Ezekiel 5:6
And she hath changed my judgments into wickedness more than the nations, and my statutes more than the countries that are round about her: for they have refused my judgments and my statutes, they have not walked in them.
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(6) Changed my judgments into wickedness.—Better, hath wickedly resisted my judgments, the sense adopted by most modern expositors.

More than the nations.—Not, of course, absolutely, but in proportion to the knowledge and the privileges given them. It would be an exaggeration to say that the Israelites were actually more evil in their life than the surrounding heathen; for they were, no doubt, far better. Even of those cities which our Lord, at a later day, so strongly upbraided, it would be absurd to suppose that they equalled Sodom and Gomorrah in their iniquity. God’s judgments are always relative and proportioned to the opportunities He has granted to men. The point is that the Israelites had resisted His judgments more than the heathen; they had sinned against greater light. The pronoun they in the last clause refers, of course, to the Israelites, not to the heathen.

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.They - The inhabitants of Jerusalem. 6. changed … into—rather, "hath resisted My judgments wickedly"; "hath rebelled against My ordinances for wickedness" [Buxtorf]. But see on [1021]Eze 5:7, end. She; Jerusalem, the metropolis, where the temple and the solemn feasts and sacrifices were, which in likelihood was forwardest, fullest, and most expensive on other invented modes of worship; she who was most obliged to me.

Hath changed: the Hebrew includes a rebellion and contumacy; and these were cause of her changing, as rebels change the laws of a kingdom.

My judgments; the laws of holy, righteous, and sober living; the exact rules of manners. Into wickedness; improbity and injustice toward each other, and impiety and irreligion against God himself.

More than the nations; there is more honesty, truth, and righteousness among the nations than among the Jews.

My statutes; the precepts and rules of religious observances which I gave them they have less valued, been less constant to, than the nations have been to theirs, received from men, and invented by man. So Jeremiah 2:9-11.

They, the Jews, have refused, with scorn and abhorrence, as what their mind abominated. So vile were they grown, that they loathed the excellent law of God, and were weary of it, as the Hebrew implieth.

My statutes; as for my statutes in matters of religion, they have refused to walk in them, and have modelled religion to their own fancy, built altars, adopted new gods, and appointed new worship, more gay or easy, as their humour was.

And she hath changed my judgments into wickedness more than the nations,.... So they changed their glory for that which did not profit; and the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man; and the truth of God into a lie, Jeremiah 2:11; or, "for wickedness" (q); for judgments and laws that were not good, and which to observe was wickedness. The word rendered "changed" signifies to "rebel against" or to "transgress": and the may be, she, that is, Jerusalem, has "rebelled" against my judgments, and "transgressed" (r) them in a wicked manner, even to a greater degree than the nations of the world. The Targum and Jarchi interpret it changed as we do:

and my statutes more than the countries that are round about her. "Judgments" and "statutes", are the same laws and ordinances of worship, being just and righteous, and firm and unalterable; unless it should rather be thought that "judgments" belong to the moral law, being given forth by the Lord as a judge, and founded upon judgment and righteousness; and "statutes" to the ceremonial law, being of positive institution and appointment, and to last so long as it was the pleasure of the lawgiver:

for they have refused my judgments and my statutes; they refused to comply with them, and to yield an obedience to them, and that with loathing, disdain, and contempt, as the word (s) signifies,

they have not walked in them; they did not make them the role of their walk and conversation; they showed no regard to them; they went out of the way of them, into crooked paths, with the workers of iniquity.

(q) "ut improbe ageret", Cocceius. (r) "transgressa est, vel rebellis fuit", Calvin; "refractaria (s) "Verbum" "significat spernere, reprobare, rejicere, idque ex contemptu et fastidio", Polanus.

And she hath changed my {e} judgments into wickedness more than the nations, and my statutes more than the countries that are around her: for they have refused my judgments and my statutes, they have not walked in them.

(e) My word and law into idolatry and superstitions.

6. Read: And she hath rebelled against my Judgments to do wickedness more than the nations, and against my statutes. “Judgments” is ordinances; and “they” refers to the people, who compose Jerusalem.

Verse 6. - She hath changed, etc. To that calling Jerusalem had been unfaithful. Corruptio optimi pessima, and she had sunk to a lower level than the nations round about her. For changed my judgments into wickedness, read, with the Revised Version, hath rebelled against my judgments in doing wickedness. The pronoun refers, not to the nations, but to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and so in the next clause. Ezekiel 5:6The Divine Word which Explains the Symbolical Signs, in which the judgment that is announced is laid down as to its cause (5-9) and as to its nature (10-17). - Ezekiel 5:5. Thus says the Lord Jehovah: This Jerusalem have I placed in the midst of the nations, and raised about her the countries. Ezekiel 5:6. But in wickedness she resisted my laws more than the nations, and my statutes more than the countries which are round about her; for they rejected my laws, and did not walk in my statutes. Ezekiel 5:7. Therefore thus says the Lord Jehovah: Because ye have raged more than the nations round about you, and have not walked in my statutes, and have not obeyed my laws, and have not done even according to the laws of the nations which are round about you; Ezekiel 5:8. Therefore thus saith the Lord Jehovah: Lo, I, even I, shall be against thee, and will perform judgments in thy midst before the eyes of the nations. Ezekiel 5:9. And I will do unto thee what I have never done, nor will again do in like manner, on account of all thine abominations.

