Bible Society of South Africa

To The Word – Day 199

Ezekiel 46–48, Psalms 67–70

Bible text(s)

The Prince and the Festivals

1The Sovereign LORD says, “The east gateway to the inner courtyard must be kept closed during the six working days, but it is to be opened on the Sabbath and at the New Moon Festival. 2The ruling prince will go from the outer courtyard into the entrance room by the gateway and stand beside the posts of the gate while the priests burn his sacrifices whole and offer his fellowship offerings. There at the gate he must worship and then go out again. The gate must not be shut until evening. 3Each Sabbath and each New Moon Festival all the people are also to bow down and worship the LORD in front of the gate.

4“On the Sabbath the prince is to bring to the LORD, as sacrifices to be burnt whole, six lambs and one ram, all without any defects. 5With each ram he is to bring an offering of 17.5 litres of corn, and with each lamb he is to bring whatever he wants to give. For each such grain offering he is to bring three litres of olive oil. 6At the New Moon Festival he will offer a young bull, six lambs, and a ram, all without any defects. 7With each bull and each ram the offering is to be 17.5 litres of corn, and with each lamb the offering is to be whatever the prince wants to give. Three litres of olive oil are to be offered with each such grain offering of corn. 8The prince must leave the entrance room of the gateway and go out by the same way as he went in.

9“When the people come to worship the LORD at any festival, those who enter by the north gate are to leave by the south gate after they have worshipped, and those who enter by the south gate are to leave by the north gate. No one may go out by the same way as he entered, but must leave by the opposite gate. 10The prince is to come in when the people come, and leave when they leave. 11On the feast days and at the festivals the grain offering will be 17.5 litres with each bull or ram, and whatever the worshipper wants to give with each lamb. Three litres of olive oil are to be offered with each such grain offering.

12“When the ruling prince wants to make a voluntary offering to the LORD, either an offering to be burnt whole or a fellowship offering, the east gate to the inner courtyard will be opened for him. He is to make the offering in the same way as he does on the Sabbath, and the gate is to be closed after he goes out again.”

The Daily Offering

13The LORD says, “Every morning a one-year-old lamb without any defects is to be burnt whole as an offering to the LORD. This offering must be made every day. 14Also an offering of two kilogrammes of flour is to be made every morning, together with one litre of olive oil for mixing with the flour. The rules for this offering to the LORD are to be in force for ever. 15The lamb, the flour, and the olive oil are to be offered to the LORD every morning for ever.”

The Prince and the Land

16The Sovereign LORD commands: “If the ruling prince gives any of the land he owns to one of his sons as a present, it will belong to that son as a part of his family property. 17But if the ruling prince gives any of his land to anyone who is in his service, it will become the prince's property again when the Year of Restoration comes round. It belongs to him, and only he and his sons can own it permanently. 18The ruling prince must not take any of the people's property away from them. Any land he gives to his sons must be from the land that is assigned to him, so that he will not oppress any of my people by taking their land.”

The Temple Kitchens

19Then the man took me to the entrance of the rooms facing north near the gate on the south side of the inner courtyard. These are holy rooms for the priests. He pointed out a place on the west side of the rooms 20and said, “This is the place where the priests are to boil the meat offered as sacrifices for sin or as repayment offerings, and to bake the offerings of flour, so that nothing holy is carried to the outer courtyard, where it might harm the people.”

21-22Then he led me to the outer courtyard and showed me that in each of its four corners there was a smaller courtyard, twenty metres long and fifteen metres wide. 23Each one had a stone wall round it, with fireplaces built against the wall. 24The man told me, “These are the kitchens where the temple servants are to boil the sacrifices the people offer.”

Ezekiel 46GNBOpen in Bible reader

The Stream Flowing from the Temple

1The man led me back to the entrance of the Temple. Water was coming out from under the entrance and flowing east, the direction the Temple faced. It was flowing down from under the south part of the temple past the south side of the altar. 2The man then took me out of the temple area by way of the north gate and led me round to the gate that faces east. A small stream of water was flowing out at the south side of the gate. 3With his measuring rod the man measured 500 metres downstream to the east and told me to wade through the stream there. The water came only to my ankles. 4Then he measured another 500 metres, and the water came up to my knees. Another 500 metres further down, the water was up to my waist. 5He measured 500 metres more, and there the stream was so deep I could not wade through it. It was too deep to cross except by swimming. 6He said to me, “Mortal man, note all this carefully.”

