Ezekiel 21:26
Thus saith the Lord GOD; Remove the diadem, and take off the crown: this shall not be the same: exalt him that is low, and abase him that is high.
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(26) Remove the diadem.—The word translated “diadem” is rendered in every other place in which it occurs (Exodus 28:4; Exodus 28:37 bis, Exodus 28:39; Exodus 29:6 bis, Exodus 39:28; Exodus 39:31; Leviticus 8:9 bis, Exodus 16:4) the mitre of the high priest, and undoubtedly has the same sense here. Not only was the royal but also the high-priestly office to be overthrown in the approaching desolation. Neither of them were ever recovered in their full power after the captivity. The various verbs here, remove, take off, exalt, abase, are in the original in the infinitive, and although it is sometimes necessary to translate the infinitive as an imperative, it is better here to keep to its more common sense of indicating an action without reference to the agent which is most readily expressed in English by the passive: “The mitre shall be removed, and the crown taken off . . . the low exalted, and the high abased.”

This shall not be the same.—Literally, this not this, or, supplying the verb, as is often required, this shall not be thisi.e., as the following clauses express, there shall be an utter change and overturning of the whole existing state of things. For the abasement of the high and exaltation of the low, as an expression of the Divine interposition at the introduction of a new order of things, comp. 1Samuel 2:6-8; Luke 1:51-53.

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.The diadem ("the mitre," the unique head-dress of the high priest) shall be removed, and the crown taken off (this shall not be as it is), the low exalted, and the high abased. Glory shall be removed alike from priest and king; the present glory and power attached to the government of God's people shall be quite removed.26. diadem—rather, "the miter" of the holy priest (Ex 28:4; Zec 3:5). His priestly emblem as representative of the priestly people. Both this and "the crown," the emblem of the kingdom, were to be removed, until they should be restored and united in the Mediator, Messiah (Ps 110:2, 4; Zec 6:13), [Fairbairn]. As, however, King Zedekiah alone, not the high priest also, is referred to in the context, English Version is supported by Gesenius.

this shall not be the same—The diadem shall not be as it was [Rosenmuller]. Nothing shall remain what it was [Fairbairn].

exalt … low, … abase … high—not the general truth expressed (Pr 3:34; Lu 1:52; Jas 4:6; 1Pe 5:5); but specially referring to Messiah and Zedekiah contrasted together. The "tender plant … out of the dry ground" (Isa 53:2) is to be "exalted" in the end (Eze 21:27); the now "high" representative on David's throne, Zedekiah, is to be "abased." The outward relations of things shall be made to change places in just retaliation on the people for having so perverted the moral relations of things [Hengstenberg].

Either God speaks to the prophet to declare the thing, or to Nebuchadnezzar to do the thing, to take away the diadem, the royal tire of the head, which the king did ordinarily and daily wear.

The crown; which was a royal ornament used on solemnities, and more than ordinary occasions; or it may be one thing in doubled expressions of the deposing of Zedekiah.

The same; the kingdom and crown shall never be what it hath been; as we say of one greatly altered, He is not himself, so here, This shall not be the same; it was great, glorious, and flourishing, but hereafter small, dependent, ignoble, and withering.

Exalt him; Jeconiah; it is probable the prophet foretells the advance of this captive king, which came to pass in the 37th year of Jeconiah’s captivity, in the first year of Merodach, 2 Kings 25:27-29 Jeremiah 52:31, who exalted his seat above all the captive kings in Babylon.

That is low; now in captivity in Babylon. Abase him; Zedekiah, That is high; not now on the throne of Judah, strengthened with the confederacy of Egypt, on which he relieth, and exalteth himself, and bears himself high against the prophet, the king of Babylon, and, which is most insolent, against the God of heaven.

