So shall you divide this land to you according to the tribes of Israel.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Numbers 34:4) commences with "Tamar," probably a village near the southern end of the Dead Sea. The word means "palm-tree;" and is given to more than one city in the holy land.This land, now bounded.
According to the tribes of Israel; into twelve parts or tribes, to which all, but what is allotted to prince, priests, Levites, and the city. This, as holy, must be reserved; and when reserved, a very fair portion is left to the twelve tribes, if you measure the holy portion by cubits, and not by reeds.
according to the tribes of Israel; See Gill on Ezekiel 47:13.So shall ye divide this land unto you according to the tribes of Israel.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)21–23. The land so bounded shall be divided equally among the tribes; and strangers sojourning in Israel shall inherit just as those born in the land. The stranger shall have his inheritance among the members of the tribe in which he sojourns.Verses 21-23. - The geographical boundaries of the land having been indicated, general directions are furnished as to the manner of its distribution.
(1) It should be partitioned among the tribes as tribes rather than among the families of Israel (see on ver. 13).
(2) The division of the territory should be made by lot. This is pointed to by the use of חָלַק (from חֵלֶק, "a smooth stone"), which signifies "to divide by lot."
(3) The strangers who should sojourn amongst the tribes and beget children amongst them should inherit equally with Israelites who should be born in the country.
(4) The inheritance of the stranger should be assigned him in the tribe where he sojourned. Of these regulations the last two were an advance on the earlier Mosaic legislation with regard to "strangers," or גֵּרִים, who were to be treated with affectionate kindness (Exodus 22:21; Exodus 23:9; Leviticus 19:34; Deuteronomy 1:16; Deuteronomy 24:14), admitted to offer sacrifice (Leviticus 17:8, 10, 13), and even allowed to partake of the Passover on submitting to circumcision (Exodus 12:48), but on no account permitted to hold property in land (Leviticus 25:47-55). But if the priest-code was later than Ezekiel, why should it have receded from the freer and more liberal spirit of Ezekiel? If progressive development can determine the relative ages of two documents, then Ezekiel, which accords equal rights to Jew and Gentile in the new Israel, and thus anticipates that breaking down of the middle wall of partition which has taken place under the gospel (John 10:16; Romans 2:10, 11; Romans 9:24; Galatians 3:8-14, 28; Ephesians 2:14-16), should be posterior to the priest-code, which shows itself to be not yet emancipated from the trammels of Jewish exclusivism. At the same time, Ezekiel's Torah does not grant equal rights with native-born Israelites to "strangers" indiscriminately, or only to those of them who should have families, as Hitzig suggests, in reward for their increasing the population, but to such of them as should permanently settle in the midst of Israel, and show this by begetting children, and in this manner "building houses" for themselves. Kliefoth justly cautions against concluding from the prophet's statement that the time in which the prophet's vision realizes itself will necessarily be one in which marrying and begetting children will take place; and with equal justice points out that the number of Israel, especially when swelled up by an influx of Gentiles, will be so great (comp. ver. 10) as to render their settlement within the narrow boundaries of the land an impossibility - in this circumstance finding another indication that the prophet's language was intended to be symbolically, not literally, interpreted. NOTE. - On the boundaries of the land. Smend thinks
(1) that in respect of the north boundary, Ezekiel and the priest-code contradict the older source of the Pentateuch, which does not permit the territory of Asher to extend so far north as Hamath (see Joshua 19:24-31; and comp. Judges 1:31);
(2) that never at any time did Israelites dwell so far north as at the entering in of Hamath;
(3) that this extension of the land northwards was intended as a compensation for the withdrawment of the territory east of the Jordan; and
(4) that in dividing among tribes rather than among families Ezekiel deviates from both the Jehovistic tradition and the priest-code. But
(1) if the above-cited passages do not extend Asher's territory beyond Tyre, Genesis 15:18, which critics assign to the Elohist, one of the authors of J.E., the so-called prophetical narrative of the Hexateuch, and Exodus 23:31, which, according to the same authorities, formed part of the commonly styled book of the covenant, expressly mention the great river Euphrates as the north boundary of the land, while the same is recognized by the Deuteronomist (Deuteronomy 11:24; 19:8).
