Then said he unto me
The man that measured the waters spoke to the prophet again, and showed him the course of the waters; the quickening and healing virtue of them, and the multitude of fish in them: these waters issue out toward the east country;
the Gospel was first preached in the eastern parts of the world; (See Gill on Ezekiel 47:3), or "towards the first, or east Galilee" F6; in Galilee Christ began to preach, and wrought his first miracle; here he called his disciples, and chiefly conversed; and here he had the greatest followers, and some of the first Christian churches were formed here after his ascension, ( Matthew 4:12 Matthew 4:18 Matthew 4:23 ) ( Acts 9:31 ) : and go down into the desert;
or wilderness, the wilderness of the people, the Gentiles; to whom the Gospel was carried when rejected by the Jews, and who before were like a desert, but now became as a fruitful field, ( Isaiah 35:1 Isaiah 35:2 ) ( Isaiah 42:1 Isaiah 42:11 ) . The Jews F7 interpret this of the plain, or the sea of Galilee or Tiberius, at which Christ called his disciples; near to this he delivered his discourses concerning himself, the bread of life, and eating his flesh, and drinking his blood; here he met with his disciples after his resurrection, and enjoined Peter to feed his sheep and lambs; see ( Matthew 4:18 ) ( John 6:1 ) ( John 21:1 John 21:15 ) : and go into the sea;
the Dead sea, or sea of Sodom, the lake Asphaltites, where nothing is said to live; an emblem of dead sinners; and may represent the worst of sinners, as the Sodomites were; and to such the Gospel was sent, and became effectual to salvation: or it may rather design the great ocean, and may signify the whole world, and all the nations of it, to which the Gospel, by the commission of Christ, was to be preached; see ( Daniel 7:2 ) ( Mark 16:15 ) . The Targum is,
``and go through the sea into the great sea;''it may be rendered, "and go toward the west" F8; the Mediterranean sea being to the west of Judea, it is often put for the west; and so the sense may be, that these waters should flow east and west, as the living waters in ( Zechariah 14:8 ) , the same with those, are said to do; and all the Jewish writers think there is such a division of the waters intended, and that they had two streams or rivers; which may receive some confirmation from the next verse, where the word for rivers is of the dual number, and signifies two rivers. The sense of the whole is, that the Gospel should be first preached in Judea and Galilee; then among the Gentiles throughout the Roman empire; and in the latter day especially throughout the world, when it shall be covered with it as the waters cover the sea, ( Isaiah 11:9 ) : which being brought forth into the sea, the waters shall be healed;
that is, which waters of the river being directed and brought into, either the Dead sea, or the great ocean, the waters of the one, or of the other, were healed; and of bituminous and bitter waters were made clear, sweet, and wholesome; and signify the change made in sinful men by means of the Gospel, who are thereby quickened, made partakers of the grace of God, and have their sins pardoned, which is often meant by healing in Scripture, ( Psalms 103:2 ) ( Malachi 4:2 ) , pardon of sin flows from the love and grace of God; is the great doctrine of the Gospel, and by which the Lord speaks peace and pardon, and communicates healing of all spiritual diseases to sinners sensible of them; see ( Psalms 107:20 ) .
F6 (hnwmdqh hlylgh la) "in Galileam prinam", Junius & Tremellius; "ad Galileam anteriorem", Cocceius, Piscator, Starckius; "Galileam orientalem", Munster; so some in Vatablus, Tigurine version; so the Targum.
F7 Tosaphta Succa in Jarchi & Kimchi in loc.; so in Ben Melec.
F8 (hmyx wabw) .