Biblical commentary the Old Testament/Volume V. Greater Prophets/Ezekiel 1-28

Biblical commentary the Old Testament  (1892)  by Franz Delitzsch
Ezekiel 1-28

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The Prophecies of Ezekiel Edit

Introduction Edit

I. The Person of the Prophet Edit

Ezekiel, יחזקאל (Ezekiel 1:3; 24:24), i.e., יחזק אל, God strengthens, ̓Ιεζεκιήλ (lxx and Book of Sirach, ch. 49:8), in the Vulgate Ezechiel, while Luther, after the example of the lxx, writes the name Hesekiel, was the son of Busi, of priestly descent, and was carried away captive into exile to Babylon in the year 599 b.c. - i.e., in the eleventh year before the destruction of Jerusalem - along with King Jehoiachin, the nobles of the kingdom, many priests, and the better class of the population of Jerusalem and of Judah (Eze 1:2; Eze 40:1; cf. 2Ki 24:14.; Jer 29:1). He lived there in the northern part of Mesopotamia, on the banks of the Chaboras, married, and in his own house, amidst a colony of banished Jews, in a place called Tel-abib (Eze 1:1; Eze 3:15, Eze 3:24; Eze 8:1; Eze 24:18). In the fifth year of his banishment, i.e., 595 b.c., he was called to be a prophet of the Lord, and laboured in this official position, as may be shown, twenty-two years; for the latest of his prophecies is dated in the twenty-seventh year of his exile, i.e., 572 b.c. (Eze 29:17). Regarding the other circumstances and events of his life, as also of his death, nothing is known. The apocryphal legends found in the Fathers and in the Rabbinical writings, to the effect that he was put to death by a prince of his own nation for rebuking his idolatry, and was buried in the tomb of Shem and Arphaxad, etc. (cf. Carpzov, Introd. ii. p. 203ff.), are without any historical value. So much

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alone is certain, that he ended his life among the exiles, where God had assigned him his sphere of labour, and did not, like his contemporary Daniel (comp. Dan 1:21; Dan 10:1), outlive the termination of the Captivity and the commencement of the redemption of Israel from Babylon, as his prophecies do not contain the slightest allusion to that effect.

II. The Times of the Prophet Edit

Ezekiel, like Daniel, is a prophet of the exile, but in a different fashion from the latter, who had been already carried away prisoner before him to Babylon on the first capture of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar in the reign of Jehoiakim, and who lived there upwards of seventy years at the Babylonian and Medo-Persian court, and who held from time to time very important offices of State. Daniel was placed by God in this high position, which afforded him a view of the formation and evolution of the world-kingdom, in order that from this standpoint he might be enabled to see the development of the world-kingdoms in the struggle against the kingdom of God, and to predict the indestructible power and glory of the latter kingdom, which overcomes all the powers of the world. Ezekiel, on the other hand, was appointed a watcher over the exiled nation of Israel, and was in this capacity to continue the work of the earlier prophets, especially that of Jeremiah, with whom he in several ways associates himself in his prophecies; to preach to his contemporaries the judgment and salvation of God, in order to convert them to the Lord their God. - Rightly to understand his work as a prophet, the ripe fruit of which lies before us in his prophetic writings, we must not only keep in view the importance of the exile for the development of the kingdom of God, but also form a clear conception of the relations amidst which Ezekiel carried on his labours.
What the Lord had caused to be announced by Moses to the tribes of Israel while they were yet standing on the borders of

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the Promised Land, and preparing to take possession of it, viz., that if they should persistently transgress His commands, He would not only chastise them with heavy punishments, but would finally drive them out of the land which they were about to occupy, and disperse them among all nations (Lev 26:14-45; Deut 28:15-68) - this threatening, repeated by all the prophets after Moses, had been already executed by the Assyrians upon the ten tribes, who had revolted from the house of David, and was now in process of fulfilment by the Chaldeans upon the kingdom of Judah also. In the reign of Jehoiakim, Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, for the first time invaded Judah, captured Jerusalem, made Jehoiakim tributary, and carried away to Babylon a number of Israelitish youths of noble birth and of the blood-royal, amongst whom was Daniel, along with a portion of the vessels of the temple, in order that these youths might be trained up for the service of his court (Dan 1:1-7). With this invasion of the Chaldeans begin the seventy years of Chaldean servitude and exile in Babylon, predicted by Jeremiah. As Jehoiakim, so early as three years afterwards, revolted against Nebuchadnezzar, the latter, after a lengthened siege, took Jerusalem a second time, in the third month of the reign of Jehoiachin, and carried away into captivity to Babylon, along with the captive monarch and the members of his court, the nobles of Judah and Jerusalem, a great number of priests, warriors, carpenters, and smiths, leaving behind in the land only the meaner portion of the people, over whom he appointed as his vassal King Mattaniah, the uncle of the banished monarch, whose name he changed to Zedekiah (2Ki 24:10-17; Jer 29:2). By this removal of the heart and strength of the nation the power of the kingdom of Judah was broken; and although Nebuchadnezzar did not at that time destroy it, but still allowed it to remain as a subject kingdom under his sway, yet its existence could not be of any long duration. Judah had fallen too deeply to recognise in the calamities which she had suffered the

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chastening hand of her God, and to bow herself repentantly under His mighty arm. Instead of listening to the voice of the prophet Jeremiah, and bearing the Chaldean yoke in patience (2Ch 36:12), both monarch and people placed their trust in the assistance of Egypt, and Zedekiah broke the oath of fealty which he had sworn to the king of Babylon. To punish this perfidy, Nebuchadnezzar again marched against Jerusalem, and by the capture and burning of the city and temple in the eleventh year of Zedekiah's reign put an end to the kingdom of Judah. Zedekiah, who had fled from the beleaguered city, was taken by the Chaldeans, and brought with his sons to Riblah into the presence of King Nebuchadnezzar, who first caused the sons of Zedekiah to be put to death before the eyes of their father; next, Zedekiah himself to be deprived of sight, and then commanded the blind monarch to be conducted in chains to Babylon (2 Kings 25:1-21; Jer 52:1-30). Many military officers and priests of rank were also put to death at Riblah; while those who had been taken prisoners at Jerusalem, along with the deserters and a great portion of the rest of the people, were led away into exile to Babylon (2 Kings 25:1-21; Jer 52:1-30). By this catastrophe the Old Testament theocracy lost its political existence; the covenant people were now driven out of their own land amongst the heathen, to bear the punishment of their obstinate apostasy from the Lord their God. Nevertheless this dispersion among the heathen was no entire rejection of Israel; it was merely a suspension, and not an annihilation, of the covenant of grace. Man's unfaithfulness cannot destroy the faithfulness of God. “In spite of this terrible judgment, brought down upon them by the heaviest transgressions, Israel was, and remained,” - as Auberlen (The Prophet Daniel, p. 27, 2nd ed.) well remarks - ”the chosen people, through whom God was still to carry out His intentions towards humanity. His gifts and calling may not be repented of” (Rom 11:29). Even after the Babylonian exile the theocracy was not again restored; the covenant people

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did not after their return again recover their independence, but remained, with the exception of the short period when under the Maccabees they won for themselves their freedom, in constant dependence upon the heathen world-rulers, until, after the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans, they were completely dispersed among all the nations of the earth. The kingdom of God, however, was not really to perish along with the external theocracy; it was only to pass into a new phase of development, which was intended to be the medium of transition towards its renewal and perfection in that kingdom of God which was to be founded by Christ. To pave the way to this end, and at the same time to serve as a witness to the exiles, that Israel, notwithstanding its dispersion among the heathen, still remained God's people, the Lord raised up in Ezekiel, the son of a priest, a prophet of uncommon power and energy in the midst of the captives, “one who raised his voice aloud, like a trumpet, and showed to Israel its misdeeds - whose whole manifestation furnished the most powerful testimony that the Lord was still amongst His people; who was himself a temple of the Lord, before whom the visible temple, which yet remained standing for a short time at Jerusalem, sank back into its nothingness; a spiritual Samson, who seized with mighty arm the pillars of the idol temple, and dashed it to the ground; a powerful, gigantic nature, which was fitted by that very qualification to effectually subdue the Babylonian spirit of the time, which delighted in powerful, gigantic, and grotesque forms; standing alone, but equal to a hundred of the sons of the prophets” (Hengstenberg's Christol. II. p. 531).
The call of Ezekiel to the prophetic office took place in the fifth year of the reign of Zedekiah, in the fourth month of the year (Eze 1:1-2), at a point of time when, amongst those who had remained behind in the land, as well as amongst those who had been carried to Babylon, the hope of the speedy downfall to the Babylonian monarchy, and of the return of the exiles to their native country, which was then to follow, was very strong,

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and was powerfully encouraged by the lying statements of false prophets; cf. Jer 29. In the same year and month prophesied Hananiah, a prophet from Gibeon, in the temple at Jerusalem, before the eyes of the priests and the whole people, saying that Jehovah would break the yoke of the king of Babylon, and within two years bring back to Jerusalem all the temple-vessels carried away by Nebuchadnezzar, as well as King Jechoniah and all the captives who had been brought to Babylon, Jer 28:1-4. And the prophet Jeremiah, who with the word of the Lord rebuked and opposed those lying predictions and empty hopes, and foretold that the Babylonian servitude would be of long duration, was violently assailed and persecuted by the lying prophets, even by those of them who were to be found in Babylon; cf. Jer 28:5-17; Jer 29:21-32. This delusion regarding the political condition of affairs, this spirit of resistance to the decree of the Lord, had seized not only upon the people, but also upon the nobles and the king, so that they formed and eagerly carried on conspiracies against the king of Babylon. The meeting of the kings of Edom, Moab, Ammon, Tyre, and Sidon, with Zedekiah in Jerusalem, had no other object than this (Jer 27:3). The embassy, moreover, sent by Zedekiah to Babylon (Jer 24:3), as well as his own journey thither in the fourth year of his reign (Jer 51:59), were intended merely to deceive the king of Babylon, by assurances of devotion and fidelity, in order that the intended revolt might be carried out. But this baseless hope of a speedy liberation from the Babylonian yoke was ignominiously disappointed: in consequence of the treacherous rebellion of Zedekiah, Nebuchadnezzar, after a blockade and siege of a year and a half, captured Jerusalem, burnt the city and temple to the ground, and destroyed the kingdom of Judah. By this blow all the supports upon which the God-alienated nation had vainly relied were broken. The delusive statements of the false prophets had proved to be lies; the predictions of the Lord's prophets, on the contrary, had been strikingly

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justified as divine truth. The destruction of Jerusalem, the burning of the temple, and the downfall of the kingdom, form accordingly a turning-point for the prophetic labours of Ezekiel. Hitherto, prior to the calamity, he had to announce to the people (animated with the hope of speedy liberation from exile) the judgment of the downfall of Jerusalem and Judah, although such preaching found little acceptance. The time, however, had now arrived when, in order to preserve from despair the nation languishing in exile, and given over to the scorn, contempt, and tyranny of the heathen, he was able to open up the sources of comfort by announcing that the Lord, in requital of the ignominy heaped upon His people, would overwhelm all the heathen nations with destruction, but that, if His people whom they had oppressed would repent and return to Him, He would again gather them out of their dispersion; would make of them a holy nation, walking in His commands and yielding Him a willing service; would conduct them back to their own land; would give them His servant David for a prince, and once more gloriously establish His kingdom.

III. The Book of Ezekiel Edit

The collection of the prophecies placed together in this book, as forming a complete unity, falls into two main divisions: - I. Announcements of judgment upon Israel and the heathen nations, Ezekiel 1-32; II. Announcements of salvation for Israel, Ezekiel 33-48. Each of these main divisions is subdivided into two sections. The first, namely, contains the prophecies of judgment (a) upon Jerusalem and Israel, Eze 3:22-24; (b) upon the heathen nations, Ezekiel 25-32. The second main division contains (c) the predictions of the redemption and restoration of Israel, and the downfall of the heathen world-power, Ezekiel 33-39; (d) the prophetic picture of the re-formation and exaltation of the kingdom of God, Ezekiel 40-48; and the entire collection opens

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with the solemn dedication of Ezekiel to the prophetic office, Ezekiel 1:1-3:21. The prophecies of the first, third, and fourth parts are throughout arranged in chronological order; those of the second part - the threatenings predicted against the heathen nations - are disposed according to their actual subject-matter. This is attested by the chronological data in the superscriptions, and confirmed by the contents of the whole of the groups of prophecies in the first three parts. The first part contains the following chronological notices: the fifth year of the captivity of Jehoiachin (Eze 1:2) as the time of Ezekiel's call to the office of prophet, and of the first predictions regarding Jerusalem and Israel; then the sixth (Eze 8:1), seventh (Eze 20:1), and ninth years of the captivity of that monarch (Eze 24:1). The second part contains the predictions against seven foreign nations, of which those against Tyre fall in the eleventh (Eze 26:1), those against Egypt in the tenth (Eze 39:1), twenty-seventh (Eze 29:17), eleventh (Eze 30:20 and Eze 31:1), and twelfth years of the exile. Of the two last parts, each contains only one chronological notice, namely, Eze 33:21, the twelfth year of the captivity, i.e., one year after the destruction of Jerusalem; and Eze 40:1, the twenty-fifth year of the captivity, or the fourteenth after the destruction of Jerusalem. The remaining prophecies, which bear at their head no note of time, connect themselves closely as to their contents with those which are furnished with chronological data, so that they belong to the same period with those. From this it appears that the prophecies of the first part wholly, those of the second part to a great extent, date before the destruction of Jerusalem; those of the third and fourth parts proceed from the time after this catastrophe. This chronological relationship is in favour of the view that the prophecies against foreign nations, Ezekiel 25-32, are not - as the majority of expositors suppose - to be assigned to the second, but rather to the first half of the book. This view is confirmed, on the one hand, by the contents of the prophecies,

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inasmuch as these, without an exception, announce only the downfall of the heathen nations and kingdoms, making no reference to the future forgiveness and conversion of the residue of these nations, and through this very peculiarity connect themselves closely with the prophecies of threatening against Israel in the first part; on the other hand, by the resemblance which exists between Ezekiel 30:1-20 and Eze 3:16-21, compared with Eze 18:19-32, and which leaves no doubt upon the point that Ezekiel 33:1-20 marks out to the prophet the task which was to occupy his attention after the destruction of Jerusalem, and consequently forms the introduction to the second half of his prophecies. - For further remarks upon the contents and subdivisions of the book, see the expositions in the introductory observations to the individual sections and chapters.
Ezekiel's style of prophetic representation has many peculiarities. In the first place, the clothing of symbol and allegory prevails in him to a greater degree than in all the other prophets; and his symbolism and allegory are not confined to general outlines and pictures, but elaborated in the minutest details, so as to present figures of a boldness surpassing reality, and ideal representations, which produce an impression of imposing grandeur and exuberant fulness. Even the simplest prophetic discourse is rich in imagery, and in bold, partly even strange, comparisons, and branches out into a copiousness which strives to exhaust the subject on all sides, in consequence of which many peculiar expressions and forms are repeated, rendering his language diffuse, and occasionally even clumsy. These peculiarities of his style of representation it has been attempted, on the one hand, to explain by the influence of the Babylonian spirit and taste upon the form of his prophecy; while others, again, would regard them as the result of a literary art, striving to supply the defect of prophetic spirit, and the failing power of the living word, by the aid of learning and an elaborate imitation of actual life. The supposed Babylonian

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spirit, however, in the forms of our prophet's symbolism, has no existence. The assertion of Hävernick, that “the whole of these symbols has a colossal character, which points in many ways to those powerful impressions experienced by the prophet in a foreign land - Chaldea - and which here are grasped and given out again with a mighty and independent spirit,” remains yet to be proved. For the observation that these symbols, in reference to form and contents, resemble in many respects the symbols of his contemporary Daniel, is not sufficient for the purpose, and cannot in itself be accepted as the truth, by reference to the picture of the eagle, and the comparison of rich men to trees, cedars, in Ezekiel 17, because these pictures already occur in the older prophets, and lions as well as cedars are native in Palestine. Just as little are Babylonian impressions to be recognised in the vision of the field with the dead men's bones, Ezekiel 37, and of the new temple, Ezekiel 40, so that there only remains the representation of the cherubim with four faces, in Ezekiel 1 and 10, which is peculiar to Ezekiel, as presumptive evidence of Chaldean influence. But if we leave out of account that the throne, upon which the Lord appears in human form, indisputably forms the central point of this vision, and this central point has no specific Babylonian impress, then the representation of the cherubim with faces of men, lions, oxen, and eagles, cannot be derived from the contemplation of the Assyrian or Chaldean sculptures of human figures with eagle heads and wings, or winged oxen with human heads, or sphinxes with bodies of animals and female heads, such as are found in the ruins of ancient Nineveh, inasmuch as the cherubim of Ezekiel were not pictures of oxen with lions' manes, eagles' wings, and human countenances furnished with horns - as W. Neumann has still portrayed them in his treatise upon the tabernacle - but had, according to Ezekiel, Eze 1:5, the human form. There are indeed also found, among the Assyrian sculptures, winged human figures; but these Ezekiel had no reason to

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copy, because the cherubic images in human form, belonging toe Solomon's temple, lay much nearer to his hand. The whole of Ezekiel's symbolism is derived from the Israelitish sanctuary, and is an outcome of Old Testament ideas and views. As the picture of the idea temple in Ezekiel 40ff. is sketched according to the relations of Solomon's temple, which was burnt by the Chaldeans, so the elements for the description of the majestic theophany, in Ezekiel 1 and 10, are contained in the throne of Jehovah, which was above the cherubim, who were over the covering of the ark of the covenant; and in the phenomena amid which was manifested the revelation of the divine glory at the establishment of the covenant on Sinai. On the basis of these facts, Isaiah had already represented to himself the appearance of the Lord, as a vision, in which he beholds Jehovah in the temple, sitting on a high and lofty throne, and, standing around the throne, seraphim with six wings, who began to sing, “Holy, holy” (Isa 6:1-13). This symbolism we find modified in Ezekiel, so as to correspond with the aim of his vocation, and elaborated to a greater extent. The manner in which he works out this vision and other symbols certainly gives evidence of his capacity to describe, distinctly and attractively in words, what he had beheld in spirit; although the symbolism itself is, just as little as the vision, a mere product of poetic art, or the subjective framework of a lively fancy, without any real objective foundation; for it rests, in harmony with its contents and form, upon views which are spiritually real, i.e., produced by the Spirit of God in the soul of the prophet, in which the art of the author is reduced to a faithful and distinct reproduction of what had been seen in the spirit.
It is only the abundance of pictures and metaphors, which is in this respect characteristic of Ezekiel, and which betrays a lively imagination, and many-sidedness of his knowledge. These qualities appear not merely in the sketch of the new temple (Eze 40:1), but also in the description of the widespread commerce of Tyre (Ezekiel 27), and of the relations of

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Egypt (Ezekiel 29 and 31), as well as in the endeavours manifest in all his representations, - not merely in the symbolical descriptions and allegorical portraits (Ezekiel 16 and 23), but also in the simple discourses, in the rebukes of the current vices and sins, and in the threatenings of punishment and judgment, - to follow out the subject treated of into the most special details, to throw light upon it from all sides, to penetrate through it, and not to rest until he has exhausted it, and that without any effort, in so doing, to avoid repetitions. This style of representation, however, has its foundation not merely in the individuality of our prophet, but still more in the relations of his time, and in his attitude towards that generation to whom he had to announce the counsel and will of the Lord. As symbolism and the employment of parables, pictures, and proverbs is, in general, only a means for the purpose of presenting in an attractive light the truths to be delivered, and to strengthen by this attractiveness the impression made by speech and discourse, so also the copiousness and circumstantiality of the picture, and even the repetition of thoughts and expressions under new points of view, serve the same end. The people to whom Ezekiel was not to preach repentance, by announcing the divine judgment and salvation, was “a rebellious race, impudent and hard-hearted” (Eze 3:7-9, Eze 3:26; Eze 12:2, etc.). If he was faithfully and conscientiously to discharge the office, laid upon him by the Lord, of a watcher over the house of Israel, he must not only punish with stern words, and in drastic fashion, the sins of the people, and distinctly paint before their eyes the horrors of the judgment, but he must also set forth, in a style palpable to the senses, that salvation which was to bloom forth for the repentant nation when the judgment was fulfilled.
Closely connected with this is the other peculiarity of Ezekiel's style of prophecy, namely, the marked prominence assigned to the divine origin and contents of his announcements, which distinctly appears in the standing form of address -

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“Son of man” - with which God summons the prophet to speech and action; in the continual use of אדני יהוה; in the formulae כּה אמר יי' or נאם יי'; in the introduction to almost every discourse of God's requirement to him to prophesy or to do this and that; and in the formula which recurs frequently in all the discourses - ”Ye shall know that I am Jehovah.” The standing address, “Son of man,” and the frequent call to speech and action, are likewise regarded by modern critics as a token of the failure of the prophetic spirit-power. Both phrases, however, could only be held to convey so much, if - in conformity with the view of Ewald, who, agreeably to the naturalistic representation of prophecy, assumes it to be a result of high poetic inspiration - they had been selected by Ezekiel of his own free choice, and employed with the intention of expressing the feeling of his own profound distance from God, and of imparting to himself courage to prophesy. If, on the contrary, according to the Scriptural conception of prophecy, God the Lord addressed Ezekiel as “son of man,” and called him, moreover, on each occasion to utter predictions, then the use of the God-given name, as well as the mention of the summons, as proceeding from God only, furnishes an evidence that Ezekiel does not, like the false prophets, utter the thoughts and inspirations of his own heart, but, in all that he says and does, acts under a divine commission and under divine inspiration, and serves to impress the rebellious nation more and more with the conviction that a prophet of the Lord is in their midst (Eze 2:5; Eze 33:33), and that God had not departed with His Spirit from Israel, notwithstanding their banishment among the heathen. In favour of the correctness of this view of the expressions and phrases in question, there speak decisively the manner and fashion in which Ezekiel was called and consecrated to the prophetic office; not only the instruction which God communicates to him for the performance of his calling (Ezekiel 2:1-3:21), - and which, immediately upon the first act of his prophetic activity, He supplements to the effect

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of enjoining upon him dumbness or entire silence, only then permitting him to open his mouth to speak when He wishes to inspire him with a word to be addressed to the rebellious people (Eze 3:26-27; cf. Eze 24:27 and Eze 33:22), - but also the theophany which inaugurated his call to the prophetic office (Ezekiel 1), which, as will appear to us in the course of the exposition, has unmistakeably the significance of an explanation of a reality, which will not be dissolved and annihilated with the dissolution of the kingdom of Judah, and the destruction of Jerusalem, and of the temple of that covenant of grace which Jehovah had concluded with Israel.
It is usual, moreover, to quote, as a peculiarity of Ezekiel's prophecies, the prominence given to his priestly descent and disposition, especially in the visions, Ezekiel 1, cf. Ezekiel 10, Ezekiel 8-11 and 40-48, and in the individual traits, as Eze 4:13., Eze 20:12., Eze 22:8; Eze 36:24, etc. etc., which Ewald explains as “a result of the one-sided literary conception of antiquity according to mere books and traditions, as well as of the extreme prostration of spirit intensified by the long duration of the exile and bondage of the people;” while de Wette, Gesenius, and others would see in it an intellectual narrowness on the part of the prophet. The one view is as groundless and perverse as the other, because resting upon the superficial opinion that the copious descriptions of the sacred articles in the temple were sketched by Ezekiel only for the purpose of preserving for the future the elevating recollection of the better times of the past (Ewald). When we recognise, on the contrary the symbolical character of these descriptions, we may always say that for the portrayal of the conception of the theophany in Ezekiel 1 and 10, and of the picture of the temple in Ezekiel 40, no individual was so well fitted as a priest, familiar with the institutions of worship. In this symbolism, however, we may not venture to seek for the products of intellectual narrowness, or of sacerdotal ideas, but must rise to the conviction that God the Lord selected a priest, and no other, to

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be His prophet, and permitted him to behold the future of His kingdom on earth in the significant forms of the sanctuary at Jerusalem, because this form was the symbolical covering which presented the closest correspondence to the same. - Still less to the passages Eze 4:13., Eze 20:12., and others, in which stress is laid upon the ceremonial commands of the law, and where their violation is mentioned as a cause of the judgment that was breaking over Israel, furnish evidence of priestly one-sidedness or narrowness of spirit. Ezekiel takes up towards the Mosaic Law no other position than that which is taken by the older prophets. He finds impressed on the precepts, not only of the Moral, but also of the Ceremonial Law, divine thoughts, essential elements of the divine holiness, attesting itself in and to Israel; and penetrated by a sense of the everlasting importance of the whole law, he urges obedience to its commands. Even the close adherence to the Pentateuch is not at all peculiar to him, but is common to all the prophets, inasmuch as all, without exception, criticize and judge the life of the nation by the standard of the prescriptions in the Mosaic Law. Ezekiel, with his nearest predecessor Jeremiah, is in this respect only distinguished from the earlier prophets, that the verbal references to the Pentateuch in both occur with greater frequency, and receive a greater emphasis. But this has its ground not so much in the descent of both from a priestly family, as rather in the relations of their time, especially in the circumstance that the falling away of the nation from the law had become so great, in consequence of which the penal judgments already threatened in the Pentateuch upon transgressors had fallen upon them, so that the prophets of the Lord were obliged, with all their energy, to hold up before the rebellious race not merely the commandments, but also the threatenings of the law, if they were faithfully to discharge the office to which they had been called.
The language of Ezekiel is distinguished by a great number of words and forms, which do not occur elsewhere, and which, probably, were for the greater part coined by himself (see an

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enumeration of these in the Manual of Historico-Critical Introduction, §77, Rem. 6), and shows a strong leaning towards the diction of the Pentateuch. It has, however, been unable to resist the influences of the inaccurate popular dialect, and of the Aramaic idiom, so that it betrays, in its many anomalies and corruptions, the decline and commencement of the dying out of the Hebrew tongue (cf. §17, of the Historico-Critical Manual), and reminds us that the prophet's residence was in a foreign country.
The genuineness of Ezekiel's prophecies is, at the present day, unanimously recognised by all critics. There is, moreover, no longer any doubt that the writing down and relation of them in the volume which has been transmitted to us were the work of the prophet himself. Only Ewald and Hitzig, for the purpose of setting aside the predictions which so much offend them, have proposed very artificial hypotheses regarding the manner and way in which the book originated; but it appears unnecessary to enter into a closer examination of these, as their probability and trustworthiness depend only upon the dogmatic views of their authors.
For the exegetical literature, see the Historico-Critical Manual, vol. i. p.353 (new ed. p. 254), where is also to be added, as of very recent date, Das Buch Ezechiels. Uebersetzt und erklärt von Dr. Th. Kleifoth. Zwei Abtheilungen. Rostock, 1864 and 1865.

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First Half - The Prophecies of Judgment - Ezekiel 1-32 Edit

The Consecration and Calling of Ezekiel to the Office of Prophet - Ezekiel 1-3:21 Edit

In a vision of God, Ezekiel beholds in a great cloud, through which shone the splendour of fire, and which a tempestuous wind drives from the north, the glory of the Lord above the cherubim upon a majestic throne in human form (Ezekiel 1), and hears a voice, which sends him as a prophet to Israel, and inspires him with the subject-matter of his announcements (Ezekiel 2:1-3:3). He is thereafter transported in spirit to Tel-abib on the Chebar, into the midst of the exiles, and the duties and responsibilities of his calling laid before him (3:4-21). By this divine appearance and the commission therewith connected is he consecrated, called, and ordained to the prophetic office. The whole occurrences in the vision are subdivided into the copious description of the theophany, Ezekiel 1, by which he is consecrated for his calling; and into the revelation of the word, Ezekiel 2:1-3:21, which prepares him for the discharge of the same. From these contents it clearly appears that these chapters do not constitute the first section of the book, but the introduction to the whole, to which the circumstantial notices

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of the time and place of this revelation of God at the commencement, Eze 1:1-3, also point.

Chap. 1 Edit

Verses 1-3 Edit

Eze 1:1-3
The Appearance of the Glory of the Lord. - Eze 1:1-3. Time and place of the same. - Eze 1:1. Now it came to pass in the thirtieth year, in the fourth (month), on the fifth (day) of the month, as I was among the captives by the river of Chebar, that the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God. Eze 1:2. On the fifth day of the month, it was the fifth year of King Jehoiachin's captivity, Eze 1:3. The word of the Lord came to Ezekiel the priest, the son of Busi, in the land of the Chaldeans by the river Chebar; and the hand of the Lord was there upon him.
Regarding ויהי at the beginning of a book, as e.g., in Jon 1:1, cf. the note on Jos 1:1. The two notices of the year in Eze 1:1 and Eze 1:2 are closely connected with the twofold introduction of the theophany. This is described in verse first, according to its form or phenomenal nature, and then in verses second and third, according to its intended purpose, and its effect upon the prophet. The phenomenon consisted in this, that the heavens were opened, and Ezekiel saw visions of God. The heaven opens not merely when to our eye a glimpse is disclosed of the heavenly glory of God (Calvin), but also when God manifests His glory in a manner perceptible to human sight. The latter was the case here. מראות אלהים, “visions of God,” are not “visiones praestantissimae,” but visions which have divine or heavenly things for their object; cf. Isa 6:1; 1Ki 22:19; 2Ki 6:17. Here it is the manifestation of Jehovah's glory described in the following verses. This was beheld by Ezekiel in the thirtieth year, which, according to verse second, was in the fifth year of the captivity of Jehoiachin. The real identity of these two dates is placed beyond doubt by the mention of the same day of the month, “on the fifth day of the month” (Eze 1:2 compared with Eze 1:1). The fifth year from the commencement of Jehoiachin'

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s captivity is the year 595 b.c.; the thirtieth year, consequently, is the year 625 b.c. But the era, in accordance with which this date is reckoned, is matter of dispute, and can no longer be ascertained with certainty. To suppose, with Hengstenberg, that the reference is to the year of the prophet's own life, is forbidden by the addition “in the fourth month, on the fifth day of the month,” which points to an era generally recognised. In the year 625 b.c., Nabopolassar became king of Babylon, and therefore many of the older expositors have supposed that Ezekiel means the thirtieth year of the era of Nabopolassar. Nothing, however, is know of any such era. Others, as the Chaldee paraphrast and Jerome, and in modern times also Ideler, are of opinion that the thirtieth year is reckoned from the eighteenth year of the reign of Josiah, because in that year the book of the law was discovered, and the regeneration of public worship completed by a solemn celebration of the Passover. No trace, however, can elsewhere be pointed out of the existence of a chronology dating from these events. The Rabbins in Seder Olam assume a chronology according to the periods of the years of jubilee, and so also Hitzig; but for this supposition too all reliable proofs are wanting. At the time mentioned, Ezekiel found himself בּתוך הגּולה, “in the midst of the exiles,” i.e., within the circuit of their settlements, not,in their society; for it is evident from Eze 3:15 that he was alone when the theophany was imparted to him, and did not repair till afterwards to the residences of the settlers. Eze 1:3. By the river Chebar, in the land of the Chaldees, i.e., in Babylon or Mesopotamia. The river כּבר, to be distinguished from חבור, the river of Gosan, which flows into the Tigris, see on 2Ki 17:6, is the Mesopotamian Chabioras, ̓Αβορρας (Strabo, xvi. 748), or Χαβώρας (Ptolem. v. 18, 3), Arab. cha=bu=r (Edrisi Clim. iv. p. 6, ii. p. 150, ed. Jaubert and Abulf. Mesopot. in the N. Repertor. III. p. xxiv.), which according to Edrisi takes its rise from “nearly three hundred

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springs,” near the city Ras-el-'Ain, at the foot of the mountain range of Masius, flows through Upper Mesopotamia in a direction parallel with its two principal streams, and then, turning westward, discharges itself into the Euphrates near Kirkesion. There the hand of Jehovah came upon Ezekiel. The expression יד יי' היתה על )אל( always signifies a miraculous working of the power or omnipotence of God upon a man-the hand being the organ of power in action-by which he is placed in a condition to exert superhuman power, 1Ki 18:46, and is the regular expression for the supernatural transportation into the state of ecstasy for the purpose of beholding and announcing (cf. 2Ki 3:15), or undertaking, heavenly things; and so throughout Ezekiel, cf. Eze 3:22; Eze 8:1; Eze 33:22; Eze 37:1; Eze 40:1.
Description of the theophany seen by the spirit of the prophet. -
Eze 1:4. And I saw, and, lo, a tempestuous wind came from the north, a great cloud, and a fire rolled together like a ball, and the brightness of light round about it, and out of its midst, as the appearance of glowing metal from the midst of the fire. - The description begins with a general outline of the phenomenon, as the same presented itself to the spiritual eye of the prophet on its approach from the north. A tempestuous wind brings hither from the north a great cloud, the centre of which appears as a lump of fire, which throws around the cloud the brightness of light, and presents in its midst the appearance of glowing metal. The coming of the phenomenon from the north is, as a matter of course, not connected with the Babylonian representation of the mountain of the gods situated in the extreme north, Isa 14:13. According to the invariable usage of speech followed by the prophets, especially by Jeremiah (cf. e.g., Eze 1:14; Eze 4:6; Eze 6:1, etc.), the north is the quarter from which the enemies who were to execute judgment upon Jerusalem and Judah break in. According to this usage, the coming of this divine appearance from the north signifies that

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it is from the north that God will bring to pass the judgment upon Judah. אשׁ מתלקּחת, “fire rolled together like a ball,” is an expression borrowed from Exo 9:10. לו refers to ענן, and מתּוכהּ to אשׁ, as we see from the words in apposition, מתּוך האשׁ. The fire, which formed the centre of the cloud, had the appearance of השׁמל. The meaning of this word, which occurs again in Eze 1:27 and Eze 8:2, is disputed. The Septuagint and Vulgate translate it by ἤλεκτρον, electrum, i.e., a metal having a bright lustre, and consisting of a mixture of gold and silver. Cf. Strabo, III. 146; Plin. Hist. Nat. xxxiii. 4. To the explanation of Bochart, that it is a compound of נחשׁת, “brass,” and the Talmudic word מלל or מללא, “aurum rude,” and signifies “rough gold ore,” is opposed the fact that the reading מללא in the Talmud is not certain, but purports to be ממלא (cf. Gesen. Thesaur. p. 535, and Buxtorf, Lexic. Talmud, p. 1214), as well as the circumstance that raw gold ore has not a lustre which could shine forth out of the fire. Still less probability has the supposition that it is a compound of l#$x, in Syriac “conflavit, fabricavit,” and חשׁם, “fricuit,” on which Hävernick and Maurer base the meaning of “a piece of metal wrought in the fire.” The word appears simply to be formed from חשׁם , probably “to glow,” with ל appended, as כּרמל from כרם morf , and to denote “glowing ore.” This meaning is appropriate both in v. 27, where עין השׁמל is explained by מראה־אשׁ, as well as in Eze 8:2, where זהר, “brilliancy,” stands as parallel to it. השׁמל, however, is different from נחשׁת קלל in Eze 1:7 and in Dan 10:6, for חשׁמל refers in all the three places to the person of Him who is enthroned above the cherubim; while נחשׁת קלל in Eze 1:7 is spoken of the feet of the cherubim, and in Dan 10:6 of the arms and feet of the personage who there manifests Himself. In verse fifth the appearance is described more minutely. There first present themselves to the eye of the seer four beings, whom he describes according to their figure and style.

Verses 5-14 Edit

The four cherubim. - Eze 1:5. And out of its midst

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there prominently appeared a figure, consisting of four creatures, and this was their appearance: they had the figure of a man. Eze 1:6. And each had four faces, and each of them had four wings. Eze 1:7. And their feet were upright-standing feet; and the soles of their feet like the soles of a calf, and sparkling like the appearance of shining brass. Eze 1:8. And the hands of a man were under their wings on their four sides; and all four had faces and wings. Eze 1:9. Their wings were joined one to another; they turned not as they went; they went each one in the direction of his face. Eze 1:10. And the form of their faces was that of a man; and on the right all four had a lion's face; and on the left all four had the face of an ox; and all four had an eagle's face. Eze 1:11. And their faces and their wings were divided above, two of each uniting with one another, and two covering their bodies. Eze 1:12. And they went each in the direction of his face; whithersoever the spirit was to go, they went; they turned not as they went. Eze 1:13. And the likeness of the creatures resembled burning coals of fire, like the appearance of torches: it (the fire) went hither and thither amongst the beings; and the fire was brilliant, and from the fire came forth lightning. Eze 1:14. And the beings ran hither and thither in a zig-zag manner.
From out of the fiery centre of the cloud there shows itself the form (tw%md';, properly “resemblance,” “picture”) of four חיּות, animantia, “living creatures;” ζῶα, Rev 4:6; not θηρία, “wild beasts,” as Luther has incorrectly rendered it, after the animalia of the Vulgate. These four creatures had דּמוּת אדם, “the figure of a man.” Agreeably to this notice, placed at the head of the description, these creatures are to be conceived as presenting the appearance of a human body in all points not otherwise specified in the following narrative. Each of them had four faces and four wings (אחת without the article stands as a distributive, and כּנפים are “pinions,” as in Isa 6:2, not “pairs of wings”). Their feet were רגל ישׁרה, “a straight foot;” the singular stands generically, stating only the nature of the feet, without reference to their number. We

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have accordingly to assume in each of the four creatures two legs, as in a man. ישׁר .nam a , “straight,” i.e., standing upright, not bent, as when sitting or kneeling. רגל is the whole leg, including the knee and thigh, and כּף רגל, “sole of the foot,” or the under part of the leg, with which we tread on the ground. This part, not the whole leg, resembled the calf's foot, which is firmly planted on the ground. The legs sparkled like the appearance of נחשׁה קלל. The subject of נצצים is not “the כּרוּבים, which are understood to be intended under the חיּות in verse fifth” (Hitzig), for this subject is too far distant, but רגליהם, which is here construed as masculine, as in Jer 13:16. In this sense are these words apprehended in Rev 1:15, and נחשׁת there translated by χαλκολίβανος. On this word see Hengstenberg and Düsterdieck on Rev 1:15. נח' קלל probably signifies “light,” i.e., “bright, shining brass,” as the old translators have rendered it. The Septuagint has ἐξαστράπτων; the Vulgate, aes candens; and the Chaldee paraphrase, aes flammans. The signification “smoothed, polished brass” (Bochart), rests upon uncertain combinations; cf. Gesen. Thes. p. 1217, and is appropriate neither here nor in Dan 10:6, where these words precede, “His face had the appearance of lightning, and his eyes were as a flame of fire.” Under the four wings were four hands on the four sides of each cherub, formed like the hands of a man. The wings accordingly rested upon the shoulders, from which the hands came forth. The Chetib וידו may certainly be defended if with Kimchi and others we punctuate וידו, and take the suffix distributively and אדם elliptically, “his (i.e., each of the four creatures) hands were (the hands of) a man;” cf. for such an ellipsis as this, passages like that in Psa 18:34, רגלי כּאיּלות, “my feet as the (feet) of hinds;” Job 35:2, מאל, “before the righteousness of God.” It is extremely probable, however, that ו is only the error of an old copyist for י, and that the Keri וידי is the correct reading, as the taking of אדם elliptically is not in keeping with the broad style of Ezekiel, which in its verbosity verges on

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tautology. The second half of Eze 1:8 is neither, with Hävernick, to be referred to the following ninth verse, where the faces are no more spoken of, nor, with Hitzig, to be arbitrarily mutilated; but is to be taken as it stands, comprising all that has hitherto been said regarding the faces and wings, in order to append thereto in Eze 1:9. the description of the use and nature of these members. The definite statement, that “the wings were joined one to another,” is in Eze 1:11 limited to the two upper wings, according to which we have so to conceive the matter, that the top or the upper right wing of each cherub came in contact with the top of the left wing of the neighbouring cherub. This junction presented to the eye of the seer the unity and coherence of all the four creatures as a complete whole - a חיּה, and implied, as a consequence, the harmonious action in common of the four creatures. They did not turn as they went along, but proceeded each in the direction of his face. אל, “over against his face.” The meaning is thus rightly given by Kliefoth: “As they had four faces, they needed not to turn as they went, but went on as (i.e., in the direction in which) they were going, always after the face.”
In the closer description of the faces in Eze 1:10, the face of the man is first mentioned as that which was turned towards the seer, that of the lion to the right side, the ox to the left, and that of the eagle (behind). In naming these three, it is remarked that all the four creatures had these faces: in naming the man's face, this remark is omitted, because the word פּניהם (referring to all the four) immediately precedes. In Eze 1:11, it is next remarked of the faces and wings, that they were divided above (מלמעלה, “from above,” “upward”); then the direction of the wings is more precisely stated. The word וּפניהם is neither to be referred to the preceding, “and it was their faces,” nor, with Hitzig, to be expunged as a gloss; but is quite in order as a statement that not only the wings but also the faces were divided above, consequently were not like Janus’ faces upon one head, but the four faces were planted upon four heads and necks. In the

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description that follows, חוברות אישׁ is not quite distinct, and #$y)i is manifestly to be taken as an abbreviation of אשּׁה אל־אחותהּ in Eze 1:9 : on each were two wings joining one another, i.e., touching with their tops the tips of the wings of the cherub beside them, in accordance with which we have to conceive the wings as expanded. Two were covering their bodies, i.e., each cherub covered his body with the pair of wings that folded downwards; not, as Kliefoth supposes, that the lower wings of the one cherub covered the body of the other cherub beside him, which also is not the meaning in Eze 1:23; see note on that verse. In Eze 1:12, what is to be said about their movements is brought to a conclusion, while both statements are repeated in Eze 1:9, and completed by the addition of the principium movens. In whatever direction the רוּח “was to go, in that direction they went;” i.e., not according to the action of their own will, but wherever the רוּח impelled them. רוּח, however, signifies not “impulse,” nor, in this place, even “the wind,” as the vehicle of the power of the spiritual life palpable to the senses, which produced and guided their movements, (Kliefoth), but spirit. For, according to Eze 1:20, the movement of the wheels, which was in harmony with the movements of the cherubim, was not caused by the wind, but proceeded from the רוּח החיּה, i.e., from the spirit dwelling in the creature. On the contrary, there is not in the whole description, with the exception of the general statement that a tempestuous wind drove from the north the great cloud in which the theophany was enwrapped, any allusion to a means of motion palpable to the senses. In the 13th and 14th verses is described the entire impression produced by the movement of the whole appearance. וּדמוּת החיּות precedes, and is taken absolutely “as regards the form of the creatures,” and corresponds to the דּמוּת ארבּע חיּות in Eze 1:5, with which the description of the individual figures which appeared in the brightness of the fire was introduced. Their appearance was like burning coals of fire, like the appearance of torches. היא refers to אשׁ as the principal

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conception. Fire, like the fire of burning coals and torches, went, moved hither and thither amongst the four creatures. This fire presented a bright appearance, and out of it came forth lightnings. The creatures, moreover, were in constant motion. רצוא, from רצא, an Aramaising form for the Hebrew רוּץ, to run. The infin. absol. stands instead of the finite verb. The conjecture of יצוא, after Gen 8:7 (Hitzig), is inappropriate, because here we have not to think of “coming out,” and no reason exists for the striking out of the words, as Hitzig proposes. The continued motion of the creatures is not in contradiction with their perpetually moving on straight before them. “They went hither and thither, and yet always in the direction of their countenances; because they had a countenance looking in the direction of every side” (Kliefoth). בּזק signifies not “lightning” (=בּרק), but comes from בּזק; in Syriac, “to be split,” and denotes “the splitting,” i.e., the zigzag course of the lightning (Kliefoth).

Verses 15-21 Edit

The four wheels beside the cherubim. - Eze 1:15. And I saw the creatures, and, lo, there was a wheel upon the earth beside the creatures, towards their four fronts. Eze 1:16. The appearance of the wheels and their work was like the appearance of the chrysolite; and all four had one kind of figure: and their appearance and their work was as if one wheel were within the other. Eze 1:17. Towards their four sides they went when they moved: they turned not as they went. Eze 1:18. And their felloes, they were high and terrible; and their felloes were full of eyes round about in all the four. Eze 1:19. And when the creatures moved, the wheels moved beside them; and when the creatures raised themselves up from the earth, the wheels also raised themselves. Eze 1:20. Whithersoever the spirit was to go, they went in the direction in which the spirit was to go; and the wheels raised themselves beside them: for the spirit of the creatures was in the wheels. Eze 1:21. When the former moved, the latter moved also; when the former stood, the latter stood; and when the former raised themselves from the ground, the wheels raised

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themselves beside them: for the spirit of the creatures was in the wheels. - The words, “and I saw the creatures,” prepare the way for the transition to the new object which presented itself in these creatures to the eye of the seer. By the side of these creatures upon the ground he sees a wheel, and that at the four fronts, or front faces of the creatures. The singular suffix in לארבּעת פּניו can neither be referred, with Rosenmüller, to the chariot, which is not mentioned at all, nor, with Hitzig, to the preposition אצל, nor, with Hävernick, Maurer, and Kliefoth, to אופן, and so be understood as if every wheel looked towards four sides, because a second wheel was inserted in it at right angles. This meaning is not to be found in the words. The suffix refers ad sensum to חיּות (Ewald), or, to express it more correctly, to the figure of the cherubim with its four faces turned to the front, conceived as a unity - as one creature (החיּה, Eze 1:22). Accordingly, we have so to represent the matter, that by the side of the four cherubim, namely, beside his front face, a wheel was to be seen upon the earth. Ezekiel then saw four wheels, one on each front of a cherub, and therefore immediately speaks in Eze 1:16 of wheels (in the plural). In this verse מראה is adspectus, and מעשׂה “work;” i.e., both statements employing the term “construction,” although in the first hemistich only the appearance, in the second only the construction, of the wheels is described. תּרשׁישׁ is a chrysolite of the ancients, the topaz of the moderns, - a stone having the lustre of gold. The construction of the wheels was as if one wheel were within a wheel, i.e., as if in the wheel a second were inserted at right angles, so that without being turned it could go towards all the four sides. גּבּיהן, in Eze 1:18, stands absolutely. “As regards their felloes,” they possessed height and terribleness-the latter because they were full of eyes all round. Hitzig arbitrarily understands גּבהּ of the upper sides; and יראה, after the Arabic, of the under side, or that which lies towards the back. The movement of the wheels completely followed the movement of the creatures (Eze 1:19-21), because the spirit of

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the creature was in the wheels. החיּה, in Eze 1:20 and Eze 1:21, is not the “principle of life” (Hävernick), but the cherubic creatures conceived as a unity, as in Eze 1:22, where the meaning is undoubted. The sense is: the wheels were, in their motion and rest, completely bound by the movements and rest of the creatures, because the spirit which ruled in them was also in the wheels, and regulated their going, standing, and rising upwards. By the רוּח the wheels are bound in one with the cherub-figures, but not by means of a chariot, to or upon which the cherubim were attached.

