וְאֵלֶּה שְׁמֹות הַשְּׁבָטִים מִקְצֵה צָפֹונָה אֶל־יַד דֶּרֶךְ־חֶתְלֹן לְבֹוא־חֲמָת חֲצַר עֵיןָן גְּבוּל דַּמֶּשֶׂק צָפֹונָה 48:1 אֶל־יַד חֲמָת וְהָיוּ־לֹו פְאַת־קָדִים הַיָּם דָּן אֶחָד׃
Ezek.48:1 ”And these are of the names of the tribes: From the northern extremity at the side of the Hethlon road to the entry of Hamath, Hazar-enan of the border of Damascus to the north at the side of Hamath, and there shall be sides for it eastward of the Sea, Dan only.”
The territory given to Dan will be the northernmost in the land. Odd that Ezekiel would use the term names rather than territories of the tribes. “And these are the territories of the tribes” seems so much more reasonable. Dan will extend from the Mediterranean Sea on its west almost to Damascus. On the south it will have a straight border. Apparently the east-west borders of each of the tribes, except for the southernmost of them, will be straight. Although it doesn’t say in Ezekiel, I presume the size of each of the territories is to be proportional to the number of members of the respective tribe (Numb. 33:54). I wonder ..., would women and children now be counted? Probably not. They weren’t before.
וְעַל גְּבוּל דָּן מִפְּאַת קָדִים עַד־פְּאַת־יָמָּה אָשֵׁר אֶחָד׃ 48:2
Ezek.48:2 ”And on the border of Dan from the east side as far as the side to the west, Asher only.”
וְעַל גְּבוּל אָשֵׁר מִפְּאַת קָדִימָה וְעַד־פְּאַת־יָמָּה נַפְתָּלִי אֶחָד׃ 48:3
Ezek.48:3 ”And on the border of Asher from the eastern side as far as the western side, Naphtali only.”
וְעַל גְּבוּל נַפְתָּלִי מִפְּאַת קָדִמָה עַד־פְּאַת־יָמָּה מְנַשֶּׁה אֶחָד׃ 48:4
Ezek.48:4 ”And on the border of Naphtali from the eastern side as far as the side to the west, Manasseh only.”
וְעַל גְּבוּל מְנַשֶּׁה מִפְּאַת קָדִמָה עַד־פְּאַת־יָמָּה אֶפְרַיִם אֶחָד׃ 48:5
Ezek.48:5 ”And on the border of Manasseh from the eastern side as far as the side to the west, Ephraim only.”
וְעַל גְּבוּל אֶפְרַיִם מִפְּאַת קָדִים וְעַד־פְּאַת־יָמָּה רְאוּבֵן אֶחָד׃ 48:6
Ezek.48:6 ”And on the border of Ephraim from the east side and as far as the side to the west, Reuben only.”
וְעַל גְּבוּל רְאוּבֵן מִפְּאַת קָדִים עַד־פְּאַת־יָמָּה יְהוּדָה אֶחָד׃ 48:7
Ezek.48:7 ”And on the border of Reuben from the east side as far as the side to the west, Judah only.”
וְעַל גְּבוּל יְהוּדָה מִפְּאַת קָדִים עַד־פְּאַת־יָמָּה תִּהְיֶה הַתְּרוּמָה אֲשֶׁר־תָּרִימוּ חֲמִשָּׁה וְעֶשְׂרִים אֶלֶף 48:8 רֹחַב וְאֹרֶךְ כְּאַחַד הַחֲלָקִים מִפְּאַת קָדִימָה עַד־פְּאַת־יָמָּה וְהָיָה הַמִּקְדָּשׁ בְּתֹוכֹו׃
Ezek.48:8 ”And on the border of Judah from the east side as far as the side to the west shall be the offering that you shall set on high a breadth of twenty-five thousand, and a length, as one of the portions from the eastern side as far as the western side, and the sanctuary shall be in its midst.”
The second-person pronoun in this verse is plural, so I imagine its antecedent is either the individuals of the people or the prince and the priests as I’ve noted before. The same is true for the pronoun in the next verse as well.
הַתְּרוּמָה אֲשֶׁר תָּרִימוּ לַיהוָה אֹרֶךְ חֲמִשָּׁה וְעֶשְׂרִים אֶלֶף וְרֹחַב עֲשֶׂרֶת אֲלָפִים׃ 48:9
Ezek.48:9 ”The offering that you are to set on high for the Lord shall be a length of twenty-five thousand and a breadth of ten thousand.”
