Ezekiel 20:39
As for you, O house of Israel, thus saith the Lord GOD; Go ye, serve ye every one his idols, and hereafter also, if ye will not hearken unto me: but pollute ye my holy name no more with your gifts, and with your idols.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(39) Go ye, serve ye every one his idols.—Comp. Joshua 24:15. If, after the warning given, ye still refuse obedience, then the Lord gives you up to your fate; “go, serve your idols.” Such should be the terrible end of the persistently rebellious part of the nation, as with the obdurate sinner of all ages, they will be given up to the punishment—than which nothing can be imagined more fearful—of being allowed to follow to the end the ways of their own choice.

Ezekiel 20:39. As for you, O house of Israel, go ye, serve, &c. — Go at present, and serve your idols; persist in your idolatries, agreeably to the stubbornness of your hearts. An indignant concession. And hereafter also, if ye will not hearken unto me — And continue to do so if you are resolved not to do according to my commandments, or to worship me as I have appointed. But pollute ye my holy name no more, &c. — While you are such idolaters, forbear to take my name into your lips. In other words, While you offer your gifts, and immolate your children to idols, do not call yourselves any longer my servants, nor pretend to pay your devotions in my temple, and thereby bring a reproach upon my name and worship.

20:33-44 The wicked Israelites, notwithstanding they follow the sinful ways of other nations, shall not mingle with them in their prosperity, but shall be separated from them for destruction. There is no shaking off God's dominion; and those who will not yield to the power of his grace, shall sink under the power of his wrath. But not one of God's jewels shall be lost in the lumber of this world. He will bring the jews to the land of Israel again; and will give them true repentance. They will be overcome with his kindness: the more we know of God's holiness, the more we see the hateful nature of sin. Those who remain unaffected amidst means of grace, and would live without Christ, like the world around them, may be sure it is the way to destruction.Strong irony. Some prefer another rendering: "Go ye, serve ye every one his idols, yet hereafter ye shall surely hearken unto me, and shall no more pollute My Holy Name etc." In this way, this verse is introductory to what follows.39. Equivalent to, "I would rather have you open idolaters than hypocrites, fancying you can worship Me and yet at the same time serve idols" (Am 5:21, 22, 25, 26; compare 1Ki 18:21; 2Ki 17:41; Mt 6:24; Re 3:15, 16).

Go ye, serve—This is not a command to serve idols, but a judicial declaration of God's giving up of the half-idol, half-Jehovah worshippers to utter idolatry, if they will not serve Jehovah alone (Ps 81:12; Re 22:11).

hereafter also—God anticipates the same apostasy afterwards, as now.

In short, you have done wickedly as you could, and I have done what was sufficient to reclaim you, I have foretold you what will be the final event, O house of Israel, and further I will not strive with you.

Go ye; ironically spoken, or, as is usually said to unreclaimable ones, Take your course, which allows not, nor commands, but threatens the evil course of such a one; or it is a divorce of this adulterous house, an utter casting them off for their idolatry.

Hereafter also: it seems an abrupt, vehement speech, which includes some heavy sentence, but it is suppressed, as too great to be uttered, or to leave room for doing more than the offender expected, Ecclesiastes 11:9 Amos 4:4 Matthew 23:23. You take yours, I will take my course, and see whose word shall stand. But while ye are such idolaters and notorious sinners, forbear to take my name into your lips, bring me none of your gifts and sacrifices to your idols, and pretend you bring them ultimately to me.

As for you, O house of Israel,.... The then present house of Israel, and the elders of it, who were upon the spot with the prophet:

go ye, serve ye everyone his idols; or dunghill gods; since they liked not to serve the true God: this is not giving them leave to serve idols, or approving their idolatrous practices; but is said "ironically", as Kimchi and Ben Melech observe, who compare it with Ecclesiastes 11:9,

and hereafter also, if ye will not hearken unto me; not only serve them now, but for the future; seeing ye choose not to hearken to my voice, to obey my laws, and to worship me, and me only; for it suggests, that it was better to attend to the service of the one, or of the other, and not halt between two opinions; but either, if the God of Israel was the true God, then serve him, and him only; but if Baal, or any other Heathen deity, was so, then serve them, and keep serving them:

but pollute ye my holy name no more with your gifts and with your idols; to worship him along with them, and them along with him; to pretend they worshipped him in them, and offered their gifts and sacrifices to him through them; and so made use of his name as a cover to their idolatrous practices: this was a polluting his name, and was abominable to him.

