Ezekiel 47:12
And by the river on the bank thereof, on this side and on that side, shall grow all trees for meat, whose leaf shall not fade, neither shall the fruit thereof be consumed: it shall bring forth new fruit according to his months, because their waters they issued out of the sanctuary: and the fruit thereof shall be for meat, and the leaf thereof for medicine.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(12) Be consumed.—Better, fail. The fruit is to be eaten, but shall not fail to grow as it is wanted. These trees with their supernatural virtues are represented as produced by the waters because “they issued out of the sanctuary,” thus presenting a most effective image of the life-giving power of those spiritual influences which come from God upon men.

It has been objected to the spiritual interpretation of this vision, that under it nothing can be made of the fishermen of Ezekiel 47:10, and that, therefore, the whole is to be considered as a glorification of nature in the future Palestine. But this is to forget that in every figure and parable there are, and must be, details necessary to the figure which have nothing answering to them in the thing signified, and that it is the habit of Ezekiel to carry out such details very far. In this case, the mention of the fishermen greatly heightens the imagery of the life-giving power of the waters; while, if the whole were to be literally understood, they would really have no place, because there would be no such fishermen in the supposed glorified condition of the land.

Ezekiel 47:13-23, which, as already said, properly belong to Ezekiel 48, give the boundaries of the land to be divided among the tribes, together with provision for the inheritance of strangers living among them. The tracing of the boundary itself is introduced by some general statements in Ezekiel 47:13-14, concerning the distribution.

Ezekiel 47:12. And by the river, upon the bank thereof, shall grow all trees for meat — See the note on Ezekiel 47:7. By these trees may be understood, “the plenteous provisions of the gospel, the precious promises of the sacred word, and the privileges of believers, as communicated to their souls by the quickening Spirit. These abound on each side of the river, wherever the gospel is successfully preached; they afford nourishment and delight to the souls of men; they never fade or wither; they are various, according to the variety of circumstances and occasions in the experience of Christians; (as if a tree should yield a succession of different kinds of fruit, through the months of the year;) and even the leaves serve as medicines to their souls. The warnings and reproofs of the word, and the salutary corrections of their Father’s rod, though generally less valued, and always less pleasant, than divine consolations, yet tend to cure their maladies, and restore them to holiness and happiness.” — Scott.

Most expositors, however, consider these trees as emblematical of true, spiritual Christians, termed by Isaiah, trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, Isaiah 61:3, set by the rivers of water, the waters of the sanctuary, Psalm 1:3, grafted into Christ, the tree of life, and, by virtue of their union with him, made trees of life too, rooted in him, Colossians 2:7. There is a great variety of these trees, through the diversity of gifts with which they are endued by that one Spirit which works all in all. They grow on the bank of the river, for they keep close to holy ordinances, and through them derive sap and virtue from Christ. They are fruit-trees, designed, as the fig-tree and the olive, to honour with their fruits both God and man, Jdg 9:9. The fruit thereof shall be for meat, for the lips of the righteous feed many, and the fruits of their righteousness are many ways beneficial. The very leaves of these trees are for medicine, or, as the margin has it, for bruises and sores. True Christians, with their good discourses, the leaves of the trees of righteousness, as well as with their beneficent actions, which are their fruits, do good to those about them: they strengthen the weak, and bind up the broken-hearted. Their cheerfulness does good like a medicine, not only to themselves, but to others also. And their leaf shall not fade — They shall be enabled, by the grace of God, to persevere in their piety and usefulness, having not only life in their root, but sap in all their branches. Therefore their profession shall not wither, nor their discourse lose its healing, strengthening virtue. Neither shall their fruit be consumed — That is, they shall not cease to bear fruit, retaining still the principles of their fruitfulness; but shall bring it forth even in old age. Or, the reward of their fruitfulness shall abide for ever; they shall produce fruit that shall abound to their account at the appearing of Jesus Christ, fruit to life eternal. They shall bring forth new fruit according to their months — Some in one month and others in another; or, each one of them shall bring forth fruit monthly; which signifies a constant disposition, desire, resolution, and endeavour to bear fruit, and that they shall never be weary of well-doing. And the reason of this extraordinary fruitfulness is, because their waters issue out of the sanctuary — It is not to be ascribed to their own wisdom, power, or goodness, or to any thing in themselves, but to the continual supplies of divine grace, with which they are watered every moment, Isaiah 27:3. For, whoever may be the instrument of planting them, it is divine grace which gives the increase.

