Ezekiel 19:1
Moreover take you up a lamentation for the princes of Israel,
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Ezekiel 19:1-2. Take up a lamentation for the princes of Israel — The expression alludes to the mournful songs sung at funerals. Such a lamentation the prophet is directed to apply to the mournful condition of Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin, and Zedekiah. And say, What is thy mother? — What resemblance shall I use to express the nature, deportment, and state of the mother of these princes, namely, Judea, or the Jewish nation? The prophet proposes a question that may be applied to each prince distinctly. A lioness — Here is an allusion, says Grotius, to Genesis 49:9, where Judah is represented under the emblem of a lion, and Judea was among the nations like a lioness among the beasts of the forest; she had strength and sovereignty. And the young lions which she produced are the princes, Josiah’s successors, whose life and disgraces the prophet here points out. She lay down among the lions — She remained in grandeur and security in the neighbourhood of many powerful kings. She nourished her whelps among lions — She multiplied and increased in power, notwithstanding the envy of all the neighbouring nations.19:1-9 Ezekiel is to compare the kingdom of Judah to a lioness. He must compare the kings of Judah to a lion's whelps; they were cruel and oppressive to their own subjects. The righteousness of God is to be acknowledged, when those who have terrified and enslaved others, are themselves terrified and enslaved. When professors of religion form connexions with ungodly persons, their children usually grow up following after the maxims and fashions of a wicked world. Advancement to authority discovers the ambition and selfishness of men's hearts; and those who spend their lives in mischief, generally end them by violence.Princes of Israel - Israel is the whole nation over which the king of Judah was the rightful sovereign. Compare Ezekiel 2:3; Ezekiel 3:1, Ezekiel 3:7. CHAPTER 19

Eze 19:1-14. Elegy over the Fall of David's House.

There is a tacit antithesis between this lamentation and that of the Jews for their own miseries, into the causes of which, however, they did not inquire.

1. princes of Israel—that is, Judah, whose "princes" alone were recognized by prophecy; those of the ten tribes were, in respect to the theocracy, usurpers.A lamentation for the princes of Israel, under the parable of lions’ whelps taken in a pit, Ezekiel 19:1-9; and for Jerusalem, under the parable of a wasted vine, Ezekiel 19:10-14.

Moreover, Heb. And.

Take up a lamentation; son of man, Ezekiel, declare what a lamentable state the princes of Israel are falling into, propound it by parable. It was usually expressed in verse, as Jeremiah did in his lamentations, and as appears 2 Chronicles 35:25; but the prophet is here directed to a hieroglyphic, as Ezekiel 19:2.

The princes of Israel; though they were kings, yet, because subject to Babylon or Egypt, they are, by a diminutive, lessening term, called

princes, and these were Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin, and Zedekiah. Though they had but the two tribes under them, yet because some of Israel that escaped the captivating power of Shalmaneser were joined with the two tribes, they are called by the name of Israel.

Moreover, take thou up a lamentation,.... These words are directed to the Prophet Ezekiel, to compose a doleful ditty, a mournful song, such as was used at funerals; and by it represent the lamentable state of the nation of the Jews and their governors, in order to affect them with it, with what was past, and present, and yet to come:

for the princes of Israel; or, "concerning them" (s); the princes meant are Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim, Jeconiah, and Zedekiah, who were kings, though called princes, these words being synonymous; or, if so called by way of diminution, the reason might be, because they were tributary, either to the king of Egypt, or king of Babylon.

(s) "de principibus Israel", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Polanus, Starckius; so Ben Melech.

Moreover take thou up a lamentation for the {a} princes of Israel,

(a) That is, Jehoahaz and Jehoiakim, Josiah's sons, who for their pride and cruelty are compared to lions.

1–4. Captivity of Jehoahaz in Egypt

2.  How was thy mother a lioness!—among the lions;

In the midst of young lions she couched—she reared her whelps.

3.  And she brought up one of her whelps—he grew a young lion;

And he learned to catch the prey—he devoured men.

4.  And the nations heard regarding him—he was taken in their pit;

And they brought him with hooks—unto the land of Egypt.

1. princes of Israel] Probably with LXX. prince, as required by the pron. thy mother (Ezekiel 19:2). The “prince” is a general term for the king, applicable to one king after another. The lamentation is for the “king” of Judah, represented by one person after another. On “lament” cf. Jeremiah 7:29.

2. What is thy mother?] Rather to be taken as an exclamation, as rendered above. The mother is the people Israel, a lioness among other lions—kings or states with royalty.

