Ezekiel 19:5
Now when she saw that she had waited, and her hope was lost, then she took another of her whelps, and made him a young lion.
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(5) Another of her whelps.—After the three months’ reign of Jehoahaz, his brother Jehoiakim was appointed king by Pharaoh (2Kings 23:34). He was conquered and “bound in fetters” by Nebuchadnezzar, with the intention of carrying him to Babylon (2Chronicles 36:7): he died, however, in disgrace in Jerusalem (2Kings 24:6; comp. Jeremiah 22:18-19), and was succeeded regularly by his son Jehoiachin without foreign interference. His character, as shown in Ezekiel 19:6-7 (comp. 2Kings 24:9; 2Chronicles 36:9), was evil like that of his father.

Ezekiel 19:5-9. When she saw that she had waited — This seems to signify that the Jews waited some time before they thought of setting another king over them, hoping, probably, that the king of Egypt would restore unto them Jehoahaz, whom he had taken prisoner; but when they saw their hopes disappointed in this, and that there was no longer any room to expect it, then they, by the consent, and probably, direction of the king of Egypt, elected Jehoahaz’s brother, Eliakim, king in his stead, his name being changed to Jehoiakim. And he went up and down among the lions — He imitated the kings his neighbours, and became rapacious and cruel like them. And learned to catch the prey, &c. — He learned and practised all the methods of tyranny and oppression. And he knew their desolate palaces — Dr. Waterland and Houbigant render it, He destroyed their palaces; and Bishop Newcome, He brought evil upon their palaces. The meaning seems to be, that Jehoiakim made himself master of the riches and pleasant seats of the great men of the land. And the land was desolate, &c., by the noise of his roaring — His cruelty and oppression caused many of the inhabitants of Judea to remove out of it, and go and settle in other places, where they could live more secure. Then the nations set themselves against him, &c. — He was attacked by the Chaldeans, Syrians, Moabites, and Ammonites, and at last the king of Babylon took him prisoner, and carried him in fetters to Babylon: see 2 Chronicles 36:6. That his voice should no more be heard, &c. — That he should be no more a terror to the land of Israel. For Jehoiakim being compared, in the foregoing verses, to a lion, whose voice, or roaring, strikes men with terror; by saying that his voice should no more be heard, is signified that he should be no longer a terror to any in the country.

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.Another - Jehoiachin who soon showed himself no less unworthy than Jehoahaz. The "waiting" of the people was during the absence of their rightful lord Jehoahaz, a captive in Egypt while Jehoiakim, whom they deemed an usurper, was on the throne. It was not until Jehoiachin succeeded, that they seemed to themselves to have a monarch of their own 2 Kings 24:6.5. saw that she had waited, and her hope was lost—that is, that her long-waited-for hope was disappointed, Jehoahaz not being restored to her from Egypt.

she took another of her whelps—Jehoiakim, brother of Jehoahaz, who was placed on the throne by Pharaoh (2Ki 23:34), according to the wish of Judah.

Upon the ill success of Jehoahaz, Jerusalem and the Jews in the land fell from their hopes under great disappointments, for Jehoahaz is taken, deposed, carried captive by the Egyptians, instead of shaking off the Egyptian yoke. She took another; yet it is said, 2 Chronicles 36:4 2 Kings 23:34, that the king of Egypt made the next king: both true; the Jews with Pharaoh’s liking, or Pharaoh with the Jews’ consent, advance him, whether it were Jehoiakim or Jehoiachin.

Made him a young lion; king, and infused the lion-like maxims for his rules.

Now when she saw,.... That is, his mother, as the Syriac version expresses it; not his natural mother; as the mother of Sisera looked out and waited for him; but the congregation of Israel, as Jarchi interprets it, the body of the Jewish people:

that she had waited; for the return of Jehoahaz out of Egypt, which was expected for some time: or, "that she was become sick"; or "weak" (w), and feeble, and brought to a low estate by his captivity, and by the tax the king of Egypt put upon her:

and her hope was lost; of his return to her any more, and so of being eased of the tribute imposed, and of being restored by him to liberty and glory; for the Lord had declared that he should return no more to his native country, but die in the place where he was carried captive, Jeremiah 22:10;

then she took another of her whelps; or sons, as the Targum:

and made him a young lion: a king, as the same Targum paraphrases it; that is, Jehoiakim, the brother of Jehoahaz, who before was called Eliakim, but his name was changed by Pharaohnecho; and though he is said to make him king, yet it was by the consent of the people of the Jews.

(w) "quod infirmatus esset", Cocceius, Starckius.

Now when she saw that she had waited, and her hope was lost, then she took another of her {d} whelps, and made him a young lion.

(d) Which was Jehoiakim.

5–8. Jehoiachin carried captive to Babylon

The second young lion is Jehoiachin. The intermediate prince Jehoiakim could not be included in an elegy, because he died in peace. It is the princes of Israel whom foreign nations captured that are lamented. What is touched upon is more the humiliation and sorrow of Israel, the mother lioness, in her young lions being captured, than the fate of the two persons. The elegy is a national one, cf. on Ezekiel 19:1.

5.  And she saw that she had waited—her hope was lost;

And she took another of her whelps—she made him a young lion.

6.  And he walked among the lions—he grew a young lion,

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

7.  And he broke down their palaces—he wasted their cities;

And the land and its fulness was desolate—at the noise of his roaring.

8.  Then the nations set themselves against him—on every side from the countries.

And they spread their net over him—he was taken in their pit.

5. that she had waited] If “she” be subject some such sense as deceived, “disappointed” (Ew.) would be suitable, though to reach this sense by adding “in vain” to waited is hardly permissible. The subject might be “her hope,” and waited might mean tarried, delayed. There might be reference to hope of the return of Jehoahaz, which appears to have been cherished, as Jeremiah takes occasion altogether to cut it off (Jeremiah 22:10-12). Corn. proposes “acted foolishly,” but the word suggested is too strong (Numbers 12:11; Isaiah 19:13; Jeremiah 5:4; Jeremiah 50:36).

6. Jehoiachin ascended the throne on the death of his father at the age of 18. He reigned only 3 months, when Nebuchadnezzar carried him away to Babylon, 2 Kings 24:8 seq.

7. knew their desolate palaces] R.V. knew their palaces. The word is usually “widows” as marg., but “palaces,” Isaiah 13:22. Neither translation gives any sense. Better: he broke down their palaces, (change of r for d); or cf. Jeremiah 2:15-16 (marg. fed on), a passage very similar. If “widows” be read the verb would need to be altered to “multiplied,” ch. Ezekiel 12:25, an important passage (Jeremiah 15:8). Corn. (partly Hitz.): and he lay down in his den, he wasted the forests. This keeps up the figure, but requires serious alteration of the reading. Jeremiah 2:15 shews that “young lions” may burn cities, and feed on the crown of the head.

8. in their pit] A well-known method of capturing dangerous beasts. The object to “set” may be voice or shout, Ezekiel 19:4, Jeremiah 7:8.

Verse 5. - The second lion whelp is identified by ver. 9 with Jehoiachin. For some reason or other, probably because he, as having "slept with his fathers," was not so conspicuous an instance of retribution, Ezekiel passes over Jehoiakim (B.C. 607-599). Ezekiel 19:5Capture 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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