Ezekiel 16:36
Thus saith the Lord GOD; Because thy filthiness was poured out, and thy nakedness discovered through thy whoredoms with thy lovers, and with all the idols of thy abominations, and by the blood of thy children, which thou didst give unto them;
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(36) Thy filthiness.—Literally, thy brass, i.e., money, which, as said in the previous verses, Israel had lavished upon the surrounding nations. Either gold or silver is the more common term for money, and the prophet appears to have here used brass contemptuously. In this verse the people’s apostasies are briefly recapitulated, under the names of adultery and child murder, as the basis for what follows.

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.Filthiness - Or, brass, i. e., money, is lavished. The Hebrews generally speak of money as gold Isaiah 46:6, but brass coins were not unknown in the time of the Maccabees. Compare Matthew 10:9; Mark 12:41. Ezekiel may here have put brass for gold contemptuously. Compare Isaiah 1:22-25; Isaiah 48:10.36. filthiness—literally, "brass"; metaphor for the lowest part of the person [Calvin]. English Version is better: thy filthy lewdness is poured out without restraint (compare Jer 13:27). As silver is an emblem of purity, brass typifies "filthiness," because it easily contracts rust. Henderson explains it, "Because thy money was lavished on thy lovers" (Eze 16:31, 33, 34).

blood of thy children—(Eze 16:20; Jer 2:34).

Thus saith the Lord God: this august title is a preface to give weight to the sentence, and to affect her heart with fear.

Thy filthiness; it might be rendered money, with which she hired and bribed her lovers, which she spent upon Baal, as Hosea 2:8. Her sorcery, with which she bewitched and enchanted them: her poison, infused into them she conversed with: the impudence of her carriage, as a whore with a forehead of brass, Jeremiah 3:3.

Poured out: it includes her eagerness, constancy, and abounding in her wickedness, and most modestly upbraids her with her most immodest lasciviousness, and discovery of it.

Thy nakedness discovered: sometimes it is figuratively taken, so it may be here, though I rather think she is charged with such prostitution as the discovering the parts nature hath concealed, and modesty should keep secret.

Through thy whoredoms; in thy playing the harlot thou hast shamelessly incited thy lovers by discovery of thy secret parts.

With all the idols: as before was observed, she doted on all the idols of her neighbours and acquaintance, which become her abominations by her loving them, when she should have abhorred them.

The blood of thy children: see Ezekiel 20,21. Adultery, idolatry, murder of her children, is the sum of this charge drawn up against her.

Thus saith the Lord God, because thy filthiness was poured out,.... Or, "thy brass" (p). The word is used by the Rabbins (q) for the bottom of a thing; and is here accordingly, by Kimchi and Ben Melech, interpreted of a woman's lower part; the same with her nakedness next mentioned; and from whence, by reason of her inordinate lust, and the frequent exercise of it, and that with many different persons, a gonorrhoea, as Jarchi explains it, or a filthy flux flowed, and was poured out on her lovers; from whence the filthy disease, the "lues venerea":

and thy nakedness discovered through thy whoredoms with thy lovers; which she discovered or exposed to view herself, in order to entice her lovers to lie with her, and for the sake thereof; see Ezekiel 16:25;

and with all the idols of thine abominations; or abominable idols, which were so in themselves, were abominable to God, and made the worshippers of them so likewise; these are distinguished from her lovers, the Egyptians and Assyrians, her confederates, and by means of whose alliance she fell into idolatry:

and by the blood of thy children, which thou didst give unto them; the idols, to whom they were dedicated and sacrificed; and for whose sake, and for the worship of them, they were caused to pass through the fire, and were burnt in it; and by such shocking murders, as well as idolatrous practices, the depravity of their nature, the wickedness of their hearts, their hypocrisy, treachery, and infidelity, were discovered and made known.

(p) , Sept. "aes tuum", Montanus, Vatablus, Calvin, Tigurine version, Starckius; "virus tuum", Junius & Tremellius, Polanus, Piscator, Grotius; "aerugo tua", Cocceius. (q) Misn. Celim, c. 8. sect. 3. Vid. T. Bab. Nidda, fol. 41. 2. & Gloss. in ib.

Thus saith the Lord GOD; Because thy filthiness was poured out, and thy nakedness discovered through thy whoredoms with thy lovers, and with all the idols of thy abominations, and by the blood of thy children, which thou didst give unto them;
36. thy filthiness] The parallelism “nakedness” requires some such sense; and so the Jewish tradition. The Heb. is the ordinary word for “brass,” but any reference to “hire” or money here is out of the question. Cf. Dukes, Spr. d. Mischnah, p. 37. Geiger, Urschrift, p. 392. Somewhat differently Fried. Del. in Baer, Ezek., p. xiv.

