Matthew Poole's Commentary
Again the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,Under the similitude of a helpless exposed infant is represented the original state of Jerusalem, Ezekiel 16:1-5; whom God is described to have bred up, married, and treated with kind indulgence, Ezekiel 16:6-14. Her unnatural whoredoms, Ezekiel 16:15-34. God threateneth her with severe judgment, Ezekiel 16:35-43. Her sin, equal to her mother’s, the Hittite, and exceeding that of her sisters’, Sodom and Samaria, shall not go unpunished, Ezekiel 16:44-59. A promise of mercy in the end, Ezekiel 16:60-63.
Again, Heb. And, frequently and properly enough rendered as here, again, not pointing out any particular time wherein it came to the prophet.
The word of the Lord came unto me; both commanding and directing him what to speak; and it is a very elegant description of God’s dealing with the Jews, and their carriage toward God; his dealing was kindness and tender compassion in the most unparalleled expressions of it toward the Jews, theirs to God was the most unthankful, undutiful, and rebelious.
Son of man, cause Jerusalem to know her abominations,Declare to them that are with thee, and to them that are at Jerusalem, to these declare by letter, to those by word of mouth, what state theirs was in their infancy what I did for them, for the whole nation of the Jews, for so I take Jerusalem here to signify. Make them know: it was not in his power to give them understandings, and to enlighten their minds, but his declaring to them is here called making them to know, because it was sufficient to have brought it to their knowledge.
Her abominations; her multiplied transgressions, which were increased beyond number, and her great, foul sins, called here abominations, her idolatries spiritual adulteries, and unexemplified folly in her lewdness, changing her God and Husband, Jeremiah 2:10-13.
And say, Thus saith the Lord GOD unto Jerusalem; Thy birth and thy nativity is of the land of Canaan; thy father was an Amorite, and thy mother an Hittite.The proud and blinded Jews thought their original more pure than that of the heathen; this was an old tradition among them, now that the prophet is to acquaint them with the truth of their polluted original, which they will storm and fret at, he comes thus prefacing his discourse with a Divine commission.
The Lord God; who is omniscient, knows all we are and do, who is so just and true, speaks not any thing but the very truth, who is supreme Judge and determiner of controversies. He tells the prophet what they were, and commands him to tell them.
Unto Jerusalem, i.e. the whole race of the Jews, as Ezekiel 16:2. Or, perhaps, in more special manner the inhabitants and natives of that proud city, who thought it a singular privilege to be born there, which the Jews counted more holy than the rest of the land of Canaan.
Thy birth; thine habitation and thy kindred, so our English of the time of 2 Elizabeth. Thy root whence thou didst spring, the rock whence thou wast cut, the place where thou grewest up, the company and commerce thou didst use, all were of the land of Canaan, and thou hast a fulness of their vicious nature, manners, and practices, both in civil and religious things, as vile and obnoxious to my curse as Canaan itself.
Thy father: if the prophet refer to Abraham, it must be understood of his state and religion before God called him, when he, as his father and kindred, worshipped strange gods beyond the river, Joshua 24:14, with Ezekiel 16:2. If the prophet refer to those that were in Egypt, the Jews’ ancestors that dwelt there, it is certain that many of them forgot Abraham’s God, closed with the Egyptian idolatry, and were polluted with idols, Joshua 24:2. If you refer it as a figurative speech, and call them fathers whom we reverence, consult, obey, and imitate, as well we may call such fathers, these were not the best and holiest of men, Matthew 3:7 12:34 23:33. O ye Jews, be it known to you, whatever you think, you have no cause to boast of your nobler or purer descent, your fountain was corrupt and poisonous.
Was; might have been, for likeness of manners.
An Amorite; either because this comprehended all the rest of the cursed nations; or because the Amorites, as the most powerful and mighty, so were the most wicked among them; it was the Amorites which were filling up their sins, Genesis 15:16.
Thy mother: sometimes the ill nature of a father is corrected in the child by the sweetness of the mother, but you Jews were not so happy, your mother was as bad every whit as your father; both prodigiously vile in their inclination, civil converse, and choice of their religion, and in the practice of it. The daughters of Heth were women of ill fame and worse manners, Genesis 27:46, enough to make a good soul weary of life. Such is your race, O ye Jews.
And as for thy nativity, in the day thou wast born thy navel was not cut, neither wast thou washed in water to supple thee; thou wast not salted at all, nor swaddled at all.In the day thou wast born; either in the day I called Abraham to leave his idolatry; or when in Egypt you began to multiply into a nation; or when you were brought out of Egyptian bondage. Or whether you fix any other time, it was a helpless and miserable state they were in.
Thy navel was not cut: as the new-born infant cannot do this for its own preservation, and as there is great danger if not carefully and skilfully done, as it is the early care of the hand that delivers the child, so was the care and love of God towards this people when they could not, and others would not, help them, and this will be declared in a continued allegory. The preventing mercy of God was showed in this.
Washed in water. Born in blood, unpleasant to behold, thou must have weltered therein, and perished; none washed thee, that thou mightest be handled, but I; I purged away the blood and uncleanness of thy birth, took thee up, nursed, provided for, and disposed of thee.
Thou wast not salted: salt is of a drying, abstersive, and cleansing nature, and was used to purge, dry, and strengthen the new-born child, to make it the more lovely and lively.
Nor swaddled: this usage for the continued preservation of the infant, for strengthening it, setting its limbs, and keeping them in their right and orderly posture, is most necessary to be observed, and yet there was none that would do this for this infant: so forlorn was the state of the Jews in their birth, without beauty, weltering in blood, without strength, new-born, without friend that might act the mother’s or midwife’s office.
None eye pitied thee, to do any of these unto thee, to have compassion upon thee; but thou wast cast out in the open field, to the lothing of thy person, in the day that thou wast born.A confirmation of what was said Ezekiel 16:4; no hand helped, because no eye pitied them; neither Terah’s family to Abraham, nor the Egyptians to sojourning or departing Israel, showed any bowels of pity to help.
To do any of these: though all those particulars toward an infant had not been done, if the more needful were done it might be well enough, but, poor infant, it hears of nobody to do any one of them for its health and life.
To have compassion; to show any tenderness of heart toward it.
Cast out; put out of doors, exposed to perish and starve with hunger and cold.
In the open field; as far from likelihood of relief as from the sight of men; not laid in the street of city or town, not at some man’s door, but in the open wide field, where devouring wild beasts are likely to come first and tear the helpless wretch to pieces.
To the loathing of thy person; in contempt of thee, as unlovely and worthless; and in abhorrence of thee, as loathsome, putrifying, and offensive to the beholder.
And when I passed by thee, and saw thee polluted in thine own blood, I said unto thee when thou wast in thy blood, Live; yea, I said unto thee when thou wast in thy blood, Live.After the manner of man God here speaks, alluding to some traveller or walker abroad, like Pharaoh’s daughter, or the good Samaritan that lighted on this poor forlorn infant.
Saw thee, in such manner as to pity and consider how to relieve. To Omniscience every thing is seen, but here compassion is included in this seeing, this was the only eye that pitied.
Polluted in thine own blood; most exact emblem of man’s sinful and miserable state, his filthiness and death arising from himself, as the death and filthiness of one wallowing in his own blood.
I said unto thee; I purposed to save thy life, I declared my purpose, and wrought the effect; I took care of thee, that thou mightest not die.
