Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 1. By lot. Manuscript 2 reads bogurl; (printed benachala) so the Vulgate sortito. (Kennicott) — Hebrew, “when you shall make the land fall,” which usually implies by lot: yet the partition was not made thus, (chap. xlviii. 1.) nor at all, (Calmet) otherwise the prophet might mention how the lots would have fallen to Dan, in the north, &c. (Haydock) — The Jews either could not comply, or did not take this to be a command. If they had returned all together, they might probably have put it in execution. But many of them preferred staying where they had gotten a settlement, and the rest only returned in small parties, some not before the reign of Alexander [the Great]. Those who arrived first, occupied as much as possible their ancient limits, 1 Esdras iii. 1., and 2 Esdras viii., and xi. (Calmet) — Thousand: reeds, or cubits. (Challoner) — Many prefer the latter, which is specified [in] ver. 2., (Haydock) as it agrees with the dimensions of the temple, chap. xlii. 16. If reeds or toises were meant, the city would be disproportionate with the rest of the divisions: 50,000 would make 25 leagues, of 2,500 paces each; and if each tribe had as much, the country must have comprised 325 leagues, whereas from Emath to Cadesbarne (chap. xlvii. 17.) there at[are?] not above 150. (Calmet) — To form an idea of the proposed partition, we must suppose the country reached from a little north of Emesa, on the Orontes, to Cadesbarne south, and from the Mediterranean to Damascus, or a little farther east, and beyond the sources of Jazer. 1. Dan, 2. Aser, 3. Nephthali, 4. Manasses, 5. Ephraim, 6. Ruben, and 7. Juda, had about equal portions with that designed for 8. the temple, the Levites, and prince, whose southern limits reached almost to Accaron and the Dead Sea. 9. Benjamin, 10. Simeon, 11. Issachar, 12. Zabulon, and 13. Gad, had each about half the quantity of the others, though the tribes occupied the whole extent from east to west, their lots being marked out by parallel lines. Between Juda and Benjamin, a square of 500 cubits was assigned for the temple; another square of 4,500, or 18,000 in circuit, lay round the former for the city of the Levites: round this were suburbs 250 cubits broad, walled about, and having three gates on each side. Next them dwelt their lay servants, in a space 5,000 cubits broad, and 25,000 long, from east to west. A plot of ground on the north and south, sufficient to complete this square was to support them with provisions. On the east side of the Jordan, and on the west of this square for the priests and their servants, two portions almost of equal dimensions with it, were appropriated to the prince. His lot was 25,000 cubits long, and 12,500 broad, chap. xlviii. 21. See Calmet’s plan. (Haydock) — About. It could not be alienated to private men, or for any other purpose. (Worthington)
Ver. 2. Suburbs. Hebrew also, “vacant spaces.”
Ver. 3. Measure, from the centre of the temple; so that the dimensions given must be doubled, (chap. xlviii. 10.) as also ver. 5.
Ver. 4. Place. There the priests shall dwell.
Ver. 5. Chambers for the Levites on duty. Septuagint read, “towns.” But only one seems to be specified, 18,000 cubits in circumference.
Ver. 6. According. Hebrew, “along or (Calmet) over-against the oblation of the holy portion.” (Protestants) — Israel, destined to serve the priests. (Haydock)
Ver. 7. Border. Two equal lots, one on the east and the other on the west, were assigned the prince, each 20,000 cubits broad, and 12,500 long, chap. xlviii. 21. (Calmet) — He dwelt near the priests, for their protection; as the people were on both sides of him, that he might sustain no injury. (Worthington)
Ver. 8. Rob. Instead of their right, (1 Kings viii. 11.) the source of continual vexations, a certain revenue is specified, ver. 13.
Ver. 9. Confines: encroach not. (Calmet) — Hebrew and Septuagint, “take away your oppressions;” (Haydock) Chaldean, “scandals.” (Calmet)
Ver. 11. The ephi and the bate. These measures were of equal capacity; but the bate served for liquids, and the ephi for dry things, (Challoner) ver. 13, 14. (Worthington) — Ezechiel specifies the measures, that the people might not use those of Babylon, after their return.
Ver. 12. Sicles. It would be shorter to say, “sixty sicles make a mna.”
Ver. 13. Take, for the prince’s revenue. He had the sixtieth part of corn and of oil; or rather (Calmet) he had an exact tithe of the latter, ver. 14. (Chaldean) (Menochius)
Ver. 15. One ram. He shall receive the tithe of sheep, &c., and take one out of two hundred, on condition that he furnish victims, ver. 17. (Calmet) — The obligation was mutual. St. Jerome explains it of the high priest and people. (Worthington)
Ver. 17. Holocaust. This was given before perhaps gratis, 2 Paralipomenon xxxi. 3. Solomon and Ezechias shewed great magnificence. After the captivity the people laid on the third of a sicle per head, as this order was not observed, 2 Esdras x. 32.
