Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
LAMENTATION OVER THE
REFORMATION OF A
2. An end, the end--The indefinite "an" expresses the general fact
of God bringing His long-suffering towards the whole of Judea to an end;
"the," following, marks it as more definitely fixed
4. thine abominations--the punishment of thine abominations.
shall be in the midst of thee--shall be manifest to all. They and
thou shall recognize the fact of thine abominations by thy punishment
which shall everywhere befall thee, and that manifestly.
5. An evil, an only evil--a peculiar calamity such as was never before;
unparalleled. The abruptness of the style and the repetitions express
the agitation of the prophet's mind in foreseeing these calamities.
6. watcheth for thee--rather, "waketh for thee." It awakes up from its
past slumber against thee
(Ps 78:65, 66).
7. The morning--so Chaldean and Syriac versions (compare
Ezekiel wishes to awaken them from their lethargy, whereby they were
promising to themselves an uninterrupted night
as if they were never to be called to account [CALVIN]. The expression, "morning," refers to the fact
that this was the usual time for magistrates giving sentence against
GESENIUS, less probably, translates, "the
order of fate"; thy turn to be punished.
not the sounding again--not an empty echo, such as is
produced by the reverberation of sounds in "the mountains," but
a real cry of tumult is coming [CALVIN]. Perhaps
it alludes to the joyous cries of the grape-gatherers at vintage on the
hills [GROTIUS], or of the idolaters in their
dances on their festivals in honor of their false gods [TIRINUS]. HAVERNICK translates, "no
8, 9. Repetition of
Eze 7:3, 4;
sadly expressive of accumulated woes by the monotonous sameness.
10. rod . . . blossomed, pride . . . budded--The "rod" is the
Chaldean Nebuchadnezzar, the instrument of God's vengeance
The rod sprouting (as the word ought to be translated), &c.,
implies that God does not move precipitately, but in successive steps.
He as it were has planted the ministers of His vengeance, and leaves
them to grow till all is ripe for executing His purpose. "Pride" refers
to the insolence of the Babylonian conqueror
(Jer 50:31, 32).
The parallelism ("pride" answering to "rod") opposes JEROME'S view, that "pride" refers to the Jews who
despised God's threats; (also CALVIN'S, "though
the rod grew in Chaldea, the root was with the Jews").
The "rod" cannot refer, as GROTIUS thought, to the
tribe of Judah, for it evidently refers to the "smiteth"
as the instrument of smiting.
11. Violence (that is, the violent foe) is risen up as
a rod of (that is, to punish the Jews') wickedness
theirs--their possessions, or all that belongs to them, whether
children or goods. GROTIUS
translates from a different Hebrew root,
"their nobles," literally, "their tumultuous trains" (Margin)
which usually escorted the nobles. Thus "nobles" will form a contrast to
the general "multitude."
neither . . . wailing--
(Jer 16:4-7; 25:33).
GESENIUS translates, "nor shall there be left any
beauty among them." English Version is supported by the
old Jewish interpreters. So general shall be the slaughter, none shall
be left to mourn the dead.
12. let not . . . buyer rejoice--because he has bought an estate at
a bargain price.
nor . . . seller mourn--because he has had to sell his land at a
sacrifice through poverty. The Chaldeans will be masters of the land,
so that neither shall the buyer have any good of his purchase, nor the
seller any loss; nor shall the latter
return to his inheritance at the jubilee year (see
Spiritually this holds good now, seeing that "the time is short"; "they
that rejoice should be as though they rejoiced not, and they that buy
as though they possessed not": Paul
seems to allude to Ezekiel here.
Jer 32:15, 37, 43,
seems to contradict Ezekiel here. But Ezekiel is speaking of the
parents, and of the present; Jeremiah, of the children, and of the
future. Jeremiah is addressing believers, that they should hope for a
restoration; Ezekiel, the reprobate, who were excluded from hope of
13. although they were yet alive--although they should live to the
year of jubilee.
multitude thereof--namely, of the Jews.
which shall not return--answering to "the seller shall not return";
not only he, but the whole multitude, shall not return.
"is" and "which": "the vision touching the whole multitude shall not
neither shall any strengthen himself in the iniquity of his life--No
hardening of one's self in iniquity will avail against God's threat of
translates, "no one by his iniquity shall
invigorate his life"; referring to the jubilee, which was regarded as a
revivification of the whole commonwealth, when, its disorders being
rectified, the body politic sprang up again into renewed life. That for
which God thus provided by the institution of the jubilee and which is
now to cease through the nation's iniquity, let none think to bring
about by his iniquity.
