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Bible Commentaries
Ezekiel 16

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

Verses 1-63

Shall we turn in our Bibles at this time to the sixteenth chapter of Ezekiel. The prophecy of Ezekiel, chapter 16.

Ezekiel declares,

Again the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Son of man, cause Jerusalem to know her abominations ( Ezekiel 16:1-2 ),

So God is speaking out against Jerusalem. But, of course, a city is always made up of inhabitants. A city as itself is not good or evil. It all depends on what the people are that live within that city. So it is against those who are inhabiting Jerusalem that God speaks.

And say, Thus saith the Lord GOD unto Jerusalem; Thy birth and thy nativity is in the land of Canaan; thy father was an Amorite, and thy mother a Hittite ( Ezekiel 16:3 ).

Now, before the children of Israel came to dwell in the land, the first inhabitants of the land of Palestine were the Hittites and then also the Amorites. And so Jerusalem... well, first of all, rather the Amorites followed by the Hittites. But thy father was an Amorite, thy mother a Hittite, referring to the nations that inhabited the land prior to the coming in of Abraham.

And as for thy nativity, in the day in which you were born thy naval was not cut, neither wast thou washed in water to supple thee; thou wast not salted at all, nor swaddled at all ( Ezekiel 16:4 ).

Evidently in those days when a child was born, of course, the first thing you do is you wash the child, and then evidently they salted the child. This, no doubt, would be to kill bacteria, because salt is a tremendous antiseptic as far as killing bacteria.

We were out in a group that were exploring for the lost Virgin Guadalupe mine, and we were blasting away some boulders. And one of the fellows that was with us, working with us, got hit by a piece of rock that had cut off from the boulder when we were blasting it out, and cut his hand. And the old miner that was with us reached in and got out a little pack of salt and poured it all over. Of course, the guy winced like everything. But he said, "I never go out without my bag of salt." He said, "It's the great antiseptic and it'll cause it to heal faster and it'll keep it from any infection from setting up."

And so they, no doubt, in those days salted the baby as an antiseptic to kill the bacteria that might be upon the child. So speaks about salting and the swaddling it, wrapping it up in this blanket kind of thing to swaddle the baby. But when Jerusalem was born, none of this was done. The umbilical chord was not cut. "You were not washed in water; you were not salted nor swaddled."

No eye pitied you, to do any of these things to you, to have compassion upon thee; but thou wast cast out into the open field, to the loathing of thy person, in the day that thou wast born. And when I passed by thee, and saw thee polluted in thine own blood, I said unto thee when thou wast in thy blood, Live; yea, I said unto thee when thou wast in thy blood, Live ( Ezekiel 16:5-6 ).

So God is saying that you were an outcast and there was no one to care for you. But I came by and I saw you polluted there in your blood and I said unto you, "Live."

Now verse Ezekiel 16:6 , interestingly enough, from old times was used as a verse to stop hemorrhaging or stop the flow of blood. It is a verse that people have used for years when someone is bleeding. To stop the bleeding they would quote this verse. Now, I don't think the verse does it, but their faith to believe that God is going to do it does stop the bleeding. But people for years have used this almost as a charm kind of a thing to stop bleeding. But, of course, it's out of context. God is talking about when He first saw the nation of Israel, Jerusalem, the people of Jerusalem. Called them unto Himself.

I have caused thee then to multiply as the bud of the field, and thou hast increased [you have become great], you have become an excellent ornament: your breasts are fashioned, and your hair is grown, whereas you were naked and bare. Now when I passed by thee, and looked upon thee, behold, thy time was the time of love; and so I spread my blanket over thee, and covered thy nakedness: yea, I sware unto thee, and entered into a covenant with thee, saith the Lord GOD, and you became mine ( Ezekiel 16:7-8 ).

So as the nation developed, the time came for love, and God came to the nation to receive the love, entered into a covenant, married them in that sense. Entering into that covenant relationship where God claimed them as His own, as His bride.

