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Chapter 47

The Wonderful Stream.[a] Then he brought me back to the entrance of the temple, and there! I saw water flowing out from under the threshold of the temple toward the east, for the front of the temple faced east. The water flowed out toward the right side of the temple to the south of the altar.(A) He brought me by way of the north gate and around the outside to the outer gate facing east; there I saw water trickling from the southern side. When he continued eastward with a measuring cord in his hand, he measured off a thousand cubits and had me wade through the water; it was ankle-deep. He measured off another thousand cubits and once more had me wade through the water; it was up to the knees. He measured another thousand cubits and had me wade through the water; it was up to my waist. Once more he measured off a thousand cubits. Now it was a river I could not wade across. The water had risen so high, I would have to swim—a river that was impassable. Then he asked me, “Do you see this, son of man?” He brought me to the bank of the river and had me sit down. As I was returning, I saw along the bank of the river a great many trees on each side.(B) He said to me, “This water flows out into the eastern district, runs down into the Arabah and empties into the polluted waters of the sea[b] to freshen them.(C) Wherever it flows, the river teems with every kind of living creature; fish will abound. Where these waters flow they refresh; everything lives where the river goes. 10 Fishermen will stand along its shore from En-gedi to En-eglaim;[c] it will become a place for drying nets, and it will abound with as many kinds of fish as the Great Sea.(D) 11 Its marshes and swamps shall not be made fresh, but will be left for salt. 12 Along each bank of the river every kind of fruit tree will grow; their leaves will not wither, nor will their fruit fail. Every month they will bear fresh fruit because the waters of the river flow out from the sanctuary. Their fruit is used for food, and their leaves for healing.”(E)

The New Israel

Boundaries of the Land.[d]

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  1. 47:1–12 The life and refreshment produced wherever the Temple stream flows evoke the order and abundance of paradise (cf. Gn 1:20–22; 2:10–14; Ps 46:5) and represent the coming transformation Ezekiel envisions for the exiles and their land. Water signifies great blessings and evidence of the Lord’s presence (cf. Jl 2:14).
  2. 47:8 The sea: the Dead Sea, in which nothing can live. This vision of the Temple stream which transforms places of death into places of life is similar in purpose to the oracle of dry bones in 37:1–14: it offers the exiles hope for the future.
  3. 47:10 From En-gedi to En-eglaim: En-gedi is about halfway down the western shore of the Dead Sea; En-eglaim may have been at its northern end.
  4. 47:13–20 These boundaries for a restored Israel correspond to the boundaries of the Davidic kingdom at its fullest extent; they are the “ideal boundaries” of the promised land; cf. Nm 34:3–12.