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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged
Ezekiel 24

 

 

Verse 1

Again in the ninth year, in the tenth month, in the tenth day of the month, the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,

No JFB commentary on this verse.


Verse 2

Son of man, write thee the name of the day, even of this same day: the king of Babylon set himself against Jerusalem this same day.

Son of man, Write thee the name of the day, even of this same day. Ezekiel proves his divine mission by announcing the very day ("this same day") of the beginning of the investment the city by Nebuchadnezzar - "the ninth year," namely, of Jehoiachin's captivity, "the tenth day of the tenth month," - though he was at the time 300 miles away from Jerusalem, among the captives at the Chebar (2 Kings 25:1; Jeremiah 39:1).

The king of Babylon set himself against Jerusalem - i:e., laid siege to Jerusalem; literally, 'lay against.'


Verse 3

And utter a parable unto the rebellious house, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD Set on a pot, set it on, and also pour water into it:

Set on a pot - caldron. Alluding to the self-confident proverb used among the people (Ezekiel 11:3, see note there), "This city is the caldron, and we be the flesh:" your proverb shall prove awfully true, but in a different sense from what you intend. So far from the city proving an iron caldron-like defense from the fire, it shall be as a caldron set on the fire, and the people as so many pieces of meat subjected to boiling heat. See Jeremiah 1:13.


Verse 4

Gather the pieces thereof into it, even every good piece, the thigh, and the shoulder; fill it with the choice bones.

Gather the pieces thereof into it - "the pieces thereof" - i:e., those which properly belong to it as its own.

Even every good piece ... fill it with the choice bones - i:e., the most distinguished of the people. The "choice bones" in the pot have flesh adhering to them. The "bones" under the pot (Ezekiel 24:5) are those having no flesh, and used as fuel, answering to the poorest, who suffer first, and are put out of pain sooner than the rich, who endure what answers to the slower process of boiling.


Verse 5

Take the choice of the flock, and burn also the bones under it, and make it boil well, and let them seethe the bones of it therein.

Burn also the bones - rather, 'pile [ duwr (Hebrew #1754)] the bones; 'let there be a round combustible pile of the bones.'

Let them seethe the bones of it therein - literally, 'in the midst of it.'


Verse 6

Wherefore thus saith the Lord GOD Woe to the bloody city, to the pot whose scum is therein, and whose scum is not gone out of it! bring it out piece by piece; let no lot fall upon it.

Woe to the bloody city ... the pot whose scum is therein - not ordinary, but poisonous scum, i:e., the people's all-pervading wickedness.

Bring it out piece by piece - "bring it," the contents of the pot-its flesh; i:e., 'I will destroy the people of the city, not all at the same time, but by a series of successive attacks.' Not as Fairbairn 'on its every piece let it (the poisonous scum) go forth.'

Let no lot fall on it - i:e., no lot, such as is sometimes cast, to decide who are to be destroyed and who saved: as, for instance, David used a line in smiting the Israelites - "With two lines measured he to put to death, and with one full line to keep alive" (2 Samuel 8:2; Joel 3:3; Obadiah 1:11; Nahum 3:10). In former carryings away of captives lots were cast to settle who were to go and who to stay; but now all alike are to be cast out, without distinction of rank age, or sex.


Verse 7

For her blood is in the midst of her; she set it upon the top of a rock; she poured it not upon the ground, to cover it with dust;

She set it - the blood which she shed.

Upon the top of a rock - or, 'upon the dry, smooth, bare exposed rock' [ ts


Verse 8

That it might cause fury to come up to take vengeance; I have set her blood upon the top of a rock, that it should not be covered.

That it might cause fury to come up to take vengeance. God purposely let her so shamelessly pour the blood on the bare rock "that it might" the more loudly and openly cry for vengeance from on high; and that the connection between the guilt and the punishment might be the more palpable. The blood of Abel, though the ground received it, still cried to heaven for vengeance (Genesis 4:10-11); much more blood shamelessly exposed on the bare rock.

