Daniel 3:13
Then Nebuchadnezzar in his rage and fury commanded to bring Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Then they brought these men before the king.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Daniel

HARMLESS FIRES

Daniel 3:13 - Daniel 3:25
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The way in which the ‘Chaldeans’ describe the three recusants, betrays their motive in accusing them. ‘Certain Jews whom thou hast set over the affairs of the province of Babylon’ could not but be envied and hated, since their promotion wounded both national pride and professional jealousy. The form of the accusation was skilfully calculated to rouse a despot’s rage. ‘They have not regarded thee’ is the head and front of their offending. The inflammable temper of the king blazed up according to expectation, as is the way with tyrants. His passion of rage is twice mentioned {Daniel 3:13, Daniel 3:19}, and in one of the instances, is noted as distorting his features. What a picture of ungoverned fury as of one who had never been thwarted! It is the true portrait of an Eastern despot.

Where was Daniel in this hour of danger? His absence is not accounted for, and conjecture is useless; but the fact that he has no share in the incident seems to raise a presumption in favour of the disputed historical character of the Book, which, if it had been fiction, could scarcely have left its hero out of so brilliant an instance of faithfulness to Jehovah.

Nebuchadnezzar’s vehement address to the three culprits is very characteristic and instructive. Fixed determination to enforce his mandate, anger which breaks into threats that were by no means idle, and a certain wish to build a bridge for the escape of servants who had done their work well, are curiously mingled in it. His question, best rendered as in the Revised Version, ‘Is it of purpose . . . that ye’ do so and so? seems meant to suggest that they may repair their fault by pleading inadvertence, accident, or the like, and that He will accept the transparent excuse. The renewed offer of an opportunity of worship does not say what will happen should they obey; and the omission makes the clause more emphatic, as insisting on the act, and slurring over the self-evident result.

On the other hand, in the next clause the act is slightly touched {‘if ye worship not’}; and all the stress comes on the grim description of the consequence. This monarch, who has been accustomed to bend men’s wills like reeds, tries to shake these three obstinate rebels by terror, and opens the door of the furnace, as it were, to let them hear it roar. He finishes with a flash of insolence which, if not blasphemy, at least betrays his belief that he was stronger than any god of his conquered subject peoples.

But the main point to notice in this speech is the unconscious revelation of his real motive in demanding the act of worship. The crime of the three was not that they worshipped wrongly, but that they disobeyed Nebuchadnezzar. He speaks of ‘my gods’, and of the ‘image which I have set up.’ Probably it was an image of the god of the Babylonian pantheon whom he took for his special patron, and was erected in commemoration of some victorious campaign.

At all events, the worship required was an act of obedience to him, and to refuse it was rebellion. Idolatry is tolerant of any private opinions about gods, and intolerant of any refusal to obey authority in worship. So the early Christians were thrown to the lions, not because they worshipped Jesus, but because they would not sacrifice at the Emperor’s command. It is not only heathen rulers who have confounded the spheres of civil and religious obedience. Nonconformity in England was long identified with disloyalty; and in many so-called Christian countries to-day a man may think what he likes, and worship as he pleases in his chamber, if only he will decently comply with authority and pretend to unite in religious ceremonies, which those who appoint and practise them observe with tongue in cheek.

But we may draw another lesson from this truculent apostle of his god. He is not the only instance of apparent religious zeal which is at bottom nothing but masterfulness. ‘You shall worship my god, not because he is God, but because he is mine.’ That is the real meaning of a great deal which calls itself ‘zeal for the Lord.’ The zealot’s own will, opinions, fancies, are crammed down other people’s throats, and the insult in not thinking or worshipping as he does, is worse in his eyes than the offence against God.

The kind of furnace in which recusants are roasted has changed since Nebuchadnezzar’s time, and what is called persecution for religion is out of fashion now. But every advance in the application of Christian principle to social and civil life brings a real martyrdom on its advocates. Every audacious refusal to bow to the habits or opinions of the majority, is visited by consequences which only the martyr spirit will endure. Despots have no monopoly of imperious intolerance. A democracy is more cruel and more impatient of singularity, and especially of religious singularity, than any despot.

