Bible Commentaries

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Ezekiel 28

Verse 2

Unto; of.

The princes; king, whose name was either Ethbaal, or Ithobaal.

Thine heart is lifted up; thou art waxen proud, and aspirest above all reason, and boastest extravagantly in thyself, state policy, and power.

Hast said; thought, imagined, or flattered thyself.

A god; or the mighty and strong one, for so the Hebrew is, and perhaps were better so rendered; he gloried in his strength, as if he were a god. The like you have Isaiah 14:14.

In the seat of God: as a magistrate he did bear the name and authority of God; but he thought not of this; he dreams of the stateliness, strength, convenience, safety, and inaccessibleness of his seat, as if he were safe and impregnable as heaven itself.

A man, subject to all the casualties, sorrows, and distresses of man’s state and life, thou art Adam, of earth, not El, nor like unto the Mighty One in heaven.

Thou set thine heart as the heart of God; thou hast entertained thoughts which become none but God, thou hast projected things which none but God can effect, thou hast promised thyself perpetual peace, safety, riches, and happiness in thyself, and from thyself.

Verse 3

Thou art wiser, in thy own thoughts of thyself, than Daniel, who was then famous for his wisdom, which was imparted to him from Heaven, Ezekiel 14:20 Daniel 1:20 2:20,48.

That they can hide from thee; that any sort of men can conceal, that thine adversaries shall contrive against thee to thy danger or hurt: all this ironically said.

Verse 4

With thy wisdom; by thy policy in government, and by thy skill in trading, for he speaks of that kind of prudence to which these names are given.

Gotten, or

made, so the word. Riches; power and might, so the Hebrew, as well as wealth and riches, and so the Gallic version reads

puissance; the princes of Tyre had been prudent, and so increased their power and interest.

Into thy treasures; into both his own private purse, and into the public treasuries too.

Verse 5

Thy great wisdom: here the eminent degree of this prince’s wisdom is owned.

And by thy traffic: and might as well be spared, for as it is not in the Hebrew, so it rather obscures than clears the text; let it be read, By thy great wisdom in thy traffic, and it is very plain, and so the French reads it increased; made great or enlarged.

Thy riches; thy power, as Ezekiel 28:4.

Is lifted up; exalts itself, carrieth it loftily and proudly above thy neighbours, which is not good; above thyself, which is worse; and above God too, which is worst of all, as Ezekiel 28:2.

Thy riches; thy puissance at home and abroad, by nature and art.

Verse 6

Hast set thine heart: see Ezekiel 28:2.

As the heart of God, who doth, as justly he may, design himself, his own glory, in all he designeth and worketh, and take the glory to himself; thou hast done so too, designed thy own greatness, and gloried in it.

Verse 7

Will bring; cause to come.

Strangers; a foreign people, called strangers for their multitude, and to intimate how little regard they would have to the Tyrian glory; these strangers were the Babylonian forces. The terrible of the nations; a fierce, violent, and cruel nation, Habakkuk 1:7,8.

The beauty of thy wisdom; those beautiful things, in which thy wisdom appeared; either thy noble, regular, and strong buildings, or thy beautiful well-stored arsenal and army, or the unparalleled rarities, which all but rudest soldiers would esteem, and spare these monuments of thy wisdom. Defile; pour contempt and stain.

Thy brightness; thy royal dignity, depose thee from thy throne, and kill thy authority and thy person.

Verse 8

These strangers shall slay thee, which is a blemish to the honour of a king thus to be brought to the pit.

The pit; a usual periphrasis of death and the grave.

The deaths; in the plural, because of the many terrors, dangers, and wounds such meet with, the successive deaths, slain, drowned, eat of fish, cast upon shore, and become meat to sea fowl.

In the midst of the seas; if literally understood, thou shalt die as other common mariners, and be cast overboard; if figuratively, seas for great distresses, then amidst multitude of deep distresses thou shalt meet with more than one death, be often dying.

Verse 9

A cutting taunt, or sarcasm: What will become of thy godship then? Wilt thou then dream of immortality and almighty power, when thine enemy is cutting thy throat?

Thou shalt be a man; appear thou to thyself and others to be a mortal, weak, conquered man, who dieth a sacrifice to the conqueror’s pride and cruelty.

Verse 10

The deaths: Ezekiel 28:8. A twofold death, temporal and eternal.

