Ezekiel 22:6
Behold, the princes of Israel, every one were in thee to their power to shed blood.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(6) Were in thee to their power.—The tense is the same with that of the verbs in Ezekiel 22:7, and both should be translated alike; the order of the words should also be changed: “The princes of Israel, every one according to his power, have been in thee to shed blood.” The rulers, who should have preserved order and administered justice, were foremost in deeds of violence. (See the instances of Manasseh, 2Kings 21:16, and of Jehoiakim, 2Kings 24:4.)

Ezekiel 22:6-12. Behold, the princes of Israel, &c. — Probably the members of the great sanhedrim, or the king’s counsellors and chief officers, are here intended; every one in thee — Not one to be found of a more merciful temper; to their power — According to their ability; to shed blood — Every one of the princes committed acts of violence, and shed blood, as far as he had it in his power to do it. In thee have they set light by father and mother — Disobedience to, or slighting of parents, is unnatural and brutish in itself, and had, in particular, a curse denounced against it by God’s law, Deuteronomy 27:16; so that it is here placed next to murder in the catalogue of their sins. Thou hast despised my holy things, &c. — Thou hast paid no proper regard to my holy temple, mine altars, sacrifices, feasts, and other things consecrated to my service, nor to the pure worship I appointed; but hast defiled and profaned them all by worshipping of idols together with me, and mingling heathen rites with the forms of worship which I ordered. The sabbaths, which I appointed to be set apart for my honour, thou hast, in great measure, employed in the worship and to the honour of false gods. In thee are men that carry tales to shed blood —

Who raise calumnies and depose falsehoods even so far as to take away the lives of innocent persons. In thee they eat upon the mountains — Thy inhabitants sacrifice, and feast upon the sacrifices, in the mountains, in honour of idols or false gods. In the midst of thee they commit lewdness — And that in the most scandalous instances. In thee have they discovered their fathers’ nakedness — Have defiled their fathers’ beds, or taken their mothers-in-law for wives, called by St. Paul, such fornication as is not named among the Gentiles. In thee have they taken gifts to shed blood — Thy judges have taken bribes, not only to pervert justice, but even to take away the lives of the innocent.

22:1-16 The prophet is to judge the bloody city; the city of bloods. Jerusalem is so called, because of her crimes. The sins which Jerusalem stands charged with, are exceeding sinful. Murder, idolatry, disobedience to parents, oppression and extortion, profanation of the sabbath and holy things, seventh commandment sins, lewdness and adultery. Unmindfulness of God was at the bottom of all this wickedness. Sinners provoke God because they forget him. Jerusalem has filled the measure of her sins. Those who give up themselves to be ruled by their lusts, will justly be given up to be portioned by them. Those who resolve to be their own masters, let them expect no other happiness than their own hands can furnish; and a miserable portion it will prove.Render it: Behold the princes of Israel, each according to his might (literally "arm") have been in thee in order to shed blood. They looked to might not right. 6. Rather, "The princes … each according to his power, were in thee, to shed blood" (as if this was the only object of their existence). "Power," literally, "arm"; they, who ought to have been patterns of justice, made their own arm of might their only law. He was in Ezekiel 23:2 commanded to show the Jews all their abominations. Now he is directed to begin with the greatest first, either those of the royal family, or else such as adhered close to the interest of them, and were advanced to places of great trust; or, who were heads of families.

Every one; not one to be found of a juster or more merciful temper.

To their power; according to their ability and opportunity.

To shed blood; for murdering all they hated, or that stood in their way.

Behold, the princes of Israel,.... Those that belonged to the royal family, or the nobles of the land, or the members of the grand sanhedrim of the nation:

everyone were in thee to their power to shed blood; everyone exerted himself to the uttermost, according to his ability, to shed blood, or cause it to be shed; everyone strove, as it were, who should shed most, to exceed each other in this abominable sin.

Behold, the princes of Israel, every one were in thee to their power to shed blood.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
6–12. Particular enumeration of Jerusalem’s sins

6. The “princes” are those of the royal house.

were … to their power] have been high-handed in thee, to shed. The meaning is not that they shed blood to the utmost of their power, but that they were arbitrary; their power, lit. arm, was the only law.