England and America have no need to fear the old forms of religious persecution. In both, a man may profess and proclaim any kind of religion or of no religion. But in both, the advance guard of the Christian Church, which seeks to apply Christ’s teachings more rigidly to individual and social life, has to face obloquy, ostracism, misrepresentation, from the world and the fossil church, for not serving their gods, nor worshipping the golden image which they have set up. Martyrs will be needed and persecutors will exist till the world is Christian.

How did the three confessors meet this rumble of thunder about their ears? The quiet determination of their reply is very striking and beautiful. It is perfectly loyal, and perfectly unshaken. ‘We have no need to answer thee’ {Revised Version}. ‘It is ill sitting at Rome and striving with the Pope.’ Nebuchadnezzar’s palace was not precisely the place to dispute with Nebuchadnezzar; and as his logic was only ‘Do as I bid you, or burn,’ the sole reply possible was, ‘We will not do as you bid, and we will burn.’ The ‘If’ which is immediately spoken is already in the minds of the speakers, when they say that they do not need to answer. They think that God will take up the taunt which ended the king’s tirade. Beautifully they are silent, and refer the blusterer to God, whose voice they believe that He will hear in His deed. ‘But Thou shalt answer, Lord, for me,’ is the true temper of humble faith, dumb before power as a sheep before her shearers, and yet confident that the meek will not be left unvindicated. Let us leave ourselves in God’s hands; and when conscience accuses, or the world maligns or threatens, let us be still, and feel that we have One to speak for us, and so we may hold our peace.

The rendering of Daniel 3:17 is doubtful, but the general meaning is clear. The brave speakers have hope that God will rebuke the king’s taunt, and will prove Himself to be able to deliver out of his hand. So they repeat his very words with singular boldness, and contradict him to his face. They have no absolute certainty of deliverance, but whether it comes or not will make no manner of difference to them. They have absolute certainty as to duty; and so they look the furious tyrant right in the eyes, and quietly say, ‘We will not serve thy gods.’ Nothing like that had ever been heard in those halls.

Duty is sovereign. The obligation to resist all temptations to go against conscience is unaffected by consequences. There may be hope that God will not suffer us to be harmed, but whether He does or not should make no difference to our fixed resolve. That temper of lowly faith and inflexible faithfulness which these Hebrews showed in the supreme moment, when they took their lives in their hands, may be as nobly illustrated in the small difficulties of our peaceful lives. The same laws shape the curves of the tiny ripples in a basin and of the Atlantic rollers. No man who cannot say ‘I will not’ in the face of frowns and dangers, be they what they may, and stick to it, will do his part, He who has conquered regard for personal consequences, and does not let them deflect his course a hairsbreadth, is lord of the world.

How small Nebuchadnezzar was by the side of his three victims! How empty his threats to men who cared nothing whether they burned or not, so long as they did not apostatise! What can the world do against a man who says, ‘It is all one to me whether I live or die; I will not worship at your shrines?’ The fire of the furnace is but painted flames to such an one.

The savage punishment intended for the audacious rebels is abundantly confirmed as common in Babylon by the inscriptions, which may be seen quoted by many commentators. The narrative is exceedingly graphic. We see the furious king, with features inflamed with passion. We hear his hoarse, angry orders to heat the furnace seven times hotter, which he forgot would be a mercy, as shortening the victims’ agonies. We see the swift execution of the commands, and the unresisting martyrs bound as they stood, and dragged away by the soldiers to the near furnace, the king following. Its shape is a matter of doubt. Probably the three were thrown in from above, and so the soldiers were caught by the flames.

‘And these three men . . . fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace’ Their helplessness and desperate condition are pathetically suggested by that picture, which might well be supposed to be the last of them that mortal eyes would see. Down into the glowing mass, like chips of wood into Vesuvius, they sank. The king sitting watching, to glut his fury by the sight of their end, had some way of looking into the core of the flames.

The story shifts its point of view with very picturesque abruptness after Daniel 3:23. The vaunting king shall tell what he saw, and thereby convict himself of insolent folly in challenging ‘any god’ to deliver out of his hand. He alone seems to have seen the sight, which he tells to his courtiers. The bonds were gone, and the men walking free in the fire, as if it had been their element. Three went in bound, four walk there at large; and the fourth is ‘like a son of the gods,’ by which expression Nebuchadnezzar can have meant nothing more than he had learned from his religion; namely, that the gods had offspring of superhuman dignity. He calls the same person an angel in Daniel 3:28. He speaks there as the three would have spoken, and here as Babylonian mythology spoke.

