Daniel 5:2
Belshazzar, whiles he tasted the wine, commanded to bring the golden and silver vessels which his father Nebuchadnezzar had taken out of the temple which was in Jerusalem; that the king, and his princes, his wives, and his concubines, might drink therein.
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(2) Whiles he tasted—i.e., while he was enjoying the wine. The sacred vessels were brought out of the temple of Merodach, and profaned in this manner for the purpose of defying Jehovah. But it may be reasonably asked, What led him to think of Jehovah in the midst of the revelry? It may have been that some drunken fancy seized him. It may have been that he had been warned that the prophets of Jehovah had foretold the overthrow of Babylon by Cyrus, whose armies were now in the neighbourhood. Whatever the true explanation may be, there can be no doubt, from Daniel’s language (Daniel 5:23), and from the way in which Belshazzar’s gods are mentioned (Daniel 5:4), that the whole act was one of defiance of Jehovah.

Daniel 5:2-4. Belshazzar, while he tasted the wine — When he grew warm with wine, Houb. Commanded to bring the golden and silver vessels, &c. Triumphing thereby over God and his people. They drank wine — Made themselves merry with wine. And praised the gods of gold, &c. — Praised, as gods, senseless images of gold, silver, brass, iron, &c.; thus insulting the great God of heaven and earth, as if these images were more powerful than he, and had enabled them to prevail against him and his people. This their conduct was the more sinful, because Nebuchadnezzar had, not long before, prohibited, by a solemn decree, that any one should speak lightly of the God of the Jews. The Alexandrine and Coptic versions, after mentioning their praising their false gods, add, “But the everlasting God they praised not.” Such a wanton and sacrilegious insult deserved and called for exemplary punishment.5:1-9 Belshazzar bade defiance to the judgments of God. Most historians consider that Cyrus then besieged Babylon. Security and sensuality are sad proofs of approaching ruin. That mirth is sinful indeed, which profanes sacred things; and what are many of the songs used at modern feasts better than the praises sung by the heathens to their gods! See how God struck terror upon Belshazzar and his lords. God's written word is enough to put the proudest, boldest sinner in a fright. What we see of God, the part of the hand that writes in the book of the creatures, and in the book of the Scriptures, should fill us with awful thoughts concerning that part which we do not see. If this be the finger of God, what is his arm when made bare? And what is He? The king's guilty conscience told him that he had no reason to expect any good news from heaven. God can, in a moment, make the heart of the stoutest sinner to tremble; and there needs no more than to let loose his own thoughts upon him; they will give him trouble enough. No bodily pain can equal the inward agony which sometimes seizes the sinner in the midst of mirth, carnal pleasures, and worldly pomp. Sometimes terrors cause a man to flee to Christ for pardon and peace; but many cry out for fear of wrath, who are not humbled for their sins, and who seek relief by lying vanities. The ignorance and uncertainty concerning the Holy Scriptures, shown by many who call themselves wise, only tend to drive sinners to despair, as the ignorance of these wise men did.Belshazzar, while he tasted the wine - As the effect of tasting the wine - stating a fact which is illustrated in every age and land, that men, under the influence of intoxicating drinks, will do what they would not do when sober. In his sober moments it would seem probable that he would have respected the vessels consecrated to the service of religion, and would not have treated them with dishonor by introducing them for purposes of revelry.

Commanded to bring the golden and silver vessels - These vessels had been carefully deposited in some place as the spoils of victory (see Daniel 1:2), and it would appear that they had not before been desecrated for purposes of feasting. Belshazzar did what other men would have done in the same condition. He wished to make a display; to do something unusually surprising; and, though it had not been contemplated when the festival was appointed to make use of these vessels, yet, under the excitement of wine, nothing was too sacred to be introduced to the scenes of intoxication; nothing too foolish to be done. In regard to the vessels taken from the temple at Jerusalem, see the note at Daniel 1:2.

Which his father Nebuchadnezzar had taken - Margin, "grandfather." According to the best account which we have of Belshazzar, he was the son of Evil-Merodach, who was the son of Nebuchadnezzar (see the Introduction to the chapter, Section II.), and therefore the word is used here, as in the margin, to denote grandfather. Compare Jeremiah 27:7. See the note at Isaiah 14:22. The word father is often used in a large signification. See 2 Samuel 9:7; also the notes at Matthew 1:1. There is no improbability in supposing that this word would be used to denote a grandfather, when applied to one of the family or dynasty of Nebuchadnezzar The fact that Belshazzar is here called "the son" of Nebuchadnezzar has been made a ground of objection to the credibility of the book of Daniel, by Lengerke, p. 204. The objection is, that the "last king of Babylon was "not" the son of Nebuchadnezzar." But, in reply to this, in addition to the remarks above made, it may be observed that it is not necessary, in vindicating the assertion in the text, to suppose that he was the "immediate" descendant of Nebuchadnezzar, in the first degree. "The Semitic use of the word in question goes far beyond the first degree of descent, and extends the appellation of "son" to the designation "grandson," and even of the most remote posterity. In Ezra 6:14, the prophet Zechariah is called "the son of Iddo;" in Zechariah 1:1, Zechariah 1:7, the same person is called "the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo." So Isaiah threatens Hezekiah Isaiah 39:7 that the sons whom he shall beget shall be conducted as exiles to Babylon; in which case, however, four generations intervened before this happened. So in Matthew 1:1, 'Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.' And so we speak every day: 'The sons of Adam, the sons of Abraham, the sons of Israel, the sons of the Pilgrims,' and the like." - Prof. Stuart, "Com. on Dan." p. 144.

