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The final desolation of Israel. The mournful repentance of them who escape. The enemies defile the sanctuary because of the Israelites' abominations. Under the type of a chain, is shewed their miserable captivity.
Before Christ 594.
Ezekiel 7:2. Also, thou son of man, &c.— Thou son of man shalt say these things; Thus saith the Lord God concerning the land of Israel. Houbigant.
Ezekiel 7:5. An evil, an only evil, &c.— Behold, calamity shall come after calamity. Houbigant.
Ezekiel 7:7. The morning is come upon thee— Straits come upon thee, O thou, &c. The day of trouble is near, and not of mirth. Houbigant. Those who understand the passage according to our translation, suppose the meaning to be, "God's judgments shall overtake thee speedily and unexpectedly;" and that the expression alludes to the time when magistrates used to pronounce sentence on offenders, which was in the morning. See Jeremiah 21:12. The sounding again of the mountains is supposed to refer to the joyful sounds echoed from the mountains at the time of the vintage and other similar festivities. See Isaiah 16:9; Isaiah 16:14.
Ezekiel 7:10. The morning is gone forth— The bud is put forth, or hath arisen, &c. Houbigant. Possibly the prophet, using the word מטה matteh, which signifies both a rod and a tribe, intends to point out the once flourishing state of the tribe of Judah. The next verse has greatly perplexed the commentators; every one of whom, says Houbigant, I have consulted, but in vain; and think the following translation gives the true sense of it: Violence hath burst forth from the rod: safety shall not proceed from them nor from their riches, nor from their agitations: there shall not be any rest for them. See his note.
Ezekiel 7:12. For wrath is upon all the multitude thereof. For my wrath it upon all their riches. Houbigant.
Ezekiel 7:13. Although they were yet alive— Nor shall their agreements stand among them while living; for their agreements shall not cause their riches to return: whoever maketh an agreement in his iniquity, it shall not be confirmed. Houbigant; who renders the last clause in the next verse like that in the 12th.
Ezekiel 7:16. Like doves of the valleys— There can be no reason, says Houbigant, why it should be rendered, doves of the valleys; the true rendering is, like mourning doves: they shall be in the mountains mourning like doves. Death shall consume them every one in his iniquity.
Ezekiel 7:19. Their gold shall be removed— Shall be vile refuse, or, become despicable. Houbigant reads the last clause, After their iniquity hath brought on their ruin.
Ezekiel 7:20. As for the beauty of his ornament— Houbigant's translation is, They made of it [the gold] beautiful and splendid ornaments, with which they adorned the abominable images of their gods: therefore will I cause it to be esteemed impure among them.
Ezekiel 7:22. And they shall pollute my secret place— My treasures shall be esteemed as profane; for the robbers shall come, who shall pollute them. Houbigant. Others understand this of the profanation of the temple, and of the Holy of Holies, by the Chaldeans.
Ezekiel 7:23. Make a chain— That is, as emblematical of the approaching captivity, when king and people should be carried in chains to Babylon. See 2 Kings 25:7. Jeremiah 40:1.
Ezekiel 7:24. The worst of the heathen— The shepherds of the heathen. Houbigant.
Ezekiel 7:27. I will do unto them after their way, &c.— So will I do unto them, as have been their own ways; I will judge them as they judged; for in the 23rd verse it is said that the land was full of bloody crimes or judgments; because the blood of the innocent was shed by unjust judgment. Here it is said that those guilty of shedding blood should themselves suffer the punishment of it.
REFLECTIONS.—1st, Fair warning is here given to a careless people; and with great earnestness the prophet speaks, if so be he might awaken them from their lethargy.
1. Their time of judgment is come, their end at hand, their destruction impending; and this is urged with a great variety of expressions, to shew the certainty, nearness, and terribleness of the calamity. The whole land is doomed to ruin. An evil, such as was never heard of before, approached. Their desolations watched for them. The dawn of their calamity was already broke upon them, the day of trouble swiftly advanced; not a mere sound, like the distant echo of a man's voice between the mountains, but a terrible shout of the Chaldean hosts already at the walls of the city. Note; (1.) The end of all things is at hand. Are we ready? (2.) Though God's patience bears long with impenitent sinners, he will surely visit them at the appointed time, and the evil of eternal vengeance will overtake them.
2. Their destruction is from God's wrath; their provocations had awakened his fury; and now in full vials, he will pour it out on their devoted heads, and accomplish his anger; giving it full scope; no pity or mercy shall mitigate the judgment: and woe to those against whom God thus rises up as an enemy!
3. God herein acts with strictest justice. The sentence passed on them would be in consequence of an impartial trial, and the righteous recompense of their great abominations. These being found in the midst of them unrepented of, wrath to the uttermost comes upon them. The rod hath blossomed, the rod of universal wickedness, and they gloried in it; pride hath budded, that sin peculiarly hateful to God; and violence is risen up, a scene of oppression and injustice appears; and the rod of upright government is turned into a rod of wickedness to smite the innocent. Though some understand these expressions as signifying the Chaldean monarch, the rod of God's anger, swelling with pride, and ready to break in violently upon them as a flood, to punish them for their iniquities.
