Ezekiel 19:6
And he went up and down among the lions, he became a young lion, and learned to catch the prey, and devoured men.
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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 24:6.6. went up and down among the lions—imitated the recklessness and tyranny of the surrounding kings (Jer 22:13-17).

catch … prey—to do evil, gratifying his lusts by oppression (2Ki 23:37).

He, Jehoiakim,

went up and down: it is said of him, because he continued eleven years on the throne, and so many years, as a lion, tore and devoured; whereas Jehoahaz was taken as soon almost as he first ventured out to hunt the prey.

Among the lions; carried it after the manners and usages of the heathen kings, those barbarous tyrants, with whom he entered leagues, as he saw good, and laid aside the law of God, which was to guide king and people.

Became a young lion; grew strong, fierce, ravenous, unsaltable: see Ezekiel 19:3 where the rest is explained.

Devoured men; either his neighbours the Ammonites and Moabites, or he devoured his own subjects, impoverished and eat out their estates, spared not the prophets, or their prophecy, and Urijah he slew, Jeremiah 26:23: what Jehoiakim was appears Jeremiah 22:13-15,17. And he went up and down among the lions,.... The kings, as the Targum; kings of neighbouring nations, as Pharaoh king of Egypt, and Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon; and sometimes he was subject to the one, and sometimes to the offer: and his going up and down among them may denote his continuance as a king; for whereas his brother reigned but three months, he reigned eleven years:

he became a young lion; an oppressive prince, a cruel and tyrannical king:

and learned to catch the prey, and devoured men; he was notorious for his acts of injustice and arbitrary power; for the detaining the wages of workmen, and for his oppression, violence, and rapine, and shedding of innocent blood, Jeremiah 22:13.

And he went up and down among the lions, he became a young lion, and learned to catch the prey, and devoured {e} men.

(e) He slew the prophets and them that feared God and ravished their wives.

Turning to good leads to life; turning to evil is followed by death. - Ezekiel 18:21. But if the wicked man turneth from all his sins which he hath committed, and keepeth all my statutes, and doeth right and righteousness, he shall live, and not die. Ezekiel 18:22. All his transgressions which he hath committed, shall not be remembered to him: for the sake of the righteousness which he hath done he will live. Ezekiel 18:23. Have I then pleasure in the death of the wicked? is the saying of Jehovah: and not rather that he turn from his ways, and live? Ezekiel 18:24. But if the righteous man turn from his righteousness, and doeth wickedness, and acteth according to all the abominations which the ungodly man hath done, should he live? All the righteousness that he hath done shall not be remembered: for his unfaithfulness that he hath committed, and for his sin that he hath sinned, for these he shall die. Ezekiel 18:25. And ye say, "The way of the Lord is not right." Hear now, O house of Israel: Is my way not right? Is it not your ways that are not right? Ezekiel 18:26. If a righteous man turneth from his righteousness, and doeth wickedness, and dieth in consequence, he dieth for his wickedness that he hath done. - The proof that every one must bear his sin did not contain an exhaustive reply to the question, in what relation the righteousness of God stood to the sin of men? For the cases supposed in vv. 5-20 took for granted that there was a constant persistence in the course once taken, and overlooked the instances, which are by no means rare, when a man's course of life is entirely changed. It still remained, therefore, to take notice of such cases as these, and they are handled in Ezekiel 18:21-26. The ungodly man, who repents and turns, shall live; and the righteous man, who turns to the way of sin, shall die. "As the righteous man, who was formerly a sinner, is not crushed down by his past sins; so the sinner, who was once a righteous man, is not supported by his early righteousness. Every one will be judged in that state in which he is found" (Jerome). The motive for the pardon of the repenting sinner is given in Ezekiel 18:23, in the declaration that God has no pleasure in the death of the wicked man, but desires his conversion, that he may live. God is therefore not only just, but merciful and gracious, and punishes none with death but those who either will not desist from evil, or will not persevere in the way of His commandments. Consequently the complaint, that the way of the Lord, i.e., His conduct toward men, is not weighed (יתּכן, see comm. on 1 Samuel 2:3), i.e., not just and right, is altogether unfounded, and recoils upon those who make it. It it not God's ways, but the sinner's, that are wrong (Ezekiel 18:25). The proof of this, which Hitzig overlooks, is contained in the declarations made in Ezekiel 18:23 and Ezekiel 18:26, - viz. in the fact that God does not desire the death of the sinner, and in His mercy forgives the penitent all his former sins, and does not lay them to his charge; and also in the fact that He punishes the man who turns from the way of righteousness and gives himself up to wickedness, on account of the sin which he commits; so that He simply judges him according to his deeds. - In Ezekiel 18:24, ועשׂה is the continuation of the infinitive שׁוּב, and וחי is interrogatory, as in Ezekiel 18:13.
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