Ezekiel 19:1
Moreover take thou up a lamentation for the princes of Israel,
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
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.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
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. Ezekiel 19:1Capture and Exile of the Princes

Ezekiel 19:1. And do thou raise a lamentation for the princes of Israel, Ezekiel 19:2. And say, Why did thy mother, a lioness, lie down among lionesses; bring up her whelps among young lions? Ezekiel 19:3. And she brought up one of her whelps: it became a young lion, and he learned to take prey; he devoured man. Ezekiel 19:4. And nations heard of him; he was caught in their pit, and they brought him with nose-rings into the land of Egypt. Ezekiel 19:5. And when she saw that her hope was exhausted, overthrown, she took one of her whelps, made it a young lion. Ezekiel 19:6. And he walked among lionesses, he became a young lion, and learned to take prey. He devoured man. Ezekiel 19:7. He knew its widows, and laid waste their cities; and the land and its fulness became waste, at the voice of his roaring. Ezekiel 19:8. Then nations round about from the provinces set up against him, and spread over him their net: he was caught in their pit. Ezekiel 19:9. And they put him in the cage with nose-rings, and brought him to the king of Babylon: brought him into a fortress, that his voice might not be heard any more on the mountains of Israel.

The princes of Israel, to whom the lamentation applies, are the king (נשׂיא, as in Ezekiel 12:10), two of whom are so clearly pointed out in Ezekiel 19:4 and Ezekiel 19:9, that there is no mistaking Jehoahaz and Jehoiachin. This fact alone is sufficient to protect the plural נשׂיאי against the arbitrary alteration into the singular נשׂיא, proposed by Houbigant and Hitzig, after the reading of the lxx. The lamentation is not addressed to one particular prince, either Zedekiah (Hitzig) or Jehoiachin (Ros., Maurer), but to Israel as a nation; and the mother (Ezekiel 19:2) is the national community, the theocracy, out of which the kings were born, as is indisputably evident from Ezekiel 19:10. The words from מה to רבצה form one sentence. It yields no good sense to separate מה אמּך from רבצה, whether we adopt the rendering, "what is thy mother?" or take מה with לביּא and render it, "how is thy mother a lioness?" unless, indeed, we supply the arbitrary clause "now, in comparison with what she was before," or change the interrogative into a preterite: "how has thy mother become a lioness?" The lionesses, among which Israel lay down, are the other kingdoms, the Gentile nations. The words have no connection with Genesis 49:9, where Judah is depicted as a warlike lion. The figure is a different one here. It is not so much the strength and courage of the lion as its wildness and ferocity that are the points of resemblance in the passage before us. The mother brings up her young ones among young lions, so that they learn to take prey and devour men. גּוּר is the lion's whelp, catulus; כּפיר, the young lion, which is old enough to go out in search of prey. ותּעל is a Hiphil, in the tropical sense, to cause to spring up, or grow up, i.e., to bring up. The thought is the following: Why has Israel entered into fellowship with the heathen nations? Why, then, has it put itself upon a level with the heathen nations, and adopted the rapacious and tyrannical nature of the powers of the world? The question "why then?" when taken with what follows, involves the reproof that Israel has struck out a course opposed to its divine calling, and will now have to taste the bitter fruits of this assumption of heathen ways. The heathen nations have taken captive its king, and led him away into heathen lands. ישׁמעוּ אליו, they heard of him (אליו for עליו). The fate of Jehoahaz, to which Ezekiel 19:4 refers, is related in 2 Kings 23:31. - Ezekiel 19:5-7 refer to Jehoiachin, the son of Jehoiakim, and not to Zedekiah, as Hitzig imagines. For the fact that Jehoiachin went out of his own accord to the king of Babylon (2 Kings 24:12), is not at variance with the figure contained in Ezekiel 19:8, according to which he was taken (as a lion) in a net. He simply gave himself up to the king of Babylon because he was unable to escape from the besieged city. Moreover, Jehoahaz and Jehoiachin are simply mentioned as examples, because they both fell into the hands of the world-powers, and their fate showed clearly enough "what the end must inevitably be, when Israelitish kings became ambitious of being lions, like the kings of the nations of the world" (Kliefoth). Jehoiakim was not so suitable an example as the others, because he died in Jerusalem. נוחלה, which has been explained in different ways, we agree with Ewald in regarding as the Niphal of יחל equals חוּל, in the sense of feeling vexed, being exhausted or deceived, like the Syriac ̀ewaḥel, viribus defecit, desperavit. For even in Genesis 8:12, נוחל simply means to wait; and this is inapplicable here, as waiting is not equivalent to waiting in vain. The change from חוּל to יחל is established by Judges 3:25, where חוּל or חיל occurs in the sense of יחל. In Judges 3:7, the figurative language passes into a literal description of the ungodly course pursued by the king. He knew, i.e., dishonoured, its (Israel's, the nation's) widows. The Targum reads וירע here instead of וידע, and renders it accordingly, "he destroyed its palaces;" and Ewald has adopted the same rendering. But רעע, to break, or smash in pieces, e.g., a vessel (Psalm 2:9), is never used for the destruction of buildings; and אלמנות does not mean palaces (ארמנות), but windows. There is nothing in the use of the word in Isaiah 13:22 to support the meaning "palaces," because the palaces are simply called ̀almânōth (widows) there, with a sarcastic side glance at their desolate and widowed condition. Other conjectures are still more inadmissible. The thought is as follows: Jehoiachin went much further than Jehoahaz. He not only devoured men, but laid hands on defenceless widows, and laid the cities waste to such an extent that the land with its inhabitants became perfectly desolate through his rapacity. The description is no doubt equally applicable to his father Jehoiakim, in whose footsteps Jehoiachin walked, since Jehoiakim is described in Jeremiah 22:13. as a grievous despot and tyrant. In Ezekiel 19:8 the object רשׁתּם also belongs to יתּנוּ: they set up and spread out their net. The plural מצדות is used in a general and indefinite manner: in lofty castles, mountain-fortresses, i.e., in one of them (cf. Judges 12:7).

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