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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Ezekiel 22

 

 

Verse 1

Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,

Repetition of the charges in Ezekiel 20:1-49; only that there they were stated in an historical review of the past and present; here the present sins of the nation exclusively are brought forward.


Verse 2

Now, thou son of man, wilt thou judge, wilt thou judge the bloody city? yea, thou shalt shew her all her abominations.

Wilt thou judge, wilt thou judge the bloody city? See Ezekiel 20:4; Ezekiel 1:1-28 :e., 'Wilt thou not judge the bloody city?' (cf. Ezekiel 23:36).

The bloody city - lit, the city of bloods, so called on account of murders perpetrated in her, and sacrifices of children to Moloch (Ezekiel 22:3-4; Ezekiel 22:6; Ezekiel 22:9; Ezekiel 24:6; Ezekiel 24:9).


Verse 3

Then say thou, Thus saith the Lord GOD, The city sheddeth blood in the midst of it, that her time may come, and maketh idols against herself to defile herself.

The city sheddeth blood ... that her time may come. Instead of deriving advantage from her bloody sacrifices to idols, she only thereby brought on herself "the time" of her punishment.

Maketh idols against herself - (Proverbs 8:36).


Verse 4

Thou art become guilty in thy blood that thou hast shed; and hast defiled thyself in thine idols which thou hast made; and thou hast caused thy days to draw near, and art come even unto thy years: therefore have I made thee a reproach unto the heathen, and a mocking to all countries.

Thou hast caused thy days to draw near - the shorter period-namely, that of the siege.

And art come even unto thy years - the longer period of the captivity. The "days" and "years" express that she is ripe for punishment.


Verse 5

Those that be near, and those that be far from thee, shall mock thee, which art infamous and much vexed.

Those that be near, and those that be far from thee, shall mock thee, which art infamous and much vexed. They mockingly call thee, 'Thou polluted one in name (margin), and full of confusion' (referring to the tumultous violence prevalent in it.) The Hebrew for "much vexed" is literally 'great of confusion' [ rabat (Hebrew #7227) ham


Verse 6

Behold, the princes of Israel, every one were in thee to their power to shed blood. Behold, the princes of Israel, every one were in thee to their power to shed blood - rather, 'The princes ... each according to his power, were in thee to shed blood' (as if this only object of their existence).

Power - literally, arm: they, who ought to have been patterns of justice, made their own arm of might their only law.


Verse 7

In thee have they set light by father and mother: in the midst of thee have they dealt by oppression with the stranger: in thee have they vexed the fatherless and the widow.

In thee have they set light by father and mother - children have made light (disrespected) father and mother (Deuteronomy 27:16), to which passage allusion here is made. From Ezekiel 22:7 to Ezekiel 22:12 are enumerated the sins committed in violation of Moses' law.


Verse 8

Thou hast despised mine holy things, and hast profaned my sabbaths.

No JFB commentary on this verse.


Verse 9

In thee are men that carry tales to shed blood: and in thee they eat upon the mountains: in the midst of thee they commit lewdness.

In thee are men that carry to shed blood - informers, who by misrepresentations cause innocent blood to be shed (Leviticus 19:16); literally, 'One who goes to and fro as a merchant.'


Verse 10

In thee have they discovered their fathers' nakedness: in thee have they humbled her that was set apart for pollution.

In thee have they humbled her that was set apart for pollution - i:e., set apart as unclean (Leviticus 18:19).


Verse 11

And one hath committed abomination with his neighbour's wife; and another hath lewdly defiled his daughter in law; and another in thee hath humbled his sister, his father's daughter.

No JFB commentary on this verse.


Verse 12

In thee have they taken gifts to shed blood; thou hast taken usury and increase, and thou hast greedily gained of thy neighbours by extortion, and hast forgotten me, saith the Lord GOD.

And hast forgotten me - the root of all sin (Deuteronomy 32:18; Jeremiah 2:32; Jeremiah 3:21).