The reader will observe, that this part of Ezekiel’s vision is evidently referred to and almost copied by St. John, Revelation 22:2, who applies it to the salvation of Christ, begun on earth, and perfected in heaven. This whole passage, from Ezekiel 47:1-12 inclusive, as Bishop Newcome observes, “is one of the most striking allegories in the Hebrew Scriptures,” and must so necessarily have a mystical and spiritual meaning, that from thence we are compelled to conclude that all the other parts of the vision, from the beginning of the xlth to the cud of the xlviiith chapter, must have such a meaning also; and that whatever allusion the prophet’s description of the temple, its courts. &c., and the division of the land to the prince, priests, and tribes, might have to Solomon’s temple, or to that built after the return of the Jews from Babylon, and the former divisions of the country; yet that the vision was principally intended of the spiritual temple of the Christian Church, and of its great extent, prosperity, and glory in the latter days, when the fulness of the Gentiles shall come in, and all Israel shall be saved.47:1-23 These waters signify the gospel of Christ, which went forth from Jerusalem, and spread into the countries about; also the gifts and powers of the Holy Ghost which accompanied it, by virtue of which is spread far, and produced blessed effects. Christ is the Temple; and he is the Door; from him the living waters flow, out of his pierced side. They are increasing waters. Observe the progress of the gospel in the world, and the process of the work of grace in the heart; attend the motions of the blessed Spirit under Divine guidance. If we search into the things of God, we find some things plain and easy to be understood, as the waters that were but to the ankles; others more difficult, which require a deeper search, as the waters to the knees, or the loins; and some quite beyond our reach, which we cannot penetrate; but must, as St. Paul did, adore the depth, Ro 11. It is wisdom to begin with that which is most easy, before we proceed to that which is dark and hard to be understood. The promises of the sacred word, and the privileges of believers, as shed abroad in their souls by the quickening Spirit, abound where the gospel is preached; they nourish and delight the souls of men; they never fade nor wither, nor are exhausted. Even the leaves serve as medicines to the soul: the warnings and reproofs of the word, though less pleasant than Divine consolations, tend to heal the diseases of the soul. All who believe in Christ, and are united to him by his sanctifying Spirit, will share the privileges of Israelites. There is room in the church, and in heaven, for all who seek the blessings of that new covenant of which Christ is Mediator.The exception, which reserves for sterility places to which the living water does not reach, probably indicates that the life and health are solely due to the stream which proceeds from beneath the throne of God. Compare Isaiah 57:20-21. 12. Instead of the "vine of Sodom and grapes of Gomorrah" (De 32:32), nauseous and unwholesome, trees of life-giving and life-restoring virtue shall bloom similar in properties to, and exceeding in number, the tree of life in Eden (Re 2:7; 22:2, 14).

leaf … not fade—expressing not only the unfailing character of the heavenly medicine of the tree of life, but also that the graces of the believer (as a tree of righteousness), which are the leaves, and his deeds, which are the fruits that flow from those graces, are immortal (Ps 1:3; Jer 17:8; Mt 10:42; 1Co 15:58).

new fruit—literally, "firstlings," or first fruit. They are still, each month afresh, as it were, yielding their first-fruit [Fairbairn]. The first-born of a thing, in Hebrew idiom, means the chiefest. As Job 18:13, "the first-born of death," that is, the most fatal death.

By the river; all along this river, which way soever it runs, it shall make its banks so fruitful, that on both sides thereof it shall be abundantly planted with best trees. Shall grow; take root, flourish, and be fruitful, as trees that like their soil.

Trees for meat; they shall not be as trees that are set only for pleasure, their fruit shall be for food.

Shall not fade; ever green and flourishing, as trees in the spring and in their prime.

Neither shall the fruit thereof be consumed; never be so little as to be consumed and spent, never rot and decay, there shall always be fruit and enough.

According to his months: these trees have, as the tree of life, their fruit every month, Revelation 22:2.

Their waters; called so because watered by this stream.

Issued out of the sanctuary; and so carried a blessing with them; these waters came from the temple, and were indeed a spell against barrenness.

The leaf thereof: there are many herbs of a healing property, none like the leaves of these trees.

