Daniel 2:46
Then the king Nebuchadnezzar fell on his face, and worshipped Daniel, and commanded that they should offer an oblation and sweet odors to him.
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(46) Worshipped.—This act is of an entirely different nature from such as are mentioned Genesis 33:7; 1Kings 1:16. The Hebrew word employed here is always used (e.g., Isaiah 46:6) of paying adoration to an idol. Probably the king imagined that the gods were dwelling in Daniel in a higher sense from that in which they dwelt with his other wise men, and worshipped them on account of the marvellous revelation which they had vouchsafed to him through the means of Daniel.

Oblation.—That is, the unbloody offering customary among the Babylonians; some honour different from the present mentioned in Daniel 2:48.

Daniel 2:46. Then the king Nebuchadnezzar fell upon his face and worshipped Daniel — He was so astonished at hearing his whole dream declared and interpreted by Daniel with such exactness, and at finding such wonderful events foretold by it, that he was ready to think him more than man, (just as the Lycaonians and barbarians thought of St. Paul, Acts 14:13, &c., and Acts 28:6,) and therefore prostrated himself before him, intending, as it should seem, to pay him some kind of adoration. It must be observed, however, that “doing reverence by prostration was not only an act of worship paid to God, but often given to kings and great men, in the times of the Old Testament: see 2 Samuel 9:6; 2 Samuel 14:33. It was likewise an expression of reverence paid to prophets on account of the sanctity of their office, and not refused by them, 1 Kings 18:7. Of this kind, probably, was the worship paid by the leper to Christ, (Matthew 8:2,) whom he took for a prophet. But when other circumstances were added to it, which made it look like divine worship, then it was refused to be accepted, as in the case of Peter, (Acts 10:25,) and of the angel, Revelation 19:10. The adoration here described seems to have been of this latter kind, being joined with offering incense, an act of worship peculiar to God alone: see Ezra 6:10. For this reason it is highly probable that Daniel refused the honours offered to him, and put the king in mind that he should give God the glory; as we find he does in the following verse.” — Lowth.2:46-49 It is our business to direct attention to the Lord, as the Author and Giver of every good gift. Many have thoughts of the Divine power and majesty, who do not think of serving God themselves. But all should strive, that God may be glorified, and the best interests of mankind furthered.Then the king Nebuchadnezzar fell upon his face - This was the common method of signifying profound respect among the Orientals. Compare Genesis 17:3; Genesis 50:18; Leviticus 9:24; Numbers 14:5; Joshua 5:14; Judges 13:20; Revelation 11:16.

And worshipped Daniel - The word rendered "worshipped" here (סגד segid), in the Chaldee portions of the Bible is uniformly rendered "worship," Daniel 2:26; Daniel 3:5-7, Daniel 3:10-12, Daniel 3:14-15, Daniel 3:18, Daniel 3:28. It occurs nowhere else, and in every instance, except in the one before us, is employed with reference to the homage paid to an idol, all the other cases occurring in the third chapter respecting the image that was set up by Nebuchadnezzar. The corresponding Hebrew word (סגד sâgad) occurs only in Isaiah 44:15, Isaiah 44:17, Isaiah 44:19; Isaiah 46:6; and is, in every instance, rendered "fall down," also with reference to idols. The proper idea, therefore, of the word here is, that the monarch meant to render "religious" homage to Daniel, or such adoration as was usually paid to idols. This is confirmed by witat is immediately added, that he commanded that an oblation should be made to him. It is not, however, necessary to suppose that Daniel "received" or "approved" this religious homage of the king, or that he left the impression on his mind that he was "willing" to be honored as a god. The prostration of the king before him, of course, he could not prevent. The views and feelings which the monarch had in doing it he could not prevent. The command to present an "oblation and sweet odors to him" he could not prevent. But it is not a fair inference that Daniel approved this, or that he did anything to countenance it, or even that he did not, in a proper manner, rebuke it: for

(1) We are not to suppose that all that was said was recorded, and no one can prove that Daniel did not express his disapprobation of this religious honor shown to him.

(2) Daniel had in fact, expressed his views, in the clearest manner, on this very point before the monarch. He had, again and again, disclaimed all power to be able to reveal such secrets. He had directed his mind to the true God, as he who alone could disclose coming events, Daniel 2:28, Daniel 2:30, Daniel 2:45. He had taken all possible precaution to prevent any such result, by declaring, in the most emphatic terms Daniel 2:30, that this secret was not revealed to him "on account of any wisdom which he had more than any living." If now, after all this precaution, and these disclaimers, the king should prostrate himself before him, and, for the moment, feel that he was in the presence of a God, Daniel was not responsible for it, and it should not be inferred that he encouraged or approved it.

