And in all matters of wisdom and understanding, that the king inquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all his realm.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
He found them ten times better - Better counselors, better informed. Hebrew, "ten "hands" above the magicians;" that is, ten "times," or "many" times. In this sense the word "ten" is used in Genesis 31:7, Genesis 31:41; Numbers 14:22; Nehemiah 4:12; Job 19:3. They greatly surpassed them.
Than all the magicians - Greek, τοὺς ἐπαοιδοὺς tous epaoidous. The Greek word means, "those singing to;" then those who propose to heal the sick by singing; then those who practice magical arts or incantations - particularly with the idea of charming with songs; and then those who accomplish anything surpassing human power by mysterious and supernatural means. - Passow. The Hebrew word (הרטמים chareṭummı̂ym), occurs only in the following places in the Scriptures, in all of which it is rendered "magicians:" - Genesis 41:8, Genesis 41:24; Exodus 7:11, Exodus 7:22; Exodus 8:7 (3), 18 (14), 19 (15); Exodus 9:11; Daniel 1:20; Daniel 2:2. From this it appears that it applied only to the magicians in Egypt and in Babylon, and doubtless substantially the same class of persons is referred to. It is found only in the plural number, "perhaps" implying that they formed companies, or that they were always associated together, so that different persons performed different parts in their incantations.
The word is defined by Gesenius to mean, "Sacred scribes, skilled in the sacred writings or hieroglyphics - ἱερογραμματεῖς hierogrammateis - a class of Egyptian priests." It is, according to him (Lex.), of Hebrew origin, and is derived from חרט chereṭ, "stylus" - an instrument of writing, and the formative מ (m). It is not improbable, he suggests, that the Hebrews with these letters imitated a similar Egyptian word. Prof. Stuart (in loc.) says that the word would be correctly translated "pen-men," and supposes that it originally referred to those who were "busied with books and writing, and skilled in them." It is evident that the word is not of Persian origin, since it was used in Egypt long before it occurs in Daniel. A full and very interesting account of the Magians and their religion may be found in Creuzer, "Mythologie und Symbolik," i. pp. 187-234. Herodotus mentions the "Magi" as a distinct people, i.101.
The word "Mag" or "Mog" (from the μάγοι magoi of the Greeks, and the "magi" of the Romans) means, properly, a "priest;" and at a very early period the names "Chaldeans" and "Magi" were interchangeable, and both were regarded as of the same class. - Creuzer, i. 187, note. They were doubtless, at first, a class of priests among the Medes and Persians, who were employed, among other things, in the search for wisdom; who were connected with pagan oracles; who claimed acquaintance with the will of the gods, and who professed to have the power, therefore, of making known future events, by explaining dreams, visions, preternatural appearances, etc. The Magi formed one of the six tribes into which the Medes were formerly divided (Herodotus, i. 101), but on the downfall of the Median empire they continued to retain at the court of the conqueror a great degree of power and authority. "The learning of the Magi was connected with astrology and enchantment, in which they were so celebrated that their name was applied to all orders of magicians and enchanters." - Anthon, "Class. Dic." These remarks may explain the reason why the word "magician" comes to be applied to this class of men, though we are not to suppose that the persons referred to in Genesis and Exodus, under the appellation of the Hebrew name there given to them (הרטמים chareṭummı̂ym), or those found in Babylon, referred to in the passage before us, to whom the same name is applied, were of that class of priests.
The name "magi," or "magician," was so extended as to embrace "all" who made pretensions to the kind of knowledge for which the magi were distinguished, and hence, came also to be synonymous with the "Chaldeans," who were also celebrated for this. Compare the notes at Daniel 2:2. In the passage before us it cannot be determined with certainty, that the persons were of "Magian" origin, though it is possible, as in Daniel 2:2, they are distinguished from the Chaldeans. All that is certainly meant is, that they were persons who laid claim to the power of diving into future events; of explaining mysteries; of interpreting dreams; of working by enchantments, etc.
