Daniel 3:2
Then Nebuchadnezzar the king sent to gather together the princes, the governors, and the captains, the judges, the treasurers, the counsellors, the sheriffs, and all the rulers of the provinces, to come to the dedication of the image which Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(2) Senti.e., sent heralds, as appears from Daniel 3:4. (On the Babylonian officers, see Exc. A.)

Daniel 3:2-3. Then Nebuchadnezzar sent to gather together the princes, &c. — It would be very difficult, and perhaps impossible, at this distance of time, to ascertain the proper titles and offices of the several characters that are here mentioned, and certainly would answer no valuable end to any reader. It may be sufficient to observe, that it is probable only those were summoned to attend on this occasion who held places under the government. Thousands of others, no doubt, would be present, and, when present, were required to comply with the king’s injunction respecting worshipping the image, though they had not been summoned. And they came and stood before the image — They made their personal appearance, and showed themselves ready to perform the worship required of them.3:1-7 In the height of the image, about thirty yards, probably is included a pedestal, and most likely it was only covered with plates of gold, not a solid mass of that precious metal. Pride and bigotry cause men to require their subjects to follow their religion, whether right or wrong, and when worldly interest allures, and punishment overawes, few refuse. This is easy to the careless, the sensual, and the infidel, who are the greatest number; and most will go their ways. There is nothing so bad which the careless world will not be drawn to by a concert of music, or driven to by a fiery furnace. By such methods, false worship has been set up and maintained.Then, Nebuchadnezzar the king sent to gather together the princes - It is difficult now, if not impossible, to determine the exact meaning of the words used here with reference to the various officers designated; and it is not material that it should be done. The general sense is, that he assembled the great officers of the realm to do honor to the image. The object was doubtless to make the occasion as magnificent as possible. Of course, if these high officers were assembled, an immense multitude of the people would congregate also. That this was contemplated, and that it in fact occurred, is apparent from Daniel 3:4, Daniel 3:7. The word rendered "princes" (אחשׁדרפניא 'ăchashedarepenayâ') occurs only in Daniel, in Ezra, and in Esther. In Daniel 3:2-3, Daniel 3:27; Daniel 6:1-4, Daniel 6:6-7, it is uniformly rendered "princes;" in Ezra 8:36; Esther 3:12; Esther 8:9; Esther 9:3, it is uniformly rendered "lieutenants." The word means, according to Gesenius (Lex.), "satraps, the governors or viceroys of the large provinces among the ancient Persians, possessing both civil and military power, and being in the provinces the representatives of the sovereign, whose state and splendor they also rivaled." The etymology of the word is not certainly known. The Persian word "satrap" seems to have been the foundation of this word, with some slight modifications adapting it to the Chaldee mode of pronunciation.

The governors - סגניא sı̂genayâ'. This word is rendered "governors" in Daniel 2:48 (see the note at that place), and in Daniel 3:3, Daniel 3:27; Daniel 6:7. It does not elsewhere occur. The Hebrew word corresponding to this - סגנים segânı̂ym - occurs frequently, and is rendered "rulers" in every place except Isaiah 41:25, where it is rendered "princes:" Ezra 9:2; Nehemiah 2:16; Nehemiah 4:14 (7); Nehemiah 5:7, Nehemiah 5:17; Nehemiah 7:5; Jeremiah 51:23, Jeremiah 51:28, Jeremiah 51:57; Ezekiel 23:6, Ezekiel 23:12, Ezekiel 23:23, et al. The office was evidently one that was inferior to that of the "satrap," or governor of a whole province.

And the captains - פחותא pachăvâtâ'. This word, wherever it occurs in Daniel, is rendered "captains," Daniel 3:2-3, Daniel 3:27; Daniel 6:7; wherever else it occurs it is rendered governor, Ezra 5:3, Ezra 5:6, Ezra 5:14; Ezra 6:6-7, Ezra 6:13. The Hebrew word corresponding to this (פחה pechâh) occurs frequently, and is also rendered indifferently, "governor" or "captain:" 1 Kings 10:15; 2 Chronicles 9:14; Ezra 8:36; 1 Kings 20:24; Jeremiah 51:23, Jeremiah 51:28, Jeremiah 51:57, et al. It refers to the governor of a province less than satrapy, and is applied to officers in the Assyrian empire, 2 Kings 18:24; Isaiah 36:9; in the Chaldean, Ezekiel 23:6, Ezekiel 23:23; Jeremiah 51:23; and in the Persian, Esther 8:9; Esther 9:3. The word "captains" does not now very accurately express the sense. The office was not exclusively military, and was of a higher grade than would be denoted by the word "captain," with us.

