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Bible Commentaries

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments
Ezekiel 24

 

 

Verse 1-2

Ezekiel 24:1-2. Again, in the ninth year — Namely, of Jehoiachin’s captivity, and of Zedekiah’s reign; the word of the Lord came unto me — Namely, in Chaldea, where the prophet now was, and where, as the words here evidently imply, God gave him notice, though many hundreds of miles distant from Jerusalem, of Nebuchadnezzar’s beginning to lay siege to that city, just at the time when he began to do it. Saying, The king of Babylon set himself against Jerusalem — Hebrew, סמךְ אל ירושׁלים, hath set himself, or, as Buxtorf renders it, accedit, vel appropinquat, comes, or approaches, to Jerusalem, בעצם היום הזה, this self-same day — Namely, this day that I now speak to thee. Write thee the name of the day, &c. — Make a memorial of the day, and of my having this day informed thee of this great event; and signify it to the people, that when they shall receive intelligence from Judea of the siege having been begun this day, according to thy information, it may be a confirmation of the truth of thy mission, and of the certainty of the fulfilment of all thy predictions. This was about two years before the taking of Jerusalem: see 2 Kings 25:1; Jeremiah 39:1; and Jeremiah 52:4.


Verses 3-5

Ezekiel 24:3-5. Utter a parable unto the rebellious house — Though the house of Judah has as yet paid no due regard to what thou and the rest of the prophets have uttered or done; nevertheless, still further represent to them the destruction coming upon them by a symbolical action. Set on a pot, &c. — By the pot was signified Jerusalem, (under which figure it is represented, both by this prophet, Ezekiel 11:3, and by Jeremiah, Jeremiah 1:13.) and by the pieces gathered into it, the different ranks of men gathered into that city, by taking refuge within its walls, when the Chaldean army approached to besiege it. By the water and fire were signified the calamities which they were to suffer. By every good piece, the thigh and the shoulder, the wealthiest and chief of the inhabitants of the land seem to be meant, who would flee from their country houses to live in safety in Jerusalem; and by the choice bones, the bravest and strongest among the common people, or the most warlike, who would betake themselves to the city for its defence. Burn also the bones under it — Not the bones of the pieces to be boiled, but of the many innocent persons to be murdered in Jerusalem, whose blood cried for vengeance, and their bones, scattered on the face of the earth, will both make and maintain this fire. Bishop Newcome renders the clause, Pile also (in the margin we read heap) the bones under it: namely, as he explains it, “the useless bones (Ezekiel 24:10) which the coals (Ezekiel 24:11) would consume, to show what a general destruction of the meaner sort would be caused by the Chaldeans.” And make it boil well — To denote the heat or violence of the calamity, and perhaps also that the city would be set on fire and consumed.


Verses 6-8

Ezekiel 24:6-8. Wherefore thus saith the Lord — Here begins an explication of the preceding symbolical representation; Wo to the bloody city — Jerusalem, which is this pot; whose scum is therein — Whose filthiness, or wickedness, is not purged out of it. Bring it out piece by piece — One piece after another till all be taken. Let nothing be left in it; let it be emptied of every thing. This signified the entire ruin and spoil of the city and the inhabitants of it, all without distinction being either killed or carried into captivity. Let no lot fall upon it — There shall be no lot cast to determine who shall be spared and who consumed, or who shall be left and who carried into captivity; for they shall be all either destroyed or carried away. For her blood is in the midst of her — The innocent blood which she hath shed. She set it upon the top of a rock — Openly and publicly, without fear, or shame, or reluctance; she set it where it might be seen by all, and seen long; she shed blood in a presumptuous manner, and with a high hand; she was impudent and barefaced in her cruelties; she did not seek to cover or excuse them. She poured it not upon the ground, to cover it with dust — As being ashamed of shedding it. “These words allude to the command of the law: Leviticus 17:13, that they should cover the blood of any beast, or other living creature which was slain, with dust; which precept was not only intended to prevent their eating of blood, but also to give men a sort of horror or aversion to bloodshed.” — Lowth. That it might cause fury to come up to take vengeance — For such impudent murders as these, which even dared the divine indignation. I have set her blood upon the top of a rock — Her punishment shall be as notorious in the sight of the world as her sin was. I will punish it so openly, and in such a manner, as shall not be soon forgotten.


Verses 9-11

Ezekiel 24:9-11. Thus saith the Lord, &c. — In this and the two following verses is still more fully explained the meaning of the symbol of the boiling pot, and what the fire is that made it boil. By making the pile for the fire great, is signified the destruction being very great and general. And spice it well — Or, season it well, so as to make it desirable. The expression imports, that the Babylonians should be as much set on destroying the city and inhabitants, as hungry people are greedy of devouring meat well spiced and dressed. This was a very proper expression, considering that Jerusalem, in the foregoing part of this chapter, is represented as a boiling pot, and the inhabitants of it as pieces of flesh boiled in it. All the other expressions of this verse signify an entire destruction. Then set it empty upon the coals thereof, &c. — This expresses, that after a riddance was made of the inhabitants, either by slaughtering them with the sword, or carrying them away into captivity, the city itself, represented by the pot, should be burned with fire, that its impurity might be consumed, or purged away by the flames; that is to say, that their wickedness might be taken away with their persons and city; or that the remains of the inhabitants, who were made captives, should be reformed by this terrible destruction of Jerusalem. If we understand it as spoken of the place of the city, the expression may allude to what was commanded in the ceremonial law, namely, that metal vessels, which water could not cleanse, should be purified by fire. Thus nothing short of burning Jerusalem down to the ground could purge it from its abominations: afterward it should be rebuilt, and become a holy city, free from the idolatries which had formerly defiled it.


