wine. As Ezekiel speaks of but one offering he increases the accom-

panying meat offering to 1-6 of an ephah of flour, and to 1/3 of a hin

of oil. This is the same sort of change as in the case of the priests'

marriage and mourning: the omitted provision is compensated for by

an increase in what remains. And in this case also, the omitted

provision having been certainly customary before the time of Ezekiel,

this compensation has a manifest reference to the familiar, and there-

fore previously existing provisions of the Mosaic law.

            An objection may be here interposed that the non-observance of

the detail of Ezekiel's ritual in the subsequent ages is no more sur-

prising than the corresponding non-observance of many particulars in

the detail of the Mosaic ritual, which is very evident in the time of

the judges and the early monarchy. There is really no parallel be-

tween the two cases. The times of the judges and of the early

monarchy were a period of disorder and anarchy, in which the gen-

eral confusion of society forbids the inference that such laws did not

exist; but the times after Ezekiel were times of over-scrupulous and

even superstitious observance of the minutest details of ritual, when

it is inconceivable that his scheme should have been neglected through

mere inadvertence and carelessness.

            The ritual of the great feasts is considerably changed. Pentecost

and the Day of Atonement are entirely omitted. In regard to the

comparative value of these omissions in the historical books and in

Ezekiel, the same thing is to be said as before: the omission in the

former may have been merely accidental, and proves nothing; in

Ezekiel it must have been intentional. It will appear presently,

however, that while omitting the Day of Atonement from his scheme,

he does probably allude to it in a way that shows familiarity with its

observance. There remain to be considered the Passover, the feast of

Tabernacles, and the "New Moons."

            The Passover, according to Ezek. xlv. 21-23, is to be kept at the

same time and for the same number of days, as in the Mosaic law,

but there is no mention of the Paschal lamb itself; the sin-offering

by the Mosaic law (Num. xxviii. 17, 22) was to be a he-goat for each

day, here (vs. 23) a bullock for the first day and a he-goat for each of

PROF. GARDINER ON EZEKIEL AND THE LAW.                                195


the other days; the burnt offering for each day by the law was to be

two bullocks, a ram and seven yearling lambs, here seven bullocks

and seven rams; the meat offering by the law was to be 3-10 of a

ephah of meal mixed with oil for each bullock, 2-10 for each ram,

and 1-10 for each lamb, or in all 1 1/2 ephahs daily--here a whole

ephah for each victim, or in all 14 ephahs daily and as many hins of

oil (vs. 24). The offerings in Ezekiel therefore are richer than those

required by the law. The same thing is to be said of the special sac-

rifices for the Sabbaths. According to the law (Num. xxviii. 9)

these were to be marked by two lambs for burnt offerings, each with

the usual meat and drink offering; but according to this vision

(xlvi. 4-5) the Sabbath burnt offering was to be six lambs and a ram,

with an ephah for a meat offering with the ram, and that for the

lambs dependent upon the ability and generosity of the prince, and

in all cases a hin of oil to each ephah. (Nothing is said of the drink

offering.) It is difficult to assign reasons for these details. They

plainly do not agree with the Mosaic law, and it is well known that

the custom of later ages was founded upon that law. We have no

data in history before the exile to determine the custom in these

details one way or the other; but the presumption is that here as else-

where the prophet has intentionally varied from the known law and

custom in order to mark the ideal character of his vision. Certainly

this is no beginning or early stage in a developing cultus; for other-

wise, in these details, which could as well be arranged one way as

another, the authority of the prophet would have been followed; but

there never was any attempt even, so far as history shows, to realize

his ideal.

            The feast of Tabernacles, which has no name given to it in Ezekiel,

but is simply a feast of seven days in the seventh month (xlv. 25), is

greatly simplified. Here the sacrifices are to be the same as in the

case of the Passover,--an entire change from the elaborate ritual of the

Mosaic law (Num. xxix. 12-24)--with, on the whole, a great diminu-

tion in the number of victims and an omission of the extra eighth

day added to the feast in Lev. (xxiii. 36, 39) and Num. (xxix. 35),

and which in the law was expressly characterized as an addition,--

sometimes included and sometimes not in the mention of the feast.

