As I live, said the Lord GOD, surely in the place where the king dwells that made him king, whose oath he despised, and whose covenant he broke, even with him in the middle of Babylon he shall die.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)In the place . . . he shall die.—The distinct prophecy of the death of Zedekiah at Babylon is here given in a form to bring out in the strongest light the fitness and justice of his punishment. It was to be in the place of the king to whom he owed his crown, and to whom he had given his fealty, yet against whom he had rebelled. The tense here changes to the future, because the events of this and the following verse were yet to be fulfilled.Ezekiel 17:16-21. As I live, saith the Lord, &c. — This intimates how highly God resented the crime, and how sure and severe the punishment of it would be. He swears in his wrath, as he did, Psalm 95:11. Observe, reader, as God’s promises are confirmed with an oath, for comfort to the saints, so are his threatenings, for terror to the wicked. Surely in the place where the king dwelleth — In Babylon, where Nebuchadnezzar dwells, who made him king, when he might have as easily made him a prisoner. Whose oath he despised — Made light of, and perfidiously violated. Even with him he shall die — Shall be a prisoner in Babylon the rest of his days, and shall die there. Neither shall Pharaoh make for him — See Jeremiah 37:7. But the Hebrew, יעשׂה אותו במלחמה, may be properly rendered, as indeed it is by Bishop Newcome, Pharaoh shall not deal with him, namely, with Nebuchadnezzar, in war: or, shall not make war with him. Accordingly the Vulgate translates the clause, “Et non in exercitu grandi, neque in populo multo faciet contra eum Pharaoh prælium:” neither with a great army, nor with much people, shall Pharaoh fight a battle against him. By casting up, &c. — Or rather, When he hath cast up mounts, &c., that is, when Nebuchadnezzar has raised mounts and builded forts to annoy Jerusalem, and destroy its inhabitants, Pharaoh shall not bring any assistance to it. Seeing he despised, &c., when lo, he had given his hand — In token of entering into a mutual league and covenant. It was a ceremony used especially when an inferior made profession of his subjection to a superior. My covenant that he hath broken — God calls it his covenant, because it was entered into, or promised to be observed, by taking an oath in his name. Even it will I recompense upon his own head — I will punish it as it deserves, and it shall appear by the punishment that my hand doth execute it. And I will spread my net, &c. — See on Ezekiel 12:13, where this clause occurs word for word. And will plead with him there — God is said to plead with men when he places their sins before their eyes, and convinces them of their disobedience by manifest tokens of his vengeance. And all his fugitives — All the companions of his flight; with all his bands shall fall by the sword — Every thing here denounced by the prophet against Zedekiah exactly came to pass, as the reader may see by comparing these threatenings with the account given Jeremiah 52:8-11; 2 Kings 25:5-7.
In the place; Babylon. The king; Nebuchadnezzar.
Made him king; Zedekiah.
Whose oath; the oath Nebuchadnezzar imposed.
He despised; contemptuously, without any just cause given; and therefore this perfidious prince could never expect more favour, but must in reason fear the greatest severities. Under this fear Zedekiah shall spend the rest of his days. He shall rather be always dying, for though he lived a natural life, yet it was in such sadness, it is more properly styled a dying; in blindness, under the memorial of the most afflictlye sight, the murder of his children, which was the last thing his eye ever beheld.
surely in the place where the king dwelleth that made him king; in Babylon, where Nebuchadnezzar dwelt, that made Zedekiah king of Judah; which is mentioned, to point out the ingratitude of that prince to the king of Babylon:
whose oath he despised, whose covenant he broke; the oath of fealty and, allegiance, which Zedekiah took to Nebuchadnezzar; and the covenant entered into between them, by which the former held the kingdom of Judea of the latter: the oath he made light of, though solemn, one made by the God of Israel; and the covenant he broke, though ratified by an oath; in which things were given to him he could not claim, at least possess, but by the courtesy of the conqueror; these sins were displeasing to God: oaths and covenants, though made with conquerors, and with Heathen princes, are to be kept:
even with him; that is, with Nebuchadnezzar:
in the midst of Babylon he shall die; when first taken he was had to Riblah, and there his eyes were put out; and after that he was carried to Babylon, and put in prison, and there died, Jeremiah 52:9.As I live, saith the Lord GOD, surely in the place where the king dwelleth that made him king, whose oath he despised, and whose covenant he brake, even with him in the midst of Babylon he shall die.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)16. Zedekiah, being carried to Babylon, shall die there.Verse 16. - Ezekiel repeats the prediction of Ezekiel 12:13. The prison in Babylon, under the eye of the king against whom he had rebelled; this was to be the outcome-of the alliance with Egypt. The prophecy was probably written when the hopes of Zedekiah and his counsellors were at their highest point, when the Chaldeans had, in fact. raised the siege in anticipation of the arrival of the Egyptian army (Jeremiah 37:5-11). Ezekiel, like Jeremiah (loc. cit.), declared that the relief would be but temporary.
