Daniel 3:29
Therefore I make a decree, That every people, nation, and language, which speak any thing amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill: because there is no other God that can deliver after this sort.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(29) Anything amiss.—The marginal version is to be preferred.

Daniel 3:29. Therefore, I make a decree, &c. — He issues a royal edict, strictly forbidding any to speak evil of the God of Israel. We have reason to think that both the sins and the troubles of Israel had given great, though no just occasion to the Chaldeans to blaspheme the God of Israel, and it is likely Nebuchadnezzar himself had encouraged them to do it; but now, though he is no true convert, nor is influenced to worship him, yet he resolves never to speak evil of him again, nor to suffer others to do so. If any should presume to do it, he decrees that they should be counted the worst of malefactors, and should be dealt with accordingly. The miracle now wrought by the power of this God, in defence of his worshippers, and that publicly, in the sight of the thousands of Babylon, was a sufficient justification of this edict. And it would contribute much to the ease of the Jews in their captivity, to be, by this law, screened from the fiery darts of reproach and blasphemy, with which, otherwise, they would have been continually annoyed. Observe, reader, it is a great mercy to the church, and a good point gained, when its enemies, though they have not their hearts turned, yet have their mouths stopped, and their tongues tied. If a heathen prince laid such a restraint upon the proud lips of blasphemers, how much more should Christian princes do it. Nay, in this thing, one would suppose that men should be a law to themselves; and that those who have so little love to God that they care not to speak well of him, yet should never find in their hearts, for we are sure they can never find cause, to speak any thing amiss of him.3:28-30 What God did for these his servants, would help to keep the Jews to their religion while in captivity, and to cure them of idolatry. The miracle brought deep convictions on Nebuchadnezzar. But no abiding change then took place in his conduct. He who preserved these pious Jews in the fiery furnace, is able to uphold us in the hour of temptation, and to keep us from falling into sin.Therefore I make a decree - Margin, "A decree is made by me." Chaldee, "And from me a decree is laid down," or enacted. This Chaldee word (טעם ṭe‛êm) means, properly, "taste, flavor;" then "judgment," the power of "discerning" - apparently as of one who can judge of "wine," etc., by the taste; then the sentence, the decree which is consequent on an act of judging - always retaining the idea that the determination or decree is based on a conception of the true merits of the case. The decree in this case was not designed to be regarded as arbitrary, but as being founded on what was right and proper. He had seen evidence that the God whom these three youths worshipped was a true God, and was able to protect those who trusted in him; and regarding him as a real God, he made this proclamation, that respect should be shown to him throughout his extended realm.

That every people, nation, and language - This decree is in accordance with the usual style of an Oriental monarch. It was, however, a fact that the empire of Nebuchadnezzar extended over nearly all of the then known world.

Which speak any thing amiss - Margin, "error." The Chaldee word (שׁלה shâluh) means "error, wrong," and it refers here to anything that would be fitted to lead the minds of men astray in regard to the true character of the God whom these persons worshipped. The Vulgate renders it "blasphemy." So also it is rendered in the Greek, βλασφημίαν blasphēmian. The intention was, that their God was to be acknowledged as a God of eminent power and rank. It does not appear that Nebuchadnezzar meant that he should be regarded as the "only" true God, but he was willing, in accordance with the prevailing notions of idolatry, that he should take his place among the gods, and a most honored place.

Shall be cut in pieces - Margin, "made." This was a species of punishment that was common in many ancient nations. - Gesenius.

And their houses shall be made a dunghill - Compare 2 Kings 10:27. The idea is, that the utmost possible dishonor and contempt should be placed on their houses, by devoting them to the most vile and offensive uses.

Because there is no other god that can deliver after this sort - He does not say that there was no other god at all, for his mind had not yet reached this conclusion, but there was no other one who had equal power with the God of the Hebrews. He had seen a manifestation of his power in the preservation of the three Hebrews such as no other god had ever exhibited, and he was willing to admit that in this respect he surpassed all other divinities.