וּלְאֵלֶּה תִּהְיֶה תְרוּמַת־הַקֹּדֶשׁ לַכֹּהֲנִים צָפֹונָה חֲמִשָּׁה וְעֶשְׂרִים אֶלֶף וְיָמָּה רֹחַב עֲשֶׂרֶת אֲלָפִים 48:10 וְקָדִימָה רֹחַב עֲשֶׂרֶת אֲלָפִים וְנֶגְבָּה אֹרֶךְ חֲמִשָּׁה וְעֶשְׂרִים אָלֶף וְהָיָה מִקְדַּשׁ־יְהוָה בְּתֹוכֹו׃
Ezek.48:10 ”And these shall be for the offering of holiness, for the priests; northward twenty-five thousand, and westward a breadth of ten thousand, and eastward a breadth of ten thousand, and southward a length of twenty-five thousand, and the sanctuary of the Lord shall be in its midst.”
לַכֹּהֲנִים הַמְקֻדָּשׁ מִבְּנֵי צָדֹוק אֲשֶׁר שָׁמְרוּ מִשְׁמַרְתִּי אֲשֶׁר לֹא־תָעוּ בִּתְעֹות בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל כַּאֲשֶׁר 48:11 תָּעוּ הַלְוִיִּם׃
Ezek.48:11 ”The sanctified place shall be for the priests out of the sons of Zadok, who kept My charge, who did not stray with the straying of the children of Israel as the Levites had strayed.”
וְהָיְתָה לָהֶם תְּרוּמִיָּה מִתְּרוּמַת הָאָרֶץ קֹדֶשׁ קָדָשִׁים אֶל־גְּבוּל הַלְוִיִּם׃ 48:12
Ezek.48:12 ”And it shall be a portion for them out of the holiest offering of the land of the holy things by the territory of the Levites.”
וְהַלְוִיִּם לְעֻמַּת גְּבוּל הַכֹּהֲנִים חֲמִשָּׁה וְעֶשְׂרִים אֶלֶף אֹרֶךְ וְרֹחַב עֲשֶׂרֶת אֲלָפִים כָּל־אֹרֶךְ חֲמִשָּׁה 48:13 וְעֶשְׂרִים אֶלֶף וְרֹחַב עֲשֶׂרֶת אֲלָפִים׃
Ezek.48:13 ”And the Levites alongside the territory of the priests of twenty-five thousand a length and a breadth of ten thousand; the entire length shall be twenty-five thousand and the breadth ten thousand.”
וְלֹא־יִמְכְּרוּ מִמֶּנּוּ וְלֹא יָמֵר וְלֹא (יַעֲבוּר) [יַעֲבִיר] רֵאשִׁית הָאָרֶץ כִּי־קֹדֶשׁ לַיהוָה׃ 48:14
Ezek.48:14 ”And they shall not sell or exchange any from it, or cause the choicest part of the land to be taken away, for it is holy to the Lord.”
The word in the parentheses is spelled in such a way, with a vav in place of a yad, as to mean something most likely not intended. The correct spelling is in the brackets.
וַחֲמֵשֶׁת אֲלָפִים הַנֹּותָר בָּרֹחַב עַל־פְּנֵי חֲמִשָּׁה וְעֶשְׂרִים אֶלֶף חֹל־הוּא לָעִיר לְמֹושָׁב וּלְמִגְרָשׁ 48:15 וְהָיְתָה הָעִיר (בְּתֹוכֹה) [בְּתֹוכֹו]׃
Ezek.48:15 ”And the five thousand remainder in the breadth at the front of the twenty-five thousand, it shall be common, belonging to the city, and for dwelling and for open land, and the city shall be in its midst.”
The word in the parentheses is in error. The word translates as in its midst, and the it is the error. Its antecedent is the land, which is masculine. But the last letter in the word, the heh, signifies a feminine antecedent. Substituting in the brackets the vav for the heh makes the pronoun masculine.
וְאֵלֶּה מִדּוֹתֶיהָ פְּאַת צָפוֹן חֲמֵשׁ מֵאוֹת וְאַרְבַּעַת אֲלָפִים וּפְאַת-נֶגֶב חֲמֵשׁ חמש מֵאוֹת וְאַרְבַּעַת אֲלָפִים וּמִפְּאַת קָדִים חֲמֵשׁ מֵאוֹת וְאַרְבַּעַת אֲלָפִים וּפְאַת-יָמָּה חֲמֵשׁ מֵאוֹת וְאַרְבַּעַת אֲלָפִים:. 48:16
Ezek.48:16 ”And these are its measurements: The north side, four thousand and five hundred, and the south side, exactly four thousand and five hundred, and from the east side four thousand and five hundred, and the side to the west, four thousand and five hundred.”
