Ezekiel 25:2
Son of man, set thy face against the Ammonites, and prophesy against them;
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(2) Set thy face against the Ammonites.—It has already been mentioned that the utterances against the four contiguous nations of Ammon, Moab, Edom, and Philistia are all contained in one prophecy, and that this prophecy was evidently spoken after the fall of Jerusalem, and, consequently, after the date of Ezekiel 26:1. The Ammonites, descended from Lot’s incest with his younger daughter, had been for centuries persistent enemies of Israel. They had joined the Moabites in their oppression of Israel under Eglon (Judges 3:13), and in a later attack had been subdued by Jephthah (Judges 11:32-33); they fought with extreme cruelty and insolence against Saul (1Samuel 11:2-11); they insulted and warred against David (2Samuel 10:1-6), and were utterly crushed by him (2Samuel 12:31); their idolatries were favoured by Solomon (1Kings 11:7); uniting with Moab and Edom, they attacked Judah under Jehoshaphat (2Chronicles 20:1-25), but utterly failed, and were tributary to his descendant, Uzziah (2Chronicles 26:8); again they fought with Jotham, and were reduced by him to heavy tribute (2Chronicles 27:5); and not long before this time they had occupied the vacant cities of Gad (Jeremiah 49:1). Now they had joined Nebuchadnezzar’s army against Judah (2Kings 24:2). From Ezekiel 25:3 it appears that their hostility arose not only from national jealousy, but from an especial hatred against the Jewish religion (comp. also Psalm 83:7). They are the frequent subject of prophetic denunciation (Isaiah 11:14; Jeremiah 49:1-6; Amos 1:13-15; Zephaniah 2:8-11).

25:1-7. It is wicked to be glad at the calamities of any, especially of God's people; it is a sin for which he will surely reckon. God will make it appear that he is the God of Israel, though he suffers them for a time to be captives in Babylon. It is better to know Him, and to be poor, than to be rich and ignorant of him.It was a distinct part of scriptural prophecy to address pagan nations. In Isaiah Isa. 13-19, Jeremiah Jer. 46-51, and here Ezekiel 25-32, one section is specially devoted to a collection of such prophecies. Every such prediction had the general purpose of exhibiting the conflict ever waging between the servants of God and the powers of the world, the struggle in which the Church of Christ has still to wrestle against her foes Ephesians 6:12, but in which she will surely prevail.

It was a distinct part of scriptural prophecy to address pagan nations. In Isaiah Isa. 13-19, Jeremiah Jer. 46-51, and here Ezekiel 25-32, one section is specially devoted to a collection of such prophecies. Every such prediction had the general purpose of exhibiting the conflict ever waging between the servants of God and the powers of the world, the struggle in which the Church of Christ has still to wrestle against her foes Ephesians 6:12, but in which she will surely prevail.

This series of prophecies, with one exception, was delivered at the time of the fall of Jerusalem; some shortly before, and some shortly after, the capture of the city. They were collected together to illustrate their original purpose of warning the nations not to exult in their neighbor's fall. Seven nations are addressed, which have had most contact with the children of Israel - on their eastern borders Moab and Ammon, to the south, Edom, on the south-west Philistia, northward Tyre (the merchant city) and the more ancient Sidon, and lastly Egypt, alternately the scourge and the false stay of the chosen people. The number "seven" is symbolic of completeness. "Seven" prophecies against Egypt the chief of "seven" nations, denote the completeness of the overthrow of the pagan power, the antagonist of the kingdom of God. While other prophets hold out to these pagan nations some prospect of future mercy (e. g., Isaiah 16:14; Jeremiah 49:6, Jeremiah 49:11), Ezekiel speaks of their complete ruin. He was contemplating "national" ruin. In the case of Jerusalem there would be national restoration, but in the case of the pagan no such recovery. The "national" ruin was irretrievable; the remnant to whom the other prophets hold out hopes of mercy were to find it as individuals gathered into God's Church, not as nations to be again set up. Ezekiel does not, like other prophets, prophesy against Babylon; it was his mission to show that for the moment, Babylon was the righteous instrument of the divine wrath, doing God's work in punishing His foes. In prophesying against foreign nations, Ezekiel often adopts the language of those who preceded him.

In Ezekiel 25, the four nations most closely connected with one another by geographical position and by contact, are addressed in a few brief sentences concluding with the same refrain - "Ye shall know that I am the Lord" (e. g. Ezekiel 25:5). This prophecy was delivered immediately after the capture of the city by Nebuchadnezzar, and so is later, in point of time, than some of the prophecies that follow it.

