Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, April 16th, 2024
the Third Week after Easter
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Bible Commentaries
Ezekiel 48

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New TestamentsSutcliffe's Commentary

Verses 1-35

REFLECTIONS. In the forty fifth chapter, the prophet had begun to describe the division of the land, but being attracted by the astonishing waters of the river of life, he digressed to describe their healing virtues, and the course they took towards the east. In the two verses preseding this chapter he resumes the subject.

We may here remark, that the mode of dividing the country is very dissimilar from that made by Joshua, for here we find that strangers are allowed an inheritance with the jews; a clear intimation that the wall of partition, which once divided the court of the gentiles from the court of Israel, is done away in Christ.

The twelve tribes received a portion each; nor is there any thing said, as Moses enjoined, that the more populous tribes should receive a larger proportion. The land seems to be divided into equal lots, as St. John has represented twelve thousand sealed from each tribe. Revelation 7:0. But it may be said, are not many of the tribes nearly extinct? True, yet the division of the land, and the sealing of twelve thousand in each tribe, are no doubt designed to exhibit the church of Christ as a perfect body: for if the jews be broken off by unbelief, God can ingraft the gentiles on the stock. Let us therefore fear, a promise being left us, lest any of us should seem to come short of it. Let us so run that we may obtain; and in the hour of temptation hearken to that voice, saying “Let no man take thy crown.” If the haughty refuse that supper, which the Lord hath provided, he will fill his palace with the halt and the blind.

The priests had their lot near the sanctuary, and the levites had theirs in the centre of the tribes, that they might be ready for the service of God, and for the instruction of the people. Hence, the Lord hawing made the priests his first care, expects that they should make the souls of the people their sole concern, and he will require it of them in the day of account.

The tribes were arranged in an order rather different from the old arrangement. Dan had his lot in a corner; his former lot was in the southwest. Judah and Benjamin as usual, surrounded the city of the Lord.

The city itself was ample and glorious. Each side was four thousand five hundred measures or reeds, making a square circumference of eighteen thousand measures, or about nine of our miles from gate to gate, and thirty six thousand miles in circumference, larger than the whole land of Canaan, a presumptive proof that a material city is not intended, but a spiritual one, even the city of the living God. The unbelief of the jews in our Lord’s time was fostered by a literal interpretation of the prophecies, which under splendid figures taken from earthly scenes shadowed forth that superior and spiritual empire which he came to establish; and their carnal hopes and prospects of temporal dominion and glory led to the rejection of the true Messiah, the nature of whose kingdom they were unable to comprehend. Nor is it much less delusive to expect a literal fulfilment of the predictions we have been contemplating, which would in effect be going back to that shadowy dispensation which the gospel is intended to supersede, instead of advancing to that brighter and more spiritual glory to be revealed in the latter day, and would, instead of converting jews to christianity, bring back the christian church to a state of judaism.

The name of the city, JEHOVAH Shammah, the Lord is there, was honourable above all the cities of the earth. When that is the case we may sing with angels, the tabernacles of God are with men, and he will dwell with them for ever. This Zion, which, however inapplicable to an earthly city, is God’s habitation; and she shall not be forgotten nor confounded, world without end. May the Lord pardon all my errors, and excuse all my ignorance in reviewing these prophecies; and may he in due time give us clearer light concerning the mystery of his counsel and love. Amen.

Bibliographical Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Ezekiel 48". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jsc/ezekiel-48.html. 1835.
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