Thus saith the Lord God, remove the diadem, and take off the crown,.... That is, from Zedekiah; and as these are the regalia and ensigns of royal dignity, taking them off signifies the deposition of him as a king, the stripping him of his kingly power and authority: an earthly crown is a corruptible and fading one, at most it continues but during this life, and sometimes not so long; it does not always sit firm; sometimes it is tottering and shakes, and sometimes quite fails off to the ground; it is taken from the head of one, and put upon the head of another, by him who gives the orders in the text, and has the sovereign disposal of crowns and kingdoms; who sets up one, and puts down another. The "diadem" was a royal tire of the head, wore in common; the "crown" was put on at certain times; both signify one and the same thing, royal dignity; though the former is sometimes used as an ornament of the priesthood, as the latter of kingly power; hence the Targum,

"remove the diadem (or mitre) from Seraiah the high priest, and I will take away the crown from Zedekiah the king;''

but the latter is only meant; besides, as Kimchi observes, it was not Seraiah, but Jehozadak his son, that was carried captive with Zedekiah:

this shall not be the same; this royal dignity shall not continue the same; the kingdom shall not be in the same lustre and glory, nor in the same hands:

exalt him that is low: either Jeconiah now in captivity; and which was fulfilled when Evilmerodach lifted up his head, and set his throne above the thrones of the kings in Babylon, Jeremiah 52:31, or Zerubbabel, of the seed of Jeconiah, who was born in the captivity, and became prince of Judah; or rather the Messiah, who was of a low extraction; born of mean parents; was as a root out of a dry ground; appeared in the form of a servant, poor and lowly; yet, when he had done his work, was highly exalted at the right hand of God; far above angels, principalities, and powers; as well as set upon the throne of his father David:

and abase him that is high; the then prince upon the throne, Zedekiah; who was high and lifted up, but should be pulled down and humbled, as he was.

Thus saith the Lord GOD; Remove the {x} diadem, and take off the crown: this shall not be the same: exalt him that is low, and abase him that is high.

(x) Some refer this to the priest's attire: for Jehozadak the priest went into captivity with the king.

26. The term “diadem” is used of the mitre of the high-priest, Exodus 28:4. There can be no reference to the high-priest here, the passage refers exclusively to the royal house, which shall be discrowned.

this … the same] The somewhat enigmatical words mean probably: this is not that, i.e. the present royal house and régime is not that which shall be (the Messianic), as Ezekiel 21:27 explains. Or, this shall not remain this, i.e. what it is, it shall be removed and give place to something higher to come, Ezekiel 21:27.

exalt … that is high] let that be exalted which is low, and that which is high be abased. The words “overturn,” &c., Ezekiel 21:27 explain the idea. The present order shall disappear, the high shall be abased and at last that which is humble shall be exalted, cf. Ezekiel 17:24.

