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Bible Commentaries

Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament

Ezekiel 48



Verses 1-29

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 (= 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, Psalms 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, Hävernick, 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 10·70 geographical miles, or, according to the estimate of the Hebrew cubit by Thenius, only 9·75 geographical miles.

(Note: According to Boeckh, one sacred cubit was equal to 234-1/3 Paris lines = 528.62 millimètres; according to Thenius = 214-1/2 P. l. = 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 = 22, 803.290 old Paris feet, the geographical mile according to Boeckh is 14, 012-1/10 cubits = 2335-1/2 rods (sacred measure); according to Thenius, 15, 380-1/6 cubits = 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 Râs 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 large as the whole of the terumah , - i.e., of the territory of the Levites, the priests, and the city, - thirteen times as large as the priests' land, and from thirty to thirty-two times as large as the city possession = proportions the improbability of which is at once apparent.

Verses 30-35

Size, Gates, and Name of the City

To complete the whole picture of the future land of Israel, what has been stated in Ezekiel 48:15 and Ezekiel 48:16 concerning the size of the holy city is still further expanded here. - Ezekiel 48:30. And these are the outgoings of the city from the north side, four thousand and five hundred (rods) measurement. Ezekiel 48:31. And the gates of the city according to the names of the tribes of Israel: three gates toward the north; the gate of Reuben one, the gate of Judah one, the gate of Levi one. Ezekiel 48:32. And on the east side four thousand five hundred (rods): and three gates; namely, the gate of Joseph one, the gate of Benjamin one, the gate of Dan one. Ezekiel 48:33. And to the south side, four thousand five hundred measurement: and three gates; the gate of Simeon one, the gate of Issachar one, the gate of Zebulon one. Ezekiel 48:34. To the west side, four thousand five hundred - their gates three; the gate of Gad one, the gate of Asher one, the gate of Naphtali one. Ezekiel 48:35. Round about, eighteen thousand (rods); and the name of the city: from henceforth Jehovah there. - The situation of the city of God within the terumah and its external dimensions have already been generally indicated in Ezekiel 48:15, Ezekiel 48:16. Here the measurement of the several sides is specified with a notice of their gates, and this is preceded by the heading, “the outlets of the city.” תּוצאת , the outgoings (not extensions, for the word never has this meaning) as the furthest extremities in which a city or a tract of land terminates; not outlets or gates, which are expressly distinguished from them, but outgoing sides; hence the definition of the extent or length of the several sides is appended immediately afterwards. The enumeration commences, as above in the case of the land, with the north side. Each side has three gates, so that the whole city has twelve, which bear the names of the twelve tribes, like the gates of the heavenly Jerusalem in Revelation 21:12, because it will be the city of the true people of God. Levi is included here, and consequently Ephraim and Manasseh are united in the one tribe of Joseph. The three sons of Leah commence the series with the northern gates. They also stand first in the blessing of Moses in Deuteronomy 33:6-8 : the first-born in age, the first-born by virtue of the patriarchal blessing, and the one chosen by Jehovah for His own service in the place of the first-born. Then follow, for the eastern gates, the two sons of Rachel, according to their age (thus deviating from Deuteronomy 33:12 and Deuteronomy 33:13), and, along with them, the elder son of Rachel's maid; for the southern gates, the three other sons of Leah; and lastly, for the western gates, the three other sons of the maids. Being thus indicated by the names of its gates as the city of all Israel, the city itself receives a name, which exalts it into the city of God (Jehovah). But different explanations have been given of the words in Ezekiel 48:35 which refer to this name. The allusion in מיום and the meaning of שׁמּה are both disputed points. It is true that the latter literally means “thither;” but Ezekiel also uses it as synonymous with שׁם , “there,” in Ezekiel 23:3 and Ezekiel 32:29-30, so that the assertion that שׁמּה never means “there” is incorrect. מיום , from day forward, equivalent to henceforward; but not henceforth and for ever, though this may be implied in the context. Whether מיום be taken in connection with the preceding words, “the name of the city will henceforward be,” or with those which follow, the name of the city will be, “henceforward Jehovah there,” makes no material difference so far as the thought is concerned, as the city can only bear the name from the time when Jehovah is שׁמּה , and can only bear it so long as Jehovah is שׁמּה . But so far as the question is concerned, whether שׁמּה signifies thither or there in this passage, Hävernick is of opinion, indeed, that the whole of Ezekiel's vision does not harmonize with the meaning “there,” inasmuch as he separates temple and city, so that Jehovah does not properly dwell in Jerusalem, but, in the strictest an highest sense, in His sanctuary, and turns thence to Jerusalem with the fulness of His grace and love. But if Jehovah does not merely direct His love toward the city from afar off, but, as Hävernick still further says, turns it fully toward it, causes His good pleasure to rest upon it, then He also rules and is in the city with His love, so that it can bear the name “Jehovah thither (there).” In any case, the interpretation, “Jehovah will from henceforth proceed thither, to restore it, to make it a holy city” (Kliefoth), is untenable; for the name is not given to Jerusalem when lying waste, but to the city already restored and fully built, which Ezekiel sees in the spirit. He has therefore before this turned His favour once more to Jerusalem, which was laid waste; and the name יהוה שׁמּה , given to the new Jerusalem, can only affirm that henceforward it is to be a city of Jehovah, i.e., that from this time forth Jehovah will be and rule in her. The rendering “Jehovah thither” does not answer to this, but only the rendering, “Jehovah will be there.” compare Isaiah 60:14, where Jerusalem is called the city of Jehovah, Zion of the Holy One in Israel, because the glory of Jehovah has risen over her as a brilliant light.


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The Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament is a derivative of a public domain electronic edition.

Bibliography Information
Keil, Carl Friedrich & Delitzsch, Franz. "Commentary on Ezekiel 48:4". 1854-1889.

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