Ezekiel 47
Barnes' Notes
Afterward he brought me again unto the door of the house; and, behold, waters issued out from under the threshold of the house eastward: for the forefront of the house stood toward the east, and the waters came down from under from the right side of the house, at the south side of the altar.
The vision of the waters; or, the blessings which flow from this source to animate and refresh all the inhabitants of the earth. Compare Isaiah 44:8...; Joel 3:18. Ezekiel's description is adopted and modifled by Zechariah and in Rev. (compare the marginal references) Hebrew tradition speaks of a spring of water, named Etham, said to be identical with the well-waters of Nephtoah Joshua 18:15, on the west of the temple, whose waters were conducted by pipes into the temple-courts for the uses needed in the ministration of the priests. The waters of Shiloah Psalm 46:4; Isaiah 8:6 flowed from the rocks beneath the temple-hill. It is quite in the manner of Ezekiel's vision to start from an existing feature and thence proceed to an ideal picture from where to draw a spiritual lesson. The deepening of the waters in their course shows the continual deepening of spiritual life and multiplication of spiritual blessings in the growth of the kingdom of God. So long as the stream is confined to the temple-courts, it is merely a small rill, for the most part unseen, but when it issues from the courts it begins at once to deepen and to widen. So on the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit descended upon the company of believers, little then but presently to develop into the infant Church in Jerusalem.

Then brought he me out of the way of the gate northward, and led me about the way without unto the utter gate by the way that looketh eastward; and, behold, there ran out waters on the right side.
Out of the way of the gate northward - Rather, by the way of the northward gate.

And when the man that had the line in his hand went forth eastward, he measured a thousand cubits, and he brought me through the waters; the waters were to the ancles.
The ancles - This may coincide with the step gained in the baptism of Cornelius Acts 10, and the opening of the Church to the Gentiles. The dispersion which had followed the martyrdom of Stephen Acts 11:19, had carried believers into various countries, and so paved the way for the foundation of Gentile Churches.

Again he measured a thousand, and brought me through the waters; the waters were to the knees. Again he measured a thousand, and brought me through; the waters were to the loins.
The knees - The mission of Paul and Barnabas Acts 13:1-4 is another marked epoch in the Church's history; and the time of Paul's martyrdom denotes an increase in the Gentile Church, which corresponds with the waters reaching the loins.

Afterward he measured a thousand; and it was a river that I could not pass over: for the waters were risen, waters to swim in, a river that could not be passed over.
The rivers in Palestine were for the most part mere watercourses, dry in summer, in winter carrying the water along the wadys to the sea. The river of the vision is to have a continuous flow.

Waters to swim in - When under Constantine the Roman empire had become Christian, the Church may be contemplated as the full river, to flow on through time until the final completion of Isaiah's prophecy Isaiah 11:9.

And he said unto me, Son of man, hast thou seen this? Then he brought me, and caused me to return to the brink of the river.
Now when I had returned, behold, at the bank of the river were very many trees on the one side and on the other.
Trees naturally flourish where there is abundance of water Psalm 1:3.

Then said he unto me, These waters issue out toward the east country, and go down into the desert, and go into the sea: which being brought forth into the sea, the waters shall be healed.
"The sea" is a term commonly applied to the Dead Sea. Compare Deuteronomy 3:17, "the sea of the plain (Arabah), even the salt sea." The more literal rendering of the verse in this sense would be, "and go into the sea; into the sea go the waters that issue forth, and the waters shall be healed."

Healed - Every living thing (of which there were none before) shall abound in the "healed" waters. The absence of living creatures in the Dead Sea has been remarked by ancient and modern writers. So the water which Jesus should give should bring life to the dead in trespasses and sins. Compare John 4:14; Revelation 22:2-3.

And it shall come to pass, that every thing that liveth, which moveth, whithersoever the rivers shall come, shall live: and there shall be a very great multitude of fish, because these waters shall come thither: for they shall be healed; and every thing shall live whither the river cometh.
The rivers - literally, as in the margin. Perhaps with reference to the circumstance that this "brook or river" is to come into the Dead Sea through the same plain as the Jordan. The one river (Jordan) always flowed, but now, when another river comes in, and "two rivers" flow into the sea, the waters shall be healed.

And it shall come to pass, that the fishers shall stand upon it from Engedi even unto Eneglaim; they shall be a place to spread forth nets; their fish shall be according to their kinds, as the fish of the great sea, exceeding many.
"En-gedi" (see 1 Samuel 23:29) was about the middle of the western shore of the Dead Sea.

En-eglaim does not occur elsewhere. Its form indicates that it was one of the double cities of Moab (see Ezekiel 25:9 note). It has been identified with "Ain-el-Feshkah" to the north on the western bank of the Dead Sea. On this supposition, "from En-eglaim to En-gedi" would be the line of coast from the most northern fountain to the principal fountain southward.