That the king and his princes, his wives, and his concubines, might drink therein - Nothing is too sacred to be profaned when men are under the influence of wine. They do not hesitate to desecrate the holiest things, and vessels taken from the altar of God are regarded with as little reverence as any other. It would seem that Nebuchadnezzar had some respect for these vessels, as having been employed in the purposes of religion; at least so much respect as to lay them up as trophies of victory, and that this respect had been shown for them under the reign of his successors, until the exciting scenes of this "impious feast" occurred, when all veneration for them vanished. It was not very common for females in the East to be present at such festivals as this, but it would seem that all the usual restraints of propriety and decency came to be disregarded as the feast advanced. The "wives and concubines" were probably not present when the feast began, for it was made for "his lords" Daniel 5:1; but when the scenes of revelry had advanced so far that it was proposed to introduce the sacred vessels of the temple, it would not be unnatural to propose also to introduce the females of the court.

A similar instance is related in the book of Esther. In the feast which Ahasuerus gave, it is said that "on the seventh day, when the heart of the king was merry with wine, he commanded Mehuman, Biztha, etc., the seven chamberlains that served in the presence of Ahasuerus the king, to bring Vashti the queen before the king with the crown royal, to show the people and the princes her beauty," etc. Esther 1:10-11. Compare Joseph. "Ant." b. xi. ch. 6: Section 1. The females that were thus introduced to the banquet were those of the harem, yet it would seem that she who was usually called "the queen" by way of eminence, or the queen-mother (compare the note at Esther 5:10), was not among them at this time. The females in the court of an Oriental monarch were divided into two classes; those who were properly concubines, and who had none of the privileges of a wife; and those of a higher class, and who were spoken of as wives, and to whom pertained the privileges of that relation. Among the latter, also, in the court of a king, it would seem that there was one to whom properly belonged the appellation of "queen;" that is, probably, a favorite wife whose children were heirs to the crown. See Bertholdt, in loc. Compare 2 Samuel 5:13; 1 Kings 11:3; Sol 6:8.

2. whiles he tasted the wine—While under the effects of wine, men will do what they dare not do when sober.

his father Nebuchadnezzar—that is, his forefather. So "Jesus … the son of David, the son of Abraham" (Mt 1:1). Daniel does not say that the other kings mentioned in other writers did not reign between Belshazzar and Nebuchadnezzar, namely, Evil-merodach (Jer 52:31), Neriglissar, his brother-in-law, and Laborasoarchod (nine months). Berosus makes Nabonidus, the last king, to have been one of the people, raised to the throne by an insurrection. As the inscriptions show that Belshazzar was distinct from, and joint king with, him, this is not at variance with Daniel, whose statement that Belshazzar was son (grandson) of Nebuchadnezzar is corroborated by Jeremiah (Jer 27:7). Their joint, yet independent, testimony, as contemporaries, and having the best means of information, is more trustworthy than any of the heathen historians, if there were a discrepancy. Evil-merodach, son of Nebuchadnezzar (according to Berosus), reigned but a short time (one or two years), having, in consequence of his bad government, been dethroned by a plot of Neriglissar, his sister's husband; hence Daniel does not mention him. At the elevation of Nabonidus as supreme king, Belshazzar, the grandson of Nebuchadnezzar, was doubtless suffered to be subordinate king and successor, in order to conciliate the legitimate party. Thus the seeming discrepancy becomes a confirmation of genuineness when cleared up, for the real harmony must have been undesigned.

wives … concubines—not usually present at feasts in the East, where women of the harem are kept in strict seclusion. Hence Vashti's refusal to appear at Ahasuerus' feast (Es 1:9-12). But the Babylonian court, in its reckless excesses, seems not to have been so strict as the Persian. Xenophon [Cyropædia, 5.2,28] confirms Daniel, representing a feast of Belshazzar where the concubines are present. At the beginning "the lords" (Da 5:1), for whom the feast was made, alone seem to have been present; but as the revelry advanced, the women were introduced. Two classes of them are mentioned, those to whom belonged the privileges of "wives," and those strictly concubines (2Sa 5:13; 1Ki 11:3; So 6:8).