(2) 1 Kings 4:24; 1 Kings 8:65; and 2 Kings 14:25 (comp. 2 Chronicles 7:8; 2 Chronicles 8:3, 4) show that in the time of Solomon the boundaries of the land reached as far north as Hamath.
(3) As it was not originally contemplated by the Mosaic distribution to take immediate possession of the east Jordan land (Numbers 34:10-12), and this was only granted to Reuben, Gad, and half Manasseh on their entreaty (Numbers 32:33-42), no ground existed why its withdrawal should be compensated for.
(4) If Ezekiers division of the land according to tribes rather than families shows that it existed prior to the priest-code, then the same argument should demonstrate its prior existence to J.E., which throughout as-stones the principle of division according to families.
(5) If Ezekiel preceded the priest-code, it will require some explanation to understand, first, why the author of the latter should have followed the comparatively uncertain Jehovistic tradition rather than the definite arrangements made by a prophet whom he regarded as practically the originator of his faith; and secondly, why he should have so materially altered that prophet's land-boundaries and tribe-dispositions.
Ezekiel 43:1. And he led me to the gate, the gate which looked toward the east: Ezekiel 43:2. And behold the glory of the God of Israel came from the east, and its sound was like the sound of many waters, and the earth shone with His glory. Ezekiel 43:3. And the appearance which I saw, was to look at like the appearance which I saw when I came to destroy the city; and (there were) appearances like the appearance which I had seen by the river Chebar; and I fell down upon my face. Ezekiel 43:4. And the glory of Jehovah came into the house by the way of the gate, the direction of which is toward the east. Ezekiel 43:5. And wind lifted me up and brought me into the inner court; and, behold, the glory of Jehovah filled the house. Ezekiel 43:6. And I heard one speaking to me from the house, and there was a man standing by me. Ezekiel 43:7. And he said to me, Son of man, the place of my throne and the place of the soles of my feet, where I shall dwell in the midst of the sons of Israel for ever; and the house of Israel will no more defile my holy name, they and their kings, through their whoredom and through the corpses of their kings, their high places, Ezekiel 43:8. When they set their threshold by my threshold, and their door-posts by my door-posts, and there was only the wall between me and them, and they defiled my holy name by their abominations which they did, so that I destroyed them in my wrath. Ezekiel 43:9. Now will they remove their whoredom and the corpses of their kings from me, and I shall dwell in the midst of them for ever. Ezekiel 43:10. Thou, son of man, show to the house of Israel this house, that they may be ashamed of their iniquities, and may measure the well-measured building. Ezekiel 43:11. And when they are ashamed of all that they have done, show them the picture of the house and its arrangement, and its goings out and in, and all its forms and all its statutes, and all its forms and all its laws; and write it before their eyes, that they may keep all its form and all its statutes and do them. Ezekiel 43:12. This is the law of the house: Upon the top of the mountain all its territory round about is most holy. Behold, this is the law of the house. - The angel had shown the prophet the new sanctuary as already completed, and had measured it in his presence according to its several parts. But this building only became the house of God when Jehovah as the God of Israel consecrated it, to be the dwelling-place of His divine and gracious presence in the midst of His people, by the entrance of His divine glory into the house.
(Note: "The Lord appears, and fills the house with His own glory; showing that the house will not only be built, but will be filled with the power of God" (Theodoret).)