Verses 22-28 Edit

The throne of Jehovah. - Eze 1:22. And over the heads of the creature there appeared an expanse like the appearance of the terrible crystal, stretched out over their heads above. Eze 1:23. And under the expanse were their wings, extended straight one towards another: each had two wings, covering to these, and each two (wings), covering to those, their bodies. Eze 1:24. And I heard the sound of their wings, as the sound of many waters, like the voice of the Almighty, as they went: a loud rushing like the clamour of a camp: when they stood, they let down their wings. Eze 1:25. And there came a voice from above the expanse which was above their heads; when they stood, they let their wings sink down. Eze 1:26. Over the expanse above their heads was to be seen, like a sapphire stone, the figure of a throne: and over the figure of the throne was a figure resembling a man above it. Eze 1:27. And I saw like the appearance of glowing brass, like the appearance of fire within the same round about; from the appearance of his loins upwards, and from the appearance of his loins downwards, I saw as of the appearance of fire, and a shining light was round about it. Eze 1:28. Like the appearance of the bow, which is in the clouds in the day of rain, was the appearance of the shining light round about. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of Jehovah. And I saw it, and fell upon my face, and I heard the voice of one that spake. - Above, over the heads of the figures of the cherubim, Ezekiel sees something like the firmament of heaven (Eze 1:22.),

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and hears from above this canopy a voice, which re-echoes in the rushing of the wings of the cherubim, and determines the movement as well as the standing still of these creatures. The first sentence of Eze 1:22 literally signifies: “And a likeness was over the heads of the creature - a canopy, as it were, stretched out.” רקיע is not the genitive after דּמוּת, but an explanatory apposition to it, and before רקיע; neither has כּ fallen out (as Hitzig supposes), nor is it to be supplied. For דּמוּת denotes not any definite likeness, with which another could be compared, but, properly, similitudo, and is employed by Ezekiel in the sense of “something like.” רקיע, without the article, does not mean the firmament of heaven, but any expanse, the appearance of which is first described as resembling the firmament by the words כּעין הקּרח. It is not the firmament of heaven which Ezekiel sees above the heads of the cherubim, but an expanse resembling it, which has the shining appearance of a fear-inspiring crystal. נורא, used of crystal, in so far as the appearance of this glittering mass dazzles the eyes, and assures terror, as in Jdg 13:6, of the look of the angel; and in Job 37:22, of the divine majesty. The description is based upon Exo 24:10, and the similitude of the crystal has passed over to the Apocalypse, Rev 4:6. Under the canopy were the wings of the cherubim, ישׁרות, standing straight, i.e., spread out in a horizontal direction, so that they appeared to support the canopy. אשּׁה אל־אחותה is not, with Jerome and others, to be referred to the cherubim (החיּה), but to כּנפיהם, as in Eze 1:9. The לאישׁ which follows does refer, on the contrary, to the cherub, and literally signifies, “To each were two wings, covering, namely, to these and those, their bodies.” להנּה corresponds to לאישׁ, in a manner analogous to לאחת להם in Eze 1:6. By the repetition of the להנּה, “to these and those,” the four cherubim are divided into two pairs, standing opposite to one another. That this statement contradicts, as Hitzig asserts, the first half of the verse, is by no means evident. If the two creatures on each side covered their bodies with the two wings, then two other

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wings could very easily be so extended under the canopy that the tops of the one should touch those of the other. As the creatures moved, Ezekiel hears the sound, i.e., the rustling of their wings, like the roaring of mighty billows. This is strengthened by the second comparison, “like the voice of the Almighty,” i.e., resembling thunder, cf. Eze 10:5. The קול המלּה that follows still depends on אשׁמע. המלּה, which occurs only here and in Jer 11:6, is probably synonymous with המון “roaring,” “noise,” “tumult.” This rushing sound, however, was heard only when the creatures were in motion; for when they stood, they allowed their wings to fall down. This, of course, applies only to the upper wings, as the under ones, which covered the body, hung downwards, or were let down. From this it clearly appears that the upper wings neither supported nor bore up the canopy over their heads, but only were so extended, when the cherubim were in motion, that they touched the canopy. In Eze 1:25 is also mentioned whence the loud sound came, which was heard, during the moving of the wings, from above the canopy, consequently from him who was placed above it, so that the creatures, always after this voice resounded, went on or stood still, i.e., put themselves in motion, or remained without moving, according to its command.
With the repetition of the last clause of Eze 1:24 this subject is concluded in Eze 1:25. Over or above upon the firmament was to be seen, like a sapphire stone, the likeness of a throne, on which sat one in the form of a man - i.e., Jehovah appeared in human form, as in Dan 7:9. Upon this was poured out a fiery, shining light, like glowing brass (עין חשׁמל, as in Eze 1:4) and like fire, בּית־להּ סביב, “within it round about” (מבּית = בּית, “within,” and להּ, pointing back to דּמוּת כּסּא). This appears to be the simplest explanation of these obscure words. They are rendered differently by Hitzig, who translates them: “like fire which has a covering round about it, i.e., like fire which is enclosed, whose shining contrasts so much the more brightly on account of the dark surrounding.” But, to say nothing of

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the change which would then be necessary of בּית into בּית, this meaning seems very far-fetched, and cannot be accepted for this reason alone, that מראה אשׁ, neither in the following hemistich (Eze 1:27) nor in Eze 8:2, has any such or similar strengthening addition. The appearance above shows, as the centre of the cloud (Eze 1:4), a fiery gleam of light, only there is to be perceived upon the throne a figure resembling a man, fiery-looking from the loins upwards and downwards, and round about the figure, or rather round the throne, a shining light (נגהּ, cf. Eze 1:4), like the rainbow in the clouds, cf. Rev 4:3. This הוּא, Eze 1:28, does not refer to הנּגהּ, but to the whole appearance of him who was enthroned - the covering of light included, but throne and cherubim (Eze 10:4, Eze 10:19) excluded (Hitzig)] was the appearance of the likeness of Jehovah's glory. With these words closes the description of the vision. The following clause, “And I saw, etc.,” forms the transition to the word of Jehovah, which follows on the second chapter, and which summoned Ezekiel to become a prophet to Israel. Before we pass, however, to an explanation of this word, we must endeavour to form to ourselves a clear conception of the significance of this theophany.
For its full understanding we have first of all to keep in view that it was imparted to Ezekiel not merely on his being called to the office of prophet, but was again repeated three times - namely, in Eze 3:22., where he was commissioned to predict symbolically the impending siege of Jerusalem; Eze 8:4., when he is transported in spirit to the temple-court at Jerusalem for the purpose of beholding the abominations of the idol-worship practised by the people, and to announce the judgment which, in consequence of these abominations, was to burst upon the city and the temple, in which it is shown to him how the glory of the Lord abandons, first the temple and thereafter the city also; and in Eze 43:1., in which is shown to him the filling of the new temple with the glory of the Lord, to swell for ever among the children of Israel. In

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all three passages it is expressly testified that the divine appearance was like the first which he witnessed on the occasion of his call. From this Kliefoth has drawn the right conclusion, that the theophany in Eze 1:4. bears a relation not to the call only, but to the whole prophetic work of Ezekiel: “We may not say that God so appears to Ezekiel at a later time, because He so appeared to him at his call; but we must say, conversely, that because God wills and must so appear to Ezekiel at a later time while engaged in his prophetic vocation, therefore He also appears to him in this form already at his call.” The intention, however, with which God so appears to him is distinctly contained in the two last passages, Ezekiel 8-11 and Ezekiel 43: “God withdraws in a visible manner from the temple and Jerusalem, which are devoted to destruction on account of the sin of the people: in a visible manner God enters into the new temple of the future; and because the whole of what Ezekiel was inspired to foretell was comprehended in these two things - the destruction of the existing temple and city, and the raising up of a new and a better; - because the whole of his prophetic vocation had its fulfilment in these, therefore God appears to Ezekiel on his call to be a prophet in the same form as that in which He departs from the ancient temple and Jerusalem, in order to their destruction, and in which He enters into the new edifice in order to make it a temple. The form of the theophany, therefore, is what it is in Eze 1:4., because its purpose was to show and announce to the prophet, on the one side the destruction of the temple, and on the other its restoration and glorification.” These remarks are quite correct, only the significance of the theophany itself is not thereby made clear. If it is clear from the purpose indicated why God here has the cherubim with Him, while on the occasion of other appearances (e.g., Dan 7:9; Isa 6:1) He is without cherubim; as the cherubim here have no other significance than what their figures have in the tabernacle, viz., that God has there His dwelling-place, the seat of

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His gracious presence; yet this does not satisfactorily explain either the special marks by which the cherubim of Ezekiel are distinguished from those in the tabernacle and in Solomon's temple, or the other attributes of the theophany. Kliefoth, moreover, does not misapprehend those diversities in the figures of the cherubim, and finds indicated therein the intention of causing it distinctly to appear that it is the one and same Jehovah, enthroned amid the cherubim, who destroys the temple, and who again uprears it. Because Ezekiel was called to predict both events, he therefore thinks there must be excluded, on the one hand, such attributes in the form of the manifestation as would be out of harmony with the different aims of the theophany; while, on the other, those which are important for the different aims must be combined and comprehended in one form, that this one form may be appropriate to all the manifestations of the theophany. It could not therefore have in it the ark of the covenant and the mercy-seat; because, although these would probably have been appropriate to the manifestation for the destruction of the old temple (Eze 8:1.), they would not have been in keeping with that for entering into the new temple. Instead of this, it must show the living God Himself upon the throne among “the living creatures;” because it belongs to the new and glorious existence of the temple of the future, that it should have Jehovah Himself dwelling within it in a visible form.
From this, too, may be explained the great fulness of the attributes, which are divisible into three classes: 1. Those which relate to the manifestation of God for the destruction of Jerusalem; 2. Those which relate to the manifestation of God for entering into the new temple; and, 3. Those which serve both objects in common. To the last class belongs everything which is essential to the manifestation of God in itself, e.g., the visibility of God in general, the presence of the cherubim in itself, and so on: to the first class all the signs that indicate wrath and judgment, consequently, first, the coming from the north, especially the

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fire, the lightnings, in which God appears as He who is coming to judgment; but to the second, besides the rainbow and the appearance of God in human form, especially the wheels and the fourfold manifestation in the cherubim and wheels. For the new temple does not represent the rebuilding of the temple by Zerubbabel, but the economy of salvation founded by Christ at His appearing, to which they belong as essential tokens; to be founded, on the one hand, by God's own coming and dwelling upon the earth; on the other, to be of an oecumenic character, in opposition to the particularities and local nature of the previous ancient dispensation of salvation. God appears bodily, in human form; lowers down to earth the canopy on which His throne is seated; the cherubim, which indicate God's gracious presence with His people, appear not merely in symbol, but in living reality, plant their feet upon the ground, while each cherub has at his side a wheel, which moves, not in the air, but only upon the earth. By this it is shown that God Himself is to descend to the earth, to walk and to dwell visibly among His people; while the oecumenic character of the new economy of salvation, for the establishment of which God is to visit the earth, is represented in the fourfold form of the cherubim and wheels. The number four - the sign of the oecumenicity which is to come, and the symbol of its being spread abroad into all the world - is assigned to the cherubim and wheels, to portray the spreading abroad of the new kingdom of God over the whole earth. But how much soever that is true and striking this attempt at explanation may contain in details, it does not touch the heart of the subject, and is not free from bold combinations. The correctness of the assumption, that in the theophany attributes of an opposite kind are united, namely, such as should refer only to the destruction of Jerusalem and of the temple, and such as relate only to the foundation and nature of the new economy of salvation, is beset with well-founded doubts. Why, on such a hypothesis, should the form of the theophany remain the same throughout

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in all three or four cases? This question, which lies on the surface, is not satisfactorily answered by the remark that Ezekiel had to predict not only the destruction of the old, but also the foundation of a new and much more glorious kingdom of God. For not only would this end, but also the object of showing that it is the same God who is to accomplish both, have been fully attained if the theophany had remained the same only in those attributes which emblemize in a general way God's gracious presence in His temple; while the special attributes, which typify only the one and the other purpose of the divine appearance, would only they have been added, or brought prominently out, where this or that element of the theophany had to be announced. Moreover, the necessity in general of a theophany for the purpose alleged is not evident, much less the necessity of a theophany so peculiar in form. Other prophets also, e.g., Micah, without having seen a theophany, have predicted in the clearest and distinctest manner both the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple, and the raising up of a new and more glorious kingdom of God. The reason, then, why Ezekiel witnessed such a theophany, not only at his call, but had it repeated to him at every new turn in his prophetic ministry, must be deeper than that assigned; and the theophany must have another meaning than that of merely consecrating the prophet for the purpose of announcing both the judgment upon Jerusalem and the temple, and the raising up of a new and more glorious economy of salvation, and strengthening the word of the prophet by a symbolical representation of its contents.
To recognise this meaning, we must endeavour to form a distinct conception, not merely of the principal elements of our theophany, but to take into consideration at the same time their relation to other theophanies. In our theophany three elements are unmistakeably prominent - 1st, The peculiarly formed cherubim; 2nd, The wheels are seen beside the cherubim; and, 3rd, The firmament above, both with the throne and the form of

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God in human shape seated upon the throne. The order of these three elements in the description is perhaps hardly of any importance, but is simply explicable from this, that to the seer who is on earth it is the under part of the figure which, appearing visibly in the clouds, first presents itself, and that his look next turns to the upper part of the theophany. Especially significant above all, however, is the appearance of the cherubim under or at the throne of God; and by this it is indisputably pointed out that He who appears upon the throne is the same God that is enthroned in the temple between the cherubim of the mercy-seat upon their outspread wings. Whatever opinion may be formed regarding the nature and significance of the cherubim, this much is undoubtedly established, that they belong essentially to the symbolical representation of Jehovah's gracious presence in Israel, and that this portion of our vision has its real foundation in the plastic representation of this gracious relation in the Holy of Holies of the tabernacle or temple. As, however, opinions are divided on the subject of the meaning of these symbols, and the cherubim of Ezekiel, moreover, present no inconsiderable differences in their four faces and four wings from the figures of the cherubim upon the mercy-seat and in the temple, which had only one face and two wings, we must, for the full understanding of our vision, look a little more closely to the nature and significance of the cherubim.
While, according to the older view, the cherubim are angelic beings of a higher order, the opinion at the present day is widely prevalent, that they are only symbolical figures, to which nothing real corresponds - merely ideal representations of creature life in its highest fulness.[1]
This modern view, however,

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finds in the circumstance that the cherubim in the Israelitish sanctuary, as well as in Ezekiel and in the Apocalypse, are symbolical figures of varying shape, only an apparent but no real support. The cherubim occur for the firs time in the history of Paradise, where, in Gen 3:22-24, it is related that God, after expelling the first human pair from Paradise, placed at the east side of the garden the cherubim and the flame of a sword, which turned hither and thither, to guard the way to the tree of life. If this narrative contains historical truth, and is not merely a myth or philosopheme; if Paradise and the Fall, with their consequences, extending over all humanity, are to remain real things and occurrences - then must the cherubim also be taken as real beings. “For God will not have placed symbols - pure creations of Hebrew fancy - at the gate of Paradise,” Kliefoth. Upon the basis of this narrative, Ezekiel also held the cherubim to be spiritual beings of a higher rank. This appears from Eze 28:14-16, where he compares the prince of Tyre, in reference to the high and glorious position which God had assigned him, to a cherub, and to Elohim. It does not at all conflict with the recognition of the cherubim as real beings, and, indeed, as spiritual or angelic beings, that they are employed in visions to represent super-sensible relations, or are represented in a plastic form in the sanctuary of Israel. “When angels,” as Kliefoth correctly remarks in reference to this, “sing the song of praise in the holy night, this is an historical occurrence, and these angels are real angels, who testify by their appearance that there are such beings as angels; but when, in the Apocalypse, angels pour forth sounds of wrath, these angels are figures in vision, as elsewhere, also, men and objects are seen in vision.” But even this employment of the angels as “figures” in vision, rests upon the belief that

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there are actually beings of this kind. Biblical symbolism furnishes not a single undoubted instance of abstract ideas, or ideal creations of the imagination, being represented by the prophets as living beings. Under the plastic representation of the cherubim upon the mercy-seat, and in the most holy and holy place of the tabernacle and the temple, lies the idea, that these are heavenly, spiritual beings; for in the tabernacle and temple (which was built after its pattern) essential relations of the kingdom of God are embodied, and all the symbols derived from things having a real existence. When, however, on the other hand, Hengstenberg objects, on Rev 4:6, “that what Vitringa remarks is sufficient to refute those who, under the cherubim, would understand angels of rank - viz. that these four creatures are throughout the whole of this vision connected with the assembly of the elders, and are distinguished not only from the angels, but from all the angels, as is done in Eze 7:11,” - we must regard this refutation as altogether futile. From the division of the heavenly assembly before the throne into two choirs or classes (Rev 5:1-14 and 7) - in which the ζῶα (cherubim) and the elders form the one (Rev 5:8), the ἄγγελοι the other choir (Rev 5:11) - an argument can be as little derived against the angelic nature of the cherubim, as it could be shown, from the distinction between the στρατιὰ οὐράνιος and ἀγγελος, in Luk 2:13, that the “multitude of the heavenly host” were no angels at all. And the passage in Rev 7:11 would only then furnish the supposed proof against the relationship of the cherubim to the angels, if πάντες ἄγγελοι (in general - all angels, how numerous soever they may be - were spoken of. But the very tenor of the words, πάντες οἱ ἄγγελοι “all the angels,” points back to the choir of angels already mentioned in Eze 5:11, which was formed by πολλοὶ ἄγγελοι, whose number was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands.[2]
From the distinction between the ζῶα and the ἄγγελοι

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in the Apocalypse, no further inference can be deduced than that the cherubim are not common angels, “ministering spirits, sent forth to minister” (Heb 1:14), but constitute a special class of angels of higher rank.
More exact information regarding the relationship of the cherubim to the other angels, or their nature, cannot indeed be obtained, either from the name cherubim or from the circumstance that, with the exception of Gen 3, they occur always only in connection with the throne of God. The etymology of the word כּרוּב is obscure: all the derivations that have been proposed from the Hebrew or any other Semitic dialect cannot make the slightest pretensions to probability. The word appears to have come down from antiquity along with the tradition of Paradise. See my Biblical Archaeology, p. 88ff. If we take into consideration, however, that Ezekiel calls them חיּות, and first in Ezekiel 10 employs the name כּרוּבים, known from the tabernacle, or rather from the history of Paradise; since, as may be inferred from Eze 10:20, he first recognised, from the repetition of the theophany related in Ezekiel 10, that the living creatures seen in the vision were cherubim - we may, from the designation חיּות, form a supposition, if not as to their nature, at least as to the significance of their position towards the throne of God. They are termed חיּות, “living,” not as being “ideal representatives of all living things upon the earth” (Hengstenberg), but as beings which, among all the creatures in heaven and earth, possess and manifest life in the fullest sense of the word, and on that very account, of all spiritual beings, stand nearest to the God of the spirits of all flesh (who lives from eternity to eternity), and encircle His throne. With this representation harmonises not only the fact, that after the expulsion of the first human beings from Paradise, God commanded them to guard the way to the tree of life, but also the form in which they

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were represented in the sanctuary and in the visions. The cherubim in the sanctuary had the form of a man, and were only marked out by their wings as super-terrestrial beings, not bound by the earthly limits of space. The cherubim in Ezekiel and the Apocalypse also preserve the appearance of a man. Angels also assume the human form when they appear visibly to men on earth, because of all earthly creatures man, created in the image of God, takes the first and highest place. For although the divine image principally consists in the spiritual nature of man, - in the soul breathed into him by the Spirit of God, - yet his bodily form, as the vessel of this soul, is the most perfect corporeity of which we have any knowledge, and as such forms the most appropriate garment for the rendering visible the heavenly spiritual being within. But the cherubim in our vision exhibit, besides the figure of the human body with the face of a man, also the face of the lion, of the ox, and of the eagle, and four wings, and appear as four-sided, square-formed beings, with a face on each of their four sides, so that they go in any direction without turning, and yet, while so doing, they can always proceed in the direction of one face; while in the vision in the Apocalypse, the four faces of the creatures named are divided among the four cherubim, so that each has only one of them. In the countenance of man is portrayed his soul and spirit, and in each one also of the higher order of animals, its nature. The union of the lion, ox, and eagle-faces with that of man in the cherubim, is intended, doubtless, to represent them as beings which possess the fulness and the power of life, which in the earthly creation is divided among the four creatures named. The Rabbinical dictum (Schemoth Rabba, Schöttgen, Horae Hebraicae, p. 1168): Quatuor sunt qui principatum in hoc mundo tenent. Inter creaturas homo, inter aves aquila, inter pecora bos, inter bestias leo, contains a truth, even if there lies at the foundation of it the idea that these four creatures represent the entire earthly creation. For in the cherub, the living powers of these

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four creatures are actually united. That the eagle, namely, comes into consideration only in reference to his power of flight, in which he excels all other birds, may be concluded from the circumstance that in Rev 4:7 the fourth ζῷον is described as resembling an eagle flying. According to this principle, the ox and the lion are only to be considered in reference to their physical strength, in virtue of which the ox amongst tame animals, the lion amongst wild beasts, take the first place, while man, through the power of his mind, asserts his supremacy over all earthly creatures.[3]
The number four, lastly, both of the cherubim and of the four faces of each cherub, in our vision, is connected with their capacity to go in all directions without turning, and can contribute nothing in favour of the assumption that these four indicate the whole living creation, upon the simple ground that the number four is not essential to them, for on the mercy-seat only two cherubim are found. That they are also represented in the vision as higher spiritual beings, appears not only from Eze 10:7, where a cherub stretches forth his hand and fetches out fire from between the cherubim, and places it in the hands of the angel clothed in white linen, who was to accomplish the burning of Jerusalem; but, still more distinctly, from what is said in the Apocalypse regarding their working. Here we observe them, as Kliefoth has already pointed out, “in manifold activity: they utter day and night the Tersanctus; they offer worship, Rev 4:8-9; Rev 5:8; Rev 19:4; they repeat the Amen to the song of praise from all creation, Rev 5:14; they invite John to see what the four first seals are accomplishing, Rev 6:1, Rev 6:3, Rev 6:5, Rev 6:7; one of them gives to the seven angels the seven phials of wrath, Rev 15:7.”

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Besides this activity of theirs in the carrying out of the divine counsel of salvation, we must, in order to gain as clear a view as possible of the significance of the cherubim in our vision, as well as in Biblical symbolism generally, keep also in view the position which, in the Apocalypse, they occupy around the throne of God. Those who are assembled about the throne form these three concentric circles: the four ζῶα (cherubim) form the innermost circle; the twenty-four elders, seated upon thrones, clothed in white garments, and wearing golden crowns upon their heads, compose the wider circle that follows; while the third, and widest of all, is formed by the many angels, whose number was many thousands of thousands (Rev 4:4, Rev 4:6; Rev 5:6, Rev 5:8; Rev 7:11). To these are added the great, innumerable host, standing before the throne, of the just made perfect from among all heathens, peoples, and languages, in white raiment, and with palms in their hands, who have come out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb, and now, before the throne of God, serve Him day and night in His temple (Eze 7:9, Eze 7:14-15). Accordingly the twenty-four elders, as the patriarchs of the Old and New Testament congregation of God, have their place beside God's throne, between the cherubim and the myriads of the other angels; and in the same manner as they are exalted above the angels, are the cherubim exalted even above them. This position of the cherubim justifies the conclusion that they have the name of ζῶα from the indwelling fulness of the everlasting blessed life which is within them, and which streams out from the Creator of spirits - the King of all kings, and Lord of all lords - upon the spiritual beings of heaven, and that the cherubim immediately surround the throne of God, as being representatives and bearers of the everlasting life of blessedness, which men, created in the image of God, have forfeited by the Fall, but which they are again, from the infinitude of the divine compassion, to recover in the divine kingdom founded for the redemption of fallen humanity.

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It is easier to recognise the meaning of the wheels which in our vision appear beside the cherubim. The wheel serves to put the chariot in motion. Although the throne of God is not now expressly represented and designated as a chariot-throne, yet there can be no doubt that the wheels which Ezekiel sees under the throne beside the cherubim are intended to indicate the possibility and ease with which the throne can be moved in the direction of the four quarters of the heavens. The meaning of the eyes, however, is matter of controversy, with which, according to Eze 1:18, the felloes of the wheels, and, as is expressly mentioned in Eze 10:12, and also noted in Rev 4:6, the cherubim themselves are furnished all round. According to Kliefoth, the eyes serve the purpose of motion; and as the movement of the cherubim and wheels indicates the spreading abroad over the whole earth of the new economy of salvation, this mass of eyes in the cherubim and wheels must indicate that this spreading abroad is to take place, not through blind accident, but with conscious clearness. The meaning is not appropriate to Rev 4:6, where the cherubim have no wheels beside them, and where a going forth into all countries is not to be thought of. Here therefore, according to Kliefoth, the eyes only serve to bring into view the moral and physical powers which have created and supported the kingdom of God upon earth, and which are also to bring it now to its consummation. This is manifestly arbitrary, as any support from passages of the Bible in favour of the one view or the other is entirely wanting. The remark of Rosenmüller is nearer the truth, that by the multitude of the eyes is denoted Coelestium naturarum perspicacia et ὀξυωπία, and leads to the correct explanation of Rev 5:6, where the seven eyes of the Lamb are declared to be τὰ ἐπτὰ πνεύματα τοῦ Θεου,͂ τὰ ἀπεσταλμένα εἰς πᾶσαν τὴν γῆν; the eyes consequently indicate the spiritual effects which proceed from the Lamb over the entire earth in a manner analogous to His seven horns, which are the symbols of the completeness of His power. The eye, then, is the

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picture and mirror of the Spirit; and the ornamentation of the cherubim and wheels with eyes, shows that the power of the divine Spirit dwells within them, and determines and guides their movements.
The remaining objects of the vision are not difficult to explain. The appearance of the expanse over above the cherubim and wheels, upon which a throne is to be seen, represents the firmament of heaven as the place of God's throne. God appears upon the throne in human form, in the terrible glory of His holy majesty. The whole appearance draws nigh to the prophet in the covering of a great fiery cloud (Eze 1:4). This cloud points back to the “thick cloud” in which Jehovah, in the ancient time, descended upon Mount Sinai amid thunders and lightnings (Exo 19:16) to establish His covenant of grace, promised to the patriarchs with their seed - the people of Israel brought forth from Egypt - and to found His kingdom of grace upon the earth. If we observe the connection of our theophany with that manifestation of God on Sinai for the founding of the Old Testament dispensation of salvation, we shall neither confine the fire and the lightnings in our vision to the manifestation of God for the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple, nor refer the splendour which appears above the throne in the form of a rainbow to the grace which returns after the execution of judgment, or to the new dispensation of salvation which is to be established. Nor may we regard these differing attributes, by referring them specially to individual historical elements of the revelation of God in His kingdom, as in opposition; but must conceive of them, more generally and from the point of view of unity, as symbols of the righteousness, holiness, and grace which God reveals in the preservation, government, and consummation of His kingdom. It holds true also of our theophany what Düsterdieck remarks on Rev 4:3 (cf. p. 219 of the second edition of his Commentary) regarding the importance of the divine appearance described in that passage: “We may not hastily apply in a general way

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the description before us by special reference to the judgments of God (which are seen at a later time) in their relation to the divine grace; it is enough that here, where the everlasting and personal ground of all that follows is described, the sacred glory and righteousness of God appear in the closest connection with His unchanging, friendly grace, so that the entire future development of the kingdom of God, and of the world down to the final termination, as that is determined by the marvellous unity of being which is in the holy, righteous, and gracious God, must not only according to its course, but also according to its object, correspond to this threefold glory of the living God.” As this fundamental vision (of the Apocalypse) contains all that serves to alarm the enemies and to comfort the friends of Him who sits on the throne, so the vision of Ezekiel also has its fundamental significance not only for the whole of the prophet's ministry, but, generally, for the continuation and development of the kingdom of God in Israel, until its aim has been reached in its consummation in glory. This, its fundamental significance, unmistakeably appears from the twofold circumstance - firstly, that the theophany was imparted to the prophet at his call, and was then repeated at the principal points in his prophetic ministry, at the announcement both of the dissolution of the old kingdom of God by the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple, Ezekiel 9-11, and also at the erection of the new temple and a new arrangement of the kingdom (Ezekiel 40-48). Since, as was formerly already remarked, a theophany was not required either for the calling of Ezekiel to the office of a prophet, or for the announcement which was entrusted to him of the annihilation of the old and the foundation of the new kingdom of God, so the revelation of God, which pointed in its phenomenal shape to the dwelling of the Lord among His people in the Holy of Holies in the temple (and which was imparted in this place to Ezekiel, living among the exiles in the land of Chaldea by the banks of the Chebar), could only be intended, in view of the dissolution

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of the theocracy, which had already begun, and was shortly to be completed, to give to the prophet and those of his contemporaries who were living with him in exile, a real pledge that the essential element of the theocracy was not to be removed by the penal judgment which was passing over the sinful people and kingdom; but that God the Lord would still continue to attest Himself to His people as the living God, and preserve His kingdom, and one day bring it again to a glorious consummation. - In correspondence with this aim, God appears in the temple in the symbolical forms of His gracious presence as He who is throned above the cherubim; but cherubim and throne are furnished with attributes, which represent the movement of the throne in all directions, not merely to indicate the spreading of the kingdom of God over all the earth, but to reveal Himself as Lord and King, whose might extends over the whole world, and who possesses the power to judge all the heathen, and to liberate from their bondage His people, who have been given into their hands, if they repent and turn unto Him; and who will again gather them together, and raise them in the place of their inheritance to the glory which had been promised.
Such is the significance of the theophany at the inauguration of Ezekiel to the prophetic office. The significance, however, which its repetition possesses is clearly contained in the facts which the prophet was herewith permitted by God to behold. From the temple and city, polluted by sinful abominations, the gracious presence of God departs, in order that temple and city may be given over to the judgment of destruction; into the new and glorious temple there enters again the glory of God, to dwell for ever among the children of Israel.

Chap. 2 Edit

Verses 1-2 Edit

Call of Ezekiel to the Prophetic Office - Eze 2:1 and Eze 2:2. Upon the manifestation of the Lord follows the word of vocation. Having, in the feeling of his

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weakness and sinfulness, fallen to the ground before the terrible revelation of Jehovah's glory, Ezekiel is first of all raised up again by the voice of God, to hear the word which calls him to the prophetic function. - Eze 2:1. And He said to me, Son of man, stand upon thy feet, I will speak with thee. Eze 2:2. Then came spirit unto me as He spake unto me, and it placed me on my feet, and I heard Him speaking unto me. - The address בּן־אדם occurs so frequently in Ezekiel, that it must be regarded as one of the peculiarities of his prophecies. Elsewhere it occurs only once, Dan 8:17. That it is significant, is generally recognised, although its meaning is variously given. Most expositors take it as a reminder of the weakness and frailness of human nature; Coccejus and Kliefoth, on the contrary, connect it with the circumstance that God appears to Ezekiel in human form, and find in it a τεκμήριον amicitiae, that God speaks in him as man to man, converses with him as a man with his friend. This last interpretation, however, has against it the usus loquendi. As בּן־אדם denotes man according to his natural condition, it is used throughout as a synonym with אנושׁ, denoting the weakness and fragility of man in opposition to God; cf. Psa 8:5; Job 25:6; Isa 51:12; Isa 56:2; and Num 23:19. This is the meaning also of בּן־אדם in the address, as may be distinctly seen from the various addresses in Daniel. Daniel is addressed, where comfort is to be imparted to him, as אישׁׁ חמדות, “man greatly beloved,” Dan 10:11, Dan 10:19, cf. Dan 9:23; but, on the contrary, in Eze 8:17, where he has fallen on his face in terror before the appearance of Gabriel, with the words, “Understand, O son of man,” in order to remind him of his human weakness. This is also the case in our verse, where Ezekiel, too, had fallen upon his face, and by God's word spoken to him, is again raised to his feet. It is only in Ezekiel that this address is constantly employed to mark the distance between the human weakness of his nature and the divine power which gives him the capacity and the impulse to speak. Not, however, with the design, mentioned by Jerome on Dan 8:17, “that he

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may not be elated on account of his high calling,” because, as Hävernick subjoins, Ezekiel's extremely powerful and forcible nature may have needed to be perpetually reminded of what it is in reality before God. If this were the meaning and object of this address, it would also probably occur in the writings of several of the other prophets, as the supposition that the nature of Ezekiel was more powerful and forcible than that of the other prophets is altogether without foundation. The constant use of this form of address in Ezekiel is connected rather with the manner and fashion in which most of the revelations were imparted to him, that is, with the prevalence of “vision,” in which the distinction between God and man comes out more prominently than in ordinary inspiration or revelation, effected by means of an impression upon the inner faculties of man. The bringing prominently forward, however, of the distance between God and men is to remind the prophet, as well as the people to whom he communicated his revelations, not merely of the weakness of humanity, but to show them, at the same time, how powerfully the word of God operates in feeble man, and also that God, who has selected the prophet as the organ of His will, possesses also the power to redeem the people, that were lying powerless under the oppression of the heathen, from their misery, and to raise them up again. - At the word of the Lord, “Stand upon thy feet,” came רוּח into the prophet, which raised him to his feet. רוּח here is not “life consciousness” (Hitzig), but the spirit-power which proceeds from God, and which is conveyed through the word which imparted to him the strength to stand before the face of God, and to undertake His command. מדּבּר, partic. Hithpa., properly “collocutor,” occurs here and in Eze 43:6, and in Num 7:89; elsewhere, only in 2Sa 14:13.

Verses 3-7 Edit

The calling of the prophet begins with the Lord describing to Ezekiel the people to whom He is sending him, in order to make him acquainted with the difficulties of his vocation, and to encourage him for the discharge of the same. Eze 2:3.

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And He said to me, Son of man, I send thee to the children of Israel, to the rebels who have rebelled against me: they and their fathers have fallen away from me, even until this very day. Eze 2:4. And the children are of hard face, and hardened heart. To them I send thee; and to them shalt thou speak: Thus says the Lord Jehovah. Eze 2:5. And they - they may hear thee or fail (to do so); for they are a stiff-necked race - they shall experience that a prophet has been in their midst. Eze 2:6. But thou, son of man, fear not before them, and be not afraid of their words, if thistles and thorns are found about thee, and thou sittest upon scorpions; fear not before their words, and tremble not before their face; for they are a stiff-necked race. Eze 2:7. And speak my words to them, whether they may hear or fail (to do so); for they are stiff-necked.
The children of Israel have become heathen, no longer a people of God, not even a heathen nation (גּוי, Isa 1:4), but גּוים, “heathens,” that is, as being rebels against God. המּורדים (with the article) is not to be joined as an adjective to גּוים, which is without the article, but is employed substantively in the form of an apposition. They have rebelled against God in this, that they, like their fathers, have separated themselves from Jehovah down to this day (as regards פּשׁע בּ, see on Isa 1:2; and עצם היּום הזּה, as in the Pentateuch; cf. Lev 23:14; Gen 7:13; Gen 17:23, etc.). Like their fathers, the sons are rebellious, and, in addition, they are קשׁי פנים, of hard countenance” = חזקי, “of hard brow” (Eze 3:7), i.e., impudent, without hiding the face, or lowering the look for shame. This shamelessness springs from hardness of heart. To these hardened sinners Ezekiel is to announce the word of the Lord. Whether they hear it or not (אם־ואם, sive-sive, as in Jos 24:15; Ecc 11:3; Ecc 12:14), they shall in any case experience that a prophet has been amongst them. That they will neglect to hear is very probable, because they are a stiff-necked race (בּית, “house” = family). The Vau before ידעוּ (Eze 2:5) introduces the apodosis. היה is perfect, not present. This is

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demanded by the usus loquendi and the connection of the thought. The meaning is not: they shall now from his testimony that a prophet is there; but they shall experience from the result, viz., when the word announced by him will have been fulfilled, that a prophet has been amongst them. Ezekiel, therefore, is not to be prevented by fear of them and their words from delivering a testimony against their sins. The ἁπάξ λεγόμενα, סרבים and סלּונים, are not, with the older expositors, to be explained adjectively: “rebelles et renuentes,” but are substantives. As regards סלּון, the signification “thorn” is placed beyond doubt by סלּון in Eze 28:24, and סרב in Aramaic does indeed denote “refractarius;” but this signification is a derived one, and inappropriate here. סרב is related to צרב, “to burn, to singe,” and means “urtica,” “stinging-nettle, thistle,” as Donasch in Raschi has already explained it. אותך is, according to the later usage, for אתּך, expressing the “by and with of association,” and occurs frequently in Ezekiel. Thistles and thorns are emblems of dangerous, hostile men. The thought is strengthened by the words “to sit on (אל for על) scorpions,” as these animals inflict a painful and dangerous wound. For the similitude of dangerous men to scorpions, cf. Sir. 26:10, and other proof passages in Bochart, Hierozoic. III. p. 551f., ed. Rosenmüll.

Verses 8-10 Edit

After the Lord had pointed out to the prophet the difficulties of the call laid upon him, He prepared him for the performance of his office, by inspiring him with the divine word which he is to announce. - Eze 2:8. And thou, son of man, hear what I say to thee, Be not stiff-necked like the stiff-necked race; open thy mouth, and eat what I give unto thee. Eze 2:9. Then I saw, and, lo, a hand outstretched towards me; and, lo, in the same a roll of a book. Eze 2:10. And He spread it out before me; the same was written upon the front and back: and there were written upon it lamentations, and sighing, and woe. Eze 3:1. And He said to me: Son of man, what thou findest eat; eat the roll, and go and speak to the house of Israel.

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Chap. 3 Edit

Verses 1-3 Edit

Eze 3:2. Then opened I my mouth, and He gave me this roll to eat. Eze 3:3. And said to me: Son of man, feed thy belly, and fill thy body with this roll which I give thee. And I ate it, and it was in my mouth as honey and sweetness. - The prophet is to announce to the people of Israel only that which the Lord inspires him to announce. This thought is embodied in symbol, in such a way that an outstretched hand reaches to him a book, which he is to swallow, and which also, at God's command, he does swallow; cf. Rev 10:9. This roll was inscribed on both sides with lamentations, sighing, and woe (הי is either abbreviated from נהי, not = אי, or as Ewald, §101c, thinks, is only a more distinct form of הוי or הו). The meaning is not, that upon the roll was inscribed a multitude of mournful expressions of every kind, but that there was written upon it all that the prophet was to announce, and what we now read in his book. These contents were of a mournful nature, for they related to the destruction of the kingdom, the destruction of Jerusalem and of the temple. That Ezekiel may look over the contents, the roll is spread out before his eyes, and then handed to him to be eaten, with the words, “Go and speak to the children of Israel,” i.e., announce to the children of Israel what you have received into yourself, or as it is termed in Eze 3:4, דּברי, “my words.” The words in Eze 3:3 were spoken by God while handing to the prophet the roll to be eaten. He is not merely to eat, i.e., take it into his mouth, but he is to fill his body and belly therewith, i.e., he is to receive into his innermost being the word of God presented to him, to change it, as it were, into sap and blood. Whilst eating it, it was sweet in his mouth. The sweet taste must not, with Kliefoth, be explained away into a sweet “after-taste,” and made to bear this reference, that the destruction of Jerusalem would be followed by a more glorious restoration. The roll, inscribed with lamentation, sorrow, and woe, tasted to him sweetly, because its contents was God's word, which sufficed for the joy and gladness of his heart (Jer 15:16); for it is “infinitely sweet and lovely to

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be the organ and spokesman of the Omnipotent,” and even the most painful of divine truths possess to a spiritually-minded man a joyful and quickening side (Hengstenberg on Rev 10:9). To this it is added, that the divine penal judgments reveal not only the holiness and righteousness of God, but also prepare the way for the revelation of salvation, and minister to the saving of the soul. ==Verse 4==

Eze 3:4-21. The Sending op the Prophet. — Edit

This consists in God's promise to give him power to overcome the difficulties of his vocation (vers. 4-9); in next transporting him to the place where he is to labour (vers. 10-15; and lastly, in laying upon him the responsibility of the souls entrusted to his charge (vers. 16-21). After Ezekiel had testified, by eating the roll which had been given him, his willingness to announce the word of the Lord, the Lord acquaints him with the peculiar difficulties of his vocation, and promises to bestow upon him strength to overcome them. — Ver. 4. And He said to me, Son of man, go away to the house of Israel, and speak with my words to them. Ver. 5. For not to a people of hollow lips and heavy tongue art thou sent, (but) to the house of Israel. Ver. 6. Not to many nations of hollow lips and heavy tongue, whose words thou dost not understand ; but to them have I sent thee, they can understand thee. Ver. 7. But the house of Israel will not hear thee, because they will not hear me ; for the whole house of Israel, of hard brow and hardened heart are they. Ver. 8. Lo, I make thy countenance hard like their countenances, and thy brow hard like their brow. Ver. 9. hike to adamant, horde)- than rock, do I make thy brow : fear not, and tremble not before them, for they are a stiff-necked race. — The contents of this section present a great similarity to those in ch. ii. 3-7, inasmuch as here as well as there the obduracy and stiff-neckedness of Israel is stated as a hindrance which opposes the success of Ezekiel's work. This is done here, however, in a different relation than there, so that there is no tautology.

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Here, where the Lord is sending the prophet, He first brings prominently forward what lightens the performance of his mission ; and next, the obduracy of Israel, which surrounds it with difficulty for him, in order at the same time to promise him strength for the vanquishing of these difficulties. Ezekiel is to speak, in the words communicated to him by God, to the house (people) of Israel. This he can do, because Israel is not a foreign nation with an unintelligible language, but possesses the capacity of understanding the words of the prophet (vers. 5-7), עַ֣ם שָׂפָה֙ עַמִּ֣ים, “a people of deep lips,” i.e. of a style of speech hollow, and hard to be understood ; cf. Isa 33:19. עִמְקֵ֤י שָׂ is not genitive, and עַ֣ם is not the status constructus, but an adjective belonging to עַ֣ם, and used in the plural, because עַ֣ם contains a collective conception. “And of heavy tongue,” i.e. with a language the understanding of which is attended with great difficulty. Both epithets denote a barbarously sounding, unintelligible, foreign tongue. The unintelligibility of a language, however, does not alone consist in unacquaintance with the meaning of its words and sounds, but also in the peculiarities of each nation's style of thought, of which language is only the expression in sounds. In this respect we may, with Coccejus and Kliefoth, refer the prophet's inability to under-stand the language of the heathen to this, that their manner of thinking and speaking was not formed according to the word of God, but was developed out of purely earthly, and even God-resisting factors. Only the exclusive prominence given by Kliefoth to this side of the subject is incorrect, because irreconcilable with the words, “many nations, whose words (discourse) thou dost not understand” (ver. 6). These words show that the unintelligibility of the language lies in not understanding the sounds of its words. Before אֶל־בֵּ֖ית יִשְׂ, in ver. 5, the adversative particle sed is omitted (cf. Ewald, § 354a) ; the omission here is perhaps caused by this, that אַתָּ֣ה שָׁל֑וּחַ, in consequence of its position between both sentences, can be referred to both. In ver. 6 the thought of ver. 5 is expanded

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by the addition of עַמִּ֣ים רַבִּ֗ים “many nations” with different languages, in order to show that it is not in the ability, but in the willingness, to hear the word of the Lord that the Israelites are wanting. It is not to many nations with unintelligible languages that God is sending the prophet, but to such men as are able to hear him, i.e. can understand his language. The second hemistich of ver. 6 is rendered by the old translators as if they had not read לֹ֤א after אִם, “if I sent thee to them (the heathen), they would hear thee.” Modern expositors have endeavoured to extract this meaning, either by taking אִם לֹ֤א as a particle of adjuration, profecto, “verily” (Rosenmüller, Hävernick, and others), or reading אם לֹ֤א as Ewald does, after Gen 23:13. But the one is as untenable as the other : against אִם־לֹ֤א stands the fact that לו is written with ו, not with א; against the view that it is a particle of adjuration, stands partly the position of the words before אֲלֵיהֶם֙ שְׁלַ, which, according to the sense, must belong to הטהישמ׳, partly the impossibility of taking שְׁלַחְתִּ֔יךָ conditionally after the preceding אִם־לֹ֤א. “If such were the case, Ezekiel would have really done all he could to conceal his meaning” (Hitzig), for אִם־לֹ֤א, after a negative sentence preceding, signifies “but;” cf. Gen. 24:38. Consequently neither the one view nor the other yields an appropriate sense. "If I had sent thee to the heathen," involves a repenting of the act, which is not beseeming in God. Against the meaning “profecto” is the consideration that the idea, “Had I sent thee to the heathen, verily they would hear thee,” is in contradiction with the designation of the heathen as those whose language the prophet does not understand. If the heathen spoke a language unintelligible to the prophet, they consequently did not understand his speech, and could not therefore comprehend his preaching. It only remains, then, to apply the sentence simply to the Israelites, “not to heathen nations, but to the Israelites have I sent thee,” and to take שׁמ֖עד as potential, “they are able to fear thee,” “they can understand thy words.” This in ver. 7 is closed by the antithesis

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“But the house of Israel will not hear tliee, because they will not hear me (Jehovah), as they are morally hardened.” With 7b, cf. Jer 2:4, The Lord, however, will provide His prophet with power to resist this obduracy ; will lend him unbending courage and unshaken firmness, ver. 8 ; cf. Jer. 15:20. He will make his brow hard as adamant (cf. Zech 7:12), which is harder than rock ; therefore he shall not fear before the obduracy of Israel. צ֗ר, as in Ex 4:25, =צ֗רך. As parallel passages in regard of the subject-matter, cf. Isa 1:7 and Jer 1:18.