But the great lesson to be gathered from this miracle of deliverance is simply that men who sacrifice themselves for God find in the sacrifice abundant blessing. They may, or may not, be delivered from the external danger. Peter was brought out of prison the night before his intended martyrdom; James, the brother of John, was slain with the sword, but God was equally near to both, and both were equally delivered from ‘Herod and from all the expectation of the people of the Jews.’ The disposal of the outward event is in His hands, and is a comparatively small matter. But no furnace into which a man goes because he will be true to God, and will not yield up his conscience, is a tenth part so hot as it seems, and it will do no real harm. The fire burns bonds, but not Christ’s servants, consuming many things that entangled, and setting them free. ‘I will walk at liberty: for I seek Thy precepts’-even if we have to walk in the furnace. No trials faced in obedience to God will be borne alone. ‘When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; . . . when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned.’

The form which Nebuchadnezzar saw amid the flame, as invested with more than human majesty, may have been but one of the ministering spirits sent forth to minister to the martyrs-the embodiment of the divine power which kept the flames from kindling upon them. But we have Jesus for our Companion in all trials, and His presence makes it possible for us to pass over hot ploughshares with unblistered feet; to bathe our hands in fire and not feel the pain; to accept the sorest consequences of fidelity to Him, and count them as ‘not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed,’ and is made more glorious through these light afflictions. A present Christ will never fail His servants, and will make the furnace cool even when its fire is fiercest.Daniel 3:13. Then Nebuchadnezzar in his rage, &c. — How little was it to the honour of this mighty prince that he had rule over so many nations, when, at the same time, he had no rule over his own spirit! How unfit was he to rule reasonable men, who would not himself be ruled by reason! Surely it did not need to surprise him to hear that these three men did not now serve his gods, for he knew very well they never had done it, and that their religion, to which they had always adhered, forbade them to do it. Nor had he any reason to think they acted thus in contempt of his authority, since they had in all instances showed themselves respectful and dutiful to him as their prince.3:8-18 True devotion calms the spirit, quiets and softens it, but superstition and devotion to false gods inflame men's passions. The matter is put into a little compass, Turn, or burn. Proud men are still ready to say, as Nebuchadnezzar, Who is the Lord, that I should fear his power? Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego did not hesitate whether they should comply or not. Life or death were not to be considered. Those that would avoid sin, must not parley with temptation when that to which we are allured or affrighted is manifestly evil. Stand not to pause about it, but say, as Christ did, Get thee behind me, Satan. They did not contrive an evasive answer, when a direct answer was expected. Those who make their duty their main care, need not be anxious or fearful concerning the event. The faithful servants of God find him able to control and overrule all the powers armed against them. Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst. If He be for us, we need not fear what man can do unto us. God will deliver us, either from death or in death. They must obey God rather than man; they must rather suffer than sin; and must not do evil that good may come. Therefore none of these things moved them. The saving them from sinful compliance, was as great a miracle in the kingdom of grace, as the saving them out of the fiery furnace was in the kingdom of nature. Fear of man and love of the world, especially want of faith, make men yield to temptation, while a firm persuasion of the truth will deliver them from denying Christ, or being ashamed of him. We are to be meek in our replies, but we must be decided that we will obey God rather than man.Then Nebuchadnezzar, in his rage and fury - The word rendered "fury" means "wrath." Everything that we learn of this monarch shows that he was a man of violent passions, and that he was easily excited, though he was susceptible also of deep impressions on religious subjects. There was much here to rouse his rage. His command to worship the image was positive. It extended to all who were summoned to its dedication. Their refusal was an act of positive disobedience, and it seemed necessary that the laws should be vindicated. As a man and a monarch, therefore, it was not unnatural that the anger of the sovereign should be thus enkindled.

