EZEKIEL CHAPTER 48.
The Allotment of the Land to the Several Tribes.
THE DIVISION OF THE NEW CANAAN. — V. 1. Now, these are the names of the tribes, as they followed in the order of their allotment, the land being divided into portions of ideal exactness. From the north end, along the extreme northern boundary, to the coast of the way of Hethlon, on the northwest, as one goeth to Hamath, this being the northernmost point, Hazar-enan, on the northeast, the border of Damascus northward, to the coast of Hamath; for these are his sides east and west, his possession with the boundaries fixed toward the cast and toward the west: a portion for Dan, that is, so much should belong to Dan. V. 2. And by the border of Dan, immediately south of his portion, from the east side unto the west side, as all the sections are described, a portion for Asher. V. 3. And by the border of Asher, along its southern boundary, from the east side even unto the west side, a portion for Naphtali. V. 4. And by the border of Naphtali, from the east side unto the west side, a portion for Manasseh. V. 5. And by the border of Manasseh, from the east side unto the west side, a portion for Ephraim. V. 6. And by the border of Ephraim, from the east side even unto the west side, a portion for Reuben. The northern tribes thus retained their relative position in the distribution of the land, the portion of Reuben being added at this point because he had formerly had his allotment east of Jordan. V. 7. And by the border of Reuben, from the east side unto the west side, a portion for Judah, the tribe which had had the leadership in ancient Israel. V. 8. And by the border of Judah, adjoining it on the south, from the east side unto the west side, shall be the offering which ye shall offer, the section set apart for the Sanctuary and its surroundings, of five and twenty thousand reeds in breadth, and in length as one of the other parts, from the east side unto the west side, between the Jordan and the Mediterranean; and the Sanctuary shall be in the midst of it. Cp. chap. 45, l-6. V. 9. The oblation that ye shall offer unto the Lord shall be of five and twenty thousand in length and of ten thousand in breadth. The priest’s portion, in whose midst the Temple was to be situated, was in the center of this consecrated portion. V. 10. And for them, even for the priests, shall be this holy oblation, to yield dwelling-places for them, toward the north five and twenty thousand in length and toward the west ten thousand in breadth and toward the east ten thousand in breadth and toward the south five and twenty thousand in length, these being the measurements toward the four points of the compass; and the Sanctuary of the Lord shall be in the midst thereof. V. 11. It shall be for the priests that are sanctified of the sons of Zadok, chap. 44, 15, which have kept My charge, being loyal to the ordinances and commands of the Lord when others became guilty of faithlessness, which went not astray when the children of Israel went astray, as the Levites, the tribe of Levi in general, went astray. Cp. chap. 44, 10. V. 12. And this oblation of the land that is offered shall be unto them a thing most holy, a heave-portion from the oblation of the land, by the border of the Levites. V. 13. And over against the border of the priests, apparently along their southern boundary, the Levites shall have five and twenty thousand in length and ten thousand in breadth; all the length, or “the whole length,” shall be five and twenty thousand and the breadth ten thousand, the two lengths and the two breadths thus being clearly defined. V. 14. And they shall not sell of it, neither exchange, since God is the real Landowner, nor alienate the first-fruits of the land, which likewise belonged to the Lord, Ex. 22, 29; for it is holy unto the Lord. V. 15. And the five thousand that are left in the breadth over against the five and twenty thousand, after deducting the breadth of the priests’ and of the Levites’ portions, shall be a profane place for the city, common land, not used for sacred purposes, for dwelling, that is, for the erection of dwelling-houses, and for suburbs, for free use, for pasture and garden land; and the city shall be in the midst thereof. V. 16. And these shall be the measures thereof, of the city district: the north side four thousand and five hundred and the south side four thousand and five hundred and on the east side four thousand and five hundred and the west side four thousand and five hundred, thus forming a perfect square of four thousand five hundred on each side. V. 17. And the suburbs of the city shall be toward the north two hundred and fifty and toward the south two hundred and fifty and toward the east two hundred and fifty and toward the west two hundred and fifty. The entire city district, with its suburbs, thus occupied a square with sides five thousand rods long, or one-fifth of the entire portion from east to west. V. 18. And the residue in length over against the oblation of the holy portion shall be ten thousand eastward and ten thousand westward; and it shall be over against the oblation of the holy portion, that is, as a part