Ezekiel 25:9
Therefore, behold, I will open the side of Moab from the cities, from his cities which are on his frontiers, the glory of the country, Bethjeshimoth, Baalmeon, and Kiriathaim,
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(9) Open the side of Moabi.e., lay it open to the enemy. This is to be done “from the cities,” on which a special emphasis is placed. The cities named were all on the north of the Arnon, and before the time of Moses had been wrested from the Moabites by the Amorites, from whom in turn they were taken by the Israelites, and long formed a part of their territory. In the decay of the power of Israel they were re-conquered by Moab, and are here spoken of, perhaps in view of their being rightfully a possession of Israel, as appropriately the point from which desolation should go out over the whole of Moab.

The glory of the country.—The territory designated by the mention of these three cities is still considered by the Arabs as the best part of the land, and is called Belka. They have a proverb, “Thou canst find no land like Belka.” The sites of all the cities which are alluded to here have been probably identified by existing ruins.

25:8-17 Though one event seem to the righteous and wicked, it is vastly different. Those who glory in any other defence and protection than the Divine power, providence, and promise, will, sooner or later, be ashamed of their glorying. Those who will not leave it to God to take vengeance for them, may expect that he will take vengeance on them. The equity of the Lord's judgments is to be observed, when he not only avenges injuries upon those that did them, but by those against whom they were done. Those who treasure up old hatred, and watch for the opportunity of manifesting it, are treasuring up for themselves wrath against the day of wrath.I will open the side ... - i. e., lay it open to the attack of the enemy from the cities, from his cities, from his frontier (or, in every quarter). There is an ironical stress on "his" cities, because these cities belonged not to Moab but to Israel, having been assigned to the Reubenites Numbers 32:38; Joshua 13:20. They lay to the north of the river Arnon, which was the proper boundary of Moab Numbers 21:13. The Moabites had in the last days of the kingdom of Israel recovered this territory Isaiah 16:1-14. They still occupied this land in the time of Ezekiel (see Jeremiah 48).

The glory of the country - This tract, belonging to the district called by the Arabians "Al Belka," has been at all times highly valued on account of the excellence of its pastures for cattle. The most southern of these three cities is Kiriathaim, called on the Moabitic stone Kirjath, and now Kureiyat. The dual termination of the name Kiriathaim," is explained by the fact that Kureiyat is situated on two sister hillocks half a mile apart, both covered by the ancient city. It is situated about eight miles north of the Arnon, and seven miles east of the shore of the Dead Sea. Baal-meon is about ten miles north of Kureiyat - known at present as Main. It is probable that Kiriathaim was the "Kirjath-Huzoth" (city of streets), and Baal-meon, the "Bamoth-Baal" (high places of Baal), to which Balak took Balaam Numbers 22:39, Numbers 22:41. Baal-meon occurs on the Moabitic stone as a place which Mesa built or fortified. He probably erected a stronghold on the old locality, reviving the ancient name. Beth-jeshimoth is identified with a knoll at the northeasternmost point of the Dead Sea.

9, 10. open … from the cities—I will open up the side, or border of Moab (metaphor from a man whose side is open to blows), from the (direction of) the cities on his northwest border beyond the Arnon, once assigned to Reuben (Jos 13:15-21), but now in the hands of their original owners; and the "men of the east," the wandering Bedouin hordes, shall enter through these cities into Moab and waste it. Moab accordingly was so wasted by them, that long before the time of Christ it had melted away among the hordes of the desert. For "cities," Grotius translates the Hebrew as proper names, the Ar and Aroer, on the Arnon. Hence the Hebrew for "cities," "Ar" is repeated twice (Nu 21:28; De 2:36; Isa 15:1).

glory of the country—The region of Moab was richer than that of Ammon; it answers to the modern Belka, the richest district in South Syria, and the scene in consequence of many a contest among the Bedouins. Hence it is called here a "glorious land" (literally, "a glory," or "ornament of a land") [Fairbairn]. Rather, "the glory of the country" is in apposition with "cities" which immediately precedes, and the names of which presently follow.

Beth-jeshimoth—meaning "the city of desolations"; perhaps so named from some siege it sustained; it was towards the west.

Baal-meon—called also "Beth-meon" (Jer 48:23), and "Beth-baal-meon" (Jos 13:17, called so from the worship of Baal), and "Bajith," simply (Isa 15:2).

Kiriathaim—"the double city." The strength of these cities engendered "the pride" of Moab (Isa 16:6).

I will open; when the Lord will open the gates of iron, and say, The gates shall not be shut, as Isaiah 45:1,2, every attempt shall be easy, and his soldiers shall break through the defences, that were vainly boasted impregnable.

The side of Moab; that part of his country, which was best fortified for the safeguard of the whole.

From the cities; from the cities of strength, called here his, because he gloried and trusted in them, such as Har and Aroer, seated on Arnon, very strong garrisons.

On his frontiers; or, from his frontiers, (for it is the same construction, Hebrew,) or from his outmost bounds, I will lay all open to the Chaldeans, they shall overrun it, as if it were an open country, as easily as if no fortresses to impede them.

The glory; so the great, strong, and beautiful, or regularly built and fortified cities are ever accounted the glory of the country, and these are reckoned beside Ar and Aroer.