And astrologers - - האשׁפים hâ'ashâpı̂ym. This word is rendered by the Septuagint, μάγους magous, "magians." So also in the Vulgate, "magos." The English word "astrologer" denotes "one who professes to foretell future events by the aspects and situation of the stars." - Webster. The Hebrew word - אשׁפים 'ashâpı̂ym - according to Gesenius, means "enchanters, magicians." It is derived, probably, from the obsolete root אשׁף 'âshap, "to cover," "to conceal," and refers to those who were devoted to the practice of occult arts, and to the cultivation of recondite and cabalistic sciences. It is supposed by some philologists to have given rise, by dropping the initial א to the Greek σοφος sophos, "wise, wise man," and the Persian sophi, an epithet of equivalent import. See Gesenius on the word, and compare Bush on Daniel 2:2. The word is found only in Daniel, Daniel 1:20; Daniel 2:2, Daniel 2:10, Daniel 2:27; Daniel 4:7 (4); Daniel 5:7, Daniel 5:11, Daniel 5:15, in every instance rendered "astrologer" and "astrologers." There is no evidence, however, that the science of astrology enters into the meaning of the word, or that the persons referred to attempted to pracrise divination by the aid of the stars. It is to be regretted that the term "astrologer" should have been employed in our translation, as it conveys an intimation which is not found in the original. It is, indeed, in the highest degree probable, that a part of their pretended wisdom consisted in their ability to cast the fates of men by the conjunctions and opposition of the stars, but this is not necessarily implied in the word. Prof. Stuart renders it "enchanters."
In all his realm - Not only in the capital, but throughout the kingdom. These arts were doubtless practiced extensively elsewhere, but it is probable that the most skillful in them would be assembled at the capital.
magicians—properly, "sacred scribes, skilled in the sacred writings, a class of Egyptian priests" [Gesenius]; from a Hebrew root, "a pen." The word in our English Version, "magicians," comes from mag, that is, "a priest." The Magi formed one of the six divisions of the Medes.
astrologers—Hebrew, "enchanters," from a root, "to conceal," pactisers of the occult arts.
he found them ten times, or ten hands (g) better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all his realm; than all the magi and sophies, the enchanters, diviners, soothsayers, and such who pretended to judicial astrology, and to judge of and foretell things by the position of the stars; these young men were able to give more pertinent answers to questions put to them, and better advice and counsel when asked of them, than all the persons before described, throughout the king's dominions.And in all matters of wisdom and understanding, that the king enquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all his realm.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)20. The king found further, upon putting to them difficult questions, that in a knowledge of the technicalities of their science the four Jewish youths excelled even the wise men of Babylon themselves.
and in every particular of reasoned wisdom] lit. wisdom of understanding, i.e. wisdom determined or regulated by understanding, ‘wisdom’ having the same concrete sense of ‘science’ which it has in Daniel 1:17. Marti, however, following Theod., reads ‘wisdom and understanding.’
magicians] ḥarṭummim, recurring in Daniel 2:2; Daniel 2:10; Daniel 2:27, Daniel 4:7; Daniel 4:9, Daniel 5:7, probably of Egyptian origin (though not at present known to occur in Egyptian inscriptions), used otherwise only of the ‘magicians’ of Egypt (Genesis 41:8; Genesis 41:24; Exodus 7:11; Exodus 7:22; Exodus 8:7; Exodus 8:18-19; Exodus 9:11), and no doubt borrowed from the Pent. by the author of Daniel. The precise sense of the term is difficult to fix. It is not improbable that originally it denoted the sacred scribes (ἱερογραμματεῖς) of Egypt; but, even if this opinion be accepted, it is doubtful how far the idea was consciously present to the Hebrews who in later times used the word. In Gen. the ḥarṭummim appear as interpreters of dreams (LXX. ἐξηγηταί), in Ex. as men able to work magic (LXX. ἐπαοιδοί, in Daniel 9:11 φαρπακοί): Theod. in Dan. renders by ἐπαοιδοί. Probably the word was used by the author of Daniel in the sense of men acquainted with occult arts in general, so that the rendering ‘magician’ may be allowed to stand.
 Clem. Alex. Strom. vi. 36; cf. Ebers, Aeg. u. die Bb. Mose’s, pp. 343, 347. On the functions of these sacred scribes, and the nature of the literature with which they had to deal (which included a knowledge of magic and charms), see Brugsch, Aegyptologie (1891), pp. 77, 85, 149–159.
astrologers] enchanters, Heb. ’ashshâph, Aram. ’âshaph, found only in the Book of Daniel (Daniel 2:2; Daniel 2:10; Daniel 2:27, Daniel 4:4, Daniel 5:7; Daniel 5:11; Daniel 5:15), the Assyrian ashipu (Schrader, KAT ad loc), which passed also into Syriac, where it is used specially of the charmers of serpents.
