You also, which have judged your sisters, bear your own shame for your sins that you have committed more abominable than they: they are more righteous than you: yes, be you confounded also, and bear your shame, in that you have justified your sisters.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Hast judged thy sisters.—Judah had approved the judgments upon Sodom and Samaria, as it is always easy for man to approve judgments upon the sins of others; but now this must be brought home to herself for her own greater sins. (Comp. Romans 2)
Having described the sin and the punishment, the prophet now goes on in the remainder of the chapter to speak of the restoration of Israel. This is first declared in the strongest terms to be impossible (Ezekiel 16:53-59), and the efforts of many commentators to transform the language into a covert promise of restoration are entirely unsuccessful. After this, indeed, in Ezekiel 16:60-63, the establishment of the Divine covenant with Israel is fully and distinctly promised. Yet there is no contradiction between the two, for the prophet had a right to suppose that the people would remember what had been so plainly declared before: that while the nation as a whole must perish, yet after the purifying chastisements of the Lord He would have mercy upon and bless a remnant who should be saved. The general doom is first announced as irrevocable; then the exception is made for the few.
thy shame—ignominious punishment.Thou also; Jerusalem, and all the Jews with her.
Hast judged; hast pretended it was wonder a people should sin as Samaria; or hast once condemned their apesracy, whilst thou stoodest; or hast judged their punishment just, that they deserved all they suffered.
Bear; shalt surely be loaded with punishment.
Thine own shame; that shall be thy shame as well as smart.
More abominable: see Ezekiel 16:47,48,51. 2 Chronicles 13:8; in which sense Jarchi and Kimchi interpret the word; or by defending and patronizing them, acquitting and absolving them, by committing the same sins, and more heinous ones:
bear thine own shame for thy sins that thou hast committed more abominable than they; look upon thy sins, and blush at them; confess them with shame and confusion of face; take shame to thyself for them, in that thou hast censured and condemned these sins in others thou hast been guilty of thyself; and the rather, since thy sins are greater, and attended with more aggravating circumstances, than those thou hast blamed in others; or this is a prophecy of their punishment for their sins, when they should be carried captive, and be put to shame before their neighbours: or, "thou shalt bear" (d); shame is the fruit of sin, sooner or later:
they are more righteous than thou; in comparison of her; though neither of them were righteous in the sight of God, yet comparatively one was more righteous than another, having committed fewer sins, and lesser abominations:
yea, be thou confounded also, and bear thy shame, in that thou hast justified thy sisters; this is repeated in stronger expressions, and with the reasons of it, to show the great confusion they should be brought unto, and the certainty of it, the more to strike and affect their minds with it.Thou also, which hast judged thy sisters, bear thine own shame for thy sins that thou hast committed more abominable than they: they are more righteous than thou: yea, be thou confounded also, and bear thy shame, in that thou hast justified thy sisters.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)52. Point thus: “and thou also, which hast (in that thou hast) given judgment for (in behalf of) thy sisters, bear thy shame; through thy sins which thou hast committed more abominable than they, they are more righteous than thou.” Jerusalem has “given judgment” or interposed (1 Samuel 2:25) in behalf of her sisters in being more wicked than they—she has made them comparatively righteous. The phrase “bear thy shame” might mean “suffer in destruction the consequences of thy wickedness;” Ezekiel 16:54; Ezekiel 16:61; Ezekiel 16:63, however, shew that the ref. is to the feeling of shame due to the fact that by the grossness of her abominations she has shewn her sisters to be more righteous than she (cf. Ezekiel 39:26). The prophet assumes the exile and looks forward to the time of restoration. Sodom also and Samaria shall be restored as well as Jerusalem, and it is this that shall bring shame to her, for she shall feel that they whom she did not deign to mention because of their evil fame (Ezekiel 16:56) were not worse but better than herself.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.
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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