1. Dan--The lands are divided into portions of ideal exactness, running alongside of each other, the whole breadth from west to east, standing in a common relation to the temple in the center: seven tribes' portions on the north, five in the smaller division in the south. The portions of the city, the temple, the prince, and the priesthood, are in the middle, not within the boundaries of any tribe, all alike having a common interest in them. Judah has the place of honor next the center on the north, Benjamin the corresponding place of honor next the center on the south; because of the adherence of these two to the temple ordinances and to the house of David for so long, when the others deserted them. Dan, on the contrary, so long locally and morally semi-heathen (Jud 18:1-31), is to have the least honorable place, at the extreme north. For the same reason, St. John (Re 7:5-8) omits Dan altogether.
3. Asher--a tribe of which no one of note is mentioned in the Old Testament. In the New Testament one is singled out of it, the prophetess Anna. 4. Manasseh--The intercourse and unity between the two and a half tribes east of the Jordan, and the nine and a half west of it, had been much kept up by the splitting of Manasseh, causing the visits of kinsmen one to the other from both sides of the Jordan. There shall be no need for this in the new order of things. 5. Ephraim--This tribe, within its two dependent tribes, Manasseh and Benjamin, for upwards of four hundred years under the judges held the pre-eminence. 6. Reuben--doomed formerly for incest and instability "not to excel" (Ge 49:4). So no distinguished prophet, priest, or king had come from it. Of it were the notorious Dathan and Abiram, the mutineers. A pastoral and Bedouin character marked it and Gad (Jud 5:16).
15-17. The five thousand rods, apportioned to the city out of the twenty-five thousand square, are to be laid off in a square of four thousand five hundred, with the two hundred fifty all around for suburbs. profane--that is, not strictly sacred as the sacerdotal portions, but applied to secular uses.
24. Benjamin--Compare Jacob's prophecy (Ge 49:27 De 33:12). It alone with Judah had been throughout loyal to the house of David, so its prowess at the "night" of the national history was celebrated as well as in the "morning." 25. Simeon--omitted in the blessing of Moses in De 33:1-29 perhaps because of the Simeonite "prince," who at Baal-peor led the Israelites in their idolatrous whoredoms with Midian (Nu 25:14). 26. Issachar--Its ancient portion had been on the plain of Esdraelon. Compared (Ge 49:14) to "a strong ass crouching between two burdens," that is, tribute and tillage; never meddling with wars except in self-defense. 31. gates--(Re 21:12, &c.). The twelve gates bear the names of the twelve tribes to imply that all are regarded as having an interest in it. 35. Lord is there--Jehovah-Shammah. Not that the city will be called so in mere name, but that the reality will be best expressed by this descriptive title (Jer 3:17 33:16 Zec 2:10 Re 21:3 22:3).