29. This decree promulgated throughout the vast empire of Nebuchadnezzar must have tended much to keep the Jews from idolatry in the captivity and thenceforth (Ps 76:10). Observe here, that though he doth not resolve to worship the true God, nor command others to do it, yet he would not allow the God of the Jews to be evil spoken of; this was all that he came up to. He was resolved to hold fast to the religion established, his own idols; nay, the great golden idol, which had been slurred and slighted by these three worthies, he would not take down and relinquish: this was the best quarter the true God could get among them, not to be spoken amiss of under great penalty; though he confessed no god else could deliver after that strange sort. Bel could not preserve his men out of the furnace, God preserves his servants in the furnace. All was one for that, Bel should be his god still. Therefore I make a decree,.... Or, a "decree is made by me" (w); which is as follows:

that every people, nation, and language, which speak anything amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego; anything indecent, blasphemous, or by way of contempt: he does not give orders that their God should be worshipped or signify that he would worship him himself, and quit his false deities; no, only that he should not be spoken against, as very probably before this time he was, to the great grief of these good men; and to whom, therefore such an edict would be grateful, though no more could be obtained; by which it was enacted, that any such person, so blaspheming and reproaching,

shall be cut to pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill; See Gill on Daniel 2:5;

because there is no other god that can deliver after this manner; no, not even Bel himself, as was plain; for he could not deliver the men at the mouth of the furnace, that cast in these three, for they were destroyed by the force of the flame and smoke that came out; but the true God delivered the three men cast in, even in the midst of it; this was beyond all contradiction, and therefore he could not but own it.

(w) "a me proponitur edictum", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Broughtonus; "a me positum decretum", Montanus, Cocceius, Michaelis.

Therefore I make a decree, That every people, nation, and language, which speak {n} any thing amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill: because there is no other God that can deliver after this sort.

(n) If this heathen king moved by God's Spirit would punish blasphemy, and made a law and set a punishment for such transgressors, much more ought all they that profess religion make sure that such impiety does not happen, lest according as their knowledge and responsibility is greater, so they suffer double punishment.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
29. I make a decree] the same phrase (lit. a decree is made by me), in Daniel 4:6 (cf. Daniel 6:26); Ezra 4:11 (at the end), 19, Daniel 5:17, Daniel 6:8; Daniel 6:11, Daniel 7:13; Daniel 7:21.

people, nation, and language] Daniel 3:4; Daniel 3:7.

any thing amiss] lit. any neglect or error: cf. the same word in Daniel 6:4; Ezra 4:22; Ezra 6:9 (‘fail’). In the Targums it stands for the Heb. shegâgâh, or mishgeh, oversight, inadvertence, Genesis 43:12; Leviticus 4:2; Leviticus 5:18.