 AT. Eb. Schrader, Die Keilinschriften und das A. T., ed. 2, 1883 (translated under the title The Cuneiform Inscriptions and the O.T. 1885, 1888). The references are to the pagination of the original, which is given on the margin of the English translation.
 Eb. Schrader, Die Keilinschriften und das A. T., ed. 2, 1883 (translated under the title The Cuneiform Inscriptions and the O.T. 1885, 1888). The references are to the pagination of the original, which is given on the margin of the English translation.Verse 20. - And in all matters of wisdom and understanding, that the king inquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all his realm. The Septuagint rendering here has a considerable addition, which really means, as it seems to us, the coalescence of two readings. It reads thus: "And in all learning (λόγῳ, a literal rendering of דָבָר, dabhar, 'a word' or 'thing'), and knowledge and education (παιδείᾳ) whatsoever the king asked of them, he found them ten times wiser than all the wise and learned men in all his kingdom." Thus far the verse is a rendering, almost slavishly close, of the Massoretic text; while the translator has recognized that the sentence is incomplete as it stands, and has inserted σοφωτέρους, and translated עַל (al) by ὑπὲρ. But the translation proceeds, "And the king honoured them, and appointed them rulers." This seems to have been due to a various reading. The sentence here translated was probably, in an old recension of the text, all that stood here, and some scribe, finding it, inserted it here to complete the sentence. The translation, however, proceeds yet further, "And constituted (ἀνεδείξεν) them wiser than all those of his in affairs in all his land and in his kingdom." This sentence has all the appearance of an attempt to render into Greek a piece of Hebrew that the translator imperfectly understood. As we find that ἀναδείκνυμι, represents occasionally הודע, and as the Syriac vav and the old Hebrew ע were almost identical in shape, יֹדע (yod'a,) might be read as ידוה evidently the translator has read חכמים (hacmeem) instead of חַרְטֻמִים (hartummeem), and has transferred the 'al col from before hartummeem to before the next word, which seems to have read, not 'ashshapheem, but hartzo, the relative seems to have been omitted, and the second col, "all." This great variety of reading suggests suspicions of the verse altogether, which the content of the verse rather strengthens. Theodotion is in strict agreement with the Massoretic text. The Peshitta also is at one with it in this, but these are late compared with the Septuagint. It has been tea,sued that the Book of Daniel is a story modelled on the history of Joseph, and the presence of harlummeem here is regarded as a proof of this quasi Egyptian origin (see Genesis 41:8; Exodus 7:11, etc.). One thing is clear, that the word - whatever it was - was unknown in Alexandria, where this translation was made; hartummeern, as occurring in the Pentateuch, the earliest part of the Old Testament translated, was certain to be known: how did the word here happen not to be known? We can understand the phenomenon if some word, probably of Babylonian origin, and unknown in Egypt and Palestine, occupied the place and was modified into a more intelligible shape by being turned into hartummeem. As the verse stands, hartummeem is grammatically placed in apposition to the following word, 'ashshapheem, as there is no conjunction to unite the two words. It is acknowledged by Professor Bevan that the latter word has an Assyrian origin; it is not inconceivable that hartummeem is really the explanatory word, though the arrangement of the words is decidedly against this view. It is to be observed here that 'ashshapheem has been naturalized in Eastern Aramaic, but has not found a lodgment in Western, save in Daniel. We cannot help feeling a little suspicion of the authenticity of this verse. This phrase, "ten times better," has all the look of that exaggeration which became the prevailing vice of later Judaism. As we have indicated, the variations in regard to the precise reading deepen this suspicion. If, however, the reference here is really to Daniel's revelation to the king of his dream, then the statement in the text is less objectionable. This was such a marvellous feat, and one that so put Daniel boys all the wise men of Babylon, that the language of the verse before us is rather rhetorical than exaggerated. Ezekiel 45:1. And when ye divide the land by lot for an inheritance, ye shall lift a heave for Jehovah as a holy (portion) from the land; five and twenty thousand the length, and the breadth ten (? twenty) thousand. It shall be holy in all its circumference round about. Ezekiel 45:2. Of this five hundred shall belong to the Holy by five hundred square round about, and fifty cubits open space thereto round about. Ezekiel 45:3. And from this measured space thou shalt measure a length of five and twenty thousand, and a breadth of ten thousand, and in this shall