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Bible Commentaries

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Ezekiel 47

 

 

Verse 1

Ezekiel 47:1 Afterward he brought me again unto the door of the house; and, behold, waters issued out from under the threshold of the house eastward: for the forefront of the house [stood toward] the east, and the waters came down from under from the right side of the house, at the south [side] of the altar.

Ver. 1. Afterward he brought.] Christus mystagogus me duxit. Yεω επου, Follow God whithersoever he leadeth thee; this was an ancient rule among the heathens. Christo ducente et docente.

And, behold, waters issued out,] i.e., The gospel of grace, and the gifts of the Holy Ghost thereby conveyed into the hearts of believers, and poured out upon the world by the death of Christ. The prophet seems to allude to those waters, which by conduits were conveyed to the altar to wash away the blood of the sacrifices and filth of the temple, which else would have been very offensive and noisome. See the like in Zechariah 14:8, where the eastern and western Churches also are pointed out. See Revelation 22:1.

From under the threshold.] Quod gloria Dei dudum triverat. (a) Christ is that door, [John 10:7] and fountain of living water. [Jeremiah 2:13 Isaiah 12:3; Isaiah 55:1] And from the temple at Jerusalem flowed forth the waters of saving truth to all nations; and first eastward, not Romeward, though the faith of the Romans was not long after spoken of throughout the whole world. [Romans 1:8]


Verse 2

Ezekiel 47:2 Then brought he me out of the way of the gate northward, and led me about the way without unto the utter gate by the way that looketh eastward; and, behold, there ran out waters on the right side.

Ver. 2. And, behold, there ran out waters.] As out of a vial.

On the right side.] The right side is a place of honour and defence. The doctrine of the gospel hath the pre-eminence, and is maintained by the right hand of God against all opposites.


Verse 3

Ezekiel 47:3 And when the man that had the line in his hand went forth eastward, he measured a thousand cubits, and he brought me through the waters; the waters [were] to the ankles.

Ver. 3. And when the man that had the line in his hand.] The man Christ Jesus, the sole architect of his Church, and measurer of his gospel; and that by his gospel, which is the line in his hand, nec solum recta, sed et regula, not only by riht but also by rule.

He measured a thousand cubits.] It was not for nothing that Plato said, O Yεος αιει γαωμετρει, God is always measuring the world.

The waters were to the ankles.] Grace is but a small thing at first; no more is the gospel. [Matthew 13:31-33] The Church were at first but a very few, [Acts 1:15] that is, one hundred and twenty, of all the great multitudes which had formerly followed Jesus: Sed vix diligitur Iesus propter Iesum. It was more for the loaves than any great love that the most followed him.


Verse 4

Ezekiel 47:4 Again he measured a thousand, and brought me through the waters; the waters [were] to the knees. Again he measured a thousand, and brought me through; the waters [were] to the loins.

Ver. 4. Again he measured a thousand.] This is a number of perfection. The gospel is a perfect doctrine, and is "able to make the man of God perfect, thoroughly furnished (or perfected) unto all good works." [2 Timothy 3:17]

The waters were to the knees.] Grace grows by degrees; and the Scriptures have their shallows wherein the lamb may wade, like as they have their profundities wherein the elephant himself may swim. Augustine (a) condemned the Holy Scriptures at first, as neither eloquent nor deep enough for the elevation of his wit. But afterwards, (b) when he was both a better and a wiser man, he saw his own shallowness, and admired the never enough adored depth of God’s holy oracles.


Verse 5

Ezekiel 47:5 Afterward he measured a thousand; [and it was] a river that I could not pass over: for the waters were risen, waters to swim in, a river that could not be passed over.

Ver. 5. A river that could not be passed over.] Representing, as the fathomless depth of the Scriptures - which is such as that we may well do by it as the Romans did by a lake, the depth whereof they could not sound, they dedicated it to Victory - so the abundance of spiritual graces in the Church, the love of Christ which passeth all knowledge, [Ephesians 3:19] the over abounding goodness of God, [1 Timothy 1:14] the super pleonasm of it, as the apostle hath it there. Oh, saith Chrysostom, speaking of this subject, I am like a man digging in a deep spring: I stand here, and the water riseth upon me; and I stand there, and still the water riseth upon me. It is indeed a sea that hath neither bank nor bottom.


