Ezekiel 47


The vision of the holy waters issuing out of the temple, and

their virtue; an emblem of the power of God's grace under the

Gospel, capable of healing all but the incorrigibly impenitent,

represented by the marshy ground that cannot be healed, 1-12.

Also a description of the several divisions of the Holy Land

indiscriminately shared betwixt Jews and proselytes; to denote

that in after times the privileges now enjoyed by the Jews

should be also extended to the Gentiles, 13-23.


Verse 1. Behold, waters issued out from under the threshold]

Ezekiel, after having made the whole compass of the court of the

people, is brought back by the north gate into the courts of the

priests; and, having reached the gate of the temple, he saw waters

which had their spring under the threshold of that gate, that

looked towards the east; and which passing to the south of the

altar of burnt-offerings on the right of the temple, ran from the

west to the east, that they might fall into the brook Kidron, and

thence be carried into the Dead Sea. Literally, no such waters

were ever in the temple; and because there were none, Solomon had

what is called the brazen sea made, which held water for the use

of the temple. It is true that the water which supplied this sea

might have been brought by pipes to the place: but a fountain

producing abundance of water was not there, and could not be

there, on the top of such a hill; and consequently these waters,

as well as those spoken of in Joe 3:18, and in Zec 14:8, are to

be understood spiritually or typically; and indeed the whole

complexion of the place here shows, that they are thus to be

understood. Taken in this view, I shall proceed to apply the whole

of this vision to the effusion of light and salvation by the

outpouring of the Spirit of God under the Gospel dispensation, by

which the knowledge of the true God was multiplied in the earth;

and have only one previous remark to make, that the farther the

waters flowed from the temple, the deeper they grew.

With respect to the phraseology of this chapter, it may be said

that St. John had it particularly in view while he wrote his

celebrated description of the paradise of God, Re 22:1 &c. The

prophet may therefore be referring to the same thing which the

apostle describes, viz., the grace of the Gospel, and its

effects in the world.

Verse 2. There ran out waters] mayim mephaccim, the

waters seem to have been at first in small quantity; for the words

imply that they oozed or dropped out. They were at first so small

that they came guttatim, drop by drop; but they increased so, that

they became a river in which one could swim.

Verse 3. - 5. He measured a thousand cubits,-the waters were to

the ANKLES; a thousand more,-the waters were to the KNEES; a

thousand more,-they became a RIVER that could not be forded. The

waters were risen, and they were waters to SWIM in.

I. This may be applied to the gradual discoveries of the plan of

salvation,-1. In the patriarchal ages. 2. In the giving of the

law. 3. In the ministry of John the Baptist. And, 4. In the

full manifestation of Christ by the communication of the Holy


II. This vision may be applied also to the growth of a believer

in the grace and knowledge of God. There is-1. The seed of the

kingdom. 2. The blade from that seed. 3. The ear out of that

blade. And, 4. The full corn in that ear.

III. It may be applied to the discoveries a penitent believer

receives of the mercy of God in his salvation. He is-1. A little

child, born of God, born from above, and begins to taste the bread

of life, and live on the heavenly food. 2. He grows up and

increases in stature and strength, and becomes a young man. 3. He

becomes matured in the Divine life, and has his spiritual senses

exercised so as to become a father in Christ. In other words, the

grace of God appears to come drop by drop; it is given as it can

be used; it is a seed of light, and multiplies itself. The

penitent at first can scarcely believe the infinite goodness of

his Maker; he however ventures to follow on with the conducting

angel, the minister of the Gospel, in his descriptions of the

plenitude of that salvation, provided in that living Temple in

which alone the well-spring of life is to be found. 4. In thus

following on to know the Lord he finds a continual increase of

light and life, till at last he is carried by the streams of grace

to the ocean of eternal mercy; then

"Plunged in the Godhead's deepest sea,

And lost in his immensity."

IV. These waters may be considered as a type of the progress

which Christianity shall make in the world. 1. There were only a

few poor fishermen. 2. Afterwards many Jews. 3. Then the Gentiles

of Asia Minor and Greece. 4. The continent and isles of Europe.

And, 5. Now spreading through Africa, Asia, and America, at

present these waters are no longer a river, but an immense sea;

and the Gospel fishers are daily bringing multitudes of souls to


Verse 4. See Clarke on Eze 47:3.

