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Saturday, June 15th, 2024
the Week of Proper 5 / Ordinary 10
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Bible Commentaries
Ezekiel 22

Fairbairn's Commentary on Ezekiel, Jonah and Pastoral EpistlesFairbairn's Commentaries

Verses 1-31



Ezekiel 22:1 . And the word of Jehovah came to me, saying,

Ezekiel 22:2 . “Wilt thou (not) judge, wilt thou (not) judge the bloody city? and make her to know all her abominations?

Ezekiel 22:3 . And thou shalt say, Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, The city is one that sheds blood in the midst of it, that her time may come, and has made idols for herself, that she may be defiled.

Ezekiel 22:4 . By thy blood which thou hast shed, thou hast become guilty; and by thine idols which thou hast made, thou art defiled; and thou hast caused thy days to draw near, and hast reached thine years; therefore have I made thee a reproach to the heathen, and a mocking to all countries.

Ezekiel 22:5 . Those that are near, and those that are far from thee, shall mock thee (saying),” Thou polluted one in name, and full of confusion!” (These words are best understood as the reproach itself, which the surrounding countries cast against Jerusalem. They held her up to derision as utterly soiled in reputation, and, at the same time, involved in mischief. In name and reality alike evil.)

Ezekiel 22:6 . Behold, the princes of Israel, each one according to his power, were in thee, in order that they might shed blood (as if that were the only purpose of their existence).

Ezekiel 22:7 . Father and mother have been set light by in thee; in thee they have treated the stranger with injustice; the widow and the fatherless have been oppressed in thee.

Ezekiel 22:8 . Thou hast despised my holy things, and hast profaned my Sabbaths.

Ezekiel 22:9 . Men of slander have been in thee, that they might shed blood; and on the mountains have they eaten in thee; scandalous things have they done in the midst of thee.

Ezekiel 22:10 . A father’s nakedness has been discovered in thee; they have humbled in thee her that was set apart as polluted.

Ezekiel 22:11 . And one has committed abomination with his neighbour’s wife; and another has shamefully defiled his daughter-in-law; and another has humbled in thee his sister, the daughter of his father.

Ezekiel 22:12 . They have taken bribes in thee that they might shed blood; thou hast taken usury and increase, and hast overreached thy neighbour by extortion, and thou hast forgotten me, saith the Lord Jehovah.

Ezekiel 22:13 . And, behold, I have smitten my hand at thy overreaching which thou hast committed, and at the blood which is in the midst of thee.

Ezekiel 22:14 . Can thy heart endure, or thy hands be strong, in the days that I shall deal with thee? I Jehovah have spoken, and I will do it.

Ezekiel 22:15 . And I will scatter thee among the heathen, and disperse thee among the countries, and will consume thy filthiness out of thee.

Ezekiel 22:16 . And thou art polluted by thyself (Our translators have here put the proper rendering in the margin, and retained a quite wrong one in the text. Most of the old translators and interpreters give the sense, “And I shall be profaned by thee.” Conjectural emendations of the text are resorted to by Ewald and others, but without any necessity. The thought expressed is, that Jerusalem now appeared, from her depraved and miserable condition, as a polluted thing in the eyes of her heathen neighbours; and she had brought the reproach upon herself. It had not come upon her as a calamity, which she had no power to prevent; but she had, with her own hand, made herself vile.) in the eyes of the heathen; and thou shalt know that I am Jehovah.

Ezekiel 22:17 . And the word of Jehovah came to me, saying,

Ezekiel 22:18 . Son of man, the house of Israel has become to me dross; the whole of them are brass, and tin, and iron, and lead, in the midst of the furnace the dross of silver are they.

Ezekiel 22:19 . Therefore, thus saith the Lord Jehovah, Because ye have all become dross, therefore, behold, I will gather you into the midst of Jerusalem.

Ezekiel 22:20 . As silver, and brass, and iron, and lead, and tin are gathered into the midst of the furnace, to blow the fire upon it that it may melt; so will I gather in my anger and my fury, and I will leave and melt you.

Ezekiel 22:21 . And I will collect you, and will blow upon you in the fire of my wrath, and ye shall be melted in the midst of it.

Ezekiel 22:22 . As silver is melted in the midst of the furnace, so shall ye be melted in the midst of it; and ye shall know that I Jehovah have poured out my fury upon you.

Ezekiel 22:23 . And the word of Jehovah came to me, saying,

Ezekiel 22:24 . Son of man, say to her, Thou art the laud that is not cleansed, not rained upon in the day of indignation.

Ezekiel 22:25 . The conspiracy of prophets in the midst of her is like a roaring lion ravening for the prey; they have devoured souls; they have taken treasure and precious things; they have multiplied her widows in the midst of her.

Ezekiel 22:26 . Her priests have done violence to my law, (Such, undoubtedly, is the meaning of the expression חָמְסוּ תוֹרָתִי . It does not mean simply, that the priests personally transgressed the law, but that they dealt violently with it wrested it in a way to suit their own selfish ends.) and have profaned my holy things; they have put no difference between holy and profane, nor taught between polluted and clean, and have hid their eyes from my Sabbaths, and I am profaned among them.

Ezekiel 22:27 . Her princes in the midst of her are as wolves ravening for their prey, to shed blood, to destroy souls, that they may get unjust gain.