In regard to these changes the same remarks are to be made as in the

case of the Passover, with only this addition, that it appears from

both 1 Kings viii. 65, 66 and 2 Chron. vii. 8-10 that this eighth day

was always looked upon in the same way--as a part, and yet not a

part, of the feast.  Solomon keeps the feast to that day inclusive,

196                                         JOURNAL.


and then he makes a solemn assembly, and yet on that day dismisses

the people to their homes.*

            In regard to the New Moons, or the first day of every month, the

Mosaic law prescribes (in addition to the burnt and meat offerings)

a he-goat for a sin offering (Num. xxviii. 15). In Ezekiel's scheme

of the feasts, these new moons are entirely omitted, except for the

first month, though afterwards incidentally alluded to. The Mosaic

law also provided on the tenth of the seventh month for a day of

atonement, with special and very peculiar sacrifices (Lev. xvi. ). All

this is condensed, as it were, in this vision, into two sacrifices, each

of a young bullock, one upon the first and one upon the seventh day

of the first month, with particulars in regard to them (to be men-

tioned presently) which seem to refer to the day of Atonement. Now,

it is certain from the history of David (i Sam. xx. 5, 18, 24) and

from other historical records (2 Kings iv. 23; 1 Chron. xxiii. 31; 2

Chron. ii. 4; viii. 13; xxxi. 3), as well as from allusions in the pre-

exilic prophets (Isa. i. 13, 14; [lxvi. 23; Ps. lxxxi. 3); Hos. ii. 11;

Amos viii. 5) that the new moons were kept as sacred feasts in the

ages before the exile, as it is known that they were also afterwards

(Ezra iii. 5; Neh. x. 33). The omission of these new moons from

this description of the feasts is particularly instructive, because Ezekiel

himself, in other parts of the vision (xliv. 17; x1vi. 3), incidentally,

but repeatedly, mentions the "new moons" (in the plural) as

days to be sanctified by special sacrifices, and requires the prince to

provide the same offerings for them as for the Sabbath (xlvi. 6). 

He thus shows that he was familiar with them and expects them to

be continued, but in this setting forth of the cycle of the feasts he

does not mention them. This cannot be taken then for a part of the

development of a priestly law.

            He differs from the Mosaic law also in the ritual of the blood of

these sacrifices on the first and seventh days of the first month. The

Levitical law gives no directions for the blood of the offerings on

the first day of the month, doubtless because it followed the ordinary

rule and was simply sprinkled on the side of the altar; but it required


            *The inconsistency which Kuenen (Relig. of Isr. Note II. on chap.

viii. Vol. ii. P. 296, 7) thinks he finds between the passages above cited is

wholly imaginary. Solomon observed seven days for the dedication of

the altar in imitation of Lev. viii.-x., and then kept the feast for seven

days after the altar had been consecrated. Hence I Kings viii. 65 speaks

of "seven days and seven days, even for fourteen days, and then of the

following “eighth day”; while 2 Chron. viii. 9 explains more fully "they

kept the dedication of the altar seven days and the feast seven days."

            The word is, in this last case, in the singular, as is also the Sabbath;

but both are evidently used collectively.

PROF. GARDINER ON EZEKIEL AND THE LAW.                    197


the blood on the day of Atonement to be brought within the

Holy of Holies and sprinkled before and upon the mercy seat.

Ezekiel again compromises and directs that the blood of the sin

offering on the first and seventh days of the first month shall be put

"upon the posts of the house, and upon the four corners of the settle

of the altar, and upon the posts of the gate of the inner court."

There may be here a reminiscence of the day of Atonement,

but nothing like a generic law which could have been specialized into

the particular observances of the Mosaic law. It is rather a purely

ideal ritual, which nobody ever thought of reducing to practice.

There is no such congruity between it and the Levitical regulations

as a development hypothesis would require.

            We may now consider, in a few words, the general cycle of the

feasts. As is well known, the Mosaic law prescribes three great feasts,

that of the Passover for seven days, preceded by the putting away of

leaven and the killing of the Paschal lamb; that of "weeks" or

Pentecost, lasting only one day; and that of Tabernacles, lasting

seven days, and with an eighth special day added; these three great

annual festivals are all expressly recognized in Deuteronomy (xvi.