Verse 26. - Remove the diadem, etc. The noun is used throughout the Pentateuch (e.g., Exodus 28:4; 37:39; Leviticus 8:9; Leviticus 16:4) for the "turban" or "mitre" of the high priest, and Keil so takes it here, as pointing to the punishment of the priest as well as of the king. This shall not be the same; literally, this shall not be this; or, as the Revised Version paraphrases, this shall be no more the same; i.e. the mitre and the crown shall alike pass away - taken from their unworthy wearers. There was to be, as in the following words, a great upturning of all things; the high brought low, the lowly exalted. Ezekiel 21:26This announcement will appear to the Judaeans, indeed, to be a deceptive divination, but nevertheless it will be verified. - Ezekiel 21:23. And it is like deceptive divination in their eyes; sacred oaths are theirs (lit., to them); but he brings the iniquity to remembrance, that they may be taken. Ezekiel 21:24. Therefore thus saith the Lord Jehovah, Because ye bring your iniquity to remembrance, in that your offences are made manifest, so that your sins appear in all your deeds, because ye are remembered ye shall be taken with the hand. Ezekiel 21:25. And thou pierced one, sinner, prince of Israel, whose day is come at the time of the final transgression, Ezekiel 21:26. Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, The turban will be removed, the crown taken off. This is not this; the low will be lifted up, and the lofty lowered. Ezekiel 21:27. Overthrown, overthrown, overthrown will I make it; even this shall not be, till He cometh, to whom is the right, to Him do I give it. - In Ezekiel 21:23 (28), להם, which is more precisely defined by בּעיניהם, refers to the Israelites, i.e., the Judaeans. This also applies to the following להם, which cannot possibly be taken as referring to a different subject, say, for example, the Chaldeans. It is evident, therefore, that it is impossible to sustain the rendering given in Gesenius' Thesaurus (s.v.) to the obscure words שׁבעי שׁבעות, viz., qui juramenta jurarunt eis (sc., Chaldaeis), which Maurer has modified and expounded thus: "they will not fear these auguries; they will swear oaths to them (the Chaldeans), that is to say, according to their usual custom, these truce-breakers will take fresh oaths, hoping that the Chaldeans will be conciliated thereby." Moreover, the thought itself is an unsuitable one, inasmuch as "the defiant attitude of confidence with which they looked such awfully threatening danger in the face must have had some other ground than a reliance upon false oaths and Chaldean credulity" (Hvernick). The common explanation, which Rosenmller and Kliefoth uphold, is, "because the Chaldeans are sworn allies, sworn confederates of theirs;" or as Kliefoth explains it, "on account of the oath of fealty or vassalage sworn by Zedekiah to Nebuchadnezzar, they have sworn confederates in the Chaldeans, and relying upon this, they are confident that they have no hostile attack to fear from them." But this is altogether untenable, not only because it is perfectly arbitrary to supply "the Chaldeans," but still more for the reason adduced by Maurer. "How," he justly asks, "could the Judaeans despise these auguries because the Chaldeans were bound to them by an oath when they themselves had broken faith? When a treaty has been violated by one party, is not the other released from his oath?" We therefore adopt the same explanation as Hvernick: "oaths of oaths are theirs (to them), i.e., the most sacred oaths are (made) to them, namely, by God." They rely upon that which God has solemnly sworn to them, without considering upon what this promise was conditional, namely, upon a faithful observance on their part of the commandments of God. For the fact itself, compare Ezekiel 20:42, and such passages as Psalm 105:9., etc. The form שׁבעי by the side of שׁבעות may be explained in a very simple way from the relation of the construct state, i.e., from the endeavour to secure an obvious form for the construct state, and cannot in any case furnish a well-founded argument against the correctness of our explanation. As Ezekiel uses נפשׁים for נפשׁות in Ezekiel 13:20, he may also have formed שׁבעים (שׁבעי) by the side of שׁבעות. - As they rely upon the promises of God without reflecting upon their own breach of covenant, God will bring their sin to remembrance through His judgment. והוּא is Jehovah, upon whose oaths they rely. עון must not be restricted to Zedekiah's breach of covenant, since Ezekiel 21:24 clearly shows that it is the wrong-doing of Judah generally. להתּפשׂ in Ezekiel 21:24 (29) is also to be understood of the whole nation, which is to be taken and punished by the king of Babylon. For Ezekiel 21:24 (29) introduces the reason for the statement made in the last clause of Ezekiel 21:23 (28). God must put the people in remembrance of their iniquity by inflicting punishment, because they have called it to remembrance by sins committed without any shame, and thereby have, so to speak, compelled God to remember them, and to cause the sinners to be grasped by the hand of the slayer. הזכּיר עון is used in Ezekiel 21:24 (29) in a different sense from Ezekiel 21:23 (28), and is therefore explained by 'בּהגּלות. בּכּף, which is indefinite in itself, points back to יד הורג in Ezekiel 21:11 (16), and receives from that its more exact definition.