I have set her blood upon the top of a rock - she shall be paid back in kind (Matthew 7:2). She openly shed blood, and her blood shall openly be shed.


Verse 9

Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD Woe to the bloody city! I will even make the pile for fire great.

I will even make the pile for fire great - the hostile materials for the city's destruction.


Verse 10

Heap on wood, kindle the fire, consume the flesh, and spice it well, and let the bones be burned.

Spice it well - that the meat may be the more palatable; i:e., I will make the foe delight in its destruction as much as one delights in well-seasoned savoury meat. Grotius, needlessly departing from the obvious sense, translates, 'let it be boiled down to a compound.'


Verse 11

Then set it empty upon the coals thereof, that the brass of it may be hot, and may burn, and that the filthiness of it may be molten in it, that the scum of it may be consumed.

Set it empty upon the coals thereof, that the brass of it may be hot, and may burn, and that the filthiness of it may be molten in it, that the scum of it may be consumed. Even the consumption of the contents is not enough; the caldron itself, which is infected by the poisonous scum, must be destroyed - i:e., the city itself must be destroyed, not merely the inhabitants, just as the very house infected with leprosy was to be destroyed (Leviticus 14:34-45).


Verse 12

She hath wearied herself with lies, and her great scum went not forth out of her: her scum shall be in the fire.

She hath wearied herself with lies - "herself," rather, 'she hath wearied me out with lies;' or rather, 'with vain labours' on my part to purify her, without being obliged to have recourse to judgments (cf. Isaiah 43:24; Malachi 2:17). (Maurer.) However, the English version gives a good sense (cf. Isaiah 47:13; Isaiah 57:10).


Verse 13

In thy filthiness is lewdness: because I have purged thee, and thou wast not purged, thou shalt not be purged from thy filthiness any more, till I have caused my fury to rest upon thee.

In thy filthiness is lewdness - determined, deliberate wickedness [ zimaah (Hebrew #2154), from a Hebrew root, zaamam (Hebrew #2161), 'to purpose'].

Because I have purged thee, and thou wast not purged - i:e., I have left nothing untried which would tend Because I have purged thee, and thou wast not purged - i:e., I have left nothing untried which would tend toward purging thee, by sending prophets to invite thee to repentance; by giving thee the law, with all its promises, privileges, and threats: but all has been in vain.

Thou shalt not be purged from thy filthiness anymore - by my gracious interpositions; thou shalt be left to thine own course, and to take its fatal consequences.


Verse 14

I the LORD have spoken it: it shall come to pass, and I will do it; I will not go back, neither will I spare, neither will I repent; according to thy ways, and according to thy doings, shall they judge thee, saith the Lord GOD.

I will not go back - desist; relax (Fairbairn).


Verse 15

Also the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,

The word of the Lord came unto me - second part of the vision; announcement of the death of Ezekiel's wife, and prohibition of the usual signs of mourning.


Verse 16

Son of man, behold, I take away from thee the desire of thine eyes with a stroke: yet neither shalt thou mourn nor weep, neither shall thy tears run down.

Behold, I take away from thee the desire of thine eyes - his wife: representing the sanctuary (Ezekiel 24:21) in which the Jews so much gloried. The energy and subordination of Ezekiel's whole life to his prophetic office is strikingly displayed in this narrative of his wife's death. It is the only memorable event of his personal history which he records, and this only in reference to his soul-absorbing work. His natural tenderness is shown by that graphic touch, "the desire of thine eyes." What amazing subjection, then, of his individual feeling to his prophetic duty, as manifested in the simple statement (Ezekiel 24:18), "So I spake unto the people in the morning; and at even my wife died: and I did in the morning as I was commanded."

With a stroke - a sudden visitation. The suddenness of it enhances the self-control of Ezekiel in so entirely merging individual feeling, which must have been especially acute under such trying circumstances, in the higher claims of duty to God.


