Wesley's Notes on the Bible
He cried also in mine ears with a loud voice, saying, Cause them that have charge over the city to draw near, even every man with his destroying weapon in his hand.
9:1 He - The man whom he had seen upon the throne. Them - Those whom God hath appointed to destroy the city: perhaps angels. Every man - Every one; 'tis an Hebrew idiom. Each of these had a weapon proper for that kind of destruction which he was to effect; and so, some to slay with the sword, another with the pestilence, another with famine. In his hand - Denoting both expedition in, and strength for the work.
And, behold, six men came from the way of the higher gate, which lieth toward the north, and every man a slaughter weapon in his hand; and one man among them was clothed with linen, with a writer's inkhorn by his side: and they went in, and stood beside the brasen altar.
9:2 And - As soon as the command was given, the ministers of God's displeasure appear. Men - In appearance and vision they were men, and the prophet calls them as he saw them. The north - Insinuating whence their destruction should come. One man - Not a companion, but as one of authority over them. With linen - A garment proper to the priesthood. They - All the seven.
And the glory of the God of Israel was gone up from the cherub, whereupon he was, to the threshold of the house. And he called to the man clothed with linen, which had the writer's inkhorn by his side;
9:3 The glory - The glorious brightness, such as sometimes appeared above the cherubim in the most holy place. Gone up - Departing from the place he had so long dwelt in. He was - Wont to sit and appear. Threshold - Of the temple, in token of his sudden departure from the Jews, because of their sins.
And the LORD said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof.
9:4 That sigh - Out of grief for other mens sins and sorrows. Cry - Who dare openly bewail the abominations of this wicked city, and so bear their testimony against it.
And to the others he said in mine hearing, Go ye after him through the city, and smite: let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity:
9:5 The others - The six slaughter - men.
Slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at my sanctuary. Then they began at the ancient men which were before the house.
9:6 At my sanctuary - There are the great sinners, and the abominable sins which have brought this on them.
And he said unto them, Defile the house, and fill the courts with the slain: go ye forth. And they went forth, and slew in the city.
9:7 And slew - The slaughter also was in vision.
And it came to pass, while they were slaying them, and I was left, that I fell upon my face, and cried, and said, Ah Lord GOD! wilt thou destroy all the residue of Israel in thy pouring out of thy fury upon Jerusalem?
9:8 Was left - Left alone, now both the sealer, and the slayers were gone.
Then said he unto me, The iniquity of the house of Israel and Judah is exceeding great, and the land is full of blood, and the city full of perverseness: for they say, The LORD hath forsaken the earth, and the LORD seeth not.
And as for me also, mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity, but I will recompense their way upon their head.
And, behold, the man clothed with linen, which had the inkhorn by his side, reported the matter, saying, I have done as thou hast commanded me.