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Bible Commentaries
Ezekiel 21

Trapp's Complete CommentaryTrapp's Commentary

Verse 1

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

And the word of the Lord. — See Ezekiel 18:1 .

Verse 2

Son of man, set thy face toward Jerusalem, and drop [thy word] toward the holy places, and prophesy against the land of Israel,

Set thy face. — See on Ezekiel 20:46 .

And drop thy word. — See Deuteronomy 32:2 Amos 7:16 . As drops of rain follow one upon another, so do words. Speak thick, speak home, though they forbid thee to drop such vinegar or nitre on their galled conscience. Micah 2:6 ; Micah 2:11

Toward the holy places,i.e., Against the temple, which they so cried up, Jeremiah 7:4 like so many oyster wives, ad ravim usque.

Verse 3

And say to the land of Israel, Thus saith the LORD; Behold, I [am] against thee, and will draw forth my sword out of his sheath, and will cut off from thee the righteous and the wicked.

Behold, I am against thee. — That is misery enough, for all the creatures are soon against such; as a nobleman’s servants draw their swords when their lord once draweth.

And will cut off from thee the righteous. — Who are sometimes wrapped up with the wicked in a common calamity. The husbandman cutteth down his corn and weeds together, but for a different end and purpose. If the righteous also be judged of the Lord, it is that they may not be condemned with the world. 1 Corinthians 11:31

Verse 4

Seeing then that I will cut off from thee the righteous and the wicked, therefore shall my sword go forth out of his sheath against all flesh from the south to the north:

Seeing then that I will cut off from thee the righteons.Velut eodem contubernio deprehensos. This is repeated for more assurance, because it might seem strange. The Septuagint hath it, The unrighteous and the wicked. The Chaldee, I will make the righteous flee, and destroy the wicked. But the Hebrew verity is as before; neither need we wonder, since the best have their infirmities.

Verse 5

That all flesh may know that I the LORD have drawn forth my sword out of his sheath: it shall not return any more.

Have drawn forth my sword. — And put it in commission; not to return till the circuit ended, till it hath done full execution.

Verse 6

Sigh therefore, thou son of man, with the breaking of [thy] loins; and with bitterness sigh before their eyes.

Sigh therefore, with the breaking of thy loins.Gemituque et gestu dolorem referas; show greatest grief, such as is deep and downright; sigh till thy buttons fly; or as a travailing woman. Non ut praeficae in funeribus solent.

Verse 7

And it shall be, when they say unto thee, Wherefore sighest thou? that thou shalt answer, For the tidings; because it cometh: and every heart shall melt, and all hands shall be feeble, and every spirit shall faint, and all knees shall be weak [as] water: behold, it cometh, and shall be brought to pass, saith the Lord GOD.

For the tidings. — Of the Chaldeans’ coming. This was to the wicked as those knuckles of a man’s hand were afterwards to Belshazzar, to write them their destiny; or as Daniel was to him, to read it unto them. Whenas the righteous man is no whit "afraid of evil tidings, his heart is fixed trusting in the Lord." Psalms 112:7

And every heart shall melt, … — As wax before the fire, which, before the danger, seemed to be made all of steel or adamant. The wicked, when in adversity, are woefully despondent and crest fallen, as was the king of Sodom; Genesis 14:9-11 Manasseh among the bushes; 2 Chronicles 33:12 and others not a few, who in their prosperity seem to face the heavens and to draw the devil himself to a duel.

And all hands shall be feeble. — The spirits and blood being run to the heart, in that fright to relieve it.

And all knees shall be weak as water. — Heb., Shall go into water - that is, they shall bepiss themselves for fear, saith Jerome; they shall be all on a cold sweat, say others; or their knees shall shake, instar aquae tremulae, like trembling water, and knock together, as Belshazzar’s did. Daniel 5:6

Verse 8

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

Again the word. — See on Ezekiel 18:1 .