Verse 36. - Thy filthiness; literally, thy brass; probably as alluding to the tribute referred to in the previous verses, "brass" being taken as used scornfully for money generally. Possibly, however, as in Jeremiah 6:28, the word stands for the symbol of shame and vileness (compare our brazen faced), and so justifies the rendering of the Authorized Version and Revised Version. Thy nakedness discovered; i.e. interpreting the parable, the intercourse of Judah with foreign nations had simply exposed the points that were moot open to attack (Genesis 42:9). By the blood of thy children. The words may refer specially to the Moloch sacrifices of ver. 21, but may also include the lavish waste of life as well as treasure which had been the consequence of the foreign alliances. The harlot city is indicated as being also a murderess. Ezekiel 16:36As Israel has been worse than all the heathen, Jehovah will punish it notwithstanding its election, so that its shame shall be uncovered before all the nations (Ezekiel 16:36-42), and the justice of the judgment to be inflicted upon it shall be made manifest (Ezekiel 16:43-52). According to these points of view, the threat of punishment divides itself into two parts in the following manner: - In the first (Ezekiel 16:35-42) we have, first of all (in Ezekiel 16:36), a recapitulation of the guilty conduct described in vv. 16-34; and secondly, an announcement of the punishment corresponding to the guilt, as the punishment of adultery and murder (Ezekiel 16:37 and Ezekiel 16:48), and a picture of its infliction, as retribution for the enormities committed (Ezekiel 16:39-42). In the second part (Ezekiel 16:43-52) there follows a proof of the justice of this judgment.

Ezekiel 16:35-42

The punishment will correspond to the sin. - Ezekiel 16:35. Therefore, O harlot, hear the word of Jehovah! Ezekiel 16:36. Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, Because thy brass has been lavished, and thy shame exposed in thy whoredom with thy lovers, and because of all the idols of thine abominations, and according to the blood of thy sons, which thou hast given them; Ezekiel 16:37. Therefore, behold, I will gather together all thy lovers, whom thou hast pleased, and all whom thou hast loved, together with all whom thou hast hated, and will gather them against thee from round about, and will expose thy shame to them, that they may see all thy shame. Ezekiel 16:38. I will judge thee according to the judgment of adulteresses and murderesses, and make thee into blood of wrath and jealousy. Ezekiel 16:39. And I will give thee into their hand, that they may destroy thy arches, and pull down thy heights; that they may strip thy clothes off thee, and take thy splendid jewellery, and leave thee naked and bare. Ezekiel 16:40. And they shall bring up a company against thee, and stone thee, and cut thee in pieces with their swords. Ezekiel 16:41. And they shall burn thy houses with fire, and execute judgment upon thee before the eyes of many women. Thus do I put an end to thy whoredom.; and thou wilt also give payment no more. Ezekiel 16:42. And I quiet my fury toward thee, and will turn away my jealousy from thee, that I may repose and vex myself no more. - In the brief summary of the guilt of the whore, the following objects are singled out, as those for which she is to be punished: (1) the pouring out of her brass and the exposure of her shame; (2) the idols of her abominations (with על before the noun, corresponding to יען before the infinitive); (3) the blood of her sons, with the preposition כּ, according to, to indicate the measure of her punishment. Two things are mentioned as constituting the first ground of punishment. The first is, "because thy brass has been poured out." Most of the commentators have explained this correctly, as referring to the fact that Israel had squandered the possessions received from the Lord, viz., gold, silver, jewellery, clothing, and food (Ezekiel 16:10-13 and Ezekiel 16:16-19), upon idolatry. The only difficulty connected with this is the use of the word nechōsheth, brass or copper, in the general sense of money or metal, as there are no other passages to support this use of the word. At the same time, the objection raised to this, namely, that nechōsheth cannot signify money, because the Hebrews had no copper coin, is an assertion without proof, since all that can be affirmed with certainty is, that the use of copper or brass as money is not mentioned anywhere in the Old Testament, with the exception of the passage before us. But we cannot infer with certainty from this that it was not then in use. As soon as the Hebrews began to stamp coins, bronze or copper coins were stamped as well as the silver shekels, and specimens of these are still in existence from the time of the Maccabees, with the inscription "Simon, prince of Israel" (cf. Cavedoni, Bibl. Numismatik, transl. by Werlhof, p. 20ff.). Judging from their size, these coins were in all probability worth a whole, a half, and a quarter gerah (Caved. pp. 50, 51). If, then, the silver shekel of the value of 21 grains contained twenty gerahs in Moses' time, and they had already silver pieces of the weight of a shekel and half shekel, whilst quarter shekels are also mentioned in the time of Samuel, there would certainly be metal coins in use of the value of a gerah for the purposes of trade and commerce, and these would in all probability be made of brass, copper, or bronze, as silver coins of the value of a penny would have been found too small. Consequently it cannot be positively denied that brass or copper may have been used as coin for the payment of a gerah, and therefore that the word nechōsheth may have been applied to money. We therefore adhere to the explanation that brass stands for money, which has been already adopted by the lxx and Jerome; and we do so all the more, because every attempt that has been made to fasten another meaning upon nechōsheth, whether by allegorical interpretation (Rabb.), or from the Arabic, or by altering the text, is not only arbitrary, but does not even yield a meaning that suits the context.