1-16), which is held by all to be pre-exilic. Besides these, the first

day of every month, the weekly Sabbath, and the day of atonement

were to be kept holy and marked by special sacrifices. The observ-

ance of nearly all of these is recognized in the historic and the older

prophetical books: The cycle of Ezekiel's vision is very different.

He omits the feast of weeks, the Day of Atonement, and the new

moons (except that of the first month,) and inserts a new feast on the

seventh day of the same month. This last, in connection with that

on the first day of that month, he seems to intend as a compensation

for the missing Day of Atonement; for he describes the sacrifices of

the two (xlv. 20) as "for every one that erreth, and for him that is

simple: so shall ye reconcile the house." If this interpretation is

correct, we have here an incidental recognition of the older observ-

ance of the Day of Atonement, although it is not mentioned. But

however this may be, Ezekiel's cycle of feasts accords neither with

what went before nor with what followed after him. Yet, as already

said, it is plain from his incidental allusions to the New Moons that,

in this point at least, he knew of the old order, and expected it to go

on; and it is noticeable that the sacrifices prescribed for the New

Moons (xlvi. 3-6) are not the same as the special sacrifices of the first

month (xliv. 18-20). Those were to be in each case "a young bul-

lock" for a sin offering; these, six lambs and a ram for a burnt offer-

ing (xlvi. 4). It is clear, therefore, that he did not intend this vision

198                                         JOURNAL.


to form the basis of an actual cultus; but knowing the old observances,

expected them to continue.

            Before leaving this part of the subject, it may be well to refer briefly

to a few other places in which Ezekiel evidently recognizes the Mosaic

law, although either altering or omitting its provisions. In xlii, 13

he requires the priests to eat in the appropriate "holy chambers"

"the meat offering, and the sin offering, and the trespass offering."

He says nothing of the peace offerings, though he elsewhere repeat-

edly mentions them (xliii. 27; xlv. 15, 17; xlvi. 2, 12), nor does he

anywhere give the ritual for them. On the other hand, in the fol-

lowing verse (and also in xlvi. 18, 20) the prophet is more explicit

than the law, requiring that "the priests' " garments wherein they

minister "shall not be carried" out of the holy place into the outer

court. There is no such general direction in the Levitical law; but

the same thing is required in certain special cases, and may therefore

be thought to be implied in all (see Lev. vi. 10, 11). Now, whatever

theory is adopted concerning the relation of Ezekiel to the Mosiac

law must equally explain this omission and this insertion. The theory

of the later development of the law does neither; for, in the one

case, it would be a violent supposition that the ritual of the peace

offerings and the directions about eating them were evolved from the

prophet's silence, and in the other case, it would be very strange that

in such a matter as the care of the priests' robes the later law should

be the less definite. But the hypothesis of the greater antiquity of

the law explains both facts satisfactorily; Ezekiel had no occasion to

repeat important provisions of the law with which both he and the

people were familiar, but it was natural that in a matter of detail, he

should express what was probably the common understanding of the


            In xliii. 11 it is required that the priests' sin offering should be

burned "in the appointed place of the house, without the Sanc-

tuary." This refers to a building "in the separate place" which is

provided only in Ezekiel's vision (xli. 12-15; xlii. 1, 10, 13), and of

which there is no trace either in the Pentateuch or in the temple of

the restoration. In such cases it was simply required in the law that

the body of the victim should be burned "without the camp" (Lev.

iv. 12, 13, 21; xvi. 27, &c.). No doubt such a building as Ezekiel

provided would have been a great convenience; but it was never


            The provision for large landed estates for the priests has already

been mentioned; but in view of this the statement in xliv. 28, that

the priests' office and perquisites "shall be unto them for an inherit-

PROF. GARDINER ON EZEKIEL AND THE LAW.                    199


ance: I am their inheritance: and ye shall give them no inheritance

in Israel," can only be looked upon as a reminiscence of the expres-

sions in the Mosaic law, without ary nice regard to the other parts of

the vision.

