Then he brought me back to the outer gate of the sanctuary, which faces east; and it was shut.
The Lord said to me: This gate shall remain shut; it shall not be opened, and no one shall enter by it; for the Lord, the God of Israel, has entered by it; therefore it shall remain shut.
Only the prince, because he is a prince, may sit in it to eat food before the Lord; he shall enter by way of the vestibule of the gate, and shall go out by the same way.
Then he brought me by way of the north gate to the front of the temple; and I looked, and lo! the glory of the Lord filled the temple of the Lord; and I fell upon my face.
The Lord said to me: Mortal, mark well, look closely, and listen attentively to all that I shall tell you concerning all the ordinances of the temple of the Lord and all its laws; and mark well those who may be admitted to a the temple and all those who are to be excluded from the sanctuary.
Say to the rebellious house, b to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord God: O house of Israel, let there be an end to all your abominations
in admitting foreigners, uncircumcised in heart and flesh, to be in my sanctuary, profaning my temple when you offer to me my food, the fat and the blood. You c have broken my covenant with all your abominations.
And you have not kept charge of my sacred offerings; but you have appointed foreigners d to act for you in keeping my charge in my sanctuary.
Thus says the Lord God: No foreigner, uncircumcised in heart and flesh, of all the foreigners who are among the people of Israel, shall enter my sanctuary.
But the Levites who went far from me, going astray from me after their idols when Israel went astray, shall bear their punishment.
They shall be ministers in my sanctuary, having oversight at the gates of the temple, and serving in the temple; they shall slaughter the burnt offering and the sacrifice for the people, and they shall attend on them and serve them.
Because they ministered to them before their idols and made the house of Israel stumble into iniquity, therefore I have sworn concerning them, says the Lord God, that they shall bear their punishment.
They shall not come near to me, to serve me as priest, nor come near any of my sacred offerings, the things that are most sacred; but they shall bear their shame, and the consequences of the abominations that they have committed.
Yet I will appoint them to keep charge of the temple, to do all its chores, all that is to be done in it.
But the levitical priests, the descendants of Zadok, who kept the charge of my sanctuary when the people of Israel went astray from me, shall come near to me to minister to me; and they shall attend me to offer me the fat and the blood, says the Lord God.
It is they who shall enter my sanctuary, it is they who shall approach my table, to minister to me, and they shall keep my charge.
When they enter the gates of the inner court, they shall wear linen vestments; they shall have nothing of wool on them, while they minister at the gates of the inner court, and within.
They shall have linen turbans on their heads, and linen undergarments on their loins; they shall not bind themselves with anything that causes sweat.
When they go out into the outer court to the people, they shall remove the vestments in which they have been ministering, and lay them in the holy chambers; and they shall put on other garments, so that they may not communicate holiness to the people with their vestments.
They shall not shave their heads or let their locks grow long; they shall only trim the hair of their heads.
No priest shall drink wine when he enters the inner court.
They shall not marry a widow, or a divorced woman, but only a virgin of the stock of the house of Israel, or a widow who is the widow of a priest.
They shall teach my people the difference between the holy and the common, and show them how to distinguish between the unclean and the clean.
In a controversy they shall act as judges, and they shall decide it according to my judgments. They shall keep my laws and my statutes regarding all my appointed festivals, and they shall keep my sabbaths holy.
They shall not defile themselves by going near to a dead person; for father or mother, however, and for son or daughter, and for brother or unmarried sister they may defile themselves.
After he has become clean, they shall count seven days for him.
On the day that he goes into the holy place, into the inner court, to minister in the holy place, he shall offer his sin offering, says the Lord God.
This shall be their inheritance: I am their inheritance; and you shall give them no holding in Israel; I am their holding.
They shall eat the grain offering, the sin offering, and the guilt offering; and every devoted thing in Israel shall be theirs.
The first of all the first fruits of all kinds, and every offering of all kinds from all your offerings, shall belong to the priests; you shall also give to the priests the first of your dough, in order that a blessing may rest on your house.
The priests shall not eat of anything, whether bird or animal, that died of itself or was torn by animals.
New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. (New Revised Standard Bible Version Online)