Some would have the prophet here to be questioned, whether he would, and why he would, plead for such a city. Others, that God doth forbid him to plead for it, or be solicitous about it. I rather think God doth awake: him to more vigorous reproving of this sinful people, and threatening them for sin. The question is doubled to awaken the prophet more fully, and to quicken him to his work.
The bloody city; Jerusalem, which is guilty of the murders of innocent ones, of prophets and holy men.
Show her; make her know, at least tell her by writing; for the prophet was at Babylon now, and could not speak to then at Jerusalem, but he might and must send word to then what their abominations were.
All her abominations; all the kinds, not all individual acts of them.
The city, Jerusalem,
sheddeth, is shedding, blood; it is her present practice as well as her former, murders are committed by her, and it is said the city did it; it was done with public consent, and probably under pretext of judiciary process to colour it, as in Naboth’s case, and as they would have done to Jeremiah.
In the midst of it: this aggravates their murders, and makes them more bloody, in that it was done where so many were, that should have been safety to the innocent; it was not done in a wilderness.
Her time; the time of ripeness in her sins, and of execution of judgments on her for them.
May come: this they did not design, they rather took away innocents, whom they surmised were dangerous to their state, to prevent, but this hastened the punishment.
Maketh idols; either maketh new images of their old idols, or repaireth the decayed beauty of them Or, taketh in new gods of their neighbours, who might hell them; but all this is against themselves, for this doth more defile them, and provoke God to wrath against them.
Guilty in thy blood; greatly or deeply guilty.
Thou has shed, in abundance, cruelly and perfidiously.
Defiled thy self; as a polluted thing, loathsome to be seen or touched
Thine idols; dunghill gods.
Caused thy days to draw near; . hastened the days of thy sorrows and punishment, of the desolation in Judea, and of thy captivity in Babylon; thou hast shortened thine own peace and my patience.
Came even unto thy years; grown up now to the eldest years in sin, beyond which thou wert not to go: it is the same h effect with that went before.
Therefore; for thy old sin, thou art given up to be a reproach.
A reproach; to be scorned by them, to be branded as a most perfidious, irreligious, unconscionable sort of people, not worthy to live Or else to be a taunt and by-word among all nations; thus it was Psalms 44:13 Jeremiah 24:9.
To all countries that were round about them, or, farther off, had heard of them.
Those that be near; as the Idumeans or Edomites, who insulted over Jerusalem when it was taken, Ammonites, and Moabites, and Philistines.
Those that be far from thee; the barbarous Medes, Iberians, Hyrcanians, &c., to whom thou shalt be carried captive, whose land is far off.
Infamous; of a most infamous name.
Much vexed; afflicted, impoverished, and ruinated above what was ever done to any city.
He was in Ezekiel 23:2 commanded to show the Jews all their abominations. Now he is directed to begin with the greatest first, either those of the royal family, or else such as adhered close to the interest of them, and were advanced to places of great trust; or, who were heads of families.
Every one; not one to be found of a juster or more merciful temper.
To their power; according to their ability and opportunity.
To shed blood; for murdering all they hated, or that stood in their way.
In thee; in Jerusalem.
Have they: it is plural, and agrees with princes, they whose better disposition, whose education and greatness, (beside the command of God,) should have advanced their venerable thoughts and deportment towards parents.
Set light by, have contemned, father and mother, though God threatens to curse such as do so, Deuteronomy 27:16.
They; the princes still, as the construction in the original carrieth it.
By oppression; by force and fraud, for the oppression here mentioned is made up of both; where either the fox or lion could apart, or else both joined, they have oppressed the stranger, expressly against God’s command, Exodus 22:21.
They; still the same great men, and rulers, who should, as Isaiah 1:17, have defended, plead. ed for, relieved, and comforted the fatherless and widow, but contrariwise they oppress, disquiet, and make a prey of them.
Thou, all the land, or thou, O Jerusalem, or thou, O Zedekiah, the chief of the princes; or else, having spoken of them all in the plural, he now changeth number, and so speaks to each in particular.
Hast despised; hast had very low esteem of them, as if mean and ridiculous.
Mine holy things; all my institutions, temple sacrifices, feasts, and priests, &c.
Profaned my sabbaths; spent them in profane work, or bestowed them upon idols and their service.
