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Thursday, May 23rd, 2024
the Week of Proper 2 / Ordinary 7
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Bible Commentaries
Ezekiel 6

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - UnabridgedCommentary Critical Unabridged

Verse 1

And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 2

Son of man, set thy face toward the mountains of Israel, and prophesy against them,

Set thy face toward ... mountains of Israel - i:e., of Palestine in general. The mountains are addressed by personification; implying that the Israelites themselves are incurable, and unworthy of anymore appeals; so the prophet sent to Jeroboam did not deign to address the king, but addressed the altar (1 Kings 13:2). The mountains are specified, as being the scene of Jewish idolatries on "the high places" (Ezekiel 6:3).

Verse 3

And say, Ye mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord GOD; Thus saith the Lord GOD to the mountains, and to the hills, to the rivers, and to the valleys; Behold, I, even I, will bring a sword upon you, and I will destroy your high places.

Thus saith the Lord God ... to the rivers - literally, the channels of torrents. Rivers were often the scene and objects of idolatrous worship.

I will destroy your high places - quoted from Leviticus 26:30, and stamped afresh with the seal of inspiration.

Verse 4

And your altars shall be desolate, and your images shall be broken: and I will cast down your slain men before your idols.

Images - called so from a Hebrew root [chaamam], to wax hot, implying the mad ardour of Israel after idolatry (Calvin). Others translate [ chamaaneeykem (H2553)], sun-images; and so in Ezekiel 6:6, (see 2 Kings 23:11, where Josiah is stated to have burned "the chariots of the sun with fire;" 2 Chronicles 34:4, margin; and Isaiah 17:8, margin.) The cognate word [ chamaah (H2535)] means the Sun. The name applied in Egypt to Jupiter, the chief god, is Amoun or Ammon, which is probably akin to the word here. Sun-worship was the oldest form of idolatry.

Cast ... your slain men before your idols. The foolish objects of their trust in the day of evil should witness their ruin.

Verse 5

And I will lay the dead carcases of the children of Israel before their idols; and I will scatter your bones round about your altars.

I will lay the dead carcasses of the children of Israel before their idols - polluting thus with the dead bones of you, the worshippers, the idols which seemed to you so sacrosanct.

Verse 6

In all your dwellingplaces the cities shall be laid waste, and the high places shall be desolate; that your altars may be laid waste and made desolate, and your idols may be broken and cease, and your images may be cut down, and your works may be abolished.

That ... your works may be abolished - not gods, as you supposed, but the mere works of men's hands (Isaiah 40:18-20).

Verse 7

And the slain shall fall in the midst of you, and ye shall know that I am the LORD.

Ye shall know that I am the Lord - and not your idols, lords. Ye shall know me as the all-powerful Ye shall know that I am the Lord - and not your idols, lords. Ye shall know me as the all-powerful Punisher of sin.

Verse 8

Yet will I leave a remnant, that ye may have some that shall escape the sword among the nations, when ye shall be scattered through the countries.

Yet will I leave a remnant - mitigation of the extreme severity of their punishment; still their life shall be a wretched one, and linked with exile (Ezekiel 5:2; Ezekiel 5:12; Ezekiel 12:16; Ezekiel 14:22; Jeremiah 44:28).

Verse 9

And they that escape of you shall remember me among the nations whither they shall be carried captives, because I am broken with their whorish heart, which hath departed from me, and with their eyes, which go a whoring after their idols: and they shall lothe themselves for the evils which they have committed in all their abominations.

They that escape of you shall remember me. The object of God's chastizements shall at last be effected by working in them true contrition. This partially took place in the complete eradication of idolatry from the Jews ever since the Babylonian captivity. But they have yet to repent of their crowning sin, the crucifixion of Messiah. Their full repentance is therefore future, and shall be after the ordeal of trials for many centuries, ending with that foretold in Zechariah 10:9; Zechariah 13:8-9; Zechariah 14:1-4; Zechariah 14:11. (Compare Ezekiel 7:16; Deuteronomy 30:1-8).

I am broken with their whorish heart. Fairbairn translates actively, 'I will break' their whorish heart: the English version is better for the expression can hardly be tolerated, 'I will break ... their eyes.' And the English version is the regular meaning of the Niphal conjugation [ nishbartiy (H7665)]. In their exile they shall remember how long I bore with them, but was at last compelled to punish, after I was "broken" (my long-suffering wearied out) by their desperate spiritual whorishness (Calvin). (Numbers 15:39; Psalms 78:40; Isaiah 7:13; Isaiah 43:24; Isaiah 63:10).

They shall loathe themselves - (Leviticus 26:39-45). They shall not wait for men to condemn them, but shall condemn themselves (Ezekiel 20:43; Ezekiel 36:31; Job 42:6; 1 Corinthians 11:31, "If we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged"). When the Jews loathe and abhor themselves, then God saith, "Neither will I abhor them" (Leviticus 26:44).