The word in the parentheses may be extraneous. It is simply a repetition of the identical word before it. Another Ezekielism? Or it may be intentional, to be translated as the word exactly, as I have assumed.
וְהָיָה מִגְרָשׁ לָעִיר צָפֹונָה חֲמִשִּׁים וּמָאתַיִם וְנֶגְבָּה חֲמִשִּׁים וּמָאתָיִם וְקָדִימָה חֲמִשִּׁים וּמָאתַיִם 48:17 וְיָמָּה חֲמִשִּׁים וּמָאתָיִם׃
Ezek.48:17 ”And there shall be open land belonging to the city: To the north shall be two hundred and fifty, and to the south, two hundred and fifty, and to the east, two hundred and fifty, and to the west, two hundred and fifty.”
וְהַנֹּותָר בָּאֹרֶךְ לְעֻמַּת תְּרוּמַת הַקֹּדֶשׁ עֲשֶׂרֶת אֲלָפִים קָדִימָה וַעֲשֶׂרֶת אֲלָפִים יָמָּה וְהָיָה לְעֻמַּת 48:18 תְּרוּמַת הַקֹּדֶשׁ וְהָיְתָה (תְבוּאָתֹה) [תְבוּאָתֹו] לְלֶחֶם לְעֹבְדֵי הָעִיר׃
Ezek.48:18 ”And the remainder in the length, alongside the offering of holiness, shall be ten thousand to the east, and ten thousand to the west, and it shall be alongside the offering of holiness, and its produce shall be for food for the servants of the city.”
We have here another alleged error that I disagree with. The word in the parentheses has a feminine pronoun suffix translated as its in its produce. The supposed correction in the brackets has a masculine pronoun suffix. I believe the pronoun’s antecedent is the area alongside the offering of holiness and should be feminine, as the verb translated as shall be connected to the word for its produce is also feminine.
וְהָעֹבֵד הָעִיר יַעַבְדוּהוּ מִכֹּל שִׁבְטֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל׃ 48:19
Ezek.48:19 ”And who serves the city, they shall be its tillers out of all the tribes of Israel.”
כָּל־הַתְּרוּמָה חֲמִשָּׁה וְעֶשְׂרִים אֶלֶף בַּחֲמִשָּׁה וְעֶשְׂרִים אָלֶף רְבִיעִית תָּרִימוּ אֶת־תְּרוּמַת הַקֹּדֶשׁ 48:20 אֶל־אֲחֻזַּת הָעִיר׃
Ezek.48:20 ”All of the offering shall be twenty-five thousand by twenty-five thousand square; you shall set up the offering of holiness in the land of the city.”
וְהַנֹּותָר לַנָּשִׂיא מִזֶּה וּמִזֶּה לִתְרוּמַת־הַקֹּדֶשׁ וְלַאֲחֻזַּת הָעִיר אֶל־פְּנֵי חֲמִשָּׁה וְעֶשְׂרִים אֶלֶף תְּרוּמָה 48:21 עַד־גְּבוּל קָדִימָה וְיָמָּה עַל־פְּנֵי חֲמִשָּׁה וְעֶשְׂרִים אֶלֶף עַל־גְּבוּל יָמָּה לְעֻמַּת חֲלָקִים לַנָּשִׂיא וְהָיְתָה תְּרוּמַת הַקֹּדֶשׁ וּמִקְדַּשׁ הַבַּיִת (בְּתֹוכֹה) [בְּתֹוכֹו]׃
Ezek.48:21 ”And the remainder shall be for the prince, on each side to the offering of holiness and to the land of the city, at the front of the twenty-five thousand of the offering up to the border to the east, and westward at the front of the twenty-five thousand against the border to the west alongside the prince's portions, and the offering of holiness shall be, with the sanctuary of the house, in its midst.”
The error indicated in the parentheses here seems to be legitimate. The problem is, as before, a feminine pronoun suffix, but now the antecedent appears to be the prince’s land (masculine) rather than the offering. The correction,substitution of a vav for the heh, is in the brackets.
וּמֵאֲחֻזַּת הַלְוִיִּם וּמֵאֲחֻזַּת הָעִיר בְּתֹוךְ אֲשֶׁר לַנָּשִׂיא יִהְיֶה בֵּין גְּבוּל יְהוּדָה וּבֵין גְּבוּל בִּנְיָמִן 48:22 לַנָּשִׂיא יִהְיֶה׃
Ezek.48:22 ”So it shall be on the side of the property of the Levites and the side of the property of the city, in the midst of what is the prince's; between the border of Judah and the border of Benjamin shall be the prince's.”
