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Bible Commentaries

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

Ezekiel 6

 

 

Verse 1-2

PROPHECY OF ISRAEL’S CAPTIVITY AND THE LAND’S UTTER DESOLATION BECAUSE OF IDOLATRY, Ezekiel 6, 7.

2. Son of man — See note Ezekiel 2:1.

Mountains of Israel — Which had become defiled by the idolatrous worship which had its chief centers in “mountains” and “high places” (Deuteronomy 12:2; 2 Kings 17:10-11; Jeremiah 2:20; Jeremiah 3:6).


Verse 3

3. Ye mountains… hear the word of the Lord — This apostrophe to the “mountains and to the hills, to the gorges, and to the valleys,” is in accordance with the most effective style of speech. The places where these crimes against Jehovah were most commonly practiced (Ezekiel 35:8; Ezekiel 36:4; Ezekiel 36:6; Isaiah 57:5-7; Jeremiah 2:23) are made to represent the criminals themselves.

I will destroy your high places — Altars of sacrifice were always placed on elevations. These “high places” were, no doubt, chiefly idolatrous (see Leviticus 26:30; Numbers 22:41), although it is certain that on some of these altars had been erected to Jehovah (Ezekiel 20:28). But the worship of Jehovah at such sanctuaries was made illegal after the erection of the temple; and it must have been almost as corrupt as the Canaanitish idolatry. When priests or Levites broke away from the prescribed form in Jerusalem they were no longer in good standing in the Jewish Church, and were under great temptation to introduce into their nominal worship of Jehovah novel and superstitious elements. They could hardly expect Jehovah’s favor while disobeying his explicit commands as to the place and manner of worship, and, therefore, the high places originally dedicated to Jehovah seem to have early degenerated into idolatrous sanctuaries (1 Kings 13:33-34; 1 Kings 14:23-24; Jeremiah 7:31, etc.).


Verse 4

4. Images — Sun images, dedicated to Baal (2 Chronicles 34:4). These were usually pillars or obelisks which were set up close to the altar or in front of the temple doors.

Idols — Rather, idol blocks or doll images, possibly dung gods. (See also Ezekiel 6:6; Ezekiel 6:9; Ezekiel 6:13.) This is a favorite term with Ezekiel, and it is the most contemptuous epithet possible. The prophet had the utmost scorn of idols and satirized them without mercy. (See Isaiah 40:19; Isaiah 44:9-17.) This word for idols is used in “Ezekiel’s favorite text-books” (Leviticus 26:30; Deuteronomy 29:17).


Verse 5

5. They will die in their idolatry, and their high places “will be deserted.” Their wooden dolls will not be able even to protect their own altars from the pollution of dead men’s bones. “Where there had been the sweet savor of incense there should be the sickening odor of the carcasses of the slain.” — Plumptre.


Verse 6

6. Your works may be abolished — Literally, blotted out. These heathen high places, altars, obelisks, and idols are all described as the works of their own hands (Isaiah 2:8; Isaiah 44:17; Hosea 8:6). The worship in which they now pride themselves shall be their ruin and shall fall into ruin. The destruction shall be more thorough than in any previous reformation (2 Kings 23:27).


Verse 7

7. Ye shall know that I am the Lord — See also Ezekiel 6:13. This is to be the result of these terrible chastisements. Both the heathen and Israel will be forced to acknowledge that the one true God is the God who can protect his own honor, preserve those who are his true worshipers, and punish like a mighty God those who scorn and apostatize. He is not a God who is afar off; he is the very present “I am;” a God who is merciful and gracious, but who will not spare the guilty.


Verse 8

8. Yet will I leave a remnant, that ye may have some — A remnant would be saved from their idolatry, though as by fire, and would preserve the true faith to the end of time (Isaiah 1:9; Isaiah 10:20; Zephaniah 2:7; Zephaniah 3:13; Jeremiah 43:5). This word only referred to the immediate future, yet it may have a larger application. Although Israel for thousands of years has been a “taunt” and “astonishment” to the whole earth, a people without a country, and exposed to such persecutions as no other nation ever endured, yet a “remnant” has always been preserved. The Assyrians and Phoenicians and all other nations who were neighbors to Israel when this prophecy was written have disappeared, but Jehovah’s people remain unique and separate in every land — a nation still, though “scattered through the countries.”


Verse 9

9. “And they… shall remember me… when I have broken for myself their whorish heart.” — Havernick and Keil. This seems a better reading than that of the R.V., “I have been broken.” Israel went into Babylonian captivity a nation prone to fall constantly into idolatry. It came out of that fiery furnace a purified people with the whorish heart broken and every polytheistic tendency burned out of it. Up to this point their whole history had been a series of national or tribal apostasies from the true God; from this point onward there is not a single instance of this. From the time of this awful punishment down to the present, the whole nation has heartily sung, in every age: —

Thou art One, the first great cause of all;

Thou art One, and none can penetrate,

Not even the wise in heart, the mystery

Of thy unfathomable unity,

Thou art One, the infinitely great.

Ibn Gebirol.

Their eyes — “The eyes that hung wantonly on their idols.” — Kautzsch. “Ears and hearts were both involved in the sin (Ezekiel 20:7-8; Ezekiel 20:24; Numbers 15:39), and both came under the same chastisement that was to lead them to repentance.” — Plumptre.

Loathe themselves — Literally, loathe their own faces. (Compare Ezekiel 20:43; Ezekiel 36:31.)


Verse 10

10. See Ezekiel 6:7.


Verse 11

11. Smite with thine hand… and say, Alas — These are even to this day common expressions of emotional excitement among orientals. They denote either energetic signals for immediate action (Ezekiel 21:14), or expressions of anger or grief (Ezekiel 22:13; Numbers 24:10), or gestures of triumphant scorn (Ezekiel 25:3-6). The prophet here is personifying for the moment the nations who are watching the siege of Jerusalem. He had previously pictured the horrors of the siege; he now pictures the insults of enemies. The view of Smend, that this expresses Ezekiel’s personal feeling, entirely misses the point. In this picture-prophecy Ezekiel never speaks or acts from a personal standpoint, but as representing now Jehovah, now Israel, and now the heathen.


Verse 12

12. Kautzsch and R.V. read “preserved” and “saved” instead of besieged.


Verse 13

13. Oak — Rather, terebinth. This is an emphatic repetition of all the warnings uttered earlier in the chapter. If their iniquities shall continue — as they will — all these heavy punishments shall fall upon them.


Verse 14

14. This punishment comes from the same Hand that in former times was lifted up against their enemies. The “spoiler of Moab” (Jeremiah 48:18-22) has now become the destroyer of his own chosen people (Ezekiel 33:28). It is seen from the Moabite stone that Diblath and Diblathaim may be used interchangeably. “Yea, desolate from the wilderness unto Riblah,” is a reading favored by some, but without sufficient reason.

 


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Bibliography Information
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Ezekiel 6:4". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/ezekiel-6.html. 1874-1909.

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