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The Restoration and Blessing of Israel
Ezekiel 36:1. And thou, son of man, prophesy to the mountains of Israel, and say, Mountains of Israel, hear the word of Jehovah: Ezekiel 36:2. Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, Because the enemy saith concerning you, Aha! the everlasting heights have become ours for a possession: Ezekiel 36:3. Therefore prophesy, and say, Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, Because, even because they lay you waste, and pant for you round about, so that ye have become a possession to the remnant of the nations, and have come to the talk of the tongue and gossip of the people: Ezekiel 36:4. Therefore, ye mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord Jehovah: Thus saith the Lord Jehovah to the mountains and hills, to the low places and valleys, and to the waste ruins and the forsaken cities, which have become a prey and derision to the remnant of the nations round about; Ezekiel 36:5. Therefore thus saith the Lord Jehovah, Truly in the fire of my jealousy I have spoken against the remnant of the nations, and against Edom altogether, which have made my land a possession for themselves in all joy of heart, in contempt of soul, to empty it out for booty. Ezekiel 36:6. Therefore prophesy concerning the land of Israel, and say to the mountains and hills, to the low places and valleys, Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, Behold, in my jealousy and fury have I spoken, because ye have borne the disgrace of the nations. Ezekiel 36:7. Therefore thus saith the Lord Jehovah, I, I have lifted up my hand; truly the nations round about you, they shall bear their disgrace. Ezekiel 36:8. But ye, ye mountains of Israel, shall put forth your branches, and bear your fruit to my people Israel; for they will soon come. Ezekiel 36:9. For, behold, I will deal with you, and turn toward you, and ye shall be tilled and sown. Ezekiel 36:10. I will multiply men upon you, all the house of Israel at once; and the cities shall be inhabited, and the ruins built. Ezekiel 36:11. And I will multiply upon you man and beast; they shall multiply and be fruitful: and I will make you inhabited as in your former time, and do more good to you than in your earlier days; and ye shall know that I am Jehovah. Ezekiel 36:12. I will cause men, my people Israel, to walk upon you; and they shall possess thee, and thou shalt be an inheritance to them, and make them childless no more. Ezekiel 36:13. Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, Because they say to you, “Thou art a devourer of men, and hast made thy people childless;” Ezekiel 36:14. Therefore thou shalt no more devour men, and no more cause thy people to stumble, is the saying of the Lord Jehovah. Ezekiel 36:15. And I will no more cause thee to hear the scoffing of the nations, and the disgrace of the nations thou shalt bear no more, and shalt no more cause thy people to stumble, is the saying of the Lord Jehovah.
This prophecy is uttered concerning the land of Israel, as is plainly declared in Ezekiel 36:6; whereas in Ezekiel 36:1 and Ezekiel 36:4 the mountains of Israel are mentioned instead of the land, in antithesis to the mountains of Seir (Ezekiel 35:1-15; see the comm. on Ezekiel 35:12). The promise takes throughout the form of antithesis to the threat against Edom in Ezekiel 35:1-15. Because Edom rejoices that the Holy Land, which has been laid waste, has fallen to it for a possession, therefore shall the devastated land be cultivated and sown again, and be inhabited by Israel as in the former time. The heathen nations round about shall, on the other hand, bear their disgrace; Edom, as we have already observed, being expanded, so far as the idea is concerned, into all the heathen nations surrounding Israel (Ezekiel 36:3-7). In Ezekiel 36:2, האויב , the enemy, is mentioned in quite a general manner; and what has already been stated concerning Edom in Ezekiel 35:5 and Ezekiel 35:10, is her predicted of the enemy. In Ezekiel 36:3 and Ezekiel 36:4 this enemy is designated as a remnant of the heathen nations; and it is not till Ezekiel 36:5 that it is more precisely defined by the clause, “and all Edom altogether.” The גּוים round about ( אשׁר , Ezekiel 36:4, compared with Ezekiel 36:3) are the heathen nations which are threatened with destruction in Ezekiel 25 and 26, on account of their malicious rejoicing at the devastation of Jerusalem and Judah. This serves to explain the fact that these nations are designated as שׁארית הגּוים , the rest, or remnant of the heathen nations, which presupposes that the judgment has fallen upon them, and that only a remnant of them is left, which remnant desires to take possession