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Bible Commentaries

Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible

Ezekiel 47

Verses 1-12


The Lifegiving Stream

Ezekiel was now brought in his vision to the door of the Temple proper. Here he saw a stream of water which came from beneath the threshold somewhat to the S. of the entrance, and ran eastwards, crossing the inner court on the S. of the altar, and leaving the outer court on the S. of the outer E. gate. It rapidly deepened till it became an unfordable river, with trees on both its banks. It traversed the barren region between Jerusalem and the Dead Sea, and entering the latter removed its bitterness, so that its waters, hitherto lifeless, were filled with fish. Only the salt marshes bordering the Dead Sea were unaffected by the river, as they were necessary for the supply of salt to the country. The trees on the banks of the river were evergreen and bore fruit every month. Their fruit was nourishing and their leaves medicinal. This picture probably had its origin in the fact that a small stream of water actually arose in the Temple hill, but everything in the account of Ezekiel’s river points to the greatest possible change in the physical conditions of the coming age, a change that would involve the miraculous, as no natural stream could increase in volume without tributaries. To Ezekiel this river was not a mere symbol of spiritual refreshment. The perfect kingdom, of God still presented itself to him in an earthly form, accompanied by outward fertility and other material blessings. This passage is the basis of Revelation 22:1, Revelation 22:2. For a similar, yet different, picture of physical change in the future age see Zechariah 14:8.

1. Right side] i.e. S.: so in Ezekiel 47:2.

2. Ezekiel was led from the inner court through the inner and outer N. gates, round to the outside of the outer E. gate. This was necessary, as both the inner and outer E. gates were shut.

8. East country] the wilderness of Judaea, between Jerusalem and the Dead Sea. Desert] RV ’Arabah’, the great depression of the Jordan valley and Dead Sea.

9. Rivers] should be ’river,’as in LXX.

10. Engedi.. En-eglaim] places on the shore of the Dead Sea. The situation of the latter is unknown. The great sea] the Mediterranean.

12. Be consumed] RV ’fail’, According to his months] RV ’every month’, Medicine] RV ’healing.’

Verses 1-23

§ 2. The Ordinances of the New Israel (Ezekiel 40-48)

This concluding section of the book is dated in the twenty-fifth year of Ezekiel's captivity, i.e. the fourteenth year after the fall of Jerusalem (572 b.c.). It is therefore thirteen years later than the previous section (Ezekiel 33-39), and, with the exception of Ezekiel 29:17-21, forms the latest part of the book. It is in the form of a vision, which is the counterpart of that in Ezekiel 8-11. There God forsook the old Temple which had been polluted by idolatry. Here we have a description of the Temple of the restored kingdom, of God's return to it, and of the various religious arrangements and institutions of the future. The vision is marked by great minuteness of detail, and no doubt Ezekiel had brooded long and deeply over the particulars of the Temple and its ritual. Yet, as in former cases, there is no reason to doubt that this vision was an actual experience, in which the subjects of previous reflection stood out vividly before the prophet's mind. While the material details are so minute, some features of the vision are supernatural and miraculous. The whole forms an ideal picture, which was never actually to be realised, but which strikingly embodied the conception of the abiding presence of God with His people, and of their perfect fellowship with Him.

The Plans of Ezekiel's Temple, on p. 518, are by permission of the Cambridge University Press.

Verses 13-23


The Boundaries of the Land

This passage may be compared with Numbers 34:1-12. The N. border started from a point on the Mediterranean, and ran eastward by Hamath and other places to Hazar-enon, between Damascus and the Hauran. The E. border ran southward from here, between Gilead and the land of Israel, and followed the Jordan, ending at Tamar, S. of the Dead Sea. From Tamar the S. border ran by Meriboth-kadesh to the brook of Egypt at the SE. corner of the Mediterranean. The W. border is formed by the Mediterranean (Ezekiel 47:13-21). Strangers born in the land were to share it with the Israelites (Ezekiel 47:22-23).

14. Lifted up mine hand] sware.

15, 16. Hethlon.. Zedad.. Berothah, Sibraim] are unknown localities. As men go to Zedad; Hamath] RV ’unto the entering in of Zedad, Hamath’. Hamath and Zedad have probably changed places. ’The entering in of Hamath ’was a well-known pass between Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon.

17. Hazar-enan, the border, etc.] RV ’Hazar-enon at the border’. Hazar-enon and Hazar-hatticon (Ezekiel 47:16) are probably the same.

18. Ye shall measure] should ’possibly be ’from Hazar-enon’ (see Ezekiel 47:19). From Hauran, and from Damascus] must mean ’between Hauran and Damascus’, where Hazar-enon lay (Ezekiel 47:16-17). Hauran is a district E. of the Jordan and S. of Damascus. From Gilead, and from the land of Israel] means, ’between Gilead’ (E. of the Jordan) ’and the land of Israel’ (W. of it). The east sea] the Dead Sea.

19. Tamar] unknown, but probably near the S. end of the Dead Sea.

Strife in Kadesh] RV ’Meriboth-kadesh’, Kadesh-barnea, in the wilderness on the S. of Palestine (Numbers 20:13). The river] RV ’the brook of Egypt’, the Rhmocolura or Wady-el-Arish, which enters the Mediterranean at its SE. corner.

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Bibliographical Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Ezekiel 47". "Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/dcb/ezekiel-47.html. 1909.