Of the uncircumcised; of the wicked, or an accursed death: the Jews do express a vile and miserable death thus. Or, the uncircumcised, i.e. heathens, cruel and merciless men, shall slay thee; and this suits with what follows in the verse, and this was ignominious with the Jews, 1 Samuel 31:4.

I have spoken it, saith the Lord God; O thou proud, self-admiring prince! slight not what is threatened, for God, the God of truth, hath spoken it.

Verse 12

A lamentation: see Ezekiel 27:2.

The king; called prince, Ezekiel 28:2.

Thou sealest up the sum; in the search into the frame of thy government, the management of it, the prosperity thereof, and its glory, power, riches, and confederacies, thou dost think thyself but just to thy kingdom to account it the perfect idea of a good government, that in the Tyrian state nothing is wanting that might be required in a good government, in the best government, and so sealest to the premises; thus vainly puffed up, thou wilt have it that fulness of wisdom and perfection of beauty are in thee, but neither thy wisdom shall prevent or defeat the attempts of thine enemies, nor thy beauty charm their rage; thou shalt fall by them.

Verse 13

Thou hast been; thou hast dwelt and reigned.

In Eden; in the midst of all delights; and though nature made thy lot a very barren rock, thy art and industry, added to that of thy progenitors, have made it as pleasant, rich, and beautiful as Eden, that place of all desirable enjoyments.

The garden of God: this is explicative of the former; a garden is a place of delight, and men have made some delightful to a wonder, but none ever like that God planted: this of Tyre came as near as any, and yet ungrateful and atheistical Tyre dreams of Divine power and stability, forgetting human frailty and uncertainty.

Every precious stone; every sort of rich stones.

Thy covering, bought to adorn thy crown, thy robes, thy bed, &c.

The sardius; of a red, and by some said to be the ruby.

Topaz; of a yellowish green.

The diamond; of clear, waterish, sparkling colour.

The beryl; of a sea-green colour, the best.

The onyx resembles the whiteness of the nail of a man’s hand.

The jasper; of divers colours, but the best green.

The sapphire; of sky colour, or blue.

The emerald; green interspersed with golden spots.

The carbuncle; of flame colour.

Gold; beside the abundance of which in their public treasures, much was used about the clothes and robes of this proud prince; it is like these precious stones were set in gold, that they might the safer be put upon his garments. This was the accoutrement of solemnities, especially of the coronation, as appears in the close of the verse.

The workmanship of thy tabrets, & c: now the prophet notes their joys, music and songs; both to wind or loud music, and to softer music, as the lute and tabret, in the day of their king’s coronation, and all this music on instruments of most exquisite make, and of their own artists’ work too; in this they exceeded as in the other.

Wast created; either born, for the birth of princes hath been celebrated with great joys; or rather in the day of this king’s coronation, or investiture in the kingdom and royal dignity.

Verse 14

Thou art the anointed cherub: I would rather keep the order of the words in the Hebrew, which the French also keep, Thou art a cherub, anointed, a protector, or one who covereth for defence. For thy wisdom, power, and excellency, like a cherub or angel; for the sacredness of thy person and office, as the anointed of God; for the exercise of thy power and office, as a shield or a protector of the weak; thus thou art, or thinkest thyself to be, and pridest thyself herein.

I have set thee so; I, whom thou forgettest, I have made thee so, set thee above others; this should have been matter of thanks and humility, not of pride and atheism. Thus the sarcasm is continued, and he is upbraided for his insolence.

Thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; or thus, in the holy mountain a god thou hast been; so it is an irony, and suits the rest; or else, in pursuance of our version, thou wast advanced to kingly dignity, (which David calls a mountain, Psalms 30:7 Jeremiah 51:25 Daniel 2:35) a sacred office, and of Divine institution and consecration, and thou hast in pride exalted thyself above me, as well as above men.

Walked up and down, in proud and stately manner, surrounded every way in thy chambers and beds and clothes with stones that sparkle like fire, thy crown, thy throne, thy chariots, thy umbrellas or canopies, glistering and dazzling beholders; as if thus also thou wouldst contend with God, who is clothed with light.

Verse 15

I think the prophet continues his irony: The prince of Tyre would be a god. Yes. Now God is perfect in all his ways or works; and thou, O prince, wert so too. Wert thou, and from thy original? But remember what a god is he, that hath a beginning, that was created, that at last was found full of iniquity! And this reproof and taunt leads us to look with the prophet from the proud claim of this prince to his great miscarriages. If any else will think all these things in the 14th and 15th verses to be asserters of God’s bounty to this prince, and of his great magnificence and state, in hyperboles and allusions, nothing I have said shall contradict them, for they have their liberty, as I have mine, to think what seems most like the truth.

