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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Ezekiel 25



Verse 1

The word of the LORD came again unto me, saying,

If Israel was not spared, much less the pagan, utterly corrupt, and having no mixture of truth, such as Israel in its worst state possessed (1 Peter 4:17-18). Their ruin was to be utter: Israel's but temporary (Jeremiah 46:28). The nations denounced are seven, the perfect number; implying that God's judgments would visit, not merely these. but the whole round of the pagan foes of God. Babylon is excepted, because she is now for the present viewed as the rod of God's retributive justice, a view too much then lost sight of by those who fretted against her universal supremacy.

Verse 2

Son of man, set thy face against the Ammonites, and prophesy against them;

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 3

And say unto the Ammonites, Hear the word of the Lord GOD Thus saith the Lord GOD Because thou saidst, Aha, against my sanctuary, when it was profaned; and against the land of Israel, when it was desolate; and against the house of Judah, when they went into captivity;

Say unto the Ammonites ... Because thou saidst, Aha, against my sanctuary. Ammon had hid hold of the land of Gad when the ten tribes of Israel were carried away into Assyria (Jeremiah 49:1).

When it was profaned; and against the land of Israel, when it was desolate; and against the house of Judah, when they went into captivity - rather, 'for it was profaned, because it was desolate, for they went into captivity:' expressing the cause of the insolent exultation of Ammon over Jerusalem. They triumphed especially over the fall of the "sanctuary," as the triumph of paganism over the rival claims of Yahweh. In Jehoshaphat's time, when Psalms 83:1-18 was written, we see the same profane spirit (Psalms 83:4; Psalms 83:7-8; Psalms 83:12, "Ammon' and "Assur also is joined with them: they have hoopes the children of Lot," who were, therefore, the leaders of the unholy conspiracy for seizing on the vacated possessions of Israel: "Let us take to ourselves the houses of God in possession"). Now at last their wicked wish seems accomplished in the fall of Jerusalem. Ammon, descended from Lot, held the region east of Jordan, separated from the Amorites on the north by the river Jabbok, and from Moab on the south by the Arnon. They were auxiliaries to Babylon in the destruction of Judah, in the reign of Jehoiakim (2 Kings 24:2).

Verse 4

Behold, therefore I will deliver thee to the men of the east for a possession, and they shall set their palaces in thee, and make their dwellings in thee: they shall eat thy fruit, and they shall drink thy milk.

Behold, therefore I will deliver thee to the men of the east - literally, children of the east, the nomad tribes of Arabia Deserta, east of the Jordan and the Dead Sea.

They shall set their palaces in thee - their nomadic encampments or folds, surrounded with mud walls, are so called in irony. Where thy "palaces" once stood, there shall their very different "palaces" stand. Fulfilled after the ravaging of their region by Nebuchadnezzar shortly after the destruction of Jerusalem (cf. Ezekiel 21:22; Jeremiah 49:1-28).

I will make Rabbah a stable for camels - "Rabbah" meaning the Great Ammon's metropolis. Under the Ptolemies it was rebuilt under the name Philadelphia: the ruins are called Ammon now, but there is no dwelling inhabited.

And the Ammonites a couching place for flocks - i:e., the Ammonite region is to be a "couching place for flocks," namely, of the Arabs. The "camels," being the chief beast of burden of the Chaldeans, is put first, as their invasion was to prepare the Ammonite land for the Arab "flocks." Instead of busy men, there shall be 'still and couching flocks.'

Verse 5

And I will make Rabbah a stable for camels, and the Ammonites a couchingplace for flocks: and ye shall know that I am the LORD.

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 6-7

For thus saith the Lord GOD Because thou hast clapped thine hands, and stamped with the feet, and rejoiced in heart with all thy despite against the land of Israel;

Because thou hast clapped thine hands ... Behold, therefore I will stretch out mine hand upon thee - "Because thou hast clapped thine hands," exulting over the downfall of Jerusalem, "I (also) will stretch out mine hand upon thee," to cause thy downfall (to which Ezekiel 21:17 also may refer, "I will smite mine hands together").

