|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
48:1-35 Here is a description of the several portions of the land belonging to each tribe. In gospel times, behold all things are become new. Much is wrapped up in emblems and numbers. This method God has used to state mysterious truths in his word, not to be more clearly revealed till the proper time and season. But into the church of Christ, both in its state of warfare and triumph, there is free access by faith, from every side. Christ has opened the kingdom of heaven for all believers. Whoever will, may come, and take of the water of life, of the tree of life, freely. The Lord is there, in his church, to be nigh unto them in all they call upon him for. This is true of every real Christian; whatever soul has in it a living principle of grace, it may truly be said, The Lord is there. May we be found citizens of this holy city, and act agreeably to that character; and have the benefit of the Lord's presence with us, in life, in death, and for evermore.
Verses 23-29. - As for the rest of the tribes, these should follow on the south of the city portion, in parallel tracts, from east to west - Benjamin: Simeon, Issachar, Zebulun, Gad - till the southern boundary of the land should be reached, which boundary is again defined as in Ezekiel 47:19. Each tribe should receive, as those north of the terumah, one portion. The exact extent of this equal portion, though not stated, may be calculated - Latitude of entrance to Hamath 34° 20' Latitude of Kadesh (say) 30° 30' 3° 50' 60 × 3 5/6 - 230 geographical miles. But the whole breadth of the terumah was 25,000 reeds = 37 geographical miles. Hence 230 - 37 - 193 miles, which, divided by 12, gives 16 miles of breadth (from north to south) for each portion. The precise length from east to west is more difficult to estimate, in consequence of the varying widths of the land. Accepting this, however, as 55 miles at Jerusalem, the breadth of the prince's portion from east to west would be only 2½ miles on each side of the terumah; which, multiplied by 50 miles from north to south, would yield an area of 125 square miles on each side, or of 250 square miles in all. The disposition of the southern tribes differs from that made under the earlier division of the land - Simeon alone lying where he had been formerly placed, in the south quarter, Issachar and Zebulun being fetched from the north, Benjamin from the middle, and Gad from the west to keep him company. Upon the whole, the new arrangement has several marked peculiarities which distinguish it from the old. While agreeing with the old in this, that the three tribes, Dan, Asher, and Naphtali retain their original places in the north, and the temple is not deprived of its central position between Judah and Benjamin, it differs from the old in placing the three northern tribes side by side from west to east, but after one another from north to south, and exchanges the positions of Benjamin and Judah, transferring the former to the south and the latter to the north of the temple and the city. Then, while under the old neither priests, Levites, nor prince had a portion, all three obtain one in this. And, finally, while under the old no regard was had to the temple, in the new this forms the central point of the whole.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
As for the rest of the tribes,.... Not yet mentioned, which lay to the south of the sanctuary, and are as follow:
from the east side to the west side, Benjamin shall have a portion;
the sons of God's right hand, who are as near and dear to him as a man's right hand is to him. Judah and Benjamin are nearest to the holy oblation, sanctuary, city, and prince; the one to the north of them, the other to the south; these tribes being faithful to God, and with his saints, when others departed from him; the Lord takes great notice of his faithful ones, and honours them, Hosea 11:12.
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