(3) It would seem, from the narrative itself, more than probable that Daniel did refuse the homage, and direct the thoughts of the monarch to the true God. In the very next verse it is said, "The king answered unto Daniel, and said, Of a truth it is, that your God is a God of gods, and a Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets." "Answered" what? Perhaps something that was said by Daniel. At all events, it is clear from this that whatever were the momentary expressions of wonder, gratitude, and adoration, on the part of the king, his thoughts soon passed to the proper object of worship - the true God. "And commanded, etc." The fact that this was "commanded" does not prove that it was done. The command was probably given under the excitement of his admiration and wonder. But it does not follow that Daniel received it, or that the command was not recalled on reflection, or that the oblation and odors may not have been presented to the true God.

That they should offer an oblation - That is, his attendants, or perhaps the priests to whom pertained the duty of making offerings to the gods. The word rendered "oblation" (מנחה minchāh) does not refer to a, "bloody" sacrifice, but means a gift or present of any kind. It is applied in the Scriptures to denote

(1) "a gift," or "present," Genesis 32:13, Genesis 32:18, Genesis 32:20 (Genesis 32:14, Genesis 32:19, Genesis 32:21); Genesis 43:11, Genesis 43:15, Genesis 43:25-26;

(2) "a tribute," such as was exacted from a subject nation, under the notion of a present, 2 Samuel 8:2, 2 Samuel 8:6; 1 Kings 4:21 1 Kings 5:1,

(3) "an offering" or sacrifice to God, especially a bloodless offering, in opposition to (זבח zebach) - a bloody sacrifice, Leviticus 2:1, Leviticus 2:4-6; Leviticus 6:14 (7); Leviticus 7:9; Psalm 40:6 (7); Jeremiah 17:26.

See the word fully explained in the notes at Isaiah 1:13. There can be no doubt that Nebuchadnezzar meant that such an offering should be presented as was usually made in idol worship.

And sweet odors - incense was commonly used in worship (see the notes at Isaiah 1:13), and it is not improbable that in the worship of the gods it was accompanied with other fragrant odors. Sweet odors, or "savors," expressed by the same word which is used here, were a part of the prescribed worship in the Hebrew ritual, Leviticus 1:9, Leviticus 1:13, Leviticus 1:17; Leviticus 2:2, Leviticus 2:9; Leviticus 3:5; Leviticus 6:21 (14); Numbers 15:7.

46. fell upon … face, and worshipped Daniel—worshipping God in the person of Daniel. Symbolical of the future prostration of the world power before Messiah and His kingdom (Php 2:10). As other servants of God refused such honors (Ac 10:25, 26; 14:13-15; Re 22:8, 9), and Daniel (Da 1:8) would not taste defiled food, nor give up prayer to God at the cost of his life (Da 6:7, 10), it seems likely that Daniel rejected the proffered divine honors. The word "answered" (Da 2:47) implies that Daniel had objected to these honors; and in compliance with his objection, "the king answered, Of a truth, your God is a God of gods." Daniel had disclaimed all personal merit in Da 2:30, giving God all the glory (compare Da 2:45).

commanded … sweet odours—divine honors (Ezr 6:10). It is not said his command was executed.

This was strange, that so great a monarch should thus worship his vassal: thus was it sometimes done to men, as to Elias the prophet, 2 Kings 1:13: this was done in consternation and admiration, because he saw so much of God in the prophet, and in the revelation of the dream; but why did Daniel suffer it to be done to him?

1. Though he could not hinder the king in his prostration, and in his word of command, yet doubtless he showed his averseness with much zeal and abhorrence, as the apostles did in the like case, Acts 14:13-15, because it was high sacrilege and idolatry.

2. It is not said they offered sacrifice to Daniel, but only the king commanded it, which doubtless Daniel refused, because he was so careful in not defiling himself with the king’s dainties, Daniel 1:8; also when he would not omit the worship of God, though with the hazard of his life, Daniel 6:10; therefore the king, being instructed of Daniel, gives God all the glory, in the next words. Then the king Nebuchadnezzar fell upon his face, and worshipped Daniel,.... Imagining there was something of divinity in him, that he could so exactly tell him his dream, which was past and gone; and give him the interpretation of it, respecting things to come, which he concluded none but God could do; and therefore, after the manner of the eastern people, threw himself prostrate to the earth, with his face to it, and gave religious adoration to Daniel; for that this cannot be understood of mere civil respect appears by his following orders; and had he not thought that Daniel was something more than a man, he, a proud monarch, would never have behaved in this manner to him; but, being struck with amazement at the relation of the dream, and the interpretation of it, he forgot what both he and Daniel were; the one a mighty king, the other a mere man, a servant, yea, a captive: this shows that he was not exasperated at the account of the fall of his monarchy, as might have been expected, but was filled with wonder at the revelation made:

