This chapter contains a recital of the sins of Jerusalem, Ezekiel 22:1-12; for which God threatens it with severe judgments, Ezekiel 22:13-16, in order to purify it from the dross, Ezekiel 22:17-22. And as the corruption is general, pervading prophets, priests, princes, and people; so, it is declared, shall be the punishment, Ezekiel 22:23-31.
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.Wilt thou judge the bloody city - Pronounce the sentence of death against the murderers.
Show her all her abominations - And a most revolting and dreadful catalogue of these is in consequence exhibited.
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.Her time may come - Till now, it was my long-suffering; she has fulfilled her days - completed the time of her probation; has not mended, but is daily worse; therefore her judgment can linger no longer.
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.Thou art become guilty in thy blood - Thou art guilty of blood.
Those that be near, and those that be far from thee, shall mock thee, which art infamous and much vexed.Those that be near - Both distant as well as neighboring provinces consider thee the most abandoned of characters; and through thee many have been involved in distress and ruin.
Behold, the princes of Israel, every one were in thee to their power to shed blood.Behold, the princes - Ye are a vile and murderous people, and your princes have been of the same character. Like people, like prince.
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.In thee have they set light - The children do not reverence their parents. Parental affection and filial respect do not exist among you. The stranger is not only not succoured, but he is oppressed. The widows and fatherless are vexed by wrongs and exactions.
Thou hast despised mine holy things, and hast profaned my sabbaths.Thou hast despised - All my ordinances are not only neglected, but treated with contempt; and my Sabbaths profaned. There is not only no power of godliness among you, but there is no form.
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 are men that carry tales - Witnesses that will swear any thing, even where life is concerned.
They eat upon the mountains - Sacrifice to idols, and celebrate their festivals.
In thee have they discovered their fathers' nakedness: in thee have they humbled her that was set apart for pollution.In thee have they discovered - They are guilty of the most abominable incest and unnatural lust.
On thee have they humbled - In their unholy and unnatural connexions, they have not abstained from those set apart because of their infirmities. The catalogue of crimes that follow is too plain to require comment.
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.
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.Thou shalt know that I am the Lord - I shall so deal with and punish thee, that thou shalt be obliged to own the vindictive hand of a sin-avenging God.
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.The house of Israel is to me become dross - They are all like base metal - brass, tin, iron, and lead alloyed together with silver. Ye must be put in the furnace, and subjected to the most intense fire, till your impurities are consumed away. No ordinary means will avail any thing; the most violent must be resorted to.
Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Because ye are all become dross, behold, therefore I will gather you into the midst of Jerusalem.I will gather you - Jerusalem is represented here as the fining pot; all the people are to be gathered together in it, and the Chaldean fire is to knelt the whole. And God will increase thy sufferings: as the refiner blows the fire with his bellows, so God will blow upon you with the fire of his wrath, Ezekiel 22:21.
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.Thou art the land that is not cleansed - Thou art like a country where there is no rain, either to cleanse the garments, or fertilize the ground.
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.There is a conspiracy - The false prophets have united together to say and support the same things; and have been the cause of the destruction of souls, and the death of many, so that widows, through their means, are multiplied in thee.
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.Her priests - Even they whose lips should preserve knowledge, have not instructed the people: they have violated my law, not only in their private conduct, but in their careless and corrupt manner of serving in my temple.
Her princes in the midst thereof are like wolves ravening the prey, to shed blood, and to destroy souls, to get dishonest gain.Her princes - Are as bad as her priests; they are rapacious, and grievously oppress the people by unjust impositions in order to increase their revenues.
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.Her prophets - Even those who profess themselves to be my prophets, have been unfaithful in the discharge of their office; have soothed the people in their sins, and pretended to have oracles of peace and safety when I had not spoken to them.
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.The people - All that have power or authority have abused it; vexed and oppressed the poor, the needy, and the stranger.
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.I sought for a man - I saw that there was a grievous breach made in the moral state and feeling of the people, and I sought for a man that would stand in the gap; that would faithfully exhort, reprove and counsel with all long-suffering and doctrine. But none was to be found!
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.Therefore - Because of the profligacies already mentioned; because of the false worship so generally practiced; because of the false prophets tolerated; because of the unholy and profane priesthood; because of the oppressive princes; because of the unfaithful and deceiving prophets; because of the oppressions of petty officers; and because of the total corruption of manners in all ranks, places, offices, etc.: -
Have I poured out mine indignation - consumed them with the fire of my wrath - Considering the above, has there not been sufficient reason why I should abandon such a people, and pour out upon them such a destructive storm of calamities?