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Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

Ezekiel 16

 

 

Verses 1-63

JERUSALEM’S UNFAITHFULNESS AND PUNISHMENT — THE ADOPTED CHILD-WIFE, Ezekiel 16:1-43.

In chaps. 13-15 the prophet has shown how untrustworthy are all the Israelitish hopes that punishment will not fall upon them for their sins. He now in a most powerful allegory makes Jerusalem “to know her abominations,” and to see that her destruction is the natural and inevitable result of her unchaste deeds. Jerusalem, representing here the chosen people, is pictured as a child of disreputable origin, cast out and uncared for from the day of her birth because of the loathsomeness of her person, and only saved from death in her infancy by the divine Friend, who it seems immediately after this kind act restored her to her home (Ezekiel 16:7-8), where she grew up into maidenhood in a most neglected condition and was finally once more cast out, filthy in person, naked and bleeding (Ezekiel 16:9-10), when once again he saved her from herself and her dangerous environment, betrothed her to himself, took her into his own palace, gave her rich and precious ornaments, and she became his wife. Yet, with immeasurable ingratitude and iniquity, she gave to strangers the very life and beauty which her divine husband had created in her. Even his wedding presents were scattered among her lovers (heathen idolaters), her children were neglected and slain, and she became a prostitute, not because she needed money (Ezekiel 16:31), but only because of her innate unchastity (Ezekiel 16:30). This loathsome picture of unapproachable iniquity is seen to represent the misalliance of Jehovah with Judah, and justifies all the threatened punishment which Ezekiel has declared shall fall upon the unfaithful wife who has sunk to a lower degradation than the common harlot.


Verse 3

3. Land of Canaan — Though Abraham came from Babylonia his religious training was in Palestine, as also the religious origin of the nation. It is an interesting fact that the name “Land of Canaan” is found in inscriptions back as far as Moses’s day, and earlier.

Thy father was an Amorite, and thy mother a Hittite — Of course this is a description of religious conditions. It is by no means certain that Abraham came of Hittite and Amorite origin, but certainly the Hittite and Amorite impurities of religion influenced primitive Israel. The fact that Jerusalem was once a Hittite city does not bear on the argument here, except possibly by making the illustration more vivid. (Compare Matthew 23:33; John 8:44.) The close relations of the early Israelites with the Amorites and Hittites is seen from the fact that all Palestine, previous to the Exodus, was called in the Babylonian inscriptions the “land of the Amorites” and in Egyptian inscriptions in the time of Shalmaneser II, the “land of the Hittites.” (Compare Genesis 15:16; Amos 2:9; Joshua 1:4.) The writer believes that he has observed Amorite and Hittite characteristics even in the modern populations of Philistia.


Verse 4

4. As for thy nativity — The Hebrew nation, notwithstanding its boastfulness and contempt for the heathen (goyem) is here declared to have come of heathen stock, with no original spiritual beauty or native endowment above other peoples. The ancestors of the Hebrews were idolaters, and in the Hebrew babyhood, first in Ur and then in Canaan, their parents gave them no spiritual culture or cleansing or training above their other children.

To supple — R.V., “to cleanse.”

Not salted at all — It was supposed in ancient times that to rub the newborn babe with salt was a healthful precaution. This is still done in Syria and Palestine. A native mother said of a European child, “Poor thing! It was not salted at all.” Dr. Fradenburgh makes it seem quite probable that this was a symbolic rite intended to consecrate the new life and bring it into visible covenant relationship with the tribe. All similar passages where salt is referred to in the Old Testament (see, for example, Numbers 18:19) are connected with covenant making, covenant confirming, consecrating, or devoting. (See Fradenburgh, in Methodist Review, November, 1898.)


Verse 5

5. Thou wast cast out — Not only was there the same lack in the spiritual care and training of this little half-breed as in the care of other families afterward so despised by the Hebrews, but it was even thrown out from its heathen home; this having reference probably either to the crossing over of their first forefather to the land of Canaan, or to his later expulsion into Egypt. The exposure of girl babies was not uncommon among the Canaanites and is still known among the Bedouins. — Orelli.