4. The ruin coming upon them would be universal. None of them shall remain, the whole nation utterly wasted by famine, pestilence, and the sword; princes and people shall fall together unlamented, none surviving to bemoan them; or the few who were left wholly engrossed with care about themselves. The buyer should not rejoice, nor the seller mourn, because both now would be on a level, alike captives, and removed from their own land, and no year of jubilee cause the possessions to revert to their former owners, although they were yet alive; the whole multitude being doomed to a seventy years' servitude in Babylon. In vain, on the approach of the enemy, they blew the trumpet to oppose them; for none goeth to the battle; their courage is lost; the wrath of God upon them dispirits the bravest, and they fall an easy prey. The sword consumes without, the famine and pestilence within; and neither the city nor country can afford the least protection from these desolating judgments; and they who thought to strengthen themselves in their iniquity, and out-brave the threatened vengeance, now find themselves terribly disappointed. Note; (1.) Multitudes are no protection from the wrath of God; sinners shall no more escape because they are many, than because they are mighty. (2.) They who strengthen themselves in wickedness will find their rebel arm impotent and broken when God awakes to judgment.
5. God's hand will be visible in their sufferings. And ye shall know that I am the Lord that smiteth. Though the Chaldean army be employed, they shall be convinced that God's arm is made bare against them, and in their sufferings read his fearful indignation.
2nd, We have the miserable condition of the few who survive the ruin of their country.
1. They are men of sorrows, and vagabonds in the earth. On the solitary mountains, whither they have fled for refuge, like doves of the valley, they mourn every one for his iniquity; either for the punishment of it only; or with deep anguish bewailing their sins, which were the cause of their sufferings, weak as water to resist their enemies, and abandoning themselves to despair in horrors of conscience, or terrified by continual fear; covered with shame and confusion because of their transgressions, or of their present wretched state; girt with sackcloth, and baldness on their heads, the expressive signs of deep unutterable anguish. Note; (1.) Sin and sorrow are inseparable. (2.) Our afflictions are then gracious, when they lead us to mourn for our iniquity. (3.) The sinner's confidence will end in despair and fruitless everlasting wailings.
2. Their riches profit not in this day of wrath. They had idolised the shining mammon, and it had been the stumbling-block of their iniquity, while they placed that affection and dependence upon their gold which they withdrew from God: but now they are made to know their folly and their sin, compelled to cast away their gold and silver as what would retard their flight, and unable with these to satisfy the cravings of hunger, or purchase a moment's rest or ease to their souls. Some understand by the gold and silver their idols made of these precious metals, on which they trusted, but found their expectations from them terribly deceived. Note; (1.) Money is a dangerous snare; the inordinate love of it has been the ruin of millions. (2.) The greatest wealth can profit us nothing in a day of wrath; it cannot stay the arrests of death, or procure in hell a drop of water to cool a flaming tongue.
3. Their temple is destroyed, magnificent and adorned as it had been, not merely by the immense profusion of gold and silver and precious stones bestowed upon it, but infinitely more by the residence of the king of glory. They had polluted it; and dared within these sacred walls to erect their detested idols; therefore have I set it far from them; removing them as captives into a distant land, and giving up the sanctuary to be trodden under foot by the heathen, to be polluted, profaned, plundered, and burnt, by the Chaldeans first, and afterwards by the Romans. My face will I turn also from them; deserting the Jews in their distress, or not displeased with the ravages of their wicked enemies, but suffering them uncontrolled to spread havock and desolation on every side. Note; They who forsake God may expect that he will forsake them in the day of their calamity.
3rdly, We have,
1. The charge laid against the Jewish people, for which they are brought to God's bar. Make a chain to bind the prisoner, and bring him before the judge; or to lead them into an ignominious captivity; for the land is full of bloody crimes, or judgments of blood; such crimes as by the law were capital, and called for the blood of the criminal; the city is full of violence, a scene of oppression, rapine, and injustice. And when sin in a nation is thus triumphant, her destruction cannot be far distant.
2. The sentence pronounced. God threatens to bring upon them the worst of the heathen, the most savage and barbarous of the human species. The noble, the rich, the proud oppressors, with all their pomp, must bow before them, and the fruits of their injustice be for a prey; their holy places shall be defiled, or they that sanctify them, their priests and Levites, slain, and lying in their blood. Repeated rumours of the approaching enemy shall terrify them; mischief upon mischief shall overwhelm them, and destruction without remedy seize them at last: no peace will be granted them by their exasperated foes. They shall in their distress seek a vision of the prophet, whom they before despised and rejected; but none shall be vouchsafed them; for the law shall perish from the priest, he shall not be able to advise or comfort them; and counsel shall perish from the ancients, given up to infatuation, and become foolish in their imaginations; so that they would be without resource. Their king shall mourn a prisoner, clothed with desolation, blind and in chains; the hands of the people be troubled, weak, and unable to resist; God visiting now upon them their iniquities, and making them know his almighty power and vindictive wrath: for God will make himself known, either in mercy to his saints, or in vengeance to his enemies.
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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Ezekiel 7". Coke's Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week after Epiphany