be the sanctuary, a holy of holies. Ezekiel 45:4. A holy (portion) of the land shall this be; to the priests, the servants of the sanctuary, shall it belong who draw near to serve Jehovah, and it shall be to them the place for houses and a sanctuary for the sanctuary. Ezekiel 45:5. And five and twenty thousand in length and ten thousand in breadth shall belong to the Levites, the servants of the house, for a possession to them as gates to dwell in. Ezekiel 45:6. And as a possession for the city, ye shall give five thousand in breadth and five and twenty thousand in length, parallel to the holy heave; it shall belong to the whole house of Israel. Ezekiel 45:7. And to the prince (ye shall give) on both sides of the holy heave and of the possession of the city, along the holy heave and along the possession of the city, on the west side westwards and on the east side eastwards, and in length parallel to one of the tribe-portions, from the western border to the eastern border. Ezekiel 45:8. It shall belong to him as land, as a possession in Israel; and my princes shall no more oppress my people, but shall leave the land to the house of Israel according to its tribes. - The domain to be first of all set apart from the land at the time of its distribution among the tribes is called תּרוּמה, heave, not in the general sense of the lifting or taking of a portion from the whole, but as a portion lifted or taken by a person from his property as an offering for God; for תּרוּמה comes from הרים, which signifies in the case of the minchah the lifting of a portion which was burned upon the altar as אזכּרה for Jehovah (see the comm. on Leviticus 2:9). Consequently everything that was offered by the Israelites, either voluntarily or in consequence of a precept from the Lord for the erection and maintenance of the sanctuary and its servants, was called תּרוּמה (see Exodus 25:2., Ezekiel 30:15; Leviticus 7:14; Numbers 15:19, etc.). Only the principal instructions concerning the heave from the land are given here, and these are repeated in Ezekiel 48:8-22, in the section concerning the division of the land, and to some extent expanded there. The introductory words, "when ye divide the land by lot for an inheritance," point to this. (See the map on Plate IV.) הפּיל, sc. גּירל (Proverbs 1:14), to cast the lot, to divide by lot, as in Joshua 13:6. Then shall ye lift, set apart, a heave for Jehovah as a holy (portion) from the land. מן is to be closely connected with קדשׁ, as shown by Ezekiel 45:4. In the numbers mentioned the measure to be employed is not given. But it is obvious that cubits are not meant, as Bttcher, Hitzig, and others assume, but rods; partly from a comparison of Ezekiel 45:2 with Ezekiel 42:16, where the space of the sanctuary, which is given here as 500 by 500 square, is described as five hundred rods on every side; and partly also from the fact that the open space around the sanctuary is fixed at fifty cubits, and in this case אמּה is added, because rods are not to be understood there as in connection with the other numbers. The correctness of this view, which we meet with in Jerome and Raschi, cannot be overthrown by appealing to the excessive magnitude of a τέμενος of twenty-five thousand rods in length and ten thousand rods in breadth; for it will be seen in Ezekiel 48 that the measurements given answer to the circumstances in rods, but not in cubits. The ארך before and after the number is pleonastic: "as for the length, twenty-five thousand rods in length." Length here is the measurement from east to west, and breadth from north to south, as we may clearly see from Ezekiel 48:10. No regard, therefore, is paid to the natural length and breadth of the land; and the greater extent of the portions to be measured is designated as length, the smaller as breadth. The expression אשׂרה אלף is a remarkable one, as עשׂרת אלפים is constantly used, not only in Ezekiel 45:3 and Ezekiel 45:5, but also in Ezekiel 48:9-10,Ezekiel 48:13, Ezekiel 48:18. The lxx have εἴκοσι χιλιάδας, twenty thousand breadth. This reading appears more correct than the Masoretic, as it is demanded by Ezekiel 45:3 and Ezekiel 45:5. For according to Ezekiel 45:3, of the portion measured in Ezekiel 45:1 twenty-five thousand rods in length and ten thousand in breadth were to be measured for the sanctuary and for the priests' land; and according to Ezekiel 45:5, the Levites were also to receive twenty-five thousand rods in length and ten thousand in breadth for a possession. The first clause of Ezekiel 45:3 is unintelligible if the breadth of the holy terumah is given in Ezekiel 45:1 as only ten thousand rods, inasmuch as one cannot measure off from an area of twenty-five thousand rods in length and ten thousand rods in breadth another space of the same length and breadth. Moreover, Ezekiel 45:1 requires the reading עשׂרים אלף, as the "holy terumah" is not only the portion set apart for the sanctuary and the priests' land, but also that which was set apart for the Levites.