השׁפך, to be poured out equals squandered or lavished. To the squandering of the possessions bestowed by the Lord upon His congregation, there was added the exposure of its shame, i.e., the disgraceful sacrifice of the honour and dignity of the people of God, of which Israel had made itself guilty by its whoredom with idols, i.e., by falling into idolatry, and adopting heathen ways. על־מאהביך, to (towards), i.e., with thy lovers (על standing for אל, according to later usage: vid., Ewald, 217i, p. 561), is to be explained after the analogy of זנה אל, as signifying to commit adultery towards a person, i.e., with him. But it was not enough to sacrifice the gifts of the Lord, i.e., His possessions and His glory, to the heathen and their idols; Israel also made for itself כּל־גּלּוּלי תּועבות, all kinds of logs of abominations, i.e., of idols, upon which it hung its ornaments, and before which it set oil and incense, meal and honey (Ezekiel 16:18 and Ezekiel 16:19). And it was not even satisfied with this, but gave to its idols the blood of its sons, by slaying its children to Moloch (Ezekiel 16:20). Therefore (Ezekiel 16:37.) the Lord will uncover the shame of His people before all the nations. He will gather them together, both friend and foe, against Jerusalem, and let them execute the judgment. The punishment will correspond to the sin. Because Israel has cultivated friendship with the heathen, it shall now be given up altogether into their power. On the uncovering of the nakedness as a punishment, compare Hosea 2:12. The explanation of the figure follows in Ezekiel 16:38. The heathen nations shall inflict upon Jerusalem the punishment due to adultery and bloodshed. Jerusalem (i.e., Israel) had committed this twofold crime. It had committed adultery, by falling away from Jehovah into idolatry; and bloodshed, by the sacrifices offered to Moloch. The punishment for adultery was death by stoning (see the comm. on Ezekiel 16:40); and blood demanded blood (Genesis 9:6; Exodus 21:12). 'וּנתתּיך דּם וגו' does not mean, "I will put blood in thee" (Ros.), or "I will cause thy blood to be shed in anger" (De Wette, Maurer, etc.); but I make thee into blood; which we must not soften down, as Hitzig proposes, into cause thee to bleed. The thought is rather the following: thou shalt be turned into blood, so that nothing but blood may be left of thee, and that the blood of fury and jealousy, as the working of the wrath and jealousy of God (compare Ezekiel 16:42). To this end the heathen will destroy all the objects of idolatry (גּב and רמות, Ezekiel 16:39, as in Ezekiel 16:24, Ezekiel 16:25), then take from the harlot both clothes and jewellery, and leave her naked, i.e., plunder Jerusalem and lay it waste, and, lastly, execute upon her the punishment of death by stoning and by sword; in other words, destroy both city and kingdom. The words 'העלוּ , they bring (up) against thee an assembly, may be explained from the ancient mode of administering justice, according to which the popular assembly (qâhâl, cf. Proverbs 5:14) sat in judgment on cases of adultery and capital crimes, and executed the sentence, as the law for stoning expressly enjoins (Leviticus 20:2; Numbers 15:36; Deuteronomy 22:21; compare my Bibl. Archol. II. p. 257). But they are also applicable to the foes, who would march against Jerusalem (for qâhâl in this sense, compare Ezekiel 17:17). The punishment of adultery (according to Leviticus 20:10) was death by stoning, as we may see from Leviticus 20:2-27 and Deuteronomy 22:24 compared with John 8:5. This was the usual mode of capital punishment under the Mosaic law, when judicial sentence of death was pronounced upon individuals (see my Archol. II. p. 264). The other form of punishment, slaying by the sword, was adopted when there were many criminals to be put to death, and was not decapitation, but cutting down or stabbing (bâthaq, to hew in pieces) with the sword (see my Archol. l.c.). The punishment of death was rendered more severe by the burning of the corpse (Leviticus 20:14; Leviticus 21:9). Consequently the burning of the houses in Ezekiel 16:41 is also to be regarded as intensifying the punishment; and it is in the same light that the threat is to be regarded, that the judgment would be executed "before the eyes of many women." The many women are the many heathen nations, according to the description of Jerusalem or Israel as an unfaithful wife. "As it is the greatest punishment to an adulterous woman to be exposed in her sin before the eyes of other women; so will the severest portion of Israel's punishment be, that it will stand exposed in its sin before the eyes of all other nations" (Kliefoth). This is the way in which God will put an end to the fornication, and appease His wrath and jealousy upon the harlot (Ezekiel 16:41 and Ezekiel 16:42). השׁבּית, with מן, to cause a person to cease to be or do anything. For Ezekiel 16:42, compare Ezekiel 5:13. By the execution of the judgment the jealousy (קנאה) of the injured husband is appeased.

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