cut in pieces, and … made a dunghill] see on Daniel 2:5. The terms of the edict, it will be noticed, are inexact: ‘every people, nation, and language’ must stand for ‘every one belonging to any people, nation, and language.’ (‘Their houses’ is in the Aram. his house.)Verse 29. #NAME? The versions agree with the Massoretic text here, only that all put the crime, "speaking anything amiss," more strongly than we find it in the Massoretic recension, שׁלה is amended by the Massoretes to שׁלוּ, "erroneous," whereas the Septuagint renders, ὅς ἄν βλασφημήσῃ. Theodotion, (agreeing with γλῶσσα) ἐάν εἴπη βλασφημίαν. The Peshitta renders ," to blaspheme." Hitzig has suggested that the K'thib here is to be preferred to the Q'ri, maintaining that שׁלה means "word," while שׁלוּ really means "inadvertence." Certainly, if we were sure that the meaning he gives to שׁלה is correct, and the versions all support it, we would give the preference to it. It has, however, to be borne in mind that, in the notions of heathenism, intentional disrespect was not taken into consideration in regard to the gods. The intention of the worshipper was of very little moment in such a matter; he might even desire to be specially respectful to the deity he worshipped; but if, by inadvertence, he omitted something, or did something which was not according to rule, all the good will and respect in his mind was nothing - the wrath of the insulted deity was poured out in full measure, unless some other deity regarded the action in question as specially honouring to him. It was the external action - the mere form of words - that was the important matter with the polytheist. Idolatry is by its very nature a mental and moral disease; it is as absurd to expect logically concatenated actions from an idol-worshipper in regard to his deities, as to expect the same from a madman in regard to his craze. We must guard against imagining that the decree was against blasphemy as a crime against Jehovah. Primarily it was against words that, by exciting the wrath of Jehovah, might bring down damage on the empire. Nebuchadnezzar was not jealous for the honour of Jehovah, but for the safety of the Babylonian supremacy. The punishment threatened, it may be observed, is the same as that decreed against the wise men because of their failure to tell the dream and its interpretation. In regard to this, in Daniel 2:5 the Septuagint renders the phrase, "Ye shall be made an example of, and your goods shall be escheat to the king's treasury." This change, as we maintained, was due to a difference of reading, not to any objection to the harshness of the phrase. The object of the punishment here was to remove utterly from the earth the wrong-doer and every remembrance of him, so that the offended deity might have no excuse for visiting the kingdom of Babylon with judgments. The reason, "because there is no other god that can deliver after this sort," is not to be stretched too far. All that is asserted is that no other god has been able to deliver his worshippers out of the very realm of the god of fire, and therefore it is to be argued that his power of offence is as great; hence all are to avoid enraging him; but there is no worship enjoined. The Lagid princes, when Jerusalem was in their hands, ordered sacrifices to be offered on their behalf daffy. Nebuchadnezzar does nothing of this sort; his decree is simply negative The division of the land, like the definition of the boundaries (Ezekiel 47:15), commences in the north, and enumerates the tribes in the order in which they were to receive their inheritances from north to south: first, seven tribes from the northern boundary to the centre of the land (Ezekiel 48:1-7), where the heave for the sanctuary, with the land of the priests and Levites and the city domain, together with the prince's land on the two sides, was to be set apart (Ezekiel 48:8-22; and secondly, the other five tribes from this to the southern boundary (Ezekiel 48:23-29). Compare the map on Plate IV.

