“31 ¶ And the gates of the city [shall be] after the names of the tribes of Israel: three gates northward; one gate of Reuben, one gate of Judah, one gate of Levi. 32 And at the east side four thousand and five hundred: and three gates; and one gate of Joseph, one gate of Benjamin, one gate of Dan. 33 And at the south side four thousand and five hundred measures: and three gates; one gate of Simeon, one gate of Issachar, one gate of Zebulun. 34 At the west side four thousand and five hundred, [with] their three gates; one gate of Gad, one gate of Asher, one gate of Naphtali. 35 [It was] round about eighteen thousand [measures]: and the name of the city from [that] day [shall be], The LORD [is] there.” (Ezekiel 48:1-35 AV)
The share of the country for 7 *tribes to the north – Ezekiel 48:1-7
Verses 1-7 To the north of the *holy area will be the shares of 7 of the *tribes. The shares are all the same size. Each share goes from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River.
The *holy area – Ezekiel 48:8-12
Verses 8-12 To the south of Judah’s share there will be the *holy area of land. The total length of this area from east to west will be the same as the *tribe’s shares.
In this total area, there will be a square of 8.3 miles (13.4 kilometres). From the north of this square 3.3 miles (5.3 kilometres) width is for the *Levites. The next 3.3 miles (5.3 kilometres) width is for the *Lord. The last 1.7 miles (2.7 kilometres) is for the city.
The *Lord’s share will be for the Zadok priests. They will live there. But in the centre of it will be the *temple area.
An area for the *Levites – Ezekiel 48:13-14
Verses 13-14 The share for the *Levites is to the north of the *holy area. They will not be able to sell any of this land. It must remain the property of the *Levites. The *Lord will be the actual owner of the land.
The extent of the city – Ezekiel 48:14-20
Verses 14-20 South of the *holy area will be the 1.7 miles (2.7 kilometres) for the city. The city will be in a square of 1½miles (2.4 kilometres). This will be in the centre of this whole area. All round the city there will open ground 437½ feet (135 metres) wide. So, the city and its open ground make a square of 1.7 miles (2.7 kilometres). Beyond this square on each side, there will be land 3.3 miles (5.3 kilometres) by 1.7 miles (2.7 kilometres).
This land by the sides of the city area will be for farms. People from the *tribes will live in the city. Some of them will work here to provide food for the city.
The share of land for the prince – Ezekiel 48:21-22
Verses 21-22 The land on both sides of the *holy area (this includes the city area) will belong to the prince. He is the leader, under *Messiah, of the *Israelites. He is from the family of David. And like David, he loves and serves the *Lord with all his heart. His lands will be 8.3 miles (13.4 kilometres) from north to south.
The share of the country for 5 *tribes to the south – Ezekiel 48:23-29
Verses 23-29 To the south of the *holy area will be the shares of the other 5 *tribes. The shares are all the same size. Each share goes from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River.
Judah and Benjamin are next to the *holy area. This may be because these two *tribes were more loyal to the *temple than the other *tribes were.
The 12 *tribes come from the sons of Jacob. He had 8 sons by his two wives. Their shares will be next to the *holy area. To the north, there will be the shares for Judah, Reuben, and Joseph (Ephraim and Manasseh). To the south, there will be the shares for Benjamin, Simeon, Issachar and Zebulun.
Also, Jacob had sons from the maids of his wives. Their shares will be furthest from the *holy area. To the north, there will be Naphtali, Asher and Dan. To the far south, there will be the share of Gad.
Because of their cruelty, Jacob *prophesied against Simeon and Levi. They did not receive shares in the time of Joshua. They lived among the other *tribes. But in the future Simeon’s *tribe will have a share. It will be equal to the shares of the other *tribes. And Levi’s *tribe will have their place in the *holy area.
So all the *tribes will be there. They will all have their proper place in the country. No *tribe will have more land than another *tribe.
The City with 12 gates – Ezekiel 48:30-35
Verses 30-35 There will be three gates on each side of the city. The names of the gates will be the names of the *tribes.
The gates to the north will be Reuben, Judah and Levi. The gates to the east will be Joseph, Benjamin and Dan. Joseph was the father of Ephraim and Manasseh. So, Joseph’s name replaces their names here. The gates to the south will be Simeon, Issachar and Zebulun. The gates to the west will be Gad, Asher and Naphtali.
The gates to the north and the south have the names of Leah’s sons. She was one of Jacob’s wives. The gates to the east have the names of Rachel’s two sons and Dan. Rachel was the other wife of Jacob. Dan was the son of Rachel’s maid. The gates to the west have the names of Leah’s maid’s sons.
This city is for all the *Israelites. That is why the names of all the *tribes are on the gates.
For many centuries, the capital city of *Israel has been Jerusalem. That name means ‘the city of peace’. But the city has not often been peaceful. There have been many wars there. Only Jesus the *Messiah can bring about true peace that will last. And when he does, people from all the *tribes will live together peacefully in the capital city. And that city will have a new name, because the *Lord will be present with his people.
So, Ezekiel ends his *prophecy with the name of the city. Its name will be ‘the *Lord is there.’ The whole city, not just the *temple, has the *Lord’s name. This shows that there will be a new relationship between the *Lord and his people *Israel.