Ezekiel 17:1. And the word of Jehovah came to me, saying, Ezekiel 17:2. Son of man, give a riddle, and relate a parable to the house of Israel; Ezekiel 17:3. And say, Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, A great eagle, with great wings and long pinions, full of feathers of variegated colours, came to Lebanon and took the top of the cedar: Ezekiel 17:4. He plucked off the topmost of its shoots, and brought it into Canaan's land; in a merchant-city he set it. Ezekiel 17:5. And he took of the seed of the land, and put it into seed-land; took it away to many waters, set it as a willow. Ezekiel 17:6. And it grew, and became an overhanging vine of low stature, that its branches might turn towards him, and its roots might be under him; and it became a vine, and produced shoots, and sent out foliage. Ezekiel 17:7. There was another great eagle with great wings and many feathers; and, behold, this vine stretched its roots languishingly towards him, and extended its branches towards him, that he might water it from the beds of its planting. Ezekiel 17:8. It was planted in a good field by many waters, to send out roots and bear fruit, to become a glorious vine. Ezekiel 17:9. Say, Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, Will it thrive? will they not pull up its roots, and cut off its fruit, so that it withereth? all the fresh leaves of its sprouting will wither, and not with strong arm and with much people will it be possible to raise it up from its roots. Ezekiel 17:10. And, behold, although it is planted, will it thrive? will it not wither when the east wind touches it? upon the beds in which it grew it will wither.
The parable (mâshâl, corresponding exactly to the New Testament παραβολή) is called chīdhâh, a riddle, because of the deeper meaning lying beneath the parabolic shell. The symbolism of this parable has been traced by many commentators to Babylonian influences working upon the prophet's mind; but without any tenable ground. The figure of the eagle, or bird of prey, applied to a conqueror making a rapid descent upon a country, has as little in it of a specifically Babylonian character as the comparison of the royal family to a cedar or a vine. Not only is Nebuchadnezzar compared to an eagle in Jeremiah 48:40; Jeremiah 49:22, as Cyrus is to a bird of prey in Isaiah 46:11; but even Moses has described the paternal watchfulness of God over His own people as bearing them upon eagle's wings (Exodus 19:4; Deuteronomy 32:11). The cedar of Lebanon and the vine are genuine Israelitish figures. The great eagle in Ezekiel 17:3 is the great King Nebuchadnezzar (compare Ezekiel 17:12). The article is simply used to indicate the species, for which we should use the indefinite article. In Ezekiel 17:7, instead of the article, we have אחד in the sense of "another." This first eagle has large wings and long pinions; he has already flown victoriously over wide-spread countries. אשׁר־לו , literally, which is to him the variegated ornament, i.e., which he has as such an ornament. The feathers of variegated ornamental colours point to the many peoples, differing in language, manners, and customs, which were united under the sceptre of Nebuchadnezzar (Hitzig, etc.); not to the wealth and splendour of the conqueror, as such an allusion is altogether remote from the tendency of the parable. He came to Lebanon. This is not a symbol of the Israelitish land, or of the kingdom of Judah; but, as in Jeremiah 22:23, of Jerusalem, or Mount Zion, with its royal palace so rich in cedar wood (see the comm. on Habakkuk 2:17 and Zechariah 11:1), as being the place where the cedar was planted (compare the remarks on Ezekiel 17:12). The cedar is the royal house of David, and the top of it is King Jehoiachin. The word tzammereth is only met with in Ezekiel, and there only for the top of a cedar (compare Ezekiel 31:3.). The primary meaning is doubtful. Some derive it from the curly, or, as it were, woolly top of the older cedars, in which the small twigs that constitute their foliage are only found at the top of the tree. Others suppose it to be connected with the Arabic dmr, to conceal, and understand it as an epithet applied to the foliage, as the veil or covering of the tree. In v. 4, tzammereth is explained to be ראשׁ רניקותיו, the topmost of its shoots. This the eagle plucked off and carried אל־ארץ כּנען, an epithet applied to Babylonia here and in Ezekiel 16:29, as being a land whose trading spirit had turned it into a Canaan. This is evident from the parallel עיר רכלים, city of traders, i.e., Babylon (compare Ezekiel 17:12). The seed of the land, according to Ezekiel 16:13, is King Zedekiah, because he was of the land, the native king, in contrast to a foreign, Babylonian governor.