The description of the new temple closes, therefore, with this act of consecration. That the prophet might see this act of divine grace with his own eyes, the measuring man led him from the ground surrounding the temple (Ezekiel 42:15-20) back again to the east gate (Ezekiel 43:1). The allusion is to the eastern gate of the outer court; for it is not till Ezekiel 43:5 that Ezekiel is taken into the inner court, and, according to Ezekiel 44:1, he was brought back to the east gate of the outer court. Standing in front of this gate, he sees the glory of the God of Israel come by the way from the east with a great noise, and lighting up the earth with its splendour. The coming of the theophany from the east points back to Ezekiel 10:19; Ezekiel 11:1 and Ezekiel 11:23, where the Shechinah, when leaving the ancient temple, went out at the east gate and ascended to the summit of the mountain, which was situated on the east of Jerusalem. It was from the east, therefore, that it returned to enter the new temple. This fact is sufficient of itself to show that the present entrance of the divine glory into the new temple did not lay the foundation for a new and more exalted bond of grace, but was simply intended to restore the relation which had existed before the removal of Israel into captivity. The tabernacle and Solomon's temple had both been consecrated by Jehovah in the same manner as the seat of His throne of grace in Israel (compare Exodus 40:34-35; 1 Kings 8:10-11; and 2 Chronicles 5:13-14, and 2 Chronicles 7:1-3, from which the expression את־בּית in Ezekiel 43:5 has been borrowed). It is true that Hvernick, Kliefoth, and others find, along with this agreement, a difference in the fact that the glory of Jehovah appeared in the cloud in both the tabernacle and Solomon's temple; whereas here, on the contrary, it appeared in that peculiar form which Ezekiel had already repeatedly seen. But it does not follow that there was really a difference, because the cloud is not mentioned in the verses before us; for it is evident that the cloud was not wanting, even in the manifestation of the glory of God seen by Ezekiel, from the words found in Ezekiel 10:3 : "The cloud filled the inner court, and the glory of Jehovah had risen up from the cherubim to the threshold of the house, and the house was filled with the cloud, and the court was full of the splendour of the glory of Jehovah." If, therefore, it is expressly attested in Ezekiel 43:3, as even Kliefoth admits, that the appearance of God which entered the temple as like the appearance which Ezekiel saw by the Chaboras and before the destruction of the temple, and in connection with the last-mentioned appearance the cloud was visible along with the brilliant splendour of the divine doxa, the cloud will certainly not have been wanting when it entered the new temple; and the only reason why it is not expressly mentioned must be, that it did not present a contrast to the brilliant splendour, or tend to obscure the light of the glory of God, but as a shining cloud was simply the atmospheric clothing of the theophany.
If, then, the cloud did not present a contrast to the brilliancy of the divine glory, it cannot be inferred from the words, "and the earth shone with His glory," that there was any difference between this and the earlier manifestations of the divine glory at the consecration of the tabernacle and Solomon's temple; more especially as these words to not affirm that it became light on earth, but simply that the earth shone with the glory God, - that is to say, that it threw a bright light upon the earth as it passed along, - so that this remark simply serves to indicate the intensity of the brightness of this theophany. The words 'קולו כקול are not to be understood, as we may learn from Ezekiel 1:24, as referring to a voice of the coming God, but describe the loud noise made by the moving of the theophany on account of the rustling of the wings of the cherubim. This resembled the roaring of mighty waves. In Ezekiel 43:3, the expression וּכּמראה המּראה ...כּמּראה is somewhat heavy in style, but is correct Hebrew; and the remark with which Hitzig seeks to justify his alteration of וכמראה into ומראה, - namely, that כמראה "would signify 'so the appearance,' whereas Ezekiel intends to explain the present appearance from the well-known earlier one," - is false so far as the usage of the language is concerned. When the Hebrew uses two כּ in cases of comparison, which we are accustomed to express in German by so...wie (so...as), he always commences with the thing to which he compares another, and lets the thing which is to be compared follow afterwards. Thus, for example, in Genesis 18:25, והיה does not affirm that it happens as to the righteous so to the wicked, but vice versג, that it happens to the righteous as to the wicked; and in Genesis 44:18, כּי כמוך does not mean, for like thee so is Pharaoh, but "for thou art like Pharaoh." According to this genuine Hebrew expression, the present appearance of the divine glory is mentioned first in the verse before us, and then in the earlier one which the present resembled. And even the apparent pleonasm מראה המּראה vanishes if we render מראה by "look," - the look of the apparition which I saw was just like the apparition, etc. 'כּבאי לשׁחת וגו refers to the ecstatic transportation of the prophet to Jerusalem (Ezekiel 8-11), to witness the destruction of the city (see more particularly Ezekiel 8:4; Ezekiel 9:1.). "The prophet destroyed the city ideally by his prophecy, of which the fulfilment simply forms the objective reverse side" (Hitzig). וּמראות is appended in loose apposition, - there were appearances, visions, - and the plural is to be taken as in מראות אלהים in Ezekiel 1:1; Ezekiel 40:2. For what follows, compare Ezekiel 3:23; Ezekiel 10:15. For Ezekiel 43:5, compare Ezekiel 3:14; Ezekiel 11:24.
