The holy portions for the sanctuary priests (Ezek 48:9-48:10)

“The portion

That you shall set apart

For Yahweh

Shall be

Twenty-five thousand cubits

In length.

It shall be

Twenty thousand cubits

In width.

These shall be

The allotments

Of the holy portion.

The priests shall have

An allotment measuring

Twenty-five thousand cubits

On the northern side.

It shall be

Ten thousand cubits

In width

On the western side.

It shall be

Ten thousand cubits

In width

On the eastern side.

It shall be

Twenty-five thousand cubits

In length

On the southern side.

The sanctuary

Of Yahweh

Shall be

In the middle of it.”

Ezekiel clearly delineated this sacred territory that was set apart for Yahweh. This section was to be 25,000 cubits or about a mile long and 20.000 cubits wide or about ¾ of a mile wide. The priests shall have a section 25,000 by 10,000 cubits on the northern and western side. Then there would be another 25,000 by 10,000 cubits section on the southern and eastern side. Right in the middle of these two sections would be the sanctuary of Yahweh.

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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.

Wood as fuel for the fire (Ezek 15:4-15:5)

“The wood of the vine

Is put in the fire

For fuel.

When the fire

Has consumed

Both ends of it,

The middle of it

Is charred.

Is it useful

For anything?

When it was whole,

It was used

For nothing.

How much less,

When the fire

Has consumed it?

It is charred.

Can it ever

Be used

For anything!”

The allegory or parable of the piece of vine wood continued. What if someone put the wood in a fire for fuel? The fire then would consume both ends with the middle charred. Was it useful for anything? Even before it was put into the fire, it was not used for anything, so that it was useless before it was put in the fire. Now that the fire had consumed and charred this piece of vine wood, it was even more useless. It would never be able to be used for anything.

Go into exile (Ezek 12:1-12:3)

“The word of Yahweh

Came to me.

‘Son of man!

You are living

In the midst

Of a rebellious house!

They have eyes to see,

But they do not see!

They have ears to hear,

But they do not hear!

They are

A rebellious house!

Therefore,

Son of man!

Prepare for yourself

An exile’s baggage!

Go into exile

By day

In their sight!

You shall go

Like an exile

From your place

To another place

In their sight.

Perhaps

They will understand,

Though they are

A rebellious house.’”

Here is another oracle of Yahweh to Ezekiel, the son of man, filled with symbolism about the exile. Yahweh told Ezekiel that he was living in the middle of a rebellious house. These people had eyes to see, but they did not see. They had ears to hear, but they did not hear. Thus Ezekiel was going to prepare himself to go into exile with the baggage of an exile. He was to leave in plain sight during the day. He was to go from one place to another, so that everyone could see it. Perhaps the people of this rebellious house might understand what was going on.

The marvelous Red Sea experience (Wis 19:6-19:9)

“The whole creation

In its nature

Was fashioned anew.

It complies with your commands.

Thus your children might be kept unharmed.

The cloud was seen overshadowing the camp.

Dry land emerged

Where water had stood before.

There was an unhindered way

Out of the Red Sea.

There was a grassy plain

Out of the raging waves.

Those protected by your hand

They passed through as one nation.

After gazing on marvelous wonders.

They ranged like horses.

They leaped like lambs.

They praised you.

O Lord!

You delivered them.”

Creation itself helped the righteous Israelites as they complied with the commands of God to help his children (σοὶ παῖδες). There was a cloud (παρεμβολὴν) over the camp. Dry land emerged from the Red Sea (ἐρυθρᾶς θαλάσσης) as in Exodus, chapter 13. Here there is an explicit mention of the Red Sea as they passed through a grassy plain in the middle of the raging waters. God’s hand (χειρί) protected them as they passed through the Red Sea together like horses and lambs. They praised the Lord (Κύριε) for their deliverance.

Great knowledge (Wis 7:17-7:21)

“He gave me unerring knowledge

Of what exists.

I know the structure of the world.

I know the activity of the elements.

I know the beginning of times

I know the end of times.

I know the middle of times.

I know the alternations of the solstices.

I know the changes of the seasons.

I know the cycles of the year.

I know the constellations of the stars.

I know the natures of animals.

I know the tempers of wild animals.

I know the powers of spirits.

I know the thoughts of human beings.

I know the varieties of plants.

I know the virtues of roots.

I learned what is secret.

I leaned what is manifest.”

This author speaks about the encyclopedic wisdom of Solomon in the first person singular, once again based on 1 Kings, chapter 5. So what did this wise man Solomon know? He knew about the structure of the world, the activity of the elements, as well as the beginning, the end, and the middle of times. He knew about the alternations of the solstices, the changes of the seasons, the cycles of the year, and the constellations of the stars. He knew about the natures of animals, the tempers of wild animals, the powers of spirits, and the thoughts of human beings. He also knew about the varieties of plants and the virtues of roots as well as many secrets of the universe. He was the encyclopedia Encarta and the Google of his day.