Ezekiel 20:30
Wherefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Are ye polluted after the manner of your fathers? and commit ye whoredom after their abominations?
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(30) Are ye polluted?—This and the two following verses constitute the fifth and concluding portion of this historical review, and relate to the then existing generation. The questions asked answer themselves, and yet in the following verse are answered for the sake of emphasis. They bring home to Ezekiel’s own contemporaries the sins which had characterised their race through nearly all the ages of their history, and show the justice of those long-threatened judgments which were now bursting upon them.

Ezekiel 20:30-32. Say unto the house of Israel — To the elders now sitting before thee, and through them to the rest of their brethren; Are ye polluted after the manner of your fathers — After all that God hath said to and against you by a succession of prophets, and done against you by a series of judgments, yet will you take no warning? Will you still be as wicked as your fathers were, and commit the same abominations that they committed? Some prefer rendering the words, Are ye not polluted, and do ye not commit whoredom, &c.? Do ye not walk in your fathers’ sins and idolatries, notwithstanding all the warnings I have given you, and the severe instances of my displeasure against their practices, which ought to have terrified you from following their bad example? For when ye offer your gifts, &c., ye pollute yourselves — You render yourselves filthy and abominable in my sight. And shall I be inquired of by you — Are you fit to come and ask counsel of me, whom you have so shamefully and so obstinately forsaken and reproached? I will not be inquired of by you — I will answer you as little as you regard me. And that which cometh into your mind shall not be at all — Shall be quite frustrated. God, to convince them, here tells them what was in their thoughts, and what they had purposed. We find by the Scripture history, that the Jews had all along a fond desire of worshipping the gods of their neighbours, and could not bear that imputation of singularity, which their peculiar way of worship exposed them to. They thought also by this means to live more quietly among the heathen whither they were led captive. God tells them here that he would prevent this purpose of theirs from taking effect. And we find, from the very time of their return from the Babylonish captivity, they have been very cautious of committing idolatry, and scrupulous of making the least approaches to it. — Lowth.

20:27-32 The Jews persisted in rebellion after they settled in the land of Canaan. And these elders seem to have thought of uniting with the heathen. We make nothing by our profession if it be but a profession. There is nothing got by sinful compliances; and the carnal projects of hypocrites will stand them in no stead.The present state of the people. Those who came to inquire were the representatives of the whole people though belonging to the exiles. 30. The interrogation implies a strong affirmation, as in Eze 20:4, "Are ye not polluted … ? Do ye not commit?" &c. Or, connecting this verse with Eze 20:31, "Are ye thus polluted … and yet (do ye expect that) I shall be inquired of by you?" The house of Israel; those elders that were come to him, as Ezekiel 20:1, which see. They come to make inquiry, and now the prophet inquires of them, that their own conscience might make answer, and tell them what to expect: Your fathers, where are they? What became of some, that bore their iniquity? And what had become of the rest, if God had not withdrawn his hand? And all this hath been no warning to you, but, as they, so you, have polluted yourselves, and been idolaters.

Wherefore say unto the house of Israel, thus saith the Lord God,.... To the elders, as before:

are ye polluted after the manner of your fathers? they were:

and commit ye whoredoms after their abominations? spiritual adultery; that is, idolatry, in the same abominable manner? they did, as appears by what follows:

Wherefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Are ye polluted after the manner of your fathers? and commit ye whoredom after their abominations?
30. Are ye polluted] do ye pollute yourselves?

30, 31. The Lord will not give himself to be enquired of by such men. What they desire to know about others or themselves they shall be left in ignorance of; but he has something to tell them regarding himself.

30–44. Jehovah’s regard to his own name will fashion the history of the people to come as it has fashioned the past

Having reviewed the past and shewn the elders their own picture in the doings of their fathers, and how the thing which has fashioned the history in the past has been Jehovah’s regard for his own name, the prophet now comes to read to them the history of the future as the same regard of Jehovah to his name will model it.

First, Ezekiel 20:30-34. The Lord will not give any answer to such enquirers who follow the ways of their fathers. But they may be assured that their resolution to assimilate themselves to the heathen and become like them worshippers of wood and stone shall not be permitted to have effect. Jehovah will assert his sovereignty over them, and will disentangle them out from among the heathen as he gathered their fathers from among the Egyptians.