Yea, I said: this is repeated, both to set forth the freeness and abundance of God’s love, and to work our heart to a suitable resentment thereof, and to intimate the stability and stedfastness of the purposes and effects of grace.
Live; it sounds like a command, but it is such a command as sends forth a power accompanying it to effect what is commanded; he gave that life; he spake, and it was done.
I have caused thee to multiply as the bud of the field, and thou hast increased and waxen great, and thou art come to excellent ornaments: thy breasts are fashioned, and thine hair is grown, whereas thou wast naked and bare.The Lord, who chose Abraham and his seed; by his blessing this people were increased as by millions. How inconsiderable is a clan of seventy-five persons! So many went with Jacob into Egypt, where in two hundred and fifty years they grew to six hundred and three thousand five hundred and fifty, beside women, and children under twenty years, and old men above sixty years old. So the promise, Genesis 12:2 15:5 17:2,4, was fulfilled.
As the bud of the field: for multitude, they are compared to the numberless buds of the herb; for flourishing, they are like the bud in the beauty of its spring; and both include the goodness and richness of the land they dwelt in.
Increased; grown up to maturity or full age.
Waxen great; and in stature thou hast come to full, just proportions, or grown strong, mighty, and terrible to thy neighbours who were enemies, but honourable and a defence to thy friends.
Come to excellent ornaments: as jewels and rich vestments set off a beautiful person, so the successes in enterprises, rich returns in merchandise, fruitfulness of the country itself, were the lustre of thy beauty, which all thy neighbours courted; thou wast adorned with the choicest blessings of Divine Providence.
Thy breasts are fashioned: the prophet further describes the beauty and glory of the Jewish nation, grown up and fashioned under God’s own hand, in order to be solemnly affianced to God.
Thine hair, which is an ornament when well set, whereas baldness is a deformity.
Thou wast naked and bare, i.e. when in Egypt, poor, and oppressed, and despised.
Now when I passed by thee, and looked upon thee, behold, thy time was the time of love; and I spread my skirt over thee, and covered thy nakedness: yea, I sware unto thee, and entered into a covenant with thee, saith the Lord GOD, and thou becamest mine.When I passed by thee: see Ezekiel 16:6, of the phrase. This second passing by may well be understood of God’s visiting them and calling them out of Egypt.
Looked upon thee: see the phrase Ezekiel 16:6.
Thy time was the time of love; the time of thy misery was the time of love and pity in me towards thee, and the time of thy grown beautified state was the time of my love of delight, when I rejoiced in thee, and espoused thee to be my wife. Thy time, i.e. the season fittest for the discovery of my purposes towards thee, was the time of love, which is expressed in what follows in the verse,
I spread my skirt over thee, i.e. betrothed thee, as Ruth 3:9 Deu 22:30, engaged by marriage to love, cherish, protect, and safeguard.
Covered thy nakedness; what was and would be thy reproach my love and bounty covered, I clothed thee with spoils of Egypt, and gave time flocks, with the wool whereof thou mightest clothe thyself. If you take it figuratively, I covered all thy filthiness, and washed it away.
I sware unto thee; gave thee the greatest, most inviolable, and solemn assurance of my conjugal love, care, and faithfulness.
Entered into a covenant with thee: this was done at Mount Sinai, Exodus 19:5.
Saith the Lord God: the truth of all which the Lord doth avow in this form of asseveration.
Thou becamest mine; by the obligations of my kindness thou couldst be no less, by thy own voluntary act and consent, by promise and profession, Exodus 19:7,8.
Then washed I thee with water; yea, I throughly washed away thy blood from thee, and I anointed thee with oil.Then, Heb. And: this continueth the allegory, and declareth what more was done to prepare this virgin for advancement by this marriage covenant.
Washed I thee: it was a very ancient custom among those Eastern people, as appears Ruth 3:3 Es 2 12, to purify virgins who were to be espoused ere long; and it is likely the prophet alludes to that, Exodus 19:10.
I throughly washed away: the same thing, by a very usual figure, repeated to confirm and illustrate what is spoken; the word in Hebrew notes an abundant washing, a rinsing of what was washed to make it cleaner; it includes a bathing, as Leviticus 15:10.
Thy blood; thy original and birth pollution, which rendered thee displeasing to the eye, and unfit for the familiar and loving entertainment of a husband.
I anointed thee; not to royal sovereign dignity, this is expressed by another word in the Hebrew; but anointed as they that were to be married, as Ruth 3:3 Esther 2:12; or as those who were to come into the presence of great and noble personages, as Daniel 10:3; or as such who would look with cheerfuller countenances, and change their sad and mournful deportment, as 2 Samuel 12:20: it is not improbable it may allude to the bounty of God toward the Jews in a land flowing with oil. Spiritually these refer to our cleansing by the blood of Christ, and by his sanctifying Spirit.
I clothed thee also with broidered work, and shod thee with badgers' skin, and I girded thee about with fine linen, and I covered thee with silk.So miserably poor was this creature, that she had not clothes to her back; he gave them who married her.
Broidered work; rich and beautiful needle-work of divers colours, much above the state of an abject infant, and suited to the bounty and riches of him who gave them.
Badgers’ skin; those Eastern people had an art of curiously dressing and colouring the skins of those beasts, of which they made their neatest festival shoes, and these were for the richest and greatest personages to use.
I girded thee, both for strength, activity, and ornament.
With fine linen; both soft, warm, and comely. Such soft raiment, used in kings courts, intimate the advancement of tills abject to royal state, as well as delicately clothed.
I covered thee; either covered, as the upper garment covers all the rest, or as curtains of the bed cover one who is laid to rest within them. The veil this virgin was covered with when she appeared abroad, and her furniture at home, were very rich, and proportioned to her Lord’s grandeur and riches.
I decked thee also with ornaments, and I put bracelets upon thy hands, and a chain on thy neck.If the inventory of this virgin’s goods given to her were hitherto of such things as were needful for her comfort, now follows a particular of what served for state and magnificence, as the phrase Job 40:10: it also expresseth the bravery of a bridegroom, Isaiah 61:10; the curiosity and exactness wherewith such do dress themselves.
I put, Heb. I gave, i.e. freely.
Bracelets; which usually were of gold, as appears, Genesis 24:22, and presents made of these bespeak greatest respects.
A chain of gold, in token of honour and authority, Genesis 41:42 Daniel 5:16.
And I put a jewel on thy forehead, and earrings in thine ears, and a beautiful crown upon thine head.A jewel; it was many times of silver, but most commonly of gold, and was of circular figure, hanging by a string fastened above the forehead in such a manner that it lay or rested on the nose, much esteemed among the Eastern people, though of no account with us.
Earrings; golden ornaments hanging in the fleshy part of the ear.
A beautiful crown; a very rich and beautiful crown; as virgins espoused and married had crowns set on their heads, Song of Solomon 3:11, so, to complete the solemnity, and make the magnificence of these nuptials full, a crown of beauty is set on the head of this Jewish nation now married to God.
Thus wast thou decked with gold and silver; and thy raiment was of fine linen, and silk, and broidered work; thou didst eat fine flour, and honey, and oil: and thou wast exceeding beautiful, and thou didst prosper into a kingdom.The prophet sums up all again, partly to aver the truth thereof, partly to bring it to her remembrance, and partly to affect her with thankfulness for what she had received, and with shame for what she had done.
Thou didst eat fine flour; it was the constant course of thy diet, to be provided thus with the choicest food, which thou didst not by scanty allowance taste of, but wast filled with: these were royal dainties, as Genesis 49:20.