Ezekiel 48:1. And these are the names of the tribes: from the north end by the side of the way to Chetlon toward Hamath (and) Hazar-Enon the boundary of Damascus - toward the north by the side of Hamath there shall east side, west side belong to him: Dan one (tribe-lot). Ezekiel 48:2. And on the boundary of Dan from the east side to the west side: Asher one. Ezekiel 48:3. And on the boundary of Asher from the east side to the west side: Naphtali one. Ezekiel 48:4. And on the boundary of Naphtali from the east side to the west side: Manasseh one. Ezekiel 48:5. And on the boundary of Manasseh from the east side to the west side: Ephraim one. Ezekiel 48:6. And on the boundary of Ephraim from the east side to the west side: Reuben one. Ezekiel 48:7. And on the boundary of Reuben from the east side to the west side: Judah one. Ezekiel 48:8. And on the boundary of Judah from the east side to the west side shall be the heave, which ye shall lift (heave) off, five and twenty thousand (rods) in breadth, and the length like every tribe portion from the east side to the west side; and the sanctuary shall be in the midst of it. Ezekiel 48:9. The heave which ye shall lift (heave) for Jehovah shall be five and twenty thousand in length and ten thousand in breadth. Ezekiel 48:10. And to these shall the holy heave belong, to the priests, toward the north, five and twenty thousand; toward the west, breadth ten thousand; toward the east, breadth ten thousand; and toward the south, length five and twenty thousand; and the sanctuary of Jehovah shall be in the middle of it. Ezekiel 48:11. To the priests, whoever is sanctified of the sons of Zadok, who have kept my charge, who have not strayed with the straying of the sons of Israel, as the Levites have strayed, Ezekiel 48:12. To them shall a portion lifted off belong from the heave of the land; a most holy beside the territory of the Levites. Ezekiel 48:13. And the Levites (shall receive) parallel with the territory of the priests five and twenty thousand in length, and in breadth ten thousand; the whole length five and twenty thousand, and (the whole) breadth ten thousand. Ezekiel 48:14. And they shall not sell or exchange any of it, nor shall the first-fruit of the land pass to others; for it is holy to Jehovah. Ezekiel 48:15. And the five thousand which remain in the breadth along the five and twenty thousand are common land for the city for dwellings and for open space; and the city shall be in the centre of it. Ezekiel 48:16. And these are its measures: the north side four thousand five hundred, the south side four thousand five hundred, the east side four thousand five hundred, and the west side four thousand five hundred. Ezekiel 48:17. And the open space of the city shall be toward the north two hundred and fifty, toward the south two hundred and fifty, toward the east two hundred and fifty, and toward the west two hundred and fifty. Ezekiel 48:18. And the remainder in length parallel with the holy heave, ten thousand toward the east and ten thousand toward the west, this shall be beside the holy heave, and its produce shall serve the workmen of the city for food. Ezekiel 48:19. And as for the workmen of the city, they shall cultivate it from all the tribes. Ezekiel 48:20. The whole of the heave is five and twenty thousand by five and twenty thousand; a fourth of the holy heave shall ye take for the possession of the city. Ezekiel 48:21. And the remainder shall belong to the prince on this side and on that side of the holy heave and of the city possession; along the five and twenty thousand of the heave to the eastern boundary, and toward the west along the five and twenty thousand to the western boundary parallel with the tribe portions, it shall belong to the prince; and the holy heave and the sanctuary of the house shall be in the midst. Ezekiel 48:22. Thus from the possession of the Levites (as) from the possession of the city shall that which lies in the midst of what belongs to the prince between the territory of Judah and the territory of Benjamin belong to the prince. Ezekiel 48:23. And the rest of the tribes are from the east side to the west side: Benjamin one. Ezekiel 48:24. And on the boundary of Benjamin from the east side to the west side: Simeon one. Ezekiel 48:25. And on the boundary of Simeon from the east side to the west side: Issachar one. Ezekiel 48:26. And on the boundary of Issachar from the east side to the west side: Zebulon one. Ezekiel 48:27. And on the boundary of Zebulon from the east side to the west side: Gad one. Ezekiel 48:28. And on the boundary of Gad on the south side toward the south, the boundary shall be from Tamar to the water of strife from Kadesh along the brook to the great sea. Ezekiel 48:29. This is the land which ye shall divide by lot for inheritance to the tribes of Israel; these are their portions, is the saying of the Lord Jehovah.

