|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
16:1-58 In this chapter God's dealings with the Jewish nation, and their conduct towards him, are described, and their punishment through the surrounding nations, even those they most trusted in. This is done under the parable of an exposed infant rescued from death, educated, espoused, and richly provided for, but afterwards guilty of the most abandoned conduct, and punished for it; yet at last received into favour, and ashamed of her base conduct. We are not to judge of these expressions by modern ideas, but by those of the times and places in which they were used, where many of them would not sound as they do to us. The design was to raise hatred to idolatry, and such a parable was well suited for that purpose.
Verses 51, 52. - Thou hast justified, etc. The word has a touch of sarcasm. Sodom and Samaria might claim a verdict of acquittal ("justify," in its technical sense) as compared with Judah. They had not presented, as she had done, a confluence of all the worst idolatries. The words find something like an echo in our Lord's teaching Matthew 10:15; Matthew 11:24. And, as is common m such cases," she had judged," i.e. had passed sentence of condemnation on those who were more righteous than herself. The Revised Version changes both meaning and punctuation: Bear thine own shame, in that thou hast given judgment for thy sisters; through thy sins that thou hast committed more abominable than they, they are more righteous than thou; but the Authorized Version seems preferable. It may be questioned whether the word for judged is ever used of an acquittal. The point of the sentence is that Judah condemned those who were less guilty than herself (comp. Romans 2:17-23).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Neither hath Samaria committed half of thy sins,.... The sins of Samaria, or the ten tribes, of which Samaria was the metropolis, were the worshipping of the calves at Dan and Bethel; but the gods of Judah were according to the number of their cities, and they even set up their idols in the temple of Jerusalem, Jeremiah 2:28, Ezekiel 8:5; and, besides, their sins were aggravated by the benefits privileges they enjoyed; having the temple, the place of worship, among them; the priests of the Lord to officiate for them; the prophets to instruct and teach them; and many good kings to rule over them, who encouraged them in the pure worship of God, and set them examples; as also by their not taking warning at the captivity of the ten tribes, which were some years before; so that they were guilty of great ingratitude and obduracy:
but thou hast multiplied thine abominations more than they; than Samaria and her daughters, or the ten tribes; or than Sodom and Samaria, since both are intended in the next clause:
and hast justified thy sisters in all thine abominations which thou hast done; justified them in what they did; countenanced them in their wickedness, by doing the same abominations, and more, and much greater; saying, in effect, that they did right in what they did; and, by exceeding them in sin, made them to appear righteous in comparison of them; and gave them an opportunity of saying, in excuse for themselves, that the men of Judah had been guilty of more and greater sins than they, and yet had not been punished as they had been.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
51. Samaria—the kingdom of the ten tribes of Israel less guilty than Judah; for Judah betrayed greater ingratitude, having greater privileges, namely, the temple, the priesthood, and the regular order of kings.
justified thy sisters—made them appear almost innocent by comparison with thy guilt (Jer 3:11; Mt 12:41, 42).
Ezekiel 16:51 Parallel Commentaries
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