Beth-jeshimoth; an ancient city, and formerly Reuben’s lot, Joshua 13:20: its name tells you it was a fortress toward the desert, which watched, lest any should, through those wastes, make an inroad on the country.

Baal-meon; called also Moon, and Baiith, and Beth-baal-meon, mansion-house of Baal, word for word; it was situate on the north coast of Moab, as the other on the west.

Kiriathaim; a city, which probably consisted of two cities, or principal parts; a very strong frontier town, but not able to keep out those that God would lead in. Therefore, behold, I will open the side of Moab from the cities,.... Or, "the shoulder of Moab" (t); that part of their country where their greatest strength lay, So the Targum renders it,

"the strength of Moab;''

where their principal cities were, their frontier towns, and fortified places, as appears by what follows:

from his cities which are on his frontiers; or, "from his Ars" (u),

from his cities which are at his end; at the extreme part of the land, upon the borders of his countries; the two cities of Ar and Aroer, Numbers 21:28,

the glory of the country; as the above cities were, and what follow:

Bethjeshimoth; this was formerly in the tribe of Reuben, now in the possession of the Moabites, and one of their principal cities, Joshua 13:20,

Baalmeon; the same with Bethbaalmeon, and which was also of the tribe of Reuben, Joshua 13:17, in Jerom's time it was a large village in Moab, about nine miles from Heshbon: some think by Meon is meant Menes, or Osiris the god of the Egyptians, and so this might be a temple of his; or at least he might have a temple in it, from whence it had its name:

and Kirjathaim; or the double city, built also by the Reubenites, Numbers 32:37, now in the hands of the Moabites, ten miles from Medeba; on this side of the country of Moab, and through these cities, the Lord threatens to open a way for their enemies to enter in and destroy them, as follows:

(t) , Sept.; "humerum", V. L. Montanus. (u) "ab ipsis", Haris, Junius & Tremellius, Polanus.

Therefore, behold, I will open the side of Moab from the cities, {e} from his cities which are on his frontiers, the glory of the country, Bethjeshimoth, Baalmeon, and Kiriathaim,

(e) So that no power or strength should be able to resist the Babylonians.

9. open the side] Lit. the shoulder of Moab, i.e. the border or territory of Moab conceived as looking towards other countries, as “shoulder” has hardly reference to the shape of the Moabite territory (Isaiah 11:14). To open the side is to give invaders access to the country (Nahum 3:13).

from the cities … frontiers] Perhaps: at the cities, at his cities in every quarter. The prep. from seems to indicate position, by or on the cities, i.e. where they are. Others take it in a privative sense: stript of the cities. The three towns named are given as examples of the glory of Moab. Beth-Jeshimoth lay at the N.E. of the head of the Dead Sea, Numbers 33:49; Joshua 12:3; Joshua 13:20; it is supposed to be Suweimeh, at the mouth of the Jordan. Baal-meon, Numbers 32:3; Numbers 32:38, more fully Beth-baal-meon (Joshua 13:17), and in another form, Bethmeon (Jeremiah 48:23), lay further inland, a little S. of Heshbon; supposed to be Mâ‘in. Kirjathaim lay somewhat further south (Numbers 32:37; Joshua 13:19; Jeremiah 48:1; Jeremiah 48:23); supposed to be El Kureyat.Verse 9. - I will open the side of Moab; literally, the shoulder, i.e. the slopes of the mountain of Moab (Joshua 15:8, 10). For Beth-jeshimoth (equivalent to "House of wastes"), see Numbers 33:49; Joshua 12:3; Joshua 13:20. It had been assigned to Reuben, but had been seized by the Moabites. It has been identified by De Sauley with the ruins now known as Suaime, on the northeastern border of the Dead Sea. Baal-moon (Numbers 32:38), more fully Beth-baal-meon (Joshua 13:17), or Beth-moon (Jeremiah 48:23). The name is found in ruins of some extent, known as the fortress of Mi'un or Maein, about three miles south of Heshbon ('Dict. Bible,' s.v.). Kiriathaim. The dual form of the name (equivalent to "Two cities") implies, perhaps, the union of an old and new town, or two towns on the opposite sides of a brook or wady. The name appears in Genesis 14:5; Numbers 32:37; Joshua 13:19; Jeremiah 48:1, 23. It has been identified with El-Teym, about two miles from Medeba (Burckhardt), and with Kurei-yat, on the south side of Jebel Attarus. Eusebius ('Onom.,' s.v.) describes it as about ten miles from Medeba, and close to the Baris, lint nothing is known as to the last-named place. The three cities all belonged to the region which Sihon and Og had conquered from the Moabites before Israel obtained possession of them, and they were afterwards claimed as belonging to the Israelites by right of conquest (Judges 11:23), and them may therefore be a touch of irony in Ezekiel's language describing them as Moabite cities. Collectively they were the glory of the country, the region known as the Belka, in which they were situated, giving the best pasturage, then as now, in Southern Syria. Havernick quotes a Bedouin proverb, "There is no land like Belka" (see Tristram's 'Land of Moab,' pp. 275, 303-305, 350). Kirjath and Baal-meon appear in Mesha's inscription on the Moabite Stone. 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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