Ezekiel 48

CHAPTER XLVIII

This chapter contains a description of the several portions of

the land belonging to each tribe, together with the portion

allotted to the sanctuary, city, suburb, and prince, 1-29;

as also the measure and gates of the new city, 30-35.

NOTES ON CHAP. XLVIII

Verse 1. Now these are the names of the tribes.] See the

division mentioned Nu 34:7-12, which casts much light upon this.

Verse 9. The oblation] This was a portion of land twenty-five

thousand cubits in length, by ten thousand broad; in the centre of

which was the temple, which must be destined for the use of the

priests, the Levites, and the prince.

Verse 15. And the five thousand that are left] The territory of

the Levites was twenty-five thousand square cubits, Eze 48:20,

But their city was only four thousand five hundred square cubits,

see Eze 48:13, 16; there remained, therefore,

ten thousand cubits square to be divided, of which five thousand

cubits in breadth, by twenty-five thousand in length, on the east

and west sides, were reserved for a sort of second city; or for

suburbs where laymen might dwell who were employed by those

priests and Levites who lodged in the temple and in the city,

Eze 48:18. And another space of

one thousand cubits in breadth, by twenty-five thousand in

length, which extended only from north to south, was for fields

and gardens appointed for the support of those lay servants. On

which we may remark, there was no cultivated land between the

portion of the Levites and that of the prince, but only on the

east and west sides. See Eze 45:6, and the map FF.

See Clarke on Eze 48:35.

Verse 21. And the residue-for the prince] His portion was

alongside that of the Levites, from west to east; these were on

each side twenty-five thousand cubits in length, from the east to

the west. by twelve thousand five hundred cubits in breadth from

north to south. The space both above and below was equal, between

the tribe of Judah and that of Benjamin to north and south; and

the portion of the Levites, which had Judah and Benjamin to the

north and south, and the portion of the prince to the east and to

the west. See the map.

Verse 28. From Tamar-in Kadesh] The former was on the south of

the Dead Sea; and the latter, or Kadesh-Barnea, was still farther

south, and at the extremity of the portion of Gad, which was the

most southern tribe, as Dan was the most northern.

Verse 30. These are the goings out] Each of the four sides of

the city was four thousand five hundred cubits long. There were

three gates on each side, as mentioned below; and the whole

circumference of the city was eighteen thousand cubits. See the

map, plan B. dddd. See Clarke on Eze 48:35.

