|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.
Verse 5. - After a fourth distance of a thousand cubits, the waters had risen, or, lifted themselves up (comp. Job 8:11, in which the verb is used of a plant growing up), and become waters to swim in - literally, waters of swimming (שָׂחוּ occurs only here; the noun צְפָה only in Ezekiel 32:6) - a river that could not be passed over, on account of its depth. The word נָחַל was applied either to a river that constantly flowed from a fountain, as the Amen, or to a winter torrent that springs up from rain or snow upon the mountains, and disappears in summer like the Kedron, which had seldom any water in it (see Robinson's 'Bibl. Res.,' 1:402). That Ezekiel's river broadened and deepened so suddenly, and apparently without receiving into it any tributaries, clearly pointed to miraculous action.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Afterward he measured a thousand,.... A fourth time a thousand cubits. Some think these four measurings respect the preaching of the Gospel in the four parts of the world; but rather they refer to four remarkable seasons of the ministry of it; as in the times of John the Baptist, and the disciples of Christ before his death; in the primitive churches of the three first centuries; at the time of the Reformation; and in the latter day glory, which is the fourth and last measuring:
and it was a river that I could not pass over; the prophet could not set his foot on the bottom, and wade through it, and cross over it, as he had done before:
for the waters were risen, waters to swim in; not to walk in:
a river that could not be passed over; by any man, on his feet; only by swimming, and perhaps not by that, at least not without difficulty: this may signify the large spread of the Gospel in the latter day, when the earth shall be filled with it, as the waters cover the sea; and the great light into it, and knowledge of it, that men shall then have, Isaiah 11:9, and yet that there are some doctrines exceeding deep, out of the reach and penetration of men, called the deep things of God, which human reason cannot attain, and where it cannot fix its foot, 1 Corinthians 2:9, and which are only to be reached and embraced in the swimming arms of faith; and, though believed, cannot be accounted for, as to the modus of them, and are not to be dived into; such as the trinity of Persons in the Godhead, and the distinct manner of their subsisting in it; the generation of the Son; the procession of the Spirit; the incarnation of Christ; the union of the two natures in his person; the resurrection of the dead, &c.
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