And I washed thee with water; yea, I thoroughly washed away thy blood from thee, and I anointed thee with oil. I clothed thee also with broidered work, and shod thee with badgers' skins, and I girded thee about with fine linen, and I covered thee with silk. And I decked thee also with ornaments, I put bracelets upon thy hands, a chain on thy neck. And I put a jewel on thy forehead, and earrings in thine ears, and a beautiful crown upon your head. And thus wast thou decked with gold and silver; and thy raiment was of fine linen, and silk, and broidered work; thou didst eat fine flour, and honey, and oil; and thou wast exceeding beautiful, and thou didst prosper into a kingdom. And thy renown went forth among the heathen for thy beauty: for it was perfect through my comeliness, which I had put upon thee, saith the Lord ( Ezekiel 16:9-14 ).

Now God speaks of His work for the nation Israel, and that work of God's Spirit in making them great, making them beautiful, making them desirable, perfect in beauty. Now, this is all a foreshadowing of the relationship of Jesus Christ to His church. How that when the Lord first came to us, we were polluted because of our sins. As Paul writes in Ephesians 2 , "And you hath He made alive, who were dead in your trespasses and sins. Who in times past you walked according to the course of this world."

The word walked there is meandered, which means you were walking without any purpose or direction. You were meandering through life. Your life was aimless before the Lord met you. "As you meandered according to the course of this world." The word course comes from the Greek word weathervane. Whichever way the world was flowing, that's the way you were going. Flowing in that way of the world. Just the fashions of the world. "And you were by nature," Paul said, "the children of wrath, because you were obeying the lust of your flesh, the lust of your mind." And thus we were when Christ came, but He washed us. "Now ye are clean," Jesus said, "through the words that I have spoken unto you." The washing of the regeneration of the Word of God. The washing of our lives through the blood of Jesus Christ.

"I washed you from your pollution, and then," the Lord said, "I anointed thee with oil." And so He anointed our life with the Holy Spirit. And then the Lord goes on to declare, "I clothed thee with broidered work." Not just throwing an old gunnysack at you and saying, "Dress up." Broidered work speaks of care; it speaks of skill. And so God took so much care and so much skill to clothe us with the righteousness which is of Jesus Christ through faith.

"I shod thee with badger skins." Or, "I gave you shoes of badger skins." Now the badger of the scripture, what that Hebrew word is today we don't know. The King James translators guessed badger. But it was a soft leather that was usually dyed purple and was the favorite of the young girls for their slippers. And they were, because soft leather, they were worn for parties and for luxuries. Really not for hard labor or hard work out in the fields. Sandals were more the dress for that, but these were luxurious leather slippers.

"And I girded thee about with fine linen." In Revelation 19 , verse Ezekiel 16:6 , He speaks about, "And the bride hath made herself ready and she was adorned in fine linen, pure and clean." And the fine linen is the righteousness of the saints. That righteousness that is ours is that which God has imputed to us through our faith in Jesus Christ. I am clothed tonight not in my own righteousness; I do not dare to stand before God pleading my own goodness before Him. And I don't care how moral, how honest, how sincere, and how good a person you are. You're a fool if you seek to stand before God in your own goodness and in your own righteousness.

You know, there are so many people that are just sort of good-natured people. Like you have dogs that are good natured and dogs that are bad natured. There are some dogs that are just mean; you don't want to be around them. There are some people that are just mean; you don't want to be around them. They have peptic type of dispositions, like their stomach is constantly upset or something. They're always growling, always on edge. And that person, as far as standing before God, is no worse off than the person who has by nature a very pleasant disposition, who's easy going, and calm. We have phlegmatic, and we have different types of temperaments, and none of them really have any acceptance before God. The only way that I can be accepted before God is to be clothed in that linen, pure and clean, which He has given to me. The righteousness which is of Christ through faith.

