Ezekiel 21:7
And it shall be, when they say to you, Why sigh you? that you shall answer, For the tidings; because it comes: and every heart shall melt, and all hands shall be feeble, and every spirit shall faint, and all knees shall be weak as water: behold, it comes, and shall be brought to pass, said the Lord GOD.
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21:1-17 Here is an explanation of the parable in the last chapter. It is declared that the Lord was about to cut off Jerusalem and the whole land, that all might know it was his decree against a wicked and rebellious people. It behoves those who denounce the awful wrath of God against sinners, to show that they do not desire the woful day. The example of Christ teaches us to lament over those whose ruin we declare. Whatever instruments God uses in executing his judgments, he will strengthen them according to the service they are employed in. The sword glitters to the terror of those against whom it is drawn. It is a sword to others, a rod to the people of the Lord. God is in earnest in pronouncing this sentence, and the prophet must show himself in earnest in publishing it.The prophet was directed to let the people see him sighing and prostrate, as a sign of the sorrow and weakness about to come upon the people.

The breaking of thy loins - The prostration of strength; the loins being the seat of strength.

7. The abrupt sentences and mournful repetitions imply violent emotions. This directs the prophet what account to give them, when they shall, as they certainly will, inquire what he meaneth by such unusual sorrows. Is it any private misery that makes thee sigh thus, or does it bode evil to others, or to us?

For the tidings; the news that is told me from Heaven, for the certain rumour of Nebuchadnezzar’s preparations, and march against you. The saddest news you ever heard is coming, it will most assuredly come. The courage of the stoutest heart shall fail. which shall appear in the feebleness of their hands, dejectedness of their spirit, and their knees not able to support the body; such terrors shall seize them as shall make them unable to shift from, or to make head against, the evils that come against them.

It cometh; none can prevent it.

Shall be brought to pass; it shall have its full effect, nothing shall be wanting to your complete undoing, and then, as I do for a sign to you, so you and yours shall do under the sorrows signified, sigh, and weep, to the breaking your very heart. And it shall be, when they say unto thee, wherefore sighest thou?.... Which he was to do that purpose, that they might be put upon asking him the reason of it; whether it was on his own personal amount, or on account of his family or particular friends; or whether on a public account, either because of what should befall the captives there, or their countrymen in Judea and Jerusalem:

that thou shalt answer, for the tidings, or, the "report" (p),

because it cometh; the report of the Chaldean army approaching and invading Judea, and besieging Jerusalem, which he had from the Lord; and the thing itself was just at hand, and would shortly and certainly be; and that was the thing that affected him, and caused such sorrow and sighing:

and every heart shall melt; like wax, for fear of the enemy; even such who then disbelieved the report, and laughed at it as an idle story:

and all hands shall be feeble; and not able to hold a sword, or strike a stroke:

and every spirit shall faint; yea, such who had the greatest spirits, and were the most bold and undaunted, shall be quite dispirited, no heart nor courage to defend themselves or their country:

and all knees shall be weak as water; they shall not be able to stand upon their legs, and fight like men in their own defence; nor even be able to flee away, and make their escape: or,

shall flow with water (q); either with sweat, or with urine, through fear of the enemy:

behold, it cometh, and shall be brought pass, saith the Lord God; let no man therefore put this evil day far from him, or treat this report as an idle tale, or a thing at a distance, and which may never come to pass; for it is now a coming, and in a very little time will be accomplished; for the Lord has said it, who cannot lie, whose counsel shall stand, and will do all his pleasure.

(p) , , Sept.; "propter rumorem", Vatablus, Cocceius; "propter vel ad auditum", Paginus, Montanus. (q) "fluent aquis", Munster, Tigurine version, so Ben Melech; "manabunt ut aqua" Cocceius.

And it shall be, when they say to thee, Why sighest thou? that thou shalt answer, {e} For the tidings; because it cometh: and every heart shall melt, and all hands shall be feeble, and every spirit shall faint, and all knees shall be weak as water: behold, it cometh, and shall be brought to pass, saith the Lord GOD.

(e) Because of the great noise of the army of the Chaldeans.

7. it cometh] i.e. the overwhelming disaster. The words, “and … to pass” are wanting in LXX.The Ultimate Gathering of Israel, and Its Conversion to the Lord

