I have set the point of the sword against all their gates, that their heart may faint, and their ruins be multiplied: ah! it is made bright, it is wrapped up for the slaughter.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)The point.—The Hebrew word occurs only here. The marginal rendering comes nearer its sense, but the exact meaning is the glance or the whirl of the sword. The glancing or the whirling motion of the sword was to be everywhere, “against all their gates.”
Their ruins be multiplied.—Literally, their stumbling blocks be multiplied. The thought is that in the coming desolation trouble shall be on every side and, in their perplexity, occasions for ill-advised action shall arise all around. “Bright” means “glittering.” (Comp. Deuteronomy 32:41; Job 20:25; Nahum 3:3.)
It is wrapped.—The margin has sharpened, but the exact sense is drawn, “drawn out for the slaughter.”Genesis 3:24, "the flaming sword."
And their ruins be multiplied - literally, "to the multiplication of stumblingblocks," that is, so that the causes of their fall may be more numerous. Compare Jeremiah 46:16.
Made bright ... - Or,
ruins—literally, "stumbling-blocks." Their own houses and walls shall be stumbling-blocks in their way, whether they wish to fight or flee.
made bright—made to glitter.
wrapped, &c.—namely, in the hand of him who holds the hilt, or in its scabbard, that the edge may not be blunt when it is presently drawn forth to strike. Gesenius, translates, "sharpened," &c.
All their gates; both of meaner cities, of their palaces, and private houses.
That their heart may faint; as what heart can be thought able to retain its courage, when beset with death by an enemy’s sword, which killeth all that come out, and entereth to kill all that stay within?
Multiplied; for number made many, for nature made very great.
Made bright; prepared, brightened, and sharpened.
Wrapped up; and hath been carefully kept in the scabbard, that it might keep its edge, and not be blunted.
"those that slay with the sword:''
some, as both Jarchi and Kimchi, observe, by an inversion of the letters of the alphabet, called "athbash", render it, the "slaughter" of the sword; and De Dieu and Dr. Castel, from the use of the word in the Ethiopic language, the "destruction" of it, or, the power of it. The meaning is, that the enemy, with their swords drawn, should be placed at every gate of the city of Jerusalem, or of their houses, pointed towards them; which would be very terrible, and sore destruction to them.
That their hearts may faint; seeing nothing but death before their eyes, and no way to escape it:
and their ruins be multiplied; of their families, and of their houses.
Ah! it is made bright; to terrify the more, as in Ezekiel 21:10, appearing as a flaming sword, and so causing fear; the prophet expresses his sorrow and concern for it. The Targum is,
"woe! the sword is drawn out to kill.''
It is wrapped up for slaughter; in its sheath or scabbard, that it might not rust or be blunted, it being furbished and brightened; but this seems contrary to its being drawn out of its sheath, as in Ezekiel 21:3. Kimchi renders it, therefore, "sharpened", as in Ezekiel 21:10 and so the Targum,
"it is sharpened to destroy;''
the more easily and speedily.I have set the point of the sword against all their gates, that their heart may faint, and their ruins be multiplied: ah! it is made bright, it is wrapped up for the slaughter.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)15. the point of the sword] Or, the glitter, lit. whirl or swing. Others by changing a letter would read “slaughter,” which Frd. Del. (Baer, Ezek.) by comparison of Assyr. considers the word to mean as it stands.
ruins be multiplied] Or, stumbling-blocks, Jeremiah 6:21. Or, by a slight change in pointing: those overthrown may be multiplied; Jeremiah 18:23; cf. Jeremiah 46:16.
wrapt up] sharpened, as marg.Verse 15. - For their ruins shall be multiplied, read, with the Revised Version, that their stumblings; and for wrapped up, pointed, or sharpened.
Ezekiel 21:1. And the word of Jehovah came to me, saying, Ezekiel 21:2. Son of man, set thy face toward Jerusalem, and trickle over the holy places, and prophesy over the land of Israel, Ezekiel 21:3. And say to the land of Israel, Thus saith Jehovah, Behold, I will deal with thee, and will draw my sword out of its scabbard, and cut off from thee the righteous and the wicked. Ezekiel 21:4. Because I will cut off from thee the righteous and the wicked, therefore shall my sword to go forth from its scabbard against all flesh from south to north. Ezekiel 21:5. And all flesh shall know that I, Jehovah, have drawn my sword out of its scabbard: it shall not return again. Ezekiel 21:6. And thou, son of man, sigh! so that the hips break; and with bitter pain sigh before their eyes! Ezekiel 21:7. And when they say to thee, Wherefore dost thou sigh? say, Because of a report that it is coming; and every heart will sink, and all hands become powerless, and every spirit will become dull, and all knees turn into water: Behold, it cometh, and will happen, is the saying of the Lord Jehovah. - In the preceding parable, the expression "forest of the field in the south," or "forest of the south-land," was enigmatical. This is explained to signify Jerusalem with its holy places (מקדּשׁים, see comm. on Ezekiel 7:24), and the land of Israel, i.e., the kingdom of Judah. In accordance with this, the fire kindled by the Lord is interpreted as being the sword of the Lord. It is true that this is a figurative expression; but it is commonly used for war, which brings with it devastation and death, and would be generally intelligible. The sword will cut off both righteous and wicked. This applies to the outer side of the judgment, inasmuch as both good and bad fall in war. This is the only aspect brought into prominence here, since the great purpose was to alarm the sinners, who were boasting of their security; but the distinction between the two, as described in Ezekiel 9:4., is not therefore to be regarded as no longer existing. This sword will not return, sc. into the scabbard, till it has accomplished the result predicted in Ezekiel 21:3 (cf. 2 Samuel 1:22; Isaiah 55:11). As Tremellius has aptly observed upon this passage, "the last slaughter is contrasted with the former ones, in which, after the people had been chastened fore a time, the sword was returned to its scabbard again." In order to depict the terrors of this judgment before the eyes of the people, the prophet is commanded to groan before their eyes in the most painful way possible (Ezekiel 21:6.). בּשׁברון מתנים, with breaking of the hips, i.e., with pain sufficient to break the hips, the seat of strength in man (compare Nahum 2:11; Isaiah 21:3). מרירוּת, bitterness, i.e., bitter anguish. The reason which he is to assign to the questioners for this sighing is "on account of the report that is coming," - an antiptosis for "on account of the coming report" (cf. Genesis 1:4, etc.). the report comes when the substance of it is realized. The reference is to the report of the sword of the Lord, - that is to say, of the approach of the Chaldeans to destroy Jerusalem and the kingdom of Judah. The impression which this disclosure will make upon the hearers will be perfectly paralyzing (Ezekiel 21:7). All courage and strength for offering resistance will be crippled and broken. נמס כּל־לב (cf. Nahum 2:11) is strengthened by כּהתה, every spirit will become dull, so that no one will know what counsel to give. 'כּל־בּרכּים תּלכנה וגו corresponds to רפוּ כּל־ידים (cf. Ezekiel 7:17). The threat is strengthened by the words, "behold, it cometh, and will take place." The subject is שׁמוּעה, the report, i.e., the substance of the report. - This threat is more fully expanded in Ezekiel 21:8-17; Ezekiel 21:8-13 corresponding to Ezekiel 21:1-5, and Ezekiel 21:14-17 to Ezekiel 21:6, Ezekiel 21:7.
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