Verse 6

Ezekiel 47:6 And he said unto me, Son of man, hast thou seen [this]? Then he brought me, and caused me to return to the brink of the river.

Ver. 6. Son of man, hast thou seen this?] And art thou soundly sensible thereof? It is very fit thou shouldst, that God may have the glory of his great goodness and power in propagating the gospel, and bringing forward the work of his grace in the hearts of his people, maugre the malice of earth and of hell. The Reformation wrought in Germany, from how small beginnings grew it! The establishing of that among us, how imperfect soever, to be done by so weak and simple means, yea, by casual and cross means, against the force of so potent and political an adversary, this is to be looked upon as a just miracle.

To the brink of the river.] Where my work was to stand and cry, Oh the depth! Oh how great things hath God prepared for those that fear him! Oh the joy, the joy! Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, &c.


Verse 7

Ezekiel 47:7 Now when I had returned, behold, at the bank of the river [were] very many trees on the one side and on the other.

Ver. 7. Behold, at the bank of the river were very many trees.] These were trees of righteousness, fruitful Christians. Arboretum Christi est Ecclesia. The trees of Christ are the churches. See Psalms 1:3; Psalms 92:12, Isaiah 44:3-5; Isaiah 55:11-13, Jeremiah 17:8, Revelation 22:2, where and elsewhere it is easy to observe that John the Divine borroweth the elegancies and flowers of this and other prophets in his description of the Church Christian.


Verse 8

Ezekiel 47:8 Then said he unto me, These waters issue out toward the east country, and go down into the desert, and go into the sea: [which being] brought forth into the sea, the waters shall be healed.

Ver. 8. These waters issue out toward the east country.] In Galilaeam anteriorem. (a) See Acts 9:31 - the churches in Galilee, "walking in the fear of the Lord and comforts of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied."

And go down into the desert.] Or, Plain; i.e., into the plains of Moab. [Numbers 22:1] The gospel worketh upon the worst, even to a transmentation.

And go into the sea.] The Dead Sea. The law of the Spirit of life which is in Christ Jesus, freeth men from the law of sin and of death. [Romans 8:2]

The waters shall be healed,] i.e., Made wholesome and useful; so great a cure is done upon corrupt nature by the grace of the gospel. He who was before vitiorum vorago, lacus libidinum, mare sceleribus amarum ac mortuum, a lake of lusts, a guzzle of vices, a dead sea of wickedness and wretchedness, shall by a strange change become a pleasant river, pure, clear, sweet, and savoury; beset not with such mock fruit as the banks of the Dead Sea are said to be, but with trees richly laden with the choicest fruits; as was to be seen in the penitent thief, who, as soon as gospelised and converted, bestirred him and bore abundance of fruit in a very little space.


Verse 9

Ezekiel 47:9 And it shall come to pass, [that] every thing that liveth, which moveth, whithersoever the rivers shall come, shall live: and there shall be a very great multitude of fish, because these waters shall come thither: for they shall be healed; and every thing shall live whither the river cometh.

Ver. 9. Whithersoever the river shall come, shall live.] Not die immediately, as they used to do in the Dead Sea, so bituminous and sulphurous were the waters thereof; (a) but live the life of grace here, and of glory in heaven. See Zechariah 14:8, Acts 5:20.

And there shall be a very great multitude of fish,] i.e., Of Christians. See Matthew 4:19. {See Trapp on "Matthew 4:19"} Christ himself, from the initial Greek letters of his names and title, was by some of the ancients called ιχθυς, a fish. (b)

And everything shall live whither the river cometh.] The gospel is the true aqua vitoe, the true aurum potabile, the true physic for the soul, (c) as one said once concerning the library at Alexandria.


Verse 10

Ezekiel 47:10 And it shall come to pass, [that] the fishers shall stand upon it from Engedi even unto Eneglaim; they shall be a [place] to spread forth nets; their fish shall be according to their kinds, as the fish of the great sea, exceeding many.