This king having the wine, liked it so well, that he resolved to make a merry day of it, and in order to it, sent for the vessels of God’s temple, which he did in scorn and contempt, triumphing thereby over God and his people; but this sport lasted not long: they had more honour for the vessels of their own idols, which they kept sacred and untouched; therefore the prophet upbraids them with this insolent profaneness, for the concubines also drank of them. Belshazzar, while he tasted the wine,.... As he was drinking his cups, and delighted with the taste of the wine, and got merry with it: or, "by the advice of the wine" (h), as Aben Ezra and Jarchi interpret it, by a personification; as if that dictated to him, and put him upon doing what follows; and which often puts both foolish and wicked things into the heads of men, and upon doing them: then he

commanded to bring the golden and silver vessels, which his father Nebuchadnezzar had taken out of the temple which was in Jerusalem; what these vessels were, and the number of them, we learn from the delivery of them afterwards to the prince of Judah by Cyrus, Ezra 1:9, these were put into the temple of Bel by Nebuchadnezzar, Daniel 1:2 and from thence they were now ordered to be brought to the king's palace, and to the apartment where he and his nobles were drinking:

that the king, and his princes, his wives, and his concubines, might drink therein; Saadiah says, this day the seventy years' captivity ended; and so, in contempt of the promise and prophecy of it, he ordered the vessels to be brought out and drank in, to show that in vain the Jews expected redemption from it.

(h) "vino dictante", Tigurine version.

Belshazzar, whiles he tasted the wine, commanded to bring the golden and silver vessels which his {c} father Nebuchadnezzar had taken out of the temple which was in Jerusalem; that the king, and his princes, his wives, and his concubines, might drink therein.

(c) Meaning his grandfather.

2. whiles] the genitive sing. of the subst. while (as in ‘for a while’), used adverbially (cf. ‘needs,’ ‘upwards’). It occurs in A.V. Daniel 9:20-21; Ezekiel 21:29 (twice), Ezekiel 44:17; Hosea 7:6; Matthew 5:25; Acts 5:4; 2 Corinthians 9:13; and several times in Shakespeare, as Much Ado, iv. 1, 221, ‘What we have we prize not to the worth, Whiles we enjoy it, Meas. for Meas. iv. 3, 84; Jul. Caes. i. 2. 209.

whiles he tasted the wine] in the taste—i.e. enjoyment—of the wine, when he began to feel the influence of the wine.

commanded, &c.] an act, under the circumstances, of wanton and defiant impiety.

the golden and silver vessels, &c.] see Daniel 1:2.

his father] Belshazzar is not known to have been related to Nebuchadnezzar: his father was Nabu-na’id, a usurper, the son of one Nabo-balâṭsu-iḳbi, and expressly said (see Introd. pp. xxvii, li) to have been unconnected with Nebuchadnezzar’s family.

‘Father’ may, however, by Hebrew usage, be understood to mean grandfather (Genesis 28:13; Genesis 32:10; cf. 1 Kings 15:13 for great-grandfather); and there remains the possibility that Nabu-na’id may have sought to strengthen his position by marrying a daughter of Nebuchadnezzar, in which case, of course, Nebuchadnezzar would be ‘Belshazzar’s grandfather on his mother’s side (see however, p. li, [254].).

[254] The supposition, sometimes made, that he was ‘co-regent’ with his father is also destitute of foundation in the inscriptions.

2. princes] lords, as Daniel 5:1. So Daniel 5:3.

his wives] his consorts: so Daniel 5:3; Daniel 5:23. The word is a rare one, being found otherwise in the O.T. only in Nehemiah 2:6 (of the queen of Artaxerxes), and Psalm 45:9[255].

[255] It is read by some scholars conjecturally in Jdg 5:30 (‘for the neck of the consort,’—שׁגל for שׁלל). The coguate verb means to ravish (Isaiah 13:16 al.)

concubines] so Daniel 5:3; Daniel 5:23. Not the usual Hebrew word, but one found also in the Aramaic of the Targums. Cf. Song of Solomon 6:8, where ‘queens’ and ‘concubines’ are mentioned side by side.