וְיֶתֶר הַשְּׁבָטִים מִפְּאַת קָדִימָה עַד־פְּאַת־יָמָּה בִּנְיָמִן אֶחָד׃ 48:23
Ezek.48:23 ”Now the rest of the tribes: From the eastern side as far as the western side, Benjamin only.”
וְעַל גְּבוּל בִּנְיָמִן מִפְּאַת קָדִימָה עַד־פְּאַת־יָמָּה שִׁמְעֹון אֶחָד׃ 48:24
Ezek.48:24 ”And at the border of Benjamin from the eastern side as far as the western side, Simeon only.”
וְעַל גְּבוּל שִׁמְעֹון מִפְּאַת קָדִימָה עַד־פְּאַת־יָמָּה יִשָׂשכָר אֶחָד׃ 48:25
Ezek.48:25 ”And at the border of Simeon from the eastern side as far as the western side, Issachar only.”
וְעַל גְּבוּל יִשָׂשכָר מִפְּאַת קָדִימָה עַד־פְּאַת־יָמָּה זְבוּלֻן אֶחָד׃ 48:26
Ezek.48:26 ”And at the border of Issachar from the eastern side as far as the western side, Zebulun only.”
וְעַל גְּבוּל זְבוּלֻן מִפְּאַת קָדִמָה עַד־פְּאַת־יָמָּה גָּד אֶחָד׃ 48:27
Ezek.48:27 ”And at the border of Zebulun from the eastern side as far as the western side, Gad only.”
Notice first that although the inheritance is supposed to be by lots (Ezek. 47:22), the order of the lots from north to south has been dictated by the Lord. Another Ezekielism? Then notice that the three northernmost tribes, Dan, Asher, and Naphtali, and the one southernmost tribe, Gad, are the descendants of the sons of the two handmaids, Bilhah and Zilpah. They will be farthest from the sanctuary. And Judah and Benjamin will be closest.
וְעַל גְּבוּל גָּד אֶל־פְּאַת נֶגֶב תֵּימָנָה וְהָיָה גְבוּל מִתָּמָר מֵי מְרִיבַת קָדֵשׁ נַחֲלָה עַל־הַיָּם הַגָּדֹול׃ 48:28
Ezek.48:28 ”And at the border of Gad to the south side southward, and the border shall be from Tamar, the waters of Meribath-kadesh, the Brook, to the Great Sea.”
זֹאת הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר־תַּפִּילוּ מִנַּחֲלָה לְשִׁבְטֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וְאֵלֶּה מַחְלְקֹותָם נְאֻם אֲדֹנָי יְהוִה׃ 48:29
Ezek.48:29 “This is the land that you shall divide by lot from the inheritance for the tribes of Israel, and these are their portions, declares the Master, the Lord.”
That first-person plural pronoun you shows up again here. From the rest of the verse, where the third-person pronoun their appears, we may surmise that here the Lord is addressing the prince and the priests.
וְאֵלֶּה תֹּוצְאֹת הָעִיר מִפְּאַת צָפֹון חֲמֵשׁ מֵאֹות וְאַרְבַּעַת אֲלָפִים מִדָּה׃ 48:30
Ezek.48:30 ”And these are the exits of the city; a measure from the north side of four thousand and five hundred.”
וְשַׁעֲרֵי הָעִיר עַל־שְׁמֹות שִׁבְטֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל שְׁעָרִים שְׁלֹושָׁה צָפֹונָה שַׁעַר רְאוּבֵן אֶחָד שַׁעַר יְהוּדָה 48:31 אֶחָד שַׁעַר לֵוִי אֶחָד׃
Ezek.48:31 ”And the gates of the city shall be according to names: The tribes of Israel. Three gates shall be to the north; one is the Reuben gate; one is the Judah gate; one is the Levi gate.”
וְאֶל־פְּאַת קָדִימָה חֲמֵשׁ מֵאֹות וְאַרְבַּעַת אֲלָפִים וּשְׁעָרִים שְׁלֹשָׁה וְשַׁעַר יֹוסֵף אֶחָד שַׁעַר בִּנְיָמִן 48:32 אֶחָד שַׁעַר דָּן אֶחָד׃
Ezek.48:32 ”And to the eastern side there shall be four thousand and five hundred, and there shall be three gates; and one is the Joseph gate, one is the Benjamin gate, one is the Dan gate.”
