|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
21:1-17 Here is an explanation of the parable in the last chapter. It is declared that the Lord was about to cut off Jerusalem and the whole land, that all might know it was his decree against a wicked and rebellious people. It behoves those who denounce the awful wrath of God against sinners, to show that they do not desire the woful day. The example of Christ teaches us to lament over those whose ruin we declare. Whatever instruments God uses in executing his judgments, he will strengthen them according to the service they are employed in. The sword glitters to the terror of those against whom it is drawn. It is a sword to others, a rod to the people of the Lord. God is in earnest in pronouncing this sentence, and the prophet must show himself in earnest in publishing it.
Verses 17-19. - The new section opens in a different strain. Ezekiel sees, as in vision, Nebuchadnezzar and his army on their march. He is told to appoint (better, make, or mark, as on a brick or tile, as in Ezekiel 4:1) a place where the road bifurcated. Both come from one land, i.e. from Babylon; but from that point onwards one road led to Rabbath, the capital of the Ammonites (Deuteronomy 3:11; 2 Samuel 11:1), the other to Jerusalem. Apparently, the exiles and the people of Judah flattered themselves that the former was the object of the expedition. The answer to that false hope is a vivid picture of what was passing in the council of war which Nebuchadnezzar was holding at that parting of the ways. The prophet sees, as it were, the sign post pointing, as with a hand, to each of the two cities The king consults his soothsayers, and uses divinations. Of these Ezekiel enumerates three:
(1) He shakes the arrows to and fro (Revised Version). This was known among the Greeks as the βέλομαντεια The arrows were put into a quiver, with names (in this case probably Rabbath and Jerusalem) written on them. One was then drawn, or thrown, out as by chance, and decided the direction of the campaign.
(2) He consults the images (Hebrew, teraphim). The modus operandi in this case is not known, but Judges 18:18 and Hosea 3:4 point to some such use of them.
(3) There remains the sacrifice and the inspection of the liver, familiar alike in Greek, Etrurian, and Roman divination (Cicero, 'De Divin.,' 6:13).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
I will also smite my hands together,.... As well as the prophet was bid to do, Ezekiel 21:14, either expressing a concern for the calamity of the people, or indignation at their sins: or rather as encouraging their enemies to make use of the sword pointed at them, and, as it were, rejoicing at their destruction for the honour of his justice. The Targum is,
"and even I will bring vengeance upon vengeance:''
and I will cause my fury to rest; when the sword has done its business, and just vengeance is taken, the fury of the Lord shall cease; it shall proceed no further, it shall be kept within due bounds, and no more or further rage:
I the Lord have said it; who is omnipotent, and can do all things, and will do everything that he has said, whether in a way of promise or threatening.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
17. Jehovah Himself smites His hands together, doing what He had commanded Ezekiel to do (see on Eze 21:14), in token of His smiting Jerusalem; compare the similar symbolical action (2Ki 13:18, 19).
cause … fury to rest—give it full vent, and so satisfy it (Eze 5:13).
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