For medicine; healing the nations, as Revelation 22:2. These trees most likely were palmetto trees, whence the balm that healeth, the fruit that feedeth, and juice that refresheth, and allays our thirst. Thus the letter, the mystery I do not insist on, it is no hard matter for private Christians to accommodate it to themselves. And by the river on the banks thereof, on this side and on that side,.... On each side of the river, on the banks of it:

shall grow all trees for meat; such as bear fruit, that may be eaten, and is good for food: by these "trees" are meant truly gracious souls, converted persons, real Christians, true believers in Christ; who like trees have a root, are rooted in the love of God, in the person and grace of Christ, and have the root of the matter in them, the grace of the blessed Spirit; and who also is their sap, of which they are full, and so grow in grace, and in the knowledge of Christ; grow up in him, and grow upwards and heavenwards in their affections and desires, and in the exercise of faith and hope: they are the trees of the Lord, trees of righteousness, good trees, that bring forth good fruit; and are often in Scripture compared to trees the most excellent, as palm trees, cedars, olives, myrtles, &c. and wherever the Gospel comes, these trees arise, and are watered and made fruitful by it; sometimes in lesser, and sometimes in greater numbers, as in the first times of the Gospel, and as they will in the latter day; see Psalm 92:12,

whose leaf shall not fade; as the leaves of trees in autumn do, and drop off and fall; to which some professors of religion are compared, who bear no fruit, only have the leaves of a profession, and this they drop when any trouble or difficulty arises, Jde 1:12, but true believers, as they take up a profession on principles of grace, they hold it fast without wavering; their root, seed, and sap, remain, and so never wither and die in their profession; see Psalm 1:3,

neither shall the fruit thereof be consumed; which are the graces of the Spirit, and good works flowing from them: the graces of the Spirit are abiding ones, as faith, hope, and love; these never die, are an incorruptible seed, a well of water springing up unto everlasting life; and good works, which are fruits meet for repentance, and evidences of faith, and by which trees are known to be good, always continue to be wrought by believers, in the strength and grace of Christ, from whom they have all their fruits of every kind, Hosea 14:8,

it shall bring forth new fruit according to his months; or, "first fruits" (o); that is, everyone of these trees, or every true believer, shall be continually in the exercise of grace, and the performance of duty; they shall be constant and immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord; they shall never cease from yielding fruit, or doing good; they shall still bring it even in old age; see Psalm 92:14,

because their waters they issued out of the sanctuary; because the waters, which issued out of the sanctuary, ran by these trees, and watered them, and made them fruitful, and therefore called their waters: the fruitfulness of these trees, true believers, is not owing to themselves, to their free will and power; to their own industry, diligence, and cultivation; but to the supplies of grace they receive by means of the Gospel, and the doctrines of it; which bring forth, or cause to bring forth fruit, wherever they come with power, Colossians 1:6,

and the fruit thereof shall be for meat; not for saints themselves, who live not, neither on their graces, nor their works; though indeed they do eat the fruits of their doings, Isaiah 3:10, that is, enjoy good things, consequent on their works, through the free favour and good will of God; but for meat for others; for their fruit, which appears in their words and actions, are very beneficent to others; their fruit is a tree of life, Proverbs 11:30 and their lips feed many, Proverbs 10:21, with knowledge and understanding; with the Gospel, and the doctrines of it; and with the comfortable experience they have of its truths and promises: yea, their fruit are meat and food for Christ himself; who comes into his garden, and eats his pleasant fruits, feeds and feasts, and delights himself with his own grace in his people, and the exercise of it, Sol 4:9,

and the leaf thereof for medicine; or, "for bruises" (p); for the healing of them, which is only done by the blood of Christ; who is the only physician, the sun of righteousness, that rises with healing or pardon in his wings; and the whole language of this passage is borrowed from hence by John, and applied to Christ the tree of life, Revelation 22:2 and the Gospel professed by true believers directs to him for healing, or for the remission of sin, and is the means of applying it, Psalm 107:20 and a cheerful constant profession of Christ and his Gospel, which is the Christian's leaf, does good like a medicine, both to the Christian himself, and to others; who are animated and encouraged thereby to go on with pleasure in the ways of God.

(o) "afferet primitiva", V. L. Vatablus; "primogenita", Starckius. So Ben Melech. (p) "ad contritionem, vel ad sanitatem contritionis", Vatablus; "ad fractionem sanandam", Pagninus. So Ben Melech.

And by the river upon the bank thereof, on this side and on that side, shall grow all trees for meat, whose leaf shall not fade, neither shall the fruit thereof be consumed: it shall bring forth new fruit according to his months, because their waters they issued out of the sanctuary: and the fruit thereof shall be for meat, and the leaf thereof for medicine.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
12. according to his months] every month. For issued, issue. The fruit of these trees shall not “be consumed” i.e. fail; it shall renew itself every month, and the leaves shall be ever green and possess a healing virtue. Psalm 1:3; Revelation 22:2.