With Ezekiel 21:25 the address turns to the chief sinner, the godless King Zedekiah, who was bringing the judgment of destruction upon the kingdom by his faithless breach of oath. The words חלל, רשׁע, and 'נשׂיא ישׂ are asyndeta, co-ordinate to one another. חלל does not mean profane or infamous (βέβηλε, lxx), but simply pierced, slain. This meaning is to be retained here. This is demanded not only by the fixed usage of the language, but also by the relation in which חלל stands both to Ezekiel 21:14 and to חללי רשׁעים in Ezekiel 21:29 (34). It is true that Zedekiah was not pierced by the sword either at that time or afterwards, but was simply blinded and led in captivity to Babylon, where he died. But all that follows from this is, that חלל is used here in a figurative sense, given up to the sword, i.e., to death; and Zedekiah is so designated for the purpose of announcing in a more energetic manner the certainty of his fate. The selection of the term חלל is the more natural, because throughout the whole prophecy the description of the judgment takes its character from the figure of the sword of Jehovah. As God does not literally wield a sword, so חלל is no proof of actual slaying with the sword. יומו .dro, his day, is the day of his destruction (cf. 1 Samuel 26:10), or of the judgment upon him. The time of the final transgression is not the time when the transgression reaches its end, i.e., its completion, but the time when the wickedness brings the end, i.e., destruction (cf. Ezekiel 35:5, and for קץ in this sense, Ezekiel 7:2-3). The fact that the end, the destruction, is come, i.e., is close at hand, is announced in Ezekiel 21:26 to the prince, and in his person to the whole nation. If we understand the connection in this way, which is naturally suggested by Ezekiel 21:25, we get rid of the objection, which led Kliefoth to question the fact that it is the king who is addressed in Ezekiel 21:25, and to take the words as collective, "ye slaughtered sinners, princes of Israel," and to understand them as referring to the entire body of rulers, including the priests, - an explanation that is completely upset by the words נשׂיא... אתּה (thou...prince), which are so entirely opposed to the collective view. Again, the remark that "what follows in Ezekiel 21:26, viz., the statement to be made to the נשׂיא, has really nothing to do with him, since the sweeping away of the priesthood did not affect Zedekiah personally" (Kliefoth), is neither correct nor conclusive. For Ezekiel 21:26 contains an announcement not only of the abrogation of the priesthood, but also of the destruction of the kingdom, which did affect Zedekiah both directly and personally. Moreover, we must not isolate the king addressed, even as an individual, from the position which he occupied, or, at any rate, which he ought to have occupied as a theocratic monarch, so as to be able to say that the abrogation of the priesthood did not affect him. The priesthood was one of the fundamental pillars of the theocracy, the removal of which would necessarily be followed by the collapse of the divine state, and therefore by the destruction of the monarchy. Hence it is that the abolition of the priesthood is mentioned first. The infinitives absolute (not imperatives) הסיר and הרים are selected for the purpose of expressing the truth in the most emphatic manner; and the verbs are synonymous. הרים, to lift up, i.e., not to elevate, but to take away, to abolish, as in Isaiah 57:14; Daniel 8:11. מצנפת does not mean the royal diadem, like צניף in Isaiah 62:3, but the tiara of the high priest, as it does in every instance in the Pentateuch, from which Ezekiel has taken the word. העטרה, the king's crown. The diadem of the priest and the regal crown are the insignia of the offices of high priest and king; and consequently their removal is the abolition of both high-priesthood and monarchy. These words contain the sentence of death upon the theocracy, of which the Aaronic priesthood and the Davidic monarchy constituted the foundations.

