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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Ezekiel 28

 

 

Verse 1

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

No JFB commentary on this verse.


Verse 2

Son of man, say unto the prince of Tyrus, Thus saith the Lord GOD Because thine heart is lifted up, and thou hast said, I am a God, I sit in the seat of God, in the midst of the seas; yet thou art a man, and not God, though thou set thine heart as the heart of God:

Because ... Repeated resumptively in Ezekiel 28:6; the apodosis begins at Ezekiel 28:7, "Because thine heart is lifted up, and thou hast said, I am a god" - "Because thou hast set thine heart as the heart of God" - "Behold, therefore I will bring strangers upon thee." "The prince of Tyrus" at the time was Ithobal, or Ithbaal II., the name implying his close connection with Baal, the Phoenician supreme god, whose representative he was.

I am a god, I sit in the seat of God, in the midst of the seas. As God sits enthroned in His heavenly citadel exempt from all injury, so I sit secure in my impregnable stronghold amidst the stormiest elements, able to control them at will, and make them subserve my interests. The language, though primarily here applied to the King of Tyre, as similar language is to the King of Babylon (Isaiah 14:13-14), yet has an ulterior and fuller accomplishment in Satan and his embodiment in Antichrist (Daniel 7:25; Daniel 11:36-37; 2 Thessalonians 2:4, "Who (the man of sin, the son of perdition) opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God;" Revelation 13:6, The beast out of the sea "opened his mouth in blasphemy against God"). This feeling of superhuman elevation in the King of Tyre was fostered by the fact that the island on which Tyre stood was called 'the holy island' (according to Sanconiathon), being sacred to Hercules; so much so that the colonies looked up to Tyre as the mother-city of their religion as well as of their political existence. The Hebrew here for "God" is 'Eel (Hebrew #410), i:e., the Mighty One; a term appropriately used here, as it was God's superhuman might and supremacy that the King of Tyre arrogated to himself.

Yet thou art a man, and not God - keen irony.

Though thou set thine heart as the heart of God - though thou thinkest of thyself as if thou wert God.


Verse 3

Behold, thou art wiser than Daniel; there is no secret that they can hide from thee:

Behold, thou art wiser than Daniel. Ezekiel ironically alludes to Ithbaal's overweening opinion of the wisdom of himself and the Tyrians, as though superior to that of Daniel, whose fame had reached even Tyre as eclipsing the Chaldean sages (Daniel 2:46-48). "Thou art wiser," namely, in thy own opinion (Zechariah 9:2).

There is no secret that they can hide from thee - "no secret," namely, for getting riches (Ezekiel 28:4).

That they can hide - i:e., that can be hidden.


Verse 4

With thy wisdom and with thine understanding thou hast gotten thee riches, and hast gotten gold and silver into thy treasures:

No JFB commentary on this verse.


Verse 5

By thy great wisdom and by thy traffick hast thou increased thy riches, and thine heart is lifted up because of thy riches:

By thy great wisdom ... hast thou increased thy riches, and thine heart is lifted up because of thy riches - (Psalms 62:10, "If riches increase, set not your heart upon them").


Verse 6

Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD Because thou hast set thine heart as the heart of God;

Because thou hast set thine heart as the heart of God. Resumptive of Ezekiel 28:2.


Verse 7

Behold, therefore I will bring strangers upon thee, the terrible of the nations: and they shall draw their swords against the beauty of thy wisdom, and they shall defile thy brightness.

Therefore - apodosis or consequent member of the sentence; the protasis or antecedent member is in Ezekiel 28:2; Ezekiel 28:6.

I will bring strangers upon thee, the terrible of the nations - the Chaldean foreigners, noted for their ferocity (Ezekiel 30:11; Ezekiel 31:12).

They shall draw their swords against the beauty of thy wisdom - i:e., against thy beautiful possessions, acquired by thy wisdom, on which thou so pridest thyself (Ezekiel 28:3-5).

They shall defile thy brightness - i:e., obscure the brightness of thy kingdom.