The new division of the land differs from the former one effected in the time of Joshua, in the first place, in the fact that all the tribe-portions were to extend uniformly across the entire breadth of the land from the eastern boundary to the Mediterranean Sea on the west, so that they were to form parallel tracts of country; whereas in the distribution made in the time of Joshua, several of the tribe-territories covered only half the breadth of the land. For example, Dan received his inheritance on the west of Benjamin; and the territories of half Manasseh and Asher ran up from the northern boundary of Ephraim to the northern boundary of Canaan; while Issachar, Naphtali, and Zebulon received their portions on the east of these; and lastly, Simeon received his possession within the boundaries of the tribe of Judah. And secondly, it also differs from the former, in the fact that not only are all the twelve tribes located in Canaan proper, between the Jordan and the Mediterranean Sea; whereas previously two tribes and a half had received from Moses, at their own request, the conquered land of Bashan and Gilead on the eastern side of the Jordan, so that the land of Canaan could be divided among the remaining nine tribes and a half. But besides this, the central tract of land, about the fifth part of the whole, was separated for the holy heave, the city domain, and the prince's land, so that only the northern and southern portions, about four-fifths of the whole, remained for distribution among the twelve tribes, seven tribes receiving their hereditary portions to the north of the heave and five to the south, because the heave was so selected that the city with its territory lay near the ancient Jerusalem. - In Ezekiel 48:1-7 the seven tribes which were to dwell on the north of the heave are enumerated. The principal points of the northern boundary, viz., the way to Chetlon and Hazar-Enon, the boundary of Damascus, are repeated in Ezekiel 48:1 from Ezekiel 47:15, Ezekiel 47:17, as the starting and terminal points of the northern boundary running from west to east. The words אל־יד חמת fix the northern boundary more precisely in relation to the adjoining territory; and in 'והיוּ the enumeration of the tribe-lots begins with that of the tribe of Dan, which was to receive its territory against the northern boundary. לו refers to the name דּן which follows, and which Ezekiel already had in his mind. פּאת קדים היּם is constructed asyndetôs; and פּאת is to be repeated in thought before היּם: the east side (and) the west (side) are to belong to it, i.e., the tract of land toward its west and its east side. The words which follow, דּן אחד, are attached in an anacoluthistic manner: "Dan (is to receive) one portion," for "one shall belong to Dan." To אחד we are to supply in thought the substantive חבל, tribe-lot, according to Ezekiel 47:13. "The assumption that one tribe was to receive as much as another (vid., Ezekiel 47:14), leads to the conclusion that each tribe-lot was to be taken as a monas" (Kliefoth). In this way the names in Ezekiel 48:2-7, with the constantly repeated אחד, must also be taken. The same form of description is repeated in Ezekiel 48:23-28 in the case of the five tribes placed to the south of the heave. - In the order of the several tribe-territories it is impossible to discover any universal principle of arrangement. All that is clear is, that in the case of Dan, Asher, Naphtali, Manasseh, and Ephraim, regard is had to the former position of these tribe-territories as far as the altered circumstances allowed. In the time of the Judges a portion of the Danites had migrated to the north, conquered the city of Laish, and given it the name of Dan, so that from that time forward Dan is generally named as the northern boundary of the land (e.g., as early as 2 Samuel 3:10, and in other passages). Accordingly Dan receives the tract of land along the northern boundary. Asher and Naphtali, which formerly occupied the most northerly portions of the land, follow next. Then comes Manasseh, as half Manasseh had formerly dwelt on the east of Naphtali; and Ephraim joins Manasseh, as it formerly joined the western half of Manasseh. The reason for placing Reuben between Ephraim and Judah appears to be, that Reuben was the first-born of Jacob's sons. The position of the termuah between Judah and Benjamin is probably connected with the circumstance that Jerusalem formerly stood on the boundary of these two tribes, and so also in the future was to skirt Benjamin with its territory. The other tribes had then to be located on the south of Benjamin; Simeon, whose territory formerly lay to the south; Issachar and Zebulon, for which no room was left in the north; and Gad, which had to be brought over from Gilead to Canaan.