To the loathing of thy person — Literally, so abhorred was thy person.


Verse 6

6. Polluted — R.V., “weltering.” When thou wast in thy blood — Rather, though thou art in thy blood. That is, it was in spite of her uncleanness and loathsomeness, and even after the parents cast her off, that Jehovah defended her.

I said unto thee… Live — Here begins the proof that the love of God for his people surpasses the love of father or mother. It was Jehovah who gave life to the Hebrew nation. This was historically true. The fountain of life for Israel was in Jehovah, the merciful and gracious One, long-suffering and abundant in goodness and truth (Exodus 3:14; Exodus 6:2; Exodus 33:14; Exodus 33:19; Exodus 34:6-7; Deuteronomy 5:33). The entire religious, political, and social life of Israel, so far as it differed from surrounding nations, can be traced back to the national thought of and connection with Jehovah. (See especially Piepenbring.)


Verse 7

7. I have caused thee to multiply — Literally, I have made thee to be myriads, etc. (Exodus 1:7; Deuteronomy 10:22; Deuteronomy 33:17.)

To excellent ornaments — Literally, to ornament of ornaments; to superlative grace and beauty.

Thy breasts are fashioned,… whereas — Literally, thy breasts were fashioned,… yet. This is a vivid description in allegory of the patriarchal history and the bondage in Egypt. The nation was coming to maturity under the watch-care of the divine Friend, and yet was persisting in its idolatry (Genesis 29-31, 38).


Verse 8

8. Spread my skirt — The customary symbol for marriage. (See Ruth 3:19.)

Thou becamest mine — The marriageable age, the time of love had arrived, and the divine Friend now becomes a Lover. With the patriarchs God made a covenant of friendship, but in the Exodus he married himself to Israel. He himself says he “chose Israel” then (Ezekiel 20:5; compare Exodus 3:7; Exodus 3:9; Deuteronomy 7:7-8; <19A512>Psalms 105:12, etc.).


Verse 9-10

9, 10. Then washed I thee… I clothed thee also — This young maiden in her Egyptian bondage is “naked and bare,” groaning in her affliction, bruised, and beaten with many stripes, even unto blood (Exodus 5:14; Exodus 5:21) when Jehovah takes her to himself as bride. The expression used here may also be intended to carry the impression that the first time she had ever been washed was during the purifications preparatory to the wedding. (See Leviticus 15:19; Leviticus 15:24.)

Broidered work,… badgers’ skin — Rather, variegated work [so Ezekiel 16:13; Ezekiel 16:18; Exodus 26:36]… seal skin [Exodus 25:5]… byssus (Exodus 28:39; Exodus 39:27). It is not absolutely certain whether the byssus was of linen or cotton.

I covered thee with silk — Silk when first adopted in Europe was of such value that the Emperor Aurelian denied his wife a silk shawl because a pound of silk cost a pound weight of gold. The early fathers, such as Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, Chrysostom, etc., have much to say against the extravagance of the women in their congregations who wore silk. Whether this word — which is only used again in Ezekiel 16:13 — means silk in the modern sense or not, it evidently means the costliest dress possible at that time.


Verse 12

12. A jewel on thy forehead — Literally, ring upon thy nose. (See Isaiah 3:21; Genesis 24:47; Hosea 2:13.) For other articles of jewelry mentioned see Genesis 24:22; Genesis 24:47; Genesis 41:42; Numbers 31:50; Proverbs 1:9; Proverbs 3:3.

A beautiful crown — This has reference probably to the marriage crown. It is even yet used in Palestine. It is the wife’s dowry, and the treasures of which it is composed cannot be touched by any creditor.