Verses 10-15 Edit

Vers. 10-15. Prepared then for his vocation, Ezekiel is now transported to the sphere of his activity. — Ver. 10. And He said to me, Son of man, all m,y words which 1 shall speak to thee, take into thy heart, and hear with thine ears. Ver. 11. And go to the exiles, to the children of thy people, and speak to them, and say to them, “Tims saith the Lord Jehovah,” whether they may hear thee or fail (to hear thee). Ver, 12. And a wind raised me up, and I heard behind me the voice of a great tumult, “Praised he the glory of Jehovah,” from, their place hitherward. Ver, 13, And the noise of the wings of the creatures touching each other, and the noise of the wheels beside them, the noise of a great tumult. Ver. 14. And a wind raised me up, and took me, and I went thither embittered in the warmth of my spirit ; and the hand of Jehovah was strong upon me. Ver, 15. And I came to Tel-Abib to the exiles, who dwelled by the river Chebar, and where they sat there sat I down seven days, motionless and dumb, in their midst. — The apparent hysteron proteron, “take into thy heart, and hear with thine ears” (ver. 10), disappears so soon as it is observed that the clause “ hear with thine ears” is connected with the following “go to the exiles,” etc. The meaning is not, “postquam auribus tuis percepisses mea mandata, ea ne oblivioni tradas, sed corde suscipe et animo infige” (Rosen- müller), but this, “All my words which I shall speak to thee lay to heart, that thou mayest obey them. When thou hast heard my words with thine ears, then go to the exiles and an- nounce them to them.” With ver. 11 cf. Jer 2:4-5. Observe that

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it is still בנ֣י עמ֔ך , “the children of thy” (not “my”) “people.” Stiff-necked Israel is no longer Jehovah's people. The command “to go to the people” is, in ver. 12 sqq., immediately executed by the prophet, the wind raising him up and transporting him to Tel-Abib, among the exiles, ר֔וח, phenomenally considered, is a wind of which God makes use to conduct the prophet to the scene of his labour ; but the wind is only the sensible substratum of the spirit which transports him thither. The representation is, that “he was borne thither through the air by the wind” (Kliefoth) ; but not as Jerome and Kliefoth suppose, in ipso corpore, i.e. so that an actual bodily removal through the air took place, but the raising up and taking away by the wind was effected in spirit in the condition of ecstasy. Not a syllable indicates that the theophany was at an end before this removal ; the contrary rather is clearly indicated by the remark that Ezekiel heard behind him the noise of the wings of the cherubim and of the wheels. And that the words תִּשָּׂאֵ֣נִי ר֔וּחַ do not necessitate us to suppose a bodily removal is shown by the comparison with Eze 8:3, Eze 11:1, 24, where Kliefoth also understands the same words in a spiritual sense of a merely internal — i.e. experienced in a state of ecstasy — removal of the prophet to Jerusalem and back again to Chaldea. The great noise which Ezekiel hears behind him proceeds, at least in part, from the appearance of the כְּבוֹד־יְה being set in motion, but (according to ver. 13) not in order to remove itself from the raptured prophet, but by changing its present position, to attend the prophet to the sphere of his labour. It tells decidedly in favour of this supposition, that the prophet, according to ver. 23, again sees around him the same theophany in the valley where he begins his work. This reappearance, indeed-, presupposes that it had previously disappeared from his sight, but the disappearance is to be supposed as taking place only after his call has been completed, i.e. after ver. 21. While being removed in a condition of ecstasy, Ezekiel heard the rushing sound, “Praised be the glory of Jehovah.” מִמְּקוֹמֽוֹ

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belongs not to גָּד֑וֹ בָּר֥וּךְ, which would yield no appropriate sense, but to אֶשְׁמַ֣ע, where it makes no difference of importance in the meaning whether the suffix is referred to יהןח or to כְּבוֹד. Ezekiel heard the voice of the praise of God's glory issuing forth from the place where Jehovah or His glory were to be found, i. e. where they had appeared to the prophet, not at all from the temple. Who sounded this song of praise is not mentioned. Close by Ezekiel heard the sound, the rustling of the wings of the cherubim setting themselves in motion, and how the wings came into contact with the tips of each other, touched each other (מִמְּקוֹמֽוֹ, from גְּשׁק, “to join,” “to touch one another”). Ver. 14 describes the prophet's mood of mind as he is carried away. Raised by the wind, and carried on, he went, i.e. drove thither, מַר֙ בַּחֲמַ֣ת רוּחִ֔, “bitter in the heat of his spirit.” Although מַר֙ is used as well of grief and mourning as of wrath and displeasure, yet mourning and sorrow are not appropriate to חֲמַ֣ת “warmth of spirit,” “anger.” The supposition, however, that sorrow as well as anger were in him, or that he was melancholy while displeased (Kliefoth), is incompatible with the fundamental idea of מַר֙ as “sharp,” “bitter.” Ezekiel feels himself deeply roused, even to the bitterness of anger, partly by the obduracy of Israel, partly by the commission to announce to this obdurate people, without any prospect of success, the word of the Lord. To so heavy a task he feels himself unequal, therefore his natural man rebels against the Spirit of God, which, seizing him with a strong and powerful grasp, tears him away to the place of his work ; and he would seek to withdraw himself from the divine call, as Moses and Jonah once did. The hand of the Lord, however, was strong upon him, i.e. “held him up in this inner struggle with unyielding power” (Kliefoth) ; cf.Isa 8:11. חֶזְקַ֣, “firm”, “strong,” differs from כְבַּ֥ד, “heavy,” Ps 32:4. תֵּ֣ל אָ֠בִיב, i.e. “the hill of ears,” is the name of the place where resided a colony of the exiles. The place was situated on the river Chebar (see on Isa 50:3), and derived its name, no doubt, from the fertility of the

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valley, rich in grain (הַבִּקְעָה֒, ver. 23), by which it was surrounded; nothing further, however, is known of it; cf. Gesen. Thesaur. p. 1505. The Chetib ואשר, at which the Masoretes and many expositors have unnecessarily taken offence, is to be read וָאֵשֵׁ֥ר, and to be joined with the following שָׁ֛ם, “where they sat” (so rightly the Chaldee, Syriac, and Vulgate). That this signification would be expressed differently, as Hitzig thinks, cannot be established by means of Job 39:30. The Keri וָאֵשֵׁ֥ב is not only unnecessary, but also inappropriate, which holds true also of other conjectures of modern expositors. Ezekiel sat there seven days, מַשְׁמִ֥ים, i.e., neither “deprived of sensation,” nor “being silent,” but as the partic. Hiphil from שְׁמִ֥ם, as מְשׁוֹמֵֽם in Ezr 9:3-4, “rigidly without moving,” therefore “motionless and dumb.” The seven days are not regarded as a period of mourning, in support of which Job 2:13 is referred to; but as both the purification and the dedication and preparation for a holy service is measured by the number seven, as being the number of God's works (cf. Ex 29:29 sqq.; Lev 8:33 sqq.; 2Chr 29:17), so Ezekiel sits for a week “motionless and dumb,” to master the impression which the word of God, conveyed to him in ecstatic vision, had made upon his mind, and to prepare and sanctify himself for his vocation (Kliefoth). ==Verses 16-21== Vers. 16-21. When these seven days are completed, there comes to him the final word, which appoints him watchman over Israel, and places before him the task and responsibility of his vocation. — Ver. 16. And it came to pass after the lapse of seven days, that the word of Jehovah came to me as follows: Ver. 17. Son of man, I have set thee to be a watchman over the house of Israel; thou shalt hear the Lord from my mouth, and thou shalt warn them from me Ver. 18. If I say to the sinner, Thou shalt surely die, and thou warnest him not, and speakest not to warn the sinner from his evil way that he may live, then shall he, the sinner, die because of his evil deeds, but his blood will I require at thy hand, Ver. 19. But if thou warnest the sinner

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and he turn not from his wickedness and his evil way, then shall he die because of his evil deeds, but thou hast saved thy soul. Ver. 20. And if a righteous man turn from his righteousness, and do unrighteousness, and I lay a stumbling block before his, then shall he die; if thou hast not warned him, he shall die because of his sin, and his righteousness which he has done shall not be remembered, but his blood will I require at thy hand. Ver. 21. But if thou warnest him — the righteous man — so that the righteous man sin not, and he do not sin, then will he live, because he has been warned, and thou hast saved thy soul. — As a prophet for Israel, Ezekiel is like one standing upon a watch- tower (Hab 2:1), to watch over the condition of the people, and warn them of the dangers that threaten them (Jer 6:17 ; Isa 56:10). As such, he is responsible for the souls entrusted to his charge. From the mouth of Jehovah, i.e. according; to God's word, he is to admonish the wicked to turn from their evil ways, that they die not in their sins. ֚֭טׅטֶּגִּי, “from me,” i.e. in my name, and with my commission. “If I say to the sinner,” i.e. if I commission thee to say to him (Kimchi). As מ֥וֹת תָּמֽוּת reminds us of Gen 2:17, so is the threatening, “his blood will I require at thy hand,” an allusion to Gen 9:5. If the prophet does not warn the wicked man, as God has commanded him, he renders himself guilty of a deadly sin, for which God will take vengeance on him as on the murderer for the shedding of blood. An awfully solemn statement for all ministers of the word. הָרְשָׁעָ֖ה, in vers. 18 and 19, at which the LXX. have stumbled, so that they have twice omitted it, is not a substantive, and to be changed, with Hitzig, into רְשָׁעָ֖ה, but is an adjective, foemin. gen., and belongs to דַּרְכּ֥וֹ, which is construed as feminine. The righteous man who backslides is, before God, regarded as equal with the sinner who persists in his sin, if the former, notwithstanding the warning, perseveres in his backsliding (ver. 20 sqq.). שׁ֨וּב מִצִּדְקוֹ֙, “to turn oneself from his righteousness,” denotes the formal falling away from the path of righteousness, not mere “stumbling or

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sinning from weakness.”עָ֣שָׂה עָ֔וֶל, “to do unrighteousness,” “to act perversely,” is “se prorsus dedere impietati” (Calvin). וְנָתַתִּ֥י מִכְשׁ֛וֹל belongs still to the protasis, ה֣וּא יָמ֑וּת forming the apodosis, not a relative sentence, — as Ewald and Hitzig suppose, — “so that he, or, in consequence of which, he die.” מִכְשׁ֛וֹל, “object of offence,” by which any one comes to fall, is not destruction, considered as punishment deserved (Calvin, Havernick), but everything that God puts in the way of the sinner, in order that the sin, which is germinating in his soul, may come forth to the light, and ripen to maturity. God, indeed, neither causes sin, nor desires the death of the sinner; and in this sense He does not tempt to evil (Jas 1:13), but He guides and places the sinner in relations in life in which he must come to a decision for or against what is good and divine, and either suppress the sinful lusts of his heart, or burst the barriers which are opposed to their satisfaction. If he does not do the former, but the latter, evil gains within him more and more strength, so that he becomes the servant of sin, and finally reaches a point where conversion is impossible. In this consists theמִכְשׁ֛וֹל, which God places before him, who turns away from righteousness to unrighteousness or evil, but not in this, that God lets man run on in order that he may die or perish. For יָמ֑וּת does not stand for זמ֑ת, and there is therefore no ground for a change of punctuation to carry forward Athnach to הִזְהַרְתּוֹ֙ (Hitzig). For the subject spoken of is not that the backsliding righteous man “in general only dies if he is not warned” (Hitzig), — that meaning is not in ver. 21, “that he, in contrast to the רָשָׁ֔ע, gives sure obedience to the warning,” — but only the possibility is supposed that a צַדִּ֗יק, who has transgressed upon the way of evil, will yield obedience to the warning, but not that he will of a certainty do this. As with the רָשָׁ֔ע in ver. 19, only the case of his resisting the warning is expressly mentioned ; while the opposite case — that he may, in consequence of the warning, be converted — is not excluded ; so in ver. 21, with the צַדִּ֗יק, who has entered upon the path of

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unrighteousness, only the case of conversion in consequence of the warning is expressly mentioned, without the possibility of his hardening himself against the prophet's word being thereby excluded. For the instruction of the prophet it was sufficient to bring forward the two cases mentioned, as it appears from them that in the one case as well as in the other he has done his duty, and saved his soul.

Verses 22-27 Edit


Vers. 22—27 in Eze 3, no longer belong to the prophet's inauguration and introduction into office, nor do they form the conclusion of his call, but the introduction to his first prophetic act and prediction, as has been rightly recognized by Ewald and Kliefoth. This appears already from the introductory formula, “The hand of Jehovah came upon me” (ver. 22), and, more distinctly still, from the glory of Jehovah appearing anew to the prophet (when, in obedience to a divine impulse, he had gone down into the valley), in the form in which he had seen it by the river Chebar, and giving him a commission to announce by word and symbol the siege of Jerusalem, and the fate of its inhabitants. For, that the divine commission did not consist merely in the general directions, Eze 3:25-27, but is first given in its principal parts in ch. iv. and v., is indisputably evident from the repetition of the words וְאַתָּ֣ה בֶן־אָדָ֗ם in Eze 3:25, 4:1, and v. 1. With וְאַתָּ֣ה neither can the first nor, in general, a new prophecy begin. This has been recognised by Hitzig himself in ch. iv. 1, where he remarks that the first of the three oracles which follow down to viii. 1, and which he makes begin with Eze 4:1, “attaches itself to Eze 3:25-27 as a continuation of the same.” But what holds true of Eze 4:1 must hold true also of Eze 3:25, viz. that no new oracle can begin with this verse, but that it is connected with Eze 3:22-24. The commencement, then, we have to seek in the formula,

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“and the hand of Jehovah came upon me” (Eze 3:22), with which also Eze 8:1 (where only PaW stands instead of וַתְּהִ֥י) and Eze 40:1 — new oracles — are introduced. No doubt these passages are preceded by chronological notices, while in Eze 3:22 every note of time is wanting. But nothing further can be inferred from this, than that the divine word contained in 3:25-v. 17 was imparted to the prophet immediately after his consecration and call, so that it still falls under the date of Eze 1:2; which may also be discovered from this, that the שָׁ֖ם in ver. 22 points to the locality named in ver. 15.
Immediately after his call, then, and still in the same place where the last word of calling (eze 3:16-21) was addressed to him, namely, at Tel-Abib, in the midst of the exiles, Ezekiel received the first divine revelation which, as prophet, he was to announce to the people. This revelation is introduced by the words in ch. iii. 22-24; and divided into three sections by the thrice-occurring, similar address, “And thou, son of man” (Eze 3:25, 4:1, 5:1). In the first section, Eze 3:25-27, God gives him general injunctions as to his conduct while carrying out the divine commission ; in the second, ch. 4. He commands him to represent symbolically the siege of Jerusalem with its miseries ; and in the third, ch. v., the destiny of the inhabitants after the capture of the city.

Verses 22-27 Edit

Eze. 3:22-27. Introduction to the first prophetic announcement. — Ver. 22. And there came upon me there the hand of Jehovah, and He said to me, Up I go into the valley, there will 1 speak to thee. Ver. 23. And I arose, and went into the valley : and, lo, there stood the glory of Jehovah, like the glory which I had seen at the river Chebar: and I fell upon my face. Ver. 24. And spirit came into me, and placed me on my feet, and He spake with we, and said to me. Go, and shut thyself in thy house. — הַבִּקְעָ֔ה is, without doubt, the valley situated near Tel-Abib. Ezekiel is to go out from the midst of the exiles — where, according to ver. 15, he had found himself — into the valley, because God will reveal Himself to him only in solitude.

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When he had complied with this command, there appears to him there the glory of Jehovah, in the same form in which it had appeared to him at the Chaboras (Eze 1:4-28) ; before it he falls, a second time, on his face ; but is also, as on the first occasion, again raised to his feet, cf. Eze 1:28-2:2. Hereupon the Lord commands him to shut himself up in his house, — which doubtless he inhabited in Tel-Abib, — not probably “as a sign of his future destiny,” as a realistic explanation of the words, “Thou canst not walk in their midst (ver. 25) ; they will prevent thee by force from freely exercising thy vocation in the midst of the people.” For in that case the “shutting of himself up in the house” would be an arbitrary identification with the “ binding with fetters” (ver. 25) ; and besides, the significance of the address וְאַתָּ֣ה בֶן־אָדָ֗ם, and its repetition in Eze 4:1 and v. 1, would be misconceived. For as in Eze 4:1 and Eze 5:1 there are introduced with this address the principal parts of the duty which Ezekiel was to perform, so the proper divine instruction may also first begin with the same in Ezz 3:25; consequently the command “to shut himself up in his house ” can only have the significance of a preliminary divine injunction, without possessing any significancy in itself ; but only “serve as a means for carrying out what the prophet is commissioned to do in the following chapters ” (Kliefoth), i.e. can only mean that he is to perform in his own house what is commanded him in ch. 4. and 5., or that he is not to leave his house during their performance. More can hardly be sought in this injunction, nor can it at all be taken to mean that, having shut himself up from others in his house, he is to allow no one to approach him ; but only that he is not to leave his dwelling. For, according to Eze 4:3, the symbolical representation of the siege of Jerusalem is to be a sign for the house of Israel ; and according to Eze 4:12, Ezekiel is, during this symbolical action, to bake his bread before their eyes. From this it is seen that his contemporaries might come to him and observe his proceedings.

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Verses 25-27 Edit

The general divine instructions. - Eze 3:25. And thou, son of man, lo, they will lay cords upon thee, and bind thee therewith, so that thou canst not go out into their midst. Eze 3:26. And I shall make thy tongue cleave to thy palate, that thou mayest be dumb, and mayest not serve them as a reprover: for they are a stiff-necked generation. Eze 3:27. But when I speak to thee, I will open thy mouth, that thou mayest say to them, Thus sayeth the Lord Jehovah, Let him who wishes to hear, hear, and let him who neglects, neglect (to hear): for they are a stiff necked generation. - The meaning of this general injunction depends upon the determination of the subject in נתנוּ, Eze 3:25. Most expositors think of the prophet's countrymen, who are to bind him with cords so that he shall not be able to leave his house. The words ולא תצא appear to support this, as the suffix in בּתוכם indisputably refers to his countrymen. But this circumstance is by no means decisive; while against this view is the twofold difficulty - firstly, that a binding of the prophet with cords by his countrymen is scarcely reconcilable with what he performs in Ezekiel 4 and 5; secondly, of hostile attacks by the exiles upon the prophet there is not a trace to be discovered in the entire remainder of the book. The house of Israel is indeed repeatedly described as a stiff-necked race, as hardened and obdurate towards God's word; but any embitterment of feeling against the prophet, which should have risen so far as to bind him, or even to make direct attempts to prevent him from exercising his prophetic calling, can, after what is related in Eze 33:30-33 regarding the position of the people towards him, hardly be imagined. Further, the binding and fettering of the prophet is to be regarded as of the same kind with the cleaving of his tongue to his jaws, so that he should be silent and not speak (Eze 3:26). It is God, however, who suspends this dumbness over him; and according to Eze 4:8, it is also God who binds him with cords, so that he cannot stir from one side to the other. The demonstrative power of the latter passage is not to be weakened by the objection that it is a

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passage of an altogether different kind, and the connection altogether different (Hävernick). For the complete difference between the two passages would first have to be proved. The object, indeed, of the binding of the prophet in Eze 4:8 is different from that in our verse. Here it is to render it impossible for the prophet to go out of the house; in Eze 4:8, it is to prevent him from moving from one side to the other. But the one object does not exclude the other; both statements coincide, rather, in the general thought that the prophet must adapt himself entirely to the divine will - not only not leave the house, but lie also for 390 days upon one side without turning. - We might rather, with Kliefoth, understand Eze 4:8 to mean that God accomplished the binding of the prophet by human instruments - viz. that He caused him to be bound by foreigners (Eze 3:25). But this supposition also would only be justified, if either the sense of the words in Eze 3:25, or other good reasons, pronounced in favour of the view that it was the exiles who had bound the prophet. But as this is not the case, so we are not at liberty to explain the definite נתתּי, “I lay on” (Eze 4:8), according to the indefinite נתנוּ, “they lay on,” or “one lays on” (Eze 3:25); but must, on the contrary, understand our verse in accordance with Eze 4:8, and (with Hitzig) think of heavenly powers as the subject to נתנוּ - as in Job 7:3; Dan 4:28; Luk 12:20 - without, in so doing, completely identifying the declaration in our verse with that in Luk 4:8, as if in the latter passage only that was brought to completion which had been here (Luk 3:25) predicted. If, however, the binding of the prophet proceeds from invisible powers, the expression is not to be understood literally - of a binding with material cords; - but God binds him by a spiritual power, so that he can neither leave his house nor go forth to his countrymen, nor, at a later time (Eze 4:8), change the position prescribed to him. This is done, however, not to prevent the exercise of his vocation, but, on the contrary, to make him fitted for the successful performance of the work commanded him. He is

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not to quit his house, nor enter into fellowship and intercourse with his exiled countrymen, that he may show himself, by separation from them, to be a prophet and organ of the Lord. On the same grounds he is also (Eze 3:26, Eze 3:27) to keep silence, and not even correct them with words, but only to speak when God opens his mount for that purpose; to remain, moreover, unconcerned whether they listen to his words or not (cf. Eze 2:4, Eze 2:7). He is to do both of these things, because his contemporaries are a stiff-necked race; cf. Eze 3:9 and Eze 2:5, Eze 2:7. That he may not speak from any impulse of his own, God will cause his tongue to cleave to his jaws, so that he cannot speak; cf. Psa 137:6. “That the prophet is to refrain from all speech - even from the utterance of the words given him by God - will, on the one hand, make the divine words which he utters appear the more distinctly as such; while, on the other, be an evidence to his hearers of the silent sorrow with which he is filled by the contents of the divine word, and with which they also ought justly to be filled” (Kliefoth).
This state of silence, according to which he is only then to speak when God opened his mouth for the utterance of words which were to be given him, is, indeed, at first imposed upon the prophet - as follows from the relation of Eze 3:25-27 to Ezekiel 4 and 5 - only for the duration of the period Eze 3:25 to Eze 5:17, or rather Eze 7:27. But the divine injunction extends, as Kliefoth has rightly recognised, still further on - over the whole period up to the fulfilment of his prophecies of threatening by the destruction of Jerusalem. This appears especially from this, that in Eze 24:27 and Eze 33:22 there is an undeniable reference to the silence imposed upon him in our verse, and with reference to which it is said, that when the messenger should bring back the news of the fall of Jerusalem, his mouth should be opened and he should be no longer dumb. The reference in Eze 24:27 and in Eze 33:22 to the verse before us has been observed by most expositors; but several of them

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would limit the silence of the prophet merely to the time which lies between Ezekiel 24 and Eze 33:21. This is quite arbitrary, as neither in Ezekiel 24 nor in Ezekiel 33 is silence imposed upon him; but in both chapters it is only stated that he should no longer be dumb after the receipt of the intelligence that Jerusalem had been destroyed by the Chaldeans. The supposition of Schmieder, moreover, is untenable, that the injunction of Eze 3:25 refers to the turning-point in the prophet's office, which commenced on the day when the siege of Jerusalem actually began. For although this day forms a turning-point in the prophetic activity of Ezekiel, in so far as he on it announced to the people for the last time the destruction of Jerusalem, and then spake no more to Israel until the occurrence of this event, yet it is not said in Eze 24:27 that he was then to be dumb from that day onwards. The hypothesis then only remains, that what was imposed and enjoined on the prophet, in Eze 3:26 and Eze 3:27, should remain in force for the whole period from the commencement of his prophetic activity to the receipt of the news of the fall of Jerusalem, by the arrival of a messenger on the banks of the Chaboras. Therewith is also connected the position of this injunction at the head of the first prophecy delivered to him (not at his call), if only the contents and importance of this oracle be understood and recognised, that it embraces not merely the siege of Jerusalem, but also the capture and destruction of the city, and the dispersion of the people among the heathen - consequently contains in nuce all that Ezekiel had to announce to the people down to the occurrence of this calamity, and which, in all the divine words from Eze 6:1-14 to Ezekiel 24, he had again and again, though only in different ways, actually announced. If all the discourses down to Ezekiel 24 are only further expositions and attestations of the revelation of God in Ezekiel 4 and 5, then the behaviour which was enjoined on him at the time of this announcement was to be maintained during all following discourses of similar contents. Besides, for a correct appreciation

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of the divine precept in Eze 3:26 and Eze 3:27, it is also to be noticed that the prophet is not to keep entire silence, except when God inspires him to speak; but that his keeping silence is explained to men, that he is to be to his contemporaries no אישׁ, “no reprover,” and consequently will place their sins before them to no greater extent, and in no other way, than God expressly directs him. Understood in this way, the silence is in contradiction neither with the words of God communicated in Eze 6:1-14 to 24, nor with the predictions directed against foreign nations in Ezekiel 25-33, several of which fall within the time of the siege of Jerusalem. Cf. with this the remark upon Eze 24:27 and Eze 33:22.

Chap. 4 Edit

Verses 1-3 Edit

Chap. iv. The Sign of the Siege op Jerusalem. — This sign, which Ezekiel is to perform in his own house before the eyes of the exiles who visit him, consists in three interconnected and mutually-supplementary symbolical acts, the first of which is described in vers. 1—3, the second in vers. 4—8, and the third in vers. 9-17. In the first place, he is symboli- cally to represent the impending siege of Jerusalem (vers. 1-3); in the second place, by lying upon one side, he is to announce the punishment of Israel's sin (vers. 4-8); in the third place, by the nature of his food, he is, while lying upon one side, to hold forth to view the terrible consequences of the siege to Israel. The close connection as to their subject-matter of these three actions appears clearly from this, that the prophet, accord to ver. 7, while lying upon one side, is to direct his look and his arm upon the picture of the besieged city before him; and, according to ver. 8, is to lie upon his side as long as the siege lasts, and during that time is to nourish himself in the manner prescribed in ver. 9 sqq. In harmony with this is the formal division of the chapter, inasmuch as the three acts, which the prophet is to perform for the purpose of portraying the impending siege of Jerusalem, are coordinated to each other by the repetition of the address וְאַתָּ֤ה in vers. 3, 4, and 8

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and subordinated to the general injunction — to portray Jerusalem as a besieged city — introduced in ver. 1 with the words וְאַתָּ֤ה בֶן־אָדָם֙
Vers. 1-3. The first symbolical action. — Ver. 1. And thou, son of man, take to thyself a brickj and lay it before thee, and draw thereon a city, Jerusalem : Ver. 2. And direct a siege against it ; luild against it siege-towers, raise up a mound against it, erect camps against it, and place battering-rams against it roundabout. Ver. ,3. And thou, take to thyself an iron pan, and place it as an iron wall between thee and the city, and direct thy face towards it ; thus let it be in a state of siege, and besiege it. Let it be a sign to the house of Israel.
The directions in vers. 1 and 2 contain the general basis for the symbolical siege of Jerusalem, which the prophet is to lay before Israel as a sign. Upon a brick he is to sketch a city (תֶקַק, to engrave with a writing instrument) which is to represent Jerusalem : around the city he is to erect siege-works — towers, walls, camps, and battering-rams ; i.e. he is to inscribe the representation of them, and place before himself the picture of the besieged city. The selection of a brick, i.e. of a tile- stone, not burnt in a kiln, but merely dried in the sun, is not, as Hävernick supposes, a reminiscence of Babylon and monumental inscriptions; in Palestine, also, such bricks were a common building material (Isa 9:9), in consequence of which the selection of such a soft mass of clay, on which a picture might be easily inscribed, was readily suggested. מָצ֗וֹר וּבָנִ֤= מָצ֖וֹר שָׂ֣ם Mic 4:14, “to make a siege,”i.e. “to bring forward siege-works.” מָצ֖וֹר is therefore the general expression which is specialized in the following clauses by דָּיֵ֥ק, “siege-towers” (see on 2Ki 25:1) ; by סֹֽלְלָה֙, “mound” (see on 2Sa 20:15) ; מַחֲנ֛וֹת, “camps” in the plural, because the hostile army raises several camps around the city ; כָּרִ֖ים, “battering-rams,” “wall-breakers,” arietes; according to Joseph Kimchi, “iron rams,” to break in the walls (and gates, Eze 22:27). They consisted of strong beams of hard wood, furnished at the end

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with a ram's head made of iron, which were suspended by a chain, and driven forcibly against the wall by the soldiers. Compare the description of them by Josephus, de bello Judaico iii. 7. 19. The suffix in עָלֶ֥יהָ , in ver. 2, refers to עָיר. The siege- works which are named were not probably to be placed by Ezekiel as little figures around the brick, so that the latter would represent the city, but to be engraved upon the brick around the city thereon portrayed. The expressions, “to make a siege,” “to build towers,” “to erect a mound,” etc., are selected because the drawing was to represent what is done when a city is besieged. In ver. 3, in reference to this, the inscribed picture of the city is at once termed “ city,” and in ver. 7 the picture of the besieged Jerusalem, “the siege of Jerusalem.” The meaning of the picture is clear. Everyone who saw it was to recognise that Jerusalem will be besieged. But the prophet is to do still more ; he is to take in hand the siege itself, and to carry it out. To that end, he is to place an iron pan as an iron wall between himself and the city sketched on the brick, and direct his countenance stedfastly towards the city ה בֶן־ and so besiege it. The iron pan, erected as a wall, is to represent neither the wall of the city (Ewald) nor the enemies' rampart, for this was already depicted on the brick ; while to represent it, i.e. the city wall, as “iron,” i.e. immoveably fast, would be contrary to the meaning of the prophecy. The iron wall represents, as Rosenmiiller, after the hints of Theodoret, Cornelius a Lapide, and others, has already observed, a firm, impregnable wall of partition, which the prophet as messenger and representative of God is to raise between himself and the beleaguered city, ut significaret, quasi ferveum munim interjectum esse cives inter et se, i.e. Deum Deique decretum et sententiam contra illos latam esse irrevocahilem, nee Deum. civium preces et querimonias auditurum aut iis ad misericordiam flectendum. Cf. Isa 59:2 ; Lam. 3:44. מַחֲבַ֣ת, “pan,” i.e. an iron plate for baking their loaves and slices of cakes; see on Lev 2:5. The selection of such an iron plate for the purpose

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mentioned is not to be explained, as Kliefoth thinks, from the circumstance that the pan is primarily to serve the prophet for preparing his food while he is occupied- in completing his sketch. The text says nothing of that. If he were to have employed the pan for such a purpose, he could not, at the same time, have placed it as a wall between himself and the city. The choice is to be explained simply from this, that such a plate was to be found in every household, and was quite fitted for the object intended. If any other symbolical element is contained in it, the hard ignoble metal might, perhaps, with Grotius, be taken to typify the hard, wicked heart of the inhabitants of Jerusalem ; cf. Eze 22:18 ; Jer. 15:12. The symbolical siege of Jerusalem is to be a sign for the house of Israel, i.e. a pre-announcement of its impending destiny. The house of Israel is the whole covenant people, not merely the ten tribes as in ver. 5, in contradistinction to the house of Judah (ver. 6).

Verses 4-8 Edit

Eze 4:4-8 The second symbolical act. - Eze 4:4. And do thou lay thyself upon thy left side, and lay upon it the evil deeds of the house of Israel; for the number of the days during which thou liest thereon shalt thou bear their evil deeds. Eze 4:5. And I reckon to thee the years of their evil deeds as a number of days; three hundred and ninety days shalt thou bear the evil deeds of the house of Israel. Eze 4:6. And (when) thou hast completed these, thou shalt then lay thyself a second time upon thy right side, and bear the evil deeds of the house of Judah forty days; each day I reckon to thee as a year. Eze 4:7. And upon the siege of Jerusalem shalt thou stedfastly direct thy countenance, and thy naked arm, and shalt prophesy against it. Eze 4:8. And, lo, I lay cords upon thee, that thou stir not from one side to the other until thou hast ended the days of thy siege. - Whilst Ezekiel, as God's representative, carries out in a symbolical manner the siege of Jerusalem, he is in this situation to portray at the same time the destiny of the people of Israel beleaguered in their metropolis. Lying upon his left side for 390 days without

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turning, he is to bear the guilt of Israel's sin; then, lying 40 days more upon his right side, he is to bear the guilt of Judah's sin. In so doing, the number of the days during which he reclines upon his sides shall be accounted as exactly equal to the same number of years of their sinning. נשׂא עון, “to bear the evil deeds,” i.e., to take upon himself the consequence of sin, and to stone for them, to suffer the punishment of sin; cf. Num 14:34, etc. Sin, which produces guilt and punishment, is regarded as a burden or weight, which Ezekiel is to lay upon the side upon which he reclines, and in this way bear it. This bearing, however, of the guilt of sin is not to be viewed as vicarious and mediatorial, as in the sacrifice of atonement, but is intended as purely epideictic and symbolical; that is to say, Ezekiel, by his lying so long bound under the burden of Israel and Judah which was laid upon his side, is to show to the people how they are to be cast down by the siege of Jerusalem, and how, while lying on the ground, without the possibility of turning or rising, they are to bear the punishment of their sins. The full understanding of this symbolical act, however, depends upon the explanation of the specified periods of time, with regard to which the various views exhibit great discrepancy.
In the first place, the separation of the guilt into that of the house of Israel and that of the house of Judah is closely connected with the division of the covenant people into the two kingdoms of Israel and Judah. That Ezekiel now is to bear the sin of Israel upon the left, that of Judah on the right side, is not fully explained by the circumstance that the kingdom of the ten tribes lay to the left, i.e., to the north, the kingdom of Judah to the right, i.e., to the south of Jerusalem, but must undoubtedly point at the same time to the pre-eminence of Judah over Israel; cf. Ecc 10:2. This pre-eminence of Judah is manifestly exhibited in its period of punishment extending only to 40 days = 40 years; that of Israel, on the contrary, 390 days = 390 years. These numbers, however,

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cannot be satisfactorily explained from a chronological point of view, whether they be referred to the time during which Israel and Judah sinned, and heaped upon themselves guilt which was to be punished, or to the time during which they were to atone, or suffer punishment for their sins. Of themselves, both references are possible; the first, viz., in so far as the days in which Ezekiel is to bear the guilt of Israel, might be proportioned to the number of the years of their guilt, as many Rabbins, Vatablus, Calvin, Lightfoot, Vitringa, J. D. Michaelis, and others suppose, while in so doing the years are calculated very differently; cf. des Vignoles, Chronol. I. p. 479ff., and Rosenmüller, Scholia, Excurs. to ch. iv. All these hypotheses, however, are shattered by the impossibility of pointing out the specified periods of time, so as to harmonize with the chronology. If the days, reckoned as years, correspond to the duration of their sinning, then, in the case of the house of Israel, only the duration of this kingdom could come into consideration, as the period of punishment began with the captivity of the ten tribes. But this kingdom lasted only 253 years. The remaining 137 years the Rabbins have attempted to supply from the period of the Judges; others, from the time of the destruction of the ten tribes down to that of Ezekiel, or even to that of the destruction of Jerusalem. Both are altogether arbitrary. Still less can the 40 years of Judah be calculated, as all the determinations of the beginning and the end are mere phantoms of the air. The fortieth year before our prophecy would nearly coincide with the eighteenth year of Josiah's reign, and therefore with the year in which this pious king effected the reformation of religion. Ezekiel, however, could not represent this year as marking the commencement of Judah's sin. We must therefore, as the literal meaning of the words primarily indicates, regard the specified periods of time as periods of punishment for Israel and Judah. Since Ezekiel, then, had to maintain during the symbolical siege of Jerusalem this attitude of reclining for Israel and Judah, and after the

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completion of the 390 days for Israel must lie a second time (שׁנית, Eze 4:6) 40 days for Judah, he had to recline in all 430 (390 + 40) days. To include the forty days in the three hundred and ninety is contrary to the statements in the text. But to reckon the two periods together has not only no argument against it, but is even suggested by the circumstance that the prophet, while reclining on his left and right sides, is to represent the siege of Jerusalem. Regarded, however, as periods of punishment, both the numbers cannot be explained consistently with the chronology, but must be understood as having a symbolical signification. The space of 430 years, which is announced to both kingdoms together as the duration of this chastisement, recalls the 430 years which in the far past Israel had spent in Egypt in bondage (Exo 12:40). It had been already intimated to Abraham (Gen 15:13) that the sojourn in Egypt would be a period of servitude and humiliation for his seed; and at a later time, in consequence of the oppression which the Israelites then experienced on account of the rapid increase of their number, it was - upon the basis of the threat in Deu 28:68, that God would punish Israel for their persistent declension, by bringing them back into ignominious bondage in Egypt - taken by the prophet as a type of the banishment of rebellious Israel among the heathen. In this sense Hosea already threatens (Hos 8:13; Hos 9:3, Hos 9:6) the ten tribes with being carried back to Egypt; see on Hos 9:3. Still more frequently, upon the basis of this conception, is the redemption from Assyrian and Babylonian exile announced as a new and miraculous Exodus of Israel from the bondage of Egypt, e.g., Hos 2:2; Isa 11:15-16. - This typical meaning lies also at the foundation of the passage before us, as, in accordance with the statement of Jerome,[4] it was already accepted by the Jews of his time, and has been again recognised in

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modern times by Hävernick and Hitzig. That Ezekiel looked upon the period during which Israel had been subject to the heathen in the past as “typical of the future, is to be assumed, because only then does the number of 430 cease to be arbitrary and meaningless, and at the same time its division into 390 + 40 become explicable.” - Hitzig.
This latter view is not, of course, to be understood as Hitzig and Hävernick take it, i.e., as if the 40 years of Judah's chastisement were to be viewed apart from the 40 years' sojourn of the Israelites in the wilderness, upon which the look of the prophet would have been turned by the sojourn in Egypt. For the 40 years in the wilderness are not included in the 430 years of the Egyptian sojourn, so that Ezekiel could have reduced these 430 years to 390, and yet have added to them the 40 years of the desert wanderings. For the coming period of punishment, which is to commence for Israel with the siege of Jerusalem, is fixed at 430 years with reference to the Egyptian bondage of the Israelites, and this period is divided into 390 and 40; and this division therefore must also have, if not its point of commencement, at least a point of connection, in the 430 years of the Egyptian sojourn. The division of the period of chastisement into two parts is to be explained probably from the sending of the covenant people into the kingdom of Israel and Judah, and the appointment of a longer period of chastisement for Israel than for Judah, from the greater guilt of the ten tribes in comparison with Judah, but not the incommensurable relation of the divisions into 390 and 40 years. The foundation of this division can, first of all, only lie in this, that the number forty already possessed the symbolical significance of a measured period of divine visitation. This significance it had already received, not through the 40 years of the desert wandering, but through the 40 days of rain at the time of the deluge (Gen 7:17), so that, in conformity

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with this, the punishment of dying in the wilderness, suspended over the rebellious race of Israel at Kadesh, is already stated at 40 years, although it included in reality only 38 years; see on Num 14:32. If now, however, it should be supposed that this penal sentence had contributed to the fixing of the number 40 as a symbolical number to denote a longer period of punishment, the 40 years of punishment for Judah could not yet have been viewed apart from this event. The fixing of the chastisement for Israel and Judah at 390 + 40 years could only in that case be measured by the sojourn of the Israelites in Egypt, if the relations of this sojourn presented a point of connection for a division of the 430 years into 390 and 40, i.e., if the 40 last years of the Egyptian servitude could somehow be distinguished from the preceding 390. A point of contact for this is offered by an event in the life of Moses which falls within that period, and was fertile in results for him as well as for the whole of Israel, viz., his flight from Egypt in consequence of the slaughter of an Egyptian who had ill-treated an Israelite. As the Israelites, his brethren, did not recognise the meaning of this act, and did not perceive that God would save them by his hand, Moses was necessitated to flee into the land of Midian, and to tarry there 40 years as a stranger, until the Lord called him to be the saviour of his nation, and sent him as His messenger to Pharaoh (Ex 2:11-3:10; Act 7:23-30). These 40 years were for Moses not only a time of trial and purification for his future vocation, but undoubtedly also the period of severest Egyptian oppression for the Israelites, and in this respect quite fitted to be a type of the coming time of punishment for Judah, in which was to be repeated what Israel had experienced in Egypt, that, as Israel had lost their helper and protector with the flight of Moses, so now Judah was to lose her king, and be given over to the tyranny of the heathen world-power.[5]

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While Ezekiel thus reclines upon one side, he is to direct his look unchangingly upon the siege of Jerusalem, i.e., upon the picture of the besieged city, and keep his arm bare, i.e., ready for action (Isa 52:10), and outstretched, and prophesy against the city, especially through the menacing attitude which he had taken up against it. To be able to carry this out, God will bind him with cords, i.e., fetter him to his couch (see on Eze 3:25), so that he cannot stir from one side to another until he has completed the time enjoined upon him for the siege. In this is contained the thought that the siege of Jerusalem

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is to be mentally carried on until its capture; but no new symbol of the state of prostration of the besieged Jerusalem is implied. For such a purpose the food of the prophet (Eze 4:9.) during this time is employed.

Verses 9-17 Edit

The third symbolical act. - Eze 4:9. And do thou take to thyself wheat, and barley, and beans, and lentiles, and millet, and spelt, and put them in a vessel, and prepare them as bread for thyself, according to the number of the days on which thou liest on thy side; three hundred and ninety days shalt thou eat it. Eze 4:10. And thy food, which thou eatest, shall be according to weight, twenty shekels for a day; from time to time shalt thou eat it. Eze 4:11. And water shalt thou drink according to measure, a sixth part of the hin, from time to time shalt thou drink it. Eze 4:12. And as barley cakes shalt thou eat it, and shalt bake it before their eyes with human excrement. Eze 4:13. And Jehovah spake; then shall the children of Israel eat their bread polluted amongst the heathen, whither I shall drive them. Eze 4:14. Then said I: Ah! Lord, Jehovah, my soul has never been polluted; and of a carcase, and of that which is torn, have I never eaten from my youth up until now, and abominable flesh has not come into my mouth. Eze 4:15. Then said He unto me: Lo, I allow thee the dung of animals instead of that of man; therewith mayest thou prepare thy bread. Eze 4:16. And He said to me, Son of man, lo, I will break the staff of bread in Jerusalem, so that they will eat bread according to weight, and in affliction, and drink water by measure, and in amazement. Eze 4:17. Because bread and water shall fail, and they shall pine away one with another, and disappear in their guilt. - For the whole duration of the symbolical siege of Jerusalem, Ezekiel is to furnish himself with a store of grain corn and leguminous fruits, to place this store in a vessel beside him, and daily to prepare in the form of bread a measured portion of the same, 20 shekels in weight (about 9 ounces), and to bake this as barley cakes upon a fire, prepared with dried dung, and then to partake of it at the different hours for meals throughout the day. In

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addition to this, he is, at the hours appointed for eating, to drink water, in like manner according to measure, a sixth part of the hin daily, i.e., a quantity less than a pint (cf. Biblisch. Archäol. II. p. 141). The Israelites, probably, generally prepared the עגּות from wheat flour, and not merely when they had guests (Gen 18:6). Ezekiel, however, is to take, in addition, other kinds of grain with leguminous fruits, which were employed in the preparation of bread when wheat was deficient; barley - baked into bread by the poor (Jdg 7:13; 2Ki 4:42; Joh 6:9; see on 1Ki 5:8); פּול, “beans,” a common food of the Hebrews (2Sa 17:28), which appears to have been mixed with other kinds of grain for the purpose of being baked into bread.[6]
This especially holds true of the lentiles, a favourite food of the Hebrews (Gen 25:29.), from which, in Egypt at the present day, the poor still bake bread in times of severe famine (Sonnini, R. II. 390; ἄρτος φάκινος, Athenaeus, IV. 158). דּחן, “millet,” termed by the Arabs ”Dochn” (Arab. dchn), panicum, a fruit cultivated in Egypt, and still more frequently in Arabia (see Wellsted, Arab. I. 295), consisting of longish round brown grain, resembling rice, from which, in the absence of better fruits, a sort of bad bread is baked. Cf. Celsius, Hierobotan, i. 453ff.; and Gesen. Thesaur. p. 333. כּסּמים, “spelt or German corn” (cf. Exo 9:32), a kind of grain which produces a finer and whiter flour than wheat flour; the bread, however, which is baked from it is somewhat dry, and is said to be less nutritive than wheat bread; cf. Celsius, Hierobotan, ii. 98f. Of all these fruits Ezekiel is to place certain quantities in a vessel - to indicate that all kinds of grain and leguminous fruits capable of being converted into bread will be collected, in order to bake bread for the appeasing of hunger. In the intermixture of various kinds of flour we are not, with Hitzig, to seek a transgression of the

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law in Lev 19:19; Deu 22:9. מספּר is the accusative of measure or duration. The quantity is to be fixed according to the number of the days. In Eze 4:9 only the 390 days of the house of Israel's period of punishment are mentioned - quod plures essent et fere universa summa (Prado); and because this was sufficient to make prominent the hardship and oppression of the situation, the 40 days of Judah were omitted for the sake of brevity.[7] 'מאכלך וגו, “thy food which thou shalt eat,” i.e., the definite portion which thou shalt have to eat, shall be according to weight (between subject and predicate the substantive verb is to be supplied). Twenty shekels = 8 or 9 ounces of flour, yield 11 or 12 ounces of bread, i.e., at most the half of what a man needs in southern countries for his daily support.[8]
The same is the case with the water. A sixth part of a hin, i.e., a quantity less than a pint, is a very niggardly allowance for a day. Both, however - eating the

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bread and drinking the water - he shall do from time to time, i.e., “not throughout the entire fixed period of 390 days” (Hävernick); but he shall not eat the daily ration at once, but divided into portions according to the daily hours of meals, so that he will never be completely satisfied. In addition to this is the pollution (Eze 4:12.) of the scanty allowance of food by the manner in which it is prepared. ענּת שׂערים is predicate: “as barley cakes,” shalt thou eat them. The suffix in תּאכלנּה is neuter, and refers to לחם in Eze 4:9, or rather to the kinds of grain there enumerated, which are ground and baked before them: לחם, i.e., “food.” The addition שׂערים is not to be explained from this, that the principal part of these consisted of barley, nor does it prove that in general no other than barley cakes were known (Hitzig), but only that the cakes of barley meal, baked in the ashes, were an extremely frugal kind of bread, which that prepared by Ezekiel was to resemble. The עגּה was probably always baked on hot ashes, or on hot stones (1Ki 19:6), not on pans, as Kliefoth here supposes. The prophet, however, is to bake them in (with) human ordure. This is by no means to be understood as if he were to mix the ordure with the food, for which view Isa 36:12 has been erroneously appealed to; but - as עליהם in Eze 4:15 clearly shows - he is to bake it over the dung, i.e., so that dung forms the material of the fire. That the bread must be polluted by this is conceivable, although it cannot be proved from the passages in Lev 5:3; Lev 7:21, and Deu 23:13 that the use of fire composed of dung made the food prepared thereon levitically unclean. The use of fire with human ordure must have communicated to the bread a loathsome smell and taste, by which it was rendered unclean, even if it had not been immediately baked in the hot ashes. That the pollution of the bread is the object of this injunction, we see from the explanation which God gives in Eze 4:13 : “Thus shall the children of Israel eat their defiled bread among the heathen.” The heart of the prophet, however, rebels against such food.

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He says he has never in his life polluted himself by eating food forbidden in the law; from his youth up he has eaten no unclean flesh, neither of a carcase, nor of that which was torn by wild beasts (cf. Exo 22:30; Deu 14:21), nor flesh of sacrifices decayed or putrefying (פּגּוּל, see on Lev 7:18; Isa 65:4). On this God omits the requirement in Eze 4:12, and permits him to take for firing the dung of oxen instead of that of men.[9]
In Eze 4:16, finally, is given the explanation of the scanty allowance of food meted out to the prophet, namely, that the Lord, at the impending siege of Jerusalem, is to take away from the people the staff of bread, and leave them to languish in hunger and distress. The explanation is in literal adherence to the threatenings of the law (Lev 26:26 and Lev 26:39), which are now to pass into fulfilment. Bread is called “staff of bread” as being indispensable for the preservation of life. To בּמשׁקל, Lev 26:26, בּדאגה, “in sorrow,” is added; and to the water, בּשׁמּמון, “in astonishment,” i.e., in fixed, silent pain at the miserable death, by hunger and thirst, which they see before them. נמקּוּ בּעונם as Lev 26:39. If we, finally, cast a look over the contents of this first sign, it says that Jerusalem is soon to be besieged, and during the siege is to suffer hunger and terror as a punishment for the sins of Israel

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and Judah; that upon the capture of the city of Israel (Judah) they are to be dispersed among the heathen, and will there be obliged to eat unclean bread. To this in Ezekiel 5 is joined a second sign, which shows further how it shall fare with the people at and after the capture of Jerusalem (Eze 4:1-4); and after that a longer oracle, which developes the significance of these signs, and establishes the necessity of the penal judgment (Eze 4:5-17).