The judges - אדרגזריא 'ădaregâzerayâ'. This word occurs only here, and in Daniel 3:3. It means properly great or "chief judges" - compounded of two words signifying "greatness," and "judges." See Gesenius, (Lex.)

The treasurers - גדבריא gedâberayâ'. This word occurs nowhere else. The word גזבר gizbâr, however, the same word with a slight change in the pronunciation, occurs in Ezra 1:8; Ezra 7:21, and denotes "treasurer." It is derived from a word (גנז gânaz) which means to hide, to hoard, to lay up in store.

The counselors - דתבריא dethâberayâ'. This word occurs nowhere else, except in Daniel 3:3. It means one skilled in the law; a judge. The office was evidently inferior to the one denoted by the word "judges."

The sheriffs - A sheriff with us is a county officer, to whom is entrusted the administration of the laws. In England the office is judicial as well as ministerial. With us it is merely ministerial. The duty of the sheriff is to execute the civil and criminal processes throughout the county. He has charge of the jail and prisoners, and attends courts, and keeps the peace. It is not to be supposed that the officer here referred to in Daniel corresponds precisely with this. The word used (תפתיא tı̂ptâyē') occurs nowhere else. It means, according to Gesenius, persons learned in the law; lawyers. The office had a close relation to that of "Mufti" among the Arabs, the term being derived from the same word, and properly means "a wise man; one whose response is equivalent to law."

And all the rulers of the provinces - The term here used is a general term, and would apply to any kind of officers or rulers, and is probably designed to embrace all which had not been specified. The object was to assemble the chief officers of the realm. Jacchiades has compared the officers here enumerated with the principal officers of the Turkish empire, and supposes that a counterpart to them may be found in that empire. See the comparison in Grotius, in loc. He supposes that the officers last denoted under the title of "rulers of the provinces" were similar to the Turkish "Zangiahos" or "viziers." Grotius supposes that the term refers to the rulers of cities and places adjacent to cities - a dominion of less extent and importance than that of the rulers of provinces.

To come to the dedication of the image ... - The public setting it apart to the purposes for which it was erected. This was to be done with solemn music, and in the presence of the principal officers of the kingdom. Until it was dedicated to the god in whose honor it was erected, it would not be regarded as an object of worship. It is easy to conceive that such an occasion would bring together an immense concourse of people, and that it would be one of peculiar magnificence.

2. princes—"satraps" of provinces [Gesenius].

captains—rulers, not exclusively military.

sheriffs—men learned in the law, like the Arab mufti [Gesenius].

This great statue, whether Nebuchadnezzar’s own, or Bel, or any other of his gods, see Daniel 3:14, must be solemnly dedicated, and therefore all the peers of the realm are called to it; but whether these ranks of men and officers are truly rendered from the Chaldee words is hard to determine, and not worth disputing; etymologists differ in it: this only is material, that the heads of all that vast empire were summoned, of several nations and languages, to testify their conformity to the emperor’s will, and thereby give assurance of obliging the people under them to the same obedience, i.e. to the same idolatrous worship.

It was the manner of the heathen to consecrate their idol before they worshipped it, and herein, as in many other, Satan imitated the Jews, and their temple dedication, John 10:22: they held a feast. The popish church do the like, when they dedicate material temples to particular saints, with solemnity and jollity, from whence come the feasts of wakes and revels to this day. Then Nebuchadnezzar the king sent to gather together the princes,.... He sent letters, or dispatched messengers, into the several provinces of his empire, and parts of his dominions, to convene all the peers of his realm, and governors of provinces, and all officers, civil, military, and religious, expressed by various names and titles:

the governors, and the captains, the judges, the treasurers, the counsellors, the sheriffs, and all the rulers of the provinces; who are particularly and distinctly designed is not easy to say. Jacchiades thinks they answer to the same offices and officers which now obtain in the Turkish empire; princes are the "bashaws"; governors the "beglerbegs"; captains the "agas" of the janizaries; judges the "kadies"; treasurers the "dephterdaries"; the counsellors the "alphakies"; and "zayties the sheriffs"; their chief doctors their "muphties", as L'Empereur; and the rulers of the provinces the "zangiakies" or "viziers"; but, be they who they will, they were the principal men of the empire, both in things civil, military, and ecclesiastic, who were ordered

