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Bible Commentaries
Ezekiel 23

Trapp's Complete CommentaryTrapp's Commentary

Verse 1

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

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

Verse 2

Son of man, there were two women, the daughters of one mother:

There were two women. — This is the same in effect with Ezekiel 16:1-63 , but there more plainly, here parabolically expressed. Sermo est eraditus et elegans, simul tamen spurcas et obscaenus, Lavat. to set forth the hatefulness of idolatry, creature confidence, and adultery.

The daughters of one mother,scil., Synagogae, vel Sarce. Some think the prophet alludeth to Jacob’s two wives who were sisters.

Verse 3

And they committed whoredoms in Egypt; they committed whoredoms in their youth: there were their breasts pressed, and there they bruised the teats of their virginity.

And they committed whoredoms in Egypt. — See Ezekiel 20:8 Joshua 24:14 .

They committed whoredoms in their youth. — Like the strumpet Quartilla in Petronius, who said, Iunonem ego meam iratam habeam, si unquam me meminerim virginem fuisse. Petron. Satyricon.

There were their breasts pressed.Violatam virginitatem mammarum laxitas consequitur.

Verse 4

And the names of them [were] Aholah the elder, and Aholibah her sister: and they were mine, and they bare sons and daughters. Thus [were] their names; Samaria [is] Aholah, and Jerusalem Aholibah.

And the names of them were Aholah,i.e., Her tent, not mine (so he calleth Samaria, or the ten tribes). What have I to do with it or her Compare 1 Kings 12:16 ; 1 Kings 12:28 ; 1 Kings 12:31 . She is gone to her tent, and hath set her up tabernacles, where to worship her golden idols.

The elder. — So called because more numerous and potent than the other two tribes. She was also first in the defection.

And Aholibah. — That is, my tent is in her. So Jerusalem is called, because the temple and testimonies of God’s special presence were there, as King Abijah well pleadeth it. 2 Chronicles 13:10-11

Samaria is Aholah. — In figure she is; though some have held that these were the names of two notorious strumpets in Egypt.

Verse 5

And Aholah played the harlot when she was mine; and she doted on her lovers, on the Assyrians [her] neighbours,

And Aholah played the harlot when she was mine.Fornicata est sub me, under colour and covert of a marriage made with me. See what a fair gloss Jeroboam set upon his foul idolatry. 1 Kings 12:28

On the Assyrians, her neighbours. — So they were now become, by the conquest of Syria.

Verse 6

[Which were] clothed with blue, captains and rulers, all of them desirable young men, horsemen riding upon horses.

Which were clothed with blue. — With rich and gorgeous attire. Vestis luxuriae nidus.

Verse 7

Thus she committed her whoredoms with them, with all them [that were] the chosen men of Assyria, and with all on whom she doted: with all their idols she defiled herself.

Thus she committed her whoredoms with them. — Heb., She bestowed her whoredoms upon them; she was no niggard. A little entreaty served turn. Cuilibet sui copiam faciebat, such was her idol madness.

Verse 8

Neither left she her whoredoms [brought] from Egypt: for in her youth they lay with her, and they bruised the breasts of her virginity, and poured their whoredom upon her.

Neither left she her idols brought from Egypt. — Witness her two golden calves brought therehence by Jeroboam, in imitation of Apis, a calf dedicated by the Egyptians to Serapis, their chief idol.

Quis nescit, qualia demens

Aegyptus portenta colat? ” - Juvenal.

For in her youth. — See on Ezekiel 23:3 .

And poured their whoredoms upon her. — This kind of language and the like is here and elsewhere used, not to teach men to speak or do foul things, but the contrary. Of Petronius’s Satyricon it is said, Tolle obscaena, et tollis omni: and that he was impurissimus scriptor purissimae Latinitatis. Of our prophet it may as truly be said, Tolle sancta et tollis omnia. See on Ezekiel 23:2 .

Verse 9

Wherefore I have delivered her into the hand of her lovers, into the hand of the Assyrians, upon whom she doted.

Wherefore I have delivered her.2 Kings 17:23 .

Per quod quis peccat, per idem punitur et ipse.

Verse 10

These discovered her nakedness: they took her sons and her daughters, and slew her with the sword: and she became famous among women; for they had executed judgment upon her.

These discovered her nakedness,i.e., They have shamefully punished her for a stinking strumpet. as Ezekiel 23:26

And she became famous. — For her sins and punishments, much talked of. Heb., A name.

Verse 11

And when her sister Aholibah saw [this], she was more corrupt in her inordinate love than she, and in her whoredoms more than her sister in [her] whoredoms.

