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And she had strong rods for the sceptres of them that bare rule.
The renewal of ruined nations
1. States and kingdoms broken to pieces, ruined in times of war and trouble, do flourish again in times of quiet and silence. Peace after war is like spring after a sharp winter, which revives, causeth growth and greenness; yet know that states ruined by tyranny of princes, by wars, do not suddenly recover themselves, or attain to their former greatness and splendour: though Jerusalem became a vine after the roaring and spoil of Jehoiakim, yet she was a “vine of a low stature.”
2. It is through the mercy, goodness, and blessing of God that wasted kingdoms do become as vines, and flourish again.
3. When mercies are multiplied, men are apt to abuse them, and swell with the enjoyment of them. Prosperity is a dangerous thing, and hath hazarded many (Isaiah 47:5; Isaiah 47:7). After Hezekiah had received many mercies, “his heart was lifted up” (2 Chronicles 32:23-25). Rehoboam, when he was strengthened in the kingdom, “forsook the law of the Lord, and all Israel with him”; here was a sad effect of prosperity (2 Chronicles 12:1). (W. Greenhill, M. A.)
Her strong rods were broken and withered.
God’s judgment in breaking the strong rods of a community
I. What qualifications of those who are in public authority may properly give them the denomination of strong rods.
1. Great ability for the management of public affairs. This is the case when they are men of largeness of understanding, especially when they have a natural genius for government.
2. Largeness of heart and a greatness and nobleness of disposition. It is peculiarly unbecoming them to be capable of little intrigues.
3. The spirit of government. They must have a peculiar aptitude for using their knowledge, and a spirit of resolution and activity.
4. Stability. A strong rod must be immovable in the execution of justice and judgment.
5. It contributes to the strength of a rod when he is in such circumstances as give him advantage for the exercise of his strength.
II. When such strong rods are broken and withered by death, it is a judgment of God upon the people who are deprived of them.
1. By reason of the many positive benefits and blessings to a people that such men are the instruments of (Psalms 82:5; Psalms 11:3). Their influence has a tendency to promote wealth and virtue (Ecclesiastes 10:17). Solomon was a remarkable illustration of this truth. (See 1 Kings 4:25; 1 Kings 10:27).
2. On account of the great calamities they are a defence from. Government is necessary to defend communities from miseries from within themselves; they are the heads of union without which nothing is to be expected but remediless and endless broils. We see the need of government in societies, by what is visible in families,--those lesser societies of which all public societies are constituted,--and as government is absolutely necessary, so there is a necessity of strong rods in order to it: the business being such as requires persons so qualified.
3. They are no less necessary to defend the community from foreign enemies. As they are like the pillars of a building, so they are like the bulwarks of a city; they are under God a people’s main strength in time of war (Lamentations 4:20; Nehemiah 9:27). On these accounts, when a nation is strong, rods are broken; it is a judgment worthy of such lamentation as that which followed the death of King Josiah, who is one of those doubtless referred to in the text (2 Chronicles 35:24-25). (Jonathan Edwards.)
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Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Ezekiel 19". The Biblical Illustrator. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 15 / Ordinary 20