Ezekiel 23:23
The Babylonians, and all the Chaldeans, Pekod, and Shoa, and Koa, and all the Assyrians with them: all of them desirable young men, captains and rulers, great lords and renowned, all of them riding upon horses.
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(23) Pekod, and Shoa, and Koa.—These words were taken as proper names by our translators, and are still considered by some as indicating small Chaldæan tribes; but it is better, with the Vulg. and most modern commentators, to understand them as the names of officers, “rulers, lords, and nobles.” Shoa is translated “crying” in Isaiah 22:5, “liberalin Isaiah 32:5, and “rich” in Job 34:19; while Pekod is rendered “visitation” in the margin of Jeremiah 50:21.

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?Pekod, and Shoa, and Koa - Possibly words expressive of rank, or names of small Chaldaean tribes, selected for their resemblance to expressive Hebrew words. 23. Pekod, &c.—(Jer 50:21). Not a geographical name, but descriptive of Babylon. "Visitation," peculiarly the land of "judgment"; in a double sense: actively, the inflicter of judgment on Judah; passively, as about to be afterwards herself the object of judgment.

Shoa … Koa—"rich … noble"; descriptive of Babylon in her prosperity, having all the world's wealth and dignity at her disposal. Maurer suggests that, as descriptive appellatives are subjoined to the proper name, "all the Assyrians" in the second hemistich of the verse (as the verse ought to be divided at "Koa"), so Pekod, Shoa, and Koa must be appellatives descriptive of "The Babylonians and … Chaldeans" in the first hemistich; "Pekod" meaning "prefects"; Shoa … Koa, "rich … princely."

desirable young men—strong irony. Alluding to Eze 23:12, these "desirable young men" whom thou didst so "dote upon" for their manly vigor of appearance, shall by that very vigor be the better able to chastise thee.

The Babylonians and Chaldeans; these are known.

Pekod, & c.: some reckon these the titles of some of the great commanders in this army, which come against Jerusalem, but they are names of distinct countries or provinces under the Babylonish government; and so Pekod is the province between Tigris and Lycus rivers, in this was old Nineveh, and was the principal province of the kingdom; though some others think Pekod was Bactriana, now called Usbeck, and Corassan, fierce, thievish, and barbarous of old.

Shoa; either Sia in Armenia, or the Sohai, among which were the Adiabeni; and this contained the middle part of the kingdom of Babylon, and was Assyria Mediana.

Koa bordered on Media; the inhabitants were called Kohai, and dwelt about Arbel, or Arbelis, or Arbela, and comprehended Ganyamela, where a fortress Ganga looks like this Koa, being easily changed from Koa to Ganga by change of the original letters q into "G," and e into "G"; a people too like enough to be cruel and barbarous by their very situation.

And all; all these sons or subjects of the Assyrian monarchy, or confederates.

Desirable young men, & c.: most of these are already explained Ezekiel 23:6, where they were objects of love, now they are objects of terror; so God turns the occasions of men’s sins into occasions of greater terror and punishment.

Renowned, Heb. called, or invited, first by the Jews to sin with them, Ezekiel 23:16, now called of God to punish their fellow sinners.

The Babylonians, and all the Chaldeans,.... Both the inhabitants of the city of Babylon, called in the Hebrew text the children of Babylon, and all the inhabitants of the several parts of the country of Chaldean, of which Babylon was the metropolis:

Pekod, and Shoa, and Koa; the Vulgate Latin version, and so Jerom, take these words to be appellatives, and render them noblemen, tyrants, and princes; as some mentioned by Jarchi do, governors, princes, and rulers; and Kimchi (b) thinks they are the titles of the Babylonian princes spoken of in Jeremiah, as Nebuzaradan. Nebushasban, Rabsaris, Rabmag, &c. Jeremiah 39:3, but with others they are the proper names of persons or places: and so the Targum calls them, Pekodaites, Shoaites, and Koaites; that is, the inhabitants of places so called; and certain it is that Pekod was a province of Babylon, Jeremiah 50:21, which, according to Junius, lay between the two rivers Tigris and Lycus, and in which was the famous city of Nineveh; and, according to him, Shoa, or the Shoaites, lay between the rivers Lycus and Gorgus, among where were the Adiabeni, and the town called Siai by Ptolemy; and the Koaites were situated in the inward part of Assyria, by Arbelitis, where formerly was the fortified town of Koah, by historians called Gauga; and by Strabo Gaugamela. Grotius thinks that Pekod are the Bactriani; and that Shoa is Siai in Armenia with Ptolemy; and that Koa is Choana of Media, with the same Ptolemy; but, be they who they will, they were such people as were to come with the Chaldean army against the Jews:

and all the Assyrians with them: which were now one people with the Chaldeans and Babylonians, by whom formerly the ten tribes were carried captive:

all of them desirable young men, captains and rulers, great lords and renowned, all of them riding upon horses; persons of high rank and dignity, in chief offices at court or in the camp, all in the bloom and strength of youth; men of name and renown for their honour and valour; and all well mounted, a famous cavalry of them; and who before were lovely on these accounts, when they were their gallants and lovers, their confederates and allies, but now formidable and terrible being their enemies; see Ezekiel 23:5.