Verse 16

By the multitude; by, or in, or according to (as the Gallic version) the multitude or greatness of thy trading: in Tyre were merchants that traded in very great adventures, with vast stocks, and in mighty cargoes.

With violence; thy merchants have by craft, where that would, and by violence where craft would not, compassed their unjust designs, as noted, Ezekiel 27:36. This injustice and violence grew as their trade did, and filled the city with guilt as fast as that did with wealth.

Thou hast sinned: either as one trading among them, thou hast violated justice to promote thine own and their gain, or hast connived at thy merchants when they oppressed all they could; or hast, contrary to justice and equity, supported them in their violence, and judged for them against oppressed strangers. Thou who weft a king, and wouldst be thought a god, is this like to God, who hates violence, loves justice, relieveth the stranger, and righteth the oppressed?

I will cast thee out: these abominable things hast thou done, and now, as an abominable thing, I will throw thee out, either of thy throne and kingly dignity, see Ezekiel 28:14, or thy fancied and imagined heaven, where thou wouldst be a god, for such gods of violence and injustice deserve to be cast out with the aspiring angels.

Destroy thee; utterly destroy.

O covering cherub: see Ezekiel 28:14.

Verse 17

Thine heart was lifted up: see Ezekiel 28:2,5.

Thy beauty: see Ezekiel 28:12.

Converted thy wisdom; depraved or lost thy wisdom, by reflecting and gazing on thy own glory, state, wealth, and magnificence, and hast forgotten thou art a man; thou exaltest thyself above man, above thy neighbour kings.

I will cast thee to the ground; I will bring down thy pride, dethrone thee, and make thee sit in the dust; sully and darken all thy brightness.

Lay thee before kings; or, set thee before men of thy quality, who are, as thou, apt to forget men, themselves, and God, as he who, though he said not, I am God, yet, atheist-like, asked,

Who is God, that I should obey him? That they may behold thee; or, that thou mayst be a spectacle, an example and warning to them; or, that they see thee in chains, or an abused captive, and despise thee.

Verse 18

Thou who shouldst have kept all pure in religion, as thou art king, pretending to Divinity, has polluted it.

Thy sanctuaries: still there is, as all along from the 14th verse I think there hath been, much of an irony deriding this proud prince, an allusion to his pretended godship. A god hath his sanctuaries, and thou thine, but they nasty, polluted ones.

By the multitude, by the greatness as well as number,

of thine iniquities. The iniquity of thy traffic; impieties, irreligion, and atheism of thy merchants, as well as by their injustice, falsehood, and oppressions, by their perjuries, breaking covenants confirmed in the temples at the altars, or in the name of their gods; when thy trade thrived by these, thou and they have thought there was nothing sacred, nor any god above thee.

I will bring forth a fire; some civil dissension or occasion of thy injustice shall, like a fire,

rise from the midst of thee, among thy injured malcontents.

It shall devour thee; which, like fire in the house, shall burn all up, and waste all, thou shalt never quench it: thy discontented subjects applying themselves to Nebuchadnezzar with addresses for his favour, power, and royal justice to relieve them, and to right his own subjects oppressed by Tyre in their trade, shall enkindle Nebuchadnezzar’s rage, and he shall never be appeased but in thy ruin.

I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth; thou shalt be burnt to ashes, and these cast on the earth to be scattered abroad, and trampled under feet.

In the sight of all them that behold thee; all this done, that all about thee may see, fear, and reverence the justice, power, and holiness of the God of heaven, who ruleth among men, and knows how to abase proud atheists.

Verse 19

All that have heard, seen, or formerly known thy riches, power, allies, wisdom, and vigilance, shall be astonished at thee; be amazed at the certain news of thy great fall, from greatest glory to greatest reproach.

Thou shalt be a terror to all that hear the bruit hereof:

though thou hast been a terror, so the Hebrew, to others by thy puissance and arms, thou shalt never be so again for ever: and this word hath been made good; Tyre never rose to that greatness as to be feared by her neighbours.

Verse 21

Set thy face: see Ezekiel 20:46 21:2.

Against Zidon; neighbour and confederate of Tyre.

Prophesy against it; declare her sins, approaching sorrows, and my judgments against her.

