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Bible Commentaries

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Ezekiel 5

 

 

Verse 1

Ezekiel 5:1 And thou, son of man, take thee a sharp knife, take thee a barber’s razor, and cause [it] to pass upon thine head and upon thy beard: then take thee balances to weigh, and divide the [hair].

Ver. 1. And thou, son of man.] See on Ezekiel 2:1.

Take thee a sharp knife.] This was the King of Babylon. {as Isaiah 7:20} The Turk is at this day such another. Mohammed I was, in his time, the death of 800,000 men. Selymus II, in revenge of the loss received at Lepanto, would have put to death all the Christians in his dominions. (a)

Take thee a barber’s razor.] Not a "deceitful razor," {as Psalms 52:2} but one that will do the deed - sharp and sure. Pliny (b) telleth us, out of Varo, that the Romans had no barbers till 454 years after the city was built; ante intonsi fuere.

And cause it to pass upon thy head and upon thy beard.] As hairs are an ornament to the head and beard, so are people to a city. But, as when they begin to be a burden or trouble to either, they are cut off and cast away; so are people by God’s judgments, when by their sins they are offensive to him; dealing as Dionysius did by his god Aesculapius, from whom he presumed to pull his golden beard. David felt himself shaved in his ambassadors; so doth God in his servants - whose very hairs are numbered [Matthew 10:30] - in his ministers especially - who, by a specialty, are called God’s men [1 Timothy 6:11 2 Timothy 3:17] - with whom to meddle is more dangerous than to take a lion by the beard or a bear by the hair.

Then take the balances to weigh.] This showeth that God’s judgments are just to a hair’s weight: and capillus unus suam habet umbram, saith Mimus.

And divide the hair.] Dii nos quasi pilas habent, saith Plautus; Imo quasi pilos, saith another.


Verse 2

Ezekiel 5:2 Thou shalt burn with fire a third part in the midst of the city, when the days of the siege are fulfilled: and thou shalt take a third part, [and] smite about it with a knife: and a third part thou shalt scatter in the wind; and I will draw out a sword after them.

Ver. 2. Thou shalt burn with fire a third part,] i.e., With famine, pestilence, and other mischiefs, during the siege of Jerusalem. Pythagoras gave this precept among others, Unguium, criniumque praesegmina ne contemnito. But God findeth so little worth in wicked people that he regardeth them not, but casteth them as excrements to the dunghill, yea, to hell. [Psalms 9:17]

And smite about it with a knife.] They shall be slain with that sharp knife or sword, [Ezekiel 5:1] after that the city is taken.

Thou shalt scatter in the wind.] Sundry of them shall flee for their lives; but in running from death they shall but run to it. [Amos 9:1-4; Amos 2:13-16]


Verse 3

Ezekiel 5:3 Thou shalt also take thereof a few in number, and bind them in thy skirts.

Ver. 3. Thou shalt also take thereof a few in number.] A remnant is still reserved, "that the Lord God may dwell among men." [Psalms 68:18] See Jeremiah 44:28, 2 Kings 25:12, Isaiah 1:9; Isaiah 6:10.


Verse 4

Ezekiel 5:4 Then take of them again, and cast them into the midst of the fire, and burn them in the fire; [for] thereof shall a fire come forth into all the house of Israel.

Ver. 4. Then take of them again, and cast them into the midst of the fire.] Thus "evil shall hunt a wicked man to overthrow him"; [Psalms 140:11] {See Trapp on "Psalms 140:11"} he shall not escape, though he hath escaped; his preservation is but a reservation to further mischief, except he repent.

And burn them in the fire.] Such he meaneth as were combustible matter; for there were a sort of precious ones among them, who being brought by God through the fire, were thereby "refined as silver is refined, and tried as gold is tried." [Zechariah 13:9] {See Trapp on "Zechariah 13:9"}


Verse 5

Ezekiel 5:5 Thus saith the Lord GOD This [is] Jerusalem: I have set it in the midst of the nations and countries [that are] round about her.