According to Ezekiel 48:14, this was also "holy to Jehovah;" whereas the portion measured off for the city was "common" (Ezekiel 48:15). This is borne out by the fact that in the chapter before us the domain appointed for the city is distinguished from the land of the priests and Levites by the verb תּתּנוּ (Ezekiel 45:6), whilst the description of the size of the Levites' land in Ezekiel 45:5 is closely connected with that of the land of the priests; and further, that in Ezekiel 45:7, in the description of the land of the prince, reference is made only to the holy terumah and the possession of the city, from which it also follows that the land of the Levites is included in the holy terumah. Consequently Ezekiel 45:1 treats of the whole of the תּרוּמת קדשׁ, i.e., the land of the priests and Levites, which was twenty-five thousand rods long and twenty thousand rods broad. This is designated in the last clause of the verse as a holy (portion) in its entire circumference, and then divided into two domains in Ezekiel 45:2 and Ezekiel 45:3. - Ezekiel 45:2. Of this (מזּה, of the area measured in Ezekiel 45:1) there shall come, or belong, to the holy, i.e., to the holy temple domain, five hundred rods square, namely, the domain measured in Ezekiel 42:15-20 round about the temple, for a separation between holy and common; and round this domain there is to be a מגרשׁ, i.e., an open space of fifty cubits on every side, that the dwellings to the priests may not be built too near to the holy square of the temple building. - Ezekiel 45:3. המּדּה, this measure (i.e., this measured piece of land), also points back to Ezekiel 45:1, and מן cannot be taken in any other sense than in מזּה (Ezekiel 45:2). From the whole tract of land measured in Ezekiel 45:1 a portion is to be measured off twenty-five thousand rods in length and ten thousand rods in breadth, in which the sanctuary, i.e., the temple with its courts, is to stand as a holy of holies. This domain, in the midst of which is the temple, is to belong to the priests, as the sanctified portion of the land, as the place or space for their houses, and is to be a sanctuary for the sanctuary, i.e., for the temple. Ezekiel 45:5. A portion equally large is to be measured off to the Levites, as the temple servants, for their possession. The Keri יהיה is formed after the והיה of Ezekiel 45:4, and the Chetib יהיה is indisputably correct. There is great difficulty in the last words of this verse, עשׂרים לשׁכת, "for a possession to them twenty cells;" for which the lxx give αὐτοῖς εἰς κατάσχεσιν πόλεις τοῦ κατοικεῖν, and which they have therefore read, or for which they have substituted by conjecture, ערים לשׁבת. We cannot, in fact, obtain from the עשׂרים לשׁכת of the Masoretic text any meaning that will harmonize with the context, even if we render the words, as Rosenmller does, in opposition to the grammar, cum viginti cubiculis, and understand by לשׁכת capacious cell-buildings. For we neither expect to find in this connection a description of the number and character of the buildings in which the Levites lived, nor can any reason be imagined why the Levites, with a domain of twenty-five thousand rods in length and ten thousand rods in breadth assigned to them, should live together in twenty cell-buildings. Still less can we think of the "twenty cells" as having any connection with the thirty cells in the outer court near to the gate-buildings (Ezekiel 40:17-18), as these temple cells, even though they were appointed for the Levites during their service in the temple, were not connected in any way with the holy terumah spoken of here. Hvernick's remark, that "the prophet has in his eye the priests' cells in the sanctuary, - and the dwellings of the Levites during their service, which were only on the outside of the sanctuary, were to correspond to these," is not indicated in the slightest degree by the words, but is a mere conjecture. There is no other course open, therefore, than to acknowledge a corruption of the text, and either to alter לשׁכת `srym עשׂרים into לערים לשׁבת, as Hitzig proposes (cf. Numbers 35:2-3; Joshua 21:2), or to take עשׂרים as a mistake for שׁערים: "for a possession to them as gates to dwell in," according to the frequent use of שׁערים, gates, for ערים, cities, e.g., in what was almost a standing phrase, "the Levites who is in thy gates" ( equals cities; Deuteronomy 12:18; Deuteronomy 14:27; Deuteronomy 16:11; cf. Exodus 20:10; Deuteronomy 5:14, etc.). In that case the faulty reading would have arisen from the transposition of עש into שע, and the change of ב into כ.
