Ezekiel 21:25
And you, profane wicked prince of Israel, whose day is come, when iniquity shall have an end,
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(25) Profane.—The prophet now turns from the people as a whole to the individual prince at their head. The word for profane” is the same as is translated “slain” in Ezekiel 21:14; it would be better rendered here, as there, overthrown. What is close at hand is described as accomplished.

When iniquity shall have an end.—Literally, at the time of the iniquity of the end. The same expression is repeated in Ezekiel 21:29, and the meaning is plainly, at the time of that final transgression which shall be closed by the immediate manifestation of the Divine judgment. The representation of iniquity as being allowed to run a certain course through the Divine forbearance, and arrested and punished when it has reached its culmination, is a common one in Scripture. (See Genesis 15:16; Daniel 8:23; Matthew 23:34-36, &c.)

Ezekiel 21:25-26. And thou, profane wicked prince of Israel — The words are directed to Zedekiah, whom the prophet calls profane and wicked, chiefly with respect to his breaking that solemn oath, uttered in the name of God, whereby he had engaged himself to be tributary to the king of Babylon. By this action he and his courtiers did great dishonour to the true God. The king of Babylon, it appears, kept the oath which he sware to them by his false gods, while they broke the oath which they sware to him by Jehovah! Thus disgracing the true God before the Babylonians and other heathen, who must needs entertain a contemptible opinion of that being, whose worshippers durst break the oath which they had sworn by him. Therefore with respect to this, as well as his unalterable regard to truth and the due observance of oaths, God could not but look with indignation upon the breach of their oath, and inflict punishment upon them for it. See note on Ezekiel 17:15. Whose day is come — The day of whose calamity is near at hand, when he shall receive the due punishment of his iniquity. Remove the diadem — The original word is often used for the priestly mitre, but here it means some kingly ornament, probably the royal tire of the head. Take off the crown — Depose him from his kingly dignity. This shall not be the same — The kingdom shall never be what it has been. Exalt him that is low — This seems to be spoken of Jehoiachin, who was many years kept in prison at Babylon; but at length, as we read 2 Kings 25:27, was taken out of prison, kindly treated, and advanced to great honour by Evil-merodach, king of Babylon. And abase him that is high — Namely, Zedekiah; who was to be pulled down from his throne, have his eyes put out, and be kept in prison the remainder of his days.21:18-27 By the Spirit of prophecy Ezekiel foresaw Nebuchadnezzar's march from Babylon, which he would determine by divination. The Lord would overturn the government of Judah, till the coming of Him whose right it is. This seems to foretell the overturnings of the Jewish nation to the present day, and the troubles of states and kingdoms, which shall make way for establishing the Messiah's kingdom throughout the earth. The Lord secretly leads all to adopt his wise designs. And in the midst of the most tremendous warnings of wrath, we still hear of mercy, and some mention of Him through whom mercy is shown to sinful men.Profane - Rather, "wounded," - not dead but - having a death-wound. The prophet, turning from the general crowd, addresses Zedekiah.

When iniquity shall have an end - i. e., at the time when iniquity shall be closed with punishment. So in Ezekiel 21:29.

25. profane—as having desecrated by idolatry and perjury his office as the Lord's anointed. Havernick translates, as in Eze 21:14, "slain," that is, not literally, but virtually; to Ezekiel's idealizing view Zedekiah was the grand victim "pierced through" by God's sword of judgment, as his sons were slain before his eyes, which were then put out, and he was led a captive in chains to Babylon. English Version is better: so Gesenius (2Ch 36:13; Jer 52:2).

when iniquity shall have an end—(Eze 21:29). When thine iniquity, having reached its last stage of guilt, shall be put an end to by judgment (Eze 35:5).

Then; Zedekiah.

Profane; tainted with secret deep irreligious opinions, whence he despised God and his oath, and profaned the name of God. Prince: so much was his royal dignity lessened, that indeed he was rather a prince subject and dependent than a king.

Whose day, day of sorrows, and sufferings, and punishment, is at hand. Iniquity; the irreligion which is spread by thee among thy courtiers shall cease to spread itself, because of thy low estate. Or, when iniquity shall bring the fatal ruin of king and kingdom, and both shall be destroyed, and with the overthrow of your state the opportunities and means of sinning shall end too. And thou, profane wicked prince of Israel,.... Meaning Zedekiah, the then reigning prince; who is so called, because he had profaned or violated the oath and covenant he made with the king of Babylon, as well as because of other sins he was guilty of; and his being a prince of Israel was an aggravation of his crimes: now, though it is "not fit" in common, or for ordinary persons, "to say to a king thou art wicked, and to princes ye are ungodly", Job 34:18, yet a prophet from the Lord, and in his name, may say so; and he ought, when he has a commission from God for it:

whose day is come; the time of his downfall and ruin; and so the Targum,

"whose day of destruction is come:''

when iniquity shall have an end; a stop put to the torrent of it, both in the king and his subjects; they not having the opportunity and means of sinning in captivity as before; or when the measure of iniquity is filled up, then comes punishment; or when the punishment of iniquity shall be completed. So the Targum,

"the time of the recompence of his sins.''

