Ezekiel 18:6
And has not eaten on the mountains, neither has lifted up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, neither has defiled his neighbor's wife, neither has come near to a menstruous woman,
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(6) Eaten upon the mountains.—The various sins here specified are all enumerated again, with others, and charged upon Jerusalem in Ezekiel 22:2-12. The particular of eating upon the mountains is mentioned in Ezekiel 18:9, and refers to the feasts in connection with sacrifices to idols which were commonly held in high places. The Lord Himself, indeed, was also worshipped in high places, in express violation of the law (Deuteronomy 12:17-18), but the connection here points to the sacrificial idol-feasts (comp. Exodus 32:6; 1Corinthians 10:7). The lifting up of the eyes to the idols is probably meant to express any longing after them short of actual worship (comp. Genesis 19:26). The other sins mentioned in this verse were expressly forbidden in the law (Exodus 20:14; Leviticus 18:19), and were to be punished either with death (Leviticus 20:10; Deuteronomy 22:22) or with excommunication (Leviticus 20:18).

18:1-20 The soul that sinneth it shall die. As to eternity, every man was, is, and will be dealt with, as his conduct shows him to have been under the old covenant of works, or the new covenant of grace. Whatever outward sufferings come upon men through the sins of others, they deserve for their own sins all they suffer; and the Lord overrules every event for the eternal good of believers. All souls are in the hand of the great Creator: he will deal with them in justice or mercy; nor will any perish for the sins of another, who is not in some sense worthy of death for his own. We all have sinned, and our souls must be lost, if God deal with us according to his holy law; but we are invited to come to Christ. If a man who had shown his faith by his works, had a wicked son, whose character and conduct were the reverse of his parent's, could it be expected he should escape the Divine vengeance on account of his father's piety? Surely not. And should a wicked man have a son who walked before God as righteous, this man would not perish for his father's sins. If the son was not free from evils in this life, still he should be partaker of salvation. The question here is not about the meritorious ground of justification, but about the Lord's dealings with the righteous and the wicked.Eaten, upon the mountains - At the feast of idols, in contradiction to the command of Deuteronomy 12:17.

Idols of the house of Israel - Idolatry was so popular that certain idols were counted as belonging to the people of Israel, of whom Yahweh was the true God.

6. not eaten upon … mountains—the high places, where altars were reared. A double sin: sacrificing elsewhere than at the temple, where only God sanctioned sacrifice (De 12:13, 14); and this to idols instead of to Jehovah. "Eaten" refers to the feasts which were connected with the sacrifices (see Ex 32:6; De 32:38; Jud 9:27; 1Co 8:4, 10; 10:7).

lifted … eyes to—namely, in adoration (Ps 121:1). The superstitious are compared to harlots; their eyes go eagerly after spiritual lusts. The righteous man not merely refrains from the act, but from the glance of spiritual lust (Job 31:1; Mt 5:28).

idols of … Israel—not merely those of the Gentiles, but even those of Israel. The fashions of his countrymen could not lead him astray.

defiled … neighbour's wife—Not only does he shrink from spiritual, but also from carnal, adultery (compare 1Co 6:18).

neither … menstruous woman—Leprosy and elephantiasis were said to be the fruit of such a connection [Jerome]. Chastity is to be observed even towards one's own wife (Le 18:19; 20:18).

Hath not committed idolatry, first offering sacrifice, and eating of the things sacrificed to idols, whose temples and altars were on mountains, Ezekiel 20:28 Hosea 4:13, and where the idolaters did use to feed one another in honour of the idol; neither hath adored, nor expected help from the idols: this is a religious posture, as Psalm 121:1.

The idols of the house of Israel; they had idols of their own; and some that despised the heathens’ idols yet were polluted with their own idolatry, which was a great sin, whatever the blind idolater thought of it.

His neighbour’s wife; hath not broken out into adultery and defiled another man’s wife, for every man is here included in neighbour, as Luke 10:36. And abstained from both familiar converse and from conjugal acts with such a one, observing the law of God herein, Leviticus 15:19 18:19. And hath not eaten upon the mountains,.... Where temples and altars were built for idols, and sacrifices offered up to them; and where feasts were kept to the honour of them, and the sacrifices to them eaten; see Ezekiel 6:13; for otherwise it was not unlawful to eat common food on mountains, as well as on other places; but here it denotes idolatrous practices; and the Targum is,

"and hath not served idols on the mountains:''

neither hath lifted up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel; their "dunghill gods" (d) as the word signifies; as not to the idols of the Gentiles, so not to those of Israel, as the calves at Dan and Bethel; these he does not worship, nor pray unto, or invoke, nor even give a pleasant and favourable look unto; but turned from them with abhorrence and contempt:

neither hath defiled his neighbour's wife; been guilty of adultery, by lying with another man's wife; or by marrying one divorced, not having committed fornication; which divorces were common among the Jews, and marrying such so divorced, Matthew 19:19;

neither hath come near to a menstruous woman: a woman in her monthly courses, even his own wife; who, according to the law, was set apart for her uncleanness for a certain term of time; during which she was not to be touched, nor anything she sat or lay upon; and all conjugal acts to be abstained from, Leviticus 15:19.