            The provision for the Sabbatical year was distinctly pre-exilic, since

it is given at length in Deut. xv.; yet there is no trace of its observ-

ance before the exile, and its non-observance is given by the Chron-

icler (2 Chron. xxxvi. 21) as the determining reason for the length of

the captivity. We know that it was observed after the restoration

(I Mace. vi. 49; Jos. Ant. xiv. io, § 6; Tacitus, Hist. lib. v. 2, § 4).

Here again is an important and characteristic institution, certainly

forming part of the Hebrew legislation before the captivity, neglected

until that period, and observed afterwards. Exodus (xxiii. 10, 11)

and Leviticus (xxv. 2-7) contain the commands for it, but Ezekiel

does not mention it. He certainly is not in this respect a bridge

between Deuteronomy and Leviticus, betweeen pre- and post-exilic


            The omission of all mention of tithes in Ezekiel, a provision cer-

tainly in force from the earliest to the latest times, can only be

accounted for on the supposition of its familiarity.

            In the Mosaic law all the males of the people were required to pre-

sent themselves at the sanctuary at the great annual festivals (Ex. xxiii.

14, 17; xxxiv. 23; Deut. xvi. 16); there is no such command in

Ezekiel, doubtless because it was already entirely familiar. But in

xlvi. 9, while speaking of the gate by which the prince shall enter,

he incidentally recognizes the custom, "But when the people of the

land shall come before the Lord in the solemn feasts," &c. He has

made no provision for this, but recognizes it as a matter of course.

The omission in ch. xliii. is not only very striking in itself, but is

of especial importance in its bearing upon the main question under

discussion. In vs. 18-27 a detailed order is given for the seven days

consecration of the newly erected altar, at once recalling the similar

consecration of the altar in Lev. viii. But in that case the consecra-

tion was a double one,--of the altar and of the priests; here the

priests are entirely omitted. Why? Evidently because the altar only

was new and required to be consecrated; the priests had been conse-

crated of old.

            But the question may be asked in regard to the changes of ritual,

Why could there not have been deviations by the later priests from

the scheme of Ezekiel, just as well as by Ezekiel from the laws of

Moses? Simply because there is a good reason for them in one case

and none at all in the other. If Ezekiel wished his description to be

200                                         JOURNAL.


understood ideally, it was important that he should introduce arbi-

trary variations from the recognized law and custom; but if he

intended to set forth a scheme of actual future worship, there is no

known reason why his successors should have deviated from it.

Passing now to what may be called the economic, or political fea-

tures of the vision, there are only three points which call for especial

attention, and even these but briefly; the provision for the cost of the

sacrifices, the division of the land, and the regulations respecting the


            There is no distinct provision in the Mosaic law for defraying

the cost of the general sacrifices, and we are told that this was

still one of the many questions in dispute between the Pharisees

and the Sadducees at a much later date. But it is fully and clearly

settled in Ezekiel's vision. The cost is to be wholly borne by the

prince (xliv. 17, 21-26; xlv. 4-7), who is to be provided with ample

territorial possessions (xlv. 7, 8; xlviii. 20-22). As far as we have

any record, this arrangement was quite new, and it was never followed

out. It was, however, so wise and excellent a solution of the diffi-

culty that we can only wonder at its never having been adopted, if any

Israelite had ever looked upon this vision as a basis for theocratic


            The division of the land has already been spoken of in connection

with the evidence of the ideal character of this vision; but there are

one or two other points which require mention. A striking feature

of it is the ample provision here made for the prince with the pro-

viso that it shall belong inalienably to him and his sons (xlvi. 17-

18); for in connection with this assignment it is said (xlv. 18) "And

my princes shall no more oppress my people," and again (xlvi. 18)

"the prince shall not take of the people's inheritance by oppression."

A vivid remembrance of the exactions and oppressions of former

kings was evidently in the prophet's mind, and he provides a new and

wise remedy. It was unfortunate for his people that they never

thought of making this the basis for actual legislation, and so avoid-

ing once for all the evils under which they continued to suffer.

            Another very curious provision is that at the southern end of the

“oblation” a strip of land is reserved, 5, 000 by 25,000 reeds (xlviii.