And thou, profane wicked {u} prince of Israel, whose day is come, when iniquity shall have an end,

(u) Meaning, Zedekiah who practised with the Egyptians to make himself high and able to resist the Babylonians.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
25. profane wicked prince] Or, and thou wicked one, who art to be slain, prince of Israel. The sense “profane” is not quite certain, cf. fem., Leviticus 21:7; Leviticus 21:14.

when iniquity … an end] in the time of the iniquity of the end, i.e. when iniquity shall receive its final chastisement—in the downfall of the state and captivity of the king. Cf. Ezekiel 35:5.Verse 25. - And thou, profane wicked prince of Judah, etc.; better, with the Revised Version, O deadly wounded, etc., as in ver. 29, where the same word is translated in the Authorized Version as "slain" The Authorized Version follows the LXX. and Vulgate, apparently in order to make the word fit in with the fact that Zedekiah was not slain, but carried into exile. The word "deadly wounded," or "sorely smitten," may rightly be applied to one who fell, as Zedekiah did, from his high estate. From the sins of the people the prophet turns to the special guilt of Zedekiah, who had proved unfaithful alike to Jehovah and to the Chaldean king, whom he had owned as his suzerain. His day had at last come, the time of the iniquity of the end of the last transgression which was to bring down on him the final punishment. The Sword is Sharpened for Slaying

Ezekiel 21:8. And the word of Jehovah came to me, saying, Ezekiel 21:9. Son of man, prophesy, and say, Thus saith Jehovah, A sword, a sword sharpened and also polished: Ezekiel 21:10. That it may effect a slaughter is it sharpened; that it may flash is it polished: or shall we rejoice (saying), the sceptre of my son despiseth all wood? Ezekiel 21:11. But it has been given to be polished, to take it in the hand; it is sharpened, the sword, and it is polished, to give it into the hand of the slayer. Ezekiel 21:12. Cry and howl, son of man, for it goeth over my people, it goeth over all the princes of Israel: they have fallen by the sword along with my people: therefore smite upon the thigh. Ezekiel 21:13. For the trial is made, and what if the despising sceptre shall not come? is the saying of the Lord Jehovah. Ezekiel 21:14. And thou, son of man, prophesy and smite the hands together, and the sword shall double itself into threefold, the sword of the pierced: it is the sword of a pierced one, of the great one, which encircles them. Ezekiel 21:15. That the heart may be dissolved, and stumbling-blocks may be multiplied, I have set the drawing of the sword against all their gates: Alas! it is made into flashing, drawn for slaying. Ezekiel 21:16. Gather thyself up to the right hand, turn to the left, whithersoever thine edge is intended. Ezekiel 21:17. And I also will smite my hands together, and quiet my wrath: I, Jehovah, have spoken it. - The description of the sword is thrown into a lyrical form (Ezekiel 21:8-13), - a kind of sword-song, commemorating the terrible devastation to be effected by the sword of the Lord. The repetition of חרב in Ezekiel 21:9 is emphatic. הוּחדּה is the perfect Hophal of חדד, to sharpen. מרוּטה is the passive participle of מרט, to polish; מרטּה (Ezekiel 21:10), the participle Pual, with מ dropped, and Dagesh euphon. היה, a rare form of the infinitive for היות. The polishing gives to the sword a flashing brilliancy, which renders the sharpness of its edge still more terrible. The very obscure words, 'או נשׂישׂ וגו, I agree with Schmieder and Kliefoth in regarding as a protest, interposed by the prophet in the name of the people against the divine threat of the sword of vengeance, on the ground of the promises which had been given to the tribe of Judah. או, or perhaps; introducing an opposite case, or an exception to what has been said. The words 'שׁבט are to be taken as an objection, so that לאמר is to be supplied in thought. The objection is taken from the promise given in Jacob's blessing to the tribe of Judah: "the sceptre will not depart from Judah" (Genesis 49:10). שׁבט בּני points unquestionably to this. בּני is taken from Ezekiel 21:9, where the patriarch addresses Judah, whom he compares to a young lion, as בּני. Consequently the sceptre of my son is the command which the patriarch holds out to view before the tribe of Judah. This sceptre despises all wood, i.e., every other ruler's staff, as bad wood. This view is not rendered a doubtful one by the fact that שׁבט is construed as a feminine here, whereas it is construed as a masculine in every other case; for this construction is unquestionable in Ezekiel 21:7 (12), and has many analogies in its favour. All the other explanations that have been proposed are hardly worth mentioning, to say nothing of refuting, as they amount to nothing more than arbitrary conjectures; whereas the assumption that the words are to be explained from Genesis 49:10 is naturally suggested by the unquestionable allusion to the prophecy in that passage, which we find in Ezekiel 21:27 of the present chapter. ויּתּן in Ezekiel 21:11 is to be taken adversatively, "but he gave it (the sword) to be sharpened." The subject to ויּתּן is not Jehovah, but is indefinite, "one" (man, Angl. they), although it is actually God who has prepared the sword for the slaughter of Israel. The train of thought is the following: Do not think we have no reason to fear the sharply-ground sword of Jehovah, because Judah has received the promise that the sceptre shall not depart from it; and this promise will certainly be fulfilled, and Judah be victorious over every hostile power. The promise will not help you in this instance. The sword is given to be ground, not that it may be put into the scabbard, but that it may be taken in the hand by a slayer, and smite all the people and all its princes. In the phrase היא הוּחדּה חרב, חרב is in apposition to the subject היא, and is introduced to give emphasis to the words. It is not till Ezekiel 21:19 that it is stated who the slayer is; but the hearers of the prophecy could be in no doubt. Consequently - this is the connection with Ezekiel 21:12 - there is no ground for rejoicing from a felling of security and pride, but rather an occasion for painful lamentation.

