Ezekiel 23:45
And the righteous men, they shall judge them after the manner of adulteresses, and after the manner of women that shed blood; because they are adulteresses, and blood is in their hands.
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(45) The righteous men.—That is, men to whom the judgment of righteousness is committed.

Ezekiel 23:45-49. And the righteous men, they shall judge them — All just judges, yea, all men that have any sense of common honesty, will condemn their conduct, and pronounce them deserving of the punishment of adulteresses and murderers. Or, as others interpret the words, “As upright magistrates used to condemn and execute judgment upon adulterers and murderers, so did the prophets, in the name of God, denounce sentence against Jerusalem and Samaria; and even the heathen princes, who executed the sentence, were more righteous than the apostate sufferers.” — Scott. I will bring a company upon them, &c. — This is spoken of the Babylonians, who were to plunder and carry away a great part of the inhabitants of Jerusalem. And the company shall stone them with stones, and despatch them with swords — Stoning was the punishment of adulterers, and putting to death with the sword that of murderers. The Babylonian army might be properly said to be the executioners of both these punishments upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, as, without doubt, they killed many of them during the siege by the stones they cast from their engines, and slew many by the sword when they took the city by assault. Thus will I cause lewdness to cease, &c. — Thus will I put an end to idolatry in the Jewish nation. That all women may be taught not to do after your lewdness — That is, that all nations may dread defiling themselves with the guilt of your idolatries. For as the kingdoms of Israel and Judah are here described as two women, therefore, by all women here must be meant all nations. And ye shall bear the sins of your idols — Ye shall bear the punishment due to your sins of idolatry. To bear sin, or iniquity, is an expression often used in the Scriptures to signify undergoing the punishment due 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?The judgment to be executed by the hands of their allies.

Ezekiel 23:45

The righteous men - Or, righteous men. The allies are so called as the instruments of God's righteous judgments.

45. the righteous men—the Chaldeans; the executioners of God's righteous vengeance (Eze 16:38), not that they were "righteous" in themselves (Hab 1:3, 12, 13). Righteous men; men that kept the law of their God, for some such there were about Aholibah herself; or prophets, such as Jeremiah and Ezekiel, and some few more: or else the Babylonians, who in the present controversy between Jerusalem and its king on the one part, and Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians on the other part, were comparatively the righteous men.

After the manner of adulteresses; which was, to be put to death by stoning, Leviticus 20:10; and murder was punished with death. And the righteous men,.... Some understand this of the prophets, who were really righteous men; and foretold the righteous judgments of God that should come upon the idolatrous Jews, which was a judging them: others, of righteous men in general, who will one and all agree that persons guilty of such crimes ought to suffer the punishment adequate to them, and usually inflicted on such; but rather the Babylonians are here meant; who, though not righteous in themselves, or truly so, yet were so in comparison of the wicked Jews, who had a divine revelation, and knew better than to commit such idolatries; whereas these were Gentiles that knew not God, nor his will. So the Targum,

"and righteous men in respect (or comparison) of them;''

that is, of Israel and Judah; and they may be also called so, because they were the executioners of justice, the instruments of inflicting God's righteous judgments on the Jews; and, among other things, for their perfidy and treachery to them; so that they would appear just in the eyes of other nations for treating them as they did:

they shall judge them after the manner of adulteresses, and after the manner of women that shed blood; that is, according to the law concerning such persons; and shall condemn them to suffer the punishment denounced on such, and shall execute it on them:

because they are adulteresses, the blood is in their hands; are guilty, not only of corporeal uncleanness, but of spiritual adultery; that is, idolatry; and of the murder of their prophets and righteous men, and even of their own children sacrificed to idols; than which nothing can be more unnatural and barbarous for women to do.

And the righteous men, they shall judge them after the manner of {s} adulteresses, and after the manner of women that shed blood; because they are adulteresses, and blood is in their hands.

(s) That is worthy of death, Eze 16:38.

45–49. Judgment on the adulterous women

45. the righteous] righteous men. The prophet carries on the figure of the punishment of adulteresses. They are judged by righteous men. He has not in his mind the nations, the actual executors of judgment in the case of Israel. The word “righteous” throws no light on Isaiah 49:24.Verse 45. - The righteous men are in effect the ministers of God's wrath. The doom comes at last on both the sisters, who are murderers as well as adulteresses. They shall suffer the punishment of stoning which the Law commanded (Leviticus 20:10; Deuteronomy 22:22, 24; John 8:5), and after that their bodies were to be hacked to pieces. The result of that judgment would be that all women should learn not to do after their lewdness, i.e. that idolatry should cease from being the sin of the cities of Israel.

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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