and commanded that they should offer an oblation and sweet odours unto him; rising from the ground, he gave orders to his servants about him, some of whom might be the priests of Bel, that they would bring a meat offering, and incense with it, and offer them to him as to a god; but, though this was ordered, we do not read it was done; for it cannot be thought that Daniel, who had scrupled eating the king's food, and drinking his wine, lest he should be defiled, and afterwards chose rather to be cast into a den of lions than to omit prayer to God, would ever suffer such a piece of idolatrous worship to be paid to him; and though he could not hinder the king's prostration and adoration, which were very sudden; yet it is highly probable he reasoned with the king upon it, and earnestly desired that no such undue honours should be paid to him; declaring that this knowledge was not of himself, but of God, to whom the glory ought to be given.

Then the king Nebuchadnezzar fell upon his face, and {b} worshipped Daniel, and commanded that they should offer an oblation and sweet odours unto him.

(b) Though this humbling of the king seemed to deserve commendation, yet because he united God's honour with the Prophets, it is to be reproved, and Daniel would have erred, if he allowed it: but it is to his credit that Daniel admonished him of his fault, and did not allow it.

46. fell upon his face] a mark of respect—whether to God, as Genesis 17:3, or to men, 2 Samuel 9:6; 2 Samuel 14:4.

and worshipped Daniel] bowed down to Daniel,—the word used in Daniel 3:5-7 &c. of adoration paid to a deity. In the Targums, however, the same word is used (for the Heb. to prostrate oneself to) of obeisance done to a human superior (as 2 Samuel 14:33; 2 Samuel 18:21; 2 Samuel 18:28; 2 Samuel 24:20); so that it does not necessarily imply the payment of divine honour.

that they should offer] lit. pour out,—the word used of pouring out a libation or drink-offering (2 Kings 16:13, and elsewhere), though here employed evidently in a more general sense.

an oblation] The word means properly a present, especially one offered as a mark of homage or respect (Genesis 32:13; Genesis 43:11); it is also used generally in the sense of an oblation presented to God (Genesis 4:3-5; 1 Samuel 2:17), as well as technically, in the priestly terminology, of the ‘meal-offering’ (Leviticus 3 &c.). The second of these three senses is the most probable here.

sweet odours] lit. rests or contentments. The word is that which occurs in the sacrificial expression ‘sweet savour’ (Genesis 8:21; Leviticus 1:2, &c.), lit. ‘savour of rest or contentment’: it is used (exceptionally) without ‘savour,’ exactly as here, in Ezra 6:10, ‘that they may offer rests (or contentments) to the God of heaven.’ ‘Bowed down to’ is ambiguous; but the subsequent parts of the verse certainly represent Daniel as receiving the homage due to a god. Daniel does not refuse the homage (contrast Acts 14:13-18): in the view of the writer, he is (cf. Daniel 2:47) the representative of the God of gods to Nebuchadnezzar. Compare the story in Jos. Ant. xi. viii. 5, according to which Alexander the Great prostrated himself before the Jewish high-priest, and when asked by his astonished general, Parmenio, why he did so, replied, “I do not worship the high-priest, but the God with whose high-priesthood he has been honoured.”