Verses 12-14

Ezekiel 24:12-14. She hath wearied herself with lies — Hebrew, תאנים, with vanities, or troubles; multiplying her idolatries, and seeking help sometimes from one idol and sometimes from another, but all in vain. The expression may also include the alliances the Jewish people entered into, and the various arts of policy they employed to avert their ruin, none of which were of any service to them: as if he had said, She has taken a great deal of pains, but to no purpose: her allies, their promises, their forces, their gods, all prove a lie to the house of Judah. Her great scum went not out of her, &c. — All the admonitions I gave her by my prophets, and my sundry chastisements and punishments of her sin, availed nothing to the purifying her from her idolatries and other wickedness; her scum shall be in the fire — The fire must consume her and her wickedness. In thy filthiness is lewdness — Thou hast shown thyself shameless and incorrigible in thine idolatries. Because I have purged thee, and thou wast not purged — I did what was requisite on my part to thy amendment, but thou refusedst to comply with those frequent calls and exhortations which I gave thee; and therefore my Spirit shall not strive with thee any longer with gentle methods, but I will proceed to execute my severest judgments upon thee, namely, by sending thee into captivity, and letting thee suffer all the calamities of it for a long season. According to thy doings shall they judge thee — According to thy deserts shall the Chaldeans, who are the ministers of my justice, punish thee.


Verses 16-18

Ezekiel 24:16-18. Behold, I take away from thee the desire of thine eyes with a stroke — Behold, I take away from thee thy wife, the object of thy love and thy affection, by a sudden stroke from my own immediate hand, that is, by a sudden death. Observe, reader, we know not how soon the desire of our eyes may be removed from us. Death is a stroke from which the most pious, the most useful, the most amiable, are not exempted. Yet neither shalt thou mourn nor weep — Thou shall not show any signs of grief. This command was given to the prophet, to signify that the public calamity should be so great, that private ones would not appear worthy of notice, nor would they be at leisure to lament them, so much would those of a public nature distract and oppress them. Bind the tire of thy head upon thee — Use thy ordinary dress upon thy head; for in the time of mourning it was customary sometimes to shave the head, sometimes to cast dust upon it. Put on thy shoes upon thy feet — Going barefoot was usual in great sorrow and affliction; and therefore the prophet, who was to show no sign of sorrow, was commanded to put on his shoes. Cover not thy lips — Covering the lips, or face, was another token of mourning. And eat not the bread of men — Partake not of the mourning-feast, that relations used to prepare for the funerals of their friends: see note on Jeremiah 16:7. So I spake to the people, &c., and at even my wife died — My wife accordingly died very suddenly in the evening of a day, on the morning of which I had been speaking to the people, concerning the intimations I had of her death; and the next morning I declared what commands God had laid upon me, not to make any outward show, or sign of mourning upon that occasion.


Verses 19-24

Ezekiel 24:19-24. Wilt thou not tell us what these things are — That is, what is the meaning of thy unusual actions. They seem to make this inquiry by way of derision and contempt. Speak unto the house of Israel — Now he is commissioned to declare the meaning of what he did. Thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will profane my sanctuary — I will deliver my temple into the hands of the heathen, and they shall profane and destroy it: even that temple wherein you placed your glory, and thought your greatest protection. The desire of your eyes, and that which your soul pitieth — As much your desire, as my wife was mine; most dear to you, the destruction of which will affect you with a most poignant grief. Your sons and your daughters whom ye have left shall fall by the sword — Whom you left behind you when you were made captives; for this was addressed to those who were at this time captives in Babylonia, having been carried thither with Jehoiachin. Or the meaning may be, Your sons, &c., who are left to you, from the famine and the pestilence. Ye shall not mourn nor weep —

These terrible judgments shall strike you with astonishment, and produce in you such distress as is too great to be expressed by words or actions; but ye shall pine away for your iniquities, &c. — You shall be absorbed in silent sorrow, and shall waste away by lingering grief, and secret lamentation over each other’s calamities, as the punishment of your iniquities, which have made your land, city, temple, and families desolate, and yourselves miserable. Thus Ezekiel is a sign unto you — His actions foreshow you what your conditions shall be. The sacred writers, in several places, speak of themselves in the third person. And when this cometh, ye shall know that I am the Lord — Comparing the prediction with the event will convince the most obstinate that the immediate hand of God is in the judgments which are come upon you.


Verses 25-27

Ezekiel 24:25-27. Also thou son of man, shall it not be, &c. — This question is to be resolved affirmatively; it shall be: in the day when I take from them their strength — Their walls, fortifications, and defences, with all that is dear and valuable to them; the joy of their glory, the desire of their eyes — Their kingdom, city, and temple, the emblem of my special presence among them, and protection over them, whose beauty and magnificence were their peculiar glory, and the most grateful object of their sight; together with their sons and daughters, whereon they placed their affections; he that escapeth in that day — Namely, when the city shall be taken, and both it and the temple burned; shall come unto thee, to cause thee to hear it, &c. — To acquaint thee, that what thou didst prophesy is come to pass. See the fulfilling of this recorded Ezekiel 33:21-22. In that day shall thy mouth be opened to him that is escaped — This implied, that the prophet was to prophesy no more about the affairs of Jerusalem and Judah till after the destruction of the city and temple; when the fulfilling of this part of his predictions, so contrary to the expectations of those who despised his prophecies, would give him more credit with them, and make them pay a higher regard to what other things he should prophesy of. According to this we find, that the spirit of prophecy, in regard to the affairs of Judea, did not come on him again till the news of the taking of Jerusalem was brought to him. See Ezekiel 3:21-23.

 


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Bibliography Information
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Ezekiel 24:4". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/ezekiel-24.html. 1857.

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Friday, December 13th, 2019
the Second Week of Advent
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