The Closed Gate
44:1 Then he brought me back by way of the outer gate of the sanctuary which faces east, but it was shut.
44:4 Then he brought me by way of the north gate to the front of the temple. As I watched, I noticed2 the glory of the
44:10 “‘But the Levites who went far from me, straying off from me after their idols when Israel went astray, will be responsible for11 their sin.
44:11 Yet they will be ministers in my sanctuary, having oversight at the gates of the temple, and serving the temple. They will slaughter the burnt offerings and the sacrifices for the people, and they will stand before them to minister to them.
44:12 Because they used to minister to them before their idols, and became a sinful obstacle12 to the house of Israel, consequently I have made a vow13 concerning them, declares the sovereign
The Levitical Priests
44:15 “‘But the Levitical priests, the descendants of Zadok15 who kept the charge of my sanctuary when the people of Israel went astray from me, will approach me to minister to me; they will stand before me to offer me the fat and the blood, declares the sovereign
44:17 “‘When they enter the gates of the inner court, they must wear linen garments; they must not have any wool on them when they minister in the inner gates of the court and in the temple. 44:18 Linen turbans will be on their heads and linen undergarments will be around their waists; they must not bind themselves with anything that causes sweat. 44:19 When they go out to the outer court to the people, they must remove the garments they were ministering in, and place them in the holy chambers; they must put on other garments so that they will not transmit holiness to the people with their garments.16
44:20 “‘They must not shave their heads17 nor let their hair grow long;18 they must only trim their heads. 44:21 No priest may drink wine when he enters the inner court. 44:22 They must not marry a widow or a divorcee, but they may marry a virgin from the house of Israel19 or a widow who is a priest’s widow. 44:23 Moreover, they will teach my people the difference between the holy and the common, and show them how to distinguish between the ceremonially unclean and the clean.20
44:24 “‘In a controversy they will act as judges;21 they will judge according to my ordinances. They will keep my laws and my statutes regarding all my appointed festivals and will observe22 my Sabbaths.
44:25 “‘They must not come near a dead person or they will be defiled;23 however, for father, mother, son, daughter, brother or sister, they may defile themselves.
44:26 After a priest24 has become ceremonially clean, they25 must count off a period of seven days for him.
44:27 On the day he enters the sanctuary, into the inner court to serve in the sanctuary, he must offer his sin offering, declares the sovereign
44:28 “‘This will be their inheritance: I am their inheritance, and you must give them no property in Israel; I am their property.26 44:29 They may eat the grain offering, the sin offering, and the guilt offering, and every devoted thing in Israel will be theirs. 44:30 The first of all the first fruits and all contributions of any kind27 will be for the priests; you will also give to the priest the first portion of your dough, so that a blessing may rest on your house. 44:31 The priests will not eat any bird or animal that has died a natural death or was torn to pieces by a wild animal.28