Verse 13

13. Fine flour, and honey, and oil;… and thou didst prosper into a kingdom — There is a double meaning attached to the food mentioned, as it was used by princesses and also in the temple sacrifices. The dress and food of the bride “symbolized the ritual and cultus of Judaism.” Israel is personified as a beautiful woman arriving at royal honors in David’s time (Ezekiel 16:19; Psalms 81:16).


Verse 14

14. It was perfect through my comeliness — All the beauty of Israel which gave her renown among the nations came from Jehovah (Deuteronomy 4:6-8; Psalms 50:2; Isaiah 60:1). Her deliverance from Egypt, her conquest of Palestine, her power and wealth under the early kings, and her gorgeous temple with all its splendor of sacrifice, making her “the glory of all lands” (Ezekiel 20:6); all this “comeliness” or “adornment” was from Jehovah. (Compare Deuteronomy 32:10; Jeremiah 2:2; Hosea 10:10.)


Verse 15

15. Thou… playedst the harlot… pouredst out thy fornications — Jehovah married Israel on the first passover night. Idolatry is a breach of the marriage covenant; for “thy Maker is thine husband” (Isaiah 54:5). These figures of speech shock us; yet that they do is no sign of our superior chastity. The Jews have always been, and are yet, peerless among the nations for their faithfulness to the marriage vow. In ancient Israel prenuptial unchastity on the part of the women as well as adultery was punished with death (Deuteronomy 22:13-18). The fact that the prophet could use such figures of speech in this connection proves Jewish abhorrence of such customs and suggests also how horribly common these iniquities were among the heathen. The fact is that in all Canaan, outside of the Hebrew community, lust and licentiousness were universal. The Canaanitish religions “far from discouraging sensuality made it a part of their holiest rites. Both men and women gave themselves up to natural and unnatural lust in honor of the gods. As a natural result the moral fabric of the nation fell into utter ruin. In private life adultery and the still more degrading sin of Sodom were common.” — Andrew Harper, Book of Deuteronomy.


Verse 16

16. The like things shall not come, neither shall it be so — The reading is very doubtful, but perhaps “such things had never come, neither shall be.” This unfaithful wife, proud of the beauty which came only from her divine Spouse, took of the treasures which he had given her to adorn the places of her idolatrous worship. (See Ezekiel 6:3.) The “high places decked with divers colors” (R.V.) might be tents, or the reference might be to hangings or “carpets.” (See also 2 Kings 23:7; 2 Kings 17:29.)


Verse 17

17. Images of men — This does not refer to phallic worship (as Movers), but to images of Baalim (as Hosea 2:8; Hosea 2:13; compare 1 Kings 15:13).


Verse 18

18. Tookest thy broidered garments, and coveredst them — See on Ezekiel 16:10. “The Semites on festal occasions dressed up their sacred poles and did the same with their idols.” — W. Robertson Smith.


Verse 19

19. Meat — Literally, food, or bread (Leviticus 21:6). Even the sacred sacrificial food had been used for idolatrous purposes.

Honey — This may have been a heathen offering; it was not used in the later Israelitish ritual (Leviticus 2:11). — Polychrome Bible.


Verse 20

20. These hast thou sacrificed — Diodorus (13:37, 39) tells us of the human sacrifices offered to the Carthaginian Baal, or Moloch. These victims were placed on the arms of this cruel god, and from there rolled off into a fiery furnace. There need be no doubt that the practice of child sacrifice is referred to here, although according to the theology of the prophets, idolatry was spiritual death, and to teach one’s children to be idol worshipers was equal to slaying them outright (2 Kings 3:27; 2 Kings 16:3; 2 Kings 17:31; Jeremiah 7:31; Jeremiah 9:5; Jeremiah 22:3; compare Ezekiel 20:25-26.)