Chap. 5 Edit

==Verses 1-4== Chap. V. 1-4. — The Sign which is to poetray Israel's impending Destiny. — Ver. 1. And thou, son of man, take to thyself a sharp sword, as a razor shalt thou take it to thyself, and go with it over thy head, and over thy chin, and take to thee scales, and divide it (the hair). Ver. 2, A third part burn with fire in the midst of the city, when the days of the siege are accomplished: and take the (other) third, smite with the sword round about it: and the (re-maining) third scatter to the winds; and the sword will I draw out after them. Ver. 3. Yet take a few of them by number, and bind them in the skirt of thy garment. Ver. 4. And of these again take a few, and cast them into the fire, and burn them with fire; from, thence a fire shall go forth over the whole house of Israel. — The description of this sign is easily understood. תַּ֤עַר הַגַּלָּבִים֙, “razor of the barbers,” is the predicate, which is to be understood to the suffix in תִּקָּחֶ֣נָּה; and the clause states the purpose for which Ezekiel is to use the sharp sword — viz. as a razor, in order to cut off therewith the hair of his head and beard. The hair, when cut off, he is to divide into three parts with a pair of scales (the suffix in חִלַּקְתָּֽם refers ad sensum to the hair). The one third he is to burn in the city, i.e. not in the actual Jerusalem, but in the city, sketched on the brick, which he is symbolically besieging (Eze 4:3). To the city also is to be referred the suffix in סְבִ֣יבוֹתֶ֔יהָ, ver. 2, as is placed beyond doubt by ver. 12. In the last clause of ver. 2, which is taken from Lev 26:33, the description of the sign passes over into

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its exposition, for אַחֲרֵיהֶֽם does not refer to the hair, but to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. The significance also of this symbolical act is easily recognised, and is, moreover, stated in ver. 12. Ezekiel, in this act, represents the besieged Jerusalem. What he does to his hair, that will God do to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. As the hair of the prophet falls under the sword, used as a razor, so will the inhabitants of Jerusalem fall, when the city is captured, into destruction, and that verily an ignominious destruction. This idea is contained in the picture of the hair-cutting, which was a dishonour done to what forms the ornament of a man. See on 2Sam 10:4 sqq. A third of the same is to perish in the city. As the fire destroys the hair, so will pestilence and hunger consume the inhabitants of the beleaguered city (ver. 12). The second third will, on the capture of the city, fall by the sword in the environs (ver. 12) ; the last third will God scatter to the winds, and — as Moses has already threatened the people — will draw forth the sword after them, still to persecute and smite them (ver. 12). This sign is continued (vers. 3 and 4) in a second symbolical act, which shadows forth what is further to happen to the people when dispersed among the heathen. Of the third scattered to the winds, Ezekiel is to bind a small portion in the skirt of his garment. מִשָּׁ֖ם, “from thence,” refers not to הִשְׁלַישֽית, but, ad sensum, to תּֽזֲרֶה לָרוהַ : “from the place where the third that is scattered to the winds is found” — i.e., as regards the subject-matter, of those who are to be found among the dispersion. The binding up into the בִּנָפֶֽים, “the corners or ends of the garment” (cf. Jer 2:34), denotes the preservation of the few, who are gathered together out of the whole of those who are dispersed among the heathen ; cf. 1Sam 25;29; Eze 16:8. But even of these few He shall still cast some into the fire, and consume them. Consequently those who are gathered together out of exile are not all to be preserved, but are still to be sifted by fire, in which process a part is consumed. This image does not refer to those who remain behind

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in the land, when the nation is led away captive to Babylon (Theodoret, Grotius, and others), but, as Ephrem the Syrian and Jerome saw, to those who were saved from Babylon, and to their further destiny, as is already clear from the מִשָּׁ֖ם, rightly understood. The meaning of the last clause of ver. 4 is disputed; in it, as in the final clause of ver. 2, the symbolical representation passes over into the announcement of the thing itself. טֽטֶנּוּ, which Ewald would arbitrarily alter into טֽטֶנּי, cannot, with Hävenick, be referred to אֶל־תּ֣וֹךְ הָאֵ֔שׁ, because this yields a very forced sense, but relates to the whole act described in vers. 3 and 4 : that a portion thereof is rescued and preserved, and yet of this portion many are consumed by fire, — from that a fire shall go forth over the whole house of Israel. This fire is explained by almost all expositors, from Theodoret and Jerome onwards, of the penal judgments which were inflicted after the exile upon the Jews, which reached their culminating point in the siege and destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans, and which still continue in their dispersion throughout the whole world. But this view, as Kliefoth has already remarked, is not only in decided antagonism to the intention of the text, but it is, moreover, altogether impossible to see how a judgment of extermination for all Israel can be deduced from the fact that a small number of the Israelites, who are scattered to the winds, is saved, and that of those who are saved a part is still consumed with fire. From thence there can only come forth a fire of purification for the whole of Israel, through which the remnant, as Isaiah had already predicted (Eze 6:12 sqq.), is converted into a holy seed. In the last clause, consuming by fire is not referred to. The fire, however, has not merely a destructive, but also a cleansing, purifying, and quickening power. To kindle such a fire on earth did Christ come (Luk 12:49), and from Him the same goes out over the whole house of Israel. This view, for which Kliefoth has already rightly decided, receives a confirmation through Eze 6:8-10, where is announced the conversion of the

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remnant of those Israelites who had been dispersed among the nations. So far the symbolical acts. Before, however, we pass on to the explanation of the following oracle, we must still briefly touch the question, whether these acts were undertaken and performed by the prophet in the world of external reality, or whether they were occurrences only internally real, which Ezekiel experienced in spirit — i.e. in an ecstatic condition — and afterwards communicated to the people. Amongst modem expositors, Kliefoth has defended the former view, and has adduced the following considerations in support : A significant act, and yet also a silent, leisurely one, must be performed, that it may show something to those who behold it. Nor is the case such, as Hitzig supposes, that it would have been impossible to carry out what had been required of the prophet in Eze 4:1-17. It had, indeed, its difficulty; but God sometimes requires from His servants what is difficult, although He also helps them to the performance of it. So here He will make it easy for the prophet to recline, by binding him (iv. 8). “In the sign, this certainly was kept in view, that it should be performed; and it, moreover, was performed, although the test, in a manner quite intelligible with reference to an act commanded by God, does not expressly state it.” For these latter assertions, however, there is anything but convincing proof. The matter is not so simple as Kliefoth supposes, although we are at one with him in this, that neither the difficulty of carrying out what was commanded in the world of external reality, nor the non-mention of the actual performance, furnishes sufficient grounds for the supposition of merely internal, spiritual occurrences. We also are of opinion that very many of the symbolical acts of the prophets were undertaken and performed in the external world, and that this supposition, as that which corresponds most fully with the literal meaning of the words, is on each occasion the most obvious, and is to be firmly adhered to, unless there can be good grounds for the opposite view. In

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the case now before us, we have first to take into consideration that the oracle which enjoins these symbolical acts on Ezekiel stands in close connection, both as to time and place, with the inauguration of Ezekiel to the prophetic office. The hand of the Lord comes upon him at the same place, where the concluding word at his call was addressed to him (theשָׁ֖ם, Eze 3:22, points back to שָׁ֑ם in Eze 3:15) ; and the circumstance that Ezekiel found himself still on the same spot to which he had been transported by the Spirit of God (Eze 3:14), shows that the new revelation, which he here still received, followed very soon, if not immediately, after his consecration to the office of prophet. Then, upon the occasion of this divine revelation, he is again, as at his consecration, transported into an ecstatic condition, as is clear not only from the formula, “the hand of the Lord came upon me,” which in our book always has this signification, but also most undoubtedly from this, that he again sees the glory of Jehovah in the same manner as he had seen it in Eze 1. — viz. when in an ecstatic condition. But if this were an ecstatic vision, it is obvious that the acts also which the divine appearance imposed upon him must be regarded as ecstatic occurrences ; since the assertion that every significant act must be performed, in order that something may be shown to those who witness it, is fundamentally insufficient for the proof that this act must fall within the domain of the earthly world of sense, because the occurrences related in Eze 8-11. are viewed even by Kliefoth himself as purely internal events. As decisive, however, for the purely internal character of the symbolical acts under consideration (Eze 4 and 5), is the circumstance that the supposition of Ezekiel having, in his own house, actually lain 390 days upon his left, and then, again, 40 days upon his right side without turning, stands in irreconcilable contradiction with the fact that he, according to Eze 8:1 sqq., was carried away in ecstasy to Jerusalem, there to behold in the temple the monstrosities of Israel's idolatry and the destruction of Jerusalem. For the proof of this, see the introduction to Eze 8.

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Verses 5-9 Edit

Eze 5:5-9The Divine Word which Explains the Symbolical Signs, in which the judgment that is announced is laid down as to its cause (5-9) and as to its nature (10-17). - Eze 5:5. Thus says the Lord Jehovah: This Jerusalem have I placed in the midst of the nations, and raised about her the countries. Eze 5:6. But in wickedness she resisted my laws more than the nations, and my statutes more than the countries which are round about her; for they rejected my laws, and did not walk in my statutes. Eze 5:7. Therefore thus says the Lord Jehovah: Because ye have raged more than the nations round about you, and have not walked in my statutes, and have not obeyed my laws, and have not done even according to the laws of the nations which are round about you; Eze 5:8. Therefore thus saith the Lord Jehovah: Lo, I, even I, shall be against thee, and will perform judgments in thy midst before the eyes of the nations. Eze 5:9. And I will do unto thee what I have never done, nor will again do in like manner, on account of all thine abominations. 'זאת ירוּשׁ not “this is Jerusalem,” i.e., this is the destiny of Jerusalem (Hävernick), but “this Jerusalem” (Hitzig); זאת is placed before the noun in the sense of iste, as in Exo 32:1; cf. Ewald, §293b. To place the culpability of Jerusalem in its proper prominence, the censure of her sinful conduct opens with the mention of the exalted position which God had assigned her upon earth. Jerusalem is described in Eze 5:5 as forming the central point of the earth: this is done, however, neither in an external, geographical (Hitzig), nor in a purely typical sense, as the city that is blessed more than any other (Calvin, Hävernick), but in a historical sense, in so far as “God's people and city actually stand in the central point of the God-directed world-development and its movements” (Kliefoth); or, in relation to the history of salvation, as the city in which God hath set up His throne of grace, from which shall go forth the law and the statutes for all nations, in order that the salvation of the whole world may be accomplished (Isa 2:2.; Mic 4:1.). But instead of keeping the laws and statutes of

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the Lord, Jerusalem has, on the contrary, turned to do wickedness more than the heathen nations in all the lands round about (המרה, cum accusat. object., “to act rebelliously towards”). Here we may not quote Rom 2:12, Rom 2:14 against this, as if the heathen, who did not know the law of God, did not also transgress the same, but sinned ἀνόμως; for the sinning ἀνόμως, of which the apostle speaks, is really a transgression of the law written on the heart of the heathen. With לכן, in Eze 5:7, the penal threatening is introduced; but before the punishment is laid down, the correspondence between guilt and punishment is brought forward more prominently by repeatedly placing in juxtaposition the godless conduct of the rebellious city. המנכם is infinitive, from המן, a secondary form המון, in the sense of המה, “to rage,” i.e., to rebel against God; cf. Psa 2:1. The last clause of Eze 5:7 contains a climax: “And ye have not even acted according to the laws of the heathen.” This is not in any real contradiction to Eze 11:12 (where it is made a subject of reproach to the Israelites that they have acted according to the laws of the heathen), so that we would be obliged, with Ewald and Hitzig, to expunge the לא in the verse before us, because wanting in the Peshito and several Hebrew manuscripts. Even in these latter, it has only been omitted to avoid the supposed contradiction with Eze 11:12. The solution of the apparent contradiction lies in the double meaning of the משׁפּטי הּגוים. The heathen had laws which were opposed to those of God, but also such as were rooted in the law of God written upon their hearts. Obedience to the latter was good and praiseworthy; to the former, wicked and objectionable. Israel, which hated the law of God, followed the wicked and sinful laws of the heathen, and neglected to observe their good laws. The passage before us is to be judged by Jer 2:10-11, to which Raschi had already made reference.[10]
In Eze 5:8 the announcement of

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the punishment, interrupted by the repeated mention of the cause, is again resumed with the words 'לכן כּה וגו. Since Jerusalem has acted worse than the heathen, God will execute His judgments upon her before the eyes of the heathen. עשׂה שׁפטים or עשׂה (Eze 5:10, Eze 5:15; Eze 11:9; Eze 16:41, etc.), “to accomplish or execute judgments,” is used in Exo 12:12 and Num 33:4 of the judgments which God suspended over Egypt. The punishment to be suspended shall be so great and heavy, that the like has never happened before, nor will ever happen again. These words do not require us either to refer the threatening, with Coccejus, to the last destruction of Jerusalem, which was marked by greater severity than the earlier one, or to suppose, with Hävernick, that the prophet's look is directed to both the periods of Israel's punishment - the times of the Babylonian and Roman calamity together. Both suppositions are irreconcilable with the words, as these can only be referred to the first impending penal judgment of the destruction of Jerusalem. This was, so far, more severe than any previous or subsequent one, inasmuch as by it the existence of the people of God was for a time suspended, while that Jerusalem and Israel, which were destroyed and annihilated by the Romans, were no longer the people of God, inasmuch as the latter consisted at that time of the Christian community, which was not affected by that catastrophe (Kliefoth).

Verses 10-17 Edit

Further Execution of this Threat
Eze 5:10. Therefore shall fathers devour their children in thy midst, and children shall devour their fathers: and I will exercise judgments upon thee, and disperse all thy remnant to the winds. Eze 5:11. Therefore, as I live, is the declaration of the Lord Jehovah, Verily, because thou hast polluted my sanctuary with all thine abominations and all thy crimes, so shall I take away mine eye without mercy, and will not spare. Eze 5:12. A third of thee shall die by the pestilence, and perish by hunger in thy

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midst; and the third part shall fall by the sword about thee; and the third part will I scatter to all the winds; and will draw out the sword after them. Eze 5:13. And my anger shall be fulfilled, and I will cool my wrath against them, and will take vengeance. And they shall experience that I, Jehovah, have spoken in my zeal, when I accomplish my wrath upon them. Eze 5:14. And I will make thee a desolation and a mockery among the nations which are round about thee, before the eyes of every passer-by. Eze 5:15. And it shall be a mockery and a scorn, a warning and a terror for the nations round about thee, when I exercise my judgments upon thee in anger and wrath and in grievous visitations. I, Jehovah, have said it. Eze 5:16. When I send against thee the evil arrows of hunger, which minister to destruction, which I shall send to destroy you; for hunger shall I heap upon you, and shall break to you the staff of bread. Eze 5:17. And I shall send hunger upon you, and evil beasts, which shall make thee childless; and pestilence and blood shall pass over thee; and the sword will I bring upon thee. I, Jehovah, have spoken it. - As a proof of the unheard-of severity of the judgment, there is immediately mentioned in Eze 5:10 a most horrible circumstance, which had been already predicted by Moses (Lev 26:29; Deu 28:53) as that which should happen to the people when hard pressed by the enemy, viz., a famine so dreadful, during the siege of Jerusalem, that parents would eat their children, and children their parents; and after the capture of the city, the dispersion of those who remained “to all the winds, i.e., to all quarters of the world.” This is described more minutely, as an appendix to the symbolical act in Eze 5:1 and Eze 5:2, in Eze 5:11 and Eze 5:12, with a solemn oath, and with repeated and prominent mention of the sins which have drawn down such chastisements. As sin, is mentioned the pollution of the temple by idolatrous abominations, which are described in detail in Ezekiel 8. The אגרע, which is variously understood by the old translators (for which some Codices offer the explanatory correction אגדע), is to be explained, after Job 36:7, of the “turning away of the

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eye,” and the עיני following as the object; while ולא־תחוס, “that it feel no compassion,” is interjected between the verb and its object with the adverbial signification of “mercilessly.” For that the words ולא תחוס are adverbially subordinate to אגרע, distinctly appears from the correspondence - indicated by וגם אני - between אגרע and לא . Moreover, the thought, “Jehovah will mercilessly withdraw His care for the people,” is not to be termed “feeble” in connection with what follows; nor is the contrast, which is indicated in the clause וגם־אני, lost, as Hävernick supposes. וגם־אני does not require גּרע to be understood of a positive act, which would correspond to the desecration of the sanctuary. This is shown by the last clause of the verse. The withdrawal without mercy of the divine providence is, besides, in reality, equivalent to complete devotion to destruction, as it is particularized in Eze 5:12. For Eze 5:12 see on Eze 5:1 and Eze 5:2. By carrying out the threatened division of the people into three parts, the wrath of God is to be fulfilled, i.e., the full measure of the divine wrath upon the people is to be exhausted (cf. 7, 8), and God is to appear and “cool” His anger. הניח חמה, “sedavit iram,” occurs again in Eze 16:42; Eze 21:22; Eze 24:13. הנּחמתּי, Hithpael, pausal form for הנּחמתּי, “se consolari,” “to procure satisfaction by revenge;” cf. Isa 1:24, and for the thing, Deu 28:63. In Eze 5:14. the discourse turns again from the people to the city of Jerusalem. It is to become a wilderness, as was already threatened in Lev 26:31 and Lev 26:33 to the cities of Israel, and thereby a “mockery” to all nations, in the manner described in Deu 29:23. והיתה, in Eze 5:15, is not to be changed, after the lxx, Vulgate, and some MSS, into the second person; but Jerusalem is to be regarded as the subject which is to become the object of scorn and hatred, etc., when God accomplishes His judgments. מוּסר is a warning-example. Among the judgments which are to overtake it, in Eze 5:16, hunger is again made specially prominent (cf. Eze 4:16) and first in Eze 5:17 are wild beasts, pestilence, blood, and sword added, and a quartette of judgments announced as in Eze 14:21.

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For pestilence and blood are comprehended together as a unity by means of the predicate. Their connection is to be understood according to Eze 14:19, and the number four is significant, as in Eze 14:21; Jer 15:3. For more minute details as to the meaning, see on Eze 14:21. The evil arrows point back to Deu 32:23; the evil beasts, to Lev 24:22 and Deu 32:24. To produce an impression, the prophet heaps his words together. Unum ejus consilium fuit penetrare in animos populi quasi lapideos et ferreos. Haec igitur est ratio, cur hic tanta varietate utatur et exornet suam doctrînam variis figuris (Calvin).

Chap. 6 Edit

Verses 1-7 Edit

The Judgment upon the Idolatrous Places, and on the Idol-Worshippers Edit

To God's address in Eze 5:5-17, explaining the signs in Eze 4:1-5, are appended in Eze 6:1-14 and 7 two additional oracles, which present a further development of the contents of these signs, the judgment portrayed by them in its extent and greatness. In Eze 6:1-14 there is announced, in the first section, to the idolatrous places, and on their account to the land, desolation, and to the idolaters, destruction (Eze 6:3-7); and to this is added the prospect of a remnant of the people, who are dispersed among the heathen, coming to be converted to the Lord (Eze 6:8-10). In the second section the necessity and terrible character of the impending judgment is repeatedly described at length as an appendix to Eze 6:12, Eze 6:14 (Eze 6:11-14).
The Desolation of the Land, and Destruction of the Idolaters
Eze 6:1. And the word of the Lord came to me, saying: Eze 6:2. Son of man, turn thy face towards the mountains of Israel, and prophesy against them. Eze 6:3. And say, Ye mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord Jehovah: Thus saith the Lord Jehovah to the mountains, and to the hills, to the valleys, and to the low grounds, Behold, I bring the sword upon you, and destroy your high places. Eze 6:4. Your altars shall be made desolate, and your sun-pillars shall be broken; and I shall

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make your slain fall in the presence of your idols. Eze 6:5. And I will lay the corpses of the children of Israel before their idols, and will scatter your bones round about your altars. Eze 6:6. In all your dwellings shall the cities be made desolate, and the high places waste; that your altars may be desolate and waste, and your idols broken and destroyed, and your sun-pillars hewn down, and the works of your hands exterminated. Eze 6:7. And the slain will fall in your midst; that you may know that I am Jehovah. - With Eze 6:1 cf. Eze 3:16. The prophet is to prophesy against the mountains of Israel. That the mountains are mentioned (Eze 6:2) as pars pro toto, is seen from Eze 6:3, when to the mountains and hills are added also the valleys and low grounds, as the places where idolatry was specially practised; cf. Hos 4:13; Jer 2:20; Jer 3:6; see on Hos. l.c. and Deu 12:2. אפיקים, in the older writings, denotes the “river channels,” “the beds of the stream;” but Ezekiel uses the word as equivalent to valley, i.e., נחל, a valley with a brook or stream, like the Arabic wady. גּיא, properly “deepening,” “the deep ground,” “the deep valley;” on the form גּאיות, cf. Ewald, §186da. The juxtaposition of mountains and hills, of valleys and low grounds, occurs again in Eze 36:4, Eze 36:6, and Eze 35:8; the opposition between mountains and valleys also, in Eze 32:5-6, and Eze 24:13. The valleys are to be conceived of as furnished with trees and groves, under the shadow of which the worship of Astarte especially was practised; see on v. 15. On the mountains and in the valleys were sanctuaries erected to Baal and Astarte. The announcement of their destruction is appended to the threatening in Lev 26:30, which Ezekiel takes up and describes at greater length. Beside the בּמות, the places of sacrifice and worship, and the חמּנים, pillars or statues of Baal, dedicated to him as the sun-god, he names also the altars, which, in Lev. l.c. and other places, are comprehended along with the בּמות eht htiw; see on Lev 26:30 and 1Ki 3:3. With the destruction of the idol temples, altars, and statues, the idol-worshippers are also to be smitten, so as to fall down in the

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presence of their idols. The fundamental meaning of the word גּלּוּלים, “idols,” borrowed from Lev. l.c., and frequently employed by Ezekiel, is uncertain; signifying either “logs of wood,” from גּלל, “to roll” (Gesen.), or stercorei, from גּל, “dung;” not “monuments of stone” (Hävernick). Eze 6:5 is taken quite literally from Lev 26:30. The ignominy of the destruction is heightened by the bones of the slain idolaters being scattered round about the idol altars. In order that the idolatry may be entirely rooted out, the cities throughout the whole land, and all the high places, are to be devastated, Eze 6:6. The forms תּישׁמנה and יאשׁמוּ are probably not to be derived from שׁמם (Ewald, §138b), but to be referred back to a stem-form ישׁם, with the signification of שׁמם, the existence of which appears certain from the old name ישׁימון in Ps 68 and elsewhere. The א in יאשׁמו is certainly only mater lectonis. In Eze 6:7, the singular חלל stands as indefinitely general. The thought, “slain will fall in your midst,” involves the idea that not all the people will fall, but that there will survive some who are saved, and prepares for what follows. The falling of the slain - the idolaters with their idols - leads to the recognition of Jehovah as the omnipotent God, and to conversion to Him.

Verses 8-10 Edit

The survivors shall go away into banishment amongst the heathen, and shall remember the word of the Lord that will have been fulfilled. - Eze 6:8. But I shall preserve a remnant, in that there shall be to you some who have escaped the sword among the nations, when he shall be dispersed among the lands. Eze 6:9. And those of you who have escaped, will make mention of me among the nations whither they are led captive, when I have broken to me their whorish heart, which had departed from me, and their eyes, which went a whoring after their idols: and they shall loathe themselves because of the evil which they have done in reference to all their abominations. Eze 6:10. And ye shall know that I am Jehovah. Not in vain have I spoken this evil to you. - הותיר, superstites facere, “to make or preserve survivors.” The connection with 'בּהיות וגו is analogous to the construction of הותיר,

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in the sense of “giving a superabundance,” with בּ rei, Deu 28:11 and Deu 30:9, and is not to be rejected, with Ewald and Hitzig, as inadmissible. For בּהיות is supported by the old versions, and the change of והותרתּי into ודבּרתּי, which would have to be referred to Eze 6:7, is in opposition to the twofold repetition of the וידאתּם כּי אן (וידעוּ), Eze 6:10 and Eze 6:14, as this repetition shows that the thought in Eze 6:7 is different from that in 17, 21, not “they shall know that Jehovah has spoken,” but “they shall know that He who has done this is Jehovah, the God of Israel.” The preservation of a remnant will be shown in this, that they shall have some who have escaped the sword. הזּרותיכם is infin. Niph. with a plural form of the suffix, as occurs elsewhere only with the plural ending ות of nouns, while Ezekiel has extended it to the ות of the infinitive of (Hebrew characters) verbs; cf. Eze 16:31, and Ewald, §259b. The remembrance of Jehovah (Eze 6:9) is the commencement of conversion to Him. אשׁר before נשׁבּרתּי is not to be connected as relative pronoun with לבּם, but is a conjunction, though not used conditionally, “if,” as in Lev 4:22; Deu 11:27, and elsewhere, but of time, ὅτε, “when,” as Deu 11:6 and 2Ch 35:20, and נשׁבּרתּי in the signification of the futur. exact. The Niphal נשׁבּר here is not to be taken as passive, but middle, sibi frangere, i.e., לבּם, poenitentiâ conterere animum eorum ut ad ipsum (Deum) redeant (Maurer, Hävernick). Besides the heart, the eyes also are mentioned, which God is to smite, as the external senses which allure the heart to whoredom. ונקטוּ corresponds to וזכרוּ at the beginning of the verse. קוּט, “the later form for קוּץ, “to feel a loathing,” Hiphil, “to be filled with loathing;” cf. Job 10:1 with ב object., “in (on) their פנים, faces,” i.e., their persons or themselves: so also in Eze 20:43; Eze 36:31. אל הרעות, in allusion to the evil things; 'לכל־תועב, in reference to all their abominations. This fruit, which is produced by chastisement, namely, that he idolaters are inspired with loathing for themselves, and led to the knowledge of Jehovah, will furnish the proof that God has not spoken in vain.

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Verses 11-14 Edit

The Punishment Is Just and Well Deserved
Eze 6:11. Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, Smite with thy hand, and stamp with thy foot, and say, Woe on all the wicked abominations of the house of Israel! that they must perish by sword, hunger, and pestilence. Eze 6:12. He that is afar off will die by the pestilence; and he that is near at hand shall fall by the sword; and he who survives and is preserved will die of hunger: and I shall accomplish my wrath upon them. Eze 6:13. And ye shall know that I am Jehovah, when your slain lie in the midst of your idols round about your altars, on every high hill, upon all the summits of the mountains, and under every green tree, and under every thick-leaved terebinth, on the places where they brought their pleasant incense to all their idols. Eze 6:14. And I will stretch out my hand against them, and make the land waste and desolate more than the wilderness of Diblath, in all their dwellings: so shall ye know that I am Jehovah. - Through clapping of the hands and stamping of the feet - the gestures which indicate violent excitement - the prophet is to make known to the displeasure of Jehovah at the horrible idolatry of the people, and thereby make manifest that the penal judgment is well deserved. הכּה בכפּך is in Eze 21:19 expressed more distinctly by הך כּף אל , “to strike one hand against the other,” i.e., “to clap the hands;” cf. Num 24:10. אח, an exclamation of lamentation, occurring only here and in Eze 21:20. אשׁר, Eze 6:11, is a conjunction, “at.” Their abominations are so wicked, that they must be exterminated on account of them. This is specially mentioned in Eze 6:12. No one will escape the judgment: he who is far removed from its scene as little as he who is close at hand; while he who escapes the pestilence and the sword is to perish of hunger. נצוּר, servatus, preserved, as in Isa 49:6. The signification “besieged” (lxx, Vulgate, Targum, etc.), Hitzig can only maintain by arbitrarily expunging הנּשׁאר as a gloss. On Eze 6:12, cf. Eze 5:13; on 13a, cf. Eze 6:5; and on 13b, cf. Eze 6:3, and Hos 4:13; Jer 2:20; Jer 3:6; Deu 12:2. 'אל כּל־גב, according to later usage, for על כּל־גב. ריח ניחח, used

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in the Pentateuch of sacrifices pleasing to God, is here transferred to idol sacrifices; see on Lev 1:9 and Gen 8:21. On account of the prevalence of idolatry in all parts, God will make the land entirely desolate. The union of שׁממה serves to strengthen the idea; cf. Eze 33:8., Eze 35:3. The words ממּדבּר דּבלתה are obscure, either “in the wilderness towards Diblath” (even to Diblath), or “more than the wilderness of Diblath” (מן of comparison). There is no doubt that דּבלתה is a nom. prop.; cf. the name of the city דּבלתים in Jer 48:22; Num 33:46. The second acceptation of the words is more probable than the first. For, if ממּדבּר is the terminus a quo, and דּבלתה the terminus ad quem of the extent of the land, then must ממּדבּר be punctuated not only as status absolut., but it must also have the article; because a definite wilderness - that, namely, of Arabia - is meant. The omission of the article cannot be justified by reference to Eze 21:3 or to Psa 75:7 (Hitzig, Ewald), because both passages contain general designations of the quarters of the world, with which the article is always omitted. In the next place, no Dibla can be pointed out in the north; and the change of Diblatha into Ribla, already proposed by Jerome, and more recently brought forward again by J. D. Michaelis, has not only against it the authority of all the old versions, but also the circumstance that the Ribla mentioned in 2Ki 23:33 did not form the northern boundary of Palestine, but lay on the other side of it, in the land of Hamath; while the הרבלה, named in Num 34:11, is a place on the eastern boundary to the north of the Sea of Gennesareth, which would, moreover, be inappropriate as a designation of the northern boundary. Finally, the extent of the land from the south to the north is constantly expressed in a different way; cf. Num 23:21 (Num 34:8); Jos 13:5; 1Ki 8:65; 2 Kings 14:65; Amo 6:14; 1Ch 13:5; 2Ch 7:8; and even by Ezekiel himself (Eze 48:1) לבוא is named as the boundary on the north. The form דּבלתה is similar to תּמנתה for תּמנה, although the name is hardly

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to be explained, with Hävernick, as an appellation, after the Arabic dibl, calamitas, exitium. The wilderness of Diblah is unknown. With 'וידעוּ כּי וגו the discourse is rounded off in returning to the beginning of Eze 6:13, while the thoughts in Eze 6:13 and Eze 6:14 are only a variation of Eze 6:4-7.

Chap. 7 Edit

Verses 1-4 Edit

The Overthrow of Israel Edit

The second “word of God,” contained in this chapter, completes the announcement of judgment upon Jerusalem and Judah, by expanding the thought, that the end will come both quickly and inevitably upon the land and people. This word is divided into two unequal sections, by the repetition of the phrase, “Thus saith Adonai Jehovah” (Eze 7:2 and Eze 7:5). In the first of these sections the theme is given in short, expressive, and monotonous clauses; namely, the end is drawing nigh, for God will judge Israel without mercy according to its abominations. The second section (vv. 5-27) is arranged in four strophes, and contains, in a form resembling the lamentation in Eze 19:1-14, a more minute description of the end predicted.

The End Cometh Edit

Eze 7:1. And the word of Jehovah came to me thus: Eze 7:2. And thou, son of man, thus saith the Lord Jehovah: An end to the land of Israel! the end cometh upon the four borders of the land. Eze 7:3. Now (cometh) the end upon thee, and I shall send my wrath upon thee, and judge thee according to thy ways, and bring upon thee all thine abominations. Eze 7:4. And my eye shall not look with pity upon thee, and I shall not spare, but bring thy ways upon thee; and thy abominations shall be in the midst of thee, that ye may know that I am Jehovah. - ואתּה - .havoheJ ma I, with the copula, connects this word of God with the preceding one, and shows it to be a continuation. It commences with an emphatic utterance of the thought, that the end is coming to the land of Israel, i.e., to the kingdom of Judah, with its capital Jerusalem. Desecrated as it has been

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by the abominations of its inhabitants, it will cease to be the land of God's people Israel. 'לאדמת ישׂ (to the land of Israel) is not to be taken with כּה אמר (thus saith the Lord) in opposition to the accents, but is connected with qeets קץ (an end), as in the Targ. and Vulgate, and is placed first for the sake of greater emphasis. In the construction, compare Job 6:14. ארבּעת כּנפות הארץ is limited by the parallelism to the four extremities of the land of Israel. It is used elsewhere for the whole earth (Isa 11:12). The Chetib ארבּעת is placed, in opposition to the ordinary rule, before a noun in the feminine gender. The Keri gives the regular construction (vid., Ewald, §267c). In Eze 7:3 the end is explained to be a wrathful judgment. “Give (נתן) thine abominations upon thee;” i.e., send the consequences, inflict punishment for them. The same thought is expressed in the phrase, “thine abominations shall be in the midst of thee;” in other words, they would discern them in the punishments which the abominations would bring in their train. For Eze 7:4 compare Eze 5:11.

Verses 5-9 Edit

The execution of the judgment announced in Eze 7:2-4, arranged in four strophes: Eze 7:5-9, Eze 7:10-14, Eze 7:15-22, Eze 7:23-27. - The first strophe depicts the end as a terrible calamity, and as near at hand. Eze 7:3 and Eze 7:4 are repeated as a refrain in Eze 7:8 and Eze 7:9, with slight modifications. Eze 7:5. Thus saith the Lord Jehovah: Misfortune, a singular misfortune, behold, it cometh. Eze 7:6. End cometh: there cometh the end; it waketh upon thee; behold, it cometh. Eze 7:7. The fate cometh upon thee, inhabitants of the land: the time cometh, the day is near; tumult and not joy upon the mountains. Eze 7:8. Now speedily will I pour out my fury upon thee, and accomplish mine anger on thee; and judge thee according to thy ways, and bring upon thee all thine abominations. Eze 7:9. My eye shall not look with pity upon thee, and I shall not spare; according to thy ways will I bring it upon thee, and thy abominations shall be in the midst of thee, that ye may know that I, Jehovah, am smiting. - Misfortune of a singular kind shall come. רעה is made more emphatic

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by אחת רעה, in which אחת is placed first for the sake of emphasis, in the sense of unicus, singularis; a calamity singular (unique) of its kind, such as never had occurred before (cf. Eze 5:9). In Eze 7:6 the poetical הקיץ, it (the end) waketh upon thee, is suggested by the paronomasia with הקּץ. The force of the words is weakened by supplying Jehovah as the subject to הקיץ, in opposition to the context. And it will not do to supply רעה (evil) from Eze 7:5 as the subject to הנּה באה (behold, it cometh). באה is construed impersonally: It cometh, namely, every dreadful thing which the end brings with it. The meaning of tzephirâh is doubtful. The only other passage in which it occurs is Isa 28:5, where it is used in the sense of diadem or crown, which is altogether unsuitable here. Raschi has therefore had recourse to the Syriac and Chaldee צפרא, aurora, tempus matutinum, and Hävernick has explained it accordingly, “the dawn of an evil day.” But the dawn is never used as a symbol or omen of misfortune, not even in Joe 2:2, but solely as the sign of the bursting forth of light or of salvation. Abarbanel was on the right track when he started from the radical meaning of צפר, to twist, and taking tzephirâh in the sense of orbis, ordo, or periodical return, understood it as probably denoting rerum fatique vicissitudinem in orbem redeuntem (Ges. Thes. p. 1188). But it has been justly observed, that the rendering succession, or periodical return, can only give a forced sense in Eze 7:10. Winer has given a better rendering, viz., fatum, malum fatale, fate or destiny, for which he refers to the Arabic tsabramun, intortum, then fatum haud mutandum inevitabile. Different explanations have also been given of הד הרים. But the opinion that it is synonymous with הידד, the joyous vintage cry (Jer 25:30; Isa 16:10), is a more probable one than that it is an unusual form of הוד, splendor, gloria. So much at any rate is obvious from the context, that the hapax legomenon dh̀ is the antithesis of מהוּמה, tumult, or the noise of war. The shouting of the

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mountains, is shouting, a rejoicing upon the mountains. מקּרוב, from the immediate vicinity, in a temporal not a local sense, as in Deu 32:17 (= immediately). For כּלּה , see Eze 6:1-14;12. The remainder of the strophe (Eze 7:8 and Eze 7:9) is a repetition of Eze 7:3 and Eze 7:4; but מכּה is added in the last clause. They shall learn that it is Jehovah who smites. This thought is expanded in the following strophe.

Verses 10-14 Edit

Second Strophe
Eze 7:10. Behold the day, behold, it cometh; the fate springeth up; the rod sprouteth; the pride blossometh. Eze 7:11. The violence riseth up as the rod of evil: nothing of them, nothing of their multitude, nothing of their crowd, and nothing glorious upon them. Eze 7:12. The time cometh, the day approacheth: let not the buyer rejoice, and let not the seller trouble himself; for wrath cometh upon the whole multitude thereof. Eze 7:13. For the seller will not return to that which was sold, even though his life were still among the living: for the prophecy against its whole multitude will not turn back; and no one will strengthen himself as to his life through his iniquity. Eze 7:14. They blow the trumpet and make everything ready; but no one goeth into the battle: for my wrath cometh upon all their multitude. - The rod is already prepared; nothing will be left of the ungodly. This is the leading thought of the strophe. The three clauses of Eze 7:10 are synonymous; but there is a gradation in the thought. The approaching fate springs up out of the earth (יצא, applied to the springing up of plants, as in 1Ki 5:13; Isa 11:1, etc.); it sprouts as a rod, and flowers as pride. Matteh, the rod as an instrument of chastisement (Isa 10:5). This rod is then called za=dho4n, pride, inasmuch as God makes use of a proud and violent people, namely the Chaldeans (Hab 1:6.; Jer 50:31 seq.), to inflict the punishment. Sprouting and blossoming, which are generally used as figurative representations of fresh and joyous prosperity, denote here the vigorous growth of that power which is destined to inflict the punishment. Both châmâs (violence) and zâdhōn (pride) refer to the enemy who is to chastise Israel. The violence

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which he employs rises up into the chastening rod of “evil,” i.e., of ungodly Israel. In Eze 7:11 the effect of the blow is described in short, broken sentences. The emotion apparent in the frequent repetition of לא is intensified by the omission of the verb, which gives to the several clauses the character of exclamations. So far as the meaning is concerned, we have to insert יהיה in thought, and to take מן ekat o in a partitive sense: there will not be anything of them, i.e., nothing will be left of them (the Israelites, or the inhabitants of the land). מהם (of them) is explained by the nouns which follow. המון and the ἁπ. λεγ. לחולםš, plural of הם or המה, both derivatives of המה, are so combined that המון signifies the tumultuous multitude of people, המה the multitude of possessions (like המון, Isa 60:2; Psa 37:16, etc.). The meaning which Hävernick assigns to hâmeh, viz., anxiety or trouble, is unsupported and inappropriate. The ἁπ λεγ. נהּ is not to be derived from נהה, to lament, as the Rabbins affirm; or interpreted, as Kimchi - who adopts this derivation - maintains, on the ground of Jer 16:4., as signifying that, on account of the multitude of the dying, there will be no more lamentation for the dead. This leaves the Mappik in ה unexplained. נהּ is a derivative of a root נוהּ; in Arabic, na=ha, elata fuit res, eminuit, magnificus fuit; hence ,נהּres magnifica. When everything disappears in such a way as this, the joy occasioned by the acquisition of property, and the sorrow caused by its loss, will also pass away (Eze 7:12). The buyer will not rejoice in the property he has bought, for he will not be able to enjoy it; and the seller will not mourn that he has been obliged to part with his possession, for he would have lost it in any case.[11]
The wrath of God is kindled against their whole multitude; that is to say, the judgment falls equally upon them all. The suffix in המונהּ refers, as

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Jerome has correctly shown, to the “land of Israel” (admath, Yisrâeel) in Eze 7:2, i.e., to the inhabitants of the land. The words, “the seller will not return to what he has sold,” are to be explained from the legal regulations concerning the year of Jubilee in Lev 25, according to which all landed property that had been sold was to revert to its original owner (or his heir), without compensation, in the year of jubilee; so that he would then return to his mimkâr (Lev 25:14, Lev 25:27-28). Henceforth, however, this will take place no more, even if היּתם, their (the sellers') life, should be still alive (sc., at the time when the return to his property would take place, according to the regulations of the year of jubilee), because Israel will be banished from the land. The clause 'ועוד בּחיּים ה is a conditional circumstantial clause. The seller will not return (לא ישׁוּב) to his possession, because the prophecy concerning the whole multitude of the people will not return (לא), i.e., will not turn back (for this meaning of שׁוּב, compare Isa 45:23; Isa 55:11). As לא ישׁוּב corresponds to the previous לא ישׁוּב, so does חזון את־כּל המונהּ to חרון אל־כּל־המונהּ in Eze 7:12. In the last clause of Eze 7:13, חיּתו is not to be taken with בּעונו in the sense of “in the iniquity of his life,” which makes the suffix in בּעונו superfluous, but with יתחזּקוּ, the Hithpael being construed with the accusative, “strengthen himself in his life.” Whether these words also refer to the year of jubilee, as Hävernick supposes, inasmuch as the regulation that every one was to recover his property was founded upon the idea of the restitution and re-creation of the theocracy, we may leave undecided; since the thought is evidently simply this: ungodly Israel shall be deprived of its possession, because the wicked shall not obtain the strengthening of his life through his sin. This thought leads on to Eze 7:14, in which we have a description of the utter inability to offer any successful resistance to the enemy employed in executing the judgment. There is some difficulty connected with the word בּתּקוע, since the infin. absolute, which the form תּקוע seems to indicate, cannot be construed

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with either a preposition or the article. Even if the expression ּבתּקוע תּקעוּ in Jer 6:1 was floating before the mind of Ezekiel, and led to his employing the bold phrase ּבתּקוע, this would not justify the use of the infinitive absolute with a preposition and the article. תּקוע must be a substantive form, and denote not clangour, but the instrument used to sound an alarm, viz., the shōphâr (Eze 33:3). הכין, an unusual form of the inf. abs. (see Jos 7:7), used in the place of the finite tense, and signifying to equip for war, as in Nah 2:4. הכּל, everything requisite for waging war. And no one goes into the battle, because the wrath of God turns against them (Lev 26:17), and smites them with despair (Deu 32:30).

Verses 15-22 Edit

Third strophe
Thus will they fall into irresistible destruction; even their silver and gold they will not rescue, but will cast it away as useless, and leave it for the enemy. - Eze 7:15. The sword without, and pestilence and famine within: he who is in the field will die by the sword; and famine and pestilence will devour him that is in the city. Eze 7:16. And if their escaped ones escape, they will be upon the mountains like the doves of the valleys, all moaning, every one for his iniquity. Eze 7:17. All hands will become feeble, and all knees flow with water. Eze 7:18. They will gird themselves with sackcloth, and terrors will cover them; on all faces there will be shame, and baldness on all their heads. Eze 7:19. They will throw their silver into the streets, and their gold will be as filth to them. Their silver and their gold will not be able to rescue them in the day of Jehovah's wrath; they will not satisfy their souls therewith, nor fill their stomachs thereby, for it was to them a stumbling-block to guilt. Eze 7:20. And His beautiful ornament, they used it for pride; and their abominable images, their abominations they made thereof: therefore I make it filth to them. Eze 7:21. And I shall give it into the hand of foreigners for prey, and to the wicked of the earth for spoil, that they may defile it. Eze 7:22. I shall turn my face from them, that they defile my treasure;

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and oppressors shall come upon it and defile it. - The chastisement of God penetrates everywhere (Eze 7:15 compare with Eze 5:12); even flight to the mountains, that are inaccessible to the foe (compare 1 Macc. 2:28; Mat 24:16), will only bring misery. Those who have fled to the mountains will coo - i.e., mourn, moan - like the doves of the valleys, which (as Bochart has correctly interpreted the simile in his Hieroz. II. p. 546, ed. Ros.), “when alarmed by the bird-catcher or the hawk, are obliged to forsake their natural abode, and fly elsewhere to save their lives. The mountain doves are contrasted with those of the valleys, as wild with tame.” In כּלּם המות the figure and the fact are fused together. The words actually relate to the men who have fled; whereas the gender of המות is made to agree with that of כּיוני. The cooing of doves was regarded by the ancients as a moan (hâgâh), a mournful note (for proofs, see Gesen. on Isa 38:14); for which Ezekiel uses the still stronger expression hâmâhfremere, to howl or growl (cf. Isa 59:11). The low moaning has reference to their iniquity, the punishment of which they are enduring. When the judgment bursts upon them, they will all (not merely those who have escaped, but the whole nation) be overwhelmed with terror, shame, and suffering. The words, “all knees flow with water” (for hâlak in this sense, compare Joel 4:18), are a hyperbolical expression used to denote the entire loss of the strength of the knees (here, Eze 7:17 and Eze 21:12), like the heart melting and turning to water in Jos 7:5. With this utter despair there are associated grief and horror at the calamity that has fallen upon them, and shame and pain at the thought of the sins that have plunged them into such distress. For כּסּתה פלּצוּת, compare Psa 55:6; for אל־כּל־פנים בּוּשׁה, Mic 7:10; Jer 51:51; and for קרחה 'בּכל־ראשׁ, Isa 15:2; Amo 8:10. On the custom of shaving the head bald on account of great suffering or deep sorrow, see the comm. on Mic 1:16.
In this state of anguish they will throw all their treasures away as sinful trash (Eze 7:19.). By the silver

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and gold which they will throw away (Eze 7:19), we are not to understand idolatrous images particularly - these are first spoken of in Eze 7:20 - but the treasures of precious metals on which they had hitherto set their hearts. They will not merely throw these away as worthless, but look upon them as niddâh, filth, an object of disgust, inasmuch as they have been the servants of their evil lust. The next clause, “silver and gold cannot rescue them,” are a reminiscence from Zep 1:18. But Ezekiel gives greater force to the thought by adding, “they will not appease their hunger therewith,” - that is to say, they will not be able to protect their lives thereby, either from the sword of the enemy (see the comm. on Zep 1:18) or from death by starvation, because there will be no more food to purchase within the besieged city. The clause 'כּי assigns the reason for that which forms the leading thought of the verse, namely, the throwing away of the silver and gold as filth; מכשׁול עונם, a stumbling-block through which one falls into guilt and punishment; צבי עדיו, the beauty of his ornament, i.e., his beautiful ornament. The allusion is to the silver and gold; and the singular suffix is to be explained from the fact that the prophet fixed his mind upon the people as a whole, and used the singular in a general and indefinite sense. The words are written absolutely at the commencement of the sentence; hence the suffix attached to שׂמהוּ, Jerome has given the true meaning of the words: “what I (God) gave for an ornament of the possessors and for their wealth, they turned into pride.” And not merely to ostentatious show (in the manner depicted in Isa 3:16.), but to abominable images, i.e., idols, did they apply the costly gifts of God (cf. Hos 8:4; Hos 13:2). עשׂה, to make of (gold and silver); ב denoting the material with which one works and of which anything is made (as in Exo 31:4; Exo 38:8). God punishes this abuse by making it (gold and silver) into niddâh to them, i.e., according to v. 19, by placing them in such circumstances that they cast it away as filth, and (v. 21) by giving it as booty to the foe. The

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enemy is described as “the wicked of the earth” (cf. Psa 75:9), i.e., godless men, who not only seize upon the possession of Israel, but in the most wicked manner lay hands upon all that is holy, and defile it. The Chetib חלּלוּה is to be retained, notwithstanding the fact that it was preceded by a masculine suffix. What is threatened will take place, because the Lord will turn away His face from His people (מהם, from the Israelites), i.e., will withdraw His gracious protection from them, so that the enemy will be able to defile His treasure. Tsâphuun, that which is hidden, the treasure (Job 20:26; Oba 1:6). Tsephuunii is generally supposed to refer to the temple, or the Most Holy Place in the temple. Jerome renders it arcanum meum, and gives this explanation: “signifying the Holy of Holies, which no one except the priests and the high priest dared to enter.” This interpretation was so commonly adopted by the Fathers, that even Theodoret explains the rendering given in the Septuagint, τὴν ἐπισκοπήν μου, as signifying the Most Holy Place in the temple. On the other hand, the Chaldee has ארעא בּית שׁכינתי, “the land of the house of my majesty;” and Calvin understands it as signifying “the land which was safe under His (i.e., God's) protection.” But it is difficult to reconcile either explanation with the use of the word tsâphuun. The verb tsâphan signifies to hide, shelter, lay up in safety. These meanings do not befit either the Holy of Holies in the temple or the land of Israel. It is true that the Holy of Holies was unapproachable by the laity, and even by the ordinary priests, but it was not a secret, a hidden place; and still less was this the case with the land of Canaan.We therefore adhere to the meaning, which is so thoroughly sustained by Job 20:26 and Oba 1:6 - namely, “treasure,” by which, no doubt, the temple-treasure is primarily intended. This rendering suits the context, as only treasures have been referred to before; and it may be made to harmonize with בּאוּ בהּ which follows. בּוא ב signifies not merely intrare in locum, but also venire in (e.g., 2Ki 6:23; possibly Eze 30:4),

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and may therefore be very properly rendered, “to get possession of,” since it is only possible to obtain possession of a treasure by penetrating into the place where it is laid up or concealed. There is nothing at variance with this in the word חלּל, profanare, since it has already occurred in Eze 7:21 in connection with the defiling of treasures and jewels. Moreover, as Calvin has correctly observed, the word is employed here to denote “an indiscriminate abuse, when, instead of considering to what purpose things have been entrusted to us, we squander them rashly and without selection, in contempt and even in scorn.”

