Say you thus to them, Thus said the Lord GOD; As I live, surely they that are in the wastes shall fall by the sword, and him that is in the open field will I give to the beasts to be devoured, and they that be in the forts and in the caves shall die of the pestilence.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)In the forts—is rather, in the natural fastnesses in which the land abounded.Ezekiel 33:27. Surely they that are in the wastes — They who continue to dwell among the desolations of Jerusalem and Judea; shall fall by the sword — This they accordingly did, both through the civil dissensions among them, in the conspiracy formed against Gedaliah, and likewise by the Chaldeans revenging his death. And him that is in the open field will I give to the beasts — He shall be a prey to lions and other ravenous beasts, that will multiply in the ruined country. And they that be in the forts and caves — Out of the reach of men and beasts; shall die of the pestilence — My hand shall reach them, and send among them those destructive disorders which shall sweep them away. These three judgments here mentioned, the sword, destructive beasts, and the pestilence, together with famine, are often threatened as the last and finishing strokes of divine vengeance upon the Jewish nation: see Ezekiel 5:12; Ezekiel 5:17; Ezekiel 6:12; Ezekiel 14:21; Jeremiah 15:3. By the forts and caves here spoken of, are meant the strong holds formed by nature in the rocks, or cut out in the sides of the mountains. Many of them were so large that men might secure themselves, their families, and their goods in them. So David is said, 1 Samuel 23:14, to abide in strong holds, and remain in a mountain in the wilderness of Ziph. Such was the cave of Adullam, where David had his residence for some time, and was there resorted to by his relations, (1 Samuel 22:1,) and at another time by his principal officers, 2 Samuel 23:15.
caves—(Jud 6:2; 1Sa 13:6). In the hilly parts of Judea there were caves almost inaccessible, as having only crooked and extremely narrow paths of ascent, with rock in front stretching down into the valleys beneath perpendicularly [Josephus, Wars of the Jews, 1.16.4].The wastes; the ruinous heaps of cities or towns, in which some sorry habitations might possibly be found by them.
Shall fall; the Chaldean soldier ransacking all places, and either expecting or by chance finding them there, shall kill in revenge of Gedaliah’s death and Ishmael with others shall destroy some of them.
That is in the open field; that wanders in the fields, shall be a prey to lions, or other ravenous beasts, that will multiply in that ruined country.
In the forts; out of the reach of men and beasts my hand shall reach, I will send the pestilence, that shall sweep them away.
as I live, which is the form of an oath; the Lord swears by himself his life, because he could swear by no greater, and for the confirmation of what follows:
surely they that are in the wastes shall fall by the sword; by their own sword, falling out one with another; or by the sword of Ishmael Jeremiah 41:2 or by the sword of the Chaldeans, who revenged the death of Gedaliah and others; even such who dwelt amidst the ruins of the city of Jerusalem, and other places, that were become desolate through the ravages of the enemy:
and him that is in the open field will I give to the beasts to be devoured; of which it may be supposed there were the greater numbers, since the land was so depopulated: and they that be in the forts, and in the caves, shall die of the pestilence; such as were in fortified cities, or in caverns of the earth, dug in rocks and mountains, where, in neither of them, men and beasts could easily come at them; here the Lord would send his arrow, the plague, that flies by day, and reach them, and destroy them; none can escape his hands; these are three of the Lord's sore judgments, the sword, pestilence, and noisome beasts.Say thou thus unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; As I live, surely they that are in the wastes shall fall by the sword, and him that is in the open field will I give to the beasts to be devoured, and they that be in the forts and in the caves shall die of the pestilence.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)27. The “wastes” are the desolate cities; those that still hover about these ruins shall be slain by the enemy. The “open field” is the country, now depopulated and “the possession of wild beasts;” and the “forts,” coupled with caves, are the natural fastnesses of the land. Those taking refuge there shall die of the pestilence, due to crowding and famine. The remnant shall be exterminated from the land.Verse 27. - They that are in the wastes. The words paint, with a terrible vividness, what was passing in Ezekiel's fatherland. Did the fugitives of Judah seek the open country? they were exposed to the sword of the Chaldeans or of marauding outlaws. Did they seek safety in fortresses or caves? they were exposed, crowded together as they were under the worst possible conditions, to the ravages of pestilence. Ezekiel 32:22. There is Asshur and all its multitude, round about it their graves, all of them slain, fallen by the sword Ezekiel 32:23. Whose graves are made in the deepest pit, and its multitude is round about its grave; all slain, fallen by the sword, who spread terror in the land of the living. - The enumeration commences with Asshur, the world-power, which had already been overthrown by the Chaldeans. It is important to notice here, that אשּׁוּר, like עילם in Ezekiel 32:24, and משׁך in Ezekiel 32:26, is construed as a feminine, as המונהּ which follows in every case plainly shows. It is obvious, therefore, that the predominant idea is not that of the king or people, but that of the kingdom or world-power. It is true that in the suffixes attached to סביבותיו קברתיו in Ezekiel 32:22, and סביבותיו in Ezekiel 32:25 and Ezekiel 32:26, the masculine alternates with the feminine, and Hitzig therefore proposes to erase these words; but the alternation may be very simply explained, on the ground that the ideas of the kingdom and its king are not kept strictly separate, but that the words oscillate from one idea to the other. It is affirmed of Asshur, that as a world-power it lies in Sheol, and the gravers of its countrymen are round about the graves of its ruler. They all lie there as those who have fallen by the sword, i.e., who have been swept away by a judgment of God. To this is added in Ezekiel 32:23 the declaration that the graves of Asshur lie in the utmost sides, i.e., the utmost or deepest extremity of Sheol; whereas so long as this power together with its people was in the land of the living, i.e., so long as they ruled on earth, they spread terror all around them by their violent deeds. From the loftiest height of earthly might and greatness, they are hurled down to the lowest hell. The higher on earth, the deeper in the nether world. Hvernick has entirely misunderstood the words "round about Asshur are its graves" (Ezekiel 32:22), and "its multitude is round about its grave" (the grave of this world-power), when he finds therein the thought that the graves and corpses are to be regarded as separated, so that the dead are waiting near their graves in deepest sorrow, looking for the honour of burial, but looking in vain. There is not a word of this in the text, but simply that the graves of the people lie round about the grave of their ruler.
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