As for you, O house of Israel, thus saith the Lord GOD; {t} Go ye, serve ye every one his idols, and after this also, if ye will not hearken to me: but profane ye my holy name no more with your gifts, and with your idols.

(t) This is spoken to the hypocrites.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
39. The present text must read: Go, serve ye every one his idols; but hereafter surely ye shall hearken unto me, and no more profane my holy name with your gifts (cf. Ezekiel 20:26), cf. Ezekiel 23:38-39. The ironical advice or concession refers to Ezekiel 20:32-33, cf. Amos 4:4.

Verse 39. - Go ye, serve every man his idols, etc. The command comes as with a grave irony. "Be at least consistent. Sin on, if it is your will to sin; but do not make the sin worse by the hypocrisy of an unreal worship, and mix up the name of Jehovah with the ritual of Moloch" (comp. Joshua 24:19, 20). The margin of the Revised Version, with not a few critics (Keil), gives, "but hereafter surely ye shall hearken unto me" ("if not" equivalent to "ye shall," as in the familiar idiom of Psalm 95:11, where "if" is equivalent to "shall not"). So taken, the verse looks forward to what follows. Ezekiel 20:39The Ultimate Gathering of Israel, and Its Conversion to the Lord

Ezekiel 20:39. Ye then, O house of Israel, thus saith the Lord Jehovah, Go ye, serve every one his idols! but afterwards - truly ye will hearken to me, and no longer desecrate my holy name with your sacrificial gifts and your idols, Ezekiel 20:40. But upon my holy mountain, upon the high mountain of Israel, is the saying of the Lord Jehovah, there will all the house of Israel serve me, the whole of it in the land; there will I accept them gladly; there will I ask for your heave-offerings and the first-fruits of your gifts in all that ye make holy. Ezekiel 20:41. As a pleasant odour will I accept you gladly, when I bring you out from the nations, and gather you out of the lands, in which you have been scattered, and sanctify myself in you before the eyes of the heathen nations. Ezekiel 20:42. And ye shall know that I am Jehovah, when I bring you into the land of Israel, into the land which I lifted up my hand to give to your fathers; Ezekiel 20:43. And there ye will think of your ways and your deeds, with which ye have defiled yourselves, and will loathe yourselves (lit., experience loathing before yourselves) on account of all your evil deeds. which ye have performed; Ezekiel 20:44. And ye will know that I am Jehovah, when I deal with you for my name's sake, not according to your evil ways and according to your corrupt deeds, O house of Israel, is the saying of Jehovah. - After the Lord has declared to the people that He will prevent its being absorbed into the heathen world, and will exterminate the ungodly by severe judgments, the address passes on, with the direction henceforth to serve idols only, to a prediction of the eventual conversion, and the restoration to Canaan of the purified nation. The direction, "Go ye, serve every one his idols," contains, after what precedes it, a powerful appeal to repent. God thereby gives up the impenitent to do whatever they will, having first of all told them that not one of them will come into the land of Canaan. Their opposition will not frustrate His plan of salvation. The words which follow from ואחר onwards have been interpreted in different ways. It is opposed to the usage of the language to connect ואחר with עבדוּ, serve ye hereafter also (De Wette, etc.), for ו has not the force of the Latin et equals etiam, and still less does it signify "afterwards just as before." Nor is it allowable to connect ואחר closely with what follows, in the sense of "and hereafter also, if ye will hearken to me, profane ye my name no more" (Rosenmller, Maurer). For if תּחלּלוּ were used as an imperative, either it would have to stand at the beginning of the sentence, or it would be preceded by אל instead of לא. Moreover, the antithesis between not being willing to hear and not profaning the name of God, is imported arbitrarily into the text. The name of the Lord is profaned not only by sacrifices offered in external form to Jehovah and in the heart to idols, but also by disobedience to the word and commandments of God. It is much better to take ואחר by itself, and to render the following particle, אם, as the ordinary sign of an oath: "but afterwards (i.e., in the future)...verily, ye will hearken to me;" that is to say, ye will have been converted from your idolatry through the severe judgments that have fallen upon you. The ground for this thought is introduced in Ezekiel 20:40 by a reference to the fact that all Israel will then serve the Lord upon His holy mountain. כּי is not "used emphatically before a direct address" (Hitzig), but has a causal signification. For 'הר מרום ישׂ, see the comm. on Ezekiel 17:23. In the expression "all Israel," which is rendered more emphatic by the addition of כּלּה, there is an allusion to the eventual termination of the severance of the people of God (compare Ezekiel 37:22). Then will the Lord accept with delight both them and their sacrificial gifts. תּרוּמות, heave-offerings (see the comm. on Exodus 25:2 and Leviticus 2:9), used here in the broader sense of all the sacrificial gifts, along with which the gifts of first-fruits are specially named. משׂאות, as applied to holy offerings in the sense of ἀναθήματα, belongs to the later usage of the language. בּכל־קדשׁיכם, consisting of all your consecrated gifts. קדשׁים, as in Leviticus 22:15. This promise includes implicite the bringing back of Israel from its banishment. This is expressly mentioned in Ezekiel 20:41; but even there it is only introduced as self-evident in the subordinate clause, whereas the cheerful acceptance of Israel on the part of God constitutes the leading thought.