Thou wast exceeding beautiful; such diet, with the additional ornaments, would surely render a perfect beauty, and to such perfection did this espoused virgin grow.
Thou didst prosper; all affairs succeeded well, and events added to thy greatness.
A kingdom, not only compact in itself, but victorious over others; and so she was a mistress over kingdoms, as in David’s, Solomon’s, Jehoshaphat’s, and Hezekiah’s time.
And thy renown went forth among the heathen for thy beauty: for it was perfect through my comeliness, which I had put upon thee, saith the Lord GOD.Thy renown; thy name was great and honoured.
Among the heathen; not only next neighbours, but the uttermost ends of the earth, as it is said of the queen of Sheba, heard thereof.
For thy beauty; the excellent order of thy government, prosperity of thy country, riches of thy merchants, and abundance of thy peace.
Perfect; the best of any upon earth, no nations had such laws as they had, or God so near them; it was perfect in its kind.
My comeliness which I had put upon thee; the form of the civil government and its laws, the wisdom, justice, and courage of the governors, the due compliance of the governed, and the holiness, purity, and truth of their religion; all which concurred to make up this beauty, and it was that God put upon them, or set before them, Deu 4:7,8. The visible, outward, emblematic part of all was beautiful; the invisible, inward, and spiritual part was much more beautiful, and ought to be duly considered. Thus far what God did for her.
But thou didst trust in thine own beauty, and playedst the harlot because of thy renown, and pouredst out thy fornications on every one that passed by; his it was.Hear, O heavens, and be astonished at the complaint God doth make against this unthankful, forgetful, and perfidious woman!
Thou didst trust; grew proud, laid aside humility, which became one raised from a most abject state, cast off the modesty, chastity, and fidelity which became a wife.
Thine own beauty; it was not her own, but put upon her; she owed it to the love, bounty, and care of God; but, forgetting this, she accounts it her own, and then disposeth of it as she lists.
Playedst the harlot; no doubt with the increase of wealth and honour the lewdness of harlots and adulteresses increased too, but here spiritual harlotry, i.e. idolatry, is meant; and to this course did the wanton, unstable, and ungodly Jews betake themselves from the days of the judges, and, especially in the latter days of their kingdom, this people went a whoring after idols.
Because of thy renown; some would read it, against thy renown, to the blasting of thy honour; but rather her renown abroad drew to her idolatrous strangers, who brought their idols with them, and acquainted the Jews with the pomps of their idolatrous worship.
Pouredst out thy fornications; didst readily and profusely lavish thy wealth, and prostitute thyself to them, thy land, thy cities; Jerusalem itself was full of the idols which the nations far and near did worship. Every stranger who passed through thee might find room for his idol and idolatry, and very like it was thou didst infect every one-with somewhat of thine, as well as wast infected with their idolatry.
His it was; thy person, affection, riches, religion, all was at the command and service of every adulterer, so impudently vile and false was she to God.
And of thy garments thou didst take, and deckedst thy high places with divers colours, and playedst the harlot thereupon: the like things shall not come, neither shall it be so.Of thy garments; hers they were for use, by gift of God, but she looked on them as hers, without respect to either the giver or use intended. Those costly, royal robes, the very wedding clothes and furniture,
thou didst take; as an adulteress that parts with the rich gifts of her husband to oblige an adulterer.
Deckedst: by this it appears how shameless she was grown, that blushed not to be known, one that had turned her Husband’s bounty, that had abused the unparalleled kindness of her God, to the open and public service of her adulterer, her idol; thus she turned her glory into shame.
Thy high places, where both the idol’s altar and worship were fixed.
With divers colours, with those beautiful clothes and furniture I put upon thee to adorn thee; these hast thou made the carpets and hangings for the honour and service of idols.
The like things shall not come; so matchless is this adulteress, that none shall be so impudent, and do like her; as there was none before her that hath done so to be her example, so shall there be none to follow her in these things wherein she hath exceeded.
Thou hast also taken thy fair jewels of my gold and of my silver, which I had given thee, and madest to thyself images of men, and didst commit whoredom with them,Thy fair jewels; she forgot the property was in God, she reckoned them her own. The word in Hebrew is of larger extent, and includes vessels, instruments, furniture of all sorts, with which, she was abundantly stored, even from their departure out of Egypt, when they spoiled the Egyptians, Exodus 11:2, where the selfsame phrase is used, and more since Solomon made gold and silver so common in Jerusalem, with which they made vessels for use, and furniture of all sorts for ornament.
My gold: the greater was the sin of this harlot, her ingratitude, and her injustice, that she robbed God, committed sacrilege, that she might have idols with which to defile herself by her idolatry.
I had given thee: had she received them of any other hand, the wrong had been the less; but she received them, every one of them, of the hand of God: lie gave her what the Egyptians lent, what David won from enemies, and what Solomon brought in by traffic; so Ho 2 aggravates Israel’s idolatry.
Madest; brutish stupidity! to make an idol, and account it a god!
Images; statues, molten and graven images; not one single image, but many; so idolatry, as adultery, is boundless.
Of men: idolaters had male and female idols; and this idolatress here, as mostly they did, doted on male idols. It is not unlike to that Ezekiel 8:14, which see. And possibly the Egyptian idolatry with Osiris or Adonis may be noted, or some more lewd image or portrait of Priapus, which might be confirmed from Ezekiel 16:26 23:19,20.
Didst commit whoredom with them; provoked by such representations to speculative uncleanness, and prepared for bodily uncleanness also, and proceeding to spiritual adultery with these shameful images.
And tookest thy broidered garments, and coveredst them: and thou hast set mine oil and mine incense before them.Thy broidered garments, mentioned Ezekiel 16:10, given by him who espoused this woman. Coveredst them; didst clothe the adulterers with whom thou didst commit lewdness, or didst clothe the images which thou hadst made, as was the custom of idolaters to suit clothing to their idols.
Mine oil; either in lamps to burn before them, or used in their sacrificing to their idols; or literally, didst in thy feast with thine adulterous lovers entertain them with the oil I gave thee.
Mine incense; burnt before the idol incense, being one part of what they offered to idols; or burnt in the private house, to make it the more grateful to the adulterer, as Proverbs 7:16,17.
My meat also which I gave thee, fine flour, and oil, and honey, wherewith I fed thee, thou hast even set it before them for a sweet savour: and thus it was, saith the Lord GOD.My meat also; the bread, all that was necessary and proper for thy sustentation in general, which I gave thee, thou hast fed thy paramours withal.
Fine flour, & c: here are particularly recounted the things God gave, and this adulteress misemployed, both literally and mystically; for I doubt not the Jews were lavish of the fruits of the Divine bounty, bestowing them both on adulterers and on idols.
For a sweet savour; to reconcile the idol, or to prolong the favour of the idol, or to give a pleasing entertainment to their adulterers, or to provide for the idolatrous priests and their families, which could spend all this, though the idol knew not of it.
Thus it was; all which is self-evident, plain, and needs no proof; it is undeniable.
Moreover thou hast taken thy sons and thy daughters, whom thou hast borne unto me, and these hast thou sacrificed unto them to be devoured. Is this of thy whoredoms a small matter,Thy sons; they were hers by birth, and should have been hers in affection, care, and preservation; but as idolatry is from the father of lies, the old murderer, it is even cruel, and spares neither sons or daughters. Sons, that are usually the father’s darlings, are always the strength and glory of the family, without respect to him that begat them, were by this adulteress designed to please the idol.