The rector of New Haven College, in New England, supposes the

preceding representations to refer to the happy state of the

Church in what is called the Millennium. Leaving this period out

of the question, the following observations are worthy of notice:-

"The Jews, for whom this vision was intended, would conceive

their country to be divided to the twelve tribes, in lots of a

regular and mathematical form; and not confused or intermixed, as

in Joshua's time. Their city laid out larger than before; and

exactly foursquare, with regular suburbs; the temple and

appendages much more commodious for their sacrifices, and the

habitations of the priests and Levites regularly formed round

about the temple. So that this whole plan of the division of the

country, laying out of the city, temple, and all the appendages,

appears to be perfectly regular and uniform, as if it were drawn

all at one time, and by one hand, who had power to effect it; and

therefore conveyed to the Jews the most complete idea they were

capable of conceiving of the most perfect church, commonwealth,

city, temple, and conveniences, for Divine worship. I. The Holy

Land, as described Eze 47:13-21 and Eze 48:1-35 according to the

original grant, being about two hundred and fifty miles long,

north and south, and about one hundred and fifty miles wide, is

divided, by parallel lines east and west, to the twelve tribes,

each of them having a portion twenty miles wide. Only between

Judah and Benjamin there is a holy portion near ten miles wide; in

the middle of which is the holy oblation, twenty-five thousand

cubits; that is, about ten miles square for the priests, Levites,

city, and temple, Eze 45:1; 48:8; the two ends are for the

prince, Eze 45:7, &c. II. The

holy oblation, lying in the middle of the holy portion, is

twenty-five thousand cubits square, which is near ten miles; of

which ten thousand cubits, or four miles, are taken off from the

north side for a habitation for the priests, and as much for the

Levites on the south side, Eze 45:4, 5, and Eze 48:20; and

five thousand cubits in the middle for the city portion,

Eze 45:6; in the middle of which is the city,

four thousand five hundred cubits square, which is nearly two

miles, Eze 48:15, 16. Round about this is left

two hundred and fifty cubits, near thirty rods, for suburbs,

Eze 48:17. The remaining

ten thousand cubits on the east side, and the ten thousand

cubits on the west side, are for the profit of those who serve the

city, out of all the tribes, Eze 48:18, 19. The sanctuary is in

the midst o! the city, Eze 48:8. III. The

sanctuary or temple, and its appendages, were entirely

surrounded with a wall six cubits high and six cubits thick,

Eze 40:5; and

five hundred cubits long on each side, Eze 42:15, &c., and

Eze 45:2. In the middle square stands the temple, which was

surrounded by a wall one hundred cubits long on each side,

Eze 41:13, and

six cubits thick, Eze 41:8. The side-chambers on the outside

four cubits, Eze 41:5. The Holy of Holies, at the west end, was

twenty cubits square on the inside, Eze 41:4. The holy place or

outer court at the east end, was forty cubits, Eze 41:12. ? The

length of the porch on the north side was twenty cubits; the

breadth was eleven cubits, Eze 40:49; and the width of the

separate place on the south side twenty cubits. On each side of

the temple, towards the four gates in the outer wall, stood two

courts, eight in the whole, each one hundred cubits square,

Eze 40:19, 23, 27. In each of these were

thirty-six little chambers or buildings, about six cubits

square, viz., six at the entrance of the gate, Eze 40:7, 17, 20,

&c., and thirty on the pavement, Eze 40:17, &c., which were for

lodgings for the priests, for hanging up their garments, and their

part of the sacrifices, Eze 42:13."

Calmet has constructed a map to show the position of the tribes,

and the quantum of space each was to possess. As this will give a

better view of the subject than any written description can, I

have inserted one constructed for this work, which, consulting the

places said to be connected with the possessions of the different

tribes, shows that the tribes did not all possess the same quantum

of space, five of the southern tribes possessing only one half as

much as those of the north.

Verse 35. The name of the city from that day shall be, The Lord

is there.] It would have been better to have retained the original

words:-

YEHOVAH SHAMMAH.

This is an allusion to the shechinah, or symbol of the Divine

Presence, which was in the first, but most certainly was not in

the second temple; but Ezekiel tells us that the Divine Presence

should be in the city of which he speaks; and should be there so

fully and so powerfully, that it should give name to the city

itself; and that the very name, Jehovah shammah, should remind all

men of the supereminently glorious Being who had condescended to

make this city his habitation.

Two points must be considered here:-1. That the prophet intended

that, when they should be restored, they should build the temple,

and divide the land as he here directs, if the thing could be

found to be practicable. 2. That he had another temple, another

holy city, another Promised Land, in view. The land of Immanuel,

the city of the New Jerusalem; and his temple, the Christian

Church, which is the house of the living God, 1Ti 3:15, in which

the presence of Christ shall ever be found; and all its

inhabitants, all that believe on his name, shall be temples of the

Holy Ghost. Nor can there be any reasonable doubt that the prophet

here, by the Spirit of God, not only points out the return of the

Israelites from the Babylonish captivity, and what was to befall

them previously to the advent of Jesus Christ; but also the

glorious spread of the Gospel in the earth, and the final

conversion of the tribes of Israel by the preaching of that

Gospel.

In conclusion, I think it necessary to state, that there are but

few of the prophets of the Old Testament who have left a more

valuable treasure to the Church of God than Ezekiel. It is true,

he is in several places obscure; but there is a great proportion

of the work that is in the highest degree edifying; and several

portions that for the depth of the salvation predicted, and the

accuracy and minuteness of the description, have nothing equal to

them in the Old Testament Scriptures. On such portions, I have

felt it my duty to be very particular, that I might be able to

point out spiritual beauties and excellencies in this book which

are beyond all praise; while I passed slightly over prophecies and

symbols which I did not fully understand; but have left to time,

by the fulfilment of the events, to prove to successive

generations with what heavenly wisdom this much neglected prophet

has spoken. And I take this opportunity to recommend this book to

the serious perusal of every pious man; and while he wonders at

the extent of the wisdom by which Ezekiel has fathomed the depth

of so many Divine mysteries, let him give God the glory for this

additional testimony to the unsearchable riches of Christ, and

that plenary salvation which he has purchased for, and freely

offers to, the vilest of the vile, and to the whole of the

descendants of Adam.

MASORETIC NOTES.-Number of verses, 1,273.

Middle verse, Eze 26:1.

Masoretic sections, 29.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PLAN OF EZEKIEL'S TEMPLE

As I utterly despair of making the prophet's description of this

temple intelligible without a plan, I have introduced one drawn up

with great labour and skill by Dom. August. Calmet, where the

measurements, distances, gates chambers, courts, inclosures, &c.,

are all carefully entered as far as they could possibly be

ascertained from Ezekiel's description; which, it must be allowed,

though wondrously circumstantial, is in several respects obscure.

