Ezekiel 47:10 Commentaries: "And it will come about that fishermen will stand beside it; from Engedi to Eneglaim there will be a place for the spreading of nets. Their fish will be according to their kinds, like the fish of the Great Sea, very many.
Ezekiel 47:10
And it shall come to pass, that the fishers shall stand on it from Engedi even to Eneglaim; they shall be a place to spread forth nets; their fish shall be according to their kinds, as the fish of the great sea, exceeding many.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(10) From En-gedi even unto En-eglaim.—En-gedi, “the fountain of the goat,” is a well-known copious spring about midway on the western coast of the Dead Sea. En-eglaim occurs only here, and has not been certainly identified. St. Jerome speaks of “Engallim” as at the junction of the Jordan with the sea, and near this point there is a fountain now known as Ain-el-Feshkhah. Others consider that the dual form of the name indicates “one of the double cities of Moab,” thus placing it on the eastern side of the sea, and this seems more probable, since the expression would then be equivalent to “the whole breadth of the sea.” Everywhere they shall stretch their nets, and the variety and abundance of the fish shall be as great as in “the great sea,” that is, the Mediterranean. This whole verse in regard to the fishermen is a striking illustration of Ezekiel’s way of carrying out the most ideal description into detail.

Ezekiel 47:10. Fishers shall stand upon it from En-gedi unto En-eglaim — En- gedi was in the wilderness of Judah, Joshua 15:61-62. De L’Isle places it toward the south-west point of the Dead sea; and En-eglaim is placed by the same writer at the north of the Dead sea, where Jordan runs into it. It is mentioned, Isaiah 15:8, as a place on the borders of Moab, which country lay on the east side of the Dead sea. Bishop Newcome, following the punctuation adopted by the Syriac, Vulgate, and Arabic, reads, From En-gedi even to En-eglaim there shall be a spreading forth of nets; by which is signified, that fishers should be employed along the whole coast of it, denoting the multitude of gospel preachers, all over the world, labouring to gain sinners to Christ. Their fish shall be according to their kinds, as the fish of the great sea — That is, the Mediterranean; exceeding many — Great multitudes of sinners, of all descriptions, in a thousand diversified forms of guilt and wretchedness, shall be brought to God by the word of these preachers, these fishers of men. So that this is a further amplification of what is said in Ezekiel 47:8, that the waters should be healed, and strongly illustrates the salutary effect of the gospel, and the multitude of converts that should be made in the Gentile countries, even in the most idolatrous, ignorant, and wicked.47:1-23 These waters signify the gospel of Christ, which went forth from Jerusalem, and spread into the countries about; also the gifts and powers of the Holy Ghost which accompanied it, by virtue of which is spread far, and produced blessed effects. Christ is the Temple; and he is the Door; from him the living waters flow, out of his pierced side. They are increasing waters. Observe the progress of the gospel in the world, and the process of the work of grace in the heart; attend the motions of the blessed Spirit under Divine guidance. If we search into the things of God, we find some things plain and easy to be understood, as the waters that were but to the ankles; others more difficult, which require a deeper search, as the waters to the knees, or the loins; and some quite beyond our reach, which we cannot penetrate; but must, as St. Paul did, adore the depth, Ro 11. It is wisdom to begin with that which is most easy, before we proceed to that which is dark and hard to be understood. The promises of the sacred word, and the privileges of believers, as shed abroad in their souls by the quickening Spirit, abound where the gospel is preached; they nourish and delight the souls of men; they never fade nor wither, nor are exhausted. Even the leaves serve as medicines to the soul: the warnings and reproofs of the word, though less pleasant than Divine consolations, tend to heal the diseases of the soul. All who believe in Christ, and are united to him by his sanctifying Spirit, will share the privileges of Israelites. There is room in the church, and in heaven, for all who seek the blessings of that new covenant of which Christ is Mediator."En-gedi" (see 1 Samuel 23:29) was about the middle of the western shore of the Dead Sea.

En-eglaim does not occur elsewhere. Its form indicates that it was one of the double cities of Moab (see Ezekiel 25:9 note). It has been identified with "Ain-el-Feshkah" to the north on the western bank of the Dead Sea. On this supposition, "from En-eglaim to En-gedi" would be the line of coast from the most northern fountain to the principal fountain southward.