Thy daughters, usually the mother’s great delight, whose tender sex required better usage, unregarded, are by a cruel mother in idolatrous abominations destroyed.
Whom thou hast borne unto me; which were mine, born within covenant, before the lewd mother was divorced, born to be of my family, and to serve and love me.
And these; these very children of mine, to my dishonour and grief, to provoke me to utmost anger, hast thou destroyed.
Sacrificed; not only consecrating them to be priests to dumb idols, dunghill gods, as Ezekiel 20:26 2 Chronicles 33:6; or idolatrously purifying them, called lustration; or, which is most inhumanly cruel, burning them in sacrifice to Molech, which cruelty the Jews themselves did barbarously imitate, 2 Chronicles 28:3.
To be devoured; to be consumed to ashes, being made a burnt-offering to the devil, as Psalm 106:37.
Is this of thy whoredoms a small matter? were thy whoredoms a small matter with thee, that thou hast proceeded to this height of unnatural cruelty? Or, is both face and heart so hardened by an impudent course of adulteries, that thou canst do this as if it were no great matter? Will spiritual adulteresses as well as bodily thus hunt the precious life? Could such commit the worst who were forbid to commit any murder?
That thou hast slain my children, and delivered them to cause them to pass through the fire for them?Thy blind superstition called this religion, and accounted it sacrifice, but truth is it was unnatural murder; it is as if thou hadst cut their throat, nay, worse, because it put them to greater torture. The word is used Isaiah 57:5 Hosea 5:2.
My children; sons here are first-born, which peculiarly were devoted to God, he reserved a special right in these, and yet this cruel mother, this perfidious wife, this sacrilegious adulteress, sacrificeth these to her idols.
Delivered them; either gave them to the idol’s priests, or rather with her own hands gave them, i.e. led them through the fire, if lustrated, or put them into the idol’s arms of brass or iron, which grasped them fast whilst they were consumed with fire that made the idol red hot.
For them; for the idol’s worship, or possibly for the parents, who did wickedly imagine this a way to preserve and prosper the rest of their children.
And in all thine abominations and thy whoredoms thou hast not remembered the days of thy youth, when thou wast naked and bare, and wast polluted in thy blood.Thou wast so intent upon and delighted in thy lewd courses, thou never thoughtest what once thou wast, or what again thou mightest be.
In all thine abominations, both corporal and spiritual.
Thy whoredoms: this is the same thing charged thus on her, because she would not consider, or lay it to heart.
Thou hast not remembered; thou hast utterly forgotten; it is a form of speech that contains more than the words seem to have in them, she had forgotten herself and her God.
Thy youth; the misery and loathsomeness of thy birth, which is expressed very elegantly.
1. Naked, as contemptible as poverty could make her.
2. Nay, she was nakedness itself, as the word will bear, exposed to all the suffering that can befall such poor helpless wretches.
3. Bleeding to death in a most loathsome, defiled condition, that none would come near her: but, ungrateful, she forgot all.
And it came to pass after all thy wickedness, (woe, woe unto thee! saith the Lord GOD;)It came to pass; it shall come to pass; so the Hebrew may be read, and then this verse will be a dreadful threat of misery to come upon the Jews for all their wickednesses; when they have filled up the measure of their sins, God will fill them with his judgments, and bring one woe after another upon them, as they proceeded from one wickedness to another. But as we read the words, they are an introduction to a further declaring of this people’s multiplied wickedness, with a dreadful menace introduced somewhat abruptly to express God’s great displeasure against them: the threat is doubled, because it is certainly coming, and will be great when come.
That thou hast also built unto thee an eminent place, and hast made thee an high place in every street.Hast also built, with great charge and pains, as those do. who build, hereby declaring thy purposes of continuing thy lewdness.
Unto thee; for thyself, grown so prodigiously public, and followed with such numbers, and such great ones, that no common place was thought great enough, or stately enough.
An eminent place; not only eminent for its situation, but for its structure, that it might invite men in, and have room to treat them, unless you will refer the words that follow to the manner of the building, and the former words to the height of the situation.
An high place in every street; idol temples and brothel-houses were in every street; so common were these sins with the Jews; in every large street capable of and frequented with much company. This in Jerusalem and her cities.
Thou hast built thy high place at every head of the way, and hast made thy beauty to be abhorred, and hast opened thy feet to every one that passed by, and multiplied thy whoredoms.Not content with what was done in the city, she built her idol temples and shows in the country, in places where many ways or roads met, wheresoever it was likely passengers would come.
Hast made thy beauty to be abhorred, as the beauty of a shameless whore is abhorred by them to whom she offers herself. In her high places every passenger might meet his own god, and worship his own idol, and then satisfy his lust with lewd women, common as the street; and this made men abhor that beauty they would have admired, dressed in modesty, and dwelling retired.
Hast opened thy feet; a modest expressing of the most immodest practice of lewd and insatiable adulteresses and whores, which are ready for every comer, and tempt such as tempt not them, Ezekiel 16:32,33.
Thou hast also committed fornication with the Egyptians thy neighbours, great of flesh; and hast increased thy whoredoms, to provoke me to anger.Committed fornication; both figuratively and literally understood; worshipped Egypt’s gods, made covenants with them, kept up a commerce of trade with them, and prostituted themselves to their lusts too, by cohabitation, while the servitude lasted, and by nearness of place, when in Canaan. The Jewish nation retained too much inclination to those idolatrous and lustful neighbours.
Great of flesh; politically they were great in power, and like to defend and help the Jews; naturally of big make, and men of great stature, and such as insatiable adulteresses would covet; and these considerations induced adulterous and idolatrous Israel to unite with them in leagues and religion.
To anger; to a fierceness of anger for its degree, and to an abhorring and contemning of the person against whom this anger is stirred.
Behold, therefore I have stretched out my hand over thee, and have diminished thine ordinary food, and delivered thee unto the will of them that hate thee, the daughters of the Philistines, which are ashamed of thy lewd way.Behold; open thine eyes, thou secure and foolish adulteress, see what hath been done against thee, and consider it is for thy lewdness.
I have stretched out my hand; I have chastised and punished already in some measure.
Over thee; it may be read, against thee. In like phrase Isaiah 5:25 9:12,17,21 10:4, expresseth the punishing of this people.
Diminished thine ordinary food; abated of that plentiful allowance a kind Husband made, and an unfaithful wife abused: it refers to scarcity and penury, with which God did punish idolatrous Israel, and this more than once.
Delivered thee; stirred up first such to fight against them, and then gave victory to their arms, yet they might use the conquered as they pleased; sent them into captivity into an enemy’s land, where they that hated them ruled over them, and no doubt such would satisfy their own lusts on these captives.
The daughters of the Philistines: either it is a Hebraism, the daughters of the Philistines for the whole nation, or else some particular cities and principalities of the Philistines, which quarrelled with and prevailed against the Jews, when God had been so provoked by the sins of the Jews. Idolaters, but in this honester than the Jews; they were constant to their own god, and did not, as the Jews, lewdly go a whoring with every idol they saw.
Which are ashamed of thy lewd way; will therefore reprove, and teach thee some modesty and chastity.
Thou hast played the whore also with the Assyrians, because thou wast unsatiable; yea, thou hast played the harlot with them, and yet couldest not be satisfied.Thou hast courted their friendship and alliance, and to obtain it hast entertained their religion, manners, and impieties, been all idolatress with them, and committed adulteries with them, though they were far from thee. When thou didst wickedly with thy neighbours, it might admit some little colour of excuse, but it is inexcusable to run to remotest nations.
