Ezekiel's commands to the "prince". Did Israel have princes after the return from exile?

Not open for further replies.


Puritan Board Freshman
Following Ezekiel’s vision of the celestial temple he has several commandments for the prince:

44:3 The prince himself is the only one who may sit inside the gateway to eat in the presence of the Lord.

45:7 The prince will have the land bordering each side of the area formed by the sacred district and the property of the city.

45:22 On that day the prince is to provide a bull as a sin offering for himself and for all the people of the land.

And so forth. (See also 46: 2, 8, 16)

Following the return from exile did Israel have princes? I see only one reference to a prince in the post-exilic books. Ezra 1:8 Cyrus king of Persia had them brought by Mithredath the treasurer, who counted them out to Sheshbazzar the prince of Judah.

Why does Ezekiel have these commandments specifically directed to the prince if there was no prince?
For a full answer, you'll have to read my PhD dissertation. The short answer is that Ezekiel is prophesying a future in which the failures of the past are done away with and a new future established that has continuity with the past but isn't the same. The kings have been one of the main problems for God's people, so the title "prince" (which harks back to the wilderness) is a way of talking about a different kind of future leader.
Israel never had an actual temple with the dimensions Ezekiel describes, either. So is that whole section of Ezekiel not really a picture of life after the return from exile, but actually a picture of the eternal life we will enjoy after Christ ends our greater exile in this world? And does that mean the "prince" is Christ himself? I think I've assumed that's what is going on, but I've done that without really studying it.
Thanks to all for your replies. My iPad mini is currently being repaired for a broken screen, but as soon as it's done I'll be tempted to purchase the Kindle version of Professor Duguid's commentary.
Not open for further replies.