The tribe of Dan (Ezek 48:1-48:1)

“These are the names

Of the tribes.

You will begin

At the northern border,

On the Hethlon road,

From Lebo-hamath,

As far as Hazar-enon,

The border

Of Damascus

With Hamath

To the north.

This will extend

From the east side

To the westside.

This shall be

One portion

Of Dan.”

According to Joshua, chapter 19, Dan had a small territory between Ephraim, Benjamin, and Judah. However, it was wiped out, so that they ended up with a small territory between Manasseh and Naphtali near the Syrian border. Thus, the tribe of Dan here gets this northern territory, close to Damascus. It was not clear how many from the tribe of Dan were still around.

The resident aliens as citizens of Israel (Ezek 47:22-47:23)

“You shall allot it

As an inheritance

For yourselves,

As well as for the aliens

Who reside among you.

They have begotten children

Among you.

They shall be

To you

As citizens of Israel.

With you,

They shall be allotted

An inheritance

Among the tribes of Israel.

In whatever tribe,

Aliens reside,

There you shall assign them

Their inheritance.’

Says Yahweh God.”

Yahweh, via Ezekiel, seemed to favor the resident aliens who were living in Israel. They received the same inheritance as the sons of the tribes, especially if they have had children among the Israelites. There did not seem to be any code or legal restrictions on these resident aliens. This was a very strong open immigration policy. As long as they lived with an Israelite tribe, they became citizens. Thus, they could inherit the land. Perhaps this was a way of accepting the people who were living in these various tribal areas, without taking their land.

The division of the land by tribes (Ezek 47:21-47:21)

“Thus,

You shall divide

This land

Among you,

According

To the tribes

Of Israel.”

Now that the boundaries of the country of Israel were established, it remained to distribute the land to the various tribes of Israel. Like the boundaries of the country, it sounded easier in theory than in reality. Much of this had been laid out in Numbers, chapter 34, and Joshua, chapters 13-19.

The southern border (Ezek 47:19-47:19)

“On the south side,

It shall run

From Tamar

As far as

The waters

Of Meribath-kadesh.

From there

It shall run

Along the Brook of Egypt

To the Great Sea.

This shall be the south side.”

The southern border in Numbers, chapter 34 was also vague. However, there was a mention of the Dead Sea and the Wilderness of Zin. Here the border goes almost to Egypt, to the great sea, or the Mediterranean Sea. Tamar, just mentioned on the eastern border, is the start of this southeast border. Meribath-kadesh was in the wilderness of Zin, south of the Dead Sea.

The eastern border (Ezek 47:18-47:18)

“On the east side,

The boundary

Shall run

Between Hauran

And Damascus.

It shall run

Along the Jordan

Between Gilead

And the land of Israel,

To the eastern sea,

As far as Tamar.

This shall be the east side.”

There was no mention of the Sea of Galilee as in Numbers, chapter 34. Here the border started in the north by Hauran. Then it kind of followed the Jordan River down to the Dead Sea or the eastern sea. There was also a mention of Gilead, on the east side of the Jordan River. It goes as far south as Tamar, but it is not clear where this was.

The northern border (Ezek 47:15-47:17)

“This shall be the boundary

Of the land.

On the north side,

From the Great Sea

By way of Hethlon

To Lebo-hamath

of Hamath,

On to Zedad,

Berothah,

Sibraim.

Sibraim lies between

The border of Damascus

With Hamath.

It shall go as far

As Hazer-hatticon,

That is on the border

Of Hauran.

So,

The boundary shall run

From the sea

To Hazar-enon,

That is north of the border

Of Damascus,

With the border of Hamath

To the north.

This shall be the north side.”

Ezekiel started with a longer description of the northern border than what was found in Numbers, chapter 34. Obviously, this northern border started with the sea, the Mediterranean Sea on the northwest side. However, it extends further north into Syria on the north side of Damascus. There was no indication where the Sea and the land met in the north, just the listing of a series of towns like Hethlon, Lebo-hamath, Zedad, Berothah, and Sibraim that are difficult to determine exactly where they are. The northeastern border was Hazar-enon, as in Numbers. Hamath was the capital of upper Syria, while Damascus as the capital of lower Syria. Thus, this northern Israelite boundary was between these 2 Syrian cities.