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Bible Commentaries

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Ezekiel 28

 

 

Verse 1

Ezekiel 28:1 The word of the LORD came again unto me, saying,

Ver. 1. The word of the Lord.] See on Ezekiel 18:1.


Verse 2

Ezekiel 28:2 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:

Ver. 2. Say unto the prince of Tyrus.] Princes must be told their own, as well as others. It was partly by flattery that this prince was so high flown. His glory, wealth, and wit also had so blown him up that he forgot himself to be a man. Tabaal, Josephus, out of Berosus, calleth him; Diodorus Siculus, Ithobaal; others, Ethbaal. A most proud and presumptuous person he was, and a type of the devil, who is the "king of all the children of pride." [Job 41:34] Here he holdeth himself to be wiser than Daniel; [Ezekiel 28:3] yea, to be the sum and perfection of all wisdom; [Ezekiel 28:12] to excel the high priest in all his ornaments, os humerosque Deo similis [Ezekiel 28:13] yea, to be above Adam (ib.); above the cherubims; [Ezekiel 28:14] lastly, to be God himself, and to sit in his seat. [Ezekiel 28:2] O Lucifer outdeviled! And yet as there were many Marii in one Caesar, so by nature there are many Ethbaals in the best of us; for "as in water face answereth to face, so doth the heart of a man to a man." [Proverbs 27:19] Julius Caesar allowed altars and temples to be dedicated unto him, as to a god; and what wonder, whereas his flatterers told him that the freckles in his face were like the stars in the firmament? (a) Valladerius told Pope Paul V, and he believed it, that he was a god, that he lived familiarly with the Godhead, that he heard predestination itself whispering to him, that he had a place to sit in council with the Divine Trinity, &c. Prodigious blasphemy! Is not this that "man of sin," that Merum scelus, pure wickedness spoken of by Paul in 2 Thessalonians 2:4? See more of this there. Was it not he that made Dandalus, the Venetian ambassador, roll under his table, and, as a dog, eat crusts there? and that suffered the Sicilian ambassadors to use these words unto him, Domine Deus papa, miserere nostrum; O Lord God the Pope, have mercy upon us. And again, O Lamb of God, that takest away the sins of the world, grant us thy peace.

In the midst of the seas.] Where none can come at me. Yes, Nebuchadnezzar could, and did, though after thirteen years’ siege, as Josephus writeth. A hard tug and hot service he had of it; but yet he did the deed, as did afterwards also Alexander the Great, who never held anything unseizable.


Verse 3

Ezekiel 28:3 Behold, thou [art] wiser than Daniel; there is no secret that they can hide from thee:

Ver. 3. Behold, thou art wiser than Daniel.] That oracular man, who was πανσοφος, as one saith of Homer, και παντα ανθρωπεια επισταμενος, the most wise and knowing man alive. His name was now up at Babylon; and Ezekiel, his contemporary, commendeth him; so doth the Baptist, Christ; and Peter, Paul. [Ephesians 3:15] Though there had been a breach between them, [Galatians 2:14] there was no envy. But such another braggart as this in the text was Richardus de Sancto Victore, a monk of Paris, who said that himself was a better divine than any prophet or apostle of them all. (a) But how much better, saith Gregory, (b) is humble ignorance than proud knowledge!


Verse 4

Ezekiel 28:4 With thy wisdom and with thine understanding thou hast gotten thee riches, and hast gotten gold and silver into thy treasures:

Ver. 4. With thy wisdom thou hast gotten thee riches.] Which yet is not every wise man’s happiness. Aelian (a) observeth that the wisest and best of the Grecians were very poor, as Socrates, Aristides, Phocion, Ephialtes, Epaminondas, Pelopidas, Lamachus, and others. Fortuna fere favet fatuis: nescio quomodo, bonae mentis soror, est paupertas, saith he in Petronius. (b) Piety goeth oft yoked with poverty.


Verse 5

Ezekiel 28:5 By thy great wisdom [and] by thy traffick hast thou increased thy riches, and thine heart is lifted up because of thy riches:

Ver. 5. Thine heart is lifted up because of thy riches.] Like as the higher the flood riseth, the higher also doth the boat that floateth thereon. A small blast will blow up a bubble, so will a few paltry pounds puff up a carnal heart.

By thy great wisdom.] Here God did nothing. And such, for all the world, saith Oecolampadius, are our freewill men, with their ego feci, this I did. Such feci’s I did it’s are no better than faeces, dregs saith Luther; that is, dregs and dross.