Ezekiel 22:28 . And her prophets have plastered for them with whitewash, seeing vanity, and divining lies to them, saying, Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, and Jehovah has not spoken.

Ezekiel 22:29 . The people of the land have used oppression, and exercised robbery, and oppressed the poor and needy, and overreached the stranger by going against the right.

Ezekiel 22:30 . And I sought for a man among them that should make up the wall, and stand in the breach before me for the land, that I might not destroy it; but I found none.

Ezekiel 22:31 . And I pour out upon them my indignation; in the fire of my wrath I consume them: I recompense their way upon their head, saith the Lord Jehovah.

A VERY few remarks will suffice on this chapter, as it presents scarcely any difficulty in interpretation, and in its theme differs very little from some portions that have already passed under consideration. It stands closely related, however, to the last chapter, and may fitly be regarded as supplementary to it; the former having presented a striking delineation of the Lord’s purpose to execute the severity of his displeasure upon the people of Jerusalem, while this returns to lay open the fearful mass of corruption on account of which such severity was to be inflicted. In what is written here, there is nothing properly new; in its general purport, it is a repetition of the charges which were urged in Ezekiel 20:0; and so the chapter begins much in the same way, with a call upon the prophet to judge the people, and set before them their iniquities. There, however, the charge took the form of an historical review, for the purpose of connecting the present state of wickedness with the past, and showing how continuously the stream of corruption had flowed through all periods of their national existence. Here, on the other hand, the prophet looks exclusively to the present, and brings out in fearful array the many heinous and rampant sins which were crying in Heaven’s ear for vengeance.

The first section, reaching to the end of Ezekiel 22:1-16, is chiefly occupied with detailing the various kinds of transgression that were practised in the land, the idolatry, revelry, and lust, the selfishness, treachery, oppression, and bloodshed, with which all were polluted. The dark picture is drawn so as to exhibit a sharp contrast between the impure condition to which Israel had now come, and the pure one which Moses had of old represented them as called to maintain (Leviticus 18-20.). In all that was holy, virtuous, and good, they were to stand honourably apart from the heathen nations, while in reality they had sunk to a level with these in the practice of every species of enormity. Hence the necessity of a dealing in judgment not utterly to exterminate them as a people, but to purge out the corruptions which were defeating the design of their calling and election of God. “And I will scatter thee among the heathen,” is the closing denunciation of this part, “and disperse thee in the countries, and will consume thy filthiness out of thee. And thou art polluted by thyself ( i.e. by thy own sinful doings, and the judgments these have deservedly brought down on thee) in the eyes of the heathen; and thou shalt know that I am Jehovah.”

The next section, Ezekiel 22:17-22, is a sort of figurative episode, in which the prophet, as if impatient to see so much wickedness visited with its due chastisement, introduces a description of the righteous judgment that was ready to be executed upon them. The nation is represented as a miserable compound of the baser metals and of the dross of silver silver that has become dross; for it is the degeneracy from good to bad, as well as the actual state of corruption, which the prophet would have us to mark. They were, therefore, to be thrown into the burning furnace of the Lord’s anger, so as to be blown upon, and melted; that the bad a result implied, though not actually expressed might be consumed, and the good separated and preserved. It was in Jerusalem this refining process was to be undergone; so that the doom threatened is but another form of the evil already announced under the images of a devouring fire and a piercing sword. It was, in other words, the desolations to be accomplished by the king of Babylon.

In the last and concluding section (Ezekiel 22:23-31), the prophet again returns to the charge of guilt, but with a more especial reference to the different ranks and orders of society in the land, showing how each had corrupted their ways, and, as it were, conspired together to bring on the catastrophe. The land, as a whole, presents itself to his eye as a polluted region, and, as such, not to be blessed not to be rained upon (one of the great covenant-blessings) in the day of indignation. The prophets have acted like beasts of prey, intent only on their personal gain (Ezekiel 22:25); the priests have done violence to the law, wrested it to improper ends, and have practically allowed the distinctions between good and evil, clean and unclean, to go into desuetude (Ezekiel 22:26); the princes have exercised cruelty and oppression, countenanced and encouraged by the prophets (Ezekiel 22:27-28); the people at large have followed in the footsteps of their leaders, and .done iniquity as they could, each one against his neighbour (Ezekiel 22:29). “And I sought,” it is added, “for a man among them that should make up the wall, and stand in the breach before me for the land, that I might not destroy it; but I found none.” It does not mean that there was literally not a righteous man in it; for Jeremiah was still there, and doubtless others of a kindred spirit beside him. But Jeremiah had been discharged from praying for the people (Ezekiel 11:14), as being now doomed to destruction; and the meaning here is, that no one now, knowing the state to which things had come, and understanding the Lord’s mind concerning them, would any longer undertake to do the part of a repairer of the breach, so as to have matters brought right again.” Therefore,” the inevitable conclusion follows, “I pour out my indignation upon them; I consume them in the fire of my wrath; I recompense their way upon their head, saith the Lord Jehovah.”

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on Ezekiel 22". "Fairbairn's Commentary on Ezekiel, Jonah and Pastoral Epistles". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/fbn/ezekiel-22.html.
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