Ezekiel 20:13
But the house of Israel rebelled against me in the wilderness: they walked not in my statutes, and they despised my judgments, which if a man do, he shall even live in them; and my sabbaths they greatly polluted: then I said, I would pour out my fury on them in the wilderness, to consume them.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(13) Rebelled against me.—See Exodus 32:1-6; Numbers 14:1-4; Numbers 14:16; Numbers 25:1-3; and for the desecration of the Sabbath in particular, Exodus 16:27; Numbers 15:32.

I will pour out my fury.—Comp. Exodus 32:10; Numbers 15:12; and on Ezekiel 20:14 comp. Note on Ezekiel 20:9.

Ezekiel 20:13-17. But the house of Israel — Not a few, but the generality of the people; rebelled against me — Were undutiful, disobedient, contumacious, and even openly and repeatedly rebellious; in the wilderness — Where they were receiving daily and great mercies from me; where they were on their way to Canaan, and were peculiarly dependant upon me for direction in the way, protection from their enemies, and the supply of all their wants; where they most needed my care and favour, and where the preserving their lives from being destroyed by noxious creatures and by famine, in that barren, desolate, and howling desert, required and was a continued miracle. They walked not in my statutes — Given them as the rule of their conduct toward me and one another. And they despised my judgments — Slighted them first as of little excellence, and then refused and cast them off. They who disobey God’s statutes despise them; they show by their disobedience that they have a mean opinion of them, and of him whose statutes they are. And my sabbaths they greatly polluted — That is, profaned, neglecting the duties enjoined to be done on those holy days, and employing them in worldly business, in pursuing sensual gratifications, or in practising secret idolatry and other wickedness. But I wrought, &c. — See on Ezekiel 20:9. Yet I lifted up my hand, &c. — I solemnly swore (see Ezekiel 20:5) they should not enter into that rest I had designed for them. So all the murmuring, disobedient, unbelieving generation was excluded, and their children were brought in. Because they despised, &c. — See on Ezekiel 20:13. For their heart went after their idols — They were still inclined to the idolatries which they had learned in Egypt, to which they added new idols, which they had seen in the countries through which they travelled, namely, the idols of the Midianites, Amorites, &c: see the margin. Nevertheless, mine eye spared them — Though they did highly provoke me, and deserved to be all cut off, I had great patience with them, often reprieved them after sentence of condemnation was passed, and bore with their untoward manners, till a new and better disposed generation arose, to whom I could, consistently with my holiness, fulfil my promises made to their fathers. 20:10-26. The history of Israel in the wilderness is referred to in the new Testament as well as in the Old, for warning. God did great things for them. He gave them the law, and revived the ancient keeping of the sabbath day. Sabbaths are privileges; they are signs of our being his people. If we do the duty of the day, we shall find, to our comfort, it is the Lord that makes us holy, that is, truly happy, here; and prepares us to be happy, that is, perfectly holy, hereafter. The Israelites rebelled, and were left to the judgments they brought upon themselves. God sometimes makes sin to be its own punishment, yet he is not the Author of sin: there needs no more to make men miserable, than to give them up to their own evil desires and passions.My sabbaths they greatly polluted - Not by actual non-observance of the sabbatical rest in the wilderness, but in failing to make the day holy in deed as well as in name by earnest worship and true heart service.13. in the wilderness—They "rebelled" in the very place where death and terror were on every side and where they depended on My miraculous bounty every moment! The house of Israel; not a few, this I might have borne in silence, but most of them; they were, as we are, a rebellious house.

Rebelled against me; provoked me bitterly to indignation by their contumacies, and that frequently, as Exodus 17:7 Numbers 20:24 Deu 1:26,43; a stubborn and rebellious generation, Psalm 78:8, with Ezekiel 20:40.

In the wilderness; where they most needed my care and favour, where the preserving their life from destruction by the noxious creatures, and from famine by the barrenness of the wilderness, was a continued miracle, which required their obedience and dependence.