The Ammonites were inveterate foes of the descendants of Abraham.

CHAPTER 25

Eze 25:1-17. Appropriately in the Interval of Silence as to the Jews in the Eight Chapters, (Twenty-fifth through Thirty-second) Ezekiel Denounces Judgments on the Heathen World Kingdoms.

If Israel was not spared, much less the heathen utterly corrupt, and having no mixture of truth, such as Israel in its worst state possessed (1Pe 4:17, 18). Their ruin was to be utter: Israel's but temporary (Jer 46:28). The nations denounced are seven, the perfect number; implying that God's judgments would visit, not merely these, but the whole round of the heathen foes of God. Babylon is excepted, because she is now for the present viewed as the rod of God's retributive justice, a view too much then lost sight of by those who fretted against her universal supremacy.

Set thy face against: the phrase you have Ezekiel 20:46. It includeth anger, menaces, and intention of mind.

The Ammonites; the posterity of Lot by the younger daughter, near neighbours, but bitter enemies to the Jews. Prophesy against them; leave recorded what heavy things shall befall them in after-days.

Son of man, set thy face against the Ammonites,.... Who were of the posterity of Lot, implacable enemies of the Jews; who hated their religion, and envied their wealth and happiness; against these the prophet is bid to "set his face"; to look that way where they lived, and to put on a frowning countenance, and a menacing aspect: "strengthen thy face", as the Septuagint and Arabic versions render it; look boldly at them:

and prophesy against them; deliver out the following prophecy concerning them.

Son of man, set thy face against the Ammonites, and prophesy against them;
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Verse 2. - Set thy face against the Ammonites. The main facts that are essential to a right understanding of the message to this people, not to speak of their long-standing enmity against Israel for many centuries, are

(1) that they formed part of Nebuchadnezzar's army, as allies or tributaries, against Jehoiakim (2 Kings 24:2);

(2) that afterwards they, with other neighboring nations, intrigued with Zedekiah against the Chaldean king (Jeremiah 27:3), so that it was an open question whether his first act of vengeance should fall on Rabbath-Ammon or Jerusalem (Ezekiel 21:20). In Ezekiel 21:28-32, written not long before, Ezekiel had uttered his prediction of the coming judgment. Here we read that when they saw that Jerusalem had been laid waste, they, like Edom (Psalm 137:7), exulted in her downfall. Earlier traces of cruelty and outrage are found in Psalm 83:7; Amos 1:13 - 15; Zephaniah 2:8-11. We learn from Jeremiah 40:14 that the name of the Ammonite king at this time was Baalis. Ezekiel 25:2Against the Ammonites