of the devastated land of Israel. The epithet applied to this land, בּמות , everlasting, i.e., primeval heights, points back to the גּבעות עולם of Genesis 49:26 and Deuteronomy 33:15, and is chosen for the purpose of representing the land as a possession secured to the people of Israel by primeval promises, in consequence of which the attempt of the enemy to seize upon this land has become a sin against the Lord God. The indignation at such a sin is expressed in the emotional character of the address. As Ewald has aptly observed, “Ezekiel is seized with unusual fire, so that after the brief statement in Ezekiel 36:2 'therefore' is repeated five times, the charges brought against these foes forcing themselves in again and again, before the prophecy settles calmly upon the mountains of Israel, to which it was really intended to apply.” For יען בּיען , see the comm. on Ezekiel 13:10. שׁמּות is an infinitive Kal, formed after the analogy of the verbs ה ל (cf. Ewald, §238 e), from שׁמם , to be waste, to devastate, as in Daniel 8:13; Daniel 9:27; Daniel 12:11, and is not to be taken in the sense of נשׁם , after Isaiah 42:14, as Hitzig supposes. שׁאף , to pant for a thing; here it is equivalent to snapping at anything. This is required by a comparison with Ezekiel 36:4, where היה לבז corresponds to שׁמּות ושׁאף , and ללעג to ' תּעלוּ על שׂפת וגו . In the connection שׂפת לשׁון שׂפה signifies the lip as an organ of speech, or, more precisely, the words spoken; and לשׁון , the tongue, is personified, and stands for אישׁ לשׁון (Psalms 140:12), a tongue-man, i.e., a talker.
In Ezekiel 36:4 the idea expressed in “the mountains of Israel” is expanded into mountains, hills, lowlands, and valleys (cf. Ezekiel 31:12; Ezekiel 32:5-6); and this periphrastic description of the land is more minutely defined by the additional clause, “waste ruins and forsaken cities.” אם לא in Ezekiel 36:5 is the particle used in oaths (cf. Ezekiel 5:11, etc.); and the perfect דּבּרתּי is not merely prophetic, but also a preterite. God has already uttered a threatening word concerning the nations round about in Ezekiel 25, 26, and Ezekiel 35:1-15; and here He once more declares that they shall bear their disgrace. אשׁ קנאח is the fiery jealousy of wrath. כּלּא is an Aramean form for כּלּהּ (Ezekiel 35:15). For בשׁאט נפשׁ , see Ezekiel 25:6. In the expression למען מגרשׁהּ לבז n o isserp , which has been rendered in various ways, we agree with Gesenius and others in regarding מגרשׁ as an Aramean form of the infinitive of גּרשׁ , with the meaning to empty out, which is confirmed by the Syriac; for מגרשׁ cannot be a substantive, on account of the למען ; and Hitzig's conjecture, that לבז should be pointed לבז , and the clause rendered “to plunder its produce,” is precluded by the fact that the separation of the preposition למען ל , by the insertion of a word between, is unexampled, to say nothing of the fact that מגרשׁ does not mean produce at all. The thought expressed in Ezekiel 36:6 and Ezekiel 36:7 is the following: because Israel has hitherto borne the contempt of the heathen, the heathen shall now bear their own contempt. The lifting of the hand is a gesture employed in taking an oath, as in Ezekiel 20:6, etc. But the land of Israel is to receive a blessing. This blessing is described in Ezekiel 36:8 in general terms, as the bearing of fruit by the mountains, i.e., by the land of Israel; and its speedy commencement is predicted. It is then depicted in detail in Ezekiel 36:9. In the clause כּי קרבוּ לבוא , the Israelites are not to be regarded as the subject, as Kliefoth supposes, in which case their speedy return from exile would be announced. The כּי shows that this cannot be the meaning; for it is immediately preceded by ' לעמּי ישׁ' yb , which precludes the supposition that, when speaking of the mountains, Ezekiel had the inhabitants in his mind. The promised blessings are the subject, or the branches and fruits, which the mountains are to bear. Nearly all the commentators have agreed in adopting this explanation of the words, after the analogy of Isaiah 56:1. With the כּי in Ezekiel 36:9 the carrying out of the blessing promised is appended in the form of a reason assigned for the general promise. The mountains shall be cultivated, the men upon them, viz., all Israel, multiplied, the desolated cities rebuilt, so that Israel shall dwell in the land as in the former time, and be fruitful and blessed. This promise was no doubt fulfilled in certain weak beginnings after the return of a portion of the people under Zerubbabel and Ezra; but the multiplying and blessing, experienced by those who returned from Babylon, did not take place till long after the salvation promised here, and more especially in Ezekiel 36:12-15.
