Bible Commentaries

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Ezekiel 25

Verses 1-7

It was a distinct part of scriptural prophecy to address pagan nations. In Isaiah Ephesians 6:12, but in which she will surely prevail.

It was a distinct part of scriptural prophecy to address pagan nations. In Isaiah Ephesians 6:12, but in which she will surely prevail.

This series of prophecies, with one exception, was delivered at the time of the fall of Jerusalem; some shortly before, and some shortly after, the capture of the city. They were collected together to illustrate their original purpose of warning the nations not to exult in their neighbor‘s fall. Seven nations are addressed, which have had most contact with the children of Israel - on their eastern borders Moab and Ammon, to the south, Edom, on the south-west Philistia, northward Tyre (the merchant city) and the more ancient Sidon, and lastly Egypt, alternately the scourge and the false stay of the chosen people. The number “seven” is symbolic of completeness. “Seven” prophecies against Egypt the chief of “seven” nations, denote the completeness of the overthrow of the pagan power, the antagonist of the kingdom of God. While other prophets hold out to these pagan nations some prospect of future mercy (e. g., Isaiah 16:14; Jeremiah 49:6, Jeremiah 49:11), Ezekiel speaks of their complete ruin. He was contemplating “national” ruin. In the case of Jerusalem there would be national restoration, but in the case of the pagan no such recovery. The “national” ruin was irretrievable; the remnant to whom the other prophets hold out hopes of mercy were to find it as individuals gathered into God‘s Church, not as nations to be again set up. Ezekiel does not, like other prophets, prophesy against Babylon; it was his mission to show that for the moment, Babylon was the righteous instrument of the divine wrath, doing God‘s work in punishing His foes. In prophesying against foreign nations, Ezekiel often adopts the language of those who preceded him.

In Ezekiel 25:5). This prophecy was delivered immediately after the capture of the city by Nebuchadnezzar, and so is later, in point of time, than some of the prophecies that follow it.

The Ammonites were inveterate foes of the descendants of Abraham.

Ezekiel 25:4

Men of the east - The wild wandering Arabs who should come in afterward upon the ruined land. The name was a common term for the nomadic tribes of the desert. Compare Isaiah 13:20.

Palaces - encampments. The tents and folds of nomadic tribes. After subjugation by Nebuchadnezzar Ezekiel 21:28, the land was subjected to various masters. The Graeco-Egyptian kings founded a city on the site of Rabbah Ezekiel 25:5, called Philadelphia, from Ptolemy Philadelphus. In later times, Arabs from the east have completed the doom pronounced against Rabbah.

Ezekiel 25:7

For a spoil - Or, for a portion.

Verse 8

Prophecies against Moab which lay south of Ammon, and shared Ammon‘s implacable hostility to the children of Israel.

Seir was close to Moab. Edom is identified with Mount “Seir” in Ezekiel 35:1-15; and “Seir” is therefore probably coupled with “Moab” here because, being near neighbors closely leagued together, they expressed a common exultation at Jerusalem‘s fall.

Verse 9

I will open the side … - i. e., lay it open to the attack of the enemy from the cities, from his cities, from his frontier (or, in every quarter). There is an ironical stress on “his” cities, because these cities belonged not to Moab but to Israel, having been assigned to the Reubenites Numbers 32:38; Joshua 13:20. They lay to the north of the river Arnon, which was the proper boundary of Moab Numbers 21:13. The Moabites had in the last days of the kingdom of Israel recovered this territory Isaiah 16:1-14. They still occupied this land in the time of Ezekiel (see Numbers 22:39, Numbers 22:41. Baal-meon occurs on the Moabitic stone as a place which Mesa built or fortified. He probably erected a stronghold on the old locality, reviving the ancient name. Beth-jeshimoth is identified with a knoll at the northeasternmost point of the Dead Sea.

Verse 10

Ammon and Moab, of common origin, whose lands had so often been interchanged, shall now share a common ruin. To “the men of the east” Ezekiel 25:4 shall Moab with Ammon be given, that Ammon may be remembercd no more, and judgment be executed on Moab.

Verse 12

Edom, so named from Esau, consisted of various tribes enumerated in 2 Kings 8:20. Under the name of Idumea the land was conquered by John Hyrcanus (compare Ezekiel 25:14), when many of the people adopted the religion of the Jews. In later times the Idumean Herod became king of Palestine, reckoning himself as a Jew. Mount Seir, deserted by its original inhabitants, was occupied by a tribe of Arabians (the Nabatheans), under whelm Petra rose and continued a flourishing city under Roman dominion, until the tide of Mahometan conquest brought it to that ruin in which Edom at last found the complete fulfillment of the prophecies uttered against it Ezekiel 35:1-15.

Taking vengeance - Referring to the wrong done by Jacob to Esau Genesis 27:36.

Verse 13

From Teman … - Or “from Teman” even unto “Dedan,” “shall they fall.” Teman and Dedan were districts (not cities), the former in the south (Ezekiel 20:46 note), the latter in the north (“over the whole country”).

Verses 15-17

The Philistines occupying lands to the south of Judah were a Hamite race Genesis 10:14, but of a different branch from the Canaanites. They were a powerful people never dispossessed by the Israelites Joshua 13:3. They were a thorn in the side of the chosen people throughout, and joined in attacking Jerusalem in the day of her trouble. They were much reduced by the Assyrians Isaiah 14:31, and Egyptians Jeremiah 47:1-7, before the time of this prophecy, but further destruction came upon them in the general ruin of the inhabitants of Canaan, which commenced with the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar.

Ezekiel 25:16

Cherethims - The inhabitants of the southern portion of Philistia Zephaniah 2:5.

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Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Ezekiel 25". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". 1870.