And when her sister Aholibah saw this. — And yet would not be warned; which was a just both presage and desert of her utter destruction.

She was more corrupt. — She was therefore the worse, because she should have been better.

Verse 12

She doted upon the Assyrians [her] neighbours, captains and rulers clothed most gorgeously, horsemen riding upon horses, all of them desirable young men.

She doted.Amantes amentes. Loving her lovers. See Ezekiel 23:5 .

Verse 13

Then I saw that she was defiled, [that] they [took] both one way,

Then I saw that she was defiled. — Whence it is that man’s nature is so prone to idolatry, and why that sin is compared to adultery, see Polanus upon this chapter, pp. 538-540.

Verse 14

And [that] she increased her whoredoms: for when she saw men pourtrayed upon the wall, the images of the Chaldeans pourtrayed with vermilion,

For when she saw men portrayed upon the wall. — So unbridled was her lust that she fell to doting upon those quos tantum per umbram et imaginem aspexerat, whose pictures only she had beheld. In some Popish churches there are to be seen wanton pictures, such as do rather kindle lust than quicken devotion. An eyewitness Spec. Eur. hath told us in print that in some places they will assemble various of the fairest courtezans, when they would draw a picture of the Virgin Mary, to draw the most modest beauty of a virgin out of the flagrancy of harlots.

Verse 15

Girded with girdles upon their loins, exceeding in dyed attire upon their heads, all of them princes to look to, after the manner of the Babylonians of Chaldea, the land of their nativity:

Girded with girdles. — Rich clothes are oft but fine covers of the foulest shame. If every silken suit did cover a sanctified soul, it would be brave.

Verse 16

And as soon as she saw them with her eyes, she doted upon them, and sent messengers unto them into Chaldea.

And as soon as she saw them with her eyes. — Here began the mischief. Ut vidi ut perii! Conciliatorem peccati oculum Talmudici nominant.

Oculi sunt in amore duces.

Many have died of the wound in the eye.

And sent messengers unto them. — Being themselves, therefore, not long after, sent into captivity unto them, that they might have enough of them.

Verse 17

And the Babylonians came to her into the bed of love, and they defiled her with their whoredom, and she was polluted with them, and her mind was alienated from them.

Into the bed of love. — Or, Of breasts, which are the symbols of love and seats of delight, as naturalists note. See Proverbs 6:19 ; Proverbs 7:18 .

And her mind was alienated from them. — Heb., Loosed or disjointed, to dote another while upon the Egyptians. Etiam vota post usum fastidia sunt.

Verse 18

So she discovered her whoredoms, and discovered her nakedness: then my mind was alienated from her, like as my mind was alienated from her sister.

Then my mind was alienated from her. — So Jeremiah 6:8 ; see there.

Verse 19

Yet she multiplied her whoredoms, in calling to remembrance the days of her youth, wherein she had played the harlot in the land of Egypt.

In calling to mind the sins of her youth. — This was to recommit them, because she remembered them with delight. It argueth an unmortified frame when recalling former evil acts proveth a snare.

Verse 20

For she doted upon their paramours, whose flesh [is as] the flesh of asses, and whose issue [is like] the issue of horses.

Whose flesh is as the flesh of asses.Qui sunt bene mentulati (honos sit nutibus) et qui semine abundant. Commodus the emperor, who had never a good property in him, was for this called the Ass, as Jerome noteth.

And whose issue is as the issue of horses.Fluxus equorum est fluxus eorum - that is, they are extremely libidinous and superstitious, so that there is no ho with them. Circumfluunt et exundant omni scelere et impietate copiosissime.

Verse 21

Thus thou calledst to remembrance the lewdness of thy youth, in bruising thy teats by the Egyptians for the paps of thy youth.

Thus thou calledst to remembrance. — See Ezekiel 23:19 .

Verse 22

Therefore, O Aholibah, thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will raise up thy lovers against thee, from whom thy mind is alienated, and I will bring them against thee on every side;

Therefore, O Aholibah.Flagitium et flagellum sunt ut acus et filum. Sin and punishment are inseparable companions; they are tied together with chains of adamant.

Verse 23

The Babylonians, and all the Chaldeans, Pekod, and Shoa, and Koa, [and] all the Assyrians with them: all of them desirable young men, captains and rulers, great lords and renowned, all of them riding upon horses.

Pekod, and Shoa, and Koa. — The inhabitants of these several countries, subject to the Babylonians. See Jeremiah 50:21 . Koa is by Strabo called Gaugamela.

Verse 24

And they shall come against thee with chariots, wagons, and wheels, and with an assembly of people, [which] shall set against thee buckler and shield and helmet round about: and I will set judgment before them, and they shall judge thee according to their judgments.