They predict not merely a temporary, but a complete abolition of both offices and dignities; and their fulfilment took place when the kingdom of Judah was destroyed by the king of Babylon. The earthly sovereignty of the house of David was not restored again after the captivity; and the high-priesthood of the restoration, like the second temple, was only a shadowy outline of the glory and essential features of the high-priesthood of Aaron. As the ark with the Shechinah, or the gracious presence of God, was wanting in the temple of Zerubbabel; so were the Urim and Thummim wanting to the high-priesthood, and these were the only means by which the high priest could really carry out the mediation between the Lord and the people. זאת לא זאת .el (this is not this) does not refer to the tiara (mitre) and crown. זאת is neuter, and therefore construed with the masculine היה. This (mitre and crown) will not be this (היה is prophetic), i.e., it will not continue, it will be all over with it (Hvernick, Maurer, and Kliefoth). To this there is appended the further thought, that a general inversion of things will take place. This is the meaning of the words - the low will be lifted up, and the lofty lowered. הגבּהּ and השׁפּיל are infinitives, and are chosen in the same sense as in the first hemistich. The form השּׁפלה, with ה without the tone, is masculine; the ־ה probably serving merely to give greater fulness to the form, and to make it correspond more nearly to הגּבהּ.

(Note: Hitzig has given a most preposterous exposition of this verse. Taking the words הסיר and הרים as antithetical, in the sense of removing ad exalting or sustaining in an exalted position, and regarding the clauses as questions signifying, "Shall the high-priesthood be abolished, and the real dignity, on the contrary, remain untouched?" he finds the answer to these questions in the words זאת לא (this, not this). They contain, in his opinion, as affirmation of the former and a negation of the latter. But he does not tell us how זאת לא זאת without a verb can possibly mean, "the former (the abrogation of the high-priesthood) will take place, but the latter (the exaltation of the monarchy) will not occur." And, finally, the last clause, "the low shall be lifted up," etc., is said to contain simply a watchword, which is not for the time being to be followed by any result. Such trifling needs no refutation. We simply observe, therefore, that there is no ground for the assertion, that הרים without מן cannot possibly signify to abolish.)

This general thought is expressed still more definitely in Ezekiel 21:27. עוּה, which is repeated twice to give greater emphasis to the thought, is a noun derived from עוּה, inversion, overthrow; and the suffix in אשׂימנּהּ points back to זאת in Ezekiel 21:26 (31). This, the existing state, the high-priesthood and the monarch, will I make into destruction, or utterly overthrow. But the following זאת cannot also refer to the tiara and crown, as Kliefoth supposes, on account of the גּם which precedes it. This shows that זאת relates to the thing last mentioned. Even this, the overthrow, shall have no durability; or, as Tanch. has correctly expressed it, neque haec conditio erit durabilis. The following עד־בּא attaches itself not so much to this last clause as to the main thought: overthrow upon overthrow will ensue. The thought is this: "nowhere is there rest, nowhere security; all things are in a state of flux till the coming of the great Restorer and Prince of peace" (Hengstenberg). It is generally acknowledged that the words עד־בּא אשׁר־לו המּשׁפּט contain an allusion to Genesis 49:10, עד כּי; and it is only by a false interpretation of the preceding clauses, wrung from the words by an arbitrary alteration of the text, that Hitzig is able to set this connection aside. At the same time, אשׁר־לו המּשׁפּט is of course not to be taken as a philological explanation of the word שׁילה, but is simply a theological interpretation of the patriarchal prophecy, with direct reference to the predicted destruction of the existing relations in consequence of the ungodliness and unrighteousness of the leaders of the theocracy up to that time. המּשׁפּט is not the rightful claim to the mitre and crown, but right in an objective sense, as belonging to God (Deuteronomy 1:17), and entrusted by God to the earthly government as His representative. He then, to whom this right belongs, and to whom God will give it, is the Messiah, of whom the prophets from the time of David onwards have prophesied as the founder and restorer of perfect right on earth (cf. Psalm 72; Isaiah 9:6; Isaiah 42:1; Jeremiah 23:5; Jeremiah 33:17). The suffix attached to נתתּיו is not a dative, but an accusative, referring to משׁפּט (cf. Psalm 72:1). There was no necessity to mention the person again to whom God would give the right, as He had already been designated in the previous expression אשׁר לו.

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