Ezekiel 5:11
Wherefore, as I live, saith the Lord GOD; Surely, because thou hast defiled my sanctuary with all thy detestable things, and with all thine abominations, therefore will I also diminish thee; neither shall mine eye spare, neither will I have any pity.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(11) Because thou . . . therefore will I.—The parallel between Israel’s conduct and God’s judgments is here, as everywhere, brought into strong light. God would inflict no evil upon them which they had not themselves called down by their obdurate and infatuated persistence in rebellion against Him.

Also diminish thee.—The word diminish is hardly an adequate translation of the original, and the pronoun thee is not in the Hebrew. The word properly means to withdraw, and is to be taken either as reflective, “withdraw myself,” or as having for its object “mine eye” of the following clause, the sense being the same in either case: the Lord will withdraw from them His presence and His compassion.

Ezekiel 5:12-17 follow in plain language the symbolical prophecies of Ezekiel 5:1-4, and give the inspired interpretation of their meaning. They bring out very distinctly the fact that the judgments should not end with the destruction of Jerusalem.

5:5-17 The sentence passed upon Jerusalem is very dreadful, the manner of expression makes it still more so. Who is able to stand in God's sight when he is angry? Those who live and die impenitent, will perish for ever unpitied; there is a day coming when the Lord will not spare. Let not persons or churches, who change the Lord's statutes, expect to escape the doom of Jerusalem. Let us endeavour to adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things. Sooner or later God's word will prove itself true.Compare Matthew 24:21. The calamities of the Babylonian were surpassed by the Roman siege, and these again were but a foreshadowing of still more terrible destruction at the last day. 11. as I live—the most solemn of oaths, pledging the self-existence of God for the certainty of the event.

defiled my sanctuary—the climax of Jewish guilt: their defiling Jehovah's temple by introducing idols.

diminish—literally, "withdraw," namely, Mine "eye" (which presently follows), that is, My favors; Job 36:7 uses the Hebrew verb in the same way. As the Jews had withdrawn from God's sanctuary its sacredness by "defiling" it, so God withdraws His countenance from them. The significance of the expression lies in the allusion to De 4:2, "Ye shall not diminish aught from the word which I command you"; they had done so, therefore God diminishes them. The reading found in six manuscripts, "I will cut thee off," is not so good.

As I live; a form of an oath becoming none but the living God, used often in Scripture and in this prophet.

Defiled; violated and profaned.

My sanctuary; my temple.

With all thy detestable things; not that all they did abominably was done in the temple; but either because they never heeded how they were polluted, but with legal pollutions on them came to the temple; or rather, brought in their idols, all their detestable counterfeit gods, as Jeremiah 7:30, and, in 2 Kings 16:10 23:12,13, their own altars, as Ahaz and Manasseh. All their idolatry and wickednesses, expressed by two words of like emphasis.

Diminish; lessen, break to pieces, cut up by the roots such stinking weeds.

Neither shall mine eye spare; there shall not be the least sign of pity in my eye, though I see all their misery.

Neither will I have pity; nor yet will I retain any affection of kindness for them; my heart, as my eye, shall be far from all pity and commiseration towards them.

Wherefore, as I live, saith the Lord God,.... This is a form of an oath, and shows that what is after said should certainly be done; God would not repent of it, nor revoke it:

surely, because thou hast defiled my sanctuary, with all thy detestable things, and with all thine abominations: that is, with their idols and idolatrous worship, which were detestable and abominable to the Lord; so Manasseh not only built altars for Baal in the house of the Lord, but set up in it a graven image of the grove, 2 Kings 21:3;

therefore will I also diminish thee; as they lessened his glory by such abominable actions, so he threatens that he would lessen their privileges and blessings; as they took away from him the worship and honour that were due to him, so he would take away from them their civil and church state, his sanctuary, word, and ordinances, and deprive them of everything that was valuable and excellent. The Targum paraphrases it,

"I will cut off the strength of thine arm;''

weaken her power:

neither shall mine eye spare, neither will I have any pity; when in the greatest misery and distress. The Targum is,

"my Word shall not spare, &c.''