Walked not in my statutes; made not them the only rule of their religion, and exercise of it, as they should have done, but framed religion to their own or their neighbours’ idolatrous inclinations.

Despised my judgments; slighted first, as of little excellency, refused next, and cast off with disdain and loathing.

Which, the equitable and necessary rules for government of their civil affairs, which were framed to the safety and welfare of a people,

if a man do, he shall even live in them: see Ezekiel 20:11.

Polluted; profained with working what was prohibited, misemploying those days on idols, or on any common ordinary business, as Exodus 16:27 Numbers 15:32 Jeremiah 17:22,23.

Then I said: see Ezekiel 20:8.

To consume them; to cut them off from being a people, as Numbers 16:21. But the house of Israel rebelled against me in the wilderness,.... Where they were wholly at the mercy of God, entirely dependent upon him; and miracles were wrought every day for the sustaining and preservation of, them from famine, wild beasts, and enemies; yet they rebelled against the Lord; provoked him bitterly by their manifold transgressions, their ingratitude, unbelief, and idolatry; and this not a few of them only, but the whole body of the people, the house of Israel, the whole family, and that for the space of forty years, Psalm 95:9;

they walked not in my statutes; did not make them the rule of their walk and conversation, and steer the course of their lives and actions by them, as they ought to have done:

and they despised my judgments; as not worthy their notice and regard, as useless and unprofitable; nay, had an aversion to them, and a loathing of them, as the word (h) signifies; such is the corrupt and wicked heart of man; it is enmity against God and his law, and all that is good:

which if a man do, he shall even live in them; See Gill on Ezekiel 20:11;

and my sabbaths they greatly polluted; or "profaned", or "made them common" (i); that is, with other days; by going out for manna on them; by gathering sticks upon them; by doing their own work, speaking their own words, and seeking their own pleasure, and worshipping false deities:

then I said, I would pour out, my fury upon them in the wilderness to consume them; that they should not enter into the land of Canaan; as the generation that came out of Egypt were consumed in the wilderness, excepting two; as the Lord threatened, Numbers 14:35.

(h) "abjeoerunt", Pagninus; "reprobaverunt", Montanus. (i) "prophanarunt", Vatablus, Piscator, Cocceius.

But the house of Israel rebelled against me in the wilderness: they walked not in my statutes, and they despised my judgments, which if a man do, he shall even live in them; and my sabbaths they greatly polluted: then I said, I would pour out my fury upon them in the wilderness, to consume them.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
13. Provocation of the people in the wilderness. They rejected the statutes of Jehovah and “polluted,” better: profaned, his sabbaths, i.e. failed to dedicate and keep them to Jehovah. The profanation is to be taken in a wider sense than the special instances of neglect, Exodus 16:27; Numbers 15:32. This profanation of the Sabbath was oblivion of the covenant, cf. Amos 8:5.

pour out my fury] Cf. Exodus 32:10 seq.; Numbers 14:11-12; Numbers 14:29.Verse 13. - It is hardly necessary to count up the several instances of rebellion, from the sin of the golden calf onward. Of direct violation of the sabbath we have but two recorded instances (Exodus 16:27; Numbers 15:32); but the prophet looked below the surface, and would count a mere formal observance, that did not sanctify the sabbath, as a pollution of the holy day. (For parallel teaching in the prophets, see Isaiah 56:2-4; Isaiah 58:13; Jeremiah 17:21-27; and later on in the history, probably as the result of their teaching, Nehemiah 10:31-33; Nehemiah 13:15-22.) Then I said. The history of Numbers 14:26 and Numbers 26:65 was probably in Ezekiel's thoughts. Destruction of the Kingdom, and Banishment of the People

