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Bible Commentaries

Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament

Ezekiel 47

Verse 1

Eze 47:1-2. The entire book of Ezekiel was written after he was taken to Babylon at the time of Jehoiachin’s captivity. The first half of the book consists to a great extent of chastisement of Israel for the many corruptions committed by the nation. The next half is an extended prediction of the release of Israel from Babylonian captivity and the rebuilding and restitution of the ordinances of the Lord that will have gone down in national ruins. The whole document ia a mingling of literal and figurative passages and intended to encourage the unfortunate people not to lose heart because of their sad state of affairs. Many popular commentators think that the last chapters are a prediction of things to come in the age after the judgment day. Evidently this is because of the similarity of the figures used to the ones in Revelation 21, 22. There is a striking resemblance between the figures hut that Is because all of the grand provisions of God for the children of men require the finest of pictures to represent them to the human understanding. As to how far the following portions of this book should be regarded In tlie light of the present or the eternal ages, I now insist that the reader again consult the ket at the beginning of chapter 40, The present verse begins the ideal picture with the waters that issued from the house of the Lord. I do not understand that any special significance is to be attached to the directions of the flow of these waters, because so many directions and places are mentioned. It would Indicate the general greatness of the favor of God whatever that is.

Verse 3

Eze 47:3. The preceding verses indicate the widespread extent of these waters; this one begins to tell how deep they were. It reveals that for every thousand cubits or 1500 feet at the start the water was ankle deep.

Verse 4

Eze 47:4. The good things produced by man often diminish, while those from God never fail but rather do they increase. These waters were ankle deep at the start, and with each 1500 feet a great increase in depth was shown until they were waist deep.

Verse 5

Eze 47:5. This last 1500 feet brought the water to the depth that could not he waded, for it amounted to the volume of a river.

Verse 6

Eze 47:6. This paragraph is a pause in the procedure to call special attention of the prophet to the scene, also to conduct him to the bank of the river just described.

Verse 7

Eze 47:7. This verse begins the language that was referred to in comments on verse 1; that of the similarity of figures used to those in Revelation, Be sure to consult verse 1 again, and also the other notes referred to In that place. Nobody thinks the river and trees and other objects named in Revelation are literal in their meaning, neither should he think that of the ones used here. Both documents intend to picture some of the glorious blessings in store for those who become the objects of God’s favor, whether they be the saved of earth after the day of judgment (as in Revelation). or the restored people of Israel after the return as in the present passage.

Verse 8

Eze 47:8. Sea and waters refers to people generally speaking, but the second word is used in a rather complex sense In this place. Both the people and the stream that flows around or before them are indicated by the waters. Shall be healed is one of the places where the similarity of figures is evident. In Rev 22:2 we read of a tree that is for the healing of the nations, and in our present text the waters that issue from the house of God have healing in them.

Verse 9

Eze 47:9. Whenever a writer adopts a certain imagery for his figurative description of a subject, he usually sticks to the terms that properly belong to the subject. Hence this verse, though really considering human beings, speaks about a great multitude of fish because they are the creatures that live in water.

Verse 10

Eze 47:10. The same imagery is continued and In the favors intended for God’s people are compared to those that would be connected with a good body of water and the advantages connected with It. One favorable thing that would be expected of a desirable body of water would be a successful experience for a fisherman; accordingly, we are told that the bank of this river will be occupied by fishers from Engedi and Eneglaim. These were towns near the Dead Sea where no fisherman could have any success at his trade. But now even they will find plenty of opportunity for their business because the healing waters from the headquarters of the Lord w'ill heal the sea upon flowing into it, thereby encouraging the men to use their nets. Not only will the waters supply good fish for the fishermen, but the banks will provide a suitable place to spread forth nets for drying which would be necessary after a successful catch.

Verse 11

Eze 47:11. In spite of all the goodness of God in providing a remedy for the ills of mankind, there are some people who will not accept it. Such folks are here called miry places and marshes which will not be healed. They shall be given to salt. According to Deu 29:23; Zep 2:9 and some other passages, salt is sometimes used to represent a condition of barrenness. Such was to be the lot of those who rejected the favors offered by the Lord.

Verse 12

Eze 47:12. This verse is almost identical in its terms with Rev 22:1-2 and they are highly of the character belonging to ideal or figurative speech, For further comments on this subject see those on verse 1 of this chapter, and also the KISY at the beginning of chapter 40,

Verse 13

Eze 47:13. In "general remarks” at the beginning of chapter 40 a statement is made regarding the last 9 chapters as a group, classifying them among the highly figurative writings of inspired prophets. Such a view has been maintained and the comments have been made accordingly. The place has been reached, however, where an exception should be made to that classification. From here on to the end of the book the ideal or figurative form of speech will be dropped, except perhaps some statements that are unusually strong numerically for the purpose of emphasis, and the language will be a literal description of the redistribution of the land after the return from captivity. But while the nature of the language Is literal, I do not know that every detail of the allotment was to be carried out. Having no specific history of the procedure as to the land after the return, I shall take up the verses in their order and offer such comments on any technical statements that seem necessary. Joseph , . . two portions. This is according to a prediction that was made by Jacob in Gen 48:5; Gen 48:22. This was because the two sons of Joseph, Mari asseh and Ephraim, were each to become a full tribe as indicated in the passage in Genesis just cited.

Verse 14

Eze 47:14. An inheritance is something that comes to a person, by reason of his relationship (either by blood or law) to another, God had promised the fathers of the nation of Israel that the land of Canaan would be theirs for a possession.

Verse 15

Eze 47:15. The great sea iB the Mediterranean forming one boundary.

Verse 16

Eze 47:16. The towns named were for the purpose of tracing the boundary.

Verse 17

Eze 47:17. Damascus belonged to the nation of Syria but it was just outside of Canaan. It is named here as another aid in establishing the boundary of the land.

Verse 18

Eze 47:18. The eastern boundary according to this description started from a point near Damascus, running through the territory called Gilead and following downward near the Jordan until it reached the Dead Sea.

Verse 19

Eze 47:19. This verse gives a general description of the south border, beginning at Tamar for the southeastern corner, and extending through a place called waters of strife (Num 20:12), thence to the stream called “river of Egypt’' (Num 34:5), and on to the grea sea which means the Mediterranean.

Verse 20

Eze 47:20. The west line was to extend from this junction of the south line with the great sea to the place of beginning.

Verse 21

Eze 47:21. Eze 47:13 said twelve tribes and this says tribes without stating any number. That is because two and a half tribes had taken their possessions on the east side of the Jordan, and the outline described in this chapter is all west of it.

Verse 22

Eze 47:22. One word in Strong's definition of the original for inheritance is “occupancy” which is evidently Its meaning with regard to the strangers among the tribes, The actual possession of land was restricted to the people of Israel, but the Lord was always mindful of the sojourner among His people and instructed them as to how they should be treated (Exo 22:21; Exo 23:9; Lev 19:10),

Verse 23

Eze 47:23, The word sojourner means one who is a temporary dweller In a place. Hence the word inheritance would have the sense of "occupancy” only as defined in the preceding verse.
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Bibliographical Information
Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on Ezekiel 47". Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/znt/ezekiel-47.html. 1952.