The presence of women at feasts was not usual in antiquity (cf., of Persia, Esther 1:10-12); but there is some evidence, though slight, that it was allowed in Babylon (Xen. Cyrop. v. ii. 28; and, in the age of Alexander, Curtius v. i. 38). The LXX. translator, feeling probably some difficulty in the statement, omits the clause relating to the ‘wives and concubines’ both here and Daniel 5:3; Daniel 5:23.Verse 2. - Belshazzar, whiles he tasted the wine, commanded to bring the golden and silver vessels which his father Nebuchadnezzar had taken out of the temple which was in Jerusalem; that the king, and his princes, his wives, and his concubines, might drink therein. The Septuagint has included the last clause of the Massoretic recension of the first verse, "And he drank wine, and his heart was lifted up, and he commanded to bring the vessels of gold and of silver of the house of God, which Nebuchadnezzar his father had brought from Jerusalem, and to pour out wine in them for those companions of his (ἐν αὐτοῖς τοῖς ἑταίροις)." The translator seems to have regarded the first syllable of the name Belshazzar as a separate word, and has translated it according to the meaning the word has in Eastern Aramaic, "heart" (Exodus 12:23, Peshitta). After this initial mistake - if mistake it was - the remaining change was easy. The syntax here, according to the Massoretic text, is different from what we should expect. אמר ('amar), "to say," is translated "command" in eight cases in this book, and in every other case it is followed immediately by the infinitive' of the action commanded. Hence we are inclined, with the LXX., to omit "whiles he tasted the wine." While the LXX. Aramaic seems to have בהין, "in them," it has not had "king," "wives," or "concubines." As the Septuagint is the shorter, on the whole, we prefer it, though we maintain the Massoretic reading of "in them," referring to the vessels. Theodotion and the Peshitta follow the Massoretic reading. Whether or not the libation offered to the gods was in the mind of the writer, the mere fact that the sacred vessels were used for the purposes of a common feast was desecration. The addition of the "wives" and "concubines" adds at once to the degradation in the eyes of an Eastern, and to the stately rhetorical cadence of the verse. This renders all the stronger the suspicion engendered by the omission of these features in the Septuagint. It is to be observed that the Septuagint translator must have had an Eastern Aramaic manuscript before him, or he could never have translated bal "heart." At the same time, the presence of women at Babylonian feasts was not so uncommon as it was in the rest of the East, as we learn from the Ninevite remains. Certainly Quintus Curtius mentions this in connection with Alexander's visit to Babylon (v. 1). But was an obscure Jew likely to know this in Palestine? It is very difficult for a person writing in a different age to keep strictly to verisimilitude in these matters. Even a contemporary may make a blunder in writing, not a novel, but a biography, as Froude, in his 'Life of Carlyle,' declares he was "quietly married in the parish church of Temple." To be quietly married in a parish church in any part of Scotland, in the early years of this century, would be a contradiction in terms. Yet Froude had often been in Scotland, and knew Carlyle well. Could a Jew living in Palestine have all his wits about him so as to note every varying feature which distinguished the habits of Babylon from those of the rest of the East? The question may be asked why were the vessels of the Lord in Jerusalem singled out to be desecrated by a common use? It might, of course, be that the sacred vessels of the temples of the gods of all conquered nationalities were brought in, and thus that the singling out of the Jewish sacred vessels was due, not to the preference of the Babylonian monarch, but to the Jew, who saw only those. We think this can scarcely be. It was certainly the policy of Nabunahid to draw all worship to Babylon (Annals of Nabunahid, col. 3. line 20, "The gods of Akkad, which Nabunabid had brought to Babylon, were carried back to their city"). But this would lead him to avoid anything that would savour of disrespect to these gods whom he had brought to dwell in Babylon. We do not think it would have been merely the beauty of those vessels that led to their desecration, for the temple at Jerusalem had suffered several plunderings before the capture of the city, and the period between the age of Hezekiah and Zedekiah was not one in which wealth and artistic talent were likely to increase. Some suspicion must have reached the court of Babylon that the Jews were in league with Cyrus; perhaps the contents of the second Isaiah had reached the knowledge of the Babylonian police. If so, the act of Belshazzar was an act of defiance against Jehovah of Israel. The division of the land, like the definition of the boundaries (Ezekiel 47:15), commences in the north, and enumerates the tribes in the order in which they were to receive their inheritances from north to south: first, seven tribes from the northern boundary to the centre of the land (Ezekiel 48:1-7), where the heave for the sanctuary, with the land of the priests and Levites and the city domain, together with the prince's land on the two sides, was to be set apart (Ezekiel 48:8-22; and secondly, the other five tribes from this to the southern boundary (Ezekiel 48:23-29). Compare the map on Plate IV.

