Ezekiel 23:17
And the Babylonians came to her into the bed of love, and they defiled her with their whoredom, and she was polluted with them, and her mind was alienated from them.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(17) Her mind was alienated.—The original implies the disgust of satiety. Josiah had been the devoted friend of Babylon, and perished in his zeal on its behalf. Judah was then made a dependency of Egypt, and turned for aid to Babylon. Then receiving in turn the yoke of Babylon, she became impatient, and sought the aid of Egypt. This vacillating policy is described in Ezekiel 23:17-19, and at either, turn was so entirely wanting in sole reliance upon God as to produce the effect of Ezekiel 23:18 : “My mind was alienated from her.”

Ezekiel 23:17-20. And the Babylonians came to her, &c. — The metaphor of representing idolatry by the inordinate lust of adultery is still carried on. And her mind was alienated from them — She quickly grew weary of these also, as lewd women are of their former gallants, and look out for new ones. She broke her league and covenant with them, as St. Jerome very well expresses the sense; meaning that covenant which Jehoiakim made with Nebuchadnezzar to be his tributary, and which was afterward renewed by Zedekiah. So she discovered, or, after she discovered, her whoredoms — The sense being still continued with the foregoing verse. The meaning is, She was open and notorious in her lewd practices, and in the highest degree shameless. Then my mind was alienated from her — As she, by her idolatries, had broken all the bonds of duty and allegiance whereby she was engaged to me, a sin often compared to a wife’s disloyalty toward her husband, so I withdrew my love and affection from her, and resolved to give her a bill of divorce, as the Prophet Jeremiah expresses it, and not own her any more as mine, as I had cast off her sister Samaria. Yet she multiplied, &c. — Though she was fond of new idolatries, she did not forget her old ones, even those which she had learned in Egypt. For she doted upon their paramours — Upon the idols of Egypt, and the impure rites which accompanied their idolatrous worship. This may relate to the time when Zedekiah entered into a new confederacy with Egypt, which made the people fond of admitting the Egyptian idolatries. Whose flesh, &c. — These expressions seem to be made use of, to signify the excess of the Egyptian idolatry. They may likewise metaphorically express the great power and riches of the Egyptians, which made the Jewish people fond of courting their friendship and alliance.

23:1-49 A history of the apostacy of God's people from him, and the aggravation thereof. - In this parable, Samaria and Israel bear the name Aholah, her own tabernacle; because the places of worship those kingdoms had, were of their own devising. Jerusalem and Judah bear the name of Aholibah, my tabernacle is in her, because their temple was the place which God himself had chosen, to put his name there. The language and figures are according to those times. Will not such humbling representations of nature keep open perpetual repentance and sorrow in the soul, hiding pride from our eyes, and taking us from self-righteousness? Will it not also prompt the soul to look to God continually for grace, that by his Holy Spirit we may mortify the deeds of the body, and live in holy conversation and godliness?After Josiah's death and the usurpation of dominion by the Egyptians, the Babylonians were no doubt welcomed as friends 2 Kings 24:1. But the Jews were soon tired of their alliance and disgusted with their friends, and this led to the rebellion of Jehoiakim and the first captivity. 17. alienated from them—namely, from the Chaldeans: turning again to the Egyptians (Eze 23:19), trying by their help to throw off her solemn engagements to Babylon (compare Jer 37:5, 7; 2Ki 24:7). The Babylonians came: the prophet prosecuteth the allegory; the adulteress sent, and invited, and here the Chaldeans comply with it, they came, ambassadors no doubt first to make a confederacy, and then free intercourse in trade, and religion too.

The bed of love; so the impudently lascivious call the polluted, forbidden bed, as the harlot, Proverbs 7:18. It is like with this commerce and confederacy the lustful Babylonians did spread that disease, the Jewish nation were too much inclined to corporal adulteries and fornications; but metaphorically it is a delightful communicating with them in their idolatry in their idol temples and feasts.

Defiled her; made her unclean and loathsome.

Whoredom; spiritual and corporal.

Polluted; greatly defiled, as the doubling the expression imports. Her mind was alienated from them; like an arrant adulteress, wearied, but not satisfied with her adulterers, she changeth mind and friendships, and seeks new ones. So did this people, weary of the Chaldeans, seek new confederates.