Ver. 5. This is Jerusalem,] i.e., This head and beard so to be shaved. [Ezekiel 5:1] By the hair of the head some think the wise men of that city are figured out, and by the hair of the beard are the strong men; the razor of God’s severity maketh clean work, leaving no stub or stump behind it.

I have set it in the midst of the nations.] As the head, heart, and centre of the earth. See Psalms 72:10, Ezekiel 38:12; and God had peculiar ends in it, that the law might go forth out of Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem, and that all nations might flow into it. [Isaiah 2:2-3] Talis est Roma Christianis, Such now is Rome to Christians, saith A Lapide; but lay a straw there, say we; or, as the Gloss saith upon some decrees of popes, Haec non credo, I believe it not. See Revelation 17:5.


Verse 6

Ezekiel 5:6 And she hath changed my judgments into wickedness more than the nations, and my statutes more than the countries that [are] round about her: for they have refused my judgments and my statutes, they have not walked in them.

Ver. 6. And she hath changed my judgments into wickedness.] This was a foul change; this was to do evil as she could; [Jeremiah 3:5] this was ingratitude of the worst sort, such as Socrates called ειλικρινη αδικιαν, manifest injustice. Such a wretched change is complained of, Jeremiah 2:11, Romans 1:23; Romans 1:25, 1:4, but nowhere in so high an expression as this, as one observeth.

More than the nations.] Because the Jews had better laws but worse dispositions than they.


Verse 7

Ezekiel 5:7 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD Because ye multiplied more than the nations that [are] round about you, [and] have not walked in my statutes, neither have kept my judgments, neither have done according to the judgments of the nations that [are] round about you;

Ver. 7. Because ye multiplied,] scil., Your transgressions and superstitions, or because ye have abounded with blessings, and made me so ill a requital. Some render it Quia tumultuastis vos plus quam vicinae gentes; and indeed there were many murders committed among them, and many revolts from foreign princes whom they had sworn to serve.

Neither have done according to the judgment of the nations.] But have outsinned them, qui deos suos quamvis viles et multos non mutant, who change not their gods (as you have done me, Jeremiah 2:10-11), but follow the natural light of reason (some of them at least do so, Romans 2:14), which you have debauched. See 1 Corinthians 5:1, Ezekiel 16:46-48.


Verse 8

Ezekiel 5:8 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD Behold, I, even I, [am] against thee, and will execute judgments in the midst of thee in the sight of the nations.

Ver. 8. Behold, I, even I, am against thee.] Whether thou wilt believe it or not. Thou boldest it unlikely, but shalt find it true, and that I am very serious, not saying these things in terrorem only. Ecce me adversum te venientem, so some render it; Behold I am upon my march against thee, and will punish thee surely, severely, suddenly.

And will execute judgments.] For the non-execution of my judgments in the former sense taken. {as Ezekiel 5:7}

In the sight of the nations.] In whose sight thou hast so sinned, and who will rejoice at thy sufferings.


Verse 9

Ezekiel 5:9 And I will do in thee that which I have not done, and whereunto I will not do any more the like, because of all thine abominations.

Ver. 9. And I will do in thee that which I have not done.] None shall suffer so much here or sink so deep in hell, as a profane Jew, a carnal gospeller, who is therefore worse than others, because he ought to be better. Oh, the height and weight of those judgments that shall be heaped upon such! See Lamentations 4:6.

And whereunto I will not do any more the like.] For where ever read we that the fathers did eat their sons in an open visible way? and the sons the Fathers?


Verse 10

Ezekiel 5:10 Therefore the fathers shall eat the sons in the midst of thee, and the sons shall eat their fathers; and I will execute judgments in thee, and the whole remnant of thee will I scatter into all the winds.

Ver. 10. Therefore the fathers shall eat the sons.] See this fulfilled in the pitiful mothers; [Lamentations 4:10] and may it be thought, saith one, that their hungry husbands shared not with them in those viands? Oh, the severity of God. Cavebis, si pavebis.

And the whole remnant of thee will I scatter.] A miserably dejected people the Jews are to this day, banished out of the world, as it were, by a common consent of nations.