Verses 23-27 Edit

Fourth Strophe
Still worse is coming, namely, the captivity of the people, and overthrow of the kingdom. - Eze 7:23. Make the chain, for the land is full of capital crime, and the city full of outrage. Eze 7:24. I shall bring evil ones of the nations, that they may take possession of their houses; and I shall put an end to the pride of the strong, that their sanctuaries may be defiled. Eze 7:25. Ruin has come; they seek salvation, but there is none. Eze 7:26. Destruction upon destruction cometh, and report upon report ariseth; they seek visions from prophets, but the law will vanish away from the priest, and counsel from the elders. Eze 7:27. The king will mourn, and the prince will clothe himself in horror, and the hands of the common people will tremble. I will deal with them according to their way, and according to their judgments will I judge them, that they may learn that I am Jehovah. - Those who have escaped death by sword or famine at the conquest of Jerusalem have captivity and exile awaiting them. This is the meaning of the command to make the chain, i.e., the fetters needed to lead the people into exile. This punishment is necessary, because the land is full of mishpatdâmim, judgment of blood. This cannot mean, there is a judgment upon the shedding of blood, i.e., upon murder, which is conducted by Jehovah, as Hävernick supposes. Such a thought is irreconcilable with מלאה, and with the parallel מלאה חמס. משׁפּט דּמים is to be explained after the

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same manner as משׁפּט מות (a matter for sentence of death, a capital crime) in Deu 19:6, Deu 19:21 -22, as signifying a matter for sentence of bloodshed, i.e., a crime of blood, or capital crime, as the Chaldee has already rendered it. Because the land is filled with capital crime, the city (Jerusalem) with violence, the Lord will bring רעי, evil ones of the heathen, i.e., the worst of the heathen, to put an end to the pride of the Israelites. גּאון עזּים is not “pride of the insolents;” for עזּים does not stand for עזּי פנים (Deu 28:50, etc.). The expression is rather to be explained from גּאון עז, pride of strength, in Eze 24:21; Eze 30:6, Eze 30:18 (cf. Lev 26:19), and embraces everything on which a man (or a nation) bases his power and rests his confidence. The Israelites are called עזּים, because they thought themselves strong, or, according to Eze 24:21, based their strength upon the possession of the temple and the holy land. This is indicated by ונחלוּ which follows. נחל, Niphal of חלל and מקדשׁיהם, not a participle Piel, from מקדּשׁ, with the Dagesh dropped, but an unusual form, from מקדּשׁ for מקדּשׁיהם (vid., Ew. §215a). - The ἁπ λεγ. חהצנצט;, with the tone drawn back on account of the tone-syllable which follows (cf. Ges. §29, 3. 6), signifies excidium, destruction (according to the Rabbins), from קפד, to shrink or roll up (Isa 38:12). בּא is a prophetic perfect. In Eze 7:25 the ruin of the kingdom is declared to be certain, and in Eze 7:26 and Eze 7:27 the occurrence of it is more minutely depicted. Stroke upon stroke does the ruin come; and it is intensified by reports, alarming accounts, which crowd together and increase the terror, and also by the desperation of the spiritual and temporal leaders of the nation - the prophets, priests, and elders - whom God deprives of revelation, knowledge, and counsel; so that all ranks (king and princes and the common people) sink into mourning, alarm, and horror. That it is to no purpose that visions or prophecies are sought from the prophets (Eze 7:26), is evident from the antithetical statement concerning the priests and elders which immediately follows. The three statements serve

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as complements of one another. They seek for predictions from prophets, but the prophets receive no vision, no revelation. They seek instruction from priests, but instruction is withdrawn from the priests; and so forth. T̄ōrâh signifies instruction out of the law, which the priests were to give to the people (Mal 2:7). In Eze 7:27, the three classes into which the people were divided are mentioned - viz. king, prince (i.e., tribe-princes and heads of families), and, in contradistinction to both, עם הארץ, the common people, the people of the land, in distinction from the civil rulers, as in 2Ki 21:24; 2Ki 23:30. מדּרכּם, literally from their way, their mode of action, will I do to them: i.e., my action will be derived from theirs, and regulated accordingly. אותם for אתּם, as in Eze 3:22, etc. (See the comm. on Eze 16:59.)

Chap. 8 Edit

Vision of the Destruction of Jerusalem - Ezekiel 8-11 Edit

A year and two months after his call, the glory of the Lord appeared to the prophet a second time, as he had seen it by the Chebar. He is transported in spirit to Jerusalem into the court of the temple (Eze 8:1-4), where the Lord causes him to see, first the idolatry of Israel (Eze 8:5-18), and secondly, the judgment why, on account of this idolatry, all the inhabitants of Jerusalem are smitten (Eze 9:1-11), the city is burned with fire, and the sanctuary forsaken by God (Ezekiel 10). Lastly, after he has been charged to foretell to the representatives of the people more especially the coming judgment, and to those who are sent into exile a future salvation (Ezekiel 11:1-21), he describes how the gracious presence of God forsakes the city before his own eyes (Eze 11:22-23). After this has taken place, Ezekiel is carried back in the vision to Chaldea once more; and there, after the vision has come to an end, he announces to the exiles what he has seen and heard (Eze 11:24-25).

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Verses 1-4 Edit

Eze 8:1-4

Abominations of the Idolatry of the House of Israel Edit

Time and place of the divine revelation. - Eze 8:1. And it came to pass in the sixth year, in the sixth (month), on the fifth (day) of the month, I was sitting in my house, and the elders of Judah were sitting before me; there fell upon me the hand of the Lord Jehovah there. Eze 8:2. And I saw, and behold a figure like the look of fire, from the look of its loins downwards fire, and from its loins upwards like a look of brilliance, like the sight of red-hot brass. Eze 8:3. And he stretched out the form of a hand, and took me by the locks of my head, and wind carried me away between earth and heaven, and brought me to Jerusalem in visions of God, to the entrance of the gate of the inner court, which faces towards the north, where the image of jealousy exciting jealousy had its stand. Eze 8:4. And, behold, the glory of the God of Israel was there, like the vision which I have seen in the valley. - The place where Ezekiel received this new theophany agrees with the statements in Eze 3:24 and Eze 4:4, Eze 4:6, that he was to shut himself up in his house, and lie 390 days upon the left side, and 40 days upon the right side - in all, 430 days. The use of the word יושׁב, “I sat,” is not at variance with this, as ישׁב does not of necessity signify sitting as contrasted with lying, but may also be used in the more general sense of staying, or living, in the house. Nor is the presence of the elders of Judah opposed to the command, in Eze 3:24, to shut himself up in the house, as we have already observed in the notes on that passage. The new revelation is made to him in the presence of these elders, because it is of the greatest importance to them. They are to be witnesses of his ecstasy; and after this has left the prophet, are to hear from his lips the substance of the divine revelation (Eze 11:25). It is otherwise with the time of the revelation. If we compare the date given in Eze 8:1 with those mentioned before, this new vision apparently falls within the period required for carrying out the symbolical actions of the previous vision. Between Eze 1:1-2 (the fifth day of the fourth month in the fifth year) and Eze 8:1

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(the fifth day of the sixth month in the sixth year) we have one year and two months, that is to say (reckoning the year as a lunar year at 354 days, and the two months at 59 days), 413 days; whereas the two events recorded in Ezekiel 1-7 require at least 437 days, namely 7 days for Eze 3:15, and 390 + 40 = 430 days for Eze 4:5-6. Consequently the new theophany would fall within the 40 days, during which Ezekiel was to lie upon the right side for Judah. To get rid of this difficulty, Hitzig conjectures that the fifth year of Jehoiachin (Eze 1:2) was a leap year of 13 months or 385 days, by which he obtains an interval of 444 days after adding 59 for the two months, - a period sufficient not only to include the 7 days (Eze 3:15) and 390 + 40 days (Eze 4:5-6), but to leave 7 days for the time that elapsed between Ezekiel 7 and 8. But however attractive this reckoning may appear, the assumption that the fifth year of the captivity of Jehoiachin was a leap year is purely conjectural; and there is nothing whatever to give it probability. Consequently the only thing that could lead us to adopt such a solution, would be the impossibility of reconciling the conclusion to be drawn from the chronological data, as to the time of the two theophanies, with the substance of these divine revelations.
If we assume that Ezekiel carried out the symbolical acts mentioned in Ezekiel 4 and 5 in all their entirety, we can hardly imagine that the vision described in the chapters before us, by which he was transported in spirit to Jerusalem, occurred within the period of forty days, during which he was to typify the siege of Jerusalem by lying upon his right side. Nevertheless, Kliefoth has decided in favour of this view, and argues in support of it, that the vision described in Eze 8:1. took place in the prophet's own house, that it is identical in substance with what is contained in Ezekiel 3:22-7:27, and that there is no discrepancy, because all that occurred here was purely internal, and the prophet himself was to address the words contained in Eze 11:4-12 and Eze 11:14-21 to the inhabitants of Jerusalem in his state of ecstasy.

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Moreover, when it is stated in Eze 11:25 that Ezekiel related to the exiles all that he had seen in the vision, it is perfectly open to us to assume that this took place at the same time as his report to them of the words of God in Eze 6:1-14 and 7, and those which follow in Ezekiel 12. But. on the other hand, it may be replied that the impression produced by Eze 11:25 is not that the prophet waited several weeks after his visionary transport to Jerusalem before communicating to the elders what he saw in the vision. And even if the possibility of this cannot be disputed, we cannot imagine any reason why the vision should be shown to the prophet four weeks before it was to be related to the exiles. Again, there is not sufficient identity between the substance of the vision in Ezekiel 8-11 and the revelation in Ezekiel 4-7, to suggest any motive for the two to coincide. It is true that the burning of Jerusalem, which Ezekiel sees in Ezekiel 8-11, is consequent upon the siege and conquest of that city, which he has already predicted in Ezekiel 4-7 both in figure and word; but they are not so closely connected, that it was necessary on account of this connection for it to be shown to him before the completion of the symbolical siege of Jerusalem. And, lastly, although the ecstasy as a purely internal process is so far reconcilable with the prophet's lying upon his right side, that this posture did not preclude a state of ecstasy or render it impossible, yet this collision would ensue, that while the prophet was engaged in carrying out the former word of God, a new theophany would be received by him, which must necessarily abstract his mind from the execution of the previous command of God, and place him in a condition in which it would be impossible for him to set his face firmly upon the siege of Jerusalem, as he had been commanded to do in Eze 4:7. On account of this collision, we cannot subscribe to the assumption, that it was during the time that Ezekiel was lying bound by God upon his right side to bear the sin of Jerusalem, that he was transported in spirit to the temple at Jerusalem. On the contrary, the fact that this transport

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occurred, according to Eze 8:1, at a time when he could not have ended the symbolical acts of Ezekiel 4, if he had been required to carry them out in all their external reality, furnishes us with conclusive evidence of the correctness of the view we have already expressed, that the symbolical acts of Ezekiel 4 and 5 did not lie within the sphere of outward reality (see comm. on Eze 5:4). - And if Ezekiel did not really lie for 430 days, there was nothing to hinder his having a fresh vision 14 months after the theophany in Ezekiel 1 and Eze 3:22. For 'תּפּל עלי יד , see at Eze 3:22 and Eze 1:3.
The figure which Ezekiel sees in the vision is described in Eze 8:2 in precisely the same terms as the appearance of God in Eze 1:27. The sameness of the two passages is a sufficient defence of the reading כּמראה־אשׁ against the arbitrary emendation אישׁ 'כם, after the Sept. rendering ὁμοίωμα ἀνδρός, in support of which Ewald and Hitzig appeal to Eze 1:26, though without any reason, as the reading there is not אישׁ, but אדם. It is not expressly stated here that the apparition was in human form - the fiery appearance is all that is mentioned; but this is taken for granted in the allusion to the מתנים (the loins), either as self-evident, or as well known from Ezekiel 1. זהר is synonymous with נגהּ in Eze 1:4, Eze 1:27. What is new in the present theophany is the stretching out of the hand, which grasps the prophet by the front hair of his head, whereupon he is carried by wind between heaven and earth, i.e., through the air, to Jerusalem, not in the body, but in visions of God (cf. Eze 1:1), that is to say, in spiritual ecstasy, and deposited at the entrance of the inner northern door of the temple. הפּנימית is not an adjective belonging to שׁער, for this is not a feminine noun, but is used as a substantive, as in Eze 43:5 (= החצר הפּנימית: cf. Eze 40:40): gate of the inner court, i.e., the gate on the north side of the inner court which led into the outer court. We are not informed whether Ezekiel was placed on the inner or outer side of this gate, i.e., in the inner or outer court; but it is evident from Eze 8:5 that he was placed in the

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inner court, as his position commanded a view of the image which stood at the entrance of the gate towards the north. The further statement, “where the standing place of the image of jealousy was,” anticipates what follows, and points out the reason why the prophet was placed just there. The expression “image of jealousy” is explained by המּקנה, which excites the jealousy of Jehovah (see the comm. on Exo 20:5). Consequently, we have not to think of any image of Jehovah, but of an image of a heathen idol (cf. Deu 32:21); probably of Baal or Asherah, whose image had already been placed in the temple by Manasseh (2Ki 21:7); certainly not the image of the corpse of Adonis moulded in wax or clay. This opinion, which Hävernick advances, is connected with the erroneous assumption that all the idolatrous abominations mentioned in this chapter relate to the celebration of an Adonis-festival in the temple. There (Eze 8:4) in the court of the temple Ezekiel saw once more the glory of the God of Israel, as he had seen it in the valley (Eze 3:22) by the Chaboras, i.e., the appearance of God upon the throne with the cherubim and wheels; whereas the divine figure, whose hand grasped him in his house, and transported him to the temple (Eze 8:2), showed neither throne nor cherubim. The expression “God of Israel,” instead of Jehovah (Eze 3:23), is chosen as an antithesis to the strange god, the heathen idol, whose image stood in the temple. As the God of Israel, Jehovah cannot tolerate the image and worship of another god in His temple. To set up such an image in the temple of Jehovah was a practical renunciation of the covenant, a rejection of Jehovah on the part of Israel as its covenant God.
Here, in the temple, Jehovah shows to the prophet the various kinds of idolatry which Israel is practising both publicly and privately, not merely in the temple, but throughout the whole land. The arrangement of these different forms of idolatry in four groups of abomination scenes (Eze 8:5, Eze 8:6, Eze 8:7-12, Eze 8:13-15, and Eze 8:16-18), which the prophet sees both in and from

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the court of the temple, belong to the visionary drapery of this divine revelation. It is altogether erroneous to interpret the vision as signifying that all these forms of idolatry were practised in the temple itself; an assumption which cannot be carried out without doing violence to the description, more especially of the second abomination in Eze 8:7-12. Still more untenable is Hävernick's view, that the four pictures of idolatrous practices shown to the prophet are only intended to represent different scenes of a festival of Adonis held in the temple. The selection of the courts of the temple for depicting the idolatrous worship, arises from the fact that the temple was the place where Israel was called to worship the Lord its God. Consequently the apostasy of Israel from the Lord could not be depicted more clearly and strikingly than by the following series of pictures of idolatrous abominations practised in the temple under the eyes of God.

Verses 5-6 Edit

First Abomination-Picture
Eze 8:5. And He said to me, Son of man, lift up thine eyes now towards the north. And I lifted up my eyes towards the north, and, behold, to the north of the gate of the altar was this image of jealousy at the entrance. Eze 8:6. And He said to me, Son of man, seest thou what they do? great abominations, which the house of Israel doeth here, that I may go far away from my sanctuary; and thou shalt yet again see greater abominations still. - As Ezekiel had taken his stand in the inner court at the entrance of the north gate, and when looking thence towards the north saw the image of jealousy to the north of the altar gate, the image must have stood on the outer side of the entrance, so that the prophet saw it as he looked through the open doorway. The altar gate is the same as the northern gate of the inner court mentioned in Ezekiel 3. But it is impossible to state with certainty how it came to be called the altar gate. Possibly from the circumstance that the sacrificial animals were taken through this gate to the altar, to be slaughtered on the northern side of the altar, according to Lev 1:4; Lev 5:11, etc. מהם, contracted from מה־הם, like מזּה

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from מה זה in Exo 4:2. The words “what they are doing here” do not force us to assume that at that very time they were worshipping the idol. They simply describe what was generally practised there. The setting up of the image involved the worship of it. The subject to לרחקה is not the house of Israel, but Jehovah. They perform great abominations, so that Jehovah is compelled to go to a distance from His sanctuary, i.e., to forsake it (cf. Eze 11:23), because they make it an idol-temple.

Verses 7-12 Edit

Second Abomination: Worship of Beasts
Eze 8:7. And He brought me to the entrance of the court, and I saw, and behold there was a hole in the wall. Eze 8:8. And He said to me, Son of man, break through the wall: and I broke through the wall, and behold there was a door. Eze 8:9. And He said to me, Come and see the wicked abominations which they are doing here. Eze 8:10. And I came and saw, and behold there were all kinds of figures of reptiles, and beasts, abominations, and all kinds of idols of the house of Israel, drawn on the wall round about. Eze 8:11. And seventy men of the leaders of the house of Israel, with Jaazaniah the son of Shaphan standing among them, stood in front, every man with his censer in his hand; and the smell of a cloud of incense arose. Eze 8:12. And He said to me, Seest thou, son of man, what the elders of the house of Israel do in the dark, every one in his image-chambers? For they say: Jehovah doth not see us; Jehovah hath forsaken the land. - The entrance of the court to which Ezekiel was now transported cannot be the principal entrance to the outer court towards the east (Ewald). This would be at variance with the context, as we not only find the prophet at the northern entrance in Eze 8:3 and Eze 8:5, but at Eze 8:14 we find him there still. If he had been taken to the eastern gate in the meantime, this would certainly have been mentioned. As that is not the case, the reference must be to that entrance to the court which lay between the entrance-gate of the inner court (Eze 8:3) and the northern entrance-gate to the house of Jehovah (Eze 8:14), or northern gate of the outer court, in other words, the northern entrance

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into the outer court. Thus the prophet was conducted out of the inner court through its northern gate into the outer court, and placed in front of the northern gate, which led out into the open air. There he saw a hole in the wall, and on breaking through the wall, by the command of God, he saw a door, and having entered it, he saw all kinds of figures of animals engraved on the wall round about, in front of which seventy of the elders of Israel were standing and paying reverence to the images of beasts with burning incense. According to Eze 8:12, the prophet was thereby shown what the elders of Israel did in the dark, every one in his image-chamber. From this explanation on the part of God concerning the picture shown to the prophet, it is very evident that it had no reference to any idolatrous worship practised by the elders in one or more of the cells of the outer court of the temple. For even though the objection raised by Kliefoth to this view, namely, that it cannot be proved that there were halls with recesses in the outer court, is neither valid nor correct, since the existence of such halls is placed beyond the reach of doubt by Jer 35:4; 2Ki 23:11, and 1Ch 28:12; such a supposition is decidedly precluded by the fact, that the cells and recesses at the gates cannot have been large enough to allow of seventy-one men taking part in a festive idolatrous service. The supposition that the seventy-one men were distributed in different chambers is at variance with the distinct words of the text. The prophet not only sees the seventy elders standing along with Jaazaniah, but he could not look through one door into a number of chambers at once, and see the pictures draw all round upon their walls. The assembling of the seventy elders in a secret cell by the northern gate of the outer temple to worship the idolatrous images engraved on the walls of the cell, is one feature in the visionary form given to the revelation of what the elders of the people were doing secretly throughout the whole land. To bring out more strikingly the secrecy of this idolatrous worship, the cell is so completely hidden in the wall,

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that the prophet is obliged to enlarge the hole by breaking through the wall before he can see the door which leads to the cell and gain a view of them and of the things it contains, and the things that are done therein.[12]
And the number of the persons assembled there suggests the idea of a symbolical representation, as well as the secrecy of the cell. The seventy elders represent the whole nation; and the number is taken from Exo 24:1. and Num 11:16; Num 24:25, where Moses, by the command of God, chooses seventy of the elders to represent the whole congregation at the making of the covenant, and afterwards to support his authority. This representation of the congregation was not a permanent institution, as we may see from the fact that in Num 11 seventy other men are said to have been chosen for the purpose named. The high council, consisting of seventy members, the so-called Sanhedrim, was formed after the captivity on the basis of these Mosaic types. In the midst of the seventy was Jaazaniah the son of Shaphan, a different man therefore from the Jaazaniah mentioned in Eze 11:1. Shaphan is probably the person mentioned as a man of distinction in 2Ki 22:3.; Jer 29:3; Jer 36:10; Jer 39:14. It is impossible to decide on what ground Jaazaniah is specially mentioned by name; but it can hardly be on account of the meaning of the name he bore, “Jehovah heard,” as Hävernick supposes. It is probable that he held a prominent position among the elders of the nation, so that he is mentioned here by name as the leader of this national representation.
On the wall of the chamber round about there were drawn all kinds of figures of רמשׂ וּבהמה, reptiles and quadrupeds (see Gen 1:24). שׁקץ is in apposition not only to בּהמה, but also to רמשׂ, and therefore, as belonging to both, is not to be connected with בּהמה in the construct state. The drawing of

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reptiles and quadrupeds became a sheqetz, or abomination, from the fact that the pictures had been drawn for the purpose of religious worship. The following clause, “and all the idols of the house of Israel,” is co-ordinate with 'כּל־תּבנית וגו. Besides the animals drawn on the walls, there were idols of other kinds in the chamber. The drawing of reptiles and quadrupeds naturally suggests the thought of the animal-worship of Egypt. We must not limit the words to this, however, since the worship of animals is met with in the nature-worship of other heathen nations, and the expression כּל־תּבנית, “all kinds of figures,” as well as the clause, “all kinds of idols of the house of Israel,” points to every possible form of idol-worship as spread abroad in Israel. עתר, according to the Aramaean usage, signifies suffimentum, perfume, בּחשׁך, in the dark, i.e., in secret, like בּסּתר in 2Sa 12:12; not in the sacred darkness of the cloud of incense (Hävernick). חדרי משׂכּית, image-chambers, is the term applied to the rooms or closets in the dwelling-houses of the people in which idolatrous images were set up and secretly worshipped. משׂכּית signifies idolatrous figures, as in Lev 26:1 and Num 33:52. This idolatry was justified by the elders, under the delusion that “Jehovah seeth us not;” that is to say, not: “He does not trouble Himself about us,” but He does not see what we do, because He is not omniscient (cf. Isa 29:15); and He has forsaken the land, withdrawn His presence and His help. Thus they deny both the omniscience and omnipresence of God (cf. Eze 9:9).

Verses 13-15 Edit

Third Abomination: Worship of Thammuz
Eze 8:13. And He said to me, Thou shalt yet again see still greater abominations which they do. Eze 8:14. And He brought me to the entrance of the gate of the house of Jehovah, which is towards the north, and behold there sat the women, weeping for Thammuz. Eze 8:15. And He said to me, Dost thou see it, O son of man? Thou shalt yet again see still greater abominations than these. - The prophet is taken from the entrance into the court to the entrance of the gate of the temple, to see the women sitting

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there weeping for Thammuz. The article in הנּשׁים is used generically. Whilst the men of the nation, represented by the seventy elders, were secretly carrying on their idolatrous worship, the women were sitting at the temple gate, and indulging in public lamentation for Thammuz. Under the weeping for Thammuz, Jerome (with Melito of Sardis and all the Greek Fathers) has correctly recognised the worship of Adonis. “תּמּוּז, Θαμμούζ or Θαμμούς,” says Jerome, “whom we have interpreted as Adonis, is called Thamuz both in Hebrew and Syriac; and because, according to the heathen legend, this lover of Venus and most beautiful youth is said to have been slain in the month of June and then restored to life again, they call this month of June by the same name, and keep an annual festival in his honour, at which he is lamented by women as though he were dead, and then afterwards celebrated in songs as having come to life again.” This view has not been shaken even by the objections raised by Chwolson in his Ssaabins (II. 27. 202ff.), his relics of early Babylonian literature (p. 101), and his Tammuz and human-worship among the ancient Babylonians. For the myth of Thammuz, mentioned in the Nabataean writings as a man who was put to death by the king of Babylon, whom he had commanded to introduce the worship of the seven planets and the twelve signs of the zodiac, and who was exalted to a god after his death, and honoured with a mourning festival, is nothing more than a refined interpretation of the very ancient nature-worship which spread over the whole of Hither Asia, and in which the power of the sun over the vegetation of the year was celebrated. The etymology of the word Tammuz is doubtful. It is probably a contraction of תּמזוּז, from מזז = מסס, so that it denotes the decay of the force of nature, and corresponds to the Greek ἀφανισμὸς ̓Αδώνιδος (see Hävernick in loc.).

Verses 16-18 Edit

Fourth Abomination: Worship of the Sun by the Priests
Eze 8:16. And He took me into the inner court of the house of Jehovah, and behold, at the entrance into the temple of Jehovah,

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between the porch and the altar, as it were five and twenty men,with their backs towards the temple of Jehovah and their faces towards the east; they were worshipping the sun towards the east. Eze 8:17. And He said to me, Seest thou this, son of Man? Is it too little for the house of Judah to perform the abominations which they are performing here, that they also fill the land with violence, and provoke me to anger again and again? For behold they stretch out the vine-branch to their nose. Eze 8:18. But I also will act in fury; my eye shall not look compassionately, and I will not spare; and if they cry with a loud voice in my ears, I will not hear them. - After Ezekiel has seen the idolatrous abominations in the outer court, or place for the people, he is taken back into the inner court, or court of the priests, to see still greater abominations there. Between the porch of the temple and the altar of burnt-offering, the most sacred spot therefore in the inner court, which the priests alone were permitted to tread (Joe 2:17), he sees as if twenty-five men, with their backs toward the temple, were worshipping the sun in the east. כּ before עשׂרים is not a preposition, circa, about, but a particle of comparison (an appearance): as if twenty-five men; after the analogy of כּ before an accusative (vid., Ewald, §282d). For the number here is not an approximative one; but twenty-five is the exact number, namely, the twenty-four leaders of the classes of priests (1Ch 24:5.; 2Ch 36:14; Ezr 10:5), with the high priest at the head (see Lightfoot's Chronol. of O.T., Opp. I. 124). As the whole nation was seen in the seventy elders, so is the entire priesthood represented here in the twenty-five leaders as deeply sunk in disgraceful idolatry. Their apostasy from the Lord is shown in the fact that they turn their back upon the temple, and therefore upon Jehovah, who was enthroned in the temple, and worship the sun, with their faces turned towards the east. The worship of the sun does not refer to the worship of Adonis, as Hävernick supposes, although Adonis was a sun-god; but generally to the worship of the heavenly bodies, against which

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Moses had warned the people (Deu 4:19; Deu 17:3), and which found its way in the time of Manasseh into the courts of the temple, whence it was afterwards expelled by Josiah (2Ki 23:5, 2Ki 23:11). The form משׁתתּויתם must be a copyist's error for משׁתּחוים; as the supposition that it is an unusual form, with a play upon השׁחית,[13] is precluded by the fact that it would in that case be a 2nd per. plur. perf., and such a construction is rendered impossible by the המּה which immediately precedes it (cf. Ewald, §118a).
To these idolatrous abominations Judah has added other sins, as if these abominations were not bad enough in themselves. This is the meaning of the question in Eze 8:17, 'הנּקל וגו: is it too little for the house of Judah, etc.? נקל with מן, as in Isa 49:6. To indicate the fulness of the measure of guilt, reference is again briefly made to the moral corruption of Judah. חמס embraces all the injuries inflicted upon men; תּועבות, impiety towards God, i.e., idolatry. By violent deeds they provoke God repeatedly to anger (שׁוּב, followed by an infinitive, expresses the repetition of an action). The last clause of Eze 8:17 ('והנּם שׁלחים וגו) is very obscure. The usual explanation, which has been adopted by J. D. Michaelis and Gesenius: “they hold the twig to their nose,” namely, the sacred twig Barsom, which the Parsees held in their hands when praying (vid., Hyde, de relig. vet. Pars. p. 350, ed. 2; and Kleuker, Zend-Avesta, III. p. 204), suits neither the context nor the words. According to the position of the clause in the context, we do not expect an allusion to a new idolatrous rite, but an explanation of the way in which Judah had excited the wrath of God by its violent deeds. Moreover, זמורה is not a suitable word to apply to the Barsom - Zemōrâh is a shoot or tendril of the vine (cf. Eze 15:2; Isa 17:10; Num 13:23). The Barsom, on the other hand, consisted of bunches of twigs of the tree Gez or Hom, or of branches of the pomegranate, the tamarisk, or the date (cf. Kleuker l.c., and Strabo, XV. 733),

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and was not held to the nose, but kept in front of the mouth as a magical mode of driving demons away (vid., Hyde, l.c.). Lastly, שׁלח אל does not mean to hold anything, but to stretch out towards, to prepare to strike, to use violence. Of the other explanations given, only two deserve any consideration - namely, first, the supposition that it is a proverbial expression, “to apply the twig to anger,” in the sense of adding fuel to the fire, which Doederlein (ad Grotii adnott.) applies in this way, “by these things they supply food, as it were, to my wrath, which burns against themselves,” i.e., they bring fuel to the fire of my wrath. Lightfoot gives a similar explanation in his Hor. hebr. ad Joh 15:6. The second is that of Hitzig: “they apply the sickle to their nose,” i.e., by seeking to injure me, they injure themselves. In this case זמורה must be taken in the sense of מזמּרה, a sickle or pruning-knife, and pointed זמורה. The saying does appear to be a proverbial one, but the origin and meaning of the proverb have not yet been satisfactorily explained. - Eze 8:18. Therefore will the Lord punish unsparingly (cf. Eze 7:4, Eze 7:9; Eze 5:11). This judgment he shows to the prophet in the two following chapters.

Chap. 9 Edit

Verses 1-3 Edit

The Angels which Smite Jerusalem
At the call of Jehovah, His servants appear to execute the judgment. - Eze 9:1. And He called in my ears with a loud voice, saying, Come hither, ye watchmen of the city, and every one his instrument of destruction in his hand. Eze 9:2. And behold six men came by the way of the upper gage, which is directed toward the north, every one with his smashing-tool in his hand; and a man in the midst of them, clothed in white linen, and writing materials by his hip; and they came and stood near the brazen altar. Eze 9:3. And the glory of the God of Israel rose up from the cherub, upon which it was, to the threshold of the house, and called to the man clothed in white linen, by whose hip the writing materials were. - פּקדּות העיר does not mean the punishments of the city. This rendering does not suit the context,

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since it is not the punishments that are introduced, but the men who execute them; and it is not established by the usage of the language. פּקדּה is frequently used, no doubt, in the sense of visitation or chastisement (e.g., Isa 10:3; Hos 9:7); but it is not met with in the plural in this sense. In the plural it only occurs in the sense of supervision or protectorate, in which sense it occurs not only in Jer 52:11 and Eze 44:11, but also (in the singular) in Isa 60:17, and as early as Num 3:38, where it relates to the presidency of the priests, and very frequently in the Chronicles. Consequently פּקדּות are those whom God has appointed to watch over the city, the city-guard (2Ki 11:18), - not earthly, but heavenly watchmen, - who are now to inflict punishment upon the ungodly, as the authorities appointed by God. קרבוּ is an imperative Piel, as in Isa 41:21, and must not be altered into קרבוּ (Kal), as Hitzig proposes. The Piel is used in an intransitive sense, festinanter appropinquavit, as in Eze 36:8. The persons called come by the way of the upper northern gate of the temple, to take their stand before Jehovah, whose glory had appeared in the inner court. The upper gate is the gate leading from the outer court to the inner, or upper court, which stood on higher ground, - the gate mentioned in Eze 8:3 and Eze 8:5. In the midst of the six men furnished with smashing-tools there was one clothed in white byssus, with writing materials at his side. The dress and equipment, as well as the instructions which he afterwards receives and executes, show him to be the prince or leader of the others.
Kliefoth calls in question the opinion that these seven men are angels; but without any reason. Angels appearing in human form are frequently called אנשׁים or אישׁ, according to their external habitus. But the number seven neither presupposes the dogma of the seven archangels, nor is copied from the seven Parsic amschaspands. The dress worn by the high priest, when presenting the sin-offering on the great day of atonement (Lev 16:4, Lev 16:23), was made of בּד, i.e., of white material

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woven from byssus thread (see the comm. on Exo 28:42). It has been inferred from this, that the figure clothed in white linen was the angel of Jehovah, who appears as the heavenly high priest, to protect and care for his own. In support of this, the circumstance may be also adduced, that the man whom Daniel saw above the water of the Tigris, and whose appearance is described, in Dan 10:5-6, in the same manner as that of Jehovah in Eze 1:4, Eze 1:26-27, and that of the risen Christ in Rev 1:13-15, appears clothed in בּדּים (Dan 10:5; Dan 12:6-7).[14]
Nevertheless, we cannot regard this view as established. The shining white talar, which is evidently meant by the plural בּדּים, occurring only here and in Daniel (ut. sup.), is not a dress peculiar to the angel of Jehovah or to Christ. The seven angels, with the vials of wrath, also appear in garments of shining white linen (ἐνδεδυμένοι λίνον καθαρὸν λαμπρόν, Rev 15:6); and the shining white colour, as a symbolical representation of divine holiness and glory (see comm. on Lev 16:4 and Rev 19:8), is the colour generally chosen for the clothing both of the heavenly spirits and of “just men made perfect” (Rev 19:8). Moreover, the angel with the writing materials here is described in a totally different manner from the appearance of Jehovah in Ezekiel 1 and Daniel 10, or that of Christ in Rev 1; ; and there is nothing whatever to indicate a being equal with God. Again, the distinction between him and the other six men leads to no other conclusion, than that he stood in the same relation to them as the high priest to the Levites, or the chancellor to the other officials. This position is indicated by the writing materials on his hips, i.e., in the girdle on his

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hips, in which scribes in the East are accustomed to carry their writing materials (vid., Rosenmüller, A. u. N. Morgenland, IV. p. 323). He is provided with these for the execution of the commission given to him in Eze 9:4. In this way the description can be very simply explained, without the slightest necessity for our resorting to Babylonian representations of the god Nebo, i.e., Mercury, as the scribe of heaven. The seven men take their station by the altar of burnt-offering, because the glory of God, whose commands they were about to receive, had taken up its position there for the moment (Kliefoth); not because the apostate priesthood was stationed there (Hävernick). The glory of Jehovah, however, rose up from the cherub to the threshold of the house. The meaning of this is not that it removed from the interior of the sanctuary to the outer threshold of the temple-building (Hävernick), for it was already stationed, according to Eze 8:16, above the cherub, between the porch and the altar. It went back from thence to the threshold of the temple-porch, through which one entered the Holy Place, to give its orders there. The reason for leaving its place above the cherubim (the singular כּרוּב is used collectively) to do this, was not that “God would have had to turn round in order to address the seven from the throne, since, according to Eze 8:4 and Eze 8:16, He had gone from the north gate of the outer court into the inner court, and His servants had followed Him” (Hitzig); for the cherubim moved in all four directions, and therefore God, even from the throne, could turn without difficulty to every side. God left His throne, that He might issue His command for the judgment upon Israel from the threshold of the temple, and show Himself to be the judge who would forsake the throne which He had assumed in Israel. This command He issues from the temple court, because the temple was the place whence God attested Himself to His people, both by mercy and judgment.

Verses 4-7 Edit

The Divine Command Edit

Eze 9:4. And Jehovah said to him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of

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Jerusalem, and mark a cross upon the foreheads of the men who sigh and groan over all the abominations which take place in their midst. Eze 9:5. And to those he said in my ears: Go through the city behind him, and smite. Let not your eye look compassionately, and do not spare. Eze 9:6. Old men, young men, and maidens, and children, and women, slay to destruction: but ye shall not touch any one who has the cross upon him; and begin at my sanctuary. And they began with the old men, who were before the house. Eze 9:7. And He said to them, defile the house, and fill the courts with slain; go ye out. And they went out, and smote in the city. - God commands the man provided with the writing materials to mark on the forehead with a cross all the persons in Jerusalem who mourn over the abominations of the nation, in order that they may be spared in the time of the judgment. תּו, the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet, had the form of a cross in the earlier writing. התוה תּו, to mark a ת, is therefore the same as to make a mark in the form of a cross; although there was at first no other purpose in this sign than to enable the servants employed in inflicting the judgment of God to distinguish those who were so marked, so that they might do them no harm. Eze 9:6. And this was the reason why the תּו was to be marked upon the forehead, the most visible portion of the body; the early Christians, according to a statement in Origen, looked upon the sign itself as significant, and saw therein a prophetic allusion to the sign of the cross as the distinctive mark of Christians. A direct prophecy of the cross of Christ is certainly not to be found here, since the form of the letter Tâv was the one generally adopted as a sign, and, according to Job 31:35, might supply the place of a signature. Nevertheless, as Schmieder has correctly observed, there is something remarkable in this coincidence to the thoughtful observer of the ways of God, whose counsel has carefully considered all before hand, especially when we bear in mind that in the counterpart to this passage (Rev 7:3) the seal of the living God is stamped upon the foreheads of the servants of

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God, who are to be exempted from the judgment, and that according to Rev 14:1 they had the name of God written upon their foreheads. So much, at any rate, is perfectly obvious from this, namely, that the sign was not arbitrarily chosen, but was inwardly connected with the fact which it indicated; just as in the event upon which our vision is based (Exo 12:13, Exo 12:22.) the distinctive mark placed upon the houses of the Israelites in Egypt, in order that the destroying angel might pass them by, namely, the smearing of the doorposts with the blood of the paschal lamb that had been slain, was selected on account of its significance and its corresponding to the thing signified. The execution of this command is passed over as being self-evident; and it is not till Eze 9:11 that it is even indirectly referred to again.
In Eze 9:5, Eze 9:6 there follows, first of all, the command given to the other six men. They are to go through the city, behind the man clothed in white linen, and to smite without mercy all the inhabitants of whatever age or sex, with this exception, that they are not to touch those who are marked with the cross. The על for אל before תּחוס is either a slip of the pen, or, as the continued transmission of so striking an error is very improbable, is to be accounted for from the change of א into ע, which is so common in Aramaean. The Chetib עיניכם is the unusual form grammatically considered, and the singular, which is more correct, has been substituted as Keri. תּהרגוּ is followed by למשׁחית, to increase the force of the words and show the impossibility of any life being saved. They are to make a commencement at the sanctuary, because it has been desecrated by the worship of idols, and therefore has ceased to be the house of the Lord. To this command the execution is immediately appended; they began with the old men who were before the house, i.e., they began to slay them. האנשׁים הזּקנים are neither the twenty-five priests (Eze 8:16) nor the seventy elders (Eze 8:11). The latter were not לפני הבּית, but in a chamber by the outer temple gate; whereas לפני הבּית, in front of the

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temple house, points to the inner court. This locality makes it natural to think of priests, and consequently the lxx rendered ממּקדּשּׁי by ἀπὸ τῶν ἁγίων μου. But the expression אנשׁים זקנים is an unsuitable one for the priests. We have therefore no doubt to think of men advanced in years, who had come into the court possibly to offer sacrifice, and thereby had become liable to the judgment. In Eze 9:7 the command, which was interrupted in Eze 9:6, is once more resumed. They are to defile the house, i.e., the temple, namely, by filling the courts with slain. It is in this way that we are to connect together, so far as the sense is concerned, the two clauses, “defile...and fill.” This is required by the facts of the case. For those slain “before the house” could only have been slain in the courts, as there was no space between the temple house and the courts in which men could have been found and slain. But לפני cannot be understood as signifying “in the neighbourhood of the temple,” as Kliefoth supposes, for the simple reason that the progressive order of events would thereby be completely destroyed. The angels who were standing before the altar of burnt-offering could not begin their work by going out of the court to smite the sinners who happened to be in the neighbourhood of the temple, and then returning to the court to do the same there, and then again going out into the city to finish their work there. They could only begin by slaying the sinners who happened to be in the courts, and after having defiled the temple by their corpses, by going out into the city to slay all the ungodly there, as is related in the second clause of the verse (Eze 9:7).

Verses 8-11 Edit

Intercession of the Prophet, and the Answer of the Lord
Eze 9:8. And it came to pass when they smote and I remained, I fell upon my face, and carried, and said: Alas! Lord Jehovah, wilt Thou destroy all the remnant of Israel, by pouring out Thy wrath upon Jerusalem? Eze 9:9. And He said to me: The iniquity of the house of Israel and Judah is immeasurably great, and the land is full of blood-guiltiness, and the city full of

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perversion; for they say Jehovah hath forsaken the land, and Jehovah seeth not. Eze 9:10. So also shall my eye not look with pity, and I will not spare; I will give their way upon their head. Eze 9:11. And, behold, the man clothed in white linen, who had the writing materials on his hip, brought answer, and said: I have done as thou hast commanded me. - The Chetib נאשׁאר is an incongruous form, composed of participle and imperfect fused into one, and is evidently a copyist's error. It is not to be altered into אשּׁאר, however (the 1st pers. imperf. Niph.), but to be read as a participle נשׁאר, and taken with כּהכּותם as a continuation of the circumstantial clause. For the words do not mean that Ezekiel alone was left, but that when the angels smote and he was left, i.e., was spared, was not smitten with the rest, he fell on his face, to entreat the Lord for mercy. These words and the prophet's intercession both apparently presuppose that among the inhabitants of Jerusalem there was no one found who was marked with the sign of the cross, and therefore could be spared. But this is by no means to be regarded as established. For, in the first place, it is not stated that all had been smitten by the angels; and, secondly, the intercession of the prophet simply assumes that, in comparison with the multitude of the slain, the number of those who were marked with the sign of the cross and spared was so small that it escaped the prophet's eye, and he was afraid that they might all be slain without exception, and the whole of the remnant of the covenant nation be destroyed. The שׁארית of Israel and Judah is the covenant nation in its existing state, when it had been so reduced by the previous judgments of God, that out of the whole of what was once so numerous a people, only a small portion remained in the land. Although God has previously promised that a remnant shall be preserved (Eze 5:3-4), He does not renew this promise to the prophet, but begins by holding up the greatness of the iniquity of Israel, which admits of no sparing, but calls for the most merciless punishment, to show him that, according to the strict demand of justice, the whole nation has deserved

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destruction. מטּה (Eze 9:9) is not equivalent to מוהט, oppression (Isa 58:9), but signifies perversion of justice; although משׁפּט is not mentioned, since this is also omitted in Exo 23:2, where הטּה occurs in the same sense. For Eze 9:9, vid., Eze 8:12. For נתתּי 'דּרכּם בר (Eze 9:10 and Eze 11:21-22, 31), vid., 1Ki 8:32. While God is conversing with the prophet, the seven angels have performed their work; and in Eze 9:11 their leader returns to Jehovah with the announcement that His orders have been executed. He does this, not in his own name only, but in that of all the rest. The first act of the judgment is thus shown to the prophet in a figurative representation. The second act follows in the next chapter.

Chap. 10 Edit

Verses 1-8 Edit

Burning of Jerusalem, and Withdrawal of the Glory of Jehovah from the Sanctuary Edit

This chapter divides itself into two sections. In Eze 10:1-8 the prophet is shown how Jerusalem is to be burned with fire. In Eze 10:9-22 he is shown how Jehovah will forsake His temple.
Eze 10:1-8
The angel scatters coals of fire over Jerusalem. - Eze 10:1. And I saw, and behold upon the firmament, which was above the cherubim, it was like sapphire-stone, to look at as the likeness of a throne; He appeared above them. Eze 10:2. And He spake to the man clothed in white linen, and said: Come between the wheels below the cherubim, and fill thy hollow hands with fire-coals from between the cherubim, and scatter them over the city: and he came before my eyes. Eze 10:3. And the cherubim stood to the right of the house when the man came, and the cloud filled the inner court. Eze 10:4. And the glory of Jehovah had lifted itself up from the cherubim to the threshold of the house; and the house was filled with the cloud, and the court was full of the splendour of the glory of Jehovah. Eze 10:5. And the noise of the wings of the cherubim was heard to the outer court, as the voice of the Almighty God when He speaketh. Eze 10:6. And it came to pass, when He commanded the man clothed in white linen, and said, Take fire from between the wheels, from between the

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cherubim, and he came and stood by the side of the wheel, Eze 10:7. That the cherub stretched out his hand between the cherubim to the fire, which was between the cherubim, and lifted (some) off and gave it into the hands of the man clothed in white linen. And he took it, and went out. Eze 10:8. And there appeared by the cherubim the likeness of a man's hand under their wings. - Eze 10:1 introduces the description of the second act of the judgment. According to Eze 9:3, Jehovah had come down from His throne above the cherubim to the threshold of the temple to issue His orders thence for the judgment upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and according to Eze 10:4 He goes thither once more. Consequently He had resumed His seat above the cherubim in the meantime. This is expressed in Eze 10:1, not indeed in so many words, but indirectly or by implication. Ezekiel sees the theophany; and on the firmament above the cherubim, like sapphire-stone to look at, he beholds the likeness of a throne on which Jehovah appeared. To avoid giving too great prominence in this appearance of Jehovah to the bodily or human form, Ezekiel does not speak even here of the form of Jehovah, but simply of His throne, which he describes in the same manner as in Eze 1:26. אל stands for על according to the later usage of the language. It will never do to take אל in its literal sense, as Kliefoth does, and render the words: “Ezekiel saw it move away to the firmament;” for the object to ואראה והנּה is not יהוה or כּבוד , but the form of the throne sparkling in sapphire-stone; and this throne had not separated itself from the firmament above the cherubim, but Jehovah, or the glory of Jehovah, according to Eze 9:3, had risen up from the cherubim, and moved away to the temple threshold. The כּ before מראה is not to be erased, as Hitzig proposes after the lxx, on the ground that it is not found in Eze 1:26; it is quite appropriate here. For the words do not affirm that Ezekiel saw the likeness of a throne like sapphire-stone; but that he saw something like sapphire-stone, like the appearance of the form of a throne. Ezekiel does not see Jehovah, or the

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glory of Jehovah, move away to the firmament, and then return to the throne. He simply sees once more the resemblance of a throne upon the firmament, and the Lord appearing thereon. The latter is indicated in נראה עליהם. These words are not to be taken in connection with 'כּמראה וגו, so as to form one sentence; but have been very properly separated by the athnach under כּסּא, and treated as an independent assertion. The subject to נראה might, indeed, be דּמוּת כּסּא, “the likeness of a throne appeared above the cherubim;” but in that case the words would form a pure tautology, as the fact of the throne becoming visible has already been mentioned in the preceding clause. The subject must therefore be Jehovah, as in the case of ויּאמר in Eze 10:2, where there can be no doubt on the matter. Jehovah has resumed His throne, not “for the purpose of removing to a distance, because the courts of the temple have been defiled by dead bodies” (Hitzig), but because the object for which He left it has been attained.
He now commands the man clothed in white linen to go in between the wheels under the cherubim, and fill his hands with fire-coals from thence, and scatter them over the city (Jerusalem). This he did, so that Ezekiel could see it. According to this, it appears as if Jehovah had issued the command from His throne; but if we compare what follows, it is evident from Eze 10:4 that the glory of Jehovah had risen up again from the throne, and removed to the threshold of the temple, and that it was not till after the man in white linen had scattered the coals over the city that it left the threshold of the temple, and ascended once more up to the throne above the cherubim, so as to forsake the temple (Eze 10:18.). Consequently we can only understand Eze 10:2-7 as implying that Jehovah issued the command in Eze 10:2, not from His throne, but from the threshold of the temple, and that He had therefore returned to the threshold of the temple for this purpose, and for the very same reason as in Eze 9:3. The possibility of interpreting the verses in this way is apparent from the fact that Eze 10:2 contains a summary

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of the whole of the contents of this section, and that Eze 10:3-7 simply furnish more minute explanations, or contain circumstantial clauses, which throw light upon the whole affair. This is obvious in the case of Eze 10:3, from the form of the clause; and in Eze 10:4 and Eze 10:5, from the fact that in Eze 10:6 and Eze 10:7 the command (Eze 10:2) is resumed, and the execution of it, which was already indicated in ויּבא לעיני (Eze 10:2), more minutely described and carried forward in the closing words of the seventh verse, ויּקּח . הגּלגּל in Eze 10:2 signifies the whirl or rotatory motion, i.e., the wheel-work, or the four ōphannim under the cherubim regarded as moving. The angel was to go in between these, and take coals out of the fire there, and scatter them over the city. “In the fire of God, the fire of His wrath, will kindle the fire for consuming the city” (Kliefoth). To depict the scene more clearly, Ezekiel observes in Eze 10:3, that at this moment the cherubim were standing to the right of the house, i.e., on the south or rather south-east of the temple house, on the south of the altar of burnt-offering. According to the Hebrew usage the right side as the southern side, and the prophet was in the inner court, whither, according to Eze 8:16, the divine glory had taken him; and, according to Eze 9:2, the seven angels had gone to the front of the altar, to receive the commands of the Lord. Consequently we have to picture to ourselves the cherubim as appearing in the neighbourhood of the altar, and then taking up their position to the south thereof, when the Lord returned to the threshold of the temple. The reason for stating this is not to be sought, as Calvin supposes, in the desire to show “that the way was opened fore the angel to go straight to God, and that the cherubim were standing there ready, as it were, to contribute their labour.” The position in which the cherubim appeared is more probably given with prospective reference to the account which follows in Eze 10:9-22 of the departure of the glory of the Lord from the temple. As an indication of the significance of this act to Israel, the glory which issued from this manifestation of

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divine doxa is described in Eze 10:3-5. The cloud, as the earthly vehicle of the divine doxa, filled the inner court; and when the glory of the Lord stood upon the threshold, it filled the temple also, while the court became full of the splendour of the divine glory. That is to say, the brilliancy of the divine nature shone through the cloud, so that the court and the temple were lighted by the shining of the light-cloud. The brilliant splendour is a symbol of the light of the divine grace. The wings of the cherubim rustled, and at the movement of God (Eze 1:24) were audible even in the outer court.
After this picture of the glorious manifestation of the divine doxa, the fetching of the fire-coals from the space between the wheels under the cherubim is more closely described in Eze 10:6 and Eze 10:7. One of the cherub's hands took the coals out of the fire, and put them into the hands of the man clothed in white linen. To this a supplementary remark is added in Eze 10:8, to the effect that the figure of a hand was visible by the side of the cherubim under their wings. The word ויּצא, “and he went out,” indicates that the man clothed in white linen scattered the coals over the city, to set it on fire and consume it.