Verse 21

21. Thou hast slain my children — The divine husband yearns over his innocent ones slain by the heartless mother. Archinard gives the following lurid description of these sacrifices to Moloch: “A fire of aloes, of cedar, and of laurel burned between the knees of the colossus. The unguents with which it was bathed ran like sweat down its limbs of bronze. The children, enveloped with black veils, formed an immovable circle, and toward these the god extended his long arms and lowered his palms as if to bear them into the sky. The king, the chiefs, the women, and all the multitude assembled behind the priests on the parched slopes which border the valley of Hinnom. On the distant walls of the city shine the weapons of angry soldiers. The smoke of incense mounts perpendicularly. An infinite anguish weighs on all bosoms. The people of Jerusalem are absorbed with the great tragedy. Finally, the high priest of Moloch passes his left hand under the veils of the children and cuts from each brow a lock of hair which he throws into the flame. Now men in blood red mantles sound forth the sacred hymn: —

Homage to the sun,

King of two zones; the unbegotten.

Father and mother, father and son,

God and goddess, goddess and god.

The voices of the singers are lost in the burst of instrumental music sounding suddenly to stifle the cries of the victims whom the knife of the priest is about to slay. The sheminith, the kinnor, the nebel sound forth, and the tambourine is beaten with heavy and repeated strokes. The temple slaves with long hooks open various compartments into the body of Baal. Into the highest they introduce flour; into the second, two turtles; into the third, a lamb; into the fourth, a ram; into the fifth, a calf; into the sixth, an ox. The seventh remains yawning open like the mouth of an oven. The instruments are silent, the fire roars, the priests of Moloch march in state before the multitude. The arms of brass lower themselves to the sacrificial victims. Each time that a child is lifted by them the priests place their hands upon it to burden it with the crimes of the people. The air is rent with the cries of the devotees, ‘Baal, eat!’ ‘Lord, eat!’ The victim lifted to the border by the brazen arms disappears like a drop of water on a red-hot plate, and a white smoke ascends into the crimson glow. The hideous idol has already licked with its thousand tongues of fire the most beautiful children of Jerusalem. On a sign from the sovereign pontiff, the priests seize the son of the king and the body of the little prince disappears after the others in the midst of the furnace. A nauseating smoke robs the eyes of the mob of the last horrors.” — Israel et ses voisins Asiatiques, Geneve, 1890, pp. 223-228.


Verse 24

24. An eminent place — Rather, vaulted chamber, or dome (R.V. and Kautzsch).

A high place in every street — The word used here and in the next verse is not the one usually rendered “high place.” It may mean a small shrine where lived the religious harlot, as was customary in the streets of foreign cities. With the preceding verse there is a passing from Canaanitish worship to that of foreign countries, the intimation being that Jerusalem gathered to itself all the various abominations of every land.


Verse 25

25. To every one that passed by — This unfaithful wife has become a common prostitute (see Ezekiel 16:15; Ezekiel 23:40). The religion which was her beauty has become abhorrent since it has been mixed with the vile practices and superstitions of every false cult. “This description is certainly not to our taste, but it must be remembered that Ezekiel’s object was to excite this very feeling of disgust.” — Smend.


Verse 26

26. Great of flesh — Not obesity, but fleshliness. The Egyptians were given up to the lusts of the flesh. The animalism of the Egyptian religion — which was explained mystically by its most spiritual teachers — was taken literally by foreign proselytes, who made this a most coarse and beastly cult.


Verse 27

27. I have stretched… have diminished thine ordinary food… hate thee — Literally, I stretched… diminished their allotted food… hated thee. “That is, her fixed or allotted support was lessened, just as an insulted husband would take something from the wife’s stipend.” — Orelli. “The reference seems to be to the distant times of Philistine supremacy in the last days of the judges.” — Davidson.

The daughters of the Philistines, which are ashamed of thy lewd way — Even the Philistines are ashamed of this harlot (Amos 3:9). Even the cities of Philistia do not encourage such a mixed religious cult as this “holy city” of Jerusalem, and this is seen to explain why so much of Israelitish territory is controlled by Philistia.


