Therefore, son of man, speak to the house of Israel, and say to them, Thus said the Lord GOD; Yet in this your fathers have blasphemed me, in that they have committed a trespass against me.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Your fathers have blasphemed me.—The fourth period of Israelitish history, though actually far the longest, is very briefly passed over (Ezekiel 20:27-29). It includes the whole period of the settlement in Canaan, from the conquest to the prophet’s own time, and was marked by the same characteristics as before. The particular way here specified by which they blasphemed was by the erection of idolatrous altars on every high place.Ezekiel 20:27-29. Therefore, son of man, speak, &c. — Here the prophet proceeds with the story of their rebellions for their further humiliation, and shows that they persisted in them after they were settled in the land of Canaan. Thus saith the Lord, Yet in this, &c. — Or, Moreover in this, your fathers have blasphemed me — Have dishonoured me in acting contrary to my commandments. For when I had brought them into the land, &c. — As soon as they were settled in the land promised to Abraham and his seed; then they saw every high hill, &c. — When they saw the high hills and shady groves, they made choice of them as proper places whereon to erect altars for the worship of idols. The Jews were wont to offer sacrifices upon mountains or high places to the true God before the temple was built, 1 Kings 3:2; 1 Kings 3:5. And this custom was afterward, permitted by godly kings, who were zealous in putting down all sorts of idolatry, 1 Kings 15:14; and 1 Kings 22:43; 2 Chronicles 33:17. But by degrees those places became appropriated to idolatrous worship, and upon that score are severely condemned. There they presented the provocation of their offering — There they presented the offerings whereby they provoked me. This, being distinguished from their sacrifices already mentioned, is to be understood of their meat-offerings, of which see the note on Leviticus 2:1. These were especially styled offerings of a sweet savour. Then I said, What is the high place whereunto ye go? — What mean you that you go to the high place? What do you find so inviting there, that you will leave my altar, where I require your attendance, to frequent such places as I have forbidden you to worship in, and which I will avenge? And the name thereof is called Bamah — That is, the high place; unto this day — “Notwithstanding my reproof, the name continues, and the practice, unto this day.” So Bishop Newcome, who adds, “It may be doubted whether the last six (Hebrew words) of this verse have not been taken into the text from the margin, where they anciently stood as a note.” “All the old versions have this verse, which yet seems out of its place here. If the verse should stand, it relates to something not to be explained now.” — Secker.
Yet in this—Not content with past rebellions, and not moved with gratitude for God's goodness, "yet in this," still further they rebelled.
blasphemed—"have insulted me" [Calvin]. Even those who did not sacrifice to heathen gods have offered "their sacrifices" (Eze 20:28) in forbidden places.
Unto the house of Israel; to those elders that were now come to him, that they might tell others at Jerusalem.
Yet; or further yet, beside all the rest, this is added by them.
Blasphemed me; profanely and frowardly lessened my mercy, my law, my worship, cast a reproach upon it all, as less desirable than that of their own; theirs more august and stately, more taking and pleasing: or thus reproached my wisdom, as if it needed their additions to complete religion and Divine worship; or reproached my bounty, as if not I, but their idols, gave them what they enjoyed, as Hosea 2:5,7,8: the word speaks a reproach and blasphemy that comes from a heart full of enmity, as where it is used, Numbers 15:30 2 Kings 19:22 Psalm 44:16 Isaiah 37:23 43:28; they spitefully reproached.
Committed a trespass against me; grievously sinned, as the phrase is rendered, Ezekiel 14:13: what this was in particular the next verse will account to us. Ezekiel 20:1; who came in the name of the whole body, and represented them, and by whom the following message is sent unto them; or the prophet by them might speak unto them, as he is ordered:
thus saith the Lord God, yet in this your fathers have blasphemed me; besides what they did in Egypt, and in the wilderness, when they were come into the land of Canaan, such was their ingratitude, that to all the rest they added this wickedness, to sacrifice to other gods on every high hill, and in all thick trees; which was a blaspheming the name of God, and casting reproach upon him:
in that they have committed a trespass against me; idolatry is meant, described in Ezekiel 20:28; and which they committed, not through ignorance and weakness, but voluntarily, against light and knowledge; and obstinately, notwithstanding all the remonstrances made unto them, and cautions, exhortations, and reproofs given them.Therefore, son of man, speak unto the house of Israel, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Yet in this your fathers have blasphemed me, in that they have committed a trespass against me.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)27. Yet in this] i.e. the following act, Ezekiel 20:28, cf. Ezekiel 23:38.
have blasphemed] Past tense: blasphemed … they committed. The blasphemy is not in words, but in high-handed disregard of his commands, Numbers 15:30.
