Page images
PDF
EPUB

logies. The temple is in a grove-a thing forbidden in spicuous of the officiating personages (those at the top of Scripture: every individual is bareheaded, whereas the the steps) is a female, a priestess of Isis. Among the Jews never worshipped but with covered heads : the man Hebrews, also, the space between the porch and the altar who blows the trumpet is sitting, whereas it is a received was accounted, after the sanctuary itself, the most holy maxim among the Jewish doctors that no one could sit in part of the mountain of the Lord's house,' and hence, the temple courts, excepting only the king, for the time when an act of worship commenced, all persons entitled being, of the house of David. The most important dif- to be in this court, withdrew from that part, and ranged ference, however, is the presence of the congregation on themselves below the altar. The present cut exhibits each side of the altar, ranged in lines between it and the exactly the opposite custom. These observations, sugsanctuary. This is evidently a mixed congregation, gested by the engraving we now give, will serve to point including even women; but among the Hebrews the out some of the more remarkable of the agreements and congregation was not admitted at all into the court imme- differences found in the external forms of worship among diately before the sanctuary, which was appropriated the Hebrews as compared with those of their heathen solely to the priests and Levites ; and moreover the neighbours. It is more than probable, that when the women did not assemble in the same outer court as the Jews fell into idolatry, they worshipped some of their men, but had a separate one of their own. So different idols after the fashion shewn in the cut, and particularly indeed were the practices in this matter, that we see in 'the queen of heaven' and the idols borrowed from the present example that one of the three most con- Egypt.

CHAPTER XLVII.

down into the desert, and go into the sea :

which being brought forth into the sea, the 1 The vision of the holy waters. 6 The virtue of them.

waters shall be healed. 13 The borders of the land. 22 The division of it

9 And it shall come to pass, that every thing by lot.

that liveth, which moveth, whithersoever the AFTERWARD he brought me again unto the Orivers shall come, shall live : and there shall door of the house; and, behold, waters issued be a very great multitude of fish, because these out from under the threshold of the house waters shall come thither: for they shall be eastward: for the forefront of the house stood healed ; and every thing shall live whither the toward the east, and the waters came down | river cometh. from under from the right side of the house, 10 And it shall come to pass, that the at the south side of the altar.

fishers shall stand upon it from En-gedi even 2 Then brought he me out of the way of unto En-eglaim; they shall be a place to the gate northward, and led me about the spread forth nets ; their fish shall be accordway without unto the utter gate by the way ing to their kinds, as the fish of the great sea, that looketh eastward ; and, behold, there ran exceeding many. out waters on the right side.

11 But the miry places thereof and the 3 And when the man that had the line in marishes thereof 'shall not be healed; they his hand went forth eastward, he measured a shall be given to salt. thousand cubits, and he brought me through 12 And by the river upon the bank therethe waters; the 'waters were to the ancles. of, on this side and on that side, 'shall grow

4 Again he measured a thousand, and all trees for meat, whose leaf shall not fade, brought me through the waters; the waters neither shall the fruit thereof be consumed : were to the knees. Again he measured a it shall bring forth 'new fruit according to his thousand, and brought me through; the months, because their waters they issued out waters were to the loins.

of the sanctuary : and the fruit thereof shall 5 Afterward he measured a thousand ; and be for meat, and the leaf thereof ''for 'meit was a river that I could not pass over : for dicine. the waters were risen, "waters to swim in, a 13 9 Thus saith the Lord God; This river that could not be passed over.

shall be the border, whereby ye shall inherit 6 9 And he said unto me, Son of man, the land according to the twelve tribes of hast thou seen this ? Then he brought me, Israel : Joseph shall have two portions. and caused me to return to the brink of the 14 And ye shall inherit it, one as well as river.

another: concerning the which I " *lifted up 7 Now when I had returned, behold, at the mine hand to give it unto your fathers : and 'bank of the river were very many trees on this land shall fall unto you for inheritance. the one side and on the other.

15 And this shall be the border of the land 8 Then said he unto me, These waters toward the north side, from the great sea, the issue out toward the east country, and go | way of Hethlon, as men go to Zedad ; 1 Heb. waters of the ankles. 2 Heb. waters of swimming.

5 Or, plain. 7 Or, and that which shall not be healed.

9 Or, principal. 10 Or, for bruises and sores.

12 Or, swore. 13 Gen. 27. 7, and 17. 8, and 26. 3, and 28. 13.

3 Heb. lip.

4 Rev. 22. 2. 8 Heb. shall come up.

6 Heb. 1100 rivers.

11 Rev. 22. 2.

16 Hamath, Berothah, Sibraim, which is 20 The west side also shall be the great between the border of Damascus and the sea from the border, till a man come over border of Hamath ; "Hazar-hatticon, which against Hamath. This is the west side. is by the coast of Hauran.