Hands, and stamped with the feet, and rejoiced in heart - with the whole inward feeling, and with every outward indication. Stamping with the foot means dancing for joy.

Verse 7. And will deliver thee for a spoil - so Hebrew [ baz (Hebrew #957)] margin, or Qeri', for the text, or Kethibh [ bag (Hebrew #897)], 'meat' (so Ezekiel 26:5; Ezekiel 34:28).

I will cut thee off from the people ... I will destroy thee. Their goods were to be a "spoil to the foe," their state was to be "cut off," so as to be no more a "people" numbered among "the countries;" and they were, as individuals, for the most part, to be "destroyed."

Verse 8

Thus saith the Lord GOD Because that Moab and Seir do say, Behold, the house of Judah is like unto all the heathen;

Because that Moab and Seir do say. Moab, Seir, and Ammon were contiguous countries, stretching in one line from Gilead on the north to the Red Sea. They therefore naturally acted in concert, and in joint hostility to Judea.

Judah is like unto all the heathen. The Jews fare no better than others: it is of no use to them to serve Yahweh, who, they say, is the only true God.

Verse 9-10

Therefore, behold, I will open the side of Moab from the cities, from his cities which are on his frontiers, the glory of the country, Beth-jeshimoth, Baalmeon, and Kiriathaim,

Therefore, behold, I will open the side of Moab from the cities ... Unto the men of the east. I will open up the side or border of Moab (metaphor from a man whose side is open to blows) from the direction of the cities on his northwest border beyond the Arnon, once assigned to Reuben (Joshua 13:15-21), but now in the hands of their original owners: and the "men of the east," the wandering Bedouin hordes, shall enter through these cities into Moab, and waste it. Moab accordingly was so wasted by them, that long before the time of Christ it had melted away among the hordes of the desert. For "cities," Grotius translates the Hebrew as proper names, the Ar and Aroer, on the Arnon. Hence, the Hebrew for cities, "Ar," is repeated twice, 'from the cities, from his cities' [ meehe`aariym (Hebrew #5892) mee`aaraayw (Hebrew #5892)], (Numbers 21:28; Deuteronomy 2:36; Isaiah 15:1, "Ar of Moab"). The glory of the country. The region of Moab was richer than that of Ammon: it answers to the modern Belka, the richest district in Southern Syria, and the scene, in consequence, of many a contest among the Bedouins. Hence, it is called here a glorious land-literally, a glory, or ornament of a land (Fairbairn). Rather, "the glory of the country" is in apposition with "cities," which immediately precede, and the names of which presently follow, "Beth-jeshimoth," etc.

Beth-jeshimoth - meaning 'the city of desolations;' perhaps so named from some siege it sustained; it was toward the west.

Baal-meon - called also Bethmeon (Jer. ), and Beth-baal-meon (Joshua 13:17, called so from the worship of Baal), and Bajith simply (Isaiah 15:2).

Kirtathaim - the double city. The strength of these cities engendered "the pride of Moab" (Isaiah 16:6).

Verse 10. Unto the men of the east with the Ammonites. Fairbairn explains, and translates, 'upon the children of Ammon' (elliptically for 'I will open Moab to the men of the East, who, having overrun the children of Ammon, shall then fall on Moab'). Maurer, as the English version, "with the Ammonites" - i:e., Moab, 'together with the land of Ammon,' is to be thrown open to "the men of the East," to enter and take possession (Jeremiah 49:1-39).

Verse 11

And I will execute judgments upon Moab; and they shall know that I am the LORD.