קח, for לקח, after the analogy of קחם in Hosea 11:3, and pointed with Kametz to distinguish it from the imperative. לקח אל is used as in Numbers 23:27. The ἁπ. λεγ.צפצפה signifies, in Arabic and the Talmud, the willow, probably so called because it grows in well-watered places; according to Gesenius, it is derived from צוּף, to overflow, literally, the inundated tree. This meaning is perfectly appropriate here. "He set it as a willow" means he treated it as one, inasmuch as he took it to many waters, set it in a well-watered soil, i.e., in a suitable place. The cutting grew into an overhanging vine, i.e., to a vine spreading out its branches in all directions, though not growing very high, as the following expression שׁפלת קומה more clearly shows. The object of this growth was, that its branches might turn to him (the eagle), and its roots might be under him (the eagle). The suffixes attached to אליו and תּחתּיו refer to נשׁר. This allusion is required not only by the explanation in Ezekiel 17:14 (? Ezekiel 17:14, Ezekiel 17:15), but also by Ezekiel 17:7, where the roots and branches of the vine stretch to the (other) eagle. In Ezekiel 17:6, what has already been affirmed concerning the growth is briefly summed up again. The form פּארה is peculiar to Ezekiel. Isaiah has פּארה sah h equals פּארה in Ezekiel 10:33. The word signifies branch and foliage, or a branch covered with foliage, as the ornament of a tree. - The other eagle mentioned in Ezekiel 17:7 is the king of Egypt, according to Ezekiel 17:15. He had also large wings and many feathers, i.e., a widely spread and powerful kingdom; but there is nothing said about pinions and variegated colours, for Pharaoh had not spread out his kingdom over many countries and peoples, or subjugated a variegated medley of peoples and tribes. כּפן, as a verb ἁπ. λεγ.., signifies to yearn or pine after a thing; in Chaldee, to hunger. להשׁקות, that he (the eagle-Pharaoh) might give it to drink, or water it. The words מערגות מטּעהּ are not connected with להשׁקות, but with שׁלחה and כּנפה, form the beds of its planting, i.e., in which it was planted; it stretched out roots and branches to the other eagle, that he might give it to drink. The interpretation is given in Ezekiel 17:15. The words להשׁקות אותהּ, which are added by way of explanation, do not interrupt the train of thought; nor are they superfluous, as Hitzig supposes, because the vine had water enough already (Ezekiel 17:5 and Ezekiel 17:8). For this is precisely what the passage is intended to show, namely, that there was no occasion for this pining and stretching out of the branches towards the other eagle, inasmuch as it could thrive very well in the place where it was planted. The latter is expressly stated once more in Ezekiel 17:8, the meaning of which is perfectly clear, - namely, that if Zedekiah had remained quiet under Nebuchadnezzar, as a hanging vine, his government might have continued and prospered. But, asks Ezekiel in the name of the Lord, will it prosper? תּצלח is a question, and the third person, neuter gender. This question is answered in the negative by the following question, which is introduced with an affirmative הלוא. The subject to ינתּק and יקוסס dna is not the first eagle (Nebuchadnezzar), but the indefinite "one" (man, they). In the last clause of v. 9 משׂאות is a substantive formation, used instead of the simple form of the infinitive, after the form משּׂא in 2 Chronicles 19:7, with the termination ות, borrowed from the verb ה'ל (compare Ewald, 160b and 239a), and the construction is the same as in Amos 6:10 : it will not be to raise up equals it will not be possible to raise it up (compare Ges. 132, 3, Anm. 1). To raise it up from its root does not mean to tear it up by the root (Hvernick), but to rear the withered vine from its roots again, to cause it to sprout again. This rendering of the words corresponds to the interpretation given in Ezekiel 17:17. - In Ezekiel 17:10 the leading thought is repeated with emphasis, and rounded off. The east wind is peculiarly dangerous to plants on account of its dryness (compare Genesis 41:6, and Wetstein on Job 27:21 in Delitzsch's Commentary); and it is used very appropriately here, as the Chaldeans came from the east.
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