Ezekiel 20:9
But I worked for my name's sake, that it should not be polluted before the heathen, among whom they were, in whose sight I made myself known to them, in bringing them forth out of the land of Egypt.
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(9) For my name’s sake.—This is the express ground of Moses’ pleading for the people in the passage just referred to, and again in Exodus 32:12; Deuteronomy 9:28; and it is repeatedly given, as in Deuteronomy 32:27-28, as the ground on which the Lord spared His rebellious people. Had they been treated according to their deserts, and destroyed for their sins, the heathen would have said that God was unable to deliver them.

20:1-9. Those hearts are wretchedly hardened which ask God leave to go on in sin, and that even when suffering for it; see ver.I wrought for my name's sake - Lest it should appear to the Egyptians that Yahweh was a God who would, but could not, save. 8, 9. then I said, I will … But, &c.—that is, (God speaking in condescension to human modes of conception) their spiritual degradation deserved I should destroy them, "but I wrought (namely, the deliverance 'out of … Egypt') for My name's sake"; not for their merits (a rebuke to their national pride). God's "name" means the sum-total of His perfections. To manifest these, His gratuitous mercy abounding above their sins, yet without wrong to His justice, and so to set forth His glory, was and is the ultimate end of His dealings (Eze 20:14, 22; 2Sa 7:23; Isa 63:12; Ro 9:17). I wrought, according to my promise, ny infinite mercy, and the hopes of those few that heard and obeyed.

For my name’s sake; for my glory: had you been used as you deserved, you had died slaves in Egypt, and there had been your graves; but the glory of God’s mercy and faithfulness is the motive of him sparing them.

Polluted; reproached, blasphemed, and lessened among the heathen.

The heathen, among whom they were; the Egyptians, amongst whom Israel had sojourned two hundred and fifteen years, in which time many of the children of Israel, no doubt, had discoursed of their hopes of going out of Egypt to the land promised to Abraham for them, and were apt to boast of their God, and that country; and, to render the thing credible in the eyes of the Egyptians, would speak of the mercy, power, faithfulness, and wisdom of the Lord to effect this, the glory of which would have been eclipsed, and the heathen blasphemed, if God had not brought them out; when it was thus God wrought for his name’s sake. But I wrought for my name's sake,.... In a way of grace and mercy; did well by thorn, did what he promised to do; not for any merits of theirs, but for his own honour, and the glory of his name:

that it should not be polluted before the Heathen, among whom they were; be spoken evil of, which is a polluting it; saying, either that he was not true to his word, in not doing what he promised; or else that it was not in his power to perform; either of which would reflect dishonour on his name, and so defile it:

in whose sight I made myself known unto them; by the wonders he wrought; and who, by one means or another, became acquainted with the promises of God to Israel, that he would bring them out of Egypt, and settle them in the land of Canaan: wherefore for the honour of his name he exerted his power,

in bringing them forth out of the land of Egypt; as he did, as follows:

But I wrought for my {f} name's sake, that it should not be profaned before the nations, among whom they were, in whose sight I made myself known to them, in bringing them forth from the land of Egypt.

(f) God had ever this respect to his glory, that he would not have evil spoken of his Name among the Gentiles for the punishment that his people deserved, in confidence of which the godly ever prayed, as in Ex 32:12, Nu 14:13.

9. for my name’s sake] This idea, very common in this prophet, also in Isaiah 40-66, does not appear in the earlier prophets, except Isaiah 37:35. Cf. however, Deuteronomy 9:28-29; Jeremiah 14:7; Jeremiah 14:21; Isaiah 43:25; Isaiah 48:9; Isaiah 48:11. Jehovah’s name expresses that which he is, or has revealed himself to be, and the phrase does not differ from “for my own sake,” cf. ch. Ezekiel 36:22; Ezekiel 36:32.

should not be polluted] Rather: profaned. The words explain, “for my name’s sake,” viz. lest it should be profaned among the nations. Deuteronomy 9:28-29 suggests one way in which the name of Jehovah might be profaned among the nations. To “profane” is the opposite of to “sanctify.” The one is to cherish any thoughts of Jehovah or to attribute any deed to him inconsistent with his being the one true God, or derogatory to him who is so. To “sanctify” him is to recognise him in thought and in act, particularly in worship, to be the one true God; to assign to him attributes and operations befitting his nature, and to live in such a way as those who are the people of Jehovah ought to live, for the manner of the people is reflected on the character of their God (Amos 2:7). This is the way, at least, in which Ezek., with the conception of Jehovah which in his age he had reached, uses the terms “profane” and “sanctify.”Destruction of the Kingdom, and Banishment of the People

