Ezekiel 32:27
And they shall not lie with the mighty that are fallen of the uncircumcised, which are gone down to hell with their weapons of war: and they have laid their swords under their heads, but their iniquities shall be upon their bones, though they were the terror of the mighty in the land of the living.
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(27) And they shall not lie.—If this be the correct translation, then a distinction is implied between these nations and the others. The others have been honourably buried “with their weapons of war,” while these come to a more disgraceful end. It is better, however, to take it as a question (which the Hebrew fully admits): “Shall they not?” &c.

Their iniquities shall be upon their bones—i.e., they shall die in their iniquity. As we say in English, their sins shall be upon their heads.

32:17-32 Divers nations are mentioned as gone down to the grave before Egypt, who are ready to give her a scornful reception; these nations had been lately ruined and wasted. But though Judah and Jerusalem were about this time ruined and laid waste, yet they are not mentioned here. Though they suffered the same affliction, and by the same hand, yet the kind design for which they were afflicted, and the mercy God reserved for them, altered its nature. It was not to them a going down to the pit, as it was to the heathen. Pharaoh shall see, and be comforted; but the comfort wicked ones have after death, is poor comfort, not real, but only in fancy. The view this prophecy gives of ruined states shows something of this present world, and the empire of death in it. Come and see the calamitous state of human life. As if men did not die fast enough, they are ingenious at finding out ways to destroy one another. Also of the other world; though the destruction of nations as such, seems chiefly intended, here is plain allusion to the everlasting ruin of impenitent sinners. How are men deceived by Satan! What are the objects they pursue through scenes of bloodshed, and their many sins? Surely man disquiets himself in vain, whether he pursues wealth, fame, power, or pleasure. The hour cometh, when all that are in their graves shall hear the voice of Christ, and shall come forth; those that have done good to the resurrection of life, and those that have done evil to the resurrection of damnation.And they shall not lie - Better, "Shall they not lie?" or, "Are they not laid?" The custom of burying warriors with their swords, shields, or helmets, raider their heads is well known, and common to most warlike nations.

But their iniquities ... - They, rested in all the glories of a warrior's sepulture, but their sins followed them to the grave.

27. they shall not lie with the mighty—that is, they shall not have separate tombs such as mighty conquerors have: but shall all be heaped together in one pit, as is the case with the vanquished [Grotius]. Havernick reads it interrogatively, "Shall they not lie with the mighty that are fallen?" But English Version is supported by the parallel (Isa 14:18, 19), to which Ezekiel refers, and which represents them as not lying as mighty kings lie in a grave, but cast out of one, as a carcass trodden under foot.

with … weapons of war—alluding to the custom of burying warriors with their arms (1 Maccabees 13:29). Though honored by the laying of "their swords under their heads," yet the punishment of "their iniquities shall be upon their bones." Their swords shall thus attest their shame, not their glory (Mt 26:52), being the instruments of their violence, the penalty of which they are paying.

They shall not lie with the mighty; the leaders of these Scythians were not buried with a pomp like that of Asshur or Elam, but, surprised by the fraud of Halyattes and Cyaxares, were cut off with all their multitude, and tumbled into pits with the rabble. With their weapons; a ceremony observed in pompous funerals of great captains, to have their weapons and their armour carried before the hearse.

Laid their swords under their heads; either when carried out to be buried, or laid under their head in their graves; or perhaps under the statues of them placed on the tops of their tombs: these barbarous Scythians were not so buried.

Their iniquity, the exemplary punishment of their iniquity,

shall be upon their bones; shall be seen upon their bones unburied, and cast out on the earth by the just judgment of God.

Though they were the terror; because they were Cruel, bloody, ravenous, and mischievously tyrannical while they lived.

The mighty; Cyaxares and the Persians, that durst not again attempt Nineveh, till the Scythians were fallen.

And they shall not lie with the mighty that are fallen of the uncircumcised,.... That is, shall not lie in such state, or be buried with such pomp and magnificence, and have such sepulchral monuments erected to their memory, as other heroes among the Heathens have had; such as the mighty kings of Assyria and Persia before mentioned:

which are gone down to hell, or "the grave",

with their weapons of war; which were never taken from them, and which they held in their hands to the last, being never conquered, and died at last a natural death, and not by the sword; or which were carried in state before their hearse at the time of interment, as is the custom to this day so to do at the funeral of great warriors, generals, and officers:

and they have laid their swords under their heads; as a sign and token, as Jarchi says, that the sword did not rule over them, that they did not fall by it; either their statues and sepulchral monuments were adorned with these, and other instruments of war, as was the grave of Misenus by Aeneas (d); and as is still the custom where the heads of such mighty ones are laid, to engrave them on them: or, literally, their swords and other weapons of war were put in their graves under their heads; as it was usual, in former times, in some places to put swords, shields, and other armour, in the graves of military men, as were in the grave of Theseus, on the bier of Alexander the great, and others, as reported by Plutarch, Diodorus Siculus, and Sophocles (e): now the Scythians were not buried: after this grand and pompous manner:

but their iniquities shall be upon their bones; or the punishment of their sin should be, that their bones should lie unburied and scattered about, or be dug up and broke to pieces, and treated with inhumanity and contempt, as a just reward for their savageness, and cruelty:

though they were the terror of the mighty in the land of the living: not only the terror of the common people, but even of the most powerful kings and mighty warriors.