Commanded to bring Shadrach ... - It is remarkable that he did not order them at once to be slain, as he did the magicians who could not interpret his dream, Daniel 2:12. This shows that he had some respect still for these men, and that he was willing to hear what they could say in their defense. It is proper, also, to recognize the providence of God in inclining him to this course, that their noble reply to his question might be put on record, and that the full power of religious principle might be developed.

13. bring—Instead of commanding their immediate execution, as in the case of the Magi (Da 2:12), Providence inclined him to command the recusants to be brought before him, so that their noble "testimony" for God might be given before the world powers "against them" (Mt 10:18), to the edification of the Church in all ages. Why not Daniel too, because he was chief of all in honour?

Answ. Because the king had a greater favour for him, and he was popular, and beloved for his great wisdom and unblamable carriage; they would not meddle with him now, lest by his knowledge and interest in the king he might chance to spoil their plot. Then Nebuchadnezzar, in his rage and fury,.... Which did not became him as a man, much less as a king, and still less as engaged in devotion and religion;

commanded to bring Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego; that is, immediately before him; who very probably were not afar off: he did not order them in his wrath and fury to be slain directly, as he did the wise men and soothsayers in another case; but to be brought before him, and examined first, that he might know the truth of these allegations against them; which shows, amidst all his rage, he retained still some respect for them, and esteem of them:

then they brought these men before the king; which they had not much trouble to do, being very ready to come and answer for themselves, and give an account of their conduct, and their reason for it.

Then Nebuchadnezzar in his rage and fury commanded to bring Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Then they brought these men before the king.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Verse 13. - Then Nebuchadnezzar in his rage and fury commanded to bring Shadrach, Meshach, and Ahed-nego. Then they brought these men before the king. The Septuagint differs from the Massoretic in translating חְמָא (hama) as a verb, and therefore rendering, θυμωθεὶς ὀργῇ, "infuriated with rage." Theodotion is in close agreement with the Massoretic, as also the Pe-shitta, with this difference, that the Syriac repeats the preposition, in which it is followed by Jerome. The word translated. "brought" presents some grammatical difficulty: the word is הֵיתַיוּ (haythayoo). The form seems active, but the meaning is passive. Professor Bevan suggests a difference of vocalization. The accusation of those who desired to devour these Jewish councillors was successful in its immediate aim. Nebuchadnezzar is filled with rage and fury against those who, having been the creatures of his favour, had yet dared to do despite to his authority. It might even be that their unheard-of want of courtesy to the monarch would also be regarded as discourtesy still more flagrant to the god to whose honour the statue or pillar had been erected, and this dedicative feast instituted. He commands the criminals to be brought to him. Fierce and furious as Nebuchadnezzar is, fanatic as he is for the religion of his fathers, he is yet just. These officials, however disrespectfully they have acted, have yet a right to be heard in their own defence. They are sent for by the monarch, and in due course they come. It is not impossible that Nebuchadnezzar, with all his rage and fury, was yet shrewd enough to see envy behind the accusation; it is because these men are Jews, and have been highly advanced, that the Chaldeans are ready to bring accusations of impiety against them. Boundaries of the Land to be Divided among the Tribes of Israel.

Ezekiel 47:13. Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, This is the boundary according to which ye shall divide the land among you for an inheritance, for Joseph portions. Ezekiel 47:14. And ye shall receive it for an inheritance, one as well as another, because I lifted up my hand to give it to your fathers; and thus shall this land fall to you for an inheritance. Ezekiel 47:15. And this is the boundary of the land: toward the north side, from the great sea onwards by the way to Chetlon, in the direction of Zedad; Ezekiel 47:16. Hamath, Berotah, Sibraim, which is between the boundary of Damascus and the boundary of Hamath, the central Hazer, which is on the boundary of Haruan. Ezekiel 47:17. And the boundary from the sea shall be Hazar-Enon, the boundary town of Damascus; and as for the north northwards, Hamath is the boundary. This, the north side. Ezekiel 47:18. And the east side between Hauran and Damascus and Gilead and the land of Israel, shall be the Jordan; from the boundary to the eastern sea ye shall measure. This, the east side. Ezekiel 47:19. And the south side toward the south; from Tamar to the water of strife, Kadesh, along the brook to the great sea. This, the south side toward the south. Ezekiel 47:20. And the west side; the great sea from the boundary to Hamath. This, the west side. Ezekiel 47:21. This land shall ye divide among you according to the tribes of Israel. Ezekiel 47:22. And it shall come to pass, ye shall divide it by lot among yourselves for an inheritance, and among the foreigners who dwell in the midst of you, who have begotten sons in the midst of you; they shall be to you like natives born among the sons of Israel; they shall cast lots with you for an inheritance among the tribes of Israel. Ezekiel 47:23. And it shall come to pass, in the tribe in which the foreigner dwells, there shall ye give him his inheritance, is the saying of the Lord Jehovah.