Verse 11

Ezekiel 5:11 Wherefore, [as] I live, saith the Lord GOD Surely, because thou hast defiled my sanctuary with all thy detestable things, and with all thine abominations, therefore will I also diminish [thee]; neither shall mine eye spare, neither will I have any pity.

Ver. 11. Wherefore, as I live, saith the Lord.] This is God’s usual oath (in this prophet especially), and therefore should not be used as an oath or asseveration by any other, since he only liveth (to speak properly).

Therefore will I also diminish thee.] Or, I will break thee down; or, I will shave thee. {as Ezekiel 5:1 Jeremiah 48:37}


Verse 12

Ezekiel 5:12 A third part of thee shall die with the pestilence, and with famine shall they be consumed in the midst of thee: and a third part shall fall by the sword round about thee; and I will scatter a third part into all the winds, and I will draw out a sword after them.

Ver. 12. A third part of thee, &c.] See Ezekiel 5:2.


Verse 13

Ezekiel 5:13 Thus shall mine anger be accomplished, and I will cause my fury to rest upon them, and I will be comforted: and they shall know that I the LORD have spoken [it] in my zeal, when I have accomplished my fury in them.

Ver. 13. Then shall mine anger be accomplished.] God is then said to be angry when he doth what men do when angry - viz. (1.) Chide; (2.) Smite.

And I will be comforted.] This also is spoken after the manner of men, who are much comforted when they can be avenged. Their song is, Oh, how sweet is revenge!

Animumque explesse iuvabit. ” - Virgil

The same word in Hebrew that signifieth vengeance, signifieth comfort also; for God will be comforted in the execution of his wrath. But what a venomous and vile thing is sin, that causeth the most merciful God to take comfort in the destruction of his creature!

And they shall know that I the Lord have spoken it in my zeal.] That is, seriously threatened by my prophets, whom they have vilipended and derided, but shall now feel the weight of their words.

When I have accomplished my fury in them.] This he doth not usually all at once, but by degrees. He suffereth not his whole wrath to arise till there be no remedy. {as 2 Chronicles 36:16}


Verse 14

Ezekiel 5:14 Moreover I will make thee waste, and a reproach among the nations that [are] round about thee, in the sight of all that pass by.

Ver. 14. Moreover, I will make thee waste.] In ariditatem, a dry and barren wilderness, whose fruitfulness and pleasantness is so much celebrated, not only by divine, but profane authors also. See Psalms 107:34. {See Trapp on "Psalms 107:34"}

In the sight of all.] See on Ezekiel 5:8.


Verse 15

Ezekiel 5:15 So it shall be a reproach and a taunt, an instruction and an astonishment unto the nations that [are] round about thee, when I shall execute judgments in thee in anger and in fury and in furious rebukes. I the LORD have spoken [it].

Ver. 15. So it shall be a reproach and taunt.] See this fulfilled, Lamentations 2:15-16.

An instruction.] They shall enjoy thy folly, grow wise by thy harms. I will make thee an example to the heathen. (a)

An astonishment.] A terror, some render it.


Verse 16

Ezekiel 5:16 When I shall send upon them the evil arrows of famine, which shall be for [their] destruction, [and] which I will send to destroy you: and I will increase the famine upon you, and will break your staff of bread:

Ver. 16. When I shall send upon you the evil arrows of famine.] Not to warn you, as Jonathan’s arrows did David, but to wound you to the heart, and to lay you heaps upon heaps. [Deuteronomy 32:23-24]

And break your staff of bread.] See Ezekiel 4:16. Penuria fiet pecuniae, saith Oecolampadius here; You shall want money to buy you bread.


Verse 17

Ezekiel 5:17 So will I send upon you famine and evil beasts, and they shall bereave thee; and pestilence and blood shall pass through thee; and I will bring the sword upon thee. I the LORD have spoken [it].

Ver. 17. Evil beasts, and they shall bereave thee.] Rob thee of thy children, destroy thy cattle, make thee few in number, and thy highway desolate, as was long before threatened. [Leviticus 26:22 2 Kings 17:25]

I the Lord have spoken it.] I Jehovah, who will give being to my menaces as well as to my promises.

 


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Bibliography Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Ezekiel 5:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/ezekiel-5.html. 1865-1868.

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