Tenure and Grant in Ezekiel’s Paradise (47:13-48:29)

in Vetus Testamentum
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The temple building program described in Ezekiel chapters 40-48 culminates in a description of paradisiacal national borders and internal tribal allotments in 47:13-48:29. David H. Engelhard was the first to tentatively identify the form of this pericope to be Ezekiel’s prophetic adaptation of the classical ancient Near Eastern royal grant. While this identification is a step in the right direction, I argue that 47:13-48:29 more closely follows the form of grants concerned with the tenure of temple lands, offerings, and sinecures surrounding the establishment or reinstitution of a temple cult. Unlike the classical grants of land in which the focus was on the gift of land, in 47:13-48:29 the focus is on the proper tenure of the temple. Thus Ezekiel’s particular description of land in these chapters serves to establish in a concrete manner the interrelationship between people, priests, prince, land, and temple in paradise.

Tenure and Grant in Ezekiel’s Paradise (47:13-48:29)

in Vetus Testamentum




Cf. David M. Morgan“Ezekiel and the Twelve: Similar Concerns as an Indication of a Shared Tradition?” Bulletin for Biblical Research 20 no. 3 (2010): p. 378.


Tuell pp. 18-20.


Iain M. DuguidEzekiel and the Leaders of Israel (Supplements to Vetus Testamentum V. 56; New York: E.J. Brill1994) pp. 1-2 p. 52.


Cf. Harold Brodsky“The Utopian Map in Ezekiel 48:1-35,” JBQ 34 no. 1 [2006]: pp. 20-6.


Cf. Engelhard pp. 49-50. The formula אשר נשאתי ידי-את לתתה לאבתיכם “which I swore with uplifted hand to give to your forefathers” (Ezek 47:14) clearly recalls the divine promises to Abraham Isaac and Jacob (cf. Exod 6:8 אשר נשאתי ידי-את לתת אתה לאברהם ליצחק וליעקב “which I swore with uplifted hand to give to Abraham to Isaac and to Jacob”).


Ibid. p. 49 pp. 54-6.


Weinfeld pp. 189-90.


G. R. DriverAramaic Documents of the Fifth Century B.C. (Oxford: Clarendon Press1954) nos. 2 and 8. For a discussion of the grants in these documents see H. Z. Szubin and Bazalel Porten “Royal Grants in Egypt: A New Interpretation of Driver 2” JNES 46 no. 1 (1987) pp. 39-48.


D. Arnaud“Deux kudurru de Larsa II. Étude épigraphique,” Revue d’ assyriologie et d’archéologie orientale 66 (1972): pp. 163-76. Translation in Slanski pp. 72-74. Translation line 8 records the first field and its four borders (10-12) 12 the second and its four borders (13-16) 17 the third field and its four borders (18-21) and 22 the fourth field and its four borders (23-25).


Cf. Baruch A. LevineNumbers 1-20 (ABC; New York: Doubleday1993) p. 150; Jacob Milgrom Numbers במדבר: The Traditional Hebrew Text with the New JPS Translation (The JPS Torah Commentary; Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society 1990) pp. 340-2.


Weinfeld pp. 185-6.


Julius WellhausenProlegomena to the History of Ancient Israel (New York, NY: Meridian Books1957) pp. 121-7.


Rodney K. Duke“Punishment or Restoration? Another Look at the Levites of Ezekiel 44:6-16,” JSOT 40 (1988): p. 61. Concerning the differentiation of priest and Levite as representing the typical cultic structure cf. also Tuell pp. 131-2; Duguid pp. 75-80.


Levenson p. 113. “[The prince] was to be what Aaron is in P’s theology the foremost organ of the congregation before God” p. 143.


Duguid pp. 51-4.


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