21 So shall ye divide this land unto you 17 And the border from the sea shall be according to the tribes of Israel. Hazar-enan, the border of Damascus, and the 22 | And it shall come to pass, that ye north northward, and the border of Hamath. shall divide it by lot for an inheritance unto And this is the north side.

you, and to the strangers that sojourn among 18 And the east side ye shall measure you, which shall beget children among you; from Hauran, and from Damascus, and and they shall be unto you as born in the from Gilead, and from the land of Israel by country among the children of Israel ; they Jordan, from the border unto the east sea.

shall have inheritance with you among the And this is the east side.

tribes of Israel. 19 And the south side southward, from 23 And it shall come to pass, that in what Tamar even to the waters of 'ostrife in Kadesh, tribe the stranger sojourneth, there shall ye the "river to the great sea. And this is the give him his inheritance, saith the Lord God. south side southward. 14 Or, the middle village. 15 Heb. from between. 16 Or, Meribah.

17 Or, valley.

18 Or, toreard Temon.

Verse 1. Behold, waters issued out from under the threshold of the house eastward!—Whatever be thought of the description contained in these chapters, as a whole, it is generally admitted that the account contained in this chapter of the waters issuing from the temple, deepening and widening as they went, blessing the land through which they passed, and healing the sea of death to which they came, must be figuratively understood. And, thus understood, most commentators seem inclined to apply the allegory to the spread and the blessings of the Christian faith. It is indeed impossible to understand the account literally; yet it is certain that this figurative description is founded upon circumstances proper to the place and country, and which are applied and sustained with great felicity in this very beautiful parable.

It must be evident that a great quantity of water must have been required for the service of the temple. How this supply was obtained appears from the Rabbinical writers, and still more distinctly from Aristeas, whose book

was written while the second temple stood, and whose account we give as quoted by Lightfoot (Prospect of the Temple, ch. xxiii.): There was a continual supply of water, as if there had been an abundant fountain under neath. And there were wonderful and inexpressible receptacles under ground, as appeared five furlongs' space above the temple ; each one of which had divers pipes, by which waters came in on every side; all these were of lead, under ground, and much earth laid upon them. And there were many vents on the pavement, not to be seen at all but to those that served ; so that in a trice, and easily, all the blood of the sacrifices could be washed away, though it were never so much. And I will tell you how I came to know of these underground receptacles: they brought me out more than four furlongs space out of the city, and one bade me stoop down at a certain place, and listen what a noise the meeting of the waters made.' From this it seems that the waters were collected from many neighbouring sources; but the Rabbins inform us

[graphic]

THE DEAD SEA.

7

that the principal supply was derived from the fountain through this plain, and afterwards pursued its course of Etam. It appears that these streams, after having passed through the great valley of Arabah, to the eastern arm of under the temple and filled its cisterns, went out on the the Red Sea. The careful observations of Professor Roeast side, and there uniting with each other, and with the binson have now, however, rendered it more probable that waters of Siloam, Kidron, and other streams, that seem to a lake which, as now, received the river Jordan, existed have been more numerous and abundant about Jerusalem here before Sodom was destroyed ; but that an encroachin ancieut times than at present—the whole formed a con- ment of the waters, southward, then took place, oversiderable body of water, augmented by other streams as it whelming a beautiful and well-watered plain which lay passed, till it ultimately fell into the Dead Sea. In this on the southern border of the lake, and on which Sodom, climate, we may be sure that this stream, in proportion to Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboim, and Zoar were situated. The its extent, fertilized the land through which it passed, promontory, or rather peninsula, towards the south which and was lined with shrubs and bushes, if not trees also; is so distinct a feature of this lake, probably marks its supplying the comparison or statement in v. 7. We are original boundary in that direction, and shews the point not to suppose that this stream had any considerable effect through which the waters broke into the plain beyond. in 'healing' the waters of the Dead Sea, for even the The Dead Sea is about thirty-nine or forty geographical stream of the Jordan has not; but as the stream of living miles long from north to south, and nine or ten miles wide water did enter the salt and bitter waters of the Dead Sea, from east to west; and it lies embedded very deep between the figurative account, which follows, of the blessed effects lofty cliffs on the western side, which are about 1500 feet of the fresh stream upon the waters of death, is most na- high, and mountains on the eastern shore, the highest turally and beautifully applied. The sea is supposed thus ridges of which are reckoned to be from 2000 to 2500 feet to receive that healing which it did and does still require: above the water. According to the accurate measurements and the reader who has perused the accounts of this sea of Lieut. Symonds, R.E., it has been found that the Dead will not fail to observe how remarkably the healing effects