to come to the dedication of the image, which Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up; for though it was made and set up, it was not a proper object of worship till dedicated; and which was done by burning incense, blowing trumpets, &c. now these great men were gathered together on this occasion, because of the greater honour done hereby to the king and his image; and also by their example to engage the populace the more easily to the worship of it; and likewise as being the representatives of them since they could not all be collected together in one place; and it may be it was done, as some think, to ensnare Daniel and his companions. Philostratus (f) makes mention of an officer at Babylon that had the keeping of the great gate into the city; which some take to be the same with the first sort here mentioned; who first offered the golden statue of the king to be worshipped before he would permit any to enter into the city, which perhaps might take its rise from the worship of this golden image.

(f) De Vita Apollonii, l. 1. c. 19.

Then Nebuchadnezzar the king sent to gather together the princes, the governors, and the captains, the judges, the treasurers, the counsellors, the sheriffs, and all the rulers of the provinces, to come to the {b} dedication of the image which Nebuchadnezzar the {c} king had set up.

(b) Showing that the idol is not known for an idol as long as he is with workmen: but when the ceremonies and customs are recited and used, and the consent of the people is there, then they think they have made a god out of a block.

(c) This was sufficient with the wicked at all times to approve their religion, if the king's authority were alleged for the establishment of it, not considering in the meantime what God's word allowed.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
2. princes] satraps, Aram. ’achashdarpan,—both this and the Gk. ἐξατράπης, σατράπης, being corruptions of the Old Persian kshatra-pâwan, lit. ‘protector of the realm,’ but denoting by usage (cf. on Daniel 6:1) the chief ruler of a province. The term, as is well known, is a standing Persian one: in the O.T., it recurs Daniel 3:3; Daniel 3:27, Daniel 6:1-4; Daniel 6:6-7 (A.V. princes); and Ezra 8:36, Esther 3:12; Esther 8:9; Esther 9:3 (A.V. lieutenants); R.V. always satraps. The use of the word here is an anachronism: both the name and the office were Persian, not Babylonian.

governors] praefects. The word (segan) explained on Daniel 2:48.

captains] governors (R.V.), Aram. pechah, a term also (like segan) of Assyrian origin, often used in Assyrian of the governor of a conquered province. It found its way into Hebrew, and is used in the O.T. both of an Assyrian officer (Isaiah 36:9 = 2 Kings 18:24 : A.V., R.V. captain), of Babylonian officers (Jeremiah 51:57; Ezekiel 23:6; Ezekiel 23:12; Ezekiel 23:23 : A.V. captains, R.V. governors), and especially, in post-exilic writings, of the governor of a Persian province (Haggai 1:1; Haggai 2:2; Malachi 1:8; Ezra 5:3; Ezra 5:6; Nehemiah 2:7; Nehemiah 2:9, and elsewhere); as well as once or twice more generally (1 Kings 20:24; Jeremiah 51:23; Jeremiah 51:28). In Dan. it recurs Daniel 3:3; Daniel 3:27, Daniel 6:7.

judges] So Daniel 3:3. Aram. ’adargâzar, in all probability the old Pers. andar-zaghar, later Pers. endarzgar, ‘counsel-giver,’ a title which was still in use under the Sassanian kings (Nöldeke, Tabari, p. 462). R.V. marg. ‘chief soothsayers’ implies a very improbable etymology.

treasurers] So Daniel 3:3 : Aram. gedâbar. An uncertain word. It may be a textual corruption, or a faulty pronunciation, of gizbâr, ‘treasurer’ (Pehlevi ganzavar, Pers. ganjvar), which is found in Ezra 1:8; Ezra 7:21; it may have arisen by dittography from the following dethâbar[217]; it may be an error for haddâbar (in the plur., גדבריא for הדבריא), the word which occurs in Daniel 3:24; Daniel 3:27, Daniel 4:36, Daniel 6:7 (see on Daniel 3:24).

