Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
Now, thou son of man, wilt thou judge, wilt thou judge the bloody city? yea, thou shalt shew her all her abominations.Ezekiel 22:2-5. Wilt thou judge, wilt thou judge the bloody city? — Wilt thou plead for it? Or rather, Wilt thou not judge? see note on Ezekiel 20:4. The expression is doubled to awaken the prophet more fully, and to quicken him to his work. Jerusalem is termed the bloody city, Hebrew, עיר הדמים, the city of bloods, because of the blood of innocent persons, of children sacrificed to Moloch, and of prophets and righteous men shed in her, and that by courts of justice under colour of law. Yea, thou shalt show her — Make her know; all her abominations — That I may be justified in all the desolations which I have brought, and shall still more fully bring upon her. The city sheddeth blood in the midst of it — Openly and impudently; that her time may come — The time of her destruction, as the consequence of her having filled up the measure of her iniquities; and maketh idols against herself — To her own ruin. Thou hast caused thy days to draw near — The days of thy sorrows and sufferings; and art come even to thy years — To the end of thy years of trial, so that thou shalt be borne with no longer. Therefore have I made thee a reproach unto the heathen — Have exposed thee to their contempt and scorn; and a mocking to all countries — A proverb, and a by-word, and cause of astonishment to all people, according to the prediction of Moses, (Deuteronomy 28:37,) and the solemn warning given by the Lord to Solomon, when he appeared to him after the dedication of the temple, 1 Kings 9:7. Those that are near — And are eye-witnesses of thy apostacy and degeneracy, as the Edomites, Ammonites, Moabites, and Philistines; and those that be far from thee — The Medes, Persians, Hyrcanians, &c., to whom thou shalt be carried captive; shall mock thee, which art infamous — Of a most infamous name; and much vexed — Afflicted, empoverished, and ruined: or rather, who art full of tumult and trouble, as רבת המהומה more properly signifies: that is, in which there are continually confusion and disorder, by the commission of acts of violence.
Then say thou, Thus saith the Lord GOD, The city sheddeth blood in the midst of it, that her time may come, and maketh idols against herself to defile herself.
Thou art become guilty in thy blood that thou hast shed; and hast defiled thyself in thine idols which thou hast made; and thou hast caused thy days to draw near, and art come even unto thy years: therefore have I made thee a reproach unto the heathen, and a mocking to all countries.
Those that be near, and those that be far from thee, shall mock thee, which art infamous and much vexed.
Behold, the princes of Israel, every one were in thee to their power to shed blood.Ezekiel 22:6-12. Behold, the princes of Israel, &c. — Probably the members of the great sanhedrim, or the king’s counsellors and chief officers, are here intended; every one in thee — Not one to be found of a more merciful temper; to their power — According to their ability; to shed blood — Every one of the princes committed acts of violence, and shed blood, as far as he had it in his power to do it. In thee have they set light by father and mother — Disobedience to, or slighting of parents, is unnatural and brutish in itself, and had, in particular, a curse denounced against it by God’s law, Deuteronomy 27:16; so that it is here placed next to murder in the catalogue of their sins. Thou hast despised my holy things, &c. — Thou hast paid no proper regard to my holy temple, mine altars, sacrifices, feasts, and other things consecrated to my service, nor to the pure worship I appointed; but hast defiled and profaned them all by worshipping of idols together with me, and mingling heathen rites with the forms of worship which I ordered. The sabbaths, which I appointed to be set apart for my honour, thou hast, in great measure, employed in the worship and to the honour of false gods. In thee are men that carry tales to shed blood —
Who raise calumnies and depose falsehoods even so far as to take away the lives of innocent persons. In thee they eat upon the mountains — Thy inhabitants sacrifice, and feast upon the sacrifices, in the mountains, in honour of idols or false gods. In the midst of thee they commit lewdness — And that in the most scandalous instances. In thee have they discovered their fathers’ nakedness — Have defiled their fathers’ beds, or taken their mothers-in-law for wives, called by St. Paul, such fornication as is not named among the Gentiles. In thee have they taken gifts to shed blood — Thy judges have taken bribes, not only to pervert justice, but even to take away the lives of the innocent.
In thee have they set light by father and mother: in the midst of thee have they dealt by oppression with the stranger: in thee have they vexed the fatherless and the widow.
Thou hast despised mine holy things, and hast profaned my sabbaths.
In thee are men that carry tales to shed blood: and in thee they eat upon the mountains: in the midst of thee they commit lewdness.