Sea is not less than 1312:2 feet below the level of the are stated, so as to convey distinct intimations of the pecu- Mediterranean. The water of the lake is much salter than liarities by which that lake was distinguished from others;

that of the sea. From the quantity of salt which the water such as that it should abound in fish-intimating that it

holds in solution it is thick and heavy, and no fish can live, naturally did not; that, in consequence, fishers should or marine plants grow in it. The presence of shell-fish frequent all its shores, which never happened in the natural upon the shore was thought to disprove the opinion that state of the lake; and that its banks should be lined with no fish could live in these waters; but Dr. Wilson remarks trees of nourishment and health, of which it was naturally

that the few shell-fish to be found on the shore are of destitute.

fresh-water species, and had without doubt been brought 11. ^ The miry places... and the marishes... shall be given down into the sea by the waters of the Jordan. The to salt:-- See the note on 2 Kings xiv. 7.

waters have been subjected to chemical analysis, formerly 16. · Hauran.'—This name occurs only here and in by Dr. Marcet, and more recently by Dr. Gregory, who v. 18; and denotes a district to the south of Damascus, operated upon some of the water brought home by Dr. and east of the half tribe of Manasseh and the tribe of Gad, Madden. The results exhibit only such difference as the beyond Jordan. Its extent seems to have varied at different difference of the places or of the time of the year in which times. Colonel Leake supposes that it was of inconsider- the two portions of water were taken from the lake may able extent in the time of the Jews, but enlarged its boun- account for. daries under the Greeks and Romans, who modified its

MARCET. name to Auranitis. It has been still further increased

Muriate of lime

3.920 since that time, and the district which now bears the name Muriate of magnesia

10.246 includes not only Auranitis but Ituræa also, together with

Muriate of soda

10.360 the greater part of Bashan, or Batanæa, and Trachonitis ;

Sulphate of lime

0.034 extending, in its greatest length, from about twenty miles to the south of Damascus to a little below Bozra.

24.380 Very little was known of this tract of country till the

GREGORY. ample accounts which have been furnished by Burckhardt and Buckingham, in their respective Travels. As it is but Chloride of soda

9.58 slightly mentioned in Scripture, we may content ourselves Chloride of magnesium

5.28 with a reference to the descriptions which these travellers Chloride of calcium

3:05 supply; although some further notice of this territory may

Sulphate of lime

1.34 be taken under Luke üi. 1, where the ancient districts which form the most considerable portion of the modern

19.25 Hauran are particularly mentioned. 18. The east sea.'— This, as we have seen, is the Dead

When taken up in a glass the water appears perfectly Sea. This name, which is given to it also in Joel ii. 20, it clear; but when viewed en masse under a cloudless sky, derives from its situation on the east of Judæa, and also though in some parts it reflects imperfectly the azure hue, distinguish it from the West Sea, or Mediterranean. It is yet in others it is quite brown, owing probably to variaalso called the Sea of the Plain' (Deut. iii. 17; iv.), from tions in its depth. The taste is described by Mr. Elliot its situation in the great hollow or plain of the Jordan;

as indescribably nauseous, salter than the ocean, and sinand the Salt Sea' (Deut. iii. 17; Josh. xv. 5), from the gularly bitter, like sea-water mixed with Epsom salts and extreme saltness of its waters. By Josephus and the quinine, or, as Madden describes, like a solution of nitre classical writers in general it is called Lacus Asphaltites,

mixed with an infusion of quassia. It acts on the eyes as from the quantities of asphaltum found in it or on its shores. pungently as smoke, and produces on the skin a sensation Mare Mortuum, or the Dead Sea,' was another of its names, resembling that of 'prickly heat,' leaving behind a white and that by which it is now generally known in Europe; saline deposit but by the natives of the country it is now known as the The quantity of salts which this water holds in solution Bahr Lút, or the Sea of Lot,' and sometimes Bahr Mutneh, accounts for its remarkable specific gravity, which every the Stinking Sea. This lake is from its size the most writer, from Josephus downward, has noticed. This has important, and from its history and qualities the most

been found, by experiment, to exceed that of rain-water remarkable, of all the lakes of Palestine. It was long

by more than sixteen per cent. We found it practically,' assumed that this lake did not exist before the de- says Mr. Elliot,' for our whole party, consisting of five struction of Sodom and the other cities of the plain persons, plunged in and remained some time in the water. (Gen. xix.); and that before that time the present bed of Although the assertion be not true that a flat dense mass the lake was a fertile plain, in which these cities stood. of iron will be sustained on the surface, yet a man who It was also concluded that the river Jordan then flowed cannot float elsewhere, finds no difficulty here. Having

.