Ver. 18. Take, or order the priests to do this annually, to prepare for the Passover, ver. 21. Moses mentions nothing of this, and it does not appear to have been put in execution. (Calmet) — Yet it might be the first year after the dedication of the temple. The prophet does not say it was to be done every year. (Haydock)
Ver. 20. Seventh, or so many days before the solemn feast. Septuagint, “on the first of the seventh month,” the feast of trumpets, Numbers xxix. 1. (Calmet)
Ver. 24. Sacrifice. Hebrew mincha, flour. Protestants, “meat offering.” (Haydock)
Ver. 25. Day: the feast of tabernacles, to be observed like the Pasch, Numbers xxix. 12. (Calmet)
Bible Text & Cross-references:
Portions of land for the sanctuary, for the city, and for the prince. Ordinances for the prince.
1 And when you shall begin to divide the land by lot, separate ye first-fruits to the Lord, a portion of the land to be holy, in length twenty-five thousand and in breadth ten thousand: it shall be holy in all the borders thereof round about.
2 And there shall be for the sanctuary on every side five hundred by five hundred, four-square round about: and fifty cubits for the suburbs thereof round about.
3 And with this measure thou shalt measure the length of five and twenty thousand, and the breadth of ten thousand, and in it shall be the temple, and the holy of holies.
4 The holy portion of the land shall be for the priests, the ministers of the sanctuary, who come near to the ministry of the Lord: and it shall be a place for their houses, and for the holy place of the sanctuary.
5 And five and twenty thousand of length, and ten thousand of breadth shall be for the Levites, that minister in the house: they shall possess twenty store-chambers.
6 And you shall appoint the possession of the city five thousand broad, and five and twenty thousand long, according to the separation of the sanctuary, for the whole house of Israel.
7 For the prince also on the one side and on the other side, according to the separation of the sanctuary, and according to the possession of the city, over-against the separation of the sanctuary, and over-against the possession of the city: from the side of the sea even to the sea, and from the side of the east even to the east. And the length according to every part from the west border to the east border.
8 He shall have a portion of the land in Israel: and the princes shall no more rob my people: but they shall give the land to the house of Israel, according to their tribes.
9 Thus saith the Lord God: Let it suffice you, O princes of Israel: cease from iniquity and robberies, and execute judgment and justice, separate your confines from my people, saith the Lord God.
10 You shall have just balances, and a just ephi, and a just bate.
11 The ephi and the bate shall be equal, and of one measure: that the bate may contain the tenth part of a core, and the ephi the tenth part of a core: their weight shall be equal according to the measure of a core.
12 *And the sicle hath twenty obols. Now twenty sicles, and five and twenty sicles, and fifteen sicles make a mna.
13 And these are the first-fruits, which you shall take: the sixth part of an ephi of a core of wheat, and the sixth part of an ephi of a core of barley.
14 The measure of oil also, a bate of oil is the tenth part of a core: and ten bates make a core: for ten bates fill a core.
15 And one ram out of a flock of two hundred, of those that Israel feedeth for sacrifice, and for holocausts, and for peace-offerings, to make atonement for them, saith the Lord God.
16 All the people of the land shall be bound to these first-fruits, for the prince in Israel.
17 And the prince shall give the holocaust, and the sacrifice, and the libations on the feasts, and on the new moons, and on the sabbaths, and on all the solemnities of the house of Israel: he shall offer the sacrifice for sin, and the holocaust, and the peace-offerings, to make expiation for the house of Israel.
18 Thus saith the Lord God: In the first month, the first of the month, thou shalt take a calf of the herd, without blemish, and thou shalt expiate the sanctuary.
19 And the priest shall take of the blood of the sin-offering: and he shall put it on the posts of the house, and on the four corners of the brim of the altar, and on the posts of the gate of the inner court.
20 And so shalt thou do in the seventh day of the month, for every one that hath been ignorant, and hath been deceived by error, and thou shalt make expiation for the house.
21 In the first month, the fourteenth day of the month, you shall observe the solemnity of the Pasch: seven days unleavened bread shall be eaten.
22 And the prince on that day shall offer for himself, and for all the people of the land, a calf for sin.
23 And in the solemnity of the seven days he shall offer for a holocaust to the Lord, seven calves, and seven rams without blemish daily, for seven days: and for sin a he-goat daily.
24 And he shall offer the sacrifice of an ephi for every calf, and an ephi for every ram: and a hin of oil for every ephi.
25 In the seventh month, in the fifteenth day of the month, in the solemn feast, he shall do the like for the seven days: as well in regard to the sin-offering, as to the holocaust, and the sacrifice, and the oil.
12: Exodus xxx. 13.; Leviticus xxvii. 25.; Numbers iii. 47.