10. En-gedi … En-eglaim—En-gedi (meaning "fountain of the kid"), anciently, Hazazon-Tamar, now Ain-Jidy; west of the Dead Sea; David's place of refuge from Saul. En-eglaim means "fountain of two calves," on the confines of Moab, over against En-gedi, and near where Jordan enters the Dead Sea (Isa 15:8). These two limits are fixed on, to comprise between them the whole Dead Sea.

fish … according to their kinds—Jerome quotes an ancient theory that "there are a hundred fifty-three kinds of fishes," all of which were taken by the apostles (Joh 21:11), and not one remained uncaptured; signifying that both the noble and baseborn, the rich and the poor, and every class, are being drawn out of the sea of the world to salvation. Compare Mt 13:47, the gospel net; the apostles being fishermen, at first literally, afterwards spiritually (Mt 4:19).

The fishers; men whose trade is to fish for livelihood and profit.

Shall stand; shall dispose of themselves about these waters; either on the shore along the river-side, or in boats on the sea, to take the fish.

Upon it; the sea, whose waters healed become fruitful.

From En-gedi; which lay on the south-west of the lake of Sodom, so near, that it is reported there are the trees which bring forth fruit beautiful to the eye, but touched with the hand fall into ashes; yet on those parts more remote from this sea, En-gedi affords excellent vines, Song of Solomon 1:14, or gardens of balsam trees.

Unto En-eglaim; a city on the north-east of the Dead Sea, near which place Jordan runs into it, and they say it is a boundary town of Moab. Others will have it no proper, but a common name, and signifying the confluence of waters in any place; if so, it will be likeliest to be understood of that part of the Red Sea where Jordan and two lesser rivers run into it, at the north and north-east end of this sea.

A place to spread forth nets, all along on the west side of this sea, to dry them and fit them again.

According to their kinds; of all sorts.

As the fish of the great sea; for number, growth, and goodness for use.

Exceeding many, or great, of exceeding great bigness in their several kinds. All this is mystical, and fulfilled since Christ hath made his ministers, as he made his apostles, fishers of men. And it shall come to pass,.... In Gospel times: what follows had a fulfilment in the first times of the Gospel, and will have a greater in the latter times of it:

that the fishers shall stand upon it; upon the brink of the river, or the shore of the sea, whose waters will be healed by this river running into them. These "fishers" are the apostles of Christ, who, of fishermen, were made fishers of men by him; to whom he gave a call, and a commission, and gifts qualifying them to preach the Gospel; whereby they caught men, and brought them to Christ; and so were the instruments of saving them, even of great numbers, both in Judea, and in the Gentile world; of which some instances of their fishing, after their call to the ministry, were emblematical; Matthew 4:18, likewise all other ministers of the Gospel are here meant, especially those that will be in the latter day; compared to fishers for the meanness and contemptibleness of their employment in the eyes of the world; for their labouriousness in it, and for their patient waiting for success therein; and for the bad weather, storms, and tempests, they are exposed unto, the reproach and persecution of men; and their being the happy means of drawing souls out of the abyss of sin and misery unto Christ, for life and salvation: and their "standing" upon the brink of the waters to catch fish may denote their constancy their work; their strict attachment to the doctrines of the Gospel, and their waiting for success in it.

From Engedi even unto Eneglaim; two places, which, according to Jerom, lay, the latter one at the entrance of the Dead sea, and the former at the end of it; but Reland (k) observes that this could not be, if Josephus is to be credited, who makes Engedi to be about forty miles from Jerusalem (l); therefore could not be far from the beginning of the Dead sea, and not where it ended; since the Dead sea, or the lake of Asphaltites, was in length seventy three miles, and, consequently, Engedi must be more than seventy five or ninety miles from Jerusalem; but that it was at the beginning of it is still further manifest from the same writer making the lake to be just such a number of miles from Jerusalem (m) as he does Engedi; and whereas Engedi was on the western shore of the lake, as appears from Pliny (n), it is probable there was another city on the eastern shore, opposite to it, called Eneglaim; and there was a city on that side, the name of which was Agallim, which, according to Eusebius, was eight miles from Areopolis: and so it may signify the extent of the Gospel ministry, which, in the latter day, will be from one end of the earth to the other; and which took a large circuit in the times of the apostles, and particularly by the Apostle Paul, Romans 15:19.

They shall be a place to spread forth nets; that is, the above said places shall be made use of for that purpose; which design the Gospel, and the ministry of it, compared to a net, for its meanness in the esteem of the world; and yet is a piece of curious artifice and wisdom, even the manifold wisdom of God, and is contrived for the gathering in of sinners to Christ; and, though it may be like a net "per accidens", the means of troubling the world, and drawing out the corruptions of the men of it; yet its principal design, and the use that is made of it, is to draw souls out of the depths of sin unto the grace of Christ; see Matthew 13:47, the spreading and casting of nets design the preaching of the Gospel, and the opening and explaining the doctrines of it, which are shut up and hidden to men; and to do which requires wisdom and skill, strength, diligence, and patience, and is done at a venture; and sometimes is cast where fish are, and sometimes not; but here, and at this time, with great success.