Men that carry tales; informers and trepanners, or persons that, corrupted with money, give in false witness against the innocent; and the princes of Israel had hand in it.
They eat, offer sacrifice, on the mountains, and feast there, celebrating the honour of their idols: see Ezekiel 18:6,11,15.
Lewdness; enormous, contrived mischiefs, as the word imports.
Like wild Arabians, the worst of heathens, there have been and are some that incestuously defile their fathers’ bed.
Humbled; it seems to imply a force and violence offered to the persons, whether virgins or married, whom at unseasonable time they forced to satisfy their lusts: forbidden Leviticus 18:19 20:18, and that on very just reasons, and for preventing many mischiefs, which follow such unseasonable commixtures.
One, i.e. some, or the man of quality, state, and such as were of high degree, as the word is translated Psalms 62:9. Or what if it were translated as Ezekiel 22:6, every one; it was grown a most general vice, as Jeremiah 5:8.
Abomination with his neighbour’s wife; adultery, which God doth, and man should, abhor.
Another: horrible, shameless doings! the father-in-law committing incest with the wife’s daughter, and brothers defile their own sisters; all this against the light of nature, the law of civilized nations, and the law of God. And, if our conjecture be right, all this done in their lewd, idolatrous feasts kept to the honour of Tammuz, and in the very temple, or near to it. Compare this with Ezekiel 23:9, and with Ezekiel 8:14.
Judges, who should have saved, have sold the life of innocents; they who sat on God’s tribunal have acted the devil there, and murdered innocents, contrary to Exodus 23:8.
Taken usury: see Ezekiel 18:8. Greedily gained of thy neighbours; with unsatiable thirst of gain torn to pieces and devoured thy neighbour: so hast thou been an oppressing extortioner where thou shouldst not have been a moderate usurer, and thus forgottest thy God.
Behold; hear therefore, and mark, ye wicked Jews.
I have smitten mine hand, in testimony of my abhorrence of your ways, as threatening to punish you, and setting on the fierce Babylonian upon you to execute my just displeasure.
At thy dishonest gain; thy covetousness, the root of all the evils in thee; thy cursed, unsatiable hunger for wealth.
Thy blood, which thou didst shed, that thou mightest then seize their estates; kill Naboths, and take possession.
Can thine heart endure? this question is a vehement negation, thou canst by no means endure, withstand and repel the evils that are coming, or bear them when come. Will thy courage hold out, and conquer? Nay, it will be with thee as Ezekiel 21:7, your hearts shall melt.
Can thine hands be strong, to hold the sword, and manage the warlike provisions against Nebuchadnezzar and his army? Your hands shall be exceeding feeble, Ezekiel 21:7, your weapons fall out of your hands, your hearts first melting with fear.
The days; the times of long and multiplied sorrows, and furious indignation.
That I shall deal with thee; the Babylonians are but men, but I the Lord your God, whom you have provoked, am with them; they are my weapons of war and I strike by them, and thou shalt never be able to subsist under it. Flatter not thyself, the Lord will do it as he hath spoken it.
I will scatter thee, as the wind scatters chaff, among the heathen, the worst of the Babylonish vassals.
And disperse thee in the countries; doubled for certainty of the thing.
Consume thy filthiness out of thee: some take it for a threat by a fire, that shall consume the filthy sinners, and the filthy sins will cease; or else, that by removing them out of Jerusalem into captivity, and reducing them to a very low condition, they should not any more commit, but for ever loathe, their wickedness: some take it for a promise of purging mercy to better them, i.e. the remnant of them, when the rest are destroyed and wasted.
Whereas I was thine inheritance, and thou enjoyedst all riches, delight, safety, peace, and honour in me, so long as thou wert a holy, obedient people; now that you are polluted, a very sink of all filthiness, for which I have cast thee off, and sent thee into captivity, there be to thyself what thou canst be, for I will not be thine inheritance. And this forlorn, abject, helpless state shall be so visible, that the very heathen shall discern, and know, that you are rejected of your God, and he very just in doing so.
Not a few among many, but universally the whole house of Israel, the seed of him that was a prince with God, the covenant people of God, are strangely degenerate and corrupted, as if purer and richer metals should by worse and worse turn to dross.
All they, from the king to the peasant, the priests, and prophets, and people, are brass; impudent in sin;
and tin; hypocrites, and mixed as tin; and iron; hard, cruel, and oppressive as iron; and lead; stupid and senseless as lead. Though I rather think this particular accommodating these metals somewhat too curious, I judge the prophet chargeth them with a continued degeneracy from bad to worse, by this gradation.