According to Ezekiel 36:12, the land is to become the inheritance of the people Israel, and will no more make the Israelites childless, or (according to Ezekiel 36:14) cause them to stumble; and the people are no more to bear the contempt of the heathen. But that portion of the nation which returned from exile not only continued under the rule of the heathen, but had also in various ways to bear the contempt of the heathen still; and eventually, because Israel not only stumbled, but fell very low through the rejection of its Saviour, it was scattered again out of the land among the heathen, and the land was utterly wasted...until this day. In Ezekiel 36:12 the masculine suffix attached to וירשׁוּך refers to the land regarded as הר , which is also the subject to היית and תּוסף . It is not till Ezekiel 36:13, Ezekiel 36:14, where the idea of the land becomes so prominent, that the feminine is used. שׁכּלם , to make them (the Israelites) childless, or bereaved, is explained in Ezekiel 36:13, Ezekiel 36:14 by אכלת , devouring men. That the land devours its inhabitants, is what the spies say of the land of Canaan in Numbers 13:32; and in 2 Kings 2:19 is it affirmed of the district of Jericho that it causes משׁכּלת , i.e., miscarriages, on account of its bad water. The latter passage does not come into consideration; but the former (Numbers 13:32) probably does, and Ezekiel evidently refers to this. For there is no doubt whatever that he explains or expands שׁכּלם by אכלת אדם yb . Although, for example, the charge that the land devours men is brought against it by the enemies or adversaries of Israel ( אמרים לּכם , they say to you), the truth of the charge is admitted, since it is said that the land shall henceforth no more devour men, though without a repetition of the שׁכּל . But the sense in which Ezekiel affirms of the land that it had been אכלת אדם , and was henceforth to be so no more, is determined by וגויך לא תכשׁלי אוד , thou wilt no more cause thy people to stumble, which is added in Ezekiel 36:14 in the place of משׁכּלת גּויך היית in Ezekiel 36:14. Hence the land became a devourer of men by the fact that it caused its people to stumble, i.e., entangled them in sins (the Keri תּשׁכּלי for תכשׁלי is a bad conjecture, the incorrectness of which is placed beyond all doubt by the לא־תכשׁלי עוד of Ezekiel 36:15). Consequently we cannot understand the “devouring of men,” after Numbers 13:32, as signifying that, on account of its situation and fruitfulness, the land is an apple of discord, for the possession of which the nations strive with one another, so that the inhabitants are destroyed, or at all events we must not restrict the meaning to this; and still less can we agree with Ewald and Hitzig in thinking of the restless hurrying and driving by which individual men were of necessity rapidly swept away. If the sweeping away of the population so connected with the stumbling, the people are devoured by the consequences of their sins, i.e., by the penal judgment, unfruitfulness, pestilence, and war, with which God threatened Israel for its apostasy from Him. These judgments had depopulated the land; and this fact was attributed by the heathen in their own way to the land, and thrown in the teeth of the Israelites as a disgrace. The Lord will henceforth remove this charge, and take away from the heathen all occasion to despise His people, namely, by bestowing upon His land and people the blessing which He promised in the law to those who kept His commandments. But this can only be done by His removing the occasion to stumble or sin, i.e., according to Ezekiel 36:25. (compared with Ezekiel 11:18.), by His cleansing His people from all uncleanness and idols, and giving them a new heart and a new spirit. The Keri גּוייך in Ezekiel 36:13, Ezekiel 36:14, and Ezekiel 36:15 is a needless alteration of the Chetib גּויך . - In Ezekiel 36:15 this promise is rounded off and concluded by another summing up of the principal thoughts.
