You shall divide
To the tribes
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.
“Thus says Yahweh God!
‘These are the boundaries
You shall divide
Among the twelve tribes
Joseph shall have two portions.
You shall divide it
I swore to give it
To your ancestors.
This land shall fall
As your inheritance.’”
Next Yahweh, via Ezekiel, took up the question of the boundaries of Israel and the division of the land among the tribes. Joshua, in chapters 13-22, first faced this problem. Here, it appears in a more summary fashion. Nevertheless, the problem of what to do with the people already there in this land was not even mentioned. Ezekiel was going to set up these ideal borders or boundaries of Israel. He also was going to lay out the inheritance distribution of the land between the 12 tribes. The tribe of Joseph was to be given 2 portions, one for Manasseh and one for Ephraim. Yahweh had already promised to give this land to their ancestors as their inheritance.
I will lay open
The flank of Moab.
I will lay it open
From the towns
On its frontier,
The glory of the country,
I will give it,
Along with the Ammonites,
To the people of the East
As a possession.
Shall be remembered
Among the nations.
I will execute
Then they will know
That I am Yahweh.”
Yahweh, via Ezekiel, said that the future of Moab was closely tied to Ammon. They would both suffer the same result, being captured by the people from the East. The flanks or boundaries of Moab would be laid open. Their border towns, their glorious cities would be captured, especially Beth-jeshimoth on the north, Baal-meon on the east, and Kiriathaim on the south. The western border was the Jordan River and the Dead Sea. No one would remember them, just like the Ammonites would not be remembered either. They would be wiped out, since Yahweh was going to execute his judgments on Moab. Thus, they too would finally realize that Yahweh was God.
“The wise man’s path of life leads upward.
Thus he may avoid Sheol below.
Yahweh tears down the house of the proud.
But he maintains the widow’s boundaries.”
The path of the wise man goes up, so that he does not go down to Sheol. This is the common conception that up is good and down is bad. Just like a house, the upstairs are better than the basements. Yahweh would tear down the house of the proud ones, but he would sustain the territory or boundaries of the widows.
“You set the earth on its foundations.
Thus it shall never be shaken.
You cover it with the deep
As with a garment.
The waters stood above the mountains.
At your rebuke
At the sound of your thunder
They took to flight.
They rose up to the mountains.
They ran down to the valleys.
They all went to the place that you appointed for them.
You set a boundary.
They may not pass this boundary.
Thus the waters might not again cover the earth.”
The earth had foundations like any building in a very static way. There was no hint of a round world in this flat world concept of the earth. However, they did seem to understand that the solid earth came from the waters. At the command of Yahweh, the waters receded, much like at the time of Noah in Genesis, chapters 6-10. The thunder served as the voice of Yahweh telling the waters to recede, which they did. Then the earth was formed as the mountains rose and the valley sunk, all due to the water that had been there. Everything took its place as it was appointed by Yahweh. Yahweh put boundaries on the waters so that they would never again cover the earth. This was the victory of Yahweh over the chaos of the waters.
My King is from of old.
He is working salvation in the earth.
You divided the sea by your might.
You broke the heads of the dragons in the waters.
You crushed the heads of Leviathan.
You gave him as food
For the creatures of the wilderness.
You cut openings for springs and torrents.
You dried up ever-flowing streams.
Yours is the day.
Yours also is the night.
You have established the luminaries.
You have established the sun.
You have fixed all the bounds of the earth.
You have made summer and winter.”
This is a prayer to God about his creative power. God had been an old fashioned king for a long time. He brought salvation to the earth. He divided the seas to produce the earth. He had to defeat the sea monsters, particularly the mythical Leviathan, the great beast that was so important in Job, chapter 41. However, God was able to defeat Leviathan and feed his body to the wild animals. God definitely controlled the water ways, big and small. He was in charge of day and night as well as all the heavenly lights, including the sun. He set up the boundaries of the earth. He had control of the seasons of the year with its various climate changes of summer and winter. God was the powerful creator of heaven and earth as well as the water and the land.