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Eze 19:1 Moreover take thou up a lamentation for the princes of Israel,
Ver. 1. Moreover take thou up a lamentation. ] A threnodia, a doleful ditty. In all ages things joyful and sorrowful were made up in songs and ballads for popular use.
For the princes of Israel. ] Those four last kings - princes rather than kings, because vassals to Egypt and Babylon - who, by starting unnecessary wars, wrought their own and their country’s ruin.
Eze 19:2 And say, What [is] thy mother? A lioness: she lay down among lions, she nourished her whelps among young lions.
Ver. 2. What is thy mother? ] Whereby is meant thy city of Jerusalem and people of the Jews, who took these four for their kings, and soon had enough of them.
A lioness. ] So called for her nobleness, courage, and cruelty.
She lay down among lions. ] Alludit ad coitum It signifieth that this state, by conversing with other heathen princes, had been corrupted by them and conformed unto them.
She nourished her whelps among young lions. ] From whom they took in but few good principles for young princes. Wickedness is soon learned Of a certain prince of Germany it was said, Esset alius si esset apud alios, his company undid him: So it did Julian the apostate.
Eze 19:3 And she brought up one of her whelps: it became a young lion, and it learned to catch the prey; it devoured men.
Ver. 3. And she brought up one of her whelps. ] This was Jehoahaz.
It became a young llon. ] Cunning and cruel, and having never a good property, though the son of good Josiah; who might better have said than that pope did of his wicked son, Caesar Borgia, Haec vitia me non commonstratore dedicit, He never learned it of his father.
It devoured men. ] He was a very cannibal to his subjects, and made no more conscience to undo a poor man, to seek and suck his blood, than to eat a meal’s meat when hungry. Psa 14:4
Eze 19:4 The nations also heard of him; he was taken in their pit, and they brought him with chains unto the land of Egypt.
Ver. 4. The nations also heard of him. ] His lion-like disposition and practices were soon noised and noticed.
He was taken in their pit. ] As lions are taken by their hunters. Tyrants hold not their own long those beasts are "made to be taken and destroyed"; as Nero, whom the senate judged to death as an enemy to mankind; a and as Commodus, who was, saith Orosius, cunctis incommodus, a mischief to mankind.
a Ex condicto omnes conveniunt ut eum capiant.
Eze 19:5 Now when she saw that she had waited, [and] her hope was lost, then she took another of her whelps, [and] made him a young lion.
Ver. 5. Now when she saw that she had waited and her hope was lost. ] She looked for Jehoahaz’s return out of Egypt, as Sisera’s mother did for his safe and victorious return from the battle; but all in vain. "The hope of the hypocrite shall perish."
Then she took another of her whelps. ] A brat of the same breed, and of no better condition. Judea changed her lords oft, but not her miseries. So did Rome in the times between Augustus and Constantine the Great; the names of those few of them that were good might be written within the compass of a signet, as one said. Scarce any of them died a natural death, unless it were Vespasian, qui solus imperatorum mutatus in melius, a who also was the only emperor that became better by his preferment.
Eze 19:6 And he went up and down among the lions, he became a young lion, and learned to catch the prey, [and] devoured men.
Ver. 6. He went up and down, &c. ] Of whom he learned to king it, and to lionise it. See Ezekiel 19:2-3 .
Learned to catch the prey. ] To pull his subjects, and to make havoc, as our Henry III did, who was therefore called Regni dilapidator. destroyer of the kingdom.
And devoured men. ] As Ezekiel 19:3 ; see Jeremiah 20:17 .
Eze 19:7 And he knew their desolate palaces, and he laid waste their cities; and the land was desolate, and the fulness thereof, by the noise of his roaring.
Ver. 7. And he knew their desolate places. ] He had made them desolate, and bereft them of their right owners, whom he had devoured, and then seized them for himself. Some read and render it, He knew their desolate widows - i.e., He first killed up their husbands, and then lay with the widows: the men he devoured, the women he deflowered. Such work this wicked prince made, till God took him in hand; as he did also the other three here lamented, of whom may be said, as Plutarch doth of Galba, Otho, and Vitellius, emperors, that they were like kings in a tragedy, which last no longer than the time that they are represented on the stage.