27–29. The people on their entry and in their abode in Canaan.
Ezekiel 20:10. And I led them out of the land of Egypt, and brought them into the desert; Ezekiel 20:11. And gave them my statutes, and my rights I made known to them, which man is to do that he may live through them. Ezekiel 20:12. I also gave them my Sabbaths, that they might be for a sign between me and them, that they might now that I Jehovah sanctify them. Ezekiel 20:13. But the house of Israel was rebellious against me in the desert: they did not walk in my statutes, and my rights they rejected, which man is to do, that he may live through them, and my Sabbaths they greatly profaned: Then I thought to pour out my wrath upon them in the desert to destroy them. Ezekiel 20:14. But I did it for my name's sake, that it might not be profaned before the eyes of the nations, before whose eyes I had led them out. Ezekiel 20:15. I also lifted my hand to them in the desert, not to bring them into the land which I had given (them), which floweth with milk and honey; it is an ornament of all lands, Ezekiel 20:16. Because they rejected my rights, did not walk in my statutes, and profaned my Sabbaths, for their heart went after their idols. Ezekiel 20:17. But my eye looked with pity upon them, so that I did not destroy them, and make an end of them in the desert. - God gave laws at Sinai to the people whom He had brought out of Egypt, through which they were to be sanctified as His own people, that they might live before God. On Ezekiel 20:11 compare Deuteronomy 30:16 and Deuteronomy 30:19. Ezekiel 20:12 is taken almost word for word from Exodus 31:13, where God concludes the directions for His worship by urging upon the people in the most solemn manner the observance of His Sabbaths, and thereby pronounces the keeping of the Sabbath the kernel of all divine worship. And as in that passage we are to understand by the Sabbaths the actual weekly Sabbaths, and not the institutions of worship as a whole, so here we must retain the literal signification of the word. It is only of the Sabbath recurring every week, and not of all the fasts, that it could be said it was a sign between Jehovah and Israel. It was a sign, not as a token, that they who observed it were Israelites, as Hitzig supposes, but to know (that they might know) that Jehovah was sanctifying them, namely, by the Sabbath rest - as a refreshing and elevation of the mind, in which Israel was to have a foretaste of that blessed resting from all works to which the people of God was ultimately to attain (see the comm. on Exodus 20:11). It is from this deeper signification of the Sabbath that the prominence given to the Sabbaths here is to be explained, and not from the outward circumstance that in exile, when the sacrificial worship was necessarily suspended, the keeping of the Sabbath as the only bond which united the Israelites, so far as the worship of God was concerned (Hitzig). Historical examples of the rebellion of Israel against the commandments of God in the desert are given in ex. EZechariah 32:1-6 and Numbers 25:1-3; and of the desecration of the Sabbath, in ex. EZechariah 16:27 and Numbers 15:32. For the threat referred to in Ezekiel 20:13, compare Exodus 32:10; Numbers 14:11-12. - Ezekiel 20:15 and Ezekiel 20:16 are not a repetition of Ezekiel 20:13 (Hitzig); nor do they introduce a limitation of Ezekiel 20:14 (Kliefoth). They simply relate what else God did to put bounds to the rebellion after He had revoked the decree to cut Israel off, at the intercession of Moses (Numbers 14:11-19). He lifted His hand to the oath (Numbers 14:21.), that the generation which had come out of Egypt should not come into the land of Canaan, but should die in the wilderness. Therewith He looked with pity upon the people, so that He did not make an end of them by following up the threat with a promise that the children should enter the land. עשׂה כלה, as in Ezekiel 11:13.
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