In Ezekiel 43:6 and Ezekiel 43:7 the question arises, who it is who is speaking to the prophet; whether it is Jehovah, who has entered the temple, or the man who is standing by Ezekiel in the inner court? There can be no doubt that מדּבּר is Jehovah here, as in Ezekiel 2:2; though the commentators are divided in opinion whether Jehovah spoke directly to the prophet, or through the medium of the man who stood by his side. Hvernick presses the Hithpael מדּבּר, and imagines that Ezekiel heard God conversing within the sanctuary, in consequence of which the angel stood by his side; so that the words of God consisted chiefly in the command to communicate to Ezekiel the divine revelation which follows in Ezekiel 43:7. But this view is proved to be erroneous by the expression אלי which follows מדּבּר, and which Hvernick has overlooked. Kliefoth, on the other hand, is of opinion that the words contained in Ezekiel 43:7, which proceeded from the מדּבּר, were addressed to the prophet directly by God Himself; for he heard them before anything was said by the man, and neither here nor in what follows is the man said to have spoken. On the contrary, both here and in what follows, even in Ezekiel 46:20,Ezekiel 46:24; Ezekiel 47:6-7, it is always God Himself who appears as the speaker, and the man simply as the prophet's guide. But this is also not correct. Such passages as Ezekiel 46:20 and Ezekiel 46:24 compared with Ezekiel 43:19 and Ezekiel 43:21, and Ezekiel 47:6, Ezekiel 47:8, compared with Ezekiel 43:1 and Ezekiel 43:4, show undeniably that the man who conducted the prophet also talked with him. Consequently, in the case referred to in the verse before us, we must also conclude that he who spoke to the prophet from the temple addressed him through the medium of the man who stood by his side, and that אישׁ is the subject to ויּאמר in Ezekiel 43:7; from which, however, it by no means follows that the מדּבּר was also an angel, who spoke to the prophet, not from the most holy place, but simply from within the house, as Hitzig explains the matter. The meaning is rather, that Ezekiel heard God conversing with him from the sanctuary, whilst a man, i.e., an angel, stood by his side and spoke to him as follows. אישׁ is in that case not some angel merely who spoke in the name of Jehovah, but the angel of Jehovah, God's own speaker, ὁ λόγος τοῦ Θεοῦ (John 1:1.). But according to his outward habitus, this angel of the Lord, who is designated as אישׁ, is identical with the angel who showed the prophet the temple, and measured it (Ezekiel 40:3 onwards). For according to Ezekiel 47:1. this אישׁ had also a measuring rod, and measured. The absence of the article from אישׁ in Ezekiel 43:6, which prevents Kliefoth from admitting this identity, does not indicate decidedly that a different man from the one mentioned before is introduced here as the prophet's attendant, but simply leaves the identity of this אישׁ with the former indefinite, so that it can only be inferred from the further course of events; because the point of importance here was neither to establish this identity by employing the article, nor to define the medium of the word of God more precisely, but simply to introduce the words which follow as the words of God Himself. The address commences with an explanation on the part of God that the temple into which the glory of the Lord had entered was the place of His throne, where He would dwell for ever among the sons of Israel. The את־מקום is a concise expression, in which את is nota accus., and we have to supply in thought either ראה or הנּה: "behold the place." מקום כּפּות רגלי, the place of the soles of my feet (cf. Isaiah 60:13), is equivalent to the footstool of my feet in Isaiah 66:1. The ark of the covenant is called the footstool of God in 1 Chronicles 28:2 and Psalm 132:7; compare Psalm 99:5 and Lamentations 2:1, where this epithet may possibly be used to designate the temple. This also applies to the throne of Jehovah, since God was enthroned above the cherubim of the ark in the holy of holies (cf. Exodus 25:22; 1 Samuel 4:4, etc.). In the sanctuary which Ezekiel saw, no reference is made to the ark of the covenant, and the silence with regard to this is hardly to be regarded as a mere omission to mention it, inasmuch as none of the things contained in the temple are mentioned with the exception of the altars, not even the table of shew-bread or the candlestick. The ark of the covenant is not mentioned, because, as is stated in Jeremiah 3:16, in the Messianic times the ark of the covenant will not be remembered, neither will it be missed.