46–48. Nebuchadnezzar is profoundly impressed by Daniel’s skill, and bestows upon him high honour and rewards (cf. the promise of Daniel 2:6).Verse 46. - Then the king Nebuchadnezzar fell upon his face, and worshipped Daniel, and commanded that they should offer an oblation and sweet odours unto him. The Greek versions render in such a way that we are almost obliged to recognize an act of idolatrous worship. Jerome, too, distinctly says," Nebuchodonoser... Danielem ador-avit et hostias et incensnm praecepit ut sacri-ficarent." The same idea is conveyed by the Peshitta, but less definitely, from the fact that qorban means a "gift" as well as an "oblation;" though the gift is usually a consecrated gift. In the Aramaic of the Bible we have certain phrases used for "sacrifice;" several of these are here employed: it is true all of them have the possibility of being used in a somewhat lower meaning. The mere "falling down before Daniel upon his face," when the person who did it was Nebuchadnezzar, is extraordinary, and can only be explained by the idea of worship. When we find the word סְגַד (segad) used immediately after, it is very difficult to refuse to believe that the Greek Version and Jerome are right when they translate the latter word προσεκύνησε. The word occurs repeatedly in the following chapter, invariably as "worship." The corresponding Hebrew word occurs in the second chapter of Isaiah, in the sense of "idolatrous worship" (Isaiah 2:20). It certainly does mean "to bend." Had the word thus stood alone, we could not have been certain that it meant "worship;" but when it follows the extreme act of prostration to the earth, "worship' must be meant. The separate terms, minhah, nihohin, lenassakah lah, might, taken separately, mean "gifts" and the "bestowment of gifts;" but, taken together, it is impossible not to regard the action as one of sacrificial offering. It is true minhah means "a present," as when Jacob sends a present to Esau (Genesis 32:13); but, in that connection, nasak is not used. It is quite true that the burning of sweet odours was a common enough thing in entertaining guests whom it was desired to honour, but the term neehoheen was not given to the aromatic woods so used. People sometimes, even at present, scent their rooms by burning aromatic woods, but they never in such cases call them incense. But from the fact that the old Greek version and Jerome read θυσίας, hostias, the doubt seems forced upon us that the reading here has been altered, and that the true reading was deebheen - not neehoheen - this is a change that could with difficulty be imagined as occurring accidentally, but readily enough might happen from the desire to defend Daniel from the charge of allowing idolatrous worship to be offered to him. The instance referred to as parallel - the homage which Josephus relates Alexander the Great gave to Jaddua - is not quite on all fours with the present case. We are, in the first place, expressly told that it was "the name" of Jehovah, engraved on the petalon on the front of the priest's mitre, that Alexander worshipped (προσεκύνησε τό ὄνομα). In the next place, we have no notice of sacrifice or incense being ordered to be offered to the high priest. It is not correct to say that nasak of necessity means "pour out an oblation," to the exclusion of the more general meaning of "offer sacrifice." The corresponding word in Arabic means "to sacrifice" (Behrmann). Behrmann says, in regard to this, truly, "As to Porphyry later, so to the author and to the first readers of this book, it would have seemed indecent if Daniel had allowed himself to be honoured as a god." This would have been true had the author been a contemporary of the Maccabees. The tide of feeling that led Peter to refuse the prostration of Cornelius, and Paul and Barnabas the sacrifices at Lystra, would have prevented any one inventing such a scene. It is perfectly true the worship was probably directed to the Divine Spirit as resident in Daniel, rather than to Daniel himself; few except the lowest and most degraded of heathen worshipped idols in any other way - the divine spirit, the deity, was the real object of worship, whose sign they were, and who resided in them. We must bear in mind that Daniel had been brought up in an idolatrous court, perhaps, also, he had to submit, on pain of suffering the fate that befell Paul and Barnabas when they refused the worship of the people of Lystra. We must lay stress on the very different relationship to idolatry and its worship implied in Daniel thus suffering sacrifice and incense to be offered to him, from that subsisting in the time of the Maccabees. No writer of that period would have written a sacred romance in which he represented a servant of God receiving idolatrous honours. The attitude of later Judaism is exemplified by Jephet-ibn-Ali, who says that though "Nebuchadnezzar commanded that sacrifices be brought to him as to a god, he (Daniel) does not say that he brought them to him. Most probably Daniel prohibited him from doing so." The River of Water of Life

When Jehovah shall have judged all the heathen in the valley of Jehoshaphat, and shall dwell as King of His people upon Zion His holy mountain, then will the mountains trickle with new wine, and the hills run with milk, and all the brooks of Judah flow with water; and a spring will proceed from the house of Jehovah, and water the Acacia valley. With these figures Joel (Joel 4:18) has already described the river of salvation, which the Lord would cause to flow to His congregation in the time when the kingdom of God shall be perfected. This picture of the Messianic salvation shapes itself in the case of our prophet into the magnificent vision contained in the section before us.

(Note: Compare W. Neumann, Die Wasser des Lebens. An exegetical study on Ezekiel 47:1-12. Berlin, 1848.)