Ezekiel 48:1. And these are the names of the tribes: from the north end by the side of the way to Chetlon toward Hamath (and) Hazar-Enon the boundary of Damascus - toward the north by the side of Hamath there shall east side, west side belong to him: Dan one (tribe-lot). Ezekiel 48:2. And on the boundary of Dan from the east side to the west side: Asher one. Ezekiel 48:3. And on the boundary of Asher from the east side to the west side: Naphtali one. Ezekiel 48:4. And on the boundary of Naphtali from the east side to the west side: Manasseh one. Ezekiel 48:5. And on the boundary of Manasseh from the east side to the west side: Ephraim one. Ezekiel 48:6. And on the boundary of Ephraim from the east side to the west side: Reuben one. Ezekiel 48:7. And on the boundary of Reuben from the east side to the west side: Judah one. Ezekiel 48:8. And on the boundary of Judah from the east side to the west side shall be the heave, which ye shall lift (heave) off, five and twenty thousand (rods) in breadth, and the length like every tribe portion from the east side to the west side; and the sanctuary shall be in the midst of it. Ezekiel 48:9. The heave which ye shall lift (heave) for Jehovah shall be five and twenty thousand in length and ten thousand in breadth. Ezekiel 48:10. And to these shall the holy heave belong, to the priests, toward the north, five and twenty thousand; toward the west, breadth ten thousand; toward the east, breadth ten thousand; and toward the south, length five and twenty thousand; and the sanctuary of Jehovah shall be in the middle of it. Ezekiel 48:11. To the priests, whoever is sanctified of the sons of Zadok, who have kept my charge, who have not strayed with the straying of the sons of Israel, as the Levites have strayed, Ezekiel 48:12. To them shall a portion lifted off belong from the heave of the land; a most holy beside the territory of the Levites. Ezekiel 48:13. And the Levites (shall receive) parallel with the territory of the priests five and twenty thousand in length, and in breadth ten thousand; the whole length five and twenty thousand, and (the whole) breadth ten thousand. Ezekiel 48:14. And they shall not sell or exchange any of it, nor shall the first-fruit of the land pass to others; for it is holy to Jehovah. Ezekiel 48:15. And the five thousand which remain in the breadth along the five and twenty thousand are common land for the city for dwellings and for open space; and the city shall be in the centre of it. Ezekiel 48:16. And these are its measures: the north side four thousand five hundred, the south side four thousand five hundred, the east side four thousand five hundred, and the west side four thousand five hundred. Ezekiel 48:17. And the open space of the city shall be toward the north two hundred and fifty, toward the south two hundred and fifty, toward the east two hundred and fifty, and toward the west two hundred and fifty. Ezekiel 48:18. And the remainder in length parallel with the holy heave, ten thousand toward the east and ten thousand toward the west, this shall be beside the holy heave, and its produce shall serve the workmen of the city for food. Ezekiel 48:19. And as for the workmen of the city, they shall cultivate it from all the tribes. Ezekiel 48:20. The whole of the heave is five and twenty thousand by five and twenty thousand; a fourth of the holy heave shall ye take for the possession of the city. Ezekiel 48:21. And the remainder shall belong to the prince on this side and on that side of the holy heave and of the city possession; along the five and twenty thousand of the heave to the eastern boundary, and toward the west along the five and twenty thousand to the western boundary parallel with the tribe portions, it shall belong to the prince; and the holy heave and the sanctuary of the house shall be in the midst. Ezekiel 48:22. Thus from the possession of the Levites (as) from the possession of the city shall that which lies in the midst of what belongs to the prince between the territory of Judah and the territory of Benjamin belong to the prince. Ezekiel 48:23. And the rest of the tribes are from the east side to the west side: Benjamin one. Ezekiel 48:24. And on the boundary of Benjamin from the east side to the west side: Simeon one. Ezekiel 48:25. And on the boundary of Simeon from the east side to the west side: Issachar one. Ezekiel 48:26. And on the boundary of Issachar from the east side to the west side: Zebulon one. Ezekiel 48:27. And on the boundary of Zebulon from the east side to the west side: Gad one. Ezekiel 48:28. And on the boundary of Gad on the south side toward the south, the boundary shall be from Tamar to the water of strife from Kadesh along the brook to the great sea. Ezekiel 48:29. This is the land which ye shall divide by lot for inheritance to the tribes of Israel; these are their portions, is the saying of the Lord Jehovah.

The new division of the land differs from the former one effected in the time of Joshua, in the first place, in the fact that all the tribe-portions were to extend uniformly across the entire breadth of the land from the eastern boundary to the Mediterranean Sea on the west, so that they were to form parallel tracts of country; whereas in the distribution made in the time of Joshua, several of the tribe-territories covered only half the breadth of the land. For example, Dan received his inheritance on the west of Benjamin; and the territories of half Manasseh and Asher ran up from the northern boundary of Ephraim to the northern boundary of Canaan; while Issachar, Naphtali, and Zebulon received their portions on the east of these; and lastly, Simeon received his possession within the boundaries of the tribe of Judah. And secondly, it also differs from the former, in the fact that not only are all the twelve tribes located in Canaan proper, between the Jordan and the Mediterranean Sea; whereas previously two tribes and a half had received from Moses, at their own request, the conquered land of Bashan and Gilead on the eastern side of the Jordan, so that the land of Canaan could be divided among the remaining nine tribes and a half. But besides this, the central tract of land, about the fifth part of the whole, was separated for the holy heave, the city domain, and the prince's land, so that only the northern and southern portions, about four-fifths of the whole, remained for distribution among the twelve tribes, seven tribes receiving their hereditary portions to the north of the heave and five to the south, because the heave was so selected that the city with its territory lay near the ancient Jerusalem. - In Ezekiel 48:1-7 the seven tribes which were to dwell on the north of the heave are enumerated. The principal points of the northern boundary, viz., the way to Chetlon and Hazar-Enon, the boundary of Damascus, are repeated in Ezekiel 48:1 from Ezekiel 47:15, Ezekiel 47:17, as the starting and terminal points of the northern boundary running from west to east. The words אל־יד חמת fix the northern boundary more precisely in relation to the adjoining territory; and in 'והיוּ the enumeration of the tribe-lots begins with that of the tribe of Dan, which was to receive its territory against the northern boundary. לו refers to the name דּן which follows, and which Ezekiel already had in his mind. פּאת קדים היּם is constructed asyndetôs; and פּאת is to be repeated in thought before היּם: the east side (and) the west (side) are to belong to it, i.e., the tract of land toward its west and its east side. The words which follow, דּן אחד, are attached in an anacoluthistic manner: "Dan (is to receive) one portion," for "one shall belong to Dan." To אחד we are to supply in thought the substantive חבל, tribe-lot, according to Ezekiel 47:13. "The assumption that one tribe was to receive as much as another (vid., Ezekiel 47:14), leads to the conclusion that each tribe-lot was to be taken as a monas" (Kliefoth). In this way the names in Ezekiel 48:2-7, with the constantly repeated אחד, must also be taken. The same form of description is repeated in Ezekiel 48:23-28 in the case of the five tribes placed to the south of the heave. - In the order of the several tribe-territories it is impossible to discover any universal principle of arrangement. All that is clear is, that in the case of Dan, Asher, Naphtali, Manasseh, and Ephraim, regard is had to the former position of these tribe-territories as far as the altered circumstances allowed. In the time of the Judges a portion of the Danites had migrated to the north, conquered the city of Laish, and given it the name of Dan, so that from that time forward Dan is generally named as the northern boundary of the land (e.g., as early as 2 Samuel 3:10, and in other passages). Accordingly Dan receives the tract of land along the northern boundary. Asher and Naphtali, which formerly occupied the most northerly portions of the land, follow next. Then comes Manasseh, as half Manasseh had formerly dwelt on the east of Naphtali; and Ephraim joins Manasseh, as it formerly joined the western half of Manasseh. The reason for placing Reuben between Ephraim and Judah appears to be, that Reuben was the first-born of Jacob's sons. The position of the termuah between Judah and Benjamin is probably connected with the circumstance that Jerusalem formerly stood on the boundary of these two tribes, and so also in the future was to skirt Benjamin with its territory. The other tribes had then to be located on the south of Benjamin; Simeon, whose territory formerly lay to the south; Issachar and Zebulon, for which no room was left in the north; and Gad, which had to be brought over from Gilead to Canaan.

