Partner with as God uses us to make a difference for those displaced by Russia's war on Ukraine.
Click to donate today!

Bible Commentaries

Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ezekiel 16

Verse 3

Cethite, or "Hethite." These two were probably the most abandoned of Chanaan. Daniel (xiii. 56.) give the infamous judges the like appellation; and Isaias (i. 10.) calls the Jews princes of Sodom. (Calmet) --- So Dido says to Eneas: Nec te diva parens, generis nec Dardanus auctor

Perfide sed duris genuit te cautibus, &c. (Virgil, Æneid iv.) (Haydock)

--- But we nowhere find such a vehement and continued reprimand. The prophet seems to quit his proper character to make (Calmet) the abominations of the people known and detested, chap. iii. 8. (Haydock)

Verse 4

Cut. By this the infant received nourishment in the womb. Now it seems to be exposed by its parents. (Calmet) --- The Jews in Egypt were abandoned to idolatry and distress. (Theodoret, in Canticle of Canticles) --- Health. Many plunged the infant in cold water to brace its nerves, (Calmet) or to wash it. Salt was also used to dry up the humidity and stop the pores, (St. Jerome) or it was mixed with water to harden the skin and navel. (Avicen. Gall. San. i. 7.) --- Clouts, to keep the body straight. The negroes who neglect this are stronger and better proportioned, (Calmet) and too much restraint is known to be detrimental to the tender limbs. (Haydock)

Verse 5

Born, as it were in Egypt. He represents the Jews as a female from her infancy, till she be advanced in years.

Verse 6

Thy blood, unwashed after being born, ver. 4. (Calmet) --- The Jews were solicitous to increase their numbers, and exposed none. (Tacitus, Hist. v.) --- But other nations did, if they thought the child would be troublesome, or a disgrace. (Calmet) --- The prophet sends this admonition from Chaldea, and shews how God had selected his people from among the barbarous nations, and decorated them with many privileges of the law, sacrifices, &c. (Worthington)

Verse 7


Woman’s. Hebrew, "the ornament of ornaments;" hadaiim instead of harim in Septuagint, "the city of cities," (Calmet) or the highest glory, being arrived at that age when decorations are most sought after. --- Fashioned. Literally, "swelling." Septuagint, "erect." (Haydock) --- Hair, (pilus.) Women are allowed by canon law to marry at twelve. (Calmet)

Verse 8

Lovers. Hebrew dodim, "breasts, (Haydock) or espousals;" (Aquila) "loving." (Symmachus) --- Garment, as a husband, Ruth iii. 9., and Jeremias ii. 2.

Verse 9

Oil, used after bathing, or with perfume. (Calmet)

Verse 10

Embroidery. Literally, "various colours." (Haydock) --- But this is the import, Psalm xliv. 10. --- Violet, or dark blue, appropriated to princes. --- Linen, or cotton, Exodus xxv., and Proverbs xxxi. 24. (Calmet) --- Fine. Literally, "thin." Hebrew Mesi, (Haydock) "silken." (Jarchi; Pagnin, &c.) Silk was used much later at Rome, (Calmet) and was reprobated as not covering the body sufficiently. Cois tibi pene videre est

Ut nudam.----- (Horace, i. Sat. ii.)

(Seneca, Ben. vii. 9.) --- Septuagint Greek: trichapto, according to Hesychius, &c., denotes "a silk ribbon for the hair;" (Calmet) a robe as delicate as hair, (St. Jerome) or a transparent veil for the head. (Theodoret) --- Such are still worn in the East. Hair is used in the veil opposite to the eyes, that the ladies may see without being seen. (Calmet)

Verse 12

Forehead. Literally, "mouth." Hebrew, "nose." (Haydock) --- Women wore rings where spectacles are placed, and had others hung at their noses, so as to touch the mouth. People who are not acquainted with this odd custom, which is still prevalent in Africa and Asia, suppose that the ornament hung upon the forehead, as St. Jerome does. See Genesis xxiv. 22. (Calmet)

Verse 13

Linen. Hebrew mossi, ver. 11. (Haydock) --- Chaldean understands these ornaments to pertain to the tabernacle, which was set up in the wilderness. --- Oil, enjoying a most fertile country, (Calmet) and the noblest sacrifices. (Haydock) --- And wast, &c. The kingdom had subsisted 1500 years. (Calmet) --- Septuagint omit this, for fear of giving umbrage to the Egyptians, according to St. Jerome, as if they could be ignorant of this circumstance. (Calmet) --- Grabe supplies, "thou wast directed to the kingdom." (Haydock)

Verse 15

Renown, or name; thus dishonouring me, thy husband, Isaias iv. 1.