Ezekiel 19:10. Thy mother was like a vine, planted by the water in thy repose; it became a fruitful and rich in tendrils from many waters. Ezekiel 19:11. And it had strong shoots for rulers' sceptres; and its growth ascended among the clouds, and was visible in its height in the multitude of its branches. Ezekiel 19:12. Then it was torn up in fury, cast to the ground, and the east wind dried up its fruit; its strong shoots were broken off, and withered; fire devoured them. Ezekiel 19:13. And now it is planted in the desert, in a dry and thirsty land. Ezekiel 19:14. There goeth out fire from the shoot of its branches, devoureth its fruit, so that there is no more a strong shoot upon it, a sceptre for ruling. - A lamentation it is, and it will be for lamentation. - From the lamentable fate of the princes transported to Egypt and Babylon, the ode passes to a description of the fate, which the lion-like rapacity of the princes is preparing for the kingdom and people. Israel resembled a vine planted by the water. The difficult word בּדמך we agree with Hvernick and Kliefoth in tracing to the verb דּמה, to rest (Jeremiah 14:17), and regard it as synonymous with בּדמי in Isaiah 38:10 : "in thy repose," i.e., in the time of peaceful, undisturbed prosperity. For neither of the other renderings, "in thy blood" and "in thy likeness," yields a suitable meaning. The latter explanation, which originated with Raschi and Kimchi, is precluded by the fact that Ezekiel always uses the word דּמוּת to express the idea of resemblance. - For the figure of the vine, compare Psalm 80:9. This vine sent out strong shoots for rulers' sceptres; that is to say, it brought forth powerful kings, and grew up to a great height, even into the clouds. עבתים signifies "cloud," lit., thicket of clouds, not only here, but in Ezekiel 31:3, Ezekiel 31:10,Ezekiel 31:14. The rendering "branches" or "thicket of foliage" is not suitable in any of these passages. The form of the word is not to be taken as that of a new plural of עבות, the plural of עב, which occurs in 2 Samuel 23:4 and Psalm 77:18; but is the plural of עבות, an interlacing or thicket of foliage, and is simply transferred to the interlacing or piling up of the clouds. The clause 'ויּרא וגו, and it appeared, was seen, or became visible, simply serves to depict still further the glorious and vigorous growth, and needs no such alteration as Hitzig proposes. This picture is followed in Ezekiel 19:12., without any particle of transition, by a description of the destruction of this vine. It was torn up in fury by the wrath of God, cast down to the ground, so that its fruit withered (compare the similar figures in Ezekiel 17:10). מטּה עזּהּ is used collectively, as equivalent to מטּות עז (Ezekiel 19:11); and the suffix in אכלתהוּ is written in the singular on account of this collective use of מטּה. The uprooting ends in the transplanting of the vine into a waste, dry, unwatered land, - in other words, in the transplanting of the people, Israel, into exile. The dry land is Babylon, so described as being a barren soil in which the kingdom of God could not flourish. According to Ezekiel 19:14, this catastrophe is occasioned by the princes. The fire, which devours the fruit of the vine so that it cannot send out any more branches, emanates ממּטּה בדּיה, from the shoot of its branches, i.e., from its branches, which are so prolific in shoots. מטּה is the shoot which grew into rulers' sceptres, i.e., the royal family of the nation. The reference is to Zedekiah, whose treacherous breach of covenant (Ezekiel 17:15) led to the overthrow of the kingdom and of the earthly monarchy. The picture from Ezekiel 19:12 onwards is prophetic. The tearing up of the vine, and its transplantation into a dry land, had already commenced with the carrying away of Jeconiah; but it was not completed till the destruction of Jerusalem and the carrying away of Zedekiah, which were still in the future at the time when these words were uttered. - The clause 'קינה היא does not contain a concluding historical notice, as Hהvernick supposes, but simply the finale of the lamentation, indicating the credibility of the prediction which it contains. ותּהי is prophetic, like the perfects from ותּתּשׁ in Ezekiel 19:12 onwards; and the meaning is this: A lamentation forms the substance of the whole chapter; and it will lead to lamentation, when it is fulfilled.

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