Ezekiel 47:1. And he led me back to the door of the house, and, behold, water flowed out from under the threshold of the house toward the east, for the front side of the house was toward the east; and the water flowed down from below, from the right shoulder of the house on the south of the altar. Ezekiel 47:2. And he led me out by the way of the north gate, and caused me to go round about on the outside, to the outer gate of the way to the (gate), looking toward the east; and, behold, waters rippled for the right shoulder of the gate. Ezekiel 47:3. When the man went out toward the east, he had a measuring line in his hand, and he measured a thousand cubits, and caused me to go through the water-water to the ankles. Ezekiel 47:4. And he measured a thousand, and caused me to go through the water-water to the knees; and he measured a thousand, and caused me to go through-water to the hips. Ezekiel 47:5. And he measured a thousand-a river through which I could not walk, for the water was high, water to swim in, a river which could not be forded. Ezekiel 47:6. And he said to me, Hast thou seen it, son of man? and he led me back again by the bank of the river. Ezekiel 47:7. When I returned, behold, there stood on the bank of the river very many trees on this side and on that. Ezekiel 47:8. And he said to me, This water flows out into the eastern circle, and runs down into the plain, and reaches the sea; into the sea is it carried out, that the waters may become wholesome. Ezekiel 47:9. And it will come to pass, every living thing with which it swarms everywhere, whither the double river comes, will live, and there will be very many fishes; for when this water comes thither they will become wholesome, and everything will live whither the river comes. Ezekiel 47:10. And fishermen will stand by it, from Engedi to Eneglaim they will spread out nets; after their kind will there be fishes therein, like the fishes of the great sea, very many. Ezekiel 47:11. Its marshes and its swamps, they will not become wholesome, they will be given up to salt. Ezekiel 47:12. And by the river will all kinds of trees of edible fruit grow on its bank, on this side and on that; their leaves will not wither, and their fruits will not fail; every moon they will bear ripe fruit, for its water flows out of its sanctuary. And their fruits will serve as food, and their leaves as medicine.

From the outer court, where Ezekiel had been shown the sacrificial kitchens for the people (Ezekiel 46:21.), he is taken back to the front of the door of the temple house, to be shown a spring of water, flowing out from under the threshold of the temple, which has swollen in the short course of four thousand cubits from its source into a deep river in which men can swim, and which flows down to the Jordan valley, to empty itself into the Dead Sea. In Ezekiel 47:1 and Ezekiel 47:2, the origin and course of this water are described; in Ezekiel 47:3 and Ezekiel 47:5, its marvellous increase; in Ezekiel 47:6, the growth of trees on its banks; in Ezekiel 47:7-12, its emptying itself into the Arabah and into the Dead Sea, with the life-giving power of its water. - Ezekiel 47:1. The door of the house is the entrance into the holy place of the temple, and מפתּן הבּית the threshold of this door. קדימה, not "in the east" (Hitzig), for the following sentence explaining the reason does not require this meaning; but "toward the east" of the threshold, which lay toward the east, for the front of the temple was in the east. מתּחת is not to be connected with מכּתף, but to be taken by itself, only not in the sense of downwards (Hitzig), but from beneath, namely, down from the right shoulder of the house. ירד, to flow down, because the temple stood on higher ground than the inner court. The right shoulder is the part of the eastern wall of the holy place between the door and the pillars, the breadth of which was five cubits (Ezekiel 41:1). The water therefore issued from the corner formed by the southern wall of the porch and the eastern wall of the holy place (see the sketch on Plate I), and flowed past the altar of burnt-offering on the south side, and crossed the court in an easterly direction, passing under its surrounding wall. It then flowed across the outer court and under the pavement and the eastern wall into the open country, where the prophet, on the outside in front of the gate, saw it rippling forth from the right shoulder of that gate. That he might do this, he was led out through the north gate, because the east gate was shut (Ezekiel 44:1), and round by the outside wall to the eastern outer gate. דּרך חוּץ is more minutely defined by אל־שׁער החוּץ, and this, again, by דּרך הפּונה קדים, "by the way to the (gate) looking eastwards." The ἁπ. λεγ. ּרך̓̀ינבל;, Piel of פּכה, related to בּכה, most probably signifies to ripple, not to trickle. מים has no article, because it is evident from the context that the water was the same as that which Ezekiel had seen in the inner court, issuing from the threshold of the temple. The right shoulder is that portion of the eastern wall which joined the south side of the gate. - Ezekiel 47:3-5. The miraculous increase in the depth of the water. A thousand cubits from the wall, as one walked through, it reached to the ankles; a thousand cubits further, to the knees; a thousand cubits further, to the hips; and after going another thousand cubits it was impossible to wade through, one could only swim therein. The words מי אפסים are a brief expression for "there was water which reached to the ankles." אפס is equivalent to פּס, an ankle, not the sole of the foot. In 1 Chronicles 11:13, on the other hand, we have פּס דּמּים for אפס דּמּים . The striking expression מים בּרכים for מי ברכים may possibly have been chosen because מי ברכים had the same meaning as מימי רגלים in Isaiah 36:12 (Keri). The measuring man directed the prophet's attention (Ezekiel 47:6) to this extraordinary increase in the stream of water, because the miraculous nature of the stream was exhibited therein. A natural river could not increase to such an extent within such short distances, unless, indeed, other streams emptied themselves into it on all sides, which was not he case here. He then directed him to go back again על שׂפת, along the bank, not "to the bank," as he had never left it. The purpose for which he had been led along the bank was accomplished after he had gone four thousand cubits. From the increase in the water, as measured up to this point, he could infer what depth it would reach in its further course. He is therefore now to return along the bank to see how it is covered with trees. בּשׁוּבני cannot be explained in any other way than as an incorrect form for בּשׁוּבי, though there are no corresponding analogies to be found.