The fixing of the boundary of the land which Israel was to divide in future according to its twelve tribes is commenced (Ezekiel 47:13 and Ezekiel 47:14) and concluded (Ezekiel 47:22 and Ezekiel 47:23) with certain general statements concerning the distribution. The introductory statements are attached to the heading "this is the boundary," which is therefore repeated in Ezekiel 47:15. גּה is evidently a copyist's error for זה, which is adopted by all the older translators, contained in some Codd., and demanded by וזה in Ezekiel 47:15. גּבוּל stands here for the whole of the boundary of the land to be distributed; and אשׁר which follows is an accusative, "according to which." - "According to the twelve tribes," - for all Israel is to return and dwell as one people of God under one prince in its own land (Ezekiel 36:24., Ezekiel 37:21.). But the division among the twelve tribes is more precisely defined immediately afterwards by the clause abruptly appended, "Joseph portions," i.e., two portions for Joseph. There can be no doubt that this is the meaning of the words in accordance with Genesis 48:22 and Joshua 17:14, Joshua 17:17. Hence the notice-like form of the expression, which should not be obliterated by pointing חבלים as a dual, חבלים. If the land was to be divided by lot according to twelve tribes, and the tribe of Levi was to receive its portion from the terumah which was set apart, Joseph must necessarily receive two hereditary portions for his sons Ephraim and Manasseh, in accordance with the appointment of the patriarch in Genesis 48:22. The commencement of Ezekiel 47:14 is not at variance with this, as Hitzig imagines; for the words, "ye shall receive it for an inheritance, one as another," simply affirm, that of the twelve tribes reckoned by Israel in relation to the נחלה, all were to receive equal shares, the one as much as the other. As the reason for this command to divide the land, allusion is made to the oath with which God promised to give this land to the fathers (cf. Ezekiel 20:28).