Verse 9

Son of man, prophesy, and say, Thus saith the LORD; Say, A sword, a sword is sharpened, and also furbished:

Ver. 9 A sword, a sword is sharpened.Exacutus et extersus, sharp and clean. Not only drawn, but sharpened, that it may wound swiftly and deadly; furbished also, that it may the more affray and make the quicker despatch. And that no doubt may be made of it, the ward sword is doubled.

Verse 10

It is sharpened to make a sore slaughter; it is furbished that it may glitter: should we then make mirth? it contemneth the rod of my son, [as] every tree.

Should we then make mirth? — Not if we be in our right minds; for would it not be now a mad mirth, whenas we should be most serious and seek God? See Isaiah 22:12-14 . See Trapp on " Isaiah 22:12 " See Trapp on " Isaiah 22:13 " See Trapp on " Isaiah 22:14 "

It contemneth the rod of my son. — Other judgments forerun the sword, which, when they will not do the deed, the sword will then contemn the rod; that is, it will set at naught whatever those have done, and come furbished and sharpened for the slaughter. See Ezekiel 21:3 .

Verse 11

And he hath given it to be furbished, that it may be handled: this sword is sharpened, and it is furbished, to give it into the hand of the slayer.

To give it into the hand of the slayer. — Nebuchadnezzar, who will therewith lay about him lustily, as Eleazar once did till his hand clave unto the sword, 2 Samuel 23:10 or as since Scanderbeg, who killed many hundred Turks with his own hand, and fought oft with so much eagerness, that the very blood brake forth at his lips. Turkish History.

Verse 12

Cry and howl, son of man: for it shall be upon my people, it [shall be] upon all the princes of Israel: terrors by reason of the sword shall be upon my people: smite therefore upon [thy] thigh.

Cry and howl, son of man. — While others make mirth, as Ezekiel 21:10 and are insolent against God. Mourners shall be marked, Ezekiel 9:4 comforted. Isaiah 57:18

Smite therefore upon thy thigh. — See on Jeremiah 31:19 .

Verse 13

Because [it is] a trial, and what if [the sword] contemn even the rod? it shall be no [more], saith the Lord GOD.

Because it is a trial. — Sore and sharp; therefore cry and howl, especially since they are not bettered. Hang heavy weights on rotten boughs, they presently break; the best divination of men is at the parting way. See Ezekiel 21:21 .

And what if the sword contemn even the rod?q.d., What doth this silly rod do here? will they not stoop? will they not put their necks under the yoke of God’s Son? Ezekiel 21:10 Let me come; I will make them either bow or break, either yield or bleed.

Verse 14

Thou therefore, son of man, prophesy, and smite [thine] hands together, and let the sword be doubled the third time, the sword of the slain: it [is] the sword of the great [men that are] slain, which entereth into their privy chambers.

Smite thy hands together. — So to show what I will do shortly. Ezekiel 21:17

Let the sword be doubled the third time. — Doubled and trebled, till it hath made an utter end of this untoward generation.

Which entereth into their privy chambers. — Ferreting and fetching them out of their lurking holes.

Verse 15

I have set the point of the sword against all their gates, that [their] heart may faint, and [their] ruins be multiplied: ah! [it is] made bright, [it is] wrapped up for the slaughter.

Ah! it is made bright. — By this doleful exclamation the prophet venteth himself tanquam coram deformitatem cladis cerneret, Oecolamp. as if he had seen the execution.

Verse 16

Go thee one way or other, [either] on the right hand, [or] on the left, whithersoever thy face [is] set.

Go thee one way or other. — This he speaketh to the bright and sharp sword, stirring it up to make impression that way whereunto it was appointed, quocunque occurrent tibires comparatae. Tremel.

Verse 17

I will also smite mine hands together, and I will cause my fury to rest: I the LORD have said [it].

I will also smite mine hands together. — As animating the enemy and rejoicing at thy ruin. Exultat quasi hortator gladii saevientis. He exalts just as I will exhortthe angry sword. - Jerome. Chaldee, I will bring revenge upon revenge;

Animumque explesse iuvabit.