The Salvation of Israel Founded upon Its Sanctification
Because Israel has defiled its land by its sins, God has scattered the people among the heathen; but because they also profaned His name among the heathen, He will exercise forbearance for the sake of His holy name (Ezekiel 36:16-21), will gather Israel out of the lands, cleanse it from its sins, and sanctify it by the communication of His Spirit, so that it will walk in His ways (Ezekiel 36:22-28), and will so bless and multiply it, that both the nations around and Israel itself will know that He is the Lord (Ezekiel 36:29-38). - This promise is shown by the introductory formula in Ezekiel 36:16 and by the contents to be an independent word of God; but it is substantially connected in the closest manner with the preceding word of God, showing, on the one hand, the motive which prompted God to restore and bless His people;, and, on the other hand, the means by which He would permanently establish the salvation predicted in Ezekiel 34 and Ezekiel 36:1-15. - The kernel of this promise is formed by Ezekiel 36:25-28, for which the way is prepared in Ezekiel 36:17-24, whilst the further extension is contained in Ezekiel 36:29-38.
The Lord will extend His forbearance, for the sake of His holy name, to the people who have been rejected on account of their sins. - Ezekiel 36:16. And the word of Jehovah came to me, saying, Ezekiel 36:17. Son of man, the house of Israel dwelt in its land, and defiled it with its way and its doings; like the uncleanness of the unclean woman, was its way before me. Ezekiel 36:18. Then I poured out my fury upon them on account of the blood which they had shed in the land, and because they had defiled it through their idols, Ezekiel 36:19. And scattered them among the nations, and they were dispersed in the land; according to their way and their doings I judge them. Ezekiel 36:20. And they came to the nations whither they came, and profaned my holy name, for men said of them, “These are Jehovah's people, and they have come out of His land.” Ezekiel 36:21. And so I had pity upon my holy name, which the house of Israel profaned among the nations whither they came. - The address commences with a description of the reasons why God had thrust out His people among the heathen, namely, on account of their sins and idolatrous abominations, by which the Israelites had defiled the land (cf. Leviticus 18:28 and Numbers 35:34). Their conduct resembled the most offensive uncleanness, namely, the uncleanness of a woman in her menstruation (Leviticus 15:19), to which the moral depravity of the people had already been compared in Isaiah 64:5. - In Ezekiel 36:18 the consequence of the defiling of the land by the people is introduced with the impression ואשׁפּך . In Ezekiel 36:17, ויטמּאוּ is the continuation of the participle ישׁבים ; and the participle is expressive of the condition in the past, as we may see from the words ' ואשׁפּך וגו . The simile in Ezekiel 36:17 is an explanatory, circumstantial clause. For Ezekiel 36:18, compare Ezekiel 7:8, and for ' על הדּם וגו , Ezekiel 22:3, Ezekiel 22:6. The last clause, “and through their idols they have defiled it,” is loosely appended; but it really contains a second reason for the pouring out of the wrath of God upon the people. For Ezekiel 36:19, compare Ezekiel 22:15. ויּבוא in Ezekiel 36:20 refers to בּית־ישׂראל ; but there is no necessity to read ויבאוּ on that account. It is perfectly arbitrary to supply the subject proposed by Kliefoth, viz., “the report of what had happened to Israel” came to the heathen, which is quite foreign to the connection; for it was not the report concerning Israel, but Israel itself, which came to the heathen, and profaned the sacred name of God. This is not only plainly expressed in Ezekiel 36:21, but has been already stated in Ezekiel 36:20. The fact that the words of the heathen, by which the name of God was profaned, are quoted here, does not prove that it is the heathen nations who are to be regarded as those who profaned the name of God, as Kliefoth imagines. The words, “these are Jehovah's people, and have come out of His (Jehovah's) land,” could only contain a profanation of the holy name of God, if their coming out was regarded as involuntary, i.e., as an exile enforced by the power of the heathen; or, on the other hand, if the Israelites themselves had denied the holiness of the people of God through their