In the midst of the furnace; the afflictions I have laid upon them have not bettered them, they retain their corruptions and vices. While they kept covenant, adhered to my law, kept my worship pure, and loved mercy, did justly, walked humbly with their God, they were as silver; now they are degenerated, and are but the
dross of silver, vile of price, and of little use.
Ye are all, from one end of the land to the other.
I will gather you; from all parts thereof I will by a secret overruling providence bring you together into Jerusalem, as into a furnace where you may he melted and consumed.
They; founders, who melt down metals to prove them.
Gather silver, & c.: if these different kinds of metals be to be gathered into one and the same furnace, it speaks the involving all promiscuously in the same afflictions; if it be meant as each distinct metal is tried by the fire in the furnace, but by fire proportioned to the stubbornness of the metal, then it bespeaks the future affliction shall be such as shall melt down the hardest of the degenerate idolaters and sinners.
To blow the fire; to raise the fierceness of the fire.
To melt it; till it be melted. So will I gather you: see Ezekiel 23:19.
In mine anger; in great but just displeasure, called fury too here, and elsewhere: such were the sins of this people, that they had kindled a fire against them which should surely consume them.
I will leave you there; or, I will sit down and rest me, as the founder, when he hath taken pains to gather in the metal, heaped up the wood, kindled fire, and blown it to its full height, rests himself, observing how the metal melts down: God will so rest himself; after the manner of man it is spoken; the like phrase Ezekiel 5:13 16:42, which see.
And melt you; he will take care the fire go not out till you are melted, either to the purging away, or consuming you with your dross.
These verses are an ingeminating of the same menaces, the more to affect the Jews with fear, and due apprehensions of their danger, and make them think of returning to God.
As silver is melted: this seems to intimate the Divine care over some few, that in the midst of the rest were precious, and God would purify, not destroy them.
Ye shall know; see, own, and submit to God’s afflicting hand, and comply with him, putting away your dross.
Have poured out my fury upon you, promiscuously with others, among which you have suffered the same outward troubles, though the end be different, which intimates the escape of a remnant.
Thou; the land of Israel.
Is not cleansed, nor rained upon; though God’s judgments have been as violent storms and floods, though they have been as hottest fires, yet neither thy filth hath been carried away, nor thy dross melted out of thee by them, still thou retainest both. Therefore is
indignation kindled against thee, and thou shalt be deprived of the dews of heaven, the rain that should cool thy thirsty land shall be withholden, that rain that should make the ground fruitful shall not descend.
A conspiracy; a contrivance, or framing among themselves a design, to speak all alike flattering, smooth words, and give out promises of peace and safety, when there was no peace; they would have the Jews believe in little time the vessels of the Lord’s house, and the Lord’s people in Babylon, should be brought back, as Jeremiah 28:1-4: and whereas Jeremiah faithfully told them that it would be no such thing, but that the rest of the vessels, and Zedekiah, and the people should be carried away into Babylon, they conspire against him, and such as he was, Jeremiah 20:2 26:8 29:25,26, and persecute them with one consent and mind.
Of her prophets; hers, not God’s prophets, the false prophets, such as Hananiah, Jeremiah 28:1,2.
In the midst thereof; of the land, but principally in Jerusalem, the metropolis, and residence of the court, where were such as loved to be flattered, and of whom flatterers might make gain.
Like a roaring lion, whom hunger enrageth, and maketh roar in most dreadful manner, as some observe of them, when they hunt their prey, and when they have seized and are tearing it; so did these false prophets with cruelty and fierceness pursue the true prophets, and such as believed their word, feared the judgments, and mourned for the sins of a self-ruining people.
They have devoured souls; have eat up, impoverished, and sucked dry, men that relieved and maintained them, the guise of all false prophets; or they have taken, in their complotting, and swallowed down whole the persons that disbelieved and opposed their lies.
Taken the treasure; they did not without reward tell their lies, nor would prophesy without a reward out of the treasures of those that advised with them; so they drained the people of their riches.
And precious things; either it is a further explication of what he had said, or possibly it may tell us, that where money was not to be had, these false prophets would demand something of value; and, if it were money’s worth, they were then for bartering the prophecies: so they gulled these sots.