This beautiful representation of the healing stream, issuing from the temple and fertilizing the desert as well as changing the bitter waters of the Dead Sea into sweet, so that they yield abundant sustenance to men, rests on some natural and some spiritual conceptions common in Ezekiel’s days. One natural fact was this, that there was a fountain connected with the temple-hill, the waters of which fell into the valley east of the city and made their way towards the sea; and long ere this time the gentle waters of this brook, that flowed fast by the oracle of God, had furnished symbols to the prophets (Isaiah 8:6). Such waters in the east are the source of every blessing to men. The religious conceptions are such as these: that Jehovah himself is the giver of all blessings to men, and from his presence all blessings flow. He was now present in his fulness and for ever in his temple. Hence the prophet sees the life-giving stream issue from the sanctuary. Another current idea was that in the regeneration of men, when the tabernacle of God was with them, external nature would also be transfigured. Then every good would be enjoyed and there would be no more evil nor curse. The desert would blossom like the rose, and the field that aforetime was thought fruitful should be accounted no better than bush. The barren land toward the east and the bitter waters of the sea were a contradiction to the ideal of an external nature subservient in all her parts to man in the fellowship of God. Therefore the desert shall be fertilized and the waters of the sea healed, and all things minister to man’s good. But “good” to the Israelite was not exclusively spiritual, it was also material. It would be an error to regard this fertilizing, healing stream in the light of a mere symbol for blessings which we call “spiritual.” It is well fitted in other connexions to be such a symbol; but to take it so here would be to overstep the limits of the Old Testament and anticipate a later revelation. As yet the Israelite had no conception of a transcendent sphere of existence for men in the fellowship of God, such as we name heaven. Man’s final abode even in his perfect state was considered to be still on the earth. God came down and dwelt with men; men were not translated to abide with God. But God’s presence with men on earth gave to earth the attributes of heaven. Yet man’s needs remained, and God’s presence was the source of all things necessary to supply them. When he had the needful blessings the Israelite saw in them the tokens and the sacraments of God’s favour and presence with him; and conversely when God was near him he was assured that he should want no good thing (Psalm 34:9).Verse 12. - The effect of the river upon the vegetation growing on its banks is the last feature added to the prophet's picture. Already referred to in ver. 7, it is here developed at greater length. The "very many trees" of that verse become in this all trees, or every tree for meat, i.e. every sort of tree with edible fruit (comp. Leviticus 19:23), whose leaf should not fade or wither, and whose fruit should not be consumed or finished, i.e. should not fail, but continue to bring forth new fruit, i.e., early or firstfruits (Revised Version margin), according to his (or, its) months; or, every month; the לְ in לָךחדָשִׁים being taken distributively, as in Isaiah 47:13 (compare לַיום, "every day," in Ezekiel 46:13). This remarkable productivity, the prophet saw, was due, not so much to the fact that the tree roots sucked up moisture from the stream, as to the circumstance that the waters which they drank up issued out of the sanctuary. To the same circumstance were owing the nutritive and medicinal properties of their fruit and leaves respectively. The picture in this verse is unmistakably based on Genesis 2:9, and is as clearly reproduced by the Apocalyptic seer in Revelation 22:2. On this whole vision the remarks of Thomson, in 'The Land and the Book' (pp. 660-663), are worthy of being consulted. Extent of the Holy Domain around the Temple