Now, the difficulty is when a person does have more of a problem with his disposition, he is usually more conscious and aware of his need for help. And he usually is coming to the Lord more readily. He's a sinner, he knows he's a sinner, and he knows he needs help. And he comes to the Lord quite readily. Whereas that person who is morally good, he's honest, he's sincere, you know, he has all of these qualities, so often that person does not feel a need of coming to Jesus Christ. And thus, is oftentimes much further from the Lord than the person who has a naturally miserable disposition. Which, of course, is a very interesting thing. A lot of good men go to hell and a lot of bad men go to heaven. Because when you have that kind of a nature, you know, "Oh God, I need help," and you're coming to God for help. And the only way any of us could ever stand before God, surely not in our own righteousness, because our righteousness is as filthy rags in the eyes of God.

So God takes, washes, anoints with oil, clothes, and then He said in verse Ezekiel 16:11 , "I decked thee also with ornaments, put bracelets on thy hands, a chain on your neck, a jewel in your forehead, and earrings in your ears, and a beautiful tiara, a crown upon your head." I see these as the fruit of the Spirit, whose adorning, Peter said, "let it not be the outward adorning by the wearing of fancy clothes and the putting on of jewelry and the fixing up of your hair, but that inward adornment of the meek and quite spirit, which in the eyes of the Lord is very, very valuable" ( 1 Peter 3:3 ). And he speaks about the true beauty is not outward, but inward. True beauty of a person is in the character of their lives and the fruit of the Spirit as God places His glorious jewels of meekness, temperance, longsuffering, goodness, love, joy, peace.

And then God said, "I've given you to eat the fine flour and honey and oil. And you were exceedingly beautiful and you prospered into a kingdom. And your fame, your renown went forth among the heathen for thy beauty." Throughout the world they were talking of the beauty of the nation of the people. The queen of Sheba came from the south to see and to hear. And when she had been there with Solomon, she said, "Oh, I heard, but I did not believe. But now I have seen and it was not told to me half of the glory of your kingdom."

"I blessed you, I honored you, I prospered you. You became famous, became renown throughout among the heathen. They all heard of your beauty." For the Lord declared, "For it was perfect," that is your beauty. "Through My comeliness which I had put on thee," saith the Lord.

And so God works in us His work of the Spirit. And as God works in us by His Spirit, the purpose is to conform us into the image of Christ. And as God works in us by His Spirit, and as we are changed into the image of Christ, God looks at us and says, "Oh, you're perfectly beautiful." God sees you in Christ, and in Christ there is no condemnation for those that are in Christ Jesus. God sees you complete in Christ, He sees you perfected in Christ, and He declares that you are perfect in beauty.

Now, after all of this, God now charges them,

But you did trust in your own beauty, and you played the harlot because of your renown, and you poured out your fornications on every one that passed by; his it was ( Ezekiel 16:15 ).

That is, they turned away from God and they began to worship every god of all of the people that were round about. God said, "You are Mine. I am the one that made this covenant with you. I purchased you. I'm the one that saved you. You were nothing; you were perishing. You were cast out. But I'm the one that rescued you and saved you and put My beauty on you. And now you've prostituted yourselves. And you've turned after every god, played the harlot, poured out your fornications on every one that passed by. His it was."

And of thy garments you did take, and you decked your high places with divers colors, and you played the harlot thereupon: the like things shall not come, neither shall it be so. For thou hast also taken thy fair jewels of my gold and my silver, which I had given thee, and you made unto yourself images of men, and you did commit whoredom with them ( Ezekiel 16:16-17 ),

I have prospered you; I gave you gold and silver. What did you do? You used it to make little images and idols, and you began to worship the gold and silver that I had blessed you with and prospered you with.

How tragic it is when a person's life has been blessed of God and then they turn away from God and they begin to worship the gold and the silver that God has given to them, the possessions that God has given to them.

And you took your broidered garments, and you covered them: and you have set my oil and my incense before them. And my meat also which I gave thee, the fine flour, the oil, the honey, wherewith I fed you, you have even set it before these little images as a sweet savor: and thus it was, saith the Lord GOD ( Ezekiel 16:18-19 ).

You've taken those things that I have given and you've profaned them.

