Ezekiel 19:8
Then the nations set against him on every side from the provinces, and spread their net over him: he was taken in their pit.
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(8) The nations.—As in Ezekiel 19:4, for one nation: in that case Egypt, in this Babylon. The plural is naturally used, as several nations were concerned in the whole history, of which single particulars only are here mentioned.

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.The nations - are here the Chaldaeans: see the marginal references. 8. the nations—the Chaldeans, Syrians, Moab, and Ammon (2Ki 24:2). The nations which were feudatory to Nebuchadnezzar, and were bound to assist him in his wars.

Set against him; by order of the king of Babylon gathered together to hunt this lion, to make war on this revolting king.

On every side; surrounded him that he might not escape.

The provinces which belonged to the Babylonish kingdom, and were governed by presidents, or petty kings, vassals to Nebuchadnezzar.

Spread their net over him; soon got him into their toils, as huntsmen get a lion, or other wild beast, into their net.

He was taken in their pit: see Ezekiel 19:4. Then the nations set against him,.... Or, "gave against him" (y); that is, their voice, as Kimchi; they called to one another, to gather together against him; they gave their counsel against him; they, joined together, agreed, and combined against him, and disposed their armies, and set them in array against him:

on every side from the provinces; Nebuchadnezzar and his auxiliaries, which consisted of the people of the provinces all around, who were brought together, and placed round about Jerusalem, at the siege of it; particularly the bands of the Chaldeans, Syrians, Moabites, and Ammonites, 2 Kings 24:1;

and spread their net over him; which may be expressive both of the policy, crafty and secret contrivances and designs, of Jehoiakim's enemies; and of their external force and hostile power against him:

he was taken in their pit; which they dug for him, or by the means which they contrived for his ruin, and which they put in execution and effected: the metaphor of a lion is carried on, and the manner of taking one is alluded to, which is commonly in pits, as Pliny (z) says; and the Arabs now dig a pit where lions are observed to enter, and covering it over slightly with reeds, of small branches of trees, they frequently decoy and catch them (a).

(y) "et ediderunt vocem"; Vatablus. (z) "Capere eos ardui erat quondam operis, foveisque maxime". Plin. Nat. Hist. l. 8. c. 16. (a) Dr. Shaw's Travels, p. 172. Ed. 2.

Then the {f} nations set against him on every side from the provinces, and spread their net over him: he was taken in their pit.

(f) Nebuchadnezzar with his great army which was gathered from various nations.

The vindication of the ways of God might have formed a fitting close to this divine oracle. But as the prophet was not merely concerned with the correction of the error contained in the proverb which was current among the people, but still more with the rescue of the people themselves from destruction, he follows up the refutation with another earnest call to repentance. - Ezekiel 18:27. If a wicked man turneth from his wickedness which he hath done, and doeth right and righteousness, he will keep his soul alive. Ezekiel 18:28. If he seeth and turneth from all his transgressions which he hath committed, he shall live and not die. Ezekiel 18:29. And the house of Israel saith, The way of the Lord is not right. Are may ways not right, O house of Israel? Is it not rather your ways that are not right? Ezekiel 18:30. Therefore, every one according to his ways, will I judge you, O house of Israel, is the saying of the Lord Jehovah. Turn and repent of all your transgressions, that it may not become to you a stumbling-block to guilt. Ezekiel 18:31. Cast from you all your transgressions which ye have committed, and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! And why will ye die, O house of Israel? Ezekiel 18:32. For I have no pleasure in the death of the dying, is the saying of the Lord Jehovah. Therefore repent, that ye may live. - For the purpose of securing an entrance into their hearts for the call to repentance, the prophet not only repeats, in Ezekiel 18:27 and Ezekiel 18:28, the truth declared in Ezekiel 18:21 and Ezekiel 18:22, that he who turns from his sin finds life, but refutes once more in Ezekiel 18:29, as he has already done in Ezekiel 18:25, the charge that God's ways are not right. The fact that the singular יתּכן is connected with the plural דּרכיכם, does not warrant our altering the plural into דּרכּכם, but may be explained in a very simple manner, by assuming that the ways of the people are all summed up in one, and that the meaning is this: what you say of my way applies to your own ways, - namely, "it is not right; there is just measure therein." לכן, "therefore, etc.;" because my way, and not yours, is right, I will judge you, every one according to his way. Repent, therefore, if ye would escape from death and destruction. שׁוּבוּ is rendered more emphatic by השׁיבוּ, sc. פניכם, as in Ezekiel 14:6. In the last clause of Ezekiel 18:30, עון is not to be taken as the subject of the sentence according to the accents, but is a genitive dependent upon מכשׁול, as in Ezekiel 7:19 and Ezekiel 14:3; and the subject is to be found in the preceding clause: that it (the sinning) may not become to you a stumbling-block of iniquity, i.e., a stumbling-block through which ye fall into guilt and punishment. - The appeal in Ezekiel 18:31 points back to the promise in Ezekiel 11:18-19. השׁליך, to cast away. The application of this word to transgressions may be explained from the fact that they consisted for the most part of idols and idolatrous images, which they had made. - "Make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit:" a man cannot, indeed, create either of these by his own power; God alone can give them (Ezekiel 11:19). But a man both can and should come to God to receive them: in other words, he can turn to God, and let both heart and spirit be renewed by the Spirit of God. And this God is willing to do; for He has no pleasure בּמות המת, in the death of the dying one. In the repetition of the assurance given in Ezekiel 18:23, המּת is very appropriately substituted for רשׁע, to indicate to the people that while in sin they are lying in death, and that it is only by conversion and renewal that they can recover life again.
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