Verse 8

They shall bring thee down to the pit, and thou shalt die the deaths of them that are slain in the midst of the seas.

They shall bring thee down to the pit - i:e., the bottom of the sea; the image being that of one conquered in a sea-fight.

And thou shalt die the deaths - plural, as various kinds of deaths are meant (Jeremiah 16:4).

Of them that are slain in the midst of the seas - literally, pierced through. Such deaths as those pierced with many wounds die.


Verse 9

Wilt thou yet say before him that slayeth thee, I am God? but thou shalt be a man, and no God, in the hand of him that slayeth thee.

Wilt thou yet say before him that slayeth thee, I am God? - i:e., wilt thou still say; referring to Ezekiel 28:2, "thou hast said, I am a god."

But thou shalt be a man, and no god, in the hand of him that slayeth thee - but thy blasphemous boastings shall be falsified, and thou shalt be shown to be but man, and not God, in the hand (at the mercy) of Him that slayeth thee.


Verse 10

Thou shalt die the deaths of the uncircumcised by the hand of strangers: for I have spoken it, saith the Lord GOD.

Thou shalt die the deaths of the uncircumcised - i:e., such a death as the uncircumcised or godless pagan deserve, and perhaps, also, such as the uncircumcised inflict; a great ignominy in the eyes of a Jew, to avoid which, therefore, Saul slew himself when he had been wounded by the Philistines, "lest these uncircumcised come and thrust me through, and abuse me" (1 Samuel 31:4): a fit retribution on him who had scoffed at the circumcised Jews.


Verse 11

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

No JFB commentary on this verse.


Verse 12

Son of man, take up a lamentation upon the king of Tyrus, and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord GOD Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty.

Thou sealest up the sum - literally, 'Thou art the one sealing the sum of perfection.' A thing is sealed when completed (Daniel 9:24). "The sum" [ taakniyt (Hebrew #8508)] implies the full measure of beauty, from a Hebrew root, 'to weigh' or 'measure' [ taakan (Hebrew #8505)]. The normal man-one formed after accurate rule.


Verse 13

Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created.

Thou hast been in Eden. The King of Tyre is represented in his former high state (contrasted with his subsequent downfall), under images drawn from the primeval man in Eden, the type of humanity in its most God-like form.

The garden of God - the model of ideal loveliness (Ezekiel 31:8-9; Ezekiel 36:35). In the person of the King of Tyre a new trial, as it were, was made of humanity with the greatest earthly advantages; but, as in the case of Adam, the good gifts of God were only turned into ministers to pride and self.

Every precious stone was thy covering - so Havilah, connected with Eden by the river Pison, contained (Genesis 2:12) "gold, bdellium, and the onyx stone." So the King of Tyre was arrayed in jewel-bespangled robes, after the fashion of Oriental monarchs. The nine precious stones here mentioned answer to nine of the twelve (representing the twelve tribes) in the high priest's breastplate (Exodus 39:10-13; compare also the twelve precious stones which formed the twelve foundations to the new Jerusalem, Revelation 21:14; Revelation 21:19-21). Of the four rows of three in each the third is omitted in the Hebrew, but is supplied in the Septuagint In this, too, there is an ulterior reference to Antichrist, who is blasphemously to arrogate the office of our Divine High Priest, who "shall be a Priest upon His throne" (Zechariah 6:13).

The workmanship of thy tabrets - tambourines.

And of thy pipes - literally, holes in musical pipes or flutes.

Was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created - i:e., in the day of thine accession to the throne. Tambourines and all the marks of joy were ready prepared for thee ("in thee," i:e., with and for thee). Thou hadst not, like others, to work thy way to the throne through arduous struggles. No sooner created than, like Adam, thou wast surrounded with the gratifications of Eden. Fairbairn, for "pipes," translates 'females' (having reference to Genesis 1:27, "In the image of God created He him, male and female created He them"),

i.e., musician-women. 'The service of thy tambourines and of thy females was prepared with thee,' etc. Maurer explains the Hebrew not as to music, but as to the setting and mounting of the gems previously mentioned [ n


Verse 14

Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire.

