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A vision, whereby is shewed the preservation of some, and the destruction of the rest. God will not be entreated for them.
Before Christ 594.
Ezekiel 9:1-26.9.2. Cause them that have charge, &c.— Those who are the avengers of the city: the Chaldeans, whom God had appointed to besiege and destroy this city. Some understand it of the angels, who have the charge of executing God's judgments; and if so, instead of man and men, we should read person and persons. One of these was in the habit of a scribe, and employed in the work of mercy; unlike the rest, who were warriors and destroyers. They stood by the brazen altar; to denote that the men ordained to destruction were offered up as so many sacrifices. See chap. Ezekiel 39:17.
Ezekiel 9:2. Inkhorn— That the easterns wore it suspended from the girdle, see Shaw's Travels, p. 293 fol. 227. 40.
See commentary on Eze 9:1
Ezekiel 9:3. And the glory, &c.— Meaning the glory which Ezekiel saw in the preceding chapter; that is to say, not only the chariot of glory, with the wheels and the cherubim, but also the Man sitting in the chariot; for it is the Man who speaks in this and the following verses, and who in the fourth verse is called Jehovah, or the Lord: It is observable, that cherub is here used in the singular for the whole divine apparatus: Houbigant renders it, From the cherubim whereupon he sat. In 1Ch 28:18 the chariot of the cherubims is spoken of. This glory of God is mentioned here and in other places as going to and standing over the threshold of the house, in order, as it seems most probable, to denote that God was now about to depart from his temple. See on chap. Ezekiel 11:23.
He called— He who sat on the throne, chap. Ezekiel 1:26. See chap. Ezekiel 10:2.: "He spake." Or, we may render it, "And Jehovah called to the man clothed with linen, who had the writer's inkhorn by his side, and said unto him, &c."
Ezekiel 9:4. Set a mark— This expression alludes to the ancient custom of marking servants in the forehead, to distinguish what they were, and to whom they belonged. See Bishop Newton on Revelation 7:3. The reader is to remember, that all this passed in vision, and only means that God made a distinction, and separated the good from the bad, as really as if he had marked them with some visible sign. This parabolic command, says Bishop Warburton, alludes to the sanction of the Mosaic law; and implies, that virtuous individuals should be distinguished from the wicked in a general calamity.
Ezekiel 9:7. Defile the house— God hereby declares that he will no longer own the temple for the place of his residence, as having been polluted with idolatry; and therefore he delivers up both the inner and outer court to be polluted with blood. See chap. Ezekiel 10:3; Ezekiel 10:5.
Ezekiel 9:9. Full of perverseness; for they say— Full of oppression; because they say.
REFLECTIONS.—1st, We have heard the provocations of this people, and we here see that their judgment lingereth not.
1. A charge is given to the destroyers to approach; and instantly six warriors appear armed. Their business is, as ministers of wrath, to destroy the city. They come from the north, where the image of jealousy stood; from which quarter also their destruction advanced: and they went in and stood beside the brazen altar, waiting for orders, or intimating that judgment would begin at the house of God; where the priests ministered, whose hand had been chief in the transgression. A seventh personage differently clad, appears among them, arrayed not as a warrior but as a priest, with a writer's inkhorn by his side; and this may signify the great high-priest of our profession Christ Jesus, represented here as marking down in his book, who were sincere among the multitude of his enemies. Note; (1.) God never wants ministers of wrath, when he has vengeance to execute against sinners. (2.) They who have profaned the altar by their wickedness, justly fall as sacrifices before it. (3.) The saints of God need not fear, whatever judgments are on the earth; their Lord and Saviour governs the whole, and will protect them from evil.
2. God's glory, the Shechinah, removes from between the cherubims to the threshold of the house, as ready now to depart from the devoted temple, when he had given the last directions to separate the few precious from the vile. And,
[1.] He called to the man clothed with linen, &c. God's first care is for his believing people: they were but few, yet precious in his sight. They could not behold these abominations practised by their countrymen without the bitterest concern and anguish, which they terrified publicly, and lamented before God in private. On them, therefore, God commands a distinguishing mark to be set, on the foreheads, that they might be known to belong to God, see Rev 7:3 in allusion to the marks on servants, or to the blood on the lintels and side-posts of the Israelites in Egypt, to guard them from the destroying angel. Note; (1.) God's people cannot without the deepest concern behold a world lying in wickedness; they remonstrate against the evil, and with tears before God and man lament over perishing souls. (2.) They who distinguish themselves by a concern for God's glory, shall be distinguished by his care for their safety.
[2.] To the others he said, to the six destroyers, Go ye after him, through the city, and slay with unrelenting severity both young and old, all of every age and sex, beginning at the sanctuary: the priests, who were chief in iniquity, must be the first and chief sufferers; and none must be spared, but those on whom is God's mark; these they may not touch, nor come near. No sooner is the command issued, than the destroyers obey, beginning with those ancients, the five-and-twenty, or the seventy, which were before mentioned, profaning God's temple with their idolatries. Nor need they fear to defile God's house with the blood of the slain, since they have his commission. Because these ancients have polluted it with their abominations, God will more pollute it with their dead carcases: and when they have begun their bloody work in the sanctuary, they must finish it in the city by a general massacre; and it is done. Note; (1.) They who persist in their impenitence will die without mercy. (2.) None in a judgment day will meet so terrible a doom as those who, being appointed to admonish others, have seduced and destroyed the souls to whom they were ordained to minister.
2nd, We have,
1. The prophet an intercessor in behalf of this miserable people. While the execution was performing, and the prophet alone in the temple, all who were there besides being slain, he fell upon his face in great humility, and cried and said, Ah, Lord God, wilt thou destroy all the residue of Israel, in thy pouring out of thy fury upon Jerusalem? he dreaded a total excision, and fain would stay the avenging arm. Note; A gracious soul cannot unmoved behold the miseries coming on the wicked, and fain would avert the dreadful storm by his prayers.
2. God cannot grant his request; their iniquities are such as admit of neither pardon nor reprieve: their sins are most aggravated; their land full of blood; murders the most inhuman, and every atrocious crime prevailing; the city is fall of perverseness; no justice or truth is regarded; and, atheistical in principles as in practice, they blasphemously dared to deny the government of his providence, and flattered themselves with impunity in their iniquity: therefore God threatens with unsparing hand to punish them, to shut up his compassions, and to refuse to be in-treated by them or for them, bringing upon them the wrath which they had so highly provoked and deserved. Note; Though we may never cease to cry to God, there is a time when sinners are past the efficacy of prayer.
3. The man clothed with linen, &c. reports, that the divine orders were accomplished; the genuine people of God marked; the wicked destroyed. Oh, that all might learn from these awful lessons to turn to God, and walk with him in holiness of heart and life!
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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Ezekiel 9". Coke's Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week after Epiphany