Fr. James' Lectionary

The Lectionary is both a reading program for completing all of Holy Scripture on a one year schedule, and a daily comment on a portion of the day's reading wedded to a poem to give an added perspective on the theme.

Location: Amherst, Virginia, United States

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Bible Comment on Ezekiel 46 with poem by Alfred Noyes, Watchers of the Sky, III: Pragmatic Regulations

Daily Readings
Wisdom of Solomon 7, I Samuel 15:34-16:33, Ezekiel 46, Romans 4

Daily Text: Ezekiel 46

Pragmatic Regulations
Ezekiel 46 parallels chapter 45 in that it deals with the prince’s requirements, land issues and offerings. However, the regulations set down are distinct. The prince could come to the threshold of the closed inner east gate, and there observe the performance of his sacrifices, making obeisance on the threshold of the door before departing. The people could look in through that gate on the Sabbath and days of the New Moon, but they could not penetrate even to the threshold. Festival sacrifices required that the people and the prince enter by either North or South gate and proceed across, presumably without stopping to the gate opposite, thus keeping the flow of those making sacrifice continuous. These sacrifices were required so every person with a concern for keeping the Torah would be there.

Land matters were again arranged so that landholders would not be deprived of their land by the prince, and inherited land, even of the prince, would not pass out of the family. The priest’s kitchens are described in the final verses. They must cook and eat their portions of the sacrifices out of contact with the non-priestly population so that the holiness of the sacrifices might not be communicated to the people. Such separation seems strange from a Christian perspective, but we must remember that regulations were not part of Ezekiel’s original vision either. Rather these chapters (40-48) consist of practical and pragmatic regulations of the operating Second Temple, many of them harking back to those of the First Temple. It is ever thus, the vision giving way to order.

from Watchers of the Sky, III
Alfred Noyes

This music leads us far
From all our creeds, except that faith in law.
Your quest for knowledge—how it rests on that!
How sure the soul is that if truth destroy
The temple, in three days the truth will build
A nobler temple; and that order reigns
In all things. Even your atheist builds his doubt
On that strange faith; destroys his heaven and God
In absolute faith that his own thought is true
To law, God’s lanthorn to our stumbling feet;
And so, despite himself, he worships God,
For where true souls are, there are God and heaven.

Collect for the Day
Almighty God who hast sent the Spirit of truth unto us to guide us into all truth: so rule our lives by thy power that we may be truthful in thought and word and deed. May no fear or hope ever make us false in act or speech; cast out from us whatsoever loveth or maketh a lie, and bring us all into the perfect freedom of thy truth; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Brooke Foss Westcott, 1825-1901 [489:167:September 20]


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