The concern of Daniel about food defilement (Dan 1:8-1:8)

“But Daniel resolved

That he would not

Defile himself

With the royal rations

Of food,

Or wine.

Thus,

He asked

The palace master

To allow him

Not to defile himself.”

Daniel resolved that he would not eat the royal food or wine, since that would make him unclean. He then asked Ashpenaz, the chief of the palace not to eat this royal food. The food restrictions became a major issue in the 2nd century BCE, when Antiochus IV Epiphanes (174-164 BCE) was the Greek Seleucid king who persecuted the Jews of Samaria and Judah. King Antiochus sided with the Hellenized Jews that led to the Maccabean revolt over the issue of who was a true Jewish person. The answer could be found by observing the food that they ate.

The north side gates of the city (Ezek 48:30-48:31)

“These shall be

The exits of the city.

On the north side,

It shall be

Four thousand five hundred cubits

By measure.

These gates

Shall be named

After the tribes

Of Israel.

The three gates are

The gate of Reuben,

The gate of Judah,

The gate of Levi.”

There were to be 3 north side gates to the city, at the 4,500 cubits point. All the gates would be named after the various tribes of Israel. Two of these northside gates were important tribes, Judah and Levi, while the tribe of Reuben had less importance.

The tribe of Simeon (Ezek 48:24-48:24)

“Adjoining the territory

Of Benjamin,

From the east side

To the west side,

Simeon shall have

One portion.”

Simeon had gotten very little land in Joshua, chapter 19, just some land south of Judah. Here, they are attached to Benjamin in some way that is not clear. They had one portion, just like Benjamin. Obviously, Simeon was decreasing in power and value.

The tribe of Benjamin (Ezek 48:23-48:23)

“The rest of the tribes

Includes Benjamin.

From the east side

To the west side,

Benjamin shall have

one portion.”

Unlike in Joshua, chapter 18, the territory of Benjamin does not have any details of where it would be. Obviously, the old Benjamin was north of Judah and south of Ephraim. Here it simply is one portion from the east to the west side, without any further explanation. Somehow, it had been reduced in value.

The place for the prince (Ezek 48:21-48:22)

“What remains on both sides

Of the holy portion

With the property

Of the city

Shall belong

To the prince.

This extends from

The twenty-five thousand cubits

Of the holy portion

To the east border,

This extends westward from

The twenty-five thousand cubits

To the west border.

It shall be

Parallel to the tribal portions.

It shall belong

To the prince.

The holy portion

With the sanctuary

Of the temple was

In the middle of it.

The property of the Levites,

With the property of the city,

Shall be in the middle

Of what belongs to the prince.

The portion of the prince

Shall lie between

The territory of Judah and

The territory of Benjamin.”

Now suddenly, Yahweh, via Ezekiel has a place for the prince, or the new leader, on the outskirts of the property already explained in great detail. This princely territory would extend on the east border to the end of the 25,000 cubits border and on the west side to its 25,000 cubits border of the holy portion.  Somehow it would be parallel to the tribal portions. The prince would own this land, even though the sanctuary of the Temple, the Levite property, and the city open fields were in the middle of this territory. This holy portion was to lie between the territory of Judah and Benjamin, on the north side of Judah.

The sanctuary territory (Ezek 48:8-48:8)

“Adjoining the territory

Of Judah,

From the east side

To the west side,

Shall be the portion

That you shall set apart,

Twenty-five thousand cubits

In width.

In length,

It shall be equal

To one of the tribal portions,

From the east side

To the west side.

The sanctuary

Shall be in the middle of it.”

However, the similarity of Judah with the other tribes ends with the importance of the Temple sanctuary. Once again, there is a mention of east and west of Judah as in the earlier comments about the other tribal territories. However, the width of this sanctuary territory was 25,000 cubits, about 1,500 yards or a mile wide. The length was unspecified, which in itself is unusual. Nevertheless, it should be the size of one of the portions given to the other tribes. That could be very large. The sanctuary was to be right in the middle of this territory. Obviously, this was not part of the Joshua distribution, since there was no planned temple there.

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.