“And he will help satisfy the spirit.”

Verse 18

The word of the LORD came unto me again, saying,

The word of the Lord. — See on Ezekiel 18:1 .

Verse 19

Also, thou son of man, appoint thee two ways, that the sword of the king of Babylon may come: both twain shall come forth out of one land: and choose thou a place, choose [it] at the head of the way to the city.

Appoint thee two wags.Pinge duas vias, ut Ezekiel 4:1 ; by prophetic action draw out two ways, by either of which Nebuehadnezzar may march against Egypt, his present aim, as the great Turk’s now is Italy.

Choose it at the head of the wag to the city. — All this the Jews heard and slighted, as being infatuated, and so fitted for destruction.

Verse 20

Appoint a way, that the sword may come to Rabbath of the Ammonites, and to Judah in Jerusalem the defenced.

And to Judah in Jerusalem the defenced. — Either against the one or the other of them - not against both at once, Ne Hercules quidem contra duos. for they were both strong, and Jerusalem was well aware of it - for they had both revolted from Nebuchadnezzar, and one of them was enough at once to undertake.

Verse 21

For the king of Babylon stood at the parting of the way, at the head of the two ways, to use divination: he made [his] arrows bright, he consulted with images, he looked in the liver.

For the king of Babylon stood at the parting. — Heb., At the mother of the way; ubi via una in ducts bifidata est. Ubi se via findit in ambas. - Virg.

To use divination. — Without which, and offering sacrifice, the very heathens held it not fit to fight. But this their art of divination was, as one saith of alchymy, Ars falsissima et fallacissima.

He made his arrows bright. — Vulg., He mingled his arrows; that is, saith Jerome, he took two arrows, writing upon the one Jerusalem, and upon the other Rabbath. Then, putting them into a quiver together, he took one out, being blindfolded; upon which seeing Jerusalem written, he divined that he should go with success against Jerusalem.

He consulted with images. — In which the devil sometimes spake. See Aug., De Civitate Dei, lib. iv. cap. 18.

He looked into the liver. — This was much practised by the Roman generals, as by Caesar, when he went against Pompey. Lucan.

Verse 22

At his right hand was the divination for Jerusalem, to appoint captains, to open the mouth in the slaughter, to lift up the voice with shouting, to appoint [battering] rams against the gates, to cast a mount, [and] to build a fort.

To appoint captains. — Heb., Rans; fierce and forward, to lead on their soldiers, let them get off as they could.

To open their mouth. — To storm and take it by an onslaught, and with a general slaughter, non sine barritu militari, vociferatione, et clangore insolenti.

Verse 23

And it shall be unto them as a false divination in their sight, to them that have sworn oaths: but he will call to remembrance the iniquity, that they may be taken.

And it shall be to them as a false divination. — The Jews shall believe nothing, till wrath comes upon them to the utmost. They shall laugh at Nebuchadnezzar’s fopperies, and think thee, O Ezekiel, to be little wiser than him; ludificabuntur te, adeoque teipsum, divinationis nefariae, quam de Nebuchadnetzare praedicas, incusabunt; Jun. but they shall rue this their madness.

To them that have sworn oaths. — But cared not at all to keep them. Lingua iuravi, mens iniurata est. The swore with their mouths but not from the heart. Medea.

But he will call to remembrance the iniquity. — The perfidy and perjury which they make nothing of. They that harden themselves in any one sin, put God in mind, as it were, of the rest, which he had seemed to have forgotten. Iusiurandum tanquam mantile adhibent quo novae noxae quotidie extergeantur. - Pacuvius.

Verse 24

Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Because ye have made your iniquity to be remembered, in that your transgressions are discovered, so that in all your doings your sins do appear; because, [I say], that ye are come to remembrance, ye shall be taken with the hand.

Because ye have made your iniquity. — Your old sins, by an addition of new ones.