In Ezekiel 48:8-22, the terumah, which has already been described in Ezekiel 45:1-7 for a different purpose, is more precisely defined: first of all, in Ezekiel 48:8, according to its whole extent - viz. twenty-five thousand rods in breadth (from north to south), and the length the same as any one ( equals every one) of the tribe-lots, i.e., reaching from the Jordan to the Mediterranean Sea (cf. Ezekiel 45:7). In the centre of this separated territory the sanctuary (the temple) was to stand. בּתוכו, the suffix of which refers ad sensum to חלק instead of תּרוּמה, has not the indefinite meaning "therein," but signifies "in the centre;" for the priests' portion, in the middle of which the temple was to stand, occupied the central position between the portion of the Levites and the city possession, as is evident from Ezekiel 48:22. The circumstance that here, as in Ezekiel 45:1., in the division of the terumah, the priests' portion is mentioned first, then the portion of the Levites, and after this the city possession, proves nothing so far as the local order in which these three portions followed one another is concerned; but the enumeration is regulated by their spiritual significance, so that first of all the most holy land for the temple and priests is defined, then the holy portion of the Levites, and lastly, the common land for the city. The command, that the sanctuary is to occupy the centre of the whole terumah, leads to a more minute description in the first place (Ezekiel 48:9-12) of the priests' portion, in which the sanctuary was situated, than of the heave to be lifted off for Jehovah. In Ezekiel 48:10, לאלּה, which stands at the head, is explained by לכּהנים which follows. The extent of this holy terumah on all four sides is then given; and lastly, the command is repeated, that the sanctuary of Jehovah is to be in the centre of it. In Ezekiel 48:11, המקדּשׁ is rendered in the plural by the lxx, Chald. and Syr., and is taken in a distributive sense by Kimchi and others: to the priests whoever is sanctified of the sons of Zadok. This is required by the position of the participle between לכּהנים and מבּני צדוק (compare 2 Chronicles 26:18, and for the singular of the participle after a previous plural, Psalm 8:9). The other rendering, "for the priests is it sanctified, those of the sons of Zadok," is at variance not only with the position of the words, but also with the fact, namely, that the assignment to the priests of a heave set apart for Jehovah is never designated as קדּשׁ, and from the nature of the case could not be so designated. The apodosis to Ezekiel 48:11 follows in Ezekiel 48:12, where לכּהנים is resumed in להם. תּרוּמיּה is an adjective formation derived from תּרוּמה, with the signification of an abstract: that which is lifted (the lifting) from the heave, as it were "a terumah in the second potency" (for these formations, see Ewald, 164 and 165). This terumiyah is called most holy, in contrast with the Levites' portion of the terumah, which was קדשׁ (Ezekiel 48:14). The priests' portion is to be beside the territory of the Levites, whether on the southern or northern side cannot be gathered from these words any more than from the definition in Ezekiel 48:13 : "and the Levites beside (parallel with) the territory of the priests." Both statements simply affirm that the portions of the priests and Levites were to lie side by side, and not to be separated by the town possession. - Ezekiel 48:13 and Ezekiel 48:14 treat of the Levites' portion: Ezekiel 48:13, of its situation and extent; Ezekiel 48:14, of its law of tenure. The seemingly tautological repetition of the measurement of the length and breadth, as "all the length and the breadth," is occasioned by the fact "that Ezekiel intends to express himself more briefly here, and not, as in Ezekiel 48:10, to take all the four points of the compass singly; in 'all the length' he embraces the two long sides of the oblong, and in '(all) the breadth' the two broad sides, and affirms that 'all the length,' i.e., of both the north and south sides, is to be twenty-five thousand rods, and 'all the breadth,' i.e., of both the east and west sides, is to be ten thousand rods" (Kliefoth). Hitzig has missed the sense, and therefore proposes to alter the text. With regard to the possession of the Levites, the instructions given in Leviticus 25:34 for the field of the Levites' cities - namely, that none of it was to be sold - are extended to the whole of the territory of the Levites: no part of it is to be alienated by sale or barter. And the character of the possession is assigned as the reason: the first-fruit of the land, i.e., the land lifted off (separated) as first-fruit, is not to pass into the possession of others, because as such it is holy to the Lord. The Chetib ya`abowr יעבור is the correct reading: to pass over, sc. to others, to non-Levites.

