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God will establish in the land of Israel, and the dominion of which will be extended over all the earth.
In the general division of the land, chapter forty-eighth, five and twenty thousand reeds in breadth were to be measured off: the breadth, as we saw, was from north to south: the length of the different portions was counted from east to west. In length the Offering was to be as one of the other portions, viz. it was to go " from the great sea, westward, to the Jordan, or Dead Sea, eastward." All this Offering—or portion of land, dedicated to public purposes—is not, however, taken to form the Holy Oblation; but the Holy Oblation, including the portion for the city, was to be made four-square — in length and breadth about forty miles. *
To what use the complements of the figure originally marked off for" The Offering" are to be applied, we shall see presently; for a complement, it is evident by inspection, remains on each side, of irregular width, facing the Mediterranean on the west, and the Sea of Sodom and mouth of the Jordan on the east.
But it appears, from an inspection of the map, that a regular square of forty miles could not stand in this part of the Holy Land, on account of the relative position of the Mediterranean and Dead Seas; we must, therefore, farm a figure of four equal sides, accommodated to the line of coasts on either side, which, in their general direction, may be said to be parallel to each other. Having formed our four equal-sided figure, or parallelogram, as the direction of the country permits, each side about forty miles, so as to have Jerusalem in the midst, that is, midway between north and south, for midway between
f Chap. xl». l; xlriii. SO.
east and west it is not situated, and in what follows, is described as not being so situated.
In this sacred square, we are next to measure off a portion of twenty-five thousand reeds in length and ten thousand in breadth, for " the most holy place." The length of the portions, observe, within the square, is to be counted from north to south, as is expressly said in chapter xlviii. 10.l Unless this was the case, indeed, the most holy portion could not include the sanctuary, •which it is said to do, because the holy mountain of Zion is about twenty miles, both from the north and from the south of the boundary lines; and, for the same reason, we must begin to measure from the east. Taking, therefore, two-fifths of the breadth of the square, from east to west, for "the most holy place," which is to be the "possession of the priests," including the sanctuary, we are again to take two-fifths more, next to the portion of the priests, for the Levites, and the remaining fifth, towards the west of the square, is to be for the city and its possessions. *
1 The language of this verse these verses. The scheme I h»ve
affirms expressly that the length of adopted rests upon the accuracy of
the priests' portion is from north the text of the tenth verse. Ifthe
to south, and its breadth, or shorter other scheme be preferred, which
measure, from east to west. A would measure the priests' and
difficulty, however, which I know Levites' portion from east to west,
not how to solve, arises from the the square of the offering must be
eighteenth verse, which seems to brought lower down thau that
assert, that the length of the city marked in the map, in order that
portion, which was parallel, ex- the site of the sanctuary may be
tended eastward and westward. in the priests' portion. The city
An error, I conceive, must be in would, in that case, stand more
the readings of one or the other of inland, to the south of Eremmon.
• Chap, xlviii. 15.
The city is described as lying in the midst of this last division, which will fix its situation somewhere about twenty miles west of the sanctuary, or of the spot where Jerusalem now stands, towards the Mediterranean sea. The city itself, according to the most probable computation of the measures given, occupies a square of about eight miles: the rest of this last division is assigned for the support of the city, as though it were its public property: —
"And the increase thereof shall be for food unto them that serve the city, and they that serve the city shall serve it out of all the tribes of Israel."
Lastly; When we have formed our square, or parallelogram, of the requisite dimensions, and it appears to be as large as any four equal-sided figure can be formed in this part of the country, we shall still have, as was observed, very considerable districts of land, both on the west, along the shores of the Mediterranean, and on the east, along those of the Dead Sea and the stream of Jordan. These two portions, making up, with the OblaTion, the whole " Offering of land," are for the prince, and for the support of his family, his state and government : * we cannot say of his regal dignity, for king he is not. The Elohim is King, even Jehovah in his holy sanctuary. But, notwithstanding, the prince is highly distinguished among his fellow subjects, at whose head he is. His estates must be very large; probably nearly equal to the possession of any single tribe. The Levites, too, it appears, are no longer dispersed as wanderers over the country, but have a full portion in the midst of the
'Chap. xlr. 7,&c.
land. And the priests, which are to be all of one family, of the family of Zadoc,—all the other families of the sons of Aaron, it may be, having become extinct,—are to possess a district of country equal to the whole tribe of Levi, and, probably, greater than any one of the tribes besides. This will give us some idea of the greatness of the religious establishment of the Israelitish nation in "this world to come." Indeed, the whole nation seems to be distributed, as well as the priests and Levites, in subserviency to the support of this sanctuary and TheoCbacy; and with relation to the rest of the world, appear to have all a holy, ministerial character, while they dwell on one side or other of the Holy Place in their respective allotments; or when they go to " do the service of the city," whatever is intended by that expression. And as former prophecies have seemed to declare, while this favoured nation has the charge of the sanctuary, and is employed in its services, the whole world is brought willingly to contribute to their support, to their comfort, and glory. This representation will much illustrate former prophecies:—
And the strangers shall stand and feed your flocks,
But ye shall be called the priests of Jehovah,
Ye shall consume the wealth of the nations,
* Isaiab, hi. 6. Compare Ixvi. 81 l Psabn H. 19; Jer. xxxiii. 18, 21; Ezek. xx. 40; xxxvii. '26.
The Vitionofthe Waters, proceeding from the Sanctuary.
Another remarkable alteration in the face of the country in the Holy Land will also claim our attention. It is the creation of a new river, or rather of two new rivers, which take their rise immediately in the neighbourhood of " the mountain of the Lord's house;" the one to flow westward, into the Mediterranean Sea, the other to take an eastern direction, into the Dead Sea, and beyond that, as it should seem from a parallel prophecy, through the deserts of Arabia, perhaps into the Persian Gulf. We have had some intimation of this new creation in the oracles already delivered, especially in Joel: "And all the rivers of Judah shall flow with waters, and a fountain shall come forth of the house of the Lord, and shaM water the valley of Shittim."* And, to anticipate a prophecy not yet considered, "And it shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them towards the former sea, and half of them towards the hinder sea: in summer and in winter shall it be."-f- I conceive also, Isaiah, chap, xxxiii. 21, should be added to the number: —
For us shall be a place of rivers,
Which no oared vessel shall pass,
In the forty-seventh chapter of the prophet now