But by referring to the places, both in Kings and Chronicles, as

well as in this prophet, where the same things are mentioned, this

obscurity will be considerably diminished, if not entirely

removed. At the same time, for a description of the temple in

general, I beg leave to refer the reader to 1Ki 6:38, at the end,

where this subject is considered at large.

THE PLAN

[Let it be observed that the Hebrew cubit is]

[about twenty inches and a half.]

AAAA The first inclosure, or wall of six hundred cubits i.e.,

one thousand and twenty-five royal feet in length on each side,

Eze 45:2; and

six cubits or ten feet three inches high, and as many in

breadth, Eze 40:5.

BBBB The court of the Gentiles, or first court fifty cubits in

breadth, or eighty-five feet five inches, Eze 40:2.

CCCC The outward wall of the court of Israel, or inclosure,

five hundred cubits square, i.e. eight hundred and fifty-four

feet two inches. This wall might be thirty cubits high, taken from

the level of the threshold of the gate.

DDDD The court of Israel, one hundred cubits, or one hundred

and seventy feet ten inches broad, Eze 40:19.

EEEE The outer wall, or inclosure of the court of the priests,

two hundred cubits, or three hundred and forty-one feet eight

inches square, is supposed to be thirty cubits, or fifty-one feet

three inches in height.

FFF The court of the priests, one hundred cubits, or one

hundred and seventy feet ten inches square, Eze 40:7; 41:14, 15.

G The Sanctuary, or Holy of Holies, twenty cubits, or

thirty-four feet two inches square, Eze 41:4; 1Ki 6:2.

H The holy place, forty cubits long by twenty broad, or

sixty-eight feet two inches long by thirty-four feet two

inches broad, Eze 41:2, and 1Ki 6:2.

I The vestibule or porch, twenty cubits in breadth, by ten (or

according to Ezekiel, eleven) cubits in length, i.e., thirty-four

feet two inches long by seventeen feet one inch broad,

Eze 40:48; 1Ki 6:3.

K The altar of burnt-offerings, twelve cubits, or twenty feet

six inches square, according to Ezekiel, Eze 43:12, 13, &c., or

ten cubits high by twenty broad, i.e., seventeen feet one

inch high, and thirty-four feet two inches broad, according to

2Ch 4:1.

LLL The wall of separation which encompassed the Temple, and

the altar of burnt-offerings, of which the Scriptures do not give

the dimensions. It was twenty cubits from the buildings in the

court of the priests, and five from the Temple, Eze 41:9, 10.

Josephus makes it three cubits high, Antiq. lib. viii. c. 2.

MMMMMM Gates of the court of Israel, and of the court of the

priests, all of the same dimensions, Eze 40:1, 22, 36. Each of

the porches was fifty cubits long, i.e., eighty-five feet five

inches (as much as the depth of the aisles, Eze 40:15) and

twenty-five cubits, or forty-two feet eight inches and a half

in breadth in the opening, and sixty cubits high, i.e., one

hundred and two feet six inches, Eze 40:14. On each side of the

porches there were three chambers, each six cubits square,

Eze 40:6. And the separations between the

three chambers were five cubits in thickness, Eze 40:6.

NNNNNNNN Galleries around the court of Israel, Eze 40:5-38. I

place there thirty pillars on a line of two hundred cubits in

length, which is the same proportion as those given for one

hundred cubits long, 1Ki 7:2-4, for the court of the palace of

Solomon.

OOOOOOOO Chambers or apartments round the court of Israel;

there were thirty on both sides of the gate, or fifteen on each

side, Eze 40:17.

PPPP The kitchens of the Temple, forty cubits, or sixty-eight

feet four inches long by thirty cubits, or fifty-one feet three

inches broad, Eze 45:21-24.

Q The north gate of the court of the priests, where the victims

were prepared, and where they slew the animals designed for

sacrifice, Eze 40:38, 39.

RRRR Galleries around the court of the priests, Eze 42:3.

SSSSSS Apartments continued round the court of the priests. The

aisle, which was to the south of the eastern gate, was for the

priests employed as guards of the Temple, Eze 40:45. The aisle on

the north side of the said gate was appointed for the singers,

Eze 40:44; the aisle that was on the eastern side of the south

gate was for the priests employed about the altar, Eze 40:46;

the aisles which were to the west of the north gate and of the

south gate, contained the halls where the priests ate, Eze 42:13.

TT The kitchens of the court of the priests were those where

they dressed the trespass-offering, sin-offering, and the

meat-offerings, forty cubits, or sixty-eight feet four inches

long, and thirty cubits, or fifty-one feet five inches broad,

Eze 46:20. He speaks only of that on the

north.

VVVV Flights of steps which led to the court of the people. In

each flight there were seven steps, Eze 40:22-26.