Verse 17

Forbear to cry, make no mourning for the dead, bind the tire of thine head upon thee, and put on thy shoes upon thy feet, and cover not thy lips, and eat not the bread of men.

Forbear to cry - or, 'Lament in silence;' literally, 'sigh (or groan), be silent:' thus God forbids not sorrow, but the loud expression of it (Grotius).

Make no mourning for the dead - typical of the universality of the ruin of Jerusalem, which would preclude mourning, such as is usual where calamity is but partial. "The dead" is purposely put in the plural, as referring ultimately to the dead who should perish at the taking of Jerusalem; though the singular might have been expected, as Ezekiel's wife was the immediate subject referred to: "make no mourning," such as is usual "for the dead, and such as shall be hereafter in Jerusalem," (Jeremiah 16:5-7, "Both the great and the small shall die in this land: they shall not be buried, neither shall men lament for them, etc.)

Bind the tire of thine head upon thee - thy head-dress (Fairbairn). Jerome explains, 'thou shalt retain the hair which is usually cut in mourning.' The fillet, binding the hair about the temples like a chaplet, was laid aside at such times. Uncovering the head was an ordinary sign of mourning in priests; whereas others covered their heads in mourning (2 Samuel 15:30, "David ... wept as he went up (Olivet), and had his head covered"). The reason was, the priests had their head-dress of fine twined linen given them for ornament, and as a badge of office. The high priest, as having on his head the holy anointing oil, was forbidden in any case to lay aside his head-dress. But the priests might do so in the case of the death of the nearest relatives (Leviticus 10:6-7, wherein Aaron, Eleazar, and Ithamar are directed "not to uncover their heads" at the death of Nadab and Abihu; 21:2-3,10); they then put on inferior attire, sprinkling also on their heads dust and ashes.

Put on thy shoes upon thy feet - whereas mourners went "barefoot" (2 Samuel 15:30).

Cover not thy lips - rather, the upper lip, together with the moustachio. It was usual in mourning to put a covering upon the upper lip and the moustachio: so the leper was directed to do (Leviticus 13:45; Micah 3:7).

Eat not the bread of men - the bread usually brought to mourners by friends in token of sympathy. So the "cup of consolation" similarly brought, Jeremiah 16:7. "Of men" means such as is usually furnished by men. So Isaiah 8:1, "a man's pen;" Revelation 21:17, "according to the measure of a man."


Verse 18

So I spake unto the people in the morning: and at even my wife died; and I did in the morning as I was commanded.

No JFB commentary on this verse.


Verse 19

And the people said unto me, Wilt thou not tell us what these things are to us, that thou doest so?

Wilt thou not tell us what these things are to us that thou doest so? The people perceive that Ezekiel's strange conduct has a symbolical meaning as to themselves: they ask what is that meaning? It was the very object of such symbolical actions to stimulate self- examination, reflection, and inquiry.


Verse 20

Then I answered them, The word of the LORD came unto me, saying,

No JFB commentary on this verse.


Verse 21

Speak unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord GOD Behold, I will profane my sanctuary, the excellency of your strength, the desire of your eyes, and that which your soul pitieth; and your sons and your daughters whom ye have left shall fall by the sword.

Behold, I will profane my sanctuary, the excellency of your strength - (cf. Amos 6:8). The object of your pride and confidence (Jeremiah 7:4; Jeremiah 7:10; Jeremiah 7:14).

Desire of your eyes - (Psalms 27:4). The antitype to Ezekiel's wife (Ezekiel 24:16, "the desire of thine eyes").

That which your soul pitieth - loveth, as pity is akin to love: yearned over. "Profane" is an appropriate word. They had profaned the temple with idolatry; God, in just retribution, will profane it with the Chaldean sword - i:e., lay it in the dust, as Ezekiel's wife was laid in the dust. And your sons and your daughters whom ye have left shall fall by the sword - the children left behind in Judea when the parents were carried away.