Wherefore, as I live, saith the Lord GOD; Surely, because thou hast defiled my sanctuary with all thy detestable things, and with all thine abominations, therefore will I also diminish thee; neither shall mine eye spare, neither will I have any pity.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
11. defiled my sanctuary] The commentary on this is supplied by ch. 8.

will I also diminish thee] The word is so rendered ch. Ezekiel 16:27, where, however, an object follows the verb. The balance of clauses here: I also will—and mine eye shall not spare: I also will not pity, appears to shew that the word expresses one idea along with the words “mine eye shall not spare.” This can hardly be expressed otherwise than: I also will withdraw mine eye and it shall not spare; I also will have no pity. For the phrase “withdraw the eye” cf. Job 36:7. In ch. Ezekiel 24:14 a similar word occurs, but there with the negative. Targ. Vulg. render “hew down,” but this kind of reading (d for r) is too familiar to be of any value. Perhaps the reading might be: I also am against thee and mine eye shall not spare, (form of “against thee” as Ezekiel 21:8, cf. here Ezekiel 5:8). Cf. ch. Ezekiel 8:18.

Verse 11. - Because thou hast defiled my sanctuary, etc. For the full account of the nature of the abominations which are thus spoken of, see notes on ch. 8. This was, after all, the root evil of all other evils. Pollution of worship, the degradation of the highest element in man's nature, passed into pollution and degradation of his whole life. Even in our Lord's acted teaching, in John 2:15, 16 and Matthew 21:12, we have the same principle implied. Therefore will I also diminish thee, etc. The italics show that the last word is not in the Hebrew. The Revised Version margin suggests two other renderings.

(1) Therefore will I also withdraw mine eye that it shall not spare; and

(2) Therefore will I hew thee down. To these we may add the LXX. I will reject, and the Vulgate I will break in pieces, which apparently, like (2), imply a different reading. Most recent critics suggest conjectural emendations of the text. I incline to rest satisfied with the Authorized Version, and to explain it by Ezekiel 16:27. The word implies not only the decrease, but the entire withdrawal of Jehovah's favour. Possibly there is an implied reference to the command of Deuteronomy 4:2; Deuteronomy 12:32. Jerusalem had "diminished" from the Law of God, had, as it were, erased the commandments which were of supreme obligation, and therefore, as by a lex talionis, God would diminish her. Neither will I have any pity. The words are, of course, anthropomorphic, and have therefore to be received with the necessary limitations. As the earthly minister of justice must not yield to a weak pity which would be incompatible with the assertion of the eternal law of righteousness, so neither will the Supreme Judge. There is a time for all things, and justice must do its work first, in order that there may be room for pity afterwards. For other assertions, which seems strange to us, of trials unpitying character of God, see Ezekiel 7:4, 9; Ezekiel 8:18; Ezekiel 9:10, et al.; Jeremiah 13:14. Ezekiel 5:11Further Execution of this Threat