For their fish shall be according to their kind, as the fish of the great sea, exceeding many: that is, there shall be fish of all sorts, small and great, and in large numbers, as in the great ocean, or as in the Mediterranean sea. These signify regenerated persons, who are born of water and the Spirit by the word of God, which is their element; they cannot live but in these waters of the sanctuary, and where the doctrines of grace are preached. Now many of all nations, and men of all ranks, will be called; kings, princes, nobles, as well as peasants; men high and low, rich and poor, and multitudes of them, like the fishes of the sea; which will be the case when the Jews will be converted, and the fulness of the Gentiles brought in.

(k) Palestina Illustrata, I. 2. p. 449. & l. 3. p. 763. (l) Antiqu. l. 9. c. 1. sect. 2.((m) Antiqu. l. 15. c. 6. sect 2.((n) Nat. Hist. l. 5. c. 17.

And it shall come to pass, that the {f} fishermen shall stand upon it from Engedi even to {g} Eneglaim; they shall be a place to spread forth nets; their fish shall be according to their kinds, as the fish of {h} the great sea, very many.

(f) Signifying that when God bestows his mercies in such abundance the ministers will by their preaching win many.

(g) Which were cities at the corners of the salt or dead sea.

(h) They will be here of all sorts and in as great abundance as in the great ocean where they are bred.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
10. En-gedi, the modern Ain Jidy, kid’s well, situated about the middle of the west shore of the Dead Sea. En-eglaim has not been identified; it probably lay N. toward the mouth of the Jordan. It has been supposed to be Ain Feshkah, Robinson ii. 489. The word differs in spelling from Eglaim, Isaiah 15:8, which probably lay to the south of the sea.Verse 10. - As another consequence of the inflowing of this river into the Dead Sea, it is stated that the fishers (rather, fishers, without the article) should stand upon its banks, from Engedi, even unto Englaim; there shall be a place to spread forth nets. The Revised Version more correctly renders, fishers shall stand by it; from Engedi even unto Eneglaim, shall be a place for the spreading of nets; or, more literally, a place of spreading, out for nets (comp. Ezekiel 26:5). Engedi, עֵין גֶּדִי, meaning "Fountain of the kid;" originally styled Hazezon-Tamar (2 Chronicles 20:2), now called 'Ain Jidy (Robinson,' Bibl. Res.,' 2:214), was situated in the middle of the west coast of the Dead Sea, and not at its southern extremity, as Jerome supposed. Englaim, עֵין עֶגְלַיִם, signifying "Fountain of two calves," was located by Jerome, who cars it En Gallim, at the northern extremity of the Dead Sea, and is usually identified with the modern 'Ain Feshkhah, or "Fountain of mist," at the northern end of the west coast, where the ruins of houses and a small tower have been discovered (Robinson, 'Bibl. Res.,' 2:220). Ewald cites Isaiah 15:8 to show that Englaim was on the eastern shore of the Dead Sea, which, Smend notes, was given up by the prophet to the sons of the East. Extent of the Holy Domain around the Temple

