Ezekiel 16:37
Behold, therefore I will gather all thy lovers, with whom thou hast taken pleasure, and all them that thou hast loved, with all them that thou hast hated; I will even gather them round about against thee, and will discover thy nakedness unto them, that they may see all thy nakedness.
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(37) Thou hast loved . . . hast hated.—Not only those with whom Israel had sought alliances, but those who had been her hereditary foes, like the Philistines and Edomites, shared in the spoil of her land. Much of this had been already accomplished (see 2Kings 16:6; 2Chronicles 28:17-18, &c). Israel’s weakness and wickedness should be fully exposed to all her enemies.

Ezekiel 16:37-39. Behold, I will gather all thy lovers — Those allies, whose friendship thou hast courted, by complying with their idolatries; with all them that thou hast hated — As Edom, Moab, and Ammon: who were always of an envious and hostile disposition toward the Jews, and insulted over their calamities. And I will discover thy nakedness to them — They shall see thee carried away captive, stripped, and bare, without any covering to thy nakedness, according to the barbarous custom of conquerors in those times. The words allude to the punishment that used to be inflicted on common harlots and adulteresses, which was to strip them naked and expose them. And I will judge thee as women that break wedlock, and shed blood — I will inflict upon thee the punishment of adultery and murder: that is, some of thy people shall be stoned, and some killed by the sword: for these were the punishments of adultery and murder. Jerusalem might be properly said to be stoned when the Chaldeans, from their slings and engines, flung large stones into the city; for this was usual in the besieging of places in those days. And I will give thee blood in fury and in jealousy — I will punish thee with severity, as a jealous and provoked husband does a wife that has wronged him. Or, I will pour out the blood of thy slain like water: I will make an utter destruction of thine inhabitants. They shall throw down thine eminent place —

Probably the temple is here meant, called their eminent place, because they had filled it with idols; and shall break down thy high places — Dedicated to idolatrous worship. They shall strip thee also of thy clothes — They shall take away thy walls: or they shall plunder thee of every thing before they carry thee away captive. And shall take thy fair jewels — Hebrew, כלי תפארתךְ, the vessels of thy ornament, or glory. The vessels of the temple seem to be here intended.

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 48:10.37. thy lovers—the Chaldeans and the Assyrians. The law of retribution is the more signally exemplified by God employing, as His instruments of judgment on Israel, those very nations whose alliance and idols Israel had so eagerly sought, besides giving her up to those who had been always her enemies. "God will make him, who leaves God for the world, disgraced even in the eyes of the world, and indeed the more so the nearer he formerly stood to Himself" [Hengstenberg], (Isa 47:3; Jer 13:26; Ho 2:12; Na 3:5).

all … thou hast hated—the Edomites and Philistines; also Moab and Ammon especially (De 23:3).

I … will discover thy nakedness—punishment in kind, as she had "discovered her nakedness through whoredoms" (Eze 16:36); the sin and its penalty corresponded. I will expose thee to public infamy.

Behold: God calls her to consider what heavy judgment he pronounceth and will execute.

Gather whole herds and droves, for the word implieth such a gathering together.

All thy lovers; Chaldeans, Assyrians, Egyptians. Pleasure; unlawful pleasures of body, commerce, and idolatrous feasts in their idolatrous sacrifices. Old pretended friends, now turned into vehement enemies; and old enemies, who have earnestly longed for such an opportunity to vent their malice; their hatred will heap on thee mischiefs, under which real friendship might somewhat relieve, but counterfeited friendship never will; thou shalt not have a friend to pity or help thee.

Them that thou hast hated; so shall my threats be fulfilled, Leviticus 26:17, when I give thee up into their hands, who remember thy hatred against them, and renew the old hatred they had against thee.

I will even gather them; it shall be very certain, and my hand, saith God, shall be seen doing it, I will do this. Round about; all the nations that are on every side, that there may be numbers enough to do this, and that there may be no escape for thee, when, which way soever thou fleest, still thou fleest into the mouth of thy enemies, and who hate thee.

Discover thy nakedness; lay open to view all thy shameless doings; thou didst discover thy nakedness to allure, and then to satisfy thy prodigious lust; now it shall be discovered to nauseate them, and to provoke them to contemn thee, and to use thee as so vile a person deserveth. So God retaliateth, and punisheth sinners, that their sin may be seen in the punishment.

May see, with upbraiding, scorning, and hating of it and them.

All thy nakedness; the odiousness of thy sinful courses, and the weakness of thy state.

Behold, therefore I will gather all thy lovers, with whom thou hast taken pleasure,.... Or, "with whom thou hast mixed" (r); in unlawful embraces, joined in sinful alliances, or in idolatrous practices:

and all them that thou hast loved; the Egyptians and Assyrians, whose friendship and idolatrous customs they were fond of:

with all them that thou hast hated; as the Philistines, Moabites, and Ammonites:

I will even gather them round about against thee; as they were in the Chaldean army, which consisted of many nations:

and will discover thy nakedness unto them, that they may see all thy nakedness; as a just retaliation for discovering it herself, as in Ezekiel 16:36; than which nothing can be more disagreeable to the sex. The Milesian virgins were restrained from suicide by a law, which ordered that such should be drawn naked through the market place. This is to be understood of the spoiling of the city and temple.

(r) "quibus commixtuisti cum illis", Starckius.

Behold, therefore I will gather all {r} thy lovers, with whom thou hast taken pleasure, and all them that thou hast loved, with all them that thou hast hated; I will even gather them on every side against thee, and will uncover thy nakedness to them, that they may see all thy nakedness.

(r) Egyptians, Assyrians and Chaldeans whom you took to be your lovers will come and destroy you, Eze 23:9.

37. all thy lovers] The heathen nations whose alliance she sought, Hosea 2:10.

taken pleasure] Lit. to whom thou hast been pleasing or sweet—with a sensual reference.

that thou hast hated] The nations with whom no alliances were formed, such as the Philistines.

Verse 37. - I will gather all thy lovers, etc. Interpreting the parable, the" lovers" are the nations with which Judah had allied herself, and whose religion she had adopted. In that confederacy of Moabites, Ammonites, Syrians, Philistines, Edomites and Chaldeans them should be small difference between those whom she had loved and those whom she had hated. All alike would exult in her shame and her fall (comp. Psalm 137:7; 2 Kings 24:2). Ezekiel 16:37As 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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