Verses 9-22 Edit

The Glory of the Lord Forsakes the Temple
Eze 10:9. And I saw, and behold four wheels by the side of the cherubim, one wheel by the side of every cherub, and the appearance of the wheels was like the look of a chrysolith stone. Eze 10:10. And as for their appearance, they had all four one form, as if one wheel were in the midst of the other. Eze 10:11. When they went, they went to their four sides; they did not turn in going; for to the place to which the head was directed, to that they went; they did not turn in their going. Eze 10:12. And their whole body, and their back, and their hands, and their wings, and wheels, were full of eyes round about: by all four their wheels. Eze 10:13. To the wheels, to them was called, “whirl!” in my hearing. Eze 10:14. And every one had four faces; the face of the first was the face of the cherub, the face of the second a man's face, and the third a lion's face, and the fourth an eagle's face. Eze 10:15.

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And the cherubim ascended. This was the being which I saw by the river Chebar. Eze 10:16. And when the cherubim went, the wheels went by them; and when the cherubim raised their wings to ascend from the earth, the wheels also did not turn from their side. Eze 10:17. When those stood, they stood; and when those ascended, they ascended with them; for the spirit of the being was in them. Eze 10:18. ; And the glory of Jehovah went out from the threshold of the house, and stood above the cherubim. Eze 10:19. And the cherubim raised their wings, and ascended from the earth before my eyes on their going out, and the wheels beside them; and they stopped at the entrance of the eastern gate of the house of Jehovah; and the glory of the God of Israel was above them. Eze 10:20. This was the being which I saw under the God of Israel by the river Chebar, and I perceived that they were cherubim. Eze 10:21. Every one had four faces, each and every one four wings, and something like a man's hands under their wings. Eze 10:22. And as for the likeness of their faces, they were the faces which I had seen by the river Chebar, their appearance and they themselves. They went every one according to its face. - With the words “I saw, and behold,” a new feature in the vision is introduced. The description of the appearance of the cherubim in these verses coincides for the most part verbatim with the account of the theophany in Ezekiel 1. It differs from this, however, not only in the altered arrangement of the several features, and in the introduction of certain points which serve to complete the former account; but still more in the insertion of a number of narrative sentence, which show that we have not merely a repetition of the first chapter here. On the contrary, Ezekiel is now describing the moving of the appearance of the glory of Jehovah from the inner court or porch of the temple to the outer entrance of the eastern gate of the outer court; in other words, the departure of the gracious presence of the Lord from the temple: and in order to point out more distinctly the importance and meaning of this event, he depicts once more the leading features of the theophany itself. The

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narrative sentences are found in Eze 10:13, Eze 10:15, Eze 10:18, and Eze 10:19. In Eze 10:13 we have the exclamation addressed to the wheels by the side of the cherubim to set themselves in motion; in Eze 10:15, the statement that the cherubim ascended; and in Eze 10:18 and Eze 10:19, the account of the departure of the glory of the Lord from the inner portion of the temple. To this we may add the repeated remark, that the appearance was the same as that which the prophet had seen by the river Chebar (Eze 10:15, Eze 10:20, Eze 10:22). To bring clearly out to view both the independence of these divine manifestations and their significance to Israel, Ezekiel repeats the leading features of the former description; but while doing this, he either makes them subordinate to the thoughts expressed in the narrative sentences, or places them first as introductory to these, or lets them follow as explanatory. Thus, for example, the description of the wheels, and of the manner in which they moved (Eze 10:9-12), serves both to introduce and explain the call to the wheels to set themselves in motion. The description of the wheels in Eze 10:9-11 harmonizes with Eze 1:16 and Eze 1:17, with this exception, however, that certain points are given with greater exactness here; such, for example, as the statement that the movements of the wheels were so regulated, that in whichever direction the front one turned, the other did the same. הראשׁ, the head, is not the head-wheel, or the wheel which was always the first to move, but the front one, which originated the motion, drawing the others after it and determining their direction. For Eze 10:12 and the fact that the wheels were covered with eyes, see Eze 1:18. In Eze 10:12 we have the important addition, that the whole of the body and back, as well as the hands and wings, of the cherubim were full of eyes. There is all the less reason to question this addition, or remove it (as Hitzig does) by an arbitrary erasure, inasmuch as the statement itself is apparently in perfect harmony with the whole procedure; and the significance possessed by the eyes in relation to the wheels was not only appropriate in the case of the cherubim, but necessarily to be assumed in

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such a connection. The fact that the suffixes in בּשׂרם, גּבּהם, etc., refer to the cherubim, is obvious enough, if we consider that the wheels to which immediate reference is made were by the side of the cherubim (Eze 10:9), and that the cherubim formed the principal feature in the whole of the vision.
Eze 10:13 does not point back to Eze 10:2, and bring the description of the wheel-work to a close, as Hitzig supposes. This assumption, by which the meaning of the whole description has been obscured, is based upon the untenable rendering, “and the wheels they named before my ears whirl” (J. D. Mich., Ros., etc.). Hävernick has already pointed out the objection to this, namely, that with such a rendering בּאזני forms an unmeaning addition; whereas it is precisely this addition which shows that קרא is used here in the sense of addressing, calling, and not of naming. One called to the wheels הגּלגּל, whirl; i.e., they were to verify their name galgal, viz., to revolve or whirl, to set themselves in motion by revolving. This is the explanation given by Theodoret: ἀνακυκλεῖσθαι καὶ ἀνακινεῖσθαι προσετάχθησαν. These words therefore gave the signal for their departure, and accordingly the rising up of the cherubim is related in Eze 10:15. Eze 10:14 prepares the way for their ascent by mentioning the four faces of each cherub; and this is still further expanded in Eze 10:16 and Eze 10:17, by the statement that the wheels moved according to the movements of the cherubim. לאחד without an article is used distributively (every one), as in Eze 1:6 and Eze 1:10. The fact that in the description which follows only one face of each of the four cherubs is given, is not at variance with Eze 1:10, according to which every one of the cherubs had the four faces named. It was not Ezekiel's intention to mention all the faces of each cherub here, as he had done before; but he regarded it as sufficient in the case of each cherub to mention simply the one face, which was turned toward him. The only striking feature which still remains is the statement that the face of the one, i.e., of the first, was the face of the cherub instead of the face of an ox (cf. Eze 1:10), since

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the faces of the man, the lion, and the eagle were also cherubs' faces. We may, no doubt, get rid of the difficulty by altering the text, but this will not solve it; for it would still remain inexplicable how הכּרוּב could have grown out of שׁור by a copyist's error; and still more, how such an error, which might have been so easily seen and corrected, could have been not only perpetuated, but generally adopted. Moreover, we have the article in הכּרוּב, which would also be inexplicable if the word had originated in an oversight, and which gives us precisely the index required to the correct solution of the difficulty, showing as it does that it was not merely a cherub's face, but the face of the cherub, so that the allusion is to one particular cherub, who was either well known from what had gone before, or occupied a more prominent position than the rest. Such a cherub is the one mentioned in Eze 10:7, who had taken the coals from the fire between the wheels, and stood nearest to Ezekiel. There did not appear to be any necessity to describe his face more exactly, as it could be easily seen from a comparison with Eze 1:10. - In Eze 10:15, the fact that the cherubim arose to depart from their place is followed by the remark that the cherubic figure was the being (החיּה, singular, as in Eze 1:22) which Ezekiel saw by the Chaboras, because it was a matter of importance that the identity of the two theophanies should be established as a help to the correct understanding of their real signification. But before the departure of the theophany from the temple is related, there follows in Eze 10:16 and Eze 10:17 a repetition of the circumstantial description of the harmonious movements of the wheels and the cherubim (cf. Eze 1:19-21); and then, in Eze 10:18, the statement which had such practical significance, that the glory of the Lord departed from the threshold of the temple, and resumed the throne above the cherubim; and lastly, the account in Eze 10:19, that the glory of the God of Israel, seated upon this throne, took up its position at the entrance of the eastern gate of the temple. The entrance of this gate is not the gate of the temple, but the outer side of

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the eastern gate of the outer court, which formed the principal entrance to the whole of the temple-space. The expression “God of Israel” instead of “Jehovah” is significant, and is used to intimate that God, as the covenant God, withdrew His gracious presence from the people of Israel by this departure from the temple; not, indeed, from the whole of the covenant nation, but from the rebellious Israel which dwelt in Jerusalem and Judah; for the same glory of God which left the temple in the vision before the eyes of Ezekiel had appeared to the prophet by the river Chebar, and by calling him to be the prophet for Israel, had shown Himself to be the God who kept His covenant, and proved that, by the judgment upon the corrupt generation, He simply desired to exterminate its ungodly nature, and create for Himself a new and holy people. This is the meaning of the remark which is repeated in Eze 10:20-22, that the apparition which left the temple was the same being as Ezekiel had seen by the Chaboras, and that he recognised the beings under the throne as cherubim. Threatening of Judgment and Promise of Mercy. Conclusion of the Vision - Eze 11:1-13
This chapter contains the concluding portion of the vision; namely, first, the prediction of the destruction of the ungodly rulers (Eze 11:1-13); secondly, the consolatory and closing promise, that the Lord would gather to Himself a people out of those who had been carried away into exile, and would sanctify them by His Holy Spirit (Eze 11:14-21); and, thirdly, the withdrawal of the gracious presence of God from the city of Jerusalem, and the transportation of the prophet back to Chaldea with the termination of his ecstasy (Eze 11:22-25).

Chap. 11 Edit

Verses 1-4 Edit

Judgment upon the rulers of the nation. - Eze 11:1. And a wind lifted me up, and took me to the eastern gate of the house of Jehovah, which faces towards the east; and behold, at the entrance of the gate were five and twenty men, and I saw among them Jaazaniah the son of Azzur, and Pelatiah the son of Benaiah,

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the chiefs of the nation. Eze 11:2. And he said to me: Son of man, these are the men who devise iniquity, and counsel evil counsel in this city; Eze 11:3. Who say, It is not near to build houses; it is the pot, and we are the flesh. Eze 11:4. Therefore prophesy against them; prophesy, son of man. - Ezekiel is once more transported from the inner court (Eze 8:16) to the outer entrance of the eastern gate of the temple (תּשּׂא רוּח, as in Eze 8:3), to which, according to Eze 10:19, the vision of God had removed. There he sees twenty-five men, and among them two of the princes of the nation, whose names are given. These twenty-five men are not identical with the twenty-five priests mentioned in Eze 8:16, as Hävernick supposes. This is evident, not only from the difference in the locality, the priests standing between the porch and the altar, whereas the men referred to here stood at the outer eastern entrance to the court of the temple, but from the fact that the two who are mentioned by name are called שׂרי העם (princes of the people), so that we may probably infer from this that all the twenty-five were secular chiefs. Hävernick's opinion, that שׂרי העם is a term that may also be applied to princes among the priests, is as erroneous as his assertion that the priest-princes are called “princes” in Ezr 8:20; Neh 10:1, and Jer 35:4, whereas it is only to national princes that these passages refer. Hävernick is equally incorrect in supposing that these twenty-five men take the place of the seventy mentioned in Eze 8:11; for those seventy represented the whole of the nation, whereas these twenty-five (according to Eze 11:2) were simply the counsellors of the city - not, however, the twenty-four duces of twenty-four divisions of the city, with a prince of the house of Judah, as Prado maintains, on the strength of certain Rabbinical assertions; or twenty-four members of a Sanhedrim, with their president (Rosenmüller); but the twelve tribe-princes (princes of the nation) and the twelve royal officers, or military commanders (1 Chron 27), with the king himself, or possibly with the commander-in-chief of the army; so that these twenty-five

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men represent the civil government of Israel, just as the twenty-four priest-princes, together with the high priest, represent the spiritual authorities of the covenant nation. The reason why two are specially mentioned by name is involved in obscurity, as nothing further is known of either of these persons. The words of God to the prophet in Eze 11:2 concerning them are perfectly applicable to representatives of the civil authorities or temporal rulers, namely, that they devise and give unwholesome and evil counsel. This counsel is described in Eze 11:3 by the words placed in their mouths: “house-building is not near; it (the city) is the caldron, we are the flesh.”
These words are difficult, and different interpretations have consequently been given. The rendering, “it (the judgment) is not near, let us build houses,” is incorrect; for the infinitive construct בּנות cannot stand for the imperative or the infinitive absolute, but must be the subject of the sentence. It is inadmissible also to take the sentence as a question, “Is not house-building near?” in the sense of “it is certainly near,” as Ewald does, after some of the ancient versions. For even if an interrogation is sometimes indicated simply by the tone in an energetic address, as, for example, in 2Sa 23:5, this cannot be extended to cases in which the words of another are quoted. Still less can לא בקרוב mean non est tempus, it is not yet time, as Maurer supposes. The only way in which the words can be made to yield a sense in harmony with the context, is by taking them as a tacit allusion to Jer 29:5. Jeremiah had called upon those in exile to build themselves houses in their banishment, and prepare for a lengthened stay in Babylon, and not to allow themselves to be deceived by the words of false prophets, who predicted a speedy return; for severe judgments had yet to fall upon those who had remained behind in the land. This word of Jeremiah the authorities in Jerusalem ridiculed, saying “house-building is not near,” i.e., the house-building in exile is still a long way off; it will not come to this, that Jerusalem should fall either permanently or entirely into the hands of the

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king of Babylon. On the contrary, Jerusalem is the pot, and we, its inhabitants, are the flesh. The point of comparison is this: as the pot protects the flesh from burning, so does the city of Jerusalem protect us from destruction.[15]
On the other hand, there is no foundation for the assumption that the words also contain an allusion to other sayings of Jeremiah, namely, to Jer 1:13, where the judgment about to burst in from the north is represented under the figure of a smoking pot; or to Jer 19:1-15, where Jerusalem is depicted as a pot about to be broken in pieces by God; for the reference in Jer 19:1-15 is simply to an earthen pitcher, not to a meat-caldron; and the words in the verse before us have nothing at all in common with the figure in Jer 1:13. The correctness of our explanation is evident both from Eze 24:3, Eze 24:6, where the figure of pot and flesh is met with again, though differently applied, and from the reply which Ezekiel makes to the saying of these men in the verses that follow (Eze 11:7-11). This saying expresses not only false confidence in the strength of Jerusalem, but also contempt and scorn of the predictions of the prophets sent by God. Ezekiel is therefore to prophesy, as he does in Eze 11:5-12, against this pernicious counsel, which is confirming the people in their sins.

Verses 5-12 Edit

Eze 11:5-12 And the Spirit of Jehovah fell upon me, and said to me: Say, Thus saith Jehovah, So ye say, O house of Israel, and what riseth up in your spirit, that I know. Eze 11:6. Ye have increased your slain in this city, and filled its streets with slain. Eze 11:7. Therefore, thus saith the Lord Jehovah, Your slain, whom ye have laid in the midst of it, they are the flesh, and it is the pot; but men will lead you out of it. Eze 11:8. The sword you fear; but the sword shall I bring upon you, is the saying of the Lord Jehovah. Eze 11:9. I shall lead you out of it and give you into

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the hand of foreigners, and shall execute judgments upon you. Eze 11:10. By the sword shall ye fall: on the frontier of Israel shall I judge you; and ye shall learn that I am Jehovah. Eze 11:11. It shall not be as a pot to you, so that you should be flesh therein: on the frontier of Israel shall I judge. Eze 11:12. And ye shall learn that I am Jehovah, in whose statutes ye have not walked, and my judgments ye have not done, but have acted according to the judgments of the heathen who are round about you. - For תּפּל עלי , compare Eze 8:1. Instead of the “hand” (Eze 8:1), the Spirit of Jehovah is mentioned here; because what follows is simply a divine inspiration, and there is no action connected with it. The words of God are directed against the “house of Israel,' whose words and thoughts are discerned by God, because the twenty-five men are the leaders and counsellors of the nation. מעלות, thoughts, suggestions of the mind, may be explained from the phrase עלה על לב, to come into the mind. Their actions furnish the proof of the evil suggestions of their heart. They have filled the city with slain; not “turned the streets of the city into a battle-field,” however, by bringing about the capture of Jerusalem in the time of Jeconiah, as Hitzig would explain it. The words are to be understood in a much more general sense, as signifying murder, in both the coarser and the more refined signification of the word.[16] מלּאתים is a copyist's error for מלּאתם. Those who have been murdered by you are the flesh in the caldron (Eze 11:7). Ezekiel gives them back their own words, as words which contain an undoubted truth, but in a different sense from that in which they have used them. By their bloodshed they have made the city into a pot in which the flesh of the slain is pickled. Only in this sense is Jerusalem a pot for them; not a pot to protect the flesh from burning while cooking, but a

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pot into which the flesh of the slaughtered is thrown. Yet even in this sense will Jerusalem not serve as a pot to these worthless counsellors (Eze 11:11). They will lead you out of the city (הוציא, in Eze 11:7, is the 3rd pers. sing. with an indefinite subject). The sword which ye fear, and from which this city is to protect you, will come upon you, and cut you down - not in Jerusalem, but on the frontier of Israel. על־גּבוּל, in Eze 11:10, cannot be taken in the sense of “away over the frontier,” as Kliefoth proposes; if only because of the synonym אל־גּבוּל in Eze 11:11. This threat was literally fulfilled in the bloody scenes at Riblah (Jer 52:24-27). It is not therefore a vaticinium ex eventu, but contains the general thought, that the wicked who boasted of security in Jerusalem or in the land of Israel as a whole, but were to be led out of the land, and judged outside. This threat intensifies the punishment, as Calvin has already shown.[17]
In Eze 11:11 the negation (לא) of the first clause is to be supplied in the second, as, for example, in Deu 33:6. For Eze 11:12, compare the remarks on Eze 5:7. The truth and the power of this word are demonstrated at once by what is related in the following verse.

Verse 13 Edit

Eze 11:13And it came to pass, as I was prophesying, that Pelatiah the son of Benaiah died: then I fell upon my face, and cried with a loud voice, and said: Alas! Lord Jehovah, dost Thou make an end of the remnant of Israel? - The sudden death of one of the princes of the nation, while Ezekiel was prophesying, was intended to assure the house of Israel of the certain fulfilment of this word of God. So far, however, as

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the fact itself is concerned, we must bear in mind, that as it was only in spirit that Ezekiel was at Jerusalem, and prophesied to the men whom he saw in spirit there, so the death of Pelatiah was simply a part of the vision, and in all probability was actually realized by the sudden death of this prince during or immediately after the publication of the vision. But the occurrence, even when the prophet saw it in spirit, made such an impression upon his mind, that with trembling and despair he once more made an importunate appeal to God, as in Eze 9:8, and inquired whether He meant to destroy the whole of the remnant of Israel. עשׂה כלה, to put an end to a thing, with את before the object, as in Zep 1:18 (see the comm. on Nah 1:8). The Lord then gives him the comforting assurance in Eze 11:14-21, that He will preserve a remnant among the exiles, and make them His people once more.

Verses 14-21 Edit

Promise of the Gathering of Israel out of the Nations
Eze 11:14. And the word of Jehovah came to me, saying, Eze 11:15. Son of man, thy brethren, thy brethren are the people of thy proxy, and the whole house of Israel, the whole of it, to whom the inhabitants of Jerusalem say, Remain far away from Jehovah; to us the land is given for a possession. Eze 11:16. Therefore say, Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, Ye, I have sent them far away, and have scattered them in the lands, but I have become to them a sanctuary for a little while in the lands whither they have come. Eze 11:17. Therefore say, Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, And I will gather you from the nations, and will collect you together from the lands in which ye are scattered, and will give you the land of Israel. Eze 11:18. And they will come thither, and remove from it all its detestable things, and all its abominations. Eze 11:19. And I will give them one heart, and give a new spirit within you; and will take the heart of stone out of their flesh, and give them a heart of flesh; Eze 11:20. That they may walk in my statutes, and preserve my rights, and do them: and they will be my people, and I will be their God. Eze 11:21. But those whose heart goeth to the heart of their detestable things and their

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abominations, I will give their way upon their head, is the saying of the Lord Jehovah. - The prophet had interceded, first of all for the inhabitants of Jerusalem (Eze 9:8), and then for the rulers of the nation, and had asked God whether He would entirely destroy the remnant of Israel. To this God replies that his brethren, in whom he is to interest himself, are not these inhabitants of Jerusalem and these rulers of the nation, but the Israelites carried into exile, who are regarded by these inhabitants at Jerusalem as cut off from the people of God. The nouns in Eze 11:15 are not “accusatives, which are resumed in the suffix to הרחקתּים in Eze 11:16,” as Hitzig imagines, but form an independent clause, in which אחיך is the subject, and אנשׁי גאלּתך as well as כּל־בּית ישׂראל sa llew sa the predicates. The repetition of “thy brethren” serves to increase the force of the expression: thy true, real brethren; not in contrast to the priests, who were lineal relations (Hävernick), but in contrast to the Israelites, who had only the name of Israel, and denied its nature.
These brethren are to be the people of his proxy; and toward these he is to exercise גּאלּה. גּאלּה is the business, or the duty and right, of the Goël. According to the law, the Goël was the brother, or the nearest relation, whose duty it was to come to the help of his impoverished brother, not only by redeeming (buying back) his possession, which poverty had compelled him to sell, but to redeem the man himself, if he had been sold to pay his debts (vid., Lev 25:25, Lev 25:48). The Goël therefore became the possessor of the property of which his brother had been unjustly deprived, if it were not restored till after his death (Num 5:8). Consequently he was not only the avenger of blood, but the natural supporter and agent of his brother; and גּאלּה signifies not merely redemption or kindred, but proxy, i.e., both the right and obligation to act as the legal representative, the avenger of blood, the hair, etc., of the brother. The words “and the whole of the house of Israel” are a second predicate to “thy brethren,” and affirm that the brethren, for whom Ezekiel can and is to intercede, form the

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whole of the house of Israel, the term “whole” being rendered more emphatic by the repetition of כּל in כּלּה. A contrast is drawn between this “whole house of Israel” and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, who say to those brethren, “Remain far away from Jehovah, to us is the land given for a possession.” It follows from this, first of all, that the brethren of Ezekiel, towards whom he was to act as Goël, were those who had been taken away from the land, his companions in exile; and, secondly, that the exiles formed the whole of the house of Israel, that is to say, that they alone would be regarded by God as His people, and not the inhabitants of Jerusalem or those left in the land, who regarded the exiles as no longer a portion of the nation: simply because, in their estrangement from God, they looked upon the mere possession of Jerusalem as a pledge of participation in the grace of God. This shows the prophet where the remnant of the people of God is to be found. To this there is appended in Eze 11:16. a promise of the way in which the Lord will make this remnant His true people. לכן, therefore, viz., because the inhabitants of Jerusalem regard the exiles as rejected by the Lord, Ezekiel is to declare to them that Jehovah is their sanctuary even in their dispersion (v. 16); and because the others deny that they have any share in the possession of the land, the Lord will gather them together again, and give them the land of Israel (Eze 11:17). The two לכן are co-ordinate, and introduce the antithesis to the disparaging sentence pronounced by the inhabitants of Jerusalem upon those who have been carried into exile. The כּי before the two leading clauses in Eze 11:16 does not mean “because,” serving to introduce a protasis, to which Eze 11:17 would form the apodosis, as Ewald affirms; but it stands before the direct address in the sense of an assurance, which indicates that there is some truth at the bottom of the judgment pronounced by their opponents, the inhabitants of Jerusalem. The thought is this: the present position of affairs is unquestionably that Jehovah has scattered them (the house of Israel) among the Gentiles; but He has

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not therefore cast them off. He has become a sanctuary to them in the lands of their dispersion. Migdâsh does not mean either asylum or an object kept sacred (Hitzig), but a sanctuary, more especially the temple. They had, indeed, lost the outward temple (at Jerusalem); but the Lord Himself had become their temple. What made the temple into a sanctuary was the presence of Jehovah, the covenant God, therein. This even the exiles were to enjoy in their banishment, and in this they would possess a substitute for the outward temple. This thought is rendered still more precise by the word מעט, which may refer either to time or measure, and signify “for a short time,” or “in some measure.” It is difficult to decide between these two renderings. In support of the latter, which Kliefoth prefers (after the lxx and Vulgate), it may be argued that the manifestation of the Lord, both by the mission of prophets and by the outward deliverances and inward consolations which He bestowed upon the faithful, was but a partial substitute to the exile for His gracious presence in the temple and in the holy land. Nevertheless, the context, especially the promise in Eze 11:17, that He will gather them again and lead them back into the land of Israel, appears to favour the former signification, namely, that this substitution was only a provisional one, and was only to last for a short time, although it also implies that this could not and was not meant to be a perfect substitute for the gracious presence of the Lord. For Israel, as the people of God, could not remain scattered abroad; it must possess the inheritance bestowed upon it by the Lord, and have its God in the midst of it in its own land, and that in a manner more real than could possibly be the case in captivity among the Gentiles. This will be fully realized in the heavenly Jerusalem, where the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb will be a temple to the redeemed (Rev 21:22). Therefore will Jehovah gather together the dispersed once more, and lead them back into the land of Israel, i.e., into the land which He designed for Israel; whereas the inhabitants of

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Jerusalem, who boast of their possession of Canaan (Eze 11:15), will lose what they now possess. Those who are restored will then remove all idolatrous abominations (Eze 11:17), and receive from God a new and feeling heart (Eze 11:19), so that they will walk in the ways of God, and be in truth the people of God (Eze 11:20).
The fulfilment of this promise did, indeed, begin with the return of a portion of the exiles under Zerubbabel; but it was not completed under either Zerubbabel or Ezra, or even in the Maccabean times. Although Israel may have entirely relinquished the practice of gross idolatry after the captivity, it did not then attain to that newness of heart which is predicted in Eze 11:19, Eze 11:20. This only commenced with the Baptist's preaching of repentance, and with the coming of Christ; and it was realized in the children of Israel, who accepted Jesus in faith, and suffered Him to make them children of God. Yet even by Christ this prophecy has not yet been perfectly fulfilled in Israel, but only in part, since the greater portion of Israel has still in its hardness that stony heart which must be removed out of its flesh before it can attain to salvation. The promise in Eze 11:19 has for its basis the prediction in Deu 30:6. “What the circumcision of the heart is there, viz., the removal of all uncleanliness, of which outward circumcision was both the type and pledge, is represented here as the giving of a heart of flesh instead of one of stone” (Hengstenberg). I give them one heart. לב אחד, which Hitzig is wrong in proposing to alter into לב , another heart, after the lxx, is supported and explained by Jer 32:39, “I give them one heart and one way to fear me continually” (cf. Zep 3:9 and Act 4:32). One heart is not an upright, undivided heart (לב ), but a harmonious, united heart, in contrast to the division or plurality of hearts which prevails in the natural state, in which every one follows his own heart and his own mind, turning “every one to his own way” (Isa 53:6). God gives one heart, when He causes all hearts and minds to become one. This can only be

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effected by His giving a “new spirit,” taking away the stone-heart, and giving a heart of flesh instead. For the old spirit fosters nothing but egotism and discord. The heart of stone has no susceptibility to the impressions of the word of God and the drawing of divine grace. In the natural condition, the heart of man is as hard as stone. “The word of God, the external leadings of God, pass by and leave no trace behind. The latter may crush it, and yet not break it. Even the fragments continue hard; yea, the hardness goes on increasing” (Hengstenberg). The heart of flesh is a tender heart, susceptible to the drawing of divine grace (compare Eze 36:26, where these figures, which are peculiar to Ezekiel, recur; and for the substance of the prophecy, Jer 31:33). The fruit of this renewal of heart is walking in the commandments of the Lord; and the consequence of the latter is the perfect realization of the covenant relation, true fellowship with the Lord God. But judgment goes side by side with this renewal. Those who will not forsake their idols become victims to the judgment (Eze 11:21). The first hemistich of Eze 11:21 is a relative clause, in which אשׁר is to be supplied and connected with לבּם: “Whose heart walketh after the heart of their abominations.” The heart, which is attributed to the abominations and detestations, i.e., to the idols, is the inclination to idolatry, the disposition and spirit which manifest themselves in the worship of idols. Walking after the heart of the idols forms the antithesis to walking after the heart of God (1Sa 13:14). For 'דּרכּם וגו, “I will give their way,” see Eze 9:10.

Verses 22-25 Edit

The promise that the Lord would preserve to Himself a holy seed among those who had been carried away captive, brought to a close the announcement of the judgment that would fall upon the ancient Israel and apostate Jerusalem. All that is now wanting, as a conclusion to the whole vision, is the practical confirmation of the announcement of judgment. This is given in the two following verses. - Eze 11:22. And the cherubim raised their wings, and the wheels beside them; and the

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glory of the God of Israel was up above them. Eze 11:23. And the glory of Jehovah ascended from the midst of the city, and took its stand upon the mountain which is to the east of the city. Eze 11:24. And wind lifted me up, and brought me to Chaldea to the exiles, in the vision, in the Spirit of God; and the vision ascended away from me, which I had seen. Eze 11:25. And I spoke to the exiles all the words of Jehovah, which He had shown to me. - The manifestation of the glory of the Lord had already left the temple, after the announcement of the burning of Jerusalem, and had taken its stand before the entrance of the eastern gate of the outer court, that is to say, in the city itself (Eze 10:19; Eze 11:1). But now, after the announcement had been made to the representatives of the authorities of their removal from the city, the glory of the God of Israel forsook the devoted city also, as a sign that both temple and city had ceased to be the seats of the gracious presence of the Lord. The mountain on the east of the city is the Mount of Olives, which affords a lofty outlook over the city. There the glory of God remained, to execute the judgment upon Jerusalem. Thus, according to Zec 14:4, will Jehovah also appear at the last judgment on the Mount of Olives above Jerusalem, to fight thence against His foes, and prepare a way of escape for those who are to be saved. It was from the Mount of Olives also that the Son of God proclaimed to the degenerate city the second destruction (Luk 19:21; Mat 24:3); and from the same mountain He made His visible ascension to heaven after His resurrection (Luk 24:50; cf. Act 1:12); and, as Grotius has observed, “thus did Christ ascend from this mountain into His kingdom, to execute judgment upon the Jews.”
After this vision of the judgments of God upon the ancient people of the covenant and the kingdom of God, Ezekiel was carried back in the spirit into Chaldea, to the river Chaboras. The vision then vanished; and he related to the exiles all that he had seen.

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Departure of the King and People; and Bread of Tears Edit

The words of God which follow in Ezekiel 12-19 do not contain any chronological data defining the exact period at which they were communicated to the prophet and reported by him. But so far as their contents are concerned, they are closely connected with the foregoing announcements of judgment; and this renders the assumption a very probable one, that they were not far removed from them in time, but fell within the space of eleven months intervening between Eze 8:1 and Eze 20:1, and were designed to carry out still further the announcement of judgment in Ezekiel 8-11. This is done more especially in the light thrown upon all the circumstances, on which the impenitent people rested their hope of the preservation of the kingdom and Jerusalem, and of their speedy liberation from the Babylonian yoke. The purpose of the whole is to show the worthlessness of this false confidence, and to affirm the certainty and irresistibility of the predicted destruction of Judah and Jerusalem, in the hope of awakening the rebellious and hardened generation to that thorough repentance, without which it was impossible that peace and prosperity could ever be enjoyed. This definite purpose in the prophecies which follow is clearly indicated in the introductory remarks in Eze 12:2; Eze 14:1, and Eze 20:1. In the first of these passages the hardness of Israel is mentioned as the motive for the ensuing prophecy; whilst in the other two, the visit of certain elders of Israel to the prophet, to seek the Lord and to inquire through him, is given as the circumstance which occasioned the further prophetic declarations. It is evident from this that the previous words of God had already made some impression upon the hearers, but that their hard heart had not yet been broken by them.
In Ezekiel 12, Ezekiel receives instructions to depict, by means of a symbolical action, the departure of the king and people

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from Jerusalem (Eze 12:3-7), and to explain the action to the refractory generation (Eze 12:8-16). After this he is to exhibit, by another symbolical sign, the want and distress to which the people will be reduced (Eze 12:17-20). And lastly, he is to rebut the frivolous sayings of the people, to the effect that what is predicted will either never take place at all, or not till a very distant time (Eze 12:21-28).

Chap. 12 Edit

Verses 1-7 Edit

Symbol of the Emigration
Eze 12:1. And the word of Jehovah came to me, saying, Eze 12:2. Son of man, thou dwellest amidst the refractory generation, who have eyes to see, and see not; and have ears to hear, and hear not; for they are a refractory generation. Eze 12:3. And thou, son of man, make thyself an outfit for exile, and depart by day before their eyes; and depart from thy place to another place before their eyes: perhaps they might see, for they are a refractory generation. Eze 12:4. And carry out thy things like an outfit for exile by day before their eyes; but do thou go out in the evening before their eyes, as when going out to exile. Eze 12:5. Before their eyes break through the wall, and carry it out there. Eze 12:6. Before their eyes take it upon thy shoulder, carry it out in the darkness; cover thy face, and look not upon the land; for I have set thee as a sign to the house of Israel. Eze 12:7. And I did so as I was commanded: I carried out my things like an outfit for exile by day, and in the evening I broke through the wall with my hand; I carried it out in the darkness; I took it upon my shoulder before their eyes. - In Eze 12:2 the reason is assigned for the command to perform the symbolical action, namely, the hard-heartedness of the people. Because the generation in the midst of which Ezekiel dwelt was blind, with seeing eyes, and deaf, with hearing ears, the prophet was to depict before its eyes, by means of the sign that followed, the judgment which was approaching; in the hope, as is added in Eze 12:3, that they might possibly observe and lay the sign to heart. The refractoriness (בּית מרי, as in Eze 2:5-6; Eze 3:26, etc.) is described as obduracy, viz., having eyes,

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and not seeing; having ears, and not hearing, after Deu 29:3 (cf. Jer 5:21; Isa 6:9; Mat 13:14-15). The root of this mental blindness and deafness was to be found in obstinacy, i.e., in not willing; “in that presumptuous insolence,” as Michaelis says, “through which divine light can obtain no admission.” כּלי גולה, the goods (or outfit) of exile, were a pilgrim's staff and traveller's wallet, with the provisions and utensils necessary for a journey. Ezekiel was to carry these out of the house into the street in the day-time, that the people might see them and have their attention called to them. Then in the evening, after dark, he was to go out himself, not by the door of the house, but through a hole which he had broken in the wall. He was also to take the travelling outfit upon his shoulder and carry it through the hole and out of the place, covering his face all the while, that he might not see the land to which he was going. “Thy place” is thy dwelling-place. כּמוצאי : as the departures of exiles generally take place, i.e., as exiles are accustomed to depart, not “at the usual time of departure into exile,” as Hävernick proposes. For מוחא, see the comm. on Mic 5:1. בּעלטה differs from בּערב, and signifies the darkness of the depth of night (cf. Gen 15:17); not, however, “darkness artificially produced, equivalent to, with the eyes shut, or the face covered; so that the words which follow are simply explanatory of בּעלטה,” as Schmieder imagines. Such an assumption would be at variance not only with Eze 12:7, but also with Eze 12:12, where the covering or concealing of the face is expressly distinguished from the carrying out “in the dark.” The order was to be as follows: In the day-time Ezekiel was to take the travelling outfit and carry it out into the road; then in the evening he was to go out himself, having first of all broken a hole through the wall as evening was coming on; and in the darkness of night he was to place upon his shoulders whatever he was about to carry with him, and take his departure. This he was to do, because God had made him a mōphēth for Israel: in other words, by doing this he was

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to show himself to be a marvellous sign to Israel. For mōphēth, see the comm. on Exo 4:21. In Eze 12:7, the execution of the command, which evidently took place in the strictness of the letter, is fully described. There was nothing impracticable in the action, for breaking through the wall did not preclude the use of a hammer or some other tool.

Verses 8-16 Edit

Explanation of the Symbolical Action
Eze 12:8. And the word of Jehovah came to me in the morning, saying, Eze 12:9. Son of man, have they not said to thee, the house of Israel, the refractory generation, What art thou doing? Eze 12:10. Say to them, Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, This burden applies to the prince in Jerusalem, and to all the house of Israel to whom they belong. Eze 12:11. Say, I am your sign: as I have done, so shall it happen to them; into exile, into captivity, will they go. Eze 12:12. And the prince who is in the midst of them he will lift it upon his shoulder in the dark, and will go out: they will break through the wall, and carry it out thereby: he will cover his face, that he may not see the land with eyes. Eze 12:13. And I will spread my net over him, so that he will be caught in my snare: and I will take him to Babel, into the land of the Chaldeans; but he will not see it, and will die there. Eze 12:14. And all that is about him, his help and all his troops, I will scatter into all winds, and draw out the sword behind them. Eze 12:15. And they shall learn that I am Jehovah, when I scatter them among the nations, and winnow them in the lands. Eze 12:16. Yet I will leave of them a small number of men from the sword, from the famine, and from the pestilence; that they may relate all their abominations among the nations whither they have come; and learn that I am Jehovah. - As queries introduced with הלא have, as a rule, an affirmative sense, the words “have they not asked,” etc., imply that the Israelites had asked the prophet what he was doing, though not in a proper state of mind, not in a penitential manner, as the epithet בּית plainly shows. The prophet is therefore to interpret the action which he had just been performing, and all its different stages. The words הנּשׂיא המּשּׂא הזּה, to which very

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different renderings have been given, are to be translated simply “the prince is this burden,” i.e., the object of this burden. Hammassâ does not mean the carrying, but the burden, i.e., the threatening prophecy, the prophetic action of the prophet, as in the headings to the oracles (see the comm. on Nah 1:1). The “prince” is the king, as in Eze 21:30, though not Jehoiachin, who had been carried into exile, but Zedekiah. This is stated in the apposition “in Jerusalem,” which belongs to “the prince,” though it is not introduced till after the predicate, as in Gen 24:24. To this there is appended the further definition, “the whole house of Israel,” which, being co-ordinated with הנּשׂיא, affirms that all Israel (the covenant nation) will share the fate of the prince. In the last clause of Eze 12:10 בּתוכם does not stand for בּתוכהּ, so that the suffix would refer to Jerusalem, “in the midst of which they (the house of Israel) are.” אשׁר cannot be a nominative, because in that case המּה to be understood as referring to the persons addressed, i.e., to the Israelites in exile (Hitzig, Kliefoth): in the midst of whom they are, i.e., to whom they belong. The sentence explains the reason why the prophet was to announce to those in exile the fat of the prince and people in Jerusalem; namely, because the exiles formed a portion of the nation, and would be affected by the judgment which was about to burst upon the king and people in Jerusalem. In this sense Ezekiel was also able to say to the exiles (in Eze 12:11), “I am your sign;” inasmuch as his sign was also of importance for them, as those who were already banished would be so far affected by the departure of the king and people which Ezekiel depicted, that it would deprive them of all hope of a speedy return to their native land. להם, in Eze 12:11, refers to the king and the house of Israel in Jerusalem. בּגולה is rendered more forcible by the addition of בּשּׁבי. The announcement that both king and people must go into exile, is carried out still further in Eze 12:12 and Eze 12:13 with reference to the king, and in Eze 12:14 with regard to the

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people. The king will experience all that Ezekiel has described. The literal occurrence of what is predicted here is related in Jer 39:1., Jer 52:4.; 2Ki 25:4. When the Chaldeans forced their way into the city after a two years' siege, Zedekiah and his men of war fled by night out of the city through the gate between the two walls. It is not expressly stated, indeed, in the historical accounts that a breach was made in the wall; but the expression “through the gate between the two walls” (Jer 39:4; Jer 52:7; 2Ki 25:4) renders this very probable, whether the gate had been walled up during the siege, or it was necessary to break through the wall at one particular spot in order to reach the gate. The king's attendants would naturally take care that a breach was made in the wall, to secure for him a way of escape; hence the expression, “they will break through.” The covering of the face, also, is not mentioned in the historical accounts; but in itself it is by no means improbable, as a sign of the shame and grief with which Zedekiah left the city. The words, “that he may not see the land with eyes,” do not appear to indicate anything more than the necessary consequence of covering the face, and refer primarily to the simple fact that the king fled in the deepest sorrow, and did not want to see the land; but, as Eze 12:13 clearly intimates, they were fulfilled in another way, namely, by the fact that Zedekiah did not see with his eyes the land of the Chaldeans into which he was led, because he had been blinded at Riblah (Jer 39:5; Jer 52:11; 2Ki 25:7). לעין, by eye = with his eyes, is added to give prominence to the idea of seeing. For the same purpose, the subject, which is already implied in the verb, is rendered more emphatic by הוּא; and this הוּא is placed after the verb, so that it stands in contrast with הארץ. The capture of the king was not depicted by Ezekiel; so that in this respect the announcement (Eze 12:13) goes further than the symbolical action, and removes all doubt as to the credibility of the prophet's word, by a distinct prediction of the fate awaiting him. At the same time, his not seeing

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the land of Babylon is left so indefinite, that it cannot be regarded as a vaticinium post eventum. Zedekiah died in prison at Babylon (Jer 52:11). Along with the king, the whole of his military force will be scattered in all directions (Eze 12:14). עזרה, his help, i.e., the troops that break through with him. כּל־אגפּיו, all his wings (the wings of his army), i.e., all the rest of his forces. The word is peculiar to Ezekiel, and is rendered “wings” by Jos. Kimchi, like kenâphaim in Isa 8:8. For the rest of the verse compare Eze 5:2; and for the fulfilment, Jer 52:8; Jer 40:7, Jer 40:12. The greater part of the people will perish, and only a small number remain, that they may relate among the heathen, wherever they are led, all the abominations of Israel, in order that the heathen may learn that it is not from weakness, but simply to punish idolatry, that God has given up His people to them (cf. Jer 22:8).

Verses 17-20 Edit

Sign Depicting the Terrors and Consequences of the Conquest of Jerusalem
Eze 12:17. And the word of Jehovah came to me, saying, Eze 12:18. Son of man, thou shalt eat thy bread with quaking, and drink thy water with trembling and trouble; Eze 12:19. And say to the people of the land, Thus saith the Lord Jehovah to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, in the land of Israel, They will eat their bread in trouble, and drink their water in amazement, because her land is laid waste of all its fulness for the wickedness of all who dwell therein. Eze 12:20. And the inhabited cities become desolate, and the land will be laid waste; that ye may learn that I am Jehovah. - The carrying out of this sign is not mentioned; not that there is any doubt as to its having been done, but that it is simply taken for granted. The trouble and trembling could only be expressed by means of gesture. רעשׁ, generally an earthquake or violent convulsion; here, simply shaking, synonymous with רגזה, trembling. “Bread and water” is the standing expression for food; so that even here the idea of scanty provisions is not to be sought therein. This idea is found merely in the signs

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of anxiety and trouble with which Ezekiel was to eat his food. אל־אדמת = 'על־אד, “upon the land,” equivalent to “in the land.” This is appended to show that the prophecy does not refer to those who had already been carried into exile, but to the inhabitants of Jerusalem who were still in the land. For the subject-matter, compare Eze 4:16-17. למען indicates not the intention, “in order that,” but the motive, “because.”

Verses 21-28 Edit

Declarations to Remove all Doubt as to the Truth of the Threat
The scepticism of the people as to the fulfilment of these threatening prophecies, which had been made still more emphatic by signs, manifested itself in two different ways. Some altogether denied that the prophecies would ever be fulfilled (Eze 12:22); others, who did not go so far as this, thought that it would be a long time before they came to pass (Eze 12:27). These doubts were fed by the lying statements of false prophets. For this reason the refutation of these sceptical opinions (Eze 12:21-28) is followed in the next chapter by a stern reproof of the false prophets and prophetesses who led the people astray. - Eze 12:21. And the word of Jehovah came to me, saying, Eze 12:22. Son of man, what kind of proverb have ye in the land of Israel, that ye say, The days become long, and every prophecy comes to nothing? Eze 12:23. Therefore say to them, Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, I will put an end to this saying, and they shall say it no more in Israel; but say to them, The days are near, and the word of every prophecy. Eze 12:24. For henceforth there shall be no vain prophecy and flattering soothsaying in the midst of the house of Israel. Eze 12:25. For I am Jehovah; I speak; the word which I speak will come to pass, and no longer be postponed; for in your days, O refractory generation, I speak a word and do it, is the saying of the Lord Jehovah. - Mâshâl, a proverb, saying current among the people, and constantly repeated as a truth. “The days become long,” etc., i.e., the time is lengthening out, and yet the prophecy is not being fulfilled. אבד, perire, to come to nothing, to fail of

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fulfilment, is the opposite of בּוא, to come, to be fulfilled. God will put an end to these sayings, by causing a very speedy fulfilment of the prophecy. The days are near, and every word of the prophecy, i.e., the days in which every word predicted shall come to pass. The reason for this is given in Eze 12:24 and Eze 12:25, in two co-ordinate sentences, both of which are introduced with כּי. First, every false prophecy shall henceforth cease in Israel (Eze 12:24); secondly, God will bring about the fulfilment of His own word, and that without delay (Eze 12:25). Different explanations have been given of the meaning of Eze 12:24. Kliefoth proposes to take שׁוא and מקסם as the predicate to חזון: no prophecy in Israel shall be vain and flattering soothsaying, but all prophecy shall become true, i.e., be fulfilled. Such an explanation, however, is not only artificial and unnatural, since מקסם would be inserted as a predicate in a most unsuitable manner, but it contains this incongruity, that God would apply the term מקסם, soothsaying, to the predictions of prophets inspired by Himself. On the other hand, there is no force in the objection raised by Kliefoth to the ordinary rendering of the words, namely, that the statement that God was about to put an end to false prophecy in Israel would anticipate the substance of the sixth word of God (i.e., Ezekiel 13). It is impossible to see why a thought should not be expressed here, and then still further expanded in Ezekiel 13. חלק, smooth, i.e., flattering (compare Hos 10:2; and for the prediction, Zec 13:4-5). The same reply serves also to overthrow the sceptical objection raised by the frivolous despisers of the prophet's words. Hence there is only a brief allusion made to them in Eze 12:26-28. - Eze 12:26. And the word of Jehovah came to me, saying, Eze 12:27. Son of man, behold, the house of Israel saith, The vision that he seeth is for many days off, and he prophesies for distant times. Eze 12:28. Therefore say to them, Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, All my words shall be no longer postponed: the word which I shall speak shall come to pass, saith the Lord Jehovah. - The words are plain; and after what has already

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been said, they need no special explanation. Eze 12:20 compare with Eze 12:25. Against the False Prophets and Prophetesses
The way was already prepared for the address in this chapter by the announcement in Eze 12:24. It divides itself into two parts, viz., vv. 1-16, directed against the false prophets; and Eze 13:17-23, against the false prophetesses. In both parts their conduct is first described, and then the punishment foretold. Jeremiah, like Ezekiel, and sometimes still more strongly, denounces the conduct of the false prophets, who are therefore to be sought for not merely among the exiles, but principally among those who were left behind in the land (vid., Jer 23:9.). A lively intercourse was kept up between the two, so that the false prophets extended their operations from Canaan to the Chaboras, and vice versa.

