Ezekiel 16:18
And tookest thy broidered garments, and coveredst them: and thou hast set mine oil and mine incense before them.
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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.Mine oil and mine incense - The oil was the produce of the land, the incense received in exchange for such produce. Both were the gifts of Yahweh and belonged to Him; yet the oil Exodus 25:6; Exodus 29:40 and the incense Exodus 30:34, prepared for the service of God, were used in idol-worship. In nature worship the worshippers were especially lavish in vegetable products like incense. 18. tookest thy … garments … coveredst them—that is, the idols, as if an adulteress were to cover her paramours with garments which she had received from the liberality of her husband.

my oil—the holy anointing oil sacred to God (Ex 30:22-25). Also that used in sacrifices (Le 2:1, 2).

Thy broidered garments, mentioned Ezekiel 16:10, given by him who espoused this woman. Coveredst them; didst clothe the adulterers with whom thou didst commit lewdness, or didst clothe the images which thou hadst made, as was the custom of idolaters to suit clothing to their idols.

Mine oil; either in lamps to burn before them, or used in their sacrificing to their idols; or literally, didst in thy feast with thine adulterous lovers entertain them with the oil I gave thee.

Mine incense; burnt before the idol incense, being one part of what they offered to idols; or burnt in the private house, to make it the more grateful to the adulterer, as Proverbs 7:16,17.

And tookest thy broidered garments, and coveredst them,.... The images of men, the idols they worshipped; see Jeremiah 10:4; so the Papists at this day cover their idols, the images of the Virgin Mary, and other saints, with rich apparel, to draw the attention, admiration, and reverence of the people to them:

and thou hast set mine oil and mine incense before them; the oil which the Lord gave them for food, the land of Canaan being a land of oil olive; or which was to light the lamps in the temple with; or was used in sacrifice to the Lord, particularly in the meat offerings; and the incense, which was offered unto him on the altar of incense; these were set upon the altars of idols, and before them, the male images before mentioned; see Hosea 2:8.

And tookest thy broidered garments, and coveredst them: and thou hast set mine oil and mine incense before them.
Verses 18, 19. - Mine oil and mine incense. This, as afterwards in Ezekiel 23:41, was the crowning aggravation of the guilt. The very gifts of God, designed for his worship, were prostituted to that of his rivals. The "oil" is that of Exodus 30:23-25, perfumed and set apart for sacred uses. The act of covering the idol was, as in ver. 8, the symbol of the marriage union. In the sweet savour we have the familiar phrase of Ezekiel 6:13. The scene brought before us is that of a sacrificial feast, in which cakes of flour, honey, and oil were eaten whilst incense was offered. So we have the "adored liba" of Virgil, 'AEneid,' 7:109, or more fully in Tibullus, 'Eleg.,' 1:7, 53, 54, the "thuria honores," the "liba ... dulcia melle." Thus it was, etc. As in ver. 16, the description seems to rouse an instinctive abhorrence in the prophet's mind, which finds utterance in this form: "Yes, it was even so." The words are, however, taken by the LXX., Vulgate, and Luther as opening the following verse: "And it came to pass that." Ezekiel 16:18The jewellery of gold and silver was used by Israel for צלמי זכר, idols of the male sex, to commit fornication with them. Ewald thinks that the allusion is to Penates (teraphim), which were set up in the house, with ornaments suspended upon them, and worshipped with lectisternia. But there is no more allusion to lectisternia here than in Ezekiel 23:41. And there is still less ground for thinking, as Vatke, Movers, and Hvernick do, of Lingam-or Phallus-worship, of which it is impossible to find the slightest trace among the Israelites. The arguments used by Hvernick have been already proved by Hitzig to have no force whatever. The context does not point to idols of any particular kind, but to the many varieties of Baal-worship; whilst the worship of Moloch is specially mentioned in Ezekiel 16:20. as being the greatest abomination of the whole. The fact that נתן לפּניהם, to set before them (the idols), does not refer to lectisternia, but to sacrifices offered as food for the gods, is indisputably evident from the words לריח ניחח, the technical expression for the sacrificial odour ascending to God (cf. Leviticus 1:9, Leviticus 1:13, etc.). ויּהי (Ezekiel 16:19), and it came to pass (sc., this abomination), merely serves to give emphatic expression to the disgust which it occasioned (Hitzig). - Ezekiel 16:20, Ezekiel 16:21. And not even content with this, the adulteress sacrificed the children which God had given her to idols. The revulsion of feeling produced by the abominations of the Moloch-worship is shown in the expression לאכול, thou didst sacrifice thy children to idols, that they might devour them; and still more in the reproachful question 'המעט, "was there too little in thy whoredom?" מן before תּזנוּתיך is used in a comparative sense, though not to signify "was this a smaller thing than thy whoredom?" which would mean far too little in this connection. The מן is rather used, as in Ezekiel 8:17 and Isaiah 49:6, in the sense of too: was thy whoredom, already described in Ezekiel 16:16-19, too little, that thou didst also slaughter thy children to idols? The Chetib תזנותך (Ezekiel 16:20 and Ezekiel 16:25) is a singular, as in Ezekiel 16:25 and Ezekiel 16:29; whereas the Keri has treated it as a plural, as in Ezekiel 16:15, Ezekiel 16:22, and Ezekiel 16:33, but without any satisfactory ground. The indignation comes out still more strongly in the description given of these abominations in Ezekiel 16:21 : "thou didst slay my sons" (whereas in Ezekiel 16:20 we have simply "thy sons, whom thou hast born to me"), "and didst give them up to them, בּהעביר, by making them pass through," sc. the fire. העביר is used here not merely or lustration or februation by fire, but for the actual burning of the children slain as sacrifices, so that it is equivalent to העביר בּאשׁ למּלך (2 Kings 23:10). By the process of burning, the sacrifices were given to Moloch to devour. Ezekiel has the Moloch-worship in his eye in the form which it had assumed from the times of Ahaz downwards, when the people began to burn their children to Moloch (cf. 2 Kings 16:3; 2 Kings 21:6; 2 Kings 23:10), whereas all that can be proved to have been practised in earlier times by the Israelites was the passing of children through fire without either slaying or burning; a februation by fire (compare the remarks on this subject in the comm. on Leviticus 18:21). - Amidst all these abominations Israel did not remember its youth, or how the Lord had adopted it out of the deepest wretchedness to be His people, and had made it glorious through the abundance of His gifts. This base ingratitude shows the depth of its fall, and magnifies its guilt. For Ezekiel 16:22 compare Ezekiel 16:7 and Ezekiel 16:6.
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