of it, although assigned neither to the priests nor to the levites nor to the city; and the increase thereof shall be for food unto them that serve the city, so that the workmen or laborers employed in the Temple city would derive their support from this land in the immediate vicinity. V. 19. And they that serve the city, the laboring classes, shall serve it out of all the tribes of Israel, that is, people from the various tribes would form this class and derive their support in the manner indicated. V. 20. All the oblation shall be five and twenty thousand by five and twenty thousand, inclusive of the possession of the city; ye shall offer the holy oblation four-square, with the possession of the city, which was one-fourth the portions of the priests and Levites. V. 21. And the residue shall be for the prince, on the one side and on the other of the holy oblation, and of the possession of the city, that is, bounding it and parallel to it, over against the five and twenty thousand of the oblation toward the east border, and westward over against the five and twenty thousand toward the west border, over against the portions for the prince, whose portion would thus extend from north to south along the border of the holy territory; and it shall be the holy oblation; and the sanctuary of the house shall be in the midst thereof, equally distant from the eastern and the western border. V. 22. Moreover, from the possession of the Levites, beginning at their boundary, and from the possession of the city, being in the midst of that which is the prince’s, which was located on either side, between the border of Judah and the border of Benjamin, whose portions would be, respectively, north and south of the holy territory, shall be for the prince. V. 23. As for the rest of the tribes, those whose portion would be in the southern part of the New Canaan, from the east side unto the west side, extending through the breadth of the country, Benjamin shall have a portion. V. 24. And by the border of Benjamin, along its southern boundary, from the east side unto the west side, Simeon shall have a portion, designated here as a separate tribe, although formerly receiving his portion within the boundaries of Judah’s territory, Deut. 33. V. 25. And by the border of Simeon, from the east side unto the west side, Issachar a portion. V. 26. And by the border of Issachar, from the east side unto the west side, Zebulun a portion. V. 27. And by the border of Zebulun, from the east side unto the west side, Gad a portion, whose territory in ancient times had been east of Jordan. V. 28. And by the border of Gad, at the south side southward, this being the boundary of the New Canaan, chap. 47, 19, the border shall be even from Tamar unto the Waters of Strife in Kadesh and to the river toward the Great Sea, the “river” being the so-called brook or river of Egypt, which flowed into the Mediterranean Sea. V. 29. This is the land which ye shall divide by lot unto the tribes of Israel for inheritance, and these are their portions, saith the Lord God. The immense areas indicated show that the Lord intended to have a large covenant people in Messianic times, who would be united in the communion of saints.
CONCERNING THE CAPITAL CITY. — V. 30. And these are the goings out of the city, the extreme ends, or the gates, of the city on the north side, four thousand and five hundred measures, this being flue extent of the wall with reference to its portals, inclusive of its gates, cp. v. 16. V. 31. And the gates of the city shall be after the names of the tribes of Israel, bearing the names of the individual tribes: three gates northward, one gate of Reuben, as the first-born in point of time, one gate of Judah, as the first-born by virtue of the patriarchal blessing, one gate of Levi, as the one chosen to be the representative of all the first-born in Israel in the service of the Lord. V. 32. And at the east side four thousand and five hundred; and three gates: and one gate of Joseph, whose two tribes are here taken together, one gate of Benjamin, one gate of Dan. V. 33. And at the south side four thousand and five hundred measures; and three gates: one gate of Simeon, one gate of Issachar, one gate of Zebulun. V. 34. At the west side four thousand and five hundred, with their three gates: one gate of Gad, one gate of Asher, one gate of Naphtali. The gates had a general relation to the location of every tribe’s portion in the New Canaan. V. 35. It was round about eighteen thousand measures; and the name of the city from that day shall be “The Lord Is There,” which is not a mere name, but expresses the fact that Jehovah, the God of the covenant, truly lives in the midst of His Church. The entire wonderful vision, as stated at the beginning, is Messianic in character. Every attempt at interpreting the individual points of this great painting are both futile and foolish; but this one great fact stands out, namely, that the Lord, speaking in terms of Old Testament worship, intended to give the believers some idea of His great Temple of the New Testament, of the communion of saints, bound together by the true faith in Jesus, the Messiah.