.

proceeded some way into the lake till his shoulders are nearly immersed, his feet are actually borne off the ground, and he walks, as it were, on water; or else his legs are forcibly raised, and he is compelled either to float or swim. To 'sink or dive would require some effort.' The specific gravity of the water accounts also for its reputed immobility ; it is less easily excited than any other known lake, and sooner resumes its wonted stillness. The old stories about the pestiferous qualities of the Dead Sea and its waters are mere fables or delusions; and actual appearances are the natural and obvious effects of the confined and deep situation, the intense heat, and the uncommon saltness of the waters. Lying in its deep cauldron, surrounded by lofty cliffs of naked limestone rock, exposed for seven or eight months in the year to thc unclouded beams of a burning sun, nothing but sterility and

solitude can be looked for upon its shores: and nothing else is actually found, except in those parts where there are fountains or streams of fresh water; in all of which places there is a fertile soil and abundant vegetation. Birds also abound, and they are observed to fly over and across the sea without being, as old stories tell, injured or killed by its exhalations. Professor Robinson was five days in the vicinity of its shores, without being able to perceive that any noisome smell or noxious vapour arose from the bosom of the lake. Its coasts have always been inhabited, and are so now; and although the inhabitants suffer from fevers in summer, this is not more than might be expected from the concentrated heat of the climate in connection with the marshes. The same effects might be experienced were there no lake, or were the waters fresh instead of salt.

CHAPTER XLVIII.

and twenty thousand in length, and toward

the west ten thousand in breadth, and toward 1, 23 The portions of the twelve tribes, 8 of the sanc

the east ten thousand in breadth, and toward tuary, 15 of the city and suburbs, 21 and of the prince. 30 The dimensions and gates of the city.

the south five and twenty thousand in length:

and the sanctuary of the LORD shall be in the Now these are the names of the tribes. From midst thereof. the north end to the coast of the way

of Heth- 11 It shall be for the priests that are sanclon, as one goeth to Hamath, Hazar-enan, the tified of the sons of Zadok; which have kept border of Damascus northward, to the coast my charge, which went not astray when the of Hamath; for these are his sides east and children of Israel went astray, as the Levites west; 'a portion for Dan.

went astray. 2 And by the border of Dan, from the 12 And this oblation of the land that is east side unto the west side, a portion for offered shall be unto them a thing most holy Asher.

by the border of the Levites. 3 And by the border of Asher, from the 13 And over against the border of the east side even unto the west side, a portion priests the Levites shall have five and twenty for Naphtali.

thousand in length, and ten thousand in 4 And by the border of Naphtali, from breadth: all the length shall be five and the east side unto the west side, a portion for twenty thousand, and the breadth ten thou- . Manasseh.

sand. 5 And by the border of Manasseh, from 14 And they shall not sell of it, neither the east side unto the west side, a portion for exchange, nor alienate the firstfruits of the Ephraim.

land: for it is holy unto the LORD. 6 And by the border of Ephraim, from the 15 And the five thousand, that are left east side even unto the west side, a portion for in the breadth over against the five and twenty Reuben.

thousand, shall be a profane place for the city, 7 And by the border of Reuben, from the for dwelling, and for suburbs : and the city east side even unto the west side, a portion for shall be in the midst thereof. Judah.

16 And these shall be the measures there8 4 And by the border of Judah, from the of; the north side four thousand and five east side unto the west side, shall be the offer- hundred, and the south side four thousand ing which ye shall offer of five and twenty and five hundred, and on the east side four thousand reeds in breadth, and in length as thousand and five hundred, and the west side one of the other parts, from the east side unto four thousand and five hundred. the west side : and the sanctuary shall be in 17 And the suburbs of the city shall be the midst of it.

toward the north two hundred and fifty, and 9 The oblation that ye shall offer unto the toward the south two hundred and fifty, and LORD shall be of five and twenty thousand in toward the east two hundred and fifty, and length, and of ten thousand in breadth. toward the west two hundred and fifty.