Ver. 10. The fishers shall stand upon it.] Upon the Dead Sea, where formerly they had little enough to do. This sea is the wide world dead in sins and trespasses. [Ephesians 2:1] These fishers are Christ’s apostles and ministers, who are called fishers of men, [Matthew 4:19] and their preaching compared to fishing. [Matthew 13:47] They fish with various success, as did Peter; [Luke 5:5] but may enclose a great multitude, as he did; [Acts 2:41] and as Farellus, who gained five cities to Christ, who brought them to hand by whole shoals. Histories tell us of five hundred and eighty Jews converted to the Christian faith at Axvernum by one Avitus, a bishop, and baptized. (a)

From Engedi.] Called also Hazazontamar; [2 Chronicles 20:2] that is, the city of palms, where grew the best balsam in the world, though it were near to the Dead Sea. (b)

Even unto Eneglaim.] Which is likewise a place adjacent to the Dead Sea, where Jordan falleth into it, as Jerome testifieth.

They shall be a place to spread forth nets.] Dr Preston being asked why he preached so plainly, and did so much dilate his sermons, being of such abilities? answered, he was a fisherman. Now such, if they should wind up their net, and so cast it into the sea, they should catch nothing; but when they spread the net, they catch the fish. I spread my net, because I would catch souls, said he; and indeed he had a very happy hand at it. (c)

The fish shall be according to their kinds.] The sea, they say, hath as many kinds of living creatures as the earth hath. "There is that leviathan, and there are creeping things innumerable." [Psalms 105:1-45]


Verse 11

Ezekiel 47:11 But the miry places thereof and the marishes thereof shall not be healed; they shall be given to salt.

Ver. 11. But the miry places thereof and the marishes, shall not be healed.] Sensual souls are seldom wrought upon by the word. Behemoth (the devil) lieth in those fens and quagmires. [Job 40:21] They are void of the Spirit. [ 1:18-19] They say unto God, "Depart from us," we had rather dance to the timbrel and harp; [Job 21:11] whoredom and wine, and new wine, take away their hearts. [Hosea 4:11] He who had married a wife, or rather was married to her, sent word flat and plain he could not come; others excused themselves more mannerly. [Luke 14:18-20] Such persons choose to remain in the sordes filth of their sins, and so are miserable by their own election.

They shall be given to salt.] Delivered up to strong delusions, [1 Thessalonians 2:15-16] vile affections, [Romans 1:26] just damnation. [Revelation 22:11]


Verse 12

Ezekiel 47:12 And by the river upon the bank thereof, on this side and on that side, shall grow all trees for meat, whose leaf shall not fade, neither shall the fruit thereof be consumed: it shall bring forth new fruit according to his months, because their waters they issued out of the sanctuary: and the fruit thereof shall be for meat, and the leaf thereof for medicine.

Ver. 12. Shall grow all trees for meat.] Arbores esibiles; these are Cρηστοι, useful Christians, such as whose lips are feeding, and their tongues trees of life. [Proverbs 11:30; Proverbs 15:4] {See Trapp on "Proverbs 11:30"} {See Trapp on "Proverbs 15:4"}

Whose leaf shall not fade.] They will not fail to make a bold and wise profession of the truth. See on Psalms 1:3, Jeremiah 17:8.

Neither shall the fruit thereof be consumed.] But as the lemon tree, which ever and anon sendeth new fruits as soon as the former are fallen down with ripeness. Or as the Egyptian fig tree, which yieldeth fruit seven times a year, saith Solinus, and if you pull off one fig, another groweth up presently in the place thereof.

Because their waters they issued out of the sanctuary.] Hence their so great fruitfulness, viz., from the divine influence, [Hosea 14:8] the Word and Spirit going together. [Isaiah 59:21] Hence it is that the saints are "neither barren nor unfruitful." [2 Peter 1:8]

And the leaf thereof for medicine.] God’s people, by their holy profession of religion, do much good to many souls, as did various of the martyrs and confessors. Lucianus, an ancient martyr, persuaded many Gentries to the Christian faith by his grave countenance and modest disposition, insomuch that Maximinus, that persecuting emperor, dared not look him in the face, for fear he should turn Christian. And so Beda (a) telleth us of one Alban, who, receiving a poor persecuted Christian into his house, and seeing his holy devotion and sweet carriage, was so much affected with the same, as that he became an earnest professor of the faith, and in the end a glorious martyr for the faith. The like is recorded of Bradford, Bucer, and others.


Verse 13

Ezekiel 47:13 Thus saith the Lord GOD This [shall be] the border, whereby ye shall inherit the land according to the twelve tribes of Israel: Joseph [shall have two] portions.

Ver. 13. This shall be the border.] Here the prophet returneth again to the dividing of the land, begun Ezekiel 45:1-2, &c., having hitherto interposed many most memorable matters, and of great use to the Church.