זאת ירוּשׁ not "this is Jerusalem," i.e., this is the destiny of Jerusalem (Hvernick), but "this Jerusalem" (Hitzig); זאת is placed before the noun in the sense of iste, as in Exodus 32:1; cf. Ewald, 293b. To place the culpability of Jerusalem in its proper prominence, the censure of her sinful conduct opens with the mention of the exalted position which God had assigned her upon earth. Jerusalem is described in Ezekiel 5:5 as forming the central point of the earth: this is done, however, neither in an external, geographical (Hitzig), nor in a purely typical sense, as the city that is blessed more than any other (Calvin, Hvernick), but in a historical sense, in so far as "God's people and city actually stand in the central point of the God-directed world-development and its movements" (Kliefoth); or, in relation to the history of salvation, as the city in which God hath set up His throne of grace, from which shall go forth the law and the statutes for all nations, in order that the salvation of the whole world may be accomplished (Isaiah 2:2.; Micah 4:1.). But instead of keeping the laws and statutes of the Lord, Jerusalem has, on the contrary, turned to do wickedness more than the heathen nations in all the lands round about (המרה, cum accusat. object., "to act rebelliously towards"). Here we may not quote Romans 2:12, Romans 2:14 against this, as if the heathen, who did not know the law of God, did not also transgress the same, but sinned ἀνόμως; for the sinning ἀνόμως, of which the apostle speaks, is really a transgression of the law written on the heart of the heathen. With לכן, in Ezekiel 5:7, the penal threatening is introduced; but before the punishment is laid down, the correspondence between guilt and punishment is brought forward more prominently by repeatedly placing in juxtaposition the godless conduct of the rebellious city. המנכם is infinitive, from המן, a secondary form המון, in the sense of המה, "to rage," i.e., to rebel against God; cf. Psalm 2:1. The last clause of Ezekiel 5:7 contains a climax: "And ye have not even acted according to the laws of the heathen." This is not in any real contradiction to Ezekiel 11:12 (where it is made a subject of reproach to the Israelites that they have acted according to the laws of the heathen), so that we would be obliged, with Ewald and Hitzig, to expunge the לא in the verse before us, because wanting in the Peshito and several Hebrew manuscripts. Even in these latter, it has only been omitted to avoid the supposed contradiction with Ezekiel 11:12. The solution of the apparent contradiction lies in the double meaning of the משׁפּטי הּגוים. The heathen had laws which were opposed to those of God, but also such as were rooted in the law of God written upon their hearts. Obedience to the latter was good and praiseworthy; to the former, wicked and objectionable. Israel, which hated the law of God, followed the wicked and sinful laws of the heathen, and neglected to observe their good laws. The passage before us is to be judged by Jeremiah 2:10-11, to which Raschi had already made reference.

(Note: Coccejus had already well remarked on Ezekiel 11:12 : "Haec probe concordant. Imitabantur Judaei gentiles vel fovendo opiniones gentiles, vel etiam assumendo ritus et sacra gentilium. Sed non faciebant ut gentes, quae integre diis suis serviebant. Nam Israelitae nomine Dei abutebantur et ipsius populus videri volebant.")

In Ezekiel 5:8 the announcement of the punishment, interrupted by the repeated mention of the cause, is again resumed with the words 'לכן כּה וגו. Since Jerusalem has acted worse than the heathen, God will execute His judgments upon her before the eyes of the heathen. עשׂה שׁפטים or עשׂה (Ezekiel 5:10, Ezekiel 5:15; Ezekiel 11:9; Ezekiel 16:41, etc.), "to accomplish or execute judgments," is used in Exodus 12:12 and Numbers 33:4 of the judgments which God suspended over Egypt. The punishment to be suspended shall be so great and heavy, that the like has never happened before, nor will ever happen again. These words do not require us either to refer the threatening, with Coccejus, to the last destruction of Jerusalem, which was marked by greater severity than the earlier one, or to suppose, with Hvernick, that the prophet's look is directed to both the periods of Israel's punishment - the times of the Babylonian and Roman calamity together. Both suppositions are irreconcilable with the words, as these can only be referred to the first impending penal judgment of the destruction of Jerusalem. This was, so far, more severe than any previous or subsequent one, inasmuch as by it the existence of the people of God was for a time suspended, while that Jerusalem and Israel, which were destroyed and annihilated by the Romans, were no longer the people of God, inasmuch as the latter consisted at that time of the Christian community, which was not affected by that catastrophe (Kliefoth).

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