behaviour among the heathen. Most of the commentators have decided in favour of the former view. Vatablus, for example, gives this explanation: “if their God whom they preach had been omnipotent, He would not have allowed them to be expelled from His land.” And we must decide in favour of this exposition, not only because of the parallel passages, such as Numbers 14:16 and Jeremiah 33:24, which support this view; but chiefly on account of the verses which follow, according to which the sanctification of the name of God among the nations consists in the fact that God gathers Israel out of its dispersion among the nations, and leads them back into His own land (vid., Ezekiel 36:23 and Ezekiel 36:24). Consequently the profanation of His name can only have consisted in the fact that Israel was carried away out of its own land, and scattered in the heathen lands. For, since the heathen acknowledged only national gods, and regarded Jehovah as nothing more than such a national god of Israel, they did not look upon the destruction of the kingdom of Judah and the carrying away of the people as a judgment of the almighty and holy God upon His people, but concluded that that catastrophe was a sign of the inability of Jehovah to defend His land and save His people. The only way in which God could destroy this delusion was by manifesting Himself to the heathen as the almighty God and Lord of the whole world through the redemption and glorification of His people. ואחמל על־שׁם ק : so I had pity, compassion upon my holy name. The preterite is prophetic, inasmuch as the compassion consists in the gathering of Israel out of the nations, which is announced in Ezekiel 36:22. as still in the future. The rendering, “I spared (them) for my holy name's sake” (lxx, Hävernick), is false; for חמל is construed with על , governing the person or the thing toward which the compassion is shown (vid., Ezekiel 16:5 and 2 Chronicles 36:15, 2 Chronicles 36:17).
For His holy name's sake the Lord will bring Israel back from its dispersion into His own land, purify it from its sins, and sanctify it by His Spirit to be His own people. - Ezekiel 36:22. Therefore say to the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, I do it not for your sakes, O house of Israel, but for my holy name's sake, which ye have profaned among the nations whither ye have come. Ezekiel 36:23. I will sanctify my great name, which is profaned among the nations, which ye have profaned in the midst of them, so that the nations shall know that I am Jehovah, is the saying of the Lord Jehovah, when I prove myself holy upon you before their eyes. Ezekiel 36:24. I will take you out of the nations, and gather you out of all lands, and bring you into your land, Ezekiel 36:25. And will sprinkle clean water upon you, that ye may become clean; from all your uncleannesses and from all your idols will I cleanse you, Ezekiel 36:26. And I will give you a new heart, and give a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh, and give you a heart of flesh. Ezekiel 36:27. I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and keep my rights, and do them. Ezekiel 36:28. And ye shall dwell in the land which I have given to your fathers, and shall become my people, and I will be your God. - These verses show in what way the Lord will have compassion upon His holy name, and how He will put an end to the scoffing thereat, and vindicate His honour in the sight of the heathen. “Nor for your sake,” i.e., not because you have any claim to deliverance on account of your behaviour (cf. Isaiah 48:11 and Deuteronomy 9:6), but for my holy name's sake, i.e., to manifest as holy the name which has been profaned among the heathen, I do it, namely, what follows from Ezekiel 36:23 onwards. The Lord will sanctify His name, i.e., show it to be holy by proving Himself to be holy upon Israel. קדּשׁ is not equivalent to glorify, although the holiness of God involves the idea of glory. Sanctifying is the removing or expunging of the blots and blemishes which adhere to anything. The giving up of His people was regarded by the heathen as a sign of the weakness of Jehovah. This blot through which His omnipotence and glory were dishonoured, God would remove by gathering Israel out of the heathen, and glorifying it. Instead of לעיניכם , the ancient versions have rendered לעיניהם . This reading is also found in many of the codices and the earliest editions, and is