Ezekiel 16:7
I have caused you to multiply as the bud of the field, and you have increased and waxen great, and you are come to excellent ornaments: your breasts are fashioned, and your hair is grown, whereas you were naked and bore.
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(7) I have caused thee.—Omit the “have,” and modify the tenses throughout the verse. “I caused thee . . . thou didst increase and wax tall . . . and came to beauty . . . were fashioned . . . was grown.” In the first clause, “caused thee to multiply,” the literal sense takes the place of the figurative; but the rest of the verse describes Israel as a young woman just growing up into the beauty of early womanhood. The phrase “excellent ornaments” is somewhat difficult; but is now generally understood as meaning literally “ornament of cheeks,” i.e., beauty. The whereas in the last clause may give the impression of a contrast between the state described and the former one of infancy; this is not intended. But the meaning is, that while Israel was thus growing into the full development and beauty of womanhood, she was still “naked and bare.”

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.I caused "thee to multiply as the bud of the field, and thou" didst increase "and" wax "great, and thou" didst come "to excellent" beauty; "thy breasts" were "fashioned and thine hair" was grown, yet wast "thou naked and bare." The prophet has arrived at the time at which the child grew up to maturity. God preserved the life of the infant which must without His help have died Ezekiel 16:6; and the child grew up to womanhood, but was still desolate and unprotected. This represents the sojourn in Egypt, during which the people increased, but were not bound, as a nation, to God by a covenant.

Excellent ornaments - literally, as in the margin. Some render it: "ornament of cheeks," i. e., beauty of face.

7. caused … to multiply—literally, "I … made thee a myriad."

bud of … field—the produce of the field. In two hundred fifty years they increased from seventy-five persons to eight hundred thousand (Ac 7:14) [Calvin]. But see Ex 12:37, 38.

excellent ornaments—literally, "ornament of ornaments."

naked … bare—(Ho 2:3). Literally, "nakedness … bareness" itself; more emphatic.

The Lord, who chose Abraham and his seed; by his blessing this people were increased as by millions. How inconsiderable is a clan of seventy-five persons! So many went with Jacob into Egypt, where in two hundred and fifty years they grew to six hundred and three thousand five hundred and fifty, beside women, and children under twenty years, and old men above sixty years old. So the promise, Genesis 12:2 15:5 17:2,4, was fulfilled.

As the bud of the field: for multitude, they are compared to the numberless buds of the herb; for flourishing, they are like the bud in the beauty of its spring; and both include the goodness and richness of the land they dwelt in.

Increased; grown up to maturity or full age.

Waxen great; and in stature thou hast come to full, just proportions, or grown strong, mighty, and terrible to thy neighbours who were enemies, but honourable and a defence to thy friends.

Come to excellent ornaments: as jewels and rich vestments set off a beautiful person, so the successes in enterprises, rich returns in merchandise, fruitfulness of the country itself, were the lustre of thy beauty, which all thy neighbours courted; thou wast adorned with the choicest blessings of Divine Providence.

Thy breasts are fashioned: the prophet further describes the beauty and glory of the Jewish nation, grown up and fashioned under God’s own hand, in order to be solemnly affianced to God.

Thine hair, which is an ornament when well set, whereas baldness is a deformity.

Thou wast naked and bare, i.e. when in Egypt, poor, and oppressed, and despised. I have caused thee to multiply as the bud of the field,.... Or, "made thee millions" (m); like the spires of grass in the field. This refers to the multiplication of the children of Israel in Egypt, especially after the death of Joseph, and even while they were sorely afflicted, and likewise in later times. Jacob went down to Egypt with seventy five persons only, but when his posterity returned from thence, they were above six hundred thousand that were able to go forth to war, Genesis 46:27; see Exodus 1:7;

and thou hast increased and waxed great; and became large families, kindreds, and tribes, as the Targum interprets it; as a child grows up, and becomes adult:

and thou art come to excellent ornaments; or, "ornament of ornaments" (n); as a young woman, when she is grown up, comes to wear better and finer clothes than in infancy; perhaps there is an allusion to the jewels the Israelites brought out of Egypt with them: this may be applied to the laws, statutes, and ordinances given them, which were an "ornament of grace" unto them, Proverbs 1:9;

thy breasts are fashioned; swelled and stood out; were come to a proper size and shape, as in persons grown and marriageable; see Sol 8:10;

and thine hair is grown; an euphemism, expressive of puberty, which in females was at twelve years of age:

whereas thou wast naked and bare; in a state of infancy. Jarchi and Kimchi interpret this of the Israelites being without the commandments. The whole of what is here said, may be applied to quickened and converted persons, who grow in grace, and increase in spiritual knowledge; and are adorned with the ornaments of grace and good works; and attend to the word and ordinances, which are the church's breasts; who, while in their nature state, were naked and destitute of righteousness and grace.

