Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
VISION OF THE
The happy fruit to the earth at large of God's dwelling with Israel in
holy fellowship is that the blessing is no longer restricted to the one
people and locality, but is to be diffused with comprehensive
catholicity through the whole world. So the plant from the cedar of
Lebanon is represented as gathering under its shelter "all fowl of every
Even the desert places of the earth shall be made fruitful by the
healing waters of the Gospel (compare
represents "the water of life as proceeding out of the throne of God
and of the Lamb." His throne was set up in the temple at Jerusalem
Thence it is to flow over the earth
Zec 13:1; 14:8).
Messiah is the temple and the door; from His pierced side flow the
living waters, ever increasing, both in the individual believer and in
the heart. The fountains in the vicinity of Moriah suggested the image
here. The waters flow eastward, that is, towards the Kedron, and thence
towards the Jordan, and so along the Ghor into the Dead Sea. The main
point in the picture is the rapid augmentation from a petty stream into
a mighty river, not by the influx of side streams, but by its own
self-supply from the sacred miraculous source in the temple [HENDERSON]. (Compare
Ps 36:8, 9; 46:4;
Searching into the things of God, we find some easy to understand, as
the water up to the ankles; others more difficult, which require a
deeper search, as the waters up to the knees or loins; others beyond
our reach, of which we can only adore the depth
The healing of the waters of the Dead Sea here answers to "there
shall be no more curse"
7. trees--not merely one tree of life as in Paradise
but many: to supply immortal food and medicine to the people of God,
who themselves also become "trees of righteousness"
planted by the waters and
bearing fruit unto holiness.
8. the desert--or "plain," Hebrew, Arabah
(De 3:17; 4:49;
which is the name still given to the valley of the Jordan and the plain
south of the Dead Sea, and extending to the Elanitic gulf of the Red
the sea--the Dead Sea. "The sea" noted as covering with its waters
the guilty cities of the plain, Sodom and Gomorrah. In its bituminous
waters no vegetable or animal life is said to be found. But now death is
to give place to life in Judea, and throughout the world, as symbolized
by the healing of these death-pervaded waters covering the doomed
cities. Compare as to "the sea" in general, regarded as a symbol of the
troubled powers of nature, disordered by the fall, henceforth to rage no
9. rivers--in Hebrew, "two rivers." Hence Hebrew
expositors think that the waters from the temple were divided into two
branches, the one emptying itself into the eastern or Dead Sea, the
other into the western or Mediterranean. So
However, though this probably is covertly implied in the Hebrew
dual, the flowing of the waters into the Dead Sea only is
"waters . . . healed," which can apply only to it, not to the
"fish as the fish of the great sea"; the Dead Sea, when healed,
containing fish, as the Mediterranean does.
10. En-gedi . . . En-eglaim--En-gedi (meaning
"fountain of the kid"), anciently, Hazazon-Tamar, now Ain-Jidy; west of
the Dead Sea; David's place of refuge from Saul. En-eglaim means
"fountain of two calves," on the confines of Moab, over against
En-gedi, and near where Jordan enters the Dead Sea
These two limits are fixed on, to comprise between them the whole Dead
fish . . . according to their kinds--JEROME quotes an ancient theory that "there are a hundred
fifty-three kinds of fishes," all of which were taken by the apostles
and not one remained uncaptured; signifying that both the noble and
baseborn, the rich and the poor, and every class, are being drawn out
of the sea of the world to salvation. Compare
the gospel net; the apostles being fishermen, at first literally,
11. marshes--marshy places. The region is known to have such pits and
marshes. The Arabs take the salt collected by evaporation in these pits
for their own use, and that of their flocks.
not be healed--Those not reached by the healing waters of the Gospel,
through their sloth and earthly-mindedness, are given over
to their own bitterness and barrenness (as "saltness" is often employed
an awful example to others in the punishment they suffer
12. Instead of the "vine of Sodom and grapes of Gomorrah"
nauseous and unwholesome, trees of life-giving and life-restoring
virtue shall bloom similar in properties to, and exceeding in number,
the tree of life in Eden
(Re 2:7; 22:2, 14).
leaf . . . not fade--expressing not only the unfailing character of
the heavenly medicine of the tree of life, but also that the graces of
the believer (as a tree of righteousness), which are the leaves, and
his deeds, which are the fruits that flow from those graces, are
new fruit--literally, "firstlings," or first fruit. They are still,
each month afresh, as it were, yielding their first-fruit
The first-born of a thing, in Hebrew idiom, means the chiefest. As
"the first-born of death," that is, the most fatal death.
13. The redivision of the land: the boundaries. The latter are
substantially the same as those given by Moses in
they here begin with the north, but in Numbers they begin with the
It is only Canaan proper, exclusive of the possession of the two and a
half tribes beyond Jordan, that is here divided.
Joseph . . . two portions--according to the original promise of Jacob
(Ge 48:5, 22).
Joseph's sons were given the birthright forfeited by Reuben, the
Therefore the former is here put first. His two sons having
distinct portions make up the whole number twelve portions, as
he had just before specified "twelve tribes of Israel"; for Levi
had no separate inheritance, so that he is not reckoned in the
15. Zedad--on the north boundary of Canaan.
16. Hamath--As Israel was a separate people, so their land was a
separate land. On no scene could the sacred history have been so well
transacted as on it. On the east was the sandy desert. On the north and
south, mountains. On the west, an inhospitable sea-shore. But it was
not always to be a separate land. Between the parallel ranges of
Lebanon is the long valley of El-Bekaa, leading to "the entering in of
Hamath" on the Orontes, in the Syrian frontier. Roman roads, and the
harbor made at Cæsarea, opened out doors through which the Gospel
should go from it to all lands. So in the last days, when all shall
flock to Jerusalem as the religious center of the world.
Berothah--a city in Syria conquered by David
Hazar-hatticon--meaning "the middle village."
Hauran--a tract in Syria, south of Damascus; Auranitis.
17. Hazar-enan--a town in the north of Canaan, meaning "village of
18. east sea--the Dead Sea. The border is to go down straight to it
by the valley of the Jordan. So
Nu 34:11, 12.
19. Tamar--not Tadmor in the desert, but Tamar, the last town of Judea,
by the Dead Sea. Meaning "palm tree"; so called from palm trees
abounding near it.
22. to the strangers--It is altogether unprecedented under the old
covenant, that "strangers" should have "inheritance" among the tribes.
There would not be room locally within Canaan for more than the tribes.
The literal sense must therefore be modified, as expressing that
Gentiles are not to be excluded from settling among the covenant-people,
and that spiritually their privileges are not to be less than those of
Re 7:9, 10).
Still, "sojourneth," in
implies that in Canaan, the covenant people are regarded as at
home, the strangers as settlers.