Verse 6. - Behold, the princes of Judah, etc. For the "bloodshed," which was conspicuous among the sins, comp. Ezekiel 9:9; Ezekiel 16:38; Ezekiel 23:37, 45; and for special instances of that sin among its princes, those of Manasseh (2 Kings 21:16) and Jehoiakim (2 Kings 24:4). To their power; Hebrew, each man according to his arm, i.e. his strength. There was no restraint upon the doer of evil other than the limitation of his capacity. Ezekiel 22:6Blood-guiltiness of Jerusalem and the burden of its sins. Ezekiel 22:1-5 contain the principal accusation relating to bloodshed and idolatry; and Ezekiel 22:6-16 a further account of the sins of the people and their rulers, with a brief threatening of punishment. - Ezekiel 22:1. And the word of Jehovah came to me, saying, Ezekiel 22:2. And thou, son of man, wilt thou judge? wilt thou judge the city of blood-guiltiness? then show it all its abominations, Ezekiel 22:3. And say, Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, City, which sheddeth blood in the midst of it, that her time may come, and maketh idols within itself for defilement. Ezekiel 22:4. Through thy blood which thou hast shed hast thou made thyself guilty, and through thine idols which thou hast made hast thou defiled thyself, and hast drawn thy days near, and hast come to thy years; therefore I make thee a scorn to the nations, and ridicule to all lands. Ezekiel 22:5. Those near and those far off from thee shall ridicule thee as defiled in name, rich in confusion. - The expression 'התשׁפּט וגו proves this address to be a continuation of the reproof of Israel's sins, which commenced in Ezekiel 20:4. The epithet city of blood-guiltiness, as in Ezekiel EZechariah 24:6, Ezekiel 24:9 (compare Nahum 3:1), is explained in Ezekiel 22:3. The apodosis commences with והודעתּהּ, and is continued in Ezekiel 22:3 (ואמרתּ). לבוא עתּהּ, that her time, i.e., her time of punishment, may come: עתּהּ, like יומו in Ezekiel 21:30. ועשׂתּה is not a continuation of the infinitive לבוא, but of the participle שׁפכת. עליה, of which different renderings have been given, does not mean "over itself," i.e., as a burden with which it has laden itself (Hvernick); still less "for itself" (Hitzig), a meaning which על never has, but literally "upon," i.e., in itself, covering the city with it, as it were. ותּקריבי, thou hast brought near, brought on thy days, that is to say, the days of judgment, and hast come to, arrived at thy years, sc. the years of visitation and punishment (cf. Jeremiah 11:23). This meaning is readily supplied by the context. טמאת ה, defiled, unclean with regard to the name, i.e., having forfeited the name of a holy city through capital crimes and other sinful abominations. מהוּמה is internal confusion, both moral and religious, as in Amos 3:9 (cf. Psalm 55:10-12).

In Ezekiel 22:6-12 there follows an enumeration of a multitude of sins which had been committed in Jerusalem. - Ezekiel 22:6. Behold, the princes of Israel are every one, according to his arm, in thee to shed blood. Ezekiel 22:7. Father and mother they despise in thee; toward the foreigner they act violently in the midst of thee; orphans and widows they oppress in thee. Ezekiel 22:8. Thou despisest my holy things, and desecratest my Sabbaths. Ezekiel 22:9. Slanderers are in thee to shed blood, and they eat upon the mountains in thee; they practise lewdness in thee. Ezekiel 22:10. They uncover the father's nakedness in thee; they ravish the defiled in her uncleanness in thee. Ezekiel 22:11. They take gifts in thee to shed blood; interest and usury thou takest, and overreachest thy neighbours with violence, and thou forgettest me, is the saying of the Lord Jehovah. - By the repetition of the refrain, to shed blood (Ezekiel 22:6, Ezekiel 22:9, and Ezekiel 22:12), the enumeration is divided into three groups of sins, which are placed in the category of blood-guiltiness by the fact that they are preceded by this sentence and the repetition of it after the form of a refrain. the first group (Ezekiel 22:6-8) embraces sins which are committed in daring opposition to all the laws of morality. By the princes of Israel we are to understand primarily the profligate kings, who caused innocent persons to be put to death, such, for example, as Jehoiakim (2 Kings 24:4), Manasseh (2 Kings 21:16), and others. The words אישׁ are rendered by Hitzig and Kliefoth, they were ready to help one another; and in support of the rendering they appeal to Psalm 83:9. But in that case אישׁ לזרעו would stand for לזרע אישׁ rof dnat, or rather for אישׁ זרוע לאישׁ, - a substitution which cannot be sustained. Nor can they be taken in the sense proposed by Hvernick, every one relying upon his arm, i.e., looking to physical force alone, but simply every one according to his arm, i.e., according to his strength or violence, are they in thee. In this case היוּ does not require anything to be supplied, any more than in the similar combination in Ezekiel 22:9. Followed by למען with an infinitive, it means to be there with the intention of doing anything, or making an attempt, i.e., to direct his efforts to a certain end. In Ezekiel 22:7 it is not the princes who are the subject, but the ungodly in general. הקלּוּ is the opposite of כּבּד (Exodus 20:12). In the reproofs which follow, compare Exodus 22:20.; Leviticus 19:13; Deuteronomy 24:14. With insolence and violence toward men there is associated contempt of all that is holy. For Ezekiel 22:8, see Ezekiel 20:13. - In the second group, Ezekiel 22:9-11, in addition to slander and idolatry, the crimes of lewdness and incest are the principal sins for which the people are reproved; and here the allusion to Leviticus 18 and 19 is very obvious. The reproof of slander also points back to the prohibition in Leviticus 19:16. Slander to shed blood, refers to malicious charges and false testimony in a court of justice (vid., 1 Kings 21:10-11). For eating upon the mountains, see Ezekiel 18:6. The practice of zimmâh is more specifically described in Ezekiel 22:10 and Ezekiel 22:11. For the thing itself, compare Leviticus 18:7-8; Leviticus 19:15 and Leviticus 19:9. The threefold אישׁ in Ezekiel 22:11 does not mean every one, but one, another, and the third, as the correlative רעהוּ shows. - The third group, Ezekiel 22:12, is composed of sins of covetousness. For the first clause, compare the prohibition in Exodus 23:2; for the second, Ezekiel 18:8, Ezekiel 18:13. The reproof finishes with forgetfulness of God, which is closely allied to covetousness.

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