Ezekiel 16:35
Why, O harlot, hear the word of the LORD:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
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.Judah is now represented as undergoing the punishment adjudged to an adulteress and murderess. Only in her utter destruction shall the wrath of the Lord, the jealous God, cease.35. Here begins the threat of wrath to be poured out on her. Her indictment and notoriety of all the charge against her we have heard; her crimes she was guilty of, with the aggravations of them; now follows sentence of condemnation against her.

Hear the word of just condemnation which thou must submit to, though thou refusedst the word of counsel and precept. Wherefore, O harlot, hear the word of the Lord. The sentence about to be pronounced; adjudging to be slain with the sword, to be stoned and burned; the crime for which is to be read in the name of harlot, justly given to an apostate people; as it often is to the church of Rome in the book of the Revelation. The Targum is,

"whose works are as an harlots; O congregation of Israel, receive the words of the Lord;''

which follow:

Wherefore, O harlot, hear the word of the LORD:
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
35–43. Punishment of the adulterous wife, and child-murderer

This punishment is described in somewhat mixed figures: first, Ezekiel 16:36-39, in a figure which tends to pass into a literal account of the destruction of Jerusalem; and secondly, Ezekiel 16:40-43, in a figure suggested by the punishment of the ordinary adulteress.Verse 35. - From the task of painting the guilt of Judah the prophet proceeds to that of denouncing its punishment. The 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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