14. They have blown the trumpet--rather, "Blow the trumpet," or, "Let
them blow the trumpet" to collect soldiers as they will, "to make all
ready" for encountering the foe, it will be of no avail; none will have
the courage to go to the battle (compare
15. No security should anywhere be found
also at the Roman invasion
like doves--which, though usually frequenting the valleys, mount up
to the mountains when fearing the bird-catcher
So Israel, once dwelling in its peaceful valleys, shall flee from the
foe to the mountains, which, as being the scene of its idolatries, were
justly to be made the scene of its flight and shame. The plaintive note
of the dove
represents the mournful repentance of Israel hereafter
17. shall be weak as water--literally, "shall go (as) waters";
incapable of resistance
18. cover them--as a garment.
baldness--a sign of mourning
19. cast . . . silver in . . . streets--just retribution; they had
abused their silver and gold by converting them into idols, "the
stumbling-block of their iniquity"
(Eze 14:3, 4,
that is, an occasion of sinning); so these silver and gold idols, so
far from "being able to deliver them in the day of the Lord's wrath"
shall, in despair, be cast by them into the streets as a prey to the
foe, by whom they shall be "removed" (GROTIUS
translates as the Margin, "shall be despised as an
unclean thing"); or rather, as suits the parallelism, "shall be
put away from them" by the Jews [CALVIN].
"They (the silver and gold) shall not satisfy their souls," that is,
their cravings of appetite and other needs.
20. beauty of his ornament--the temple of Jehovah, the especial
glory of the Jews, as a bride glories in her ornaments (the very imagery
used by God as to the temple,
Eze 16:10, 11).
"My sanctuary, the excellency of your strength, the desire of your
images . . . therein--namely, in the temple
set it far from them--God had "set" the temple (their "beauty of
ornament") "for His majesty"; but they had set up "abominations
therein"; therefore God, in just retribution, "set it far from them,"
(that is, removed them far from it, or took it away from them
The Margin translates, "Made it unto them an
unclean thing" (compare Margin on
"removed"); what I designed for their glory they turned to their shame,
therefore I will make it turn to their ignominy and ruin.
21. strangers--barbarous and savage nations.
22. pollute my secret place--just retribution for the Jews' pollution
of the temple. "Robbers shall enter and defile" the holy of holies,
the place of God's manifested presence, entrance into which was denied
even to the Levites and priests and was permitted to the high priest
only once a year on the great day of atonement.
23. chain--symbol of the captivity (compare
As they enchained the land with violence, so shall they be chained
themselves. It was customary to lead away captives in a row with a
chain passed from the neck of one to the other. Therefore translate as
the Hebrew requires, "the chain," namely, that usually
employed on such occasions. CALVIN explains it,
that the Jews should be dragged, whether they would or no, before God's
tribunal to be tried as culprits in chains. The next words favor this:
"bloody crimes," rather, "judgment of bloods," that is, with
blood sheddings deserving the extreme judicial penalty. Compare
"Her judgment reacheth unto heaven."
24. worst of the heathen--literally, "wicked of the nations"; the
giving up of Israel to their power will convince the Jews that this is a
pomp of . . . strong--the pride wherewith men "stiff of forehead"
despise the prophet.
holy places--the sacred compartments of the temple
[CALVIN]. God calls it "their holy places,"
because they had so defiled it that He regarded it no longer as
His. However, as the defilement of the temple has already been
(Eze 7:20, 22),
and "their sacred places" are introduced as a new subject, it seems
better to understand this of the places dedicated to their
idols. As they defiled God's sanctuary, He will defile their
self-constituted "sacred places."
25. peace, and . . . none--
26. Mischief . . . upon . . . mischief--
This is said because the Jews were apt to fancy, at every abatement of
suffering, that their calamities were about to cease; but God will
accumulate woe on woe.
rumour--of the advance of the foe, and of his cruelty
seek a vision--to find some way of escape from their difficulties
So Zedekiah consulted Jeremiah
(Jer 37:17; 38:14).
law shall perish--fulfilled
(Eze 20:1, 3;
God will thus set aside the idle boast, "The law shall not perish from
ancients--the ecclesiastical rulers of the people.
27. people of the land--the general multitude, as distinguished from
the "king" and the "prince." The consternation shall pervade all ranks.
The king, whose duty it was to animate others and find a remedy for
existing evils, shall himself be in the utmost anxiety; a mark of the
desperate state of affairs.
clothed with desolation--Clothing is designed to keep off shame; but
in this case shame shall be the clothing.
after their way--because of their wicked ways.
deserts--literally, "judgments," that is, what just judgment awards
to them; used to imply the exact correspondence of God's judgment with
the judicial penalties they had incurred: they oppressed the poor and
deprived them of liberty; therefore they shall be oppressed and lose
their own liberty.