Verse 13

Behold, therefore I have smitten mine hand at thy dishonest gain which thou hast made, and at thy blood which hath been in the midst of thee.

I have smitten mine hand at thy dishonest gain - in token of the indigent vengeance which I will execute on thee (note, Ezekiel 21:17).


Verse 14

Can thine heart endure, or can thine hands be strong, in the days that I shall deal with thee? I the LORD have spoken it, and will do it.

Can thine heart endure, or ... thine hands be strong, in the days that I shall deal with thee? - (Ezekiel 21:7, "Every heart shall melt, and all hands shall be feeble").


Verse 15

And I will scatter thee among the heathen, and disperse thee in the countries, and will consume thy filthiness out of thee.

And will consume they filthiness out of thee - the object of God scattering the Jews.


Verse 16

And thou shalt take thine inheritance in thyself in the sight of the heathen, and thou shalt know that I am the LORD.

Thou shalt take thine inheritance in thyself - formerly thou wast mine inheritance, and I was thine inheritance (Jeremiah 10:16; Exodus 19:5); but now, full of guilt, thou art no longer mine, but thine own inheritance to thyself: I am no longer thine inheritance "in the sight of the pagan" - i:e., even they shall see that, now that thou hast become a captive, thou art no longer owned as mine (Vatablus). Fairbairn etc., take the Hebrew [ w


Verse 17

And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,

No JFB commentary on this verse.


Verse 18

Son of man, the house of Israel is to me become dross: all they are brass, and tin, and iron, and lead, in the midst of the furnace; they are even the dross of silver.

The house of Israel is to me become dross: all they are brass - Israel has become a worthless compound of the dross of silver (implying not merely corruption, but degeneracy from good to bad, Isaiah 1:22, especially offensive) and of the baser metals. Hence, the people must be thrown into the furnace of judgment, that the bad may be consumed and the good separated (Jeremiah 6:29-30).


Verses 19-22

Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD Because ye are all become dross, behold, therefore I will gather you into the midst of Jerusalem.

No JFB commentary on these verses.


Verse 23

And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,

From this verse to the end he shows the general corruption of all ranks.


Verse 24

Son of man, say unto her, Thou art the land that is not cleansed, nor rained upon in the day of indignation.

Thou art the land that is not cleansed - not cleared or cultivated; all a scene of desolation: a fit emblem of the moral wilderness state of the people.

Nor rained upon - a mark of divine "indignation;" as the early and latter rain, on which the productiveness of the land depended, was one of the great covenant blessings. Joel 2:23 promises the return of "the former and latter rain," with the restoration of God's favour.


Verse 25

There is a conspiracy of her prophets in the midst thereof, like a roaring lion ravening the prey; they have devoured souls; they have taken the treasure and precious things; they have made her many widows in the midst thereof.

There is a conspiracy - the false prophets have conspired both to propagate error and to oppose messages of God's servants. They are mentioned first, as their bad influence extended the widest.

Like a roaring lion ravening the prey. Their aim greed of gain, "treasure, and precious things " Hosea 6:9; Zephaniah 3:3-4; Matthew 23:14).

They have made her many windows - by occasioning, through false prophecies, the war with the Chaldeans, in which the husbands fell.


Verse 26

Her priests have violated my law, and have profaned mine holy things: they have put no difference between the holy and profane, neither have they shewed difference between the unclean and the clean, and have hid their eyes from my sabbaths, and I am profaned among them.

Her priests - whose "lips should have kept knowledge" (Malachi 2:7).

Violated my law - not simply transgressed, but have done violence to the law, by wresting it wrong ends, and putting wrong instructions on it.

They have put no difference between holy and profane ... - made no distinction twin the clan and unclean, the Sabbath and other days, sanctioning violations of that holy day (Leviticus 10:10). "Holy" means what is dedicated to God; "profane," what is in common use: "unclean," what is forbidden to be eaten; "clean" what is lawful to be eaten.

I am profaned among them - they abuse my name to false or unjust purposes.