לעולם, as in Ezekiel 37:26 and Ezekiel 37:28. The promise culminates in this. לעולם does not apply either to the tabernacle or to Solomon's temple, in which Jehovah also had His dwelling-place, though not for ever. These sanctuaries He left, and gave them up to destruction, because the Israelites had profaned His holy name by their idolatry. This will not take place any more after the erection of the new sanctuary. לא יטמּאוּ is not imperative, but a simple future: "they will no more defiled," because they come to a knowledge of their sins through the punitive judgment of exile, so that they become ashamed of them, and because the Lord will have poured out His Spirit upon them (cf. Ezekiel 37:23., Ezekiel 39:29). - Formerly, however (Ezekiel 43:7), they profaned the holy name of God by their spiritual whoredom (cf. Ezekiel 16) and by dead idols, for which they erected high places in the immediate neighbourhood of the dwelling-place of Jehovah, that is to say, even in the temple courts, so that Jehovah was only separated from the idols by a wall. This is the general meaning of Ezekiel 43:7 and Ezekiel 43:8, in which the exposition of פּגרי is difficulty. Rosenmller, Hהvernick, and others understand by the "corpses of their kings," the dead idols. Ewald, Hitzig, and Kliefoth, on the other hand, take the expression in a literal sense, as referring to the corpses of kings which had been buried near to the temple, so that the temple had been defiled by the proximity of these graves. But the latter view is precluded by the fact that not a single instance can be adduced of the burial of a king in the vicinity of the temple, since Nehemiah 3:15 contains no allusion to anything of the kind, and the tombs of the kings upon Zion were not so near to the temple that it could possibly be defiled in consequence. Moreover, בּמותם cannot be reconciled with this view; and for that reason Ewald and Hitzig propose to read בּמותם, "in their death." The attempt of Kliefoth, however, to defend the reading בּמותם, by taking it as in apposition to בּזנוּתם and not to וּבפּגרי מלכיהם, is a desperate remedy, which clearly shows the impossibility of connecting בּמותם with the "corpses of the kings." We therefore understand by פּגרי the dead idols, in accordance with Leviticus 26:30 (cf. Jeremiah 16:18); but by מלכיהם we understand, not the idols, but the Israelitish kings, as in the case of the preceding מלכיהם; partly because it cannot be shown that the plural מלכים is ever used in the sense of idols (though the singular מלכּם is used of Baal in Zephaniah 1:5 and Amos 5:26), and partly on account of the harshness involved in interpreting the two מלכיהם when standing so close together, in the first instance of the kings, and in the second of the idols of Israel. The corpses of the kings are therefore the dead idols, for which the kings (for example, Manasseh) had built altars or high places (בּמות) in the sanctuary, i.e., in the courts of the temple (2 Kings 21:4-7). The objection that פּגרים without anything further, such, for instance, as גּלּוּלים sa ,ecnatsni rof ,hcus in Leviticus 26:30, cannot signify the dead idols, will not bear examination, as the more precise definition which is wanting is supplied by the context, where idolatry is the point in question. בּמותם without the preposition ב is a loosely attached apposition to בּפּגרי מלכיהם and בּזנוּתם, which defines more precisely in what way the whoredom of the nation and the dead idols of the kings had amounted to a defiling of the house of the Lord, namely, from the fact that the people and the kings had erected temples of high places (bâmoth) for dead idols by the side of the temple of the living God, and had placed them so close that the threshold and door-posts of these idol-temples touched the threshold and door-posts of the temple of Jehovah, and there was nothing but the wall of the temple (הקיר) between Jehovah and the carcase-gods. בּמותם is explained in this way in Ezekiel 43:8, and then the defiling of the holy name of the Lord is mentioned again for the purpose of appending, by means of ואכל (imperf. Piel of כלה), the allusion to the penal judgment which they had thereby brought upon themselves. Ezekiel 43:9. Such profanation as this will not take place any more in time to come, and Jehovah will dwell for ever in the midst of Israel.