(m) "millia dedi", Pagninus, Montanus; "in multa millia", Tigurine version; "in myriadem te auxi", Piscator; so Ben Melech. (n) "ornamenta ornamentorum", Pagninus, Montanus; "in ornamentum ornamentorum", Calvin; "pulchritudinem pulchritudiuum", Starckius; so Ben Melech; "elegantiam elegantiarum", Cocceius.

I have caused thee to multiply as the bud of the field, and thou hast increased and waxen great, and thou art come to excellent ornaments: thy breasts are fashioned, and thine hair is grown, whereas thou wast naked and bare.
7. have caused … multiply] Lit. as marg. made thee a myriad. This idea of multiplication in number deserts the figure, introducing the notion of the numerical increase of the people (Exodus 1:7; Deuteronomy 10:22; Deuteronomy 33:17). The rest of the verse, however, continues the figure of the child growing up to womanhood. For “myriad” LXX. has “do thou grow” (imper.). This is not natural, but probably some word signifying “growth” should be read, “I gave thee growth like the herb of the field; and thou didst grow and wax great.”

thou art come … ornaments] Thou didst come to excellent ornament, lit. ornament of ornaments. The connexion requires that “ornament” should mean graces and beauties of the person. The word has nowhere else this sense, being always employed of such ornaments as jewelry which are worn (Ezekiel 16:11). The rendering “beauty of cheeks” (Hitz.) rests upon the supposed sense of Psalm 32:9; Psalm 103:5. In Isaiah 64:6 a word somewhat similar occurs: filthy (i.e. menstruous) garment, and several scholars (J. D. Michaelis, Cornill) assume this sense here. This requires considerable alteration of the text, which already lay before LXX. (though r was read for d, as often). Neither is Ezekiel 16:22 in favour of it.

are fashioned] Better past tenses: were fashioned … was grown, but thou wast.

