|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
19:1-9 Ezekiel is to compare the kingdom of Judah to a lioness. He must compare the kings of Judah to a lion's whelps; they were cruel and oppressive to their own subjects. The righteousness of God is to be acknowledged, when those who have terrified and enslaved others, are themselves terrified and enslaved. When professors of religion form connexions with ungodly persons, their children usually grow up following after the maxims and fashions of a wicked world. Advancement to authority discovers the ambition and selfishness of men's hearts; and those who spend their lives in mischief, generally end them by violence.
Verse 2. - What is thy mother? etc.; better, with the Vulgate, LXX., and Keil, Why did thy mother, a lioness, lie down among lionesses? The image may have been suggested by Genesis 49:9 and Numbers 23:24, or perhaps also by Nahum 2:11, 12. The lioness is Israel, the kingdom idealized and personified. The lionesses among whom she had lain down are the heathen kingdoms. The question asks why she had become as one of them and adopted their cruelty and ferocity.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And say, what is thy mother?.... That is, say so to the then reigning prince, Zedekiah, what is thy mother like? to what is she to be compared? by whom is meant, not the royal family of David only, or Jerusalem the metropolis of the nation, but the whole body of the people; and so the Targum interprets it of the congregation of Israel. The answer to the question is,
a lioness; she is like to one, not for her strength and glory, but for her cruelty and rapine; for her want of humanity, mercy, and justice:
she lay down among lions; that is, kings, as the Targum interprets it Heathen princes, the kings of the nations about them, as of Egypt and Babylon, Jeremiah 50:17; so called for their despotic and arbitrary power, tyranny, and cruelty: now this lioness, the people of the Jews, lay down among them, joined with them in leagues and marriages, and learned their manners, and became of the same temper and disposition:
she nourisheth her whelps among young lions; princes, as the Targum explains it; either the princes of Judah, who were become like young lions, fierce and cruel; or the princes of other nations, among whom the children of the royal family were brought up; or, however, they were trained up in the principles of such, even of arbitrary and despotic power, and were taught to oppress their subjects, and not execute justice and mercy among them.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
2. thy mother—the mother of Jehoiachin, the representative of David's line in exile with Ezekiel. The "mother" is Judea: "a lioness," as being fierce in catching prey (Eze 19:3), referring to her heathenish practices. Jerusalem was called Ariel (the lion of God) in a good sense (Isa 29:1); and Judah "a lion's whelp … a lion … an old lion" (Ge 49:9), to which, as also to Nu 23:24; 24:9, this passage alludes.
nourished … among young lions—She herself had "lain" among lions, that is, had intercourse with the corruptions of the surrounding heathen and had brought up the royal young ones similarly: utterly degenerate from the stock of Abraham.
Lay down—or "couched," is appropriate to the lion, the Arab name of which means "the coucher."
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