Ezekiel 19:10. Thy mother was like a vine, planted by the water in thy repose; it became a fruitful and rich in tendrils from many waters. Ezekiel 19:11. And it had strong shoots for rulers' sceptres; and its growth ascended among the clouds, and was visible in its height in the multitude of its branches. Ezekiel 19:12. Then it was torn up in fury, cast to the ground, and the east wind dried up its fruit; its strong shoots were broken off, and withered; fire devoured them. Ezekiel 19:13. And now it is planted in the desert, in a dry and thirsty land. Ezekiel 19:14. There goeth out fire from the shoot of its branches, devoureth its fruit, so that there is no more a strong shoot upon it, a sceptre for ruling. - A lamentation it is, and it will be for lamentation. - From the lamentable fate of the princes transported to Egypt and Babylon, the ode passes to a description of the fate, which the lion-like rapacity of the princes is preparing for the kingdom and people. Israel resembled a vine planted by the water. The difficult word בּדמך we agree with Hvernick and Kliefoth in tracing to the verb דּמה, to rest (Jeremiah 14:17), and regard it as synonymous with בּדמי in Isaiah 38:10 : "in thy repose," i.e., in the time of peaceful, undisturbed prosperity. For neither of the other renderings, "in thy blood" and "in thy likeness," yields a suitable meaning. The latter explanation, which originated with Raschi and Kimchi, is precluded by the fact that Ezekiel always uses the word דּמוּת to express the idea of resemblance. - For the figure of the vine, compare Psalm 80:9. This vine sent out strong shoots for rulers' sceptres; that is to say, it brought forth powerful kings, and grew up to a great height, even into the clouds. עבתים signifies "cloud," lit., thicket of clouds, not only here, but in Ezekiel 31:3, Ezekiel 31:10,Ezekiel 31:14. The rendering "branches" or "thicket of foliage" is not suitable in any of these passages. The form of the word is not to be taken as that of a new plural of עבות, the plural of עב, which occurs in 2 Samuel 23:4 and Psalm 77:18; but is the plural of עבות, an interlacing or thicket of foliage, and is simply transferred to the interlacing or piling up of the clouds. The clause 'ויּרא וגו, and it appeared, was seen, or became visible, simply serves to depict still further the glorious and vigorous growth, and needs no such alteration as Hitzig proposes. This picture is followed in Ezekiel 19:12., without any particle of transition, by a description of the destruction of this vine. It was torn up in fury by the wrath of God, cast down to the ground, so that its fruit withered (compare the similar figures in Ezekiel 17:10). מטּה עזּהּ is used collectively, as equivalent to מטּות עז (Ezekiel 19:11); and the suffix in אכלתהוּ is written in the singular on account of this collective use of מטּה. The uprooting ends in the transplanting of the vine into a waste, dry, unwatered land, - in other words, in the transplanting of the people, Israel, into exile. The dry land is Babylon, so described as being a barren soil in which the kingdom of God could not flourish. According to Ezekiel 19:14, this catastrophe is occasioned by the princes. The fire, which devours the fruit of the vine so that it cannot send out any more branches, emanates ממּטּה בדּיה, from the shoot of its branches, i.e., from its branches, which are so prolific in shoots. מטּה is the shoot which grew into rulers' sceptres, i.e., the royal family of the nation. The reference is to Zedekiah, whose treacherous breach of covenant (Ezekiel 17:15) led to the overthrow of the kingdom and of the earthly monarchy. The picture from Ezekiel 19:12 onwards is prophetic. The tearing up of the vine, and its transplantation into a dry land, had already commenced with the carrying away of Jeconiah; but it was not completed till the destruction of Jerusalem and the carrying away of Zedekiah, which were still in the future at the time when these words were uttered. - The clause 'קינה היא does not contain a concluding historical notice, as Hהvernick supposes, but simply the finale of the lamentation, indicating the credibility of the prediction which it contains. ותּהי is prophetic, like the perfects from ותּתּשׁ in Ezekiel 19:12 onwards; and the meaning is this: A lamentation forms the substance of the whole chapter; and it will lead to lamentation, when it is fulfilled.

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