The Bible, Boundaries, and Walls by Jack Kettler
As in previous studies, we will look at definitions, scriptures, lexical, and commentary evidence for the purpose to glorify God in how we live. What does the Bible say about boundaries and borders? Are there modern day applications that we can learn from biblical boundaries and borders?
Thesaurus for Boundaries
Border, verge, rim, beginning, confines, limit, limits, bounds, radius, terminus, landmark, extremity, fence, compass, side, purlieus, hem, frame, skirt, line of demarcation, termination, margin, line, barrier, frontier, outpost, perimeter, extent, circumference, horizon, periphery
“Thou shalt not remove thy neighbour’s landmark, which they of old time have set in thine inheritance, which thou shalt inherit in the land that the LORD thy God giveth thee to possess it.” (Deuteronomy 19:14)
From Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary on Deuteronomy 19:14:
“19:14 Direction is given to fix landmarks in Canaan. It is the will of God that everyone should know his own; and that means should be used to hinder the doing and suffering of wrong. This, without doubt, is a moral precept, and still binding. Let every man be content with his own lot, and be just to his neighbours in all things.” (1)
“And I will set your border from the Red Sea to the Sea of the Philistines, and from the wilderness to the Euphrates, for I will give the inhabitants of the land into your hand, and you shall drive them out before you.” (Exodus 23:31 ESV)
“And the children of Israel heard say, Behold, the children of Reuben and the children of Gad and the half tribe of Manasseh have built an altar over against the land of Canaan, in the borders of Jordan, at the passage of the children of Israel.” (Joshua 22:11)
“Some remove the landmarks; they violently take away flocks, and feed thereof.” (Job 24:2)
From Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible on Job 24:2:
“Some remove the landmarks, anciently set to distinguish one man’s land from another, to secure property, and preserve from encroachments; but some were so wicked as either secretly in the night to remove them, or openly to do it, having power on their side, pretending they were wrongly located; this was not only prohibited by the law of God, and pronounced an accursed thing, Deuteronomy 19:14.” (2)
“These are the (boundaries by which you shall divide the land for inheritance among the twelve tribes of Israel.” Ezekiel 47:13)
“The princes of Judah are like those who move boundary markers; I will pour out my fury on them like water.” (Hosea 5:10 CSB)
From John Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible on Acts 17:26:
“All these are appointed times, and determined by the Creator and Governor of the world:
And the bounds of their habitation; where men shall dwell, and how long they shall continue there the age or distinct period of time, in which every man was, or is to come into the world, is fixed and determined by God; nor can, nor does anyone come into the world sooner or later than that time; and also the particular country, city, town, and spot of ground where he shall dwell; and the term of time how long he shall dwell there, and then remove to another place, or be removed by death. And to this agrees the Ethiopic version, which renders the whole thus, “and hath appointed his times, and his years, how long they shall dwell”; see Deuteronomy 32:8 to which the apostle seems to refer.” (3)
Thesaurus for Walls
Wall, partition, divider, dam, embankment, dike, ditch, bank, levee, stockade, fence, stone wall, drywall, stone fence, parapet, retainer, rampart, bulwark, palisade, fort, cliff, barricade, floodgate, sluice gate, paling
“The LORD our God also helped us conquer Aroer on the edge of the Arnon Gorge, and the town in the gorge, and the whole area as far as Gilead. No town had walls too strong for us.” (Deuteronomy 2:36 NLT)
“All these cities were fenced with high walls, gates, and bars; beside unwalled towns a great many.” (Deuteronomy 3:5)
“Solomon made a marriage alliance with Pharaoh King of Egypt. He took Pharaoh’s daughter and brought her into the city of David until he had finished building his own house and the house of the LORD and the wall around Jerusalem.” (1Kings 3:1 ESV)
“And he [Asa] said to Judah, “Let us build these cities and surround them with walls and towers, gates and bars. The land is still ours, because we have sought the LORD our God. We have sought him, and he has given us peace on every side.” So they built and prospered.” (2Chronicles 14:7 ESV)
“Now it came to pass, when Sanballat, and Tobiah, and Geshem the Arabian, and the rest of our enemies, heard that I had builded the wall, and that there was no breach left therein; (though at the time I had not set up the doors upon the gates).” (Nehemiah 6:1)
“So the wall was finished in the twenty and fifth day of the month Elul, in fifty and two days. And it came to pass, that when all our enemies heard thereof, and all the the heathen that were about us saw these things, they were much cast down in their own eyes: for they perceived that this work was wrought of our God.” (Nehemiah 6:15-16)
From Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers on Nehemiah 6:15-16:
“(15, 16) – The finishing of the wall is recorded in the simplest manner: first, with a formal specification of the date and time; then in its effect upon the enemies, and as redounding to t he glory of God.” (4)
“He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.” (Proverbs 25:28)
“In that day shall this song be sung in the land of Judah; we have a strong city; salvation will God appoint for walls and bulwarks.” (Isaiah 26:1)
“A day for the building of your walls! In that day, the boundary shall be far extended.” (Micah 7:11 ESV)
From Matthew Poole’s Commentary on Micah 7:11:
“These words are variously expounded, but the plainest and most suiting with the letter and history to me seems to be this:
In the day that thy walls are to be built, O Jerusalem, the days shall certainly come, that thy walls, overthrown and razed by the Babylonians, shall be rebuilt; which was first in part fulfilled under Cyrus, but more fully under Darius Hystaspes, and Darius Longimanus, who commissioned Nehemiah to repair the walls of Jerusalem.” (5)
“Blessed are they that do his commandments that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murders, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.” (Revelation 22:14-15)
Regarding the city, we see here in Revelation, a city that has gates also has walls.