Thou art the anointed cherub. Gesenius translates [ mimshach (Hebrew #4473), from an Aramaic root, maashach (Hebrew #4886)], 'extended cherub.' The English version, from the Hebrew root, 'to anoint,' is better, and is supported by the Chaldaic version. 'The cherub consecrated to the Lord by the anointing oil' (Fairbairn). That covereth. The imagery employed by Ezekiel as a priest is from the Jewish temple, wherein the cherubim covered or overshadowed the mercy-seat, as the King of Tyre, a demigod in his own esteem, extended his protection over the interests of Tyre. The cherub-an ideal compound of the highest kinds of animal existence, and the type of redeemed man in his ultimate state of perfection-is made the image of the King of Tyre, as if the beau-ideal of humanity, esteemed by men as a Messiah or Christ, being anointed to the kingdom, and usurping the place of Him who is the true anointed One, and the covering of the Church. The pretensions of Antichrist are the ulterior referent, of whom the King of Tyre is a type. Compare "As God

... in the temple of God" (2 Thessalonians 2:4).

And I have set thee so - not thou set thyself (Proverbs 7:16, "By me princes rule;" Romans 13:1).

Thou wast upon the holy mountain of God - Zion: following up the image.

Thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire - in ambitious imagination he stood in the place of God, "under whose feet was as it were a paved work of sapphire," while His glory was like "devouring fire" (Exodus 24:10; Exodus 24:17).


Verse 15

Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.

Thou wast perfect in thy ways - prosperous (Grotius), and having no defect. So Hiram was a sample of the Tyrian monarch in his early days of wisdom and prosperity, (1 Kings 5:7, etc.)

Till iniquity was found in thee - like the primeval man, thou hast fallen by abusing God's gifts, and so hast provoked God's wrath.


Verse 16

By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire.

By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence - i:e., they have filled the midst of the city with violence; the king, as the head of the state, being involved in the guilt of the state, which he did not check, but fostered.

I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God - no longer treated as sacred, but driven out of the place of sanctity (see Ezekiel 28:14) which thou hast occupied (cf. Psalms 89:39).


Verse 17

Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee.

Thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness - thy splendour.

I will lay thee before kings - as an example of God's wrath against presumptuous pride.


Verse 18

Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of thine iniquities, by the iniquity of thy traffick; therefore will I bring forth a fire from the midst of thee, it shall devour thee, and I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee.

Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries - i:e., the holy places, attributed to the King of Tyre in Ezekiel 28:14 as his ideal position. As he 'profaned' it, so God will "profane" him (Ezekiel 28:16).

Therefore will I bring forth a fire from the midst of thee, it shall devour thee - as he abused his supposed elevation amidst "the stones of fire" (Ezekiel 28:16), so God will make His "fire" to "devour" him.


Verse 19-20

All they that know thee among the people shall be astonished at thee: thou shalt be a terror, and never shalt thou be any more.

No JFB commentary on these verses.


Verse 21

Son of man, set thy face against Zidon, and prophesy against it,

Set thy face against Zidon - famous for its fishery (from a root [ tsuwd (Hebrew #6679)], 'to fish'); and afterward for its wide-extended commerce: its artistic elegance was proverbial. Founded by Canaan's first-born (Genesis 10:15). Tyre was an offshoot from it, so that it was involved in the same overthrow by the Chaldeans as Tyre. It is mentioned separately, because its idolatry (the worship of Ashtaroth, "the goddess of the Zidonians," Tammuz or Adonis) infected Israel more than that of Tyre did (Ezekiel 8:1-18; Judges 10:6; 1 Kings 11:33). The notorious Jezebel was a daughter of the Zidonian king.


Verse 22

And say, Thus saith the Lord GOD Behold, I am against thee, O Zidon; and I will be glorified in the midst of thee: and they shall know that I am the LORD, when I shall have executed judgments in her, and shall be sanctified in her.

They shall know that I am the Lord, when I shall have executed judgments in her, and shall be sanctified in her - when all nations shall see that I am the Holy Judge in the vengeance that I will inflict on her for sin.