The passage is an allegorical description of the early history of the family of Israel, their struggles for existence in Canaan, their descent into Egypt, the oppressions suffered there, and the Lord’s care and protection of them (Exodus 3:7; Exodus 3:9; Psalm 105:12 seq.). The unattractive character of the early patriarchal history as written in Genesis is plain enough (Genesis 29-31, 38.). This unattractive character is set forth in the blood and pollution of the new-born infant, and the Lord’s care of them in their dependent and defenceless condition under the figure of his pity and adoption of the outcast child. The truth conveyed in the allegory is more delicately expressed by another writer: “The Lord did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all peoples; but because the Lord loved you” (Deuteronomy 7:7-8).Verse 7. - The tenses should be in the simple historic past: I caused; thou didst increase and wax great; thou attainedst, and so on (Revised Version). In the word "multiply" (Exodus 1:7) the figure passes into historical reality. To excellent ornaments; Hebrew, to ornament of ornaments. The word is commonly used of jewels, trinkets, and the like (Exodus 33:4; 2 Samuel 1:24; Isaiah 49:18). So Vulgate, mundus muliebris. Here, however, the external adorning comes in vers. 10, 11, and instead of the plural we have the dual. Hitzig is, perhaps, right in taking the phrase to refer to tide beauty of the cheeks, which are themselves the ornaments of the golden prime of wroth. The LXX., following either a different reading or paraphrasing, gives, "to cities of cities." The two clauses that fellow point to the most obvious signs of female puberty. For whereas, read, with the Revised Version, yet, etc., as describing, not as the Authorized Version seems to do, a state which trod passed away, but one which still continued even when full-grown girlhood would have demanded clothing. And the word of Jehovah came to me, saying, Ezekiel 15:2. Son of man, what advantage has the wood of the vine over every wood, the vine-branch, which was among the trees of the forest? Ezekiel 15:3. Is wood taken from it to use for any work? or do men take a peg from it to hang all kinds of vessels upon? Ezekiel 15:4. Behold, it is given to the fire to consume. If the fire has consumed its two ends, and the middle of it is scorched, will it then be fit for any work? Ezekiel 15:5. Behold, when it is uninjured, it is not used for any work: how much less when the fire has consumed it and scorched it can it be still used for work? Ezekiel 15:6. Therefore thus saith the Lord Jehovah, As the wood of the vine among the wood of the forest, which I give to the fire to consume, so do I give up the inhabitants of Jerusalem, Ezekiel 15:7. And direct my face against them. They have gone out of the fire, and the fire will consume them; that ye may learn that I am Jehovah, when I set my face against them. Ezekiel 15:8. And I make the land a desert, because they committed treachery, is the saying of the Lord Jehovah. - Israel is like the wood of the wild vine, which is put into the fire to burn, because it is good for nothing. From Deuteronomy 32:32-33 onwards, Israel is frequently compared to a vine or a vineyard (cf. Psalm 80:9.; Isaiah 5; Hosea 10:1; Jeremiah 2:21), and always, with the exception of Psalm 80, to point out its degeneracy. This comparison lies at the foundation of the figure employed, in Ezekiel 15:2-5, of the wood of the wild vine. This wood has no superiority over any other kind of wood. It cannot be used, like other timber, for any useful purposes; but is only fit to be burned, so that it is really inferior to all other wood (Ezekiel 15:2 and Ezekiel 15:3). And if, in its perfect state, it cannot be used for anything, how much less when it is partially scorched and consumed (Ezekiel 15:4 and Ezekiel 15:5)! מה־יּהיה, followed by מן, means, what is it above (מן, comparative)? - i.e., what superiority has it to כּל־עץ, all kinds of wood? i.e., any other wood. 'הזמורה אשׁר וגו is in apposition to עץ הנּפן, and is not to be connected with מכּל־עץ, as it has been by the lxx and Vulgate, - notwithstanding the Masoretic accentuation, - so as to mean every kind of fagot; for זמורה does not mean a fagot, but the tendril or branch of the vine (cf. Ezekiel 8:17), which is still further defined by the following relative clause: to be a wood-vine, i.e., a wild vine, which bears only sour, uneatable grapes. The preterite היה (which was; not, "is") may be explained from the idea that the vine had been fetched from the forest in order that its wood might be used. The answer given in Ezekiel 15:3 is, that this vine-wood cannot be used for any purpose whatever, not even as a peg for hanging any kind of domestic utensils upon (see comm. on Zechariah 10:4). It is too weak even for this. The object has to be supplied to לעשׂות למלאכה: to make, or apply it, for any work. Because it cannot be used as timber, it is burned. A fresh thought is introduced in Ezekiel 15:4 by the words 'את שׁני ק. The two clauses in Ezekiel 15:4 are to be connected together. The first supposes a case, from which the second is deduced as a conclusion. The question, "Is it fit for any work?" is determined in Ezekiel 15:5 in the negative. אף כּי: as in Ezekiel 14:21. נחר: perfect; and יחר: imperfect, Niphal, of חרר, in the sense of, to be burned or scorched. The subject to waויּחר is no doubt the wood, to which the suffix in אכלתהוּ refers. At the same time, the two clauses are to be understood, in accordance with Ezekiel 15:4, as relating to the burning of the ends and the scorching of the middle. - Ezekiel 15:6-8. In the application of the parable, the only thing to which prominence is given, is the fact that God will deal with the inhabitants of Jerusalem in the same manner as with the vine-wood, which cannot be used for any kind of work. This implies that Israel resembles the wood of a forest-vine. As this possesses no superiority to other wood, but, on the contrary, is utterly useless, so Israel has no superiority to other nations, but is even worse than they, and therefore is given up to the fire. This is accounted for in Ezekiel 15:7 : "They have come out of the fire, and the fire will consume them" (the inhabitants of Jerusalem). These words are not to be interpreted proverbially, as meaning, "he who escapes one judgment falls into another" (Hvernick), but show the application of Ezekiel 15:4 and Ezekiel 15:5 to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. Out of a fire one must come either burned or scorched. Israel has been in the fire already. It resembles a wild vine which has been consumed at both ends by the fire, while the middle has been scorched, and which is now about to be given up altogether to the fire. We must not restrict the fire, however, out of which it has come half consumed, to the capture of Jerusalem in the time of Jehoiachin, as Hitzig does, but must extend it to all the judgments which fell upon the covenant nation, from the destruction of the kingdom of the ten tribes to the catastrophe in the reign of Jehoiachin, and in consequence of which Israel now resembled a vine burned at both ends and scorched in the middle. The threat closes in the same manner as the previous one. Compare Ezekiel 15:7 with Ezekiel 14:8, and Ezekiel 15:8 with Ezekiel 14:15 and Ezekiel 14:13.
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