(d) Vid. Virgil. Aeneid. l. 6. & Seneca, l. 4. controvers. 4. (e) Vid. Lydium de Re Militari, l. 6. c. 7. p. 250, 251. & Kirchman, de Funer. Roman. l. 3. c. 18.

And they shall not lie with the mighty that are fallen {r} of the uncircumcised, who are gone down to the grave with their weapons of war: and they have laid their swords under their heads, but their iniquities shall be upon their bones, though they were the terror of the mighty in the land of the living.

(r) Who died not by cruel death but by the course of nature, and are honourably buried with their coat of armour and signs of honour.

27. they shall not lie] LXX. Syr. omit the neg.: and they are laid with the giants. Ew. would retain the neg., reading as an interrogation with an affirmative sense: and shall they not lie with …?, which is not very natural.

fallen of the uncircumcised] LXX. fallen of old. This reading has considerable probability, although the other reading might stand. Some scholars would also alter “fallen” (nophelim) into Nephilim (cf. R. V. Genesis 6:4); an unnecessary change. For “hell” read Sheòl.

they have laid their swords] they laid (indeterminate subj.)—equivalent to the passive: and their swords were laid.

but their … shall be] and their iniquities were. The reference is still to the “mighty;” to change the subject spoken of, making the clause refer to Meshech and Tubal, is most unnatural.

though they were the terror] because the terror of the mighty was in the land. The clause explains the preceding, as for ex. why their iniquities were upon their bones, and would certainly be easier if the reading had been: because the terror of their might was, as the Syr. reads, precisely as in Ezekiel 32:29-30. So Hitz. Corn. (Possibly geburam should be read; cf. Hosea 13:2, and often with fem. nouns.)

Ezekiel 32:27 is difficult. The reading “they shall not lie with the mighty” suggests the idea that the mighty who fell of old, and went down to Sheòl in full armour, and had their swords laid under their heads, occupy a more honourable place in Sheòl than such a rout as Meshech and Tubal, who are counted unworthy to lie beside them. This idea is not probable in itself, and cannot be reconciled with other parts of the verse. The last clause “because the terror of the mighty (or, of their might) was in the land of the living” ascribes the same sin to these mighty as is charged against Asshur and the rest (Ezekiel 32:23-24, &c.), and for which they bear their shame. Again, the phrase “their iniquities were upon their bones” can have no other meaning than that their evil and violence were interred with their bones, and continued to cleave to them—that they went down unhouselled, disappointed, unaneled, cut off in the blossom of their sin. The conjecture of Corn. “their shields were upon their bones” is altogether destitute of probability. LXX. renders “giants,” as it does Genesis 6:4, and possibly it thought of the antediluvian race. The prophet may have had this race in his mind, but more probably his reference is a wider one (cf. Ezekiel 32:12, Ezekiel 39:18; Ezekiel 39:20). Even if he referred to the giants before the Flood, it is anything but likely, with Genesis 6 before him and with his moral temper, that he would assign an honourable place in Sheòl to those violent desperadoes. The weird touch “went down to Sheòl in their weapons of war, and had their swords laid under their heads,” probably means that the manner of their death and burial was in keeping with the violence and bloodshed which was the occupation of their life. The usages and sentiments of chivalry were not yet known to Ezekiel. The clause should, therefore, probably be read positively.