Ezekiel 20:39. Ye then, O house of Israel, thus saith the Lord Jehovah, Go ye, serve every one his idols! but afterwards - truly ye will hearken to me, and no longer desecrate my holy name with your sacrificial gifts and your idols, Ezekiel 20:40. But upon my holy mountain, upon the high mountain of Israel, is the saying of the Lord Jehovah, there will all the house of Israel serve me, the whole of it in the land; there will I accept them gladly; there will I ask for your heave-offerings and the first-fruits of your gifts in all that ye make holy. Ezekiel 20:41. As a pleasant odour will I accept you gladly, when I bring you out from the nations, and gather you out of the lands, in which you have been scattered, and sanctify myself in you before the eyes of the heathen nations. Ezekiel 20:42. And ye shall know that I am Jehovah, when I bring you into the land of Israel, into the land which I lifted up my hand to give to your fathers; Ezekiel 20:43. And there ye will think of your ways and your deeds, with which ye have defiled yourselves, and will loathe yourselves (lit., experience loathing before yourselves) on account of all your evil deeds. which ye have performed; Ezekiel 20:44. And ye will know that I am Jehovah, when I deal with you for my name's sake, not according to your evil ways and according to your corrupt deeds, O house of Israel, is the saying of Jehovah. - After the Lord has declared to the people that He will prevent its being absorbed into the heathen world, and will exterminate the ungodly by severe judgments, the address passes on, with the direction henceforth to serve idols only, to a prediction of the eventual conversion, and the restoration to Canaan of the purified nation. The direction, "Go ye, serve every one his idols," contains, after what precedes it, a powerful appeal to repent. God thereby gives up the impenitent to do whatever they will, having first of all told them that not one of them will come into the land of Canaan. Their opposition will not frustrate His plan of salvation. The words which follow from ואחר onwards have been interpreted in different ways. It is opposed to the usage of the language to connect ואחר with עבדוּ, serve ye hereafter also (De Wette, etc.), for ו has not the force of the Latin et equals etiam, and still less does it signify "afterwards just as before." Nor is it allowable to connect ואחר closely with what follows, in the sense of "and hereafter also, if ye will hearken to me, profane ye my name no more" (Rosenmller, Maurer). For if תּחלּלוּ were used as an imperative, either it would have to stand at the beginning of the sentence, or it would be preceded by אל instead of לא. Moreover, the antithesis between not being willing to hear and not profaning the name of God, is imported arbitrarily into the text. The name of the Lord is profaned not only by sacrifices offered in external form to Jehovah and in the heart to idols, but also by disobedience to the word and commandments of God. It is much better to take ואחר by itself, and to render the following particle, אם, as the ordinary sign of an oath: "but afterwards (i.e., in the future)...verily, ye will hearken to me;" that is to say, ye will have been converted from your idolatry through the severe judgments that have fallen upon you. The ground for this thought is introduced in Ezekiel 20:40 by a reference to the fact that all Israel will then serve the Lord upon His holy mountain. כּי is not "used emphatically before a direct address" (Hitzig), but has a causal signification. For 'הר מרום ישׂ, see the comm. on Ezekiel 17:23. In the expression "all Israel," which is rendered more emphatic by the addition of כּלּה, there is an allusion to the eventual termination of the severance of the people of God (compare Ezekiel 37:22). Then will the Lord accept with delight both them and their sacrificial gifts. תּרוּמות, heave-offerings (see the comm. on Exodus 25:2 and Leviticus 2:9), used here in the broader sense of all the sacrificial gifts, along with which the gifts of first-fruits are specially named. משׂאות, as applied to holy offerings in the sense of ἀναθήματα, belongs to the later usage of the language. בּכל־קדשׁיכם, consisting of all your consecrated gifts. קדשׁים, as in Leviticus 22:15. This promise includes implicite the bringing back of Israel from its banishment. This is expressly mentioned in Ezekiel 20:41; but even there it is only introduced as self-evident in the subordinate clause, whereas the cheerful acceptance of Israel on the part of God constitutes the leading thought.

בּריח ניחח, as an odour of delight (ב, the so-called Beth essentiae), will God accept His people. ריח ניחח, odour of satisfaction, is the technical expression for the cheerful (well-pleased) acceptance of the sacrifice, or rather of the feelings of the worshipper presenting the sacrifice, which ascend to God in the sacrificial odour (see the comm. on Genesis 8:21). The thought therefore is the following: When God shall eventually gather His people out of their dispersion, He will accept them as a sacrifice well-pleasing to Him, and direct all His good pleasure towards them. ונקדּשׁתּי בכם does not mean, I shall be sanctified through you, and is not to be explained in the same sense as Leviticus 22:32 (Rosenmller), for ב is not equivalent to בּתוך; but it signifies "I will sanctify myself on you," as in Numbers 20:13; Leviticus 10:3, and other passages, where נקדּשׁ is construed with ב pers. (cf. Ezekiel 28:25; Ezekiel 36:23; Ezekiel 38:16; Ezekiel 39:27), in the sense of proving oneself holy, mostly by judgment, but here through having made Israel into a holy nation by the refining judgment, and one to which He can therefore grant the promised inheritance. - Ezekiel 20:42. Then will Israel also recognise its God in His grace, and be ashamed of its former sins. For Ezekiel 20:43, compare Ezekiel 6:9 and Ezekiel 16:61. - With regard to the fulfilment, as Kliefoth has correctly observed, "in the prediction contained in Ezekiel 20:32-38, the whole of the searching judgments, by which God would lead Israel to conversion, are summed up in one, which includes not only the Babylonian captivity, the nearest and the first, but the still more remote judgment, namely, the present dispersion; for it is only in the present dispersion of Israel that God has really taken it into the wilderness of the nations, just as it was only in the rejection of Christ that its rebellious attitude was fully manifested. And as the prophecy of the state of punishment combines in this way both the nearer and more remote; so are both the nearer and more distant combined in what Ezekiel 20:40 to 44 affirm with regard to the ultimate fate of Israel." The gathering of Israel from among the heathen will be fulfilled in its conversion to Christ, and hitherto it has only taken place in very small beginnings. The principal fulfilment is still to come, when Israel, as a nation, shall be converted to Christ. With regard to the bringing back of the people into "the land of Israel," see the comm. on Ezekiel 37, where this promise is more fully expanded.

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