Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
Eze 22:1-31. God's Judgment on the Sinfulness of Jerusalem.
Repetition of the charges in the twentieth chapter; only that there they were stated in an historical review of the past and present; here the present sins of the nation exclusively are brought forward.
Now, thou son of man, wilt thou judge, wilt thou judge the bloody city? yea, thou shalt shew her all her abominations.
2. See Eze 20:4; that is, "Wilt thou not judge?" &c. (compare Eze 23:36).
the bloody city—literally, "the city of bloods"; so called on account of murders perpetrated in her, and sacrifices of children to Molech (Eze 22:3, 4, 6, 9; 24:6, 9).
Then say thou, Thus saith the Lord GOD, The city sheddeth blood in the midst of it, that her time may come, and maketh idols against herself to defile herself.
3. sheddeth blood … that her time may come—Instead of deriving advantage from her bloody sacrifices to idols, she only thereby brought on herself "the time" of her punishment.
against herself—(Pr 8:36).
Thou art become guilty in thy blood that thou hast shed; and hast defiled thyself in thine idols which thou hast made; and thou hast caused thy days to draw near, and art come even unto thy years: therefore have I made thee a reproach unto the heathen, and a mocking to all countries.
4. thy days—the shorter period, namely, that of the siege.
thy years—the longer period of the captivity. The "days" and "years" express that she is ripe for punishment.
Those that be near, and those that be far from thee, shall mock thee, which art infamous and much vexed.
5. infamous—They mockingly call thee, "Thou polluted one in name (Margin), and full of confusion" [Fairbairn], (referring to the tumultuous violence prevalent in it). Thus the nations "far and near" mocked her as at once sullied in character and in actual fact lawless. What a sad contrast to the Jerusalem once designated "the holy city!"
Behold, the princes of Israel, every one were in thee to their power to shed blood.
6. Rather, "The princes … each according to his power, were in thee, to shed blood" (as if this was the only object of their existence). "Power," literally, "arm"; they, who ought to have been patterns of justice, made their own arm of might their only law.
In thee have they set light by father and mother: in the midst of thee have they dealt by oppression with the stranger: in thee have they vexed the fatherless and the widow.
7. set light by—Children have made light of, disrespected, father … (De 27:16). At Eze 22:7-12 are enumerated the sins committed in violation of Moses' law.
Thou hast despised mine holy things, and hast profaned my sabbaths.
In thee are men that carry tales to shed blood: and in thee they eat upon the mountains: in the midst of thee they commit lewdness.
9. men that carry tales—informers, who by misrepresentations cause innocent blood to be shed (Le 19:16). Literally, "one who goes to and fro as a merchant."
In thee have they discovered their fathers' nakedness: in thee have they humbled her that was set apart for pollution.
10. set apart for pollution—that is, set apart as unclean (Le 18:19).
And one hath committed abomination with his neighbour's wife; and another hath lewdly defiled his daughter in law; and another in thee hath humbled his sister, his father's daughter.
In thee have they taken gifts to shed blood; thou hast taken usury and increase, and thou hast greedily gained of thy neighbours by extortion, and hast forgotten me, saith the Lord GOD.
12. forgotten me—(De 32:18; Jer 2:32; 3:21).
Behold, therefore I have smitten mine hand at thy dishonest gain which thou hast made, and at thy blood which hath been in the midst of thee.
13. smitten mine hand—in token of the indignant vengeance which I will execute on thee (see on Eze 21:17).
Can thine heart endure, or can thine hands be strong, in the days that I shall deal with thee? I the LORD have spoken it, and will do it.
14. (Eze 21:7).
And I will scatter thee among the heathen, and disperse thee in the countries, and will consume thy filthiness out of thee.
15. consume thy filthiness out of thee—the object of God in scattering the Jews.
And thou shalt take thine inheritance in thyself in the sight of the heathen, and thou shalt know that I am the LORD.
16. take thine inheritance in thyself—Formerly thou wast Mine inheritance; but now, full of guilt, thou art no longer Mine, but thine own inheritance to thyself; "in the sight of the heathen," that is, even they shall see that, now that thou hast become a captive, thou art no longer owned as Mine [Vatablus]. Fairbairn and others needlessly take the Hebrew from a different root, "thou shalt be polluted by ('in,' [Henderson]) thyself," &c.; the heathen shall regard thee as a polluted thing, who hast brought thine own reproach on thyself.
And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
Son of man, the house of Israel is to me become dross: all they are brass, and tin, and iron, and lead, in the midst of the furnace; they are even the dross of silver.
18. dross … brass—Israel has become a worthless compound of the dross of silver (implying not merely corruption, but degeneracy from good to bad, Isa 1:22, especially offensive) and of the baser metals. Hence the people must be thrown into the furnace of judgment, that the bad may be consumed, and the good separated (Jer 6:29, 30).
Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Because ye are all become dross, behold, therefore I will gather you into the midst of Jerusalem.
As they gather silver, and brass, and iron, and lead, and tin, into the midst of the furnace, to blow the fire upon it, to melt it; so will I gather you in mine anger and in my fury, and I will leave you there, and melt you.
Yea, I will gather you, and blow upon you in the fire of my wrath, and ye shall be melted in the midst thereof.
As silver is melted in the midst of the furnace, so shall ye be melted in the midst thereof; and ye shall know that I the LORD have poured out my fury upon you.
And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
23. From this verse to the end he shows the general corruption of all ranks.
Son of man, say unto her, Thou art the land that is not cleansed, nor rained upon in the day of indignation.
24. land … not cleansed—not cleared or cultivated; all a scene of desolation; a fit emblem of the moral wilderness state of the people.
nor rained upon—a mark of divine "indignation"; as the early and latter rain, on which the productiveness of the land depended, was one of the great covenant blessings. Joel (Joe 2:23) promises the return of the former and latter rain, with the restoration of God's favor.
There is a conspiracy of her prophets in the midst thereof, like a roaring lion ravening the prey; they have devoured souls; they have taken the treasure and precious things; they have made her many widows in the midst thereof.
25. conspiracy—The false prophets have conspired both to propagate error and to oppose the messages of God's servants. They are mentioned first, as their bad influence extended the widest.
prey—Their aim was greed of gain, "treasure, and precious things" (Ho 6:9; Zep 3:3, 4; Mt 23:14).
made … many widows—by occasioning, through false prophecies, the war with the Chaldeans in which the husbands fell.
Her priests have violated my law, and have profaned mine holy things: they have put no difference between the holy and profane, neither have they shewed difference between the unclean and the clean, and have hid their eyes from my sabbaths, and I am profaned among them.
26. Her priests—whose "lips should have kept knowledge" (Mal 2:7).
violated—not simply transgressed; but, have done violence to the law, by wresting it to wrong ends, and putting wrong constructions on it.
put no difference between the holy and profane, &c.—made no distinction between the clean and unclean (Le 10:10), the Sabbath and other days, sanctioning violations of that holy day. "Holy" means, what is dedicated to God; "profane," what is in common use; "unclean," what is forbidden to be eaten; "clean," what is lawful to be eaten.
I am profaned among them—They abuse My name to false or unjust purposes.
Her princes in the midst thereof are like wolves ravening the prey, to shed blood, and to destroy souls, to get dishonest gain.
27. princes—who should have employed the influence of their position for the people's welfare, made "gain" their sole aim.
wolves—notorious for fierce and ravening cruelty (Mic 3:2, 3, 9-11; Joh 10:12).
And her prophets have daubed them with untempered morter, seeing vanity, and divining lies unto them, saying, Thus saith the Lord GOD, when the LORD hath not spoken.
28. Referring to the false assurances of peace with which the prophets flattered the people, that they should not submit to the king of Babylon (see on Eze 13:10; Eze 21:29; Jer 6:14; 23:16, 17; 27:9, 10).
The people of the land have used oppression, and exercised robbery, and have vexed the poor and needy: yea, they have oppressed the stranger wrongfully.
29. The people—put last, after the mention of those in office. Corruption had spread downwards through the whole community.
wrongfully—that is, "without cause," gratuitously, without the stranger proselyte giving any just provocation; nay, he of all others being one who ought to have been won to the worship of Jehovah by kindness, instead of being alienated by oppression; especially as the Israelites were commanded to remember that they themselves had been "strangers in Egypt" (Ex 22:21; 23:9).
And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none.
30. the hedge—the wall (see on Eze 13:5); image for leading the people to repentance.
the gap—the breach (Ps 106:23); image for interceding between the people and God (Ge 20:7; Ex 32:11; Nu 16:48).
I found none—(Jer 5:1)—not that literally there was not a righteous man in the city. For Jeremiah, Baruch, &c., were still there; but Jeremiah had been forbidden to pray for the people (Jer 11:14), as being doomed to wrath. None now, of the godly, knowing the desperate state of the people, and God's purpose as to them, was willing longer to interpose between God's wrath and them. And none "among them," that is, among those just enumerated as guilty of such sins (Eze 22:25-29), was morally able for such an office.
Therefore have I poured out mine indignation upon them; I have consumed them with the fire of my wrath: their own way have I recompensed upon their heads, saith the Lord GOD.
31. their own way … recompensed upon their heads—(Eze 9:10; 11:21; 16:43; Pr 1:31; Isa 3:11; Jer 6:19).