וּפְאַת־נֶגְבָּה חֲמֵשׁ מֵאֹות וְאַרְבַּעַת אֲלָפִים מִדָּה וּשְׁעָרִים שְׁלֹשָׁה שַׁעַר שִׁמְעֹון אֶחָד שַׁעַר 48:33 יִשָּׂשכָר אֶחָד שַׁעַר זְבוּלֻן אֶחָד׃
Ezek.48:33 “And the southern side shall be a measure of four thousand and five hundred, and there shall be three gates; one is the Simeon gate, one is the Issachar gate, one is the Zebulun gate.”
פְּאַת־יָמָּה חֲמֵשׁ מֵאֹות וְאַרְבַּעַת אֲלָפִים שַׁעֲרֵיהֶם שְׁלֹשָׁה שַׁעַר גָּד אֶחָד שַׁעַר אָשֵׁר אֶחָד שַׁעַר 48:34 נַפְתָּלִי אֶחָד׃
Ezek.48:34 “The western side, four thousand and five hundred, their three gates; one is the Gad gate, one is the Asher gate, one is the Naphtali gate.”
According to the next verse, the three gates on each side will be situated 4500 cubits (a bit more than 1.5 miles) apart. Thus each side will have the first gate 4500 cubits from one of its corners, the second gate 4500 cubits from it, and the third gate will be 4500 cubits from the second gate. Then there will be 4500 cubits to the other corner. The total length of each side will be a little more than 6 miles (the 18,000 mentioned below).
סָבִיב שְׁמֹנָה עָשָׂר אָלֶף וְשֵׁם־הָעִיר מִיֹּום יְהוָה שָׁמָּה׃ 48:35
Ezek.48:35 “All around, it shall be eighteen thousand, and the name of the city from the time shall be ‘The Lord Is There.’”
The name of the new Jerusalem will be Adonai Shamah, the Lord is there.
Epilogue to the Book of Ezekiel
I can’t leave this book without exploring some thoughts that I suspect might be significant. First of all, I have to point out that I believe Ezekiel was a prophet of the book, not an oral or active prophet. According to his own writings, he did not interact with the people. As near as I can determine, he might never have left his place at the shore of the river Chebar, and he never spoke to anyone. At least he almost never wrote of any events in which he partook (except possibly one time in Ezek. 24:18 to 20). The entire book describes a number of visions, the last of which started with Chapter 40 and consumed the remaining chapters. Apparently as far as we know he wrote down all of the Lord’s word in his visions on a scroll, but didn’t repeat these words to anyone out loud and in person. He appears to have been a reluctant prophet, unwilling to heed or understand the Lord’s instructions to him, sometimes even needing clarification of the Lord’s message.
Secondly, Ezekiel was a careless writer, leaving us to try to make sense of an inordinate number of mistakes, omissions, and numerous short cuts with his pronouns. This was not a result of ignorance or lack of knowledge. Ezekiel was an educated priest with an excellent command of language and was capable of extraordinarily vivid mental images. I think his carelessness speaks directly to his reluctance and resistance. I believe his confusingly vague and careless, though nonetheless intricate, descriptions are a sign of his distaste for what he might have felt he was being forced to do.
My third point addresses my belief that Ezekiel made a monumental and commendable effort to record all his visions. He must have been filled with a powerful and lingering passion to counter his apparent impatience with his task. Of course, he didn’t write the entire book in one sitting or over a short time. His visions spanned a period of over twenty years and I suppose he recorded them as they occurred. How did he spend the time between his visions? Did he preach to the people and not record it? I doubt it, because he seemed to be interested only in the visions. Perhaps you might object, claiming that he may not have wanted to write about himself. I concede this might be a valid point of view. There is no indication one way or the other as to how he spent the intervening years. Nevertheless, I have to go with the available evidence, which is virtually nonexistent. Imagine: He was in a strange place with few other exiles for most of the period covered by this book. He was undoubtedly discouraged and likely depressed. What would be his incentive to go about prophesying these words? Would anyone have listened or cared or believed?
Finally, I find myself filled with compassion and pity for this prophet. Here he was surely sad and forlorn, in exile for five years, and suddenly was being required to act as a prophet. He may have lost his wife and was not permitted to mourn her. His writing, with all its faults and strengths, seems to me to hint at dejection, frustration, and despair, leaving me with a sense of sadness that has been unshakable. I could not wish to have been this man.
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