Ezekiel 25:3
And say to the Ammonites, Hear the word of the Lord GOD; Thus said the Lord GOD; Because you said, Aha, against my sanctuary, when it was profaned; and against the land of Israel, when it was desolate; and against the house of Judah, when they went into captivity;
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Ezekiel 25:3. Say unto the Ammonites, Hear the word of the Lord God — Not the word of your god Chemosh, for, indeed, he is dumb, and utters no word; but the word of Jehovah, the God of Israel, who is also the God of the whole earth; because thou saidst, Aha, against my sanctuary — Because, when thou shouldst have pitied, thou didst proudly insult over my people, and show thyself glad at the calamities that had befallen them; rejoicing that the temple was profaned and burned by the victorious Chaldeans, the cities destroyed, the country wasted and depopulated, and the nation ruined. “The Ammonites, Moabites, and Edomites, though related in blood to the Jews, yet bore a constant hatred toward them, which they took all opportunities of showing, when the Jews were under any distress, and particularly at the time of their general captivity, and the destruction of their city and temple. For this they are often reproved by the prophets, and threatened with the like or severer judgments, and particularly the Ammonites.” See Lowth, and note on Ezekiel 21:28. This hostile spirit and conduct of these neighbouring nations toward God’s ancient people, seem to have arisen partly from their envy at the wealth, and the good land which they enjoyed; partly from their fear of the growing power of the Jews, and partly from their hatred to the religion and the divine oracles with which they were favoured.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.

3. (Jer 49:1).

when … profaned; … when … desolate; … when … captivity—rather, "for … for … for": the cause of the insolent exultation of Ammon over Jerusalem. They triumphed especially over the fall of the "sanctuary," as the triumph of heathenism over the rival claims of Jehovah. In Jehoshaphat's time, when the eighty-third Psalm was written (Ps 83:4, 7, 8, 12, "Ammon … holpen the children of Lot," who were, therefore, the leaders of the unholy conspiracy, "Let us take to ourselves the houses of God in possession"), we see the same profane spirit. Now at last their wicked wish seems accomplished in the fall of Jerusalem. Ammon, descended from Lot, held the region east of Jordan, separated from the Amorites on the north by the river Jabbok, and from Moab on the south by the Arnon. They were auxiliaries to Babylon in the destruction of Jerusalem (2Ki 24:2).

Say unto the Ammonites; either tell Ammonite merchants or travellers, of which some might likely be in Babylon for trade or to see its state; or else, send by letter to them of their nation who may serve in Nebuchadnezzar’s camp, which was in that time a school of arms, that they may tell others; or else, so plainly declare it that in time they may know this.

Hear the word of the Lord God; it is not the ambiguous or delusive oracle of your idols, but the plain, and true, and unfailing word of the only true God, the God of Israel, as Zephaniah 2:9. Because thou saidst, Aha; when thou shouldst have pitied, and been sorry, thou didst rejoice, and proudly didst insult, magnified thyself, and reproachedst my people, wert glad that so great calamities were come upon them.

Against my sanctuary; both the temple and the worship of God: it is like, in their pride, they boasted their idols’ power to preserve their. temples, and blasphemed God as unable to preserve his sacred rites and worship.

When it was profaned; when the heathen entered into, and when they burnt it.

Against the land of Israel; they insulted on the ten tribes, the kingdom of Israel, when afflicted. When it was desolate; wasted by Pul and Tiglath-pileser, and captivated by Shalmaneser.

Against the land of Judah; the two tribes, the kingdom of Judah.