Verse 28-29

28, 29. Hast played… hast… multiplied — Literally, didst play, didst multiply. Not content with having adopted the worst features of Canaanitish and Egyptian idolatry (Ezekiel 16:20; Ezekiel 16:26), she turns for novelties of wickedness to the Assyrians and Chaldeans. “Thou hast provoked me in all these ways, adding one sin upon another, because thy whoredoms were too few for thee.” — Mosheh Ben Shesheth.

In the land of Canaan unto Chaldea — Literally, unto the merchants’ land, even unto Chaldea. (Compare Ezekiel 17:4.)


Verse 30

30. How weak is thine heart… imperious — The Polychrome Bible reads, “How consumed wert thou by passion.” Cornill, following the Coptic and Arabic versions, reads, “What have I to do with thy covenant?”

(See Ezekiel 16:8.) Plumptre suggests “masterful” as a synonym for “imperious;” “one who is subject to no outward control.”


Verse 31

31. In that thou scornest hire — Literally, in scoffing at [her] hire. The ordinary prostitute scoffs at the first sum offered her and waits for a larger inducement, but this insatiable woman actually pays hire instead of receiving it (Ezekiel 16:33-34; see also 2 Kings 16:8). The meaning is that she prizes foreign alliances and religions far more than these foreigners prize hers.


Verse 32

32. Many authorities omit this verse. Though the reading is difficult, if not a gloss, the meaning is probably, “O adulterous wife, who, though she is under her husband, yet taketh strangers.” (See Ezekiel 16:8; Ezekiel 23:5.)


Verse 33

33. Givest… hirest — Literally, hast given, hast hired.


Verse 34

34. Whereas — Literally, seeing that.

A reward — Literally, hire.


Verse 36

36. Filthiness — Literally, brass. The LXX. seems to consider this as having reference to the bribes which she had given to her lovers (Hosea 8:9). In one passage the word stands as the symbol of brazenfaced vileness (Jeremiah 6:28). The Polychrome Bible translates “harlotry.”


Verse 37

37. With whom thou hast taken pleasure — Or, unto whom thou hast been pleasant.

I… will discover thy nakedness unto them — Her judges shall be her lovers, whom she, like Ishtar, has welcomed and discarded one by one. She has succeeded in making religious and political alliances first with one power and then with another; but presently the nations will see how untrustworthy and feeble she is and will scorn her.


Verse 38

38. I will judge thee — The scorn of the nations whose favor she has courted will be the least of her punishment.

I will give thee blood in fury and jealousy — Rather, I will make thee to be the blood of fury and jealousy. The meaning is that hers shall be the bloody death which, according to the law, the furious husband could inflict upon the wife who has been untrue to the marriage vow and has shed the blood of her child. (See Ezekiel 16:20; Ezekiel 16:36; Ezekiel 23:25; Leviticus 20:10; Deuteronomy 22:22.) Toy translates, “I will inflict on thee the bloody requital of furious indignation.”


Verse 39

39. I will also give thee into their hand — Her former lovers shall be her executioners. She shall be stoned and thrust through with their swords.

They shall take from her all the beautiful treasures which her husband had given to her (Ezekiel 16:10-12) and leave her once more in nakedness and penury, unable to hire new lovers (Ezekiel 16:41).


Verse 40

40. Stone thee — Stoning was the penalty for adultery under the Jewish law (Leviticus 20:10; Deuteronomy 22:22).


Verse 41

41. Burn thine houses — The use of the sword and of fire was not a part of the ordinary punishment of the adulteress. It shows special indignation and rage against the culprit. (Compare Judges 15:6.) Historically all these threatened judgments against Jerusalem did take place, and it was indeed her “lovers,” the Assyrians and Egyptians, who inflicted the punishment.

In the sight of many women — Surrounding nations, who needed to take warning from Jerusalem’s fate.


