That you have also built to you an eminent place, and have made you an high place in every street.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Built unto thee an eminent place.—The word means literally, arches. Such arched rooms were used in connection with the worship of idols for licentious purposes, and hence the translation of the margin indicates the real object of the structure, whether the word be taken in its literal sense, or spiritually, of unfaithfulness to God. In the following verse the indiscriminateness of Israel’s idolatry is expressed in the strongest terms, and then in the following verses the adoption of the idolatries of several nations in particular is specified.Ezekiel 16:24-26. Thou hast also built thee an eminent place in every street — Manasseh filled Jerusalem with idols, 2 Chronicles 33:4-5; 2 Chronicles 33:15; the altars of many of which were placed upon high or eminent places. At every head of the way — Not content with what was done in the streets of Jerusalem and other cities, thou hast erected thine altars in the country, wherever it was likely passengers would come. Thou hast also committed fornication with the Egyptians — While the Israelites sojourned in Egypt they learned to practise the Egyptian idolatries. From Josiah’s time the Jews were in strict confederacy with the Egyptians, and, to ingratiate themselves with them, practised their idolatries; and the worship of Tammuz, the idolatry they are upbraided with, chap. Ezekiel 8:14, was derived from that country. Great of flesh — Who are naturally lusty and strong, and men of great stature. This expression seems to signify that the Israelites were allured by the riches and grandeur of Egypt to imitate their idolatries.Hast also built, with great charge and pains, as those do. who build, hereby declaring thy purposes of continuing thy lewdness.
Unto thee; for thyself, grown so prodigiously public, and followed with such numbers, and such great ones, that no common place was thought great enough, or stately enough.
An eminent place; not only eminent for its situation, but for its structure, that it might invite men in, and have room to treat them, unless you will refer the words that follow to the manner of the building, and the former words to the height of the situation.
An high place in every street; idol temples and brothel-houses were in every street; so common were these sins with the Jews; in every large street capable of and frequented with much company. This in Jerusalem and her cities. Proverbs 22:14;
and hast made thee an high place in every street; of Jerusalem, and other cities; it was usual to erect high places in streets, where altars were built, and idols set up to be worshipped: it denotes the public manner in which they committed idolatry, and the multitude of their idols; which shows their impudence and hardness of heart.That thou hast also built unto thee an eminent place, and hast made thee an high place in every street.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)24. an eminent place] The term is used of the “back,” the “boss” of a buckler, and the like, and means something elevated to some extent and probably arched; R.V. marg. vaulted chamber. It appears to be the same thing which is called a “high place” or rather: height, or elevated place, in this verse and Ezekiel 16:25 (a different word from that usually rendered “high place”). Small shrines must be meant, as they were put in every street, and at every head of the way. If the places were arches or vaults there is no reason to suppose that they were used for literal prostitution, as A.V. marg. suggests. The language is figurative for idolatry, Jeremiah 2:20; Jeremiah 3:2.Verse 24. - An eminent place; lofty (Revised Version); but the word strictly points to the form of a vault, with the added meaning, as in the LXX., οἵκημα πορνικόν, and the Vulgate, lupanar, of its being used for prostitution. It is, at hast, a curious fact that the Latin fornicari and its derivatives, take their start from the fornices, the vaults or cells which were the haunts of the harlots of Rome. Looking to the fact that all the worst forms of sensual evil came to Rome from the East, and specially from Syria -
"Jampridem in Tiberim Syrus defluxit Orontes"
(Juv., 'Sat.', 3:62) - it seems probable that the practice was a survival of the custom to which Ezekiel refers. As in the Mylitta worship at Babylon (Herod., 1:262; Bar., 6:43), and that of Aphrodite at Corinth, prostitution assumed a quasi-religious character, and tZechariah 3:9), and thereby covered thy nakedness. "I swore to thee," sc. love and fidelity (cf. Hosea 2:21-22), and entered into a covenant with thee, i.e., into that gracious connection formed by the adoption of Israel as the possession of Jehovah, which is represented as a marriage covenant (compare Exodus 24:8 and Exodus 19:5-6, and Deuteronomy 5:2 : - אתך for אתּך). Ezekiel 16:9. describe how Jehovah provided for the purification, clothing, adorning, and maintenance of His wife. As the bride prepares herself for the wedding by washing and anointing, so did the Lord cleanse Israel from the blemishes and impurities which adhered to it from its birth. The rinsing from the blood must not be understood as specially referring either to the laws of purification given to the nation (Hitzig), or as relating solely to the purification effected by the covenant sacrifice (Hvernick). It embraces all that the Lord did for the purifying of the people from the pollution of sin, i.e., for its sanctification. The anointing with oil indicates the powers of the Spirit of God, which flowed to Israel from the divine covenant of grace. The clothing with costly garments, and adorning with all the jewellery of a wealthy lady or princess, points to the equipment of Israel with all the gifts that promote the beauty and glory of life. The clothing is described as made of the costliest materials with which queens were accustomed to clothe themselves. רקמה, embroidered cloth (Psalm 45:15). תּחשׁ, probably the sea-cow, Manati (see the comm. on Exodus 25:5). The word is used here for a fine description of leather of which ornamental sandals were made; a kind of morocco. "I bound thee round with byssus:" this refers to the headband; for חבשׁ is the technical expression for the binding or winding round of the turban-like headdress (cf. Ezekiel 24:17; Exodus 29:9; Leviticus 8:13), and is applied by the Targum to the headdress of the priests. Consequently covering with משׁי, as distinguished from clothing, can only refer to covering with the veil, one of the principal articles of a woman's toilet. The ἁπ. λεγ. משׁי (Ezekiel 16:10 and Ezekiel 16:13) is explained by the Rabbins as signifying silk. The lxx render it τρίχαπτον. According to Jerome, this is a word formed by the lxx: quod tantae subtilitatis fuerit vestimentum, ut pilorum et capillorum tenuitatem habere credatur. The jewellery included not only armlets, nose-rings, and ear-rings, which the daughters of Israel were generally accustomed to wear, but also necklaces and a crown, as ornaments worn by princesses and queens. For רביד, see comm. on Genesis 41:42. Ezekiel 16:13 sums up the contents of Ezekiel 16:9-12. Sheeshiy שׁשׁי is made to conform to משׁי; the food is referred to once more; and the result of the whole is said to have been, that Jerusalem became exceedingly beautiful, and flourished even to royal dignity. The latter cannot be taken as referring simply to the establishment of the monarchy under David, any more than merely to the spiritual sovereignty for which Israel was chosen from the very beginning (Exodus 19:5-6). The expression includes both, viz., the call of Israel to be a kingdom of priests, and the historical realization of this call through the Davidic sovereignty. The beauty, i.e., glory, of Israel became so great, that the name of fame of Israel sounded abroad in consequence among the nations. It was perfect, because the Lord had put His glory upon His Church. This, too, we must not restrict (as Hvernick does) to the far-sounding fame of Israel on its departure from Egypt (Exodus 15:14.); it refers pre-eminently to the glory of the theocracy under David and Solomon, the fame of which spread into all lands. - Thus had Israel been glorified by its God above all the nations, but it did not continue in fellowship with its God.
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