Ezekiel 42:15. And when he had finished the measurements of the inner house, he brought me out by the way of the gate, which is directed toward the east, and measured there round about. Ezekiel 42:16. He measured the eastern side with the measuring rod five hundred rods by the measuring rod round about; Ezekiel 42:17. He measured the northern side five hundred rods by the measuring rod round about; Ezekiel 42:18. The southern side he measured five hundred rods by the measuring rod; Ezekiel 42:19. He turned round to the western side, measured five hundred rods by the measuring rod. Ezekiel 42:20. To the four winds he measured it. It had a wall round about; the length was five hundred and the breadth five hundred, to divide between the holy and the common. - There has been a division of opinion from time immemorial concerning the area, the measuring of which is related in these verses, and the length and breadth of which are stated in Ezekiel 42:20 to have been five hundred; as the Seventy, and after them J. D. Michaelis, Bttcher, Maurer, Ewald, and Hitzig, understand by this the space occupied by the temple with its two courts. But as that space was five hundred cubits long and five hundred broad, according to the sum of the measurements given in Ezekiel 40-42:15, the lxx have omitted the word קנים in Ezekiel 42:16, Ezekiel 42:18, and Ezekiel 42:19, whilst they have changed it into πήχεις in Ezekiel 42:17, and have also attached this word to the numbers in Ezekiel 42:20. According to this, only the outer circumference of the temple area would be measured in our verses, and the wall which was five hundred cubits long and five hundred cubits broad (Ezekiel 42:20) would be the surrounding wall of the outer court mentioned in Ezekiel 40:5. Ezekiel 42:15 could certainly be made to harmonize with this view. For even if we understood by the "inner house" not merely the temple house, which the expression primarily indicates, but the whole of the inner building, i.e., all the buildings found in the inner and outer court, and by the east gate the eastern gate of the outer court; the expression 'מדדו סביב , "he measured it round about," merely affirms that he measured something round about outside this gate. The suffix in מדדו is indefinite, and cannot be taken as referring to any of the objects mentioned before, either to השּׁער or to הבּית הפּנימי. The inner house he had already measured; and the measurements which follow are not applicable to the gate. Nor can the suffix be taken as referring to הבּית, illam sc. aedem (Ros.); or at any rate, there is nothing in Ezekiel 42:20 to sustain such a reference. Nevertheless, we might think of a measuring of the outer sides of the whole building comprehended under the idea of the inner house, and regard the wall mentioned in Ezekiel 42:20 as that which had been measured round about on the outer side both in length and breadth. But it is difficult to reconcile this view even with Ezekiel 42:20; and with the measurements given in Ezekiel 42:16-19 it is perfectly irreconcilable. Even if we were disposed to expunge קנים as a gloss in Ezekiel 42:16, Ezekiel 42:17, Ezekiel 42:18, and Ezekiel 42:19, the words, "he measured the east side with the measuring rod, five hundred by the measuring rod," are equivalent to five hundred rods, according to the well-known Hebrew usage; just as indisputably as מאה, a hundred by the cubit, is equivalent to a hundred cubits (see the comm. on Ezekiel 40:21 at the close). The rejection of קנים as an imaginary gloss is therefore not only arbitrary, but also useless; as the appended words בּקנה המּדּה, even without קנים, affirm that the five hundred were not cubits, but rods.

(Note: The חמשׁ אמות for חמשׁ מאות in Ezekiel 42:16 is utterly useless as a proof that cubits and not rods are intended; as it is obviously a copyist's error, a fact which even the Masoretes admit. Rabbi ben-Asher's view of this writing is an interesting one. Prof. Dr. Delitzsch has sent me the following, taken from a fragment in his possession copied from a codex of the Royal Library at Copenhagen. R. ben-Asher reckons אמות among the מוקדם ומאוחר, i.e., words written ὑστερον προτερον, of which there are forty-seven in the whole of the Old Testament, the following being quoted by ben-Asher (l.c.) by way of example: גּלון, Joshua 20:8; Joshua 21:27; ויּקּלהוּ, 2 Samuel 20:14; בּעברות, 2 Samuel 15:28; והימשׁני, Judges 16:26; ותּראנה, 1 Samuel 14:27.)

The סביב in Ezekiel 42:16 and Ezekiel 42:17 is not to be understood as signifying that on the east and north sides he measured a square on each side of five hundred rods in length and breadth, but simply indicates that he measured on all sides, as is obvious from Ezekiel 42:20. For according to this, the space which was measured toward every quarter at five hundred rods had a boundary wall, which was five hundred rods long on every side. This gives an area of 250,000 square rods; whereas the temple,with the inner and outer courts, covered only a square of five hundred cubits in length and breadth, or 250,000 square cubits. It is evident from this that the measuring related in Ezekiel 42:15-20 does not refer to the space occupied by the temple and its courts, and therefore that the wall which the measured space had around it (Ezekiel 42:20) cannot be the wall of the outer court mentioned in Ezekiel 40:5, the sides of which were not more than five hundred cubits long. The meaning is rather, that around this wall, which enclosed the temple and its courts, a further space of five hundred rods in length and breadth was measured off "to separate between the holy and profane," i.e., a space which was intended to form a separating domain between the sanctuary and the common land. The purpose thus assigned for the space, which was measured off on all four sides of the "inner house," leaves no doubt remaining that it was not the length of the surrounding wall of the outer court that was measured, but a space outside this wall. The following clause חומה , "a wall was round about it," is irreconcilable with the idea that the suffix in מדדו (Ezekiel 40:20 and Ezekiel 40:15) refers to this wall, inasmuch as the לו can only refer to the object indicated by the suffix attached to מדדו. This object, i.e., the space which was five hundred rods long and the same broad round about, i.e., on every one of the four sides, had a wall enclosing it on the outside, and forming the partition between the holy and the common. הקּדשׁ is therefore הבּית הפּנימי, "the inner house;" but this is not the temple house with its side-building, but the sanctuary of the temple with its two courts and their buildings, which was measured in Ezekiel 40:5-42:12.