(d) "ad stercoreos deos", Junius & Tremellius, Polanus; "ad stercora", Piscator, Cocceius.

And hath not eaten {b} upon the mountains, neither hath lifted up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, neither hath defiled his neighbour's wife, neither hath come near to a polluted woman,

(b) If he has not eaten flesh that has been offered up to idols, to honour them by it.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
6. eaten upon the mountains] that is, sacrificed on the high places and partaken of the sacrificial meal following, token of fellowship as a guest with the idols there worshipped. The phrase occurs again Ezekiel 18:11; Ezekiel 18:15, Ezekiel 22:9. In Ezekiel 33:25 the reading is, eaten with the blood; cf. Leviticus 17:13; Leviticus 19:26; 1 Samuel 14:33. Sept. renders Leviticus 19:26, eaten upon the mountains, and it is possible that the same error of reading occurs here, and that Ezekiel 18:6; Ezekiel 18:11; Ezekiel 18:15, Ezekiel 22:9, should be assimilated to Ezekiel 33:25 (W. R. Smith, Kinship, p. 310).

lift up his eyes] In prayer to the idols, or trust in them, or perhaps generally, in acknowledgment of them. Psalm 121:1; Psalm 123:1; Job 31:26.

his neighbour’s wife] Adultery is not seldom charged against the people by the prophets, especially Jeremiah, e.g. Jeremiah 5:8; Jeremiah 9:2; Jeremiah 29:23; cf. Leviticus 20:10; Deuteronomy 22:22. Note Job’s claims for himself, ch. Ezekiel 31:9. On the other impurity forbidden cf. Leviticus 15:24; Leviticus 18:19.Interpretation of the Riddle

Ezekiel 17:11. And the word of Jehovah came to me, saying, Ezekiel 17:12. Say to the refractory race: Do ye not know what this is? Say, Behold, the king of Babel came to Jerusalem and took its king and its princes, and brought them to himself to Babel. Ezekiel 17:13. And he took of the royal seed, and made a covenant with him, and caused him to enter into an oath; and he took the strong ones of the land: Ezekiel 17:14. That it might be a lowly kingdom, not to lift itself up, that he might keep his covenant, that it might stand. Ezekiel 17:15. But he rebelled against him by sending his messengers to Egypt, that it might give him horses and much people. Will he prosper? will he that hath done this escape? He has broken the covenant, and should he escape? Ezekiel 17:16. As I live, is the saying of the Lord Jehovah, surely in the place of the king, who made him king, whose oath he despised, and whose covenant he broke with him, in Babel he will die. Ezekiel 17:17. And not with great army and much people will Pharaoh act with him in the war, when they cast up a rampart and build siege-towers, to cut off many souls. Ezekiel 17:18. He has despised an oath to break the covenant, and, behold, he has given his hand and done all this; he will not escape. Ezekiel 17:19. Therefore thus saith the Lord Jehovah, As I live, surely my oath which he has despised, and my covenant which he has broken, I will give upon his head. Ezekiel 17:20. I will spread out my net over him, so that he will be taken in my snare, and will bring him to Babel, and contend with him there on account of his treachery which he has been guilty of towards me. Ezekiel 17:21. And all his fugitives in all his regiments, by the sword will they fall, and those who remain will be scattered to all winds; and ye shall see that I Jehovah have spoken it.