Ezekiel 48:15-18 treat of the city possession. As the terumah was twenty-five thousand rods in breadth (Ezekiel 48:8), after measuring off ten thousand rods in breadth for the priests and ten thousand rods in breadth for the Levites from the entire breadth, there still remain five thousand rods על, in front of, i.e., along, the long side, which was twenty-five thousand rods. This remnant was to be חל, i.e., common (not holy) land for the city (Jerusalem). למושׁב, for dwelling-places, i.e., for building dwelling-houses upon; and למגרשׁ, for open space, the precinct around the city. The city was to stand in the centre of this oblong. Ezekiel 48:16 gives the size of the city: on each of the four sides, four thousand five hundred rods (the חמשׁ, designated by the Masoretes as כתיב ולא קרי, has crept into the text through a copyist's error); and Ezekiel 48:17, the extent of the open space surrounding it: on each side two hundred and fifty rods. This gives for the city, together with the open space, a square of five thousand rods on every side; so that the city with its precinct filled the entire breadth of the space left for it, and there only remained on the east and west an open space of ten thousand rods in length and five thousand rods in breadth along the holy terumah. This is noticed in Ezekiel 48:18; its produce was to serve for bread, i.e., for maintenance, for the labourers of the city (the masculine suffix in תּבוּאתה refers grammatically to הנּותר). By עבדי העיר Hitzig would understand the inhabitants of the city, because one cultivates a piece of land even by dwelling on it. But this use of עבד cannot be established. Nor are עבדי העיר the workmen employed in building the city, as Gesenius, Hvernick, and others suppose; for the city was not perpetually being built, so that there should be any necessity for setting apart a particular piece of land for the builders; but they are the working men of the city, the labouring class living in the city. They are not to be without possession in the future Jerusalem, but are to receive a possession in land for their maintenance. We are told in Ezekiel 48:19 who these workmen are. Here העבד is used collectively: as for the labouring class of the city, people out of all the tribes of Israel shall work upon the land belonging to the city. The suffix in יעבדוּהוּ points back to הנּותר. The transitive explanation, to employ a person in work, has nothing in the language to confirm it. The fact itself is in harmony with the statement in Ezekiel 45:6, that the city was to belong to all Israel. Lastly, in Ezekiel 48:20 the dimensions of the whole terumah, and the relation of the city possession to the holy terumah, are given. כּל־התּרוּמה is the whole heave, so far as it has hitherto been described, embracing the property of the priests, of the Levites, and of the city. In this extent it is twenty-five thousand rods long and the same broad. If, however, we add the property of the prince, which is not treated of till Ezekiel 48:21-23, it is considerably longer, and reaches, as has been stated in Ezekiel 48:8, to the boundaries of the land both on the east and west, the Jordan and the Mediterranean Sea, as the several tribe-territories do. But if we omit the prince's land, the space set apart fro the city possession occupied the fourth part of the holy terumah, i.e., of the portion of the priests and Levites. This is the meaning of the second half of Ezekiel 48:20, which literally reads thus: "to a fourth shall ye lift off the holy terumah for the city possession." This is not to be understood as meaning that a fourth was to be taken from the holy terumah for the city possession; for that would yield an incorrect proportion, as the twenty thousand rods in breadth would be reduced to fifteen thousand rods by the subtraction of the fourth part, which would be opposed to Ezekiel 48:9 and Ezekiel 48:15. The meaning is rather the following: from the whole terumah the fourth part of the area of the holy terumah is to be taken off for the city possession, i.e., five thousand rods for twenty thousand. According to Ezekiel 48:15, this was the size of the domain set apart for the city.

In Ezekiel 48:21-23 the situation and extent of the prince's possession are described. For Ezekiel 48:21, vid., Ezekiel 45:7. הנּותר, the rest of the terumah, as it has been defined in Ezekiel 48:8, reaching in length from the Jordan to the Mediterranean. As the holy terumah and the city possession were only twenty-five thousand rods in length, and did not reach to the Jordan on the east, or to the sea on the west, there still remained an area on either side whose length or extent toward the east and west is not given in rods, but may be calculated from the proportion which the intervening terumah bore to the length of the land (from east to west). אל־פּני and על־פּני, in front of, or along, the front of the twenty-five thousand rods, refer to the eastern and western boundaries of the terumah, which was twenty-five thousand rods in length. In Ezekiel 48:21 the statement is repeated, that the holy terumah and the sanctuary were to lie in the centre of it, i.e., between the portions of land appointed for the prince on either side; and lastly, in Ezekiel 48:22 it is still further stated, with regard to the prince's land on both sides of the terumah, that it was to lie between the adjoining tribe-territories of Judah (to the north) and Benjamin (to the south), so that it was to be bounded by these two. But this is expressed in a heavy and therefore obscure manner. The words בּתוך אשׁר לנשׂיא יהיה, "in the centre of that which belongs to the prince," belong to העיר... וּמאחזּת, and form together with the latter the subject, which is written absolutely; so that מן is not used in a partitive, but in a local sense (from), and the whole is to be rendered thus: And as for that which lies on the side of the possession of the Levites, and of the possession of the city in the centre of what belongs to the prince, (that which lies) between the territory of Judah and the territory of Benjamin shall belong to the prince. Hitzig's explanation - what remains between Judah and Benjamin, from the city territory to the priests' domain, both inclusive, shall belong to the prince - is arbitrary, and perverts the sense. The periphrastic designation of the terumah bounded off between the prince's land by the two portions named together without a copula, viz., "possession of the Levites and possession of the city," is worthy of notice. This periphrasis of the whole by two portions, shows that the portions named formed the boundaries of the whole, that the third portion, which is not mentioned, was enclosed within the two, so that the priests' portion with the sanctuary lay between them. - In Ezekiel 48:23-27 the rest of the tribes located to the south of the terumah are mentioned in order; and in Ezekiel 48:28 and Ezekiel 48:29 the account of the division of the land is brought to a close with a repetition of the statement as to the southern boundary (cf. Ezekiel 47:19), and a comprehensive concluding formula.