Beside the holy terumah for sanctuary, priests, and Levites, they are also (Ezekiel 45:6) to give a tract of twenty-five thousand rods in length and five thousand rods in breadth as the property of the city (i.e., of the capital). לעמּת: parallel to the holy heave, i.e., running by the longer side of it. This portion of land, which was set apart for the city, was to belong to all Israel, and not to any single tribe. The more precise directions concerning this, and concerning the situation of the whole terumah in the land, are not given till Ezekiel 48:8-22. Here, in the present chapter, this heave is simply mentioned in connection with the privileges which the servants of the Lord and of His sanctuary were to enjoy. These included, in a certain sense, also the property assigned to the prince in Ezekiel 45:7 as the head of the nation, on whom the provision of the sacrifices for the nation devolved, and who, apart from this, also needed for his subsistence a portion of the land, which should be peculiarly his own, in accordance with his rank. They were to give him as his property (the verb תּתּנוּ is to be supplied to לנּשׂיא from Ezekiel 45:6) the land on this side and that side of the holy terumah and of the city-possession, and that in front (אל־פּני) of these two tracts of land, that is to say, adjoining them, extending to their boundaries, 'מפּאת ים , "from" (i.e., according to our view, "upon") the west side westward, and from (upon) the east side eastward; in other words, the land which remained on the eastern and western boundary of the holy terumah and of the city domain, both toward the west as far as the Mediterranean Sea, and toward the east as far as the Jordan, the two boundaries of the future Canaan. The further definition 'וארך לעמּות וגו is not quite clear; but the meaning of the words is, that "the length of the portions of land to be given to the prince on the east and west side of the terumah shall be equal to the length of one of the tribe-portions," and not that the portions of land belonging to the prince are to be just as long from north to south as the length of one of the twelve tribe-possessions. "Length" throughout this section is the extent from east to west. It is so in the case of all the tribe-territories (cf. Ezekiel 48:8), and must be taken in this sense in connection with the portion of land belonging to the prince also. The meaning is therefore this: in length (from east to west) these portions shall be parallel to the inheritance of one of the twelve tribes from the western boundary to the eastern. Two things are stated here: first, that the prince's portion is to extend on the eastern and western sides of the terumah as far as the boundary of the land allotted to the tribes, i.e., on the east to the Jordan, and on the west to the Mediterranean (cf. Ezekiel 48:8); and secondly, that on the east and west it is to run parallel (לעמּות) to the length of the separate tribe-territories, i.e., not to reach farther toward either north or south than the terumah lying between, but to be bounded by the long sides of the tribe-territories which bound the terumah on the north and south. ארך is the accusative of direction; אחד, some one (cf. Judges 16:7; Psalm 82:7). - In Ezekiel 45:8, לארץ with the article is to be retained, contrary to Hitzig's conjecture לארץ: "to the land belonging to him as a possession shall it (the portion marked off in Ezekiel 45:7) be to him." ארץ, as in 1 Kings 11:18, of property in land. In Ezekiel 45:8, the motive for these instructions is given. The former kings of Israel had no land of their own, no domain; and this had driven them to acquire private property by violence and extortion. That this may not occur any more in the future, and all inducement to such oppression of the people may be taken from the princes, in the new kingdom of God the portion of land more precisely defined in Ezekiel 45:7 is to be given to the prince as his own property. The plural, "my princes," does not refer to several contemporaneous princes, nor can it be understood of the king and his sons, i.e., of the royal family, on account of Ezekiel 46:16; but it is to be traced to the simple fact "that Ezekiel was also thinking of the past kings, and that the whole series of princes, who had ruled over Israel, and still would rule, was passing before his mind" (Kliefoth), without our being able to conclude from this that there would be a plurality of princes succeeding one another in time to come, in contradiction to Ezekiel 37:25. - "And the land shall they (the princes) leave to the people of Israel" (נתן in the sense of concedere; and הארץ, the land, with the exception of the portion set apart from it in Ezekiel 45:1-7). - The warning against oppression and extortion, implied in the reason thus assigned, is expanded into a general exhortation in the following verses.
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