Ezekiel 20:43
And there shall you remember your ways, and all your doings, wherein you have been defiled; and you shall loathe yourselves in your own sight for all your evils that you have committed.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(43) Ye shall lothe yourselves.—The especial sin above all others for which Israel had been reproved in past ages, and which still formed the burden of Ezekiel’s denunciations, was idolatry; from this they were weaned, once for all, at the restoration, and whatever other sins may have been committed by them, into this, as a nation, they have never since relapsed.

With Ezekiel 20:44 this prophecy ends, and here the chapter closes in the Hebrew and in the ancient versions.

Ezekiel 20:43-44. And there shall ye remember your ways — There, in my holy mountain, in Zion, when you are restored to your own land; and more especially in the Christian Church, when, in consequence of your conversion, you enter into it, and enjoy the privileges of it, ye shall remember and be humbled on account of your doings, whereby you have been defiled. When you find how gracious I am to you, notwithstanding your long-continued disobedience and repeated rebellions, you will be overcome with my kindness, and blush to think of your refractory conduct toward so good a God. And ye shall loathe yourselves in your own sight — See notes on Ezekiel 6:9; Ezekiel 16:63. Thus the prophet fore-tels that the restoration of the Jews to their own land would be accompanied with a general repentance, and a deep remorse for their former mis-doings. And we find, from the books of Ezra and Nehemiah, that this was in fact the case with multitudes of them: they fasted and made public confessions of their sins upon their returning to Judea, and entered into a general and solemn engagement to be obedient to God, and observe his laws for the future. And, undoubtedly, this humiliation, godly sorrow, and true repentance, will more especially take place, and be more abundantly manifested in and among that people, when they shall be converted to Christianity in the latter days.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.This points to the consummation indicated by the vision of the temple.

In the mountain of the height - Or, Upon a very high mountain Ezekiel 40:2. Compare Isaiah 2:2-3.

The house of Israel, all of them - All the separation between Israel and Judah shall cease. This points to times yet future, when in Messiah's kingdom Jews and Gentiles alike shall be gathered into one kingdom - the kingdom of Christ. Jerusalem is the Church of Christ Galatians 4:26, into which the children of Israel shall at last be gathered, and so the prophecy shall be fulfilled Revelation 21:2.

43. there—not merely in exile when suffering punishment which makes even reprobates sorry for sin, but when received into favor in your own land.

remember—(Eze 16:61, 63). The humiliation of Judah (Ne 9:1-38) is a type of the future penitence of the whole nation (Ho 5:15; 6:1; Zec 12:10-14). God's goodness realized by the sinner is the only thing that leads to true repentance (Ho 3:5; Lu 7:37, 38).

In your restored state, and in your prosperity, in the land whither you are returned, ye shall review your former ways with sorrow; remember, and grieve.

Your ways of your folly, explained by their doings, which defiled them, i.e. all their more notorious sins.

Loathe: see Ezekiel 6:9.

In your own sight; your own heart and conscience shall see what you have done, and they shall take shame, and be humbled, though none else see it. And there ye shall remember your ways, and all your doings, wherein ye have been defiled,.... Their rejection of the Messiah; their continued disbelief of him; their obstinacy, hardness, and impenitence; their adherence to the traditions of the elders, to the making void the word of God; together with the most flagrant immoralities that ever any people were guilty of, and which are of a very defiling nature, and made them abominable in the sight of God; these now the Spirit of God convincing them of, they will remember with shame and confusion, and mourn over them in an evangelical way; and the more so, when they shall find themselves reinstated in their own land, enjoying all civil and religious privileges and liberties under Christ their King, whom they will now know, own, and serve; see Zechariah 12:10,

and ye shall loath yourselves in your own sight for all your evils that ye have committed; against God and Christ; against the law of the one, and the Gospel of the other. Sin is a loathsome thing to God; and it is so to his people When they are thoroughly convinced of it, and they loath themselves for it; and never more so than when they have the greatest instances and clearest discoveries of the love and grace of God in Christ to them; then they blush, are ashamed of themselves and their sins, and are confounded when they perceive the Lord is pacified towards them, and their sins are forgiven for Christ's sake: sin never appears more odious and loathsome than when viewed in the glass of pardoning love; see Ezra 9:6.

And there shall ye remember your ways, and all your doings, in which ye have been defiled; and ye {u} shall lothe yourselves in your own sight for all your evils that ye have committed.

(u) Your own consciences will convict you after you have felt my mercies.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
43. The goodness of Jehovah in restoring them shall fill their hearts with abhorrence of their own past doings, cf. Ezekiel 16:61.

lothe … in your own sight] Omit in your own sight, ch. Ezekiel 6:9.Verse 43. - And there shall ye remember, etc. The words stretch far and wide, and throw light on many of the problems that connect themselves with the conversion of the sinner and the eschatology of the Divine government. The whole evil past is still remembered after repentance and forgiveness. There is no water of Lethe, such as the Greeks fabled, such as Dante dreamt of as the condition of entering Paradise ('Purg.,' 31:94-105). The self-loathing and humility which grow out of that memory, the acceptance of all the punishment of the past as less than had been deserved, - these are the conditions and safeguards of the new blessedness. Ezekiel teaches us, i.e., that it is possible to conceive of an eternal punishment, the punishment of memory, shame, self-loathing, as compatible with eternal life. So (in ver. 44) the prophet ends what is perhaps, the profoundest and the noblest of his discourses, his "vindication of the ways of God to man." Israel 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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