To lead Israel to this goal, Ezekiel is to show them the house (i.e., the temple). In this way are the further words of God in Ezekiel 43:10-12 attached to what goes before. הגּיד את־הבּית, show or make known the house, is equivalent to proclaim to the people the revelation concerning the new temple. In this were the Israelites to discern the magnitude of the grace of God, that they might blush at their evil deeds, and measure the well-measured building (תּכנית, as in Ezekiel 28:12), i.e., carefully consider and ponder what the Lord had bestowed upon His people through this sanctuary, so that they might suffer themselves to be brought to repentance by means of its glory. And if they felt shame and repentance on account of their transgressions, Ezekiel was to show them the shape and arrangement of the sanctuary, with all its forms and ordinances, an write them out before their eyes, that they might have the picture of it impressed upon their minds, and keep the statutes thereof. In Ezekiel 43:11 the words are crowded together, to indicate that all the several parts and arrangements of the new temple are significant and worthy of being pondered and laid to heart. צוּרה is the shape of the temple generally, its external form; תּכוּנה, the internal arrangement as a whole. Both of these are noticed specifically by the allusion to the goings out and in, as well as to the forms (צוּרות) of the separate parts, and their statutes and laws. חקּות are the precepts concerning the things to be observed by Israel when appearing before the Lord in the temple, the regulations for divine worship. תּורות, the instructions contained in these statutes for sanctification of life. The second וכל־צוּרתו is omitted in the lxx and some of the Hebrew Codd., and has therefore been expunged as a gloss by Dathe, Hitzig, and other critics; but it is undoubtedly genuine, and in conformity with the intentional crowding together of words. - The admonition to keep and to observe everything carefully is closed in Ezekiel 43:12 with a statement of the fundamental law of the temple; that upon the lofty mountain the whole of its domain round about is to be most holy. על־ראשׁ ההר does not belong to הבּית ot g in the sense of the house which is to be built upon the top of the mountain, but to the contents of the thorâh of this house. It is to stand upon the top of the mountain, and to be most holy in all its domain. ראשׁ ההר is to be understood in accordance with Ezekiel 40:2; and גּבלו points back to הבּית. Both by its situation upon a very high mountain, and also by the fact that not merely the inner sanctuary, and not merely the whole of the temple house, but also the whole of its surroundings (all its courts), are to be most holy, the new sanctuary is to be distinguished from the earlier one. What has been already stated - namely, that the temple shall not be profaned any more - is compressed into this clause; and by the repetition of the words, "this is the law of the house,"' the first section of this vision, viz., the description of the temple, is rounded off; whilst the command given to the prophet in Ezekiel 43:10 and Ezekiel 43:11, to make known all the statutes and laws of this temple to the house of Israel, forms at the same time the transition to the section which follows.
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