Moreover thou hast taken thy sons and thy daughters, whom you have borne unto me, and these have you sacrificed unto them to be devoured. Is this of thy whoredoms a small matter, That thou hast slain my children, and delivered them to cause them to pass through the fire for them? And in all thy abominations and thy whoredoms thou hast not remembered the days of thy youth, when you were naked and bare, and you were polluted in your own blood ( Ezekiel 16:20-22 ).

Now, of course, the people of Israel had turned to all of these pagan gods, but worst of all, they began to follow the practice of the pagans of the land in offering their own children as sacrifices unto the pagan gods. Burning them in the fire, casting them into the fire, or putting them into the arms of the little outstretched iron gods of Baal that were heated in the fire till they were red hot and then they would place their babies in those red hot arms and burn them as an offering unto the gods. And here are God's people committing this horrible sacrilege. And so God's indictment against them. No wonder God destroyed them. No wonder God allowed Nebuchadnezzar to drive them out of the land. They had forgotten the condition that they were in when God first came to them. "You haven't remembered how you were naked and had nothing."

It came to pass after all thy wickedness, (woe, woe unto thee! Saith the Lord GOD,) That thou hast also built unto thee an eminent place, and you have made a high place in every street ( Ezekiel 16:23-24 ).

The high places were the places of pagan worship where every kind of licentious practice went on in their worship of these pagan gods.

Thou hast built thy high place at the head of every way, and you have made thy beauty to be abhorred, and you have opened thy feet to every one that passed by, and multiplied thy whoredoms. Thou hast committed fornication with the Egyptians thy neighbors, great of flesh; and hast increased thy whoredoms, to provoke me to anger. Behold, therefore I have stretched out my hand over thee, and have diminished thine ordinary food, and delivered thee unto the will of them that hate thee, the daughters of the Philistines, which are ashamed of thy lewd way ( Ezekiel 16:25-27 ).

So God said, "I've begun to turn you over to your enemies."

Because you have played the whore also with the Assyrians, because you were unsatiable; yea, thou hast played the harlot with them, and yet you couldn't be satisfied. Thou hast moreover multiplied thy fornication in the land of Canaan unto Chaldea; and yet thou wast not satisfied herewith. How weak is thine heart, saith the Lord GOD, seeing thou doest all these things, the work of an imperious whorish woman; In that thou buildest thine eminent place in the head of every way [or every street], and you make your high place in every street; and you have not been as the harlot, in that thou hast scornest hire ( Ezekiel 16:28-31 );

You're even worse than a prostitute. You've scorn the payment.

But as a wife that commits adultery, which takes strangers instead of her husband! They give gifts to all whores: but you have given gifts to all of your lovers, and you've hired them, that they may come unto thee on every side for thy whoredom ( Ezekiel 16:32-33 ).

So Israel has so turned away from the worship of God in their worshipping of these false gods. That God is just speaking here of the horrible relationship that they would forsake God who had done so much for them. You say, "But oh, could a people really do that?" Well, I ask you to look at the United States today. A nation that in its beginning understood its dependency upon God; a nation that was framed with a Constitution guaranteeing the freedom of worship of the people, a freedom to worship; a nation that placed upon its coins, "In God we trust"; A nation that placed within its national anthem the recognition of God and in its pledge to the flag acknowledged it to be one nation under God. But look how the nation today has turned its back upon God.

On the Lord's day, it has become a day where people go out and worship their idols. As they run up and down a lined field throwing balls to the cries and the cheers of their devoted followers. A day for pleasure, a day for seeking after the flesh, a day of attempting to satiate the flesh in pleasure. How far we have fallen when Superman replaces the Word of God on television on Sunday mornings. How tragic that a nation turns from the God who made them great, the God who made them strong, the God who clothed them, fed them, made them prosperous, and they forget their beginnings. They forget it was God who made us strong. They forget how that God watched over the early colonists. And they begin to attribute the strength to such foolish things as free enterprise, the democratic system. "America, America, God shed His grace on thee," but you've turned your back on God, even as did Israel. We did not have the wisdom to learn from history, and the Christians by their inactivity have allowed these to be.

