Ezekiel 16:12
And I put a jewel on your forehead, and earrings in your ears, and a beautiful crown on your head.
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(12) A jewel on thy forehead.—Literally, a nose-ring on thy nostril, the custom of the time sanctioning this mode of ornament.

In contrast to God’s kindness and abundant blessing, Israel’s grievous sin is now described (Ezekiel 16:15-34). It is to be remembered that however this extraordinary sin was the natural fruit of neglected grace, it yet was extraordinary. It is not by mere hyperbole that Israel is represented as worse than others. The grace which does not elevate always reacts by directing to a lower depth. (See Excursus at end of this Book on Ezekiel 5:7).

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.A jewel on thy forehead - literally, "a nose-ring on thy nostril" (Genesis 24:22 note). 12. jewel on thy forehead—rather, "a ring in thy nose" (Isa 3:21).

a crown—at once the badge of a bride, and of her being made a queen, as being consort of the King; the very name Israel meaning "a prince of God." So they are called "a kingdom of priests" (Ex 19:6; compare Re 1:6). Though the external blessings bestowed on Israel were great, yet not these, but the internal and spiritual, form the main reference in the kingly marriage to which Israel was advanced.

A jewel; it was many times of silver, but most commonly of gold, and was of circular figure, hanging by a string fastened above the forehead in such a manner that it lay or rested on the nose, much esteemed among the Eastern people, though of no account with us.

Earrings; golden ornaments hanging in the fleshy part of the ear.

A beautiful crown; a very rich and beautiful crown; as virgins espoused and married had crowns set on their heads, Song of Solomon 3:11, so, to complete the solemnity, and make the magnificence of these nuptials full, a crown of beauty is set on the head of this Jewish nation now married to God. And I put a jewel on thy forehead,.... The same with the nose jewel, which was hung upon the forehead, and reached down to the nose and mouth; and, however disagreeable it may seem to us, was reckoned very ornamental in the eastern countries, Isaiah 3:21; and where now, as in Persia, as well as in all the Levant, the women put rings through their noses, which they pierce with needles, as Monsieur Thevenot (z) relates; so Dr. Shaw (a) says that nose jewels are used still by the Levant Arabs. The Targum applies it to the ark, thus,

"and I put the ark of my covenant among you;''

but may be better applied a public profession of religion, which every good man ought to make, and take up from principles of grace received; this is bearing the name of Christ and the name of his Father in their foreheads; which is very ornamental to the believer, and well pleasing to Christ, Romans 10:9;

and earrings in thine ears. The Targum is,

"and the clouds of my glory overshadowed you;''

but it may be better interpreted of the spiritual ears God gives his people in conversion; by which they hear his word, so as to understand it; hear the voice of Christ, so as to distinguish it from the voice of a stranger; and hear his Gospel, so as to believe and receive it, approve of it, and love it, and act in conformity to it:

and a beautiful crown upon thine head. The Targum paraphrases it thus,

"and an angel, sent from before me, led at the head of you:''

referring to Exodus 23:20; with which Jarchi compares Micah 2:13 but may be better illustrated by the beautiful crown of twelve stars, the doctrine of the twelve apostles of Christ, said to he upon the head of the church; and is upon the head of every believer that holds the mystery of the faith in pure conscience; that holds fast the faithful word, and will not let it go, that so no man may take away his crown, Revelation 12:1.

(z) Travels, par. 2. B. 2. c. 9. p. 94. (a) Travels, p. 241. Ed. 2.

And I put a jewel in thy nose, and earrings in thy ears, and a beautiful {h} crown upon thy head.

(h) By this he shows how he saved his Church, enriched it, and gave it power and dominion to reign.

12. on thy forehead] Rather: a ring on thy nose, Isaiah 3:21. The nose-ring was a jewel placed on the outside of the nostril. Cf. Jdg 8:24 (where read, nose-rings). Genesis 24:47. On earrings, Numbers 31:50.

a beautiful crown] so ch. Ezekiel 23:42; in Isaiah 62:3 rendered “a crown of glory.” The word does not suggest royalty (Ezekiel 23:42).Verse 12. - A jewel on thy forehead; better, with the Revised Version, a ring upon thy nose. The word has the same meaning in Genesis 24:47 ("earring" in the Authorized Version); Isaiah 3:21 (where the Authorized Version gives "nose jewels"); Proverbs 11:22. Jerome, however, notes (in loc.) that the Syrian women of his time wore pendants or lockets that hung from the forehead to the nostrils. The crown, or diadem (LXX., στέφανος καυχήσεως), the thin circlet of gold confining the hair, completed the catalogue of ornaments. The Chaldee Targum continues its spiritual interpretation: "I gave the ark of my covenant to be among you, and the cloud of my glory overshadowed you, and the angel of my presence led you in the way." And, if we assume, as we legitimately may assume, that Ezekiel, above all others, the prophet of symbolism, did not fill up his picture with details which were only meant to fill it up, this seems a not unfitting interpretation. 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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