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 12

Thus saith the Lord GOD Because that Edom hath dealt against the house of Judah by taking vengeance, and hath greatly offended, and revenged himself upon them;

Because that Edom hath dealt against the house of Judah by taking vengeance - literally, revenging with revengement - i:e., by taking the most unrelenting vengeance. It was not simple hatred, but deep, brooding, implacable revenge. The grudge of Edom or Esau was originally for Jacob's robbing him of Isaac's blessing (Genesis 25:23; Genesis 27:27-41). This purpose of revenge yielded to the extraordinary kindness of Jacob, through the blessing of Him with whom Jacob wrestled in prayer; but it was revived as an hereditary grudge in the posterity of Esau, when they saw the younger branch rising to the preeminence which they thought of right belonged to themselves. More recently this bitter grudge was cherished on account of David's subjugation of Edom to Israel (2 Samuel 8:14). They therefore gave vent to their spite by joining the Chaldeans in destroying Jerusalem (Psalms 137:7; Lamentations 4:22), and then intercepting and killing the fugitive Jews (Amos 1:11), and occupying part of the Jewish land as far as to Hebron (Obadiah 1:10-14).

Verse 13

Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD I will also stretch out mine hand upon Edom, and will cut off man and beast from it; and I will make it desolate from Teman; and they of Dedan shall fall by the sword.

I will make it desolate from Teman; and they of Dedan shall fall by the sword - rather, 'I will make it desolate from Teman (in the south) even to Dedan, (in the northwest); they shall fall by the sword' (Grotius; Jeremiah 49:8) - i:e., the whole country from north to south, stretching from the south of the Dead Sea to the Elanitic Gulf of the Red Sea. Margin, 'they shall fall by the sword unto Dedan.'

Verse 14

And I will lay my vengeance upon Edom by the hand of my people Israel: and they shall do in Edom according to mine anger and according to my fury; and they shall know my vengeance, saith the Lord GOD.

I will lay my vengeance upon Edom by the hand of my people Israel - namely, by Judas Maccabeus. The Idumeans were finally, by compulsory circumcision, incorporated with the Jewish state by John Hyrcanus (see Isaiah 34:5; Isaiah 63:1, etc.; 1 Maccabees 5:3). So complete was the amalgamation in Christ's time that the Herods of Idumean origin, as Jews, ruled over the two races as one people. Thus the ancient prophecy was fulfilled (Genesis 25:23, "The older shall serve the younger").

Verse 15

Thus saith the Lord GOD Because the Philistines have dealt by revenge, and have taken vengeance with a despiteful heart, to destroy it for the old hatred;

Because the Philistines have dealt by revenge ... to destroy it for the old hatred - (1 Samuel 13:17; 1 Samuel 14:1-52; 2 Chronicles 28:18, in Ahaz' reign, "The Philistines ... had invaded the cities ... of the south of Judah, and had taken Beth-shemesh, and Ajalon," etc.) The "old hatred" refers to their continual enmity to the covenant-people. They lay along Judea on the sea coast, at the opposite side from Ammon and Moab. They were overthrown by Uzziah (2 Chronicles 26:6), and by Hezekiah (2 Kings 18:8). Nebuchadnezzar overran the cities on the sea coast on his way to Egypt, after besieging Tyre, (Jeremiah 47:1-7) God will take vengeance on those who take the avenging of themselves out of His hands into their own (Romans 12:19-21; James 2:13).

Verse 16

Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD Behold, I will stretch out mine hand upon the Philistines, and I will cut off the Cherethims, and destroy the remnant of the sea coast.

I will cut off the Cherethims. There is a play on similar sounds in the Hebrew, 'Hichratti Cherethim,' I will slay the slayers. The name may have been given to a section of the Philistines, from their warlike disposition (1 Samuel 30:14). They excelled in archery, whence David enrolled a bodyguard from them (2 Samuel 8:18; 2 Samuel 15:18; 2 Samuel 20:7). They sprang from Caphtor, identified by many with Crete, which was famed for archery, and to which the name Cherethim seems akin. Though in emigration, which mostly tended westwards, Crete seems more likely to be colonized from Philistia than Philistia from Crete, a section of Cretans may have settled at Cherethim in south Philistia, while the Philistines, as a nation, may have come originally from the east (cf. Deuteronomy 2:23; Jeremiah 47:4; Amos 9:7; Zephaniah 2:5, "Woe unto the inhabitants of the sea coasts, the nation of the Cherethites"). In Genesis 10:14 the Philistines are made distinct from the Caphtorim, and are said to come from the Casluhim; so that the Cherethim were but a part of the Philistines, which 1 Samuel 30:14 confirms.