We're soon going to be electing school boards and other officials in our community. How many of you have really planned to vote? Probably not very many. Did you know that there are some outstanding Christians that are running for the school boards? That if all of the Christians got out and voted for those Christians that are running for these offices, they could be elected to these offices and we could actually perhaps help guide the curriculum of our schools. There is a Dr. Peterson, there is a George Rhoda, both of them outstanding born again Christians running for school board. Now every Christian ought to be out voting. I'm not going to tell you who to vote for, that's illegal. But I'll just tell you there's a couple Christians.

So God speaks about Israel, their folly, and about the judgment that is going to come. He was first their lover. He had created them, took them when they were nothing, made them great, made them beautiful. And they turned against Him.

Verse Ezekiel 16:34 :

And the contrary is in thee from other women in thy whoredoms, whereas none follows thee to commit whoredoms: and in that you give a reward, and no reward is given to thee, therefore you are contrary. Wherefore, O harlot, hear the word of the LORD: Thus saith the Lord GOD; Because thy filthiness was poured out, and thy nakedness discovered through thy whoredoms with thy lovers, and with all the idols of thy abominations, and by the blood of thy children, which thou didst give unto them; Behold, therefore I will gather all thy lovers, with whom thou hast taken pleasure, and all them that thou hast loved, with all them that thou hast hated; I will gather them round about against thee, and will discover thy nakedness unto them, that they may see all thy nakedness. And I will judge thee, as a woman that has broken wedlock and those that have shed blood are judged; and I will give thee blood in fury and jealousy. And I will also give thee into their hand, and they shall throw down thine eminent place, and shall break down thy high places: they shall strip thee also of thy clothes, and shall take thy fair jewels, and leave thee naked and bare. And they shall also bring up a company against thee, and they shall stone thee with stones, and thrust thee through with their swords. And they shall burn thine houses with fire, and execute judgments upon thee in the sight of many women: and I will cause thee to cease from playing the harlot, and thou also shalt give no hire any more. So I will make my fury toward thee to rest, and my jealousy shall depart from me, and I will be quiet, and will be no more angry. Because thou hast not remembered the days of thy youth, but you have fretted me in all of these things; behold, therefore I also will recompense thy way upon thine head, saith the Lord GOD: and thou shalt not commit this lewdness above all thine abominations. Behold, every one that uses proverbs shall use this proverb against thee, saying, As the mother, so is her daughter. Thou art thy mother's daughter, that loatheth her husband and her children; and thou art the sister of thy sisters, which loathe their husbands and their children: your mother was a Hittite, and your father was an Amorite. And thine elder sister is Samaria, she and her daughters that dwell in thy left hand: and thy younger sister, that dwells at thy right hand, in the south is Sodom and her daughters. Yet hast thou not walked after their ways, nor done after their abominations: but, as if that were a very little thing, thou hast corrupted more than they in all of your ways ( Ezekiel 16:34-47 ).

You've been worse than Samaria and worse than Sodom.

As I live, saith the Lord GOD, Sodom thy sister hath not done, she nor her daughters, as thou hast done, thou and thy daughters. Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom ( Ezekiel 16:48-49 ),

What was the sin of Sodom? The Lord in looking at it looks behind it, and He said it was:

pride, [it was] fullness of bread [prosperity], the abundance of idleness was in her and her daughters, and neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and the needy ( Ezekiel 16:49 ).

So this is God's indictment against Sodom. The reason why Sodom was judged: pride, prosperity, idleness, and no concern for the poor and the needy. Now, these conditions of pride and prosperity and idleness of time. Men began to look for things to fill in their idle time. And in looking for things to fill their idle time, they began to indulge themselves and their flesh. And having run the gamut of kinky flesh and not finding any satisfaction, only a greater lust, they began to burn in their lust for each other. And that horrible condition in which we find Sodom when the angels of the Lord came and were staying in the house of Lot and the men of the city began to knock on the door saying, "Open unto us and send out those men that came into your house that we may know them." And Lot went to the door and said, "Go away, don't do this evil unto these men. Behold, I have a couple of daughters that are virgins, I'll turn them over to you. But don't do this evil to these men." And they said, "You're a stranger. You come to live with us, and now are you gonna judge us?" And they were going to grab him, and the angels said to Lot, "Stand back." And they smote the men with blindness so that they wearied themselves of trying to find the door. And they said, "Get out of here."