Then the man took me back to the bank of the river, 7and when I got there I saw that there were very many trees on each bank. 8He said to me, “This water flows through the land to the east and down into the Jordan Valley and to the Dead Sea. When it flows into the Dead Sea, it replaces the salt water of that sea with fresh water. 9Wherever the stream flows, there will be all kinds of animals and fish. The stream will make the water of the Dead Sea fresh, and wherever it flows, it will bring life. 10From the Springs of Engedi all the way to the Springs of Eneglaim, there will be fishermen on the shore of the sea, and they will spread out their nets there to dry. There will be as many different kinds of fish there as there are in the Mediterranean Sea. 11But the water in the marshes and ponds along the shore will not be made fresh. They will remain there as a source of salt. 12On each bank of the stream all kinds of trees will grow to provide food. Their leaves will never wither, and they will never stop bearing fruit. They will have fresh fruit every month, because they are watered by the stream that flows from the Temple. The trees will provide food, and their leaves will be used for healing people.”

The Boundaries of the Land

13The Sovereign LORD said, “These are the boundaries of the land that is to be divided among the twelve tribes, with the tribe of Joseph receiving two sections. 14I solemnly promised your ancestors that I would give them possession of this land; now divide it equally among you.

15“The northern boundary runs eastwards from the Mediterranean Sea to the city of Hethlon, to Hamath Pass, to the city of Zedad, 16to the cities of Berothah and Sibraim (they are located between the territory of the kingdom of Damascus and that of the kingdom of Hamath), and to the city of Ticon (located by the border of the district of Hauran). 17So the northern boundary runs from the Mediterranean eastwards to the city of Enon, with the border regions of Damascus and Hamath to the north of it.

18“The eastern boundary runs south from a point between the territory of Damascus and that of Hauran, with the River Jordan forming the boundary between the land of Israel on the west and Gilead on the east, as far as Tamar on the Dead Sea.

19“The southern boundary runs south-west from Tamar to the oasis of Kadesh Meribah, and then north-west along the Egyptian border to the Mediterranean Sea.

20“The western boundary is formed by the Mediterranean and runs north to a point west of Hamath Pass.

21“Divide this land among your tribes; 22it is to be your permanent possession. The foreigners who are living among you and who have had children born here are also to receive their share of the land when you divide it. They are to be treated like full Israelite citizens and are to draw lots for shares of the land along with the tribes of Israel. 23Foreign residents will receive their share with the people of the tribe among whom they are living. I, the Sovereign LORD, have spoken.”

Ezekiel 47GNBOpen in Bible reader

The Division of the Land among the Tribes

1-7The northern boundary of the land runs eastwards from the Mediterranean Sea to the city of Hethlon, to Hamath Pass, to the city of Enon, to the boundary between the kingdoms of Damascus and Hamath. Each tribe is to receive one section of land extending from the eastern boundary westwards to the Mediterranean Sea, in the following order from north to south:

    Dan
    Asher
    Naphtali
    Manasseh
    Ephraim
    Reuben
    Judah.

The Special Section in the Centre of the Land

8The next section of the land is to be set apart for special use. It is to be 12.5 kilometres wide from north to south, and the same length from east to west as the sections given to the tribes. The Temple will be in this section.

9In the centre of this section, a special area 12.5 kilometres by ten kilometres is to be dedicated to the LORD. 10The priests are to have a portion of this holy area. From east to west their portion is to measure 12.5 kilometres, and from north to south, five kilometres. The Temple of the LORD is to be in the middle of this area. 11This holy area is to be for the priests who are descendants of Zadok. They served me faithfully and did not join the rest of the Israelites in doing wrong, as the other members of the tribe of Levi did. 12So they are to have a special area next to the area belonging to the Levites, and it will be the holiest of all. 13The Levites also are to have a special area, south of that of the priests. It too is to be 12.5 kilometres from east to west, by five kilometres from north to south. 14The area dedicated to the LORD is the best part of all the land, and none of it may be sold or exchanged or transferred to anyone else. It is holy and belongs to the LORD.

15The part of the special area that is left, 12.5 kilometres by 2.5 kilometres, is not holy, but is for the general use of the people. They may live there and use the land. The city is to be in the centre of it, 16and it will be a square, measuring 2,250 metres on each side. 17All round the city on each side there will be an open space 125 metres across. 18The land that is left after the city has been built in the area immediately to the south of the holy area — five kilometres by 2.5 kilometres on the east and five kilometres by 2.5 kilometres on the west — is to be used as farm land by the people who live in the city. 19Anyone who lives in the city, no matter which tribe he comes from, may farm that land.