This is the meaning contained in the command to the prophet to cry and howl. For the sword will come upon the nation and its princes. It is the simplest rendering to take היא as referring to הרב, היה ב, to be at a person, to fasten to him, to come upon him, as in 1 Samuel 24:14; 2 Samuel 24:17. מגוּרי, not from גּוּר, but the passive participle of מגר in the Pual, to overthrow, cast down (Psalm 89:45): "fallen by the sword have they (the princes) become, along with my people." The perfects are prophetic, representing that which will speedily take place as having already occurred. - Smiting upon the thigh is a sign of alarm and horror (Jeremiah 31:19). בּחן, perfect Pual, is used impersonally: the trial is made. The words allude to the victories gained already by Nebuchadnezzar, which have furnished tests of the sharpness of his sword. The question which follows וּמה contains an aposiopesis: and what? Even if the despising sceptre shall not come, what will be the case then? שׁבט מאסת, according to Ezekiel 21:10, is the sceptre of Judah, which despises all other sceptres as bad wood. יהיה, in this instance, is not "to be," in the sense of to remain, but to become, to happen, to come (come to pass), to enter. The meaning is, if the sceptre of Judah shall not display, or prove itself to possess, the strength expected of it. - With Ezekiel 21:14 the address takes a new start, for the purpose of depicting still further the operations of the sword. Smiting the hands together (smiting hand in hand) is a gesture expressive of violent emotion (cf. Ezekiel 6:11; Numbers 24:10). The sword is to double, i.e., multiply itself, into threefold (שׁלישׁתה, adverbial), namely, in its strength, or its edge. Of course this is not to be taken arithmetically, as it has been by Hitzig, but is a bold paradoxical statement concerning the terrible effect produced by the sword. It is not even to be understood as referring to three attacks made at different times by the Chaldeans upon Jerusalem, as many of the commentators suppose. The sword is called חבב חללים, sword of pierced ones, because it produces the pierced or slain. The following words are rendered by Hitzig and Kliefoth: the great sword of the slain. But apart from the tautology which this occasions, the rendering can hardly be defended on grammatical grounds. For, in the first place, we cannot see why the singular חלל should have been chosen, when the expression was repeated, instead of the plural חללים; and secondly, חגּדול cannot be an adjective agreeing with חרב, for חרב is a noun of the feminine gender, and is construed here as a feminine, as החדרת clearly shows. הגּדול is in apposition to חלל, "sword of a pierced man, the great one;" and the great man pierced is the king, as Ewald admits, in agreement with Hengstenberg and Hvernick. The words therefore affirm that the sword will not only slay the mass of the people, but pierce the king himself. (See also the comm. on Ezekiel 21:25.) - Ezekiel 21:15 is not dependent upon what precedes, but introduces a new thought, viz., for what purpose the sword is sharpened. God has placed the flashing sword before all the gates of the Israelites, in order that (למען, pleonastic for למען) the heart may dissolve, the inhabitants may lose all their courage for defence, and to multiply offendicula, i.e., occasions to fall by the sword. The ἁπ. λεγ. אבחת signifies the rapid motion or turning about of the sword (cf. Genesis 3:24); אבח, related to הפך, in the Mishna אפך. The ἁπ. λεγ. מעטּה, fem. of מעט, does not mean smooth, i.e., sharpened, synonymous with מרט, but, according to the Arabic m̀t, eduxit e vagina gladium, drawn (from the scabbard). In Ezekiel 21:16 the sword is addressed, and commanded to smite right and left. התאחדי, gather thyself up, i.e., turn with all thy might toward the right (Tanchum). To the verb השׂימוּ it is easy to supply פּניך, from the context, "direct thine edge toward the left." אנה, whither, without an interrogative, as in Joshua 2:5 and Nehemiah 2:16. מעדות, from יעד, intended, ordered; not, directed, turned. The feminine form may be accounted for from a construction ad sensum, the gender regulating itself according to the חרב addressed in פּניך. The command to the sword is strengthened by the explanation given by Jehovah in Ezekiel 21:17, that He also (like the prophet, Ezekiel 21:14) will smite His hands together and cool His wrath upon them (cf. Ezekiel 5:13).

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