Because thou wast unsatiable; without satisfying thyself (and so the Hebrew may be read); but our interpreters refer it to the boundless lusts of this lewd adulteress, and not to the issue and event of her practices; and in the endless lustings of a wicked heart idolaters and adulterers do agree.
Yea, thou hast played the harlot; it is repeated to shame her, and make her blush and repent.
Couldst not be satisfied; or, wast not satisfied. Assyrian gods proved, as other idols, a snare and a lie to the Jews, 2 Kings 16:9,10 Jer 2:18,36 Ho 7:11,12 14:3.
Thou hast moreover multiplied thy fornication in the land of Canaan unto Chaldea; and yet thou wast not satisfied herewith.Multiplied; both increased the number of thy idolatries, and made them greater, in that thou hast adopted the idols of Canaan, and all that between them and the Chaldeans are owned or worshipped.
In the land; the Hebrew may be read
towards as well as
in. The idolatry of the Jews worshipping Canaan’s idols was most intolerable, because God had so fully declared the vileness of it, and his abhorrence thereof, and so strictly charged the Jews to keep themselves from it. How monstrously wicked is it, that in prosperity, and possessing the houses and wealth which thy God gave thee out of the hands of the Canaanites and their idols, thou forgettest God, and worshippest their idols; and in adversity and captivity doest the like, and detest on the idols of thine enemies!
How weak is thine heart, saith the Lord GOD, seeing thou doest all these things, the work of an imperious whorish woman;Weak; unstable, like water that melts away. Neither hast strength of judgment to discern the truth and purity of religion, nor hast strength of resolution to hold fast to it.
Doest all these things; changest thy God and religion, or detest on all the gaudy, pompous religions and idols thou hearest of.
Imperious whorish woman; a woman who thinks herself her own, that knows no superior, nor will be either guided and governed to do good, nor reproved and reclaimed from evil; a woman whose lust is her law, and her husband her contempt and burden. Such will be boundless in her disorders, and shameless too.
In that thou buildest thine eminent place in the head of every way, and makest thine high place in every street; and hast not been as an harlot, in that thou scornest hire;Thou buildest; see Ezekiel 16:24; whereas the paramours of other lewd women build for them, as it is reported of Solomon, 1 Kings 11:7,8. Here, on the contrary, this unfaithful nation forsake their God, commit fornication with strange gods, and bear the charges both of building their temples, and furnishing them with sacrifices, and maintaining the priests.
Thine eminent place: see Ezekiel 16:24.
Every way: see Ezekiel 16:25.
In every street: see Ezekiel 16:24. Hast not been as an harlot; common harlots make gain of their looseness, and live by that gain, they make a prey of the men that come in to them; thou doest worse, thou lavishest out thy credit, wealth, and all, to maintain and please thine adulterers. Scornest; the Hebrew word is of two significations, and opposite to each other, for it bears, as our translation renders it, contempt, slighting, or disregarding; and so it suiteth with what follows, Ezekiel 16:32-34. It signifieth also to praise, value, and regard, as Buxtorf observes; and it will as well, if not better, be so rendered here, and be the character of a common harlot, which wandereth after her lovers with a design of receiving the rewards of her lewdness; and thus the Chaldee paraphrase reads it; so we shall need no parenthesis, nor begin the antithesis till the 32nd verse.
But as a wife that committeth adultery, which taketh strangers instead of her husband!Here begins the antithesis. A wife, adulteress, such as the prophet compareth this nation to, which hath a most rich, bountiful, and kind husband, she differs from common harlots in this point, she hunts not rewards, but forbidden pleasures.
They give gifts to all whores: but thou givest thy gifts to all thy lovers, and hirest them, that they may come unto thee on every side for thy whoredom.They, unclean fornicators and adulterers,
give gifts; the word is of a restrictive sense, speaks not any kind of gifts in general, but peculiarly such gifts as are presented by a wooer, or espouser of a woman, with which she is enriched and adorned; and may perhaps imply the arts, pretences, and arguments which are used by loose men to seduce and corrupt virgins; they pretend marriage designed, make presents, and deceive.
To all whores, i.e. to the most of them, it is usually so.
Thy gifts; thy nuptial gifts, which thy generous and bountiful Husband gave thee at the espousals, or on the wedding day. Those gifts which are most highly valued, most carefully preserved, and most unwillingly parted with by all virtuous women, thou most unparalleled adulteress hast given to thy Husband’s greatest enemies, to thy beastly adulterers.
To all thy lovers; thou makest little difference, but, as it happens, any one of thy lewd companions may easily have these gifts of thy hand.
Hirest them, by large gifts, as bribes usually are; and the word used here signifieth, they slight thee, and have no desire after thee. Like despised adulteresses, they would hate thee, but thy bribes change their behaviour, thought not their minds and thoughts of thee.
On every side; women have somewhat of modesty remaining amidst their lewdness for the most part, and if adulteresses, yet have their lovers in some corner or other; but thou, as unsatiable, hast them every where round about thee.
And the contrary is in thee from other women in thy whoredoms, whereas none followeth thee to commit whoredoms: and in that thou givest a reward, and no reward is given unto thee, therefore thou art contrary.That which subverts the order of nature, is contrary to the innate modesty of thy sex. Thou followest them, treatest, importunest, promisest, payest, and caressest them. Thus, as a shameless adulteress, Israel had carried it toward her God, who espoused, enriched, beautified, and delighted in her; but she hired the nations round about her to enter covenant with her; entertained and maintained all their idolatrous worship, gave the nuptial gifts to hateful idols.
Wherefore, O harlot, hear the word of the LORD:Her indictment and notoriety of all the charge against her we have heard; her crimes she was guilty of, with the aggravations of them; now follows sentence of condemnation against her.
Hear the word of just condemnation which thou must submit to, though thou refusedst the word of counsel and precept.
Thus saith the Lord GOD; Because thy filthiness was poured out, and thy nakedness discovered through thy whoredoms with thy lovers, and with all the idols of thy abominations, and by the blood of thy children, which thou didst give unto them;Thus saith the Lord God: this august title is a preface to give weight to the sentence, and to affect her heart with fear.
Thy filthiness; it might be rendered money, with which she hired and bribed her lovers, which she spent upon Baal, as Hosea 2:8. Her sorcery, with which she bewitched and enchanted them: her poison, infused into them she conversed with: the impudence of her carriage, as a whore with a forehead of brass, Jeremiah 3:3.
Poured out: it includes her eagerness, constancy, and abounding in her wickedness, and most modestly upbraids her with her most immodest lasciviousness, and discovery of it.
Thy nakedness discovered: sometimes it is figuratively taken, so it may be here, though I rather think she is charged with such prostitution as the discovering the parts nature hath concealed, and modesty should keep secret.
Through thy whoredoms; in thy playing the harlot thou hast shamelessly incited thy lovers by discovery of thy secret parts.
With all the idols: as before was observed, she doted on all the idols of her neighbours and acquaintance, which become her abominations by her loving them, when she should have abhorred them.
The blood of thy children: see Ezekiel 20,21. Adultery, idolatry, murder of her children, is the sum of this charge drawn up against her.
Behold, therefore I will gather all thy lovers, with whom thou hast taken pleasure, and all them that thou hast loved, with all them that thou hast hated; I will even gather them round about against thee, and will discover thy nakedness unto them, that they may see all thy nakedness.Behold: God calls her to consider what heavy judgment he pronounceth and will execute.