10 And for them, even for the priests, shall 18 And the residue in length over against be this holy oblation; toward the north five the oblation of the holy portion shall be ten i Heb. one portion. 2 Or, The sanctified portion shall be for the priests.

3 Or, ward, or, ordinance,

thousand eastward, and ten thousand west- the east side unto the west side, Zebulun a ward : and it shall be over against the obla- portion. tion of the holy portion ; and the increase. 27 And by the border of Zebulun, from thereof shall be for food unto them that serve the east side unto the west side, Gad a portion, the city

28 And by the border of Gad, at the south 19 And they that serve the city shall serve side southward, the border shall be even from it out of all the tribes of Israel.

Tamar unto the waters of 'strife in Kadesh, 20 All the oblation shall be five and twenty and to the river toward the great sea. thousand by five and twenty thousand : ye shail 29 This is the land which ye shall divide offer the holy oblation foursquare, with the by lot unto the tribes of Israel for inheritance, possession of the city.

and these are their portions, saith the Lord 21 | And the residue shall be for the God. prince, on the one side and on the other of the 30 | And these are the goings out of the holy oblation, and of the possession of the city on the north side, four thousand and five city, over against the five and twenty thousand hundred measures. of the oblation toward the east border, and 31 And the gates of the city shall be after westward over against the five and twenty the names of the tribes of Israel : three gates thousand toward the west border, over against northward; one gate of Reuben, one gate of the portions for the prince: and it shall be the Judah, one gate of Levi. holy oblation; and the sanctuary of the house 32 And at the east side four thousand and shall be in the midst thereof.

five hundred : and three gates; and one gate 22 Moreover from the possession of the of Joseph, one gate of Benjamin, one gate of Levites, and from the possession of the city, Dan. being in the midst of that which is the prince's, 33 And at the south side four thousand between the border of Judah and the border and five hundred measures : and three gates ; of Benjamin, shall be for the prince.

one gate of Simeon, one gate of Issachar, one 23 | As for the rest of the tribes, from the gate of Zebulun. east side unto the west side, Benjamin shall 34 At the west side four thousand and five have 'a portion.

hundred, with their three gates; one gate 24 And by the border of Benjamin, from of Gad, one gate of Asher, one gate of the east side unto the west side, Simeon shall Naphtali. have a portion.

35 It was round about eighteen thousand 25 And by the border of Simeon, from the measures : and

the name of the city from that east side unto the west side, Issachar a portion day shall be, 'The Lord is there.

26 And by the border of Issachar, from

* Heb. one portion.

5 Heb, Meribah-kadesh,

6 Heb. Jehovah-shammah.

Verse 16. " These shall be the measures thereof. '—That is, of the city ; which, it will be seen, was an exact square, measuring 4500 on each side, and being 18,000 in circumference, and each side of the square having three gates, called after the tribes of Israel. The dimensions have occasioned some discussion ; for the measure, in which the estimate is made, not being mentioned, has been variously supplied. Many suppose that the measure was the

reed,' in which the other measurements were taken; and our translators appear to have been of this opinion, as they supply the word in verse 8. This, according to the usual computation of Ezekiel's ‘reed,' would make the circumference about thirty-six miles. Others suppose the cubit to be intended, which would reduce the dimensions so as not to greatly exceed the thirty-three stades which Josephus gives as the circuit of Jerusalem. There have however been some who interpret the dimensions in such an extent that, as they state, not all the land of Israel, nor even all Europe, if all the world could contain it: and then allege this impossibility as an argument for the figurative interpretation of the whole account contained in these final chapters of Ezekiel. Luther, for one, makes

the circumference of the city to be thirty-six thousand German miles—each being equal to four and a half of our own miles : and this computation is really moderate compared with some that we have seen. Our own impression is, that the reed' is the highest measure which can in this instance be taken ; and that very probably the cubit rather than this reed is to be understood. Whatever measure be taken in this instance, must of course be applied to the other parts, describing the lands of the priests, and the Levites, in the neighbourhood of the city. The whole of this, it appears, formed one great square containing five rectangles—thus; that for the priests (verses 9, 10) was 25,000 by 10,000 ; that for the Levites (verse 13), also 25,000 by 10,000; that for the city and suburbs (verses 16, 17), 5000 by 5000; adding two on each side of 10,000 by 5000 (verse 18), equal to 10,000 by 10,000-making altogether, a rectangle of 25,000 by 25,000, which would, by Ezekiel's reed, afford a circuit of about 200 miles, but only of about thirty miles by the cubit. This statement serves for little more than to shew the uncertainty in which the whole subject is involved.

« PreviousContinue »