48:1–29 In Ezekiel’s vision the allotment of the land among the tribes is different from what it was historically. Each tribe is allotted a horizontal strip of land connecting with the eastern and western borders. The status of Jacob’s wives and of the individual tribes seem to be the determining factors in the arrangement of the tribes; cf. Num. 2; 3. The northernmost tribes (Dan, Asher, and Naphtali) were traditionally located in the north; the southernmost tribe (Gad, v. 27) was historically a northern tribe. These four tribes are the sons of Leah’s servant Zilpah and Rachel’s servant Bilhah (Gen. 30:3–8, 10–13); as such they are located at the outer extremities of the tribal allotments in Ezekiel’s vision.
Judah is the closest tribe north of the sacred area in the center of the land (vv. 8–22; 45:1–8). Judah was historically a southern tribe; by presenting the tribe of David as part of the northern tribes, Ezekiel may be saying in effect that the North will have a portion in David (cf. 2 Sam. 20:1; 1 Kin. 12:16; 2 Chr. 10:16). Judah is in the place of honor that would have belonged to the firstborn Reuben; Reuben is immediately north of Judah. Next are the two tribes of Joseph, Ephraim and Manasseh, descendants of Jacob through the favored wife Rachel.
The nearest tribe south of the sacred area is Benjamin. Its favored place reflects the favored status of Rachel and balances the favored position of the Joseph tribes in the north. The remaining three southern tribes (Simeon, Issachar, and Zebulun) are the descendants of Leah; Issachar, Zebulun, and Benjamin historically held allotments in the north.
Step 1 - Create an account or log in to start your free trial.
Starting your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus is easy. You’re already logged in with your Bible Gateway account. The next step is to enter your payment information. Your credit card won’t be charged until the trial period is over. You can cancel anytime during the trial period.
Click the button below to continue.
Step 1 - Create an account or log in to start your subscription.
You’ve already claimed your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus. To subscribe at our regular subscription rate of $3.99/month, click the button below.
Upgrade to remove banner ads and unlock new features!
You've successfully created your account! For the best Bible Gateway experience, consider an upgrade to Bible Gateway Plus. For less than the cost of a latte each month, you'll get reduced banner ads and a huge digital Bible study library. Try it free for 30 days!