3. The first young lion is Jehoahaz, son of Josiah, carried to Egypt by Pharaoh Necho after the defeat of his father at Megiddo, 2 Kings 23:31-35. Cf. the touching reference to him Jeremiah 22:10-12. He also bore the name of Shallum. Coming to the throne at the age of 23 he reigned only 3 months, and died in Egypt. Cf. Jeremiah 5:26.

4. heard of him] This might better be read: raised a cry against him, in the sense of Isaiah 31:4; Jeremiah 50:29.

with chains] hooks (or, rings) as ch. Ezekiel 29:4, Ezekiel 38:4; cf. 2 Kings 19:28.Verse 1. - The two sections of this chapter - vers. 1-9, 10-14-are respectively two parables of the same type as that of Ezekiel 2:10. The former telling nearly the same story under a different imagery, the latter a reproduction of the same imagery, with a slightly different application. Lamentation. The same word as that used in Ezekiel 2:10. The whole chapter finds a parallel in Jeremiah's review of Josiah's successors (Jeremiah 22:10-30). It is noticeable that the princes are described as being of Israel. The LXX. gives the singular, "the prince," and Hitzig and Ewald adopt this reading, applying it to Zedekiah. The son who avoids his father's sin will live; but the father will die for his own sins. - Ezekiel 18:14. And behold, he begetteth a son, who seeth all his father's sins which he doeth; he seeth them, and doeth not such things. Ezekiel 18:15. He eateth not upon the mountains, and lifteth not up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel; he defileth not his neighbour's wife, Ezekiel 18:16. And oppresseth no one; he doth not withhold a pledge, and committeth not robbery; giveth his bread to the hungry, and covereth the naked with clothes. Ezekiel 18:17. He holdeth back his hand from the distressed one, taketh not usury and interest, doeth my rights, walketh in my statutes; he will not die for the sin of his father; he shall live. Ezekiel 18:18. His father, because he hath practised oppression, committed robbery upon his brother, and hath done that which is not good in the midst of his people; behold, he shall die for his sin. Ezekiel 18:19. And do ye say, Why doth the son not help to bear the father's sin? But the son hath done right and righteousness, hath kept all my statutes, and done them; he shall live. Ezekiel 18:20. The soul that sinneth, it shall die. A son shall not help to bear the father's sin, and a father shall not help to bear the sin of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him. - The case supposed in these verses forms the antithesis to the preceding one; the father is the transgressor in this instance, and the son a keeper of the law. The subject to הוליד in Ezekiel 18:14 is not the righteous man described in Ezekiel 18:15, but a man who is described immediately afterwards as a transgressor of the commandments of God. The Chetib וירא bite in the last clause of Ezekiel 18:14 is not to be read ויּרא, καὶ φοβηθῇ, et timuerit, as it has been by the translators of the Septuagint and Vulgate; nor is it to be altered into ויּראה, as it has been by the Masoretes, to make it accord with Ezekiel 18:28; but it is the apocopated form ויּרא, as in the preceding clause, and the object is to be repeated from what precedes, as in the similar case which we find in Exodus 20:15, (18). Ewald and Hitzig propose to alter מעני in Ezekiel 18:17 into מעול after Ezekiel 18:8, but without the slightest necessity. The lxx are not to be taken as an authority for this, since the Chaldee and Syriac have both read and rendered עני; and Ezekiel, when repeating the same sentences, is accustomed to make variations in particular words. Holding back the hand from the distressed, is equivalent to abstaining from seizing upon him for the purpose of crushing him (compare Ezekiel 18:12); בּתוך, in the midst of his countrymen equals בּתוך עמּו, is adopted from the language of the Pentateuch. מת after הנּה is a participle. The question, "Why does the son not help to bear?" is not a direct objection on the part of the people, but is to be taken as a pretext, which the people might offer on the ground of the law, that God would visit the sin of the fathers upon the sons in justification of their proverb. Ezekiel cites this pretext for the purpose of meeting it by stating the reason why this does not occur. נשׂא ב, to carry, near or with, to join in carrying, or help to carry (cf. Numbers 11:17). This proved the proverb to be false, and confirmed the assertion made in Ezekiel 18:4, to which the address therefore returns (Ezekiel 18:20). The righteousness of the righteous man will come upon him, i.e., upon the righteous man, namely, in its consequences. The righteous man will receive the blessing of righteousness, but the unrighteous man the curse of his wickedness. There is no necessity for the article, which the Keri proposes to insert before רשׁע.
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