Chap. 13 Edit

Verses 1-7 Edit

Against the False Prophets
Their conduct. - Eze 13:1. And the word of Jehovah came to me, saying, Eze 13:2. Son of man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel who prophesy, and say to the prophets out of their heart, Hear ye the word of Jehovah. Eze 13:3. Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, Woe upon the foolish prophets, who go after their spirit, and that which they have not seen! Eze 13:4. Like foxes in ruins have thy prophets become, O Israel. Eze 13:5. Ye do not stand before the breaches, nor wall up the wall around the house of Israel to stand firm in the battle on the day of Jehovah. Eze 13:6. They see vanity and lying soothsaying, who say, “Oracle of Jehovah;” and Jehovah hath not sent them; so that they might hope for the fulfilment of the word. Eze 13:7. Do ye not see vain visions, and speak lying soothsaying, and say, Oracle of Jehovah; and I have not spoken? - The addition הנּבּאים, “who prophesy,” is not superfluous. Ezekiel is not to direct his words against the prophets

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as a body, but against those who follow the vocation of prophet in Israel without being called to it by God on receiving a divine revelation, but simply prophesying out of their own heart, or according to their own subjective imagination. In the name of the Lord he is to threaten them with woes, as fools who follow their own spirit; in connection with which we must bear in mind that folly, according to the Hebrew idea, was not merely a moral failing, but actual godlessness (cf. Psa 14:1). The phrase “going after their spirit” is interpreted and rendered more emphatic by לבלתּי, which is to be taken as a relative clause, “that which they have not seen,” i.e., whose prophesying does not rest upon intuition inspired by God. Consequently they cannot promote the welfare of the nation, but (Eze 13:4) are like foxes in ruins or desolate places. The point of comparison is to be found in the undermining of the ground by foxes, qui per cuniculos subjectam terram excavant et suffodiunt (Bochart). For the thought it not exhausted by the circumstance that they withdraw to their holes instead of standing in front of the breach (Hitzig); and there is no force in the objection that, with this explanation, בּחרבות is passed over and becomes in fact tautological (Hävernick). The expression “in ruins” points to the fall of the theocracy, which the false prophets cannot prevent, but, on the contrary, accelerate by undermining the moral foundations of the state. For (Eze 13:5) they do not stand in the breaches, and do not build up the wall around the house of Israel (לא belongs to both clauses). He who desires to keep off the enemy, and prevent his entering the fortress, will stand in the breach. For the same purpose are gaps and breaches in the fortifications carefully built up. The sins of the people had made gaps and breaches in the walls of Jerusalem; in other words, had caused the moral decay of the city. But they had not stood in the way of this decay and its causes, as the calling and duty of prophets demanded, by reproving the sins of the people, that they might rescue the people and kingdom from destruction by restoring its moral

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and religious life. לעמד בּמּלחמה, to stand, or keep ground, i.e., so that ye might have kept your ground in the war. The subject is the false prophets, not Israel, as Hävernick supposes. “In the day of Jehovah,” i.e., in the judgment which Jehovah has decreed. Not to stand, does not mean merely to avert the threatening judgment, but not to survive the judgment itself, to be overthrown by it. This arises from the fact that their prophesying is a life; because Jehovah, whose name they have in their mouths, has not sent them (Eze 13:6). ויחלוּ is dependent upon שׁלחם: God has not sent them, so that they could hope for the fulfilment of the word which they speak.The rendering adopted by others, “and they cause to hope,” is untenable; for יחל with ל does not mean “to cause to hope,” or give hope, but simply to hope for anything. This was really the case; and it is affirmed in the declaration, which is repeated in the form of a direct appeal in Eze 13:7, to the effect that their visions were vain and lying soothsaying. For this they are threatened with the judgment described in the verses which follow.

Verses 8-16 Edit

Punishment of the False Prophets
Eze 13:8. Therefore thus saith the Lord Jehovah, Because ye speak vanity and prophesy lying, therefore, behold, I will deal with you, is the saying of the Lord Jehovah. Eze 13:9. And my hand shall be against the prophets who see vanity and divine lies: in the council of my people they shall not be, and in the register of the house of Israel they shall not be registered, and into the land of Israel shall they not come; and ye shall learn that I am the Lord Jehovah. Eze 13:10. Because, yea because they lead my people astray, and say, “Peace,” though there is no peace; and when it (my people) build a wall, behold, they plaster it with cement: Eze 13:11. Say to the plasterers, that it will fall: there cometh a pouring rain; and ye hailstones fall, and thou stormy wind break loose! Eze 13:12. And, behold, the wall falleth; will men not say to you, Where is the plaster with which ye have plastered it? Eze 13:13. Therefore thus saith the Lord Jehovah, I cause a stormy wind to break

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forth in my wrath, and a pouring rain will come in my anger, and hailstones in wrath, for destruction. Eze 13:14. And I demolish the wall which ye have plastered, and cast it to the ground, that its foundation may be exposed, and it shall fall, and ye shall perish in the midst of it; and shall learn that I am Jehovah. Eze 13:15. And I will exhaust my wrath upon the wall, and upon those who plaster it; and will say to you, It is all over with the wall, and all over with those who plastered it; Eze 13:16. With the prophets of Israel who prophesied to Jerusalem, and saw visions of peace for her, though there is no peace, is the saying of the Lord Jehovah. - In Eze 13:8 the punishment which is to fall upon the false prophets is threatened in general terms; and in Eze 13:9 it is more specifically described in the form of a climax, rising higher and higher in the severity of its announcements. (1) They are no longer to form part of the council of the people of God; that is to say, they will lose their influential position among the people. (סוד is the sphere of counsellors, not the social sphere.) (2) Their names shall not be registered in the book of the house of Israel. The book of the house of Israel is the register in which the citizens of the kingdom of God are entered. Any one whose name was not admitted into this book, or was struck out of it, was separated thereby from the citizenship of Israel, and lost all the privileges which citizenship conferred. The figure of the book of life is a similar one (cf. Exo 32:32). For Israel is not referred to here with regard to its outward nationality, but as the people of God; so that exclusion from Israel was also exclusion from fellowship with God. The circumstance that it is not the erasure of their names from the book that is mentioned here, but their not being entered in the book at all, may be accounted for from the reference contained in the words to the founding of the new kingdom of God. The old theocracy was abolished, although Jerusalem was not yet destroyed. The covenant nation had fallen under the judgment; but out of that portion of Israel which was dispersed among the heathen, a remnant

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would be gathered together again, and having been brought back to its own land, would be made anew into a holy people of God (cf. Eze 11:17.). But the false prophets are not to be received into the citizenship of the new kingdom. (3) They are not even to come into the land of Israel; i.e., they are not merely to remain in exile, but to lose all share in the privileges and blessings of the kingdom of God. This judgment will come upon them because they lead astray the people of God, by proclaiming peace where there is no peace; i.e., by raising and cherishing false hopes of prosperity and peace, by which they encourage the people in their sinful lives, and lead them to imagine that all is well, and there is no judgment to be feared (cf. Jer 23:17 and Mic 3:5). The exposure of this offence is introduced by the solemn יען וּביען, because and because (cf. Lev 26:43); and the offence itself is exhibited by means of a figure.
When the people build a wall, the false prophets plaster the wall with lime. והוּא (Eze 13:10) refers to עמּי, and the clause is a circumstantial one. תּפל signifies the plaster coating or cement of a wall, probably from the primary meaning of תּפל, to stick or plaster over (= טפל, conglutinare, to glue, or fasten together), from which the secondary meaning of weak, insipid, has sprung. The proper word for plaster or cement is טיח (Eze 13:12), and תּפל is probably chosen with an allusion to the tropical signification of that which is silly or absurd (Jer 23:13; Lam 2:14). The meaning of the figure is intelligible enough. The people build up foolish hopes, and the prophets not only paint these hopes for them in splendid colours, but even predict their fulfilment, instead of denouncing their folly, pointing out to the people the perversity of their ways, and showing them that such sinful conduct must inevitably be followed by punishment and ruin. The plastering is therefore a figurative description of deceitful flattery or hypocrisy, i.e., the covering up of inward corruption by means of outward appearance (as in Mat 23:27 and Act 23:3). This figure leads the prophet to describe the judgment which they

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are bringing upon the nation and themselves, as a tempest accompanied with hail and pouring rain, which throws down the wall that has been erected and plastered over; and in connection with this figure he opens out this double thought: (1) the conduct of the people, which is encouraged by the false prophets, cannot last (Eze 13:11 and Eze 13:12); and (2) when this work of theirs is overthrown, the false prophets themselves will also meet with the fate they deserve (Eze 13:13-16). The threat of judgment commences with the short, energetic ויפּל, let it (the wall) fall, or it shall fall, with Vav to indicate the train of thought (Ewald, §347a). The subject is תּפל, to which יפּל suggests a resemblance in sound. In Eze 13:12 this is predicted as the fate awaiting the plastered wall. In the description of the bursting storm the account passes with ואתּנה (and ye) into a direct address; in other words, the description assumes the form of an appeal to the destructive forces of nature to burst forth with all their violence against the work plastered over by the prophets, and to destroy it. גּשׁם שׁוטף ., pouring rain; cf. Eze 38:22. אבני אלגּבישׁ here and Eze 38:22 are hailstones. The word אלגּבישׁ, which is peculiar to Ezekiel, is probably גּבישׁ (Job 28:18), with the Arabic article אל; ice, then crystal. רוּח , wind of storms, a hurricane or tempest. תּבקּע (Eze 13:11) is used intransitively, to break loose; but in Eze 13:13 it is transitive, to cause to break loose. The active rendering adopted by Kliefoth, “the storm will rend,” sc. the plaster of the wall, is inappropriate in Eze 13:11; for a tempest does not rend either the plaster or the wall, but throws the wall down. The translation which Kliefoth gives in Eze 13:13, “I will rend by tempest,” is at variance with both the language and the sense. Jehovah will cause this tempest to burst forth in His wrath and destroy the wall, and lay it level with the ground. The suffix in בּתוכהּ refers (ad sensum) to Jerusalem not to קיר (the wall), which is masculine, and has no תּוך (midst). The words pass from the figure to the reality here; for the plastered wall is a symbol of Jerusalem, as the centre of the

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theocracy, which is to be destroyed, and to bury the lying prophets in its ruins. וכלּיתי (Eze 13:15) contains a play upon the word לכלה in Eze 13:13. By a new turn given to klh כלה, Ezekiel repeats the thought that the wrath of God is to destroy the wall and its plasterers; and through this repetition he rounds off the threat with the express declaration, that the false prophets who are ever preaching peace are the plasterers to whom he refers.

Verses 17-19 Edit

Against the False Prophetesses
As the Lord had not endowed men only with the gifts of prophecy, but sometimes women also, e.g., Miriam, Deborah, and Huldah; so women also rose up along with the false prophets, and prophesied out of their own hearts without being impelled by the Spirit of God. Eze 13:17-19. Their conduct. - Eze 13:17. And thou, son of man, direct thy face towards the daughters of thy people, who prophesy out of their heart and prophesy against them, Eze 13:18. And say, Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, Woe to those who sew coverings together over all the joints of my hands, and make caps for the head of every size, to catch souls! Ye catch the souls of my people, and keep your souls alive. Eze 13:19. And ye profane me with my people for handfuls of barley and for pieces of bread, to slay souls which should not die, and to keep alive which should not live, by your lying to my people who hearken to lying. - Like the prophets in Eze 13:2, the prophetesses are here described as prophesying out of their own heart (Eze 13:17); and in Eze 13:18 and Eze 13:19 their offences are more particularly described. The meaning of these verses is entirely dependent upon the view to be taken of ידי, which the majority of expositors, following the lead of the lxx, the Syriac, and the Vulgate, have regarded as identical with ידים or יד, and understood as referring to the hands of the women or prophetesses. But there is nothing to justify the assumption that ידי is an unusual form for ידים, which even Ewald takes it to be (Lehrbuch, §177a). Still less can it stand for the

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singular יד. And we have not sufficient ground for altering the text, as the expression זרועתיכם in Eze 13:20 (I will tear the כּסתות from your arms) does not require the assumption that the prophetesses had hidden their arms in כסתות; and such a supposition is by no means obviously in harmony with the facts.
The word כּסתות, from כּסת, with ת fem. treated as a radical letter (cf. Ewald, §186e), means a covering or concealment = כּסוּת. The meaning “cushion” or “pillow” (lxx προσκεφάλαια, Vulg. pulvilli) is merely an inference drawn from this passage, and is decidedly erroneous; for the word תּפר (to sew together) is inapplicable to cushions, as well as the phrase על כּל־אצּילי ידי, inasmuch as cushions are not placed upon the joints of the hands, and still less are they sewed together upon them. The latter is also a decisive reason for rejecting the explanation given by Hävernick, namely, that the kesâthōth were carpets, which were used as couches, and upon which these voluptuous women are represented as reclining. For cushions or couches are not placed upon, but under, the arm-joints (or elbows) and the shoulders, which Hävernick understands by אצּילי יד. This also overthrows another explanation given of the words, namely, that they refer to carpets, which the prophetesses had sewed together for all their arm-joints, so as to form comfortable beds upon splendid carpets, that they may indulge in licentiousness thereon. The explanation given by Ephraem Syrus, and adopted by Hitzig, namely, that the kesâthōth were amulets or straps, which they would round their arm-joints when they received or delivered their oracles, is equally untenable. For, as Kliefoth has observed, “it is evident that there is not a word in the text about adultery, or amulets, or straps used in prayer.” And again, when we proceed to the next clause, the traditional rendering of מספּחות, as signifying either pillows (ὑπαυχένια, Symm.; cervicalia, Vulg.) or broad cloaks = מטפּחות (Hitzig, Hävernick, etc.), is neither supported by the usage of the language, nor in harmony with על ראשׁ. Mispâchōth, from sâphach, to join, cannot

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have any other meaning in the present context than a cap fitting close to the head; and על must denote the pattern which was followed, as in Psa 110:4; Est 9:26 : they make the caps after (answering to) the head of every stature. The words of both clauses are figurative, and have been correctly explained by Kliefoth as follows: “A double charge is brought against the prophetesses. In the first place, they sew coverings together to wrap round all the joints of the hand of God, so that He cannot touch them; i.e., they cover up and conceal the word of God by their prophesying, more especially its rebuking and threatening force, so that the threatening and judicial arm of God, which ought above all to become both manifest and effective through His prophetic word, does not become either one or the other. In the second place, they make coverings upon the heads of men, and construct them in such a form that they exactly fit the stature or size or every individual, so that the men neither hear nor see; i.e., by means of their flattering lies, which adapt themselves to the subjective inclinations of their hearers at the time, they cover up the senses of the men, so that they retain neither ear nor eye for the truth.” They do both of these to catch souls. The inevitable consequence of their act is represented as having been intended by them; and this intention is then still further defined as being to catch the souls of the people of God; i.e., to allure them to destruction, and take care of their own souls. The clause הנּפשׁות תּצודדנה is not to be taken as a question, “Will ye catch the souls?” implying a doubt whether they really thought that they could carry on such conduct as theirs with perfect impunity (Hävernick). It contains a simple statement of what really took place in their catching of souls, namely, “they catch the souls of the people of God, and preserve their own souls;” i.e., they rob the people of God of their lives, and take care of their own (Kliefoth). לעמּי is used instead of the genitive (stat. constr.) to show that the accent rests upon עמּי. And in the same way we have לכנה instead of the suffix. The construction

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is the same as in 1Sa 14:16. Eze 13:19 shows how great their sin had been. They profane God among His people; namely, by delivering the suggestions of their own heart to the people as divine revelations, for the purpose of getting their daily bread thereby (cf. Mic 3:5); by hurling into destruction, through their lies, those who are only too glad to listen to lying; by slaying the souls of the people which ought to live, and by preserving those which ought not to live, i.e., their own souls (Deu 18:20). The punishment for this will not fail to come.

Verses 20-23 Edit

Punishment of the False Prophetesses
Eze 13:20. Therefore thus saith the Lord Jehovah, Behold, I will deal with your coverings with which ye catch, I will let the souls fly; and I will tear them away from your arms, and set the souls free, which ye catch, the souls to fly. Eze 13:21. And I will tear your caps in pieces, and deliver my people out of your hand, and they shall no more become a prey in your hands; and ye shall learn that I am Jehovah. Eze 13:22. Because ye grieve the heart of the righteous with lying, when I have not pained him; and strengthen the hands of the wicked, so that he does not turn from his evil way, to preserve his life. Eze 13:23. Therefore ye shall no more see vanity, and no longer practise soothsaying: and I will deliver my people out of your hand; and ye shall learn that I am Jehovah. - The threat of judgment is closely connected with the reproof of their sins. Eze 13:20 and Eze 13:21 correspond to the reproof in Eze 13:18, and Eze 13:22 and Eze 13:23 to that in Eze 13:19. In the first place, the Lord will tear in pieces the coverings and caps, i.e., the tissue of lies woven by the false prophetesses, and rescue the people from their snares (Eze 13:20 and Eze 13:21); and, secondly, He will entirely put an end to the pernicious conduct of the persons addressed (Eze 13:22 and Eze 13:23). The words from אשׁר אתּנּה to לפרחות (Eze 13:20), when taken as one clause, as they generally are, offer insuperable difficulties, since it is impossible to get any satisfactory meaning from שׁם, and לפרחות will not fit in. Whether we understand by kesâthōth

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coverings or cushions, the connection of שׁם with אשׁר (where ye catch the souls), which the majority of commentators prefer, is untenable; for coverings and cushions were not the places where the souls were caught, but could only be the means employed for catching them. Instead of שׁם we should expect בּם or בּהם; and Hitzig proposes to amend it in this way. Still less admissible is the proposal to take שׁם as referring to Jerusalem (“wherewith ye catch souls there”); as שׁם would not only contain a perfectly superfluous definition of locality, but would introduce a limitation altogether at variance with the context. It is not affirmed either of the prophets or of the prophetesses that they lived and prophesied in Jerusalem alone. In Eze 13:2 and Eze 13:17 reference is made in the most general terms to the prophets of Israel and the daughters of thy people; and in Eze 13:16 it is simply stated that the false prophets prophesied peace to Jerusalem when there was no peace at all. Consequently we must regard the attempt to find in שׁם an allusion to Jerusalem (cf. Eze 13:16) as a mere loophole, which betrays an utter inability to get any satisfactory sense for the word. Moreover, if we construe the words in this manner, לפרחות is also incomprehensible. Commentators have for the most part admitted that פּרח taht is used here in the Aramaean sense of volare, to fly. In the second half of the verse there is no doubt about its having this meaning. For שׁלּח is used in Deu 22:7 for liberating a bird, or letting it fly; and the combination שׁלּח is supported by the expression שׁלּח לחפשׁי in Exo 21:26, while the comparison of souls to birds is sustained by Psa 11:1 and Psa 124:7. Hence the true meaning of the whole passage לפרחות... שׁלּחתּי את־הנּפשׁות is, I send away (set free) the souls, which ye have caught, as flying ones, i.e., so that they shall be able to fly away at liberty. And in the first half also we must not adopt a different rendering for לפרחות, since את־הנּפשׁות is also connected with it there.
But if the words in question are combined into one clause in the first hemistich, they will give us a sense which is obviously

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wrong, viz., “wherewith ye catch the souls to let them fly.” As the impossibility of adopting this rendering has been clearly seen, the attempt has been made to cloak over the difficulty by means of paraphrases. Ewald, for example, renders לפרחות in both cases “as if they were birds of passage;” but in the first instance he applies it to birds of passage, for which nets are spread for the purpose of catching them; and in the second, to birds of passage which are set at liberty. Thus, strictly speaking, he understands the first לפרחות as signifying the catching of birds; and the second, letting them fly: an explanation which refutes itself, as pârach, to fly, cannot mean “to catch” as well. The rendering adopted by Kimchi, Rosenmüller, and others, who translate לפרחות ut advolent ad vos in the first hemistich, and ut avolent in the second, is no better. And the difficulty is not removed by resorting to the dialects, as Hävernick, for the purpose of forcing upon פּרחות the meaning dissoluteness of licentiousness, for which there is no authority in the Hebrew language itself. If, therefore, it is impossible to obtain any satisfactory meaning from the existing text, it cannot be correct; and no other course is open to us than to alter the unsuitable שׁם into שׂם, and divide the words from אשׁר אתּנּה to לפרחות into two clauses, as we have done in our translation above. There is no necessity to supply anything to the relative אשׁר, as צוּד is construed with a double accusative (e.g., Mic 7:2, צוּד חרם, to catch with a net), and the object to מצדדות, viz., the souls, can easily be supplied from the next clause. שׂם, as a participle, can either be connected with הנני, “behold, I make,” or taken as introducing an explanatory clause: “making the souls into flying ones,” i.e., so that they are able to fly (שׁוּם ל, Gen 12:2, etc.). The two clauses of the first hemistich would then exactly correspond to the two clauses of the second half of the verse. וקרעתּי אתם is explanatory of הנני אל כסת, I will tear off the coverings from their arms. These words do not require the assumption that the prophetesses wore the לסתות on their arms, but may be fully

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explained from the supposition that the persons in question prepared them with their own hands. 'ושׁלּחתּי וגו corresponds to 'שׂם את־הנּפשׁות וגו; and לפרחות is governed by שׁלּחתּי. The insertion of את־הנּפשׁים is to be accounted for from the copious nature of Ezekiel's style; at the same time, it is not merely a repetition of את־הנּפשׁות, which is separated from לפרחות by the relative clause 'אשׁר אתּם מח, but as the unusual plural form נפשׁים shows, is intended as a practical explanation of the fact, that the souls, while compared to birds, are regarded as living beings, which is the meaning borne by נפשׁ in other passages. The omission of the article after את may be explained, however, from the fact that the souls had been more precisely defined just before; just as, for example, in 1Sa 24:6; 2Sa 18:18, where the more precise definition follows immediately afterwards (cf. Ewald, §277a, p. 683). - The same thing is said in Eze 13:21, with regard to the caps, as has already been said of the coverings in Eze 13:20. God will tear these in pieces also, to deliver His people from the power of the lying prophetesses. In what way God will do this is explained in Eze 13:22 and Eze 13:23, namely, not only by putting their lying prophecies to shame through His judgment, but by putting an end to soothsaying altogether, and exterminating the false prophetesses by making them an object of ridicule and shame. The reason for this threat is given in Eze 13:22, where a further description is given of the disgraceful conduct of these persons; and here the disgracefulness of their conduct is exhibited in literal terms and without any figure. They do harm to the righteous and good, and strengthen the hands of the wicked. הכאות, Hiphil of כּאה, in Syriac, to use harshly or depress; so here in the Hiphil, connected with לב, to afflict the heart. שׁקר is used adverbially: with lying, or in a lying manner; namely, by predicting misfortune and divine punishments, with which they threatened the godly, who would not acquiesce in their conduct; whereas, on the contrary, they predicted prosperity and peace to the ungodly, who were willing to be ensnared by them, and

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thus strengthened them in their evil ways. For this God would put them to shame through His judgments, which would make their deceptions manifest, and their soothsaying loathsome.

Chap. 14 Edit

Verse 1 Edit

Attitude of God Towards the Worshippers of Idols, and Certainty of the Judgments Edit

This chapter contains two words of God, which have obviously an internal connection with each other. The first (Eze 14:1-11) announces to the elders, who have come to the prophet to inquire of God, that the Lord will not allow idolaters to inquire of Him, but will answer all who do not turn from idolatry with severe judgments, and will even destroy the prophets who venture to give an answer to such inquirers. The second (Eze 14:12-23) denounces the false hope that God will avert the judgment and spare Jerusalem because of the righteousness of the godly men therein.

The Lord Gives No Answer to the Idolaters Edit

Eze 14:1 narrates the occasion for this and the following words of God: There came to me men of the elders of Israel, and sat down before me. These men were not deputies from the Israelites in Palestine, as Grotius and others suppose, but elders of the exiles among whom Ezekiel had been labouring. They came to visit the prophet (v. 3), evidently with the intention of obtaining, through him, a word of God concerning the future of Jerusalem, or the fate of the kingdom of Judah. But Hävernick is wrong in supposing that we may infer, from either the first or second word of God in this chapter, that they had addressed to the prophet a distinct inquiry of this nature, to which the answer is given in vv. 12-23. For although their coming to the prophet showed that his prophecies had made an impression upon them, it is not stated in v. 1 that they had come to inquire of God, like the elders in Eze 20:1, and there is no allusion to any definite questions in the words of

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God themselves. The first (Eze 14:2-11) simply assumes that they have come with the intention of asking, and discloses the state of heart which keeps them from coming to inquire; and the second (Eze 14:12-23) points out the worthlessness of their false confidence in the righteousness of certain godly men.

Verses 2-5 Edit

Eze 14:2-5And the word of Jehovah came to me, saying, Eze 14:3. Son of man, these men have let their idols rise up in their heart, and have set the stumbling-block to guilt before their face: shall I allow myself to be inquired of by them? Eze 14:4. Therefore speak to them, and say to them, Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, Every man of the house of Israel who lifteth up his idols in his heart, and setteth the stumbling-block to his sin before his face, and cometh to the prophet, to him do I, Jehovah, show myself, answering according thereto, according to the multitude of his idols; Eze 14:5. To grasp the house of Israel by their heart, because they have turned away from me, all of them through their idols. - We have not to picture these elders to ourselves as given up to gross idolatry. העלה על לב means, to allow anything to come into the mind, to permit it to rise up in the heart, to be mentally busy therewith. “To set before one's face” is also to be understood, in a spiritual sense, as relating to a thing which a man will not put out of his mind. מכשׁול , stumbling-block to sin and guilt (cf. Eze 7:19), i.e., the idols. Thus the two phrases simply denote the leaning of the heart and spirit towards false gods. God does not suffer those whose heart is attached to idols to seek and find Him. The interrogative clause 'האדּרשׁ וגו contains a strong negation. The emphasis lies in the infinitive absolute אדּרשׁ et placed before the verb, in which the ה is softened into א, to avoid writing ה twice. נדרשׁ, to allow oneself to be sought, involves the finding of God; hence in Isa 65:1 we have נדרשׁ as parallel to נמצא. In Eze 14:4, Eze 14:5, there follows a positive declaration of the attitude of God towards those who are devoted to idolatry in their heart. Every such Israelite will be answered by God according to the measure of the multitude of his idols. The Niphal נענה has not the signification of the Kal,

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and does not mean “to be answerable,” as Ewald supposes, or to converse; but is generally used in a passive sense, “to be answered,” i.e., to find or obtain a hearing (Job 11:2; Job 19:7). It is employed here in a reflective sense, to hold or show oneself answering. בה, according to the Chetib בהּ, for which the Keri suggests the softer gloss בא, refers to 'בּרב גל which follows; the nominative being anticipated, according to an idiom very common in Aramaean, by a previous pronoun. It is written here for the sake of emphasis, to bring the following object into more striking prominence. ב is used here in the sense of secundum, according to, not because, since this meaning is quite unsuitable for the ב in Eze 14:7, where it occurs in the same connection (בּי). The manner in which God will show Himself answering the idolatry according to their idols, is reserved till Eze 14:8. Here, in Eze 14:5, the design of this procedure on the part of God is given: viz., to grasp Israel by the heart; i.e., not merely to touch and to improve them, but to bring down their heart by judgments (cf. Lev 26:41), and thus move them to give up idolatry and return to the living God. נזרוּ, as in Isa 1:4, to recede, to draw away from God. כּלּם is an emphatic repetition of the subject belonging to נזרוּ.

Verses 6-8 Edit

In these verses the divine threat, and the summons to repent, are repeated, expanded, and uttered in the clearest words. - Eze 14:6. Therefore say to the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, Repent, and turn away from your idols; and turn away your face from all your abominations. V.7. For every one of the house of Israel, and of the foreigners who sojourn in Israel, if he estrange himself from me, and let his idols rise up in his heart, and set the stumbling-block to his sin before his face, and come to the prophet to seek me for himself; I will show myself to him, answering in my own way. Eze 14:8. I will direct my face against that man, and will destroy him, for a sign and for proverbs, and will cut him off out of my people; and ye shall learn that I am Jehovah. - לכן in Eze 14:6 is co-ordinate with the לכן in Eze 14:4,

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so far as the thought is concerned, but it is directly attached to Eze 14:5: because they have estranged themselves from God, therefore God requires them to repent and turn. For God will answer with severe judgments every one who would seek God with idols in his heart, whether he be an Israelite, or a foreigner living in the midst of Israel. שׁוּבוּ, turn, be converted, is rendered still more emphatic by the addition of פניכם... השׁיבוּ. This double call to repentance corresponds to the double reproof of their idolatry in Eze 14:3, viz., שׁוּבוּ, to על לב 'העלה גל; and השׁיבוּ פניכם, to their setting the idols נכח פּניהם. השׁיבוּ is not used intransitively, as it apparently is in Eze 18:30, but is to be taken in connection with the object פניכם, which follows at the end of the verse; and it is simply repeated before פניכם for the sake of clearness and emphasis. The reason for the summons to repent and give up idolatry is explained in Eze 14:7, in the threat that God will destroy every Israelite, and every foreigner in Israel, who draws away from God and attaches himself to idols. The phraseology of Eze 14:7 is adopted almost verbatim from Lev 17:8, Lev 17:10,Lev 17:13. On the obligation of foreigners to avoid idolatry and all moral abominations, vid., Lev 20:2; Lev 18:26; Lev 17:10; Exo 12:19, etc. The ו before ינּזר and יעל does not stand for the Vav relat., but simply supposes a case: “should he separate himself from my followers, and let his idols rise up, etc.” לדרשׁ־לו בּי does not mean, “to seek counsel of him (the prophet) from me,” for לו cannot be taken as referring to the prophet, although דּרשׁ with ל does sometimes mean to seek any one, and ל may therefore indicate the person to whom one goes to make inquiry (cf. 2Ch 15:13; 2Ch 17:4; 2Ch 31:21), because it is Jehovah who is sought in this case; and Hävernick's remark, that “דּרשׁ with ל merely indicates the external object sought by a man, and therefore in this instance the medium or organ through whom God speaks,” is proved to be erroneous by the passages just cited. לו is reflective, or to be taken as a dat. commodi, denoting the inquirer or seeker. The person approached

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for the purpose of inquiring or seeking, i.e., God, is indicated by the preposition בּ, as in 1Ch 10:14 (דּרשׁ ); and also frequently, in the case of idols, when either an oracle or help is sought from them (1Sa 28:7; 2Ki 1:2.). It is only in this way that לו and בּי can be made to correspond to the same words in the apodosis: Whosoever seeks counsel of God, to him will God show Himself answering בּי, in Him, i.e., in accordance with His nature, in His own way, - namely, in the manner described in Eze 14:8. The threat is composed of passages in the law: 'נתתּי and 'הכרתּי וגו, after Lev 20:3, Lev 20:5-6; and 'וחשׁמותיהוּ וגו, though somewhat freely, after Deu 28:37 ('היה לשׁמּה למשׁל). There is no doubt, therefore, that השׁמותי is to be derived from שׁמם, and stands for השׁמּותי, in accordance with the custom in later writings of resolving the Dagesh forte into a long vowel. The allusion to Deu 28:37, compared with היה in v. 46 of the same chapter, is sufficient to set aside the assumption that השׁמותי is to be derived from שׂים, and pointed accordingly; although the lxx, Targ., Syr., and Vulg. have all renderings of שׂים (cf. Psa 44:16). Moreover, שׂים in the perfect never takes the Hiphil form; and in Eze 20:26 we have אשׁמּם in a similar connection. The expression is a pregnant one: I make him desolate, so that he becomes a sign and proverbs.

Verses 9-11 Edit

No prophet is to give any other answer. - Eze 14:9. But if a prophet allow himself to be persuaded, and give a word, I have persuaded this prophet, and will stretch out my hand against him, and cut him off out of my people Israel. Eze 14:10. They shall bear their guilt: as the guilt of the inquirer, so shall the guilt of the prophet be; Eze 14:11. In order that the house of Israel may no more stray from me, and may no more defile itself with all its transgressions; but they may be my people, and I their God is the saying of the Lord Jehovah. - The prophet who allows himself to be persuaded is not a prophet מלּבּו (Eze 13:2), but one who really thinks that he has a word of God. פּתּה, to persuade, to entice by friendly words (in a good sense,

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Hos 2:16); but generally sensu malo, to lead astray, or seduce to that which is unallowable or evil. “If he allow himself to be persuaded:” not necessarily “with the hope of payment from the hypocrites who consult him” (Michaelis). This weakens the thought. It might sometimes be done from unselfish good-nature. And “the word” itself need not have been a divine oracle of his own invention, or a false prophecy. The allusion is simply to a word of a different character from that contained in Eze 14:6-8, which either demands repentance or denounces judgment upon the impenitent: every word, therefore, which could by any possibility confirm the sinner in his security. - By אני יהוה (Eze 14:9) the apodosis is introduced in an emphatic manner, as in Eze 14:4 and Eze 14:7; but פּתּיתי cannot be taken in a future sense (“I will persuade”). It must be a perfect; since the persuading of the prophet would necessarily precede his allowing himself to be persuaded. The Fathers and earlier Lutheran theologians are wrong in their interpretation of פּתּיתי, which they understand in a permissive sense, meaning simply that God allowed it, and did not prevent their being seduced. Still more wrong are Storr and Schmieder, the former of whom regards it as simply declaratory, “I will declare him to have gone astray from the worship of Jehovah;” the latter, “I will show him to be a fool, by punishing him for his disobedience.” The words are rather to be understood in accordance with 1Ki 22:20., where the persuading (pittâh) is done by a lying spirit, which inspires the prophets of Ahab to predict success to the king, in order that he may fall. As Jehovah sent the spirit in that case, and put it into the mouth of the prophets, so is the persuasion in this instance also effected by God: not merely divine permission, but divine ordination and arrangement; though this does not destroy human freedom, but, like all “persuading,” presupposes the possibility of not allowing himself to be persuaded. See the discussion of this question in the commentary on 1Ki 22:20. The remark of Calvin on the verse before us is

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correct: “it teaches that neither impostures nor frauds take place apart from the will of God” (nisi Deo volente). But this willing on the part of God, or the persuading of the prophets to the utterance of self-willed words, which have not been inspired by God, only takes place in persons who admit evil into themselves, and is designed to tempt them and lead them to decide whether they will endeavour to resist and conquer the sinful inclinations of their hearts, or will allow them to shape themselves into outward deeds, in which case they will become ripe for judgment. It is in this sense that God persuades such a prophet, in order that He may then cut him off out of His people. But this punishment will not fall upon the prophet only. It will reach the seeker or inquirer also, in order if possible to bring Israel back from its wandering astray, and make it into a people of God purified from sin (Eze 14:10 and Eze 14:11). It was to this end that, in the last times of the kingdom of Judah, God allowed false prophecy to prevail so mightily, - namely, that it might accelerate the process of distinguishing between the righteous and the wicked; and then, by means of the judgment which destroyed the wicked, purify His nation and lead it on to the great end of its calling.
The Righteousness of the Godly will not Avert the Judgment
The threat contained in the preceding word of God, that if the idolaters did not repent, God would not answer them in any other way than with an exterminating judgment, left the possibility still open, that He would avert the destruction of Judah and Jerusalem for the sake of the righteous therein, as He had promised the patriarch Abraham that He would do in the case of Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen 18:23.). This hope, which might be cherished by the people and by the elders who had come to the prophet, is now to be taken from the people by the word of God which follows, containing as it does the announcement, that if any land should sin so grievously against God by its apostasy, He

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would be driven to inflict upon it the punishments threatened by Moses against apostate Israel (Lev 26:22, Lev 26:25-26, and elsewhere), namely, to destroy both man and beast, and make the land a desert; it would be of no advantage to such a land to have certain righteous men, such as Noah, Daniel, and Job, living therein. For although these righteous men would be saved themselves, their righteousness could not possibly secure salvation for the sinners. The manner in which this thought is carried out in Eze 14:13-20 is, that four exterminating punishments are successively supposed to come upon the land and lay it waste; and in the case of every one, the words are repeated, that even righteous men, such as Noah, Daniel, and Job, would only save their own souls, and not one of the sinners. And thus, according to Eze 14:21-23, will the Lord act when He sends His judgments against Jerusalem; and He will execute them in such a manner that the necessity and righteousness of His acts shall be made manifest therein. - This word of God forms a supplementary side-piece to Jer 15:1 -43, where the Lord replies to the intercession of the prophet, that even the intercession of a Moses and a Samuel on behalf of the people would not avert the judgments which were suspended over them.

Verses 12-20 Edit

Eze 14:12. And the word of Jehovah came to me, saying, Eze 14:13. Son of man, if a land sin against me to act treacherously, and I stretch out my hand against it, and break in pieces for it the support of bread, and send famine into it, and cut off from it man and beast: Eze 14:14. And there should be these three men therein, Noah, Daniel, and Job, they would through their righteousness deliver their soul, is the saying of the Lord Jehovah. Eze 14:15. If I bring evil beasts into the land, so that they make it childless, and it become a desert, so that no one passeth through it because of the beasts: Eze 14:16. These three men therein, as I live, is the saying of the Lord Jehovah, would not deliver sons and daughters; they only would be delivered, but the land would become a desert. Eze 14:17. Or I bring the sword into that land, and say, Let the sword go through the land; and I cut off from it man and beast:

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Eze 14:18. These three men therein, as I live, is the saying of the Lord Jehovah, would not deliver sons and daughters, but they only would be delivered. Eze 14:19. Or I send pestilence into that land, and pour out my fury upon it in blood, to cut off from it man and beast: Eze 14:20. Verily, Noah, Daniel, and Job, in the midst of it, as I live, is the saying of the Lord Jehovah, would deliver neither son nor daughter; they would only deliver their own soul through their righteousness. - ארץ in Eze 14:13 is intentionally left indefinite, that the thought may be expressed in the most general manner. On the other hand, the sin is very plainly defined as למעל־מעל. מעל, literally, to cover, signifies to act in a secret or treacherous manner, especially towards Jehovah, either by apostasy from Him, in other words, by idolatry, or by withholding what is due to Him (see comm. on Lev 5:15). In the passage before us it is the treachery of apostasy from Him by idolatry that is intended. As the epithet used to denote the sin is taken from Lev 26:40 and Deu 32:51, so the four punishments mentioned in the following verses, as well as in Eze 5:17, are also taken from Lev 26, - viz. the breaking up of the staff of bread, from v. 26; the evil beasts, from Eze 14:22; and the sword and pestilence, from v. 25. The three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, are named as examples of true righteousness of life, or צדקה (Eze 14:14, Eze 14:20); i.e., according to Calvin's correct explanation, quicquid pertinet ad regulam sancte et juste vivendi. Noah is so described in Gen 6:9; and Job, in the Book of Job 1:1; Job 12:4, etc.; and Daniel, in like manner, is mentioned in Dan 1:8., Eze 6:11., as faithfully confessing his faith in his life. The fact that Daniel is named before Job does not warrant the conjecture that some other older Daniel is meant, of whom nothing is said in the history, and whose existence is merely postulated. For the enumeration is not intended to be chronological, but is arranged according to the subject-matter; the order being determined by the nature of the deliverance experienced by these men for their righteousness in the midst of

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great judgments. Consequently, as Hävernick and Kliefoth have shown, we have a climax here: Noah saved his family along with himself; Daniel was able to save his friends (Dan 2:17-18); but Job, with his righteousness, was not even able to save his children. - The second judgment (Eze 14:15) is introduced with לוּ, which, as a rule, supposes a case that is not expected to occur, or even regarded as possible; here, however, לוּ is used as perfectly synonymous with אם. שׁכּלתה has no Mappik, because the tone is drawn back upon the penultima (see comm. on Amo 1:11). In Eze 14:19, the expression “to pour out my wrath in blood” is a pregnant one, for to pour out my wrath in such a manner that it is manifested in the shedding of blood or the destruction of life, for the life is in the blood. In this sense pestilence and blood were also associated in Eze 5:17.
If we look closely at the four cases enumerated, we find the following difference in the statements concerning the deliverance of the righteous: that, in the first instance, it is simply stated that Noah, Daniel, and Job would save their soul, i.e., their life, by their righteousness; whereas, in the three others, it is declared that as truly as the Lord liveth they would not save either sons or daughters, but they alone would be delivered. The difference is not merely a rhetorical climax or progress in the address by means of asseveration and antithesis, but indicates a distinction in the thought. The first case is only intended to teach that in the approaching judgment the righteous would save their lives, i.e., that God would not sweep away the righteous with the ungodly. The three cases which follow are intended, on the other hand, to exemplify the truth that the righteousness of the righteous will be of no avail to the idolaters and apostates; since even such patterns of righteousness as Noah, Daniel, and Job would only save their own lives, and would not be able to save the lives of others also. This tallies with the omission of the asseveration in Eze 14:14. The first declaration, that God would deliver the righteous in the coming judgments, needed no asseveration,

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inasmuch as this truth was not called in question; but it was required in the case of the declaration that the righteousness of the righteous would bring no deliverance to the sinful nation, since this was the hope which the ungodly cherished, and it was this hope which was to be taken from them. The other differences which we find in the description given of the several cases are merely formal in their nature, and do not in any way affect the sense; e.g., the use of לא, in Eze 14:18, instead of the particle אם, which is commonly employed in oaths, and which we find in Eze 14:16 and Eze 14:20; the choice of the singular been בּן and בּת, in Eze 14:20, in the place of the plural בּנים וּבנות, used in Eze 14:16 and Eze 14:18; and the variation in the expressions, ינצּלוּ נפשׁם (Eze 14:14), יצּילוּ נפשׁם (Eze 14:20), and המּה לבדּם ינּצלוּ (Eze 14:16 and Eze 14:18), which Hitzig proposes to remove by altering the first two forms into the third, though without the slightest reason. For although the Piel occurs in Exo 12:36 in the sense of taking away or spoiling, and is not met with anywhere else in the sense of delivering, it may just as well be used in this sense, as the Hiphil has both significations.

Verses 21-23 Edit

The rule expounded in Eze 14:13-20 is here applied to Jerusalem. - Eze 14:21. For thus saith the Lord Jehovah, How much more when I send my four evil judgments, sword, and famine, and evil beasts, and pestilence, against Jerusalem, to cut off from it man and beast? Eze 14:22. And, behold, there remain escaped ones in her who will be brought out, sons and daughters; behold, they will go out to you, that ye may see their walk and their works; and console yourselves concerning the evil which I have brought upon Jerusalem. Eze 14:23. And they will console you, when ye see their walk and their works: and ye will see that I have not done without cause all that I have done to her, is the saying of the Lord Jehovah. - By כּי in Eze 14:21 the application of the general rule to Jerusalem is made in the form of a reason. The meaning, however, is not, that the reason why Jehovah was obliged to act in this unsparing manner was to be found in the corrupt condition of

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the nation, as Hävernick supposes, - a thought quite foreign to the context; but כּי indicates that the judgments upon Jerusalem will furnish a practical proof of the general truth expressed in Eze 14:13-20, and so confirm it. This כּי is no more an emphatic yea than the following “אף is a forcible introduction to the antithesis formed by the coming fact, to the merely imaginary cases mentioned above” (Hitzig). אף has undoubtedly the force of a climax, but not of an asseveration, “verily” (Häv.); a meaning which this particle never has. It is used here, as in Job 4:19, in the sense of אף כּי; and the כּי which follows אף swollof hcihw in this case is a conditional particle of time, “when.” Consequently כי ought properly to be written twice; but it is only used once, as in Eze 15:5; Job 9:14, etc. The thought is this: how much more will this be the case, namely, that even a Noah, Daniel, and Job will not deliver either sons or daughters when I send my judgments upon Jerusalem. The perfect שׁלּחתּי is used, and not the imperfect, as in Eze 14:13, because God has actually resolved upon sending it, and does not merely mention it as a possible case. The number four is significant, symbolizing the universality of the judgment, or the thought that it will fall on all sides, or upon the whole of Jerusalem; whereby it must also be borne in mind that Jerusalem as the capital represents the kingdom of Judah, or the whole of Israel, so far as it was still in Canaan. At the same time, by the fact that the Lord allows sons and daughters to escape death, and to be led away to Babylon, He forces the acknowledgment of the necessity and righteousness of His judgments among those who are in exile. This is in general terms the thought contained in Eze 14:22 and Eze 14:23, to which very different meanings have been assigned by the latest expositors. Hävernick, for example, imagines that, in addition to the four ordinary judgments laid down in the law, Eze 14:22 announces a new and extraordinary one; whereas Hitzig and Kliefoth have found in these two verses the consolatory assurance, that in the time of the judgments a few of the younger generation

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will be rescued and taken to those already in exile in Babylon, there to excite pity as well as to express it, and to give a visible proof of the magnitude of the judgment which has fallen upon Israel. They differ so far from each other, however, that Hitzig regards those of the younger generation who are saved as צדּיקים, who have saved themselves through their innocence, but not their guilty parents, and who will excite the commiseration of those already in exile through their blameless conduct; whilst Kliefoth imagines that those who are rescued are simply less criminal than the rest, and when they come to Babylon will be pitied by those who have been longer in exile, and will pity them in return.
Neither of these views does justice to the words themselves or to the context. The meaning of. Eze 14:22 is clear enough; and in the main there has been no difference of opinion concerning it. When man and beast are cut off out of Jerusalem by the four judgments, all will not perish; but פּליטה, i.e., persons who have escaped destruction, will be left, and will be led out of the city. These are called sons and daughters, with an allusion to Eze 14:16, Eze 14:18, and Eze 14:20; and consequently we must not take these words as referring to the younger generation in contrast to the older. They will be led out of Jerusalem, not to remain in the land, but to come to “you,” i.e., those already in exile, that is to say, to go into exile to Babylon. This does not imply either a modification or a sharpening of the punishment; for the cutting off of man and beast from a town may be effected not only by slaying, but by leading away. The design of God in leaving some to escape, and carrying them to Babylon, is explained in the clauses which follow from וּראיתם onwards, the meaning of which depends partly upon the more precise definition of דּרכּם and עלילותם, and partly upon the explanation to be given of נחמתּם and ונחמוּ אתכם. The ways and works are not to be taken without reserve as good and righteous works, as Kliefoth has correctly shown in his reply to Hitzig. Still less can ways and works denote their

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experience or fate, which is the explanation given by Kliefoth of the words, when expounding the meaning and connection of Eze 14:21-23. The context certainly points to wicked ways and evil works. And it is only the sight of such works that could lead to the conviction that it was not חנּם, in vain, i.e., without cause, that God had inflicted such severe judgments upon Jerusalem. And in addition to this effect, which is mentioned in Eze 14:23 as produced upon those who were already in exile, by the sight of the conduct of the פּליטה that came to Babylon, the immediate design of God is described in Eze 14:22 as 'ונחמתּם על־הרעה וגו. The verb נחם with על cannot be used here in the sense of to repent of, or be sorry for, a judgment which God has inflicted upon him, but only of evil which he himself has done; and נחם does not mean to pity a person, either when construed in the Piel with an accusative of the person, or in the Niphal c. על, rei. נחמתּם is Niphal, and signifies here to console oneself, as in Gen 38:12 with על, concerning anything, as in 2Sa 13:39; Jer 31:15, etc.; and נחמוּ (Eze 14:23), with the accusative of the person, to comfort any one, as in Gen. 51:21; Job 2:11, etc. But the works and doings of those who came to Babylon could only produce this effect upon those who were already there, from the fact that they were of such a character as to demonstrate the necessity for the judgments which had fallen upon Jerusalem. A conviction of the necessity for the divine judgments would cause them to comfort themselves with regard to the evil inflicted by God; inasmuch as they would see, not only that the punishment endured was a chastisement well deserved, but that God in His righteousness would stay the punishment when it had fulfilled His purpose, and restore the penitent sinner to favour once more. But the consolation which those who were in exile would derive from a sight of the works of the sons and daughters who had escaped from death and come to Babylon, is attributed in Eze 14:23

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(נחמוּ אתכם) to the persons themselves. It is in this sense that it is stated that “they will comfort you;” not by expressions of pity, but by the sight of their conduct. This is directly affirmed in the words, “when ye shall see their conduct and their works.” Consequently Eze 14:23 does not contain a new thought, but simply the thought already expressed in Eze 14:22, which is repeated in a new form to make it the more emphatic. And the expression את כּל־אשׁר , in Eze 14:22, serves to increase the force; whilst את, in the sense of quoad, serves to place the thought to be repeated in subordination to the whole clause (cf. Ewald, §277a, p. 683). Jerusalem, the Useless Wood of a Wild Vine
As certainly as God will not spare Jerusalem for the sake of the righteousness of the few righteous men therein, so certain is it that Israel has no superiority over other nations, which could secure Jerusalem against destruction. As the previous word of God overthrows false confidence in the righteousness of the godly, what follows in this chapter is directed against the fancy that Israel cannot be rejected and punished by the overthrow of the kingdom, because of its election to be the people of God.

