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Bible Commentaries

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

Ezekiel 22

 

 

Verse 2

DESCRIPTION OF THE GROSS SINS OF THE INHABITANTS OF JERUSALEM, INCLUDING EVEN THE PROPHETS AND PRIESTS OF JEHOVAH.

2. Wilt thou judge [see Ezekiel 20:4] the bloody city — What a name for the holy sanctuary, now filled with child sacrifices (Ezekiel 20:26) and murders (Ezekiel 22:6; Ezekiel 22:9; Ezekiel 9:10; Ezekiel 16:38; Ezekiel 23:37; Ezekiel 23:45).

Yea, thou shalt show — Literally, then cause her to know.


Verse 3

3. The city that takes the sword shall perish by the sword, and that “maketh doll images unto itself” shall find in these supposed deities, not help, but defilement and ruin.


Verse 4

4. Therefore — This is not God’s will, but hers. She has defiled herself, and by her sins hastened the day and the year of punishment which repentance could have postponed or averted.


Verse 5

5. Infamous and much vexed — Literally, defiled in name and full of turmoil. The city which was to have been the joy of the whole earth has now become the scorn of the heathen.


Verse 6

6. To their power — Literally, each according to his arm.


Verse 7

7. The princes broke every commandment of the decalogue, and their example was followed by the people. (See Exodus 20:13; Deuteronomy 28:16; Deuteronomy 28:19.)


Verse 8

8. Thou hast — That is, Jerusalem (Ezekiel 22:4). In the heat of his speech the prophet returns to the personal form of address. These sabbath breakers and oppressors and murderers are now the real representatives of Jerusalem.


Verse 9

9. Men that carry tales — Slanderers and false witnesses (Exodus 23:1; Leviticus 19:16; 1 Kings 21:10; Jeremiah 9:3; Jeremiah 37:13).

Eat upon the mountains — See Ezekiel 18:6; Ezekiel 18:11.

Lewdness — See Ezekiel 16:43.


Verse 10-11

10, 11. This people, called to be a witness of Jehovah’s purity to all the earth, was going into the lowest depths of lust. There is no reason to doubt that this is a true picture of the corruption of this period. (See Jeremiah 5:7; Amos 2:6-8; Hosea 7:7, etc.) Yet the fact that the prophet could use the marriage covenant as he did, to figure the relation of Jerusalem to Jehovah, shows how much purer was the sentiment of the Jewish people even in their worst days than that of the nations surrounding them. (See Romans 1:28.) These commonest sins of the heathen were always against the Hebrew law (Leviticus 21:9; Leviticus 21:15; Leviticus 20:10; Leviticus 20:12; Leviticus 20:17).


Verse 12

12. Taken gifts — Bribes (Exodus 23:8; Isaiah 1:23; Micah 3:11).

Thou hast greedily gained of thy neighbors — In ancient Babylon the money lenders received twenty-five per cent a month from their victims. Assyriologists have noticed that some of these money lenders had Hebrew names, so that these words of Ezekiel may have been a severe blow to the “elders” in his congregation — as to many in the modern Church.


Verse 13

13. Smitten mine hand at [or, in] — See note Ezekiel 6:11. Yet perhaps this is not a clapping of the hands, but a striking of the hand upon the evil object.


Verse 15

15. This was literally fulfilled. (See also Ezekiel 23:27.) The Jews’ love of idolatry and licentiousness was burnt out of them in the hot furnace of the Babylonian captivity. No nation to-day is so free from the social evil.


Verse 16

16. And thou shalt take thine inheritance — Rather, as margin, thou shalt be profaned. The name of the holy people, like the holy name of Jehovah, is profaned by their idolatries and consequent punishment (note Ezekiel 20:9). Jerusalem had sought by all manner of wickedness to win the applause and love of the heathen, but gains only their contempt.


Verses 18-22

ISRAEL IN THE ASSYRIAN FURNACE, Ezekiel 22:18-22.

In this new prophecy Israel is compared with the ore in a smelting furnace. This ore looks now perfectly worthless. Once it was good silver ore, but now it is only the “dross” of silver. That some silver is expected as the resultant of the fiery test is hinted here and clearly expressed elsewhere (Ezekiel 22:15; Ezekiel 18:27; compare 1 Peter 1:7). Again and again the purpose of this punishment is declared to be, not the nation’s destruction, but its purification. Yet as the furnace is supposed to be set up “in the midst of Jerusalem” (Ezekiel 22:19), it may be that only the Jerusalemites, who are elsewhere considered as hopelessly unrepentant, are thought of in this connection, and not the remnant purified in the Babylonian fires. (See notes Ezekiel 24:1-14; Ezekiel 9:8; Ezekiel 11:16; Ezekiel 11:21, etc.) For the use of this same figure by other prophets see Malachi 3:2-3; Isaiah 1:22; Jeremiah 6:30.


Verse 23

23. In another communication from Jehovah the whole land is shown to partake in Jerusalem’s guilt.


Verse 24

24. Not cleansed — LXX., not rained upon. The rains, which in the East are especially considered marks of the divine favor, have been withdrawn. There have been no floods to wash away the filth and blood from the soil, nor showers sufficient to moisten the ground and make it fertile. Instead of “not cleansed,” Keil reads, “not shined upon,” which would give the added thought that the land was deprived of both sunshine and rain.


Verse 25

25. There is a conspiracy of her prophets in the midst thereof, like — More probably, as the LXX., whose princes in the midst thereof are like. (Compare Ezekiel 22:6-7; Ezekiel 19:1; Ezekiel 21:12.)


Verse 26

26. The priests are as bad as the royal princes. They regarded neither the prescriptions of the ceremonial nor the moral law. (Compare Ezekiel 22:8; Ezekiel 44:23; Leviticus 10:10.) The rites and ordinances of worship which Jehovah commands cannot be ignored or changed without guilt. The entire temple service was an object lesson teaching the people the meaning of “holiness.” Whatever belonged to Jehovah was holy. “Holiness is God’s claim to the proprietorship and use of certain objects.” As Dr. James Agar Beet has shown, from the earliest time the word contained a deep spiritual meaning. A holy people is a people devoted, separated, to God, and to whom God is devoted.


Verse 27

27. Princes — Rather, captains (Jeremiah 26:10). The subordinate officers are in full sympathy with the iniquitous practices of the court and temple. They are after the spoils at any price. (Compare Jeremiah 6:13.)


Verse 28

28. Even the prophets — who were an independent order supposed to be bound by no temple prejudices or political alliances, called of God in every generation to rebuke both king and high priest when they failed in duty — even they had become flatterers, “whitewashing” (Hebrews) the sins of the nobles and crying “peace” to every voice that raised itself against the evils of the day. (See Ezekiel 13:6-10.)


Verse 29

29. The common people naturally follow the example of the princes and captains, priests and prophets.


Verse 30

30. There is universal apostasy. There is not left in the city even one man who can plead for it as Abraham for the Sodomites, or as Moses for the people in the wilderness (<19A623>Psalms 106:23). If only one such man could be found Jehovah would listen. (See notes Ezekiel 13:5, and compare Jeremiah 5:1; Isaiah 58:12; Isaiah 59:16.)

 


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Bibliography Information
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Ezekiel 22:4". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/ezekiel-22.html. 1874-1909.

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