[217] It is some support to this view that whereas the Aramaic text has in both Daniel 3:2 and Daniel 3:3 eight names of officials, the Sept. and Theod. have each only seven: see Lagarde’s lucid exposition of the facts in Agathangelus, p. 157.

counsellers] justices (so Daniel 3:3): Aram. dethâbar, from the Old Pers. dâtabara, Pehlevi dâtôbar, Modern Pers. dâwar, properly ‘law-bearer,’ from dât, ‘law,’ and bar, an affix meaning ‘bearer.’ Cf. the βασιλήϊοι δικασταὶ of Hdt. iii. 14, 31, Daniel 3:25, vii. 194. This word has been found by Hilprecht (frequently) in the commercial inscriptions belonging to the reigns of Artaxerxes I. and Darius II. (b.c. 465–425, 424–405), excavated recently at Nippur by the expedition organized by the American University of Pennsylvania.

sheriffs] Aram. tiphtâyê; only found besides in Daniel 3:3, and of very uncertain meaning. Bevan thinks it may be the mutilated form of some Persian title ending in pat, ‘chief’; and so Behrmann compares the Sanskr. adhipati, which would correspond to an Old Pers. adipati, ‘over-chief’: while Andreas[218] proposes to read דנ for ת, i.e. denpetâyê, ‘chiefs of religion,’ i.e. priestly dignitaries. Lawyers (R.V. marg.) depends upon an improbable connexion with the Arab. ’aftâ, to notify a decision of the law (whence Mufti, a jurisconsult).

[218] In the glossary in Marti’s Gramm. der Bibl.-Aram. Sprache, p. 89.