Secondly, Ezekiel 20:35-40. He will bring them out from the nations into the wilderness of the peoples, as he brought their fathers into the wilderness of Egypt, and will plead with them anew as he pleaded with their fathers in days long ago—and with the same result that the rebels among them shall fall in the wilderness, but the remnant shall again in the mountain height of Israel serve the Lord, who will accept them.

Thirdly, Ezekiel 20:41-44. And from this restoration these things shall follow: 1. Jehovah shall be sanctified, seen to be God and acknowledged by the nations (Ezekiel 20:41). 2. Israel shall know what Jehovah is, when he fulfils his ancient promise to the fathers to give them this land (Ezekiel 20:42). 3. They shall then lay to heart their past doings and lothe themselves (Ezekiel 20:43). And 4. they shall see that not according to their evil has Jehovah dealt with them all through their history and in their restoration, but has wrought for his name’s sake (Ezekiel 20:44).

Verse 30. - Say ye unto the house of Israel, etc. The words are addressed primarily to the elders who had come to consult the prophet (ver. 1), but through them to all their contemporaries and fellow countrymen. They still in heart and even in deed (comp. Isaiah 57:4-6, 11, and Isaiah 65:3, as showing the habits of the exiles) clung to the old idolatries. The question for them was whether they would continue to walk in the ways of their fathers. If so, it was true of them, as of the elders, that the Lent to whom they came would not be inquired of by them. Ezekiel 20:30Israel committed these sins in Canaan also, and to this day has not given them up; therefore God will not allow the idolatrous generation to inquire of Him. - Ezekiel 20:27. Therefore speak to the house of Israel, O son of man, and say to them, Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, Still further have your fathers blasphemed me in this, with the faithlessness which they have shown toward me. Ezekiel 20:28. When I had brought them into the land, which I had lifted my hand to give them, then they looked out every high hill and every thickly covered tree, and offered their sacrifices there, and gave their irritating gifts there, and presented the fragrance of their pleasant odour there, and poured out their drink-offerings there. Ezekiel 20:29. And I said to them, What height is that to which ye go? And its name is called Height to this day. Ezekiel 20:30. Therefore say to the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, What? Do ye defile yourselves in the way of your fathers; and go whoring after their abominations; Ezekiel 20:31. And defile yourselves in all your idols to this day, by lifting up your gifts, and causing your sons to pass through the fire; and should I let myself be inquired of by you? As I live, is the saying of the Lord Jehovah, I will not let myself be inquired of by you. - The לכן in Ezekiel 20:27 is resumed in Ezekiel 20:30; and there the answer given by God to the elders, who had come to inquire of Him, is first communicated, after an express declaration of the fact that Israel had continued its idolatry in the most daring manner, even after its entrance into Canaan. But the form in which this is done - עוד זאת, "still further in this" - is to be understood as intimating that the conduct of the fathers of the existing generation, and therefore not merely of those who grew up in the wilderness, but also of those who had lived in Canaan, has already been described in general terms in the preceding verses, and that what follows simply adds another novel feature. But this can only be the case if Ezekiel 20:23-26 are taken in the sense given above. זאת is an accusative; and גּדּף is construed with the accusative both of the person and thing. The more precise definition of זאת is not given in בּמעלם בּי ni nev at the end of the verse, but in the idolatry depicted in Ezekiel 20:28. מעל refers to the faithlessness involved in the breach of the covenant and in idolatry. This is the general description; whilst the idolatry mentioned in Ezekiel 20:28 constituted one particular feature, in which the faithlessness appeared in the form of blasphemy. For the fact itself, namely, the worship on high places, which was practised on every hand, see Ezekiel 6:13; Ezekiel 16:24-25; 1 Kings 14:23; 2 Kings 17:10.