In Ezekiel 47:8-12 he gives him a still further explanation of the course of the river and the effect of its waters. The river flows out into הגּלילה הקּדמונה, the eastern circle, which is identical with גּלילות היּרדּן htiw lacitne, the circle of the Jordan (Joshua 22:10-11), the region above the Dead Sea, where the Jordan valley (Ghor) widens out into a broad, deep basin. הערבה is the deep valley of the Jordan, now called the Ghor (see the comm. on Deuteronomy 1:1), of which Robinson says that the greater part remains a desolate wilderness. It was so described in ancient times (see Joseph. Bell. Jude 3.10. 7, iv. 8. 2), and we find it so to-day (compare v. Raumer, Pal. p. 58). היּמּה is the Dead Sea, called היּם הקּדמוני in Ezekiel 47:18, and the sea of the Arabah in Deuteronomy 3:17; Deuteronomy 4:49. We agree with Hengstenberg in taking the words אל־היּמּה המּוּצאים as an emphatic summing up of the previous statement concerning the outflow of the water, to which the explanation concerning its effect upon the Dead Sea is attached, and supply בּאוּ from the clause immediately preceding: "the waters of the river that have been brought out (come) to the sea, and the waters of the Dead Sea are healed." There is no need, therefore, for the emendation proposed by Hitzig, namely, אל היּם הם מוּצאים. So much, however, is beyond all doubt, that היּמּה is no other than the Dead Sea already mentioned. The supposition that it is the Mediterranean Sea (Chald., Ros., Ewald, and others) cannot be reconciled with the words, and has only been transferred to this passage from Zechariah 14:8. נרפּא signifies, as in 2 Kings 2:22, the healing or rendering wholesome of water that is injurious or destructive to life. The character of the Dead Sea, with which the ancients were also well acquainted, and of which Tacitus writes as follows: Lacus immenso ambitu, specie maris sapore corruptior, gravitate odoris accolis pestifer, neque vento impellitur neque pisces aut suetas aquis volucres patitur (Hist. v. c. 6), - a statement confirmed by all modern travellers (cf. v. Raumer, Pal. pp. 61ff., and Robinson, Physical Geography of the Holy Land), - is regarded as a disease of the water, which is healed or turned into wholesome water in which fishes can live, by the water of the river proceeding from the sanctuary. The healing and life-giving effect of this river upon the Dead Sea is described in Ezekiel 47:9 and Ezekiel 47:10. Whithersoever the waters of the river come, all animated beings will come to life and flourish.