In thee have they discovered their fathers' nakedness: in thee have they humbled her that was set apart for pollution.
And one hath committed abomination with his neighbour's wife; and another hath lewdly defiled his daughter in law; and another in thee hath humbled his sister, his father's daughter.
In thee have they taken gifts to shed blood; thou hast taken usury and increase, and thou hast greedily gained of thy neighbours by extortion, and hast forgotten me, saith the Lord GOD.
Behold, therefore I have smitten mine hand at thy dishonest gain which thou hast made, and at thy blood which hath been in the midst of thee.Ezekiel 22:13-16. Therefore I have smitten my hand at thy dishonest gain, &c. — Therefore I have expressed my indignation against thy avarice and unjust practices: I have called for punishment to come upon thee, and have animated and encouraged thy enemies to destroy thee. Can thy heart endure? — Will not thy heart fail thee when thou shalt fall into those calamities which I will certainly bring upon thee? And will consume thy filthiness out of thee — Will purge thee in the furnace of afflictions, and take that method to consume thy dross, and put an end to thy idolatrous practices. And thou shalt take thine inheritance in thyself in the sight of the heathen — “Instead of being mine inheritance, and under my peculiar care and protection, thou shalt be cast out among the heathen, and there eat the fruit of thine own ways, and receive the just reward of thy wickedness.” The translation of this clause in the margin seems preferable: Thou shalt be profaned, that is, thou shalt no longer enjoy the privileges of a city called by my name, and set apart for my worship, but shalt be laid open as common ground to be profaned by infidels: compare Isaiah 47:6.
Can thine heart endure, or can thine hands be strong, in the days that I shall deal with thee? I the LORD have spoken it, and will do it.
And I will scatter thee among the heathen, and disperse thee in the countries, and will consume thy filthiness out of thee.
And thou shalt take thine inheritance in thyself in the sight of the heathen, and thou shalt know that I am the LORD.
And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
Son of man, the house of Israel is to me become dross: all they are brass, and tin, and iron, and lead, in the midst of the furnace; they are even the dross of silver.Ezekiel 22:18-22. The house of Israel is to me become dross — “Their filthiness may be fitly compared to the mixture of dross and baser metals with the pure silver: and as that is purified by being melted in a furnace or crucible, so Jerusalem, when it is set on fire, shall be the furnace into which I will cast them and their wickedness to be consumed: compare Jeremiah 6:28-30. God’s severe judgments are expressed by the furnace of affliction, (Isaiah 48:10,) and compared to a refiner’s fire, (Malachi 3:2; Isaiah 1:25,) because they are designed to purge men from that dross and corruption which are too often the effect of ease and prosperity.” — Lowth. As they gather silver, so will I gather you — From all parts. I will, by a secret, overruling providence, bring you into Jerusalem, as into a furnace where you may be consumed. And I will blow upon you in the fire of my wrath — I will stir or blow up the fire of my wrath against you. God’s vengeance is often compared to fire, but here it was so in a literal sense, when both city and temple were consumed by fire, 2 Kings 25:9.
Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Because ye are all become dross, behold, therefore I will gather you into the midst of Jerusalem.
As they gather silver, and brass, and iron, and lead, and tin, into the midst of the furnace, to blow the fire upon it, to melt it; so will I gather you in mine anger and in my fury, and I will leave you there, and melt you.
Yea, I will gather you, and blow upon you in the fire of my wrath, and ye shall be melted in the midst thereof.
As silver is melted in the midst of the furnace, so shall ye be melted in the midst thereof; and ye shall know that I the LORD have poured out my fury upon you.
And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
Son of man, say unto her, Thou art the land that is not cleansed, nor rained upon in the day of indignation.Ezekiel 22:24-25. Thou art the land that is not cleansed nor rained upon, &c. — Though God’s judgments have been as violent floods, and as hottest fires, thou hast not been cleansed from thy wickedness by the punishments I have sent upon thee, nor purified by the instructions and admonitions which I have given thee by my prophets; which, if they had been duly received, would have been instrumental in cleansing thee from all thy filthiness, as the heavy rains wash away the filth that lies upon the earth: see Isaiah 4:4; John 15:3; Ephesians 5:26; 1 Peter 1:22. Or this latter clause, nor rained upon, may be taken literally, and signify that God had withheld rain from them, which was one of the judgments wherewith God punished them in the day of his wrath, Jeremiah 14:4. There is a conspiracy of her prophets — That is, of the false prophets: a contrivance to speak all alike, smooth words, and to utter promises of peace and safety: they are all agreed together to deceive the people, and to plot the ruin of the true prophets, and those that favour them. They have devoured souls — They have brought men to ruin and destruction, by deceiving them with their false predictions; and taken away their lives, by false accusations and evil practices. They have taken the treasure and precious things — As a reward of their lies. By their cunning arts they have obtained riches, power, and honours, and have drained the people of their substance; they have made her — Namely, the land; many widows — By persuading Zedekiah to persist in the war, which filled Jerusalem with dead husbands and forlorn widows.