בּריח ניחח, as an odour of delight (ב, the so-called Beth essentiae), will God accept His people. ריח ניחח, odour of satisfaction, is the technical expression for the cheerful (well-pleased) acceptance of the sacrifice, or rather of the feelings of the worshipper presenting the sacrifice, which ascend to God in the sacrificial odour (see the comm. on Genesis 8:21). The thought therefore is the following: When God shall eventually gather His people out of their dispersion, He will accept them as a sacrifice well-pleasing to Him, and direct all His good pleasure towards them. ונקדּשׁתּי בכם does not mean, I shall be sanctified through you, and is not to be explained in the same sense as Leviticus 22:32 (Rosenmller), for ב is not equivalent to בּתוך; but it signifies "I will sanctify myself on you," as in Numbers 20:13; Leviticus 10:3, and other passages, where נקדּשׁ is construed with ב pers. (cf. Ezekiel 28:25; Ezekiel 36:23; Ezekiel 38:16; Ezekiel 39:27), in the sense of proving oneself holy, mostly by judgment, but here through having made Israel into a holy nation by the refining judgment, and one to which He can therefore grant the promised inheritance. - Ezekiel 20:42. Then will Israel also recognise its God in His grace, and be ashamed of its former sins. For Ezekiel 20:43, compare Ezekiel 6:9 and Ezekiel 16:61. - With regard to the fulfilment, as Kliefoth has correctly observed, "in the prediction contained in Ezekiel 20:32-38, the whole of the searching judgments, by which God would lead Israel to conversion, are summed up in one, which includes not only the Babylonian captivity, the nearest and the first, but the still more remote judgment, namely, the present dispersion; for it is only in the present dispersion of Israel that God has really taken it into the wilderness of the nations, just as it was only in the rejection of Christ that its rebellious attitude was fully manifested. And as the prophecy of the state of punishment combines in this way both the nearer and more remote; so are both the nearer and more distant combined in what Ezekiel 20:40 to 44 affirm with regard to the ultimate fate of Israel." The gathering of Israel from among the heathen will be fulfilled in its conversion to Christ, and hitherto it has only taken place in very small beginnings. The principal fulfilment is still to come, when Israel, as a nation, shall be converted to Christ. With regard to the bringing back of the people into "the land of Israel," see the comm. on Ezekiel 37, where this promise is more fully expanded.

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