The definition of the boundaries commences with Ezekiel 47:15. In form it differs in many points from Numbers 34:1-5, but in actual fact it is in harmony with the Mosaic definition. In Numbers 34 the description commences with the southern boundary, then proceeds to the western and northern boundaries, and closes with the eastern. In Ezekiel it commences with the northern boundary and proceeds to the east, the south, and the west. This difference may be explained in a very simple manner, from the fact that the Israelites in the time of Moses came from Egypt i.e., marching from the south, and stood by the south-eastern boundary of the land, whereas at this time they were carried away into the northern lands Assyria and Babylon, and were regarded as returning thence. Again, in Ezekiel the boundaries are described much more briefly than in Numbers 34, the northern boundary alone being somewhat more circumstantially described. The course which it takes is represented in a general manner in Ezekiel 47:15 as running from the great sea, i.e., the Mediterranean, by the way to Chetlon, in the direction toward Zedad. In Ezekiel 47:16 and Ezekiel 47:17 there follow the places which formed the boundary. The starting-point on the Mediterranean Sea can only be approximately determined, as the places mentioned, Chetlon and Zedad, are still unknown. Not only Chetlon, but Zedad also, has not yet been discovered. The city of Sadad (Sudud), to the east of the road leading from Damascus to Hums (Emesa), which Robinson and Wetzstein suppose to be the same, lies much too far toward the east to be used in defining the boundary either here or in Numbers 34:8 (see the comm. on Numbers 34:8). Among the names enumerated in Ezekiel 47:16, חמת is not the city of Hamah on the Orontes, which lay much too far to the north, but the kingdom of Hamath, the southern boundary of which formed the northern boundary of Canaan, though it cannot be given with exactness. Berothah is probably identical with Berothai in 2 Samuel 8:8, a city of the king of Zobah; but the situation of it is still unknown. Sibraim may perhaps be identical with Ziphron in Numbers 34:9, which has also not yet been discovered, and is not to be sought for in the ruins of Zifran, to the north-east of Damascus, near the road to Palmyra; for that place could not form the boundary of Damascus and Hamath. The situation of the "central Hazer" has also not yet been determined. Hauran, on the boundary of which it stood, is used here in a more comprehensive sense that ̓Αυρανῖτις in Josephus and other Greek authors, and includes the later Auranitis, together with Gaulanitis (Golan) and Batanaea (Bashan), and probably also Ituraea, as only Damascus and Gilead are named in Ezekiel 47:18 in addition to Hauran, on the east side of the Jordan; so that the whole tract of land between the territory of Damascus and the country of Gilead is embraced by the name Hauran. חורן, Arab. Hawrân, is derived from the number of caves (חור, חוּר) in that district, to which Wetzstein (Reiseber. p. 92) indeed raises the objection that with the exception of the eastern and south-eastern Hauran, where no doubt most of the volcanic hills have been perforated by troglodytes, the dwellings in caves are by no means common in that region. But the name may have originated in this eastern district, and possibly have included even that portion of Gilead which was situated to the north of the Jabbok, namely, Erbed and Sut, the true cave-country. For further remarks concerning these districts, see the comm. on Deuteronomy 3:4 and Deuteronomy 3:10. The statement in Ezekiel 47:17, "the boundary from the sea shall be Hazar-Enon, the boundary of Damascus," cannot have any other meaning than that the northern boundary, which started from the Mediterranean Sea, stretched as far as Hazar-Enon, the frontier city of Damascus, or that Hazar-Enon formed the terminal point on the east, toward the boundary of Damascus, for the northern boundary proceeding from the sea. חצר עינון or חצר עינן (Numbers 34:9), i.e., spring-court, we have endeavoured to identify in the comm. on Numbers 34:3 with the spring Lebweh, which lies in the Beka at the watershed between the Orontes and the Leontes; and the designation "the boundary of Damascus" suits the situation very well. Ezekiel 47:17 has been aptly explained by Hitzig thus, in accordance with the literal meaning of the words, "and as for the north north-wards, Hamath is the boundary," which he further elucidates by observing that צפונה is intended as a supplementary note to the boundary line from west to east, which is indicated just before. ואת פּאת צפון is a concluding formula: "this, the north side." But ואת (here and Ezekiel 47:18 and Ezekiel 47:19) is not to be altered into זאת after Ezekiel 47:20 and the Syriac version, as Hitzig supposes, but to be explained, as Ezekiel 47:18 clearly shows, on the supposition that Ezekiel had תּמודּוּ, "ye shall measure," floating before his mind, to which 'ואת פ, "and that the northern boundary," would form a correct logical sequel.

The eastern boundary is defined in v. 18 in the same manner as in Numbers 34:10-12, except that in the latter it is more minutely described above the Lake of Gennesaret by the mention of several localities, whereas Ezekiel only names the Jordan as the boundary. - פּאת , with supplementary remarks, is not to be taken as the predicate to the subject היּרדּן, as Hitzig has correctly observed; for the meaning of פּאה does not allow of this. The explanation is rather this: as for the east side, between Hauran, etc. and the land of Israel, is the Jordan. Hauran, Damascus, and Gilead lie on the east side of the Jordan, the land of Israel on the west side. The striking circumstance that Ezekiel commences with Hauran, which lay in the middle between Damascus and Gilead, - Hauran, Damascus, and Gilead, instead of Damascus, Hauran, and Gilead, - may probably be explained from the fact that the Jordan, which he names as the boundary, for the sake of brevity, did not extend so far upwards as to the territory of Damascus, but simply formed the boundary of the land of Israel between Hauran and Gilead. מגּבוּל points back to the northern boundary already mentioned. From this boundary, the eastern terminal point of which was Hazar-Enon, they are to measure to the eastern sea, i.e., to the Dead Sea.