Chap. 15 Edit

Verses 1-8 Edit

Eze 15:1-8And the word of Jehovah came to me, saying, Eze 15:2. Son of man, what advantage has the wood of the vine over every wood, the vine-branch, which was among the trees of the forest? Eze 15:3. Is wood taken from it to use for any work? or do men take a peg from it to hang all kinds of vessels upon? Eze 15:4. Behold, it is given to the fire to consume. If the fire has consumed its two ends, and the middle of it is scorched, will it then be fit for any work? Eze 15:5. Behold, when it is uninjured, it is not used for any work: how much less when the fire has consumed it and scorched it can it be still used for work? Eze 15:6. Therefore thus saith the Lord Jehovah, As the wood of the vine among the wood of the forest, which I give to the fire to consume,

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so do I give up the inhabitants of Jerusalem, Eze 15:7. And direct my face against them. They have gone out of the fire, and the fire will consume them; that ye may learn that I am Jehovah, when I set my face against them. Eze 15:8. And I make the land a desert, because they committed treachery, is the saying of the Lord Jehovah. - Israel is like the wood of the wild vine, which is put into the fire to burn, because it is good for nothing. From Deu 32:32-33 onwards, Israel is frequently compared to a vine or a vineyard (cf. Psa 80:9.; Isa 5; Hos 10:1; Jer 2:21), and always, with the exception of Ps 80, to point out its degeneracy. This comparison lies at the foundation of the figure employed, in Eze 15:2-5, of the wood of the wild vine. This wood has no superiority over any other kind of wood. It cannot be used, like other timber, for any useful purposes; but is only fit to be burned, so that it is really inferior to all other wood (Eze 15:2 and Eze 15:3). And if, in its perfect state, it cannot be used for anything, how much less when it is partially scorched and consumed (Eze 15:4 and Eze 15:5)! מה־יּהיה, followed by מן, means, what is it above (מן, comparative)? - i.e., what superiority has it to כּל־עץ, all kinds of wood? i.e., any other wood. 'הזמורה אשׁר וגו is in apposition to עץ הנּפן, and is not to be connected with מכּל־עץ, as it has been by the lxx and Vulgate, - notwithstanding the Masoretic accentuation, - so as to mean every kind of fagot; for זמורה does not mean a fagot, but the tendril or branch of the vine (cf. Eze 8:17), which is still further defined by the following relative clause: to be a wood-vine, i.e., a wild vine, which bears only sour, uneatable grapes. The preterite היה (which was; not, “is”) may be explained from the idea that the vine had been fetched from the forest in order that its wood might be used. The answer given in Eze 15:3 is, that this vine-wood cannot be used for any purpose whatever, not even as a peg for hanging any kind of domestic utensils upon (see comm. on Zec 10:4). It is too weak even for this. The object has to be supplied to לעשׂות למלאכה: to make, or apply it, for any work. Because it cannot

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be used as timber, it is burned. A fresh thought is introduced in Eze 15:4 by the words 'את שׁני ק. The two clauses in Eze 15:4 are to be connected together. The first supposes a case, from which the second is deduced as a conclusion. The question, “Is it fit for any work?” is determined in Eze 15:5 in the negative. אף כּי: as in Eze 14:21. נחר: perfect; and יחר: imperfect, Niphal, of חרר, in the sense of, to be burned or scorched. The subject to waויּחר is no doubt the wood, to which the suffix in אכלתהוּ refers. At the same time, the two clauses are to be understood, in accordance with Eze 15:4, as relating to the burning of the ends and the scorching of the middle. - Eze 15:6-8. In the application of the parable, the only thing to which prominence is given, is the fact that God will deal with the inhabitants of Jerusalem in the same manner as with the vine-wood, which cannot be used for any kind of work. This implies that Israel resembles the wood of a forest-vine. As this possesses no superiority to other wood, but, on the contrary, is utterly useless, so Israel has no superiority to other nations, but is even worse than they, and therefore is given up to the fire. This is accounted for in Eze 15:7 : “They have come out of the fire, and the fire will consume them” (the inhabitants of Jerusalem). These words are not to be interpreted proverbially, as meaning, “he who escapes one judgment falls into another” (Hävernick), but show the application of Eze 15:4 and Eze 15:5 to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. Out of a fire one must come either burned or scorched. Israel has been in the fire already. It resembles a wild vine which has been consumed at both ends by the fire, while the middle has been scorched, and which is now about to be given up altogether to the fire. We must not restrict the fire, however, out of which it has come half consumed, to the capture of Jerusalem in the time of Jehoiachin, as Hitzig does, but must extend it to all the judgments which fell upon the covenant nation, from the destruction of the kingdom of the ten tribes to the catastrophe in the reign of Jehoiachin, and in consequence of which Israel now resembled

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a vine burned at both ends and scorched in the middle. The threat closes in the same manner as the previous one. Compare Eze 15:7 with Eze 14:8, and Eze 15:8 with Eze 14:15 and Eze 14:13.

Chap. 16 Edit

Verses 1-5 Edit

Ingratitude and Unfaithfulness of Jerusalem. Its Punishment and Shame Edit

The previous word of God represented Israel as a wild and useless vine, which had to be consumed. But as God had planted this vine in His vineyard, as He had adopted Israel as His own people, the rebellious nation, though met by these threatenings of divine judgment, might still plead that God would not reject Israel, on account of its election as the covenant nation. This proof of false confidence in the divine covenant of grace is removed by the word of God in the present chapter, which shows that by nature Israel is no better than other nations; and that, in consequence of its shameful ingratitude towards the Lord, who saved it from destruction in the days of its youth, it has sinned so grievously against Him, and has sunk so low among the heathen through its excessive idolatry, that God is obliged to punish and judge it in the same manner as the others. At the same time, the Lord will continue mindful of His covenant; and on the restoration of Sodom and Samaria, He will also turn the captivity of Jerusalem, - to the deep humiliation and shame of Israel, - and will establish an everlasting covenant with it. - The contents of this word of God divide themselves, therefore, into three parts. In the first, we have the description of the nations's sin, through its falling away from its God into idolatry (vv. 2-34); in the second, the announcement of the punishment (vv. 35-52); and in the third, the restoration of Israel to favour (Eze 16:53-63). The past, present, and future of Israel are all embraced, from its first commencement to its ultimate consummation. - These copious contents are draped in an allegory, which is carried out on a magnificent scale. Starting from the representation

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of the covenant relation existing between the Lord and His people, under the figure of a marriage covenant, - which runs through the whole of the Scriptures, - Jerusalem, the capital of the kingdom of God, as the representative of Israel, the covenant nation, is addressed as a wife; and the attitude of God to Israel, as well of that of Israel to its God, is depicted under this figure.
Eze 16:1-5
Israel, by nature unclean, miserable, and near to destruction (Eze 16:3-5), is adopted by the Lord and clothed in splendour (Eze 16:6-14). Eze 16:1 and Eze 16:2 form the introduction. - Eze 16:1. And the word of Jehovah came to me, saying, Eze 16:2. Son of man, show Jerusalem her abominations. - The “abominations” of Jerusalem are the sins of the covenant nation, which were worse than the sinful abominations of Canaan and Sodom. The theme of this word of God is the declaration of these abominations. To this end the nation is first of all shown what it was by nature.- Eze 16:3. And say, Thus saith the Lord Jehovah to Jerusalem, Thine origin and thy birth are from the land of the Canaanites; thy father was the Amorite, and thy mother a Hittite. Eze 16:4. And as for thy birth, in the day of thy birth thy navel was not cut, and thou wast not bathed in water for cleansing; and not rubbed with salt, and not wrapped in bandages. Eze 16:5. No eye looked upon thee with pity, to do one of these to thee in compassion; but thou wast cast into the field, in disgust at thy life, on the day of thy birth. - According to the allegory, which runs through the whole chapter, the figure adopted to depict the origin of the Israelitish nation is that Jerusalem, the existing representative of the nation, is described as a child, born of Canaanitish parents, mercilessly exposed after its birth, and on the point of perishing. Hitzig and Kliefoth show that they have completely misunderstood the allegory, when they not only explain the statement concerning the descent of Jerusalem, in Eze 16:3, as relating to the city of that name, but restrict it to the city alone, on the ground that “Israel as a whole was not of

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Canaanitish origin, whereas the city of Jerusalem was radically a Canaanitish, Amoritish, and Hittite city.” But were not all the cities of Israel radically Canaanaean? Or was Israel not altogether, but only half, of Aramaean descent? Regarded merely as a city, Jerusalem was neither of Amoritish nor Hittite origin, but simply a Jebusite city. And it is too obvious to need any proof, that the prophetic word does not refer to the city as a city, or to the mass of houses; but that Jerusalem, as the capital of the kingdom of Judah at that time, so far as its inhabitants were concerned, represents the people of Israel, or the covenant nation. It was not the mass of houses, but the population, - which was the foundling, - that excited Jehovah's compassion, and which He multiplied into myriads (Eze 16:7), clothed in splendour, and chose as the bride with whom He concluded a marriage covenant. The descent and birth referred to are not physical, but spiritual descent. Spiritually, Israel sprang from the land of the Canaanites; and its father was the Amorite ad its mother a Hittite, in the same sense in which Jesus said to the Jews, “Ye are of your father the devil” (Joh 8:44). The land of the Canaanites is mentioned as the land of the worst heathen abominations; and from among the Canaanitish tribes, the Amorites and Hittites are mentioned as father and mother, not because the Jebusites are placed between the two, in Num 13:29, as Hitzig supposes, but because they were recognised as the leaders in Canaanitish ungodliness. The iniquity of the Amorites (האמרי) was great even in Abraham's time, though not yet full or ripe for destruction (Gen 15:16); and the daughters of Heth, whom Esau married, caused Rebekah great bitterness of spirit (Gen 27:46). These facts furnish the substratum for our description. And they also help to explain the occurrence of האמרי with the article, and חתּית without it. The plurals מכרתיך and מלדתיך also point to spiritual descent; for physical generation and birth are both acts that take place once for all. מכרה or מכוּרה (Ezekiel 21:35; Eze 29:14) is not the

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place of begetting, but generation itself, from כּוּר = כּרה, to dig = to beget (cf. Isa 51:1). It is not equivalent to מקוּר, or a plural corresponding to the Latin natales, origines. תולדת: birth.
Eze 16:4 and Eze 16:5 describe the circumstances connected with the birth. וּמלדתיך (Eze 16:4) stands at the head as an absolute noun. At the birth of the child it did not receive the cleansing and care which were necessary for the preservation and strengthening of its life, but was exposed without pity. The construction הוּלדת אותך (the passive, with an accusative of the object) is the same as in Gen 40:20, and many other passages of the earlier writings. כּרּת: for כּרת (Jdg 6:28), Pual of כּרת; and שרּּך: from שׁר, with the reduplication of the r, which is very rare in Hebrew (vid., Ewald, §71). By cutting the navel-string, the child is liberated after birth from the blood of the mother, with which it was nourished in the womb. If the cutting be neglected, as well as the tying of the navel-string, which takes place at the same time, the child must perish when the decomposition of the placenta begins. The new-born child is then bathed, to cleanse it from the impurities attaching to it. משׁעי cannot be derived from שׁעה = שׁעע; because neither the meaning to see, to look (שׁעה), nor the other meaning to smear (שׁעע), yields a suitable sense. Jos. Kimchi is evidently right in deriving it from משׁע, in Arabic m’, 2 and 4, to wipe off, cleanse. The termination י is the Aramaean form of the absolute state, for the Hebrew משׁעית, cleansing (cf. Ewald, §165a). After the washing, the body was rubbed with salt, according to a custom very widely spread in ancient times, and still met with here and there in the East (vid., Hieron. ad h. l. Galen, de Sanit. i. 7; Troilo Reisebeschr. p. 721); and that not merely for the purpose of making the skin drier and firmer, or of cleansing it more thoroughly, but probably from a regard to the virtue of salt as a protection from putrefaction, “to express in a symbolical manner a hope and desire for the vigorous health of the child” (Hitzig and Hävernick). And, finally, it was bound round with swaddling-

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clothes. Not one of these things, so indispensable to the preservation and strengthening of the child, was performed in the case of Israel at the time of its birth from any feeling of compassionate love (להמלה, infinitive, to show pity or compassion towards it); but it was cast into the field, i.e., exposed, in order that it might perish בּגועל in disgust at thy life (compare גּעל, to thrust away, reject, despise, Lev 26:11; Lev 15:30). The day of the birth of Jerusalem, i.e., of Israel, was the period of its sojourn in Egypt, where Israel as a nation was born, - the sons of Jacob who went down to Egypt having multiplied into a nation. The different traits in this picture are not to be interpreted as referring to historical peculiarities, but have their explanation in the totality of the figure. At the same time, they express much more than “that Israel not only stood upon a level with all other nations, so far as its origin and its nature were concerned, but was more helpless and neglected as to both its nature and its natural advantages, possessing a less gifted nature than other nations, and therefore inferior to the rest” (Kliefoth). The smaller gifts, or humbler natural advantages, are thoughts quite foreign to the words of the figure as well as to the context. Both the Canaanitish descent and the merciless exposure of the child point to a totally different point of view, as indicated by the allegory. The Canaanitish descent points to the moral depravity of the nature of Israel; and the neglected condition of the child is intended to show how little there was in the heathen surroundings of the youthful Israel in Canaan and Egypt that was adapted to foster its life and health, or to educate Israel and fit it for its future destination. To the Egyptians the Israelites were an abomination, as a race of shepherds; and not long after the death of Joseph, the Pharaohs began to oppress the growing nation.
Israel therefore owes its preservation and exaltation to honour and glory to the Lord its God alone. -
Eze 16:6. Then I passed by thee, and saw thee stamping in thy blood, and said to thee, In thy blood live! and said to thee, In thy blood live!

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Eze 16:7. I made thee into myriads as the growth of the field, and thou grewest and becamest tall, and camest to ornament of cheeks. The breasts expanded, and thy hair grew, whereas thou wast naked and bare. Eze 16:8. And I passed by thee, and saw thee, and, behold, it was thy time, the time of love; and I spread my wing over thee, and covered thy nakedness; and I swore to thee, and entered into covenant with thee, is the saying of the Lord Jehovah, and thou becamest mine. Eze 16:9. And I bathed thee in water, and rinsed thy blood from thee, and anointed thee with oil. Eze 16:10. And I clothed thee with embroidered work, and shod thee with morocco, and wrapped thee round with byssus, and covered thee with silk. Eze 16:11. I adorned thee with ornaments, and put bracelets upon thy hands, and a chain around thy neck. Eze 16:12. And I gave thee a ring in thy nose, and earrings in thine ears, and a splendid crown upon thy head. Eze 16:13. And thou didst adorn thyself with gold and silver; and thy clothing was byssus, and silk, and embroidery. Wheaten-flour, and honey, and oil thou didst eat; and thou wast very beautiful; and didst thrive to regal dignity. Eze 16:14. Thy name went forth among the nations on account of thy beauty; for it was perfect through my glory, which I put upon thee, is the saying of the Lord Jehovah. - The description of what the Lord did for Israel in His compassionate love is divided into two sections by the repetition of the phrase “I passed by thee” (Eze 16:6 and Eze 16:8). The first embraces what God had done for the preservation and increase of the nation; the second, what He had done for the glorification of Israel, by adopting it as the people of His possession. When Israel was lying in the field as a neglected new-born child, the Lord passed by and adopted it, promising it life, and giving it strength to live. To bring out the magnitude of the compassion of God, the fact that the child was lying in its blood is mentioned again and again. The explanation to be given of מתבּוססת (the Hithpolel of בּוּס, to trample upon, tread under foot) is doubtful, arising from the difficulty of deciding whether the Hithpolel is to be taken in a passive or

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a reflective sense. The passive rendering, “trampled upon” (Umbreit), or ad conculcandum projectus, thrown down, to be trodden under foot (Gesenius, etc.), is open to the objection that the Hophal is used for this. We therefore prefer the reflective meaning, treading oneself, or stamping; as the objection offered to this, namely, that a new-born child thrown into a field would not be found stamping with the feet, has no force in an allegorical description. In the clause Eze 16:6, which is written twice, the question arises whether בּדמיך is to be taken with חיי or with ואמר : I said to thee, “In thy blood live;” or, “I said to thee in thy blood, 'Live.' “ We prefer the former, because it gives a more emphatic sense. בּדמיך is a concise expression; for although lying in thy blood, in which thou wouldst inevitably bleed to death, yet thou shalt live. Hitzig's proposal to connect בּדמיך in the first clause with חיי , and in the second with אמר, can hardly be entertained. A double construction of this kind is not required either by the repetition of אמר לך, or by the uniform position of בדמיך before חיי in both clauses, as compared with 1Ki 20:18 and Isa 27:5.
In Eze 16:7 the description of the real fact breaks through the allegory. The word of God חיי, live, was visibly fulfilled in the innumerable multiplication of Israel. But the allegory is resumed immediately. The child grew (רבה, as in Gen 21:20; Deu 30:16), and came into ornament of cheeks (בּוא with בּ, to enter into a thing, as in Eze 16:8; not to proceed in, as Hitzig supposes). עדי, not most beautiful ornament, or highest charms, for עדיים is not the plural of עדי; but according to the Chetib and most of the editions, with the tone upon the penultima, is equivalent to עדיים, a dual form; so that עדי cannot mean ornament in this case, but, as in Psa 39:9 and Psa 103:5, “the cheek,” which is the traditional meaning (cf. Ges. Thes. p. 993). Ornament of cheeks is youthful freshness and beauty of face. The clauses which follow describe the arrival of puberty. נכון, when applied to the breasts, means to expand, lit., to raise oneself up. שׂער = שׂער רגלים, pubes. The description

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given in these verses refers to the preservation and marvellous multiplication of Israel in Egypt, where the sons of Israel grew into a nation under the divine blessing. Still it was quite naked and bare (ערם and עריה are substantives in the abstract sense of nakedness and bareness, used in the place of adjective to give greater emphasis). Naked and bare are figurative expressions for still destitute of either clothing or ornaments. This implies something more than “the poverty of the people in the wilderness attached to Egypt” (Hitzig). Nakedness represents deprivation of all the blessings of salvation with which the Lord endowed Israel and made it glorious, after He had adopted it as the people of His possession. In Egypt, Israel was living in a state of nature, destitute of the gracious revelations of God.

Verses 8-14 Edit

The Lord then went past again, and chose for His bride the virgin, who had already grown up to womanhood, and with whom He contracted marriage by the conclusion of the covenant at Sinai. עתּך, thy time, is more precisely defined as עת דּדים, the time of conjugal love. I spread my wing over thee, i.e., the lappet of my garment, which also served as a counterpane; in other words, I married thee (cf. Ruth. Eze 3:9), and thereby covered thy nakedness. “I swore to thee,” sc. love and fidelity (cf. Hos 2:21-22), and entered into a covenant with thee, i.e., into that gracious connection formed by the adoption of Israel as the possession of Jehovah, which is represented as a marriage covenant (compare Exo 24:8 and Exo 19:5-6, and Deu 5:2 : - אתך for אתּך). Eze 16:9. describe how Jehovah provided for the purification, clothing, adorning, and maintenance of His wife. As the bride prepares herself for the wedding by washing and anointing, so did the Lord cleanse Israel from the blemishes and impurities which adhered to it from its birth. The rinsing from the blood must not be understood as specially referring either to the laws of purification given to the nation (Hitzig), or as relating solely to the purification effected by the covenant sacrifice (Hävernick). It embraces all that the Lord

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did for the purifying of the people from the pollution of sin, i.e., for its sanctification. The anointing with oil indicates the powers of the Spirit of God, which flowed to Israel from the divine covenant of grace. The clothing with costly garments, and adorning with all the jewellery of a wealthy lady or princess, points to the equipment of Israel with all the gifts that promote the beauty and glory of life. The clothing is described as made of the costliest materials with which queens were accustomed to clothe themselves. רקמה, embroidered cloth (Psa 45:15). תּחשׁ, probably the sea-cow, Manati (see the comm. on Exo 25:5). The word is used here for a fine description of leather of which ornamental sandals were made; a kind of morocco. “I bound thee round with byssus:” this refers to the headband; for חבשׁ is the technical expression for the binding or winding round of the turban-like headdress (cf. Eze 24:17; Exo 29:9; Lev 8:13), and is applied by the Targum to the headdress of the priests. Consequently covering with משׁי, as distinguished from clothing, can only refer to covering with the veil, one of the principal articles of a woman's toilet. The ἁπ. λεγ. משׁי (Eze 16:10 and Eze 16:13) is explained by the Rabbins as signifying silk. The lxx render it τρίχαπτον. According to Jerome, this is a word formed by the lxx: quod tantae subtilitatis fuerit vestimentum, ut pilorum et capillorum tenuitatem habere credatur. The jewellery included not only armlets, nose-rings, and ear-rings, which the daughters of Israel were generally accustomed to wear, but also necklaces and a crown, as ornaments worn by princesses and queens. For רביד, see comm. on Gen 41:42. Eze 16:13 sums up the contents of Eze 16:9-12. Sheeshiy שׁשׁי is made to conform to משׁי; the food is referred to once more; and the result of the whole is said to have been, that Jerusalem became exceedingly beautiful, and flourished even to royal dignity. The latter cannot be taken as referring simply to the establishment of the monarchy under David, any more than merely to the spiritual sovereignty for which Israel was chosen from the

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very beginning (Exo 19:5-6). The expression includes both, viz., the call of Israel to be a kingdom of priests, and the historical realization of this call through the Davidic sovereignty. The beauty, i.e., glory, of Israel became so great, that the name of fame of Israel sounded abroad in consequence among the nations. It was perfect, because the Lord had put His glory upon His Church. This, too, we must not restrict (as Hävernick does) to the far-sounding fame of Israel on its departure from Egypt (Exo 15:14.); it refers pre-eminently to the glory of the theocracy under David and Solomon, the fame of which spread into all lands. - Thus had Israel been glorified by its God above all the nations, but it did not continue in fellowship with its God.

Verses 15-22 Edit

The apostasy of Israel. Its origin and nature, Eze 16:15-22; its magnitude and extent, Eze 16:23-34. In close connection with what precedes, this apostasy is described as whoredom and adultery. - Eze 16:15. But thou didst trust in thy beauty, and didst commit fornication upon thy name, and didst pour out thy fornication over every one who passed by: his it became. Eze 16:16. Thou didst take off thy clothes, and didst make to thyself spotted heights, and didst commit fornication upon them: things which should not come, and that which should not take place. Eze 16:17. And thou didst take jewellery of thine ornament of my gold and of my silver, which I had given thee, and didst make thyself male images, and didst commit fornication with them; Eze 16:18. And thou didst take thy embroidered clothes, and didst cover them therewith: and my oil and my incense thou didst set before them. Eze 16:19. And my bread, which I gave to thee, fine flour, and oil, and honey, wherewith I fed thee, thou didst set before them for a pleasant odour: this came to pass, is the saying of the Lord Jehovah. Eze 16:20. And thou didst take thy sons and thy daughters, whom thou barest to me, and didst sacrifice them to them to devour. Was thy fornication too little? Eze 16:21. Thou didst slay my sons, and didst give them up, devoting them to them. Eze 16:22. And in all thine abominations and thy fornication thou didst not

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remember the days of thy youth, when thou wast naked and bare, and layest stamping in thy blood. - The beauty, i.e., the glory, of Israel led to its fall, because it made it the ground of its confidence; that is to say, it looked upon the gifts and possessions conferred upon it as its desert; and forgetting the giver, began to traffic with the heathen nations, and allowed itself to be seduced to heathen ways. For the fact, compare Deu 32:15 and Hos 13:6. “We are inflamed with pride and arrogance, and consequently profane the gifts of God, in which His glory ought to be resplendent” (Calvin). תּזני על שׁמך does not mean either “thou didst commit fornication notwithstanding thy name” (Winer and Ges. Thes. p. 422), or “against thy name” (Hävernick); for על connected with זנה has neither of these meanings, even in Jdg 19:2. It means, “thou didst commit fornication upon thy name, i.e., in reliance upon thy name” (Hitzig and Maurer); only we must not understand שׁם as referring to the name of the city of God, but must explain it, in accordance with Eze 16:14, as denoting the name, i.e., the renown, which Israel had acquired among the heathen on account of its beauty. In the closing words, לו יהי, לו refers to כּל־עובר, and יהי stands for ויהי, the copula having been dropped from ויהי because לו ought to stand first, and only יהי remaining (compare יך, Hos 6:1). The subject to יהי is יפי; the beauty became his (cf. Psa 45:12). This fornication is depicted in concrete terms in Eze 16:16-22; and with the marriage relation described in Eze 16:8-13 still in view, Israel is represented as giving up to idolatry all that it had received from its God. - Eze 16:16. With the clothes it made spotted heights for itself. בּמות stands for בּתּי בּמות, temples of heights, small temples erected upon heights by the side of the altars (1Ki 13:32; 2Ki 17:29; for the fact, see the comm. on 1Ki 3:2), which may probably have consisted simply of tents furnished with carpets. Compare 2Ki 23:7, where the women are described as weaving tents for Astarte, also the tent-like temples of the Slavonian

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tribes in Germany, which consisted of variegated carpets and curtains (see Mohne on Creuzer's Symbolik, V. p. 176). These bamoth Ezekiel calls טלאות, not variegated, but spotted or speckled (cf. Gen 30:32), possibly with the subordinate idea of patched (מטלּא, Jos 9:5), because they used for the carpets not merely whole garments, but pieces of cloth as well; the word being introduced here for the purpose of indicating contemptuously the worthlessness of such conduct. “Thou didst commit whoredom upon them,” i.e., upon the carpets in the tent-temples. The words 'לא באות וגו are no doubt relative clauses; but the usual explanation, “which has not occurred, and will not be,” after Exo 10:14, cannot be vindicated, as it is impossible to prove either the use of בּוא in the sense of occurring or happening (= היה), or the use of the participle instead of the preterite in connection with the future. The participle באות in this connection can only supply one of the many senses of the imperfect (Ewald, §168c), and, like יהיה, express that which ought to be. The participial form באות is evidently chosen for the sake of obtaining a paronomasia with בּמות: the heights which should not come (i.e., should not be erected); while לא יהיה points back to ותּזני עליהם: “what should not happen.”

Verses 17-22 Edit

The jewellery of gold and silver was used by Israel for צלמי זכר, idols of the male sex, to commit fornication with them. Ewald thinks that the allusion is to Penates (teraphim), which were set up in the house, with ornaments suspended upon them, and worshipped with lectisternia. But there is no more allusion to lectisternia here than in Eze 23:41. And there is still less ground for thinking, as Vatke, Movers, and Hävernick do, of Lingam-or Phallus-worship, of which it is impossible to find the slightest trace among the Israelites. The arguments used by Hävernick have been already proved by Hitzig to have no force whatever. The context does not point to idols of any particular kind, but to the many varieties of Baal-worship; whilst the worship of Moloch is specially mentioned in Eze 16:20. as being the greatest abomination of the whole. The

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fact that נתן לפּניהם, to set before them (the idols), does not refer to lectisternia, but to sacrifices offered as food for the gods, is indisputably evident from the words לריח ניחח, the technical expression for the sacrificial odour ascending to God (cf. Lev 1:9, Lev 1:13, etc.). ויּהי (Eze 16:19), and it came to pass (sc., this abomination), merely serves to give emphatic expression to the disgust which it occasioned (Hitzig). - Eze 16:20, Eze 16:21. And not even content with this, the adulteress sacrificed the children which God had given her to idols. The revulsion of feeling produced by the abominations of the Moloch-worship is shown in the expression לאכול, thou didst sacrifice thy children to idols, that they might devour them; and still more in the reproachful question 'המעט, “was there too little in thy whoredom?” מן before תּזנוּתיך is used in a comparative sense, though not to signify “was this a smaller thing than thy whoredom?” which would mean far too little in this connection. The מן is rather used, as in Eze 8:17 and Isa 49:6, in the sense of too: was thy whoredom, already described in Eze 16:16-19, too little, that thou didst also slaughter thy children to idols? The Chetib תזנותך (Eze 16:20 and Eze 16:25) is a singular, as in Eze 16:25 and Eze 16:29; whereas the Keri has treated it as a plural, as in Eze 16:15, Eze 16:22, and Eze 16:33, but without any satisfactory ground. The indignation comes out still more strongly in the description given of these abominations in Eze 16:21 : “thou didst slay my sons” (whereas in Eze 16:20 we have simply “thy sons, whom thou hast born to me”), “and didst give them up to them, בּהעביר, by making them pass through,” sc. the fire. העביר is used here not merely or lustration or februation by fire, but for the actual burning of the children slain as sacrifices, so that it is equivalent to העביר בּאשׁ למּלך (2Ki 23:10). By the process of burning, the sacrifices were given to Moloch to devour. Ezekiel has the Moloch-worship in his eye in the form which it had assumed from the times of Ahaz downwards, when the people began to burn their children to Moloch (cf. 2Ki 16:3; 2Ki 21:6; 2Ki 23:10), whereas all that can be proved to have been practised

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in earlier times by the Israelites was the passing of children through fire without either slaying or burning; a februation by fire (compare the remarks on this subject in the comm. on Lev 18:21). - Amidst all these abominations Israel did not remember its youth, or how the Lord had adopted it out of the deepest wretchedness to be His people, and had made it glorious through the abundance of His gifts. This base ingratitude shows the depth of its fall, and magnifies its guilt. For Eze 16:22 compare Eze 16:7 and Eze 16:6.

Verses 23-34 Edit

Extent and Magnitude of the Idolatry
Eze 16:23. And it came to pass after all thy wickedness - Woe, woe to thee! is the saying of the Lord Jehovah - Eze 16:24. Thou didst build thyself arches, and didst make thyself high places in all the streets. Eze 16:25. Thou didst build thy high places at every cross road, and didst disgrace thy beauty, and stretch open thy feet for every one that passed by, and didst increase thy whoredom. Eze 16:26. Thou didst commit fornication with the sons of Egypt thy neighbours, great in flesh, and didst increase thy whoredom to provoke me. Eze 16:27. And, behold, I stretched out my hand against thee, and diminished thine allowance, and gave thee up to the desire of those who hate thee, the daughters of the Philistines, who are ashamed of thy lewd way. Eze 16:28. And thou didst commit fornication with the sons of Asshur, because thou art never satisfied; and didst commit fornication with them, and wast also not satisfied. Eze 16:29. And thou didst increase thy whoredom to Canaan's land, Chaldaea, and even thereby wast not satisfied. Eze 16:30. How languishing is thy heart! is the saying of the Lord Jehovah, that thou doest all this, the doings of a dissolute prostitute. Eze 16:31. When thou buildest thy arches at every cross road, and madest thy high places in every road, thou wast not like the harlot, since thou despisedst payment. Eze 16:32. The adulterous wife taketh strangers instead of her husband. Eze 16:33. Men give presents to all prostitutes; but thou gavest thy presents to all thy suitors, and didst reward them for coming to thee from all sides, for fornication with thee. Eze 16:34.

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And there was in thee the very opposite of the women in thy whoredom, that men did not go whoring after thee. In that thou givest payment, and payment was not given to thee, thou wast the very opposite. - By אחרי כל־רעתך, the picture of the wide spread of idolatry, commenced in Eze 16:22, is placed in the relation of chronological sequence to the description already given of the idolatry itself. For all sin, all evil, must first exist before it can spread. The spreading of idolatry was at the same time an increase of apostasy from God. This is not to be sought, however, in the face that Israel forsook the sanctuary, which God had appointed for it as the scene of His gracious presence, and built itself idol-temples (Kliefoth). It consisted rather in this, that it erected idolatrous altars and little temples at all street-corners and cross-roads (Eze 16:24, Eze 16:25), and committed adultery with all heathen nations (Eze 16:26, Eze 16:28, Eze 16:29), and could not be induced to relinquish idolatry either by the chastisements of God (Eze 16:27), or by the uselessness of such conduct (Eze 16:32-34). כל־רעתך is the whole of the apostasy from the Lord depicted in Eze 16:15-22, which prevailed more and more as idolatry spread. The picture of this extension of idolatry is introduced with woe! woe! to indicate at the outset the fearful judgment which Jerusalem was bringing upon itself thereby. The exclamation of woe is inserted parenthetically; for ותּבני (Eze 16:24) forms the apodosis to ויהי in Eze 16:23. גּב and רמה are to be taken as general terms; but, as the singular גּבּך with the plural רמתיך in Eze 16:39 plainly shows, גּב is a collective word. Hävernick has very properly called attention to the analogy between גּב and קבּה in Num 25:8, which is used there to denote an apartment furnished or used for the service of Baal-peor. As קבּה, from קבב, signifies literally that which is arched, a vault; so גּב, from גּבב, is literally that which is curved or arched, a hump or back, and hence is used here for buildings erected for idolatrous purposes, small temples built on heights, which were probably so called to distinguish them as chapels for fornication. The ancient translations suggest this, viz.: lxx οἴκημα πορνικόν and ἔκθεμα,

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which Polychron. explains thus: προαγώγιον ἔνθα τὰς πόρνας τρέφειν εἴωθασι; Vulg.: lupanar and prostibulum. רמה signifies artificial heights, i.e., altars built upon eminences, commonly called bâmōth. The word râ̂̂mâh is probably chosen here with an allusion to the primary signification, height, as Jerome has said: quod excelsus sit ut volentibus fornicari procul appareat fornicationis locus et non necesse sit quaeri.
The increase of the whoredom, i.e., of the idolatry and illicit intercourse with heathenish ways, is individualized in Eze 16:26-29 by a specification of historical facts. We cannot agree with Hitzig in restricting the illicit intercourse with Egypt (Eze 16:26), Asshur (Eze 16:28), and Chaldaea (Eze 16:29) to political apostasy, as distinguished from the religious apostasy already depicted. There is nothing to indicate any such distinction. Under the figure of whoredom, both in what precedes and what follows, the inclination of Israel to heathen ways in all its extent, both religious and political, is embraced. Egypt stands first; for the apostasy of Israel from the Lord commenced with the worship of the golden calf, and the longing in the wilderness for the fleshpots of Egypt. From time immemorial Egypt was most deeply sunken in the heathenish worship of nature. The sons of Egypt as therefore described, in accordance with the allegory, as גּדלי , magni carne (bâzâr, a euphemism; cf. Eze 23:20), i.e., according to the correct explanation of Theodoret: μεθ ̓ὑπερβολῆς τῇ τῶν εἰδώλων θεραπείᾳ προστετηκότας ου. The way in which God punished this erring conduct was, that, like a husband who endeavours by means of chastisement to induce his faithless wife to return, He diminished the supply of food, clothing, etc. (chōg, as in Pro 30:8), intended for the wife (for the fact compare Hos 2:9-10); this He did by “not allowing Israel to attain to the glory and power which would otherwise have been conferred upon it; that is to say, by not permitting it to

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acquire the undisturbed and undivided possession of Canaan, but giving it up to the power and scorn of the princes of the Philistines” (Kliefoth). נתן בּנפשׁ, to give any one up to the desire of another. The daughters of the Philistines are the Philistian states, corresponding to the representation of Israel as an adulterous wife. The Philistines are mentioned as the principal foes, because Israel fell completely into their power at the end of the period of the Judges (cf. Judg 13-16; 1Sa 4:1); and they are referred to here, for the deeper humiliation of Israel, as having been ashamed of the licentious conduct of the Israelites, because they adhered to their gods, and did not exchange them for others as Israel had done (compare Jer 2:10-11). זמּה (v. 27) is in apposition to דּרכּך: thy way, which is zimmâh. Zimmâh is applied to the sin of profligacy, as in Lev 18:17. - But Israel was not improved by this chastisement. It committed adultery with Asshur also from the times of Ahaz, who sought help from the Assyrians (2Ki 16:7.); and even with this it was not satisfied; that is to say, the serious consequences brought upon the kingdom of Judah by seeking the friendship of Assyria did not sober it, so as to lead it to give up seeking for help from the heathen and their gods. In Eze 16:28, תּזני אל is distinguished from תּזנים (זנה, with accus.). The former denotes the immoral pursuit of a person for the purpose of procuring his favour; the latter, adulterous intercourse with him, when his favour has been secured. The thought of the verse is this: Israel sought the favour of Assyria, because it was not satisfied with illicit intercourse with Egypt, and continued to cultivate it; yet it did not find satisfaction or sufficiency even in this, but increased its adultery אל־ארץ כּנען כּשׂדּימה, to the Canaan's-land Chaldaea. ארץ כּנען is not the proper name of the land of Canaan here, but an appellative designation applied to Chaldaea (Kasdim) or Babylonia, as in Eze 17:4 (Raschi). The explanation of the words, as signifying the land of Canaan, is precluded by the fact that an allusion to Canaanitish idolatry and intercourse

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after the mention of Asshur would be out of place, and would not coincide with the historical order of things; since it cannot be shown that “a more general diffusion of the religious customs of Canaan took place after the Assyrian era.” And it is still more decidedly precluded by the introduction of the word כּשׂדּימה, which cannot possibly mean as far as, or unto, Chaldaea, and can only be a more precise definition of ארץ כנען. The only thing about which a question can be raised, is the reason why the epithet כנען should have been applied to Chaldaea; whether it merely related to the commercial spirit, in which Babylon was by no means behind the Canaanitish Tyre and Sidon, or whether allusion was also made to the idolatry and immorality of Canaan. The former is by no means to be excluded, as we find that in Eze 17:4 “the land of Canaan” is designated “a city of merchants” (rōkhelim). But we must not exclude the latter either, inasmuch as in the Belus- and Mylitta-worship of Babylon the voluptuous character of the Baal- and Astarte-worship of Canaan had degenerated into shameless unchastity (cf. Herodotus, i. 199).
In Eze 16:30, the contents of Eze 16:16-29 are summed up in the verdict which the Lord pronounces upon the harlot and adulteress: “yet how languishing is thy heart!” אמלה (as a participle Kal απ. λεγ..; since the verb only occurs elsewhere in the Pual, and that in the sense of faded or pining away) can only signify a morbid pining or languishing, or the craving of immodest desire, which has grown into a disease. The form לבּה is also ἁπ. λεγ..; but it is analogous to the plural לבּות.[18] שׁלּטת, powerful, commanding; as an epithet applied to zōnâh, one who knows no limit to her actions, unrestrained;

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hence in Arabic, insolent, shameless. Eze 16:31 contains an independent sentence, which facilitates the transition to the thought expanded in Eze 16:32-34, namely, that Jerusalem had surpassed all other harlots in her whoredoms. If we take Eze 16:31 as dependent upon the protasis in Eze 16:30, we not only get a very dragging style of expression, but the new thought expressed in Eze 16:31 is reduced to a merely secondary idea; whereas the expansion of it in Eze 16:32. shows that it introduces a new feature into the address. And if this is the case, ולא־הייתי cannot be taken as co-ordinate with עשׂיתי htiw etanidro-oc, but must be construed as the apodosis: “in thy building of rooms...thou wast not like the (ordinary) harlot, since thou disdainest payment.” For the plural suffix attached to בּבנותיך, see the commentary on Eze 6:8. The infinitive לקלּס answers to the Latin gerund in ndo (vid., Ewald, §237c and 280d), indicating wherein, or in what respect, the harlot Jerusalem differed from an ordinary prostitute; namely, in the fact that she disdained to receive payment for her prostitution. That this is the meaning of the words, is rendered indisputable by Eze 16:32-34. But the majority of expositors have taken לקלּס as indicating the point of comparison between Israel and other harlots, i.e., as defining in what respect Israel resembled other prostitutes; and then, as this thought is at variance with what follows, have attempted to remove the discrepancy by various untenable explanations. Most of them resort to the explanation: thou wast not like the other prostitutes, who disdain to receive their payment offered for their prostitution, in the hope of thereby obtaining still more,[19] an explanation which imports into the

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words a thought that has no existence in them at all. Hävernick seeks to fix upon קלס, by means of the Aramaean, the meaning to cry out (crying out payment), in opposition to the ordinary meaning of קלס, to disdain, or ridicule, in which sense Ezekiel also uses the noun קלּסה in Eze 22:4. Hitzig falls back upon the handy method of altering the text; and finally, Kliefoth gives to ל the imaginary meaning “so far as,” i.e., “to such a degree that,” which cannot be defended either through Exo 39:19 or from Deu 24:5.
With the loose way in which the infinitive construct with ל is used, we grant that the words are ambiguous, and might have the meaning which the majority of the commentators have discovered in them; but this view is by no means necessary, inasmuch as the subordinate idea introduced by לקלּס אתנן may refer quite as well to the subject of the sentence, “thou,” as to the zōnâh with whom the subject is compared. Only in the latter case the קלּס would apply to other harlots as well as to Israel; whereas in the former it applies to Israel alone, and shows in what it was that Israel did not resemble ordinary prostitutes. But the explanation which followed was a sufficient safeguard against mistake. In this explanation adulteresses are mentioned first (v. 32), and then common prostitutes (vv. 33, 34). V. 32 must not be taken, as it has been by the majority of commentators, as an exclamation, or a reproof addressed to the adulteress Jerusalem: O thou adulterous wife, that taketh strangers instead of her husband! Such an exclamation as this does not suit the connection at all. But the verse is not to be struck out on that account, as Hitzig proposes. It has simply to be construed in another way, and taken as a statement of what adulteresses do (Kliefoth). They take strangers instead of their husband, and seek their recompense in the simple change, and the pleasure of being with other men. תּחת אישׁהּ, lit., under her husband, i.e., as a wife subject to her husband, as in the connection with זנה in Eze 23:5 and Hos 4:12 (see the comm. on Num 5:19). - Eze 16:33, Eze 16:34. Common prostitutes give themselves up for presents;

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but Israel, on the contrary, gave presents to its lovers, so that it did the very opposite to all other harlots, and the practice of ordinary prostitutes was left far behind by that of Israel. The change of forms נדא and נדן (a present) is probably to be explained simply on the ground that the form נדא was lengthened into נדן with a consonant as the termination, because the suffix could be attached more easily to the other. הפך, the reverse, the opposite, i.e., with the present context, something unheard of, which never occurred in the case of any other harlot. - Ezekiel has thus fulfilled the task appointed him in Eze 16:2, to charge Jerusalem with her abominations. The address now turns to an announcement of the punishment.
As Israel has been worse than all the heathen, Jehovah will punish it notwithstanding its election, so that its shame shall be uncovered before all the nations (Eze 16:36-42), and the justice of the judgment to be inflicted upon it shall be made manifest (Eze 16:43-52). According to these points of view, the threat of punishment divides itself into two parts in the following manner: - In the first (Eze 16:35-42) we have, first of all (in Eze 16:36), a recapitulation of the guilty conduct described in vv. 16-34; and secondly, an announcement of the punishment corresponding to the guilt, as the punishment of adultery and murder (Eze 16:37 and Eze 16:48), and a picture of its infliction, as retribution for the enormities committed (Eze 16:39-42). In the second part (Eze 16:43-52) there follows a proof of the justice of this judgment.

Verses 35-42 Edit

The punishment will correspond to the sin. - Eze 16:35. Therefore, O harlot, hear the word of Jehovah! Eze 16:36. Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, Because thy brass has been lavished, and thy shame exposed in thy whoredom with thy lovers, and because of all the idols of thine abominations, and according to the blood of thy sons, which thou hast given them; Eze 16:37. Therefore, behold, I will gather together all thy lovers, whom thou hast pleased, and all whom thou hast loved, together with all whom thou hast hated, and will gather them against thee

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from round about, and will expose thy shame to them, that they may see all thy shame. Eze 16:38. I will judge thee according to the judgment of adulteresses and murderesses, and make thee into blood of wrath and jealousy. Eze 16:39. And I will give thee into their hand, that they may destroy thy arches, and pull down thy heights; that they may strip thy clothes off thee, and take thy splendid jewellery, and leave thee naked and bare. Eze 16:40. And they shall bring up a company against thee, and stone thee, and cut thee in pieces with their swords. Eze 16:41. And they shall burn thy houses with fire, and execute judgment upon thee before the eyes of many women. Thus do I put an end to thy whoredom.; and thou wilt also give payment no more. Eze 16:42. And I quiet my fury toward thee, and will turn away my jealousy from thee, that I may repose and vex myself no more. - In the brief summary of the guilt of the whore, the following objects are singled out, as those for which she is to be punished: (1) the pouring out of her brass and the exposure of her shame; (2) the idols of her abominations (with על before the noun, corresponding to יען before the infinitive); (3) the blood of her sons, with the preposition כּ, according to, to indicate the measure of her punishment. Two things are mentioned as constituting the first ground of punishment. The first is, “because thy brass has been poured out.” Most of the commentators have explained this correctly, as referring to the fact that Israel had squandered the possessions received from the Lord, viz., gold, silver, jewellery, clothing, and food (Eze 16:10-13 and Eze 16:16-19), upon idolatry. The only difficulty connected with this is the use of the word nechōsheth, brass or copper, in the general sense of money or metal, as there are no other passages to support this use of the word. At the same time, the objection raised to this, namely, that nechōsheth cannot signify money, because the Hebrews had no copper coin, is an assertion without proof, since all that can be affirmed with certainty is, that the use of copper or brass as money is not mentioned anywhere in the Old Testament, with the exception of

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the passage before us. But we cannot infer with certainty from this that it was not then in use. As soon as the Hebrews began to stamp coins, bronze or copper coins were stamped as well as the silver shekels, and specimens of these are still in existence from the time of the Maccabees, with the inscription “Simon, prince of Israel” (cf. Cavedoni, Bibl. Numismatik, transl. by Werlhof, p