Ezekiel 5:10. Therefore shall fathers devour their children in thy midst, and children shall devour their fathers: and I will exercise judgments upon thee, and disperse all thy remnant to the winds. Ezekiel 5:11. Therefore, as I live, is the declaration of the Lord Jehovah, Verily, because thou hast polluted my sanctuary with all thine abominations and all thy crimes, so shall I take away mine eye without mercy, and will not spare. Ezekiel 5:12. A third of thee shall die by the pestilence, and perish by hunger in thy midst; and the third part shall fall by the sword about thee; and the third part will I scatter to all the winds; and will draw out the sword after them. Ezekiel 5:13. And my anger shall be fulfilled, and I will cool my wrath against them, and will take vengeance. And they shall experience that I, Jehovah, have spoken in my zeal, when I accomplish my wrath upon them. Ezekiel 5:14. And I will make thee a desolation and a mockery among the nations which are round about thee, before the eyes of every passer-by. Ezekiel 5:15. And it shall be a mockery and a scorn, a warning and a terror for the nations round about thee, when I exercise my judgments upon thee in anger and wrath and in grievous visitations. I, Jehovah, have said it. Ezekiel 5:16. When I send against thee the evil arrows of hunger, which minister to destruction, which I shall send to destroy you; for hunger shall I heap upon you, and shall break to you the staff of bread. Ezekiel 5:17. And I shall send hunger upon you, and evil beasts, which shall make thee childless; and pestilence and blood shall pass over thee; and the sword will I bring upon thee. I, Jehovah, have spoken it. - As a proof of the unheard-of severity of the judgment, there is immediately mentioned in Ezekiel 5:10 a most horrible circumstance, which had been already predicted by Moses (Leviticus 26:29; Deuteronomy 28:53) as that which should happen to the people when hard pressed by the enemy, viz., a famine so dreadful, during the siege of Jerusalem, that parents would eat their children, and children their parents; and after the capture of the city, the dispersion of those who remained "to all the winds, i.e., to all quarters of the world." This is described more minutely, as an appendix to the symbolical act in Ezekiel 5:1 and Ezekiel 5:2, in Ezekiel 5:11 and Ezekiel 5:12, with a solemn oath, and with repeated and prominent mention of the sins which have drawn down such chastisements. As sin, is mentioned the pollution of the temple by idolatrous abominations, which are described in detail in Ezekiel 8. The אגרע, which is variously understood by the old translators (for which some Codices offer the explanatory correction אגדע), is to be explained, after Job 36:7, of the "turning away of the eye," and the עיני following as the object; while ולא־תחוס, "that it feel no compassion," is interjected between the verb and its object with the adverbial signification of "mercilessly." For that the words ולא תחוס are adverbially subordinate to אגרע, distinctly appears from the correspondence - indicated by וגם אני - between אגרע and לא . Moreover, the thought, "Jehovah will mercilessly withdraw His care for the people," is not to be termed "feeble" in connection with what follows; nor is the contrast, which is indicated in the clause וגם־אני, lost, as Hvernick supposes. וגם־אני does not require גּרע to be understood of a positive act, which would correspond to the desecration of the sanctuary. This is shown by the last clause of the verse. The withdrawal without mercy of the divine providence is, besides, in reality, equivalent to complete devotion to destruction, as it is particularized in Ezekiel 5:12. For Ezekiel 5:12 see on Ezekiel 5:1 and Ezekiel 5:2. By carrying out the threatened division of the people into three parts, the wrath of God is to be fulfilled, i.e., the full measure of the divine wrath upon the people is to be exhausted (cf. 7, 8), and God is to appear and "cool" His anger. הניח חמה, "sedavit iram," occurs again in Ezekiel 16:42; Ezekiel 21:22; Ezekiel 24:13. הנּחמתּי, Hithpael, pausal form for הנּחמתּי, "se consolari," "to procure satisfaction by revenge;" cf. Isaiah 1:24, and for the thing, Deuteronomy 28:63. In Ezekiel 5:14. the discourse turns again from the people to the city of Jerusalem. It is to become a wilderness, as was already threatened in Leviticus 26:31 and Leviticus 26:33 to the cities of Israel, and thereby a "mockery" to all nations, in the manner described in Deuteronomy 29:23. והיתה, in Ezekiel 5:15, is not to be changed, after the lxx, Vulgate, and some MSS, into the second person; but Jerusalem is to be regarded as the subject which is to become the object of scorn and hatred, etc., when God accomplishes His judgments. מוּסר is a warning-example. Among the judgments which are to overtake it, in Ezekiel 5:16, hunger is again made specially prominent (cf. Ezekiel 4:16) and first in Ezekiel 5:17 are wild beasts, pestilence, blood, and sword added, and a quartette of judgments announced as in Ezekiel 14:21. For pestilence and blood are comprehended together as a unity by means of the predicate. Their connection is to be understood according to Ezekiel 14:19, and the number four is significant, as in Ezekiel 14:21; Jeremiah 15:3. For more minute details as to the meaning, see on Ezekiel 14:21. The evil arrows point back to Deuteronomy 32:23; the evil beasts, to Leviticus 24:22 and Deuteronomy 32:24. To produce an impression, the prophet heaps his words together. Unum ejus consilium fuit penetrare in animos populi quasi lapideos et ferreos. Haec igitur est ratio, cur hic tanta varietate utatur et exornet suam doctrnam variis figuris (Calvin).

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