Eze 19:8 Then the nations set against him on every side from the provinces, and spread their net over him: he was taken in their pit.
Ver. 8. Then the nations set against him on every side. ] Nebuchadnezzar, with the neighbour nations his auxiliaries.
They spread their net over him. ] As they did also over the two last kings, though not here specified, Jehoiakim and Zedekiah, because they chose rather to run the hazard of ruin by rebellion, than to continue safely with slavery.
He was taken in their pit. ] See Ezekiel 19:4 , an ordinary way of taking lions, as Pliny telleth us. Leones maxime foveis capiuntur.
Eze 19:9 And they put him in ward in chains, and brought him to the king of Babylon: they brought him into holds, that his voice should no more be heard upon the mountains of Israel.
Ver. 9. And they put him in ward in chains. ] Or, Hooks. As lions are not looked upon, but through a grate. In claustrum. God knows how to hamper the most truculent tyrants, as he did also Bajazet.
They brought him into holds. ] Into some strong tower, or rock, where he died; and his body was afterwards thrown out upon a dunghill. Jer 22:18
Eze 19:10 Thy mother [is] like a vine in thy blood, planted by the waters: she was fruitful and full of branches by reason of many waters.
Ver. 10. Thy mother is like a vine in thy blood. ] The same lamentation is here continued, though under another parable - viz., of a wasted vine. Jerusalem was once a generous fruitful spreading vine. It began to be so again in some sort under Zedekiah, if he could have been contented. See on Ezekiel 17:5 ; Ezekiel 17:8 .
Eze 19:11 And she had strong rods for the sceptres of them that bare rule, and her stature was exalted among the thick branches, and she appeared in her height with the multitude of her branches.
Ver. 11. And she had strong rods for sceptres. ] So firm were the branches of this vine, so many and likely to succeed him in the kingdom were Zedekiah’s children; his nobles also were men of great parts, and fit for greater employments.
And she appeared in her height. ] High she grew, and in addition high minded, and so ripe for ruin.
Eze 19:12 But she was plucked up in fury, she was cast down to the ground, and the east wind dried up her fruit: her strong rods were broken and withered; the fire consumed them.
Ver. 12. But she was plucked up in fury. ] And so thrown with a force to the ground, as a man doth a dry or barren plant.
The east wind dried up her fruit. ] See Ezekiel 17:10 . It is ventus urens et exsiccans; burning and drying wind this was Nebuchadnezzar and his army.
Eze 19:13 And now she [is] planted in the wilderness, in a dry and thirsty ground.
Ver. 13. And now she is planted in a wilderness. ] Babylon was no wilderness, but fruitful beyond credulity, a But the poor captive Jews had little joy from it, for some time at least.
In a dry and thirsty ground. ] In terra sicca et sitioulosa. So it was to them, though never so well watered, because they wanted there the waters of the sanctuary, and many other comforts of their own country. See Psalms 137:1-6
a Herodot., lib. i. cap. 193; Plin., lib. vi. cap. 26.
Eze 19:14 And fire is gone out of a rod of her branches, [which] hath devoured her fruit, so that she hath no strong rod [to be] a sceptre to rule. This [is] a lamentation, and shall be for a lamentation.
Ver. 14. And fire is gone out of a rod of her branches, ] i.e., Zedekiah, by his perjury and rebellion, hath ruined all, set all on a light fire.
So that she hath no strong rod, &c. ] None to speak of till Shiloh come. Rulers indeed they had after this and governors, Hag 2:21 but no kings of their own nation.
This is a lamentation. ] See on Ezekiel 19:1 .
And shall be for a lamentation. ] Jerusalem plangitur et plangetur. The nation of the Jews shall never want matter for mourning.
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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Ezekiel 19". Trapp's Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 20 / Ordinary 25