20And so the total area in the centre of the section which was set apart will be a square measuring 12.5 kilometres on each side, and it will include the area occupied by the city.

21-22To the east and to the west of this area which contains the Temple, the priests' land, the Levites' land, and the city, the remaining land belongs to the ruling prince. It extends eastwards to the eastern boundary and westwards to the Mediterranean Sea, and is bounded on the north by the section belonging to Judah and on the south by the section belonging to Benjamin.

Land for the Other Tribes

23-27South of this special section, each of the remaining tribes is to receive one section of land running from the eastern boundary westwards to the Mediterranean Sea, in the following order from north to south:

    Benjamin
    Simeon
    Issachar
    Zebulun
    Gad.

28On the south side of the portion given to the tribe of Gad, the boundary runs south-west from Tamar to the oasis of Kadesh, and then north-west along the Egyptian border to the Mediterranean Sea.

29The Sovereign LORD said, “That is the way the land is to be divided into sections for the tribes of Israel to possess.”

The Gates of Jerusalem

30-34There are twelve entrances to the city of Jerusalem. Each of the four walls measures 2,250 metres and has three gates in it, each named after one of the tribes. The gates in the north wall are named after Reuben, Judah, and Levi; those in the east wall, after Joseph, Benjamin, and Dan; those in the south wall, after Simeon, Issachar, and Zebulun; and those in the west wall are named after Gad, Asher, and Naphtali. 35The total length of the wall on all four sides of the city is 9,000 metres. The name of the city from now on will be, “The-LORD-is-Here!”

Ezekiel 48GNBOpen in Bible reader

A Song of Thanksgiving

1God, be merciful to us and bless us;

look on us with kindness,

2so that the whole world may know your will;

so that all nations may know your salvation.

3May the peoples praise you, O God;

may all the peoples praise you!

4May the nations be glad and sing for joy,

because you judge the peoples with justice

and guide every nation on earth.

5May the peoples praise you, O God;

may all the peoples praise you!

6The land has produced its harvest;

God, our God, has blessed us.

7God has blessed us;

may all people everywhere honour him.

A National Song of Triumph

1God rises up and scatters his enemies.

Those who hate him run away in defeat.

2As smoke is blown away, so he drives them off;

as wax melts in front of the fire,

so do the wicked perish in God's presence.

3But the righteous are glad and rejoice in his presence;

they are happy and shout for joy.

4Sing to God, sing praises to his name;

prepare a way for him who rides on the clouds.

His name is the LORD — be glad in his presence!

5God, who lives in his sacred Temple,

cares for orphans and protects widows.

6He gives the lonely a home to live in

and leads prisoners out into happy freedom,

but rebels will have to live in a desolate land.

7O God, when you led your people,

when you marched across the desert,

8the earth shook, and the sky poured down rain,

because of the coming of the God of Sinai,

the coming of the God of Israel.

9You caused abundant rain to fall

and restored your worn-out land;

10your people made their home there;

in your goodness you provided for the poor.

11The Lord gave the command,

and many women carried the news:

12“Kings and their armies are running away!”

The women at home divided what was captured:

13figures of doves covered with silver,

whose wings glittered with fine gold.

(Why did some of you stay among the sheep pens on the day of battle?)

14When Almighty God scattered the kings on Mount Zalmon,

he caused snow to fall there.

15What a mighty mountain is Bashan,

a mountain of many peaks!

16Why from your mighty peaks do you look with scorn

on the mountain on which God chose to live?

The LORD will live there for ever!

17With his many thousands of mighty chariots

the Lord comes from Sinai into the holy place.

18He goes up to the heights,

taking many captives with him;

he receives gifts from rebellious people.

The LORD God will live there.

19Praise the Lord,

who carries our burdens day after day;

he is the God who saves us.

20Our God is a God who saves;

he is the LORD, our Lord,

who rescues us from death.

21God will surely break the heads of his enemies,

of those who persist in their sinful ways.

22The Lord has said, “I will bring your enemies back from Bashan;

I will bring them back from the depths of the ocean,

23so that you may wade in their blood,

and your dogs may lap up as much as they want.”

24O God, your march of triumph is seen by all,

the procession of God, my king, into his sanctuary.

