You shall even drink it and suck it out, and you shall break the shards thereof, and pluck off your own breasts: for I have spoken it, said the Lord GOD.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Daniel 2:5. An Egyptian law prescribed this punishment for an adulteress.
pluck off thine own breasts—enraged against them as the ministers to thine adultery.Thou shalt even drink it; nothing shall divert the punishment.
And suck it out; the dregs shalt thou drink, and multiply thine own sorrows.
Break the sherds; either out of indignation, or to suck out what was imbibed.
Pluck off thine own breasts; which tempted others, and undid thyself, for which cause thou now revengest thyself upon thyself. Psalm 75:8,
and thou shall break the sherds thereof; and suck them, so that not a drop of the liquor shall be lost; even what has penetrated into the earthen vessel, which this cup is supposed to be; and therefore it shall be broken to pieces, and these pieces sucked, that all may be got out; suggesting that there will be no abatement of the punishment, it shall be endured to the utmost: or it may be an allusion to drunkards, who, having drunk up their liquor, and become drunk, break their glasses, pots, and cups, and to which the next clause agrees:
and pluck off thine own breasts; as men in their drunken fits, being like mad men, tear their own flesh; and so the Targum paraphrases it,
"thou shall tear thy flesh;''
so the Jews, under punishment for sin, and pressed with the guilt of it, through indignation at themselves should tear their flesh, and particularly pluck off their breasts: the allusion is to fornication, to which idolatry is compared, in which those parts are particularly affected; see Ezekiel 23:21, the Syriac version renders this and the former clause thus, "thou shall shave thine hair and cut off thy breasts"; Kimchi thinks by the "breasts" are meant the oral and written laws, which ceased in the time of the captivity; but without any foundation:Thou shalt even drink it and suck it out, and thou shalt break the sherds thereof, and pluck off thine own breasts: for I have spoken it, saith the Lord GOD.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)34. Cf. Psalm 75:8; Isaiah 51:17.
break the sheards] gnaw the sherds. The act of plucking out her own breasts is that of one intoxicated to madness, Jeremiah 25:16. The words are wanting in LXX. Beating the breasts and tearing the cheeks was a sign of excessive grief (Hamasa, p. 373). “The women rent the breast of their dress, went half-naked, tore their faces, and beat their skin till it was lacerated with shoes (Aghani, xiv. 101, 28; xv. 139, 6; Hudh. 139, 3),” Well., Skizzen, iii. p. 160.Verse 34. - Thou shalt break the shards thereof. The picture of the desolate adulteress becomes yet more terrible. Like a forlorn and desperate castaway, she does shameful execution on herself; breaks her cup, and completes the work of mutilation in its most terrible form. That is the doom decreed for her, because she had forgotten her true husband and the love of her espousals. Revised Version gives gnaw the shards thereof, painting yet more vividly the despair of the outcast.
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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