Verse 42

42. Make my fury toward thee to rest — Literally, satisfy my fury upon thee. (See Ezekiel 16:13.)


Verse 43

43. Because — This punishment is not hasty nor arbitrary. It only comes after crimes so long continued that it would be positively wicked to let such lewdness go unpunished any longer.

Thou… hast fretted me — “The original scarcely bears the transitive sense in this form of the verb.” — Cowles. Perhaps “thou hast raged against me.” (Compare 2 Kings 19:27-28.)

Thou shalt not commit this lewdness — Havernick and Keil would read, “I will not do wickedly because of all thy abominations;” that is, “by permitting Jerusalem to remain unpunished.” By a slight change in the text we could read, “hast thou not committed lewdness above all thine abominations?” “The term ‘lewdness’ is used by Ezekiel of sexual enormity, applied figuratively to idolatry (Ezekiel 16:27). ‘Lewdness’ and ‘abominations’ would not differ except that the former was the quality characterizing the acts called abominations. In this case the clause must read, ‘and thus hast thou committed lewdness in [amidst] all thine abominations;’ and the words would be a final summary of the preceding verses.” — Davidson.


Verse 44-45

44, 45. See notes Ezekiel 5:3. The use of proverbs is one of Ezekiel’s favorite literary devices.

That loatheth her husband — If the allegory is continued here, Ezekiel, like St. Paul, must be teaching that Jehovah is God of the whole earth and that idolatry originated through unfaithfulness to the true God. (See Romans 1:20-24.) It may be, however, that this is a side reference to the actual adultery and child murder which the Jews so abhorred in the Canaanites.


Verses 44-59

THE LOATHSOMENESS OF JERUSALEM, THE SPIRITUAL SISTER OF SODOM AND SAMARIA, DESCRIBED, Ezekiel 16:44-59.

How brave the prophet who could speak thus! What awful satire, what dreadful execration! No wonder the prophet grew angry and bitter when he saw what burden of denunciation had been laid upon him. To say that his own beloved people are no better than the Hittites and Amorites, whom they abhorred; to say that Sodom and Samaria are their nearest spiritual relatives; to go further, and declare that Jerusalem is incomparably worse than these cities — such words could only have been born of great courage and a controlling sense of duty. No wonder that the prophet again and again declares that the hand of the Lord was heavy upon him. (Compare Ezekiel 3:14.)


Verse 46

46. Elder sister… younger sister — The reference is not to the relative age of Sodom and Samaria as compared with Jerusalem, but to their relative importance.

And her daughters — Suburban towns and colonies.


Verse 47

47. Yet hast thou not walked after their ways — Every Hebrew would say Amen to this statement, but would grind his teeth when he found that the contrast drawn was in favor of these despised cities and nations. (Compare Matthew 10:15; Matthew 11:24.)


Verse 49-50

49, 50. This was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom — Pride, and wealth, and abundance of idleness (R.V., “prosperous ease”), indifference to the poor and haughtiness (religious bravado) toward God — this was her iniquity, and for this the Sodomites were destroyed “when I saw it” (Genesis 18:21); or “according to what I saw.” — Plumptre. But Jehovah was never “married” to Sodom as to Jerusalem. Sodom never deserted a divine husband whose kindness had exalted her to heaven. Even Sodom was not guilty of that.


Verse 51

51. Thou hast multiplied thine abominations… and [thus] hast justified thy sisters — Jerusalem makes the iniquities of these less favored cities seem almost excusable. If Jerusalem can justify herself, surely these must be justified (see Jeremiah 3:11); when compared with her own black deeds the wicked acts of other nations look almost white.


Verse 52

52. Thou also, which hast judged — Read preferably, “And thou also, which hast [in that thou hast] given judgment for [in behalf of] thy sisters, bear thy shame; through thy sins which thou hast committed more abominable than they, they are more righteous than thou.” — Davidson. The ignorant and untaught nations which she most despises (Ezekiel 16:56) are seen to be less wicked than herself (Ezekiel 16:54; Ezekiel 16:63). This is Jerusalem’s greatest shame.


