Then said I to her that was old in adulteries, Will they now commit prostitutions with her, and she with them?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Will they now commit?—This should not be made a question, nor should the opening of Ezekiel 23:44 be made adversative. The thought is that, after all means of reclamation had failed, God gave her up to her sins. Translate, Now shall her whoredom be committed, even this. And they went in, &c.Ezekiel 23:43-44. Then I said unto her that was grown old in adulteries — Aholibah, who had been long idolatrous. The words import that experience might, before this time, have sufficiently convinced her of the folly of her ways. Will they now commit whoredoms with her? — God is here represented as waiting to see whether that mutability, which is natural to the human race, would not occasion a difference between the Jewish people and their idolatrous allies, and make them grow weary of one another. Yet they went in unto her, &c. — Both Samaria and Jerusalem continued to defile themselves with the idolatries of all the heathen round about them: compare Ezekiel 23:7; Ezekiel 23:17.Then said I; after the manner of man God seems to stand musing, or saying to himself, or it may be supposed that God speaks to the prophet, asking him.
Unto her; or rather, of her, concerning her.
Old in adulteries, such usually are out of request with adulterers; and now Samaria and Jerusalem had been long spiritual adulteresses, and one would think her lovers would be weary of her, if she were not weary of them.
"I said concerning the congregation of Israel, whose people are old in sins:''
will they now commit whoredoms with her, and she with them? will they commit adultery with such an old harlot? are they not weary of her? and will they not rather loath and despise her? as it is common when such prostitutes grow old; and what pleasure can she take, thus advanced in years, in such impurities? suggesting that alliances and confederacies between the Jews and the nations of the world could not be agreeable on either side, especially to the former; but so it was, and so were their idolatries likewise. The Targum is,
"now she will leave her idols, and return to thy worship; but she returned not.''Then said I unto her that was old in adulteries, Will they now commit whoredoms with her, and she with them?
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)43. unto her … old in adulteries] Old is worn out, e.g. of clothes, Joshua 9:4-5, and the verb of the body, in the decay of nature (Genesis 18:12, of Sarah). The construction of A.V. is unusual; the words might be read as an exclamation: She that is aged committeth adulteries! or, With her that is aged shall they commit adulteries! Ew., reading “aged” as a noun, To perdition with adulteries! None of these senses is very natural. LXX., as in some other places, appears to assume a contraction, which it expands, Do they not commit adultery with these?
The meaning put by A.V., R.V. upon the rest of the verse can hardly be drawn from the words, which are extremely obscure. The natural sense is: “now shall her whoredom commit whoredom even itself” (Hitz.); but the idea that what the faded harlot can no more do herself her vicious propensity continues to do, though true in itself, is scarcely to be expected here. LXX., which had nearly our present text before it, disposes the letters differently: And she too has gone a whoring after the manner (with the doings) of a harlot. So Syr., And according to the doings of harlots have they committed whoredom.Verse 43. - The whole verse is obscure, and has been very differently rendered.
(1) The Authorized Version may be paraphrased, "Then said I to her that was worn out with her whoredoms, passed her prime and enfeebled, Will they (the foreign nations) commit whoredoms (enter into alliances) with her? sc. What is there to attract now? And yet the habit is inveterate. She has grown old in her vice, and cannot cease from it."
(2) The Revised Version takes it not as a question, but as a statement: Now said I of her that was old in adulteries, Now will they commit, etc. So, in the main, Keil. The text is probably corrupt, and resists conjectural emendation. In any case the general meaning is clear. The sin is of too long standing to be cured.
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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