When it went into captivity; first with Jehoiakim, then with Jeconiah, and, which was worse than both these, when it was captivated with Zedekiah, and the city burnt; a most mournful sight, and at which none but inhuman, barbarous men could do less than weep, but these rejoice, and cry, Aha. And say unto the Ammonites,.... Either to their ambassadors at Babylon, or merchants there; or by letters to them, the prophet being in Chaldea, at a distance from them:

hear the word of the Lord God; not Chemosh their idol, nor their lying oracles, but the word of the true and living God; which is always accomplished, and is never frustrated:

thus saith the Lord God, because thou saidst, aha, against my sanctuary, when it was profaned; that is, expressed joy, as the Targum paraphrases it, at the destruction of the temple, when it was burnt by Nebuchadnezzar; it was foreknown by the Lord that they would do so, and are here threatened before hand; for as yet the temple was not destroyed; a proof this of God's prescience of future contingencies:

and against the land of when it was desolate; the country of the ten tribes, which had been desolate from the sixth year of Hezekiah, when the people of it were carried captive by Shalmaneser king of Assyria; this also was matter of joy to the Ammonites:

and against the house of Judah, when they went into captivity; the two tribes of Judah and Benjamin, who were carried captive by Nebuchadnezzar; part of which had already been carried captive under Jeconiah, and the rest would be, and were, under Zedekiah; which completed the destruction of Israel and Judah, and gave the utmost pleasure to their enemies the Ammonites; who were so impious as to rejoice at the destruction of their temple, the place of their religious worship, which they abhorred; and so inhuman as to express the delight and satisfaction they had in the ruin of their fellow creatures and neighbours, and who were originally related to them; this brutish and barbarous behaviour of theirs is resented by the Lord.

And say to the Ammonites, Hear the word of the Lord GOD; Thus saith the Lord GOD; Because thou saidst, {a} Aha, against my sanctuary, when it was profaned; and against the land of Israel, when it was desolate; and against the house of Judah, when they went into captivity;

(a) Because you rejoiced when the enemy destroyed my city and temple.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
3. when it was desolate] i.e. desolated. For the demeanour of the nations on the destruction of Jerusalem, cf. Ezekiel 21:28; Ezekiel 35:13; Ezekiel 36:20; Obadiah 1:12; Lamentations 2:15-16.The Sign of Silent Sorrow Concerning the Destruction of Jerusalem

Ezekiel 24:14. And the word of Jehovah came to me, saying, Ezekiel 24:16. Son of man, behold, I take from thee thine eyes' delight by a stroke, and thou shalt not mourn nor weep, and no tear shall come from thee. Ezekiel 24:17. Sigh in silence; lamentation for the dead thou shalt not make; bind thy head-attire upon thee, and put thy shoes upon thy feet, and do not cover thy beard, and eat not the bread of men. Ezekiel 24:18. And I spake to the people in the morning, and in the evening my wife died, and I did in the morning as I was commanded. Ezekiel 24:19. Then the people said to me, Wilt thou not show us what this signifies to us that thou doest so? Ezekiel 24:20. And I said to them, The word of Jehovah has come to me, saying, Ezekiel 24:21. Say to the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, Behold, I will profane my sanctuary, the pride of your strength, the delight of your eyes, and the desire of your soul; and your sons and your daughters, whom ye have left, will fall by the sword. Ezekiel 24:22. Then will ye do as I have done, ye will not cover the beard, nor eat the bread of men; Ezekiel 24:23. And ye will have your head-attired upon your heads, and your shoes upon your feet; ye will not mourn nor weep, but will pine away in your iniquity, and sigh one towards another. Ezekiel 24:24. Thus will Ezekiel be a sign to you; as he hath done will ye do; when it cometh, ye will know that I the Lord am Jehovah. - From the statements in Ezekiel 24:18, to the effect that the prophet spoke to the people in the morning, and then in the evening his wife died, and then again in the (following) morning, according to the command of God, he manifested no grief, and in answer to the inquiry of the people explained to them the meaning of what he did, it is evident that the word of God contained in this section came to him on the same day as the preceding one, namely, on the day of the blockade of Jerusalem; for what he said to the people on the morning of this day (Ezekiel 24:18) is the prophecy contained in Ezekiel 24:3-14. Immediately after He had made this revelation to him, God also announced to him the approaching death of his wife, together with the significance which this event would have to the people generally. The delight of the eyes (Ezekiel 24:16) is his wife (Ezekiel 24:18) בּמגּפה by a stroke, i.e., by a sudden death inflicted by God (vid., Numbers 14:37; Numbers 17:13). On the occurrence of her death, he is neither to allow of any loud lamentings, nor to manifest any sign of grief, but simply to sigh in silence. מתים אבל does not stand for אבל מתים, but the words are both accusatives. The literal rendering would be: the dead shalt thou not make an object of mourning, i.e., thou shalt not have any mourning for the dead, as Storr (observv. p. 19) has correctly explained the words. On occasions of mourning it was customary to uncover the head and strew ashes upon it (Isaiah 61:3), to go barefoot (2 Samuel 15:30; Isaiah 20:2), and to cover the beard, that is to say, the lower part of the face as far as the nose (Micah 3:7). Ezekiel is not to do any of these things, but to arrange his head-attire (פּאר, the head-attire generally, or turban, vid., Ezekiel 24:23 and Isaiah 61:3, and not specially that of the priests, which is called פּארי in Exodus 39:28), and to put on his shoes, and also to eat no mourning bread. לחם אנשׁים does not mean panis miseroroum, cibus lugentium, in which case אנשׁים would be equivalent to אנשׁים, but bread of men, i.e., of the people, that is to say, according to the context, bread which the people were accustomed to send to the house of mourning in cases of death, to manifest their sympathy and to console and refresh the mourners - a custom which gave rise in the course of time to that of formal funeral meals. These are not mentioned in the Old Testament; but the sending of bread or food to the house of mourning is clearly referred to in Deuteronomy 26:14; Hosea 9:4, and Jeremiah 16:7 (see also 2 Samuel 3:35). - When Ezekiel thus abstained from all lamentation and outward sign of mourning on the death of his dearest one, the people conjectured that such striking conduct must have some significance, and asked him what it was that he intended to show thereby. He then announced to them the word of God (Ezekiel 24:20-24). As his dearest one, his wife, had been taken from him, so should it dearest object, the holy temple, be taken from the nation by destruction, and their children by the sword. When this occurred, then would they act as he was doing now; they would not mourn and weep, but simply in their gloomy sorrow sigh in silence on account of their sins, and groan one toward another.