15-19), in the midst of which is to be the city with its "suburbs"

5,000 reeds square. The remainder, i. e., two pieces of land, each

5, 000 by 10,000 reeds, is set apart that "the increase thereof shall

be for food unto them that serve the city. And they that serve the

city shall serve it out of all the tribes of Israel." It is quite unneces-

sary to point out the purely Utopian character of such an arrange-

PROF. GARDINER ON EZEKIEL AND THE LAW.                    201


ment in actual life; it is sufficient to call attention to the fact that

neither this nor any other of these economic regulations ever formed

a part of the Mosaic law, or were ever in any degree attempted to be

carried out.

            The law of the tenure of the Levites' land is considerably changed

from that of the Mosaic legislation. According to Lev. xxv. 32-34

the Levites might sell their houses and even their cities (only retain-

ing the right of redeeming them at any time, and their reversion in

the year of jubilee)--but they might not sell at all the fields of their

suburbs. This last provision is here (xlviii. 15) extended to all

their landed property in the most emphatic way, and changes the

whole tenure of the Levitical land. It is certain that it was never

carried into effect, for there never was any such territory assigned to

the Levites. It is remarkable that nothing of this kind is mentioned

in connection with the priestly territory.

            One other particular must be noticed in connection with the

division of the land. Under the Mosaic law this was to be wholly par-

celled out among the tribes of Israel; and although frequent reference

is made to the "sojourning" of strangers among them, no provision is

made for allowing them any interest in the soil of the holy land.

Ezekiel, on the other hand, expressly commands (xlvii. 22, 23),

"Ye shall divide the land by lot for an inheritance unto you and the

strangers that sojourn among you, which shall beget children among

you; and they shall be unto you as born in the country among the

children of Israel; they shall have inheritance with you among the

tribes of Israel. And it shall come to pass that in what tribe the

stranger sojourneth, there shall ye give him his inheritance." Both

these provisions were adapted to their different times: in that of

Moses, the land was looked upon as the sole and peculiar possession

of the chosen people, and if strangers came among them it should

be as "sojourners" only; in the time of Ezekiel matters were greatly

changed, and large numbers of foreigners had long had their per-

manent residence among the tribes of Israel. It is only for these

permanent residents "which shall beget children among you" that

Ezekiel provides. It is very difficult to suppose that the Mosaic

legislation should have been subsequent to his arrangements.

But by far the most important laws of this vision in political mat-

ters are those concerning the relation of the prince to the temple

worship. A brief mention of these will close this paper. It is plain

that under the old theocracy the monarch had no properly ecclesiasti-

cal standing. He had great influence of course, either like David in

advancing and improving the worship, or like Ahaz in corrupting and

202                                         JOURNAL.


injuring it. But he was not recognized at all in the laws of the

Pentateuch except that, in Deut. xvii. 14-20, it is declared that, in

case a king should be afterwards desired, his otherwise arbitrary

power must be checked by various limitations. Quite in accordance

with the supposition of the great antiquity of that legislation, it is

found that the monarch never had any other than a purely political

position. This obvious fact is certainly very remarkable if the

Mosaic law was subsequent to the introduction of the monarchy;

indeed it is almost inconceivable that the laws of a theocratic state,

if written when there was a monarch upon the throne, and prescrib-

ing the duties of all other officers, should take no notice of the

monarch himself. But the difficulty is still greater if it could be

supposed that these laws were inaugurated or largely developed by

Ezekiel who gives such a prominent place in his scheme "to the

prince." It is certain that the arrangements here suggested were

never carried out, even when such an excellent prince as Zerubbabel

was the leader of the restoration. At a subsequent time the offices

of prince and priest were indeed combined in the Maccabees, but this was in

virtue of their priestly descent and ended with their family; it has nothing to

do with the vision of Ezekiel who, while he makes the prince very prominent

in his ecclesiastical system, yet assigns to him no priestly functions.

