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The Prophet in this Chapter, is still carrying on his instruction by similitudes. Under the type of hair shaven from the head, and beard, is shown, how the Lord will bring under close punishment the people of Jerusalem.
The type is very expressive, and full to the purpose. And if we consider the judgment here spoken of spiritually, (and no doubt it was so intended,) the head and the hair, represent Christ and his Church. During the separation of the people by captivity, they were as hair shaven off and carried away: and the Lord's anger is most strongly expressed under the image and figure. The relief to the soul under this view the Holy Ghost hath given, Romans 11:15-23 . I would have the Reader look at Christ's commendation of his Church, under the similitude, Song of Solomon 7:5 . The different exercises of the Church, are as strongly represented, under the threefold sentence of the hair. See Zechariah 13:9 . And I cannot forbear adding, that according to my view of this scripture, the few in number, the Prophet was commended to bind in his skirts, carries with the precept a strong presumption, that the Lord thereby referred to that few chosen, which in the worst of times the Lord hath reserved among the remnant of his people. Isaiah 11:16 .
How often the Lord complains of his people in the Old Testament, that in their sins, they were more stupid and senseless than the idolatrous nations around them. Never was it known, that heathens changed their dung-hill gods for others: but the Lord's people changed their glory for that which could not profit them. Jeremiah 2:10-11 . I appeal to the Reader, if so be he hath been taught of the Lord, and knows anything of the plague of his own heart, whether the same is not but too applicable to the people and Church of God in all ages. Unbelief in a child of God is more heinous, more offensive, than the infidelity of the unawakened. How pathetically the Lord seems to lament the degeneracy in his people, concerning himself. Psalms 81:11-12 , etc.
READER! let us in the perusal of this Chapter, observe the gracious mercy of a Covenant God, who in the midst of judgments, will have his people regard his love. Hence the Prophet shall be commissioned to preach to them, as well by type as sermon, to show the people, that, though rebellious children, they are not forgotten by him. So that though the man of God is to cause the razor to pass upon his head, and the hair is partly to be burnt, and partly divided with the knife, and partly scattered to the wind: to intimate, the separation for a time of the people from their glorious head; yet still in covenant-relations, the Lord will not finally cast away his people whom he foreknew, though he will reprove them for their wickedness.
Reader! we shall find a sweet subject of consolation from the contents of this Chapter, in hearing how Christ comforts his Church under a similar similitude. Thine head upon thee, saith Jesus, is like Carmel; and the hair of thine head like purple; the king is held in the galleries. How fair and how pleasant art thou, O love, for delights! And when we behold Jesus, as the Head of his body the Church; and the hair intimating the innumerable members which grow upon him; Jesus is held by virtue of this union, in the galleries of covenant grace, and the purple vesture of his blood becomes the token of cleansing from all sin. Though by sin and departure from him, the children of God lose sight of their privileges; yet his grace and mercy remains the same: though we believe not, yet he abideth faithful, he cannot deny himself. Precious Redeemer! how blessed is it to see our safety and security in thee. Truly Lord, all thy redeemed may say with one of old, and in reference to every individual of thy family, though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down, for the Lord upholdeth him with his hand.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Ezekiel 5". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Fourth Week after Epiphany