Verse 27

Her princes in the midst thereof are like wolves ravening the prey, to shed blood, and to destroy souls, to get dishonest gain.

Her princes ... are like wolves ravening the prey - her princes, who should have employed the influence of their position for the people's welfare made "gain" their sole aim.

Wolves - notorious for fierce and ravening cruelty (Micah 3:2-3; Micah 3:9-11; John 10:12).


Verse 28

And her prophets have daubed them with untempered morter, seeing vanity, and divining lies unto them, saying, Thus saith the Lord GOD, when the LORD hath not spoken.

Her prophets have daubed them with untempered mortar, seeing vanity, and divining lies unto them - referring to the false assurances of peace with which the prophets flattered the people, that they should not submit to the King of Babylon (note, Ezekiel 13:10; Ezekiel 21:29; Jeremiah 6:14; Jeremiah 23:16-17; Jeremiah 28:9-10).


Verse 29

The people of the land have used oppression, and exercised robbery, and have vexed the poor and needy: yea, they have oppressed the stranger wrongfully.

The people of the land have used oppression - put last, after the mention of those in office. Corruption had spread downward through the whole community.

They have oppressed the stranger wrongfully - i:e., without cause, gratuitously, without the stranger-proselyte giving any just provocation; nay, he of all others being one who ought to have been won to the worship of Yahweh by kindness, instead of being alienated by oppression: especially as the Israelites were commanded to remember that they themselves had been "strangers in Egypt" (Exodus 22:21; Exodus 23:9).


Verse 30

And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none.

I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge - the wall (note, Ezekiel 13:5). Image for leading the people to repentance.

And stand in the gap before me for the land - "the gap," i:e., the breach (Psalms 106:23). Image for interceding between the people and God (as Abraham did, Genesis 20:7; and Moses, Exodus 32:11; and Aaron, who stood between the dead and the living, and the plague was stayed, Numbers 16:48).

I found none - (Jeremiah 5:1). Not that literally there was not a righteous man in the city, because Jeremiah, Baruch, etc., were still there; but Jeremiah had been forbidden to pray for the people (Jeremiah 11:14), as being doomed to wrath. None now of the godly, knowing the desperate state of the people, and God's purpose as to them, was willing longer to interpose between God's wrath and them. And none "among them" - i:e., among those just enumerated as guilty of such sins (Ezekiel 22:25-29) - was morally able for such an office.


Verse 31

Therefore have I poured out mine indignation upon them; I have consumed them with the fire of my wrath: their own way have I recompensed upon their heads, saith the Lord GOD.

Their own way have I recompensed upon their heads - (Ezekiel 9:10; Ezekiel 11:21; Ezekiel 16:43; Proverbs 1:31; Isaiah 3:11; Jeremiah 6:19).

Remarks:

(1) The prophet is directed to judge 'the city of bloods' for her abominations. She had promised profit to herself by her acts of violence; but she only brought the sooner upon herself "her time" of punishment; and in sinning against God she sinned "against herself," to her own awful ruin (Ezekiel 22:3), and "caused her days to draw near" when God made her "a reproach and mocking to all countries" (Ezekiel 22:4). They who think to gain by sin will find that they only lose by it the favour of God, and their own peace and happiness.

(2) A long and black catalogue of Jerusalem's iniquities is given. Her princes, whose power ought to have been exercised in maintaining justice, were foremost in making the "arm" of might their only law (Ezekiel 22:6). A leading sin in her was also that there were many who "set light by father and mother" (Ezekiel 22:7). Disrespect to parents saps the foundations of society and of religion by creating a self-willed spirit, impatient of all human authority, and therefore reckless of the law of God. It is to be a characteristic also of the last days, before Christ's coming to destroy Antichrist (2 Timothy 3:2), that men shall be "lovers of their own selves, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents" Oppression of the friendless and unprotected, as the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow (Ezekiel 22:7), is peculiarly displeasing to the God who "preserveth the strangers" (Psalms 146:9), and is the "Father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widows" (Psalms 68:5). By this sin-and by contempt of holy things, profanation of the Sabbath of the Lord (Ezekiel 22:8), talebearing to the hurt of others (Ezekiel 22:9), lewdness (Ezekiel 22:10-11), greed of gain and extortion-Judah provoked the wrath of God; and having given herself up to the dominion of lust, was rightly given up to be punished by that lust. The root of all her sins was, she had "forgotten" her God (Ezekiel 22:12). Let us when tempted by sin remember God, and then temptation will lose its power over us, and like Joseph we shall say, "How can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?" (Genesis 39:9.)