Verse 22

And ye shall do as I have done: ye shall not cover your lips, nor eat the bread of men.

Ye shall not cover your lips, nor eat the bread of men - (Jeremiah 16:6-7). So general shall be the calamity that all ordinary usages of mourning shall be suspended.


Verse 23

And your tires shall be upon your heads, and your shoes upon your feet: ye shall not mourn nor weep; but ye shall pine away for your iniquities, and mourn one toward another.

Ye shall not mourn nor weep; but ye shall pine away for your iniquities, and mourn one toward another. The Jews' not mourning was to be, not the result of insensibility, anymore than Ezekiel's not mourning for his wife was not from want of feeling. They could not in their exile manifest publicly their lamentation, but they would privately "mourn one to another." Their "iniquities" would then be their chief sorrow ("pining away"), as feeling that these were the cause Of their sufferings (cf. Leviticus 26:39; Lamentations 3:39). The fullest fulfillment is still future, when they shall not merely mourn for the punishment of their sins, but "shall look on Him whom they have pierced, and mourn for Him" with true repentance (Zechariah 12:10-14).


Verse 24

Thus Ezekiel is unto you a sign: according to all that he hath done shall ye do: and when this cometh, ye shall know that I am the Lord GOD.

Thus Ezekiel is unto you a sign - a typical representative, in his own person, of what was to befall them (so Isaiah 20:3).

And when this cometh - alluding probably to their taunt, as if God's word spoken by His prophets would never come to pass: "Where is the word of the Lord? Let it come now" (Jeremiah 17:15).

Ye shall know that I am the Lord God. When the prophecy is fulfilled, "ye shall know (to your cost) that I am the Lord," who thereby show my power and fulfill my word spoken by my prophet (John 13:19; John 14:29).


Verse 25-26

Also, thou son of man, shall it not be in the day when I take from them their strength, the joy of their glory, the desire of their eyes, and that whereupon they set their minds, their sons and their daughters,

Shall it not be, in the day when I take from them their strength, the joy of their glory, the desire of their eyes ... That he that escapeth in that day shall come unto thee, to cause thee to hear it? "The day" referred to in these verses is the day of the overthrow of the temple, when the fugitive "escapes."


Verse 27

In that day shall thy mouth be opened to him which is escaped, and thou shalt speak, and be no more dumb: and thou shalt be a sign unto them; and they shall know that I am the LORD.

In that day shall thy mouth be opened to him which is escaped and thou shalt speak, and be no more dumb. "That day" here (in Ezekiel 24:27) is the day on which the fugitive brings the sad news to Ezekiel, at the Chebar. In the interval the prophet suspended his prophecies as to the Jews, as was foretold. Afterward his mouth was "opened," and no more "dumb" (Ezekiel 3:26-27 : cf. Ezekiel 24:27; Ezekiel 33:21-22).

Remarks:

(1) The self-confident proverb of the Jews, "This city is the caldron, and we be the flesh," which was aimed in derision at Jeremiah's vision of "the seething pot toward the north" (Jeremiah 1:13), was now turned into an awful reality, very different from the sense in which they had intended it (Ezekiel 24:3). The city new besieged was indeed a caldron for keeping them in, so that none could escape: but it could afford no defense, such as they had expected, against their exasperated enemies. Alike the leaders and the common people perished in the indiscriminate slaughter, with the difference that the poorest, being the first to suffer, were the sooner put out of pain, while the sufferings of the upper classes were more protracted (Ezekiel 24:4). Mocking is an open defiance of God, and is sure to recoil with fearful ruin upon the head of those who thus dare to insult His majesty.

(2) The wickedness of the Jewish people is compared to a filthy and poisonous scum fermenting, through the heat, in the boiling contents of a pot, and rising to the surface. Instead of taking this filthy scum from the top, they kept continually adding to it (Ezekiel 24:6; Ezekiel 24:12). Therefore God was constrained by His justice to destroy them "piece by piece," in a series of successive judgments; and this without distinction of persons (Ezekiel 24:6). How sad it is that sinners will not be warned by lighter strokes of the rod but will still retain their filthiness, and even add to it, until God is at last provoked utterly to destroy them!

