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Bible Commentaries
Ezekiel 21

Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New TestamentZerr's N.T. Commentary

Verse 1

Eze 21:1-2. The words set thy face toward Jerusalem wilt be understood by remembering that Ezekiel was in Babylon all the time he was writing, having been taken there at the time of Jehoiachtn’s captivity. But the 3rd and final stage of the 70-year captivity had not taken place, hence Jerusalem was still standing and the last of its kings, Zedekiah, was yet on the throne as a subject king under the Babylonians. Because of all this, much of Ezekiel’s writings was prophecy though its fulfillment was about due and the remaining Jews were being warned to be prepared.

Verse 3

Eze 21:3, This verse was directed against the land of Israel in general, though its principal application was to the city of Jerusalem which was the capital and which was yet standing as per the preceding paragraph. The righteous and wicked were to be cut oft in that all classes regardless of personal character had to share in the national downfall. It is a proper time again to read the note offered in connection with 2Ki 22:17, volume 2 of this Commentary.

Verse 4

Eze 21:4. All flesh is to be understood in the light of righteous and wicked as explained in the preceding verse. My sword refers literally to the sword of the Babylonians, but is so designated because God was using that nation as his instrument for chastising his people.

Verse 5

Eze 21:5. All flesh and my sword are explained In the preceding verse.

Verse 6

Eze 21:6. Breaking of thy loins is figurative and means his entire being was to feel the bitterness of the conditions for which he was sighing.

Verse 7

Eze 21:7. The sighing described in the preceding verse was a form of "acting" which has been spoken of a number of limes, and it was for the purpose of making an impression upon the people. When they inquired the reason for the demonstration the prophet was to tell them it was because of the tidings. Of course that referred to the news of what was to come yet upon the city and the people remaining in it,

Verse 8

Eze 21:8-9. The same subject is indicated in this paragraph and it pertains to the sword of the Babylonians. To furbish means to polish the body of the blade and to sharpen would affect the edge. The idea is that. God would use the sword of the Babylonians and that it would have been put. in tbe best condition for use.

Verse 10

Eze 21:10. By furbishing the sword it would be caused to glitter, thus making an Impressive appearance in the sight of the victims, One use of a rod was as a scepter in ruling, but the scepter in the hands of my son (meaning Zedekiah still on the throne) was to be of no avail when the sword of the Babylonians came against it.

Verse 11

Eze 21:11. He hath given it to be furbished means that God had decreed that the sword of the Babylonians was to be effective in its work against Judah.

Verse 12

Eze 21:12. Cry and howl was for the same reason as “sigh” in verse 6. The impending calamity about to come on Jerusalem will be great and bitter and the prophet was instructed to indicate it by his physical expressions. In ancient times many actions were done to indicate the feelings of a person. such as to smite upon the thigh.

Verse 13

Eze 21:13. Sword contemn (belittle) the rod means the sword of Babylon would overcome the authority of Zedekiah. See the comments on verse 10.

Verse 14

Eze 21:14. Sword be doubled is an emphatic way of describing the success of the sword of Babylon. It was destined to slay many of the great men in Jerusalem. Entereth private chambers indicates the thoroughness of the work of the Babylonian army.

Verse 15

Eze 21:15. I have set the point of the sword against all their gates denotes that God had given (he sword of the Babylonians the mission of attacking Jerusalem and her walls. There was to be no escaping from the attack since God was back of it.

Verse 16

Eze 21:16. The I/ord is still addressing himself to the prophet, and In some figurative way is going to describe his actions toward the people. One way or other is a figure and the meaning is that there will be no way of turning that will not see the dealing to be meted out under the decree of the Lord.

Verse 17

Eze 21:17. Smite mine hands has the same significance as "smite upon the thigh” in verse 12. God was very determined to carry out his fury on those who provoked it.

Verse 18

Eze 21:18-19, Two ways represents the king of Babylon in his march out of Babylon and coming to a point where two directions appeared before him. He is undecided as to which course to take but the prophet is told to choose it for him. We have learned that God takes a hand in the affairs of the nation (Dan 2:21; Dan 4:17), thus He will decide the present question for the king of Babylon. That decision will be that the Babylonian forces will be directed to follow up both ways since the numerous forces of Nebuchadnezzar would enable him thus to act.

