Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
VISION OF THE
CALDRON, AND OF THE
1, 2. Ezekiel proves his divine mission by announcing the very day,
("this same day") of the beginning of the investment of the city by
Nebuchadnezzar; "the ninth year," namely, of Jehoiachin's captivity,
"the tenth day of the tenth month"; though he was three hundred miles
away from Jerusalem among the captives at the Chebar
2. set himself--laid siege; "lay against."
3. pot--caldron. Alluding to the self-confident proverb used among
"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
4. pieces thereof--those which properly belong to it, as its
every good piece . . . choice bones--that is, the most
distinguished of the people. The "choice bones" in the pot have
flesh adhering to them. The bones under the pot
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.
5. burn . . . bones--rather, "pile the bones." Literally, "Let
there be a round pile of the bones."
therein--literally, "in the midst of it."
6. scum--not ordinary, but poisonous scum, that is, the people's
bring it out piece by piece--"it," the contents of the pot; its flesh,
that is, "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 upon it--that is, no lot, such as is sometimes cast,
to decide who are to be destroyed and who saved
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.
7. upon the top of a rock--or, "the dry, bare, exposed rock," so as
to be conspicuous to all. Blood poured on a rock is not so soon absorbed
as blood poured on the earth. The law ordered the blood even of a beast
or fowl to be "covered with the dust"
but Jerusalem was so shameless as to be at no pains to cover up the
blood of innocent men slain in her. Blood, as the consummation
of all sin, presupposes every other form of guilt.
8. That it might cause--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 cries to heaven for vengeance
(Ge 4:10, 11);
much more blood shamelessly exposed on the bare rock.
set her blood--She shall be paid back in kind
She openly shed blood, and her blood shall openly be shed.
9. the pile for fire--the hostile materials for the city's destruction.
10. spice it well--that the meat may be the more palatable, that is,
I will make the foe delight in its destruction as much as one delights
in well-seasoned, savory meat. GROTIUS, needlessly departing from the
obvious sense, translates, "Let it be boiled down to a compound."
11. set it empty . . . that . . . brass . . . may burn, . . . that
. . . scum . . . 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, that is, the city itself must be destroyed, not
merely the inhabitants, just as the very house infected with leprosy was
to be destroyed
12. herself--rather, "she hath wearied Me out with lies"; or
rather, "with vain labors" on My part to purify her without being
obliged to have recourse to judgments (compare
[MAURER]. However, English Version gives a
good sense (compare
Isa 47:13; 57:10).
13. lewdness--determined, deliberate wickedness; from a Hebrew root, "to purpose."
I have purged thee--that is, I have left nothing untried which would
tend towards purging thee, by sending prophets to invite thee to
repentance, by giving thee the law with all its promises, privileges,
thou shalt not be purged . . . any more--that is, by My gracious
interpositions; thou shalt be left to thine own course to take its fatal
14. go back--desist; relax [FAIRBAIRN].
15. Second part of the vision; announcement of the death of Ezekiel's
wife, and prohibition of the usual signs of mourning.
16. desire of . . . eyes--his wife: representing the
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 is manifested in
the simple statement
"So I spake . . . in the morning; and at even my wife died;
and I did in the morning as I was commanded."
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.
17. Forbear to cry--or, "Lament in silence"; not forbidding sorrow,
but the loud expression of it [GROTIUS].
no mourning--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
tire of thine head--thy headdress [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
The reason was, the priests had their headdress 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 headdress. But the priests might do so in the case of
the death of the nearest relatives
(Le 21:2, 3, 10).
They then put on inferior attire, sprinkling also on their heads dust
and ashes (compare
Le 10:6, 7).
shoes upon thy feet--whereas mourners went "barefoot"
cover not . . . lips--rather, the "upper lip," with the moustache
bread of men--the bread usually brought to mourners by friends in
token of sympathy. So the "cup of consolation" brought
"Of men" means such as is usually furnished by men. So
"a man's pen";
"the measure of a man."
19. what these things are to us--The people perceive that Ezekiel's
strange conduct has a symbolical meaning as to themselves; they ask,
"What is that meaning?"
21. excellency of your strength--(compare
The object of your pride and confidence
(Jer 7:4, 10, 14).
desire of . . . eyes--
The antitype to Ezekiel's wife
pitieth--loveth, as pity is akin to love: "yearned over."
Profane--an appropriate word. They had profaned the temple with
idolatry; God, in just retribution, will profane it with the Chaldean
sword, that is, lay it in the dust, as Ezekiel's wife.
sons . . . daughters . . . left--the children left behind in Judea,
when the parents were carried away.
(Jer 16:6, 7).
So general shall be the calamity, that all ordinary usages of mourning
shall be suspended.
23. ye shall not mourn . . . but . . . pine away for your iniquities--The Jews' not mourning was to be not the result of insensibility, any
more 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 (compare
The fullest fulfilment is still future
24. sign--a typical representative in his own person of what was to
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"
When the prophecy is fulfilled, "ye shall know (to your cost) that I am
the Lord," who thereby show My power and fulfil My word spoken by My
(Joh 13:19; 14:29).
25, 26. "The day" referred to in these verses is the day of the
overthrow of the temple, when the fugitive "escapes." But "that day," in
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. Afterwards his mouth was "opened," and
no more "dumb"
(Eze 3:26, 27;
Eze 24:27; 33:21, 22).