Gather whole herds and droves, for the word implieth such a gathering together.
All thy lovers; Chaldeans, Assyrians, Egyptians. Pleasure; unlawful pleasures of body, commerce, and idolatrous feasts in their idolatrous sacrifices. Old pretended friends, now turned into vehement enemies; and old enemies, who have earnestly longed for such an opportunity to vent their malice; their hatred will heap on thee mischiefs, under which real friendship might somewhat relieve, but counterfeited friendship never will; thou shalt not have a friend to pity or help thee.
Them that thou hast hated; so shall my threats be fulfilled, Leviticus 26:17, when I give thee up into their hands, who remember thy hatred against them, and renew the old hatred they had against thee.
I will even gather them; it shall be very certain, and my hand, saith God, shall be seen doing it, I will do this. Round about; all the nations that are on every side, that there may be numbers enough to do this, and that there may be no escape for thee, when, which way soever thou fleest, still thou fleest into the mouth of thy enemies, and who hate thee.
Discover thy nakedness; lay open to view all thy shameless doings; thou didst discover thy nakedness to allure, and then to satisfy thy prodigious lust; now it shall be discovered to nauseate them, and to provoke them to contemn thee, and to use thee as so vile a person deserveth. So God retaliateth, and punisheth sinners, that their sin may be seen in the punishment.
May see, with upbraiding, scorning, and hating of it and them.
All thy nakedness; the odiousness of thy sinful courses, and the weakness of thy state.
And I will judge thee, as women that break wedlock and shed blood are judged; and I will give thee blood in fury and jealousy.And I, who am thy Lord and Husband, whose authority and kindness thou hast so contemned and abused,
will judge thee; both condemn thee to suffer what thou deservest, and execute what thou art condemned to;
as women that break wedlock, who were sometimes strangled, sometimes stoned, sometimes burnt, were put to death to be sure, Leviticus 20:10 Deu 22:22. It may intimate the future destruction of her adulterous lovers, for both the adulterer and adulteress were to die. Site was guilty of the unnatural murder of her children, and God will, according to his own law, Genesis 9:5,6 Num 35:31,32, cause her blood to be shed.
Will give thee blood; the like phrase you have Revelation 16:6, and elsewhere; the like judgment is expressed by watering the land with blood, as Ezekiel 32:6, and by preparing one for blood, Ezekiel 35:6: Thou gavest the blood of thy children to idols in sacrifice, I will give thee thine own blood to drink; thou didst it in contempt of my law, I will do it in vindication of my law.
In fury and jealousy; passions that do usually appear in the revenges that abused husbands take on their wives which have intolerably dishonoured and wronged them; and God expresseth his great indignation, and the severity of his just displeasure, by allusion hereunto.
And I will also give thee into their hand, and they shall throw down thine eminent place, and shall break down thy high places: they shall strip thee also of thy clothes, and shall take thy fair jewels, and leave thee naked and bare.This particularly describes the manner in which God will do what he threatens.
I will give thee, as a judge delivers the condemned into the hand of the executioner. Their hand; power and exasperated rage.
Throw down, undermine and utterly ruin,
thine eminent place; thy idol temples, and thy stews: see Ezekiel 16:24,31.
Shall break down; the same in other terms.
They shall strip thee: it is opprobrium to a man to be stripped, more to a woman; this Jewish adulteress shall be stripped, that her nakedness appear. God’s undeserved love covered her nakedness, Ezekiel 16:8, his just displeasure will now discover her nakedness.
Thy fair jewels: see Ezekiel 16:17.
They shall also bring up a company against thee, and they shall stone thee with stones, and thrust thee through with their swords.They; the king of Babylon, and his counsellors, and captains.
A company; an assembled army. You had your assemblies for your idol worship, and I will have also an assembly, but it shall be of Chaldeans, Habakkuk 1:6, and others, to destroy you for your idolatry.
They shall stone thee: the punishment by stoning was not inflicted on the condemned, but in the sight of the congregation; so here is a congregation of many nations, before whom this just judgment of God shall be executed on this adulteress. It intimates the manner of battering of the walls of Jerusalem, with stones cast out of their engines.
Thrust thee through with their swords; when the enemy shall assault and take the battered city, he will in his fury slay and destroy with the sword. It is called
their sword, because it might mind the Israelites that the destruction would be with the sword of a cruel one, of either an old professed enemy, or a new revolted friend.
And they shall burn thine houses with fire, and execute judgments upon thee in the sight of many women: and I will cause thee to cease from playing the harlot, and thou also shalt give no hire any more.They; that company mentioned Ezekiel 16:40.
Shall burn thine houses; as harlots and idolaters were to be punished; intimating also the burning Jerusalem, the temple and houses in it, as 2 Kings 25:9 2 Chronicles 36:19.
Execute, as God’s instruments to do his will, and also as men that satisfy their own rage, judgments, all kind of cruelty,
upon thee, O Jerusalem, and thine inhabitants, in the sight of many women; the people that were gathered to besiege, take, and spoil Jerusalem, and the daughters thereof. I
will cause thee: it is not said how this shall be done, whether by changing their minds, or by utterly ruining them; but this shall be done: this is the effect of the Divine judgments.
From playing the harlot; from idolatry, and adulteries, which attend it.
Thou also, who hast been so lavish and inclined to this course, shalt give no hire any more; so poor, thou canst not, or so changed, that thou wilt no more, hire paramours to come in to thee.
So will I make my fury toward thee to rest, and my jealousy shall depart from thee, and I will be quiet, and will be no more angry.It may admit a doubt, whether this be spoken in way of promise and kindness, or of menace and wrath. This latter seems intended, as if God said, The jealousy whereto you have provoked me will never cease till these judgments have utterly destroyed you, and cut you off, as the anger of an abused husband ceaseth in the divorce and public punishment of the adulteress.
My jealousy shall depart from thee; I will no more concern myself for thee, nor be troubled at thy carriage, whatever it be, since thou art no more mine.
Will be no more angry, with the anger which is in the breast of a husband troubled for and angry at the miscarriages of a wife he loved.
Because thou hast not remembered the days of thy youth, but hast fretted me in all these things; behold, therefore I also will recompense thy way upon thine head, saith the Lord GOD: and thou shalt not commit this lewdness above all thine abominations.This verse recapitulates the causes of God’s great displeasure against Jerusalem.
Thou hast not remembered: see Ezekiel 16:22.
Hast fretted me; a mixed passion, in which is grief as well as anger, such as moves in the heart of a jealous husband, or such as is the passion of one that is grieved and angered at the rebukes of her folly, breaks out into disorderly carriage against the reprover, and tumultuating within her own breast, holds on her course.
All these things, already mentioned and charged against thee.
Behold; lay it now before thine eyes, and consider it. Will recompense; or, have recompensed; for the prophet speaks of the times when all he threatened from God should be executed upon this people.
Thou shalt not commit this lewdness, & c.: this passage is somewhat intricate, and is read by some thus, I have not done according to what all thine abominations deserve, or I have not executed such thoughts as all thy lewdness calls for. Some read, as we, in the second person, Thou hast not, &c., i.e. made account, or thought with thyself what would become of thee, or what thou shouldst do after all thine abominations, therefore these sore judgments have overtaken and ruined thee. As our version renders the words, they seem to be the same with that Ezekiel 16:41. After all God’s judgments poured forth, such should be their condition and state, they should be so poor and despised, they neither should have opportunity nor ability to please their idolatrous and adulterous companions.
