- Here is a description of the several portions of the land belonging to each tribe. In gospel times, behold all things are become new. Much is wrapped up in emblems and numbers. This method God has used to state mysterious truths in his word, not to be more clearly revealed till the proper time and season. But into the church of Christ, both in its state of warfare and triumph, there is free access by faith, from every side. Christ has opened the kingdom of heaven for all believers. Whoever will, may come, and take of the water of life, of the tree of life, freely. The Lord is there, in his church, to be nigh unto them in all they call upon him for. This is true of every real Christian; whatever soul has in it a living principle of grace, it may truly be said, The Lord is there. May we be found citizens of this holy city, and act agreeably to that character; and have the benefit of the Lord's presence with us, in life, in death, and for evermore.
Ezekiel 48:1-35 . ALLOTMENT OF THE LAND TO SEVERAL TRIBES.
1. Dan--The lands are divided into portions of ideal exactness, running alongside of each other, the whole breadth from west to east, standing in a common relation to the temple in the center: seven tribes' portions on the north, five in the smaller division in the south. The portions of the city, the temple, the prince, and the priesthood, are in the middle, not within the boundaries of any tribe, all alike having a common interest in them. Judah has the place of honor next the center on the north, Benjamin the corresponding place of honor next the center on the south; because of the adherence of these two to the temple ordinances and to the house of David for so long, when the others deserted them. Dan, on the contrary, so long locally and morally semi-heathen ( Judges 18:1-31 ), is to have the least honorable place, at the extreme north. For the same reason, St. John ( Revelation 7:5-8 ) omits Dan altogether.
3. Asher--a tribe of which no one of note is mentioned in the Old Testament. In the New Testament one is singled out of it, the prophetess Anna.
4. Manasseh--The intercourse and unity between the two and a half tribes east of the Jordan, and the nine and a half west of it, had been much kept up by the splitting of Manasseh, causing the visits of kinsmen one to the other from both sides of the Jordan. There shall be no need for this in the new order of things.
5. Ephraim--This tribe, within its two dependent tribes, Manasseh and Benjamin, for upwards of four hundred years under the judges held the pre-eminence.
6. Reuben--doomed formerly for incest and instability "not to excel" ( Genesis 49:4 ). So no distinguished prophet, priest, or king had come from it. Of it were the notorious Dathan and Abiram, the mutineers. A pastoral and Bedouin character marked it and Gad ( Judges 5:16 ).
15-17. The five thousand rods, apportioned to the city out of the twenty-five thousand square, are to be laid off in a square of four thousand five hundred, with the two hundred fifty all around for suburbs.
profane--that is, not strictly sacred as the sacerdotal portions, but applied to secular uses.
24. Benjamin--Compare Jacob's prophecy ( Genesis 49:27 , Deuteronomy 33:12 ). It alone with Judah had been throughout loyal to the house of David, so its prowess at the "night" of the national history was celebrated as well as in the "morning."
25. Simeon--omitted in the blessing of Moses in Deuteronomy 33:1-29 perhaps because of the Simeonite "prince," who at Baal-peor led the Israelites in their idolatrous whoredoms with Midian ( Numbers 25:14 ).
26. Issachar--Its ancient portion had been on the plain of Esdraelon. Compared ( Genesis 49:14 ) to "a strong ass crouching between two burdens," that is, tribute and tillage; never meddling with wars except in self-defense.
31. gates--( Revelation 21:12 , &c.). The twelve gates bear the names of the twelve tribes to imply that all are regarded as having an interest in it.
35. Lord is there--Jehovah-Shammah. Not that the city will be called so in mere name, but that the reality will be best expressed by this descriptive title ( Jeremiah 3:17 , 33:16 , Zechariah 2:10 , Revelation 21:3 , 22:3 ).