And the Babylonians came to her in the bed of love,.... Entered into alliance with the Jews, and worshipped together in the same idols' temple. Jarchi thinks this refers to the messengers of the king of Babylon to Hezekiah; who were gladly received by him, and to whom he showed all the treasures of his house:

and they defiled her with their whoredom; or with their idols, as the Targum; they drew them into their idolatrous practices; which were defiling them, and by which they were corrupted from the simplicity of the true worship of God:

and she was polluted with them, and her mind was alienated from them: or "plucked", or "disjoined from them" (y); the Chaldeans, broke league and covenant with them, hating them as much as before they doted upon them; this was done in the times of Jehoiakim and Zedekiah, who rebelled against the king of Babylon, 2 Kings 24:1 as it often is the case with lewd women, when they have satisfied their lust with their gallants, loath and despise them, and cast them off.

(y) "avulsa est", Munster; "et luxata est anima ipsius ab eis", Junius & Tremellius, Polanus.

And the Babylonians came to her into the bed of love, and they defiled her with their whoredom, and she was polluted with them, and her mind was alienated from them.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
17. alienated from them] The figure lies in the revulsion of sated passion; the thing in the weariness of the Babylonian alliance and yoke, cf. ch. 17.

Verse 17. - The words paint the intimate alliance, the political prostitution, as it were, involved in the alliance with Babylon. Her mind was alienated from them. Interpreted by the history, the words point to the fact that Judah soon found out how hollow was the help gained by the alliance with Babylon, and turned, after Josiah's death, to Egypt as a counterpoise. As in the history of Amnon (2 Samuel 13:15), lust, when it had wrought its will, passed into loathing and disgust. Jehoiakim and Zedekiah were examples of what we may well call this distracted policy. But, as it was, this alienation did but increase her guilt. As things were, it would have been better, as Jeremiah all along counseled, to accept the rule of the Chaldeans. The mind of Jehovah was alienated from Jerusalem as hers had been from the Chaldeans. Ezekiel 23:17Whoredom of Judah

Ezekiel 23:11. And her sister Oholibah saw it, and carried on her coquetry still more wantonly than she had done, and her whoredom more than the whoredom of her sister. Ezekiel 23:12. She was inflamed with lust towards the sons of Asshur, governors and officers, standing near, clothed in perfect beauty, horsemen riding upon horses, choice men of good deportment. Ezekiel 23:13. And I saw that she had defiled herself; they both went one way. Ezekiel 23:14. And she carried her whoredom still further; she saw men engraved upon the wall, figures of Chaldeans engraved with red ochre, Ezekiel 23:15. Girded about the hips with girdles, with overhanging caps upon their heads, all of them knights in appearance, resembling the sons of Babel, the land of whose birth is Chaldea: Ezekiel 23:16. And she was inflamed with lust toward them, when her eyes saw them, and sent messengers to them to Chaldea. Ezekiel 23:17. Then the sons of Babylon came to her to the bed of love, and defiled her with their whoredom; and when she had defiled herself with them, her soul tore itself away from them. Ezekiel 23:18. And when she uncovered her whoredom, and uncovered her nakedness, my soul tore itself away from her, as my soul had torn itself away from her sister. Ezekiel 23:19. And she increased her whoredom, so that she remembered the days of her youth, when she played the harlot in the land of Egypt. Ezekiel 23:20. And she burned toward their paramours, who have members like asses and heat like horses. Ezekiel 23:21. Thou lookest after the lewdness of thy youth, when they of Egypt handled thy bosom because of thy virgin breasts. - The train of thought in these verses is the following: - Judah went much further than Samaria. It not only indulged in sinful intercourse with Assyria, which led on to idolatry as the latter had done, but it also allowed itself to be led astray by the splendour of Chaldea, to form alliances with that imperial power, and to defile itself with her idolatry. And when it became tired of the Chaldeans, it formed impure connections with the Egyptians, as it had done once before during its sojourn in Egypt. The description of the Assyrians in Ezekiel 23:12 coincides with that in Ezekiel 23:5 and Ezekiel 23:6, except that some of the predicates are placed in a different order, and לבשׁי is substituted for לבשׁי תכלת. The former expression, which occurs again in Ezekiel 38:4, must really mean the same as תכלת 'לב. But it does not follow from this that מכלול signifies purple, as Hitzig maintains. The true meaning is perfection; and when used of the clothing, it signifies perfect beauty. The Septuagint rendering, εὺπάρυφα, with a beautiful border - more especially a variegated one - merely expresses the sense, but not the actual meaning of מכלול. The Chaldee rendering is לבשׁי גמר, perfecte induti. - There is great obscurity in the statement in Ezekiel 23:14 as to the way in which Judah was seduced to cultivate intercourse with the Chaldeans. She saw men engraved or drawn upon the wall (מחקּה, a participle Pual of חקק, engraved work, or sculpture). These figures were pictures of Chaldeans, engraved (drawn) with שׁשׁר, red ochre, a bright-red colour. חגורי, an adjective form חגור, wearing a girdle. טבוּלים, coloured cloth, from טבל, to colour; here, according to the context, variegated head-bands or turbans. סרוּח, the overhanging, used here of the cap. The reference is to the tiarae tinctae (Vulgate), the lofty turbans or caps, as they are to be seen upon the monuments of ancient Nineveh. שׁלישׁים, not chariot-warriors, but knights: "tristatae, the name of the second grade after the regal dignity" (Jerome. See the comm. on Exodus 14:7 and 2 Samuel 23:8).