confirmed by the great Masora, and also commended by the parallel passages, Ezekiel 20:41 and Ezekiel 28:25, so that it no doubt deserves the preference, although לעיניכם can also be justified. For inasmuch as Israelites had despaired in the midst of their wretchedness through unbelief, it was necessary that Jehovah should sanctify His great name in their sight as well. The great name of Jehovah is His almighty exaltation above all gods (cf. Malachi 1:11-12). The first thing that Jehovah does for the sanctification of His name is to bring back Israel from its dispersion into its own land (Ezekiel 36:24, compare Ezekiel 11:17 and Ezekiel 20:41-42); and then follows the purifying of Israel from its sins. The figurative expression, “to sprinkle with clean water,” is taken from the lustrations prescribed by the law, more particularly the purifying from defilement from the dead by sprinkling with the water prepared from the ashes of a red heifer (Numbers 19:17-19; compare Psalms 51:9). Cleansing from sins, which corresponds to justification, and is not to be confounded with sanctification (Schmieder), is followed by renewal with the Holy Spirit, which takes away the old heart of stone and puts within a new heart of flesh, so that the man can fulfil the commandments of God, and walk in newness of life (Ezekiel 36:26-28; compare Ezekiel 11:18-20, where this promise has already occurred, and the necessary remarks concerning its fulfilment have been made). - With regard to the construction ' עשׂה את אשׁר , to make or effect your walking, compare Ewald, §337 b.
The Lord will richly bless, multiply, and glorify His people, when thus renewed and sanctified. - Ezekiel 36:29. And I will save you from all your uncleannesses, and will call the corn, and multiply it, and no more bring famine upon you; Ezekiel 36:30. But I will multiply the fruit of the tree and the produce of the field, so that ye will no more bear the reproach of famine among the nations. Ezekiel 36:31. But ye will remember your evil ways, and your deeds which were not good, and will loathe yourselves on account of your iniquities and your abominations. Ezekiel 36:32. Not for your sake do I this, is the saying of the Lord Jehovah, be this known to you; be ye ashamed and blush for your ways, O house of Israel! Ezekiel 36:33. Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, In the day when I shall cleanse you from all your iniquities, I will make the cities inhabited, and the ruins shall be built, Ezekiel 36:34. And the devastated land shall be tilled instead of being a desert before the eyes of every one who passed by. Ezekiel 36:35. And men will say, This land, which was laid waste, has become like the garden of Eden, and the desolate and ruined cities are fortified and inhabited. Ezekiel 36:36. And the nations, which have been left round about you, shall know that I Jehovah build up that which is destroyed, and plant that which is laid waste. I, Jehovah, have said it, and do it. Ezekiel 36:37. Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, I will still let myself be sought by the house of Israel in this, to do it for them; I will multiply them, like a flock, in men; Ezekiel 36:38. Like a flock of holy sacrifices, like the flock of Jerusalem on its feast-days, so shall the desolate cities be full of flocks of men; and they shall know that I am Jehovah. - The words ' הושׁעתּי , I help or save you from all your uncleannesses, cannot be understood as relating to their purification from the former uncleannesses; for they have already been cleansed from these, according to Ezekiel 36:25. The טמאות can only be such defilements as are still possible even after the renewing of the people; and הושׁע , to help, means to guard them against any further recurrence of such defilements (cf. Ezekiel 37:23), and not to deliver them from the consequences of their former pollutions. But if God preserves His people from these, there is no longer any occasion for a fresh suspension of judgments over them, and God can bestow His blessing upon the sanctified nation without reserve. It is in this way that the further promises are appended; and, first of all, in Ezekiel 36:29 and Ezekiel 36:30, a promise that He will bless them with an abundant crop of fruits, both of the orchard and the field. “I call to the corn,” i.e., I cause it to come or grow, so that famine will occur no more (for the fact, compare Ezekiel 34:29).