Verse 23

For I will send into her pestilence, and blood into her streets; and the wounded shall be judged in the midst of her by the sword upon her on every side; and they shall know that I am the LORD.

No JFB commentary on this verse.


Verse 24

And there shall be no more a pricking brier unto the house of Israel, nor any grieving thorn of all that are round about them, that despised them; and they shall know that I am the Lord GOD.

There shall be no more a pricking brier unto the house of Israel - as the idolatrous nations left in Canaan There shall be no more a pricking brier unto the house of Israel - as the idolatrous nations left in Canaan (among which Zidon is expressly specified in the limits of Asher, Judges 1:31) had been (Numbers 33:55; Joshua 23:13). "A brier," first ensnaring the Israelites in sin (as a brier catches in one's garment), and then being made the instrument of punishing them.

Pricking , [ mam'iyr (Hebrew #3992), from maa'ar (Hebrew #3992), to grieve] - literally, 'causing bitterness.' The same Hebrew is translated 'fretting' (Leviticus 13:51-52). The wicked are often called "thorns" (2 Samuel 23:6).


Verse 25-26

Thus saith the Lord GOD When I shall have gathered the house of Israel from the people among whom they are scattered, and shall be sanctified in them in the sight of the heathen, then shall they dwell in their land that I have given to my servant Jacob.

When I shall have gathered the house of Israel ... then shall they dwell in their land ... And they shall dwell safely therein. Fulfilled in part at the restoration from Babylon, when Judaism, so far from being merged in paganism, made inroads, by conversions, on the idolatry of surrounding nations. The full accomplishment is yet future, when Israel, under Christ, shall be the center of Christendom: of which an earnest was given in the woman from the coasts of Tyre and Sidon who sought the Saviour (Matthew 15:21; Matthew 15:24; Matthew 15:26-28 : cf. Isaiah 11:12).

Dwell safely - (Jeremiah 23:6, "In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely").

Remarks:

(1) Ethbaal or Ithobaal was, at the time of this prophecy, the king of Tyre, and the representative of the Phoenician idol-god Baal, whose name he bore. Like Herod in ages long subsequent, he was tempted, in the pride of his heart, which was "lifted up" through the loftiness of his position as head of such a wealthy and prosperous community, to claim the honour which belongs to God alone. As God sits enthroned on high, beyond the reach of injury, so, thought the King of Tyre, "I sit in the seat of God, in the midst of the seas" (Ezekiel 28:2), secure from assault, guarded by the stormy elements, at the same time that I control them at will, and make them subservient to my interests. God by fearful judgments scattered to the winds these blasphempous pretensions.

(2) Herein the King of Tyre represents the self-deifying spirit of the men of the coming last age, when man shall flatter himself that, by the triumphs of his skill, and by the progress of human discoveries in science, he shall become completely Lord of the elements, and independent of God, so that "there is no secret that can be hidden from him" (Ezekiel 28:3) in the natural world, which is the only world these self-willed fools recognize. Already this spirit is manifesting itself among many of our so-called men of science, who think they can penetrate all the secret mysteries of God as well as among our mercantile and manufacturing men of worldly intelligence. To all such God speaks in keen and awful irony, "Behold (in thine own imagination) thou art wiser than Daniel," and that "no secret" can escape thee, because "with thy wisdom and with thine understanding thou hast gotten thee riches, and thine heart is lifted up because of thy riches" (Ezekiel 28:4-5): "Yet thou art but man, and not God, though thou set thine heart as the heart of God" (Ezekiel 28:2). It shall be just when the last apostasy under Antichrist, the final development of this spirit of deification of human intelligence, shall have attained the height of its blasphemous self-glorification, that God shall in a moment turn man's boasted "wisdom" into foolishness, and destroy the self-deceiving dupes with the breath of His rebuke (Ezekiel 28:6-10), and bring them and the beast, the false prophet, and Satan the Arch-deceiver, "down to the pit" (Ezekiel 28:8; Revelation 19:20; Revelation 20:10). Then shall it be shown, in the terrible reality of God's jealousy for His own honour, that the self-deifier is "a man, and no god, before Him that slayeth" all blasphemous pretenders (Ezekiel 28:9).