I will set judgment before them,i.e., I will put thee into their hands to be punished.

And they shall judge thee according to their judgment. — Without mixture of mercy; whereas I use in the midst of judgment to remember mercy.

Verse 25

And I will set my jealousy against thee, and they shall deal furiously with thee: they shall take away thy nose and thine ears; and thy remnant shall fall by the sword: they shall take thy sons and thy daughters; and thy residue shall be devoured by the fire.

And they shall take away thy nose and thine ears. — He seemeth to allude to the custom of the Egyptians, which was to cut off the nose and the ears of the adulteress. Rhodigin., lib. xxiv. cap. 45. John, a certain antipope, was served in like sort by the Romans. Pet. Damian, lib. i. cap. 21. Paul II deserved to be so served; of whom it is recorded that he was so proud that he painted his face to please his concubine; and that he was once in a mind to have taken to himself the name of Formosus, but that he thought it was ominous because his predecessor of that name came to so ill an end. Jacob. Revius, De. Vit, Pont.

Verse 26

They shall also strip thee out of thy clothes, and take away thy fair jewels.

They shall also strip thee out of thy clothes. — Wherein thou hast so much prided thyself.

And take away thy fair jewels.Instrumenta mundi tui; the instruments of thy decking. Isaiah 3:18-24

Verse 27

Thus will I make thy lewdness to cease from thee, and thy whoredom [brought] from the land of Egypt: so that thou shalt not lift up thine eyes unto them, nor remember Egypt any more.

Then will I make thy lewdness to cease from thee. — Thy prepensed wickedness. This benefit thou shalt reap and receive of thine enemies’ cruelty.

Nor remember Egypt. — Without regret.

Verse 28

For thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will deliver thee into the hand [of them] whom thou hatest, into the hand [of them] from whom thy mind is alienated:

I will deliver thee. — God hath a holy hand in all the evils that befall his people, by whomsoever.

Verse 29

And they shall deal with thee hatefully, and shall take away all thy labour, and shall leave thee naked and bare: and the nakedness of thy whoredoms shall be discovered, both thy lewdness and thy whoredoms.

And they shall deal with thee hatefully. — As ill as the wit of malice can devise to do.

All thy labour,i.e., All that thou hast laboured for. Oh, lay up grace, quae nec eripi nec surripi potest.

And the nakedness of thy whoredoms.Nuditas tua scortationibus dedita. Piscator.

Verse 30

I will do these [things] unto thee, because thou hast gone a whoring after the heathen, [and] because thou art polluted with their idols.

Thou art polluted with their idols. — Whereby thou thoughtest to have purged away thy sins, as Papists also do; but it proveth otherwise.

Verse 31

Thou hast walked in the way of thy sister; therefore will I give her cup into thine hand.

Therefore will I give her cup into thine hand. — An allusion to the manner of feasts, whereat the symposiarch or governor gave every guest his cup fitly tempered. God is the great Modimperator.

Verse 32

Thus saith the Lord GOD; Thou shalt drink of thy sister’s cup deep and large: thou shalt be laughed to scorn and had in derision; it containeth much.

Thou shaIt drink of thy sister’s cup deep and large. — Yea, though it have eternity to the bottom.

Verse 33

Thou shalt be filled with drunkenness and sorrow, with the cup of astonishment and desolation, with the cup of thy sister Samaria.

Thou shalt be filled with drunkenness and sorrow. — That dry drunkenness, ut si catapotium bibas.

Verse 34

Thou shalt even drink it and suck [it] out, and thou shalt break the sherds thereof, and pluck off thine own breasts: for I have spoken [it], saith the Lord GOD.

And thou shalt break the sherds thereof,i.e., Of the cup, which thou shalt cast away with utmost indignation: but thou hast thy bane.

And pluck off thine own breast. — For a revenge of thy fornication therewith committed.

Verse 35

Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Because thou hast forgotten me, and cast me behind thy back, therefore bear thou also thy lewdness and thy whoredoms.

Because thou hast forgotten me. — This was the source of all their sins, and cause of all their calamities.

And cast me behind thy back. — As a harlot loatheth her husband. It is laid to David’s charge that in that foul fall of his he had "despised God’s commandment." 2 Samuel 12:9

Verse 36

The LORD said moreover unto me; Son of man, wilt thou judge Aholah and Aholibah? yea, declare unto them their abominations;

Wilt thou judge? — See Ezekiel 20:4 ; Ezekiel 22:2 .

Verse 37

That they have committed adultery, and blood [is] in their hands, and with their idols have they committed adultery, and have also caused their sons, whom they bare unto me, to pass for them through [the fire], to devour [them].