But you see, behind this scene there was the pride, there was the prosperity, there was the idleness of time. Now, these are the conditions that produced this blatant demonstration of these homosexual men. It was because of this kind of an environment they felt the bravado to parade publicly. When the conditions of a nation become so corrupt and immoral that men of this character feel a forwardness in expressing themselves publicly and begin to parade in public demonstrations, you know that you are at the end of the rope. The next thing is judgment. And as I see the things that are happening in the United States, San Francisco, Hollywood, Washington, D.C., I realize that the cup of God's indignation is about to overflow, and America will be judged of God.

God said,

They were haughty, they committed abomination before me: therefore I took them away [as I saw fit] as I saw good. Neither hath Samaria committed half of your sins; but you have multiplied your abominations more than they, and you have justified your sisters in all your abominations which you have done ( Ezekiel 16:50-51 ).

And that's, of course, the whole thing, the rationale, the justification, "Well, you know, every man has a freedom to express himself however he desires, and no one has the right to dictate their moral standards on other people, you know."

Thou also, which hast judged thy sisters, bear thine own shame for thy sins which you have committed are more abominable than they: and they are more righteous than you: yea, be thou confounded also, and bear thy shame, in that you have justified your sisters. When I shall bring again their captivity, the captivity of Sodom and her daughters, and the captivity of Samaria and her daughters, then will I bring again the captivity of thy captives in the midst of them: That thou mayest bear thine own shame, and mayest be confounded in all that you have done, in that you are a comfort unto them. When your sisters, Sodom and her daughters, shall return to their former estate, and Samaria and her daughters shall return to their former estate, then thou and thy daughters shall return to your former estate. For thy sister Sodom was not mentioned by thy mouth in the day of thy pride, Before thy wickedness was discovered, as at the time of thy reproach of the daughters of Syria, and all that are round about her, the daughters of the Philistines, which despise thee round about. Thou hast borne thy lewdness and thine abominations, saith the LORD. For thus saith the Lord GOD; I will even deal with thee as thou hast done, which hast despised the oath in breaking the covenant ( Ezekiel 16:52-59 ).

God made a covenant with them, "You are Mine." They broke the covenant and they gave themselves over to every god and idol and abomination. And so God speaks of them that they have despised the oath in breaking the covenant.

Now, God here, of course, speaks of the day of restoration--even of Sodom and of Samaria. That day is coming. I do not believe the day is far off. As we go further in Ezekiel, we're going to find that a new... there is an earthquake that is going to take place in Jerusalem that is going to create a new valley and is going to unlock an underground river, a spring that will begin to flow from Jerusalem down to the Dead Sea with such a supply of water that when it comes into the Dead Sea, the waters of the Dead Sea will be healed and there will be all manner of fish and all there in the Dead Sea. And Engedi will be a place where they will be drying their fishing nets. And the area of the Dead Sea will no doubt become a verdant, beautiful valley again. Sodom shall be inhabited as Samaria, and of course, as Jerusalem.

Nevertheless, [the Lord said,] I will remember my covenant with you [you have broken it, but I'm going to remember it] in the days of thy youth, and I will establish unto thee an everlasting covenant ( Ezekiel 16:60 ).

And so God is... for all that they have done, God is not utterly destroyed, utterly rejected, but He is going to take them back again and establish an everlasting covenant with them through Jesus Christ.

Then thou shalt remember thy ways, and be ashamed, when thou shalt receive thy sisters, thine elder and thy younger: and I will give them unto thee for daughters, but not by thy covenant. And I will establish my covenant with thee; and thou shalt know that I am the LORD: That thou mayest remember, and be confounded, and never open thy mouth any more because of thy shame, when I am pacified toward thee for all that thou hast done, saith the Lord GOD ( Ezekiel 16:61-63 ). "

Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Ezekiel 16". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/csc/ezekiel-16.html. 2014.
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