(3) In the person of the King of Tyre another sample, as it were, was given of man being put on his trial under most favourable circumstances; that is to say, all that beauty, sagacity, and wealth could do for him was done for him and his people. In respect to advantage of position and external circumstances they were like Adam and Eve "in Eden, the garden of God" (Ezekiel 28:13). No precious stone that is to be found in the bed of the ocean or in the dark mines of the earth was withheld from Tyre and her king. Joy and gladness attended him and them from the first. Like the consecrated "cherubim covering" the mercy-seat of the ark with overshadowing wings, so the King of Tyre shielded with his covering arm, like a god, the interests of Tyre (Ezekiel 28:14). As the beau-ideal of humanity, he stood in ambitious aspirations "upon the holy mountain of God," walking up and down "in the midst of the stones of fire," which were the "paved work of sapphire" described in Exodus (Exodus 24:10; Exodus 24:17) as under the feet of the God of Israel.

But whereas once the King of Tyre, Hiram, feared the God of Israel, whose temple he helped Solomon to build; now the King of Tyre, as a second Adam, has fallen from his high estate by "iniquity" (Ezekiel 28:15): "the multitude of his merchandise," which was his boast, became his bane, through selfishness, covetousness, and "violence" (Ezekiel 28:16). Therefore God 'casts him out of the ideal mountain of God as profane.' His "beauty," in which he trusted, caused his "heart" to be "lifted up," to his ruin, and the "brightness" of his glory dazzled his eyes, so that his "wisdom" becam e "corrupted" (Ezekiel 28:17): and then God "cast him to the ground," as a warning to all "kings" who should "behold" him, of the consequence of blasphemous pride. His very elevation as ideally in the "sanctuary" of God, and "amidst the stones of fire," was the very ground of his being "devoured" by the "fire from the midst" of his own elevated position (Ezekiel 28:18): for spiritual and temporal privileges, when abused, become the source of destruction to the apostate. The fire that does not purify destroys (Matthew 3:11-12).

(4) Hence, we see that if it were possible for man to be placed under the most favourable circumstances that can be imagined-as, for instance, in Eden, the garden of God, or even in heaven itself-he could not enjoy its blessedness, or long remain there, without a holy, heavenly, and Christlike mind. As Satan fell from heaven, and Adam from Paradise, because each stood in his own strength, so we cannot but fall, however great our privileges, and however favoured we be in position, unless we be made conformable to the mind and will of God by the power of the Holy Spirit.

(5) Zidon, too, the parent city of guilty Tyre, the headquarters of the idolatry of Ashtoreth and Tammuz, and the seducer of Israel to paganism, was to be made an example of by the judgments inflicted on her before all nations, that they might know God as the Holy One who will not suffer His glory to be given to another with impunity.

(6) Thus, the way shall be prepared for mercy to Israel at last. The pricking briers and grieving thorns which the pagan nations around proved to be in relation to Israel, by their idolatries and through her sinful weakness, are hereafter to exist no more (Ezekiel 28:24). Israel shall then be "gathered from the people among whom they are scattered" (Ezekiel 28:25), and "shall dwell safely, and with confidence" in her own land (Ezekiel 28:26): above all, not only through her long discipline of chastizements, but also through "the judgments executed upon all those that have despised her," she shall be brought to "know the Lord as her God." The promise belongs also to the spiritual Israel, the Church of the redeemed elect. Ere long the thorns of temptation and the briers of ungodliness within and without the visible Church, which so harass the saints, shall be utterly removed, and forever: sorrow and sighing sin and death, shall cease, and the saints shall dwell in everlasting joy and security in the heavenly Canaan, "knowing God as their God," not merely "in part," but "face to face," and perfectly, "even as also they are known" (1 Corinthians 13:12).

 


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Bibliography Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Ezekiel 28:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/ezekiel-28.html. 1871-8.

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