And when the man that had the line in his hand
The same as in ( Ezekiel 40:3 ) and is no other than Christ, who appeared in a human form to the prophet; and who hitherto had only made use of the measuring reed in taking the dimensions of the house, and what appertained to it; but now he uses the line of flax he had in his hand, in measuring the waters as they ran; by which line is meant the Scriptures, the word of God, by which all doctrines are to be measured: this is the rule that both preachers and hearers are to go by; and, as by the direction of this person the waters flowed where he would have them, so the doctrines of the Gospel are preached by the order of Christ where he pleases; see ( Luke 24:47 ) ( Acts 13:46 Acts 13:46 ) ( Acts 16:6 Acts 16:7 Acts 16:10 ) , and these move in a direct line, as those waters did; error is crooked, and has its windings and turnings; but truth is straight and even; all the words of Wisdom are right, and there is nothing froward, perverse, or crooked in them, ( Proverbs 8:8 Proverbs 8:9 ) : went forth eastward;
which was the course the waters took by his direction; the Gospel was first spread in the eastern part of the world, in Asia, where many churches were planted by it; it has been since in the south, in Africa, particularly in the times of Austin, when these waters, the doctrines of grace, flowed largely; and they have been since in the north and west, in Europe, in our northern climes; all which perhaps may be signified by the right side, or south side, by which these waters flowed, and by the prophet's going to the north gate, and about, to see them; but in the latter day they will move eastward again, when the kings of the east and their kingdoms shall become Christ's; see ( Revelation 16:12 ) ( Zechariah 14:8 ) : he measured a thousand cubits;
or, "a thousand by the cubit F4"; the Targum is,
``a thousand cubits by the cubit;''with his line from the eastern gate of the house, at the right side of which the waters ran out; this was about half a mile: and he brought me through the waters:
not the thousand cubits he had measured; but when he came to the end of them, he made the prophet to cross the waters, to go through them across, that he might observe the depth of them: and the waters were to the ankles;
were ankle deep, a few inches: or, "to the soles"; for, as R. Jonah thinks, (a) may be additional; and (op) , in the Syriac language, signifies a part of the hand, ( Daniel 5:5 ) , and, applied to the feet, designs the soles of them; and then the sense is, the waters were so shallow, that they only covered the soles of the feet: this may signify the ministry of John the Baptist, who, though greater than the prophets, yet the least in the kingdom of heaven was greater than he; and of the disciples of Christ, before the effusion of the Spirit: or may design the more easy doctrines of the Gospel; those waters which Christ's lambs may wade in; that milk which new born babes desire, and are fed with; those plain truths of the word, which those of the weakest capacity are able to take in, receive, and embrace; in the knowledge of which, though fools, they err not; such as salvation by Christ alone; justification by his righteousness; peace and pardon by his blood; which are so plain, as to be understood by every truly gracious soul, though of ever so mean a capacity: or it may intimate the small spread of the Gospel at first in Judea, Samaria, and Galilee.
F4 (hmab Pla) "mille in cubito", Vatablus, Pagninus, Montanus.