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The judgment of Israel for their idolatry. A remnant shall be restored. The faithful are exhorted to lament their calamities.
Before Christ 594.
Ezekiel 6:2. Of Israel— "Israel being carried captive, Judah is called Israel; and perhaps possessed a great part of the country." Secker.
Ezekiel 6:3. To the mountains, &c.— Every part of the country had been defiled with idolatry. The altars built for idol worship were generally placed upon mountains and hills: the shady valleys and river-sides were also used for the same purpose, particularly for the sacrificing of children to Moloch: so that the prophet denounces a general judgment against the whole defiled and idolatrous country. By the mountains of Israel, says Houbigant, we are to understand the whole country. The reader will observe the great similarity of the denunciations in this prophet with those in Leviticus and Deuteronomy. See particularly Deuteronomy 12:2.Jeremiah 2:20; Jeremiah 2:20; Jeremiah 3:6. Ezekiel 18:6. Philippians 2:0 king of Macedon, in his expedition against Sparta, sacrificed to the gods on each of the hills, one of which was called Olympus, and the other Eva. Polyb. l. v. p. 372. ed. Casaub. Cyrus, just before his death, offered sacrifices to Jupiter, the sun, and the other gods, επι των ακραν . Cyropaed. l. viii. p. 647. ed. Hutchinson. 4to.
Ezekiel 6:9. Because I am broken, &c.— Because I have broken their adulterous heart, which hath departed from me, and their adulterous eyes, which followed after their idols, &c. Houbigant.
Ezekiel 6:14. Wilderness towards Diblath— Wilderness of Diblath. Diblath was in the land of Moab (Numbers 33:46; Numbers 33:56.), and was part of that terrible wilderness mentioned by Moses, Deuteronomy 8:15.
REFLECTIONS.—1st, We have here repeated denunciations of vengeance against a rebellious people.
1. The prophet is commanded to set his face towards the mountains of Israel, and prophesy against them, against the whole land, and the inhabitants thereof; against the greatest among them, particularly those who had been the ringleaders in wickedness: or the mountains are addressed, as if the rocks thereof were less obdurate, and the inanimate earth more ready to hear, than that stupid people; and he is to set his face against the hills, the rivers, and the valleys also, the especial scenes of their idolatry; or as descriptive of the whole country, against which judgment is denounced.
2. Utter destruction is threatened from God both against the idols and their worshippers; for though the executioners of his wrath were the Chaldeans, the sword in their hands was his. So far from being able to protect their votaries, these mock deities would be unable to defend themselves; their high places should be destroyed, their altars desolate, their images broken, and these dunghill gods cast into the dust: their worshippers should share their fate; slain before their idols, their dead corpses should be laid at their feet, and their bones scattered around these hateful altars: universal desolations should spread through the land, the cities be destroyed, every dwelling-place ruined; and those high places and altars, defiled by their abominations, be now more defiled with the blood and carcases of the slain: and ye shall know that I am the Lord; by terrible experience convinced of the difference between those senseless idols which they served, and that only living and true God whom they had slighted.
2nd, When God executes judgment, he still remembers mercy. Though none should be spared in Jerusalem, a remnant of the dispersed shall yet be rescued from the devouring sword.
1. They shall remember me. Either, [1.] The wrath of God, visible now in their sufferings, among the nations whither they shall be carried captives, would drive them to him, afflictions being often the most salutary means of recovering the backsliding soul: or, [2.] They would be drawn by the tender mercies of God, whom they had slighted, who still yearned over them, though so highly provoked by their ungrateful departures from him, and who was broken with their whorish heart, grieved to behold their spiritual adulteries and attachment to their idols. Note; Nothing wounds the awakened sinner's conscience more deeply, than a sense of his base ingratitude, and his grieving the holy spirit of God.
2. This will produce self-loathing and genuine repentance. They shall loath themselves for the evils which they have committed in all their abominations; they will be brought, by remembering God, to a knowledge of their own abominations; and will discover the malignity of their sins, and the multitude of evils that they had overlooked; and this will produce self-abhorrence and self-loathing; even though God hath forgiven them, they never can forgive themselves.
3. They will then give glory to God. They shall know that I am the Lord, acknowledging the truth of his word, the justice of their punishment, and the wonders of his grace; and this will be the case with every truly penitent soul.
3rdly, Since the Jews in general were too unaffected both with their sufferings and sins, the prophet is ordered,
1. To express the strongest sensations of grief and anguish for them, if it might contribute to awaken them from their insensibility, when they saw him so deeply affected on their account: Smite with thine hand, and stamp with thy foot, and say, Alas! for all the evil abominations of the house of Israel; their sins were grievous, and their judgment would be terrible; devoted to famine, pestilence, and the sword. Note; God's faithful ministers have the tenderest sensibility towards miserable sinners, and often weep over those who never shed a tear for themselves.
2. To repeat the same awful warnings as he had done before, that they may have line upon line, and be assured of the certainty of the impending judgments. In vain is flight when God pursues; he that is far off shall die of the pestilence; in vain is resistance, when the war is of the Lord: he that is near, and stands on his defence, shall fall by the sword, or perish by the famine in the straitness of the siege. Since God's fury is provoked, he will accomplish their destruction. Before those hated idols, in every place where they had offered incense unto them, shall their putrid corpses lie unburied, a manifest token of God's righteous vengeance. More desolate than the great and terrible wilderness towards Diblath, Deu 8:15 shall the whole land be made. And since they refuse to fly to him, and prove his mercy, God will force them to know him as the sin-avenging God, in the terrible judgments which he will inflict upon them.
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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Ezekiel 6". Coke's Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week after Epiphany