Ezekiel 16:10
I clothed you also with broidered work, and shod you with badgers' skin, and I girded you about with fine linen, and I covered you with silk.
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(10) Badgers’ skin.—See Exodus 25:5. The thing intended is a fine kind of leather prepared from the skin of some sea animal; but the critics differ as to the particular animal intended, whether the dolphin or the dugong. “Fine linen” was a luxury much valued by the ancients, while “silk” is a word used only here and in Ezekiel 16:13, and its meaning is much questioned. By its etymology it is thought to express fineness of texture; and our translators have followed the rabbinical tradition in understanding it to mean silk.

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.Badgers' skin - Probably the skin of the dolphin or dugong (Exodus 25:5 note).

Silk - For a robe, a turban, or (as gauze) for a transparent veil; the derivation of the word in the original is much disputed.

10. Ps 45:13, 14, similarly describes the Church (Israel, the appointed mother of Christendom) adorned as a bride (so Isa 61:10). It is Messiah who provides the wedding garment (Re 3:18; 19:8).

badgers' skin—tahash; others translate, "seal skins." They formed the over-covering of the tabernacle, which was, as it were, the nuptial tent of God and Israel (Ex 26:14), and the material of the shoes worn by the Hebrews on festival days. (See on [1040]Ex 25:5).

fine linen—used by the priests (Le 6:10); emblem of purity.

So miserably poor was this creature, that she had not clothes to her back; he gave them who married her.

Broidered work; rich and beautiful needle-work of divers colours, much above the state of an abject infant, and suited to the bounty and riches of him who gave them.

Badgers’ skin; those Eastern people had an art of curiously dressing and colouring the skins of those beasts, of which they made their neatest festival shoes, and these were for the richest and greatest personages to use.

I girded thee, both for strength, activity, and ornament.

With fine linen; both soft, warm, and comely. Such soft raiment, used in kings courts, intimate the advancement of tills abject to royal state, as well as delicately clothed.

I covered thee; either covered, as the upper garment covers all the rest, or as curtains of the bed cover one who is laid to rest within them. The veil this virgin was covered with when she appeared abroad, and her furniture at home, were very rich, and proportioned to her Lord’s grandeur and riches. I clothed thee also, with broidered work,.... Or, "with needle work" (q); with garments of divers colours, like Joseph's coat; perhaps it may refer to the rich raiment borrowed of the Egyptians, when they came out from thence. So the Targum,

"and I clothed you with various garments, the desirable things of your enemies;''

and which, with their other clothes, waxed not old all the while they were in the wilderness; see Exodus 12:35; this may be expressive, either of the various graces of the Spirit of God, with which the saints are clothed and adorned; and, when exercised by them, are said to be put on as a garment, Colossians 3:12; or rather of the righteousness of Christ, called "raiment of needle work", Psalm 45:14;

and shod thee with badgers' skin; the same the covering of the tabernacle was made of, Exodus 26:14; and though the word here used may not design the creature we so call, yet may intend one whose skin was fit for shoe leather, and was very beautiful, and perhaps durable; reference may be had to the shoes of the Israelites in the wilderness, which waxed not old, Deuteronomy 29:5. Some think only the hyacinth or purple colour is here meant; and so the Septuagint version renders the word; agreeably to which Bochart (r) gives this version of the words, "I shod thee with the purple"; that is, with shoes of a purple colour; and it is very probable that of this colour were the shoes wore by the Jewish women of the first rank; since, as the same writer has not only shown from Procopius that great personages in other nations used to wear such, as the Persian and Roman emperors; who, in their own countries only, might wear them; but this was the custom of neighbouring provinces, particularly the Tyrian women, as Virgil (s) plainly suggests. Bynaeus (t) is of opinion that they were of a red or scarlet colour; and that the words should be rendered, "I shod thee with scarlet"; that is, with scarlet coloured shoes; which he observes have been in great esteem and use among persons of figure and quality; and, be they of what colour they will, they were, no doubt, made of skins of value, fine, soft, and pliable; as the Targum paraphrases it,

"I put precious shoes (or shoes of value) upon your feet:''

and therefore cannot be well thought to be made of badgers' skins, of which it was never known that shoes were made; with those indeed quivers and shields have been covered, and of those the harness of horses and collars of dogs have been made; but not men's shoes, and much less the shoes of delicate women. This may denote the agreeable walk of the saints, having their feet shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace; or a conversation agreeable to the Gospel of Christ; which is very beautiful, and in which they are enabled to continue by the power and grace of God; see Luke 15:22;

and I girded thee about with fine linen; as the high priest was with the linen girdle of the ephod, Exodus 28:8. So the Targum,

