Ezekiel 23:40
And furthermore, that you have sent for men to come from far, to whom a messenger was sent; and, see, they came: for whom you did wash yourself, painted your eyes, and decked yourself with ornaments,
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(40) Paintedst thine eyes.—The figure is that of a lewd woman preparing herself for her paramour, and awaiting his arrival. Painting the eyes, or rather the lids and lashes, was an ancient custom, still preserved in the East. (Comp. 2Kings 9:30.)

Ezekiel 23:40-42. And furthermore, ye have sent for men to come from far, &c. — Here the same thing which was spoken of in the former part of the chapter, is mentioned again in other words, namely, their courting the alliances of foreign nations, by complying with their idolatries: and this is set forth under the representation of the several arts which harlots used to recommend themselves to new lovers: compare Isaiah 57:7; Isaiah 57:9. For whom thou didst wash thyself — A custom generally practised by women in those countries, before they entertained their lovers. Paintedst thy eyes — It seems to have been their fashion in those days to draw strokes about their eyes, or to colour their eye-brows with black lead. And sattest upon a stately bed — Here the custom of sitting or lying upon beds, at the feasts made in honour of idols, or false gods, seems to be particularly spoken of, as may be inferred from the following words: whereupon thou hast set mine incense and mine oil — That is, whereupon thou hast offered up to idols that incense and oil which ought to have been offered up to me. It was usual, after a sacrifice to idols, for a table well spread to be placed before a couch, and a feast to be partaken of. The lectisternia of the Romans were borrowed from this eastern idolatrous rite, Livy, 5. 13. Houbigant thinks, that by the table here spoken of is meant the altar which Ahaz erected, after the similitude of that which he had seen at Damascus. And a voice of a multitude, &c. — The noise of festivity, and of people assembled together in jollity, was heard all around. It seems their loose mirth, at their meetings in honour of some of their idols, is here particularly meant. And with the men of the common sort were brought Sabeans, &c. — The prophet proceeds in comparing the idolatries of the Jews to the practices of lewd women, who prostitute themselves to all comers, even those of the meanest condition. Such were the Sabeans that came from the wilderness, that is, from Arabia, called the desert, where dwelt the posterity of Seba, mentioned Genesis 10:7. Which put bracelets upon their hands, &c. — That is, upon the hands and heads of these two lewd women, Aholah and Aholibah. Bracelets and crowns were ornaments proper for brides, and were likewise presented by lovers to their mistresses: and therefore this may signify the compliance of the Jewish people with the grossest idolatries. Or the meaning may be, that Aholah and Aholibah, the inhabitants of Samaria and Jerusalem, put bracelets upon the hands, and beautiful crowns upon the heads, of such worthless idolaters as the Sabeans of the wilderness were; that is, courted their friendship and alliance with gifts.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?The figure is that of a woman decked in all her beauty, sitting on a couch (not bed) at a banquet prepared for those whom she has invited. This further offence is not one of idolatry, but that of courting alliances with other powers which were not less readily made than broken.

Ezekiel 23:40

That ye have sent - Better, "they (i. e., Israel and Judah) sent."

40. messenger was sent—namely, by Judah (Eze 23:16; Isa 57:9).

paintedst … eyes—(2Ki 9:30, Margin; Jer 4:30). Black paint was spread on the eyelids of beauties to make the white of the eye more attractive by the contrast, so Judah left no seductive art untried.

Sent for men: see Ezekiel 23:16.

From far; from Chaldea.

A messenger was sent; an embassy from the king of Judah, with advice of his princes, no doubt.

They came: see Ezekiel 23:17.

Wash thyself; after the manner of harlots, gottest all fine, clean, and delicate against thy paramours came; so idol temples built, altars beautified, sacrifices prepared, all to commend thyself to their alliance and help.

Paintedst thy eyes; like a decayed harlot, madest up thy defects with paint.