And destroy the remnant of the sea coast - i:e., 'on the sea coast' of the Mediterranean; those left remaining after the former overthrows inflicted by Samuel, David, Hezekiah, and Psammetichus of Egypt, father of Pharaoh-necho (Jeremiah 25:20).

Verse 17

And I will execute great vengeance upon them with furious rebukes; and they shall know that I am the LORD, when I shall lay my vengeance upon them.

They shall know that I am the Lord, when I shall lay my vengeance upon them - they shall know me, not in mercy, but by my vengeance on them (Psalms 9:16).


(1) The triumphing of the wicked over the people of God is but short. If God spared not the elect nation Israel, He was sure not to suffer the Ammonites to escape with impunity, because they were in many respects no less guilty than Israel, and they added to their guilt by the grievous sin of insolently exulting, not merely over the land of Israel and the house of Judah in their distress, but also over the downfall of the Lord's own sanctuary, as if this were tantamount to the triumph of paganism over the worship of Yahweh. Let not the carnal and worldly exult prematurely when God chastises His people for sin; because if these suffer for a time, the day is coming to those also, when not merely for a time, but forever, they shall suffer for their hatred against the people, the house, and the cause of the Lord. (2) Pride and the spirit of revenge are characteristics of the unrenewed man, and are especially hateful to God, and provoke His wrath (Ezekiel 25:6). The retribution on Ammon was to correspond to the offe nse. As she had clapped her hands with joy at the downfall of Jerusalem, so God would stretch out His hand to cause her own downfall. As she had taken the land and houses of God in possession (Psalms 83:4-12), so she was herself to be made a possession to the marauding "men of the east" (Ezekiel 25:4), and "a spoil to the pagan" (Ezekiel 25:7). Yahweh is especially indignant at any injury done to His people, and vindicates their cause as His own.

(3) The taunt of Moab and Seir against Judah was, "Behold, the house of Judah is like unto all the pagan" (Ezekiel 25:8); that is to say, The Jews-who boasted of the advantage which their worship of Yahweh gave them over the Gentiles around-after all fare no better than they. What use, then, is there in serving Yahweh, whom they falsely asserted to be the only true God? This taunt it was which, in particular, provoked the jealousy of God for His own honour. Moab was therefore, by the judgment of God, given up for a possession to her enemies, who entered in through her opened-out frontier (Ezekiel 25:9-10). She has long ceased to be "remembered among the nations" (Ezekiel 25:10), while Israel is still preserved, awaiting the day of her glorious restoration, when her name shall be had in everlasting remembrance, and all the nations shall know that her God is the Lord (Ezekiel 25:11).

(4) Edom also greatly offended by taking vengeance against the house of Judah; therefore the vengeance of God was doomed to fall on herself, and that, too, "by the hand of the Lord's people Israel," under the Maccabees, in order that it might be plainly discerned that the judgment on her was not fortuitous, but was the act of the Lord's judicial vengeance (Ezekiel 25:14). They who take vengeance out of God's hands into their own must expect that the vengeance of the Lord shall fall on themselves. By treasuring up "old hatred," and cherishing spite in the heart, and watching for opportunities to wreak it, as did the Philistines against Israel, men only treasure up for themselves wrath against the day of wrath. Let us rather overcom e evil with good, as becomes the followers of Him who so loved His enemies that He died in order that they might live. Let us, when wronged, leave our cause in the hands of God the righteous Judge; and, meanwhile, let us love our enemies, bless them that curse us, do good to them that hate us, and pray for them that despitefully use us, and persecute us (Matthew 5:44).


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Bibliography Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Ezekiel 25:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". 1871-8.

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