(3) So hardened and reckless were the Jews in sin that they perpetrated it in the worst form, and in the meet public axed conspicuous places, without fear or shame (Ezekiel 24:7). They openly shed blood: therefore their own blood was openly to be shed. The publicity of their sin brought on them, in just retribution, a like publicity of punishment (Ezekiel 24:8). God is sure, sooner or later, to punish transgression in kind. Crying sins bring down openly-executed judgments.

(4) The greater was Jerusalem's filthiness and scum of abominations, the greater was to be the force and fury of the enemy brought against her; just as the larger the mass of flesh and bones is that needs to be boiled, the more fire and fuel are heaped around the caldron (Ezekiel 24:9-10). Not only so, but the city itself, also, answering to the caldron infected by the poisonous scum, was to be destroyed, as well as its inhabitants, who answer to the contents. Sin brings ruin alike upon the sinner himself and upon all that belongs to him and is connected with him.

(5) God would have purged Jerusalem from her filthiness by milder measures-means of grace and warning providences-but she refused to be purged, She chose to keep her poisoned scum in her, rather than cast it "forth out of her" (Ezekiel 24:12). Instead of accepting God's happy service and refreshing ordinances, she "wearied herself with lies," and deliberately practiced lewdness and determined wickedness (Ezekiel 24:13). Therefore God would now no longer vouchsafe the interpositions of His grace, which had been designed for her purification, but was about to cause His fury to rest upon her. To sinners who have long resisted God's pleadings with them in mercy, the times of judgment will at last come, when God will no longer spare them, but will judge them according to their ways and doings (Ezekiel 24:14).

(6) The crowning visitation of God's wrath upon Jerusalem was when He took from them by a stroke the temple, which had heretofore been "the excellency of their strength, the joy of their glory, and the desire of their eyes" (Ezekiel 24:16; Ezekiel 24:21; Ezekiel 24:25). Yet so universal should be the calamity that they would not exhibit the usual badges of mourning, but would "pine away for their iniquities, and (privately) mourn one toward another" (Ezekiel 24:23). It was but just, that as they had profaned the sanctuary of God with idolatries, God should "profane" it with the sword of the enemy (Ezekiel 24:21).

(7) At length, by reason of Ezekiel's extraordinary calmness and absence of demonstration of grief under the heavy affliction of losing his wife, "the desire of his eyes" (Ezekiel 24:16), the Jews were stirred up to ask, "Wilt thou not tell us what these things are to us, that thou doest so?" (Ezekiel 24:19.) The teacher who would raise the people above the absorbing power of earthly and seen things, must himself show in his own person a Living example of how the feelings of the flesh are subordinated to the higher claims of heavenly and unseen realities. At the same time, under ordinary circumstances, we should avoid singularity, and we are not required to stifle, but to sanctify natural, feelings.

(8) The Jews had said (Jeremiah 17:15), "Where is the word of the Lord? Let it come now," as if the word of prophecy would never come to pass. But in God's own time it did come; and, too late, the guilty knew by bitter experience the power and faithfulness of God to His threats (Ezekiel 24:24). Meantime Ezekiel was a living "sign" to them of what waited them (Ezekiel 24:24): no longer were they, during this interval, favoured with revelations from God. They had had amply sufficient testimony already to convince them of the need of repentance (Ezekiel 24:27). Let us be warned by their case to take heed to the sure word of prophecy, now while the day and season of grace lasts. Let us not doubt for a moment, but heartily realize, look forward to, and prepare for, the foretold coming again of the Son of Man as the King of kings and Judge of all men!

 


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Bibliography Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Ezekiel 24:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/ezekiel-24.html. 1871-8.

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Saturday, November 16th, 2019
the Week of Proper 27 / Ordinary 32
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