In Ezekiel 48:8-22, the terumah, which has already been described in Ezekiel 45:1-7 for a different purpose, is more precisely defined: first of all, in Ezekiel 48:8, according to its whole extent - viz. twenty-five thousand rods in breadth (from north to south), and the length the same as any one ( equals every one) of the tribe-lots, i.e., reaching from the Jordan to the Mediterranean Sea (cf. Ezekiel 45:7). In the centre of this separated territory the sanctuary (the temple) was to stand. בּתוכו, the suffix of which refers ad sensum to חלק instead of תּרוּמה, has not the indefinite meaning "therein," but signifies "in the centre;" for the priests' portion, in the middle of which the temple was to stand, occupied the central position between the portion of the Levites and the city possession, as is evident from Ezekiel 48:22. The circumstance that here, as in Ezekiel 45:1., in the division of the terumah, the priests' portion is mentioned first, then the portion of the Levites, and after this the city possession, proves nothing so far as the local order in which these three portions followed one another is concerned; but the enumeration is regulated by their spiritual significance, so that first of all the most holy land for the temple and priests is defined, then the holy portion of the Levites, and lastly, the common land for the city. The command, that the sanctuary is to occupy the centre of the whole terumah, leads to a more minute description in the first place (Ezekiel 48:9-12) of the priests' portion, in which the sanctuary was situated, than of the heave to be lifted off for Jehovah. In Ezekiel 48:10, לאלּה, which stands at the head, is explained by לכּהנים which follows. The extent of this holy terumah on all four sides is then given; and lastly, the command is repeated, that the sanctuary of Jehovah is to be in the centre of it. In Ezekiel 48:11, המקדּשׁ is rendered in the plural by the lxx, Chald. and Syr., and is taken in a distributive sense by Kimchi and others: to the priests whoever is sanctified of the sons of Zadok. This is required by the position of the participle between לכּהנים and מבּני צדוק (compare 2 Chronicles 26:18, and for the singular of the participle after a previous plural, Psalm 8:9). The other rendering, "for the priests is it sanctified, those of the sons of Zadok," is at variance not only with the position of the words, but also with the fact, namely, that the assignment to the priests of a heave set apart for Jehovah is never designated as קדּשׁ, and from the nature of the case could not be so designated. The apodosis to Ezekiel 48:11 follows in Ezekiel 48:12, where לכּהנים is resumed in להם. תּרוּמיּה is an adjective formation derived from תּרוּמה, with the signification of an abstract: that which is lifted (the lifting) from the heave, as it were "a terumah in the second potency" (for these formations, see Ewald, 164 and 165). This terumiyah is called most holy, in contrast with the Levites' portion of the terumah, which was קדשׁ (Ezekiel 48:14). The priests' portion is to be beside the territory of the Levites, whether on the southern or northern side cannot be gathered from these words any more than from the definition in Ezekiel 48:13 : "and the Levites beside (parallel with) the territory of the priests." Both statements simply affirm that the portions of the priests and Levites were to lie side by side, and not to be separated by the town possession. - Ezekiel 48:13 and Ezekiel 48:14 treat of the Levites' portion: Ezekiel 48:13, of its situation and extent; Ezekiel 48:14, of its law of tenure. The seemingly tautological repetition of the measurement of the length and breadth, as "all the length and the breadth," is occasioned by the fact "that Ezekiel intends to express himself more briefly here, and not, as in Ezekiel 48:10, to take all the four points of the compass singly; in 'all the length' he embraces the two long sides of the oblong, and in '(all) the breadth' the two broad sides, and affirms that 'all the length,' i.e., of both the north and south sides, is to be twenty-five thousand rods, and 'all the breadth,' i.e., of both the east and west sides, is to be ten thousand rods" (Kliefoth). Hitzig has missed the sense, and therefore proposes to alter the text. With regard to the possession of the Levites, the instructions given in Leviticus 25:34 for the field of the Levites' cities - namely, that none of it was to be sold - are extended to the whole of the territory of the Levites: no part of it is to be alienated by sale or barter. And the character of the possession is assigned as the reason: the first-fruit of the land, i.e., the land lifted off (separated) as first-fruit, is not to pass into the possession of others, because as such it is holy to the Lord. The Chetib ya`abowr יעבור is the correct reading: to pass over, sc. to others, to non-Levites.