Behold, every one that useth proverbs shall use this proverb against thee, saying, As is the mother, so is her daughter.That useth proverbs; that delights to make parables, and useth to taunt at the vices of notorious sinners.
Shall use this proverb against thee: this might be read with the former phrase, and render us this sense, Every one that would speak against thee, O Jerusalem, and tartly upbraid thee, shall use this proverb.
The mother; old Jerusalem, when the seat of the Jebusites; or the land of Canaan, when full of the idolatrous, bloody, barbarous nations.
Her daughter; Jerusalem, or synagogue of the Jews, which is more like in the wickednesses of those accursed nations, than near them in places of abode. See more Ezekiel 16:3.
Thou art thy mother's daughter, that lotheth her husband and her children; and thou art the sister of thy sisters, which lothed their husbands and their children: your mother was an Hittite, and your father an Amorite.Thou, the nation of the Jews,
art thy mother’s daughter; as much for her vicious inclinations, as for thy original derived from her, the most wicked daughter of as wicked a mother.
That loatheth; that was weary of the best Husband, that while she doted on abominable adulterers, did most contemptuously disregard her Husband, and forsake him. Other lewd women have had some love for their children, because born of them, bred by them, and resembling them; so much of the mother was in the children, that some adulteresses have loved themselves in the children; but here is a loose woman, an unnatural beast, that loathes her own flesh, persecuting such as are constant to the law of God their Father, and murdering others in sacrifice to devils.
The sister of thy sisters: it runs in the blood; as the mother, so the sisters, loved and doted on strange flesh, were as inordinate in their affections to others, as they were in their disaffection to their own husbands and children.
Your mother: see Ezekiel 16:3. He speaks of them collectively, and as the greatest part were.
And thine elder sister is Samaria, she and her daughters that dwell at thy left hand: and thy younger sister, that dwelleth at thy right hand, is Sodom and her daughters.Thine elder sister, i.e. the greater for power, riches, and numbers of people, not the elder for years.
Samaria; metropolis, or mother city, of the revolted and idolatrous ten tribes.
Her daughters; lesser cities of the kingdom of Israel, or the people who dwelt in them.
At thy left hand; northward, as you look toward the east.
Thy younger sister; or lesser, so the Hebrew; which consists of fewer people, is of less power.
At thy right hand; southward from Jerusalem. Sodom, as chief city.
Her daughters; either the cities near in place, and joined in affinity, idolatry, and other sins like Sodom, or the inhabitants of those cities.
Yet hast thou not walked after their ways, nor done after their abominations: but, as if that were a very little thing, thou wast corrupted more than they in all thy ways.Yet, Heb. And.
Walked; lived and behaved thyself as they did, for they, all things considered, were less sinners than thou.
Nor done, & c.; the same in other words; their doings were abominable, but thine have been worse.
Thou, O Jerusalem! wast corrupted more than they; art deeper dyed in sin. These deep sins were more universal, if not as to the actors, for number, yet as to extent of the wickednesses those actors committed.
As I live, saith the Lord GOD, Sodom thy sister hath not done, she nor her daughters, as thou hast done, thou and thy daughters.As I live; an oath which God often confirms his word by, and certainly that may be believed which the God of truth confirms by his own oath. See this oath explained, Ezekiel 5:11.
Hath not done; hath not equalled thy sins, how little soever thou believest this; the disparity lieth in this, she the less, thou the greater sinner.
Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.The iniquity; iniquity, either for iniquities, or the fountain and occasion of all amongst the Sodomites.
Pride; a haughty mind, swelled with the excellency, beauty, and grandeur of their state, and vaunting of it above their neighbours.
Fulness of bread, i.e. luxury, and riotous excess in eating and drinking: their plenty was not their sin, but they made it occasion of sin to themselves; they were very intemperate in their diet.
Abundance of idleness; every thing so plentiful, that they little regarded to employ themselves, but were idle and slothful, or deeply secure in their peace, plenty, and honour, neither feared God’s wrath or man’s sword; the first was the fault of particular sinners, the latter was the sin and fault of the community.
Neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy; she refused to help strangers, as appeareth in the history of the angels’ entertainment, Ge 19; nor was she mindful of helping the poor with counsel and defence; they were unmerciful and hard-hearted toward the poor amongst them. This was a great sin to those that abounded in wealth, as the Sodomites did.
And they were haughty, and committed abomination before me: therefore I took them away as I saw good.Haughty; insufferably arrogant in their deportment towards good men, they vexed the soul of righteous Lot; and towards the angels, whom they assaulted in Lot’s house; and towards God himself, as both in this verse, and in Genesis 13:13.
Committed; worked, as if it were their trade.
Abomination; the whole of these men’s life was as one continued act of the highest wickedness.
Before me; either against God, or openly and publicly, as Isaiah 3:9.
I took them away; destroyed their state, cities, people, and country, turned them into a lake of dead and deadly water, or rather bitumen and sulphur.
As I saw good; in a way none could have suspected, and, for aught I know, none ever saw before or since. If you inquire how Jerusalem’s sins were greater than Sodom’s, I would answer, if not in the things done, yet in the aggravating circumstances of them; against redeeming mercy, against the law of God, which forbade what they did, and told them what they should do, against admonitions by the mouth of prophets, and against examples of God’s vengeance on Sodom and the cities of the plain.
Neither hath Samaria committed half of thy sins; but thou hast multiplied thine abominations more than they, and hast justified thy sisters in all thine abominations which thou hast done.Samaria; the ten tribes, or kingdom of Israel, founded in rebellion and idolatry.
Committed half of thy sins; a proverbial speech, usual in comparison to set forth the lesser part, as 1 Kings 10:7.
But thou hast multiplied: this explains the former.
More; more, or greater, the Hebrew word signifieth both.
Justified; not made them righteous, but declared them less unrighteous than thou in thy aboniinations; of the two they are less faulty.
Thou also, which hast judged thy sisters, bear thine own shame for thy sins that thou hast committed more abominable than they: they are more righteous than thou: yea, be thou confounded also, and bear thy shame, in that thou hast justified thy sisters.Thou also; Jerusalem, and all the Jews with her.
Hast judged; hast pretended it was wonder a people should sin as Samaria; or hast once condemned their apesracy, whilst thou stoodest; or hast judged their punishment just, that they deserved all they suffered.
Bear; shalt surely be loaded with punishment.
Thine own shame; that shall be thy shame as well as smart.
More abominable: see Ezekiel 16:47,48,51.
When I shall bring again their captivity, the captivity of Sodom and her daughters, and the captivity of Samaria and her daughters, then will I bring again the captivity of thy captives in the midst of them:It is disputed whether this be a promise or menace; it is most likely to be a threat; and if you consider the difference between a temporal and spiritual restitution, and the difference between an entire and partial restitution, it will be evident. Sodom and Samaria never were restored to that state they had been in, nor were the two tribes ever made so rich, mighty, and renowned, though God brought some of them out of Babylon; and yet were these words promissory, both Sodom, Samaria, and the two tribes would have been restored. The words seem to confirm irrecoverably a low, afflicted, despised state, as the future condition of the Jews for ever in their temporals.
Then; then, not before: this doth not preclude a future full restitution, but is an argument that concludes against the consequence, but a negation of the antecedent, as if it were said, If ever Sodom and Samaria may hope, then thou mayst hope for a restoring to thy former glory; but Sodom and Samaria never shall, therefore neither thou, O Jerusalem, and deluded Jews. And this may have respect to the false prophets, who deceived this people with promises of deliverance from being made captives, or of sudden restitution of all to them.
