Ezekiel 21:28
And thou, son of man, prophesy and say, Thus saith the Lord GOD concerning the Ammonites, and concerning their reproach; even say thou, The sword, the sword is drawn: for the slaughter it is furbished, to consume because of the glittering:
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(28) Concerning the Ammonites.—At the opening of this prophecy (Ezekiel 21:19-20) the king of Babylon was represented as hesitating whether to attack Jerusalem or Rabbah, and as being led to the determination of attacking the former. This would leave the inference that the Ammonites might escape altogether; and from the destruction of God’s peculiar people, along with the immunity of their ancient enemies, the heathen would be likely to draw conclusions inconsistent with the power and majesty of God. Hence this prophecy is added to show that His judgments shall certainly fall on them also, and in this case the ruin foretold is final and hopeless, without the promise given to Israel in Ezekiel 21:27. Another prophecy against Ammon is given in Ezekiel 25:1-7. As a matter of history, the Ammonites were conquered, and their country desolated, by Nebuchadnezzar a few years after the destruction of Jerusalem, and they gradually dwindled away until their name and place among the nations finally disappeared.

Their reproachi.e., their exultation in the desolation of Israel. (See Ezekiel 25:3; Zephaniah 2:8.)

Ezekiel 21:28-29. Thus saith the Lord concerning the Ammonites — Because the Ammonites were reprieved by Nebuchadnezzar’s decision to besiege Jerusalem, they were ready to promise themselves security, and to insult over the calamities brought on the Jews; a practice for which they are often reproved very severely by the prophets, and threatened with the like judgments. And concerning their reproach — Wherewith they reproached Israel in the day of Israel’s afflictions; say thou, The sword is drawn, is drawn — Warlike preparations are made against you, the war is declared, and your enemy hath drawn the sword. For the slaughter it is furbished — It is prepared to make dreadful destruction, to lay waste your country, and consume its inhabitants. While they see vanity unto thee — While the soothsayers and pretenders to divination foretel nothing but happy events to thee, O Ammon! the sword is preparing to destroy thee. To bring thee upon the necks of them that are slain — To add thy people to the number of those who are slain in Judea, (Ezekiel 21:14-15,) and to make thy condition like theirs; whose day is come — See Ezekiel 21:25. When their iniquity shall have an end — When their deserved punishment, coming upon them, shall put a stop to their wickedness. This prophecy concerning the Ammonites was fulfilled by the Babylonians, about five years after the destruction of Jerusalem, because the Ammonites assisted Ishmael to wrest the government of Judea out of the hands of Gedaliah, whom the king of Babylon had fixed there as his deputy.

21:28-32 The diviners of the Ammonites made false prophecies of victory. They would never recover their power, but in time would be wholly forgotten. Let us be thankful to be employed as instruments of mercy; let us use our understandings in doing good; and let us stand aloof from men who are only skilful to destroy.The burden of the Song of the Sword, also in the form of poetry, is again taken up, directed now against the Ammonites, who, exulting in Judah's destruction, fondly deemed that they were themselves to escape. For Judah there is yet hope, for Ammon irremediable ruin.

Their reproach - The scorn with which they reproach Judah (marginal references).

The sword ... the glittering - Or, "the sword is drawn for the slaughter; it is furbished that it may detour, in order that it may glitter." In the Septuagint (and Vulgate) the sword is addressed; e. g., Septuagint, "Arise that thou mayest shine."

28. Lest Ammon should think to escape because Nebuchadnezzar had taken the route to Jerusalem, Ezekiel denounces judgment against Ammon, without the prospect of a restoration such as awaited Israel. Jer 49:6, it is true, speaks of a "bringing again of its captivity," but this probably refers to its spiritual restoration under Messiah; or, if referring to it politically, must refer to but a partial restoration at the downfall of Babylon under Cyrus.

their reproach—This constituted a leading feature in their guilt; they treated with proud contumely the covenant-people after the taking of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar (Eze 25:3, 6; Zep 2:9, 10), and appropriated Israel's territory (Jer 49:1; Am 1:13-15).

furbished, to consume—Maurer punctuates thus, "Drawn for the slaughter, it is furbished to devour ('consume'), to glitter." English Version, "to consume because of the glittering," means, "to consume by reason of the lightning, flash-like rapidity with which it falls." Five years after the fall of Jerusalem, Ammon was destroyed for aiding Ishmael in usurping the government of Judea against the will of the king of Babylon (2Ki 25:25; Jer 41:15) [Grotius].

