And he knew their desolate palaces, and he laid waste their cities; and the land was desolate, and the fullness thereof, by the noise of his roaring.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Knew their desolate palaces.—This verse continues to describe the abominations of Jehoiachin’s ways. The word “desolate palaces,” although defended by some authorities, should be rendered, as in the margin, widows. The mention of the king’s violation of these is an unavoidable departure from the figure, such as often occurs in Ezekiel.
fulness thereof—all that it contained; its inhabitants.
Jehoiakim, knew their desolate palaces, on view; not only heard of them, but setting on them violently, and taking them, he came to know their palaces, which are here called, what he made them, desolate; so the word Isaiah 13:22.
Palaces; or it may be rendered widows, and then it will refer to such whose husbands this lion devoured, and thereby occasioned their petitioning to him, and thus he knew them, whom he made desolate; but the former best suits what follows.
Laid waste their cities; pilling, polling, and by exactions driving the inhabitants out by his cruelty and tyranny.
The land was desolate; the whole land, or the country, sped as ill as the cities, and so it was emptied of men, riches, and strength.
By the noise of his roaring; by the perpetual violent threats of this cruel king, which are called his roaring, and so Proverbs 19:12, which terrified his neighbours in the three years’ revolt which are mentioned 2 Kings 24:1,2.
and he laid waste their cities; by putting the inhabitants to death; or obliging them to leave them, and retire elsewhere, not being able to pay the taxes he imposed upon them, partly to support his own grandeur and luxury, and partly to pay the tribute to the king of Egypt:
and the land was desolate, and the fulness thereof, by the noise of his roaring; by his menaces and threatenings, edicts and exactions, he so terrified the inhabitants of the land, that though it was full of men and riches, it became in a great measure destitute of both; the people left their houses, both in city and country, and fled elsewhere with the remainder of their substance that had not fallen into his hands: his menacing demands being signified by roaring agrees with his character as a lion, to which he is compared, Proverbs 19:12.
(x) "et cognovit viduas ejus", Pagninus, Montanus, Cocceius; "viduas eorum", Vatablus, Starckius; so R. Joseph Kimchi. Which sense is approved by Gussetius, Ebr. Comment. p. 312. R. Jonah interprets it, "he broke their palaces"; so Calvin, and some in Vatablus, and R. Sol. Urbin. Ohel Moed, fol. 96. 1.And he knew their desolate palaces, and he laid waste their cities; and the land was desolate, and the fulness thereof, by the noise of his roaring.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Verse 7. - He knew their desolate palaces; literally, widows; but the word is used figuratively in Isaiah 13:22, in the sense of "desolate houses" (comp. Isaiah 47:8). So the Vulgate gives didicit viduas facere; and Keil adopts that meaning here, "he knew, i.e. outraged, the widows of Israel." The Revised Version admits it in the margin. The two words for "widows" and "palaces" differ in a single letter only, and there may have been an error in transcription. On the whole, I adhere to the Authorized Version and Revised Version (text). Currey explains, "He knew (i.e. eyed with satisfaction) his palaces," from which he had ejected their former owners, as his father Jeboiakim had done (Jeremiah 22:15, 16). Ewald follows the Targum in a various reading of the verb, and gets the meaning, "he destroyed its palaces." Interpreting the parable, we have Jehoiachin described as alarming Nebuchadnezzar and the neighbouring nations by his activity, and therefore carried off to Babylon as Jehoahaz lad been to Egypt. The young lion was to roar in chains, not on the "mountains of Israel." Ezekiel 18:21. But if the wicked man turneth from all his sins which he hath committed, and keepeth all my statutes, and doeth right and righteousness, he shall live, and not die. Ezekiel 18:22. All his transgressions which he hath committed, shall not be remembered to him: for the sake of the righteousness which he hath done he will live. Ezekiel 18:23. Have I then pleasure in the death of the wicked? is the saying of Jehovah: and not rather that he turn from his ways, and live? Ezekiel 18:24. But if the righteous man turn from his righteousness, and doeth wickedness, and acteth according to all the abominations which the ungodly man hath done, should he live? All the righteousness that he hath done shall not be remembered: for his unfaithfulness that he hath committed, and for his sin that he hath sinned, for these he shall die. Ezekiel 18:25. And ye say, "The way of the Lord is not right." Hear now, O house of Israel: Is my way not right? Is it not your ways that are not right? Ezekiel 18:26. If a righteous man turneth from his righteousness, and doeth wickedness, and dieth in consequence, he dieth for his wickedness that he hath done. - The proof that every one must bear his sin did not contain an exhaustive reply to the question, in what relation the righteousness of God stood to the sin of men? For the cases supposed in vv. 5-20 took for granted that there was a constant persistence in the course once taken, and overlooked the instances, which are by no means rare, when a man's course of life is entirely changed. It still remained, therefore, to take notice of such cases as these, and they are handled in Ezekiel 18:21-26. The ungodly man, who repents and turns, shall live; and the righteous man, who turns to the way of sin, shall die. "As the righteous man, who was formerly a sinner, is not crushed down by his past sins; so the sinner, who was once a righteous man, is not supported by his early righteousness. Every one will be judged in that state in which he is found" (Jerome). The motive for the pardon of the repenting sinner is given in Ezekiel 18:23, in the declaration that God has no pleasure in the death of the wicked man, but desires his conversion, that he may live. God is therefore not only just, but merciful and gracious, and punishes none with death but those who either will not desist from evil, or will not persevere in the way of His commandments. Consequently the complaint, that the way of the Lord, i.e., His conduct toward men, is not weighed (יתּכן, see comm. on 1 Samuel 2:3), i.e., not just and right, is altogether unfounded, and recoils upon those who make it. It it not God's ways, but the sinner's, that are wrong (Ezekiel 18:25). The proof of this, which Hitzig overlooks, is contained in the declarations made in Ezekiel 18:23 and Ezekiel 18:26, - viz. in the fact that God does not desire the death of the sinner, and in His mercy forgives the penitent all his former sins, and does not lay them to his charge; and also in the fact that He punishes the man who turns from the way of righteousness and gives himself up to wickedness, on account of the sin which he commits; so that He simply judges him according to his deeds. - In Ezekiel 18:24, ועשׂה is the continuation of the infinitive שׁוּב, and וחי is interrogatory, as in Ezekiel 18:13.
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