In consequence of this blessing, Israel will blush with shame at the thought of its former sins, and will loathe itself for those abominations (Ezekiel 36:31); compare Ezekiel 20:43, where the same thought has already occurred. To this, after repeating what has been said before in Ezekiel 36:22, namely, that God is not doing all this for the sake of the Israelites themselves, the prophet appends the admonition to be ashamed of their conduct, i.e., to repent, which is so far inserted appropriately in the promise, that the promise itself is meant to entice Israel to repent and return to God. Then, secondly, in two strophes introduced with ' כּה אמר יי , the promise is still further expanded. In Ezekiel 36:33-36, the prophet shows how the devastated land is to be restored and rebuilt, and to become a paradise; and in Ezekiel 36:37 and Ezekiel 36:38, how the people are to be blessed through a large increase in their numbers. Both of these strophes are simply a further elaboration of the promise contained in Ezekiel 36:9-12. הושׁיב , causative of ישׁב , to cause to be inhabited, to populate, as in Isaiah 54:3. לעיני כּל־עובר , as in Ezekiel 5:14. The subject to ואמרוּ in Ezekiel 36:35 is, “those who pass by.” For the comparison to the garden of Eden, see Ezekiel 31:9. בּצוּרות is a circumstantial word belonging to ישׁבוּ : they shall be inhabited as fortified cities, that is to say, shall afford to their inhabitants the security of fortresses, from which there is no fear of their being expelled. In Ezekiel 36:36 the expression, “the heathen nations which shall be left round about you,” presupposes that at the time of Israel's redemption the judgment will have fallen upon the heathen (compare Ezekiel 30:3 with Ezekiel 29:21), so that only a remnant of them will be still in existence; and this remnant will recognise the work of Jehovah in the restoration of Israel. This recognition, however, does not involve the conversion of the heathen to Jehovah, but is simply preparatory to it. For the fact itself, compare Ezekiel 17:24. הדּרשׁ , to let oneself be asked or entreated, as in Ezekiel 14:3. זאת , with regard to this, is explained by לעשׂות . What God will do follows in ' ארבּה ותו . God will multiply His people to such an extent, that they will resemble the flock of lambs, sheep, and goats brought to Jerusalem to sacrifice upon the feast days. Compare 2 Chronicles 35:7, where Josiah is said to have given to the people thirty thousand lambs and goats for the feast of the passover. כּצּאן אדם does not mean, like a flock of men. אדם cannot be a genitive dependent upon צאן , on account of the article in כּצּאן , but belongs to ארבּה , either as a supplementary apposition to אותם , or as a second object, so that ארבּה would be construed with a double accusative, after the analogy of verbs of plenty, to multiply them in men. Kliefoth's rendering,, “I will multiply them, so that they shall be the flock of men” (of mankind), is grammatically untenable. צאן קדשׁים , a flock of holy beasts, i.e., of sacrificial lambs. The flock of Jerusalem is the flock brought to Jerusalem at the yearly feasts, when the male population of the land came to the sanctuary (Deuteronomy 16:16): So shall the desolate cities be filled again with flocks of men (compare Micah 2:12).
The Keil & Delitzsch Old Testament Commentary is a derivative of a public domain electronic edition.
Keil, Carl Friedrich & Delitzsch, Franz. "Commentary on Ezekiel 36". Keil & Delitzsch Old Testament Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
Second Sunday after Epiphany