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Bible Commentaries
Ezekiel 23

Barnes' Notes on the Whole BibleBarnes' Notes

Verse 1

The seventh word of judgment. The allegory of Aholah and Aholibah.

Verse 2

Of one mother - Israel and Judah were branches of the same stock.

Verse 4

Aholah ... and Aholibah - More correctly “Oholah” (“her own tent or tabernacle”) and “Oholibah” (“My tent or tabernacle is in her”): names chosen to express that after the division Israel set up her own tabernacle in the place of the temple in which God dwelt 1 Kings 12:32, while with Judah the Temple of God still remained. The presence of God aggravated Judah’s sins. In the times of the captivity it was customary among the Jews to give their children names connected with the temple or tabernacle.

Verse 6

The army of the Assyrians is described. War-horses formed an important part in the armies of Assyria and Egypt; Israel was deficient in this respect Isaiah 36:8.

Verse 9

For the cause which at last brought destruction on Israel, see marginal reference.

Verse 10

Famous - Or, “infamous among women;” literally as in the margin, i. e., a byword among women.

Verse 11

The idolatries of Manasseh’s reign exceeded all that had gone before either in Israel or in Judah 2 Kings 21:1-16; 2 Chronicles 33:1-10.

Verse 14

After Israel’s captivity Judah intrigued first with Assyria, then with Babylon, courting their monarchs, imitating their customs, and learning their idolatries.

Pourtrayed upon the wall - The monuments of Nineveh show how the walls of its palaces were adorned with figures precisely answering to this description. There is evidence that these sculptures were highly colored with vermilion, or rather, red ochre.

Verse 16

The sending of “messengers” refers to the act of Ahaz 2 Kings 16:7.

Verse 17

After Josiah’s death and the usurpation of dominion by the Egyptians, the Babylonians were no doubt welcomed as friends 2 Kings 24:1. But the Jews were soon tired of their alliance and disgusted with their friends, and this led to the rebellion of Jehoiakim and the first captivity.

Verse 19

Egypt - The kings of Judah played alternately Egypt against Babylon, and Babylon against Egypt. Jehoahaz was displaced by Necho for Jehoiakim, who then turned to the Chaldaeans, and afterward rebelling sought aid from Egypt. So Zedekiah was continually meditating help from Egypt, against which Jeremiah and Ezekiel were continually protesting.

Verse 23

Pekod, and Shoa, and Koa - Possibly words expressive of rank, or names of small Chaldaean tribes, selected for their resemblance to expressive Hebrew words.

Verse 24

With chariots ... - Better “with armor, horsemen, and chariot.”

Verse 25

Take away thy nose and thine ears - Alluding to the barbarous custom of mutilating prisoners in the east Daniel 2:5. An Egyptian law prescribed this punishment for an adulteress.

Fire - A mode of capital punishment Jeremiah 29:22; Daniel 3:0.

Verse 37

Blood - One of the chief sins of Manasseh was that he shed innocent blood 2 Kings 21:16; 2 Kings 24:4.

Verse 38

The same day - The day when they made their offerings. See Ezekiel 23:39.

Verse 39

Yahweh was placed as it were in the list of deities, not acknowledged as the One God. Idols and idol-temples were erected close to the House of God, and yet the temple-service went on Jeremiah 32:34.

Verses 40-41

The figure is that of a woman decked in all her beauty, sitting on a couch (not bed) at a banquet prepared for those whom she has invited. This further offence is not one of idolatry, but that of courting alliances with other powers which were not less readily made than broken.

Ezekiel 23:40

That ye have sent - Better, “they (i. e., Israel and Judah) sent.”

Verse 42

A voice ... - Or, The voice of the tumult was stilled thereby. The tumultuous cries of the invading army were stilled by these gifts. Others render being at ease, “living carelessly.”

Of the common sort - See the margin - a multitudinous crowd.

Sabeans - Better as in the margin. The Chaldaeans were noted for their intemperance and revellings.

The wilderness - The desert tract which the Chalaeans had to pass from the north of Mesopotamia to the holy land. This verse describes the temporary effects of the alliance of Israel and Judah with the Assyrians and Babylonians. All became quiet, the allies received gifts (incense and oil) from Israel and Judah, and these in turn brought riches to Palestine, “bracelets upon their” (i. e., Aholah’s and Aholibah’s) “hands,” and crowns “upon their heads.”

Verse 43

Will they now commit ... - Rather, Now shall there be committed her whoredom, even this; i. e., when Israel and Judah had courted these alliances God said in wrath, “This sin too shall be committed, and so (not “yet) they went in;” the alliances were made according to their desires, and then followed the consequent punishment.

Verses 45-49

The judgment to be executed by the hands of their allies.

Ezekiel 23:45

The righteous men - Or, righteous men. The allies are so called as the instruments of God’s righteous judgments.

Ezekiel 23:48

To cease - Because they are stricken and consumed. Compare marginal reference.

All women - i. e., all countries.

Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Ezekiel 23". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/bnb/ezekiel-23.html. 1870.
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