Ezekiel 42:15. And when he had finished the measurements of the inner house, he brought me out by the way of the gate, which is directed toward the east, and measured there round about. Ezekiel 42:16. He measured the eastern side with the measuring rod five hundred rods by the measuring rod round about; Ezekiel 42:17. He measured the northern side five hundred rods by the measuring rod round about; Ezekiel 42:18. The southern side he measured five hundred rods by the measuring rod; Ezekiel 42:19. He turned round to the western side, measured five hundred rods by the measuring rod. Ezekiel 42:20. To the four winds he measured it. It had a wall round about; the length was five hundred and the breadth five hundred, to divide between the holy and the common. - There has been a division of opinion from time immemorial concerning the area, the measuring of which is related in these verses, and the length and breadth of which are stated in Ezekiel 42:20 to have been five hundred; as the Seventy, and after them J. D. Michaelis, Bttcher, Maurer, Ewald, and Hitzig, understand by this the space occupied by the temple with its two courts. But as that space was five hundred cubits long and five hundred broad, according to the sum of the measurements given in Ezekiel 40-42:15, the lxx have omitted the word קנים in Ezekiel 42:16, Ezekiel 42:18, and Ezekiel 42:19, whilst they have changed it into πήχεις in Ezekiel 42:17, and have also attached this word to the numbers in Ezekiel 42:20. According to this, only the outer circumference of the temple area would be measured in our verses, and the wall which was five hundred cubits long and five hundred cubits broad (Ezekiel 42:20) would be the surrounding wall of the outer court mentioned in Ezekiel 40:5. Ezekiel 42:15 could certainly be made to harmonize with this view. For even if we understood by the "inner house" not merely the temple house, which the expression primarily indicates, but the whole of the inner building, i.e., all the buildings found in the inner and outer court, and by the east gate the eastern gate of the outer court; the expression 'מדדו סביב , "he measured it round about," merely affirms that he measured something round about outside this gate. The suffix in מדדו is indefinite, and cannot be taken as referring to any of the objects mentioned before, either to השּׁער or to הבּית הפּנימי. The inner house he had already measured; and the measurements which follow are not applicable to the gate. Nor can the suffix be taken as referring to הבּית, illam sc. aedem (Ros.); or at any rate, there is nothing in Ezekiel 42:20 to sustain such a reference. Nevertheless, we might think of a measuring of the outer sides of the whole building comprehended under the idea of the inner house, and regard the wall mentioned in Ezekiel 42:20 as that which had been measured round about on the outer side both in length and breadth. But it is difficult to reconcile this view even with Ezekiel 42:20; and with the measurements given in Ezekiel 42:16-19 it is perfectly irreconcilable. Even if we were disposed to expunge קנים as a gloss in Ezekiel 42:16, Ezekiel 42:17, Ezekiel 42:18, and Ezekiel 42:19, the words, "he measured the east side with the measuring rod, five hundred by the measuring rod," are equivalent to five hundred rods, according to the well-known Hebrew usage; just as indisputably as מאה, a hundred by the cubit, is equivalent to a hundred cubits (see the comm. on Ezekiel 40:21 at the close). The rejection of קנים as an imaginary gloss is therefore not only arbitrary, but also useless; as the appended words בּקנה המּדּה, even without קנים, affirm that the five hundred were not cubits, but rods.

(Note: The חמשׁ אמות for חמשׁ מאות in Ezekiel 42:16 is utterly useless as a proof that cubits and not rods are intended; as it is obviously a copyist's error, a fact which even the Masoretes admit. Rabbi ben-Asher's view of this writing is an interesting one. Prof. Dr. Delitzsch has sent me the following, taken from a fragment in his possession copied from a codex of the Royal Library at Copenhagen. R. ben-Asher reckons אמות among the מוקדם ומאוחר, i.e., words written ὑστερον προτερον, of which there are forty-seven in the whole of the Old Testament, the following being quoted by ben-Asher (l.c.) by way of example: גּלון, Joshua 20:8; Joshua 21:27; ויּקּלהוּ, 2 Samuel 20:14; בּעברות, 2 Samuel 15:28; והימשׁני, Judges 16:26; ותּראנה, 1 Samuel 14:27.)

The סביב in Ezekiel 42:16 and Ezekiel 42:17 is not to be understood as signifying that on the east and north sides he measured a square on each side of five hundred rods in length and breadth, but simply indicates that he measured on all sides, as is obvious from Ezekiel 42:20. For according to this, the space which was measured toward every quarter at five hundred rods had a boundary wall, which was five hundred rods long on every side. This gives an area of 250,000 square rods; whereas the temple,with the inner and outer courts, covered only a square of five hundred cubits in length and breadth, or 250,000 square cubits. It is evident from this that the measuring related in Ezekiel 42:15-20 does not refer to the space occupied by the temple and its courts, and therefore that the wall which the measured space had around it (Ezekiel 42:20) cannot be the wall of the outer court mentioned in Ezekiel 40:5, the sides of which were not more than five hundred cubits long. The meaning is rather, that around this wall, which enclosed the temple and its courts, a further space of five hundred rods in length and breadth was measured off "to separate between the holy and profane," i.e., a space which was intended to form a separating domain between the sanctuary and the common land. The purpose thus assigned for the space, which was measured off on all four sides of the "inner house," leaves no doubt remaining that it was not the length of the surrounding wall of the outer court that was measured, but a space outside this wall. The following clause חומה , "a wall was round about it," is irreconcilable with the idea that the suffix in מדדו (Ezekiel 40:20 and Ezekiel 40:15) refers to this wall, inasmuch as the לו can only refer to the object indicated by the suffix attached to מדדו. This object, i.e., the space which was five hundred rods long and the same broad round about, i.e., on every one of the four sides, had a wall enclosing it on the outside, and forming the partition between the holy and the common. הקּדשׁ is therefore הבּית הפּנימי, "the inner house;" but this is not the temple house with its side-building, but the sanctuary of the temple with its two courts and their buildings, which was measured in Ezekiel 40:5-42:12.

