Ezekiel 21:26
Thus said 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. 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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