In Ezekiel 21:19,20 you had the mention of Rabbath, chief city of the Ammonites, in equal danger with Jerusalem; but while Jerusalem is threatened, Rabbath is no further minded, till now God directs the prophet to declare the ruin thereof.

The Ammonites; a stout, but proud, injurious, and insulting people.

Their reproach, wherewith they reproached Israel in the day of Israel’s afflictions, as Jeremiah 49:1, and Ezekiel 25:3,5,6, and blasphemed the God of Israel.

The sword; all warlike preparations are made against you.

The sword is drawn; the war is declared, and your enemy hath drawn the sword: see Ezekiel 21:9-11.

For the slaughter; to make waste, by avenging former quarrels and affronts. The Babylonish king comes out with bloody mind against you, O Ammonites! You countenanced Ishmael, who slew Gedaliah, viceroy by Nebuchadnezzar’s appointment, and you would have set Ishmael on the throne; this affront you shall satisfy for with your blood.

Because of the glittering: see Ezekiel 21:9,10.

And thou, son of man, prophesy, and say,.... Here begins a new prophecy, or rather an enlargement on part of the former; two ways being marked out for the sword of the Chaldeans to come in; the one leading to Jerusalem, the other to Rabbath of the Ammonites; the prophecy being finished concerning the former, here an account is given of the latter; how the sword should move that way, and what execution it would do:

thus saith the Lord God concerning the Ammonites, and concerning their reproach; Nebuchadnezzar, agreeably to the above prophecy, having taken his route to Jerusalem, as his divination directed him, and destroyed that, returned to Babylon, without making any attempt upon the Ammonites; which so flushed them, that they insulted the Jews, and laughed at their destruction, as if their God whom they served could not save them; attributing their safety and prosperity to the idols they worshipped; see Ezekiel 25:1,

even say thou, the sword, the sword is drawn for the slaughter; the same sword of the Chaldeans, which was drawn for the slaughter of the Jews, is now drawn for the slaughter of the Ammonites; and which is repeated for the certainty of it, and to inject terror; and this, as Josephus (u) says, was accomplished five years after the destruction of Jerusalem, in the twenty third year of Nebuchadnezzar:

it is furbished, to consume because of the glittering; being brightened and made sharp, it not only terrified with its glittering, but was more fit and prepared to cut and destroy; see Ezekiel 21:9.

(u) Antiqu. Jud. l. 10. c. 9. sect. 7.

And thou, son of man, prophesy and say, Thus saith the Lord GOD concerning the Ammonites, and concerning their reproach; even say thou, The sword, the sword is drawn: for the slaughter it is furbished, to consume because of the glittering:
28. the sword … is drawn] Rather with disregard of the accents: a sword, a sword is drawn for slaughter; it is furbished to the uttermost in order that it may glitter.

to consume] Rather: to the uttermost, lit. as far as it can hold or receive. Corn. amends: to flash (hahel for hakil).

Appendix. 28–32. Threatening prophecy against Ammon

The passage is obscure, but several things seem evident. 1. In spite of the similarities between the language of Ezekiel 21:28 and that in Ezekiel 21:9-10, the sword here is that of Ammon. This is certain from the words Ezekiel 21:30 “return it to its sheath.” 2. It is against Israel, not against the Chaldeans, that the Ammonites furbish and draw their sword. This appears from the words “concerning Ammon, and concerning their reproach” Ezekiel 21:28. Deceived by false prophecies they cherish purposes of conquest outside their own borders, which shall be far from being realized; on the contrary they shall be assailed in their own home and there annihilated (Ezekiel 21:25, cf. Ezekiel 25:4). History does not enable us to follow the progress of events. It is possible that simultaneously with Judah all the neighbouring peoples threw off the yoke of Babylon, so that it might be doubtful which of them Nebuchadnezzar would attack first (Ezekiel 21:20-21), but that in the course of events Ammon, true to its instincts, assumed an attitude hostile to Judah (cf. 2 Kings 24:2). The date of the present passage is no doubt later than that of the rest of the chapter, and may owe some of its colour to events subsequent to the fall of Jerusalem. Cf. Ezekiel 25:1-7.