In Ezekiel 47:9 the dual נחלים occasions some difficulty. It is not likely that the dual should have been used merely for the sake of its resemblance to מים, as Maurer imagines; and still less probable is it that there is any allusion to a junction of the river proceeding from the temple at some point in its course with the Kedron, which also flows into the Dead Sea (Hvernick), as the Kedron is not mentioned either before or afterwards. According to Kliefoth, the dual is intended to indicate a division which takes place in the waters of the river, that have hitherto flowed on together, as soon as they enter the sea. But this would certainly have been expressed more clearly. Hengstenberg takes the expression "double river" to mean a river with a strong current, and refers to Jeremiah 50:21 in support of this. This is probably the best explanation; for nothing is gained by altering the text into נחלם (Ewald) or נחלים (Hitzig), as נחל does not require definition by means of a suffix, nor doe the plural answer to the context. is to be taken in connection with אשׁר ישׁרץ: "wherewith it swarms whithersoever the river comes;" though אל does not stand for על after Genesis 7:21, as Hitzig supposes, but is to be explained from a species of attraction, as in Genesis 20:13. יחיה is a pregnant expression, to revive, to come to life. The words are not to be understood, however, as meaning that there were living creatures in the Dead Sea before the health-giving water flowed into it; the thought is simply, that whithersoever the waters of the river come, there come into existence living creatures in the Dead Sea, so that it swarms with them. In addition to the שׁרץ, the quantity of fish is specially mentioned; and in the second hemistich the reason is assigned for the number of living creatures that come into existence by a second allusion to the health-giving power of the water of the river. The subject to וירפאוּ, viz., the waters of the Dead Sea, is to be supplied from the context. The great abundance of fish in the Dead Sea produced by the river is still further depicted in Ezekiel 47:10. Fishermen will spread their nets along its coast from Engedi to Eneglaim; and as for their kind, there will be as many kinds of fish there as are to be found in the great or Mediterranean Sea. עין גּדי, i.e., Goat's spring, now Ain-Jidi, a spring in the middle of the west coast of the Dead Sea, with ruins of several ancient buildings (see the comm. on Joshua 15:62, and v. Raumer, Pal. p. 188). עין עגלים has not yet been discovered, though, from the statement of Jerome, "Engallim is at the beginning of the Dead Sea, where the Jordan enters it," it has been conjectured that it is to be found in Ain el-Feshkhah, a spring at the northern end of the west coast, where there are also ruins of a small square tower and other buildings to be seen (vid., Robinson's Palestine, II pp. 491, 492), as none of the other springs on the west coast, of which there are but few, answer so well as this. למינה is pointed without Mappik, probably because the Masoretes did not regard the ה as a suffix, as the noun to which it alludes does not follow till afterwards. - Ezekiel 47:11 introduces an exception, namely, that notwithstanding this the Dead Sea will still retain marshes or pools and swamps, which will not be made wholesome (בּצּאת for בּצּות, pools). An allusion to the natural character of the Dead Sea underlies the words. "In the rainy season, when the sea is full, its waters overspread many low tracts of marsh land, which remain after the receding of the water in the form of moist pools or basins; and as the water in these pools evaporates rapidly, the ground becomes covered with a thick crust of salt" (Robinson's Physical Geography, p. 215). למלח נתּנוּ, they are given up to salt, i.e., destined to remain salt, because the waters of the river do not reach them. The light in which the salt is regarded here is not that of its seasoning properties, but, in the words of Hengstenberg, "as the foe to all fruitfulness, all life and prosperity, as Pliny has said (Hist. Nat. xxxi. c. 7: Omnis locus, in quo reperitur sal, sterilis est nihilque gignit") (cf. Deuteronomy 29:22; Jeremiah 17:6; Zephaniah 2:9; Psalm 107:34). - In Ezekiel 47:12 the effect of the water of the river upon the vegetation of the ground, already mentioned in Ezekiel 47:7, is still further described. On its coast grow all kinds of trees with edible fruits (עץ מאכל, as in Leviticus 19:23), whose leaves do not wither, and whose fruits do not fail, but ripen every month (בּכּר, or produce first-fruits, i.e., fresh fruits; and לחדשׁים distributive, as in Isaiah 47:13), because the waters which moisten the soil proceed from the sanctuary, i.e., "directly and immediately from the dwelling-place of Him who is the author of all vital power and fruitfulness" (Hitzig). The leaves and fruits of these trees therefore possess supernatural powers. The fruits serve as food, i.e., for the maintenance of the life produced by the river of water; the leaves as medicine (תּרוּפה from רוּף equals רפא, healing), i.e., for the healing of the sick and corrupt (εἰς θεραπείαν, Revelation 22:2).