and all the rulers of the provinces] conceived apparently as subordinate to the ‘satraps,’ and so as forming the class in which Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego were included (Daniel 2:49). It has often been asked, where was Daniel? Possibly he is to be regarded as not included in the classes of officials enumerated, on account of his exceptional position at the court (Daniel 2:49): but in point of fact the narrative seems to be written without reference to Daniel; so that more probably the question is one which the author did not deem it necessary to answer.Verses 2, 3. #NAME? The Septuagint is greatly interpolated, "And Nebuchadnezzar, king of kings and ruler (κυριεύων) of the whole inhabited earth (τῆς οἰκουμένης ὅλης), sent to gather together all nations, peoples, and tongues, governors and generals, rulers and overseers, executors and those in authority, according to their provinces, and all in the whole inhabited earth, to come to the dedication of the golden image which Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up" The word denoting the "inhabited world" is one used first of the Greek world (Funeral Oration of Demosthenes, Τῆς οἰκομενῆς τὸ πλεῖστον μέρος, then of the Roman world as distinct from the barbarian (Polybius, 1:4. 6, Τὸ τῆς ὅλης οἰκουμένης σχῆμα); in this latter sense it is used in Luke 2:1. The phrase, "nations. peoples, and tongues," is one that occurs with great frequency in Revelation, and also the above phrase, τῆς ὅλης οἰκουμένης. This is an indication of the use made by the Apostle John of this version of Daniel as distinct from the Massoretic text It may also be observed that the phrase, "all in the whole inhabited earth," is placed as equal to "all the rulers of the provinces," which makes it at least possible that a misreading of the original text has occasioned the exaggeration in this particular clause. In the third verse the order is different, and to some extent the names of the officials are different also; σατράπαι is left out, and τύραννοι appears in its stead, though not in the same place. Further, there are persons mentioned "great in authority." This variation may be due to an uncertainty in the mind of the translator as to the exact equivalent in Greek for the Aramaic terms. It is to be noted that "the inhabitants of the whole earth" disappear from this repetition. The last editor of the Greek text may have had two renderings before him, and drew from the one the second verse, and from the other the third. Theodotion's rendering, while in closer agreement with the Massoretic text, yet differs from it to some extent, appearing to make the latter half of ver. 2 explanatory of the former, which contains the more technical designations. In ver. 3 there is a change in the order of the terms, as to some extent a change in the terms. In the Peshitta there are evident traces that the translator had not understood the technical meaning of the terms here used. The list given is "great men of might - lords, rulers, Agardaei, Garabdaei, Tarabdaei, Tabathaei, and all the rulers of the province." These mysterious names, that seem those of tribes, have no existence elsewhere. It is singular that these words, if they are in their original shape - which they seem certainly, to be - and to appearance of Persian origin, were unintelligible to one writing on the Persian frontier at most three centuries after the critical date of Daniel. The Parthian Empire retained much of the Persian character. How was it that words of Persian meaning had disappeared there, and still remained in use, or at least still continued to be intelligible, in Palastine? The probability is that the names have undergone so great change in course of transcription that their original form can no longer be recognized. The Vulgate does not call for remark. The names of these different grades of officials are (as we now have them) some indubitably Persian, as ahashdarpan; others unmistakably Assyrian, sagan pehah; and there are some that have no recognized etymology, as tiphtaye: but there are none that are even plausibly derived from Greek. Yet this class of words is precisely the class where the influence of the language of the military governing nation would be manifest. The fact that while the Massoretic text has eight classes of rulers who are summoned, the Septuagint has only six, throws a suspicion on the whole list. The LXX., however, adds, "all those in the whole earth (πάντας τοὺς κατὰ τὴν οἰκουμένην)," which may be the result of misreading of kol shiltoni medeen-atha, or it may be a rendering of it, referring back to the classes already enumerated (ἄρχοντας being understood, omitting the ray). In Theodotion and Jerome there are seven classes. Only in the Peshitta are there the same number of classes as in the Massoretic. The Peshitta has as this first class rabai heela, used in the New Testament, e.g. Luke 22:4, of "chief captains." It is possible that rabuti, or some derivative from it, was in the original text here, and this was changed into the better known sotrap. Sagan does not call for remark; as said above (Daniel 2:48), it is derived from shakun (Assyrian); the Hebrew equivalent appears in Jeremiah 51:23 and Ezekiel 23:6, and elsewhere. Pebah is also Assyrian in origin, also elsewhere used in Scripture. Adargazrayya seems a compound from adar and gazar, "to divide." Furst would make this word mean" astrologers of the god Adar." Professor Bevan would derive it from endarz-gar, a Persian word meaning "counsellor" - "a word which was still in use under the Sassanians." That the word had any connection with this is disproved by the fact that in the Peshitta it is rendered Agardaei. If the word in question had survived from the Achaemenids to the Sassanids, its meaning would necessarily be known to the Peshitta translator, whose date held between the periods of these two Persian dynasties. A Persian word of the date of the Achsemenids to have survived to the age of the Sassanids, must have been known in the intervening Parthian period. A similar difficulty occurs in regard to the next word, gedabrayya - the Syrian translator has simply transferred it. The simplest interpretation is that it is a variation on gizbarayya (Ezra 7:21), and means "treasurers," which is still in use in the Syriac of the Peshitta, e.g. 2 Kings 10:22. The question is complicated by the fact that the word which occupies the same place in the similar list in ver. 27 is had-dabra When we turn to the Peshitta for that verse, there is another word, raur-bona. <[Vol13/Daniel/97]PGBR> The Septuagint, by rendering φίλοις, shows that their reading was habereen. All this proves how utterly futile it is to build anything on the presence of late words in Daniel. The presence of early words from the nature of the case, is more significant. Old and unintelligible words would never be inserted in place of new and intelligible, though the reverse process might readily take place: דְּתָבְּרַיּא (dethaberayya) is rendered usually "judges," and is generally derived from the Pehlevi; but if דַת (dath) means a "firman," a "command," or "decree," in Aramaic, then the addition bar in Persian is rendered less certain. Here, again, the Peshitta translator was unaware of the meaning of the word, and renders by the mysterious word tarabdaei. The last class mentioned is the Tiphtae. This term seems to be omitted in the three Western versions at least there are only six names of ranks of rulers given in these versions, and this is a seventh. Of course, it may be that some name earlier in the list is explanatory and added later than the time when these versions were made. The Peshitta has the word Tabathaei, which has all the appearance of a national name. The word Tiphtae assumes in the K'thib a Syriac form, which, as we before remarked, is an indication of the original dialect of the book. Notwithstanding what Professor Bevan has asserted, something may be said for the conjecture that it is connected with afta, "to advise." But in the extreme doubt in which we are in regard to what the text precisely is, it is something like waste of time to do more than chronicle opinions. This feeling of uncertainty is increased by the fact that, as above mentioned, the two lists in the two verses before us do not agree in the three Western versions. The list in ver. 27 purports to be the same as that given here, and differs from it greatly. All that we may assume is that there were assembled different classes of the officials of the Babylonian Empire. The reading should not be medeenatha, "of the provinces;" but medeenta "of the province;" the officials that were assembled were those merely of the province of Babylon. We would maintain this, although the versions are against it, because there would be no difference in the original unpointed text. 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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