Dictionaries – Easton’s Bible Dictionary – Wall
“Cities were surrounded by walls, as distinguished from “unwalled villages” (Ezekiel 38:11; Leviticus 25:29-34). They were made thick and strong (Numbers 13:28; Deuteronomy 3:5). Among the Jews walls were built of stone, some of those in the temple being of great size (1 Kings 6:7 ; 7:9-12 ; 20:30 ; Mark 13:1 Mark 13:2). The term is used metaphorically of security and safety (Isaiah 26:1; 60:18; Revelation 21:12-20). (See FENCE.)” (6)
The following from Torrey’s New Topical Textbook on walls is excellent:
Designed for separation – Ezekiel 43:8, Ephesians 2:14
Designed for defense – 1Samuel 25:16
MENTIONED IN SCRIPTURE
Of cities – Numbers 13:28
Of temples – 1Chronicles 29:4; Isaiah 56:5
Of houses – 1Samuel 18:11
Of vineyards – Numbers 22:24; Proverbs 24:31
Frequently made of stone and wood together – Ezra 5:8, Habakkuk 2:11
Were probably often strengthened with plates of iron or brass – Jeremiah 15:20; Ezekiel 4:3
Often very high – Deuteronomy 1:28; 3:5
Strongly fortified – Isaiah 2:15; 25:12
Had towers built on them – 2Chronicles 26:9; 32:5; Psalms 48:12; Solomon 8:10
Houses often built on – Joshua 2:15
Were broad and places of public resort – 2Kings 6:26 2Kings 6:30; Psalms 55:10
Were strongly manned in war – 2Kings 18:26
Kept by watchmen night and day – Solomon 5:7; Isaiah 62:6
Houses sometimes broken down to repair, and fortify – Isaiah 22:10
Danger of approaching too near to, in time of war – 2Samuel 11:20 2Samuel 11:21
Were battered by besieging armies – 2Samuel 20:15; Ezekiel 4:2 Ezekiel 4:3
Adroitness of soldiers in scaling alluded to – Joel 2:7-9
Sometimes burned – Jeremiah 49:27; Amos 1:7
Frequently laid in ruins – 2Chronicles 25:23; 36:19; Jeremiah 50:15
Destruction of, a punishment and cause of grief – Deuteronomy 28:52; Nehemiah 1:3; 2:12-17
The falling of sometimes occasioned great destruction – 1Kings 20:30
The bodies of enemies sometimes fastened on, as a disgrace – 1Samuel 31:10
Custom of dedicating – Nehemiah 12:27
Idolatrous rites performed on – 2Kings 3:27
Instances of persons let down from – Joshua 2:15; Acts 9:24 Acts 9:25; 2Corinthians 11:33
Small towns and villages were not surrounded by – Leviticus 25:31; Deuteronomy 3:5
Usually plastered – Ezekiel 13:10; Daniel 5:5
Had nails or pegs fastened into them when built – Ecclesiastes 12:11; Isaiah 22:23
Liable to leprosy – Leviticus 14:37
Often infested with serpents – Amos 5:19
Could be easily dug through – Genesis 49:6; Ezekiel 8:7 Ezekiel 8:8; 12:5
The seat next, was the place of distinction – 1Samuel 20:25
Hyssop frequently grew on – 1Kings 4:33
MIRACLES CONNECTED WITH
Falling of the walls of Jericho – Joshua 6:20
Handwriting on the wall of Belshazzar’s palace – Daniel 5:5 Daniel 5:25-28
Of salvation – Isaiah 26:1; 60:18
Of the protection of God – Zechariah 2:5
Of those who afford protection – 1Samuel 25:16; Isaiah 2:15
Of the Church as a protection to the nation – Song of Solomon 8:9 Song of Solomon 8:10
Of ordinances as a protection to the Church – Solomon 2:9; Isaiah 5:5
Of the wealth of the rich in his own conceit – Proverbs 18:11
(Brazen,) of prophets in their testimony against the wicked – Jeremiah 15:20
(Bowing or tottering,) of the wicked under judgments – Psalms 62:3; Isaiah 30:13
(Of partition,) of separation of Jews and Gentiles – Ephesians 2:14
(Daubed with untempered mortar,) of the teaching of false prophets – Ezekiel 13:10-15
(Whited,) of hypocrites – Acts 23:3” (7)
Comments and observations:
Do walls work?