In Ezekiel 17:12-17 the parable in Ezekiel 17:2-10 is interpreted; and in Ezekiel 17:19-21 the threat contained in the parable is confirmed and still further expanded. We have an account of the carrying away of the king, i.e., Jehoiachin, and his princes to Babel in 2 Kings 24:11., Jeremiah 24:1, and Jeremiah 29:2. The king's seed (זרע המּלוּכה, Ezekiel 17:13, as in Jeremiah 41:1 equals זרע המּלך, 1 Kings 11:14) is Jehoiachin's uncle Mattaniah, whom Nebuchadnezzar made king under the name of Zedekiah (2 Kings 24:17), and from whom he took an oath of fealty (2 Chronicles 36:13). The strong of the land (אילי equals אוּלי, 2 Kings 24:15), whom Nebuchadnezzar took (לקח), i.e., took away to Babel, are not the heads of tribes and families (2 Kings 24:15); but the expression is used in a wide sense for the several classes of men of wealth, who are grouped together in 2 Kings 24:14 under the one term כּל־גּבּורי ח (אנשׁי חיל, 2 Kings 24:16), including masons, smiths, and carpenters (2 Kings 24:14 and 2 Kings 24:16), whereas the heads of tribes and families are classed with the court officials (סריסים, 2 Kings 24:15) under the title שׂריה (princes) in Ezekiel 17:12. The design of these measures was to make a lowly kingdom, which could not raise itself, i.e., could not revolt, and to deprive the vassal king of the means of breaking of the covenant. the suffix attached to לעמדהּ is probably to be taken as referring to ממלכה rather than בּריתי, although both are admissible, and would yield precisely the same sense, inasmuch as the stability of the kingdom was dependent upon the stability of the covenant. But Zedekiah rebelled (2 Kings 24:20). The Egyptian king who was to give Zedekiah horses and much people, in other words, to come to his assistance with a powerful army of cavalry and fighting men, was Hophrah, the Apries of the Greeks, according to Jeremiah 44:30 (see the comm. on 2 Kings 24:19-20). היצלח points back to תּצלח in Ezekiel 17:9; but here it is applied to the rebellious king, and is explained in the clause 'הימּלט וגו. The answer is given in Ezekiel 17:16 as a word of God confirmed by a solemn oath: he shall die in Babel, the capital of the king, who placed him on the throne, and Pharaoh will not render him any effectual help (Ezekiel 17:17). עשׂה אותו, as in Ezekiel 15:1-8 :59, to act with him, that is to say, assist him, come to his help. אותו refers to Zedekiah, not to Pharaoh, as Ewald assumes in an inexplicable manner. For 'שׁפך סללה , compare Ezekiel 4:2; and for the fact itself, Jeremiah 34:21-22, and Jeremiah 37:5, according to which, although an Egyptian army came to the rescue of Jerusalem at the time when it was besieged by the Chaldeans, it was repulsed by the Chaldeans who marched to meet it, without having rendered any permanent assistance to the besieged.

In Ezekiel 17:18, the main thought that breach of faith can bring no deliverance is repeated for the sake of appending the further expansion contained in Ezekiel 17:19-21. נתן ידו, he gave his hand, i.e., as a pledge of fidelity. The oath which Zedekiah swore to the king of Babel is designated in Ezekiel 17:19 as Jehovah's oath (אלתי), and the covenant made with him as Jehovah's covenant, because the oath had been sworn by Jehovah, and the covenant of fidelity towards Nebuchadnezzar had thereby been made implicite with Jehovah Himself; so that the breaking of the oath and covenant became a breach of faith towards Jehovah. Consequently the very same expressions are used in Ezekiel 17:16, Ezekiel 17:18, and Ezekiel 17:19, to designate this breach of oath, which are applied in Ezekiel 16:59 to the treacherous apostasy of Jerusalem (Israel) from Jehovah, the covenant God. And the same expressions are used to describe the punishment as in Ezekiel 12:13-14. נשׁפּט אתּו is construed with the accusative of the thing respecting which he was to be judged, as in 1 Samuel 12:7. Jehovah regards the treacherous revolt from Nebuchadnezzar as treachery against Himself (מעל); not only because Zedekiah had sworn the oath of fidelity by Jehovah, but also from the fact that Jehovah had delivered up His people and kingdom into the power of Nebuchadnezzar, so that revolt from him really became rebellion against God. את before כּל־מברחו is nota accus., and is used in the sense of quod adtinet ad, as, for example, in 2 Kings 6:5. מברחו, his fugitives, is rendered both by the Chaldee and Syriac "his brave men," or "heroes," and is therefore identified with מבחרו (his chosen ones), which is the reading in some manuscripts. But neither these renderings nor the parallel passage in Ezekiel 12:14, where סביבותיו apparently corresponds to it, will warrant our adopting this explanation, or making any alteration in the text. The Greek versions have πάσας φυγαδείας αὐτοῦ; Theodoret: ἐν πάσαις ταῖς φυγαδείαις αὐτοῦ; the Vulgate: omnes profugi ejus; and therefore they all had the reading מברחו, which also yields a very suitable meaning. The mention of some who remain, and who are to be scattered toward all the winds, is not at variance with the statement that all the fugitives in the wings of the army are to fall by the sword. The latter threat simply declares that no one will escape death by flight. But there is no necessity to take those who remain as being simply fighting men; and the word "all" must not be taken too literally.

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