Ezekiel 48:15-18 treat of the city possession. As the terumah was twenty-five thousand rods in breadth (Ezekiel 48:8), after measuring off ten thousand rods in breadth for the priests and ten thousand rods in breadth for the Levites from the entire breadth, there still remain five thousand rods על, in front of, i.e., along, the long side, which was twenty-five thousand rods. This remnant was to be חל, i.e., common (not holy) land for the city (Jerusalem). למושׁב, for dwelling-places, i.e., for building dwelling-houses upon; and למגרשׁ, for open space, the precinct around the city. The city was to stand in the centre of this oblong. Ezekiel 48:16 gives the size of the city: on each of the four sides, four thousand five hundred rods (the חמשׁ, designated by the Masoretes as כתיב ולא קרי, has crept into the text through a copyist's error); and Ezekiel 48:17, the extent of the open space surrounding it: on each side two hundred and fifty rods. This gives for the city, together with the open space, a square of five thousand rods on every side; so that the city with its precinct filled the entire breadth of the space left for it, and there only remained on the east and west an open space of ten thousand rods in length and five thousand rods in breadth along the holy terumah. This is noticed in Ezekiel 48:18; its produce was to serve for bread, i.e., for maintenance, for the labourers of the city (the masculine suffix in תּבוּאתה refers grammatically to הנּותר). By עבדי העיר Hitzig would understand the inhabitants of the city, because one cultivates a piece of land even by dwelling on it. But this use of עבד cannot be established. Nor are עבדי העיר the workmen employed in building the city, as Gesenius, Hvernick, and others suppose; for the city was not perpetually being built, so that there should be any necessity for setting apart a particular piece of land for the builders; but they are the working men of the city, the labouring class living in the city. They are not to be without possession in the future Jerusalem, but are to receive a possession in land for their maintenance. We are told in Ezekiel 48:19 who these workmen are. Here העבד is used collectively: as for the labouring class of the city, people out of all the tribes of Israel shall work upon the land belonging to the city. The suffix in יעבדוּהוּ points back to הנּותר. The transitive explanation, to employ a person in work, has nothing in the language to confirm it. The fact itself is in harmony with the statement in Ezekiel 45:6, that the city was to belong to all Israel. Lastly, in Ezekiel 48:20 the dimensions of the whole terumah, and the relation of the city possession to the holy terumah, are given. כּל־התּרוּמה is the whole heave, so far as it has hitherto been described, embracing the property of the priests, of the Levites, and of the city. In this extent it is twenty-five thousand rods long and the same broad. If, however, we add the property of the prince, which is not treated of till Ezekiel 48:21-23, it is considerably longer, and reaches, as has been stated in Ezekiel 48:8, to the boundaries of the land both on the east and west, the Jordan and the Mediterranean Sea, as the several tribe-territories do. But if we omit the prince's land, the space set apart fro the city possession occupied the fourth part of the holy terumah, i.e., of the portion of the priests and Levites. This is the meaning of the second half of Ezekiel 48:20, which literally reads thus: "to a fourth shall ye lift off the holy terumah for the city possession." This is not to be understood as meaning that a fourth was to be taken from the holy terumah for the city possession; for that would yield an incorrect proportion, as the twenty thousand rods in breadth would be reduced to fifteen thousand rods by the subtraction of the fourth part, which would be opposed to Ezekiel 48:9 and Ezekiel 48:15. The meaning is rather the following: from the whole terumah the fourth part of the area of the holy terumah is to be taken off for the city possession, i.e., five thousand rods for twenty thousand. According to Ezekiel 48:15, this was the size of the domain set apart for the city.