Made her many widows; one while by raising persecutions, and cutting off husbands from their wives; another while, and which most agrees with the place, persuading, encouraging, and bewitching Zedekiah, and the princes, and people to hold out the war, and run all hazards and extremities of that siege, which filled Jerusalem with dead husbands and forlorn widows.
Her priests; God owns them not as his, they were priests that suited such a people.
Priests; men by office bound to reverence the law, to study it, and to preserve it from men’s corruptions.
Violated my law; wrested it to oppression and impiety, and to maintain errors, and made it speak what they would, not what it did.
Profaned; lightly esteemed, as if they had been but common things, and accordingly use them.
My holy things; sacrifices and oblations, which were consecrated to holy uses, should be offered with holy hearts and hands, and be eaten by holy persons in due time and place. All this neglected with profane spirits.
They have put no difference between the holy and profane: this and the following clause may be an exegesis, explication of the former, or else thus; Neither have they in their own practice differenced holy, and profane, nor in their teaching acquainted the people with the difference, nor in the exercise of their authority separated the profane from the holy, either persons or things, but with promiscuous intermixtures of every thing, and all persons have been alike to them, whether holy or profane, i.e. of common and ordinary use.
Neither have they showed difference; have not made the people know, so the word.
Between the unclean and the clean; things and persons, what things might be touched or eaten, or what might not, what persons might not be approached to and conversed with, and what might; all which was the duty of the priests, the neglect whereof spread the uncleanness of the Jews over the whole land.
Hid their eyes; despised, and would not see the holiness of the sabbaths, nor would look on such as observed them aright to encourage them, or on those that profaned them to reprove them; so they did not see what they would not see.
From my sabbaths; though they are expressly commanded to be kept holy, and with great care and exactness, Isaiah 58:13 Jeremiah 17:21,22; though the portion of time I consecrated to my service, they sacrilegiously direct to other uses, and grudge it me, nay, rob me of it.
I am profaned; contemned, dishonoured, disobeyed, and all my laws represented as trivial and light things.
Her princes, as before, Ezekiel 22:25,26. Princes; rulers of all sorts, who should have crushed oppressors and defended the oppressed. Wolves; creatures greedy, bloody, and crafty, resembling dogs that men make use of to defend their folds; so the authority which God had given to defend is by these hypocrites perverted to satisfy the bloody and greedy appetite of tyrannical governors among the Jews: possibly the prophet may tax the degeneracy and baseness of these rulers hereby. Shed blood; innocent blood; a crying sin in princes, who have God’s power committed to them to preserve the innocent.
Destroy souls; undo and ruin families, cutting off the fathers, and impoverishing the widow and fatherless.
Get dishonest gain; confiscating estates not forfeited.
Prophets; false prophets.
Have daubed them; flattered their oppressing bloody princes in their ways of sin and violence.
With untempered mortar; with promises and encouragements that, like ill tempered mortar, will deceive them, though all seems for the present smooth and safe. Divining lies; pretending they had by vision from God all the good they promised, whereas it was all a notorious lie and falsehood. God never spake to those prophets, and what by his own prophets he spake was of quite another tenure, it was evil, not good.
The people of the land, the common people, have used oppression; greatly, continuedly, and cruelly oppressed one another, wronged each other by frauds and violence.
Exercised robbery; on every occasion turned downright thieves and robbers.
Have vexed, by these oppressions, the poor and needy: see Ezekiel 18:7.
Wrongfully; without any colour of justice, reason, or so much as hearing him, as the phrase seems to import.
I sought, very earnestly and diligently; spoken of God after the manner of man.
A man; any one.
Amongst them; among princes, prophets, priests, or people.
That should make up the hedge; to repair the breach, and prevent further mischief.
Stand in the gap; that might interpose between a sinful, suffering people and their offended God, and entreat for mercy, that the land might not be destroyed.
But I found none; all were corrupted, not one but obstinately went on to sin and provoke me.
Therefore, thus provoked by all,
have I poured out mine indignation, as a flood to sweep them away. I have consumed them; kindled a fire against them, that will destroy them.
Their own way, sinful abominable ways,
have I recompensed upon their heads; brought these as a net on them, when as wild beasts taken in the pit to be destroyed.
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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Ezekiel 22". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://pro.studylight.org/
the First Week of Advent