The description of these engravings answers perfectly to the sculptures upon the inner walls of the Assyrian palaces in the monuments of Nimrud, Khorsabad, and Kouyunjik (see Layard's Nineveh and its Remains, and Vaux, Nineveh and Persepolis). The pictures of the Chaldeans are not mythological figures (Hvernick), but sculptures depicting war-scenes, triumphal processions of Chaldean rulers and warriors, with which the Assyrian palaces were adorned. We have not to look for these sculptures in Jerusalem or Palestine. This cannot be inferred from Ezekiel 8:10, as Hvernick supposes; nor established by Hitzig's argument, that the woman must have been in circumstances to see such pictures. The intercourse between Palestine and Nineveh, which was carried on even in Jonah's time, was quite sufficient to render it possible for the pictures to be seen. When Israelites travelled to Nineveh, and saw the palaces there, they could easily make the people acquainted with the glory of Nineveh by the accounts they would give on their return. It is no reply to this, to state that the woman does not send ambassadors till afterwards (Ezekiel 23:16), as Hitzig argues; for Judah sent ambassadors to Chaldea not to view the glories of Assyria, but to form alliances with the Chaldeans, or to sue for their favour. Such an embassy, for example, was sent to Babylon by Zedekiah (Jeremiah 29:3); and there is no doubt that in v. 16b Ezekiel has this in his mind. Others may have preceded this, concerning which the books of Kings and Chronicles are just as silent as they are concerning that of Zedekiah. The thought in these verses is therefore the following: - The acquaintance made by Israel (Judah) with the imperial splendour of the Chaldeans, as exhibited in the sculptures of their palaces, incited Judah to cultivate political and mercantile intercourse with this imperial power, which led to its becoming entangled in the heathen ways and idolatry of the Chaldeans. The Chaldeans themselves came and laid the foundation for an intercourse which led to the pollution of Judah with heathenism, and afterwards filled it with disgust, because it was brought thereby into dependence upon the Chaldeans. The consequence of all this was, that the Lord became tired of Judah (Ezekiel 23:17, Ezekiel 23:18). For instead of returning to the Lord, Judah turned to the other power of the world, namely, to Egypt; and in the time of Zedekiah renewed its ancient coquetry with that nation (Ezekiel 23:19-21 compared with Ezekiel 23:8). The form ותּעגּבה in Ezekiel 23:20, which the Keri also gives in Ezekiel 23:18, has taken ah as a feminine termination (not the cohortative ah), like תּרגּה in Proverbs 1:20; Proverbs 8:1 (vid., Delitzsch, Comm. on Job, en loc.). פּלּגשׁים are scorta mascula (here (Kimchi) - a drastically sarcastic epithet applied to the sârisim, the eunuchs, or courtiers. The figurative epithet answers to the licentious character of the Egyptian idolatry. The sexual heat both of horses and asses is referred to by Aristotle, Hist. anim. vi. 22, and Columella, de re rust. vi. 27; and that of the horse has already been applied to the idolatry of the people by Jeremiah (vid., Jeremiah 5:8). בּשׂר, as in Ezekiel 16:26. פּקד (Ezekiel 23:21), to look about for anything, i.e., to search for it; not to miss it, as Hvernick imagines.

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