Ezekiel 47:19. The southern boundary toward the south is to proceed from Tamar to the water of strife, Kadesh, (and thence) along the brook to the great (i.e., Mediterranean) sea. Tamar, a different place from Hazazon-tamar, called Engedi in Ezekiel 47:10 (cf. 2 Chronicles 20:2), is supposed to be the Thamara (Θαμαρά),

(Note: The statement runs thus: λέγεται δέ τις Θαμαρά κώμη διεστώσα Μάψις ἡμέρας ὁδόν, ἀπιόντων ἀπὸ Χεβρὼν εἰς Αἰλάμ, ἥτις νῦν φρούριόν ἐστι τῶν στρατιωτῶν. In Jerome: est et aliud castellum, unius diei itinere a Mampsis oppido separatum, pergentibus Ailiam de Chebron, ubi nunc romanum praesidium positum est. But on account of the Μάψις (Mampsis), which is evidently a corruption, the passage is obscure. Robinson's conjecture concerning Thamara is founded upon the assumption that the reading should be Μάλις, and that this is the Malatha mentioned by later writers as the station of a Roman cohort.)

which was a day's journey on the road from Hebron to Aelam (Aelath, Deuteronomy 2:8; 1 Kings 9:26), according to Eusebius in the Onomast. ed. Lars. p. 68, and had a Roman garrison; and Robinson (Pal. III pp. 178 and 186ff.) accordingly conjectures that it is to be found in the ruins of Kurnub, which lie six hours' journey to the south of Milh, toward the pass of es-Sufh. But this conjecture is bound up with various assumptions of a very questionable character, and the situation of Hurnub hardly suits the Tamar of our passage, which should be sought, not to the west of the southern point of the Dead Sea, but, according to the southern boundary of Canaan as drawn in Numbers 34:3-5, to the south of the Dead Sea. The waters of strife of Kadesh (Numbers 20:1-13), in the desert of Zin, were near Kadesh-barnea, which was in the neighbourhood of the spring Ain Kades, discovered by Rowland to the south of Bir-Seba and Khalasa by the fore-courts of Jebel Helal, i.e., at the north-west corner of the mountain land of the Azazimeh (see the comm. on Numbers 10:12; Numbers 12:16, and Numbers 20:16). Instead of מריבות we have the singular מריבת in Ezekiel 48:28, as in Numbers 27:14 and Deuteronomy 32:51. נחלה is to be pointed נחלה, from נחל with ה loc.; and the reference is to the brook of Egypt; the great wady el-Arish ( ̔Ρινοκορουρα), along which the southern boundary of Canaan ran from Kadesh to the Mediterranean Sea (see the comm. on Ezekiel 34:5). - Ezekiel 47:20. The Mediterranean Sea formed the western boundary. מגּבוּל, i.e., from the southern boundary mentioned in Ezekiel 47:19 till opposite (עד) to the coming to Hamath, i.e., till opposite to the point at which one enters the territory of Hamath (Hitzig), i.e., the spot mentioned in Ezekiel 47:20 (? 17) as the commencement of the northern boundary in the neighbourhood of the promontory of esh-Shkah between Byblus (Gebal) and Tripolis. - Ezekiel 47:21. This land they are to divide among them according to their tribes. With this remark, which points back to Ezekiel 47:13, the definition of the boundaries is brought to a close. There is simply added in Ezekiel 47:22 and Ezekiel 47:23 a further regulation concerning the foreigners living in Israel. The law of Moses had already repeatedly urged upon the Israelites affectionate treatment of them, and in Leviticus 19:34 the command is given to treat them like natives in this respect, and to love them. But the full right of citizenship was not thereby conceded to them, so that they could also acquire property in land. The land was given to the Israelites alone for an hereditary possession. Foreigners could only be incorporated into the congregation of Israel under the limitations laid down in Deuteronomy 23:2-9, by the reception of circumcision. But in the future distribution of the land, on the contrary, the גּרים were to receive hereditary property like native-born Israelites; and in this respect no difference was to exist between the members of the people of God born of Abraham's seed and those born of the heathen. At the same time, this right was not to be conferred upon every foreigner who might be only temporarily living in Israel, but to those alone who should beget sons in the midst of Israel, i.e., settle permanently in the holy land. The Kal יפּלוּ is not to be altered into the Hiphil תּפּילוּ, as Hitzig proposes, but is used in the sense of receiving by lot, derived from the Hiphil signification, "to apportion by lot."

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