Verse 20

Eze 21:20. This verse designates the two ways mentioned in the preceding paragraph, and shows they were to lead against the Ammonites and Judah For a detailed explanation of the part the Ammonites played in the plans of the Lord, see the comments on Jer 49:1,

Verse 21

Eze 21:21. This verse deals with the state of uncertainty in the mind of the king of Babylon which was discussed at verse 19, Vse divination refers to the way the king was using to bring him to a decision as to which way to choose, when the Lord intervened and made the decision for him. Looking in the liver refers to an ancient superstition of consulting the interna] organs of various creatures in arriving at decisions. Myers' Ancient History (page 344) says the following on this subject: "From Etruria was introduced the art of the haruspiccs, or soothsayers, which consisted in discovering the will of the gods by the appearance of the entrails of victims slain for the sacrifices.”

Verse 22

Eze 21:22. On one hand the king of Babylon saw the indication that he should go against Jerusalem. He was to advance against the capital city of Judah with strong military equipment that could lay and execute a siege.

Verse 23

Eze 21:23. Be unto them, a false divination means the people of Jerusalem will at least pretend not to take the matter seriously. They will console themselves with the idea that the king of Babylon has been misled by false divination. But the Lord will remind them of their evil conduct and thus assure them that the so-called false divination will prove to be true, and that they (people of Jerusalem) may be taken, the Lord will carry out the results indicated by the signs.

Verse 24

Eze 21:24, The false security the people of Jerusalem had imagined for themselves was to be exposed. Their iniquity was not forgotten by the Lord and for that cause they were to be taken with the hand, meaning the hand of the Lord was in the work of the Babylonians in this final stage of the captivity.

Verse 25

Eze 21:25. This wicked prince was Zedekiah who was Still on the throne in Jerusalem, ruling under the authority of Babylon but that rule was soon to have an end.

Verse 26

Eze 21:26. A diadem is a band worn on the forehead of a ruler, and a crown is the article worn on the top of the head to signify his authority. Zedekiah was still wearing this crown at the present writing although his reign was about to close. Take off the crown was a prediction and an order. The prediction was that Zedekiah was soon to lose bis crown and that it would be by the decree of the Lord. Not be the same means the crown will not continue in the same line it has been enjoying as to its temporal scope. Ex alt and abase indicates a reversal of conditions regarding the government of God’s people.

Verse 27

Eze 21:27. To overturn means to overthrow and the threefold use of the word indicates emphasis. The antecedent of it is "crown” in the preceding verse and it is the thing God was about to overthrow. With the downfall of Zedekiah and Jerusalem the final stage of the 70-year captivity will be accomplished and Nebuchadnezzar will not leave any other man on the throne of Judah. Such is the significance of the words shall be no more. However, while the throne of Judah as a temporal kingdom was never again to be, yet something else was to take its place which Is introduced by the word until. Following up with the subject thus Introduced by tbe word until the Lord declared a person would come whose right it is, meaning it would be his right to have the throne, and when that person comes God will give it him. That great person is Christ and he Is the same person predicted in Gen 49:10. This last passage together with our present verse makes the important prediction that Zedekiah was to be the last king ever to reign over Judah until Christ (the Shiloh of Gen 49:10) came, and then He would reign as a spiritual king.

Verse 28

Eze 21:28. The place of the Ammonites of the transactions of the Lord has been described, and the reader may see it in fuller detail at Jer 49:1.

Verse 29

Eze 21:29. The gist of this verse is that there were false prophets among the Ammonites as well as in Judah, They gave their people false assurances of peace, and their predictions seemed plausible because Nebuchadnezzar was seen to direct his course toward Judah and that would seem to remove any threat to other places.

Verse 30

Eze 21:30. The question is asked of Ammon if he thought that God would withhold the sword just because the diviners had predicted It so. The question was then answered in the negative and the Ammonites were warned of judgment in their own land.

Verse 31

Eze 21:31. The threatening continues and the Ammonites are notified that their judgment will be like a fire. The judgment will be executed by the services of other heathen armies whom the lord designates as brutish men.

Verse 32

Eze 21:32. The Are threatened is largely figurative and refers to the heat of God’s wrath. That heat was to be poured out against the Ammonites in the form of destruction in battle, conducted by the forces acting as an agency of God.
Bibliographical Information
Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on Ezekiel 21". Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/znt/ezekiel-21.html. 1952.
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