Verse 28. - Thus saith the Lord God concerning the Ammonites. Ezekiel has not forgotten that scene at the parting of the ways. The Ammonites, when they saw the issue of the divination, and the march of the Chaldean army to the west, thought themselves safe. They took up their reproach against Jerusalem, and exulted in its fall. They are warned, as in another strophe of the "Lay of the Sword of Jehovah," that their confidence is vain (comp. Zephaniah 2:8 for a like exultation at an earlier period). Ezekiel 21:28Overthrow of the Ammonites

Ezekiel 21:28. And thou, son of man, prophesy and say, Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, concerning the sons of Ammon, and concerning their scorn, sword, sword, drawn to slay, polished, that it may devour, that it may flash! Ezekiel 21:29. While they prophesy deceit to thee, while they divine lying to thee, it shall lay thee by the necks of the sinners slain, whose day cometh at the time of the final transgression. Ezekiel 21:30. Put it in its scabbard again. At the place where thou wast created, in the land of thy birth will I judge thee, Ezekiel 21:31. And pour out my anger upon thee, kindle the fire of my wrath against thee, and give thee into the hand of foolish men, of smiths of destruction. Ezekiel 21:32. Thou shalt be for the fire to devour; thy blood shall remain in the midst of the land; thou shalt be remembered no more; for I Jehovah have spoken it. - As Judah in Jerusalem will fall by the sword of the king of Babylon, contrary to all expectation; so will the Ammonites be punished for their scorn with utter extermination. חרפּה is scorn at the overthrow of Israel (cf. Ezekiel 25:3, Ezekiel 25:6, and Zephaniah 2:8). The sword is already drawn against them. פּתוּחה, taken out of the scabbard, as in Psalm 37:14. לטבח is to be connected with פּתוּחה, notwithstanding the accents, and להכיל להכיל with מרוּטה. This is required by the correspondence of the clauses. הכיל is regarded as a derivative of כּוּל by Ewald and others, in the sense of ad sustinendum, according to capacity, i.e., as much as possible. But the adverbial rendering it opposed to the context, and cannot be sustained from Ezekiel 23:32. Moreover, כּוּל, to contain, is applicable enough to goblets and other vessels, but not to a sword. Hitzig therefore explains it from the Arabic kll, to blunt (sc., the eyes), i.e., to blind. But this is open to the objection that the form הכיל points to the verb כּוּל rather than כּלל; and also to a still greater one, - namely, that there is nothing in the Hebrew usage to suggest the use of כלל in such a sense as this, and even if it were used in the sense of blunting, it would be perfectly arbitrary to supply עינים; and lastly, that even the flashing of the sword does not suggest the idea of blinding, but is intended to heighten the terror occasioned by the sharpness of the sword. We therefore adhere to the derivation of הכיל from אכל, and regard it as a defective form for האכיל, like תּמרוּ for תּאמרוּ in 2 Samuel 19:14, יהל as syncopated form for יאהל (Isaiah 13:20), and watochez ותּחז for ותּאחז in 2 Samuel 20:9; literally, to cause it to eat or devour, i.e., to make it fit for the work of devouring. למען , literally, for the sake of the lightning (flash) that shall issue therefrom (cf. Ezekiel 21:10). - In Ezekiel 21:29 (34), לתת (to lay, or place) is also dependent upon חרב פּתוּחה, drawn to lay thee; so that the first half of the verse is inserted as a parenthesis, either to indicate the occasion for bringing the sword into the land (Hitzig), or to introduce an attendant circumstance, according to the sense in which the ב in בּחזות is taken. The parenthetical clause is understood by most of the commentators as referring to deceptive oracles of Ammonitish soothsayers, which either determined the policy of Ammon, as Hitzig supposes (cf. Jeremiah 27:9-10), or inspired the Ammonites with confidence, that they had nothing to fear from the Chaldeans. Kliefoth, on the other hand, refers the words to the oracles consulted by Nebuchadnezzar, according to Ezekiel 21:23. "These oracles, which directed the king not to march against the Ammonites, but against Jerusalem, proved themselves, according to Ezekiel 21:29, to be deceptive prophesying to the Ammonites, inasmuch as they also afterwards fell by the sword; just as, according to Ezekiel 21:23, they proved themselves to be genuine so far as the Israelites were concerned, inasmuch as they were really the first to be smitten." This view is a very plausible one, if it only answered in any degree to the words. But it is hard to believe that the words, "while it (one) prophesies falsehood to thee," are meant to be equivalent to "while its prophecy proves itself to be false to thee." Moreover, Nebuchadnezzar did not give the Ammonites any oracle, either false or true, by the circumstance that his divination at the cross-road led him to decide in favour of the march to Jerusalem; for all that he did in consequence was to postpone his designs upon the Ammonites, but not to relinquish them. We cannot understand the words in any other sense, therefore, than as relating to oracles, which the Ammonites received from soothsayers of their own.