Verse 6

Ezekiel 28:6 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD Because thou hast set thine heart as the heart of God;

Ver. 6. Because thou hast set thine heart as the heart of God.] Thou thinkest thy wisdom to be divine, and thyself the only one. The Tyrians were famous for their great wisdom, [Zechariah 9:2] and they are said to be the inventors of many arts; yet should they not have overly weaned themselves in this sort; which because they did, let them hear their doom.


Verse 7

Ezekiel 28:7 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.

Ver. 7. Behold, therefore I will briny strangers upon thee.] Who shall not at all regard thy great wisdom, but grasp after thy wealth, and suck thy blood for it. Neither will they favour thee the more because thou art a king, but slay thee the rather, and say, Hunc ipsum quaerimus, This we seek ourselves, This is the right bird, as that soldier said who slew the most valiant King of Sweden at the battle of Lutzen.


Verse 8

Ezekiel 28:8 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.

Ver. 8. They shall bring thee down to the pit.] There shall lie the greatness of the god of Tyre.

And thou shalt die the death.] Death will make no difference between a prince and a peasant, a lord and a lowly. The mortal scythe is master of the royal sceptre.


Verse 9

Ezekiel 28:9 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.

Ver. 9. Wilt thou say before him that slayeth thee, I am God?] That will prove a poor plea, and thou wilt soon be confuted, as afterwards great Alexander confuted his flatterers, when, being wounded in fight, he showed them his blood.


Verse 10

Ezekiel 28:10 Thou shalt die the deaths of the uncircumcised by the hand of strangers: for I have spoken [it], saith the Lord GOD.

Ver. 10. Thou shalt die the death of the uncircumcised.] Not only a temporal, but an eternal death, as they must needs do that are out of the covenant of grace, whereof circumcision was the seal. This is the sad catastrophe of such as dream of a deity. Of which number were Caligula, Herod, Heliogabalus, Dioclesian, and other monsters, uncircumcised vice gods, as we may, in the worst sense, best term them.


Verse 11

Ezekiel 28:11 Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,

Ver. 11. Moreover the word.] See on Ezekiel 18:1.


Verse 12

Ezekiel 28:12 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.

Ver. 12. Take up a lamentation for the king of Tyre.] Who shall have little leisure to lament for himself, his destruction shall be so sudden. See on Ezekiel 27:2.

Thou sealest up the sum,] i.e., Thou art a pattern of perfection, in thine own conceit at least; for a seal hath in it the perfect form of him that is thereby represented, and then is a letter perfected when the last act of setting to a seal is done to it. (a) Tu es omnibus numeris absolutum exemplar; so Vatablus and the Tigurines.


Verse 13

Ezekiel 28:13 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.

Ver. 13. Thou hast been in Eden.] As a bird of paradise, or as a tree growing there - (a)

γαγενημενον εκ Dιος ερνος.” - Hom.

Thou art equal to Adam in the state of innocence; and thy Tyre is no whit inferior to the garden of God.

Flores in pratis fragrant, et purpura campis:

Gemma coloratis fulget speciosa lapillis. ”

Every precious stone was thy covering.] Not thy diadem only was decked with them, as the Pope’s triple crown is at this day with gems of greatest value, but thy royal robe - not inferior, haply, to that of Demetrius, king of Macedonia, which none of his successors would wear propter invidiosam impendii magnificentiam, it was so extreme stately and costly - yea, thy pantofies possibly, as Dioclesian’s the emperor holding forth his feet to be kissed, as doth also the Pope at this day, who hath the cross in precious stones set upon his pantofle, to the great reproach of Christianity.

The sardius, topaz, and the diamond.] Nine of those rich stones that were set in the high priest’s rationale or breastplate. See on Ezekiel 28:2.

The workmanship of thy tabrets.] At thy birth, and at thine inauguration, there was great mirth made, concrepantibus tympanis, tibiis et tubis. What a deal of joy and jollity was there lately expressed in many places for the birth of the prince of Spain.


Verse 14

Ezekiel 28:14 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.

Ver. 14. Thou art the anointed cherub.] Or, Thou art a cherub ever since I anointed thee for protector. (a) As the cherubims cover the ark with their wing, so dost thou thy people; and therefore takest upon thee as if an earthly angel.

Thou wast upon the holy mountain of God.] Thou hast been in heaven: or, at least, on Mount Sinai with Moses, where God appeared with millions of his angels, having a fiery pavement under his feet. [Exodus 24:10]

In the midst of the stones of fire,] i.e., Of seraphims, say some, those flaming creatures of lightnings and thunderbolts, say others, which thou hurlest about at thy pleasure.