The arguments which have been adduced in opposition to this explanation of our verses, - the only one in harmony with the words of the text, - and in vindication of the alterations made in the text by the lxx, are without any force. According to Bttcher (p. 355), Hitzig, and others, קנים is likely to be a false gloss, (1) "because בּקנה המּדּה stands close to it; and while this is quite needless after קנים, it may also have occasioned the gloss." But this tells rather against the suspicion that קנים is a gloss, since, as we have already observed, according to the Hebrew mode of expression, the "five hundred" would be defined as rods by בּקנה המּדּה, even without קנים. Ezekiel, however, had added בּקנה המּדּה for the purpose of expressing in the clearest manner the fact that the reference here is not to cubits, but to a new measurement of an extraordinary kind, to which nothing corresponding could be shown in the earlier temple. And the Seventy, by retaining this clause, ἐν καλάμῳ τοῦ μέτρου, have pronounced sentence upon their own change of the rods into cubits; and it is no answer to this that the Talmud (Midd. c. ii. note 5) also gives only five hundred cubits to the הר הבּ, since this Talmudic description is treating of the historical temple and not of Ezekiel's prophetic picture of a temple, although the Rabbins have transferred various statements from the latter to the former. The second and third reasons are weaker still - viz. "because there is no other instance in which the measurement is expressed by rods in the plural; and, on the other hand, אמּה is frequently omitted as being the ordinary measurement, and therefore taken for granted." For the first assertion is proved to be erroneous, not only by our verses, but also by Ezekiel 45:1. and Ezekiel 48:16., whilst there is no force whatever in the second. The last argument employed is a more plausible one - namely, that "the five hundred rods are not in keeping with the sanctuary, because the edifice with the courts and gates would look but a little pile according to the previous measurements in the wide expanse of 20,000 (?) rods." But although the space measured off around the temple-building for the separation between the holy and the profane was five times as long and five times as broad, according to the Hebrew text, or twenty-five times as large as the whole extent of the temple and its courts,

(a) Area of the temple with the two courts, 500 cubits square.

(b) Surrounding space, five hundred rods equals 3000 cubits square.

(c) Circuit of fifty cubits in breadth around the surrounding space. - Ezekiel 45:2

the appearance of the temple with its courts is not diminished in consequence, because the surrounding space was not covered with buildings; on the contrary, the fact that it was separated from the common by so large a surrounding space, would rather add to the importance of the temple with its courts. This broad separation is peculiar to Ezekiel's temple, and serves, like many other arrangements in the new sanctuary and worship, to symbolize the inviolable holiness of that sanctuary. The earlier sanctuary had nothing answering to this; and Kliefoth is wrong in supposing that the outer court served the same purpose in the tabernacle and Solomon's temple, whereas in the temple of Ezekiel this had also become part of the sanctuary, and was itself holy. The tabernacle had no outer court at all, and in Solomon's temple the outer court did form a component part of the sanctuary. The people might enter it, no doubt, when they desired to draw near to the Lord with sacrifices and gifts; but this continued to be the case in Ezekiel's temple, though with certain restrictions (cf. Ezekiel 46:9 and Ezekiel 46:10). Only, in the case of Solomon's temple, the outer court bordered directly upon the common soil of the city and the land, so that the defilement of the land produced by the sin of the people could penetrate directly even into the holy space of the courts. In the sanctuary of the future, a safeguard was to be placed against this by the surrounding space which separated the holy from the common. It is true that the surface of Moriah supplied no room for this space of five hundred rods square; but the new temple was not to be built upon the real Moriah, but upon a very high mountain, which the Lord would exalt and make ready for the purpose when the temple was erected. Moreover, the circumstance that Moriah was much too small for the extent of the new temple and its surroundings, cannot furnish any argument against the correctness of our view of the verses in question, for the simple reason that in Ezekiel 45 and 48 there follow still further statements concerning the separation of the sanctuary from the rest of the land, which are in perfect harmony with this, and show most indisputably that the temple seen by Ezekiel was not to have its seat in the ancient Jerusalem.

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