That thou mayest bear thine own shame, and mayest be confounded in all that thou hast done, in that thou art a comfort unto them.Thou mayest; thou shalt, so the Hebrew, as well as mayest.
Shame; punishment for offences is ever reproachful, and some punishments are more so than others. Such shall the Jews’ punishments be.
Confounded; some offenders are hardened to an insensibleness of shame, but God will make these Jews to feel the smart, and blush under the shame of their punishments.
In all that thou hast done; for all the wickednesses from which the punishments of Sodom and Samaria should have deterred them, for imitating and outdoing them.
A comfort; encouraging sinners like those of Sodom and Samaria, and being fellow sufferers with them in as great, or greater, judgments.
When thy sisters, Sodom and her daughters, shall return to their former estate, and Samaria and her daughters shall return to their former estate, then thou and thy daughters shall return to your former estate.This verse is explained in Ezekiel 16:53, and needs not a repeated explication; it threatens a perpetual continuance of their low, abject, and miserable state in their outward concerns.
For thy sister Sodom was not mentioned by thy mouth in the day of thy pride,This is the reason why their state should be hopeless as that of Sodom. The sins of Sodom and her plagues were not minded by thee, though thou didst worse in thy prosperity, didst not fear like misery, nor wouldst forbear like sins. Thou shouldst have told thy children what Sodom did against the Lord, and what the Lord did against theln, that thou and thy daughters might have repented, and returned; but no such things were told them.
Before thy wickedness was discovered, as at the time of thy reproach of the daughters of Syria, and all that are round about her, the daughters of the Philistines, which despise thee round about.The time of her pride, security, and sin was when they were not afflicted, and despised by the Syrians.
Thy wickedness; thy abominable doings were made known to thyself, to thy friends and enemies too, by the execution of the severe menaces and sad predictions of my prophets, who foretold what punishments and what shame this sinful people should suffer by the hands of the Syrians, who should waste the Jews, and deride them, burn their cities, and carry citizens captives, as in the time of Ahaz over Judah, and Rezin over Syria.
All that are round about; the nations that were round about in vicinity, and combined in league against the house of David.
Her; either Jerusalem or Syria; rather this latter, the chief whereof were the Philistines, called here the daughters of the Philistines, as Isaiah 9:12.
Despise thee; contemn thee, as an impotent as well as wicked people, a people which had deserved to be enslaved, and over whom they might at pleasure make a king.
Thou hast borne thy lewdness and thine abominations, saith the LORD.What thou hast done I have imputed to thee; thou wilt not repent, therefore I account thee guilty, and I have in part punished thee; and though what I have done seem grievous, yet worse is behind, as Ezekiel 16:59.
For thus saith the Lord GOD; I will even deal with thee as thou hast done, which hast despised the oath in breaking the covenant.This is ushered in with a most solemn and sacred asseveration.
I will even deal with thee; either thus: Thou hast despised the laws and privileges of my covenant with thee, and I will despise all thy pretensions to my favour by virtue of my covenant; it is mutual, and who breaks it forfeits all benefit by it. Or, deal with thee according as thou hast done to other punished sinners, over which thou hast insulted and condemned.
Hast despised the oath; by wilful and contemptuous despite hast perjured thyself, which is a sin the nations about thee could not be guilty of, for they were not, thou only wast, in covenant with me. Or else, Thou hast contemptuously slighted my bounty and grace, and my faithfulness and truth, and bound thyself by covenant with idols and idolaters, though I had so expressly forbidden them.
The covenant, made in Horeb.
Nevertheless I will remember my covenant with thee in the days of thy youth, and I will establish unto thee an everlasting covenant.The Lord having denounced a perpetual punishment to the stubborn, impenitent body of the Jewish nation, he doth now promise to the remnant that they shall be remembered and obtain covenanted mercy, which makes up the last part of the chapter.
I will remember: properly neither remembering nor forgetting is in God, who is omniscient; but after the manner of man this is spoken of God, who is said to remember when he makes it appear that he hath regard to us, as Psalm 20:3, and blesseth us.
My covenant; in which I promised I would not utterly cast off the seed of Israel, nor fail to send the Messiah, the Redeemer, who Should turn away iniquity from Jacob.
With thee; in the loins of Abraham, and solemnly renewed after their coming out of Egypt, which is the time called the days of thy youth, Isaiah 44:2 46:3 Ezekiel 16:43.
Establish; confirm and ratify, it shall be sure and unfailing.
Everlasting, i.e. of a very long continuance, as to that part of the covenant which respecteth their condition in the Land of Promise, or Canaan; but in what is spiritual, and containeth heavenly things, it shall be absolutely everlasting, Jeremiah 31:31-34.
Then thou shalt remember thy ways, and be ashamed, when thou shalt receive thy sisters, thine elder and thy younger: and I will give them unto thee for daughters, but not by thy covenant.Then; when that new covenant, made and confirmed, shall operate and take effect.
Remember; consider and lay to heart, repent of, mourn for, loathe and abhor, and turn from all thy wicked ways, all thy evil practices and doings.
Be ashamed; though whilst thou wast an adulteress, and false to thy Husband, thou didst not blush, now thou shalt with a deep shame remember and detest thy lewdness.
Receive; admit into church communion, own them as members of the church of God.
Thy sisters; the Gentiles, now strangers, but then sisters.
Thine elder; or those that are greater and mightier than thou, or that by their power, wealth, and honour are as much above thee as the elder children are above the younger.
Thy younger; thy lesser or meaner sister.
I will give them unto thee; they shall be to thee as a gift bestowed in love.
For daughters: as daughters in duty hearken to and obey, so shall the Gentiles brought into the church hearken to the word of God, which sounded out from the Jews from Jerusalem.
By thy covenant; not by that old covenant which was violated, not by external ceremonies, which were a great part of the first covenant, but by that covenant which writes the law in the heart, and puts the fear of God into the inward parts.
And I will establish my covenant with thee; and thou shalt know that I am the LORD:This promise you have Ezekiel 16:60.
My covenant, in distinction from that is called thy covenant, Ezekiel 16:61.
With thee, O Israel, first, and then with the Gentiles, as thy children, with all the genuine children of Abraham, father of the faithful.
Thou shalt know that I am the Lord: this short sentence contains the sum of all our duty and privileges; it is summarily a promise of grace and glory; it is a sanctifying knowledge to fit us for obedience, and it is a justifying knowledge to deliver us from punishment; it is evangelical knowledge of God, a knowledge which is unto eternal life.
That thou mayest remember, and be confounded, and never open thy mouth any more because of thy shame, when I am pacified toward thee for all that thou hast done, saith the Lord GOD.Mayest remember: see Ezekiel 16:61.
Confounded: see Ezekiel 16:61.
Never open thy mouth, neither to justify thyself, or to condemn others, or to quarrel with thy God, but, as a true penitent, be silent under the judgments sins have deserved, and God hath inflicted, to draw away from sin, and to bring a people to submit to God, and to give him glory.
Because of thy shame; such a confusion for thy sin will cover thee, that thou wilt readily justify God, and blush in remembrance of all thine own wickednesses.
When I am pacified; when I have pardoned, when I have covered all thy sins, and am reconciled to thee, thou wilt ingenuously acknowledge, remember, and hate what thy God hath graciously pardoned, will no more remember against thee, or punish any more upon thee.