            Let what Ezekiel says of "the prince" be carefully noted. His

large landed estate, given expressly to prevent oppressive exactions

from the people,* and to enable him to furnish all the victims and


            * In this connection general provision is made (xlv. 10, 11) for just

weights and measures among the people. No one can read the passage without

observing a connection between it and Lev. xix. 36 and Deut. xxv. 13. The

question of priority is indicated by the terms employed. The words used

here and in various parts of the Pentateuch are: (i) Ephah. This occurs in all

ages of Hebrew literature from Exodus to Zechariah. (2) Homer, in the sense of

a measure, found in the law (3 times), in Isaiah and Hosea (each once), and in

Ezekiel (7 times). (3) Hin. This is found only in the middle books (Ex.-Num.)

of the Pentateuch (16 times) and in Ezekiel (6 times). (4) Omer, rm,fo, in the

sense of measure, in Exodus only (6 times). (5) Gerah, in the sense of

a measure of value, only in Ex.-Num. (4 times) and in Ezekiel (once).

(6) Bath, as a measure, does not occur earlier than Kings (twice),

Chronicles (3 times), Isaiah (once), but in Ezekiel 7 times. (7) Cor.

In Kings and Chronicles 7 times, in Ezekiel once. That is to say, all

these terms which are used in the law, with the exception of Omer, are

also used in Ezekiel, while Hin and Gerah appear to have gone out of

use and are found afterwards only in this vision, and Homer only else-

where once each in Isaiah and Hosea; on the other hand, Bath and

Cor, which came into use at a comparatively late date, are not found

in the law, but are used by Ezekiel.

PROF. GARDINER ON EZEKIEL AND THE LAW.                    203


other offerings for the national sacrifices, have already been men-

tioned. Besides these things he is to take a very active and peculiar

part in the cultus of his people. The east gate of the court of

the temple had been, according to this vision, peculiarly sancti-

fied by the entrance through it of the glory of the LORD (xliii,


            It may not be amiss to give here--a list of other words found only in the

Pentateuch and in Ezekiel: bybixA; Md,xo; HpaFo; Hpew;yA; lpaKA; hWArAOF;

Nymi, in the sense of species. (Stebbins,--A Study in the Pentateuch,

p. 169,--has noticed that it occurs in this sense 30 times in the Penta-

teuch.); Mysan;k;mi;  hlamA;  tp,n,c;mi;  HaOHyni;  hkane;  j`P,no;  the word wp,n, is a

very common one, occurring nearly 800 times, but in the sense of lower

animals it is found only in the Pentateuch (about 18 times) and in Ezek.

xlvii. 9 except once in Isaiah (xix. 10); hOBsaUF    (Hoph. part from bbAsa);

lygifA;  Mroyfe (this occurs 4 times in the Pentateuch and 6 times in Eze-

kiel; but of the other words for naked only MOrfA is found once in the

Pentateuch and not at all in Ezekiel, though the more common word in

the later books);  hFAlAfE, a very peculiar word for darkness; NOmr;fa;

rF,P, ;  HaUrPA;  j`r,P, ;  frap, ;  (kal part. pass.);  hxAce a peculiar word for

which other derivatives of xcAyA are commonly used;  hvAcA in the Pual;

qHc; ;  tciyci;  dymicA;  rco;  fcqA;  NBAr;qA (in the Pent. 56 times); wr,q, (in the

Pent. 50 times); tW,q,W;qa (this occurs also in i Sam. xvii. 5 but in a dif-

ferent sense); dybirA;  hz,rA;  wHaTa;  Nb,to.  To these should be added such

words as occur elsewhere only in passages referring to the Pentateuch,

as; hbAyrim; (3 times in the Ps.);  CrawA (Ps. cv. 30). There are also a

number of words found only once elsewhere, as: hlAk;xA, Pent. 7 times,

Ezek. 11 times and Jer. xii. 9; MyliUtB; (Judg. x.i. 37, 38); rKAm;mi (Neh.

xiii. 20); hTane (Judg. xix. 29); lytiPA (Judg. xvi. 9); Cq,w, (Isa. lxvi. 17).

The usage of two different words for prince should be noted in this

connection: xyWinA occurs 70 times in the Pentateuch, 13 times in

Joshua, 34 times in Ezekiel, and only 13 times in all the other books put

together; while the more general word for prince, dyginA (occurring in all

43 times) is used but once in Ezekiel and not at all in the Pentateuch.