Verse 16

Places: pavilions, (Cornelius a Lapide; 4 Kings xvii. 30.; Calmet) or idols stuffed, (St. Jerome; Theodoret) and outwardly adorned. Such might easily be procured or removed, 1 Kings xix. 13. --- Hereafter, with impunity. The Jews were guilty of greater ingratitude than other nations.

Verse 17

My gold, for the temple, or thy most precious ornaments, which were sacrificed to gratify thy lubricity, (Calmet) or to form the golden calf, &c., Exodus xxxii. (Haydock) --- Obscene representations were also used in the worship of Osiris. (Herodotus ii. 48.)

Verse 18

Oil, or perfume. which no man was allowed to use, Exodus xxx. 9, 38.

Verse 20

Thy sons: so he calls them to shew his indignation, though he acknowledges them for his, (ver. 21.) to enhance the crime. Who could have thought that such cruel sacrifices would ever take place! (4 Kings xxiii.) (Calmet) --- Adulteresses bring in the children of others; but the Jews sacrifice their own to idols, 4 Kings xvi., &c. (Worthington)

Verse 25

Sign; altars of idols. (Haydock) --- She makes no secret of her apostacy. The Greeks and Romans marked the houses of prostitutes, that honest men might avoid them. "The deemed the profession of such a crime a sufficient punishment to repress impure women." (Tacitus, Annal.)

Verse 26

Bodies. Literally, "flesh." (Haydock) (Juvenal ix. 34.) (Menochius) --- The Egyptians are tall, but meagre. (Valle. Ep. xi.) --- They were the most dissolute in their worship, and corrupted most other nations as well as the Jews, chap. xx. 8., and xxiii. 3.

Verse 27

Justification; law, &c. Hebrew, "thy right," or allowance, Exodus xxi. 10. --- Hate thee. To be abandoned to the will of a rival, is most dreadful for a woman. The Jews were subjected to the nations which they had despised, as they are still to Christians. Even other less favoured idolaters were astonished (Calmet) at their apostacy. (Haydock)

Verse 28

Assyrians, adoring the sun, Baal, &c. (Calmet)

Verse 31

Price, before she will yield, (Haydock) or who follow such practices for a livelihood. (Calmet) --- Hebrew, "in that thou scornest hire." (Protestants) Septuagint, "gathering rewards." The difference consisted in Jerusalem’s sinning through mere wantonness, and even to her loss.

Verse 34

Fornication unpunished, or comparable with thine, ver. 16. (Haydock) --- All such actions are abominable; but still more so, when the woman solicts[solicits?]. (Worthington)

Verse 36

Money. Literally, "brass," (Haydock) to adorn idols. (Calmet) --- Protestants, "thy filthiness;" (Haydock) virus. (Pagnin, &c.) (Calmet)

Verse 37

Nakedness. Friends and enemies (Haydock) saw that idols afforded no protection, chap. vi. 3., and Jeremias xiii. 26.

Verse 38

Judge; punish thee by stoning to death, Leviticus xx. 10. The walls of the Jews were battered to the ground.

Verse 39

House; the temple, which thou hast profaned, and the high places. The idols shall be plundered, in which thou hast trusted.

Verse 41

Women: nations assembled against Jerusalem.

