Ezekiel 44:3
Only the prince himself may sit inside the gateway to eat in the presence of the LORD. He must enter by way of the portico of the gateway and go out the same way."
The Prerogative of the PrinceJ.R. Thomson Ezekiel 44:1-3

The regulation prescribed in these verses is very remarkable, and is not free from difficulties. It appears that a peculiar sanctity attached to the eastern gate of the temple, owing to the fact that it was by this gate that the glory of the Lord entered, and by this same gate that the glory of the Lord had previously forsaken, the sacred precincts. To mark this sacredness, the gate was kept shut, and no one was permitted to pass through it, except the prince. He, as the head, the representative, the ruler, of Israel, was permitted to enter and to depart by this gate. And further, it was appointed that he should in this gateway eat bread - whether by this be meant the meat offering or the showbread. This was a priestly privilege, but it seems to have been shared by the prince, who, after the return from the Captivity, was not only the representative of the consecrated people, but also the representative of the premised Messiah. This singular prerogative suggests to our minds certain principles which have a special application to a religious community and state.

I. THE UNITY OF A RELIGIOUS AND CONSECRATED NATION IS PERSONIFIED IN A RELIGIOUS SOVEREIGN. David was not only the greatest of the Hebrew monarchs; he was the representative of the Hebrew monarchy and theocracy. In the prophets and in the later national religions literature, David appears as the ideal king, personifying the people of the covenant and foreshadowing the promised Messiah. And the" prince" of the people is, in this and other passages, regarded as the successor of the cherished son of Jesse. The prince is looked upon as worthy of his station, worthy of his illustrious and beloved predecessor. The true head of a great and religious people is that people's representative, not only before man, but before God.

II. THERE IS IMPLIED IN THIS PROVISION THE DIVINE ORIGIN AND CHARACTER OF POLITICAL AUTHORITY. There are some students of Scripture who find in the Word of God much relating to the authority of the Church, but who fail to remark the many assertions of the Divine authority of the state and of its officials and rulers. But it is very instructive for those in such a position to remark how, in this and similar passages, stress is laid upon the position and power of the prince. "The powers that be are ordained of God;" the state is as much Divine in its origin and sanction as is the Church. In the theocracy the monarch no doubt occupied a very special position. But religion certainly has for one of its functions the upholding of government as a Divine institution and of authority as a Divine principle. Independently of the form of government, and of the designation of the chief ruler of the state, it is for teachers of religion to follow the example of the scriptural writers in requiring justice from the governor and loyalty from the governed.

III. THE OBLIGATION IS APPARENT THAT THOSE IN AUTHORITY SHOULD CULTIVATE AND PRACTICE TRUE RELIGION. It is taken for granted by the prophet that the prince will appreciate and will use the prerogative here described. Nevertheless, it is probable that some who occupied the highest position in the nation were far from being truly devout and pious men. In every age and country men are found who come short of the ideal of their station. This, however, does not affect the fact that the occupation of a high position, the primacy of a great people, imposes upon a man a peculiar obligation to honor God, the Fountain of all authority and the Judge of every earthly sovereign. He who leads a people should lead them in the ways of righteousness and of piety. - T.

I am their inheritance.
We possess God as the flower the sunlight; as a babe the mother. All His resources are placed at our disposal. The seed cast into the ground immediately begins to take from earth and air the nutriment of its life, and we have the same power of deriving from the infinite fulness of God all that shall make us pure and strong and gentle. Ours are the unsearchable riches of Christ; we are made full through the fulness which God the Father has been pleased to make dwell in Him. All the resources which have been placed at His disposal in His ascension and eternal reign are gifts which He holds for men. Alas for us that we fail to possess our possessions!

(F. B. Meyer, B. A.)

Christ is all in all to His people. He is all their strength, wisdom, and righteousness. They are but the clouds irradiated by the sun, and bathed in its brightness. He is the light which flames in their grey mist and turns it to a glory. They are but the belt and cranks and wheels; He is the power. They are but the channel, muddy and dry; He is the flashing life which fills it and makes it a joy. They are the body; He is the Soul dwelling in every part to save it from corruption and give movement and warmth.

"Thou art the organ, whose full breath is thunder;

I am the keys, beneath Thy fingers pressed."

(A. Maclaren, D. D.).

Ezekiel, Israelites, Joel, Levites, Zadok
Holy Place
Bread, Covered, Door, Eat, Enter, Gate, Gateway, Inside, Porch, Portico, Presence, Prince, Ruler, Seated, Sit, Sitteth, Therein, Vestibule
1. The east gate assigned only to the prince
4. The priests reproved for polluting the sanctuary
9. Idolaters incapable of the priests office
15. The sons of Zadok are accepted thereto
17. Ordinances for the priests

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Ezekiel 44:3

     4438   eating
     5459   prince

That the Ruler Relax not his Care for the Things that are Within in his Occupation among the Things that are Without, nor Neglect to Provide
The ruler should not relax his care for the things that are within in his occupation among the things that are without, nor neglect to provide for the things that are without in his solicitude for the things that are within; lest either, given up to the things that are without, he fall away from his inmost concerns, or, occupied only with the things that are within bestow not on his neighbours outside himself what he owes them. For it is often the case that some, as if forgetting that they have
Leo the Great—Writings of Leo the Great

Epistle iv. To Cyriacus, Bishop.
To Cyriacus, Bishop. Gregory to Cyriacus, Bishop of Constantinople. We have received with becoming charity our common sons, George the presbyter and Theodore your deacon; and we rejoice that you have passed from the care of ecclesiastical business to the government of souls, since, according to the voice of the Truth, He that is faithful in a little will be faithful also in much (Luke xvi. 10). And to the servant who administers well it is said, Because thou hast been faithful over a few things,
Saint Gregory the Great—the Epistles of Saint Gregory the Great

Paul's Departure and Crown;
OR, AN EXPOSITION UPON 2 TIM. IV. 6-8 ADVERTISEMENT BY THE EDITOR How great and glorious is the Christian's ultimate destiny--a kingdom and a crown! Surely it hath not entered into the heart of man to conceive what ear never heard, nor mortal eye ever saw? the mansions of the blest--the realms of glory--'a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.' For whom can so precious an inheritance be intended? How are those treated in this world who are entitled to so glorious, so exalted, so eternal,
John Bunyan—The Works of John Bunyan Volumes 1-3

To a modern taste, Ezekiel does not appeal anything like so powerfully as Isaiah or Jeremiah. He has neither the majesty of the one nor the tenderness and passion of the other. There is much in him that is fantastic, and much that is ritualistic. His imaginations border sometimes on the grotesque and sometimes on the mechanical. Yet he is a historical figure of the first importance; it was very largely from him that Judaism received the ecclesiastical impulse by which for centuries it was powerfully
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament

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