Delitzsch has noted (Pref. to The Lev. Priests, p. xiii., xiv.) that the

word ryPisA which occurs elsewhere, is used only in Ex. xxiv. 10; Ezek.

i. 26; x. 1 to indicate that blue of the heavens of which there is such

rare mention in all antiquity. These instances must be considered

numerous enough to establish some connection between the Pentateuch

and Ezekiel,--they can hardly be quite independent of each other. The

archaisms of the former and the aramaisms of the latter mark their

comparative antiquity.

204                                         JOURNAL.


1-7; xliv. 1, 2); in consequence it was to be forever after shut,

except for the prince (xliv. 3). He was to enter and go out through

it on the Sabbaths and the new moons (xlvi. 1-3), and was to wor-

ship at the threshold, of this gate while the priests were offering his

sacrifices, "the people of the land" meantime worshipping without

“at the door of this gate.” On these occasions the gate, although

not to be used by any one else, is to stand open until the evening. In

these cases, when few of the people were expected to be present, the

prince seems to have been looked upon as their representative, and it

was his duty to be always present and offer the required offerings.

When the prince saw fit to offer any "voluntary burnt offering or

peace offerings" the same gate was to be opened for him, but imme-

diately shut when he had gone out (ib. 12). On occasion of the

"solemn feasts," on the other hand, when the mass of the people were

expected to be present, the prince was to take his place among them,

and to enter "in the midst of them" by the north or south gate, and

go out by the opposite one (ib. 9, 10).

            There is also another provision which puts the prince in the same

light of the religious representative of the people. To enable him to

furnish the required sacrifices and oblations he is to have not only the

large and inalienable landed estate already mentioned, but also is to

receive from the whole people regularly a tax in kind of the things re-

quired for these purposes. This tax is prescribed in detail in xlv.

13-16, and was to consist of one sixtieth of the grain, one hundredth

of the oil, and one two hundredth of the flock. The connection

shows that it was to be used by him for supplying the offerings. This

is an entire change from both the older and the later custom whereby

the people gave directly to the sanctuary, and it again brings forward

"the prince" as the representative and embodiment, as it were, of

the people in their duties of public worship.

            The argument from all this is clear and has already been hinted at.

If Ezekiel thus presents the civil ruler as a representative of the peo-

ple and an important factor in their temple worship, it is simply im-

possible that any actual legislation, influenced by his vision, should

have so totally ignored "the prince" as is notoriously done in the

Levitical laws. It would seem that even if the priests and the people

had not insisted upon their sovereign's occupying his proper position

in their worship, every pious prince would have claimed it for him-

self. The conclusion is obvious: the Levitical laws are older than

Ezekiel, and his vision had no direct effect upon the polity of the

Jewish people.

            All the more important features of the vision of Ezekiel, so far as

PROF. GARDINER ON EZEKIEL AND THE LAW.                    205


his relation to the Mosaic law is concerned, have now been passed in

review. Others, such as the detailed arrangements of his temple, with

its various peculiar outbuildings, and its large "precincts," &c.,

would require too much time to examine in detail, as I have else-

where done,* and would only add fresh illustrations of the fact which

has been everywhere apparent. If we compare the customs of the

Jews as they are known after the exile with those which are known

to have existed before, they are found perfectly to agree in every-

thing, except negatively in so far as data are wanting to show in some

respects what were the customs of the more ancient time. This de-

ficiency was of course to be expected in dealing with matters of such

antiquity, where the records we have are almost wholly occupied with

other matters. Moreover, both the ancient custom as far as it was

regulated by law and can be traced, (making allowance for some small

difficulties in understanding such very ancient legislation), and the later

practice perfectly agree with the Mosaic legislation. But quite late in

the history of Israel, during the captivity in Babylon, the prophet Eze-

kiel comes forward and in a remarkable vision sets forth a general

scheme of theocratic laws and worship. His scheme presents incident-

ally many obvious allusions to the Levitical laws, but in its direct en-

actments is quite at variance with both former and later custom and

also with the Mosaic law. It is in no sense, and in no point on the line

of development from what existed before to what existed afterwards.

Yet we are asked to believe that the Levitical law only existed in a very

imperfect and inchoate form before him, that he gave the great im-

petus to its development, and that within 40 years afterwards the

nearly perfect scheme was accepted as their ancient law by his nation.

The thing required is beyond our power.


*Com. on Ezekiel in Bp. Ellicott's commentary for English readers.




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