Ezekiel 16:13
Thus were you decked with gold and silver; and your raiment was of fine linen, and silk, and broidered work; you did eat fine flour, and honey, and oil: and you were exceeding beautiful, and you did prosper into a kingdom.
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Ezekiel 16:13-14. Thus wast thou decked with gold, &c. — With ornaments the most costly and splendid. And thy raiment was of fine linen, &c. — Which was of the manufacture of Egypt, and one of the principal ornaments of women, as well as of great men. Thou didst eat fine flour, honey, and oil — Thy country afforded all manner of plenty and delicacies: see Deuteronomy 32:13-14. Thou wast exceeding beautiful — This may refer to the beauty of the buildings of Jerusalem, and in particular of the temple. And thou didst prosper into a kingdom — Thou didst increase in majesty and dominion, and became superior to the nations around. Bishop Newcome renders this clause, Thou didst prosper into a queen, that is, didst become the reigning city, the mistress of many subject provinces. And thy renown went forth, &c., for thy beauty — Through thy power and riches thou wast able to procure every thing beautiful and desirable, so that thou didst soon become famous among the heathen nations around; or, perhaps, the words may refer to the excellent laws by which they were governed, and the various privileges of their church and state, which rendered their nation more perfect in beauty than any other in the world. Indeed, we can name nothing that would be to the honour of a people, but it was found in Israel in David and Solomon’s time, when that kingdom was in its zenith of prosperity, power, and glory; piety, learning, wisdom, justice, victory, peace, wealth, were found there in perfection, and all sure to continue if they had kept close to God. It was perfect, saith God, through my comeliness, which I had put upon thee — That is, through the beauty of their holiness, as they were a people devoted to God. This was it that put a lustre upon all their other honours, and was indeed the perfection of their beauty. Observe, reader, sanctified souls are truly beautiful in God’s sight, and they themselves may take the comfort of it; but God must have all the glory, for whatever comeliness they have is that which God has put upon them.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.Fine flour, and honey, and oil - These were the choicest kinds of food.

Into a kingdom - This part of the description refers to the reigns of David and Solomon, when the kingdom of Israel (still undivided) attained its highest pitch of grandeur.

13. flour … honey … oil—These three mixed form the sweetest cakes; not dry bread and leeks as in Egypt. From raiment He passes to food (De 32:13, 14).

exceeding beautiful—Ps 48:2, the city; also, Ps 29:2, the temple.

prosper into a kingdom—exercising empire over surrounding nations.

The prophet sums up all again, partly to aver the truth thereof, partly to bring it to her remembrance, and partly to affect her with thankfulness for what she had received, and with shame for what she had done.

Thou didst eat fine flour; it was the constant course of thy diet, to be provided thus with the choicest food, which thou didst not by scanty allowance taste of, but wast filled with: these were royal dainties, as Genesis 49:20.

Thou wast exceeding beautiful; such diet, with the additional ornaments, would surely render a perfect beauty, and to such perfection did this espoused virgin grow.

Thou didst prosper; all affairs succeeded well, and events added to thy greatness.

A kingdom, not only compact in itself, but victorious over others; and so she was a mistress over kingdoms, as in David’s, Solomon’s, Jehoshaphat’s, and Hezekiah’s time. Thus wast thou decked with gold and silver,.... The Targum interprets it of the tabernacle adorned with gold and silver, and linen curtains, of various dies and colours; but it refers to the ornaments, bracelets, chain, earrings, and crown before, mentioned; see Psalm 45:9;

and thy raiment was of fine linen, and silk, and broidered work; See Gill on Ezekiel 16:10; with this compare Revelation 19:8;

thou didst eat fine flour, and honey, and oil; which did not a little contribute to her beauty and comeliness; see Daniel 1:15; this the Targum explains of the manna with which the Lord fed the Israelites in the wilderness, and was good, like fine flour, and honey, and oil; and had, as Jarchi says, the taste of them all: but may be better applied to spiritual provisions believers are fed with; to the Gospel, and the doctrines of it, which are as nourishing and strengthening as bread of fine flour; as sweet as honey to the taste; and which make fat and plump, and cause the face to shine as oil:

and thou wast exceeding beautiful, and thou didst prosper into a kingdom; the Targum is,

"and ye became rich, and were greatly strengthened, and prospered, and ruled over all kingdoms;''

and had its accomplishment, as Kimchi observes, when the time of the kingdom of the house of David came: land is true of all believers, who are a kingdom of priests, a royal priesthood, kings and priests unto God; have a kingdom of grace; now, which can never be moved, and lies in righteousness, peace, and joy, in the Holy Ghost; and are heirs of a kingdom of glory hereafter.

Thus wast thou decked with gold and silver; and thy raiment was of fine linen, and silk, and broidered work; thou didst eat fine flour, and honey, and oil: and thou wast exceeding beautiful, and thou didst prosper into a kingdom.
13. Her delicate fare and beauty.

fine flour] This was used in offerings at the altar (Ezekiel 16:19), and was probably the food of persons of refinement and rank. Cf. Psalm 81:16, “I should have fed them also with the finest of the wheat, and with honey out of the rock should I satisfy thee;” Psalm 147:14; Deuteronomy 32:13-14.

exceeding beautiful] The beauty is less that of the mere city (Psalm 48:2) than of the personified state or people (Ezekiel 16:14).

prosper into a kingdom] Or, attain to royal estate. The reference is not to the mere historical fact that a monarchy arose in Israel under Saul or more permanently under David. It was Israel herself, personified as a woman, that attained to royalty, that is, to be an independent state among the states around, a queen among other queens. The words are wanting in LXX.Verse 13. - Thou didst eat fine flour, and honey, and oil. From the dress of the bride we pass to her luxuries in the way of food. The things named might, of course, be only chosen as the delicacies for which the land of Israel was famous (Deuteronomy 32:13, 14), which in the prophet's own time were in demand in the markets of Tyre (Ezekiel 27:17). Cakes of flour and honey were in common use in various forms of Greek ritual, and are probably referred to in Jeremiah 44:19, but in that of the Jews (Leviticus 2:11) honey takes its place, side by side with leaven, as a thing forbidden. Thou didst grow into a kingdom. History crops out through the parable, and points to the stage which it has now reached, i.e. that of the magnificence of the kingdom under Solomon. 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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