Ezekiel 5:12
A third part of thee shall die with the pestilence, and with famine shall they be consumed in the midst of thee: and a third part shall fall by the sword round about thee; and I will scatter a third part into all the winds, and I will draw out a sword after them.
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Ezekiel 5:12-13. A third part of thee, &c. — In this verse is given an explication of what the burning of the hair, the smiting of it with a knife, &c., signified: see on Ezekiel 5:2. And I will draw out a sword after them — My anger shall still pursue them, even into the countries whither they shall be banished and carried captives. As this was particularly fulfilled in those that went into Egypt, (see on Ezekiel 5:4,) so it has been remarkably verified in the several persecutions and massacres they have undergone at different times in most of the countries of Europe, in latter ages: see note on Deuteronomy 28:65. Thus shall mine anger be accomplished — My anger shall be appeased toward them, after I have executed due punishment upon them for their sins. And I will cause my fury — Or rather, my wrath, or indignation, as, חמתיshould be rendered, for to apply the word fury to God, is highly improper and indecent: to rest upon them —

To be satisfied in punishing them. And I will be comforted — Here we have a strong instance of the metaphor called anthropopathia, by which the qualities of men are ascribed to God. As men sometimes find some sort of ease and rest in their minds upon venting their anger on just occasions, and bringing offenders to condign punishment; so God is here described as feeling ease and satisfaction in executing his justice on obstinate offenders: compare Ezekiel 16:42; Ezekiel 21:17; and see note on Isaiah 1:24. They shall know that I have spoken it in my zeal — Out of a just concern for my own honour and authority, which they have slighted and despised.

5:5-17 The sentence passed upon Jerusalem is very dreadful, the manner of expression makes it still more so. Who is able to stand in God's sight when he is angry? Those who live and die impenitent, will perish for ever unpitied; there is a day coming when the Lord will not spare. Let not persons or churches, who change the Lord's statutes, expect to escape the doom of Jerusalem. Let us endeavour to adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things. Sooner or later God's word will prove itself true.The judgments Ezekiel 5:12-17 of "famine, pestilence," and the "sword," were precisely those which attended the coming siege of Jerusalem (Jeremiah 15:2 ff). The "drawing out the sword after them" indicates that the anger of God will follow them even to the land of their exile (compare Jeremiah 42:19-22; Leviticus 26:25), and that the horrors of the Babylonian siege are but the beginning of the sorrows of the nation. 12. Statement in plain terms of what was intended by the symbols (Eze 5:2; see Eze 6:12; Jer 15:2; 21:9).

draw out … sword after them—(Le 26:33). Skeptics object; no such thing happened under Zedekiah, as is here foretold; namely, that a third part of the nation should die by pestilence, a third part by the sword, and a third be scattered unto all winds, and a sword sent after them. But the prophecy is not restricted to Zedekiah's time. It includes all that Israel suffered, or was still to suffer, for their sins, especially those committed at that period (Eze 17:21). It only received its primary fulfilment under Zedekiah: numbers then died by the pestilence and by the sword; and numbers were scattered in all quarters and not carried to Babylonia alone, as the objectors assert (compare Ezr 1:4; Es 3:8; Ob 14).

pestilence … and famine—signified by the symbol "fire" (Eze 5:2). Compare Isa 13:8; La 5:10; plague and famine burning and withering the countenance, as fire does.

From this to the end of the chapter we have a particular and more express declaration how God would execute these severe judgments upon this people.

With pestilence; no doubt, though it were not mentioned or threatened, as Jeremiah 34:17, we might conclude it could not but be in such a besieged city, where blood, putrifying carcasses, &c. annoy.

With famine; signified by fire, for it parcheth and withereth men.

Shall fall by the sword round about thee; as they did in their assailing the besiegers round about the walls, and as they did fall under the assault, when the enemy attempted to take the city, &c. See further Ezekiel 5:12. of this chapter.

I will draw out a sword after them; when the Babylonians’ sword hath cut off all about Jerusalem, I will draw out my sword, and pursue the rest which Nebuchadnezzar could not reach.

A third part of them shall die with the pestilence,.... This, with what follows, explains the division of the hair into the three parts, and what was done with them; and shows that the burning of one third part denotes their being destroyed by the pestilence, mentioned along with burning coals, Habakkuk 3:5; and by famine, as follows:

and with famine shall they be consumed in the midst of thee; and though there is no account of the former, yet there is of the latter; and no doubt but the pestilence raged, as well as the famine, at the siege of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar:

and a third part shall fall by the sword round about thee; signified by the third part of the hair, smitten with a knife; and intends such as perished by the sword of the Chaldeans at the taking of the city, and when they fled out of it; and so are properly said to fall round about it:

and I will scatter a third part into all the winds; the greatest part of which were carried into Babylon, and others into other parts; See Gill on Ezekiel 5:2;

and I will draw out a sword after them; particularly after them that went into Egypt. The Septuagint and Arabic versions read a "fourth part" in each clause, as before; and make it out thus, "a fourth part of thee shall be consumed with death (the pestilence); and a fourth part of thee shall be consumed with famine in the midst of thee; and a fourth part of thee I will scatter to every wind; and a fourth part of thee shall fall by the sword round about thee; and I will draw out the sword after them".

A third part of thee shall die with the pestilence, and with famine shall they be consumed in the midst of thee: and a third part shall fall by the sword round about thee; and I will scatter a third part into all the winds, and I will draw out a sword after them.
12. Explanation of the symbol Ezekiel 5:1-4.