The profanation (חלּל) of the sanctuary is effected through its destruction (cf. Ezekiel 7:24). To show the magnitude of the loss, the worth of the temple in the eyes of the nation is dwelt upon in the following clauses. גּאון עזּכם is taken from Leviticus 26:19. The temple is called the pride of your strength, because Israel based its might and strength upon it as the scene of the gracious presence of God, living in the hope that the Lord would not give up His sanctuary to the heathen to be destroyed, but would defend the temple, and therewith Jerusalem and its inhabitants also (cf. Jeremiah 7:4). מהמל נפשׁכם , the desire or longing of the soul (from המל, in Arabic, desiderio ferri ad aliquam rem). The sons and daughters of the people are the relatives and countrymen whom the exiles had been obliged to leave behind in Canaan. - The explanation of this lamentation and mourning on account of the destruction of the sanctuary and death of their relations, is to be found in the antithesis: 'וּנמקּתם בעו, ye will pine or languish away in your iniquities (compare Ezekiel 4:17 and Leviticus 26:39). Consequently we have not to imagine either "stolid indifference" (Eichhorn and Hitzig), or "stolid impenitence" (Ewald), but overwhelming grief, for which there were no tears, no lamentation, but only deep inward sighing on account of the sins which had occasioned so terrible a calamity. נהם, lit., to utter a deep growl, like the bears (Isaiah 59:11); here to sigh or utter a deep groan. "One toward another," i.e., manifesting the grief to one another by deep sighs; not "full of murmuring and seeking the sin which occasioned the calamity in others rather than in themselves," as Hitzig supposes. The latter exposition is entirely at variance with the context. This grief, which consumes the bodily strength, leads to a clear perception of the sin, and also to true repentance, and through penitence and atonement to regeneration and newness of life. And thus will they attain to a knowledge of the Lord through the catastrophe which bursts upon them (cf. Leviticus 26:40.). For מופת, a sign, see the comm. on Exodus 4:21.

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