In Ezekiel 48:21-23 the situation and extent of the prince's possession are described. For Ezekiel 48:21, vid., Ezekiel 45:7. הנּותר, the rest of the terumah, as it has been defined in Ezekiel 48:8, reaching in length from the Jordan to the Mediterranean. As the holy terumah and the city possession were only twenty-five thousand rods in length, and did not reach to the Jordan on the east, or to the sea on the west, there still remained an area on either side whose length or extent toward the east and west is not given in rods, but may be calculated from the proportion which the intervening terumah bore to the length of the land (from east to west). אל־פּני and על־פּני, in front of, or along, the front of the twenty-five thousand rods, refer to the eastern and western boundaries of the terumah, which was twenty-five thousand rods in length. In Ezekiel 48:21 the statement is repeated, that the holy terumah and the sanctuary were to lie in the centre of it, i.e., between the portions of land appointed for the prince on either side; and lastly, in Ezekiel 48:22 it is still further stated, with regard to the prince's land on both sides of the terumah, that it was to lie between the adjoining tribe-territories of Judah (to the north) and Benjamin (to the south), so that it was to be bounded by these two. But this is expressed in a heavy and therefore obscure manner. The words בּתוך אשׁר לנשׂיא יהיה, "in the centre of that which belongs to the prince," belong to העיר... וּמאחזּת, and form together with the latter the subject, which is written absolutely; so that מן is not used in a partitive, but in a local sense (from), and the whole is to be rendered thus: And as for that which lies on the side of the possession of the Levites, and of the possession of the city in the centre of what belongs to the prince, (that which lies) between the territory of Judah and the territory of Benjamin shall belong to the prince. Hitzig's explanation - what remains between Judah and Benjamin, from the city territory to the priests' domain, both inclusive, shall belong to the prince - is arbitrary, and perverts the sense. The periphrastic designation of the terumah bounded off between the prince's land by the two portions named together without a copula, viz., "possession of the Levites and possession of the city," is worthy of notice. This periphrasis of the whole by two portions, shows that the portions named formed the boundaries of the whole, that the third portion, which is not mentioned, was enclosed within the two, so that the priests' portion with the sanctuary lay between them. - In Ezekiel 48:23-27 the rest of the tribes located to the south of the terumah are mentioned in order; and in Ezekiel 48:28 and Ezekiel 48:29 the account of the division of the land is brought to a close with a repetition of the statement as to the southern boundary (cf. Ezekiel 47:19), and a comprehensive concluding formula.

If now we attempt, in order to form a clear idea of the relation in which this prophetic division of the land stands to the actual size of Canaan according to the boundaries described in Ezekiel 47:15., to determine the length and breadth of the terumah given here by their geographical dimensions, twenty-five thousand rods, according to the metrological calculations of Boeckh and Bertheau, would be 1070 geographical miles, or, according to the estimate of the Hebrew cubit by Thenius, only 975 geographical miles.

(Note: According to Boeckh, one sacred cubit was equal to 234-1/3 Paris lines equals 528.62 millimtres; according to Thenius equals 214-1/2 P. l. equals 481.62 millim. Now as one geographical mile, the 5400th part of the circumference of the globe, which is 40,000,000 metres, is equivalent to 7407.398 metres equals 22, 803.290 old Paris feet, the geographical mile according to Boeckh is 14, 012-1/10 cubits equals 2335-1/2 rods (sacred measure); according to Thenius, 15, 380-1/6 cubits equals 2563-1/3 roads (s. m.), from which the numbers given in the text may easily be calculated.)

The extent of Canaan from Beersheba, or Kadesh, up to a line running across from Rs esh-Shukah to the spring El Lebweh, is 3 1/3 degrees, i.e., fifty geographical miles, ten of which are occupied by the terumah, and forty remain for the twelve tribe-territories, so that each tribe-lot would be 3 1/3 geographical miles in breadth. If, now, we reckon three geographical miles as the breadth of each of the five tribe-lots to the south of the terumah, and as the land becomes broader toward the south a breadth of 3-4/7 geographical miles for the seven tribe-lots to the north, the terumah set apart in the centre of the land would extend from the site of Jerusalem to Dothan or Jenin. If, however, we take into consideration the breadth of the land from east to west in the neighbourhood of Jerusalem, or where the Jordan enters the Dead Sea, Canaan is eleven geographical miles in breadth, whereas at Jenin it is hardly ten geographical miles broad. If, therefore, the length of the terumah (from east to west) was fully ten geographical miles, there would only remain a piece of land of half a mile in breadth on the east and west at the southern boundary, and nothing at all at the northern, for prince's land. We have therefore given to the terumah upon the map (Plate IV) the length and breadth of eight geographical miles, which leaves a tract of two miles on the average for the prince's land, so that it would occupy a fifth of the area of the holy terumah, whereas the city possession covered a fourth. No doubt the breadth of the terumah from south to north is also diminished thereby, so that it cannot have reached quite down to Jerusalem or quite up to Jenin. - If, now, we consider that the distances of places, and therefore also the measurements of a land in length and breadth, are greater in reality than those given upon the map, on account partly of the mountains and valleys and partly of the windings of the roads, and, still further, that our calculations of the Hebrew cubit are not quite certain, and that even the smaller estimates of Thenius are possibly still too high, the measurements of the terumah given by Ezekiel correspond as exactly to the actual size of the land of Canaan as could be expected with a knowledge of its extent obtained not by trigonometrical measurement, but from a simple calculation of the length of the roads. - But this furnishes a confirmation by no means slight of our assumption, that the lengths and breadths indicated here are measured by rods and not by cubits. Reckoned by cubits, the terumah would be only a mile and a half or a mile and two-thirds in length and breadth, and the city possession would be only a third of a mile broad; whereas the prince's land would be more than six times as larg

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