Verse 42

No more. I will entirely repudiate thee, so as to observe thy conduct no longer, (Calmet) with the eyes of an husband. (Haydock) --- This is the most terrible effect of God’s wrath, (Calmet) when the sinner is left to himself, Osee iv. 14. (St. Jerome)

Verse 43

Youth, when thou wast destitute, (ver. 4.) and more grateful for my favours, Jeremias ii. 2. --- Head. I have punished thee, yet not as thy deeds require. (Haydock)

Verse 44

Daughter. They too commonly (Calmet) follow bad parents. (Juvenal vi. 239., and xiv. 25.) --- Jerusalem is more wicked than the Cethite, (Haydock) her mother, ver. 3. (Calmet) --- Even this nation had once received the principles of the true religion for the patriarchs, but cast them off to embrace idolatry, and to destroy her children. (Haydock) --- Jerusalem was formerly and is till wicked. (Worthington)

Verse 46

Right: southward. --- Sodom. The city was more ancient than Jerusalem. Hence it here designates Ruben, (Haydock) and the Jews east of the Jordan; (Prado) or rather Moab and Ammon, (ver. 55.; Calmet) and the rest of the Gentiles. (Haydock) --- Samaria shewed Jerusalem the road to idolatry, and therefore is called her elder sister. The number of the ten tribes was also greater than that of the kingdom of Juda, which became corrupt as Sodom, only by degrees. (Theodoret)

Verse 47

Ways, but hast done even worse. --- Almost. He seems to diminish their crimes, (Calmet) as if it could hardly be believed that Jerusalem should be more abandoned. Hebrew and Septuagint, "that would be but little: yea, thou hast done more," &c. (Haydock)

Verse 49

Sodom, &c. That is, these were the steps by which the Sodomites came to fall into those abominations for which they were destroyed. For pride, gluttony, and idleness, are the high road to all kinds of lust; especially when they are accompanied with a neglect of the works of mercy. (Challoner) --- These crimes alone are great enough; (Luke xvi. 19.) and the prophets never accuse the Jews of unnatural lust. Hence Ezechiel takes no notice of it here, as he probably refers to the manners of the Moabites, &c., who were then living, Isaias xvi. 6. (Calmet) --- Abundance and idleness produce crimes; temperance and labour bring forth good fruit. (Worthington)

Verse 50

Seen. This would seem to allude to the Israelites beyond the Jordan, who had been led away into Assyria. The Moabites, &c., beheld the downfall of Jerusalem, (Haydock) and were treated in like manner, only five years later. (Jos.[Josephus?]) (Jeremias xlviii., &c.)

Verse 51

Justified, as they are comparatively innocent. (St. Augustine, contra Faust. xxii. 61.) --- They had not the like advantages, (Matthew xi. 23.) nor the example of others’ punishment to open their eyes. Thou hast pleaded for or with them, and hast lost thy cause. (Calmet)

Verse 53

Back, &c. This relates to the conversion of the Gentiles out of all nations, and of many of the Jews, to the Church of Christ. (Challoner) --- Cyrus also liberated the tribes on the east as well as on the west of the Jordan, (Haydock) and in general all the captive nations. (Calmet) --- And restore. Hebrew, "the captivity, even the captivity of Sodom." Septuagint, "I will turn away their aversions, the," &c. I will give them a more docile spirit. (Haydock)

Verse 54

Them. It affords some consolation to have partners in misery. (Calmet)

Verse 55

Ancient state. That is, to their former state of liberty, and their ancient possessions. In the spiritual sense, to the true liberty and the happy inheritance of the children of God, through faith in Christ. (Challoner) --- All will be treated alike, whether Jew or Gentile. (Haydock) --- When Sodom or the Gentiles shall have embraced the gospel, then also will the Jews, Romans x. (Worthington)

Verse 56

Pride. Thou scornedst to mention her, (Psalm xv. 4.; Calmet) or wouldst not take warning. (St. Jerome)

Verse 59

Covenant at Sinai, or under Josue, [Josue] viii., and Exodus xix. 7.

Verse 60

Covenant. After punishing thee I will fulfill my promises, as we see was done (Calmet) after the captivity, and (Haydock) in the Christian Church. (Calmet) --- All shall be converted, not by the Jewish but by the evangelical covenant. (Worthington)

Verse 61

Daughters. The countries were conquered by the Machabees. All nations embrace the gospel. --- Covenant. It is broken. I will, out of pity, re-establish it, or a better, to last for ever under Christ, free from the servitude and fear of the old law. (Calmet)

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Ezekiel 16". "Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". 1859.