Verse 22

To these heathen, yet neighbours of the Jews. the prophet might well suppose the name and greatness of the God of Israel was so known, as to command their attention when he speaketh.

I am against thee; provoked by thy sins, I am an adversary to thee, and as such determined to proceed with thee.

Zidon; a city in the north-west from Canaan, at the foot of Mount Libanus; a king’s seat of old, and from which Tyre descended, as a swarm cast out of that hive, Isaiah 23:2; for it was a great city in Joshua’s time, Joshua 11:8 19:28, and built by Sidon, Canaan’s son, Genesis 10:15 1 Chronicles 1:13; a famous mart full of merchants, like Tyre, and as full of sin as riches.

I will be glorified; when my judgments make my justice, power, holiness, sovereignty, and truth appear, both you Sidonians, and others about, shall confess my glory, and ascribe honour to me. I will vindicate my honour and glory, which by thy sins thou hast eclipsed, and I by judgments will illustrate, as Exodus 14:4,17.

They that dwell in thee, and round about thee, all that are concerned for thee, shall know that I am the Lord: see Ezekiel 6:10.

When I shall have executed judgments in her; so late do sinners come to any due sense of God’s power, justice, and majesty. The hardened sinners learn not by any other way but this, and by this too in the rigours and repeated executions of it.

Sanctified; owned as holy, reverenced as just, obeyed as sovereign, and submitted to as wise, and mighty, and a hater of violence.

Verse 23

I will send; the pestilence is one of God’s arrows, and he sends it wheresoever it walks; it is one of his sore judgments, and wasteth where it cometh.

Pestilence; the most dreadful of diseases, because most deadly, swift, and comes so immediately from the wrath of God offended with men; this pestilence attends on war, and seldom faileth to make havoc in besieged towns or cities.

Blood; bloody war by an enemy, that shall bring the war to the gates, nay, into the streets of Zidon.

Be judged; fall, be cast down, punished, in the midst of the city.

By the sword; by her enemy’s sword prevailing and conquering.

On every side; a description either of the siege that Zidon should suffer by, or pointing out the multitude of her enemies on every side agreeing against her.

Verse 24

No more; the time intended here is, when, after seventy years’ captivity, loathing themselves for their iniquities, and repenting, they return and settle in their own land. Pricking brier, grieving thorn: by these two metaphors the prophet points out the troublesome neighbours of the Jews.

Of all that are round about them; such as Moab, Ammon, Edom, Tyre, and this Zidon, which on all occasions did grieve, wound, and reproach the Jews, and triumph in the fall of the Jews, and were ever ready, being near.

That despised them; contemning both in word and carriage the Jews, their religion, manners, laws, and their God. They shall know that I am the Lord: see Ezekiel 28:22.

Verse 25

When seventy years is expired, which is the term of their captive state.

I shall have gathered; moved the hearts of my people to come together upon Cyrus’s proclamation, and from all parts of that vast kingdom, to prepare for a return to the country most of them never saw: it was God who moved Cyrus to give them leave; it was as much God’s work to stir up the people to return.

The house of Israel; the generality of them, those that were Israelites indeed.

From the people; several nations subjects to the king of Babylon.

Scattered, by the Babylonish king at first, and afterward by incident, necessity, or their own choice.

Shall be sanctified; have vindicated my name, which by them was blasphemed.

In the sight of the heathen: I was dishonoured by the Jews in the sight of the heathen, and I will be honoured by the Jews in their sight, they shall be witnesses of my vindication.

Dwell; settle in peace, and for continuance.

In their land; in a land that is theirs,

their own, as it is often called.

That I have given; their title is of me by deed of gift, not of late, but to one that was long since my servant; to Jacob, father to these returning captives. The Hebrew repeats the preposition,

to my servant, to Jacob, with an emphasis, to mind them of God’s faithfulness.

Verse 26

Safely; which is to be understood comparatively, safer than before; it must be accommodated to the circumstances of human condition; in such safety as excludes continual inward cares, and fears, and perplexities, as it is said of Laish, Jude 18:7; or as in the days of Solomon, 1 Kings 4:25; or as Job 11:18,19.

When I have executed judgments: that seems to intimate, that there might be some attempts, as by Sanballat and Tobias, but God blasted these; or it may refer more properly to the destruction of Babylon, and the nations confederate with them, who ruined and despised the Jews.

And they, the returned captives, shall own, and know by experience, that I sin not only the Lord, but their God too.

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Bibliographical Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Ezekiel 28". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. 1685.