Ezekiel 25:1. And the word of Jehovah came to me, saying, Ezekiel 25:2. Son of man, direct thy face towards the sons of Ammon, and prophesy against them, Ezekiel 25:3. And say to the sons of Ammon, Hear ye the word of the Lord Jehovah! Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, Because thou sayest, Aha! concerning my sanctuary, that it is profaned; and concerning the land of Israel, that it is laid waste; and concerning the house of Judah, that they have gone into captivity; Ezekiel 25:4. Therefore, behold, I will give thee to the sons of the east for a possession, that they may pitch their tent-villages in thee, and erect their dwellings in thee; they shall eat thy fruits, and they shall drink thy milk. Ezekiel 25:5. And Rabbah will I make a camel-ground, and the sons of Ammon a resting-place for flocks; and ye shall know that I am Jehovah. Ezekiel 25:6. For thus saith the Lord Jehovah, Because thou hast clapped thy hand, and stamped with thy foot, and hast rejoiced in soul with all thy contempt concerning the house of Israel, Ezekiel 25:7. Therefore, behold, I will stretch out my hand against thee, and give thee to the nations for booty, and cut thee off from the peoples, and exterminate thee from the lands; I will destroy thee, that thou mayst learn that I am Jehovah. - In Ezekiel 21:28., when predicting the expedition of Nebuchadnezzar against Jerusalem, Ezekiel had already foretold the destruction of the Ammonites, so that these verses are simply a resumption and confirmation of the earlier prophecy. In the passage referred to, Ezekiel, like Zephaniah before him (Zephaniah 2:8, Zephaniah 2:10), mentions their reviling of the people of God as the sin for which they are to be punished with destruction. This reviling, in which their hatred of the divine calling of Israel found vent, was the radical sin of Ammon. On the occasion of Judah's fall, it rose even to contemptuous and malicious joy at the profanation of the sanctuary of Jehovah by the destruction of the temple (a comparison with Ezekiel 24:21 will show that this is the sense in which נחל is to be understood), at the devastation of the land of Israel, and at the captivity of Judah, - in other words, at the destruction of the religious and political existence of Israel as the people of God. The profanation of the sanctuary is mentioned first, to intimate that the hostility to Israel, manifested by the Ammonites on every occasion that presented itself (for proofs, see the comm. on Zephaniah 2:8), had its roots not so much in national antipathies, as in antagonism to the sacred calling of Israel. As a punishment for this, they are not only to lose their land (Ezekiel 25:4 and Ezekiel 25:5), but to be cut off from the number of the nations (Ezekiel 25:6 and Ezekiel 25:7). The Lord will give up their land, with its productions, for a possession to the sons of the east, i.e., according to Genesis 25:13-18, to the Arabs, the Bedouins (for בּני קדם, see the comm. on Judges 6:3 and Job 1:3). The Piel ישּׁבוּ, although only occurring here, is not to be rejected as critically suspicious, and to be changed into Kal, as Hitzig proposes. The Kal would be unsuitable, because the subject of the sentence can only be בּני קדם, and not טירותיהם; and ישׁב in the Kal has an intransitive sense. For טירות, tent-villages of nomads, see the comm. on Genesis 25:16. משׁכּנים, dwellings, are the separate tents of the shepherds. In the last clauses of Ezekiel 25:4, המּה is repeated for the sake of emphasis; and Hitzig's opinion, that the first המּה corresponds to the subject in the clause 'וישּׁבוּ וגו, the second to that in ונתנוּ, is to be rejected as a marvellous flight of imagination, which approaches absurdity in the assertion that פּרי הארץ signifies the folds, i.e., the animals, of the land. Along with the fruit of the land, i.e., the produce of the soil, milk is also mentioned as a production of pastoral life, and the principal food of nomads. On the wealth of the Ammonites in flocks and herds, see Judges 6:5. The words are addressed to Ammon, as a land or kingdom, and hence the feminine suffix. The capital will also share the fate of the land. Rabbah (see the comm. on Deuteronomy 3:11) will become a camel-ground, a waste spot where camels lie down and feed. This has been almost literally fulfilled. The ruins of Ammn are deserted by men, and Seetzen found Arabs with their camels not far off (vid., von Raumer, Palestine, p. 268). In the parallel clause, the sons of Ammon, i.e., the Ammonites, are mentioned instead of their land.

In Ezekiel 25:6 and Ezekiel 25:7, the Lord announces to the nation of the Ammonites the destruction that awaits them, and reiterates with still stronger emphasis the sin which occasioned it, namely, the malicious delight they had manifested at Israel's fall. בּכל־שׁאטך is strengthened by בּנפשׁ: with all thy contempt in the soul, i.e., with all the contempt which thy soul could cherish. In Ezekiel 25:7 the ἁπ λεγ.. לבג occasions some difficulty. The Keri has substituted לבז, for booty for the nations (cf. Ezekiel 26:5); and all the ancient versions have adopted this. Consequently בּג might be a copyist's error for בּז; and in support of this the circumstance might be adduced, that in Ezekiel 47:13, where גּה stands for זה, we have unquestionably a substitution of ג for ז. But if the Chetib בז be correct, the word is to be explained - as it has been by Benfey (Die Montasnamen, p. 194) and Gildemeister (in Lassen's Zeitschrift fr die Kunde des Morgenlandes, iv. 1, p. 213ff.) - from the Sanscrit bha equals ga, pars, portio, and has passed into the Semitic languages from the Aryan, like the Syriac bagaa', esca, which P. Boetticher (Horae aram. p. 21) has correctly traced to the Sanscrit bhaj, conquere. - The executors of the judgment are not named; for the threat that God will give up the land of the Ammonites to the Bedouins for their possession, does not imply that they are to exterminate the Ammonites. On the contrary, a comparison of this passage with Amos 1:13-15 and Jeremiah 49:1-5, where the Ammonites are threatened not only with the devastation of their land, but also with transportation into exile, will show that the Chaldeans are to be thought of as executing the judgment. (See the comm. on Ezekiel 25:11.)

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