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Bible Commentaries

Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible
Ezekiel 28

 

 

Introduction

Oracles against Ammon (Ezekiel 25:1-7), Moab (Ezekiel 25:8-11) Edom (Ezekiel 25:12-14), Philistia (Ezekiel 25:17).—All of these petty powers were ancient hereditary enemies of Israel. Their enmity dated back to the days before the monarchy, and in the recent disasters and sorrows of Israel had expressed itself in violent and malicious ways. The Ammonites had instigated the treacherous murder of Gedaliah, the Jew whom the Babylonians had appointed governor of Judah (Jeremiah 40:14). The Edomites had behaved with savage malice in the day of Jerusalem's distress (Psalms 137:7), as also had the Ammonites, who stamped and shouted for joy (Ezekiel 25:3; Ezekiel 25:6). The fate of them all is to be desolation and destruction—in the case of the Ammonites and Moabites at the hands of "the children of the east," i.e. the nomads of the Arabian desert; in the case of Edom, significantly enough at the hands of Israel herself: in the case of the Philistines the agent of the Divine vengeance is left vague. All these nations will thus be taught "that I am Yahweh," the mighty Yahweh, not the weak God they had taken Him to be, as they contemplated the fate of His people. The saying of Moab in Ezekiel 25:8 implies that Judah had claimed a certain pre-eminence (cf. Deuteronomy 4:32 ff.); in her noblest representatives she was beyond all question the spiritual superior of all her neighbours. (In Ezekiel 25:9 read "from the cities of its border to the glory of the land"; the three cities mentioned are all N. of the Amon. Ezekiel 25:13, Teman in north, Dedan in south of Edom. Ezekiel 25:16, Cherethites (p. 56), a Philistine tribe.)

Ezekiel 26-28. Oracle against Tyre.—From Israel's petty neighbours with their petty spite, Ezekiel turns to the great empires of Tyre (Ezekiel 26 ff.) and Egypt (Ezekiel 29 ff.). They too must go. In a passage of great literary power, which reveals the imaginative genius of Ezekiel, he describes the brilliance of Tyre, the range of her commerce, the pity and terror inspired by her (contemplated) fall.

Ezekiel 25-32. Oracles against the Foreign Nations. Ezekiel's denunciations (Ezekiel 1-24) are now over; with the news of the fall of Jerusalem his prophecies of restoration will begin (Ezekiel 33-48). But before Israel is restored, those who are opposed to her, and to the Divine purpose which is so mysteriously bound up with her, must be cleared out of the way. Appropriately therefore, at this point come the oracles against the foreign nations—first the near neighbours who had insulted and harassed her, then those more distant and powerful. These oracles, however, were not written between the beginning and the end of the siege; some of them clearly imply the fall of the city (cf. Ezekiel 25:3). But they are appropriately inserted here, as preliminary to the restoration.


Verses 1-26

Ezekiel 28. Tyre's Fall from Heaven.—In a remarkable passage, Ezekiel now conceives the pride of Tyre as incarnate in her king. The detail is often obscure and difficult, reminiscent of a mythological background similar to Genesis 3. The commercial genius and success of Tyre flushed her with impious pride: she fancied herself divine. But her marvellous "wisdom" was only commercial wisdom; she had no instinct for the worship of anything but herself and her abounding prosperity: so the terrible Babylonians must come and lay them low in an unhonoured death (Ezekiel 28:1-10). A dirge is then sung over the fallen genius of Tyre, impersonated by her king. Once he had walked in the garden of God, fair, wise, and resplendent, companion of the cherubs who guard the holy abode; but for his pride he was hurled out of Paradise—symbol of the ruin to which Tyre's commercial pride will bring her. (In Ezekiel 28:12 the meaning of "thou sealest up the sum" is quite uncertain, as also "tabrets and pipes" in Ezekiel 28:13. For "the anointed cherub that covereth" (Ezekiel 28:14), which is more than obscure, should possibly be read "(set) among the cherubs was thy dwelling." The last clause of Ezekiel 28:16 should perhaps be read, "the cherubs with whom thou hadst converse, drove thee out, etc." cf. LXX. The "fiery stones" suggests the supernatural glories of the sacred mountain. [It should perhaps be mentioned that J. G. Frazer (Adonis, Attis, Osiris, i. 114f.) connects the walking "in the midst of the stones of fire" with the custom of the fire-walk, which may have been an amelioration of an earlier custom of burning alive, or, as is suggested in Balder the Beautiful, ii. 1ff., "merely a stringent form of purification."—A. S. P.]—For "sanctuaries" in Ezekiel 28:18, perhaps "holiness." In Ezekiel 28:16-19 the conduct and fate of the king tend to be merged in that of the city.)

Zidon shares in the doom of Tyre (Ezekiel 28:20-23), and their destruction is meant to prepare the way for the ultimate restoration of Israel, and the glory and "holiness" of Yahweh, which the restoration of Israel and the destruction of her enemies will so signally illustrate (Ezekiel 28:24-26). These verses (Ezekiel 28:24-26) really furnish us with the key to the whole section Ezekiel 28:25-26.

 


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Bibliography Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Ezekiel 28:4". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pfc/ezekiel-28.html. 1919.

Lectionary Calendar
Sunday, December 8th, 2019
the Second Week of Advent
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