Ezekiel – Chapter 47

Dead Sea Fishing

By Rabbi Jack Abramowitz

The angel returned Ezekiel to the inner courtyard, where he saw water flowing from under the door in the east towards the south, and from there to the city. He exited by the northern gate, went around to the outer gate facing east, and the water continued to the south. The angel (who still had his tape measure, from chapter 40) went east and measured 1,000 cubits, then he led Ezekiel through ankle-deep water. He measured another 1,000 cubits, then led Ezekiel through knee-deep water. The angel measured another 1,000 cubits, then led Ezekiel through hip-deep water. Another thousand cubits, then the water was too deep to cross.

The angel asked Ezekiel if he had seen how the little trickle of water starting in the Temple grew into a mighty river. Ezekiel looked back and saw many trees growing on either bank of the stream. The angel told Ezekiel that the water would go down the eastern side of the mountain and go out to the seas, even healing the Dead Sea so that sea creatures might live there. Fish will become abundant and it will be a popular site for fishing. The banks of this new river will have many full fruit-trees. They will be especially prolific, since the water comes from the Temple, and the fruit will be good for cures.

The angel told Ezekiel that they were at the border by which the land would be re-divided. The angel then gave Ezekiel the borders of the land. (We won’t go into all the details here. Landmarks like the Mediterranean Sea, the Jordan River and Damascus would be pretty easy for us to identify here, but cities like Cheslon and Tzedad considerably less so.) The land is to be re-divided among the 12 Tribes (including the sons of Joseph as two tribes, and not Levi). This will be an inheritance for them and for those who converted to join them while still in exile; converts are to be treated as members of the Tribe which they joined, receiving a portion among them.

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