If now we attempt, in order to form a clear idea of the relation in which this prophetic division of the land stands to the actual size of Canaan according to the boundaries described in Ezekiel 47:15., to determine the length and breadth of the terumah given here by their geographical dimensions, twenty-five thousand rods, according to the metrological calculations of Boeckh and Bertheau, would be 1070 geographical miles, or, according to the estimate of the Hebrew cubit by Thenius, only 975 geographical miles.

(Note: According to Boeckh, one sacred cubit was equal to 234-1/3 Paris lines equals 528.62 millimtres; according to Thenius equals 214-1/2 P. l. equals 481.62 millim. Now as one geographical mile, the 5400th part of the circumference of the globe, which is 40,000,000 metres, is equivalent to 7407.398 metres equals 22, 803.290 old Paris feet, the geographical mile according to Boeckh is 14, 012-1/10 cubits equals 2335-1/2 rods (sacred measure); according to Thenius, 15, 380-1/6 cubits equals 2563-1/3 roads (s. m.), from which the numbers given in the text may easily be calculated.)

The extent of Canaan from Beersheba, or Kadesh, up to a line running across from Rs esh-Shukah to the spring El Lebweh, is 3 1/3 degrees, i.e., fifty geographical miles, ten of which are occupied by the terumah, and forty remain for the twelve tribe-territories, so that each tribe-lot would be 3 1/3 geographical miles in breadth. If, now, we reckon three geographical miles as the breadth of each of the five tribe-lots to the south of the terumah, and as the land becomes broader toward the south a breadth of 3-4/7 geographical miles for the seven tribe-lots to the north, the terumah set apart in the centre of the land would extend from the site of Jerusalem to Dothan or Jenin. If, however, we take into consideration the breadth of the land from east to west in the neighbourhood of Jerusalem, or where the Jordan enters the Dead Sea, Canaan is eleven geographical miles in breadth, whereas at Jenin it is hardly ten geographical miles broad. If, therefore, the length of the terumah (from east to west) was fully ten geographical miles, there would only remain a piece of land of half a mile in breadth on the east and west at the southern boundary, and nothing at all at the northern, for prince's land. We have therefore given to the terumah upon the map (Plate IV) the length and breadth of eight geographical miles, which leaves a tract of two miles on the average for the prince's land, so that it would occupy a fifth of the area of the holy terumah, whereas the city possession covered a fourth. No doubt the breadth of the terumah from south to north is also diminished thereby, so that it cannot have reached quite down to Jerusalem or quite up to Jenin. - If, now, we consider that the distances of places, and therefore also the measurements of a land in length and breadth, are greater in reality than those given upon the map, on account partly of the mountains and valleys and partly of the windings of the roads, and, still further, that our calculations of the Hebrew cubit are not quite certain, and that even the smaller estimates of Thenius are possibly still too high, the measurements of the terumah given by Ezekiel correspond as exactly to the actual size of the land of Canaan as could be expected with a knowledge of its extent obtained not by trigonometrical measurement, but from a simple calculation of the length of the roads. - But this furnishes a confirmation by no means slight of our assumption, that the lengths and breadths indicated here are measured by rods and not by cubits. Reckoned by cubits, the terumah would be only a mile and a half or a mile and two-thirds in length and breadth, and the city possession would be only a third of a mile broad; whereas the prince's land would be more than six times as larg

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