"and I separated from you the priests, that they might minister before me with linen mitres, and the high priest in garments of divers colours;''

all the saints are made priests to God, and art girt about with the girdle of love, which constrains them to fear and serve the Lord with all readiness and cheerfulness: and with the girdle of truth, which they cause to cleave and keep close unto them; see Ephesians 6:14;

and I covered thee with silk. The Targum interprets this of the clothing of the high priest; but, if respect is had to that, silk cannot be intended; for, as the Jews themselves say (u), the priests were not clothed for service, in the house of the sanctuary, but with wool and linen; and indeed, though the Jewish commentators in general, as Jarchi, Aben Ezra, and Kimchi, and others (w), as well as our version, take the word here used to signify silk; yet, as Braunius (x) observes, it does not appear that this was known among the Jews in the times of Ezekiel, nor even before the times of Christ; nor was it known among the Romans before the times of Augustus. The word seems to be derived from an Arabic word (y), which signifies to colour or paint clothes; and may be rendered painted or coloured cloth, or garments; and so the Targum renders it died or coloured garments; and so Aquila translates it by a "flowered garment", either painted or wrought with flowers; and so Jerom, and the Vulgate Latin, by "polymitium", a garment of divers colours; and may signify; as before, the rich apparel of the Jews, and the plenty of good things enjoyed by them; see Luke 16:19; and, in a mystical sense, the beautiful clothing of the church, with the robe of Christ's righteousness, and the graces of the Spirit.

(q) "veste acupicta", Vatablus, Grotius; "acupicto", Montanus, Cocceius, Starckius. (r) Hierozoicon, par. 2. l. 3. c. 31. col. 992. (s) "Virginibus Tyriis mos est gestare pharetram, Purpureoque alte suras vincire cothurno". Aeneid l. 1.((t) De Calceis Hebr. l. 1. c. 5. sect. 16. (u) Misn. Celaim, c. 9. sect. 1.((w) "serico", Pagninus, Montanus, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Cocceius, Starckius. So Buxtorf, Stockius, &c. (x) De Vestitu Sacerdot. Hebr. l. 1. c. 8. p. 168, 169. (y) "coloravit, pinxitque pannum. Hinc" "coloratus, pinctusque, pannus", Golius, col. 2678, 2679. Castel. col. 996.

I clothed thee also with broidered work, and shod thee with badgers' skin, and I girded thee about with fine linen, and I covered thee with silk.
10. The costly clothing.

broidered work] Psalm 45:14; Jdg 5:30. The word might mean work of various colours (Exodus 26:36). So Ezekiel 16:13; Ezekiel 16:18.

badgers’ skin] According to most, skin of the sea-cow or manati, an animal allied to the dolphin, and found in the Red Sea. The name is found in Assyrian; the Assyrian kings crossed the Euphrates in ships made of the skin of this animal, and Salmaneser pursued his foes on lake Van in such ships. These facts suggest that the skins were readily procured not only in Mesopotamia but even in Armenia, and that some land animal must have furnished them. On these grounds Fried. Del. (Prolegomena, p. 78) decides for the wether. See Dill. on Exodus 25:5.

fine linen] i.e. byssus. It is not certain whether the byssus was cotton or linen, or both. It was worn by the priests (Exodus 39:27), and by persons of rank (Genesis 41:42). The “girding” or binding here can hardly refer to the headdress (Exodus 29:9), because in Ezekiel 16:13 the “clothing” is said to be of fine linen (cf. Ezekiel 16:12 or headdress).

covered thee with silk] The word again only in Ezekiel 16:13. It may be doubtful if silk was worn as early as the time of the prophet. The LXX. and ancients thought of some very thin and delicate material. The kind of garment was probably some large wrapper or veil covering the whole person.

