I will also smite my hands together, and I will cause my fury to rest: I the LORD have said it.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)My fury to rest.—As in Ezekiel 16:42, because it has accomplished its purpose and has nothing more to do. (Comp. Ezekiel 5:13; Ezekiel 14:13.)
At Ezekiel 21:18 the third and final prophecy of the chapter begins, and, besides being much more explicit than the others, includes also a new subject (Ezekiel 21:28-32), a prophecy against Ammon. Hitherto it has only been foretold that Judah shall be desolated, now it is added that this shall be effected by the king of Babylon, and that he shall also extend his conquests to the Ammonites.
cause … fury to rest—give it full vent, and so satisfy it (Eze 5:13).Smite mine hands together, in token of my approbation and well-pleasedness in those executions which the Chaldeans shall finish against you; those hands, that were used to restrain and check, shall excite and encourage your enemies.
My fury: see Ezekiel 5:13. Ezekiel 21:14, either expressing a concern for the calamity of the people, or indignation at their sins: or rather as encouraging their enemies to make use of the sword pointed at them, and, as it were, rejoicing at their destruction for the honour of his justice. The Targum is,
"and even I will bring vengeance upon vengeance:''
and I will cause my fury to rest; when the sword has done its business, and just vengeance is taken, the fury of the Lord shall cease; it shall proceed no further, it shall be kept within due bounds, and no more or further rage:I will also smite mine hands together, and I will cause my fury to rest: I the LORD have said it.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)17. smite mine hands] The strong anthropomorphism suggests a tumult of emotion in the Divine mind, and sympathy with the terrible work.
cause my fury to rest] Appease, or, assuage my fury. Cf. ch. Ezekiel 5:13.Verses 17-19. - The new section opens in a different strain. Ezekiel sees, as in vision, Nebuchadnezzar and his army on their march. He is told to appoint (better, make, or mark, as on a brick or tile, as in Ezekiel 4:1) a place where the road bifurcated. Both come from one land, i.e. from Babylon; but from that point onwards one road led to Rabbath, the capital of the Ammonites (Deuteronomy 3:11; 2 Samuel 11:1), the other to Jerusalem. Apparently, the exiles and the people of Judah flattered themselves that the former was the object of the expedition. The answer to that false hope is a vivid picture of what was passing in the council of war which Nebuchadnezzar was holding at that parting of the ways. The prophet sees, as it were, the sign post pointing, as with a hand, to each of the two cities The king consults his soothsayers, and uses divinations. Of these Ezekiel enumerates three:
(1) He shakes the arrows to and fro (Revised Version). This was known among the Greeks as the βέλομαντεια The arrows were put into a quiver, with names (in this case probably Rabbath and Jerusalem) written on them. One was then drawn, or thrown, out as by chance, and decided the direction of the campaign.
(2) He consults the images (Hebrew, teraphim). The modus operandi in this case is not known, but Judges 18:18 and Hosea 3:4 point to some such use of them.
(3) There remains the sacrifice and the inspection of the liver, familiar alike in Greek, Etrurian, and Roman divination (Cicero, 'De Divin.,' 6:13).
Ezekiel 21:1. And the word of Jehovah came to me, saying, Ezekiel 21:2. Son of man, set thy face toward Jerusalem, and trickle over the holy places, and prophesy over the land of Israel, Ezekiel 21:3. And say to the land of Israel, Thus saith Jehovah, Behold, I will deal with thee, and will draw my sword out of its scabbard, and cut off from thee the righteous and the wicked. Ezekiel 21:4. Because I will cut off from thee the righteous and the wicked, therefore shall my sword to go forth from its scabbard against all flesh from south to north. Ezekiel 21:5. And all flesh shall know that I, Jehovah, have drawn my sword out of its scabbard: it shall not return again. Ezekiel 21:6. And thou, son of man, sigh! so that the hips break; and with bitter pain sigh before their eyes! Ezekiel 21:7. And when they say to thee, Wherefore dost thou sigh? say, Because of a report that it is coming; and every heart will sink, and all hands become powerless, and every spirit will become dull, and all knees turn into water: Behold, it cometh, and will happen, is the saying of the Lord Jehovah. - In the preceding parable, the expression "forest of the field in the south," or "forest of the south-land," was enigmatical. This is explained to signify Jerusalem with its holy places (מקדּשׁים, see comm. on Ezekiel 7:24), and the land of Israel, i.e., the kingdom of Judah. In accordance with this, the fire kindled by the Lord is interpreted as being the sword of the Lord. It is true that this is a figurative expression; but it is commonly used for war, which brings with it devastation and death, and would be generally intelligible. The sword will cut off both righteous and wicked. This applies to the outer side of the judgment, inasmuch as both good and bad fall in war. This is the only aspect brought into prominence here, since the great purpose was to alarm the sinners, who were boasting of their security; but the distinction between the two, as described in Ezekiel 9:4., is not therefore to be regarded as no longer existing. This sword will not return, sc. into the scabbard, till it has accomplished the result predicted in Ezekiel 21:3 (cf. 2 Samuel 1:22; Isaiah 55:11). As Tremellius has aptly observed upon this passage, "the last slaughter is contrasted with the former ones, in which, after the people had been chastened fore a time, the sword was returned to its scabbard again." In order to depict the terrors of this judgment before the eyes of the people, the prophet is commanded to groan before their eyes in the most painful way possible (Ezekiel 21:6.). בּשׁברון מתנים, with breaking of the hips, i.e., with pain sufficient to break the hips, the seat of strength in man (compare Nahum 2:11; Isaiah 21:3). מרירוּת, bitterness, i.e., bitter anguish. The reason which he is to assign to the questioners for this sighing is "on account of the report that is coming," - an antiptosis for "on account of the coming report" (cf. Genesis 1:4, etc.). the report comes when the substance of it is realized. The reference is to the report of the sword of the Lord, - that is to say, of the approach of the Chaldeans to destroy Jerusalem and the kingdom of Judah. The impression which this disclosure will make upon the hearers will be perfectly paralyzing (Ezekiel 21:7). All courage and strength for offering resistance will be crippled and broken. נמס כּל־לב (cf. Nahum 2:11) is strengthened by כּהתה, every spirit will become dull, so that no one will know what counsel to give. 'כּל־בּרכּים תּלכנה וגו corresponds to רפוּ כּל־ידים (cf. Ezekiel 7:17). The threat is strengthened by the words, "behold, it cometh, and will take place." The subject is שׁמוּעה, the report, i.e., the substance of the report. - This threat is more fully expanded in Ezekiel 21:8-17; Ezekiel 21:8-13 corresponding to Ezekiel 21:1-5, and Ezekiel 21:14-17 to Ezekiel 21:6, Ezekiel 21:7.
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