Ezekiel 48 (CEV)
The Division of Land among Tribes in the North
The Lord said:
1-7 Each tribe will receive a section of land that runs from the eastern border of Israel west to the Mediterranean Sea. The northern border of Israel will run along the towns of Hethlon and Lebo-Hamath, and will end at Hazar-Enon, which is on the border between the kingdoms of Damascus and Hamath. The tribes will receive their share of land in the following order, from north to south: Dan, Asher, Naphtali, Manasseh, Ephraim, Reuben, and Judah.
Here God listed the seven tribes of Israel that had a share of the northern portion of land in the coming kingdom period. It seems that the land was apportioned from north to south in bands or layers. (See one interpretation of a map below.)
For Dan: Curiously, Dan is omitted in a listing of the tribes regarding the 144,000 in Revelation 7. Many think it was because Dan was the first tribe to embrace idolatry (Genesis 49:16-17 and Judges 17-18). Now, as a demonstration of God’s great grace, not only is Dan included, they are listed first.
For Judah: “It is immediately evident that Judah and Benjamin, the tribes which remained faithful to the Davidic dynasty, will be honored by proximity to the center of the millennial kingdom.” (Feinberg)
The Special Section of Land
The Lord said:
8 South of Judah’s territory will be a special section of land. Its length will be eight miles, and its width will run from the eastern border of Israel west to the Mediterranean Sea. My temple will be located in this section of land.
9 An area in the center of this land will belong to me. It will be eight miles long and six miles wide.
10 I, the Lord, will give half of my sacred land to the priests. Their share will be eight miles long and three miles wide, and my temple will be right in the middle. 11 Only priests who are descendants of Zadok will receive a share of this sacred land, because they remained faithful to me when the Levites and the rest of the Israelites started sinning. 12 The land belonging to the priests will be the most sacred area and will lie south of the area that belongs to the Levites.
As previously described in Ezekiel 45:1-6, this was an area that Israel gave back unto the LORD. It contained the temple described in Ezekiel 40-43, with the sanctuary of the LORD in the center. This was a district set aside for the LORD, that He in turn provided for His priests.
13 I will give the other half of my sacred land to the Levites. Their share will also be eight miles long and three miles wide, 14 and they must never sell or trade any of this land—it is the best land and belongs to me.
15 South of my sacred land will be a section eight miles long and two miles wide. It will not be sacred, but will belong to the people of Israel and will include the city of Jerusalem, together with its houses and pastureland. 16 The city will be a square: Each side will be a mile and a half long, 17 and an open area four hundred twenty feet wide will surround the city. 18 The land on the east and west sides of the city limits will be farmland for the people of Jerusalem; both sections will be three miles long and two miles wide. 19 People from the city will farm the land, no matter which tribe they belong to.
20 And so the center of this special section of land will be for my sacred land, as well as for the city and its property. The land will be a square, eight miles on each side.
21 The regions east and west of this square of land will belong to the ruler of Israel. His property will run east to the Jordan River and west to the Mediterranean Sea. In the very center of his property will be my sacred land, as well as the temple, 22 together with the share belonging to the Levites and the city of Jerusalem. The northern border of the ruler’s property will be the land that belongs to Judah, and the southern border will be the land that belongs to Benjamin.
The Division of Land among Tribes in the South
After listing the land allotments for the seven tribes north of the LORD’s district in the first 8 verses of this chapter, now the list continues with the land allotments for the tribes to the south of the LORD’s district.
The Lord God said:
23-27 South of this special section will be the land that belongs to the rest of Israel’s tribes. Each tribe will receive a section of land that runs from the eastern border of Israel west to the Mediterranean Sea. The tribes will receive their share of land in the following order, from north to south: Benjamin, Simeon, Issachar, Zebulun, and Gad.
28 Gad’s southern border is also the southern border of Israel. It will begin at the town of Tamar, then run southwest to the springs near Meribath-Kadesh. It will continue along the Egyptian Gorge and end at the Mediterranean Sea.
29 That’s how the land of Israel will be divided among the twelve tribes. I, the Lord God, have spoken.
Each of the tribes would be restored to the land and none of them will be forgotten before God.
The Gates of Jerusalem
The Lord said:
30-34 The city of Jerusalem will have twelve gates, three on each of the four sides of the city wall. These gates will be named after the twelve tribes of Israel. The gates of Reuben, Judah, and Levi will be in the north; Joseph, Benjamin, and Dan will be in the east; Simeon, Issachar, and Zebulun will be in the south; Gad, Asher, and Naphtali will be in the west. Each side of the city wall will be a mile and a half long, 35 and so the total length of the wall will be six miles. The new name of the city will be “The-Lord-Is-There!”
Throughout the larger section of Ezekiel 40-48, the name of the city of Jerusalem is never specifically mentioned. Here we discover why; God will give the city a new name. It will be known as Yahweh Shammah, “Yahweh is There.” In that day, the overwhelming character and idea of Jerusalem would be that God was there.
Ezekiel experienced the horror of seeing the glory of God departing from the temple in a vision (Ezekiel 11). Then he saw it return (Ezekiel 43:5). Now, in the new name for the city, he received the assurance that God would remain.
“We bethink us of the truth that there is to be a millennial age — a time of glory, and peace, and joy, and truth, and righteousness. But what is to be the glory of it? Why this, ‘Jehovah-shammah, the Lord is there!’”
–Charles Haddon Spurgeon
The principle will carry on into the eternal state. “And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God” (Revelation 21:3).
Warren W. Wiersbe explains: “This is one of seven compound names of Jehovah found in the Old Testament.”
- · Jehovah Jireh—’the Lord will provide’ (Genesis 22:13-14)
- · Jehovah Rapha—’the Lord who heals’ (Exodus 15:26)
- · Jehovah Shalom—’the Lord our peace’ (Judges 6:24)
- · Jehovah Tsidkenu—’the Lord our righteousness’ (Jeremiah 23:6)
- · Jehovah Shammah—’the Lord is present’ (Ezekiel 48:35)
- · Jehovah Nissi—’the Lord our banner’ (Exodus 17:8-15)
- · Jehovah Ra’ah—’the Lord our shepherd’ (Psalm 23:1)
“The name tells of complete satisfaction; that of God, and that of man. God is at rest among His people, His original purpose realized. Man is seen at rest in God, his true destiny reached.”
–J. Campbell Morgan
THE END OF THE BOOK OF EZEKIEL
As we read these chapters about plans for a temple, a place to worship the Most High God, I want us to hear some of the hymns that have been sung for many generations in many different countries and denominations. These are some of a Christian’s most precious treasures!
HERE is one of my most favorites, by Charles Wesley, “Love Divine, All Loves Excelling.”