Verse 5. See Clarke on Eze 47:3.

Verse 9. Every thing-whithersoever the rivers shall come, shall

live] Life and salvation shall continually accompany the

preaching of the Gospel; the death of sin being removed, the

life of righteousness shall be brought in.

There shall be a very great multitude of fish] On the above plan

this must refer to genuine converts to the Christian faith; true

believers, who have got life and salvation by the streams of God's

grace. The apostles were fishers of men; converts were the fish

caught. See below. As the waters flow into the DEAD Sea, where no

fish, it is said, can live, its waters must be healed, that is,

made capable of preserving life; and so its nature be thus far

most surprisingly altered.

Verse 10. The fishers shall stand upon it] On the above plan of

interpretation these must mean-1. The apostles of our Lord Jesus.

2. The preachers of the everlasting Gospel. See Mt 4:19.

From En-gedi] At the southern extremity of the Dead Sea.

Unto En-eglaim] At the northern extremity of the same.

Their fish shall be according to their kinds] Every kind of

fish, and the fish all excellent of their kinds. All nations, and

kindreds, and people shall be called by the Gospel; it shall not

be an excluding system like that of Judaism, for its Author tasted

death for every man.

Verse 11. The miry places] "Point out," says Calmet, "the

schismatics and hereties who do not live by the Spirit of Jesus

Christ, but separate from his Church; and the evil Christians who

dishonour that Church, of which they are corrupt members." A

description applicable to the Roman Catholic Church, that is both

schismatic and heretic from the Church of Jesus Christ, which is

built on the foundation of the prophets and apostles, Jesus

himself being the chief corner stone; for the Church of Rome,

leaving this foundation, is now built on the foundation of

councils and traditions, and lying miracles; the popes in their

succession being its only corner stones.

Verse 12. Shall grow all trees for meat, whose leaf shall not

fade] A description that suits the righteous, who are still

producing-1. The fruits of faith. 2. The fruits of the Spirit.

3. The fruits of love to God, obedience to his holy will, and love

to all men. Benevolence, mercy, charity, kindness, &c.

The leaf thereof for medicine.] See Re 22:1-5. Even the

leaves, the holy profession of the righteous, is a spiritual

medicine. Righteousness is thus encouraged in the world. The

profession points out the salvation, as it shows the nature and

sufficiency of that salvation; for a just creed contains all the

articles of the Christian faith.

Verse 13. Joseph shall have two portions.] That is, In Ephraim

and Manasseh, his two sons, who each had a separate inheritance.

Verse 15. The way of Hethlon, us men go to Zedad.] Probably

Hethlon is the same as Cuthlon, a city of Syria, between Antioch

and Laodicea, according to Antoninus. Some of these places are not

known; but see the same kind of division, Nu 34:7-12.

Verse 16. Hamath] Emesa or Amesa, in Syria.-Calmet.

Berothah] Berytus, now Baruth or Beeroth, which David took from

Hadarezer, king of Syria, 2Sa 8:8; but these things are very


Sibraim] Sabarim or Sepharvaim, according to the Syriac, between

Hamath and Damascus.

Hazar-hatticon] The middle Hazar; or middle village, as the


Hauran.] The city Aurana, and the district Auranitis, are in the

north-east limit of the Holy Land.

Verse 17. The border from the sea] The north border eastward is

ascertained Eze 47:15, 16; here it is shown how far it extends

itself northward.

Hazar-enan] The village of Enan, Nu 34:9, placed to the north

of Caesarea Philippi. Ziphron, see Nu 34:9, called

Zaphion by the Syriac.

Verse 18. The east sea] The same as the Dead Sea.

Verse 19. Tamar] Called Hazazon Tamar, or Engedi, 2Ch 20:2.

The river] Besor, which runs into the sea near Gaza.

Verse 20. The great sea] The Mediterranean.

From the border] The southern border, mentioned Eze 47:19.

Verse 22. And to the strangers that sojourn] In former divisions

of the land, no place was given to strangers; but in this

division, (which seems to have no other reference than to the

Gospel, for literally such a division never took place,) the

strangers are to have an inheritance; intimating the calling of

the Gentiles into the Church of Christ, to an inheritance that is

incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away. Glory be to

God for his unspeakable gift! Amen. Amen.

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