In the effect of the water proceeding from the sanctuary upon the Dead Sea and the land on its shores, as described in Ezekiel 47:8-12, the significance of this stream of water in relation to the new kingdom of God is implied. If, then, the question be asked, what we are to understand by this water, whether we are to take it in a literal sense as the temple spring, or in a spiritual and symbolical sense, the complete answer can only be given in connection with the interpretation of the whole of the temple vision (Ezekiel 40-48). Even if we assume for the moment, however, that the description of the new temple, with the worship appointed for it, and the fresh division of Canaan, is to be understood literally, and therefore that the building of an earthly temple upon a high mountain in the most holy terumah of the land set apart for Jehovah, and a renewal of the bleeding sacrifices in this temple by the twelve tribes of Israel, when restored to Palestine from the heathen lands, are to be taken for granted, it would be difficult to combine with this a literal interpretation of what is said concerning the effect of the temple spring. It is true that in Volck's opinion "we are to think of a glorification of nature;" but even this does not remove the difficulties which stand in the way of a literal interpretation of the temple spring. According to Ezekiel 47:12, its waters posses the life-giving and healing power ascribed to them because they issue from the sanctuary. But how does the possession by the water of the power to effect the glorification of nature harmonize with its issuing from a temple in which bullocks, rams, calves, and goats are slaughtered and sacrificed? - Volck is still further of opinion that, with the spiritual interpretation of the temple spring, "nothing at all could be made of the fishermen;" because, for example, he cannot conceive of the spiritual interpretation in any other way than as an allegorical translation of all the separate features of the prophetic picture into spiritual things. But he has failed to consider that the fishermen with their nets on the shore of the sea, once dead, but now swarming with fish, are irreconcilably opposed to the assumption of a glorification of nature in the holy land, just because the inhabitants of the globe or holy land, in its paradisaically glorified state, will no more eat fish or other flesh, according to the teaching of Scripture, than the first men in Paradise. When once the wolf shall feed with the lamb, the leopard with the kid, the cow with the bear, and the lion shall eat straw like the ox, under the sceptre of the sprout from the stem of Jesse, then will men also cease their fishing, and no longer slaughter and eat either oxen or goats. To this the Israelites will form no exception in their glorified land of Canaan. - And if even these features in the vision before us decidedly favour the figurative or spiritual view of the temple spring, the necessity for this explanation is placed beyond the reach of doubt by a comparison of our picture with the parallel passages. According to Joel 4:18, at the time when a spring issues from the house of Jehovah and the vale of Shittim is watered, the mountains trickle with new wine, and the hills run with milk. If, then, in this case we understand what is affirmed of the temple spring literally, the trickling of the mountains with new wine and the flowing of the hills with milk must be taken literally as well. But we are unable to attain to the belief that in the glorified land of Israel the mountains will be turned into springs of new wine, and the hills into fountains of milk, and in the words of the whole verse we can discern nothing but a figurative description of the abundant streams of blessing which will then pour over the entire land. And just as in Joel the context points indisputably to a non-literal or figurative explanation, so also does the free manner in which Zechariah uses this prophecy of his predecessors, speaking only of living waters which issue from Jerusalem, and flow half into the eastern (i.e., the Dead) sea, and half into the western (i.e., the Mediterranean) sea (Zechariah 14:8), show that he was not thinking of an actual spring with earthly water. And here we are still provisionally passing by the application made of this feature in the prophetic descriptions of the glory of the new kingdom of God in the picture of the heavenly Jerusalem (Revelation 22:1 and Revelation 22:2).

The figurative interpretation, or spiritual explanation, is moreover favoured by the analogy of the Scriptures. "Water," which renders the unfruitful land fertile, and supplies refreshing drink to the thirsty, is used in Scripture as a figure denoting blessing and salvation, which had been represented even in Paradise in the form of watering (cf. Genesis 13:10). In Isaiah 12:3, "and with joy ye draw water from the wells of salvation," the figure is expressly interpreted. And so also in Isaiah 44:3, "I will pour water upon the thirsty one, and streams upon the desert; I will pour my Spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring:" where the blessing answers to the water, the Spirit is named as the principal form in which the blessing is manifested, "the foundation of all other salvation for the people of God" (Hengstenberg). This salvation, which Joel had already described as a spring issuing from the house of Jehovah and watering the dry acacia valley, Ezekiel saw in a visionary embodiment as water, which sprang from under the threshold of the temple into which the glory of the Lord entered, and had swollen at a short distance off into so mighty a river that it was no longer possible to wade through. In this way the thought is symbolized, that the salvation which the Lord causes to flow down to His people from His throne will pour down from small beginnings in marvellously increasing fulness. The river flows on into the barren, desolate waste of the Ghor, and finally into the Dead Sea, and makes the waters thereof sound, so that it swarms with fishes. The waste is a figure denoting the spiritual drought and desolation, and the Dead Sea a symbol of the death caused by sin. The healing and quickening of the salt waters of that sea, so fatal to all life, set forth the power of that divine salvation which conquers death, and the calling to life of the world sunk in spiritual death. From this comes life in its creative fulness and manifold variety, as shown both by the figure of the fishermen who spread their nets along the shore, and by the reference to the kinds of fish, which are as manifold in their variety as those in the great sea. But life extends no further than the water of salvation flows. Wherever it cannot reach, the world continues to life in death. The pools and swamps of the Dead Sea are still given up to salt. And lastly, the water of salvation also possesses the power to produce trees with leaves and fruits, by which the life called forth from death can be sustained and cured of all diseases. This is the meaning, according to the express statement of the text, of the trees with their never withering leaves, upon the banks of the river, and their fruits ripening every month.

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