Hitzig takes offence at the expression, "that it (the sword) may lay thee by (to) the necks of the sinners slain," because colla cannot stand for corpora decollata, and consequently proposes to alter אותך into אותהּ, to put it (the sword) to the necks. But by this conjecture he gets the not less striking thought, that the sword was to be put to the necks of those already slain; a thing which would be perfectly unmeaning, and is therefore not generally done. The sinners slain are the Judaeans who have fallen. The words point back to Ezekiel 21:25, the second half of which is repeated here, and predict the same fate to the Ammonites. It is easy to supply חרב to השׁב אל־תּערהּ: put the sword into its scabbard again. These words can only be addressed to the Ammonites; not to the Chaldeans, as Kliefoth imagines, for the latter does not harmonize in any way with what follows, viz., in the place of thy birth will I judge thee. God does not execute the judgment independently of the Chaldeans, but through the medium of their sword. The difficulties occasioned by taking the words as referring to the Ammonites are not so great as to necessitate an alteration of the text (Hitzig), or to call for the arbitrary explanation: put it now or for the present into the scabbard (Kliefoth). The use of the masculine השׁב (with Patach for השׁב, as in Isaiah 42:22), if Ammon is addressed by the side of the feminine אותך, may be explained in a very simple way, from the fact that the sword is carried by men, so that here the thought of the people, the warriors, is predominant, and the representation of the kingdom of the Ammonites as a woman falls into the background. The objection that the suffix in תּערהּ can only refer to the sword (of the Chaldean) mentioned in Ezekiel 21:28, is more plausible than conclusive. For inasmuch as the scabbard presupposes a sword, and every sword has a scabbard, the suffix may be fully accounted for from the thing itself, as the words, "put the sword into its scabbard," would lead any hearer to think at once of the sword of the person addressed, without considering whether that particular sword had been mentioned before or not. The meaning of the words is this: every attempt to defend thyself with the sword and avert destruction will be in vain. In thine own land will God judge thee. For מכרותיך, see the comm. on Ezekiel 16:3. This judgment is still further explained in Ezekiel 21:31, where the figure of the sword is dropped, and that of the fire of the wrath of God introduced in its place. אפיח...בּאשׁ, we render: "the fire of my wrath I blow (kindle) against thee," after Isaiah 54:16, and not "with the fire...do I blow, or snort, against thee," as others have done; because blowing with the fire is an unnatural figure, and the interpretation of the words in accordance with Isa. l.c. is all the more natural, that in the closing words of the verse, חרשׁי משׁחית, the allusion to that passage is indisputable, and it is only from this that the combination of the two words can be accounted for. - Different explanations have been given of בּערים. Some render it ardentes, and in accordance with Isaiah 30:27 : burning with wrath. But בּער is never used in this sense. Nor can the rendering "scorching men" (Kliefoth) be sustained, for בּער, to burn, only occurs in connection with things which are combustible, e.g., fire, pitch, coals, etc. The word must be explained from Psalm 92:7, "brutish," foolish, always bearing in mind that the Hebrew associated the idea of godlessness with folly, and that cruelty naturally follows in its train. - Ezekiel 21:32. Thus will Ammon perish through fire and sword, and even the memory of it be obliterated. For Ezekiel 21:32 compare Ezekiel 15:4. The words, "thy blood will be בּתוך הארץ in the midst of the land," can hardly be understood in any other sense than "thy blood will flow over all the land." For the rendering proposed by Ewald, "remain in the midst of the earth, without thy being mentioned," like that given by Kliefoth, "thy blood will the earth drink," does not harmonize with Ezekiel 24:7, where דּמהּ בּתוכהּ היה is affirmed of blood, which cannot penetrate into the earth, or be covered with dust. For תּזּכרי, see Ezekiel 25:10. Ammon as the enemy of the kingdom of God will utterly perish, leaving no trace behind, and without any such hope of restoration as that held out in Ezekiel 21:27 to the kingdom of Judah or the people of Israel.

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