The East Gate Assigned to the Prince
1 The man then brought me back to the outer gate of the sanctuary that faced east, but it was shut. 2 And the LORD said to me, “This gate is to remain shut. It shall not be opened, and no man shall enter through it, because the LORD, the God of Israel, has entered through it. Therefore it will remain shut. 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.”
4 Then the man brought me to the front of the temple by way of the north gate. I looked and saw the glory of the LORD filling His temple, and I fell facedown. 5 The LORD said to me:“Son of man, pay attention; look carefully with your eyes and listen closely with your ears to everything I tell you concerning all the statutes and laws of the house of the LORD. Take careful note of the entrance to the temple, along with all the exits of the sanctuary.
Reproof of the Levites
6 Tell the rebellious house of Israel that this is what the Lord GOD says: ‘I have had enough of all your abominations, O house of Israel. 7 In addition to all your other abominations, you brought in foreigners uncircumcised in both heart and flesh to occupy My sanctuary; you defiled My temple when you offered My food—the fat and the blood; you broke My covenant. 8 And you have not kept charge of My holy things, but have appointed others to keep charge of My sanctuary for you.’
9 This is what the Lord GOD says: No foreigner uncircumcised in heart and flesh may enter My sanctuary—not even a foreigner who lives among the Israelites.
10 Surely the Levites who wandered away from Me when Israel went astray, and who wandered away from Me after their idols, will bear the consequences of their iniquity. 11 Yet they shall be ministers in My sanctuary, having charge of the gates of the temple and ministering there. They shall slaughter the burnt offerings and other sacrifices for the people and stand before them to minister to them.
12 Because they ministered before their idols and became a stumbling block of iniquity to the house of Israel, therefore I swore with an uplifted hand concerning them that they would bear the consequences of their iniquity, declares the Lord GOD. 13 They must not approach Me to serve Me as priests or come near any of My holy things or the most holy things. They will bear the shame of the abominations they have committed. 14 Yet I will appoint them to keep charge of all the work for the temple and everything to be done in it.
The Duties of the Priests
15 But the Levitical priests, who are descended from Zadok and who kept charge of My sanctuary when the Israelites went astray from Me, are to approach Me to minister before Me. They will stand before Me to offer Me fat and blood, declares the Lord GOD. 16 They alone shall enter My sanctuary and draw near to My table to minister before Me. They will keep My charge.
17 When they enter the gates of the inner court, they are to wear linen garments; they must not wear anything made of wool when they minister at the gates of the inner court or inside the temple. 18 They are to wear linen turbans on their heads and linen undergarments around their waists. They must not wear anything that makes them perspire.
19 When they go out to the outer court, to the people, they are to take off the garments in which they have ministered, leave them in the holy chambers, and dress in other clothes so that they do not transmit holiness to the people with their garments.
20 They must not shave their heads or let their hair grow long, but must carefully trim their hair. 21 No priest may drink wine before he enters the inner court. 22 And they shall not marry a widow or a divorced woman, but must marry a virgin of the descendants of the house of Israel, or a widow of a priest. 23 They are to teach My people the difference between the holy and the common, and show them how to discern between the clean and the unclean.
24 In any dispute, they shall officiate as judges and judge according to My ordinances. They must keep My laws and statutes regarding all My appointed feasts, and they must keep My Sabbaths holy.
25 A priest must not defile himself by going near a dead person. However, for a father, a mother, a son, a daughter, a brother, or an unmarried sister, he may do so, 26 and after he is cleansed, he must count off seven days for himself. 27 And on the day he goes into the sanctuary, into the inner court, to minister in the sanctuary, he must present his sin offering, declares the Lord GOD.
28 In regard to their inheritance, I am their inheritance. You are to give them no possession in Israel, for I am their possession.
29 They shall eat the grain offerings, the sin offerings, and the guilt offerings. Everything in Israel devoted to the LORD will belong to them. 30 The best of all the firstfruits and of every contribution from all your offerings will belong to the priests. You are to give your first batch of dough to the priest, so that a blessing may rest upon your homes. 31 The priests may not eat any bird or animal found dead or torn by wild beasts.