The arguments which have been adduced in opposition to this explanation of our verses, - the only one in harmony with the words of the text, - and in vindication of the alterations made in the text by the lxx, are without any force. According to Bttcher (p. 355), Hitzig, and others, קנים is likely to be a false gloss, (1) "because בּקנה המּדּה stands close to it; and while this is quite needless after קנים, it may also have occasioned the gloss." But this tells rather against the suspicion that קנים is a gloss, since, as we have already observed, according to the Hebrew mode of expression, the "five hundred" would be defined as rods by בּקנה המּדּה, even without קנים. Ezekiel, however, had added בּקנה המּדּה for the purpose of expressing in the clearest manner the fact that the reference here is not to cubits, but to a new measurement of an extraordinary kind, to which nothing corresponding could be shown in the earlier temple. And the Seventy, by retaining this clause, ἐν καλάμῳ τοῦ μέτρου, have pronounced sentence upon their own change of the rods into cubits; and it is no answer to this that the Talmud (Midd. c. ii. note 5) also gives only five hundred cubits to the הר הבּ, since this Talmudic description is treating of the historical temple and not of Ezekiel's prophetic picture of a temple, although the Rabbins have transferred various statements from the latter to the former. The second and third reasons are weaker still - viz. "because there is no other instance in which the measurement is expressed by rods in the plural; and, on the other hand, אמּה is frequently omitted as being the ordinary measurement, and therefore taken for granted." For the first assertion is proved to be erroneous, not only by our verses, but also by Ezekiel 45:1. and Ezekiel 48:16., whilst there is no force whatever in the second. The last argument employed is a more plausible one - namely, that "the five hundred rods are not in keeping with the sanctuary, because the edifice with the courts and gates would look but a little pile according to the previous measurements in the wide expanse of 20,000 (?) rods." But although the space measured off around the temple-building for the separation between the holy and the profane was five times as long and five times as broad, according to the Hebrew text, or twenty-five times as large as the whole extent of the temple and its courts,

(a) Area of the temple with the two courts, 500 cubits square.

(b) Surrounding space, five hundred rods equals 3000 cubits square.

(c) Circuit of fifty cubits in breadth around the surrounding space. - Ezekiel 45:2

the appearance of the temple with its courts is not diminished in consequence, because the surrounding space was not covered with buildings; on the contrary, the fact that it was separated from the common by so large a surrounding space, would rather add to the importance of the temple with its courts. This broad separation is peculiar to Ezekiel's temple, and serves, like many other arrangements in the new sanctuary and worship, to symbolize the inviolable holiness of that sanctuary. The earlier sanctuary had nothing answering to this; and Kliefoth is wrong in supposing that the outer court served the same purpose in the tabernacle and Solomon's temple, whereas in the temple of Ezekiel this had also become part of the sanctuary, and was itself holy. The tabernacle had no outer court at all, and in Solomon's temple the outer court did form a component part of the sanctuary. The people might enter it, no doubt, when they desired to draw near to the Lord with sacrifices and gifts; but this continued to be the case in Ezekiel's temple, though with certain restrictions (cf. Ezekiel 46:9 and Ezekiel 46:10). Only, in the case of Solomon's temple, the outer court bordered directly upon the common soil of the city and the land, so that the defilement of the land produced by the sin of the people could penetrate directly even into the holy space of the courts. In the sanctuary of the future, a safeguard was to be placed against this by the surrounding space which separated the holy from the common. It is true that the surface of Moriah supplied no room for this space of five hundred rods square; but the new temple was not to be built upon the real Moriah, but upon a very high mountain, which the Lord would exalt and make ready for the purpose when the temple was erected. Moreover, the circumstance that Moriah was much too small for the extent of the new temple and its surroundings, cannot furnish any argument against the correctness of our view of the verses in question, for the simple reason that in Ezekiel 45 and 48 there follow still further statements concerning the separation of the sanctuary from the rest of the land, which are in perfect harmony with this, and show most indisputably that the temple seen by Ezekiel was not to have its seat in the ancient Jerusalem.

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