|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
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.
Verses 21-23. - The geographical boundaries of the land having been indicated, general directions are furnished as to the manner of its distribution.
(1) It should be partitioned among the tribes as tribes rather than among the families of Israel (see on ver. 13).
(2) The division of the territory should be made by lot. This is pointed to by the use of חָלַק (from חֵלֶק, "a smooth stone"), which signifies "to divide by lot."
(3) The strangers who should sojourn amongst the tribes and beget children amongst them should inherit equally with Israelites who should be born in the country.
(4) The inheritance of the stranger should be assigned him in the tribe where he sojourned. Of these regulations the last two were an advance on the earlier Mosaic legislation with regard to "strangers," or גֵּרִים, who were to be treated with affectionate kindness (Exodus 22:21; Exodus 23:9; Leviticus 19:34; Deuteronomy 1:16; Deuteronomy 24:14), admitted to offer sacrifice (Leviticus 17:8, 10, 13), and even allowed to partake of the Passover on submitting to circumcision (Exodus 12:48), but on no account permitted to hold property in land (Leviticus 25:47-55). But if the priest-code was later than Ezekiel, why should it have receded from the freer and more liberal spirit of Ezekiel? If progressive development can determine the relative ages of two documents, then Ezekiel, which accords equal rights to Jew and Gentile in the new Israel, and thus anticipates that breaking down of the middle wall of partition which has taken place under the gospel (John 10:16; Romans 2:10, 11; Romans 9:24; Galatians 3:8-14, 28; Ephesians 2:14-16), should be posterior to the priest-code, which shows itself to be not yet emancipated from the trammels of Jewish exclusivism. At the same time, Ezekiel's Torah does not grant equal rights with native-born Israelites to "strangers" indiscriminately, or only to those of them who should have families, as Hitzig suggests, in reward for their increasing the population, but to such of them as should permanently settle in the midst of Israel, and show this by begetting children, and in this manner "building houses" for themselves. Kliefoth justly cautions against concluding from the prophet's statement that the time in which the prophet's vision realizes itself will necessarily be one in which marrying and begetting children will take place; and with equal justice points out that the number of Israel, especially when swelled up by an influx of Gentiles, will be so great (comp. ver. 10) as to render their settlement within the narrow boundaries of the land an impossibility - in this circumstance finding another indication that the prophet's language was intended to be symbolically, not literally, interpreted. NOTE. - On the boundaries of the land. Smend thinks
(1) that in respect of the north boundary, Ezekiel and the priest-code contradict the older source of the Pentateuch, which does not permit the territory of Asher to extend so far north as Hamath (see Joshua 19:24-31; and comp. Judges 1:31);
(2) that never at any time did Israelites dwell so far north as at the entering in of Hamath;
(3) that this extension of the land northwards was intended as a compensation for the withdrawment of the territory east of the Jordan; and
(4) that in dividing among tribes rather than among families Ezekiel deviates from both the Jehovistic tradition and the priest-code. But
(1) if the above-cited passages do not extend Asher's territory beyond Tyre, Genesis 15:18, which critics assign to the Elohist, one of the authors of J.E., the so-called prophetical narrative of the Hexateuch, and Exodus 23:31, which, according to the same authorities, formed part of the commonly styled book of the covenant, expressly mention the great river Euphrates as the north boundary of the land, while the same is recognized by the Deuteronomist (Deuteronomy 11:24; 19:8).
(2) 1 Kings 4:24; 1 Kings 8:65; and 2 Kings 14:25 (comp. 2 Chronicles 7:8; 2 Chronicles 8:3, 4) show that in the time of Solomon the boundaries of the land reached as far north as Hamath.
(3) As it was not originally contemplated by the Mosaic distribution to take immediate possession of the east Jordan land (Numbers 34:10-12), and this was only granted to Reuben, Gad, and half Manasseh on their entreaty (Numbers 32:33-42), no ground existed why its withdrawal should be compensated for.
(4) If Ezekiers division of the land according to tribes rather than families shows that it existed prior to the priest-code, then the same argument should demonstrate its prior existence to J.E., which throughout as-stones the principle of division according to families.
(5) If Ezekiel preceded the priest-code, it will require some explanation to understand, first, why the author of the latter should have followed the comparatively uncertain Jehovistic tradition rather than the definite arrangements made by a prophet whom he regarded as practically the originator of his faith; and secondly, why he should have so materially altered that prophet's land-boundaries and tribe-dispositions.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
So shall ye divide this land unto you,.... As thus bounded, east, west, north, and south:
according to the tribes of Israel; See Gill on Ezekiel 47:13.
Ezekiel 47:21 Parallel Commentaries
Bible Hub: Online Parallel Bible