Saevum praelustri fulmen ab arce venit.


Verse 15

Ezekiel 28:15 Thou [wast] perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.

Ver. 15. Thou wast perfect in thy ways] As the evil angels also were; but now it is otherwise. Heaven spued out them in the very first act of their sin, and soon after they were created. Look thou therefore to speed accordingly, since iniquity is found in thee. Potentes potenter torquebuntur.


Verse 16

Ezekiel 28:16 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.

Ver. 16. By the multitude of thy merchandise.] Many merchants think they may do anything for their own advantage; cheating and overreaching pass for virtues with them. (a)

And thou hast sinned.] By suffering it so to be; for there is a passive injustice as well as an active.

I will cast thee.] I will bring thee down with a vengeance, and make thee an example of that rule, Great sins have great punishments. (b)


Verse 17

Ezekiel 28:17 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.

Ver. 17. Thine heart, &c.] Fastus inest pulchris.

By reason of thy brightness.] Thine own splendour hath dazzled thee. Magna cognatio est, ut rei sic et nominis, divitiis et vitiis.

That they may behold thee.] And beware by thee.


Verse 18

Ezekiel 28:18 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.

Ver. 18. Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries,] i.e., Thy kingly palaces, where thou art looked upon and honoured as a god, but a wretched one, and which for stateliness may vie with my sanctuary. Add hereto, that as none might come into the temple but priests only; so none might come into the palace but confiding persons. The Turks at this day suffer no stranger to come into the presence of their emperor, but first they clasp him by the arms, under colour of doing him honour, but indeed to bereave him of the use of his hands, lest he should offer him any violence. (a)

Therefore will I bring forth a fire in the midst of thee.] Thou shalt perish by thine own sins, as a house is burnt by fire kindled within itself.

And I will bring thee to ashes.] Which shall remain as a lasting monument of the divine displeasure; as did the ashes and cinders of Sodom; and Herodotus saith the same of the ashes of Troy.


Verse 19

Ezekiel 28:19 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.

Ver. 19. Thou shalt be a terror.] As kings exceed all others in glory, so their fall is oft with so great ignominy, that they become a wonder and a terror to all people.


Verse 20

Ezekiel 28:20 Again the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,

Ver. 20. Again the word of the Lord.] See Ezekiel 18:1.


Verse 21

Ezekiel 28:21 Son of man, set thy face against Zidon, and prophesy against it,

Ver. 21. Set thy face against Zidon.] An ancient and eminent city of Phoenicia, little inferior to Tyre: in Joshua it is called "Zidon the great." [Joshua 11:8] A very superstitious place, and a great enemy to God’s people.


Verse 22

Ezekiel 28:22 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.

Ver. 22. Behold, I am against thee.] Heb., I against thee - by an angry aposiopesis.

I will be glorified,] viz., In thy just destruction.

And shall be sanctified in her.] See on Leviticus 10:3.


Verse 23

Ezekiel 28:23 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.

Ver. 23. For I will send into her.] These are God’s evil angels.

And the wounded shall be judged in the midst of her.] This was done likely by Nebuchadnezzar; but certainly by Artaxerxes Ochus the Persian, as the prophet Zechariah had foretold, [Zechariah 9:3-5] and as Diodorus Siculus hath left upon record.


Verse 24

Ezekiel 28:24 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.

Ver. 24. And there shall be no more a pricking brier.] For God will take away the Canaanite out of the land, [Zechariah 14:21] omnem spinum dolorificum: he will by his judgments provide for his own glory, and for his people’s comfort.


Verse 25

Ezekiel 28:25 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.

Ver. 25. Then shall they dwell in their land.] Provided that they cleave close to me; otherwise I will out them again. It hath been elsewhere noted that the promises are with a condition; which is as an oar in a boat, or stern of a ship, and turns the promise another way.


Verse 26

Ezekiel 28:26 And they shall dwell safely therein, and shall build houses, and plant vineyards; yea, they shall dwell with confidence, when I have executed judgments upon all those that despise them round about them; and they shall know that I [am] the LORD their God.

Ver. 26. And they shall dwell safely therein.] Or, In confidence. And this is reiterated here to show what a mercy of God it is to live secure, and free from the fear of enemies.

 


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Bibliography Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Ezekiel 28:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/ezekiel-28.html. 1865-1868.

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