|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
23:1-49 A history of the apostacy of God's people from him, and the aggravation thereof. - In this parable, Samaria and Israel bear the name Aholah, her own tabernacle; because the places of worship those kingdoms had, were of their own devising. Jerusalem and Judah bear the name of Aholibah, my tabernacle is in her, because their temple was the place which God himself had chosen, to put his name there. The language and figures are according to those times. Will not such humbling representations of nature keep open perpetual repentance and sorrow in the soul, hiding pride from our eyes, and taking us from self-righteousness? Will it not also prompt the soul to look to God continually for grace, that by his Holy Spirit we may mortify the deeds of the body, and live in holy conversation and godliness?
Verse 25. - They shall take away thy nose and thine ears, etc. (For instances of this or like mutilation, in the case of prisoners of war, see the case of Zedekiah, Jeremiah 52:11; Herod., 3:69, 154.) Possibly it may have been known to Ezekiel as a punishment for the adulterer or adulteress in Egypt and other countries, and if so, he might have selected it as specially appropriate to his parable (Martial, 'Epigr.,' 2:83; 3:85). Thy residue shall be consumed with fire. The Hebrew word for "residue" (not that usually so translated) is the same as that previously translated "remnant." In the first clause it clearly points to the men of Jerusalem who are left after the capture. In the second its meaning is determined by the fact that it follows after the deportation of the sons and daughters. All that was left - in the parable, of the mutilated trunk of the adulteress, in the history, of the devastated city, sc. the empty houses - should be destroyed by fire.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And I will set my jealousy against thee, and they shall deal furiously with thee,.... As a jealous husband, enraged against his adulterous wife, falls upon her in his fury, and uses her with great severity; so the Jews having committed spiritual fornication, that is, idolatry, and departed from the Lord, he threatens to stir up the fury of his jealousy, and punish them severely by the Chaldeans, as follows:
they shall take away thy nose and thine ears, and thy remnant shall fall by the sword; as gallants use their harlots when they leave them, or jealous husbands their adulterous wives, disfiguring them, that they may be marked and known what they are, and be despised by others; and as has been the custom in some countries, particularly with the Egyptians, to cut off the noses of adulterous persons; here it is to be understood figuratively: by the "nose", according to Jarchi, Kimchi, and Ben Melech, is meant the king, who is higher than his people, as the nose is the highest part in a man's face; and by the "ears" the priest, who caused a noise to be heard when he entered into the temple with his bells; or rather because it was the priest's office to attend to the word of God, and teach it the people; in general, these denote everything that was excellent among the Jews, their city, temple, king, kingdom, princes, priests, and prophets, which should be demolished and removed; and by the remnant is meant the common people, that should come into the hands of the Chaldeans, and fall by their sword. So the Targum paraphrases it,
"thy princes and thy nobles shall go into captivity, and thy people shall be killed with the sword:''
they shall take thy sons and thy daughters, and thy residue shall be devoured by the fire; take and carry their sons and daughters captive, and burn with fire the city left by them. Thus the Targum,
"they shall carry thy sons and daughters captive, and the beauty of thy land shall be burnt with fire;''
that is, the city of Jerusalem, the temple, the king's palaces, the houses of the great men, and others in it, which were all burnt with fire when taken by the Chaldeans, Jeremiah 52:13.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
25. take away thy nose … ears—Adulteresses were punished so among the Egyptians and Chaldeans. Oriental beauties wore ornaments in the ear and nose. How just the retribution, that the features most bejewelled should be mutilated! So, allegorically as to Judah, the spiritual adulteress.
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