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 good river (Ezek 47:10-47:12)

“People will stand fishing

Beside the sea,

From En-gedi

To En-eglaim.

It will be a place

For the spreading

Of nets.

Its fish will be

Of a great many kinds,

Like the fish

Of the Great Sea.

But its swamps,

With its marshes,

Will not become fresh.

They are to be left

For salt.

On the banks,

On both sides

Of the river,

There will grow

All kinds of trees

For food.

Their leaves

Will not wither.

Their fruit

Will not fail.

But they will bear

Fresh fruit

Every month,

Because the water

For them

Flows from the sanctuary.

Their fruit will be

For food.

Their leaves will be

For healing.”

This mysterious water from the Temple would mean that people could fish out on the northwestern side of the Dead Sea from En-gedi to En-eglaim. All one had to do was spread fishing nets, then all kinds of wonderful fish would be caught, just like in the great Mediterranean Sea. However, the swamps and marshes would not become fresh, but they would remain salty. On both sides of this river, all kinds of trees would grow with monthly fresh fruit and perennial leaves for healing. This river coming from the sanctuary of the Temple had all these wonderful powers because of the power of Yahweh, much like other Canaanite and Mesopotamian mythical rivers.

 

Against Edom (Ezek 25:12-25:12)

“Thus says Yahweh God!

‘Edom acted revengefully

Against the house of Judah.

They have grievously offended

In taking vengeance

Upon them.’”

Edom was south of the Dead Sea, south of Moab and south of Judah. Its biblical origin was the place where Esau, the twin brother of Jacob, went to live in Genesis, chapter 36. This section is similar to Jeremiah, chapter 49, and Isaiah, chapter 34, on Edom. Apparently, when King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon attacked Jerusalem, the Edomites from south of Judah helped the Babylonians in their plundering of Jerusalem and Judah.

The punishment of Moab (Ezek 25:9-25:11)

“Therefore,

I will lay open

The flank of Moab.

I will lay it open

From the towns

On its frontier,

The glory of the country,

Beth-jeshimoth,

Baal-meon,

Kiriathaim.

I will give it,

Along with the Ammonites,

To the people of the East

As a possession.

Thus Ammon

Shall be remembered

No more

Among the nations.

I will execute

Judgments

Upon Moab.

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.

Against Moab (Ezek 25:8-25:8)

“Thus says Yahweh God!

‘Moab said.

‘The house of Judah is

Like all the other nations.’”

Instead of a very long diatribe against Moab, as in Jeremiah, chapter 48, and Isaiah, chapters 15 and 16, Ezekiel has only a few short comments. Moab was the country directly east of the Dead Sea on the other side of the Jordan River. The Moabites, like the Ammonites, had been involved in many quarrels and battles with the Israelites, since they had a strange biblical relationship. The Moabite kingdom lasted from around the 13th century BCE to around the 4th century BCE, where today it is also the country of Jordan, like Ammon. The Moabites were the descendants of Lot’s incest with his oldest daughter as in Genesis, chapter 19. In the Book of Ruth, chapter 4, the Moabites were friendly, as Ruth, a Moabite, had a son named Obed, who turned out to be the grandfather of King David via his son Jesse.   For a while, Moab was part of the Kingdom of Israel, until they revolted. Here the complaint against Moab was that they said that Judah was like the other countries and not unique.

The questions for Edom (Jer 49:7-49:9)

“Concerning Edom!

Thus says Yahweh of hosts!

‘Is there no longer wisdom

In Teman?

Has counsel perished

From the prudent?

Has their wisdom vanished?

Flee!

Turn back!

Get down low!

O inhabitants of Dedan!

I will bring

The calamity of Esau

Upon him,

Like the time

When I punished him.

If grape-gatherers

Came to you,

Would they not

Leave gleanings?

If thieves came

By night,

Would they not pillage

Only what they wanted?”

Edom was south of the Dead Sea, south of Moab and south of Judah. Its biblical origin was the place where Esau, the twin brother of Jacob, went to live in Genesis, chapter 36. Yahweh has a series of questions for Edom. What happened to their wisdom, especially at Teman, perhaps a tribal group in Edom, since Teman was the name of the grandson of Esau. One of Job’s friends Eliphaz was a Temanite. Obadiah, an almost unknown minor prophet, seemed to take some of this diatribe against Edom into most of his work. Something has happened to the counsel and prudence of Edom. Has all their wisdom vanished? Dedan was a tribe involved in commerce. Both grape gatherers and thieves would leave something behind. They would not take everything. Thus the grape pickers would leave some grapes for the later gleaners to come along and get some of these overlooked grapes. The same is true about nightly thieves who would only take what they needed.