Ezekiel 23:25
And I will set my jealousy against you, and they shall deal furiously with you: they shall take away your nose and your ears; and your remnant shall fall by the sword: they shall take your sons and your daughters; and your residue shall be devoured by the fire.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(25) Take away thy nose and thine ears.—The barbarous custom of mutilating prisoners prevailed in the East from the earliest times; it is here mentioned with especial reference to the destruction of the attractiveness of the adulteress Aholibah, and the particulars of Ezekiel 23:26 have the same purpose. (Comp. Ezekiel 16:39.) In Egypt adultery was punished by cutting off the nose and ears.

Ezekiel 23:25-27. I will set my jealousy against thee, &c. — I will be against thee, as a jealous man is against his wife; and they shall deal furiously — And they, as the executioners of my wrath, shall act toward thee as persons provoked to great fury. And they shall take away thy nose, &c. — A punishment of adultery which rage sometimes dictated. As husbands in that case render those women deformed whose beauty hath been too pleasing to strangers, so shall the Chaldeans deface all the glories and ornaments of Jerusalem, and after they have slain and carried captive its inhabitants, shall set the city on fire, and reduce it to a heap of ashes. The mutilations mentioned in this verse were common among the Chaldeans. St. Jerome assures us, that they frequently cut off the nose and the ears of adulterers. And this was practised toward adulteresses in Egypt. They shall also strip thee, &c. — As lewd, disgraced harlots and captives were used chap. Ezekiel 16:39. And take away thy fair jewels — All thy rich, beautiful ornaments, which shall be a prey to the enemy. Thus will I make thy lewdness to cease — “These severe judgments shall effectually deter thee from idolatry, and make thee abhor the least approaches toward it. Accordingly we find that after the captivity the Jews never returned to their former idolatrous practices.” — Lowth. And thy whoredom brought from the land of Egypt — Thy idolatries which thou broughtest with thee from Egypt, where thou didst first learn idolatry, and ever hast had an inclination to it.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?Take away thy nose and thine ears - Alluding to the barbarous custom of mutilating prisoners in the east Daniel 2:5. An Egyptian law prescribed this punishment for an adulteress.

Fire - A mode of capital punishment Jeremiah 29:22; Daniel 3.

25. take away thy nose … ears—Adulteresses were punished so among the Egyptians and Chaldeans. Oriental beauties wore ornaments in the ear and nose. How just the retribution, that the features most bejewelled should be mutilated! So, allegorically as to Judah, the spiritual adulteress. I will set my jealousy against thee; as a jealous provoked husband, I will be as much against thee as they are, their fury shall avenge my quarrel.

They shall deal furiously with thee; their disposition naturally is to furious wrath, my jealousy shall enkindle it more.

They shall take away thy nose and thine ears; as thou hast prostituted thy beauty like a harlot, so they shall use thee as such, and mar thy beauty, and brand thee for ever, as thou deservest, and that thou mayst be as loathsome in thy deformity as ever thou wast thought lovely in thy beauty. This punishment of adulteresses is known to have been used, and is yet in use.

Thy remnant shall fall by the sword; or else, at last thy latter end shall be to fall by the sword, those that do not live under such reproach shall die by the sword of the enemy.

They shall take thy sons and thy daughters for captives and slaves for work, and somewhat a thousand times worse.

Thy residue; either the people who did hide themselves in vaults and cellars, and came not out; or else what remains of that the Chaldeans cannot carry away; all this shall be devoured by fire, as when the city was burnt. And I will set my jealousy against thee, and they shall deal furiously with thee,.... As a jealous husband, enraged against his adulterous wife, falls upon her in his fury, and uses her with great severity; so the Jews having committed spiritual fornication, that is, idolatry, and departed from the Lord, he threatens to stir up the fury of his jealousy, and punish them severely by the Chaldeans, as follows:

they shall take away thy nose and thine ears, and thy remnant shall fall by the sword; as gallants use their harlots when they leave them, or jealous husbands their adulterous wives, disfiguring them, that they may be marked and known what they are, and be despised by others; and as has been the custom in some countries, particularly with the Egyptians, to cut off the noses of adulterous persons; here it is to be understood figuratively: by the "nose", according to Jarchi, Kimchi, and Ben Melech, is meant the king, who is higher than his people, as the nose is the highest part in a man's face; and by the "ears" the priest, who caused a noise to be heard when he entered into the temple with his bells; or rather because it was the priest's office to attend to the word of God, and teach it the people; in general, these denote everything that was excellent among the Jews, their city, temple, king, kingdom, princes, priests, and prophets, which should be demolished and removed; and by the remnant is meant the common people, that should come into the hands of the Chaldeans, and fall by their sword. So the Targum paraphrases it,

"thy princes and thy nobles shall go into captivity, and thy people shall be killed with the sword:''

they shall take thy sons and thy daughters, and thy residue shall be devoured by the fire; take and carry their sons and daughters captive, and burn with fire the city left by them. Thus the Targum,

"they shall carry thy sons and daughters captive, and the beauty of thy land shall be burnt with fire;''

that is, the city of Jerusalem, the temple, the king's palaces, the houses of the great men, and others in it, which were all burnt with fire when taken by the Chaldeans, Jeremiah 52:13.

And I will set my jealousy against thee, and they shall deal furiously with thee: they shall take away thy {i} nose and thy ears; and thy remnant shall fall by the sword: they shall take thy sons and thy daughters; and thy remnant shall be devoured by the fire.

(i) They will destroy your princes and priests with the rest of your people.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
25. “Jealousy” differs little from fury, ch. Ezekiel 16:38.

take away thy nose] Reference is either to the ancient practice (as in Egypt) of mutilating the adulteress, or to the habit of disfiguring the captives, cf. Ezekiel 12:13; Ezekiel 16:40.Verse 25. - They shall take away thy nose and thine ears, etc. (For instances of this or like mutilation, in the case of prisoners of war, see the case of Zedekiah, Jeremiah 52:11; Herod., 3:69, 154.) Possibly it may have been known to Ezekiel as a punishment for the adulterer or adulteress in Egypt and other countries, and if so, he might have selected it as specially appropriate to his parable (Martial, 'Epigr.,' 2:83; 3:85). Thy residue shall be consumed with fire. The Hebrew word for "residue" (not that usually so translated) is the same as that previously translated "remnant." In the first clause it clearly points to the men of Jerusalem who are left after the capture. In the second its meaning is determined by the fact that it follows after the deportation of the sons and daughters. All that was left - in the parable, of the mutilated trunk of the adulteress, in the history, of the devastated city, sc. the empty houses - should be destroyed by fire. Whoredom 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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