There are at least 77 walls or fences around the world many that have been built after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in New York City and at the Pentagon. (8)
Great Wall of China
More than 13,000 miles long, the Great Wall of China is often called the longest feat of human engineering. The “Great Wall” is more than 2,000 years old and it took more than 1 million workers to build. The original purpose was to prevent incursions from barbarian nomads in the Third Century B.C.
Israel constructed a 400-mile wall in the West Bank in 2002 after a wave of attacks by Palestinian insurgents. Its 20 feet high, concrete wall topped with barbed wire
Israel’s Southern Immigration Border
Construction on the wall began in 2010 and finished in 2013, costing US$400 million for the relatively small 150-mile wall
In 2014, Saudi Arabia built a 550-mile-long wall with Iraq, a response to the rise of the Islamic State militants sweeping across parts of that country.
A 1,700-mile sand wall fortified and surrounded by millions of land mines was built by Morocco in 1975 along disputed, ungoverned territory on its border with Western Sahara.
Boundaries and borders are approved and sanctioned by God.
God “fixed the borders of the peoples” (Deuteronomy 32:8 ESV) and defined the borders of the Promised Land (Numbers 34:1-15; Ezekiel 47:13-23).
Boundaries or landmarks help preserve property integrity for the owners. In addition to private property owners, this would include individual states and national boundaries.
We are to watch for those who would harm us and defend ourselves (Exodus 22:2–3; Nehemiah 4:14; Esther 8:11; Proverbs 25:26; Luke 11:21).
Walls are necessary for defense and national security. In the modern world, walls are augmented by technology such as satellites, drones equipped with cameras, private security forces, police, and military personnel.
Transcendent or divine walls serve to draw boundaries between God’s people, and those outside of Christ’s Church. These spiritual walls would include church membership and privileges such as the Lord’s Supper to the exclusion of non-believers. It illustrate, in some churches, you have the doctrine of the fenced communion table. In most conservative churches you have control or guarding of who participates in communion. Metaphorically speaking there is a wall.
The Bill of Rights is a bulwark, or a “wall,” metaphorically speaking, against the fed gov and state intrusions.
“And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place.” (Acts 17:26 ESV)
1. Matthew Henry, Concise Commentary, Deuteronomy, (Nashville, Tennessee, Thomas Nelson), p. 330.
2. John Gill, Exposition of the Old and New Testaments, Job, (Grace Works, Multi-Media Labs), 2011, p. 500.
3. John Gill, Exposition of the Old and New Testaments, Acts, (Grace Works, Multi-Media Labs), 2011, p. 468.
4. Charles John Ellicott, Bible Commentary for English Readers, Nehemiah, Vol.3, (London, England, Cassell and Company), p. 493.
5. Matthew Poole’s Commentary on the Holy Bible, Micah, (Peabody, Massachusetts, Hendrickson Publishers, 1985) p. 955.
6. Easton’s Bible Dictionary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
7. Torrey, R.A., Reverand, The New Topical Text Book, “Entry for ‘Walls,”, 1897.
8. USA TODAY Published 5:01 a.m. ET May 24, 2018
“To God, only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen.” (Romans 16:27) and “heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3:28, 29)
Mr. Kettler has previously published articles in the Chalcedon Report and Contra Mundum. He and his wife Marea attend the Westminster, CO, RPCNA Church. Mr. Kettler is the author of the book defending the Reformed Faith against attacks, titled: The Religion That Started in a Hat. Available at: http://www.TheReligionThatStartedInAHat.com
For more study:
Immigration and Libertarianism https://www.lewrockwell.com/…/immigration-and-libertariani…/
The biblical case for closed borders https://www.washingtontimes.com/…/biblical-case-closed-bor…/
“The Bible is filled with examples of walls that are presented as a positive symbol of law and order. Our word for “city,” from the Latin cititas means a walled, protected space. The Hebrew qiryah, used to denote the cities in the Bible, has the exact same meaning. The people inside the walls were protected and allowed to prosper in peace. Cities where the walls have been torn down or reduced to rubble were unprotected and the result was chaos, lawlessness and misery. The victims of crime at the hand of illegal immigrants in so-called “sanctuary cities” can attest to this chaos, but still our Congress does not listen.”
The Bible and Borders is an excellent treatment border walls for personal and national security https://carm.org/can-christians-support-border-security-ope…
What Does Scripture Actually Say About Our Borders?
“Do you have locks on your doors? How about on your car? Got a fence so your kids can play safely? Do you have passwords on your computers? How about your bank accounts? Do you protect your credit card numbers? Your Social Security number? How about your medical records? Do you think curbs, guardrails and traffic lines are a good idea, or should people be able to drive anywhere and any way they want? How about security borders at the airport—necessary or optional?” Read more, https://www.charismanews.com/…/72205-what-does-scripture-ac…
Building walls may have allowed civilization to flourish https://www.nationalgeographic.com/…/wall-mexico-trump-boo…/