In the enumeration of the offerings, there is something striking in the position in which כּעס קרבּנם stands, namely, between the slaughtered sacrifices (זבחים) and the increase- and drink-offerings; and this is no doubt the reason why the clause 'ויּתּנוּ שׁם וגו is omitted from the Cod. Vat. and Alex. of the lxx; and even Hitzig proposes to strike it out. But Theodoret found this reading in the Alex. Version; and Hitzig is wrong in affirming that קרבּן is used in connection with sacrifices, meat-offerings, and drink-offerings. The meat-offerings are not expressly named, for ריה ניחוח does not signify meat-offerings, but is used in the law for the odour of all the offerings, both slaughtered sacrifices and meat-offerings, even though in Ezekiel 16:19 it is applied to the odour of the bloodless offerings alone. And in the same way does קרבּן embrace all the offerings, even the slain offerings, in Ezekiel 40:43, in harmony with Leviticus 1:2; Leviticus 2:1, and other passages. That it is used in this general signification here, is evident from the introduction of the word כּעס, irritation or provocation of their gifts, i.e., their gifts which provoked irritation on the part of God, because they were offered to idols. As this sentence applies to all the sacrifices (bloody and bloodless), so also does the clause which follows, 'ויּשׂימוּ שׁם וגו, refer to all the offerings which were burned upon the altar, without regard to the material employed. Consequently Ezekiel mentions only slain offerings and drink-offerings, and, by the two clauses inserted between, describes the offering of the slaughtered sacrifices as a gift of irritation to God, and of pleasant fragrance to the idolatrous worshippers who presented them. He does not mention the meat-offerings separately, because they generally formed an accompaniment to the slain offerings, and therefore were included in these. But although God had called the people to account for this worship on high places, they had not relinquished it even "to this day." This is no doubt the meaning of. Ezekiel 20:29, which has been interpreted in very different ways. The context shows, in the most conclusive manner, that הבּמה is to be taken collectively, and that the use of the singular is to be explained from the antithesis to the one divinely appointed Holy Place in the temple, and not, as Kimchi and Hvernick suppose, from any allusion to one particular bâmâh of peculiar distinction, viz., "the great high place at Gibeon." The question מה is not expressive of contempt (Hitzig), but "is founded upon the assumption that they would have to give an account of their doings; and merely asks, What kind of heights are those to which you are going? Who has directed you to go thither with your worship?" (Kliefoth). There is no need to refute the trivial fancy of J. D. Michaelis, which has been repeated by Hitzig, namely, that Ezekiel has taken בּמה as a derivative from בא and מה. Again, the question does not presuppose a word addressed by God to Israel, which Ezekiel only has handed down to us; but is simply a rhetorical mode of presenting the condemnation by God of the worship of the high places, to which both the law and the earlier prophets had given utterance. The next clause, "and their name was called Height" (high place), is not to be regarded as containing merely a historical notice of the name given to these idolatrous places of worship; but the giving of the name is a proof of the continued existence of the thing; so that the words affirm, that notwithstanding the condemnation on the part of God, Israel had retained these high places, - had not abolished them to this day. - Ezekiel 20:30 and Ezekiel 20:31 facilitate the transition from the first part of this word of God to the second. What has already been said in vv. 5-29 concerning the idolatry of the people, from the time of its election onwards, is here expressly applied to the existing generation, and carries with it the declaration to them, that inasmuch as they are defiling themselves by idolatry, as their fathers did, Jehovah cannot permit Himself to be inquired of by them. The thought is couched in the form of a question, to express astonishment that those who denied the Lord, and dishonoured Him by their idolatry, should nevertheless imagine that they could obtain revelations from Him. The lifting up (שׂאת, from נשׂא) of gifts signifies the offering of sacrifices upon the altars of the high places. For Ezekiel 20:31, compare Ezekiel 20:3. - With this declaration God assigns the reason for the refusal to listen to idolaters, which had already been given in Ezekiel 20:3. But it does not rest with this refusal. God now proceeds to disclose to them the thoughts of their own hearts, and announces to them that He will refine them by severe judgments, and bring them thereby to repentance of their sins, that He may then gather them out of the dispersion, and make them partakers of the promised salvation as a people willingly serving Him. - In this way do Ezekiel 20:32-44 cast a prophetic glance over the whole of the future history of Israel.

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