1 Then he brought me back by the way of the gate of the outward sanctuary which looks toward the east, and it was shut. 2 Then the LORD said to me, "This gate shall be shut, it shall not be opened, and no man shall enter in by it. Because the LORD the God of Israel has entered in by it, therefore it shall be shut. 3 It is for the prince. The prince, he shall sit in it to eat bread before the LORD. He shall enter by the way of the porch of that gate, and shall go out by the way of the same."
4 Then he brought me by the way of the north gate before the house. And I looked, and behold, the glory of the LORD filled the house of the LORD, and I fell upon my face. 5 And the LORD said to me, "Son of man, mark well and behold with your eyes and hear with your ears all that I say to you concerning all the ordinances of the house of the LORD and all its laws, and mark well the entrance of the house with every going forth of the sanctuary. 6 And you shall say to the rebellious, even to the house of Israel, 'Thus says the Lord GOD: "O house of Israel, let it suffice you of all your abominations, 7 In that you have brought into my sanctuary strangers, uncircumcised in heart, and uncircumcised in flesh to be in my sanctuary to pollute it, even my house, when you offer my bread, the fat and the blood, and they have broken my covenant because of all your abominations. 8 And you have not kept the charge of my holy things, but you have set keepers of my charge in my sanctuary for yourselves."
9 'Thus says the Lord GOD: "No stranger, uncircumcised in heart, nor uncircumcised in flesh, shall enter into my sanctuary, of any stranger who is among the children of Israel. 10 And the Levites who have gone away far from me, when Israel went astray, who went astray from me after their idols, they shall even bear their iniquity. 11 Yet they shall be ministers in my sanctuary, having charge at the gates of the house and ministering to the house. They shall slay the burnt-offering and the sacrifice for the people, and they shall stand before them to minister to them. 12 Because they ministered to them before their idols and caused the house of Israel to fall into iniquity, therefore I have lifted up my hand against them," says the Lord GOD, "and they shall bear their iniquity. 13 And they shall not come near to me to do the office of a priest to me, nor to come near to any of my holy things in the most holy place, but they shall bear their shame and their abominations which they have committed. 14 But I will make them keepers of the charge of the house, for all its service and for all that shall be done therein.
15 "But the priests, the Levites, the sons of Zadok, who kept the charge of my sanctuary when the children of Israel went astray from me, they shall come near to me to minister to me, and they shall stand before me to offer to me the fat and the blood," says the Lord GOD. 16 "They shall enter into my sanctuary and they shall come near to my table to minister to me, and they shall keep my charge. 17 And it shall come to pass, that when they enter in at the gates of the inner court, they shall be clothed with linen garments. No wool shall come upon them while they minister in the gates of the inner court and within. 18 They shall have linen caps upon their heads and linen breeches upon their loins. They shall not gird themselves with anything that causes sweat. 19 And when they go forth into the outer court, even into the outer court to the people, they shall take off their garments in which they ministered and lay them in the holy chambers, and they shall put on other garments, so that they do not sanctify the people with their garments. 20 They shall not shave their heads, nor allow their locks to grow long. They shall only poll their heads. 21 No priest shall drink wine when they enter into the inner court. 22 They shall not take for their wives a widow, nor her who is put away, but they shall take maidens of the seed of the house of Israel, or a widow who had a priest before. 23 And they shall teach my people the difference between the holy and profane, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean. 24 And in controversy they shall stand in judgment and judge it according to my judgments. And they shall keep my laws and my statutes in all my assemblies and hallow my sabbaths. 25 And they shall come at no dead person to defile themselves. But for father, for mother, for son, for daughter, for brother, or for sister who has had no husband, they may defile themselves. 26 And after he is cleansed, they shall reckon to him seven days. 27 And on the day that he goes into the sanctuary to the inner court to minister in the sanctuary, he shall offer his sin-offering," says the Lord GOD.
28 "And it shall be to them for an inheritance. I am their inheritance. And you shall give them no possession in Israel. I am their possession. 29 They shall eat the food-offering, the sin-offering, and the trespass-offering. Every dedicated thing in Israel shall be theirs. 30 And the first of all the first-fruits of all things and every oblation of all, of every sort of your oblations, shall be the priest's. You shall also give to the priest the first of your dough, so that he may cause the blessing to rest in your house. 31 The priests shall not eat of anything that is dead of itself, or torn, whether of bird or beast."'"
John Gill's Chapter Summary:
This chapter treats of the eastern gate of the temple being appropriated to the use of the prince (Ezekiel 44:1-3); of the sin of the Lord's people in admitting strangers and unholy persons into the sanctuary, either to officiate or communicate there (Ezekiel 44:4-9); of the degrading of the Levites who went astray, assigning them inferior posts and service in the house of God (Ezekiel 44:10-14); and of the establishment of the sons of Zadok in their ministry, who were faithful (Ezekiel 44:15-16); then follow various laws relating to their garments, shaving of their heads, drinking wine, their marriage, performance of their ministerial work, their regard to the dead, and their food and maintenance (Ezekiel 44:17-31).