(b) So R. Sol. Urbin. Ohel Moed, fol. 51. 1.

The Babylonians, and all the Chaldeans, {h} Pekod, and Shoa, and Koa, and all the Assyrians with them: all of them desirable young men, captains and rulers, great lords and renowned, all of them riding upon horses.

(h) These were the names of certain princes and captains under Nebuchadnezzar.

23. On these peoples cf. Del. Parad., pp. 182, 236, 240. According to this writer the names appear in the inscriptions as Pukûdu, Sutu or Su and Kutu or Ku, and are names of peoples lying east of the Tigris and on the confines of Elam or Persia.

“Captains and rulers,” governors and satraps, Ezekiel 23:6; Ezekiel 23:12. “Great lords,” heroes, Ezekiel 23:15.

and renowned] Perhaps: chiefs. The word is parallel to “princes” Numbers 1:16, lit. “called men,” cf. Amos 6:1.

Ezekiel 23:23Punishment of the Harlot Jerusalem

Ezekiel 23:22. Therefore, Oholibah, thus saith the Lord Jehovah, Behold, I raise up thy lovers against thee, from whom thy soul has torn itself away, and cause them to come upon thee from every side; Ezekiel 23:23. The sons of Babel, and all the Chaldeans, rulers, lords, and nobles, all the sons of Assyria with them: chosen men of graceful deportment, governors and officers together, knights and counsellors, all riding upon horses. Ezekiel 23:24. And they will come upon thee with weapons, chariots, and wheels, and with a host of peoples; target and shield and helmet will they direct against thee round about: and I commit to them the judgment, that they may judge thee according to their rights. Ezekiel 23:25. And I direct my jealousy against thee, so that they shall deal with thee in wrath: nose and ears will they cut off from thee; and thy last one shall fall by the sword: they will take thy sons and thy daughters; and thy last one will be consumed by fire. Ezekiel 23:26. They will strip off thy clothes from thee, and take thy splendid jewellery. Ezekiel 23:27. I will abolish thy lewdness from thee, and thy whoredom from the land of Egypt: that thou mayest no more lift thine eyes to them, and no longer remember Egypt. Ezekiel 23:28. For thus saith the Lord Jehovah, Behold, I give thee into the hand of those whom thou hatest, into the hand of those from whom thy soul has torn itself away: Ezekiel 23:29. And they shall deal with thee in hatred, and take all thy gain, and leave thee naked and bare; that thy whorish shame may be uncovered, and thy lewdness and thy whoredom. Ezekiel 23:30. This shall happen to thee, because thou goest whoring after the nations, and on account of thy defiling thyself with their idols. Ezekiel 23:31. In the way of thy sister hast thou walked; therefore I give her cup into thy hand. Ezekiel 23:32. Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, The cup of thy sister thou shalt drink, the deep and broad one; it will be for laughter and for derision, because it contains so much. Ezekiel 23:33. Thou wilt become full of drunkenness and misery: a cup of desolation and devastation is the cup of thy sister Samaria. Ezekiel 23:34. Thou wilt drink it up and drain it, and gnaw its fragments, and tear thy breasts (therewith); for I have spoken it, is the saying of the Lord Jehovah. Ezekiel 23:35. Therefore thus saith the Lord Jehovah, Because thou hast forgotten me, and hast cast me behind thy back, thou shalt also bear thy lewdness and thy whoredom. - As Jerusalem has given herself up to whoredom, like her sister Samaria, she shall also share her sister's fate. The paramours, of whom she has become tired, God will bring against her as enemies. The Chaldeans will come with all their might, and execute the judgment of destruction upon her. - For the purpose of depicting their great and powerful forces, Ezekiel enumerates in Ezekiel 23:23 and Ezekiel 23:24 the peoples and their military equipment: viz., the sons of Babel, i.e., the inhabitants of Babylonia, the Chaldeans - the ruling people of the empire at that time - and all the sons of Asshur, i.e., the inhabitants of the eastern portions of the empire, the former rulers of the world. There is some obscurity in the words פּקוד ושׁוע , which the older theologians have almost unanimously taken to be the names of different tribes in the Chaldean empire. Ewald also adopts this view, but it is certainly incorrect; for the words are in apposition to וכל־כּשׂדּים, as the omission of the copula ו before פּקוד is sufficient to show. This is confirmed by the fact that שׁוע is used, in Isaiah 32:5 and Job 34:19, in the sense of the man of high rank, distinguished for his prosperity, which is quite in harmony with the passage before us. Consequently פּקוד is not to be taken in the sense of visitation or punishment, after Jeremiah 50:21; but the meaning is to be sought in the verb פּקד, to exercise supervision, or lead; and the abstract oversight is used for overseer, or ruler, as an equivalent to פּקיד. Lastly, according to Rabbins, the Vulgate, and others, קוע signifies princes, or nobles. The predicates in Ezekiel 23:23 are repeated from Ezekiel 23:6 and Ezekiel 23:12, and קרוּאים alone is added. This is a word taken from the Pentateuch, where the heads of the tribes and families, as being members of the council of the whole congregation of Israel, are called קרוּאי or קרוּאי מועד, persons called or summoned to the meeting (Numbers 1:16; Numbers 16:2). As Michaelis has aptly observed, "he describes them sarcastically in the very same way in which he had previously described those upon whom she doted."