Verse 12. - A third part of thee, etc. (see note on ver. 2). The strange symbolic act is now interpreted. I will draw out a sword, etc. The phrase recurs in Ezekiel 12:14, and is found in Leviticus 26:33 - an echo, like so many other passages in Ezekiel, from what seems to have been his favourite storehouse of thought and language (Leviticus 17-26.). Ezekiel 5:12Further Execution of this Threat

Ezekiel 5:10. Therefore shall fathers devour their children in thy midst, and children shall devour their fathers: and I will exercise judgments upon thee, and disperse all thy remnant to the winds. Ezekiel 5:11. Therefore, as I live, is the declaration of the Lord Jehovah, Verily, because thou hast polluted my sanctuary with all thine abominations and all thy crimes, so shall I take away mine eye without mercy, and will not spare. Ezekiel 5:12. A third of thee shall die by the pestilence, and perish by hunger in thy midst; and the third part shall fall by the sword about thee; and the third part will I scatter to all the winds; and will draw out the sword after them. Ezekiel 5:13. And my anger shall be fulfilled, and I will cool my wrath against them, and will take vengeance. And they shall experience that I, Jehovah, have spoken in my zeal, when I accomplish my wrath upon them. Ezekiel 5:14. And I will make thee a desolation and a mockery among the nations which are round about thee, before the eyes of every passer-by. Ezekiel 5:15. And it shall be a mockery and a scorn, a warning and a terror for the nations round about thee, when I exercise my judgments upon thee in anger and wrath and in grievous visitations. I, Jehovah, have said it. Ezekiel 5:16. When I send against thee the evil arrows of hunger, which minister to destruction, which I shall send to destroy you; for hunger shall I heap upon you, and shall break to you the staff of bread. Ezekiel 5:17. And I shall send hunger upon you, and evil beasts, which shall make thee childless; and pestilence and blood shall pass over thee; and the sword will I bring upon thee. I, Jehovah, have spoken it. - As a proof of the unheard-of severity of the judgment, there is immediately mentioned in Ezekiel 5:10 a most horrible circumstance, which had been already predicted by Moses (Leviticus 26:29; Deuteronomy 28:53) as that which should happen to the people when hard pressed by the enemy, viz., a famine so dreadful, during the siege of Jerusalem, that parents would eat their children, and children their parents; and after the capture of the city, the dispersion of those who remained "to all the winds, i.e., to all quarters of the world." This is described more minutely, as an appendix to the symbolical act in Ezekiel 5:1 and Ezekiel 5:2, in Ezekiel 5:11 and Ezekiel 5:12, with a solemn oath, and with repeated and prominent mention of the sins which have drawn down such chastisements. As sin, is mentioned the pollution of the temple by idolatrous abominations, which are described in detail in Ezekiel 8. The אגרע, which is variously understood by the old translators (for which some Codices offer the explanatory correction אגדע), is to be explained, after Job 36:7, of the "turning away of the eye," and the עיני following as the object; while ולא־תחוס, "that it feel no compassion," is interjected between the verb and its object with the adverbial signification of "mercilessly." For that the words ולא תחוס are adverbially subordinate to אגרע, distinctly appears from the correspondence - indicated by וגם אני - between אגרע and לא . Moreover, the thought, "Jehovah will mercilessly withdraw His care for the people," is not to be termed "feeble" in connection with what follows; nor is the contrast, which is indicated in the clause וגם־אני, lost, as Hvernick supposes. וגם־אני does not require גּרע to be understood of a positive act, which would correspond to the desecration of the sanctuary. This is shown by the last clause of the verse. The withdrawal without mercy of the divine providence is, besides, in reality, equivalent to complete devotion to destruction, as it is particularized in Ezekiel 5:12. For Ezekiel 5:12 see on Ezekiel 5:1 and Ezekiel 5:2. By carrying out the threatened division of the people into three parts, the wrath of God is to be fulfilled, i.e., the full measure of the divine wrath upon the people is to be exhausted (cf. 7, 8), and God is to appear and "cool" His anger. הניח חמה, "sedavit iram," occurs again in Ezekiel 16:42; Ezekiel 21:22; Ezekiel 24:13. הנּחמתּי, Hithpael, pausal form for הנּחמתּי, "se consolari," "to procure satisfaction by revenge;" cf. Isaiah 1:24, and for the thing, Deuteronomy 28:63. In Ezekiel 5:14. the discourse turns again from the people to the city of Jerusalem. It is to become a wilderness, as was already threatened in Leviticus 26:31 and Leviticus 26:33 to the cities of Israel, and thereby a "mockery" to all nations, in the manner described in Deuteronomy 29:23. והיתה, in Ezekiel 5:15, is not to be changed, after the lxx, Vulgate, and some MSS, into the second person; but Jerusalem is to be regarded as the subject which is to become the object of scorn and hatred, etc., when God accomplishes His judgments. מוּסר is a warning-example. Among the judgments which are to overtake it, in Ezekiel 5:16, hunger is again made specially prominent (cf. Ezekiel 4:16) and first in Ezekiel 5:17 are wild beasts, pestilence, blood, and sword added, and a quartette of judgments announced as in Ezekiel 14:21. For pestilence and blood are comprehended together as a unity by means of the predicate. Their connection is to be understood according to Ezekiel 14:19, and the number four is significant, as in Ezekiel 14:21; Jeremiah 15:3. For more minute details as to the meaning, see on Ezekiel 14:21. The evil arrows point back to Deuteronomy 32:23; the evil beasts, to Leviticus 24:22 and Deuteronomy 32:24. To produce an impression, the prophet heaps his words together. Unum ejus consilium fuit penetrare in animos populi quasi lapideos et ferreos. Haec igitur est ratio, cur hic tanta varietate utatur et exornet suam doctrnam variis figuris (Calvin).

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