Borders of the Land

Dr. James Dobson reports the findings of an interesting study done on school children recently in his film series “Focus on the Family.” A group of educators decided to remove the chain-like fences from around the school playgrounds. They believed the fences promo … More


We are now to pass from the affairs of the sanctuary to those of the state, from the city to the country (vv. 13-20). The land had originally been divided amongst the people following their initial settlement in the promised land. Now, the prophet envisions  a new return from exile and a new division of territory amongst the chosen people. Although the boundaries are similar to those of other geographical accounts (Num. 34:1-12), the allocation of land to the tribes is quite different.

In the summary comments concerning the allocation of the land (vv. 21-23), a further new note is added. Formerly land had only been allocated to the tribes, and then subdivided amongst the other Hebrew members. But in the restored land, even aliens (immigrants) would be entitled to hold land and participate fully in life with their fellow countrymen. In reading this passage it is important to remember the context. The vision of a restored land is seen by one in exile; the prophet has no land and is cut off from the land to which he once belonged. Without permanent residence, he environs a time when all his people will live permanently once again in a God-given land. But Ezekiel is not only an exile, but also an alien. And as an alien in captivity, he has no special privileges and no right to hold land. But in the restored land of Israel, even aliens would have rights and privileges, provided by God.

Anyone who accepts the standards and is willing to obey may enjoy the blessings of God’s rule. It was this vision of a restored and better land that was to sustain the prophet and his companions in exile. But the deeper desire was not the land itself, of which the boundaries are described here in such detail, but rather it was the presence of God in the land.


More important than what I accumulate in this life or in the life to come is the presence of God in the land and just being in His presence.

Ezekiel 47:13-23 (English Standard Version)

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