(3) Judah, when cast off by God, learned in her exile what an awful difference there is between having the Lord for her inheritance and "taking her inheritance in her self" (Ezekiel 22:16). No greater punishment can be inflicted on the guilty than that they should be given up to themselves and their own sin.

(4) Judgments often bring sinners to "know the Lord" (Ezekiel 22:16), when mercies fail to do so; even as the dispersion of the Jews among the Gentiles (Ezekiel 22:15) is the appointed means for consuming her filthiness out of her.

(5) Once the Israelite nation had been as gold and silver among the nations, but now it was become "dross," combined with the baser metals, "brass, tin, iron, and lead" (Ezekiel 22:18; Isaiah 1:22), Backsliders from the truth which they have once known are as refuse, fit for nothing, in God's eyes. It is much harder to bring to a right mind those who have degenerated from original good than those who have never known the way of God.

(6) The Jewish nation accordingly was to be thrown into the furnace, that the mass of dross might be destroyed, and the small remnant of the good be purified and separated from the transgressors. However painful the furnace of trial be to the godly, let them comfort themselves by the reflection that God designs it for their sanctification. But let sinners tremble, and flee at once from the wrath to come, because the coming fire which purifies the righteous will consume the ungodly.

(7) The land that is full of sin uncleansed, and that lacks the reviving influences of the Holy Spirit, is a moral wilderness, such as a land would be from which God in His "indignation" withheld the fertilizing rains (Ezekiel 22:24). Such was Judea: her prophets conspired together to "devour souls" for "prey" (Ezekiel 22:25), instead of being banded together for good; her priests, the interpreters of the law (Malachi 2:7), "violated the law," and "made no difference between the holy and the profane" (Ezekiel 22:26); and her princes, the administrators of justice, "got dishonest gain" (Ezekiel 22:27). Then, when judgments were about to descend on account of these crying national sins, the prophets, with lying divinations assured the people there would be peace; just as if one were to daub the tottering wall of a house (Psalms 62:3) with untempered mortar, and persuade its tenants that there was no danger (Ezekiel 22:28): while the people were equally tainted with the universal corruption, which spread downward from the upper classes and pervaded the whole community (Ezekiel 22:29). Let us all in our several positions exercise what influence we have on the side of good, not evil; for the mass of society is made up of individuals, and on the aggregate of influences for good which pervade it must depend the social and religious well-being of the whole.

(8) Such is the grace of God, that even still He would have gladly blessed the efforts of any godly man arising up among the doomed mass to lead the people to repentance, thereby "making up the hedge;" or any intercessor morally capable of praying for the people, thereby "standing in the gap be fore God for the land, that he should not destroy it" (Ezekiel 22:30): but none such was to be found. Nothing, therefore, remained but that He should "pour out His indignation upon them, and recompense their own way upon them" (Ezekiel 22:31). It is the worst sign of all for a nation or an individual when prayer ceases to be offered. So long as 'there is prayer there is spiritual life: where there is no prayer there is spiritual death. When people are so lost in sin that no godly man any longer intercedes for them, nothing but wrath is before them. Blessed be God, though we deserve wrath, we need never be without an effectual Advocate to stand in the gap before God for us; because though our sin has made a breach between God and us men, the God-man Christ Jesus has stood in the gap, and turned away all God's wrath so that God is now the reconciled Father of all who came unto Him by the Saviour.

 


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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Ezekiel 22:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/ezekiel-22.html. 1871-8.

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