Their eyes, which go a whoring after their idols - literally, 'dung-gods,' as he contemptuously calls them [ giluwleeyhem (H1544)]. So Beelzeboul, 'lord of dung,' means in Matthew 12:24, as read in some manuscripts: see margin So also in Ezekiel 6:4, "your idols" - literally, your dung-gods.'

Verse 10

And they shall know that I am the LORD, and that I have not said in vain that I would do this evil unto them.

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 11

Thus saith the Lord GOD; Smite with thine hand, and stamp with thy foot, and say, Alas for all the evil abominations of the house of Israel! for they shall fall by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence.

Smite with thine hand, and stamp with thy foot - gesticulations vividly setting before the hearers the greatness of the calamity about to be inflicted. In indignation at the abominations of Israel, extend thine hand, toward Judea, as if about to 'strike' and "stamp," shaking off the dust with thy foot, in token of how God shall "stretch out His hand upon them," and tread them down (Ezekiel 6:14; Ezekiel 21:14).

Verse 12

He that is far off shall die of the pestilence; and he that is near shall fall by the sword; and he that remaineth and is besieged shall die by the famine: thus will I accomplish my fury upon them.

He that is far off - namely, from the foe; those who in a distant exile fear no evil, "shall die of the pestilence."

He that remaineth - he that is left in the city, not carried away into captivity, nor having into the country "shall die by the famine." Distinct from "he that is near" - namely, those outside the city, who are within reach of "the sword" of the foe, and so "fall" by it, not by "famine," as those left in the city.

Verse 13

Then shall ye know that I am the LORD, when their slain men shall be among their idols round about their altars, upon every high hill, in all the tops of the mountains, and under every green tree, and under every thick oak, the place where they did offer sweet savour to all their idols.

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 14

So will I stretch out my hand upon them, and make the land desolate, yea, more desolate than the wilderness toward Diblath, in all their habitations: and they shall know that I am the LORD.

Diblath - another form of Diblathaim, a city in Moab (Numbers 33:46, "Almon-diblathaim;" Jeremiah 48:22, "Beth-diblathaim"), near which, at the east and south of the Dead sea, was the wilderness of Arabia Deserta.


(1) God marks the retributive justice of His judgments by making the mountains and "the high places," which had been the scene of Israel's sin, to become the scene of her punishment (Ezekiel 6:2-3). God justly makes that a desolation (Ezekiel 6:4) which we make an idol.

(2) The images in which Israel trusted for deliverance could not even deliver themselves, much less deliver others. Israel's slain men were to be cast before her idols, whereby the close connection between her sin and its punishment is plainly marked. The idols wherein she trusted for safety brought upon her destruction from the God who is a jealous God, and who will not let the glory which is His due be given to another with impunity (Ezekiel 6:5-7). Let us watchfully guard against trusting in any earthly confidences or works (Ezekiel 6:6), and solely look to the Lord as our stay and defense.

(3) A promise of grace to a remnant breaks in like a gleam of sunshine upon the otherwise dark face of the prophetic sky. The loving purpose of God's chastizements shall at last be accomplished in the case of the elect Jews, who shall survive the long series of calamities which have so crushed the nation. At length the people that escape shall remember the Lord, and observe the justice of His dealings in the lands of their exile. They shall call to mind with what amazing long-suffering God bore with their fathers, until at last, wearied out by their obstinacy, and above all by their crowning guilt in crucifying the Son of God, He was compelled to punish them (Ezekiel 6:9). Then shall they loathe themselves for the evils and abominations which they and their nation have committed. That this spirit of repentance may be poured out upon the Jews nationally should be the prayer of every true Christian. Meanwhile let us seek earnestly the conversion of individual Jews, as we know that there is, "Even at this present time, a remnant according to the election of grace" (Romans 11:5).

(4) It is awful when men cannot Be taught to "know the Lord" as the God of grace and love, and require to be taught, by His pouring His righteous fury upon them (Ezekiel 6:12), smiting them with His hand and treading them under His feet (Ezekiel 6:11), to know that He is the Almighty Yahweh, who will by no means clear the guilty (Ezekiel 6:14). But such cases are recorded for our warning, that we may flee the sin of the Jewish nation, and so escape their punishment. Let us judge ourselves, that we be not judged of the Lord. Remembering our obligations to Him, and how sadly we fall short of them, let us loathe ourselves because of our sinfulness, and rejoice at the same time in the true salvation provided for us in the Lord Jesus Christ.

(5) Then let our feeling toward those still on the broad way be like the compassionate feeling of Ezekiel, sighing for his nation's sin and consequent doom. "Alas for all the evil abominations of the house of Israel! for they shall fall by the sword, the famine, and the pestilence" (Ezekiel 6:11). Let us warn all to flee from sin and condemnation to the only Saviour, since we know that "he which convert eth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins" (James 5:20).

Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Ezekiel 6". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jfu/ezekiel-6.html. 1871-8.
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