There is a difficulty in explaining the ἁπ. λεγ.. הצן - for which many MSS read חצן - as regards not only its meaning, but its position in the sentence. The fact that it is associated with רכב וגלגּל would seem to indicate that הצן is also either an implement of war or some kind of weapon. At the same time, the words cannot be the subject to וּבאוּ; but as the expression וּבקהל עמּים, which follows, clearly shows, they simply contain a subordinate definition of the manner in which, or the things with which, the peoples mentioned in Ezekiel 23:23, Ezekiel 23:24 will come, while they are governed by the verb in the freest way. The attempts which Ewald and Hitzig have made to remove the difficulty, by means of conjectures, are forced and extremely improbable. נתתּי לפּניהם, I give up to them (not, I place before them); נתן, as in 1 Kings 8:46, to deliver up, or give a thing into a person's hand or power. לפני is used in this sense in Genesis 13:9 and Genesis 24:51. - In Ezekiel 23:25, Ezekiel 23:26, the execution of the judgment is depicted in detail. The words, "they take away thy nose and ears," are not to be interpreted, as the earlier expositors suppose, from the custom prevalent among the Egyptians and other nations of cutting off the nose of an adulteress; but depict, by one particular example, the mutilation of prisoners captured by their enemies. אחרית: not posterity, which by no means suits the last clause of the verse, and cannot be defended from the usage of the language (see the comm. on Amos 4:2); but the last, according to the figure employed in the first clause, the trunk; or, following the second clause, the last thing remaining in Jerusalem, after the taking away of the sons and daughters, i.e., after the slaying and the deportation of the inhabitants - viz. the empty houses. For Ezekiel 23:26, compare Ezekiel 16:39. - In Ezekiel 23:27, "from the land of Egypt" is not equivalent to "dating from Egypt;" for according to the parallel ממּך, from thee, this definition does not belong to זנוּתך, "thy whoredom," but to השׁבּתּי, "I cause thy whoredom to cease from Egypt" (Hitzig). - For Ezekiel 23:28, compare Ezekiel 16:37; for Ezekiel 23:28, vid., Ezekiel 23:17 above; and for Ezekiel 23:29, see Ezekiel 23:25 and Ezekiel 23:26, and Ezekiel 16:39. - Ezekiel 23:31 looks back to Ezekiel 23:13; and Ezekiel 23:31 is still further expanded in Ezekiel 23:32-34. Judah shall drink the cup of the wrathful judgment of God, as Samaria has done. For the figure of the cup, compare Isaiah 51:17 and Jeremiah 25:15. This cup is described in Ezekiel 23:32 as deep and wide, i.e., very capacious, so that whoever exhausts all its contents must be thoroughly intoxicated. תּהיה is the third person; but the subject is מרבּה, and not כּוס. The greatness or breadth of the cup will be a subject of laughter and ridicule. It is very arbitrary to supply "to thee," so as to read: will be for laughter and ridicule to thee, which does not even yield a suitable meaning, since it is not Judah but the nations who laugh at the cup. Others regard תּהיה as the second person, thou wilt become; but apart from the anomaly in the gender, as the masculine would stand for the feminine, Hitzig has adduced the forcible objection, that according to this view the words would not only anticipate the explanation give of the figure in the next verse, but would announce the consequences of the שׁכּרון ויגון mentioned there. Hitzig therefore proposes to erase the words from תּהיה to וּללעג as a gloss, and to alter מרבּה into מרבּה : which contains much, is very capacious. But there is not sufficient reason to warrant such critical violence as this. Although the form מרבּה is ἁπ λεγ.., it is not to be rejected as a nomen subst.; and if we take מרבּה להכיל, the magnitude to hold, as the subject of the sentence, it contains a still further description of the cup, which does not anticipate what follows, even though the cup will be an object of laughter and ridicule, not so much for its size, as because of its being destined to be drunk completely empty. In Ezekiel 23:33 the figure and the fact are combined - יגון, lamentation, misery, being added to שׁכּרון, drunkenness, and the cup being designated a cup of devastation. The figure of drinking is expanded in the boldest manner in Ezekiel 23:34 into the gnawing of the fragments of the cup, and the tearing of the breasts with the fragments. - In Ezekiel 23:35 the picture of the judgment is closed with a repetition of the description of the nation's guilt. For Ezekiel 23:35, compare Ezekiel 16:52 and Ezekiel 16:58.

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