Deckedst thyself with ornaments; puttest on the rich clothing I gave thee, and with thy Husband’s bounty allured adulterers to thy bed; so Ezekiel 16:13,14: thus was God abused and provoked. And furthermore, that ye have sent for men to come from far,.... From Egypt, Assyria, and Chaldea, to treat with them, and enter into alliances and confederacies with them, and to join them in their idolatrous practices; these Heathen nations did not send to the Jews, but the Jews to them; they did not court their friendship and alliance, but the Jews courted theirs:

unto whom a messenger was sent; to court their favour, and solicit a confederacy, and to desire that ambassadors might be sent to reside among them:

and, lo, they came; these Heathen courts listened to the proposal, and accordingly sent their plenipotentiaries and ambassadors to them, who came in their masters' name, and with their credentials; and for the reception of whom great preparations were made, as follows:

for whom thou didst wash thyself, paintedst thy eyes, and deckedst thyself with ornaments; just as harlots do to make themselves agreeable to their lovers; who use washes and paint, as Jezebel did, and dress themselves in their best clothes, and adorn themselves in the best manner they can. Harlots had their particular attire, by which they were known, Proverbs 7:10 and they not only used bagnios or baths, but washes for their face, to make them look beautiful; and particularly painted their eyes, to make them look larger; for large eyes in women, in some nations, were reckoned very handsome, particularly among the Greeks: hence Juno, in Homer (d), is called the ox eyed, as some translate it; or rather the large eyed Juno: and the Grecian women, in order to make their eyes large, made use of a powder mixed with their washes, which shrunk their eyebrows, and caused their eyes to stand out, and look fuller and larger; and such was the paint which Pliny, (e) calls stibium, and says, it was by some named "platyophthalmon", because in the beautiful eyebrows of women it dilated the eyes; and it seems that painting with something of this nature was used by the Jewish women, in imitation of the Heathens, for the same purpose, especially by harlots; hence the phrase of rending the face, or rather the eyes, with paint, Jeremiah 4:30, so the Moorish women now, as Dr. Shaw (f) relates, to add a gracefulness to their complexions, tinge their eye lids with "alkahol", the powder of lead ore; and this is performed by first dipping into this powder a small wooden bodkin, of the thickness of a quill, and then drawing it afterwards through the eyelids, over the ball of the eye; and which is properly a rending the eyes indeed, as the prophet calls it, with powder of "pouk", or lead ore: so, for the gratifying these idolatrous ambassadors, idols were set up, altars built, and sacrifices prepared; and, in order to their public entry, and to show how acceptable they were, palaces were fitted up for them; and the streets through which they passed decorated, and all public marks of esteem and affection given them; to this the Targum seems to have respect, paraphrasing the words thus,

"and, lo, they came to the place thou hadst prepared; thou hast adorned the streets, and appointed palaces.''

(d) Iliad. 1. l. 550. (e) Nat. Hist. l. 33. c. 6. (f) Travels, p. 229. Ed. 2.

And furthermore, that ye have sent for men to come from {p} far, to whom a messenger was sent; and, lo, they came: for whom thou didst wash thyself, didst paint thy eyes, and didst deck thyself with ornaments,

(p) They sent into other countries to have such as would teach the service of their idols.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
40. that ye have sent] Perhaps: and furthermore they sent. The change of person occurs later. The word “they sent” is wanting in LXX.

wash thyself] i.e. bathe thyself.

paintedst thy eyes] This refers to the practice of colouring the edges of the eyelids with a dark powder (stibium), which made the eye itself appear large and brilliant, 2 Kings 9:30; Jeremiah 4:30. The word kahal is Arab., and the root of Alcohol; the Heb. is pûch (Isaiah 54:11); Job’s daughter bore the name Keren-hap-puch, horn of paint.

40–44. These verses hardly refer to political alliances merely; Ezekiel 23:41 suggests idolatrous worship. As the foreign gods came in, however, through intercourse with the nations which served them they are spoken of as being sent for by messengers (cf. Ezekiel 23:16). The whole is presented under the figure of an harlot receiving men from all quarters. The passage has great resemblance to Isaiah 57:9 seq.Verse 40. - Ye have sent for men to come from far, etc. The words obviously refer to the embassies which had been sent from time to time by both Samaria and Jerusalem to Egypt, Assyria, and Babylon. The imagery of the earlier stage of the harlot's progress is resumed, and we have a picture almost the counterpart of that in Proverbs 7:10-21. She takes her bath, paints her eyelashes with kohol, the black pigment still used in the East, as Jezebel had done (2 Kings 9:30). She decks herself with jewels, and sits on a divan (a sofa-conch, rather than bed), and prepares a table for a banquet. And on that table are the incense and the oil, symbols alike of wealth and worship, which Jehovah claims as his, and which she offers to her lovers (comp. Ezekiel 16:13, 19; Hosea 2:5, 8). Punishment 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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