But the miry places thereof and the marishes thereof shall not be healed; they shall be given to salt.
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.

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.
Thus saith the Lord GOD; This shall be the border, whereby ye shall inherit the land according to the twelve tribes of Israel: Joseph shall have two portions.
The ideal reallotment of the land to the twelve tribes of Israel is found in Ezekiel 47:13-48:14.

The special mention of Joseph's portions was in order to express that the twelve portions were to be exclusive of Levi's land, which was to be provided out of the "oblation."

And ye shall inherit it, one as well as another: concerning the which I lifted up mine hand to give it unto your fathers: and this land shall fall unto you for inheritance.
As well as - Or, as. Ezekiel is speaking of "tribes," not "individuals." Each tribe is to have an equal "breadth" of land assigned to it.

And this shall be the border of the land toward the north side, from the great sea, the way of Hethlon, as men go to Zedad;
The borders of the land follow closely Numbers 34, where they begin from the south, as the people came up from Egypt; in Ezekiel, they begin from the north, as they might return from Babylon. The occupation is ideal, but is grounded, as usual, on an actual state of things.

The border of the land toward the north - Names of places in the actual northern border are given (marginal references) not to mark exact geographical position, but to show that the original promise will be fulfilled.

The way of Hethlon, was probably the defile between the ranges of Libanus and Anti-libanus, from the sea to Hamath. "Hamath" Amos 6:2, at the foot of Mount Hermon, on the Orontes. was the ancient capital of the Hittites. Its Scripture history may be traced in Genesis 10:18; 2 Samuel 8:9; 2 Kings 18:34. It was never included in the possessions of Israel. The border ran considerably south of the town at the "entrance of Hamath," the northern opening of Coele-Syria.

Hamath, Berothah, Sibraim, which is between the border of Damascus and the border of Hamath; Hazarhatticon, which is by the coast of Hauran.
"Berothah," probably the same as "Berothai" (marginal reference), lay between Hamath and Damascus, as did "Sibraim."

"Hazar-hatticon" is probably, as in the margin, "the middle Hazar," to distinguish it from Hazar-enan Ezekiel 47:17.

And the border from the sea shall be Hazarenan, the border of Damascus, and the north northward, and the border of Hamath. And this is the north side.
And the north ... - Or, "and on the north, the border on the north shall be" etc.

And the east side ye shall measure from Hauran, and from Damascus, and from Gilead, and from the land of Israel by Jordan, from the border unto the east sea. And this is the east side.
The eastern boundary is to commence by separating off the territory of Damascus and Hauran, and then to follow the line of the Jordan to the Dead Sea. Further, the land occupied by the trans-Jordanic tribes was also to be separated off from the land of Israel. The trans-Jordanic tribes in fact occupied their ground (in Joshua's allotment) by sufferance. This did not belong to Canaan proper, the land of promise. Hence, the tribes, formerly on the east of the Jordan, have here allotments in Canaan, though "the oblation" Ezekiel 45:1 extends to a considerable distance beyond the Jordan (see Plan, Ezekiel 48). The whole arrangement being ideal and symbolic, the vision here, as in the case of "the waters" (Ezekiel 47:1 note), departs from the physical features of the land for the purpose of maintaining symbolic numbers.

And the south side southward, from Tamar even to the waters of strife in Kadesh, the river to the great sea. And this is the south side southward.
The south border (compare Numbers 34:4) commences with "Tamar," probably a village near the southern end of the Dead Sea. The word means "palm-tree;" and is given to more than one city in the holy land.

The river to the great sea - literally, "riverward to the great sea." By the "river" is meant the torrent-stream entering the Mediterranean near "Rhinocolura" (El Arish).

The west side also shall be the great sea from the border, till a man come over against Hamath. This is the west side.
So shall ye divide this land unto you according to the tribes of Israel.
And it shall come to pass, that ye shall divide it by lot for an inheritance unto you, and to the strangers that sojourn among you, which shall beget children among you: and they shall be unto you as born in the country among the children of Israel; they shall have inheritance with you among the tribes of Israel.
And to the strangers - Here is quite a new feature in the distribution of the land. Not only the Israelites by descent, but those who join themselves to Israel by allegiance to the true God, shall have a right of inheritance. Here are opened out the blessings which were to accrue to the Gentiles through the seed of Abraham. Compare Romans 9:24, following. The difference which existed under the old covenant between Jew and Gentile is now at last done away. But while pagandom thus unites itself with God's people, Israel is still as ever the chosen people, the center of this union. No new Church is founded side by side with the old. Pagandom is absorbed in Israel - the standard which God has set up for the nations - i. e., in the One True Church, which has subsisted from the beginning, and will subsist in eternity.

And it shall come to pass, that in what tribe the stranger sojourneth, there shall ye give him his inheritance, saith the Lord GOD.
Notes on the Bible by Albert Barnes [1834].
Text Courtesy of Internet Sacred Texts Archive.

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