Verse 27. - And they shall not lie with the mighty. The words seem at first to contradict Ver. 26. The LXX. meets the difficulty by omitting the negative; Ewald and Havernick, by taking it as an interrogative, "Shall they not lie," etc.? Probably the explanation is laying stress on the word "mighty." Meshech and Tubal have a lower place in Hades; they are buried without the honors of war. Their swords are not placed beneath their heads (for the practice thus referred to, see Died. Sic., 18:26; Arrian, 1:5; Virg., 'AEn.,' 6:233). For the Scythians, who worshipped the sword (Herod., L 62), this would be the extremest ignominy. In this way their iniquities should be upon their bones as they lay dishonored. Ezekiel 32:27Fourth strophe. - Ezekiel 32:26. There is Meshech-Tubal and all its multitude, its graves round about it; all of them uncircumcised, slain in with the sword, because they spread terror before them in the land of the living. Ezekiel 32:27. They lie not with the fallen heroes of uncircumcised men, who went down into hell with their weapons of war, whose swords they laid under their heads; their iniquities have come upon their bones, because they were a terror of the heroes in the land of the living. Ezekiel 32:28. Thou also wilt be dashed to pieces among uncircumcised men, and lie with those slain with the sword. - משׁך and תּבל, the Moschi and Tibareni of the Greeks (see the comm. on Ezekiel 27:13), are joined together ἀσυνδετῶς here as one people or heathen power; and Ewald, Hitzig, and others suppose that the reference is to the Scythians, who invaded the land in the time of Josiah, and the majority of whom had miserably perished not very long before (Herod. i. 106). But apart from the fact that the prophets of the Old Testament make no allusion to any invasion of Palestine by the Scythians (see Minor Prophets, vol. ii. p. 124, Eng. transl.), this view is founded entirely upon the erroneous supposition that in this funeral-dirge Ezekiel mentions only such peoples as had sustained great defeats a longer or shorter time before. Meshech-Tubal comes into consideration here, as in Ezekiel 38, as a northern power, which is overcome in its conflict with the kingdom of God, and is prophetically exhibited by the prophet as having already fallen under the judgment of death. In Ezekiel 32:26 Ezekiel makes the same announcement as he has already made concerning Asshur in Ezekiel 32:22, Ezekiel 32:23, and with regard to Elam in Ezekiel 32:24, Ezekiel 32:25. But the announcement in Ezekiel 32:27 is obscure. Rosenmller, Ewald, Hvernick, and others, regard this verse as a question (ולא in the sense of הלא): "and should they not lie with (rest with) other fallen heroes of the uncircumcised, who...?" i.e., they do lie with them, and could not possibly expect a better fate. But although the interrogation is merely indicated by the tone where the language is excited, and therefore ולא might stand for הלא, as in Exodus 8:22, there is not the slightest indication of such excitement in the description given here as could render this assumption a probable one. On the contrary, ולא at the commencement of the sentence suggests the supposition that an antithesis is intended to the preceding verse. And the probability of this conjecture is heightened by the allusion made to heroes, who have descended into the nether world with their weapons of war; inasmuch as, at all events, something is therein affirmed which does not apply to all the heroes who have gone down into hell. The custom of placing the weapons of fallen heroes along with them in the grave is attested by Diod. Sic. xviii. 26; Arrian, i. 5; Virgil, Ane. vi. 233 (cf. Dougtaei Analectt. ss. i. pp. 281, 282); and, according to the ideas prevailing in ancient times, it was a mark of great respect to the dead. But the last place in which we should expect to meet with any allusion to the payment of such honour to the dead would be in connection with Meshech and Tubal, those wild hordes of the north, who were only known to Israel by hearsay. We therefore follow the Vulgate, the Rabbins, and many of the earlier commentators, and regard the verse before us as containing a declaration that the slain of Meshech-Tubal would not receive the honour of resting in the nether world along with those fallen heroes whose weapons were buried with them in the grave, because they fell with honour.

(Note: C. a Lapide has already given the true meaning: "He compares them, therefore, not with the righteous, but with the heathen, who, although uncircumcised, had met with a glorious death, i.e., they will be more wretched than these; for the latter went down to the shades with glory, but they with ignominy, as if conquered and slain.")

כּלי מלחמה, instruments of war, weapons, as in Deuteronomy 1:41. The text leaves it uncertain who they were who had been buried with such honours. The Seventy have confounded מערלים with מעולם, and rendered ,נפלים τῶν πεπτωκότων ἀπ ̓αἰῶνος possibly thinking of the gibborim of Genesis 6:4. Dathe and Hitzig propose to alter the text to this; and even Hvernick imagines that the prophet may possibly have had such passages as Genesis 6:4 and Genesis 10:9. floating before his mind. But there is not sufficient ground to warrant an alteration of the text; and if Ezekiel had had Genesis 6:4 in his mind, he would no doubt have written הגבּורים. The clause ותּהי עונותם is regarded by the more recent commentators as a continuation of the preceding 'ויּתּנוּ וגו, which is a very natural conclusion, if we simply take notice of the construction. But if we consider the sense of the words, this combination can hardly be sustained. The words, "and so were their iniquities upon their bones" (or they came upon them), can well be understood as an explanation of the reason for their descending into Sheol with their weapons, and lying upon their swords. We must therefore regard ותּהי עונותם as a continuation of ישׁכּבוּ, so that their not resting with those who were buried with their weapons of war furnishes the proof that their guilt lay upon their bones. The words, therefore, have no other meaning than the phrase ישׂאוּ כלמּתם in Ezekiel 32:24 and Ezekiel 32:30. Sin comes upon the bones when the punishment consequent upon it falls upon the bones of the sinner. In the last clause we connect גבּורים with חתּית, terror of the heroes, i.e., terrible even to heroes on account of their savage and cruel nature. In Ezekiel 32:28 we cannot take אתּה as referring to Meshech-Tubal, as many of the commentators propose. A direct address to that people would be at variance with the whole plan of the ode. Moreover, the declaration contained in the verse would contradict what precedes. As Meshech-Tubal is already lying in Sheol among the slain, according to Ezekiel 32:26, the announcement cannot be made to it for the first time here, that it is to be dashed in pieces and laid with those who are slain with the sword. It is the Egyptian who is addressed, and he is told that this fate will also fall upon him. And through this announcement, occurring in the midst of the list of peoples that have already gone down to Sheol, the design of that list is once more called to mind.

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