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Bible Commentaries

Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ezekiel 20

Verse 1

Month: the year of the world 3411, August 27. (Usher) --- Ezechiel had prophesied in the fourth year; they was silent a year and two months, or 430 days. He opened his mouth again in the sixth year, (chap. viii. 1.) and now in the seventh year he is ordered not to answer. (Worthington) --- We know not what the ancients wanted to know; but their design was evil. (Calmet)

Verse 4

Judgest them; or, if thou wilt enter into the cause, and plead against them. (Challoner) --- Lay before them the iniquities of their fathers, and their own, which bring on the reprobation of the greatest part. God will form his Church out of a few of them and of the Gentiles. The return of a small number from captivity is also insinuated.

Verse 6

Excelleth. Hebrew, "is beauty or a desire." Septuagint, "honeycomb." (Calmet)

Verse 7

Scandals, &c., (offensiones) that is, the abominations or idols, to the worship of which they were allured by their eyes. (Challoner) --- Moses found them in this condition in Egypt, and he could not entirely reclaim them. (Calmet) --- Many still secreted their idols, chap. xxiii. 1., and Acts vii. 42. (Haydock)

Verse 8

Egypt. Their disorders called for such severity. But God was restrained by the dangers (Calmet) of blasphemy, &c., to which the faithful and idolaters would thus have been exposed. (Haydock) --- He saved them as he had promised, though they did not deserve it. (Worthington)

Verse 10

Brought. Literally, "cast," (Haydock) as if they had been reluctant.

Verse 11

Live, and enjoy temporal felicity, which was chief promised, though the faithful observers of the law would obtain an eternal reward.

Verse 12

Sign, as also to promote piety and instruction.

Verse 13

Sabbaths. We only read of one man gathering sticks, and the people manna once on those days, Exodus xv., and xvi. But Moses does not mention all. (Calmet) --- Sabbath often denotes the whole law, which they transgressed; and as long as they retained an affection for idols, they could not observe the sabbaths so as to please God.

Verse 14


But. Literally, "And I did for," &c. This motive caused me to spare them. (Haydock) --- I punished only the most guilty adorers of the calf, and murmurers, &c., Numbers xiv. 28. (Calmet) --- Some were always preserved for a succession, ver. 9, 22. (Worthington)

Verse 23

Again, or also. (Haydock) --- Four times are specified [in] ver. 13, 15, 21., which may allude to the adoration of the calf, the graves of concupiscence, the murmuring, and commerce with the women and idols of Moab, Exodus xxiii., and Numbers x., and xiv., and xxv. (Calmet)

Verse 25

Not good. The laws and ordinances of their enemies: or those imposed upon them by that cruel tyrant the devil, to whose power they were delivered up for their sins; (Challoner) which may be styled the statutes of your fathers, &c., ver. 18. (Haydock) --- God is often said to do what he only permits. (Calmet) --- He abandoned them to their own perversity. (St. Jerome) (Deuteronomy xxxii. 21, 37.) --- If God had spoken of the Decalogue, &c., would he say such laws were not good, after he had testified that the observers shall live in them? ver. 11. He established the ceremonial law, at the same time. See Kimchi; Menochius, &c. Chaldean, "I have given them up to their foolish desires. They have established bad statutes and laws which will not give them life." This seems the best explanation. (Calmet) --- Hebrew, "Have I given....(26) and have I polluted them?" &c. (Manasse Ben. Israel.) The precepts had also a bad effect, and were given in condescension to the weakness of the people, (Origen) particularly the ceremonial part. (St. Just.[St. Justin Martyr?]; St. Chrysostom; St. Jerome, &c.) --- They did not justify, (St. Augustine) and were not good, compared with those of the new law. (St. Gregory, mor. xxviii. 9.) --- Thus Solon gave the Athenians "the best laws that they would receive," (Plutarch) though others more perfect might have been devised. (Calmet)

Verse 26

I polluted them, &c. That is, I gave them up to such blindness, in punishment of their offences, as to pollute themselves with the blood of all their first-born, whom they offered up to their idols in compliance with their wicked devices. (Challoner) (Menochius) (Leviticus xviii. 21., and 4 Kings iii. ultra[last verse], and xxi. 6. (Calmet) --- Offered. Protestants, "caused to pass through the fire all," &c., chap. xvi. 21. --- For their. Protestants, "that I might make them desolate to the end, that," &c.

Verse 29

Called high. Hebrew, "Bamah," (Haydock) out of contempt. (Calmet) --- The Jews were so much attached to the high places, that they called the altar of the Lord by the same name. Thus heretics are convicted by the very names they use, calling sacrifice service, &c. (Worthington)

Verse 32

Stones. This was the secret intention of the ancients, (ver. 1.; Haydock) and of many in captivity, who were only praise-worthy compared with those at Jerusalem, chap. xi. 15.

Verse 33

Out. I will not allow you to follow idols with impunity. (Calmet)

Verse 35

Of people. That is, a desert, in which there are no people; (Challoner) meaning Judea, to which they should return.

Verse 37

Covenant of the gospel, by the powerful attractions of grace, Luke xiv. 24., John vi. 69., and vii. 46., and 2 Corinthians x. 4.

Verse 38

Israel. They shall continue in exile; or the rebel Jews who will not believe in Christ, shall be cast off. (Calmet)

Verse 39

Walk, &c. It is not an allowance, much less a commandment to serve idols; but a figure of speech, by which God would have them to understand, that if they would walk after their idols, they must not pretend to serve him at the same time: for that he would by no means suffer such a mixture of worship. (Challoner) (St. Jerome) --- Continue, if you dare, to serve idols. I will still bring you back. (Calmet) --- Septuagint, "take away each your devices; and then if you hear me, (Grabe’s copy adds, not) and defile not my," &c. (Haydock) --- God would rather have idolaters leave him wholly, than halt between two, (3 Kings xviii.) neither hot nor cold; (Apocalypse iii.) for such dishonour God’s name the most, Romans ii. 24. (Worthington)

Verse 40

Mountain. The foregoing verse, to make the sense complete, must be understood so as to condemn and reject that mixture of worship which the Jews then followed. In this verse God promises to the true Israelites, especially to those of the Christian Church, that they should serve him in another manner in his holy mountain, the spiritual Sion, and shall be accepted of by him. (Challoner)

Verse 43

Committed. This is a picture of the converts to Christianity. (Calmet)

Verse 46

Of the south. Jerusalem lay towards the south of Babylon, where the prophet then was, and is here called the forest of the south field, and is threatened with utter desolation. (Challoner) See chap. xxi. (Calmet) --- In Jerusalem there were good and bad. (Worthington)

Verse 47

Burned, with war and famine, Jeremias xxi. 14. (Calmet) --- North, from Egypt to Mesopotamia. (Theodoret) --- Nabuchodonosor invaded those parts. (Haydock)

Verse 49

Parables. They were easy enough to understand, but the Jews would not comprehend them no more than our Saviour’s words, John x. 24. (Calmet)

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Bibliographical Information
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Ezekiel 20". "Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". 1859.