Your sins do appear. — You are scandalous, shameless as Sodom. Isaiah 3:9

Verse 25

And thou, profane wicked prince of Israel, whose day is come, when iniquity [shall have] an end,

And thou profane. — Or, Worthy to be wounded to death.

Wicked prince. — Zedekiah, who now hath his own told him plainly by a prophet. See the like done, 1 Samuel 13:13 1 Kings 18:18 2 Kings 3:13-14 . See Trapp on " 1 Samuel 13:13 " See Trapp on " 1 Kings 18:18 " See Trapp on " 2 Kings 3:13 " See Trapp on " 2 Kings 3:14 "

Verse 26

Thus saith the Lord GOD; Remove the diadem, and take off the crown: this [shall] not [be] the same: exalt [him that is] low, and abase [him that is] high.

Remove the diadem. — This was a fine linen cloth, wherewith the king’s head used to be bound about, Diadema, of διαδειν circumligare. and then the crown was set on.

Take off the crown. — Our Richard II, when to be deposed, was brought forth crowned and in royal robes. Never, saith the chronicler, was prince so gorgeous with less glory and more grief.

This shall not be the same.Haec non erit haec. This crown or kingdom shall not be as it hath been.

Exalt him that is low. — Jeconiah, or, as some will, Christ the King of the Church.

And abase him that is high. — Just the same that Cambyses threatened unto Egypt, τα μεν ανω κατω, τα δε κατω ανω . - Herod., lib. ii. Zedekiah. Let him not henceforth be the master of a molehill, nor owner of his own liberty. In him let it appear that mortality is but the stage of mutability.

Verse 27

I will overturn, overturn, overturn, it: and it shall be no [more], until he come whose right it is; and I will give it [him].

I will overturn, overturn, overturn it.Curvam, curvam, curvam ponam eam, so the Tigurines translate. A crown there shall be still, but such as shall hang on one side of the head, as it were. Princes of the people there were. Those three high priests, Alexander, Aristobulus, and Hircanus, who called themselves kings, had very ill Success.

Until he come. — Christ the rightful King of Israel. To this text alludeth Nathanael. John 1:49

Verse 28

And thou, son of man, prophesy and say, Thus saith the Lord GOD concerning the Ammonites, and concerning their reproach; even say thou, The sword, the sword [is] drawn: for the slaughter [it is] furbished, to consume because of the glittering:

Concerning the Ammonites. — Who had likewise rebelled against Nebuchadnezzar, and were very injurious to God’s people. See Ezekiel 25:3 ; Ezekiel 25:6 Zephaniah 2:8-9 .

“ Tβρις και Mαγνμτας απωλεσε και Kολοφωνα .”

Verse 29

Whiles they see vanity unto thee, whiles they divine a lie unto thee, to bring thee upon the necks of [them that are] slain, of the wicked, whose day is come, when their iniquity [shall have] an end.

To bring thee upon the necks of them that are slain. — To deal inhumanly with the dead, or to raise thyself upon the Jews’ ruin.

Verse 30

Shall I cause [it] to return into his sheath? I will judge thee in the place where thou wast created, in the land of thy nativity.

Shall I cause it to return? — No, but it shall still eat your flesh and drink your blood, till none remaineth.

In the land of thy nativity. — In thine own nest, and on thine own dunghill.

Verse 31

And I will pour out mine indignation upon thee, I will blow against thee in the fire of my wrath, and deliver thee into the hand of brutish men, [and] skilful to destroy.

Into the hand of brutish men. — Or, Of burning men, Ardelionum, artificum perditionis.

Verse 32

Thou shalt be for fuel to the fire; thy blood shall be in the midst of the land; thou shalt be no [more] remembered: for I the LORD have spoken [it].

Thou shalt be no more remembered.Saltem cum benedictione. - Polan. The Ammonites were so rooted out by the Medes and Persians, that besides what we find in the Bible, there is no mention of their name. A type of such as are destroyed for ever in hell, being fuel for that black fire, and eternally forgotten.

Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Ezekiel 21". Trapp's Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jtc/ezekiel-21.html. 1865-1868.
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