And blood is in their hands. — Adultery is the devil’s nest egg, and causeth many sins to be laid one to and upon another; as here, murder, idolatry, …

To devour them. — Not only to purge and to dedicate them.

Verse 38

Moreover this they have done unto me: they have defiled my sanctuary in the same day, and have profaned my sabbaths.

They have defiled my sanctuary in the same day. — When they had done evil as they could, they exercised mine external worship that they might seem religious. So Isaiah 66:3 .

Verse 39

For when they had slain their children to their idols, then they came the same day into my sanctuary to profane it; and, lo, thus have they done in the midst of mine house.

For when they had slain. — When their hands were full of blood, and even reeking hot therewith. This was detestable impudence.

Then they came the same day into my sanctuary.Citra conscientiam, as if they had done God good service. So Erasmus Eras. Ep., lib. xvi. ad obtrect. telleth of a fierce friar, Augustine of Antwerp, who openly in the pulpit there preaching to the people, wished that Luther were present, that he might bite out his throat with his teeth; so doing he would nothing doubt to resort to the altar with the same bloody teeth, and receive the body of Christ. Fiducia in federibus.

Verse 40

And furthermore, that ye have sent for men to come from far, unto whom a messenger [was] sent; and, lo, they came: for whom thou didst wash thyself, paintedst thy eyes, and deckedst thyself with ornaments,

Ye have sent for men. — Ye have trusted to foreign forces and carnal combinations.

For whom thou didst wash thyself.Omnino te comparas ut Thais impudentissima, ad pelliciendos et inescandos amatores; thou hast acted the whore to the life to inveigle thy paramours.

Verse 41

And satest upon a stately bed, and a table prepared before it, whereupon thou hast set mine incense and mine oil.

And satest. — For entertainment sake.

Whereupon thou hast set mine incense — So fighting against me, as it were, with mine own weapons, and abusing my best gifts to my greatest dishonour, contrary to Proverbs 3:9 .

Verse 42

And a voice of a multitude being at ease [was] with her: and with the men of the common sort [were] brought Sabeans from the wilderness, which put bracelets upon their hands, and beautiful crowns upon their heads.

And a voice of a multitude being at ease. — Or, Being jolly and jocund, as at brothel houses.

And with the men of the common, sort. — Heb., To the men. The basest and most abject people also were taken into confederacy; even Arabians, Ethiopians, Tartars, so cheap didst thou make thyself, so fond wast thou of their fopperies.

Verse 43

Then said I unto [her that was] old in adulteries, Will they now commit whoredoms with her, and she [with them]?

To her that was old in adulteries.Inveteratae et detritae, withered and overworn.

And she with them? — Is she - as Helen was παλαι γυνη - the same still, no changeling yet?

Verse 44

Yet they went in unto her, as they go in unto a woman that playeth the harlot: so went they in unto Aholah and unto Aholibah, the lewd women.

Yet they went in unto her. — They committed idolatry without mean or measure, being woefully hardened and habituated therein.

Verse 45

And the righteous men, they shall judge them after the manner of adulteresses, and after the manner of women that shed blood; because they [are] adulteresses, and blood [is] in their hands.

And the righteous men. — So the Chaldees are called, because less wicked than the Jews (as the Scythians were better than the Athenians, and now the Indians than the Spaniards), and because they executed the righteous sentence of God upon those flagitious Jews.

Verse 46

For thus saith the Lord GOD; I will bring up a company upon them, and will give them to be removed and spoiled.

I will bring up a company. — A numerous army, which shall make much havoc and slaughter.

Verse 47

And the company shall stone them with stones, and dispatch them with their swords; they shall slay their sons and their daughters, and burn up their houses with fire.

And the company shall stone them. — As by the law they did adulteresses.

Verse 48

Thus will I cause lewdness to cease out of the land, that all women may be taught not to do after your lewdness.

Thus will I cause lewdness to cease. — Thus, if it may be done no otherwise. Thus still, if men will not mend by fair means, they are taken away by death, that they may sin no more.

That all women may be taught. — That all cities and states may hear, and fear, and do no more so.

Exemplo alterius qui sapit, ille sapit.

Verse 49

And they shall recompense your lewdness upon you, and ye shall bear the sins of your idols: and ye shall know that I [am] the Lord GOD.

And ye shall bear the sins,i.e., The punishment of your idolatry; neither shall ye have colour of cause to complain of my severity.

And ye shall know that I am the Lord God. — This comes in ever and anon, velut versus intercalaris, and hath much weight in it to set on what is said before.

Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Ezekiel 23". Trapp's Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jtc/ezekiel-23.html. 1865-1868.
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