Ezekiel 16:11-12. Her ornaments.Verse 10. - Broidered work; the "raiment of needlework" of Psalm 45:14; Judges 5:30; Exodus 35:35; Exodus 38:23. The word meets us again in Ezekiel 27:24, as among the imports of Tyre from Egypt. Curiously enough, the Hebrew verb (rakam) has passed through Arabic into tide languages of Western Europe, and we have the Italian ricamare, the Spanish recamare, the French recamer, for" embroidering." Badgers' skin. Elsewhere in the Old Testament the word is found only in the Pentateuch (Exodus 28:5; Exodus 26:14; Numbers 4:6, 8, 10, et al.). It has been commonly taken as meaning the skin of some animal - badger, dolphin, or porpoise, or, as in the Revised Version, seal, which was used for sandals. All the older versions, however, take it as a word of colour, the LXX. giving ὑακίνθον ("dark red"); Aquila, Symmachus, and Vulgate, ianthino ("violet"). Possibly the two meanings may coalesce, one giving the material, the other the tint which met the eye. Fine linen. The byssus of Egyptian manufacture (Exodus 25:4; Exodus 26:1; Exodus 39:3, et al.). Silk. The Hebrew word (here and in ver. 13) does not occur elsewhere. The word so translated in Proverbs 31:22 is that which we find here and elsewhere for "fine linen." Silk, in the strict sense of the term, had its birthplace in China, and there is no evidence that even the commerce of Tyre extended so far; but the context points to some fine texture of the lawn or muslin kind, like the Coan vestments of the Greeks. So the LXX. gives τριχαπτόν, as though it were made of fine hair; the Vulgate, subtilia. It is significant that three out of the four articles specified are prominent (as the references show) in the description of the tabernacle and the priestly dress, in Exodus 28, 39. The dress of the bride symbolized the ritual and cultus of Judaism. And the word of Jehovah came to me, saying, Ezekiel 15:2. Son of man, what advantage has the wood of the vine over every wood, the vine-branch, which was among the trees of the forest? Ezekiel 15:3. Is wood taken from it to use for any work? or do men take a peg from it to hang all kinds of vessels upon? Ezekiel 15:4. Behold, it is given to the fire to consume. If the fire has consumed its two ends, and the middle of it is scorched, will it then be fit for any work? Ezekiel 15:5. Behold, when it is uninjured, it is not used for any work: how much less when the fire has consumed it and scorched it can it be still used for work? Ezekiel 15:6. Therefore thus saith the Lord Jehovah, As the wood of the vine among the wood of the forest, which I give to the fire to consume, so do I give up the inhabitants of Jerusalem, Ezekiel 15:7. And direct my face against them. They have gone out of the fire, and the fire will consume them; that ye may learn that I am Jehovah, when I set my face against them. Ezekiel 15:8. And I make the land a desert, because they committed treachery, is the saying of the Lord Jehovah. - Israel is like the wood of the wild vine, which is put into the fire to burn, because it is good for nothing. From Deuteronomy 32:32-33 onwards, Israel is frequently compared to a vine or a vineyard (cf. Psalm 80:9.; Isaiah 5; Hosea 10:1; Jeremiah 2:21), and always, with the exception of Psalm 80, to point out its degeneracy. This comparison lies at the foundation of the figure employed, in Ezekiel 15:2-5, of the wood of the wild vine. This wood has no superiority over any other kind of wood. It cannot be used, like other timber, for any useful purposes; but is only fit to be burned, so that it is really inferior to all other wood (Ezekiel 15:2 and Ezekiel 15:3). And if, in its perfect state, it cannot be used for anything, how much less when it is partially scorched and consumed (Ezekiel 15:4 and Ezekiel 15:5)! מה־יּהיה, followed by מן, means, what is it above (מן, comparative)? - i.e., what superiority has it to כּל־עץ, all kinds of wood? i.e., any other wood. 'הזמורה אשׁר וגו is in apposition to עץ הנּפן, and is not to be connected with מכּל־עץ, as it has been by the lxx and Vulgate, - notwithstanding the Masoretic accentuation, - so as to mean every kind of fagot; for זמורה does not mean a fagot, but the tendril or branch of the vine (cf. Ezekiel 8:17), which is still further defined by the following relative clause: to be a wood-vine, i.e., a wild vine, which bears only sour, uneatable grapes. The preterite היה (which was; not, "is") may be explained from the idea that the vine had been fetched from the forest in order that its wood might be used. The answer given in Ezekiel 15:3 is, that this vine-wood cannot be used for any purpose whatever, not even as a peg for hanging any kind of domestic utensils upon (see comm. on Zechariah 10:4). It is too weak even for this. The object has to be supplied to לעשׂות למלאכה: to make, or apply it, for any work. Because it cannot be used as timber, it is burned. A fresh thought is introduced in Ezekiel 15:4 by the words 'את שׁני ק. The two clauses in Ezekiel 15:4 are to be connected together. The first supposes a case, from which the second is deduced as a conclusion. The question, "Is it fit for any work?" is determined in Ezekiel 15:5 in the negative. אף כּי: as in Ezekiel 14:21. נחר: perfect; and יחר: imperfect, Niphal, of חרר, in the sense of, to be burned or scorched. The subject to waויּחר is no doubt the wood, to which the suffix in אכלתהוּ refers. At the same time, the two clauses are to be understood, in accordance with Ezekiel 15:4, as relating to the burning of the ends and the scorching of the middle. - Ezekiel 15:6-8. In the application of the parable, the only thing to which prominence is given, is the fact that God will deal with the inhabitants of Jerusalem in the same manner as with the vine-wood, which cannot be used for any kind of work. This implies that Israel resembles the wood of a forest-vine. As this possesses no superiority to other wood, but, on the contrary, is utterly useless, so Israel has no superiority to other nations, but is even worse than they, and therefore is given up to the fire. This is accounted for in Ezekiel 15:7 : "They have come out of the fire, and the fire will consume them" (the inhabitants of Jerusalem). These words are not to be interpreted proverbially, as meaning, "he who escapes one judgment falls into another" (Hvernick), but show the application of Ezekiel 15:4 and Ezekiel 15:5 to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. Out of a fire one must come either burned or scorched. Israel has been in the fire already. It resembles a wild vine which has been consumed at both ends by the fire, while the middle has been scorched, and which is now about to be given up altogether to the fire. We must not restrict the fire, however, out of which it has come half consumed, to the capture of Jerusalem in the time of Jehoiachin, as Hitzig does, but must extend it to all the judgments which fell upon the covenant nation, from the destruction of the kingdom of the ten tribes to the catastrophe in the reign of Jehoiachin, and in consequence of which Israel now resembled a vine burned at both ends and scorched in the middle. The threat closes in the same manner as the previous one. Compare Ezekiel 15:7 with Ezekiel 14:8, and Ezekiel 15:8 with Ezekiel 14:15 and Ezekiel 14:13.
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