Joseph shall have two portions.] He had so by his father’s will, and for his two sons adopted by his father.


Verse 14

Ezekiel 47:14 And ye shall inherit it, one as well as another: [concerning] the which I lifted up mine hand to give it unto your fathers: and this land shall fall unto you for inheritance.

Ver. 14. And ye shall inherit one as well as another.] Spiritual blessings are divided in solidum in gold coin among the community of God’s people; they all partake of one and the same saving grace of God, righteousness of Christ, and eternal life, though there are several degrees of grace and of glory. See Galatians 3:26-29. All God’s sons are heirs, heirs of God, and co-heirs with Christ. [Romans 8:17]


Verse 15

Ezekiel 47:15 And this [shall be] the border of the land toward the north side, from the great sea, the way of Hethlon, as men go to Zedad;

Ver. 15. And this shall be the border of the land,] i.e., Of the Christian Church, the borders whereof are here set forth as far larger than those of the land of Canaan ever were.

From the great sea.] The Mediterranean Sea.

The way of Hethlon.] From one end of the kingdom of Damascus to another.


Verse 16

Ezekiel 47:16 Hamath, Berothah, Sibraim, which [is] between the border of Damascus and the border of Hamath; Hazarhatticon, which [is] by the coast of Hauran.

Ver. 16. Hamath, Berothah, Sibraim.] Towns of Arabia Deserta. All this is to set forth the amplitude of the Christian Church, spread far and near upon the face of the whole earth, and therefore rightly called Catholic. Roman Catholic is contradictio in adiecto, for it is a particular universal


Verse 17

Ezekiel 47:17 And the border from the sea shall be Hazarenan, the border of Damascus, and the north northward, and the border of Hamath. And [this is] the north side.

Ver. 17. And the border from the sea shall be Hazarenan.] Forasmuch as the borders in this description of the land are set to be such as never were in the Israelites’ possession, the Jewish doctors are, will they nill they, forced to confess that the land of Israel in the world to come shall be larger than ever it had been. Now gospel times are called "the world to come." [Hebrews 2:5]


Verse 18

Ezekiel 47:18 And the east side ye shall measure from Hauran, and from Damascus, and from Gilead, and from the land of Israel [by] Jordan, from the border unto the east sea. And [this is] the east side.

Ver. 18. From Hauran.] A town of Arabia Deserts (Ptolemy calleth it Aurana), but Felix in this, that it is taken into the Church.


Verse 19

Ezekiel 47:19 And the south side southward, from Tamar [even] to the waters of strife [in] Kadesh, the river to the great sea. And [this is] the south side southward.

Ver. 19. From Tamar.] Hazazon Tamar, (a) which was near the sea of Sodom. [Ezekiel 47:10]

In Kadesh.] Not in Rephidim. [Exodus 17:7]


Verse 20

Ezekiel 47:20 The west side also [shall be] the great sea from the border, till a man come over against Hamath. This [is] the west side.

Ver. 20. Till a man come over against Hamath.] To that place of the great sea, from which lieth a straight way from Hamath eastward.


Verse 21

Ezekiel 47:21 So shall ye divide this land unto you according to the tribes of Israel.

Ver. 21. So shall ye divide.] Epilogus est. There is one and the same "inheritance of the saints in light."


Verse 22

Ezekiel 47:22 And it shall come to pass, [that] ye shall divide it by lot for an inheritance unto you, and to the strangers that sojourn among you, which shall beget children among you: and they shall be unto you as born in the country among the children of Israel; they shall have inheritance with you among the tribes of Israel.

Ver. 22. An inheritance unto you, and to the strangers that sojourn among you.] What can the spiteful Jews say to this? who stick not to say, that rather than the bastard Gentiles (so they call Christians) should share with them in their Messiah, they would crucify him a hundred times over and over. Under the Old Testament, though strangers lived with the children of Israel, yet they had no inheritance with them at any time, as now they are appointed to have.


Verse 23

Ezekiel 47:23 And it shall come to pass, [that] in what tribe the stranger sojourneth, there shall ye give [him] his inheritance, saith the Lord GOD.

Ver. 23. See on Ezekiel 47:22.

 


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Bibliography Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Ezekiel 47:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/ezekiel-47.html. 1865-1868.

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