25The singers are in front, the musicians are behind,

in between are the young women beating the tambourines.

26“Praise God in the meeting of his people;

praise the LORD, all you descendants of Jacob!”

27First comes Benjamin, the smallest tribe,

then the leaders of Judah with their group,

followed by the leaders of Zebulun and Naphtali.

28Show your power, O God,

the power you have used on our behalf

29from your Temple in Jerusalem,

where kings bring gifts to you.

30Rebuke Egypt, that wild animal in the reeds;

rebuke the nations, that herd of bulls with their calves,

until they all bow down and offer you their silver.

Scatter those people who love to make war!

31Ambassadors will come from Egypt;

the Ethiopians will raise their hands in prayer to God.

32Sing to God, kingdoms of the world,

sing praise to the Lord,

33to him who rides in the sky,

the ancient sky.

Listen to him shout with a mighty roar.

34Proclaim God's power;

his majesty is over Israel,

his might is in the skies.

35How awesome is God as he comes from his sanctuary —

the God of Israel!

He gives strength and power to his people.

Praise God!

A Cry for Help

1Save me, O God!

The water is up to my neck;

2I am sinking in deep mud,

and there is no solid ground;

I am out in deep water,

and the waves are about to drown me.

3I am worn out from calling for help,

and my throat is aching.

I have strained my eyes,

looking for your help.

4Those who hate me for no reason

are more numerous than the hairs of my head.

My enemies tell lies against me;

they are strong and want to kill me.

They made me give back things I did not steal.

5My sins, O God, are not hidden from you;

you know how foolish I have been.

6Don't let me bring shame on those who trust in you,

Sovereign LORD Almighty!

Don't let me bring disgrace to those who worship you,

O God of Israel!

7It is for your sake that I have been insulted

and that I am covered with shame.

8I am like a stranger to my relatives,

like a foreigner to my family.

9My devotion to your Temple burns in me like a fire;

the insults which are hurled at you fall on me.

10I humble myself by fasting,

and people insult me;

11I dress myself in clothes of mourning,

and they laugh at me.

12They talk about me in the streets,

and drunkards make up songs about me.

13But as for me, I will pray to you, LORD;

answer me, God, at a time you choose.

Answer me because of your great love,

because you keep your promise to save.

14Save me from sinking in the mud;

keep me safe from my enemies,

safe from the deep water.

15Don't let the flood come over me;

don't let me drown in the depths

or sink into the grave.

16Answer me, LORD, in the goodness of your constant love;

in your great compassion turn to me!

17Don't hide yourself from your servant;

I am in great trouble — answer me now!

18Come to me and save me;

rescue me from my enemies.

19You know how I am insulted,

how I am disgraced and dishonoured;

you see all my enemies.

20Insults have broken my heart,

and I am in despair.

I had hoped for sympathy, but there was none;

for comfort, but I found none.

21When I was hungry, they gave me poison;

when I was thirsty, they offered me vinegar.

22May their banquets cause their ruin;

may their sacred feasts cause their downfall.

23Strike them with blindness!

Make their backs always weak!

24Pour out your anger on them;

let your indignation overtake them.

25May their camps be left deserted;

may no one be left alive in their tents.

26They persecute those whom you have punished;

they talk about the sufferings of those you have wounded.

27Keep a record of all their sins;

don't let them have any part in your salvation.

28May their names be erased from the book of the living;

may they not be included in the list of your people.

29But I am in pain and despair;

lift me up, O God, and save me!

30I will praise God with a song;

I will proclaim his greatness by giving him thanks.

31This will please the LORD more than offering him cattle,

more than sacrificing a full-grown bull.

32When the oppressed see this, they will be glad;

those who worship God will be encouraged.

33The LORD listens to those in need

and does not forget his people in prison.

34Praise God, O heaven and earth,

seas and all creatures in them.

35He will save Jerusalem

and rebuild the towns of Judah.

His people will live there and possess the land;

36the descendants of his servants will inherit it,

and those who love him will live there.

A Prayer for Help

(Ps 40.13–17)

1Save me, O God!

LORD, help me now!

2May those who try to kill me

be defeated and confused.

May those who are happy because of my troubles

be turned back and disgraced.

3May those who jeer at me

be dismayed by their defeat.

4May all who come to you

be glad and joyful.

May all who are thankful for your salvation

always say, “How great is God!”

5I am weak and poor;

come to me quickly, O God.

You are my saviour, O LORD

hurry to my aid!

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