There is a conspiracy of her prophets in the midst thereof, like a roaring lion ravening the prey; they have devoured souls; they have taken the treasure and precious things; they have made her many widows in the midst thereof.
Her priests have violated my law, and have profaned mine holy things: they have put no difference between the holy and profane, neither have they shewed difference between the unclean and the clean, and have hid their eyes from my sabbaths, and I am profaned among them.Ezekiel 22:26. Her priests have violated my law — Which they ought to have observed, and to have taught the people to observe; and have profaned my holy things — The gifts and sacrifices offered in my service; either by offering them in an undue manner, as the sons of Eli did, 1 Samuel 2:15, or without due purification of themselves; or else eating them as common meats, without regard to the rules prescribed in the law. They have put no difference between the holy and profane — They have not shown any regard to the rules of my law, concerning what is holy and unholy, clean and unclean, and that both with respect to persons and things. And they are guilty of this neglect in contradiction to an express charge given them respecting this matter, Leviticus 10:10. By the holy is here meant that which was peculiarly dedicated to God; by the profane, things in common use; by the unclean, those meats which were forbidden to be eaten; by the clean, what it was lawful to eat. And have hid their eyes from my sabbaths — They have taken no care that my sabbaths should be kept, and have not attended themselves upon my public worship on the sabbath days, 2 Chronicles 29:7; and thereby have encouraged my people in the neglect and profanation of it. And I am profaned among them — I am dishonoured by them, and they use my name to false and wicked purposes.
Her princes in the midst thereof are like wolves ravening the prey, to shed blood, and to destroy souls, to get dishonest gain.Ezekiel 22:27-28. Her princes are like wolves — The chief officers of state stick at no method of injustice and oppression whereby they may increase their substance, though it be by taking away the lives and estates of the innocent: see the margin. And her prophets have daubed them, &c. — Have daubed over the evil practices of the great men, by palliating devices: or, have flattered them in their ways of sin and violence, and encouraged them to proceed therein with promises, which, like ill-tempered mortar, will deceive them, though all seems at present smooth and safe.
And her prophets have daubed them with untempered morter, seeing vanity, and divining lies unto them, saying, Thus saith the Lord GOD, when the LORD hath not spoken.
The people of the land have used oppression, and exercised robbery, and have vexed the poor and needy: yea, they have oppressed the stranger wrongfully.Ezekiel 22:29-31. The people of the land — The common people; have used oppression — Have wronged each other by acts of fraud and violence, and have greatly and cruelly oppressed each other. And have vexed the poor and needy — By these frauds and oppressions, instead of relieving them, which they ought to have done. Yea, they have oppressed the strangers wrongfully — Without any colour of justice or reason. This was contrary to an express prohibition of God’s law, frequently repeated and enforced upon them, from the consideration, that they themselves were strangers in Egypt. And I sought — God speaks after the manner of men; for a man among them — Any one among the princes, prophets, priests, or people; that should make up the hedge — That should repair the breach, and prevent further mischief; and stand in the gap before me — That might interpose between a sinful people and their offended God; deprecate God’s wrath, and entreat for mercy, that the land might not be destroyed; but I found none — All were corrupted, and went on in sin without repentance. This general complaint must be understood with some restriction, such as is commonly understood in unlimited expressions. For we read, Ezekiel 9:4, that there were some that sighed and cried to God (by way of deprecating his wrath) for the abominations done in Jerusalem; and they undoubtedly exhorted the people to repentance and reformation. Therefore have I poured out mine indignation upon them — Have given it full scope, that it might come upon them in a full stream; yet, whatever calamity God brings upon a sinful people, it is their own way that is therein recompensed upon their heads, and God punishes them not more, but much less, than their iniquity deserves.
And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none.
Therefore have I poured out mine indignation upon them; I have consumed them with the fire of my wrath: their own way have I recompensed upon their heads, saith the Lord GOD.