Verse 53

53. When I shall bring — Jerusalem need not expect to be brought out of captivity until her “sisters” are delivered also. Let Jerusalem examine Sodom’s sad record and then decide when her own punishment is likely to end.

Then will I bring again the captivity of thy captives — Read, with LXX., Peshito, and Vulgate, and I will bring again thy captivity.


Verse 54

54. Mayest be confounded in all — Literally, mayest be shamed for all. (See Ezekiel 16:52.) Jerusalem will be ashamed since her superfluity of wickedness can comfort such people as the Sodomites and Samaritans with the idea that they are not very wicked, after all.


Verse 55

55. See note on Ezekiel 16:53. The Israelites always thought of Sodom and Samaria as being the superlative sinners. Only the extremest limit of God’s mercy could reach them. A Midrash on Exodus 12:12, speaks of ten things which shall be renewed in the far future and the fourth is, “even Sodom and Gomorrah shall be rebuilt.”


Verse 56

56. Thy sister Sodom was not mentioned — Jerusalem had always refused to acknowledge Sodom as a spiritual relative, notwithstanding the marked family likeness. It was counted a disgrace even to refer to such a disgusting neighbor.


Verse 57

57. Before thy wickedness was discovered — Jerusalem was very disdainful of others’ sins before her own wickedness was made manifest; but now the very “daughters of the Philistines” despise her.

As at the time of thy reproach — LXX, and Vulgate, as now to be the reproach. Better, R.V., “as at the time of the reproach.”


Verse 58

58. Thou hast borne — Rather, thou must bear. Her sins will fall upon her as a crushing punishment. (See notes Ezekiel 14:5; Ezekiel 14:9.)


Verse 59

59. I will even deal with thee as thou hast done — The covenant which Israel has broken is now by Jehovah also declared annulled. (See Ezekiel 16:8 and Deuteronomy 29:12.)


Verse 60

NEVERTHELESS, THE “EVERLASTING COVENANT” OF JEHOVAH STANDETH SURE,vv. 60-63.

60. An everlasting covenant — The old covenant is broken, but Jehovah is ready to make a new and everlasting covenant (Ezekiel 36:26; Ezekiel 37:26; Isaiah 54:9-10; Isaiah 55:3; Jeremiah 31:34; Jeremiah 31:36; Jeremiah 32:40; Jeremiah 33:20-22). This covenant will include the despised nations, such as Sodom and Samaria, who in the new spirit of this new testament shall become spiritual (and political?) daughters of Israel (Ezekiel 16:61). What a lofty conception is this which, so many centuries before the breaking down of the wall of partition by the Son of David, could include the Gentile world in God’s best covenant of grace. Surely the prophet to whom Jehovah in such a distant age could reveal such new and splendid truth must have been a mighty spiritual seer!


Verse 61

61. But not by thy covenant — Smend and Cornill, “but not because of thy covenant;” Kliefoth and Keil, “though they be not of thy covenant.” None of these new glories of Israel will bring pride, but only shame to the nation’s heart; for the old covenant has been broken and these new honors only come because of the unquenchable mercy and love of the God whom they have dishonored. These come not because of the Mosaic covenant, but are of grace alone. (Compare Romans iii, etc.)


Verse 62

62. I will establish — “I” is emphatic in opposition to “not by thy covenant.”


Verse 63

63. That thou mayest… never open thy mouth any more — Jehovah will shame his faithless bride, but it will be so plainly an act of love and be so quickly followed by loving-kindness that she will sit silent, her old impudence all gone, confounded at her divine husband’s goodness. She will no longer blame her misfortunes upon God or heredity, as she had been accustomed to do (see especially 18), but will with shamed face blame herself alone and will repent, when I am pacified (rather, when I forgive thee).

 


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Bibliography Information
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Ezekiel 16:4". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/ezekiel-16.html. 1874-1909.

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