XXX Flights of steps which led to the court of the priests; in

each there were eighty steps, Eze 40:31, 34, 37.

YY A flight of steps which led to the porch of the Temple,

eight steps in each, Eze 40:49.

aaa Chambers about the Temple, thirty-three in number, Ezekiel

makes them four cubits in breadth, Eze 41:5; but in 1Ki 6:5, 6,

they are stated to be five cubits in the lower stage, six in the

second, and seven in the third.

bb Flights of steps opposite to the chambers, which were

continued round the temple, Eze 41:7, and 1Ki 6:8.

c The steps of the altar of burnt-offerings turned toward the

east, Eze 43:15, 16.

dddd Tables of hewn stone, which were in the portico of the

north gate of the priests' court, where they slew, flayed, and cut

up the victims. Each table was one and a half cubits square,

Eze 40:38, 39-41.

The great walls of the temple were all six cubits, or ten feet

three inches thick. These walls were: 1. That which formed the

first inclosure; 2. The wall of the court of Israel: 3. The wall

of the court of the priests; and, 4. The walls of the Temple. But

the outward wall of the thirty-three chambers, which were round

the holy place and the sanctuary, was only five cubits broad, and

fifteen high; i.e., eight feet six inches and a half in

thickness, and twenty-five feet seven inches and a half in

height, Eze 41:9, 12.

All the gates of the two courts, that of Israel and that of the

priests, are of the same dimensions. The wall where was the

opening was six cubits, or ten feet three inches in thickness.

The gate was eight cubits, or thirteen feet eight inches wide;

and the opening of the gate was one cubit, and the gate was

thirteen cubits, or twenty-two feet two inches and a half

high, Eze 40:9, 11.

The western gate of the Temple is not mentioned by Ezekiel,

because, according to his plan, the king's palace was not to be

near the temple; and consequently this gate, which was the gate of

the king, did not exist. But this was not followed, as we find

that, after the return from Babylon, there were gates on the

western side of the Temple, according to Josephus; and before

the captivity the western gate did most certainly exist, see

Eze 43:8; 2Ki 11:6; 16:18; 1Ch 9:24; 26:16, 18.

1. The gate of the porch of the holy place was fourteen cubits

wide, i.e., twenty-three feet eleven inches, Eze 40:48;

1Ki 6:3.

2. The gate of the holy place was ten cubits, or seventeen feet

one inch wide, Eze 41:1, 2.

3. The gate of the sanctuary was six cubits or ten feet three

inches wide. The wall of the separation was only two cubits,

Eze 41:1, 3.

4. The east gate of the court of the priests was shut all the

week, and was not opened but on the Sabbath and new moons,

according to Ezekiel. It was there that the king had his seat, a

sort of tribunal, Eze 44:2-4; 46:1, 2, &c.

Calmet observes, with respect to his plan, that he assigns only

two galleries to the apartments which were around the court of

Israel; but those which were around the court of the priests had

three, Eze 42:3, 5, 6. There is another difference between the

palace (atrium) of the court of the priests, and that of the court

of Israel. The walls of the first were built with three rows of

hewn stones and one of cedar alternately, 1Ki 6:36; but this is

not said to be the same in the structure of the outward court, or

that of the people.

In the Old Testament we find no mention of the court of the

Gentiles. Only two courts are mentioned there, one of the priests,

the other of the people; one the inner, the other the outer

court; but it is certain that such a court did exist, and is here

marked BBBB.

The height of the aisles, or apartments that were around the two

courts, is not mentioned any where in the Scriptures; but they are

here fixed at thirty cubits; for the temple was not higher,

neither was Solomon's palace. See 1Ki 7:2.

EXPLANATION OF THE PLAN FOR THE DIVISION OF

THE LAND OF CANAAN, ACCORDING TO EZEKIEL'S

VISION, Eze 48:1-35

A The Temple of the Lord, five hundred cubits square,

Eze 45:2.

BB The city of the Levites, four thousand five hundred cubits

square, and eighteen thousand in compass, Eze 48:16.

cccc Suburbs of the city of the Levites, two hundred and fifty

cubits in breadth, Eze 48:17.

dddd The twelve gates of the Levitical city, four on each

side, Eze 48:31-34.

EE City of the lay persons or workmen employed in the service

of the priests and of the Levites, five thousand broad by

twenty-five thousand cubits long, Eze 45:6.

FF Cultivated ground for the maintenance of the lay artisans,

Eze 48:15.

GG Portion of the prince of Israel, twenty-five thousand cubits

long by twelve thousand five hundred broad, Eze 48:21.

The whole extent of the land from Kadesh-barnea south to Hethlon

or Hamath north, was about two hundred and twenty miles, its mean

breadth about one hundred.

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