And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
Son of man, set thy face toward the mountains of Israel, and prophesy against them,Ezekiel 6:2-7. Set thy face toward the mountains of Israel — Turn thy face to that part where Judea is situated. Judea was a hilly country; therefore that whole land is expressed here and elsewhere by the mountains of Israel, Judah being called Israel, because the ten tribes, generally distinguished by that name, had been long since carried captive into Assyria, and Judah possessed a great part of their country. And prophesy against them — Direct thy discourse to them. The prophets sometimes directed their discourse to the inanimate parts of the creation, thereby to upbraid the stupidity of men. Thus saith the Lord to the mountains and to the hills — Every part of the country had been defiled with idolatry. The altars built for idol-worship were commonly placed upon mountains and hills; the shady valleys and river-sides were likewise made use of for the same purpose, particularly for the sacrificing of children to Moloch: see Isaiah 57:5; Jeremiah 7:31. So by this the prophet denounces a general judgment upon the whole country. And your altars shall be desolate — See note on Leviticus 26:30, where Moses denounces against the Israelites the same judgments upon their provocations. I will cast down your slain men before your idols, &c. — So that their sin shall be read in the manner of their punishment; and while the idols are upbraided with their inability to help their worshippers, the idolaters are reproached with the folly of trusting in them. And ye shall know that I am the Lord — “An epiphonema, or conclusion of a severe denunciation often repeated by this prophet, importing that the judgments which God intended to bring on the Jews, would make the most hardened and stupid sinners sensible that this was God’s hand.” — Lowth.
And say, Ye mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord GOD; Thus saith the Lord GOD to the mountains, and to the hills, to the rivers, and to the valleys; Behold, I, even I, will bring a sword upon you, and I will destroy your high places.
And your altars shall be desolate, and your images shall be broken: and I will cast down your slain men before your idols.
And I will lay the dead carcases of the children of Israel before their idols; and I will scatter your bones round about your altars.
In all your dwellingplaces the cities shall be laid waste, and the high places shall be desolate; that your altars may be laid waste and made desolate, and your idols may be broken and cease, and your images may be cut down, and your works may be abolished.
And the slain shall fall in the midst of you, and ye shall know that I am the LORD.
Yet will I leave a remnant, that ye may have some that shall escape the sword among the nations, when ye shall be scattered through the countries.Ezekiel 6:8-10. Yet will I leave a remnant — “A gracious exception that often occurs in the prophets when they denounce general judgments against the Jews; implying that God will still preserve a remnant of that people; to whom he will fulfil the promises made to their fathers.” And they that escape of you shall remember me, &c. — Your afflictions shall bring you to the knowledge of yourselves, and a sense of your duty to me. Because I am broken with their whorish hearts — I am much grieved, and my patience is tired out with this people’s idolatries, called in Scripture spiritual whoredom. God is here introduced as speaking after the manner of men, whose patience is tired out by the repeated provocations of others, especially when they see no hopes of amendment. And with their eyes go a whoring after their idols — The eyes are the seat of lascivious inclinations: see 2 Peter 2:14. So, in pursuit of the same metaphor, the eyes are said to go a whoring after idols, the people being often tempted to idolatrous worship by the costliness of the images, and the fine show they made. And they shall loathe themselves, &c. — With a mixture of grief toward God, of indignation against themselves, and abhorrence of the offence. And they shall know I have not said in vain, &c. — Without cause, as the word חנם is more significantly translated Ezekiel 14:22; the sufferers had given him just cause to pronounce that evil. Or, without effect: their sins were the cause, and their destruction is the effect of their sufferings.
And they that escape of you shall remember me among the nations whither they shall be carried captives, because I am broken with their whorish heart, which hath departed from me, and with their eyes, which go a whoring after their idols: and they shall lothe themselves for the evils which they have committed in all their abominations.
And they shall know that I am the LORD, and that I have not said in vain that I would do this evil unto them.
Thus saith the Lord GOD; Smite with thine hand, and stamp with thy foot, and say, Alas for all the evil abominations of the house of Israel! for they shall fall by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence.Ezekiel 6:11-14. Smite with thy hand, and stamp with thy foot — Join to thy words the gestures which are proper to express grief and concern at the wickedness of thy people, and for their calamities that will ensue. For they shall fall by the sword, &c. — See note on Ezekiel 5:12. He that is far off — And thinks himself out of danger, because he is out of the reach of the enemy; shall die of the pestilence — The arrow that I will shoot at him. And he that is near — Who stays in his own country, or who is near a place of strength, which he hopes will be to him a place of safety, yet shall fall by the sword before he can retreat to it. And he that remaineth — Who is so cautious as not to venture out, but remains in the city; shall die by the famine — The most miserable death of all: thus will I accomplish my fury — I will satisfy my just displeasure, and give them full measure of punishment: I will do all that against them which I had purposed to do. Then shall ye know — See note on Ezekiel 6:10. When their slain men shall be among their idols — As was threatened before, Ezekiel 6:5-7. Upon every high hill, &c. — There, where they had prostrated themselves in honour of their idols, God will lay them dead to their own reproach, and the reproach of their idols: they lived among them, and shall die among them: they had offered sweet odours to their idols, but there shall their dead carcasses send forth an offensive smell, as it were, to atone for that misplaced incense. So will I stretch out my hand — Put forth my almighty power; and make the land desolate — שׁממה, a desolation, a Hebraism, for most desolate: that fruitful, pleasant, populous country, which has been as the garden of Eden, the glory of all lands; shall be more desolate than the wilderness toward Diblath — Or Diblathaim, as it is called Numbers 33:46; the desert in the borders of Moab, part of that great and terrible wilderness, described Deuteronomy 8:15.
He that is far off shall die of the pestilence; and he that is near shall fall by the sword; and he that remaineth and is besieged shall die by the famine: thus will I accomplish my fury upon them.
Then shall ye know that I am the LORD, when their slain men shall be among their idols round about their altars, upon every high hill, in all the tops of the mountains, and under every green tree, and under every thick oak, the place where they did offer sweet savour to all their idols.
So will I stretch out my hand upon them, and make the land desolate, yea, more desolate than the wilderness toward Diblath, in all their habitations: and they shall know that I am the LORD.